Play Time 11h 14m
Play Time 11h 14m
It’s time for another Legend of Zelda game. You could say I’m on a bit of a roll eh? This is another fairly recent overhead title so it comes with a lot of the quality of life updates you saw in the Switch game as well. I wouldn’t say this one quite beats Link’s Awakening but the story here is better. It’s a really fresh story with fun characters and very high stakes the whole time. You can’t go wrong there.
The story starts out with an intruder named Yuga showing up and infiltrating Hyrule. He starts turning everyone into portraits and even does this to Zelda before Link can stop him. Link is turned into a portrait as well but fortunately his armlet prevented this from being permanent and Link can now use the ability to phase into a wall like a paper character. He must now stop Yuga in his mad quest for power. To do this Link will need to awaken the Triforce, grab the master sword, and keep the 7 sages safe. Can he pull this off?
First off the graphics here are really solid. We get the occasional full cutscene where the animation can really shine but even in gameplay it’s very clear. There are a lot of striking colors all around and the boss designs are good. I won’t say this will compete with the top Nintendo games but it does well on the 3DS. The soundtrack is also a lot of fun with great themes around every corner. You’ll have a lot of fun listening to the game as you go on.
The gameplay is your classic Legend of Zelda style but there is one big improvement here which is that you get your weapons right away. So Ravio sells just about every weapon in the game and you can rent them for cheap. So the best thing to do is rent all of them and you only lose the weapon if you die so make sure you save the game a lot. Now I did this for pretty much the whole game but the only time it is tempting to let yourself die is if you made a lot of progress in a dungeon. After all resetting would lose that data so check to see how much money you have and if it’s enough then I would suggest just going back to the shop and renting everything again. When you get a game over you are given the option to respawn there anyway so it won’t take very long.
There are quick travel teleports all over the map so you rarely have to replay any large part of the game. Money is also fairly abundant and I was able to permanently buy a few of the items later on so then dying doesn’t even matter as much. All of the weapons will be useful at some point in the game so having them all will minimize how often you have to backtrack through it all. Towards the end there is a point in the game where you have the option to pick from 7 dungeons and the fun part is you can basically do them in any order. It’s like the game is part open world which is nice.
It makes for a pleasant experience although you can expect things to get a little tough for the final boss. Now there’s a boss that beat me quite a few times. I still feel like some attacks are almost Rng but hang in there and you’ll be okay. I couldn’t figure out how to get a fairy in the bottle for this game so buy a potion from the witch instead to restore your health. I also highly recommend getting all of the Master Sword materials to max the sword out. This means you need less strikes for the boss which is massive since every hit counts. The boss can beat you in around 3 blows after all, at least with the number of hearts that I had.
Meanwhile with the story you’ll have a lot of twists and turns to get through which are fun to experience. Link and Zelda are great leads as always but for example we meet a princess named Hilda who is a lot of fun. She’s lake a version of Zelda who grew up without a hero and so things have been tough on her. She never gave up though and fights for her planet which is admirable. Then there’s the villain Yuga who is new to the series. He’s definitely powerful and puts up a fight though so you don’t want to underestimate him. This guy absolutely plays for keeps and the ability to turn anyone into a painting is actually really scary. It’s hard to dodge and if not for the armlet then that would have been it for Link right there.
Each of the boss fights are unique and require different strategies. Yuga’s fights tend to have you be very observant to react to where he goes while other fights will require you to throw bombs from afar or get in close for a classic sword fight. Adapt how you fight for each boss and you’ll be fine. It really makes you feel like you’re playing through a true adventure that way as button mashing will not be enough to win here. The going through walls gimmick was also handled really well so it didn’t feel tacked on.
Overall, Link Between Worlds is a really fun game. It’s easily got one of the best Link stories and there is a whole lot of suspense here. It’s a very satisfying journey that keeps you on your toes and the gameplay had a lot of effort put into it by the devs. The dungeons are all long enough to be memorable while not overstaying their welcome. I liked how the floors were used in that switches on one floor could affect things on another. It made even the small dungeons feel big with how they kept adapting and the puzzles were handled fairly. If you don’t have this game yet then I definitely recommend fixing that!
All right do you know what time it is?? It’s Mario Party time!! Yessss…well at least Mario Party used to be a super hype series like that. It really started to fall off slowly but surely as the games went on. Mario Party 4 is where the series peaked but I would say that Parties 5-7 were all still really great. It was in 8 where the cracks started to show and then beyond that into the Wii U era is when things really got fishy. I cut the portable games a little more slack in the sense that they usually don’t have any iffy gimmicks they’re just more limited by what the console can do. Star Rush not having any kind of a story mode is a little shameful though. Cmon you couldn’t give me anything? This one also introduces a gimmick that I’m not a big fan of. The game is saved by having a good amount of modes to play and ultimately it’s a good title.
So in the game the main party mode is something called Toad Scramble. Everyone plays as Toad and the idea here is to defeat 3 bosses in order to end the game. Each boss is holding onto the power star. Now here’s the kicker. No matter who bumps into the boss first, all 4 players are pulled in to enjoy the boss fight. The only disadvantage is that if you are rather far then it will take you a few seconds to join the fight as you see your character flying over. The character to do the most damage earns the star and getting the final hit gets you a lot of point. There are 3 different lengths to the mode so you can do 3 boss fights, 5, or one with an unknown number.
I’m not a big fan of the game trying to force all of this teamwork on you though. Can’t I just get the star myself? You also have to land on the exact space where the star is or you won’t get it. So unlike most of the games where you can keep on going, this means you will sometimes have to keep walking in a circle until you can grab the star. You are able to move backwards for once though which is interesting. You don’t have to just go forward like in the other Party titles. These two gimmicks just feel a little pointless though and don’t add to the experience.
There are no turns in this game so you also don’t get consistent minigames to play. Only happens when people bump into each other on the same square. There’s also a mechanic where you see Mario and friends scattered across the field and can recruit them. They all have different dice blocks and help you out during the fights. This one is an interesting idea at least although I don’t know if it was worth only having Toad as the playable character. Once you have the allies you can switch so they are the ones running on the field so I guess in a way it’s like an alternate way to play as someone else but that just seems a bit convoluted.
I wasn’t a big fan of that mode but there was another mode which was a lot of fun. This was the coin battles. Basically this is a one on one duel with another opponent and you are both put on a track and field course. A minigame will start and they all involve collecting a lot of coins. Each coin collected is one step closer to the goal and the first to 300 coins wins. As you get further into the mode the challenges get tougher and the amount of coins you need becomes larger but I really liked this mode. It was super fast paced and so something was always happening. It was a unique mode while also not feeling like it was just a gimmick that was thrown in at the last second. Oh yeah I definitely enjoyed that quite a lot.
There’s also a rhythm mode which I can’t say that I was expecting. You have to press the buttons in sync when the characters are playing classic Mario songs. It’s a fun test of your reaction times and is just a peaceful mode in general. It’s difficult to lose but it’s also really hard to ace them with an S rank because getting a single great instead of an excellent can be your downfall. Still, that was fun and so I give the game credit for having different modes like this. There is actually a reasonable amount of content for someone even without friends.
For example, there is a level up system here. You can exp for just about every mode like winning a Toad Scramble or a coin battle. Each level up tends to unlock either a new mode or a new character. I wasn’t at the highest level yet so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more modes that I hadn’t unlocked yet. It’s a nice feeling knowing that the adventure can still go on further. You can get this game for rather cheap now so it’s something you should really try to have on your radar. You definitely don’t want to miss out on it after all.
The graphics are really solid. It’s not surprising since this is Mario after all but it’s still worth noting. The 3DS does well with all of the characters looking crisp and of course the soundtrack is on point as well. This doesn’t feel low budget which is good. At the end of the day it’s hard to see people picking up this game instead of the home console ones but for the people who do play it, you want the game to be as good as possible.
Overall, Mario Party Star Rush is definitely different but it’s still a fun game. While the party mode may leave some things to be desired, the coin mode has you covered. It’s a lot of fun trying to grab a whole ton of coins and just getting through as quickly as possible. The minigames themselves are also really solid. I didn’t notice any that were really recycled and there were a lot of good ideas here. It does make me think about buying one of the ones that I’m missing one of these days. At this point there are a handful so I should probably start on that. Either way I would actually recommend buying this one. You’ll have a good time with it and won’t be disappointed.
Play Time 2h 29m
Total Points 4133
Total Cleared Songs 39
Total Perfect Chains 18
Total Chains 3172
Total Critical Hits 3507
total touches 1473
Total Slides 780
Total Holds 1619
Cleared Courses 13
Perfect Course Clears 1
Total Bad Hits 37
Total Good hits 55
Total misses 20
Total Great Hits 310
I bought this game at the same time as Melody of Memory as part of my impromptu music batch but I probably should have played them in reverse. They’re both good games but Kingdom Hearts is just on a different level in virtually every category. This one also doesn’t really have a plot so the gameplay is solid as always but it’s naturally not going to stick out nearly as much. It doesn’t have the same level of content either but if you aren’t comparing this game to another one then it holds up on its own.
The game follows a fairly strict set up which is that every main Final Fantasy title from 1-13 has 3 levels in it. One is a standard rhythm stage where you have to press the buttons at the right time in order to score points and win the level. You have the cinematic levels where there is a cutscene playing in the background and your cursor is moving so it can be a little trickier to get the timing exact. Finally there are the boss levels but they play out the same way as the standard levels, only you see enemies getting blasted in the background as you land the combos.
That comes out to 36 levels and each one is only a few minutes long so it really won’t take you very long to beat this one. I cleared it in around 2.5 hours so you will probably beat it in around the same time since I didn’t lose any levels. Not to say there isn’t bonus content though. You can try to beat all of the levels again in challenge mode or tackle some kind of shadow level set up. It seems like survival mode since there is a ticker for how many creatures you have defeated.
The game also has an internal achievement system that they call trophies so that ought to buy you a bit more time as well. I barely got any trophies during my play through so you probably have to play other modes a lot. My total gem count was also really low and it seems like you unlock more characters that way.
The characters don’t play differently or anything but I suppose it would be fun to play as your favorites. One missed opportunity here though is that the characters all sound like robots. Before each level every character says a line but the sentences rarely make much sense. It seems to me like they have a random word generator and each character says something out of that which is then turned into a sentence. Felt kind of random but also pretty pointless because as a result there is no real dialogue here.
Even the descriptions before each game are so random that they may as well not be there. You certainly won’t get what is happening and for people who have played the game, they didn’t need the recap in the first place. So this is something that could have been improved. In general I feel like the game could have used more polish. It’s really just a way to listen to the classic songs from the Final Fantasy games and it felt like the devs didn’t want to go too far beyond that.
The soundtrack is top tier at least though. Final Fantasy has always had great tracks historically and that doesn’t change here. Final Fantasy XIII still sounds very grand and operatic and Sephiroth’s theme is fantastic. You really can’t go wrong with intense themes like this. Since the game is music based, it would have been a shame if the soundtrack wasn’t amazing all the way through.
It’s actually a little harder to get S ranks then you would think so if you intend to max out the ranking everywhere then you better prepare to put in the work. You can’t just select a single stage after all, you do everything in pairs of 3 stages so that means if you mess one up then it destroys your whole set. I would definitely prefer if it was just the one level for that reason. There were many games where I got S ranks in two out of three but then the three one tripped me up. Not being able to just replay that stage right away is a hit unfortunate. Not that I was aiming to get all S ranks just yet but that immediately makes the trial that much more difficult.
I didn’t talk a whole lot about the gameplay but there are less buttons to worry about here which should help at least a bit in acing the levels. For example, you don’t use the d pad or l and r buttons here. In fact, you don’t use any buttons. Its all on the stylus which means that you never have more than one object coming at you at a time. That’s considerably different from Kingdom Hearts where they routinely would throw 3 items at once. I would say this game is easier as a result and if you put your mind to it you should get the objectives down without too much trouble.
Overall, Theatrhythm is a good game. I feel like it leaves a lot of meat on the table so if this were sold at full price I would probably have been disappointed. I got it for very cheap though which helped a lot. Additionally, I do see this as the kind of game I could go back to and play a lot if I had more time and less games to play. Back in the day I tried to 100% many games like this one on the DS. I feel like it would be a very pleasant ride. I suspect the sequels will do more with the concept but if you’re looking for a title to test the waters before you really get into the music genre then this is a good one to use. Since there isn’t a true story, you can just focus on the gameplay.
Play Time 23h 33m
Quests Completed 180
Play Time 2h 23m
Minigame Island 271/300 Stars
Minigames unlocked 100/100
Mario has returned! It’s been a while since I got a Mario game but in my defense, Nintendo doesn’t churn them out nearly as quick as they used to. Back in my day it felt like Mario games would come out every other week. Well, this one’s not known as one of the better Mario Party games and I can see why but I had a good time with it. You just wouldn’t want to have paid opening day prices for it because it is extremely short. You can complete the entire game in 2 hours which is really not very impressive.
There isn’t really a story in this one after all. Instead what happens is you go onto a map where you have to clear each minigame to go forward. There are 4 worlds and around 25 minigames per world. There are 300 stars to collect in total with each level having 3 stars to obtain for coming in first and 4 for boss battles. You can lose every non boss battle minigame and still get to the end of the game so there’s no pressure. That said, I expect you’ll still complete most of these with ease since the game’s not difficult like that. The only exceptions are the luck based games.
But of course now you can see why the game is so short. Most minigames can be completed in around a minute after all since they’re so short. Since you can skip the enemy turns that makes the minigames even shorter. You’ll be breezing past the game like it’s nobody’s business and then there isn’t a whole lot of other things to do. There is free play with the minigames of course and little tournaments you can do with the computers. It just boils down to the fact that you have to like going up against the computer or you will end up getting bored very quickly here. For the most part the Mario Party series are famous because you get to play with others.
That’s really the main draw of the series after all so if you don’t have that then you’re not going to be having fun for nearly as long. Sure enough, I would say that this is the kind of game where you complete it and then you’ll probably never turn it back on again. The games are fun and all so I do enjoy them but there just isn’t a whole lot of reason to play the game unless you just never got a chance to play all of the mainline games. It is cool seeing them grab so many iconic games to play through but there should have been more content here.
This is the game’s biggest weakness. It’s even shorter than Sonic Forces and you definitely don’t want to see that for a Mario title. What I would have done is add a challenge mode so at least for all of the minigames like Booksquirm where it’s about surviving, you could play it on your own and try to get some super high scores. I think that would be the best way to effectively add a lot of single player content to Mario Party real quickly. It may feel like it goes against the spirit of the Mario Party series but what else are you going to do to get around the whole multiplayer angle?
If you ask me, this is just what you gotta do. Still, the game deserves some props for the solid graphics. It looks like a really solid game and they didn’t cheap out on this one. Even if the developers probably knew that this one wasn’t going to be the next big thing, they still put in a lot of effort here. The game would fit in with any of Mario’s other 3DS adventures. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is catchy enough. You should definitely recognize all of the minigame tunes right away.
It’s all very nostalgic just playing the games again. While they won’t beat the home console counterparts since squishing the minigames into a smaller screen is always tricky, they’re still a lot of fun. I even played a few extra minigames after I cleared all 100 to boost my score up a bit. After all, you can sort of say that collecting the 300 hearts is like completing the post game. I beat the normal campaign with over 250, but I didn’t actually 3 star all of the levels. A part of me was tempted to quickly go and do that just so I could say I’ve made it to the top.
What stopped me here is that some of the minigames are luck based which means it could be a little annoying to try and get the top spot. For the luck based ones I guess you just gotta keep on playing until you’re at the top but something about that didn’t sit right with me. Why include luck games at all here? The ones that are purely luck should not have made the top 100 at all. It feels like a cheap way to extend the play time a bit since you would have to just keep on playing these until you get the 3 stars. Realistically it won’t take too many tries I’m sure but more than I was planning to go through.
Overall, Mario Party will always be a blast and a half to play through. There’s just so much to go through in the series but you can’t really access that with a 3DS port. It’s a fun game but the experience is over way too quick which does end up shaving a star off. If you can get it for a good price then by all means you should check it out, but otherwise I’d say it’s time to give this one a skip. There are a lot of other Mario Party titles to check out which are all considerably better and feel like they give you the complete experience.
Play Time 53h 29m
Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Legend of Zelda title. It’s far different from most of the ones that come out. I would say it’s closest to Four Swords in terms of gameplay. You’ve got the classic overhead view back but this time you’re controlling 3 Links. It is held back to an extent though in how much this is built for multiple people to play it as opposed to a 1 player experience. It also ramps up the difficulty levels quite a bit to the point where this is one of the few games that took me longer to complete than the average time from the Howlongtobeat site.
The story this time revolves around a princess who is so beautiful that she ends up being cursed by another person who is jealous. She is now forced to wear a skintight suit at all times so she can no longer put on the fancy dresses she once had. A kid is instructed to destroy the monsters in 8 key worlds and break the curse on the Princess. He dons the name of Link as well as the classic gear and gets ready to accomplish this. Can Link really save the day or is he ultimately doomed to be crushed here?
Interestingly both Zelda and Ganondorf don’t appear in this game. I’m surprised they didn’t just make Zelda the princess but that’s probably for the best because I can’t really picture her just taking the curse sitting down like this. It was a good move not to make her the damsel but it would have been fun to maybe see Zelda appear as a supporting character. I was also waiting for the big twist that Ganondorf was the big villain all along but that one didn’t actually end up panning out. The actual villain who doesn’t even have a true name beyond “The Lady” is decent at best. She is a little on the petty side since the whole reason she did this is because she’s jealous of the princess. It’s not exactly the best motive.
Her role is also small but that’s the way the story is in general. You can go through the game without seeing much of the story at all. See, there are 8 worlds to complete and each world has 4 levels. Each level has 4 sections in it. You can clear all of these in one shot or break them up as much as you want. if you turn the game off after any world or leave the room then you’ll get a quick cutscene of encouragement from the King or some information from the wardrobe owner. However, if you just beat the game right up front then you won’t get these cutscenes and instead will get a lot of them back to back at the end. That’s what happened to me and it’s an odd tactic.
I feel like the plot was thrown together more as a formality but the game didn’t actually care about it all that much. As for the gameplay, it’s fairly basic. You have to get to the end of each area by solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. You can move and swing your sword as well as using a power up specific to the level. You will need to use multiple Links to clear these levels as well like throwing Links onto higher levels or holding them up so they can slice away at enemies who are too tall to be hit normally. That’s the way to clear a lot of the puzzles since the multi links is a big part of the game’s theme.
Here’s the thing though, if you’re playing multiplayer then everyone controls a Link. In one player mode the other two are Totems so they can’t move or do anything. You have to constantly switch between them to solve the puzzles on your own which takes a lot of extra time. Additionally for bosses where you have to distract them with one Link and attack with another, it can be tough to switch that quickly. So the game is absolutely meant for multiplayer. If the other Links would move on their own as A.I. or something I think that would be a lot better. That could potentially work. Like this it can get a bit rough although the challenge was fun.
The game flies by pretty quickly. It took me a little over 8 hours to conquer it so around 1 hour a world. Part of that is just because the levels can be tricky though as they are usually pretty short otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game allows you to skip levels as well by using the fairy. Each level has 4 areas as I mentioned and you get 3 skips for each level. So what you can do is clear area 1 and then skip the rest of the level. If you do this then you only have to clear 32 areas in the game or effectively just 8 levels. It’s definitely an effective way to speedblitz the game but at that point are you really getting the full experience? It seems like it wouldn’t be all that worth it but at the same time if you have a level that’s particularly annoying at least you have it as an option I guess.
The graphics are pretty decent. It’s going for a pretty retro look here but everything does appear to be in HD with a lot of detail. The art style is charming and definitely gets you into the flow of the game. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It may not have the iconic theme you would expect to walk away with but it does have that classic LoZ charm to be sure. The boss theme would probably be the most memorable one if I had to choose one theme to walk away with.
As for replay value, there is definitely more to do here. For starters you can go back to the levels you completed and clear the Challenger Mode. Each level essentially has another version to play so that could last you another 8 hours. You can also try to obtain all of the clothes from the shop. I didn’t explore the hub world much at all but there is also an items shop which I could see being pretty handy. All in all I wouldn’t call it a ton of replay value but the content is absolutely there. The going price nowadays is also very low so that helps make this a bargain as well.
Overall, Tri Force Heroes is a good game. It can be a bit repetitive due to the puzzle style it has. You will be doing the same actions over and over a lot of the time which can get a bit dull so you don’t want to play this in super large batches. The fact that the game is really built around being a multiplayer experience also makes things feel a little clunky at times. Still, at the end of the day I would recommend this game if you like LoZ. It’s not quite up to the standard of the main games but as a spinoff it does accomplish its duty of being a game you can rally behind and to see the classic characters one last time.