Thumper Review


Thumper is one of the last of the big Playstation games that I wrapped up. I have to say that it was one of the more enjoyable ones. It also has a high difficulty level so don’t expect to breeze through it. That being said, with infinite lives and constant checkpoints, you can certainly get through it with enough persistence.

This is really everything that I imagine a future F Zero game would be like. Really this is exactly what they should be thinking about long term. There isn’t much of a plot as the game is very interpretive but it seems like a very powerful alien creature is after you so you have to use your car to bounce back the shockwaves and defeat this monster. Rinse and repeat for each level. This is clearly far in the future so perhaps you are humanity’s last hope.

One thing that you will notice pretty much immediately is how stunning the graphics are. This game is a cut above the average racing game and that’s actually quite impressive. The whole game takes place in space so the levels look like something out of Crazy Gadget. The visuals are always moving and if anything it can be difficult to keep up with your eyes because of how fast the stage moves. The game is part rhythm based so you have to move your car in tune with the music. It’s sort of like a non physical version of DDR at times.

Hitting the right corners at the right times triggers a beat which you can subtly use to keep up the flow of your moves. There are 4 main moves, turning sideways, Jumping, Accelerating, and then a ground pound. Use these as you progress through the levels. The game will teach you how to perform each move as you go through the levels normally. Each chapter has around 20-40 levels in it. No worries, this is where the infinite lives come into play because otherwise it would be really difficult to conquer all of this without a game over.

The first few chapters aren’t so bad but the game does get more difficult after that. It’s the kind of game that feels really challenging even as you’re conquering it so that part is definitely pretty fun. It also just feels like a lot of thought went into the game. The gameplay is smooth and the length is pretty decent considering that the game is free right now. It’s definitely worth picking up before that deal goes away.

As for the soundtrack, it’s not very memorable but it does have that classic sci-fi feeling. It works really well within the levels as you work to get to the next stage. The whole game meshes well with that atmosphere. Beyond that, there isn’t a whole lot to talk about with the game since it is a very straight forward racing game. Either you enjoy blasting through the levels and dodging the obstacles or you don’t.

If anything this could even help you practice your timing if you are a musician. After all, timing is crucial to playing any instrument and this game is built entirely around that concept. So it’s a game that can definitely help to improve your skills while you also have a blast. In that way you’re cooking two skills with one bill. Not a bad deal if I do say so myself.

It would be fun to be able to race other cars in the story but taking on these giant bosses is certainly a blast as well. They come at you relentlessly and you’ll likely lose quite a few lives on your first encounters. It also took me a minute to realize that to damage them you have to properly go through each boost point. For a while there I was ignoring them and just accelerating as much as possible. This is one of those times where accelerating isn’t necessarily the right approach to take.

Overall, Thumper is a really fun game. It’s a nice futuristic look at a car game and F-Zero should take some notes. I’m always up for some virtual driving so when you throw in some lore and boss fights I’m definitely all in. It’d be cool if they could make a sequel to this one with a heavier emphasis on the story at some point. I’d definitely be excited to give it a whirl since there is certainly a lot you can do with this one. If you haven’t played it yet then I would definitely recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Pac-Man 99 Review


Pac Man 99 is a pretty interesting title. It really arrived out of the blue to jump on the whole 99 game craze and that was a really good idea. One, it helps to bring some more attention to Pac Man and two, it’s just a fun format. It’s definitely not going to come quite close to taking down Tetris 99 as the ultimate game of this genre without some big updates but the gameplay lends itself really well to this style.

When you boot up the game you are taken right to the menu where you can jump into the main mode. Essentially what happens is the game starts off with normal Pac Man gameplay although you’ll notice that the level changes the position of pellets in each match although there are only a few variations. When you eat a ghost you summon a ghost pac to another player’s screen. If you touch the ghost then it slows you down a little bit giving the ghosts time to catch you. You will need to get to a power pellet to be safe here.

There is also the signature fruit that will appear on the level but it has a different feature than usual. In this game touching the fruit will automatically respawn all of the pellets and power pellets. It also brings back the mini white pellets which you can use to summon a bunch of extra ghosts. Why would you do that? Well, they all chain to one ghost so then when you eat him, you can summon over a dozen ghosts to another player’s screen. It’s really worth building your playstyle around the ghosts.

The game also feels a lot easier than Mario 35 or Tetris 99 but it probably depends on how familiar you are with each game. For example, I got several victories on the first day with Pac Man but never got one on Mario or Tetris. Of course I do pride myself on being a bit of Pac expert so that’s something to keep in mind for sure. Heh heh. So the gameplay is a lot of fun and since it’s effectively classic Pac Man gameplay at its core there is a lot of replay value here. As you last longer into the match you will also meet red Pac Mans which are fatal if you touch them so make sure you stay away.

Technically there is a way to survive a single blow but I’m not sure if it’s luck or something. The game makes a shiny sound effect and you live so maybe you are always allowed 1 hit but I didn’t really test this. I just stay away from them as much as possible. When you use a power pellet then they will stay in place so one of the big things to consider is that you don’t freeze them in a position where they block your exits. If you do that then you will really end up being sunk.

My only real problem with the game is that everything is hidden behind a paywall. Tetris did it right where you could unlock a bunch of levels and emblems for free while locking the modes behind a paywall. The issue here is that Pac locks literally everything behind paywalls. There are 0 unlockables in the entire game which seems a bit excessive. Surely at least the emblems could have been something you could unlock as you progress through the levels right? It just feels like the game is being a bit cheap.

What this means is that you literally only have one mode of play but absolutely 0 rewards for playing more than 1 game. You have to purely play to have a good time but with only 1 level to play over and over even the most intense Pac Man fans will likely get bored soon and then just move on to the classic game where you at least have a high score to chase after. Now that’s the way to go.

Still, when you consider that the game is completely free that does help matters. The soundtrack is pretty classic although it’s got a bit of a techno vibe to it the way that Tetris 99 has. The graphics are standard but they look pretty smooth so I’m definitely on board with it. The game wants to look like the original title after all and it captures that style well.

Overall, Pac Man 99 is a good game. I do think it could have been a whole lot better though. The title is playing it extremely safe by not having anything other than the most basic mode but maybe they will expand that at some point. Honestly they could have a lot of fun with it too like allowing you to play as the ghosts or something. Surely changing the character model can’t be a big hurdle since it’s working with fairly retro effects. Either way if you have a Switch you should definitely check this out since it’s for free. You’ll have a good time for a while at least.

Overall 7/10

Lunar Legend Review


Lunar Legend is one of those games that has been buried in my backlog for many years. As I finally approach only having 20 games left though, it was time for this one to come out and have some fun. Lunar Legend is a solid RPG even if it feels like it’s running on speed mode half the time. While it isn’t quite able to match up against a lot of the bigger RPG titles, it’s a fun game.

The basic plot starts out with Alex still looking up to the old heroes of legend. There used to be a Dragonmaster who tamed the 4 dragons and saved the world. While it seems like the age of heroes has long passed, things change once Alex and Luna make it to a nearby town. See, the Evil King Ghaleon has risen and he quickly murders the 4 dragons. The only way to stop him is for Alex to become a Dragonmaster. To do so he will have to pass the 4 dragons’ tests even though they are already dead. Will that be enough to stop this new evil?

Lunar Legend is shorter than most RPGs as it is a few hours under 20. Typically you expect an RPG to be at least 20 hours although of course that isn’t always the case. This one just feels like it’s abridged though. You’ll be spending a large chunk of the game running around with Nash until they mention the Dragonmaster bit. Suddenly you beat all 4 dragons within an hour or two and are running through the climax. You can’t say the game drags on though that’s for sure. I do like the brisk pace of the game but I think it could have used a few more hours to feel like we went through all of the plot points.

Additionally, the characters are a bit weaker than most. Take Alex, he has to be one of the blandest RPG heroes I’ve seen in a bit. He has some good moments near the end of the game but for the most part there isn’t much to him. The same goes for the main heroine Luna. The two allies who do stand out are Nash and Jessica though. Both of them talk a lot tougher than the other characters and don’t mind throwing around the insults. Nash believes himself to be an elite so he always has that air of arrogance although his skills don’t back it up. Jessica’s more of a fighter so she backs up her tough talk more but together they have a solid dynamic.

Kyle gets most of the back and forth with Jessica though as they tend to bicker about everything. I can’t say he is one of the better characters though. Finally there’s Mia who is a lot quieter than the others and always tries to be super polite. She’s a nice person but not very interesting. The big villain Ghaleon was cool though. I liked his evil king persona and the guy just did a good job of taking everyone down. His plan was quite sound.

So on the whole the character cast could have been better and that is probably a factor in why this RPG didn’t manage to break through to the next level. It’s all relative though because in a vacuum this game is still quite good. The gameplay is your classic turn based system filled with special attacks, items, and physical moves. You will want to get some good level ups to deal with the final bosses. The game can be challenging but never overwhelmingly so. The game has a good balance at all times which is important.

There doesn’t seem to be a lot of replay value after the main game has concluded so no big post game to talk about but the main campaign is long enough where that’s fine. The graphics are solid as well. I’m glad we got some illustrations at least even if there weren’t any cutscenes around this time. The soundtrack is decent too, nothing to write home about but it gets the job done.

For gameplay tips I would just say that your physical attacks are sometimes better than the special ones. Yeah it’s a bit odd but sometimes throwing out a normal move is just way stronger than the special attacks. I’m not sure why that is, perhaps they don’t scale up when you increase your level? Maybe it’s also that critical hits are just really good here so that helps to make up the difference. Take your average 3 hit combo. If you get no lucky hits you may deal 150 damage while the super attack deals out 170. Well, if you get a lucky hit that does around 80, then you’ve just beat out the super attack by 10 points. If you get more than 1 lucky blow, then you can see how the special attack easily gets left out.

Don’t even get me started on the final smash attacks. Those are surprisingly very weak. At one point I decided to use it for kicks and it didn’t do much damage at all to the boss. Those are best used for fighting minions since they deal damage to all units at once. It’s a good way to fight those skirmishes but I would say not to bother for bosses. Passive supers like restoring everyone’s health is always good though so that’s one I would keep at the ready. The single best passive super in the game is the one that makes your team invincible for 3 turns.

While I said the game was not crazy difficult or anything, the final boss was pretty insane. For a little while there I thought I was going to have a big issue with him but fortunately the attack of making you invincible for 3 turns was just what I needed. It allowed me just enough time to win. It was a close one but that just shows why this ability is absolutely critical so don’t waste it on minions since it takes a long time to recharge.

Overall, Lunar Legend is a solid game. It might speed through the interesting parts of the game a little too quickly but you do feel like the characters are being proactive about shutting down the villains so it explains why everything is moving so quickly. I already have the prequel DS game so I’ll be reviewing that soon but I can safely say right now that it is a big downgrade from this one. Lunar Legend played it very safe and got a solid score while the other one took some big risks but unfortunately none of them paid off in the slightest. Ah well, hopefully the Lunar series returns some day with a proper next installment.

Overall 7/10

Rez Infinite Review


Thanks to the new PS Home promotion where they put up a few games for free I got to play through Rez. It’s a pretty quick game so you should have it done within an hour or two but it’s a fun ride all the way through. It seems like this is really meant for VR and I can see how that would enhance the experience but it’s really solid as a traditional game as well. It will test your reflexes and how well you can adapt to each incoming threat.

The basic plot seems to be that the system of the world has gone haywire so now you have to hack in and save the universe. During the game you will see people asking for help and a lot of crazy things going on in the background. It’s certainly something that will make you take a double look. The final level even seems to be about putting someone back together. I’m sure there’s a lot of fun lore to be found here but really the gameplay is the main thing you are here for along with the fun musical beats.

The goal of the game is to vanquish all of the enemies in front of you without getting hit. The game is a 3D auto runner so you blast the enemies as they appear. If you don’t hit them fast enough then they will deal you some damage and even lower your level. Getting your level lowered is a big deal here since it reduces your attack power and stretches out each level. I highly advise keeping the enemies at bay.

Your method of attack is holding down the X button so that your attacks lock onto the enemies and then you release it. You can’t use an attack without locking on first. That said, the lock on is fast so another thing I would recommend is just pressing the X button as quickly as possible which also works. For bosses you will likely want to charge up to your max of 10 shots though as that does a lot of damage and hits them before they can regenerate their shields. Most of the bosses have pretty intense shields at their disposal after all so you want to make sure you get past all of that.

Meanwhile the graphics look good. I like the whole cybernetic aesthetic the game was going for. It worked pretty well and the whole thing looked high tech from start to finish. The music is also good. I wouldn’t say it is particularly memorable but it is going for a solid cyber feeling that matches with the games style. You also have some beats that play when you hit an enemy so if you launch your attacks quickly enough it’s as if you are building your own song.

For replay value you can try to go back and get a perfect score on each level. You will need to do so in order to get the Platinum Trophy for this game so that definitely does not seem like it will be an easy task. As long as you enjoy the levels though then that’s a nice way to keep bringing yourself back for more. Either way since the game is free temporarily for Home then I wouldn’t say there is any reason to avoid this game. Whether you beat it in an hour or two or play it longer, it’s free so it won’t cost anything. I highly recommend downloading it now while you can.

Overall, Rez is a fun game. It’s got a simple control scheme and then makes the most of it. The gameplay is very smooth and the levels go by in a flash. Usually I’m not thrilled about the no checkpoints option so if you die in part 9/10 of a level then you go back to the start. That said, the levels are still short so you can finish all 10 parts within 10 minutes or less. Given that this is the case, it’s fine not to have any checkpoints. I never died during the game either so I wouldn’t say it’s crazy hard or anything either. It ends up being just right and that’s why it’s an easy game to recommend to anyone. You should have fun with it.

Overall 7/10

Neptunia Virtual Stars Review


This is the first Hyper Neptunia game I’ve gotten from the series but what better way to start than with a 3D beat em up genre game right? Virtual Stars mixes in the 4 goddesses from Neptunia along with a bunch of virtual idols this time. The game has a pretty solid story and the gameplay is on point. While it could certainly use a little more polish to make it to the next level, I was pretty satisfied with the overall experience.

The game starts with the Neptunia goddesses getting ready to enjoy a solid video game. Unfortunately before they can do so they end up falling inside a cyber world where another goddess lets them know that her world is being taken over. See, these worlds are homages of Youtube, Twitter, and general internet settings. The world is now being forced to create low quality content and to install paywalls everywhere. As a result everyone is upset and morale is quickly fading fast. The Neptunia goddesses agree to help her out and restore peace to the universe. The same goal is given to the idols who are taken away from their big online comedy routine. Can these girls all team up to save the planet or is it already too late? Only time will tell.

There are two main gameplay styles here. When you’re playing as the goddesses it is a third person shooter. You blast away at the enemies with your machine guns, grenades, and other long range techniques. You can also activate a team final smash where everyone blasts the target although in my case the other goddesses were so weak that ironically this would deal less damage than your normal attacks. Yes, it’s a bit odd but I recommend just giving all of the best equipment to one of the goddesses and ignoring the other 3 completely.

For the virtual idols the gameplay is more like something out of Dynasty Warriors. You use your sword to slice away at all of the enemies who get in your way. The attacks don’t deal as much damage though so after the first level I basically didn’t play as them again. I do like how the game really lets you feel like you’re playing two different games this way though. It’s a nice way to keep things fresh as you progress through the game.

Make no mistake, there is a ton to do in the game. You can customize the characters with accessories that unlock latent special abilities and of course general equipment. The V-Cubes are your best bet here since they are even better than traditional level ups. Here’s what you need to do, whenever you pass an item box, only open it when it turns to the V Cube corner. All other items are basically irrelevant in the game. As long as you focus on the cubes you will be good to go here. Whenever you get a weak one, just sell it for DP so you can power up your current one. By the end of this you will be suitably overpowered.

Also, it’s worth noting that the final phase of the final boss introduces a whole new mechanic to watch out for. You can only injure his core with alternate power. The initials are something like TXMD, but you’ll be able to see this on the menu. Make sure you keep some weak V Cubes for this or you could be in for a world of pain. Things almost got tricky for me there but fortunately I had held onto some. I don’t like the concept for that though, why do you have to lose some strength for the final boss? Without an explanation it was just a bit odd.

The game doesn’t tend to explain a whole lot but you can typically make sense of the mechanics on your own. The graphics are pretty solid as well. This may not be the ultimate AAA experience but there’s enough here where the visuals look impressive. I do think they could have put some more effort into having actual cutscenes or at least more stills though. I’ve seen Playstation 1 games with more cinematics. It would have made the story feel a lot more alive than it is. The only kind of animations the game shows a lot of is a fanservice animation for the DOA type effects.

While the game is mainly legit, they do force this into most cutscenes which can get a bit old. The game’s certainly not focusing its attention on the right things here like also amping up the soundtrack. I like the lyrical song pretty well but it shows up for literally every boss fight so I think they could have added a few more songs for variety. It can’t have been that difficult to shake things up a bit more right? Maybe alter the speed or something to at least make it sound a bit different.

As for the characters, they’re solid enough. Neptune is the leader of the main group and she is always ready for action. She likes calling out the tropes and breaking the fourth wall as much as possible. She may be more oblivious than the other characters but she is also the least likely to give up which is important. Her friend Noire isn’t quite as ready for the spotlight as she just isn’t used to being open with the other characters. Blanc is the weakest of the 4 though as her thing is that she’s the low key mean one who is always being passive aggressive but will always tend to blow up. Vert’s the least memorable as there isn’t a whole lot to her.

Then for the Idols you have Me and You which are pretty cool names when you think about it. Me’s a lot of fun and gives Neptune a run for her money as far as the bubbly lead is concerned. Her singing skills are legit and she holds the stage better than You. You is always trying to squash all the fun but Me makes sure to keep her from being too much of a downer. There are other supporting characters and Idols who show up as well of course but these are the main characters.

Then for the villains you have Hero and Kado. As the main villains they felt a lot like the duo from Gridman to me although things play out very differently. I was quite surprised with how Hero’s plot ended up turning out because it just seemed the whole time like it was going to go somewhere else and then it just didn’t. Terrific red herring that’s for sure and he has a solid design. Kado’s one of those characters with more of a sympathetic backstory although she was also letting people run all over her so easily that it could be a bit annoying. If she had been more assertive then things would be a lot different.

Additionally, she was whipping and torturing one character for the majority of the game so when we learn that she may not have been so bad…it’s hard to buy. Kado has an epic design and makes for a good villain but I have a hard time seeing her as anything other than a villain. So the game has a solid story here. The script has a lot of fun with this and the writing can really shine at times. It’s a pleasant game to go through and one that has a reasonable length. I want to say this will last for around 10 hours. Then if you want to get the Platinum that will add more time as well since you have to clear side quests and do some extra minigames like singing.

Overall, Virtual Stars is a good way to kick off the Neptunia series. The gameplay is solid and the plot is pretty good. What keeps it from being an 8 star game though is the lack of lock-on and the gameplay generally not feeling as refined as it could have been though. Additionally I think more effort could have been put into this game on a technical level like adding more cutscenes and illustrations. They could also get rid of the bouncing effect on the characters for good measure since it’s not really adding to the story. I like to think a sequel would be able to make it to the next level but either way this is a fun game and I expect you’ll have fun going through it.

Overall 7/10

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Review


It’s been quite a long time since I could say that a Harry Potter game was pretty good but this one finally did it. It solved all of the big issues I had with the last few games like increasing movement speed, finetuning the battle controls, and actually having a sensible plot. There are still many things keeping this from being a Great game, but I would say it got everything I needed to at least call it pretty good.

With Voldemort approaching more and more, Harry and Dumbledore need to find out where he hid the pieces of his soul. Harry will need to question one of the teachers since they had a history. Additionally, Harry has found a spellbook that seems to have the answer to everything. Is there something shady about this book and is it ethical to use this to ace classes? Those are just some of the questions that Harry will have to answer as he goes through his next adventure.

So lets jump right to the gameplay. There are a few different variations here. The main one here is about running through the castle to get to where you need to be. Unlike the other games where this took eons, you can run anywhere very quickly. You also have an interactive ghost who you can follow to automatically get to the next area instead of having to open a map each time. This was an excellent quality of life update. You also get to shake objects to grab extra crests which power up your moves. I’ll admit that this is the weakest aspect of the gameplay. What should be easy to do is grabbing a shield out of the air but it takes a lot of trial and error.

That said, at times you’ll wonder why you are always running around. I do think there has to be a way for the game to make you feel like there’s more of a purpose to this. Maybe just give you the broom full time so you can fly around or something. Otherwise, you are technically running through the same walls and rooms over and over again which is a bit repetitive. The increased speed and the short length of the game means that this doesn’t really drag on or anything…but it still just feels a bit aimless at times.

The next gameplay style is making potions using the pot. I’ll admit this does take some decent skill after a point since the game punishes you very hard for making even a single mistake. That said, you’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Just know that the game controls are incredibly sensitive so a single movement can have more impact than you might have thought at first glance. The weakest style is Quidditch. It’s a shame because I usually look forward to that style but it’s just rather boring. The only thing you can do is move the control stick as you fly through the rings. That’s it. You can’t go slower or faster so the game is practically on auto pilot.

The best gameplay style is the combat. You get into a lot of one on one duels. Here you fight the opponents with magical spells such as a quick blast, barrier, spell that turns you upside down, and a spell that knocks you to the ground. You have to think carefully about which spell to use and when. Personally I say it’s always worth it to use the last two spells because you can then spam your blasts as they try to get up or back down and it deals a ton of damage. The combat is a little simple but with the ability to dodge and run, I would say it felt pretty balanced. It was a lot more fun than you would initially have expected and it’s an improvement over the last title’s combat system.

The graphics are definitely still sub par though. This really feels like the same animations from the last game so not a lot has changed. Same for the gameplay graphics so it’s clear that no extra development time is going here. If that all went into the gameplay then it was worth it but surely the game could have looked a little better than this if the developers went all out. At least the soundtrack is really solid as always, I’d expect no less.

The game is very short though. You should have this completed in around 5 hours or so. After that, then I suppose you can try to get all of the trophies and crests. That should buy you some time. I wouldn’t say it will buy you a ton of time or anything like that, but enough to help you justify the cost. Play through all the challenges and you’ll feel better. This game can be a little overpriced nowadays so if it’s 30 or more then it could be a tough sell. It’s fun, just short so that’s something to keep in mind.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is one of the better Harry Potter games. I feel like the series has finally started to find its roots again. Bringing back the magical platforming and fighting combat while sprucing them up is the way to go about things. I would definitely say the biggest thing the game needs to fix next is Quidditch though. I didn’t think you could make the gameplay for such a high energy sport boring but this game managed to pull it off somehow. It’s actually a little impressive, in a sad kind of way. If you like the Harry Potter series then you should definitely enjoy this. This could be the last Harry Potter game I play for a while but it’s been a good run.

Overall 7/10

How to Train Your Dragon Review


How to Train Your Dragon was always a series with a pretty unique concept of being able to train some dragons as allies. I don’t know a whole lot about the series beyond that but it must be doing something right to have had 3 films as well as a TV show and multiple video games. This game is actually more fun than I thought it would be. Not saying it’s suddenly an 8 star game or anything but the combat is really on point and so are the various mechanics when navigating the hub world.

The basic plot of the game is that you grow up on an island where people raise their Dragons to fight in tournaments like Pokemon. The first tournament is filled with 1 on 1 battles, the next 2 on 2, etc. Tournament 5 is the ultimate championships but it caps off at 4 on 4 battles so you don’t need to worry about getting a 5th one. The game follows a pretty steady formula where you complete one tournament, then do a few side quests. Complete another tournament, more side quests, etc. It’s a fairly short title as I completed it in under 4 hours. There is actually a solid amount of replay value to consider though.

After beating the game you can still work on clearing all of the side quests, maxing out your four main dragons, and getting the Platinum trophy. I don’t think any of this will take you very long to achieve but it does give you more to strive for. The core gameplay is solid so that helps with making you want to play it a little longer. It’s a well crafted game even if it’s on a fairly low budget.

So the gameplay is that of a 2D brawler. You control the dragon and have to knock out the opponent’s health. Pretty simple enough eh? The game has some good depth there though as you have your standard attack, power moves, projectile blasts, dodging, blocking, and jumping. You have a lot of attack options throughout and it helps to make the fights more interesting. There are things you can do before the fights to help get your dragon ready too. Feeding them allows for their health bars to be a little bigger and you can complete tutorials in the cave to muster up some new combos. The combos can be quite handy for sure like one 8 hit combo that leaves the other dragon stunned so you can follow up. These tutorials give your dragon EXP and there are also minigames you can play for exp as well. The minigames is the fastest way to do this.

When you’re not battling you are walking across the village and either helping the villagers by giving them ingredients or finding things for the chief. These little intermissions are fun enough although they’re very short. I was pretty cool with the tasks because even if they don’t really add anything to the game, at least they are short enough where they don’t really hurt it either. The last thing you want to do is add this free roam part but at the expense of making the game less fun to play after all.

There is virtually no story in the game though. You get a few quick cutscenes here and there but if we’re being honest it’s never anything important. Just the characters talking about the next tournament or planning ways to cheat in it. You can tell that the developers were focusing completely on the gameplay. You almost could have just made this a pure arcade mode type game and I should note that there is an arcade mode here. Now the game does have one real weakness though which becomes a bit apparent by the very end of the game. So it’s not something that ended up hurting but if this game were longer then it may have become a real concern.

It can be a bit repetitive. The gameplay is fun like I said but the more dragons they force you to compete against, the more nonstop fights you are looking at. Take the final tournament for example. You have to defeat 5 opponents, who each have 4 dragons. That’s 20 back to back to back battles. Each match is like a normal Street Fighter round so that’s effectively clearing 3 arcade modes in one tournament. Then you have 5 tournaments to consider. The first ones are shorter of course but be that as it may, it’s still a whole lot of battles that you have to go up against. I think the game didn’t need to make you go through so many battles at once.

The game is rather short as it is though so maybe the developers were worried about it being under 3 hours otherwise. So that’s my only real complaint here. The graphics are solid. They may not be Sonic 2006 level or anything like that but the graphics during combat were good so I’m satisfied. The soundtrack is quite generic though. I definitely wouldn’t say that it was anything particularly impressive. More like elevator music where you hear it while you’re on the ride but forget it immediately afterwards.

Overall, How to Train Your Dragon is a good game. It’s a very short one to be sure but the developers did make sure that the experience you had was fun. It’s the little things sometimes like being able to just run around the village at top speeds or being able to train conveniently. Everything in the game feels quick and easy. The gameplay is also quite strong as I mentioned earlier. When you put all of that into perspective then this is a tie-in game I can recommend. Particularly if you are able to get this game for under $10. At that point the short length won’t bother you so much. So if you enjoyed the movie or just like the idea of a Pokemon style game where you have dragons face off against each other in real time then this will definitely be up your alley.

Overall 7/10

Kirby Star Allies Review


This game has been on my list for a while at this point and now I’ve finally gotten to give it a whirl. Nintendo always delivers when it comes to quality platforming and naturally this game is no different. Kirby has a lot of solid level designs here and there definitely aren’t any real issues or glitches to speak of. The game is quite short though so you’ll be done with it very quickly. While there is a lot of replay value to be found here through other modes, it does keep the game from reaching the next level.

Star Allies starts off with a new threat attacking the world. Everyone is being mind controlled at the moment so they can’t help but embrace the dark power of a shadow heart. Kirby is the only one who can resist so he now has to go through various worlds to stop all of the corrupted. Along the way he will mind control a bunch of villains so that they help him in this quest. Will that really be enough to turn the tables though or will his quest end as soon as it has begun?

You get to see a lot of the familiar faces of Kirby such as Whispy Woods and the thunder cloud. It does remind you that Kirby has had a lot of enemies over the years but at the same time I do think the game could have had a little more fun with this and introduced some new characters. No reason you have to stick with the tried and true opponents right? One addition I liked was seeing Whispy’s father show up to take some names. The boss battle goes in much the same way as the first but it was a change of pace.

Like most Kirby games you can choose to run your way to the end of the level as you absorb enemies and use their abilities or you can cheese things by flying to the top of the level and staying there until you reach the end. It is encouraged to grab some abilities though as they come in handy for the boss fights. Additionally you can mind control up to 3 other characters at a time so that you have some backup going into boss battles. If you die that’s it but these guys can die as many times as needed and you will always be able to revive them. Their attacks do as much damage as yours so they can really be a good help in this game. Ironically the only boss fight I didn’t have them for was in the final level since they all got squashed by a block earlier. Those guys would have been pretty handy.

The graphics are definitely on point as you would expect. This is definitely a Switch game that feels like it’s modern gen. Nintendo doesn’t tend to spare any expense for how good their AAA titles look after all. The game goes all out here and especially in the final level we get some great cosmic backgrounds and even a bit of an energy battle. Meanwhile the soundtrack is definitely on point as well. You should definitely recognize some of the Kirby remixes and of course there are also new tunes to enjoy as well. When you factor all of this in together it makes for a very complete product.

As for the length, as mentioned this game is around 4 hours. You shouldn’t have a problem beating the levels because the game is pretty easy for the most part. I wouldn’t say you’ll see any difficult levels until the final boss which should actually give you a bit of a challenge. Not to much the final, final battle since we go into 3D so that’s more of a cakewalk but the final 2D battle goes all in. There is a good amount of replay value though like the various extra modes you can unlock. Effectively this allows you to play through the game in a lot of different ways to spice things up. There have also been a few free DLC patches since the game came out so this helps with the character roster.

I’m now one step closer to getting all the way through the Kirby series. I still have a few more I have to get but I’m definitely ready for Nintendo to start coming up with some more titles because I am absolutely ready for them. The end of the game has some interesting ideas with a quick villain trio forming their own group as well as their boss. The game feels like it’s just about ready to crossover with LoZ with the final boss’s name even being directly related to Hyrule. I’m always up for crossovers so that would be fun someday.

They were pretty fun villains and I can see why they may get pretty big among Kirby fans. The thunder minion from the main 3 was definitely the best one for me, even surpassing the fire opponent. The sheer speed was quite impressive. As for the main villain himself, his final form has some Undertale vibes there. He was a very interesting opponent and in a way it’s a look at what could happen to the world should Kirby ever turn to the dark side. There definitely wouldn’t be a whole lot that humanity could do at that point and that’s probably what scares them. Kirby is absolutely instrumental to the safety of the universe to the point that there are no other defenses. No Kirby and there is no hope left.

Overall, Kirby Star Allies is a pretty fun game. You’ll be through it in a flash but the platforming is on point and Nintendo definitely has this system down. If you were buying this for 60 you may think that the content is just way too small and that’s fair but now if you can get it for around 30 that’s not too bad. At the very least you’ll enjoy the boss battles and it reminds me of why the free to play game was so fun with all of those endless bosses running around. Experimenting with Kirby’s abilities is always cool and he has so many to choose from that it just works out pretty well. I do hope Kirby keeps up the tradition of every climax suddenly getting super high tier and cosmic, it helps the titles standout and who doesn’t want to save the universe at the end right? It just makes the experience that much more satisfying in the end. We’ll see how the next Kirby game stacks up to this one.

Overall 7/10

Psycho Dream Review


Next up in the review ranks is a game that throws in some good sci-fi angles at us. Psycho Dream is fairly short but has good gameplay and a solid story. Of course with a game like this it is quite interpretive so to an extent you get to decide what the plot is. If you were to look up the game’s plot online I’m sure you could come away with a definitive answer but purely from the game’s context a girl has been kidnapped and now you need to find her. The main character has a pretty cool suit. He looks kind of like a ninja and with the way he’s running around that may not really be on base. Either way this made for a great setup to start the game.

This rescue won’t be easy though. For starters there are a bunch of giant monsters running around. The whole game plays out like a dream with each world getting weirder than the last. It’s nice because the game is able to go all out with the graphics. The level designs are very creative. You get to visit a whole assortment of places and the bosses all have fun designs as well. You definitely won’t get lost or anything while you run around the levels. It’s all pretty straight forward. As for the gameplay, it’s in 2D. You have various weapons at your disposal such as a blade or even laser blasts. Throughout the levels you are able to change and upgrade your weapons to fit the situation.

This is one game where I would say that it’s not always good to power up though. The best weapon you can get is one where you can use your sword and then your energy blasts nonstop. Unfortunately the middle power ups just have one laser which doesn’t cover nearly the area that the blade can. Most times you are better off just sticking with the blade. It doesn’t deal the most damage and it isn’t the fastest weapon but it’s definitely one that you ca count on to get you some nice wins. It has a good reach for every boss you may end up coming across so I’d say it’s the most consistent weapon.

There’s certainly room for a sequel with how suddenly the game ends. Who knows, maybe there is already a sequel out there somewhere since this game is so old. At the very least from the new SNES games added to the collection this would definitely have to be one of the higher recommendations. You can beat it in around an hour or so and there is no replay value so you really just need to have fun on the opening playthrough and then you’ll be set. I don’t see why you wouldn’t though, all of the fundamentals are intact.

The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but I want to say it was decent. I would have probably given it some more rock tunes or fast paced techno to fit in with the game’s layout. Imagine jumping across the platforms in the final boss fight while you’re getting really intense battle music. I think that would have worked out rather well if you ask me. Definitely a good way to amp up the game but it’s a solid all around title either way. It’s an hour where you should have a blast. The game is reasonably difficult. It’s not as tough as Doomsday Warrior but you still can’t go in expecting to walk all over the game or you will definitely be in for a surprise there.

Overall, Psycho Dream goes all out with making sure this is a very original video game experience. It does a great job of making itself standout among the crowd. There just weren’t a lot of games in this era that looked quite like this one. The only thing I’d say against the game is that I don’t get why the laser is so weak. I feel like all power ups should be stronger than the original weapon. It feels like a trap if you get a power up because then you may be stuck fighting an enemy who is too powerful when it should be the opposite. It’s just a little odd having to recommend you keep your initial weapon but that is the case here.

Overall 7/10

The Mummy Demastered Review


While the Mummy film may not have exactly lit the world on fire, that doesn’t mean the video game can’t be a solid entry. WayForward has always delivered consistent products and this one’s also a blast. It’s a tad short but made in a way that encourages replaying the game and ultimately getting to a speed run level. The challenge of beating the game without dying once definitely sounds like it would be a really difficult one to achieve. This is a good example of how to handle a Metroidvania experience. There’s a precise reward system here that makes exploring fun.

The premise of the game is that the Mummy has awoken and you need to take her down. You are part of a very secret, very low key organization that exists to stop supernatural enemies like that. You have to suit up and find out why nobody is reporting back. Well, turns out they have all been murdered and the Mummy only continues to grow stronger. Surrender is not an option. If we can find the 4 sacred scrolls then we will have the abilities need to stop her. It’s now a race against time!

The scrolls were a good idea here since super powers is really the only possible explanation for how a band of humans can hope to stop the Mummy. Otherwise she would just stomp us all into dust and be done with it. This way you can at least see how we can handle this. The game has a fun idea about the death system too. In this game when you die the character himself doesn’t respawn. You get a brief cutscene where the captain fills you in on the plan again and lets you know that the last agent died. Here’s the twist, the last agent kept all of the gear and power ups. You then have to go find and destroy him to reclaim your abilities. He’ll also use them against you in battle which makes for a difficult mini-boss.

I nearly got myself into the corner on this. At one point I died right before the boss so the issue here is that the save room was pretty far away. To fight your previous agent you have to get back to the same room. The problem is that not having any power ups includes your health bars as well. So getting past the hordes of enemies with only 1 health bar and no power ups was very difficult. I had 13 deaths in the game and I want to say that maybe even 10 of those was to this section. I kept on creating more and more dead versions of myself. I should add that the dead versions stick around until you blow them up so you can have an army of evil main characters after you.

That whole thing was pretty fun. The core gameplay here is a 2D shooter with platforming elements. You have a standard blaster and grenades but as the game goes on you will gain more weapons. The ammo upgrades are extremely handy here as well since a lot of the time the main issue here will be that you run out of ammo while fighting the boss. Your main gun is good but it is weak so if you run out of ammo too soon then you will really be in a jam. Likewise having extra health bars is huge. So you’ll enjoy exploring the world because often times it will really lead you to power ups that help you in the game.

Additionally, the map system is very clear. You can see what parts of the game you have not explored yet and there are also a few copters that serve as shortcuts. I ended up searching through almost all of the map because it was satisfying to do so. I’d be tempted to go back and get the % to 100% since that will net me a few more trophies along the way. It’s the kind of game where you feel like the Platinum is absolutely attainable. Perhaps not too quickly but it can be done. The replay value also helps to make the actual story length longer. I got lost a few times which bumped my own play time up but I can see people knocking this one out like clockwork.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s a more retro sprite style and while I wouldn’t say it’s quite as polished as some others, you can always recognize everything and know where you are going. The best effects would likely be some of the flashier attacks from the bosses or even the little color effects so you know what their health bar is like. The redder the opponent gets the less HP they have left in the bank. The soundtrack is also solid, it’s got a very sci-fi kind of edge to it. I’d say it reminds me a bit of Prince of Persia as well, sort of that relics, sand of the gods kind of vibe mixed in. All in all that’s a good combo.

Mainly I would recommend always keeping at least one bomb handy when going through the game. Almost every power up is behind either some debris or a gate where you need the bomb. If you use them all up you’ll have to take down enemies until you replenish so if you always have at least 1 on hand then you can just quickly grab the power ups without having to worry about anything. At the same time you shouldn’t be afraid to spam your super gun ammo on the minions. You’ll get it back quickly and a lot of times it helps you save your health since otherwise the enemy attacks deal a lot of damage. Re-obtaining health is a lot more difficult especially once you have 8 bars or more. One strategy you can do is to die on purpose next to a save point since destroying your previous agent will always replenish your health completely. Now that’s a tidbit I would remember if I were you.

Overall, The Mummy Demastered is definitely a fun game. The various gameplay controls and mechanics are all handled very smoothly so you never feel bad about backtracking. You can cross the whole map in a short amount of time so if you need to look around it’s not like it’ll take hours. Titles like Metroid can learn a thing or two from this. Additionally the power ups feel substantial. One of the things I really liked about this is with every new upgrade you feel a lot stronger than you were before. This is something I’ve always praised the Shantae series for so I’m not surprised to see it be the case here. At around 3-4 hours you will breeze through the game but I’d definitely recommend picking the title up. Those will be hours well spent and the replay value helps things add up as well.

Overall 7/10