7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Asphalt 9: Legends Review


It’s time to take a look at a racing game that I didn’t even know existed until I came across a random Reddit post a while back. I really enjoyed Asphalt on the 3DS to the point where I consider it to be the definitive portable racing game and one of the better ones overall. This one is a big console version and it’s free so it would be interesting to see how it fares. Well, it’s a lot of fun and there’s a ton of content yet it just doesn’t feel quite as good as the 3DS version.

When you jump into the game you have a lot of options on what you would like to do first. The main mode is Career which is where you’ll go through hundreds of levels in order to prove that you are the best. The levels are all bite sized at around a minute or less. Your goal is typically to get 1st place but sometimes you need to pull off a drift or be in the air for a while. By the point where I stopped these missions were all very easy but I’m sure they would get tougher over time. Due to how many levels there are here you could easily be busy for a very, very long time. The longer the better though so that works out quite well.

Then you have the online battles where you race other drivers. The more you win the more you rise up through the different ranks. I managed to get Silver Rank in my first 2 online seasons so I’d count that as a total win. These battles are fun but be prepared to lose quite a bit since your car matters a lot here. As a freemium player I just had the most basic cars imaginable while some of these guys online had sweet rides at their disposal. It’s still a good change of pace from playing the offline modes all the time.

Then there are tons of achievements which you’ll unlock naturally as you play the game. Most of them keep on going as well so lets say one achievement was for winning 10 races, you’ll get another 15. There are a ton of missions like this so you’ll likely be clearing one almost every race. They get you A Points which can be used for Coins or vice versa. Then you use points to upgrade your cars. In order to get new cars you need to unlock blueprints which you get by winning races. There are a ton of cars so you’ll be unlocking them for a long time.

Each car has an individual energy meter so you can only use them a certain amount of times before they have to rest. You can use an item to reset the timer but once you run out of those you’d have to buy them. This is one game where money helps you out a lot. You can buy the best of the best stuff here right off the bat. If you do that they you will have a very tangible benefit over the other players. At least the game is doable without paying though. That’s really the important part for me since I like being able to at least make it to the end without paying a dime. So long as I can do that then everything else will quickly fall into place.

There are a lot of songs here. The game spared no expense in buying actual lyrical songs to listen to during the stages. That was impressive and they fit pretty well with the speed of the races. The graphics also look really good. They’re on par with something you may have spent 60 bucks to play. The Free to Play market is in a really good state at this point since companies are producing rather expensive games like this one and not charging. Yes, it’s because they charge end users for optional things, but at least it’s not mandatory.

If the game has a problem it’s that there is too much to do. More content isn’t bad, but the menus are structured in a way where it is always very overwhelming. I’ve noticed that this does tend to happen to some mobile games. You really need a main menu that you can maneuver through easily and that’s not something that this game has. It may seem rather minor but it gets to be a big deal after a while when you are just trying to find your garage or the next race. It’s all very busy.

As for the gameplay, it’s definitely pretty solid. Asphalt 3D is still better, but this one doesn’t add too many gimmicks. You can boost and you can spin to knock out other racers. Beyond that it is basically a normal racing game and that’s what you would expect from Asphalt. It’s a simple experience next to NFS or Mario Kart, but it excels at this. 9 just doesn’t feel as simple as the rest of the series which may be the price for being free. It’s worth it of course even if I ultimately did not stick with it.

Overall, Asphalt 9 is a very good game. It’s practically endless with how many races there are to do. If you really like racing then I can see you sticking with this game for a very long time. There won’t really be a reason for you to put it down. With no story mode here you’ll be playing purely for the gameplay. I’ve got too many games on the backlog to stay with any one title for too long, but there is a good amount of quality here. Asphalt’s developers didn’t phone this one in and I could see it staying active for a very long time. I would caution you not to spend any money on it until you are sure that you will be playing the game for a long time though.

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Underground 2 Review


It’s time to look at a Need For Speed game that I’ve been working on buying for many years. I beat the first Underground a while back, but I just hadn’t gotten around to buying this one. Well, recently I bought around 6-7 games in the series so now I can go on a little roll. This game was incredibly long so clearing the story was a daunting task, but one that I was prepared for. It’s definitely a great racing game with content that will last you a long time.

The story starts out with a bang as your character is ambushed by someone and your car as well as all of your money is stolen. People don’t remember you without the car so now you’ll have to start from scratch. Fortunately, a rich lady appears and agrees to help you out in exchange for conquering the Underground circuit. You decide to do so with one motive at hand, you want to crush Caleb, the guy who stole your stuff. Can you make it to the top or will he sabotage you before then?

I do like how the game continues from the first with this intro. It’s even a good in universe reason to explain why you’re back at the bottom even if people forgetting your name is a bit of a stretch. Still, the actual premise beats the execution. There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes in this game and it’s not like the main character ever even appears. The cutscenes are done in comic book format and use moving stills rather than animation. So, the games have some room for improvement in the story, but at least this one did have a real story. I’ll give the title some credit there.

The gameplay is certainly on point. It brings you back to the simpler days of racing as you just drive to the goal using your skills. Eventually you are given the option to add a booster, but that’s as far out as it’ll go. As I’ve mentioned in the past, having a booster isn’t bad. It’s still pure racing and there’s a reason why Need for Speed is so well known. The franchise is just really good at doing what it does best, getting you into the zone. You’ll be dominating the rest of the cars by the end of the game as you master the controls and keep on improving your car.

You better make sure your car is on point because there are over 200 races in the game and if you have to replay all of them a few times to win…then you’re going to be here for a long while. You can clear the game after around 150 races at least, but that’s still a lot. The game is around 20 hours long and 100% completing it will take significantly longer than that. To help ease the repetition you can also go to shops and spruce up your ride a bit. Switching up how it looks should help quite a bit in the long run since it’ll feel like you’re racing an entirely different vehicle.

One thing to watch out for is the game’s visual reputation gimmick. There are 5 stages in the game and to get to the next one you always have to increase your car’s star value. The max is 10 and you typically need to increase it by 2 for every stage. So if you have run out of levels on a stage that is probably why you haven’t been able to go forward yet. Speaking of which, there are several kinds of races. First are the standard Circuit ones. Just drive to the goal to win. Then you have the best ones which are Drift. Just keep on turning to wrack up points and you’ll usually win the races by a rather huge margin to be honest. Street X races are sort of like mini races. You have to out drive the other cars on a very narrow track. Drag races are the toughest ones as you have to manually switch gears at the perfect time to win. The best thing to do is leave these til the end where you can cheese them with your booster.

The races that advance the plot are the URL ones which are typically a series of 2-3 races. Once you beat them then you move on. I do think it’s a little annoying how the game makes the races so long by the end though. Some races can go on for 6-10 minutes straight so when you lose them you’ve just lost a lot of time. I think a good race should always be 3-4 minutes tops. If you get beyond that then the race is too long. It’s almost a case of having too much content, but it’s under the same logic of how save points should be frequent and easy to access.

The graphics definitely look very solid here. It was definitely an interesting move to have the whole game take place at night. Honestly by the end I was hoping for some daylight levels, but the screens still look good. The cars are quite sharp and I always like the boost effect. It’s safe to say that these areas hold up. Unfortunately the soundtrack does not. I ended up having to turn off most of the music themes in the game and the ones that I left on aren’t exactly great. It’s a very weak soundtrack which isn’t all that surprising as EA in general tends to overdo it with their selection. Still, you don’t hear the tunes quite as much when you’re playing Madden and in general I think that series was better at it.

Overall, Need For Speed Underground 2 is a great racing game. You really can’t ask for much more out of the genre. It’s got a story and over 200 races. There is also a multiplayer mode to have fun with. I see this as being the definitive Need For Speed title, but we’ll see if it can hold on to that. Next up is Most Wanted which seems to have a better story and it finally brings in the pursuit mechanics, but it may come at the expense of a multiplayer mode. Either way I’ll start on that one soon, but with Kingdom Hearts III coming out it may take a little longer to complete than I would have expected otherwise. If you haven’t played this game yet then you should change that. It’s definitely a title that you will want up your sleeve.

Overall 8/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Road Rash Jailbreak Review

https://flic.kr/p/2dA6bix
It’s time to look at another old PS1 game. This is the last one on my to do list with the exception of Tarzan, but that game hasn’t been working. I’m always up for more racing games and this is a motorcycle one which is certainly unique. The game does have its weak points though which prevent it from being quite as good as it should have been. It’s a decent game, but there are better alternatives in the genre.

You play as a thug who wants to go from being a grunt to a captain. To that end you have to join one of the two gangs. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose as they are both basically the same. You then have to win in a lot of underground races. There are 30 races in all with the difficulty spiking after each 10. So….try to beat them all! There aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes to be found here and that might even be a good thing since the ones we do get are not very good. The story is definitely one of the weak points here.

I also have to give the soundtrack a big thumbs down. It isn’t often that you need to turn off the music but that’s what I did for this game. I lowered it to the bare minimum because the songs were all pretty lousy. It’s extremely loud and obnoxious the whole time. Better to just listen to the sound effects or put on some background music yourself. The music makes sense since you’re literally playing as a gangster but that doesn’t make it any better. Unfortunately the graphics aren’t much of an improvement. The level can’t even load fast enough to beat your car at times. You’ll have to watch out for cars by just looking out for any kind of pixelated object in front of you. Those are the ones you need to avoid at all costs.

So why is this game any good? Well, the gameplay is still pretty solid. It’s a 3D racer and you have to get to the end. There are 16 racers in each level and you can try to take them out with punches or weapons. The game doesn’t explain any of this so just test it out in game. You also apparently have a nitro option. I didn’t know any of this while playing which explains why I was having a tough time. That and the fact that this game actually is pretty tough. You have a health bar and if your opponent gets it to 0 you’ll have a long crash animation and will likely have no shot at winning the race. If you don’t crash you win. The levels are typically simple like that, but it’s easier said than done. By the second wave of levels the enemies can crush your health with ease. Even if you brake to try and avoid them they’ll match your speed.

You also can’t slam into any cars, trees, or poles. Do so and it’ll be like you lost your health and the crash animation will show up. If you crash next to a cop then you lose by default. The only way to proceed to the next level is to come in the top 3. Technically each batch of 9 levels has no order so you can do whichever one you want first, but in that case you may as well go from the beginning. Driving’s definitely a lot of fun, but admittedly the fighting aspect does not seem well tuned at all. A lot of the time it ends up feeling luck based which is the last thing you want.

In terms of replay value the game is decent at best. I don’t imagine the 30 levels will take you very long to complete. Each level is roughly 3-4 minutes long. So that’s only around 2 hours of content. I think you should expect to lose each level quite a few times though which will certainly extend your play time. Beyond that, there isn’t much reason to play the other modes though. You can work on your driving ability I suppose. If you have other people around who want to play then there is multiplayer which is technically unlimited replay value.

I will give the game props for not being too dark for my TV at least. Not enough to help the score further or anything, but it’s still a nice touch. It is tempting to give the game a 5 but between the multiplayer and the gameplay actually being good I think a positive score is warranted. Just try to avoid the soundtrack and then you’ll really be all set to go.

Overall, Road Rash is a reasonable driving game. It just falters next to most others because even if the gameplay holds up, the rest of the package drags it down a bit. After all, most racing games at least have a reasonable soundtrack. If you’ve still got a PS1 then by all means go for it. Otherwise, I’d recommend something a little newer like Sonic racing or Mario Kart. Both of those games completely destroy this one. Now that I’m done with Road Rash I really can’t see myself coming back to it. It’s almost sad.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

MotorStorm Review


It’s time to look at a racing game that I have had on the backburner for a very long time. I’ve always been a big fan of racing games although admittedly the one drawback to the genre is that the CPU racers can seem a little cheesy at times. On the other hand, it’s a little hard to see how to nerf that. It’s very hard to make the computers appear to be fair or they may seem too weak. Still, this one doesn’t do a bad job of it. I do think that the star requirements to unlock the various worlds are a little steep though so don’t count on unlocking all of the different tickets (worlds) unless you are prepared to play this game’s levels over quite a few times.

The gameplay is probably obvious from the cover but it’s a racing game. You try to drive to the goal as quickly as you can and lead the pack. Each race is 3 laps and the duration varies, but most levels are roughly 4-5 minutes. You have a boost which you can use quite regularly but give it a little time to recharge or it’ll overhear and effectively blow up. That’s really the only gimmick here as it’s a normal driving game otherwise. That definitely works for me. I don’t mind the boost and if anything it can be fun to have. Racing games with items have their place as well considering that Mario Kart Double Dash is probably still the best racing game. At the same time, sometimes it’s great to just hop in the car and use nothing but your skills to reach the end.

The main mode here is the campaign. There are a series of tickets which grant you access to a group of races ranging from 1-4. Winning each race will give you some points depending on if you placed in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Gain enough points and you unlock the next ticket. There are 21 tickets, but to unlock all of them you will need a significant amount of 1st place finishes. Most likely you may get around 10 tickets unlocked, but of course if you are willing to put in the time you can go farther. There are also free races and the like to play through.

Conquering all of the races will take a significant amount of time so the game has a lot of replay value. In general, I feel like racing games are often very good at this. You really get the value that you’d expect from a game like this one. The sequel looks pretty interesting as well, but at the same time I do think that the racing genre is often one that you don’t want to overstay your welcome in. Best to take it slow and simply enjoy the races that you’re in.

One thing that the game does to make itself stand out among the crowd is by having a full soundtrack. It has a wide range of lyrical songs and they are all loud, fast paced titles that really make you feel the intensity of the race. I can’t vouch for the lyrics of the songs, but at the very least the beats are pretty solid. The developers understood what kind of music would be really fitting for this genre. The graphics also look pretty good although there isn’t much to say about them. They look like what you would expect, but aren’t any better or worse than that. They are simply standard and I’d say that this is good enough.

Another area where the game did a good job was with making each vehicle feel different. You can play as a car, buggy, motorcycle, or a large truck. My favorite one is easily the motorcycle as you really zoom by there and the turns are really smooth. Of course it is sad to get completely knocked over if another vehicle so much as touches you. That’s the price for being light though and I’m used to it from playing Sheik in Super Smash Bros. It does make the campaign a little harder though since every other race has you switch styles so it is hard to get used to any one version. It’d be nice if they had separated them from the start so you could take your time and master each one.

The crashes are definitely a lot of fun in this game. Some racing titles certainly give more emphasis to the crashes than others and this is definitely one that had a lot of fun with the animations. You crash in slow motion and seeing the driver get slammed out of the car never gets old. Occasionally you do have to wonder why the cars are so weak though. Just going too fast on a muddy surface will cause you to tip over. The worst situations are where you don’t blow up though. At the very least you want to be eliminated right away so you can respawn. Sometimes you will simply be stuck upside down so then you have to try boosting to blow the car up intentionally. However, this takes so much time that you may as well give up the match at that point since you won’t really have a chance at first.

Finally, I enjoyed the level designs quite a bit. You have a lot of freedom to explore here. The levels are huge and there are many different paths to take. Part of the fun is picking a path and hoping that it is the optimal one. There is no way to find out except for trial and error so it encourages multiple playthroughs. I ultimately prefer linear tracks, but this makes it feel a lot more like a real outside race. I can certainly appreciate the attempt here since MotorStorm doesn’t exactly feel like a friendly Mario Kart kind of exhibition here based on how violently everyone crashes. It’s a bunch of races to the death for sure.

Overall, MotorStorm is pretty fun. The gameplay is really good and it’s just fundamentally a good game. There is nothing weak about it and there is a lot of content to stay busy with. A story mode would be nice, but I can’t say that it was expected. If you are a fan of the racing genre then there is certainly no good reason not to buy this game. It just has everything that you could possibly want with it. The game isn’t very forgiving though so prepare for a lot of tough competition from the computers. You may not win the races in one try, but find the fastest route and eventually you will be acing the competition. It’s all about practice, practice, and more practice.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s biggest mistake when it comes to the racing genre. A DK racer practically writes itself and just has a ton of potential. It’s a shame that the game squandered this so readily. Motion controls are what hold this game back and while it was an attempt by Nintendo it completely backfired. Sometimes just because an idea makes sense in concept doesn’t mean that it should be implemented. This is most certainly one of those times.

There is no story mode of course but we do have a few different tournaments at the ready. There are 4 main tournaments and 2 bonus ones. The bonus tournaments allow you to pick your own stages to have a tournament with friends and another one allows you to randomize the stages. Both are handy when playing with friends but you don’t get a trophy for clearing them so there is no single player incentive. The main tournaments start out at 3 races and eventually go to 5. There are multiple difficulty levels but you are forced to start with Rookie so I just stayed at that level. Even then the game is surprisingly difficult. You have to stay at top speed and use a lot of boosts if you want to come out on top here. Of course, the Mario Party luck factor is around here so sometimes you’ll just get blasted by other racers behind you which is out of your control. Not much can be done about that.

Each racer is using a pair of drums instead of a car. It is for this reason that instead of accelerating like normal you must beat the drums to keep going fast. You have to make the motion of hitting the drums constantly to stay at peak levels and just hit one drum to turn. Hit both at the same time to jump and hold down on the Nunchuk to activate your boost. Your boost is the most important skill that you have here. It can change a whole race and just know that you can extend your boost by hitting enemies or normal barrels. If you time the boost right you can keep it going for a very long time. Just focus on the combo and don’t use your boost unless you see something to bump into.

There are a lot of games that can be called painful while you are playing them, but there aren’t many which you can say that in a literal sense. Your wrists will be absolutely exhausted after playing this game and I am convinced that it wouldn’t be healthy if you played this game long term. You can even expect some neck and back pain if you were straining a lot and too rigid while playing. Naturally the trick is to simply not play too hard but that’s easy to say until one of the computers passes you. Then it’s back to hitting the drums as quickly as you can.

When it comes to the graphics then this game finally gets to shine. The character models are definitely on point and are appropriately high quality. The levels all look great and there is a lot of variety to be found here. Whether it be Jungles, Volcanoes, or even Space DK has you covered. The final level in the game is the hype space one and it is as cool as you may expect. I was pleasantly surprised at how much effort Nintendo put into some parts of this game, but maybe I shouldn’t be. In theory this was supposed to be their next big racer. The stage themes are pretty solid as well even if they aren’t all that memorable. I suppose you can’t have every game be quite as legendary as Mario right?

Aside from the tournaments which won’t keep you busy for very long, the game has other modes at its disposal as well. One of those is the challenge mode where you attack various missions and see if you can accomplish them. The missions are actually reasonably difficult as you can easily lose a stage if you’re not entirely sure how to approach it. Take one wrong shortcut and it’s time to retry. Between the various unlockables and the main tournaments, I think you’ll find that the game has a reasonable amount of content to back the pricing.

All of this is only if you can get past the gameplay though. None of the other stuff will ultimately matter if you wrists simply can’t take the pressure. The items are fun though and if you use them right they will help you take a break. Build up some good boosts and just use it when you know that you’ll be able to keep it going for a while. During this time you don’t need to beat the drums. You have other items like armor and missiles but you have to keep shaking the controllers during this. Interestingly enough, the descriptions in the game say that you can stop shaking once you’re at max speed, but they must have meant that you could stop shaking for a moment because after that the car will immediately start slowing down again. So much for that I suppose.

Overall, Barrel Blast really could have been a good game. It had a lot of the right pieces in place like the animation, soundtrack, and array of content to keep you busy. The one area where it went wrong was with the controls and you’d think that this wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just so drastic that it ends up bringing the whole game down with it and that’s the unfortunate part. You actually feel like the game isn’t healthy to play. If you want some exercise for your wrist and don’t think that it will end up having a detrimental effect instead, then I suppose you may want to give this game a chance. However, if you’re playing this game in the first place because you want to relax while cruising through the levels then this isn’t the right game to add to your collection. There is nothing relaxing about constantly beating the drums.

Overall 5/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Split Second Review


It’s time to check out a car game that I recently got. This may come as a surprise to some, but I’m actually a huge fan of the racing genre. There are few things more satisfying than nailing a crisp turn and sailing into first place. It’s why I used to play a car game on my PC for so long. Anyway, this is the first racing game that I’ve played in a while, not counting spinoff titles like Farmyard racing. This is probably the first pure racing game I’ve played since Asphalt 3D. (I think that was the title) This is definitely a really fun game and one of the best core driving games out there. It does have a gimmick and while I sometimes prefer my racing games not to have any (F-Zero) I don’t mind them if they’re handled well. Look at Mario Kart after all.

There are a few modes to play when you start the game. Online mode is around of course, but you’ll likely be heading straight to Season mode. (Honestly, I haven’t gone online at all) The season has 12 episodes in it and the general plot is that you’re starring in the show. Think of it as one of those reality programs on TV. You have to dodge all of the landmines and disasters to claim first and prove that you’re the best. Each episode has 5 events, with the final one being unlocked if you’ve earned enough points. Rinse and repeat until you’ve reached the end and you can replay old levels to increase your standing and earn more points if you’re short. For the most part I was able to make it to the end naturally but I did need to replay a few. Once you unlock a certain car at the end of the game, you’ll be breezing through it with no problem.

There are different kinds of events. The main one is a race. You go through the stage and try to come in first. The gimmick that this game rolls with is that you can use your energy meter to set off traps. You can energy by turning and driving behind another car. The best way is to dodge an opponent’s trap, but they rarely spring any. You can activate traps as soon as one energy bar is filled or you can wait til they’re all filled and activate a massive one. I don’t recommend the latter since you’ll typically destroy yourself as well. If there’s going to be a gimmick, I typically prefer a quick booster, but I can live with this. It’s a pretty unique concept after all and I like the strategy behind it. You always have to decide if it’s worth using your energy now or later.

Another event is Elimination. You start with 60 seconds and have to ensure that you’re not in last. After that, another car is eliminated every 20 seconds. You must stay at the head of the pack or you’ll risk being eliminated. This is another pretty fun event and as it’s quite a bit shorter than a race, it’s a lot easier to keep on replaying. Another event is the Airplane boss. You have to attack it by shooting missiles using your action meter. In this case, I recommend waiting until the red one is ready to go since you can then deal massive damage. Next is Survival which is probably the weakest by default. It’s just you by yourself as you try to complete the stage while the A.I. activates all of the traps. It’s essentially a time trial so it’s not all that exciting.

Finally, there’s the Oil tanker battles. This is the best one by far. A truck ahead of you will be spilling barrels and you have to dodge them as you overtake it. The more trucks that you pass in a row without being hit, the more points that you get. It really tests your reaction times and takes you down if you dare to go too fast. It’s just a lot of fun and I would have loved to have seen more of it. The variety of events in the game helps keep the gameplay fresh throughout.

With 72 levels in the game, it’s certainly one that has an ample amount of content. If anything, I’m glad the game didn’t overdo it and throw in over 150 levels just because it can. As it is, most of the levels are the same. I think there may be 12 tracks total, with a few more if you count night versions. It’s not a lot although I suppose it’s a decent amount. You’ll memorize the layouts after a while which is certainly useful. There’s a lot of replay value here as well. If you decide to aim for the Platinum, you’ll need to get 1st place on every level which will be quite difficult. It’s certainly not impossible, but I’d expect you to be replaying the levels many times before you can finally ace them all. Multiplayer also guarantees that the replay value is basically unlimited.

The graphics for the game are quite good. All of the cars look shiny and new. I could have sworn that one of the cars almost looked as good as the Ford Focus. The levels are nice and bright and the rare night time versions are also quite crisp. The game has aged very well there. Furthermore, the soundtrack is also pretty nice. There are some really good action themes. The music fit in pretty well even if I didn’t notice it in some episodes. It would sort of pop in and pop out if that makes any sense. I suppose not every theme can be an instant winner.

The game’s difficulty level feels pretty fair. There was a very brief time where I felt the computers were a little too fast and strong, but once I got the super car it was all good. I never really mastered the drifting mechanic, but I’d say that it felt fair. The overall gameplay was nice and smooth. Towards the end there weren’t many opportunities to drive as fast as the title would suggest, but driving as fast as possible was always very satisfying.

I also have to give a shoutout to the ending of the game. The voice acting was spot on and the way the game ends just begs for a sequel. Whether we get one or not, it works really well as a stinger. I was practically shaking by the end of the cutscene. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it, but I can safely say that I would be super hyped if they announce a sequel.

Overall, Split Second is definitely a great game. It’s one of those titles that you just don’t want to put down once you start it. You’ll find yourself wanting to play it constantly and you’ll be sad once it’s over. Once again, I do think the length was just right though. Extending it further might have felt artificial and they also got the right balance with the points needed to unlock the final levels. You had to do pretty well in the events (1-3rd place for the most part) but it wasn’t anything too crazy. You don’t want it to have to be a grind to beat the game, that should be left for the people who want the Platinum. The game was just solid on all accounts and I’d highly advise buying this title. It’s one of the best car games on the market.

Overall 8/10

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Billy the Wizard: Rocket Broomstick Racing Review


Only 14 reviews onto the blog will have reached 1000 reviews total. Not too shabby if I do say so myself! What better way to keep the ball rolling than by bringing in another Wii game with a very dubious reputation. I’m talking about none other than Billy the Wizard. While the game may not be able to keep his name straight, I have to give it some major kudos for actually being fairly original. The parts that aren’t an obvious Harry Potter rip off anyway. The idea of 3D races while on broomsticks is actually quite impressive. It’s just a shame that the gameplay mechanics weren’t quite up to the challenge.

There is no story mode here so don’t get your hopes up too high. Honestly, you should always go into a Wii review with very low hopes since I have played most of the good ones by this point in time. You have 4 different modes to choose from and each one has 6 stages in it. That’s not a bad start right? Well, the first mode is tutorial. It’s actually fairly challenging to beat one of the final levels in that one, but I pulled through. Not a bad way to start off the game I guess, but by then I had already realized that the controls were completely and utterly terrible. Unlike Super Kart GP, this one insists on using the nunchuk as well. Big mistake. Just about everyone who owns a Wii likely remembers how sad and insulting the Nunchuk was to fellow gamers. It was basically Nintendo’s way of hitting us while we were down because the motion controls weren’t emphasized as much, but it didn’t matter because the nunchuk was still a bad controller.

In this case, the nunchuk is still mainly used as a motion controller, but you still have to use the Wii Remote as well. They both help with turning, but it’s awful confusing and you’ll be scratching your head by the end. Racing is virtually impossible and from the 4 modes, that was the only one that I couldn’t beat. Forget about beating all 6 races, I couldn’t even handle the first one. It’s insane just how difficult it is. You can’t simply race to the finish line. You have to also go through every ring in the level and missing one is fatal so you can’t go too fast. The problem is that the other racers are travelling at full speed at all times, which gets rather dicey. They won’t just pass you, these kids want to watch you squirm. What I mean by that, is that they will blast you with energy attacks. You can fire back as well by waving the Wii remote, but that doesn’t always work so well while racing. You can imagine how easy it is to run off the track when something like that occurs. I ultimately had to choose not to fire anything, but then I’d lose regardless. The races are definitely the worst part about the game and the irony is that this is technically a racing game.

The third mode has you flying around to collect books. You merely need to pass through all of the books scattered in the level in order to complete it. With a compass and how well lit the stages are, this is a breeze. It may have been on the easy side, but at least it was fun and not tedious. Billy finally scored and the final mode was also fairly decent. This one was about blasting Dragons away. You just had to spam your energy blasts and hope that they landed on the dragons. It beat a few levels with only seconds to spare so this one was definitely quite tricky. Just keep on blasting and when in doubt, blast some more. It will ultimately help you out and the dragons won’t stand a chance.

The cover art is really misleading so I feel like I should warn you about that. The back hints that you get to have a really cool totally 3D race that looks like something out of a Mario Party minigame. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. The picture is actually taken from one of the loading screens and cropped appropriately to trick the audience. It’s what the game does…and it does it well. I guess the developers were willing to do just about anything in order to sell a few more copies.

Graphically, this game will fail to impress you. The dragon doesn’t really look like a dragon. I’ll give the landscape some mild props I suppose as it doesn’t look all that bad. It needs some work, but it’s not as bad as it could be. The soundtrack is terrible though as the main theme is officially overused. It’s quite telling when games like Madden…which aren’t exactly known for their great musical selections, have a more energetic song list. Most of the songs are quite sad so you need to definitely take this on a case by case basis, but at least they put in some effort over there. I couldn’t feel any effort with Billy the Wizard.

I suppose you could say that there is a reasonable amount of replay value here thanks to multiplayer mode. Playing with a friend is always better than playing by yourself in a game like this. It won’t make the game worth 20 dollars or anything like that, but it can slightly help the game out in the long run I suppose. It’ll have to do at any rate as this game won’t really be offering you anything else.

Overall, Billy the Wizard is exactly what you would expect when you check to see who made the game. The company has always set the bar low and then they crawl under it. While the gameplay is fairly unique, there’s nothing really positive to say about it. The execution simply wasn’t handled all that well at all and you’ll be done with most of the game’s content in roughly an hour or so…probably much sooner. If you want to play a racing game, go and play F Zero GX. That game had hype, presentation, and good controls. Billy could learn a thing or two from that title.

Overall 4/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Myth Makers Super Kart GP Review


“Myth Makers, Start your engines!” is how every race in this game starts and it is a good way to build up the Myth Makers brand. Even if you don’t want to remember the title of the game, the choice is taken away from you as soon as the race starts. After playing Trixie’s little Candyland adventure, I realized that I was in for the long haul with this franchise. Super Kart GP was the next logical step on my Ninjabread man tour and this game manages to be somewhat decent. It’s still at a really low budget and the controls are a mess, but it feels a little more like an actual game than the other titles. There is even a lot of content here…even if it is rather tedious.

There is no plot of course so you will want to just launch right into the races. You can play quick races against A.I. or a human player or you can go to the Grand Prix mode. Playing with friends is probably how you will have the most fun playing this title. That way you can poke fun at the title and really make the most of it. Otherwise, you’ll spend most of your time in the Grand Prix. There are 3 different speed settings and in those speed settings there are three different difficulty levels. After you get past that, there are 5 different cups for you to enter. Each cup has 4 stages and beating them all will give you a lot of bragging rights.

That’s a lot of replay value for this kind of game right? The stages aren’t long and each one can be beaten in around 3-6 minutes, but they add up. If that’s about 12-24 minutes per tournament and there are 15 in all, that’s not half bad. There is one catch though and it is a fairly big one. There aren’t unique stages in the cups. From my estimation, there appear to only be around 4-5 different stages. One or two of them may have a night time variation that is virtually identical, but that’s about it. A bit of a shame if you ask me eh? That means that the cups are completely arbitrary and the only real benefit is having the personal satisfaction of completing them. Otherwise, you could just play the stages in free play mode and it’ll be around the same thing. I don’t see why the game couldn’t have added more stages. “Have you ever made a game, DReager1?” No, but I sure have played some in the past and many more stages could have been added imo.

Ah well, let us move past that. One other aspect of replay value here is the fact that you can buy characters with the stars that you earn on the track. Run into as many of them as you can and hope that the computers don’t attack you or you will drop a lot of them. By the time you complete the first 5 stages you should have probably unlocked the first character. There are 5 unlockables I believe and getting them all wouldn’t take a crazy amount of time, but probably more than you are willing to put in. It’s also handled very oddly as the first character you unlock has the worst stats in the game. She has a 1 in two out of the three areas and a 2 in the other. Compare this to Trixie who is the main character and also has the best stats in the game. I believe that all 3 of her stats are maxed out, which is quite crazy.

Granted, speed may not be all that important to you with this gameplay. It just means that you’ll be sliding off of walls and crashing a lot more. Slow and steady is enough to win this race. You hold the Wii remote sideways and try to steer as you go through the levels. The controls are easy as pie, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good. The motion controls simply don’t work well with the Wii so you’ll struggle quite a lot as you play. It’s manageable, but I wouldn’t call it that fun at times. There are items like in Mario Kart (Same style of item block) and if you look closely, you’ll notice a lot of other things that they rip off from the series. The item variety is very limited though and while you also have a final smash, you probably won’t get to use it. It simply takes too many stars to use and by then the race is over or you’ll have fallen way behind as you try to collect them all.

The soundtrack keeps on using the same tunes from the other titles like Ninjabread Man. People must have gone crazy while making these games since they will have been listening to the same song over and over and over again. Even if there was another tune or two in this game, you’ll quickly forget it as the main theme is burned into your mind. I’d say that the graphics are fairly decent compared to some abstract art, but I’ve seen Super Nintendo games with more creativity. You can always tell what is happening on screen, but that’s where the buck stops.

Overall, While this racing game may not be a bad steal if you can find it for a few bucks, you may as well get a better one. There is no shortage to racing games on any console so this should be at the bottom of a very long bucket list. The only real incentive to purchase this is Trixie. She still grins a lot as always and even has her iconic “Take that Bustah!” lines sprinkled in. It’s hard to tell what she is saying at times since the audio quality isn’t that good, but I’ll assume that the game will get patched at some point if it gets a remake. There is more to do here than in the average game of Myth Makers and it just barely keeps Super Kart GP from falling into the negative area.

Overall 5/10

Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Need For Speed Underground Review

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This is a game that I’ve owned for maybe 5-6 years at this point. It’s certainly been a very long time and I had played it off and on for a few years. Finally, I decided to crack down on it and complete the game once and for all about a month ago. After many races, I finally did manage to take the game down. I can safely say that it’s not perfect and some areas do hurt it, but as a racing game, it is very good.

The plot involves a new racer in town. This is the guy that you play as and he’s ready to move up the ranks. One of the ladies involved in the scene helps to get you ready and gives you intel about the other racers as you move up the ranks. You must become the best racer in every type of race to get to the end. After a lot of races, you are ready to fight the big boss. The main villain is someone who has plagued you for some time so you’ve been waiting for this. There is actually a secret final boss where a mysterious racer shows up and challenges you. The twist of who is inside it is slightly expected as there weren’t many characters in the game, but it’s still pretty neat. It’ll remind you of the final F Zero GX level.

First off, I have to criticize Story Mode. There are 118 levels in the game. That’s a whole lot of levels and while it is always good for a game not to be too short, this is simply overdone. It took me a grand total of 609 races to complete the 118 levels. If they were 118 original levels, that’s one thing, but most of the time you will be racing on the exact same tracks. Over and over again. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were only about 20 tracks given how often it would be the same ones. Sometimes they would be mirrored to try and trick you, but I count that as the same stage.

118 levels is definitely too much if you ask me. The levels are also decently challenging so just around 40-50 would have still made for a decently long game. Again, it took 609 tries for 118 levels, which shows you just how tricky these levels can be. Sometimes I would have to try a level about 30 times and would only end up winning because my opponent would crash and I would take the chance to leap to victory. I did enjoy that part though as a lot of racing games just make the A.I. completely perfect so they never crash into anything. It’s safe to say that this is more realistic as nobody should be able to navigate these levels without crashing or at least banging into the side rails.

Finally, my other negative would be the soundtrack and it’s actually significant enough to take away an entire star. It’s just downright terrible and they’re going for an underground feel. As such, most of the music isn’t enjoyable to listen too and I’m pretty sure that they’re not very appropriate. That being said, the lyrics are hard to hear since the singers are fairly bad and I ended up just turning the music off for most of the races so I would just hear the sound effects. Trust me, it’s not nearly as fun and it’s sad that I had to go that far.

Otherwise, the game is great as a racing title. The actual gameplay is a lot of fun and while there is a slight nitro boost, you’re essentially playing a normal racing game for the most part. That was a lot of fun and the controls are much smoother than Hot Pursuit 2’s. I can see the gameplay getting even better with the newer additions and this is the main reason as to how I could stick with the game throughout so many races. They would get tough as times and I would have to replay levels, but the gameplay was fun enough that I didn’t mind as much as I could have. I only learned about the power braking towards the end though, which is too bad since it would have been very helpful in a lot of the drift levels.

There is a lot of customizing to be done here and it’s typically required to upgrade your car every 20 levels or so. By the time that you are done, your car will be maxed out in just about everything and you’ll be moving at really high speeds. It’s a double edged sword of course as it can be easy to crash and instead of going with the best car, you may want to consider a slower model. I tried that for a while, but then I remembered that I love to go fast so I used the fastest car for the final levels. I’d say that it’s worth it unless the level has a lot of sharp turns.

The graphics are decently good. I definitely like how the levels look as well as the cars. The human designs are the ones that do tend to look a little iffy as they are pretty undetailed, but I suppose that most of the time working on this game was spent on the environments and cars. That would make a lot of sense so it’s all right that the humans don’t look great. The graphics aren’t perfect, but they get the job done and you can typically see the levels clearly although the overall game is pretty dark so you may need to increase the lighting.

This game was quite the adventure and I’ll definitely be enjoying a nice break from it. Once I’m ready to get back in the saddle again, I’ll buy Underground 2. The only problem is that I’ve heard that it has over 200 levels this time. That sounds even more extreme and I can’t say that I’m too enthusiastic about that, but I want to make it to the newer games already so I shall power through it.

Overall, Need For Speed Underground has improved from Hot Pursuit 2. The gameplay is great and that would have usually been enough to have given the game an 8 star rating. The soundtrack held it back along with the tedious story mode. Seriously, no game should take you over 600 races to complete. That’s simply overdone. The difficulty level was good as it was tough to complete the game, but not overly difficult where you will be wondering how the A.I. can move so fast. Some of the levels were a tad long though and I think that they should all be 3 laps at the most instead of 5-6. Let me tell you, replaying a 6 lap race more than once is no picnic. I definitely recommend getting this game if you are looking for a good racing experience, just have your MP3 player by your side during the races. There are some brief cutscenes which is cool, but there aren’t many of them.

Overall 7/10