9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Review


It’s time to take a look at the second Disgaea game. After the first adventure I knew that it was time to jump into the second one. It’s a tad shorter than the first but by the end my playtime for both of them was basically on the same level. One big difference though is that the second game requires less grinding. At the same time, it’s also in part because I understood the mechanics better and had a more balanced team. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a mage on the team. I got one named Marcia in this title and she saved me more times than I can count.

The story starts by introducing us to a human town that has slowly been corrupted. Now all of the citizens are turning into monsters and it is the work of Overlord Zenon. Adell is the only human on the planet who has been unaffected and he takes this as a sign that he has to be the one to find Zenon. His Mom tries to summon Zenon but they accidentally summon his daughter Rozalin instead. As Rozalin is bound by the contract to stick with Adell for a while he promises to get her back to her father. This way they will both get what they want. Can he really trust this Princess though?

Along the way the duo meet quite a few allies to help in their quest. First up is Tink who is a demon frog with a split personality. He’s definitely a little on the crazy side and is easily the weakest character of the group. He never pitches in when it counts. Then you have Adell’s little siblings Hanako and Taro. Hanako is always calling Taro named and looks up to the demon lord Etna. She is a reasonable enough character I suppose and could be worse. Taro is too lacking in confidence and the fact that his goal in life is to be Razalin’s servant doesn’t really bode well for his character.

One character that shows up later in the game is Yukimaru. She is an assassin who wants to end Lord Zenon once and for all. Her ice abilities are pretty fun and her gimmick isn’t bad. Basically she says zam at the end of every sentence. Her brother also shows up on a similar quest although he isn’t nearly as heroic as she is. By the end of the game Yukimaru is one of the only characters who can keep up with the main two so I recommend keeping her in your party. As a character she is fun to have around as well.

One of the most enjoyable characters is Etna though. Since she was from the first game that made her appearances extra special. Initially she shows up as a guest star character who is at a crazy level 1000. She even takes down Zenon which is immensely impressive. I was glad to see the old characters get their hype since they didn’t get to be main characters this time. Etna is still as ruthless as ever though as she constantly destroys her minions. While she may be hanging out with the main characters for most of the game don’t mistake her for being some kind of hero. She’s definitely just in it to get more power and destroy Laharl once and for all.

Laharl gets a much smaller role as he only shows up for a quick boss fight. It’s still an amazing scene though and reminds you why he is the Overlord. Ultimately Laharl actually meets his match though. I would have liked to have seen him fight longer, but it was a decisive loss for him. Power isn’t everything and he probably could have used some of his old pals to help even the playing field a bit. Part of what makes Disgaea 2 so much fun is how epic these scenes are. It has the advantage of being a sequel to it can utilize the nostalgia of bringing the old characters back like this.

The amazing soundtrack is also handy for this. Etna gets a cool insert song whenever she appears as well and it fits with her amazing boss fight where you are completely helpless. It also builds the atmosphere as well. Axel gets a similar theme that’s really hype and of course Laharl brings in some of the themes from the first game. Despite just playing that one I can see how nostalgic that would be. The game also has a fully animated opening which is pretty awesome. You don’t really see those as often as you’d like. It’s got a little more shipping in it than you’d expect but the action is really hype and the lyrics are catchy. I’ve listened to that theme quite a few times.

Axel The Dark Hero is basically the replacement for the Dark Adonis. He’s another guy who thinks he is the rival to the main character. His story is a little tragic as he just wants to be rich and famous but things never tend to work out for him. When he finally does get his success everyone says he made the wrong choice. I think they were all just jealous to be honest. While I wasn’t a big fan of Axel at the start the game does a good job of developing him into a quality character. By the end he was quite enjoyable. I still prefer the Adonis but they were close.

As for Overlord Zenon, he’s a very unique villain. He takes a lot of losses throughout the game and gets beaten up so badly you keep wondering if the guy is really such a feared Overlord. It’s an interesting take because he clearly isn’t the strongest villain out there, but he’s just strong enough where people fear him. It’s a nice theme that Disgaea has done with the villains. Zenon makes up for this weaknesses with his near immortality and to be clear, he is still immensely powerful. He’d probably be top 10 for the fighters we’ve seen so far. His master plan is definitely twisted but really interesting. I don’t think I’ve quite seen such a plan before and his target’s reaction to it is also amazing. This fighter wasn’t phased in the slightest.

Adell is a great lead and one of the better main characters that I’ve seen in recent years. He’s just a guy who wants to protect his family and doesn’t need to have more of a backstory than that. He’s a very honorable main character who refuses to ever break a promise. While everyone doubts whether he is a human or not for the whole game he never has any doubts about it. His confidence is part of what makes him so solid and the game likely did subvert a lot of expectations with that. I was expecting some kind of twist by the end but Azell just didn’t need one.

Meanwhile Rozalin is a great heroine as well. At first she is constantly scheming to destroy Adell to protect her father but gradually realizes that he is not a bad guy. It’s a nice character arc for her and in particular she gets a pretty solid scene with Laharl. As royalty Rozalin refuses to back down to anyone. The only part that gets repetitive is the line “I’m a being of solitude” which gets old after the first 3 times. It gets spammed relentlessly in some games. That’s really the only thing I can say against the game though. This is pretty much a perfect adventure and the banter between Adell and Rozalin is a lot of fun. Disgaea 2 really does a superb job of balancing the hype scenes with more light hearted comedy/parody elements.

Wait a minute, did I skip the gameplay section? Well, the gameplay is basically the same as in the first one. You are in an overworld map view and your goal is to destroy all of the enemies on the square. You control up to 10 characters in a turn based combat system and use attacks and magic to defeat the enemies. You can gang up on an enemy or divide and conquer them. The tricky thing to keep in mind here is that only the opponent who actually destroys the enemy gets any XP. Everyone else does not so it can be very hard to keep a balanced party. I ended up having Laharl and Rozalin way higher leveled than the others. It takes too long to level everyone up so I just focused on having two. It’s rare where you’ll need more than 2 characters in a level if they’re strong enough.

A huge part of the game is the equipment you get though so make sure to buy the best of the best. It increases your stats way more than leveling up would. I also recommend focusing on attack power because it makes the grinding a lot faster. Also you should turn off the combat animations once you’ve seen them enough because it speeds the game up greatly as well. You’ll need to use the Dark Assembly to unlock higher enemies for the shop. If you want to pass any real bills though you’ll need to bribe them which can get expensive. It’s great for the post game though.

The main story is around 20 hours and then the post game is effectively endless. You can go up to level 1000 and there are so many things to do that it can get a bit intimidating. It’s nice to have though because if you really love the game then you can be here for quite a while. Disgaea never backs down from giving you quite a lot of content to deal with which is pretty awesome. The graphics are also quite sound and you can see how they’ve improved since the first game. It all looks quite clear and I look forward to seeing another upgrade in the third game.

Overall, Disgaea 2 is an excellent game and I would actually say that it surpassed the original. It’s very close in terms of characters but the story of the second game is just a lot more interesting and high stakes. I like the idea of every Overlord deciding to duke it out to see who the strongest one is. It’s a very complete story and one that doesn’t need a sequel but I’d like for these characters to show up again at some point. Perhaps the group would be seen as too powerful at this point but it would be perfect for a 2 on 2 fight, Adell & Rozalin vs Laharl and Etna. I’d definitely buy that. If you like a good RPG with tactical gameplay then I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The Seven Deadly Sins: Grand Cross Review


It’s time to take a look at a fairly recent mobile game that came out. The Seven Deadly Sins game got quite a lot of hype because it looked to be very high budget for a mobile title. We have seen a trend of companies actually putting a lot of effort into these games because the free to play model works so well. I hope this game ends up succeeding because it really is quite impressive. I played through around half of the game and it was definitely very fun.

The game’s story follows that of the manga. It’s hard to say how far along the game is right now, but I’d expect it is still early on. Typically mobile games like this want to go very slowly, especially since in this case the manga actually ended so there is a tangible goal in sight. Most mobile games want to survive for 5-10 years so expect them to drip feed content soon. That being said, it’s important to launch with a lot of content and this game did exactly that. You’ve probably got 15-20 hours of content here already and that’s a very conservative estimate. That’s also only counting the story and there are countless other things to do here. I didn’t even make it to the more exciting parts of the story and I was hooked. The presentation and interface in the game are quite seamless. Grand Cross has a lot of energy throughout and it really brings out the best of the adventures.

Mobile games can almost be a bit overwhelming with how much content there is to absorb. First of all you’ve got the online battles you can jump into. Then there are the limited time events. You will also want to replay old levels to farm equipments and materials to level your characters up. There is no need to ever run out of things to do in this game with all that you’ve got going on. That’s why the key here is if the gameplay is fun and fortunately I can confirm that it is. The gameplay is your typical turn based mobile style. You get a few cards in your hand during every turn and you play them to trigger different attack animations.

The game’s pretty easy at the start and it’s built in a way where your level will rise with the opponent’s so you should rarely be in trouble. That being said, you can have fun experimenting with attacks. It’s easy to learn the controls, but significantly more difficult to master them. Using proper strategy will help you a lot in the competitive aspects of the game. The gameplay is very flashy with a lot of really cool animations. Fortunately you can skip them though. As nice as they are to look at you won’t want to see the same thing 1000 times. You can also turn on auto battle so the A.I. takes care of things for you. I understand why some people are hesitant to use such a feature since it’s like you’re not playing but it helps with grinding. The A.I. isn’t that good either so for the more difficult levels you’ll need to beat them yourself anyway. It’s just a nice quality of life feature.

As mentioned the graphics are stunning. We get a lot of solid cutscenes with actual fight scenes in them. It’s a similar cell shaded style to something like Naruto Ultimate Ninja Storm and then you get a lot of great screen grabs from the show. The soundtrack is a lot more limited with the same tune showing up over and over but it’s a great theme so I can see why it was selected. For a mobile game you want a catchy track so it was selected quite well.

So far this review’s been super positive so you can tell that I’m a pretty big fan of it. If I had less games on the backlog I’d probably stick around with this one long term. It’s definitely one of the best mobile games I’ve played. The only boring part in comparison is maintaining the inn and wandering around town on side quests. Making a beer and the food dishes is easy but you don’t really feel engaged. I suppose it adds to the realism but I’m always ready to jump right back into the combat. Fortunately these tasks don’t last long so as long as the game doesn’t go down that route in the future I don’t expect that it will be a problem.

Overall, Grand Cross really does a great job of taking the Seven Deadly Sins into video game format. It takes the best aspects of the series while dropping the weakest elements. If you’re looking for a fun mobile game to play then this is one I would recommend. It’s free so it’s not like you have to worry about spending money. You can spend money to get items and such, but the game is quite generous so you never feel like you need to do so. You’ll be able to clear the game just fine without doing anything like that. I look forward to seeing mobile games continue to improve. At this rate they will really feel like AAA console games before long. This one for example could easily be ported to PS4 or the Switch and pass itself off as a home console game from the start.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. Disgaea always looked like a blast and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Most RPGs tend to languish for a while though as I focus on the shorter games, but it was time to finally just jump in and this game was worth the wait. The game definitely takes a lot of strategy and grinding levels to get through but it always feels like you are making good progress here.

The game follows the demon prince Laharl. His dad died when choking on a pretzel and Laharl nearly got assasinated in his sleep, but the assassin messed up and didn’t give him enough poison. Laharl is now determined to prove that he is the Overlord as the rightful son of the former king, but he will have to earn this respect by beating up all of the other demons. An angel named Flonne is sent to assassinate him but she can’t go through with it because it doesn’t seem like a holy thing to do. She is determined to prove that even demons can experience love and other emotions so she tags along with Laharl.

There’s a lot of plot in the game, but needless to say it involves a lot of big battles with the humans of Earth, the Angels of Celestia, and even other Demons. Along the way Laharl, Flonne, and Etna gradually become more like actual friends and we meet other party members as well. Can Laharl ensure Flonne’s safety through all of this or will he see this emotion as weakness and ultimately leave her on her own? He’ll have to face his many insecurities along the way in this journey.

The story’s definitely solid here. The game has a lot of fun with the various accents that the characters have. The Dark Adonis (Or Mid-Boss as the characters call him) definitely has the best voice. He’s a very quirky character but one that works quite well. A lot of his scenes are pretty fun. I like how he laughs with such confidence and you can always count on him showing up in various chapters. He’s also one of the most deadly bosses as losing to him will cause you to go all the way back to level 1 and have to replay the whole game. Just reset the console at this point, resetting the game is not worth it if you ask me. There isn’t really any benefit to going through multiple cycles.

The Defender of Earth, Gordon is also pretty fun. He has that very over the top hero voice that most shows use as a parody nowadays. He may not be very smart but his heart is in the right place. Some of his decisions towards the end of the game are questionable though and do hurt his character. Jennifer was fun, she’s definitely the real brains behind his team. She certainly likes to mess with Laharl a lot though. The only weak part of their trio and one of the weakest characters in the game is Thursday. He’s not nearly as entertaining although he has one or two good lines. He just takes way too long to get to the punchlines.

There are a solid array of villains here. I really don’t get the Seraph’s plan though. I can’t talk about the ending much so as not to give spoilers here, but the test wasn’t very good. It’s all a bit convoluted on his end and you can’t really justify any of it. The game has multiple endings so things will change a bit based on how you play the game. I got the standard ending which is definitely pretty emotional. I wasn’t expecting such a sad ending considering that there are a few sequels. So far they don’t seem to tie into this one very much though. It was a good emotional ending.

One side character that is a lot of fun is Kurtis. He doesn’t get a huge role but whenever he appears you know that something hype is about to go down. In general the game really turned up during this part of the game although all of the chapters were pretty fun. From the main 3 characters Flonne is the weakest one although she’s still reasonable. She’s definitely a bit on the naive side and can be quite pushy but she’s a nice friend to have. While I didn’t have a proper mage she was still reasonable for healing a bit at times.

Etna was another main character and she’s a blast. She narrates the next episode previews for most of them and likes trolling everyone. She’s completely unhinged so you never know if she will help out or stab you in the back. I suppose that makes sense for a demon though and Laharl always seems proud of her for that reason. She’s pretty entertaining and a good example of how to properly make a crazy character. Finally we have Laharl. He’s a bit whiny and self conscious because nobody ever pays him any respect but I liked him overall. He’s definitely quite powerful even if there are some enemies who are clearly above him in power. He may be the Overlord but that doesn’t make him the strongest. He gets a lot of development as the game goes on and we also get glimpses into his tragic past.

The gameplay is quite smooth. The levels can take a little while because of the nature of the game though. You command up to 10 characters at a time and levels can have up to 15 enemies. That’s 25 character turns you have to watch each time with unskippable animations for their attacks. It’s not as long as it sounds but that’s part of why you will be playing the game for around 30-40 hours. The game is quite long and there’s a huge post game to consider as well. This game can really last you just about forever if you stick around.

The level cap is 1000 which gives you a good indication of what to expect. One thing to note here is that equipment is more important than levels. Your top priority is absolutely getting the best gear you can. If you get stuck for a while on the final boss as I did then I recommend capturing some enemies and selling their equipment. It’s a great way to earn cash. There’s a lot of features I haven’t even touched on here like the Dark Assembly where you bribe senators. There’s a ton of things to do in this game but there are a lot of tutorials to help you out. It’s easily the most complex game I’ve played in a while and the best part about that is you really have a ton of freedom to play it however you like.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The animations are really good and some of the attacks get quite out there. It’s like you’re watching DBZ at times. Then the soundtrack is pretty catchy too. You’ll know the themes quite well by the end of the game but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. This is really a very well balanced game. There are no weak links to be had and it’s part of why I jumped right into the sequel. I’ll have a review for that one up as soon as I complete it.

Overall, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was really a great start to the franchise. It’s a pretty long RPG so you really have time to get used to all of the characters and master your Xcom skills. This kind of strategic gameplay is really satisfying to get through. You do need to really enjoy the gameplay to really get the most out of this game because replaying levels is effectively mandatory here. There’s no way you can beat the game without getting some good level ups and equipment. I probably spent almost half of my play time replaying levels and the final boss was still a real challenge. How difficult the game is will depend on how you build your team though. The best part of Disgaea is that you can play it hundreds of different ways with some loadouts being better than others. My mistake was not having a mage on my side which I made sure not to repeat in the sequel.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Starlink: Battle For Atlas Review


Now it’s time to look at a game that I technically got a long time ago but didn’t get to play until recently. Part of the reason for the delay is because my Switch didn’t have enough space so I had to buy an SD card in order to correct that. I got the SD card for my Birthday so now it was time to check it out. I still can’t believe Best Buy was selling this game for only 5 bucks. Considering that it brings a whole figure as well that’s pretty crazy. I didn’t get to use the Arwing controller since the Joy Cons are busted but it was still cool to look at.

Star Links starts you off with a mission as the team is fighting off some aliens. The commander gets captured by the mighty Grax and so now the team must try to rescue him and save the universe in the process. Are they really up to the task without their leader? The crew isn’t exactly the well oiled machine you’d expect from most other sci-fi teams but if they can put their differences behind them then they will be unstoppable. Also they’ve got the legendary Star Fox team behind them. I can’t imagine playing this game without Fox to be honest, he’s just too awesome of a lead and talks tough the whole game. When someone asks him the whole “are you sure Fox?” He responds “I’m always sure” which is a really excellent response to that question.

The gameplay is that of a 3D shooter where you take to the sky in some levels and stay on the ground in others. I haven’t seen many games utilize both features like this since Star Fox Assault. This is also a good place to note that Star Links is the Star Fox game I’ve been wanting. It’s much better than Star Fox Zero and the controls/gameplay are better. Aside from Assault it blows the other Star Fox games out of the water. Back to the gameplay. You can equip two weapons at a time. The Arwing normal lasers are very good so I highly recommend keeping one of them active at all times and using the ice cannon on the other side of the ship. The ice blast locks in on an opponent which is handy and t seems like almost every enemy has fire type opponents so the ice blast is super effective. The fire blast is a straight shot and rarely ends up doing much. Definitely use it if you’re on an ice planet but otherwise the ice gun is the way to go.

Those are the only 4 guns you get in the game since the rest you have to unlock via the Eshop. I’ve never seen paid dlc in a space shooter game like this before although I’ve seen it done with characters like in Star Wars Battlefront II. The same goes for any extra ships beyond the main two and fighters. I wonder if all of these dlc items ever even came out. I imagine this would certainly make the game a lot easier since you get to respawn every time you have another ship available. More guns would have been cool for variety though. I did like the initial ones but having more options is never a bad thing especially as the game encourages you to use a stasis weapon for many levels even when they don’t give you one.

I think what really makes the gameplay work so well is how in control you feel the whole time. You can move very quickly throughout the land and in the air. You can use evasive maneuvers with the boosting option and you’ve even got a cool shovel to block attacks with although it runs out of energy really quickly. The game uses a proper open world system so you always have the option to quickly beat a hasty retreat away from the fight to recover your energy. Your energy recovers pretty quick so if you stay out of the action for a few seconds you will be okay.

There are also a lot of upgrades to be found here. You can upgrade your pilot to learn some skills or you can upgrade your ship and weapons. As you progress through the game you will notice yourself getting stronger so the game’s progression is pretty good. As a result the game should be pretty challenging for most of the campaign. The final planet in particular was very challenging and even more so than the climax of bosses. (Since when respawning during the final boss he wouldn’t regain health from previous phases) Defeating the tower took a whole even with my ally boost skill. You really have to mix in some good tactics and evasive maneuvers. The game always felt fair though, this is a title that I didn’t mind having to restart some fights.

One mild complaint I would have with the game is the planet ally gimmick. As you land on planets you have to try and defeat the various villain bases so you can 100% control the planet with your allies. Building bases and defense areas will help you keep control. What I don’t like is if you leave a planet for a whole you lose control so it can be a bit endless. I’d say that once you beat a planet you shouldn’t have to keep going back to save it. Fortunately the game doesn’t make this mandatory in the slightest so it’s not something that will really hurt the experience. This is how such gimmicks should always be. If they’re not mandatory then I really don’t have a problem with them.

The main campaign should take you around 10-15 hours. After that you have a lot of options on what to do next. You can go around liberating planets, filling up your database, or completing the side quest missions. Either way completing everything will probably take you closer to 20-25 hours by the time all is said and done. Replay value is not a problem for this game. The graphics are pretty top notch and hold their own with any game at least where gameplay is concerned. I have to admit that the cutscenes do see a noticeable drop in quality compared to the gameplay which is a little odd since it’s usually reversed. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty small but the tunes are good. There are a lot of high energy themes to be found here which work well with the gameplay.

Overall, Starlink is a very good game and also a challenging one. You won’t be running through these levels unless you have some kind of a plan. It’s one of the best sci-fi shooters that I’ve played. There’s just so much to do in this game and the graphics hold up. The story isn’t the most original out there so it probably won’t leave much of an impact on you, but I wouldn’t call it bad either. It goes through the motions and at the very least you have team Star Fox here to carry things. Without them it would probably be a bit of a tougher road for sure. If you’re going to get Starlink then I highly advise getting it for the Switch. You may not be able to find it for 5 bucks anymore, but I’m sure the price will still be quite reasonable.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King Game Review


It’s time to look at a recent HD collection which brought two Disney games from a while back. I’m sure you know these two games or at least heard of them when they first came out. They were not very accessible until this remake came out though so you had to hope that you had one of the older consoles. Otherwise you would need to settle for online videos of the game. Aladdin was a lot of fun back in the day so it was nostalgic to play it again. I can definitely see how I got stuck in the fire level because that one is still pretty insane. This is a quality collection to check out.

First let’s talk about the Aladdin game since that’s the one I have nostalgia for. It follows the movie’s plot naturally and the gameplay is that of a 2D platformer. You run and jump across obstacles as you slay enemies and reach the finish line. The gameplay is pretty smooth so you don’t have to worry about glitches. If anything the difficult part is that you move very fast so a lot of the time you may run into enemies. It can also be hard to defeat them without taking damage so as the level goes on you may end up dying a lot.

It’s a pretty short game so you should have it beat in around an hour or so. The toughest level is definitely still the fire cave. In that level you ride the carpet and have to move up and down to avoid obstacles. The tough part here is aside from how fast the obstacles show up after the warning, towards the end there are one or two obstacles that don’t have a warning. It doesn’t really feel like you have much of a chance outside of luck to beat the level on your first shot. Eventually you can memorize where the obstacles will be though but without the handy save feature that we have in this collection it would still be incredibly difficult to clear this level. Ultimately you could do it with practice and determination, but it would not be a cake walk.

Then you’ve got the Lion King which is also pretty difficult. In this game the platforming is what will take some time to get used to. There is a lot of climbing and jumping across enemies involved which has to be done quite precisely or you are out of luck. The second level took me the longest to beat because I just kept dying before I would make it past all of the jumps. The other really tough level is the maze near the end of the game where there are a bunch of tunnels and you have to pick the right one. Each time you choose the wrong one the enemies all re-spawn and you have to take them all down win order to win.

The final boss is definitely a lot of fun as Mufasa really gets a lot of props. You’ve got a thunderstorm in the background for dramatic effect and the background is even on fire. Mufasa also puts up a really good fight. I was landing blows on him for a long time before I realized that there had to be some kind of trick to this. After button mashing for a bit I found out you could flip Mufasa so the trick is to jump him over the cliff. If you do that then you end the fight and claim ultimate victory.

Both of the games are pretty short when it comes to length. Each one is about an hour or two so you should have the collection done in about 4 hours I’d say. It’ll depend on if you use the new features or not. The game added a new save feature that you can use after each level which is definitely handy. Alternatively you now have a rewind feature which you can use whenever you die. With this feature there is no challenge too difficult to overcome since you can just keep redoing your actions until you pick the right one. It’s a nice quality of life upgrade and I’m always game for this feature to be around.

In terms of replay value there isn’t much inside of the actual games but the collection does give you other methods for playing them. You can play different versions of the game like the console port, game boy port, arcade edition, etc. both games have several versions to choose from which is pretty cool. It may not be extra levels but it should make the experience a little different so you have more reason to replay the game. You can also aim to get all of the PS4 trophies in the game as well.

The graphics for both of the games are pretty solid. It’s nostalgic to see the old sprites and the artwork does a good job of resembling the actual backgrounds of the movies, there was certainly a lot of effort put into this part. The cutscenes also used illustrations to get the story across. As for the soundtrack, both games went for music that would be fitting in the setting. Neither ost is super memorable or anything like that, but they work well during gameplay.

Overall, This is a fun double pack for all to enjoy. It’s a pretty difficult pair of games to try and complete if you don’t use the new features in game. I at least recommend the save feature between levels even if you don’t want to use the rewind button. The difficulty also helps to extend the overall game length since it is unlikely you will be able to beat the levels on your first shot. Perhaps if you go really slowly but I always like just charging into the fray and taking names. Now that they’ve been remade it’s time for a AAA sequel to one of these. I’d vote for Aladdin since there’s a lot you can do with a 3D adventure through Agrabah.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bubsy: Paws on Fire Review


Long have I waited to check out this new Bubsy game. The first one was a little too short which ultimately limited how good it could be. I couldn’t help but feel that the game left a lot on the table. While the sequel is longer, it mostly thrives on artificial length which is regrettable. It has enough faults to where I can’t call it very good but it’s still a solid play through in the end. I’ve been a Bubsy fan for ages so it was disappointing to see this game not quite meet expectations, but I guess they can’t all be winners.

The game starts with an incredible opening cutscene where the kids tell Bubsy that his help is needed once more. Aliens show up to mock Bubsy but he ignores them and gets ready to save the world. Even if nobody is ultimately grateful to him for doing so that doesn’t stop Bubsy from doing the right thing. It’s part of why he is such a good hero, he just doesn’t get slowed down by what’s going on. It’s why Bubsy is a hero you can really rely on. The rest of the game unfortunately has no plot until literally the final cutscene where we get an epilogue. I was hoping for cutscenes between each world but I suppose that was too much to hope for.

So, as I mentioned the opening cutscene is amazing. A few times the game disconnected my controller so I was forced to hear the beginning quite a bit. I think what really makes it so good is the timing of the music and the characters running in. I just haven’t seen that level of expertise in quite time so it was most impressive. In general the graphics are quite good and the soundtrack works well. The technical elements of the game really hold up quite well. It’s just too bad that the gameplay can’t match it so lets talk about that.

This is a 2D endless runner. Personally I always felt that endless runners are best in 3D because you can really see where you’re going. Think Subway Surfers or something like that. When it’s in 2D you run the risk of “cheap” deaths where obstacles come in a little too quickly or without warning. It was always my issue with 2D Sonic games. This one keeps the deaths to a minimum, but there are still times where you have to shake your head. There will be 2 paths and one leads to an eventual death but you don’t know this until you take the path. That’s an impossible obstacle then unless you already knew which obstacle to take so I have to give those levels a thumbs down. The level designs really weren’t the best here.

The actual gameplay is smooth at least. There are 3 playable characters and they’ve all got different styles of gameplay. Beyond running and jumping you might be able to glide, double jump, ground pound, or fire off blasters while flying instead of running at all. You’ll master all of the gameplay before long. There are 3 worlds in the game and each world has 9 stages + 1 boss level. That should be easy to complete in an hour or two right? Well, one reason why you can’t do that is because of artificial length. The game forces you to get a bunch of medals in order to unlock the next levels. Completing a level gets you one medal. You can complete a level 3 times (once per character) and if you got all the pieces of a collectible you can beat it a fourth time with another character. You will need to get 75 medals to unlock the final boss. Let’s do the math here for a sec, if you beat all of the levels once you will only have 27 medals. This means that you have to replay most of the levels 2 times. Replaying old levels isn’t really my idea of a good time.

I’ll do it of course, but I don’t like being forced to do it. It should totally be 100% your choice and the fact that it isn’t is what I don’t like. It’s really just a way to pad the game’s length without actually creating new levels. I was surprised when I saw that this was the case and not in a good way. This basically confirmed that the game wouldn’t be getting the solid 7 that almost every platformer is able to achieve. The game just feels really lazy in doing this and going through the levels can feel more tedious than fun. I’m down with playing each level once but not doing them all 3 times.

Overall, Bubsy: Paws on Fire should have been an amazing game. It was going to continue the revival of Bubsy just the way everyone wanted it. Unfortunately this just wasn’t in the cards. Bubsy ended up squandering his chance to be truly great and it ended up costing us all. This is still a good game and I would recommend it but you need to like endless runners. There is virtually no story here and there is no replay value to be had after beating all of the levels. At best you can try to get new high scores and buy some T shirts but there’s nothing noteworthy here. You just gotta go through these levels over and over again until you have the medals. If we get a third Bubsy game I hope it goes back to the series roots.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Touhou Kobuto V: Burst Battle Review


It’s time to look at a fighting game that I didn’t really know even existed until I tried it. The Touhou Kobuto series seems fun enough. I enjoyed the Bullet Hell game they came out with as well. The characters all like to have a good time so the plot isn’t really life or death. It’s more like the characters all enjoy a good fight so they use any excuse to beat each other up. A fighting game makes perfect sense for the universe.

So the game starts out with one of the Shrine Goddesses realizing that fewer people are coming to pray for her. She finds out that this is because of a rumor that she is going around attacking people with another vicious god. The heroine decides to go find out how these rumors started and her best bet is to find the other goddess who is supposed to be her partner. Along the way she will have to beat up a bunch of other characters who are doing their best to be as unhelpful as possible.

The plot isn’t fairly large but it’s still fun. You’ll quickly get a handle on the various personalities at play here and each character has an Arcade Mode. Interestingly the game doesn’t let you pick which character you want to play as. You have to beat the story modes in a specific order. You get an achievement every time you beat the game. The arcade mode is only around 6 battles long so you’ll be acing them before you know it. The average battle may last 2-3 minutes although it depends on how aggressively you fight the opponents of course. If you want to beat the game with all of the characters then it should last 2-3 hours I’d say.

That makes for a fairly short game, but you don’t really expect a long campaign in a fighting game. This is more about playing with friends and such. A good fighting game only needs to rely on gameplay and that’s what this one is going for. All of the characters have pretty diverse movesets and you’ll quickly have to find out who your favorite one is. This game is a 3D fighter so you can run around the arena and even fly for a limited time. You have 3 main attacks. These are your standard, power, and scatter shot moves. You can also beat people up in hand to hand combat if you get close and then try to use the standard move. This makes for a lot of different attack options which is good since it definitely opens up the gameplay quite a bit. I certainly tried a lot of different combinations myself although by the end I found that standard is always the best. You can also aim it up by holding either L1 or L2. This does massive damage.

The gameplay is definitely rock solid. It’s not going to win any awards for beating titles like Tenkaichi 3 or Ultimate Ninja Storm but it’s a level of gameplay that can hold its own no matter what the competition is. The graphics also look pretty solid. The illustrations are good and there is a good amount of detail in the character designs and stages. You really can’t go wrong here. The soundtrack is not quite as impressive though. You probably won’t remember any of the themes by the time you complete the game because they’re all basically the same. I would have liked to have seen some rock themes or something here.

In terms of replay value, the game does have some content although I wouldn’t say a ton of it. Once you beat the game with everyone you can try score attack or some other modes. At the end of the day the vs mode is what’ll need to keep you. Technically that would equate to almost limitless replay value so long as there are opponents to fight. The gameplay will have to be the main incentive because there aren’t really any big unlockables here. You can choose to buy more characters on the EShop though which is always a tempting offer for big fans.

I hope they eventually make the giant head at the end of the game playable. That’s the kind of joke character that would bring some extra life into the game. You gotta admit that the character has a ton of potential and she is what made the story so much fun. Whenever she starts spinning around and shooting the giant energy blast you know things were going to get real. I don’t think the game should charge for too many characters though. Titles like FighterZ and Super Smash can get away with it because we all want the new characters, but Touhou Kobuto? I don’t think the series is quite big enough where everyone would be paying top dollar to grab em all.

Overall, Touhou Kobuto is a fun game. I do think it would have benefited from a little more story content or a larger character roster though. The roster is surprisingly small for a current gen game. If the title had gone for either option it would have been able to add an extra star to its score. Nonetheless it is still a very fun game. It’s the kind of title you could whip out at parties for a little fun and to shock everyone who likely don’t even know that it exists. The game is best in short doses though as it just doesn’t have the same lasting appeal as other fighting games.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

My Little Pony: Pinkie Pie’s Party Review


It’s time to look at one of the games I got for my Birthday. This one was definitely a very short one though. The gameplay is actually solid with fun visuals and such, but the whole experience will only last you around 30 minutes. No matter how high budget the game is it’s hard to do much with 30 minutes. I’d like to see the developers give this one another shot with a bigger budget.

The plot of the game is pretty straightforward. Pinkie Pie’s birthday is coming up so the other ponies have decided to get her a lot of gifts and such. Unfortunately they’ve lost them all so now Pinkie Pie has to ironically track them all down herself. Can she save her own birthday and prove that finding the gifts can be just as fulfilling as receiving them all? Then we can really just settle down and enjoy all the nice snacks.

I figured that getting a birthday game on my birthday was pretty fitting. This is a game I’ve known about for a long while, but I wouldn’t exactly go out of my way to grab it. It’s not exactly known as a AAA title so right from the jump you know not to get your expectations too high. It was a bit of a blind buy as I didn’t know exactly what to expect. The gameplay mainly has you walk around from area to area as you tap on any presents of puzzle pieces you come across on your journey. Once you have obtained them all then the game ends. Most of the items are just lying around. Once you’ve found those then you have to talk to the other Ponies and they will give you a present upon clearing one of their mini games.

The minigames are all very short and you shouldn’t have a problem completing them. Some are titles where you can’t lose and others try to at least make things a little more challenging for you. They aren’t quite as inspired as the Mario Party minigames though and you probably won’t be tempted to try them a second time. It’s not like there are any high scores to try and improve so the replay value just simply isn’t there. There are a number of things you can do instead but if you really like the games you can replay any of them at any time. The Hub world is fairly short which is good because the map only helps you out for one gift at a time so you’ll be running back and forth a lot.

The graphics are surprisingly good all things considered. The character designs are on point and the backgrounds are sharp. This is probably the most impressive element of the game and I’m actually a little surprised that such effort was included. It doesn’t feel like the rest of the game was taken as seriously. The soundtrack is also incredibly limited which doesn’t help matters either. At least it is a game that is nice to look at which is good. If the game could have even just thrown in an extra hour or two of gameplay then that could have really changed things.

Overall, as mentioned, the game is around 30 minutes long. There is no replay value as you had to collect everything to trigger the ending so that hurts a bit. The actual gameplay is fun, but with such a length there’s no way I could give it a positive score. The best I could do was give it a middle of the road number. If you see the game down the block for a few bucks then you may as well get it. For 15 or up it is really not worth it. You could buy some food combos that would last longer than this game. Even long time fans of the series will likely feel underwhelmed. I think the only way this one works is if you’re buying it for a very young kid who is an MLP fan, but even then I would make the case that there are better games that can be purchased.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy Review


It’s time to take a look at the final Professor Layton game. This one’s been on my list to buy for a very long time so it’s nice to finally have it. It’s a nice conclusion to the series and I hope to see more games come out at some point. I’ll need to get the spinoff for the Switch soon. The Azran Legacy hits all the right notes that you’ve come to expect from the Layton series and it even added some platforming puzzles which was pretty cool. Throw in a lot of twists and turns and you’re in for a fun ride.

The heroes receive a letter from Sycamore asking for their help in solving the Azran legacy. The heroes need to find out what the ancient civilization left for the modern generation and if this is a good thing or not. Unfortunately there is a villain group known as Targent which is after the Azran legacy as well. Layton manages to save a girl named Aurora from their clutches. She has been in stasis for hundreds of years and is the Azran messenger although most of her memories are gone. Perhaps they will return as the heroes collect more of the Azran relics. If the heroes gain them all they will be able to open the door to the future. Time is not on their side though.

This game definitely goes more into fantasy/sci-fi territory than the previous ones. The Azran have technology that is quite advanced including lasers, robots, and the ability to keep people alive for hundreds of years. You can reasonably say that this is technology we will have in the future though. The Azran don’t seem like the nicest people out there even if they may have a lot of good points about how humans are still corrupt in the present. The Targent officials don’t paint the brightest picture of humanity. There are two main members of the group who function like Team Rocket. They’re not really a threat to Layton, but they always get up for another go at things.

The gameplay is the same as the other installments. You travel across different lands and gather information on the mystery. Typically people will only give you clues if you solve their mysteries. Once you do that then they become a lot more receptive to your cause. The puzzles come in all shapes and sizes and they’re pretty fair for the most part. On occasion you may see a puzzle that doesn’t make sense from the description, but it makes sense in hindsight after seeing the solution. Trial and error will get you far, but you’ve also got puzzle coins for the ones that really stump you. So long as you activate the coins you are given hints which make the puzzle a lot more manageable.

There are also a lot of minigames and other little features to have fun with. A new addition to this game is the newspaper which you can use to read about various events. The main game should take you around 15 hours or so to complete and the post game content of completing every puzzle will likely extend this to around 20 hours. It’s a pretty good deal for your buck and it could also take over 20 hours depending on how you’re able to handle the final puzzles. Some of them certainly get really difficult by the end.

As always the game doesn’t cheap out on the graphics. We get fully animated cutscenes which is a lot of fun and in general the graphics are quite clear. It all feels very polished which is always a good thing. The soundtrack brings a lot of the familiar tunes back. Although I would have liked some new themes too, these worked well enough for the scenes. It’s all got a very peaceful air to it.

Layton is a very solid protagonist as always. He’s a quick thinker and can usually stay one step ahead of the villains. He can also fight when necessary like when he got into a sword duel with the main villain. He was able to win despite having the inferior weapon. Layton also manages to stay as a gentleman no matter what is thrown at him and that’s absolutely crucial. You can’t break down when the going gets tough. Luke’s a good trainee to have as always. While he isn’t quite old enough to really help Layton out in all of the cases, he does what he can. He’s not the kind of kid to hesitate.

Emmy is a lot of fun and has really helped the group’s dynamic in this trilogy. She’s always upbeat and ready for a good puzzle. She has a bit of a rivalry going with Luke as she likes to mess with him quite a bit. As Layton’s official assistant she is also quite adept at puzzles and her martial arts are second to none. Then you’ve got Sycamore who is a puzzle genius like Layton. The guy is rich and resourceful so he is quite helpful in this game as well. He seems to have a solid honor code and is always ready to put the mission on hold to save people in trouble. He may have shown up out of nowhere, but is very important to the game’s plot.

Aurora has been in stasis for a long time so she doesn’t know a whole lot about human culture. Fortunately the game doesn’t play that up to a crazy extent so she’s not a bad character. I felt bad for her near the end when everyone just watches as someone gets ready to stab her. Couldn’t someone have manned up to stop this from happening? If I were Aurora I’d be pretty sore at this whole chain of events. She took the situation well and didn’t take things personally…even if perhaps she should have. Then we have the main villain Bronev. He’s a fun villain leader although his screen time is incredibly short despite being the head honcho. I think adding in some more scenes would have helped to make him more memorable. It’s hard to have any sympathy for him even when he gets his origin story though. His actions make 0 sense and so I’m glad that Layton shut him down even if he wasn’t as merciless as he could have been. I’d have had Layton end with his first line and not say the last few.

The game is a mystery so we have a few twists and turns. There are 2 main ones. One of them you’ll likely have figured out from the opening level depending on how you’ve been watching the patterns. You may not guess the exact twist, but it’s one that the series has already used 2-3 times so you’re almost expecting it. The second twist was a lot more unexpected though and worked pretty well. The game really put Layton through the ringer having to deal with all of this. The twist does hurt the second character a lot though. The first character was never truly changed so that’s one thing, but for this character it’s a 180. It’s just hard to come back from something like that and it’s probably why the character got written out. (And because the series ended)

Overall, Layton and the Azran Legacy is a very solid installment in the series which can hold its own against the others. My favorite is still the time travel adventure but after that most of them are pretty neck and neck. One thing I’ve liked about the prequel trilogy is how all of the games tie into each other pretty well. The Azran were referenced quite early on in the prior games. Emmy also adds a lot to the dynamic so it’s hard to go back to just Luke and Layton in the present timeline games. Layton can fight, but usually chooses not to so having someone like Emmy who isn’t afraid to throw down definitely helps the group quite a bit. If you haven’t played this game yet then you can change that. The games work well as stand alone adventures so you don’t need to play the previous 5 games to understand this one although it would certainly help you know the characters more.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Megaman Zero Review


It’s time to look at the original Megaman Zero game. I’ve always thought that the Zero games had some of the most dynamic covers in the series. The overall art style helps you feel like the games do take place a lot farther in the future than the X titles. The plots were awesome and in many ways the games were ahead of their time. That being said, what holds this one back are some mechanics that fortunately didn’t make their way into the sequels. As a result while this game is good, it could have been way better.

The game starts with Zero being revived into a new body. It has been many years since he was active to the point where he is known as a relic of the past. Ciel is the lady who has revived him and she explains that X has gone on a rampage trying to murder all reploids. Zero doesn’t think this sounds right, but is quick to agree that X has to be destroyed. He’ll do what he can, but the resistance is fairly small and X has legions of powerful mavericks on his side. If Zero can’t defeat them all in time then there won’t be much of a planet left to save.

The idea of X turning rogue is definitely an interesting one. The guy was always so heroic that it’s hard to picture him turning evil, but being resurrected does tend to have a pretty big effect on a person’s psyche. X would hardly be the first person to turn evil from the experience. A game actually adapting the Elf Wars would be awesome, but Megaman Zero gets to start you off with a lot of suspense which is always a good thing if you ask me. The stakes are also high as you see guys in the background getting destroyed quite a bit as the game goes on. While the ESRB doesn’t list any blood in the game you may think otherwise as you look in the various level backgrounds. It’s clear that the mavericks aren’t pulling any punches in this game. The Zero saga is easily the darkest one in the Mega Man franchise.

The gameplay is pretty easy to get used to, but difficult to master. You have two main weapons, a buster and a Z saber. You can use these weapons to slay your enemies. You can also dash and jump so be careful to get out of enemy range. Of course, that will cause minions to re-spawn if you go too far back so always charge forward. The bosses are very difficult so the best thing to do is dodge their attacks entirely. Play it safe until you master their attack strategies and you’ll be fine. They all move very quickly so you’ve really got to get it all down to muscle memory. If you do that then you’ll be in good shape.

You can level up your weapons by using them a lot on minions. One easy way to max them out is to go back to one of the first levels and attack the tower that never moves. Just keep attacking it for about 40-50 minutes and you’ll have the weapons maxed out. They don’t learn a whole lot of new skills, but the Z Saber has a charge attack that’s neat and the buster gets to charge faster which is handy. You can also farm Elves this way which you can then use in the levels. An Elf aids you either in a direct way or through a supportive role. These can mean the difference between life or death in a fight. Just remember to activate them manually or they won’t take effect. You also lose the Elf whether you win or lose in the level.

This brings us to the mechanic that slows the game down though. You have 3 lives in the game and you don’t get any more. The only way is to beat a lot of enemies and hope they drop a life. I beat many enemies and I never saw a single extra life but apparently it is possible for them to drop one. It’s just really rare. This is a very difficult game so you’re going to really need those lives. The final level is one of those classics where you have to fight all of the bosses again. I was able to beat 2 bosses, but then I lost to the 3rd. Doing all of this with a single life is pretty crazy hard. Additionally you have to click through the cutscenes each time you re-start since the file loads you to before the conversations.

The game also made it so if you lose a level then it vanishes completely. You only get 1 chance for all of the levels except the big ones like the intro, finale, and a level near the middle. Otherwise the bosses just get away and Ciel thanks you for trying to stop them. It’s an interesting mechanic to have the game continue, but I don’t personally like it. I can’t think of a game where I was glad such a system was implemented. It didn’t work in Armored Core or Pikmin and it didn’t work for this one. It’s the main reason why this is the weakest Zero game for me. Between that and not getting any more lives it feels like the game is being way too harsh.

As for the graphics, Megaman Zero is definitely top tier there. The colors are very nice and the effects are ahead of their time. This could easily pass for a DS game. It’s sprites at their finest and so it can challenge the earlier shaded style of the DS and 3DS. It all looks perfectly dark and dreary to match the tone while still using a lot of colors. Zero is more of a dark purple than a light red like in the old games for example. Then the soundtrack is top tier as well. A lot of the tunes here would go on to be fan favorites and I often enjoy listening to them online.

Overall, Megaman Zero is a fun game, but one that does have its share of issues. The game is very short and you would be done with it in about an hour if you actually manage to win the levels. I got to the final level in about an hour after all and it would have been sooner if I didn’t stop to grind out the weapon levels. The difficulty should make this longer than an hour of course, but it feels artificial to an extent. The lives should not be limited and should replenish when you get a game over like in other titles. The soundtrack and smooth gameplay ensure that you’ll still have a lot of fun. You’ll probably end up watching the cutscenes online so you actually see how it ends. It’s all very engaging. If you don’t mind only experiencing some of the game then I definitely recommend buying it. Otherwise you should start with Zero 2.

Overall 6/10