Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

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I don’t buy games on Day 1 too often. When I do it’s typically for a big franchise that I follow like Super Smash or Dragon Ball Z. If you asked me a few months ago if I’d buy Crash day 1, I probably would have chuckled. Crash always seemed fun enough, but I’ve never played any of his games so I couldn’t call myself a big fan. That being said, the collection got a lot of hype and just about everyone I talked too had also pre ordered it. I decided that I needed to see what the hype was all about. It’s not the greatest game of all time as I’ve heard some say, but it is definitely a very solid title. The fact that it is 3 games in 1 just makes this even more of a bargain!

Lets start with the first game. There isn’t much of a plot, but Cortex has decided to destroy the world. Crash must stop this mad scientist’s quest for power while he can. The problem is that Crash isn’t very smart so he just mindlessly runs around and beating people up. He’s a force of nature and fortunately he is acting on the side of the heroes. The 3 games have some similarities as they all have around 25 levels and in the same format. You have 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 levels. That’s where the similarities start to end. The first game is easily the hardest of the 3 and relies less on gimmicks than the others. All of the levels in the first game are classic platforming challenges in 2D and 3D.

One of the level styles is the overhead water ones. They were my favorite levels but they were admittedly the easiest as well. I found them to be pretty bearable as I jumped from platform to platform. There were also the boulder chase levels where you have to rely on your reaction times to jump when a pit appeared since you couldn’t see them. (You’re running towards the screen) Surprisingly, this is the one aspect where the sequels were a bit tougher..or maybe my reaction time just slowed down.

The meat and potatoes of this game are the sky levels where you have to get past crumbling bridges. Apparently you can cheese parts of the level by running on the rope, but I didn’t notice that so I had to beat them the old fashioned way. I must have gotten 30-40 game overs on this level style because I just couldn’t get past some of the obstacles. Finally completing them was always a very satisfying experience. There were quite a few levels that I just barely completed and can’t imagine going back anytime soon. The game is merciless with the difficulty and it’s no walk in the park. I usually would only beat 1 world every time I turned the game on because it wasn’t easy to beat them in large batches like the sequels.

The gameplay is simple as you just run, jump, and spin. It’s easy to know the controls, but the levels are still tricky because you have to be very precise. If you don’t time your jumps perfectly, then it’s game over for you. I have to give the game credit for never being unfair though. The challenges were tough, but they weren’t luck based or anything like that. The more you played the levels, the more you got used to the obstacles. Also, you would only have to restart the level so the penalty for dying wasn’t absolutely terrible or anything. It was an intense way to start the collection.

The sequel adds some more plot and cutscenes into the mix. Cortex has asked Crash for help because an asteroid is going to crash or some other villain is messing around. Anyway, he demands that Crash find all of the gems once again and gives them to him. Crash’s sister consistently warns Crash that the guy is lying, but Crash doesn’t seem to understand and after being threatened, gives them to Cortex. I may as well say it now, I don’t like Crash. He’s not smart and not endearing. He makes all of the wrong decisions time and time again. He’s just lucky that Cortex isn’t much of a villain either. He’s certainly no Eggman or dare I say even Bowser? At least Bowser was threatening for a time. Cortex is just a second rate Wily.

This game is noticeably easier than the first. I only got the game over screen a handful of times and in particular the first level of the final world. Part of why the game is easier is because they added a new dash mechanic similar to DK Tropical Freeze. You don’t have to be as precise with your jumps anymore because the dash grab can cheese almost any obstacle. All of the villains are slower now so it is easier to time when you should spin. The final boss takes this low difficulty to the extreme as you can beat him in about a minute. He literally can’t attack you so you just chase him down 3 times which is incredibly simple. I was shocked at how fast he went down. There was no final form though so I guess that was that.

The second title experiments with the game a little more as you get airship levels and other gameplay styles. This meant there was a little less time for the traditional Crash levels which plays a big part in why the game was easier. Although, the normal Crash levels have also been nerfed from the first game so it’s probably a moot point. While the first game may be more satisfying, I can safely say that the second one is better since it had more of an actual plot and I did like the gameplay variety.

Finally, we make it to the third game. This one ramps up the gameplay variety even more as you get racing levels, water racing, underwater submarine combat, Star Fox simulator, and then the occasional Crash level. This game easily has the fewest Crash levels which may be a little sad for gamers who had to wait until it came out back in the day but since this collection already had a bunch of those I was pretty content. This game is even easier and I only saw the Game Over screen once. Admittedly that was kind of my fault for underestimating the game. It got so easy that I allowed myself to get a bit sloppy for a while there.

The plot for this game is that Uka Uka has returned and is commanding Cortex to destroy Crash. They also halfheartedly try to trick Crash again, but don’t seem too committed to that as they flip flop around the issue. I doubt Crash figured that out anyway though. Despite the hype, I can’t say that I care much for the mask. I can’t really take him seriously and his design isn’t all that good. Honestly the Crash series needs a better supporting cast. Who knows, maybe I’ll like them more as I play more games though. There are definitely a bunch of others to get at some point right?

There is a lot of replay value here and that’s an understatement. Even after beating the three games, there are many collectibles to get in each. Obtaining the 3 Platinum Trophies in the game will also take a considerable amount of time. Games 2 and 3 are easy enough, but part of getting the Platinum in the first game involves completing all of the levels…without dying. That sounds pretty insane to me and I just can’t picture pulling that off without an incredible amount of work. I don’t think I want to spend quite that much time since the deaths will really get to me, but this is certainly great news for Crash fans. You’ll have a shiny trophy to prove that you’ve overcome all of the odds.

The graphics are pretty good and it is nice that the game completely redid them from the ground up. They have certainly modernized Crash and friends with the new designs. The soundtrack is also surprisingly catchy. Some of the themes are pretty memorable like the final boss tunes and some of the factory ones. Crash 1 certainly has the best array of songs, but they’re all pretty good in their own right.

I do have one big criticism with the game though…the unskippable cutscenes. You can’t skip the Gameover screen which is the saltiest part of the whole losing experience. You have to watch the Mask laugh at you a few times and there isn’t anything you can do about it. The cutscene isn’t incredibly long, but it is definitely long enough to make you wince and take a step back. It feels quite bad. You also can’t skip the opening credits to the game. Every time you boot it up you have to watch all of the logos fly by and the narrator try to hype the game up. I can understand doing that the first time, but I don’t want to have to watch it every time. That’s just a little too much product placement.

There are no other real negatives to the game, but I did find a glitch during one of the boss fights. If you hit the scientist who throws the bottles at you too soon, he’ll forget to drop the bottle and just stay in a permanent electrocuted position. You then have to get out of the game and retry. It’s a mild thing as you can easily beat the boss another way, but it felt like I was being punished for being too fast. Did the quality testers never see this because they weren’t fast enough to beat him that way? Not to toot my own horn or anything. I do like the fact that there is an auto save for the game active and that you can save at any time as well. It’s just a nice quality of life addition that makes the whole package better.

As for the bosses, most of them were pretty easy. The only challenging ones were in Game 1 as you’d expect. It took me a little to realize that I could jump on the first boss so that took a bit. Any boss that involved aerial combat was a breeze. The final boss in Game 1 was reasonably difficult since dodging the energy bolts was tricky. Game 2’s was easy as I mentioned and Game 3’s was also very simple. It wasn’t all that hard to dodge his attacks. There was a lot of variety in the bosses so the game did good on that front. Very rarely was a boss similar to a previous one.

So, how does Crash stand up next to the all time greats? Clearly he is no match for Mario or Sonic, that one’s a given. I’d also give Ratchet and Clank as well as Jak the edge. Crash does surpass Sly and Klonoa though. I think that’s roughly all of the main platformers. I’d mention Rayman, but I haven’t actually gotten to start that one yet. One of these days though, it’s just around the bend.

How do the 3 games stack up? Well, as I said Crash 2 is the best, then 3, and then 1. I do appreciate Crash 1’s challenge and difficulty of course, but you can see how the games got a little more polished after that. As I mentioned, I like how they shifted the gameplay a lot in the sequels. The first will always be a classic, but the addition of a plot is just too big of an advantage to miss either. I will say that the first does give you the most bang for your buck since you’ll be there a while.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend picking this game up. It’s quite a bargain considering that you’re getting 3 full games for the price of 1. They are all classics as well so it’s not like you’re getting Flip’s Twisted World or anything like that. They have a seal of quality on them with solid level designs. It’s an all around pleasant experience. The 2nd and 3rd games are great for relaxing as you can breeze through the levels with minimal effort which lets you enjoy the scenery more. Then the first game helps wake you up every day as you have to bring your A game to conquer it. I suppose I may buy the next collection day 1, (After all, the 3rd game does end with a cliffhanger!…even if you can’t take it seriously) but it likely won’t be an issue because I plan to buy the sequels way before such a collection comes out. Gamecube/PS2, here I come!

Overall 8/10

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Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review

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It’s time for another title set in the Clone Wars. Republic Heroes may be the first Star Wars game that I’ve played on the PS3, but it ended up being the weakest installment in this saga. I don’t know why, but it just couldn’t hang with the others. I blame it on the game’s poor gameplay mechanics and lackluster plot. It’s still a solid game that will last you for a reasonable amount of time, but I was expecting a little more since we are now in the modern era.

The game has you split up into several groups. It appears that Count Dooku is up to something again and he sends Ventress off to cause some havoc. Cad and Kul are also fighting over a weapon of mass destruction. I don’t think we ever actually learn what it does to be honest. Well, Anakin and Ahsoka go to check things out while Obi Wan and a Jedi master I’m not familiar with head to a space station. Two other Jedi Mastered investigate the canyons and along the way the Clone soldiers do their best to help out as well. The heroes have spread themselves rather thin, but they’re always ready for danger. Hopefully they are prepared!

Here’s why the plot sags behind the others…there are no hype moments. The original Wii game was a blast because of the stellar soundtrack and the tough talk between all of the characters. It worked really well as a result. The DS game worked because of the fun gameplay and I really enjoyed the Shadow sisters as villains. The problem with this game is that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They don’t feel like threats either. Cad is a guy with a gun…so he shouldn’t last long. Kul is a robot who has a lot of weapons, but it seems like it’d be an easy matter for the Jedi to swing him around. That just leaves Ventress and Dooku but since they lose in all of the games I don’t think we’re meant to take them too seriously anymore. The banter between the characters can still be pretty fun and the characters aren’t bad, but the plot could use a little work.

The gameplay is 3D hack and slash. You have to fight your way through large armies of droids as you try to keep your wits about you. There is a lot of variety as you will play as both Jedi and Clones as well as ride hovercraft and large robots. You can also jump onto any enemy to control it and force others to try and oppose it. You can use your Force abilities or go in close for the lightsaber. The Force is incredibly overpowered here so the game got that part down pat. To make up for this, it doesn’t give you all that much money so if you want to buy a lot of stuff in the shop you should stick to close quarters combat. I was able to buy everything anyway at the end and I used a lot of The Force so money isn’t a huge issue. Even if you don’t have enough by the end you can probably just replay a level and you’ll be good to go.

It’s fun to mow down legions of enemies with your blade. The game can feel like a mini beat em up at times due to this. That’s also why the Force waves are fun as you can send about 6-10 enemies flying with a single hit. Unfortunately the gameplay can also be a weakness. The title uses an odd auto jump system where your character will lock on to an object and try to land in a controlled arc when you jump. The problem is that the character can’t decide what to do right away so a lot of times he unlocks right as you jump and you plunge to your death. You always have to wait a second before jumping to make sure that you don’t flal. It feels rather odd and it’s a weird part of the game. I had a ton of deaths that way.

Fortunately, there are no real deaths here. Each character has infinite lives and even if both die at the same time, you’re still fine. I am playing on the first difficulty though so maybe that changes later. I wasn’t about to start the campaign on hard after all. It’s pretty useful I admit even if it maybe does make the game a little too easy. I did die over 140 times according to the stats though so I probably got sloppy thanks to it as well. The game just doesn’t explain things too well at times like how to defeat the large droids. That kind of messed me up at times and those bosses would take ages. Just remember to jump on the enemy when in doubt since it automatically destroys most of them.

The main campaign has around 35-40 levels and each of them is about 5-10 minutes long. That will last you for a good amount of time and getting all of the PS3 trophies will add in some replay value as well. There are a lot of collectibles to grab so keep a sharp eye while in the levels. The more that you grab now, the less that you’ll have to worry about in the future right? I grabbed as many as I could, but I believe that I may still be missing around 30 or so.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are all that good. They look like a Wii game rather than a PS3 one. They haven’t really aged well I’ll admit. It’s not like they’re awful or anything though, they’re still good enough. The blasters and attacks look good at any rate. The soundtrack is rather limited. It uses a lot of the same themes from the other two games. Surprisingly, the only good theme in the game was the end credits tune. That one was surprisingly amazing so I’m a little sad that they saved it for the credits. It should have been used for the actual game if you ask me.

I’ll give the game credit for handling the Force well though. This game probably had the best application of it from all the games that I’ve played so far. It was actually very useful the whole time and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature. There were also no artificial moments made to make the game longer. Every level was direct and to the point. I can definitely appreciate the game’s honesty there. I’ll take a 6 hour game with no repeating levels than a 30 hour one where it is just the same level over and over again.

Overall, Star Wars Republic Heroes is a good game. It could have easily been a great game if the gameplay was smoother and the story was more interesting, but it tripped up there. There’s no way I’d die 140+ times if the gameplay had been smooth. It feels a bit like a cash in at times, but you can tell that some effort was still put into the game. It at least feels like a real game and the levels go by fairly quick. The developers certainly had a bunch of ideas as the game introduces new features even near the end of the game. It’s interesting to see a tutorial message pop up when you’re in the final act. It may not have all worked and they should have used some more time to refine the actual platforming element of the game, but it’s a nice package overall. I’d recommend getting it. It’s not the best Star Wars game on the market, but it’ll introduce you to all of the core concepts.

Overall 7/10

M&M’s Adventure Review

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It’s time for another game in the M&Ms saga. The previous ones weren’t all that bad. The DS game’s gameplay was pretty interesting and you can’t really mess up a racing game. This was the first one to be a full platformer though so that naturally came with some considerable risks. It has quite a few glitches and plays out like a slightly higher budget version of Ninjabread Man at times. The game definitely makes some mistakes and I’d have to call it a bad game. It’s not on the same level as some of the other disaster titles, but it makes enough of the wrong moves to sabotage itself like having to replay a whole chapter if you lose. Lets dive in!

The game starts on Christmas Eve as the M&Ms are getting ready to lock up for the night. Unfortunately, a security breach occurs and all of the M&Ms are stolen. The heroes have to quickly re grab all 120 of them before leaving, but they are now being guarded by a Snowman who likes to yell “Its hot”, The Easter Bunny who is very hungry, The Nutcracker who wants to blow everyone up, and the Halloween Man who is trying to scare everyone. Fortunately our brave heroes won’t back down when candy is on the line.

The gameplay is very straight forward. It’s a 3D adventure that “should” play out like a Mario game. You move and jump as you cross the level. Getting to the end is your destination, but not the goal. You must find all of the M&Ms in each level or else you’ll have to replay it anyway. Each level has 3-4 areas which can be as large as an average level in another game. You must beat them all without losing all of your lives or you’re sent back to the beginning and you’ll need to grab the M&Ms again. That is definitely the most annoying part of the game. Most of the levels aren’t all that difficult, but the last 2 are tough. There is a huge jump in difficulty between levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 has you go through many jumps with metal birds trying to peck you along the way. It seems like you can possibly step on them or lure them to a bomb, but it’s much harder than it looks. With enough repetition you’ll get through it, but the levels can be long so you don’t want to have to replay them too much. Fortunately to counter this, the bosses are incredibly easy. The only one that is even a little difficult is the final boss which is also very generous with health bits everywhere. For the Cupid you just have to hit a bunch of switches. Taking down the Bunny just means luring him to candy and you lure the soldier to poison smoke. You lure the Lantern to bombs and take out the Snowman by hitting a lot of switches. Either the developers didn’t put too much thought into the bosses or they just didn’t want to make them too difficult. Imagine having to go all the way back at that point.

There is one part of the game that is just unfair though. In Green’s last level there comes a point where you have to board a boat as cannons shoot at you. The problem is that you die instantly for no reason. It’s possible an unintentional glitch in the game or something, but that’s it..you’re done. The only way around this that I found was to just jump in the ice cream and swim to shore. It takes up a lot of health, but at least I lived. I wasted a lot of lives trying to figure out why I was dying though. It would be like an invisible energy blast hit me or something.

Fortunately the game has so many glitches that you can exploit them as well. You can jump on air to skip parts of levels by just mashing jump and you can also achieve infinite lives. The way to doing the latter is getting a lot of coins like 98 for example. Then you reach a checkpoint. After that you grab the final 2 and keep on going. You get the extra life from this and then even if you die, you’re brought back to 98 coins at the check point. Since the coins reset despite the life sticking around, you can keep on getting lives forever. Figure out what section it the toughest for you and do the coin trick at the nearest checkpoint. This helped me a lot in the Snowman level. Hey, if the game is going to pull out cheesy tricks to stop me from winning…then two can play at that game!

The graphics are nothing special, but they get the job done. You can always tell what is happening and the level designs are pretty clever. The Christmas levels have the best designs for sure, but the Halloween level is surprisingly spooky as well. There are creepy portraits everywhere and even the music feels rather dire for the heroes. I think they put more effort into the soundtrack and levels than the gameplay so their priorities may have been a little mixed up. It was fun hearing Jingle Bells and Sleigh Bells ring at the end. It helped show that the developers cared about this game at least a little.

There isn’t any replay value here though. Once you gain the 120 M&Ms you are completely done with the game. That’s the end of your adventure and it’ll be time to put the game back in the drawer. The campaign isn’t all that long, but it is artificially lengthened by having to play the same levels as all 3 characters each time. If you ask me, you shouldn’t have to collect all 120 M&Ms to see the ending. That’s like having to grab all of the Stars in a Mario game. It’s something you should want to do, not something you have to do. Mix that in with the tedious nature of having to replay levels while looking for M&Ms and the game definitely gets hurt quite a bit.

There’s also a glitch where you’ll turn invisible if you try to approach the M&M machine. I guess the game won’t even let me look at the cool candies that I’ve collected eh? Well fine, I didn’t want to look at them anyway. I should quickly mention that each M&M has an ability. Red can fly whenever you see a flight symbol, Yellow can double jump, Green can swing her tennis racket whenever she finds a tennis symbol. Red’s flight levels are the best part of the game so I wish they had appeared more. It was certainly better than the main part of the game.

Overall, This game had a lot of potential, but the gameplay’s just a little too weak. You know there’s a problem when some levels are purely luck based. I almost died at the very end with Green because you have to dodge falling rocks for about 3-4 minutes. I barely survived and since I had 0 lives left that would have been fairly upsetting. I do like the challenge at times as some of them can be fair, but then we should get more lives or every stage should be its own level. That would fix a lot of issues. I died a lot of times on the revolving Ice Cream door which is easily the toughest part of the whole game. Seriously, just try to get out of that one in one piece. It can hold its own with some of Mario Maker’s toughest levels. Having to go back all the way is just too much of a detriment. The game is only about 5 dollars so if you want a real challenge it’s worth taking a look. That being said, it’s not always fun to play and games should at least be fun. I’ll have to give this one a thumbs down and I recommend Mario Galaxy instead. Even the ending was very lackluster.

Overall 4/10

Frogger’s Adventures: Temple of the Frog Review

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I saw that the next Frogger game was only about a buck on Amazon so I realized that I needed to snag it. Who doesn’t want to start off the day with some nice Frogger adventures right? That being said, shipping was 4 dollars so it nearly hit the 5 dollar bin. It’s a very short game so that’s definitely more or less what it is worth. You can beat the game in about an hour if not sooner. The gameplay is fun though and while one aspect worries me, it’s a wholesome game. (Like the 1 dollar pizza stores it will satisfy your craving for a delightful experience)

The game starts with the bigwigs calling in Frogger. They need him to find all 4 of the legendary elements, defeat the bosses who guard them, and liberate the Frog Temple! Frogger’s on board with this since he’s always wanted to leave the swamp but pretends that he just wants to stop the villains. The elders let him go and Frogger gets to work at doing what he does best…knocking out the baddies!

After the interesting (glitchy) PS2 Frogger game, it was nice to see one go back to its routes. This is the Frogger that you’ve likely grown up with as you move from space to space. You’re not dodging cars too often here as you’ll be dodging characters and animals the whole time. You can only move one space at a time usually, but you can jump which lets you cover 2 spaces. You can press B to stick your tongue out, but that’s only good for grabbing butterflies which gives you lives. Use L and R to turn Frogger around. These are the only controls in the game so you’ll be able to master it in seconds. The simplicity is what got Frogger popular in the first place and I can see why. A lot of simple games became masterpieces like Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, etc. Of course, complex games can also go down as legends like Final Fantasy, but that’s another story.

There are 5 worlds and each world has 3 levels. They range in difficulty from easy to relatively difficult. None of the levels will stump you for very long which is nice. You get 5 lives and if you lose them all you can just hit continue. What worries me is that it said you only have a few continues left and the number started to go down. I completed the game before it hit 0, but I get the crazy feeling that it’ll take you back to the beginning of the game if you lost it all. Surely this wouldn’t be the case…right? I’m going to assume that this isn’t true but if it is and I had lost all of my lives, I’d probably deduct another star from the score.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re decently bright for a GBA game and the sprites are on point. It’s not one of those games that will make you take a step back, but considering that the game feels like it had a low budget otherwise, I’d say that it did pretty okay for itself. The soundtrack is utterly forgettable though and you won’t be able to remember any of the tunes. It’s as generic as it gets and this felt more like the game you’d expect.

We have to address the elephant in the room, the game’s short length. It’s hard to justify a game only having 1 hour of content. There is no replay value either since there is nothing to collect. This will definitely be a 1 and done experience so you definitely have to get invested into the game. I enjoyed the gameplay which is why it has a positive score, but if you bought this for full price back in the day you should definitely be pretty upset. I wouldn’t pay 30 dollars for one hour, much less 50. That would be crazy and you’d basically be spending a dollar for every minute that you play the game. No, that definitely doesn’t sound like a blast to me. Keep the length in mind when you shop for the game, you need to get it at a good price.

The story is pretty forgettable, but that’s fine. For a game like this, you don’t expect much. I am glad that the game actually did have some bosses though and slight voice acting at the very end. That was a nice touch. The game was fairly innovative with the bosses considering that they were working with a very limited style of gameplay. It was a good test for my reaction times that’s for sure. The final boss nearly nailed me a few times, but I definitely wasn’t going to go down easy. They had some good designs as well.

There’s one part of the game where it tries to troll you so watch out. It says that you need 50 coins to enter the final world so I went out of my way to grab a bunch. However, you actually need 100 coins since you need 50 for each of the two acts. Luckily, I got that amount naturally but it would have been annoying to have to backtrack at that point. Make sure you earn 100 before you get there. It’s fairly easy if you know to get them, but it’s also easy to just skip them and shave a few seconds off each level. Once you earn 100 then you can fast blast through the levels.

Overall, This is a pretty fun Frogger game. While it is incredibly short, I can definitely say that it’s a lot more fun than the PS2 one. I like the gameplay and it tests your strategic decisions and reaction times. I expect that other versions of this game will likely ramp the difficulty up even further so I look forward to meeting the challenge. The duration is the game’s only weak point but it is a fairly significant one. You have all of the data now so you can decide if buying the game is worth it or not. For what it’s worth, I’d recommend it. 1 hour of fun is better than 10+ hours of repetition right? I look forward to seeing how the next Frogger game plays out.

Overall 6/10

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Review

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It’s time to review the final DK Country game and possibly the final main DK game of them all. The Country series has been pretty solid for all of the installments so it’s nice to see what the Wii U can bring to the table. The game is a little shorter than Returns and noticeably easier as well, but it’s still a quality platformer. One nice mechanic that they added was the dash and now I can’t imagine playing a DK game without it. It makes the characters so much more versatile and deadly in the levels.I certainly had a blast spamming it and it’ll remind you of the 3D Sonic games.

The plot involves a group of ice creatures deciding to take over a mountain. This angers DK and his pals because they want more bananas and they don’t grow in frigid temperatures. Thus, DK and friends decide to beat people up along the way and eat what they can. Still, can they defeat this Bowser impostor or will the trials be too much for them? The story definitely pales in comparison to the last game though for one key reason…the first 4 worlds are filler. They have nothing to do with the plot and there aren’t even any ice levels in them. For a game that’s called Tropical Freeze, this was a little odd. Once you enter the final 2 worlds then the ice levels start to show up so that was neat. Either way, the level variety is always fun, but I wish the plot could have worked with that a little.

The gameplay is the 2D platforming that you would expect. That being said, as mentioned earlier we now have a dash mechanic. It is incredibly handy as you can cross large distances with the move. It’s also not too automatic or easy so it feels like a legitimate technique that you’ll want to master. If you learn it just right, you’ll find yourself blasting through the levels. The gameplay is very smooth and you can definitely know that this is a AAA game right off the bat. I was very happy to trade in the Wii remote controls for a more proper All Pro and Gamepad setup as well. It’s night and day comparing the two styles for this platformer.

While the levels are significantly easier than DK Country Returns, it’s not really fair to say that it’s too drastic. The main reason for this is that I just got done completing the former so it’s possible that I’m just more prepared for whatever the DK series throws at me right now. It’s like playing Dark Souls 1 and 2 back to back. 2 will probably feel a lot easier than 1 did initially. I do think that Tropical Freeze probably had the tougher bosses though. It’s a close one, but the last boss for example would certainly be rather difficult to defeat in one player mode. He has a lot of health and it’s hard to predict his horn attack. It almost feels purely random. I don’t think any of the bosses are inherently unfair though. They’re tough, but you just need to keep on going at them until you win.

The soundtrack isn’t bad. There are no super hype themes like the Returns villain jingle, but they’ll get you through the stages. The boss theme that plays when a boss first shows up is similar to Mighty No 9’s main boss theme which is pretty interesting. There’s a good guitar/drum solo that works well for that. I don’t really recall any of the stage themes, but they were pleasant enough. The graphics also look pretty sharp for the title. It brought back the Shadow levels and the elements all look really sharp. The characters also look good in the cutscenes. Nintendo never disappoints when it comes to the technical aspects and they rarely do with the gameplay either.

There’s a good amount of replay value here as you’d expect. Collecting all of the puzzle pieces in the levels will certainly take a good amount of time. There are quite a few of them in each level after all. Most of the levels require repetition to really get them down so it’s more about the time than the difficulty. I believe you unlock an extra world if you do that so that’s a nice incentive. It’ll certainly give hardcore DK players a few extra hours to have fun with. The main game will only take you a handful of hours as well. 6-8 I’d imagine, but that’s a pretty decent length for a platformer. Having 8 worlds helps a lot, but 6 will do.

Overall, Donkey Kong has brought us another pretty solid game. If you want to really experience the difficulty as the true DK experience, make sure you choose to play as DK. If you want to coast through the levels a little easier, make sure to pick Diddy Kong or Dixie. They can cheese you through just about any obstacle. I look forward to seeing another Donkey Kong country game rise to the surface. Hopefully the plot will be a little better even though I know that is rarely Nintendo’s goal. As long as the gameplay is good, I suppose the rest doesn’t matter quite as much and Nintendo certainly knows how to handle gameplay. I never got to play as Cranky, but that’s fine. I get the feeling that his special ability wouldn’t have been all that great.

Overall 8/10

Yogi Bear Stats and Records

Stats Time!

% Complete 57%
Continues Used: 0

Picnic Baskets Badges
Jellystone Trail 5/8 3/3
Wolf Forest 3/8 2/3
North Caves 1/8 3/3
Jellystone Ridge 6/8 2/3
Tower Falls 2/8 2/3
Crystal Creek 4/8 2/3
Hawk’s Nest Pass 7/8 3/3
Gold Rush Trail 4/8 2/3
Hanna Cavern 4/8 3/3
Cougar Ridge 1/8 3/3
Barbera Springs 4/8 3/3
Gilder Gauntlet 4/8 3/3
Ranger’s Retreat 4/8 3/3
Dry River Cave 5/8 1/3
boulder Pass 7/8 3/3
Eagle Mountain 3/8 1/3
Huckleberry Canyon 5/8 3/3
Jellystone Lake 2/8 0/3

Yogi Bear Review

YOGI_WII_3D_Front1
I admit that I have never seen the Yogi Bear film. It’s one of the few influential bear films that I have yet to see, but I figured that getting the game was the next best bet. It’s a fun enough game and it was clear that the developers were trying to make this game like a Mario title. They gave it a real effort, but you can’t just make an AAA Mario game with a limited budget and artificial length. It’s fun for 2-3 hours, but then you’ll just go back to playing Mario.

The plot has Yogi show up at the Ranger’s house to steal his lunch. Yogi also scatters the ranger’s photos to the wind as well so now the national park is going to be shut down. Apparently there are no backups and there is no other way to get people to come to the park. Yogi agrees to go and find the animals so he can take new pictures of them and hopefully steal some food along the way. Go fast Yogi!

The gameplay is your standard 2D platformer. You jump through the levels and avoid enemies. You die in a single hit to anything so you have to tread carefully. Luckily, there are frequent checkpoints throughout the level so you’ll never beset back more than a minute. You can do body slams to stun the enemies and get past them safely. You can’t actually defeat any enemies so you need to move quickly so they don’t get back up and take you down for good. There are pies everywhere and grabbing 50 of them will give you an extra life. There are also 3 medals in every level and I’d recommend grabbing any that you see.

At first I was ignoring them completely, but that ended up catching up to me. There is a park ranger who shows up every once in a while and the only way to get past him is to bribe the guy with medals. Getting 2 out of every 3 is a good way to make sure that you can always bribe the guy. They’re not even that hard to get as there will be obvious caves everywhere and if you see an arrow pointing right…go left. That’s all you really need to know to grab those medals.

The game keeps track of your game overs so I recommend playing carefully. I was actually able to beat the game without ever losing all of my lives. I’m trying to act surprised, but maybe this is expected right? Heh heh. The graphics aren’t all that bad. You can see what is happening at all times. It may not be high end graphics, but they serve their purpose. I do have to give the gaame a lot of props for actually having full cutscenes with voice acting within. A lot of Wii games actually don’t have this so it’s definitely pretty impressive. The soundtrack is less impressive and you won’t remember any of the tunes by the end. You’ll definitely remember the sound effects though because Yogi Bear constantly mentions how he’s smarter than the average Bee, Human, etc. He talks a lot during the levels and even talks when you try the bodyslam. As a result, you can expect constant chatter throughout, which is not bad per say, but it can get repetitive.

My main negative with this game is the artificial length. The game coud easily be completed in a single sitting if not for the ranger constantly asking for medals. Once I knew that I needed medals I was able to get enough where I didn’t have to go back anymore, but it was still a little annoying. Lets face it, even if the levels aren’t that bad, it’s not as if I want to go back and play them again. That’s reserved for a big title like Sonic or Mario. It also just shows that the developers couldn’t think of a better way to make the game longer.

There is some obvious replay value…getting all of the medals and baskets. It’s not something that would entice me to play the game again though. As far as I’m concerned, this is one of those games that you play to completion once and then it goes into the drawyer…never to be seen again. It’s fun enough and the price is pretty low so you’re getting a good value.

Overall, It’s good to see that Yogi Bear has gotten his own video game. He’s certainly the kind of character that you can get behind. He’s so mean and over confident the whole time in an “oblivious” way that it works well. The gameplay is good enough to keep you playing and at the very least there is nothing that will hamper your progress aside from the ranger. The ranger definitely brings it down by a star. It’s a good game, but one that you won’t be playing after you’ve beaten it. I recommend giving it a shot if you want a fun little platformer, but the burning question will always be “Why not just buy a more established one?” Still, it is Yogi Bear so that gives it some novelty.

Overall 6/10

Little Big Planet Stats and Records

Stats time!

PS3 Trophy% 15%

Level Stats

The Canyons
Boom Town 35%
The Mines 28%
Serpent Shrine 16%

The Wedding
The Darkness 7%
Skulldozer 0%
The Wedding Reception 23%

The Savannah
The Meerkat Kingdom 6%
Burning Forest 4%
Swinging Safari 29%

The Temples
Great Magician’s Palace 34%
The Dancers’ Court 20%
Elephant Temple 13%

The Islands
Endurance Dojo 26%
Sensei’s Lost Castle 28%
The Terrible Oni’s Volcano 20%

The Wilderness
The Frozen Tundra 35%
The Bunker 23%
The Collector’s Lair 44%
The Collector 100%

The Gardens
Get a Grip 23%
Skate to Victory 18%
First Steps 100%

The Metropolis
Subway 25%
The Construction Site 18%
Lowrider 21%