Pokemon Unite Review


Pokemon Unite is the latest free to play Pokemon title out there. It’s loaded with all the microtransactions you want though so you can buy just about anything if you want to give some money to the gam. There was some potential to be had here for sure but ultimately I don’t think Unite quite lived up to it. The main issue with the game is how long each battle takes so I feel like you need a complete overhaul of the gameplay mechanics in order to go farther.

When you first start the game you get a pretty nice cinematic. The graphics are really on point and you can tell that you’re about to jump into the crazy world of Pokemon. I allowed my hopes to jump up as I told myself that this would be one of the greatest Pokemon spinoffs of all time. Then you’re taken to the main menu where you learn about the game. There’s a lot to the gameplay so it’s tricky to explain but here’s the basic rundown.

Unite is a 5 on 5 Pokemon battle that uses a real time overhead view. The goal is to knock out wild Pokemon or opposing team members to store up some energy. You then go to one of the opponent’s cores and use the energy to take it over. When you have accumulated enough energy to do so, you slam the energy down in a Basketball slam dunk of sorts and take over the area. Rinse and repeat until the time limit is up and the match is over.

Each match is around 10 or more minutes so that’s a lot of time to run around and explore. You will want to try and coordinate with your teammates but that isn’t easy in an online lobby. I’m not sure if you are able to connect your microphone but if you can then that is probably your best bet to get everyone on the same page. You can send generic orders using the control pad as well though.

Whether you run straight at the enemy or try and protect your own bases initially, it’s your call. There’s no best strategy I’d say, it’s really about how you execute it. Each Pokemon has their normal attack, two special moves, and a final smash. Yo want to master each ability so you’re ready for action. Of course, when the match is starting everyone has to scramble to choose which Pokemon they want to play so the odds of you getting to play the same one a lot is pretty rare. Unless you like playing as Slowbro or something since nobody seems to want to play as him.

Charizard is probably the best Pokemon from the ones that I played. Note that you start out as the Pokemon’s rookie form and gradually move up by defeating opponents. Eventually you will level up during the match and then you repeat the process for future rounds. So this all sounds pretty decent right?

Well, the gameplay is good in theory but it just didn’t really mesh with me. The time limit is too long for starters, I’d prefer a stock ruleset as opposed to time. Maybe do it by score instead but the problem with time though is that you will probably know if you are going to win or lose by the middle of the match. So you can either quit and live to fight another day or just stick it through. I’m not sure if you keep the EXP if you quit so keep that in mind. I didn’t put that to the test here.

The battles also feel repetitive very quickly. You don’t feel any real weight behind the blows. I think a 1 vs 1 battle or 2 vs 2 would have worked better than 5 v 5. This is really aiming more at the World of Warcraft/League of Legends crowd with the widespread battles. I can’t speak to those titles since I haven’t played them but for Pokemon it hasn’t yet worked. The game is a little too limiting.

So even though it’s free I don’t see you sticking with this one for very long. Ultimately it’s a fun game to bide your time with but that’s about it. Eventually you’ll be ready for the next thing. Still, I will say that the graphics are good even after the opening cinematic. The Pokemon character models are on point. Additionally, I’d say that the soundtrack is pretty solid as well. You get some classic Pokemon themes. Maybe nothing too exciting but it’s good enough as background music to keep you going.

Ultimately to move up this game just needs more content. Whether they add in a 1 vs 1 mode or maybe even a story mode, that would help immensely. You need that here to give the game an extra kick. Something to help it stand out in a crowd and give you reason to play it. Otherwise there are just too many good alternatives out there and you don’t want to miss any of those.

Overall, Pokemon Unite may not have lived up to the hype for me but it was fun to give it a shot. The game may appear very greedy with how it wants money for everything but it is still a true free to play in the sense that you don’t need to buy anything. Stick on the free path and you will still have every option available to you. Now that’s a good bargain if I’ve ever seen one right? What we need now is a free to play Pokemon runner game. Now that would have lots of potential.

Overall 5/10

The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D Review


As I entered the final dungeon, I started writing this review back in April 2015. Little did I know that I would be stuck in that same dungeon for the next 6 years. It’s pretty fun to see how I may have sounded 6 years ago and why waste the writing right? So I’ve kept my old review in italics and will throw in some additions at the very end of this review for some modern thoughts
Majora’s Mask is one of the few Legend of Zelda games that is a direct sequel. It takes place after Ocarina of Time. Despite this it seems to be forgotten or pushed to the wayside more than the other big titles. Part of the reason is that it is a sequel so it could not be thought of as the next core Zelda game. That being said, it does have a strong fan following and it is talked about to this day.

Link’s adventure begins suddenly as he is confronted by a mysterious kid. He calls himself Skull Kid and his powers are incredible. He takes Epona away and transforms Link into a scrub. Link will have to stop strong guardians in different parts of the world if he is to stop the moon from crashing. He only has 3 days to do this, but let’s not forget that he is the hero of time! Time has never been a problem for Link before and it won’t be one now.

Graphically, the game holds up pretty well. You are bound to feel nostalgic if you played Ocarina of Time. Of course, the area is not quite as happy as it used to be so things are also different. I am also sure that you are familiar with the many fan theories for this game. There are loads and loads of them to be found and the developers likely had this in mind when they were making the game. It is certainly a lot darker than the average Legend of Zelda game.

The sad fact for the resistance is that Link is simply too late this time. Most of the heroes are already dead and Link simply pretends to be them so that he can inherit their powers and keep up morale. It is certainly scary just how many casualties there were in this game and the whole atmosphere can seem depressing at times. It is as if all hope is lost.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but it is still good. The danger theme holds up well and that’s the main one that I continue to remember. It is catchy and returns again and again as you play the game.

Unfortunately, I do think that this game is a big step down from the average Zelda game. It certainly loses to all of the big titles. There are two main reasons for this. The first of which is the new 3 day system. As it is, the 3DS version added more save features to make this a little less tedious, but the system still hurts the game. It is a unique gimmick as Pikmin is the only other game that I can think of which uses it. That being said, it simply acts to delay you. If you are in a dungeon when the 3 days are up…then too bad. You can slow down time to make it more manageable, but it is still an issue which the adventure could do without.

What acts as the ultimate 1-2 punch here is the large amount of puzzles. Legend of Zelda has always had this element to separate it from the traditional hack and slash games. In the past, it has worked really well like with Wind Waker and Skyward Sword. (Which was still a very fun game) Unfortunately, Majora’s Mask is unable to find a good mix of puzzle and action. It is skewed heavily in favor of puzzles. Towards the end of the game, we finally get more action but for the first 70-80% of the game the action is minimal.

Puzzles can be fun if handled right. You always felt a sense of accomplishment when you solved one in Wind Waker. Of course, there was no timer there. Even without a timer, Majora’s Mask’s quests are not nearly as fun as they could have been. One big reason is the actual gameplay.

The gameplay is your average 3D title. You can’t jump, but you have a lot of gadgets and you traverse through the unknown. It works very well for the action segments. The puzzles are the dicey part. Some temples like the water one require you to walk a great distance between areas multiple times. Link isn’t very fast so it makes the experience that much worse when you have to head back to a place where you have already been. It is not as if Link is abnormally slow, but for some reason, if just feels like it can take forever to get to where you want to go at times.

Many of the puzzles simply start as well and you just have to wander around until you find out what to do. It is difficult, but in more of an artificial way. I love a nice challenge, but not because I am unsure of what to do. Look at Capcom vs SNK’s God Rugal/Regal boss or the Subspace Emissary on intense in Super Smash. Those can be very difficult, but you do know what to do from the start. It will test your gaming ability, but in a fun way.

After all, you are playing to have a good time and that is one area where Majora’s Mask is lacking. It simply isn’t fun at times, which certainly hurts the score. It takes away the replay value factor and makes this title dangerously close to not being a good game. All right, that’s enough for negatives, let’s close out with what the game did right.

While the gameplay doesn’t suit the puzzles, it is still a lot of fun for the combat. Striking with a sword or using one of your gadgets ensures that you are in for a very flexible boss battle. The boss fights are also fun. They can be direct like in traditional 3D fighters, but often times they are unique in a good way. The ocean boss fight with the large fish was certainly fun. A lot of the boss designs are certainly good. It is also fun to see the ReDeads/Undead appear once more to strike fear into the hearts of many. They are still one of the most intense minions out there and facing them is always a lot of fun.

Link is naturally about as heroic as you would expect. He tackles the enemies with complete confidence in his abilities and never loses sight of his goals. Naturally, this game came out a long time ago so it can’t make him look quite as epic as a modern title would, but Link tries his best and that’s the important part. He is knocked down many times, but he always makes sure to get back up.

I am definitely not a fan of Skull Kid though. He is lacking in willpower from the start and he just isn’t my kind of villain. His design certainly isn’t bad though. Majora is the real threat and makes for a really epic villain. Even before playing the game you’ll have seen this guy’s crazy super form designs since it’s so iconic. The developers really gave it their all to ensure that Majora would spook the audience as the fight began. Certainly an epic way to end the game.

Finally, Majora’s Mask is very interesting. It is like looking at a twisted alternate reality if Link had not saved the world from Ganondorf. Which, it is still surprising that Ganon completely missed out on this title. That is certainly rare for a LoZ game.

Overall, Majora’s Mask 3D will continue to be known as the deepest Zelda game. It has the mechanics of Ocarina of Time, but ends up losing out due to the extreme number of puzzles as well as the two gimmicks. Those being the masks and the 3 Day system. More action and play time as Link would have done much to improve this title. Either way, the graphics and soundtrack hold up well. The iconic “You’ve met with a terrible fate haven’t you?” line holds up very well to this day. It makes the merchant appear to be sympathetic, sarcastic, or gleeful depending on how you read it. I wouldn’t trust him though since it seems like he destroyed Mario…heh heh. If you are looking for a nice challenge for your puzzle skills or are a big Legend of Zelda fan, I recommend checking this one out. It is also a good bet if you just want to analyze the game and create some theories of your own about it. If not, Skyward Sword is probably a better bet.

My views on the game haven’t really changed much since I originally played the title. I would still say this is certainly the weakest of the 3DS titles. It really boils down to the 3 day system more than anything else. It adds a layer of pressure to the puzzles to be sure, but in a way where you dread them rather than enjoy them. After playing through the stone temple dozens and dozens of times, you start wanting some qualify of life updates like not having to solve the room’s puzzle every time you have to go back and forth. Being able to equip more items at once so you don’t have to keep on substituting them out would be ideal as well.

I didn’t get to play as Fierce Deity Link so that was too bad. I guess maybe that’s more of a bonus thing if you get all of the masks or something like that. At least you definitely can’t say that the game is short though. It took me over 50 hours to conquer and even then there is a lot of extra content to try and grab like the masks and collectibles. Finding everything in this world is definitely not for the faint of heart and not something that can be sped through. You’ll really want to master these temples.

Overall, if you really enjoy puzzles and like the idea of the day system resetting your temple progress every 3 days then it’s probably about time you picked this one up. Otherwise I would say to just buy Ocarina of Time or Skyward Sword instead if you want more of a definitive Link experience. Both of those 2 are what I would call the definitive title in the franchise because they capture everything you would expect to see in a Link title. If we ever get a Majora’s Mask sequel, I’m confident it would work out a lot better since the 3 day system should be gone…at least in theory.

Overall 5/10

Legend of Kage 2 Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 24m
Skills 6/10

Stage Stats Score-Rank

Level 1 31000 A
Level 2 22100 B
Level 3 22000 B
Level 4 43200 A
Level 5 56200 A
Level 6 27000 B
Level 7 35000 –
Level 8 190000 S
Level 9 26000 –
Level 10 10400 –
Level 11 40300 B
Level 12 75000 S
Level 13 36000 –

Mario Party DS Review


Mario has returned. I’s been a little while since I played my last Mario game so naturally something had to give. I needed to be able to jump back into the Mario groove and really see how the series is doing. Fortunately that was absolutely part of the gameplan. Ebay had a good price on this one so I knew it was time for the plunge.

The story here is fairly basic as you’re likely here for the minigames anyway. Bowser tricks Mario and friends into heading over to his place for some food. They are all desperately hungry so they show up but promptly get cursed into being tiny by Bowser. Bowser’s just in a whole different league thanks to his magical abilities. The only way for the heroes to make a comeback is to find the legendary shards and become large again. It won’t be easy though as Bowser is up to something.

It’s reasonably short as the game only has around 5-6 worlds total. Each world is effectively a mini party mode that lasts for 10 turns. Your goal is to complete the game and come in first place by having the most Power Stars. If you come in second or later then you lose and have to start from scratch. Naturally that is the toughest part here. Mario Party has a lot of luck thrown into the mix after all in addition to skill. You may win a bunch of minigames or even all of them but you can still lose a match due to how that all works out. The computers put me through the wringer here.

So that should help extend the game’s play time a bit. I would say the game is only a few hours long otherwise. Of course one way that can help you with this a bit is the fact that you can reset the game if you have a bad turn. This will help nullify part of the luck factor as you can keep on spinning until things go well. From minigame results to power stars, the power is in your hand now.

Outside of the story you have a lot of other modes of course like minigame mode and local multiplayer. There isn’t really a lack of content here which isn’t surprising since Nintendo always gives you a lot of bang for your buck. In this case all of these extra modes and impressive array of minigames will ensure that you can keep on playing for a long while. At 10 bucks it was quite the steal.

The best minigames here might be the hide and seek one or some of the combat types. For Hide and Seek I like the idea of running around and looking for someone even if it feels like it is heavily favored against the one person who is alone. Dodging everyone for the duration of the match sounds crazy. Of course then you have minigames like with the coins falling where if anything it is really easy for the player to get most of the coins. I’d say it balances out in the end.

As expected the soundtrack is also pretty good. Don’t expect the same level of intensity as in the mainline Mario games but it still has a high energy feel to it. This is all AAA music. The you have the graphics which have aged well on the DS. All of the characters are on point and the backgrounds are good. It would be nice if you could taunt like in the other games but it’s really not a big deal. It’s the kind of thing you notice for a few minutes and then forget about entirely.

Mario Party DS is a rather simple game which is executed well. You could even say that the title would live or die based on the quality of its minigames. A game like this can’t work nearly as well if you don’t have fun games to play. If they were to drag on then that would take the fun away right then and there. A good minigame should be short and to the point which this game really nails down.

Overall, I would say this game is a big step up from the Mario Party for GBA. It’s not quite touching any of the big console ones yet though. There are still a few more portable Mario party games I don’t have yet though so we’ll see if they continue to improve. If you like the Mario Party series then you should definitely get this one. There’s no reason you wouldn’t like the hand held version. Additionally while it may be old, I wouldn’t say it’s out dated or anything like that. You can easily plug and play at any time. Just work on grabbing those unlockables to really fill the game up.

Overall 7/10

The Legend of Kage 2 Review


This is a game I bought at Gamestop a long time ago but I hadn’t gotten around to playing the original so I just kept it on the backburner. Well, I finally got around to beating the original (Review coming soon) and the sequel does a good job of really improving upon the original in every way. We now have a real story and more streamlined gameplay.

The game starts with Kage being given a new mission. He is to protect the princess who turns out to be his childhood friend. It’s really not a bad gig but unfortunately he does not know the true dangers that are around him. A group of villains want to kidnap the princess because she has latent abilities that could allow them to conquer the world. Clearly the stakes have been raised but will Kage be able to raise his skill level to match?

Right away I liked the visual style of the game. It handles the energy effects well from how the blue and red blades look to how the whole game’s atmosphere is. Ultimately this game looks very good. The boss designs are on point as well and if the game ever got an anime, I’d want them to use the designs from this game rather than the original.

The gameplay is pretty simple and to the point. You can jump extremely high and swing away at enemies with your blade. A new addition to the series is that you actually have special abilities now. You can increase your attack, defense, or even shoot out projectiles. Personally I recommend sticking to the attack and defense options since those are really the best bets. The difference is actually noticeable here.

Now the main knock against the game is the length. It’s around 3 hours which is pretty bad. The original game was only about an hour or even less but it could get away with it more since this was the original title. For a big sequel that’s a little harder to overlook because you just expect a certain amount of length. Imagine buying this day 1? That would probably get pretty dicey and you would feel cheated out of your cash.

There is some replay value I suppose in that you can try to grab more collectibles in the level. If you grab everything then you’ll be really powerful but the main issue is that there would be nothing to do with it. There are no bonus levels or anything so you would just be flexing on minions. Certainly that’s cool and all if you are having a blast with the gameplay but it’s not enough for me to say the game truly has real replay value.

This is the kind of title you are really playing as a one and done experience. It is a fun experience at least for the reasons I stated above. The main rival makes for a really good antagonist. He’s quite skilled but also has an honor code. The fact that he fought to the end while remaining as a human as an impressive twist. It shows Kage that you can become truly strong even without becoming a monster. The other characters didn’t always seem to have such fortitude.

Hanzo was also very interesting. He spends the entire game getting beaten up left and right but then you see that he is actually a whole lot more skilled than we may expect. Personally I still think Kage and the blue rival are too powerful for him but maybe he would be third in the verse. A third game seems unlikely but I would definitely be really hyped to see that at some point.

My main gameplay tip here is to just experiment. When you die you can always continue again so see what went wrong the first time and adapt. There is no penalty for trying a lot as you get your health and magic meter restored to the sky’s really the limit. The only chance of failure is if you give up. Additionally, the bosses have very set movement patterns so once you memorize them then you really should not have any problems here.

I wouldn’t say the soundtrack is super memorable but the tunes aren’t bad. You have a pretty good idea of what is going on and it fits with the ninja theme. I’d love some more rock based music themes of course but it’s hard not to be satisfied with what we did get. The boss battles are also intense as you would expect.

Overall, Legend of Kage 2 was a lot of fun. The only thing keeping me from calling it a great game is how short it is. No matter how polished the gameplay or interesting the story, there is only so much you can do in 3 hours. Maybe the developers weren’t given enough time but still wanted to make a high quality game so instead of sacrificing that, they cut off the length. If they were forced to make such a choice then I definitely have to say that I agreed with the call. Better to have a short high quality title than a long one that’s not very good. Better luck next time for Kage but if you find this game for $5 like I did then it is definitely worth it.

Overall 7/10

Ninja JaJaMaru-kun Review


This is one of those games that is quietly very good. It has a bit of a Donkey Kong feel to it as you run through vertical levels as you take the enemy ninjas down. The main villain has the heroine trapped up at the top so when you reach her it becomes your job to take this guy down. The game loops very quickly so it’s pretty short but still makes for a fun little time. The length would be more of an issue if this was a newer game.

The gameplay essentially has 2 controls. You can throw shurikens up or in front of you and you can jump. That’s pretty much it so from there it’s up to you to use your abilities as quickly as you can. It can be difficult to take on some of the enemies straight up so I recommend retreating often. For example you can only shoot one shuriken at a time while most of the enemies can shoot two. So wait until they are nearly off screen and then shoot since they probably won’t be able to react. Additionally you can also jump on most enemies which makes them unable to use their attacks.

Jumping gets more and more useful as you go through the levels to the point where you probably won’t use many other options after a while. Jumping is just the best course of action. At times the villains move so quickly that you can expect to die a lot before you get used to the speed. Fortunately that’s what the rewinding and access points are for. It must have been quite the challenge when it first came out though. Reacting to those guys is really difficult.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s not super detailed or anything but you do see what they are going for here and you always know what is happening. At the end of the day that is definitely the important part. The soundtrack is fairly limited but the main theme is catchy which is really what matters in the end. Ultimately it’s a good package.

With arcade type games like this the most important factor is always making sure that the game is fun and has a lot of replay value. I would say this is achieved here so it gets a positive score in the end. It would be nice to have a little more depth to it but at the end of the day this is effectively an arcade game after all. It’s not like you could add everything to it.

While the game does loop almost immediately it is worth pointing out that new enemies continue to show up until you get to around the 3rd loop. Not saying that’s enough to keep on playing but it’s at least good to know. The enemies continue getting tougher and tougher by the end. There’s even a loose fireball that starts to show up and naturally letting it hit you is fatal so definitely don’t do that. You want to stay one step ahead at all costs.

Overall, This is a solid game that I would recommend if you have the Switch Online service. It really does feel like an alternate version of Donkey Kong which is pretty interesting. The throwing stars makes for a good weapon while keeping in the Mario jumping mechanics. When you have all of those options at your disposal you really can’t go wrong right? I could see there being some potential in a 3D remake of this someday. In the meantime, playing through this title at least once is a good idea.

Overall 6/10