Level 1 88%
Level 2 72%
Level 3 86%
Level 4 91%
Level 5 96%
Level 6 100%
Total Score 53300 88%
Level 1 88%
Level 2 72%
Level 3 86%
Level 4 91%
Level 5 96%
Level 6 100%
Total Score 53300 88%
The SNES Online is finally active! There were many who doubted that it would happen so quickly and I was definitely one of them. It turned out to be a pleasant surprise when it was announced in the direct and of course I had to jump in. My first choice was Star Fox. I’d actually never played the original one before now so that was fun. It’s definitely a short game and one that doesn’t hold up nearly as well as most of Nintendo’s other classics. Still, it’s not bad for a quick run through.
The basic plot is that Andross is here and he wants to end the entire solar system using whatever means he can. Team Star Fox is put on the case to stop him so they follow his evil trail across the cosmos. They aim to stop him once and for all when they get to the final base but it may not be quite as easy as all that. He certainly isn’t going to be pulling any punches here.
The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You’re in a ship that is flying in a straight line although you are able to move left to right as well as up and down. You blast at obstacles in your way and at the end of the level there is a boss that you will have to blast out of the sky. The health bar from the boss is fairly large so it will take a lot of shots to put him down and you’ll likely need a lot of lives to really master his patterns.Fortunately the Switch has save states and rewinding so it wasn’t all that bad.
There are around 5-6 levels and you can beat the game in around 30-40 minutes. It’s not long by any means but there are alternate paths you can take as well. There are 3 in total so I guess the game would be about 2 hours which isn’t bad. Some of the enemy attacks will feel like they didn’t really hit you but I suppose the attacks may appear to be farther than they are like in a car. There’s no real replay value beyond that so just make sure that you enjoy the adventure along the way.
In terms of graphics the game is definitely not very impressive. It’s all very blocky and pixelated like a computer game. In someways it looks worse than most of the NES games, but maybe it’s just an artstyle that didn’t age particularly well. You never want to see a game not age well,but that’s the case with how this one looks. At least the soundtrack is quite good though. Most of the themes will sound familiar from the Super Smash games since a lot of these tunes were remixed.They’re always fun to hear.
I’m trying to wonder how people would have enjoyed this one back in the day. It has actual cutscenes and such so you’d be engaged but I wouldn’t like having to replay the levels so often because I definitely would have gotten a lot of game overs before the end of the game. It’s a sobering thought, but it does make me wonder how much of a big video game fan I would have really been back in the day. I think I would have had a very limited game collector because I’d focus on ones that had a save feature or ones that were just really addictive like Pac-Man. The rest would have simply not made the cut.
While the game may not be a global hit for me, I do think it had some good ideas with regard to the boss fights. The Andross battle is very creative and has multiple phases which is something that I feel was probably pretty unique for its time. The spinning disc battle also forces you to get really good at dodging and outmaneuvering the enemies. All of these fundamental skills are ones that will transfer well into other games so they’re worth knowing.
Overall, Star Fox is a decently fun game, but one that only really passes the bar with today’s modern features. The game as it is perfectly hits the middle since it’s a decent experience, but not one that I would ever find myself going back to. It’s just too short and feels more like a demo to the Star Fox series than an actual installment. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should still check it out since it’s free. You can’t go wrong with being free of course, but otherwise you’re really not missing anything if you end up skipping it.
It’s time to look at Nintendo’s latest mobile adventure. Pokémon is one of those series that can really sell well so it makes sense to jump into the market. Just look at Pokémon Go after all. Unfortunately, this one does make some errors along the way which prevent it from being the ultimate title it could be. Still, it’s a great experience and one you may find yourself sticking with for a long time.
The basic plot of the game is that a big tournament has been announced which is called the PML. It is a 3 on 3 tournament with each trainer choosing one buddy Pokémon to team with in this grand adventure. The main character is a new trainer who has been steadily improving his skills. He quickly impressed gym leaders and elite four members and is one of the favorites to win the tournament. Of course to qualify he must first get all of the gym badges and then it’s off to the races.
The story is pretty good. I am glad that the game already covers grabbing all of the badges and the tournament has even begun. I am wondering how the game will stretch this story out for years like the other mobile games. Either we will keep fighting old teams who jump ship or Team Break will interrupt the tournament at some point. One thing that the game could have made clearer are the rules for the tournament though. Originally as it is a 3 on 3 tournament you assume that losing knocks a team out as you proceed. Instead when you beat a team their members are allowed to join you. That means you’re stuck in a lengthy loop if everyone keeps rejoining teams. I feel like once you have lost you should be eliminated from the tournament. By the end of the current campaign the main team may have up to 60+ teams which is pretty insane. This tournament definitely doesn’t seem all that balanced.
The characters also bring up a valid point about how the tournament organizer’s plan doesn’t make sense. He doesn’t believe in friendship or bonds so why did he make a tournament where it’s mandatory to have both of those? It just seems a little odd to be honest. Maybe it’s just his chance to beat all the opponents and prove that the bonds were fake, but it’s a pretty roundabout strategy.
Now when it comes to the soundtrack this game is top notch. It’s comprised of a bunch of awesome remixes for previous battle themes from games of all previous generations. Not a single one is left out and they are all quite catchy. I dare say that the soundtrack is one of the best parts of the game. I ended up turning off the special effect sounds and voices so I could focus on the music. A lot of these remixes even beat the originals. Then you’ve got the graphics which are quite incredible. This does not look like a mobile game and could hold its own with the mainline titles. The character models are on point and there is some actual voice acting so the game did get a good amount of effort out behind it.
I haven’t spoken about the gameplay much yet. It’s a turn based style similar to the main games only you’ve got a meter that lets you know when you can attack again. This way you are more focused on coordinating your attack strategies quickly instead of waiting for the opponent to make a move. Weak moves only take one bar of energy while the stronger ones take 3. Usually anything weaker than 3 is not worth using. Support abilities are crucial though so definitely bring those into play. The gameplay is easy to get the hang of so you should be fine.
There is a lot of content in the game aside from the story. (and the story is fairly long as it is) Every day you get 3 extra levels with 3 difficulties that you can play 3 times each for a lot of items which are used to raise your level cap. You’ve also got the permanent ones which you can play all day to further stockpile your materials. Each character you recruit comes with an extra mission that is basically a long cutscene. Leveling up each character is quick, but they’ve got multiple caps which can only be broken with a considerable amount of materials. Once you have to get the gym notes you are really going to be stuck for a while since you have to beat incredibly hard levels. These levels cannot be beaten on your own so you’ll have to jump into the online content which the game seems to be heavily pushing.
Unfortunately the online is the weakest part of the game so it’s too bad that it’s effectively mandatory. The online matches take forever because the speed is set to 1. I always have it set to 4 to make the matches go a lot quicker so by comparison 1 feels like we are moving at turtle speed. Even then the gym notes aren’t guaranteed so you’re starting to see the grind. This game definitely has a ton of grinding within it if you want to go far. I played for well over 15 hours and didn’t even get a single gym note. You need around 3-5 just to unlock the cap again.
The good news is that there is no energy meter so you can really play the game for as long as you want. Some speculate that this is why there is so much grinding and I suppose that makes sense. Still, I think the game overdoes it with the grinding. After you’ve beaten the main story up to the current update then it becomes really apparent just how much grinding you are expected to do. So, it’s definitely a tradeoff.
It’s still an addicting game of course, but one that could use more of an end game. It does feel noticeably emptier once you have beaten the main story and I know that I would never be all that thrilled about the multiplayer stuff. I like fighting other players but the co-op option won’t work if the speed is stuck to 1. Maybe that will change down the road. I imagine that this is the kind of game that will only get better and better as it goes on so there is a lot to be hopeful about here.
Overall, Pokemon Masters is definitely a great game. It’s got some flaws, but they are not enough to overcome the smooth gameplay and top tier music/graphics. This is a game that big Pokemon fans will get a kick out of for the story as well. It’s nice to see all of the classic characters again and in particular the team up with the Black & White main characters was really nice. I’m sure that when Red shows up that will be a powerful moment as well. This game will probably last years so maybe in a decade or so I’ll check back in and see how far the story has gone.
Play Time 14h 4m
Orders Complete 44/185
X-Baton Level 6
Legatus Level 6
Subject Logs 0/167
Location Information 22/22
Persons of Interest 1/43
It’s time to look at one of Nintendo’s most recent games. This one looked like a day 1 purchase right away. It really had everything I could want from a game through its solid gameplay, epic soundtrack, cinematic story, etc. Astral Chain was pretty much guaranteed to be a home run hit and I’m glad to say that it did not disappoint. I definitely hope the game gets a sequel and it continues to show why Platinum is so good at making quality titles. The game will last you for around 14 hours to complete the main story which is pretty good.
The basic plot is that the world is under attack by invisible monsters. The only way to see them is to equip a Legion which is effectively a captured monster that you fight with. This helps to even the playing field with the evil monsters. The main character is one of those silent assassin types who gets the job done without complaint. His sister Akira is the more vocal member of the group who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. The two are selected to be in the Legion program and now work to make the world a safer place. Still, it is odd how there are so many portals with monsters showing up lately and their boss seems rather shady. Akira and the lead will have to stay sharp.
I picked the guy to play as, but if you had chosen to play as Akira then the guy would probably be doing the talking while you are silent. I’m definitely never a big fan of the silent lead, but I suppose it’s not like it hurts the story all that much. It just makes him really lacking in personality. Also, even though I named him Terry nobody actually called me that and in two different cutscenes they called him something else which I’m guessing is his actual name. Still, while the lead has no character the heroine is mostly solid. She’s quick to stand up to the bosses and jumps into action. Her character arc does go in some dicey directions such as her final fight with us which really came out of nowhere. Akira was solid for the most part though and that’s what counts in the end.
The gameplay is that of a 3D brawler. You can fight up close with the sword or hang back and use your gun. The gun is significantly weaker than the sword so it’s not something you’ll want to use very often. A big part of the gameplay is also in controlling your Legion. It’s effectively like an A.I. ally who comes in to help you. His attacks deal massive damage and you can also use him to jump across large distances or for combo moves. The gameplay has a lot of depth to it, but it’s explained well so you’ll quickly get the hang of it. There is also a training room with a lot of tutorials you can go to if you ever forget how to do something. The game also helpfully reminds you of the key abilities whenever you’re in a puzzle which I definitely appreciate.
The soundtrack is definitely quite solid. The main boss theme is rock based and really gets you into the zone. The whole game just clicks really well and it goes without saying that the graphics are really good as well. You can customize your character’s look a lot as well which sticks around for the cutscenes. I had fun changing up my character depending on what was happening. I started out as a hopeful cadet, then I switched to a casual slacker, and then finally to a very cynical rogue. It was a fun little side thing for sure.
I’d say that the only weak part of the game (relatively speaking. This is still a 9 star title so there wasn’t anything seriously weak here) was the investigation parts. I don’t really think this ended up adding much to the game. I suppose it helps the immersion since you’re a cop and there should be a lot of investigating going around. It’s just a lot slower than the actual combat and while you’re finding clues all you can think of it continuing the story a little more. Other than that, the game is very fast paced from start to finish with a lot of twists and turns all around.
I would say that there are enough loose ends here to have a sequel come up. Really it feels like the humans are still the shady ones here, but either way the threat isn’t over. Two plans have already been put into action without results so the heroes are going to have to think of what to do next. If there is no sequel the ending here can still be seen as definitive, but I think a sequel would be a good idea. I’m also glad that the main character stayed strong all the way through to the end even if his legion did not have similar resolve in his actions. One is better than none.
Assuming you’re playing on the Platinum difficulty then I recommend buying upgrades to your Legolas right away. Doing so gives you extra batteries which are effectively extra lives. They are incredibly handy when fighting with the bosses. The game is reasonably difficult so you’ll also want to have items on hand. They’re a little expensive but you want to be maxed out on battery chargers at all times. I barely took down the final boss and that’s considering that I came prepared with around 10 batteries and a bunch of full heals. If you come in with anything less then you’re definitely going to possibly be in some trouble. For replay value you can work on maxing out all of your legions after beating the game. There are also a bunch of side quests and achievements to complete as well. This will definitely take you some time and I expect you will be well acquainted with the world by the end of your adventures.
Overall, Astral Chain is definitely an excellent game and I highly recommend checking it out. The menu screens are all very intuitive. Leveling up is pretty easy and never feels like a drag. Obtaining enough premium codes to max everyone out seems like it’ll take a long time, but the replay value is good. It’s not forced so you only have to keep going if you want to. With all of the difficulty levels here you never have to feel like you’re truly stuck. As you learn the boss patterns you can also put up a much better fight the longer you train. If you don’t have this game yet then you’re going to want to change that.
Play Time 1h 44m
Balance Bridge 18000
Roll’em Up 6875
Penalty Kick 16800
Hide the Joker 24000
Ghost Flashlight –
Fantasy Stick 15500
Number Balloons 16100
Block Race –
Lightning Order 17040
Cloud Jumper 3500
Obstacle Overrun 14300
Dot Image 11200
Spark Ball 21360
Boat Race –
Air Hockey 18600
Chancy Crane 4850
Earth Defense Team 15200
Cowboy Barrel Dodge 15000
Flying Teacups 15000
Magical Panels 11500
Horse Jump 16700
Technically, I played through this game many years ago, but my Wii broke before I could grab the review. We got a new Wii shortly afterwards but never really got around to replaying this game. I figured now was as good a time as any so I booted it up and went through a few tournies. I grabbed my team from Pokémon Diamond which included fighters from Pokémon Ruby. With Groudon and Blaziken at the ready I was prepared to take names. Unfortunately this game still doesn’t hold up as a spiritual successor to Pokémon Stadium.
When you start the game you are introduced to your limited amount of modes. The main one is to jump right into the Colosseums as you try to conquer them all. Every time you defeat an arena you get some money which you can use in the local shop to buy some clothes. The idea is that your character will look fancier and fancier as you win tournaments and by the end you will look like the champ. There’s not a ton of outfits to buy at the moment so it seems easy to get them all, but I’m guessing that you unlock more outfits as you progress during the game. It’s a quick but nice way to add replay value I suppose. Hopefully you enjoy this because that’s really the extent of the replay value.
For the Colosseums the game makes the odd decision to add a lot of luck and chance to the equation. Before I get ahead of myself though you may be wondering how you get Pokémon. Well, you start the game off with a “rental pass” which gives you access to 6 Pokemon that the game chooses for you. You can also connect one of your portable Pokemon games to bring over a real team which I highly recommend. Once you’ve done that, you enter the colosseums which all have different rules. There is the standard 1 vs 1 battles with 3 Pokémon each and the doubles battles with 4. These are classic and work well.
Then the game decides to get sneaky and introduces the Neon tournament. This one throws in a wheel of fortune and the gimmick here is that your Pokémon as well as your opponent’s are thrown into the wheel and both of you throw darts at it. Whoever it lands on is the Pokémon you will use and each of you do that until you have a full team at the ready. Of course the computer got my Groudon right away…. I don’t see the point of putting this level of luck into the game. Part of the point of Pokémon is to fight alongside the Pokémon you’ve trained up, not some random ones.
Another problem with this one is the colosseum length which makes losing pretty punishing. The tournaments are mainly 7 rounds and you have to win them all back to back. You can do a quick save to take a break from the game but if you lose any of the 7 matches then you have to start the tournament all over again. That means for the luck based one you have to be fortunate many times in a row. That’s not really something you want to bank on. Personally I would have either shortened the tournaments to 3-4 battles or I would have just made it so you continue from where you lost. Either option makes for a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. As it stands the colosseums are too punishing and not rewarding enough.
The game also suffers from how long the matches take which is something that affects most of the big console Pokémon games to be fair. There are a lot of animations in the battles and they can’t be turned off so you have to watch each attack. Even Pokémon Colosseum was affected by this so I’m guessing it is difficult to speed up the games. The portables do it though so there’s got to be an answer. That’s actually one of the things I’m hoping Pokémon Sword can fix. If any Pokémon game can get around this it would be the latest installment in the main series. I’ll give the developers of Battle Revolution props for adding so many unique effects to all of the characters since I’m sure it was visually challenging. There should just be a way to toggle it on and off. Graphics is one of the strongest points of the game and they aged very well. All of the character models are on point and stages look quite solid. The soundtrack is also pretty iconic at this point. As soon as I turned on the game I was hit with the nostalgic tunes. Battle Revolution did a good job of creating its own soundtrack and it holds up quite well. It does lot have the scope and variety of the main games but is still a solid collection in its own right.
I think another part that hurts the game is that aside from having no story you don’t even have the classic Gym Leaders to help out. We do have Colosseum leaders, but none of them are particularly noteworthy and since you have to make it past a full gauntlet to see them you won’t really get to savor the experience for long. There’s no real hook beyond the fact that this is a Pokemon game and that’s not enough to carry a title for very long.
Overall, Pokémon Battle Revolution is one of those games that should have been much better than it actually was. I feel like it’s hard to mess up with a Pokémon game but this one threw away a bunch of opportunities through its Colosseum format. I really don’t understand why the game did that. Pokemon Stadium already created a very nice format for how you would handle a home console Pokemon game. Battle Revolution should have focused on that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. That was their big mistake and while they may have been trying to be innovative it completely backfired. It’s still entertaining, but only in small batches and you could always be playing a better Pokemon title.
My high score for the game was 167800
No stats for this one!
Project Doom is one of the newer games added to the Nintendo Switch online service. It’s a pretty innovative game for its time as you get some racing levels as well as traditional shooter ones. The mechanics are all on point for both types of gameplay and the story is pretty engaging. Considering that it’s free there is really no reason not to take the plunge on this one. You’ll be glad you went for it. It’s challenging but there are enough quality of life features to make it feel enjoyable at all times. When you die or even when you get a game over you aren’t sent all the way back which I was happy about. That seems to be rare in the NES era.
At first I actually thought this was purely a driving title so I was actually surprised when the level ended and you were suddenly on the ground. When you’re driving you get a machine gun so you blast the other cars away and try to live until you hit the finish line. The controls are pretty straight forward and the whole thing just flows really well. When it comes to the land levels they are just as solid. You’ve got a energy sword that you use to slice and dice away at the enemies in your way. The level backgrounds and general design feel like something out of Mega Man. These levels are difficult, but not downright impossible or anything like that. You’ll be able to make it pretty far either way. Even when you die you don’t get sent back to start as I mentioned before so that helps lower the pressure.
The boss battles are also pretty fun. The first one is definitely original as you’re fighting a giant tank that’s spamming missiles. You have to hit the power core near the top of it, but can’t touch the tank or you’ll take massive damage. I died here quite a bit, but then I figured out the trick which is really just to duck. Ducking allows you to dodge just about all of the tank’s attacks so it’s incredibly handy. I cannot stress enough why this is a technique that you really must use here.
I didn’t make it particularly far in the story, but that’ll be one of the incentives for you to make it all the way across. You’re playing as a secret agent uncovering a conspiracy and there are a lot of twists and turns. I think you’ll have a really hard time guessing the twist about the villains and the whole thing gets very personal to the lead by the end of it. It’s not really the kind of story you’re used to seeing on the NES and it is a shame that this game never got bigger. It seems to me like it should have done exceptionally well back in the day. It holds up really well to the modern day.
The game is technically pretty short at under an hour, but that is really presuming that you won’t die at all and that’s borderline impossible. There’s no way you’ll be getting out of this game with just a scratch so to speak. You’ll die quite a few times as you learn through trial and error what works and what does not. Only after that will you be ready to go on those famous speed runs. The levels are quick and the gameplay is fast paced so I don’t imagine you will have much of a problem replaying the levels over and over again. If anything it’ll just help you map them out even more.
Vice’s graphics are definitely sharp. They wouldn’t feel out of place in a GBA title or on the SNES. It’s really ahead of its time in that regard. The lightsaber sword is also pretty cool and you feel like you’ve got a lot of power on your side. The soundtrack is less impressive, but still good overall. I certainly wouldn’t give that part a thumbs down either. This is the kind of game where you can see how a lot of care would have gone into producing it.
Overall, Vice is one of the best NES games I’ve played through the online service and it’s a solid addition to the lineup. I know at this point we’re all waiting for the SNES games to show up, but in the meanwhile at least I’m getting to see all of these other obscure games. If you’ve got a Switch and haven’t checked this one out yet then I recommend changing that. I think you’ll be hooked on this game before long and then you can be added to the list of people who are ready for a proper reboot/sequel someday.