Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 5h 28m
Game Complete 74%
Magic 11/20
Heart Squids 18/32
Shampoo 3/3
Cream 2/3
Downward Stab Upgrades 0/3
Pistol Upgrades 0/3
Combat upgrades 0/?

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Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the portable Shantae games. This one takes place after Risky Boots took away all of her powers so our protagonist is a little weaker than usual. She’s still as determined as ever though which is a good thing since the world is in peril once more. While the game isn’t quite as amazing as the PS4 one, it’s still a really fun game and proves once more that Shantae is one of the better side scrolling adventure games. Maybe she’ll be announced as dlc for the new Super Smash Bros at some point.

The game starts out with Shantae still feeling the fallout from not having her powers, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as the Pirate King has awoken. He plans to conquer the world. Risky Boots has made it her mission to stop him and Shantae agrees to aid her. After all, Risky may not be her favorite person in the world, but she is still the lesser of the two evils. Shantae can worry about her after saving the world. To stop the King, Shantae must find his 5 Dens of Evil and destroy him, thereby weakening him enough for Risky to vanquish him. Does she have what it takes?

The gameplay is a 2D platformer just like her last game. You try to get from the beginning of a level to the end to fight the boss. You can jump and swing your hair like a sword. A new power up can be obtained in each world like a gun, super speed, a sword that can stab through the ground, and much more. The game isn’t simply a matter of going from world to world though. Every time you get a power up you will want to go hack to the old worlds to see which new rooms can now be opened. There will also be old characters that you can talk to who are interested in items that you have obtained and will help you get through an obstacle. As such, remembering the story is certainly important for when the fans throws hints at you. It’s not as if the game is massive though so if you are unsure just go around and talk to everyone.

I wonder if Risky Boots is officially going to be more of a rival than a villain going forward. While she may have been the main villain at one point, it’s rare to start helping the main character and then revert back. She seems like a pretty cool character so I’d be okay with that.

Shantae is always a quality character herself and that doesn’t change here. She forgives Risky pretty quickly and doesn’t mind doing most of the work in stopping the villains. She has a lot of confidence and always gets the job done. While her trusting nature doesn’t always work out too well for her, Shantae keeps at it.

Her supporting cast is definitely not quite as solid when it comes to the heroes. Shantae’s uncle is on the annoying side while her friend Bolo is too clumsy to be of help. The bird owner is a decent enough character and I actually thought her plot would have a sad ending with how suddenly the guy she was with got turned to stone. Well, it was still a sad ending for her but in a different way. Shantae’s zombie friend is definitely a big troll but she’s a fun enough character. Shantae definitely shouldn’t trust her all that much though.

As always the game is very bright and colorful. The level designs really stand out and it’s usually pretty clear what you have to do. The attack animations are simple but very distinct. It just feels like a very modern portable game with a solid budget behind it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a AAA title as the only thing hinting against this is the short length and to be fair, that’s something that happens to many big games as well. While the soundtrack isn’t quite as dynamic as the PS4 entry it is still quite solid. The themes have a quick tempo and really get you ready to tackle the level.

There are multiple endings in the game which are determined by how many collectibles you obtain. There are 20 Dark Minions wandering the world and by destroying all of them and absorbing their darkness into your lamp, you can get the hero ending. I got most of them but clearly not enough so the game actually ends on a rather sad note. It even leaves room for a sequel if the true ending did not exist. The game makes it easy to find these collectibles though and it’s not like there are too many of them so grabbing all the pieces of evil would be a simple matter. There are also heart containers to obtain and even more upgrades to buy for your attack power and speed. Obtaining money in this game is certainly a slow process but a steady one nonetheless. With the replay value and main campaign the game will probably be about 8-10 hours which is reasonable. It’s a little short but still not that bad.

Overall, Shantae has brought out another winner. The game is certainly very polished and the story is fun. The characters are very distinct and the game doesn’t reuse any bosses. There’s a lot to like here and I would definitely recommend the game. It was fairly close to scoring an 8 and an extra level probably would have sealed the deal. Regardless you will be missing out if you don’t get this one.

Overall 7/10

5 Reasons why I won’t main a low tier in Super Smash for Switch.

I take no credit for the images used in this article. Credit goes to their respective creators

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So the next Smash Bros game is coming out soon and you’re wondering who to main. I don’t blame you, this is the kind of decision that is super important and will come back to bite you if you aren’t careful.I’m going to impart some wisdom to you here on not only why I won’t main a low tier, but why you shouldn’t either. I mained Fox in the first 3 iterations of Smash Bros and upgraded to Bayonetta for Sm4sh. For Sm5sh I fully expect to be maining a top tier fighter as well. You need to choose quickly because otherwise you will become stuck. For example, if you approach most players who main a low tier they will deny it. You can yell it as loudly as the character in the picture above but they can no longer recognize that their character is low tier. You simply lose sight of the character’s faults and that’s why you need to make the right choice the first time around.

1. You have to develop your own Metagame.
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When you pick a top tier like Diddy Kong or Bayonetta you’re in for a fun time since you can just toss out the same old combos that you see the top players pulling off. For Bayonetta just keep using her witch twists until it gets the KO. It’s an extremely safe attack so don’t worry about getting punished for it. See, the thing with low tiers is that everybody is always eager for someone else to main them, but nobody wants to do it personally. That’s because you are the guinea pig here. They want you to learn the combos so they can just steal it along with the character once you prove that they can be viable. Of course, that’s hardly a guarantee in the first place. Odds are that you’ll be doomed. Worst case you think you are picking a great character as seen in the picture above, but then the reality is a little different.

2. You can’t have any Johns
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If you lose to someone when you’re playing one of the best characters then you can easily make an excuse like you didn’t sleep well or something and people might believe it. After all, how else could you lose to a low tier? However, if you lose to someone while playing a bottom 5 character then you only have yourself to blame for picking the character. At least that’s going to be the counter argument and it will be a very tough one to get around. How do you debunk such a statement? It gets tricky and this actually leads into my 3rd reason.

3. You always have to settle for 2nd best
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Whether you are second in your pool, in the tourney, or in your half of the pool, there will always be a ceiling that you can’t shatter. After all, when was the last time someone saw Buff The Puff win a big tourney or Melee Kirby doing anything? You’ll ultimately never get to see most of the prize money for the Smash tournaments and that will turn the game into a very expensive hobby. If you can’t make money off of it then why continue to spend money to enter the tournament? It just doesn’t make any sense. Character loyalty will only hold you back in bracket. Better to be just another Bayo than to be known as the Zelda guy who is always stuck at pools. If you don’t know any better you’d think you were out of the range of another character’s attack like in this picture, but hitboxes can be very deceiving.

4. You won’t get Top Player privilege.
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Prepare to be treated like everyone else. Overslept through a pool and want the TOs to give you mercy? Not unless you’re a top player and last I checked, to be a top player you can’t use a low tier. It’s a tough predicament, but one that you will ultimately have to live with. A loop hole that you could use for any of the reasons on the list is to pick a top tier and just call him/her a low tier. Some top players have attempted this and while most will smirk you can probably trick a few into thinking this. Top character privelege is a thing as well. Top tier characters have a lot of cheesy gimmicks and techniques to break their fall so the player can afford to get outplayed the entire set and still win anyway. If you main a low tier then there is nobody to save you from the fall.

5. The more you play, the worse your results get
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This may sound contradictory but it’s true. Low tiers thrive on match up inexperience and gimmicks. Most of them are really one trick ponies. At first they will terrify the opponent but then they realize that their attacks actually aren’t so dangerous. Zelda has her down throw to up air, but that’s it. Ganondorf has his powerful attacks, but will get combo’d to death way before that. Buff the Puff dies against anyone with range, etc. Once your opponents figure out what you are doing then it is over. Unfortunately for you, they will inevitably figure it out since this will become obvious the more you play them. You want to play a character who is really OP so even once they know what you are doing it won’t matter.
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I say all of this to help you enjoy the game more. You may think that as long as you enjoy a character that you will be fine, but this isn’t usually the case. After all, if you are still losing a lot then that will take away the joy. You can play a boring character all day meanwhile but if it delivers the wins then you won’t mind so much. Of course it will be tough to tell who the top tiers for Smash 5 are right away (Assuming it’s not a port although I have my doubts) but just listen to the general consensus and stick with it for a while. Listen to the Twitch chat or the Reddit professionals and just copy their ideas. It will help you win a lot of tournaments before everyone has picked up the pieces. This was a relatively short editorial, but one that I felt was necessary to release before the game came out. Pick a main wisely as you won’t be able to switch right away without the world taking notice.

Pokemon Y Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play TIme 30h 16m
Pokedex 332
Poke Miles 103

Pokemon Stats (Name and Level)
Charizard 73
Lucario 68
Delphox 79
Steelix 84
Pelipper 79
Yveltal 63
Mewtwo 70
Zygarde 70
Pansear 6
Spoink 13
Flabebe 8
Combee 7
Budew 8
Mienfoo 15
Panpour 4
Inkay 14
Zubat 13
Bunnelby 16
Venipede 10
Azumarill 35
Drifloon 14
Absol 13
Vivillon 16
Beedrill 11
Golett 20
Machop 20
Chester 5
Skitty 13
Seviper 8
Tyrunt 24
Dwebble 14
Helioptile 17
Croagunk 12
Espurr 12
Oddish 12
Sentret 10
Kecleon 11
Honedge 11
Magikarp 15
Nincada 12
Skiddo 10
Furfrou 10
Hawlucha 19
Nosepass 10
Hippopotas 17
Sandile 17
Cubone 15
Onix 17
Lunatone 17
Woobat 15
Ducklett 14
Solosis 22
Wobbuffet 22
Mr. Mime 22
Luvdisc 32
Dugtiro 27
Trapinch 26
Tentacool 25
Siglyph 19
Stunky 21
Carbink 23
Roggenrola 21
Mime Jr. 11
Chingling 22
Sableye 23
Binacle 23
Tauros 26
Slowpoke 24
Mantyke 27
Lapras 27
Clamperl 25
Remoraid 25
Slugma 26
Volbeat 13
Stunfisk 31
Beartic 39
Bergmite 40
Piloswine 38
Basculin 35
Skorupi 34
Karrablast 30
Goomy 32
Shelmet 30
Whiscash 35
Klefki 34
Pawniard 36
Murkrow 18
Litwick 38
Pumpkaboo 34
Phantump 35
Jynx 40
Vanillite 20
Sneasel 39
Sliggoo 48
Trevenant 50
Noctowl 50
Whismur 14
Masquerain 25
Medicham 59
Gurdurr 45
Durant 46
Torkoal 46
Amoonguss 49
Garbodor 46
Ditto 48
Hydreigon 59

Pokemon Y Review

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Pokemon is one of those franchises that is consistently excellent! The games always deliver with a ton of content and it’s just a lot of fun. One can always debate which series handles the turn based combat the best, Pokemon or Final Fantasy. I personally tend to think that Pokemon has it perfected, but it’s a close battle. This is the kind of game where grinding is fun and trying to catch em all feels like a real accomplishment. Especially since the game has hundreds upon hundreds of Pokemon to capture. I’m still waiting for the game that has every single Pokemon in it. Ideally that’s what will happen for the upcoming Switch game.

The game follows a kid named Terry who is determined to be the very best trainer that there ever was. He is so good that he gets two starters. Naturally I went with both fire starters to kick things off since you really can’t go wrong there. If you weren’t afraid of fire before then you soon will be! Of course it does make the team a little less balanced, but that’s just how it has to be sometimes. Rounding out the team that ended up beating the Elite 4 was Yveltal, Steelix, Pelipper, and Lucario. (The two fire starters were Charizard and Delphox) A pretty solid lineup I’d say and one that works wonders.

You have a childhood friend who also wants to be the best and she has plenty of fights with you as the game goes on. You can’t help but feel bad for her as she tries everything but simply can’t catch up to Terry. Surprisingly she isn’t even the champion at the end as a different character gets that role this time. I think a good way of subverting the trope in this game would have been for Terry to sit down after beating the Elite Four when she walks in and challenges him. Sort of the reverse of the original Pokemon games. Then the credits roll and after that it is heavily implied that you lost but vow to challenge her again someday. Still, whether she won or not the main heroine was pretty solid. Probably one of the better ones from the games and maybe even The best. I was glad that she was always eager to fight.

The main plot involves Team Flare who are trying to destroy the world. They plan to use a machine to wipe out all of the Pokemon and over 99% of humanity. Terry quickly shows up to stop them but the villain organization is massive so this task won’t be as easy as it sounds. I think the villain plot got a little less screen time than in some of the other games, but it was enough to be satisfying I suppose. Lysandre makes for a good main villain. His final form was super cool and naturally his theme music was really good as well. Ultimately the group may not have been much of a threat to Terry but then again who is?

One area where this game really excelled is in the music. It may not be a stretch to say that this game has the best soundtrack in all of Pokemon and that’s saying something since all of the games are already so good. In particular, I enjoyed the main Gym Leader theme and the one that plays when you fight the successor in the Lucario battle. Most of the battle themes were quite solid though. Til now the best soundtrack would probably go to Omega Ruby but I have to give this one the edge even though Omega has the single best track in all of Pokemon.

The graphics are really nice as well. I haven’t played a Pokemon game since Diamond so the series has certainly come quite a long way since then. Soon I’ll be playing Pokemon Sun so we’ll see if that game steps it up even more. The characters are 3D animated now instead of sprites, but it’s in a style that should still feel familiar for long time fans. It’s all very easy to look at. From a gameplay perspective the game also shines here as you won’t get lost very easily since the towns all look rather distinct. The map is really helpful with how detailed it is and your normal walking speed is quite fast. There really aren’t any inconveniences to be found here which is great.

Going back to the gameplay, it’s already been perfected so there’s not much more that this game needed to do. It brings you the classic type system as launching attacks that have a superior element to the opposing Pokemon will result in massive damage. Meanwhile you can now Mega Evolve which was a big feature for this game. I wouldn’t say that it seems to affect your stats all that much, but it does come attached with a really cool visual that makes the game that much more hype. The gameplay is fast and you are even able to turn off the attack animations to streamline the process even further. I definitely don’t see how they can improve on the gameplay even more, it’s just so good. Sometimes the simpler battle styles end up being the way to go. Make no mistake though, while it’s easy to play it’s hard to master.

The Elite Four also do seem to be quite a few pegs above the Gym Leaders which is good. In the final battle they got me down to my final Pokemon and he was nearly out. Steelix had to handle 4 opponents all by himself and that’s considering that my whole team was stronger than the champion’s by a range of 5-10 per Pokemon. These Pokemon were no joke and yet the Champion was able to one shot a few of them. I also did like how we got a bonus fight at the very end of the game right when you think the credits are about to roll. This game did a nice job of throwing in surprise fights around every corner. Of course, I wonder what would have happened if you lost to that guy. I feel like it’s unlikely since he is a little weaker than the Champion and only has 3 Pokemon so it’s a fight that you are definitely meant to win.

The base game should take you around 30 hours. That’s already a really sizable chunk of time and after that you’ve got a ton of bonus content to get through. Catching Mewtwo and Zygarde will likely be your first steps, but then what? Well, you can go after the 3 Birds, head to the Battle Tower, and catch the 200+ Pokemon that are still out there. It’s the game that keeps on giving so if you end up trying to do it all then it’ll likely take at least 50 hours or maybe more. It’s easy to see why I spent about 100 hours on most of the Pokemon games back in the day. These really feel like AAA titles.

I’ve been going on and on about how great the game is, but that’s because there really isn’t anything wrong with it at all. The game is pretty much as perfect as you can get. I also did like the EXP system in place here where everyone in your party gets some. It’s a great addition to the game, especially since you will want a strong party of 6 by the end. This prevents you from just powering up the top 2 for a while and then having to power the others up later. You can turn it off at any time as well so it’s not like it ever forces you to use it.

Overall, Pokemon Y is an excellent game. I think I would probably say that it is the 3rd best Pokemon RPG game behind Pokemon Ruby and Pokemon Fire Red. I’d put it above Pokemon Diamond as well as the various spinoff games and big console versions. I’d highly recommend checking it out whether you are a Pokemon veteran or a newcomer to the franchise. Just be warned that once you start the game up you won’t be able to bring yourself to leave it very easily. It’s a real page turner from start to finish.

Overall 9/10

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Review

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It’s time to take a look at the Crystal Chronicles. Final Fantasy has had a lot of different game lines over the years and they all seem to perform fairly well. You’ve got Tactics, Chocobo, Crystal Chronicles, The Rhythym music games, and the main line. By completing this game I have finally been introduced to another segment of the series but it certainly pales in comparison to the classic style.

There isn’t much of a plot in this game but I’ll give you the general premise. You start out by picking what kind of job you want to have and in turn what kind of creature you are. After that you travel with a little circus troupe as you purify the world of Miasma. To do this you must go to each area and take a drop from the Legendary tree. You get to the tree automatically by clearing the level and beating the boss. Eventually you will be able to reach the final stage where you must successfully defeat numerous phases of a final boss until you save the world. There are a bunch of subplots and lore that you will run across over the course of the game as you meet with new people. It’s luck based on when you encounter them so just keep running back and forth in the overworld until this happens. One such plot is a black knight who is going around beating people up. From what I could gather, the big boss known as Raem has been eating his memories which is making him go crazy. There’s also a mysterious little fellow who is always lying and stealing whenever he is around. Most of this is filler as you can guess. You never even get to fight the Black Knight even though he is mentioned and hyped up quite a lot.

The gameplay is that of a 3D action title. You hit opponents with your sword/staff or fire off some magic bolts at them in real time. This also means that you can dodge their counter attacks. By all accounts this should be a real good decision on the game’s part since who doesn’t like fighting in real time? Well, it is good but not all that great. Your hits never feel like they have a lot of weight behind them. It’s a more limited version of the .Hack style. Still, it works well enough in the game and nothing is more satisfying than walking into a room with a bunch of enemies and still managing to pick them all off. Divide and Conquer is crucial here.

I think what really hurts this game at times is how much the multiplayer aspect of the game is stressed. You’re meant to play this with a few others as everyone takes a different occupation and you go through the world. You can do this on your own but then it’s like playing the game 4 times over. You also better make sure your allies are as strong as you since the game stacks the difficulty up accordingly for each player. I played solo and can assure you that it took a lot of grinding to get through the final boss. I had to bear virtually every level twice and a few levels for a 3rd time before I finally got strong enough win. Part of the reason why it takes so long is because it doesn’t go by a traditional level up system like most Final Fantasy titles. Instead you obtain artifacts at the end of each level and you choose which one to keep. This will give you a +1,+3 for one specific stat. There are 3 stats in the game, Attack, Defense, and Magic. Alternately sometimes you can choose to get another heart or another command slot which is essentially a quick select for spells and Phoenix Downs. I highly recommend the latter 2 so unless it’s vs a +5 or something then it’s the best bet. You can’t get any artifact twice so only replay each level a few times. Eventually there will be no artifacts left so you’ll be wasting your time. You only get a new memory from each area once every 3 years so you could replay it for equipment, but it’s usually best to do both in one shot so switch up the areas as best you can.

Also, the equipment is very important here aside from the artifacts so try to get yourself a master class weapon and at least a Mythril level Defense & Belt. That’s like getting multiple upgrades so it will save you a lot of time. Getting to the final boss only took around 10 hours, but it took around 5 more hours to get to a level where I could beat him. As it so happens with many RPG games like this one, by the time I grinded high enough to beat him it seems like I went overboard so I didn’t even have to use any of my Phoenix Downs. I ended with about 20 extra, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry right? The bosses can be tricky so you just want to figure out what the best approach is. The game isn’t very straight forward so sometimes it will be handy to look online to see what you need to do. For example you need to use Cure on the memories in the final level to unlock your super attacks and the minions only respawn in the second last phase if you beat both so just take down one of them. Be warned in the final phase that you can accidentally heal the boss with your cures so definitely try to avoid that.

I dare say that the game’s biggest weakness here is the plot. You can make a case for the terrible level up system as well of course, but you really expect a dynamic plot from Final Fantasy. Sure, we get little cutscenes before each level as a narrator talks about how great the places used to be, but it’s just all very dull and boring. The actual characters have no personality and everyone is just going through the motions. There is never a sense of danger at all and the game simply isn’t cinematic, but at the same time it isn’t colorful like a Nintendo game either. It’s like playing a game full of exposition with nothing ever coming out of it. If you look really hard at the mini cutscenes and optional side quests then sure you’ll probably understand the lore, but there’s still nothing epic about it. I want a real plot, whether it be a slice of life one like in Sword Art Online or an end of the world adventure like Sonic The Hedgehog 2006. At least give me something.

There is a good amount of content here so I can’t really critique the game on that aspect. You can keep playing this game for a very long time if you want to get all of the artifacts. Especially since you won’t know what the level’s mission is until you beat it and that affects which artifacts you get. If you want to see the mission then you need to get your GBA ready and connect to the game. Again, they put too much of an emphasis on this connection part if you ask me. If the game had decided to be a little more self contained then I really think that it would have ended up being a whole lot better. Instead it just limits itself. I can’t see myself going back to the game for any of this, but if you really enjoyed the experience then go for it.

The graphics aren’t very good, but it’s mainly because of the artistic direction that the game went in than with the actual effort. The character designs are on the chibi design and none of the creatures look particularly threatening aside from the final boss. At least that guy seems pretty intense and it’s a monster design that is memorable. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t particularly good either. I can’t think of a single good theme in the game and that’s really a bad sign. Final Fantasy is known for its stellar soundtracks so I was actually rather surprised that this one didn’t hold up so well.

Overall, Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles really wasn’t for me. The gameplay isn’t bad, but I did have an issue with the level up system and the sheer amount of grinding to beat the game. I’m not usually opposed to grinding, but when your upgrades depend on luck and the game doesn’t tell you much then it can be rather annoying. It becomes a bit of a chore to play the game once you enter the end game as even the old levels get buffed to the point where the enemies are stronger than the ones in the final dungeon. Throw in the fact that the plot was so weak and there isn’t much reason to play this RPG. If you want a good action game then check out Legend of Zelda. If you want a big plot experience then play a main Final Fantasy title. There’s just no room for the Crystal Chronicles and I’m hoping that the Wii game is a little more fun.

Overall 5/10

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror Review

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I have wanted this Kirby game for a very long time. It always looked like a lot of fun since the cover was so exciting and that’s how I judged games back in the day. Alas, the title was 25 dollars and that’s not exactly chump change when you’re a kid. Still, I saved up and over 20 years later I was finally able to snag it. Unfortunately this game does not live up to the hype. Nintendo messed around with the gimmicks a little too much once again and as a result this game is rather messy. There’s a great final boss as always, but the game is just lacking that wholesome feel to it.

The plot of the game is that Kirby has been thrown into the Mirror World and split into 4. He must now team up with himself to save the planet and stop the darkness from consuming it. I do like the plot as teaming up with yourself is always the smartest possible move. You just can’t go wrong there. Of course, you have to take the plot at face value as there will be no more cutscenes at all until the climax of the game. Clearly you are supposed to be playing this game for the gameplay and not the riveting story. Certainly not a bad thing, but worth pointing out.

The gameplay is your typical Kirby experience as you run and jump while going through the levels. You can absorb all of the enemies and most of them will give you super powers. You can only use one ability at a time though so don’t try and overdo it with absorbing everybody or you’ll end up with a weaker move than the one you already had. If you are playing on single player mode then you can use the R button to call in the other 3 at the expense of 1 Wifi Bar. They are extremely OP in this game so if you want to beat a boss really quickly just call them in. Typically they will restore you to full health and also beat the boss in under a minute. Even the final boss is no match for the Kirby crew. Meanwhile you can use the L button to leave a level. Why would you possibly want to leave a level? Well, that’s where things get a little interesting.

This game doesn’t have typical start to finish levels like most Nintendo games. Instead it went the Metroid route (Why would you do that?) and the level just segways into a bunch of others, but they are also connected. Unlike Metroid you do get a bunch of different teleport areas which will take you from place to place so that’s a start. At first the game will be a rather tough experience as there are dozens of entryways to explore. Once you find a portal and activate it you can use it from the hub world. Naturally this does mean that the game will get a lot easier as you go through it. The first 2-3 world keys took me forever to get, but the last 3 were done in a snap because there just weren’t many paths left. It’s not really my cup of tea though. The intro would have certainly been a lot easier if I had realized the perks of each special ability though. Fire Comet lets you break metal blocks in front of you while stomp handled the ones beneath. Most abilities have some kind of purpose to them so just remember where you can find the enemy with the ability that you need. If not, each teleport chamber has 2 abilities so the more that you find, the easier access you have to them. I spent a ton of time just running around without a clear direction because I couldn’t find out how to get past the blocks. If you know which abilities to use from the start that should help considerably.

The graphics are pretty solid and do the Kirby characters justice. The sprites have aged really well and the colors are very easy to look at. You won’t have to squint at the screen and wonder what is happening at any point in the adventure. Likewise the soundtrack is also pretty solid as we get some nice boss themes and level music. It’s really no surprise as Nintendo excels in these two categories, but always nice to see nonetheless. Of course, since the game was so light on cutscenes that probably did free up the budget for everything else.

As far as the length is concerned, I was certainly satisfied. Thanks to the maze like structure of the game I doubt you will be speed blitzing through this title. A lot of the levels involve trial and error as you choose one way the first time and a different one on the second try. Once you get the maps for each world that eliminates such an approach but the irony is that you probably won’t find them until you are nearly at the end anyway. I ended up beating the game while still missing 4-5 of the maps so ultimately they weren’t a huge factor. As far as replay value goes, collecting the rest of the collectibles is naturally the main incentive. That should take a reasonably long amount of time.

Overall, Kirby & The Amazing Mirror is probably the weakest Kirby game. It’s very close between this one and the Rainbow title, but the latter did have a better story. Still, the game holds up decently. It’s just one of those titles that has a really dicey start so you just have to endure it until you’re in the second half. It’s the same situation as Digimon World Next Order for example as your Digimon have to constantly use the bathroom and everything at first, but by the end it’s better. Still, you can certainly find better platformers so buy this Kirby game only if you’ve already played all of the others.

Overall 6/10

Phalanx Review

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It’s time to look at an old GBA game that decided it would be a good idea to get rid of the continue option. It tries to go for a very authentic arcade feel as you have to try and go through the whole game with one shot of lives. Granted, it does autosave your progress so if you die on level 6 with and used up 2 lives in the attempt, that’s how you’ll spawn. Ideally you will get so good at the game that eventually you would clear the game and reach the ending. That would be impressive because I can assure you that this game is no walk in the park. It will take quick reaction times and a whole lot of heart.

The plot is rather vague and you only get about 3 cutscenes in the whole game. It seems that alien machines are trying to destroy the worlds and you have to stop them. Fortunately that won’t be too much of an issue for our hot shot pilot Rick. He is willing to risk his life to save his planet and that’s what it takes to be a real hero. You have to appreciate the guy’s passion through and through. Still, it’s as cookie cutter a plot as you can get so you will be playing this game for the gameplay.

It’s a traditional 2D shooter. You are always in the air and the screen is constantly moving so you can’t take your time. On the other hand, this also means you can’t go too fast as you wait for the screen to catch up. The only time it will typically stop is for a boss fight. Then you maneuver as you please to dodge the attacks. There is usually a good amount of room so you don’t have to worry about bumping into things. The average level is around 5-7 minutes long and there are 8 levels total. The game will last you about an hour if you’re a whiz at the gameplay and a little longer if you die a lot. It’s not a long time, but you don’t expect much more length out of this genre.

You have your primary weapon which is a typical energy gun, but you will pick up a bunch of other weapons along the way. Rockets, Energy Balls, etc. When you get hit by an enemy you lose one of your 4 health points along with your current weapons. You can stock up to 3 weapons I believe so choose them carefully. You will likely think that some weapons are better than others so if you see an enemy drop a bad one sometimes it is best to just leave it. You also get bombs which wipe the screen of weak enemies and weaken the tough ones. Your 3 bombs are refilled whenever you get a health item so quickly spam them before making contact with it. I also recommend stocking up on lives during the earlier part of the game since you will need them for the end.

Another thing to watch out for is the ceiling. The game’s lighting can be quite deceptive so it’s possible to be ramming into a cliff and not know it. You’ll quickly be tipped off as you take damage and die though. I think the visual effect is intentional because the cliffs shouldn’t camouflage so well. That’s just mean to the player if you ask me. The gameplay is quite sound all things considered though. I enjoyed playing through the game. It’s the kind of title that I wouldn’t stick around to try and complete without being able to use a continue, but still a good arcade title nonetheless. I probably would give it a try at one of the ole machines.

There isn’t much replay value as you can probably expect. After all, Story Mode is the only thing to do and it’s simply an hour. Fortunately I got this game for about a dollar so that’s a good bargain. I did think that the soundtrack was far better than I had ever expected it to be. The fast paced rock theme really gets you into the levels. The visuals are on point as well and on a technical level the game even looks worthy of the DS. I’d say that they spared no expense here. While there are no bonus features, you can’t say that the developers didn’t treat this game with a whole lot of care and grace.

Overall, Phalanx is a fun shooter. It is not the best in the market nor will it ever be, but it doesn’t make any real mistakes. It is a fun experience for however long it lasts you and I’d recommend picking it up if the price is right. It’s not a game I will forget very soon even if it was one of the shortest games I’ve played in ages. If it ever gets a big sequel/remake I would be interested in seeing how they enhance the plot. Adding in a continue feature would also help the game considerably.

Overall 7/10