7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asphalt 9: Legends Review


It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I didn’t even know existed until I came across a random Reddit post a while back. I really enjoyed Asphalt on the 3DS to the point where I consider it to be the definitive portable racing game and one of the better ones overall. This one is a big console version and it’s free so it would be interesting to see how it fares. Well, it’s a lot of fun and there’s a ton of content yet it just doesn’t feel quite as good as the 3DS version.

When you jump into the game you have a lot of options on what you would like to do first. The main mode is Career which is where you’ll go through hundreds of levels in order to prove that you are the best. The levels are all bite sized at around a minute or less. Your goal is typically to get 1st place but sometimes you need to pull off a drift or be in the air for a while. By the point where I stopped these missions were all very easy but I’m sure they would get tougher over time. Due to how many levels there are here you could easily be busy for a very, very long time. The longer the better though so that works out quite well.

Then you have the online battles where you race other drivers. The more you win the more you rise up through the different ranks. I managed to get Silver Rank in my first 2 online seasons so I’d count that as a total win. These battles are fun but be prepared to lose quite a bit since your car matters a lot here. As a freemium player I just had the most basic cars imaginable while some of these guys online had sweet rides at their disposal. It’s still a good change of pace from playing the offline modes all the time.

Then there are tons of achievements which you’ll unlock naturally as you play the game. Most of them keep on going as well so lets say one achievement was for winning 10 races, you’ll get another 15. There are a ton of missions like this so you’ll likely be clearing one almost every race. They get you A Points which can be used for Coins or vice versa. Then you use points to upgrade your cars. In order to get new cars you need to unlock blueprints which you get by winning races. There are a ton of cars so you’ll be unlocking them for a long time.

Each car has an individual energy meter so you can only use them a certain amount of times before they have to rest. You can use an item to reset the timer but once you run out of those you’d have to buy them. This is one game where money helps you out a lot. You can buy the best of the best stuff here right off the bat. If you do that they you will have a very tangible benefit over the other players. At least the game is doable without paying though. That’s really the important part for me since I like being able to at least make it to the end without paying a dime. So long as I can do that then everything else will quickly fall into place.

There are a lot of songs here. The game spared no expense in buying actual lyrical songs to listen to during the stages. That was impressive and they fit pretty well with the speed of the races. The graphics also look really good. They’re on par with something you may have spent 60 bucks to play. The Free to Play market is in a really good state at this point since companies are producing rather expensive games like this one and not charging. Yes, it’s because they charge end users for optional things, but at least it’s not mandatory.

If the game has a problem it’s that there is too much to do. More content isn’t bad, but the menus are structured in a way where it is always very overwhelming. I’ve noticed that this does tend to happen to some mobile games. You really need a main menu that you can maneuver through easily and that’s not something that this game has. It may seem rather minor but it gets to be a big deal after a while when you are just trying to find your garage or the next race. It’s all very busy.

As for the gameplay, it’s definitely pretty solid. Asphalt 3D is still better, but this one doesn’t add too many gimmicks. You can boost and you can spin to knock out other racers. Beyond that it is basically a normal racing game and that’s what you would expect from Asphalt. It’s a simple experience next to NFS or Mario Kart, but it excels at this. 9 just doesn’t feel as simple as the rest of the series which may be the price for being free. It’s worth it of course even if I ultimately did not stick with it.

Overall, Asphalt 9 is a very good game. It’s practically endless with how many races there are to do. If you really like racing then I can see you sticking with this game for a very long time. There won’t really be a reason for you to put it down. With no story mode here you’ll be playing purely for the gameplay. I’ve got too many games on the backlog to stay with any one title for too long, but there is a good amount of quality here. Asphalt’s developers didn’t phone this one in and I could see it staying active for a very long time. I would caution you not to spend any money on it until you are sure that you will be playing the game for a long time though.

Overall 7/10

Game Records

Asphalt 9: Legends Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 1h
Career Completion 1%
Flags 29/1513
Blueprints 18/615
Level 2
Coins 91,083
A Points 118
Reputation Level 5
Online Season 1 Rank: Silver
Online Season 2 Rank: Silver

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Stunt Race FX Review


It’s time to look at another classic Nintendo game from the good ole days. This one really got outshined by Mario Kart when it came out, but you can see some potential here. Ultimately there just isn’t a whole lot of content here and it feels like the kind of title you would play for a weekend. I’m a little surprised that Nintendo never revived this series, but I suppose they can’t revive everything right? The important thing is that you can now play this game for free with the Nintendo Switch Online selection which is certainly very convenient.

The main mode to play here is the traditional campaign. Each cup has 4-5 races and the goal is naturally to claim first place. The controls are very straight forward. You accelerate and brake as you try to get to the finish line. While there aren’t quite as many items as in Mario Kart you’ve still got enough to really get the upper hand here. An interesting part of the visuals is that your car actually seems to be alive. Don’t let this unnerve you while you’re trying to win. You don’t really need any tips on winning here since the levels aren’t all that complicated. Just keep your eye on the road and the rest will follow suit.

That being said, the game’s not completely polished. Unlike Mario Kart it can be a little hard to stay in full control of your vehicle. Sometimes you’ll hit the grass even when you think you shouldn’t have. It just isn’t quite in the same league as F Zero or Mario Kart. Still, you’ll gradually get the hang of it. After all even if the gameplay doesn’t seem quite right, it’s not like it changes so after a few levels you just auto-adjust.

I completed all of the standard cups here but after doing so you do have the option to play them all again on a higher difficulty. In terms of length beating the main cups will take you around an hour so if you beat them all on all difficulties I suppose you’ll be here for about 3. You can factor in a little extra time for when you take a loss though. It would be difficult not to lose at all in this game. I didn’t always get first myself, but as long as you have the highest point total at the end of the cup it still counts as your win. That’s the best part about a cup having multiple stages in it. There’s a little less pressure to play lights out the entire time.

In terms of graphics the game is okay. It’s going for a very quirky vibe which ages well, but you’ll still notice that there isn’t a lot of detail in the game. It’s enough to still be passable and you won’t be crashing, but it’s not all that pleasant compared to other titles. Stunt Race is treading a fine line here. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t enough to help it all that much either because it simply isn’t that memorable. I’m glad Nintendo tried out a lot of different racing titles, but at the end of the day you can see why this one never got all that big.

My only question after finishing the game is why they called it Stunt Race. It’s not like that other PS3 game I played where the whole point of the races was to get a lot of style points. The Mario Kart mobile game was more about that so it would have actually made more sense in that context. Maybe it’s the type of cars that are being used or something like that. It doesn’t ultimately matter much, but I was a little curious about it.

Overall, Stunt Race FX is a fun game. The only problem is that it just won’t last you all that long. You’ll play it for about an hour and then you’ll be ready to call it quits. It’s just really not made for long batches and that would be a problem if you had to buy it. Since the game is free it’s still worth checking out. I would definitely be up for an HD remake someday but of course they would need to add in a lot of cool features to make it worth my while. Maybe throw in a story mode of some sort and a few extra levels. Then you’ve got the makings of a fun game on your hands.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Kirby Clash Review


I certainly wasn’t expecting a new Kirby game to drop during the direct but here we are. Super Kirby Clash may not be brand new as it is effectively the 3DS game with some changes but as I had not played that one it is a fresh experience for me and I was quite impressed. The game really nails the fundamentals and it is addicting as all mobile-esque games should be. This one’s a keeper and you could even mistake it for a main line Kirby title.

The basic plot of the game is that a hooded villain is causing chaos across all the lands. Villains from Kirby’s past are appearing multiple times around the world and they mean business. Fortunately, Kirby will be able to team up with alternate versions of himself from across the multiverse. Perhaps there is still a chance to stop the wave of darkness.

The game is effectively a boss rush with some of the usual Kirby mechanics. There are four character roles to choose from which are Doctor, Sword, Hammer, and Mage. Don’t worry about changing your mind because you can switch roles at any time. I would recommend not doing so for a while though because each role has different equipment. If you switch roles then you’ll be stuck with starter equipment unless you go buy some. The problem is that the currency can be a little scarce which I’ll go into more in a minute. I personally recommend the mage the most. His charge attack stops time for an instant each time you use it and once the circle is complete then time will stop for a little while. It’s an incredibly useful ability particularly if you are aiming for platinum ranks. The downside of course is that it’s a little weaker than the others but I think it’s worth the trade off. The Doctor role is my least favorite one because I feel like it’s hard to go on the offensive. Of course I’m always happy to see one on my team though.

I feel like my gameplay paragraph focused more on the roles than how the game actually works, but if you know the other Kirby games then it will all be old hat. You can jump and float and you can use a few different attacks. Some roles have a barrier that they can activate as well. If one of your teammates goes down then you have the ability to revive them. Each boss will give you 2 status updates as you fight them. The first message will say that they’re furious which is how you know that you are halfway through the fight. They become invincible for a moment so this is a good time to charge your attack. Then near the very end of the fight a message will say that the boss is almost defeated. At that point victory is basically assured. The only thing that can possibly stop you then is time. If time runs out on a stage then you are able to revive everyone by spending 3 apples. If you’re close then this is probably worth it. If you’re online then you should wait until the timer is near the end because most likely one of the other guys will use their apples and you can save yours.

The graphics are top rate which is something I have noticed a lot with these free titles. I’m not going to say that they look better than the paid ones, but there is a surprising amount of effort behind them which I think is definitely pretty awesome. You certainly will not be disappointed here. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which may not be quite as expansive as the main games, but is still quite good in its own right. On a technical level the game is as solid as you could hope for it to be.

Now lets talk about the freemium aspect of the game. Naturally Nintendo has to make money somehow and one of those ways is through the apples. When you play the game you get around 15 apples for logging in each day. The apple tree replenishes every 12 hours with 10 new apples. If you may money you can expand that up to 2000 apples every 12 hours for 40 bucks or even more if you pay the top limit. I didn’t spend a dime on the game and still completed it so it’s fairly reasonable as is. 15 apples may not sound like a lot, but there are 900 missions in the game and every time you complete one you get some free apples. Then Nintendo does events to give you apples like the recent Tetris one and some online passwords. You won’t be beating the game quite as quickly without playing, but you’ll get there. It’s a pretty good way to get people to pay money and my motto has always been as long as it isn’t mandatory I’m pretty okay with it. It isn’t as tight a squeeze as other titles.

The main campaign took me quite a few hours so there is a lot of content here. In terms of post game content you can work on finishing up the rest of the 900 missions which definitely won’t be easy. Leveling up is key here as your stats really rocket up once you’re in the final stages. I beat the game at around 40 so I still had a ways to go. Leveling up takes a little longer than you would expect although using the EXP orbs speeds things up a lot. It doubles the EXP you get for each battle which can allow you to even get a full level up after one fight. It costs a lot of apples but long-term I think it’ll save you some time. Of course you always want to buy the current weapons to stay on top of the game. I would typically do it in 2s. (I’d buy the grade 1 weapon, then 3, then 5, etc. If you buy each time they’re available you won’t have enough apples to finish the game. Keep in mind that you unlock levels by using apples as well so you always want to have some on hand. The game has an energy meter so you can’t really play for too long in a row but each level up restores the meter which usually ends up evening things out.

I’d say that the best way to level up is to jump online. Not only do online matches give you 1.2X EXP per match but you can jump into stages above your grade and let your teammates carry you. I don’t think it’s good to go too far above your weight class since having dead weight on the team is a bit selfish, but a few levels over isn’t bad. For example I jumped into a level 47 fight at level 30 multiple times and held my own pretty well. You’re still contributing but the EXP gains are massive. The only downside here is that sometimes there will be some pretty bad lag. Fortunately as you level up and tackle higher levels you typically won’t get as much lag. It seems to mainly be prevalent in the opening levels. It is annoying when you have an EXP orb and you lose valuable time when someone rage quits, but the online could be a lot worse.

There are some quality of life updates I’d like to see like being able to leave a room, but I guess this does prevent people from messing everyone over by leaving. I haven’t really seen another game do this so it’s different. I suppose I should give it a chance so lets not say that this is a “mistake” but something that certainly could be improved a little bit.

Overall, Super Kirby Clash is just a really great game. It’s telling that even after I completed the game I was tempted to keep on going. It’s the kind of title where I can’t imagine why Nintendo didn’t release it on mobile. It would work so perfectly and I could definitely see people doing crossplatform play with the Switch sort of like Fortnite. There’s a lot of potential here and if Nintendo keeps making games like this they’re really going to elevate the free to play market. If you haven’t played this game yet then I recommend changing that. The beginning may be a little tricky since you’ll be so underleveled, but keep on going and soon you’ll be the one carrying the party.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

F Zero Review


The SNES Online continues to be a solid addition to the Switch console. There are just so many solid titles to play here and coming up there are titles that are basically full fledged games. Those are gonna take a little longer to complete but I’ll knock em all out eventually. This time we’re looking at F Zero and it definitely is a fun game while retaining the high difficulty level of GX.

There are 3-4 cups in this game and each one has 5 levels. My goal was naturally to beat each cup once to say that I’ve cleared the game. I believe there are other difficulty levels as well but it’s the same levels so clearing them wasn’t my highest priority. Each level is around 3 minutes so the game isn’t particularly long. You can likely beat all of the tournaments in the span of an hour. There is some replay value in beating your scores and beating all of the cups on all difficulties though. Do that and you really will be an F-Zero champ.

The gameplay is pretty smooth. This is a racing game do of course the goal is to drove your way past the finish line before any of the other racers. The levels have a lot of twists and turns so you will want to master the art of maneuvering to get through. The most difficult part of the game is actually keeping enough health to survive the levels. This is especially true in the later levels since bumping into anything will damage you and that includes other cars. An interesting part of the game here is that there are random cars crossing the track which will try to bump you and other racers do the same thing. The tracks aren’t very wide so it can be difficult to pass someone without hitting them.

There were quite a few times when my car blew up from the damage. I never had a problem passing the computers so this was a clever way to ramp up the damage. I can’t really say that it ever felt unfair so it was just right. The levels are also fast enough where retrying doesn’t seem all that bad. To an extent it is unavoidable to dislike retrying a cup in any racing game since that means replaying multiple levels but that is even more reason to keep them to 2-3 minutes instead of 4+ like in Need For Speed at times.

It’s definitely the kind of game where you can see the results of your practice right away. Learning when to turn and how to turn just right are crucial techniques here. There are two ways to turn as one is to just move the control stick while another is to use the L and R buttons. Both ways have their uses and if you master each then you will be prepared for anything the game throws at you. There is certainly the element of RNG here so it’s not like you will suddenly be perfect, but you can get quite close. At the very least by eliminating these areas for damage you will be in a better position to absorb the random hits.

The soundtrack here definitely holds up quite well. I feel like the SNES is really where Nintendo started to shine with their excellent soundtracks. Many of the tunes in this game would survive to Super Smash bros. The themes are nice and fast for the races. Then you’ve got the graphics which are admittedly less impressive. It’s pretty in line with Star Fox in that there isn’t enough detail to make it hold up with some of the others. Still, you can always keep track of what’s going on which is good.

Overall, F-Zero is a fun title. It’s short and so it won’t last you for very long but considering that it is free with the online that isn’t really a bad deal. I do miss this franchise so I’m hoping that Nintendo announces something for it soon. Just make it a proper sequel to GX with a good plot and I am confident that it will do well. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should change that.

Overall 6/10

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

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