6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review


It’s time to look at one of the latest Kirby games. It has been quite a few years since it came out by this point, but it feels fairly recent to me. This Kirby game took the unique approach of acting like a DS game. The Wii U does have a stylus after all, but it’s easy to forget since most games wisely stayed as far away from this mechanic as possible. Unfortunately Nintendo didn’t learn this lesson quite as readily which meant game over for them. I’m afraid that this is easily the weakest Kirby game that I have played and it just fails to capture the charm and essence of the series. Kirby himself does look fairly good though.

The game starts off with Kirby relaxing and just trying to have a good day when a villain appears and blasts the entire planet with an energy attack. Even Kirby couldn’t react quickly enough to dodge and at once time stopped for everyone. Fortunately a fairy freed Kirby and our protagonist returned the favor in the next scene. The two heroes decide to team up to save the planet and that begins our adventure. Enjoy the opening cutscene since we don’t get another one until the very end of the game. Was this game fairly low budget? I would say absolutely!

Aside from the lack of cutscenes (Because Nintendo isn’t exactly known for them anyway) this game takes a lot of shortcuts. The most obvious one is the reused bosses. There are 7 worlds which each have 3 levels and then a boss fight. Worlds 1,2, and 3 have the same bosses as 4,5, and 6. It’s not something that you would expect from a AAA Nintendo game, but maybe this one was only AA. What supports this theory is the game is only 3 hours and 32 minutes long. That’s considering that I left the game on while grabbing lunch and I would pause it whenever I had to leave the room as well. It’s just a very short game and you could probably decipher that yourself. Each level is around 5-6 minutes tops with some being shorter. It’s a fairly easy game so not dying will also speed things up.

A game being short isn’t really a bad thing, but if I had bought the game at its original retail price then I certainly would have been a little disappointed. Maybe Nintendo has just thrown in the towel though. Star Fox Zero was also incredibly short and likewise for Star Allies. I guess unless you are Mario or Link you can’t expect too much. Still, it would probably still get the usual 7 stars as with most Nintendo games, but what really hurts this one is the gameplay.

You can’t actually move at all. To control Kirby you have to draw a path for him with controls that bring you back to the Wii days. Kirby will refuse to get on your path unless it is perfectly straight and even then he has a tendency to lose his balance and momentum. He has a few different forms like a Tank and a Rocket, but those all use the same controls. I didn’t buy a Kirby game to draw, I bought it to cheese the levels by floating over all of them. That isn’t an option in this game and I have to question the rationale behind this. It just doesn’t seem like a good gameplay idea if you ask me. It gets old after a level or 2. Then you’ve also got the fact that a lot of the levels are auto moving levels which hurts a bit since you have to wait at their pace. Some of those levels I could play with one hand for a bit or do some stretching while I was waiting.

I did die a handful of times during boss fights thanks to the controls though. It never feels earned though and just cheesy. I would proudly blame the gameplay style for each of my deaths. Even though we got the solid cosmic battle at the end as in most Kirby games I couldn’t enjoy it as much because the design of the fight was no good. You have to rely on a lot of RnG to take him down for the count. All right, I think that’s enough about the gameplay so lets go into some of the more positive aspects of the game.

There is a reasonable amount of replay value here to make up for the short length. You can play Challenge Mode which gives you a reason to replay most of the stages. There are also treasure chests in each level which allow you to get the collectibles. There are a bunch of figures and music themes to grab as well as Diary pages which will tell you a bonus story. Grabbing all of the collectibles will take you a reasonable amount of time without making the mistake of being a big grind. All in all, if you decide to 100% the game then it will have awarded you enough content to justify the purchase.

The soundtrack in the game is also pretty good. It doesn’t have any themes as iconic as Battle Against Nightmare, but was still as good as a Nintendo title should be. The final boss theme is solid and the normal level themes are engaging. The graphics are also nice and bright as they should be. They are certainly a step down from some of the previous Kirby games thanks to the dicey decision to make Kirby a ball the whole time and the stop motion esque effects for most of the cutscenes, but beyond that you can tell that it’s a modern title.

I also have to give some kudos to Kirby himself and his role in the story. He looks pretty brave and strong throughout the opening as he dodges a laser blast and saves the fairy. You can also feel the emotion behind his character as he glares at the final boss. Kirby is definitely a fun lead and while some games can play up his childlike nature too much, this one didn’t. He took all the plot twists in stride. Kirby is all business in the climax. I didn’t care about the fairy plot much, but it’s not like it got almost any screen time to be honest so she was just around to jump start the plot. I didn’t even realize that there was something in the plot for a twist until it happened, but I guess it was good so that we could get a true final boss.

Overall, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a fun game in every area except the gameplay. Unfortunately the gameplay is tedious and repetitious. It completely gets in the way of what the Kirby games are usually about and I do have to take a star away. One thing that I love about the Kirby games is just flying to the top of the screen and getting to the end of the level. You can’t do that here since the game controls where you go and your paintbrush runs out very quickly. It’s unfortunate, but if you don’t mind the idea of drawing or even like the concept for a Kirby game then this is the one to check out. Regardless it isn’t a bad game, but I would sooner recommend grabbing the rest of them.

Overall 6/10

Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

SPRay Review


It’s time for another Wii cash in. I’m afraid that you can’t really expect too much from this game. It has a pretty interesting premise with regard to the gameplay but it isn’t very polished so there are quite a few bugs and issues with the gameplay. It gets off to a decently good start and has a nice end, but the middle of the game can be tricky with some levels that don’t always feel very fair. It’s a decently good game but one that could have certainly been a whole lot better.

The plot revolves around a Prince. His kingdom has been taken over by sludge monsters led by a giant monster. His father may have been murdered in the process as now he is a ghost with no form. He tells the hero to call and slay all of the monsters while grabbing all of the jewels so he can save the kingdom. He is given two guides to help with that. One of them is a mean guy who fights with vomit and the other is a nice girl who attacks with water. With these dependable allies at his side, the Prince is ready to make some waves.

You don’t gain any new members during the game, but you do get more powers. Soon you are able to shoot out sticky material, ice, and even the powers of Darkness which can open up portals. It’s important that you understand what each power does since they will all be necessary to complete the game. Each world has 6 levels and there are 5 worlds in total. The levels start out pretty basic and gradually get harder by the end. At one point, the levels were taking me close to an hour to beat each one. Once I got the hang of the abilities and missions though, I greatly reduced the time and could even beat some missions in around 15 minutes. It just really depends on if you know what you’re doing. There is a compass, but it tends to be pointing in the wrong direction half the time so you really can’t get used to trusting it. Fortunately you’ll notice that the levels basically start to repeat themselves or are at least very similar by the end.

The graphics are okay. The colors all look different so you can always tell what is happening and the game is able to keep the colors that you’ve already shot on the board so that’s good. It’ll remember your colors even if you go to a different world and come back. There isn’t really a soundtrack to speak of so that area of the game is significantly less impressive. It can’t quite match up to the graphics at any rate. Throw in the glitches and this game isn’t ready for the big time. You’ll fall through walls quite a lot and you’ll randomly slam to the ground in other moments. See, the main character has a ground pound technique which you can use by double tapping the jump button but it often happens on its own which is kind of rigged.

Naturally the gameplay is hampered by the Wii remote. The game would be a lot smoother with a proper controller. It’s like Mario Sunshine or De Blob in a way with you shooting paint everywhere but the other two games just handled the concept a lot better. I like 3D platformers in general so I still had a good time. There aren’t many bosses here, maybe only 3-4. You really have to figure out to handle them on your own since the game naturally won’t even give you much of a hint. Once you figure it out though, the bosses become child’s play to defeat. You’ll have them down in no time.

The story’s pretty forgettable but make sure you pay attention to the ending. It hints at a sequel and even hints that the main character’s mother may have been the main villain. It’ll give you some doubts about your supposed father since it’s not as if we ever see the guy right? It raises a bunch of questions so it’s really a shame that a sequel is likely never going to happen. I’m sure that the gameplay would have been a lot more polished as well so it would have been nice. I guess we’ll just have to rely on fan theories for this one.

The game is pretty long to be honest. It lasted me over 10 hours and that’s always a reasonable time. There really isn’t much to do in the way of post game content though since you had to get all of the jewels to challenge the final boss. There’s no real multiplayer either so this is definitely one of those games where you beat the main campaign and then call it a day. At 10 hours that is reasonable and the going price is really cheap last time I checked.

One thing the game did pretty well was its use of the dynamic levels. As mentioned earlier, it’s sort of like Mario 64 where you have one level and then multiple objectives within it. This game goes into even greater depth as the level grows for each level as you unlock new paths and it keeps track of what you’ve done in it. This means that the level will be a mystery at first, but by the 3rd and 4th levels you’ll really have the place’s layout down and can progress a lot faster. The levels aren’t being reused in a lazy way, but a progressive style where you really feel like you’re accomplishing. This is probably one of the main reasons why the game got a positive score in the end.

The other is that at the end of the day it is pretty fun to shoot the elements all around. In particular I liked the ice ability as moving around at top speeds was just really great. Once you got a new power, it became hard to think about how you used to go on without it. The abilities are just necessary. Fighting enemies could be annoying as they kept respawning over and over again and some were too durable, but the annoyance wasn’t too bad. The controls are tougher than the enemies after all.

Overall, SPray is another game that fell well below the radar. I can understand why as it clearly didn’t get the same amount of effort a AAA title has, but it isn’t bad either. It has some good ideas and while the execution isn’t on point all the time, the game really grows on you. By the end you’ll almost wish it could have had a few more levels. For a sequel the game mainly just needs to fix the compass or make the levels a little more straight forward. In particular, tracking down the invisible enemies was always a real hassle. It’s just hard to keep track of them in the giant levels. I’d recommend checking the game out for a unique experience.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Jak and Daxter The Lost Frontier Review


The first three Jak and Daxter games were pretty great so I was always looking forward to finally playing the 4th one. Unfortunately it is a noticeable step down in terms of quality and ends up feeling a lot more like a cash-in title than a main game. It’s a little disappointing although the game is still fairly decent. You’ll just keep being reminded of what it could have been.

The first warning bell is the extremely light plot. Jak and Keira are flying around when pirates shoot them down. They are led by Phoenix who apparently knows Keira from way back in the day. She decides to help him and Jak comes along for the ride even though Phoenix is really mean the whole time. One thing leads to another and the fate of the world depends on Jak stopping these other pirates from using Eco to power themselves up and destroying the world. Jak has his mastery over light and dark but his powers are still too strong so he could blow up the world if he tries anything. He’ll have to be satisfied with simply using hand to hand combat. As you can tell, the plot is extremely forgettable so I may have missed a few details and nothing happens.

The game is pretty short so you can beat it in a day or two. That being said, what will help stretch the game out is the terrible map and lack of clear directions. The symbols on the map aren’t labeled so you’ll rarely know where to go. I got lost a bunch of times and wasted quite a bit of effort not actually going anywhere. There are also not many levels, only 4-5 I think so you just keep on going back there over and over again. You can even feel how the game was originally for PSP and not PS2 because the game stops as an unskippable cutscene shows up every time a door opens. This happens for every door which really slows down the pace of the game. If it’s lagging, then you have to wait a little while for the door to open..great.

Technically the gameplay isn’t too bad. It’s the usual 3D shooter/brawler gameplay but with less of a budget than usual. Instead of the really smooth running and running from Ratchet and Clank or the older Jak games, you have a little trouble aiming and switching weapons. You only get 4 weapons I believe and while they’re all decently strong, none are amazing. Some of the enemies sure can last a bit. Fortunately you have ECO abilities like stopping time and can also upgrade everything in the menu. The combat is the game’s most impressive aspect even if it’s not amazing. I can at least get behind it and compared to even lower budgets like the M&Ms or the Ninjabread Man it is actually good.

There is naturally no real replay value to this game because if you beat the game you’ll just want to move on to a better title. If you actually do like the game then I think there are a bunch of collectibles to grab so that’s something. There’s also the Hero Mode that you’ll unlock which should really test your skills. Considering that you can get the game for a pretty cheap price, it’s all pretty reasonable if you ask me.

The graphics also aren’t bad. I’d say they look comparable to the original games. What I really can count as a big positive is the soundtrack. There are quite a few opera themes which are really good and at least make the boss fights feel more grand. It gives you something nice to listen to during some of the tougher segments of the game. Very few bits are legitimately tough as the quick time events are either too extreme or you basically have to die at least once and then allow the checkpoint to give you a quick boost by giving you back all of your health even though you’re further in.

I can’t stress enough how poorly designed some of the interactive moments are. For example, when you jump on the rocket as Daxter, you’ll end up getting shocked a lot even though you’re using L1 and R1. It’s just not good and was probably the most annoying part of the game. The background characters are also annoying with their constant yelling and you have to wonder why they were programmed to have such bad lines.

I think a big part of what hurt the game was how boring the story was. It’s quite telling that I found SpRay’s story to be more engaging. At least this one did have cutscenes though which I suppose should be an instant improvement. At the end of the day, the game is good but just barely. Watch out for the lackluster plot, the bad level designs, the broken compass, and the clunky combat system. As long as you can get past all of that, then you’ll have a good time. Also, try not to jump much since the game clearly did not know how to handle that. Even simple jumps forward end up being a lot tougher than they should be.

Overall, The Lost Frontier got lost for a reason. It’s kind of sad that the Jak series had to end on such a sad note. The first three games were just so good. This game was ambitious in its own way, but it just needed more quality control. The air levels could be fun and were actually better than the ground combat ones. They also weren’t very balanced at times, but they gave it a good attempt. Just play this game slow and steady and you’ll be okay. At least you keep your parts whenever you lose so you’ll have a lot of upgrades to buy when you land. I’d sooner recommend buying the original three, but if you already have them then you should probably buy this one. It’ll at least be good for a few hours of entertainment.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Review


It’s time to take a look at the latest Star Wars game that I managed to beat. This game’s really short as it’s only about an hour long tops. That being said, the game’s poor level designs will ensure that the game could take you a little longer. Several levels took me more than one try, but there is one big trick that will save you a bunch of time once you learn it. Read on and I’ll explain it towards the middle of the review.

The game’s plot covers the second film. Good luck figuring out what’s happening from the cutscenes though. It’s not as if you’ll get confused or anything, but you’ll never get all that invested. You just see guys with swords fighting each other and that’s not a bad premise, but the story certainly isn’t trying very hard to be exciting. This is one of those games that you’re really supposed to be playing for the gameplay anyway. The title couldn’t even be bothered to give us any really cool screencaps in the mean time.

This game is a classic 2D beat em up. Think of the old X-Men games from back in the day and you’ll get the idea. Most levels consist of you beating up on robots and other enemies so you can move forward. Naturally, you’ll just get stopped by another group of enemies and you have to fight them as well. You need to really like the gameplay in order to be content. Honestly, I thought that the gameplay itself was pretty good. Blocking and reflecting energy blasts was a lot easier than I would have expected. The transition between attacking and reflecting is typically smooth and the only part that doesn’t work well is turning around. Do so at your own peril.

You can use a super jump when you have enough meter and you have to obtain energy orbs to use any other force abilities. You can learn the Force Push for example, but it takes a lot of energy. So, here’s the trick. Enemies will only give you force energy when you defeat them if you’re not maxed out yet. They’ll only give you health once you force is maxed out. The trick is to simply never use your Force abilities. Several levels require them and there will be moments where you need the super jump, but if you can resist the urge to use them otherwise, then you’re set. See, the tough levels were the ones where robots would constantly attack you and your health would be whittled down. It’s incredibly difficult to defeat them all without being hit after a while.

That’s where the health drops come in handy. If you haven’t been using your Force abilities, then the enemies will be dropping a lot of hearts for you to pick up. That results in an endless supply of health. If I had known about this from the start, I would have breezed through the game a lot faster. It won’t help much for some levels as the second to last one has a one hit KO attack for example. Still, it is of great value if you ask me. Don’t be intimidated by the final boss either, he looks like he’s tough stuff, but he’s actually not that bad. Hold the A button and keep alternating between low and middle strikes. Do it fast enough and he’ll be virtually helpless. This is also a good time to use your Force abilities if you haven’t done so already.

While most of the levels have the same format, there are 2-3 levels where the game turns into a 3D racer. It was a nice change of pace, but it was hard to keep up with what was going on. I just kept on turning and somehow made it to victory. On the last race I don’t even know how I won, but I guess my missile hit a weak spot or something since the win screen came up almost immediately. We take those. There are 11 levels total and each one is only a few minutes even if some feel much longer. There is absolutely no replay value since there isn’t anything to collect or achieve. The game uses a very old password based system so you don’t even get to keep a save file. This game gives you about an hour of entertainment so you really have to think about whether or not it’s worth the money.

One issue I have with the game is that there are no checkpoints. If you die, then you go all the way back to the beginning. That may not sound all that bad since the levels are short, but it’s very annoying. Keep in mind that some of the levels have you on a roller or in a set path where you have to wait for the enemies. You could end up waiting for a minute or two as you roll around in boredom. The levels like to start slow and ramp up later on which doesn’t work very well the second time around. Checkpoints would have made the game so much better and I dare say that it would have bumped the game up to a 7. It’s bold, but it definitely could have worked.

I do like beat em ups for the most part. Hyrule Warriors was amazing and I really enjoyed Devil Kings as well. I haven’t played as many 2D ones, but the X-Men game was entertaining. These titles also tend to be pretty difficult so I was ready for it. Without the health trick, I’m not sure if I could have beaten the level with the winged creatures. It was a really long one and I had to stop and grind out the health several times. I applaud anyone who can get through the level without it. The game really needed to lighten up on the repetition with these levels. If the gameplay had been worse, it could have severely hurt the game. As it stands, I enjoy taking down scores of enemies over and over again.

The graphics weren’t bad. The 3D levels tried to cram in too many things at once so the graphics did suffer quite a lot in this set up. The beat em up segments were a lot better though. While the Stormtroopers looked a lot chunkier than usual, there was a noticeable improvement here. Likewise, the soundtrack wasn’t half bad. The game over screen certainly had a pretty thematic feel to it and since we got very well acquainted during the course of the game, I was glad that it wasn’t a boring tune. I do think the developers put in some real effort to these areas of the game so I can appreciate that.

Overall, This is one of those games that you buy for a single playthrough and then it vanishes…never to be seen again. I can’t imagine buying this on launch day for 20-30 dollars, but for a few bucks? I’d say that it’s worth it. Some parts of the game are clearly low budget, but others age fairly well. The final boss was pretty neat even if it could have been annoying if I had lost more times since I’d have to replay the whole level. Luckily, button mashing never fails in this kind of game. I have a feeling that the next Star Wars game will be better or at the very least, longer. Still, this game was fun in the end and that’s what counts.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pizza Delivery Boy Review


This is a game that I’ve been playing for a very long time. I have to give the game a lot of credit for being a very long title. I bought the game for 3-4 bucks back during my Wii spending spree. It sat on the backburner for a while and I’d play some levels here and there. Finally, I buckled down and got the last few levels out of the way. The game is better in doses and you will get a little tired of it by the end, but you will also have a nice feeling of satisfaction. It’s leagues better than some of the other Wii titles that I’ve played in the past, but there are still some things keeping it from being better.

The game starts off with a bang as two great pizza chefs become rich. Unfortunately, the fame goes to their head and they become mean so the town decides to teach them a lesson. They rip apart their cookbooks and spread the recipes across 3-5 different cities. The pizza boys become broke and are forced to sell off their many stores until only one is left. They decide to hire a Pizza Delivery Boy so that they can regain a connection to the neighborhood. You develop bonds with the civilians as you deliver the pizzas and gradually you earn enough money to start buying the shops back. You must continue to do this until you are a pizza monopoly once more and you can prove that you are the greatest delivery boy of them all. It won’t be easy, but few things are!

The “cutscenes” are really just stills with dialogue slapped onto them, but I am still glad they are there. Having an actual plot gives the game some depth. You get a cutscene every time you level up your reputation or move to another town. The Chef will also make a comment or two every time you finish a daily task. The graphics are fairly good. The main character’s smirk is always pretty intense. In game, the graphics are good enough for you to tell what is going on at all times. The town is rather simplistic, but it still looks better than you might have guessed from a low budget Wii game.

Unfortunately, the soundtrack is not quite as good as the visuals. There are only 2-3 actual themes and they all get rather irritating by the end. They’re just a little too loud and in your face the whole time. I’d like something a little more subtle and relaxing. On the other hand, I’d like a nice fast paced theme when making a pizza pie for the 500th time. It can get a little tedious so a change in music could end up making a world of difference if you ask me.

There is no replay value in the game so don’t look forward to that. Once you unlock the final level, the game even tells you to watch out because you cannot go back. After you beat the game, you will never be able to make another pizza pie or head out to play another mission. You can only replay the Pizza Boy of the Year tournament match and that’s it. So, make the most of the game while you can because after you beat it, there is not turning back. That’s why it all depends on the main gameplay so lets launch into that right now.

The game runs on a daily system. Day 1 is always delivery day. You have to decorate the pizza pies with toppings and then drive around as you deliver them. Actually making the pies is very easy and you will always finish with a lot of time to spare. The game is lenient with where you put the toppings so you will always get some kind of credit for it. A perfect placing is worth more so you should try to be as close as possible. Cooking the pizzas is easily my least favorite part of the game. It’s too easy and even when the controls are working it is not all that engaging. Maybe doing it a few times wouldn’t be so bad, but it gets old very quickly.

The second half of day 1 is riding around in your scooter as you deliver the pies. This part is a lot more fun and the controls actually aren’t half bad. You will gain new abilities as you play through the game like doing a wheelie or bunny hopping. This makes travelling a lot easier and more convenient and you can feel the progress the whole time. You will get better vehicles until you finally get your own Pizza Car. The car is probably a little too fast for its own good, but it does feel like a nice achievement when you pull it off.

Day 2 is about fulfilling a task for the citizens. This can range from delivering newspapers to wowing critics with blind pizza assembling. Day 2 is infinitely more fun than Day 1 as you just launch into the task and you also earn money, reputation, and pages from the cook book. It’s as if Day 1 is filler and then Day 2 is when the plot kicks in. I’d say that this is the best way to think about it at any rate. Since you need money to unlock the next towns, you’ll always be looking forward to Day 2. If the whole game was day 2, then this title would surely be a 7. Unfortunately, the repetition of day 1 is the problem here. This game wouldn’t have taken nearly as long as it did if the game was more enjoyable. Lets face it, that’s how you can tell a good game from an underwhelming one. It’s the very definition of a 6 for me as a 6 is a good game that has one or two things keeping it back from being a normal fun title. A 6 has the potential to be a 7, but just doesn’t live up to it.

Overall, The Pizza Delivery Boy definitely appears to have had a higher budget than some of the other Wii games that I’ve played, but the extreme amounts of repetition and recycled cutscene animations expose it. The developers seem to have taken as many shortcuts as they could and I wonder how many people actually played this game through to its entirety. Each town has 24 days within it since there are 12 tasks and every other day is a delivery day. I had to do the full 24 days for the first two towns and was able to unlock the final town after the first 18 of Town 3. That’s still a lot of levels and a whole lot of pizza. You’ll be making up to 7 orders by the end of each town and you’ll just be tired of making it. I never get tired of eating pizza, but making it is evidently a different story. I recommend this game to you if you’ve ever been curious about a pizza delivery boy game. That being said, it’s best to play this along with another game and then take turns every day or so. It’ll keep the repetition from getting to you. Otherwise, you may as well play a game that’s a lot more enjoyable like Sonic Colors.

Overall 6/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Anubis II Review


It’s time to finally play the third big game in the Ninjabread Man family. Conspiracy Games came up with other titles of course and I will be playing one of them soon, but Trixie, Ninjabread Man, and Anubis are the ones that I consider to be the big 3. Unfortunately, this might be the worst game in the trilogy. It all begins and ends with the final boss that is excruciatingly bad. It’s quite telling that this is the first game in ages where I had to go to Gamefaqs in the end. I try to make it a hard and fast rule that I will never use online resources to help me out in a game because I need the full 100% bragging rights. No matter how tough it makes it for games like FF VII. Still, I didn’t think that I needed to give Anubis the same level of respect and attention. The game basically cheats by not even telling you what the controls are.

There isn’t really a plot, but based on the back of the cover, you have been sent out to stop the villains! That’s not a bad premise I suppose although it certainly could be better. You are thrown into the first level without any other context. There are 4 main levels and four-5 mini ones as well. They all play out the same way aside from the final boss fight, where things get a little more intense, but not in a good way. You have to find 8-10 sacred pieces of something to unlock the time gate that will let you clear the level.

The levels are a little more linear than Ninjabread Man and I am also pretty experienced at playing this game by now. The levels are very similar to the other titles after all and you get used to reading the compass after a while. The game certainly isn’t very difficult so you will clear each level on your first or second try. The actual length of the game is quite short after the unreasonably long first level and you’ll have it beat in a few hours at best. There is absolutely no replay value to be found here, which hurts the game even more. The price is very low so that’s a start, but at this point you may as well buy a slice of pizza.

Now, I don’t mean to knock the game too much, but it has some pretty big weaknesses. For starters, the gameplay is your classic 3D platformer. You can swing your cane around to whack people on the head and you can shoot energy blasts as well. The latter is always your best option so use that to defeat enemies and beef up your health bar and lives. You can also jump of course and I recommend using the Z button over the motion controls. The latter is simply too unreliable and it is what hurts the gameplay. The level designs aren’t great as it is, but it’s even worse when you keep falling in the same spot. Luckily, there aren’t too many places where you can fall to your doom, but it can still be sad. I didn’t find out that you could jump with the Z button until I was at the final boss. If I had known about this earlier…things would have been very different!

Either way, the sword swinging is still rough though and a nice little Z button feature isn’t going to save this flawed game. The music consists of the same recycled theme that we’ve heard over and over again in the other two titles. It even plays for the final boss since the developers clearly couldn’t grab a second theme to put into the game. It’s pretty lazy if you ask me. The graphics are rather sub par although I wouldn’t call them terrible or anything. You can still see what is happening so that is definitely a plus. Games like Hidden Invasion have a lot to learn about proper brightness settings.

The final boss is what destroys the game though. If you thought that you had seen a poorly developed game before…think again! The final boss isn’t really a fight as you have to keep climbing these blocks that will disappear from time to time as you grab grenades. The game never tells you how to fire them by the way. To do this, you have to hold the A button and make a swinging motion. The problem is that it won’t work very often and the boss is on full spam mode so the energy shots never stop coming. If your grenade doesn’t come out in time, prepare to take some heavy damage. It gets old quickly and this boss took me way too long to complete. It quickly brought the game down to size. Otherwise, it may have stood a good chance of being the best in the trilogy. The Z button allowing you to do proper jumps is a huge improvement, although I suppose that there is the chance that the other two games had such a feature as well. All of the levels are suddenly a lot more manageable with this feature. If only there was a button for attacking and throwing bombs as well.

There’s also a weird glitch in the game where the Nunchuk will stop working sometimes. The game will keep telling you that it is not connected anymore of the game will suddenly have you running in a direction and you are unable to stop without unplugging the Nunchuk and plugging it back in again. I had to do that a great many times during the game so I feel like there is something wrong with the code. Granted, there are probably so many things that went wrong in the code that you could get lost there.

Overall, There’s not much reason to play this game so I can safely say that Anubis II lived up to its reputation. The Motion Controls on the Wii weren’t very good even with the AAA games. It’s not really a surprise that they tanked miserably with this title. The developers probably just checked to see if it could at least be slightly playable and then ran off with what little money they got from this game. I doubt it had a whole lot of quality control and it may not have had any at all. I can’t really picture myself buying an Anubis III, but if I ever see it in the 2 dollar bin, then maybe I’d take the plunge. If you’re looking for a bad game to play for fun, then I recommend Ninjabread Man. That game certainly had more heart….just a little more, but that’s good enough.

Overall 4/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Pokemon Hoopa and the Clash of Ages Review


Considering that the Pokemon anime messed up big time and probably lost a lot of viewers, it is nice to go back to before that time and remember the more innocent days. This film is fairly recent so it isn’t that far back, but it still counts. The movie was fun although I didn’t care for Hoopa’s true form and didn’t like how they overhyped him the whole time. The manga does a great job of fixing that up although it feels super small, even for a one volume one shot. The whole film is being played on fast forward mode and the manga diverges a little bit for fun. It’s a fun little read.

Ash and friends are enjoying some donuts when Ash is thrown into a portal. He meets up with Hoopa and two guardians who have decided that it is time to bring him back to full power. Unfortunately, this causes Hoopa’s true form to go on a rampage as he starts to blow everything up and summons 6 Legendary Pokemon to defend himself. Ash grabs Pikachu and prepares for the fight of his life. He is aided by 3 Legendary Pokemon as well so now he is ready. Can Ash prove that he is the true Pokemon Master and take these clowns down? Time to find out!

One thing that this abridged version makes very clear is that the plot gets a little repetitive. Hoopa’s jar is broken so he turns evil at the very beginning of the volume, but the heroes quickly turn him back to normal. That’s good…but only a few pages later we see Meowth grab the jar and unleash Hoopa once again. In the film, there was a decent amount of fluff so this didn’t happen immediately, but the manga depicts just how quickly these two identical events occurred. It did help us get to the climax very quickly though so that’s always fun.

The original characters from the film were okay, but mostly just generic here. The two protectors remember happier times with Hoopa and one of them gets to help out a little during the climax, but that’s about it. In the end, it really came down to Ash and his friends to save the day as you may have expected. Hoopa wasn’t quite as charismatic as in the film, but he is still a decent Legendary. I still don’t like the Unbound form though. At least he makes for a good villain. I was also glad that the manga fixed some of my issues from the film regarding his power level. He was definitely very overhyped there, but in the manga version we see that Lugia was wrecking him. Had the fight continued on, I’m confident that Lugia would have won here. He had Hoopa on the defensive right from the start.

The 6 vs 3 fight of the Legendaries was also handled a lot better than in the anime. Who hasn’t wanted to see Rayquaza take on heavy weights like Dialga? I do think that the 6 evil Pokemon would have won in the end since the numbers advantage is important and Latias is fairly weak, but it would have been a good fight. Ash was around as well so his Pikachu can really tip the scales. I was satisfied with Ash’s portrayal here. He was eager to help Hoopa out and didn’t back down from a fight. He was even willing to get zapped by Pikachu in order to save the day. His friends felt forced in though and the classic “The future is now!” saying felt a little tacked on as well since it was a really odd way to start the sentence. Ah well, Ash will get new friends soon.

Now, the writing for the manga could be a little odd at times. At one point, Hoopa asked Ash what he would wish for so he could thank Ash. Ash responded with his wish to become a Pokemon Master, but after Hoopa offered to grant this to him, he quickly backpedaled and said that it couldn’t be done. He could have given Hoopa an actual wish or simply declined as he did in the movie. Another moment was when Hoopa told his Unbound version something. I’m going to quote the dialogue word for word so here goes.

Unbound- “You disappear…I am Hoopa. I will be…the one…who remains!” Hoopa- “Ashkan said…he wanted to help you too. I’ll tell you everything about me. So please…..calm down and listen…They’re all waiting for you….You and I should become one again. Hee hee, Surprised? You can have fun with them too!” Then Unbound turns good and the two of them merge. Not only did this conversation use the classic three dots…too often, but it didn’t make much sense. Hoopa said that he would tell Unbound all about himself, but then he didn’t. The conversation didn’t actually go anywhere. Maybe it was a bad translation or something, but the dialogue throughout the manga isn’t great. The other lines aren’t quite that bad at least, but it definitely is something.

The art is very clear at least. It’s not great art or anything as it stays very basic to make it look appealing. It’s good for kids since they can easily understand what is happening and I’ll definitely take this over vague artwork that you see from time to time, but it still didn’t feel really high quality. A good example of a great take on simple art is Bleach. That series got it down to a T.

Overall, This was a bit of a short review, but there isn’t a lot to say about this manga. It did a good job of covering the events from the film, but it probably should have been a little longer as everything was really glossed over. I am glad that the 6 vs 3 fight was extended a little though and it definitely shows that the author had his priorities straight. These one shot adventures are always fun and a great way for Pokemon fans to experience the movies in case they don’t have the opportunity to watch them. It’s a good adventure and while it is not great, you’ll have fun reading it. Even if you’ve never watched Pokemon before, this makes for a good story. After all, you won’t need any previous context to understand what is happening since it is all self contained.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Reign of Fire Review

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It’s time to look at an old Game Boy Advance game that I’ve had for a very long time. I finally managed to complete it the other day as I just barreled through the game from start to finish in 2 batches. It’s a game that definitely feels like a cash in and even embraces this, but still has some potential. There are fun aspects to the gameplay, but the overall product definitely needed more polish. In the end, this didn’t end up being a surprise hit or anything like that, but if you’re looking for a fun way to spend 2-4 hours, this is your ticket!

The story of the game roughly follows the movie, but it only contains the bare minimum requirements of a plot. The game starts off with characters yelling about supplies and that dragons are dangerous. You spend a few missions growing crops, destroying Dragon Eggs and adding more people to your crew. Rinse and Repeat for 9 missions. I was fully expecting one of the groups to betray the heroes since I feel like that happened in the film, but instead they all jump into the alliance wholeheartedly and say the exact same things. “Why fight each other when we can fight dragons?” They all seem so sincere that you will naturally be very suspicious the entire time. I know that I was! Still, you probably aren’t playing this game for the plot.

Instead you are playing this for the gameplay. It uses an overhead style similar to Marvel’s Ultimate Alliance. You have an unlimited ammo of missilles that work just like bullets as you mow down the legions of dragons that chase you down. You don’t have to worry about the flying ones as they will rarely even fire a single shot, but the ones on the ground are the tricky ones. The Red Dinos can fire off multiple fire blasts and your allies will typically get hit every time, leaving you to fend off the armies on your own. You can find health supplies along the route so use them whenever necessary. Most of the missions will involve you searching for something so follow the compass and you’ll hopefully be fine.

The core mechanics of this game don’t seem all that bad. Walking and shooting can work well as a decent, linear experience. Think Super Mario or Pac Man, the games are simple, but effective. The problem is the technical limitations of the game. For starters, you can’t run. The characters move very slowly while the environments are incredibly large and sparse. This makes for a bad combination since you can be walking for several minutes in a row. There’s a reason why they give you a full 30 minutes to complete each level after all. Furthermore, the compass is rarely accurate. As I just said, the levels are huge and there are mountains blocking off several paths.

Let’s say the compass is pointing straight down. You’ll start heading that way only to be stopped by a long row of mountains as far as the eye can see. You must now guess whether the path to get lower is right or left. Choose incorrectly and you won’t make it back within 30 minutes. You can literally spend that entire time just walking around. This is partially due to the fact that all of the levels seem to share the same map and each level covers a different part of town. If you make a wrong turn in level 6, you may wander into the level 1 area and that journey takes a very long amount of time. Personally, I’d say that each level should have had its own stage. At the very least, you shouldn’t be able to walk between them by mistake, that doesn’t seem right.

That part was easily the most frustrating aspect. It’s not as bad as a bad puzzle or anything like that, but it really does slow your momentum down. The game isn’t very difficult once you understand what to do, but the game really does leave you to your own devices right from the start. For example, I died in level 1 many times because I didn’t know how to enter the Harvestor vehicle. Once I found that out, it was smooth sailing and the rest of the levels were pretty easy. There actually is a final boss so that’s neat. You have to fight against a giant dragon. The anticlimactic part is the fact that this dragon isn’t really any stronger than the minions. It has a lot more health, but it won’t even try attacking you since it just burns houses in the meantime.

After completing the human’s campaign, you unlock Dragon Mode. I wish this had been around from the start since it is certainly a lot more fun than the first mode. Granted, I probably would have started with the humans anyway. The gameplay is similar except you play as a dragon so you can fly and you also have super speed while walking. That really fixes one of the big negatives that I had with the gameplay. It is a little lazy that all of the dragons have the same emoticon/facial picture though. It’s interesting to see things from their point of view. I only completed two of their levels and probably won’t go and beat the others anytime soon. It would be fun, but I have other games to play and spent enough time on this one.

It does help the replay value though. Make sure that you jot down the password saves after each level because you likely won’t be able to find them online and then you’d have to start all the way from the beginning again. I do wish that the game had a save feature and I’m glad that it has become the standard for games nowadays. It really can make a world of difference. I would like to quickly point out that one of the pictures used for one of the characters instantly reminded me of a twitch emote. I dunno, the resemblence may not be all that striking from this angle, but go to Twitch chats for a while and it will all start to make sense.
Emoticons

The graphics aren’t bad, but they’re not great either. The title didn’t put a whole lot of effort into the character models. Everything is clear in the sense that you can distinguish between all of the objects, but they do tend to be a little blurry and unrefined. The soundtrack is fairly limited although I did play most of the game on mute. I made sure to listen to it a little afterwards though. It’s just not all that special or spectacular and you may want to keep it off as the constant sound effects from shooting and all of the explosions make it a very loud experience.

Overall, It feels good to be done with this game once and for all. The first level had be worried that the game would be quite terrible, but it picked up quite a bit from there. It’s still not a great game or even a very good one, but it can at least hold its own now. I think you’ll enjoy playing it and the game should be up for sale at less than 5 dollars online. For that price, it’s a bargain to snag. There are around 18 levels if you play both campaigns so that should buy you enough time to make the purchase worth it. With this game gone, I’ll have to see which game takes the top priority spot next time. It may be time for Yugioh to make a comeback.

Overall 6/10