30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review

It’s time to look at the latest installment in the 30 Great Games series. The franchise has definitely not been known for its high quality standards or anything like that but when I see it in stores I can’t help but give it a shot. Party games are just nice to give a look at even if you know they won’t be very good. This game clearly had some effort put into it but being on the Wii didn’t help matters. The motion controls are just terrible heavily hold the title back. Even the games with the best of ideas ultimately aren’t able to do anything to save themselves.

When you get into the game you can see right away that there aren’t a lot of options. I’ll just defend the game here as in a party game you really only need two options, a main party mode and a minigame mode with friends. This title has both of those so it doesn’t technically need any more than that. So long as the games are fun then this isn’t a problem. There are 5 worlds and each one has 6 games. The idea is to clear them all and you will have played 30 “great” games. That’s not a bad approach right? Well, the game fumbles the ball on the execution a bit. How it should work is you just beat all of the worlds one at a time. Instead the game has you replay them.

When you first enter a world it only has 5 games. You have to complete the world once and then complete it a second time to play the 6th game. When you beat the first 3 worlds twice then you unlock the next world and the games that accompany it. This is an awful lot of replaying for a game like this though. You really just want to go through the worlds once. It’s better than in another Wii party game I played though where they had a bunch of different worlds but they kept re-using the minigames to pad out the length. This is still better than that.

The game has a winter theme so naturally all of the games follow that path as well. They can be pretty similar but I’ll quickly mention some of the games that weren’t that bad. One that I enjoyed was trying to climb down a mountain. The idea is you let go of the rope and free fall for a few seconds but then you have to grab again or you’ll plummet to your doom and waste a lot of time. If you land on ice that will also waste some time. Then you’re got a minigame where you have to try and sink your claws into the mountain as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s pretty fun to see how close you can get. We even get a Bomberman type game where you have to drill through and blow up some blocks as you try to get treasure. While I like the idea, I don’t like the fact that this game is 100% RNG. You never know if you’ll get treasure or a bear.

The worst games are easily the ones that have you racing. Whether you’re snowboarding down the trails or using skiis, these games just aren’t fun. They suffer the most from the motion controls. You’ll find yourself bumping into the edges quite a lot and the computers will just leave you in the dust. It’s no coincidence that the best games in the collection used minimal motion controls. I can’t stress enough that this could have actually been a pretty good game if it had been for a different console. Imagine it on the Gamecube with a solid set of controls. It actually might have been pretty fun because I did appreciate the creativity behind some of the games.

The graphics for the game aren’t honestly all that terrible. This looks like a reasonable party game if you just take a look at the graphics. The levels and minigames all appear very clear and the character models are good as well. I had no complaints in this area. The soundtrack on the other hand is basically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single theme in the game. They’re all very forgettable so hopefully you are too engaged in the activities to notice this too much.

In terms of replay value it will completely depend on how much you like the actual minigames. There are literally no other options for things to do outside of that. You just play the minigames and try your best to see why this game had potential. If the game were to explain its minigames better the first time around and didn’t use motion controls then this could be a very different review. Part of the problem that I didn’t go into earlier is aside from the minigames having terrible controls, the rules aren’t explained very well either. Usually you won’t win a minigame the first time around because you just aren’t really sure of how to play it.

As a little aside, the game did have a fun start though. Nobody could cross the goal in time so we timed out. Keep in mind that I was playing by myself so the other 3 players were A.I. and they couldn’t win either. I think that speaks to the overall game design because there’s no way that should ever happen. After that first level the A.I. went back to normal and started clobbering me though so it was a one time thing. I thought it was pretty funny though.

Overall, This is one title you should avoid. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game in the series which is kind of sad in itself, but it’s just not a good game. Even though the going price is only around 2-5 dollars there is no reason to buy this game. There are far better titles to be obtained in the same genre or even in any other genre. You’d need to be really desperate to pull the trigger on this one and if you do just be prepared for those motion controls. Some of the games have good ideas at least. I think if you play this with a few friends with the intent to have fun it can certainly happen. Since this is a party game maybe it still ends up succeeding in its objective even if in an ironic way.

Overall 4/10

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

Epic Mickey was definitely not my favorite platformer game. I thought that the story was very uninspired and the levels certainly didn’t have a very good design to them. There just wasn’t too much to it but I figured that a sequel would help with all of that. Unfortunately I can’t say that this was the case as this game is still rather glitchy and has poor motion controls to back it up. It’s not a bad game but certainly not the most enjoyable one out there.

The story starts with Mickey returning to Oswald’s world because something isn’t right. The Phantom Blot may have been destroyed but citizens of the kingdom are now being kidnapped. Moreover, someone has destroyed all of the warp gates in town so they are no longer accessible. If they don’t find the villain soon, then the whole world is at stake.

Thing is, you never really feel that sense of urgency while playing the game. The heroes barely seem to care about what is happening so why should we? Even the citizens feel no sense of loyalty as one turns evil for no reason and the rest flock to be Mad Doctor since he has promised to help out from now on. The town just isn’t very smart and this makes it a little difficult to really want to save them.

That brings me to the fact that this game’s cast of characters certainly isn’t great. Mickey is probably the most reasonable member of the group here as he does at least show some passion and nearly gets into a fight when one of the splatters looks at him the wrong way. Mickey wasn’t playing around in this game and also made the heroic call to not put the hostages at risk.

Then we have Oswald…I’m not sure how heroic I can say this guy is. For starters he is one of the characters who believes that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf. I can’t fault him for being optimistic and that is a heroic quality but it’s annoying because we then have to hear the villain sing constantly. What hurts him more is that Oswald quickly gets jealous when the townspeople start liking the Mad Doctor. He also encourages Mickey to finish the villain off at the end even at the expense of his friends/hostages. Granted, the hostages are robots but that’s an ethical debate that Oswald probably loses since they seem sentient and Mickey did want to save them. Oswald’s just not a very heroic guy at the end of the day.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer where you run and jump to the goal. Typically you have to fulfill some kind of objective before making it to the end like destroying a machine or something of that nature. You have a paint brush which gives you access to two abilities, shooting normal paint and also shooting acid which really trips opponents up. It’s a handy ability to have but one that you will wish was not in the game since the motion controls make it a disaster. In general this is a perfect example of why I’m not really a fan of the motion era. It’s all just so rigid and not very intuitive. When you’re trying to aim at someone the brush will go crazy and you have to recalibrate your Wii sensor again.

The objectives aren’t always straight forward either as you will wonder what needs to be done while you are going around blasting everything. The objectives on the map aren’t helpful either because it will show you the locations of the bonus missions but not for the main one. As a result expect to take a little longer than expected to beat the game.

The game did do a pretty good job with the boss fights at least. The final boss is pretty theatrical and uses gameplay elements from the final Sonic DX boss (In Sonic mode) like the floor giving way and even mixing in a bit of Mario there as the floor becomes lava. These fights did take a little time to figure out how to fight the opponent but the Mystery wasn’t confusing and the characters would shout-out some clues which were actually helpful for a change.

You also have to give the game credit for throwing in quite a lot of bonus content in the game. It’s story isnalreadybreasonably long at about 6 hours and with the bonus content you’ll probably be here for another 4-6. I can’t say that it is something even remotely tempting to me to be honest but it’s always a good option to have regardless as it prevents your game from being known as barebones.

The graphics are reasonably good. The final big cutscene actually looks really good so I’m thinking that they spent the vast majority of their budget on this rather than on the whole game. I can understand the case for this since gameplay isn’t quite as important visually but getting it all to look smooth is important. The actual gameplay doesn’t even look as good as some N64 games. Forget the soundtrack as well since there really isn’t much there.

There is a cliffhanger at the end which is either resolved in the extra content at the end of in a third game which will likely never come out. Ideally it’s the former I suppose. So the game did a lot of things wrong, but as I mentioned it at least had some positives to back it up as well like the boss fights. While the gameplay certainly wasn’t polished and made you feel like it was the true enemy at times, I do still generally like platformers like this one.

Overall, Epic Mickey 2 is not exactly game of the year material but it does try hard to be the big success that we all knew it could be. It just doesn’t pick up until the final boss of the game and was ultimately a missed opportunity. I’d probably still get the third game but I really wouldn’t have very high hopes for it. When you make the same mistakes twice, that is usually a bad sign. At least a sequel wouldn’t need to deal with the Wii motion controls.

Overall 5/10

M&M’s Adventure Review

It’s time for another game in the M&Ms saga. The previous ones weren’t all that bad. The DS game’s gameplay was pretty interesting and you can’t really mess up a racing game. This was the first one to be a full platformer though so that naturally came with some considerable risks. It has quite a few glitches and plays out like a slightly higher budget version of Ninjabread Man at times. The game definitely makes some mistakes and I’d have to call it a bad game. It’s not on the same level as some of the other disaster titles, but it makes enough of the wrong moves to sabotage itself like having to replay a whole chapter if you lose. Lets dive in!

The game starts on Christmas Eve as the M&Ms are getting ready to lock up for the night. Unfortunately, a security breach occurs and all of the M&Ms are stolen. The heroes have to quickly re grab all 120 of them before leaving, but they are now being guarded by a Snowman who likes to yell “Its hot”, The Easter Bunny who is very hungry, The Nutcracker who wants to blow everyone up, and the Halloween Man who is trying to scare everyone. Fortunately our brave heroes won’t back down when candy is on the line.

The gameplay is very straight forward. It’s a 3D adventure that “should” play out like a Mario game. You move and jump as you cross the level. Getting to the end is your destination, but not the goal. You must find all of the M&Ms in each level or else you’ll have to replay it anyway. Each level has 3-4 areas which can be as large as an average level in another game. You must beat them all without losing all of your lives or you’re sent back to the beginning and you’ll need to grab the M&Ms again. That is definitely the most annoying part of the game. Most of the levels aren’t all that difficult, but the last 2 are tough. There is a huge jump in difficulty between levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 has you go through many jumps with metal birds trying to peck you along the way. It seems like you can possibly step on them or lure them to a bomb, but it’s much harder than it looks. With enough repetition you’ll get through it, but the levels can be long so you don’t want to have to replay them too much. Fortunately to counter this, the bosses are incredibly easy. The only one that is even a little difficult is the final boss which is also very generous with health bits everywhere. For the Cupid you just have to hit a bunch of switches. Taking down the Bunny just means luring him to candy and you lure the soldier to poison smoke. You lure the Lantern to bombs and take out the Snowman by hitting a lot of switches. Either the developers didn’t put too much thought into the bosses or they just didn’t want to make them too difficult. Imagine having to go all the way back at that point.

There is one part of the game that is just unfair though. In Green’s last level there comes a point where you have to board a boat as cannons shoot at you. The problem is that you die instantly for no reason. It’s possible an unintentional glitch in the game or something, but that’s it..you’re done. The only way around this that I found was to just jump in the ice cream and swim to shore. It takes up a lot of health, but at least I lived. I wasted a lot of lives trying to figure out why I was dying though. It would be like an invisible energy blast hit me or something.

Fortunately the game has so many glitches that you can exploit them as well. You can jump on air to skip parts of levels by just mashing jump and you can also achieve infinite lives. The way to doing the latter is getting a lot of coins like 98 for example. Then you reach a checkpoint. After that you grab the final 2 and keep on going. You get the extra life from this and then even if you die, you’re brought back to 98 coins at the check point. Since the coins reset despite the life sticking around, you can keep on getting lives forever. Figure out what section it the toughest for you and do the coin trick at the nearest checkpoint. This helped me a lot in the Snowman level. Hey, if the game is going to pull out cheesy tricks to stop me from winning…then two can play at that game!

The graphics are nothing special, but they get the job done. You can always tell what is happening and the level designs are pretty clever. The Christmas levels have the best designs for sure, but the Halloween level is surprisingly spooky as well. There are creepy portraits everywhere and even the music feels rather dire for the heroes. I think they put more effort into the soundtrack and levels than the gameplay so their priorities may have been a little mixed up. It was fun hearing Jingle Bells and Sleigh Bells ring at the end. It helped show that the developers cared about this game at least a little.

There isn’t any replay value here though. Once you gain the 120 M&Ms you are completely done with the game. That’s the end of your adventure and it’ll be time to put the game back in the drawer. The campaign isn’t all that long, but it is artificially lengthened by having to play the same levels as all 3 characters each time. If you ask me, you shouldn’t have to collect all 120 M&Ms to see the ending. That’s like having to grab all of the Stars in a Mario game. It’s something you should want to do, not something you have to do. Mix that in with the tedious nature of having to replay levels while looking for M&Ms and the game definitely gets hurt quite a bit.

There’s also a glitch where you’ll turn invisible if you try to approach the M&M machine. I guess the game won’t even let me look at the cool candies that I’ve collected eh? Well fine, I didn’t want to look at them anyway. I should quickly mention that each M&M has an ability. Red can fly whenever you see a flight symbol, Yellow can double jump, Green can swing her tennis racket whenever she finds a tennis symbol. Red’s flight levels are the best part of the game so I wish they had appeared more. It was certainly better than the main part of the game.

Overall, This game had a lot of potential, but the gameplay’s just a little too weak. You know there’s a problem when some levels are purely luck based. I almost died at the very end with Green because you have to dodge falling rocks for about 3-4 minutes. I barely survived and since I had 0 lives left that would have been fairly upsetting. I do like the challenge at times as some of them can be fair, but then we should get more lives or every stage should be its own level. That would fix a lot of issues. I died a lot of times on the revolving Ice Cream door which is easily the toughest part of the whole game. Seriously, just try to get out of that one in one piece. It can hold its own with some of Mario Maker’s toughest levels. Having to go back all the way is just too much of a detriment. The game is only about 5 dollars so if you want a real challenge it’s worth taking a look. That being said, it’s not always fun to play and games should at least be fun. I’ll have to give this one a thumbs down and I recommend Mario Galaxy instead. Even the ending was very lackluster.

Overall 4/10

Family Party 30 Great Games Outdoor Fun Review

It’s been a while, but it looks like it’s time to try out another Wii party game. I really went on a rampage buying a ton of these a while back, but they’re finally almost at an end. I have to admit that I’m going to miss these Wii games ever so slightly, but at the same time it will be fun to have them all gone for good. This one is certainly of a higher quality than some of the others like Deca Sports and the 30 games are actually mostly unique. I have to give the game some credit there and the A.I. is tough although not always very balanced.

See, some games are very easy because the A.I. can’t play for beans and then they’re overpowered in others. It’s always hard to know one way or the other at first if you’re going to be in for a really close fight or if you won’t even have to try that hard. It is good that it’s not a cake walk though and you should be able to win pretty much all of the games by the end. Some of them just take 2 tries tor eally understand how to play since the controls and instructions aren’t always clear. They’re certainly not quite as on point as the Mario Party controls, but few games are.

The main campaign mode divides the 30 mini games into groups of 5. You start with only 4 unlocked for the first three worlds so you have to beat them to unlock the 5th minigame for each world. Beat all of them again to unlock the 4th world. There are 6 worlds and since you have to beat them all twice, it’s about 12 worlds of content. Of course, it can be a little tedious to have to win twice each time and if your score isn’t high enough, then your win isn’t even counted. Luckily that only happened to be once. It would be a bigger issue if it was something that happened more often for sure. I wouldn’t call this a very long game, but considering that you can get it for 3-4 dollars from Gamestop, it’s not a bad deal.

As I mentioned, this game has a decent level of quality to it so the games don’t start to copy each other with different colors like certain other sport games. There is really a nice variety here. I won’t mention all of the 30 games here, but I figure that it may be nice to list some of the good ones. This game has a Football minigame where you have to try and gain yards/score. The other three players try to stop you. It seems a little hard to do anything when the deck is stacked against you like that, but it is certainly fun. Another solid game has you control a spaceship and you have to blast your way to the finish. The side-scroller is handled well and it could easily be a real level in a game like that. It was certainly handled well. Track and Field/Marathon was fun as it tests your reflexes. There’s a memory game where you have to remember 10 really quick objects that pass through the screen and the tough part is that all 4 of you get turns at it. UFO is another similar one as you have to beam up people who have a certain description ahead of the other 3.

There are some other active competition type games like a platformer where you have to jump to the finish line. That one’s pretty fun and what adds to the tension is that you can push an opponent into the water. Another game has you hold on to the ground for dear life as it shakes, but an opponent might shove you away while you’re bracing yourself. Honestly, I’d say that at least half of the mini games, if not more than that are actually quite good. It was surprising to see. I don’t want to get crazy, but from a pure minigame perspective, I dare say that these may be better than Mario & Sonic, at least the first game. Naturally, this game lacks other things like the presentation and AAA value that the other title has, but when it comes to the pure mini games, it’s hard to get better than Family Party.

For replay value, you can try to beat your high scores or get more medals. It’s certainly not the most thrilling form of replay value, but it’s something and naturally there is also multiplayer that you can give a whirl. There’s certainly enough content for your dollar here so I don’t think that should be an issue for you. The graphics are all right. I am glad that the characters all got actual design and aren’t just the same kid with a different T shirt each time. Yes, I noticed that even if the game tried to hide the fact. The mini games all look pretty good and everything is on point. It’s not breathtaking or at the level of a AAA game, but it’s good enough. The music is also pretty fine. I like the main menu theme and the music that plays throughout is fairly calming. There’s nothing really wrong with it and I’ll take it over nothing. It’s probably free domain music.

Overall, This game was maybe a little better than I expected. The fact that the developers actually put some thought into this game definitely gets a thumbs up from me. I’m sure it was still reasonably cheap to make, but at least the games were actually fun. I definitely have to give them some well deserved praise there and this game got quite a few sequels and spinoffs/prequels so those may warrant a look as well. Realistically, I don’t see myself getting any of the other games in this series anytime soon, but you never know. You never want to count out anything since you just don’t know what the future will have in store. I’d recommend this game if you’re looking for a party title to check out, but for that you may as well get one of the Mario and Sonic Olympic titles right? That, or you could get Mario Party 4, the definitive party experience. (Yes, I’m not counting Super Smash Bros here!)

Overall 6/10

Kirby’s Dream Collection Review

This was definitely a very big title when it first came out and it’s safe to say that just about everyone was hyped to finally get to play this big masterpiece. The Dream Collection brought back 6 classic Kirby games to introduce them to the new generation. I haven’t really played any Kirby game before aside from the classic Epic Yarn so this was an enticing offer. I stayed my hand for a while until Christmas rolled around and then I made my move. I was able to blast through the games and can definitely say that it was worth the money. The Kirby series is here to stay. I’ll go through this review game by game.

Kirby’s Adventure is a fun little Kirby game. You got to suck up monsters and get their abilities, which was cool, but I decided not to use it. The ability’s not really worth it, nor would it be until Kirby 64. There’s not a whole lot to say about this game since the plot is fairly direct and not really deep…until the ending. The twist that King Dedede was just trying to help out is brilliant and Nightmare is super cool. The final boss is really intense and has the best final boss theme from any Kirby game. It’s also very difficult as you try to face off against both forms and I won with just one health point remaining. It’s truly a well crafted boss battle. Difficult, but never unfair. It’s all about learning the patterns and pressing on as you try to take the win. Kirby’s Adventure started the series off with the deep plots so I’ll give it credit for that. The graphics also look quite good considering how old it is.

Kirby’s Dreamland was the first of the Kirby games. It’s really short as this came out a while back and the plot is fairly minimal, but it was a fun way to start off the collection. I took to the air quite a bit as you could “break” most of the levels that way since dodging enemies became an easy thing to do. It’s slower than dashing so that’s the cost that you have to pay for choosing such a strategy, but it was worth it for me. The gameplay was simple and effective. You could pick up the game and 5 minutes later, you’d know what to do. Facing off against King Dedede and his cronies is also fun because the iconic character keeps his moveset across every single one of the Kirby games so there is definitely a strong sense of continuity across the titles. King Dedede also seems to be misunderstood and is actually a nice guy once you get to know him.

The sequel was naturally an improvement over the first. Kirby’s Dreamland 2 did everything that the first had done and also made some improvements. For starters, I actually liked the gimmick of having animal sidekicks to help out. When you would jump on one of them, you would gain a second health bar (For the animal) and then you could use their respective abilities. Super swimming, faster flying, etc. They were very helpful and while you couldn’t use your sucking ability while on them, you could still deal a lot of damage and didn’t have to worry about taking damage. This game also improved on the plot angle as the Kirby series finally began to get high tier in terms of the power levels. This was the first time that the Dark Matter would appear and the aerial boss fight was epic. You needed to do bonus things in the game to reach the final, final boss so I didn’t get to play it myself, but looked up videos of it afterwards. It’s impressive that the Kirby games had such cool final bosses back in the day. Kirby is certainly a skilled swordsman.

Kirby’s Dreamland 3 took a few steps forwards while also taking a step back. The main negative that I had with this game was the fact that while on the animals, you did not get an extra health bar this time. As a result, I avoided them entirely. I also avoided obtaining any special abilities because most of them simply are not worth it. Sucking up enemies is still the best way to play if you ask me. This was the first Kirby game where I actually didn’t spend a whole lot of time in the air. Flying felt slow for some reason so instead I played the games more like how they were meant to be enjoyed, on the ground. It was fun and I do enjoy playing that way even if I took more damage. This was the first Kirby game where I didn’t get any Game Overs though so that was a plus. The final bosses were even cooler in this title and the games continued to have that dark, cosmic angle that Nintendo’s other titles did not have. The stakes continued to get higher and higher, but things would really get ramped up in Kirby 64.

Kirby Superstar is a party game that’s mixed in with the other Kirby games. I’ll admit that I spent the least amount of time here compared to the other titles. Since it’s less plot oriented I suppose that I just gave it lower priority. I do like the fact that it feels like an Arcade Game. One of the minigames essentially plays out like a mini Kirby’s Dreamland, but with arcade gameplay. It’s hard to describe, but everything is just a little simpler and more to the point so you can dash through the levels and take the win. Absorbing abilities is actually useful here although it’s odd that the Gamecube controls randomly switched over a little here. It should be noted that you actually can exit a minigame once you start it. Just hold A and B along with 1 and 2 on the Wii remote and it’ll take you back to the main menu. A great way to get out of a jam. Another minigame is a reaction test one where you have to use a hammer to smash a star in half. It’s why Kirby’s so massively powerful..he just can’t be stopped! There’s another reaction test where it’s a sword duel. The minigames hold up quite well and make for a fun experience.

Finally, we had Kirby 64 in this collection. It was the first 3Dish Kirby game and also played out more like a home console experience than the others. We got full cutscenes this time and a big team up as Kirby allied with King Dedede and some other friends. Dark Matter and Dark Star are back and are corrupting everyone with the powers of darkness. It was very intense to make it to the ending as we actually get a horror esque stinger unless you have enough of the gems to see the true ending. Man, that’s definitely an ending that would scare and excite a lot of people and I wish that Nintendo would have more endings like this. Certainly the best ending to a Kirby game and one of the best endings to a Nintendo game in general. In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this was easily my favorite Kirby game. I beat it very quickly in a few hours and didn’t get any game overs as I stuck to the ground, but the plot and the fun gameplay are why I really enjoyed it. The stages had a nice amount of variety and I actually used the abilities a little bit this time since you could always just spit them out and use them as a powerful projectile. Finally, I had a reason to absorb these abilities. It’s not hard to see why Kirby 64 can be seen as the ultimate Kirby game. It’s really tough to top it and Kirby continues to show us why he’s a great lead. His physical powers are amazing and the aerial fights at the end continue to help show why he’s a top tier fighter. Kirby 64 is short, but that’s fine since it’s such a great game.

This collection is certainly jammed pack with content and you can imagine how much replay value is in store here as well. There are lots of things to do even once you have beaten the main stories. You can go back to each game and collect the necessary artifacts to grab the secret endings and each game will take you quite a while to pull that off. The games are also a lot of fun so you can easily just replay the stories for the fun of it all.

The soundtrack from the games is certainly great as well. It’s a blast to hear all of the iconic Kirby themes from over the years. Many of them have certainly become popular through the Super Smash Bros. series and you can see where the popular fighting/party game series got a lot of inspiration from Kirby. Melee’s Adventure Mode as well as Brawl’s Subspace adventure incorporated a lot of elements from the classic Kirby games including the colored walls that would try to squish you and the gameplay in general. It’s like a great blast to the past.

Overall, Kirby’s Dream Collection is a must buy for all Kirby fans and even just for anyone who likes a good platformer. You can’t go wrong with the Kirby games and each one is fairly short so most can be beaten in a day. I typically tried to beat 1.5 Kirby games per day and it was a strategy that worked out quite well. In particular, Kirby 64 and the first Kirby game are probably the shortest ones and you’ll beat them before you know it. A lot of levels can be broken by flying the whole time in each game, but it comes at the expense of speed so you have to decide if it’s worth it. I did that for the first 3 games and then for the final ones, I mostly stuck to the ground. So, it really depends on how you like to play since both work out. The game officially came with a soundtrack, but my copy didn’t bring it. That’s fine, but worth noting as it is why I did not discuss the soundtrack CD in the review. Once you’ve played the collection, you can properly compare it to other 2D titles like DK and Mario. Mario still wins out for me, but Kirby holds its own. I look forward to playing more Kirby games in the future, I’ll probably end up getting Kirby’s mirror and the DS games before I get the next big title, but eventually I aim to complete the Dreamland saga.

Overall 8/10

Luxor 3 Review

I got Luxor 3 from Gamestop for about 2-3 dollars. It was a bargain considering that this game prided itself on the fact that it has over 100 levels to complete. It looked like my kind of game and I spent hours going to many different Gamestops as I tried to buy as many Wii games as possible. This was one of my winners as the game was pretty fun and had the kind of gameplay style that I could easily get behind. If the gameplay was no good then 100+ levels would have been very dicey.

There are a few modes to play here, but Adventure Mode covers them all so let’s start there. There is a brief plot and it involves the Egyptian gods being taken down be Set(h?) so the hero must save them all. Set is firing energy balls at each of the gods so we have to shoot them down before they can invade the pyramids. Rinse and repeat for the 100+ levels. The plot isn’t a major factor here to be honest. It’s like playing a game of Pac Man or Galaga and getting a little bonus plot. It’s not necessary, but it’s still fun to have.

There are 11 worlds and each one has 8-10+ levels. The bulk of the levels are comprised of the mission that I already mentioned. There are balls that roll towards the goal and you have to match 3 or more of the same color. Whenever you do this, the balls will explode. Rinse and repeat until they are all gone and you must not let them get past you. You can grab various special attacks after getting enough matches like a lightning bolt or a bomb. They are extremely handy so grab them whenever possible.

In each level there will be a statue until you’ve collected the 4 needed in each world. You don’t need to get them and I’m not sure what they really do yet, but at the very least they open up bonus levels where you can grab some extra coins, which are good for buying new power ups or changing the look of the balls. At the end of the game it’ll be nice to see all of my statues lined up. I made a great effort to grab as many statues as I could throughout the game since it’s pretty easy to do so. Why not right?

Some levels will be called Onslaught Mode. Typically there will be one per world. It’s the same as the standard level except for the fact that statues will rise up to block your shots so you have to be very strategic about how you tackle the level. It’s not bad, although I definitely prefer the standard stages. You’ll find that the standard levels are almost always the best ones in the game.

There will also be one or two puzzles in each world. These are the least enjoyable to be honest and the more that I see puzzles in my video games…the ore that I realize how out of place they are. Puzzles just aren’t fun if you ask me. Luckily, you don’t have to actually beat them in order to clear the world so you can just skip them. That’s good since the puzzle levels could have gotten old very quickly. There were actually one or two that most people thought were literally unbeatable due to a glitch until someone proved them wrong.

Finally, there’s the boss level at the end of each world. Basically, you have to survive for 3-4 minutes as an infinite number of balls are shot at you. Survive until the end to win! These levels are cool and they can definitely hold their own against the standard versions. There’s only one per world, but at least they do give you a sense that the level has more weight than the others. That’s what a good boss level should always do. Surprisingly the final world has no end boss so the game just ends rather abruptly…it was odd, but not a negative I suppose.

The soundtrack is amazingly good. There is a steady flow of intense opera music that will attack you from all sides as soon as you start the game. It is dramatic and it is epic. This helps you to realize just how high the stakes are for this particular adventure and I was not expecting anything like it in this puzzle game…or any puzzle game for that matter. Even fighting games like Super Smash Brothers would have a tough time trying to match the grand scale of these themes. (Although Smash Bros can pull it off)

I also enjoyed the graphics in this game. They’re fairly clear and that’s good since everything happens so quickly once the level begins. You can change the color styles of the balls that you are shooting by spending your hard earned $$$ in the game so that’s always an option if it’ll help you focus. Of course, if you can deal with the default color, then I’d recommend it so that you can spend your money on better endeavors like powering up your super attacks. Trust me, those will end up helping you out quite a bit more than a color change.

You can really tell that a lot of effort was put into this game and I can admire that. Each world took me anywhere from 30-60 minutes so that’s a 10+ hour game right there. The replay factor is also alive and well in the sense that you can keep on using your money to buy equipment. It’s not a game that I see myself going back too and it’s not quite as addicting as other classics like Pokemon Shuffle or Pac Man, but Luxor gets the job done.

Overall, I definitely recommend this game to all gamers. It’s the kind of game that you can easily play for hours and hours. The 100+ levels is a great bargain considering that the game sells for 1-2 dollars. It’s true that this is the kind of game that you could picture playing online for free, but 1-2 dollars isn’t going to hurt you and now you can play it on the big screen. The Wii remote controls are actually pretty smooth and they don’t tend to go chaotically out of control on you either since your movements are fairly stable the entire time. It’s definitely still one of my least favorite control schemes and I’ll never get into motion based controls until we’re in the virtual world, but it works well enough and isn’t too detrimental to the game. I’d be hyped for a Luxor 4 if they ever went ahead with it.

Overall 7/10

Rec Room Games Review

It’s time to play another game from the 5 dollar bin. I got this one for under 2 dollars so I’d say that it was a steal. It’s too bad that the game didn’t actually end up being good though. That was a bit of a let down since party games should automatically be a lot of fun. How can you mess up short mini games? All you have to do is come up with an activity that will be fun for 30-60 seconds and you have your mini game.

The game jumps you right to the mini game selection screen. All 20 of them are available from the get go and there are no other modes to look at. Literally, the only other option here is to jump to the credits and mayyybe options, but I don’t think that there are any. Seriously, you’re basically thrown to the games and there is 0 replay value. Your high scores aren’t even recorded, which is pretty odd for a game like this one. This means that unless you really like the mini games enough to play them a few times, you’ll be done with this game in an hour or less. There is nothing to keep you and it’s rare to find a game with 0 replay value, but this title pulled it off.

The graphics are decent I suppose. They didn’t put a whole lot of effort into them as you can imagine, but I wouldn’t say that they look downright bad either. I dunno, I guess it’s just hard to make a game that I think looks really bad. You’d have to put in a lot of effort to give a game that appearance and I don’t think that companies want to do such a thing. Not just yet anyway! The soundtrack is rather forgettable. It’s decent though, but I’d like some more variety. A few more tunes to keep me excited and ready for whatever comes next. Rec Room doesn’t pull that off, but why should it? This game was in the 2 dollar bin for a reason right!

In the end, the only thing to really talk about here is the mini games. I can either stretch this section out a bit or let the review end early. Hmmm, decisions decisions. Not all of the mini games are lousy, I feel like I should say this as a disclaimer. Some of them had some real potential and others actually managed to live up to that so kudos to the game. If you really think about it, this game could have gotten a quick 7 had it been on the PS3. Then again, I recently played a game with bears on the PS3 that was pretty bad so….maybe not. (That game’s still probably getting a 5-6 though)

The best mini game here by far is the Box Maze. You have to use the Wii Remote to tilt the surface of the stage as you gradually guide your ball to the correct hole. It takes skill and passion. A whole game on that could be interesting so long as it isn’t too repetitive and a plot surrounding the game is around to keep you interested. It was one of the first games that I played so I actually got a little hyped to see how the game would end up. Smack A Squirrel was also decent except for the concept, but they’re toy squirrels so that helps a bit. After all, I’ve skipped out on two Wii Games because they promoted animal violence. *shudders* The problem with this game is that your hammer is unresponsive and often times it will stop you from actually hitting the squirrel and you just tap it, which has no effect.

Then we got to some of the dicier games like Bowling. Wii Sports did a much better job with it than this game, but I’m sure that nobody is surprised at that. Good luck hitting anything with your swings! Alley Ball is another decent game. You have to flick the Wii Remote up to try and land the ball inside of the rings. The controls were surprisingly smooth for this game and it’s certainly a keeper. Disct Toss and Ring Toss sort of make each other a little redundant and likewise with Rubberband Sharpshooter. As you can imagine, throwing anything with the Wii Remote controls is a formula for failure. Table Tennis was probably the most disappointing game in the collection simply because it should have been good. Tennis should always be fun and it’s so easy to implement, but the game forgot how to make your characters miss. As long as you flail around with the Wii Remote, you can keep on returning just about every ball which leads to some very long points since the computer doesn’t want to give up either. The controls don’t hurt this one much, but are still a factor.

Darts is fairly decent, but the controls make it hard to ever hit your target. Chinese Checkers and Peg are quite similar and both of them are no fun at all. Maybe these games are better in real life, but I don’t see the appeal of moving across an empty field or just making lines until everything is gone. These titles couldn’t hold my attention. HillbillyGolf was pretty terrible and even worse than the real Golf. At least..in this version. You throw a little baton thing and the game is really broken. Foosball is surprisingly not that good as you simply can’t control your players quickly enough to do any real damage. Back to flinging the Wii Remote around until you win!

All right, back to the fun games…or as fun as you can get here. Trashcan Basketball is fairly interesting even if you’ll never be able to hit it. You have to throw paper in a trash, but the controls are incredibly unresponsive. Good luck trying to do anything here. Tic Tac Toe Toss has some potential, although the rules are a little odd. You throw things to connect the lines and the game operates on pure chance. Air Hockey is decent. As expected, the controls hold it back a little, but it still manages to be decently fun.

Table Hockey is a lot of fun and actually has a semblance of skill and effort as you try to score. Controlling your players is as difficult as in Foosball, but it’s more fun and actually feels real. Dodgeball is another one of the best games and I may have to actually dethrown Box Maze. Yes, I changed my mind during the review, but I forgot about Dodgeball. This is why it’s good to have the game’s cover in front of me! I made a monster comeback in my first attempt at the game so you can bet that I will not be forgetting it! I didn’t talk about all of the games, but I mentioned most of them. There are 20 in total, so feel free to play them all! (It’s all you can do here anyway)

Overall, Rec Room Games is not my idea of a fun time and odds are that it’s not yours either. Most of the games are simply not balanced correctly so some are too long while others make you wonder how they’re supposed to be fun. There are some enjoyable games here, but considering how long it takes you to beat them, you can still get bored in 30 minutes quite easily. With no high scores to think of, replaying the minigames by yourself or with friends is the only thing to do. This lack of replay value is what ultimately made me decide to give the game a 4 instead of a 5. It was close and the games are good enough to get a 5, but the title just feels lazy and that’s inexcusable for any video game title! I do not recommend this game, even for 2 dollars you could….well, maybe you can still get this game. It’ll still get you your money’s worth, but maybe you should just get a Pepperoni Pizza at one of the dollar shops where it’ll cost you 1:50. Then you can save the other 50 cents for your insurance. No worries folks, I’ll be reviewing more bargain bin games soon!

Overall 4/10