The Legend of Zelda Oracle of Seasons Review


Legend of Zelda is a series where the main games tend to be terrific but some of the older ones don’t work as well. It’s a little bit like Metroid to that extent where I didn’t care for the first couple much but then they got better. This game plays out like a very old school LoZ title where you are really left to your own devices. It ends up making for a game that is pretty annoying to play.

So someone has decided to mess with the 4 seasons. The global climate is out of whack now and nobody really knows what to do. Fortunately Link is on the case. He will have to use the staff of seasons in order to put the world right again. It’s the only way to bring peace and prosperity back into the land. We don’t know exactly who the villain is, but he will certainly regret getting in Link’s way.

The main gameplay style here is that of an overhead adventure. You travel across the world as you look for different essences as well as the 4 seasons themselves. You can use various weapons in the hub world like your sword, boomerang, and other weapons. Talking to civilians will help you get past obstacles that can’t be overcome by brawn alone. There are also portions of the game that simulate the Mario experience as the game turns into a side scroller. It’s always pretty fun to go through those segments as a change of pace.

I played this game as a virtual console port on the 3DS. I can say right now that I can’t imagine playing this game without the access points. I use those quite a lot. Without them there are obstacles that will take you back to the beginning of a dungeon. If you make a wrong step you may find yourself in a room that you can’t back out of and you have to take the long way around. The game has many anti quality of life features that stack up.

On the plus side, I do like the graphics. They’ve aged well and this is a colorful style that just really works well. It’s why a lot of people like sprites since they transition into the future really easily. The soundtrack’s also pretty decent. It’s all catchy and works well for the various dungeons. So on a technical level this game was on the money.

The actual gameplay is pretty smooth as well. You never feel like the weapon is hitting too late or you miss something that you’re aiming for. The core gameplay is solid so I don’t expect you will really come across any issues. So this pretty much wraps up the good parts of the game. They are considerable of course but the negatives do outweigh them this time.

First off, there’s not much of a story. It’s not the kind of thing that will lower a score but when bosses show up without any dialogue or cutscene, you know something is up. Yeah there is still a story overall but it’s fairly barebones. I will give the game credit for having a cliffhanger ending though. It flat out tells you to go and buy Oracle of Ages as the game ends. There is a caveat to that though.

It looks like you have to buy both games to effectively link them and unlock the true ending. If you just buy one then you will really be playing through almost the same story. So…this seems like a really crafty way to get people to buy both titles. I also wonder how that would work through virtual console. I’m guessing I wouldn’t be able to transfer save states like that and if so that would be awful. I don’t know for sure though so just keep that in mind if you want to see the true ending.

No, the real issue with the game is the puzzles. LoZ loves its puzzles but the problem is that the series is often not as good at it as the real puzzle titles like Professor Layton. Half the time you are given no clue as to what to do next or have to use your weapon in a new way that was unexplained. I spent 20 minutes blasting one enemy with elemental attacks only to find out that it wasn’t actually causing damage. (Why have the boss glow as if you landed a hit when the hit didn’t work?)

Between dungeons you often have to do tasks in the hub world but there is no way to know what you are supposed to do. Additionally the hub world is huge so running back and forth is incredibly time consuming. The game took a lot longer than I expected it would in order to conquer it and this was why. I spent hours just spinning my wheels when I could have been at the next dungeon already.

I never cared much for that aspect because if I got a game then I want to be playing it. I want to feel the gameplay and just go all in but this really slows things down. I ended up needing a guide for many parts and I don’t see how I would have ever guessed what to do in some of these cases. There are some places you can teleport to in order to save time but not nearly enough of them. You still have to walk large parts of the world map on your own which is not ideal.

At the heart of it, the game just isn’t very fun to play for this reason. Sure, some of the dialogue can be fun, you can enjoy the boss battles but anytime you’re having too much fun the game slams you down with a dead zone where you have to figure out where to go next. It leaves you in a tough spot but not a fun one as you’re running through areas you’ve already been to a million times already.

At least because of that the length is considerable. If you get this game for the going rate of $10-$15 bucks then this is really not a bad deal. There’s also the replay value of getting the true ending but if you do need two copies in order to get to it then that may not be applicable in the virtual console version anyway. Definitely do your research before buying the game.

Overall, The overhead Link games aren’t really my style and this one was no exception. If it focused on more combat and less wandering around then I think it would have fared a lot better. Link games always have solid combat after all and that would have aged really well. So if you’re in the mood for a Legend of Zelda game, I’d recommend checking out Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time, or Breath of the Wild instead. At the end of the day this one just wasn’t fun and is best left to history.

Overall 4/10

The Island of Dr. Frankenstein Review


When you venture onto the Island of Dr Frankenstein you figure that you are going to be in for a pretty hype experience. Well, at least the concept of it. When you actually see the cover of the game you will probably begin to have some doubts and they will only continue to grow as you play through the game. It ultimately had a good idea of two but ended up squandering it all away.

The game starts off immediately with a kid named Franky being woken up by a pair of legs that are not attached to anything. The legs can’t talk of course but Franky can understand them anyway because he is just that good. Basically the mayor wants to see us because the island is sinking. We have to fix it fast or everyone is going to die.

I should add a little context here. So the main characters all live on a floating island which is powered by 50 generators. This is the land of monsters so all of the inhabitants are popular creatures like Dracula, The Mummy, Werewolf, A Floating Head, Frankenstein’s monster, and more. This is a way for them all to live in peace but the problem is that none of them are particularly tech savvy which is why Franky is around.

He fixes the generators so that the island doesn’t end up falling down on everyone. So that’s the setting and the main issue is that someone appears to be sabotaging the generators/engines so everybody is doomed. We have two missions, fix the various generators and also find out who the traitor is.

The game isn’t nearly as epic as that might sound though. The gameplay is really just about walking around the island and talking to people. You find out what they all want and get it from someone else. There is no way to run and the island is fairly large so be prepared for a while lot of backtracking and going to the same place like 20 times or more.

The characters add new demands at random points and you have no way to know this except to talk to everyone again after each mission you complete. It’s definitely not very efficient but you will have the island memorized by the end. There is one action you can take while moving around which is to use your Luigi’s Mansion vacuum cleaner. You suck up these little cosmic dust clouds which you then give to people when they ask for them.

It also leads to the game’s “danger” mechanic. If you let the dust clouds pile up too much then the island will crash. So you have to be sucking these things up the entire time as you go through the island. It adds an extra task to you just walking which is okay I guess but I don’t like mechanics like this where you are forced to just waste time and do something you wouldn’t do otherwise. It feels like it was just tacked on to mask the fact that there isn’t much to do.

Finally, there is the puzzle aspect of the game. Characters want you to fix their equipment so they’ll launch you onto a board of two pipes. One of them shoots out a laser and the idea is to add gears onto the map which will redirect the lasers to hit the other nozzle. This part could actually be pretty fun at least. It’s the kind of puzzle that I can get behind as it’s really about problem solving and you don’t have to worry about the game forgetting to give you context clues.

Here’s the issue though, you can only complete these puzzles by putting gears into it. To summon a gear, you have to use 10 cosmic dust clouds and 1 meteorite. The way to get meteorites is to open chests around the island or to dig them up. It costs 30 clouds to dig up a meteor so you can see how even now the game is trying to really wring some extra play time out of you. It makes you wish that the game would relax a bit and let you do your own thing. Don’t even attempt a puzzle if you don’t have enough gears since any that you use in the puzzle will be destroyed if you leave. Also be careful of how you spin the gears because if the laser hits you then you also lose all of your gears.

The motion controls are pretty difficult on that front so you can expect it to happen at least a few times by accident. Unfortunately at the end of the day that means that there is really no escape for you. Even the best part of the game has annoying mechanics which speaks volumes about the game as a whole. It’s not as bad as it could be since most of it is pretty harmless but I still expected better out of this one.

As far as the graphics go, the game certainly doesn’t hold up. I’m not sure if it was intentionally trying to look bad but that might be giving the game too much credit. There are only 2 musical themes in the entire game so you’ll be hearing them on loop for a long while. Definitely could have used more music but what is really missing here are the sound effects. There are none so when the characters are talking it’s like they are lifeless.

The only part of the game that shines through would be the writing. It’s very disjointed but the game is certainly going for a parody type of atmosphere for the most part. None of the characters are heroic and even Franky just wants to go to sleep. Even with the end of the world right around the corner, the characters can’t really dredge up the motivation to do anything. It’s pretty surreal but really works when you get down to the meat of things. At least it adds a little humor to the game or it would truly be soul less otherwise.

Overall, The Island of Dr. Frankenstein plays out about as you would expect. It’s a very short game with absolutely 0 replay value. You have to 100% complete all missions and collectibles in order to beat the game so there is nothing left to do. The game itself is around 3-4 hours tops so it won’t last you very long either. You can get this game for around $1 not counting shipping so it’s not a bad one to check out. That being said, you can definitely find better games on the Wii or basically any other console. This is an example of a title that really could have been so much better with some quality of life updates.

Overall 4/10

Godzilla Destruction Review


Clearly making these mobile games is tougher than I thought because this is another one that just wasn’t very good. If all 3 of the Godzilla games that were announced at the same time are by the same developers then it makes a lot of sense. This one seems to be using a lot of the same assets from Run Godzilla. While the gameplay is slightly better there are still a lot of really weird game design choices. Ultimately it just feels pointless to play a lot of the game.

The game has no story this time so you can forget about that part. You’re thrown in without much of a real introduction or anything. The gameplay is simple. You move Godzilla around with the touchscreen and if he is near an enemy he will attack automatically. Pretty handy right? That’s the extent of the game, there is literally no other gameplay. Each level has 15 mini levels in it which have around 5 waves each. I wouldn’t say the levels are incredibly long but they’re longer than you may think.

Any level ups and power you get in the levels are lost afterwards as it is all temporary. If you’re lucky you will get enough flames and G Profile Pics to help level up your Kaiju and try the whole thing again. Of course if you die during the experience you won’t get almost any rewards which is unfortunate. The game is set up so you should be playing for a very long time if you want to get anywhere. Of course you can pay the big bucks to get the content up front. That’s really your only other option.

For a video game just about anything can be forgiven if the gameplay is good. The problem is that it’s not very fun though. It’s just not all that satisfying to watch Godzilla attack all of the enemies for you. You’d like to be the one blasting away at them. Instead it’s almost like you’re the driver and the computer is the actual player. You can see how that would make for a rather hollow gaming experience right?

The levels all blend together really quickly so it gets rather dull. It’s not as automatic as the Run version but it’s still almost all done by the computer. You don’t feel like you’re really doing all that much. The game also just feels very limited in what you can do. This is literally the only game mode. Everything else is looking at items or your Kaiju and things of that nature. In 2021 I don’t think you can survive on a single game mode unless it’s a Story Mode or something like that.

Additionally the menu layouts don’t make much sense. Good luck equipping any of the gems you unlocked in the game. I could not figure out who to do this since every time you try to put one on it just falls right off. Perhaps that feature just isn’t set up in the game yet? It wouldn’t surprise me a great deal if this game is just severely incomplete. If anything it may even add up quite a bit.

The graphics are not good. It’s using the same character model as mentioned earlier which was already not that good. The level designs are uninspired. I suppose the enemy tanks look okay but there’s nothing too special about them either. The soundtrack is basically nonexistent as well.

What this game needed is really a complete overhaul. Throw in some real gameplay, a bunch of extra monsters, and even a quick story mode. Do those things and you could have a real winner on your hands. I don’t think there’s a big target audience for just walking around as your player does everything on his own. Where’s the excitement and the danger? I’m sure a game could pull this style off with enough development time and unique ideas but this was definitely not going to happen here. This mobile game seems like it was finished awfully quick.

In terms of content I suppose I should say that this can last for hours I guess. You can try completing all 4 worlds which each have several levels in them. Additionally you can keep on replaying the levels over and over again to farm materials and get level ups. That at least gives you a reason to go on back right? Keep this up and you should be in a good spot. Of course the replay value will depend on if you like the gameplay enough to do those things but if you do, the content is certainly here at least.

Overall, Godzilla Destruction is another disappointing mobile game. It’s a shame because most mobile games end up being quite amazing but this one was clearly not at that level. It does beat the first one so if the third in the trilogy can win then we might be in a good spot. Otherwise I’m afraid they will forever be known as a very weak trilogy of games. Better luck next time and all that.

Overall 4/10

Battles of Prince of Persia Review


Prince of Persia typically delivers with games ranging from very good to great. Unfortunately this one was a big exception. The gameplay just isn’t very good. Not only is it not very polished at all but it takes way too long to go through each level. Some quality of life upgrades could have gone a long way since the game is at least trying to have an ambitious story. The gameplay just undercuts it.

The story is told through a few time periods and through around 4 different perspectives. Basically the Prince of Persia has decided to open up the box of demons to help him fight off another army but this failed miserably. Another army has resurrected an army of skeletons to fight alongside him but they are revolting because they want revenge for the guy’s wife being murdered a while back. So you’ve got 4-5 factions all running around and trying to do their own thing. Who will be the one to rule over all of Persia by the time this is done?

There are around 23-24 levels so that may not sound like a whole lot of time but each level takes a long time. I want to say it’s 30 minutes minimum per level and that’s of course assuming you complete the levels in the first shot each time which I find very unlikely. Granted, you can probably beat a lot of the opening levels like that but as the game goes on it gets much harder. It’s not even all that subtle as I would say the difficulty just randomly spikes as you play through it.

The gameplay is a tactics kind of game. You control a bunch of different pieces and each one is good against another type. You have swordsmen, horseback riders, archers, the Prince, etc. The goal is often to take down the opposing army which you can accomplish by going for the prince directly or trying to take down the majority of their fighters before they take the crown. Some levels have different goals as well like trying to just escape/flee the area in time. Those can still be pretty tricky though because the enemies really try to get in the way.

One tricky thing is the game never actually tells you which type beats another. Your best bet is to probably just write this down as you play the game since it’s not like there are a whole lot of types anyway right? I didn’t bother personally but I still managed to make it pretty far. Ultimately the game conquered me around level 17. So here’s really the worst part of the game, the incredible slowness. That’s what really bumps the game’s playtime up so much. Each battle has animations that you can’t skip and have to watch each time. Each side also is able to use around 20 units so to get past a single turn you are effectively giving out 20 orders in any other kind of RPG.

So each level takes forever and a day. Here’s where the developers could have made things better. Speed up the actions or add an optional setting where you can skip animations. I would also argue that you should make the size of the teams a little smaller but that one’s more debatable since I understand that it’s fun when you have more complex units. The more people on each side, the more you really have to strategize. That part is fun to be sure but the last thing you want to do is have to start a level all over again after having already sunk 30-40 minutes into it. That just doesn’t feel like a lot of fun.

There should be a lot of checkpoints everywhere or ways to upgrade your units. A simple training function would have gone a long way here since you could at least make your team more prepared to take the win. Without any kind of training system it forces you to have to think of a better strategy but then your opponent has all the best cards. I didn’t mention that before but this game has a whole card gimmick. You can only take actions based on the card you used. While the specifics aren’t as complicated as the DBZ Card game so you should master it pretty quickly, it’s just not all that fun. At the end of the day that’s the big problem with this game, it’s ultimately not fun.

The graphics are decent I guess. There’s not a lot to them though since the game never really tries to show off the graphics. It’s just about fighting it out against other enemies in pure sprite type animations. I don’t think this would have been a very difficult game to set up in that arena. Then as for the soundtrack, it’s okay at times. You’ll occasionally hear one of the hype themes from the Gamecube games but it flutters away just as quickly as it appeared. That’s the most unfortunate part easy. On a technical level the game isn’t impressive but I wouldn’t say it’s bad.

That’s why it’s a shame about the gameplay. The story is excellent and has some compelling ideas so mixed in with some decent gameplay this could have actually been a good game. There was just so much potential here. I don’t really understand why you would go to the card game format anyway unless you’re Yugioh or something like that. For other franchises it seems to always completely backfire personally and this is no exception.

Overall, Battles of Prince of Persia really misses out on the biggest aspect of a game. A game should be fun. The gameplay needs to be such that you want to go back and play another level. In this case you’re just going through the motions but not having the level of fun you would expect to have. At the end of the day this is a game that is best left forgotten. Hopefully we get a real new Prince of Persia game at some point.

Overall 4/10

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Review


So far the Harry Potter games had actually been pretty decent. Unfortunately this one definitely broke the trend. This was just a bad game to be honest. The worst decision the developers made was to make this a forced collectathon game where you have to go back to the same levels over and over to collect more shields. Not only is the gameplay not all that much fun but the story is also the weakest in the franchise. When you mix that all together you definitely don’t have a winning formula at the ready.

You would have absolutely no idea what the story is if you just go through the game though. All you have for the plot here are some disjointed story cutscenes and that’s it. Roughly you’re finding an egg, completing 3 challenges and then taking on Voldemort. It’s too bad because otherwise you could have built up to the big battle gradually. It’s just hard to believe that the game has fallen so far compared to the previous ones. Still, at this point you get that I preferred the originals so I won’t compare them much going forward. Lets just talk about the Goblet of Fire on its own.

The gameplay is 3D style as you go through the levels and have to obtain Shields. A Shield is either hidden behind some obstacles or awarded after defeating a boss. Each level has a certain amount of shields but the game doesn’t tell you how many, nor does the level itself give you an indication of how many are left. There are 10 mini shields in each level as well and once you grab all 10 then you will be able to get another full sized shield. Another thing worth mentioning here is that you won’t be able to get all of the shields initially since you don’t learn the tree spell until later. So get ready to have to revisit the levels again.

There’s only around 10 levels but there are 38 shields so you have to replay each level quite a few times. I completed the game with 29 shields so you don’t need all of them but the game does make sure you at least have most of them. You have two main attack spells to deal with the enemies that show up. Pressing the A button will launch your offensive spell which works on just about everyone. Then you have your levitation spell with the B Button that you can use to raise your opponents while your teammates blast them or you can move obstacles out of the way in the game.

I haven’t mentioned yet but this game is a team styled game much like Sonic Heroes. There are always 3 of you running around in the game and the other two are controlled by A.I. if you are playing solo. They aren’t the brightest A.I. though and often times they will get stuck so you have to find them or just run far enough and they’ll magically catch up. A lot of obstacles require at least two people to levitate so you have to hope that they get the picture pretty quick.

While I wouldn’t say the gameplay itself is very bad, the computers do drain on you after a while. Additionally some of the level designs aren’t great so it feels tedious going through the same rooms over and over again. A lot of the enemy spawns never actually end so your best bet is to find an opening to run forward but often times this just means you are going to have to eat a whole lot of hits before you can actually get to safety which isn’t exactly fun. The bosses don’t give you much direction either but I won’t say much against them because part of me was impressed that there were bosses and you can still figure it out before long since there aren’t a lot of controls.

Get ready to hear the characters talking a lot though. While not as constant as in How to Train Your Dragon 2, they do repeat the same lines over and over again as the game goes on which can get old pretty quickly. You wish they would have a little more restraint with that. The graphics are okay although the cutscenes aren’t as sharp as the older games. The soundtrack is surprisingly good so that’s one positive I can give the game. It has a Star Wars vibe and at least puts some real soul into the tunes. It definitely beats the alternative of having a more robotic feel or uninspiring music. This way you can at least listen to good tunes.

There isn’t much replay value to be found here but I suppose finding all of the shields will have to do. You can also try to unlock extra cards by finding other collectibles and mastering your spells. I ended up getting most of the cards naturally so I don’t think this will take you very long at all. The toughest part about 100% completing this game is probably going to be getting the shields on the challenge levels. Those levels definitely don’t allow for many mistakes so you will really have to master the style.

Overall, It’s not often that I give a game a score under a 5 because most games are enjoyable in their own way. It takes a lot to be what I consider a “bad’ game but this one would fit the bill. The gameplay just isn’t fun. The levels lose any enjoyment they might have had when you have to play them over and over again. The obstacles don’t save either so you have to keep on performing the same actions each time you enter the level. There was no effort put into the story so the whole experience just isn’t satisfying. The biggest flaw of the game was the collectathon angle but without it, you would have just had a super short game that wasn’t memorable. It would have been preferable to this, but either way this wasn’t close to being a great game. I’m hoping that the next Harry Potter game steps its game up.

Overall 4/10

Super Monkey Ball Adventure Review


Monkey Ball is a series that has always been pretty important to me. It’s got great gameplay and a whole lot of dynamic puzzles. To an extent you can say that it’s a very safe series which should never go wrong. How can you mess up such tight gameplay right? The Wii one wasn’t particularly impressive though and this one’s really underwhelming so maybe the series is just over the hill. The problem is that these titles are messing with the core mechanics which really didn’t need to be altered at this point in time. it’s a shame, but I guess it’s just the way it goes.

The basic plot here is that a wedding is being planned between two characters. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t want to attend the wedding. For starters, the wedding is against the rules of the land currently and people are just too busy. There are robot invasions in some lands, monkeys turning evil in others, and some just can’t be bothered. Aiai and the crew decide that they are going to have to force everyone to come to the wedding by eliminating any possible excuses that they might have. So that begins their tough journey through the wilderness to set things straight. Can the monkeys do it or is this really game over for them?

The plot isn’t terrible I guess but it’s definitely not particularly engaging. the real problem here is just the fact that the gameplay is not good. So, in most Monkey Ball games the idea is to make it to the goal while balancing inside of your little plastic ball. This s tough because the levels are just really difficult and controlling the ball is tough. Still, it’s a fair challenge that is a lot of fun and each level is shorter than 60 seconds so the trial and error doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately this is only a small part of the Adventure gameplay. You only play these levels on occasion to unlock new areas to explore. that’s it.

The rest of the game acts more like a platformer. You have to help the villagers with whatever challenge they are having like bringing people balloons or catching a car. Unfortunately the Monkey Ball gameplay really does not work particularly well with this style. The game is all about moving and performing these difficult maneuvers but when you fall prepare for big set backs. The game will take you to the nearest area exit which is sometimes quite far from where you died. This means it will be a long journey to get back to where you were which is never fun. That’s the case for a lot of the quests here, they’re very tedious and take the joy out of the equation.

The basic structure of the game is that each world has around 20 missions to complete. Each mission will bump you up 5%. Once you reach 60% you can challenge the boss of the world and by beating him you get one more guest to the wedding. Rinse and repeat for all 4-5 worlds and then you’ve made it to the ending. Interestingly the game doesn’t really let you know any of this so you may end up doing more missions than you actually need to as a result. Pretty slick of the game if you ask me. I was just ready to head out as soon as I had the required completion% in the game. My total completion% was around 74 which is pretty good I must say.

Fortunately, since you don’t have to beat literally every mission, if you find out that’s a little too cray just skip it. No reason you have to punish yourself by trying to knock it out. In particular there were a few aerial missions I just couldn’t handle. The air missions seem to be the worst ones in general since the gameplay just isn’t as finetuned as the ground combat parts which have been fine tuned over many different installments by this point. The aerial part is new.

The graphics are okay I suppose. They aren’t particularly impressive but you know where you are going which is the important thing. The level designs are pretty bad though. The hub worlds are just too huge and as a result you can get lost or just have to retrace a lot of old ground all the time. As for the soundtrack, well it’s pretty forgettable. I don’t expect you will remember any of the tunes by the time you’re done with the game. It’s just one of those adventures.

For replay value I suppose there is a decent amount here. There are quite a few missions to do and extra minigames. Gathering all of the bananas in order to unlock all of the bonus content would probably be pretty intense too. The game took me a long time as it is so there is a lot of content here. It’s just not particularly entertaining content. If you do end up liking the game though, you can at least be content to know there is a lot to do here including an expansive multiplayer mode with lots of games to try.

Overall, Monkey Ball Adventure just isn’t good. At the end of the day the core problem here is the gameplay and that’s pretty much a killer for any title. The fact that the story is pretty much nonexistent doesn’t help either. You have to deal with a lot of loading times and since the game just isn’t fun in general either, there’s no real reason to play this one. One thing that could have solved a lot of problems would be the ability to teleport to missions or at least re-spawn there when you lose. Without that and the fact that chanting to go into each special skill mode takes too long results in a pretty sad experience. I don’t see myself going back to this title. Hopefully Monkey Ball gets a proper new game at some point though.

Overall 4/10

Pryzm: Chapter One: The Dark Unicorn Review


Pryzm is one of the oldest games I have on my backlog. I remember playing level 1 many years ago and quickly diving out of the game because of how crazy it was. Well, I finally went back to it and I can’t say that the game has aged very well. The main problem here is really just the fact that the gameplay is not explained very well at all. This leads to a whole lot of guessing/trial and error until you get the right combination down. Then you have a move that you’re taught in the tutorial but never works in the actual game. Did they forget to program that in? Wouldn’t surprise me.

The world has been split into many factions due to a plague spreading across the land. Everyone believes that a Unicorn started this global pandemic and so they have not been doing very well. Or at least that’s implied but the only kingdom we actually see is ruled by Unicorns so…I dunno. Well, Pryzm has decided to go and put a stop to this and she is accompanied by an old Dwarf who isn’t thrilled about the partnership but wants to prove that the Unicorns did start this mess. The duo will have to go and purify all of the countries in the land and may also have to go up against the embodiment of darkness itself.

The gameplay is in a 3D perspective. You ride around on your Unicorn as you search for flowers. Each level has 5 flowers to destroy which then allows you to get to the core plant. Destroying that purifies the land. There are 4 worlds and each of them have 5 levels to conquer. Once you have done that then you will unlock the final boss. The objectives in each level are the same but that doesn’t mean it’ll be easy. The flowers are completely invincible unless you destroy the minions powering them up. Some are immune to your sword so you’ll have to hit them with energy. You also have to do this quickly because the minions respawn in under a minute so taking out the flower is your best bet. You also don’t have a lot of energy and the only way to refill it is to lose a life or run back to the last purified area.

For your attack options you have the sword, magical energy blasts, and then the Unicorn’s horn blast. You’ve also got a charge attack but as far as I could tell it doesn’t deal any damage to any of the enemies you fight in the game so I’m not sure what that’s all about. You can also hold your sword out to sense where the next flower is which is nice…or you could just press R3 which brings up the map and shows you exactly where it is without relying on a magical compass of sorts. Personally that’s the option I recommend. So when you face an enemy with a red barrier then you need to use energy blasts. Against the plants the sword is the best bet and for bosses you need to shoot your magical blasts at it and then use the unicorn blast to deal damage. Does the game tell you any of this? No, so try and pick up on things as much as possible.

There are also some flowers where it is impossible to beat all of the enemies with the limited magic you have. The trick is to weaken all of them without dying and then run back to the last save point which restores your magic. Go back to the flower and then finish them all off. It’s a bit tedious of course but it’s really the only way to do it. Once you’ve got these tricks up your sleeve then you’ll be ready for the game. It’s just that finding all of this out the hard way doesn’t make for a very entertaining experience. By the time you’ve died 50+ times you’ll just be ready to move on. You’ve got unlimited lives at least so that helps a lot.

The game is rather short. With only 20 levels and each one being completable in around 10 minutes or so this can be about 3 hours. You do have to factor in the fact that it’ll take time to get used to these controls though. I’d say that the game took me around 6 hours or so. There isn’t any replay value here though so what you see is what you get. You can replay old levels of course but that’s it. There are no collectibles, upgrades, or anything of that nature. So hopefully you’re on board with the story. I didn’t consider the story to be all that bad. There aren’t a lot of cutscenes as most levels just end with some stock narration from the characters you saved. Occasionally you’ll have the dark unicorn show up to taunt you a bit or even to beg for mercy. He can never decide if he is a hero or not. I suppose the darkness just had too hard of a grip on him.

In terms of graphics the game is going for a very different arttyle. It’s fairly dark and I would say that the Dark Unicorn’s design really looks impressive. The gameplay is not quite as good as the cutscenes though and I would have to give that one a thumbs down. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of effort put into the game. The soundtrack is quite limited as well and it should be noted that during gameplay you will be hearing the same lines as the characters argue over and over again. It was a nice touch that in the final levels they spam lines where they actually get along a little better now. At least the game was trying something unique there.

Overall, This is one of the few games that I would not recommend. I’ve played hundreds of games and there are probably only a dozen or fewer games that I’d say were just not good. This is one of them. In a way it’s regrettable since once you get used to the gameplay you may find it enjoyable but it takes way too long to get to that point. The game also fails to actually tell you the rules of the title so you’ll need to find other sources to help you out there. That should never happen in a game, but especially not for a platformer which is more of a basic genre as is. Just tell us what the objectives and controls are and we’ll be able to do the rest. I can see why we never got a chapter 2.

Overall 4/10

Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve been working on for quite a while at this point. It was the second big attempt at a card game version of DBZ based on the real one. The problem is that this is the kind of game that works better in person than in a video game. When you’ve got a game that’s completely luck based like this one, you can’t trust the computers not to cheat. Of course they’ll do whatever they can to win and that’s the problem. It’s never an even playing field with them and then that just makes the journey feel futile. 20 hours in and it was time to call it a day on this title.

The game adapts the first two arcs of DBZ. We get to wage our war against the Saiyans and Frieza’s Army in the first and then Cell and the Androids strike after that. I made it as far as the Ginyu Force showing up before I was ultimately forced to call it a day. Those guys are a lot tougher than you would suspect at first glance. There are also a lot of levels to even get that far. This game makes sure that even the briefest of skirmishes in the manga are turned into full blown boss battles in this one. You can expect a very long experience here. Honestly I don’t see how you could possibly complete it in under 30-40 hours. This game is definitely a long one so I do appreciate that the developers were trying to make this a complete experience.

The problem is that it’s long for all of the wrong reasons. One of the issues the game has is that each match takes forever. You have to wait for the cards to load, then you pick the cards and you get a little animation as the cards group up. If you win the encounter then the game plays a cutscene of you blasting the opponent. Rinse and repeat in every turn until one of you goes down. As you progress through the game you’ll deal less and less damage due to your level not going up quickly enough. If you want to fix that then you’ll need to go back and play the old levels again. Also if you lose during a level you don’t keep any of the XP from the fights. This can be tough as some levels can have up to 8 boss battles and if you lose to the last one you have to start all over again from your previous level. That means you’ll be stuck in a loop unless you go to an old level and do more grinding.

It’s not very fun either because in the last level the enemies just aren’t that tough so you’re not getting a lot of XP here either. It drags the game out even further. Still, I worked on doing a lot of grinding because I figured it was all worth it to beat the next level. Eventually I got Vegeta to level 23 to try and handle Captain Ginyu and to my dismay he started pulling out reverse cards. Now to understand how bad this is lets quickly recap the game’s controls. It’s very complicated so I’ll do my best to give a very condensed version of the rules. You have to use power or ally cards to attack your opponent and this works if your attack is higher than the other player’s power points. So if you roll a 7 and they have a 4 then you’ll get to attack and the damage will be based on their defense so for example the opponent may have a defense of 6. So just go for high numbers right?

Well, starting in this level the opponent has a reverse so if you have an 8 and they have a 2, it flips and they get your high number. The issue with this is that you’re now never sure of what to do. Do you try to go for a number higher than the opponent or lower? It’s a big issue because the computer always manages to somehow guess the correct number to dish out. I was far stronger than him at this point in the story yet he countered all of my blows until I eventually lost. That’s when I realized that there wouldn’t be much of a future in this game. It took the card mechanics one step too far to the point where there was just no return. You can’t use card game tactics like this and then also throw in a reverse card. If you’re not sure how to even aim your points then the whole thing feels futile.

It’s a shame because I do like the idea of the various characters having their own stories so you keep on alternating. The game has 4 main characters: Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Gohan. Each character has their own fights and because of that you can also see why Arc 1 is so long. Some of the stages are also very long and can last for 20 turns or more. Each turn takes a while too. On average I’d finish a level in around 20-30 minutes I’d say. I’ve seen games with longer levels but that’s still a lot of time for a card game. It’s why the best Yugioh games are the ones that have low loading times since you’re really able to get into the action without having to slow yourself down.

The graphics are okay. They’re classic sprite animations which look fun enough. It’s got a very retro feel to it. The soundtrack is less impressive though. It’s not bad, the game is clearly going for a bit of a peaceful theme that you won’t mind hearing over and over again. I definitely see the logic in this approach because with this gameplay you can bet that you’ll be hearing the theme effectively on loop forever. So I’d say the game succeeds in that respect. I’d like more tunes but if this is the one we have to have it could definitely be worse.

In terms of replay value the game technically has a ton of it. The main campaign is huge and then after that you’ve also got extra leveling up you can do and things of that nature. You won’t be finishing this game anytime soon but with the gameplay as it is you’re unlikely to want to play through the whole adventure. This game really should have just tried being more fun. I should mention that you are able to exploit the quick save mechanic so that you are actually able to save within the levels. It’s extremely handy because this game would be even trickier otherwise. 2 quick fixes the game could and should have done would be to add actual save points and also to allow you to keep your XP when you lose. Those two things would have made a world of difference in the game.

Overall, The game’s design just isn’t very good. It makes a whole lot of mistakes and ultimately is not able to come back from them. DBZ games need action and excitement. If you’re going to go for a card game format then you need to make sure it’s fun. Dragon Ball Heroes uses cards to a much greater effect. This one still beats the GBA game though. That one had similar controls but the execution was ultimately even worse than this one. At least this one tried a lot more with the story and such. There is a huge amount of dialogue in this game. I recommend playing Attack of the Saiyans instead.

Overall 4/10

Clu Clu Land Review


It’s time to take a look at an old NES game that I actually wasn’t really a fan of. The gameplay is unique so that is always nice to see. I haven’t played a game quite like this one. The closest would probably be DK King of Swing which has a similar concept just with a completely different gameplay style. That one succeeds a lot more than this one though. Clu Clu Land is ultimately okay in a small batch but beyond that you need to really enjoy the gameplay to stick with it. Considering all the other games on the NES I wouldn’t really be spending much time with it.

So here’s how the levels go. You play as a creature that automatically flies through the stage. The goal is to turn the stage into an image or something. As such, there are hidden coins around many of the turns. You have to bump into them all to complete the picture. Since you don’t know what the picture even looks like at first your opening strategy is really to bump into as many corners as possible. Once you’ve got the general idea of the shape then you can target the gates that you want to pass. You turn by sticking your hand out and grabbing a pole and use that momentum to go in a new direction. You can only reach out one hand at a time so try to plan your movements a few steps ahead of time. After all, each action will need another one.

Additionally you need to avoid the enemies. A single hit will take down your life so you want to live for as long as possible. The lives aren’t exactly easy to come by after all. I liked seeing the various shapes that would form. Clu Clu Land definitely has really nice visuals that have aged well. I can definitely appreciate the difficulty of making so many images using only coins. The stages remind me a bit of Pac Man with how they’re set up. It looks like a very similar style at least even if the gameplay is different. The music is less memorable, but fast enough where it’s pretty fitting while going through the levels.

So in the end the reason the gameplay didn’t click with me is that it just didn’t feel like enough was going on. Ultimately all you’re doing it turning. While you can probably break many games’ core gameplay down into a simple structure like that, you still feel like a lot is going on. This game doesn’t disguise that quite as well to me. I think a lot of the appeal will be from seeing the pictures that you create which are nice to look at, but I need more. Throwing in some physical movement would have been nice. Maybe allowing you to move the character back and forth and then you only need to use the hand feature when you want to turn. Ultimately that would still be very similar though so maybe that wouldn’t change very much at all.

In terms of replay value this game technically has quite a lot. You can keep on playing the levels over and over again to improve your score and move on to the next. I assume the game basically has unlimited levels although I imagine there will be a point where they start to loop. At that point you can really say that you conquered the experience and it really would be pretty impressive. These games were definitely not a walk in the park back when they came out and certainly not today either.

Overall, Clu Clu Land is the weakest NES game I’ve played in a bit. I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the weakest NES game or anything like that but it just didn’t work out for me. If you like the general concept then I believe you’ll enjoy the execution. The gameplay is pretty smooth and I certainly didn’t notice any lag or anything like that. The gameplay’s also a bit familiar so I believe I probably played a demo at some point like in NES Remix or something. I think this game would be more enjoyable as a minigame.

Overall 4/10

NES Open Tournament Golf Review


It’s time to look at a classic NES golf game. Golf is one of those games that is hard to make all that fun even in modern titles. The only one where I could say I really felt pumped up was the Mario Golf game for Gamecube and even then it got stomped by the other Mario sports. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of this one either. I do see that some decent effort was put in here but it still wouldn’t be able to keep me in there once I’m done with a tournament.

When you boot the game up you’re given a screen with Mario and Peach getting ready to be crushed by Luigi and Daisy. I assume it’s Daisy at least but admittedly she looks quite different here. After that you see the various game modes. To this title’s credit, there are actually a few different modes when a lot of these games would just have one back in the day. You can jump into a tournament, free play, or a single player run through of all the holes. Naturally I went for that one, I wasn’t about to have to watch the computers throw me around when I was just starting right?

The controls are not too crazy once you get the hang of it. You move the stick in the direction you want to hit the ball too. Once you do that then you tap the a button twice when you’ve got it in the right part of the moving bar. From there you just try to angle your hits and select the appropriate power so that you get the ball to the flag in as few hits as possible. This is one of the few games where you actually want to have the lowest score possible. The higher score you have the worse you played the game. You definitely don’t want to see a +9 as that is about as bad as you can be.

The graphics here are pretty fun. Not surprisingly since Nintendo was really the ones behind this game it looks a lot better than most of the other NES titles. When they throw Mario in it seems like Nintendo really tries to give the game an extra shine to it. The soundtrack is also very peaceful. You feel like you’re ready for action and to have a good time. That’s the ultimate goal of the games right?

There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here since there are a lot of different stages. You will probably need to also replay the stages quite a bit to really get good and to hit your rhythm. It’s not something that will happen overnight after all. I averaged around a +6 for each hole so I got a ways to go. Ideally you want to be around a -1 or -2 for them to really secure the win. The toughest part about golf for me has always been all the different variables. You have to account for the wind and you have a ton of different clubs to hit the ball with and they all have their own range. What this means is basically no matter what you’re going to have to do a lot of memorizing to know what you want to do. Mario Golf handled this well with giving you a preview of how the shot would go while this one plays it a little more on the level. You just need to know the yards left to go and plan accordingly.

This is definitely a tough game so you can expect a good challenge. Of course with the rewind feature you have backup to an extent but either way this is not a game that you can expect to beat very easily. It’ll take some time and you’ll have to see if the game is fun enough to spend that time. At the very least I am glad that Daisy got into the picture a lot earlier than I would have expected. I’m not sure if you can play as her, but I certainly hope so.

Overall, NES Open Tournament is definitely a game you don’t want to miss if you reeeeeeally like Golf. Otherwise I’d say you should just bypass this one. There are a ton of other quality NES games to enjoy on the service so there’s no need to stick with one for very long if it doesn’t hit it out of the park for you. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more they could have done with the concept here so I’ll give them props for the attempt. That being said, Golf just needs something to give the games a little more pop in their steps.

Overall 4/10