Play Time 3h 25m
PS4 Trophies 18/51
Play Time 3h 25m
PS4 Trophies 18/51
It’s time to look at my next journey into the NES ONLINE collection. This time Kid Icarus was my next conquest and it’s definitely one of those games that is reasonably fun but held back by a lot of dated mechanics. Fortunately the save states do help make up for these aspects.
The basic plot is that Pit has to stop the ultimate evil known as Medusa from destroying his world. Lady Palutena has gifted him with many skills and now it’s up to him to put them to use. The gameplay is pretty basic as you jump from platform to platform as you deal with monsters by shooting your arrows. You can shoot your arrows in a straight line facing forward or up. Typically the levels will ask you to either climb very high or go all the way to the right. Each world has 4 levels and there are 3 full worlds with 1 final level. The 4th level in each world is the boss level which also serves as a huge maze.
The normal levels are pretty fun and will really test your platforming skills. A single misstep can mean the end of you. Your health also depletes quite rapidly so you’ll want to keep an eye on your health bar at all times. You do get a few lives so you won’t go all the way back but these levels are quite difficult so you would be wise not to underestimate them. You obtain hearts by defeating enemies which you can trade for health potions or temporary attack upgrades.
What holds the game back is the 4th level of these worlds. The mazes are quite frankly way too large. You’ll be lost with no end in sight here. It works like Metroid where if you don’t have a guide you will need to draw a map of your own. I can definitely acknowledge the time and dedication you would have had to spend to do such a thing back then. Games are really tricky back then…maybe too tricky. After all, this is more tedious than challenging after a point. You can easily waste hours going through this just as I used up a bunch of hours in Metroid. Some games just really haven’t aged well to be honest. Others have continued to excel though so that’s a good thing. Kid Icarus is kind of in the middle. It’s not bad, but this does prevent it from being truly good.
The final level is a nice look at what the game could have been like though. It’s an aerial level where you blast away at enemies in a level where the camera is constantly scrolling. It takes a lot of skill to blast your way to the end but it also doesn’t feel tedious. The final boss is also quite inventive as you have to blast at the enemy while blocking her attacks. You can only pick one option at a time so you have to constantly time your attacks just right. Mess up and then it’s all over for you. Definitely not a final boss to be taken lightly either. This whole game is one that is more challenging than it may appear at first glance.
As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game uses the classic sprites as were the norm back then. The sprites do a good job of giving the characters clear designs. Then you’ve got the soundtrack which is pretty basic but effective. The main theme has certainly become iconic over the years. I can’t say that I really recall any of the other themes off the top of my head, but it’s pretty soothing and fits in with the levels. After all, this game is a pretty calm platformer in the sense that there is no timer. You can take as long as you need to in order to fully process the enemy movement patterns. Slow and steady will win the race here.
A unique gimmick this game also has is the fact that a certain enemy can transform you into an eggplant. If you are hit with this curse then you need to try and find a healing station to cure you. Until that happens you can’t attack anymore which puts you in a very vulnerable spot. It can definitely be annoying when it hits you since that’s most likely it for that life, but it’s a fun little feature that’s just so random that it really works.
Overall, Kid Icarus has its fun moments, but its downsides as well. You gotta take the game as a mixed package and likewise I gave it a pretty mixed review. Honestly there isn’t much reason to play it as this point though. If you want to experience the Pit adventures then just check out Uprising. It’s an improvement in literally every way and is a very satisfying experience. The original Kid Icarus is a good title to play for the novelty, but you won’t be missing out on much by skipping it. I’m sure it was fun for its time, but there are just better platformers to play nowadays like CupHead or something like that. Of course if you already have the online Nintendo Switch membership then you may as well check the game out since it’s free. It’s only a few hours long and you can use the save states as much as needed in order to secure your win.
Play time 4h 17m
Cave Story is a retro side scroller that was a pretty big deal when it came out for the 3DS. I remember seeing it all the time back in the day. After all these many years I finally got to play it and it is definitely a pretty solid title. It has a good amount of difficulty which should challenge and frustrate even the most skilled players of the genre.
The game starts off with two “kids” (seemingly) chatting through their computers. One of them is locked up in a hut while the other one has managed to escape from the villain organization. Their predicament still isn’t great though as the villains are looking to kidnap Sue again. (The one who escaped) Fortunately, a Robotic soldier from the surface has shown up and decides to help these guys out. He will stop the nefarious organization and save the world. This soldier may be brave but is he up to the challenge?
One thing you’ll notice right away as you play the game is that the title is very cryptic. You are kept on a need to know basis as everyone makes references to past events or tell you parts of stories that you have to fill in on your own. As you talk to more and more NPCs you will likely have more and more questions. The game is definitely trying to set up a lot of lore and I’m sure it was fun for some people to decipher it all and put it in a wiki. I’ve always been content to figure stuff out in my own as well and don’t think the game/any form of media should spoon feed you all of the info. Let us figure out most of it on our own and only give the really crucial parts.
The gameplay is like the classic Mega Man games. It’s primarily run and gun as you go through the levels. It is part RPG though so it’s not as simple as merely running to the goal each time. You will have to talk to people and go back and forth to get the necessary items to carry on. The backtracking isn’t all that extensive though so I wouldn’t really worry about that part. You start out with a classic beam gun and quickly get missiles. How the game works is each gun starts out at level 1 and can be upgraded to level 3. Enemies drop the energy that you use to power up the weapon. Taking any damage will then cause you to lose the energy. Thus, the game highly rewards a patient approach as you try to clear the game without really getting hit. You gather energy quickly so it’s not as if you can’t afford to get hit but I like to see how long I can last. One thing to note is that level 3 of the upgraded machine gun you get later on allows you to fly by shooting at the ground. Unlike the jet pack, you can fly forever this way once you also get the quick ammo reload power up. There is apparently also a powered up Jetpack you can obtain which may do the same thing but I never found it so this is a great alternative. As you play you will have to decide which weapons you really want to level up. You can level them all up of course but there is rarely a need too. Some abilities like the sword slash feel like weaker alternatives to your regular weapons anyway.
Each boss has patterns that you can learn and exploit through experience and quick reactions like the Mega Man games. There doesn’t seem to be much RNG (if any) in this title which is good since it comes down to skill. Even then I was glad that we got consistent save points throughout or it would have been a tough trek. As it stands, there are two parts of the game where you go a long stretch without a save point and those parts was tough. In particular, the triple final boss is really difficult and I definitely had to retry that one a few times. Find each boss’ weaknesses and learn how to win while taking minimal damage. It’s a considerable challenge, but I’m sure you can get it done.
The main character is a nice enough guy but of course he doesn’t have any actual personality. Sue seems reasonable enough but she basically spends most of the game getting kidnapped so it wasn’t her best role. The guy who was on the computer turned out to be a rather old guy and one who wasn’t very brave. When push came to shove he was ready to abandon ship and even offered us a ride home. I wasn’t having any of that and stayed in to fight. The bad ending was tempting to watch though, but I was on a mission. Either way, that guy is ally that you don’t want or need to have on your side. The villains were pretty interesting and charismatic though. Not really the main villain though, but his partners. The scientist comes off as rather generic. His plans aren’t bad I suppose and he had a good super form but he just didn’t look as cool as the others.
One big villain who kept showing up was this sentient Toaster. Perhaps the game meant for him to be a boom box or an oven but he looked like a Toaster to me so I’m sticking with that. He even had his own theme music which was really fun to listen too. While the Toaster’s redemption arc may be rather cheesy and hard to buy into considering just how mean he is, it could have been dragged out a whole lot more. He is the best character in the game for sure and you have to admire his drive and persistence. No matter how many times you defeat him he will come right back. Another villain who was cool was this evil fire mage/fairy creature who is bound to serve the one in control of the temple. As a result she works for the Scientist. She’s a good fighter and her abilities seem similar to that of Infinite’s. She doesn’t get to do a lot in the game but at least we do fight her once so that was neat.
The soundtrack is limited but fairly good. As I mentioned, the Toaster got the best theme in the game. It’s just excellent and really makes you enjoy the fights. The rest of the themes aren’t bad, but you will hear them a lot so get used to it or it’ll be a tough time. The graphics aren’t quite as good as the music though. The levels are all fairly dark and the sprites are small. This makes it rather easy to get hit by stage hazards and the like even when you would have dodged them otherwise. This happened to me a few times in the final level with the stone spires. The graphics aren’t bad, it’s just that the lighting was dark which hurts the overall look. It’s still bearable though and just make sure you play in a well lit area. I also wonder if it might just be my 3DS since screenshots of the game look fine. In my playthrough you wouldn’t have even known how the main character looks if not for the cover. It’s like it was zoomed out too much or my 3DS is getting ready to kick the bucket.
The game is reasonably long and took me 8 hours. I can’t say that there is much replay value beyond beating the game but there is enough. You can keep on chatting with everyone to find out more about this war torn world. You can also grab new weapons and I believe you do unlock a new level so that would be pretty fun. All in all, it’s definitely enough content to justify the price. The game will last you for a satisfactory amount of time and the level of difficulty will ensure you don’t beat the final levels too quickly. I died quite a lot in this game so I can definitely vouch for the game’s difficulty.
Overall, Cave Story 3D is a fun game. The gameplay is on point and I did like how the weapon levels worked. It’s a very unique take on the leveling system in general and one that I’d say works. The plot may be vague and even by the end you don’t know what the full situation is, but the mystery aspect can be enjoyable in its own way. You don’t always need all of the answers. I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a very solid side scrolling adventure with a lot of options on his to play the levels thanks to your array of weapons. When in doubt, just fly. That’s my motto in this title.
It’s time to look at a game that everyone was talking about a while back. Mutant Mudds was the next big thing back in the day, but there was no physical release. Well, now there finally is one and I can safely say that it’s a fun game. It’s pretty short and you can tell that it had a limited budget since there aren’t a lot of levels. That being said, the gameplay is solid and ultimately that’s all you really need to be a good game.
The story follows a young kid as he decides to save the world from mud monsters. There’s not much of a plot as you are just thrown into the action and there are maybe 2-3 text bubbles that pop up. Of course if you were expecting a long story, then you’ve come to the wrong title. The main experience here are the levels. There are 20 levels in the game and each one comes with a 3-5 minute timer. You will have to run and jump to get through them. Fortunately, the main character has a jet pack which lets you hover for a few seconds. It’s a very useful ability and you also have a blaster with can defeat enemies. Furthermore, you unlock 3 power ups as you go through the game although you can only activate one of them at a time. There’s the super hover, (I recommend this one) the vertical boost, (Fun, but only use it when you have too) and the Super Blaster. (No real purpose aside from bonus collectibles)
The toughest parts of the levels are typically when you have to make some real precision jumps. That being said, they aren’t all that hard when you compare them to real extreme titles like Mario Maker or even the DK games. Fortunately, the game does manage to increase the difficulty through the extra levels. Each of the 20 levels has a ghost counterpart where you play the levels again but this time you cannot let yourself get hit. It certainly raises the stakes since your platforming skills are really put to the test now. This works as part of the replay value in the game. It’s a bit of a forced time extender so if the levels had been longer I would have been a little upset. As it stands now, the levels aren’t very long I found it to be fairly reasonable.
Another form of replay value is the fact that all of the levels have 100 gems. You want to get all of the gems to complete the game and also to get closer to getting all of the game’s trophies. There is no Platinum unfortunately, but you can still get 100% completion to show off your true skills. To do that, you’ll have to beat the 40 levels as well as the 20 levels inside of the normal levels. To get to those final 20 levels, you have to use your power ups to get to the secret entrances. The tricky part is that you don’t know which one is in which levels so expect some trial and error here as you figure out what’s up.
The game also operates on a few different layers so you can jump from the front of the screen to the back at certain points. Always be careful that you don’t land right on an enemy. The trickiest parts of this are usually when you can’t tell if an enemy is next to you or on a different layer. It makes for some good mind games as you have to figure out what’s happening before you get slammed. You get 3 hearts and recover full health whenever you make it to a check point. Each level has a check point which is really helpful because even if you lose, you have somewhere to go back to.
This game brings you back to the retro world of sprites when it comes to graphics. That’s always fun to see since sprites really were a lot of fun back in the day. We’ll always be sad to see them go since they were a big part of the gaming world. The graphics aren’t going to look like a modern game’s, but the actual sprite models hold up pretty well. The soundtrack is less inspiring though as the tunes have all already faded at this moment. They weren’t bad tunes, they just didn’t sound as good or unique as they could have been.
If I have any complaint, it’s that I would have liked a boss battle. At least one for the very end to help give the game a grand ending. I don’t imagine it would be too difficult to code one in. Send in a giant version of a minion if necessary and make the battle take place in a room where you can drop things on the monster. It will keep the fight a little difficult while not being insane either. It would be a nice middle ground for the game.
Overall, Mutant Mudds is a pretty solid game. It’s short so you shouldn’t spend 60 dollars on it, but for 30 or so it’s not a bad buy. Considering that you have to beat the levels more than once, it has enough content to last you for a few hours. It’s not quite ready to hang with the likes of Shovel Knight, Shantae, or Mighty No 9, but the fact that it got a physical release already helps to put it above many of its rivals. If you’re looking for a good side scroller, then I’d definitely recommend checking this one out. It’s like a Metroid game only without the puzzles and you can’t go wrong there. I can definitely see myself going back and grabbing all of the trophies one of these days and hopefully the next installment gets a Platinum. It’s games like this one that give Indies a good name so hopefully they can keep up the good work. I can also see why people really like retro games like this one. They’re simple, but easy to get invested in as you watch yourself play for long periods of time. I’ll always be more of a big budget AAA gamer myself, but I like to enjoy all the styles.
It’s time for another one of the Christmas games that I got. Despite obtaining other big GBA titles like Mario Advance and Kirby, I felt like Klonoa had the strongest gameplay of the bunch right from the get go. After completing it, I can safely say that I feel like my hunch was right on the money. Mario Advance is certainly deeper and tougher, but Klonoa feels the smoothest by far. It’s a very short game and won’t last you very long at all, but some of the puzzles can definitely be quite challenging. Not in a “cheap” annoying way or anything like that, but you will have to take a moment and wrap your head around what’s happening. The best part about the puzzles are that they are all self contained in small rooms so you know that the game has given you whatever you need in order to win. You just have to utilize what they have given you.
The game starts with Klonoa waking up in a strange land. For some reason, the people of this country have made dreams illegal and Klonoa is being arrested under that charge. He resists as best he can, but these guys will not be dissuaded. Our hero realizes that the only way to put an end to this is to find the 4 monsters that are being mind controlled by a mysterious villain. Klonoa intends to put an end to the situation at hand and he’ll have to do it with his Pac-Man hat at the ready.
The gameplay is a little different from your average 2D platformer as it’s also heavily puzzle based. Usually that would be a bad thing, but as I explained, it’s surprisingly handled well. You have a ring which allows Klonoa to pick up enemies and objects to then throw them around the board and activate switches and other such gadgets. You have to collect 3 stars in each level and some levels will also have keys that you need to grab. There is no attacking from this, which makes the gameplay easy to figure out. The grab is the only move in the game aside from Klonoa’s unique double jump, which serves as a glide of sorts. It’s mostly useless and won’t help you with just about anything, but I suppose that’s part of the point right?
Klonoa’s a solid lead and you can tell that he’s the kind of character who doesn’t let the villains mess around with him. He even says the only swear word in the game at one point when the villains show up. He believes in the hope of dreams and is an all around good character. Of course, you have to wonder just how much of this is real though because the ending is definitely a little controversial. Let’s just say…..this is a game about dreams right? I suppose you can also just say that memories were wiped and everything, but I actually think the ending just played it straight. It’ll be a little anticlimactic for some, but it also does shed some light on why Klonoa would randomly be in a whole new world with no idea on how he got there. A little too convenient eh?
Klonoa’s sidekick is pretty forgettable. I don’t even remember his name since it was a little hard to pronounce. He’s not bad though and is still more helpful than Navi. He just won’t be remembered quite as well as someone like Clank or Luigi. Most of the villains are forgettable as well. You won’t be thinking about them anytime soon, but I suppose they serve the role of one-time GBA villains well enough. What they lack in design, they make up for in the boss fights. They’re pretty fun and the fact that they all die after 3 hits prevents any of them from dragging on.
At only 5 worlds, Klonoa is certainly shorter than most similar games. It’s also quite a bit easier than most of the others as it’s more about the difficulty of the puzzles than the actual platforming. To help alleviate this, there is some replay value to be found here. Collecting all of the gems in each level will buy you some time. It doesn’t unlock much though as you just get an extra level, but hey…that can still be pretty neat right? For the most part, getting all of the gems won’t take very long at all, but it’s something to do. When you consider the low price point for the game, it’s definitely fine that it’s not super long. Don’t get the wrong idea either, it’s not extremely short like Casper or something like that. It’s still a full fledged platformer and if you take the time to play all of the levels, it’ll give you a few hours of fun.
The soundtrack is fairly good. It gets blown out of the water by Mario Advance and some of the other big mainstream titles, but the music is solid. The graphics are also pretty good as the characters are clear and the level designs are all pretty solid. The worlds all have their unique elements and backgrounds that make the game’s level spread feel very diverse. I dare say that this may be one of the better looking GBA game and the fact that it had cutscenes (picture stills, but we take those) was also nice to see.
Overall, Klonoa: Empire of Dreams is a fun game. It’s not going to rock anyone’s world, but it a fundamentally sound game. I dare say that it is underrated since I would easily say that it is one of the best GBA side-scrollers. It’s just not very well known at all since Klonoa himself never became all that popular. At least he isn’t at the point where he is super obscure yet either. Hopefully the series can make a comeback at some point since it definitely deserves to have more games in its arsenal. If you haven’t played this game yet, then I definitely recommend it. It’s certainly very unique and games with puzzles should take some tips from this one. Majora’s Mask and Layton.. (To a small extent. Most of the game’s puzzles were quite brilliant, but that last shapes one…) I’m talking to you guys. Throw Flip’s Twisted World in there as well because the game’s shadow puzzle is just not fair and it’s certainly not balanced.
All right, it’s time for the 1st Game Boy Advance review in a very long time. I won this one over at a Super Smash Bros tournament at a Friendly’s restaurant. I can’t believe nobody wanted the prize earlier. As a major video game collector and a fan of the Tom & Jerry franchise, I knew that this was my big moment. It’s a fairly short game and tends to feel like a cash in for part of the adventure, but once you get going the adventure starts to get more fun. It’s just a shame that the game really leaves you in the dark to figure things out for yourself.
The plot is fairly dramatic as Tom finds himself in Hell. To escape, he’ll have to save some souls and defeat the King of Evil. This will be tricky, but Tom’s no stranger to facing overwhelming odds. Unfortunately, Jerry is also here to get in his way, but Tom will not falter until the day is saved. This title is fairly short at 6 levels and it can be completed in around an hour. That’s part of what hurts this game’s chances of getting a 7. I can’t imagine buying this game for its full retail price. There’s no replay value either as there are no collectibles to be found. There isn’t even a continue as it is all password based. I recommend taking a picture of the password or writing it down after each level just in case.
The difficulty tends to fluctuate quite a bit and typically it can only be difficult because enemies escape your punches at times. You only have 3 health points at a time and once they are gone you have 2 minutes to find some souls. If you can’t do that then you get the game over screen. Typically it shouldn’t come to that though since souls are very easy to find. The game can get a little annoying when you have been searching for a while only to not actually find anything. The level won’t end until you’ve found most of the objective. (Typically a prisoner or a Dog Bone) The problem is that you don’t know most of the controls at first. For example, I didn’t know that you could climb the flagpoles until about 20 minutes had passed and you can’t complete the early levels without doing that.
Tom & Jerry is your average 2D side scroller game. It is also part puzzle as you have to go back and forth as you press switches since previously inaccessible areas become open as you go on. The game won’t tell you this, but you can throw your baseball bat and you can climb various objects. Make sure you fight carefully since getting hit by an opponent is typically very dangerous. You can also light your stick on fire by holding the R button which is also necessary to complete some levels. I learned that one through trial and error as well. The gameplay’s nothing special, but it’s not bad either. It serves its purpose as a side scroller.
The graphics are fairly decent for the GBA. I was also impressed with the cutscenes as I was not expecting a whole lot of those here. The cutscenes are shown through illustrations which is always a good way to go about this for the GBA. They all look sharp as a result. In game, the character models are fairly solid as well. Unfortunately, there isn’t much of a soundtrack to speak of. There is really just one theme which keeps on repeating over and over again. It’s not a particularly catchy tune either so the game loses out in this area. The developers certainly could have put in some more effort and thrown in more tunes.
There is only one boss in this game, which you fight at the very end. He is extremely easy so you should have no trouble with him. You simply punch him twice to make the boss fall down and then you go for another punch. Rinse and repeat around 5-6 times. It’s a lot quicker than it sounds and the whole thing will likely just take you a handful of minutes. The final boss design is quite good as well and it makes sense that a dog would be the final foe to stand in Tom’s way.
The ending is not surprising, but still rather odd. Tom is given a choice as he can spend eternity with a cat friend that he is always chasing around or going back to his life of getting beaten up by Jerry. Tom oddly chooses the latter. I’m not sure what the rationale there was. Maybe deep down he simply wants to catch Jerry more than he wants to hang out with the other cat. Tom can be quite competitive so I suppose that this decision isn’t completely out of the question. Still odd though.
Overall, This is a game that I certainly didn’t expect to be playing, but I’m glad that I got the chance too. It may not be revolutionary or even all that good, but it’s a decent way to spend an hour. I can add it to my game collection and that’s bragging rights enough. It definitely could have been longer and that’s really the main complaint that I have with it. Along with the fact that the game doesn’t bother to mention most of the controls either. If you’re looking for a fun little side scrolling adventure, then this game is for you. That being said, you’re better off getting the legendary Super Mario World. Now That was a very fulfilling video game and it has a lot more replay value as well.
I haven’t played a whole lot of indie games over the years. Typically, most of them don’t get a physical release, which essentially means Game Over as I don’t step into the digital realm very often. Shovel Knight certainly got very popular though so it’s not too surprising that it got such a wide release. For a while there, people were completely convinced that he was going to be playable in Super Smash Bros. That may not have ultimately happened, but it did help his popularity soar to even greater heights. The game is fun and it’s a call back to the classic Mega Man games from the good ole days. Those were always a lot of fun and ditto for Shovel Knight. There’s quite a lot of replay value contained within to back up the short story.
You play as a Knight who wields a shovel and whose teammate was seemingly destroyed. He decided to retire to a land of peace for a while, but eventually realizes that it’s time to avenge Shield Knight. Shovel Knight sets out, but the rest of the Knights from the round table intend to stop him along with the mysterious Black Knight. Will Shovel Knight’s determination be enough for him to vanquish all of his foes or will he ultimately have to use a tactical retreat?
Shovel Knight is a hero through and through so he doesn’t destroy the opponents that he defeats. On the contrary, he simply lets them think about their follies while on the ground and he moves onto the next area. Towards the end, he’s had just about enough of his “friends” and leaves them hanging from a castle. They eventually get up, but Shovel Knight couldn’t be bothered to stop and help. These guys are rather ungrateful and not reasonable so you can understand why Shovel Knight decided to use the extra minutes to stop the villain. The Knights can take care of themselves.
Let’s talk more about the gameplay. Instead of a Mega Buster, you’ve got a Shovel that you can whack opponents with. As you progress through the game, you’ll get magic spells like a fire blast or a super punch. You can also upgrade the shovel so that it can fire mini shockwaves and power slashes by holding the slash button. Watch out for enemy attacks though because like the old Mega Man games they will put you in hit stun for a while and during that time you are certainly very vurlable to pits. I died quite a few times that way. You can also obtain different armors and each one has strengths and weaknesses so you have to decide which one to ultimately use. I decided to use the economically friendly one to save on gold. When you die, you drop gold and that gold can really come in handy.
It should be noted that you can’t really die here. When you die, you’re taken to the last check point and you can seemingly keep trying until you eventually succeed. That did come in handy at the end of the game since I lost to the final form of the final boss and beating the first form again would have been a little iffy. It’s not a super long boss like some of the other games that I’ve played over the years, but saving some time and just throwing me back into the final form is definitely great. Not being able to really die can be an issue for some, but you do lose gold so there are still some consequences and the game isn’t super easy or anything like that. I expect you to definitely die a few times during your initial play through. Probably more than just “a few” times as well.
The graphics are solid. The game did a fine job of emulating the retro games as you can see above. The character designs are solid and the models look clear in the game. Black Knight is definitely the most interesting character visually although the final boss looks epic as well. I’d also give a nice thumbs up to the soundtrack for going the extra mile here. There were many themes present in the game and each one was suitable for the stages and the combat. Each theme was quick and you know how I don’t care for soft/quiet songs quite as much.
The ending would definitely have been super tragic if not for the after credits scene so make sure that you stick around for it. I’d say that it’s definitely a good thing that they added it since the first ending was unexpected, but also just a little sad for both of the Knights. That would have been a pretty big failure for them. Still, it didn’t happen so they did good. I would have liked to have seen some more of the “wanderers” though. The characters seemed pretty neat. They were all fairly mysterious and we only have a vague sense of their ambitions and goals. At the very least, we know that they are all good fighters.
There’s certainly already quite a bit of lore in the game. I don’t mind if they don’t end up exploring a lot of this, but those mystery characters need to return. After that, I guess we’ll need some new villains so I’m wondering who will show up. I’m assuming that we will probably get a sequel at some point and if the series is still going strong in a few years, Shovel Knight really could make his debut into the Super Smash universe.
This is one of those games that is very easy to quickly plug and play. You can get into the gameplay very easily and earning Gold is always a lot of fun since you have good things to spend it on. Of course, that won’t be a factor soon since I only have one armor left, but it was always a blast going for the jewels. As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of replay value here. You’ll want to go back and get all of the music notes, which should take quite a long while. Talking to everyone in all of the villages will help you get trophies and naturally the Platinum in and of itself will take quite a long time. Some trophies are incredibly difficult like beating the game in under 90 minutes or beating it without dying. The company went all out for this Platinum and it’s definitely all but unachieveable for me. Eventually you could get all of the trophies, but it would take many hours.
Meanwhile, the game also brings the DLC pack along with it where you play as another Knight and do Story Mode again, but it’s decently changed from the first time around. The level designs have been altered and seeing everything from another perspective is interesting, but I would have liked something a bit more like adding in more items or something. I haven’t embarked on this DLC yet and will probably do it someday, but not in the near future. I beat the game in one nice long batch, but I imagine that doing it a second time would be a lot harder depending on how good or bad Plague Knight is.
Overall, I’d recommend giving Shovel Knight a purchase. If you enjoyed those old Nintendo classics or the Mega Man games, then this is right up your ally. The developers even went the extra mile and provided an actual plot through the word bubbles. You certainly didn’t see that in the oldest games from back in the day and it’s a good way of quickly using some modern elements without messing up the vibe of the title. With good graphics and a solid soundtrack as well, there are no real negatives to be found here. A mild issue could be that the game is a little on the short side, but as always, that does typically work out well for me. The game certainly doesn’t drag this way and most of the old games were very short like this one. Shield Knight still got a big team up with Shovel Knight to end it all and that was pretty climactic. The dream fights were also pretty intense. You better make that catch!
1/18 Artwork unlocked
It’s time to review one of the modern Mario games. This one definitely got more mixed reception than usual because many fans felt that it was too similar to the first title. Well, there are certainly similarities to be found and I can understand the critique, but….it doesn’t change the fact that this game is a blast to play. It’s a thrill a minute and Mario continues to be one of Nintendo’s best franchises. This game certainly holds its own against the original.
The plot is that…Peach is kidnapped by the Koopa Kids. Mario and Luigi didn’t want this to happen, but they were quickly overwhelmed and outran by these villains. This means trouble for the Mushroom Kingdom and the heroes are going to have to work together if they want to win this battle! The plot is certainly as generic as we come and I would prefer to have an actual plot, but it is what it is. The day a 2D Mario game has an actual plot is the day I replay Mario Sunshine’s epic levels once more. Galaxy 1 was a good start, but it’s 3D so it’s not quite the same.
The gameplay is your average Mario styled gameplay so I should not really have to describe it. Just in case, the basic goal of the game is to get to the end of the level by heading right. You can jump and land on enemies to take them out of the equation. Another useful application of the jump is to hit blocks and grab some items to make the journey a little easier. The gameplay is simple yet effective and it can actually be quite challenging. Not this game in particular because they are typically a lot easier nowadays, but if you’ve played Super Mario World, then you’ll remember a tough game.
I would count this as a negative thing, but it’s not quite that major. I do wish there was some kind of Master Quest mode where each of the levels became significantly harder, but it would likely be difficult to achieve. You really need the actual level designs to be created with that frame of mind. Hopefully something like this happens soon, but it’s not an absolute necessity. What I wouldn’t want is for the game to just speed the screen along in each stage. That would make it more difficult, but in an artificial way that wouldn’t be quite as fun.
This title is very easy, but that probably does help its charm a little bit. You can jump right into the game and breeze through the levels with your Mario expertise. You’re still enjoying the level designs, but you can jump all the way through without any stops or backpedaling. It’s simply different than the more strategic ways of playing Mario back in the day. The Raccoon Tail is also guilty of this as it is even more useful than the Cape from World. You can float over just about anything and running for a long enough time will allow you to fly like with the cape. I have been able to essentially skip whole levels using this technique.
The graphics in this game certainly hold up well and show just how powerful the 3DS can be. It’s safe to say that this is probably the best looking game on the console although 3D Land and Dream Drop Distance give this title a run for its money. The colors really stand out and it looks like it could be a home console Mario title. Are the graphics are good as Mario Galaxy 2? Probably not, but the fact that it is even close is pretty cool.
The soundtrack is another big positive for the title and the Mario series is pretty legendary for this aspect as this point. It’s hard for more of a casual listener like myself to tell what is original and what is a remix nowadays, but they all sound so great that it barely matters. Mario has always upheld a high level of quality for its music and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
The game is a little short, which is probably the only thing that should make you wary about the title. (The difficulty level shouldn’t make you wary even if I did mention it) You can go through an entire world in the time that it would take you to beat a level in War For Cybertron or another one of those long games. Some of the bosses can be beat in a matter of seconds or 1-3 minutes. The Rhino’s are hilarious to fight because you just jump under them as soon as the stage officially begins and it’s game over for the poor guys. The whole game was completed in two sittings for me and it does feel shorter than the average Mario game, but it’s probably about as long. It’s not that the levels have shrunk, but the Raccoon just helps out a lot in these situations. It’s also the kind of game that makes you want to play it for long periods of time and in normal bursts, it would certainly last longer.
The level designs should be applauded as they are very diverse and also a lot of fun. That being said, there is one level that deserves a shout out for being pretty bad. I’m talking about one of the Ghost Houses. I’m not really a fan of them in this game to be honest although I enjoyed them in World so it probably depends. I miss the classic ghost theme this time. Back to the point, one level had a little too much fun with the trap doors. You could go through the level over and over again as you’re stuck in a loop of unending scariness. I still think it was a glitch one time where I kept going through all of the doors, but it’s possible that I took a misstep. Still, that level just wasn’t cool. I prefer my difficulty increases through hard jumps and more enemies like in World than adding mazes where you can get lost. The former is simply exhilarating while the latter is tedious.
On an unrelated note, this is why I’m a little sad by the fact that Nintendo has slowed down the Mario series so much. I am now just about caught up with the franchise at least as far as the 2D World is concerned. A New Super Mario Bros 3 would come in handy right about now. Luckily, I still have New Super Mario Bros U to keep me busy in the future. The price has kept me away, but it’s certainly something to consider for next Christmas.
One improvement I would suggest for a future game is to get Bowser more involved. He doesn’t even appear until the very end and he goes down very quickly. I’d like a bit more of a climactic clash with the big Koopa and preferably he should fight through some mini boss levels before the end. He needs more screen time seeing as how he’s Mario’s big adversary right? Throwing Luigi into the plot early could also be something to look into.
Before I forget, the game also added a new gimmick through the gold coins. If you collect enough of them or grab the item, everything will turn gold. You can shoot gold bolts of energy and every enemy will drop a bunch of coins. It’s pretty fun, but it doesn’t actually happen very often so I wonder why it was marketed to heavily. It’s a nifty feature, but also a forgettable one that won’t really impact your video game experience. With a game like this one though, that’s no problem!
There’s a whole lot of replay value to be found here so it almost doesn’t even need to be said. You’ll want to replay all of the levels to collect the Star Coins and you’ll also unlock new ones along the way. Reaching 1 million coins will unlock something pretty neat and that will take some time no matter how good you are at collecting them. The sheer enjoyment of playing through a level also counts for the replay value as the levels never get boring.
Overall, New Super Mario Bros 2 is a great game. It is certainly following a formula and it didn’t add many new features to the system, but that’s all right because the system still works. Granted, there was a rather large gap for me between this game and the first one so the levels felt more like a nostalgia boost than an unfortunate copy. Still, the levels are so fun that you can’t tire of them very quickly. That’s a good thing since you’ll be playing them a lot as you go through the game. I certainly recommend this title and collecting a lot of coins gives you an extra incentive to really get your money’s worth (See what I did there?) out of this game. I had been leaning towards an 8 for this game, but when I think about it, there are very few games that I find to be quite as fun. Super Smash Bros and Madden have earned 9’s with ease in the past, I think this game is worthy of the title as well. It’s missing some elements like a plot for the story mode..but you could say the same about the other two games. I’m eagerly awaiting Mario’s next portable adventure and this one shall not be forgotten. Mario basically invented the word “fun” with its various installments.