7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The Peace Keepers Review


It’s time to look at a very retro beat em up. The Peace Keepers is pretty interesting and I feel like it was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The combat is very smooth and holds up really well today. While 2D beat em ups tend to have a little less variety than the 3D counterparts (Although this is heavily debatable of course) this one has quite a few moved up your arsenal. It’s old school and yet you feel like you can do a whole lot here which is impressive. It’s a game that will hold you over rather well for an hour as you play through it.

The plot is a little vague from the cutscenes although I’m sure a booklet will have more. That’s not to say there aren’t cutscenes because there are a lot but the story beats happen very quickly. So there’s one villain who’s been going around and making a mess of things. He kidnaps one guy’s brother so that the guy has to work for him. The villain turns the brother into a zombie and then turns a girl into a monster that we are forced to fight. He can’t fight very well on his own but he’s hurting a lot of innocents along the way so the main character needs to put a stop to this.

There are some twists here and it is implied that the main character is actually an android. It would explain why he has the ability to transform and massively upgrade his fighting potential. His Super Saiyan form looks pretty awesome and you actually get to play as it for a full level which was really cool. In that form you don’t take damage and you can fly which is unheard of in this genre. I had a blast and then you’ve got the villain’s son who is also an android with this ability. Now that was a tough boss and it took me about 5 lives. You’re given around 10 lives in the game which is a good amount.

As for the gameplay, you can go for quick hits, jump moves, kicks, or power shots. The power shots are easily the best moves to use of course, but they come with a huge drawback. Every time you use the attack you actually lose some health. It’s something to take note of because if you start to spam them then you could find yourself with low health despite not getting hit once. That’s not a spot you want to put yourself in even if the attacks are good. At the same time, if you go with normal blows but the enemy hits you a lot, then maybe you would have been better off using the power move. At the end of the day the ball is in your court here. After you land the first combo you’re good to go for grabs. You need to position yourself right above the opponent while they get up and then you’ll be able to slam them back down. If you ask me that’s definitely the best way to go about things here.

The graphics are definitely pretty solid as well. The character models are good and there’s a solid amount of detail here as well. The stages all look different and the attack animations are on point. The Super Saiyan mode looks good and so does your final smash. There’s a way to activate it but I couldn’t figure that out. I was able to do it by just button mashing though so do that and you should be good. It’s probably one of those Street Fighter type inputs so I know how to mash in a way that it tends to activate those most of the time.

Overall, The Peace Keepers is just a really fun game. It’s short so you’ll beat it in about an hour but that’s not unheard of for games back in this era. The fact that it’s free with the Switch Online service doesn’t hurt matters either. I’m definitely all here for it. There isn’t really any replay value although there are multiple characters so maybe they all have variations of the story. If that’s the case then I’d say that adds a bit of replay value since I’m sure they’ll all handle things differently. I wonder if they all get Super Saiyan modes or if that’s a main character advantage. Either way I highly recommend checking this game out, it’s one of the more enjoyable games we’ve gotten in the updates.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Rocket League Review


It’s time to look at a game that recently went into a Free to Play format. I remember hearing a lot about this game back in the day so it’s nice to finally be able to check it out. The idea of mixing racing with soccer is pretty brilliant and I definitely commend whoever thought of the idea. I had quite a bit of fun while getting to Level 10. That said, I consider it to be a lot more limited in your experience compared to Fortnite. I haven’t tried many of the other big social games so I can’t compare it too well to others but it just feels like there’s only really one mode in Rocket League. I do enjoy the soccer gameplay but I don’t see this one lasting a very long time. I do think it gets a bump if you have an online crew to play with though.

The idea of the game is so pop the ball into the opponent’s goal like classic Soccer gameplay. The main difference of course is that you’re using a car to do this rather than running up and down the field to score the goal. Naturally that means you have to adjust your thinking here. The controls are quite simple. You can accelerate, boost, jump, sharp turn, and do a flip while in the air to manipulate where the ball goes. After that it’s all about fundamentals and getting the ball through. If I have any tips here, it’s that you should learn and get familiar with sharp turns right away. It definitely gives you an edge over the competition right away.

There are a few modes in the game such as 1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, 3 vs 3, and 4 vs 4. The objectives and rules are the same for each but naturally the game gets more chaotic the more players you add. Personally I find 3 vs 3 to be the perfect balance which is probably why it’s set as the default mode. It just works really well and it’s fun to have a lot of action on the field at once. I got to score quite a lot of goals which feels good but even in a support role you can have fun. You can even drive on the walls and to the top of the stadium. This is rarely useful but it can still be a lot of fun just to style on opponents. I won and lost my fair share of battles.

I’m also glad that a 1 vs 1 option was available right off the bat. That’s something that some games take a while to add. It may not be as dynamic as the other modes but sometimes you just want to test your own abilities real quick right? 1 vs 1 is the perfect way to do this. There are no other combatants, items, or gimmicks of any kind. At the end of the day all you’ve got is your own ability so win or lose there were no other factors. It’s a pretty intense game to be sure. The match length is only 5 minutes but it can feel like a lot longer when you’re in a tight game. You’ll notice that opponents rage quit quite often as well. I’d say that’s because in large part it is very hard to stage a comeback here. You know right away if you’re going to win or lose. As soon as a big lead shows up it is almost impossible to squash. It’s just not going to happen unless the player who is winning really lets their guard down. Scoring is pretty tough.

At the same time, most teams don’t bother to have a goalie. Who wants to stay back and block while everyone else is having a lot of fun right? That seems to be the main mentality at least so if you do get to the ball and make a good shot it’ll be tough for someone to stop you. I found that the best time to score a goal was as soon as the play begins. That’s because the ball is centered on the field. If you boost to it and then quickly brake, you’ll hit at the perfect angle so that it’ll be a goal unless one of the other cars hits the ball as well. It sounds simple but it actually got me quite a few goals which I was surprised about. It’s a very reliable technique at least at the lowest levels of competition.

The graphics are definitely really solid. Rocket League certainly isn’t pulling its punches here. This is a modern console game with high end graphics. There are very solid special effects everywhere you look. A lot of attention to detail and effort have clearly been put into the experience. While the soundtrack is less notable, there are quite a few songs to choose from and you seem to be able to control this from the main menu. That’s definitely a nice touch since you can really have your way with the system.

As I mentioned, I feel like the replay value here is a little on the low side. Still, the content will never end and there are always more updates so if you really enjoy the gameplay then there’s no reason you have to give up on the title. It’ll just keep on going all the way through for as long as you’re interested. Now that the game is free there’s also no reason why you should have to think about giving it a shot. If you don’t like it, then you can just delete it. There’s nothing to lose in giving it a shot and that has to feel good. No pressure here.

Overall, I like Rocket League. In general soccer tends to be one of my favorite kinds of sport games to play and this one handled it quite well. Mario Strikers still had the best pure gameplay if you ask me but I’d say that Rocket League is definitely in second. The game has a whole lot of energy and it’s always fun to test your skills and see just how good you really are. How long you stick with the game is up to you. I hope to get some extra modes and content in the future someday though. I think there’s a lot of potential for bonus modes and things of that nature to spice things up.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario’s Super Picross Review


It’s time to look at a puzzle game Nintendo released a very long time ago. Thanks to Nintendo releasing a bunch of these old games for free if you have the Nintendo Switch Online package, I’ve now gotten to try it out. It’s definitely fun. I’ve always enjoyed Picross and find it to be a whole lot like Sudoku. The idea behind it is the same at least and I wonder if it’s actually meant to be the same game. Either way you better make sure you know your numbers.

There isn’t really a plot of course so right away you can just jump into the levels. After you complete one world you unlock all of the Wario ones to play as well. There seem to be 8 in total. The Mario worlds are played with standard Picross rules. Every time you make a mistake you lose a good amount of time so you have to be careful in what you select. In the Wario game you aren’t told if you made a mistake so if you do manage to trip up then you could be in trouble. It can be very hard to tell where you went wrong, much less getting back on track. It’s better to take as long as you need here and just not make a mistake in the first place.

So how do the rules work? Basically you need to arrange the tiles so that the numbers in each of the rows and columns make sense. For example the first boards have 5 rows and 5 columns. If any of them have a 5 that means you can check off every box in that line. If a row has 0, then cross out everything there. Gradually you will have created a shape. Once you have filled in every square the level is complete and you will see the artwork. As the levels go on the stages get larger and larger which means you have a lot more variables to consider here. I jumped to the final world after a bit and there you have 15 boxes in each row and column. That results in a ton of boxes overall so you really have to tackle this point by point.

That’s what makes the game pretty fun though. There always is a way to solve the puzzles. You may have to look at the stage up and down a few times to really get it, but you will understand the way out eventually. You just gotta keep cracking down on it until you get to the bottom of this journey. Search for rows with the maximum or minimum amounts first. If none of them exist then look for large numbers and you can try to decipher the final areas based on the corresponding numbers. It works a lot like being a detective here. That’s probably glorifying it all quite a bit but it’s enjoyable which is really what I’m getting at. The levels are pretty quick and direct. You should have a good amount of fun here.

The graphics hold up pretty well. The whole game is in Japanese so you may not be able to read the text but it’s still cool to actually se Mario talking like this. It’s not like it has never happened before but it’s rare enough where it is still very notable. The style used here just holds up very well. The soundtrack is less impressive but I guess for a game like this they were never going to churn out a big soundtrack. That would have been impressive though and I think it’s never a bad idea to throw more themes in there. The bigger the soundtrack the better right?

In terms of replay value I wouldn’t say that there’s much here. The game itself is fairly short. I’d say you can clear around 2 worlds in a hour. So maybe 4 hours would have you completing the whole game and I dare say that you will likely beat it sooner than that. So this is definitely one of those games that you play the whole way through but don’t go back to. That’s just how some games are set up though so nothing wrong with that. I’d say the journey is worth it.

Overall, You don’t really see a lot of games like this anymore. It’s a shame because franchises should dive in and take some chances like this. Who wouldn’t want to play a Mario chess game or something like that right? As long as the game has a good amount of content and maybe even a fun story then you’re in business. If you’ve got the Switch Online then you should definitely check this out. It’s not so major that I would say you need to get the membership just for this game though. If you don’t have it, then I suppose you should hold off.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Games, Live Action Movie Reviews, Reviews

Need For Speed Undercover Review


Looks like the Need for Speed marathon is finally at an end. I’ll play through the next one at some point but at least for right now this will be it. Undercover is definitely a very solid installment in the series though. Not only does it have a lot of content to go through but it also takes us back to the more plot driven direction of the earlier games. It could stand to have more of a focused story but even just having boss battles is a big improvement over the last few. It’s just hard to top that and I wonder what they’ll do for an encore.

The game starts with the main character being tasked with the assignment of going undercover in order to take down a bunch of renegade racers. Gangs are popping up everywhere and you have to stay undercover until you find the big boss. The tricky thing is that you start to sympathize with some of these racers who are just trying their best to live and survive in what is considered a pretty frightening world. Is there any way that the hero can let them off easy? He’ll have to also avoid attracting too much attention since some characters already think that he’s probably compromised. It sure is difficult to keep getting these guys arrested while the lead is somehow safe.

I feel like the villains should have known something was up the instant we busted an entire gang, leaving the main character as the only guy left. At this point we joined another gang and did the same thing but really? That’s super suspicious. The main character doesn’t get to appear all that much and even gets censored during the quick cutscenes with the cops so we don’t see him all that clearly. I suppose he seems like a nice enough guy but also a very gullible one who is easy to manipulate. His driving skills are second to none though and the villains learn that the hard way. The ending has a lot of things happening so you’ll need to pay attention to that.

Unfortunately the sound mixing wasn’t very good. The gameplay and music while in the race are much louder than the actual cutscenes. What this means is that you’ll be playing normally when suddenly a cutscene occurs and you need to raise the volume. If you don’t then what ends up happening is you won’t be able to hear what’s going on quite as well. I don’t really get how something like this would make it past the play testing since it seems like a quick fix. Beyond that, it has the usual EA soundtrack. There are a lot of songs here and they’re all pretty fast paced so I’d say that you’re bound to find at least a few that you’ll like. I’d be surprised if you didn’t. The ending song is definitely a pretty intense one and ends as if this was a theatrical movie. Pretty epic if you ask me.

Then you’ve got the graphics which are solid as always. EA has never disappointed in this area and I wouldn’t expect them to start now. The cars look excellent and so driving through the city is a lot of fun. It’s all or mostly all in the daytime though so surprisingly we’re still not getting a lot of night levels. I know those can be risky since it can be hard to get the night look while not getting too dark but I think they can pull it off. Regardless, the hub world is quite huge and the fact that you can drive around the whole thing and pick up missions is a blast if you ask me. The cutscenes also look really good like the big boss battle at the end where the car jumps off the road. It helps really get you into the swing of things.

The gameplay is easy enough to describe. It’s the same 3D racing that you’re used to and is as fun as always. Using your nitro to get away is nice or quickly spinning a 180 and zooming away as the other racers get confused is just as satisfying. You really can’t go wrong with the gameplay here. There are no bonus competitions like drifting or any of that this time. It’s all about racing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. This makes the most sense in context after all. You will get new cars as you go through the game and can upgrade them but the process has been very simplified compared to how it was in other titles. I think this game has pretty much nailed down the formula so they should really stick to this going forward. You still need to take a look at your car every now and again but not constantly. Aside from free roam you can also use the GPS to jump straight into a race. You can tell which events are story ones because the icon will be wrapped in a circle which looks very fancy.

If you complete a level very quickly you will have “dominated” it which allows you to permanently increase a stat. You don’t get to choose which one but they certainly add up. I recommend going for the dominate as much as possible because the stats and discounts add up very quickly. Without them I imagine that this would be considerably more difficult. The main game’s campaign took me a little over 10 hours so when you add up all the extra events that should probably take you to around 14-15 hours. Pretty good deal for the game if you ask me. You certainly won’t be wanting for content by the time you’re done with all of this. Undercover is really the complete package for a Need for Speed title.

Overall, I’ll definitely miss Undercover. It’s definitely the most complete game in the series I’ve played since Underground. If you like racing around the city and enjoy Free Roam then this is definitely the game for you. It’ll remind you of Driver with the added danger of having to run from the cops. The cop chases here can definitely be very intense. There’s not a whole lot you can do about the hellicopters and their vans really smash your car out of the way. The game runs well and the graphics are sharp. I only encountered one glitch where I seemingly won a level too quickly which was odd so it didn’t count. It seems like that’s not something you would typically need to worry about though so I wouldn’t sweat it. Could be a while, but we’ll see where the series goes from here.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Icey Review


It’s time for a look at a beat em up I wasn’t really familiar with. I definitely hadn’t heard of it until the game arrived. Pretty neat cover though and right away you can see the fun sci-fi/anime aesthetic they’re going for. The game also has a lot of breaking the fourth wall moments and has an Undertale kind of vibe. It’s definitely on the short side though as you should beat it in about 2-3 hours but the difficulty helps it from getting much shorter than that. The enemies absolutely don’t mess around in this game.

The game starts with Icey waking up in her tube. Her mission is to destroy Judas since he wiped out the planet a long time ago. It is now a desolate wasteland overrun with monsters. Icey won’t stop until he is destroyed but is this really the right thing to do? Icey has started to lose track of who she is and her true goals. Is she after Judas because it was her idea or is someone manipulating her? The truth seems to fade in and out now to the point where everything is brought into question. The narrator of the world himself offers up suggestions and talks to her quite a bit as well. A common theme in the game is, will you listen to this guy or make your own choices?

I wouldn’t be surprised if this game already has a lot of theory videos out there. There’s definitely a lot to explore within this game and there’s certainly room for a sequel. I didn’t actually go and try out one of the other endings but the game makes it all very accessible. You can use the level select to go back and try something else. There are only two main decisions with regard to the ending as far as I can see but throughout the game you can choose to ignore the narrator and do whatever you want. I did that a lot early on but it would usually backfire as I would just get a few coins or something. It can be worth it just to troll the guy though. Sometimes he would also be right and by disobeying him you would end up going up against a boss that was too powerful or something like that.

As I mentioned, the game is definitely very difficult. Be careful how you answer the opening questions as that determines the difficulty level. Initially I ended up starting the game on hard mode as a result and quickly had to restart so it would be on normal. Even on normal I lost quite a few times. The checkpoints are pretty nearby at least. Grinding isn’t the easiest thing in the world here but it is possible through the level select. I recommend amping up your health and attack power first. Those will come in handy right away and you feel the immediate benefit which is why they’re good picks. They’re attacks you can count on but there are a lot of different attacks you can go for as well so at the end of the day it’s up to you.

There isn’t any hitstun in this game so when you get hit prepare for the opponent to combo you for a little while. Button mashing helps you get up a little faster so I recommend it. Mainly just try to make sure you’re never in between two enemies. You can dash so I recommend using that a lot. It’ll help you evade attacks and even counter strike if your timing is on point. It’s definitely something worth spamming. By the end of the game I did quite a lot of button mashing to activate combos. It has always worked well for me in Marvel vs Capcom and the same was true here.

The graphics are definitely fun. It reminds me of Gunvolt or at least that style although there aren’t sprites in this game. The attacks are pretty flashy and the backgrounds stand out. There’s always something going on in the screen which is good. The whole thing has a lot of detail which is good. As for the soundtrack, that part’s a little more forgettable. I don’t really remember any tunes. I think a little rock could have been a nice touch to the game. I think it would have worked rather well especially with all of the bosses running around. Those guys command respect as it is.

For a sequel I’d like to see Judas either return and try to fight back a little this time or maybe have the narrator try and do something. The guy seems about as shady as they get so he should definitely have a good influence here. A prequel could also work but I almost prefer not knowing how everything went down. Why ruin the mystery when we’re so deep in right? If we never know how this all started it allows for quite a lot of extra possibilities. It also lends itself well to online theories in the meantime.

Overall, Icey is a fun game. It’s definitely going for a unique vibe which is fun. I like a good mystery and the whole plot is fairly shrouded. The gameplay is naturally pretty hype as well. I love a good beat em up and mixing that in with Sci-Fi is a good combo. Ultimately the only thing that holds the game back is the length. It really feels very short. It only lasted as long as it did because I kept dying and even had to restart the game once. Otherwise you would likely beat it even quicker. It’s sort of like a boss rush though so you do get your share of fights in the meantime. If you get the game for a decent price then it’s definitely worth it. Will you take the enemies down or spare them? Only time will tell.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Nitro Review


I’ve really been making great headway on these Need for Speed titles haven’t I? Nitro is the only Need for Speed game that I have on the Wii and it makes for a very different experience. All of the other Need for Speed titles that I’ve played have felt a lot more on the realistic side compared to this one. Maybe at most you could say that Hot Pursuit II was closer to Arcade style but even that one wasn’t to the same extent. This one’s definitely going for that retro feel and it works out quite nicely. While I would have to say that it’s probably the weakest Need for Speed game by default, it does understand the series a lot more than Drift.

You start the game by being introduced to the main campaign. There are 3 cups, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Effectively they are all the same game but just with different difficulty levels. You have to do them in order though. When you enter the Bronze cup you are given around 5-6 cities. Your goal is to earn 100 stars which will let you enter the Grand Prix. Once you win that, you will unlock the Silver Cup so rinse and repeat until you’ve won them all. Not a bad deal right? The star system is very similar to Drift. It means that you don’t necessarily have to win every race but it does help. There is less margin for error here compared to Drift as you do need the majority of the stars in order to qualify. I believe there are 128 stars in each world so you can only miss 28. I recommend not losing.

On a more serious note, this game does introduce a certain amount of RNG within the game that means you can’t always guarantee yourself a victory. Sometimes things will happen that you just can’t control. For example, a new mechanic to this game is the Shield weapon that you can use. What this does is it summons the cops to attack a player of your choice. It’s a pretty powerful attack because there’s not much you can do. They run you off the road or if you’re really unlucky they’ll keep spinning you in a circle so that you can’t reset. It’s a fun way to include the cop presence here since there’s no free roam available. Drift probably should have done something similar although I’d say in just one kind of mode. For the most part I still like my normal racing.

This is the kind of thing that’s good as a side gimmick because of how it’s a change of pace. I don’t know if it would work quite as well if this was happening constantly. As the title suggests, this game also focuses a whole lot on the Nitro mechanic. So you’ve really got to make sure and boost a lot. It’s also crucial for a lot of the bonus stars which are score related. When you do a super boost it really has a noticeable impact on your points. I dare say that getting some of these bonus stars would not be possible otherwise. Boosting is fun though so I recommend it either way. It really gives you a jump on the competition.

The game can be a little tricky at times but really just because of the controls. I played this one through the Wii U so I wasn’t able to use the adapter to play it. As a result, I had to use the ole Wii remote. Surprisingly they don’t let you hold the remote sideways, you have to use it pointing at the screen and tilting which is an odd way to approach this. I suppose I’ll give the game some credit for going in a different way but I dare say that it was the wrong way. In particular this gets tough for the drifting levels where you have to try not to hit too many objects as you get to the goal. Not to be confused with the Drift levels where you max out your score. I believe the former is officially called Time Attack here.

I do like the graphic style though. It’s definitely going for a bit more of a cartoony hand drawn style. You have little cutscenes before every world which I appreciated. It at least makes the game appear to have more of a story. It may not be much but it’s a start I suppose. The game isn’t particularly long if you stop after 1 cup but playing all 3 should stretch the time out to around 7 hours which is pretty solid. Once again, the cars you buy are important here. There’s no upgrading so just focus on buying. I say try to survive on your present car for as long as possible and then upgrade. It can be a difficult thing to do of course, but it really pays off in the end.

Overall, Need For Speed Intro is definitely very original and in this case it worked out in a good way. Perhaps total free roam would have been a little too much for a quick Wii game so going full on arcade racer was the next best thing. With non motion controls this game would be even better. I like how fast you can drive around and the level designs were on point. I feel like this game had a good amount of energy behind it which really makes a difference here. It didn’t feel phoned in or anything like that. If you’re looking for a more upbeat kind of Need for Speed title then this is the one for you. It’s very easy to just plug and play which is probably the idea.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need for Speed Shift Review


It’s time to look at another Need for Speed title. This one takes the series in a much different direction compared to the rest of the titles in the series. For starters, there is no actual running from the cops in this title or anything like that. You’re actually racing on a pro track the whole time as you work to become the best. It’s interesting that the series would go in this direction but it doesn’t work particularly well. By doing this, the game becomes “Just another car game” which is not something that a franchise wants to be. It had such originality and creativity before this. Still, I can’t deny that the game has quite a lot of content at its disposal and the controls are good so it’s still solid.

The main campaign mode here consists of you jumping into a bunch of different races and doing your best to obtain stars. These stars are what allow you to unlock more races to get into. Once you have obtained enough stars then you unlock the championship where you can race to be the best. The star system means that you don’t necessarily have to complete every race in first. You can also skip some if you’re not confident. The important thing is getting as many stars as possible so that you qualify. An average race will usually have 5 stars, you get 3 for coming in first, 1 for breaking a lap record, and one for some kind of miscellaneous achievement. On average if you’re placing first in events then you don’t need to worry about the bonus stars but this way if you come in second or third a lot then you should be okay.

You will definitely still need to play a lot of races though. The game may give you extra stars to work with but it’s not like you can take that as an excuse to lose every race. You want to realistically still win quite a lot. The game can be difficult, but I wouldn’t call it crazy either. A lot of the races are very winnable since your car can keep up. I’d say it’s once you go around 2 tiers higher than where you start that the game really starts to jump the difficulty up pretty high. It gets hard to deal with and you have to upgrade your car quite a bit to stay ahead of the game. Money gets to be a concern because you run out of it very quickly. So you always have to balance out upgrading with buying a new car. It’s also best to stay with the older car as long as possible because that’ll allow for better cars to be on the market.

Personally I’ve always preferred just having 1 car so you don’t have to worry about all of that but I understand that this does make things more realistic. I suppose it increases the replay value as well as you have fun customizing the car to your liking. It’s definitely something that it vitally important to the career mode so keep that in mind. The game is fairly long and I imagine it’ll take over 10 hours to complete. That’s due in part to the difficulty but also because there are just a lot of races here. You’re not going to finish it too quickly to be sure and that’s a good thing. It’s always nice to have a lot to do in a game even before you consider the replay value. Need For Speed tends to always deliver on that front.

So there’s not much to say about the gameplay but it’s your standard 3D racing title. You speed through the streets in one of the cars you’ve chosen and try to stay in the lead. There are also other kind of events like drifting where you keep a turn for as long as possible and other such events. The Nitro is always a fun boost as well. I definitely have no problem with the controls. It’s all very smooth and on point. Meanwhile the graphics are also top notch. The backgrounds are rather limited so it’s not as impressive as some of the other installments but I think the studio still did a good job of keeping it as smooth as possible. Then of course you’ve got a pretty big soundtrack although not all of the songs will be great. I recommend keeping the music low so you can focus on the driving.

At its core my main problem is that this just doesn’t really feel like a Need For Speed game. There are no cop chases throughout the game nor are there any night levels with fun backgrounds. As a result you feel rather closed in the whole time. I also don’t like the new mechanic that causes you to lose a level if you go off the track too often. That limits your freedom even more and the game should let you explore. If I see a shortcut, why shouldn’t I take it? That’s always been the spirit of the series. While minor, I also didn’t appreciate the new realistic collision mechanic. Now when you bump into something the screen gets really dizzy as you recover from the concussion. It’s definitely realistic I guess but you can actually get pretty dizzy from that. I tend to crash a lot as well which doesn’t really help matters.

Overall, Need For Speed Shift is definitely a very different kind of game for the series. It was an experiment, but one that I don’t feel worked out very well. It just feels a little soulless and if you want such a game there are many others to choose from. You should always have a real story to back a title up even if it’s brief. If you really enjoy racing games then I suppose this is a good one to go for, but otherwise I would say to give it a pass and pick just about any other up. It’s true that this is a very solid game, but at the same time it doesn’t offer you anything that the others don’t even improve on. As a result there is little reason to go back to this one.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yoshi’s New Island Review


It’s time to look at a game that I conquered really quickly. The whole game was over in one day which makes sense because the game is only about 3-4 hours. It’s also extremely easy to the point where you won’t lose much at all. Even if you do lose you can get back to where you were at within a minute or two tops. The levels are short and since you have endless health as long as you get to the baby in time there’s not a whole lot for you to worry about. There are no big gimmicks to worry about either so half the time you can keep running and jumping.

The plot of the game is that the stork actually delivered Mario and Luigi to the wrong house. Yoshi and his clan must now get them to the right place. If I were the Yoshis I would definitely be a little upset at this. Seriously they have to do this again? Well, at least they have a lot of experience in doing so. They will have to get past Kamaek and all of his minions in order to do this though. The heroes can’t lower their guard and must press on at all costs!

The gameplay is your classic 2D platformer. You jump past enemies and obstacles to get to the goal. Along the way you will see a lot of collectibles and may even solve a few puzzles. You can eat enemies and turn them into eggs. The eggs you shoot are used to activate controls and things like that. I guess the game’s main gimmick would be that Yoshi can turn into several vehicles. This doesn’t happen a whole lot though and even seems to be optional at times. Those controls were a bit weaker so I’m definitely cool with this not being a regular occurrence. I feel like that would not have been a good idea for the game long term. Part of why this game succeeds is because it’s going back to basics. It’s basically a Mario game just with the ability to throw eggs. It is fun to throw the large ones as well and it’s all well thought out. I had no issue with the gameplay.

The bosses also have a lot of variety. The Kamek bosses tend to be similar but even those switch up the background elements which is nice. Changing up the bosses so much is what separates Nintendo platformers from others. The final boss is also intense with quite a lot of forms and even a plot twist I didn’t see coming. It’s probably the most impressive part of the game because it feels like this is a moment when the game decided to go further than expected. It also had more difficulty than the rest of the game since falling into the lava would instantly cause you to lose a life. I imagine you would have to restart all of the phases again but fortunately I didn’t lose during the climax.

The level designs are on point as well. The levels are pretty short and you’re still given a checkpoint during the game so it never feels like you’re going to lose a lot of progress. It may feel unnecessary since the game is pretty easy but it’s the kind of quality of life enhancement that I always like to see. It’s important to have this kind of thing because it’s just a lot more convenient for the player. Who actually wants to have to replay a large chunk of a game that they have already cleared? It helps you improve but since this game is going for a relaxing feel then it works out quite nicely I’d say. You can play a few levels before bed or just blast through the whole thing at once.

The soundtrack is definitely very different compared to most of the big Nintendo titles. It uses the Kazoo a lot and most of the tunes sound like they’re just complete parodies of the normal themes. I suppose they would all technically be considered remixes but it had to be a little self aware. The soundtrack is just very unique. It works well enough I suppose but does make the game feel like it’s aiming even younger than usual. It does support the game’s low difficulty level though. The graphics look fine. It’s not exactly Nintendo’s A game but I think it’s going for a retro look so it succeeds in that approach. I’d rather they go with traditional graphics though because Nintendo games can look really amazing when they try.

There is a decent amount of replay value to be found here though. Each level has a number of collectibles. You can grab the red coins, flowers, and even medals. The medals are RNG though which sounds annoying to me. Fortunately the game made it so that you don’t need to grab these to complete the game which I thought was a really good move. Things like that should always be optional if you ask me. That way you don’t feel like you were penalized for trying to pay the game your way. It is part of why I cleared the game so quickly because I didn’t need to worry about stopping. If you want to explore then that’s fine but it shouldn’t be mandatory. So the main game is about 3 hours and if you try for all collectibles you can probably stretch this to about 7 I’d say.

Overall, Yoshi’s New Island is a pretty fun game. It feels like a standard platformer. It’s true that this game doesn’t really do anything new nor does it try to shatter its own limits, but that’s fine. I still would feel like i got my money’s worth on this one. It’s not the kind of game that I can find a lot of fault with. The level designs are on point and while the story is the bare minimum, I’ll give the title props for the final boss and actually having dialogue between each world. They’re little touches but things that add up. This feels like more of a complete experience than the Squeak Squad game I played for example because of this. The game may be short but it feels fleshed out. I’d recommend this one if you like platformers.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review


This game has been waiting its turn for a very long time at this point. Well, I finally took the plunge and got it. Surprisingly the game doesn’t beat the originals though. Mainly this is due to the length being a lot shorter and the plot not being as interesting. I beat this game in around 2.5 hours compared to the Wii U one which took 7 and the 3DS original which I played for 14 hours although the story was more in line with 7. This one seems like they had to rush it out because otherwise I do feel like a lot of effort was put into it. There are a good amount of cutscenes and things of that nature.

The plot of the game is that Eggman is trying to build the Eggbot racers that can be even faster than Sonic. To this end he builds a robot that can attract the rare kind of metal he needs. The bot tries his best but Sonic and friends prove to be too much for him. Unfortunately this makes Eggman turn on him as well. The bot really wants to prove himself to Eggman so he’s going to continue to try and grab the metals. Meanwhile Sonic and friends are trying to stop the elemental geysers being produced as part of this and are forced to travel the globe. Can they save the planet from ecological disaster?

So there isn’t really much of a story here. Still, it’s very nostalgic to see the ole Sonic Boom cast once more. I did greatly enjoy the show and felt like it should have gotten another season. The cutscenes are really solid to the point where the cutscenes look like they could have been from the actual show. This is the level of detail I like to see and shows this was not some simple cash in. A real effort was made here and I definitely appreciate that. They should have found a way to squeeze Shadow into the story though. I think that would have been a really good idea to raise the stakes. We do get a fun climax though where Eggman is actually forced to ask Sonic for help. Sonic and Eggman is the big team up we’ve been waiting for so that was definitely pretty hype.

The gameplay is a 2D platformer like most Sonic games. You navigate your way through obstacles and grab collectibles as you make it to the goal. The new wrinkle to this game is that you now have the ability to use fire and ice thanks to the ecological phenomenons going on around the world. The fire ability allows you to melt ice while the ice power lets you freeze water. They’re fun little abilities. I wouldn’t say they change the gameplay experience all that much so it’s a pretty harmless gimmick which I can definitely roll with. This is the kind of experimentation that I’d say works rather well.

As I mentioned though, the game is really short. At a little over 2 hours that’s just not a whole lot of time. It has more replay value than Kirby though as each world has several bonus levels as opposed to just one. It’s part of why the game is so short though as you just don’t need to play most of the levels. That should add a good amount of play time in. Then you’ve also got the bonus racing mode where you can even play as an Egg bot. You use the gems you collect to buy more suits so that’s pretty fun. There are also 3 upgrades as well. It’ll probably take you a while to buy them all though. There are 6 upgrades and completing the game just gave me enough money to buy 1. Buying all 6 would definitely be difficult but maybe the bonus levels have more gems than the normal ones.

I already talked about how great the graphics are so I don’t need to go on that for very long. The in-game graphics are just as solid. There are a few different playable characters who all have their own strengths and abilities which is nice for variety. The soundtrack is less memorable though and in general you’ll probably forget it as soon as you finish the playthrough. I would have liked some remixed tracks or something to spice it up. There aren’t a lot of boss battles either which could be the reason. Surprisingly it would seem like not every world had a boss unless some of the bosses are optional.

The boss fights themselves are pretty fun although most of them play in a very similar way. I’d say that it’s just the gameplay not being able to change things up much but that’s not really true. I think there’s more they could have done with it. Each boss battle has 2 phases. One phase you use Sonic to home attack the enemy while the other has your partner use their signature skill. Since all of the partners are different that part is always unique but Sonic is the one where his gameplay is exactly the same all the time. Switching that one up a bit would definitely have gone a long way if you ask me. Still, I’ll give the game props for the tag system. I thought that was pretty fun.

Overall, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is a worthy sequel to the original Sonic Boom. that being said, I wouldn’t say it was particularly noteworthy or knocking it out of the park either. It’s a fun game that will keep you busy until you complete it. Afterwards even with the replay value you won’t have much to do though so this is definitely the kind of game you just playthrough once and keep it moving. If you like platformers then I recommend checking this one out. The cutscenes help make the game feel a little more special as well. A little more length would have been nice but I’ll take what we can get. Hopefully we get a new Sonic game soon because I miss that series.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kirby Squeak Squad Review


It’s time to look at a recent Kirby game for the DS. Kirby is one of those titles where I’ve lost track of how many portable games there are. There are just so many and then you have the remakes and ports to deal with as well. I figured I could at least get a little closer to being caught up with the series though and what better way than with this one? Squeak Squad is one of the shortest Kirby games out there as it’s barely over 2 hours. That means it is the perfect pick to blast through. The gameplay is pretty solid but the length is hard to ignore.

The plot involves Kirby getting ready to eat a nice slice of cake. Unfortunately the cake is snatched away right before his very eyes. It appears that the group known as the Squeaks have stolen it. Kirby makes it his mission to track all of these guys down so he can get his cake. He will have to travel across multiple lands in order to do this, but nothing is going to stop him from getting his meal. I know how good a solid slice of cake can be so it is definitely hard to pass that up. Meanwhile, is there something more sinister at play here?

The story doesn’t move much as you only get a quick cutscene at the start and then for the final few worlds. Still, I’m always glad to see a story of any sort. It may feel rather low stakes but this is Kirby so you know that something will change by the end. Kirby has come to be known as the title with all of the extremely high end cosmic villains by the end and the games do not disappoint with this. As they go on you can always count on some pretty big villains showing up to cause damage and take people down. The final boss here is enough hype being with a cool design. In general the boss fights are pretty solid.

I also expected them to be a walk in the park but 1 in particular was actually a real challenge where I lost some lives. A big thing in the Kirby games is to make sure you have the right power for each situation. If you lose a power then a boss or level can be a lot more difficult than it would have been otherwise. That’s exactly what happened here. I lose my boomerang power so that I could make a space for the chest. Then the cloud boss that showed up was hard to deal with. I kept falling or I would get stunned for a while. The boss design was actually pretty clever and worked quite well to be honest. This was a true threat that just wouldn’t go down very easy. The rest of the bosses were more standard but I was still reasonably impressed with this.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard Kirby style. You run through a level as you try to get to the goal. A new wrinkle is that you can hold up to 5 items in storage in addition to the ability you already have. This can be pretty handy for sure. You’ll also need those spots because some levels can have up to 3 chests. They each take up a slot so this prevents you from holding more food or special abilities. You don’t actually need to collect all of the chests in this game to clear it, but I wasn’t taking any chances and grabbed half of them during the game. In particular the important ones appear to be the mega chests at the end of a level. These have the potential to carry the Star Brands and you will need those brands in order to access the final worlds. Most of the chests aren’t really hidden during the opening worlds and only get a little more difficult in the second half of the game. I’d say that’s the main thing to be aware of but otherwise you should be good to go.

The levels are a lot shorter than I expected which makes sense for why the game is so short. There are around 50 levels in the game and you don’t have to actually clear all of them. Each level comes with a bonus level that you can skip so most worlds just have 5 levels. Each level shouldn’t take you longer than around 2 minutes to complete if you’re looking for chests. I liked the pocket size of the levels. They’re part of the game’s charm and it makes this game very easy to just pick up and play. The level designs are quite excellent but that’s no surprise.

The graphics are definitely pretty good. I liked the little illustrations we would get to progress the story as well. The artwork was definitely on point and it helped to show that this game had a reasonable budget. The soundtrack is very good. That one has a lot of remixes from previous games and all of the tunes end up feeling pretty iconic. This is definitely more in line with what I would expect from a Nintendo title and they did not disappoint. These tunes are memorable and really get you into the spirit of things.

In terms of replay value there is some although not a whole lot. Completing the whole game with half of the collectibles only took a little over 2 hours. If you go back to get the rest of them then I guess you could maybe stretch this to 4 hours. That’s about it though so I can’t give the game a whole lot of credit for that. 4 hours for 100% completion rate is not really amazing at all but the sheer enjoyment factor of the game will keep this one operating at a positive level. If anything I would just say as a disclaimer that you shouldn’t buy this game for a high price. Make sure you get it for around 15 or something and then it’s a good deal.

Overall, Kirby Squeak Squad was pretty fun. It’s a brief experience but I certainly enjoyed the smooth gameplay and fun plot. This is a game I could recommend to anyone who likes platformers or wants to start the genre. Despite that one boss being a little tricky, the game is pretty easy so it works perfectly as an introduction. After clearing it you’ll be ready for some more adventures and slightly more difficult titles. I have another Kirby game coming up which is supposed to be tougher to complete so I look forward to seeing what challenges that one has in store for me.

Overall 7/10