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

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