Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Mario Kart 8 is a game I’ve been meaning to get for many, many years but it just didn’t work out. Well, that paid off in a way because then it came out for the Switch so I got to get the updated version there. The Deluxe version brings Link and everything unlocked from the jump. Throw in the smooth online and it really does feel like a Deluxe edition here. You are bound to have a lot of fun while playing through this one.

Now on one hand with everything unlocked from the jump you may feel less incentive to go and actually play through all of the cups but it also means that you can really relax and do everything at your own pace. You can play the tournaments, jump into online battles, play vs mode, etc. There is absolutely a lot of content here so you certainly won’t run out or get bored either. The amount of stages here must be a record. I’m not sure if that is a fact but at least it feels like this must be the case.

I’ve played a whole lot of stages and I’m not sure if I’ve played them all yet. Then there’s also the character roster which is just as impressive. I set a challenge for myself to play as every character before doing that review and so I took them all for a spin. It’s really cool to play as a guest star like Link here. I can definitely understand why people are getting hyped for a Nintendo Kart. You can’t go wrong with guest stars and it just enhances the amount of fun you can have. Characters are mainly cosmetic as well so you might as well throw them in.

It goes without saying that the gameplay is quite excellent here. The controls are really smooth and you shouldn’t have a problem driving around. I notice that the game does try to make it a little easier on you here as it’s hard to drive off the road. The game will usually auto correct for you to make sure that you stay on the road. That’s definitely a very useful feature to be sure. I don’t think it is quite as good as say Double Dash where you really have to be careful to master your vehicle at all times but it does make sense in terms of making the game more inclusive for everyone to have a good time with. Double Dash is still my all time favorite game after all but it’s safe to say that Mario Kart 8 is the next best.

The soundtrack is excellent with a huge variety of songs to choose from. Every stage has its own distinct theme and nothing is reused here. You’ll hear a lot of nostalgic music throughout the game and of course modern twists as well. It’s definitely a game that’s very soothing to play with how peaceful some of the songs can be and even the fast paced tunes just feel good. This is a game where you can see how Nintendo put a ton of effort into every aspect. Naturally the graphics are included with that. The game looks quite excellent at all times. The gameplay is sharp and the stage designs really pop out at you as well.

For the online modes you can play in tournaments, single races, battle modes, etc. I tried all of the options and it’s nice to be playing against other opponents in real time. I played a ton of matches and didn’t experience lag in any of them. Imagine if Super Smash had that level of attention to it? Now that would really be something. It’s also fun how you have a little point total next to your name as you play through the stages. It’s not really a ranking since you don’t know where you stack up but it does give you something to aim for as you win more and more races.

As for the battle modes, you’ve got quite a few here. The most fun one is probably the cops and robbers game as you have to dry and get out of the area before you are whacked by the other team. You can free other members who have been captured though. The game seems to favor the team making the arrests here but you do need to have strategy and doing that online can be tricky. There’s also a capture the flag game which is fun. You have to try and hold onto it for a while in order to win. This can be tough if you’re not the first to grab it though. It’s not that hard to buy 20 seconds in the initial skirmish.

There’s also the bomb and balloon modes although unfortunately the balloon one is no longer about survival. I suspect the developers were worried about players dragging the matches out too long so they turned this into a pure score battle but I always liked the idea of a survival mode since it really makes you have to drive carefully to try and stay on top there. With a score system it’s a bit more chaotic. I don’t think you will be spending quite as much time here as in the races anyway though so it’s really just more ways to play the game and you can’t go wrong there.

Overall, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely a great game. There is a whole lot of replay value here which you probably guessed from everything above. This is really a complete game in every aspect. I can’t think of a single weakness that it has and so Mario Kart 8 will really end up leaving a strong legacy behind it. You will be hard pressed to find a better racing game available and of course playing online with others is a lot of fun. The items ensure that you will have a fresh experience in each race. No two races will be identical after all and the item frequency is really quite high. The stages are the right length as they aren’t too short or too long. There really must have been hundreds of hours of research pumped into this and it paid off. The bar for the 9th game is really set quite high at this point.

Overall 9/10

Mario Sports Mix Review

Mario Sports Mix is a game that definitely fell to the backburner on my wish list for a while. It always looked like fun but at the same time not fun enough to buy. I think it’s because when Mario focuses on one sport you know that you’re going to get something amazing. When it’s a bunch of different sports in one game then you assume they will probably be a lot weaker. Still, I finally bought this game and I would say it’s pretty fun. It’s certainly not touching most of the other Mario sport titles but it’s a game you can certainly have fun playing with some friends. The replay value will be considerably lower if you play by yourself though.

So lets talk about each of the sports here. First off is Basketball since that’s definitely the biggest draw here. At least it’s the sport that pops out at you from the cover. It’s pretty fun even if it may not be quite as strong as Hoops 3 on 3. You do have all the rules in and making the shots is satisfying. I think making the block a little more complicated by having you shake the Wii remote is unnecessary but I’m sure they wanted to push the motion controls a bit. The game is fun but one issue here is how long each game takes. You can be playing the same game for a very long time as there is no mercy rule and each score shuts down the clock. After I was winning by a massive amount I just started running around to waste some time. I think a mercy rule should always be enabled to prevent that. It’s not the standard though so I suppose I shouldn’t expect this game to have that necessarily.

Part of why the game feels so long is because the computer A.I. just isn’t very good on most of the settings. Either they’re broken hard or extremely easy but there’s not much of a middle ground. Then you have Dodgeball which may be my favorite from from the 4 sports. It’s never really gotten a big video game before and it’s fun to run around the field and try to hit someone. The controls can take a little getting used to but once you’ve got them down, you’ll be doing well here. It’s a game that is easy to understand and makes a lot of sense the whole time. It can also be a bit on the longer side but if you’re dominating the opponents then you can make the game quicker. There’s no big time limit you have to wait on after all, just knock everyone out instead.

Next up is Volleyball and that one’s fun. I would say that the minigame for it in Mario Party is still better but it’s hard to top that one. The Mario Party version is fairly iconic after all. This one has the motion controls to worry about as well, but it’s still fun to coordinate your moves and try to land a spike. You’ll be thinking of Haikyu while playing as you remember those hype volleyball moments. It may not top the first two sports for me but it’s another fun one into the mix.

Finally you have the Hockey game. It’s the weakest of the 4 but still makes for a good time. The controls are good and while it may be hard to score, that’s true for all hockey games. You get used to the goalie being super powerful after a while and just come to accept it. Either way the computer won’t be doing much against you so you can keep landing hits until you finally win. At that point you will have completed all 4 of the games.

Aside from the main sports there are also some minigames that use the same gameplay but switch things up a bit. They’re effectively using the game’s gameplay without the time limit. They’re fun and it’s a nice little touch that shows how the developers were trying to add some more content and variety in here. I appreciate that and the minigames are good so you can certainly have fun spending time there.

In general I would say the game has a good amount of replay value. You can play the sports in exhibition mode or in tournament mode. You have the minigames and of course the multiplayer content as well. So that’s enough to keep you playing for a very long time. Most multiplayer games by default have a lot of replay value for that reason. I’m still not prepared to put this up against most of the mainline sport games since I think they’re just on a different level, but this is a very capable game from start to finish.

The graphics are solid and will remind you of the classic Mario games for the Gamecube. It’s definitely got that kind of artstyle going for it. It’s also really nostalgic to see the characters one more time. It feels like a while since we’ve gotten some big Mario sport titles. Golf doesn’t really do it for me and the latest Tennis titles have gone in too hard with the gimmicks. We need a return to basics like this. The soundtrack is also good although it doesn’t really stand out the way it does for Mario Kart. Maybe next time they’ll be able to get in some really iconic tunes to go along with the game.

Overall, I enjoyed Mario Sports Mix. It’s a fun game and you can get it for a pretty decent price nowadays. If you enjoy Mario games and like your sports then this is one game that you don’t want to miss out on. If we’re lucky then maybe they’ll make a sequel at some point. Without the Wii Remote holding it back, I suspect the next ones will really be able to go all in on the fun gameplay. The sky’s the limit there and of course the game I’m really waiting for is Mario Football. One day they’ve gotta come out with that right?

Overall 7/10

Pokémon Evolutions Review

Pokemon has had quite a few mini series so far. They all tend to be pretty solid. Some are more action based while others follow the story more. They’re always a glimpse at some fun concepts for an ongoing story but at the end of the day they can sometimes just make you wish that it was a title that you could pick up and watch for 20+ episodes. Well, Evolutions is the strongest show to date. It may also make you wish that they could just adapt all of the games like this already but each episode does still manage to have a complete story within so it doesn’t feel like you’re missing everything. There are 8 episodes contained within and each region gets an episode. I’ll break them all down below.

The first episode is almost a somber one to an extent as the champion Leon recalls the big battle against Chairman Rose’s legendary monster. Even Leon’s Charizard wasn’t quite a match for this powerful Pokemon. They got to show their strong bond here though as Charizard never gave up and Leon gets his swagger back by the end of the episode. Leon’s always been a fun character since his whole thing is that he is incredibly powerful. While I wouldn’t say he is the strongest Pokemon Trainer out there, he has earned a very solid reputation for himself. If we get to see him take on some more powerful trainers and continue to win in the main anime that could change things. Either way this was a good episode to start things off with. It’s not one of the most intense ones but with the action scene we did get and the solid animation, it was a good omen of things to come.

Episode 2 brings in the Sun and Moon cast as Necrozma shows up and starts dishing out the damage. Lunala has to fight against him and it’s nice to actually see Lunala fighting with great animation like this. Lunala has rarely gotten the spotlight compared to some of the other legendaries so this was a good chance to change things. That being said, Necrozma is not a Pokemon that goes down easily and is even one of the stronger Pokemon legendaries I would say. This one really ends with a lot of momentum on the villain’s side. The fight is one of the best in the series and you can feel the tension. It was an excellent way to continue on from the first episode.

In the third episode we get Lysandre making his speech about why he’s actually the good guy. We see his past and also how he originally had good intentions that just started getting more and more extreme until he was completely the villain. It’s a much weaker episode than the first two. Not a bad one but I think the issue is that he just isn’t a very convincing villain. See, someone like N I could understand. I think you can make some valid points for why Pokemon should not be fighting and he just made sense. There’s just no part during Lysandre’s pitch where you actually think he’s in the right, especially not when he’s strapped to a giant machine and fighting off the other Pokemon. A villain with a strong goal is always at least interesting though so while this episode couldn’t compete with the first two, it still kept a high amount of energy.

Following up that episode has N appear which is quite fitting since he was a good comparison in the last one. It’s from Ghetis’ point of view for the most part though as we see how he orchestrated all of these events. He was at the front of the situation from the very beginning and it turns out that he really was a tactical genius. I was never a big Ghetis fan but his plan was sound. N is really the one doing all the work though as we see him take down the Champion and get ready to fight the main character. It’s another reason why I always found N so fascinating. Defeating a champion is pretty much unheard of except for the main character and rival. A villain taking down the champion has never really happened before. This episode didn’t have any really long action scenes but it was really hype throughout.

Episode 5 is certainly more of an upbeat one. We get a glimpse into Barry’s life as he lost to Team Galactic initially and then pressed forward until he gained the skills needed to stand up to them. It’s one of the more emotional episodes. He may not be as strong as the main character yet, but he’s giving it his best effort. I always like how stoic the main character of the relevant Pokemon game is in these episodes but more on that later. It was a bit more low key than the last episode but still a fun adventure and it ended up covering quite a lot.

Episode 6 is my favorite episode in the series. We get to see the ceremony with Zinnia as she explains the prophecy of her people to Ruby. They climb up the tower as May tries to get the stone back before they make it to the top where the summoning begins. This was a really powerful moment in the manga with how Zinnia lived her whole life for this moment only to find out that she wasn’t the right person. It’s definitely tough because she did everything that she possibly could and yet it was not enough. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to really get any silver lining out of. Still, she makes the hero call and lets May be the one to summon Rayquaza and save the world. She at least gets to have her fight at the end though. It’s a dynamite episode from start to finish, Zinnie continues to show why she is one of the best Pokemon characters and we still do get some action in this episode even if that isn’t the main focus this time around.

It’s fitting that episode 7 is my least favorite for the ultimate whiplash. Episode 7 has a few girls telling a story about Ho-Oh and Lugia. If it sounds familiar it’s because we also got a story for the Johto portion in one of the previous Pokemon miniseries when we learn how the dog trio were created. Is Johto just not good enough to get the big action treatment like the others? I guess the most interesting thing here is seeing how the Pokemon contribute to the show. It’s like real life special effects in this verse but at the same time there was just no big hook and to me that’s what held this episode back. The whole time you’re waiting for some kind of fight or something but it never comes. The artistic style here was a big step down from the other episodes as well. Ultimately it was just not a very engaging episode.

Finally we end with Kanto so you know things are going to get hype. Green is searching for the final Pokemon in the Pokedex: Mewtwo. Unfortunately another trainer is already in the cave so now it’s a race to the finish. That said, both trainers have a good amount of chivalry so there isn’t any cheating or things like that. They both want to win in a clean fashion. At first I didn’t recognize Green since it appears more like her new design. I actually thought that it was the Let’s Go main characters at first and then Red and the others would get their cameos. Red and Blue do get a quick cameo at the end but this was in fact Green. (Don’t know the names of the Let’s Go crew assuming that they have new names) This was a great way to end the series though. It doesn’t quite defeat the Zinnia episode, however it had the longest action scenes. Not necessarily in a fighting context but with all the acrobatics and running around in the cave. We also got to see a fun look at how some of the gameplay mechanics would work out like how a fight is initiated when two characters meet each other’s gaze. Of course the guy chickened out the first time though.

There you have it, those are the 8 episodes of Pokemon Evolutions. The animation throughout the series is really solid. The battles are on point and the character designs are smooth. I dare say that the animation here could hold up with the main series and the battles in particular probably beat some of the main title fights as well. Of course I imagine it’s easier to make the fights look spectacular when it isn’t weekly 20+ minute episodes. The soundtrack also deserves a lot of respect here with how many solid tunes and remixes we get.

Pokemon Evolutions succeeds in all areas and just makes for a really fun experience. As mentioned, it feels more self contained and complete compared to the other Pokemon titles. I would say this is the best one. Yes, the episodes still tend to have cliffhangers but we got to see the fights before that happened as opposed to the battles being left to your imagination. That’s a big difference. Also, this series covered more of the big events. You’ll likely remember all of these scenes from when you played through the video games and that’s a lot of fun since now you get to see it happen in real time.

Additionally, the video game main characters all look really hype. You have Ruby who gets to prove that she is the chosen one to go and fight with Rayquaza. Then you have the main character of the Diamond and Pearl games who is holding his own against Jupiter and the others. Green gets to show her persistence in combat and Red/Blue appear to be pros as always. The fact that they are all silent for the most part just increases their mysterious aura. Not all of them are silent though like Green has a lot to say but for the most part they silently dare their opponent to make a move. Their unlimited confidence makes it easy to see how they would end up becoming the champions.

Now that we’ve gotten to explore all of the regions a bit, I’d really like to have a crossover at some point. Pokemon Adventures did this so why not a show right? Red interacting with Black or Green meeting up with Platinum would be a lot of fun. If they can keep this big animation budget as well then you could also splurge on some really big fights. Of course the best way would be to have a full TV show for this but even if the episodes were shorts, you could still do a lot. Maybe go back to the series’ roots and make it a big tournament anime. The possibilities are really endless although my money would be on Red to go all the way of course. You couldn’t rule any of the other characters out though as they all became champions by the end of their journies.

Overall, Pokemon Evolutions is a really solid title. It’s a short one so you’ll definitely be done with it in a blast but it should help to inspire you to go back to the games or read some of the manga. If you’re a Pokemon fan then you will definitely have a major blast with this one and even if you don’t know Pokemon (Somehow) you should still be able to enjoy the quality writing and pacing of the episodes. Given that you can easily complete the whole series in less time than it takes to watch a movie, there’s no reason not to watch this one. Hopefully at some point this leads to a full movie or show but in the meantime I’ll be satisfied with getting another mini series as well.

Overall 8/10

DK: King of Swing Review

It’s time to enter the world of DK once more. This game was one that was on the backlog for the GBA for many years. Unfortunately my GBA console no longer works and the DS has L and R buttons that aren’t really responsive. So at that point it was time to finally just get this one on the virtual console. The Wii U E-shop doesn’t shut down for another 2-3 weeks so this was really my chance to get in there and make a difference. The game was short though so I ended up conquering it in around 2 hours which is pretty good. The controls are very unique and I would say they work out well. I feel like the Wii U does give it a bit of a buff over the portable version though as the controls feel smoother.

The basic plot here is that DK and friends were getting ready for the big race but unfortunately King K. Rool showed up to steal all of the coins. Now nobody can have fun racing so it’s up to DK to stop him. He won’t have any backup support on this one so he’s truly alone this time. Still, nothing will deter DK from getting out there and saving the day as only he knows how. Can he prove that he really is the King of Swing or is this game over?

So the controls are what makes this game stand out from the others. It’s not your typical platformer as you use the L and R buttons in order to grab onto platforms and swing yourself through the air. You then use the momentum to jump from place to place. You only use the control stick on the ground which is around for the first instant of each level and that’s it. You jump by holding down both L and R. Bosses are taken down by jumping in their direction by maneuvering on the blocks. This is one of those games where it’s probably a lot better to just see visually as opposed to hearing about it since it’ll be hard to get a solid visual due to how unique the concept is.

It’s not a bad concept. It’s original but at the same time I have to say that a traditional platformer would still have been way better. You want to be able to control the character the whole time, not just hold down L and R like this. It even does a number on your wrist because it’s hard to hold the controller like that. In part it’s probably due to the Gamepad being so large though, I think it wouldn’t hurt the wrist so much if it was your standard DS or GBA console.

The levels are very short and there are only 25 in the game. That’s including the 5 bosses by the way and 1 level which is effectively just there to give you more lives. See, in this game you don’t have traditional lives. Instead you have 3 health points and you gain a health point back by eating 10 Bananas. You can also use 20 to temporarily become invincible and blast through enemies. That said, you keep the totals that you had when you end the level. So if you just had 1 heart left upon clearing the level and 3 bananas, that’s how much you will have when you start the next one. Of course that does make things really difficult if you are up to a boss. So what you sometimes need to do is go back to an old level that was easy and beat it with extra bananas.

It may feel a bit tedious but it’s often quicker than trying to beat a boss with only 1 heart or something like that. I had to replay levels around 4 times by the end of the game but they’re short so it really isn’t a huge issue. Once you make it to world 5, you should only use 5-1 for the Bananas as it’s extremely hard to lose that level and you can grab 50 bananas in an instant. That’s effectively 5 heart points per level and it’s one of the shortest in the game. You’ll want to have those for the final boss against Rool which is a really creative boss fight as well. I like how that one was handled.

Beyond that, I wouldn’t say there is a ton of replay value. The game says that something good will happen if you grab all of the collectibles though so maybe they do have something nice in store for you. There aren’t a ton of collectibles either so it may not be a bad idea to try and grab all of them. What do you have to lose right? The game is short but it’s also very cheap on the Eshop. It’s normally $7 or you can grab it for $5 if you have some coins and get the discount. Either way, for 2 hours plus some replay value that’s a good deal.

As for the graphics, I’d say they’re good. The game has a very colorful art style at the ready here so all of the levels pop out. It looks a little overly zoomed in on the Wii U so you can see the pixels but it adds to the nostalgic nature of the game. Nintendo has always been many years ahead of the competition in this regard so even now the game looks good. The soundtrack is even better with a lot of really classic DK tunes. You’ll probably remember them from the Super Smash games. DK’s soundtrack may not be at Mario’s level but it certainly gets the job done.

Overall, King of Swing is a pretty good game. It may be short but it’s just a lot of fun to play. You can just sit down and knock the whole thing out in one session since it’s hard to pull yourself away. It’s not going to be one of the more memorable games and it does get overshadowed by almost all of the other DK titles but it is still good in its own right. I’d rather any potential sequel goes for more classic/standard gameplay though since that would enhance the game further. It really has been a while since DK got a big game to himself.

Overall 7/10

Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 Bush Rescue HD Review

Ty 2 starts off with a bang and felt a whole lot like a Ratchet and Clank game at first. After that it dials things down a bit and so it isn’t automatically better than the first. It’s a close one as it easily wins in some areas and loses in others. I’ll answer the question of whether it was the better game or not at the end of the review. Either way it’s a solid sequel to the original adventure and does Ty proud.

The game starts off with Ty’s arch nemesis breaking out of prison. Ty tried to stop the villains with his mech suit but Ty’s friends get away and so that puts a damper in his plans. Fortunately, Ty has formed a rescue operation within the city so that he and his friends will always be around to help those in need. If any villain decides to appear in spite of this, Ty will take them down. All we know for now is that the villains want to build a device of some kind.

The gameplay is similar to the first in some respects like the boomerang throws. It still makes for a unique weapon and you get several versions of it. That said, it’s been streamlined quite a bit so that it’s more in an action context as opposed to being a platformer element. You can now take down dozens of enemies as you’re running through the level and blasting the enemies. It’s part of what made the first level so much as you may as well be holding an energy gun with how quickly the boomerangs shoot out. It was impressive to be sure.

A new element here is that Ty has his own battle mech suit. It’s very powerful as you can spam punches, hover, and one even has an an infinite laser beam. See, there are several robots that you get throughout the game. You can only use them in certain levels but when you have one it’s always quite a bit of fun. The best robot is saved for the final level which makes sense since it’s so incredibly powerful. It would break any older level if you were able to use it. The final level gives you a boss rush of all the guys you had to take down throughout the game and it’s fun to see how fast they go down to the mech suit. Clearly Ty should be using this all of the time. Even his friends get their own mech suits for the ending.

The stages are quite varied so you will get to battle in a whole lot of different environments. Most missions are actually rather small but occasionally you will have a long one. There was one fire level for example that surprised me because it just kept going on and on. At one point I fell through the exit by mistake and when that reset my progress I just skipped it. The game uses a mission system where you get to play a story event every 6-7 completions worth. So you don’t have to complete every mission to beat the game. Given that this is the case, you can certainly choose to skip any level that you don’t feel like playing. Most missions are very short so you might as well beat a few of those instead of a randomly long one.

Unlike the first game, the map is always active which is a very good thing. This is one game where you will never get lost. The map is very specific and always shows you where to go. On the flip side, the hub world is huge and you can only use the car when you’re outside. Be prepared for a whole lot of running and driving from place to place to the point where the journey can sometimes be longer than the actual mission. Pro tip though, if you have a mission that takes place at home base, just save and exit. When you re enter the game you are always taken home and it’s a big shortcut compared to what could be several minutes of driving from your location.

The graphics here are good as you would expect. The colors are still dynamic and I like how the levels look. The mech suits look like something out of Adventure 2 battle and Ty no longer has his face looking like he is permanently upset. These aren’t graphics that will win records but they look good and the cinematics still help to really make the game pop out at you. We get more snappy dialogue in this game which I like to see. Ty and one of the villains even get some banter going. As for the soundtrack, well once again I wouldn’t say that it is very memorable but it does the job while you are playing through the game. There is a very good chance that you just won’t remember the songs afterwards.

It was good to see Sly return too. At this point he is totally a good guy though so we are far removed from the days of being an evil Ty. He’s a good enough side character but like the rest of Ty’s friends you never feel like he is actually useful. In a way they all just hold Ty back but maybe one day he can train them. Then he would really have a solid squad that is ready for any kind of situation. In the meantime, Ty just has to count on his own abilities.

In terms of length, the game felt a bit shorter than the first. In part that’s because you just don’t have to beat a lot of side missions here. After a few you have enough to challenge the story level and so you can beat the game at a rather low completion percentage. Still, that means there is more replay value here. If you beat all of the levels and buy every kind of boomerang from the shop, that should buy you a few hours. Maybe with everything combined this would be a 10-12 hour kind of game. The main story I’d say’s probably closer to 6.

If the game could have made the day to day missions feel a little more relevant I think that would have been really good to tighten up the story. It loses a bit of steam there compared to the first game where it all felt focused. There are also a very small amount of sounds for the characters so prepare to hear the townfolk saying the same thing over and over. Beyond that I wouldn’t say the game has any big weaknesses. Certainly nothing that would hold it back for very long.

Overall, Ty 2 is a fun sequel to throw into the mix. I’ve left you in suspense for a while so it’s time to answer the question of whether this beat the original or not. Did it? Well, in the end I would say it did. While the first game may have won in some areas like the levels being a little more thorough and packed with content, the sequel improved on the gameplay and action. It was more exciting and most of all, there was no forced collectibles here. That’s a big win right out of the gate. It may be a little longer until I play the third game but we’ll see if it keeps up the positive trend. If you haven’t played this game yet then this is a good time to change that.

Overall 7/10

Ty The Tasmanian Tiger HD Review

Remasters are a fun way to bring along hype titles from the past. Ty is one of those platformer series that got a little overshadowed by the other big shots like Mario back in the day but he had a full trilogy to himself. That’s definitely impressive and after playing through the game I can say it holds its own. It’s a good all around title that you should have fun with.

The game starts with Ty finding out that the rest of the Tasmanian Tigers were taken down by an evil bird a long time ago. This includes his parents so Ty is all alone in the world now. To try and survive, Ty must gather all of the relics. This will prevent the bird from taking over the world and will also have the added benefit of bringing all of the tigers back into the world. These relics are all in dangerous places though so Ty must keep his wits about him or he will be doomed. So begins the most dangerous adventure of Ty’s career.

The gameplay is your standard 3D adventure. You run and jump across and through obstacles to get to the goal. Each level has the main objective which is to get to the end and then 7+ other missions inside. Each level has a few missions that will be the same across the game like getting all collectibles in a level and others will vary with requests from characters inside. The game is part collectathon so you will want to complete most side missions before going to the next level. This will ensure you don’t get stuck by not having enough Thunder Eggs (You get 1 egg per mission) and have to go back to replay the level. It’s worth noting that each world has a Thunder egg requirement to get to the next world and it doesn’t roll over. So if you need another egg to unlock world 3, don’t bother going back to world 1 to get an extra egg as it won’t count. It must be from word 2.

By and large the requirements for unlocking new worlds are not very large. You should be able to easily beat enough sub missions per level where you don’t have to go back and do any replays. What helps is that you can see the total needed to unlock the next world as soon as you enter it. That’s certainly handy. I’m not a fan of collectathons in general as I think that should never be required for the story. Make that a post game challenge and then everyone’s happy. That said, the game at least makes this one not as punishing once you know that it’s coming so I’ll give the game some credit there. It’s not ideal but I’ll manage.

Now I should mention the biggest unique gameplay element to Ty, which is your boomerang. It’s your main method of attack as well as activating buttons throughout the levels. You fire it off and the boomerang comes back to you. You can also use it to glide which is very handy. The controls are basic so you should be able to master this quickly. Some of the jumps require really good precision so expect to fall a few times but usually there is solid ground under the tougher jumps so you don’t have to worry about dying. As you go through the game you will unlock more powerful boomerangs like the fire and ice ones which are very handy. It’s a fun gameplay style and boomerangs make for a good weapon. The combat is also fun and doesn’t get old.

As for the story itself, Ty gets props for having full cinematic cutscenes here. You’re not going to get any of that plain text box stuff. The Bird is a decent villain and while you might have a hard time remembering some of the names pretty quickly, you will at least remember the designs. It’s a rather standard platformer plot but the cutscenes help take it up a notch. The battle with Ty’s ancestors and the bird’s mech was a really good one after all. Ancestors may be misleading since it seems really recent but it was a lot of tigers at the very least. We get a dark Ty which was a very interesting concept but while I was expecting someone like Shadow the Hedgehog, this guy turned out to not be on that level. The most surprising thing about Sly (Dark Ty) is that he doesn’t even seem to be a match physically which is really rare. Usually the shadow version is at least equal or a bit stronger but Ty takes this guy out whenever they meet with ease. I suppose it works as a twist but you end up feeling a bit bad for Sly if anything because he lost all of his mystique. I’m rooting for the guy to do better but from this game I don’t think he would be getting a lot of fans.

The graphics are solid. The colors all stand out and I like the level designs. Ty always looks like he is really upset or scowling due to where his mouth is but it makes for some amusing moments. The soundtrack is a little more in the forgettable side, I can’t really remember any tracks in particular which isn’t really a good thing. I do think it worked well enough while in the game though so while it isn’t remarkable, it isn’t bad either.

The game length is fairly decent at 5-7 hours. I’d consider that the standard platformer length at least. There is a good amount of replay value with the collectibles and gathering all of the boomerangs. That should take you a decent amount of time. You should also be able to get Ty for a good price so it all balances out. If you want an extra challenge on top of everything, try to beat all non bosses with just the normal boomerang and bite attacks. That said, I did that for most of the game anyway since the other boomerangs don’t have a huge boost in attacks I’ll or anything like that.

Overall, Ty The Tasmanian Tiger is a solid game. It’s certainly a nostalgic kind of platformer that looks and feels like the ones you would have played back in the day. It’s got a nice plot with decent characters and strong gameplay. Those are all the fundamentals you need to have a good experience and so Ty pulls that off. This remaster brought a code for the second game so you can bet I’ll have a review up for that one shortly as well. You can never have too many adventures with Ty after all. If you haven’t played this game yet then I would definitely recommend picking this game up. It’s the kind of game that’s really accessible to anyone and so I would recommend it to any gamer.

Overall 7/10

Pokémon HeartGold SoulSilver: Go! Go! Pokéathlon Review

Pokémon’s certainly had a lot of different titles over the years. Pokémon Adventures is easily the most well known one but there are countless stories you can tell through manga and we have seen a nice variety. You have action titles like Reburst, heists, comedies, trading card manga, etc. Well, this one is a sports one shot and the premise is good enough where you wish it could have been a true ongoing. There’s a whole lot you could do with Pokemon and sports after all. It would end up being one of the big time Pokemon manga titles.

The story follows a kid named Takashi who is really excited to enter the Pokémon Triathalon. He just barely makes it in time but knows that this should be a complete win on his part. He has Onyx, Chikorita, and Pigeotto. His childhood friend Lyra warns him that this competition won’t be easy and he should think things through. Unfortunately that’s not Takashi’s strong point so things start to go south. Takashi has to question if he really stands a shot here. Can he make a comeback or is time to go back to being just an ordinary Pokemon trainer?

The story is only about 20 pages so there isn’t a whole lot of time for events, but we do get to see 3. The first is the hurdles where you have to jump over the stick like in the Olympics. Chikorita would probably be the best pick here right? Well Takashi doesn’t seem to think so and he decides to go with Onyx. I can tell you that at this point I was starting to get a little concerned. Still, maybe he just didn’t think it through… It was a rough loss but you really can’t blame him, I don’t see how you can expect the guy to jump a large distance like that. It’s just not the Onyx way.

Takashi keeps making questionable choices to the point where a bully shows up to mock him. Problem is, Lyra points out that even the bully is taking this more seriously and has put himself in a position to win. He brought berries and drinks for his Pokémon. Takashi admits that he forgot. Now this is already bad but the next scene is easily Takashi’s worst. Lyra says she thought this might happen and so she brought him a Poke smoothie from home. All right, this should give him the edge right? Wrong! As Takashi is walking to the arena he forgets why he is holding a smoothie in the first place and ends up drinking it himself. The guy either has the memory of a goldfish or he just really wanted a smoothie. Either way, it’s an awful look and he doesn’t really deserve to win now. That said, the only other competitor is the bully and we don’t want him to win either so that makes this a tough proposition.

Well, the final event is a classic Pokémon battle only there is a ring out feature this time. The first team to have all of their Pokémon knocked out loses. This event goes really fast which makes sense since the story was ending. I’ll give it kudos for having a decent way for Takashi to compete here even if the Pokémon did all the work. The bully is redeemed and we get a happy ending to end off with. It’s a solid ending and that wraps up our journey.

This was a fun story although I think it was a bit exaggerated with how bad Takashi was. It gets to the point where you seriously can’t root for him. He massively squanders every possible opportunity. The smoothie scene was certainly inexcusable. He’s a nice kid but ultimately I can’t say I liked Takashi. If you’re going to enter a tournament I expect your best. Whether you win or lose doesn’t matter as long as I know you tried your best. Takashi didn’t seem to be trying his best though which is a bit much.

Lyra did her best at least. She came prepared after all but I would have liked to have seen her in more events since if seems like she did enter. I suppose she just happened to be in different events most of the time which is reasonable. It seems like a big enough event where you had a lot of different sports going on at the same time so you couldn’t enter all of them. Even as the story ends we’re not done with the triathlon and more events are to come. I never got to try any Triathlons in the games since I don’t own HeartGold yet, but it sounds fun enough. Sort of like minigames so if the controls are on point this could be really solid.

The artwork is on point as well too. The pages are very clear and you can always tell what is happening. It makes for an easy read and you’ll be blasting through the chapter. The writing’s good and it’s just a pleasant light hearted adventure to read through. It’s probably not going to be a super memorable one that you go back to every few years or anything like that but it’s a good read. If you enjoy it enough perhaps it will even convince you to buy HeartGold so you can try it out for yourself. Now that would be a real win for the story.

Overall, There’s certainly nothing really negative to say about the manga. It’d be nice to have had some more pages so we could really enjoy the actual events though. Here it’s more like we see the start and end but don’t get a whole lot beyond that. With another 10-15 pages I think we would have gotten a whole lot more action which would have worked out really well. Pokemon will continue to get more and more manga though so I look forward to seeing which one shows up next. The franchise is vast and I doubt we’ll ever run out of new ideas to create manga for. The series just has too much potential.

Overall 7/10