This game has been on my list for a while at this point and now I’ve finally gotten to give it a whirl. Nintendo always delivers when it comes to quality platforming and naturally this game is no different. Kirby has a lot of solid level designs here and there definitely aren’t any real issues or glitches to speak of. The game is quite short though so you’ll be done with it very quickly. While there is a lot of replay value to be found here through other modes, it does keep the game from reaching the next level.
Star Allies starts off with a new threat attacking the world. Everyone is being mind controlled at the moment so they can’t help but embrace the dark power of a shadow heart. Kirby is the only one who can resist so he now has to go through various worlds to stop all of the corrupted. Along the way he will mind control a bunch of villains so that they help him in this quest. Will that really be enough to turn the tables though or will his quest end as soon as it has begun?
You get to see a lot of the familiar faces of Kirby such as Whispy Woods and the thunder cloud. It does remind you that Kirby has had a lot of enemies over the years but at the same time I do think the game could have had a little more fun with this and introduced some new characters. No reason you have to stick with the tried and true opponents right? One addition I liked was seeing Whispy’s father show up to take some names. The boss battle goes in much the same way as the first but it was a change of pace.
Like most Kirby games you can choose to run your way to the end of the level as you absorb enemies and use their abilities or you can cheese things by flying to the top of the level and staying there until you reach the end. It is encouraged to grab some abilities though as they come in handy for the boss fights. Additionally you can mind control up to 3 other characters at a time so that you have some backup going into boss battles. If you die that’s it but these guys can die as many times as needed and you will always be able to revive them. Their attacks do as much damage as yours so they can really be a good help in this game. Ironically the only boss fight I didn’t have them for was in the final level since they all got squashed by a block earlier. Those guys would have been pretty handy.
The graphics are definitely on point as you would expect. This is definitely a Switch game that feels like it’s modern gen. Nintendo doesn’t tend to spare any expense for how good their AAA titles look after all. The game goes all out here and especially in the final level we get some great cosmic backgrounds and even a bit of an energy battle. Meanwhile the soundtrack is definitely on point as well. You should definitely recognize some of the Kirby remixes and of course there are also new tunes to enjoy as well. When you factor all of this in together it makes for a very complete product.
As for the length, as mentioned this game is around 4 hours. You shouldn’t have a problem beating the levels because the game is pretty easy for the most part. I wouldn’t say you’ll see any difficult levels until the final boss which should actually give you a bit of a challenge. Not to much the final, final battle since we go into 3D so that’s more of a cakewalk but the final 2D battle goes all in. There is a good amount of replay value though like the various extra modes you can unlock. Effectively this allows you to play through the game in a lot of different ways to spice things up. There have also been a few free DLC patches since the game came out so this helps with the character roster.
I’m now one step closer to getting all the way through the Kirby series. I still have a few more I have to get but I’m definitely ready for Nintendo to start coming up with some more titles because I am absolutely ready for them. The end of the game has some interesting ideas with a quick villain trio forming their own group as well as their boss. The game feels like it’s just about ready to crossover with LoZ with the final boss’s name even being directly related to Hyrule. I’m always up for crossovers so that would be fun someday.
They were pretty fun villains and I can see why they may get pretty big among Kirby fans. The thunder minion from the main 3 was definitely the best one for me, even surpassing the fire opponent. The sheer speed was quite impressive. As for the main villain himself, his final form has some Undertale vibes there. He was a very interesting opponent and in a way it’s a look at what could happen to the world should Kirby ever turn to the dark side. There definitely wouldn’t be a whole lot that humanity could do at that point and that’s probably what scares them. Kirby is absolutely instrumental to the safety of the universe to the point that there are no other defenses. No Kirby and there is no hope left.
Overall, Kirby Star Allies is a pretty fun game. You’ll be through it in a flash but the platforming is on point and Nintendo definitely has this system down. If you were buying this for 60 you may think that the content is just way too small and that’s fair but now if you can get it for around 30 that’s not too bad. At the very least you’ll enjoy the boss battles and it reminds me of why the free to play game was so fun with all of those endless bosses running around. Experimenting with Kirby’s abilities is always cool and he has so many to choose from that it just works out pretty well. I do hope Kirby keeps up the tradition of every climax suddenly getting super high tier and cosmic, it helps the titles standout and who doesn’t want to save the universe at the end right? It just makes the experience that much more satisfying in the end. We’ll see how the next Kirby game stacks up to this one.
With Prehistorik Man out of the way I am once again caught up on the new SNES games to hit the service. Hopefully Nintendo speeds things up a bit because I want more games to check out. Well, this one’s definitely not as good as you would have expected given the platforming nature of the game. I’ve always considered the platforming genre to be one of the safer ones out there due in part to the fact that as long as you can move and jump the gameplay should continue to work from there. Unfortunately the issue here is that it decides to add some exploration elements to the game which really backfire. You don’t want to do that, trust me.
The basic plot of the game is that the local village is running out of food. Additionally one of the cavewomen has been kidnapped as well. The main character will now have to search the land to save her and while he is on the journey he is also tasked with bringing back a lot of food so that the village can thrive. It’s a big mission but one that he is absolutely ready to conquer. The world definitely does not realize that it is about to witness the birth of an ultimate hero. This guy doesn’t have a lot of personality though. He’s very similar to Crash. The hero is always grinning but he doesn’t actually seem to understand what is going on. It may be for the best since the chief is always insulting him.
On its surface the game has pretty pleasant gameplay and solid levels. You have to jump around until you reach the goal and you can also attack enemies with your club or even with projectiles at times. The levels are quite large so expect to be moving around a lot. Now this is where the game fumbles the ball at the end. In some levels instead of making it to the end you have to find a pair of keys or a firefly. Doing so takes a long time as you navigate the level only to realize they cannot be found. That’s when you do several laps around the place until you finally find the little corner the objective was hiding in. If you ask me the game should not have had the collection element in. It would ultimately just end up being rather tedious the whole time. Then you’ve also got some levels where the design isn’t very good.
For example there’s a fire level where you have to keep moving forward but eventually there is nowhere left to go. Well, the answer was you had to use the club to strike at a specific part of the tree which could be broken. This was definitely something that came out of nowhere and would have been difficult to realize on your own. Additionally there are invisible platforms which don’t appear until you strike at the air itself. Now that just comes across as rather cheesy.
So when you add all of those elements up it definitely had an immediate effect on the game’s quality itself. Instead of being a solid 7 and going on its way the game managed to lose 2 stars just like that. Definitely not a good look for the game in the slightest. It’s just not designed very well and a platformer is so hard to mess up ordinarily that it becomes quite noticeable. It’s not as if the story is especially strong to hold it up either. It’s rather plain but standard for a platformer.
As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game feels a whole lot like the Donkey Kong Country titles. It has a very similar graphical style, sound effects, and even text boxes. I feel like perhaps this was originally being developed as a DK game and then at some point they had to scrap the process but they kept it around just in case as a whole new game. It makes a good amount of sense at the very least even though it was never confirmed. The soundtrack has a similar energy to that as well and works with the stages. On a technical level I definitely have no complaints with the game.
The game’s length is a bit more impressive than a lot of the other SNES games. This should last you close to 3 hours I would expect. Particularly since you should get lost at least once while playing through the game. I wouldn’t say there is any replay value here though. Once you complete the game then that’s basically it. Don’t expect you will be coming back for more. Considering that it’s free with the Switch Online though that’s not too bad.
Overall, Prehistorik Man could have been a lot better than it was. It got too tricky for its own good with how the game was handled. Having to go and find things is just not a very useful way of getting the level objectives across. It slows down the flow of the title and works completely against everything the game was trying to accomplish. If you want to make a platformer then you design solid levels and let the player jump to the end. If you want to do a puzzle game then you can do that but mixing the two is not something I would recommend. Definitely give this one a skip as almost any other platformer surpasses this one.
Next up in the review ranks is a game that throws in some good sci-fi angles at us. Psycho Dream is fairly short but has good gameplay and a solid story. Of course with a game like this it is quite interpretive so to an extent you get to decide what the plot is. If you were to look up the game’s plot online I’m sure you could come away with a definitive answer but purely from the game’s context a girl has been kidnapped and now you need to find her. The main character has a pretty cool suit. He looks kind of like a ninja and with the way he’s running around that may not really be on base. Either way this made for a great setup to start the game.
This rescue won’t be easy though. For starters there are a bunch of giant monsters running around. The whole game plays out like a dream with each world getting weirder than the last. It’s nice because the game is able to go all out with the graphics. The level designs are very creative. You get to visit a whole assortment of places and the bosses all have fun designs as well. You definitely won’t get lost or anything while you run around the levels. It’s all pretty straight forward. As for the gameplay, it’s in 2D. You have various weapons at your disposal such as a blade or even laser blasts. Throughout the levels you are able to change and upgrade your weapons to fit the situation.
This is one game where I would say that it’s not always good to power up though. The best weapon you can get is one where you can use your sword and then your energy blasts nonstop. Unfortunately the middle power ups just have one laser which doesn’t cover nearly the area that the blade can. Most times you are better off just sticking with the blade. It doesn’t deal the most damage and it isn’t the fastest weapon but it’s definitely one that you ca count on to get you some nice wins. It has a good reach for every boss you may end up coming across so I’d say it’s the most consistent weapon.
There’s certainly room for a sequel with how suddenly the game ends. Who knows, maybe there is already a sequel out there somewhere since this game is so old. At the very least from the new SNES games added to the collection this would definitely have to be one of the higher recommendations. You can beat it in around an hour or so and there is no replay value so you really just need to have fun on the opening playthrough and then you’ll be set. I don’t see why you wouldn’t though, all of the fundamentals are intact.
The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but I want to say it was decent. I would have probably given it some more rock tunes or fast paced techno to fit in with the game’s layout. Imagine jumping across the platforms in the final boss fight while you’re getting really intense battle music. I think that would have worked out rather well if you ask me. Definitely a good way to amp up the game but it’s a solid all around title either way. It’s an hour where you should have a blast. The game is reasonably difficult. It’s not as tough as Doomsday Warrior but you still can’t go in expecting to walk all over the game or you will definitely be in for a surprise there.
Overall, Psycho Dream goes all out with making sure this is a very original video game experience. It does a great job of making itself standout among the crowd. There just weren’t a lot of games in this era that looked quite like this one. The only thing I’d say against the game is that I don’t get why the laser is so weak. I feel like all power ups should be stronger than the original weapon. It feels like a trap if you get a power up because then you may be stuck fighting an enemy who is too powerful when it should be the opposite. It’s just a little odd having to recommend you keep your initial weapon but that is the case here.
The SNES certainly had quite a few fighting games back in the day. Doomsday Warrior is one of those titles that you probably won’t remember for very long because it doesn’t do a whole lot to stand out. I’ll give it props for having a real story though so you at least have a little something aside from the actual combat. The game is also a lot more difficult than you would first suspect as well. It’ll take a lot of fundamentals to complete the game. Still, it’s a good game in the end and worth playing through.
You get to choose from several different characters. I picked the one who looked the most like he would be the lead. Then like in a Mega Man game you choose who you will want to fight. After you beat the main 8 enemies that’s where things get interesting. You get to fight a dark version of yourself as well as two cosmic beings. Then you face off with the final boss who suspiciously looks like he may be your father. That leads to a solid epilogue. So the story is rather good. It’s basic of course and there aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes but I don’t expect you would have really been thinking it would be more than that. For its time and given the genre I was pretty satisfied with this. The climax actually felt like a real one you could see in an RPG.
The gameplay is a bit of a weak link for the game though and that’s not good when you’re a fighting game. I would say the main issue is just that it is not very inspired. The attacks are all rather cookie cutter and plain. There isn’t anything that really helps this game stand out. Part of the difficulty is also in the fact that the attacks have a very short range and the computer is always able to jump in and land the right blow at the right time. Short of stopping time and freezing them in each encounter you won’t be able to do a whole lot. Some characters at least have one basic special move though which I appreciate. It at least spices things up a little bit. Maybe making the gameplay a little faster would have helped too. At the end of the day all I can say is that it didn’t click as well as you would expect.
I still enjoyed the style but as it felt weaker that is the main thing that kept this game from getting the solid 7. Additionally I wouldn’t say the replay value is incredibly high. You can beat the game as the rest of the characters I suppose which should be pretty fun in itself but I’m not sure if that would be quite enough to push it into the next tier. Most likely after you complete the game with one character you will be ready to call it a day and move onto the next game.
As for the graphics, those are fairly decent. The illustrations at the end of the game have good art which is nice. In the actual gameplay there isn’t a ton of detail but what we have there looks good. The soundtrack is a little forgettable but it’s not bad. That’s really what describes most of the game. It’s not bad and it is good in the end but it just doesn’t stick out. Only being good when there are so many other fighting games to try out is a pretty dangerous spot to be in. You really need to stick out at this point.
Overall, Doomsday Warrior is a good fighting game, but one that won’t last you a whole lot of time. The character roster is fairly small and there isn’t a whole lot of reason to go back and replay the game more than once. I will say that the characters had fun designs though. One of them reminded me of Chaos Zero from Sonic. These guys all feel rather different which is especially important if the game only has a handful of characters to choose from. If you have the Switch Online service then I would recommend checking this game out. If you don’t have it then I would say that it’s probably time to keep moving. This isn’t the kind of game you would buy a whole service for. I do think there’s a lot of potential here for a remake or a film someday. The core plot seems interesting and any action plot that involves robots, aliens, and monsters has to have potential.
No stats this time!
No stats this time!
It’s always fun when the Nintendo Switch Online adds some more games to the service. It’s at a pretty slow feed at the moment but each new game tells a story. This one is apparently a prequel/sequel (Seems to be debates on this) to Solomon’s Key which is neat. I’m not sure why the name was changed for the American version. Needless to say the gameplay is pretty much the same as the original only this time there is an emphasis on a fire vs ice theme. This was pretty nice to see as those two elements are naturally polar opposites and work well against each other.
The game starts with the kingdom calling you in need of some services. Every capable warrior in the kingdom answers the summons but ultimately they choose a magician in training as their chosen fighter. You will have to use your magic scepter to conjure up ice blocks and vanquish the fire monsters in your path. Doing so will allow you to ascend to the next limit of your abilities. More importantly, it will keep the kingdom safe. That’s the general formula of the game. There are 9-10 worlds which each have 10 levels in them. Clearing them all will result in your clearing the game.
The controls are very simple. You can move from left to right and conjure up ice blocks that are one square down and to the left/right of you. You can also cause them to vanish. Additionally you can push individual ice cubes into the enemies in order to take them down. The goal of each level is to take down all of the fireballs. The initial levels are a walk in the park of course but then the difficulty really expands. I was able to beat all of the levels to the first two worlds with ease but world 3 got tricky. I beat around half of those levels and then settled for beating the first level of the remaining worlds. I didn’t go any farther than that.
The difficulty is certainly real and that means if you decide to play this game to the end you will really have to think each puzzle through. There are no easy answers here. You must have a great amount of determination and fire to get to the end. If you can pull this off then my hat’s definitely off to you. The fact that the controls are so simple is also what makes the game impressive because these puzzles are crafted really well in spite of this. It never feels unfair because you know the full extent of the controls from the start. There are no hidden secrets or anything. You just have to think things through rationally in order to proceed.
Graphically the game holds up well. I was happy to see that we had some real cutscenes here. I don’t believe the original game had anything like that so this was cool. Additionally the hub world is great. You have the tree from the Kirby games and the Power Star from Mario. It made you feel like this game was actually part of some secret crossover. The main villain also has a pretty decent design. Ultimately this game looks a whole lot more like a SNES title than a NES one so major kudos to the developers on this. The soundtrack is more on the bland side though. You may even forget it is there while playing through the game because of how subtle it is. That may be intentional but I’d like for the game to have had a little more pop personally.
It’s hard to say how long the game is since it heavily depends on how well you do at the puzzles. With roughly 100 puzzles in the game I went to say this should take you around 3-4 hors to clear the whole thing. If you do 1 world an hour then I guess it would be 10 which would also be very impressive to be sure. Most NES games can’t even come close to touching that level of time. I’m not always a big fan of puzzle games as I tend to have my qualms with the execution but I have nothing bad to say about this one’s. My only thing is it can be a bit repetitive and without a stronger plot it would be hard to incentivize me to play through the whole thing.
Overall, Fire n Ice is definitely a good game. With the entire game being focused on the puzzles it is possible that you could grow bored at some points through. It’s impassive the way the game was developed and the difficulty is legitimate, however you may find yourself just wanting something more by the end. Keeping yourself to 1 world a batch would probably be the easiest way to get through this. If you already have the Switch Online then this is a good title to add to your collection. You’ll be one step closer to having played all of the games on the collection. Hopefully soon we get either some bigger games (If there are any left) or we finally enter the next console. I think it’s about time Game Boy and Gamecube get to jump in.
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I have to give Nintendo props for finally adding some full free games to their menu. Now, it’s not quite the same as with Sony or Microsoft where they give you a slew of games that stay completely free every month. This one was time limited so it was only free for a week or so but it’s nice to have this. It also adds a level of urgency since you have to try to clear the game in that time. It was awful close but I did manage to clear this game right at the very end of the trial period so I have to admit that I felt pretty clutch at that point. Crash Team Racing is a lot more difficult than you would expect so you definitely don’t want to underestimate it.
The game’s story involves an alien showing up on the planet and deciding that he will destroy everything. He will give the heroes a chance though. they must all compete in a bunch of races and once we have determined who the strongest racer in the world is, then the villain will fight that guy. It’s a fairly basic story that’s just so we can have some context for the races. You can tell that it wasn’t exactly top priority to have a big involved story or anything like that. I do appreciate the game giving us several cutscenes though because it does make the story feel more authentic. Each world has 4-5 races that you have to conquer before fighting the boss of the world.
The gameplay is that of a 3D racer and of course the objective is to get to the finish line first. As you drive through the maps there are items you can grab which will help you in this endeavor. Most of the items you should recognize from Mario Kart like the Paratroopa, Green Shell, etc. They are all slightly altered of course so it’s not literally the same weapons but they have the same effects. The main difference here that makes the game more difficult than your average racer is how the boost system works. In order to attain your boost you have to intentionally drift while on the map. Keep on drifting in order to boost as well as increase your base speed. So for example, if you are just driving straight in a normal way then you will be moving fairly slow. If you keep on drifting over and over as you race then your overall speed will be greatly improved. So the more you master drifting the better.
In fact, winning the game would be 100% impossible based on my experience without drifting. Even with it some races would take me over 20 attempts to conquer. I can only imagine what the game would be like on hard mode. I was impressed with the difficulty setting although at the same time it does feel like the A.I. tends to cheat at times as their cars are naturally faster. I do understand programming a racing game like this is no small feat though as you would have to either have the A.I. be too weak or too strong. I suspect it’s not a super adaptive learning process here as that would be a lot of work for a racing title.
The graphics look very good. It’s definitely a very modern game with all the trimmings. The character designs are on point and the level backdrops are all different and have a striking look to them. We also have a hub world which is a nice idea although it could have been handled a little better. You have to manually drive to each world and there are no real big checkpoints so expect a good amount of driving between worlds. It’s a super small thing to note but one of those times where a fast teleport system would have been a good quality of life upgrade.
As for the soundtrack, that part is fairly forgettable. All of the tunes are super standard to the point where they could pretty much be free domain music in a racing game. Part of this is due to the fact that most racing games do have good soundtracks though so the bar is already high. To be standard for a racing game isn’t a bad thing but I do feel like they could have added an extra tune or two that you could really sink your teeth into. Now that would have been really good.
There’s a good amount of replay value although it could definitely be in an annoying way. There are tons of characters to unlock here. The way to buy them is to use your coins at the pit shop but only a few characters are displayed a day. It’s not like the classic shops where everyone is always there to be purchased. So you may have the coins but it could take a while to get everyone. I am impressed with the scale of content though. It may not be easy to get them but there is so much to buy. I’m not even familiar with half of the Crash characters in this game, they just squeezed everyone in here. Between doing all of that and trying to unlock the secret ending there is a whole lot to keep on doing here. Naturally the online multiplayer is a factor as well.
Ultimately what holds the game back when compared to the other big racing games like Mario Kart and the Sonic ones is that the gameplay being so heavily reliant on the constant boosting can hurt. You don’t want to always have to be turning at every moment and that’s what this mechanic forces you to do. It’s a lot less peaceful than the game could be and between that with all of the items it feels like you aren’t getting to actually “race” for a good chunk of each level. This is still a good game, but I could have done without the boost mechanic.
Overall, it’s clear that a good amount of effort was put into this game. It’s nice that we have a real story and the amount of characters in the game is crazy. The gameplay may not have been my favorite but it’s still a racing title and the kind of game which will be amplified when you play with others. If you’re looking for a good racing game to check out then I would recommend buying Crash. It’s not exactly my top recommendation in the genre though so if you want an even grander title then I would recommend Mario Kart. Of course…I have yet to buy the latest game in that series myself but it’s on the list.