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

Advertisements
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

6 Star Games, Reviews, Game Reviews

NHL 11 Review


Time for the next NHL game on my marathon. It’s definitely been pretty surreal to play so many of these back to back. I will say that unlike NHL 10, you can feel that the graphics have gotten a little sharper here. Maybe it’s the field I was playing in for the tutorial, but the arena looked incredibly well polished. The white stood out and you could practically see through the ground. The players also felt sharper, but that could also partially be that the game is more zoomed in. Regardless, NHL 11 is definitely a game you’ll want to have.

Naturally I went right into the quick play mode after clearing the tutorial. I was ready to take the hockey world by storm and while I may not have secured the win I do feel like I did pretty well. I was laying on the pressure pretty thick and I did manage to score a goal which was hype. After that they started laying on the goals since my goalie cracked under pressure. I lost 5-1 or something like that, but it could have gone worse I suppose. At least I was always right up in there with the action which is the important thing. I am working on the aiming and passing, but it almost feels like it just comes down to luck by the end.

I can get a good shot out if I have space, but usually the enemy players are right on top of me at all times so I can’t get a good angle. No matter how fast I move they seem to move just a touch quicker than me. There’s just no escape and these guys are really good at stealing the puck from right underneath your nose. Once in a blue moon you’ll actually make it to their side with nobody on you, but it’s not like making the shot is a cake walk in that scenario either. I talk a lot about passing and shooting, but at the end of the day you’re also going to need to play tight defense because odds are that this is going to go to overtime with a score of 0-0. The computer never eases up on defense so you just have to surpass your limits somehow.

When it comes to the fighting gameplay none of the opposing players wanted to humor me. I only got to take one of them down and for the others they would just ignore me when I tried to start the fight. I guess they just didn’t want to have to hold the L this time and I can understand that. Still, the fighting is always one of the best parts in these games so I was sad to see it go. Maybe there’s a better way to pick a fight but based on the tutorial just pressing triangle should do the trick when you’re near them. It typically makes your player mess with their hair.

This time I also went ahead and tried one of the bonus modes. The name of this one was Shootout and basically the concept is that it’s a 1 on 1 battle against the goalie. You have to get the puck past him and you’ve got 5 tries to do it. Likewise the computer also gets that many opportunities. I’m happy to say that I actually did win this round. I may have not done so well in the real games, but I like to think that this meant I was finally able to step up during crunch time. When the chips were down, my puck wasn’t. It took a bunch of attempts before I got the puck in, but the computer couldn’t make any shots so that’s why my team got the victory. The mode seems to go on past the 5 players until someone scores or at least it felt that way to me because I’m pretty sure I tried to shoot more than 5 times.

As always there is a ton of replay value here as long as you like soccer. While the shootout mode may not work for long periods of time, it is a good way to take a break from the main gameplay while also working on your fundamentals. Then of course you’ve got the full season to play and in general every game will always be unique. You can get this game for a dollar or two so that’s a lot of value for such a price. As I mentioned the graphics definitely look quite nice here and the presentation is definitely on point.

Overall, NHL 11 is a great follow up. NHL continues to be operating at a high level and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. It seems like a consistent series much like all of EA’s other sport titles. They may not have the best reputation, but I don’t think you can deny the fact that they tend to hit it out of the park with all of these franchises. Even if Hockey isn’t really your thing you’ll likely be able to appreciate how smooth the gameplay is. Soon I’ll be trying out NHL 12 so we’ll see if that one also shows a noticeable improvement around the board or if it’ll be the same. So long as it doesn’t get worse I can’t say that there would be any problems here.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 10 Review


It’s time to take a look at the next NHL game in my marathon. This one’s pretty similar to the last few as always, but I dare say that it is even more similar than usual. You really wouldn’t know that you were playing a different game to be honest as it’s all basically identical. Still, it’s just as fun as the others were so that really works out quite well. I’ll definitely be continuing on into the later years soon.

So this one had a tutorial to start things off which is always a good idea. I quickly worked on my shooting and passing as I got ready to scrimmage against the real teams. I have to admit though that it didn’t really help all that much. The actual games still turned out just as you would expect as the team would just block all of my shots and parry them like they weren’t even there. I did manage to score 1 goal which was good, but it took forever and by that point I was already down by around 5 goals.

That’s one big change compared to the other games though as the defense just feels a little trickier. Usually I can hold them down to 0 goals or just 1-2. This time they actually scored 6 different goals so for some reason my goalie was just slacking. Maybe I wasn’t applying as much pressure or something, but I was still surprised. I would have hoped that it would also mean my offense would be improved as well, but I had no such luck with that one. Ah well, maybe I’ll be able to score the win next time.

I did get to indulge in the fighting mechanics a little more this time though. The tutorial actually included the boxing inside of it so I was able to land a few good hits and down the opponent. I think I won 5 out of the 8 fights. Towards the end I was really getting the hang of it which was definitely handy. It’s also just a lot of fun to see the players square up and just start slugging each other. You could tell that these guys meant business.

As for the graphics, they’re just as sharp as ever. The field looks good and the character models are on point. It may not be much different from the last game, but it all already looked pretty good so it’s not as if they aged any worse. It’s still a solid presentation and one that I believe will still hold up well 10 years from now. The NHL games do a superb job of really making you feel like you’re in the action.

As always there is a lot of replay value here as well. It’s to the point where I sometimes feel like my reviews are repeating themselves, but I suppose that is inevitable to an extent since the games themselves are so similar. At the end of the day whether you like the game or not will really depend on how much you enjoy playing Hockey. You won’t necessarily love the game just because you love watching the sport since the gameplay is a big deal. However, I would say that it helps and if you like the gameplay then you’re really set. Just get ready to go in there and play a bunch of games as you rise up the ranks and take names.

For my gameplay tips section, I’d recommend slamming the opponent whenever possible. You won’t have to worry about getting the penalties for tripping this way and they rarely care if you body slam the players. I only got in trouble a few times for picking fights which may also be why my goalie was overwhelmed since my team had less players on the field for most of the game. It was worth it of course, but if you don’t want to attract any penalties then you probably shouldn’t do the fights. The penalties aren’t too serious so as long as your skills are on the level you should be fine.

Lately I haven’t been getting too many trophies for these sport games so I was happy that I actually managed to snag 2 during my playthrough. I don’t even know why I got those trophies so don’t ask me that, but the important thing is that I was doing something right. It’s like I lost the match, but I ended up winning the war so I certainly can’t be sad about that. One day when I inevitably go back to improve my trophy% for each of these games this will probably be a high pick since most sport games likely have some easy trophies even if the platinum is incredibly difficult.

Overall, NHL 10 is definitely another solid installment in the series. Hockey still isn’t my favorite sport, but the gameplay is fun enough. You’ll have a good time regardless and the game is smooth with no real glitches that I could think of. You can reasonably be playing this for many hours as long as you like the game and there are enough various ways to play to keep you entertained throughout. Since the game is only around 2-3 dollars it’s not like it’ll set you back all that much either.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kung-Fu Heroes Review


Time to look at the next NES game on the docket. This one’s a fighting title so that definitely looked pretty interesting to me. It’s a fun enough title although certainly less polished than the last one I played. The gameplay is sound, but there are times where you’ll be sure that you dodged an attack and yet you get slammed anyway. It feels a little cheesy at that point, but the more you play the better you’ll be able to keep a wide berth between you and the enemies.

The basic plot is that the princess has been captured and you have to save her. You have to go across the many worlds level by level in order to make it to the end. There seemed to be about 24 levels give or take so that’s pretty good. The levels are short and I see that someone beat it in about 40 minutes, but I think you can reasonably expect the game to take you closer to a few hours instead. The Switch games all have the checkpoint feature as well as the rewind button so you should always be able to make it to the end of the game if you so desire. Just keep on chugging away at those levels!

It’s an overhead game and your main weapon is your punch which has a range of one square. The idea is to beat enough enemies in a level to open the gate. Once you’ve opened the gate then you can use it to reach the next level. Rinse and repeat until you’ve cleared the game. Since your range is so short you typically want to hit the enemies from the side so they don’t counter attack. If you both punch at the same time then you will most likely lose the encounter. At least that seemed to be my experience. Another attack up your arsenal is your jump which can also defeat just about any opponent. The advantage of this attack is the longer range, but if you mistime your jump or the enemy decides to do the same then you’ll lose a life. Whether you’re attacking or being attacked someone will get KO’d. All enemies only have the 1 health point as well as the character you’re playing as.

Each of the levels have a bunch of objects that can be destroyed. They house a bunch of different items including a blaster, extra lives, and points to improve your score. You can also find a key which leads you to a bonus room where you get even more points. In theory the best way to play this game is slowly as you should try to get as many extra lives as possible to be prepared for the end. The levels definitely get considerably harder as you progress so while the lives may feel unnecessary at first you will be very glad that you had them by the end of the game.

Also, definitely watch out for the bosses that show up once in a while. As far as I can tell they cannot be defeated so just try to wait them out. At least that was the case for the first boss who ran in and then quickly left. He will try to hit you with a bunch of energy blasts as he chases you around the place, but dodging isn’t particularly difficult since there are no minions while he is around. You just have to keep on turning corners and running full speed. Do that and you should definitely be safe.

The graphics look fairly good. They’re definitely quite old by this point and not as refined as some of the others, but it’s still a cheerful game where you can always tell what is happening. I do think the hurtboxes on the characters might not be properly aligned with the characters based on how I died at some points, but nothing can be 100% perfect. As it stands it was still close enough where it wasn’t too regular. As for the soundtrack, it’s fairly standard stuff. Nothing to write home about, but it works well given the title and the context of the story.

Overall, Kung-Fu Heroes is a fun game. There’s not a lot of depth or replay value to it, but it’s one of those titles that you could easily have fun with for an hour or two as you try to clear the levels. I don’t expect you will stick around for much longer than that, but since the game is free that’s really all that you need. I look forward to seeing which games Nintendo adds next month. I’m thinking we’re ready for the next console, but if they stick to NES I wonder what games they will pull off next. I’m sure there are technically still a bunch we don’t have yet so they could probably drag this out a little longer if need be.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 09 Review


It’s time to check out the next NHL title. I’m fairly early on in the hockey marathon, but already I can feel myself improving a little bit. At least I feel like I’ve got the angles down for making the shots. I’m still not scoring goals are reliably as I would like, but I’m getting shots and that at least means that I at least have the opportunity to make the goal. Still no big wins for me here, but what can ya do right? The game still feels nice and smooth. While there isn’t much of a difference compared to 08 it also doesn’t introduce any negatives so it is still a quality title.

This time the game did start off with a little tutorial which was fun to play through. You get to practice your shots and movement options a little before going into a real game. Since there is a lot of pressure and the computers are always running at you during the real deal I definitely thought this was a nice change of pace. I definitely do need the training here so there’s that to consider as well. Ultimately I don’t feel like I improved much after this training session, but it was better than nothing.

When the game started I quickly went to my go to strategy which is to rush the opposing side and just keep swinging at the goal. Shoot off enough pucks and you should get a point eventually right? Well, it took multiple games and endless shots, but I eventually did get the point and it was a good feeling. I ended up losing 2-1 as the only time I scored was naturally when the other team decided to pick things up as well.

I found that swinging the control stick up seemed to work better than going for the power shot which is down then up. It’s nice to see your guy getting ready for a power move of course, but it just didn’t seem like it did any real good which defeats the entire purpose. The other way of hitting was a lot faster and since I’m banking on the goalie making a mistake either way the faster option just made more sense. I’m sure there are better ways to decide which shot to take of course, but that’s just my personal experience based on the 3 games I played.

I started by facing the team on easy mode and then ramping up til the final game I fought them on the highest difficulty. I’m happy to report that I didn’t get blown out in any of the matches. My defense is always able to hold strong even if the offense isn’t doing a whole lot. I also worked on not getting as many penalties as last time. I didn’t trip anyone up and I only did the body slams occasionally. I focused on getting the rebounds and I feel like it worked out pretty well for me.

I did manage to trigger a fist fight this time around which I missed out on in NHL 08. It was definitely satisfying to take the other guy down and it’d be cool if they officially made it some kind of minigame you could play. I’d also be down for all the other sports adding that in as well. Ultimately it’s not as if it would ever replace the main mode, but I could definitely see it doing well in side events. Now you can finally have 2 players literally duke it out for the title of being the greatest player of all time.

It comes as no surprise that the graphics are pretty sharp here. EA never phones that part in and you can always expect things to look pretty life like. You’ll feel like you’re in a real hockey game by the end of this adventure. As mentioned earlier the gameplay is also smooth so on a technical level the game holds up really well. There is naturally a lot of replay value here too since you can play as any team you want and go for the full season to see how your skills improve. I expect you’ll see a lot of improvement by the time you make it to the end because that’s just how these things tend to work. The more you go through the motions and repetition the better you will be able to see which tactics work and which do not.

Overall, NHL 09 is definitely a game that is worth adding to the collection. Especially since you can get it for as cheap as a dollar or two. It’s hard to beat that kind of value but a good counterpoint is that you can get a later year like NHL 12 for basically the same price. After the sport game has been out for around 2 years it drops to bottom price so you may as well ante up and get a newer version. I think you’ll be fine either way, but it’s definitely worth noting. I like getting them all as a collector, but otherwise I would probably just skip to one of the most recent years instead of getting them all.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 08 Review


Hockey is definitely one of the sports that I know the least about. This is definitely due in part to the fact that I just never watch it. I at least tune in for the NBA Finals, The World Cup, and several Grand Slams. For NHL I don’t even know what their championships are called. For some reason the game never seemed as interesting as the others to me. I still prefer it to Golf, but it just didn’t grab my attention. That may be due to the ice, but I’m not sure why so I’ll just leave it as one of life’s mysteries at this point. Either way it’s been years since I played an NHL game so it was fun to get back in it.

There are definitely a lot of similarities to the FIFA games. The gameplay for the two sports just tends to mesh well although NHL loses this battle. It’s a fun title but yet another sport where I am unable to score unless I put the difficulty all the way to the bottom. It gets even trickier than soccer because half of my team is constantly getting knocked out thanks to penalties so I have to field the whole section by myself. Once it’s 5 vs 3 then I’m really sunk. I suppose the idea here is to keep swinging until you get the puck past the goalie. Instead of pass plays I would just keep on hitting the ball until the goalie forgot to block.

It’s a little harder to move on the field because of how slippery it is, but you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Mainly you just want to focus on outwitting the opponents and claiming the puck. Once you’ve got a lead you can camp out the other team pretty easy in this game or at least easier than in some of the others. At the same time if you’ve got a lead then you may as well try expanding it to really get a decisive victory. You never know when the tides will turn after all and sometimes it’s just a good idea to press the attack.

There was one point in the game where my players were in the perfect position. I kept on shooting at the goal and while he would block, the power was high enough where it would bounce over to another guy. I’d then pass it again and fire a shot. This kept on going until finally one of their guys got the puck, but I managed at least 10 shots in during that time which definitely felt pretty good. I was in the zone at that moment.

Interestingly you never actually take control of the goalie, which is different from soccer. I’m down with that since it means more time on the actual field which is always good. It also means I have more time to work on not getting so many penalties the whole time. One of them seems to be like Basketball where you can’t go backwards past the half point of the field or you surrender the puck. The defensive ones are a little trickier to get around as I end up getting slammed whenever I attack another one of the players. I guess you have to slam them while they still have the puck, but it’s hard to time it just right since they end up passing so quickly. Ah well, at least you’re only taken off the field for a few plays and not the whole game.

The graphics here are definitely sharp. Get ready to see the players complaining about the penalties a lot as it happens after each penalty and they get quite upset. These scenes are skippable but pretty entertaining. While there isn’t a lot to show off in terms of graphics on the small hockey rink you’ve still got a good amount of hockey gameplay and the arena looks sharp.

There’s a good amount of replay value here which is pretty straight forward since it’s a sport game. You can play as any of the professional Hockey teams and you can play under many different conditions. As you get better at the game it’ll all feel smoother and it’s always nice to actually see your improvement in a game. You’ll feel like a completely different person when you end from when you first started.

Overall, NHL 08 is pretty solid. I look forward to seeing if the title has changed a lot over the years or if it remains the same as I play the newer installments. I don’t really see what more they could add in, but I’d be game with some way to make more precision shots. As it stands a lot of my shots still go wide or don’t exactly fall into the place I was hoping for. I’m not sure how they can do this without making it too complicated so the easiest way is to just improve the accuracy. It may make the offense a little overpowered but sometimes sacrifices have to be made to save the game. Hockey fans will definitely get a kick out of this title as I feel like it really does the game justice with the mechanics and presentation.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 Review


It’s time to look at another soccer game. This one takes things to the next level with it’s more arcade-like gameplay and I’d even put it on the level of the main FIFA titles. Pure Futbol will always be the definitive football game for me, but this one does a good job of handling the sport and scoring actually feels possible. I was actually dominating in one of the rounds although as a disclaimer I do need to mention that the game was on Easy mode.

I tried out quite a few difficulty levels but the rest were too tricky for me to win. On normal mode it was pretty close but it was definitely back to being a shut out type game. As I went to expert and master the opposing team started to destroy me. I just can’t figure out how to drive the ball without it getting stolen. If I try to pass the ball then they intercept it and if I try doing it myself then I get stone walled. These defenders definitely aren’t playing around and really do their best to stay one step ahead. I guess I still need to work on some fundamentals.

Playing on easy at least once does help in a tutorial sort of way though. You get to experiment with a lot of different styles and techniques against a team that isn’t really fighting back. You can’t get too crazy or anything, but it’s still a good way to prep yourself. Then it is a little sad to get completely destroyed in the follow up round, but that’s just how it is sometimes. You gotta take the Ls along with the wins. As I mentioned this one does throw in more of the momentum and speed compared to the other soccer games which is a good thing.

One part of the game that felt pretty rewarding was passing into a shot. Using plays with assists was always my go to strategy in Mario Strikers and it also felt pretty realistic because you always see the players passing the ball when you watch real soccer matches. It just makes sense that you would have one player distract the goalie while the other fires. It worked like clockwork and at least you get a feel for where you should be when you make the goal. At the same time, the tough part is getting that far.

I tried out a lot of things while playing and one tactic that works a little bit is quickly making a circle. The defender will then be on the wrong side of you so you get closer to the goalie. The problem is that even at that point there is nobody to pass it to so then you’ve just traded one problem for another which is not good. I made a lot of shot attempts, but I just couldn’t make any goals after the opening goal. The goalie truly feels impossible on this level and your teammates aren’t helping much so it’s like 1 player against an army.

As always I have to give the disclaimer that I’m sure the game is balanced well enough. I just need to figure out the tricks to get through or I’ll never be ready for the tournaments. I think a truly good game is one where you have fun even if you’re always losing and this title passes that test. Winning would be a nice change of pace but I’ll just have to wait a little longer before I can claim that kind of glory.

The graphics are also very solid. They may not have the realism of FIFA, but you don’t need that to still be considered as a top tier contender. You always know what is happening and the plays are very smooth. The ball stands out without being distracting. There isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of since I didn’t stick to the main menu for long. It was always time to just keep on going to the next match.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value here since aside from quick matches you can practice and jump into a season. That may sound like there isn’t a lot of content here, but you have to understand that a game about soccer is going to focus on the sport. As it stands there is enough to keep you busy here for a very long time. Keep on polishing your skills until you can defeat an opponent at any level. I feel like that would take me months or even a year but if this is the game that you choose to dedicate yourself to then you should be fine.

Overall, This is definitely a game to check out. It’s only around 2-3 dollars so it’s a steal and you’ll gain a better appreciation of soccer by the time you are done with it. With this game done I’ll be heading to the Hockey series next but I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of the soccer reviews. There’s always another sport game right around the corner after all.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Adventures of Lolo Review


It’s time for Lolo to come up to bat. There are definitely quite a lot of NES Online titles that I have yet to play, but Lolo seemed like the best one to check out at the time. It’s got a Kirby vibe to it, but it is puzzle based instead of being a platformer which is pretty interesting. It definitely changes things up and I’ll give the title credit for trying something new. I don’t think it’ll keep your attention for too long, but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two.

The basic plot is that the princess has been captured and Lolo has to save her. As with the Mario games, Lolo always gets close only to be told that the princess is in another castle on a different floor. You have to scale all 10 floors and 50 puzzles if you actually want to save her. I completed the first 5 floors and then stopped on the 6th one. It’s definitely a title that is easy to get into, but hard to master. You’ll really have to think long and hard about the puzzles if you want to get all the way.

The access points help a lot but without them I can’t imagine going too far in this game. I died dozens of times during the course of the first 27 levels and they kept on getting harder with each new one so I would have been cooked. The game is overhead and the goal is to grab all of the pink orbs which opens up a chest on the level. Once you grab the gem in the chest all of the enemies in the area will blow up and you can proceed. Rinse and repeat as you go through the 50 levels. You have the ability to summon a ladder in levels that give you this option and you can shoot an energy blast which you get from energy squares. You only get 2 shots so make them count. One shot will turn an enemy into a gum drop and hitting them a second time will shoot the ball far off into the distance so they can ponder what just happened. You’ll need these gumballs to float in the ocean or to keep them out of your way as you get through the goal.

The toughest enemies to get around are the floating heads. If you walk in their line of sight at any point then you die instantly. They can see in 4 directions at once so dodging them is tricky. Typically you need to use a block to try and block them, but even that can be pretty difficult to achieve. One wrong step and it’s curtains. Then you’ve got the speed ghosts who move much faster than Lolo and a single touch is death. Well….okay any hit in this game is death so just don’t get hit. That’s a lot easier said than done though.

The enemies all activate when you’ve hit the final target in the level so you want to try and leave the one that is closest to the chest for last. Of course, that is easier said than done and some levels rig it so you can’t do this. You have to manipulate the blocks to make the best possible course for yourself so you can dodge these guys. It feels like a Layton puzzle to an extent just with less variety. These are real brain challenges though and are definitely not to be underestimated. I haven’t played a game this hard in quite a while. The NES definitely had a lot of real tough ones. I can’t say I miss the days of not being able to save and all, but they definitely had their charm.

Adventures of Lolo doesn’t have much of a soundtrack, but it’s peaceful enough while you’re playing. It does hold up with the graphics very well though. You’d barely believe that this game is so old because it just looks very smooth and clean. It’s the kind of game that could come out right now and you probably wouldn’t bat an eye. The length is pretty good too. Someone beat it in around 40-60 minutes which would be pretty crazy to me. There are 50 puzzles as I mentioned and it took me around an hour and a half to beat half of them. So you’ve probably got 3 hours of solid entertainment here and you can increase that number by quite a lot since you’ll likely be dying in some of the levels. There isn’t much replay value after beating the campaign, but that’ll take long enough as it is.

Overall, The Adventures of Lolo is a fun title. I’ll definitely remember it although before I play the sequel I’ll probably try something a little different the next time I head back into the NES world. If you’ve got the online Switch membership then you should definitely check this one out. It’s free so there’s no real downside and it’s nice to take a look at these retro franchises. Who knows, maybe Lolo will end up being the next title to get revived like Crash, Bubsy, or Spyro! The puzzle concept could certainly work well in today’s world as well, I just hope they add more of a story this time beyond the whole princess gets captured thing. I want full cinematics or at least a hype script.

Overall 6/10