Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Review


When I play a game like Lunar: Dragon Song I figure that the days of bad gameplay mechanics are behind me. Then I play Spirit Caller and I remember that there is no end to this. Here’s the problem with Spirit Caller right off the bat, you can’t duel the person you want to without RNG and a lot of luck. That’s a big issue but I’ll go more into that in a moment. Anytime RNG dominates your game like this without a specific purpose you know that things are about to go sour and it’s just a shame.

The basic plot is that you are a new transfer student to Slifer Academy. You joined up a few days after Jaden and pals so now you will be around for the events of the TV show. I believe this covers the first two seasons. You have a fairly small map world that is divided into about 6 areas. You can jump into each area and then wander around for duels. After fulfilling specific criteria that is not mentioned anywhere in the game, you can trigger story events. Good luck triggering them without a walkthrough by the way. Keep on going until you have defeated all of the enemies.

So here’s problem number 1, at first you will just have to click on each red circle and hope it’s the right duelist. NPCs give off the same frequency as duelists so you’ll have to waste time bumping into the same guy time and time again when looking for an opponent. Also, until you register an opponent in your PDA he is completely anonymous so you may end up fighting someone you’ve already beaten. How do you get them registered? Well, you have to beat the opponent a bunch of times but there is no exact number. So just keep on defeating these guys until their icon eventually shows up over an area so you know how to avoid them.

Also, there’s a day and night system here. You only have time to check out a few spots before it goes dark and it’s time for bed. This is definitely a shame since you may want to play more than that. The whole day and night system is always really bad if you ask me. Particularly as there seems to be no point to it here. The amount of days and nights are endless anyway and the only difference is that once a week or every other week you have to do a test that has no impact on the story or on your stats anyway.

Some story events also take a really long time to trigger. For example, one event was I needed to just keep going to sleep until Jaden randomly wakes me up for a duel. The problem is that it took several cycles before he did that and there’s no way to speed up the time except to keep on visiting areas over and over again. The quickest way is to pick an empty area and then another one across town. It’s all rather tedious though.

So those are my main issues with the game. I don’t like that you have to just wait for story events to come to you or that the day will run out so you are forced into bed. Also, just let me duel whoever I want instead of having to search the forest to fight a random opponent. It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The World Championship games may not usually have a plot but at least you can jump in and duel whoever you want whenever you want. Now isn’t that a much more balanced system? I would certainly say it is.

The actual gameplay is good though. The duels go very smoothly with fast loading times and a lot of interesting decks. Some Yugioh games suffer from being a little slow but this isn’t one of them so that’s good. I think you can definitely have a good time with this if you focus on the duels. The problem is that there are other Yugioh games which can give you a similar experience with less hassle. Still, at least it’s an incentive to buy the game since the gameplay is at least good which is important..

It’s hard to say how long the game is, but at my current pace it would easily take around 30+ hours I would say. It’ll take you a long while to earn up enough money to buy all of the best cards as well and you will need that if you want to take on the future duelists who will appear. Also, EXP allows you to level up which includes more card packs and dueling opportunities so it’s important to keep battling as much as possible. There is definitely a lot of content here.

At least you can expect to have a true challenge here. The game starts you off with a truly terrible deck and since buying new cards comes down to luck you will definitely be held back for a while before you can get a really solid deck. Once you do though, then the sky’s the limit. Creating and managing your deck is one of the most enjoyable parts of Yugioh after all since you get the satisfaction of really getting to build from scratch and knowing that each card was carefully placed into the mix. That is definitely the way to go.

Overall, Spirit caller is one of those games that tried to get a little too fancy for its own good. As a Yugioh game all this title needed to do was supply the duels and give a fun plot/story to work off of. That’s really it. Just have a nice hub world to walk around or put it in an arcade mode kind of setting. The whole time system and constant RNG have no place here. Think about it, you’re already going to be using a lot of RNG for the actual duels so do we need it in the hub world as well? I would say definitely not personally.

Overall 6/10

Wario World Review


Wario World is one of those games that I had been meaning to get for a very long time. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience this platformer in all its glory? Well, I can see why it never got big. It’s a good game, but it’s not a very good one. It makes some key errors in gameplay and level design that hold it back. It’s also worth mentioning that the game is quite short which is definitely not a good thing. You’d expect it to be a little longer.

The basic plot is that Wario was enjoying his riches when a dark star arrives which blows the whole thing up. Wario now needs to reunite the 4 keys in order to open up a Treasure Chest and then take the star down for good. Can Wario really manage to pull this off though or is he going to need to call in Mario to end things before it gets too serious? One thing’s for sure, he is going to make sure to grab a whole lot of treasure on the way.

There are 4 worlds in the game and each one has 2 levels and then a boss. Right away you can see how this would be shorter than the average game because that’s not really a whole lot of levels to get through. You can blast through that with ease. The individual levels are longer than the average platformer but it’s still not quite enough to completely balance things out.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer. You can punch enemies out or slam into them. Additionally you can pick them up after stunning an enemy and throw them into something else. The goal of each level is to grab some red gems which can be found in trap doors where you have to solve a puzzle. How many crystals you need definitely varies but on average you want to have around 5-6. Just don’t skip any trap doors and you’re good. If the trap door is glowing then that means there is a crystal in there.

Make sure you go through the trap doors that have a closed door symbol on them. Initially I didn’t go through them since it didn’t seem necessary but I found out the hard way that you need those as well. In order to enter those you need to ground pound while holding an enemy and then you are able to get in. At the end of each level is a boss so make sure you go for their weak points. The little guys you rescue during each level will give you hints on how to beat the boss. How many of them you collect also determined how your ending plays out in the game so it’s something to consider. It seems like I got the second best ending which is pretty nice.

The gameplay is decently solid although the controls definitely feel a lot more slippery than the average Mario game. Some of the jumps can be tougher than they look as a result. I liked the combat aspects of it though. Being able to punch out your enemies is pretty nice and feels like something Wario would do. I didn’t appreciate the fact that you have to collect gems though. One thing I’ve never liked is when you have to collect things because it just doesn’t feel right to me. Can’t I just breeze through the levels at my leisure?

Meanwhile the graphics are good. It definitely has that retro Gamecube feel which is always so amazing. No other console has managed to hit with quite the same level of emotional value. The boss designs are also pretty intense like the guy who looks like DK. Now there’s a power hitter if I’ve ever seen one before. He had to be a homage to DK just like we had a boss later who was like King K Rool. The designs were definitely on point.

As for the soundtrack, it’s like a Bizarro version of the Mario themes. You have Wario doing his best to make the themes sound like the classic tunes but it doesn’t really work. His singing voice simply isn’t up to par and neither are the stage instrumental themes. Ultimately this definitely isn’t one of the game’s strengths. As for replay value, at least there is some of that I suppose. You can go back to try and grab all of the upgrades and collectibles. Only issue is that aside from the ending which is less than 30 seconds anyway, there isn’t much of an incentive to doing that beyond just a general feeling that you 100% completed the game. Maybe that’s all you need I guess. So if you really like the game then it’s an added bonus.

Overall, Wario World is a good game but you can tell the studio hadn’t quite found their footing on this one yet. It feels like there are just a lot of chinks in the armor that still need to be straightened out. It had a lot of potential but as a result this title can’t beat the average platformer. Right now the going price for this game is around 70-80 bucks so I would not recommend it for that price. Even if just because the game is so short. If you find it for a good price though then it’s worth a look as such an old school title.

Overall 6/10

ABZÛ Review


Abzu is one of those games where you’re going to be doing a lot of exploring. The very premise of the game is effectively that you are underwater and just trying to have a good time. Unfortunately as things go on you can expect to face off against some powerful foes and this may be a deadlier swim than you had ever intended. The fact that the game has some lore and a bit of a story is always a nice bonus. The game isn’t very long but the time could definitely end up extending if you get lost or something which is very easy since there is no map.

The first half of the game is really focused on just swimming around but there is usually a general pattern. You have to find a way to power up the two chains leading into the main statue. To do this, you will have to usually find either a generator to turn on or have your robot blast through something. Your little drone robots are incredibly handy I should add so if you find one on the ground, make sure to pick it up. That being said, I think it may be mandatory anyway so you’ll find yourself doing that at some point.

The only active button you need to use in the game is the square button which allows you to interact with objects. This is how you progress items and get farther in the game. If you see an orange triangle show up anywhere then you have found exactly what you were looking for. That is your ticket. There are also meditation zones where you can space out for a while. It’s an interesting concept to be sure but….I don’t think you really need to worry about that one for too long outside of trophies.

The soundtrack is fairly mild here as it’s going for a very laidback array of music where you don’t even notice it half the time. I’d love some more rock themes or something of course but I do get why they didn’t go that way. The graphics are good. They don’t look quite as solid as the Thumper levels of course but all things considered I think they did a good job here. The explosions from the enemy squares were also good.

The second half of the game definitely picks up in the excitement factor since we get some actual action scenes and a sense of danger. It’s still nothing too high end of course as the focus is ultimately on exploration but it was a nice way to make things more interesting. There are a lot of paintings to establish some kind of lore and my personal guess is that humanity was wiped out by these robotic aliens. The main character managed to escape but he’s just not sure what to do anymore. That’s why he’s wondering around all over the place. I assume perhaps he has amnesia or something like that which I think would make sense in the context of the story.

I’ll definitely give Abzu credit for having large levels though. Part of why you can get lost in the first place is because the levels are absolutely massive. You can just be running around for ages and ages as you get used to the place. While you are in the water for 99% of the game, there are brief moments where you get to go on land. That was definitely fun and I wouldn’t have minded more sections like that. Land based movement is ultimately still the best if you ask me although 3D flying comes at a close second. Being able to do both kinds of movement like in Superman for Gamecube is ideal.

Overall, Abzu is a very low key game. My first impressions of it weren’t great but the game did soften me up as it went along. It ultimately became a game that could stand up on its own. Slowly but surely it got more interesting and that’s a good way to go out. Better to have an unimpressive opening and a solid ending than vice versa. Things got a little dicey for a minute there when it seemed like something was going to happen to the Shark but fortunately that was not the case. It’s not really the kind of game I would go out of my way to buy personally, but when it’s free like this I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. If you’re up for a game about exploring then this is as good a title as any to check out. That said, if you want something that’s a lot more plot focused involving water then you’re going to want to check out Super Mario Sunshine which to this day may be the definitive water based game.

Overall 6/10

Doomsday Warrior Review


The SNES certainly had quite a few fighting games back in the day. Doomsday Warrior is one of those titles that you probably won’t remember for very long because it doesn’t do a whole lot to stand out. I’ll give it props for having a real story though so you at least have a little something aside from the actual combat. The game is also a lot more difficult than you would first suspect as well. It’ll take a lot of fundamentals to complete the game. Still, it’s a good game in the end and worth playing through.

You get to choose from several different characters. I picked the one who looked the most like he would be the lead. Then like in a Mega Man game you choose who you will want to fight. After you beat the main 8 enemies that’s where things get interesting. You get to fight a dark version of yourself as well as two cosmic beings. Then you face off with the final boss who suspiciously looks like he may be your father. That leads to a solid epilogue. So the story is rather good. It’s basic of course and there aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes but I don’t expect you would have really been thinking it would be more than that. For its time and given the genre I was pretty satisfied with this. The climax actually felt like a real one you could see in an RPG.

The gameplay is a bit of a weak link for the game though and that’s not good when you’re a fighting game. I would say the main issue is just that it is not very inspired. The attacks are all rather cookie cutter and plain. There isn’t anything that really helps this game stand out. Part of the difficulty is also in the fact that the attacks have a very short range and the computer is always able to jump in and land the right blow at the right time. Short of stopping time and freezing them in each encounter you won’t be able to do a whole lot. Some characters at least have one basic special move though which I appreciate. It at least spices things up a little bit. Maybe making the gameplay a little faster would have helped too. At the end of the day all I can say is that it didn’t click as well as you would expect.

I still enjoyed the style but as it felt weaker that is the main thing that kept this game from getting the solid 7. Additionally I wouldn’t say the replay value is incredibly high. You can beat the game as the rest of the characters I suppose which should be pretty fun in itself but I’m not sure if that would be quite enough to push it into the next tier. Most likely after you complete the game with one character you will be ready to call it a day and move onto the next game.

As for the graphics, those are fairly decent. The illustrations at the end of the game have good art which is nice. In the actual gameplay there isn’t a ton of detail but what we have there looks good. The soundtrack is a little forgettable but it’s not bad. That’s really what describes most of the game. It’s not bad and it is good in the end but it just doesn’t stick out. Only being good when there are so many other fighting games to try out is a pretty dangerous spot to be in. You really need to stick out at this point.

Overall, Doomsday Warrior is a good fighting game, but one that won’t last you a whole lot of time. The character roster is fairly small and there isn’t a whole lot of reason to go back and replay the game more than once. I will say that the characters had fun designs though. One of them reminded me of Chaos Zero from Sonic. These guys all feel rather different which is especially important if the game only has a handful of characters to choose from. If you have the Switch Online service then I would recommend checking this game out. If you don’t have it then I would say that it’s probably time to keep moving. This isn’t the kind of game you would buy a whole service for. I do think there’s a lot of potential here for a remake or a film someday. The core plot seems interesting and any action plot that involves robots, aliens, and monsters has to have potential.

Overall 6/10

Fire ‘n Ice Review


It’s always fun when the Nintendo Switch Online adds some more games to the service. It’s at a pretty slow feed at the moment but each new game tells a story. This one is apparently a prequel/sequel (Seems to be debates on this) to Solomon’s Key which is neat. I’m not sure why the name was changed for the American version. Needless to say the gameplay is pretty much the same as the original only this time there is an emphasis on a fire vs ice theme. This was pretty nice to see as those two elements are naturally polar opposites and work well against each other.

The game starts with the kingdom calling you in need of some services. Every capable warrior in the kingdom answers the summons but ultimately they choose a magician in training as their chosen fighter. You will have to use your magic scepter to conjure up ice blocks and vanquish the fire monsters in your path. Doing so will allow you to ascend to the next limit of your abilities. More importantly, it will keep the kingdom safe. That’s the general formula of the game. There are 9-10 worlds which each have 10 levels in them. Clearing them all will result in your clearing the game.

The controls are very simple. You can move from left to right and conjure up ice blocks that are one square down and to the left/right of you. You can also cause them to vanish. Additionally you can push individual ice cubes into the enemies in order to take them down. The goal of each level is to take down all of the fireballs. The initial levels are a walk in the park of course but then the difficulty really expands. I was able to beat all of the levels to the first two worlds with ease but world 3 got tricky. I beat around half of those levels and then settled for beating the first level of the remaining worlds. I didn’t go any farther than that.

The difficulty is certainly real and that means if you decide to play this game to the end you will really have to think each puzzle through. There are no easy answers here. You must have a great amount of determination and fire to get to the end. If you can pull this off then my hat’s definitely off to you. The fact that the controls are so simple is also what makes the game impressive because these puzzles are crafted really well in spite of this. It never feels unfair because you know the full extent of the controls from the start. There are no hidden secrets or anything. You just have to think things through rationally in order to proceed.

Graphically the game holds up well. I was happy to see that we had some real cutscenes here. I don’t believe the original game had anything like that so this was cool. Additionally the hub world is great. You have the tree from the Kirby games and the Power Star from Mario. It made you feel like this game was actually part of some secret crossover. The main villain also has a pretty decent design. Ultimately this game looks a whole lot more like a SNES title than a NES one so major kudos to the developers on this. The soundtrack is more on the bland side though. You may even forget it is there while playing through the game because of how subtle it is. That may be intentional but I’d like for the game to have had a little more pop personally.

It’s hard to say how long the game is since it heavily depends on how well you do at the puzzles. With roughly 100 puzzles in the game I went to say this should take you around 3-4 hors to clear the whole thing. If you do 1 world an hour then I guess it would be 10 which would also be very impressive to be sure. Most NES games can’t even come close to touching that level of time. I’m not always a big fan of puzzle games as I tend to have my qualms with the execution but I have nothing bad to say about this one’s. My only thing is it can be a bit repetitive and without a stronger plot it would be hard to incentivize me to play through the whole thing.

Overall, Fire n Ice is definitely a good game. With the entire game being focused on the puzzles it is possible that you could grow bored at some points through. It’s impassive the way the game was developed and the difficulty is legitimate, however you may find yourself just wanting something more by the end. Keeping yourself to 1 world a batch would probably be the easiest way to get through this. If you already have the Switch Online then this is a good title to add to your collection. You’ll be one step closer to having played all of the games on the collection. Hopefully soon we get either some bigger games (If there are any left) or we finally enter the next console. I think it’s about time Game Boy and Gamecube get to jump in.

Overall 6/10

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review


Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Legend of Zelda title. It’s far different from most of the ones that come out. I would say it’s closest to Four Swords in terms of gameplay. You’ve got the classic overhead view back but this time you’re controlling 3 Links. It is held back to an extent though in how much this is built for multiple people to play it as opposed to a 1 player experience. It also ramps up the difficulty levels quite a bit to the point where this is one of the few games that took me longer to complete than the average time from the Howlongtobeat site.

The story this time revolves around a princess who is so beautiful that she ends up being cursed by another person who is jealous. She is now forced to wear a skintight suit at all times so she can no longer put on the fancy dresses she once had. A kid is instructed to destroy the monsters in 8 key worlds and break the curse on the Princess. He dons the name of Link as well as the classic gear and gets ready to accomplish this. Can Link really save the day or is he ultimately doomed to be crushed here?

Interestingly both Zelda and Ganondorf don’t appear in this game. I’m surprised they didn’t just make Zelda the princess but that’s probably for the best because I can’t really picture her just taking the curse sitting down like this. It was a good move not to make her the damsel but it would have been fun to maybe see Zelda appear as a supporting character. I was also waiting for the big twist that Ganondorf was the big villain all along but that one didn’t actually end up panning out. The actual villain who doesn’t even have a true name beyond “The Lady” is decent at best. She is a little on the petty side since the whole reason she did this is because she’s jealous of the princess. It’s not exactly the best motive.

Her role is also small but that’s the way the story is in general. You can go through the game without seeing much of the story at all. See, there are 8 worlds to complete and each world has 4 levels. Each level has 4 sections in it. You can clear all of these in one shot or break them up as much as you want. if you turn the game off after any world or leave the room then you’ll get a quick cutscene of encouragement from the King or some information from the wardrobe owner. However, if you just beat the game right up front then you won’t get these cutscenes and instead will get a lot of them back to back at the end. That’s what happened to me and it’s an odd tactic.

I feel like the plot was thrown together more as a formality but the game didn’t actually care about it all that much. As for the gameplay, it’s fairly basic. You have to get to the end of each area by solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. You can move and swing your sword as well as using a power up specific to the level. You will need to use multiple Links to clear these levels as well like throwing Links onto higher levels or holding them up so they can slice away at enemies who are too tall to be hit normally. That’s the way to clear a lot of the puzzles since the multi links is a big part of the game’s theme.

Here’s the thing though, if you’re playing multiplayer then everyone controls a Link. In one player mode the other two are Totems so they can’t move or do anything. You have to constantly switch between them to solve the puzzles on your own which takes a lot of extra time. Additionally for bosses where you have to distract them with one Link and attack with another, it can be tough to switch that quickly. So the game is absolutely meant for multiplayer. If the other Links would move on their own as A.I. or something I think that would be a lot better. That could potentially work. Like this it can get a bit rough although the challenge was fun.

The game flies by pretty quickly. It took me a little over 8 hours to conquer it so around 1 hour a world. Part of that is just because the levels can be tricky though as they are usually pretty short otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game allows you to skip levels as well by using the fairy. Each level has 4 areas as I mentioned and you get 3 skips for each level. So what you can do is clear area 1 and then skip the rest of the level. If you do this then you only have to clear 32 areas in the game or effectively just 8 levels. It’s definitely an effective way to speedblitz the game but at that point are you really getting the full experience? It seems like it wouldn’t be all that worth it but at the same time if you have a level that’s particularly annoying at least you have it as an option I guess.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s going for a pretty retro look here but everything does appear to be in HD with a lot of detail. The art style is charming and definitely gets you into the flow of the game. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It may not have the iconic theme you would expect to walk away with but it does have that classic LoZ charm to be sure. The boss theme would probably be the most memorable one if I had to choose one theme to walk away with.

As for replay value, there is definitely more to do here. For starters you can go back to the levels you completed and clear the Challenger Mode. Each level essentially has another version to play so that could last you another 8 hours. You can also try to obtain all of the clothes from the shop. I didn’t explore the hub world much at all but there is also an items shop which I could see being pretty handy. All in all I wouldn’t call it a ton of replay value but the content is absolutely there. The going price nowadays is also very low so that helps make this a bargain as well.

Overall, Tri Force Heroes is a good game. It can be a bit repetitive due to the puzzle style it has. You will be doing the same actions over and over a lot of the time which can get a bit dull so you don’t want to play this in super large batches. The fact that the game is really built around being a multiplayer experience also makes things feel a little clunky at times. Still, at the end of the day I would recommend this game if you like LoZ. It’s not quite up to the standard of the main games but as a spinoff it does accomplish its duty of being a game you can rally behind and to see the classic characters one last time.

Overall 6/10

Hey Punk! Are You Tuff E Nuff? Review


It’s time to look at a pretty old fighting game. The title is definitely pretty intense and right away you know that you’re in for a very intense mano a mano affair. As far as these retro games go I would say it’s pretty solid. It’s a fighting game so you can’t really go wrong there. Naturally this is the kind of game that is a whole lot better in multiplayer but arcade mode still hits all of the right notes. I don’t see you playing this over any of the new ones but since it’s free with the Switch Online that’s a plus.

The game starts with letting you pick a character and from there it’s off to the races. The gameplay is very basic with your average punch and kick moves. You also have some special abilities but those are hard to use of course. The whole thing is pretty basic and I definitely wouldn’t say that it’s very ambitious. Still, the A.I. can definitely give you a lot of trouble here so have the rewind button at the ready. You’re going to be getting a lot of use out of it here as things would be a little trouble without it.

Due to the nature of the game though there really isn’t a ton to say about it. You’ll be done with the Arcade Mode very quickly and then there’s nothing else to do aside from playing through it again and again or going into versus mode. To an extent that is true of most fighting games I suppose but with the modern ones at least you have more stat keeping or modern graphics to keep you going. At least individual character stories but this one doesn’t really have much of that.

I’d say that the graphics look pretty decent though. It’s a SNES game that had a good amount of effort put into it. The soundtrack isn’t bad either. The whole thing is a little on the basic side make no mistake about that but you’ll have a little fun here. I guess trying out all of the characters would be a good way to extend the time at least a little bit. That way you’ll also pick up on the controls. At an intro level I would at least recommend not blocking enough. The A.I. always figures out how to beat your block anyway so you’re better off just going on the attack and completely overwhelming them. Then maybe you can deal out enough damage to win. If you can find a consistent 1-2 hit combo that should be good enough to get you going. Don’t worry about doing anything beyond that. If there are even combos beyond 2 hits because I certainly couldn’t find any.

The computer definitely had a way of making every hit connect though. Maybe there are some advanced L cancelling techniques like in Melee over here. It would explain why the enemy was always moving super fast like the wind and being in all of the right spots at the right times. No matter what you would do the enemy would be ready and waiting to counter strike. I would say that they can read your inputs but I’m not sure if that was a thing back then. They just have really solid fundamentals all the way around.

Overall, Are You Tuff E Nuff is a very direct title for what is a very direct game. It’s simply a fighting game where you match your skills against someone else. There is nothing more to it and I don’t expect the game was trying to have anything more than that. The cover art is definitely one that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon though. The whole art style is just very intense and it’d be fun if the actual graphics in game were like that too. Of course that probably wouldn’t have been possible until at least N64. If you have the Switch Online then I would recommend at least giving this one a shot. A modern day remake of it would definitely be pretty fun though.

Overall 6/10

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Review


Now it’s time to look at the Prisoner of Azkaban. This Harry Potter game changes things up quite a bit from the first two. For starters the animation has changed entirely. The same is true for the voices and even the gameplay is a bit different. This one is going for more of a teamwork angle sort of like Sonic Heroes. Unfortunately this is easily the weakest Harry Potter game. It feels the last story based as the game spams you with dungeons and the gameplay isn’t nearly as smooth. Still, a decent game but not on the same level as the others.

Harry is back in Hogwarts and he is determined to have a good time. He’s an expert Quidditch player after all and his friend Hagrid is finally getting to teach a class. Everything is going well until Draco spreads word around that Hagrid’s pet is dangerous. Now the pet is slated to be executed and there doesn’t seem to be a way to stop this. Harry and his friends will have to think fast in order to stop this. Meanwhile they have to go through a bunch of dungeons in order to earn new spells.

The game is absolutely not playing when it comes to the dungeons. They’re just everywhere and around every corner. No matter where you look there are more dungeons at the ready. Each one has a bunch of puzzles so the game was really trying to channel its inner Legend of Zelda. It’s certainly a worthy attempt I will grant them that. The puzzles aren’t all that bad but it just feels like the game is stalling quite a lot. You go large portions of the game without a lot of big story developments and then suddenly the narrator will show up and fast forward the story for you. A lot of it is told through exposition instead of your actually getting to experience it. In my mind this is definitely a mistake.

Unfortunately the controls are back to being very sluggish again as well. They don’t respond to you very well. In particular turning can be quite the challenge. You just don’t go where you want to go which is pretty tough. It’s often easier to run off into the distance and then return because a simple turn is just that broken. Likewise with aiming as you’ll often shoot straight into the dirt instead of at an enemy. Additionally when you defeat an enemy instead of locking onto the next one as you would expect, the character just loses the lock entirely which is pretty unfortunate.

The graphics are a big step down as noted with the animation change earlier. The character designs just aren’t on point now and the whole thing looks pretty low quality. In general this game just feels like it’s a true tie-in as opposed to being a classic platformer that just happens to be based on the movie. There’s a world of difference between the two styles. At the same time it’s not enough for me to call this a bad game. It’s just inconvenient a lot of the time but not bad.

For example, this is the first game where you can play as Hermione and Ron as well. The issue is that doing all 3 characters can still only equip 2 spells and they all know around 4. Most of the spells are unique to each character as well so there’s a lot of switching and pausing going around which means double the interruptions from gameplay. There should be a much more intuitive way to switch out spells than by going through all of these steps. It just doesn’t feel quite right.

The game also adds a lot of new stealth levels to the mix. I think the developers were likely proud of how well it came out with how frequently they appear but it’s not a good match with the dicey gameplay. If the trolls or prefects see you then unlike the last game where you start from the beginning of the room, you’re actually booted out entirely so you have to enter again. Have I mentioned that whenever you enter a room there is a long loading sequence? Each room has to be loaded for some reason. The stealth levels could have been a little better if not for that but it definitely ended up hurting the experience.

In terms of length I would say this game is also around 6-7 hours long. I’m sure you could beat it quicker if you put your mind to it though. For replay value there are some cards to grab I suppose. I think if you get enough of them you may get some extra health but it’s not like it’ll be very useful to you by then since you’ll have already beaten the game. I’ll give this one kudos for actually coming up with a fishing minigame as well. It’s not very fun or anything like that but the more content the better. The team mechanics also could have been fun if they had been smoother. Perhaps upgrading the A.I. so the partners actually follow you without you having to call them at times. Sometimes you have to wait way too long for them to arrive. I got stuck/lost in the courtyard for a super long amount of time before the gang finally caught up to me.

Overall, The Prisoner of Azkaban is more interested in throwing you into long dungeons than actually following the story. The whole thing is really glossed over by the end. Even all of the Quidditch matches are played off screen. I miss being able to just jump on my broom and start giving opponents the work. In this game I’m not able to do so and it just feels like a missed opportunity. I think this game would fare a little better if I didn’t play it immediately after the other two which really highlights how it couldn’t match up. It just really paled in comparison to the last two. They had a lot of heart and great gameplay mechanics at their disposal. This one never really felt natural like that. We’ll see how the Goblet of Fire performs since its turn is quickly closing in.

Overall 6/10

Digimon World 4 Review


This has been a game I had on my backburner for an incredibly long time. I remember playing this for the Gamecube so many years ago but never got past world 2. Well, I went back and played the game from start to finish. It’s a pretty fun title but I do have to say that the story was a little on the disappointing side. There are a lot of moments where the story feels like it was skipped or was off screen. There is just barely a plot holding this together so much so that when you beat the final boss the credits just roll. There’s no final cutscene or any final dialogue. The game’s just over and it shoos you away to the next one. I feel like maybe it got a bit rushed.

The basic plot of the game though is that a virus is spreading and going to destroy the entire Digital World soon. The heroes naturally have to stop this so you’re sent out to finish them all. That’s about it for the story. Go to all 4 worlds and blow up the enemy Digimon. Doing so will be a good move and you’ll also get to feel heroic so that’s not a bad deal is it? It’s what you’ve always wanted to do. While there are only 4 worlds I would say the length of the game is still pretty decent. I’d estimate about 8 hours of gameplay more or less. The difficulty of the game is definitely what could extend this one. It’s clear that the game was made with multiple fighters in mind since the game supports 4 player co-op. You can counter the fact that the EXP goes at a slow rate by overwhelming the enemies with sheer numbers. In particular I found the first and last levels to be very tough. I had to do a lot of leveling up and retries in order to clear the final hurdle.

The game has an overhead combat style similar to Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance. You can choose from a few weapons such as a sword, axe, spear, or a gun. I highly recommend the gun. Attacking with the swords is just really dangerous because of how close you have to get to the enemies and how they keep moving while you are hitting them. You get a lot of attack power from close combat weapons but I don’t think it’s really worth it. The drawbacks are still too numerous next to the gun which really has no big weakness. You can spam it from afar and that will take care of the enemies no sweat. You can hold onto 3 weapons while you’re on the field though so feel free to bring one of each.

In this game you do need to improve your weapon levels to use them though. For example, if you have a gun level of 100 you can only use guns up to that level. So you couldn’t equip a level 105 gun. Then if you only use guns your sword level will be at 1 so even if you find an amazing one it’ll take a while to use it. TO improve your weapon level you need to keep using your weapon on enemies. Pretty self explanatory eh? There’s not a whole lot to explain on it so you’ll just get it right away. One thing to note is this is one of the first RPGs I’ve played where you can’t just use weapons you pick up. So if you pick up a weapon on the field then you will need to go back to base and go to the Digi Lab in order to equip it. that means you can expect a lot of back and forth trips. Additionally, you can’t hold too many items so get ready to sell some. You can only sell items one at a time though.

I think that’s really at the heart of the issues for Digimon. The game doesn’t seem all that polished. A lot of the elements here just take up way too much time. We’re just talking about small delays but they’re actions you have to repeat over and over again so the time starts to quickly add up. This occurs whenever you need to change a weapon, equip a mod, etc. It gets to the point where you don’t want to bother with equipment all that much. Just get a good loadout and then get ready to head out. The Hub World is also quite huge with 3 different areas one of which has 2 floors. There are various shops and such to be found here so you should memorize which area has which shops early on so you don’t go to the wrong place too often.

The game is at its best when it’s focusing on the actual dungeon exploration gameplay. You take out all of the enemies in your way and evntually head to wherever the boss Digimon is. Each world has 4 dungeons in it except for the last one which has 3. The dungeons typically have scores of enemies that will try to get in your way until you meet the boss to take him out. The boss is usually a lot easier to deal with than the minions so I don’t expect you will have any real issues there. The final boss is a handful though so my recommendation is a lot of run and gun tactics. If he hits you with the thunder palm it’s game over. If he hits you with the shadow balls then it’s game over. You really can’t let him hit you at all so just keep on running. If you think you can squeeze in another attack…don’t. It’s just not worth it at that point. You want to live because dying means you have to go through the entire dungeon again which can take a little while.

Also pro-tip, don’t trust the quick save. You have the ability to use a gate card to make a shortcut deep in the dungeon that takes you home. Thing is, the shortcut expires as soon as you quit the game so if you save and exit then that’s it for that. I got burned on that once. I guess it’s meant as just something fun to have on hand for long play batches but it’s definitely not something you want to take chances with. My other tip is to really use the healing attack a lot. You cant to have it keep improving since you recover more health that way and eventually you’ll never even need to use potions. It’s a great help not having to depend on the items. You can use that space for something else.

The graphics here are pretty good. It’s definitely got that nice Gamecube feel to it and looks very nostalgic. The boss designs are on point and the stages all look pretty different. The soundtrack is fairly standard and not too memorable but it works well enough I’d say. As mentioned the game length is fairly decent. There’s not really much in the way of replay value though. I suppose you could go and learn all of the evolutions to have fun with. I believe they take you back to level 1 though and since leveling up isn’t very fast in this game I’m guessing you won’t want to put so much time into doing things all over again.

Overall, Digimon World 4 is a fun game. It’s just one that feels like it was rushed quite massively towards the end. A lot of the gameplay mechanics take longer than they should and the story was nonexistent. The actual dungeon gameplay was fun though and having to go up against such large numbers of enemies can be pretty thrilling. You know that you can’t lower your guard for an instant or it’ll be over. I also appreciate the fact that this was made as a 4 player co-op game as you don’t really see that anymore. If you want to check out a Digimon game this is a good one to get but I would sooner recommend Cyber Sleuth or Rumble Arena.

Overall 6/10

Casper: Spirit Dimensions Review


Casper is one of those characters that I don’t know nearly as well as I should. The ghost’s a bit of a mystery to be honest but I do know that he’s about as friendly a guy as you’ll ever meet. The game was sitting on my backlog for an incredibly long amount of time in part because the first few levels weren’t great and also because the old TV had a really hard time with loading up old graphics. Well, now I was finally ready to give this another go. The game isn’t very long at all and makes for a decent playthrough. I’d say the game still has some gameplay elements holding it back but you should still have a good time for a few hours until you complete it.

The game starts with Casper noticing that the house is rather empty. Wendy shows up and lets him know that a powerful being known as Kibosh has appeared and taken all of the ghosts down. Casper is the only ghost left who is not enslaved or now working for the villain. She pleads with Casper to help but the young hero is reluctant since he believes that a friendly ghost won’t be enough for this mission. He keeps bringing up the fact that he is a friendly ghost as if it was a weakness. If only he knew that this was what made him strong. Still, in the end he does decide to help. Can Casper take this guy down?

The game has 4 worlds. Most of the worlds are pretty quick. In general you can even beat the game in around 2 hours based on videos that I’ve seen. It took me considerably longer than that though, I want to say around 5 hours or so. Mainly it can always be tough to find some of the collectibles. This game is a 3D platformer but at its core a lot of emphasis is put on collecting things. Whether it’s buttons, cannons, or something like that you’ll always be trying to find something. Keep on searching long enough and eventually you will be able to get at it. Usually the final collectible is hidden in a rather unique place like through a tunnel or past a gate somewhere. So just don’t give up.

Each level has a similar formula like that. Someone will tell you to locate the 5 pieces and once you do then he’ll give you a piece of the next collectible. Once you get the rest of the items then you’ll be able to challenge the boss of that world. Most of the bosses are pretty straight forward. Just spam your energy blast and you’ll be okay. Alternately some bosses will have you focus on a weak spot first. That’s the case in the final boss. Make sure you blast at him so he drops some energy which will power Casper up and allow future blasts to hit him.

As Casper you have quite a few attacks. You can charge into enemies to deal some pretty solid damage that way. You can fire classic energy blasts, fire blasts, and ice moves. You can also use some energy to shoot a charged blast or an electric move. Then you’ve got the ability to turn intangible for a few seconds which will prevent enemies from hurting you. It’s pretty handy in the final boss but otherwise you’ll just be using this for puzzles and to find more collectibles. The fact that you can fly without any time limits is nice. It feels like a lot of games don’t let you do this so I’m glad Casper didn’t think of some crazy reason for why we wouldn’t be able to do this. It absolutely would have felt very forced, I can guarantee that.

The difficulty is pretty reasonable. I wouldn’t say the game is all that hard but you can’t be sloppy either. If you just fly into the opponents and start blasting at random then you will absolutely be defeated. You have to go in with a certain degree of caution. The best thing to do in the game is strafe around the opponents. Hold R as you move and you won’t get hit in a 1 on 1 battle. You’ll always be around the corner and that’s pretty key here. If you keep that in mind and also the bit about the collectibles then you’ll be good. Please note that if you fall into a portal during a mission then you have to start from scratch so don’t let that happen to you. I’m guessing it saves the game some memory doing this but it can be pretty easy to fall into one, that’s for sure. Slow and steady wins the race here.

There isn’t a lot of replay value though. I guess you could go back to try and gain some more gems to improve your overall completion% but I don’t see how it helps at all. There don’t appear to be any rewards for doing so which definitely seems like a mess. If you really enjoy the gameplay then it’s still something at least. The campaign is around 4-5 hours since I don’t think you’ll be able to crack all of the puzzles immediately. I certainly wasn’t able to at least. You can typically find this game for really cheap nowadays so that’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, Casper: Spirit Dimensions ended better than it began. I do think the gameplay was rather ambitious. It may not have been super polished and little things here and there like the collecting mechanics not being explained very well or the portals erasing progress can be pretty annoying but the core gameplay itself was good. Kibosh definitely made for a decent villain and I dare say that he may have been Casper’s deadliest opponent. It’s hard to top that guy at least. Make sure you stick around for the ending as well. It was definitely leading up to a sequel but I suppose we never quite got that one. Too bad, it could have been really interesting if you ask me. If you see this in stores I’d recommend checking it out if you want to play a nostalgic platformer.

Overall 6/10