Rayman 10th Anniversary Review


It’s time to take a quick look at the Rayman collection I recently beat for the GBA. This one made the interesting decision of merging the first and third games in the series. I don’t really understand why they would skip the 2nd game. Maybe it just wasn’t formatted in a way that would be easy to port to the GBA the way that the others were. Either way, it’s no big loss since I’m guessing it should be rather similar to the others. This is my first real venture into the Rayman series so that was neat. I’d say that it holds up pretty well though the third game definitely more so than the first. If you are a sidescroller fan then you need to check Rayman out.

The first game is pretty intense with how difficult it is. You get 10 continues and you have to be sure to not lse a life too easily. If you died too much on a level consider restarting your system right away so you can win without that hapening. I just barely made it as I finished the game with no continues left. Of course, if I was going for the secret ending by finding all cages then that would have been another matter entirely. The controls are good, but I can’t say as much for the level designs. There are a lot of blind jumps and cheesy sections where the game just stacks the deck against you. That’s fine, but then we should get unlimited continues like in most games. I never like when the game has a limit and then you just have to start over. That doesn’t seem very fair and will just become tedious after a while.

The plot of the game is a little weak though and that’s one thing that seems true for both titles so far. It’s just that Rayman himself isn’t nearly as interesting as most of the other colorful protagonists in these kind of games. I’m assuming he will get more personality soon but right now the cast doesn’t really jump off the page so to speak. They’re all just going through the motions so to speak. Since you don’t even get to see the ending without getting the 100+ cages then it’s not even much of a satisfying end. This game is fortunately supported by the next one.

Rayman 3 is a noticeable improvement in just about every way. For starters the gameplay is a lot faster and smoother. You really feel like you are in control this time around. None of the enemies scare you and if they ever start to get a little rowdy you can quickly take them out. Your lives are quite abundant and there is no limit on retries so no worries there. There is also more of an actual story this time as we get text boxes and the villains have more of a goal. The story still isn’t at the point where it could actually be considered as a selling point, but it’s getting closer which is the important thing. Just a few more steps and it will be ready for the big leagues. Regardless, this is a title that I could recommend a lot sooner than the other one. It’s just a solid side scroller and one that holds up well as it isn’t clunky.

The graphics for both games look pretty good. Naturally the 3rd game is a little brighter and more detailed, but it’s not a huge difference. Both games are quite clear and you can tell that effort was put behind them. Likewise the soundtracks for both games are pretty similar. There are some memorable tunes in there, but nothing super intense. Either way you’ll probably be too absorbed into the levels to notice much. The levels require a lot of concentration or you will be doomed to lose quite a lot.

As far as replay value goes I’d say there is quite a bit here. In the third game I was able to get most of the collectibles naturally so the bulk of your play time will be in the first game. The third one is also shorter in general, but every bit helps. It should last you a few hours. Then the first game will definitely last a few hours and obtaining everything will extend the time even more. Just keep a look out for those lives and continues since they are very previous. Once lost they will not be returned. That’s why the stakes are so high in the first Rayman.

Overall, The Rayman 10th Anniversary game is pretty solid. Since it brings 2 games for the price of one it is already a pretty good bargain. If you haven’t played the series before then it’s the perfect way to start I’d say. It may be tough goings for a little while but you’ll certainly get a lot of experience in how to handle a platformer by the end of this. It’s why I would be a little hesitant to recommend this to a kid but given enough time I’m sure anyone would be able to clear these levels. It’s just all about repetition and trying to learn some strategies. Now I can finally go and play some of the newer Rayman games. I’ll definitely snag them at some point and we’ll see if they can possibly match these two or if they are doomed from the start. No guarantees on just how soon “at some point” means though.

Overall 7/10

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Undertale Review


It’s time to look at what was considered to be the greatest game of all time according to Gamefaqs. Of course that isn’t something I’d agree with since I don’t see any game topping Super Smash Bros or Madden unless it’s a game in a similar genre. Still, Undertale is a fun game and I’m glad that it got some recognition. It’s a short, but sweet experience that reminds you how much fun developers can have with making the gameplay a unique experience. I’d be up for Undertale getting a sequel. Maybe the main character could do a little more in the sequel.

So the game starts off with you plummeting to the monster world. You must now try to get back to the human world, but it’s going to be very difficult since to do so you must find King Asgore and destroy him. The problem is that he will also be out to destroy you so this won’t be easy. My advice? Just go in swinging! Well, along the way the hero runs into a bunch of quirky characters and they help him get to the goal. Throughout your adventure you have to decide if you want to destroy all of the opponents in your way or if you will spare them. Whatever you do, you cannot allow yourself to fall in this fight.

A big part of this game is all about deciding whether you want to spare the enemies or not. If you decide to do so then your level won’t raise any higher so dodging the enemy attacks will become more crucial. At the same time it will give you a sense of satisfaction which is always nice I suppose. The ending won’t change the first time, but after that you can keep on playing the game to try and get all of the endings. As the game is fairly short at only 3 hours that won’t be a problem. Technically it took me 5 minutes longer than that, but either way that’s roughly the game’s length. While it is quite short, that doesn’t take away from the game being pretty solid.

The gameplay is part of what makes the experience fun. You run around a bunch of tunnels and corredors until you make it to the next boss. If you are blasting through to the end of the game all you have to do is keep running straight half of the time. There are a few puzzles but for the most part there are no distractions. However, if you want to hear more of the lore and meet up with the characters then you are able to do so as well. There are a lot of areas to explore and have fun with. The levels seemed rather big to me at least and there are quite a few people to talk to. Then we have the combat gameplay where you play as a heart and have to dodge enemy attacks. When it’s your turn then it becomes more of a traditional turn based combat system as you pick your attack and time it so you strike when the line is above the center of the opponent. You’ll get the timing down in no time.

I certainly enjoyed the soundtrack as well. There are a lot of good boss themes here and the music is very atmospheric. The whole thing is very retro while also trying to also add a bit of a creepy edge to it. The music definitely fits the scenes pretty well. The graphics are also fairly decent. The game uses sprites so there isn’t anything particularly fancy about the game’s looks, but that’s where the game’s originality comes in. It did a good job with the final boss by adding in a bunch of cool visuals for its attacks. It was a solid way to end the game and was certainly one of the better climaxes that I’ve seen as of late for such a retro game.

A fun part of the story here is that you never really know what’s going to happen next. I didn’t know much about the story before playing the game so it was fun to see what would happen next. The characters were all a little different from how I pictured them since I had no context previously. They were all pretty solid for the most part although I think that the levels with the genius and the robot may have dragged on a bit. Their gimmicks weren’t nearly as entertaining as the ones that the other characters had. Papyrus and Sans were certainly a lot cooler and I would have been up for seeing more of them. Since I got Sans pretty upset though maybe he could end up being the villain for a sequel. It would be nice if it had multiple starts based on how you acted in this game.

The character designs were on point and I definitely would have liked to have seen Undyne fight a little more. She was a solid fighter and definitely a great fighter to match swords with. Asgore was less impressive although once he entered battle mode he was pretty neat as well. Flowey definitely makes for a great mastermind and he’s a big part of why the game is so interesting. He brings in most of the wrinkles and twists that the game really needs to make a name for itself. If we get a sequel hopefully he would return.

Overall, Undertale is a fun game. It’s a very memorable one so I can see why it is so well liked. The sound effects such as Flowey’s laugh are excellent. The music is on point and the gameplay is also a lot of fun. It’s a game that is reasonably challenging but never tries to get tedious. The gameplay is easy to pick up but mastering the game will take some time. While the game is very short, there is also some nice replay value if you go back and beat the game multiple times or trying to get the Platinum if you got the PS4 version. So, I’d recommend this game. I believe the going price right now isn’t too high so it’s a pretty good value. Once you play it you can decide if the game is amazing or at the very least a solid experience.

Overall 7/10

Dragalia Lost Review


It’s time to take a look at Nintendo’s latest mobile adventure. Just like Pokemon Go Nintendo seems to be here to provide the promotion while they handled every other aspect of the game to a third party. It’s a good strategy since I’m sure it takes up less manpower this way and the third party has more experience with mobile titles. The game is well made and quite polished although it’s one that I won’t be sticking around for. It has its weaknesses, but as long as you have the time it makes for quite the investment.

The plot is a little generic though as you are a prince who didn’t want to be King. Unfortunately all 7 of your brothers have turned evil and the same goes for your father The King. It’s hinted that they are being mind controlled but either way it is time for the main character to rise to the occasion. In this world all proper fighters need to have a dragon companion so his first order of business is to tame one. Now he has to go save the world, but can he do it?

As this is a mobile game the answer to that question is likely a flat no. These games just never seem to end which is one of the main things that ends up deterring you from playing after a while. It’s all a matter of preference though. I typically play console games but those always have a start and an end. If I wasn’t a big console fan then I’d probably stick around for this one. As it is the only games I’m actively keeping up with are Dragon Ball Legends and Pokemon Go. That’s enough to keep me busy, but it’s always fun to at least check these other games out for a bit.

The gameplay is an overhead real time combat system. You swing your sword by tapping the screen and you can use super attacks once you have charged up enough energy meter. There is also a separate energy meter for turning into a dragon. Turning into a dragon gives you a huge boost in health and attack power so I highly advise doing so. Each level is typically a short run where you beat up a bunch of enemies and then the boss room at the end of it. The fact that the levels are so short is definitely a good thing since it makes it very easy to play the game in batches. Of course it also highlights the fact that the story moves so slowly so that’s the only drawback.

The graphics are very good. They wouldn’t look out of place in a home console title. The character designs are smooth and the colors are very vibrant. Likewise, the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. It’s very fast paced and makes the game feel energetic as well. These aspects of the game are just as well polished as the gameplay and keeps up the appearance that this could be a AAA title for the Switch.

As for the replay value it’s basically infinite with everything going on here. New content is added all the time through online levels and new characters. As it is the actual story is quite long as well and with all of the bonus raids you can’t run out of things to do. You do have a stamina meter so you can’t play for too long in a row without breaks. While it is a lot more lenient than the Dragon Ball Legends one, it’s not quite as long as Fire Emblem Heroes. Still, it’s certainly enough energy for you to play for fairly long sessions.

Honestly at this point I wish we could get a full Super Smash Bros gatcha game for mobile. See, the only reason I’m not sticking around with this one as long as I stuck around with Fire Emblem and Dragon Ball is because all of the characters are OCs and naturally I’m less invested in them. If the story was about Nintendo mascots I wouldn’t care that 90% of it is stalling for time and not going anywhere. It would still be priceless just to see the Super Smash characters interacting and everything. Hopefully one day we get that.

Ironically I’d say that the mobile games that are less complex and complete tend to work better. I’m looking forward to the Mario Kart app and I’m sure I’ll stick with that one for a while. RWBY is also coming up although I don’t think that one will last. I can’t think of any other mobile games that are coming up soon, but I’m sure some will pop up. Those games seem very simple to the point of almost just being point and click. Even Dragon Ball Legends which has a lot going on seems simpler than Dragalia Lost. Dragalia is just a little too complex. If you want to actually get all of the mechanics in the game you’re going to need to dive into Reddit. Otherwise you’re gonna get hopelessly lost with the dozens of mechanics and such going on here. It’s all a little overwhelming. If you do decide to play this game, I highly recommend not spending any of your orbs and materials for the first few weeks of the game. Wait and see who you want to actually power up since these materials are often going to get scarce as the game goes on.

Overall, Dragalia Lost is a fun game. It’ll probably take a long while to get invested in the plot, but at the same time the game did launch with a ton of story levels to sift through so that’ll help. An impressive aspect is also that every single character has an individual story mode as well which consist of a few cutscenes. Since there are going to be hundreds of characters by the end of this that is a lot of content. I can’t stress enough that this is basically a full RPG on the phone. It’s probably the most convincing one I’ve seen since Sword Art Online Integral Factor. That one had the better plot, but this one has the better level designs and less filler.

Overall 7/10

Twisted Metal: Head-On Review


It’s time to look at my first ever Twisted Metal game! It felt good to finally be able to open the door on this franchise. It always looked pretty interesting and who doesn’t like car combat? Naturally the game’s likely a little more limited than the main installments would be, but it gives you a pretty good look at what the franchise is all about. (I assume) There is even a story even if it was rather brief so that’s cool. It’s a fun game and one that you will remember down the line.

The game starts with a mysterious being announcing that the entire planet is going to be the battleground for a tournament that he is hosting. The objective is to use your vehicle to destroy everyone else’s. If you are successful then he shall grant you a wish. If you don’t want to participate in the tournament…too bad. Each character gets their own story but at first you only have 2 characters unlocked so I chose the biker dude. He’s not thrilled about this, but if someone’s going to win this thing it may as well be him. There aren’t really any more cutscenes until the end of the game where you fight a giant car that is all but indestructible. Then you are treated to the ending. The guy’s reaction to it wasn’t great though. You get a wish of course, but the main character is just super confused and starts yelling about how this must all be a nightmare. The villain zaps him a bit, but the guy won’t budge so the announcer takes this as his wish and decides to stop with the tournaments for a little while. However, he does say that this is wish that he cannot grant so it was pretty pointless. The main guy should have asked for something a little more valuable. The options are pretty much endless to be honest.

When it comes to the gameplay, you’ll likely pick it up very quickly. You drive around in the car and try to blow the others up. You have a machine gun built into the car that you can spam although you have to let it recharge from time to time. It does almost no damage but it’s still good to have. Around the stage there are a few different power ups like Fire missiles, power missiles, upgrades, etc. The best ones are the homing missiles as they deal a lot of damage and are easy to hit with. Most levels will have you try to destroy 4-5 cars. You get 3 lives to do so or you have to restart. I died once, but after that I realized the perfect way to cheese. Look for a health power up somewhere in the level. It’ll keep respawning there so whenever you’re low on health just head for that place.

However, the most important thing to do is to grab the upgrades. There are 6 upgrades. I’m not sure if it was a glitch or not, but once I got them all my car became completely invincible. This was really handy for the final boss since I literally couldn’t lose health. Getting the 6 upgrades can be tough because if you lose a life you lose all of your upgrades and earning them back takes a while since you get them only when you destroy cars. Still, it’s worth it and without that invincibility I get the feeling that the final boss would have been a whole lot more challenging.

The graphics look pretty good. Naturally I was impressed that it had full voice acting and everything. I shouldn’t be surprised since the PSP always did a good job of feeling like a big console. It’s a shame that it didn’t end up selling better because I do think a lot of passion was put into the PSP. It really could have ended up being one of the big ones and instead it ended up fading into obscurity. The soundtrack is also pretty good for the most part. Naturally there is a lot of rock music which is fun. I can’t really vouch for the lyrical themes because I didn’t understand anything they were saying, but the instrumental themes are definitely quite good.

As for replay value, I wouldn’t say that there is a ton here. There is probably a multiplayer mode for if you have two PSPs, but that’s tough to find nowadays. You can try beating the game with everyone to get all of the endings. That will take you around 10 hours I’d say. Beyond that there isn’t much else. If the price was higher then it probably wouldn’t be worth it, but if you can get the game for a few bucks then the initial playthrough probably still justifies the cost. It’s a car game that you’ll want to add to your collection.

Overall, Twisted Metal was fun. The plot twist about who the main character at the end was is pretty intense. I’m not sure exactly how straightforward it was though as it’s possible that the guy is actually someone else. I just get the feeling that there is more to the clown than meets the eye, but I really don’t know enough about the franchise to say one way or the other. If you play this game, make sure to keep an eye out for those final cutscenes. They’re pretty fun. With this game completed, I have finally gotten the video game backlog down to 100 games. Definitely a pretty emotional moment.

Overall 7/10

James Bond 007: Everything or Nothing Review


It’s time to look at the final James Bond game that I own. It’s been a good run, but even this agent has to run out of games eventually right? The games have all been fairly solid thus far though. I may not be the biggest fan of FPS titles, but I’ve warmed up to them over the years. Then we have this game which is a third person shooter so you really can’t go wrong there at all. It’s a fun game even if some parts feel a little cheesy when it comes to the gameplay mechanics.

The plot involves a rogue scientist deciding to team up with Jaws so they can destroy the world. He has a spy working for him who gets behind Bond’s defenses and helps to advance the villain’s plans. Bond must put aside his love for being a terrible agent so that he can finally become the fighter that he always dreamed of being. Can Bond actually pull this off or is it time for him to finally call it quits and take a step back?

Yeah, there’s really not much to the plot to be honest. Although while it is a little on the generic side, I do appreciate the fact that it is an ongoing story that continues throughout the game. That helps it feel more like a proper movie adventure than just having snippets of plot here and there. We have full cutscenes and voice acting so honestly it was actually quite high budget. The graphics are on point, but you’d expect nothing less since this is on the Nintendo Gamecube. Then we’ve also got the soundtrack which may not be the most inspired out there, but it’s not terrible. On a technical level this game succeeded.

Then we’ve got the gameplay which is also solid. For most levels you’ll be running with your guns at the ready. At first you can get away with just running into a room and initiating the fight, but as you get closer to the end of the game you’ll have to switch to a far more tactical approach like hiding behind objects. You can temporarily slow time while looking across the room to spot a path through the villains as well. Then you’ve also got a bunch of tech at your disposal like an invisibility suit, grenades, spider bots, and more. I rarely used them since the villains would be on you in a heart beat, but the thermo suit turned out to be very useful in the final level. Seriously, winning without that would have been almost impossible.

Then you have other gameplay styles like when you have to drive a motorcycle, car, or a tank. The driving levels (Aside from the tank) were a blast and a nice break from the shooting. Of course, adding in alternate forms of gameplay like this can be risky since it can take away from the experience, but the gameplay was just as polished and it was just fun so I can’t say that I had any problem with it. When it comes to the gameplay the only thing I really did have an issue with was the final level. That one was just not executed well.

I’m fine with it being super difficult and riddled with enemies of course. As the final level in the game I’d expect nothing less. What wasn’t good though was the fact that the level was incredibly long without any checkpoints until the actual boss fight. I spent nearly 2 hours on this level. I’d make it so far only for something cheesy to happen or an enemy would get a lucky hit. If every level had been like that things could have gotten dicey for the game. Fortunately that was the only level to not have well placed checkpoints.

As far as the game’s content goes, it’s at a good length. The main story has around 27 levels in it and after that you can feel free to have fun in multiplayer mode for a while. It’s 4 player so that will give you a lot to have fun with. The replay value never really has to end and even without it the main campaign is sufficiently long. I’m not sure what the going price for it is nowadays, but I can’t imagine that it would be all that pricey. It’s so old…unless it’s out of print of course, but I’ll hope that this is not the case.

Overall, Everything or Nothing is a solid James Bond game. It focuses less on the Bond aspects of the franchise and more on the fun action scenes. It’s certainly not perfect, but as far as shooters go it can hold its own against any other realistic TPS. If you haven’t played a Bond game before then this is definitely one that I would recommend checking out. It’s a good way to start off and it’ll allow you to get used to the shooting aspect. Since you don’t have any cool super powers to back you up, you’ll have to train yourself on the fundamentals. Once you’ve gotten those down, this skill will help you for future games.

Overall 7/10

GoldenEye: Rogue Agent Review


It’s time for a very interesting game review. The reason why I say that is because this review isn’t 100% complete. This game came in two discs and the only problem is that I don’t have the two discs. I only bought the first and I’m not about to go and try to buy the other one so I’m reviewing the game based on the first half. That’s reasonable though since the first disc has over half of the levels since the second one focuses on the multiplayer aspect of the title. It’s a fun game and feels rather polished. It may not be my favorite Bond game as that honor belongs to one that I’ll be reviewing shortly, but it is definitely a solid game in its own right.

The game manages to bring together most of the biggest villains from the classic Bond films. They have all united to try and take the agent down for good which is certainly bad news for this operative. Fortunately he has the help of Agent Terry, a fighter so powerful that even 007 has to acknowledge his abilities. Together these two agents will do their best to fight against the forces of evil. Can they succeed or will they fail? It all comes down to the skills of you, the player.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You try to shoot the enemies ahead of you and ultimately you have to survive at any cost. Your mission will typically be to activate something after you’ve cleared out the guards. You have your hand weapon when starting a level but you can also pick up weapons that are scattered across the room from the various minions. You can also engage in fisticuffs when you are out of ammo, but I can’t really say that I would advise this. Just try to have some ammo on hands so don’t waste your shots. The gameplay is quite technical all things considered and you’ll want to try and remember as much of it as possible.

Also, it should be noted that this game is quite difficult. I’m not great at the FPS genre so that should be taken into account, but the levels are very unforgiving. Shots from the enemy take up a lot of damage so even with your health being able to regenerate it is hard to proceed through a level. The enemies also bring the fight to you so you can only hide for so long. It’s definitely not a game for newcomers to the genre or kids in general as they won’t stand a chance. It helps the game last longer for sure though so that’ll help it be worth the price you paid. The main game length should take you around 10 hours which is solid. There’s not really anything else in the way of replay value single player wise. There is a nice multiplayer option though so that’ll give you enough fun for a very long while. Be sure that you have the 2nd disc or you won’t be able to play it though.

I’d say that the graphics look pretty good. They’re not super amazing or anything like that, but they get the job done. The levels look good and the game does give us a solid amount of cinematics which is refreshing. You can tell that some real effort was put behind this game and that’s definitely a good thing. It’s also impressive that Bond got at least 3 different games for the Gamecube. Not just any character can pull that off. It’s a little hard to compare FPS titles to each other since they’re so similar so I couldn’t tell you if this game is as good as Agent Under Fire or not. I’m inclined to say that it isn’t but it’s probably pretty close.

The plot was reasonably engaging. It didn’t have as many one liners as the last Bond game, but that’s because Bond isn’t the lead so it makes sense that Terry is a lot more withdrawn. After all, he’s here to help save the day, not to trade barbs. It’s hard to say how likable the main character is either of course since he’s rather silent and doesn’t do anything but fire at the enemies. Not a bad thing, but I like when the games aren’t afraid to give the original character a little more personality than that.

Overall, GoldenEye is a fun Bond game. It’s a shame that I won’t be able to see the ending, but rebuying the disc just doesn’t seem worth it and I’m not interested enough to look it up on Youtube either. It’s just going to have to live with the knowledge of only being worth half a playthrough. Honestly that’s not such a sad fate though right? Half a game is still better than none and at the end of the day at least you could say that the game was interesting enough to get through that. If you like FPS titles then this is a good game for you but otherwise skip it. Your enjoyment depends entirely on how you like the genre because it doesn’t try for much more than that. That’s just the kind of genre an FPS is.

Overall 7/10

NBA Ballers: Rebound Review


NBA Ballers is a game that I’ve been working on for quite a while. It was never quite interesting enough to become the main game but was a nice side project. It’s a very unique Basketball game and while I probably would not put it above any of the other titles, it’s definitely a solid enough game in its own right. Who hasn’t wanted to be able to go 1 on 1 in this sport before? It’s not a mode that I remember being featured in the mainstream NBA games so it’s cool that it finally got some time in the spotlight.

There are several game modes in this but the main one is naturally the Rags to Riches mode. You start out as a kid playing by the local courts and gradually move up until you are a pro. There are numerous tournaments and each one has around 8-10 people. Between tournaments you get to see your buddies or a rival may show up to put you on blast. The audio isn’t great so don’t expect to actually know what anyone is saying. Focus on the gameplay, that’s the important part here. It’s basically where I spent all of my time anyway.

The unique part of the game is the fact that all matches are 1 vs 1. You don’t have any teammates to back you up so if the opponent gets past you then it’s all over. The match’s are first to 11 and best of 3. The matches can be a little long depending on how good the opponent is but for the most part it is all a reasonable amount. A very important part of the gameplay is your juice meter. Build it up to spam the opponent with style moves that will build your house meter up so you can use a final smash. I never got to do the latter, but using the juice meter to run is an easy but effective way to score anyway. I also like bouncing the basketball off of my opponent but that play is a little risky since sometimes they will just keep the ball.

As you play through the tournaments your stats will increased based on your gameplay. It’s a nice touch although with the opponents also getting better you probably won’t notice the change all that much. You can then use money to buy new abilities or upgrade your current ones. Money is definitely very important here. As a casual player myself, I can’t say that I made the most of it though. Even by the end I couldn’t really use most of the abilities so I had to win with pure fundamentals. I was able to pull through of course since that’s what I do, but mostly each match would be neck and neck. It was hard to stop my opponent from scoring so the best of 3 set would always go to the last game.

The story campaign is already fairly long so it’s clear that this game has a lot of content to it. There is a multiplayer mode as well where you can have endless fun. Becoming the best and buying everything will take an extremely long time as well. Considering that you can probably get this game for a few bucks, you’re really getting a great deal here. In general sport games do excel at content since from a developing point of view it’s easy to make it long. Just keep on adding more opponents and slightly altering the character models. It’s even easier for Madden since you just fight the same teams over and over again in fresh environments. It’s sort of like how a fighting game never gets dull. You can just keep on playing over and over again with no worries.

The graphics aren’t bad. There’s not really much the game can do to show off though since the whole game takes place in very realistic environments and it’s not like there are any superpowers or things like that. Everything is clear so that’s basically what I’m judging the graphics on. It succeeds at what it is trying to do, showing a good game of Basketball. I can’t say much for the soundtrack though, it’s fairly generic as with most sport games. You won’t recall any of the tunes and I’m still waiting for these games to branch out a little more. No reason why we can’t have some hype opera themes while shooting hoops right?

Overall, NBA Ballers is a fun game. It’s definitely a title that flew under the radar, but one that I would recommend to any serious NBA fan. It’s a fresh take on the franchise and that’s what you want to see in a spinoff. Still, if you have to choose one or the other, I would certainly say that you’re better off getting one of the main installments. At the end of the day Basketball is still more fun when it’s team against team as opposed to 1 vs 1. Maybe I’ll be able to play another game in this series at some point although I doubt that would be anytime soon. As it is I’ve got a bunch of sport games on the back burner already.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Mania Plus Review


It’s time to look at a Sonic game that is generally known as one of the best of all time! I remember hearing all the reports of how good it was, but I was too busy experiencing the amazing Sonic Forces story that I couldn’t buy it. Well, the game is finally out physically on console so now this was the time to snag it. It is definitely a lot of fun. While I think Sonic Advance 2 is still the best of the 2D games, I would definitely say that this is the best of the home console 2D titles. The original classics just can’t top this one.

The basic plot is that Eggman is back and he plans on using the Gems to destroy the world. This also leads the gang into an alternate world where a bunch of robots are up to no good as well. Sonic decides to foil their plans and he enlists the help of Tails and Knuckles as his drivers from time to time in order to do this. The villains may have a bunch of tricks up their sleeves, but that won’t deter our hero! There aren’t really any big cutscenes so for the most part the game just shows you this visually through the levels and quick little moments after each zone. You can grasp what the plot is pretty easily.

There are 13 zones which each have 2 levels. The average level takes about 4-6 minutes so each zone is close to 10 minutes. Make sure that you travel through each level carefully because if you lose all of your lives in act 2 you will have to start from scratch at the beginning of the zone again. It’s not something that will likely happen all too often, but it can be brutal in the later levels where each zone takes a while to complete. Dying near the end will result in a lot of lost gameplay. Aside from the main Mania mode there is also an Encore Mode which is effectively the same thing, but now you get to use Mighty or Ray. Whoever you don’t choose at the beginning will get abducted.

The graphics are definitely on point with the modern retro designs looking pretty crisp. The levels are very easy to see and so you always know where you are going. I also enjoyed the soundtrack quite a lot as we got many really solid themes. The final levels had the best soundtracks out of them all as they were quite epic. At 3 and a half hours the story is also at a reasonable length considering the price. It’s almost as long as Sonic Forces so if you bought both games as intended then you have more of a normal sized game length.

As for the gameplay, it’s fairly good. In general I’ve never been a huge fan of 2D Sonic gameplay though. As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s actually some of the weakest in the genre mainly because in Sonic games like this you never really get to use his speed. In fact you are actively penalized for it. That’s why Sonic has always worked best in 3D. Just try going full speed in Sonic Mania, all that will do is cost you a bunch of lives and all your coins. You’re encouraged to make your way through the levels at a reasonable pace as you look before you leap. Ironically as a result you typically have a faster pace of gameplay in Mario and Kirby than Sonic. I think adding more checkpoints and allowing you to restart from the second act after getting a game over would have definitely helped to make your loss not feel so bad each time.

The gameplay is definitely more streamlined than the retro part of Sonic Forces though. In that game you never wanted to jump because the physics were just off. In this game that is never an issue. At most it can just take a while to build traction so when you get hit sometimes you aren’t able to chase your coin down. That was probably an intentional choice to prevent it from being too easy. It did make the bosses more challenging even if the game had to resort to cheesy mechanics. I died against a boss in the glitchiest way possible in one level as I beat him, but because I was on the right side of the screen it counted as a loss. There’s also one part where you have to move across various elevators and it would always stop you just long enough to get squashed. As long as the character model was even close to the part being squished together you were finished.

As far as replay value goes the obvious option is grabbing all of the Chaos Emeralds. You find them through giant coins in the levels and then you have to catch the robot holding the Emerald. I managed to snatch 2 of them. The levels aren’t easy and there’s no quick way to get to them aside from replaying the whole level again so that will add a lot of time. You can also try beating the game with all 5 of the characters if you want. There are also the various PS4 trophies to be snagged. All in all, there’s a lot of content here.

Overall, Sonic Mania is definitely fun. Fans of the 2D Sonic genre are sure to enjoy it and it’s definitely a big homage to the classic games. I’d probably say that it’s the best classic Sonic game. (Not counting spinoffs like Sonic Fighters) It was definitely nice to see some of the classic characters like Metal Sonic get their moments to shine. The cameos for Fang and Bark through the illusions were also pretty solid. I’m definitely ready for the next big plot based Sonic game to come up soon but in the meanwhile it’ll be good to have the retro Sonic games continue as well. Hopefully the next one adds a bit more of a plot though and the perfect way to kick things off would be to have Fang return in person. As a bounty hunter there are a lot of ways that they can set him up as the antagonist.

Overall 7/10

Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword Review


It’s time to look at another one of the MyNintendoReward games that I got recently. With this, the only one that I haven’t completed yet is the Legend of Zelda one which admittedly could be a while. It’s been a fun ride and these small games have been a nice break from the big ones. To say that this game is short would be an understatement, but since it was only 2-3 dollars that really isn’t bad. Naturally it isn’t quite as spectacular as Freedom Planet, but it’s a very unique game with a gimmick that works quite well.

The plot is fairly basic as the princess is kidnapped by some villains. The poor Kappa is the only one who remembers her getting kidnapped, but he isn’t a fighter so he waits until someone can back him up. Hundreds of years pass and no one is worthy, but finally a samurai shows up. The Kappa gives him petal powers which allow him to slice and dice the zombies. Finally, a hero has emerged. Still, will this kid really be able to stand up to the evil armies that are before him?

The gameplay is a reaction game which is the first of its kind that I’ve played. I don’t even know of any others. Basically you are in a 3D environment surrounded by enemies in each level. You have to wait for them to attack you and then you either dodge to the left/right or backwards. After you dodge you rush in and land a counter blow. If you time the dodge right you will get to strike back twice. However, if you attempt a second strike but didn’t dodge quickly enough then your sword will take damage instead. Mess up too many times and your sword will quickly become worthless. Sharpening the sword is pricey so if you aren’t sure about going for the 2nd strike just be satisfied with 1. The more you fight the enemies the more you will master the timing.

You can also buy kunai which you can use to preemptively attack with or a frog that distracts the enemy while you strike. The best items in the game are the rice balls and revive though since they can help back you up against the stronger enemies. There is also a gold cloth that works the same way as in Saint Seiya and it will give you absolute protection against any attack. It won’t last forever though so use it wisely. Each level typically consists of around 5 enemies, but the boss level on each land is comprised of 6-8 rooms with the same amount of enemies so bring a lot of health items for those.

The final boss is definitely very tough and the game jumps a few levels there. The game is never easy but that’s likely the only part where you will have serious trouble. I had to do some minor grinding to quickly stock up on enough gold to buy the maximum amount of every item. Even then I just barely won. If this doesn’t work out for you, try to complete a bunch of the side missions in town to increase the amount of health items that you can hold. This game is pretty fair in how it rewards repetition so as long as you keep playing you will definitely be able to vanquish the boss sooner or later.

The graphics aren’t the best, but they’re not bad. I just don’t care much for the main character’s design as it has the crushed nose look which hasn’t aged well. The villains look reasonable even if none of them are all that memorable. I do like the petal effects whenever you hit an opponent. I can’t really recall the soundtrack all that well either so you’re mainly in this for the gameplay. Of course, at the end of the day that’s the reason you’re playing any game right? The gameplay holds up quite well and makes the 3 hours fly by. I ended up playing the whole game in one sitting except for the final boss where I had to put the game down for a bit.

There isn’t much in the way of replay value though. You can beat the challenges as I mentioned, but that’s about it and it won’t take you very long at all. You also unlock some survival modes in the main menu which can be handy. They’re pretty simple tasks like beat 30-100 enemies and shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for you. Maybe the 100 one depending on how strong they allow your sword to be. Pro tip, upgrade your sword as soon as possible whenever you get the chance. It makes slicing through the armies a whole lot quicker and in general it is just more convenient. It’s a permanent upgrade so it’s better than buying something that will just go away. Don’t be afraid to lose either, whenever you fail the Kappa appears to help you earn some gold.

Make sure to go into town and save from time to time as well. I couldn’t figure out how to save the first time around so I made it to the castle and then ended up losing my progress. It won’t delete your data unless you attempt to go to the main menu, but that’s still not something you want to risk. Going into town is always handy in general as well. If you land a good combo without getting hit you can sell the combo to the local shop for some money as well. It’s a good way of rewarding your dodging skills.

Overall, Sakura Samurai was a pretty fun game. It’s definitely short, but at a rate of an hour per dollar that’s not bad at all. I’d recommend checking it out even if just to test your reflexes. Are they as sharp as you think they are? If so then this game will be a breeze, but if not then you could be in for some trouble. Now it’s going to be time to finally check out the critically acclaimed Sonic Mania. I’m ready for those fast paced levels!

Overall 7/10

Super Mario Kart Review


At time for a new title courtesy of MyNintendoRewards! Super Mario Kart is one of those games that is so iconic you are almost afraid to play it. After all, the game was a living legend for a while but since then we have gotten many more Mario Kart games, all of which have improved on this one’s formula. Still, it’s a game that needed to be played and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you will still enjoy it. The game holds up mighty well and is a good game to add to your virtual collection.
There is no plot of course and there are really two main modes for single player. They are the Grand Prix and time Trial. For multiplayer you also have races and then even battle levels which is cool. There is a reasonable amount of content her all things considered and local multiplayer always ensures that the game will retain a considerable amount of replay value.

For the grand prixs there are 4. The cups have become iconic at this point as you always see the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special cups kick in. While most of the newer games limit the cups to 4 races each this one goes with 5. That’s likely because each individual stage is quite short here. For that reason all races are 5 laps each as opposed to 3. A lot of the levels will seem familiar to you if you’ve played the newer Mario Kart games since they usually pay homage to them by including the levels in the games. This one definitely thought of a considerable amount of creative levels. In particular I liked the Boo stages as well as the Bowser ones. Those are definitely very atmospheric while racing.
Naturally this wouldn’t be a Mario game without having a dynamic soundtrack as well right? The level themes are all quite solid and have held up pretty well over the years. No expense was spared here. Then the graphics are also pretty bright and nice for its time. They’ve also aged well and it’s never hard to see where you’re going. At most pipes may appear to be farther than they actually are but that’s why you can’t trust the rear view mirror.

I would have to say that this is probably the most difficult Mario Kart game that I’ve played as well. Mainly this is due to the controls which are naturally a little rougher than in the newer games. I couldn’t quite understand the drifting feature all too well as my car would go too fast. Ultimately when I had to turn I would either slam on the brakes or let go of the acceleration button. There are workarounds like that but of course you will lose speed so be careful. Since you need to win the first 3 cups to unlock the last one failure is not an option! Harness the access points that the Wii U gives you and you’ll be fine.

Aside from the Grand Prixs you will probably spend most of your time in multiplayer mode just enjoying a bunch of racing games. You’ll likely want to move on to the newer ones at some point, but it’s also nice to just experience the game in its original form. There is also Time Trial mode, but there isn’t a whole lot to do there. I suppose if you really enjoy the levels a lot then that is a good way to play them and also to hone your skills.

Naturally there isn’t a whole lot of other things to say about the game. It’s a really good way to spend 4-5 dollars though. You really can’t go wrong with that price and while the MyNintendo Rewards can certainly be a little larger, they have gotten better than where they were. Since obtaining points is rather easy thanks to their apps, you are basically guaranteed a 50% off deal on any game from the list that you want. When you see a good game on the site just be prepared to snag it!

Overall, Super Mario Kart isn’t just a game, it’s a racing game! It’s a title that really changed the genre as we know it and is still regarded as one of the all time greats. While I tend to really enjoy racing games like F-Zero which have no items so it’s just you and your boost, these can be a lot of fun as well. Double Dash will always be the best Mario Kart but this one certainly keeps up the quality that you would expect from such a storied franchise. If you haven’t downloaded it yet then I recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10