Ninjala Review


It sure took me a while to play this game but it definitely lived up to the hype. This may be a hot take but pure gameplay wise I actually prefer this to Splatoon. Of course a big part of that is the fact that you’re on your own here and don’t need to fight as part of a team. Then you’ve also got the close combat gameplay which is even better than the ink shooting.

The game even looks a lot like Splatoon which I have to assume is intentional. The game has a lot of modes but naturally you’ll be most interested in jumping online to get right into the battle royale. There are around 8 players in a given match and you have to try and get the most points. You obtain points by grabbing orbs around the stage, more points by breaking these little sandbags all around, and a ton of points by knocking out other players. The gap in points is rather large: 20-100-400 so knocking out players is your best bet. They’ll be trying to get in your way regardless so it makes sense to try and take them out right off the bat.

The controls are fairly simple here. You can run along the ground and up the walls as well as jump. You have a dash attack which lets you get up close and from there you have your standard attacks and a super attack once your meter gets high enough. It seems like characters have different moves so you’ll want to learn them but your main method of attack will be with classic attacks. Land a good combo and you’ll take your opponent out in an instant. It’s definitely the way to go if you want to be the one wearing the championship belt.

The thing I don’t like about the gameplay is that it has a rock paper scissors mechanic going like in Pokken. So when you clash you both have to choose a direction and hope it’s the right one. I never cared for this kind of mechanic and don’t get why it tends to pop up every now and again. Why would you want to throw some random variables into a fighting game? That seems like the last genre to add such a thing since you want it to all be about your individual skill right? Seems to me like throwing this in just muddies the waters.

It’s also pretty much inevitable that you will have several clashes in every fight so get ready to see this mechanic a lot. Personally I’d say the game should drop it and then it would feel a lot more balanced. It would really make you have to focus on when you want to attack and try to stay cautious so nobody ambushes you. Yes that would definitely be the best way to do it and I think that would work out for everyone.

Well, even with that I did manage to win my first few rounds but I suspect the game threw in some bots. I can’t prove it, but I was fighting several opponents with very generic names like Paul and Chris. No extra letters or numbers so I find the odds of them getting those names to be rather slim. I was also dominating throughout and sure I’m great at picking up on a game’s mechanics right away but I was a little suspicious. It was almost too easy which started to tip me off. Maybe I’m overanalyzing this, it’s possible but I’m not buying it.

After a few wins then I started seeing a lot of fancy names and the games quickly grew harder. Ninjala is certainly a game that is easy to start but hard to master. Don’t expect that you can just walk in and start claiming wins. This game isn’t quite so easy as all of that. There are quite a few mechanics to master and that makes sense since the tutorial seemed really large. I quit out of it after the first lesson but you’d want to study it all if you intend on playing for a long while.

I should also mention that there are some bonus stars. You’re scored by total points at the end of the round but you then gain some for doing the most damage, most KOs, etc. So keep that in mind, just because you have the most points when entering the results screen doesn’t mean that you will win in the end. That actually bumped me down from 1st to 2nd once. It’s an interesting idea but I think the game should go by base points. If you win then you win, no worrying about extra factors or any of that.

The graphics are solid. This definitely looks like a very modern game and it’s also very colorful. There’s a lot to look at and the levels have a lot of detail to them. I definitely have no issues there and the soundtrack is good as well. This really is a solid all around title and if you ever threw in a big cinematic story mode then this could be a great game even without online. The gameplay is certainly polished enough to make it work.

Overall, Ninjala is a fun game. I don’t really see people talking about it anymore so its window of fame may have already ended but the fundamentals are sound. I like that you don’t have to enter in teams like a lot of the similar online titles. You can just jump in and take names. While the battle royale results being based on points does mean that you can lose even while playing super well, it won’t be too likely. Beating opponents gets you the most points so as long as you do that well then you should be in high spirits. I would definitely recommend checking this game out for a fun blast.

Overall 7/10

1943: The Battle of Midway Review


1943 is a rather basic airplane type game. There may be a plot but you wouldn’t really know it from playing the game. I don’t tend to count booklet plots all that much. So you have to enjoy the gameplay as that’s really the focus of this game. I wasn’t particularly impressed with any one element but the game itself is solid enough. It’s a game built on its fundamentals and there are quite a few weapons and mechanics to learn. Ultimately they may not stand out but this is a really difficult game so good luck trying to beat it without using any of the advanced features like rewinding and such. This one is going to take all of your abilities to get through to the end.

The main gameplay here is an overhead style as you watch your plane go forward and land major damage. You are attacked by all kinds of ships and other enemies as they overload the screen. Your task is to take them out as they come through and survive until the end. Typically there will be a boss at the end although not every level has one. Sometimes you will just keep on going until the level ends.

Now when I said the game was tough, I definitely meant it all the way. A few hits can take your plane down for the count. Additionally your plane keeps changing weapons when you touch the power ups. Some are better than others so avoid these when you have one that you like. On the other hand, you can shoot a power up to turn it into a health item but you have to do that carefully. Shoot too much and it’ll be a power up item again, shoot too little and the same thing could happen. It’s all a battle of reaction times and you have to make sure that you are on point the whole time.

You’ve also got some kind of bomb/thunderstrike ability. This is really handy as it affects the whole screen but surprisingly it won’t necessarily defeat all of the minions that it hits. It’s strong but not a one hit KO move the way that most of these attacks tend to be. I was certainly surprised when some of the villains endured the attack. I guess it helps as per game balance but I’m used to it being a one hit KO in all other games so it took me by surprise.

It’s not worth using anyway though as it cost your health to use this attack. It takes a solid chunk out of your health bar so even if you land a lot of hits with it, it’ll rarely be worth it. I’d say at best, use it if you’re completely surrounded and are about to be shot down. Then you have nothing to lose and may as well give it a shot. Moves that take up health are just rarely worth it to me in any game.

The graphics are decent here. Nothing too special but the game itself is clear and you always know what’s going on so that’s worth something. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side but it’s not bad. In general the game just doesn’t have a whole lot of personality. From a screenshot you could easily mistake this for any other aerial fighter. I think they should have done a better job of standing out. Even if this is trying to be fairly realistic, you could still pull it off if you thought about it hard enough. It’s an old game so I’m not expecting anything out of this world but I think it could have done more.

There also just isn’t much of an ending or a sense of accomplishment when you make it to the end. It just starts looping as if this is a super old NES game. I would have liked there to have been some kind of end cutscene or something. That would have done a lot of good if you ask me. Well, it’s not a bad game either way but you probably won’t see me picking it up again. This is very much a one and done kind of game. You play it through and then move on to the net thing.

Overall, 1943 is a decent game to play for a little while. Blackhawk Striker/Shooter is a much better plane game though. If you want a game with a lot of personality and energy then that is the one to check out. Without a doubt that one tends to blow everything out of the water in the genre. This one feels more like a dime a dozen and hey, that’s still not a bad deal for 40 minutes of free fun. It’s just not enough to take it to the next level so I’d recommend giving this one a try and then looking for something more long term.

Overall 5/10

Congo’s Caper Review


Congo’s Caper is a fairly traditional platforming title. You get to travel through different lands as you jump and fight your way to the goal. You can swing at enemies with your club and duck under obstacles. It’s a fairly short title but a fun one all the same. If you like platformers then you’ll definitely enjoy this and you can’t go wrong since the game is free after all.

The main character was enjoying a nice peaceful day when the heroine gets kidnapped by the main villain. He now has to save her before all hope is lost. The characters are now monkeys but with an item he can turn into a human. It’s an interesting gimmick. Instead of shrinking like Mario when you’re hit, the player turns into a monkey. I can tell you that the gameplay is a lot smoother when you’re a human so I advise you not to get hit. Sure, that’s easier said than done but I recommend that all the same. It’s just way easier to land blows and fly through the stage when you’re a lot bigger.

Each level is fairly different so the game deserves a lot of credit for keeping things fresh. You never feel like the levels are recycled or anything like that. The stages are also at a good length where they don’t drag on or feel too short. It’s actually a rather well polished game considering that you’ve probably never heard of it before. The gameplay is smooth as well and some of the bosses can actually be rather difficult. You’re probably going to have to break out the rewind and access point features a whole lot here.

Now the story is rather basic and by the numbers so you’re definitely here for the gameplay. The heroine getting captured is extremely standard but at least the game has her getting captured more than once which is a little different. Clearly the heroes need some kind of security detail at the ready since the villains can just waltz in and do whatever they want otherwise.

The bosses have cool designs and the boss battles themselves are rather creative. For one boss you have to avoid all of his legs and wings as you try to hit the head in the center. This boss is particularly difficult because he can move so fast and making any kind of contact with him will damage your health. You really need an air tight reaction time and a good plan in order to take him out. Otherwise you’re just doomed.

Throughout the game there were several moments that seemed incredibly difficult. You had to run ahead of some spikes or the ground collapsing. I died so many times to that and had to keep rewinding until I cheesed it. It wasn’t until the final level that I realized what was going wrong..there actually is a run button. It explains why the character was moving so slowly. I was actually walking for the majority of the game. In my defense the game didn’t make that particularly clear. It was fun to finally have this at the ready though.

The graphics look pretty good. I’d say that the style they used is one that ages really well. The colorful animations and character models are still rather sharp and the same is true for the environments. It’s closer to the high end on the side. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. Some decent tunes and all but nothing that will keep you up at night. It could have used some more high energy tracks which would have taken this to the next level.

Overall, Caveman’s Congo is a solid game. I won’t overhype it and say that it’s great or anything but you’ll have a good time with it. The game lasts for about an hour so if you need something quick to play then you should just jump on this one. You’ll be glad you did and I think it could do really well with a modern remake someday. Caveman type stories aren’t really my thing but for a platformer the gameplay is the most important part and I think this game proved that it could make this work.

Overall 6/10

Fighting EX Layer Another Dash Review


Whenever there is a free fighting game to check out, it’s definitely worth a play. Fighting Ex Layer is much like Street Fighter X Tekken in that you can see the full game content right out of the gate in the menus but you just can’t interact with them unless you pay the full price. I went into this one with the freemium version of course so I stuck to my selection. The game’s modes aren’t too extensive anyhow.

The modes here are vs mode (Online and Offline), Arcade mode, and Training. There isn’t a story mode here and Arcade only has one block of text as a character ending of sorts. So this is really a game that is focused purely on the combat. For most that will probably be enough for them to spend money on the full version so they can play the online vs mode. Battling against people online really throws in the replay value after all. If you stay strong on that though then your best bet is playing through the Arcade mode.

You get 4 fighters to play with and each one has their own special techniques and attack options. Mastering each character is your best way to win. I was able to complete the Arcade mode on normal and easy and they were reasonably tough so I imagine going on hard mode would really be a tough ordeal. Definitely not something to do unless you’re really confident in your own abilities. You have to have absolute confidence in yourself or it’s all over. I recommend going for the leg sweep, they seem to have a hard time blocking that move.

Mix in a few aerials and just keep swinging buttons. I can’t say I had an easy time finding out which attack combo’s into another so just find a 2 hit combo and you’re set. You can at least launch a flying kick and then go for a sweep which should work for any character. Pull that off and then you’re in a really good spot. You can also use an unblockable attack by pressing the A and X buttons at the same time. It’s super slow but gets the job done in a pinch.

Another benefit to jumping a lot is that if the opponent counters you will be just out of range. A final tip I should mention is grabbing is really good here. Just throw the opponent all over the field and you won’t have a problem. It’s a great way to keep the momentum at all times. It also deals quite a bit of damage so the game reminded me of Street Fighter V in that sense. Man I used to throw all the time there and it would just work. That’s how good the throws were.

The graphics are definitely really solid here. The game looks new and has a fairly sci-fi kind of feel to it. You feel like it’s a modern title and I would like to see the characters show up in a game with a story mode someday. Now that would absolutely have a ton of potential behind it. The soundtrack is more on the forgettable side. No real bad tunes or anything but none that you’ll remember once you finish the game. It could really use one rock solid rock theme if you ask me.

In general the game is just lacking in content kind of like Super Mario Run’s free version. It would be good to have added some more things to do here or maybe we could get a story mode at some point. The best thing to do if you ask me would have been to have added some text before each opponent so the arcade mode feels like a story. I think that would have hit the best balance by far and it’s a relatively low impact way to enhance the game as a whole. I’m surprised more titles don’t quickly slap a little story together like that. Would be a perfect way to pull it off.

At the end of the day the game is still good because the gameplay is solid though. It may not be the fastest paced fighting title but the moves make sense and you always feel like you have a chance. It’s got a higher bar to really learn the controls than a lot of the other fighting games so you can’t expect to just pick it up and start landing combos. This is one of those games where actually learning the moves will be absolutely mandatory.

Overall, Fighting Ex Layer is a game that I’d recommend giving a download. After all, it’s free so there’s no reason not to. Way I see it, downloading a free game is always worth the effort. Even if it doesn’t light your world on fire, you’ll have still gotten to play a nice game and it won’t have cost you anything. I don’t think you’ll be playing this game for very long as there isn’t much to do on your own but you can enjoy the nice gameplay and characters. Slap on some more content for this without having to purchase it and you’ll definitely have a winner here. It just has to be done soon before people have forgotten about the game. Honestly the marketing wasn’t that intense so you very easily could have missed hearing about it even from the start.

Overall 5/10

Fall Guys Review


It’s great to finally have Fall Guys as a free to play game. I remember that one got a ton of hype along with Among Us and really broke out into the mainstream. Well, I can say that Fall Guys lives up to the hype and is definitely a fun title. There is a lot of downtime both between and during matches so you’ll want to have something with you to read or play in those moments but the actual gameplay is a lot of fun.

The controls are extremely simple here. You can move, jump, dive jump, and grab things. That’s it, the idea is to survive until the end and have everyone else be eliminated. This is done over the course of a few different events that will test your platforming skills. At the end of the day the big thing here is definitely being able to react quickly and get to the end. The really fun part of course is that you’re up against a bunch of fellow players who are presumably good at platformers too. So it’s not like you’re styling on a bunch of A.I. or anything like that. You’re going up against potential world champs.

It’s also not easy to win because the levels themselves are also reasonably challenging. So between that and the other players then you’ve got quite a lot to balance out. I managed to get 1 win during my first day of playing but it still did take quite a few rounds before I got there. Don’t expect to get a win right away. No matter how good you are at platforming, it’s still going to take a little bit to get used to exactly how this works. Also, there are quite a few different levels and they randomly alternate so eventually you just want to be really good at all of them. Otherwise all it takes is one tough minigame to knock you out of the event.

Once you lose you can choose to stay and watch the others or leave. I personally recommend leaving so you can start the next event a little sooner. On the flip side if you win a level early then you have to keep on watching until the rest of the players make it. This is the downtime I was talking about before and so you’ll probably want to have a plan for that. Otherwise it probably can drag a little which could hurt the experience for you. It is necessary as I don’t see how the game can get around this though. So just stay ready and then you go up against all the rest in the next minigame as well. Rinse and repeat until you are the single champion

Naturally the game does have a level up system and lots of quests so you can work on those as you play the game normally. It’s always fun to have some kind of progression system and I dare say that any free to play game which is lacking in this will probably end up having a rough time. You need some kind of way to keep people coming back after all and this is a very tried and true way of doing it. The replay value never ends that way and the devs will just need to hit that sweet spot of getting new levels from time to time without removing all of the classics too quickly. I feel like they will be able to pull this off though.

It’s a rather simple formula that is hard to mess up. Who doesn’t like platforming anyway right? So long as the rest of the levels are fun like this one then I think you should be in a really good position going forward. The graphics are nice and while the little characters themselves may not be super stylish yet, you’ll unlock different wardrobe items to fully customize them. I expect within a year or so you’ll have countless items with which to make them hit the next level.

How long you stay with this game will probably depend on wat else you’re playing at the moment. After all, picture playing a Mario level for a while. It’s a lot of fun but how long will you keep playing until you decide to call it quits? A progression system in and of itself is probably not enough to keep you on the title forever. That said, one of its strengths is certainly how easy it is to pick up and play at any time. You don’t need to actually remember the game at all to quickly remember how to jump and move around. So as long as you have it downloaded you can easily feel like just playing it on a whim at some point.

Overall, I had a good time with Fall Guys. The developers were really smart in deciding to make a game like this. It’s one of those things that feels obvious afterwards since this is just a really great gimmick to go with. Who wouldn’t want to just be playing a lot of platforming levels and having a blast like this? It was satisfying to get the 1st place that one time after all and no matter what happens you always feel like you won or lost by your own efforts. At least right you never feel like the level RNG elements override your abilities. That’s probably the main thing the game needs to watch out for. Keep on experimenting and bringing in new things but be careful not to go too crazy. I’m confident this game can pull off the balance though.

Overall 7/10