5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Puyo Puyo 2 Review


This is definitely an interesting SNES online game because it wasn’t translated. The game is still in Japanese from the controls to the cutscenes. While this does mean it’ll be impossible to follow the story unless you learned some Japanese, at least the game came at all. Better to arrive like that than to never arrive right? I like Tetris gameplay a lot and while I realize Puyo is quite a bit different I thought my skills would transfer over. Unfortunately that was not the case and I kept getting wrecked on the second level. There must be some gameplay mechanics I am not aware of because this did not feel legit.

When you boot up the game there are quite a few modes. You’ve got speed run, options, and the main one. There were two others that I did not click on. Naturally I ran to the main mode and did not look back. I was able to consistently beat the first guy with my quick combos. The problem was always the second level. So the goal of the game is to match 4 bubbles of one color. As long as the bubbles connect in any form then you just need to get the 4. It doesn’t have to be a complete line like Tetris. As you get more and more combos you will be sending bubbles to the opponent’s side. Once someone’s screen fills up with bubbles that person is defeated. You can get rid of these bubbles by making matches so it will come down to speed….seemingly.

The issue here is that I only ever seem to send over a few bubbles to my opponent while he is suddenly able to send an army at me. I’m assuming it’s because he either lands some kind of combo or manages to match 5-6 at a time. I tried both options but even then he would take the win. It would happen pretty suddenly too as I would have a huge lead and it would all go away in an instant. It definitely didn’t feel very legit, but I’m sure one day I would get the hang of it. That day was not in time for the review though so I was left spinning my wheels for a bunch of rounds before I eventually turned in the towel.

I think the craziest part here is that this was technically still just level 2 of Easy mode. It makes you wonder what normal and advanced levels of difficulty look like. The game really expects you to be a master at this point and I suppose this is the second game in the Super series so maybe that’s a fair expectation. I did try one round of the speed run part, but I died pretty quick. That seems like it would be a good way to hone your skills and level up though. Eventually you could land the pieces without any real effort. That being said, the toughest part about going at a high speed is that it’s easy for the control stick to move to the left or right and then you’ll have quickly gotten yourself into a big hole. Once you’ve messed up a piece making a comeback is even more impossible.

I suppose the gameplay wouldn’t change much from level to level so I still got most of the experience. The most interesting part of the game was definitely the plot and it’s not like I could actually follow that part. The animations were very expressive and it looked like it had a pretty colorful story. The graphics have aged incredibly well for its time and I’d be game for a newer Puyo Puyo game coming to America someday. I’d buy an HD collection for that. The soundtrack is less noticeable, I can’t really recall any of the tunes to be honest. That’s something it’ll need to work to improve since the music in Tetris 99 is downright excellent!

Overall, Super Puyo Puyo 2 is one of those games with a lot of promise. I like the fact that it has an actual story. It looks like an RPG and the colorful characters really help to make this game stand out from the pack. I suspect that is part of what helped make it so popular along with the gameplay. The gameplay didn’t really click for me but I’m thinking that’s partially because you’re just thrown into the action. If you’re more familiar with the gameplay and know how to really put up a fight then I expect you’ll really like this game. Try to learn some Japanese while you’re at it and then you’ll even have bragging rights when your friends come over to play.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NFL Head Coach 09 Review


It’s time to take a look at a very different Football game. I’ve always enjoyed the Madden games as well as the 2K versions and pretty much any other football game. Unfortunately Head Coach is the first Football game that I did not enjoy. I would actually have to give this one a negative score because it’s just not any fun. The title is a giveaway so I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I did expect the developers to do something to spice things up here. It’s really a very straightforward coaching game.

You can jump into a career or a quick game to see what it’s like. I chose the quick game option but there is nothing “quick” about it. One half took about 30-40 minutes and that was pretty surprising. A normal Madden game is way shorter. I believe it’s because this game uses 15 minute quarters like the real sport while Madden typically has 5 minute quarters. I always understood why the games don’t do 15 minute quarters and this game proves it. It makes the games incredibly long and while you may have fun if you’re in the match, being a coach doesn’t offer the same level of immersion. What happens is you get to select the plays before each action.

Then you watch the computers carry out your play. Rinse and repeat as you go through the game. Honestly it’s basically no different than watching two computers play each other and I dare say that it’s worse. Choosing the next play just slows things down. Since you know the A.I. is probably going to mess up your play you’d rather they just take the wheel. I’m sure this gameplay style will have its fans, but I am not one of them. Each play takes so long and you can just pick random plays so you can do this with your eyes close. Ultimately the game seems to heavily rely on luck/RNG so it’s not like your picking does a whole lot.

The graphics aren’t bad. It looks more like PS2 than PS3 so I’m thinking that this game was more low budget compared to the main title. Nothing wrong with that of course, if anything it does add a layer of nostalgia to the title. Even that was not enough to really help the game in the long run though. The presentation isn’t nearly as good as Madden either since we miss out on most of the festivities. You get to have the coach yell out plays and praise/insult the team depending on how things go. This gets old pretty quick though and I’d rather have the announcers yelling out the play by play.

There’s a lot of replay value here technically. You can start a career as a coach and that’ll last you a very long time. It never even really needs to end. At the same time, this is all with the same gameplay style. You’ll likely end up not playing through every game at some point. I got this game for a few bucks in Florida many years ago so it’s not like it cost a whole lot. I’m not sure if I would call it the worst mainstream sport game, but it really could be. Naturally the golf games are also up there and I’m not a fan of some of the newer Baseball titles. I’ll be playing a lot of Baseball soon though so maybe that’ll help my fundamentals.

There’s not a whole lot of other things to do here. You’ve already basically heard the entire gameplay which in a way is pretty scary. There are other things you can do between plays like subbing out players and calling timeouts. That is really the extent of the gameplay though. I was hoping there was a mode where you could become a player, but I suppose that would be an odd choice since it would then become a normal Madden game. Even if I would have liked that as an option I suppose I see why it was not added in. That would have been pretty awesome though.

Overall, NFL Head Coach 09 is probably the most boring game I’ve ever played. It’s not like it has poorly designed levels or puzzles to make the game bad. There’s not really any “bad” features in this title. The only issue I have with it is that the game just isn’t any fun to play. I can’t find any joy in leaving it up to the computers. I feel like the whole point of playing a game is to use my skills to make a difference. What difference am I making if I’m just letting the computers take the reins? There’s a reason why they don’t make Head Coach games anymore and I’m betting that it’s because people got burned out. You can only play this kind of game for so long before you throw in the towel. There is one more Head Coach game for the PS2, but realistically I doubt I will ever play that game. If it turns up for a dollar or two I’d quickly purchase it, but otherwise that’s a no go from me.

Overall 4/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Tennis Review


It’s time to take a look at a SNES game that actually has not aged well. So far the games have been pretty solid with good gameplay and nice artwork. Unfortunately this game breaks the streak pretty decisively. This just isn’t a fun game and it’s probably the worst SNES game I’ve played.

When you jump into the game you are able to play quick battles with the computer or jump into circuit mode. There is also a multiplayer option you can try out here. There aren’t a lot of modes but you shouldn’t be expecting a whole lot anyway since this game did come out a while back. The modes aren’t an issue since the ones that we got are the key ones. The issue here is purely the gameplay and since that is arguably the most important aspect of a game it hurts quite a lot. It’s like the game is trying to be super precise with where you hit the ball and the technology just wasn’t there yet.

The goal of the game is to hit the ball into the opponents side of the court. If they are unable to hit the ball before if bounces back then you win the point. You just can’t hit the ball too far or you lose the point, too low, or too far to the side. That really limits your options but most tennis games do a pretty good job of letting you in control without hitting the ball out of bounds the whole time. In a way it’s ambitious of the game to not put any safety into the controls. If you hold right too hard then you will hit it out. In most games you have to try really hard to hit it out of bounds. It’s just that this makes it very difficult for you to actually play for any stretch of time. The only shot that seems to work is hitting the ball to the middle of the court and the computer always seems to hit those back anyway.

I did get a few points from when he would occasionally miss but it wasn’t very often at all. Typically the computer would just come back swinging and demolish me. You’ve also got to react quickly or try to predict the next play because you can’t run to the shot fast enough if you wait to see it. The computer will drop a quick ball near the front which falls almost immediately. The key is to just run on instinct but of course that ends up backfiring if he does a normal shot. The whole thing just feels futile at times, but I’m sure there is a trick. Games aren’t made to be unwinnable and people found ways to claim victory somehow. I just wasn’t able to figure out just how to do this.

In terms of graphics the game isn’t bad. It’s pretty much par for the course and while it won’t be making a case for best looking SNES game, there are definitely worse titles than this one. The game makes sure that you can see the tennis ball at all times and the court looks pretty reasonable. All in all I’d say that the graphics are the least of this game’s problems.

Even though this game is free I just don’t see you playing it for very long. After you play a few games they’ll all basically feel the same. The lack of variety isn’t surprising but with the gameplay at this level it becomes a bigger issue. You could just go and buy a newer tennis game for a dollar or two and that would go a long way.

Overall, Super Tennis definitely fell way below expectations. It’s hard to even call it a fun Tennis game because it just didn’t have good gameplay. Solid gameplay is a must for a title like this and you never feel like you’re n control. I wasn’t able to even take a single game out of all the sets I played against the CPU. That was definitely not my best moment. There is one more Super sport coming up in this collection so I’ll definitely be trying that one soon. I assume it’ll beat this one but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Brawl Brothers Review


The SNES classics continue thanks to the Switch online. This time I’m looking at one of the old beat em ups for the console. I still think that beat em ups work best in 3D, but 2D ones still have their charm. The quality will naturally also vary with how much effort was put in and how new the title was. This one is a pretty reasonable game, but the fact that there are no save points and you do eventually run out of lives holds it back. You never want to have to try and beat a whole game in one batch. The rewind feature and access points mean that you can beat this game if you really want to, but it’ll certainly take some time.

There was a plot in the booklet I’m sure but the game just jumps you right into the action. Every time you beat a level someone joins your team so just keep going til you save everybody. Each level contains several areas. You have to defeat all of the enemies and reach the end to get to the next level. You have a standard attack which is your best move, but you can also dash attack and jump attack. Finally your character also has a special attack, but I don’t recommend using this unless you are completely desperate. That’s because this attack actually drains your health. Yes….your health actually goes down here. I can’t really see how that would ever be worth it here since health is a very rare commodity and your special attack isn’t even that good. It’s basically a flurry of quick punches.

All of the levels are pretty straight forward except for one where I really have to question the level design. It’s a maze and you never want to see any of those in a fighting game. You’re in the sewers and the goal is to get to the end. The problem is that all of the doors are fake except for one and they have you going through 4 different areas that all look the same. Without looking up a guide online you’ll be here for a very long time. I was beating enemies for about 20 minutes before realizing that something wasn’t right with how the level was still going. Sure enough I was going in circles over and over again. That definitely didn’t feel very legitimate especially since the level never gave any indication that it was going to be a maze. In a game like this you really can’t afford to have a level like that.

Beyond that level the game was good though. I do still like a solid brawler game even if this one definitely does feel dated with how many mechanics it is missing. A simple save feature and the ability to re-start at the level you’re up to would be a game changer. The graphics are pretty solid for its time. The levels look good and so do the character designs. Each level is different the game has a lot of different character models. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though, but you can’t win em all.

The game’s length seems to be about 2 hours since I beat the first half in under 1. It’s a tough game though and if you intend to beat it without save states or the rewind feature then you will be here for an incredibly long time. This title is no cakewalk and it will do everything in its power to take your lives away. The mechanics often make it easy for the villains to get cheap shots on you even if it feels like you were in the right spot at the right angle. Sometimes I would rewind up to 10 times just to get the hit because they would somehow move too quickly. It’s probably unavoidable I suppose. There’s not a whole lot of replay value here since after beating the game there is no post game content. That’s it, you’ve cleared the story and that’s its own reward. Considering that the game is free there is still more than enough content to satisfy you here.

Overall, Brawl Brothers is a game that may not have gotten very well known nowadays, but it did show us what a beat em up could do back in the day. Of course there were many others like Double Dragon which were more popular so this wasn’t quite the one that would change the genre forever. I’d recommend giving it a play. There’s a lot of fun to be had here. You may not clear the game but I think you’ll appreciate the setting and effects. I’m also getting closer to clearing the SNES and then it’ll be time to take a look at some of the other NES games that I skipped.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NHL 2K7 Review


It’s been quite a while but now I am finally diving back into the world of Hockey. 2K7 is be one of the older hockey games, at least from the ones I’ve played. It has a very nostalgic feel to it and that really helps the game excel. This is a contender for my favorite hockey game and that’s not just because I finally won for a change. I think taking such a long break helped my hockey fundamentals.

Right away I dove into a match and got ready to see what the other team would do. The controls are very simple here which is nice as I don’t need to worry about a bunch of different options. You pass, shoot, and steal the puck. I’m sure there are more controls but those are the ones I really used to claim victory. I kept up a very aggressive offensive and it ended up paying off big time. Defense still isn’t an issue just because it is already so hard for anyone to get a goal in. You still do want to keep the pressure up so they don’t start getting fancy but as long as you do that you should be okay. Aside from that one hockey game there are basically never any shootouts.

As for offense I would play the game almost like Basketball and have one player take over the game. I’d drive up to the net and then quickly pass to someone near by and instantly take the shot. It wouldn’t always work but I fell like this gives you the best shot. I think one of my shots was without a pass but I managed to get the goalie in a bad spot which was very fortunate. I won the game 3-1 which felt pretty impressive. I gotta admit though, I did get nervous during the second quarter because initially I was winning 2-0 and then they suddenly scored. I’ve had quite a few matches were the computer suddenly got on a roll and started scoring so I definitely couldn’t let that happen. Fortunately there were no miracle comebacks this time. I got to close out the victory and saw the fun little celebration at the end. As always the presentation in the game is quite good. You get to see all of the characters celebrating after each score and then a bunch of them at the end. It really does help make the whole experience tie together a lot better.

I got into one fight during the match but my opponent was dominating me. To prevent myself from actually taking a loss I just took off and ran at that point. That’s a pretty fun mechanic that I’m surprised isn’t really around in the newer games. Being able to beat a hasty retreat was pretty fun even if I would have preferred securing the win. The guy’s punches were just so fast and unrelenting though. I was basically unable to do anything at that point which was crazy.

The graphics are pretty good and the colors stand out. It’s got that retro feeling that I mentioned a while back which is nice. I didn’t notice any music this time but in a sport game that isn’t too important since you’re focused on the sounds and the commentators. I can’t deny that having some solid tunes in true background would be a good idea though. They certainly don’t hurt.

As far as the replay value goes there is definitely a lot to do here. You can play some bonus modes and you can start a season. There are a ton of teams so trying them all will probably take some time as well. The game is pretty old so you won’t have the option of doing online but there are a ton of offline things to do at least. The game is only a dollar or two to buy as well so there is that.

Overall, 2K7 is a very good game. It brings you the full hockey experience and does it all very well. There is nothing lacking here and so long as you enjoy hockey you are basically guaranteed to have a good time. I don’t think I have any more hockey games or one at the most so soon it’s gonna be time to look at a different sport. Hockey had a good run and now when I buy my next hockey game someday I’ll be prepared for it.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asphalt 9: Legends Review


It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I didn’t even know existed until I came across a random Reddit post a while back. I really enjoyed Asphalt on the 3DS to the point where I consider it to be the definitive portable racing game and one of the better ones overall. This one is a big console version and it’s free so it would be interesting to see how it fares. Well, it’s a lot of fun and there’s a ton of content yet it just doesn’t feel quite as good as the 3DS version.

When you jump into the game you have a lot of options on what you would like to do first. The main mode is Career which is where you’ll go through hundreds of levels in order to prove that you are the best. The levels are all bite sized at around a minute or less. Your goal is typically to get 1st place but sometimes you need to pull off a drift or be in the air for a while. By the point where I stopped these missions were all very easy but I’m sure they would get tougher over time. Due to how many levels there are here you could easily be busy for a very, very long time. The longer the better though so that works out quite well.

Then you have the online battles where you race other drivers. The more you win the more you rise up through the different ranks. I managed to get Silver Rank in my first 2 online seasons so I’d count that as a total win. These battles are fun but be prepared to lose quite a bit since your car matters a lot here. As a freemium player I just had the most basic cars imaginable while some of these guys online had sweet rides at their disposal. It’s still a good change of pace from playing the offline modes all the time.

Then there are tons of achievements which you’ll unlock naturally as you play the game. Most of them keep on going as well so lets say one achievement was for winning 10 races, you’ll get another 15. There are a ton of missions like this so you’ll likely be clearing one almost every race. They get you A Points which can be used for Coins or vice versa. Then you use points to upgrade your cars. In order to get new cars you need to unlock blueprints which you get by winning races. There are a ton of cars so you’ll be unlocking them for a long time.

Each car has an individual energy meter so you can only use them a certain amount of times before they have to rest. You can use an item to reset the timer but once you run out of those you’d have to buy them. This is one game where money helps you out a lot. You can buy the best of the best stuff here right off the bat. If you do that they you will have a very tangible benefit over the other players. At least the game is doable without paying though. That’s really the important part for me since I like being able to at least make it to the end without paying a dime. So long as I can do that then everything else will quickly fall into place.

There are a lot of songs here. The game spared no expense in buying actual lyrical songs to listen to during the stages. That was impressive and they fit pretty well with the speed of the races. The graphics also look really good. They’re on par with something you may have spent 60 bucks to play. The Free to Play market is in a really good state at this point since companies are producing rather expensive games like this one and not charging. Yes, it’s because they charge end users for optional things, but at least it’s not mandatory.

If the game has a problem it’s that there is too much to do. More content isn’t bad, but the menus are structured in a way where it is always very overwhelming. I’ve noticed that this does tend to happen to some mobile games. You really need a main menu that you can maneuver through easily and that’s not something that this game has. It may seem rather minor but it gets to be a big deal after a while when you are just trying to find your garage or the next race. It’s all very busy.

As for the gameplay, it’s definitely pretty solid. Asphalt 3D is still better, but this one doesn’t add too many gimmicks. You can boost and you can spin to knock out other racers. Beyond that it is basically a normal racing game and that’s what you would expect from Asphalt. It’s a simple experience next to NFS or Mario Kart, but it excels at this. 9 just doesn’t feel as simple as the rest of the series which may be the price for being free. It’s worth it of course even if I ultimately did not stick with it.

Overall, Asphalt 9 is a very good game. It’s practically endless with how many races there are to do. If you really like racing then I can see you sticking with this game for a very long time. There won’t really be a reason for you to put it down. With no story mode here you’ll be playing purely for the gameplay. I’ve got too many games on the backlog to stay with any one title for too long, but there is a good amount of quality here. Asphalt’s developers didn’t phone this one in and I could see it staying active for a very long time. I would caution you not to spend any money on it until you are sure that you will be playing the game for a long time though.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics Review


It’s time to look at an old SNES game. This is one of those titles that I definitely had not heard of before and is certainly underrated. The game has quality platforming mechanics that can hold their own with the other big side scrollers. It’s really surprising that the game didn’t hit it big.

The plot of the game is that someone has kidnapped the legendary crown from the village. In order to get to him we will need to defeat the 7 dragons and gather all the gems so that we can create Rainbow Road.  This won’t be a cakewalk and the mastermind behind these attacks should not be messed with. That being said, our hero is ready and eager for the challenge.

The gameplay is pretty simple. Your goal is to make it to the end of each level where there is a boss waiting for you. You can swing your club to dispatch enemies and you can swing it forward or up. You can also pick up meet that the enemies drop which will replenish your health and also give you a special ability at times. One lets you shoot bullet seeds which is very handy thanks to the range. The best weapon in the game are the twin axes though. When you find these in a level you are basically invincible since you can shoot two energy blasts that cover a very long distance. You can also swallow water but that is only useful for one jump in the whole game where you have to put out a fire log. It’s pretty impressive that the game added a whole mechanic for one scene.

This is a difficult game though so you will really need those weapons. Touching anything will hurt you and you don’t have a whole lot of health. 5 hits and that’s it. The minions run and jump out of nowhere so it can be very difficult to react to them on time. Then the bosses have tough attack patterns that they mix up quite a bit in order to claim the edge. The toughest one is definitely the dinosaur that shoots out a bunch of rocks and energy blasts at the same time. I couldn’t figure out a way to dodge the rocks so you’ll be banking in RNG a bit here. Just rush in and hit the dinosaur as much as possible since a drawn out fight is the last thing you want.

You will want to take their fighting habits to heart since you will be fighting a boss rush of every dinosaur in the game in the final level. That would be absolutely brutal on the original console without the save states and rewind feature. Even with them you’ll have a bit of a tough time, but you will naturally learn the movements the more you battle them. By the end the final boss doesn’t even feel all that tough in comparison. His second form is easier than the first one and I’m guessing that’s because it would feel pretty impossible by the end if the second form was even stronger than the first one. This way you get to sort of wind down as you approach the ending.

The graphics definitely look pretty good and have aged really well. This is the kind of sidescroller that I could see doing really well nowadays if it ever got a sequel. There’s just a good world and setting that this game has made which will really serve it well. Naturally the story isn’t too deep at this point since this was such an older game but they could definitely flesh it out with a modern remake. There’s just a lot of possibilities here for sure.

In terms of replay value there naturally isn’t a whole lot. Once you’ve beaten the game that’s it. You don’t even get to go back to the main menu at that point because the game is 100% done. It’ll last you for about an hour or so and then you’ll be all done. Considering that the game is free if you already have the online service then that really isn’t half bad. If anything it’s a steal. The SNES Online really feels worlds apart from the NES titles as these are full fledged games in their own right. Joe & Mac 2 has definitely earned that respect.

Overall, This is a fun game. It’s really got all of the elements that you would expect in such a solid title. The gameplay is rock solid and the game actually has a structure. You’ve got an ongoing plot as you try to grab all of the gems and are rewarded with a nice payoff through the ending. The game is not all that linear so you can choose to get whichever gems you want in any order. It’s like a Mega Man game in that way. You can also spend your money at the local shops to fix up your home and buy meat. I don’t really get what half of the items over there do though. Some like the Melon just makes it feel like you’re wasting money for no real reason. I’m sure the items all have a purpose but the game can be rather vague on that front. Well, it’ll be tough for the next SNES game to pass this one but never count one out.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kingdom of Paradise Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure RPG. I don’t think a great many people have played this and I dare say that it’s because of the cover. It just isn’t an interesting one and will do nothing to catch your eye. At the most you may just look at this game and shake your head. Still, if you do end up purchasing the game then you’ll have found a keeper. This one has some pretty tight gameplay and the story isn’t bad. The length is also pretty good. There are some issues which keep me from calling this a great game, but at the end of the day there’s a lot to enjoy here.

The plot follows a warrior named Shinbu who was expelled from his clan a while back for breaking the rules. Well, he’s come to terms with this and is now eager to make himself a better man. He runs into a girl named Sui Lin who is heading back to his old clan with some dire news. He decides to follow her for a while before informing her that he is the one she is seeking. It turns out that their entire clan has been murdered and Shinbu’s parents were destroyed by a pair of orcs. With his life in shambles Shinbu agrees to help Sui Lin warn the other 4 clans. It appears that all 5 are in danger as a new kingdom is quickly approaching. Their ruler has tempted the second in command from all 5 clans to help him conquer the world. Will Shinbu be enough to turn the tides?

The gameplay is that of a 3D beat em up. There are a lot of enemies always crawling out of the woodwork and you have to slam them back inside. There is no rest for the weary and you have to stay sharp at all times. While you don’t always have to fight them, you’ll probably want to as you won’t be strong enough to fight off the bosses otherwise. One thing you’ll want to do is find a room where the enemies are close enough for you to enter battle mode but far enough where you can’t hurt them. Then just spam your energy attacks. See, the way your energy attacks level up in this game is to simply keep using them. Whether you hit the opponent or not doesn’t matter so it’s easiest in a situation like that where you won’t have to move. It can be a little dull since you’re literally standing in one place and using the same attack over and over. Still, that’s how you get the attack to improve its potential. Just keep on doing that for at least one element and you’ll have an attack that will still be relevant even against the final boss. It can one shot all minions up until that point as well.

Without the magic abilities you’ll see what a tough fight the climax can be. I brought along 3 revives and 30 max potions and I had to use up almost my full supply at the end. Money doesn’t come easy but once you enter a long tower near the end of the game that is your chance to grind quite a lot. The room with the 5 bat creatures is your best bet since you can take them all down in one shot with no real effort. Rinse and repeat for a lot of exp and money. I got a ton of level ups that way which was really handy. Your skills and magic attacks all have elements and choosing the right one for each battle also helps a lot. You can switch at any time, but it can be hard to know what element your opponent is so I would usually just stick with fire.

The graphics aren’t bad. I am glad that we get full voice acting and cinematics. The faces don’t move much though which can make for interesting cutscenes where the characters are just staring at each other for a while. It can unintentionally be pretty funny. Some scenes just also seem like they end a little sooner than the developers planned. One such scene is when a confession is made and the other characters just stares in silence for a moment before the screen goes white and you walk away. I suppose you can make a lot of different assumptions about what happened there, but my guess is that he got overwhelmed and just walked away.

There are a lot of twists in the story. We meet two girls of cosmic nature who hold the keys and each of the 5 kingdoms have their own issues. At times it could be difficult to keep all of the names straight since there were just so many characters running around. There were multiple traitors and even mind control going on so not everyone who tried to destroy us was actually evil. It raises a lot of questions but by the end of the game I’d say that they’re all answered. It’s definitely not the happiest ending though as a lot of people didn’t get a happy ending once this had all concluded.

One plot that definitely didn’t go over very well was Shinbu’s parents. So, there’s a twist and one of them survived while the other one was murdered. Why? These Ogres don’t seem that tough so I can’t see how they won in the first place. Then there’s the issue of the survivor being generally emotionless and uncaring about the whole thing. The reunion with Shinbu is laughable as the dialogue amounts to a “hey” and then the characters part ways again. I think a sequel could flesh out some of these characters like the mysterious man in red who has a lot of skills, but chooses to hide all the time anyway. Most of these characters are pretty guilty of not doing anything since they definitely could have stopped the villain’s plans earlier. At the very least they could have slowed the villains down. Ultimately Shinbu has to do everything.

I liked the boss theme. It was pretty atmospheric and let you know that things were getting serious. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t too memorable though. Now for the parts of the game that weren’t great. For one thing, there is a lot of running around in this game. The hub world is huge and you are expected to traverse it multiple times on your way to the end. A lot of times the hint given in your quest menu is fairly vague and you may end up going to the wrong town a lot. From the 13 hours I was playing this game I dare say that 3-4 were just about running to where I needed to go. The boats don’t show up til near the end of the game and even then they don’t take you everywhere.

Then you’ve got the map which isn’t very helpful. Left in game doesn’t mean left on the map which just doesn’t make any kind of sense. The grinding is not handled quite as well as in other games. It’s very slow and the way that the magic levels up just doesn’t make any kind of sense. There are also parts of the game where you might really be in a jam if you don’t have enough magical abilities. I remember getting trapped in the tower room for a while because I didn’t have one of the elements. Fortunately using the sword worked in its place. Really the main drawbacks here are the map and unclear directions. The gameplay is fun though which is always the important thing.

Overall, Kingdom of Paradise is a fun game and one that I would definitely recommend. It brings you the top notch action that you would expect and then some. It’s definitely not super polished and the plot pales next to other RPGs, but it’s got enough fundamentals to keep you going. You will certainly be entertained and it’s always nostalgic going back to the PSP. The games on this console all had a certain feel about them that you just can’t get anywhere else.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Neopets Petpet Adventures: The Wand of Wishing Review


It’s time to look at a Neopets game that I’ve had on the back burner for quite a while. It’s been pretty fun diving into these old games and I’m steadily closing out all of the PSP titles I own. This one definitely has its share of issues, but is ultimately a pretty decent game. It does get that RPG feeling across.

The game stars with a girl and her dog being cornered by a group of goblins. They want the legendary Wand of Wishing and unfortunately the heroine grabs it from the secret location and then lets it get taken into a portal. Her dog heads inside to grab it. The mission will be difficult though as the wand is now in a fantasy land filled with dragons and fairies as multiple factions wrestle for control. This pup is going to have to play hard ball.

I do like that the opening and ending cutscenes both have actual voice acting. I feel like the whole game should have had that instead of gibberish being used as the monster language though. The main heroine definitely isn’t ready for this action adventure though as she actually has a wand that can grant any wish and still lets the villains get the upper hand. There are hundreds of wishes she could have quickly made to make the villains stand down. That would have been a good way to play things. I would have actually been curious to see more of the human world since goblins apparently exist here. Is the world under siege and a sequel would look at that or is she simply in the wrong neighborhood? So many questions and so little time.

As for the actual gameplay, this is an overhead open world RPG action title. You walk from area to area fulfilling various quests and saving the king/queen of each realm. Your weapon can be a close quarters one like a sword or you can use a crossbow. I highly recommend the latter as their range is far greater and their power is better. Whoever designed this game must have had a very high opinion of this weapon because to have one that has better range and power is pretty unheard of. You will definitely want to have a high level of power because a lot of the bosses have Cheese abilities that will destroy you very quickly otherwise. One can freeze you as he lands multiple hits and others fire so fast that you can barely see the attack.

I spent around an hour just trying to cross one room at one point because even the minions were taking me down in a single hit. Just equipping weapon and armor simply isn’t enough. You will quickly be taken down. Your only hope is to go to the gym and level up your core strength, speed, and other stats. Make no mistake, these skills are what’s really going to get you through the door. Using the gym costs a lot of money and you only get an upgrade once you beat the boss but it’s worth it. Soon the minions who were beating you in one hit will barely be able to hurt you. At that point you will have a much better chance at winning.

You can also wield magic but I never quite got the hang of that one. My magical abilities weren’t quite high enough to use most of them so I bought a healing spell and left it at that. I highly recommend the health regeneration spell by the way as you can keep it activated almost 24/7 and it doubles your health recovery speed. It’s incredibly handy in all situations.

One issue about all of this is the money. As I mentioned it is all quite expensive and the problem is that the resources are finite. Once you clear a world you cannot go back and enemies surprisingly do not respawn. This means that if you go too fast you may end up burying yourself in an unwinnable situation. Fortunately that didn’t happen to me but if you like speed-running a game just keep this in mind. You don’t want to skip too many enemies. Honestly they should have just left the worlds open. It also means that you can’t clear the side quests either which is no good.

In general the game suffers from menus that aren’t very intuitive and long loading screens. Going into any area triggers a long loading screen and the menus are slow. You have to scroll screen by screen to get anywhere instead of a quick click. It can be tough to figure out most of the game’s more advanced features on your own as well.

As far as the graphics are concerned, I’d give the game a thumbs up. It is certainly one of the weaker PSP games in that area without a doubt but it is good enough. You can always tell what is happening and at worst the game just can’t load up much beyond what you see so you’ll notice that your attacks don’t do any damage if they hide just out of view. The soundtrack is decent but has no noteworthy tunes. You’ll likely forget all about them by the time you have wrapped things up here.

The story was fun enough as I mentioned but there is one moment that doesn’t make much sense. There is a twist about who one of the villains is and it is ambitious since it is a character that we will need to stop the end of the world. She’s evil but when another villain shows up this quickly goes 180 as she asks for our help. So much for pride among villains. At the end she makes a half hearted attempt to get in our way again but you don’t feel as though it is a serious attempt. Hopefully the other guardians will give her a stern talking to after her antics.

Overall, The Wand of Wishing is a pretty good game. It may not have the depth or length of a standard RPG, but you can still tell that some effort was put behind this one. There are several areas where it could have improved for sure like the loading times I mentioned earlier. Clearer instructions would be good as well but once you figure everything out then you are sure to have fun. Just be sure to go to the gym and buy the best armor/long ranged weapon and you shall be fine.

Overall 6/10