7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy Deluxe Edition Review


It’s been a while but I finally managed to get a hold of the spinoff which concludes the Professor Layton series. Someday I hope we still get another Layton game though since I don’t want the franchise to end. It’s pretty interesting to be playing as a different character for once. The developers did a good job of making sure that this one also feels very different next to the main games with new mechanics and such. Ultimately the changes aren’t enough to help this game match up to the earlier ones but I did end up liking Katrielle well enough. She isn’t afraid to talk back to the other characters more than the polite Professor Layton would.

This game has more of an episodic plot compared to the main Layton games which had a core story. Still, there is an overarching plot in the background. Katrielle is the head of the Layton Detective Agency although not too many people know about her yet. She has a dedicated assistant named Ernest who is always ready to attend to her every whim. One day she bumps into a dog that she nicknames Sherl. Sherl isn’t pleased about this since he doesn’t think it’s a name for a guy, but Katrielle can’t be bothered with this. She also isn’t particularly impressed with the fact that he can talk. She’ll solve his case at some point but she’s more interested in helping the community with their issues as well as trying to find Layton who vanished many years ago. As Layton’s daughter, Katrielle has dedicated her life to finding him. She’ll have to put that on hold though as she solves various crimes fro theft to murder. Will Katrielle ultimately build an even bigger reputation than Professor Layton?

As with the rest of the series the main gameplay revolves around puzzles. As you go through the campaign the characters will often have various puzzles to challenge you with. There is a lot of variety with the missions as some will be solving a maze, math problems, logic questions, etc. It’s always a pretty fun way to test your mettle. There are well over 100 puzzles but to clear the game you only need to clear around 67. That leaves a lot of room for replay value after you complete the game. You are bale to warp between the various cases and the game even tells you exactly how many puzzles and hint coins are left in each section. I appreciate how thorough the game is in its reporting.

There is one thing that holds this game back compared to the other Layton titles aside from the story though. That’s the puzzles themselves. The movements in the puzzles ask you to be way too specific at times. That’s my main issue, the very first puzzle took me a while to complete as it is. I think they needed to allow for a bit more movements here. I think it may have been something about the transition from 3DS to Switch I imagine. The puzzles occasionally have an issue like that but for the most part the rest are all solid so I would hardly call this a big issue or anything like that.

Katrielle’s mission to find her father is probably the most engaging part of the story so the whole time you’ll be waiting for that to come back. It ties into the ending pretty well with a rather massive twist. It definitely makes you double think everything that has happened previously. If you’ve played River City Girls then you’ll understand the effect. She’s definitely a solid lead even if it feels like she may be taking advantage of Ernest quite a bit. They’re really close friends but she certainly must realize that Ernest doesn’t quite see it that way. I imagine that plot will likely move a bit if we ever get a sequel.

As for the talking dog Sherl, I’m not totally sure how that’ll work out. My personal theory is still that he is Layton because that would be pretty cool. His personality will certainly have changed quite a bit but memory loss will do that to you. Meanwhile Ernest is a solid side character. He’s a little older than Luke so you can take him a little more seriously but puzzles definitely isn’t quite his thing. He’s more helpful to Katrielle in daily tasks and such than with his puzzle skills. Another supporting character is Inspector Hastings who is pretty solid. You do feel like he should have more confidence in Katrielle after a while though since she’s always saving his career and reputation. Without her he would be quite doomed.

The various cases are pretty fun. In general the rest of the supporting cast is a bit on the weak side but since the core characters are good that’s the important thing for the cast. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely really good. I was glad to see the full anime cutscenes make a return here. Level 5 has been very consistent with including those. It always helps to give the game a bit more of a cinematic feel to it and I’m always going to give this kind of thing a thumbs up. The soundtrack has some new tunes and some returning ones. The music is pretty fitting with the game’s setting and keeps things rather peaceful.

The main campaign should take you around 15 hours or so and I think you could probably add another 6-7 in order to complete everything in the game. There’s definitely a lot of content here. Even outside the puzzles and main story experience you have a ton of different minigames. I didn’t really try them out but there are many options. I think there are more in this game than in any of the others which is pretty impressive. Every bit adds up after all.

Overall, This Mystery Journey makes for a pretty solid adventure. The title is a bit surprising since it gives you information on a plot point that you don’t otherwise learn about (or even hinted at) until the final chapter. I suppose it’s always good to have some foreshadowing though. At the end of the day this is a pretty pleasant story with solid characters and good gameplay. I’m not usually much of a fan of puzzles in games but I’ve found that games built around the premise tend to be better. You can’t even compare something like the Layton adventures to Flip’s Twisted World. Now all we need is a Katrielle and Professor Layton crossover and we’ll be set. If you haven’t gotten this game yet then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Q-YO Blaster Review


It’s time to look at a game I got for a pretty solid price on the Nintendo Eshop. After buying the latest Super Smash season I had some gold coins to spare and considering this game usually goes for 10 it was a steal. This is your classic bullet hell kind of game. It’s definitely nothing fancy and the game is fairly short, but it makes for a fun ride. I’ll give the game some extra props for actually having a real story mode with an ongoing plot. Even if the story is a little hard to follow.

From what I gather, there is a group of space fighters who have been dealing with a powerful enemy across many planets. They’ve finally tracked him down but he has a few more tricks up his sleeve. Right from the jump I can confirm that not all of the characters make it through this adventure so don’t grow too attached to them. Some of them just weren’t ready for this kind of rumble and it shows. The cutscenes can also get a bit violent which you may not expect from such a seemingly upbeat game. Don’t let the cartoons fool you, the game has some Bendy kind of themes beneath the surface.

Part of what made this game standout to me was the colorful art style. It reminded me a bit of Cuphead and I haven’t even played that game yet. You just get that nice fantasy feel only this time you’re in outer space. The villains range from cartoon type creations to giant abomination type monsters. You really never know what you are going to expect from each level and the constant guessing is what will keep you intrigued. This game is really about being as surreal and out of the box as possible which works out pretty well. It helps the game stand out which is important since the Eshop has almost limitless games at its disposal.

For the gameplay you start out by picking your fighter and weapon of choice. Afterwards you’re thrown into the levels and the idea is to blast away at the enemies in front of you. Grab as many orbs as possible because they let you fire off your super laser more often. Additionally you also have a pulse that turns all enemy bullets into coins so you should definitely save that for when you really need it. It takes a while to reload this so if you use it early on, chances are that you won’t get it again until the next level. You want to pace yourself here although the levels are pretty short. I recommend saving all techniques and power ups for the boss at the end of the level because that’s when it will be most efficient.

After each level you are able to pick a power up to use. By the end of the game you will have them all so it’s really just a matter of which one you want to go after first. The order doesn’t make much of a difference but I do like this approach. It’s always really handy to be able to see your character improve as the game goes on. The length of the game is pretty short though. You should have it completed in around 30 minutes. For replay value you can play the game on hard, but I don’t think that will be a very tempting offer for most. Part of the issue here is that the enemies don’t really get more difficult in terms of attack patterns, mainly they just get a lot more health. It’s hard to beat just about anyone and makes the levels drag on more. I only did around 1 level of hard mode before calling it a day here.

The graphics are pretty nice. As I mentioned earlier, the art style is solid which is important. My only real complaint is that the font color they used was a poor choice. It’s a light blue that seems to camouflage with the various backgrounds throughout the game. That’s just not a very good stylistic choice. You have to strain your eyes to keep up with the text which just feels like a basic mistake. I’ve never had a game mess up with the wording colors before and am surprised it wasn’t caught during play testing. It’s not a huge deal but it is quite noticeable.

Overall, Q-Yo Blaster is a fun bullet hell game. Considering that it’s only a dollar on the Nintendo Switch Eshop right now I’d say that’s a bargain. It’s not particularly long and you may not play it for long but I’ve always said that you can’t go wrong for a dollar. It’ll last you longer than a cheeseburger from McDonalds or any other kind of food that you can buy for that price. You just can’t go wrong here and I think that’s the important thing in all of this. I’d recommend checking it out and testing your reaction times. You’ll need to be fast to dodge all of the attacks.

Overall 6/10

Games, 5 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

Need For Speed ProStreet Review


It’s time to look at a recent Need for Speed title I completed. Unfortunately this may end up being the weakest title in the series. It’s hard to get into this one and there’s not even much of a story. I don’t know about you but I always need a compelling story to really throw the Need For Speed games into the next level. Not having one just doesn’t feel right because the whole time you’re waiting for something to happen and it just doesn’t. Additionally there are some other gimmicks that didn’t work well but more on that later.

The general premise is that you want to become the number one racer in town. To do that you will have to win a lot of races and tournaments. After clearing a bunch of tournaments you get to a showdown level where you get to beat a boss. Then rinse and repeat until you beat all of the showdowns which will earn you a match against one of the legendary Kings. Beat him and the game is over but after that you can take down the rest of the kings in the post game to become the grand king. At that point you are the best there ever was so what else would you really want to do?

There’s a lot of content here so I’ll certainly grant the game that. The campaign itself is incredibly long due to the sheer volume of races and tournaments here. I don’t see you completing the game in under 10 hours and it’ll probably take more like 15. Aside from that it’ll take a lot of time and money to unlock all of the cars or to break enough records to take on all of the kings. Earning money takes a lot of time in this game and that’s unfortunate because you need money to get the better cars. Your starter just won’t cut it. I’m cool with upgrading, but this game tries to go a little too realistic with that. There are some cars where even if you max them out they will never be fast enough to win the race. You also have to compete in “Wheelie” competitions near the end of the game and none of my cars could pull it off. Had to get a brand new one which was a colossal waste of money since it was just good for that and the drag races.

Ultimately I made it to the King at the end and took him down in the first 4 races, but the 5th one stumped me. I really only beat the first race because he ended up crashing so I crawled to the end. His car was simply worlds ahead of mine so no matter how well I raced through the level there was no way I was going to win. I needed a completely different car if I wanted to deal any damage and going all the way back didn’t seem like a great option. So that’s where my journey ended. I really don’t think the idea of having to get new cars all the time is a good one. I like just having one good car that you can upgrade. Make the courses tougher but don’t mess with the cars.

Maybe this wouldn’t have felt quite so bad if the game had a real story. This just didn’t really even feel like a Need For Speed. There is no free roam in the game which is absolutely crazy. That’s basically the core of the NFS franchise. Gone are the underground races and trying to zip away with your car intact. It’s admirable that the game was going for something new but if you ask me it just didn’t work. The core gameplay is still good of course so I’m happy about that but that’s really all I can say about this game. There are several different kinds of racing modes, but the classic Circuit is the best one. I suppose my second favorite would be Speed since the whole idea behind that mode is going full throttle from the start in 1 long lap. One mistake will mean the end for you here so you can’t afford to slip up.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re pretty standard as far as the series goes. I wouldn’t really say that it’s improved much at all since the last one. As long as I can see the track I’m good though. The soundtrack’s pretty limited, I can’t recall any good tunes. One element that further holds the game back is the announcer. He talks constantly as you’re going through the menus so you feel like you have to hurry and make your selections. His lines aren’t witty, they’re just annoying and super loud. Additionally the game throws in a lot more fanservice than these games typically have. You’re also forced to experience this before every single race. You know how some of these levels are so difficult you have to retry them over and over again? Well, get ready for these unskippable intros before the race because they really eat up a lot of time by the time they’re all over.

Overall, Need For Speed ProStreet really fell pretty hard compared to most of the Need for Speed games. This one barely even feels like it’s a part of the same series as the others. It only shares the name with the rest of the games but otherwise may as well be a completely different title. The gameplay is good, but that’s not really enough to save the game. If I at least got my free roaming mode I’d be okay but without that this game just couldn’t work. If you’re going to get into the Need For Speed series then I recommend starting out with just about any other game compared to this one. ProStreet just does a disservice to the series.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors 6 Review


It’s time to look at the next instalment in the Dynasty Warriors series. It’s definitely been pretty fun playing through all of the installments lately. From Dynasty Warriors 2 to now the series has definitely changed quite a bit. This one does feel a bit more modern than the last few even if the gap isn’t particularly wide. The story is more or less the same as the last ones so you’re really in this for the hype gameplay. Does it deliver?

When you boot the game up you’ll have a lot of different modes to choose from but I usually like to dive straight into Musou. This is effectively the game’s story mode after all so you definitely can’t go wrong there. The story consists of 6 levels where you have to defeat scores of enemies in order to proceed. It’s also a rather difficult mode and I highly recommend going into Free Mode and leveling up a bit if you want to really be ready for action here. Otherwise you can definitely expect to take quite a few losses in the meantime. The enemies have no mercy so if they catch you that’s it.

Often times you also have to account for the fact that you’re not the only guy on the squad. It doesn’t matter if you beat 700 enemies if your captain’s about to go down. One key thing to remember is that if he goes down you go down. There is really no I in team here because at the end of the day it’s all about the camp. If your camp is captured before the enemy one then that’s going to be game over. Some levels have different win conditions so I highly recommend checking into them as soon as you start each level. Knowing what you have to do in order to win and what you should do to make sure you don’t lose are absolutely critical.

The gameplay is the same as always so you should be able to pick it up pretty quickly. It’s a 3D Beat Em Up where you have to take down all of the enemies in your way until you get to the enemy stronghold. You have your standard attacks as well as power moves and super attacks. I recommend keeping your super attack as a combo breaker of sorts. The enemies deal a ton of damage so if they start to hit you I’d say to very quickly use your super. It’ll also give you an opportunity to run.

One thing about the game is that it’s very easy to drop you guard. You just took down 300 enemies in a row so why should this one be any different right? Well, the trickiest thing about the enemies is that all it takes is one solid combo to take you down for the count. Especially a boss. Part of why I lost in one level was because I underestimated the fact that the boss could take 75% of my HP with a single combo. It’s also pretty demoralizing to lose in this game because of how long the levels are. You instinctively know that you just lost a ton or progress.

It’s why I recommend playing the levels as intended. It’s real tempting to bypass everyone and run straight to the stronghold. In most levels it doesn’t even stop you from doing that. The problem is that it takes several minutes to run all that way and then you have around 10 or more bosses running at you at once. If you mess up your combo or leave an opening even for a second then you’ll be going down. You can’t really afford to do something like this until you’re at a very high level.

That’s where Free Mode comes in. Additionally this game has a more robust level system than most of the other games. You can actually learn new skills as you level up and upgrade your stats through a skill tree. I definitely was not expecting anything quite like that here so it was a pretty welcome surprise. I can’t say enough how much I like level ups. Having trouble on a level? Just go back and beat some more enemies. The gameplay is fun as I mentioned so it’s not like this is a problem. Additionally I like when you can see the fruits of your labor and the level ups make a good difference here. It’s like night and day. I actually took down 1200 enemies in one of the levels after grinding up my level so that felt pretty good.

In terms of graphics the game holds up well. The more realistic setting does stifle the game in terms of how out there the graphics can get but we get some nice action scenes. The intro cinematic was a little shorter than usual though or it felt that way. The soundtrack is pretty nice. I always like the opening main menu riff that tends to play. It’s always a rock theme in this series which starts you off right.

The length of the game is pretty reasonable as well. The 6 level campaign should last you a few hours I’d say and then you can multiply that by all of the characters who have a campaign. Additionally you can try to complete the campaign on more difficult settings as you go through the game. Then you’ve got the whole level up system and a ton of bonus content so there’s no end to it here. This game will last you for as long as you want to enjoy it.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors 6 doesn’t hold back on any of its punches. It throws you right into the action and it’s all handled pretty well. You really feel like you’re on some kind of grand adventure the whole time. I would like them to take more liberties with the story at some point but as long as the gameplay is this good I don’t see Dynast Warriors ever faltering. The fundamentals are just too good and there’s a lot of content for the price you pay. It’s a steal!

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Sephirothic Stories Review


It’s time to look at a recent RPG for the PS4. These guys made the Asdivine Games and it really shows in some areas. The music and menus are grabbed straight from those titles. The original Asdivine was a masterpiece. The sequel may not have been as good but it was still a solid RPG. That’s where this game lies as well. It’s a pretty solid game but what holds it back is really the length as opposed to the characters holding the other one back. You’ll have this game completed in under 5 hours which is pretty unheard for an RPG. I have a theory on this but more on that in a bit. Either way if you like RPGs you should enjoy this one as it’s very smooth.

The game begins by explaining the story which is a bit out there so bear with me. Sephiroth is a giant tree that powers 3 planets. It drops fruits which then snatch up some vessels which allow them to become human. They will eventually be poisoned by the murk that appears on the planet. At that point they have to either find a new vessel or get erased. Sephiroth himself has to keep being replaced as the old one dies. It’s basically a cycle of death and rebirth that happens all the time. So the game follows a fruit named Harold and his best friend the lizard monster Izzy who try to find some apples for Harold’s sister. She is quite ill and won’t last very long. The village’s heroes are sent out to find the cure for her but only one of them returns. It would seem that they were ambushed by monsters.

Harold is afraid of monsters but he agrees to help them out. He was born with the ability to sense monsters which should help in avoiding them. That’s the idea at least. After obtaining the cure, the Grandma informs them that things aren’t right with the world. Harold needs to find the lost hero quick and also see why the planet is falling into ruin. Monsters are even gaining intelligence which shouldn’t be possible. Harold will get to the bottom of this one way or the other but is it already too late for the planet? Things get pretty cosmic towards the end.

One thing you may be wondering from the start is, was using the name “Sephiroth” a coincidence? I personally doubt it since there are too many similarities to the Materia and the whole lifestream of the planet stuff from the original game. Still, it’s a good way to get people interested. The idea of Sephiroth becoming a tree is pretty interesting but there’s more to it than that. Despite the short length there are a ton of plot twists so I won’t talk about the story much. Needless to say, there is quite a lot to tackle here and nothing is quite as it appears to be.

The gameplay is a turn based combat system although it uses speed as a factor so it’s more like Mega Man X Command Mission than Pokemon. You can attack when it’s your turn but the villains can use abilities to slow that down. You then have your normal attacks or skills to use. Interestingly general magic and physical skills are both merged into the same icon for this game. You’ve also got Fusion which is a combined attack you can use later on in the game. It deals a ton of damage so save it for bosses since it can pretty much 1 hit KO just about all of them. Don’t even think about wasting it on a minion.

The graphics are pretty nice. I miss the sprite style but the 3D models look good. At most it can just be a bit clunky as characters start to walk around aimlessly during cutscenes or open their mouths for a bit before talking happens. Seems to me like some opening hiccups with the style but I’m sure they’ll have it down before long. The soundtrack is excellent though. It’s very nostalgic hearing the classic Asdivine Heart themes in there as those never get old. They’re all so fast that it really builds up your excitement for the whole thing. Then we’ve also got the quality menus that those games had. Just about everything is customizable which is fantastic.

One thing against the game though is it looks like it wasn’t tested/balanced very well. You’re simply given too many options in the game which makes it a piece of cake. For example, you start the game with a ton of premium coins so you’re able to buy one weapon of your choice. I bought the Sephiroth Sword which made Harold the ultimate glass cannon. He could take down any non boss throughout the whole game in one hit. Even bosses didn’t last much longer than that. You won’t have enough premium coins to buy anything else for the rest of the game but you don’t need too anyway. Then there are plants which you raise to enhance all of your stats and weapons you can keep on merging. Really, what this boils down to is that it makes it very easy for you to blast through the game. Part of why it was so short is you could take down bosses in a matter of seconds. I love the speed but I think they probably could have given you less options.

It does make you feel in total control though which is always good. As for the characters, they’re not bad. Harold isn’t my favorite lead since he’s so scared of things though. I prefer my main characters to be a bit more confident and just blast aside anyone foolish enough to stand in their way. Harold’s a lot more timid than that despite everyone saying how awesome he is. Clarice is the main heroine and she’s decent. Not quite as strong as most but she talks tough. She always makes sure Harold doesn’t get the wrong idea about things. Izzy’s a pal though. He’s always here to encourage Harold and make sure that he stays on the right track. The main cast may not be the most interesting but none of them are bad which is always important.

Overall, Sephirothic Stories is a fun RPG. I would have liked for it to have been a little longer though. As it is, it almost feels like you’re playing a preview to the real game. As a result the pacing is tight though as you jump from one event to the next. It also could have been more difficult but I’ll never fault a game for being too easy. After all, there are many ways to make a game more difficult for yourself. One of those ways would naturally be to just turn the game’s difficulty setting over to Hard. That’s a pretty simple way or going about things right? I’d be game for a sequel to this or maybe some kind of crossover at some point. One thing’s for sure, the developers have really mastered the menus at this point. All RPGs should have some of the quality of life bonuses this one has like turning battle effects off and speeding up the turns. Auto battle would be amazing for helping with grinding in other games. Since your characters can only use the standard attack when in auto mode it also ensures that you don’t use it as a crutch. If you’re always wondered about going into the RPG genre but was unsure about them because of the length, this is a good one to start out with so see how you enjoy it all.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The World Ends With You Review


It’s time to look at a game that I’ve had on the backburner for a very long time. The Worlds Ends With You has been patiently waiting its turn for many years. Well, it was time to finally get on with it. The game was a lot of fun back in the day but I decided to replay the whole game despite going through the first loop back in the day. The reason for this is that it has been so long. I want to make sure I really know what’s going on and with an RPG like this it’s usually best to make sure you have the complete context for everything that’s going on. The game definitely does not disappoint and is as fun now as it was back in the day.

The title starts with a kid named Neku waking up in Shibuya with no memories. He doesn’t know what’s going on but a girl named Shiki shows up and makes a pact with him. Basically what’s going on here is that the characters are trapped in a 7 day death game. The way the game works is that the villains send a message every day to the characters’ phones. Someone has to complete the mission before the time limit runs out. If you survive for 7 days you win and get to leave the game. The problem is that Neku doesn’t like people. He finds them to be too loud and annoying the whole time. Neku’s a loner who is also pretty smart so it feels like he has to wait for everyone to catch up. You can’t win this game without a partner though as that’s the only way to use pins with different elemental attacks to fight off the creatures known as Noise. Neku will have to learn to be friends with Shiki or this could get pretty ugly for him.

Right away you’ll see that the gameplay here is pretty unique. It relies heavily on the stylus so get ready for that. You’ve got two screens here. On the top you’ve got your partner and you control her by using the main buttons like A, B, Y, and X. If you follow your partner’s logic attacks on the top you can get energy towards a super attack which does a lot of damage of course. On the bottom screen you have Neku and he attacks by using the pins. Each pin has a different control setup which ranges from tapping the screen to swiping or doing something else like that. The main thing to keep in mind is to read the instructions each time. You’ve also got a hub world where you can buy items or food at shops.

In this game level ups aren’t nearly as important as your stats so keep that in mind. One thing that I didn’t do was eat a lot of food and that’s a mistake. It’s the best way to get stronger. The only way to eat is to challenge more than one enemy at a time. The more stack battles you do at once (Tapping on more than one villain icon in the hub world) the more bites you take out of your food. You don’t eat much per day so try to hit the limit every time. Do that and the final bosses will be considerably easier than if you had decided to forego this. The final boss in particular is a huge step up from the rest. Make sure you equip the final pin that gets tossed at you or you’re in for a pretty rough time.

The World Ends With You is definitely a pretty high end DS game. For starters you have a very unique soundtrack that has quite a few vocal themes. Now the one catch is that there aren’t a lot of themes so you’ll be hearing the same ones over and over again. The positive here is that they’re all pretty solid so it works out pretty well. The game also has very solid graphics with full cutscenes that play comic style as the game goes on. There’s one particular one involving a gun that maybe gets spammed a little too much but it’s a solid scene. Expect a lot of twists and turns as the game goes on. There’s certainly some nice room for a sequel here.

One thing that helps this game out as well are the solid characters. It’s almost inevitable that an RPG would have a solid cast by the end but it’s still important to note in all of these. Neku is the lead and he’s very solid. He has a big character arc since initially he doesn’t get along with anybody and by the end of the game he’s mellowed out quite a bit. He’s still not cheesy or anything though as he still has some pretty harsh thoughts about everyone and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Then you’ve got Shiki who’s a solid heroine. She’s definitely quite lively and makes for a good foil to Neku’s character. She’s always trying her best to see the bright side of things.

Beet is another one of the main heroes but he goes through some rough patches. While he gets a lot of development I can’t really side with him after what he did at the end of Act 1. He tries to walk it back later but it was a little too late for him. Meanwhile Joshua was actually my favorite character in the game. Like Neku he always had a comeback ready and he was really handling the villains pretty well. He gets the most memorable scenes in the game. Whenever he appears you knew something fun was going to happen.

For the villains you’ve got quite a few here. My favorite one was the Grim Heaper. He had a lot of good math puns and a solid design. he wasn’t afraid to get things done his way which is always important. You’ve also go the elusive conductor although he mainly just gets mentioned a lot. You’ve got two villains who are like a serious version of Team Rocket. While they try to be nice and relatable near the end you can’t forget the fact that they’re mass murderers either way. One thing you don’t want to lose sight of is the fact that this is a murder game. Keep that in mind when all of the twists are happening. No matter how you slice it that means all of these guys are knowingly complicit in these actions.

Overall, The World Ends With You is a pretty great RPG. It’s got a solid set of characters and really nice technicals on its side. There’s a good amount of replay value since you can warp to any of the previous days to do any missions you skipped. It’s a game that gives you a lot of options for what you want to do next and the length is pretty good as well. With news of the anime coming up the series is definitely staying relevant. As long as you like a good story then this is a game I recommend to any gamer. It’ll definitely hook you on the interesting premise and solid characters.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wargroove Review


It’s time to look at a game I had never heard of prior to buying it. Still, the price was really good at Gamestop and I needed a third game for the buy 2 get 1 free sale so it made a lot of sense. It’s definitely a pretty fun game and definitely the most tactical one I’ve ever seen before. Before now I’d say that honor would have gone to Disgaea but this one has even more moving pieces. At a time you can have around 80 guys running around the board and if you forget about any of them it can spell big trouble down the line. This is also a pure tactical game so there are no level ups. That means there’s no way to train, you just have to come up with new strategies. One level in particular had me stumped for a while (6-2) to the point where I had to see what strategies people would use to conquer it. Seems like you have to move in very specific ways to beat that level. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure that out.

The game starts with a vampire appearing and murdering the king of a kingdom. His daughter finds out about this, but by then the kingdom has been overrun by the enemy and she is forced to flee with her trusted advisor. The two of them need to find some allies so they get ready to approach the other kingdoms for help. The only tricky part with this is that not all of the kingdoms get along and there are also a number of bandits who are around and ready to score some quick money. Mercia will have to keep her guard up, but she will not rest or relent until she has avenges her father and saved the Kingdom.

It’s a pretty direct plot and one that is filled with a lot of fun characters. It actually has a very Shantae type feel to me with the character designs and level layouts. At least that’s the vibe I got from it. Maybe it’s all the boats or the fact that one of our main allies is an undead veggie monster. Ragna, one of the main villains also looks a bit like Risky Boots. It’s a good ensemble cast and there are a lot of twists and turns. The vampire who murdered the King definitely gets a solid role and I would say that she is definitely the best villain. Prepare for a lot of infighting among the different groups though until they all come to an understanding.

There are 7 chapters in the game. Each chapter only has 2-3 levels but they can be quite hard in part because of how many characters and turns there are. Don’t expect to be breezing through this game. Interestingly though the game actually starts you off on hard mode by default. I highly recommend lowing it to standard unless you are very experienced in the genre. Otherwise it feels like you’re just making things more difficult on yourself for no real reason. Trust me, standard will still be a pretty big challenge for you right from the start. I like to say I’m pretty good at these strategy type games and some of these levels still had me stumped.

I didn’t really go into detail on the gameplay so here’s a brief description. The goal is to either take down the enemy commander or break their base. Sometimes your goal is also simply to escape rather than fighting at all. In each turn you can move your current units and have them attack enemies or capture bases. You obtain 100 gold coins every turn for every base you currently have occupied. The same goes for the opponent so one of the strategies here is to slowly weaken their forces while strengthening your own. Ultimately you want to press the attack and then you win. Each type of character you can summon has a different type and attack range. Some also have special abilities like healing. You want to have a few good anti air types to fend off the aerial assaults in later levels. Then you’ve also got water creatures and air fighters. All in all there are probably close to 300 different summons so budget your gold accordingly as you take them all on.

The gameplay is a lot more complex than that, but I think it gives you a good gist of what to expect. Personally I usually would focus on capturing a ton of bases and that would ultimately lead to a win. In some of the later levels though the best play is to completely ignore them and then just go for the base. On 6-2 which is the crazy level, the only way to beat it was to ultimately just skip most of the enemies and bases and just take the castle down directly. If you try to go for a skip strategy like that I highly recommend equipping a lot of dragons. I also like the golems, but they are super pricey so it takes a while to get them ready.

The graphics are pretty smooth. The art style is nice and it helps with the level designs as well. It’s all pretty clear and also helps make the gameplay more enjoyable. Believe it or not, graphics can make quite the difference there. The sound effects and ost are also solid. I think it would have been nice if we could have gotten full voice acting in this day and age though. Only a few sound bites here and there feels like something more from the GBA era than PS4. It’s also not like there were a ton of lines to go through here. Since each character did already have a voice, why not just give them a few more lines right? It’s a small thing, but I think it would have helped the experience as well.

Overall, Wargroove is definitely a pretty fun game and one that I would recommend. It takes tactics to a whole other level. The characters are good and the plot is enjoyable as well. The campaign is a decent length and there is a lot of replay value. You can work on getting all of the PS4 trophies as well as the epilogue. The game ends on a huge cliffhanger but since there is an epilogue to unlock I’m assuming that it will probably tie things over. That said, it would be really cool if we did get a sequel. I’d certainly keep a lookout for it. I need more experience with these strategy games so that would be the perfect way for me to get back into the mix. As long as you’re in the mood to really test yourself this is a brilliant game to check out!

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pac-Man Party Review


A lot of people may not remember this but at one point Pac-Man was a global icon and had the most popular game of all time. He’s been largely abandoned in the gaming world but has still obtained a solid collection of games. Pac Man Party is one of the last ones that I needed to get and I can confirm that it was worth the wait. This is a game that’s a blast and a half to play as long as you’re playing with friends. The story mode is more on the weak side. It’s a step above most party games but falls far short of Mario Party. That series will continue to be known as the best and at this point I don’t see anything passing it anytime soon.

The basic story is that someone has stolen Mr. Cookie’s prized recipe of how to make the cookies. He begs Pac Man for help on this. The hero agrees to help of course and quickly figures out that the ghosts have taken the recipe. He asks them politely to give it up but they refuse. The only way they will give it up is if Pac-Man defeats them in various rounds of the cookie game. Pac will have to play hard to win this match, but will the ghosts really end up keeping their word? It’s going to be tricky.

The story at least shows that Pac is still a guy you can count on. He’s going to a lot of trouble to get the recipe back. He has to deal with some powerful monsters as well as each of the 5 worlds has a boss creature at the end to defeat. These range from the Kraken to giant mechanical bears. One thing’s for sure, Pac-Man can’t let his guard down. The ending of the game goes in a pretty interesting way that’s sort of wholesome even if it’s not what you may have been hoping for. It’s not particularly long at around 5 hours so you shouldn’t have a problem beating the game. Pac-Man Party is also unique in that the story will end whether you win or lose. There will just be a slightly different cutscene that ends up playing in that circumstance.

How the game works is the 4 players start out on the board. They roll the dice using minigames rather than just hitting the dice. This lets you go across the board. If you land on an empty space then you automatically build a castle there. If you land on someone else’s castle then a minigame starts. If you win then you take the castle and if you lose then you have to pay the winner in cookies. The amount varies on the level of the castle. You win the overall match by earning a certain amount of cookies (Usually 12,000) and then making it back to the starting point. The maps are all circular so you keep looping around until you have the cookies. The best way to earn cookies is to have a lot of castles and then have the computers challenge you. Of course, you have to actually win the minigame or you could go from having 5 castles to 0 in a single minigame.

The A.I. is actually pretty good in some of the games. It’s interesting because in some games they are excellent and in others they are pretty terrible. Maybe the programmers had a hard time making them good without being OP in those so they just left it at them being pretty weak. Still, as the game goes on they should give you a pretty good challenge. Each player has a few super cookies at their disposal. You start out with 3 and can earn more. If you use them during a minigame they amp you up and greatly increase your chances of winning.

I highly recommend saving these for battles where you are defending a castle since those are the most lucrative battles. You will find yourself wishing you had kept a few on hand if you spend them all early on. When a computer is attacking another computer’s castle, don’t bother with the cookies. Win or lose you don’t earn any points so it doesn’t matter much. Your only consolation is you get a super cookie for coming in first so using one to get one wouldn’t make sense. The main problem with this system is that the battles can take a while. Keep in mind that the story took 5 hours and there are only 5 stages in the game. That puts each map at about an hour which is pretty crazy for a Mario Party setup. There should be a specified amount of turns or an easier way to get points. There was one world where I got enough points right after I passed the start spot so I had to wait another full lap to win. As the games goes on you get more battles per turn so it took forever to make it. I don’t think that’s particularly good game design. It reminds me of PS All Stars, it had a unique gimmick but the gimmick just wasn’t good.

There are a lot of minigames so I’ll just quickly talk about some of the highlights. You’ve got a classic jumping minigame where you have to time your jumps as a giant hammer is trying to swing away at you. This one’s all about timing and makes for a nice competitive battle. You’ve also got the classic minigame where you’re on a ball and have to try to roll everyone off the mountain. As the game goes on parts of the ground will begin collapsing as well so you definitely have to stay sharp. There’s another minigame where you’re in a soda cup and have to get to the top. As you’d expect a great deal of the minigames are food related. That does help to distinguish the games from most party titles since they don’t deal with food as much.

The graphics are pretty nice though. This is a very good looking Wii game that holds up well to today. The character designs are on point and I like the level layouts as well. The minigames have a large variety of backgrounds and themes. I feel like a good amount of budget was actually put into this game. The music’s more forgettable but I suppose that’s to be expected. There’s also a good amount of replay value to work towards as the game has its own built in challenge system. If you clear all of the challenges then you’ll feel pride and satisfaction. I got a few but wasn’t about to go in again to get the rest.

Overall, Pac-Man Party is a fun party game. At its core that’s where you’ll find the most enjoyment. This kind of game definitely doesn’t seem like it was really made with story mode as the main focus so if anything I’m just glad it has one. A lot of party games don’t have a full story so that’s pretty nice. There’s also a good variety of minigames so you’ll rarely if ever play the same one twice in a battle. A lot of them do feel pretty much ripped out of the Mario Party series but I suppose at this point almost every kind of minigame has been done. At least the execution isn’t bad considering this is on the Wii so we have some motion controls. A lot of the games use the Wii Remote sideways so it feels more traditional. I’d actually say that most of the minigames are downright fun. The only one I disliked was curling since as always that minigame feels like it takes way too long. If you want to enjoy a solid party game I’d check this one out.

Overall 6/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dynasty Warriors: Gundam Review


It’s time to look at another Dynasty Warriors game. It hasn’t been so long since I beat the last main title so now it’s time for a spinoff. I’ve owned the Gundam game for a very long time and did complete two of the Arcade modes a while back. I never actually reviewed it though so I went in and did another one for the review. It definitely still holds up as an excellent game and there’s a world of difference to me compared to the mainline Dynasty Warriors games. Even the gameplay itself just feels a lot better which I’m not sure is because of the character models or for Gundam they had a higher budget.

So there are two different story modes for the characters. One is the classic story which is based on events from the TV show. Then you have the original story which is the crossover epic. The crossover story involves a planet that is heading towards Earth. If it lands that will naturally result in the destruction of both planets so Amuro is ready to put a stop to this. Char has arrived and is asking for help. Can Amuro really trust Char to help him save the world or is this all an elaborate double cross? Either way the stakes are high and so Amuro really doesn’t have time to worry about this. At the end of the day he has a world to save.

The story is pretty basic outside of the main premise. You see all of the characters from the other series but we don’t have any big interactions with them or any of that. I haven’t seen the Gundam shows yet but you do at least get the general feel of their personalities. It’s sort of like a tribute to the fans but I would have liked some more bantering. Part of the fun with crossover games like Marvel vs Capcom is seeing these little interactions/potshots at each other. It’s hard to say who my favorite Gundam character is at the moment but I did like Heero here. He was all about attacking and attacking until the enemy goes down which is a pretty good plan if you ask me. You can’t win by playing defense so he made some really powerful points here. All the characters look pretty fun as expected though.

The gameplay as I’ve already hinted at here is a classic 3D Beat em Up. The idea is to take over portions of the map to weaken the opposing army. After a while their general will come out and the goal is to defeat him. I recommend taking over as many parts of the map as possible, but you do want to be careful not to overextend yourself. In Co-Op this becomes pretty easy because you can split up and each take over half of the map. When you’re on your own you just have to remember that a lot of your allies are fairly weak and will be destroyed pretty quick. Fortunately you don’t typically lose the mission on account of that. If someone specific has to live the game will tell you in the victory conditions page. I recommend looking at this page before every mission. It’s always good to know exactly how the fight must go to win or lose so you know who to prioritize.

At its core I think that’s why I really love beat em up games. On the surface it looks like you’re just an overpowered fighter taking down armies, but when you drill in to the specifics it’s really about learning how to strategize. Unless you lower the difficulty to easy you’re not going to have time to help everyone. In these games you’re highly encouraged to follow the plan of attack. If you deviate then you’ll probably lose a lot of allies. A lot of time you have to keep zipping around which will even mean retreating at times because the bosses take quite a bit of time to defeat. If you make the wrong choice you may end up losing. Your character is a lot more formidable than in Dynasty Warriors which helps you deal more damage to the army, but even here I did have to retreat and regroup a few times. I also appreciated the fact that the A.I. here is a lot better than in Dynasty Warriors. They actually assist you in a meaningful way which I was happy about.

As for the graphics, they are definitely high end as you would expect. The robots all look good and the explosions are definitely pretty intense as well. The level designs are also really great to look at. I particularly like how they incorporated space into this as one level in particular actually has to fighting in the vast unknown. That’s certainly not something you would see in a normal Dynasty Warriors game for sure. There are also some full cinematics that play through the game which all look very good. The various Gundam designs are all pretty unique and it’s fun to see them engaging in battle. The soundtrack is fairly large and works well. Admittedly you won’t hear it a whole lot as you’re blasting through everyone but it’s there all the same. The themes are suitably intense for the big moments and will give you the energy needed to clear these levels.

For replay value the game has quite a lot of it. Each story mode should take you a little over 2 hours. You can multiply that X2 for the characters who have both stories and then there are around 20 characters or so which makes for a lot of levels. You can also work on maxing out every character to improve their stats and gathering the items. All of this will take quite some time so you really won’t be running out of content anytime soon. There’s simply way too much to do and it’s part of what makes this game the complete package. The company clearly put quite a lot of time and effort into this one which keeps on holding it up as one of the best beat em ups.

Overall, If you like a good beat em up game then you’ll love this title. The gameplay is very smooth and there is a whole lot of content to absorb here. Each of the character attacks are different enough where you’ll see the benefit of switching things up. I can definitely say that the sequels are higher on my list although right now they seem a bit overpriced so I’ll hold off on that for a bit. Playing as a Gundam is just a lot of fun because of how many attack options they have as well as the stage backgrounds. It all feels very high tech and sci-fi which has really held up over the years.

Overall 9/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero Review


It’s certainly been a very long time since I started this game. I got in pretty deep to be honest, but unfortunately I hit a glitch and had to start over. I pushed that off for around a decade but now it was time to finally do it. This is a fun game that is held back by a few items. I would ultimately not recommend it too highly simply because there are just many better games to choose from. Still, if you really like the Elebits then this will allow you to get some closure at the very least. Otherwise the series appears to be gone for good so I don’t really think we’ll be seeing any Elebits in the near future. It’s a shame but that’s just how it goes.

The plot starts with Kai talking to us about Elebits. Essentially they power the whole planet as they are this world’s version of electricity. Without them we’d all be doomed. Kai’s a little jealous of them though because his parents research Elebits so they are rarely home. One day he gets in his dimension hopping bus and finds himself on a whole other world. The citizens there tell Kai that his Elebit is a legendary one known as Zero who will end up saving the world. Kai doesn’t believe these guys because that is a bit of a tall tale but still, he does have to get home so having a powerful Elebit will help. The bus explains that he needs energy and directions to get back home so Kai’s going to have to keep capturing Elebits until they find some maps to go home. Will Kai ever make it back to his planet?

Most of the game’s about the journey as you travel from planet to planet. We do get to squeeze in an end of the world plot near the end of the game though which was pretty impressive. One of the Elebits is going crazy and he’ll destroy everything if we don’t stop him. This part of the plot may feel like it comes out of nowhere but there was technically some foreshadowing for it I suppose so we’ll count it. I’m always glad to have a hype climax so either way I was pretty cool with this. The boss battles in the game tend to be its high point. I thought all of those were handled rather well. It can be tough to know what to do at first since the game doesn’t really even drop you any hints but you’ll figure it out. You’ve only got so many Elebits after all so eventually you’ll find the right one to use.

That’s part of the game’s weak point though. It never really lets you know what’s going on and while in a boss context that works out all right, it makes things a little tricky in the puzzle sections. A lot of the time it feels like you’re just stumbling around blindly without a clear plan of what to do. Some sections would take me ages and others I couldn’t figure out on my own. The stages don’t always make a lot of sense and they expect you to use your powers without ever being taught how. As dicey as this is, it could work if not for the fact that you run out of energy so quickly. Each Elebit consumes energy whenever they attack and if you run out that’s it. It takes forever to stock up energy again depending on where you are so then you have to go back to the bus and start the labyrinth again. It’ll be shorter since most puzzles stay completed once you leave them but others you just have to do again. Whenever I had to backtrack that part would be a bit annoying.

The core gameplay involves moving and tapping on Elebits with a stylus. You have your Elebit absorb them after tapping on the creatures. This gives you back energy which you use to open gates, use Elebit moves, or upgrade the Elebits. I’m not sure what the benefit of upgrading the Elebits was so I didn’t even bother doing that. By the time I’d have enough to max most of them out the game would be over anyway. The campaign itself is close to 9 hours which is pretty solid. There’s also a ton of replay value to keep you busy including a bunch of extra Elebits as well as upgrades. If you get this you’ll be in a better spot for the final boss although to be honest there isn’t a huge incentive to doing so. The bosses are fairly easy compared to the puzzles either way. Trust me, the puzzles are what will likely slow you down the most. It’s just hard to get around those.

The graphics are okay. I don’t think they’re low quality or anything like that but it’s going for an odd style. The artwork’s not all that great to look at. It’s sort of going for a gritty style that’s fairly realistic despite this being a fantastical game. It’s all very dreary as opposed to the bright colors you would expect from Elebits. Even the cutscenes use this style which is unfortunate. The gameplay loos a little better at least. I’ll give the soundtrack props though. The themes are pretty solid and we even get a big song at the end. I was not expecting that and it definitely made the game’s climax that much more emotional. I was not prepared for such an ending.

Overall, How much you enjoy this game will depend completely on how much you enjoy puzzles. The game is filled with them and I’d make the case that it’s the core of the gameplay. Moving and tapping the screen are really just here so that you can complete these puzzles. The boss fights are fairly rare so they don’t take up a whole lot of time. The vast majority of the gameplay is just navigating. I still found the game to be fun enough, but it would have benefited greatly from two factors. 1: You shouldn’t run out of energy. Give the player unlimited energy when working on the puzzle or something. Nobody wants to have to restart because they’re out of energy. Additionally I would reduce the amount of puzzles. Give me more platforming instead as I capture Elebits. Those two aspects would definitely make the game more fun.

Overall 6/10