6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Balloon Fight Review


It’s time to look at another NES game I recently finished playing through. Balloon Fight is definitely a pretty popular one despite the main character not becoming playable in Super Smash Bros yet. Don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time until they fix that. In the meanwhile it’s fun to look back at how the franchise began. The game has aged quite well and does something almost no other NES game at the time had even thought to do….it has 2 modes. In almost all of my NES reviews I have to mention that there isn’t really anything to do in the way of replay value. Well, that’s not the case for this game. In Balloon Fight you’ve got the main mode and an endless score version.

So the main gameplay of Balloon Fight is that you have to try and pop the balloons carrying your enemies. Then you knock them out before they can grab more. The game is endless so you just see how many levels of this you can survive. Each level has around 4-8 enemies for you to beat. At first this is pretty easy as there are no obstacles or elements getting in your way. The game gradually gets harder though as eventually you have lightning bolts being fired at you and things of that nature. It’s a challenging but fun experience. Your main incentive will be to keep trying to beat your old score.

Then you’ve got the other gameplay mode where you’ve got an auto scrolling screen and a bunch of balloons floating around. Every few balloons you grab lowers your ranking. Your goal is to make it to Rank 1 and then you’ll have beaten the mode. It keeps on going endlessly if you want to keep getting more balloons but that is your main goal. It’s pretty fun and certainly different from the main mode so I like the diversity. You can tell that this game had a good amount of development time behind it. This is what I like to see.

The graphics are simple but effective. The enemies are colorful and the background is catchy. The music theme is also pretty iconic at this point. There’s not much else to say on a technical basis but it doesn’t disappoint. Between the two modes this game should last you close to an hour. There’s also a little replay value in trying to raise your high scores although I wouldn’t say that the replay value is too high either. It’s just right considering that this is a free title with the NES Online.

The controls are very smooth as well and I like how the physics are handled. You can’t just turn at the drop of a dime or anything like that. You do have to account for gravity and everything. If you tried going somewhere very quickly then you will not be able to stop as fast as you would have liked. Also, one fun thing about the game is that crossing the edge of the screen actually doesn’t result in you losing a life the way that it does in most games. That’s a fun little element that may seem pretty random, but I think it does serve to help make the game even more unique. It’s all pretty impressive if you ask me.

There’s not a whole lot more to say about this game in part because of how simplistic it is. The gameplay you’ll understand within seconds of playing it because moving and floating is really all you can do. You beat all of the enemies the same way after all. Sometimes it seems like the simplest games ended up being some of the most addicting ones. It’s the same principle behind a lot of current mobile games that hit it big. There’s just something fun about doing repetitive actions. You start to do them real automatic like and it works out quite well if you ask me.

Overall, Balloon Fight is definitely one of the better NES games. This is exactly why I played a bunch of the low budget type games first. I figured that the longer I kept putting off the big games the more satisfying it would be when I ultimately started playing them back to back at the end. Now all I’ve got are the really big games and the marathon works quite well. I’d definitely be up for a big budget sequel to this someday. I think that would really work well since there is a ton that you can do with the balloon setup. You could even throw a plot in as that’s not something you typically saw a whole lot of back in the classic days.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pop’n TwinBee Review


It’s time to look at a classic SNES game. I say it’s classic but odds are that you may not have heard of this one. I certainly hadn’t, but its aged pretty well. It’s an arcade shooter that actually has a bit of a plot between levels. Don’t expect a huge narrative or anything like that, but just getting images connecting the game is more than I would have assumed prior to playing the game. Some parts of it are a bit more complex than expected, but it ends up being a very enjoyable experience.

The game starts you off in a 3D adventure as you fly through the skies and blast away at the enemies. Aside from your normal energy blasts you can also summon a bunch of bees which cover the sky and destroy all enemies. It’s an incredibly powerful move so use it sparingly because you don’t get to carry a lot of ammo for it. I actually couldn’t tell where you even saw the amount of ammo left so I’d run out and be unsure of when I’d get it back. At the end of each level is a powerful boss to defeat. They’re usually all giant robots like a robotic spider or something of that nature. The bosses are less trouble than the actual levels but don’t underestimate them or you’ll end up paying the price. The rewind feature comes in great handy here.

The graphics are pretty nice. You always feel like you know where you are going and the various enemies have nice designs. The little animations after the levels are fun enough as well. This part has aged quite well. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable but it works well enough. It’s got that upbeat arcade kind of feel to it which definitely works for me. You’re also so busy dodging all of the attacks that you’ll quickly find yourself entranced in the gameplay.

TwinBee sees a big difficulty spike around level 4-5. Suddenly you have enemies on the ground blasting you from all sides and a ton of aerial enemies as well so it’s tough to blast them all. For starters you can only hit the ground enemies with your bees and by now you’re probably all out of them. For the aerial enemies they are quite durable so by the time you defeat them they will have probably blasted you to smithereens by now. It’s just hard to deal with opponents who are quite so numerous and even with rewind it’ll be tough to get past them. I made it over halfway through the game but eventually had to raise the white flag. If you want a solid adventure with a good degree of difficulty then this is definitely the game for you.

TwinBee is definitely one of my favorite SNES games thus far. While it’s not quite a match for the main Nintendo games like Super Mario Kart, it can handle most of the other games available at the moment. It’s an arcade game that wouldn’t be out of place on the Eshop right now. That’s the level of quality I like to see. This is definitely a game that was not slapped together as the developers put a good amount of effort into it. The effort certainly paid off quite nicely.

Overall, Pop’n TwinBee is a fun SNES game and one I’d recommend checking out. It’s up for free on the Nintendo Switch Online service so it’s worth a look. As with the rest of the games there I don’t imagine you will be playing them for long, but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or so. The gameplay is quite sound and while it may be difficult to figure out the layout you’ll get the hang of it. I still don’t exactly know how the items work though. That part’s a little confusing as they keep changing colors when you blast them, but it’s an interesting element. It’s a bit of a gimmick but it’s not annoying which is the key part.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Smash Tennis Review


It’s time to look at a SNES game from a while back. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of sport titles because you really get to feel what it’s like to play the actual sport. You feel energy and excitement while scoring points and claiming victory. Really the only way a sport game can go wrong is if the controls aren’t all that good or the sport it is based off of is one that I’m not really a big fan of. This one suffers from the controls.

There aren’t a lot of modes or anything here but as it is an SNES game that should be expected. You really are here to play some good tennis and have fun along the way. You can play against a friend locally or against the computers online. That’s really it so just keep on playing for as long as you’re entertained. The game is free with the Switch Online anyway so that’s always a good benefit. The gameplay is pretty straight forward. Be sure to hit the ball when it gets close to you and the goal is to hit it in a way where the opponent can’t counter it. Furthermore, you can’t hit it too far out of range or it’ll be “out” and the opponent will gain a point.

Typically this is fairly easy to not do, but in this game it is pretty challenging. You’ve got to be very careful in what direction you are tilting the control stick because it’s very easy to hit the ball out of bounds. It seems like holding in any direction will bring some issues with this. At the same time if you just hit the ball straight then the opponent will certainly hit it back at you so as always there has to be some balance here. I played 5-6 games as each match goes by very quickly. Unfortunately I was only able to score a few points at best as the opponent would thoroughly take me apart in each round. He was really not holding anything back here.

You can take solace in the fact that this game is not a walk in the park. You are going to have to play seriously if you want to beat the computer even on a standard setting. They react to the ball very quickly and are totally comfortable with returning the ball even from rather complex angles. The graphics are fun enough. I like the fact that we have background elements in all of the levels which make them pretty unique. You can go from playing inside of a mall to being on the beach to resting at the park. There are a reasonable number of stages and they’re all pretty different so that’s pretty impressive. I can’t say that I was expecting a whole lot of variety here.

Overall, Smash Tennis is a fairly standard tennis game for its time, but compared to modern ones it’s pretty lackluster. I don’t really mind the lack of content so much as that is perfectly understandable, but the gameplay could have been a lot tighter. A lot of times you’ll feel like you hit the ball in time and it’ll still get past you. It feels like a losing battle from the start. No game is impossible because they are play tested and all, but a little more refinement would go a long way. As it stands I’d definitely say to check it out because it’s free so you may as well. At the same time I don’t see you spending more than an hour or two here. Not when something like Virtua Tennis exists.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review


It’s time for another title set in the Clone Wars. Republic Heroes may be the first Star Wars game that I’ve played on the PS3, but it ended up being the weakest installment in this saga. I don’t know why, but it just couldn’t hang with the others. I blame it on the game’s poor gameplay mechanics and lackluster plot. It’s still a solid game that will last you for a reasonable amount of time, but I was expecting a little more since we are now in the modern era.

The game has you split up into several groups. It appears that Count Dooku is up to something again and he sends Ventress off to cause some havoc. Cad and Kul are also fighting over a weapon of mass destruction. I don’t think we ever actually learn what it does to be honest. Well, Anakin and Ahsoka go to check things out while Obi Wan and a Jedi master I’m not familiar with head to a space station. Two other Jedi Mastered investigate the canyons and along the way the Clone soldiers do their best to help out as well. The heroes have spread themselves rather thin, but they’re always ready for danger. Hopefully they are prepared!

Here’s why the plot sags behind the others…there are no hype moments. The original Wii game was a blast because of the stellar soundtrack and the tough talk between all of the characters. It worked really well as a result. The DS game worked because of the fun gameplay and I really enjoyed the Shadow sisters as villains. The problem with this game is that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They don’t feel like threats either. Cad is a guy with a gun…so he shouldn’t last long. Kul is a robot who has a lot of weapons, but it seems like it’d be an easy matter for the Jedi to swing him around. That just leaves Ventress and Dooku but since they lose in all of the games I don’t think we’re meant to take them too seriously anymore. The banter between the characters can still be pretty fun and the characters aren’t bad, but the plot could use a little work.

The gameplay is 3D hack and slash. You have to fight your way through large armies of droids as you try to keep your wits about you. There is a lot of variety as you will play as both Jedi and Clones as well as ride hovercraft and large robots. You can also jump onto any enemy to control it and force others to try and oppose it. You can use your Force abilities or go in close for the lightsaber. The Force is incredibly overpowered here so the game got that part down pat. To make up for this, it doesn’t give you all that much money so if you want to buy a lot of stuff in the shop you should stick to close quarters combat. I was able to buy everything anyway at the end and I used a lot of The Force so money isn’t a huge issue. Even if you don’t have enough by the end you can probably just replay a level and you’ll be good to go.

It’s fun to mow down legions of enemies with your blade. The game can feel like a mini beat em up at times due to this. That’s also why the Force waves are fun as you can send about 6-10 enemies flying with a single hit. Unfortunately the gameplay can also be a weakness. The title uses an odd auto jump system where your character will lock on to an object and try to land in a controlled arc when you jump. The problem is that the character can’t decide what to do right away so a lot of times he unlocks right as you jump and you plunge to your death. You always have to wait a second before jumping to make sure that you don’t flal. It feels rather odd and it’s a weird part of the game. I had a ton of deaths that way.

Fortunately, there are no real deaths here. Each character has infinite lives and even if both die at the same time, you’re still fine. I am playing on the first difficulty though so maybe that changes later. I wasn’t about to start the campaign on hard after all. It’s pretty useful I admit even if it maybe does make the game a little too easy. I did die over 140 times according to the stats though so I probably got sloppy thanks to it as well. The game just doesn’t explain things too well at times like how to defeat the large droids. That kind of messed me up at times and those bosses would take ages. Just remember to jump on the enemy when in doubt since it automatically destroys most of them.

The main campaign has around 35-40 levels and each of them is about 5-10 minutes long. That will last you for a good amount of time and getting all of the PS3 trophies will add in some replay value as well. There are a lot of collectibles to grab so keep a sharp eye while in the levels. The more that you grab now, the less that you’ll have to worry about in the future right? I grabbed as many as I could, but I believe that I may still be missing around 30 or so.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are all that good. They look like a Wii game rather than a PS3 one. They haven’t really aged well I’ll admit. It’s not like they’re awful or anything though, they’re still good enough. The blasters and attacks look good at any rate. The soundtrack is rather limited. It uses a lot of the same themes from the other two games. Surprisingly, the only good theme in the game was the end credits tune. That one was surprisingly amazing so I’m a little sad that they saved it for the credits. It should have been used for the actual game if you ask me.

I’ll give the game credit for handling the Force well though. This game probably had the best application of it from all the games that I’ve played so far. It was actually very useful the whole time and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature. There were also no artificial moments made to make the game longer. Every level was direct and to the point. I can definitely appreciate the game’s honesty there. I’ll take a 6 hour game with no repeating levels than a 30 hour one where it is just the same level over and over again.

Overall, Star Wars Republic Heroes is a good game. It could have easily been a great game if the gameplay was smoother and the story was more interesting, but it tripped up there. There’s no way I’d die 140+ times if the gameplay had been smooth. It feels a bit like a cash in at times, but you can tell that some effort was still put into the game. It at least feels like a real game and the levels go by fairly quick. The developers certainly had a bunch of ideas as the game introduces new features even near the end of the game. It’s interesting to see a tutorial message pop up when you’re in the final act. It may not have all worked and they should have used some more time to refine the actual platforming element of the game, but it’s a nice package overall. I’d recommend getting it. It’s not the best Star Wars game on the market, but it’ll introduce you to all of the core concepts.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Assault Suit Leynos Review


I ended up printing out a coupon for 5 dollars off a new game instead of 10 dollars off of a pre owned one at Gamestop by mistake the other day so I went looking for a new title that I could get for cheap. Leynos showed up and this game always looked pretty interesting. I’d only come across it once or twice in the past, but I like Arcade style games well enough. A modern port is always appreciated since it adds continue points and a saving feature. It’s a fun game and while it is fairly short, the trophies help to add in some replay value. Considering that it’s only 15 dollars new and probably even less used, I’d say that it deserves to be picked up.

The plot is that a bunch of people were sent into space back in the day. Then World War 4 showed up (Yes, not 3. That was off screen) and all of our technology went out the window. We finally rebuilt our civilization and united the world in peace, but we told the space explorers to fend for themselves. They didn’t like that and created their own robot army in order to claim revenge. Can we defeat our own people…and should we? It is life or death as they intend to destroy Earth so I think that ultimately ends up answering the question. We certainly will not go down easily!

The gameplay plays out like a 2D Gundam game. You can equip up to 6 parts on your robot. You can choose to load him up with various guns and rockets or you can equip some boosters and extra armor. I personally went with 3 armors, my Machine Gun, and two sets of rockets. I definitely recommend the Machine Gun and the Armors are great since they add a whole new life bar for each one that you equip. They’re a real life savor. You can also fly if you have the booster and you can aim the guns up and down with the control stick as you go through the levels. You can also punch, but aside from a trophy that you can get for it…why would you ever punch? It’s a joke move in there just for fun I believe.

There are two different modes in the game, Arcade Mode and Classic Mode. Ironically, Classic Mode is the actual one from the arcade game as you play through the whole game and take it down a few pegs. There are less cutscenes and bosses and it feels retro. Naturally, I played the Arcade Mode instead. This one’s a little more modernized with extra features and all the new gadgets. I’ll try the other one out soon for a trophy though so no worries on that. I’ve heard that it’s tougher, but that’s what the save feature is for right? There are 8 levels in each mode and each one can be defeated in a few minutes. The game isn’t very long as a result, but the difficulty level should ensure that you replay some of them a few times which adds to the overall length.

There also is some replay value here since you’ll want to nab the Platinum trophy. It doesn’t sound too difficult, but will certainly take some 2D skills to achieve. For example, one level will have you win without using any guns, that one definitely sounds like it’ll be a pain. I’ll need to equip my best armors for that. Without the trophies, this game probably would have gotten bumped down to a 6. After all, the gameplay may be entertaining, but there’s no multiplayer. That would mean that there are only 8 levels to play and nothing more to gain from replaying it so the game would have sunk due to the fact that it just didn’t have much content. It’s why I am such a big fan of Sony’s trophy system. It really helps all games and certainly adds replay value.

The graphics are fairly retro as they’re supposed to be. The game is clear and you can always tell what is happening though. I’d actually say that they look better than Frogger: The Great Quest despite how much older this one was when it first came out. Some of the level designs will even remind you of Mega Man X. Of course, it would be neat to get a full PS4 sequel for this game with the latest graphics. That would be a lot of fun so hopefully this one sold well enough. The music is also pretty sound. It may not be the most impressive soundtrack of all, but it works well and adds a little more intensity to the campaign.

There’s not much to say about the actual story. It’s pretty decent and hits all of the usual mecha notes. We have the emotional death, the emotionless main character, the emotional heroine, and even the “sympathetic” villain who just wants revenge and to destroy the whole world. It’s good enough for me to still believe that it was good to have the story in the game, but it just serves the bare minimum of what a story should be. It adds context to the battles and gives you something to look forward to after each level. The final level was handled really well with that as you got to fight 4-5 bosses back to back to back. It took me quite a few tries to take that one down, but all bosses fall eventually right?

Overall, Assault Suit Leynos is a good game. It’s fundamentally sound and arcade gamers from the olden days will probably be able to appreciate this even more. It’s not a game that I could see myself playing for too long as I’d get burned out at replaying the same level too much, but it’s good for a quick run through. I don’t have time to stick around and replay many of my games anymore regardless so as long as it’s fun for the first run through, then I’m set. If the game got a sequel, I’m confident that I would check it out. I’m still a little behind in Gundam games, but maybe this will spur me on to get one in the near future. I’m always up for any more robot games that aren’t called Armored Core. If you hadn’t heard of this game before this review, then hopefully I helped give you some extra knowledge so you could decide if you want to purchase it or not.

Overall 7/10