8 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Dr. Mario World Review


It’s time to look at another mobile game that I’ve been going through. This is definitely more of a Fire Emblem than a Madoka in terms of how long I’ve been playing it. Dr. Mario World is a simple yet addictive mobile title which will keep you coming back for more. With over 200 levels available at launch Nintendo really did a good job of making sure there was a lot of content here.

The basic plot of the game is that viruses have launched an invasion on the mushroom kingdom and even on surrounding lands like Bowser’s kingdom. The only way to stop these viruses is to have them take some medicine. Dr. Mario and Dr. Bowser form a reluctant alliance to end the threat, but will they really be able to stop these guys?

So far we’ve only had the one cutscene after the opening which is where Bowser stepped in. I honestly think more cutscenes could have easily been added considering that they are basically just still images with the characters. It wouldn’t be too crazy to have added them after every world right? In the game’s defense, it did freeze after I beat world 3 so I had to restart and enter world 4 so there is a slight chance that there was a cutscene there I suppose. I haven’t looked on YouTube or anything but at least in my experience I’ve only seen the one cutscene.

The gameplay is basically an upside down Dr. Mario which is pretty interesting. I’m thinking they switched the gameplay style so it would be easier on the mobile but that is just speculation. Regardless you’ll quickly come to love the style. I dare say that I much prefer it to the classic gameplay. It’s a lot easier for me to dive into and I’ve been tearing through the levels. You have to match 3 of a color to eliminate the locks and viruses. Most levels are won by eliminating the viruses but some are about collecting coins or other such goals. The game is very clear about the goal from the start so there is no guess work. As you go through the levels the game continues to add new versions of enemies and obstacles. New things continue to be added after level 100 and I wouldn’t be surprised if the game isn’t done yet.

Graphically, Dr. Mario World doesn’t pull its punches. All of the screens are quite clear and the visual effects when eliminating the viruses are pretty satisfying. All of the visuals can hold themselves over as if they were from a big console game. The soundtrack is very small as is usually the case for mobile titles but the main theme just fits the game so well that you probably won’t notice.

As for replay value, the game definitely has a lot of that. As mentioned the main game has 200 levels plus speed levels in each world. These levels get progressively harder so even if you beat a lot of the early ones in one shot you definitely won’t be doing so in the later ones. You also do have an energy meter so if you lose a level 5 times straight then you will need to take a break for a few hours. That hasn’t been much of a problem because of all the maintenance though. They give you an extra 10 hearts for that each time. While going through the levels you will also be earning coins which you can use to buy more doctors and assistants from the shop. These guys have effects that are pretty subtle but they add up during a match. You can equip 2 assistants to help you. As for the doctor, you get to pick one at the beginning of the game and get a random one later on. I decided to go with Dr. Bowser and have not regretted that decision at all. His ability to destroy 2 rows is very handy and makes up for the fact that he is pretty slow.

Then we can’t forget about versus mode either. The gameplay is similar but more like the speed version. You get the matches as quickly as possible in order to launch an attack at your opponent and cause more lines to appear. The actual levels are a lot simpler than the story ones but that goes both ways. I really found my stride in this mode and got up to 1200+ points which brought me all the way up to tier 4. Now I’m starting to have a win ratio close to 50% so this seems to be the right area for me. It’s definitely a lot of fun going through the matches and after every 7 wins you get a box filled randomly with coins or other collectibles. I do think that throwing viruses in there was unnecessary though as getting nothing as a prize after 7 wins is pretty harsh. After your 7 wins in a day the rest does not help you get another box. Only 1 box per day.

There isn’t much negative to say about the game except that it’s maybe a little too stingy with how you get new doctors and collectibles. If you’re playing to get everyone that will probably never happen or at least not for a very long time. I do like how once you’ve maxed out a character they take him out f the pool so you won’t get duplicates. More gatcha games need to do this, but since even maxing out one character is incredibly difficult it won’t really come into play. The game also has a habit of freezing at times when you’ve won a level and then it only counts the win sometimes. That one is a bug that should be pretty easy to fix though. It’s definitely an annoying one but it hasn’t personally affected me much yet and I’ve played a lot of versus battles.

Overall, Dr Mario World is definitely an excellent game. It’s a very simple title with straight forward controls so you never have to worry about getting lost or being unsure what to do. It may look like there isn’t a lot to do here but the amount of content is definitely satisfactory. I recommend checking it out and since the game is free it’s not like you will be risking much in doing so. Just give it a whirl and if it’s not your thing then you can delete it just as quickly.

Overall 8/10

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7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Puella Magi Madoka Magica Side Story: Magia Record Review


It’s time to look at an app game I downloaded a while back. I remember seeing this one as a twitter ad and figured that I may as well check it out. The posters looked nice and the Madoka series has always been excellent so I was down with seeing what the side story would be like. It’s a fun game that I would probably stick with if there was less to do, but from what I played it is a very complete title.

The game’s story follows a girl named Iroha on her own magical girl adventure. There are a lot of parallels to the show as she meets up with a very aloof magical girl who’s like Homura, a happy one dressed in yellow like Mami, a tough red colored one like Kyoka, etc. So…the story isn’t very original I’ll admit. Iroha’s memories are all in disarray as she doesn’t remember her childhood friends and this seems to directly be related to whatever wish she made with Kyubey to become a magical girl. Iroha wants to find out the secrets of her past, but she doesn’t have any idea how to do that. It may be related to a mystical law of forsaken friendships. As Iroha tries to find out about her past she also helps other magical girls learn to get along and beats up witches in the process.

With these gatcha games you never want to get too invested in the plot because it’s just never going to finish. These games are made to basically never end or if they do end it won’t be for many years. America actually got this game real late so in Japan there are a bunch of sagas out but even there the story isn’t over yet. You just gotta roll with the premise and then get ready for a bunch of inevitable filler. Still, if the adventures are fun then that’s not a problem. I thought the story was pretty reasonable. By default it’s the weakest RPG plot I’ve experienced in the mobile, but the filler isn’t quite as tedious as in Integral Factor. At the very least you always feel like things are happening.

We also do get a true opening that is fully animated which was really cool. The visuals are definitely on point and the soundtrack is awesome even if a little limited. You’ll be hearing the witch theme endlessly but it’s just so catchy and epic that it’ll rope you in. It makes every fight feel epic even if you’re just fighting the same old guys over and over again. The chapters follow a classic formula of fighting 3-5 waves of minions before you get the next round of cutscenes. On a technical level this game definitely shines through.

The gameplay is also very easy to use. You pick one of 3 attack types for each of your 3 characters and then take down the opposing forces. Using the same kind of attack more than once can give you a bonus and naturally there are also elements to keep in mind. You won’t really have to worry about tactics in story mode as at least where I was up to it was very easy. I imagine in PVP or other online modes that it would be a lot more important. The gameplay is very intricate if you are trying to master it though. There are a ton of mechanics which I barely even scratched the surface on. I recommend a lot of studying when you’re first starting up the game.

That’s the only tough part about the mobile RPGs. There are so many things to remember and keep track of. I managed to learn it all for Dragon Ball Legends and Fire Emblem, but I’m sure if I went back I probably wouldn’t remember it as well. The main menu screens are downright confusing here as there are over a dozen different kinds of things to collect and they all have different purposes. You can get lost trying to find things here and since the game barely explains anything you’ll want to run to Reddit right away. Reddit’s always a great database for these mobile games if there is something that you need to know. My main advice is if you do plan on playing this for the long haul, don’t spend or buy anything for the first month or 2. That’ll give you time to really understand the game rather than spending collectibles on things you’ll never actually use. Make sense? It’s definitely something I do with all my mobile games now even though I don’t tend to keep any of them for the long haul except for Pokemon Go.

Overall, Magia Record is definitely a fun RPG for fans of Madoka or people who just like this style. As with most mobile games like this one there is almost endless replay value. New events happen every week and the story is extremely long as well. There’s a lot to like here and the game was developed with a lot of care so there are no areas that feel slapped together. It would take a lot to keep me in a mobile game for very long though and while I love the franchise, I am overall still a bigger fan of FE and Dragon Ball. If you’re a big fan of Madoka though this is really a solid one for you to stick with for a while. One big thing here is that it’s a free to play with an energy meter that is almost nonexistent. Unless you are playing this for many hours at a time you won’t have a problem with being told by the game to take a break for a while. This is the kind of Free to Play game that does the industry proud.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mega Man 11 Review


It’s time to take a look at the blue bomber’s last hurrah! After the first 8 Mega Man games there was such a long gap until the 9th game that I’m sure a lot of people had begun to lose hope in it ever coming out. Well, Mega Man 9 and 10 did eventually come to grace us with their presence, but they were digital only and really fell under the radar. That all changed once 11 came out. This time it got a lot of mainstream attention and a physical release. It’s not an amazing title or anything like that, but it does bring you right back into the nostalgic world of Mega Man and succeeds in what it was aiming to do.

The plot is pretty basic as Wily remembers a time where Light rejected his idea and decides to make it come true in the present. It’s a double gear system that makes a robot both stronger and faster. Light realizes that this invention actually is brilliant and quickly gives it to Mega Man as well. Mega must now take down these corrupted robots and stop Wily once and for all. Can he pull it off or has Wily finally surpassed all of them?

It’s a very bare bones plot and there aren’t any fully animated cutscenes. Mega Man 11 is definitely going for a basic approach so that you can just think of it as another installment, but with pretty graphics. The actual campaign is also very short as a result. It’s about 3 hours give or take which isn’t bad considering what kind of game it is. It’s just like the older ones in that regard as you fight all of the bosses once and then you head on to the final level. Each level can range from a few minutes to around an hour depending on how long it takes for you to beat it. So while 3 hours is reasonable if you’re a Mega Man veteran it may take you considerably longer if you are new to the series.

As mentioned earlier the graphics are definitely very nice though. The character designs are very bold and colorful. The stages really pop out at you and the soundtrack is also pretty solid. I wouldn’t say that it is particularly memorable, but there’s definitely nothing to complain about in that respect. You’ll be too engrossed in the levels to worry about it. The levels do have some really tricky sections though. I dare say that the levels are a little less forgiving than in previous games. It’ll take everything you’ve got to complete these with the 3 lives that you are given. Torchman’s level took me many lives and game overs before I finally beat it. However, the game was a cake walk from there.

The reason for that is Dr. Light’s Lab. After losing the first stage so much I had enough screws to buy all of the upgrades in the store. That includes double speed, longer lasting power ups, and much more. I also bought a bunch of beets which save you from falls and maxed out on energy tanks and lives. Hey, if it’s in the game then using it is fair game right? No boss can beat you when you essentially have 10 life meters. It’s also not like I actually needed it for a bunch of the bosses. Some of them you can still just beat up without those extras anyway. They all have patterns although they are admittedly harder to react to than in previous games because of the double gear system. These guys are playing for keeps.

I also think it’s a good thing that the lab was here because the levels definitely could have gotten frustrating otherwise. The actual levels are a little too long so when you get a game over and have to start from scratch it feels a bit tedious. I’d actually say that it would be more tedious than in Mighty No 9 which never got to that level. That said, I would still take this game over Mighty No 9. That one may have had the more expansive story but this one still has the better gameplay. Capcom did a good job of designing the game and making sure that the lab covered any of the suspect parts during gameplay. Once you’re fully powered up then you can really jump into the action.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value in the levels except for gathering trophies. In fairness, that should take you a reasonable amount of time because there are over 50 trophies to obtain in this game. I’m sure that some of them will be very difficult as well because the Mega Man games are perfect for that kind of challenge. It’s always nice to have an incentive to keep on playing and Mega Man 11 definitely delivers on that front. There’s not much more to say about the game except that it’s a peaceful/nostalgic trip down memory lane. I definitely hope we do get more Mega Man games in the future although I definitely admit that I’d like to see more of a plot or at least a longer game in general for 12. This was like the test run so next time we need the AAA experience.

Overall, Mega Man 11 is definitely a game that I recommend checking out. If you start to lose a lot of lives in the beginning don’t worry about it. You keep all of the screws that you obtain even when you die so that means you’ll eventually have enough to buy whatever you need. The game is quite generous with the screws so you could potentially buy everything (Not counting items which aren’t unlocked yet) by the end of the first level. I recommend buying the upgrade that gives extra screws first. It’s a rule of thumb for me that I always buy the upgrade that gives extra coins/exp first since it’ll help you for the remainder of the game. Mega Man 11 may not be very ambitious but it does remind you that just having solid gameplay can always take you far.

Overall 7/10

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Madden 17 Deluxe Edition Review


All right guys, it’s finally time to take a look at one of the newer Madden titles. Madden is easily still my favorite sports title out of all the big EA games and 17 continues to impress. While this installment isn’t quite as impressive as some of the older ones, it still had all of the positive fundamentals that we have come to expect from the series. It’s certainly a steal considering it was only 3-4 bucks.

The gameplay is the same Football mechanics as the older ones at least in a grand scope kind of view. The goal is to score more points than the other team by getting a player with the football into the opponent’s end zone. Alternatively you can just kick the ball in. You’re really going to need to be able to survey different parts of the screen at once especially when throwing passes. It’s a very intricate game and you do need great reactions to pull this off. Part of why the game is so satisfying is because it needs all of those skills. You can’t pick up the game and suddenly become good, you’re going to need to work on it. There’s definitely a lot to learn too since you’ve also got other sides of the ball like defense, kicking, and running.

While not much has changed since the last Madden they did retool the kicking gameplay once again. Now you’ve got a meter that goes up and down which you have to stop twice. I definitely preferred the old system where you would just flick a lever up and down. I suppose this one is a lot trickier though, but I don’t think you need to over complicate field goals. It also makes the meter pretty crazy when you increase the difficulty. That’s not new, but I still disagree with it since I want a challenge on the field when upping the stakes, not a challenge to fight myself!

Accelerating is a little less obvious here so the game is a little more like a simulation than arcade style. I miss zooming around the field, but I do get the logic and it works well enough. The tackling is still on point and you can see how the game is really well polished in all areas. The gameplay is just a lot of fun provided that you like the sport of Football. It accurately portrays how the game goes down. When you’re playing you feel like you’re in total control so the game succeeds here.

It goes without saying that the graphics are pretty incredible as always. Everything is just so lifelike and while EA may not have the best reputation they do always deliver on this front. As for the soundtrack, it’s less obvious than usual. You’re really not going to be paying it much attention anyway since you’ll be in the game by that point. Now the presentation is where its at and the game is stunning there. It really feels like a real game with how the announcers introduce the teams and we get a nice pre game set up. Likewise you get a good set up for the playoffs and super bowl.

There are a lot of modes beyond the quick games of course. You can practice or jump into the online modes. There are a lot of ranks to go through so if you play online then you’ll probably be around for quite a while. Learning all of the playbooks will take a while and naturally obtaining the Platinum is quite difficult. These games may come out every year, but one title is enough to hold you for several years to be honest since there is just so much to do. There’s also the fact that every game is different so like a fighting game there is basically unlimited replay value here.

Due to the nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot to say but I’ll end off with my tips on how to take the computers down a few pegs. I was able to take them down until All Madden difficulty after all although at that point they cheesed me out. One thing I don’t like about All Madden is that your players start to choke. They begin dropping passes and fumbling all over the place which doesn’t feel like a real difficulty spike. It’s more like your players start breaking down as if they’re 1st year rookies going into their first playoff game. So ignoring that, my strategy for winning was a bland but effective ground game. I’d run it on 1st and 2nd down and then pick up the final 3 yards over the place. Then I’d mix it up with a first yard pass sometimes. I would win in very low scoring games like 17-10 or something like that. The computer has a hard time fully shutting down the run so you’re almost guaranteed to get 2-3 yards up the middle each time.

On the other hand, if you go around then you’re more likely to lose yardage but you have a decent shot of getting a big gain. I prefer consistency so I go up the middle and you’ve also got the shot of making a big gain so the way I see it there isn’t much of a downside to this. Just keep plugging away and eventually you’ll get some kind of win. Defense is also important, but I don’t really have any tips for that. What’ll happen will happen with that one.

Overall, Madden 17 is definitely a game that you’re going to want to jump into. It’s only 2-3 dollars so there is really no downside to making the purchase. By the same token you can also just skip to 18 which is basically the same price and have close to the same experience. It’s really up to you to see what you want to do, but there’s no bad option. While I do think they should speed up the gameplay a bit like in the old days it is still very balanced. I think the problem of the low acceleration is that the running back feels like just an ordinary player as opposed to the speedster. It also gets rid of the quarterback advantage which is too bad because I loved scrambling for every play and getting a bunch of yards. I guess it was pretty broken to be honest though. The quarterback was unbeatable in some of the older games.

Overall 9/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Golden Sun Review


It’s time to look at a fairly legendary RPG from back in the day. While Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest tend to have most of the popularity right now, Golden Sun used to be pretty big back in its day. It’s only got 3 games, but the series still got quite a lot of fans. I’ve had this game on the back burner for an extremely long time so it’s good to finally be able to jump in and experience the story in all its glory. It reminds me why I love the RPG genre. Fighting games will ultimately still reclaim the top spot, but RPGs are always fun to play with. It’s partially because the idea of grinding your stats up is always a good one and the games last long enough for you to really enjoy the characters.

So in this world there exists a few select people who are called Adepts. They are able to harness elemental powers like fire and water to increase their strength or to be used as projectiles. Some already had these abilities while others are triggered once a meteor storm occurs. There is a group of enemies who want to light all 4 of the lighthouses. Isaac and the other heroes don’t exactly know why they want to do this, but they can’t allow the villains to do as they please. They decide to stop them, but along the journey they end up finding out that there is more to their plan than meets the eye. Is stopping them from lighting the lighthouses really the best move?

The game is fairly long and it took me around 22 hours to beat it. This is partially due to how big the map is, but also how difficult the enemies get. Golden Sun’s no joke and the difficulty really spikes towards the second half of the game. Suddenly the enemies are able to take you out in a few hits and that’s just the minions. The bosses basically one turn KO you so you need to level up a lot if you want to beat them. I got everyone up to Level 30 and that made the battle pretty manageable. I think if you want it to be a little calmer getting up to level 32 would probably be a good bet. Also, a big part of the game revolves around the Djinn so you are going to want to grab those guys.

There are 28 of them in the game and they are like power sources that allow you to summon. There are 4 types and 7 per type. The strongest summon of each type is worth 4 orbs so you can summon 4, 4 level summons in one match and then 4 level 3s. I only got 25/28 of the Djinn, but I can guarantee that without them I would not have been able to beat the final boss. Initially I didn’t go after them and even avoided obtaining them unless they were directly in my way. I figured that they weren’t all that important, but they are crucial. Aside from the summoning just owning the Djinn increases all of your stats as if you got multiple level ups. So once you have 25 you’re way stronger than if you didn’t have them. For example one of my characters went from having 200HP to over 500 with them equipped. I can’t stress enough just how useful these guys are.

Golden Sun is definitely an RPG with a pretty intricate gameplay system. The turn based combat is pretty much the same as always, but then you’ve got the element system. This also ties into the Djinn. Depending on which ones you’ve got equipped and your element ratio, your attacks per character will be different as well. Likewise they will also change depending on if you have your Djinn set or on standby. There’s a whole lot to consider as a result and it does make you have to re-think how you want them arranged on the board for each fight. You’ll want to think over every fight very carefully. Even by the end of the game I can’t say that I really understand the system perfectly. It’s also hard to tell which attacks are best to use since the type advantage system isn’t always obvious. By the end of the game using a normal attack is typically better than using almost any of the magical abilities which is pretty interesting.

The game definitely holds up quite well with the visuals. There’s a lot of nice backgrounds here and the game even gets a nice 3D effect during the credits. The attacks are all a lot of fun to look at and in general everything is pretty bright. Then the game also has a dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great themes to listen to here that range from being fairly heroic to setting up a moody atmosphere. It’s all exactly what you want to see here. Golden Sun just holds up well in every area. There is almost nothing to dislike about the game.

While the story may not be quite as exciting as some other RPGs, I did like it overall. You can tell that there’s more to this story than your usual heroes vs villains story. The villains definitely have their own reasons for doing things and don’t seem to be inherently evil. Of course there are many villains who believe they are the hero, but since the heroes don’t know what will happen if the lighthouses are activated, it’s possible that it is the right thing to do. Of course, it would be easy to tell the heroes this, but none of the villains ever feel like talking. The heroes also get lucky quite often as the villains could have easily won on a number of occasions. They just prefer to split up rather than fight as a team.

Isaac doesn’t really have a personality in this game as he is just the player. Garet is a good ally who basically acts as the leader of the team even if he is a bit impulsive. Mia’s a solid medic who joins on later. We don’t get a whole lot of time to develop her personality but she seems nice. Then you’ve got the young mage who seems really nice even if lacking in experience. The childhood friends are all suspect though with how they don’t tell the heroes much. They basically miss the entire game as they just get a few scenes after being kidnapped, but they seem to be taking it in stride. It seems like the villains ultimately start to convert everyone.

The game ends with quite a lot of loose ends for the sequel. While there are probably one or two that you could finish through side quests, there are definitely some that can’t be. There’s a scene after the credits for example which shows that the adventure isn’t quite over yet. It makes sense since there’s a big villain who doesn’t show up in the climax. Also, in general it just doesn’t feel like a conclusive ending because there are more lighthouses left and more villains so the heroes can’t rest easy now. As I already own the sequel you can bet that I’ll be jumping on that one pretty soon.

If there’s anything that’s a bit iffy here, it’s that the game isn’t always clear on where to go next. It actually has a map with town labels on it so that’s a big upgrade from something like Final Fantasy VII, but at the same time there are usually multiple routes to choose so you end up wasting a lot of time looking for the right one. The good news is that it gives you more time to level up though. Once you’ve gotten strong enough then you can also just flee the battles, but it takes quite a while to get to that level. Another thing I do like is that if you die you are taken back to the temple, but don’t lose any data. It costs money to revive your teammates, but that’s a fair price. A lot of little things like that help the game overall because it takes away the irritating nature of a game over. Dying and being forced to restart the area is very fair if you ask me.

Overall, Golden Sun is definitely an excellent RPG and deserves to be known as one of the greats. It’s aged really well and made for a very fun 20+ hour experience. I look forward to seeing how the sequel goes since it should feel pretty similar. I’m also ready for Isaac to talk since that would be awesome, but even if he doesn’t I’m sure the story is going to be really good. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend changing that. It’s just a great all around title with no real weaknesses. You’ll be engaged from start to finish even if you might end up with a slight headache from how complex the gameplay mechanics are. The important thing is that you’ll feel a sense of pride and accomplishment because this is definitely one of the tougher RPG titles out there.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Maker 2 Review


It’s finally time to take a look at the new Mario Maker game. The first one I still have listed as one of the greatest Mario games of all time. Mario’s tackled many different genres and for the most part they have obvious #1 titles. The best 3D Mario is 64, the best Mario sports title is Strikers, the best racing game is Double Dash, and the best 2D is Super Mario World. The question is…where does Maker fit into all of this? It’s basically its own genre, but it can hold its own all the same. Ultimately I wouldn’t say it is quite as good as the first Maker, but it’s very close and is definitely a game with tons of replay value.

This time around we do have a real story mode, but only barely since there aren’t really any cutscenes. There isn’t much of a plot either but I am still glad that Nintendo at least made the attempt and gave us something. They definitely could have gone the lazy route and just not included it. We did get some quality levels as well and it is a good way to learn all the mechanics of the game. By the time you’re done with the story you’ll be ready to tackle the others modes. A new addition to the game is the ability to fight other players online. The 4 of you are thrown into a level and the first to clear it wins. If you die in the level then you’ll be taken back to the start or the checkpoint. These segments can be a bit laggy at times, but for the most part it works well.

There is also the classic course world from the previous games. You can play new and popular levels while honing your own skills. Try to grab some world records while you’re at it. You can sort through the levels a bunch of different ways or even look up specific levels from the course ID. There are endless levels to have fun with here so there’s no reason to stop playing. Unfortunately the star system is gone and in its place is a more simplified like/dislike button system. It doesn’t really let you see how the stage is doing quite as well, but that was a pretty minor part of the process anyway.

As this is Super Mario Maker a big chunk of your time will likely be spent on making levels as well. I mean, it varies I suppose, but I imagine that for most people this would have been the main reason to get the game right? There have been new items and enemies added so the sky is the limit on what you can make. The stage builder is incredibly detailed and there are almost too many options. You can’t even fit everything on one screen so to find more items you have to go through a settings window. It’s all pretty intuitive once you start though with two exceptions. You can’t draw on the screen with a pen so you have to do it by hand which is a little tricky. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to zoom out and that would be handy. I actually feel like making levels in Mario Maker 1 was a little easier, but maybe that’s just my memory playing tricks on me.

As of the time of this review I have completed two stages and am in the process of uploading a third. In this game you can only upload 32 stages instead of 100 like in the last one so you don’t want to use up all of your slots too soon anyway. I don’t think I would get over that amount anyway so 32 isn’t a bad limit for me, but it is a pretty disheartening change for the more experienced makers of the game. So, as you can see Maker added a lot of improvements, but also slid backwards a little bit. I think the main part that is disappointing is how they got rid of all the extra characters here. It was awesome getting to play as characters like Daisy and Mega Man. It was also fun to try and collect them all as it added a lot more end game content as opposed to simply going around and playing all of the levels. It gave the game more of a focus and it’s just a shame that it is gone.

Naturally the graphics are definitely pretty solid here. All of the styles look good and Nintendo never cuts corners in this area. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes all sound pretty good so that’s not really an issue. On a technical level this game is quite sound and the fact that you can spam your levels with a ton of objects is also impressive. You don’t run out of space in a level for a verrrrrry long time. That’s something that other stage builder games still have a lot of trouble with.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value to be found here. Really the game never quite has to end. I’ll have to put it back to sharing game time with other titles now that the story is over, but I’ll still be playing it a little every day for a while. It doesn’t quite have the full array of content that the first game had to keep you going, but so long as you like the classic Mario gameplay then there’s no reason to stop playing. Also there are little medals and achievements built into the game this time around so that’s something to focus on. I imagine that getting all of the medals will take a very long time.

Overall, Super Mario Maker 2 is definitely one of the definitive Mario games. It’s the kind of title that can last you throughout the whole life of the Switch. You’ll be able to just keep playing it over and over again. At this point Nintendo can’t really release another big 2D Mario game since there isn’t much of a point when you can make all of the levels here. That means they’ll need to either come up with a cinematic story or stick to the 3D Mario games. Either way the mascot is in good hands right now as he isn’t leaving the limelight anytime soon. I wonder what this game will do for paid DLC. Maybe they’ll add a new style or more objects for maker mode.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yooka-Laylee Review


It’s time to look at a platforming game that I’ve been aware of for a pretty long time, but just hadn’t picked up til now. I have to admit that the game didn’t look/sound amazing. It seemed like it was probably going to get bogged down by puzzles and such, but the price wasn’t bad so finally I got it. It’s definitely not the best platformer and the first world is one of the worst playforming worlds I’ve ever seen. Still, after that the game got a lot better so even though I wouldn’t call it great by the end I did think that it started to redeem itself. Hopefully the sequel will start on a higher note and soar to new heights.

The plot of the game is pretty basic. Laylee’s book is stolen by Captain B. who is going to use it to rule the world. Laylee decides to ask Yooka for help and together they now need to get all of the pages for the book. Why not just get the book right away? Well, B refuses to see them until they collect at least 100 pages. Rather than question this the heroes decide to oblige. This makes them about as smart as Crash and friends which isn’t great, but at least Laylee is pretty self aware about this. Yooka should be a little worried though. So begins the plot.

There really isn’t much of a story beyond this. Still, that’s pretty expected for platformers in general. Typically you just get a very quick story like that with minimal cutscenes. In many ways this game is trying to just be a normal platformer so of course it doesn’t want to have an elaborate story. That means that the gameplay needs to hold its own. In that sense the gameplay is reasonably solid. Running around and swiping at enemies is fun and you learn a lot of handy abilities. Flying is more annoying than it should be though as the camera just keeps on shifting. Simple turns take a lot longer and more effort than you would have ever dared expect.

I think the camera can be blamed for a whole lot. Also, you’ve got the level designs which aren’t so good. The worlds are downright huge and in part that is impressive of the developers but you have to take a lot of credit away for the fact that everything looks the same. You should never get lost in a world but that will happen many times. It’s why the game got off to a really stormy start since the first world is the guiltiest in this regard. There’s also the fact that most of the pages can’t be captured yet since you don’t have the necessary powers yet. You get 2 powers in each world and then one power after each one. So the game forces you to take the path of doing every world, going to the next one, and then going back to the first world with your new powers. What I did was I got the minimum amount of pages in each world to unlock the next one, rinse and repeat. Regardless you will definitely have to go back and get more pages at some point.

I made it to the final boss level with around 50 pages so I had a whole lot to try and catch after that. Going back to the old worlds isn’t a bad idea, but I don’t like being forced to do so. The page requirement for the final boss should have been considerably lower if you ask me. The final boss was pretty challenging though so the game did do a good job of making him a struggle. The boss is also pretty long since there isn’t a way to beat him much faster. You have to watch as he goes through his motions and if you lose then you have to start all over from the start. So I recommend not losing too often or the level is really going to start dragging.

One annoying part of the game is also how everyone just makes crazy noises to talk. It’s definitely a little dicey after hearing it for a super long time. It’s also pretty suspicious how everyone completely ignores Laylee. It’s almost like she was added into the game after the fact because aside from Yooka none of the other characters acknowledge her presence 99% of the time. It’s a shame because she gets all of the best lines in this game, but nobody reacts to her savage burns. That kind of takes away the point of her stings. She especially gets into it whenever we head to the shop owner. I guess he has to have a thick skin since he’s a professional scammer, but I wanted his conversations to be a little more interactive.

Ah well, ignoring Laylee aside I would consider the writing for this game to be really good. the script is clever and Laylee sees through all of the usual tropes and traps. Yooka is a little less aware and is basically your average protagonist. There’s nothing that separates this dinosaur from someone like Mario for example. I’d like to see Yooka get more personality in the sequel or if not then maybe it is time to join Team Yooka. Meanwhile the villains have even less character. B seems like a nice enough guy for a villain I suppose, but he is completely comic relief so it’s not like you’ll be taking him seriously. Then you’ve got his right hand man who may be more important than we could have ever guessed thanks to the ending. It’d be nice if the sequel game would expand on that, but I suppose that isn’t super likely.

There are a lot of little arcade games held within this platformer and most of those are good. They don’t have much of a middle ground though as the first ones are excellent, but too easy and then the latter ones are challenging, but way too drawn out. You just can’t win I suppose. Well, if we’re talking overall value then this game definitely does give you a lot of bang for your buck. The story will take you at least 10 hours since it forces you to grab a lot of pages. There are also a lot of trophies to nab and for the most part they’re actually pretty easy. This is definitely a Platinum that you can grab if you put your mind to it.

Overall, Yooka-Laylee is a game that gets better as you play it. The more abilities you get, the more the levels become convenient and less of a chore to travel through. This especially applies once you are able to fly as that is a true game changer all the way through. It’s always risky to make a game feel so limiting at the beginning even if it is to show you how useful the upgrades are at the end. Some games do it really well, but I wouldn’t consider this to be a great strategy either way. Still, there are enough things wrong with this game to keep it from getting the solid 7 score. The level designs aren’t good, the plot isn’t that good, and in general the game isn’t super interesting. You’ll complete the game, but then you likely won’t go through it again. It’s a solid one time playthrough so I guess you should buy it, but I’d recommend just about every other platformer first so definitely keep that in mind. I hear that a new Yooka-Laylee game is coming out so I look forward to seeing how that one stacks up.

Overall 6/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Carbon Review


After a long break it is now time to go back into the world of Need For Speed. Carbon brings in a lot of familiar elements from Underground 2 and Most Wanted while also adding its own spin on things. I would consider this to be the best NFS in a lot of ways with the only thing I don’t like being the whole territory system. On the whole it’s also tough between this one and Most Wanted, but I would probably give this one the slight edge. It definitely does have the best story although the gameplay is naturally the deciding factor.

So you’re playing as an underground racer who was nearly caught by the police but managed to escape. Of course, the issue with this is that he had to desert everyone else to do it. Now the rest of the racers and even his old friend are pretty upset at him. It’s a rough time for our nameless lead and he gets sloppy enough to even let a bounty hunter catch him. Fortunately a “nice” gangster frees the hero and tells him that the only way to restore his rep is to go and take over all the various gangster territories in the city. I don’t know exactly how that makes sense…if anything that would make him seem even more like a jerk right? He comes back just in time to beat everyone up and get the cops back on the trail? Ah well, the hero likes the plan so that’s what we’re going with. As the game goes on it turns out that there may have been something more to this incident. Were the cops really just coincidentally in the area?

I liked the story because there are quite a few cutscenes and I do think it did a pretty good job of setting the stage. Each of the main mob bosses gets a very exaggerated cutscene where they yell a lot with crazy colors in the background. It’s got a very 90’s-early 2000s vibe which works really well with the Need For Speed franchise in general. You really just can’t go wrong with the story here. Most of the levels are at night which is cool, but you will find yourself missing the day time by the end. It’s always good to have a mix of both. When there are only day levels I miss the night themed ones and vice versa. I think the game would have done well to have included a nice mix. As for the soundtrack, you’ve got an array of EA songs as always. They’re pretty fast paced even if the lyrics aren’t anything to write home about.

As for the gameplay it is pretty standard. The driving is pretty good and you’ll get the hang of the turns as the game goes on. Personally I always found it easiest to quickly let go of the pedal and turn before slamming it again. Alternately you’ve got the hand brake by pressing A, but I always found the turns to be a bit too wide using that method. You can also brake to turn which I would use at times if I really had to make a sharp curve in time. They’ve all got pros and cons of course so you’ll just want to try everything and see what sticks. You can also buy turbo which will permanently give you the option to use boosts. One warning for that is once you activate it then the computers will obtain it as well. I’d say that it’s worth it though because the boost really comes in handy.

You start out with a pretty average car, but as the game goes on you will be able to buy new ones. I actually used the same car for most of the game before eventually buying 3 more by the end. It’s worth staying with one car for as long as possible since your new ones will get outdated very quickly and you’ll run out of money. As it stands I only got 3 cars and I was out of money at the end. Of course, the third car I got was the best one money could buy in the game by the end so it was well worth the price. It effectively is impossible to win the last races with a weak car since it is simply too slow. Even if you don’t make any mistakes you simply won’t be able to keep up with the opponent.

Then there are also the cops to worry about. If they catch you too many times then they’ll take your car away for good. If they take all of your cars then you go all the way back to the beginning of the game. I don’t know exactly how that works since I didn’t let them take away 1 car, let alone all of them. Hopefully you’d be able to quickly reset the Gamecube so you wouldn’t actually have to go back. That would be pretty devastating. Speaking of the cops, the game does have an open world as always so you can have fun getting into police chases. I didn’t play around with them much compared to the last games because this time you aren’t forced to stay in the city the whole time. Instead of finding races through free roam you can just warp to them from the safe house. This saves an incredible amount of time and is a great change. You also don’t have to worry about increasing your reputation or anything like that. This game finally gives you the ability to just focus on the races and claim them all.

Now, this wouldn’t be a Need for Speed game without some kind of pointless gimmick though. For Carbon it is the territory system. The way you advance past each world is to win a lot of races and then challenge the boss. When you beat him then you claim the area. The problem here is the fact that other teams can challenge you for the territories you took earlier. If you refuse to fight them then they take your area automatically. So get ready to have to fight these guys quite a bit in races that you’ve already won. I dunno, maybe it’s not all that bad but it felt like a quick way to extend the game a bit. It’s also not needed since the game is actually pretty long I’d say.

The main story should take you around 10 hours or more. For replay value you can go around and beat all of the levels that you had not conquered yet. Since you’re able to skip about 1/3 of the levels that should add on another 3-4 hours under your belt. In general free roam is also limitless fun as long as you just like driving which is the whole point anyway. I can’t say that I’ll be sticking around with this game, but maybe some day I’ll come back to do those extra races. I basically skipped all of the drift challenges since the controls for those are pretty wonky.

Finally, I should mention that in the story mode there are a few different kinds of events. The general gameplay is the same of course, but the objectives are different. First you’ve got normal races which are self explanatory. Then you’ve got Canyon Races which are usually 1 vs 1 races (it can be 4 way though) and they take place at night on a canyon. In these stages you can actually fall off the track which is an instant loss. I really liked how they handled these levels. You’ve also got check points where you’re doing a time trial, speed bumps where you want to go your fastest as the scanner steps in, etc. The only pretty iffy one is Drift and I avoided every single one of those. By the end of the game I hadn’t completed any of them and I’m glad that I didn’t. It would have taken forever for me to force myself to learn the controls which wouldn’t have been super efficient.

Also, you’ve got a partner for some of these races and he really comes in handy. There are a few different kinds of helpers like people who show you short cuts, help you boost, etc. I went for a guy who can ram into other cars to help you get a lead. It went over really well since the guy was great at his job. It’s part of why I got away with using a terrible car for so long. The blocker could buy you up to 20 seconds at a time which is huge in a race. I owe him a lot.

Overall, Need For Speed Carbon is definitely a solid title. The story ends a little too abruptly if you ask me. There’s really no payoff to the long detective journey and by the end you will definitely wonder what the point of the villain’s plan was. He would have been doing good if he didn’t bring the hero in to mess things up. I suppose it’ll just be a mystery. I actually don’t have the next Need For Speed so that’ll probably be a while, but in the meanwhile I do have another video game review coming out so keep an eye out for it. Meanwhile you should definitely check this title out. You’ll have a hard time trying to find a better racing game than this one.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NBA 2K8 Review


It’s time for the next 2K adventure! Once again this game shows that for some sports the older titles just felt more natural. 2K8 is definitely a lot simpler than a game like 2K15 so it may not capture quite as much of the realism but it’s just a lot of fun. You can run up and try to shoot a basket without having to worry about a ton of variables like in the newer ones. You can just trust in your casual fundamentals and go from there.

As always I did jump into the quick match option and it was probably the most back and forth match in a very long time. At first I had the lead and managed to hold on to it for around the first half of the game. At one point I was winning by as much as 7 points. My 3 point shots just kept landing and it was all going good. Everything changed when the computer remembered that it had the fast break option. Suddenly they scored a bunch of points and I was the one down by 7. I rallied as hard as I could and got the lead back by 1 but then in the final minutes they started scoring again and beat me by about 6. So I did lose the match but it was definitely a lot of fun. It felt more interactive on both sides if anything as I was able to play some good defense and even got steals. Offense was fun as always.

I do think that the timing is a big part of making the shots here as opposed to it mostly being luck based. I was able to land 3 three pointers in a row at one point and I think it’s because I had the right angle. On the other hand, some of the 2 point shots still get a little fishy. They should be easy layups and yet the player will miss anyway. The computer never misses those shots so at that moment I just have to shake my head. Still, as I mentioned the games are just a lot of fun which is the important thing. One day I’ll start winning matches consistently.

Going back to the gameplay for a sec, it all just feels so organic. That sounds pretty vague so I’ll try to elaborate on that. When you start to shoot the ball you’ll see a defender casually reach up to try and block it. He’s not using some kind of secret skill or doing anything out of the ordinary. No, instead he’s just getting up there and getting the job done. When you steal the ball it’ll roll on the court before someone grabs it instead of magically jumping into someone’s hand. A lot of these things may technically be because the game isn’t super refined yet, but I actually like it. It makes the characters feel more human since they actually make mistakes. I also thought that the gameplay was a little more exciting than some of the newer ones although of course this is to a small margin. Technically I thought all of the games were exciting in their own way.

As always there is a lot of extra content to play around with. You can forget about the online options though as those servers have been down for a very long time at this point. Still, you can practice your shooting skills, running around the court, etc. There’s also the legendary franchise mode so you can have endless games as your favorite team. There’s no end to the replay value here as you’d expect since that is basically par for the course for sport titles. The NBA games are very consistent with their modes and that’s a good thing.

Naturally there is less emphasis on the presentation here since the graphics aren’t quite as all star as in the later games. Still, everything that you actually do need to be clear is well defined. You’ll never lose yourself on the court or anything like that. The screen is clear and I didn’t notice any glitches either. As for the soundtrack, it’s pretty standard as expected. These areas are probably the most similar across all the titles, but why fix what isn’t broken right?

Overall, NBA 2K8 is definitely another really solid title. It brings all of the classic Basketball action that you would expect and then some. These games just never get that old although I will admit that I am just about ready for the next sport. I only have 3 more Basketball titles left so I am in the homestretch there. The goal will be to win one of those last 3 games although I guess we’ll see how it goes. If you haven’t bought this game yet then I really don’t see why you would. At this point the players/teams are so outdated compared to the newer titles. i’m sure a bunch of these players are probably even retired by now. Still, it does hold up and since you can buy the game for about a dollar it really is a steal if you think about it.

Overall 8/10

7 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Bendy in Nightmare Run Review


It’s time to look at the latest Bendy game. It’s been a long while since I played a new mobile title so this was a fun detour. It’s not a game I would keep in the longrun because unlike most of the others it actually isn’t endless. You can actually get through all of the content pretty quickly I got through all of the worlds in under a week and by that point there isn’t a whole lot to do. It’s a fun game though and I do like free runners.

Naturally there isn’t an actual plot here. There are 4 main chapters and each one has 6 levels where you fight the same boss only he gets more health each time. As a result there are really only 4 unique levels so the game actually feels pretty low budget compared to most. The Ladybug game had a similar format, but a whole lot more content and a better reward system. In short, this is a free runner you would play because you like the franchise, but otherwise there isn’t really much of a reason to pick this one.

The gameplay is pretty easy to understand. You can move from side to side and there are 3 different lanes. You can jump and when you touch a weapon you tap the screen to fire it at the villain. The goal is to land enough hits to knock him out while dodging his attacks. When this is done you’ll have won the level. Rinse and repeat as you go through. The only thing that really tends to change in the level is how long the boss will last and naturally his attacks will also get a little quicker. By the time you’re in world 3 or so you’ll likely know the game well enough to beat the levels without taking a hit.

There isn’t much opportunity for the game to show the graphics since it’s all very repetitive, but the game looks fine. You can only expect so much out of a mobile title of course. It’s definitely not as high grade as the big Nintendo ones or something like Dragon Ball Legends, but ultimately I would say that it works out pretty well. You can at least see what is happening at all times. The soundtrack is pretty limited though and while it’s going for a happy feel since this is the more heroic Bendy, it would have been nice for some of the horror tracks to slip through. I think it would have made the game a lot more ominous.

As it’s a mobile game there is naturally the pay to play aspect of it. Rather than limit your game playtime through an energy meter the various level are locked behind soup limits. You need 15000 soup cans to unlock the final world after all. You can pay a few bucks to do it or just keep playing the old levels until you have enough cans. You can get around 1000 cans during a first play through of a level or you can just drag out the levels for as long as possible to get more cans. It will take a while to get everything though. Then you’ve also got special abilities which cost a lot of cans and you also need to buy extra slots to use them.

Unlike Ladybug it does feel like it takes a very long time to get all of these power ups so you can expect that you won’t have most of them by the end. At the same time once you have beaten the game it’ll be pretty easy in comparison to buy the power ups. They definitely aren’t as expensive as the main story chapters. Of course, with no more levels to play what would be the point in buying the rest of the items? I think where the game suffers a bit is in how there is no real post game. There isn’t a multiplayer or anything to test your skills and the actual amount of content is surprisingly small. It’s odd since for mobile games usually the whole point is to have endless content but I guess this one didn’t want to bother with that.

So it’s really going to depend on how much you enjoy the game. One thing you can also do to avoid the grind is simply download the game around 1-2 weeks in advance and simply log in. That will give you all of the daily bonuses and then when you play the game you’ll already have enough gems to blast through the story. I’ve thought about that for some titles, but once I have the game downloaded it’s real tempting to just start playing it right away. Still, if you really don’t like having to wait then it’s ultimately your best bet.

Overall, This is a good mobile game. It is really carried by the fact that it’s part of a franchise though. Ultimately there is no other real reason to play it when there are simply better versions of the game available. I always think you shouldn’t score a game relatively like that though. Just because there exists a game that is better in every way it doesn’t make the other title any worse. So, if you look at this game independently then it’s still pretty fun. Also, it’s a free title so at the end of the day the fact that it is good and will last you a few days is pretty satisfactory I’d say. Now that the game is completed I’ll be deleting it, but it had a good run. My next mobile game likely won’t be until the new Dr. Mario came comes out, but that one definitely looks like it’s going to have a whole lot of content so it may last a bit longer.

Overall 7/10