5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s biggest mistake when it comes to the racing genre. A DK racer practically writes itself and just has a ton of potential. It’s a shame that the game squandered this so readily. Motion controls are what hold this game back and while it was an attempt by Nintendo it completely backfired. Sometimes just because an idea makes sense in concept doesn’t mean that it should be implemented. This is most certainly one of those times.

There is no story mode of course but we do have a few different tournaments at the ready. There are 4 main tournaments and 2 bonus ones. The bonus tournaments allow you to pick your own stages to have a tournament with friends and another one allows you to randomize the stages. Both are handy when playing with friends but you don’t get a trophy for clearing them so there is no single player incentive. The main tournaments start out at 3 races and eventually go to 5. There are multiple difficulty levels but you are forced to start with Rookie so I just stayed at that level. Even then the game is surprisingly difficult. You have to stay at top speed and use a lot of boosts if you want to come out on top here. Of course, the Mario Party luck factor is around here so sometimes you’ll just get blasted by other racers behind you which is out of your control. Not much can be done about that.

Each racer is using a pair of drums instead of a car. It is for this reason that instead of accelerating like normal you must beat the drums to keep going fast. You have to make the motion of hitting the drums constantly to stay at peak levels and just hit one drum to turn. Hit both at the same time to jump and hold down on the Nunchuk to activate your boost. Your boost is the most important skill that you have here. It can change a whole race and just know that you can extend your boost by hitting enemies or normal barrels. If you time the boost right you can keep it going for a very long time. Just focus on the combo and don’t use your boost unless you see something to bump into.

There are a lot of games that can be called painful while you are playing them, but there aren’t many which you can say that in a literal sense. Your wrists will be absolutely exhausted after playing this game and I am convinced that it wouldn’t be healthy if you played this game long term. You can even expect some neck and back pain if you were straining a lot and too rigid while playing. Naturally the trick is to simply not play too hard but that’s easy to say until one of the computers passes you. Then it’s back to hitting the drums as quickly as you can.

When it comes to the graphics then this game finally gets to shine. The character models are definitely on point and are appropriately high quality. The levels all look great and there is a lot of variety to be found here. Whether it be Jungles, Volcanoes, or even Space DK has you covered. The final level in the game is the hype space one and it is as cool as you may expect. I was pleasantly surprised at how much effort Nintendo put into some parts of this game, but maybe I shouldn’t be. In theory this was supposed to be their next big racer. The stage themes are pretty solid as well even if they aren’t all that memorable. I suppose you can’t have every game be quite as legendary as Mario right?

Aside from the tournaments which won’t keep you busy for very long, the game has other modes at its disposal as well. One of those is the challenge mode where you attack various missions and see if you can accomplish them. The missions are actually reasonably difficult as you can easily lose a stage if you’re not entirely sure how to approach it. Take one wrong shortcut and it’s time to retry. Between the various unlockables and the main tournaments, I think you’ll find that the game has a reasonable amount of content to back the pricing.

All of this is only if you can get past the gameplay though. None of the other stuff will ultimately matter if you wrists simply can’t take the pressure. The items are fun though and if you use them right they will help you take a break. Build up some good boosts and just use it when you know that you’ll be able to keep it going for a while. During this time you don’t need to beat the drums. You have other items like armor and missiles but you have to keep shaking the controllers during this. Interestingly enough, the descriptions in the game say that you can stop shaking once you’re at max speed, but they must have meant that you could stop shaking for a moment because after that the car will immediately start slowing down again. So much for that I suppose.

Overall, Barrel Blast really could have been a good game. It had a lot of the right pieces in place like the animation, soundtrack, and array of content to keep you busy. The one area where it went wrong was with the controls and you’d think that this wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just so drastic that it ends up bringing the whole game down with it and that’s the unfortunate part. You actually feel like the game isn’t healthy to play. If you want some exercise for your wrist and don’t think that it will end up having a detrimental effect instead, then I suppose you may want to give this game a chance. However, if you’re playing this game in the first place because you want to relax while cruising through the levels then this isn’t the right game to add to your collection. There is nothing relaxing about constantly beating the drums.

Overall 5/10

Game Records

Billy the Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing Stats and Records

Stats Time! I sure showed this game’s AI who was in charge.

Game Complete 75%
6/6 Broomstick Racing
6/6 Dragon Attack
6/6 Spellbook Chaos
1/6 Grand Prix

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Anubis II Review


It’s time to finally play the third big game in the Ninjabread Man family. Conspiracy Games came up with other titles of course and I will be playing one of them soon, but Trixie, Ninjabread Man, and Anubis are the ones that I consider to be the big 3. Unfortunately, this might be the worst game in the trilogy. It all begins and ends with the final boss that is excruciatingly bad. It’s quite telling that this is the first game in ages where I had to go to Gamefaqs in the end. I try to make it a hard and fast rule that I will never use online resources to help me out in a game because I need the full 100% bragging rights. No matter how tough it makes it for games like FF VII. Still, I didn’t think that I needed to give Anubis the same level of respect and attention. The game basically cheats by not even telling you what the controls are.

There isn’t really a plot, but based on the back of the cover, you have been sent out to stop the villains! That’s not a bad premise I suppose although it certainly could be better. You are thrown into the first level without any other context. There are 4 main levels and four-5 mini ones as well. They all play out the same way aside from the final boss fight, where things get a little more intense, but not in a good way. You have to find 8-10 sacred pieces of something to unlock the time gate that will let you clear the level.

The levels are a little more linear than Ninjabread Man and I am also pretty experienced at playing this game by now. The levels are very similar to the other titles after all and you get used to reading the compass after a while. The game certainly isn’t very difficult so you will clear each level on your first or second try. The actual length of the game is quite short after the unreasonably long first level and you’ll have it beat in a few hours at best. There is absolutely no replay value to be found here, which hurts the game even more. The price is very low so that’s a start, but at this point you may as well buy a slice of pizza.

Now, I don’t mean to knock the game too much, but it has some pretty big weaknesses. For starters, the gameplay is your classic 3D platformer. You can swing your cane around to whack people on the head and you can shoot energy blasts as well. The latter is always your best option so use that to defeat enemies and beef up your health bar and lives. You can also jump of course and I recommend using the Z button over the motion controls. The latter is simply too unreliable and it is what hurts the gameplay. The level designs aren’t great as it is, but it’s even worse when you keep falling in the same spot. Luckily, there aren’t too many places where you can fall to your doom, but it can still be sad. I didn’t find out that you could jump with the Z button until I was at the final boss. If I had known about this earlier…things would have been very different!

Either way, the sword swinging is still rough though and a nice little Z button feature isn’t going to save this flawed game. The music consists of the same recycled theme that we’ve heard over and over again in the other two titles. It even plays for the final boss since the developers clearly couldn’t grab a second theme to put into the game. It’s pretty lazy if you ask me. The graphics are rather sub par although I wouldn’t call them terrible or anything. You can still see what is happening so that is definitely a plus. Games like Hidden Invasion have a lot to learn about proper brightness settings.

The final boss is what destroys the game though. If you thought that you had seen a poorly developed game before…think again! The final boss isn’t really a fight as you have to keep climbing these blocks that will disappear from time to time as you grab grenades. The game never tells you how to fire them by the way. To do this, you have to hold the A button and make a swinging motion. The problem is that it won’t work very often and the boss is on full spam mode so the energy shots never stop coming. If your grenade doesn’t come out in time, prepare to take some heavy damage. It gets old quickly and this boss took me way too long to complete. It quickly brought the game down to size. Otherwise, it may have stood a good chance of being the best in the trilogy. The Z button allowing you to do proper jumps is a huge improvement, although I suppose that there is the chance that the other two games had such a feature as well. All of the levels are suddenly a lot more manageable with this feature. If only there was a button for attacking and throwing bombs as well.

There’s also a weird glitch in the game where the Nunchuk will stop working sometimes. The game will keep telling you that it is not connected anymore of the game will suddenly have you running in a direction and you are unable to stop without unplugging the Nunchuk and plugging it back in again. I had to do that a great many times during the game so I feel like there is something wrong with the code. Granted, there are probably so many things that went wrong in the code that you could get lost there.

Overall, There’s not much reason to play this game so I can safely say that Anubis II lived up to its reputation. The Motion Controls on the Wii weren’t very good even with the AAA games. It’s not really a surprise that they tanked miserably with this title. The developers probably just checked to see if it could at least be slightly playable and then ran off with what little money they got from this game. I doubt it had a whole lot of quality control and it may not have had any at all. I can’t really picture myself buying an Anubis III, but if I ever see it in the 2 dollar bin, then maybe I’d take the plunge. If you’re looking for a bad game to play for fun, then I recommend Ninjabread Man. That game certainly had more heart….just a little more, but that’s good enough.

Overall 4/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox Zero Review

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Let’s just say that I’m glad that I basically got this game for free since I used a contest prize to pre order this title. This isn’t the Star Fox game that we deserve. Star Fox Zero was supposed to bring this franchise back to life after its sad demise at the hands of Command. Unfortunately, Nintendo dropped the ball on this game in a big way. It’s not even so much that the game is short because length isn’t all that important compared to other aspects…sometimes…but the controls are some of the worst that I’ve ever played. Aside from Wii shovelware titles, this may have the worst controls for any AAA title. It really drains away any enjoyment that you could have taken from this game.

As far as the story goes, the game is essentially a remake/reboot of Star Fox 64 or the original. I forgot which one had this plot actually. Andross wants to destroy Corneria so a galactic war begins. Both sides suffer heavy losses and Team Star Fox is called in. They get the job done and their small group is more powerful than any army. The leader is Fox McCloud, a man who must avenge his father’s death by saving the universe. No task is too much for this young hero and he eagerly rises to the occasion along with his tough crew. Falco is the resident hot head who talks a good game even though he always tends to lose. Slippy doesn’t talk tough and still manages to lose a lot. Finally we’ve also got Peppy, the tough veteran who always ends up losing. Thing is, Fox is the only one who tends to win since the A.I. isn’t good against a villain attack in the gameplay. It’s a shame for them.

All right, let’s start with the positives because there are quite a few negatives here. I did enjoy the visuals. The space fights looked visually appealing and the game certainly looks pretty polished. The character models are not quite as good though and the game is pretty lazy which may have given them more time for the visuals. For example, the game uses the same recycled footage before each level as a mini conversation is had and there is really nothing to be found beyond the levels. More on that later.

The soundtrack is pretty fun. We have some nice remixes from the older Star Fox games and the themes are all very heroic and inspiring. It’s not quite Mario, but the themes never get dull and you’ll appreciate them. This may be the game’s greatest positive now that I think about it. A more mild one would be the fact that the characters are pretty charismatic. It barely counts since they are relying on character development from older games though. Fox and the others don’t really have much of a personality beyond a one line description that can fit each character. You are really just supposed to know who they all are at this point. Still, Fox has always been a cool character and that doesn’t change here. I don’t like Peppy, but Slippy and Falco are cool.

Unfortunately, we get a new character for this game who adds nothing to the story. There used to be a character named Krystal back in the day, but fans were really divided on her and she was axed from the series in this reboot. Instead, we have a new female fox who is naturally pink. I forgot her name, but her only role is to appear for about 5 minutes and flirt with Fox for the entire duration. That’s it…her role is just to flirt with Fox. Nintendo couldn’t have made a more unlikable, 2 dimensional character if they had tried. You could say the same for Andross although for different reasons. He’s also 2 dimensional and unlikable. Partially because of his design and just the fact that he’s not interesting at all. I think Pigma or Wolf would have made for a better final boss. Wolf’s cool as always, a shame that he gets around 2-3 lines here.

All right, let’s tackle the big issue in the room. The motion controls! Why would Nintendo revert back to this tired gimmick that got old a day after the Wii came out? Motion controls never work and they never will work. Sensors will never be accurate enough and it’s a hassle to keep on spinning in your chair to lock on to enemies and fire. As a result, the levels simply aren’t fun to play whenever you have to fight someone. That’s why I avoided enemies whenever possible and just zoomed through them. It is very difficult to aim and boss fights become artificially difficult. With proper controls, I’d say that you could breeze through these guys. As it stands, you’ll have a tough time of it. You can turn it off to an extent, but a slight one. Instead of always being on when moving, it’ll just keep on affecting your aim…which is just as bad. You still have to move the Gamepad in order to hit anything so that’s not much of a help.

It goes without saying that because of this you have to use the Gamepad. It’s a mandatory part of playing Star Fox Zero which is really a shame. I never liked the Gamepad and things like this remind me why that is the case. The instant I played the first level or two and noticed how restrictive the controls were, I knew that the game was going to have it rough. From fairly early on I had a feeling that a 6 was the highest it could go and the rest of the negatives kept it from reaching that spot.

Let’s talk about the game length. The game was nice enough to keep track of how long it took to complete it and I beat the game in 2 hours and 52 minutes. That’s considering that I was stuck on the boss for almost an hour and the fact that I lost to another boss once and in another level once more. This game is incredibly short for 60 dollars to the point where you could and should call it a ripoff. This is not worth 60 dollars and should have only been 30 upon release. You simply can’t justify the price point.

Replay Value is what could save the game from this short length, but there’s not as much as there should be. For starters, there is no multiplayer mode. Yes, there seriously isn’t a multiplayer mode in this game even though it would make perfect sense. Star Fox Assault had a terrific multiplayer mode. So, the only replay value is going back to get all of the medals and I don’t even know what doing that does. Maybe it unlocks a new level or something. There are 70 medals scattered around the 14 levels so that should buy you some time I guess. I definitely wouldn’t want to go after those. Even beating Arcade Mode sounds like a bit of a drag and especially when the only thing you unlock is Sound Test. I can’t verify that Sound Test is the final mode since I’m not going to try and unlock it, but that’s what I’ve heard around the web.

Yes, this game really won’t last you very long and it is easy to see why a lot of people are upset. They should be upset. This game got a lot of hype from Nintendo and it was even delayed a bit to polish up the graphics since it got bashed so hard at E3. Well, the graphics are better, but the controls are downright terrible. There was no quality control in this title and it feels so empty. I don’t think the developers put a lot of heart into this title. Even little things like the fact that the voices come from the Gamepad is annoying. Why do you have to hear the music from the TV on your right and then the voices from the Gamepad speaker below you? It makes no sense and it is like the game is trying to force you to just play with the TV off. Good luck with that.

After you beat the game there is a quick scene, but you won’t really miss anything if you didn’t stick around. I was hoping for an actual cliffhanger or something instead of what we got. Fox’s Dad seems to possibly be alive since he interfered a whole lot for a ghost so maybe that will be a plot in the sequel if the sequel has anything resembling a plot and if one is actually made. I don’t see this game selling all that well at all.

I almost forgot to mention the various gadgets that you have. The Landmaster, The Gyrowing, and the creature form of the Arwing. They’re all pretty bad I’m afraid. The Gyrowing is very slow and it is just around so you can use a Clank ripoff to hack the villain controls. It buys time for the levels. The Landmaster and the robot just suffer from terrible controls. Turning around is a hassle when it shouldn’t be and everything is made much more difficult than it otherwise would be. I suppose that these things wouldn’t be negatives without the motion controls, but that’s simply how the cookie crumbled this time. The controls are simply terrible.

Overall, Star Fox Zero is pretty disappointing and a final reminder for fans around the globe that we don’t want anything even slightly related to motion controls for the upcoming NX. It should be really hard to mess up with this kind of game, but Nintendo went above and beyond expectations on how to destroy hype. Making the motion controls mandatory was the main mistake here. 60 dollars for under 3 hours of story content is also pretty suspect in and of itself. Zero is a cash grab, nothing more and nothing less. Nintendo is hoping that enough loyal fans will buy the game to make a profit instead of trying to make a good game that everyone can buy. I don’t recommend buying this title and if you want to have a good space epic with Fox and the gang, just buy Assault instead. It’s a much better game than Zero in every single way. As sad as it sounds, I played the game for under 3 hours and I’m not sure if I’ll ever have a need to play it again. There is no real reason to go back to it and I actually think Star Fox Guard has a decent chance of being a better game when all is said and done. That’s quite scary. Nintendo, give us a proper Star Fox game or a new F Zero title for the NX. If not, I fear these two franchises may be gone for good.

Overall 5/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

We Ski & Snowboard Review

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I didn’t really care for We Ski after I had bought the game. I only gave it a 4/10 and the game simply wasn’t all that much fun to play. The controls were bad and the game lacked any real heart to it. So when I saw the sequel, I knew that I had to instantly buy it. After all, there’s no way that it could be any worse than the first right? This game is an improvement, there’s no doubt about it. But if people said that this game still wasn’t good…well…they’re not wrong. They’re really not wrong! Still, I like to see some improvement.

The Snowboarding angle is really what hits it home for me this time. I didn’t like Skiing and I still consider it to be a little dicey although it is certainly possible to make a good video game around it. That being said, Snowboarding is a lot more fun and an instant improvement as far as the gameplay is concerned. Once you go with the board, you’ll never go back to the original way to play. One of the improvements is that the hub world has changed to a more structured mission system. You can still have fun in free roam, but it’s not as mandatory to scour all of the mountains. You simply talk to someone for a mission set and then you work to beat all of the difficulty levels for each minigame. Racing is naturally the best one if you ask me. That one actually had some thought put into it.

Furthermore, the soundtrack wasn’t all that amazing in the first game. Luckily, the developers realized this and acted accordingly by adding in some classic music from various Namco games. This includes Pac Man and I may as well say that this was a very good move on their part. Nothing beats listening to good music if you’re riding around the world right? So, that was definitely a solid improvement. Not to mention that the free roam was also a lot more fun. The areas were bigger and more varied. When you fall down, you even do a quick bounce on the snow and you can fall into large fissures. It’s pretty awesome and adds a level of danger that the first game simply did not have.

Unfortunately, I’m not here to gloss over the negatives of the game so let’s take a whirl at it. For starters, the gameplay is still really bad. Being better than We Ski is a slight start, but it’s certainly not everything. It’s still hard to make any real traction at times and you will often find yourself struggling to keep your balance. I always think about greater things while waiting for the game to end. Still, I did play a good amount of it to ensure that I was ready for the review.

The sad part is that the gameplay for the multiplayer events actually isn’t that bad. Likewise, that includes when you play the minigames in single player mode. It shows that the game at least has a little hope, it simply gets thrown to the wayside when things get rough. If you’re just playing it for the multiplayer then you have gotten your money’s worth. If you’re just going to play this for the single player, then you may as well be eating Cinnamon Crunch because you’re in for a long ride. The difficulty levels almost seem unfair in how they’re handled and it makes me wonder if you need some kind of level ups or power ups in order to actually take the win.

There are a few different minigames to be found here like races, Curling, Slopes, Tricks, and I think there’s another one that I’m forgetting. Moguls is fun (Basically the slopes game) because you have to navigate your way through the hills and have a blast while doing it. Keeping your balance is pretty tricky though. Races are definitely the best minigame for sure, but make sure to keep on swinging your Wii Remotes to stay at full speed!. After that, you’ve also got the tricks minigame which isn’t bad, but I kept on performing the same trick over and over! I still appreciate the dedication though. So….not a bad array I suppose.

I actually like the graphics though. They tend to grow on you after a while and that’s always a good thing. The characters are clear and the snow is fairly exciting…….well, there’s not a whole lot of other things to see here! Still, I stand by my theory that this is one of the better animated cash in games. That’s a start even if you can’t see a whole lot of difference between this game and the first installment.

This game actually has a level of replay value thanks to the multiplayer games and the fact that there actually is a lot to do here. It may not be the ultimate game in that area, but it serves its purpose and for that reason, it’s certainly worth the 2-5 bucks that you would have to pay for the experience. It’ll also bolster your Wii collection and that’s always a good thing.

Overall, I guess this game is a fine purchase, but make sure that you don’t get wrecked by the price. Make sure you get it for the 2-5 dollars that it is worth. Otherwise, you’ll feel bad and the game will make you feel even worse. Honestly though, the game can be a little amusing even if I’m struggling to write enough for this review to reach 1000 words. That’s my target for just about every game, but it can be tough to reach sometimes so I’ll just let it end naturally this time. Just know that it’s better than the first We Ski and actually a fairly decent game. It’s not bad, but it’s not good either. It’s a way to spend 30 minutes, but you may prefer just using it as a CD via Free Roam. These Pac songs basically write themselves! Spoiler Alert: I reached the 1000 heh heh

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Excitebots Trick Racing Review

excitebots trick racing box art
All right, let’s check out another game from the legendary 5 dollar bin! It’s games like this that make the bin so worth it for me because this is a hidden gem that I likely would have never played otherwise. It’s certainly not going to be the next Mario Kart of F-Zero, but Excitebots ended up being pretty fun and certainly worth the 5 bucks.

There is no plot so you are free to jump into the grand prixes. There are 5 different cups and each one has 4-5 different races in it. This title is a little different than most racing games as getting to 1st place is heavily encouraged, but there are other aspects in place. See, this game is also a bit of a stunt racing game as the amount of stars that you have in the end is what ultimately matters. Coming in first gives you an extra 55 as opposed to the 15 in second so that’s a good reason to get to 1st place, but you also want to do a lot of tricks along the way. No worries, they come rather naturally.

You get stars for drifting and bumping into other cars. If you decide to drive into a forest, you get a star for every tree that you dodge. The stars add up quickly there, but it is typically much more dangerous than the normal path so you have to decide if your driving skills are up to par. If you hit something, then you’ll quickly be taken back a little bit, which can eat up your time although it’s not all that bad. You’ll still be okay even if you crash a few times. Just make sure that you get the stars first. Naturally, you also have a nitro boost that you can activate quite often. You just can’t use too much of it at once or you will overheat so make sure to use it gradually and in bursts.

All of what I just mentioned was already in Excite Truck so let’s get into the new features for this title. This game placed a lot more emphasis on the Motion Controls than the older game. For starters, you’ll see various poles throughout the race. You will then have to make a motion with your Wii Remote depending on what color the pole is. Typically it will require you to make a sudden push forward or to act as if you are making a circular motion. To be honest, this is an addition that I definitely would have preferred to not have made the cut. Getting the motions can be as tough as you think considering the Wii Remote’s dicey reputation and it doesn’t add anything to the game. I can guarantee that the game would be even better without this gimmick although it certainly doesn’t hurt the game all that much. It was just a little unnecessary.

One of the new additions that I did like was the item boxes and tools that would appear. You can get items like some teeth to throw at enemies or a fishing rod to get some fish/stars. The items are typically fun and if you get a wrench, then you can turn into your true robot form. This was a good addition to the game and I’m glad that they added it. I certainly would like to play without any nitro or items as an option as well, but if you’re going to have some gimmicks, then you may as well add them all in right? You can play a lot of the individual minigames in minigame mode in case you really like one. There’s also a Poker Mode, but I decided not to try it out. It didn’t really pique my interest.

There are many other ways to search for stars during the race, but I’ll allow you to find those on your own. The actual gameplay is very smooth, which helps to negate the Wii Remote’s handling. The Wii Remote actually works well enough here. I would still prefer almost any other remote, but it’s passable as you have to hold it sideways to play this game, which has always been the best way to use the Wii Remote for a racing game. Each race is only about 2-5 minutes so they’re short, which helps to make them very exciting. Nothing’s worse than playing a really long race only to discover that you’ve lost and have to play it all over again.

The graphics are sound and the robots all look good. This is certainly no Mario Galaxy, but it’s still a big step above titles like Casper and Rudolph. The graphics are not bad, nor are they very good. They’re simply caught in the middle, but that’s not a bad thing. The designs still compliment the races rather well, which is all that I could ask of the title. The soundtrack is great, but I would expect no less from such a solid racing title. All of the themes are fast and intense, which lets you really feel like you’re in the race. Racing games have had a superb track record when it comes to the music included in them and this game does not disappoint here.

Completing the cups won’t take you very long. There are 24 courses and all of them are short, but you have to consider that you will be getting this game for a bargain price. Also, there is a good amount of replay value. If you get S ranks on all levels, then you can unlock the Super Excite difficulty so that you can play the stages yet again. Moreover, there are many things to buy with your stars. That’s where it gets to be a bit much though.

For starters, you have to actually buy the alternate colors for your vehicles. You have to buy the vehicles and then you also buy avatars for your profile and statues of your cars. This gives you a lot to buy, but earning stars isn’t so simple. For example, you will earn around 200-300 per race, but most of the cars are 2500-5000. I ended up with around 5000 stars when I beat the game so I bought one car. Imagine how long it would take to buy the 20+ profiles, 20 statues, colors, and cars. Certainly longer than I’d really be willing to play this game. I actually did bother to do the S ranks for Excite Truck, which shows how much fun these games are, but it’s not the kind of thing that I’d probably do now. Nowadays, Super Smash Bros is probably one of the only games where I’d actually go that far. Don’t get me wrong, the gameplay here is still a lot of fun, but I’ve got a lot of games to play so it’s best that I move on while I can.

Overall, Excitebots is a fun racing title. It’s certainly a lot better than you would expect upon looking seeing the cover and you should certainly give it a chance. It’s a short, but fun experience and the actual gameplay is quite good. It’s fairly unique for a racing game and you’ll have fun earning those stars as you beat the levels. The soundtrack is really good and the graphics are sound so this game really has no weak points. There’s also a multiplayer mode to boost the replay value a little higher. Yes, this is one of those 5 dollar bargain bin titles that is really tough to top.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

All Star Karate Review

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It’s been a while since I stopped by the 5 dollar bin at Gamestop right? Yeah, I had that thought as well so I quickly snagged All Star Karate on my next trip over there! It’s definitely worth the 400 or so pennies that I had to launch in order to secure this title. It’s a pretty long game and there are tons of unlockables and other bonus content to really make this a heartwarming experience. Was All Star Karate the best game that I’ve ever played? In a sense…it was the best Karate game that I’ve ever played!

The plot centers around a teenager who loves to watch movies and eat ice cream. I forgot his name since he’s just that forgettable, but the important thing is that this guy never gives up when he’s in a pinch! One day, he comes across an old man who teaches him how to fight. The hero’s relationship with his friends starts to get pretty strained as a result of this and what about the ninjas from his dreams? The main character is definitely going to have a lot to deal with as he tries to become a black belt!

It’s easy to be proud of this game considering how much content is involved. As I mentioned earlier, this game is pretty massive! There must be at least 50-70 levels in this game, but I’ll know the real amount once I plug it into my stats and records post. There are also bonus levels that are around apart from the mandatory ones and we even get challenge mode versions of several stages. You unlock things based on your rank at the end of the level and it gives you a real incentive to keep on playing. (If you really like the game) Of course, the gameplay needs to be good if you’re going to be playing all of those levels so let’s see how it did.

This is a Wii game so you can expect that you’ll need to move your arms a lot. This is really where the game crashes and burns. Due to the nature of the game, it may not have been too much better on another console, but it would have been a lot easier on the arms. This is the kind of game that you have to play in batches since it really does end up hurting your arm a lot. I don’t remember playing a game that painful since Barrel Blast for the Wii!

Back to the actual gameplay. It’s sort of like dance dance revolution for most of the game. You have to match the symbols on the screen. One may signal you to punch out with your right arm and the other one will motion to your left. There are around 21 moves that you can pull off and you just have to keep on doing them. This accurately describes most of the minigames since they are just variations of each other. Tying up the belt, Mimicking, Follow the Sensei, and Learning the Kata are examples of this kind of minigame. From the 50-70+ levels, I’d say that they make up at least 60 of them. If you don’t like the sound of this gameplay, you’re definitely going to find the game very repetitive.

Luckily, there is one mode that is a whole lot more fun than those other ones. This is the sparring mode where you actually get to fight your opponents! You have to use the moves from the other modes, but you can do them at your own pace so it feels like a fighting game. The moves can be a little limited, but I’ll take what I can get at this point! This certainly helped the game and it was my favorite part! (There’s also a 3D mini game where you fight ninjas, but it barely appears and the whole FPA (First Person Attack) mode didn’t do any wonders for the game.

I do give the game props for trying to develop the characters a lot. (Even if it didn’t really make them very likable) The sensei is one of the main characters and his character development was rather odd. His sob story implies that he destroyed his mentor…although it was an accident. After that, he went on to train the main character and he disappears very mysteriously at different points in the game. The origin story just came out of left field and if it was trying to make the game more emotional…it failed. The sensei talks tough and I can tell what personality the writers were going for…but it just doesn’t work. He’s a little too mean to the main character and his big plot twists don’t really help either.

Karl is the main rival of the game, but he’s easily one of the weakest rivals a guy could have. He loses every single fight against the main character. Keep in mind that the main character fought him when Karl was a black belt and the main character was a white belt….intriguing eh? Despite his constant losses, Karl always comes back to brag and insult the main character. The humiliating part is the fact that the main character always makes sure to point this out. Karl does get the main character to engage in a street fight though and his first big plot twist is pretty epic. I guess I liked Karl in a parodyish way. I did appreciate all of the insults since the main character needed a rival, but he’s too petty and weak to take seriously. If nothing else, at least he makes the main character look good in comparison.

As for the main character….he can be a little annoying. He decides to learn karate, which is noble…but then he basically betrays his friends. He falls asleep whenever they go to watch a movie and he just acts distant in general. The friends start to get mad at the main character and vice versa so this is one of the big side plots the entire time. Every game needs a little drama I suppose, but I was actually more on the friends’ side than the main character’s. It did depend on the situation though since I was on the lead’s side when they forgot about his big tournament and didn’t stick up for him when Karl was around. The main character talks tough and he learns what it means to be a karate master. He has a solid scene where he lunges at Karl and his trash talking is good as well. Unfortunately, he does tend to get scared a lot and the danger room scenes can be a bit much. I guess you could say that he’s slightly under the average video game lead.

I do give Story Mode credit for the cutscenes as well as the length. The cutscenes aren’t really cutscenes since they’re just illustrations and text bubbles with some mild movement, but they do have voices for the lines, which helps it all feel a little more real. The length is a given as well so it’s safe to say that I was impressed with the overall format of the mode. Having a story mode in itself can be dicey for a 4 dollar game.

The graphics are naturally sub par to say the least. Everything looks pretty choppy and there is a bit of lag in between certain moves, which can look rather odd. The controls don’t always work that well either since this is the Wii Remote system. The soundtrack is decent and it reminds me of the Balls of Fury game. I’d say that this one isn’t quite as good though so both of these areas don’t help the game all that much.

One factor that helps the replay value a little is the fact that we are given a multiplayer option. Since the sparring mode is an option, that could actually be a lot of fun. This was before the online days so it’ll have to be local, but I imagine that the servers would have been down by now anyway. Including the extra levels and unlockables, this game definitely has no shortage of replay value!

Overall, All Star Karate is about as good as I thought it would be. The gameplay wasn’t great and it can get repetitive, but you don’t really mind all that much while playing. It does depend on the level as well since some will require you to do over 80 gestures while others can be beaten in a minute or two. The game is a little painful thanks to the Wii Remotes though (literally) and nothing about the game really screams “Excellent” or even “Very Good!” There is a lot of replay value in the game, but there really isn’t a lot of incentive to do everything in this game. It’s definitely a bargain for 4-5 dollars and I would definitely recommend it to those who love the Wii Remotes and want a good fighting game. If not, you’d be better off getting Street Fighter IV for around the same price as this one. This couldn’t match up to some of the other 5 dollar games that I’ve gotten, but I was still pleased to see that it was a complete game. (Unlike Casper) If you actually do get this game, make sure to let me know how you liked it!

Overall 5/10

Game Records

Elebits Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 8h 9m
Total Captured 6994
Total Watts 358700
Objects 1030
Total Object Weight 11178170.76 kg
Objects Broken 339
Power Restored 57%
Nests Found 20.5%
Total Clear Time 4h 12m
Title King of Curiosity

Stage Stats Rank Clear Time Weight

Level 1 C 5m 42s 1180
Level 2 C 7m 15s 1009
Level 3 C 8m 34s 1502
Level 4 C 10m 15s 3003
Level 5 B 7m 46s 5225
Level 6 C 8m 31s 3106
Level 7 A 2m 7s
Level 8 C 9m 40s 3500
Level 9 B 9m 38s 3541
Level 10 B 12m 14s 5000
Level 11 12m 7s 6079
Level 12 B 6m 11s 5581
Level 13 C 4m 56s 7105
Level 14 B 6m 6s 7007
Level 15 B 3m 17s 5005
Level 16 A 3m 31s 14035
Level 17 A 1m 5s
Level 18 B 7m 55s 15110
Level 19 B 14m 10s 17010
Level 20 C 9m 58s 19037
Level 21 C 11m 9s 20046
Level 22 B 8m 43s 20119
Level 23 C 8m 30s
Level 24 B 10m 42s 25148
Level 25 B 11m 36s 25196
Level 26 B 11m 38s 30027
Level 27 C 17m 48s 55045
Level 28 C 16m 26s 60084
Level 29 C 4m 58s

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Flingsmash Review

Flingsmash_cover
I really love the 5 dollar bargain bin over at Gamestop. I decided to get another 4 Wii games over there, which was a steal. This is the first out of the 4 games that I’ve managed to complete and I can say that it was totally worth the 3 dollars (Slightly less) that I paid for it. It’s not bad and I believe that the game could have been even better if it had Gamecube controller support or had been on the PS3. It’s a fun idea, but it doesn’t work to 100% just yet.

The plot is…intriguing. A kingdom is attacked by a villain by the name of Omminus. This guy means business and his abilities are truly frightening. The royalty is backed into a corner and forced to fight fire with fire. Long ago, a hero saved their people, but he was then locked up for unknown reasons. What if they unleash a monster who’s even worse than Omminus? The King decides to take this risk and he opens the box, unleashing Zip. Can Zip stop Omminus? More importantly…does he want too!? Things could get dicey for the heroes.

The gameplay is your traditional Mario/Sonic 2D experience, but with a big twist. Zip cannot walk or run around as you are always suspended in the air. To move around, you must yank the Wii Remote in a direction and then Zip will charge that way. Waiting a second before charging will allow you to go faster and break stronger blocks. The screen moves on its own so you have to wait until the screen is far enough to continue, but you can’t hang back for too long or you’ll be eaten by a dragon. It’s a delicate art. There are 8 Worlds like in a typical Mario game, but there are only 3 levels and then a boss like the classic Sonic Advance series. (Like I said, it’s similar to both Mario and Sonic!) You need to collect three out of 5 Bronze Medals through the level to complete it and secure the pearl.

Through the levels, you can eat fruits that give you power ups like turning giant or splitting into three different Zips. These abilities are very useful and I highly recommend using them whenever possible. So, that’s essentially the gameplay in a nutshell. Just focus on grabbing those medals and making it to the end of the goal in one piece.

Why didn’t this gameplay ultimately work? The gameplay had a lot of potential, but what most gamers and game developers learned the hard way is that motion controls aren’t ready yet. Thus, the game can get a little difficult as Zip won’t go where you want him to go. The motion plus doesn’t really help and Zip was flying all over the place. Several times I lost a level because he made me miss one of the bronze medals. It’s also a little hard on the wrist and I’m glad that I won’t need to move like that again for a while. I haven’t used the motion controls so extensively since Barrel Blast and Wii Sports. (Both of which did a better job of using it) With a gamecube remote, it would have been a lot of fun to shoot around and it makes for a nice platformer with a little strategy built in. I can safely say that the game would have risen to a solid 7 and matched up against Mario Galaxy. (Mario Galaxy is clearly better, but they would both be 7s all the same) That being said, at least the motion controls make the game a little more difficult.

Zip is the main character and he started out as a great guy. He gets scared very easily and he’s definitely no Link or Megaman when it comes to bravery. Still, he fights for what’s right and you can’t help, but root for the poor guy. One can totally sympathize with him because being locked up for so long must be tough. Unfortunately, that goes out the window at the very end of the game as we find out why he was locked up. It’s a classic hero to zero moment as I lost all of my respect for Zip. Zip’s no hero and now I know why he was so worried against the villains. He’s never had to actually fight such a tough opponent before! It’s all been a lie and nobody was able to figure this out until it was too late.

Omminus is the main villain of the game and he’s pretty cool. He reminds me of one of the Super Paper Mario villains, Dimentio. Their powers are similar as well since Omminus has basic reality warping skills or something similar as he keeps on changing Zip’s physical appearance. That not only takes skills, but guts since nobody wants to mess with Zip. Omminus keeps his cool throughout the game and he’s a fun villain. I wouldn’t say that he’s a very tough villain, but Zip isn’t very powerful either so they couldn’t let the gap get too wide. His final forms are pretty scary and I can imagine people being at the edge of their seats when first fighting him at his best.

The graphics for the game are decent. It definitely doesn’t look bad by any stretch of the imagination, but there is nothing that you will find amazing either. Zip’s facial expressions can be a little intriguing, but that’s intentional. His grin is huge and you can’t help but grin as he goes after the villain. I definitely liked his character design even if I didn’t care for his character. I guess I’d say that the graphics were about average and leave it at that.

The soundtrack for the game is surprisingly brilliant. The boss theme is very catchy and that’s a good thing because it plays for every boss fight including the final one. It’s just fun to listen to and it never gets old. The main theme music for the main menu is great as well. It’s happy without overdoing it and the cheerful theme really makes you want to take the win.

Is there any Replay Value? I’d say that there’s a good amount since you’ll want to play all of the stages until you’ve gotten A ranks in them all. (I’m sure that S ranks will also unlock something) You obtain minigames for this and while I only unlocked one so far, it’s pretty fun. That should already be a good reason for a person to replay the levels and that’s really all you need. There are 32 levels in all and only 28 of them are needed for the A ranks. That may not sound like a lot, but this game will definitely last you for a while.

Overall, Flingsmash is a fun game and I don’t see why it’s already down to 2-3 dollars. I guess it fell under the radar and I’m sure that many people would enjoy it if they happened to come across the game. It’s not your standard platformer and it’s a nice concept, but the Wii remote can zap the fun out of just about anything. It still works, but the Wii Remote prevents Flingsmash from getting to the next level. I recommend getting the game if you don’t mind using the motion controls and the price definitely makes it affordable. I beat the game in 3 hours so don’t expect a long playthrough, but the replay value helps to make up for it. 3 hours of fun for 3 dollars isn’t a bad deal right? I found the game to be a little tedious during Worlds 2 and 3, but the game stepped up after that as the future worlds were a lot more interesting. Zip isn’t that great so you may want to play as the female counterpart. She definitely has more composure. Let me know how you enjoyed this game if you ever give it a shot!

Overall 6/10