6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yooka-Laylee Review


It’s time to look at a platforming game that I’ve been aware of for a pretty long time, but just hadn’t picked up til now. I have to admit that the game didn’t look/sound amazing. It seemed like it was probably going to get bogged down by puzzles and such, but the price wasn’t bad so finally I got it. It’s definitely not the best platformer and the first world is one of the worst playforming worlds I’ve ever seen. Still, after that the game got a lot better so even though I wouldn’t call it great by the end I did think that it started to redeem itself. Hopefully the sequel will start on a higher note and soar to new heights.

The plot of the game is pretty basic. Laylee’s book is stolen by Captain B. who is going to use it to rule the world. Laylee decides to ask Yooka for help and together they now need to get all of the pages for the book. Why not just get the book right away? Well, B refuses to see them until they collect at least 100 pages. Rather than question this the heroes decide to oblige. This makes them about as smart as Crash and friends which isn’t great, but at least Laylee is pretty self aware about this. Yooka should be a little worried though. So begins the plot.

There really isn’t much of a story beyond this. Still, that’s pretty expected for platformers in general. Typically you just get a very quick story like that with minimal cutscenes. In many ways this game is trying to just be a normal platformer so of course it doesn’t want to have an elaborate story. That means that the gameplay needs to hold its own. In that sense the gameplay is reasonably solid. Running around and swiping at enemies is fun and you learn a lot of handy abilities. Flying is more annoying than it should be though as the camera just keeps on shifting. Simple turns take a lot longer and more effort than you would have ever dared expect.

I think the camera can be blamed for a whole lot. Also, you’ve got the level designs which aren’t so good. The worlds are downright huge and in part that is impressive of the developers but you have to take a lot of credit away for the fact that everything looks the same. You should never get lost in a world but that will happen many times. It’s why the game got off to a really stormy start since the first world is the guiltiest in this regard. There’s also the fact that most of the pages can’t be captured yet since you don’t have the necessary powers yet. You get 2 powers in each world and then one power after each one. So the game forces you to take the path of doing every world, going to the next one, and then going back to the first world with your new powers. What I did was I got the minimum amount of pages in each world to unlock the next one, rinse and repeat. Regardless you will definitely have to go back and get more pages at some point.

I made it to the final boss level with around 50 pages so I had a whole lot to try and catch after that. Going back to the old worlds isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like being forced to do so. The page requirement for the final boss should have been considerably lower if you ask me. The final boss was pretty challenging though so the game did do a good job of making him a struggle. The boss is also pretty long since there isn’t a way to beat him much faster. You have to watch as he goes through his motions and if you lose then you have to start all over from the start. So I recommend not losing too often or the level is really going to start dragging.

One annoying part of the game is also how everyone just makes crazy noises to talk. It’s definitely a little dicey after hearing it for a super long time. It’s also pretty suspicious how everyone completely ignores Laylee. It’s almost like she was added into the game after the fact because aside from Yooka none of the other characters acknowledge her presence 99% of the time. It’s a shame because she gets all of the best lines in this game, but nobody reacts to her savage burns. That kind of takes away the point of her stings. She especially gets into it whenever we head to the shop owner. I guess he has to have a thick skin since he’s a professional scammer, but I wanted his conversations to be a little more interactive.

Ah well, ignoring Laylee aside I would consider the writing for this game to be really good. the script is clever and Laylee sees through all of the usual tropes and traps. Yooka is a little less aware and is basically your average protagonist. There’s nothing that separates this dinosaur from someone like Mario for example. I’d like to see Yooka get more personality in the sequel or if not then maybe it is time to join Team Yooka. Meanwhile the villains have even less character. B seems like a nice enough guy for a villain I suppose, but he is completely comic relief so it’s not like you’ll be taking him seriously. Then you’ve got his right hand man who may be more important than we could have ever guessed thanks to the ending. It’d be nice if the sequel game would expand on that, but I suppose that isn’t super likely.

There are a lot of little arcade games held within this platformer and most of those are good. They don’t have much of a middle ground though as the first ones are excellent, but too easy and then the latter ones are challenging, but way too drawn out. You just can’t win I suppose. Well, if we’re talking overall value then this game definitely does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The story will take you at least 10 hours since it forces you to grab a lot of pages. There are also a lot of trophies to nab and for the most part they’re actually pretty easy. This is definitely a Platinum that you can grab if you put your mind to it.

Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a game that gets better as you play it. The more abilities you get, the more the levels become convenient and less of a chore to travel through. This especially applies once you are able to fly as that is a true game changer all the way through. It’s always risky to make a game feel so limiting at the beginning even if it is to show you how useful the upgrades are at the end. Some games do it really well, but I wouldn’t consider this to be a great strategy either way. Still, there are enough things wrong with this game to keep it from getting the solid 7 score. The level designs aren’t good, the plot isn’t that good, and in general the game isn’t super interesting. You’ll complete the game, but then you likely won’t go through it again. It’s a solid one time playthrough so I guess you should buy it, but I’d recommend just about every other platformer first so definitely keep that in mind. I hear that a new Yooka-Laylee game is coming out so I look forward to seeing how that one stacks up.

Overall 6/10

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6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Reviews

American Chopper 2: Full Throttle Review


It’s time to look at a driving game that I’ve had on the backlog for a long time. I’ve tried playing through it several times in the past but I could never get past the first level. I’m not really sure why since when I played it this time I didn’t find the level to be challenging. Ah well, I’m guessing I just didn’t understand the objective of the game. It’s a pretty decent title, but one with no real replay value and the lack of content holds it back a star.

There is a basic plot in the game. There is a big motorcycle contest coming up and the 4 main characters each want to build a bike to win the contest. Naturally none of them get along which leads to a lot of bickering among them. This contest is the way to prove who has the best plan and strategy towards winning. Will it really be that simple though? There are little cutscenes before most of the levels which is pretty fun. I like the voice acting here as all of the characters are a bit over the top with their monotone voice, but it’s really what stitches everything together quite nicely.

One thing that will take you out of the plot a bit is the fact that the final contest is apparently a team one. So this means that everyone gets to win and team up together. That kind of defeats the purpose right? At least to me it felt that way. I guess it gives us the happy ending this way though as now they all get along and look forward to the next season. I do admit that I probably wouldn’t watch this kind of show, but maybe I would pick up a sequel game if the price was right.

So for the gameplay it’s your classic driving title. You’re on a motorcycle and you either have to win a race, collect objects, or make it to a specific destination in time. You don’t have to worry about falling off the bike unlike most other game of this genre so that is appreciated. It lets you focus a little more on the actual driving and just having fun. That’s always the preferred option if you ask me. The driving is very simplistic so you should have it mastered pretty easily. The levels are never all that difficult and the only times you will have trouble is when the directions are vague.

One point against the game is the fact that you can never look at a full map. This will result in you taking the wrong path sometimes in the level and then you’ll lose. One annoying thing about how the levels are set up is that if you lose a mission in the level you have to start the whole thing from scratch. Some levels are fairly short so it’s not really an issue but others can be up to 10 minutes. You never want to have to restart such a large portion. It would have been a lot more annoying if I had actually been losing. Since I only lost a few times it wasn’t too bad, but it’s one of those design choices that I can’t say I’m a big fan of.

The graphics are definitely pretty good. It’s got that classic Gamecube feel to it which has always aged well. The character designs are on point and I like how the bikes look. Once in a while you’ll get a character model that doesn’t load in time so you have to count on your reaction times to dodge. That’s to be expected I suppose. The soundtrack is definitely not great though and the songs aren’t even properly set up to last for the whole level. As a result you’ll come across parts of a level that are completely silent which is always a bit iffy. Music should always last for as long as it needs to.

There are 24 levels in the game as each of the 4 characters gets 6. After that you will end up playing the “Final” level where you have to play as all 4 characters in the game. I’m thinking this story will take you around 2-3 hours tops so that’s not very long. After that there really isn’t anything to do. Sure, you can go back to replay the old levels again and have fun doing that, but is it really what you want to do? It’s not like you’ll be unlocking any more stages or any of that so there isn’t much point. That’s what hurts the game, there is 0 replay value so the question is simply whether you even want to buy this one when you can get Need For Speed.

Again, I do have to stress that the gameplay is pretty good. The racing controls are on point and even if the game may seem a little too easy, I do think some good work was put into the controls. The story is pretty entertaining and you’ll like all of the characters pretty well before long. It’s a quite solid game, but I just wish there was a little more to it. Throw in a map and more specific instructions and then you’d have really had a winner here.

Overall, American Chopper is definitely a pretty wholesome experience. It’s better than some of the other motorcycle games that I’ve played and I am glad that it does actually have a story. Some of the missions are so outlandish that it makes them work even more than you’d expect. You never really know what the main characters are going to do next and maybe that is how it should be. They keep you guessing all the way through even if you ultimately might end up rooting for someone else instead. Can’t root for the heroes every time right? With this game done I don’t think I’ll be playing another racing game for a bit. Then it’s probably time to delve back into the world of Need For Speed!

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 15 Review


It’s time to jump back into the world of Hockey! It’s been a long time since I’ve played a hockey game so I must warn you that I was pretty rusty. It’s definitely not my favorite sport to play, but at the same time it can be fast paced so it’s not the worst either. It’s just got a high learning curve like the FIFA titles. Fortunately this one does give you a lot of different gameplay options at the ready which I thought was pretty nice. You can play through Arcade mode or simulation style. I tried both options to make sure I was ready for the review.

So there are the usual modes here. You can play quick games, jump into a franchise, or you can have fun coaching and practicing. I jumped right into the thick of the action of course. The gameplay is pretty straight forward as it’s a 3D title and the goal is to hit the ball/puck into the opponent’s goal. Once you’ve done that then you’ll have scored a point. Whoever scores the most wins. You can switch between players and shoot, pass, and a lot of other moves. One thing I like about this game is how it embraces the combat aspect of the game. You can body slam opponents and even accept fight requests.

If you accept a fight then the two characters will line up in a boxing battle. The controls even change to that of a boxing game’s which is a pretty neat touch. I definitely enjoyed those brawls even if I was basically just button mashing at that point. I won almost all of my fights which was pretty nice. As for the overall games, I won the match on rookie level, but lost on all other difficulties. It’s similar to Soccer in how it’s almost impossible to score. Even on the easiest difficulty I was having trouble doing anything. The CPU would just run in and steal the puck from me whenever I was getting close which was pretty sad.

I feel like there are more breaks in the flow of the game than usual here though. Whenever you do something it seems like a flag comes out or the puck is stopped for icing. As a result the games can be a little on the long side. The computers never seem to make these mistakes though so it’s just something that you’ll have to get around. I suspect that it would take you a very long time to get all of the mechanics down. It helps a lot if you already watch Hockey and know the rules. If you do not, then this will be quite the experience indeed.

There are naturally a lot of PS4 trophies to grab which helps with the replay value. Prepare to sink quite a lot of time into the game if you are seriously gunning for the Platinum though. If there are any online trophies then your chances are probably 0 before you even start anyway. Then you’ve got local multiplayer so as with most sport games it basically has unlimited replay value as long as you know someone who also enjoys NHL. This may be a bit of a long shot though as I don’t imagine that there are a whole lot of people who would want to play NHL 15 when you can play one of the newer ones.

Naturally the game’s presentation is quite impressive and fires on all cylinders. You actually have live action commentators giving feedback as the match starts and then we get a nice introduction to both teams. The graphics are definitely on point and the music is pretty fitting. None of this is surprising in the slightest as EA sport games always look really great, but it’s nice to see regardless. This is the level of design that all games should strive for, especially in this day and age.

After having played more sport games I can confirm that so far the standings are Football>Tennis>Basketball>>>>Soccer>NHL>>>>MLB>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>PGA. I really enjoy playing the first 3 sports, but the other ones definitely take quite the tumble. Still, with the exception of PGA, it’s not like I would call any of them bad games. Even this one will still get a positive score. It may not be a title that I see myself ever getting back into, but there was definitely a lot of effort put into this game. The developers clearly cared and just seeing that boxing minigame was enough to get me sold. There aren’t any glitches and the gameplay does seem to make sense, I just need to learn how to master it.

Overall, NHL is not quite as fun as FIFA I’d say. It makes sense since I prefer Soccer to Hockey in general. Both games have a lot of similarities though so it’ll definitely come down to personal preference. What gives Soccer the edge though is that it’s easier to defend so at least the team won’t blow you out. In this game prepare for them to run up the score because they aren’t held back by the goalie. They’ll score whenever they feel like it and it’s very hard to stop them. The gameplay wasn’t quite as intuitive to me as the other games so moving around was a lot more difficult than I expected it to be. Fans of the NHL games will definitely like this one, but newcomers beware as the game is just very complicated and hard to master.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review


It’s been a little while, but now it’s time to look at the next installment in the Olympic Game series. This one has been a mixed bag for me because some of the titles here have been really solid while others were pretty bland. I have to put Sochi in the weaker half as well. While it does have the best story in the series the gameplay is definitely the weakest. The game made the odd decision of having you switch between the Gamepad and the Wii remote constantly for story mode. That’s just an odd decision if you ask me and it’s one that slows everything down. I’ll go into that more in a second.

The story revolves around Team Sonic and Team Mario getting ready for another round of competition. They are interrupted when a giant castle shows up and mysterious keys lock down all of the doors. The heroes will have to fight past shadow versions of themselves to make it to the top and find out who is doing this. What mastermind could possibly be giving the heroes such a difficult fight? One thing’s for sure, the heroes can’t afford to hold back if they want to claim victory here.

So I definitely do give the game credit for actually adding a story here. That’s where the credit stops. I’ll talk about the positives in a minute, but the controls need to be addressed right away. Not only do you have to switch controls but you have to have the Wii Remote Plus or you won’t even be allowed to play the story. It’s a pretty slick way of making sure everyone bought the add on, but definitely a shady method if you ask me. The player shouldn’t be required to jump through all these hoops just to have some fun playing these Olympic titles.

Would it have been so hard to have just made all of the minigames Gamepad compatible? It’s just really strange that you have to keep switching. Also, the series has never been particularly good with this, but it’s really hard to understand the controls at a glance here. You can see the controls after you’ve paused the game, but the first time around you’ll probably be winging it. The controls are heavily motion based as well so get ready for the game to keep doing things when you don’t want it to. As a result this can make the game a bit more difficult than it is actually supposed to be which is definitely pretty iffy.

On the positive side, the graphics look pretty good as always. It’s always nice to see modern Sonic and Mario on the same screen here. All of the characters look sharp and the same goes for the level designs and animations. The soundtrack is also quite solid as it gives us various remixes for both the Mario and Sonic titles. This adds a little spice to the mini games for sure. It also just makes a lot of sense since the game should not use any generic themes when it has such a vast library of good tunes to choose from. That’s the way I see it anyway.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. The games are all made to be ones that you can replay a lot with friends and family to just have a good time. There are a lot of records to break and content to unlock. It’s not quite as vast as the first Winter Olympic Games which had a whole store filled with things to buy, but it’s definitely not bad either. There are a lot of modes here, but of course what will ultimately decide whether you want to play or not is how much you like the minigames.

On that note, they are very hit or miss. There are some minigames that are a lot of fun like Hockey, sliding down the hill, skateboarding, bobsledding, etc. On the other hand, there is the classic Curling game which seems to make it in every year. This game is as bad as it always was with the outcome basically being luck and the game drags on forever. You never get to walk in and out for this title. The dancing minigames also take quite a while to end. I believe they may be 4-5 minutes long which may not sound crazy, but for a minigame that is really pushing it.

At the end of the day the Olympic series has always seemed like a watered down version of Mario Party. The various games usually aren’t made with quite as much heart and there’s always a dicey one in there somewhere. Most of the games are good and I think they’ll all be reasonably enjoyable once you’re not playing a computer. This is still a good party game, but it’s definitely not the first one I’d recommend getting. I’m hoping that the new one coming out for the Switch does something different. I haven’t played the newest Olympics title yet so maybe by now they’ve fixed everything, but I can say that t this point in time I’m not in a huge rush to get the next one. I certainly will, but I do hope it’s better than this one.

Overall, The Sochi 2014 games aren’t a whole lot different from the other years. I feel like they phoned this game in to an extent. Many of the games share the same controls and aren’t terribly inspired. At the same time, the story is fun though and I think you can get some good enjoyment out of this one. The game is pretty cheap by this point so it isn’t much of an investment. I think it’s also fair to say that the game is not misleading. You should absolutely know what you’re getting yourself into before you play the game. It’s very straightforward about this so I think even without this review you should know whether you enjoy it or not. If you decide to buy the game then just be prepared to switch controllers every other match.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Soldier Review


It’s time to look at the next title I was able to play in the NES Online collection. Slowly but surely I’m getting around to all of them. It’s definitely been fun to play these classic games. Star Soldier is similar to Galaga although I’d argue that it’s less refined. Certainly a good sci-fi game to dabble around with (especially when it’s free) even if it probably won’t hold your attention for very long. It gets the job done.

There isn’t really a plot although I’m sure one came with the booklet or something. The general gameplay is that of your average space shooter. You’re in a ship and the screen is always moving down. You have to blast away the enemies in front of you so it’s important to keep moving the ship so they’re never out of your range. You can collect power ups from breaking objects or blasting enemies which increases the amount of blasters you possess. After a time you will also get a shield as otherwise a single hit will destroy you. There are a few checkpoints in the level but the downside is that you lose all of your blasters so when you re-spawn it is very hard to stay alive. Best of luck!

It’s definitely one of those arcade games that you would have a very hard time trying to defeat in one shot. Of course, at the arcade you could probably just keep plugging tokens in until you won and on console you’ve got the access point equivalent. Otherwise I suppose you’d need to really memorize all of the attack patterns. Part of what makes this exceptionally difficult compared to other shooters is the fact that it’s hard to tell what is in the background and what is in the foreground. It’s like the Smash Ultimate Stage Builder in that respect as you can be tricked into jumping towards a cannon that isn’t really there. It’s the same with these objects, some of them aren’t there so you can shoot through them and others will block your blaster. Since just making contact with an enemy is fatal here that makes this a pretty dangerous gamble. It’s hard to avoid these objects as well since they take up a good chunk of the screen.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. Honestly you won’t remember most of the tunes, but the main menu theme is definitely memorable. Then you’ve got the graphics which are pretty passable all things considered. I’m assuming the background part wasn’t intentional so maybe that part should have been better, but perhaps that was the intent. Either way you will be able to see enough to be able to follow the action with relative ease and that’s definitely a good thing.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here since you’ll likely be dying around level 2 each time. As a result it won’t be quite as super exciting as it would be otherwise and you’ll not want to play for a very long time. After about an hour or so you’ll probably be ready for whatever the next challenge is. Still, it is a fun game at its core so maybe you’ll be engaged for longer than that. Star Soldier is a fun game.

I can’t speak to the various bosses here since I only ever beat the first one, but the enemy designs do seem promising. There’s one level where a mysterious head shows up to follow you around. It’s invincible, but touching it will make you lose a life. Then there’s a big robot that has a lot of blasters which I promptly took down. I don’t imagine there are a bunch of bosses since I saw on Youtube that someone beat the game in 30 minutes, but with that length I imagine they’re all unique which is good. Recycled bosses is the definition of laziness.

Overall, Star Soldier is a game that I hadn’t heard of until I played it, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a whirl. The NES Online has definitely helped me play a bunch of games that I feel like I probably wouldn’t have gotten to play otherwise so that’s definitely neat. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’ve got the NES Online as well. I don’t know which title I’ll be checking out next. Maybe it’ll be another alien shooter game or this time I’ll go for a longer title. Either way the review will be popping up here before long.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brawlhalla Review


It’s time to take a look at Brawlhalla. I remember this game being brought up quite a bit back in the day when it first came out. It was supposed to be a FTP Super Smash Bros type game. Unfortunately while it is a platform fighter I can’t say that it is anywhere near the level of Smash. It’s a decent game, but one with more flaws than Playstation’s Battle Royale game. There isn’t a lot that will keep you playing as the years go by. Maybe recreating Super Smash is really impossible. It seems like everyone ends up failing at this task after all.

There are a few main modes here. One of them is naturally going online to spar with other players. You can do so in team battles, 1 v 1, and free for alls. You can also play an online survival mode where you compete with other players to see who can score the most kills. Finally there’s also an offline training mode to tighten up your skills. When it comes to non gameplay content there is also a shop where you can buy other characters with a lot of gold. It’ll take you a very long time to get those characters if you are a free to play user. Still, with the daily log-in bonuses you are sure to get them eventually. There are other characters where the only option is to buy them with real money. One such character is Hellboy as the game is doing a marketing tie in for the movie. That’s fine, Rayman’s the only real notable character to nab and I can get him for free. It would take a lot of days though and I doubt I’ll be playing this game by then.

The gameplay is fairly straight forward. You fight on top of a platform and the goal is to knock your opponent off the platform and prevent their recovery. Do this 3 times and you’ll have won the match. So far so good, but here’s where the game falters. Rather than just attacking each other to claim the win the game throws in a lot of items the whole time that can’t be turned off. Owning a weapon just doesn’t feel as natural especially since you’ll be throwing and tossing the weapons pretty quick. After a while you’ll find the right weapon for you and use that to win. Once you’ve done so, you can just keep grabbing that weapon every game. The characters barely even matter since once they have the weapons they all play in pretty much the same way. Character recoveries are also a little too good and end up dragging the match a bit.

It’s not as bad as Playstation’s rule that you could only win by using a final smash. It’s still a bad one though because the weapons don’t feel like they’ve been designed all that well. The attacks don’t feel powerful and the weapons prevent you from getting in the hype. I know this game isn’t technically a button masher and you would definitely get wrecked online if you were to try it, but after a while you’re tempted to just keep swinging. The gameplay’s not really all that deep and I just don’t see the game lasting very long for a lot of people as a result.

Then we come to the graphics which are all right I guess. It’s always nice seeing the sprites running around. They aren’t going to bring down the house or anything but the characters do look accurate. For example, Hellboy and Rayman’s sprite appearance looks pretty good. The soundtrack is less impressive and I doubt you’ll remember a single tune by the end of it. They just aren’t memorable and I feel like this part was more of an afterthought when developing the game.

As for replay value, there is technically a lot here. There isn’t a story mode and so from the start you’re playing this purely for the multiplayer. These kind of games never technically end so the replay value is infinite. Really it’s all about how much you enjoy the gameplay because if you don’t then it’s not like you’re going to last for any significant amount of time anyway. For what it’s worth, I do think you’ll enjoy the game well enough. Especially since it’s free as that makes everything look a little better. Still, the game just isn’t too deep and there’s not much of a point to playing it when you’ve got Super Smash at the ready. There isn’t any area where this game is able to get to that high level.

Overall, Brawlhalla isn’t quite as fun as I expected. I just thought it would be a little closer to Super Smash to be honest, but it really isn’t. Take the genre away and you don’t really see many other similarities. As the cast grows larger I can see this game improving in the future. After all, if people are still buying the game and the devs are getting their money then they may still see the incentive of adding more updates and mechanic changes. I can hope at least. In the meanwhile you may as well get the game and start stacking up on Gold so you’ll be able to spend it all once you decide to jump in. It’s a free game so you’re not losing any money.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dr Mario Review


It’s time to look at the original Dr Mario game. This title was actually pretty iconic back in the day as we got many more Dr Mairo games afterwards. Just look at that mobile title we’re getting soon. Dr Mario is one of those games that is very accessible and just a lot of fun to play. Of course, this one is a lot more limited than the newer ones as there was only so much you could do back then but the concept was sound so I definitely recommend checking this game out.

There is only one mode here of course and that’s the normal destroy all viruses to win mode. There are 20 different levels which determines how fast the board moves and how many viruses are on the screen. I definitely recommend starting with level 1 while you get the hang of the game. I was able to make it to about level 8 and then at that point the viruses overwhelmed me. You can also skip to level 20 to quickly see what it’s like. You’ll certainly feel overwhelmed before long though. It’s just hard to make matches in time before the blocks hit the ceiling. The game is also smart as when you pause the game the screen vanishes so you can’t cheese it out by constantly pausing. It’s one of those things where it seems obvious, but it’s still important that the developers realized this in time.

In the settings you can switch up the speed which is pretty nice. Unlike the Yoshi game you can’t switch the soundtrack though so that part’s a little different. It’s a more complete game than Yoshi, at least as far as content is concerned. The graphics aren’t quite as impressive though. Still, there is less to look at just due to how Dr Mario is set up so in a way this definitely does make sense. It’s not as if it looks bad. The music isn’t quite as good as the Yoshi game either but it is nostalgic to hear the Dr Mario theme.

As for the gameplay, you may already know it, but I’ll mention how it works just in case. You have to clear the board of viruses. Each virus is a specific color like the blocks that are falling onto the screen. To remove a virus you have to match it with 3 other blocks of the same color. Likewise you will do that to get rid of the extra blocks as well. It’s a simple concept, but executing this will get tougher and tougher with each level. By the end of the levels you will need to be doing all of this on instinct without actually thinking about your moves much. If you stop to think about them then you will truly be doomed. You’ll definitely get better at the game the more you play it though. Who knows, play it long enough and these latter levels may even feel easy.

There’s a lot of replay value here. That’s because the levels are quick and fast paced. It’s easy to jump right in and pick up where you left off. The challenge always feels pretty fair without being too lenient. I’d like to see a modern take on this for consoles. I know we have the mobile game coming up, but it’d be fun to see what the game would look like with massive graphics and a cool new soundtrack or something. Maybe someday.

Overall, Dr Mario is a fun game. It’s really got everything you could want in a Connect 4 type game from back in the day. It also reminds you how influential Tetris was as everyone tried to copy it back in the day. Dr. Mario was one of the successful ones and manages to still differentiate itself. He even got himself a playable spot in Super Smash Bros Melee which is no small feat. If you have never tried this game before then you’re missing out and need to change that ASAP.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tecmo Bowl Review


It’s time to look at a retro Football game that I got to play courtesy of Nintendo’s Switch online catalog. It’s definitely a pretty good bargain I must admit. You just can’t go wrong with something like this. The game is effectively free and so it’s a nice blast to the past. It’s a pretty fun game and reminds me of Backyard Football although the controls aren’t quite as precise. It’s naturally no Madden, but it’ll give you some reasonable entertainment for a little while.

Naturally you are playing Football so I would expect you to know the rules to really enjoy the experience. It’s like a sped up version of the game as most plays tend to go for big yards. Running the ball is pretty self explanatory as you run wherever you see an opening. There is no acceleration button here so it’s all about knowing when to make your move. Passing can be a little more difficult at first as it’s the most different from Madden. Your icon will be over one player initially. If he isn’t open then you quickly cycle through other options with the A button. You have to go in order though so if receiver 1 is open and you’re already on 2, then you’ll have to cycle through 3 before going back to 1. As such you’ll probably be sacked by then.

The defense is also relentless here. They don’t drop any picks so if you throw a ball and your guy isn’t open, it will 100% be intercepted. The computers don’t make mistakes and that’s something that you will be learning right away. The difficulty is refreshing but at the same time if really makes you not feel like passing. 90% of the time I’d just recommend running the ball or choosing a pass play and running it in anyway. Making the field goal kicks is pretty easy so as long as you’re in range then you’ll do fine.

The graphics aren’t bad. I don’t think they’ve aged all that well, but you’ll know what is happening at all times which is the important thing. There isn’t much of a soundtrack either but what is there is fine. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here as you might expect. The only mode here is to just keep playing more and more games. Without the visuals/stat tracking of the Madden titles you probably won’t bother to play too many games here. You’ll get the jist of the title before long and then it’ll be time to call it a day. Tecmo Bowl is a fun starter game and it really reminds you of he good ole Arcade Football days. It does a good job of that for sure.

Overall, Tecmo Bowl may be a simpler version of Madden, but it definitely will still take time to master the controls here. You really can’t afford to make a mistake here as this game is not forgiving in the slightest. Play your cards right and you can win, but if you don’t then you’ll probably get blown out. If you haven’t played this game yet then I recommend changing that and trying it out now. You’ll have a good time here and I wouldn’t mind a modern 2D Football game. There’s actually a lot that can be done with this style although I don’t see Madden testing out something so new like this anytime soon.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Rayman Origins Review


It’s time to look at one of the recent Rayman games. You could make a strong case that this is the one which finally put Rayman back on the map. His games had ceased for quite a bit, but this one made him mainstream again. Although, since the character has vanished once more we will need more games like this one. It’s a fun enough title. While lacking some of the charm of other side scrollers it is nonetheless a solid title for all fans of the genre.

The game starts off with Rayman and his friends lounging around on someone’s tree. The poor old lady can’t even think straight with how much noise they are making so she grabs her buddies and goes to confront Rayman. Rayman quickly turns this into a battle, but the senior citizens defeat him and his friends. Rayman must now save his friends and stop whatever heroic/evil plan the old lady has in store. The question you must ask yourself is if you should root for Rayman…or the old lady?

Naturally the gameplay is pretty fun. It’s your classic 2D platformer with a few unique items thrown in to match Rayman’s style. You can throw punches as well as hold for a charged hit. You can glide with your head that functions as a helicopter and in general have a lot of good movement options. You must get to the end of the level and free whatever fairies are trapped. However, just beating the levels will not be enough as you’ll quickly figure out.

There are a lot of roadblocks in the story that serve as a way to artificially extend the game. You need to collect a great number of spirit orbs in order to beat the game. This means that you must either replay most levels at least once or grab a bunch of them during the level. The latter is easier, however you may enjoy each level a little less with how much longer it takes to complete them. I never like when a game forces you to explore like this. You’re effectively penalized for being too good at clearing the levels. I will say that this does enact a heavy toll on the game and is one of the reasons why it falls short of the other platformers.

The other reason is that the story is just pretty bad. I’m talking Crash levels of bad. Rayman is actually not as likable as Crash which I’m shocked about. He’s quick to violence and the guy doesn’t seem to care about anyone other than himself. It really doesn’t help you think that he is even remotely heroic. I have my doubts after this game. You never get invested into the plot because it is virtually nonexistent and Rayman is too annoying to root for. The game also gets a little iffy with the character designs, adding some fanservice to the fairies that Rayman is saving. I can certainly say that this was not quite how I pictured Rayman to play out.

Still, as I mentioned the core gameplay is fun which is good. The levels are actually pretty solid. If you don’t care about reaching the ending and just play each level straight through you’ll enjoy them a lot more. They only drag on when you have to explore them. As a result, you’ll really look forward to the boss fights which show up during the final levels and the aerial stages. Those are always very short and are fun to get through. It’s the optimal experience if you ask me. Adding in a secondary gameplay style almost always works out for the best so Rayman did a good job there.

Another good thing Rayman did was add the unlimited lives feature. I feel as though this is immensely helpful for the levels given how long they are. You’ll probably die quite a few times so you’ll be glad that you don’t have to backtrack too far. That would get very old very quickly.

I thought the graphics were pretty good. The character designs are on point and the levels are good looking. It’s not as colorful as other games, but that’s likely intentional to get that slightly grittier. I gotta give the soundtrack a thumbs down though. I’m not sure what the game was going for with the various lyrical themes that showed up but they really didn’t mesh well with the game. It got worse whenever you would die since you’d have to hear the theme yet again.

As far as replay value goes, Rayman has quite a bit at its disposal. As you collect orbs new levels open up and you get more unlockables. You get new costumes, characters, etc. Naturally you can also go after all of the PS3 trophies to really try and put yourself at the top. As the story itself is already longer than many platformers this makes for a game with a great amount of content that will last for quite a while.

Overall, Rayman Origins is a mixed bag. As a game it fulfills it’s job of having quality gameplay but aside from that it ends up faltering in the home stretch. It’s not the most complete game so you just have to decide why you are playing it. If you are here for the gameplay then you are all set. If it’s for the overall experience then you may want to look elsewhere. Either way I’ll look forward to the next Rayman title as I feel like it should improve upon the flaws of this one.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Road Rash Jailbreak Review

https://flic.kr/p/2dA6bix
It’s time to look at another old PS1 game. This is the last one on my to do list with the exception of Tarzan, but that game hasn’t been working. I’m always up for more racing games and this is a motorcycle one which is certainly unique. The game does have its weak points though which prevent it from being quite as good as it should have been. It’s a decent game, but there are better alternatives in the genre.

You play as a thug who wants to go from being a grunt to a captain. To that end you have to join one of the two gangs. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose as they are both basically the same. You then have to win in a lot of underground races. There are 30 races in all with the difficulty spiking after each 10. So….try to beat them all! There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes to be found here and that might even be a good thing since the ones we do get are not very good. The story is definitely one of the weak points here.

I also have to give the soundtrack a big thumbs down. It isn’t often that you need to turn off the music but that’s what I did for this game. I lowered it to the bare minimum because the songs were all pretty lousy. It’s extremely loud and obnoxious the whole time. Better to just listen to the sound effects or put on some background music yourself. The music makes sense since you’re literally playing as a gangster but that doesn’t make it any better. Unfortunately the graphics aren’t much of an improvement. The level can’t even load fast enough to beat your car at times. You’ll have to watch out for cars by just looking out for any kind of pixelated object in front of you. Those are the ones you need to avoid at all costs.

So why is this game any good? Well, the gameplay is still pretty solid. It’s a 3D racer and you have to get to the end. There are 16 racers in each level and you can try to take them out with punches or weapons. The game doesn’t explain any of this so just test it out in game. You also apparently have a nitro option. I didn’t know any of this while playing which explains why I was having a tough time. That and the fact that this game actually is pretty tough. You have a health bar and if your opponent gets it to 0 you’ll have a long crash animation and will likely have no shot at winning the race. If you don’t crash you win. The levels are typically simple like that, but it’s easier said than done. By the second wave of levels the enemies can crush your health with ease. Even if you brake to try and avoid them they’ll match your speed.

You also can’t slam into any cars, trees, or poles. Do so and it’ll be like you lost your health and the crash animation will show up. If you crash next to a cop then you lose by default. The only way to proceed to the next level is to come in the top 3. Technically each batch of 9 levels has no order so you can do whichever one you want first, but in that case you may as well go from the beginning. Driving’s definitely a lot of fun, but admittedly the fighting aspect does not seem well tuned at all. A lot of the time it ends up feeling luck based which is the last thing you want.

In terms of replay value the game is decent at best. I don’t imagine the 30 levels will take you very long to complete. Each level is roughly 3-4 minutes long. So that’s only around 2 hours of content. I think you should expect to lose each level quite a few times though which will certainly extend your play time. Beyond that, there isn’t much reason to play the other modes though. You can work on your driving ability I suppose. If you have other people around who want to play then there is multiplayer which is technically unlimited replay value.

I will give the game props for not being too dark for my TV at least. Not enough to help the score further or anything, but it’s still a nice touch. It is tempting to give the game a 5 but between the multiplayer and the gameplay actually being good I think a positive score is warranted. Just try to avoid the soundtrack and then you’ll really be all set to go.

Overall, Road Rash is a reasonable driving game. It just falters next to most others because even if the gameplay holds up, the rest of the package drags it down a bit. After all, most racing games at least have a reasonable soundtrack. If you’ve still got a PS1 then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d recommend something a little newer like Sonic racing or Mario Kart. Both of those games completely destroy this one. Now that I’m done with Road Rash I really can’t see myself coming back to it. It’s almost sad.

Overall 6/10