5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox 2 Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Star Fox game. Not a lot of people got to play this game back in the day although that has changed to a degree since the game was included on the SNES classic and now it’s also available through the Switch Online. I can definitely see why Nintendo wanted to bury this game back in the day though. While I applaud Nintendo’s effort to make a new kind of Star Fox game, it really doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original. The gameplay just isn’t that good and that’s always tough to get past for a video game.

The basic plot is that Andross wants to conquer the star systems once again. Fox and friends don’t want to let this happen, but at the same time it’s going to be really hard to put a stop to this. The team splits up and prepares to defeat the opposing planets while protecting their own. This takes you to the hub world which shows you where everything is at. It’s a bit overwhelming but you’ll get the gist of it after a few minutes. Corneria is your home base and if it gets destroyed then that is an instant game over. Your goal is to stop the missilles heading towards it and taking down all of the enemy bases. Personally I feel like the easiest thing to do is taking out all of the bases right away. The villains won’t have time to blow up Corneria if you do that. That’s what I did and the game is over within 40-50 minutes.

The actual gameplay is a 3D shooter. You fly through the air and try to blast the ships out of the sky. This is the worst part of the gameplay because it’s hard to see anything. Your sensor is oddly not in the middle of your screen so you have to find it and then shoot from there. It’s just not very fun and the gameplay feels like it was slapped together. It’s always hard to tell where you’re at or even just moving in general. Fortunately not all of the levels use this gameplay style but it would have to be one of the worst shooter gameplays I’ve tried.

The other style is your ground missions which ties into the final level. You get to run around as a walker and blast various objects. It actually feels pretty similar to Star Fox Assault which is good since that is still the best Star Fox title. You can also switch back to your Arwing if necessary but I don’t see why you would do that. The walker is way easier to move around in and the blasters take down all of the enemies very quickly. The final boss even goes down quickly like this and the gameplay is a lot more fun. This would be a whole different game if you could just play in the walker the whole time. It’s just really solid.

If I had to describe why the gameplay didn’t work, it’s just a little too unfocused. It can be hard to know what is happening right away and it’s just too hard to turn around. The boss against the long snake is a good example of that as he keeps flying around you and it’s so hard to keep up with him. He barely ever tries to attack you so the boss isn’t hard, just a little on the tedious side. I think the first person view is what tripped the game up, it should have been more of a third person camera view like the original Star Fox. That’s always a safer approach if you ask me.

Team Wolf shows up in this game, but they don’t really serve much purpose except to give you a quick dogfight. The level is okay but surprisingly Leon was way more difficult than Wolf. Wolf went down almost instantly while Leon actually beat me the first time. The difficulty level here isn’t as crazy as some SNES games, but it’s still tough enough where you can’t just breeze through the whole thing. You will have to think through your moves and be very careful about how you approach each level. One loss means game over, but the rewind feature on the SNES should help you avoid that.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty good. In this area at least I’d say it keeps up pretty well with the original game and maybe even surpasses it. I was glad we got little text cutscenes even if the game didn’t have the most elaborate story in it. At least having a bit of a story is better than none right? The soundtrack is also decent I suppose. Not the most imaginative, but it’s got those classic Star Fox vibes that always work well. As for replay value, I wouldn’t really say there is much. You can try beating the game in a different way but there’s not a whole lot of reason to do so. I suppose if you just like the game enough then that’s not a bad idea. Since the game is free it’s not like you need the game to be quite as long though.

Overall, Star Fox 2 is a fairly weak Star Fox game. I have to say that the franchise has had a pretty tough time over the years. The original Star Fox game was decently good, but then we had this one which wasn’t very good. Star Fox Assault was amazing and Adventures was pretty good but then we had Command and Zero which really could not hold their own on that level. I hope the next Star Fox game we get is more like Assault and brings the series into the elite level. The concept is still so much fun and Fox is always a great character to have around. I don’t really recommend this game, but if you have the Switch Online then you may as well check it out. Otherwise I’d say you should just pick up Assault instead.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Vice: Project Doom Review


Project Doom is one of the newer games added to the Nintendo Switch online service. It’s a pretty innovative game for its time as you get some racing levels as well as traditional shooter ones. The mechanics are all on point for both types of gameplay and the story is pretty engaging. Considering that it’s free there is really no reason not to take the plunge on this one. You’ll be glad you went for it. It’s challenging but there are enough quality of life features to make it feel enjoyable at all times. When you die or even when you get a game over you aren’t sent all the way back which I was happy about. That seems to be rare in the NES era.

At first I actually thought this was purely a driving title so I was actually surprised when the level ended and you were suddenly on the ground. When you’re driving you get a machine gun so you blast the other cars away and try to live until you hit the finish line. The controls are pretty straight forward and the whole thing just flows really well. When it comes to the land levels they are just as solid. You’ve got a energy sword that you use to slice and dice away at the enemies in your way. The level backgrounds and general design feel like something out of Mega Man. These levels are difficult, but not downright impossible or anything like that. You’ll be able to make it pretty far either way. Even when you die you don’t get sent back to start as I mentioned before so that helps lower the pressure.

The boss battles are also pretty fun. The first one is definitely original as you’re fighting a giant tank that’s spamming missiles. You have to hit the power core near the top of it, but can’t touch the tank or you’ll take massive damage. I died here quite a bit, but then I figured out the trick which is really just to duck. Ducking allows you to dodge just about all of the tank’s attacks so it’s incredibly handy. I cannot stress enough why this is a technique that you really must use here.

I didn’t make it particularly far in the story, but that’ll be one of the incentives for you to make it all the way across. You’re playing as a secret agent uncovering a conspiracy and there are a lot of twists and turns. I think you’ll have a really hard time guessing the twist about the villains and the whole thing gets very personal to the lead by the end of it. It’s not really the kind of story you’re used to seeing on the NES and it is a shame that this game never got bigger. It seems to me like it should have done exceptionally well back in the day. It holds up really well to the modern day.

The game is technically pretty short at under an hour, but that is really presuming that you won’t die at all and that’s borderline impossible. There’s no way you’ll be getting out of this game with just a scratch so to speak. You’ll die quite a few times as you learn through trial and error what works and what does not. Only after that will you be ready to go on those famous speed runs. The levels are quick and the gameplay is fast paced so I don’t imagine you will have much of a problem replaying the levels over and over again. If anything it’ll just help you map them out even more.

Vice’s graphics are definitely sharp. They wouldn’t feel out of place in a GBA title or on the SNES. It’s really ahead of its time in that regard. The lightsaber sword is also pretty cool and you feel like you’ve got a lot of power on your side. The soundtrack is less impressive, but still good overall. I certainly wouldn’t give that part a thumbs down either. This is the kind of game where you can see how a lot of care would have gone into producing it.

Overall, Vice is one of the best NES games I’ve played through the online service and it’s a solid addition to the lineup. I know at this point we’re all waiting for the SNES games to show up, but in the meanwhile at least I’m getting to see all of these other obscure games. If you’ve got a Switch and haven’t checked this one out yet then I recommend changing that. I think you’ll be hooked on this game before long and then you can be added to the list of people who are ready for a proper reboot/sequel someday.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Adventures of Lolo Review


It’s time for Lolo to come up to bat. There are definitely quite a lot of NES Online titles that I have yet to play, but Lolo seemed like the best one to check out at the time. It’s got a Kirby vibe to it, but it is puzzle based instead of being a platformer which is pretty interesting. It definitely changes things up and I’ll give the title credit for trying something new. I don’t think it’ll keep your attention for too long, but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or two.

The basic plot is that the princess has been captured and Lolo has to save her. As with the Mario games, Lolo always gets close only to be told that the princess is in another castle on a different floor. You have to scale all 10 floors and 50 puzzles if you actually want to save her. I completed the first 5 floors and then stopped on the 6th one. It’s definitely a title that is easy to get into, but hard to master. You’ll really have to think long and hard about the puzzles if you want to get all the way.

The access points help a lot but without them I can’t imagine going too far in this game. I died dozens of times during the course of the first 27 levels and they kept on getting harder with each new one so I would have been cooked. The game is overhead and the goal is to grab all of the pink orbs which opens up a chest on the level. Once you grab the gem in the chest all of the enemies in the area will blow up and you can proceed. Rinse and repeat as you go through the 50 levels. You have the ability to summon a ladder in levels that give you this option and you can shoot an energy blast which you get from energy squares. You only get 2 shots so make them count. One shot will turn an enemy into a gum drop and hitting them a second time will shoot the ball far off into the distance so they can ponder what just happened. You’ll need these gumballs to float in the ocean or to keep them out of your way as you get through the goal.

The toughest enemies to get around are the floating heads. If you walk in their line of sight at any point then you die instantly. They can see in 4 directions at once so dodging them is tricky. Typically you need to use a block to try and block them, but even that can be pretty difficult to achieve. One wrong step and it’s curtains. Then you’ve got the speed ghosts who move much faster than Lolo and a single touch is death. Well….okay any hit in this game is death so just don’t get hit. That’s a lot easier said than done though.

The enemies all activate when you’ve hit the final target in the level so you want to try and leave the one that is closest to the chest for last. Of course, that is easier said than done and some levels rig it so you can’t do this. You have to manipulate the blocks to make the best possible course for yourself so you can dodge these guys. It feels like a Layton puzzle to an extent just with less variety. These are real brain challenges though and are definitely not to be underestimated. I haven’t played a game this hard in quite a while. The NES definitely had a lot of real tough ones. I can’t say I miss the days of not being able to save and all, but they definitely had their charm.

Adventures of Lolo doesn’t have much of a soundtrack, but it’s peaceful enough while you’re playing. It does hold up with the graphics very well though. You’d barely believe that this game is so old because it just looks very smooth and clean. It’s the kind of game that could come out right now and you probably wouldn’t bat an eye. The length is pretty good too. Someone beat it in around 40-60 minutes which would be pretty crazy to me. There are 50 puzzles as I mentioned and it took me around an hour and a half to beat half of them. So you’ve probably got 3 hours of solid entertainment here and you can increase that number by quite a lot since you’ll likely be dying in some of the levels. There isn’t much replay value after beating the campaign, but that’ll take long enough as it is.

Overall, The Adventures of Lolo is a fun title. I’ll definitely remember it although before I play the sequel I’ll probably try something a little different the next time I head back into the NES world. If you’ve got the online Switch membership then you should definitely check this one out. It’s free so there’s no real downside and it’s nice to take a look at these retro franchises. Who knows, maybe Lolo will end up being the next title to get revived like Crash, Bubsy, or Spyro! The puzzle concept could certainly work well in today’s world as well, I just hope they add more of a story this time beyond the whole princess gets captured thing. I want full cinematics or at least a hype script.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Soldier Review


It’s time to look at the next title I was able to play in the NES Online collection. Slowly but surely I’m getting around to all of them. It’s definitely been fun to play these classic games. Star Soldier is similar to Galaga although I’d argue that it’s less refined. Certainly a good sci-fi game to dabble around with (especially when it’s free) even if it probably won’t hold your attention for very long. It gets the job done.

There isn’t really a plot although I’m sure one came with the booklet or something. The general gameplay is that of your average space shooter. You’re in a ship and the screen is always moving down. You have to blast away the enemies in front of you so it’s important to keep moving the ship so they’re never out of your range. You can collect power ups from breaking objects or blasting enemies which increases the amount of blasters you possess. After a time you will also get a shield as otherwise a single hit will destroy you. There are a few checkpoints in the level but the downside is that you lose all of your blasters so when you re-spawn it is very hard to stay alive. Best of luck!

It’s definitely one of those arcade games that you would have a very hard time trying to defeat in one shot. Of course, at the arcade you could probably just keep plugging tokens in until you won and on console you’ve got the access point equivalent. Otherwise I suppose you’d need to really memorize all of the attack patterns. Part of what makes this exceptionally difficult compared to other shooters is the fact that it’s hard to tell what is in the background and what is in the foreground. It’s like the Smash Ultimate Stage Builder in that respect as you can be tricked into jumping towards a cannon that isn’t really there. It’s the same with these objects, some of them aren’t there so you can shoot through them and others will block your blaster. Since just making contact with an enemy is fatal here that makes this a pretty dangerous gamble. It’s hard to avoid these objects as well since they take up a good chunk of the screen.

The soundtrack is pretty decent. Honestly you won’t remember most of the tunes, but the main menu theme is definitely memorable. Then you’ve got the graphics which are pretty passable all things considered. I’m assuming the background part wasn’t intentional so maybe that part should have been better, but perhaps that was the intent. Either way you will be able to see enough to be able to follow the action with relative ease and that’s definitely a good thing.

There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here since you’ll likely be dying around level 2 each time. As a result it won’t be quite as super exciting as it would be otherwise and you’ll not want to play for a very long time. After about an hour or so you’ll probably be ready for whatever the next challenge is. Still, it is a fun game at its core so maybe you’ll be engaged for longer than that. Star Soldier is a fun game.

I can’t speak to the various bosses here since I only ever beat the first one, but the enemy designs do seem promising. There’s one level where a mysterious head shows up to follow you around. It’s invincible, but touching it will make you lose a life. Then there’s a big robot that has a lot of blasters which I promptly took down. I don’t imagine there are a bunch of bosses since I saw on Youtube that someone beat the game in 30 minutes, but with that length I imagine they’re all unique which is good. Recycled bosses is the definition of laziness.

Overall, Star Soldier is a game that I hadn’t heard of until I played it, but I’m definitely glad I gave it a whirl. The NES Online has definitely helped me play a bunch of games that I feel like I probably wouldn’t have gotten to play otherwise so that’s definitely neat. I’d definitely recommend checking it out if you’ve got the NES Online as well. I don’t know which title I’ll be checking out next. Maybe it’ll be another alien shooter game or this time I’ll go for a longer title. Either way the review will be popping up here before long.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Kid Icarus Review


It’s time to look at my next journey into the NES ONLINE collection. This time Kid Icarus was my next conquest and it’s definitely one of those games that is reasonably fun but held back by a lot of dated mechanics. Fortunately the save states do help make up for these aspects.

The basic plot is that Pit has to stop the ultimate evil known as Medusa from destroying his world. Lady Palutena has gifted him with many skills and now it’s up to him to put them to use. The gameplay is pretty basic as you jump from platform to platform as you deal with monsters by shooting your arrows. You can shoot your arrows in a straight line facing forward or up. Typically the levels will ask you to either climb very high or go all the way to the right. Each world has 4 levels and there are 3 full worlds with 1 final level. The 4th level in each world is the boss level which also serves as a huge maze.

The normal levels are pretty fun and will really test your platforming skills. A single misstep can mean the end of you. Your health also depletes quite rapidly so you’ll want to keep an eye on your health bar at all times. You do get a few lives so you won’t go all the way back but these levels are quite difficult so you would be wise not to underestimate them. You obtain hearts by defeating enemies which you can trade for health potions or temporary attack upgrades.

What holds the game back is the 4th level of these worlds. The mazes are quite frankly way too large. You’ll be lost with no end in sight here. It works like Metroid where if you don’t have a guide you will need to draw a map of your own. I can definitely acknowledge the time and dedication you would have had to spend to do such a thing back then. Games are really tricky back then…maybe too tricky. After all, this is more tedious than challenging after a point. You can easily waste hours going through this just as I used up a bunch of hours in Metroid. Some games just really haven’t aged well to be honest. Others have continued to excel though so that’s a good thing. Kid Icarus is kind of in the middle. It’s not bad, but this does prevent it from being truly good.

The final level is a nice look at what the game could have been like though. It’s an aerial level where you blast away at enemies in a level where the camera is constantly scrolling. It takes a lot of skill to blast your way to the end but it also doesn’t feel tedious. The final boss is also quite inventive as you have to blast at the enemy while blocking her attacks. You can only pick one option at a time so you have to constantly time your attacks just right. Mess up and then it’s all over for you. Definitely not a final boss to be taken lightly either. This whole game is one that is more challenging than it may appear at first glance.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game uses the classic sprites as were the norm back then. The sprites do a good job of giving the characters clear designs. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty basic but effective. The main theme has certainly become iconic over the years. I can’t say that I really recall any of the other themes off the top of my head, but it’s pretty soothing and fits in with the levels. After all, this game is a pretty calm platformer in the sense that there is no timer. You can take as long as you need to in order to fully process the enemy movement patterns. Slow and steady will win the race here.

A unique gimmick this game also has is the fact that a certain enemy can transform you into an eggplant. If you are hit with this curse then you need to try and find a healing station to cure you. Until that happens you can’t attack anymore which puts you in a very vulnerable spot. It can definitely be annoying when it hits you since that’s most likely it for that life, but it’s a fun little feature that’s just so random that it really works.

Overall, Kid Icarus has its fun moments, but its downsides as well. You gotta take the game as a mixed package and likewise I gave it a pretty mixed review. Honestly there isn’t much reason to play it as this point though. If you want to experience the Pit adventures then just check out Uprising. It’s an improvement in literally every way and is a very satisfying experience. The original Kid Icarus is a good title to play for the novelty, but you won’t be missing out on much by skipping it. I’m sure it was fun for its time, but there are just better platformers to play nowadays like CupHead or something like that. Of course if you already have the online Nintendo Switch membership then you may as well check the game out since it’s free. It’s only a few hours long and you can use the save states as much as needed in order to secure your win.

Overall 5/10