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

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asphalt 9: Legends Review


It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I didn’t even know existed until I came across a random Reddit post a while back. I really enjoyed Asphalt on the 3DS to the point where I consider it to be the definitive portable racing game and one of the better ones overall. This one is a big console version and it’s free so it would be interesting to see how it fares. Well, it’s a lot of fun and there’s a ton of content yet it just doesn’t feel quite as good as the 3DS version.

When you jump into the game you have a lot of options on what you would like to do first. The main mode is Career which is where you’ll go through hundreds of levels in order to prove that you are the best. The levels are all bite sized at around a minute or less. Your goal is typically to get 1st place but sometimes you need to pull off a drift or be in the air for a while. By the point where I stopped these missions were all very easy but I’m sure they would get tougher over time. Due to how many levels there are here you could easily be busy for a very, very long time. The longer the better though so that works out quite well.

Then you have the online battles where you race other drivers. The more you win the more you rise up through the different ranks. I managed to get Silver Rank in my first 2 online seasons so I’d count that as a total win. These battles are fun but be prepared to lose quite a bit since your car matters a lot here. As a freemium player I just had the most basic cars imaginable while some of these guys online had sweet rides at their disposal. It’s still a good change of pace from playing the offline modes all the time.

Then there are tons of achievements which you’ll unlock naturally as you play the game. Most of them keep on going as well so lets say one achievement was for winning 10 races, you’ll get another 15. There are a ton of missions like this so you’ll likely be clearing one almost every race. They get you A Points which can be used for Coins or vice versa. Then you use points to upgrade your cars. In order to get new cars you need to unlock blueprints which you get by winning races. There are a ton of cars so you’ll be unlocking them for a long time.

Each car has an individual energy meter so you can only use them a certain amount of times before they have to rest. You can use an item to reset the timer but once you run out of those you’d have to buy them. This is one game where money helps you out a lot. You can buy the best of the best stuff here right off the bat. If you do that they you will have a very tangible benefit over the other players. At least the game is doable without paying though. That’s really the important part for me since I like being able to at least make it to the end without paying a dime. So long as I can do that then everything else will quickly fall into place.

There are a lot of songs here. The game spared no expense in buying actual lyrical songs to listen to during the stages. That was impressive and they fit pretty well with the speed of the races. The graphics also look really good. They’re on par with something you may have spent 60 bucks to play. The Free to Play market is in a really good state at this point since companies are producing rather expensive games like this one and not charging. Yes, it’s because they charge end users for optional things, but at least it’s not mandatory.

If the game has a problem it’s that there is too much to do. More content isn’t bad, but the menus are structured in a way where it is always very overwhelming. I’ve noticed that this does tend to happen to some mobile games. You really need a main menu that you can maneuver through easily and that’s not something that this game has. It may seem rather minor but it gets to be a big deal after a while when you are just trying to find your garage or the next race. It’s all very busy.

As for the gameplay, it’s definitely pretty solid. Asphalt 3D is still better, but this one doesn’t add too many gimmicks. You can boost and you can spin to knock out other racers. Beyond that it is basically a normal racing game and that’s what you would expect from Asphalt. It’s a simple experience next to NFS or Mario Kart, but it excels at this. 9 just doesn’t feel as simple as the rest of the series which may be the price for being free. It’s worth it of course even if I ultimately did not stick with it.

Overall, Asphalt 9 is a very good game. It’s practically endless with how many races there are to do. If you really like racing then I can see you sticking with this game for a very long time. There won’t really be a reason for you to put it down. With no story mode here you’ll be playing purely for the gameplay. I’ve got too many games on the backlog to stay with any one title for too long, but there is a good amount of quality here. Asphalt’s developers didn’t phone this one in and I could see it staying active for a very long time. I would caution you not to spend any money on it until you are sure that you will be playing the game for a long time though.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics Review


It’s time to look at an old SNES game. This is one of those titles that I definitely had not heard of before and is certainly underrated. The game has quality platforming mechanics that can hold their own with the other big side scrollers. It’s really surprising that the game didn’t hit it big.

The plot of the game is that someone has kidnapped the legendary crown from the village. In order to get to him we will need to defeat the 7 dragons and gather all the gems so that we can create Rainbow Road.  This won’t be a cakewalk and the mastermind behind these attacks should not be messed with. That being said, our hero is ready and eager for the challenge.

The gameplay is pretty simple. Your goal is to make it to the end of each level where there is a boss waiting for you. You can swing your club to dispatch enemies and you can swing it forward or up. You can also pick up meet that the enemies drop which will replenish your health and also give you a special ability at times. One lets you shoot bullet seeds which is very handy thanks to the range. The best weapon in the game are the twin axes though. When you find these in a level you are basically invincible since you can shoot two energy blasts that cover a very long distance. You can also swallow water but that is only useful for one jump in the whole game where you have to put out a fire log. It’s pretty impressive that the game added a whole mechanic for one scene.

This is a difficult game though so you will really need those weapons. Touching anything will hurt you and you don’t have a whole lot of health. 5 hits and that’s it. The minions run and jump out of nowhere so it can be very difficult to react to them on time. Then the bosses have tough attack patterns that they mix up quite a bit in order to claim the edge. The toughest one is definitely the dinosaur that shoots out a bunch of rocks and energy blasts at the same time. I couldn’t figure out a way to dodge the rocks so you’ll be banking in RNG a bit here. Just rush in and hit the dinosaur as much as possible since a drawn out fight is the last thing you want.

You will want to take their fighting habits to heart since you will be fighting a boss rush of every dinosaur in the game in the final level. That would be absolutely brutal on the original console without the save states and rewind feature. Even with them you’ll have a bit of a tough time, but you will naturally learn the movements the more you battle them. By the end the final boss doesn’t even feel all that tough in comparison. His second form is easier than the first one and I’m guessing that’s because it would feel pretty impossible by the end if the second form was even stronger than the first one. This way you get to sort of wind down as you approach the ending.

The graphics definitely look pretty good and have aged really well. This is the kind of sidescroller that I could see doing really well nowadays if it ever got a sequel. There’s just a good world and setting that this game has made which will really serve it well. Naturally the story isn’t too deep at this point since this was such an older game but they could definitely flesh it out with a modern remake. There’s just a lot of possibilities here for sure.

In terms of replay value there naturally isn’t a whole lot. Once you’ve beaten the game that’s it. You don’t even get to go back to the main menu at that point because the game is 100% done. It’ll last you for about an hour or so and then you’ll be all done. Considering that the game is free if you already have the online service then that really isn’t half bad. If anything it’s a steal. The SNES Online really feels worlds apart from the NES titles as these are full fledged games in their own right. Joe & Mac 2 has definitely earned that respect.

Overall, This is a fun game. It’s really got all of the elements that you would expect in such a solid title. The gameplay is rock solid and the game actually has a structure. You’ve got an ongoing plot as you try to grab all of the gems and are rewarded with a nice payoff through the ending. The game is not all that linear so you can choose to get whichever gems you want in any order. It’s like a Mega Man game in that way. You can also spend your money at the local shops to fix up your home and buy meat. I don’t really get what half of the items over there do though. Some like the Melon just makes it feel like you’re wasting money for no real reason. I’m sure the items all have a purpose but the game can be rather vague on that front. Well, it’ll be tough for the next SNES game to pass this one but never count one out.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kingdom of Paradise Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure RPG. I don’t think a great many people have played this and I dare say that it’s because of the cover. It just isn’t an interesting one and will do nothing to catch your eye. At the most you may just look at this game and shake your head. Still, if you do end up purchasing the game then you’ll have found a keeper. This one has some pretty tight gameplay and the story isn’t bad. The length is also pretty good. There are some issues which keep me from calling this a great game, but at the end of the day there’s a lot to enjoy here.

The plot follows a warrior named Shinbu who was expelled from his clan a while back for breaking the rules. Well, he’s come to terms with this and is now eager to make himself a better man. He runs into a girl named Sui Lin who is heading back to his old clan with some dire news. He decides to follow her for a while before informing her that he is the one she is seeking. It turns out that their entire clan has been murdered and Shinbu’s parents were destroyed by a pair of orcs. With his life in shambles Shinbu agrees to help Sui Lin warn the other 4 clans. It appears that all 5 are in danger as a new kingdom is quickly approaching. Their ruler has tempted the second in command from all 5 clans to help him conquer the world. Will Shinbu be enough to turn the tides?

The gameplay is that of a 3D beat em up. There are a lot of enemies always crawling out of the woodwork and you have to slam them back inside. There is no rest for the weary and you have to stay sharp at all times. While you don’t always have to fight them, you’ll probably want to as you won’t be strong enough to fight off the bosses otherwise. One thing you’ll want to do is find a room where the enemies are close enough for you to enter battle mode but far enough where you can’t hurt them. Then just spam your energy attacks. See, the way your energy attacks level up in this game is to simply keep using them. Whether you hit the opponent or not doesn’t matter so it’s easiest in a situation like that where you won’t have to move. It can be a little dull since you’re literally standing in one place and using the same attack over and over. Still, that’s how you get the attack to improve its potential. Just keep on doing that for at least one element and you’ll have an attack that will still be relevant even against the final boss. It can one shot all minions up until that point as well.

Without the magic abilities you’ll see what a tough fight the climax can be. I brought along 3 revives and 30 max potions and I had to use up almost my full supply at the end. Money doesn’t come easy but once you enter a long tower near the end of the game that is your chance to grind quite a lot. The room with the 5 bat creatures is your best bet since you can take them all down in one shot with no real effort. Rinse and repeat for a lot of exp and money. I got a ton of level ups that way which was really handy. Your skills and magic attacks all have elements and choosing the right one for each battle also helps a lot. You can switch at any time, but it can be hard to know what element your opponent is so I would usually just stick with fire.

The graphics aren’t bad. I am glad that we get full voice acting and cinematics. The faces don’t move much though which can make for interesting cutscenes where the characters are just staring at each other for a while. It can unintentionally be pretty funny. Some scenes just also seem like they end a little sooner than the developers planned. One such scene is when a confession is made and the other characters just stares in silence for a moment before the screen goes white and you walk away. I suppose you can make a lot of different assumptions about what happened there, but my guess is that he got overwhelmed and just walked away.

There are a lot of twists in the story. We meet two girls of cosmic nature who hold the keys and each of the 5 kingdoms have their own issues. At times it could be difficult to keep all of the names straight since there were just so many characters running around. There were multiple traitors and even mind control going on so not everyone who tried to destroy us was actually evil. It raises a lot of questions but by the end of the game I’d say that they’re all answered. It’s definitely not the happiest ending though as a lot of people didn’t get a happy ending once this had all concluded.

One plot that definitely didn’t go over very well was Shinbu’s parents. So, there’s a twist and one of them survived while the other one was murdered. Why? These Ogres don’t seem that tough so I can’t see how they won in the first place. Then there’s the issue of the survivor being generally emotionless and uncaring about the whole thing. The reunion with Shinbu is laughable as the dialogue amounts to a “hey” and then the characters part ways again. I think a sequel could flesh out some of these characters like the mysterious man in red who has a lot of skills, but chooses to hide all the time anyway. Most of these characters are pretty guilty of not doing anything since they definitely could have stopped the villain’s plans earlier. At the very least they could have slowed the villains down. Ultimately Shinbu has to do everything.

I liked the boss theme. It was pretty atmospheric and let you know that things were getting serious. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t too memorable though. Now for the parts of the game that weren’t great. For one thing, there is a lot of running around in this game. The hub world is huge and you are expected to traverse it multiple times on your way to the end. A lot of times the hint given in your quest menu is fairly vague and you may end up going to the wrong town a lot. From the 13 hours I was playing this game I dare say that 3-4 were just about running to where I needed to go. The boats don’t show up til near the end of the game and even then they don’t take you everywhere.

Then you’ve got the map which isn’t very helpful. Left in game doesn’t mean left on the map which just doesn’t make any kind of sense. The grinding is not handled quite as well as in other games. It’s very slow and the way that the magic levels up just doesn’t make any kind of sense. There are also parts of the game where you might really be in a jam if you don’t have enough magical abilities. I remember getting trapped in the tower room for a while because I didn’t have one of the elements. Fortunately using the sword worked in its place. Really the main drawbacks here are the map and unclear directions. The gameplay is fun though which is always the important thing.

Overall, Kingdom of Paradise is a fun game and one that I would definitely recommend. It brings you the top notch action that you would expect and then some. It’s definitely not super polished and the plot pales next to other RPGs, but it’s got enough fundamentals to keep you going. You will certainly be entertained and it’s always nostalgic going back to the PSP. The games on this console all had a certain feel about them that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Overall 7/10

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

Mario Kart Tour Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s latest venture into the mobile world. Despite their rhetoric about not jumping into the pay to win biz it was always just a matter of time. Mario Kart Tour does take this to an extreme level with how many pay to win mechanics there are though. You don’t need any of them to I want to stress that you can still play this game at a satisfactory level without paying any money at all. You will be at a distinct disadvantage, but that is typically the case with almost any mobile game.

The main gameplay revolves around driving and trying to reach the end. Most of the levels are fairly straight forward so you shouldn’t have a difficult time getting to the end. There aren’t many areas where you can fall either. However, this means that more than ever you will need to make sure that your driving skills are polished so you can make the right twists and turns. Every second saved is quite important and also because the score makes a big difference here. Your score is ultimately what decides how many Grand Stars you earn in a race. Obtaining first place gives you a lot of points but it is totally possible to ace a level without coming in first depending on how well you do.

There are a lot of items at play here though so doing well doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll win. I had quite a few races where I lost due to a lot of cheesy circumstances at the last second. A Paratroopa slammed me near the end and then there was also the Red Shells that would get me. There’s a considerable amount of RNG here, but that’s always at play in a Mario Kart game. If anything you really need that or this would become just another racing game right?

The graphics are very nice. You can tell that this is a 2019 game with how vibrant all of the character models are. The stages are incredibly nostalgic and have also aged well with the graphical enhancements. There’s nothing to complain about on a technical level. The stage themes are also really good. I feel like for most mobile games the developers spend a ton of time on presentation since that’s what will really attract players and ideally get them to stay.

The gameplay is quite good. At the end of the day that part holds up pretty well. There’s quite a bit of auto assist so you can even play while you’re not by your phone, but don’t expect to get a good placing. This is actually discouraged compared to other games as well since there is an energy limit that you will hit very quickly. Once that happens your karts and characters won’t get EXP with each win which is a big drawback. You can keep playing, but it will feel like you’re losing out quite a bit.

That’s one limitation that holds the game back and another is how tough it is to get the characters you want. That’s true for many Gatcha games, but some are better than others. One problem with this one is that Karts and Gliders are included as opposed to it just being Drivers like in most other games. I’d really rather not get another car when I could just get more characters. You’ll also get a lot of duplicates since right now the pool is very small. Getting a duplicate feels like a waste because it takes multiple duplicates to get a single rank up so you’ll be here for a while.

The game’s definitely got quite a grind behind it which isn’t too surprising, but it could have definitely been handled better. Then the game also has a Gold Pass option which doubles your rewards for each box but it is quite pricey. I believe it’s around 5-6 a month which is absolutely crazy for a game like this. Honestly, there are almost 0 games I would even pay something like that for. Even Super Smash would have to get declined on this one. I get paying for a console’s online, but individual games?

I got Daisy near the end so that was good, but I wish I could have gotten her a little earlier. I can’t complain much on that end though. Then you’ve got the Cups and by-weekly challenges. I cleared a good chunk of them and apparently new ones are cycled in. It hasn’t happened yet so it’s speculation, but I’ve heard that they might all cycle in and out which would be annoying. I like to be able to play any level at any given time. All mobile games have the themed events which leave, but there should always be a good chunk of permanent ones.

Mario Kart Tour definitely makes a lot of odd decisions. It’s a good game and I think you can get a lot of mileage out of it, but you’ll need to really like the racing. You’ll also have to accept that it will be difficult to be at the top of the rankings for any month since the only way to increase your score on the gliders/karts/drivers is to level them up and it’s tough to get the resources for that without spending money. You will level up, but slower than the others. At the time of this review there isn’t even an option to race against other players which is crazy since that’s what Mario Kart is known for. The game is supposedly adding it in a day or two, but that’s a day or two too late.

Overall, Mario Kart Tour is a good game despite having a lot of negatives. At the end of the day it does succeed in being a good way to drive on the go and to hone your Mario Kart skills. It’s just not good enough for me to keep it long term. These kind of games are addicting for a little while, but you definitely end up burning out after a while. It’s rare that a mobile game will hit the big times and I don’t think this one will have what it takes for me at least. If you do stick around, then just have a blast and enjoy the features!

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 13 Review


It’s time to venture back into the world of hockey! After I managed to secure a win last time I’ll admit that I walked into this one with a lot of confidence. It wasn’t a question of if I would win this time, but rather by how much would I claim victory. Turns out that the CPUs didn’t like this and they fought extra hard. Unfortunately I was not able to claim victory over them this time, but I put up a good fight. They just had an extra tight defense this time and their offense wasn’t bad either.

I can’t say that there was much of a difference between 13 and 12. I jumped right into the match and got my best hockey swings in. As a quick recap of the rules the goal of Hockey is to hit a puck inside the enemy net. They have a player standing watch over it at all times and they will do whatever they can to stop the puck. Their team was quite successful at this. Usually my plan is to either pass the ball to a nearby teammate who will punch it in or I’ll do some quick jukes as I approach and try to aim it at the opposite corner. I did manage to score a goal, but unfortunately they got 2 so I was not able to stop them. I had more success with direct shooting than passing this time, but it seems to vary from match to match.

I quickly tried a rematch which I came close to tying, but they scored a goal near the end so I was stuck. After the quick matches I figured I should also try one of the other modes because I don’t do that very often. I went into the shootout mode and managed to win that one. For some reason that mode is always a little easier than the actual game. I suppose because it’s 1 vs 1 there are less distractions so I can just walk up and do my best. There weren’t a lot of other modes that I could see. The others seemed to be variations of the main one so you could jump in and start a franchise or be a GM for example. You could probably spend a ton of time there.

NHL is the kind of game that never really has to end. The amount of replay value it has is equal to how much you enjoy the game. You can sink dozens/hundreds of hours into it if you wish but if you’re that hardcore of a player then you’ll probably be playing NHL 18 rather than 13. Considering that the game is only around 2 bucks it is really a steal to grab this one. This is the final mainline NHL game I’ve got, but I do have 2 spinoffs coming soon so my hockey marathon isn’t quite over yet. I still have more chances to try and secure a win.

Meanwhile the graphics are definitely as sharp as ever. The game looks very nice and you always have a good feel for what is happening on screen at all times. There isn’t much of a soundtrack that you will notice, but once you’re in the game it’s not like you’ll be worrying about that for long anyway. You really get absorbed into the match and the presentation is definitely on point. NHL always delivers there.

In terms of difficulty I imagine that hockey will be one of the more challenging games. All these reviews are on the Pro difficulty level although I’ve dabbled with others in the past. The rookie level is pretty easy to win on and anything above Pro is almost impossible to score with so you gotta hope for a 0-0 deadlock. Pro seems just right to me even if I very rarely get any wins on it. It just seems balanced and while the defense is almost unbreakable, it never feels unfair. I think that’s a subtle distinction that you always want to keep. In some games it feels like the A.I. is totally cheating by breaking the mechanics or teleporting, but I haven’t noticed that here. Of course it could just be that the computers are being extra slick.

Overall, NHL 13 is a fun hockey game. It really keeps up with the others and feels more natural than some of the older ones. While you don’t notice the difference much on a game to game basis, I can definitely say that it was more enjoyable than some of the older ones. I think a case could be made for it just feeling like that because I’ve been playing so much hockey though. I won’t deny that this could be true, but either way I’m definitely glad about that. The higher the games go the better right? Stay tuned for my next voyage!

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Kirby Clash Review


I certainly wasn’t expecting a new Kirby game to drop during the direct but here we are. Super Kirby Clash may not be brand new as it is effectively the 3DS game with some changes but as I had not played that one it is a fresh experience for me and I was quite impressed. The game really nails the fundamentals and it is addicting as all mobile-esque games should be. This one’s a keeper and you could even mistake it for a main line Kirby title.

The basic plot of the game is that a hooded villain is causing chaos across all the lands. Villains from Kirby’s past are appearing multiple times around the world and they mean business. Fortunately, Kirby will be able to team up with alternate versions of himself from across the multiverse. Perhaps there is still a chance to stop the wave of darkness.

The game is effectively a boss rush with some of the usual Kirby mechanics. There are four character roles to choose from which are Doctor, Sword, Hammer, and Mage. Don’t worry about changing your mind because you can switch roles at any time. I would recommend not doing so for a while though because each role has different equipment. If you switch roles then you’ll be stuck with starter equipment unless you go buy some. The problem is that the currency can be a little scarce which I’ll go into more in a minute. I personally recommend the mage the most. His charge attack stops time for an instant each time you use it and once the circle is complete then time will stop for a little while. It’s an incredibly useful ability particularly if you are aiming for platinum ranks. The downside of course is that it’s a little weaker than the others but I think it’s worth the trade off. The Doctor role is my least favorite one because I feel like it’s hard to go on the offensive. Of course I’m always happy to see one on my team though.

I feel like my gameplay paragraph focused more on the roles than how the game actually works, but if you know the other Kirby games then it will all be old hat. You can jump and float and you can use a few different attacks. Some roles have a barrier that they can activate as well. If one of your teammates goes down then you have the ability to revive them. Each boss will give you 2 status updates as you fight them. The first message will say that they’re furious which is how you know that you are halfway through the fight. They become invincible for a moment so this is a good time to charge your attack. Then near the very end of the fight a message will say that the boss is almost defeated. At that point victory is basically assured. The only thing that can possibly stop you then is time. If time runs out on a stage then you are able to revive everyone by spending 3 apples. If you’re close then this is probably worth it. If you’re online then you should wait until the timer is near the end because most likely one of the other guys will use their apples and you can save yours.

The graphics are top rate which is something I have noticed a lot with these free titles. I’m not going to say that they look better than the paid ones, but there is a surprising amount of effort behind them which I think is definitely pretty awesome. You certainly will not be disappointed here. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which may not be quite as expansive as the main games, but is still quite good in its own right. On a technical level the game is as solid as you could hope for it to be.

Now lets talk about the freemium aspect of the game. Naturally Nintendo has to make money somehow and one of those ways is through the apples. When you play the game you get around 15 apples for logging in each day. The apple tree replenishes every 12 hours with 10 new apples. If you may money you can expand that up to 2000 apples every 12 hours for 40 bucks or even more if you pay the top limit. I didn’t spend a dime on the game and still completed it so it’s fairly reasonable as is. 15 apples may not sound like a lot, but there are 900 missions in the game and every time you complete one you get some free apples. Then Nintendo does events to give you apples like the recent Tetris one and some online passwords. You won’t be beating the game quite as quickly without playing, but you’ll get there. It’s a pretty good way to get people to pay money and my motto has always been as long as it isn’t mandatory I’m pretty okay with it. It isn’t as tight a squeeze as other titles.

The main campaign took me quite a few hours so there is a lot of content here. In terms of post game content you can work on finishing up the rest of the 900 missions which definitely won’t be easy. Leveling up is key here as your stats really rocket up once you’re in the final stages. I beat the game at around 40 so I still had a ways to go. Leveling up takes a little longer than you would expect although using the EXP orbs speeds things up a lot. It doubles the EXP you get for each battle which can allow you to even get a full level up after one fight. It costs a lot of apples but long-term I think it’ll save you some time. Of course you always want to buy the current weapons to stay on top of the game. I would typically do it in 2s. (I’d buy the grade 1 weapon, then 3, then 5, etc. If you buy each time they’re available you won’t have enough apples to finish the game. Keep in mind that you unlock levels by using apples as well so you always want to have some on hand. The game has an energy meter so you can’t really play for too long in a row but each level up restores the meter which usually ends up evening things out.

I’d say that the best way to level up is to jump online. Not only do online matches give you 1.2X EXP per match but you can jump into stages above your grade and let your teammates carry you. I don’t think it’s good to go too far above your weight class since having dead weight on the team is a bit selfish, but a few levels over isn’t bad. For example I jumped into a level 47 fight at level 30 multiple times and held my own pretty well. You’re still contributing but the EXP gains are massive. The only downside here is that sometimes there will be some pretty bad lag. Fortunately as you level up and tackle higher levels you typically won’t get as much lag. It seems to mainly be prevalent in the opening levels. It is annoying when you have an EXP orb and you lose valuable time when someone rage quits, but the online could be a lot worse.

There are some quality of life updates I’d like to see like being able to leave a room, but I guess this does prevent people from messing everyone over by leaving. I haven’t really seen another game do this so it’s different. I suppose I should give it a chance so lets not say that this is a “mistake” but something that certainly could be improved a little bit.

Overall, Super Kirby Clash is just a really great game. It’s telling that even after I completed the game I was tempted to keep on going. It’s the kind of title where I can’t imagine why Nintendo didn’t release it on mobile. It would work so perfectly and I could definitely see people doing crossplatform play with the Switch sort of like Fortnite. There’s a lot of potential here and if Nintendo keeps making games like this they’re really going to elevate the free to play market. If you haven’t played this game yet then I recommend changing that. The beginning may be a little tricky since you’ll be so underleveled, but keep on going and soon you’ll be the one carrying the party.

Overall 8/10