3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pikmin Review


Pikmin is a game that I’ve owned for a long time and didn’t actually play through. The reason for this is despite being a big Nintendo game the gameplay never looked all that fun. I had briefly played the game in the past and it just didn’t work out for me. I tried it again now and am still not a fan. The exploration gets old pretty quickly and the mechanics are really hard to use. I’m hoping the sequels tighten things up a bit as that would help quite a bit.

The game starts with Olimar crash landing on a planet. The citizens of this planet are little creatures known as Pikmin and they have various elemental abilities. Olimar must use them to try and locate the broken parts of his rocket so he can get back home. He’s only got 30 days to do this so time is not on his side. There are 30 parts to collect and 30 days to do this which is a pretty perfect blend. If you average 1 part a day then you’re pretty well set. Olimar will have to be careful not to mess with the other aliens wandering this planet though. Those guys mean business.

One thing I will say in Pikmin’s favor is the overall story is pretty good. Every day Olimar updates the journal with his discoveries as things start to piece themselves together. We learn that the Pikmin are actually quite violent so it’s good that he’s on friendly terms with them. The game also gets pretty dark as Pikmin that are left by themselves seemingly get eaten by the monsters. Olimar also can’t breathe in oxygen which makes you wonder where he is actually from. It’s an interesting dynamic for sure.

I also do like the graphics. Those hold up very well to be sure and the levels/world design in Pikmin is very impressive. I only got to play through 2 levels because my Pikmin were not helping me in the slightest but what I saw was quite good. The controls are smooth for moving Olimar around and it makes you think that the gameplay for this could have been quite amazing from the start. If the game had played it straight without the Pikmin angle then I do think this game would have been quite great. The soundtrack is also pretty good. It’s quite peaceful without being dull because you still feel a good amount of energy in it. The soundtrack holds up quite well to this day.

Now lets go into what didn’t work for the game. I have to go right to the Pikmin. How it works is that you lead the Pikmin where you want them to go with slight commands or by running in the direction. The range is quite small so in most cases you’re better off just running over anyway. So you run somewhere and have the Pikmin pick up things or attack enemies and objects. When they find a piece of your rocket you escort them home and hope they don’t get eaten by a monster. It’s not ideal but I can work with this. The problem is that some obstacles require different Pikmin to tackle and they rarely co-operate. For example, you need yellow Pikmin to pick up bombs.

The problem is that getting Yellow Pikmin can be really difficult. Even when you lift up a yellow piece so they can come out the Pikmin will keep bringing it to the red spaceship. I couldn’t figure out how to stop them so what would happen is that I had a ton of Red Pikmin by the end of the game and almost no yellows. That was pretty rough since the Reds can’t really do anything except fight a bit. I do appreciate their tenacity and all but I wanted the Yellows. Then you’ve got the fact that if the Pikmin jumps a little too far even once they will get stuck behind the wall and that’s game over for them. You’ll have to wait til the next day if you’re out of the Yellows.

Pikmin also uses a day system which is not ideal. I haven’t liked that system in any game. Essentially the game has 30 days that pass by and when they’re all over you get to see a happy cutscene or a sad one depending on if you got the parts or not. As I only obtained 3 it was pretty sad to see him launch up and then fall down. It doesn’t actually delete all of your data though as it just re-starts the final day over and over again. I’m not really sure what you can do in one day to be honest, but maybe it still saves so you can eventually win. The problem is the unskippable cutscene you’ll have to sit through each time.

A day system like this just encourages you to rush through the game and that’s why I’ve never liked it. I prefer to play the game at my own pace and some days I may just want to run around. In Pikmin this is especially true because of how long it takes to find where you have to go and all. The game is fun at first when you’re exploring but when you actually try to progress and see that nothing is working then it gets old real fast.

Overall, Pikmin is a Nintendo game that has not aged well. The mechanics just aren’t very fun and I don’t believe that they are explained very well either. You’re left to your own devices which isn’t a bad thing if you have all the time in the world but with the days flying by that just isn’t the case. You’ll quickly be hit with the feeling that the end is near and you’ll even start jumping through days when you realize that no progress has been made. I already own Pikmin 3 so I’ll need to buy 2 at some point but I can definitely tell you that it is not very high on my list. Pikmin is probably the only Nintendo franchise I can think of that I actually dislike. I suppose even Nintendo had to have at least one series that didn’t work out for me.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve had for a very long time. Part of why I kept it in the backlog is because the game just wasn’t very interesting. I would play it a bit from time to time but the controls were confusing and since there wasn’t even really a story I didn’t see the need to keep on playing. Well, I gave this one another whirl and the game is as confusing as ever. It’s hard to ever make any headway here.

The game is based on the actual card game. Unfortunately it is hard for that to translate well to video game format. Unlike Yugioh or Duel Masters this game feels very clunky with matches that go on forever. Literally almost all of my matched went to time, which is the full 7 turns that a duel can take. Matches should not be going to the equivalent of sudden death every round. That tells me that there is something at least a little weird with the game. Since I don’t get it then the A.I. should at least be able to beat me up pretty quick.

Here’s the gameplay in the simplest way I can describe it. When you start the game you draw 5 cards. If you go first then you get to play any non combat cards you have. After that you choose to attack or pass. If you pass then you discard all but one card and draw a fresh 5. Once the opponent has done so as well then they will attack and you will pick a card to defend with. You have to try and take down all of the Life cards that the opponent has and they will do the same to you. You can win in one of 3 different ways. You can take all of their life cards away which will be a complete victory. You can also win via technical win by exhausting the opponent of all cards or maybe you can even grab the Dragon Balls and win via super victory. A final way you can win is also by raising your power level and anger level to the max setting. If you do any of these things then you will have claimed victory.

The problem is that the opponent will never let you do this. They block all of your hits and always seem to have more cards than you do. They don’t run out despite playing so many and every time you raise your anger level they reset it back to 1 using a spell card. As a result you just can’t claim the advantage and the rounds take forever. I was somehow able to beat Krillin and the second guy, but Guldo is where I met my match. After dozens of fights I still couldn’t conquer him and that’s where my DBZ card adventures concluded. It was time to throw in the towel. After all the only way to improve your deck is to keep on re-fighting the first two opponents, but I was only able to beat them once after a ton of tries. Doing so again just to hopefully get a useful card to make a comeback feels like such a long shot that it is barely worth it.

Then you’ve also got the fact that the game has no real effort put into it. There is only one piece of music in the entire game which keeps on looping over and over for every action that you take. You can only hear the same song so many times before you just have to take a break for it. How is it possible that the game wasn’t able to get more than one tune? It’s just crazy to only have 1 in the entire soundtrack if you ask me. There’s not much to say about the graphics either since there barely are any. You’ve just got the one illustration for each character as the squares match up with each other over and over again. The cards don’t look all that flashy either.

This game feels like a total cash-in and that’s not too surprising considering how long the loading times are. Each match takes forever in part because you can’t go through the turns quickly enough. You can spam the A button to at least get rid of the drawing phase and it speeds up the attacks but it also skips card effects so then the catch is that you’ll lose further track of what’s going on. It’s a pretty unfortunate situation all around. The length of the game is quite long as a result although it feels artificial. In theory you can probably get a good 20 hours out of this one and maybe more depending on how often you lose. There won’t be any real replay value, but at this point you wouldn’t need any since the campaign is so long.

Overall, Dragon Ball Z Collectible Card Game is the weakest of the DBZ games. It’s hard to picture any game losing to this one although since the DS also had a title based on the Card Game it is possible. What the title really needs is a better explanation of the rules and to speed up the gameplay a bit. I know the computer was able to use his avatar card at some points when the tutorial never even referenced how to do so. I tried using mine a bunch but every time I tried the game said that it wasn’t the right situation to do so. That’s not entirely helpful to be honest but it may not have mattered much. My deck simply wasn’t strong enough to beat my opponent’s so no matter how many times I would draw some cards it just wasn’t going to make up the difference. The only way you should get this game is if you are a really big fan of the official card game.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Beyblade Evolution Review


This may possibly be the weakest Beyblade title and the series hasn’t exactly been firing on all cylinders before. I thought that the series was on an upwards trend after playing the last game, but this one brings the series down once more. It takes away all of the strengths of Metal Masters and goes back into a control scheme that is even more obnoxious than blowing into the DS like the first title. Sorry guys but this is one game that you should stay far, far away from.

Beyblade Evolution doesn’t really have a story which doesn’t help matters. Effectively you are playing as a new kid who doesn’t know the first thing about the game, but wants to compete in the World Championship. He’s clearly not a main character who thinks things through all that well, but I suppose you have to admire his enthusiasm at the very least. You go around fighting people and playing minigames until the tournament starts. Win or lose you are sent back to level 1 to replay the entire game again…….

The game uses a day system which is one of my least favorite gameplay styles. Several games I’ve played have used this including Armored Core, Megaman Zero, Pikmin, and Yugioh GX Duel Academy. It’s never once worked out as a positive. I get that it is a bit more realistic this way, but it forces you to hurry through the game and you can’t enjoy it as much. While I’m not the biggest fan of Majora’s Mask, at least it doesn’t trap you in the days the way that the others do. Beyblade Evolution has 50 days. Each action you take aside from accessing the main menu counts as a day. You want to go to the shop to buy some parts? That’ll take up a whole day. Wanna play a minigame to earn money? Another day gone. There are only 50 days in the game so you’ll very quickly find yourself at the very end.

This title seems to be built on the assumption that you’ll want to play through the game multiple times because there isn’t enough time to do everything otherwise. There is little reward for beating opponents either since you don’t get any money or parts. It’ll help you unlock more people to fight, but why would you want to do that? The most efficient way to play through the game seems to be doing the minigames. Some of them are quite easy so you can S rank them on hard and get about 3800 points. With these points you can buy superior parts and build yourself a pretty great Beyblade. Keep on doing this until day 47. Use the next two days to clean out both shops. (Why are there 2 shops? To make sure you waste 2 days buying parts instead of one.) You’ll have to hope that RNG is on your side though as the shops cycle through inventory quite frequently so if you pick the wrong day to go in they will only have weak points and you’ll have to waste another day to go in and get what you want.

There isn’t an easy way to see what parts you do have though. Your best bet is to go into the sell window and look at your parts that way which is a lot of extra clicks. There isn’t even an inventory option to see how many total parts you have out of the full collection. There’s a lot of quality of life updates that just aren’t present in this game. When you think you have a good Beyblade, head to the tournament and hope that the force is on your side. Be careful…skill doesn’t play much of a role here.

I was surprised to see that you cannot move your Beyblade. Basically you launch the Beyblade by flipping your 3DS backwards (which is really bad for the screen so I’d recommend holding the screen in place but it will mess up your launch) and then you watch it fight the opponent. I couldn’t move it in the slightest with the stylus, D Pad, or by moving the 3DS. You just have to watch it roll around. The only support you can give it is by shooting energy into the Beyblade by aiming with the motion controls. After that you can watch grimly as the A.I. jumps off the track and you lose by default. In the big tournaments you need 4 points to win the match. Winning through survival is one point so you have to win 4 times while if the opponent knocks you out of the ring they get 3 points in an instant. It’s really not very balanced if you ask me.

There’s no fun to be had with the gameplay. I want to be able to move my Beyblade and feel like I’m actually doing something. Otherwise I may as well be watching two A.I.s going at it because that’s really what’s happening. Half the time sending energy to your Beyblade doesn’t even help much since they just spin out of control. I didn’t think the gameplay could get worse than the first DS one I played, but it definitely happened. I’ll even take the microphone gimmick over the motion controls. I already didn’t like motion controls in the Wii, I can guarantee you that they are even worse on the 3DS. The 3DS wasn’t made for motion, I don’t see why a game was developed with that as the intent.

Ah well, the graphics aren’t bad I suppose. The character designs are nice enough and we get some decent backdrops. There aren’t a lot of areas to see though as it’s the same locations over and over with the same re-used character models. All of the tournament cutscenes start out the same way. The amount of recycled footage is pretty staggering to say the least. As for the soundtrack, it’s fairly generic. There isn’t a lot of variety to be found here.

In terms of replay value the game is pretty light. You’ll be ready to leave as soon as the 1-2 hour playthrough to day 50 is over. After that you can keep on playing to either get a better ending or get all of the parts. Those are the only things left to do anyway and for the latter you’ll never know if you have anything because the game never gives you a place to check how many parts are in the game. With the shop constantly changing inventory it’s also hard to keep track of how many are left. It’s a bit of a tough predicament.

Overall, Beyblade Evolution is a game that I’d advise against purchasing. It’s just not very good. It’s barely even a game and more like you are just watching a demonstration among the computers who are fighting to see who is the best. That’s not very entertaining if you ask me. I now own all of the main Beyblade games from the modern era and I can see why they haven’t made any in a while. The series doesn’t seem to understand how to make the series fun which is surprising because it should be pretty clear. Look at the Gamecube Beyblade game as an example of how to do one of these titles. Now that was a masterpiece!

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

ESPN Sports Connection Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent Wii U game I got to play. I haven’t had a chance to play a true cash-in title in quite a while so it was nostalgic to an extent. That being said, the game was pretty underwhelming and falls for most of the traps that the Wii U games tend to sink in. The Gamepad and Wii Remote are both mandatory which is an issue since the Wii U should be able to play the game with its own controls. It’s like asking you to have a Gamepad while playing a Nintendo Switch game.

There are 6 games here and they range from okay to downright bad. It’s really something that Wii Sports has aged a lot better with the controls and pure gameplay. ESPN is just not on the same level and that’s really a bad sign. None of the games feel like they had any real care in them and they were simply slapped together for a quick profit. There is barely even a main menu as the only options are to click into the games or look at your in-game achievements. Those are your only options so the game is incredibly quick as you have probably already begun to suspect. Well, lets look at the games.

First up is Football which should have been great, but unfortunately the game messed this up by making it all motions controls. Throwing the ball is actually very difficult because the game won’t read your commands and by the time you are able to toss the ball it is usually too late so your guy will drop the ball. A lot of the game also boils down to luck as you pick 1 of 4 directions and hope that the other player picked a different one. If you pick the same one then the defender ends up stopping the attacker. It just doesn’t feel like Football, especially since you can’t run the ball at all even after catching it. All you can do is throw the ball which doesn’t even work well. Thumbs down on the first sport.

Then we have Tennis which has controls that are worse than the Balls of Fury game for the Wii. It’s made to be like Wii Sports as you swing your arm around and try to connect but the sensors aren’t perfect for this one either. You’ll have a very tough time hitting the ball and an even tougher time trying to get it to go where you want it to. The points all last way too long and so do the matches. It may be fair to say that this is the worst version of tennis that I have played in a game.

Not to be outdone, the Golf game here isn’t any better. In fairness to this minigame, it’s no worse than most Golf titles. It’s just that Golf isn’t for me and this is not the game to change that. You will have a hard time hitting the ball just right because you’ll end up swinging too hard to compensate for the sensor not reading your light hit. That means you can expect to get a Bogey instead of a Birdie.

Then you have Karting which is the best game almost by default. It’s not great or even that good, but at least it feels like a real game. You can actually accelerate accurately and the stages had a little effort put into them. By now it’s a pretty small bar, but I’ll take what I can get. This was probably the best game out of the 6 and it shows that racing games are still the foundation upon which everything tries to get built. It’s just easy to at least give you the impression of being in control here.

Next is Baseball and this one has the same issues as the Football game. It doesn’t feel much like Baseball because so much of the game is completely out of your control. There’s just no fun to be had here which is a real problem. Pitching feels pretty OP while batting isn’t satisfying. This leads to a poor balance for sure. Finally we have Soccer. Admittedly this one isn’t too bad. It’s up there with the Kart game for at least being entertaining. The controls are simple and you can actually score. It feels like soccer which is the important thing. So, all in all the game got 2/6 of the games right. I can’t really give it a ton of praise for that, but I’ll at least give it some credit.

Not enough to recommend the game though. When you see the name ESPN slapped onto something you expect a certain level of quality. This game did not fulfill that at all. It just went through the motions and ultimately gave you a title that you can’t really be all that proud of. The graphics are okay, but nothing special. They’re going for an art style like Backyard Football, but with less of a budget. It’s all colorful, but not very impressive. The soundtrack and presentation are basically nonexistent here so that isn’t doing the game any favors here either.

There is some replay value through the achievements that the game gives out. Each sport has 40 achievements and there are 28 social ones. Completing all of these achievements will be very difficult unless you have another player to cheese them with. I got a reasonable amount of achievements, but since they don’t unlock anything there really isn’t much point to them either. There isn’t even a mode to play all of the sports at once. It’s like playing Mario Party but without the party mode and knocking the dozens of minigames down to 6. Even if these minigames were amazing (which they aren’t) it would be tough to hold my attention for very long with such a limited selection.

Overall, ESPN Sports Connection is not a good game. It’s probably the most disappointing game since Star Fox Zero. There just should have been so much more to this title but it could not deliver on anything. Even the karting, while okay ends up making Mario Kart Tour look good. You could just buy a game that specializes in one of these 6 sports instead of buying the mini version. It can be done well like Wii Sports, but for the most part I tend to see a pattern of these kind of games being low quality. The game is only 2-3 dollars so it’s not a big loss if you buy it, but I would recommend going for something else instead. This one just won’t last you very long at all.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Review


It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a low budget party game but it was time to finally do so again with this title. 30 Great Games is actually a series that also had an installment on the Wii. That one was not particularly good and the same can be said for this one. There are some decent mini games thrown in of course, but they’re surrounded by poor game design and odd decisions on how they are structured. You won’t be sticking with this game for very long.

As the title suggests there are 30 different mini games to choose from here. Some of them are pretty solid while others leave much to be desired. If you just look at the games you would probably expect this game to actually be pretty decent. They aren’t as overly long as in other party games and there are actually good ideas here that I would like to see Mario Party incorporate. If the game could have just put a little more effort into the other parts then it could have been good.

Where the game messes up is in every other area. For starters the only modes in the game are the free play mode and the main campaign option where you unlock all of the mini games. Free play is self explanatory and works well. The main campaign has issues though. There are 6 worlds and each one has 5 levels. That would have been straightforward enough but then you have to get through the 5 Gamepad levels as well and there aren’t many of those so prepare to face the same mini games over and over again. This is definitely a case of quick padding to extend the game despite the lack of content. Think about it, for every world to have 10 levels we would need 50, but since there are only 30 that means you need to keep on replaying quite a lot. Throwing away the Gamepad levels or simply including them once would have been much better. It would have been a proper campaign even if it was rather short.

As for the controls, they aren’t particularly good. Part of the point of the Wii U was to finally get rid of the motion controls so we could go back to proper gaming. Unfortunately this game didn’t get the memo. Wii Remotes are actually mandatory and you very rarely get to use the Gamepad. The game can’t even decide on what control scheme it really wants so you are forced to keep on changing depending on the minigame that has been queued up next. This means that you have to have the Wii Remote and Gamepad on the entire time which is a huge waste of battery power.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are anything to write home about either. It looks pretty standard and I’ve seen some N64 games with more heart. Forget about a soundtrack as well. There are unlockables here and it is a party game so I suppose we do have replay value. It’s not done in a very organic way though. You can’t even play the final 2 worlds unless you beat the first 3 multiple times. I don’t really get the purpose of this except to annoy the players. Why lock the final levels behind this extra grind? It just isn’t right.

I guess we should talk about some of the minigames though. One of the ones that I did enjoy is where you have to walk around a log that is constantly shaking. While you attempt to do so the other 3 players will try to hit you with cannonballs. You can block with your shield, but you can’t move while you are blocking with is definitely a tough tradeoff. You have to go slowly but surely as you wrestle your way through the stage and it is not easy. Then you’ve got a level where you try to run over 3 players who are hiding in the dark. The 1 vs 3 games were just the most fun even if they didn’t always feel very balanced. The 3 have the edge in most of them.

There’s a free for all minigame where you have to jump over hurdles and sprint to the end. This one’s pretty fun and doesn’t really have any gimmicks. It’s just about going fast. Then there are various reaction games where you have to press the combo on screen before anyone else does. You do this for a few rounds and then the points will determine who won the battle. These are all solid and I can’t say that there were any minigames that were bad. The worst ones are really just hurt because of the motion controls. For example there was a jumping one where I couldn’t get the remote to let me jump sideways. Likewise there was another one about moving sideways and my guy wouldn’t budge. Take that away and those games would be a lot of fun.

Overall, This is not a party game that I would recommend. I would consider it to be one of the worst ones. At least the Wii party games have a good excuse since they were forced onto the console and needed to use the motion controls. This one just chose to do so for some reason and that was not the best decision. I’ll always stand by the fact that motion controls will always be worse than the standard ones and so I’m glad that they’ve been phased out. If you want a good party game to play through then I’d suggest picking something a lot more mainstream like Mario Party. You want a game like that which will last a while as well as give you a good journey along the way.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Flight of The Falcon Review


It’s rare that I play a game that falls under a 5. For the most part there are usually fun things to enjoy in a game so I won’t be giving it a downright negative score. That being said, Flight of The Falcon is definitely one of those. It’s limited by a lot of things including poor level designs and the lack of a continue feature. Mix em all together and you’ve easily got the worst Star Wars games and it ranks as one of the worst titles that I’ve played. I don’t know what this game was thinking.

The game very vaguely follows the plot of the original trilogy. The levels have you flying around in the Falcon as you blast away at enemies or try to make it to the end goal in the time allotted. There are 14 levels but good luck seeing all of them. They are divided into 3 chapters. Once you’ve lost all your lives and continues you’re taken to a game over screen and start back from level 1. You can put in a password so that you can continue but it only takes you to the beginning of a chapter. So for example, if you lose on level 6 then your only options are to start over at level 1 or skip to level 7 which starts chapter 2. There is no way to return to where you started.

Even for password save games this is a bit much. I can’t think of any other game which is so restrictive with the continue feature. If you ask me there wasn’t a whole lot of quality control done on this game. It seems like they really slapped it together. Aside from this, the level designs aren’t any fun either. They all drag on for too long and there are glitches everywhere. The only real way to beat level 2 is to fly straight through the buildings. If you zoom straight ahead and start to turn then it’s like the building won’t exist anymore. You can just go through it and save some seconds. On the other hand, sometimes the building will appear and you’ll end up dying. One hit to the terrain is instant death of course.

You can expect to die a lot of times here. This game is super difficult, but not in a legit way. Throw in some good levels and it would be a pretty reasonable game. The objectives aren’t even clearly defined as you can easily get stuck in a level because you aren’t sure what to do. Some levels have you taking down enemies while others have you rushing towards the goal. Apparently you can determine this by looking at a small indicator near the bottom of the screen. Good luck looking for that one!

The graphics aren’t anything to write home about either. The sprites are very blurry and the camera literally can’t keep up when there are too many objects on the field. As a result you’ll die to invisible things in some of the later levels. A meteorite didn’t properly load so you bump into it and then it appears. Whenever you die like that it definitely does not feel legit. The soundtrack is also pretty bland. There’s nothing to it and I’m sure you’ll forget it within minutes of completing the level. It’s a shame, but the game had no soul to it.

Naturally that also means there isn’t a whole lot of replay value. If you can ace the levels you can beat this game in under 2 hours. Otherwise, you can also be here forever if you don’t conquer all of the levels. I beat the first 5 and then beat levels 7-8, but I’m not about to start from scratch every time I get a game over. I called it a day here, but call me back when the game gets an HD remake with a save feature that works. The password system just hasn’t aged well and this game takes it as low as possible.

I tried to think about any positive aspects of the game, but I’m running on empty here. I suppose the loading screens are pretty quick. You don’t have to worry about getting bored there because the levels do come up fast. Maybe that’s because the game doesn’t have to bother loading much since the game isn’t saving anything anyway, if so that’s a silver lining I suppose. Most of the cutscenes start out with 10-20 seconds of nothing happening though so I think the budget for the animations was probably pretty slim. There’s nothing exciting about seeing a ship move in slow motion for ages until the cutscene ends.

Overall, Flight of the Falcon is a game I’d recommend avoiding. Unfortunately it snaps Star Wars’ streak of solid games all around. I suppose when you get enough games you’re bound to run into a bad one at some point. The concept isn’t bad and at least it’s a unique style, but the execution was just really weak. I can’t say that I’ll be missing this game and hopefully the next GBA title in the series is a lot better. I can’t see how it would be worse to be honest so it should be uphill from here on out.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Family Game Night 3 Review


It’s time to look at an old party game I have for the PS3. Oddly enough, even though I played the games back in the day I never bothered to actually upload it to the site or anything. Well, it was a good excuse to go back and replay the game for the review, but unfortunately it isn’t as good as I remembered it and I already knew that it was a bad game. I dare say that this could be the worst party game of them all and that’s saying something. At the very least it gives the bottom tier ones some competition.

There are 5 minigames total. That’s already a pretty sad number when you consider that this is a PS3 game. I mean, you could have a little excuse for this if it was for an older system, but for the PS3 I expect more. There is nothing else to do in this game so if you’re looking for some good replay value look elsewhere. I mean, I suppose you could go after the Platinum trophy, but you’ll have to sink in a decent amount of hours for that and with how many luck based trophies there are it could be a while. I think you can cheese most of them through two player mode if it helps. You will also be gathering some Potato Head costumes along the way which I guess should be interesting.

Lets look at the actual games though as a party title lives or dies on those. We’ll start with 2 of the good ones. The first is Twister. It’s pretty self explanatory except they misspelled Dance Dance Revolution. After all this Twister game is nothing like Twister. You hit the right buttons as they pass the screen. It’s the exact gameplay of a DDR game, but without having to actually dance and hit the buttons yourself. It’s an easier way of doing it, but less engaging. Still, on its own I actually like this minigame. There was a reasonable amount of effort put behind it and the core gameplay is just fun. Not to mention that there is less waiting on this one since I believe each player tries to match the notes simultaneously.

The next minigame is Yahtzee. This one must be easy to develop or something since it seems to be the old standby for pretty much all of the party games on the block. Well, that’s not a bad thing I suppose since the gameplay isn’t half bad. The problem is that they add a Hands Down! mechanic where you have to get a certain combo and then fight someone with the same one. I don’t get the point of this and it just takes away some of the fun. It drags the games out more than they should be since it forces everyone to keep going until 2 people have the exact card combination. Of course dragging things out is exactly what this game likes to do as you’ll see in the next 3 games.

Next up we have got Mouse Trap which is basically a movie. You roll the dice and move through the board that has no ending. The goal is to pick up a lot of cheese which you get by landing on a cheese spot. Thing is, you can’t control anything except for dodging some traps by pressing x at the right time. Beyond that, you just follow the dice and keep on rolling until you get your cheese. This can take over 15 minutes, likely longer if you play multiplayer. The problem is that the cheese traps take your cheese away and the odds of getting a lucky roll to land on the cheese 6 times is quite low. At least, it’s low if you want to finish at a reasonable time. I think my problem with this is that you aren’t really doing anything so is it really a game at that point? It’s 100% luck and that’s not cool. There is absolutely no point to the game and it takes too long to finish. Making it more interactive would have helped a lot.

Life falls into the same traps. This one has you on a long, straight board without any real mixups or elements to make it interesting. You want to retire and whoever does so first wins. So, to do that you spin the dice and watch where the road takes you. You do get some slight options like choosing 3 cards out of 9 but they are all random so you can’t see what it is anyway and then you pick your favorite card which will give you some effects. You won’t know which effect you’ll be getting though since you have to wait until you roll the dice for that. Everything is just so random and nothing is explained properly. It’s another really boring auto game where nothing is happening.

Finally we have Clue. This one is a slight improvement over the last 2 but not by much. At least you are trying to solve a case and you can choose in what direction you move. On the other hand, a lot of time is wasted for the many special effects that happen every turn. Whenever someone turns on the lights we get a cutscene and either a suspect is eliminated or one of the players will lose a turn. Either way it takes up time and if someone rolls a house party effect then everyone is reset back to their original positions. This is the longest cutscene by far as it’s almost a full minute and the computer activated it multiple times during our encounter. The minigame is pretty faithful to the board game, but it’s nowhere near as fun.

Family Game Night just didn’t realize how to make the board games fun in video game format and that is the big problem here. The game could and should have been a lot of fun, but instead it is just too drawn out. There are also loading times between every game that take up a lot of time. It’s the same cutscene for each loading time as well which doesn’t help matters. Each game also gets an unskippable intro that isn’t as amusing as it seems to think it is. The game is definitely not optimized.

As far as the graphics go, it’s certainly not PS3 level. I doubt that a lot of serious effort was put into this game. It was probably slapped together very quickly and rushed out to stores for the $$$. Hopefully it didn’t work as I can’t imagine buying it for full price and then realizing how terrible it was. At least Game Night 4 heavily improved upon this game but there is still no excuse for starting out this badly. At least give us a good soundtrack!

Overall, This game is brutal. I’m not going to mince words here, the game is terrible! There’s no heart behind the game and the actual game selection is bizarre. You shouldn’t have 3/5 of the games be all about rolling the dice and hoping that you get the right number. It probably saves on production costs since the games are so similar, but it’s not great from a player perspective. There won’t be any point where you are actually enjoying this game enough to justify buying it. I highly recommend avoiding it and if you want a decent party game check out the Mario Party series. That one gets in a proper balance of skill and luck while also making sure that no minigame overstays its welcome. That’s how you make a party game.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pac-Man Pinball Advance Review


I rarely give negative reviews to video games because I tend to enjoy them all, but this is certainly one of those exceptions. Pac-Man Pinball forgets the essence of what makes a Pinball game good. You want to try and beat your high scores and watch yourself improve. Even the legendary Pac-Man game wouldn’t be quite as good if you couldn’t save your scores. Add in the fact that this game seems to have a pretty small budget and little quality testing…and you certainly do not have a winner on your side. Pac-Man couldn’t save the game and if he couldn’t…who could!?

There are only two stages to choose from in this game. Each stage has a night and a day form. You then go around collecting pellets, but even when you do, more of them just pop up. It’s hard to know exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Maybe you have to light up the full Pac board instead of focusing on the Pellets or you have to enter the mysterious house. Either way, good luck with that since the controls are so bad and the house is only open for a very short amount of time. The controls just aren’t as smooth as Mario pinball and sending the ball where you want it to go is a surprisingly difficult task.

One ability that just makes the game more complicated is that you can shake the screen. It definitely has an effect on the ball, but it’s hard to say which direction it brings the ball or if it is even handy. There didn’t seem to be much of a point to the shaking gimmick. Maybe the developers were hoping that it would distract the players from the rest of the game. If so…I have to say that it was a rather clever move…or just a desperate one.

The graphics aren’t all that bad. The highlight of the game is the opening cutscene. I don’t even know if there is an ending, but if so, getting there is nigh impossible. I don’t plan to spend 20 hours mastering the gameplay and since it is partially luck based as well, it just wouldn’t feel worth it. The stages are clear and easy to see and all of the character designs appear to be on point. The game looks as good as you would hope and at least it means that you are in for a visually pleasing experience. As for the soundtrack, it is pretty nonexistent. You’d hop that the game could have grabbed a nifty Pac-Man theme or something, but it feels like free domain themes that won’t grab your attention for any more than a few seconds. It’s just how it is.

I barely even need to talk about the replay value because there is none. There is nothing to do in the game besides playing those 2 levels over and over again despite not having any incentive to do so because there is no high score. It really feels like this game was abandoned when it was very early in development. It’s just not complete and must have just been prepared to earn a few extra bucks. Certainly not a very nice gesture on their part and I’m glad that I only paid a few bucks for it.

Overall, This is one of the lowest scored games that I’ve reviewed. It’s just hard to get much worse than this and I’d say that you can make an argument for a 2. I’m just giving it a 3 because at the very least, the gameplay is fairly entertaining. It’s Pinball and I do enjoy Pinball, but it’s just so low effort that it is sad. You would have more fun playing Pinball on the computer, after all, that’s what I did for many hours back when I was a kid. The sound effects were a lot more hype and trying to beat my record was always a whole lot of fun. If you’re looking for a fun game to pass the time by, you can do a lot better. There is no reason to buy this game so I highly recommend staying away. Curiosity is not a good enough reason to buy this game although I suppose you may feel obligated to do so anyway if you’re a huge Pac-Man fan. If so, take the plunge, but prepare yourself. If anyone actually does beat the game (If there even is an end point to reach) let me know what the ending’s like. Surely it will be a great reward for those of you who stuck with the game for so long without any actual payoff.

Overall 3/10