7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Blur Review


It’s time to look at a racing game that made a lot of noise back in the day. There aren’t a whole lot of item based racing games and even fewer ones that go for a realistic angle. The only other one going on at the time was probably Wipeout. This game had been on my radar for a very long time so now was a good opportunity to finally pick it up. It’s a pretty fun game and having a straight forward arcade mode is nostalgic but I do feel like the game was missing something.

The main mode is the career and what happens here is you start off with the first chapter available. Each chapter has 6 races and if you complete extra objectives during these levels you will unlock the boss level at the end with an opportunity to unlock your opponent’s car. Each level has up to 7 stars that you can earn with 3 being the minimum that you need in order to clear the level. These stars are important because they are how you unlock the next chapters.

By the end of the game I got a little over half of the stars and unlocked all but the final chapter. It’s usually not too difficult to get up to 5 stars in a level but going beyond that is definitely a challenge. The game really wants you to ace the levels in order to unlock the final chapter. The star requirements are surprisingly high. Most likely you will need to replay levels a bit if you want to get to the end.

There are a few different gameplay styles to be found here. The one you will see the most is definitely the racing levels. These play out pretty much as you would expect with the goal being to get to the end of the level first. Along the way you will see the mini challenges. Some of these are “fan challenges” which are little icons that will give you an item and 40 seconds in which to use it properly. Then you’ve got the gates and the objective here is to go through them all in time. These give you a star for completion so do your best to clear them all.

As I mentioned earlier there are also items in this game so you will want to take those into account. There are a few basic items. First you have the booster which is self explanatory. Then you have the land mine which you can place behind you or fire in front at short range. It’s a pretty handy item and one of the best in the game. Of course you also have the energy blast weapon or the mini energy gun that can fire 3 times. The wrench item heals you back to full health which I think is a little excessive but it does make this the most valuable item in the game. There are certainly other items to be found but those are the main ones.

Other modes include Checkpoint which is really just a race with yourself as you try to get to the end of the level. These levels can be a little tricky to get the main 5 stars in, you will sometimes want to go for the booster instead of the clock if it’s more of a direct route to the goal. Then there is Knockout where the goal is to take down as many others cars as possible. There is no end to the level so you keep blasting cars until the timer runs out.

The graphics here are pretty solid. The levels have a lot of variety and the cars look great. There is a decent amount of customization like changing the color of the car without it being overwhelming. The soundtrack isn’t really anything to write home about but it supplements the game well enough. This game can be fairly long depending on how many tries it takes you to unlock the final chapter. That’s the thing with racing games, especially ones with items. In the end you just have to get really good at the fundamentals and hope no big item slams you in the end because it’s not like you can spend time farming enemies to get stronger. You do get fans win or lose which unlocks new cars so eventually you will get a car that gives you more of an edge which will be handy.

The campaign is fairly long on its own and the game has a lot of replay value through the PS3 trophies you can earn as well as the multiplayer option. You definitely don’t have to worry about not having enough content for your purchase. In general racing games have levels that can feel a little long since you’re so focused on the road and the other cars so as it is you’ll likely need to take quite a few breaks along the way. This is not the kind of game you can beat overnight in one shot unless you’re some kind of racing prodigy.

Overall, Blur is definitely a fun game. The items work out pretty well and the graphics hold up to this day. The level designs are solid and there are a lot of cars to choose from. I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a quick car game to play and don’t mind having the items to look out for. I tend to prefer the racing games without items but I still enjoy both kinds. Racing games in general are just pretty fun and this one is going for cheap now so it’ll be hard to get a better price than what it’s at. This is your chance to snag it.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brave Review


Video games based on movies always have a certain reputation that comes along with them. People just expect these games to not be very good and this is warranted by the multitude of games that came out in the early 2000s…..or did they? See, a lot of games based on movies did come out in that era, but I’d argue that a lot of them were really good. The Matrix, Spider-Man 1-3, X-Men 3, etc. These games were actually a lot of fun and then you’ve got titles like The Incredibles or Superman Shadow of Apokolips (Based on a show at least) which were also solid. Now there have been some terrible ones like Finding Nemo, but I’d argue it balances out well. Brave is a solid game in its own right and I’d recommend checking it out.

The plot seems to cover what the movie did in abridged form although I have not watched the movie yet so I can’t say that with 100% confidence. Basically the main character’s Mom is turned into a bear so now she must find a way to turn her back. Meanwhile there is an evil bear who is spreading evil throughout the world and corrupting everybody. If he isn’t stopped soon then there will be no going back. The lead has to learn that bravery is something that comes from within and the way to save her Mother may have something to do with this. The only thing left to do now is fight!

The gameplay is fairly standard. You start out at the Ring of Stones which is effectively the hub world although I hesitate to say that because there is nothing to do here. It’s a blank field you can run around in and it leads you to the 9 levels. Each time you clear one level then the gateway to the next one opens up which allows you to challenge it. There’s not really much more than that to do here so maybe lets just call it the hub. Once inside of the level the goal is to get to the end. This is done by running and jumping through the obstacles. You’ll have to beat a lot of the levels as it is part beat em up. When you beat all of the enemies the force field will leave and you can proceed forward. The levels are fairly quick and you can knock out the full game in a few hours. I don’t know exactly how long it took me, but it was between 4-6 hours I’d say.

In combat you have two weapons. The first is the sword which the game seems to think is your main weapon but don’t let that fool you. It’s nice and you can slice enemies up pretty quickly but there’s no reason to use it. The reason for that is you have a bow which fires unlimited arrows machine gun style. While the damage is slightly lower it compensates well with how many arrows you’re shooting. You can also run at full speed while shooting which is rare for any game. As a result there is no downside to constantly shooting as you are running. Not a bad idea right? I went with the arrows for the whole game and it was worth it. I didn’t die at all throughout my whole playthrough (until the final boss) which yeah that isn’t too impressive considering what game it is, but it still felt pretty good.

As you play through the game you will find upgrades for your sword and arrows as well as other costumes and tapestries which increase your base stats. You can also buy other upgrades at each save point which are pretty handy. They aren’t hidden all that far away from the main path so I was actually able to get almost all of them despite focusing on just clearing the game the whole time. It’s really not much of a time sink to quickly turn around and grab them so I’d recommend doing so. Additionally if you aim to get the Platinum trophy you’ll need to do this at some point anyway so what better time than the present right?

The graphics are fairly decent. It does look more like a PS2 game than PS3, but it’s not like the character models are blocky or anything. You’re always still sure of what’s happening next and there are a good amount of cinematics here to give you that movie feel. There isn’t really a soundtrack unfortunately so that does keep this from feeling like a higher budget title. I’d say that the main giveaways to this not being a big AAA game is how there are some re-used cutscenes and how simple the controls are. I don’t think simple controls is inherently a bad thing though. With good level design and a solid gameplay option you can really make this work out. Just look at the old Sonic or Mega Man games. There weren’t a bunch of controls but they were still a lot of fun.

If anything holds this game back it’s the length, but you can buy this game for cheap nowadays so I don’t think you’ll feel too badly about it. There is also the replay value thanks to the trophies which keeps this from being too short as well. Brave is just a fun game and it feels like a nice relic of the past. You don’t really see quick cash-in games like this anymore and it’s a shame. It’s not the kind of game you’d buy for 60, but it’s one that is always fun to stumble upon in Gamestop. It’s easily worth the price nowadays.

Overall, Brave is a very good game. I’m not saying it’s great and it’s not going for game of the year awards, but there’s really nothing bad to say about it. The ability to shoot endless arrows is admittedly very cheesy, but it does help this feel more like an arcade game. You can just dive into the game and take down as many enemies as you can. You can even turn it into a minigame with yourself to see how long you can go without getting hit. Some of the last levels will give you a nice challenge there and as I mentioned I did die a few times during the final boss. That one throws enemy after enemy at you so taking them all down isn’t the easiest thing in the world. It’s good reaction time practice since if you jump at the right time you should be able to dodge any attack.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wario Land Shake It Review


It’s time to take a look at a Wario game that I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing until very recently. It’s always nice to see him take the center stage. While Mario is certainly the more heroic character, Wario’s definitely a guy that doesn’t let everyone push him around. He just goes at the villains with all he’s got and makes for an entertaining lead. Shake It is a solid game that is slightly held back by the treasure mechanic, but does bring a breath of fresh air into the usual Nintendo platformer.

The basic plot is that a mysterious pirate has kidnapped a bunch of fairies. One of them manages to escape and convinces Wario to help in exchange for a bunch of treasurer. The fairy also heads to a local pirate for help as well and she decides to come along. Can this trio really stop such a powerful adversary or are their stories about to come to an abrupt end here? Only time will tell, but this could get dangerous.

The gameplay has your usual end goal. You have to get to the end of the level only that’s not where the level stops this time. You have to free the fairy there and then dash back to the beginning of the level with a 2-3 minute time limit. If you don’t make it then you’ll have lost. You get to keep whatever treasure you grabbed on the way to the start. You have a few different control options like the usual jumping and ground pounding, but also new ones like slamming into opponents or throwing them at obstacles. You’ll get the hang of these controls pretty quick and from there on it’s just a matter of plunging through.

Each world has 4 levels and there are 5 worlds here. You may think this sounds extremely short right? Well, it’s not a particularly long game, but it’s almost as long as the usual platformer. (Most platformers are around 6-7 hours) I’d put this game in at 5 hours personally. Each level won’t take you longer than a few minutes. So you may wonder why you can’t just beat this game in 2-3 hours or something right? Well, the game forces you to collect a ton of treasure in order to unlock each world. You’ll need 200K for World 5, 150K for World 4, etc. It’s around 700K in total I believe. I usually got around 20-30K per level so I only had to do a little grinding for the final world. If I didn’t have to worry about treasure I could beat the levels way sooner. As if the mock you each level has a very direct route from start to finish. However, if you want to get the treasure you’ll have to go through a bunch of alternate paths to get at it. The levels don’t become super long or anything like that, but you do realize the time you’re wasting throughout.

I’ve never been a big fan of forced items. I don’t like the idea of the game telling me how I have to play it because you are effectively being penalized for blasting through the game. As a bit of a speed runner myself I like conquering the games and just showing them what’s up. I can’t do that if the game is holding my hand the whole time and taking me down the various paths. Since the game does show enough restraint not to make the counts too obsessive it doesn’t hurt much, but it just limits the game from being quite as fun as it could have been. At least its upfront about how much treasure you’ll need for each world at the beginning so you can plan it out as you’re going through the game.

The graphics here are definitely really good. I was also impressed that we got a full opening anime movie to start the game off with and one at the end as well. Why does Wario get all this fanfare rather than Mario who is supposed to be the company’s mascot? It doesn’t make any sense to me and I was thinking about it for quite a long while. I’m sure there is some rationale to this and I’m thinking it’s that Nintendo can experiment more with Wario, but I’d love this treatment for the next big Mario platformer. The soundtrack for Shake It! isn’t quite as impressive as in Yoshi or Mario, but it’s a decent array of songs. None of them really stood out to me though.

Then we have the bosses which are pretty inspired. One of the final ones does get a little cheesy with the only way to beat it being a move that you were never formally taught to do in this situation. Ignoring that, all of the bosses have unique designs and ways to defeat them. There are no recycled fights like you would see in most of Nintendo’s other big games. In part this is because each world only has 1 boss instead of 2 and I think that makes sense to keep each fight fresh. They’re all a lot of fun, but the best boss has to be the final one. Not only does he have a proper two phases like a Mega Man villain, but his design and moveset are really something special. The guy can fire off giant energy blasts and makes it look easy. Additionally he just feels like a final boss. The guy has his own throne. I’d love to see him make a comeback at some point. He’s one of the few Nintendo villains I’ve seen who is played completely straight. He has no comedy moments to speak of.

There’s a good amount of replay value here after beating the game. You can work to find all of the treasure chests or even complete all of the bonus missions. Then with that treasure you can buy some extra heart containers or the opening movie to re-watch at your leisure. I don’t think the game will still last for much longer after all of this, but it’s a fair amount of content that really helps justify the price even further. The game goes for around 15-20 nowadays which is a fair price in my opinion. It’s rare that Wario gets his own game so I’m glad Nintendo put some real effort into it.

Overall, Wario Land Shake It! is a pretty fun game. It was more enjoyable than I expected as the motion controls were actually handled well here. You don’t use them much at all except for aiming and it was pretty responsive. Wario makes for a fun lead and the game just feels very unique. It can’t be compared to Nintendo’s other titles so easily. Hopefully we get a new Wario Land game at some point, I think there is still a lot that can be done with it. I also think Nintendo should consider a crossover game someday with Mario, Yoshi, DK, and Wario mixing and matching all 4 of the styles. That would have the potential to be Nintendo’s best platformer yet!

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yoshi’s Woolly World Review


I have conquered my first game from the Christmas batch! Of course it had to be Yoshi because this game was supposed to be quite solid. I may not be a fan of the yarn aesthetic but that has no real bearing on the actual gameplay so either way this was going to be a blast. It’s definitely a pretty good game and delivers on everything you could want here. My only gripe is that some of the level designs aren’t great with invisible blocks everywhere which I find to be a bit tiresome. The final level in the game is also the worst one which is a bit ironic, but these issues are fairly minor and ultimately do not prevent the game from reaching its potential.

The story starts with Kamek showing up and stealing most of the Yoshi’s. Since they are made of yarn this isn’t really a difficult thing to do. Fortunately the main Yoshi escaped and now he wants to save all of his friends. To do that he will have to travel to all of the worlds and stop Kamek at every turn. This magic koopa may not be all that powerful, but he is fast and always manages to scamper off. You’ll quickly be able to see what the formula is here so you’ve always got a good idea of how long the game is. It should last you a good 6-7 hours I’d say.

We should jump right into the gameplay which is naturally pretty good. You have to get to the end of the level by jumping and running through various obstacles. You can eat just about anything and then you can turn them into eggs which you throw into switches and use to attack enemies. While there is a little bit of motion controls thrown into this equation it’s not nearly as intrusive as you would expect. While I am of the opinion that motion controls almost never help a game, this one didn’t particularly hurt it either. Half the time you won’t even remember that it’s here.

One area where the game really excels is in the boss battles. True, they do re-use quite a few of them, but it’s nice to have some bosses with actual moves and creative ways to defeat them. I think this is the main area where Nintendo tends to soar above the competitors. Their 2D platformers have way more strategic elements in play to keep things interesting while the others tend to be rather basic. Some of these will actually take you a few moments to determine how to injure them and each boss typically has 2 different points at which they are vulnerable. For the first instance you can take advantage of it if you are ready and quick. Then they have a second opportunity for players who may not be at that level yet. It’s all good boss design.

As expected the graphics are nice and pleasant even if they are some of the worst that I’ve ever seen in a Yoshi game. I’m sorry to say that the yarn aesthetic just doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of Kirby’s Epic Yarn where it just doesn’t hold up as well because the graphics were trying to be so experimental. Sometimes being experimental just isn’t a good thing and it’s something that can be hard for video game companies to wrap their heads around. I think this phase of Nintendo is over though and if you like this style there’s no problem. It just struck out for me.

The soundtrack is solid though. You’ll recognize a lot of the classic Yoshi themes, but then you’ve also got a new one for the lava level that is surprisingly epic. It feels like something you’d hear in a Sonic game, not a fun Yoshi game where you’re weaving yarn. Part of its effectiveness is in the fact that it comes out of nowhere like that. I was certainly impressed and have to give the game high marks for this showing.

Meanwhile there is a lot of replay value as you would expect. Each level has a lot of collectibles and it’ll actually take a good amount of time to grab them all. This will allow you to access extra levels and content which is always nice. Completing the game 100% will take you a very long time so expect to be here for quite a while. As I mentioned, this is just a very complete game and one I expect you’ll have a lot of fun with. It’s like one last hurrah for the Wii U.

Now lets talk about some of the weaker aspects of the game. There really isn’t much to talk about here. There isn’t really much of a plot but that’s to be expected. No, what I’m talking about here are the core level designs. One personal gripe is in the fact that the level designs have a lot of invisible areas. You can’t actually see things unless you shoot an egg wildly and hope it hits something. I didn’t think this was a good thing to do. Sure, it requires you to spend more egg shots and grab more enemies, but it’s not something you would find out otherwise. A good puzzle needs to give you a shot to solve it from the jump. Then you’ve also got the fact that the game will soft lock you in some sections. Sometimes you need to have an egg to throw but there are no enemies around so you’ll have to back-track quite a bit to get them. You should have the ability to always summon at least 1 egg to prevent this.

Then there’s the final level where you have to light up the statues. This level was pretty dreadful because it’s incredibly hard to find the enemies. I was probably on that level for a good 30 minutes or so. We never had anyone hidden under the water before so it comes out of left field. Most of the levels were quite good, it’s just that these things stick out and ultimately prevent the game from being higher up on Nintendo’s impressive list of platformers. Not every game can rise to the top though.

Overall, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game that I would recommend buying. I was definitely pretty late to the party here with how many years it took for me to get to this one, but it was worth the wait. It really sticks to the Nintendo formula of high quality games and it’s hard to imagine playing this one and not having fun. I’m definitely ready to play the next Nintendo game, but I admit there probably will be another long gap before I play the next Yoshi title. There are a lot of other games to play in the meanwhile and you can certainly expect a Wario title soon enough.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Crystar Review


It’s time to look at a video game that I hadn’t actually heard of before. It’s a pretty new one and doesn’t appear to be super mainstream so I’ll cut myself some slack here. It’s definitely got an interesting cover and with a name like this you can’t help but get a little interested. It’s definitely a pretty good game with a solid plot. I’d definitely be up for a sequel to this one.

The game starts off by introducing us to Rei and her little sister Mirai. They both wake up in a demonic world and don’t know how they get there. Unfortunately this leads to a monster showing up and the only way for Rei to defeat him is to open up a contract with the two leaders of this realm. They reveal that this world is Purgatory and that doesn’t bode well since Mirai ended up getting destroyed during the chaos early on. Her soul is now flying through purgatory and if it reaches the gears of revival she will be lost forever. Purgatory’s rulers give Rei a simply contract. They will give her the power to fight through the underworld and save her sister but in exchange she must destroy the Revenants that plague the world. Rei is determined to do whatever it takes to save her sister so while she doesn’t trust these self proclaimed demons and thinks the contract is suspect, she doesn’t have much of a choice. 

As you can tell the game’s plot is pretty deep as usually I could summarize the whole thing in one paragraph. As you may guess from the term purgatory this is a world you only enter if you are dead. The only exceptions are that revenants can suck away living humans into this demonic world in order to eat their souls. Technically revenants can also go after other revenants and dead souls, but a living one is worth a lot more so it speeds up their quest for revival. One they have attained enough for revival they will be able to go back to the real world and resume their life or potentially use their power to destroy it. It’s why the Executors (People who have signed a contract) are told to destroy them to keep the balance.On one hand, you’ve gotta take these guys down because they are eating all of the good souls as well. When someone dies if they forget their identity they become butterflies. Ones that retain some identity eventually level up into becoming a special butterfly or a revenant.

Ironically the ones with the strongest wills are the ones who are hunted. Strong mental fortitude is one of the most important traits for a soul to have in order to escape this place. So there are a lot of things to think about when targeting all of these souls but at the end of the day there doesn’t seem to be another way to save Mirai. For my two cents on that, the people are already dead and the ones who are mindless are just monsters at this point. Most of the revenants are completely evil as well and it would be hard to take them to prison. I do think it’s the right move not to destroy the good ones but of course it is tough since they all tend to lie quite a lot to get you to lower your guard. 

As for the gameplay, it’s a 3D best em up. You travel through maps that are created like a maze as you search for the exit. You rarely have to fight enemies but I recommend taking on most of them since the level ups are important. If you get to some of these bosses at a low level they’ll just end up crushing you with no mercy. One hit would be enough to finish you off and that’s not putting yourself in a great position. If you just fight all of the enemies you come across during your route in the game then you’ll be just fine when it comes to these challenges. You’ve got your standard attack, power attack, and a bunch of special moves. The power move is extremely slow though so I don’t recommend ever using it. It just never comes in handy and is so much slower that the slight increase in power is not worth it. This is partially due to the fact that you can dash cancel your standard combos. What I’ll do is throw out 3-4 hits and then immediately dash to continue the combo. A lot of games that use a dash feature end up having this feature so I always try for it. You always feel like this can’t be intentional because it really extends the combo, but if it’s there then I’m gonna use it. 

I ended up beating the game at a relatively early level as I hadn’t even hit 30 yet. It wasn’t bad though and I could still deal a good amount of damage. The equipment you have is the important part and I also bought a lot of food to amp up my stats during the fight. Leveling up will certainly help you beat bosses easier but it also makes the levels a lot longer so you just have to decide how to want to play this. I got to enjoy using all 4 characters throughout the game. Rei is definitely the most balanced one and my favorite for taking on minions. When the bosses would show up I liked Kokoro because while her attack range is terrible her power is through the roof. When she lands hits the bosses definitely feel it. Sen’s a good all around attacker so she’s good to switch in as well. Nanana is pretty broken with her projectiles but they deal an extremely low amount of damage. Put it this way, you can beat any level/any boss with ease using her, but it’ll take a super long amount of time. Keep her on the bench for emergencies.

The graphics are definitely solid here. In game it’s got a very goth/end of the world feel to it. It makes for a good atmosphere and the colors really stand out. I was also happy to see a full anime intro to the game which was pretty cool. The soundtrack is also pretty good. It’s not super extensive or anything, but it complements the game well. The game is definitely pretty somber the whole time so don’t expect to see too many bright colors or happy themes. The happiest theme is probably when Rei is at home, at least that part feels pretty normal.

As I mentioned the story is pretty dark. The same goes for even the normal levels as every enemy you face used to be human. When you destroy them they tend to throw curses at you hinting at how they died. Pretty much everyone has a tragic backstory here with everyone’s souls constantly crying at you. Crying is how you get stronger so prepare for a ton of that. I dare say it crosses the line a bit when one of the animals gets involved. The game handles it as well as something like that can be handled since there’s no blood and at least it happened painlessly in the human world, but I still did have to strike away a star for this. It really wasn’t needed in the game and the whole thing would have been better off without it.

As for the characters, they are all pushed to the breaking point as the game goes on. Rei definitely handles this the worst from all of them. I still don’t really buy into her stabbing the wrong person by accident the way she did. I’d like it if the game implied that someone forced her to do this, but surprisingly that didn’t happen. The whole game was someone’s plan so it’s reasonable to say that she did something, but it’s hard to confirm that. Regardless Rei cracks quite a lot as the game goes on. Everyone is always messing with her, but you still have to put a lot of blame on her.

Kokoro is a fun enough character aside from her Rei antics. She does a good job of moving past her origin story and keeping a lid on things. She’s a dependable ally to have. The climax of her character arc is similar to Captain America: Civil War’s so you’ll have to choose which side you’re on. I have to say that I’m on Kokoro’s, but it’s written well so you can understand where both characters are coming from. Sen’s a good character who’s justice angle is solid. She’s probably the most heroic out of the group although by the end her justice appears to waver. It’s a personal situation, but doesn’t change the fact that it goes against her ideals. Then we have Nanana who gets a smaller role than the other 3, but is a lot of fun.

She probably gets the roughest hand out of the group though because most of her scenes are people being mean to her. She’s always nice in response though so it gets pretty emotional. For supporting characters we have Mephis and Pheles. They’re more annoying than anything, but I suppose you need cryptically evil characters to balance things out. The one with glasses at least plays it straight though and gives some actually useful info. The other one just trolls 24/7. There are more characters but you should really play the game to get the full scoop. It has so much story that it’s like watching an anime or a movie.

There’s a lot of replay value here. For starters the game has 4 different endings. Beating the game once took me around 11.5 hours. Fortunately you don’t need to beat the whole game again for the different endings, but I fully expect you’ll be at 30+. Then if you want the Platinum it’ll take even longer. So there’s definitely a lot to enjoy even after you beat the game here.

Overall, Crystar is definitely a really solid game. It’s certainly very different from your average beat em up game. The whole thing really felt like Madoka from the abstract drawings to the contracts with the demons. I dare say that the game is even more grim as nobody really gets a happy ending here. Granted, I only played the default ending so I’m sure the true ending probably gives everyone a better conclusion. I’d definitely recommend checking this game out, but if you don’t like sad stories then this one won’t be for you.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Earth Defense Force Review


It’s time to look at another SNES game from back in the day. I know about the newer installments in the series, but didn’t realize that the SNES already had one. It’s cool that the series dates back all this way. The game does a good job of feeling like a nice sci-fi adventure. The story may be a little light even for SNES standards as there are no cutscenes, but it’s a solid/quick game to check out. The weapon customization also adds an extra layer of depth that most of these old shooters did not have.

The gameplay is that of a 2D side scroller. It’s an auto moving game so the screen is always going forward but you can still stay near the back of the screen or fly up close to test your luck with the various attacks going your way. You have a primary weapon which you can shoot and then you have mini drones of sorts that you can summon around you or use to focus your attacks. With them by your side your ship becomes even more of a threat although it can be hard to know which way to use it. Towards the end of the game I went with the focused attack and just trusted my primary weapon to get the job done.

As for your weapon, you’ve got around 8-10 options. There’s the classic machine gun which is still one of the best weapons you can have. It shoots very quickly and covers a wide range. Then you’ve got the bombs which look like lasers but when you hit an enemy they explode. It looks really cool even if I felt like it had less of an impact. There’s the laser which basically shoots out continuously and wracks up the damage. There were other weapons but since this game only has 6 levels I was careful not to switch it up much towards the end. I just went with the laser and figured that would be enough to help get me out of the jams.

This probably goes without saying but the game is extremely difficult. Without the added benefit of the SNES access points and rewind feature it is unlikely that I would have been able to complete the game. Right from level 1 you’ll be faced with a barrage of powerful attacks. They never let up even for a moment and 3 hits is enough to finish you off. Even when you think you dodged an attack sometimes you will find that it actually did connect. One level took me dozens and dozens of tries because of how many enemies were on the screen. The bosses are actually the easiest part since it is just one enemy attacking so you can focus more. The final boss is an exception to this as he spawns a bunch of little minions to help him out.

All of the bosses have fun designs and there is a good amount of variety here. Even not counting those guys the game spared no expense in the graphics department. The backgrounds really stand out and the game is just very vibrant. It’s ahead of its time here and it does help you appreciate the gameplay even more. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though so I suppose the game couldn’t quite win it all. The fun gameplay and solid graphics still ensure that this is a winner though.

The game is fairly short, but that is really to be expected here. There are 6 levels so you can probably take this game down in under an hour. It would be even shorter if you could beat every level in one shot but that is extremely unlikely. This game is no cakewalk and will require a lot of concentration to get through. Once you complete the game you will definitely get a sense of pride and accomplishment. That’s when you know that the game was indeed a winner.

Overall, Earth Defense Force is a very old school spaceship fighter. It’s like Galaga, but in 2D. One of the areas that really makes this game stand apart from the rest is how you can switch weapons. It’s a really nice touch and I definitely liked being able to choose what weapon I wanted for a given mission. Most likely you will find a favorite and just stick to it by the end, but I’m sure there will be some who will have fun switching the weapon based on the level they will be challenging. If you haven’t played this game yet then I definitely recommend doing so. The SNES Online has been great for checking out a bunch of games like this one.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Celeste Review


It’s time to look at an indie game that got pretty well known after it came out. It always looked pretty fun so I’m glad that I’ve now gotten to try it. The title isn’t particularly long, but it’s fairly challenging and a complete title. There are no real weaknesses here and the plot is pretty fun. It may not become the next Asdivine Hearts, but I’d definitely be down with a sequel someday.

The game follows a girl’s journey towards climbing a huge mountain called Celeste. While you have the option of re-naming the main character her given name is Madeline. She is fairly timid and figures that climbing the mountain would be a very big accomplishment. Unfortunately there are many obstacles standing in her way. Aside from the fact that the mountain is already an extremely difficult thing to climb, she will also have to contend with demons and her dark side which wants to sabotage her at every corner. Madeline can’t drop her guard, but so long as she continues to believe in herself and fights hard she should be okay.

The gameplay is like a 2D platformer but you have a few extra mechanics to keep in mind. One if the fact that you can air boost. This is incredibly handy and crucial to the levels. You can stick to walls and climb up and down. This uses up energy though and when you’re out of energy you’ll just end up falling. The goal is to get to the end of the level which is usually trying to go as high as you can. At times the exit will be blocked by a locked door and you’ll have to go around activating various items/switches in order to get through. The key here is to master the air boosting and everything else will come into place. One fun aspect of the game is that it keeps track of your deaths which is really cool. In the end I died exacting 500 times according to my post game stats. I wonder if they round it at all or if I actually did happen to die at such an even number. If so then that’s also pretty neat.

You may wonder if it’ll get tedious dying so often, but Celeste actually handles this extremely well. When you die, your re spawn has no animation. You just re-appear at the start of the section and no time is lost. It would be monumental if other games could adopt this same strategy or at least a game like Mario Maker where those seconds would add up to valuable time. Each level in Celeste is broken up into many small sections and the good part about this is that you don’t lose much time. No matter how often you die, you’ll only go back to the beginning of that mini section so it’s really not a terrible penalty at all. The developers really knew what they were doing here.

The final level is especially fun since you get to enjoy some extra power. It’s sort of like playing as Super Sonic for a level. You can really feel the difference between the characters and it’s a lot of fun. The level designs were also really great to be able to handle this without breaking. There was definitely a lot of effort put into this game, that is just evident. There are so many different kinds of platforming elements thrown in here that will challenge you every which way possible. It’s never unfair either, just tough enough to make sure you’re always paying attention. I died close to 80 times per level which speaks to the difficulty, but play the level enough and you’ll learn the patterns.

The story has some mysterious elements like Undertale, but it’s not nearly as thorough or filled with horror elements. While the game has a bit of a suspenseful air at the beginning it quickly becomes more of an emotional game. It’s going for a different feel than some of the other games. Most of the other platformers I’ve played like this one would win in terms of plot (Trine, Shantae, Shovel Knight, etc) but it still has considerably more plot than some of the mainstream platformers. I think one thing that could have helped push the story into the next level would have been a final demon of sorts. Someone that Madeline needed to conquer to really end up breaking her shell. As it stands, the final boss was handled really well though. It was definitely a tricky encounter that felt very climactic.

As for the graphics, the game looks nice. The sprites are less detailed than in others and I think it’s intentionally going for a very old school look. Most of the effort is put into the backgrounds which are definitely solid. It really gets that mountain atmosphere down pat. Celeste’s music is fairly standard. There aren’t any themes that you’ll be humming afterwards and since this isn’t really a fighting game there aren’t many big boss themes either. Still, it’s a very peaceful ost which works well in the background.

As for the length, the main campaign took me 4 hours. (Pretty much on the dot) There is a bonus level and to access it you will need some collectibles. If you intend to 100% this game I imagine it’ll take you significantly longer to beat the game. There are a ton of strawberries after all. I only got 9 out of close to 200. So add all those up and you’ll be here for a very long time. That’s probably why most people take closer to 7-8 hours to complete this game. Even with 4 hours it’s a satisfying experience though and you get a good amount of story. With the bonus content you’ve definitely got enough value for your purchase.

Overall, Celeste is just a solid game. The plot’s pretty interesting and you’ll get to think about what is happening for yourself. Is there a dream element in this or is everything happening in the real world? The whole conversation with the guy at the very beginning of the game is still very strange, likewise with the phone call to the Mom. Both scenes seemingly have no purpose being in the game so I believe that it’s hinting some of these events may not actually be happening. It’s at least a possibility, but ultimately I do prefer to think that it all happened. As a result, I’m just going to roll the dice on the possibility that this is all happening right now. When you play through the game definitely decide for yourself what is going on though. Doing the detective work is part of the fun.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mecha Champions Review


It’s time to take a look at an IOS game that always looked like a Fortnite ripoff. Granted, you can be a similar game to something else without being a ripoff but that was just my first thought. Since Fortnite is so cool I thought I’d give this one a whirl. It’s got a lot of potential and honestly with a big mainstream release for PS4 and the rest it could probably hold its own to an extent. It’s definitely pretty bare bones compared to Fortnite, but has a lot of the same gameplay aspects while throwing in its own spin.

The gameplay here is that of a third person shooter. There are 100 people running around the map and your goal is to be the last one standing. Be sure to stay inside the safe zone as being in the storm will cause you to lose health quite rapidly. You can pick up guns as you run around the island. Once you down another player and you last long enough you can summon your mecha. In this form you deal a ton of damage and can move very quickly making it a very simple matter to take down the humanoid opponents who dare stand in your way. That’s the jist of it and the controls are pretty simple but it will take practice to really get used to shooting on the phone. It’s why I had a hard time even playing Fortnite on the mobile. It’s just way different than using a controller.

I am proud to say that I ended up winning my very first match in the game. It was squads mode, but I did contribute with 3 kills. I had to quickly get the win because I was playing this while at the theater waiting for the One Piece film to start. It took all of my fundamentals to quickly do this, but it worked out well. When I tried out Solo mode I didn’t fare quite as well. I got 96th place, but I did get one kill so at least I didn’t die without landing a hit right?

The graphics are pretty sharp. It’s all very colorful since you’re playing in a futuristic city filled with anime characters and giant robots. In terms of visuals it’s even more colorful than Fortnite. Fortnite still has the better graphics overall, but Super Mecha Champions is just very nice to look at. When it comes to the music I don’t recall any big themes from this game. At the very least there isn’t a sound as unique as the battle bus leaving.

You get bonuses for logging in every day like new mech suits. I don’t think they give you any special abilities are are like the Fortnite suits, but I’m not positive since I didn’t test any of them out. I just wanted to get in and test my battle royale skills. The map is quite huge so if you want to live it won’t be too hard to do so. Especially with how fast the characters move. One thing that will grate on you a bit though is how long it takes to travel from point A to point B. It definitely feels longer than Fortnite at times and I think that’s because the running speed is slower here. It’s not a huge deal but I imagine if you were to play the game more often then it would quickly start to take its toll on you.

Overall, Super Mecha Champions is a fun game, but one that is too big for a phone title. As great as the app games have been over the years there are still some limits to the IPhone. We saw that with the Sword Art Online game a while back where it played like the PS4 titles. That’s very impressive of the developers, but it’s just tough to truly appreciate it on the phone. The controls also aren’t quite as well suited. Of course most of the games can now use console controllers to play now so that’s a big improvement as well. A real controller makes a pretty big difference. If you like Fortnite a lot and want to take a look at what it might look like on the mobile then this is a good game to check out. At the same time, you could literally just play the actual mobile Fortnite game instead so odds are that you wouldn’t need to try this one out. I’ll give the game props for managing to copy so much of Fortnite though.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 2K7 Review


It’s been quite a while but now I am finally diving back into the world of Hockey. 2K7 is be one of the older hockey games, at least from the ones I’ve played. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and that really helps the game excel. This is a contender for my favorite hockey game and that’s not just because I finally won for a change. I think taking such a long break helped my hockey fundamentals.

Right away I dove into a match and got ready to see what the other team would do. The controls are very simple here which is nice as I don’t need to worry about a bunch of different options. You pass, shoot, and steal the puck. I’m sure there are more controls but those are the ones I really used to claim victory. I kept up a very aggressive offensive and it ended up paying off big time. Defense still isn’t an issue just because it is already so hard for anyone to get a goal in. You still do want to keep the pressure up so they don’t start getting fancy but as long as you do that you should be okay. Aside from that one hockey game there are basically never any shootouts.

As for offense I would play the game almost like Basketball and have one player take over the game. I’d drive up to the net and then quickly pass to someone near by and instantly take the shot. It wouldn’t always work but I fell like this gives you the best shot. I think one of my shots was without a pass but I managed to get the goalie in a bad spot which was very fortunate. I won the game 3-1 which felt pretty impressive. I gotta admit though, I did get nervous during the second quarter because initially I was winning 2-0 and then they suddenly scored. I’ve had quite a few matches were the computer suddenly got on a roll and started scoring so I definitely couldn’t let that happen. Fortunately there were no miracle comebacks this time. I got to close out the victory and saw the fun little celebration at the end. As always the presentation in the game is quite good. You get to see all of the characters celebrating after each score and then a bunch of them at the end. It really does help make the whole experience tie together a lot better.

I got into one fight during the match but my opponent was dominating me. To prevent myself from actually taking a loss I just took off and ran at that point. That’s a pretty fun mechanic that I’m surprised isn’t really around in the newer games. Being able to beat a hasty retreat was pretty fun even if I would have preferred securing the win. The guy’s punches were just so fast and unrelenting though. I was basically unable to do anything at that point which was crazy.

The graphics are pretty good and the colors stand out. It’s got that retro feeling that I mentioned a while back which is nice. I didn’t notice any music this time but in a sport game that isn’t too important since you’re focused on the sounds and the commentators. I can’t deny that having some solid tunes in true background would be a good idea though. They certainly don’t hurt.

As far as the replay value goes there is definitely a lot to do here. You can play some bonus modes and you can start a season. There are a ton of teams so trying them all will probably take some time as well. The game is pretty old so you won’t have the option of doing online but there are a ton of offline things to do at least. The game is only a dollar or two to buy as well so there is that.

Overall, 2K7 is a very good game. It brings you the full hockey experience and does it all very well. There is nothing lacking here and so long as you enjoy hockey you are basically guaranteed to have a good time. I don’t think I have any more hockey games or one at the most so soon it’s gonna be time to look at a different sport. Hockey had a good run and now when I buy my next hockey game someday I’ll be prepared for it.

Overall 7/10