High Score 292100
High Score 292100
Believe it or not, I actually had not played all the way through this game before. I almost feel like I need to turn in my Nintendo fan card at this point since the game is so iconic. In my defense, I’ve played bits and pieces of the game on a variety of different systems and equipment so maybe I should cut myself some slack. It’s definitely a fun game that holds up well. Naturally it’s nowhere near the level of the modern Mario games for many reasons, but it’s definitely a title that you can go back to at any time.
You’re thrown right into the thick of the action when you start the game. The basic plot is that Princess Peach has been kidnapped and you have to destroy Bowser 8 times in order to free her. There isn’t much of a story beyond that though as the game didn’t really have cutscenes except for brief text at the end of each world. You must now journey through all of the levels to get to the end. Each of the 8 worlds has 4 levels and they’re all a few minutes long so you can get through the game very quickly. There are also some shortcuts which allow you to skip whole worlds.
I’ve seen some speed runs where a guy beats it in a matter of minutes so the shortcuts in this game are certainly quite legit. I found one by chance during my playthrough which I did use. It’s definitely cool and a nice little Easter Egg for fans who play through the game. The gameplay is pretty straightforward as you run through the level and try to make it to the flag at the end. (Or you touch the axe at the end if it’s a boss level) The controls may feel a bit slippery if you haven’t played it in a while. Mario tends to keep his momentum during the jumps so you can very quickly find yourself flying away.
The graphics are fairly basic, but look nice. The game has a solid aesthetic. There is a good variety in the levels and there was clearly a good amount of effort put into the game. The soundtrack is also pretty nice. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though as once you beat the game I don’t see why you’d go through it a second time. At the very least, you probably wouldn’t do that right away. So this game will probably provide you with about an hour or two of entertainment. Of course, you can play this game for free almost anywhere so that’s not bad.
Naturally there isn’t much more to be said about the game since there isn’t a lot of content. I will say that I’m glad for the NES access points as they do come in handy for the retro games like this. My gameplay style is all about running in first and jumping later so I tend to get hit by the enemies quite a lot. Usually I die in cheesy ways, but in my defense I just can’t wait for the enemies to move. I got to go go go!
Overall, Super Mario Bros is definitely good. It reminds you of how much quality Nintendo always puts into their products. It’s easy to see why Mario did so well. I’m sure the game probably amazed everyone back in the day. If you’re a big Nintendo fan then I’d certainly urge you to play this at least once. You’ve really got to experience Super Mario Bros to see why it’s such a big deal for everyone. It’s a good moment for gaming history in general.
It’s time to look at the original Dr Mario game. This title was actually pretty iconic back in the day as we got many more Dr Mairo games afterwards. Just look at that mobile title we’re getting soon. Dr Mario is one of those games that is very accessible and just a lot of fun to play. Of course, this one is a lot more limited than the newer ones as there was only so much you could do back then but the concept was sound so I definitely recommend checking this game out.
There is only one mode here of course and that’s the normal destroy all viruses to win mode. There are 20 different levels which determines how fast the board moves and how many viruses are on the screen. I definitely recommend starting with level 1 while you get the hang of the game. I was able to make it to about level 8 and then at that point the viruses overwhelmed me. You can also skip to level 20 to quickly see what it’s like. You’ll certainly feel overwhelmed before long though. It’s just hard to make matches in time before the blocks hit the ceiling. The game is also smart as when you pause the game the screen vanishes so you can’t cheese it out by constantly pausing. It’s one of those things where it seems obvious, but it’s still important that the developers realized this in time.
In the settings you can switch up the speed which is pretty nice. Unlike the Yoshi game you can’t switch the soundtrack though so that part’s a little different. It’s a more complete game than Yoshi, at least as far as content is concerned. The graphics aren’t quite as impressive though. Still, there is less to look at just due to how Dr Mario is set up so in a way this definitely does make sense. It’s not as if it looks bad. The music isn’t quite as good as the Yoshi game either but it is nostalgic to hear the Dr Mario theme.
As for the gameplay, you may already know it, but I’ll mention how it works just in case. You have to clear the board of viruses. Each virus is a specific color like the blocks that are falling onto the screen. To remove a virus you have to match it with 3 other blocks of the same color. Likewise you will do that to get rid of the extra blocks as well. It’s a simple concept, but executing this will get tougher and tougher with each level. By the end of the levels you will need to be doing all of this on instinct without actually thinking about your moves much. If you stop to think about them then you will truly be doomed. You’ll definitely get better at the game the more you play it though. Who knows, play it long enough and these latter levels may even feel easy.
There’s a lot of replay value here. That’s because the levels are quick and fast paced. It’s easy to jump right in and pick up where you left off. The challenge always feels pretty fair without being too lenient. I’d like to see a modern take on this for consoles. I know we have the mobile game coming up, but it’d be fun to see what the game would look like with massive graphics and a cool new soundtrack or something. Maybe someday.
Overall, Dr Mario is a fun game. It’s really got everything you could want in a Connect 4 type game from back in the day. It also reminds you how influential Tetris was as everyone tried to copy it back in the day. Dr. Mario was one of the successful ones and manages to still differentiate itself. He even got himself a playable spot in Super Smash Bros Melee which is no small feat. If you have never tried this game before then you’re missing out and need to change that ASAP.
No stats this time!
Max Level: 12
Yoshis saved: 40
It’s time to look at a very old Nintendo game. This one is so old that I’ve actually never heard of it before. If you told me that Yoshi got a game which was just called…Yoshi, I never would have believed you. I probably would have laughed and quickly explained that we already had Dr. Mario and Wario’s Woods. Surely Nintendo wouldn’t do a third Tetris type game right? Well…apparently they did! This Nintendo Switch Online virtual console has definitely been helpful for finding out about Nintendo games that I never played before. It’s actually reasonably fun, but there’s next to no content here so you’ll be done after about an hour or so.
The gameplay is pretty simple. You play as Mario who is holding two plates. There are roughly 6 different columns where you can put the plates and various Mario enemies fall down from the sky. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to quickly match these falling objects. For example, if you catch a Goomba on Column 3 and you see another one falling in Column 6, then you want to carry the one from 3 to 6. They will cancel each other out and you’ll have some free room. If you miss, then now both columns have a Goomba in them. The ultimate goal here is to survive as long as possible by making matches so that you can catch Yoshi eggs and hatch the little guys. It’s a tough job but someone has got to do it right?
It’s a fun enough game. It’s the kind of title that you would probably expect to see on the App Store. If anything, the only aspect of the title which holds it back is the lack of replay value. The game only has one level that keeps on going forever until you lose. There are 3 music tracks and you have now heard the extent of the game. After you’ve played it for a few rounds you will be ready to move on. For what it’s worth, it is a fun title, but it’s just one that has been easily surpassed by games like Dr. Mario. There isn’t much reason to play Yoshi at this point. So, it’s not a bad game, but it’s not a particularly impressive one either.
The graphics look pretty good all things considered. The colors pop and it actually was pretty ahead of its time. The music selection may have been severely limited, but they were all good tunes. The game also does help you practice quick decision making as you have to try and remember where you’ve got each minion. You don’t have time to sit down and deliberate so you have to get into action immediately. I could feel myself getting better by the end and I did make it to level 12 which I found pretty satisfying.
Overall, If you haven’t played Yoshi yet then you should give it a whirl. If you have the Nintendo Switch and are paying for online then you may as well try the game out right? It won’t cost you a thing and it’s a fun way to spend 30-60 minutes. After that, you realistically won’t be playing it again. Still, you can say that you’ve played the original Yoshi game and I don’t think that there are a whole lot of people who can say that. You should be proud.
Play Time 42m
Total Lines 125
Max COMBO 2
With Nintendo finally having a new direct after such an extended absence of not having one, I was definitely ready to see what they would announce. They did not disappoint with their big title being Tetris 99. Right now we are in the era of the freemium games. Why pay 60 for something like Call of Duty when you can play Fortnite for free and still get all of the features? I think we will keep seeing a rise in these kind of games and that’s a good thing. Of course, that does mean that the shovel ware may start to come soon but we’ll tackle that issue when it arises.
The game is pretty simple fundamentally. You have a large board of columns and rows and blocks start to fall into it one at a time. Your goal is to keep the blocks from filling it up which means that you have to destroy the blocks. The way that you do that is by filling up a full row. Sounds easy enough right? There are only about 5 different kinds of blocks so you’ll want to memorize how they go.
It’s definitely a lot harder than it sounds though. The game assumes that you are already quite proficient with Tetris so there is no tutorial to be found or anything like that. You’re just tossed into the action and from there you have to learn these things. One thing that takes some time to get used to is the fact that even if a block looks like it should fit, you can’t put a block under a space that is filled. This is the single trickiest part that will mess you up over and over again until you finally master how that works.
By that point you will want to work on your speed. You’re able to cause the piece to fall immediately to the ground or you can go slow and take your time. The latter is only when you are unsure of what to do as the former is always better. Taking your time is just asking other players to attack you and cause the screen to fill right up. Of course, going fast when you’re not sure what to do will just cause you to lose so it’s definitely a tough choice. Right now I’ve only reached top 50 a few times and haven’t come close to winning yet so I still need some practice.
That’s all about Tetris though so let’s talk about the 99 part. This is a battle royale after all. There are 98 other players also trying to keep their jars empty. When you clear a row you get to send a piece of junk to the opponent. They can clear it away by also clearing a row. However, if they fail to do so on time then a bunch of blocks will fill up a few rows. With less rows to use you can see how this would make things difficult. You can choose who to attack for quick KOs, but it takes some time and in a fast paced game like this it’s risky.
The graphics are pretty nice I’d say. The levels are bright and everything is well defined. It may not be the next Kingdom Hearts, but you’ll always know what you’re doing with minimal confusion. (Well, not counting the mechanics as you’ll need to look those up) There isn’t much of a soundtrack that I noticed but the tunes that you hear in the background are all pretty fitting. There was clearly some good effort put into this game. I also hear that it’ll be getting some ongoing updates so that should make the game even better.
The replay value here is pretty self explanatory. You can just keep playing to get a lot better and more proficient at everything. The game keeps detailed stats including your Play Time and Wins. Your user level also goes up. I got up to around level 5-6 and I saw some people as high as 21. It’s the little things like that which help take this game to the next level.
Overall, Tetris 99 is definitely fun. The matches are quick so it’s easy to just keep on going. The loading times between battles are a bit long admittedly but I guess that makes sense considering how many people are playing in each battle. The aesthetic is nice and as the game is free there isn’t really a drawback to buying it. I’d definitely recommend getting this game ASAP as it will naturally be a lot more fun when everyone is playing it. It’s the kind of game where you want to have a full lobby to fully appreciate what the game should be like. There isn’t a whole lot of other stuff to say about this game due to the very nature of it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a title you should play.
I’m not too familiar with Banjo-Kazooie despite hearing the name a whole lot. The problem is that most of the games never came out for a console that I’ve owned. This is the first installment that I get to play. The lead duo seem fun enough and I’m always up for more platformers. I may have joined this franchise late, but better late than never right? It’s a fun title and one that you won’t want to miss on for the GBA. You don’t have to worry about playing previous games to understand what is going on here.
The plot starts with Gruntilda escaping her rocky grave to enact her revenge on Banjo and Kazooie. She succeeds in kidnapping Kazooie so now Banjo must do whatever he can to get his pal back. Fortunately his friends are around to give him useful tips and transformation techniques so he can succeed at this goal. Once the duo is together again, they vow to put an end to Gruntilda’s plans once and for all. Let the villains try to stop them, nobody can mess with their teamwork!!
The plot is fairly direct as you’d expect. There are 6 worlds and each one has a certain amount of objects to obtain. Grab enough and you can head to the next world. You’ll need 50/60 of them in order to fight the final boss so you can effectively skip a world if you collected them all. I don’t think it is possible to skip the entire world since some orbs can’t be obtained until after you get some other power ups but you can skip a reasonable chunk of them. Each world is connected through a door so by the end of the game the hub world is quite huge. You’ll probably get lost a few times, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it and then it’ll all be cake for you.
The levels use an overhead camera and you move as you would expect. You start the game only being able to jump and roll but by the end you can glide, use super jumps, and have an array of other abilities at your disposal. You better make sure your L and R buttons work well because if they’re damaged like mine then the latter levels could be a little tougher than you might expect. Always keep your guard up. None of the levels feel cheesy and there aren’t any bugs that I came across so the game is designed well.
Graphically the game has aged quite well. The character models are on point and the level layouts are nice. There isn’t much to say about the soundtrack, but the themes aren’t bad. On a technical level the game succeeds. I also naturally have to mention that the sound effects used for whenever a character would talk are naturally a blast as well. It reminds me of Yooka Laylee which is likely a homage to this title. Everyone sounds like they’re gargling under water and over the top effects like that are always fun. The only area where the game does get a bit iffy with the replay value though. You’ll be able to easily 100% the game in under 10 hours. At that point there won’t be anything more to do. Still, it’s a fun play through and if anyone ever asks you what a platformer is you can redirect them to this game. It contains everything you would expect to be in a title of this genre. It’s a solid all around title.
I also appreciate how Banjo and Kazzoie both have unique personalities. It feels like some platforming protagonists don’t have a whole lot to say or express during the game. These guys are not like that. Kazooie is the kind of guy who is constantly throwing insults around and he keeps everyone on edge. While getting kidnapped may prevent you from taking his tough talk seriously, it’s always good to have a character like that. Without him the villains would probably walk all over Banjo. In comparison, Banjo’s a very nice guy who is always doing his best. He stays polite through it all and I suppose that this is admirable although he isn’t nearly as much fun as Kazooie.
Aside from the main platforming levels you also have a few minigames which are always fun. One of them is a fishing game where you have to reel in some fish. The timing of it can definitely get tricky and you’ll need to grab a lot of them but it’s a satisfying side mission to grab your attention. Then you also have the slides, there seems to be 1 per world. These are easy but also a nice detour as you try to grab a lot of energy pieces. I’d be game for more little side events like that.
As for the villains, we have two of them in this title. The main villain is Gruntilda who is a witch with a lot of hype. She seems reasonably tough and I do like her confidence. She is a lot better than her sidekick who is a very smart King K Rool type foe, but one who doesn’t command her level of respect. I can see them returning for most if not all of the games in the series.
Overall, Banjo-Kazooie is a fun game. I can see why the series was well liked in the past. The levels are well designed and the gameplay is pretty smooth. It has some unique gimmicks to complement the adventure and you’ll get to use all of your skills as the game goes on. It’s a little on the short side, but I imagine that the main games would have had a lot more content to wrap things up. If you get this game for a good price then it’s certainly worth it. I don’t think this series will be ready for the big hitters quite yet, but I look forward to a modern remake some day.
It’s time to look at the latest Pokemon film. This one is the follow up to the last adventure which was a reboot of the series. That one was the worst Pokemon film to date though which limited my excitement for this one. Furthering that was the fact that the promotion for this film was about how it would be an ensemble cast this time so it wouldn’t just be Ash stealing the show. That’s definitely not what I was hoping to hear at this point. It is unfortunately another weak Pokemon installment, but still an improvement over the last one. Put it this way, as a film it is decently good, it’s just not up to the usual Pokemon standard.
The film revolves around a few characters as I mentioned. One of the main ones is a girl named Risa. She doesn’t have any Pokemon, but is asked to catch one by her sickly brother. Heroically Risa decides to go catch one, but she gets bad advice from the local liar Callahan which causes her to waste a lot of time. Fortunately she runs into Ash who just finished saving a little girl named Margo. Ash shows her how to catch the Pokemon, but now they have bigger problems. The flame lighting the village has disappeared and without it Lugia won’t know to show up and save the village with another year of wind. Ash and friends must unite to fix this situation but can they do it?
Right away you’ll feel a little bad for the village here since it must be rough living on the edge like this every year. If Lugia doesn’t show up even once then it seems like everyone in the village will die. That just doesn’t seem like the most enjoyable living situation. You’d think Lugia could improve the town a bit or maybe give them wind for multiple years at a time. It’s also been so many years that you’d think he could find the village from memory. Ah well, either way Ash and the others have got this.
The film goes out of its way to show you how mean the villagers are early on though. For example, we have the bullies who try beating up Margo. They would have seriously attacked her if Ash hadn’t stepped in which is pretty crazy. Then you have the old lady who doesn’t like Pokemon and is constantly trying to shoo them away. She has a backstory which explains this of course, but it doesn’t help her current disposition all that much. The backstory was also a little too dark. No reason a Pokemon had to die there. It’s like the film is trying to bump off a Pokemon in each of the new films. As we are only two installments into the series it is hard to tell so far though. We’ll know more as the series goes on. Needless to say, the old lady wasn’t all that good.
Then we have Callahan. His whole gimmick is that he’s always lying which is pretty dicey. A lot of fun characters have been invented this way of course, but to effectively pull off this cliche the character has to be quick on his/her feet. Look at Hercule or King. Both characters work so well because they do a good job of hiding their lies. This guy doesn’t even try. Part of the reason for this of course is that we need to wrap up the plot before the end of the movie so it has to go wrong almost immediately as opposed to dragging it out for the entire series. Ultimately Callahan does end up getting past his lying ways, but he sure put a lot of people in danger in the meantime.
Then we have the scientist. His problem is that the film makes him way too timid. Not only does he have a hard time speaking in public, he can’t even talk to an old lady without shaking in fear and crumpling to the ground. The former is realistic while the latter is just trying too hard to be funny. Even during his big speech at the end where he finally mans up the character ends up getting scared. That’s not how you finish a character arc. That just cements the fact that the character’s arc didn’t have a good ending. He finished as he started. The worst part for him was when he put in the wrong tape during the presentation though. At the very least he should be good with the technology. That should be the one area where he is confident and knows what to do even if he panics for the rest. Otherwise he really doesn’t have any business being one of the professionals.
So those supporting characters didn’t work so well. Lets talk about the ones that were good. I did like Risa. She did a good job of helping out and taking charge when necessary. She got past her leg injury to help in the climax as well. Even after being tricked by Callahan she was nice enough not to rat him out. Then we’ve got the new Pokemon Zeraora. He’s a pretty cool electric type. He reminds me a bit of Manectric. This guy is pretty strong and fast. It is a bit dicey with how he just starts trying to fight Ash and co. at the end though. I feel like the situation should have been pretty obvious to him by that point. Nearly destroying a bunch of innocent Pokemon in the process would have been quite a blow s well.
He does give us a great fight scene/2 where he shows off his speed. Speed is very important for a fighter and Zeraora uses it quite well. It’s a shame that he is weakened for most of the film though so we can’t see his upper limits. I’d say that he seems to be a match for the Pesudo legendaries but based on this he probably wouldn’t beat the main ones. Still, I like the design and I look forward to seeing him in Pokemon Go at some point.
Ash looks great here. This is easily one of his best appearances to date. His opening scene has him catch a projectile that almost hit a kid. He then stops some poachers from getting another Pokemon. While this version of Ash may be early on his journey he carries himself as a seasoned veteran. Truly this is the Ash that you want to see in a film like this. He’s basically perfect and this is one of his best appearances to date. He steals any scene that he is in. You also get the feeling that there are very few who can beat him in a Pokemon battle in this universe.
The animation looks pretty good. It’s much better than the art direction we got for Sun and Moon, but not nearly as good as Kalos so it’s somewhere in the middle there. It seems to be trying to look more mainstream if I had to try and put the look into words. It does excel when the fight scenes start though. The battles with Zeraora are quite excellent. That’s why it’s a shame that we don’t get much action in this film. There are only a few quick skirmishes. The rest of the film is more about the dialogue which is fine, but the characters aren’t quite interesting enough to make that as exciting as a good fight. The soundtrack is also not that inspired for the most part. We get a good song or two, but most of the ost is a bit flat.
There’s also one scene where everyone looks bad. It’s borderline a plot hole. After Ash stops the poachers they decide to run and the mayor says to just let them get away. Why? These guys are breaking the law and if you let them gt away they’ll hunt more and more Pokemon. I didn’t agree with the decision at all. The worst part is that the poachers do not appear again so they really did get off without any repercussions. It just wasn’t a well written scene at all.
Overall, The Power of Us is an ambitious concept but one that did not work. I think if you want to do a big ensemble cast like this then they have to all be new characters. Don’t have Ash in it at all. Make it a very unique Pokemon spinoff that takes place as its own thing. Alternately, they should all be characters we are familiar with like Misty and Dawn. You can’t mix and match like this because then the new characters just seem like they are stealing away Ash’s screen time and that’s one thing that you don’t want to see happen. All in all, I’d still recommend this film but only if you’ve already seen the others. If not, I’d suggest checking out the original movie or Destiny Deoxys instead. Those really help define what a Pokemon movie should be.