7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Celeste Review


It’s time to look at an indie game that got pretty well known after it came out. It always looked pretty fun so I’m glad that I’ve now gotten to try it. The title isn’t particularly long, but it’s fairly challenging and a complete title. There are no real weaknesses here and the plot is pretty fun. It may not become the next Asdivine Hearts, but I’d definitely be down with a sequel someday.

The game follows a girl’s journey towards climbing a huge mountain called Celeste. While you have the option of re-naming the main character her given name is Madeline. She is fairly timid and figures that climbing the mountain would be a very big accomplishment. Unfortunately there are many obstacles standing in her way. Aside from the fact that the mountain is already an extremely difficult thing to climb, she will also have to contend with demons and her dark side which wants to sabotage her at every corner. Madeline can’t drop her guard, but so long as she continues to believe in herself and fights hard she should be okay.

The gameplay is like a 2D platformer but you have a few extra mechanics to keep in mind. One if the fact that you can air boost. This is incredibly handy and crucial to the levels. You can stick to walls and climb up and down. This uses up energy though and when you’re out of energy you’ll just end up falling. The goal is to get to the end of the level which is usually trying to go as high as you can. At times the exit will be blocked by a locked door and you’ll have to go around activating various items/switches in order to get through. The key here is to master the air boosting and everything else will come into place. One fun aspect of the game is that it keeps track of your deaths which is really cool. In the end I died exacting 500 times according to my post game stats. I wonder if they round it at all or if I actually did happen to die at such an even number. If so then that’s also pretty neat.

You may wonder if it’ll get tedious dying so often, but Celeste actually handles this extremely well. When you die, your re spawn has no animation. You just re-appear at the start of the section and no time is lost. It would be monumental if other games could adopt this same strategy or at least a game like Mario Maker where those seconds would add up to valuable time. Each level in Celeste is broken up into many small sections and the good part about this is that you don’t lose much time. No matter how often you die, you’ll only go back to the beginning of that mini section so it’s really not a terrible penalty at all. The developers really knew what they were doing here.

The final level is especially fun since you get to enjoy some extra power. It’s sort of like playing as Super Sonic for a level. You can really feel the difference between the characters and it’s a lot of fun. The level designs were also really great to be able to handle this without breaking. There was definitely a lot of effort put into this game, that is just evident. There are so many different kinds of platforming elements thrown in here that will challenge you every which way possible. It’s never unfair either, just tough enough to make sure you’re always paying attention. I died close to 80 times per level which speaks to the difficulty, but play the level enough and you’ll learn the patterns.

The story has some mysterious elements like Undertale, but it’s not nearly as thorough or filled with horror elements. While the game has a bit of a suspenseful air at the beginning it quickly becomes more of an emotional game. It’s going for a different feel than some of the other games. Most of the other platformers I’ve played like this one would win in terms of plot (Trine, Shantae, Shovel Knight, etc) but it still has considerably more plot than some of the mainstream platformers. I think one thing that could have helped push the story into the next level would have been a final demon of sorts. Someone that Madeline needed to conquer to really end up breaking her shell. As it stands, the final boss was handled really well though. It was definitely a tricky encounter that felt very climactic.

As for the graphics, the game looks nice. The sprites are less detailed than in others and I think it’s intentionally going for a very old school look. Most of the effort is put into the backgrounds which are definitely solid. It really gets that mountain atmosphere down pat. Celeste’s music is fairly standard. There aren’t any themes that you’ll be humming afterwards and since this isn’t really a fighting game there aren’t many big boss themes either. Still, it’s a very peaceful ost which works well in the background.

As for the length, the main campaign took me 4 hours. (Pretty much on the dot) There is a bonus level and to access it you will need some collectibles. If you intend to 100% this game I imagine it’ll take you significantly longer to beat the game. There are a ton of strawberries after all. I only got 9 out of close to 200. So add all those up and you’ll be here for a very long time. That’s probably why most people take closer to 7-8 hours to complete this game. Even with 4 hours it’s a satisfying experience though and you get a good amount of story. With the bonus content you’ve definitely got enough value for your purchase.

Overall, Celeste is just a solid game. The plot’s pretty interesting and you’ll get to think about what is happening for yourself. Is there a dream element in this or is everything happening in the real world? The whole conversation with the guy at the very beginning of the game is still very strange, likewise with the phone call to the Mom. Both scenes seemingly have no purpose being in the game so I believe that it’s hinting some of these events may not actually be happening. It’s at least a possibility, but ultimately I do prefer to think that it all happened. As a result, I’m just going to roll the dice on the possibility that this is all happening right now. When you play through the game definitely decide for yourself what is going on though. Doing the detective work is part of the fun.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Trine HD Collection Review


It’s time to look at the Trine HD Collection. Unlike most collections this game actually brought 4 whole titles in it which was pretty cool. I wasn’t too familiar with the games before although I did know the name. Now that I’ve played all four of the games it’s like I’ve gone from novice to expert in one shot. The games are pretty fun side scrollers and I can see why the series got so many games. They’re fun and will test your problem solving skills while giving you a fun little plot. Lets look at this one game by game.

The first Trine introduces us to the 3 main character. You’ve got a third, a warrior, and a mage. The Trine brings these three together and gives them immortality. The catch is that they must stick together now. None of the characters are thrilled about this so they all set out to find a cure. There isn’t a whole lot of plot in the first title. The gameplay is also the toughest out of all 4 of the games with not too many advanced features being added yet. Each of the three characters have their own unique talents and you can switch at any time. The brawler is a good fighter and he can slice ropes or beat up enemies. The mage can create squares out of thin air and levitate objects. The thief can swing across pitfalls and connect objects together with rope. You’ll have to learn how to master each character to deal with the puzzles.

Some of the puzzles here can be quite difficult. The levels are all pretty straight forward as you go from start to finish so the puzzles aren’t about figuring out where to go. They’re about figuring out how to get to your destination. For example you may see an extra large hole and you need to get across it. You may try swinging across with the third of creating a path there. Most of these puzzles have more than one way to get across which is fun. I would always try to cheese it with the mage by creating something and jumping across as it falls away. I feel like a lot of the time this wasn’t the intended route, but as long as it worked that was good enough for me.

You’ve also got upgrades here. You can re-distribute the upgrades at any time which was handy. Typically I would give them to the mage because his let you create up to 2 extra objects which further helps with the puzzles. A fully powered mage on your team is really all that you need in order to clear most level. The gameplay was really quite sound. Some parts could be rather difficult, but never too crazy. This is easily the toughest game in the collection so it really starts you off on a hard note.

Then you’ve got the second game. The heroes are called back into action as a kingdom is being overrun by darkness. The princess may not be what she seems and there are goblins everywhere. The heroes will have to stick together and use their abilities as a team once more. From all 4 of the games the stretch between 1 and 2 is the only one where the gameplay doesn’t change all that much. It’s pretty similar to the first one but the game is a bit easier. The controls have been ironed out further and you won’t be cheesing quite as effectively with the mage but there is less of a need to. You’ll be able to blast through this game pretty well.

With the third game things get changed up quite a bit. For starters the game is in 3D now. It’s a 3D brawler with quite a lot of fighting involved. As a result this is definitely the easiest game of the lot. It also felt like the shortest, but I suppose they’re all close. The goal is to get to the end of the level as always, but this time you will want to make sure that you stop and grab as many of the collectibles as possible. You’ll need a great chunk of them to be able to unlock the final level. I’m never a big fan of games forcing you to grab all these things. I like being able to just blast through a level and I’ll pick up the pieces for the Platinum trophy later on if I feel like it. Fortunately the collectibles are pretty easy to grab and they aren’t super out of the way. As long as you know to grab them right away then you should be good.

The plot here is the most ambitious. Someone has stolen the Trine and we have to get it back. We’ve got a character who may be related to the thief and people running around with dark energy. The story opens up a lot of questions, but unfortunately it ends rather abruptly. It seems to me like it was cancelled early on or funding ran out and they just had to release the game. It’s too bad that the fourth game didn’t continue the plot either. At this point it’s just not likely to ever get resolved. I don’t believe the 3D part was a big hit with fans either which was also too bad. 3D is just so much fun for any game. It takes the experience to the next level if you ask me. It’s hard to say that this is absolutely the best game in the series but it was a lot of fun. You’ll miss the puzzle aspect but you’ll love the combat.

Then we’ve got the final game. This one is a return to form as it plays like the first two. The gameplay has been further streamlined though and some of the abilities you initially started out with in the first two games have to be unlocked gradually as you go through the story here. The puzzles are back and there is a much larger variety of them than the last few times so you’ll have to be extra careful. There actually were some pretty tricky puzzles here so you can’t sleep on them. Approach the puzzles carefully and then you should be okay. One change that was probably inspired by the third game is there are now beat em up sections where you have to beat all of the enemies to proceed. You can expect them in each level so I wonder how the people who aren’t crazy about combat felt here. I always like a good battle though so I was definitely fine with this.

In this game we learn that a prince’s powers are going out of control. He’s able to turn dreams into a reality and unfortunately one of his nightmares created a shadow version of himself. The heroes need to get his powers under control or the whole kingdom is doomed. Alas, they aren’t strong enough to beat an unlimited imagination so they will need to go and find an item that can aid them in this quest. The heroes are pretty well experienced by this point so they are definitely ready for this challenge.

It’s really tough to rank these games, but I think this is the best time to do it. So ultimately I’d rank the games as 3>4>1>2. 3 wins the tiebreaker because I really enjoyed the hub world and the 3D gameplay was just really good. I like to see a clear progression as well an the checkpoints/easy level access was great. Game 4 is the most polished of the 2D titles and 1 beats 2 because I did really like how the puzzles were constructed.

As for the soundtrack/graphics, those areas are a little less impressive. I remember the main menu themes really well, but not much else. The games are going for a very old look so it’s intentional that this game doesn’t pop out the way that something like River City Girls does. I think the 3rd game looked the most impressive to me though. I think that’s because the game could show off more of the backgrounds this way. It all just looked so fresh and new.

If the game has any weaknesses it is that the characters aren’t very interesting. The same can be said for the plots of the first two as they didn’t really pick up until the third game. Even though Zoya is a thief and you can sort of tell what they’re going for with her character, she doesn’t get a lot to do. You don’t really buy into the mystique around her. Pontius is your classic strong but not very smart guy. He also doesn’t look too impressive most of the time. Being able to fight is great of course, but you need more than that to be a really likable character. Finally you have Amadeus who is always having a lot of trouble with his magic. He can’t perform the fireball which is still his lifelong dream. Hopefully some day he will be able to do it. In the meantime he does his best to help out, but is fairly timid.

It goes without saying that there is a lot of replay value in a collection like this. Lets say you beat the 4 games in about 20 hours then you can probably double that for the platinums. The Platinum trophy requirements actually aren’t that crazy here but they will still take some time. You’ll have to really master each level and if you’re going to get them all I’d recommend starting with the 3rd game. That way you can then focus on enhancing your 2D platforming skills for the other 3 games. You’ll be in good shape at that point.

Overall, The Trine HD Collection is definitely a title you will want to have. Being able to attain 4 games for the price of one is really a steal. It’s also pretty cool that you can get the entire series in one shot. While the games aren’t particularly long on their own, they end up being a pretty good length when you combine them. You won’t just be beating this one in the blink of an eye. If you aim to get all of the trophies then you can extend the time even further. It’ll be cool if we ever get a 5th game. If we do then I want them to finish up the story from game 3. The cliffhanger there was too good to just let go. The game easily had the best plot.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

River City Girls Review


It’s time to look at a pretty recent beat em up game for the PS4. The game always did look pretty solid ever since the first promotions for the game came out. WayForward and Arc SYS working on the game also ensured that it was going to be a great title. It does not disappoint. The game may be rather short but I think you could reasonably expect that based on the arcade style. It’s definitely a really fun game that doesn’t cut any corners.

The plot involves Kunio and Riki getting kidnapped by someone. Their girlfriends Misako and Kyoko get a text letting them know what’s going on so they quickly break out of school and will stop at nothing to find the guys. They may have to tear down the entire city to find them, but that’s fine by them. Whatever it takes they aim to get to the bottom of this. You’ll get a lot of fun backdrops as a result. The heroes go through the school, a mall, a boat, a music show, and more. Each location brings new enemies to beat up.

The gameplay is a very classic beat em up. You won’t have a ton of different moves so it’s about making the most of the ones that you do have. I bought a few moves near the beginning of the game, but I didn’t get anything after that. I’m sure the extra moves after that can be handy, but at the same time some moves will hold you back so watch out. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but take the move where you can pick someone off the ground and hit people with him. This one’s more of a hindrance than a help because it’s the same button as your standard punch. A lot of times I would be getting ready to punch someone and suddenly I’d be picking someone up instead. It’s not exactly a welcome surprise in those cases. Likewise while the Dab looks cool, it does mean you have to be extra precise with your kick so you don’t use this attack instead. I suppose it adds to the strategy although it’d be nice if you could turn off some attacks. Perhaps it’s possible to do so in the dojo or something.

The gameplay is pretty straight forward so you should get the hang of it very quickly. You’ll also see loose weapons on the ground that you can use to slam people with. I feel like the damage is pretty much the same as just whacking someone so you’ll rarely ever want to use it. The best combo actually seemed to be your standard 3 punches into a kick routine. I used that to great effect against every enemy and boss. It certainly paid off. When you’re surrounded by multiple opponents I recommend a tactical retreat. They’ll just land way too many blows if you stick around. Your best bet is to get out of the way and then make your way back towards them. If you hit them all at the same time you eliminate the risk of a counter attack. Dash combos will be your friend.

Each of the bosses also have a set pattern so once you learn that you should be good to go. The bosses are stil pretty tricky though and I needed food items for some of the latter ones. Surprisingly the final boss is pretty easy so I didn’t need any for her. Just keep on hitting her and try to dodge the kick counter attacks. It’s really not that hard to do so and then you’ll have made it through the game.

The story is pretty short and you can beat the game in about 4 hours. Granted there is still a lot of bonus content to explore here. You can go and deal with some extra fights to help your next door neighbor out. Additionally you can break a bunch of statutes and buy all of the collectibles. The platinum seems pretty achieveable here so you’ll just need to invest some extra time in and it’ll be yours. One thing to note is that when you switch characters your levels don’t transfer over so if you’replaying by yourself then I recommend sticking to one character.

As far as the graphics are concerned this game is top notch. Not only are the in game models and backgrounds really great but the game even has fully animated cutscenes. The comic book ones are also really shark and work extra well for the emotional bits. This is an area where the game really excels and the fact that it has full voice acting is really fun. I always feel like that helps to enhance the game even further. Then you’ve got the dynamite soundtrack. There are a lot of great songs to be found here and the sound quality is top notch. The game was basically booming out of my TV in every scene to the point where I’d have to turn the volume down a few notches. The game is incredibly high energy and you can’t go wrong there.

Then you’ve got the writing which is a lot of fun. As you’ve probably guessed the story isn’t 100% serious. You can see how the game pokes fun at the premise quite a bit here and there with the main characters’ proof on why Kunio and Riki have been kidnapped getting slimmer and slimmer. This leads to an incredible plot twist as the game ends which I did not see coming. It really threw all of the classic tropes out the window and flipped everything you thought you knew about the game upside down. It’s just brilliant and the script is really solid throughout the game. With the exception of the next door neighbor all of the characters are pretty solid.

Misako is the tough character of the group who is always threatening to beat people up. She’s actually a bully which several characters comment on. Nobody wants to mess with her because she’ll definitely take you to the hospital. Misako is a fun character to follow even if she may not be a traditional hero. At the very least she is trying to help the guys out so her goals aren’t so bad. Kyoko is a lot nicer but also a little dense in comparison. Things tend to go over her head. She can fight as well as Misako but isn’t as aggressive. Naturally I liked Misako a lot more, but I chose Kyoko at the beginning of the game so I ended up being stuck. From the way the menus looked I assumed Kyoko was gonna be the tough one. Ah well, lessons were learned.

Throughout the game you meet a lot of supporting characters and villains that you have to take down in each chapter. They’re all fun and quirky. I could see a full manga or anime being based around this game and it would be a lot of fun. While you won’t feel bad for the bullies or the villains, you will probably have some sympathy for the school girls who believe they are friends with Misako and Kyoko. They’re really nice at times and help us in our quests, but get absolutely no gratitude. Again this is partially foreshadowing for the twist ending I’d say but you hope they end up finding new friends soon.

Overall, River City Girls is a great game. It is really short which is the only tag against it, but it’s just so high quality that you can overlook this. It reminds me of the average Platinum game which tends to be fairly short, but gives you a lot of quality in that experience. (They do a lot of long games too, but I’m thinking along the lines of Transformers Devastation or the TMNT game. Their franchise titles are usually short) Where else are you going to get such smooth animations and gameplay? The humor is on point here and this is the kind of game that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I’d definitely recommend getting it right away. Look at it this way, even if you don’t like it quite as much as I did, it’s not like it’s going to last all that long right?

Overall 8/10

Game Records

Trine HD Collection Stats and Records

Stats time!

Trine 1 18/47 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (XP)

Level 1 8/15
Level 2 33/45
Level 3 18/35
Level 4 24/45
Level 5 31/55
Level 6 23/40
Level 7 34/50
Level 8 34/45
Level 9 30/50
Level 10 22/35
Level 11 28/55
Level 12 28/45
Level 13 26/50
Level 14 30/60
Level 15 16/25
Level 16 –

Trine 2 23/51 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (XP)

Level 1 18/30
Level 2 84/155
Level 3 48/135
Level 4 69/135
Level 5 54/110
Level 6 58/110
Level 7 53/130
Level 8 43/80
Level 9 12/45
Level 10 71/170
Level 11 42/120
Level 12 69/130
Level 13 –
Level 14 71/220
Level 15 77/210
Level 16 57/200
Level 17 44/205
Level 18 59/215
Level 19 –
Trine 3 20/28 PS4 Trophies

Level Stats (Orbs)

The Three Heroes -Pontius 49/50
The Three Heroes – Zoya 50/50
The Three Heroes – Amadeus 46/50
A Forgotten Parchment 25/25
The Astral Academy 127/150
A Lonely Knight 19/25
The Quest for Cake 47/50
A Tumble Down 17/25
Academy Outskirts 113/150
A Dangerous Outing 25/25
A Whisper of Evil 25/25
The Redwood Forest 115/150
A Wizard’s Epiphany 17/25
The Chronicles of the Guardian 138/150
A Brush with Death 19/25
An Academic Invasion 25/25
A Wizard’s Nightmare 19/25

Trine 4 20/40 PS4 Trophies

3/14 Letters
1/14 Treasure
1/19 Knicknacks

Level Stats (Orbs)

Level 1 22/25
Level 2 25/25
Level 3 25/25
Level 4 95/160
Level 5 40/120
Level 6 44/110
Level 7 30/110
Level 8 96/160
Level 9 40/150
Level 10 73/160
Level 11 43/150
Level 12 46/130
Level 13 37/100
Level 14 41/140
Level 15 46/120
Level 16 72/160
Level 17 72/160
Level 18 12/75

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

The Messenger Review


It’s time to look at a recent game known as the Messenger. This one takes your classic 2D platformer genre and throws in some Metroidvania mechanics. It’s also part parody so it pokes fun at a lot of the usual tropes. It’s a pretty solid game, but one that would have risen up to great status if it had just not added in the Metroidvania aspect. The title didn’t really need it to be a complete title as the story and length would have still been pretty sufficient.

The game starts with the main character’s village being attacked by demons. The lead had been complaining about how boring the place was so he starts to feel a little regret as everyone is slain and he is powerless before the Demon King. Fortunately there is a prophecy that a legendary hero will arrive to save everyone. Unfortunately the hero was late so he gives you a letter to deliver to someone on top of a mountain to really save the day. You are now the Messenger and the fate of the planet rests on you. If you don’t deliver this letter then everyone is truly doomed.

That’s the basic plot but of course there’s a lot more to it than that. The second half of the game in particular really throws in a lot of other elements like time travel and other dimensions. It’s all explained pretty well though so you’ll have no trouble getting what is going on. There is also a long cutscene near the end of the game to explain the origins of how this all happened. It’s pretty interesting and the game has a nice vibe to it. The main character has more personality than I would have expected.

The writing is particularly strong here. As I hinted at earlier with the parody elements, the script is a lot of fun. The characters are constantly throwing shade around and insulting each other. For the soundtrack, it’s pretty calming. The best theme in the game is the shop tune. There are 2 themes that are randomly selected when you go to the shop, but at least 50% of the time. You’ll be hearing the really hype tune. Then for the graphics it’s all very clear. It’s got that classic sprite vibe, but it’s not blurry or retro in the slightest. It’s like a very modern version of a sprite game and that’s definitely okay by me. You always feel like you’re in the driver’s seat.

Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. You run and jump through the levels and are armed with your sword as well as Shuriken. Those are the only weapons you have, but they get the job done. Then you have the interesting air mechanic which is basically an extra jump you get whenever you hit an opponent or an obstacle while in the air. This leads to some pretty intense platforming sections during the later parts of the game. You’ll actually have to try quite a bit if you want to clear those levels. It’s no longer a walk in the park. It’s a satisfying level of difficulty and there are constant checkpoints so you are never worried about being sent too far back. The game design was quite solid.

So far this is sounding like an amazing game right? Well, that’s because it was quite great throughout. From the start of the game all the way to the big confrontation with the demon king’s right hand man it was a fast paced adventure filled with great platforming and a solid level up system. After that is where the game hit a big hurdle. Up til this point it was a straight forward adventure, but after beating the demon you are sent back to the time chamber and must now go back through all of the old levels to find some music notes. Keep in mind that going through these levels took hours the first time. You are given some portal shortcuts to jump around, but not nearly enough. Get ready to spend 4-5 hours just running around collecting. To get a music note you must first do other things like helping explorers and dragons.

This part was pretty tedious. It’s handled far better than a game like Metroid since you at least know where to go thanks to hints from the shop owner. Of course that will cost you quite a few shards so it’ll keep you from buying other power ups for a while. You’ll be crossing the same levels over and over again multiple times as you try to near the end. This part just felt like it was here to stall for time and I think it shouldn’t have done that. I definitely prefer when things are linear or if you’re back tracking with a purpose. At the very least you should have the ability to quickly get to where you want to go instead of having to hoof it the old fashioned way.

Ah well, that’s really the only gripe with the game that slows it down quite a bit. Once you have the music notes then you enter the climax and things get pretty exciting again. All in all, the game had a lot of really fun ideas. The shop owner was definitely one of the best characters in the game but I also liked the lead a lot. The game throws a quick fake ending at you twice and both times it worked really well. I actually think it would have been awesome if the game ended with the first ending as it would have subverted everything so convincingly. It still works without ending there of course, but it shows that the writers really knew what they were doing. They made the game in a way where you would be satisfied no matter what.

As for replay value, there are some things to do here. When you beat the game you can start a New Game +. Additionally you can work to getting the Platinum Trophy in this game which certainly won’t be easy to do. I managed to get most of the trophies in the game but there are 2 tough ones that I feel would take a long time which is the dark cave one and another where you have to beat most of the game without dying. That’s a pretty tough thing to do, but if you’re dedicated to clearing the game then you’ll manage. I definitely recommend getting as many of the upgrades as you can early on. Earning money isn’t very tough so you shouldn’t have much of a problem. Getting the upgrade that gives you triple attack is extremely handy.

Overall, I’d recommend checking out The Messengers. It’s around 10 hours long so it’ll definitely last you for a while and it’s just a fun look at the platforming genre. Keep in mind that the second half of the game will slow things down, but all in all the first half and the climax should still keep things up. The game does end with a “To be Continued” message so maybe someday we’ll get a sequel. I’d be down with checking that out and it would be interesting to see where the plot goes from here. The ending was fairly definitive if you ask me so I’m thinking it’ll either be a totally new main character or he is just thrown into some crazy situation that the blue cloaked warriors didn’t tell him about.

Overall 6/10