6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Psyvariar Delta Review


Psyvariar Delta is a game I had never heard of until I happened to come across it at Gamestop. The cover art looked interesting enough and I’m always up for a sci-fi game so I quickly hit the trigger on this. The game ended up being a bit lackluster though as it doesn’t really have a story and is incredibly short. It would have been quite amazing as a SNES title, but on the Switch it feels quite a bit dated. The game is an HD remake of sorts so it is an old game, but I think they should have added a few illustrations to work as cutscenes or something like that. Even something minor would have really gone a long way to making this title more impressive.

When you start the game you don’t really have a lot of options. You can play Score Attack or jump into the main arcade mode. In the Arcade Mode you can choose between the two characters, 3 different music themes, and 3 different routes. All 3 routes are basically the same but I believe one is based on the original version, one’s from a remake, and then one is a remix. I couldn’t really tell the differences between the 3 of them so to me it almost felt pointless. Still, at the end of the day a little customization is better than none right? That’s at least what I tried to tell myself to justify the purchase a little more. Choosing between the two characters is also something that barely counts because while the ship looks a little different, the game doesn’t even go as far as to change the character portrait so it looks like you are playing as the same character. That’s not exactly what I had in mind.

As for the gameplay, this is a bullet hell game. What means is you’ll be faced with constant streams of projectiles. The levels are auto moving ones like Galaga where you can move left to right and up/down but you can’t go faster than the actual level. You have a main blaster which you can condense into a more powerful blast or keep as a wide attack. I prefer the condense version, but they both have their uses. You also have a few bombs which you can fire and then detonate. Make sure you press the bomb button a second time to actually blow it up or the bomb just gets wasted. You get unlimited continues in the game which makes the route pretty easy so you don’t really have to worry about playing cautiously. Just get in there and start blasting.

Some of the enemies/bosses have pretty original designs which is always nice to see. The graphics here don’t disappoint as the whole package looks pretty nice. Perhaps not out of this world levels of awesome, but you won’t really be complaining about the presentation. The controls are also smooth so I don’t have any real qualms with the gameplay. I think you should be able to move a little bit faster since it feels impossible to dodge the attacks at times, but I think that just means you had to make a different decision earlier. It would be a nice change, but it’s not exactly a deal breaker.

It’s the length of the game that’s an issue here. You can beat the arcade route in around 15 minutes. I beat the game 5-6 times in one day but there are no real rewards for doing so. It’s the same thing every time and I guess you can just try to improve your score. I played all of the routes just to see if things would change and it never really happened. I know you can’t win them all, but I was still hoping for an extra victory here and there. Maybe a cool cutscene or a big new boss who shows up to mess everyone up. These are the little details that I personally think would have gone a very long way towards making this game more of a real contender in the shooter genre.

As it stands, I can see why the game is only about 15 bucks nowadays. Even that feels like a little too much. I’m effectively docking a star for the length and lack of features here. If the game at least had a basic story to go along with it or something else then maybe we could have something here. 15 minutes just doesn’t really cut it. I don’t regret getting the game since the store was having a buy 2 get 1 free sale anyway and it wasn’t a bad game, but I was certainly expecting more than what I got.

Overall, Psyvariar has an interesting title and a dynamic cover. Whoever did the artwork should definitely get some praise because that person helped me buy this game. If you know what you’re getting yourself into beforehand then you should be okay here, but you really do want to be aware that the game won’t last you more than a few minutes. You should not be paying anywhere near top dollar for this one because it’ll be gone in an instant. At least it allowed me to bump a game off my backlog almost instantly so there’s always a silver lining there. Browsing through the Switch collection at Gamestop there are certainly a lot of interesting games for the system. One day I’ll nab em all.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Star Fox 2 Review


It’s time to look at a pretty obscure Star Fox game. Not a lot of people got to play this game back in the day although that has changed to a degree since the game was included on the SNES classic and now it’s also available through the Switch Online. I can definitely see why Nintendo wanted to bury this game back in the day though. While I applaud Nintendo’s effort to make a new kind of Star Fox game, it really doesn’t hold up nearly as well as the original. The gameplay just isn’t that good and that’s always tough to get past for a video game.

The basic plot is that Andross wants to conquer the star systems once again. Fox and friends don’t want to let this happen, but at the same time it’s going to be really hard to put a stop to this. The team splits up and prepares to defeat the opposing planets while protecting their own. This takes you to the hub world which shows you where everything is at. It’s a bit overwhelming but you’ll get the gist of it after a few minutes. Corneria is your home base and if it gets destroyed then that is an instant game over. Your goal is to stop the missilles heading towards it and taking down all of the enemy bases. Personally I feel like the easiest thing to do is taking out all of the bases right away. The villains won’t have time to blow up Corneria if you do that. That’s what I did and the game is over within 40-50 minutes.

The actual gameplay is a 3D shooter. You fly through the air and try to blast the ships out of the sky. This is the worst part of the gameplay because it’s hard to see anything. Your sensor is oddly not in the middle of your screen so you have to find it and then shoot from there. It’s just not very fun and the gameplay feels like it was slapped together. It’s always hard to tell where you’re at or even just moving in general. Fortunately not all of the levels use this gameplay style but it would have to be one of the worst shooter gameplays I’ve tried.

The other style is your ground missions which ties into the final level. You get to run around as a walker and blast various objects. It actually feels pretty similar to Star Fox Assault which is good since that is still the best Star Fox title. You can also switch back to your Arwing if necessary but I don’t see why you would do that. The walker is way easier to move around in and the blasters take down all of the enemies very quickly. The final boss even goes down quickly like this and the gameplay is a lot more fun. This would be a whole different game if you could just play in the walker the whole time. It’s just really solid.

If I had to describe why the gameplay didn’t work, it’s just a little too unfocused. It can be hard to know what is happening right away and it’s just too hard to turn around. The boss against the long snake is a good example of that as he keeps flying around you and it’s so hard to keep up with him. He barely ever tries to attack you so the boss isn’t hard, just a little on the tedious side. I think the first person view is what tripped the game up, it should have been more of a third person camera view like the original Star Fox. That’s always a safer approach if you ask me.

Team Wolf shows up in this game, but they don’t really serve much purpose except to give you a quick dogfight. The level is okay but surprisingly Leon was way more difficult than Wolf. Wolf went down almost instantly while Leon actually beat me the first time. The difficulty level here isn’t as crazy as some SNES games, but it’s still tough enough where you can’t just breeze through the whole thing. You will have to think through your moves and be very careful about how you approach each level. One loss means game over, but the rewind feature on the SNES should help you avoid that.

Meanwhile the graphics are pretty good. In this area at least I’d say it keeps up pretty well with the original game and maybe even surpasses it. I was glad we got little text cutscenes even if the game didn’t have the most elaborate story in it. At least having a bit of a story is better than none right? The soundtrack is also decent I suppose. Not the most imaginative, but it’s got those classic Star Fox vibes that always work well. As for replay value, I wouldn’t really say there is much. You can try beating the game in a different way but there’s not a whole lot of reason to do so. I suppose if you just like the game enough then that’s not a bad idea. Since the game is free it’s not like you need the game to be quite as long though.

Overall, Star Fox 2 is a fairly weak Star Fox game. I have to say that the franchise has had a pretty tough time over the years. The original Star Fox game was decently good, but then we had this one which wasn’t very good. Star Fox Assault was amazing and Adventures was pretty good but then we had Command and Zero which really could not hold their own on that level. I hope the next Star Fox game we get is more like Assault and brings the series into the elite level. The concept is still so much fun and Fox is always a great character to have around. I don’t really recommend this game, but if you have the Switch Online then you may as well check it out. Otherwise I’d say you should just pick up Assault instead.

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Punch-Out!! Review


The SNES Online finally added some new games so I was definitely ready to go and check them out. Starting out with Super Punch Out felt right since it’s a pretty classic fighting game and I’m always in the mood for some boxing. It’s pretty fun, but the game definitely does feel its age a little more than the others. One of the reasons for this is the attacks all look pretty similar to it’s hard to know how to block them the first time around. You’ll definitely get the hang of it after getting knocked around by the combo a few times though.

There are a few modes here, but I dove straight into the championship option which is the main one. There are 3-4 circuits and each one has 4 rounds. If you win all 4 rounds then you have cleared that circuit and can move on to the next one. Effectively it is like going through the cups in Mario Kart. Each one gets more and more difficult so you have to work on your skills. The first circuit you can probably clear just by spamming the punch option. Once you get to the second circuit all bets are off. You have to bring in your A game if you really want to stand a chance here. Anything less and you’re going to get completely wrecked.

The gameplay is pretty simple. It’s close to being a first person game but you do see your character so I guess it might be 2nd person camera view. You have to throw punches to knock the opponent to the ground. If they stay down for 10 seconds you win or you could also win by completely knocking them out. Try as I might I could never get a real knockout. There’s probably some kind of trick to it where you need to use a specific move or something. You can shift to the left or right to dodge attacks or dodge by crouching backwards. You can throw a normal gut punch or an uppercut. Those were the only two punches that I could find at least.

Punching is all well and good, but the opponent will block a lot of hits. Typically the best way to hit him is to either hit right before he lands his blow which will deal a lot of damage or blocking his strike and quickly countering with your own. Both of these strategies require a good amount of reaction speed as well as confidence in your punch. Otherwise if you just spam punching, the timer may run out. That actually happened to me in one match. I think it’s a little iffy since I definitely had the lead in terms of health, but it counts as a loss either way. I’m guessing my opponent has the home field advantage here because that’s just not right. So that’s why you want to be careful and pick openings so the damage will build up faster. Also when the opponent hits you he will steal some of your health at times and add it to his so you do not want to get hit.

I think the toughest attack pattern I was was this one guy who would use a two hit combo and he would do it a few times in a row. It looks like you can dodge to the side, but that doesn’t work nor does hiding in the back. What’s the way around this? Well, you have to not move and that’ll automatically block the first strike, then dodge to the side. Rinse and repeat in order to get out of this fight without a scratch. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of this is just trial and error. Keep on attacking each boss and you’ll figure out how to dodge each attack without a problem.

As for the graphics, they look good. I like how expressive every enemy is. When you attack them you can definitely feel it. Additionally the colors are just good. The game may not look amazing next to something like Super Mario World, but I can definitely see the effort here. The soundtrack is less impressive though and I can’t say that I really noticed it all that much. Maybe all the punching sound effects just made it too difficult to hear.

In terms of replay value there isn’t much here. Once you beat all of the circuits then you are really out of things to do. It should take you around 2 hours or so to clear the 4 circuits but then that’s about it. The game is free with the Nintendo Online so it’s not a bad deal all things considered. You’re paying for the experience and the gameplay is sound so you can’t go wrong there. I also like how each of the characters has a little intro dialogue and everyone ends up talking pretty tough before their matches. The little animations before their super attacks are also handled really well. It can be hard to react to them because of how elaborate the animations are, but that makes it all the more impressive.

Overall, Super Punch-Out is a good game. I don’t think it’s the kind of game I would play for very long myself, but the idea is pretty sound. It does remind m that I need to get the Punch Out game for the Wii soon. I’ve seen it in Gamestop several times, but it just never made the cut. One of these days it will though and it’ll be fun to see how the series has changed and evolved over time. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should check it out. If you enjoy boxing then you’ll like this game.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Soccer Review


We’re getting closer and closer to knocking out all of the SNES games. Only 5 remain which include an RPG, a LOZ title, and 2 side scrollers. It’s been a good run, but this tells me that Nintendo needs to hurry up and start adding more games to the lineup. I don’t want to have to go back to the NES games just yet, but I will if necessary. That one still has a whole bunch that I haven’t checked out to be honest. This Soccer title isn’t all that good. Of course the controls were limited for its time, but even so it just doesn’t age too well and you won’t be playing it for very long.

The film throws you onto the soccer field and the camera angle is from above so think of it like playing Foosball from the old arcades. Instead of flipping the pieces you still do run for the ball, but everyone moves like one unit. When you’re on defense you are controlling all of the players on screen at the same time which is definitely pretty interesting. It means that there is a lot of team unity here, but at the same time it also means that it can be difficult to cover multiple people. Defense was pretty challenging here and I lost my first game 6-1. It’s definitely not like the other Soccer games where I barely even allow 1 goal.

Then we’ve got offense gameplay. On this side of the ball it really feels like you can’t do anything. You can move, shoot, and pass and that’s it. Without a way to accelerate the other players would always trip me up from behind. I’d try to pass it away, but they steal the ball in midair. The defensive players really were not playing around at all and just kept getting in the way over and over again. They were all like perfect players. I appreciate the A.I. being pretty sound but it was getting out of hand. I don’t even begin to guess what the answer to this would be. How do you get around such gameplay? The gameplay doesn’t even seem that bad, it’s just not all that balanced.

I scored a total of one goal across two games. After this I figured I should at least try the Penalty Shootout mode. I played that one twice, but still couldn’t score once while they made all of their shots. Super Soccer is definitely not for casual soccer players. I definitely see that now as I was completely crushed in the end. The computers just aren’t playing around here.

As for the graphics, they look pretty good. It’s not going to be something to write home about but at least you can always tell what is happening. There isn’t really a soundtrack, but that should come as no surprise. In terms of replay value there isn’t a whole lot to do in the game after you play a few rounds. The same can be said for most sport games, but especially one as old as this. There are just better soccer games to play whether you like the realistic FIFA titles or want something more like Ubisoft soccer. Either way this one wouldn’t make the cut.

Overall, Super Soccer is not a game that you will remember very well. It’ll get lost to the ages of time, but it’s still nice to have been able to play it at least once. If you’ve got the Switch online then you should check it out. It really can’t hurt to play it for a while since the game is free right? That being said, you’ll quickly move on to the next title as I have. This was the last SNES sport title I hadn’t played so next time it’s back to more of the side scrolling type!

Overall 5/10

Game Records

Pokemon Sword Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 25h 53m

Pokedex: Pokemon Caught/Seen 156/279

Pokemon Stats

Togetic Level 71
Cinderace Level 75
Beartic Level 70
Machoke Level 70
Abomasnow Level 68
Zacian Level 73
Roselia Level 16
Wingull Level 8
Wooloo Level 8
Skwovet Level 10
Magikarp Level 10
Yamper Level 10
Nickit Level 11
Oddish Level 15
Bunnelby Level 10
Pancham Level 12
Rookidee Level 13
Chewtle Level 13
Meowth Level 13
Stufful Level 17
Snorunt Level 10
Purrloin Level 15
Tympole Level 12
Barboach Level 17
Munna Level 15
Seedot Level 15
Mudbray Level 13
Gloom Level 60
Pidove Level 10
Vanillite Level 8
Blipbug Level 4
Delibird Level 13
Hoothoot Level 15
Snover Level 15
Nuzleaf Level 15
Sizzlipede Level 25
Litwick Level 25
Maractus Level 30
Xatu Level 34
Wobbuffet Level 31
Pumpkaboo Level 29
Boldore Level 33
Vulpix Level 26
Swirlix Level 36
Impidimp Level 36
rufflet Level 40
Cubchoo Level 47
Unfezant Level 49
Snom Level 45
Mr Mime Level 48
Butterfree Level 47
Gurdurr Level 41
Indeedee Level 37
Kingler Level 50
Zigzagoon Level 7
Arrokude Level 40
Drednaw Level 50
Barraskewda Level 40
Bewear Level 34
Claydoll Level 36
Crustle Level 34
Baltoy Level 7
Tyrogue Level 7
Onix Level 26
Woobat Level 28
Haunter Level 34
Drifloon Level 26
Dusclops Level 40
Pangoro Level 34
Budew Level 8
Goldeen Level 12
Mudsdale Level 31
Garbodor Level 36
Liepard Level 28
Frillish Level 42
Gyrados Level 56
Stunky Level 15
Glalie Level 46
Bronzor Level 38
Klink Level 26
Shellder Level 40
Pelliper Level 46
Grapploct Level 56
Jellicent Level 46
Axew Level 39
Corviknight Level 60
Eternatus Level 62
Charmander Level 5
Diggersby Level 60
Orbeetle Level 65
Vileplume Level 60
Wooper Level 60
Krabby Level 60
Quagsire Level 60
Seaking Level 60
Cramorant Level 65
Haxorus Level 60
Lucario Level 60
Whiscash Level 60
Lapras Level 60
Thievul Level 65
Galvantula Level 60
Remoraid Level 60
Duraludon Level 65
Rhydon Level 60
Bisharp Level 60
Cutiefly Level 60
Clefairy Level 60
Sigilyph Level 60
Espurr Level 60
Corvisquire Level 60
Conkeldurr Level 60
Basculin Level 60
Wailmer Level 60
Eldegoss Level 65
Qwilfish Level 60
Gallade Level 60
Gossifleur Level 10
Rolycoly Level 13
Trubbish Level 13
Timburr Level 12
Carkol Level 12
Diglett Level 12
Milcery Level 14
Electrike Level 14
Pikachu Level 14
Joltik Level 15
Wimpod Level 23
Shellos Level 22
Scraggy Level 21
Toxel Level 1
Farfetch’d Level 19
Dottler Level 16
Candyfloss Level 23
Noibat Level 24
Shuckle Level 22
Stunfisk Level 25
Gastrodon Level 50
Binacle Level 22
Sudowoodo Level 24
Koffing Level 25
Hatenna Level 22
Pawniard Level 21
Noctowl Level 26

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Sword Review


It’s time to take a look at the latest Pokemon main game. We’ve been waiting for a true Pokemon home console game for many, many years. It’s finally here and that alone is a great milestone. It’s definitely a lot of fun and a great game. Pokemon’s always just a blast. Game Freak did their best to sabotage the hype with their surprising lack of effort here though. I’ll go more into that later on, but cashed in or not, it’s just great to finally be able to play a Pokemon game on the big screen.

The game starts you off with getting your first Pokemon as always. Your rival is a kid named Hop who is the younger brother of the undefeated champion Leon. Naturally there is a lot of pressure on him as a result, but he is eager to make a name for himself. The two of you decide to conquer all of the gyms in the hopes of entering the Pokemon league and becoming the new champion. It’ll be tough, but the kids are ready to give this their all and won’t give up.

The gameplay is top notch as always. One of the reasons why Pokemon pulls off the gameplay so well is how fast everything loads. It’s something that the series had trouble with with XD and Colosseum as everything took a while to load but this one gives you the option to turn off animations. Once you do then the game is on full speed. It’s always a lot of fun to switch up your roster and figure out which attacks are best. A quality of life update here is that you can see how much damage and how much accuracy an attack has right away. It takes the guesswork out of the match. The hub world is solid and all of the mechanics are explained well. You won’t have to worry about missing out on something and this is why the game series still can’t be beat here.

One of the most enjoyable parts of the Pokemon games are the opening hours. That’s where you get to catch your first few Pokemon and slowly begin building up the team that you will be sticking with. It’s unlikely that you will keep the first 6 that you catch but eventually you’ll have a pretty solid roster. Typically you’ll be ahead of the wild Pokemon curve although there were a few I bumped into who were stronger than members of my party so I would ultimately make room for them.

This was probably my least balanced roster from all the games at least from a competitive standpoint. I had my fire starter, 3-4 birds and 2 ice types. Basically if I fought a thunder type things would get a little tricky. Still, these 6 were a blast and they all got their moments to shine. Scorbunny handled most of the foes and matches up well with Hop’s team. I don’t know if this was intentional but all 6 of Hop’s fighters are weak against Scorbunny’s attacks. Togetic came in clutch during one of the final battles as well though. Every game will typically have you running a different squad so it’s always nice to see how they changed. One day I should dig up my older games and compare my top 6 of each one.

The levels here definitely look really good. Everything is bright and vibrant. While the graphics are in the same style as the 3DS games, you can definitely see the improvements. This may not quite be Odyssey, but I’d give the animations a thumbs up. Everything is clear as it should be and it all looks high quality. The game makes the tournament feel grand and likewise for the big battles with the loud audience in the background and through the solid tunes. Naturally you’ve got the soundtrack which is really good. It’s a little too bad that they added chanting to the best theme in the game, but Youtube still has the pre-release version in case you ever need to give it a listen. Even without that this game’s soundtrack is great. Pokemon never disappoints with that.

Then we’ve got the characters. Hop is one of the weaker rivals since he doesn’t have the edge that the older ones have got. He beats Hau, but I couldn’t really give him much more credit than that. That being said, he gets a lot of character development and has improved considerably by the end of the game. His Pokemon roster is also pretty solid, I can’t think of another rival having a team with Level 70 Pokemon at the ready from previous titles. Hop may lose most of the battles he is in, but he always does manage to get back up.

Hop isn’t the only rival this time though as we’ve also got Bede. He’s more of a traditional rival who is very confident in his abilities. He’s the best rival of the 3 I’d say even if his character arc doesn’t have the greatest end. He does have a good fight in the post game story though which does help him restore part of his rep. It was just nice to have a more ruthless character to deal with. The third and final rival was Marnie. She gets the smallest role out of the 3 though and surprisingly misses out on the whole post game content. She has some pretty good abilities like the other two and had the potential to be the best rival if she had gotten more screen time. Maybe Marnie will get more appearances in the future or through DLC because it does feel like there is a lot more left to her story.

Then we’ve got the professor in training for the region Sonia. Sonia’s a good character, but like most professors she is just here to slow down the story. The story is a weak point of the game which I will get to in a moment. This is mainly due to Sonia as every time she stops the game to talk about the legends you wait for her to go so you can go back to catching Pokemon. Catching the Pokemon is still the most enjoyable part of the game along with fighting trainers after all and the lore is fairly generic so it never feels like something you’ve just got to know.

We can’t forget about Leon. He’s definitely a solid champion and does a good job of making a name for himself amidst a stacked roster. Naturally he won’t be overcoming Steven, Lance, Blue, Cynthia, or Iris anytime soon, but he’s probably the next best as he is an upgrade over Wallace, Alder, and Diantha. The fact that he is undefeated is also crazy because not losing a single fight is really unheard of. He also isn’t afraid to keep reminding that fact to everyone and the way he just casually tells the main character that he will be crushed is great. You can’t go wrong with having a Charizard either. He doesn’t have the air of mystery or thrill that the top champs have, but he does have the skills.

Finally we’ve also got the two villains from the post game story. I won’t say much about them here, but they do have the best cutscene in the game. It was a great way to introduce a threat to the game even if it came at the very end. When you see their designs you probably won’t be able to take them too seriously but it can’t be denied that their skills are the real deal. As they are post game bosses their Pokemon stats are through the roof. They’re actually incredibly powerful and it was pretty unexpected which is why it worked out so well.

Lets talk about the story now. That is the main weak point of the game as it is by far the worst story in all of Pokemon. There’s never been a main game with a worse story and naturally most of the spinoffs win as well. There isn’t an actual villain group this time. Team Rocket may not be the most serious group at times, but at least they do raise the stakes a bit. This group is only about cheering on their leader and aren’t actually criminals. Most of the game doesn’t truly have a plot beyond the whole “Get all the Gym badges” arc. It seems like the game traded having a real plot for giving Hop a big character arc. Most of the game’s plot happens off screen with the characters checking things out as you fight.

This may be for the best in a sense since the plot that we did have wasn’t all that interesting. Whenever the characters would look at another mural I felt like the game was repeating itself. So those parts are good to keep off screen. I think we should have had some real villains though. Even the villains we did get didn’t feel too genuine as they changed quite a lot immediately after fighting them. I also have to say that the plan didn’t make any sense even as far as villain plans go. The villain plot is so short that the game stalls by having you fight the same guy 4-5 times in a row. That really felt like the game was pushing it.

The story is at its best when you are fighting one of the 3 rivals. There may not be any stakes but at least they have some attitude on them. You are also defending Hop’s honor in some of these fights so that also makes it a little personal at least. Terry (The main character) definitely isn’t the type to back down. It’s interesting that they give you some options on what he says at times. We know that he is talking, but of course his personality will be way different depending on how you answer.

Now the big topic, how Game Freak did their best to sabotage this game. First off, it’s Pokemon so no matter what this was always going to sell amazingly well. The game is smashing records left and right. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get everything here as this could have been what Ultimate was to Super Smash. Lets quickly look at what Game Freak took away and discuss which ones were important. Game Freak cut out around 400 Pokemon, They cut off a large chunk of moves so there is less variety now, fewer attack animations, the over world map is one of the smaller ones in recent memory, there’s a very short post game selection, caves are basically extinct, and EXP share is on by default and can’t be turned off.

For the EXP share part, I understand why people are upset by that one even though it doesn’t affect me. Pretty much all RPGs have this feature on by default and with no option to turn off. Pokemon was unique in not having it and I’m extremely glad that it’s here. It’s way more of a hassle to train everyone up one by one even if it does make the game more strategic. That being said, there should always be an option to toggle this on and off considering how easy it would be. The attack animations being limited is a non factor to me. I turn those off almost immediately when booting up the game anyway. They make each battle take way too long. Likewise there are already a ton of attack moves in the game so I don’t need the extra ones.

The post game being so short is a little iffy. The main story part only takes around 2 hours and that’s pretty much it for the story section. After that you can tackle the Battle Tower and catch all of the Pokemon. Make no mistake, this will take a very long time, but it’d be nice if there was a bit more to do. The normal game takes around 20 hours and the post game is 2 so all in all 22 hours is a great length for any title. There’s not a lot of complaints from me on the length. Sure, it can be longer but you can say the same for any game. The map being super small is pretty noticeable though. I remember having caves with multiple floors and having fun driving around the world map. This game’s map just feels tiny with less areas to check out. Part of that could be just being younger when the other games came out and minus the caves the layouts could be similar. This one does feel a lot smaller though and that’s even with the bike moving way slower than it used to.

The absolute biggest mistake here was definitely getting rid of 400 Pokemon though. This is not something that should have happened. The developers proudly stated not too long ago that they future proofed all of the models so it would be easy to keep on porting them each time. They tried some damage control in recent interviews about how they re-did all the models, but Reddit quickly disproved that. The developers have been spinning a lot of yarns lately but the long and short of it is that they didn’t want to do the extra work. Perhaps there was a time crunch, but they should have been up front about it. It’s also odd that no other part of the game got big improvements as a result. With the time saved from copy and pasting 400 Pokemon you’d expect some new features, but there are none. Part of their explanation was that this way they could bring a fresh experience to the users, but that didn’t happen.

Pokemon Sword is effectively a portable game brought to the Switch. You could play this on the 3DS and aside from the improved graphics you wouldn’t notice anything different. If anything it has less features and content than some of the portables. I believe Pokemon Sun has virtually the same amount of Pokemon as Sword if not more and that was a portable game. This one definitely feels like it was rushed in some areas. Another hint to this is how broken the raid battle system is. It’s very hard to find anyone to join you in a fight which is crazy considering how new the game is and how many people are playing. There’s no way there aren’t 3 other players online at the same time. This seems to be a tech issue with the stamp system the game is using.

All right, lets wrap things up here. The main issue really boils down to the fact that Game Freak owns the Pokemon license and it seems like Nintendo can’t really do anything about it. As a result they don’t actually have to do all that much each time because the franchise is already legendary. In a sense they are like EA in that they give the game a fresh coat of paint and bring it back out to market. As this is the first home console release and there was some whispering during the initial announcement that it was originally planned for 3DS we can cut the company a tine bit of slack. A great game is a great game even if it was given a far lower amount of effort than such a big IP deserved. I just want a proper Pokemon game that has all of the Pokemon available in it though. A true Pokemon Master title where all of the Pokemon are available and we get a solid story and gym battles. That would be awesome.

One thing I’d like to see from the next big Pokemon game is some voice acting though. That’s something that basically all big RPG titles have nowadays. It was also weird to have a Gym Leader whose whole thing is that he’s a singer yet you can’t hear him. You have cutscenes of him silently singing. Voice acting would be a big change to the series, but I think that it’s absolutely worth it. It’s just the kind of thing that will really take the title to the next level.

You’ll definitely appreciate the difficulty level in this game though. While I did not drop a single fight, the computers were always at a very close level. If not for doing a lot of grinding in between gyms then definitely could have taken the edge at some point. This is one game where you will need to do some extra battles as you go through the story or you will end up tasting the sting of defeat. It may be the most difficult Pokemon game if anything as I can’t recall any others where the enemy trainers were always so close in level.

I almost forgot to talk about the game’s new gimmick, Dynamaxing. There’s also Gigantomaxing but it’s basically the same thing. The idea is that it turns your Pokemon huge and then you get to use big attacks. It’s a fun enough gimmick although it’d be nice if you could turn the animations for these off as well. It’s definitely not as good as Mega evolutions which are still the best, but I’ll take it over the Z moves. The best Dynamax Pokemon are the ones who actually get a new design like Charizard. The form just looks cool as a result and feels like a proper super form.

This game definitely gave me some good ideas for future editorials that are Pokemon related. Best champions, rivals, etc. In the meantime though here’s a list of the Pokemon main games from best to worse. I won’t be able to count the Pokemon Johto games or Black/White because those are the only 2 I have yet to play. Pokemon Ruby is definitely still my favorite with that game being perfect in every way. Second is Pokemon Fire Red, just a great game that takes you back to the basics. It was a nostalgia title done right. Third would be Pokemon Y which did a good job of bringing together a modern Pokemon game that took bits and pieces from all the others. Fourth is Pokemon Diamond. It didn’t really do anything unique, but it was just fundamentally sound. Fifth place is Pokemon Sword. A great all around game introducing the series to new audiences. Finally at 6th is Pokemon Sun. Still a great game but I did miss the classic Gym setting and the island angle didn’t really do the trick for me. Although that one did end up with the higher score due to the impressive story. In terms of pure gameplay and aesthetic it couldn’t catch Sword though.

Overall, Pokemon Sword is a great game. After waiting for 20+ years it’s superb to finally be able to play this game on the big screen. Pokemon is perfect for on the go, but it’s also perfect for the couch experience. It’s still the king of the turn based combat formula and by putting it on a big console hopefully people who’ve never had a chance to try it out before can also get in on the action. If you don’t have this game yet then you’ve definitely gotta shell out the cash and pick it up. You don’t want to miss out on the latest installment in the series. It’ll likely be quite a few years until the next one so you’ll want to enjoy it now.

Overall 8/10

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