8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The World Ends With You Review


It’s time to look at a game that I’ve had on the backburner for a very long time. The Worlds Ends With You has been patiently waiting its turn for many years. Well, it was time to finally get on with it. The game was a lot of fun back in the day but I decided to replay the whole game despite going through the first loop back in the day. The reason for this is that it has been so long. I want to make sure I really know what’s going on and with an RPG like this it’s usually best to make sure you have the complete context for everything that’s going on. The game definitely does not disappoint and is as fun now as it was back in the day.

The title starts with a kid named Neku waking up in Shibuya with no memories. He doesn’t know what’s going on but a girl named Shiki shows up and makes a pact with him. Basically what’s going on here is that the characters are trapped in a 7 day death game. The way the game works is that the villains send a message every day to the characters’ phones. Someone has to complete the mission before the time limit runs out. If you survive for 7 days you win and get to leave the game. The problem is that Neku doesn’t like people. He finds them to be too loud and annoying the whole time. Neku’s a loner who is also pretty smart so it feels like he has to wait for everyone to catch up. You can’t win this game without a partner though as that’s the only way to use pins with different elemental attacks to fight off the creatures known as Noise. Neku will have to learn to be friends with Shiki or this could get pretty ugly for him.

Right away you’ll see that the gameplay here is pretty unique. It relies heavily on the stylus so get ready for that. You’ve got two screens here. On the top you’ve got your partner and you control her by using the main buttons like A, B, Y, and X. If you follow your partner’s logic attacks on the top you can get energy towards a super attack which does a lot of damage of course. On the bottom screen you have Neku and he attacks by using the pins. Each pin has a different control setup which ranges from tapping the screen to swiping or doing something else like that. The main thing to keep in mind is to read the instructions each time. You’ve also got a hub world where you can buy items or food at shops.

In this game level ups aren’t nearly as important as your stats so keep that in mind. One thing that I didn’t do was eat a lot of food and that’s a mistake. It’s the best way to get stronger. The only way to eat is to challenge more than one enemy at a time. The more stack battles you do at once (Tapping on more than one villain icon in the hub world) the more bites you take out of your food. You don’t eat much per day so try to hit the limit every time. Do that and the final bosses will be considerably easier than if you had decided to forego this. The final boss in particular is a huge step up from the rest. Make sure you equip the final pin that gets tossed at you or you’re in for a pretty rough time.

The World Ends With You is definitely a pretty high end DS game. For starters you have a very unique soundtrack that has quite a few vocal themes. Now the one catch is that there aren’t a lot of themes so you’ll be hearing the same ones over and over again. The positive here is that they’re all pretty solid so it works out pretty well. The game also has very solid graphics with full cutscenes that play comic style as the game goes on. There’s one particular one involving a gun that maybe gets spammed a little too much but it’s a solid scene. Expect a lot of twists and turns as the game goes on. There’s certainly some nice room for a sequel here.

One thing that helps this game out as well are the solid characters. It’s almost inevitable that an RPG would have a solid cast by the end but it’s still important to note in all of these. Neku is the lead and he’s very solid. He has a big character arc since initially he doesn’t get along with anybody and by the end of the game he’s mellowed out quite a bit. He’s still not cheesy or anything though as he still has some pretty harsh thoughts about everyone and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. Then you’ve got Shiki who’s a solid heroine. She’s definitely quite lively and makes for a good foil to Neku’s character. She’s always trying her best to see the bright side of things.

Beet is another one of the main heroes but he goes through some rough patches. While he gets a lot of development I can’t really side with him after what he did at the end of Act 1. He tries to walk it back later but it was a little too late for him. Meanwhile Joshua was actually my favorite character in the game. Like Neku he always had a comeback ready and he was really handling the villains pretty well. He gets the most memorable scenes in the game. Whenever he appears you knew something fun was going to happen.

For the villains you’ve got quite a few here. My favorite one was the Grim Heaper. He had a lot of good math puns and a solid design. he wasn’t afraid to get things done his way which is always important. You’ve also go the elusive conductor although he mainly just gets mentioned a lot. You’ve got two villains who are like a serious version of Team Rocket. While they try to be nice and relatable near the end you can’t forget the fact that they’re mass murderers either way. One thing you don’t want to lose sight of is the fact that this is a murder game. Keep that in mind when all of the twists are happening. No matter how you slice it that means all of these guys are knowingly complicit in these actions.

Overall, The World Ends With You is a pretty great RPG. It’s got a solid set of characters and really nice technicals on its side. There’s a good amount of replay value since you can warp to any of the previous days to do any missions you skipped. It’s a game that gives you a lot of options for what you want to do next and the length is pretty good as well. With news of the anime coming up the series is definitely staying relevant. As long as you like a good story then this is a game I recommend to any gamer. It’ll definitely hook you on the interesting premise and solid characters.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Elebits: The Adventures of Kai and Zero Review


It’s certainly been a very long time since I started this game. I got in pretty deep to be honest, but unfortunately I hit a glitch and had to start over. I pushed that off for around a decade but now it was time to finally do it. This is a fun game that is held back by a few items. I would ultimately not recommend it too highly simply because there are just many better games to choose from. Still, if you really like the Elebits then this will allow you to get some closure at the very least. Otherwise the series appears to be gone for good so I don’t really think we’ll be seeing any Elebits in the near future. It’s a shame but that’s just how it goes.

The plot starts with Kai talking to us about Elebits. Essentially they power the whole planet as they are this world’s version of electricity. Without them we’d all be doomed. Kai’s a little jealous of them though because his parents research Elebits so they are rarely home. One day he gets in his dimension hopping bus and finds himself on a whole other world. The citizens there tell Kai that his Elebit is a legendary one known as Zero who will end up saving the world. Kai doesn’t believe these guys because that is a bit of a tall tale but still, he does have to get home so having a powerful Elebit will help. The bus explains that he needs energy and directions to get back home so Kai’s going to have to keep capturing Elebits until they find some maps to go home. Will Kai ever make it back to his planet?

Most of the game’s about the journey as you travel from planet to planet. We do get to squeeze in an end of the world plot near the end of the game though which was pretty impressive. One of the Elebits is going crazy and he’ll destroy everything if we don’t stop him. This part of the plot may feel like it comes out of nowhere but there was technically some foreshadowing for it I suppose so we’ll count it. I’m always glad to have a hype climax so either way I was pretty cool with this. The boss battles in the game tend to be its high point. I thought all of those were handled rather well. It can be tough to know what to do at first since the game doesn’t really even drop you any hints but you’ll figure it out. You’ve only got so many Elebits after all so eventually you’ll find the right one to use.

That’s part of the game’s weak point though. It never really lets you know what’s going on and while in a boss context that works out all right, it makes things a little tricky in the puzzle sections. A lot of the time it feels like you’re just stumbling around blindly without a clear plan of what to do. Some sections would take me ages and others I couldn’t figure out on my own. The stages don’t always make a lot of sense and they expect you to use your powers without ever being taught how. As dicey as this is, it could work if not for the fact that you run out of energy so quickly. Each Elebit consumes energy whenever they attack and if you run out that’s it. It takes forever to stock up energy again depending on where you are so then you have to go back to the bus and start the labyrinth again. It’ll be shorter since most puzzles stay completed once you leave them but others you just have to do again. Whenever I had to backtrack that part would be a bit annoying.

The core gameplay involves moving and tapping on Elebits with a stylus. You have your Elebit absorb them after tapping on the creatures. This gives you back energy which you use to open gates, use Elebit moves, or upgrade the Elebits. I’m not sure what the benefit of upgrading the Elebits was so I didn’t even bother doing that. By the time I’d have enough to max most of them out the game would be over anyway. The campaign itself is close to 9 hours which is pretty solid. There’s also a ton of replay value to keep you busy including a bunch of extra Elebits as well as upgrades. If you get this you’ll be in a better spot for the final boss although to be honest there isn’t a huge incentive to doing so. The bosses are fairly easy compared to the puzzles either way. Trust me, the puzzles are what will likely slow you down the most. It’s just hard to get around those.

The graphics are okay. I don’t think they’re low quality or anything like that but it’s going for an odd style. The artwork’s not all that great to look at. It’s sort of going for a gritty style that’s fairly realistic despite this being a fantastical game. It’s all very dreary as opposed to the bright colors you would expect from Elebits. Even the cutscenes use this style which is unfortunate. The gameplay loos a little better at least. I’ll give the soundtrack props though. The themes are pretty solid and we even get a big song at the end. I was not expecting that and it definitely made the game’s climax that much more emotional. I was not prepared for such an ending.

Overall, How much you enjoy this game will depend completely on how much you enjoy puzzles. The game is filled with them and I’d make the case that it’s the core of the gameplay. Moving and tapping the screen are really just here so that you can complete these puzzles. The boss fights are fairly rare so they don’t take up a whole lot of time. The vast majority of the gameplay is just navigating. I still found the game to be fun enough, but it would have benefited greatly from two factors. 1: You shouldn’t run out of energy. Give the player unlimited energy when working on the puzzle or something. Nobody wants to have to restart because they’re out of energy. Additionally I would reduce the amount of puzzles. Give me more platforming instead as I capture Elebits. Those two aspects would definitely make the game more fun.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bakugan: Rise of the Resistance Review


It’s time to look at a Bakugan game I’ve had for quite a long while. This one I would have beaten ages ago, but I got stuck in a bit of an odd glitch at one point in the game and couldn’t move forward. Ultimately what I did was cleared out the save data and started from scratch. It’s been so long since I played the game that it felt new anyway so I can’t really say that it was a chore to get through. The gameplay was just as fun as I remembered and the story is pretty good. It’s just a solid DS title that reminds you of the good ole days. They don’t really make quick portable adventures of this style nowadays.

The game starts with Dan’s Bakugan warning him that a new threat is approaching. Before Dan can say anything Drago transports the two of them to a new world where aliens are trying to take over. Dan saves a robotic girl named Eva who was under attack and decides to help out. Eva explains that these villains are after nothing short of total global conquest and so Dan will have to utilize all of his skills if he wants to win this match. Fortunately he is one of the best Brawlers on the planet so this shouldn’t be hard. Along the way his other friends show up to try and get a piece of the action. Teamwork makes the dream work after all right?

The story is very direct with the characters not opting to waste any time. The heroes got their development in the show and none of the villains get any kind of sob stories. Our mission is just to take them out and nobody bothers with any small talk. As a result the game goes by in a flash. You’re thrown into fight after fight until the game just ends. You’re able to pace yourself pretty well because the game follows a strict formula. You fight a few bosses and then rescue an ally. Rinse and repeat until you have all 6 allies and then you fight against the final boss. I always like to know how far along in the game I am so that’s a nice little touch if you ask me.

As for the gameplay, it’s actually a tower defense style game. I haven’t played a whole lot of these in the past. I played Locke’s Key and a RWBY game on mobile but that’s about it. It’s a gameplay style that I find fun enough. It probably wouldn’t work in super large doses or anything like that but for a short game it’s a fun change of pace. The idea is that you’re protecting a core and you have to set up fighters to attack the enemies coming your way. You can also actively intervene with your Bakugan to attack invaders. Part of the fun is choosing whatever setup you want. You have 6 different Bakugans to choose from and also 6 different kinds of guardians to summon. As a result, you’ve got a ton of creative freedom in choosing how you want to go about doing this.

Personally my ideal set up for the first 70% of the game was to use Dan’s Bakugan. His fire attack is incredibly powerful plus he also powers up any Bakugan he is next to. This really helps for your army of attackers. For a while I just used an all fire team. However, that changed when I got the Light Bakugan and I never went back. His final smash is he makes a barrier around the core which even blocked the hit from the boss of the level. As far as I could see this attack is incredibly overpowered. So long as you don’t get sloppy and start letting everyone cross, it’ll block the few enemies who escape you. As far as I’m concerned, that makes him a winner in my book. The Shadow Bakugan is also good because of how powerful his slashes are. If you’re going to pick a leader Bakugan, I recommend one of the main 3 but the light one is the best if you ask me.

From the bodyguard Bakugan fighters each one has a different special ability. I recommend the Time stop Bakugans to start the level out with. Post 2 of them by every entrance into the castle. Then summon the missile ones everywhere you can. You don’t unlock them til near the end though so during the early game I’d say to use the fire ones since they can spam their fireballs and later on you can add the light ones since they blast multiple enemies. I’d advise putting one aerial Bakugan by each entrance as well to deal with the flying enemies. There are a lot of strategies to use of course so this is just mine. The biggest key fact to remember is that the time stop Bakugan is the most OP. It slows them down to a crawl which gives you more time to make your move.

The graphics are pretty solid. I like the sprite style used here and all of the attacks look solid as well. The special effects are all on point and I wouldn’t really say that there are any points that look sloppy. In terms of soundtrack the game is very limited. There are probably 3-4 themes in the entire game so get ready to hear them on loop after a while. Every character only has 1 sound effect as well so get ready to hear the same one spammed to death over and over again. It may not be the highest budget game but it’s all pretty endearing. I do think they could have put more of a budget into the soundtrack at least though. Why not grab the tunes from the show?

The campaign is around 4-5 hours I’d say. It won’t take you very long to complete. Each battle can’t really be sped up though since they’re timed with how the waves keep coming. That being said, there isn’t a lot of platforming to do between battles so those parts go by very quickly. My playtime by the end was 11 hours but that was between the two playthroughs which is why I’d say that it’s around half of that. There also isn’t really any replay value. You can easily have almost all of the characters close to being maxed out by the end if you alternate them. You can also grab all the cards in the hub world to unlock them, but the cards barely help much anyway and it’s not like you’ll need them since this game isn’t all that difficult.

Overall, Rise of the Resistance is a pretty basic game. There’s not much to it outside of the battle system. That said, it’s the kind of basic game that you just have a lot of fun with. It’s all pretty smooth and since not many games use this combat system it ends up being pretty fun to play through. Who doesn’t like a classic alien invasion story right? I do think one way the game could have helped itself out a bit would be to have the characters move a little quicker. Walking from one part of the hub world to the next could take a whole lot longer than it should. I don’t really have any other negatives than that though. I’d definitely recommend picking up this game, you’re guaranteed to have a lot of fun playing through it.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Darkness Review


It’s time to take a look at the next installment in the Mystery Dungeon series. I haven’t played one of these in a long while, but the first game was a lot of fun. Also, I own the next two games in the series so now I can start a bit of a marathon. In general the Pokemon spinoffs have all been pretty great. Just look at Pokken and Pokemon Ranger which have been a blast. Well, Mystery Dungeon can definitely hold its own with those big shots as well. This one ups the stakes and brings a pretty cool plot. It’s definitely a great game.

The title starts off with the main character losing his memory and being transformed into a Pokemon. Fortunately Pikachu stops by the Beach and decides to be Terry’s (the main character) friend. Pikachu wants to join the Guild which is where all of the various Dungeon teams go to team up and help out the world. Pikachu isn’t very brave though so Terry decides to help him achieve these dreams. Together the two of them solve many odd jobs and fit in pretty well. Things get serious though when a mysterious Pokemon begins stealing Time Wheels from around the world. If this continues to go on then the whole world will end up being frozen as time will be stopped. Can the heroes stop such a powerful villain?

I always like time travel. It may have a tendency to introduce plot holes into a series or not be utilized well in others, but it offers up so many different possibilities that I feel like you have to at least give it a whirl. This game handles it quite well. We get a few plot twists in the story as well. It’s fair to say that you’ll probably see a lot of them coming, but it doesn’t weaken the impact of these plots. The main campaign’s around 13 hours long so you’re given a lot of time to be introduced to the characters and get attached to them. There’s also a bit of a post game here to look at as well.

Now lets look at the gameplay here. It’s an overhead turn based combat system where you control the actual Pokemon. There can be up to 4 of you in a party although you only control the main character. The others are around to help out on the side. Be warned though that if Pikachu loses in combat then that will apply to you as well. There are certain ways you can at least control what your allies will do via tactics and turning off moves though. For example Pikachu learns an attack called Discharge later on which is incredibly powerful so after that I would turn off the other moves. That effectively forces him to use it until he runs out of PP. The move has 8 PP so you’ll need to switch it out again pretty quick.

The bosses could be pretty tricky here at times. If you don’t take them out fast or just some kind of technique to lower their stats you could really be in trouble here. Then there are the random monster houses that pop up which are probably even tougher than most of the bosses. If you run into one then it’s probably game over. Each dungeon ranges from 8-20 floors. So wherever you last passed a checkpoint is where you would be warped to. You also lose your money and a bunch of items so you are encouraged not to lose too often.

The dungeon system is pretty interesting because you’ve always got a pretty good sense of where you are in the game. They’re also just fun to explore in. The only mechanic I didn’t like here is when sand would randomly show up. It buffets your team members every few steps and if you have a full team of 4 that’s a lot of messages to keep clicking out of. It also seems to effect all dungeons until the effect randomly goes away. I understand that this is probably to add more drama to the dungeon since you’re constantly taking damage but since you heal more health than it can take away while walking it still feels pretty pointless in the end.

One other angle that’s not too interesting is how there are a few recycled animations every time you go to sleep and wake up again. You have to watch the heroes eat dinner every time and sometimes you are randomly chosen to watch out for foot prints which triggers a minigame and ends the whole day. I’d definitely be game with that being removed from the sequels. It’s just not needed and if anything it just wastes time. The post game hints that you won’t have to worry about these things anymore once you beat the hidden boss which hints that the game knew this would be a bit of a hassle as well.

In terms of characters, Terry’s pretty great as always. He’s very heroic and is always ready to make the hero call when necessary. He’s someone you can count on. His partner Pikachu isn’t quite as interesting. He’s a little too quick to believe whatever the villains say and has a hard time keeping up with the plot even when it’s not all that difficult. When someone tries to murder you, you should probably connect the dots that this character must be evil. The Guild is fun enough. Their leader Wigglytuff is a bit annoying at first but since he can actually fight I did gain some respect for him. At least that means he can be powerful when the need arises.

Grovile and Dusknoir are both pretty interesting characters. It makes for an interesting dynamic in the game and is also a pretty serious plot that works out well. Finally, we’ve got Dialga who is excellent in this game. We even get a cool time travel scene where Dialga and Celebi square off. Both of them are known for their mastery over time of course although I suspect everyone already knows that Dialga would have the edge in such a confrontation. You just can’t hope to beat one of those guys.

The graphics are pretty solid. There are quite a lot of Pokemon here which are nice to see and occasionally you’ll get a cutscene that is almost animated as the pictures light up and have some special effects. That always helps to add some weight to the moment. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which has some really nice themes in it. In particular one great theme is when Dusknoir grabs the heroes. That theme is always really epic and one of the best that I’ve heard in a spinoff lately. I still can’t go as far as to say that it beats the themes in the main games though because those are pretty phenomenal.

Overall, Explorers of Darkness is a great game. The RPG story can really hold its own and the ending is pretty emotional. Make sure you stick around after the credits because there is an extra scene. This is definitely one of the best stories I’ve seen in a Pokemon title. It’s going to be very difficult for the next Dungeon game to pass this one but it’s always possible since the game is on an upwards trend. The next one also makes the jump to the 3DS system so that should be pretty interesting. If you haven’t checked this game out yet then you should. It really shows you just what the Pokemon series is capable of.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs Review


Time to look at the final Pokemon Ranger game and definitely the one with the most ambitious story. I really don’t remember the first game’s plot all that much but I actually enjoyed the second quite a bit. Ultimately I would put this as the best Pokemon Ranger game though. All of the mechanics are at their peak and I enjoyed the whole Signs system. It’s nice to finally be able to have abilities of your own without having to worry about catching Pokemon all of the time. These quality of life updates along with incredible gameplay and a sound story make this a very solid all around Pokemon game.

The game starts with Terry and Summer flying to the next region as they chase the Pokemon Poachers. Unfortunately they are defeated by one of the enemy generals known as Red Eyes and crash on the island. Summer has been kidnapped and Terry’s Capture Arm is damaged so he can’t capture Pokemon. The villains have also taken out the comms tower so he can’t alert HQ about this. Terry meets up with the lone ranger on the island and his family who help him fix his tech. Terry must now find Summer and stop this villain group from concocting their evil plans. Can Terry manage to do this or will the Pokemon Poachers stay one step ahead of him? This won’t be an easy task, but someone’s gotta do it.

The fact that the villains actually shoot the heroes down in the opening cutscene is a pretty powerful start for them. It’s not every day that a group is able to beat the heroes like that. Along the course of the game they also beat up the Ranger Boss, Blow up an entire island, and even take down some Legendary Pokemon. There are also quite a few twists about the main villains and who the true boss was. This game did everything it could to make the Pokemon Poachers a legitmite threat and I’d say that they succeeded. Now keep in mind that this is still Pokemon so there are a lot of underlings who are comic relief as well. Not all of them are ready to deal with the rangers. The stakes are here though and all of the main villains were quite solid. I gotta give the game kudos for taking more of a bold approach to the story.

The cast is solid on both sides of the ball. For the villains my favorite member would be Red Eyes. He made for an imposing fighter and he liked a good challenge. Blue Eyes was also solid and got a lot of development. Then you’ve also got the other villains who are neat. The game gives a lot of them fairly open endings which leaves room for a sequel if Nintendo ever wanted to do that. I’m still surprised that we haven’t gotten a new Pokemon Ranger game since this one. It seems to me like there is a lot of potential here for more games.

As for the heroes, Summer is a solid partner. I did expect her to use some more Pokemon or help out in combat a bit more though. In theory she is about as skilled as the main character so having a nice parallel with her taking down some of the villains would have been neat. Instead she usually just watches as you take down the villains. Then you have the local ranger and his family who are around and rooting for you. They help with tech and figuring out the villains plans. It’s all about teamwork in this one.

Then you’ve got the actual gameplay which as I mentioned is pretty great. So instead of traditional Pokemon battles you have an electronic capture net. How it works is you have to draw lines around a Pokemon until his capture meter goes all the way up and you win the battle. Once a Pokemon is captured then you can use him to weaken other Pokemon or use his ability to get past an obstacle on the map. Be warned that once you use a Pokemon’s ability in the map then he leaves your party. The only Pokemon you get to keep around with you the entire time is Pichu as every Ranger game gives you one buddy. It’s a very interesting system that also forces you to time tings well. When you summon a Pokemon in battle don’t let him get hit or you’ll lose him. Additionally when drawing your circles don’t let your line touch an enemy attack or you deal damage. Some Pokemon can be hard to capture because they are always attacking.

When outside of combat you can also level up your Styler so that it has more defense, attack, or other stats. I maxed out power as soon as possible because that lets you capture opponents quicker which is how I roll. I like the glass cannon approach. It really forces you to play the game carefully and then rewards this with how much power you deal. I managed to make it through the whole game without dying so I can tell you that this is a pretty good strategy worth pursuing. As long as you are confident in your passing abilities then there should be no problem here.

As for the graphics, they are definitely really good. The level designs have never been better and the battles look good as well. We do get the occasional cutscene in the background which is good as well. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty catchy. I like the Poacher theme and the boss themes near the end are also pretty good. The themes build up the suspense and ultimately have a nice variety which is always important. The game really delivers when it counts.

The main campaign is around 13 hours long which is pretty good. There’s also a good amount of replay value when it comes to capturing all species of Pokemon and clearing all of the quests. That should take you a pretty good amount of time to achieve. Once you have that all done then I suppose there won’t be much more to do, but you’ll have played enough to justify the purchase if you ask me. It’s not every day that you get to play a Pokemon game like this one.

Overall, Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs is a solid way to end this part of the franchise. I’m sure that someday we will get a new entry but it has been quite a long time since Signs came out so we may have to wait until the game is old enough for a nostalgic revival of the series. In the meantime if you haven’t played these games yet then you definitely should. It’s not likely that it will ever pass the main Pokemon series but this is one of the best spinoff series that I have played. It keeps the top level quality you would expect from the main series and never lets up.

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Pokemon Ranger: Guardian Signs Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 12h 47m
Level 45
Styler Energy 94
Styler Power 230
Charge Level Max
Energy Plus Level 1
Power Plus Level Max
Line Plus Level 3
Defense Plus Level 1
Charge Plus Level Max
Recovery Plus Level 1
Latent Power Plus Level 1
Signs 5/8
Pokemon Captured 215/293