Mighty Switch Force! Collection Review


It’s time to look at a collection of platformers that now have a physical release all bundled together. I’ve seen images of Switch Force before very briefly but I can’t say I knew the first thing about it. Well, now that I’ve played all of the games I can say I’m a seasoned pro. It goes in on the puzzle genre and mixes platforming into it pretty seamlessly. It’s a fun bundle of games to play through. You should be able to complete them all pretty quickly although the last levels get pretty difficult so you don’t want to take them lightly. Each game ends with a final level or two and a big boss that definitely isn’t playing around.

There are 4 games here but effectively 3 when you consider that the first game is here twice in its normal state as well as an enhanced version. Each game uses a different mechanic to keep things fresh to Switch Force lives up to its name in switching up the experience each time. Lets tackle the first game to start with. You play as a police officer trying to put a lot of criminals back in jail. Each level has 5-6 prisoners who have escaped and you have to navigate through the level and save them. The gameplay is that of a 2D platformer but the levels aren’t linear. The prisoners are scattered in random places so you have to solve puzzles to find them.

You have a blaster that you can use to help you here. Aside from running and jumping you also have the unique ability to get the blocks to fall out of alignment. For example, you’ll cross a bridge that has 3 red blocks and 3 blue blocks. Every time you activate your skill, the red blocks will become intangible while the blue ones appear and vice versa. That’s a very basic example, the game definitely goes all in with the strategy here. Your reaction times will be especially key since you often have to make the switches rapidly and without delay. The last few levels of each game always get very difficult with this. It’s a fun take on the puzzle approach. Some of the Mario games have a similar gimmick with blocks appearing and disappearing but you could never control them. Since you have full control here that really lets you experiment.

The second game has you play as a firefighter. The gameplay itself is the same though with the difference being that instead of blasting enemies you are using your water hose to hit them with water or put out fire. The boxes remain your main obstacle as you try to weave in and out of the levels without letting yourself get caught in the trap. It’s a difficult endeavor but not one that is impossible if you tackle it calmly. I should mention that you have 3 health points in each level. If you lose them all then you are sent to the start. I can’t say that it happened to me very often but it’s still something to be aware of. Make the most of the health packs the enemies drop so you are always prepared.

Finally the last adventure has you playing as a cadet in what is seemingly a simulation for most of it. It’s like the first game but the main difference is that this time the screen is super zoomed out. The walls are also like some of the classic NES games where instead of dying if you fall through the ground you’ll come out of the sky. Likewise you can go off screen from either side and pop out the other. This gives you a lot of new variations to the puzzle as you have to use this to your advantage. The game also uses more of the cannons in a DK sort of way so you’ll need to incorporate that into your platforming.

I definitely enjoyed going through these puzzles. Switch Force shows us how games should present the puzzles. You’re never wondering if you’re going the right way or doing what you’re supposed to. The answer itself is made obvious but the path to getting there is what will likely trip you up. You can’t let your guard down but also don’t overthink what you should do. A lot of times the best way forward is to just give your plan a shot and if it doesn’t work out then you’ll only have lost one health point. The toughest level in the game involved doing a double jump with two switches in the air. At one point I wasn’t sure if I should maybe be trying a different tactic but in the end it worked out. You just really needed perfect platforming.

The graphics for all of the games are definitely pretty solid. They’ve definitely got a very modern look to them and have that Mega Man sci-fi vibe. Everything is very futuristic after all which isn’t really a surprise. These guys are future cops and firefighters tackling next generation’s issues with their blasters and other tech. I’m always up for a future setting so I was definitely on board with this. If you ask me it’s the best setting the game could have possibly chosen here. The soundtrack is pretty solid. It’s got a quick beast and is meant to be solid background music so it’s not really distracting. You’ll be totally focused on the actual puzzles after all so you won’t be noticing the music quite as much.

Overall, Mighty Switch Force is definitely a fun collection. I can definitely see why the games would have all gotten their fans and been well enjoyed by the players. The level designs are on point and there’s enough variety where you always feel like you’re in for a new experience. The puzzles can be difficult but they’re never unfair. Since the controls are fairly simple it all comes down to your hand eye coordination at the end of the day. Once you have that on point then you should be just fine. Fortunately in the boss levels you have a checkpoint since solving the puzzle and surviving would be a difficult ordeal. In the final game in particular I died quite a few times. If you enjoy platformers and trying to reason your way through a level then this is definitely a game you should be checking out.

Overall 7/10

Icey Review


It’s time for a look at a beat em up I wasn’t really familiar with. I definitely hadn’t heard of it until the game arrived. Pretty neat cover though and right away you can see the fun sci-fi/anime aesthetic they’re going for. The game also has a lot of breaking the fourth wall moments and has an Undertale kind of vibe. It’s definitely on the short side though as you should beat it in about 2-3 hours but the difficulty helps it from getting much shorter than that. The enemies absolutely don’t mess around in this game.

The game starts with Icey waking up in her tube. Her mission is to destroy Judas since he wiped out the planet a long time ago. It is now a desolate wasteland overrun with monsters. Icey won’t stop until he is destroyed but is this really the right thing to do? Icey has started to lose track of who she is and her true goals. Is she after Judas because it was her idea or is someone manipulating her? The truth seems to fade in and out now to the point where everything is brought into question. The narrator of the world himself offers up suggestions and talks to her quite a bit as well. A common theme in the game is, will you listen to this guy or make your own choices?

I wouldn’t be surprised if this game already has a lot of theory videos out there. There’s definitely a lot to explore within this game and there’s certainly room for a sequel. I didn’t actually go and try out one of the other endings but the game makes it all very accessible. You can use the level select to go back and try something else. There are only two main decisions with regard to the ending as far as I can see but throughout the game you can choose to ignore the narrator and do whatever you want. I did that a lot early on but it would usually backfire as I would just get a few coins or something. It can be worth it just to troll the guy though. Sometimes he would also be right and by disobeying him you would end up going up against a boss that was too powerful or something like that.

As I mentioned, the game is definitely very difficult. Be careful how you answer the opening questions as that determines the difficulty level. Initially I ended up starting the game on hard mode as a result and quickly had to restart so it would be on normal. Even on normal I lost quite a few times. The checkpoints are pretty nearby at least. Grinding isn’t the easiest thing in the world here but it is possible through the level select. I recommend amping up your health and attack power first. Those will come in handy right away and you feel the immediate benefit which is why they’re good picks. They’re attacks you can count on but there are a lot of different attacks you can go for as well so at the end of the day it’s up to you.

There isn’t any hitstun in this game so when you get hit prepare for the opponent to combo you for a little while. Button mashing helps you get up a little faster so I recommend it. Mainly just try to make sure you’re never in between two enemies. You can dash so I recommend using that a lot. It’ll help you evade attacks and even counter strike if your timing is on point. It’s definitely something worth spamming. By the end of the game I did quite a lot of button mashing to activate combos. It has always worked well for me in Marvel vs Capcom and the same was true here.

The graphics are definitely fun. It reminds me of Gunvolt or at least that style although there aren’t sprites in this game. The attacks are pretty flashy and the backgrounds stand out. There’s always something going on in the screen which is good. The whole thing has a lot of detail which is good. As for the soundtrack, that part’s a little more forgettable. I don’t really remember any tunes. I think a little rock could have been a nice touch to the game. I think it would have worked rather well especially with all of the bosses running around. Those guys command respect as it is.

For a sequel I’d like to see Judas either return and try to fight back a little this time or maybe have the narrator try and do something. The guy seems about as shady as they get so he should definitely have a good influence here. A prequel could also work but I almost prefer not knowing how everything went down. Why ruin the mystery when we’re so deep in right? If we never know how this all started it allows for quite a lot of extra possibilities. It also lends itself well to online theories in the meantime.

Overall, Icey is a fun game. It’s definitely going for a unique vibe which is fun. I like a good mystery and the whole plot is fairly shrouded. The gameplay is naturally pretty hype as well. I love a good beat em up and mixing that in with Sci-Fi is a good combo. Ultimately the only thing that holds the game back is the length. It really feels very short. It only lasted as long as it did because I kept dying and even had to restart the game once. Otherwise you would likely beat it even quicker. It’s sort of like a boss rush though so you do get your share of fights in the meantime. If you get the game for a decent price then it’s definitely worth it. Will you take the enemies down or spare them? Only time will tell.

Overall 7/10

Icey Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 10/34

Brutal Blade Level 2
Back Slash (Ground) Level 1
Cyclone (Air) Level Max
Skull Shaker Level 0
Cloudsplitter (Air) Level 0
Bounceback Level 1
Pummel Level 1
Skewer Level 1
Sweep Level 1
Uppercut Level 1
Deadly Disc Level 0
Shadow Dance Level 0
Overload Level 1
Shadow Slice Level 1
Vertical Cut Level 2
Vitality Level Max
Bubble Level 1
Perception Level 1
Regeneration Level 2

Streets of Rage 4 Review


It’s time to look at the new Streets of Rage title! The original games came out a bit before my time so I never got to experience them in their time. Well, now I’m in with the party this time and it’s definitely a fun beat em up. You’ve got to take back the streets from the gangs that have taken the city over. Everyone is against the 4 lone heroes so they definitely can’t let their guard down.

This time Mr and Ms Y have taken over the city. It seems like last time Mr X was the villain based on the dialogue. This pair of villains work pretty well in the story. They have intimidating designs and since they did take over the city that means that even the cops are on their side. It makes for a pretty intense dynamic here because the heroes really have no backup. They seem to usually be vigilantes anyway though so I don’t think they take it all that hard here.

You can play as any of the original 4 characters and I believe you can unlock a few more later in. There are 12 levels and each one is around 10-12 minutes so the main campaign should last you around 2-3 hours depending on how well you do. The levels are reasonably difficult so don’t expect to just be blasting through them. Even I died once or twice in some of the big battles. The bosses really go in and it can be difficult to deal with the minions if you let them overwhelm you. A common theme in the game is to make sure and divide your enemies so you can conquer them a lot easier. If you let them group up then your chances of victory will continue to grow slimmer and slimmer.

I found that the most difficult enemies to deal with were the ones that would jump kick you. You really have to plan your gameplay around them or you will take heavy damage. The damage really adds up and you want to have a good amount for the boss at the end of each level. One thing I would say is to make sure and break anything that seems suspicious. A lot of objects are hiding health items or money. Even if you have full health make sure you use the health items since they increase your score, same with the money. When your score is high enough you will be able to get another life. My score was never high enough to get 2 lives in one even but apparently it seems that this is possible.

The gameplay is that of a 2D beat em up. You have your standard attacks and can move up and down to be in a different lane than your opponent. Always move around because it makes it a lot more difficult for the enemies to really do anything against you. Additionally, I would recommend using the power moves sparingly. Each power move drains your health. You can earn that health back if you land some hits on other minions but if they hit you just once it will crush your combo and you will lose the health for good. It still comes in handy for the bosses though. I wouldn’t have been able to deal enough damage in time without it.

Memorizing the patterns of the bosses can be tricky. I beat quite a few levels with just about no health left. I beat the final one with literally no health showing on the bar so that was really close. I was pretty proud of that win though because I was able to perfectly memorize the boss movements. I have 0 health for most of the fight but once I took out one of the opponents I was able to deal with the other one well enough. You’ll be at the edge of your seat for most of these battles.

The graphics definitely look real nice. I like the hand drawn style they use for the illustrations. I wouldn’t say that the cutscenes themselves are all that animated though as it’s more like a comic book. The soundtrack is also pretty fun. It’s got that retro arcade feel to it which works well for the retro aesthetic the game is going for. It’s all like a blast to the past so you should have some nostalgia here especially if you played the first ones.

There’s also a decent amount of replay value here. For starters you can beat the game with all of the characters. Obtaining all of the trophies will probably take some time as well. This still won’t end up being one of the longest games out there but there is definitely enough content to keep you busy once you’re out there. If you have someone to play with that will also boost the playing value as you can have fun one upping each other and trying out the different characters.

Overall, Streets of Rage 4 is definitely a game worth checking out. It’s a bit on the short side so you should check the price before going through, but the gameplay mechanics and story are on point. You will definitely have a good time here and I’m up for some more Street of Rage installments. There’s still a lot you can do with the city since there is no end to the amount of gangs that want to terrorize the city after all. There will always be a need for these vigilantes.

Overall 7/10

Sephirothic Stories Review


It’s time to look at a recent RPG for the PS4. These guys made the Asdivine Games and it really shows in some areas. The music and menus are grabbed straight from those titles. The original Asdivine was a masterpiece. The sequel may not have been as good but it was still a solid RPG. That’s where this game lies as well. It’s a pretty solid game but what holds it back is really the length as opposed to the characters holding the other one back. You’ll have this game completed in under 5 hours which is pretty unheard for an RPG. I have a theory on this but more on that in a bit. Either way if you like RPGs you should enjoy this one as it’s very smooth.

The game begins by explaining the story which is a bit out there so bear with me. Sephiroth is a giant tree that powers 3 planets. It drops fruits which then snatch up some vessels which allow them to become human. They will eventually be poisoned by the murk that appears on the planet. At that point they have to either find a new vessel or get erased. Sephiroth himself has to keep being replaced as the old one dies. It’s basically a cycle of death and rebirth that happens all the time. So the game follows a fruit named Harold and his best friend the lizard monster Izzy who try to find some apples for Harold’s sister. She is quite ill and won’t last very long. The village’s heroes are sent out to find the cure for her but only one of them returns. It would seem that they were ambushed by monsters.

Harold is afraid of monsters but he agrees to help them out. He was born with the ability to sense monsters which should help in avoiding them. That’s the idea at least. After obtaining the cure, the Grandma informs them that things aren’t right with the world. Harold needs to find the lost hero quick and also see why the planet is falling into ruin. Monsters are even gaining intelligence which shouldn’t be possible. Harold will get to the bottom of this one way or the other but is it already too late for the planet? Things get pretty cosmic towards the end.

One thing you may be wondering from the start is, was using the name “Sephiroth” a coincidence? I personally doubt it since there are too many similarities to the Materia and the whole lifestream of the planet stuff from the original game. Still, it’s a good way to get people interested. The idea of Sephiroth becoming a tree is pretty interesting but there’s more to it than that. Despite the short length there are a ton of plot twists so I won’t talk about the story much. Needless to say, there is quite a lot to tackle here and nothing is quite as it appears to be.

The gameplay is a turn based combat system although it uses speed as a factor so it’s more like Mega Man X Command Mission than Pokemon. You can attack when it’s your turn but the villains can use abilities to slow that down. You then have your normal attacks or skills to use. Interestingly general magic and physical skills are both merged into the same icon for this game. You’ve also got Fusion which is a combined attack you can use later on in the game. It deals a ton of damage so save it for bosses since it can pretty much 1 hit KO just about all of them. Don’t even think about wasting it on a minion.

The graphics are pretty nice. I miss the sprite style but the 3D models look good. At most it can just be a bit clunky as characters start to walk around aimlessly during cutscenes or open their mouths for a bit before talking happens. Seems to me like some opening hiccups with the style but I’m sure they’ll have it down before long. The soundtrack is excellent though. It’s very nostalgic hearing the classic Asdivine Heart themes in there as those never get old. They’re all so fast that it really builds up your excitement for the whole thing. Then we’ve also got the quality menus that those games had. Just about everything is customizable which is fantastic.

One thing against the game though is it looks like it wasn’t tested/balanced very well. You’re simply given too many options in the game which makes it a piece of cake. For example, you start the game with a ton of premium coins so you’re able to buy one weapon of your choice. I bought the Sephiroth Sword which made Harold the ultimate glass cannon. He could take down any non boss throughout the whole game in one hit. Even bosses didn’t last much longer than that. You won’t have enough premium coins to buy anything else for the rest of the game but you don’t need too anyway. Then there are plants which you raise to enhance all of your stats and weapons you can keep on merging. Really, what this boils down to is that it makes it very easy for you to blast through the game. Part of why it was so short is you could take down bosses in a matter of seconds. I love the speed but I think they probably could have given you less options.

It does make you feel in total control though which is always good. As for the characters, they’re not bad. Harold isn’t my favorite lead since he’s so scared of things though. I prefer my main characters to be a bit more confident and just blast aside anyone foolish enough to stand in their way. Harold’s a lot more timid than that despite everyone saying how awesome he is. Clarice is the main heroine and she’s decent. Not quite as strong as most but she talks tough. She always makes sure Harold doesn’t get the wrong idea about things. Izzy’s a pal though. He’s always here to encourage Harold and make sure that he stays on the right track. The main cast may not be the most interesting but none of them are bad which is always important.

Overall, Sephirothic Stories is a fun RPG. I would have liked for it to have been a little longer though. As it is, it almost feels like you’re playing a preview to the real game. As a result the pacing is tight though as you jump from one event to the next. It also could have been more difficult but I’ll never fault a game for being too easy. After all, there are many ways to make a game more difficult for yourself. One of those ways would naturally be to just turn the game’s difficulty setting over to Hard. That’s a pretty simple way or going about things right? I’d be game for a sequel to this or maybe some kind of crossover at some point. One thing’s for sure, the developers have really mastered the menus at this point. All RPGs should have some of the quality of life bonuses this one has like turning battle effects off and speeding up the turns. Auto battle would be amazing for helping with grinding in other games. Since your characters can only use the standard attack when in auto mode it also ensures that you don’t use it as a crutch. If you’re always wondered about going into the RPG genre but was unsure about them because of the length, this is a good one to start out with so see how you enjoy it all.

Overall 7/10

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic sprite game. The actual release is pretty new but the game is trying to capture that retro Legend of Zelda feel. It’s always nice to have a game for nostalgia and this one holds up pretty well. It’s got all of the gameplay elements you would want to see and solid level designs. It’s a good way to spend the weekend.

The game starts with an old man telling his grand kids a story. So unfortunately, that does mean the game’s story probably didn’t happen. He even changes details at times. So in this story there is a girl named Lily who has just become a knight. She’s pretty thrilled about this, but then finds out of a plot that involves the army deciding to take over the Kingdom. She reports this to the knights, but they din’t believe her until it’s too late. Now the King has been put into a deep slumber of which he will never wake again. The only way to cure him is to find 3 special ingredients guarded by various elemental monsters. The Knights are powerless to do anything so Lily must take up her blade and save the world.

As the game progresses you get more power ups and skills to use. At first you have a sword but as soon as you get your next weapons you probably won’t use it again until the final world. The gameplay style is that of an overhead look as you solve puzzles and slay enemies. Each dungeon has a wide assortment of rooms and each room usually has either a puzzle or enemies to defeat. Each dungeon you conquer unlocks either a new skill or another weapon and so by the end of the game you can easily shred through previous dungeons if you ever feel like going back. In the final world they finally buff your sword so it’ll then be your best weapon. For a little while there I was getting nervous that the sword was always going to be a terrible option. I do happen to like using swords typically after all.

The puzzles were all solid and felt fair. They weren’t trying to hide the outcomes after all and I always liked logic based puzzles. Give me a maze to run through while only touching each tile once for example. That’s a quality puzzle and one you can definitely figure out. The bosses are all pretty different which is nice. I definitely prefer when games don’t try to just re-use the bosses. This way feels a lot more genuine because you know that time and dedication went into getting everything right.

The game’s very simple and it works well here. You can master the controls easily and just dive into the levels. It’s one of those games where you can just “plug and play” at any given time. There are a good amount of collectibles to obtain as well and earning money seems like it’ll take a little while, but it won’t drag on since taking down enemies is pretty fun. Lily’s also a pretty fun lead. The King I’m a bit more mixed on because the guy sure sleeps a lot. Also, just by waving his hand he can fire off powerful energy blasts so you’d think that he would go fight off the main villain instead of sending Lily. Perhaps he was still sleepy I suppose.

The graphics are pretty solid. Everything is pretty colorful and it’s easy to tell the levels apart. The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but it’s all good stuff. One quality of life feature I liked here is the teleportation system. In a large map like this it can be a bit of a drag to have to run everywhere so fortunately you unlock the teleport path once you clear the area. Not every square has one, but most do so you never have to run for very long. By the time you clear the game you should have most of the map cleared out so with a little post game adventures you should be able to clear it all. I imagine that’s the main replay value here. The actual game campaign is a little on the short side at 3.5 hours but with the replay value you should be able to stretch that to 5-6 hours.

Overall, Blossom Tales is a pretty fun game. I wonder if we’ll get more in the series. The title may not be that long but in a way that helps it fit even more in with the other retro games it is trying to be like. Eventually I’ll be working on the original Legend of Zelda so it’ll be fun to see it in action. This game was definitely going for a similar feel although I imagine it’s a lot smoother than LoZ in almost all aspects thanks in part to how modern it is. In comparison that one’s probably going to feel pretty dated. If you haven’t picked this game up then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10

Jak X: Combat Racing Review


It’s been a long while since I played a Jak game so it was good to see the franchise once more. The racing game always looked like a lot of fun back in the PS2 era so it’s about time that I got to give it a spin. It’s a racing game that’s really worth a purchase because it has the best racing plot I’ve ever seen as well as the best soundtrack. It’s a blast and a half while also being a little longer than the average racing game. That’s a winning combination if I’ve ever seen one.

The game takes place after Jak II and the main characters are all invited to hear Krew’s final will and testament. Since the characters were all involved with his demise in one way or another they decide to attend. Everyone pours a drink and while Jak refuses at first, he decides to drink anyway when he sees that Krew’s daughter drank as well. Unfortunately his initial suspicions were correct as Krew explains in his recording that he has poisoned them all. The only way to get the antidote is to win the world grand prix on Krew’s team. The heroes don’t want to help this guy even if he is dread, but now their lives are riding on this outcome. The heroes swallow their pride and get ready to race.

There are quite a few subplots here in the meantime. On one hand you’ve got the TV announcer who is enjoying the races because he is earning a ton of money. They had all been fixed for many years so with the addition of Jak and friends it is adding some extra spice to the whole event. The gangsters are also watching the races closely since the winner of the tournament will have a very strong standing in the community. It should be noted that most of the people entering these races are gangsters and crime lords.

The actual gameplay is like a typical racing game but with an extra big emphasis on combat mechanics. You obtain many weapons as you go through the course which range from machine guns to rockets. You can also get defensive weapons like land mines and little turrets you can leave behind to blast away at enemies. Then there are boosters to power up your boost meter and little health packs. Usually you will have to choose what to go for as when you get to the item points in the race there will be an option to grab either a weapon or a booster for example. The items are pretty frequent so you can always just alternate or something like that. The best weapon in the game is the satelite as everyone in front of you instantly crashes. It’s an amazing item but one you won’t likely see very often.

My recommendation is if you’re in first place then always go for the defensive item or the booster. You can use any defensive item to block a rocket which is very handy and boosters help you stay in first. If you’re not in the lead then always go for the attack item since you want to be back up there as soon as possible. The races are about 4-5 minutes at times so you don’t want to lose since you’ll need to start it again. In each world you need to collect 50 points to play the Grand Prix. 1st place is worth 3 points, 2nd is 2, and 3rd is 1. SO if you get a lot of 1st places it’ll help you get through the game a little quicker. I never lost a Grand Prix so I don’t know if you’d have to replay the whole thing or not, but each Grand Prix is 3 races so that would be a lot to replay.

Not all stages are typical races though. You’ve got 4-5 other kinds of gameplay. You’ve got time trials where you run into clocks to keep your time up and you try to complete the stage as quickly as possible. Then you have Death Races where you have to blow up a number of cars before time runs out. There’s Traffic where cars will run at you and you have to run through them as you get to the end. Death Matches have you try to earn 10 points in eliminating other players. Then there’s Artifacts Race where you scramble to grab them before the other players and capture the flag where you try to get an orb into your base. There’s also booster mode where you’re at top speed and have to power up as many orbs as you can.

There’s a lot of variety here so the game has quite a lot to offer. It’s clear that this racing game had a lot of effort behind it. The graphics are top notch and I’m glad that they went to the trouble of adding so many cutscenes. It has more of them than the average platformer game which is pretty cool. Then you have the soundtrack which is great as there are a lot of rock themes. Every time you unlock a car you get a great tune and the stage themes are excellent as well. It really fits in with the game’s atmosphere.

The main story mode should take you around 7-8 hours I’d say. After that the main replay value will be trying to get all of the stars and maxing out each car. There’s not much reason to do the latter but I’m assuming you get something for doing all cars. Ironically powering up a car can backfire at times as it’ll go too fast and you’ll crash so my advice is to be careful with it. I did a lot of upgrades in the final world and it nearly cost me everything.

The writing here is top notch so all of the characters are entertaining. There are a lot of twists in the stories and a fun cast of characters. It’s nice to see all of Jak’s friends show up. Not all of them were the nicest to Daxter, but it’s hard to be when he’s always lying and you can’t tell if he’s on your side or not. The opening cutscene of the game is a good example of this as Daxter starts on one of his crazy adventures again. Jak’s appearance ends up hurting Daxter’s credibility, but it was already shot. You really have to experience the story to see why it’s so great. Jak’s the standout, but the reporter and Jak’s friends are also pretty entertaining. They all don’t tend to get along very well but in their defense, being poisoned does spoil the mood.

Overall, Jak X is a terrific game and it reminds me of why Jak is such a great character. He’s the best Naughty Dog lead for sure. Pretty much every line he gets in this game is terrific. He’s really not about to get intimidated the way a lot of others characters do when the villain shows up. Now that’s what I call talent. If you don’t have this game yet then you need to change that. It’s a lot of fun and really changes the way you think about racing games.

Overall 8/10

Asdivine Hearts 2 Review


After a long time since playing the first game it’s finally time to take a look at the sequel for PS4 thanks to Limited Run Games. The first one was super memorable for me thanks to its really impressive UI and menus. The game is just super streamlined and has every feature you could want in an RPG. This one is a great followup even if the plot isn’t quite as good as the first one. Some of the characters can be a bit much, but either way I would definitely still recommend picking up this game.

The game takes place 2 years after the first one. Zack and Stella haven’t seen each other in that span of time, but they are called together once more by the light goddess Felix. She explains that something is wrong in a parrallel world so she wants their help in investigating. The dark goddess Nadia will be accompanying them as well as Uriel from the last game. Celine has to stay back this time to help with preparations for the Star Festival. The heroes enter the portal and find that the other world is freezing over thanks to the powers of a new deity. They will have to stop this guy at all costs, but is there more to this threat than meets the eye?

Naturally the plot expands quite a lot from the general premise as you would expect from any long RPG. This game is quite a bit shorter than the first one and you’ll probably beat it in half of the time. Still, at around 12 hours the campaign is still long enough to get your money’s worth as well as a bunch of twists and turns in the game. Whenever the climax approaches (We get 3-4 different climaxes) the game always draws you into the excitement thanks in part to the music. The soundtrack is pretty limited, but the tunes that we do get are quite terrific. I could hear the enemy theme on loop for hours and the final boss theme is suitably hype as well. The game does a good job of really selling you on the game ending before a twist suddenly throws everything for a loop once more.

The graphics are also very good. The cutscenes are told through image illustrations like a GBA game, but the character portraits definitely look like they are in HD which is good. Everything just looks shiny and modern which I think it a must for any big PS4 game. The gameplay graphics are nice as well even if I don’t look at the effects all that much since I have the game running at high speed mode. The attacks look great, but the animations do tend to take a while so after you’ve seen them all once it makes sense to just skip past them.

As for the gameplay, it’s your standard turn based combat system. Each character gets to attack and you can use various skills and techniques to speed up your turn or slow the opponent’s down. Each character can learn a ton of attacks including physical skills, magical skills, unity skills, combo skills, etc. By the end of the game your menu will be pretty cluttered with how many different kinds of moves you can activate. In most games this could be overwhelming, but Asdivine Hearts does a good job of never letting it get that far. Part of how it does this is by allowing you to control everything. You can put your guys on automatic for fights, you can skip fights with weaker fighters altogether, text speed, etc. Everything is customizable which is awesome.

I’ve never seen a game that can make grinding so effortless. Then you’ve also got other featured like gardening which increases your physical stats, tickets which gets you rare items, and power jewels which can be traded for great items like doubling your EXP for the rest of the game. I highly recommend buying all 3 copies of that as soon as possible. This is one game where you should never skip a fight because you’ll want to do as many as possible to get those gems. Trading them in gets you the very best rewards. Even with all of this the final boss is pretty difficult though. A lot of their skills will really test your abilities and put your skills as a player to the mettle. They seem to have almost unlimited durability and even with my characters at level 90+ I was having some real difficulty. The final bosses took around 30-40 minutes to conquer which was pretty crazy.

The main character cast is good for the most part. Zack is still a great lead who always does the right thing. He has a lot of confidence and usually comes up with the best plans out of the bunch. Even with his companions being a little crazy he never lets it get to him and always stays ready as the leader. Stella is a good main heroine as well even if her whip gimmick feels a little forced at this point. At least she is a little bolder than in the first game and also doesn’t get quite as jealous as last time. It would be nice to see her use her light powers a little more though.

Then we have Uriel who is the best of the training companions. She’s honest about her feelings the whole time and her subplot about being a little worried since she is a human was pretty emotional as well. Uriel was a good companion to have around. Then we have Felix who isn’t quite as solid as the others. She’s a goddess and yet she is always a few steps behind the other characters in just about everything. How can you be a deity and still not be prepared for what’s going on? That just doesn’t work and it makes her look pretty bad the whole time. Her whole fur gimmick is definitely not great either.

Then we have Nadia whose core personality isn’t bad, but her obsession with Felix gets to be a bit much. The game loves giving everyone a different creepy gimmick like this which can get old very quickly. Lets not even start with the character who wants everyone to stomp on her. (Or him. It’s hard to tell with some of these characters) The problem is that these traits start to take over the characters very quickly so it has to appear in every cutscene more than once. A lot of the cutscenes get pretty iffy as a result.

The villains are good at least. As I mentioned there are quite a few twists with each villain getting a different “All according to plan” moment which is nice. The hype music also really sells these scenes so that the game can get quite epic when it needs to be. As a result I can’t say that the story was bad. Really it is great during serious scenes and then pretty bad when it’s back to slice of life mode. Hopefully it can be a bit more balanced in a potential third game as this is the only thing holding the game back from a full 9 star title.

There is definitely a lot of replay value here. Beating the game will take around 12 hours as mentioned, but if you intend to platinum the game you can expect to double that amount of time. Increasing everyone’s trust levels will take time so I’m thinking the best way to get everyone’s ending would be to save right before the end and give all of your trust items to one person. Then after the trophy pops you reset the game and do the same for each other character. Some of the other trophies will still take some time though. The game’s excellent gameplay mechanics for encounters and such do make it easier to explore and find all of the chests though. It’s a much more manageable Platinum than what you would see in most other games which is definitely appreciated.

Overall, Asdivine Hearts 2 is a really fun game. The gameplay is out of this world and the level of customization that you have at your disposal is quite impressive. It may all feel a little overwhelming at first, but I think the developers did a great job of making it all as straight forward as possible.The actual story is a little on the weaker side though with the characters going a little too overboard on how desperate to be quirky they can be. Still, it’s never too bad I guess and you can always just quickly skip through the dialogue when certain characters show up. You can set the text to instant so you blast through the conversations and you can then prep for the actual cutscenes that are important. I’d definitely be game for a third title in this series but with how overpowered the heroes are at this point it’s hard to see what could possibly be a threat to them at this point. I’m sure the developers can think of something though.

Overall 8/10

River City Girls Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent beat em up game for the PS4. The game always did look pretty solid ever since the first promotions for the game came out. WayForward and Arc SYS working on the game also ensured that it was going to be a great title. It does not disappoint. The game may be rather short but I think you could reasonably expect that based on the arcade style. It’s definitely a really fun game that doesn’t cut any corners.

The plot involves Kunio and Riki getting kidnapped by someone. Their girlfriends Misako and Kyoko get a text letting them know what’s going on so they quickly break out of school and will stop at nothing to find the guys. They may have to tear down the entire city to find them, but that’s fine by them. Whatever it takes they aim to get to the bottom of this. You’ll get a lot of fun backdrops as a result. The heroes go through the school, a mall, a boat, a music show, and more. Each location brings new enemies to beat up.

The gameplay is a very classic beat em up. You won’t have a ton of different moves so it’s about making the most of the ones that you do have. I bought a few moves near the beginning of the game, but I didn’t get anything after that. I’m sure the extra moves after that can be handy, but at the same time some moves will hold you back so watch out. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but take the move where you can pick someone off the ground and hit people with him. This one’s more of a hindrance than a help because it’s the same button as your standard punch. A lot of times I would be getting ready to punch someone and suddenly I’d be picking someone up instead. It’s not exactly a welcome surprise in those cases. Likewise while the Dab looks cool, it does mean you have to be extra precise with your kick so you don’t use this attack instead. I suppose it adds to the strategy although it’d be nice if you could turn off some attacks. Perhaps it’s possible to do so in the dojo or something.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward so you should get the hang of it very quickly. You’ll also see loose weapons on the ground that you can use to slam people with. I feel like the damage is pretty much the same as just whacking someone so you’ll rarely ever want to use it. The best combo actually seemed to be your standard 3 punches into a kick routine. I used that to great effect against every enemy and boss. It certainly paid off. When you’re surrounded by multiple opponents I recommend a tactical retreat. They’ll just land way too many blows if you stick around. Your best bet is to get out of the way and then make your way back towards them. If you hit them all at the same time you eliminate the risk of a counter attack. Dash combos will be your friend.

Each of the bosses also have a set pattern so once you learn that you should be good to go. The bosses are stil pretty tricky though and I needed food items for some of the latter ones. Surprisingly the final boss is pretty easy so I didn’t need any for her. Just keep on hitting her and try to dodge the kick counter attacks. It’s really not that hard to do so and then you’ll have made it through the game.

The story is pretty short and you can beat the game in about 4 hours. Granted there is still a lot of bonus content to explore here. You can go and deal with some extra fights to help your next door neighbor out. Additionally you can break a bunch of statutes and buy all of the collectibles. The platinum seems pretty achieveable here so you’ll just need to invest some extra time in and it’ll be yours. One thing to note is that when you switch characters your levels don’t transfer over so if you’replaying by yourself then I recommend sticking to one character.

As far as the graphics are concerned this game is top notch. Not only are the in game models and backgrounds really great but the game even has fully animated cutscenes. The comic book ones are also really shark and work extra well for the emotional bits. This is an area where the game really excels and the fact that it has full voice acting is really fun. I always feel like that helps to enhance the game even further. Then you’ve got the dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs to be found here and the sound quality is top notch. The game was basically booming out of my TV in every scene to the point where I’d have to turn the volume down a few notches. The game is incredibly high energy and you can’t go wrong there.

Then you’ve got the writing which is a lot of fun. As you’ve probably guessed the story isn’t 100% serious. You can see how the game pokes fun at the premise quite a bit here and there with the main characters’ proof on why Kunio and Riki have been kidnapped getting slimmer and slimmer. This leads to an incredible plot twist as the game ends which I did not see coming. It really threw all of the classic tropes out the window and flipped everything you thought you knew about the game upside down. It’s just brilliant and the script is really solid throughout the game. With the exception of the next door neighbor all of the characters are pretty solid.

Misako is the tough character of the group who is always threatening to beat people up. She’s actually a bully which several characters comment on. Nobody wants to mess with her because she’ll definitely take you to the hospital. Misako is a fun character to follow even if she may not be a traditional hero. At the very least she is trying to help the guys out so her goals aren’t so bad. Kyoko is a lot nicer but also a little dense in comparison. Things tend to go over her head. She can fight as well as Misako but isn’t as aggressive. Naturally I liked Misako a lot more, but I chose Kyoko at the beginning of the game so I ended up being stuck. From the way the menus looked I assumed Kyoko was gonna be the tough one. Ah well, lessons were learned.

Throughout the game you meet a lot of supporting characters and villains that you have to take down in each chapter. They’re all fun and quirky. I could see a full manga or anime being based around this game and it would be a lot of fun. While you won’t feel bad for the bullies or the villains, you will probably have some sympathy for the school girls who believe they are friends with Misako and Kyoko. They’re really nice at times and help us in our quests, but get absolutely no gratitude. Again this is partially foreshadowing for the twist ending I’d say but you hope they end up finding new friends soon.

Overall, River City Girls is a great game. It is really short which is the only tag against it, but it’s just so high quality that you can overlook this. It reminds me of the average Platinum game which tends to be fairly short, but gives you a lot of quality in that experience. (They do a lot of long games too, but I’m thinking along the lines of Transformers Devastation or the TMNT game. Their franchise titles are usually short) Where else are you going to get such smooth animations and gameplay? The humor is on point here and this is the kind of game that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I’d definitely recommend getting it right away. Look at it this way, even if you don’t like it quite as much as I did, it’s not like it’s going to last all that long right?

Overall 8/10