No stats this time. Unfortunately the game doesn’t track anything due to no collectibles or play time in here.
Wario World is one of those games that I had been meaning to get for a very long time. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience this platformer in all its glory? Well, I can see why it never got big. It’s a good game, but it’s not a very good one. It makes some key errors in gameplay and level design that hold it back. It’s also worth mentioning that the game is quite short which is definitely not a good thing. You’d expect it to be a little longer.
The basic plot is that Wario was enjoying his riches when a dark star arrives which blows the whole thing up. Wario now needs to reunite the 4 keys in order to open up a Treasure Chest and then take the star down for good. Can Wario really manage to pull this off though or is he going to need to call in Mario to end things before it gets too serious? One thing’s for sure, he is going to make sure to grab a whole lot of treasure on the way.
There are 4 worlds in the game and each one has 2 levels and then a boss. Right away you can see how this would be shorter than the average game because that’s not really a whole lot of levels to get through. You can blast through that with ease. The individual levels are longer than the average platformer but it’s still not quite enough to completely balance things out.
The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer. You can punch enemies out or slam into them. Additionally you can pick them up after stunning an enemy and throw them into something else. The goal of each level is to grab some red gems which can be found in trap doors where you have to solve a puzzle. How many crystals you need definitely varies but on average you want to have around 5-6. Just don’t skip any trap doors and you’re good. If the trap door is glowing then that means there is a crystal in there.
Make sure you go through the trap doors that have a closed door symbol on them. Initially I didn’t go through them since it didn’t seem necessary but I found out the hard way that you need those as well. In order to enter those you need to ground pound while holding an enemy and then you are able to get in. At the end of each level is a boss so make sure you go for their weak points. The little guys you rescue during each level will give you hints on how to beat the boss. How many of them you collect also determined how your ending plays out in the game so it’s something to consider. It seems like I got the second best ending which is pretty nice.
The gameplay is decently solid although the controls definitely feel a lot more slippery than the average Mario game. Some of the jumps can be tougher than they look as a result. I liked the combat aspects of it though. Being able to punch out your enemies is pretty nice and feels like something Wario would do. I didn’t appreciate the fact that you have to collect gems though. One thing I’ve never liked is when you have to collect things because it just doesn’t feel right to me. Can’t I just breeze through the levels at my leisure?
Meanwhile the graphics are good. It definitely has that retro Gamecube feel which is always so amazing. No other console has managed to hit with quite the same level of emotional value. The boss designs are also pretty intense like the guy who looks like DK. Now there’s a power hitter if I’ve ever seen one before. He had to be a homage to DK just like we had a boss later who was like King K Rool. The designs were definitely on point.
As for the soundtrack, it’s like a Bizarro version of the Mario themes. You have Wario doing his best to make the themes sound like the classic tunes but it doesn’t really work. His singing voice simply isn’t up to par and neither are the stage instrumental themes. Ultimately this definitely isn’t one of the game’s strengths. As for replay value, at least there is some of that I suppose. You can go back to try and grab all of the upgrades and collectibles. Only issue is that aside from the ending which is less than 30 seconds anyway, there isn’t much of an incentive to doing that beyond just a general feeling that you 100% completed the game. Maybe that’s all you need I guess. So if you really like the game then it’s an added bonus.
Overall, Wario World is a good game but you can tell the studio hadn’t quite found their footing on this one yet. It feels like there are just a lot of chinks in the armor that still need to be straightened out. It had a lot of potential but as a result this title can’t beat the average platformer. Right now the going price for this game is around 70-80 bucks so I would not recommend it for that price. Even if just because the game is so short. If you find it for a good price though then it’s worth a look as such an old school title.
Spells Mastered 4/4
Harry’s Cards 27/36
Hermione’s Cards 27/36
Ron’s Cards 24/36
So far the Harry Potter games had actually been pretty decent. Unfortunately this one definitely broke the trend. This was just a bad game to be honest. The worst decision the developers made was to make this a forced collectathon game where you have to go back to the same levels over and over to collect more shields. Not only is the gameplay not all that much fun but the story is also the weakest in the franchise. When you mix that all together you definitely don’t have a winning formula at the ready.
You would have absolutely no idea what the story is if you just go through the game though. All you have for the plot here are some disjointed story cutscenes and that’s it. Roughly you’re finding an egg, completing 3 challenges and then taking on Voldemort. It’s too bad because otherwise you could have built up to the big battle gradually. It’s just hard to believe that the game has fallen so far compared to the previous ones. Still, at this point you get that I preferred the originals so I won’t compare them much going forward. Lets just talk about the Goblet of Fire on its own.
The gameplay is 3D style as you go through the levels and have to obtain Shields. A Shield is either hidden behind some obstacles or awarded after defeating a boss. Each level has a certain amount of shields but the game doesn’t tell you how many, nor does the level itself give you an indication of how many are left. There are 10 mini shields in each level as well and once you grab all 10 then you will be able to get another full sized shield. Another thing worth mentioning here is that you won’t be able to get all of the shields initially since you don’t learn the tree spell until later. So get ready to have to revisit the levels again.
There’s only around 10 levels but there are 38 shields so you have to replay each level quite a few times. I completed the game with 29 shields so you don’t need all of them but the game does make sure you at least have most of them. You have two main attack spells to deal with the enemies that show up. Pressing the A button will launch your offensive spell which works on just about everyone. Then you have your levitation spell with the B Button that you can use to raise your opponents while your teammates blast them or you can move obstacles out of the way in the game.
I haven’t mentioned yet but this game is a team styled game much like Sonic Heroes. There are always 3 of you running around in the game and the other two are controlled by A.I. if you are playing solo. They aren’t the brightest A.I. though and often times they will get stuck so you have to find them or just run far enough and they’ll magically catch up. A lot of obstacles require at least two people to levitate so you have to hope that they get the picture pretty quick.
While I wouldn’t say the gameplay itself is very bad, the computers do drain on you after a while. Additionally some of the level designs aren’t great so it feels tedious going through the same rooms over and over again. A lot of the enemy spawns never actually end so your best bet is to find an opening to run forward but often times this just means you are going to have to eat a whole lot of hits before you can actually get to safety which isn’t exactly fun. The bosses don’t give you much direction either but I won’t say much against them because part of me was impressed that there were bosses and you can still figure it out before long since there aren’t a lot of controls.
Get ready to hear the characters talking a lot though. While not as constant as in How to Train Your Dragon 2, they do repeat the same lines over and over again as the game goes on which can get old pretty quickly. You wish they would have a little more restraint with that. The graphics are okay although the cutscenes aren’t as sharp as the older games. The soundtrack is surprisingly good so that’s one positive I can give the game. It has a Star Wars vibe and at least puts some real soul into the tunes. It definitely beats the alternative of having a more robotic feel or uninspiring music. This way you can at least listen to good tunes.
There isn’t much replay value to be found here but I suppose finding all of the shields will have to do. You can also try to unlock extra cards by finding other collectibles and mastering your spells. I ended up getting most of the cards naturally so I don’t think this will take you very long at all. The toughest part about 100% completing this game is probably going to be getting the shields on the challenge levels. Those levels definitely don’t allow for many mistakes so you will really have to master the style.
Overall, It’s not often that I give a game a score under a 5 because most games are enjoyable in their own way. It takes a lot to be what I consider a “bad’ game but this one would fit the bill. The gameplay just isn’t fun. The levels lose any enjoyment they might have had when you have to play them over and over again. The obstacles don’t save either so you have to keep on performing the same actions each time you enter the level. There was no effort put into the story so the whole experience just isn’t satisfying. The biggest flaw of the game was the collectathon angle but without it, you would have just had a super short game that wasn’t memorable. It would have been preferable to this, but either way this wasn’t close to being a great game. I’m hoping that the next Harry Potter game steps its game up.
Mega Man X Collection is one of those games that I have always wanted to get. Who wouldn’t want to play a collection of 6 titles all packed into one mega experience? The X Collection is a treasure trove of important moments in Capcom’s history and it’s fairly out of print so I had to pay a bit of a premium to grab it. It was worth the trouble though and ended up being a pretty masterful game. The titles are all about as hard as I remember as well. Good luck taking them down.
As I had already played X1 and X4 previously I didn’t replay those. The collection brings all of the games up through X6 and I already got X7-X8 on the PS2 a while back. It’s pretty fun to see how the games have improved over the years. There is a noticeable jump in the graphics as you go through. I would say the biggest jump was from X3-X5 in that it now looked like a fully modern experience. You could release that game today and nobody would bat an eye because it would not feel out of place. The core gameplay for each of these titles is largely unchanged though. They are 2D shooters with some platforming involved.
The goal of each level is to make it to the end and then destroy the robot master who is in your way. This won’t be an easy task of course but it is one that you will need to complete. Once you’ve beaten the 8 bosses of the game then you always head to the final stages is around 3-4 back to back levels of taking on new opponents as well as beating up the 8 masters once again. For each game I would focus on beating the 8 masters initially as my completion and didn’t go for the gold with the climax levels this time around. It was nostalgic enough going through those moments so I didn’t think I needed to go further.
Sigma tends to make an appearance in every game but the plots are very different. One of them has the Sigma virus going around and mutating everyone while another one has the Nightmare virus which even affects Zero. Sometimes you have Zero available to play with from the start and other times he is presumed dead so you don’t see him for a while. The various plots are always a lot of fun. X definitely goes all in with the stories compared to the classic Mega Man games. This is why we need an anime to adapt them at some point but in the meanwhile the manga has done a good job of this.
The game gives you the ability to customize the controls which is handy. I always switch the boost to R instead of X. I don’t see how you can boost efficiently with it there. You can also toggle the difficulty level and even start off with a super armor if you want. I like these little tweaks. They are good quality of life upgrades that you want to see in these games. Even with this the games are suitably hard so you don’t need to worry about that.
Naturally the graphics are really good here. The character models are on point and the stage designs are good as well. The soundtrack is also excellent. The X series has so many winning themes that you will lose track by the end. It’s just another reason why the X series is so good. It knows exactly how to deliver on its strengths. As for replay value, each game has some since you can look for power ups and new armors. Additionally each game is difficult enough where it should last you a good amount of time anyway. You won’t be finishing this game very quickly at all so content is the least of your worries. That said, the price is definitely excessively high right now so good luck finding it at a value price. Most likely you will have to shell out a lot for this one. It’s definitely worth it if you are a big fan of the series though.
It’s crazy to think that Capcom has completely ditched this series and yet they really have. I dare say Mega Man could still be a household name if Capcom had kept going instead of ditching it for other things. The storylines alone are enough to make this super engaging for future gamers. Just show them X and the other reploids who helped him out through the years like Zero and you’re set. Keep in the fully animated cutscenes for the games as well since they also helped to establish this as a very big game series with high stakes.
The collection also brings Battle and Chase but to get this you have to complete the first three games completely which is definitely difficult. I didn’t go back to the first one at all anyway but it is a really cool reward for the fans who managed to pull this off. What could be better than getting another complete game for your troubles right? Battle and Chase is also pretty obscure so this would likely be your first time playing it. The X Collection certainly didn’t go cheap with the content and it’s one of the reasons this became an eternal classic. It may not have as many games as the Mega Man Anniversary collection but that one has less story and cutscenes so I imagine it was easier to fit them all there.
Overall, Mega Man X Collection is a great collection of games. Each title here is a complete game from the original Mega Man X days and they all hold up well. Naturally the most polished ones are the final two but they were all developed well and without shortcuts. I don’t see you having any issue with any of the titles presented here. They will absolutely test your gameplay fundamentals though. With the exception of one moving spike level, I thought all of the levels were pretty fair as well. If you learn and memorize the villain’s fighting pattern then you should be all good to go here.
X2 8/8 bosses completed
X3 8/8 bosses completed
X5 8/8 bosses completed. 3/4 Bonus levels Completed.
X6 8/8 bosses completed
Monkey Ball is a series that has always been pretty important to me. It’s got great gameplay and a whole lot of dynamic puzzles. To an extent you can say that it’s a very safe series which should never go wrong. How can you mess up such tight gameplay right? The Wii one wasn’t particularly impressive though and this one’s really underwhelming so maybe the series is just over the hill. The problem is that these titles are messing with the core mechanics which really didn’t need to be altered at this point in time. it’s a shame, but I guess it’s just the way it goes.
The basic plot here is that a wedding is being planned between two characters. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t want to attend the wedding. For starters, the wedding is against the rules of the land currently and people are just too busy. There are robot invasions in some lands, monkeys turning evil in others, and some just can’t be bothered. Aiai and the crew decide that they are going to have to force everyone to come to the wedding by eliminating any possible excuses that they might have. So that begins their tough journey through the wilderness to set things straight. Can the monkeys do it or is this really game over for them?
The plot isn’t terrible I guess but it’s definitely not particularly engaging. the real problem here is just the fact that the gameplay is not good. So, in most Monkey Ball games the idea is to make it to the goal while balancing inside of your little plastic ball. This s tough because the levels are just really difficult and controlling the ball is tough. Still, it’s a fair challenge that is a lot of fun and each level is shorter than 60 seconds so the trial and error doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately this is only a small part of the Adventure gameplay. You only play these levels on occasion to unlock new areas to explore. that’s it.
The rest of the game acts more like a platformer. You have to help the villagers with whatever challenge they are having like bringing people balloons or catching a car. Unfortunately the Monkey Ball gameplay really does not work particularly well with this style. The game is all about moving and performing these difficult maneuvers but when you fall prepare for big set backs. The game will take you to the nearest area exit which is sometimes quite far from where you died. This means it will be a long journey to get back to where you were which is never fun. That’s the case for a lot of the quests here, they’re very tedious and take the joy out of the equation.
The basic structure of the game is that each world has around 20 missions to complete. Each mission will bump you up 5%. Once you reach 60% you can challenge the boss of the world and by beating him you get one more guest to the wedding. Rinse and repeat for all 4-5 worlds and then you’ve made it to the ending. Interestingly the game doesn’t really let you know any of this so you may end up doing more missions than you actually need to as a result. Pretty slick of the game if you ask me. I was just ready to head out as soon as I had the required completion% in the game. My total completion% was around 74 which is pretty good I must say.
Fortunately, since you don’t have to beat literally every mission, if you find out that’s a little too cray just skip it. No reason you have to punish yourself by trying to knock it out. In particular there were a few aerial missions I just couldn’t handle. The air missions seem to be the worst ones in general since the gameplay just isn’t as finetuned as the ground combat parts which have been fine tuned over many different installments by this point. The aerial part is new.
The graphics are okay I suppose. They aren’t particularly impressive but you know where you are going which is the important thing. The level designs are pretty bad though. The hub worlds are just too huge and as a result you can get lost or just have to retrace a lot of old ground all the time. As for the soundtrack, well it’s pretty forgettable. I don’t expect you will remember any of the tunes by the time you’re done with the game. It’s just one of those adventures.
For replay value I suppose there is a decent amount here. There are quite a few missions to do and extra minigames. Gathering all of the bananas in order to unlock all of the bonus content would probably be pretty intense too. The game took me a long time as it is so there is a lot of content here. It’s just not particularly entertaining content. If you do end up liking the game though, you can at least be content to know there is a lot to do here including an expansive multiplayer mode with lots of games to try.
Overall, Monkey Ball Adventure just isn’t good. At the end of the day the core problem here is the gameplay and that’s pretty much a killer for any title. The fact that the story is pretty much nonexistent doesn’t help either. You have to deal with a lot of loading times and since the game just isn’t fun in general either, there’s no real reason to play this one. One thing that could have solved a lot of problems would be the ability to teleport to missions or at least re-spawn there when you lose. Without that and the fact that chanting to go into each special skill mode takes too long results in a pretty sad experience. I don’t see myself going back to this title. Hopefully Monkey Ball gets a proper new game at some point though.
Game Completion 74%
Defender is a game I’ve had on the shelf for a very long time. It’s a game that is also extremely difficult and the developers did not pull any punches with the game. I had it frozen on the backlog for a long time but with the numbers continuing to drop it was time to put this one back into play. Currently we are down to 35 games left so that’s pretty good. Defender is a good title and far better than something like Battlestar Galactica. Now that’s a game that could use a bunch of work.
The general plot is that the aliens have taken over Earth as well as the entire solar system. The humans have been forced to move out of the system entirely to regroup which has not made them very happy campers. Well, we’ve now got a good amount of ships and mechs at our disposal so it’s time to reclaim our planets. The game has you go from world to world as you exterminate the aliens with Earth naturally being the big prize at the end. It hasn’t been easy but now it’s the humans’ turn for a counter attack. It’s a pretty nice plot and I like the idea of the humans having to invade Earth since it has already been taken over.
There are some cutscenes here and there which get pretty emotional. For example there was a mechanic just minding his own business and suddenly an alien appears and takes him away. The graphics hold up really well for both the cinematics and the gameplay. At most it can be a little hard to follow along with what is going on at times but I’d guess that is a little unavoidable with how many enemies are running around at all times. If you want the skies to be cleared then you’ll have to do it yourself.
The soundtrack is okay. It’s not particularly memorable but works well enough with the the levels. It’s a fitting ost which is all that you can ask for. In terms of length I wouldn’t call the story all that long but the difficulty should help to extend that quite a bit. I would estimate the game is maybe around 5-6 hours long. It can also be longer if you do the bonus levels. See, each world has 2-3 levels but you’re always able to just go to the next one after beating the first mission. The others are totally optional but note that if you skip to the next planet then there is no way to go back so that’s definitely something to keep in mind. You have to be absolutely sure of yourself when making the decision.
For the gameplay, this is a 3D shooter. You pilot your ship around the surface of the planet as you blow up all of the enemy fighters and installations. The actual goal of the level will vary heavily so always pay attention to the objectives which are shown at the beginning of the level and also explained through the dialogue. For example, one mission may have you simply blow up all of the fighters while another one may have you protecting a base until everyone is able to be evacuated. With the title of the game you won’t be surprised to hear that quite a few of the levels are protection missions like that.
In general protection missions never tend to be my favorite ones. Your ally’s health goes down so quickly and it’s hard to protect everyone. One level I really had some issues with was where you had to protect a series of satellites from robotic suicide bombers. That one was really tough in part because the level was so big and aside from the bombers you had to worry about the rest of the crew as well. Definitely puts you in a tough spot.
Fortunately you have more than one ship to choose as an option. Each ship has a different array of weapons. Personally I used the second ship for almost the whole game and then used the second to last ship for the final few levels. The reason I switched was because the new ship has an laser which has no limits for ammo. You can just keep on using it although you do need to let it recharge for a few seconds here and there. Each ship can be updated by using your points which can improve all of the weapons on board and even add another life to your ship. I would say that the extra life should be your lowest priority since most of the levels have a strict time limit anyway which ends up being more important than having another life which you may not need.
Overall, Defender is a pretty decent game. It’s a basic sci-fi shooter game where you’re blasting away at aliens. You can’t really go wrong there right? I would say that one area which would improve the game though would be a way to play old levels and earn some more money. Much like Armored Core 2 you could be in a tough spot if you spend your money on the wrong ship and have none left for the final level. It’s why I stuck with one of the default ships for almost the whole game just in case. Last thing you want it to be trapped without money in a level that’s just too difficult to conquer. If you see this game in stories somewhere somehow, then I would say to pick it up. It’s old school but has aged pretty well. The plot’s fun and the gameplay is pretty smooth which is really all that you need in the end.