7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review


It’s finally time to look at the final entry in the Luigi’s Mansion series. The series has always been pretty nostalgic because the first Luigi’s Mansion is the first Gamecube game I remember playing. It was pretty intense to chase after those ghosts and had a ton of replay value. To date I’d say that it is the best game in the series. It’s just hard to top it as I don’t really see Nintendo ever getting quite so dark again. Parts of that game were legitimitally intimidating like heading to the higher floors of the mansion while knowing that you were getting one step closer to Kign Boo. Still, I do put Mansion 3 above the second installment and it’s a pretty hype way to end the series. I’d definitely be up for a 4th game someday though.

So the plot of the game is that Mario and friends are invited over to a hotel. Luigi sadly has nobody to sit next too, but fortunately his loyal ghost dog is along for the ride. Things get pretty dicey when everyone vanishes during the night. Luigi finds out that King Boo and the hotel owner are behind this. He’s going to need to summon up his courage and free his friends from the paintings once more. It sounds simple enough, but when dealing with the King of the Boos and an army of ghosts you know Luigi is actually going to be in for quite a challenge.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the first two games. You use the Poltergeist to suck in ghosts after flashing them with the flashlight. You can also slam them around to weaken their health. That part’s a new feature as the originals didn’t have a big focus on combat like that. In this game prepare for a ton of slamming as it’s the most efficient way to deal with villains so why wouldn’t you use it right? You also have Gooigi here to help. You can summon him to go through objects that Luigi wouldn’t be able to. He can’t touch water though so keep that in mind for the various puzzles. There are a number of those so you do have to be sure to stay sharp. Let your guard down and the puzzle may end up defeating you.

It’s a classic style that works quite well. Part of why it’s weaker than the first game is ironically the combat mechanic though. The slamming can be a bit repetitive and lacks the same tension as in the original game where you have to hold on tight. Having to press A to shine the ghosts rather than moving the flashlight also isn’t quite as streamlined. Ironically the first game’s gameplay is simply a lot smoother. I also miss some of the extra aspects of the gameplay like having elemental attacks and stuff like that. It gave the game a little extra to it.

This isn’t the time to talk about the first game so much though so lets get back on track. The story here is pretty fun but my one main complaint is Luigi. It’s similar to the Scooby Doo set up where after a while you wonder why Shaggy and Scooby are still scared. Luigi has already beaten up King Boo twice. At this point you’d think he wouldn’t even care much when the guy shows up. Just knock him out a third time. Unfortunately Luigi doesn’t end up getting brave even at the end of the game which was unfortunate. I was waiting for a moment where Luigi finally mans up and does what needs to be done. Unfortunately even to the end it’s more of a reluctant thing which is a bit iffy.

It was nice to actually see more of Mario and Peach though. Mario’s role is small but we do see his confidence right away. The guy may have actually been a little overconfident this time, but I suppose you can’t win them all. I actually thought maybe he would get possessed or something in the end which would have made for a fun boss fight. Teaming up with him would have also worked out really well if you ask me. We’ve never really seen that before so it is completely uncharted territory. The final boss still manages to be pretty intense though. We get to see some more of King Boo’s attacks and the backgrounds are pretty hype.

The game definitely has excellent graphics. It’s Nintendo so I certainly expected nothing less. The character models are on point and I like the stage designs. The enemies are also pretty neat. They’re not quite as memorable as some of the first game bosses like the baby but the game holds its own. It’s definitely always easy to see what’s happening. I don’t really recall much of the soundtrack to be honest. It’s not a game where there really is much of one. I suppose it would probably go against the overall atmosphere of the game but I’d definitely be on board with some solid rock themes or something.

This game should last you around 10 hours which is pretty good. I’d say that it’s probably even a bit longer than the first two games because I remember those being pretty short. There is also a solid amount of replay value here as you can go back to try and grab all of the collectibles. That definitely won’t be an easy feat because there are a lot of them. You can’t forget the Boos after all. I was a little surprised that the game didn’t actually make you grab any of them. It’s good for the post game though and I always support it when games make such things optional. They should never force you into something that you’re not in the mood to do. You just want to get on with the story after all.

Overall, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a pretty solid game. It’s definitely a fun experience and I’d recommend checking it out. The length is just right and it does reference the older games which is pretty neat. Some of the puzzles could be a little dicey at times and whenever the cat would appear it would be a bit annoying to backtrack. Still, the core gameplay is very solid and streamlined. It’s also fun to see Luigi as the lead again even if he is more terrified than usual. We need a Mario’s Mansion game for this reason. Imagine sucking up ghosts but you have Mario confidently laughing the whole time or something like that. That would definitely be pretty neat!

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Panel de Pon Review


It’s time to look at a very obscure SNES game. I was pretty surprised they got this one for the latest update but it’s always nice to have more games to check out. The menus aren’t translated but it’s easy enough to figure out where you have to go. I started the equivalent of what arcade mode would likely be and ended up beating the first 3 chapters and a boss which was nice progress. The gameplay takes a little bit of getting used too after doing a lot of Tetris but I eventually got the hang of it. You certainly have to move fast or you’ll be buried in blocks.

There seems to be a bit of a plot. I assume that a demon lord is trying to invade the world and now the magical girls are asking you for help to stop this impending crisis. Along the way they’re teaching you how to play to see if you’re really worthy. I don’t know Japanese though so that’s my best interpretation of what’s going on. The game has blocks coming from the ground rather than the sky so think of it as a reverse Tetris. You have to match 3 blocks together in order to eliminate them. The key is to keep the blocks from reaching the top or you will lose. Once you have blown up enough blocks then the level will end and you’ll be safe. Boss battles work in a similar fashion except you keep matching blocks until the boss’ health goes all the way down. At that point you will have concluded the battle.

How you play is you move the icon over the blocks and then click to flip them. Your icon has 2 slots so you can leave one slot empty to move the block to it. Alternately you flip them horizontally so that you will be able to make more matches. It’ll take some trial and error at first but gradually you’ll start seeing patterns a lot quicker. That’s good because the levels get really difficult. I had quite a few deaths on the third level and a ton on the boss. It’s just hard to keep on matching when everything is going so fast.

One thing I’d recommend doing is to sometimes just randomly move pieces along in the bottom of the screen to get things moving. I found that I would make matches that I didn’t even know were there. I don’t think it’s the most efficient method in the longrun since you want to actually find the real pieces soon but if you’re in an absolute pinch then go for it. The worst thing to do in this game is hesitate or do nothing so just moving things around can really help you get a fresh perspective. It’s a pure desperation move but it did save me a few times. Well….that and the rewind feature of course.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The colors are very vibrant and it’s aged really well. This game could pass for being a bit newer than it actually is. At worst it may seem a little blurry at times but at best it’s all very smooth like an N64 title. The soundtrack is less memorable to me but it’s handled pretty well I’d say. It fits in with the game. It’s all pretty peaceful and serene.

Overall, Panel de Pon is a solid puzzle game so long as you really enjoy the gameplay. While I was starting to get used to it, it’s not quite as fun for me as traditional Tetris. There are less movements you can make due to the nature of the game so while the strategy isn’t any lower, it feels like there is less to do at times. The story probably could have also helped boost it up real quick if I knew what was going on. Still, it’s great that Nintendo is letting us play this game. I’m sure people probably thought the day may never arrive at this rate. If you like this style of gameplay then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 5/10

Editorial

5 Ways Nintendo can fix the Switch Online Service


Nintendo has historically been known as the greatest video game company out there. Certainly they have a lot of great titles. The consistency and unchanging nature of their games is part of why they’re an easy pick for starting someone off on their first console. You know what to expect and the games are pretty high quality. That being said, they have their share of weaknesses though. A big one if their online services. For years Nintendo has lagged behind the other companies. At least they had the excuse that their online product as free though. Now you do have to pay for it so that makes the issue all that much worse. Let’s look at 5 things they can do to fix their online.

1. Make it Free

This is the most unlikely option of course but it is one that would solve a lot of the issues. The online would be terrible compared to the competitors but since you wouldn’t be paying for it you probably wouldn’t mind a whole lot. When things are free you tend to cut them some slack because you aren’t losing anything. Nintendo also doesn’t really need to charge for much. They opted not to go for dedicated servers anyway and their NES/SNES Online catalogue is basically just a bunch of emulators that anyone can download for free online. As such we know that the space for these is tiny and it doesn’t take a whole lot of power to have them online. Still let’s look at more realistic options.

2. Use dedicated servers

This is an easy one. If you boot up a Sony or Microsoft game right now and head online you can expect to have close to 0 lag in your matches. That’s because the connection isn’t peer to peer so even if one of your opponents has a terrible online system it won’t affect your match. Compare that to Nintendo where if one player has a bad connection it will mess it up for everyone. That’s pretty inexcusable. Lag completely ruins an online experience when it’s at its worse. Input Lag can be crazy to deal with and normal lag is just as bad when it comes to trying to nail a solid combo. Nintendo’s really got to shape up in this area because it is very noticeable at this point.

3. Time to add GameCube Online

This is a big one, the GameCube needs to be online. There are too many crazy amazing games for them to not be here. I’m guessing Nintendo wants to make us pay 60 bucks for an HD Remaster but that’s not the play here. Putting these games online would be hype and it’s not like Nintendo would have time to port all of them either way. Give us a few big ones like Mario Sunshine and Melee. If those are going to get remasters then give us Pokémon Colosseum and F Zero GX. Either way GameCube games are a huge jump from the level of quality and replay value of the current titles. The NES and SNES games are fun to be sure but they are also very short. Adding in GameCube will really be the ticket to get people buying the online pass. I dare say you could even skip N64 and go back to it later. GameCube is what the people want and trust me, it would definitely go a long ways to getting Nintendo’s online into the big leagues.

4. Time to get Leaderboards

This is a big one that all of the other consoles have. We need some kind of online rankings here. Whether it is through trophies, achievements, or something else it would be immensely helpful. It would also be an extra incentive to get online if that was the only way to see your position. It’s always fun to try and get everything so this would also greatly help the replay value of all the Switch games. It’s never too late to start and this would be a good addition. It’s also worth adding into individual games like Super Smash Bros should have had this at launch along with a few other online features. This editorial is more about general Nintendo Online though so I’m just giving it a small nod here. In general the Switch needs some kind of ranking system.

5. Miscellaneous free stuff

Finally, we just need more freebies. Xbox and PlayStation give you random AAA games for free at times, backgrounds, and other perks. When’s the last time you got anything for free from Nintendo? At best they give you times freebies like ARMS and Mario Tennis which you get to play for a little while and then it’s gone forever. That barely counts as a freebie because you can’t keep it. No sir, I want a freebie that I can actually keep for the long haul. Even small things like new layouts, Switch backgrounds, emblems, etc would go a long way. You need to give people something, by not giving any freebies it definitely makes us feel bad. It’s like Nintendo just isn’t looking out for us. It wouldn’t take very long at all. Nintendo’s track record with reward programs is pretty bad though, I still remember how bad Club Nintendo’s rewards were for a long time.

In short, Nintendo needs to shape up on their online offerings. It is totally within their ability to do so if they really apply themselves. Until they fix these things they will continue to get mocked by everyone all the time. Even recently Super Smash couldn’t make the cut for EVO in large part because the servers are so bad. Make no mistake, that’s absolutely the big reason why it was cut. It’s a shame because it would have been good for everyone to have seen the state it is in on the big screen. That would have been the best chance to get Nintendo to change something ASAP. That boat has sailed though.

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Double Dragon II: The Revenge Review


It’s tome to look at the sequel to the original Double Dragon. Double Dragon II is a pretty solid followup that handles everything just as good as the first game except for a slightly weaker story experience. At the same time it doesn’t give us any crazy loop levels this time. (Still can’t believe the first one did this) So I’d say that this does beat the original game. It’s really got all the hype you could want from a classic NES game and is a fun way to spend around 30-40 minutes.

The plot of the game is definitely a lot darker than the first one. Instead of being kidnapped, the main heroine is murdered by an opposing gang this time around. The heroes decide to avenge her and head off to destroy the gangs. This will be difficult though as the villains heavily outnumber them by hundreds of fighters. That’s not enough to set these guys back but they’ve also got to find the main hideout which will be tricky. Fortunately they have a lot of henchmen to beat up and one of them ought to know where the villains are. From there it is just a matter of finding the right one.

So I was pretty surprised at the story. I mean, it just seemed really intense for back in the day. That being said, towards the end of the game they start hinting that the heroine is actually alive. We seemingly hear her voice after all. Unfortunately the game cuts out before you can get there. I guess there’s some kind of trick to actually facing the final boss or maybe it’s a difficulty level thing. How the game ended on my playthrough is you fight a shadow clone of yourself. It’s always fun to do that but I never liked the idea of the game hiding the final level behind another difficulty. Cmon, you should let me actually get the ending. Having a bonus for people playing higher difficulties makes sense, but make it in the form of a post game or something instead of cutting out my ending. I thought that was uncalled for.

As for the gameplay, it’s your classic 2D beat em up. You have to keep fighting through scores of enemies in order to beat the level. A lot of them are big bruisers this time so definitely time your punches right or you’ll eat a counter worth a ton of damage. There isn’t much to the controls so you should know how to play the whole thing straightaway without any real problem. That being said, the ninjas will still be a pain to deal with. They move incredibly fast and are constantly jumping. They also like to throw things at you once in a while and I don’t know what the proper strategy is to deal with them. They definitely caused me a ton of restarts and rewinds so these guys are definitely serious business. They were actually even tougher than the bosses to be honest.

The graphics are pretty fun. There is a noticeable improvement which is always good to see. The character designs and stage layouts are all pretty fun. Then when it comes to the soundtrack it’s pretty pleasant. I can’t really say that it’s memorable though but I’d say that the important thing is that it’s not distracting in a bad way. A good soundtrack should enhance the experience and I’d say that it does even if only slightly. The game’s fairly short also so it’s not like you got to experience it for very long. You’ll be through the game in no time.

There isn’t really much replay value though. I suppose if you picked the wrong settings or something then you will need to play the ending again. I’d look up why you don’t get the real ending before you play the game though just to save yourself some time. If it is that you have to beat the game twice no matter what they that’s really forced to try and make the length better. I never support that kind of practice, it just seems a bit underhanded to me. You shouldn’t force people to play your game a lot through gimmicks like that.

Overall, Double Dragon II really shows you what a sequel is supposed to be all about. It grabs the positives from the first game and erases the big negative I had with it. All of the levels here are pretty linear and you don’t have to worry about the game trying to trick you. It’s all about just using your skills here and fighting with great speed and precision. So long as you do that then you’ll be okay. I’m slowly but surely making my way through all of these classic NES games. I think this may have been the last full fighting game left though so it’ll be missed.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Ice Hockey Review


I’ve been playing a ton of NES games lately but to the point where I hadn’t actually reviewed them yet. So it’s time to quickly take a look at what some of those titles were and first up is Ice Hockey. It’s a pretty straight forward game that gets you right into the action. As with most of these old sport games there is a certain charm to it although I don’t expect you would be playing this title for very long with all of the newer editions out there.

When you jump into the game you get to go right into the thick of it. I enjoyed around 4-5 games here although I did lose most of them pretty badly. The game is surprisingly high scoring for Hockey as my opponent scored around 20 in one game. In most hockey games I played previously it would be rare to get into double digits much less 20. I also felt like I was blocking pretty well for most of the game as I must have stopped close to 100 shots. It clearly wasn’t enough, but it shows you how fast paced the game is. You can also effect the speed level which is pretty cool. When it’s on its max setting you’re really flying across the field.

The gameplay has aged pretty well except for the passing. Shooting the ball into the net is easy enough but I just couldn’t get the puck to my teammates. They would eagerly stare the puck down by beyond that they would just end up falling back and I would start to get steamrolled. The graphics have definitely aged pretty well considering how old the game is. There was a good amount of effort put into the game and this is the kind of gameplay that just works pretty well for all times.

What ultimately keeps the game back from more of a positive score is definitely the lack of content here. There isn’t a ton of replay value with only one mode to play and after a few rounds you will feel like you’re pretty much playing the same match. This game is perfect for multiplayer so that’s when you should bump up the score another star or two. If you’re on your own then as I mentioned you’ll probably be tired after an hour or so. Considering that the game is free with Switch Online that’s not really a bad bargain though.

Overall, Ice Hockey is a reasonable game. It’s a good way to spend an hour or so, but in a way you’re just checking off a box as you play through all of the NES classic games. Once it’s gone you’ll forget about it pretty quickly. It’s not exactly Madden or Mario and to an extent some games just aren’t meant to last the long run. Titles like Pac Man and Mario will always be a blast no matter in what era you play them and that’s a testament to the amount of detail and design put behind them. To the average game, once 20-30 years have passed it’s probably just going to feel dated.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

ARMS Review


It’s time to look at a fighting game Nintendo churned out a while back. It was one of the big titles for the Switch since it utilized the Joy Con features a lot. That being said, it got quiet very quickly after it came out. It was seen as pretty gimicky but those who stuck around with it did enjoy the game a lot. Well, now it is currently free on the Nintendo Eshop for a few days so I decided to check it out. This way I’ll save myself 60 bucks from actually buying it. It is a great fighting game and there’s a lot of fun to be had here.

When you boot the game up you will notice one thing missing from the start. There is no Story Mode. I was pretty surprised to see that there wasn’t even an Arcade Mode to play through with unique openings and endings. There is 0 story in this game and I think that’s pretty inexcusable for a modern day fighting game. You have to at least do the bare minimum which is have some still images while there is some dialogue about the character. We don’t actually know anything about these characters as a result which is pretty iffy. We’re literally just fighting for kicks now.

So the main modes here are the offline tournament mode and battling people online. The former is fun enough for learning the controls of the game. You get to face off with the computer in traditional fights as well as some minigames like basketball and punching through the rings. The basketball game is very fun and it’s something people have made stages for in Super Smash Bros all the time. The fact that it’s an official mode here it pretty awesome. I can see people having a lot of fun with it here. The shooting though the rings is not quite as fun. It’s basically just a normal fight since the rings barely seem to matter. Landing hits on the opponent is still the best way to win.

As for the main gameplay, it’s a 3D brawler with a similar setup to Pokken. All of your attacks are long range though. You can punch from one side of the stage to the other. You can also try to grab an opponent which will go through the guard. It’s a pretty straight forward fighting game so you’ll get the hang of it quickly. Once you store up enough energy you can use a final smash as well. You’re also given the option to switch your punching equipment between every round. It affects the range of your punch and how strong they are. Test out each weapon until you find one that you really like.

With the points you earn you can then head to the shop and buy some new weapons. It’s a little different than most traditional shops though. You don’t actually pick the equipment that you want. You’re put into a level where you punch at boxes and such. Occasionally a big box will show up containing a random equipment. You have to punch it to obtain this piece. Based on the length of time you chose for this minigame will determine how many items you get. It’s a bit of a roundabout way of unlocking things but it’s fun enough. I’m fine with it as long as duplicates don’t show up. It’d be annoying to play through the whole thing and find out that you just got an old piece.

The character roster isn’t amazing, but it’s decent. It’s big enough where you can’t call it small, but at the same time it could have benefited from a few more characters. I can see how people would like using motion controls for this, but I definitely like traditional for the best. It’s still pretty interesting to use the mechanics since punching with one arm at a time isn’t something you usually do in fighting games. It helps to keep the game a little more fresh and that’s never a bad thing. Particularly since the gameplay is all you will be here for.

The graphics are top notch. It looks and feels a lot like Pokken to me. I wonder if some of the same people were behind this one. It’s all very vibrant and that’s a good thing. The soundtrack is also very lively although a little less memorable. It works well enough while you’re fighting which is the important part. You always want some fast themes to fight to since it helps you keep your speed and tempo up. A slow theme would absolutely defeat the purpose if you ask me.

Really the only thing holding this title back from being better is the lack of content. It really feels like there is nothing to do here beyond fight people online. While fighting people is the main draw in the first place you should really have something else to do as well. I’ve mentioned this a lot in the review but a quick arcade mode would have done wonders. The replay value here is technically limitless but it’s very narrow and as I result I can’t imagine spending 60 bucks on it. I would have felt quite ripped off. You just can’t make a game without any kind of story and sell it for 60 bucks. Even all of the sport games have stories and franchise modes nowadays.

Overall, ARMS is pretty fun. It’s the kind of fighting game that has a lot of potential and automatic replay value. You can keep on busting people online and have fun learning new tricks and strategies. It can be a bit bare bones in terms of offline content though which keeps it from being further up on the list. If you don’t have the Nintendo Switch Online then you need to avoid this game. There is almost literally no reason to buy it if you can’t go online. Still, I do love fighting games and on a technical level this one succeeds quite well. Hopefully when we get a sequel Nintendo remembers to add online this time.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Starlink: Battle For Atlas Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 5h
Pilot Level 15
Frost Barrage Level Max
Laser Cannon Level n/a
Flamethrower Level 0/3
Arwing Level 3/5
Equinox upgrades 15/36
Vylus 90% Controlled
Haven 0% Controlled
Kirite 79% Controlled
Sonatus 17% Controlled
Ashar 58% Controlled
Unknown 0% Controlled
Unknown 0% Controlled

Collection

Hangar 9/56
Tactical Data 35/43
Enemy Codex 24/27
Alien Factions 23/36
Atlas Discoveries 32/114
Database 17/32
Activities 0/31