Pac Man World Rally Review

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For Christmas I decided to go with a racing theme with the video games. From the 6 that I got, 4 of them were in this genre and I managed to get one from the three big video game icons. You’ll find out what the Sonic and Mario games were soon, but Pac Man was the first one that I completed so it made sense to do this one first. It’s pretty fun and you can tell how it was inspired from Mario Kart, but it lacks the latter’s sheer intensity.

There is no plot of course and the goal is to beat all of the tournaments and ultimately unlock all of the racers and items. There are 15 levels in the game and they are divided up into 4 cups. After completing each cup, you will unlock the ultimate cup, which features all 16 races back to back. I have to admit that those gauntlet styled cups have never been my cup of tea. Imagine losing on the 14th or 15th race and having to do it all over again. It’s a pretty scary thought, but it ultimately must be done if you want more characters. To get all characters, you’ll need to beat all of the cups on hard and getting all of the items means eating a certain amount of ghosts in each cup. That definitely helps the replay value aspect since locked content is always fun to unlock.

The actual gameplay is very similar to Mario Kart, but with its own wrinkles and twists. There are 8 racers and the gameplay speed is similar to Double Dash’s. Along the way you’ll see a lot of items and you can use them to blast the person in first with a Paratroopa Blue Ghost or throw some red shells red ghosts. The game didn’t really try all that much with the items since many of them are not subtle knockoffs of Mario Kart. Instead of lightning, we get a lightning cloud here since I suppose that this makes everything okay. The items are still good of course, but they just aren’t original.

Each level has a shortcut that is blocked by a food door. To get past it, you’ll have to find the fruit switch somewhere on the stage and drive through it to unlock the fruit. After that, you must find the actual fruit and then head through the shortcut on the next lap. Typically, the shortcut is well worth the effort as long as you are able to get the fruit while you are driving. You do the same thing with pellets. First, you activate the switches and then you collect as many as possible. Once you have enough you can use your final smash. I have only used Pac Man’s so far, but it’s definitely solid. You get a new theme to play over the stage music and then you drive a little faster as you eat any cars that get in your way. Eating cars is important to unlock items so you’ll want to eat as many as possible. Occasionally an angelic ghost will appear to give you some pellets, but I’m not sure exactly why it comes to help. It seems like there is some sort of meter that triggers this, but I cannot confirm such a notion just yet.

I think that the game could have done a little better with the stage designs. I liked the final cup the most as the Retro Maze was a good idea and we finally got a city level. The thing is..the first three cups are filled with landscapes that simply aren’t very interesting. A game like this should have a lot of bright levels like Mario Kart Double Dash so you can marvel at the graphics as you drive. The city level towards the end is one of the only ones that I can think of which fits this category. Most of the others are fairly bleak and you’ll forget about them very quickly. There may have been an island level or two, but it’s simply not the same.

The graphics certainly aren’t as good as the other racing games on the console (F Zero and Mario Kart) and it definitely doesn’t look like a whole lot of effort was put into this game. The graphics simply aren’t that good and I would compare them to the MnM game, which is pretty bad. The graphics actually did hurt the game a little as it would be more fun with better graphics. Graphics are never the most important factor in a game, but they certainly play a big part in sport titles.

The soundtrack is as forgettable as the stage designs. You’ll naturally remember Pac Man’s sound effects from the Arcade Game and they are included here, but the themes just vanish in the wind. I can’t think of a single theme and I’m sure that I wouldn’t be able too even if I had just finished playing it moments before this review. It’s like elevator music. It’s typically decent while you’re in the elevator, but you end up forgetting it immediately after.

Needless to say, this game loses out to Sonic and Sega’s All Star Racing as well as to the Mario Kart titles. Pac Man World Rally just lacked a few things that it would need to compete with those two like great stages and fun items. The game can still be pretty fun of course, but it’s not the kind of game that you will want to keep on playing for very long. It would just get tedious and the battle mode is really what saves it from the fate of the 6 star game. Duking it out while on cars has always been a novel concept and while this game may not pull it off as well as Mario Kart of Sonic Riders, it’s cool that it still has it as an option. Just be warned that the games can last a while since the stages are rather large.

Overall, Pac Man World Rally is definitely not the ultimate racing game, but it’s pretty fun to play. It’s on the Gamecube, which is great news for the game because it means that it can support 4 player action and that’s always exciting. This is the kind of game that greatly benefits from that option and there are also many battle modes to try out if you don’t want to race. The replay value is definitely enough to keep you playing long after you’ve beaten the 4 cups since those, admittedly do not take all that much time. I definitely recommend checking this game out and you’ll just need to try and get past Pac Man’s insanely high pitched voice when he celebrates. It’s simply not the Pac Man that we are used too.

Overall 7/10

Scribblenauts Review

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The portable video game marathon continues with this unique puzzle game. Have you ever thought that you could complete any video game if it could keep up with your imagination? Well, now you can put that to the test since this game allows you to try and think your way out of a situation. There are naturally some limitations, but it does a good job of making you feel like you’re in control.

There isn’t a plot in this game as you just tackle the missions. There are two kinds of missions in the game. They are puzzles and action levels. Each world has 11 stages of each mode, which comes out to 220 stages…wow right? That’s definitely a lot of stages and it’s cool that the developers put in the effort to include so much content in the game. Some levels may just take you a minute, but others could take a solid half an hour easy if you don’t know how to win. The goal of each level is to ultimately attain the Starite whether it be through exploration or giving someone what they want.

The graphics are pretty good. The artistic style is hard to describe, but it works since the characters don’t feel pixelated. They are still using sprites I believe, but they are clean and distinct. There’s no real guesswork here when it comes to figuring out what is happening. I’m definitely satisfied graphically and the soundtrack is decent. I have to say that it is rather forgettable, but you don’t typically play a puzzle game for its music. It’s supposed to really just be soothing so that your mind can totally concentrate on the task at hand.

Tackling the 220 levels will certainly take a while, but the game also has some other features at the ready for replay value. For one thing, you can buy everything at the shop with your well earned cash. You’ll likely have a lot of money left over from completing the levels anyway so you may as well spend it on something good right? Some new tunes are in there, which can be great since finding new music is always fun. You can also replay every level on difficult mode, this means that you have to complete a level 3 times in a row and you cannot re use words. That sounds nearly impossible in some levels, but it’s probably okay if you are familiar with your synonyms and alternate names.

Now, the one thing that can make completing some of these levels tricky..or one of the things anyway, is that your imagination can differ from the developers. The biggest example of this is the bridge. I love bridged and I kept trying to make them work, but they are never useful in this game. That’s because the bridges are absolutely tiny. I don’t think that they end up helping you out in a single level…which can be pretty sad. That’s the classic example, but you will certainly find more as you play the game. To an extent, this can certainly destroy the illusion that the game produces where you control everything thanks to your imagination, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that they put a lot of effort into the title to incorporate all of the words. I can’t imagine how they coded this since it seems like the game should take up a massive amount of data. I know that game developers have their tricks though so they made it work somehow.

Moving can be a little tricky at first due to two factors. One is simply the fact that this game is puzzle oriented first and foremost with platforming being secondary. So, most of the game developing time probably went to the level designs, but the other factor is that you control the main character with the stylus. It’s been a while since I played a game like that and I certainly miss just using the pad. It’s not terrible though and you will get used to it fairly quick, but you should definitely be prepared for some self destructs. It’s almost impossible to go through the game without such an event occurring.

The game’s difficulty level does make it a little too intense for kids though so I would actually say that it is more suitable for older kids. There’s almost no way for a kid to solve some of these puzzles and at the very least it would take them a while. It’s nice of the game to award us with two free levels at the end since they are both just trolling the gamers. You can literally beat a level by walking a few steps at the end. That being said, most gamers will probably be tricked since there is an elaborate level set up. Who could have guessed that you would just have to ignore it and keep on walking right?

Overall, Scribblenauts is a pretty fun game and it’s very unique. It did for puzzle games what De Blob did for platforms. It opened new doors and it’s good to see that the series is still going strong. I haven’t played many puzzle games so I can’t really compare it to much on that front, but it’s definitely a good game. I imagine that I should have the next game relatively soon although the ad of “120 new levels” is a little alarming since this one had almost double that. I’m sure that there is a twist that I am not seeing though. The game can be difficult and the hints are not usually helpful, but this helps you to stretch out your thinking muscles.

Overall 7/10

Wario Land 4 Review

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This is the first Wario side scroller that I’ve played so far so it was definitely interesting to see how it would stack up against the average Mario or Yoshi title. I can definitely say that it’s not quite as impressive as those, but it’s good to see Nintendo taking a fairly original stance here. This title brings some more strategy into the typical side scrolling genre. It’s more of a miss than a hit, but fun nonetheless.

There isn’t much of a plot since Wario is just out for treasure as per usual. He wanders into a Pyramid and it has many labyrinths full of treasure and danger. Beyond all of the tombs is the legendary Pyramid of Gold. Wario will have to find all of the locks and jewels so that he can gain entry into this wondrous place. Can he handle all of the guardians who stand in his way? There is also a cat that seems to be guiding him somewhere the whole time….hmmmm.

The soundtrack is noticably different from the average Nintendo game. It fits Wario’s character I suppose….but I have to admit that I’m not a huge fan of it. The music during the gameplay is not bad, but every level has a timer effect on it (Which I shall talk about in a second) so it drowns out the music for at least half of the level. What we do hear is good though. The cutscenes have odd songs in them though with lyrics that aren’t really pleasing to the ear. I think the game dropped the ball in this area.

The gameplay is pretty smooth. You can move and jump like in Mario and a lot of emphasis is placed on grabbing objects and throwing them with your super strength. One of the new features in this game is a shoulder throw which can let you break through blocks and other objects. Wario can also run fast enough to shatter walls that cannot be broken with a dash. The key difference in this game is that your goal is not to get to the end of the level. It’s actually to find 4 gems and a key that are hidden inside of it and then making it back to the starting point before the level’s timer runs out. There are secret passages to watch out for and you have to really be observant so that you remember where to go. Each level also has a puzzle area where you have to figure out where to go and all the things to do. You can only second guess yourself once after all.

Graphically speaking Wario Land 4 isn’t very impressive, but what Game Boy Advance games were? They were fun portable games to play and we didn’t really care about the graphics back then. They were simply sprites and those can look good or bad depending on how they are used. I don’t think that they look quite as good as your average Mario GBA title, but they’re still not downright bad. On the contrary, the blurriness actually works well for some of the spookier bosses.

Which, I do have to note that some of the boss designs were quite clever. We had a giant Teddy Bear and there’s even a mysterious being who has many faces. It’s pretty intense and it’s a fun way to wrap up the game since it has the abilities of all the previous bosses. I think some games could take notes on this since this is a very good formula to use for the final boss. It makes you think back to all of the old fights to remember how you should go about fighting this thing. One section involving a hammer took me a while since I forgot how to hit myself.

The game doesn’t really have any big negatives, but there is naturally a reason why I am only giving it a 6 and not a 7. Most side scrollers automatically get 7 stars so something did hold it back a little. The puzzle route of going through levels may be unique, but I don’t think that it worked out so well. Maybe if this just occurred for some of the levels, but it’s in all of them and sometimes you just want to jump your way to the goal. One of the reasons why Mario is a series that will always be considered elite is that the levels are always fun. Whether you keep losing on an insane long jump or breeze through a world 8 stage in under a minute, you will have fun. The game never feels unfair or intellectually challenging to the point where you’ll need to go watch a Transformers film to feel relaxed again. This game just wasn’t as fun as your average Mario game and that’s because the puzzles made it feel more slow paced than it should have been. I still can’t call them bad per say…the gimmick really wasn’t bad. The game just works better as a fast paced, race to the finish kind of game.

The game’s length is pretty decent. There are roughly 20 levels in all and each one can take 5-10 minutes. For replay value, you can try to get all of the jewels and swirlies along with the maximum number of treasure chests by beating each boss as quickly as possible. This will also allow you to get a longer ending so that’s a decent incentive right? I’m definitely satisfied with the length of this title and it’s worth the big bucks. (Although I got it at a relatively cheap price anyway)

I’ve now played around 3 Wario games and I’ll improve that soon with Wario Land Shake It or Wario World. His series definitely loses out to Mario, Luigi, DK, and Yoshi, but that can always change with one really great game. I haven’t played Super Princess Peach yet so I really can’t comment on that one. The gameplay also seems slightly different from the norm so it’ll be interesting to see how Nintendo switches it up. It’s a little regrettable that none of the Wario supporting characters have ever managed to be popular, but maybe they will someday. The Final boss from this game should seriously appear again because it was just that awesome!

Overall, Wario Land 4 is a pretty fun title. It’s interesting to see Wario play the lead character for once. The ending was a little much, but I can at least admit that I didn’t see it coming. Stay tuned for the after credits scene as well to see what Wario spends his riches on. It certainly fits his character and you have to wonder when he will go on his next treasure trip. I can safely say that I will be buying Wario Land Shake It at some point, but I also wouldn’t expect to see a review for it this year. Bottom line is that I recommend Wario Land 4 is you like side scrollers or if you want to see some strategy in a game. It can be a little slow paced, but it’s ultimately still a pretty fun game. The portable video game marathon continues next with another strategic game!

Overall 6/10

Tenkai Knights Brave Battle Review

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Looks like it’s time to check out another 3DS game! It’s always a rush when you get to play a new Wii U or 3DS game since they’re part of the current gen. They won’t lose this shine for about 5-8 years so I need to appreciate all of the games while I can. Tenkai Knights is probably one of the greatest new franchises to step out of the great blue along with Buddyfight and Cardfight..depending on if you count Cardfight as recent or not. A video game based on the show was sure to be good. Knowing this…I opened the 3DS and began to plug and play.

The game adapts the first arc of the TV show. Essentially, 4 kids are given lego bricks and told that they can turn into 4 legendary heroes on another planet. They are needed because an evil robot has ammassed a large army and both planets are at risk without help from our heroes. They are glad to join in and quickly find confidence in their new roles. They are the Tenkai Knights and they shall protect all of the worlds!

Their confidence won’t be forgotten as the main character says “I won’t ever give up” whenever you complete a level. There are almost 30 levels in the game and this number gets closer to 50 if you count the side missions. That’s a lot of times to hear his catchphrase so you’ll certainly remember it by the end. I was impressed with the length of the game since I was expecting something closer to 15 levels. The game took me about 6 hours, but I had fun with a lot of the side missions so about 4 hours would probably be closer to the actual campaign length. Keep in mind that the majority of the game is made up of cutscenes as the actual levels are typically short. There are some long ones, but most of them can be finished rather quickly.

The cutscenes are basically just pictures and text. Once in a while you get some actual voice acting for the lines, but it seems like that was added at the last second since it comes very sporadically and it doesn’t mesh well with the music. It’s very hard to hear what they are saying even if you have the game on maximum volume. It’s probably not what you may have expected from the 3DS era, but at least the screencaps are good thanks to the quality animation of the show. It’s not the greatest silver lining, but hey…the cutscenes could be like the opening from Mario Galaxy 2!! These are still passable and the actual plot is very engaging like in the show. It really feels like you’re watching a kids version of the Power Rangers at times. At least, this is how I’ve always pictured a Power Rangers show to be like.

The graphics are pretty pixelated, but they’re decently good. Super Smash Bros and Kid Icarus are easily the best looking 3DS games by a mile. So, it’s probably a little tough on this game since I was playing Super Smash Bros rather recently. The graphics still aren’t bad and they won’t deter you from doing what needs to be done. It’s still fun to use your final smash although the smoke effect is a little lazy since they don’t need to add any explosions that way. I guess I would give the graphics a C-, but the screencaps have the solid animation of the show, which helps.

Brave Battle’s soundtrack is surprisingly good. All of the big characters get their own theme and I actually like most of them. I don’t care for Valorn’s or Venetta’s, but the rest of them are all pretty great. Chooki’s sounds like a classic Mega Man X theme and the Guardians have a cinematic level theme with their opera music that plays. I actually don’t care for Villius’ theme while his two henchmen get a pretty good theme. It’s very overused since it plays constantly, but it’s pretty fun. Naturally, Guren has a pretty good hero theme as well. This aspect of the game was certainly above average and I was not expecting such a good array of songs.

We cannot forget the gameplay though! It’s a side scroller that plays out like Mega Man to an extent, but you typically use a close range weapon like a sword. There are many weapons to choose from though so you can stick with a classic cannon if that’s your preference. The gameplay is definitely comparable to the Naruto Ninja Council games, but if you are not familiar with that series, then think of any GBA cash in title. Especially a super hero type game like Spider Man or the Power Rangers. It’s 2D and there are always playforms, but it’s not a platformer. You are stuck in a limited area and you typically have to beat a boss or clear out some enemies. It’s pretty fun and the controls can be a little iffy when jumping, but you can typically win any level from the ground anyway. Just stick to your strengths and you’ll be just fine.

The health bars are a little odd though as you can beat Dromas, the second final boss in under 10 seconds, but it takes you a few minutes to take out the large cat creature. That boss was definitely a lot of work until I realized that my standard attacks did more damage than my power ones. To spice up the gameplay, you can pick up items that the minions drop. There are two kinds, health items and final smash items. The latter let you destroy all of the enemies on the screen at a time while the health ones replenish your strength. You can also find material that comes from the enemies to build new weapons. The developers may have overdid it with the weapons selection as there must be over 100. I built a whole lot of them, but I’m not even close to getting them all. Unfortunately, the materials that you get are random and it takes quite a while to stockpile what you need to build the weapons that you want. It’s a long grind and not one that I’m about to do, but it’s better to have too many options than too little right?

I have to say that buying some weapons should be a top priority for you. I got one that improved my attack power to 280 and it still didn’t do all that much damage to some of the final minions and bosses. I can’t imagine how long the fights could have taken with a standard blade. Don’t worry about your booster and just pour all of your resources into a good sword and a good shield. Those weapons will never let you down and you’ll be able to go all the way to victory!

Overall, Tenkai Knights Brave Battle is a pretty fun game. The gameplay may not be the greatest example of how to pull off a classic Ninja Council gameplay on the big screen (Relatively speaking) but it’s still a lot of fun. You won’t even notice the time ticking by as you slice up all of the bots. The soundtrack is great and more than makes up for the graphics. The plot is also very engaging and especially intense if you have not seen the TV show yet. The game isn’t very long, but the side missions and obtainable items will certainly extend the overall length. I highly recommend buying this game and getting introduced into the world of the Tenkai Knights! (Maybe we’ll get a sequel to this game.)

Overall 7/10

Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal Review

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I reviewed the Wii U version of Sonic Boom not too long ago. Despite the bad press it was decently good. It wasn’t great, but it was a fun Sonic game. Now it is time to see how the other half of the Sonic Boom game franchise fared. I can safely say that it held its own against previous portable adventures.

The game starts off with a bang as we see Amy dueling with Lyric. The Reptile manages to get the upper hand when Amy stops fighting to talk to Sonic over the communicator. He wants the Shattered Crystals and nothing will get in his way this time! Sonic quickly gathers up his three trusty allies (Tails, Knuckles, and Sticks) and heads off for his toughest challenge yet!

Timeline wise, this game seems to act as an alternate version to the Wii U title. We fight Shadow again because he is brainwashed and Metal Sonic joins in on the fun too. Amy is kidnapped so there are a decent amount of differences to be found, but many parts will make you think of it as the Wii U game. I give Sega kudos though for giving us a different game instead of a normal port for the 3DS.

The graphics are decent, but they aren’t as impressive as they could be considering that this is a 3DS game. The environments are pretty fun and the gameplay is actually pretty quick, but the camera can keep up. This area may still be a little underwhelming, but it could certainly be a lot worse. Shadow always looks cool no matter how the animation turn out. That being said, there are only 2-3 animated cutscenes in the game. The animation looks pretty good for those, but the rest of the events are all text based, which shows just how limited the budget was. Little thing like the fact that you can’t speed up the slow moving text during a scene will become noticeable over time.

The gameplay is pretty good though and I definitely can’t fault the game there. There are no real glitches to be found and it plays out like most other Sonic portable titles. One difference is that the characters have electro whips so that you can jump over large areas and disarm enemies. I never use it for the latter effect, but it is mandatory for the jumps. I am okay with it, but it is not really necessary. The game could have done just as well for itself with or without the item. Knuckles can dig, Tails can glide, and Sticks can fire a boomerang. These abilities help you progress through the level, but you will still want to play as Sonic for the majority of the game. He is just the most fun to play as!

One mechanic that I felt was utterly pointless was the gate system. You definitely do not need that to be in the game and it is just an excuse to get your stylus out. You simply swipe down to go from area to area, but you could have just done that with the push of a button. It’s not a huge thing, but it just makes you wonder. There are several gates in each level and they can also be found in the stage select menu.

The soundtrack is pretty uninspired and I couldn’t really recall any of them right now. They are pretty decent while you are playing, but that’s about it. I miss the good ole days of Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and Heroes. Now those games had some really good tunes to listen to during the stages. As it stands, Sonic Boom could certainly do worse though.

An interesting thing to note here is that there is only one boss fight in the game. it’s your big battle against Lyric of course and it’s a fun final boss. It doesn’t have the scope that the others typically have, but I was just glad to have a boss fight. It’s a hybrid of a racing level and a boss fight as you chase after Lyric until he turns around to fight. Then you chase him again and repeat the process. My only complaint with the fight would be in how everything is repeated. You do the same things three times in a row so the actual boss fight is around 7 minutes, but it could have been much shorter. He doesn’t even switch his attacks as he can only fire a laser, shoot a rocket, and try to hit you with his claws. Memorize the 3 attacks and you’re all set. If anything, the speed part of the level is the dicey section.

The other “bosses” don’t get to fight you in battle. Instead of confronting Shadow and Metal Sonic, you just race against them and the loser automatically self destructs or flees the scene. I’ll admit that this was more than a little disappointing, but I do like races as well. I just would have liked to have had a race and a boss fight. As mentioned earlier, the game seems to really have a set up that is very fixed. Meaning that each world has the same levels more or less…or the same kind of level. Naturally, we have the race level. There is one per world.

Next up, we have the worm races. 1 of these is featured in every world. These are only about 2 minutes and they feel more like a minigame than anything else. They’re actually pretty fun though and it’s a great way to train your reflexes. Finally, we have the platforming levels. Typically there are 2 of them per world. They’re the longest ones and they can easily take you over 10 minutes to complete the first time around if you’re not careful. They’re pretty good although I prefer the races and the worm rushes.

This is one of those games where you will really want to keep an eye on the collectables. The game forces you to get at least 30 of the 34 Emblems in order to face the final boss. So, you’ve got to get just about all of the crystals and screws to beat the game so you may as well get the final few right? We ended up with just about 100% completion as there are just a few medals left to get. The big secret for doing this is that you get to go to Amy’s house and watch the heroes dance. It’s not exactly as good as the bonuses that you used to get in the Sonic games for all emblems. (Sonic DX all emblems = Metal Sonic; Sonic Adventure 2 Battle all emblems = Green Hill Zone…etc) It almost felt like the game was mocking us..maybe the developers just wanted to have a little fun with that.

So, naturally the collectibles represent some replay value for the game. Getting all of them should buy you a little more time and then you can spend your medals at the shop to get titles and other things. There’s also a few pages of a comic to read that provides us with some backstory for the game. It’s good that these things are here since this would otherwise be one of the shortest Sonic games ever. You can probably beat it in a day or two if you put your mind to it. There are only about 21 levels and since you can beat over half of them in about 2-4 minutes…that’s not a whole lot of play time. The bulk of it will enter once you have to replay all of the levels to find what you need. I recommend seeking them all out with the map right away…so upgrade the map to its fullest potential at your earliest convenience.

Sonic and his friends are in their Boom interpretations so you should know what to expect from the rumors. Sonic is still really fast and confident. I dare say that he is one of the only characters to really not have changed that much in this series. He mocks Shadow a lot, but you can argue that he would have back in the olden days as well. He’s still a very likable character and it’s hard not to root for Sonic. Tails is also true to form and he’s still the genius of the group. His teammates don’t always appreciate this, but Tails isn’t afraid to put them in his place.

The other characters are a little more changed like Knuckles. He has really lost a lot of intelligence so that he could become the punchline for just about every joke. He has trouble forming proper sentences and you probably haven’t seen a character this unintelligent in a very long time. It can be a little painful to watch for longtime Knuckles fans. Since this is practically a parody it’s okay, but I can only imagine that it’s similar to what Pac Man fans felt when they watched the new show. Amy is more independent in this version and they try to hammer that in (See what I did there?) by having her give Lyric a good battle in the intro. She’s actually winning, which is sad for the villain, but she let her guard down, which was a pretty huge mistake in the long run. She seems pretty cool here and her character trope is better than the other allies for me.

Sticks got so much attention before the game came out, but it seems as if the franchise has forgotten about her. The TV show is the only place where she really gets to get some character development as the games try to tell you that you should already be familiar with her character. She’s known as the nutty raccoon in the forest who is paranoid and that’s basically her personality. I like the fact that she’s basically crazy and admits to this, but she really doesn’t add much to the group. We may as well have just stuck with Marine.

Eggman is surprisingly absent from the game. He just doesn’t make it and that’s rather odd. Metal Sonic is here, but he has no character and he’s just obliterated on arrival. Shadow’s role is similar to the Wii U version in the fact that he just attacks the heroes for the lolz, but he actually isn’t doing it out of free will here. He was thoroughly defeated by Lyric earlier so now he is being mind controlled. The heroes save him and he storms off until the very ending where he has his big moment. It’s pretty satisfying for his fans so I’m glad that the game had a strong ending there.

Lyric is still not a likable villain. He’s not bad by any means, but he’s ultimately generic and you have to wonder how he is a threat to Sonic at all. He has a tail to attack people with, but he’s slow and not all that strong. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lyric never appears in any of the games outside of the Boom series. Maybe he’ll be in the next Sega racing game…maybe.

Overall, Sonic Boom Shattered Crystal was a pretty fun game. I’d say that the game was a little better than the Wii U version. It felt more like a traditional Sonic game and it stayed fast paced from start to finish. Shadow looked a lot better here as well, which is a plus and the moral at the end was pretty intense. Sticks finally put two and two together and she came up with the logical outcome. The gameplay is pretty tight and it definitely doesn’t shame the Sonic name. I highly recommend checking this title out and don’t trust the rumors that it is super buggy and glitchy. The Wii U version had a little trouble with that, but it was also exaggerated on that account. The only reason why you may want to be wary of getting this game is the short length, but the game has already had a price reduction in several places so it’s certainly worth the price. Even at 40, a short, but fun game is always worth it. Take the plunge and pick this game up while it’s still new. You won’t regret it!

Overall 7/10

Super Smash Bros Wii U Review

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It’s been a week since Super Smash Bros came out so I think that I’ve had enough time to play it to post this review. I’ve thrown in about 25 hours so far and I’m pretty confident that it will double that by Christmas. I knew what to expect for the most part since the 3DS version is pretty similar, but they did make sure to leave a lot of content for the Wii U version that is unique for the series. It’s everything that I could have wanted and more! The Wii U may have been in need of games earlier, but I think we finally have enough games available where you could say that it has games. I do like having the covers since they really stand out and feel new. This one is no exception and it’s great to see Samus in the cover since she does look cooler than Mario and Link….just sayin.

There are many things to do in this game once you turn it on. It can be a little intimidating at first when you look at the modes. We have Classic, All Star, Home Run Contest, Smash Tour, Target Blast, Around 6 different Multi Man modes, Online Battles, Event Mode, Trophy Rush, etc. You’ll be playing all of these modes quite a bit as you try to complete the 140 challenges in the game. As of this writing, I have completed 121 of them so there are only 19 to go. I still have all 5 hammers, which should help out later, but I have a feeling that beating these 19 will be a lot tougher than the previous challenges. Three of them in particular will be difficult and/or long. Beat Classic on level 7 with everyone, (Long) Beat All Star on Hard with everyone, (Hard) and Beat Classic on level 9 without losing a life. (Definitely hard. I’m going to need Ganondorf or Marth and a great healing item)

I’m sure that you are familiar with many of these modes, but I’ll quickly provide an overview of them. All Star Mode pits you against all of the fighters in the game and you get 4 healing items to use sparingly throughout the 6 battles. Classic Mode is 7 battles long and you can pick which battle to jump in from a selection of 3-4. Typically, you’ll want to go for 1 one 1 battles in the higher difficulties. Target Blast has you break targets using bombs. It’s an intriguing take on the mode, but I really miss the classic Target Smash. Now that was fun!

Home Run Contest is unchanged and it’s fun to see how far you can shoot the Sandbag. The Multi Man modes are fun to try to take on 100 of them or to challenge the Cruel Smash. Event Mode features a lot of themed matches that are pretty fun and a great way to earn some much needed cash. There are a lot of events to be played in single player mode as well as multiplayer. Trophy Rush is a good way to earn trophies since you’ll typically get 30+ and at first most of them will be new. After a while you’ll only get a few new ones each time, but it’s probably still the most efficient way to complete your collection.

Smash Tour probably got the most hype since this is the mode that is replacing Story Mode. Naturally, it’s not even 1/100th as good as Subspace, but it’s a decent mode. You are on a board like Mario Party and you go through the turns as you move around. You collect fighters and items during this time and if you crash into another player, then a battle starts. Most of the battles have themes. In one, there may be only Pokeballs appearing and another one could be filled with hammers. It’s pretty decent, but I’m just not really a fan. Smash Tour can only go down to 15 turns and it still feels like a while thanks to the constant battles and item usage. I would mostly steer clear of it entirely, but there’s still a challenge that I need to obtain in this mode.

Master/Crazy Orders is a pretty great mode and particularly because it really helps you earn equipment, money, and CDs. Master Orders presents you with a single challenge and it costs money to jump into it. If you win, you’ll earn something and losing will have you forfeit your cash. Crazy Orders is similar, but you keep on going until you lose like in a survival mode. You can end the gauntlet at anytime by challenging Crazy Hand and winning. Losing means that you will lost a good portion of the items that you had obtained up to that point so you really do not want to lose!

The graphics are very good and they live up to the Super Smash Bros legacy. Melee was one of the best looking Gamecube games and Brawl looked very good on the Wii. (Although I didn’t like the grittier art style as much) The Wii U version looks more like an HD version of Melee and that’s great. The attacks all pop out and the animations are wonderful. It’s no stretch to say that it’s the best looking Wii U game so far (Edging out Mario Kart 8 for now) and it is certainly “Next Gen.”

The soundtrack is very good as well. The new Final Destination theme is probably my favorite out of the new tunes. There are so many that you will likely continue to hear new themes long after you’ve played each level a few times. There are just so many to choose from. It’s why I like that the game has an option to decide which songs will typically play in a level. It lets you choose the best ones to fit the high speed tone of the gameplay.

One criticism that I would have with the game is the gold system. The old games had money as well, but nobody took it seriously because there was nothing to do with it after a while. On the other side, I think this one has too many modes that rely on gold. The main one that I don’t like it to apply too is Classic Mode. I like trying out Level 9 for fun, but now it costs 2200 Gold to play. You’ll probably have enough money to spare if you’ve been doing well in other modes, but sometimes you simply won’t have enough money and that’s definitely not cool. Level 9 should definitely be free to play on Classic Mode.

Naturally, there is basically an infinite amount of replay value to be found here. Completing each mode with each character will take a whole lot of time and we can’t forget about collecting all clothing, trophies, and CDs as well. You can possibly finish all of that in about a month or two if you try really hard, but it will typically take the average player much longer than that. After that, you’re ready to have fun playing Smash matches offline with friends or in ranked battles online.

Super Smash Bros is still the only video game series that I get on opening day. It’s simply because it’s a model of excellence and it’s still guaranteed to have some of the best video games ever. I’m pretty glad that I went for it right away since the Adaptors are starting to be sold out all over the place. It makes sense though since playing with a GC controller is really the best way to play. It’s still the ultimate controller and I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

It occurs to me that I haven’t actually described the gameplay. An average match plays out like a Street Fighter kind of gameplay, but you have to hit your opponent off the screen by dealing them a lot of damage instead of draining away their health bar. Each character has his/her strengths and weaknesses and some just don’t match up well against others. For example, you don’t wan to use Mega Man against Mario or Ganondorf against Little Mac. Of course, you can beat any character with any other as long as you are a good enough player. It’s certainly a game of skill that requires a lot of concentration. Alternately, you can also throw in items and make it a chaotic battle that will still be a whole lot of fun. Items definitely add to the appeal and the stages themselves can work against you as well.

My favorite new stage is probably the one from Game and Wario. The lady who tries to KO you with a sudden glance is pretty tough and it can be hard to react at times. Naturally, the Boxing Ring is a pretty great stage as well since it’s really made for close quarters combat. The only thing that I wish they could have done was to not include the part that is outside the ring. Just having a boxing ring in the middle would have really been perfect. Star Fox has some great stages as well and the one where you jump from ship to ship is very impressive visually. It should also be noted that Yoshi’s yarn stage can be pretty tricky and getting caught on the ground with Little Mac can be fatal.

Fox has been my go to character since the very first Smash Bros, but that’s finally changed in this game. Little Mac is just too cool to pass up and I love playing as him. You’re always on the offensive while playing as the boxer and you just can’t beat that. Fox is probably still my second best fighter and I would put Mario as my third. Although, I do have a lot more fun playing as Marth than Fox or Mario so I throw him in whenever possible. Ganondorf is my best player for Classic Mode though since he was the only guy I could beat Level 9 with on the 3DS and so far he’s one of two characters who I’ve beaten level 9 with on the Wii U version. (Marth being the other fighter) He’s slow, but his attacks really pack a punch!

I also think that Nintendo really outdid themselves with the A.I. here. It’s simply fantastic as the level 9 computers can really give you a good fight now. I’d say that they are a considerable step up from the previous titles. It really makes completing Classic Mode on level 9 more of a treat. Also, it can’t be forgotten that the Wii U version has an extra form to the Master Core while on level 9. (8 as well I believe) The Core turns into a rather large fortress and you have to go through it without losing whatever life/lives you have left. There are enemies to slow you down and touching the lava while weakened enough will instantly obliterate you. I’ve lost there several times since it’s utterly brutal for Little Mac and still dangerous for most fighters. A quick and speedy fighter like Marth or Lucario is ideal here, but it’s tough to get them past the final bosses at times. I’ve fought the Master Hand/Dog/Sword/Man/Copy combo so many times that it’s a little easier now, but you still can’t really perfect the copy part since it’s so unpredictable. Beating the game with everyone on level 9 would have certainly been brutal so I’m glad that there is no challenge for that. Level 7 should definitely be doable.

I’m still not a fan of the whole custom characters concept, but it certainly comes in handy for Classic Mode. It’s almost been amped up so much just so that it could force you to use the items. Some items heal you over time, which is pretty crucial and there are three different attributes. Attack, Defense, and Speed. Increasing one of them will decrease the other so finding the right balance is key if you are to get through the gauntlet.

I aim to have all 140 challenges completed by Christmas, but it’ll certainly be a tough trial so we shall see. I should at least be pretty close by then so that I can really focus on my other titles. I wouldn’t expect to see another video game review in the very near future, but others will surely come up soon. One scenario that I could foresee is 138/140 challenges completed with the Beat Classic and All Star with everyone being the final two. That just seems like so much of a grind at the moment.

Overall, Super Smash Bros has always been a revolutionary video game series and this one keeps up its reputation as a really flawless series. I don’t really have any serious complaints for this title and the only reason that it is not a 10 is because I believe that only one game should ever have a perfect in my lifetime. Since the spot is taken, it’ll have to settle for a 9, but it’s definitely a really high one. I’ll be playing this game for years and years and I won’t stop playing it every week until the servers inevitably go down. After that, it’ll be time for offline fun that will still never end. The price tag is pretty steep, but I highly recommend getting it as soon as possible since the enjoyment is certainly worth it!

Overall 10/10

Actually, Dragon Ball Z Budokai Tenkaichi 3, which was the original 10 on the blog has been leapfrogged by Madden 13/2004 and Super Smash Bros Wii U/Melee. Now, The Wii U version is the greatest game of all time. It’ll be tough to top…extremely tough!

Digimon All Star Rumble Review

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After all these years, Digimon has finally gotten itself another fighting game. I had a lot of fun back in the day playing Rumble Arena 2 and I just barely missed out on the original one. This is essentially the Rumble Arena 3 that we’ve been waiting for all these years and it’s definitely worth it. The game didn’t get a whole lot of publicity before it came out so hopefully the sales are still strong since this could be the start of a new series!

The game actually has a small plot. It’s not much of a story, but it certainly beats not having one. Essentially, a tournament is starting and a lot of Digimon want to enter it to win. They don’t know exactly why they want to enter…it’s almost like it’s destiny! They follow their primal instincts and quickly get ready for the fight of their life, but is there something more to this tournament? Then you pick the fighter that you want to play as and you’re set. I naturally played the game with Agumon the first time around, but I’ll beat it with everyone at some point for that shiny Platinum trophy!

The roster is pretty small considering that it’s a PS3 game. I think they definitely could have doubled or tripled the character selection, but with a limited budget I suppose that it would have been difficult. What would have helped is if they let some of the Mega Level Digimon be playable from the Get Go. I have unlocked all of the characters except for 3 starters and I do not have access to nearly any of the alternate Mega Digimon. Those will likely pop up along the way in the Story Mode paths. Counting all of those figures, the roster looks a lot better.

The gameplay is like Rumble Arena, but it’s in 3D. I suppose that you can picture Naruto Ninja Storm as an example. It’s a 3D playing field and you have your standard attacks, power attacks, and your projectiles. You can mix and match to make various combos and the goal is typically to defeat your opponent. (Although other modes feature games like capturing the flag so vary up the action) Once your meter is charged you can transform into an immensely powerful Mega Digimon. Once you’re in that form, you’re basically ready to rock and roll!

There are also items of course and they can really change the course of a battle. One of the items makes a twister form around the player. Another one lets you turn the opponent into a ball of living slime and the best item in the game allows you to instantly Digivolve. You cannot begin to compare that to any of the other items because it is so great. A thunderbolt is probably the second best item as it does some serious damage and it also stuns the opponent. It’s like a double effect for the price of one!

Surprisingly, the game actually goes up to 4 players. I don’t know many people who actually have 4 remotes, but it’s great that we are actually given the option. It’s certainly something to consider and I do have 3 remotes over here so at least I can go almost all the way. Every fighting game gets more and more fun as you increase the amount of players. It’s just common video game logic! Things get more chaotic and it will definitely test your mastery over the game.

The computer A.I. is decent, but it’s not great. You should be able to crush the hard difficulty level with ease after a handful of battles. Ah well, that’s not so bad since we have multiplayer mode and the computer is not downright easy either. I’m sure that a case can be made for it being just right.

The graphics are very bright and it works pretty well for the game. It may not be the most stylish game, but you would never mistake it for a last gen title. All of the character models are sharp and they really stand out no matter which stage you are on. I’m satisfied with the amount of stages as well as there are around 10-12 of them. Some of them even have gimmicks like a fog that will damage your fighter if you go near it.

The soundtrack is pretty nonexistent. I suppose that it would have been pretty tough to have had a pretty memorable one alongside everything else, but it certainly would not have hurt. There aren’t any real battle themes either, which is odd considering that it is a fighting game. How awesome would it have been to have had the Digimon theme song for the first few seasons included during the battles? That would have definitely been a lot of fun!

Surprisingly, there is no online capabilities in this game. I’m fine with that since it’s not the kind of game where I would play online a whole lot, (Madden and Smash Bros are really where I have fun online. Other than that, I typically stay local) but it’s still pretty surprising. Maybe they just didn’t think that enough people would be playing it right away to warrant a purchase of a few servers to run it on.

Some of the trophies are a bit of a grind, but none of them are really that hard. Waiting for the 50 hours to show up on your PS3 may be the toughest part or collecting the Digi cards, but it’s only a matter of time. The toughest trophy to get skill wise is probably beating the game with every character, but I’m sure that you’re up to the task. I only need 13 trophies left so that should be a breeze.

Overall, Digimon All Star Rumble is a solid addition to the Digimon franchise. The campaign mode is very short, but the multiplayer mode makes up for it. This gives it infinite replay value and that’s more than enough for you to be content. While the character roster may be pretty limited we do get fan favorites like Agumon and Guilmon. Old timers may be disappointed that some of the Season 1 stars were cut out, but maybe they’ll make the sequel. I’m sure that they would since a sequel would likely fill out the rest of the spots for the main characters from season 1 and season 3. No guarantees on season 2 of course, but those guys likely wouldn’t be missed quite as much. This is definitely a title worth obtaining if you want some solid action!

Overall 8/10

NCAA Football 2011 Review

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This is the first college Football game that I’ve really gotten to play extensively. I own quite a few of the other titles, but I have so many sport games that I typically just play them for a game or two and then move on to the next one. That’s why I love the trophy system on the PS3. It gives me a good reason to keep on playing long past the point where I would have stropped otherwise. The gameplay style may take a teeny bit of adjustment at first if you’re used to Madden, but it’s still EA so the control scheme is similar. It’s a pretty great and while I’ll always prefer Madden, I’ll always be up for a game here!

The gameplay style is a little faster than the average Madden game. You can pick what kind of offensive style you want before hand and then it’s off to the races. That’s actually a very cool gimmick to have and I got to test a few of the offensive formations out. I don’t remember all of the names, but I do like the Spread Offense and the Air Raid team is the best. In case you didn’t guess…I’m a pretty big passing fan. The problem with running the ball is that there’s more chance involved then when you’re passing it. For the most part, you can tell if you just threw a possible TD or a pick six right after you throw it.

I haven’t tackled the strongest A.I. level yet so I can’t comment on how difficult it is, but based on the previous levels it’s sure to be a nice challenge! Running the ball with your QB is easier in this game than usual and that’s a good thing since I love to do that. It’s good that it’s not too easy of course, but it’s a really effective way to move the ball when your receivers are covered. It can be tough to know when to look to run and when to pass, but the challenge of finding a nice mix is what makes this move so deadly!

I’ve gotten quite a few trophies so far although I’m probably not going to end up Platinuming this title. I won’t rule it out, but a few of the Dynasty/Career trophies seem like they would be a little too much work. I applaud EA for resisting the urge to add online trophies to the game so that the Platinum trophy is still a possibility. It was a pretty good move on their part and it’s one that I shall not forget very soon.

The game has your usual modes like Play Now that Madden has and there’s also it’s equivalent to Franchise Mode in Dynasty. There’s also a Road to Glory mode where you start out in Highschool and it looked interesting so I decided to go for it. It’s only four games long and it was pretty fun. The gameplay will certainly get you into the action very quickly and I still like the new style where you can pick a player to progress as you go through the career and then you just play when he’s on the field.

That being said, it’s a nice thing to give yourself a change of pace, but I still like to be in control for every facet of the game. You won’t catch me missing the point after attempts quite as much as the CPU and their defense tends to crumble when the going gets tough. This game has a ton of replay value since it’s Football and there are always more games to play. It’s tough for any title to even dream of matching it in replay value and the only other game that can give it an even fight is probably Super Smash Bros.

The graphics are pretty good. I’ve always thought that EA’s games looked very good and they definitely spend more time perfecting the graphics than the average game. It can be seen as excessive or underwhelming depending on the player, but it just looks great for me. The plays are always clear and you can see who’s open and who isn’t with a single glance.

If I had to list a negative for the game, it may be the soundtrack. At times, trumpets will sound and all of the music will instantly be obliterated. That’s not a bad thing per say, but the game can be more fun at times with a nice background theme. If the game is going to be silent then I think that cutting out the trumpets would help. It just doesn’t work with the style of gameplay. To counter this, NCAA has an exclusive feature where you get to run to the mascot for a celebration after each scoring play. That’s pretty cool and it’s a nice way to motivate your opponent as well.

This may have been the first NCAA game that I got to play a lot, but that won’t be the case for very long. I am planning to dig out the previous year’s game shortly to gather some trophies and then I’ll be sure to review that one as well. I expect it to be pretty good as well, but this one will likely stay on top. Where do I go from here? Well, I’m planning on tackling the full season soon so this game won’t be biting the dust just yet!

Overall, NCAA Football is a pretty great title to play and it’s one of those games that will continue to be fun long after you’ve played your 100th game. It’s just hard not to get excited while playing it and especially when the score gets tight. You just need to remember your training and you’ll be fine. The servers are down, which unfortunately halts online play, but it’s a game that is actually still a lot of fun to play with computers. If the price is right, you may still want to buy the latest version, but if not…2011 is the way to go!

Overall 8/10

Sonic Boom Rise of Lyric Review

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Sonic Boom brought a lot of controversy with it when they first showed the character designs for this reboot. Why did America need to have its own version of Sonic and why was Knuckles so well built? These were questions that plagued the minds of many Americans as we eagerly awaited the game. Evidently, many people are not pleased with this title. It’s pretty sad since the game is a unique take on Sonic that we won’t be forgetting anytime soon. So, this is me telling Sega not to hit the panic button as the Big Red Button may be on to something. I would actually take a sequel to this title…let’s find out why!

Sonic and friends are just having fun when they are cornered by Metal Sonic and forced to retreat into a mysterious area. It’s like a big dungeon and it seems old. Unfortunately, Sonic ends up freeing the mighty Lyric from his eternal tomb. Lyric is able to fend Sonic off as he escapes to conquer the planet. To stop him, Sonic will need to gather the 7 8 Chaos Emeralds Crystals to stop his dastardly plans. Will the Hedgehog be fast enough or will his constant banter with his friends slow him down? His toughest challenge is now upon him!

So, this isn’t your average Sonic game. It’s a complete reboot for American Audiences to be introduced to the Sonic franchise since the last few installments haven’t exactly rocked our world in terms of sales. You’ll certainly be able to tell that it’s American since there is a lot more dialogue during the gameplay. Think Spiderman Edge of Time. The heroes are constantly insulting and putting each other down as they ultimately strengthen their bonds of friendship. It’s something that we see a lot in Pac Man or in your average, current American animation. It’s not a bad thing per say. See, it does make all of the characters act out of character, but it’s still cool in its own way. I like Sonic as the overconfident Hedgehog of the 90’s, The Epic Sonic from the 2000’s, and I don’t mind the Sarcastic Sonic from this game. They’re pretty different versions of the same character, but they all tend to work out.

A lot of people have criticized Sonic lately for being too slow. Sonic Lost World was made to be more of a platformer like Mario and this game is Ratchet and Clank style so it’s the slowest Sonic game in years. Their complaints are valid if you really miss the Sonic speed, but we can always dig out Sonic Adventure 2 Battle for that. The game desperately does try to convince you that it is a speed game though through various “Speed Segments” that pop up from time to time. It’s like in Sonic 06 where various levels would just have you power your way to the goal line between levels. However, the segments are pretty small and you can only move from side to side like in a retro speed game. The segments are pretty fun, but you can hardly say that it makes the game move any faster. The characters continue to comment on how fast that they’re going, but in your head you can just picture Sega’s PR division trying to force feed you that message.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t mind a slower game, but my main problem was with the Hub World. You are forced to walk very slowly through it, which makes navigating very tedious. It takes a long time to get from place to place and if you wander into the wrong place you will have to teleport back to another location and begin the trek anew. Trust me…it gets old pretty fast. The Hub World certainly adds replay value, but Sonic should be allowed to run. It’s sort of his thing…Which, you cannot run in regular levels either. Walking is simply here to stay.

Each of the characters have their own gimmick. Knuckles can grab onto walls, Amy can do a triple jump, Tails can glide while over a fan and Sonic can use his homing attack to get over large gaps. It’s a classic teamwork exercise and it works decently well. It does help to slow down the pacing as you switch characters, but that’s just its style.

Lyric is the new villain here and he’s probably going to be remembered as a one and done character unless he makes another appearance on the home console front soon. He’s portrayed as a serious threat and he’s never used for comic relief, but he is just not that powerful. His design ensures that he cannot fight in hand to hand combat and he’s too slow to be considered as a real threat. Ironically, the minions may pose a bigger threat, but I’ll get into that in a moment. I’d say that Lyric beats most of the villains in Lost World, but I do prefer the final boss from that game. Maybe Lyric will grow on me if he appears in the next Sega racing title.

The soundtrack is not so good when you compare it to most Sonic games. The narration probably helped me forget the tunes since it overshadows the music, but I can’t really recall almost any of the level themes. The Hub World music is pretty generic so you won’t find the next City Escape theme there. You can tell that it has an American twist in it and it certainly didn’t help in this case.

The graphics are pretty good. They probably won’t strike you as “Next Gen” but it’s still Sonic and the colorful landscapes look great. It’s good to see that Sonic’s character model survived the Sonic Boom that hit the franchise and he still looks great. Shadow will also strike out at you when he appears and the animations in gameplay are solid. It may not be revolutionary, but I would say that it’s better than average. Sonic just needs to keep up this level!

The tributes to the golden age of the Sonic adventure definitely help to make the story more exciting in the forms of Metal Sonic and Shadow. I think the game would have been even better if they had appeared more. Shadow’s voice actor is terrible, but that’s an unfortunate side effect of the big roster change. The other voices are all pretty decent, but none of them can match the classics. Play through Adventure 2 Battle if you want true voice acting! Metal Sonic means business as per usual and he’s so much faster than Sonic that it’s pretty scary. Shadow’s chaos abilities are also as formidable as ever and he won’t be going down without a fight.

I do have to comment on the power levels since they’re a little wonky in this title. Sonic’s famous speed is all but gone as he just doesn’t move at very impressive speeds. His friends are all decently quick and Sonic’s a few steps ahead of them, but you don’t see anything to support him being massively hyper sonic to light speed levels. Eggman casually outruns him and Sonic can’t even dodge a simple energy blast. Metal Sonic’s speed isn’t even comparable to Sonic’s anymore so Sonic really got the short end of the stick.

The heroes are also pretty under powered as a few ordinary robots are enough to scare them out of their minds. Just a glimpse of Metal Sonic is enough to force the heroes to utilize their tactical retreat options. That’s always pretty sad to see since these are heroes. I don’t think that you would see Link or Samus backing off from these odds. That being said, this will make Mario fans pretty happy as they can make a better argument that Mario can win. This version of Sonic is definitely beatable.

Unfortunately, Eggman doesn’t look very good since he’s around to make Lyric look tough. Metal Sonic is forcibly taken away from Eggman, which I didn’t buy for a second. Lyric basically has control over all electronics, which is a cool ability, but Metal Sonic isn’t your average robot. Eggman does get a few good moments though and I’d say that he’s still a better villain than Lyric. It’s too bad that this game is really just trying to make fun of him rather than making him a serious threat. Technically, he should easily be able to take out Lyric with his mecha. The comic relief is just too much for him at times.

Going back to the gameplay, it’s very similar to Ratchet and Clank, but with less shooting. You’ll do a lot of punching, but you can alternate with homing attacks and ground pounds. Punching is just the most effective way to fight if you want to take out the enemies quickly. Everyone comes equipped with an energy whip to get across various sections of the game. I’ll admit that this part is rather unnecessary and just drags out the game, but at least you can use it to throw the enemies away. It’s a pretty fun game style where I just have one serious complaint.

Beating up on the villains can actually get annoying. They have a lot of invincibility moments where you have to wait until they attack to start pounding into them again. It doesn’t make them any tougher, but it certainly prolongs the battle. You’ll be fighting well over a hundred mechs by the time that the game’s over and they are especially numerous in the climax. You’ll definitely get tired of fighting them by then and you’ll want a break. The bosses are unaffected by this though as they’re all fun to challenge. Unfortunately, they are extremely easy (Either punch or throw things at the bosses…that’s literally it) but that’s to be expected. The Final Boss doesn’t have anything grand added to it, which can be anti climatic, but it’s still a good fight.

The game got a lot of attention for its glitches and bugs, but there aren’t a whole lot of them. Several cutscenes played without audio and I jumped through a wall once, but at least I was able to jump back to the screen. Also, it came in handy during one part where I tried jumping into oblivion, but ended up teleporting onto an enemy ship. Glitches can actually help out like that! The one glitch that does occur frequently is when the frame rate drops. Lagging when playing online is one thing, but you don’t typically expect that in story mode. It happens a whole lot when you’re in the hub world, but it’s also present for the field. It can be comical or annoying depending on how you look at it.

Sonic and Tails are portrayed fairly accurately compared to their real selves. They’re just a little more extreme as Tails criticizes Sonic’s jokes and Sonic likes to insult Eggman more. Amy is pretty good as she’s solidifying herself as more of a rival/ally to Sonic as she can keep up with him and she also has the hammer. Knuckles is really the only character who looks really bad here as he’s portrayed to be very unintelligent. He can’t comprehend simple sentences and he can barely think without hurting himself. I think that the writers went wayyyyyy to far there since he’s usually a pretty likable character. I think that they need to back up a little and rethink the whole situation. Shadow’s portrayal is just odd and it makes you think that they just threw him in at the last second. He attacks Sonic and his friends for literally no reason and then he backs off at the end because the heroes saved the day. Wasn’t he about to stop them from doing just that? Of course, his voice makes me naturally dislike his role, but it still did not make a whole lot of sense.

Overall, Sonic Boom is a pretty fun game and a nice start to a new section of the franchise. It certainly has its share of flaws, but the first title in a series usually needs some work. Just look at Sonic Spinball and Sonic DX or Mario Golf and Mario Galaxy. Those may not be relevant examples, but they’ll still cause you to think. The bugs aren’t quite as numerous as you may think and the gameplay is ultimately fun, which is the important part. Hopefully they can just portray Eggman a little tougher in the sequel and make Sonic a whole lot faster. This is definitely a solid title to buy and you can expand your Wii U collection at the same time! Also, if you want some hype for debating sites, “Nobody has ever dodged my Spin Dash before!” will be a good line to remember when people try to say that someone’s reaction times are enough to stop Sonic. It just won’t work against good ole Lyric.

Overall 7/10

M&M’s Kart Racing Review

M&M's_Kart_Racing
I’ll admit that this was a title that I have been wanting to buy for some time now. Who here didn’t grow up with the famous M&M candies? They were and still are awesome. I feel like having a bag of them right now. They’re just sooo good. Well, that was one of the reasons why I wanted this game, but I also noticed that the reviews for it were rather negative. I like games that tend to get poor scores (especially on the Wii) and I like the M&M’s so throwing in the racing genre was an added bonus. It was about as good as I had expected although it should have been 4 players.

There’s not really a plot in this game so you’ll probably just jump into the tournament mode. There is only one tournament, but it is over 10 races long so it should last you a good 30-40 minutes. The first stages were pretty dicey, but the backgrounds get more interesting during the later levels. You actually get to go to space as well as a chocolate mountain. That sounds pretty fun right? Most of the levels are around 2-5 minutes so they shouldn’t take you very long to complete. One of the levels was especially funny since it’s basically just a generic circle as you follow the road and there’s no danger of bumping into anything. You can just coast along and chuckle at your brilliance.

There’s not much to say about the gameplay. You accelerate with one of the buttons and then you head for the goal. There is only one item in this game and it takes the form of a cup of tea. (It looks like tea anyway) If you run over it, your character will get a slight boost in speed, but your kart will also start shaking a lot so it’s a gamble. It’s great on the easy stages without many turns, but it’s typically not worth it on the earlier levels.

I liked the final 5 stages much more than the first 5 ones. The main reason is that the camera is pretty bad and you won’t be able to see where you’re going until it’s too late. I crashed quite a few times on those levels, but I still managed to squeak out a first place finish every time….except for one level. It was a boat level and I got stuck for so long that I was firmly in last. I quickly redid the level and nailed it, but it’s nice to know that the computers do have a little fight in them. My recommendation to beat the camera is to put on the brakes a lot and keep your foot off the gas when you see any kind of turn approaching.

Don’t worry folks, this isn’t the next Casper! Once you beat the Tournament there is still one thing to do. You have to keep on racing the levels over and over again until you get enough coins to get every kart with every character. It shouldn’t take too long since 30 races will be enough to get enough coins for one character so you just need to enter the tournament like 20 times. Of course, that’s the long way. The best way is to just find the level with the most coins and keep on playing it until you have them all. I’ll probably attempt this someday……if video games stop coming out. I have too much on my plate to worry about this at the moment so it’s going to have to take a back seat.. (Smash Bros on the 21st, DBZ early next year, Big Naruto game late next year…etc)

I got enough coins to unlock one or two cars for the blue (or yellow) M&M and that’s good enough for me at the moment. You can tell that the game was made rather quickly due to the lack of replay value. There really isn’t anything else to do in single player mode and that’s where the multiplayer mode comes in. This is the kind of game that will only have a lot of replay value if you have someone to play it with. The gameplay definitely pales in comparison to the other racing titles, but it’s not that bad when you’re actually playing it. It’s actually fun and you just don’t want to play it in super large batches. As long as you keep this in mind…you’re set! Of course, one flaw in the multiplayer mode is the fact that it only goes up to 2 players. In this day and age, that’s a little unacceptable. It’s the kind of game that would be perfect for 4 players so I don’t see why they didn’t do that. It would be hard to see where you’re going, but that’s already the case in single player mode.

The graphics are definitely not that good. They are better than some of the other Wii games from the bottom of the barrel, but they’re definitely not the next Mario Galaxy. I would actually compare the graphics to some of the older DS games like Alex Rider. While you are going through the course, it’s usually still loading. So, you’ll see parts of the wall not be there in one moment and then they’ll suddenly appear. You’re simply going too fast for the actual game to keep up so the animations are a step behind. It’s a pretty bad sign to be honest, but it’s mostly just hilarious. I imagine that there are a ton of glitches here just waiting to be found.

There’s not really much of a soundtrack here. I seriously don’t recall any specific themes during the races. Maybe I was too excited to notice them, but I’m assuming that they were just unmemorable. I quickly turned on the game as I was writing this review so at least get the theme song (And my stats post) ready to go and it’s not bad. It’s just ultimately generic so you will forget it instantly. I should also mention that the loading times can be rather long so you should hope that you don’t dislike the music since you will be listening to it a whole lot. There is no opening or ending cinematic in the game for beating the tournament so there’s no chance for music at those points.

Finally, you can rest assured that this game does provide each character with a few taunts. Feel free to use them while racing since it won’t slow you down and the voice acting may cause your opponent to crash into a wall while they try to cover their ears. The M&M’s are very sure of themselves and you should hear how confidently they insult the others. The character designs did make me pick the blue (or yellow) one by default since they all looked pretty bad, but at least they mean business. It should be noted that while you are driving at over 200mph, the gameplay speed is very slow. You’re basically going through the stage as if you were on a real toy cart. Since some of the stages are only about 2 minutes, this means that the scenery is pretty limited. (30-40 seconds per lap after all) So, that can be interesting, but maybe it just makes the game more strategic.

Overall, M&M’s Kart Racing won’t last for very long, but it’s not an unpleasant experience. I may not actually play it again until around Christmas, (If at all) but I knew what I was getting when I bought it. It was a little over the usual 5 dollars that I’m willing to shell out for a game, but I knew that it was worth it. If you are going to use the multiplayer option then feel free to add an extra number to the score and if you’re by yourself, then you may want to keep it as you see it. I had a tough time deciding whether this game deserved a 5 or a 6, but I went with the latter in the end. After all, the game is still entertaining and there is a little replay value thanks to the coin collecting. I would sooner recommend Mario Kart 8 or F Zero GX, but this is a fun title if you’re looking for a Wii Racing game that you can get for a few bucks. How can you go wrong with eatable main characters? Also, don’t fall for the hype! There are 15 levels, not 10. Everyone reports it as 10 and it’s the most false advertising that I’ve seen in a while. It’s good for the game not to spoil the secret levels, but everyone else should catch on. We don’t want to underscore the game now do we?

Overall 6/10