5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox Review


The SNES Online is finally active! There were many who doubted that it would happen so quickly and I was definitely one of them. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise when it was announced in the direct and of course I had to jump in. My first choice was Star Fox. I’d actually never played the original one before now so that was fun. It’s definitely a short game and one that doesn’t hold up nearly as well as most of Nintendo’s other classics. Still, it’s not bad for a quick run through.

The basic plot is that Andross is here and he wants to end the entire solar system using whatever means he can. Team Star Fox is put on the case to stop him so they follow his evil trail across the cosmos. They aim to stop him once and for all when they get to the final base but it may not be quite as easy as all that. He certainly isn’t going to be pulling any punches here.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You’re in a ship that is flying in a straight line although you are able to move left to right as well as up and down. You blast at obstacles in your way and at the end of the level there is a boss that you will have to blast out of the sky. The health bar from the boss is fairly large so it will take a lot of shots to put him down and you’ll likely need a lot of lives to really master his patterns.Fortunately the Switch has save states and rewinding so it wasn’t all that bad.

There are around 5-6 levels and you can beat the game in around 30-40 minutes. It’s not long by any means but there are alternate paths you can take as well. There are 3 in total so I guess the game would be about 2 hours which isn’t bad. Some of the enemy attacks will feel like they didn’t really hit you but I suppose the attacks may appear to be farther than they are like in a car. There’s no real replay value beyond that so just make sure that you enjoy the adventure along the way.

In terms of graphics the game is definitely not very impressive. It’s all very blocky and pixelated like a computer game. In someways it looks worse than most of the NES games, but maybe it’s just an artstyle that didn’t age particularly well. You never want to see a game not age well,but that’s the case with how this one looks. At least the soundtrack is quite good though. Most of the themes will sound familiar from the Super Smash  games since a lot of these tunes were remixed.They’re always fun to hear.

I’m trying to wonder how people would have enjoyed this one back in the day. It has actual cutscenes and such so you’d be engaged but I wouldn’t like having to replay the levels so often because I definitely would have gotten a lot of game overs before the end of the game. It’s a sobering thought, but it does make me wonder how much of a big video game fan I would have really been back in the day. I think I would have had a very limited game collector because I’d focus on ones that had a save feature or ones that were just really addictive like Pac-Man. The rest would have simply not made the cut.

While the game may not be a global hit for me, I do think it had some good ideas with regard to the boss fights. The Andross battle is very creative and has multiple phases which is something that I feel was probably pretty unique for its time. The spinning disc battle also forces you to get really good at dodging and outmaneuvering the enemies. All of these fundamental skills are ones that will transfer well into other games so they’re worth knowing.

Overall, Star Fox is a decently fun game, but one that only really passes the bar with today’s modern features. The game as it is perfectly hits the middle since it’s a decent experience, but not one that I would ever find myself going back to. It’s just too short and feels more like a demo to the Star Fox series than an actual installment. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should still check it out since it’s free. You can’t go wrong with being free of course, but otherwise you’re really not missing anything if you end up skipping it.

Overall 5/10

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Game Records

Astral Chain Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 14h 4m
Rank: Expert
Orders Complete 44/185
X-Baton Level 6
Legatus Level 6
Subject Logs 0/167
Location Information 22/22
Persons of Interest 1/43
Archives 0/28

Legion Ranks

Sword C9+
Arrow C8-
Axe C3
Beast C3
Arm C5-

9 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Astral Chain Review


It’s time to look at one of Nintendo’s most recent games. This one looked like a day 1 purchase right away. It really had everything I could want from a game through its solid gameplay, epic soundtrack, cinematic story, etc. Astral Chain was pretty much guaranteed to be a home run hit and I’m glad to say that it did not disappoint. I definitely hope the game gets a sequel and it continues to show why Platinum is so good at making quality titles. The game will last you for around 14 hours to complete the main story which is pretty good.

The basic plot is that the world is under attack by invisible monsters. The only way to see them is to equip a Legion which is effectively a captured monster that you fight with. This helps to even the playing field with the evil monsters. The main character is one of those silent assassin types who gets the job done without complaint. His sister Akira is the more vocal member of the group who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. The two are selected to be in the Legion program and now work to make the world a safer place. Still, it is odd how there are so many portals with monsters showing up lately and their boss seems rather shady. Akira and the lead will have to stay sharp.

I picked the guy to play as, but if you had chosen to play as Akira then the guy would probably be doing the talking while you are silent. I’m definitely never a big fan of the silent lead, but I suppose it’s not like it hurts the story all that much. It just makes him really lacking in personality. Also, even though I named him Terry nobody actually called me that and in two different cutscenes they called him something else which I’m guessing is his actual name. Still, while the lead has no character the heroine is mostly solid. She’s quick to stand up to the bosses and jumps into action. Her character arc does go in some dicey directions such as her final fight with us which really came out of nowhere. Akira was solid for the most part though and that’s what counts in the end.

The gameplay is that of a 3D brawler. You can fight up close with the sword or hang back and use your gun. The gun is significantly weaker than the sword so it’s not something you’ll want to use very often. A big part of the gameplay is also in controlling your Legion. It’s effectively like an A.I. ally who comes in to help you. His attacks deal massive damage and you can also use him to jump across large distances or for combo moves. The gameplay has a lot of depth to it, but it’s explained well so you’ll quickly get the hang of it. There is also a training room with a lot of tutorials you can go to if you ever forget how to do something. The game also helpfully reminds you of the key abilities whenever you’re in a puzzle which I definitely appreciate.

The soundtrack is definitely quite solid. The main boss theme is rock based and really gets you into the zone. The whole game just clicks really well and it goes without saying that the graphics are really good as well. You can customize your character’s look a lot as well which sticks around for the cutscenes. I had fun changing up my character depending on what was happening. I started out as a hopeful cadet, then I switched to a casual slacker, and then finally to a very cynical rogue. It was a fun little side thing for sure.

I’d say that the only weak part of the game (relatively speaking. This is still a 9 star title so there wasn’t anything seriously weak here) was the investigation parts. I don’t really think this ended up adding much to the game. I suppose it helps the immersion since you’re a cop and there should be a lot of investigating going around. It’s just a lot slower than the actual combat and while you’re finding clues all you can think of it continuing the story a little more. Other than that, the game is very fast paced from start to finish with a lot of twists and turns all around.

I would say that there are enough loose ends here to have a sequel come up. Really it feels like the humans are still the shady ones here, but either way the threat isn’t over. Two plans have already been put into action without results so the heroes are going to have to think of what to do next. If there is no sequel the ending here can still be seen as definitive, but I think a sequel would be a good idea. I’m also glad that the main character stayed strong all the way through to the end even if his legion did not have similar resolve in his actions. One is better than none.

Assuming you’re playing on the Platinum difficulty then I recommend buying upgrades to your Legolas right away. Doing so gives you extra batteries which are effectively extra lives. They are incredibly handy when fighting with the bosses. The game is reasonably difficult so you’ll also want to have items on hand. They’re a little expensive but you want to be maxed out on battery chargers at all times. I barely took down the final boss and that’s considering that I came prepared with around 10 batteries and a bunch of full heals. If you come in with anything less then you’re definitely going to possibly be in some trouble. For replay value you can work on maxing out all of your legions after beating the game. There are also a bunch of side quests and achievements to complete as well. This will definitely take you some time and I expect you will be well acquainted with the world by the end of your adventures.

Overall, Astral Chain is definitely an excellent game and I highly recommend checking it out. The menu screens are all very intuitive. Leveling up is pretty easy and never feels like a drag. Obtaining enough premium codes to max everyone out seems like it’ll take a long time, but the replay value is good. It’s not forced so you only have to keep going if you want to. With all of the difficulty levels here you never have to feel like you’re truly stuck. As you learn the boss patterns you can also put up a much better fight the longer you train. If you don’t have this game yet then you’re going to want to change that.

Overall 9/10

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

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Tennis Aces Review


I didn’t expect that I would be able to play this game for a few years, but fortunately Nintendo stepped up and made this game completely free for all online members. You get a 5 day demo and that was more than enough time for me since the story is only around 4 hours long. It’s definitely a fun tennis title, but one where I think Nintendo went a little too far in adding extra mechanics and gimmicks. The tennis gameplay was already amazing back in the Gamecube days. Nothing else really needed to be added to take it to the next level. Finally adding a full story was cool though.

Mario and Peach were busy winning another tournament when Wario and Waluigi show up holding a mysterious racket. Luigi manages to snag it and the dark power turns him evil. Mario must now travel the world to find the 5 power gems which will allow him to subdue the racket. This will be difficult though as the villains are after the gems as well and a powerful guardian protects each of the gems. Mario will really need to bring his A game if he wants to triumph here. He’s survived some tough odds before so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

The story is surprisingly good for a Mario game. We get actual dialogue for the characters aside from Mario and Luigi. They talk through recycled voice clips which may be a bit lazy, but it’s certainly better than talking through gibberish like in Yooka Laylee. I do think that the opening cinematic was made in a hurry though because the sound bites there are especially out of place. For the text box cutscenes it was all standard enough. Bowser gets to join in the story too as you would expect and the background elements of a dark and light god running around feels like something out of Final Fantasy. It’s a short story, but definitely a fun one and I was also glad that Daisy manages to get involved this time around.

As for the gameplay, at first it seems like your traditional tennis set up. You can hit lob shots, ground shots, power moves, etc. Your goal is to score points by getting the ball past the other player. Well, this all gets thrown for a loop when the tutorial continues and they introduce zone shots. This occurs when you have some special meter and an opponent hits a ball to you that bounces a little high. You can stop time for an instant and hit the ball wherever you want. If the opponent is slow to react or hits at any point but the proper one then their racket will take massive damage and potentially shatter. If their racket shatters then they lose the match instantly. Typically you start with 2 rackets so you’re fine if just one breaks.

On the defensive side of the ball you can also choose to slow down time at any point in order to make it easier to take the shot. Finally, you’ve got your final smash which is 3 times as strong as a zone shot so it will instantly break the opposing racket unless you perfectly block it. I used this quite a lot in story mode to win most of my matches via KO. It saves time compared to going the whole 9 yards. Still, I didn’t particularly like these extra mechanics. I feel like it takes away from the actual tennis fundamentals since these abilities really take over. You just can’t win without mastering them. Especially because you’ve got a new dive which takes you almost halfway across the screen in an instant. That mechanic also went a little too far if you ask me.

The gameplay may not be perfect, but it’s still fun. If you really enjoy Tennis then you should still have no problem with it. It was fun enough where I went back to story mode after clearing it and beat the extra dungeon as well as most of the bonus missions so I got all 5 rackets. Online I got destroyed by the other opponents so I’ll need some extra work there. The demo only lasts for another 2 days though so that’ll probably be it for me. In terms of offline content there isn’t actually a lot to do so hopefully you love the online. You’ve got tournament mode and a ring mode to pay through. Gone are the days when we had a dozen minigames to have fun with. I think the problem is that there is less incentive to play all these offline modes in Aces because you won’t really get anything.

I do think Nintendo has done a good job of continuing to support the game with DLC though. When you first boot up the game you’ll see that you’ve unlocked an extra 5-6 DLC characters right away. That’s pretty neat since it’s all free. Meanwhile the graphics are definitely quite solid. I don’t care for Mario’s new design, but you are able to switch back to the standard costume as long as you unlocked it from the trial copy a long time ago. The stages and the details within are all very clear so you always know exactly what is going on at any point in time. The soundtrack is not very notable for a Mario game, but I wouldn’t say it is bad. It just doesn’t have that all star quality that you’ve come to expect from Mario.

Overall, Mario Tennis Aces is a fun game. It’s the perfect rental for a nice weekend as you just relax with the characters. That being said, there is nowhere close to enough content to justify a 60 dollar purchase unless you really love the online. After 2 days you’ll likely have finished all of the offline content so online will be all that you’ve got left. I think once the price is around 20 then it’s not a bad purchase, but until then it’ll just feel like not enough content considering how much you’re spending. Hopefully Nintendo continues to add more and more to this game with each update and then my recommendation for the game will get stronger and stronger.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Super Mario Maker 2 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 15h
Maker Points 107
Versus Rating 1878 C
Endless Challenge
Easy High Score 7
Normal High Score 2
Expert High Score 0
Super Expert High Score 0
Multiplayer Versus Wins 19
Multiplayer Versus Plays 73
Courses Played 56
Courses Cleared 39
Attempts 741
Lives Lost 699
Courses Uploaded 5/32
2 World Time Records

Uploaded Stats

First Stage 1 Like 40 Plays 12.29% Completion Rate
Hypefromstrengthwithspeedforfree 1 Like 19 Plays 4.76% Completion Rate
The Trials 1 Like 14 Plays 0.30% Completion Rate
Quick Stroll 1 Like 9 Plays 33.33% Completion Rate
Something ain’t right here! 1 Like 7 Plays 1.94% Completion Rate

Game Records

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 25h
Cards 242/1177
Zenny 14100

DReager1 Avatar
Level 16
Rank: Super God

Camaraderie Levels

Goku Level 5
Goku SSGSS Level 1
Goku Ultra Instinct Max
Goku Xeno Max
Vegeta Level 1
Vegeta SSGSS Max
Trunks (Future) Max
Trunks Xeno Level 1
Frieza Max
Frieza (Resurrected) Level 1
Golden Frieza Level 1
Vegeks Xeno Max
Champa Level 1
Super Mira Level 1
Hit Max
Caulifla Max
Jiren Max

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission Review


It’s time to take a look at the recent Switch port of the famous Dragon Ball Heroes game. It really is impressive just how far this part of the franchise has gone. It now has several manga titles, an ongoing anime series and of course the video game ports. It’s a nice continuation of the Dragon Ball series that is able to get quite out there with the content it brings to the table. There are numerous characters and super forms here since nothing is considered too crazy to be implemented. The gameplay style is pretty different and will take some getting used to, but is considerably better than any of the card games I’ve played for the series before. It feels like a great RPG and I’d be up for more games with this style.

The plot starts off with a kid (I called him DReager1) who decides to play some Dragon Ball Heroes. It’s a card game that has gotten very popular on Earth as you get to assemble a deck of Z characters and fight it out with others. DReager1 quickly finds out that it isn’t all just a game though as the best player in the world shows up and tells DReager that there are villains seeking to change history in the Z world. He must now team up with other Dragon Ball Heroes to foil this villain’s plans. The villain goes by the name of Sealas and he is reasonably strong at around SSJ3 level if not higher. What really makes him dangerous is his A.I. sidekick though. It grows stronger with every opponent it watched or consumes. If the heroes don’t stop him fast then it’ll be all over.

The first thing you’ll notice when booting this game up is how extensive the content is. The main campaign alone will take you over 20 hours. After that you have adaptions for some of the movies, all of Dragon Ball Super, and the rest of the Heroes exclusive content. Trying to complete all of this will likely take you 50 hours or longer. Then you can start trying to collect everything. I’m thinking this is 100+ hours easy and of course you’ve got the online vs mode which never has to end. All in all this is a great game filled with a lot of value. So long as you enjoy the gameplay you won’t be bored.

So lets talk about the gameplay. It’s one of those styles that is easy to get into, but very difficult to master. You assemble a team of 7 warriors. At first you won’t have a whole lot of options, but getting new cards isn’t hard. It’s a lottery system though as you pay 10 tickets to get 10 characters. Once you’ve assembled a team that you like then you give them enhancements which increase their stats or give them access to cool abilities like double attack. You’ll want to have abilities that complement each other as well as compatible partners so you can fuse fighters or assemble them for combo attacks.

At that point the match begins. Each round will let you place your fighters among 4 different rows. The back row allows them to recover stamina while the front rows let you attack. Typically I like having half of my team in the front and half in the back, but by the end of the game you’ll have a lot of abilities that replenish stamina so you can just jump in and keep on fighting. When you use an ultimate attack or spell sometimes you’ll have to trace actions on the screen but they are extremely easy so you will likely never fail any. The first team to either eliminate all of the HP from an opponent or the one with the most health after 5 rounds is the winner. There’s a lot more to this than what I mentioned, but that’s the jist of it. The rest I think you’ll get the hang of naturally.

The core of the gameplay comes from the clashes. Every time you attack or block a bar will show up for both sides. You want to press A when it is closest to the top and likewise for the opponent. The bar can be sped up or slowed down based on abilities. Everything rides on these bars including your special attacks so you can really boil it down to “Win the bar and win the game” You will want to get really good at the timing if you want to win. This game is actually very difficult. Without the right moveset you could find yourself fighting the same opponent over and over for a very long time. Grinding out the levels can be a little difficult so you’ll want to head to online levels to give your characters the edge they will need. You can’t level up character cards, but you can level up DReager1. This could easily be the toughest game I’ve played in years so it was pretty satisfying to complete it.

With the soundtrack we have all of the insert songs from the old Dragon Ball Heroes promos. That was definitely nice to see and you can even have them play over the normal gameplay so then you’ll be seeing them a lot. The only issue is that they’re very short so you’ll be hearing them loop over and over multiple times in a single fight. The rest of the soundtrack is also pretty good. They’re simple, but catchy themes. As for the graphics, they definitely look pretty good. It’s nothing like FighterZ, but the arcade style is likely what helps the game have so many different character models. It’s a simple look, but one that ages well. Then you’ve also got 2 animated cutscenes that were thrown in. I was hoping for more to be honest especially since the game starts out with one, but 2 is better than none.

If the game has an issue it’s that the various mechanics aren’t explained very well. There are quite a lot of tutorials, but even those aren’t able to explain everything. (Which shows how complex this style is) You’ll want to learn the mechanics from GameFaqs or Reddit if you’re unsure about something. For example, when you obtain the Dragon Balls and make a wish you are given a lot of options. One option is to rank up your lead but one thing that’s useful to know is the longer you wait, the better his stats will be. You can rank him up 4-5 times so it’ll also take a while if you decide to take him to Level 99 each time. (He reverts to 1 for each class up but gets a percentage of his old stats) If you don’t care about the post game then just rank him up right away each time. He’ll still be plenty strong by the time he is in Super God level.

Another thing to note is that the character animations are unskippable. This does admittedly result in some rather tedious battles at times as you are watching the characters perform the same actions over and over again. Each battle can be very long and there are dozens of battles to complete in order to conquer the story. Typically you can read something while playing as the game only ever needs one hand to do all of the controls. I did a lot of multitasking, but otherwise I think the game definitely should have reduced the turn time. Simply having the combat animations be toggled off like in Pokemon/Digimon would have helped immensely. That way you still have the option to keep them on if you really want to see the supers. That’s more of a quality of life upgrade though, it’s not something that actually hurts the title.

I don’t think I’ll even go that far into power levels as that always gets dicey with Dragon Ball, but I suppose it wasn’t all that bad. One thing you’ll notice is that DReager1 is super overpowered though. He’s able to handle SSJ3 Legendary Broly in his SSJ1 form. That’s pretty good eh? As for the plot in general, I definitely thought it was a lot of fun. It was great to be able to see so many different eras including the Tournament of Power. I do think it’s a bit iffy that Sealas was able to escape even Zeno and the Grand Priest, but I guess he needed to keep his hype.

Sealas was definitely a great villain as well. Not only is his backstory rock solid, but I also liked his final form. He does feel like an amalgam of various DB characters for a while and then he suddenly takes a very Final Fantasy esque appearance by the end. There are a lot of similarities between him and Goku Black which the game also addresses. Sealas is definitely a character that you’ll remember and I hope he gets to appear somewhere else someday. Maybe the online TV specials will adapt this game someday, that’d definitely be cool.

Overall, Super Dragon Ball Heroes is definitely a great game. I can see why it got so big over in Japan. If they keep on giving us free updates I suppose there won’t be a need to make a sequel anytime soon, but if they ever do make one I’ll have it on my radar. Maybe someday when there are less games on the backburner I’ll also check out some of the post game content. I gotta see if it lives up to the hype of being as difficult as I’ve heard. I somehow think it probably isn’t exaggerated though. As it is the final boss was pretty insane. I’d recommend taking a look at the gameplay online. If it looks like your style then definitely take the plunge on this game. It’ll keep you busy for quite a long while.

Overall 8/10