7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Demon’s Crest Review


Now it’s time to look at the final SNES title currently available in the Switch Online outside of the RPGs. Demon’s Crest is a really fun game and I was surprised at how good it was. Not to say that I expected the game to be bad or anything like that but it’s way ahead of its time. The gameplay is extremely smooth and it has a real plot with solid cutscenes. The main character is pretty strong which makes for a pretty unique style of combat. The levels are straight forward and you always know where to go. There’s even a bit of a hub world as you fly around a planet that looks like Final Fantasy. This game was way ahead of its time to be honest and so it’s great to be able to play it.

The game starts with Firebrand being chased by a Dinosaur/Dragon hybrid. We take him out and then decide to take out the King. In order to get to him we’ll have to go across the opening 3 worlds and take down the various bosses. After that we’re ready for the final battle, but will taking this guy down actually help the world or will it doom us all? Firebrand isn’t exactly here as a hero after all. You’re effectively playing as a demon and just hoping that he is the lesser of two evils. It makes for a very interesting dynamic. The ending also feels a bit like a cliffhanger so either there is a sequel out there/will be a sequel or there’s some kind of true ending you can get.

This is a sidescrolling game first and foremost. The goal is to make it to the end of the level and get past all of the enemies and obstacles. You can run and jump as normal or you can fly. Yes, you can fly permanently in the game. The one catch is that you can’t go higher once you start flying but you can go lower. A lot of times I would use the Kirby tactic where I would stick to the top of the stage and it would really work out quite nicely for me. It’s just hard to beat that. You can also shoot fireballs which I highly recommend doing because they deal a lot of damage. The enemies don’t have a whole lot of answers for that.

The game still isn’t easy by any means although it’s not nearly as difficult as Ghosts n Goblins. You feel like your character is a lot stronger from the jump which is very helpful. In the boss battles the main thing to watch out for is how quick they are. The enemies can be startlingly fast to the point where you see them coming but are still unable to dodge. I would usually recommend pre-emptively dodging but that will possibly end up cornering you. You also have to be ready to run under one of the bosses who will try jumping at you and so if you move too quickly it will be impossible to do this. It’s all about strategy and reaction times so just stay on guard and you’ll be fine.

Unsurprisingly the graphics are quite amazing here. The character models really stick out and a whole lot of work was done on the backgrounds and enemy designs. This would not be out of place on the N64 or even as a modern indie game. Demon’s Crest is very polished and definitely deserves its respect. The soundtrack is decently good as well. The real power is definitely in its cutscenes which are quite impressive. The game’s length isn’t anything special as it’s around 30-40 minutes but it manages to capture a good story in there which is the important part.

Overall, I highly recommend Demon’s Crest. It’s easily one of the best games available on the SNES Online which is pretty impressive considering the competition there. One thing that works in its favor is I imagine a lot of people never got to play Demon’s Crest back in the day. Well, now’s your chance to do it. It’s never too late to go in and try out a new game. Now I just need to wait for another update so we can add more SNES games to try out. I know there are definitely a ton left to go.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mighty Bomb Jack Review


It’s time to take a look at the Mighty Bomb Jack! This game’s pretty interesting. It’s a very unique platformer and I like the gameplay style. There’s a bit of an iffy game design moment near the very end of the title but for the most part this game really doesn’t slow down the pace throughout the whole game. In a way I’d say the closest game I can think of as being like this one would be the Kirby titles since this guy can also float around for a while.

The basic premise of the game is that the King is captured so you need to save him. The levels are mainly long platforming types where you have to float to the end. Unlike Kirby you can’t increase your height once you jump, but by mashing the A button you can keep the same level of height for a pretty long time. When you get to the end of a level you’ll see a gate you can go through. If the gate isn’t open then that means that you will need to collect all of the bombs. This isn’t true for all levels but in some they do make sure you collect them all. You just have to touch the bombs which is easy enough. I tend to skip them unless the game forces me to grab the bombs though because otherwise I figure there is no real point to doing so right?

There are around 17-18 levels in the game which is a good amount for a NES game. I’d say that it’ll take you around an hour. The levels aren’t particularly long and some of them seem to reuse the level design so you’ll already know where to go. For a minute there I actually thought I was in a loop so I quickly had to look the game up online to make sure that wasn’t the case. Fortunately the game does have an ending. The only dicey level as I mentioned is the final one. So, you’ll blow up all of the balloons and will notice that the gate is still closed. Well, there are 3 completely invisible blocks you have to destroy in order to open the gate. There’s no way to tell where they are except to jump on every block which takes a while since you’ve got a ton of enemies on your tail. This is one of those games in which a single hit will meet your doom so confronting the enemies is pretty tricky.

After you do that there is an invisible block in the next room as well. Once you find that you enter the King’s chamber. To break him out you need to jump on the blocks above him a bunch of times. That was difficult to figure out. Initially I thought that I may need the powered up forms which would have meant my doom because there were none left. You can power up with some S tokens along the way but I never really grabbed any. So, the whole game is pretty straight forward except the climax. I don’t think the invisible blocks are very reasonable to be honest, especially since this is a factor that simply wasn’t present during the rest of the game. How is anyone possibly supposed to know where to go or what to do in that situation?

Still, the core gameplay is quite fun. I do like how high you can jump and your movement speed is also on point. The graphics here are very good as well. Everything is very bright and easy to understand right from the start. Additionally, the enemy designs are pretty inspired. The music is all right as well. The length may not be amazing but I’d say that it will do. According to the box art there are 4 endings as well although I’m not sure how to get the others. I got the standard ending I believe which is pretty simple. You grab the king and sink into the pyramid. I don’t imagine that the other endings would be much different but that is a complete assumption on my part.

Overall, Mighty Bomb Jack is a cool game and one of those gems under the rug. I doubt I would have ever come across it if not for the Switch Online. It was a good game to leave til near the end of the batch so I always had something to look forward to. If you like the Kirby games or platformers in general then I definitely recommend checking this one out. It’s a pretty fun experience and definitely a high quality way to spend an hour or so.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Rygar Review


It’s time for the newest addition to the NES Online selection. Rygar had an interesting look to it. You don’t really play a lot of games where the main character uses a weapon like this. It’s sort of like a spiked shield. You do get other weapons as the game goes on though. This title had a lot of potential but does falter early on. As with some old games the main issue here was the lack of a map and how you had to solve puzzles to get through. That’s a bad combo because solving puzzles is difficult enough so throw in the fact that you’ll be lost and it gets even trickier.

This is one of those games where there isn’t much of a plot unless you check the booklet. You are thrown into the action and must now try to complete each level. Each level has a ton of enemies chasing after you so you have to beat them back and keep it moving. It’ll be tough but your attacks move very quickly so as long as your reaction times are on point you should be fine. Additionally you can jump on all of the enemies as well which helps a lot since that’ll stun them for a little while. I highly recommend jumping if the enemy numbers start to get a little too crazy.

What ended up stumping me is that I eventually reached a point where the mystical statue told me that I could not get any farther without some new weapons. The problem is that I could not find any new weapons. I back tracked my steps and ran all around but no dice. Without a map this ended up being a pretty futile mission. The game wasn’t quite big enough where I was about to check online and see where I should go. I searched for a long time and after I found no results I called it a day. It definitely was not the most impressive way for things to start on my end.

It’s a shame because the actual platforming is pretty fun. It’s very smooth both in how fast you move as well as in how strong your attacks are. It’s a pretty good blend. I could see myself really enjoying the bosses that would appear. It’s almost like a beat em up to the extent of how well you can fight while keeping in the platforming elements. I don’t understand why so many games want to throw in some puzzles anyway. This game just didn’t need them and would have been better off without these weapon limits.

The graphics are pretty solid. Everything looks to be on point which is certainly good. I like the enemy designs as well as the weapon. It’s all very clear and I didn’t notice any lag either. The music is okay from what I recall. The length is pretty hard to say but it’s likely around an hour or longer depending on how often you get lost. I believe that will end up impacting the replay value of this game but ultimately it will last you for a little while which is definitely a good thing.

Overall, Rygar has solid gameplay. It’s really some of the smoothest that I’ve seen on the NES. That said, it’s ultimately hindered by needing to switch weapons at certain points and not knowing where to switch the weapon. That really did the game a disservice. If you like that sort of thing then I’d recommend checking this game out. Otherwise this is a title that you should skip. Other games are on the NES that are just better platformers. In fact, one game coming up is a good example of that. When you just focus on platforming and ignore the gimmicks and extra stuff then you can ultimately end up having a terrific game on your hands.

Overall 5/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Ghouls ‘n Ghosts Review


It’s time to look at another NES game as I get one step closer to conquering them all. This one is definitely pretty well known. I enjoyed the second one but the original hasn’t aged nearly as well. The platforming can be a little clunky with the controls and the weapons dynamic also hurts. See, there’s a chance you will chose the wrong weapon and then in the final level you are really in trouble. There’s just not much that you can do if anything. I made it up to the boss but my axe wouldn’t deal any damage. It seems like I should have kept more of an elemental weapon or something. If there is a way to beat the boss with the axe then that’s good, but I have my doubts. I tried hitting him many times to no avail.

The gameplay is pretty classic though in the style. Effectively your task is to keep on running til you get to the end of the level. On the way you will pass by a ton of minions and obstacles. Two hits is enough to take down your life so you really need to try and win as quickly as possible. If you don’t then it’ll be all over. I definitely had to rewind quite a lot in this game because the title really doesn’t hold back. Right from the start this game is very difficult. The difficulty level really isn’t a problem if you ask me. It’s very tough but the enemies are still fair and since I can rewind it’s fun enough. The main problem I have with the game is the weapon system.

I never like it when you can find a weapon on the map that is a lot worse than the one you have. When you touch the weapon it swaps out your current one for the new tool. The problem is you can’t switch back so then you are stuck. Particularly on a first playthrough where you don’t know which is the best weapon. It’s just a bit of odd game design if you ask me. I’m guessing there is a purpose to each weapon but some are just so much better than the others that I don’t see any reason to switch. Give me the fireball over the axe any day for example.

Then when it comes to the graphics the game is pretty reasonable. I don’t think it’ll be turning heads or anything like that but at least you always know what is happening which is the important part. The game’s levels go by pretty quickly too so the pacing isn’t an issue. The game seems to be around an hour long I’d say which is short, but average length for a NES title. The difficulty also helps keep the game as a little longer than it would otherwise be. The soundtrack is also pretty decent. Nothing super memorable or anything but it’s fast paced enough to mix in with the gameplay pretty well.

Overall, Ghouls ‘n Ghosts is a fun title that is hampered by some of its design choices. It’s a NES game that has earned its reputation. Ultimately it is still one of the weaker NES titles if you ask me though. The other platformers I’ve played tend to handle the platforming aspects a little better. The SNES version of this game is also a lot better so if anything I would recommend checking that one out instead. It takes the best elements from the first game and then improves them in the second. This is the kind of game that could easily work well in a modern remake as well. With updated graphics and more of a story this could easily sell a ton of units.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Shadow of the Ninja Review


Time for another classic Nintendo game. This one I was definitely not familiar with but it looked like Ninja Gaiden so it had to be good right? Well, the gameplay is definitely pretty similar although I would say that Ninja Gaiden still has the edge overall. The gameplay was just a little tighter in that one and it also had more of an engaging plot. Still, this one is pretty close in all respects which is quite impressive. I’m surprised that the game isn’t more well known. I think there would definitely be a pretty good audience for it.

The United States has been taken over by a powerful new villain who needs an empire. The two Ninja are called in to take this guy down. You’ll probably have a whole lot of questions about this. Why is the U.S. banking everything on two ninja warriors? Why do ninja still exist in a futuristic America? Well, the game has no time for these questions because it throws you into the thick of the action right away. The goal here is to just stop the villain and so the heroes march their way through various levels and lots of different enemies.

The game does a good job of taking advantage of this future setting. You fight a lot of robots and at times the game feels a bit like a Megaman X title. When you blast at the robots they even split into two different ones in a similar fashion to some of the original X villains. The backdrops have a ton of variety and the bosses are pretty fun too. One guy gets swallowed up by his bird and they merge into an armored bird which was pretty cool. The final boss also has a pretty good design. One thing I found interesting about the bosses is the game would try to keep you in suspense about what their weak point was for a while. During the first bit of each boss fight they have an extra health bar but you can’t see it so it looks like you may be hitting the wrong point.

The fact is you are hitting the right spot, you just can’t see the damage it is taking. On the other hand it’s pretty risky business because with at least one boss you did have to hit him in a specific way (crouch hit) so if you were not doing that you would be there for quite a while. Each boss is different which may sound like a pretty small thing but I always appreciate when each boss is different. It speaks to the effort of the developers. Cloning different bosses is pretty easy but it also feels a bit lazy at times.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward. You rush through the 2D levels in order to reach the end. You standard weapon is a sword but when you break crates you can change weapons to a chain, throwing knife, sword with shockwaves, etc. The one I recommend staying away from is the chain to the point where I would rewind if I grabbed that one. It’s hard to tell which weapon is in the box and I believe it’s intentional. It’s like a roulette game where you just don’t know what’s going to happen next. I doubt the chain is meant to be a terrible weapon, it just did not click for me.

The graphics are definitely solid although I think you already get the picture from how I was describing it earlier. A lot of effort was put into this game for sure. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty light but works quite well either way. Couple that with the smooth gameplay and this title’s ready to go. One really fun enemy was this little robot square that would keep circling the stage and trying to blast you. This is one of those games where attacks deal massive damage so let me tell you, you do not want to get hit by that guy. Figuring out the right strategy to beat the various enemies who would show up was half the fun of the game.

Overall, Shadow of the Ninja is a very fun game. The story is definitely solid and the gameplay really holds up quite well. It may be pretty short but the game is really diverse so it feels like they kicked in a bunch of content. This game did take me about an hour which is definitely longer than most NES titles. It’s a pretty challenging experience so don’t expect it to be a walk in the park either. You will definitely have to work at beating this one and mastering those fundamentals quite a bit. This is definitely one of the best NES games available in the service.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King Review


It’s time to take a look at a classic sprite game. The actual release is pretty new but the game is trying to capture that retro Legend of Zelda feel. It’s always nice to have a game for nostalgia and this one holds up pretty well. It’s got all of the gameplay elements you would want to see and solid level designs. It’s a good way to spend the weekend.

The game starts with an old man telling his grand kids a story. So unfortunately, that does mean the game’s story probably didn’t happen. He even changes details at times. So in this story there is a girl named Lily who has just become a knight. She’s pretty thrilled about this, but then finds out of a plot that involves the army deciding to take over the Kingdom. She reports this to the knights, but they din’t believe her until it’s too late. Now the King has been put into a deep slumber of which he will never wake again. The only way to cure him is to find 3 special ingredients guarded by various elemental monsters. The Knights are powerless to do anything so Lily must take up her blade and save the world.

As the game progresses you get more power ups and skills to use. At first you have a sword but as soon as you get your next weapons you probably won’t use it again until the final world. The gameplay style is that of an overhead look as you solve puzzles and slay enemies. Each dungeon has a wide assortment of rooms and each room usually has either a puzzle or enemies to defeat. Each dungeon you conquer unlocks either a new skill or another weapon and so by the end of the game you can easily shred through previous dungeons if you ever feel like going back. In the final world they finally buff your sword so it’ll then be your best weapon. For a little while there I was getting nervous that the sword was always going to be a terrible option. I do happen to like using swords typically after all.

The puzzles were all solid and felt fair. They weren’t trying to hide the outcomes after all and I always liked logic based puzzles. Give me a maze to run through while only touching each tile once for example. That’s a quality puzzle and one you can definitely figure out. The bosses are all pretty different which is nice. I definitely prefer when games don’t try to just re-use the bosses. This way feels a lot more genuine because you know that time and dedication went into getting everything right.

The game’s very simple and it works well here. You can master the controls easily and just dive into the levels. It’s one of those games where you can just “plug and play” at any given time. There are a good amount of collectibles to obtain as well and earning money seems like it’ll take a little while, but it won’t drag on since taking down enemies is pretty fun. Lily’s also a pretty fun lead. The King I’m a bit more mixed on because the guy sure sleeps a lot. Also, just by waving his hand he can fire off powerful energy blasts so you’d think that he would go fight off the main villain instead of sending Lily. Perhaps he was still sleepy I suppose.

The graphics are pretty solid. Everything is pretty colorful and it’s easy to tell the levels apart. The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but it’s all good stuff. One quality of life feature I liked here is the teleportation system. In a large map like this it can be a bit of a drag to have to run everywhere so fortunately you unlock the teleport path once you clear the area. Not every square has one, but most do so you never have to run for very long. By the time you clear the game you should have most of the map cleared out so with a little post game adventures you should be able to clear it all. I imagine that’s the main replay value here. The actual game campaign is a little on the short side at 3.5 hours but with the replay value you should be able to stretch that to 5-6 hours.

Overall, Blossom Tales is a pretty fun game. I wonder if we’ll get more in the series. The title may not be that long but in a way that helps it fit even more in with the other retro games it is trying to be like. Eventually I’ll be working on the original Legend of Zelda so it’ll be fun to see it in action. This game was definitely going for a similar feel although I imagine it’s a lot smoother than LoZ in almost all aspects thanks in part to how modern it is. In comparison that one’s probably going to feel pretty dated. If you haven’t picked this game up then I’d recommend checking it out.

Overall 7/10