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

Tennis Review


It’s time for another classic NES game. The original Tennis title is one that likely resonated with a lot of people back in the day. It’s a popular sport after all so getting to play it virtually is a pretty cool concept. Unfortunately what ended up holding it back quite a bit here is the fact that the controls aren’t great. It feels like there is always the chance you are just going to hit the ball out of bounds even if it was a clean hit. This just felt pretty fishy to me. Nintendo made the same mistake with their latest Mario Tennis game. Ideally it should be more like Virtua Tennis. The ball only goes out when you know that you hit it the wrong way.

As with most classic NES sport games really the only option here is to jump into a game and test your skills. I played a full best of 5 set with 6 games a piece so it was pretty long. I think one game took around a full 30 minutes which was pretty intense. I managed to get around 6 games I believe, but ultimately I was pretty badly outmatched. The opponent just kept winning point after point while my balls would just end up falling out of bounds pretty quickly. It was at that point that I knew this would be tough to mount a comeback in.

The idea of Tennis is to hit the ball past the opponent. The ball does have to touch the ground though. If you just hit it straight then that’s out of bounds. Each point you win gives you 15 points and every 60 wins you a game. After 6 games you win a set and after 3 sets you win a match. It can still be pretty short if you dominate your opponent but that’s easier said than done. You’ll start to get the hang of when to swing for the ball as the game goes on but it can still be tricky. If you hit the ball a little too hard it’ll end up going out of bounds. It may also depend a bit on where you’re pointing the control stick although I can’t say I’m certain of that point. All I know is that sometimes the ball just doesn’t get the right bounce for me.

Whenever the ball goes out of bounds it just doesn’t feel quite right. It’s fine to lose points because you made a mistake, but it feels like RNG at times. It’s almost like no matter what the ball is going to go out of bounds. Perhaps someone who has played the game more would understand why it is doing that, but to me it just feels like I’m losing out on points for no real reason. Then when I lose it’s less satisfying and more like I gotta give the game the side glance. The graphics aren’t bad. They’ve got that classic NES sprite look that is always nostalgic so I’ll give the game some props there. The ref also looks like Mario so it’s always nice to see that guy participating in all of the sports.

Overall, Tennis was a pretty fun game until it went on. There was a good amount of back and forth for the points and it was all pretty intense. The problem is when the ball would suddenly go out and it would wreck all of the momentum. Now you’re just thinking that the CPU is pulling some strings. If you really like Tennis then you should still check this game out because it is free as long as you have the Switch Online. That’s a pretty big incentive. That said, this is one of the weaker sport titles in the NES online. You would do better with playing almost any of the others that you could find here.

Overall 4/10

30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 4/10

NFL Head Coach 09 Review


It’s time to take a look at a very different Football game. I’ve always enjoyed the Madden games as well as the 2K versions and pretty much any other football game. Unfortunately Head Coach is the first Football game that I did not enjoy. I would actually have to give this one a negative score because it’s just not any fun. The title is a giveaway so I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I did expect the developers to do something to spice things up here. It’s really a very straightforward coaching game.

You can jump into a career or a quick game to see what it’s like. I chose the quick game option but there is nothing “quick” about it. One half took about 30-40 minutes and that was pretty surprising. A normal Madden game is way shorter. I believe it’s because this game uses 15 minute quarters like the real sport while Madden typically has 5 minute quarters. I always understood why the games don’t do 15 minute quarters and this game proves it. It makes the games incredibly long and while you may have fun if you’re in the match, being a coach doesn’t offer the same level of immersion. What happens is you get to select the plays before each action.

Then you watch the computers carry out your play. Rinse and repeat as you go through the game. Honestly it’s basically no different than watching two computers play each other and I dare say that it’s worse. Choosing the next play just slows things down. Since you know the A.I. is probably going to mess up your play you’d rather they just take the wheel. I’m sure this gameplay style will have its fans, but I am not one of them. Each play takes so long and you can just pick random plays so you can do this with your eyes close. Ultimately the game seems to heavily rely on luck/RNG so it’s not like your picking does a whole lot.

The graphics aren’t bad. It looks more like PS2 than PS3 so I’m thinking that this game was more low budget compared to the main title. Nothing wrong with that of course, if anything it does add a layer of nostalgia to the title. Even that was not enough to really help the game in the long run though. The presentation isn’t nearly as good as Madden either since we miss out on most of the festivities. You get to have the coach yell out plays and praise/insult the team depending on how things go. This gets old pretty quick though and I’d rather have the announcers yelling out the play by play.

There’s a lot of replay value here technically. You can start a career as a coach and that’ll last you a very long time. It never even really needs to end. At the same time, this is all with the same gameplay style. You’ll likely end up not playing through every game at some point. I got this game for a few bucks in Florida many years ago so it’s not like it cost a whole lot. I’m not sure if I would call it the worst mainstream sport game, but it really could be. Naturally the golf games are also up there and I’m not a fan of some of the newer Baseball titles. I’ll be playing a lot of Baseball soon though so maybe that’ll help my fundamentals.

There’s not a whole lot of other things to do here. You’ve already basically heard the entire gameplay which in a way is pretty scary. There are other things you can do between plays like subbing out players and calling timeouts. That is really the extent of the gameplay though. I was hoping there was a mode where you could become a player, but I suppose that would be an odd choice since it would then become a normal Madden game. Even if I would have liked that as an option I suppose I see why it was not added in. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Overall, NFL Head Coach 09 is probably the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s not like it has poorly designed levels or puzzles to make the game bad. There’s not really any “bad” features in this title. The only issue I have with it is that the game just isn’t any fun to play. I can’t find any joy in leaving it up to the computers. I feel like the whole point of playing a game is to use my skills to make a difference. What difference am I making if I’m just letting the computers take the reins? There’s a reason why they don’t make Head Coach games anymore and I’m betting that it’s because people got burned out. You can only play this kind of game for so long before you throw in the towel. There is one more Head Coach game for the PS2, but realistically I doubt I will ever play that game. If it turns up for a dollar or two I’d quickly purchase it, but otherwise that’s a no go from me.

Overall 4/10