S.C.A.T.: Special Cybernetic Attack Team Review


Now it’s time to look at the final NES game from the new batch of installments. This one has a pretty cool sounding name. It’s always a little hard to play a SNES game and then go back to NES right after but this one holds its own. There is a bit of a plot which is always nice although good luck remembering it. The gameplay is fairly unique for its time and so when you add all of this together you’ve got yourself a pretty solid experience. I enjoyed the game. It’s definitely quite difficult so you really have to make sure to hone your skills or prepare to rewind quite a lot.

The gameplay is that of a 2D shooter. You are always flying so the idea is to move around a lot so you don’t get tagged by the villains. You can move in any direction but the screen is always scrolling to the right so you want to make sure that you stay in range and ready. If you hang around the edge of the screen too long you may find yourself in a bit of a jam. Your weapon is constantly changing during the game as well. You have a normal blaster, rockets, wave blast, etc. Enemies you fight will drop the various power ups. Due to this, you may not always want to grab the next weapon. Some are clearly better than others if you ask me. For example, I consider the laser to be one of the worst ones. The range is just way too small so no matter how much damage it does you feel like you could do better. That’s why I like the bomb which has a nice explosion or the wave blast. Both of those really put you in a good position to win and at the end of the day that’s really what you’re gunning for right?

There are around 10 levels or so I’d say. Each one has a ton of enemies to get through and then a big boss at the end. You definitely don’t want to underestimate the bosses. Those guys can really fight and it takes a lot of blasts to bring them down. One of the toughest parts is trying to land your hits while they’re throwing out all kinds of attacks. You have to take the hits that you can and then retreat. Rinse and repeat and eventually you’ll have them down. The rewind feature will end up being crucial here though. Without it it’s just very difficult to stay on top of all this.

The graphics are pretty nice. I feel like they’ve aged better than some of the other NES titles I’ve been playing through. It does capture that sci-fi feeling pretty well I’d say. As for the soundtrack, it’s definitely high energy which is good. All in all this game was developed well and the amount of effort here was solid. The game itself is fairly short but that’s to be expected. There isn’t really any replay value here so it’s all just about how much you enjoy the initial playthrough. It’s free if you have the Nintendo Switch Online so you can’t really go wrong there.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this game just due to how direct it is by nature. It’s very simple to explain and play through. The gameplay is very smooth. I guess one thing I’d say is even if you are avoiding the power ups so you keep your favorite weapon, make sure you pick up any items with an R on them. Those are recovery items which give you some much needed health. Your health goes down real quick here so you really want to grab any extra bits that you can.

Overall, S.C.A.T. is a pretty fun title. I’m not going to say it’s great or anything but I had a good time playing it. It’s the kind of game that doesn’t do anything wrong. I wouldn’t say it’s particularly strong in any area so it’s not as high as it could be but I’d still recommend checking it out. Just remember your fundamentals and you should be able to get through these levels. Now I have to eagerly await the next round of games for Nintendo to add to the service. Hopefully the gap isn’t quite as long this time.

Overall 6/10

Super Mario Bros. 35 Review


It’s time to take a look at Nintendo’s latest Mario adventure. This one is sadly not going to be around for very long though. I still don’t understand why you need to make it so limited but I guess Nintendo loves making people feel the fear with these things. Now you got to play the game right away or it’ll be gone once March hits. It’s a pretty fun take on the whole battle royale thing. I’d say it’s a bit more limited than titles like Tetris 99 but maybe that’s just the way the gameplay seems. Technically there are more level variations than in Tetris so it may just one of those things that is not as it appears. I played it for about an hour though so had some good fun.

So the idea is that you’re playing through the classic Mario levels as usual only there is a timer now. If the timer runs out then that means you lose. In order to get more time you need to take down some enemies, complete the level, or grab an extra power up. Extra power ups get you 15 seconds so I highly recommend using them. Typically spending the 50 coins at the beginning to start with a fire flower pays off instantly so I highly recommend it. It takes a little time to get used to the old control set up with how the gravity acts differently so by using the fire flower you can bypass that to a large extent. Just spam your fireballs and you’ll be okay. It’s easy to string a lot of KOs together that way and it adds a whole lot of tinme.

You also level up as you play more and more games which is fun. You unlock more icons that way. It may not be a big deal but whenever you have unlockables I feel like it makes the game more fun. You feel like going for another round just go get the crispy items. I made it to around level 16-18 before stopping. I’m guessing the levels will slow down pretty soon but it’s definitely a nice little addition to have in the meantime. As for the levels I’m not sure exactly how they’re unlocked. For now I’ll assume it’s level based as well. I got up to 3-1 so far. Either way the levels seem to pop up randomly though so you never know which one will turn up next. It always keeps you guessing.

The highest placing I got was 3rd place. Usually once it’s down to the 3 people left it becomes an endurance match of who can keep going the longest without tripping. If you all have fire flowers then tripping is the most likely way that you would meet your demise. I don’t expect you would lose any other way at that point tbh, but sometimes even the easiest obstacle can appear to be tricky. For example, I’m still not super comfortable with the jumping mechanics so it’s always possible that I’ll just fall into a hole. I’m so used to the modern Mario games that it can be tricky to get into the more retro mindset here.

The graphics are basically grabbed directly from the original game so don’t expect any super bright colors or things like that. This is a very basic game at its core with the multiplayer part making it more competitive. I guess it would probably throw everyone off if the graphics suddenly turned modern and also the point of this is for the 35th anniversary so I imagine that may not have went over very well with a lot of the fans. As for replay value, you can definitely come back to play this game all the time to earn more levels ups. It’s the kind of game that has unlimited replay value for as long as the servers are up. There’ll always be something to do.

Overall, Super Mario Bros.35 will really test your platforming abilities. The enemies are something you really have to watch out for so you don’t die before your time. It’s always fun to jump in for another round though. The end game phase of the levels can take a little while to be sure, but the gameplay is fun so it’s not really a problem. I’d like to see the game expand to more levels and modes eventually but I suppose that probably wouldn’t happen for a bit or if it did then the game would need to extend its deadline from March most likely. I can’t see myself sticking with this one for very long at the moment but it’s definitely the kind of game you could just pick up and play here and there for good results. I hope Nintendo experiments with more games like this.

Overall 6/10

Neopets: The Darkest Faerie Review


It’s time to look at an RPG that actually had a pretty solid start. Unfortunately it quickly began to falter near the end and this took away from the beginning. The game lost sight of itself as an action platformer and tried to transition into being more of a Legend of Zelda dungeon type game. You can’t really switch like that without having a lot of gameplay mechanics at the ready. This game just didn’t seem ready for this. You don’t even get the hookshot until the final hours of the game and only have to use it a handful of times so why even bother right? I’d definitely still be down with a sequel as long as this game can learn from its mistakes.

The game starts by introducing us to Tor, a kid who’s always wanted to be a soldier. One day he is told to go into the castle and deliver a letter. Along the way he decides to apply to be a knight and actually manages to get the squire license. Unfortunately his sister goes missing, but after saving her his parents allow him to be a full knight. Tor isn’t able to enjoy this for long though as the Darkest Faerie revives herself and destroys the kingdom. Tor must now find a way to restore balance to the universe and defeat her, but her abilities are incredibly powerful. We’re then introduced to our second main character: Roberta.

Neopets handles this rather well as you play as Tor for so long that it’s pretty easy to forget there is a second main character. She doesn’t appear until Act 2. She’s a diplomat who wishes she was a mage instead. Unfortunately that’s just not how things work around here. Her visit is cut short when the Darkest Faerie shows up and conquers the kingdom, enslaving the residents within. Roberta is forced to beat a hasty retreat and ends up bumping into Tor. The two of them are protected from the mind control by their charmed necklaces. They’ll need to enlist the help of the legendary warriors but they’ve been dead for years so reviving them will be the first step.

Part of the issue for the game is that it’s a little too ambitious. As I said, Act 1 is quite long but it’s not very balanced. Acts 2 and 4 are quite short and then 3 is long again. I’m thinking they wanted to make this a grand epic, the size of the world is certainly big enough for that. Unfortunately there is no map system in place to help guide you along the way which is unfortunate. You’ll spend a lot of time stumbling around until you memorize where everything is. It’s not exactly ideal for traveling. Also, there should have been a quick movement system. Walking everywhere takes a very long time and what’s worse is the fact that there are endless enemies blasting away at you and it’s hard to repel their abilities. You can try but there is no point after a while because they revive almost instantly so it’s just a waste of your health. At the same time if you keep running then the damage will keep on adding up as well.

It makes walking around a bit of a chore as things go on. Then there are the puzzles which are not very good either. They really force you to run around and figure things out with little context. A lot of times you will end up hopelessly lost. It’s part of why I like linear games, you never have to worry about guessing. Of course a well made RPG knows how to make sure the instructions are clear so this is still more of a problem with this game. I’d also mention that it can be quite dark but I think that’s more of an issue with our TV so I won’t really count it.

Neopets just gets a bit aimless after a while. It’s a shame because the actual core story is pretty good. This is definitely the most serious Neopets game I’ve played. One character is murdered by getting stabbed and the body count here is reasonable. Everyone is slowly getting taken out or mind controlled so nobody is really safe. It makes for a very ominous backdrop and you have to give the game credit for that. I also thought the graphics were pretty solid as well. The character models were on point and the different levels were all unique. I’d give the soundtrack less points though because there weren’t really any notable music themes here either. You’ll forget all about them pretty quickly.

There isn’t any replay value here either. Once you complete the game you aren’t able to go back and do much of anything. There is some mild travel available as well but most places are effectively gone and without a post game boss to fight why would you even bother getting more equipment and such? It just won’t help for much of anything as it is. I suppose it is a good way to give yourself a little more to do in the game but that’s about it really. This game is also at a pretty decent length so I wouldn’t say it really need a lot of replay value either way. It’ll definitely take you over 10 hours which is always my bar of when I say a game is reasonably long. When you factor in that you’ll probably get lost a few times then that will definitely add to the time as well.

Overall, Neopets: The Darkest Faerie had a great start but couldn’t sustain it. At the beginning this was an action platformer at its core with a solid plot as you tried to save the kingdom. After this the game slowly became more of a quest title where you had to do a lot of dungeons and this ended up feeling like a ton of filler. We really didn’t need that and the game would have been better off without it. The moral of the story is that you shouldn’t always make your game longer just so you can say it has a lot of content. Keeping this game streamlined and to the point would have been a really good idea. In that case the review would have been singing a much different tune.

Overall 6/10

Rugby 2004 Review


I’m not a big Rugby fan. I barely even know the sport to be honest. Still, this was one of the only games I could find for under 5 on Amazon so I figured it was time for the plunge. It does feel a bit like Football even if it isn’t the genuine article. It’s close enough for me and that’s what counts. I had to figure out the controls on the fly as the practice mode here doesn’t actually teach you any of the controls. I’m not even sure I see the point of the Practice Mode here. It definitely could have been quite a bit better.

The game has no real story mode or anything like that so you’ll probably just be jumping into the quick “Play now” mode. Once you’re in you pick your team and the match settings like how long the game is and where you want to play. For my first match I made it very cold and overcast but sadly you couldn’t just pick rain ow snow like in the good ole days. I feel like those two should always be an option. How much harder could it be to program those into the match right? I played 3 games in total and saw a lot of rapid improvement. In the first game I lost 59-0.

Granted, I was still learning the controls at this point. I was figuring out how to run, pass the ball, etc. Even by the end of all 3 games I could never figure out how to lateral the ball back to someone else. It definitely made things pretty tough. The only play I knew how to run was what was effectively a delayed hand off. I did enjoy how the player would already start running before he grabbed the ball to pick up momentum. That’s a play I’d like to run more of in the Football games. I may have gotten blown out, but the gameplay was solid so I still had a solid time throughout. I think that speaks to how solid EA Games was at this point.

Then I jumped into my second round which went over better. I lost 8-7 in this one. I was finally figuring out how to play some good defense and of course I could run now. My play wouldn’t work very often but it worked once and so I was at least able to get on the board this time. My defense couldn’t stop them when it counted but I kept it close. Then we had the final match although for this one I toggled the difficulty level lower a bit so I’d have a calm experience. I ended up winning 3-0. Yeah, that’s a pretty low score but it oculd have been worse. At least I had the higher score so in the end I was able to claim victory. It was a pretty solid way to end the game I’d say.

Even now I don’t really get the rules. I do think it has potential though. If I ever did manage to understand how the game works I’d probably be able to enjoy this one about as much as Football or Basketball. It’s got a lot of solid fundamentals to it and that’s all I need. The matches don’t take very long either. I was able to knock out 3 games in about an hour which is a pretty good amount of time I’d say. 20 minutes for what I’d say was a complete experience. The game just goes very quickly since the clock never really stops. It’s just always active. I don’t understand how the end of the timer works though. It’s sort of like Soccer where even once the game ends the timer just stays there flickering for a little while. There’s probably some logic there that I just don’t get.

As for the graphics, I’d definitely say that those look pretty good. They may not be top of the ring or anything like that but for the PS2 era they have aged rather well. The whole thing looks pretty good. You’re able to leap into action and I have to give the game credit for having so many arenas and teams here. That must have taken a lot of effort. Additionally the game has a ton of replay value of course. You can enjoy playing quick games or jump into a franchise. Either way that results in a lot of playing time which is always a good thing. Of course this all depends on you enjoying the game a lot. Naturally if you’re not a big fan then this will probably drag on.

Overall, Rugby 2004 is a solid game. It would likely be higher if I actually understood how this all works. It’s too bad that Rugby didn’t get more installments but I suppose it never really got all that big in the US. Football dominated over here and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. There aren’t a whole lot of other Rugby games that I haven’t played over here now so I’m one step closer to playing them all. Still, I don’t see myself getting another Rugby game for a long while so it could be a bit before I hit that milestone.

Overall 7/10

Kirby Mass Attack Review


It’s time to look at a quick Kirby game from a while back. I say quick, but due to the fact that the game forces you to collect a ton of medals it actually isn’t quite as short as it would appear. Expect a lot of backtracking here unless you managed to grab the medals the first time around. It’s not super likely though as the game forces you to lose your pals every time you go to a new world. It’s not until you have completed the first 4 worlds that you keep your full squad each time. It’s a bit of a dicey mechanic if you ask me. I always feel like grabbing collectibles should be completely optional. Ah well, I wouldn’t say it’s incredibly long or anything like that I guess. At the end of the day the controls are what hold this one back a bit.

The game starts with Kirby trying to enjoy a normal day but getting attacked by a mysterious villain. Kirby has now been split into 10 different mini Kirbys. He will need to regain the scepter and stop the forces of evil in order to emerge as the one true Kirby once more. Is that even possible? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure, Kirby won’t rest until he saves the galaxy once more. While I may write Kirby up to be more heroic than he is, the guy always does have a knack for saving the world at the end of the day and that’s what counts. He’s a guy that you can count on to get the job done. Without Kirby the heroes would definitely have been doomed in this world.

The gameplay is very stylus centered as I referenced earlier. This isn’t your classic Kirby platformer. In fact, you can’t even move without the stylus. How it works is you tap wherever on the screen you want your Kirbys to run to. They follow the stylus and will collect anything that is in their path. To attack an enemy you just tap the enemy and they will do the rest. The more Kirbys you have on your squad, the easier it will be for them to clean shop and take these guys down. 10 is the maximum amount of Kirbys you can have at once. With them at the ready you can activate a lot of different mechanisms in the levels and really have your pick of how you want to complete some levels.

There are around 3-5 medals in each level. You only need to care about the rainbow ones. Those are absolutely critical to getting the final world unlocked so pick up as many of them as you can. You’ll be happy you did this up front so that you don’t have to replay too many levels. It’s also worth noting that obtaining medals unlocks more minigames so those might be something you’ll want to check out. It does help the replay value. If you take away the replaying levels part then this game is probably around 7 hours or so. Throw in the replays and I’d say that this extends the game to around 10-11 hours easy. It’s forced replay value though so it’s not as helpful to your enjoyment of the game as you might think.

I also couldn’t get around the controls even by the end of the game. Why would you have your character controlled by the stylus? It’s way more fulfilling to just control the character yourself. At least, that’s the way I see it for sure. I like to just be able to move the characters and things are a lot more entertaining that way. The characters don’t always respond very well either which leads to some extra deaths that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. At least the game gives you a chance to save them. When a Kirby gets hit, they turn into a ghost and you can use another Kirby to grab them and bring them back to Earth. If that happens then you keep the Kirby. If the Kirby goes away then you lose him until you earn 100 fruits again to get a new one. Obtaining a new Kirby doesn’t take too long but since they’re crucial to obtaining some of the Rainbow Medals you want to take good care of them.

The graphics are pretty solid. This game holds up with the rest in that respect. The level designs are fun and all of the worlds do feel different. I’d say it’s fair to make the case that a lot of effort was put into the game. It’s certainly not a cash-in or anything like that. This game did try its best. Then we’ve also got a solid soundtrack filled with a lot of solid Kirby tunes. I’d say that some are new, some are old, and some are remixes which is a pretty solid balance. I’m not the biggest Kirby fan though so I’m not 100% sure on the music balances.

The bosses are pretty fun and they’re all fairly unique. They have different attack patterns and things like that. The only problem is that due to the way the controls are, it barely matters. No matter how they play, your controls are the same. You just tap the Kirbys onto them and that’s it. Because of that, the best boss is probably one who fades into the background so you have to attack him by jumping into barrels as if this was a DK country game. It was a solid boss fight that tests your reaction times and makes for a satisfying victory once you do manage to win. This game is also a little more difficult than the average Kirby game I should mention. It’s not particularly hard next to the average game but definitely way more intricate than the typical Kirby experience.

Overall, Kirby Mass Attack is a pretty decent game, but one that is limited by some of the choices the developers made. The main two things holding the game back are the controls and the fact that you have to go back to get the Rainbow Medals. The latter decision is particularly the one that really doesn’t help things out. It’s just not something the game should have done. It only hurts the game by a star though. Ultimately if you can find a good price for it then I would still recommend Mass Attack. It’s definitely a unique Kirby game and it has a real story as well so that’s always fun.

Overall 6/10

Super Metroid Review


It’s time to take a look at the next Metroid title. It feels good to have finally knocked all of these titles out of the way. I was not a big fan of the first two titles in the series that’s for sure. This third one is considerably better than the first two. It’s still not good enough where I would have been a big fan of the series back in the day but the improvements are quite massive so you can tell that a lot of effort was put into this one. My main issues with the first two games were definitively resolved here.

The game starts off with your ship crashing which was pretty intense. You now have to travel the planet and slay all of the big monsters in order to find the Metroid that you saved from game 2. I like the idea that there is some real continuity here and you also have an opening skirmish with Ridley as he kidnaps the Metroid. The stakes are high and it’s also personal now. Fortunately Samus is ready for the adventure and as soon as she grabs all of the scattered power ups in the world then she will really be ready to take the fight to the dragon.

Here’s the biggest improvement that Super Metroid made, we finally have a true map system! You add to the map as you walk around and if you find the map station in the world then you will unlock the whole area at once. It really makes a world of difference to actually know where you are instead of guessing. You are still responsible for finding all of the secret passages on your own of course but since you have something to go on that makes it a lot easier. When you had to blindly guess you could be stuck for hours just wandering the dark caverns. I couldn’t ask for much more out of a map system than what we have here. Mind you, the game is still pretty tricky with how it hides power ups and such though. You’ll still have to go through a lot of trial and error here so don’t expect to beat the game very quickly.

It took me around 8 hours so even though the speed runners tend to beat this very quickly, I wouldn’t expect to complete the game much quicker than that on your first shot. The gameplay is that of a 2D platformer. You can run, jump, and shoot as you go through the levels. You will also obtain more and more skills are you go through the game like bombs while rolling, missiles, and even x ray vision. They help a lot in the platforming efforts. It seems like the x ray vision is the only one that’s not mandatory but you absolutely need the bombs and missiles if you want to clear the game.

One nice thing about the setup is that it does feel very satisfying when you finally get the next power up. You’ve suddenly opened up a whole new range of possibilities for yourself which is always good. It may not be fun to be stuck for a while but it’s a whole lot more enjoyable than the last few games where it would feel purely annoying. I think a good deal of this is due to 3 main factors even aside from the map. The first is that we have more of a real story here. I’m not going to say that the first two games didn’t have a basic plot, but this one has more of a narrative. You have to save the baby Metroid you rescued in the second game. Right away that makes the stakes much more personal than in the first two games so you’re willing to do what you have to in order to win.

Next, the graphics are worlds improved from the last two games. This really wouldn’t look bad on the N64. The graphics are quite solid for sprites. They’re very bright and there’s a lot of details in everything that’s going on. I was pretty impressed at least. Finally, you’ve got the soundtrack as well. A lot of the themes in this game would go on to become quite iconic. The game starts you off with some pretty ominous music and it just keeps on going as you go through the film. It really makes this feel like a very legitimate Metroid experience and one that is not dated. There may not really be any replay value after beating the game but the campaign is long enough where that’s not a problem.

The gameplay is smooth and the technicals are on point. The only thing keeping this game from being higher is that there is a lot of backtracking and it can get dull after a while. If you don’t know where to go next then you have to explore the darker parts of the map. Pick the wrong one and it could take 15-20 minutes to get back to where you were and try another route. I would have liked some kind of fast travel option in this game. I think that would have been a fantastic quality of life upgrade that would have made the game a lot more fun. Make it like Breath of the Wild where you can only go to places you have been. It stays fair while also keeping you engaged the whole time.

Overall, Super Metroid is definitely a big improvement and I would call it the first quite solid Metroid game. The series would only go on to bigger and better things from here like Zero Mission and Fusion. It’s been a very long time since we had a Metroid platformer so I’d be up for that returning at some point. I feel like this franchise has a ton of untapped potential and it shows. Even in Super Smash we still only have 3 reps from the series despite it being about as old as the Legend of Zelda and Mario. What we need is a big budget Metroid game that introduces a lot of new characters. I’ll definitely be there ready and waiting for when that day finally does come.

Overall 6/10

Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce Review


It’s time to look at a Dynasty Warriors spinoff. The concept behind this is pretty interesting. What if you took the usual Dynasty Warriors setting and then added a bunch of supernatural elements to it. I’m talking full dragons, super forms flight, energy blasts, etc. It’s definitely going in a different direction here. You’ve also got a few different crossover missions you can tackle and even a whole new section after the credits. Unfortunately a game is only as good as its gameplay and that’s where this one faltered. It was ultimately unable to live up to its true potential.

The story follows the same plot as the rest of the Dynasty Warrior games. You are tasked with uniting the kingdom under your rule using whatever tactics you need too in order to do this. I went with the classic Team Wu of course since those guys are always pretty neat. From there you’re off to the races. The game has 5 main chapters which each tend to have around 7-10 levels in them. After the credits you unlock a 6th chapter which which I would assume probably has another 5-7 levels in it but hard to say. Looks like you need to beat at least some of the request levels before you can tackle the story one. Not sure I’m a fan of that concept but it applies to the other chapters as well so the game is consistent.

As mentioned, my main gripe here is with the gameplay. Gone are the classic beat em up controls where you would go around and take down whole armies. This one plays out more like a mobile title as you have to take down enemies in small locations. Once you beat all of the enemies in one square then you can go into another room. Mind you, you don’t have to always beat everyone in the room. It depends on the mission and sometimes you can bypass rooms all together. I’m not sure if this would be a different genre or still just called your usual beat em up. There’s a lot more platforming in this game to be sure though as you have to jump around a lot and dodge the water. No swimming in this game.

The enemies are all pretty difficult including the minions. They’ll readily interrupt any kind of combo you try to use. The minions in level 1 have a higher A.I. than the minions in the final levels of the main games. So that’s pretty impressive but when you couple it with how unrefined the gameplay is then what you get is a scenario where you’re never actually able to cut loose. Everything you try to do is interrupted by the opponent without missing a beat. It makes the combat not very satisfying at all. You don’t even have a parry system or anything like that to stop them. You just have to eat the damage or waste a super. Unlike the main games the minions will never drop items either so restoring health just isn’t done unless you can find the rare vases scattered around.

In the end I had to resort to some cheese tactics. I bought the best bow money could buy and loaded it up with poison orbs. Poison deals a percentage of the opponent’s health which is incredibly helpful for bosses since it effectively bypasses health. It’s also good for staying afar since going up close is just asking to be completely wrecked. I was able to buy a bow with 268 attack power at the end and that was able to get me through the end. I did need to stock up on 30 potions and 10 Max Ether type items in order to do it though. You’ll be going to the shop quite a lot to make it through.

Strikeforce has a full hub world which is different from the others as well. You are able to manage a bunch of shops in the city and you level them up after waiting a while. Time passes in the game whenever you finish a level so the quickest way to get time to go by is to start a level and immediately surrender. Rinse and repeat as you watch the levels go up. Once a level is maxed out you have to use some items to upgrade the store further. Try to have the stores to at least level 3 so you can get some good items to buy. For the weapon shop, the higher level you can get it the better. I think you can’t get the 268 bow until it’s at level 4 so keep that in mind. There’s a lot to watch out for.

If you opt to fight with a sword instead of cheesing through with an arrow then just know that you’re going to need a lot of level ups. Earning levels isn’t the easiest thing in the world but by the end of the game I was nearly at level 50 which is the max so I guess it wasn’t so bad. The first level is the easiest one to grind. Just make sure you defeat 1000 enemies there and then clear the level. If you do it on hard mode then you’ll get 1000 EXP each time you do it. Not a bad deal right? Still, I can’t really picture beating some of these guys using a sword. In particular the various dragons and monsters you fight seem like they’d be a nightmare or the levels where you have 4 bosses running at you at once. Divide and conquer is always your absolute best strategy as long as you have some items with you.

The graphics are pretty good although they’re definitely a cut under the main games. It also feels a bit lazy at times because they actually reuse animations from the older Dynasty Warrior game for the cutscenes. They actually play the same cutscene after each chapter except for the final one where we get a new one but no voice acting from the characters. For that you have to wait until the after credits scene which is admittedly pretty hype. Now that’s a good way to really get the blood pumping I’d say. The soundtrack is pretty good. Maybe not too memorable but it gets the job done.

In terms of content this game will last you a while. The story mode took me around 10 hours and I didn’t do the extra chapter at the end. Trying to beat that game should add quite a bit more time into the playthrough and same for maxing out all of the shops. Achieving 100% completion status in this game definitely would not be very easy. Still, that means it’ll be around for a while at least and the going rate is pretty low. I’m confident they would be able to improve upon this one quite a lot if we ever got a sequel.

Overall, Dynasty Warriors Strikeforce is definitely one of the weaker ones in the series. It really takes out a lot of the positive elements from the series. It’s a spinoff though so I suppose that’s the best place to test out these new gimmicks. They didn’t work out but this was the right way to do it as opposed to risking it on a main installment. If you want to see a very different kind of Warriors game then it may be worth a shot. The gameplay just isn’t all that fun to me which is unfortunate as a beat em up but it can be satisfying to finally get the feel of the bow and start launching some counter offensives of your own. I also like the whole superhero aspect they went for here with all the powers being thrown around.

Overall 6/10

Super Princess Peach Review


This game has definitely been on my list to buy for quite a long time. Well, I finally took the plunge and did it live up to the hype? Well, the gameplay is pretty solid but there are some aspects that ultimately hold it back from being nearly as good as it could have been. At the end of the day just focus on getting this at a reasonable price and you’ll be good. It’s also nice that Peach finally got her own game instead of being kidnapped this time around. It’s a nice change of pace.

The game starts with Bowser’s minions storming the castle and easily taking Mario and Luigi down. This was made possible because of a scepter they obtained that can manipulate emotions. How can the Mario bros hope to stop someone while they’re sobbing right? That’s basically the concept here and it works out quite well. They leave Peach though which proves to be a fatal miscalculation. She enlists the help of a talking umbrella and together they fight off Bowser. No road left but the one to victory. Peach is going to prove once and for all why she is the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom.

As far as original characters go the Umbrella’s not that bad but he’s very forgettable. He barely talks at all and has the same dream at the end of each chapter. That part’s a bit on the repetitive side because the scenes are just too similar. It’s like the Paper Mario Color Splash cutscenes although even those had a little more detail added to them. In this game get ready to see the same stills over and over again. At least they look decently solid I suppose.

There isn’t really a story outside of the opening and ending anyway. You’re really here for the gameplay. So part of the game plays out like your traditional Mario game although you can whack people with your umbrella. Peach also gets more abilities as the game goes on which you can buy from the shop like energy blasts and a ground pound technique. I also recommend buying the floating ability right away because it helps quite a lot with the actual platforming. It saves you a ton of time if you have this at your disposal. Be careful about going through the levels too quickly though as the game will absolutely try to penalize you for it.

That’s the main thing that holds the game back. It all goes pretty smoothly as you breeze through all of the worlds until you hit the final one. That’s when the game reveals that in order to challenge the final level you actually need to have collected all of the Toads in the game. Are they serious? Unfortunately yes. There are a ton of Toads in the game as well with 16 in each of the first 7 worlds and 15 in world 8. I skipped just about all of them initially so I had to literally replay every level. Most of the Toads aren’t really all that hidden but it’s still the concept of the thing. This turned the game into a 10 hour experience when it should have really been far lower. I never like when a game artificially extends the playtime like this and it felt pretty unnecessary. Collectibles should never be mandatory for the main ending. If you are going to go that route, then you really need to let the player know right away. This ended up shaving a full star off of the review.

The graphics are pretty solid though. It’s definitely got that Nintendo flair to it. The worlds have a lot of color and energy. As always Nintendo does a good job of making sure that each world feels very different. It makes the experience a whole lot more convincing. Unfortunately the recycled cutscene at the end of each world does make the whole thing feel a bit lazy though. It’s not really something I would expect from a Nintendo game to tell you the truth. You expect Nintendo to crank something new out each time so that was a bit disappointing. As for the soundtrack, it’s not as memorable as the big Mario games but I thought it sounded well enough. It’s just pleasant background music as you ride on through the levels.

There’s ironically not a whole lot of replay value here since the game makes you grab the collectibles anyway. Most likely the only things left might be to find a few music tracks of puzzle pieces you didn’t find over the course of exploring each level. Additionally there are a lot of things to buy in the shop but you should have finished purchasing almost everything by the time you wrapped this game up. 10 hours is a pretty solid amount of content even if it is pretty forced. Your whole perception of the game will depend on if you know about the collectibles so I recommend just trying to grab them all right off the bat.

Overall, Super Princess Peach is a fun enough game. If you like platformers then it’s worth checking out. I liked some of the new additions to the classic Mario gameplay like being able to fire off energy blasts. I was not a fan of having to grab collectibles though. That was a mistake from the game. I could do with or without the emotions system. As far as gimmicks go it’s not really in your face nor does it hamper the gameplay so I’m okay with it. I don’t think it’s all that necessary though. The game did a good job of bringing in all of the classic Mario villains so if we get a sequel someday I’d like them to continue on with that theme. There are certainly a lot of other good Mario bosses that you can bring into the mix and we already know Peach can fight thanks to Super Smash. She’s ready for some more action.

Overall 6/10

Q-YO Blaster Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10

Pac-Man Party Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 6/10