Rayman Origins Review


It’s time to look at one of the recent Rayman games. You could make a strong case that this is the one which finally put Rayman back on the map. His games had ceased for quite a bit, but this one made him mainstream again. Although, since the character has vanished once more we will need more games like this one. It’s a fun enough title. While lacking some of the charm of other side scrollers it is nonetheless a solid title for all fans of the genre.

The game starts off with Rayman and his friends lounging around on someone’s tree. The poor old lady can’t even think straight with how much noise they are making so she grabs her buddies and goes to confront Rayman. Rayman quickly turns this into a battle, but the senior citizens defeat him and his friends. Rayman must now save his friends and stop whatever heroic/evil plan the old lady has in store. The question you must ask yourself is if you should root for Rayman…or the old lady?

Naturally the gameplay is pretty fun. It’s your classic 2D platformer with a few unique items thrown in to match Rayman’s style. You can throw punches as well as hold for a charged hit. You can glide with your head that functions as a helicopter and in general have a lot of good movement options. You must get to the end of the level and free whatever fairies are trapped. However, just beating the levels will not be enough as you’ll quickly figure out.

There are a lot of roadblocks in the story that serve as a way to artificially extend the game. You need to collect a great number of spirit orbs in order to beat the game. This means that you must either replay most levels at least once or grab a bunch of them during the level. The latter is easier, however you may enjoy each level a little less with how much longer it takes to complete them. I never like when a game forces you to explore like this. You’re effectively penalized for being too good at clearing the levels. I will say that this does enact a heavy toll on the game and is one of the reasons why it falls short of the other platformers.

The other reason is that the story is just pretty bad. I’m talking Crash levels of bad. Rayman is actually not as likable as Crash which I’m shocked about. He’s quick to violence and the guy doesn’t seem to care about anyone other than himself. It really doesn’t help you think that he is even remotely heroic. I have my doubts after this game. You never get invested into the plot because it is virtually nonexistent and Rayman is too annoying to root for. The game also gets a little iffy with the character designs, adding some fanservice to the fairies that Rayman is saving. I can certainly say that this was not quite how I pictured Rayman to play out.

Still, as I mentioned the core gameplay is fun which is good. The levels are actually pretty solid. If you don’t care about reaching the ending and just play each level straight through you’ll enjoy them a lot more. They only drag on when you have to explore them. As a result, you’ll really look forward to the boss fights which show up during the final levels and the aerial stages. Those are always very short and are fun to get through. It’s the optimal experience if you ask me. Adding in a secondary gameplay style almost always works out for the best so Rayman did a good job there.

Another good thing Rayman did was add the unlimited lives feature. I feel as though this is immensely helpful for the levels given how long they are. You’ll probably die quite a few times so you’ll be glad that you don’t have to backtrack too far. That would get very old very quickly.

I thought the graphics were pretty good. The character designs are on point and the levels are good looking. It’s not as colorful as other games, but that’s likely intentional to get that slightly grittier. I gotta give the soundtrack a thumbs down though. I’m not sure what the game was going for with the various lyrical themes that showed up but they really didn’t mesh well with the game. It got worse whenever you would die since you’d have to hear the theme yet again.

As far as replay value goes, Rayman has quite a bit at its disposal. As you collect orbs new levels open up and you get more unlockables. You get new costumes, characters, etc. Naturally you can also go after all of the PS3 trophies to really try and put yourself at the top. As the story itself is already longer than many platformers this makes for a game with a great amount of content that will last for quite a while.

Overall, Rayman Origins is a mixed bag. As a game it fulfills it’s job of having quality gameplay but aside from that it ends up faltering in the home stretch. It’s not the most complete game so you just have to decide why you are playing it. If you are here for the gameplay then you are all set. If it’s for the overall experience then you may want to look elsewhere. Either way I’ll look forward to the next Rayman title as I feel like it should improve upon the flaws of this one.

Overall 6/10

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Owlboy Stats and Records

Stats time!

Ps4 Trophies 10/24
1273 Medals
Health Bars 4

Level Stats: Coins

Vellie Cave 178/300
Vellie 136/300
Tropos/Strato 135/600
Owl Temple Entrance 12/100
Owl Temple 276/400
FLoating Continent Jungle 231/300
Floating Continent Molten 261/300
Mesos 35/100
Mesos Passage 9/100

Owlboy Review


It’s time to look at another one of the Christmas titles. Owlboy is a classic side scroller that you may or may not have heard of. It’s an indie title that managed to make a pretty good name for itself. In this era of nostalgia it’s easy to see how this game could succeed, but even without that element it’s just a sound game through and through. The gameplay is solid and the plot is good. At the end of the day those are the key ingredients in making a solid video game.

The plot starts with an owl named Otus. He’s had a pretty rough time of it as his mentor constantly puts him down with insults. Otus tries hard, but he just can’t seem to get anything right. He is put on watch duty one day but leaves his post and then invaders show up. The kingdom is quickly taken down and naturally Otus is blamed. To be fair, he does deserve some blame here, but based on how quickly the kingdom went down it would not have mattered much anyway. Now Otus must try to secure the 4 relics before the villains do or the entire planet may suffer the consequences. Otus isn’t really a go getter but fortunately his best friend is here to help. Together, along with a few more allies along the way, Otus is ready to finally make a name for himself and prove that anyone can make a difference.

The gameplay is sort of like your typical 2D platformer, but with a twist. The twist is quite massive as you can fly. As Otus, you can zoom across the stage and your main attack is a spin move. You can also carry your partner around which will give you a new attack based on who you are carrying. Whether you obtain a gun, fire, or another attack it definitely increases your options. You can quickly switch from one partner to the next throughout a level based on who will be the most effective to use. The controls when flying are quite smooth and you definitely won’t hear any complaints from me. I will say that the town is a little hard to navigate with how huge it is though. I couldn’t find the shop to get my health upgrade after the tutorial so I had to fight the final boss with the default stats. I still won of course, but the health would have been nice. My game ended up freezing at the end, but fortunately it was after winning so I could end without any doubts.

As the game is named Owlboy you’d probably assume that it is referring to Otus right? Well, that ends up not being the case and it’s interesting to see who the Owlboy really is. With a limited number of characters you’ll probably be able to guess before long, but it’s a good twist nonetheless. The cast is reasonably solid. The best character for me was certainly the main villain. That’s why it’s a bit of a shame that you never get to take him on. He ends up getting his plot resolved through a cutscene so the final boss is someone else who isn’t quite as cool. The main villain’s design was just so solid so maybe he’ll show up again in a sequel or something.

I was less impressed with Otus though. As you may know, I’ve never been a big fan of the more timid characters. I like the aggressive fighters who rush into danger constantly and are always ready for some big fights. That just doesn’t describe Otus even if he does get his big moments at the end. His best friend is also a bit sketchy since he was quick to ditch the cause and tends to panic a lot. I won’t go as far as to say I was rooting for the villains, but I do admit that they were the more interesting characters. Nonetheless, the game will keep you entertained with its story.

Owlboy is fairly short so the plot starts up very quickly. The enemies waste no time in attacking and the plot is always moving. The main game will take you 4-7 hours I’d say but if you try to get all of the gems and such along the way you can extend the time a bit. As a result, there isn’t a whole lot of replay value though. Grabbing all of the trophies in the game will naturally help though and grabbing all of the gems will take a good amount of patience. The game doesn’t sell for $60 though so the reduced price helps complete the package and make it worth the purchase. A good, but quick game is better than a long, but tedious one.

The graphics look pretty nice. The sprites are very clean and polished while the level designs are varied and original. It’s easy to keep up with what’s happening on screen. I thought the soundtrack was decent as well, perhaps not the most memorable but it worked well enough. Owlboy succeeds in its technical merits and as I mentioned the character designs could be quite good. Some nice lighting techniques were used for the main villain to really show how intimidating he was.

Overall, Owlboy is definitely a fun game. While it may not be quite as loud and energetic as something like Shantae, it has its own charm. It’s a very peaceful game to have fun with and the gameplay is pretty unique. Being able to fly almost indefinitely is always tough for the level designers and I think they did a good job of not letting it become too OP. They definitely deserve some kudos there. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend changing that. This is a solid game that I could recommend to anyone.

Overall 7/10

Bubsy The Woolies Strike Back Review


It’s time to greet the return of Bubsy! I admit that I never got to play the original games back in the day but this one looked fun enough. Plus, it was the only game where I could make the most out of my Amazon mobile app. I’m definitely glad that I didn’t get it for full price since it’s only around 1 hour long, probably even less than that. It is a fun game and the sad part is that the gameplay is actually completely on point. What ends up hurting it is really just the length.

The plot starts with Bubsy’s favorite yarn getting kidnapped by some aliens. He decides that it’s up to him to get it back and gives chase. You then fight through 15 levels of platforming and boss fights as you make it to the end and get the yarn back. It’s a pretty low key plot when you think about it. There are only two real cutscenes, an intro and an ending. After that it’s just about making your way through the levels.

Each level is around 2 minutes long. You can glide and double jump which means that you are able to enter Kirby levels of cheese here. You can just glide past everyone and you’re set. You rarely have to ever stop so just go full speed through it all. Bubsy is really overpowered but to make it fair you also die in one hit to anything. The main advice I can give you is simply don’t get hit. Even if you do, there are checkpoints every 5 seconds and you get 10 lives per level. The odds of you actually getting a game over are incredibly slim. So it’s fair to let you know that this game’s difficulty level is at rock bottom. There are no challenges to be had here, it’s just about enjoying the game.

In that sense it’s very much like Snoopy. For the record, this game is better than Snoopy. Both games are at a similar length, but the gameplay is smoother here. The levels are very high so you have a lot of freedom to run and jump. Too much freedom probably but the landscapes do look nice. Jumping on the enemies is always the way to damage them so the game doesn’t make you learn much. If the game was longer this would be an easy 7. With a hype plot/cool characters it would be an easy 8. Alas, smooth gameplay isn’t enough to reach the big leagues, especially when you’re only 1 hour long.

While the gameplay is very fast, the title does force you to slow down quite a lot when the boss fights occur. That’s because the bosses are only vurlnable after they do a combo of attacks and the villains aren’t in any kind of hurry. As a result you just keep dodging and dodging until you can counter. These opponents are easily longer than the level and the 4 bosses that you face are likely longer than the 11 normal platforming levels in the game. Food for thought. The bosses are long, but not difficult though so you’ll mow em down.

Even for 10 bucks this doesn’t feel like it has a lot of value. For replay value you can go back and try to collect all of the gems/beat every level without dying. I’ll give the game credit for not making this mandatory, but I just don’t see myself going back and doing all of that. It just doesn’t seem worth it but it’s nice for people who are huge fans I guess. It’ll make the length at least a little more reasonable.

The graphics are really good though. It looks like a PS4 game. Granted, the game goes for a very simple look intentionally so it’s hard for it not to look great. With few character models to come up with, they can work on making them all sparkle. Unfortunately the soundtrack isn’t quite up to snuff. The tunes are very generic and I heard the complete OST after completing the game. It just won’t do anything for you and will be forgotten almost instantly. It’s a shame but not every game puts a lot of effort into this area.

As for Bubsy himself, he’s a reasonable character I suppose. He definitely does talk a lot throughout each level but since recording time was limited prepare to hear the same phrases over and over again. It can be fun in an ironic way I suppose. There are also references to other series like Mario and Sonic during the levels which is nice to see. At the end Bubsy hints that a sequel could come out someday. I’d probably get it, but like this one I’d wait til I could get it for a good price. Especially if it’s this short.

Overall, Bubsy is technically a pretty fun game. If you just want a fun experience and don’t care about the length then go for it. However, I can’t really recommend it all that much because of how short it is. You’d be better off getting one of the Mario games instead as those are fun and long. It’ll be interesting to see how this one compares to Yooka Laylee since that’s another modern revisit to the old era. This one seems like it would win in gameplay but if that one wins in everything else then either way Bubsy is doomed. If only Bubsy had invested more time into coming up with cutscenes to pad the length.

Overall 6/10

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review


It’s time to take a look at one of the portable Shantae games. This one takes place after Risky Boots took away all of her powers so our protagonist is a little weaker than usual. She’s still as determined as ever though which is a good thing since the world is in peril once more. While the game isn’t quite as amazing as the PS4 one, it’s still a really fun game and proves once more that Shantae is one of the better side scrolling adventure games. Maybe she’ll be announced as dlc for the new Super Smash Bros at some point.

The game starts out with Shantae still feeling the fallout from not having her powers, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as the Pirate King has awoken. He plans to conquer the world. Risky Boots has made it her mission to stop him and Shantae agrees to aid her. After all, Risky may not be her favorite person in the world, but she is still the lesser of the two evils. Shantae can worry about her after saving the world. To stop the King, Shantae must find his 5 Dens of Evil and destroy him, thereby weakening him enough for Risky to vanquish him. Does she have what it takes?

The gameplay is a 2D platformer just like her last game. You try to get from the beginning of a level to the end to fight the boss. You can jump and swing your hair like a sword. A new power up can be obtained in each world like a gun, super speed, a sword that can stab through the ground, and much more. The game isn’t simply a matter of going from world to world though. Every time you get a power up you will want to go hack to the old worlds to see which new rooms can now be opened. There will also be old characters that you can talk to who are interested in items that you have obtained and will help you get through an obstacle. As such, remembering the story is certainly important for when the fans throws hints at you. It’s not as if the game is massive though so if you are unsure just go around and talk to everyone.

I wonder if Risky Boots is officially going to be more of a rival than a villain going forward. While she may have been the main villain at one point, it’s rare to start helping the main character and then revert back. She seems like a pretty cool character so I’d be okay with that.

Shantae is always a quality character herself and that doesn’t change here. She forgives Risky pretty quickly and doesn’t mind doing most of the work in stopping the villains. She has a lot of confidence and always gets the job done. While her trusting nature doesn’t always work out too well for her, Shantae keeps at it.

Her supporting cast is definitely not quite as solid when it comes to the heroes. Shantae’s uncle is on the annoying side while her friend Bolo is too clumsy to be of help. The bird owner is a decent enough character and I actually thought her plot would have a sad ending with how suddenly the guy she was with got turned to stone. Well, it was still a sad ending for her but in a different way. Shantae’s zombie friend is definitely a big troll but she’s a fun enough character. Shantae definitely shouldn’t trust her all that much though.

As always the game is very bright and colorful. The level designs really stand out and it’s usually pretty clear what you have to do. The attack animations are simple but very distinct. It just feels like a very modern portable game with a solid budget behind it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a AAA title as the only thing hinting against this is the short length and to be fair, that’s something that happens to many big games as well. While the soundtrack isn’t quite as dynamic as the PS4 entry it is still quite solid. The themes have a quick tempo and really get you ready to tackle the level.

There are multiple endings in the game which are determined by how many collectibles you obtain. There are 20 Dark Minions wandering the world and by destroying all of them and absorbing their darkness into your lamp, you can get the hero ending. I got most of them but clearly not enough so the game actually ends on a rather sad note. It even leaves room for a sequel if the true ending did not exist. The game makes it easy to find these collectibles though and it’s not like there are too many of them so grabbing all the pieces of evil would be a simple matter. There are also heart containers to obtain and even more upgrades to buy for your attack power and speed. Obtaining money in this game is certainly a slow process but a steady one nonetheless. With the replay value and main campaign the game will probably be about 8-10 hours which is reasonable. It’s a little short but still not that bad.

Overall, Shantae has brought out another winner. The game is certainly very polished and the story is fun. The characters are very distinct and the game doesn’t reuse any bosses. There’s a lot to like here and I would definitely recommend the game. It was fairly close to scoring an 8 and an extra level probably would have sealed the deal. Regardless you will be missing out if you don’t get this one.

Overall 7/10

Snoopy’s Grand Adventure Stats and Records

Stats Time!

PS4 Trophies 20/23

Level Stats (Jewels, Birds found)

Skies of Paris

Windy Passage 176/250 6/6
Beagle Flight 112/250 6/6
Cloudy Clash 103//250 6/6

Parisian Underground

Dripping Ducts 50/300 0/6
Soggy Station 81/300 0/6
Dust Magnets 56/300 0/6
Goopy Gutters 49/300 1/6

Melody Chateau

Musical Vestibule 96/300 0/6
Ludwig’s Lodge 90/300 1/6
Hymnal Halls 129/300 1/6
Virtuoso Vaults 90/300 1/6

Temple of Bunnies

Block Van Pelt 73/300 2/6
Potty Pumpkins 76/300 0/6
Stone Blanket 137/300 1/6
Bunny Blitz 97/300 0/6

Lunar Surface

Fly Balls 50/300 0/6
Right Field Space 64/300 1/6
Cosmic Punters 35/300 0/6
Blue Cosmos 98/300 2/6

Peppermint Jungle

Green Glade 300/300 6/6
Pepperbosk 139/300 0/6
Outfield Grove 75/300 1/6
Tricky Track 61/300 2/6

Snoopy’s Grand Adventure Review


I’ve always wanted to get the original Snoopy and the Red Baron game but it just hasn’t been in the cards as of yet. Not deterred, I quickly went to Toys R Us and took advantage of their current 60% off all video games sale. It doesn’t get much better than that so I saved a good amount on this Snoopy game. Good thing to since the game is incredibly short but more on that in a bit.

The plot revolves around all of the kids going missing so Snoopy decides to find them. He will have to go to a lot of crazy environments to save the kids but as a hero he has no choice but to risk it all. Some of the kids are just hiding in the middle of nowhere while others are actually transformed into giant monsters. No worries, Snoopy has got this.

The gameplay is that of your typical 2D platformer. You jump and run past obstacles as you get to the goal. You also find different hats along the way that give you various abilities. One of them lets you climb vines while another has you jump really high. Typically you will want to stick with your usual power up though which is what lets you hover as you go through the air. This can be used to cheese most of the stages and is part of why the game is so quick. It’s not as if this is necessary though since dying would be very hard here. I didn’t manage to lose and you likely won’t as well. When Snoopy is hit you are still given a few seconds to jump up and grab the heart. That’s pretty generous so there is no reason why you can’t simply grab it. Dying is extremely difficult here.

The graphics are all fairly cutting edge. I mean, this isn’t exactly Final Fantasy, but the character models are on point and the backgrounds are real nice. Everything looks nice and clear which is good. I can’t say much about the soundtrack though since it is basically nonexistent. I doubt you will be able to recall a single theme by the time it is all over. Perhaps if the game was longer I guess.

I’ve been alluding to it long enough. The game only lasts you a little over an hour. That’s considering that I played the final bonus world as well. At most it is an hour and a half which still isn’t great. I can’t imagine buying this for 50 to be honest. Length isn’t really a deciding factor most of the time, but that still has a limit. You at least want a game to last you during a whole trip from Golden Corral to the hotel rather than cutting out halfway. With the game being extremely easy and short that isn’t really a great mix. The average length is apparently 3 hours so maybe I was simply too good. Still, keep this in mind if you’re going to buy this for the going price of 50. It’s simply not worth it at that point.

The only replay value here is really to get the Platinum. That won’t take you long, but I guess it will force you to replay all of the stages as you collect everything that there is to collect over there. None of the collectibles are hard to get so it’s just a matter of taking the time to grab them all. Even with the Platinum the game will almost certainly be under 4 hours though so just be prepared for that.

This is the kind of game where there really isn’t much more to talk about. I suppose I can say that the bonus world was a pretty good homage to Snoopy’s ongoing dream about fighting the Red Baron. Just like in the TV specials his bullets are invisible so you just see little destruction effects. It makes it a little difficult to tell when the big ships will get destroyed but that’s not really a big deal. They can barely fight back anyway and winning is a piece of cake. As long as you know how to move and shoot you will definitely be fine.

Overall, Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is pretty fun. As they always say, it’s about quality over quantity. The game may not be the longest one out there, but the developers did a pretty decent job of making sure that it was good. I also applaud the fact that the game’s trophies are really reasonable as well. It doesn’t really help the replay value’s case, but it is what it is. I’m still eager t get the other Snoopy game at some point even if it definitely doesn’t seem all that likely for quite a while.

Overall 6/10