Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Review


When I play a game like Lunar: Dragon Song I figure that the days of bad gameplay mechanics are behind me. Then I play Spirit Caller and I remember that there is no end to this. Here’s the problem with Spirit Caller right off the bat, you can’t duel the person you want to without RNG and a lot of luck. That’s a big issue but I’ll go more into that in a moment. Anytime RNG dominates your game like this without a specific purpose you know that things are about to go sour and it’s just a shame.

The basic plot is that you are a new transfer student to Slifer Academy. You joined up a few days after Jaden and pals so now you will be around for the events of the TV show. I believe this covers the first two seasons. You have a fairly small map world that is divided into about 6 areas. You can jump into each area and then wander around for duels. After fulfilling specific criteria that is not mentioned anywhere in the game, you can trigger story events. Good luck triggering them without a walkthrough by the way. Keep on going until you have defeated all of the enemies.

So here’s problem number 1, at first you will just have to click on each red circle and hope it’s the right duelist. NPCs give off the same frequency as duelists so you’ll have to waste time bumping into the same guy time and time again when looking for an opponent. Also, until you register an opponent in your PDA he is completely anonymous so you may end up fighting someone you’ve already beaten. How do you get them registered? Well, you have to beat the opponent a bunch of times but there is no exact number. So just keep on defeating these guys until their icon eventually shows up over an area so you know how to avoid them.

Also, there’s a day and night system here. You only have time to check out a few spots before it goes dark and it’s time for bed. This is definitely a shame since you may want to play more than that. The whole day and night system is always really bad if you ask me. Particularly as there seems to be no point to it here. The amount of days and nights are endless anyway and the only difference is that once a week or every other week you have to do a test that has no impact on the story or on your stats anyway.

Some story events also take a really long time to trigger. For example, one event was I needed to just keep going to sleep until Jaden randomly wakes me up for a duel. The problem is that it took several cycles before he did that and there’s no way to speed up the time except to keep on visiting areas over and over again. The quickest way is to pick an empty area and then another one across town. It’s all rather tedious though.

So those are my main issues with the game. I don’t like that you have to just wait for story events to come to you or that the day will run out so you are forced into bed. Also, just let me duel whoever I want instead of having to search the forest to fight a random opponent. It just doesn’t make any sense if you ask me. The World Championship games may not usually have a plot but at least you can jump in and duel whoever you want whenever you want. Now isn’t that a much more balanced system? I would certainly say it is.

The actual gameplay is good though. The duels go very smoothly with fast loading times and a lot of interesting decks. Some Yugioh games suffer from being a little slow but this isn’t one of them so that’s good. I think you can definitely have a good time with this if you focus on the duels. The problem is that there are other Yugioh games which can give you a similar experience with less hassle. Still, at least it’s an incentive to buy the game since the gameplay is at least good which is important..

It’s hard to say how long the game is, but at my current pace it would easily take around 30+ hours I would say. It’ll take you a long while to earn up enough money to buy all of the best cards as well and you will need that if you want to take on the future duelists who will appear. Also, EXP allows you to level up which includes more card packs and dueling opportunities so it’s important to keep battling as much as possible. There is definitely a lot of content here.

At least you can expect to have a true challenge here. The game starts you off with a truly terrible deck and since buying new cards comes down to luck you will definitely be held back for a while before you can get a really solid deck. Once you do though, then the sky’s the limit. Creating and managing your deck is one of the most enjoyable parts of Yugioh after all since you get the satisfaction of really getting to build from scratch and knowing that each card was carefully placed into the mix. That is definitely the way to go.

Overall, Spirit caller is one of those games that tried to get a little too fancy for its own good. As a Yugioh game all this title needed to do was supply the duels and give a fun plot/story to work off of. That’s really it. Just have a nice hub world to walk around or put it in an arcade mode kind of setting. The whole time system and constant RNG have no place here. Think about it, you’re already going to be using a lot of RNG for the actual duels so do we need it in the hub world as well? I would say definitely not personally.

Overall 6/10

Lunar: Dragon Song Review


What were they thinking with this one? Dragon Song easily has some of the worst video game mechanics I’ve ever seen. Another issue here is at least most titles stick to just having one awful gimmick that was thrown into the game. This has a bunch of them and we’re definitely going to have to talk about why they are an issue. There is a decent game buried in here somewhere but the game makes it as difficult as possible to try and find it. I can see why the franchise basically died with this one.

The story takes place many years before Lunar Legacy so now we can see why everyone looked up to the Dragon Master and why all of the dragons were in poor shape from the start of the first game. Well, Jian is just your average main character who looks up to the old legends of strong fighters. One day he and Lucia are on a usual delivery job from their guild when they wander into a town and fight some monsters. That’s when they find out that the town general is actually a mad man chasing power. He takes out the dragons and becomes the Dragonmaster. After that he kidnaps Lucia.

Jian has to get her back but the only one who can defeat a Dragonmaster is another Dragonmaster. Jian needs to take down all of the dragons and get some powerful friends by his side if he is to save her but it won’t be easy. Fortunately Jian is the kind of guy who learns really fast and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the enemies. In fact, he does have more character than the first game’s protagonist even if he is unreasonable a lot of the time. Get ready to hear Jian constantly talk about how he has to save Lucia and he will do whatever it takes. He says this a whole lot.

Dragon Song has a fairly weak character cast though. You won’t remember any of the heroes for very long which is a shame. Additionally, the main villain is so unremarkable that the game doesn’t even let you fight him. Yes, you have a main villain who actually goes out without a fight. If that’s not anticlimactic then I don’t know what is. It was such a bad way to go out too. Then for the heroes you have a revolving door here as your party members keep on changing. Maybe that’s part of what makes it hard to really sync up with them. They also don’t level up with you so be prepared for a level 1 guy to join you when you’re past level 10. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

While Jian’s determination to save Lucia is good, he does come across as unreasonable parts of the time. A big moment of this is when the world is at stake and he has deliveries to do but gets baited into joining a tournament to prove that humans are just as cool as the Beastmen. It wasn’t really a good time for that and he ended up being cursed for his efforts. The game has a theme about humans vs beast men similar to Arc the Lad, but it is not handled nearly as well to be honest.

Lets talk gameplay now though. On its surface this is a turn based combat game where you attack enemies and level up to victory. Here’s the first issue..you can’t choose who you attack. Yes, it is completely random by the system so get ready to always be attacking in the worst possible combinations. Enemies who you should defeat easily suddenly become an issue due to this. At least you’re earning EXP the whole time right?

Wrong! You only earn EXP if you switch to EXP mode but then you won’t earn any materials or items. Moreover, the enemies and bosses level up with you. The issue with this is that your efforts are largely wasted as the bosses get a whole lot of extra health for leveling up. Grinding up your levels just isn’t as satisfying as it usually is. Also, you don’t get money from minions no matter which route you choose so earning enough to buy the good equipment takes a long while. The best way is to just farm guild missions which is still quite slow and tedious.

It’s also worth noting that your weapons and equipment can break. Yeah, this has never been a good gimmicku and Lunar Dragon of all games was not going to be the exception here. Did I mention that you can run at your own peril? The game encourages you to walk because if you run then you will rapidly lose health points. If you get too low on health then you have to walk until you can find the nearest healing statue. It’s incredibly inconvenient when you’re at lower levels and don’t have a whole lot of health to speak of.

There is no quick travel system for each town. You can use ports to skip some areas but at the end of the day be prepared to do a lot of running. If you want to open the chests in an area you have to defeat a bunch of minions within an allotted time while in EXP mode. The game really wanted to make sure every aspect of the game was as painful as possible. Now you may be wondering, why isn’t the game a negative score then? Well, the answer is because the game still has enough interesting points where I would say it’s worth a playthrough. Even if just to see how bad these mechanics are.

The graphics are decent even if I would definitely not call them very good. I would have liked actual cutscenes or at least some illustrations instead of the hard to read text that is spammed at you. The soundtrack is pretty forgettable though so you won’t remember it for long. The game took me around 20 hours to complete which is really not all that bad. It definitely could have been a lot worse that’s for sure. There isn’t really any post game to speak of though so forget about having any replay value.

Overall, Lunar: Dragon Song is definitely what I would call a soulless RPG. A lot of the decisions are completely baffling as to why you would ever even want to add them in. They straight up take a lot of the enjoyment out of the experience. This game should have been an easy 7 and yet I couldn’t give it a positive score. The gameplay is just slowed down far too much. To run away you even have to blow into the microphone which is also horrible. There are probably even more mechanics I could mention but you get the general picture. Dragon Song was just never going to be all that good because the gameplay is a huge part of any RPG. Same with the story and that was just pretty bland.

Overall 5/10

Yugioh GX: Spirit Caller Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 7h 9m
Battle Record 24-7

Deck Stats

Legend of the White Dragon 12% Complete
Powerful Seal 7% Complete
Established Chaos 59% Complete
Shadow Magicians 52% Complete
Scarlet Firestorm 52% Complete
Ultimate Power 52% Complete

Battles of Prince of Persia Review


Prince of Persia typically delivers with games ranging from very good to great. Unfortunately this one was a big exception. The gameplay just isn’t very good. Not only is it not very polished at all but it takes way too long to go through each level. Some quality of life upgrades could have gone a long way since the game is at least trying to have an ambitious story. The gameplay just undercuts it.

The story is told through a few time periods and through around 4 different perspectives. Basically the Prince of Persia has decided to open up the box of demons to help him fight off another army but this failed miserably. Another army has resurrected an army of skeletons to fight alongside him but they are revolting because they want revenge for the guy’s wife being murdered a while back. So you’ve got 4-5 factions all running around and trying to do their own thing. Who will be the one to rule over all of Persia by the time this is done?

There are around 23-24 levels so that may not sound like a whole lot of time but each level takes a long time. I want to say it’s 30 minutes minimum per level and that’s of course assuming you complete the levels in the first shot each time which I find very unlikely. Granted, you can probably beat a lot of the opening levels like that but as the game goes on it gets much harder. It’s not even all that subtle as I would say the difficulty just randomly spikes as you play through it.

The gameplay is a tactics kind of game. You control a bunch of different pieces and each one is good against another type. You have swordsmen, horseback riders, archers, the Prince, etc. The goal is often to take down the opposing army which you can accomplish by going for the prince directly or trying to take down the majority of their fighters before they take the crown. Some levels have different goals as well like trying to just escape/flee the area in time. Those can still be pretty tricky though because the enemies really try to get in the way.

One tricky thing is the game never actually tells you which type beats another. Your best bet is to probably just write this down as you play the game since it’s not like there are a whole lot of types anyway right? I didn’t bother personally but I still managed to make it pretty far. Ultimately the game conquered me around level 17. So here’s really the worst part of the game, the incredible slowness. That’s what really bumps the game’s playtime up so much. Each battle has animations that you can’t skip and have to watch each time. Each side also is able to use around 20 units so to get past a single turn you are effectively giving out 20 orders in any other kind of RPG.

So each level takes forever and a day. Here’s where the developers could have made things better. Speed up the actions or add an optional setting where you can skip animations. I would also argue that you should make the size of the teams a little smaller but that one’s more debatable since I understand that it’s fun when you have more complex units. The more people on each side, the more you really have to strategize. That part is fun to be sure but the last thing you want to do is have to start a level all over again after having already sunk 30-40 minutes into it. That just doesn’t feel like a lot of fun.

There should be a lot of checkpoints everywhere or ways to upgrade your units. A simple training function would have gone a long way here since you could at least make your team more prepared to take the win. Without any kind of training system it forces you to have to think of a better strategy but then your opponent has all the best cards. I didn’t mention that before but this game has a whole card gimmick. You can only take actions based on the card you used. While the specifics aren’t as complicated as the DBZ Card game so you should master it pretty quickly, it’s just not all that fun. At the end of the day that’s the big problem with this game, it’s ultimately not fun.

The graphics are decent I guess. There’s not a lot to them though since the game never really tries to show off the graphics. It’s just about fighting it out against other enemies in pure sprite type animations. I don’t think this would have been a very difficult game to set up in that arena. Then as for the soundtrack, it’s okay at times. You’ll occasionally hear one of the hype themes from the Gamecube games but it flutters away just as quickly as it appeared. That’s the most unfortunate part easy. On a technical level the game isn’t impressive but I wouldn’t say it’s bad.

That’s why it’s a shame about the gameplay. The story is excellent and has some compelling ideas so mixed in with some decent gameplay this could have actually been a good game. There was just so much potential here. I don’t really understand why you would go to the card game format anyway unless you’re Yugioh or something like that. For other franchises it seems to always completely backfire personally and this is no exception.

Overall, Battles of Prince of Persia really misses out on the biggest aspect of a game. A game should be fun. The gameplay needs to be such that you want to go back and play another level. In this case you’re just going through the motions but not having the level of fun you would expect to have. At the end of the day this is a game that is best left forgotten. Hopefully we get a real new Prince of Persia game at some point.

Overall 4/10

Dragon Ball Z: Harukanaru Densetsu Review


It’s time to look at a DBZ game that I’ve been working on for quite a while at this point. It was the second big attempt at a card game version of DBZ based on the real one. The problem is that this is the kind of game that works better in person than in a video game. When you’ve got a game that’s completely luck based like this one, you can’t trust the computers not to cheat. Of course they’ll do whatever they can to win and that’s the problem. It’s never an even playing field with them and then that just makes the journey feel futile. 20 hours in and it was time to call it a day on this title.

The game adapts the first two arcs of DBZ. We get to wage our war against the Saiyans and Frieza’s Army in the first and then Cell and the Androids strike after that. I made it as far as the Ginyu Force showing up before I was ultimately forced to call it a day. Those guys are a lot tougher than you would suspect at first glance. There are also a lot of levels to even get that far. This game makes sure that even the briefest of skirmishes in the manga are turned into full blown boss battles in this one. You can expect a very long experience here. Honestly I don’t see how you could possibly complete it in under 30-40 hours. This game is definitely a long one so I do appreciate that the developers were trying to make this a complete experience.

The problem is that it’s long for all of the wrong reasons. One of the issues the game has is that each match takes forever. You have to wait for the cards to load, then you pick the cards and you get a little animation as the cards group up. If you win the encounter then the game plays a cutscene of you blasting the opponent. Rinse and repeat in every turn until one of you goes down. As you progress through the game you’ll deal less and less damage due to your level not going up quickly enough. If you want to fix that then you’ll need to go back and play the old levels again. Also if you lose during a level you don’t keep any of the XP from the fights. This can be tough as some levels can have up to 8 boss battles and if you lose to the last one you have to start all over again from your previous level. That means you’ll be stuck in a loop unless you go to an old level and do more grinding.

It’s not very fun either because in the last level the enemies just aren’t that tough so you’re not getting a lot of XP here either. It drags the game out even further. Still, I worked on doing a lot of grinding because I figured it was all worth it to beat the next level. Eventually I got Vegeta to level 23 to try and handle Captain Ginyu and to my dismay he started pulling out reverse cards. Now to understand how bad this is lets quickly recap the game’s controls. It’s very complicated so I’ll do my best to give a very condensed version of the rules. You have to use power or ally cards to attack your opponent and this works if your attack is higher than the other player’s power points. So if you roll a 7 and they have a 4 then you’ll get to attack and the damage will be based on their defense so for example the opponent may have a defense of 6. So just go for high numbers right?

Well, starting in this level the opponent has a reverse so if you have an 8 and they have a 2, it flips and they get your high number. The issue with this is that you’re now never sure of what to do. Do you try to go for a number higher than the opponent or lower? It’s a big issue because the computer always manages to somehow guess the correct number to dish out. I was far stronger than him at this point in the story yet he countered all of my blows until I eventually lost. That’s when I realized that there wouldn’t be much of a future in this game. It took the card mechanics one step too far to the point where there was just no return. You can’t use card game tactics like this and then also throw in a reverse card. If you’re not sure how to even aim your points then the whole thing feels futile.

It’s a shame because I do like the idea of the various characters having their own stories so you keep on alternating. The game has 4 main characters: Goku, Vegeta, Piccolo, and Gohan. Each character has their own fights and because of that you can also see why Arc 1 is so long. Some of the stages are also very long and can last for 20 turns or more. Each turn takes a while too. On average I’d finish a level in around 20-30 minutes I’d say. I’ve seen games with longer levels but that’s still a lot of time for a card game. It’s why the best Yugioh games are the ones that have low loading times since you’re really able to get into the action without having to slow yourself down.

The graphics are okay. They’re classic sprite animations which look fun enough. It’s got a very retro feel to it. The soundtrack is less impressive though. It’s not bad, the game is clearly going for a bit of a peaceful theme that you won’t mind hearing over and over again. I definitely see the logic in this approach because with this gameplay you can bet that you’ll be hearing the theme effectively on loop forever. So I’d say the game succeeds in that respect. I’d like more tunes but if this is the one we have to have it could definitely be worse.

In terms of replay value the game technically has a ton of it. The main campaign is huge and then after that you’ve also got extra leveling up you can do and things of that nature. You won’t be finishing this game anytime soon but with the gameplay as it is you’re unlikely to want to play through the whole adventure. This game really should have just tried being more fun. I should mention that you are able to exploit the quick save mechanic so that you are actually able to save within the levels. It’s extremely handy because this game would be even trickier otherwise. 2 quick fixes the game could and should have done would be to add actual save points and also to allow you to keep your XP when you lose. Those two things would have made a world of difference in the game.

Overall, The game’s design just isn’t very good. It makes a whole lot of mistakes and ultimately is not able to come back from them. DBZ games need action and excitement. If you’re going to go for a card game format then you need to make sure it’s fun. Dragon Ball Heroes uses cards to a much greater effect. This one still beats the GBA game though. That one had similar controls but the execution was ultimately even worse than this one. At least this one tried a lot more with the story and such. There is a huge amount of dialogue in this game. I recommend playing Attack of the Saiyans instead.

Overall 4/10

Kirby Mass Attack Review


It’s time to look at a quick Kirby game from a while back. I say quick, but due to the fact that the game forces you to collect a ton of medals it actually isn’t quite as short as it would appear. Expect a lot of backtracking here unless you managed to grab the medals the first time around. It’s not super likely though as the game forces you to lose your pals every time you go to a new world. It’s not until you have completed the first 4 worlds that you keep your full squad each time. It’s a bit of a dicey mechanic if you ask me. I always feel like grabbing collectibles should be completely optional. Ah well, I wouldn’t say it’s incredibly long or anything like that I guess. At the end of the day the controls are what hold this one back a bit.

The game starts with Kirby trying to enjoy a normal day but getting attacked by a mysterious villain. Kirby has now been split into 10 different mini Kirbys. He will need to regain the scepter and stop the forces of evil in order to emerge as the one true Kirby once more. Is that even possible? Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure, Kirby won’t rest until he saves the galaxy once more. While I may write Kirby up to be more heroic than he is, the guy always does have a knack for saving the world at the end of the day and that’s what counts. He’s a guy that you can count on to get the job done. Without Kirby the heroes would definitely have been doomed in this world.

The gameplay is very stylus centered as I referenced earlier. This isn’t your classic Kirby platformer. In fact, you can’t even move without the stylus. How it works is you tap wherever on the screen you want your Kirbys to run to. They follow the stylus and will collect anything that is in their path. To attack an enemy you just tap the enemy and they will do the rest. The more Kirbys you have on your squad, the easier it will be for them to clean shop and take these guys down. 10 is the maximum amount of Kirbys you can have at once. With them at the ready you can activate a lot of different mechanisms in the levels and really have your pick of how you want to complete some levels.

There are around 3-5 medals in each level. You only need to care about the rainbow ones. Those are absolutely critical to getting the final world unlocked so pick up as many of them as you can. You’ll be happy you did this up front so that you don’t have to replay too many levels. It’s also worth noting that obtaining medals unlocks more minigames so those might be something you’ll want to check out. It does help the replay value. If you take away the replaying levels part then this game is probably around 7 hours or so. Throw in the replays and I’d say that this extends the game to around 10-11 hours easy. It’s forced replay value though so it’s not as helpful to your enjoyment of the game as you might think.

I also couldn’t get around the controls even by the end of the game. Why would you have your character controlled by the stylus? It’s way more fulfilling to just control the character yourself. At least, that’s the way I see it for sure. I like to just be able to move the characters and things are a lot more entertaining that way. The characters don’t always respond very well either which leads to some extra deaths that I wouldn’t have encountered otherwise. At least the game gives you a chance to save them. When a Kirby gets hit, they turn into a ghost and you can use another Kirby to grab them and bring them back to Earth. If that happens then you keep the Kirby. If the Kirby goes away then you lose him until you earn 100 fruits again to get a new one. Obtaining a new Kirby doesn’t take too long but since they’re crucial to obtaining some of the Rainbow Medals you want to take good care of them.

The graphics are pretty solid. This game holds up with the rest in that respect. The level designs are fun and all of the worlds do feel different. I’d say it’s fair to make the case that a lot of effort was put into the game. It’s certainly not a cash-in or anything like that. This game did try its best. Then we’ve also got a solid soundtrack filled with a lot of solid Kirby tunes. I’d say that some are new, some are old, and some are remixes which is a pretty solid balance. I’m not the biggest Kirby fan though so I’m not 100% sure on the music balances.

The bosses are pretty fun and they’re all fairly unique. They have different attack patterns and things like that. The only problem is that due to the way the controls are, it barely matters. No matter how they play, your controls are the same. You just tap the Kirbys onto them and that’s it. Because of that, the best boss is probably one who fades into the background so you have to attack him by jumping into barrels as if this was a DK country game. It was a solid boss fight that tests your reaction times and makes for a satisfying victory once you do manage to win. This game is also a little more difficult than the average Kirby game I should mention. It’s not particularly hard next to the average game but definitely way more intricate than the typical Kirby experience.

Overall, Kirby Mass Attack is a pretty decent game, but one that is limited by some of the choices the developers made. The main two things holding the game back are the controls and the fact that you have to go back to get the Rainbow Medals. The latter decision is particularly the one that really doesn’t help things out. It’s just not something the game should have done. It only hurts the game by a star though. Ultimately if you can find a good price for it then I would still recommend Mass Attack. It’s definitely a unique Kirby game and it has a real story as well so that’s always fun.

Overall 6/10