6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brawl Brothers Review


The SNES classics continue thanks to the Switch online. This time I’m looking at one of the old beat em ups for the console. I still think that beat em ups work best in 3D, but 2D ones still have their charm. The quality will naturally also vary with how much effort was put in and how new the title was. This one is a pretty reasonable game, but the fact that there are no save points and you do eventually run out of lives holds it back. You never want to have to try and beat a whole game in one batch. The rewind feature and access points mean that you can beat this game if you really want to, but it’ll certainly take some time.

There was a plot in the booklet I’m sure but the game just jumps you right into the action. Every time you beat a level someone joins your team so just keep going til you save everybody. Each level contains several areas. You have to defeat all of the enemies and reach the end to get to the next level. You have a standard attack which is your best move, but you can also dash attack and jump attack. Finally your character also has a special attack, but I don’t recommend using this unless you are completely desperate. That’s because this attack actually drains your health. Yes….your health actually goes down here. I can’t really see how that would ever be worth it here since health is a very rare commodity and your special attack isn’t even that good. It’s basically a flurry of quick punches.

All of the levels are pretty straight forward except for one where I really have to question the level design. It’s a maze and you never want to see any of those in a fighting game. You’re in the sewers and the goal is to get to the end. The problem is that all of the doors are fake except for one and they have you going through 4 different areas that all look the same. Without looking up a guide online you’ll be here for a very long time. I was beating enemies for about 20 minutes before realizing that something wasn’t right with how the level was still going. Sure enough I was going in circles over and over again. That definitely didn’t feel very legitimate especially since the level never gave any indication that it was going to be a maze. In a game like this you really can’t afford to have a level like that.

Beyond that level the game was good though. I do still like a solid brawler game even if this one definitely does feel dated with how many mechanics it is missing. A simple save feature and the ability to re-start at the level you’re up to would be a game changer. The graphics are pretty solid for its time. The levels look good and so do the character designs. Each level is different the game has a lot of different character models. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though, but you can’t win em all.

The game’s length seems to be about 2 hours since I beat the first half in under 1. It’s a tough game though and if you intend to beat it without save states or the rewind feature then you will be here for an incredibly long time. This title is no cakewalk and it will do everything in its power to take your lives away. The mechanics often make it easy for the villains to get cheap shots on you even if it feels like you were in the right spot at the right angle. Sometimes I would rewind up to 10 times just to get the hit because they would somehow move too quickly. It’s probably unavoidable I suppose. There’s not a whole lot of replay value here since after beating the game there is no post game content. That’s it, you’ve cleared the story and that’s its own reward. Considering that the game is free there is still more than enough content to satisfy you here.

Overall, Brawl Brothers is a game that may not have gotten very well known nowadays, but it did show us what a beat em up could do back in the day. Of course there were many others like Double Dragon which were more popular so this wasn’t quite the one that would change the genre forever. I’d recommend giving it a play. There’s a lot of fun to be had here. You may not clear the game but I think you’ll appreciate the setting and effects. I’m also getting closer to clearing the SNES and then it’ll be time to take a look at some of the other NES games that I skipped.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Neopets Petpet Adventures: The Wand of Wishing Review


It’s time to look at a Neopets game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. It’s been pretty fun diving into these old games and I’m steadily closing out all of the PSP titles I own. This one definitely has its share of issues, but is ultimately a pretty decent game. It does get that RPG feeling across.

The game stars with a girl and her dog being cornered by a group of goblins. They want the legendary Wand of Wishing and unfortunately the heroine grabs it from the secret location and then lets it get taken into a portal. Her dog heads inside to grab it. The mission will be difficult though as the wand is now in a fantasy land filled with dragons and fairies as multiple factions wrestle for control. This pup is going to have to play hard ball.

I do like that the opening and ending cutscenes both have actual voice acting. I feel like the whole game should have had that instead of gibberish being used as the monster language though. The main heroine definitely isn’t ready for this action adventure though as she actually has a wand that can grant any wish and still lets the villains get the upper hand. There are hundreds of wishes she could have quickly made to make the villains stand down. That would have been a good way to play things. I would have actually been curious to see more of the human world since goblins apparently exist here. Is the world under siege and a sequel would look at that or is she simply in the wrong neighborhood? So many questions and so little time.

As for the actual gameplay, this is an overhead open world RPG action title. You walk from area to area fulfilling various quests and saving the king/queen of each realm. Your weapon can be a close quarters one like a sword or you can use a crossbow. I highly recommend the latter as their range is far greater and their power is better. Whoever designed this game must have had a very high opinion of this weapon because to have one that has better range and power is pretty unheard of. You will definitely want to have a high level of power because a lot of the bosses have Cheese abilities that will destroy you very quickly otherwise. One can freeze you as he lands multiple hits and others fire so fast that you can barely see the attack.

I spent around an hour just trying to cross one room at one point because even the minions were taking me down in a single hit. Just equipping weapon and armor simply isn’t enough. You will quickly be taken down. Your only hope is to go to the gym and level up your core strength, speed, and other stats. Make no mistake, these skills are what’s really going to get you through the door. Using the gym costs a lot of money and you only get an upgrade once you beat the boss but it’s worth it. Soon the minions who were beating you in one hit will barely be able to hurt you. At that point you will have a much better chance at winning.

You can also wield magic but I never quite got the hang of that one. My magical abilities weren’t quite high enough to use most of them so I bought a healing spell and left it at that. I highly recommend the health regeneration spell by the way as you can keep it activated almost 24/7 and it doubles your health recovery speed. It’s incredibly handy in all situations.

One issue about all of this is the money. As I mentioned it is all quite expensive and the problem is that the resources are finite. Once you clear a world you cannot go back and enemies surprisingly do not respawn. This means that if you go too fast you may end up burying yourself in an unwinnable situation. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me but if you like speed-running a game just keep this in mind. You don’t want to skip too many enemies. Honestly they should have just left the worlds open. It also means that you can’t clear the side quests either which is no good.

In general the game suffers from menus that aren’t very intuitive and long loading screens. Going into any area triggers a long loading screen and the menus are slow. You have to scroll screen by screen to get anywhere instead of a quick click. It can be tough to figure out most of the game’s more advanced features on your own as well.

As far as the graphics are concerned, I’d give the game a thumbs up. It is certainly one of the weaker PSP games in that area without a doubt but it is good enough. You can always tell what is happening and at worst the game just can’t load up much beyond what you see so you’ll notice that your attacks don’t do any damage if they hide just out of view. The soundtrack is decent but has no noteworthy tunes. You’ll likely forget all about them by the time you have wrapped things up here.

The story was fun enough as I mentioned but there is one moment that doesn’t make much sense. There is a twist about who one of the villains is and it is ambitious since it is a character that we will need to stop the end of the world. She’s evil but when another villain shows up this quickly goes 180 as she asks for our help. So much for pride among villains. At the end she makes a half hearted attempt to get in our way again but you don’t feel as though it is a serious attempt. Hopefully the other guardians will give her a stern talking to after her antics.

Overall, The Wand of Wishing is a pretty good game. It may not have the depth or length of a standard RPG, but you can still tell that some effort was put behind this one. There are several areas where it could have improved for sure like the loading times I mentioned earlier. Clearer instructions would be good as well but once you figure everything out then you are sure to have fun. Just be sure to go to the gym and buy the best armor/long ranged weapon and you shall be fine.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Reviews

Pilotwings Review


It’s time to look at my next adventure into the SNES lineup. This one always looked like fun from the Super Smash Bros stage so I was ready to give it a whirl. It reminds me of the toy helicopter game I played for the Wii a while back. It’s about teaching you how to make rescues and perform tricks. Most of the game is a lot of tutorials like that until the very final level where we actually get a plot. Some villains have taken people hostage and we have to get past an entire army to save them. I’m not sure if any of you guys ever played Blackhawk Striker back in the day on the PC, but to this day it is my favorite game in that genre. This final level sort of feels like a chibi version of that and it works out quite well. I was definitely satisfied with the game by the end of my run. There is no replay value whatsoever in this game which hurts as having some kind of post game is pretty important. It’s a good one step playthrough but you’ll likely never play it again.

There are 4 different kinds of gameplay although they all have similarities. The objective of each level is to get a fairly high score like 220. You have 3 minigames to do so which means that on average you want to get a score of roughly 80. One of these minigames puts you in a plane as you fly through some rings and then attempt to make a good landing. It’s a lot trickier than you would expect as you have to land just right and with a good amount of speed to get a good score. This part also feels pretty realistic with how the plane will bounce if you attempt to land too quickly. It took me a ton of tries to get it right and this is probably the most difficult of the modes. It’s also the most fun one though.

Then you have the parachute version which is a free fall through some rings and then you aim for a perfect landing. With the wind and all the turning going on it can be pretty tough to get the landing just right. Then you have the hang glider which is basically the same thing only this time you’re on a parachute. It’s pretty fun as well and since the mechanics are the same for all of the games you should quickly get the hang of it.

The final level switches things up as you’re given missiles and have to fight actual enemies. I’m a little surprised that they went to the trouble of adding in new mechanics for a single level. It was a very nice surprise though as I was not expecting a plot to actually show up. The final level is easily the most epic part of the whole game. Trying to dodge and fire back was just epic.

My advice for this game is to always go full speed near the beginning. Time impacts your score quite a bit and there will always be time to slow down after you grab the rings. This is especially important in the plane levels since getting a perfect landing means almost nothing if you took all day to get there. You need maximum points and the way to do that is to just go full blast right from the start and slow down afterwards. For the final level, I recommend shooting all of the cannons down before even trying to register the hostages. One hit means death in this final level so if you let your guard down for even a moment you will end up regretting it.

As far as the graphics go, the game has aged pretty well. It’s still not the highest quality title out there, but by the SNES standards it has aged pretty well. I like the attention to detail with the character in the free fall turning around and the places to land are marked pretty clearly. I do think they should show up from farther in the map as you can totally miss it in some sections, but all in all that’s a pretty minor thing. The soundtrack is pretty nice. It’s definitely peaceful while still feeling like it has some energy behind it.

Overall, Pilotwings is definitely a fun game. It’s also a very challenging one. Without the SNES Online features it would probably take a little while longer to complete it. The controls are just hard to really master because of the angles. You’ve also got to pull it off 4 times in a row as one bad score can set you back a whole section. It does help to compensate for the short length of the game though as beating them all in one shot would probably result in you completing the game in 30 minutes. We’ll see which SNES game I play next, but I have to say that it will have a bit of a difficult time taking down Pilotwings.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 2K10 Review


It’s going to be a little emotional finally being done with the hockey games. After this one there is only one title left that I own. This is the first 2K NHL game I’ve played and it does play quite differently from the main title so I had to get used to the controls from scratch. Surprisingly the controls actually seem a lot more straightforward here than in NHL, at least to me. Also, 2K is usually more of a simulation title while the main games are the arcade version but this one switches things up quite a bit.

One big change is that the games were fairly high scoring. In the first round I lost 5-3, but it’s been ages since I’ve seen so many points on the board when I’ve played. Honestly this probably is the highest scoring NHL game I’ve been in at all. Then in the next round I lost 7-5. No matter how much I scored the other team was always right behind me. Still, I have to admit that the scoring did make the game a whole lot more fun. I felt like I was actually causing serious damage and that’s considering that I didn’t really get a chance to learn most of the movement options. I’d just keep dashing around until I punched the ball in. That was the secret to my success.

On defense they did make picking a fight a little more obvious. You’ll see an indicator on the top of the screen asking if you want to initiate a fight. Now I’m not sure how you trigger this or if it’s random. If it’s the latter then NHL does have the edge since you actually have a button to start fights. I lost the actual brawl here though, I’ll have to work on my punching skills.

My defense is also a little sloppy compared to NHL. I think that’s because I was trying to swipe the puck more than just slamming the opponent. The latter is usually a lot more effective for making a play and you rarely get penalized for it anyway. I was good with penalties here though, my guys only got a penalty once or twice as the game went on. Still, I can’t be letting this many goals through so I have to button things up for next time.

The graphics are very bright. They aren’t quite as detailed as the main game but they certainly do the job. You’re able to really just jump into the action and go from there. The presentation isn’t quite as fancy so this one really just throws you into the game. Since I’d say that the gameplay is better than the main games it is a pretty good tradeoff if you ask me. I didn’t really notice a soundtrack. If there was music then it was pretty faint as you played. I feel like the main NHL themes pop out at you a little more, but music is never really a big part of the sport experience.

In terms of replay value you can make this game last a very long while. There’s no shortage of things to do and as long as you like the gameplay you can enjoy an unlimited amount of unique matches. There is no longer online as far as I know and while there may be trophies here, I didn’t get any during the game so they definitely sound like they’re gonna be pretty tough. It’s a good incentive to really learn the controls in and out though. If you intend to play the game seriously, then it’s probably worth going into the practice mode at least briefly. I just skipped it entirely since I probably wouldn’t be playing it much after the initial games. Realistically with how many games I’ve got to get back to I probably won’t ever play this specific NHL again even if I will probably play the newer ones.

Overall, NHL 2K10 is a great start to this spinoff series. I’m assuming that there is probably a 2K for all of the years in which case I am definitely quite behind. That being said, the games are probably pretty cheap by now so grabbing them shouldn’t be too difficult. Next time I’ll be taking a look at 2K7 so we’ll see how that one goes. If you don’t own a hockey game yet, this is a reasonable one to start with.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Stunt Race FX Review


It’s time to look at another classic Nintendo game from the good ole days. This one really got outshined by Mario Kart when it came out, but you can see some potential here. Ultimately there just isn’t a whole lot of content here and it feels like the kind of title you would play for a weekend. I’m a little surprised that Nintendo never revived this series, but I suppose they can’t revive everything right? The important thing is that you can now play this game for free with the Nintendo Switch Online selection which is certainly very convenient.

The main mode to play here is the traditional campaign. Each cup has 4-5 races and the goal is naturally to claim first place. The controls are very straight forward. You accelerate and brake as you try to get to the finish line. While there aren’t quite as many items as in Mario Kart you’ve still got enough to really get the upper hand here. An interesting part of the visuals is that your car actually seems to be alive. Don’t let this unnerve you while you’re trying to win. You don’t really need any tips on winning here since the levels aren’t all that complicated. Just keep your eye on the road and the rest will follow suit.

That being said, the game’s not completely polished. Unlike Mario Kart it can be a little hard to stay in full control of your vehicle. Sometimes you’ll hit the grass even when you think you shouldn’t have. It just isn’t quite in the same league as F Zero or Mario Kart. Still, you’ll gradually get the hang of it. After all even if the gameplay doesn’t seem quite right, it’s not like it changes so after a few levels you just auto-adjust.

I completed all of the standard cups here but after doing so you do have the option to play them all again on a higher difficulty. In terms of length beating the main cups will take you around an hour so if you beat them all on all difficulties I suppose you’ll be here for about 3. You can factor in a little extra time for when you take a loss though. It would be difficult not to lose at all in this game. I didn’t always get first myself, but as long as you have the highest point total at the end of the cup it still counts as your win. That’s the best part about a cup having multiple stages in it. There’s a little less pressure to play lights out the entire time.

In terms of graphics the game is okay. It’s going for a very quirky vibe which ages well, but you’ll still notice that there isn’t a lot of detail in the game. It’s enough to still be passable and you won’t be crashing, but it’s not all that pleasant compared to other titles. Stunt Race is treading a fine line here. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t enough to help it all that much either because it simply isn’t that memorable. I’m glad Nintendo tried out a lot of different racing titles, but at the end of the day you can see why this one never got all that big.

My only question after finishing the game is why they called it Stunt Race. It’s not like that other PS3 game I played where the whole point of the races was to get a lot of style points. The Mario Kart mobile game was more about that so it would have actually made more sense in that context. Maybe it’s the type of cars that are being used or something like that. It doesn’t ultimately matter much, but I was a little curious about it.

Overall, Stunt Race FX is a fun game. The only problem is that it just won’t last you all that long. You’ll play it for about an hour and then you’ll be ready to call it quits. It’s just really not made for long batches and that would be a problem if you had to buy it. Since the game is free it’s still worth checking out. I would definitely be up for an HD remake someday but of course they would need to add in a lot of cool features to make it worth my while. Maybe throw in a story mode of some sort and a few extra levels. Then you’ve got the makings of a fun game on your hands.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 12 Review


It’s been a while, but it’s finally time to take a look at the next NHL game. I’m thinking that the wait actually ended up being a good thing because I finally managed to win a game. I’d been getting closer and closer as the games went on, but this time I was able to just get into the game and cleaned up shop. I won with a decisive 3-2 score which felt pretty good. It’s really hard to say why I was finally able to score, but I will say that I just kept up a high tempo offense all the way through.

I jumped right into a quick match of course and at first things were looking dicey because my PS3 controller wasn’t playing ball. It kept trying to make my player run downwards but after a few resets I was good to go. Of course by then I was already down 0-1. Perhaps it was the urgency that got me, but I quickly began to take shots at the goal and to my surprise I was getting through. For one of the shots it ended up going right through one of their defenders and to the edge of the net so the goalie couldn’t stop it. It was basically a hall of fame shot if I do say so myself. The other 2 shots were less remarkable but the important thing is that they made it through.

The controls are the same as the others games as you run across the field and try to score goals inside of the opponent’s net. You can shoot or pass the ball and additionally you can slam into other players as well as pick fights. I got into one scuffle during this match and I made sure to knock the other guy out. I didn’t even pick this fight, but once I was in it you can bet that I was aiming for the win. The gameplay all feels pretty smooth even if the computer does seem too close at times. You never really get a breather to stop and relax or you will see that the puck has been stolen.

The A.I. never lets up and I suppose that’s a good thing. It does force you to stay sharp and to keep a close eye on the rest of the field. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as always The field looks pretty clear as well as the character models. I definitely had no qualms on this area. The soundtrack may as well be nonexistent since you don’t really hear it during the game. I’m sure it was okay of course, but not exactly a winner.

In terms of replay value you can definitely find a lot to do here. There are tons of different modes to play and its a sport game so you can just have a lot of fun facing off against different opponents. That’s really the true value of a sport game after all even if NHL wouldn’t exactly be my first choice. The game is also new enough where you can try to earn some trophies, but they are pretty tough. I didn’t even earn a single one during my match so I imagine this should take you a long time. If there are any online trophies then the platinum is impossible right from the start which is always unfortunate. Ah well, can’t get all of the platinums I suppose.

I guess for my gameplay hint of the day I would recommend going in close and shifting your stick from arm to arm with the X button. Then fire into the goal when ready instead of passing it to a teammate on the other side to shoot. The move doesn’t seem to work as well as it used to. The computers will either steal the ball right away or it simply won’t go in. The goals I got were simply from rushing towards the net and making the shot. You’ll still have to make dozens of shots before you get it right, but eventually you’ll squeeze it in there. It feels like luck and RNG, but I’m sure there is some kind of technique to it.

Overall, NHL 12 is pretty solid. I can’t really say that there is anything to differentiate it from the last installment though. I guess it’s possible that they tweaked how good the goalies are though. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never scored 3 goals like this and I wouldn’t say that my skills just suddenly jumped a beat so it’s an interesting theory. If the game did make it easier to score that is certainly fine by me because I do like scoring. The whole game just feels faster and it’s a lot more satisfying. Of course I do understand why people who prefer the defensive side may not like this if it is the case. Well, I’ve got NHL 13 coming up at some point soon so it’ll be good to see where that one stacks up. Slowly but surely we are wrapping up the sport games. Long story short, if you like NHL then this is a good pick up for 1-2 dollars.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

F Zero Review


The SNES Online continues to be a solid addition to the Switch console. There are just so many solid titles to play here and coming up there are titles that are basically full fledged games. Those are gonna take a little longer to complete but I’ll knock em all out eventually. This time we’re looking at F Zero and it definitely is a fun game while retaining the high difficulty level of GX.

There are 3-4 cups in this game and each one has 5 levels. My goal was naturally to beat each cup once to say that I’ve cleared the game. I believe there are other difficulty levels as well but it’s the same levels so clearing them wasn’t my highest priority. Each level is around 3 minutes so the game isn’t particularly long. You can likely beat all of the tournaments in the span of an hour. There is some replay value in beating your scores and beating all of the cups on all difficulties though. Do that and you really will be an F-Zero champ.

The gameplay is pretty smooth. This is a racing game do of course the goal is to drove your way past the finish line before any of the other racers. The levels have a lot of twists and turns so you will want to master the art of maneuvering to get through. The most difficult part of the game is actually keeping enough health to survive the levels. This is especially true in the later levels since bumping into anything will damage you and that includes other cars. An interesting part of the game here is that there are random cars crossing the track which will try to bump you and other racers do the same thing. The tracks aren’t very wide so it can be difficult to pass someone without hitting them.

There were quite a few times when my car blew up from the damage. I never had a problem passing the computers so this was a clever way to ramp up the damage. I can’t really say that it ever felt unfair so it was just right. The levels are also fast enough where retrying doesn’t seem all that bad. To an extent it is unavoidable to dislike retrying a cup in any racing game since that means replaying multiple levels but that is even more reason to keep them to 2-3 minutes instead of 4+ like in Need For Speed at times.

It’s definitely the kind of game where you can see the results of your practice right away. Learning when to turn and how to turn just right are crucial techniques here. There are two ways to turn as one is to just move the control stick while another is to use the L and R buttons. Both ways have their uses and if you master each then you will be prepared for anything the game throws at you. There is certainly the element of RNG here so it’s not like you will suddenly be perfect, but you can get quite close. At the very least by eliminating these areas for damage you will be in a better position to absorb the random hits.

The soundtrack here definitely holds up quite well. I feel like the SNES is really where Nintendo started to shine with their excellent soundtracks. Many of the tunes in this game would survive to Super Smash bros. The themes are nice and fast for the races. Then you’ve got the graphics which are admittedly less impressive. It’s pretty in line with Star Fox in that there isn’t enough detail to make it hold up with some of the others. Still, you can always keep track of what’s going on which is good.

Overall, F-Zero is a fun title. It’s short and so it won’t last you for very long but considering that it is free with the online that isn’t really a bad deal. I do miss this franchise so I’m hoping that Nintendo announces something for it soon. Just make it a proper sequel to GX with a good plot and I am confident that it will do well. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should change that.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The Messenger Review


It’s time to look at a recent game known as the Messenger. This one takes your classic 2D platformer genre and throws in some Metroidvania mechanics. It’s also part parody so it pokes fun at a lot of the usual tropes. It’s a pretty solid game, but one that would have risen up to great status if it had just not added in the Metroidvania aspect. The title didn’t really need it to be a complete title as the story and length would have still been pretty sufficient.

The game starts with the main character’s village being attacked by demons. The lead had been complaining about how boring the place was so he starts to feel a little regret as everyone is slain and he is powerless before the Demon King. Fortunately there is a prophecy that a legendary hero will arrive to save everyone. Unfortunately the hero was late so he gives you a letter to deliver to someone on top of a mountain to really save the day. You are now the Messenger and the fate of the planet rests on you. If you don’t deliver this letter then everyone is truly doomed.

That’s the basic plot but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. The second half of the game in particular really throws in a lot of other elements like time travel and other dimensions. It’s all explained pretty well though so you’ll have no trouble getting what is going on. There is also a long cutscene near the end of the game to explain the origins of how this all happened. It’s pretty interesting and the game has a nice vibe to it. The main character has more personality than I would have expected.

The writing is particularly strong here. As I hinted at earlier with the parody elements, the script is a lot of fun. The characters are constantly throwing shade around and insulting each other. For the soundtrack, it’s pretty calming. The best theme in the game is the shop tune. There are 2 themes that are randomly selected when you go to the shop, but at least 50% of the time. You’ll be hearing the really hype tune. Then for the graphics it’s all very clear. It’s got that classic sprite vibe, but it’s not blurry or retro in the slightest. It’s like a very modern version of a sprite game and that’s definitely okay by me. You always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. You run and jump through the levels and are armed with your sword as well as Shuriken. Those are the only weapons you have, but they get the job done. Then you have the interesting air mechanic which is basically an extra jump you get whenever you hit an opponent or an obstacle while in the air. This leads to some pretty intense platforming sections during the later parts of the game. You’ll actually have to try quite a bit if you want to clear those levels. It’s no longer a walk in the park. It’s a satisfying level of difficulty and there are constant checkpoints so you are never worried about being sent too far back. The game design was quite solid.

So far this is sounding like an amazing game right? Well, that’s because it was quite great throughout. From the start of the game all the way to the big confrontation with the demon king’s right hand man it was a fast paced adventure filled with great platforming and a solid level up system. After that is where the game hit a big hurdle. Up til this point it was a straight forward adventure, but after beating the demon you are sent back to the time chamber and must now go back through all of the old levels to find some music notes. Keep in mind that going through these levels took hours the first time. You are given some portal shortcuts to jump around, but not nearly enough. Get ready to spend 4-5 hours just running around collecting. To get a music note you must first do other things like helping explorers and dragons.

This part was pretty tedious. It’s handled far better than a game like Metroid since you at least know where to go thanks to hints from the shop owner. Of course that will cost you quite a few shards so it’ll keep you from buying other power ups for a while. You’ll be crossing the same levels over and over again multiple times as you try to near the end. This part just felt like it was here to stall for time and I think it shouldn’t have done that. I definitely prefer when things are linear or if you’re back tracking with a purpose. At the very least you should have the ability to quickly get to where you want to go instead of having to hoof it the old fashioned way.

Ah well, that’s really the only gripe with the game that slows it down quite a bit. Once you have the music notes then you enter the climax and things get pretty exciting again. All in all, the game had a lot of really fun ideas. The shop owner was definitely one of the best characters in the game but I also liked the lead a lot. The game throws a quick fake ending at you twice and both times it worked really well. I actually think it would have been awesome if the game ended with the first ending as it would have subverted everything so convincingly. It still works without ending there of course, but it shows that the writers really knew what they were doing. They made the game in a way where you would be satisfied no matter what.

As for replay value, there are some things to do here. When you beat the game you can start a New Game +. Additionally you can work to getting the Platinum Trophy in this game which certainly won’t be easy to do. I managed to get most of the trophies in the game but there are 2 tough ones that I feel would take a long time which is the dark cave one and another where you have to beat most of the game without dying. That’s a pretty tough thing to do, but if you’re dedicated to clearing the game then you’ll manage. I definitely recommend getting as many of the upgrades as you can early on. Earning money isn’t very tough so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Getting the upgrade that gives you triple attack is extremely handy.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Messengers. It’s around 10 hours long so it’ll definitely last you for a while and it’s just a fun look at the platforming genre. Keep in mind that the second half of the game will slow things down, but all in all the first half and the climax should still keep things up. The game does end with a “To be Continued” message so maybe someday we’ll get a sequel. I’d be down with checking that out and it would be interesting to see where the plot goes from here. The ending was fairly definitive if you ask me so I’m thinking it’ll either be a totally new main character or he is just thrown into some crazy situation that the blue cloaked warriors didn’t tell him about.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Battle Revolution Review


Technically, I played through this game many years ago, but my Wii broke before I could grab the review. We got a new Wii shortly afterwards but never really got around to replaying this game. I figured now was as good a time as any so I booted it up and went through a few tournies. I grabbed my team from Pokémon Diamond which included fighters from Pokémon Ruby. With Groudon and Blaziken at the ready I was prepared to take names. Unfortunately this game still doesn’t hold up as a spiritual successor to Pokémon Stadium.

When you start the game you are introduced to your limited amount of modes. The main one is to jump right into the Colosseums as you try to conquer them all. Every time you defeat an arena you get some money which you can use in the local shop to buy some clothes. The idea is that your character will look fancier and fancier as you win tournaments and by the end you will look like the champ. There’s not a ton of outfits to buy at the moment so it seems easy to get them all, but I’m guessing that you unlock more outfits as you progress during the game. It’s a quick but nice way to add replay value I suppose. Hopefully you enjoy this because that’s really the extent of the replay value.

For the Colosseums the game makes the odd decision to add a lot of luck and chance to the equation. Before I get ahead of myself though you may be wondering how you get Pokémon. Well, you start the game off with a “rental pass” which gives you access to 6 Pokemon that the game chooses for you. You can also connect one of your portable Pokemon games to bring over a real team which I highly recommend. Once you’ve done that, you enter the colosseums which all have different rules. There is the standard 1 vs 1 battles with 3 Pokémon each and the doubles battles with 4. These are classic and work well.

Then the game decides to get sneaky and introduces the Neon tournament. This one throws in a wheel of fortune and the gimmick here is that your Pokémon as well as your opponent’s are thrown into the wheel and both of you throw darts at it. Whoever it lands on is the Pokémon you will use and each of you do that until you have a full team at the ready. Of course the computer got my Groudon right away…. I don’t see the point of putting this level of luck into the game. Part of the point of Pokémon is to fight alongside the Pokémon you’ve trained up, not some random ones.

Another problem with this one is the colosseum length which makes losing pretty punishing. The tournaments are mainly 7 rounds and you have to win them all back to back. You can do a quick save to take a break from the game but if you lose any of the 7 matches then you have to start the tournament all over again. That means for the luck based one you have to be fortunate many times in a row. That’s not really something you want to bank on. Personally I would have either shortened the tournaments to 3-4 battles or I would have just made it so you continue from where you lost. Either option makes for a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. As it stands the colosseums are too punishing and not rewarding enough.

The game also suffers from how long the matches take which is something that affects most of the big console Pokémon games to be fair. There are a lot of animations in the battles and they can’t be turned off so you have to watch each attack. Even Pokémon Colosseum was affected by this so I’m guessing it is difficult to speed up the games. The portables do it though so there’s got to be an answer. That’s actually one of the things I’m hoping Pokémon Sword can fix. If any Pokémon game can get around this it would be the latest installment in the main series. I’ll give the developers of Battle Revolution props for adding so many unique effects to all of the characters since I’m sure it was visually challenging. There should just be a way to toggle it on and off. Graphics is one of the strongest points of the game and they aged very well. All of the character models are on point and stages look quite solid. The soundtrack is also pretty iconic at this point. As soon as I turned on the game I was hit with the nostalgic tunes. Battle Revolution did a good job of creating its own soundtrack and it holds up quite well. It does lot have the scope and variety of the main games but is still a solid collection in its own right.

I think another part that hurts the game is that aside from having no story you don’t even have the classic Gym Leaders to help out. We do have Colosseum leaders, but none of them are particularly noteworthy and since you have to make it past a full gauntlet to see them you won’t really get to savor the experience for long. There’s no real hook beyond the fact that this is a Pokemon game and that’s not enough to carry a title for very long.

Overall, Pokémon Battle Revolution is one of those games that should have been much better than it actually was. I feel like it’s hard to mess up with a Pokémon game but this one threw away a bunch of opportunities through its Colosseum format. I really don’t understand why the game did that. Pokemon Stadium already created a very nice format for how you would handle a home console Pokemon game. Battle Revolution should have focused on that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. That was their big mistake and while they may have been trying to be innovative it completely backfired. It’s still entertaining, but only in small batches and you could always be playing a better Pokemon title.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

FIFA World Cup: Germany 2006 Review


It’s been a while, but now it’s time to go up against a team in soccer. This is also the first time in a very long while that I got to play a small console sport game. Typically I just play the home console versions so it’s a nice change of pace to see how it goes on the handheld. It’s pretty smooth and the PSP has always been particularly great at emulating the home console experience. That being said, aside from Madden I can’t picture myself playing any sport game on the go for very long.

Since this FIFA is specifically about the World Cup all of the modes focus on this as well. The main mode has you jump right into the World Cup and aim for success. Naturally I was repping the USA as I jumped in to take names. To my credit I actually scored a goal and then held the lead for most of the game. Then as always seems to be the case for these titles the computer’s difficulty level suddenly spiked without warning and they scored with only about 10 seconds left in the game. I can tell you now that this felt really crazy. Just like that I had lost my win and had to settle for a tie. Since it was only round one of the World Cup they didn’t have us play extra time and just ended the game there. I felt a little cheated to be honest, but I was glad that I at least scored a goal. The next game was more of a standard 0-0. I ended up losing the World Cup since my record wasn’t enough but it was a good run while it lasted. The computer evidently didn’t think I was good enough to keep tying though as I had it simulate some games in another World Cup and I lost almost every one.

I do like the World Cup format although it’s not like it makes a huge amount of difference to me as whether I do a quick game or a world cup match it’s basically the same outcome. As expected the graphics here are definitely pretty solid. The soundtrack stands out more than some of the others as a song pops up whenever you pause the game. The tunes seem reasonable enough, but you likely won’t be hearing them enough to ultimately form much of an opinion. You’ll be too busy gearing up for the second half or starting the next game.

There’s a solid amount of replay value here. The games are a little too long to easily play on the go, but since the PSP can just go into standby mode you don’t necessarily have to actually finish a game. You can just do most of it and then just dip out of there. That’s always been a pretty nice plus for the PSP in general. I think how much you play the game will depend on if you already play FIFA on the home console games and are just using this as a change of pace or if this is your main FIFA experience. If it’s the latter then I can easily see you spending a bunch of time here.

Really the only difference between this one and a home console title in terms of gameplay is that it’s not quite as clear since you’re on a smaller screen. You’ll feel a little more constricted, but that’s more mental than anything. It’s really still the same game through and through and feels like a direct port. It’s definitely still fun even if you may have a hard time scoring.

I really feel like FIFA and NHL have more in common with each other than any other sport title. If you ignore the terrain (Ice vs Grass) there really aren’t any substantial differences with the two. The way you shoot and pass is the same and you’ve got around the same amount of players. Even the distance of the field is the same. I wouldn’t be surprised if EA is able to copy a lot of the code to use in between the two games. As a result I feel like my NHL training as of late transferred over into FIFA even if I wasn’t quite able to secure a solid win. I came close at least.

Overall, World Cup 2006 feels like a true soccer title and it’s a fun concept for a spinoff. It slightly scales the title down which is quite convenient for the PSP in general. This was the only sport game I had left on my portable backlog so you likely won’t be seeing another one again for a very long time. For the first time I’ve actually gotten my sport backlog down to 20 games so it’ll be quite the milestone to have that one empty at last. Finally I will have more time for trophy hunting, general video game lounging, and getting unstuck in some of the trickier games on the backlog. Lets not get ahead of ourselves though.

Overall 6/10