6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

VS. Excitebike Review


It’s time to look at the next Excitebike game. This one is actually very similar to the original to the point where you could basically call it an enhanced remake. It gives you the classic mode like in the original but you also have the new vs option. It’s a pretty fun addition since you can finally have a true 1 vs 1 battle against someone else. That’s basically the only big new feature though so we’ll have to see if it’s enough to keep you playing for long. If you already played the original a lot then I doubt you would stick around here, but otherwise this is the game you’d want to start with. The gameplay is still pretty fun and the game has a reasonable amount of content so ultimately I would say that this helps take the game pretty far if you ask me.

The gameplay is that of a 2D racer. It’s almost overhead style but not completely from that view. The idea is to make it to the end of the stage within the timeframe in order to break records and win. You keep on doing this as you go through all of the races. You can also do the vs mode of course where the only objective is to stay ahead of the other racer. It’s a pretty fun game and it’s always fun to try and knock the opponents off of their bikes by going in front of them. Honestly it seems like landing a hit here would be pretty much fatal as there would be no way for the other racer to make up the distance at that point. From there their only hope would be for you to make a mistake. In that sense I suppose the game could be a little more balanced but it certainly does help the stakes.

The graphics are just as good as in the original title. The bikes all look pretty solid and the level designs are good as well. The game is able to keep up with your speed at all times. I do find that 2D racers like this can be a bit rough since you don’t really see the obstacles ahead of time and have to completely rely on your reflexes. It is an interesting option though and while 3D racers are my favorite I’m always game for trying these out as well. The soundtrack is less memorable though to the point where I can’t really remember any tunes. It’s a shame but that definitely doesn’t hurt the score, it just doesn’t help it.

In terms of replay value all I can really say is that you can keep on racing and try to beat your own records. Up to a point that’ll be fun but there are only so many different methods you can try. There are no shortcuts in the levels or anything like that so once you are good at consistently dodging the obstacles that are present I fear that you will plateu quite quickly. The replay value here just won’t last you for very long in the end so this is the kind of game you pick up for a day or a weekend. It’ll be fun during that period though which is important.

Overall, Vs. Excitebike is basically the original game but with an extra feature so by default I would recommend this one a little higher. It’s pretty interesting that the NES Online has both. I really wouldn’t have expected that so it’s a pretty nice surprise. If you like racing games then you owe it to yourself to try it out. This is one of the original racers after all and spawned a bunch of spinoffs. My favorite game in the franchise is definitely Excitetrucks. I remember playing that in the very early days of the Wii and it was a really nice way to start off the console.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Donkey Kong Review


It’s time to look at the original Donkey Kong game! This is definitely a title that really helped to put Nintendo on the map. It really had just about everything you could ask for from a classic arcade title. The gameplay was simple but effective and the game actually had a bit of a plot. It’s rather short with only around 3-4 levels but then the game loops so you can keep going to really test your abilities. It’s a solid all around title and definitely a good one to take a look at if you haven’t played it before.

The concept of the game is that you have to climb to the top of the DK level. To do this, you run back and forth across the stage and use ladders to climb up to the next level. DK will throw barrels at you so you have to jump over them as you make your way to the top. Be careful when doing this because a single slip-up will cause you to lose. As you get to the end of the game actual minions will also show up and you can’t touch them unless you have a hammer activated. This does force you to go with a slower, more concentrated approach. Don’t make any move without being absolutely ready for what’s going to come next. Also, you can’t fall from a great height or you’ll die. This got me in the level with the elevators. If you want to make it to the next place make sure that the distance is very short so you will be able to cross with ease.

The graphics are definitely very nice here. It’s got that classic Mario look throughout the game and the colors are pretty vibrant. It definitely looks considerably better than a lot of the other NES games I’ve played. I think what goes a long way to getting this look across are the level designs. It just helps make everything stand out. As for the soundtrack, the main theme is definitely quite iconic and works really well. You definitely aren’t likely to forget it anytime soon. I can’t say the same for most games on the console so that’s another win for Donkey Kong.

Ultimately what does hold this game back from a higher score is really just the fact that it is so short. Of course you do have replay value here for things like increasing your score and such but ultimately that’s it. The gameplay isn’t that different or difficult so it would likely get repetitive quite fast if you’re just trying to stick to this game. It’s free if you have the Switch Online but otherwise I can’t really imagine paying for this game. As such, it is a good title but these factors are holding it back from being a great one.

Overall, Donkey Kong is a game that lives on in the Nintendo legends. Without this game the video game industry would be quite different that’s for sure. It is pretty fun and I had a good time with it. It may not be a game that will last for very long but more importantly, it is a game that you will remember and that’s always a good thing. If you have the Switch Online then you should definitely go and check it out. I’d be game for a modern remake of this someday. I think you could actually make a full fledged game out of this style. You’d just need to add some more stage layouts and minions/obstacles but it could certainly be done. I’d definitely be interested in seeing what ideas they would come up with for that.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wario’s Woods Review


It’s time to look at another classic NES game from a while back. It’s pretty neat that Wario actually got his own game so long ago. Personally I wouldn’t have really expected that. The guy’s popular but even Luigi has only had a handful of games in his career and he’s a lot more popular than Wario. This game’s pretty fun. It’s basically a slightly different take on the Dr Mario series and that works out pretty well. I prefer Dr Mario but this one has an actual story which is cool. The story isn’t deeper than just a handful of cutscenes every once in a while but they’re still pretty cool. I’ll take what I can get.

The gameplay is all about matching the objects and destroying all of the monsters. To defeat a monster you have to match it with 2 blocks of the same color. One of those blocks has to be a bomb and then you’ve got 3 objects in a row of the same color. When you get a match then all 3 objects are destroyed and you rinse and repeat as more blocks appear. New blocks constantly fall from the ceiling so you have to move quickly. If the blocks make it all the way to the top then you’ll have lost as an energy blast instantly zaps you into oblivion. Trust me, it’s not a fate that you will want to experience. At times Wario will take control of the stage and will make the ceiling start falling towards you. That is when the stages are at their hardest so keep on matching. One thing to take note of is that you can match blocks diagonally as well so keep that in mind.

Eventually the monsters themselves get a little more powerful. The only way to defeat them is through the diagonal option and that gets really hard to do when there are monsters everywhere. Other monsters can regenerate so you have to blow them up twice within a short span of time. If you only blow them up once they go back to full power. So there is definitely an increase in difficulty to the point where the final levels are incredibly difficult. It took me around an hour just to knock out 2 near the end. Ultimately I made it to level 60 out of 99. That’s pretty good progress I’d say and kudos to anyone who made it to the end. It’s definitely a lot more difficult than it would appear.

You’ll figure out little tricks as you play the game though. You can quickly grab and then drop a piece while still moving so you sort of cheat the gravity effect. You can jump on top of a bunch of blocks by holding up when lifting a lot of them. Sometimes you will match some blocks you didn’t even know were there while jumping and placing. That’s because the blocks only have to match for an instant in order to count so sometimes I recommend just running around and seeing what sticks. It’s a method that can prove to be most useful.

The graphics are solid. I like the animations and how everyone looks. Wario definitely appears as more of a villain than usual that’s for sure. The presentation is just solid with everything appearing clearly. You won’t have any issue with wondering what is going on in the screen. The soundtrack is more on the generic side, but catchy nonetheless. It’s an easy beat to listen too as you try to make the connections. Wario’s Woods is definitely a soothing game even though it’s very difficult. You can always try again and again until you have it beat.

The amount of content here is also impressive. 99 distinct levels is more than even most modern games would supply. It’s impressive and you don’t really need any replay value other than that. There are some other modes here like a Vs. mode though so you’ve got options. I’m surprised Wario’s Woods never got a sequel or some kind of re-release. I feel like there would be a market for it and you can be sure that it would work quite well as a mobile title. Just look at Dr. Mario. That was one of Nintendo’s better mobile titles if you ask me.

Overall, Wario’s Woods is pretty fun. I appreciate the extra development time they clearly put into this. This is a game that has aged well. If you plan to play the game all the way to the end then definitely expect to stick with this one for quite a while. It’s just fun to play and the kind of game that you can plug in at any time. The fundamentals will come back to you pretty quickly but you will want to play it a lot to keep your speed up. The faster you match the objects the better in order to increase your score and make it up to the end.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Balloon Fight Review


It’s time to look at another NES game I recently finished playing through. Balloon Fight is definitely a pretty popular one despite the main character not becoming playable in Super Smash Bros yet. Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time until they fix that. In the meanwhile it’s fun to look back at how the franchise began. The game has aged quite well and does something almost no other NES game at the time had even thought to do….it has 2 modes. In almost all of my NES reviews I have to mention that there isn’t really anything to do in the way of replay value. Well, that’s not the case for this game. In Balloon Fight you’ve got the main mode and an endless score version.

So the main gameplay of Balloon Fight is that you have to try and pop the balloons carrying your enemies. Then you knock them out before they can grab more. The game is endless so you just see how many levels of this you can survive. Each level has around 4-8 enemies for you to beat. At first this is pretty easy as there are no obstacles or elements getting in your way. The game gradually gets harder though as eventually you have lightning bolts being fired at you and things of that nature. It’s a challenging but fun experience. Your main incentive will be to keep trying to beat your old score.

Then you’ve got the other gameplay mode where you’ve got an auto scrolling screen and a bunch of balloons floating around. Every few balloons you grab lowers your ranking. Your goal is to make it to Rank 1 and then you’ll have beaten the mode. It keeps on going endlessly if you want to keep getting more balloons but that is your main goal. It’s pretty fun and certainly different from the main mode so I like the diversity. You can tell that this game had a good amount of development time behind it. This is what I like to see.

The graphics are simple but effective. The enemies are colorful and the background is catchy. The music theme is also pretty iconic at this point. There’s not much else to say on a technical basis but it doesn’t disappoint. Between the two modes this game should last you close to an hour. There’s also a little replay value in trying to raise your high scores although I wouldn’t say that the replay value is too high either. It’s just right considering that this is a free title with the NES Online.

The controls are very smooth as well and I like how the physics are handled. You can’t just turn at the drop of a dime or anything like that. You do have to account for gravity and everything. If you tried going somewhere very quickly then you will not be able to stop as fast as you would have liked. Also, one fun thing about the game is that crossing the edge of the screen actually doesn’t result in you losing a life the way that it does in most games. That’s a fun little element that may seem pretty random, but I think it does serve to help make the game even more unique. It’s all pretty impressive if you ask me.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this game in part because of how simplistic it is. The gameplay you’ll understand within seconds of playing it because moving and floating is really all you can do. You beat all of the enemies the same way after all. Sometimes it seems like the simplest games ended up being some of the most addicting ones. It’s the same principle behind a lot of current mobile games that hit it big. There’s just something fun about doing repetitive actions. You start to do them real automatic like and it works out quite well if you ask me.

Overall, Balloon Fight is definitely one of the better NES games. This is exactly why I played a bunch of the low budget type games first. I figured that the longer I kept putting off the big games the more satisfying it would be when I ultimately started playing them back to back at the end. Now all I’ve got are the really big games and the marathon works quite well. I’d definitely be up for a big budget sequel to this someday. I think that would really work well since there is a ton that you can do with the balloon setup. You could even throw a plot in as that’s not something you typically saw a whole lot of back in the classic days.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon II: The Revenge Review


It’s tome to look at the sequel to the original Double Dragon. Double Dragon II is a pretty solid followup that handles everything just as good as the first game except for a slightly weaker story experience. At the same time it doesn’t give us any crazy loop levels this time. (Still can’t believe the first one did this) So I’d say that this does beat the original game. It’s really got all the hype you could want from a classic NES game and is a fun way to spend around 30-40 minutes.

The plot of the game is definitely a lot darker than the first one. Instead of being kidnapped, the main heroine is murdered by an opposing gang this time around. The heroes decide to avenge her and head off to destroy the gangs. This will be difficult though as the villains heavily outnumber them by hundreds of fighters. That’s not enough to set these guys back but they’ve also got to find the main hideout which will be tricky. Fortunately they have a lot of henchmen to beat up and one of them ought to know where the villains are. From there it is just a matter of finding the right one.

So I was pretty surprised at the story. I mean, it just seemed really intense for back in the day. That being said, towards the end of the game they start hinting that the heroine is actually alive. We seemingly hear her voice after all. Unfortunately the game cuts out before you can get there. I guess there’s some kind of trick to actually facing the final boss or maybe it’s a difficulty level thing. How the game ended on my playthrough is you fight a shadow clone of yourself. It’s always fun to do that but I never liked the idea of the game hiding the final level behind another difficulty. Cmon, you should let me actually get the ending. Having a bonus for people playing higher difficulties makes sense, but make it in the form of a post game or something instead of cutting out my ending. I thought that was uncalled for.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic 2D beat em up. You have to keep fighting through scores of enemies in order to beat the level. A lot of them are big bruisers this time so definitely time your punches right or you’ll eat a counter worth a ton of damage. There isn’t much to the controls so you should know how to play the whole thing straightaway without any real problem. That being said, the ninjas will still be a pain to deal with. They move incredibly fast and are constantly jumping. They also like to throw things at you once in a while and I don’t know what the proper strategy is to deal with them. They definitely caused me a ton of restarts and rewinds so these guys are definitely serious business. They were actually even tougher than the bosses to be honest.

The graphics are pretty fun. There is a noticeable improvement which is always good to see. The character designs and stage layouts are all pretty fun. Then when it comes to the soundtrack it’s pretty pleasant. I can’t really say that it’s memorable though but I’d say that the important thing is that it’s not distracting in a bad way. A good soundtrack should enhance the experience and I’d say that it does even if only slightly. The game’s fairly short also so it’s not like you got to experience it for very long. You’ll be through the game in no time.

There isn’t really much replay value though. I suppose if you picked the wrong settings or something then you will need to play the ending again. I’d look up why you don’t get the real ending before you play the game though just to save yourself some time. If it is that you have to beat the game twice no matter what they that’s really forced to try and make the length better. I never support that kind of practice, it just seems a bit underhanded to me. You shouldn’t force people to play your game a lot through gimmicks like that.

Overall, Double Dragon II really shows you what a sequel is supposed to be all about. It grabs the positives from the first game and erases the big negative I had with it. All of the levels here are pretty linear and you don’t have to worry about the game trying to trick you. It’s all about just using your skills here and fighting with great speed and precision. So long as you do that then you’ll be okay. I’m slowly but surely making my way through all of these classic NES games. I think this may have been the last full fighting game left though so it’ll be missed.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon Review


It’s time to look at an old beat em up game for the NES. I’m pretty familiar at least with the title because this was a pretty popular game back in the day. Who doesn’t like a good 2D beat em up right? The only thing holding this game back is that it randomly decides to throw an infinitely looping level at you during the campaign. Why would a game even add that? I feel like there is no real benefit to doing so and it just throws you out of your rhythm. Still, the game is definitely fun and it has an actual plot which is always nice.

The game starts with a girl being kidnapped by a gang of thugs. The main character decides to save her, but to do so he will have to travel across cities and mountains to their base. He is also up against an entire city’s worth of thugs who are out to get him. It won’t be easy to stop all of them, but that’s fine. The main character is ready to do whatever it takes in order to win and he is clearly not opposed to getting into some fights. If anything he looks forward to the action.

The controls are pretty simple. You can punch, kick, and do a flying kick. You can also grab the opponent to get some extra pummel damage in which is pretty handy. To continue to going through the level you have to defeat all of the enemies you currently see. After a few waves of this you will make it to the next level. Most of the enemies are pretty easy to dispatch. I recommend kicking over punching as it has a longer range so it’s just a lot more efficient. They will have a hard time landing a counter hit on you.

The toughest enemies are the big dudes who show up to smash your health away. The trick to beating them is to kick when they are the maximum distance away from you. That way you can unleash all 3 kicks in time to knock them down. That’s absolutely your best bet here and if you do that then you will certainly be in a great spot. It’s easier said than done though so you will likely need to work on the timing a bit. A lot of times enemies show up out of nowhere too and throw things at you which are hard to react to in time. These items take a lot of health away so you’ll likely need a few restarts. Still, eventually you will have beaten the game. There are only 4 levels if I recall correctly so that won’t take you very long at all.

The gameplay is straight forward as I mentioned, but the one thing holding it back is level 3. I don’t see why a level loop was necessary. It’s really just penalizing the player for going ahead and kicking everyone around. There’s no reason you should be looking for a secret exit because you haven’t needed one throughout the game. Up til now all you had to do was just beat people up and that worked really well. I feel like this was just to extent the game a bit and it didn’t really age well.

The graphics are pretty solid though. I like the various level backgrounds. You can use quite a few objects throughout the game and it’s always easy to tell what you’re using. The character models are good and the main music theme is pretty solid as well. I definitely didn’t have any complaints with this. There isn’t much replay value since the game is so short and there is no post game content to try and tackle so this is definitely a game that you just play through once and call it a day.

Overall, Double Dragon is a pretty fun game. It may not be the game of the year material you may expect it to be, but you’ll have a good time. It’s fairly short but should still last you for around 30 minutes. Maybe even longer if you get tricked into the infinite level for a while before realizing what is going on. The levels all have time limits which is the main indicator that something is wrong. The time limit is around 2-3 minutes so if you’re still running and there isn’t much time left then you know that something isn’t adding up. If you have the Nintendo Switch Online then there is no reason not to check this one out. The Switch Online even has Double Dragon II already so then you can see if that one does a good job of following up the original.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

River City Ransom Review


It’s time to look at the next NES title. Slowly but surely I’m cranking down on the rest of these NES games. At the time of writing this I have around 22 left I believe which is pretty good. At this rate I should have them all done by the end of June and then I’ll be eagerly awaiting Nintendo’s announcement that they are adding more. The other good news is that now I’m getting to the big games. Gone are the sport games, now I’m up for more of the plot type games or at least ones that have more in the way of gameplay.

I recently played River City Girls so it was pretty fun to go back and play the original. This is a game that has definitely aged quite well. First off we’ve actually got a plot with cutscenes here. The main character’s girlfriend was kidnapped by a bunch of thugs so the hero is off to save her. Along the way he will have to defeat 9 different gangs so it’s going to be a long day for the hero. Fortunately you can utilize just about everything you come across as a weapon and you also pass by a lot of malls to replenish your health.

One impressive thing about the game is that it has a full open world much like River City Girls. The game isn’t linear so you choose where you want to go first. Each area has a boss once you beat a lot of the minions and presumably once you beat all 9 then you will clear the game. Open world is a concept that has always been a lot of fun although there is still something to be said for a more linear experience. I wouldn’t say that either is better as they each have their positives but open world can be a little more dangerous if you have the potential to get stuck. I’ve had that happen to me in the past and it was pretty dicey. That actually happened in this game as well.

See, you don’t actually seem to trigger the boss if you bypass the henchmen. After I beat the first boss I figured, why not run to the school since that’s where the hostage is being kept right? So, I made a beeline over there including jumping down from a cliff and entering a passageway. I made it to the school, but nothing was happening even after I beat all of the henchmen a few times. So, I had to go back and clear the other levels but the problem is that you can’t actually go back once you cross the cliff. It’s an interesting design choice and one that seems a bit fatal depending on how fast you go through the game. Perhaps there is a way to get unstuck there and if so, kudos to whoever figured that out. I was going to go through the whole game but since it’s not really linear anyway and finding all of the bosses would take a while I figured I’d stop here.

There are few games where I would explore a whole labyrinth to find answers and one of those would be Metroid for honor. At this point that game’s personal. River City Girls took this game’s premise and really ran with it though. The best new addition that game had was a big map system. If you ever got lost you could consult that. This game has no map which is understandable since that would have been difficult back then but I would have definitely enjoyed it.

The combat is definitely a lot of fun here. You can really hit people with combo after combo, but the computers don’t just sit there and take it either. They actually block quite a lot which is pretty impressive and when they lunge at you it can be hard to react in time. You definitely have to stay on your guard. I really like the Baseball bat and highly recommend equipping it as much as possible. There are a ton of stores so you definitely want to buy food at them. Not only does it increase your health but it can also increase all of your other stats like attack power and speed.

The graphics are definitely pretty solid. I like the character designs for the various characters. They look tough as you’d expect such a character to be. These guys are clearly not messing around and that’s a good thing. Whatever threat comes up, the hero is ready to squash it. The soundtrack is also pretty catchy. It’s nice and fast paced and definitely gets you into the moment.

Overall, River City Ransom is definitely a pretty fun game. The fact that it has a real story is pretty cool and the gameplay is pretty solid. There’s a good amount of content here to playing through the game could last you an hour or two. The only thing holding is back is really the lack of a map feature and the point of no return. Just make sure you take out all of the goons in each area without skipping any and then you should be fine. Slow and steady wins the race as always.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced Review


Looks like it’s time for another Crash adventure. The last two games were both pretty short and the same is true of this one. You can beat it in under 90 minutes so I wonder how you would be feeling about that if you bought it on launch day. Granted, if you paid full price then perhaps you would go ahead and grab all of the collectibles to get the true ending. As it stands, this one is very similar to the last Crash game. It’s a pretty fun adventure that may be brief, but the gameplay is quite sound. It also has more of a plot than the last one so I was all for that.

The game starts with the Mask finally deciding that Cortex has failed him for the last time. He turns to one of the other members of the Cabal, a Time Master. The Master is pretty confident that he can stop Crash so he hires a mind control villain to kidnap everyone. The guy succeeds except for Crash who gets lucky thanks to his own Mask protecting him. The villains now have all of Crash’s friends + an evil version of Crash. Can Crash really save all of his friends and defeat someone who manipulates time with such ease? One thing’s for sure, this is not going to be an easy win for our young Bandicoot. Crash is going to need some kind of plan here.

It’s a pretty epic plot and unlike the last one we do get more cutscenes throughout each world. You get that sense of danger after clearing each world and I do like the idea of fighting all of Crash’s allies. I was a little surprised to see Crash among them though. I guess he was actually a good guy? Based on his dialogue it seems like he was mind controlled the whole time so he’s always been a hero. You can certainly color me surprised on that twist but it was good to see him again. As with last time the bosses are pretty well varied. The final boss even has two phases this time which makes him a true threat. You’ll want to really memorize his movement patterns or you’re in for a tough time. I would recommend sliding under him after every two jumps and then in phase two if he starts shooting the fast energy blasts go directly under him. He can’t shoot at that angle so you’ll be safe and then you can just hope he doesn’t fire off the homing energy blast instead. At that point you’re pretty much just plain ole doomed.

As for the levels, they’re mainly your usual Crash 2D Platforming levels. The actual levels feel a little shorter than the last game’s, but it’s pretty close so that could just be placebo. Either way the controls are smooth and one thing that I liked was how you have all of the power ups from the start this time. It does make the game as a whole considerably easier than the last one, but I really enjoy the double jump. It’s just hard not to play with it so I’m fine with the game being a little easier if that’s what it takes. Just go through the level cautiously and you should be fine. If you’ve made it this far in the series you’ll definitely be okay and if not the game actually has a pretty helpful tutorial at the beginning.

One of the alternate gameplay styles that made a return here is the Monkey Ball style. It’s my least favorite style in this game though. The levels have too many obstacles so you end up having to go really slow the whole time. As a result you don’t get to really capture that fun Monkey Ball spirit. Another gameplay style is the space missions where you have to boost through the levels and blast alien ships. I don’t think the boost mechanic was necessary here but I’m always up for some space blasting. There are only 2-3 of these levels in the game so make them count. Finally you also have the boat levels where you have to try and escape Jaws. These levels are a bit random but pretty fun. I consider them to be an upgrade over the running towards the screen levels from the earlier games.

So I don’t really have any complaints with this game except for one. Naturally that’s the length. 1 hour is pretty short for any console, but especially for one as modern as the GBA. Clearly the goal is to get you to replay it a few times until you collect everything, but I think the main campaign still could have been longer. If it was between the game being short or padding it out though then they made the right move. Collectibles should always be optional so I’m glad that the game made them that way. Forcing you to grab everything has always been a risky gamble and not one that I was a fan of.

As for the soundtrack, I’m finally starting to recognize the tunes after hearing them so much. The music in the game is pretty fun. It may not be the most dynamic, but the tunes are easy to listen to and help capture that Adventure spirit. You feel like you’re on a fun quest with Crash and the gang. Who can ask for more than that right? The graphics are also pretty good. They’re about the same as the last installment, but if it isn’t broken don’t fix it right? The character models are still on point and the whole thing looks pretty good.

Overall, Crash Bandicoot strikes again with another quality game that is just held back by the length. At around an hour to an hour and 20 minutes this game won’t really last you for very long. You could go and grab the collectibles to extend the game though. The levels are quick so playing them all 2-3 times isn’t a big deal if you’re interested in seeing how it ends. It’s always a tempting offer once I have less games on my backlog but at the moment I mainly just play the games to their original completion and just go from there. If you’re a big platforming fan or just want to relive the good ole days of the GBA then this is a solid adventure to check out. The fundamentals are all here so you should have a good time.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure Review


It’s time to look at another Crash title. This one is the first portable Crash title I’ve played so I was ready to see what it was like. I did see him briefly in the Spyro crossover but I bought the Spyro version so I don’t recall if you actually played as Crash at all. Well, this game is solid and keeps in most of the gameplay from the console games. You can’t help but feel like it’s a pale imitation though. The Gamecube version was already short and this one’s even shorter which is a bit tricky to get around. I beat the game in a little over an hour which is pretty crazy. I guess there is a bit of replay value to work with here, but that’s still pretty crazy.

So the plot is that Cortex has come up with his latest invention to defeat Crash. It’s a device that shrinks the planet to the size of a grapefruit which sounds like a pretty sophisticated piece of equipment. I was certainly impressed at any rate. There’s a lot of pressure on Cortex because the Mask has warned him that he isn’t allowed any more failures. Cortex does tend to fail the guy a lot so you can understand where he’s coming from, but I personally think it’s a bluff to get Cortex working. Crash doesn’t have time to worry about that though. His goal now is to find a way to restore the planet back to its original size and save the entire planet. Can he do it?

The main gameplay here is that of a 2D platformer. You jump over obstacles and smash enemies as you head to the end of the level. At first you only have a few abilities like rolling, slide, jump, and spin. After each world you unlock new abilities though including the really handy double jump. The game becomes infinitely easier once you obtain this skill. That’s because almost the whole game is built around trying to get through it with 1 jump even to the final world so you’re in a pretty good position as a result. Just be warned that the second jump destroys your momentum in the air so be prepared to not cover as much distance as you might think with the jump.

The gameplay is definitely pretty fun. I think the Crash style is good at bringing in some difficult levels that will test your fundamentals without going overboard. Even the toughest of sections will be cleared before long. The game also has some other gameplay styles here like swimming. The underwater levels are greatly improved here from the Gamecube game so I’ll give the title some props there. It’s still not quite as fun as the traditional levels though. Then you’ve got the running to the screen levels. Those still seem to be a bit luck based if you ask me since you can’t see where you’re going. They’re fun enough though.

Finally you have the aerial levels which are definitely a lot of fun. You fly through the air and blast away at all of the objects that stand in your way. It can be hard to dodge the obstacles while still landing hits on the opponents. To that my best advice is to just stay in place while blasting. You can actually deal far more damage than they can so this works in all levels until the final aerial one. There you need to move a bit. So keep in mind that you still dodge minions but for the checkpoint bosses just stand still and blast away at them. It works pretty well. There is one world boss which is in this style and that one’s pretty fun. I recommend knocking out the machine gun on the bottom first since that makes the boss a whole lot more manageable.

When it comes to the graphics Crash looks pretty good. The character models are solid and the illustrations look nice as well. They make Cortex look even sadder than usual but that’s pretty much in character so I can’t really say that there are any issues there. The level designs don’t have a lot of variety though and it feels like the game re-uses the backgrounds quite a bit. Unlike the other Crash games where each world has a theme, pretty much every world in this game is either a forest or a science lab. I think more levels would have been nice.

When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s pretty fun. I wouldn’t say that any of the themes are all that memorable though. If anything the sound effects are really the memorable part of this game and you probably won’t be forgetting those anytime soon. As I mentioned, the length of the game is under 2 hours though so keep that in mind when buying this game. You can extend your playtime a bit though by going back to all of the levels and getting all of the collectibles. It sounds like that would trigger a bonus level or some kind of extra cutscene I suppose. Hopefully it’s something good because collecting everything seems like it would be pretty difficult and take a while.

There isn’t a whole lot of plot here outside of the opening although that isn’t really unheard of on the GBA. You’re in it purely for the gameplay after all. Hopefully the next game will have a bit more story though. As for the boss fights, they were all different so that was one of the best parts of the game. The most enjoyable boss fight would have to be taking on the giant fox as he jumped from platform to platform. It was a fun idea for a boss fight and I don’t believe I’ve fought one quite like it before. I always like seeing a creative new approach to a battle.

Overall, Crash The Huge Adventure is a pretty solid Crash game. It definitely could have benefited from a few more hours of runtime but what we do get is solid. It really just holds the game back a star, but that’s all. At the end of the day if a game is fun then it’ll still earn itself more of a decent star. Maybe if it was something even more excessive like 10 minutes that’d be another story like some of the NES games, but at around 1 hour it could be worse. I look forward to seeing how N’Tranced fares. It’s listed as being a little longer than the Huge Adventure so we’ll see if that is true as my Crash marathon continues.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Journey Review


Sony put this game up for free recently which was pretty cool. I’m not sure if the deal is still going, but if it is you should definitely take the plunge and check it out. This game is more of an interactive movie than what you would typically expect in the format which is part of why I never bought it before. Also, it’s relatively short as you can complete it in around an hour. That being said, you can’t go wrong when it’s free right? It’s a charming enough game that is fun to play through once. I also think if they do a sequel and add in some combat gameplay this could end up being a pretty awesome title. Not saying they should do this…but they definitely should!

The plot is a bit ambiguous of course, but the goal is to get to the peak of a mountain. For some reason the lead just needs to get there. You can run and jump for most of the game and later on you can even fly as long as you have some energy left in the meter. You refill it by running into other players or coming across some pixie dust. I recommend flying whenever possible. From there it’s just a matter of running to the goal and some platforming. Admittedly it can be easy to get lost here. If not for some other players running around the game may have taken me a bit longer. In the end I followed their lead and it worked out.

While there is no big story here there are a few cutscenes that show up once in a while. A pretty fun one involves a monster that pops out at you. The environment in this world is pretty interesting and since the game doesn’t give you a story you are free to make your own. I assume that this takes place in an apocalyptic future where humanity has been wiped out by these monsters and are now struggling for survival. The few remaining ones have gained psychic powers and wear the cloak to survive in these hot climates. It makes enough sense for me to get behind that at any rate.

The graphics are pretty solid. They may not be high end PS4 level but they look nice. I think the game probably would have been able to shine a little more in this area if the levels had involved cities and forests or something like that. When you’re in an empty desert there is only so much that you can show after all. The monster designs are good though. As for the soundtrack, it’s made to be more background noise/generic tunes so you won’t really remember it much by the end. It works well enough as you go through the game.

The main drawback to the title is how short it is. The gameplay may not be too stimulating but it is fundamentally sound. If you put a good story behind it then it would work out really well. Even without a story the game could still have been interesting with more levels. Granted, this could be a mixed bag because if there is no story then the game would run the risk of being repetitive. Still, only being 1 hour in this day and age without a whole lot of replay value is pretty rough. At most you can go back and try to get the Platinum Trophy I suppose. It’s a nice enough title where I would still call it a good game but one that just won’t keep your attention for very long.

Overall, Journey does make you feel like you’re on a bit of an adventure but only to that one restaurant that isn’t too close to you. It only takes you around an hour to achieve your goal so you get the feeling that the lead wasn’t all that far away from it after all. There’s a lot of potential behind making the Journey a franchise or even a feature film about it starring The Rock and some of his sidekicks as they try to get to the mountain. You can easily construct a plot around this goal if you put your mind to it. While I wouldn’t pay for this game, you definitely shouldn’t miss out while it’s free.

Overall 6/10