Wario World Review


Wario World is one of those games that I had been meaning to get for a very long time. After all, who wouldn’t want to experience this platformer in all its glory? Well, I can see why it never got big. It’s a good game, but it’s not a very good one. It makes some key errors in gameplay and level design that hold it back. It’s also worth mentioning that the game is quite short which is definitely not a good thing. You’d expect it to be a little longer.

The basic plot is that Wario was enjoying his riches when a dark star arrives which blows the whole thing up. Wario now needs to reunite the 4 keys in order to open up a Treasure Chest and then take the star down for good. Can Wario really manage to pull this off though or is he going to need to call in Mario to end things before it gets too serious? One thing’s for sure, he is going to make sure to grab a whole lot of treasure on the way.

There are 4 worlds in the game and each one has 2 levels and then a boss. Right away you can see how this would be shorter than the average game because that’s not really a whole lot of levels to get through. You can blast through that with ease. The individual levels are longer than the average platformer but it’s still not quite enough to completely balance things out.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer. You can punch enemies out or slam into them. Additionally you can pick them up after stunning an enemy and throw them into something else. The goal of each level is to grab some red gems which can be found in trap doors where you have to solve a puzzle. How many crystals you need definitely varies but on average you want to have around 5-6. Just don’t skip any trap doors and you’re good. If the trap door is glowing then that means there is a crystal in there.

Make sure you go through the trap doors that have a closed door symbol on them. Initially I didn’t go through them since it didn’t seem necessary but I found out the hard way that you need those as well. In order to enter those you need to ground pound while holding an enemy and then you are able to get in. At the end of each level is a boss so make sure you go for their weak points. The little guys you rescue during each level will give you hints on how to beat the boss. How many of them you collect also determined how your ending plays out in the game so it’s something to consider. It seems like I got the second best ending which is pretty nice.

The gameplay is decently solid although the controls definitely feel a lot more slippery than the average Mario game. Some of the jumps can be tougher than they look as a result. I liked the combat aspects of it though. Being able to punch out your enemies is pretty nice and feels like something Wario would do. I didn’t appreciate the fact that you have to collect gems though. One thing I’ve never liked is when you have to collect things because it just doesn’t feel right to me. Can’t I just breeze through the levels at my leisure?

Meanwhile the graphics are good. It definitely has that retro Gamecube feel which is always so amazing. No other console has managed to hit with quite the same level of emotional value. The boss designs are also pretty intense like the guy who looks like DK. Now there’s a power hitter if I’ve ever seen one before. He had to be a homage to DK just like we had a boss later who was like King K Rool. The designs were definitely on point.

As for the soundtrack, it’s like a Bizarro version of the Mario themes. You have Wario doing his best to make the themes sound like the classic tunes but it doesn’t really work. His singing voice simply isn’t up to par and neither are the stage instrumental themes. Ultimately this definitely isn’t one of the game’s strengths. As for replay value, at least there is some of that I suppose. You can go back to try and grab all of the upgrades and collectibles. Only issue is that aside from the ending which is less than 30 seconds anyway, there isn’t much of an incentive to doing that beyond just a general feeling that you 100% completed the game. Maybe that’s all you need I guess. So if you really like the game then it’s an added bonus.

Overall, Wario World is a good game but you can tell the studio hadn’t quite found their footing on this one yet. It feels like there are just a lot of chinks in the armor that still need to be straightened out. It had a lot of potential but as a result this title can’t beat the average platformer. Right now the going price for this game is around 70-80 bucks so I would not recommend it for that price. Even if just because the game is so short. If you find it for a good price though then it’s worth a look as such an old school title.

Overall 6/10

Wario World Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stage stats

Greenhorn Forest

5/5 Creatures
5/8 Crystals
2/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Greenhorn Ruins

5/5 Creatures
4/8 Crystals
3/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Horror Manor

5/5 Creatures
4/8 Crystals
4/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Wonky Circus

4/5 Creatures
5/8 Crystals
1/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Shivering Mountains

3/5 Creatures
5/8 Crystals
8/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Beanstalk Way

4/5 Creatures
2/8 Crystals
3/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Mirror Mansion

4/5 Creatures
5/8 Crystals
3/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Pecan Sands

4/5 Creatures
6/8 Crystals
6/8 Treasures
1/3 Collectibles

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Review


Harry Potter has had a very interesting history over the years when it comes to video games. On one hand, most of the original games were actually pretty decent. You had some fun gameplay and a good assortment of levels. On the other hand, we then got the Goblet of Fire which was a very weak game. How does this one stack up? Well, I wouldn’t say it stacks up super well. My main issue here is that at times it feels less like a game and more like you’re watching a bunch of cutscenes. The final boss is effectively just about moving your wand a bit to try and psych out the opponent. That doesn’t feel like a real boss battle.

The plot of the game is a little crazy when you think about it because of how random everything is. So everyone knows that Voldemort is coming but the school doesn’t allow people to practice their magic spells anymore. Harry decides to start teaching people subtlety but to do that he will have to recruit everyone into the army. Over half of the game is about assembling the team as you complete a lot of missions and get used to the place. Let me tell you, I did not expect this to be such a big focus in the game. It’s a unique development choice I suppose.

This is a 3D adventure kind of game as far as the gameplay is concerned. There is a pretty big hub world to explore but I’m not sure you’ll really be planning to do a whole lot of that anyway. Most of the time you was wondering from place to place. Fortunately you do have a map to help you locate students and locations, however it doesn’t help for a few missions like where you have to find a bunch of stone gargoyles on the premises. That was easily the toughest mission in the game because of how big the hub world is. In a sense you have to hope you get lucky and you can probably see straight up why this would not be a good idea.

To break up the monotony you can engage in some minigames though. Honestly they are probably better than the main game. One of these games is one of those memory match titles where you have to recall what cards were flipped over and then select them. I always tended to enjoy these back in the day. There are other minigames like Chess and such here that I didn’t really try out but look pretty fun from what I’ve seen. The issue is that the main gameplay style isn’t great. If I had to make a comparison, it’s like a second rate Telltale Game but those have the fun gimmick of making choices during the game. This one has none of that.

The graphics definitely aren’t great. It doesn’t quite look PS3 level that’s for sure. You can tell that any effort that was put into the game was not put into the graphics department. Those guys were really left by their lonesome. The soundtrack is good though. It’s still got that very regal style to it which works very well. It’s memorable which is good and can at least make you feel like you’re about to play something hype…for a little while anyway.

The game isn’t too long. I beat it in around 5 hours. You can definitely bump that up a bit if you do the side missions and knock out the minigames too though. I don’t think you would bump up the playtime a ton though since it’s not like there were a lot of bonus missions. When I beat the game there were only 3-4 left and I can tell you that I did not go out of my way to do any of them.

In a sense I would say Order of the Phoenix feels like a very unfinished game. It’s almost like an extended demo in some ways. After playing Half Blood Prince you’ll see what the completed version is like. I would say this game had a great setup going but it just didn’t. The wand mechanics for moving things around and firing off energy blasts wasn’t even close to being streamlined. Additionally, the walking around took forever. Occasionally the kids would ask you to climb up somewhere to grab something so you’d have to very slowly climb up to the top and then back down.

At the end of the day, what this game is missing are qualify of life upgrades. Something to make the game more fun. Faster run speeds, a smaller hub world, things of that nature. All of those would result in a significantly better game that would run well and would also just be fun. That is the absolute best case scenario. So while the game isn’t as bad as the last one and I wouldn’t even call it a bad game upfront, it’s just not a lot of fun to play. There isn’t any compelling reason to play this game while other, better options exist. It’s for those reasons that I would say it is best to just skip this one entirely.

Overall, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix had potential but the game just didn’t live up to it. It’s impressive how big they made the castle here but they should have added more shortcuts or something. Not having any Quidditch was pretty bad too since that used to be a lot of fun. You get the idea that they just phoned this game in. Honestly it’s not really all that uncommon for movie based games which is a shame. They deserve a better reputation but instances like this absolutely don’t help their case. I already beat the next game though so I’ll have a review for that one pretty soon. Good news is that it’s a lot better and starts to get us back to how this game series should be.

Overall 5/10

Prehistorik Man Review


With Prehistorik Man out of the way I am once again caught up on the new SNES games to hit the service. Hopefully Nintendo speeds things up a bit because I want more games to check out. Well, this one’s definitely not as good as you would have expected given the platforming nature of the game. I’ve always considered the platforming genre to be one of the safer ones out there due in part to the fact that as long as you can move and jump the gameplay should continue to work from there. Unfortunately the issue here is that it decides to add some exploration elements to the game which really backfire. You don’t want to do that, trust me.

The basic plot of the game is that the local village is running out of food. Additionally one of the cavewomen has been kidnapped as well. The main character will now have to search the land to save her and while he is on the journey he is also tasked with bringing back a lot of food so that the village can thrive. It’s a big mission but one that he is absolutely ready to conquer. The world definitely does not realize that it is about to witness the birth of an ultimate hero. This guy doesn’t have a lot of personality though. He’s very similar to Crash. The hero is always grinning but he doesn’t actually seem to understand what is going on. It may be for the best since the chief is always insulting him.

On its surface the game has pretty pleasant gameplay and solid levels. You have to jump around until you reach the goal and you can also attack enemies with your club or even with projectiles at times. The levels are quite large so expect to be moving around a lot. Now this is where the game fumbles the ball at the end. In some levels instead of making it to the end you have to find a pair of keys or a firefly. Doing so takes a long time as you navigate the level only to realize they cannot be found. That’s when you do several laps around the place until you finally find the little corner the objective was hiding in. If you ask me the game should not have had the collection element in. It would ultimately just end up being rather tedious the whole time. Then you’ve also got some levels where the design isn’t very good.

For example there’s a fire level where you have to keep moving forward but eventually there is nowhere left to go. Well, the answer was you had to use the club to strike at a specific part of the tree which could be broken. This was definitely something that came out of nowhere and would have been difficult to realize on your own. Additionally there are invisible platforms which don’t appear until you strike at the air itself. Now that just comes across as rather cheesy.

So when you add all of those elements up it definitely had an immediate effect on the game’s quality itself. Instead of being a solid 7 and going on its way the game managed to lose 2 stars just like that. Definitely not a good look for the game in the slightest. It’s just not designed very well and a platformer is so hard to mess up ordinarily that it becomes quite noticeable. It’s not as if the story is especially strong to hold it up either. It’s rather plain but standard for a platformer.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game feels a whole lot like the Donkey Kong Country titles. It has a very similar graphical style, sound effects, and even text boxes. I feel like perhaps this was originally being developed as a DK game and then at some point they had to scrap the process but they kept it around just in case as a whole new game. It makes a good amount of sense at the very least even though it was never confirmed. The soundtrack has a similar energy to that as well and works with the stages. On a technical level I definitely have no complaints with the game.

The game’s length is a bit more impressive than a lot of the other SNES games. This should last you close to 3 hours I would expect. Particularly since you should get lost at least once while playing through the game. I wouldn’t say there is any replay value here though. Once you complete the game then that’s basically it. Don’t expect you will be coming back for more. Considering that it’s free with the Switch Online though that’s not too bad.

Overall, Prehistorik Man could have been a lot better than it was. It got too tricky for its own good with how the game was handled. Having to go and find things is just not a very useful way of getting the level objectives across. It slows down the flow of the title and works completely against everything the game was trying to accomplish. If you want to make a platformer then you design solid levels and let the player jump to the end. If you want to do a puzzle game then you can do that but mixing the two is not something I would recommend. Definitely give this one a skip as almost any other platformer surpasses this one.

Overall 5/10

Psycho Dream Review


Next up in the review ranks is a game that throws in some good sci-fi angles at us. Psycho Dream is fairly short but has good gameplay and a solid story. Of course with a game like this it is quite interpretive so to an extent you get to decide what the plot is. If you were to look up the game’s plot online I’m sure you could come away with a definitive answer but purely from the game’s context a girl has been kidnapped and now you need to find her. The main character has a pretty cool suit. He looks kind of like a ninja and with the way he’s running around that may not really be on base. Either way this made for a great setup to start the game.

This rescue won’t be easy though. For starters there are a bunch of giant monsters running around. The whole game plays out like a dream with each world getting weirder than the last. It’s nice because the game is able to go all out with the graphics. The level designs are very creative. You get to visit a whole assortment of places and the bosses all have fun designs as well. You definitely won’t get lost or anything while you run around the levels. It’s all pretty straight forward. As for the gameplay, it’s in 2D. You have various weapons at your disposal such as a blade or even laser blasts. Throughout the levels you are able to change and upgrade your weapons to fit the situation.

This is one game where I would say that it’s not always good to power up though. The best weapon you can get is one where you can use your sword and then your energy blasts nonstop. Unfortunately the middle power ups just have one laser which doesn’t cover nearly the area that the blade can. Most times you are better off just sticking with the blade. It doesn’t deal the most damage and it isn’t the fastest weapon but it’s definitely one that you ca count on to get you some nice wins. It has a good reach for every boss you may end up coming across so I’d say it’s the most consistent weapon.

There’s certainly room for a sequel with how suddenly the game ends. Who knows, maybe there is already a sequel out there somewhere since this game is so old. At the very least from the new SNES games added to the collection this would definitely have to be one of the higher recommendations. You can beat it in around an hour or so and there is no replay value so you really just need to have fun on the opening playthrough and then you’ll be set. I don’t see why you wouldn’t though, all of the fundamentals are intact.

The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but I want to say it was decent. I would have probably given it some more rock tunes or fast paced techno to fit in with the game’s layout. Imagine jumping across the platforms in the final boss fight while you’re getting really intense battle music. I think that would have worked out rather well if you ask me. Definitely a good way to amp up the game but it’s a solid all around title either way. It’s an hour where you should have a blast. The game is reasonably difficult. It’s not as tough as Doomsday Warrior but you still can’t go in expecting to walk all over the game or you will definitely be in for a surprise there.

Overall, Psycho Dream goes all out with making sure this is a very original video game experience. It does a great job of making itself standout among the crowd. There just weren’t a lot of games in this era that looked quite like this one. The only thing I’d say against the game is that I don’t get why the laser is so weak. I feel like all power ups should be stronger than the original weapon. It feels like a trap if you get a power up because then you may be stuck fighting an enemy who is too powerful when it should be the opposite. It’s just a little odd having to recommend you keep your initial weapon but that is the case here.

Overall 7/10

Gal Gunvolt Burst Review


Gal Gunvolt Burst is a game that I didn’t even know existed as of a few days ago. Who would have guessed that Mighty No 9 would have had a crossover of any kind. Well, it’s definitely nice to see Beck back alongside the Gunvolt character. I’m not familiar with the series Gal is from but the more crossover characters the better right? It’s a really solid platformer that rewards exploration and customization. If you get the right loadout set up then you should be able to dominate any level with ease. I tried going through the whole game without much customization but let me tell you, it makes a huge difference.

The game starts off with Gunvolt being warped into a rather strange world. In this world he is unable to use his normal powers. Before he can make head or tails of what is going on, he is approached by a robot who claims to be Beck but longtime Mighty No 9 fans will know that the color scheme doesn’t match. He says that Gunvolt will have to defeat 8 Robot Masters in order to find out the truth about the world. Gunvolt isn’t sure what is going on here but he is certainly ready to unleash some combat and take everyone down a few pegs. They don’t have him known as one of the strongest fighters out there for nothing after all.

The story is very to the point. I imagine that in the other stories we would see something similar here. The structure of the game follows the classic Mega Man template where you have to defeat the 8 robot masters in front of you. After that you enter the final levels where you have to defeat them all again and then take on the final boss. Each level isn’t particularly long but you should really take the time to explore a bit on the way to grab some power ups. The power up function is very handy here.

In terms of gameplay you’re running through the levels and blasting all of the enemies in your way. However, there is a bit of a wrinkle to the normal formula here. You are given a customization menu you can access at any point. Here you can choose to do things such as make your bullets bigger, improve your speed, add double jumps, etc. You have to fit it all within your system specs though. So initially you won’t be able to do much of anything and then by the end of the game you can turn on almost everything. When you beat a level you are given the option to choose one of 3 rewards. These include more space, a poster for your collection, and an elemental power. Initially I picked space for each level I beat.

That ended up costing me a bit because element attacks are really what you want here. Like in any classic Mega Man title the element guns help you deal extra damage to your opponents. It makes a huge difference in a fight. Without those element guns I wasn’t able to beat almost any boss without a lot of fruit. Fortunately every level would give you opportunities to grab a ton of fruit. However, this caught up to me in the climax level where you have to beat all 8 robots again. That was a little much for me to deal with. I got wrecked a lot so I had to go back and beat every level a second time. Additionally I went out of my way to get a bunch of other power ups. The best customization option was the triple attack. It takes up a huge amount of space (5000. For reference my final space limit was 7000) but it’s well worth it. It’s hard to describe just how good triple attack is. With that I was beating most bosses in seconds.

So the moral here is that customization is huge. It’s handled really well and the reason why I like it is because it does cause you to explore but you really feel the benefits of doing so. I’ve always said that if you’re going to be a game with a lot of backtracking then it’s important that you feel the improvements. It is undoubtedly true that you are way stronger with these upgrades so that was satisfying. The Gunvolt levels were also a lot of fun because they faithfully recreated all of the Mighty No 9 levels to go with the bosses. It’s all pretty nostalgic this way and seeing Beck again was definitely a lot of fun.

The graphics are on point as well as the soundtrack. This has that nice Mega Man feel to it both with designs and music but throwing a modern touch on it. This is an example of a game modernizing a lot of elements without losing sight of what made it so much fun in the first place. The game is a little short on each playthrough. I’d say it’s probably around 2-3 hours. There’s a trophy for beating the game in an hour though and I can see how that’s possible. There are 8 main levels which range from 3-5 minutes and then the final 4 levels. As long as you beat them without dying too often and properly use your customizations then you’ll be set but that’s not something you are likely going to be able to do the first time around. Obtaining the platinum trophy would likely be difficult here.

One trophy says to beat the whole game with your default loadout. I can already see how that would be quite troublesome indeed. You would need to really master the boss attack patterns. It does add to the replay value though as well as beating the game with the main 3 characters. The physical version of the game also brings a lot of bonus characters that you can play as too. So you have a lot of options here to be sure. I know the main 3 have very different gameplay styles so I wonder if that’s true for these other characters as well or if they are echos this time around.

Overall, This is a fun crossover. It’s a very retro styled game with a nice little plot where we get to see the heroes meet up. It’s fairly quick but all of the levels are fun so you’ll have a good experience here. If you like side scrollers or shooting games in general then this is a good one to check out. Additionally the customization aspect is just handled really well so it’s fun to experiment with different loadouts. I’m definitely ready to get some more crossovers like this in the future.

Overall 7/10

Super Monkey Ball Adventure Review


Monkey Ball is a series that has always been pretty important to me. It’s got great gameplay and a whole lot of dynamic puzzles. To an extent you can say that it’s a very safe series which should never go wrong. How can you mess up such tight gameplay right? The Wii one wasn’t particularly impressive though and this one’s really underwhelming so maybe the series is just over the hill. The problem is that these titles are messing with the core mechanics which really didn’t need to be altered at this point in time. it’s a shame, but I guess it’s just the way it goes.

The basic plot here is that a wedding is being planned between two characters. Unfortunately a lot of people don’t want to attend the wedding. For starters, the wedding is against the rules of the land currently and people are just too busy. There are robot invasions in some lands, monkeys turning evil in others, and some just can’t be bothered. Aiai and the crew decide that they are going to have to force everyone to come to the wedding by eliminating any possible excuses that they might have. So that begins their tough journey through the wilderness to set things straight. Can the monkeys do it or is this really game over for them?

The plot isn’t terrible I guess but it’s definitely not particularly engaging. the real problem here is just the fact that the gameplay is not good. So, in most Monkey Ball games the idea is to make it to the goal while balancing inside of your little plastic ball. This s tough because the levels are just really difficult and controlling the ball is tough. Still, it’s a fair challenge that is a lot of fun and each level is shorter than 60 seconds so the trial and error doesn’t hurt. Unfortunately this is only a small part of the Adventure gameplay. You only play these levels on occasion to unlock new areas to explore. that’s it.

The rest of the game acts more like a platformer. You have to help the villagers with whatever challenge they are having like bringing people balloons or catching a car. Unfortunately the Monkey Ball gameplay really does not work particularly well with this style. The game is all about moving and performing these difficult maneuvers but when you fall prepare for big set backs. The game will take you to the nearest area exit which is sometimes quite far from where you died. This means it will be a long journey to get back to where you were which is never fun. That’s the case for a lot of the quests here, they’re very tedious and take the joy out of the equation.

The basic structure of the game is that each world has around 20 missions to complete. Each mission will bump you up 5%. Once you reach 60% you can challenge the boss of the world and by beating him you get one more guest to the wedding. Rinse and repeat for all 4-5 worlds and then you’ve made it to the ending. Interestingly the game doesn’t really let you know any of this so you may end up doing more missions than you actually need to as a result. Pretty slick of the game if you ask me. I was just ready to head out as soon as I had the required completion% in the game. My total completion% was around 74 which is pretty good I must say.

Fortunately, since you don’t have to beat literally every mission, if you find out that’s a little too cray just skip it. No reason you have to punish yourself by trying to knock it out. In particular there were a few aerial missions I just couldn’t handle. The air missions seem to be the worst ones in general since the gameplay just isn’t as finetuned as the ground combat parts which have been fine tuned over many different installments by this point. The aerial part is new.

The graphics are okay I suppose. They aren’t particularly impressive but you know where you are going which is the important thing. The level designs are pretty bad though. The hub worlds are just too huge and as a result you can get lost or just have to retrace a lot of old ground all the time. As for the soundtrack, well it’s pretty forgettable. I don’t expect you will remember any of the tunes by the time you’re done with the game. It’s just one of those adventures.

For replay value I suppose there is a decent amount here. There are quite a few missions to do and extra minigames. Gathering all of the bananas in order to unlock all of the bonus content would probably be pretty intense too. The game took me a long time as it is so there is a lot of content here. It’s just not particularly entertaining content. If you do end up liking the game though, you can at least be content to know there is a lot to do here including an expansive multiplayer mode with lots of games to try.

Overall, Monkey Ball Adventure just isn’t good. At the end of the day the core problem here is the gameplay and that’s pretty much a killer for any title. The fact that the story is pretty much nonexistent doesn’t help either. You have to deal with a lot of loading times and since the game just isn’t fun in general either, there’s no real reason to play this one. One thing that could have solved a lot of problems would be the ability to teleport to missions or at least re-spawn there when you lose. Without that and the fact that chanting to go into each special skill mode takes too long results in a pretty sad experience. I don’t see myself going back to this title. Hopefully Monkey Ball gets a proper new game at some point though.

Overall 4/10