Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Crystal Bearer Review

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It’s time to look at a Final Fantasy title. I wasn’t a huge fan of the previous Crystal Chronicles title that I played so I was a little worried when I first realized that I had the next installment. I watched the trailer and quickly changed my tune though since this one actually looked pretty solid and promising. Fortunately it lived up to the trailer and is actually a spin-off that you can be proud of.

You don’t need to have played the first one to get into this title since Crystal Bearers takes place 1000 years after the first. Additionally the first game didn’t really have a conventional plot so you weren’t gonna miss much either way. The plot follows a kid named Layle who is a Bearer. This means that he has special abilities (In this case Telekinesis) and is also built to be a lot more durable than the average human. There are only a few Bearers left since humanity hunted them down and they don’t get along with the humans. Layle is a mercenary who takes whatever job he and his partner are given.

At first this is a simple task but on one protection mission he is attacked by a mysterious robot. This robot is a part of the Yuke tribe which was eradicated years ago. She wishes to bring them back and Layle isn’t even sure if that is a bad thing. The government definitely doesn’t want that though since it would mean conceding power and territory. Either way both sides need the 3 legendary jewels to meet their objectives so regardless Layle is tasked with obtaining them. He will have to outwit a mischievous Selkie in order to do so though. Once he gets the jewels, who should Layle give them to?

I thought the game did a good job of making the plot engaging right from the start. The opening cutscene is a lot of fun and gives more action than the entirety of the last game. This title has fun with the motion controls and uses them for a bunch of different mini game style levels. You could be sure to find many different gameplay styles which always kept the game fresh. Naturally I still prefer traditional controls to motion based anytime but this one was definitely smoother than many others that I’ve tried.

The graphics are pretty solid. The characters appear to be on point and the energy effects look good. The hub world is nice and bright and makes for a pretty good forest kind of landscape. It’s not going to go down as the best looking Wii game but is definitely solid enough to be noted. As for the soundtrack, it is mostly low key, but we do get two hype boss battle themes. I’d also say that the soundtrack never feels dull outside of the hub world so it definitely works well.

The game is reasonably long at around 10 hours. It may not sound all that big for a Final Fantasy type game, but I did skip all of the enemies and certainly didn’t get any powerful equipment. I actually didn’t buy anything at all since naturally I didn’t have enough money for anything good. It did feel satisfying though to just coast through the game at the equivalent of level 1. The reason why this is feasible is because aside from the initial tutorial enemy mob he rest are all completely optional. Aside from them there are only two bosses. That will be the most difficult obstacle to overcome and it will take you many lives but the bosses keep whatever damage you dealt so eventually you will find a way to claim victory.

As per Final Fantasy tradition the final boss does suddenly become rather high tier and cosmic. It’s always a nice treat to get a flashy climax like that as not only does it make the game more memorable in the long run, but it’s always fun to have a space battle like that. It’s good that Layle was so powerful since he could take it in stride. It’s also a fun change of pace to be the overpowered character for a change. You’ll notice right away that he seems a lot stronger than the rest of the cast and you’d be right. By the end only one character can actually give him a real fight and even then Layle still has the edge.

The only real flaw that the game has is the map. It’s one of those maps that is really zoomed out the whole time so you never truly know where you are. Honestly I still fail to see the point of it in general since it certainly won’t be helping you get to your objective. You will likely end up wasting some extra time during these moments but stick with it and you’ll be just fine. Of course when the map is the only serious issue that you have you know that the game is quite solid.

The controls may not be amazing but they get the job done. To use your TK abilities you have to point at the screen and then twist the remote in the direction you want to throw someone. This does allow the TK abilities to be a little more intricate than someone like Silver, but I’d certainly be cool with just having one button be what activated the power. Then based on what you press next is where you will throw them. There are also racing levels where you will really want to make sure you turn effectively. The toughest mini game is certainly the one where you have to help the heroine win a game if volleyball though. Those bullies were tough!

I didn’t really touch on the characters so let’s look at the big ones. I didn’t trust Layle’s friend the whole time since you just got the feeling that he would end up being a traitor. Well, it didn’t happen so I have to say that he was quite good. He risked his career for Layle and even held his own against a Crystal user. The guy is often out of the loop but still helps out whenever he can.

The Selkie is a nice character to have around as well since she always provides a lot of witty banter. She may not have powers but she gets by well enough with her wits. You almost feel bad for her by the end since she is searching for someone who doesn’t care to be found. That’ll probably feel like a big let down. I can’t say that the main villain was all that inspired but he isn’t bad. At worst he is just rather generic and doesn’t stand out as much as the others. His abilities are definitely very good though and the guy is persistent. He is absolutely not backing down without a fight. The Princess felt like a waste in comparison though so nothing really needs to be sad about her. She didn’t add anything to the story.

Layle was a fun character as expected. He’s definitely not the nicest chap around but he is certainly very direct and to the point. Layle knows that he is ultra strong and just rolls with it. Nobody ever pushes him around and he only does what he wants to do. He’s certainly not your average main character and that’s a good thing. This guy’s definitely got quite a lot of personality to him. I certainly found him to be a more engaging character than the mysterious Yuke. He will end up going down as one of the more likable Final Fantasy leads alongside Cloud and Lightning.

Overall, Crystal Bearers was a lot of fun. It’s definitely the kind of game that is certainly going to age very well long term. While the map is a bit of a hindrance at least you have the moogles who do their best to put you back on the right path to victory. The gameplay is fun and the story is on point so you really can’t ask for much more than that. You certainly don’t need to be a Final Fantasy fan to enjoy this game and I’d recommend it to any platforming fan. Even though I played without beating any enemies I would probably recommend beating a few just to stay on the safe side. That final boss is no joke.

Overall 8/10

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Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS4 Trophies 3/11

Level Stats -Unlocked bonus level, Beaten level without dying, ?/8 Shirts Collected

Level 0 –
Level 1 N, N, 1/8
Level 2 N, N, 1/8
Level 3 N, N, 1/8
Level 4 Y/Y/1/1
Level 5 N, N, 1/8
Level 6 N, Y, 2/9
Level 7 N, N, 3/10
Level 8 Y, N, 1/1
Level 9 N, N, 2/10
Level 10 N, N, 0/10
Level 11 N, Y, 3/11
Level 12 N, N, 3/11
Level 13 Y, N, 1/1

Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back Review

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It’s time to greet the return of Bubsy! I admit that I never got to play the original games back in the day but this one looked fun enough. Plus, it was the only game where I could make the most out of my Amazon mobile app. I’m definitely glad that I didn’t get it for full price since it’s only around 1 hour long, probably even less than that. It is a fun game and the sad part is that the gameplay is actually completely on point. What ends up hurting it is really just the length.

The plot starts with Bubsy’s favorite yarn getting kidnapped by some aliens. He decides that it’s up to him to get it back and gives chase. You then fight through 15 levels of platforming and boss fights as you make it to the end and get the yarn back. It’s a pretty low key plot when you think about it. There are only two real cutscenes, an intro and an ending. After that it’s just about making your way through the levels.

Each level is around 2 minutes long. You can glide and double jump which means that you are able to enter Kirby levels of cheese here. You can just glide past everyone and you’re set. You rarely have to ever stop so just go full speed through it all. Bubsy is really overpowered but to make it fair you also die in one hit to anything. The main advice I can give you is simply don’t get hit. Even if you do, there are checkpoints every 5 seconds and you get 10 lives per level. The odds of you actually getting a game over are incredibly slim. So it’s fair to let you know that this game’s difficulty level is at rock bottom. There are no challenges to be had here, it’s just about enjoying the game.

In that sense it’s very much like Snoopy. For the record, this game is better than Snoopy. Both games are at a similar length, but the gameplay is smoother here. The levels are very high so you have a lot of freedom to run and jump. Too much freedom probably but the landscapes do look nice. Jumping on the enemies is always the way to damage them so the game doesn’t make you learn much. If the game was longer this would be an easy 7. With a hype plot/cool characters it would be an easy 8. Alas, smooth gameplay isn’t enough to reach the big leagues, especially when you’re only 1 hour long.

While the gameplay is very fast, the title does force you to slow down quite a lot when the boss fights occur. That’s because the bosses are only vurlnable after they do a combo of attacks and the villains aren’t in any kind of hurry. As a result you just keep dodging and dodging until you can counter. These opponents are easily longer than the level and the 4 bosses that you face are likely longer than the 11 normal platforming levels in the game. Food for thought. The bosses are long, but not difficult though so you’ll mow em down.

Even for 10 bucks this doesn’t feel like it has a lot of value. For replay value you can go back and try to collect all of the gems/beat every level without dying. I’ll give the game credit for not making this mandatory, but I just don’t see myself going back and doing all of that. It just doesn’t seem worth it but it’s nice for people who are huge fans I guess. It’ll make the length at least a little more reasonable.

The graphics are really good though. It looks like a PS4 game. Granted, the game goes for a very simple look intentionally so it’s hard for it not to look great. With few character models to come up with, they can work on making them all sparkle. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t quite up to snuff. The tunes are very generic and I heard the complete OST after completing the game. It just won’t do anything for you and will be forgotten almost instantly. It’s a shame but not every game puts a lot of effort into this area.

As for Bubsy himself, he’s a reasonable character I suppose. He definitely does talk a lot throughout each level but since recording time was limited prepare to hear the same phrases over and over again. It can be fun in an ironic way I suppose. There are also references to other series like Mario and Sonic during the levels which is nice to see. At the end Bubsy hints that a sequel could come out someday. I’d probably get it, but like this one I’d wait til I could get it for a good price. Especially if it’s this short.

Overall, Bubsy is technically a pretty fun game. If you just want a fun experience and don’t care about the length then go for it. However, I can’t really recommend it all that much because of how short it is. You’d be better off getting one of the Mario games instead as those are fun and long. It’ll be interesting to see how this one compares to Yooka Laylee since that’s another modern revisit to the old era. This one seems like it would win in gameplay but if that one wins in everything else then either way Bubsy is doomed. If only Bubsy had invested more time into coming up with cutscenes to pad the length.

Overall 6/10

Paper Mario Color Splash Review

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It’s time to look at a big Mario game from back in the day. This was the finale for the Paper Mario franchise and Nintendo wanted to end it with a bang. Crossovers and the like would still happen but we weren’t going to get another Paper Mario game for a long time. Supposedly the ending was so sad that you would be crying in the end. Well, I knew that this wouldn’t be the case, but I was hopeful that this meant we would be getting a super crazy awesome story. Unfortunately that was not the case and the game started off better than it ended.

The story begins with Mario and Peach deciding to take a vacation since their last outing in Mario Sunshine did not go so well. Unfortunately Bowser shows up and kidnaps Peach. He also steals all of the paint from the world. Mario meets up with a Paint Can named Huey who explains that the only way to bring the color back into the world is to grab the 6 legendary Paint Stars. Once they do that they can worry about saving Peach. Mario isn’t thrilled about putting off his quest to save Peach, but he quickly gets on board just in time!

As you can see this game probably has the weakest plot among the Paper Mario games. The 3DS game gives it some competition but considering that this game basically ripped the plot from it, I’ll have to give the original the edge. The thing is, Paper Mario’s usually been solid because it could have ambitious plots and threw in things that you would never see in the main series. It’s just a shame that this has been taken away from it and now it’s just like the main games, but with the gameplay not being as good.

Yes, this game decided to follow Sticker Star’s example. The only difference is that instead of using stickers you have stamps in this game. For all intents and purposes they are quite similar but the main difference is that obtaining the stamps is a lot easier here which is good. We even have the “Things” back from the 3DS game which are large objects that you use to interact with the levels. You better grab them all since the game forces you to put them to use right away.

What wrecks the boss fights in this game is that they each have a moment where it is impossible to hurt them. The only way to clear each boss fight is to have a very specific thing in your hand to overcome the villain. If you don’t have it then you are doomed to lose and the game will never tell you that you need it until you are near the end of the fight. That can be a little annoying since by then you’ve already spent quite a lot of time on it. The levels suffer from this as well since the same thing happens a lot. You spend a great deal of time in the game just travelling back and forth among the old levels when you just want to proceed. Some also force you to redo obstacles whenever you go back which throws you into a bunch of extra fights.

The core gameplay isn’t bad, it’s just that these puzzle aspects really hold it back. Running around the levels is fun enough as it’s just like a traditional 3D Mario game. The turn based combat also works as well as ever. The paint is what’s unnecessary along with the stamps. I just want to be able to fight like the good ole days of the Thousand Year Door. There are too many limitations in the newer Paper Mario game and the puzzles punish you for moving too quickly and not finding every possible Thing in each level.

Now, what I will give the game a lot of praise for is its stellar soundtrack. This is easily the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a Mario game and it can hold its own against any title. The boss themes are a lot of fun and so are the various remixes like the one Bowser gets as well as a certain Kaiju one. The music is always very fast paced and works well for what is happening on screen. It’s just very lively and is really what you want to see in such a game. The graphics are also fairly good. They’re not great since the game is made to look like paper so everything is slightly worse than it could be, but it’s intentional. The character models as well as the stages are still quite clear.

Huey is the game’s original character, but he’s definitely no good. He’s essentially given the personality of a very little kid and is Nintendo’s way of trying to play to the audience. He always exaggerates every emotion and seems to be feeling what you are supposed to feel during the game. When something bad happens he gets super upset or he’ll start crying when it’s something sad. He’s just unrealistically emotional and is just annoying the whole time. He can’t even be straight with everyone at the end of the game. Huey is super dramatic and not in a good way.

How about that super sad ending Nintendo talked about? I wouldn’t say that it was very sad at all. Again, it’s ripped off from the 3DS game, but not even handled as well. Sticker Star’s ending was more emotional but also a lot better and still kept in the sad element while not being overly tragic. This one was just less emotional and also came across as rather forced. It also makes Peach look pretty bad because she doesn’t care at all and Mario’s the only one who shows any emotion the whole time. The ending should have just been the gang inviting Bowser over for tea and biscuits.

At least the dialogue can still be pretty fun like in the other Paper Mario titles. There are a lot of parodies or homages to old Mario titles throughout. The characters all have more personality than normal and the writing can be clever. As I mentioned some of the writing is just a little too obvious with Huey but everyone else seems pretty reasonable in comparison.

After completing the game there is still a bunch of stuff to do. There is one more star you can obtain and there are also the 8 Roshambo temples. Since those temples are purely luck by the end you’ll need a lot of tries to complete them. You can also build up your paint meter in the meantime as well. Actually, I guess the replay value isn’t amazing when you think about it, but it’s a start and since the main story is so long you don’t need much of a post game.

Overall, Paper Mario is really just held back by its gimmick. If you take away the Things and the paint then this would be a very solid title. As it stands, those aspects make it very hard to enjoy the game. Every time you have to go back to an old level to find something it completely destroys any momentum you may have had. The game is over 20 hours long which is usually great, but instead the game seriously starts to drag on in the second half. You’re just ready for the gang to claim the win already. I’d recommend checking out the Thousand Year Door before this one. That game will be more fulfilling in the end.

Overall 5/10

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse Review

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It’s time to look at one of the latest Kirby games. It has been quite a few years since it came out by this point, but it feels fairly recent to me. This Kirby game took the unique approach of acting like a DS game. The Wii U does have a stylus after all, but it’s easy to forget since most games wisely stayed as far away from this mechanic as possible. Unfortunately Nintendo didn’t learn this lesson quite as readily which meant game over for them. I’m afraid that this is easily the weakest Kirby game that I have played and it just fails to capture the charm and essence of the series. Kirby himself does look fairly good though.

The game starts off with Kirby relaxing and just trying to have a good day when a villain appears and blasts the entire planet with an energy attack. Even Kirby couldn’t react quickly enough to dodge and at once time stopped for everyone. Fortunately a fairy freed Kirby and our protagonist returned the favor in the next scene. The two heroes decide to team up to save the planet and that begins our adventure. Enjoy the opening cutscene since we don’t get another one until the very end of the game. Was this game fairly low budget? I would say absolutely!

Aside from the lack of cutscenes (Because Nintendo isn’t exactly known for them anyway) this game takes a lot of shortcuts. The most obvious one is the reused bosses. There are 7 worlds which each have 3 levels and then a boss fight. Worlds 1,2, and 3 have the same bosses as 4,5, and 6. It’s not something that you would expect from a AAA Nintendo game, but maybe this one was only AA. What supports this theory is the game is only 3 hours and 32 minutes long. That’s considering that I left the game on while grabbing lunch and I would pause it whenever I had to leave the room as well. It’s just a very short game and you could probably decipher that yourself. Each level is around 5-6 minutes tops with some being shorter. It’s a fairly easy game so not dying will also speed things up.

A game being short isn’t really a bad thing, but if I had bought the game at its original retail price then I certainly would have been a little disappointed. Maybe Nintendo has just thrown in the towel though. Star Fox Zero was also incredibly short and likewise for Star Allies. I guess unless you are Mario or Link you can’t expect too much. Still, it would probably still get the usual 7 stars as with most Nintendo games, but what really hurts this one is the gameplay.

You can’t actually move at all. To control Kirby you have to draw a path for him with controls that bring you back to the Wii days. Kirby will refuse to get on your path unless it is perfectly straight and even then he has a tendency to lose his balance and momentum. He has a few different forms like a Tank and a Rocket, but those all use the same controls. I didn’t buy a Kirby game to draw, I bought it to cheese the levels by floating over all of them. That isn’t an option in this game and I have to question the rationale behind this. It just doesn’t seem like a good gameplay idea if you ask me. It gets old after a level or 2. Then you’ve also got the fact that a lot of the levels are auto moving levels which hurts a bit since you have to wait at their pace. Some of those levels I could play with one hand for a bit or do some stretching while I was waiting.

I did die a handful of times during boss fights thanks to the controls though. It never feels earned though and just cheesy. I would proudly blame the gameplay style for each of my deaths. Even though we got the solid cosmic battle at the end as in most Kirby games I couldn’t enjoy it as much because the design of the fight was no good. You have to rely on a lot of RnG to take him down for the count. All right, I think that’s enough about the gameplay so lets go into some of the more positive aspects of the game.

There is a reasonable amount of replay value here to make up for the short length. You can play Challenge Mode which gives you a reason to replay most of the stages. There are also treasure chests in each level which allow you to get the collectibles. There are a bunch of figures and music themes to grab as well as Diary pages which will tell you a bonus story. Grabbing all of the collectibles will take you a reasonable amount of time without making the mistake of being a big grind. All in all, if you decide to 100% the game then it will have awarded you enough content to justify the purchase.

The soundtrack in the game is also pretty good. It doesn’t have any themes as iconic as Battle Against Nightmare, but was still as good as a Nintendo title should be. The final boss theme is solid and the normal level themes are engaging. The graphics are also nice and bright as they should be. They are certainly a step down from some of the previous Kirby games thanks to the dicey decision to make Kirby a ball the whole time and the stop motion esque effects for most of the cutscenes, but beyond that you can tell that it’s a modern title.

I also have to give some kudos to Kirby himself and his role in the story. He looks pretty brave and strong throughout the opening as he dodges a laser blast and saves the fairy. You can also feel the emotion behind his character as he glares at the final boss. Kirby is definitely a fun lead and while some games can play up his childlike nature too much, this one didn’t. He took all the plot twists in stride. Kirby is all business in the climax. I didn’t care about the fairy plot much, but it’s not like it got almost any screen time to be honest so she was just around to jump start the plot. I didn’t even realize that there was something in the plot for a twist until it happened, but I guess it was good so that we could get a true final boss.

Overall, Kirby and the Rainbow Curse is a fun game in every area except the gameplay. Unfortunately the gameplay is tedious and repetitious. It completely gets in the way of what the Kirby games are usually about and I do have to take a star away. One thing that I love about the Kirby games is just flying to the top of the screen and getting to the end of the level. You can’t do that here since the game controls where you go and your paintbrush runs out very quickly. It’s unfortunate, but if you don’t mind the idea of drawing or even like the concept for a Kirby game then this is the one to check out. Regardless it isn’t a bad game, but I would sooner recommend grabbing the rest of them.

Overall 6/10

Legend of Kay Anniversary Review

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It’s time to take a look at the Legend of Kay Anniversary game. I never really knew about the original Legend of Kay, but I suppose it had to at least be moderately popular in order to get a remake like this. It’s essentially the Legend of Zelda, but with a weaker plot/main character. It’s a fun enough game, but odd level designs and the story are probably why it never became all that popular. Still, it’s a fairly fun game that is worth your time.

The plot follows a kid tiger named Kay. Unfortunately, Gorillas and Rats have teamed up to take over the world so not even his village is safe from this. He quickly decides to liberate the village and this way Kay can show off his warrior abilities as well. In order to stop them, he will have to defeat the commanders and also assemble the legendary Cat statues in order to proceed to the villain base. Lots of other animals have also been captured so Kay will try to save them all on the way.

As I’ve already stressed, the plot isn’t all that interesting. It’s probably because the villains are rather inspired. Neither the rat nor the gorilla seem to be much of a threat if we’re being honest and the supporting cast is basically nonexistent. As such, it’s all up to the main character and the heroine. Kay talks really tough and does have a fun personality so I’d definitely say that he is a very solid main character. The villains talk smack all of the time so why not have the main character respond to it for a change right? Well, Kay can certainly dish it out just as well as the rest of them. The heroine is also one of those characters who talks really tough. It’s a little less deserved as she doesn’t actually do any real fighting, but it’s better to talk tough than not to do so I suppose.

The romance is fairly weak though. The two characters keep cutting each other off and it pretty much comes out of nowhere. Why couldn’t they just be friends? I think that’s always more of an admirable goal from the game’s view as it defies expectations and even shows restraint on the game’s part. All right, with the plot and characters out of the way let us look at the most important part of the title. The gameplay.

It’s a fairly standard 3D platformer. You wield a sword, hammer, and claws as you fight your way through enemies. The sword is the most fun to use, but the claws are the quickest weapon and the one that you’ll want to use to overwhelm smaller enemies. The hammer is great for when you’re outnumbered thanks to its wide range and great attack power. You’ll be able to upgrade these weapons as you progress through the game. You can also shoot a blast of thunder by charging up an attack although it’ll cost you some magic meter. The combat here is very fun and it can also be quite challenging. You’ll definitely have to utilize some strategy here as opposed to just rushing straight at the enemies.

Most of the bosses are fairly easy, but the final boss can be difficult. He has 2 phases and while you may have the edge in health, if he knocks you off of the tower you lose a life and respawn without any items that you may have used. It can get pretty dangerous as you can arrive at the fight filled with potions and armor and then have to start the fight without any of that if you fall. It’s high stakes and I managed to beat him on my 3rd try on my final health point. It’s always nice and dramatic when that happens. Basically, that’s when I activate my Ultra Instinct.

The platforming is a little weaker. Basic jumps can be a little difficult because of the camera angles. It’s hard to adjust the camera and it simply can’t keep up. While the game has a map, it’s not very good and you can actually get lost and not know what to do. That happened to me for quite a while in the fire level. Toning down some of the puzzles within the levels and making the routes a little more straight forward would certainly go a long way. It certainly could have been far worse though.

There isn’t much replay value to be found here as once you fight the final boss you can’t go back. You’ll just have to start a new file if you want to do anything else. Aiming for the platinum trophy is the only reason to keep on playing the game and to get that one you will need to complete the game on Nightmare difficulty. That should certainly be a real challenge so good luck on that one. Still, the base game is long enough where you can still justify the price in the end. It’s a good amount of content.

The graphics look pretty good. The fire effects in particular are pretty nice. Unfortunately most of the big cutscenes are story book style which is still one of my least favorite formats. There just isn’t much that you can do with it and there’s no real animation there so it’s like the game is taking the easy way out. At least the cutscenes during the gameplay are animated normally and have voice acting so that was certainly nice. Part of the fun throughout the game is Kay’s banter which works a lot better when you can hear what he is saying. As for the soundtrack, it’s a little limited, but certainly doesn’t sound bad. You’ll definitely recognize the danger theme after a while since it plays so often. It’s not the most memorable soundtrack, but it’ll get the job done.

Overall, The Legend of Kay is a good game. It’s not a great one by any means and you can tell that the developers were still finding their stride as far as platformers go, but it’s still good enough where I can recommend it. Just play the game for the gameplay as opposed to the story and you’ll be good. Truth be told, you should always be playing for the gameplay anyway so it’s not as if this should be anything new. I’d be up for a sequel coming out one day. There’s more they can do with Kay as a character and I’m always up for more action platformers. Maybe the enemies in a sequel could be wolves, those guys are threatening.

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay Review

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It’s time to look at another side scroller in the form of Big Hero 6. Most movies may not get tie-in games anymore but Big Hero 6 dared to go against that trend. It’s a game that definitely plays it by the books and feels relatively low budget like what you would expect from the genre. It’s short and straightforward but it is also fun. I’ve always enjoyed these cash in games quite a bit. They may not be AAA titles like Mario Odyssey or Sonic 2006, but in their simplicity it brings you back to an older, more nostalgic era of gaming.

So the plot is that someone has stolen yet another one of Hiro’s inventions. I forgot which one but it’s now in the wrong hands so that makes the villain very dangerous. The team decides to locate the villain at all costs and quickly head over to take him down. The plot is pretty self explanatory as the heroes do exactly that. They find and defeat the villain rather easily and Baymax didn’t even have to do a whole lot this time as he still tries to be a pacifist. That being said, he is thrown into the conflict by the end.

There are 4 playable characters who each have a distinctive fighting style. The main character can shoot out force fields which blow the enemies away. He is fun to play as and the levels go by quickly since he is so skilled. The next character is the Roller Blades character. Unfortunately they made her the worst character in combat as her attacks are the weakest. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that she is the fastest fighter in the game but that doesn’t matter a whole lot since it’s not by a great deal and most areas force you to stop and fight the villains anyway. The third character is the power hitter of the group who wields a sword. He is easily the best character to play as since even the strongest enemies tend to lose in a single combo. Finally we have Fredzilla. He is in the middle of the gang. Not particularly strong but not downright weak either. His super jumps are fun since you just skip a lot of enemies that way.

Aside from their signature abilities the gameplay is that of a normal side scroller. You walk and jump through the level until you reach the end. There will be a few encounters with the enemy where you quickly dispatch them and keep it moving. Each level will only take a few minutes. There are 21 levels and the game lasted around 2 and a half hours. So I guess each level was around 6 minutes or so. It’s not quite Powerpuff Girls length but still a pretty short game overall. That being said, it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable due to both the level designs and the core gameplay. It’s more polished and the boss battles are all unique as opposed to simply punching them all into submission. Some of these bosses may even take multiple tries as you try to figure out how to hurt them. The game’s a little vague on that part but simply studying their movements and all should help you figure out the weaknesses.

As far as the graphics go, the game looks good. It’s still in the 3DS era so despite not being a big budget game it does hold up well. As long as a game looks clear and I get what’s going on, I typically give it a passing grade and this game earns that. The soundtrack is pretty uninspired though. No memorable tunes are to be found here. You’ll forget the ost the instant you put the game down although I can’t say I was expecting anything different to be honest.

There is some minimal replay value here. You can find the four Hero letters in each level to do something, I believe it may unlock artwork. You can also snag the 5 Health pieces in each level to level up your characters’ health bar. These things are fine but you’re unlikely to get them naturally unless you intentionally go for them and once you’ve beaten the game you don’t really have a need for the extra health if you really think about it. It’s still better than nothing of course but the overall message you should be getting from this is that the game is quite short. Aim to have fun while completing it but don’t expect the game to last.

One easy way to help the game a bit would have been to make the plot a bit better or the dialogue more passable. All of the characters just sound really annoying, Fred in particular. It’s hard to really feel like you should be rooting for these characters and instead you just want the level to start. The “cutscenes” are all very short so they don’t drag or anything though. They really just don’t add anything to the game and that’s always a little sad for the writers when you think about it. Letting Baymax be playable with some kind of unique gameplay like a flying level would have been nice as well. That’s effectively what Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer did for the DS a while back and it worked reasonably well.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun game. You’ll enjoy each level and going for the collectibles along the way is a good tactic to make the game a more complete experience. The characters and story may be rather weak but the gameplay is the important part and it works well enough. It would be nice if the game was longer or had more modes to enjoy though. Regardless, this is basically the definition of a weekend rental although it’s unlikely to last you for the full weekend. It’ll at least buy you some time and you’ll have fun along the way. An easy fix would be to add a Multiplayer mode and then the game would certainly have a lot more replay value.

Overall 7/10

Pac Man and The Ghostly Adventures Review

Pac-Man-and-the-Ghostly-Adventures-PlayStation-3-PS3
PAC Man is a legendary icon and one of the most recognized characters in all of media. It’s no exaggeration to say that more people know about him than heavy weights like Luke Benson or even the great Parappa The Rapper. Surprisingly he hasn’t had dozens of games to exploit this fact and at one point he went for such a long time without a game that it felt like the franchise was cancelled. This led to this game, a reboot in which PAC Man the Family Man was transformed into PAC Teen, a revel who breaks the rules and can’t control his urges for food. Would it be a success?

The plot is pretty light as the game prefers to let its gameplay do the talking. An evil ghost from the Netherworld named Betrayus has kidnapped PAC Man’s two friends and also threatens the entire world with a new weapon that he had developed. Our young hero decides to stop him but he will have fun along the way because he never recognizes Betrayus as a legitimate threat. Honestly that is probably pretty humiliating for the guy and I’m tempted to feel bad for him. That’s the plot in a nutshell and trust me when I say that the game never wants you to take it seriously either. It’s pretty much all played for laughs.

Fortunately the gameplay actually is pretty smooth. Each stage will typically have an assortment of objects to jump or walk around as you progress. You can eat ghosts or even cause objects to open so you can eat the power pellets that come from them. Along the way you will obtain various Super forms like fire and ice which each have their own special ability. Defeating the ghosts is easy no matter what form you use so I recommend making the most of them since most of the forms come with Silver trophies for eating 100 ghosts. You will get the hang of the controls pretty quickly since they are fairly limited while the levels vary in design and difficulty, the basics carry over. It is funny how some skills don’t pop up until near the very end of the game but I suppose it had to end at some point so it’s nice that they gave us more powers.

The game’s length is reasonable although definitely erring on the short side. You’ll have it beat in a matter of hours. Part of why it is so fast is because it is so easy. You likely won’t lose many lives during the game unless you get hit by glitches or try to rush a little too much. The bosses are easy and even a novice to the platforming genre should pick up on what to do before the levels get difficult. There is some replay value in the game though like obtaining all of the trophies. This will require you to complete the game twice which automatically doubles the play time. The rest of the trophies will take some time as well like clearing all of the arcade games you unlocked but they aren’t too difficult either. It’s a very achievable Platinum and one that I would recommend going for in consideration of that.

Graphically the game holds up quite nicely. The colors are vibrant and the level designs are solid. PAC Man’s design will certainly cause you to take a step back though as you wonder what the animators were thinking. His eyes are always half closed as he gives a nervous smile. Everyone else has a decent design so PAC sticks out. The rest of him is good though so it’s a relatively minor detail. There isn’t a wide variety for the music but the main theme is always fun and certainly holds up well. It’s fast paced and is a good remix of the classic theme. You definitely won’t be bored as you play through the game with the fun levels to look at and listen to.

Now the game does have some issues. Uninspired plot aside, the game can be rather glitchy. You will suddenly be stuck and unable to move at some points and you will fall through objects as you plummet to your doom. I’ve certainly seen and played glitchier games but considering that this is for the PS3 it is definitely noticeable enough to mention. It was the cause of a few deaths for me and the moral is always to slow down a little to let the game catch up to you.

Now, was PAC Man himself as bad as they say? Well, the burping gimmick does get old very quickly. He burps at the end of every single levels. Sometimes he is proud of it and other times he does seem to regret his actions. He does this in the show as well, but with no remorse and burps several times each episode. That’s his worst quality but beyond that we don’t see his other negative traits from the show so he comes off as at least a decent main character. At the end of the day he just wants to eat a lot and save the day along the way. He may not be as heroic or selfless as the original PAC Man but as far as edgy redesigns go it wasn’t half bad.

Overall, PAC Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun title. The plot may not be particularly good, but the gameplay is surprisingly solid and that makes quite the difference. PAC Man can move really fast which makes the platforming fun and the game did a good job with his powers. You always feel very powerful against the ghosts which should always be the case when you’re playing a PAC Man game. The soundtrack and graphics are good so that makes for a very complete package. The cover and the idea of a reboot for PAC man may put you off the title but you’d be missing out on what is actually a really good game. I’m definitely hyped for the sequel since I’ve heard it’s even better and can be compared to the legendary Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Overall 7/10