Team Sonic Racing Review


Sonic has returned with another racing game! I think that means he now has 7 which is really impressive. (3 Riders, Sonic R, 2 Sonic and Sega racing, then this one) He is all about speed though so in a way it does make sense. While I think the gameplay for the Sega racing titles is a little bit better, I appreciate that this one has a real story and full voice acting. It’s nostalgic seeing all of the old Sonic characters running around here.

The story starts with a new character inviting Sonic and friends into a big racing event he’s hosting. The guy even sent invites to the future and to other dimensions so that Blaze and Silver can compete. Most of the characters think something real funny is going on but Sonic is just interested in the cars. Now he can really test his speed skills so he goes to work on challenging Shadow. Will things end okay or has he underestimated this guy?

The story is surprisingly long for a racing game which is pretty nice. It took me two days to complete but I put in several hours of work on each day. There are 7 chapters so around 7 hours sounds right. There are a bunch of levels to play outside of the main story and they probably all have cutscenes so that’s good for replay value. Basically there are different routes you can take to get to each chapter and so I chose the most direct option each time. I figured that made the most sense right? It’s nice to see that the game has the replay value at the ready though.

There is also the matter of obtaining the PS4 trophies but those looked rather difficult to get so I don’t think that I’ll be spending too much time on that for a while. Maybe I’ll grab a few here and there though just to increase my overall average. The character roster is a little on the small side but we have Sonic, Shadow, Silver, and Metal Sonic so as long as I have my hedgehog squad then we’re set.

The graphics are really nice. The game definitely looks modern and they did not waste the budget here. This has the look of a modern Sonic title even if it doesn’t quite have the detailed story or length you would need to be a big one. Where the game really shines though is the soundtrack. There are a ton of great remixes here. The lyrical song at the beginning also sounds like the BioLizard track just with different lyrics. There are so many great songs to listen to here that you will definitely want to play them on Youtube afterwards. This way you can really listen to them since you don’t have to worry about the track.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s your classic 3D racer. You have to drive as fast as possible in order to get to the end of the stage. If you’re in first then you have probably won but it actually depends on your two teammates. If they finish too far in the back then it brings your average down and you could actually lose. Not much you can do to help them though so just focus on getting to the front. You can throw items forwards and back but one new mechanic is that you can give your items to a teammate.

Doing so increases your final smash gauge and then you can activate that to move at super speeds for a little while. It’s really a great deal so I recommend doing that as often as possible. I would just give all my items away to be honest because it’s not like they were helping me all that much on my end. The item are surprisingly weak so often times they won’t have much of an impact on the battle at hand.

Some levels will be a little different though like you have to smash robots or rings as you go to the end instead of it being a pure race. It’s an interesting way to shake things up I’ll give you that. In general I preferred the races but I understand how this could be seen as a fun change of pace. It does ensure that you are trying out different things. I took the chance to also switch characters a few times. Mainly I stuck to Sonic and Shadow but it was fun hearing the other characters from time to time.

I can’t stress enough how great it was to have full voice acting here. Even just hearing them talk during the races or in the mini cutscenes was fun. Voice acting is always a good way to take a game to the next level and it makes everything feel more grand. The story itself was rather low key but the voice acting made it a lot more fun. If I was the devs I would have made Super Sonic playable in the last level and made the villain a bit bigger but in the end I’m just glad we had a true story like this. We even had a bunch of old characters show up to have fun with the group.

My gameplay tip would be to drift as often as possible. You can get a ton of little boosts that way. Also, give all of your items to your partners so that you build up your meter as soon as possible. From that point, make sure to check where you are in the race. If you have enough time to get a second final attack then use it, but otherwise save it until near the goal. That’s usually the best way to ensure all 3 members of your team make it at good spots in the race.

Overall, Team Sonic Racing is a great racing game. It does get a little overshadowed by Mario Kart as with all racing games at this point but I’d say this one can still hold its own as a side game. I wouldn’t say that it actually beats Mario Kart or anything like that as that game is still way more polished but a good amount of effort was put into this one as well. It doesn’t just feel like some low budget clone or anything like that. The game went all in and I’d like to see more Sonic racing games in the future. In the meanwhile the game is rather cheap now so this is a good chance to pick it up.

Overall 8/10

Sonic The Hedgehog 2 Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the big Sonic sequel! There was a lot of hype going into this one because Knuckles was finally going to show up! In some ways the hype for the 3rd film had already started before the second even came out because that was going to be the big one with the key player finally showing up but this one is the true build up. Sonic had to first learn responsibility and what true power is before the third one so he would be ready. Fortunately I would say this one even ended up beating the original in pretty much all areas. Only the human plot isn’t as good so in the third maybe they can balance that out.

The movie starts out very quickly as Knuckles shows up and helps Eggman return to Earth. Eggman aims to use this guy to take out Sonic once and for all and becomes interested in the Master Emerald which can grant unlimited power! Sonic has been trying to fight crime lately but it’s awfully difficult. It’s hard to minimize casualties and all that so the humans keep telling him not to help out at all which seems a bit selfish if you ask me. Sonic is still saving lives after all. When a fox named Tails shows up, Sonic realizes that his time to be a true hero has finally arrived. Is he up to the task?

Since the human plot has almost nothing to do with anything we may as well knock that one out first. As I said this is the weak point of the film. So Tom has to head over to Rachel’s wedding but she really dislikes him and aims to make this a rough time for the guy. Unfortunately Tom does end up having to mess with the wedding a bit but duty calls. I was glad that he made the right call in the end even if it did make things tricky for him socially.

Tom is ultimately a good character who is stuck in a rather weak plot the whole time. He is ready to fight and isn’t afraid of Eggman. The biggest shame here is that he doesn’t get to banter with Eggman much in this film since they don’t meet up until the end. It’s too bad because that dynamic was actually really solid in the original. I would have just included Tom with Sonic’s plot and I think that would have amped things up a lot. The guy has a lot of good lines.

Rachel is just annoying though. She needs to stop trying to dunk on Tom and just have a good time. It’s her wedding after all so why get so stressed right? She gets a comedy plot where she teams up with Maddie to clown on the government and get some revenge. The music may be reasonably solid here but the scene’s a bit dragged out and does start to cross the line of being a little too over the top.

The one thing I will give for the human plot is I loved the introduction of GUN. This is a group that should have a massive role in the next film. Yes, I can already tell their role won’t be as good since that group was highly competent in the games while this one looks to be comic relief. It’s a shame but that’s how it goes. Still, I was glad to see them and their plan here was actually good. I mean by all accounts it really worked so not bad right?

Meanwhile in town you had Wade trying to prove himself as the sheriff in stopping Stone but that ultimately didn’t really go anywhere or have much relevance to the plot. You could cut Wade out entirely and nothing would really change so it was pretty much filler. Stone still looks up to Eggman a whole lot and just wants to feel appreciated. That’s probably not going to happen anytime soon though. Stone’s dedicated, I’ll give him that.

Now we start to get into the main plot. Sonic and Tails fighting it out with Knuckles and Eggman to try and get the Master Emerald first. This had a lot of fun tributes to the games like the avalanche levels and the Sonic vs Knuckles fights definitely deliver. I did have some power level issues with this though like how Sonic should have smoked Knuckles. Why did he keep running straight at the guy? In a battle of speed vs power you always have to use your speed in order to gain the upper hand and land some devastating blows.

Trying to beat the power guy with power isn’t going to work. I thought Sonic could and should have fought a lot better here. Ultimately even while he lands some good blows, it always feels like he’s on the losing end here. Also, the speed difference between him and the others isn’t emphasized enough. When Sonic’s sandbagging sure he can look as fast as Knuckles or Tails. He likes to be running with them together but otherwise he should be zipping around like crazy. The film does understand his speed in some cases like when he’s dodging lasers or missiles but then in the fights he is suddenly a lot more normal.

I get that they had to try and make Knuckles seem like a threat but they went a bit far beyond the believability territory. By that point you’re really just shaking your head. Still great for the visuals and all plus Knuckles fans should be happy but it’s very noticeable. It’s always the issue you face as a writer when your lead character is so fast but you just have to adapt and keep it moving.

This plot had its share of serious and somber moments along with the light hearted adventuring. It’s well balanced and a lot of fun. This is definitely the highlight of the movie and it’s no surprise since you probably are watching this for Sonic after all. He delivers in each of his scenes without a doubt. Sonic also does get some decent development from the first film. He’s at least trying to be a hero even if he hasn’t mastered it yet. I wouldn’t expect any drastic changes to his character any time soon so he’s probably still going to appear as a younger version to the Sonic we’re used to from the games but he’s done well.

Tails is also really solid here and feels a lot like his classic self. He looks up to Sonic a lot and is lacking in confidence but is slowly building it. If they adapt the tearjerker scene from Adventure 2 next time then that’ll be the perfect place to give Tails the rest of his character arc. It’s always good to have a genius on your side so having him around is a great help to Sonic.

As for Knuckles, fans of his should definitely have fun with his character. He’s super strong and is devoted to finding the Master Emerald at all times. He feels a little less smart than his game counterpart as it almost seems like they were going to start taking inspiration more from Sonic Boom Knuckles who takes things literally and doesn’t know a ton but the writing is good enough here to where he is not super exaggerated like that. So in the end he still made for a great antagonist. I’d like to see him stick around and be a main character for the next adventure.

Then we have Eggman and I was not expecting him to gain super powers the way that he did. It was an interesting take on his character though. I hope he would return for future films but if not, this was a good exit. He has a lot of clever little puns that he would throw in throughout the movie that were a blast. At times he can be a little more crazy than genius and the film could maybe dial it back a bit at times but all in all I still had a lot of fun with him. Eggman is an iconic part of the film and you definitely couldn’t do this adventure without him.

Naturally there is an after credits scene. You’ve likely heard or seen it since that was everywhere even before the film was fully out, but if not then you’re going to really be in for a treat. Hype levels for Sonic 3 are now out of this universe so get ready. If it adapts even 10% of what the next adventure should be then we’re really going to be in for a treat. It’s not too early to say that the film has a shot at being movie of the year at this point. I would be surprised and dismayed if it’s anything lower than that.

Just based on how different the characters are it’s bound to not be a 1 to 1 adaption but as long as you get the bullet points then you’re good. I’d also like them to include some more of the video game tunes. The soundtrack was still good and all but hearing some of those classic tunes would make it even better. At least if you ask me that would be the best move here. There would be no turning back from that. The effects and everything are good here as well.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a great film. It really capitalized on the development and hype moments from the first film while taking this one to the next level. The human scenes are a weakness but they’re not so bad that they drag the film down too much. Without them would this be a 9 star film? Probably not so in the end the damage was minimal and you’ll be okay. Like I said, at least we got GUN out of it so that’s a start.

Overall 8/10

Sonic Colors: Rise of the Wisps Review


It’s always hype when Sega decides to give us a cool Sonic animated short. This one is in the Sonic Colors part of the verse. It’s a phrase I never thought I would see again. I was never a big fan of the Wisp mechanics since I much prefer to just be doing my own thing at all times with Sonic speed but if you’ve got it you might as well use it right? This special is around 10-12 minutes long and features Metal Sonic so you can’t go wrong.

The basic plot is that Eggman has his two robots: Cubot and Orbot kidnapping Wisps across the planet. Sonic and Tails decide that the mad man must be stopped. He’s already captured a lot of the Wisps across the planet so saving them all will be difficult. Additionally, Eggman has brought in his most powerful robot of all time…Metal Sonic. Can Sonic take down this robot or are the Wisps doomed?

Sonic has his signature humor which is always fun. The guy’s just a great character and even with only a few minutes to spare in the special you can tell that these guys really get the core of his character. Sonic may not like to sit around and listen to long stories but he is quick to act. Metal Sonic may be a tad faster in base but Sonic has a lot more experience in combat and uses that to his advantage.

He also has the Wisps at the ready and uses them to get a pretty good advantage in their battle. Sonic reminds us that the powers of friendship are always a mighty ally to have on your side at all times. Even at the end of the special he is looking at the big picture while Tails is beginning to panic. It’s why Sonic is always seen as such a natural leader.

Tails doesn’t look at good with the panicking but usually that is the sidekick’s role. You panic a lot which by extension makes the main hero look even better. It’s all part of the plan after all. Tails peaked in Sonic Adventure 2 Battle and since then the new continuity hasn’t used him quite as well. His gadgets always do come in handy though.

As for Metal Sonic, this is one of those versions that is more on the mindless side. I wouldn’t say he is completely mindless or anything like that but the guy is more instinct than anything else. He just wants to win and prove he is the fastest but don’t expect a lot of strategy or anything like that. Still, it is great to see him as always. He definitely gives Sonic a run for his money.

Cubot and Orbot are decent. I prefer them as Eggman’s mindless minions to some of the other iterations. Changing one of their voice boxes to the announcer’s sound effects felt very odd though. Maybe they couldn’t get the voice actor back in time for this special? That would be my guess at least but the whole announcer thing works well enough. Just watch your volume if you’re on headphones because it can be a bit on the loud side.

As for the Wisps, I’m still not much of a fan but they do end up helping when it counts which is good. It was nice to see them actually contribute and even try to free everyone before Sonic showed up. It at least meant that the Wisps were resourceful and weren’t just going to wait and be saved. Now that’s what I like to see.

The animation’s not bad. It’s definitely good for a Youtube exclusive. The colors are smooth and we get some nice speed effects. It’s going for a bit of an old school cutscene look. I like the direction it’s going in but for a full show I would definitely like to clean up the animation a bit. This special has full voice acting which is really cool so that definitely gets a thumbs up from me.


Overall, This special is under 15 minutes so there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about. It’s pretty fun and really feels like it is over in the blink of an eye. The writing is solid and most importantly, they really got Sonic’s personality across. He’s really a hero you can count on and who is always ready to have the team at his back. He isn’t trying to do things solo if it’ll put anyone in danger. It’ll be cool if we get more specials like this.

Overall 7/10

Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice Review


This game has been waiting its turn for a very long time at this point. Well, I finally took the plunge and got it. Surprisingly the game doesn’t beat the originals though. Mainly this is due to the length being a lot shorter and the plot not being as interesting. I beat this game in around 2.5 hours compared to the Wii U one which took 7 and the 3DS original which I played for 14 hours although the story was more in line with 7. This one seems like they had to rush it out because otherwise I do feel like a lot of effort was put into it. There are a good amount of cutscenes and things of that nature.

The plot of the game is that Eggman is trying to build the Eggbot racers that can be even faster than Sonic. To this end he builds a robot that can attract the rare kind of metal he needs. The bot tries his best but Sonic and friends prove to be too much for him. Unfortunately this makes Eggman turn on him as well. The bot really wants to prove himself to Eggman so he’s going to continue to try and grab the metals. Meanwhile Sonic and friends are trying to stop the elemental geysers being produced as part of this and are forced to travel the globe. Can they save the planet from ecological disaster?

So there isn’t really much of a story here. Still, it’s very nostalgic to see the ole Sonic Boom cast once more. I did greatly enjoy the show and felt like it should have gotten another season. The cutscenes are really solid to the point where the cutscenes look like they could have been from the actual show. This is the level of detail I like to see and shows this was not some simple cash in. A real effort was made here and I definitely appreciate that. They should have found a way to squeeze Shadow into the story though. I think that would have been a really good idea to raise the stakes. We do get a fun climax though where Eggman is actually forced to ask Sonic for help. Sonic and Eggman is the big team up we’ve been waiting for so that was definitely pretty hype.

The gameplay is a 2D platformer like most Sonic games. You navigate your way through obstacles and grab collectibles as you make it to the goal. The new wrinkle to this game is that you now have the ability to use fire and ice thanks to the ecological phenomenons going on around the world. The fire ability allows you to melt ice while the ice power lets you freeze water. They’re fun little abilities. I wouldn’t say they change the gameplay experience all that much so it’s a pretty harmless gimmick which I can definitely roll with. This is the kind of experimentation that I’d say works rather well.

As I mentioned though, the game is really short. At a little over 2 hours that’s just not a whole lot of time. It has more replay value than Kirby though as each world has several bonus levels as opposed to just one. It’s part of why the game is so short though as you just don’t need to play most of the levels. That should add a good amount of play time in. Then you’ve also got the bonus racing mode where you can even play as an Egg bot. You use the gems you collect to buy more suits so that’s pretty fun. There are also 3 upgrades as well. It’ll probably take you a while to buy them all though. There are 6 upgrades and completing the game just gave me enough money to buy 1. Buying all 6 would definitely be difficult but maybe the bonus levels have more gems than the normal ones.

I already talked about how great the graphics are so I don’t need to go on that for very long. The in-game graphics are just as solid. There are a few different playable characters who all have their own strengths and abilities which is nice for variety. The soundtrack is less memorable though and in general you’ll probably forget it as soon as you finish the playthrough. I would have liked some remixed tracks or something to spice it up. There aren’t a lot of boss battles either which could be the reason. Surprisingly it would seem like not every world had a boss unless some of the bosses are optional.

The boss fights themselves are pretty fun although most of them play in a very similar way. I’d say that it’s just the gameplay not being able to change things up much but that’s not really true. I think there’s more they could have done with it. Each boss battle has 2 phases. One phase you use Sonic to home attack the enemy while the other has your partner use their signature skill. Since all of the partners are different that part is always unique but Sonic is the one where his gameplay is exactly the same all the time. Switching that one up a bit would definitely have gone a long way if you ask me. Still, I’ll give the game props for the tag system. I thought that was pretty fun.

Overall, Sonic Boom: Fire & Ice is a worthy sequel to the original Sonic Boom. that being said, I wouldn’t say it was particularly noteworthy or knocking it out of the park either. It’s a fun game that will keep you busy until you complete it. Afterwards even with the replay value you won’t have much to do though so this is definitely the kind of game you just playthrough once and keep it moving. If you like platformers then I recommend checking this one out. The cutscenes help make the game feel a little more special as well. A little more length would have been nice but I’ll take what we can get. Hopefully we get a new Sonic game soon because I miss that series.

Overall 7/10

Sonic the Hedgehog Review


It’s time to finally take a look at the legendary Sonic movie that came out recently. Sonic has always been the greatest video game series of all time as soon as Sonic Adventure first came out. Once Sonic Adventure 2 Battle arrived the series cemented itself as a legend. Despite that we hadn’t gotten a big budget film like this one. Well, that’s finally all changed. It’s definitely a pretty fun film and a good way to get Sonic out into the mainstream. To an extent he’s already there as you often see kids playing the mobile games so it makes sense to launch a movie now since they’ll all check it out. If not for Covid this very well could have cracked 700K and I know the sequel will do incredibly well.

The movie starts off with a quick action sequence as Sonic is evacuated off the planet by a wise bird. Sonic barely escapes the Echidnas but his Mom figure is unable to make it through with him. Sonic’s last words of advice were to make sure that nobody saw him and to always teleport to a new planet if something happened. His rings allow him to go anywhere he is thinking about. Sonic makes a good life for himself on Earth but he is still pretty lonely. One day he gets a little too fired up and launches an EMP that takes out a quarter of the country. Dr Robotnik is called in to find Sonic and this guy has never failed a mission.

Meanwhile the human main character of this movie is Tom. He has always been a pretty great police chief in Green Hills but he wants something a little more exciting. Now that he has been approved for a position in San Francisco he is ecstatic but that’s when Sonic shows up. Tom helps him out but he is now labeled as a terrorist. Tom’s too deep in to back off now so he will have to help Sonic find his rings in San Francisco so he can escape to another plane. Will he be able to do this or will Robotnik get to Sonic first? It’s definitely not going to be an easy journey.

This is a comedy adventure movie so it’s a blend of both but the first genre is likely the most important. Sonic’s always been able to achieve a good blend, just look at Sonic Boom which to date is probably Sonic’s most impressive show. They’ve all historically been solid though and as expected Sonic works in this medium as well. The gags involving Sonic running around and playing by himself against himself are really solid. I like all of the speed effects and the humans are good too. Rachel is Maddie’s sister and works well as the character who is always trying to escalate things. She panics a whole lot and really doesn’t like Tom. She’s absolutely as exaggerated as you can get but it works well.

Most of the characters here are extremely quirky and they make for a memorable cast. Eggman’s right hand man was a lot more fun than I expected him to be. Part of why he succeeds is because he takes everything in stride. While some characters would be puzzled the whole time or panicking this guy never does. He just follows Robotnik’s lead and does whatever he can. Robotnik can be a bit extra at times for sure, but he’s a fun character. A lot of the best moments with him are his banter with Tom. Ultimately I imagine it will become more of an exchange with Sonic but for now this works. Tom really gave it to him with those punches. I also liked Robotnik’s montage while testing out Sonic’s quill for power. We even got a quick dinosaur thhere.

As the main human, Tom gets a lot of screen time so you’re definitely hoping that he’ll be good. Fortunately he works out quite well. The film is going for that buddycop feel and he gets a lot of fun dialogue with Sonic. He can also fight surprisingly well as seen in the bar. His wife Maddie is also pretty good. I’ll give her props for not panicking the whole time the way a lot of characters do when they see an alien. Maddie is just ready for the experience and doesn’t really let it get to her. There are a few more characters but the final important one is Sonic. His character has been through quite a lot like with the design issues. Ultimately this design is way better than the first one they were going for. It’s definitely not quite up to the real Sonic design from the games but as this is definitely aiming to be a much younger version of Sonic than what we are used to, it works out pretty well. I can’t quite imagine Sonic acting quite the same way if he looked more like his adult self.

It’s a lot of fun seeing Sonic use his speed to save the day. We also got some Quicksilver type scenes of him messing with the room. Sonic’s very entertaining and I’d say that the film did him justice. As you can see, the cast here was solid and the writing was also pretty good. Most of the jokes land and the film is just a lot of fun to watch. The pacing is quick and you’ll never be bored here. The effects are also solid for the action scenes we do get. There aren’t a whole lot of them, but they work quite well. The best one is naturally the high speed chase with Robotnik at the end of the film.

While the film has a lot of things going for it, there are a few elements that do keep this to being a very good film rather than hitting the elite level. First off, the power levels are pretty bad. This is almost inevitable for a speedster based film but it’s especially noticeable here. Are we to believe that Sonic can be hit with a tranq dart, an explosion after he gets the button off, or that he can’t outrun Robotnik’s robot at the end of the film? None of these scenes make sense in the same context as the bar scene existing or the missiles on the roof. Both of those scenes show Sonic as being so crazy fast that time is basically stopped and there is absolutely no way anyone can catch him. Even if Eggman has one quill and part of the power his robot simply wouldn’t be that fast. I think the film saw the Quicksilver scene and wanted to do their own version as well but little did they know that scenes like that always bring up a ton of plot holes.

My other issue is that Sonic was a little too weak here. He is shown to physically have the strength of a toddler. He lands a lot of direct punches on people in the bar brawl and they do no damage. That doesn’t really make sense to me. With speed comes power. The Flash shows this often since building up momentum and throwing a punch always does more damage than a normal one. It’s the same concept so super speed automatically gives you super strength but a lot of films don’t really think about this. These two aspects of the film aren’t huge in the sense that they’ll cripple the score or anything like that. They’re just very noticeable and I think the movie could have done better here.

The soundtrack here is also pretty good. There are a lot of solid danger themes here and they flow well with the action scenes. One thing I was shocked about though was seeing the Final Fantasy VII theme in the film. Seriously, watch the scene where Sonic and Tim are in the car trying to fend off the various robots Robotnik keeps sending out. It’s a sped up version of the main battle theme. I have to see if someone made a comparison video on Youtube yet because that was really cool. It’s a battle theme that has withstood the test of time so naturally hearing it in a theatrical film like this is definitely worth it.

Overall, Sonic The Hedgehog is a very fun film. It sets up some good plot elements for the future as well. Make sure you stick around after the credits for a quick stinger. I’m hoping it doesn’t take too long until the sequel comes out because I’m ready for more Sonic hype. There are quite a lot of ways the sequel can go. Personally I’m expecting a return trip to Sonic’s home world but I’m also game for Metal Sonic showing up or Shadow The Hedgehog. We need to get close to the events of Adventure 2 Battle, that will be great. If you haven’t seen this film yet then you definitely need to check it out. It’s really just a lot of fun and has a high amount of replay value.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 46m

Best Times

Alpine Skiing Downhill 2m 11s
Ski Jumping Large Hill 219.35
Freestyle Skiing Moguls 25.11
Freestyle Ski Cross 1m 5s
Biathlon 26:59
Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom 47s
Snowboard Slopestyle 73.66
Snowboard Cross 1m 27s
Skeleton 1m
4-man Bobsleigh 58s
Figure Skating Singles 130.09
Figure Skating Pairs 163.53
Speed Skating 500m 30s
Short Track Speed Skating 1000m 1m 24s
Winter Sports Champino Race 3m 41s
Groove Pipe Snowboard 2m 12
Roller Coaster Bobsleigh 2m 4s
Bullet Bill Sledge Race 1m 45s

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review


It’s been a little while, but now it’s time to look at the next installment in the Olympic Game series. This one has been a mixed bag for me because some of the titles here have been really solid while others were pretty bland. I have to put Sochi in the weaker half as well. While it does have the best story in the series the gameplay is definitely the weakest. The game made the odd decision of having you switch between the Gamepad and the Wii remote constantly for story mode. That’s just an odd decision if you ask me and it’s one that slows everything down. I’ll go into that more in a second.

The story revolves around Team Sonic and Team Mario getting ready for another round of competition. They are interrupted when a giant castle shows up and mysterious keys lock down all of the doors. The heroes will have to fight past shadow versions of themselves to make it to the top and find out who is doing this. What mastermind could possibly be giving the heroes such a difficult fight? One thing’s for sure, the heroes can’t afford to hold back if they want to claim victory here.

So I definitely do give the game credit for actually adding a story here. That’s where the credit stops. I’ll talk about the positives in a minute, but the controls need to be addressed right away. Not only do you have to switch controls but you have to have the Wii Remote Plus or you won’t even be allowed to play the story. It’s a pretty slick way of making sure everyone bought the add on, but definitely a shady method if you ask me. The player shouldn’t be required to jump through all these hoops just to have some fun playing these Olympic titles.

Would it have been so hard to have just made all of the minigames Gamepad compatible? It’s just really strange that you have to keep switching. Also, the series has never been particularly good with this, but it’s really hard to understand the controls at a glance here. You can see the controls after you’ve paused the game, but the first time around you’ll probably be winging it. The controls are heavily motion based as well so get ready for the game to keep doing things when you don’t want it to. As a result this can make the game a bit more difficult than it is actually supposed to be which is definitely pretty iffy.

On the positive side, the graphics look pretty good as always. It’s always nice to see modern Sonic and Mario on the same screen here. All of the characters look sharp and the same goes for the level designs and animations. The soundtrack is also quite solid as it gives us various remixes for both the Mario and Sonic titles. This adds a little spice to the mini games for sure. It also just makes a lot of sense since the game should not use any generic themes when it has such a vast library of good tunes to choose from. That’s the way I see it anyway.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. The games are all made to be ones that you can replay a lot with friends and family to just have a good time. There are a lot of records to break and content to unlock. It’s not quite as vast as the first Winter Olympic Games which had a whole store filled with things to buy, but it’s definitely not bad either. There are a lot of modes here, but of course what will ultimately decide whether you want to play or not is how much you like the minigames.

On that note, they are very hit or miss. There are some minigames that are a lot of fun like Hockey, sliding down the hill, skateboarding, bobsledding, etc. On the other hand, there is the classic Curling game which seems to make it in every year. This game is as bad as it always was with the outcome basically being luck and the game drags on forever. You never get to walk in and out for this title. The dancing minigames also take quite a while to end. I believe they may be 4-5 minutes long which may not sound crazy, but for a minigame that is really pushing it.

At the end of the day the Olympic series has always seemed like a watered down version of Mario Party. The various games usually aren’t made with quite as much heart and there’s always a dicey one in there somewhere. Most of the games are good and I think they’ll all be reasonably enjoyable once you’re not playing a computer. This is still a good party game, but it’s definitely not the first one I’d recommend getting. I’m hoping that the new one coming out for the Switch does something different. I haven’t played the newest Olympics title yet so maybe by now they’ve fixed everything, but I can say that t this point in time I’m not in a huge rush to get the next one. I certainly will, but I do hope it’s better than this one.

Overall, The Sochi 2014 games aren’t a whole lot different from the other years. I feel like they phoned this game in to an extent. Many of the games share the same controls and aren’t terribly inspired. At the same time, the story is fun though and I think you can get some good enjoyment out of this one. The game is pretty cheap by this point so it isn’t much of an investment. I think it’s also fair to say that the game is not misleading. You should absolutely know what you’re getting yourself into before you play the game. It’s very straightforward about this so I think even without this review you should know whether you enjoy it or not. If you decide to buy the game then just be prepared to switch controllers every other match.

Overall 6/10

Team Sonic Racing Overdrive Review


It’s time to take a look at the 2 part segment Sega released. It’s roughly 10 minutes or a little shorter than that, but it’s a nice way to cross promote the game. I was lightly tempted to get the game day 1, but there are just so many good games coming out right now that it’s tough to know which ones to take the plunge on. Regardless, I do look forward to playing it some day. I imagine it will be quite solid just as this special is.

The plot is pretty straightforward. The various heroes and villains have entered a race where the winner will receive a large gold trophy. Team Sonic, Chaotix, Rose, and Dark are all entering the race. Only one team can win though and it quickly becomes clear that Shadow and Sonic are the front runners here. That being said, there are a lot of racers on the track and so anything can happen. Be sure to stay glued to the seat so you don’t miss a second of the action.

The animation is very smooth and this style is definitely good at energetic scenes like this one. In general it’s a nostalgic style and one that’s very “clean” You will always know what’s happening and the designs are simplistic and so they are able to go through a lot of movements very quickly. It’s always been one of the big strengths of this animation style and Overdrive puts it to good use. A whole show like this would be quite fun for sure. Although the characters don’t talk here you can still get a lot of their personalities instantly because of how well animated they are.

As always Shadow is definitely a stand out character here. He actually does really well while at the same time knowing when it’s best to finally put his abilities into motion. The other characters also have to deal with a lot of interference on the track. It puts all of their skills on the line. There’s certainly nothing negative about this special and so it’s pretty much ideal. Between this and the Sonic Mania shorts, it’ll be fun to see if Sega decides to keep them up. I remember at the big Sonic event they did say that it takes forever to animate these scenes but maybe if they bring more animators on board they would be able to make a whole show like this. I’ll certainly be ready if they do.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend checking this special out. Even if you aren’t planning on getting the game it’s fun to see the cast just hanging out and getting all competitive. It’s also a lot of fun for fans who grew up in the Adventure era as there are a bunch of references and remixed tunes from the old game. You’ll likely remember all of them even if you don’t know the exact names. It’s the little things like that which really help take Overdrive to the next level. Also, it’s super short so it’s not like it’ll take all that much time out of your day to check it out right?

Overall 7/10

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Stats and Records

Doing the stats for a game like this is always tough for a bunch of reasons. The first of which is that since I’m still actively playing it all of these stats will be outdated as soon as I’ve published them. As a result I will only publish some basic stats for now and add more in once the game has settled down a bit.

Play Time 40h
Challenges 124/124
World of Light 100% complete
Spirits 800
Highest Online GSP- Marth 1.3 million

Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review


It’s time to look at a game that could go down in history as the greatest of them all. That may sound like hyperbole, but at the moment the Super Smash Bros Wii U title currently holds that spot so it’s not unreasonable to imagine a world where this one surpasses it. I’ve been hyped for this game for many months now. A new Super Smash Bros title always brings with it a certain level of expectations like that and even more so for this one since it was touted as being the ultimate Smash title. It’s effectively an upgraded port of the Wii U game while bringing in all of the previous characters and most of the stages. I’ve already put in close to 50 hours here and that number’s only going to keep on rising.

First off lets talk about the gameplay even though by now it is fairly iconic. The goal of the game is to get the opponent’s damage% up. The higher it is the farther they will be launched when you attack them. Once you’ve knocked the opponent off the stage entirely they lose a life. Once you’ve taken all of their lives away the match is over and you will have claimed victory. While the goal is simple, it’s still a fairly complicated game. I imagine that if this is your first Smash title that you’ll have a pretty steep learning curve at first. Nevertheless you’ll definitely get the hang of it.

Multiplayer is definitely where you’ll spend the most time in this game. The battles are legendary here and with over 70 playable characters and 100+ stages you can keep the matches feeling fresh the whole time. Online definitely helps the replay value even further if you have no friends. Fortunately even just fighting the computers can present a really nice challenge. There are certainly some online issues you will want to be aware of though. Currently the match settings allow you a preference but you can still be sent into types that you did not ask for. If that happens watch out because it will still affect your GSP which is effectively your online rank. I wouldn’t get too attached to it though because that may make you afraid to keep on playing when you see your score go down. It’ll definitely go up and down as you go through more matches, but the important thing is watching your skills improve which won’t happen if you are too nervous the whole time. What you should be most excited about is the fact that this will ensure you fight tougher and tougher opponents as you get better.

Meanwhile there are a ton of other modes to play. While we sadly don’t see the return of a story mode like what Brawl had, we do get a new adventure mode which is similar to Melee’s in the sense that there is a basic story but not too many cutscenes. You are placed in a large overhead map where you have to get to the end. You do this by freeing all of the fighters who have been possessed by the cosmic being. Each fight you go through has some kind of gimmick or element that makes it unique. These can be quite challenging for a new player so I recommend taking a look at the spirits. They will help you overcome these battles but they can be a little overwhelming at times so take it slow.

There’s also the Spirit Board mode which lets you get new spirits by completing more event battles. It’s basically the same as Adventure Mode but without the story behind it. There are over 1200 spirits in the game so this should definitely help you get a lot of play time in. The actual story is around 10-11 hours if you rush it and to 100% the story you’ll probably need more like 20 hours. There are also a few other single player modes like All Star and 100 Man Brawl. You fight hordes of enemies in this mode and see how quickly you are able to finish them off. The single player options are a little more limited than in past options, but compared to the average game it is still a ton of content. As mentioned, most of your time will probably be spent in multiplayer mode anyway.

As expected the graphics are absolutely top notch here. Everything looks really clear and pristine. It’s all so colorful and amazing. A lot of things are always happening on screen at once but you’ll never feel lost. Super Smash always shows up as the best looking Nintendo game on each console and the Switch looks like it won’t be an exception. You’ll be hard pressed to find any game that looks better than this one. The soundtrack is also extremely impressive as there are over 800 songs to be found. I think its safe to say that this game easily has the best ost of all time. There are just so many songs to choose from. You’ll start out with most of them and then you get to unlock the last few hundred. I will add that I think the developers did a good job of letting you start out with all the stages and most of the music while leaving all the characters to be unlocked. The challenger approaching screen has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the game after all.

Between all the spirits and gameplay this title has unlimited replay value. At the time of writing this review I currently have 4 challenges left to complete. I expect to have those done by the end of the week. I’ll certainly still keep on playing this title daily but I guess it may be time to tag in another title. It won’t have much time before the Christmas batch gets in though which is why I’m still pretty undecided on how to go about that. Ah well, I’ll have time.

I guess the question you may be asking now is..why hasn’t this game passed the Wii U one yet? We can ignore all of the modes and just get to the gameplay because that’s the deciding factor when it comes to Smash. This game series is in a league of its own to the point where all modes are thrown to the wayside in favor of the gameplay. Whoever has the best gameplay wins, it’s that simple. Smash 4 prioritized combos over everything else. Once you learned each character’s combos you would try to get in place to land them. It made you have to learn how to study everything and get into position. In comparison, Smash Ultimate is all about the neutral game. Attacking is now prioritized over defense, but most hits don’t combo into other moves so you simply have to keep out thinking your opponent until you land enough hits for the win.

This results in both players throwing out quite a lot of attacks as most of them are safe now. As someone who likes playing aggressively this is definitely a lot of fun. It’s really tough to fight against though as it can sometimes feel like there are no openings (Especially when fighting a quick ranged character like Roy) but there will always be one somewhere. It’ll take some getting used to. I do think eventually this game will likely surpass the Wii U one, but I don’t think it’ll happen for a little while. I put in over 2200 hours into Super Smash Bros Wii U so it makes sense that I can’t drop it so quickly. I also just prefer doing a lot of fancy combos to the one hit moves but again, I think that’ll change.

I really have no meaningful negatives about the game at all. As mentioned, the online is definitely lacking at present. You’re thrown into matches that you didn’t want and there is no way to team up with a friend locally against other friends online. Hopefully they will be able to resolve that as well as adding in other features like stage morphing and Squad Strike. The latter is something I had been particularly looking forward to in the game so it was a shame to see that it is offline only. In the meantime I’ve had fun growing my GSP with the characters. I got most of them to over a million with my only elite fighters currently being Bayonetta, Marth, Lucina, and Pac-Man. Naturally they are also my 4 mains at the moment since I figure I’ll let the game help me decide that. Usually I end up maining a bunch of characters so this will help me whittle that list down a bit.

Meanwhile I should also talk a bit about some of the new items and assists. For the items, my favorite new weapon is probably the Death Scythe. I believe if you hit someone with it when they are over 100% they will instantly lose a stock which is cool. Likewise, I like the Rage Blaster for its similar function although in this case it gets stronger as you grow weaker. The banana gun is also a fun weapon that may not be super powerful or anything, but it’s just a great concept. I think unlike the characters and stages we did lose a lot of items over the years, but I guess it makes sense not to make the list too huge or you’ll never see some items.

For the Assists, we finally have Knuckles! Along with the fact that most assist trophies can now be destroyed they feel more like pseudo fighters than ever. Some are incredibly flashy as well like the Moon from Majora’s Mask. I can see how fans get a little upset when their fighters shows up as an assist, but never lose hope. All they need is a patch at some point and the character can be playable at any moment. For the Pokemon we also have Solgaleo who is one of the strongest creatures in the game. It’s very hard to dodge his fire charges while avoiding the other players. In general I think the game has heavily buffed these assists so now most of them are lethal. That’s a good thing as it is a lot more rewarding to grab them. Don’t worry, you’ve still got the trolls like Goldeen.

Finally, lets talk about the newcomers. First off we have echos which is the official term used by the game for the clone characters. This was a great way to bolster the character size with requested characters who are similar to their main counterparts. Two very good ones are Dark Samus and Ken. These echos have some slight differences from their main counterparts while being similar enough where you can easily use both versions. My only regret is that we didn’t get more echos. I think this could be a landmine of cash for the company if they reconsider their stance. Imagine having over 50 echos in the game? I’d certainly break out the cash for them.

Then we have the full blown newcomers. One has gotten a lot of hype and naturally that is Ridley. After Project M was able to get him into the game Sakurai had no more excuses so he relented and allowed him to join the party. His moveset is a blast. He may be pretty heavy so getting stuck in repeated attacks will happen, but his massive power is a good counter to that. The game seemed to like adding heavyweights as we also have King K Rool. He’s an iconic DK villain who also looks pretty good. His moveset is pretty fun and you won’t want to underestimate him in the ring.

Repping the newer Splatoon is Inkling. She’s a speed character who is looking incredibly good, but also very complex. I think once players master her various ink gimmicks she will be even more of a force to be reckoned with. With Bayonetta being severely nerfed it will be tough for any character to stop this squid kid’s reign of terror. As a surprising addition we also have Simon and Richter from Castlevania. They are as annoying to fight as you can imagine with their projectile spam being even tougher to get around than Link’s. They’re fun to play as though. Isabelle feels like an echo but is actually treated as a full character. She’s a nice alternative to Villager and her fishing rod is a fun attack to use. It’s pretty hard to avoid when you’re on the ledge.

Finally we have Incineroar. He’s a pretty tough boxing Pokemon who has a lot of power and a pretty cool revenge mechanic. With it he can deal massive damage with a single blow. All in all, I’m pretty happy with our new characters so far. It’s hard to be upset when we already have so many options to choose from. The characters all have their fans for sure. While I would have liked some other characters to make the cut as well like Isaac and Waluigi, maybe DLC is their chance. The first 2 DLC characters we know of are Piranha Plant and Joker. They will definitely be great additions as well with the latter especially being very exciting. I can’t wait to play as him, I’m thinking that his moveset is going to be amazing. With that said though, while the new characters are super cool for now I’m still going for the wins with my classic Marth.

Overall, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is indeed the ultimate experience for Super Smash fans in terms of content. It’s got just about everything here. While we had to say goodbye to some fan favorite modes like Target Attack and Home Run Contest, I wouldn’t be surprised if those are added in at a later date. With how patches come into play nowadays you wouldn’t want to rule such things out. We also have more characters and stages coming through DLC as well so this game is going to stay active for a very long time. If you’re afraid of getting into the series because of the high learning curve, I’d say not to worry about it. We all have to start somewhere and you’ll definitely be having a blast before long.

Overall 9/10