4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review


It’s time to look at the latest installment in the 30 Great Games series. The franchise has definitely not been known for its high quality standards or anything like that but when I see it in stores I can’t help but give it a shot. Party games are just nice to give a look at even if you know they won’t be very good. This game clearly had some effort put into it but being on the Wii didn’t help matters. The motion controls are just terrible heavily hold the title back. Even the games with the best of ideas ultimately aren’t able to do anything to save themselves.

When you get into the game you can see right away that there aren’t a lot of options. I’ll just defend the game here as in a party game you really only need two options, a main party mode and a minigame mode with friends. This title has both of those so it doesn’t technically need any more than that. So long as the games are fun then this isn’t a problem. There are 5 worlds and each one has 6 games. The idea is to clear them all and you will have played 30 “great” games. That’s not a bad approach right? Well, the game fumbles the ball on the execution a bit. How it should work is you just beat all of the worlds one at a time. Instead the game has you replay them.

When you first enter a world it only has 5 games. You have to complete the world once and then complete it a second time to play the 6th game. When you beat the first 3 worlds twice then you unlock the next world and the games that accompany it. This is an awful lot of replaying for a game like this though. You really just want to go through the worlds once. It’s better than in another Wii party game I played though where they had a bunch of different worlds but they kept re-using the minigames to pad out the length. This is still better than that.

The game has a winter theme so naturally all of the games follow that path as well. They can be pretty similar but I’ll quickly mention some of the games that weren’t that bad. One that I enjoyed was trying to climb down a mountain. The idea is you let go of the rope and free fall for a few seconds but then you have to grab again or you’ll plummet to your doom and waste a lot of time. If you land on ice that will also waste some time. Then you’re got a minigame where you have to try and sink your claws into the mountain as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s pretty fun to see how close you can get. We even get a Bomberman type game where you have to drill through and blow up some blocks as you try to get treasure. While I like the idea, I don’t like the fact that this game is 100% RNG. You never know if you’ll get treasure or a bear.

The worst games are easily the ones that have you racing. Whether you’re snowboarding down the trails or using skiis, these games just aren’t fun. They suffer the most from the motion controls. You’ll find yourself bumping into the edges quite a lot and the computers will just leave you in the dust. It’s no coincidence that the best games in the collection used minimal motion controls. I can’t stress enough that this could have actually been a pretty good game if it had been for a different console. Imagine it on the Gamecube with a solid set of controls. It actually might have been pretty fun because I did appreciate the creativity behind some of the games.

The graphics for the game aren’t honestly all that terrible. This looks like a reasonable party game if you just take a look at the graphics. The levels and minigames all appear very clear and the character models are good as well. I had no complaints in this area. The soundtrack on the other hand is basically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single theme in the game. They’re all very forgettable so hopefully you are too engaged in the activities to notice this too much.

In terms of replay value it will completely depend on how much you like the actual minigames. There are literally no other options for things to do outside of that. You just play the minigames and try your best to see why this game had potential. If the game were to explain its minigames better the first time around and didn’t use motion controls then this could be a very different review. Part of the problem that I didn’t go into earlier is aside from the minigames having terrible controls, the rules aren’t explained very well either. Usually you won’t win a minigame the first time around because you just aren’t really sure of how to play it.

As a little aside, the game did have a fun start though. Nobody could cross the goal in time so we timed out. Keep in mind that I was playing by myself so the other 3 players were A.I. and they couldn’t win either. I think that speaks to the overall game design because there’s no way that should ever happen. After that first level the A.I. went back to normal and started clobbering me though so it was a one time thing. I thought it was pretty funny though.

Overall, This is one title you should avoid. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game in the series which is kind of sad in itself, but it’s just not a good game. Even though the going price is only around 2-5 dollars there is no reason to buy this game. There are far better titles to be obtained in the same genre or even in any other genre. You’d need to be really desperate to pull the trigger on this one and if you do just be prepared for those motion controls. Some of the games have good ideas at least. I think if you play this with a few friends with the intent to have fun it can certainly happen. Since this is a party game maybe it still ends up succeeding in its objective even if in an ironic way.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Battle of Giant Dragons Review


It’s time to look at a game that I’ve passed by in stores on many occasions. The game has been dirty cheap practically since it first came out. The reason why I didn’t get it was because the gameplay didn’t look particularly engaging. Still, there was a lot of good games on sale and I needed an extra one for the 4 for 2 deal so I finally took the plunge. The game is about what you expect. The gameplay is actually pretty fun but the game is quite bare in terms of content. There’s not enough to keep you busy for very long and I would say that it is a weakness for the title.

The basic plot seems to be involving humans taking on dragons and such. There is a short prologue to this effect but there are no more real cutscenes after that so the story itself ends up fading away. Even when you beat the game there is absolutely no ceremony. The game just tells you to pick another dragon and beat the game again. Perhaps after beating the game with the main 4 dragons you would get some kind of extra ending or something but that shouldn’t really be necessary if you ask me. You deserve at least a normal ending for clearing the game.

It’s a pretty short game so you should have it completed within a few hours easy. There are 4 worlds and each one has 3 levels. The objective in each level is to collect 2 gems. 1 gem is obtained by beating a dragon located somewhere on the map with a dragon head symbol. The other one is achieved by defeating a dragon that can only be fought after completing a lot of different objectives. Usually this includes tasks like melting a bunch of gem stones, and navigating a maze. Once you have obtained both gems you tap on a device that gets you out of the level. These levels can be pretty quick as long as you don’t bump into any random dragons by mistake. They all trigger fights that are exactly the same as the boss fights. They’re extremely easy but it will take more time.

The gameplay style is a turn based combat style to an extent but it’s all based on speed. You tap on one of the squares to choose which attack you want to use and then flick forward. You can also block and dodge. After you attack you are given the option to absorb some energy from the opponent to power up your next move or use a quick super attack. Personally I usually just pick to absorb an attack once so you can use your final smash on the second round. Then absorb two more turns and another final smash on the third round is guaranteed to beat the opponent. I naturally chose the fire dragon and went on a rampage with his powerful attacks. The fire dragon seems to be the best one in my opinion since all his attacks boost his attack power even further so the odds of you not taking down your opponent in a few turns is slim at best.

The gameplay isn’t particularly balanced though. You never need to actually block or dodge. Just keep swiping up and the opponent will never be able to attack before you do. Even if they block it just delays the inevitable since they can’t counter attack. I assume this wouldn’t work quite so well in a multiplayer match or something like that but 1 on 1 it’s quite easy to take the win. The game is extremely easy as a result with no real challenge to be had. You’ll dominate the game without any real effort. That’s also part of why the game is so short I suppose. If you never lose then it’s like you’re playing the game full steam ahead.

In terms of graphics they aren’t bad but you can see how the game is pretty lazy. Almost all of the dragons are re-used assets. The lord of the first world has the same exact design as all of the minions you fought earlier after all. That’s just sloppy and it makes the boss feel a whole lot less special since he could be just about anyone. The game had a little fun with some random side bosses at least which was fun. One such boss was a cop car that came out of nowhere and another was a drum set. You don’t have to fight these guys but they’re super weak so you might as well. The game should have embraced this part a little more and it would have made the game a lot more memorable.

Overall, Battle of Giant Dragons is a pretty forgettable game. It’s incredibly short and the gameplay is 1 dimensional. These two things could have been forgiven if the story was really good, but that’s not the case either. When you’ve got nothing going for you other than a fairly enjoyable gameplay style it’s going to heavily limit your potential. The game is still fun enough for what it is I suppose and it’s cheap which means you can get a good value here. Gameplay is the most important factor so I’d still put this one in the green in the end, but just barely. I don’t really see myself seeking out the other games in this franchise but I suppose if I happen to be in store you never know. I may pick up a game like this at some point. If you want a good game with big enemies to topple though, I recommend checking out Budokai Tenkaichi 3 instead.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Diddy Kong Racing DS Review


It’s time to look at a Nintendo racing game from a while back. Considering how successful F-Zero and Mario Kart are you may wonder why Nintendo would have another franchise right? Well, everywhere I go people seem to love Diddy Kong racing so maybe it really did tap into another part of the market. I will say that it is definitely pretty fun. Personally I wouldn’t put it on the same level as the other two titles, but it’s still pretty fun. The game isn’t particularly long but with a racing title the main incentive is the replay value here.

There is also a basic plot. A mysterious pig has broken an amulet and is causing a lot of terror around the planet. Diddy must now conquer four different areas in order to foil this plan once and for all. It may not be an easy task, but it’s one that he knows he must accomplish. Each world has 4 main levels and then you fight the boss. Once you beat the boss of the world then you unlock 4 more races which have you aim at balloons in the level. The first 4 levels are traditional races while the other four play out like an FPS as you don’t control the car, only the blaster. This lets you fight the boss again and then claim the amulet. So effectively each world has 8 levels and 2 bosses so you’re got 40 levels here if you count bosses. It’s a pretty reasonable amount but you’ll still have the game beat in under 3 hours.

The levels aren’t particularly difficult for the most part and naturally the levels aren’t too long either. The average race will take you around 2-3 minutes. There are 3 kinds of races. You’ve got the standard car races, the awesome plane races, and the sluggish hovercraft ones. The car races play out about how you would expect. You try to cross the finish line first and grab items along the way. There are 4 different items triggered by hitting a balloon. You know which balloon spawns which item so part of the fun is choosing what you want for each scenario. There’s also an incentive to not using the item right away. If you store away say a red balloon and then hit another one you get the second ranked version of the item. It’s worth experimenting until you find your favorite item. My favorite was double red since it gives you around 6 rockets.

The plane levels are the same way but you’re in the air which is a lot of fun. It feels like this kind of race is the fastest in the game in terms of how fast everyone is moving. There are a lot of boosters everywhere so use them as much as possible. Finally you have the Hovercraft levels which are just really slow and kind of clunky. It’s hard to turn in these and it is just not nearly as much fun as the other two. Something had to lose out I suppose, but I was glad that there weren’t a lot of these levels.

In terms of graphics the game is quite solid. We actually got some voice acting in the intro and the cutscenes flow really well. In game the assets load up promptly and everything looks clear. You certainly won’t be bumping into things just because you didn’t see them or anything like that. That would be understandably a bit iffy so I was glad that the game managed to avoid that. The soundtrack isn’t quite as memorable as Mario Kart’s but it was still pretty fun. There’s a good amount of variety based on what world you’re in and the level. The final boss theme was also very catchy although I got to hear it quite a bit.

While the game isn’t very difficult for the most part, the final boss is extremely tough. I don’t see how it would even be possible to defeat him without buying upgrades to your car. The guy is too fast and he pounded me into the ground many times before I was able to beat him. Ultimately I had to max out my car’s speed and acceleration and then I was able to keep up. It’s not like the level is all that complex. It’s pretty straightforward so I don’t see how you can play it any differently. You’re either able to out speed him and claim victory or you can’t.

As I mentioned the game is around 3 hours but there is a lot to do after the game. You have extra levels in each world where you need to find a key or do various achievements to unlock. The hub world is quite large so you can explore for a while and buying every upgrade will also take a super long amount of time. I wouldn’t say that there are any huge unlockables to look forward to, but at the same time if you enjoy the gameplay a lot then the game is giving you a fair amount of opportunities to keep on going. The value here definitely justifies the cost.

Overall, Diddy Kong Racing DS is a fun racing game. To me it felt fairly standard but with that Nintendo seal of quality. Just having 3 different options of racing does mean you have more options than your typical racing game and it’s a complete package. If you want to enjoy some good racing then you will definitely have fun here. The ending will also give you a nice challenge which is always good. If we do get a sequel to this for 3DS or Switch someday I’d definitely be down with that. The ending is also pretty fun as Pig gets one last laugh against the heroes.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Review


It’s time to take a look at the second Disgaea game. After the first adventure I knew that it was time to jump into the second one. It’s a tad shorter than the first but by the end my playtime for both of them was basically on the same level. One big difference though is that the second game requires less grinding. At the same time, it’s also in part because I understood the mechanics better and had a more balanced team. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a mage on the team. I got one named Marcia in this title and she saved me more times than I can count.

The story starts by introducing us to a human town that has slowly been corrupted. Now all of the citizens are turning into monsters and it is the work of Overlord Zenon. Adell is the only human on the planet who has been unaffected and he takes this as a sign that he has to be the one to find Zenon. His Mom tries to summon Zenon but they accidentally summon his daughter Rozalin instead. As Rozalin is bound by the contract to stick with Adell for a while he promises to get her back to her father. This way they will both get what they want. Can he really trust this Princess though?

Along the way the duo meet quite a few allies to help in their quest. First up is Tink who is a demon frog with a split personality. He’s definitely a little on the crazy side and is easily the weakest character of the group. He never pitches in when it counts. Then you have Adell’s little siblings Hanako and Taro. Hanako is always calling Taro named and looks up to the demon lord Etna. She is a reasonable enough character I suppose and could be worse. Taro is too lacking in confidence and the fact that his goal in life is to be Razalin’s servant doesn’t really bode well for his character.

One character that shows up later in the game is Yukimaru. She is an assassin who wants to end Lord Zenon once and for all. Her ice abilities are pretty fun and her gimmick isn’t bad. Basically she says zam at the end of every sentence. Her brother also shows up on a similar quest although he isn’t nearly as heroic as she is. By the end of the game Yukimaru is one of the only characters who can keep up with the main two so I recommend keeping her in your party. As a character she is fun to have around as well.

One of the most enjoyable characters is Etna though. Since she was from the first game that made her appearances extra special. Initially she shows up as a guest star character who is at a crazy level 1000. She even takes down Zenon which is immensely impressive. I was glad to see the old characters get their hype since they didn’t get to be main characters this time. Etna is still as ruthless as ever though as she constantly destroys her minions. While she may be hanging out with the main characters for most of the game don’t mistake her for being some kind of hero. She’s definitely just in it to get more power and destroy Laharl once and for all.

Laharl gets a much smaller role as he only shows up for a quick boss fight. It’s still an amazing scene though and reminds you why he is the Overlord. Ultimately Laharl actually meets his match though. I would have liked to have seen him fight longer, but it was a decisive loss for him. Power isn’t everything and he probably could have used some of his old pals to help even the playing field a bit. Part of what makes Disgaea 2 so much fun is how epic these scenes are. It has the advantage of being a sequel to it can utilize the nostalgia of bringing the old characters back like this.

The amazing soundtrack is also handy for this. Etna gets a cool insert song whenever she appears as well and it fits with her amazing boss fight where you are completely helpless. It also builds the atmosphere as well. Axel gets a similar theme that’s really hype and of course Laharl brings in some of the themes from the first game. Despite just playing that one I can see how nostalgic that would be. The game also has a fully animated opening which is pretty awesome. You don’t really see those as often as you’d like. It’s got a little more shipping in it than you’d expect but the action is really hype and the lyrics are catchy. I’ve listened to that theme quite a few times.

Axel The Dark Hero is basically the replacement for the Dark Adonis. He’s another guy who thinks he is the rival to the main character. His story is a little tragic as he just wants to be rich and famous but things never tend to work out for him. When he finally does get his success everyone says he made the wrong choice. I think they were all just jealous to be honest. While I wasn’t a big fan of Axel at the start the game does a good job of developing him into a quality character. By the end he was quite enjoyable. I still prefer the Adonis but they were close.

As for Overlord Zenon, he’s a very unique villain. He takes a lot of losses throughout the game and gets beaten up so badly you keep wondering if the guy is really such a feared Overlord. It’s an interesting take because he clearly isn’t the strongest villain out there, but he’s just strong enough where people fear him. It’s a nice theme that Disgaea has done with the villains. Zenon makes up for this weaknesses with his near immortality and to be clear, he is still immensely powerful. He’d probably be top 10 for the fighters we’ve seen so far. His master plan is definitely twisted but really interesting. I don’t think I’ve quite seen such a plan before and his target’s reaction to it is also amazing. This fighter wasn’t phased in the slightest.

Adell is a great lead and one of the better main characters that I’ve seen in recent years. He’s just a guy who wants to protect his family and doesn’t need to have more of a backstory than that. He’s a very honorable main character who refuses to ever break a promise. While everyone doubts whether he is a human or not for the whole game he never has any doubts about it. His confidence is part of what makes him so solid and the game likely did subvert a lot of expectations with that. I was expecting some kind of twist by the end but Azell just didn’t need one.

Meanwhile Rozalin is a great heroine as well. At first she is constantly scheming to destroy Adell to protect her father but gradually realizes that he is not a bad guy. It’s a nice character arc for her and in particular she gets a pretty solid scene with Laharl. As royalty Rozalin refuses to back down to anyone. The only part that gets repetitive is the line “I’m a being of solitude” which gets old after the first 3 times. It gets spammed relentlessly in some games. That’s really the only thing I can say against the game though. This is pretty much a perfect adventure and the banter between Adell and Rozalin is a lot of fun. Disgaea 2 really does a superb job of balancing the hype scenes with more light hearted comedy/parody elements.

Wait a minute, did I skip the gameplay section? Well, the gameplay is basically the same as in the first one. You are in an overworld map view and your goal is to destroy all of the enemies on the square. You control up to 10 characters in a turn based combat system and use attacks and magic to defeat the enemies. You can gang up on an enemy or divide and conquer them. The tricky thing to keep in mind here is that only the opponent who actually destroys the enemy gets any XP. Everyone else does not so it can be very hard to keep a balanced party. I ended up having Laharl and Rozalin way higher leveled than the others. It takes too long to level everyone up so I just focused on having two. It’s rare where you’ll need more than 2 characters in a level if they’re strong enough.

A huge part of the game is the equipment you get though so make sure to buy the best of the best. It increases your stats way more than leveling up would. I also recommend focusing on attack power because it makes the grinding a lot faster. Also you should turn off the combat animations once you’ve seen them enough because it speeds the game up greatly as well. You’ll need to use the Dark Assembly to unlock higher enemies for the shop. If you want to pass any real bills though you’ll need to bribe them which can get expensive. It’s great for the post game though.

The main story is around 20 hours and then the post game is effectively endless. You can go up to level 1000 and there are so many things to do that it can get a bit intimidating. It’s nice to have though because if you really love the game then you can be here for quite a while. Disgaea never backs down from giving you quite a lot of content to deal with which is pretty awesome. The graphics are also quite sound and you can see how they’ve improved since the first game. It all looks quite clear and I look forward to seeing another upgrade in the third game.

Overall, Disgaea 2 is an excellent game and I would actually say that it surpassed the original. It’s very close in terms of characters but the story of the second game is just a lot more interesting and high stakes. I like the idea of every Overlord deciding to duke it out to see who the strongest one is. It’s a very complete story and one that doesn’t need a sequel but I’d like for these characters to show up again at some point. Perhaps the group would be seen as too powerful at this point but it would be perfect for a 2 on 2 fight, Adell & Rozalin vs Laharl and Etna. I’d definitely buy that. If you like a good RPG with tactical gameplay then I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross Review


It’s time to take a look at a fairly recent mobile game that came out. The Seven Deadly Sins game got quite a lot of hype because it looked to be very high budget for a mobile title. We have seen a trend of companies actually putting a lot of effort into these games because the free to play model works so well. I hope this game ends up succeeding because it really is quite impressive. I played through around half of the game and it was definitely very fun.

The game’s story follows that of the manga. It’s hard to say how far along the game is right now, but I’d expect it is still early on. Typically mobile games like this want to go very slowly, especially since in this case the manga actually ended so there is a tangible goal in sight. Most mobile games want to survive for 5-10 years so expect them to drip feed content soon. That being said, it’s important to launch with a lot of content and this game did exactly that. You’ve probably got 15-20 hours of content here already and that’s a very conservative estimate. That’s also only counting the story and there are countless other things to do here. I didn’t even make it to the more exciting parts of the story and I was hooked. The presentation and interface in the game are quite seamless. Grand Cross has a lot of energy throughout and it really brings out the best of the adventures.

Mobile games can almost be a bit overwhelming with how much content there is to absorb. First of all you’ve got the online battles you can jump into. Then there are the limited time events. You will also want to replay old levels to farm equipments and materials to level your characters up. There is no need to ever run out of things to do in this game with all that you’ve got going on. That’s why the key here is if the gameplay is fun and fortunately I can confirm that it is. The gameplay is your typical turn based mobile style. You get a few cards in your hand during every turn and you play them to trigger different attack animations.

The game’s pretty easy at the start and it’s built in a way where your level will rise with the opponent’s so you should rarely be in trouble. That being said, you can have fun experimenting with attacks. It’s easy to learn the controls, but significantly more difficult to master them. Using proper strategy will help you a lot in the competitive aspects of the game. The gameplay is very flashy with a lot of really cool animations. Fortunately you can skip them though. As nice as they are to look at you won’t want to see the same thing 1000 times. You can also turn on auto battle so the A.I. takes care of things for you. I understand why some people are hesitant to use such a feature since it’s like you’re not playing but it helps with grinding. The A.I. isn’t that good either so for the more difficult levels you’ll need to beat them yourself anyway. It’s just a nice quality of life feature.

As mentioned the graphics are stunning. We get a lot of solid cutscenes with actual fight scenes in them. It’s a similar cell shaded style to something like Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm and then you get a lot of great screen grabs from the show. The soundtrack is a lot more limited with the same tune showing up over and over but it’s a great theme so I can see why it was selected. For a mobile game you want a catchy track so it was selected quite well.

So far this review’s been super positive so you can tell that I’m a pretty big fan of it. If I had less games on the backlog I’d probably stick around with this one long term. It’s definitely one of the best mobile games I’ve played. The only boring part in comparison is maintaining the inn and wandering around town on side quests. Making a beer and the food dishes is easy but you don’t really feel engaged. I suppose it adds to the realism but I’m always ready to jump right back into the combat. Fortunately these tasks don’t last long so as long as the game doesn’t go down that route in the future I don’t expect that it will be a problem.

Overall, Grand Cross really does a great job of taking the Seven Deadly Sins into video game format. It takes the best aspects of the series while dropping the weakest elements. If you’re looking for a fun mobile game to play then this is one I would recommend. It’s free so it’s not like you have to worry about spending money. You can spend money to get items and such, but the game is quite generous so you never feel like you need to do so. You’ll be able to clear the game just fine without doing anything like that. I look forward to seeing mobile games continue to improve. At this rate they will really feel like AAA console games before long. This one for example could easily be ported to PS4 or the Switch and pass itself off as a home console game from the start.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. Disgaea always looked like a blast and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Most RPGs tend to languish for a while though as I focus on the shorter games, but it was time to finally just jump in and this game was worth the wait. The game definitely takes a lot of strategy and grinding levels to get through but it always feels like you are making good progress here.

The game follows the demon prince Laharl. His dad died when choking on a pretzel and Laharl nearly got assasinated in his sleep, but the assassin messed up and didn’t give him enough poison. Laharl is now determined to prove that he is the Overlord as the rightful son of the former king, but he will have to earn this respect by beating up all of the other demons. An angel named Flonne is sent to assassinate him but she can’t go through with it because it doesn’t seem like a holy thing to do. She is determined to prove that even demons can experience love and other emotions so she tags along with Laharl.

There’s a lot of plot in the game, but needless to say it involves a lot of big battles with the humans of Earth, the Angels of Celestia, and even other Demons. Along the way Laharl, Flonne, and Etna gradually become more like actual friends and we meet other party members as well. Can Laharl ensure Flonne’s safety through all of this or will he see this emotion as weakness and ultimately leave her on her own? He’ll have to face his many insecurities along the way in this journey.

The story’s definitely solid here. The game has a lot of fun with the various accents that the characters have. The Dark Adonis (Or Mid-Boss as the characters call him) definitely has the best voice. He’s a very quirky character but one that works quite well. A lot of his scenes are pretty fun. I like how he laughs with such confidence and you can always count on him showing up in various chapters. He’s also one of the most deadly bosses as losing to him will cause you to go all the way back to level 1 and have to replay the whole game. Just reset the console at this point, resetting the game is not worth it if you ask me. There isn’t really any benefit to going through multiple cycles.

The Defender of Earth, Gordon is also pretty fun. He has that very over the top hero voice that most shows use as a parody nowadays. He may not be very smart but his heart is in the right place. Some of his decisions towards the end of the game are questionable though and do hurt his character. Jennifer was fun, she’s definitely the real brains behind his team. She certainly likes to mess with Laharl a lot though. The only weak part of their trio and one of the weakest characters in the game is Thursday. He’s not nearly as entertaining although he has one or two good lines. He just takes way too long to get to the punchlines.

There are a solid array of villains here. I really don’t get the Seraph’s plan though. I can’t talk about the ending much so as not to give spoilers here, but the test wasn’t very good. It’s all a bit convoluted on his end and you can’t really justify any of it. The game has multiple endings so things will change a bit based on how you play the game. I got the standard ending which is definitely pretty emotional. I wasn’t expecting such a sad ending considering that there are a few sequels. So far they don’t seem to tie into this one very much though. It was a good emotional ending.

One side character that is a lot of fun is Kurtis. He doesn’t get a huge role but whenever he appears you know that something hype is about to go down. In general the game really turned up during this part of the game although all of the chapters were pretty fun. From the main 3 characters Flonne is the weakest one although she’s still reasonable. She’s definitely a bit on the naive side and can be quite pushy but she’s a nice friend to have. While I didn’t have a proper mage she was still reasonable for healing a bit at times.

Etna was another main character and she’s a blast. She narrates the next episode previews for most of them and likes trolling everyone. She’s completely unhinged so you never know if she will help out or stab you in the back. I suppose that makes sense for a demon though and Laharl always seems proud of her for that reason. She’s pretty entertaining and a good example of how to properly make a crazy character. Finally we have Laharl. He’s a bit whiny and self conscious because nobody ever pays him any respect but I liked him overall. He’s definitely quite powerful even if there are some enemies who are clearly above him in power. He may be the Overlord but that doesn’t make him the strongest. He gets a lot of development as the game goes on and we also get glimpses into his tragic past.

The gameplay is quite smooth. The levels can take a little while because of the nature of the game though. You command up to 10 characters at a time and levels can have up to 15 enemies. That’s 25 character turns you have to watch each time with unskippable animations for their attacks. It’s not as long as it sounds but that’s part of why you will be playing the game for around 30-40 hours. The game is quite long and there’s a huge post game to consider as well. This game can really last you just about forever if you stick around.

The level cap is 1000 which gives you a good indication of what to expect. One thing to note here is that equipment is more important than levels. Your top priority is absolutely getting the best gear you can. If you get stuck for a while on the final boss as I did then I recommend capturing some enemies and selling their equipment. It’s a great way to earn cash. There’s a lot of features I haven’t even touched on here like the Dark Assembly where you bribe senators. There’s a ton of things to do in this game but there are a lot of tutorials to help you out. It’s easily the most complex game I’ve played in a while and the best part about that is you really have a ton of freedom to play it however you like.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The animations are really good and some of the attacks get quite out there. It’s like you’re watching DBZ at times. Then the soundtrack is pretty catchy too. You’ll know the themes quite well by the end of the game but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. This is really a very well balanced game. There are no weak links to be had and it’s part of why I jumped right into the sequel. I’ll have a review for that one up as soon as I complete it.

Overall, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was really a great start to the franchise. It’s a pretty long RPG so you really have time to get used to all of the characters and master your Xcom skills. This kind of strategic gameplay is really satisfying to get through. You do need to really enjoy the gameplay to really get the most out of this game because replaying levels is effectively mandatory here. There’s no way you can beat the game without getting some good level ups and equipment. I probably spent almost half of my play time replaying levels and the final boss was still a real challenge. How difficult the game is will depend on how you build your team though. The best part of Disgaea is that you can play it hundreds of different ways with some loadouts being better than others. My mistake was not having a mage on my side which I made sure not to repeat in the sequel.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Starlink: Battle For Atlas Review


Now it’s time to look at a game that I technically got a long time ago but didn’t get to play until recently. Part of the reason for the delay is because my Switch didn’t have enough space so I had to buy an SD card in order to correct that. I got the SD card for my Birthday so now it was time to check it out. I still can’t believe Best Buy was selling this game for only 5 bucks. Considering that it brings a whole figure as well that’s pretty crazy. I didn’t get to use the Arwing controller since the Joy Cons are busted but it was still cool to look at.

Star Links starts you off with a mission as the team is fighting off some aliens. The commander gets captured by the mighty Grax and so now the team must try to rescue him and save the universe in the process. Are they really up to the task without their leader? The crew isn’t exactly the well oiled machine you’d expect from most other sci-fi teams but if they can put their differences behind them then they will be unstoppable. Also they’ve got the legendary Star Fox team behind them. I can’t imagine playing this game without Fox to be honest, he’s just too awesome of a lead and talks tough the whole game. When someone asks him the whole “are you sure Fox?” He responds “I’m always sure” which is a really excellent response to that question.

The gameplay is that of a 3D shooter where you take to the sky in some levels and stay on the ground in others. I haven’t seen many games utilize both features like this since Star Fox Assault. This is also a good place to note that Star Links is the Star Fox game I’ve been wanting. It’s much better than Star Fox Zero and the controls/gameplay are better. Aside from Assault it blows the other Star Fox games out of the water. Back to the gameplay. You can equip two weapons at a time. The Arwing normal lasers are very good so I highly recommend keeping one of them active at all times and using the ice cannon on the other side of the ship. The ice blast locks in on an opponent which is handy and t seems like almost every enemy has fire type opponents so the ice blast is super effective. The fire blast is a straight shot and rarely ends up doing much. Definitely use it if you’re on an ice planet but otherwise the ice gun is the way to go.

Those are the only 4 guns you get in the game since the rest you have to unlock via the Eshop. I’ve never seen paid dlc in a space shooter game like this before although I’ve seen it done with characters like in Star Wars Battlefront II. The same goes for any extra ships beyond the main two and fighters. I wonder if all of these dlc items ever even came out. I imagine this would certainly make the game a lot easier since you get to respawn every time you have another ship available. More guns would have been cool for variety though. I did like the initial ones but having more options is never a bad thing especially as the game encourages you to use a stasis weapon for many levels even when they don’t give you one.

I think what really makes the gameplay work so well is how in control you feel the whole time. You can move very quickly throughout the land and in the air. You can use evasive maneuvers with the boosting option and you’ve even got a cool shovel to block attacks with although it runs out of energy really quickly. The game uses a proper open world system so you always have the option to quickly beat a hasty retreat away from the fight to recover your energy. Your energy recovers pretty quick so if you stay out of the action for a few seconds you will be okay.

There are also a lot of upgrades to be found here. You can upgrade your pilot to learn some skills or you can upgrade your ship and weapons. As you progress through the game you will notice yourself getting stronger so the game’s progression is pretty good. As a result the game should be pretty challenging for most of the campaign. The final planet in particular was very challenging and even more so than the climax of bosses. (Since when respawning during the final boss he wouldn’t regain health from previous phases) Defeating the tower took a whole even with my ally boost skill. You really have to mix in some good tactics and evasive maneuvers. The game always felt fair though, this is a title that I didn’t mind having to restart some fights.

One mild complaint I would have with the game is the planet ally gimmick. As you land on planets you have to try and defeat the various villain bases so you can 100% control the planet with your allies. Building bases and defense areas will help you keep control. What I don’t like is if you leave a planet for a whole you lose control so it can be a bit endless. I’d say that once you beat a planet you shouldn’t have to keep going back to save it. Fortunately the game doesn’t make this mandatory in the slightest so it’s not something that will really hurt the experience. This is how such gimmicks should always be. If they’re not mandatory then I really don’t have a problem with them.

The main campaign should take you around 10-15 hours. After that you have a lot of options on what to do next. You can go around liberating planets, filling up your database, or completing the side quest missions. Either way completing everything will probably take you closer to 20-25 hours by the time all is said and done. Replay value is not a problem for this game. The graphics are pretty top notch and hold their own with any game at least where gameplay is concerned. I have to admit that the cutscenes do see a noticeable drop in quality compared to the gameplay which is a little odd since it’s usually reversed. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty small but the tunes are good. There are a lot of high energy themes to be found here which work well with the gameplay.

Overall, Starlink is a very good game and also a challenging one. You won’t be running through these levels unless you have some kind of a plan. It’s one of the best sci-fi shooters that I’ve played. There’s just so much to do in this game and the graphics hold up. The story isn’t the most original out there so it probably won’t leave much of an impact on you, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It goes through the motions and at the very least you have team Star Fox here to carry things. Without them it would probably be a bit of a tougher road for sure. If you’re going to get Starlink then I highly advise getting it for the Switch. You may not be able to find it for 5 bucks anymore, but I’m sure the price will still be quite reasonable.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Game Review


It’s time to look at a recent HD collection which brought two Disney games from a while back. I’m sure you know these two games or at least heard of them when they first came out. They were not very accessible until this remake came out though so you had to hope that you had one of the older consoles. Otherwise you would need to settle for online videos of the game. Aladdin was a lot of fun back in the day so it was nostalgic to play it again. I can definitely see how I got stuck in the fire level because that one is still pretty insane. This is a quality collection to check out.

First let’s talk about the Aladdin game since that’s the one I have nostalgia for. It follows the movie’s plot naturally and the gameplay is that of a 2D platformer. You run and jump across obstacles as you slay enemies and reach the finish line. The gameplay is pretty smooth so you don’t have to worry about glitches. If anything the difficult part is that you move very fast so a lot of the time you may run into enemies. It can also be hard to defeat them without taking damage so as the level goes on you may end up dying a lot.

It’s a pretty short game so you should have it beat in around an hour or so. The toughest level is definitely still the fire cave. In that level you ride the carpet and have to move up and down to avoid obstacles. The tough part here is aside from how fast the obstacles show up after the warning, towards the end there are one or two obstacles that don’t have a warning. It doesn’t really feel like you have much of a chance outside of luck to beat the level on your first shot. Eventually you can memorize where the obstacles will be though but without the handy save feature that we have in this collection it would still be incredibly difficult to clear this level. Ultimately you could do it with practice and determination, but it would not be a cake walk.

Then you’ve got the Lion King which is also pretty difficult. In this game the platforming is what will take some time to get used to. There is a lot of climbing and jumping across enemies involved which has to be done quite precisely or you are out of luck. The second level took me the longest to beat because I just kept dying before I would make it past all of the jumps. The other really tough level is the maze near the end of the game where there are a bunch of tunnels and you have to pick the right one. Each time you choose the wrong one the enemies all re-spawn and you have to take them all down win order to win.

The final boss is definitely a lot of fun as Mufasa really gets a lot of props. You’ve got a thunderstorm in the background for dramatic effect and the background is even on fire. Mufasa also puts up a really good fight. I was landing blows on him for a long time before I realized that there had to be some kind of trick to this. After button mashing for a bit I found out you could flip Mufasa so the trick is to jump him over the cliff. If you do that then you end the fight and claim ultimate victory.

Both of the games are pretty short when it comes to length. Each one is about an hour or two so you should have the collection done in about 4 hours I’d say. It’ll depend on if you use the new features or not. The game added a new save feature that you can use after each level which is definitely handy. Alternatively you now have a rewind feature which you can use whenever you die. With this feature there is no challenge too difficult to overcome since you can just keep redoing your actions until you pick the right one. It’s a nice quality of life upgrade and I’m always game for this feature to be around.

In terms of replay value there isn’t much inside of the actual games but the collection does give you other methods for playing them. You can play different versions of the game like the console port, game boy port, arcade edition, etc. both games have several versions to choose from which is pretty cool. It may not be extra levels but it should make the experience a little different so you have more reason to replay the game. You can also aim to get all of the PS4 trophies in the game as well.

The graphics for both of the games are pretty solid. It’s nostalgic to see the old sprites and the artwork does a good job of resembling the actual backgrounds of the movies, there was certainly a lot of effort put into this part. The cutscenes also used illustrations to get the story across. As for the soundtrack, both games went for music that would be fitting in the setting. Neither ost is super memorable or anything like that, but they work well during gameplay.

Overall, This is a fun double pack for all to enjoy. It’s a pretty difficult pair of games to try and complete if you don’t use the new features in game. I at least recommend the save feature between levels even if you don’t want to use the rewind button. The difficulty also helps to extend the overall game length since it is unlikely you will be able to beat the levels on your first shot. Perhaps if you go really slowly but I always like just charging into the fray and taking names. Now that they’ve been remade it’s time for a AAA sequel to one of these. I’d vote for Aladdin since there’s a lot you can do with a 3D adventure through Agrabah.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bubsy: Paws on Fire Review


Long have I waited to check out this new Bubsy game. The first one was a little too short which ultimately limited how good it could be. I couldn’t help but feel that the game left a lot on the table. While the sequel is longer, it mostly thrives on artificial length which is regrettable. It has enough faults to where I can’t call it very good but it’s still a solid play through in the end. I’ve been a Bubsy fan for ages so it was disappointing to see this game not quite meet expectations, but I guess they can’t all be winners.

The game starts with an incredible opening cutscene where the kids tell Bubsy that his help is needed once more. Aliens show up to mock Bubsy but he ignores them and gets ready to save the world. Even if nobody is ultimately grateful to him for doing so that doesn’t stop Bubsy from doing the right thing. It’s part of why he is such a good hero, he just doesn’t get slowed down by what’s going on. It’s why Bubsy is a hero you can really rely on. The rest of the game unfortunately has no plot until literally the final cutscene where we get an epilogue. I was hoping for cutscenes between each world but I suppose that was too much to hope for.

So, as I mentioned the opening cutscene is amazing. A few times the game disconnected my controller so I was forced to hear the beginning quite a bit. I think what really makes it so good is the timing of the music and the characters running in. I just haven’t seen that level of expertise in quite time so it was most impressive. In general the graphics are quite good and the soundtrack works well. The technical elements of the game really hold up quite well. It’s just too bad that the gameplay can’t match it so lets talk about that.

This is a 2D endless runner. Personally I always felt that endless runners are best in 3D because you can really see where you’re going. Think Subway Surfers or something like that. When it’s in 2D you run the risk of “cheap” deaths where obstacles come in a little too quickly or without warning. It was always my issue with 2D Sonic games. This one keeps the deaths to a minimum, but there are still times where you have to shake your head. There will be 2 paths and one leads to an eventual death but you don’t know this until you take the path. That’s an impossible obstacle then unless you already knew which obstacle to take so I have to give those levels a thumbs down. The level designs really weren’t the best here.

The actual gameplay is smooth at least. There are 3 playable characters and they’ve all got different styles of gameplay. Beyond running and jumping you might be able to glide, double jump, ground pound, or fire off blasters while flying instead of running at all. You’ll master all of the gameplay before long. There are 3 worlds in the game and each world has 9 stages + 1 boss level. That should be easy to complete in an hour or two right? Well, one reason why you can’t do that is because of artificial length. The game forces you to get a bunch of medals in order to unlock the next levels. Completing a level gets you one medal. You can complete a level 3 times (once per character) and if you got all the pieces of a collectible you can beat it a fourth time with another character. You will need to get 75 medals to unlock the final boss. Let’s do the math here for a sec, if you beat all of the levels once you will only have 27 medals. This means that you have to replay most of the levels 2 times. Replaying old levels isn’t really my idea of a good time.

I’ll do it of course, but I don’t like being forced to do it. It should totally be 100% your choice and the fact that it isn’t is what I don’t like. It’s really just a way to pad the game’s length without actually creating new levels. I was surprised when I saw that this was the case and not in a good way. This basically confirmed that the game wouldn’t be getting the solid 7 that almost every platformer is able to achieve. The game just feels really lazy in doing this and going through the levels can feel more tedious than fun. I’m down with playing each level once but not doing them all 3 times.

Overall, Bubsy: Paws on Fire should have been an amazing game. It was going to continue the revival of Bubsy just the way everyone wanted it. Unfortunately this just wasn’t in the cards. Bubsy ended up squandering his chance to be truly great and it ended up costing us all. This is still a good game and I would recommend it but you need to like endless runners. There is virtually no story here and there is no replay value to be had after beating all of the levels. At best you can try to get new high scores and buy some T shirts but there’s nothing noteworthy here. You just gotta go through these levels over and over again until you have the medals. If we get a third Bubsy game I hope it goes back to the series roots.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle Review


It’s time to look at a fighting game that I didn’t really know even existed until I tried it. The Touhou Kobuto series seems fun enough. I enjoyed the Bullet Hell game they came out with as well. The characters all like to have a good time so the plot isn’t really life or death. It’s more like the characters all enjoy a good fight so they use any excuse to beat each other up. A fighting game makes perfect sense for the universe.

So the game starts out with one of the Shrine Goddesses realizing that fewer people are coming to pray for her. She finds out that this is because of a rumor that she is going around attacking people with another vicious god. The heroine decides to go find out how these rumors started and her best bet is to find the other goddess who is supposed to be her partner. Along the way she will have to beat up a bunch of other characters who are doing their best to be as unhelpful as possible.

The plot isn’t fairly large but it’s still fun. You’ll quickly get a handle on the various personalities at play here and each character has an Arcade Mode. Interestingly the game doesn’t let you pick which character you want to play as. You have to beat the story modes in a specific order. You get an achievement every time you beat the game. The arcade mode is only around 6 battles long so you’ll be acing them before you know it. The average battle may last 2-3 minutes although it depends on how aggressively you fight the opponents of course. If you want to beat the game with all of the characters then it should last 2-3 hours I’d say.

That makes for a fairly short game, but you don’t really expect a long campaign in a fighting game. This is more about playing with friends and such. A good fighting game only needs to rely on gameplay and that’s what this one is going for. All of the characters have pretty diverse movesets and you’ll quickly have to find out who your favorite one is. This game is a 3D fighter so you can run around the arena and even fly for a limited time. You have 3 main attacks. These are your standard, power, and scatter shot moves. You can also beat people up in hand to hand combat if you get close and then try to use the standard move. This makes for a lot of different attack options which is good since it definitely opens up the gameplay quite a bit. I certainly tried a lot of different combinations myself although by the end I found that standard is always the best. You can also aim it up by holding either L1 or L2. This does massive damage.

The gameplay is definitely rock solid. It’s not going to win any awards for beating titles like Tenkaichi 3 or Ultimate Ninja Storm but it’s a level of gameplay that can hold its own no matter what the competition is. The graphics also look pretty solid. The illustrations are good and there is a good amount of detail in the character designs and stages. You really can’t go wrong here. The soundtrack is not quite as impressive though. You probably won’t remember any of the themes by the time you complete the game because they’re all basically the same. I would have liked to have seen some rock themes or something here.

In terms of replay value, the game does have some content although I wouldn’t say a ton of it. Once you beat the game with everyone you can try score attack or some other modes. At the end of the day the vs mode is what’ll need to keep you. Technically that would equate to almost limitless replay value so long as there are opponents to fight. The gameplay will have to be the main incentive because there aren’t really any big unlockables here. You can choose to buy more characters on the EShop though which is always a tempting offer for big fans.

I hope they eventually make the giant head at the end of the game playable. That’s the kind of joke character that would bring some extra life into the game. You gotta admit that the character has a ton of potential and she is what made the story so much fun. Whenever she starts spinning around and shooting the giant energy blast you know things were going to get real. I don’t think the game should charge for too many characters though. Titles like FighterZ and Super Smash can get away with it because we all want the new characters, but Touhou Kobuto? I don’t think the series is quite big enough where everyone would be paying top dollar to grab em all.

Overall, Touhou Kobuto is a fun game. I do think it would have benefited from a little more story content or a larger character roster though. The roster is surprisingly small for a current gen game. If the title had gone for either option it would have been able to add an extra star to its score. Nonetheless it is still a very fun game. It’s the kind of title you could whip out at parties for a little fun and to shock everyone who likely don’t even know that it exists. The game is best in short doses though as it just doesn’t have the same lasting appeal as other fighting games.

Overall 7/10