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Wild Guns Review

It’s time to look at one of the newer SNES game to be added to the Nintendo Online Service. Wild Guns looked good right from the jump. It’s a shooter that was well ahead of its time and the gameplay feels like it is N64 level at the least. It’s really a blast and definitely one of the strongest games I’ve played in this catalogue. I’d highly recommend it and while the game is still pretty short, it’s longer than some of the others I’ve checked out.

There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot but basically a bunch of robotic villains have taken over various towns. Your mission is to take down all of these bandits and robots with your trusty gun. The gameplay is a pretty fun. It’s a third person shooter where you have to take down enemies until a time limit runs out. At that point the boss will show up. The more enemies you take out, the quicker the timer will run out so you want to keep fighting at all times. When the boss shows up you defeat him and move onto the next area. There are 3 areas per level and around 5-6 levels in the game. You should have this taken care of in around an hour I’d say. You’ll get the hang of shooting and moving a lot as the game goes on.

A single shot takes you down which is pretty realistic so part of the strategy in the game is never getting hit. You can jump from side to side as well as use basic rolls. What you typically want to do is fire off a few shots and then run a bit. If it’s 1 on 1 with a villain then you can just start blasting since they can’t counter but there will almost always be a ton of enemies shooting at you. The final levels are especially difficult with this as it can be hard to find a single moment’s rest. If you get yourself into a bad situation is can be virtually impossible to escape unharmed without rewinding a bit. So an important thing to factor here is your current position as well as the next few. Predict their moves and all that.

One of the reasons why this game is so impressive is because of the boss designs. They all look quite good and are very creative. As I mentioned, the game seems pretty ahead of its time in this respect. The level designs are all unique and the gameplay is just so smooth. This is the kind of shooter video game that I can really get behind. There’s clearly a lot of thought and development time that went into this one. Even aiming the guns is pretty interesting since you sort of have to move while firing until you got the cursor just right. Then you have to get ready to move again since by then the villains will be starting to shoot at you. That’s where all of the strategy comes in.

It pretty much goes without saying that the graphics here are quite good. Even taking the designs out of the equation, everything just looks so modern and solid. This is an SNES game that has really aged well in that respect and I’d be up for a sequel to this game. I heard something about an Unloaded version so maybe the game already got a sequel or some kind of big remake. Either way until you check that one out, this is the one you’ll want to look into.

Overall, Wild Guns is definitely a solid title. Hopefully Nintendo doesn’t wait so long for the next batch of games but at the very least this is already shaping into a very strong batch. It’s going to be very difficult for the other SNES games to quite match this one. There may not be any real replay value after beating the game but the campaign is strong enough to hold its own. The game is pretty difficult and it’ll take time to get used to all of the different weapons. Once you have managed to pull that off then you’ll really be a pro at this game and can hang your head high.

Overall 7/10

Blaster Master Review

It’s time to look at another classic NES game. Blaster Master is pretty well known compared to most of the other titles on the console. This is due to an extent to newer games in the series being released but also because the original was simply ahead of the curve at the time. It has two different gameplay styles and even switches from 2D to 3D at different points. This is something that was really unheard of back in the day so that’s pretty crazy.

The game even has an intro cutscene which is also super cool. Basically a frog falls into the Earth and gets lost somewhere in the caverns so now the lead has to find him. Fortunately the main character has his trusty robot at the ready and is definitely going to cause some waves. He’ll destroy monster after monster until he finds his friend. That’s part of why this main character is so good. He is absolutely determined to find his pet and won’t rest until he does so. I’d be game for this getting a film at some point. The sci-fi/fantasy elements would really work quite well.

The gameplay varies as I mentioned, but for the most part it’s a 2D shooting platformer. The hub world has this style and then it switches to 3D when you enter a labyrinth. As a result it’s fair to say that you’ll be spending most of your time here. Make sure you figure out how to leave your robot to run around, that part took me a long time and I can guarantee you that you won’t get far if you stay in the robot. For one thing it’s impossible to climb ladders or enter labyrinths if you stay in the bot. The robot is fun though with how it can shoot powerful energy blasts. Naturally it’s a lot stronger than your human self. It seems like you can recover your health if you leave the robot for a little while so if you’re low on health that may be a good exploit. I only used this briefly though so I can’t guarantee that it works all of the time.

When you’re in the labyrinth you need to keep exploring until you see a boss. Sometimes these mazes can get confusing so you’ll find yourself back at the entrance but don’t leave. I did that a few times but ultimately I would need to go back and it would turn out that there actually was a boss there. I’m not sure if every labyrinth has a boss so it’s possible you will be aimlessly wandering but in all of the ones I went too there seemed to be bosses. The game gives you a cool special effect where the whole screen goes dark and then the boss shows up. The game seems to low key have some horror elements to it with that. It’s incorporating some Resident Evil/Metroid there. I’m curious how the final boss would look. Maybe like one of those creatures from the box art?

The graphics are pretty solid. There are quite a few backdrops to explore here and a lot of moving character models. The energy blasts are solid and I like the design for the robot. It feels like a real threat and not a machine you would want to fight in a life or death situation. The soundtrack is less memorable, but it sounded okay to me. The story mode being real was still overloading my mind at the time. The story is a pretty good length especially when you take into account that a lot of the levels are mazes. It can take a while to clear these dungeons. I managed to beat around 3 before I ran out of time. These are the real deal.

When it comes to replay value I don’t imagine there is much after beating the game. I guess you could try to beat the game quicker or through losing fewer lives but there aren’t really any other modes. Your main incentive for playing through this game is absolutely the story. Fortunately it’s a good story and with the quality gameplay at the ready that’s a winning combo. The game is also free if you have the Nintendo Switch Online so you can’t really go wrong there either right?

Overall, Blaster Master is one of those classics that actually lives up to the term. This is a game that has aged quite well to the modern day. You can plug it in and start playing right now. As long as you enjoy platformers or shooters then you will have fun here. It’s also got that Legend of Zelda dungeon exploring so that helps it appeal to even more audiences. This game was surprisingly sophisticated so I’m definitely up for playing future installments at some point.

Overall 7/10

TwinBee Review

I actually played the sequel to this game before the original back when I was blasting through all of the SNES games. So it’s definitely pretty nostalgic to go back to the original here. The cover still looks like it’s saying TwinBoo to me until I look at it closer. I blame it on the fancy way they wrote the boxart. Either way this is a fun shooter game. It’s definitely one of those really quick one that loops almost right away though. It’s got a pretty fun dynamic to it though and some interesting mechanics even if they take a while to figure out.

So the gameplay here is that of a shooter where the screen is always scrolling up. You have to keep up with the screen and blast away at all of the enemies that get in your way. There are enemies on the ground as well which are tough to deal with since your normal blaster only shoots forward. At the beginning of the game you are able to shoot down a bit with the other button (A or B) but I ran out of ammo very quickly and couldn’t figure out how to get more. I’m sure there’s a way though. For the most part you just keep focusing on blasting away and eventually you will reach the top. At the end of each level there is a boss that must be defeated. There are 6 levels so this may take you around 20 minutes give or take a few.

One interesting mechanic here are the bells. They show up when you blast a cloud and change colors as you blast them. I only noticed white and blue, but I believe yellow and red may be present somewhere too. I couldn’t really figure out what they do though. White seemed to just increase your score and Blue would maybe give you a bit of extra speed. Beyond that they didn’t have a noticeable impact. It’s an interesting mechanic to have to blast your power ups as you go through the stage. I can’t think of any other games that really do that and it gives you an extra thing to focus on. It gives the gameplay a little more depth because now you have to decide what to prioritize, getting the power up or blasting the enemies away.

As always the rewind feature will be super helpful here. Without it the game may ultimately prove to be a little too tricky. These games have definitely proven to be extremely difficult in the modern day. I still think I wouldn’t be quite as big a gaming fan back then as I am today with all of the modern conveniences. If anything I probably would have mostly stuck to RPGs once they started coming out since they always had save features at least. RPGs and fighting games, the rest of the genres would have lagged behind a bit.

As for the graphics, I’d say that they hold up pretty well. The levels are nice and bright with a good amount of variety. The enemy designs are good too and I didn’t notice any lag during the game so the system was able to handle all of the models pretty well. The sound is more on the generic side so I don’t think you’ll be remembering much there. Lately quite a few games haven’t exactly wowed me with the soundtrack but they can’t all be winners.

Sometimes I’ll throw in a tip or two for a game like this, but there isn’t a whole lot to say beyond the obvious. Be careful with going too high up in the screen or you’ll be surrounded and will likely be defeated. Always take down as many enemies as possible. If you can’t take down the grounded units then at least beat the aerial ones. I’d also say to keep all of your aerial bullets during the opening levels because they will be incredibly handy later on in the game. That’ll be when you will really wish that you had some at the ready.

Overall, TwinBee is a pretty fun game. Ultimately what holds it back from a higher score is what holds most of the NES games back. It’s just too short. As fun as a game is I can’t totally recommend it when it’s under 30 minutes. This one’s free so you should still check it out but it won’t last long. There is also effectively no replay value here since there is nothing to do after beating the game. I suppose you can work on increasing your score at least.

Overall 5/10

Gradius Review

It’s time to look at another classic NES game. This one is a retro shooter that you may be familiar with. Gradius definitely has a pretty epic cover. I know you can’t judge a game by its cover but if you ever could then this would be the one. It does have an actual ending with a final boss so I was happy to see that. The last few games didn’t really deliver with an ending on the NES so I take what I can get. It’s still a pretty short game though at only around 20-25 minutes, but it’s a good time. The difficulty level here is pretty crazy though so I wonder how you could beat it without a lot of rewinding and such. I suppose in the end people found a way.

The the gameplay here is that of a 2D shooter. You have a main blaster and when you defeat enemies they drop power ups which upgrades your ship. It seems like the powers stack which is pretty cool. Your speed also starts to get bumped up which is a mixed bag. On one hand greater speed is usually a lot of fun because you can essentially do anything. On the flip side, you move so fast that it is very difficult to just dodge an attack. A lot of the time your dodge will end up bumping you into an energy blast or into the wall. A lot of my deaths came this way rather than actually falling in battle. So to an extent you actually may prefer not to get all of the power ups. The issue is that you can’t avoid the speed if you want better lasers so while it’s a tough call I’d say to just grab them.

The best power up is definitely when you get a little energy disc who will follow you around and shoot blasts of its own. By the end I had two of them which was pretty cool. They really had my back. There’s one level in particular that is tough to move in because the ceiling is small and you have little robots running along it. If they get behind you then it is really tricky to land a good hit on them. That’s where your little assistants come in. They have no trouble shooting behind you and catching all of these blasts.

In a sense this game plays out like one of those bullet timer games where there are energy blasts everywhere. A single shot can take out your ship so you really have to keep blasting. There are 7 main levels and there is a boss at the end of each one. The bosses are actually the easiest part though. I only lost a few times to them until the final boss but the others go down in a cinch. You just gotta keep working at it but their attacks are very slow. The final boss seems like a homage to the Mother Brain. It can’t really move or fight back much though so you’ll beat it with ease. That’s the problem with these bosses who don’t have arms or legs, they just can’t really fight back and it gets them into all kinds of trouble.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s aged pretty well in that respect and the game is also pretty good about not lagging. Only near the end of the game where there are scores and scores of enemies will the game start to freeze up. Otherwise you’re good on that front. The soundtrack is also pretty solid with a good tune or two here. It really gets that sci-fi feel across.

Overall, Gradius is a pretty fun game. I’d rate it higher but 20 minutes is still a very short amount of time to keep yourself busy. The levels keep on looping across various cycles which get harder and harder so I suppose it would last you a while if you want to beat all the cycles. It’s still the same levels though so I can’t really say that I would really be working on that for very long. There are still quite a lot of NES titles left to play after all so I can’t forget about them. Still, if you have the NES Online then this is a fun one to check out. There was definitely more effort put into it than some of the others that I’ve played.

Overall 5/10

Pop’n TwinBee Review

It’s time to look at a classic SNES game. I say it’s classic but odds are that you may not have heard of this one. I certainly hadn’t, but its aged pretty well. It’s an arcade shooter that actually has a bit of a plot between levels. Don’t expect a huge narrative or anything like that, but just getting images connecting the game is more than I would have assumed prior to playing the game. Some parts of it are a bit more complex than expected, but it ends up being a very enjoyable experience.

The game starts you off in a 3D adventure as you fly through the skies and blast away at the enemies. Aside from your normal energy blasts you can also summon a bunch of bees which cover the sky and destroy all enemies. It’s an incredibly powerful move so use it sparingly because you don’t get to carry a lot of ammo for it. I actually couldn’t tell where you even saw the amount of ammo left so I’d run out and be unsure of when I’d get it back. At the end of each level is a powerful boss to defeat. They’re usually all giant robots like a robotic spider or something of that nature. The bosses are less trouble than the actual levels but don’t underestimate them or you’ll end up paying the price. The rewind feature comes in great handy here.

The graphics are pretty nice. You always feel like you know where you are going and the various enemies have nice designs. The little animations after the levels are fun enough as well. This part has aged quite well. The soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable but it works well enough. It’s got that upbeat arcade kind of feel to it which definitely works for me. You’re also so busy dodging all of the attacks that you’ll quickly find yourself entranced in the gameplay.

TwinBee sees a big difficulty spike around level 4-5. Suddenly you have enemies on the ground blasting you from all sides and a ton of aerial enemies as well so it’s tough to blast them all. For starters you can only hit the ground enemies with your bees and by now you’re probably all out of them. For the aerial enemies they are quite durable so by the time you defeat them they will have probably blasted you to smithereens by now. It’s just hard to deal with opponents who are quite so numerous and even with rewind it’ll be tough to get past them. I made it over halfway through the game but eventually had to raise the white flag. If you want a solid adventure with a good degree of difficulty then this is definitely the game for you.

TwinBee is definitely one of my favorite SNES games thus far. While it’s not quite a match for the main Nintendo games like Super Mario Kart, it can handle most of the other games available at the moment. It’s an arcade game that wouldn’t be out of place on the Eshop right now. That’s the level of quality I like to see. This is definitely a game that was not slapped together as the developers put a good amount of effort into it. The effort certainly paid off quite nicely.

Overall, Pop’n TwinBee is a fun SNES game and one I’d recommend checking out. It’s up for free on the Nintendo Switch Online service so it’s worth a look. As with the rest of the games there I don’t imagine you will be playing them for long, but it’s a nice way to spend an hour or so. The gameplay is quite sound and while it may be difficult to figure out the layout you’ll get the hang of it. I still don’t exactly know how the items work though. That part’s a little confusing as they keep changing colors when you blast them, but it’s an interesting element. It’s a bit of a gimmick but it’s not annoying which is the key part.

Overall 6/10