Magical Drop 2 Review


I was impressed by this game. Magical Drop 2 really ups the stakes both in quality and in general gameplay enjoyment compared to the first. I do want to say the first game was solid too of course but this one feels like it has more of a story. The graphics have noticeably improved as well and the character roster is impressive. You really can’t go wrong here.

I ended up choosing what appears to be one of the main villains as my character. In fairness I started with a different character but was losing a lot so it was time for a change of pace. As the game goes on you fight every other playable character in the series. After taking them down you go up against the true villain of the game and then get a character ending specific to the character you just beat the game with. Not a bad deal right? After all, this means that each character will have an ending now.

The game’s difficulty level is as high as ever though. Good luck even trying to beat the game on normal difficulty. I made it past a few levels to around 4-5 but then the opponent starts matching the gems quicker than you can even blink. Even using the rewind feature and trying tons of different paths is not enough to overwhelm the opponent. Trust me, you’ll be spinning your wheels in circles at that point.

The only possible way to get around the opponents is to lower the difficulty back a bit. It’s more accessible than the first game with the difficulty level which is nice. Even with this the final levels are crazy but you should be able to pull through if you try it enough times. There is naturally a ton of replay value here since you can try to beat the game with each character.

Additionally the gameplay is just fun. No matter how crazy strong the opponents are, it’s always satisfying to be building the blocks on your end. It’s essentially reverse Tetris as you grab blocks and fling them upwards as opposed to trying to get them to the ground. There are some interesting combos you can pull off like grabbing multiple blocks to pull off larger combos. It comes with a certain level of risk of course but a risk that seems to be worth it in this case. At least it always seemed to turn out for the best.

The graphics are pretty good. In fact, I would say they are considerably ahead of their time. The illustrations are on point and the stages are very vivid. The game does allow for a bit of fanservice though with one character jumping up and down the entire time you’re fighting her but fortunately that’s the only match that’s a bit suspect. The soundtrack is good too and you feel a sense of danger throughout. You know that any second now could be your last.

Overall, Magical Drop 2 is a good way to handle a sequel. Effectively it improved on all of the first game’s strong points while improving any weaknesses. I thought the gameplay was much more effective now and the fact that it has a real story is cool as well. There’s a whole lot you can do with this series so I’d like to see it return some day. The sky’s the limit for this and I would certainly like to be along for the ride. If you have the Switch Online service then definitely give this a download. The difficulty level is crazy but at the same time it just makes you want to keep on going for rematches.

Overall 7/10

Super Bomberman R Online Review


It’s time for the latest game in the classic battle royale style. At this point there are quite a few that have tried this our such as Mario, Tetris, Pac-Man, and now we have Bomberman. Unfortunately this one may be the weakest of the batch. It has some interesting ideas but it does feel like they put less effort into it compared to the others. The menu layouts aren’t great and the tutorial doesn’t even cover a lot of the controls. There isn’t a practice mode where you can try this out for yourself either. So at the end of the day what that means is this one just doesn’t hold up.

The main mode of course is to jump in and start a 64 man free for all. You run around the map and drop off some bombs in order to knock the other players out. You have two health points so if you get hit twice then that’s it for you. When the match starts you are effectively boxed in and have to blow up crates to get out of there. Each bomb destroys some tiles on all 4 sides of it. You want to stay out of range since your own bombs can certainly hurt you. After a while the stage will start to explode so you have to go and run into a different room. Once the blocks fall again you restart the process.

It may sound simple enough but you also have to factor in the special abilities. Each character aside from the main Bomberman fighters have a special ability to watch out for. For example, Solid Snake is in this game and he has the ability to turn invisible. That way you can’t see him until he throws the bomb and it is too late to dodge. Another character seems to have some kind of magnet. A lot of the characters need to be purchased so I didn’t try their abilities out but this is an interesting twist.

In most free for all games each character has the same abilities. Changing your character is purely cosmetic in order for everyone to have the same playing field. Well, that’s not the case here. Your characters all have way different stats. Another example is how many bombs you can put down. For example the average character can only drop one at a time but some characters can drop more than that. Then you have characters with bombs that have a longer reach, can throw farther, etc.

Due to each of the characters having different stats, I definitely expect we’ll see characters belonging to different tiers before long. Not every character is equal this time around so I imagine this game will be less balanced than all of the others. That being said, we’ll see if enough people are playing the game for that to become a big concern.

On one of the first days of the game it was already taking a while to get a match. I suspect that’s more an issue with the servers that they’re using and not a lack of player base though. It just seems like it would be way too soon for that to really become a factor just yet right? It does make it a little harder to really get into the action as well. There’s just a whole lot of waiting each time which gets old. You’ll want to be reading something as you wait.

The graphics are good though. It all looks pretty modern and you can really feel the energy behind all of the character designs. The levels look nice as well and the game reminds me a lot of the Mega Man Powered Up game from back in the day. It’s got that kind of a vibe/look at the very least. So I have no complaints with the graphics. The music seems a bit limited but it’s not bad either. You won’t have much time to think about it to be honest.

It is rather odd that the game doesn’t properly teach you how to play the game though. Figuring out what each of the power ups do will be up to you. Additionally the same is also true for learning how and when you can pick up and throw bombs. If anything I think the game could have done without that. It makes the strategy aspect a little more intense if you have to run around and dodge as opposed to just throwing the bombs away. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of the labyrinth?

In the end, the game just isn’t nearly as fun as it could have been. Pac-Man was hype with how the gameplay worked and Tetris was absolutely stellar. The shooter games like Fortnite and Call of Duty have the style on lock of course. I don’t think any of these will be passing those but at least you want them to put up a fight. Tetris did that really well by adding a ton of bonus content through the years and the gameplay just really works.

Bomberman feels more like a cash-in with no real content to speak of. You have a battle pass so eventually you will unlock some costumes and such but it takes forever. I played 5 battles but with all of the waiting between levels that wasn’t as quick as I would have liked. It’s not a bad game but it does feel like one that is just trying to grab ahold of the battle royale trend. The problem is, with so many others to choose from I don’t see why you would stick with Bomberman for more than a few days.

Overall, Super Bomberman R definitely underperformed. I would have to say that it just couldn’t quite keep up with the others. It really didn’t feel like it was trying either. There’s not a lot of heart to this game. There would need to be some big fixes/patches to really get this one back on the right track. If you’re a huge Bomberman fan then you should check this one out, but otherwise I’d say to give it a skip.

Overall 5/10

Spanky’s Quest Review


Spanky’s Quest is one of the new SNES games that have finally arrived through the Switch Online. It’s a really solid start to the new wave I must say because it’s actually pretty fun. You go around fighting fruits with a really unique gameplay style. It could have easily ended up being gimmicky in a bad way but instead you can tell that the developers put a lot of heart and passion into the project. When that happens you always know that you are going to be in for a good time.

The plot is more on the interpretive side as the opening cutscene gets really cray but there are 6 monsters that are now ruling the world. Spanky will have to head out and take all of these guys down in order to save his home. Each boss represents a different fruit that must be stopped and they are also protected by a bunch of mini fruits. Spanky isn’t worried though.

The gameplay involves you throwing out little marbles. You throw the marble into the air and then you can press the action button again to break it into a little baseball. If the baseball hits an enemy then that enemy will be defeated so long as you time the explosion to occur on the enemy. If you do this too soon you will only stun them. Additionally you can bounce the ball on your head and it will get bigger. There are 4 stages to the ball and after that you can keep bouncing but it won’t get any bigger.

Level 2 is a Soccer Ball, Level 3 is Volleyballs, and Level 4 are Basketballs. The longer you wait, the more powerful the weapon and it makes sense that Basketballs would hurt more than the others. For bosses I always recommend using the Basketballs but of course it does take longer to charge up than the others so just be careful. Better to land a level 2 than to get hit after all.

Much like in Frogger, a single hit will cause you to lose a life so you want to make sure to stay at a safe distance at all times. As this is on the Switch Online you can rewind as needed though which should take some of the stress out of the equation. You can also jump which is handy when dealing with some enemies. After all, landing the baseball can be difficult so if you miss then you will want to jump out of there.

There are 10 levels in each world and 5 main worlds. After that, you go up against all of the bosses again before facing off with the final boss. I would say the game should last you a little over an hour or close to 2 at most. It’s a fairly decent length for an SNES game and of course since it’s free I can’t complain much about the length. I cut these things a little more slack for old time games but if this was a modern one then I may not be quite so lenient.

The graphics look good and hold up well. It’s an example of why going for a colorful artstyle like this can really work wonders. The fruits have a lot of personality and the stage designs are memorable. I wouldn’t say the soundtrack is exactly top notch but it does fit in with what’s going on screen and has more personality than other games I’ve played. It makes for a pretty complete experience.

There isn’t any real post game content to speak of so the replay value here is basically 0. This is a game where you will be playing to complete the story but won’t really stick around after that. Fortunately the gameplay is very smooth so you will certainly enjoy your main playthrough here. That’s the important part to be sure.

You also aren’t likely to forget this game anytime soon. The gameplay may be a little hard to describe entirely but hopefully you got the gist of it from what I wrote above. It’s just fun to time your throwing so you hit the enemies as you jump your way to the goal. The way to conquer each level is to open the locked door by grabbing keys from various enemies. You get keys either by defeating the enemy holding them or trapping lose keys in a ball and then exploding it.

Strategy is key here since you don’t necessarily have to defeat every enemy. If the enemy isn’t holding a key then you can probably skip him although it could put you in more danger if he is running around a lot. Also, you can’t wait too long in each level or a bird shows up. The bird is completely invincible to all attacks and moves quickly. Touching it for even an instant means instant death so that’s something to consider as well. Keep your guard up or you will surely fall.

Overall, Spanky’s Quest is a fun game. It certainly exceeded my expectations and is a nice way to spend a night. I’d be cool with this series getting a revival someday. If you have the Switch Online service then this is definitely a game you should check out. It sets a high bar for the other new additions so we’ll see if they are able to hold up as well. It won’t be very long until I try those out.

Overall 7/10

Solomon’s Key Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big puzzle game for the NES. Solomon’s Key is one of the titles that looked pretty fun and I saved it for the end of my NES run. Outside of the more RPG type titles the NES collection is now done. Solomon’s Key is a pretty fun way to end off. There are a lot of puzzles here and it’s pretty fun to figure out a way to clear the level. Due to the nature of the game there are many different ways to clear the stages although I imagine that near the end of the game you’ll have to follow more of a set strategy. The game certainly does start to get pretty difficult towards the end.

The idea of each level is to make it to the key and then to go through the door. Both of these items are strategically placed somewhere in the level. Usually to taunt you the exit door will be right near the entrance so you know it’s super close but it doesn’t matter until you get the key. The way you navigate the level is by jumping and summoning boxes. You can make a box appear which you can then jump on and make more boxes appear. There does seem to be a limit to how many boxes you can create at a time, but it’s fairly high up and shouldn’t matter. Either way the enemies eat your boxes very quickly. In a lot of the levels you have to go very quickly but also try to take into account the fact that the enemies will definitely not let up as they try to take you down.

It’s a lot of fun trying to outwit the computers. You have to predict what they will do ahead of time. It’s a great brain teaser and I made it pretty far through the game. I didn’t quite beat all of the levels as I stopped around halfway but it would be a great conquest for someone to beat them all. The dificulty noticeably spikes as you go through the game. While the first few you could just power through with experienced platforming that just won’t cut it later on. One thing I would try to do is box the enemies in but that only works on the first kind of enemies. The rest of them slice through your blocks like butter so it’s almost pointless to even try. It can at least slow them down though.

The toughest level for me was one where a lot of statues are constantly shooting fireballs at you. It’s a straight forward level design wise as you just have to climb up around 12 stories without a ladder. Naturally this means you will be using your blocks but as they are getting destroyed right as you are creating them you have to keep using others as a shield. The difficult part is as you go up you can only make a shield on your level so they can shoot out the ground from under you. Ultimately what I did to get around this was to always create in sets of 2 and 3 so there would be enough ground for me to keep climbing up. It took a ton of tries along with different variations of the plan but ultimately I made it through. The game definitely feels very rewarding after pulling that off.

The graphics are definitely fun and pleasant. This is a game that has aged rather well. Part of this is because there aren’t a lot of assets or characters on the screen so the developers could really focus on the ones they did have. The core gameplay is also timeless since this is a logic puzzle game that anyone can get behind. The music is also decent although I dare say a little too peaceful. Throw in some electronic music or something a little more rock based and that would really help you begin to crack the code. If you ask me that would be the perfect way to give the game a little extra boost that it could use.

Overall, Solomon’s Key is pretty fun. It’s also longer than the average NES game with how many levels it has. You can really test your puzzle abilities and with the NES Access States so you can always save your progress and try more the next day. That’s something I’ve always really enjoyed about the online state. I look forward to more games being added at some point. I’m guessing we already have most of the games available but certainly there are some more out there right?

Overall 6/10

Clu Clu Land Review


It’s time to take a look at an old NES game that I actually wasn’t really a fan of. The gameplay is unique so that is always nice to see. I haven’t played a game quite like this one. The closest would probably be DK King of Swing which has a similar concept just with a completely different gameplay style. That one succeeds a lot more than this one though. Clu Clu Land is ultimately okay in a small batch but beyond that you need to really enjoy the gameplay to stick with it. Considering all the other games on the NES I wouldn’t really be spending much time with it.

So here’s how the levels go. You play as a creature that automatically flies through the stage. The goal is to turn the stage into an image or something. As such, there are hidden coins around many of the turns. You have to bump into them all to complete the picture. Since you don’t know what the picture even looks like at first your opening strategy is really to bump into as many corners as possible. Once you’ve got the general idea of the shape then you can target the gates that you want to pass. You turn by sticking your hand out and grabbing a pole and use that momentum to go in a new direction. You can only reach out one hand at a time so try to plan your movements a few steps ahead of time. After all, each action will need another one.

Additionally you need to avoid the enemies. A single hit will take down your life so you want to live for as long as possible. The lives aren’t exactly easy to come by after all. I liked seeing the various shapes that would form. Clu Clu Land definitely has really nice visuals that have aged well. I can definitely appreciate the difficulty of making so many images using only coins. The stages remind me a bit of Pac Man with how they’re set up. It looks like a very similar style at least even if the gameplay is different. The music is less memorable, but fast enough where it’s pretty fitting while going through the levels.

So in the end the reason the gameplay didn’t click with me is that it just didn’t feel like enough was going on. Ultimately all you’re doing it turning. While you can probably break many games’ core gameplay down into a simple structure like that, you still feel like a lot is going on. This game doesn’t disguise that quite as well to me. I think a lot of the appeal will be from seeing the pictures that you create which are nice to look at, but I need more. Throwing in some physical movement would have been nice. Maybe allowing you to move the character back and forth and then you only need to use the hand feature when you want to turn. Ultimately that would still be very similar though so maybe that wouldn’t change very much at all.

In terms of replay value this game technically has quite a lot. You can keep on playing the levels over and over again to improve your score and move on to the next. I assume the game basically has unlimited levels although I imagine there will be a point where they start to loop. At that point you can really say that you conquered the experience and it really would be pretty impressive. These games were definitely not a walk in the park back when they came out and certainly not today either.

Overall, Clu Clu Land is the weakest NES game I’ve played in a bit. I definitely wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s the weakest NES game or anything like that but it just didn’t work out for me. If you like the general concept then I believe you’ll enjoy the execution. The gameplay is pretty smooth and I certainly didn’t notice any lag or anything like that. The gameplay’s also a bit familiar so I believe I probably played a demo at some point like in NES Remix or something. I think this game would be more enjoyable as a minigame.

Overall 4/10

Journey to Silius Review


It’s time to look at an old fashioned shooting video game. This one brings in a nice sci-fi feel to it as you go through the campaign. I appreciate the fact that this game has a real intro so it’s definitely got more of a budget than the average title. The gameplay is definitely on point. Don’t expect a walk in the park though. This is easily one of the toughest games that I’ve played in a long while. Each level throws quite a lot of challenges and projectiles at you so dodging them all is not easy. There are only 5 levels but they should take you a good amount of time to conquer. I expect the campaign is about 40-50 minutes depending on how often you die of course.

You have your standard gun which has unlimited ammo. The pellets it fires are similar to the Mega buster in the Mega Man games. I didn’t realize I had other guns for most of the game so I relied on this one. It’s reasonably powerful so you can definitely use it to conquer the game. The controls are pretty simple here. You can run and fire as you go through the game. Ducking is also highly recommended and even essential in some parts of the game. You gotta think quickly because once the enemies come running in it’ll be too late to do anything. Expect a lot of rewinds using the Switch Online feature because without it you may be in a pickle.

The other weapons you have include a machine gun, pocket rockets, a shotgun, and more. I mostly liked the rockets. These things did a ton of damage and would help me clutch out a win against all of the big boss in the end. I think the last two bosses in particular would have been pretty difficult to defeat without this. They just deal so much more damage than the normal gun after all and you can fire them just as quickly. They do use up your gun energy though so you can’t just spam them during the level. Personally I recommend saving them entirely for the bosses. Otherwise you just won’t have enough to go around.

Silius has great graphics throughout its run. The level designs are on point and it definitely gets that nice Sci-Fi feel to it. The enemies also look pretty impressive. It’s all aged really well visually and I can say the same for the soundtrack. It’s pretty ominous but also has a bit of hope like some of the classic Mega Man games. I’d draw a lot of similarities between the two. This game just works really well and the gameplay is also quite smooth which is also very important. At most it can just be a bit hard to jump if you’ve been running so I recommend stopping before switching actions. The rewinds can make you lose your tempo at times so keep an eye out for that.

Overall, Journey to Silius is a pretty fun game. It’s definitely one of the better NES titles and so I was glad to be able to check it out. While only having 5 levels may sound short, the incredible difficulty levels of the game prevent you from beating it in an instant. You’ll have plenty of time to try and work out some strategies for dealing with the villains. Additionally, it’s a pretty fun game so even when you have to replay sections multiple times it never feels like a drag. That’s definitely the beauty of good game design. There are no levels where I felt that it was just unfair. With practice you can just go through the whole thing very smoothly. I’d recommend definitely checking this game out.

Overall 6/10