Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled Review


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.

Overall 7/10

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 14h 44m

Contribution Levels

All Hyrule 34%
Central Hyrule 38%
Hebra 37%
Akkala 29%
Eldin 28%
Lanayru 38%
Necluda 34%
Faron 43%
Gerudo 27%

Character Levels

Link 61
Impa 38
Zelda 55
Mipha 37
Daruk 49
Revali 29
Urbosa 27
Hestu 29
Sidon 41
Yunobo 41
Teba 40
Riju 42
Master Kohga 53
King Ghoam 54

Challenges

Level 1-10 All Clear
Level 11-20 All Clear
Level 21-30 8/23 Complete
Level 31-40 6/10 Complete
Level 41-50 0/9 Complete
Level 51-60 0/8 Complete
Divine Beast Challenges 0/7 Complete

Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity Review


Hyrule Warriors was one of the best games I played on the Wii U back in the day. The game had a whole lot of awesome gameplay mechanics at its disposal and the levels were intense. To date I consider it to be one of the best beat em ups I’ve ever played. The whole thing was just so seamless and I do love me a good crossover plot. This one is a very worthy sequel though setting us in the Breath of the Wild continuity. Finally we can have a big story with these characters. The story is a pretty solid length at over 10 hours. It took me around 14.5 although I did a lot of the side missions and bonus content because the game was so fun.

The story picks up right before the actual Calamity started. Link is a chosen knight of Hyrule whose mission is to protect Princess Zelda. He does so magnificently as he saves her from an enemy energy blast. Zelda needs to awaken her abilities foretold by prophecy in order to stop Calamity Ganon from wiping out the world. Her best bet in the meantime is to find the 4 guardians and have them awaken their machines of power. If they use these then the prophecy says they will win but has Ganon already accounted for them? We know that in Breath of the Wild the heroes lose so what can tip the scales here? We have a time travelling robot from the future who shows up in the first level so perhaps he will come in clutch.

There are quite a few twists and turns here as the game goes on so the story is always adapting. It’s a very engaging one and we have a lot of cutscenes here. As always Link proves himself to be an excellent main character. It’s hard not to like the guy because he really does have an incredible amount of skill and is always ready to jump into the fray. With Link by your side you can’t help but feel that everything is going to be all right. He’ll step up to the plate each time we need him to do so. Zelda is also a solid heroine. Her voice will take a little getting used to but as a character she is brave and does what she needs to as Princess. She can also fight on the battlefield alongside the others which I’d say is crucial. You’ve always gotta be able to fight, especially in a ruined world like this one. Otherwise you may just hold the others back.

Her father, the King actually gets a good role here as well. It’s rare to see him step up, but he does and it turns out that the guy can fight really well with a sword. I liked him quite a bit throughout the game. I can see why some may find him to be a bit harsh with Zelda but I don’t think he ever crosses any kind of line and had some good points. Zelda was quite nervous at that point and seemed to be dodging her duty. I wouldn’t say it was intentional and I don’t think he thought so either. He just wanted to get her back on track and the stakes were quite high because if they failed then that would be game over.

As for the villains, we have 3 main ones aside from good ole Calamity Ganon. The first is Master Kogha. He’s definitely trying for a charismatic comic relief kind of role here. He can fight decently well but doesn’t take things seriously a whole lot. He didn’t grow on me but I wouldn’t say he was bad. He may make you crack a smile once in a while but he’s not as funny as you need to be for this style of villain to truly work. Fortunately his sidekick Sooga is great and really holds up the villain side here. He’s a talented fighter who even gives Link a run for his money. The guy is incredibly loyal as well so Kohga is lucky to have him by his side.

The main villain here would be Astor though. It’s almost odd to call him the main villain because it feels like the guy doesn’t appear a whole lot here but he is the central focus. He wants to awaken Ganon and end the world. He doesn’t have much personality beyond that but he’s okay. I’ll definitely take most of the other evil Legend of Zelda mages over him. I did like his ability to conjure up shadow versions of the heroes to fight though. That’s a pretty handy trick especially if they are close to as strong as the real deals. Meanwhile Ganon doesn’t do much but it’s always fun to see the blight versions and the final boss has a pretty great design. I do look forward to having more of a sentient Ganon make his return at some point though. He’s just such an interesting villain when he can talk.

Meanwhile the graphics here are naturally top notch. The energy effects all look really good and you can feel the power behind each attack. It makes you have a blast while you’re running around each level. The cutscenes also look really good. In particular there is one cutscene where Link is in a 4 on 1 battle that is great fun to watch. It’s definitely as intense as it gets. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is also excellent. The soundtrack has a lot of different themes with a good range of action themes to emotional ones as well. In particular there’s one action theme I like a lot which tends to show up when the villains appear. It builds up the suspense quite nicely.

As for the gameplay, it’s sort of like the first game but a bit different. The game adds a new mechanic to the usual beat em up style which is the ability to use 4 skills mid-battle. Stasis, which freezes an opponent; Magnetism, which can manipulate metal; Freeze, which is pretty self explanatory but if you use it on the water it gets to be super effective; and Bombs, which blow stuff up. I really just used the bombs and stasis but both are incredibly useful. Bombs allow you to instantly chip away at an enemy’s stagger meter without having to worry about perfect dodges. Stasis freezes an opponent for a few seconds and you can use it every 10-15 seconds so I recommend spamming that one. It is useful in every different fight so not using it would just be a waste. This new mechanic is quite powerful though to the point where you will be using it incredibly frequently.

The game puts a bigger emphasis on this than your actual final smash which is probably why this is the first warriors game where it can be very hard to replenish your meter at times. I think they’re hoping you use the new mechanic a lot. Well, it’s definitely a fun one so no complaints here. All of the characters have very unique gameplay styles although that is the one area where I would say the game does falter compared to the first one next to the story. While it’s great that the characters have their own unique styles, some feel very difficult to use for battle. Zelda is the biggest character who’s like this. It’s hard to make heads or tails of what her attacks are actually doing in gameplay. Half the time it would be faster for me to just have Link cross the entire field to go and make a last second save rather than letting Zelda or any of the other characters fight in his place. I did like Goruk’s fighting style for example, but Link’s was easily the best.

As mentioned the game’s length is over 10 hours but there’s a lot of replay value that will extend this length. For starters there are over 100 quests to fulfill by gathering ingredients and rupees. Outside of that you will unlock shops where you can level everyone up and upgrade your weapons. These quests even boost all of your characters with more combos and hearts so I highly recommend doing some of these quests. They will help a whole lot when doing the campaign. I did just enough where I was able to go through the main story without dying but I came very close in the final level. If I hadn’t completed 100+ quests I am quite sure I would have died there. Not to mention that completing challenges also helps with increasing your level. There are a wide range of challenges to beat which are separated into categories for every 10 levels. I beat all of them for the first 2 sections and then randomly beat some in the next two. There are still a lot left for if I were to ever go back to these.

Overall, Age of Calamity is a fantastic game. There is a wealth of content here to play through and that’s always good to see. It’s clear that there was a lot of effort put into this game. The story is engaging and the characters are fun. The gameplay is top notch and the same is true of the graphics and soundtrack. When you have a game this balanced there just isn’t anything to bring it down. I do hope they continue making more Nintendo Warrior games because so far they have all been quite excellent. It’s a formula that you can’t go wrong with. If you haven’t bought this game yet then you should definitely change that.

Overall 9/10

Super Mario Bros. 35 Review


It’s time to take a look at Nintendo’s latest Mario adventure. This one is sadly not going to be around for very long though. I still don’t understand why you need to make it so limited but I guess Nintendo loves making people feel the fear with these things. Now you got to play the game right away or it’ll be gone once March hits. It’s a pretty fun take on the whole battle royale thing. I’d say it’s a bit more limited than titles like Tetris 99 but maybe that’s just the way the gameplay seems. Technically there are more level variations than in Tetris so it may just one of those things that is not as it appears. I played it for about an hour though so had some good fun.

So the idea is that you’re playing through the classic Mario levels as usual only there is a timer now. If the timer runs out then that means you lose. In order to get more time you need to take down some enemies, complete the level, or grab an extra power up. Extra power ups get you 15 seconds so I highly recommend using them. Typically spending the 50 coins at the beginning to start with a fire flower pays off instantly so I highly recommend it. It takes a little time to get used to the old control set up with how the gravity acts differently so by using the fire flower you can bypass that to a large extent. Just spam your fireballs and you’ll be okay. It’s easy to string a lot of KOs together that way and it adds a whole lot of tinme.

You also level up as you play more and more games which is fun. You unlock more icons that way. It may not be a big deal but whenever you have unlockables I feel like it makes the game more fun. You feel like going for another round just go get the crispy items. I made it to around level 16-18 before stopping. I’m guessing the levels will slow down pretty soon but it’s definitely a nice little addition to have in the meantime. As for the levels I’m not sure exactly how they’re unlocked. For now I’ll assume it’s level based as well. I got up to 3-1 so far. Either way the levels seem to pop up randomly though so you never know which one will turn up next. It always keeps you guessing.

The highest placing I got was 3rd place. Usually once it’s down to the 3 people left it becomes an endurance match of who can keep going the longest without tripping. If you all have fire flowers then tripping is the most likely way that you would meet your demise. I don’t expect you would lose any other way at that point tbh, but sometimes even the easiest obstacle can appear to be tricky. For example, I’m still not super comfortable with the jumping mechanics so it’s always possible that I’ll just fall into a hole. I’m so used to the modern Mario games that it can be tricky to get into the more retro mindset here.

The graphics are basically grabbed directly from the original game so don’t expect any super bright colors or things like that. This is a very basic game at its core with the multiplayer part making it more competitive. I guess it would probably throw everyone off if the graphics suddenly turned modern and also the point of this is for the 35th anniversary so I imagine that may not have went over very well with a lot of the fans. As for replay value, you can definitely come back to play this game all the time to earn more levels ups. It’s the kind of game that has unlimited replay value for as long as the servers are up. There’ll always be something to do.

Overall, Super Mario Bros.35 will really test your platforming abilities. The enemies are something you really have to watch out for so you don’t die before your time. It’s always fun to jump in for another round though. The end game phase of the levels can take a little while to be sure, but the gameplay is fun so it’s not really a problem. I’d like to see the game expand to more levels and modes eventually but I suppose that probably wouldn’t happen for a bit or if it did then the game would need to extend its deadline from March most likely. I can’t see myself sticking with this one for very long at the moment but it’s definitely the kind of game you could just pick up and play here and there for good results. I hope Nintendo experiments with more games like this.

Overall 6/10

Spellbreak Review


It’s time to look at a new free to play that finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch. It’s effectively Fortnite with magic. Instead of 100 players it seems to be in the 40s per match. Initially I thought maybe there just weren’t enough people logged in but I played 3 battles and it was always around there so I’m thinking that’s just how it was set up. It’s a pretty fun game for sure. In some places you can tell that it’s not super polished with menu layouts and such but the gameplay is on point which is what counts here. You are sure to be in a good spot if you choose this as your next big title. While Fortnite exists I feel like that’ll still be the go to game but this could be a nice change of pace option.

When you enter the game you are thrown into a tutorial on how to learn the moves. It’s not possible to skip this but that’s fine since its fairly short and there are a number of things to take note of here. You have two main attacks, your quick magical spell and your wide range one. Additionally aside from that you’ve also got the ability to fly briefly and can obtain a technique. These techniques range in rarity which determines how often you can use them. I highly recommend using the teleportation technique. It’s incredible handy since you can just vanish a little whiles away and it’s tough for people to catch you. There are a lot of abilities like invisibility, flying, super jump, but teleport is definitely the best if you ask me.

So when the match is first starting you can decide where you want to land. I typically pick somewhere in one of the corners. You are also able to see if anyone else has chosen that spot which is pretty neat. So you can decide to land somewhere where there will be an instant firefight or go somewhere else. Of course people could switch at the last second so that puts you in a tricky spot. You just have to go with your gut and be ready to run and hide or stay and fight. Either way you should be in a pretty decent position if you think about it. Each element has a different set of strengths and weaknesses so choose the one you will be riding with very carefully.

Surprisingly I went with Ice instead of fire this time. Typically I like fire because it makes for a very aggressive style but the summary for ice sounded too good. Effectively you shoot slower but massively powerful strikes at your opponent. If they take a direct hit from an ice move like that then they are going to lose a whole lot of health. It’s far too early for me to say if it really s the best element but at the very least I found it to be highly effective and that’s exactly what I was looking for. You really just can’t go wrong here and that’s what I like to see. Other elements include poison, rock, and thunder.

One worrisome part I would say is that the game’s prices are rather crazy if you plan to spend money here. One of the DLC packs I saw in the Eshop was 120.00 bucks. There’s no way any DLC should be that amount of money right now and you can’t help but feel like it’s a ploy to get people to buy it accidentally. It’s just very slick to me. Spending that much money in one shot would really be something. Hey, if you enjoy the game that much then that’s good but otherwise I just can’t imagine how you would spend so much so quickly. Maybe it’ll go on discount at some point.

The graphics are definitely on point. I would say it looks around early PS3 level which is good for a F2P. The energy effects are good and you can always tell what is going on. The field you’re playing on is quite large so there’s definitely a lot to explore and chests to open. I recommend opening a lot of chests since they help with XP. In this game XP actually effects your abilities to a degree so I highly recommend leveling up when you can. Wins should help with the XP as well although I can’t say that I remember the breakdown.

There’s a solid amount of replay value here of course. That should be no surprise though, free to play games always tend to have a lot of content. It’s how you ultimately stay relevant after all so it’s basically necessary to do this. With the online features and future updates this is one of those games that never really needs to end. It can just keep on going and going for as long as you need it to. I’ll be curious to see what it does to try and stay in the spotlight since it’s brand new and already you don’t see people talking about it all that much. Perhaps it just needs some time for everyone to start finding out about it and getting on board.

Overall, Spellbreak is a pretty fun game. I didn’t play it a whole lot but enough to get the right vibe from it. It’s one of those cases where I doubt you could balance both this one and Fortnite for very long though. That means you will have to make a choice before long. I hope the game does well though because the more battle royale games we have the better. It’s a fun genre and there’s just so much you can do with it. I love the idea of using magic blasts and the other elements to fight through. I did win 2 of my 3 battles also so that definitely feels good. The game is very well balanced and I imagine it’ll continue to add more and more content as it goes on.

Overall 7/10

The Peace Keepers Review


It’s time to look at a very retro beat em up. The Peace Keepers is pretty interesting and I feel like it was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. The combat is very smooth and holds up really well today. While 2D beat em ups tend to have a little less variety than the 3D counterparts (Although this is heavily debatable of course) this one has quite a few moved up your arsenal. It’s old school and yet you feel like you can do a whole lot here which is impressive. It’s a game that will hold you over rather well for an hour as you play through it.

The plot is a little vague from the cutscenes although I’m sure a booklet will have more. That’s not to say there aren’t cutscenes because there are a lot but the story beats happen very quickly. So there’s one villain who’s been going around and making a mess of things. He kidnaps one guy’s brother so that the guy has to work for him. The villain turns the brother into a zombie and then turns a girl into a monster that we are forced to fight. He can’t fight very well on his own but he’s hurting a lot of innocents along the way so the main character needs to put a stop to this.

There are some twists here and it is implied that the main character is actually an android. It would explain why he has the ability to transform and massively upgrade his fighting potential. His Super Saiyan form looks pretty awesome and you actually get to play as it for a full level which was really cool. In that form you don’t take damage and you can fly which is unheard of in this genre. I had a blast and then you’ve got the villain’s son who is also an android with this ability. Now that was a tough boss and it took me about 5 lives. You’re given around 10 lives in the game which is a good amount.

As for the gameplay, you can go for quick hits, jump moves, kicks, or power shots. The power shots are easily the best moves to use of course, but they come with a huge drawback. Every time you use the attack you actually lose some health. It’s something to take note of because if you start to spam them then you could find yourself with low health despite not getting hit once. That’s not a spot you want to put yourself in even if the attacks are good. At the same time, if you go with normal blows but the enemy hits you a lot, then maybe you would have been better off using the power move. At the end of the day the ball is in your court here. After you land the first combo you’re good to go for grabs. You need to position yourself right above the opponent while they get up and then you’ll be able to slam them back down. If you ask me that’s definitely the best way to go about things here.

The graphics are definitely pretty solid as well. The character models are good and there’s a solid amount of detail here as well. The stages all look different and the attack animations are on point. The Super Saiyan mode looks good and so does your final smash. There’s a way to activate it but I couldn’t figure that out. I was able to do it by just button mashing though so do that and you should be good. It’s probably one of those Street Fighter type inputs so I know how to mash in a way that it tends to activate those most of the time.

Overall, The Peace Keepers is just a really fun game. It’s short so you’ll beat it in about an hour but that’s not unheard of for games back in this era. The fact that it’s free with the Switch Online service doesn’t hurt matters either. I’m definitely all here for it. There isn’t really any replay value although there are multiple characters so maybe they all have variations of the story. If that’s the case then I’d say that adds a bit of replay value since I’m sure they’ll all handle things differently. I wonder if they all get Super Saiyan modes or if that’s a main character advantage. Either way I highly recommend checking this game out, it’s one of the more enjoyable games we’ve gotten in the updates.

Overall 7/10