5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Panel de Pon Review


It’s time to look at a very obscure SNES game. I was pretty surprised they got this one for the latest update but it’s always nice to have more games to check out. The menus aren’t translated but it’s easy enough to figure out where you have to go. I started the equivalent of what arcade mode would likely be and ended up beating the first 3 chapters and a boss which was nice progress. The gameplay takes a little bit of getting used too after doing a lot of Tetris but I eventually got the hang of it. You certainly have to move fast or you’ll be buried in blocks.

There seems to be a bit of a plot. I assume that a demon lord is trying to invade the world and now the magical girls are asking you for help to stop this impending crisis. Along the way they’re teaching you how to play to see if you’re really worthy. I don’t know Japanese though so that’s my best interpretation of what’s going on. The game has blocks coming from the ground rather than the sky so think of it as a reverse Tetris. You have to match 3 blocks together in order to eliminate them. The key is to keep the blocks from reaching the top or you will lose. Once you have blown up enough blocks then the level will end and you’ll be safe. Boss battles work in a similar fashion except you keep matching blocks until the boss’ health goes all the way down. At that point you will have concluded the battle.

How you play is you move the icon over the blocks and then click to flip them. Your icon has 2 slots so you can leave one slot empty to move the block to it. Alternately you flip them horizontally so that you will be able to make more matches. It’ll take some trial and error at first but gradually you’ll start seeing patterns a lot quicker. That’s good because the levels get really difficult. I had quite a few deaths on the third level and a ton on the boss. It’s just hard to keep on matching when everything is going so fast.

One thing I’d recommend doing is to sometimes just randomly move pieces along in the bottom of the screen to get things moving. I found that I would make matches that I didn’t even know were there. I don’t think it’s the most efficient method in the longrun since you want to actually find the real pieces soon but if you’re in an absolute pinch then go for it. The worst thing to do in this game is hesitate or do nothing so just moving things around can really help you get a fresh perspective. It’s a pure desperation move but it did save me a few times. Well….that and the rewind feature of course.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The colors are very vibrant and it’s aged really well. This game could pass for being a bit newer than it actually is. At worst it may seem a little blurry at times but at best it’s all very smooth like an N64 title. The soundtrack is less memorable to me but it’s handled pretty well I’d say. It fits in with the game. It’s all pretty peaceful and serene.

Overall, Panel de Pon is a solid puzzle game so long as you really enjoy the gameplay. While I was starting to get used to it, it’s not quite as fun for me as traditional Tetris. There are less movements you can make due to the nature of the game so while the strategy isn’t any lower, it feels like there is less to do at times. The story probably could have also helped boost it up real quick if I knew what was going on. Still, it’s great that Nintendo is letting us play this game. I’m sure people probably thought the day may never arrive at this rate. If you like this style of gameplay then you should definitely check it out.

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

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

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts Review


It’s been a little while since I went back to one of the SNES games, but it was time to change that and what better game to jump into than Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts? It’s a pretty classic 2D platformer and a title that holds up quite well over the years. The game’s rather short, but it is very old so that is pretty understandable. The ending is the only thing that limits the game to an extent but I wouldn’t say that it affects the score.

The plot of the game is that demons have kidnapped the princess. The main character must now head off into the unknown in order to save her. To do this he will need to conquer legions of monsters and other deadly foes until he makes it to the castle. It won’t be easy, but this guy does have some experience in this arena. The game has around 8-9 levels and you should be able to clear it in about an hour. It’ll depend partially on how often you die and if you use the rewind feature or not. I certainly spammed the life out of that button but for those of you who do not wish to resort to such tactics you will likely appreciate the difficulty level. I wouldn’t say that the game ever gets unfair, it’s just unrelenting if you make a mistake.

A single error on your part will likely result in your death. I don’t know if you have to restart the level or the whole game when you lose since I never let it get that far but if it’s like most titles then you would need to restart from scratch if you get a game over. So long as you can avoid doing that then you should be fine. As you go through the levels you will encounter various weapons. You can only have one weapon at a time so you really have to think carefully about getting a new one. My personal favorite was the fire ball so once I had that I was not going to go back to a sword or any of the other options. None of them seem flat out worse than the others except for the slow boomerang so it’ll depend on how you want to play the matchup. Once you find your perfect weapon then it’s off to the races.

The graphics are pretty solid and the game actually had an opening cutscene which impressed me. Even if there isn’t a lot of story beyond the intro I’m still glad to have that much. It’s something that was not always a guarantee back in the day. The soundtrack is pretty reasonable. I wouldn’t call it the most memorable tune out there, but it worked well enough if you ask me. I was able to get behind this and the gameplay is always more fun when you have something to listen too.

I realize that I didn’t speak much on the gameplay, but it’s pretty self explanatory. You use your weapon to slay any enemies you get in your way as you aim to get to the end of the level. At the end there is a boss you will face and upon defeating the creature you are able to get into the next level. There are no crazy jumps and the platforming is actually pretty mild next to most of the others. It’s more combat focused than anything else.

There isn’t really any replay value after completing the game though. So the full game should last you about an hour and then if you want to 100% that maybe make it 2 hours. When you reach the end of the game the ending you get will depend on some factor in the levels. The Princess seems to hint that you had to grab some collectibles along the way but I must admit that I did not notice anything like that in my travels. So I got the fake ending where they start you back at the beginning of the game again. No way I was going to do the whole thing again just for a quick cutscene but if that’s up your alley then it’s certainly something to look into.

Overall, Super Ghouls is a pretty cool sounding title and the game is a lot of fun. I really can’t see you not having a blast with this one. It’s really got everything you could ask for in a game and then some. Keep in mind that it’s a short one but if you already have the SNES Online package then it’s effectively free. There’s no real downside to giving it a shot so you may as well do that. We’re getting some new games added to the service soon so I’ll definitely be ready to try those. The collection for the SNES is getting more and more impressive with each passing month.

Overall 7/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Punch-Out!! Review


The SNES Online finally added some new games so I was definitely ready to go and check them out. Starting out with Super Punch Out felt right since it’s a pretty classic fighting game and I’m always in the mood for some boxing. It’s pretty fun, but the game definitely does feel its age a little more than the others. One of the reasons for this is the attacks all look pretty similar to it’s hard to know how to block them the first time around. You’ll definitely get the hang of it after getting knocked around by the combo a few times though.

There are a few modes here, but I dove straight into the championship option which is the main one. There are 3-4 circuits and each one has 4 rounds. If you win all 4 rounds then you have cleared that circuit and can move on to the next one. Effectively it is like going through the cups in Mario Kart. Each one gets more and more difficult so you have to work on your skills. The first circuit you can probably clear just by spamming the punch option. Once you get to the second circuit all bets are off. You have to bring in your A game if you really want to stand a chance here. Anything less and you’re going to get completely wrecked.

The gameplay is pretty simple. It’s close to being a first person game but you do see your character so I guess it might be 2nd person camera view. You have to throw punches to knock the opponent to the ground. If they stay down for 10 seconds you win or you could also win by completely knocking them out. Try as I might I could never get a real knockout. There’s probably some kind of trick to it where you need to use a specific move or something. You can shift to the left or right to dodge attacks or dodge by crouching backwards. You can throw a normal gut punch or an uppercut. Those were the only two punches that I could find at least.

Punching is all well and good, but the opponent will block a lot of hits. Typically the best way to hit him is to either hit right before he lands his blow which will deal a lot of damage or blocking his strike and quickly countering with your own. Both of these strategies require a good amount of reaction speed as well as confidence in your punch. Otherwise if you just spam punching, the timer may run out. That actually happened to me in one match. I think it’s a little iffy since I definitely had the lead in terms of health, but it counts as a loss either way. I’m guessing my opponent has the home field advantage here because that’s just not right. So that’s why you want to be careful and pick openings so the damage will build up faster. Also when the opponent hits you he will steal some of your health at times and add it to his so you do not want to get hit.

I think the toughest attack pattern I was was this one guy who would use a two hit combo and he would do it a few times in a row. It looks like you can dodge to the side, but that doesn’t work nor does hiding in the back. What’s the way around this? Well, you have to not move and that’ll automatically block the first strike, then dodge to the side. Rinse and repeat in order to get out of this fight without a scratch. As I mentioned earlier, a lot of this is just trial and error. Keep on attacking each boss and you’ll figure out how to dodge each attack without a problem.

As for the graphics, they look good. I like how expressive every enemy is. When you attack them you can definitely feel it. Additionally the colors are just good. The game may not look amazing next to something like Super Mario World, but I can definitely see the effort here. The soundtrack is less impressive though and I can’t say that I really noticed it all that much. Maybe all the punching sound effects just made it too difficult to hear.

In terms of replay value there isn’t much here. Once you beat all of the circuits then you are really out of things to do. It should take you around 2 hours or so to clear the 4 circuits but then that’s about it. The game is free with the Nintendo Online so it’s not a bad deal all things considered. You’re paying for the experience and the gameplay is sound so you can’t go wrong there. I also like how each of the characters has a little intro dialogue and everyone ends up talking pretty tough before their matches. The little animations before their super attacks are also handled really well. It can be hard to react to them because of how elaborate the animations are, but that makes it all the more impressive.

Overall, Super Punch-Out is a good game. I don’t think it’s the kind of game I would play for very long myself, but the idea is pretty sound. It does remind m that I need to get the Punch Out game for the Wii soon. I’ve seen it in Gamestop several times, but it just never made the cut. One of these days it will though and it’ll be fun to see how the series has changed and evolved over time. If you haven’t played this one yet then you should check it out. If you enjoy boxing then you’ll like this game.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Soccer Review


We’re getting closer and closer to knocking out all of the SNES games. Only 5 remain which include an RPG, a LOZ title, and 2 side scrollers. It’s been a good run, but this tells me that Nintendo needs to hurry up and start adding more games to the lineup. I don’t want to have to go back to the NES games just yet, but I will if necessary. That one still has a whole bunch that I haven’t checked out to be honest. This Soccer title isn’t all that good. Of course the controls were limited for its time, but even so it just doesn’t age too well and you won’t be playing it for very long.

The film throws you onto the soccer field and the camera angle is from above so think of it like playing Foosball from the old arcades. Instead of flipping the pieces you still do run for the ball, but everyone moves like one unit. When you’re on defense you are controlling all of the players on screen at the same time which is definitely pretty interesting. It means that there is a lot of team unity here, but at the same time it also means that it can be difficult to cover multiple people. Defense was pretty challenging here and I lost my first game 6-1. It’s definitely not like the other Soccer games where I barely even allow 1 goal.

Then we’ve got offense gameplay. On this side of the ball it really feels like you can’t do anything. You can move, shoot, and pass and that’s it. Without a way to accelerate the other players would always trip me up from behind. I’d try to pass it away, but they steal the ball in midair. The defensive players really were not playing around at all and just kept getting in the way over and over again. They were all like perfect players. I appreciate the A.I. being pretty sound but it was getting out of hand. I don’t even begin to guess what the answer to this would be. How do you get around such gameplay? The gameplay doesn’t even seem that bad, it’s just not all that balanced.

I scored a total of one goal across two games. After this I figured I should at least try the Penalty Shootout mode. I played that one twice, but still couldn’t score once while they made all of their shots. Super Soccer is definitely not for casual soccer players. I definitely see that now as I was completely crushed in the end. The computers just aren’t playing around here.

As for the graphics, they look pretty good. It’s not going to be something to write home about but at least you can always tell what is happening. There isn’t really a soundtrack, but that should come as no surprise. In terms of replay value there isn’t a whole lot to do in the game after you play a few rounds. The same can be said for most sport games, but especially one as old as this. There are just better soccer games to play whether you like the realistic FIFA titles or want something more like Ubisoft soccer. Either way this one wouldn’t make the cut.

Overall, Super Soccer is not a game that you will remember very well. It’ll get lost to the ages of time, but it’s still nice to have been able to play it at least once. If you’ve got the Switch online then you should check it out. It really can’t hurt to play it for a while since the game is free right? That being said, you’ll quickly move on to the next title as I have. This was the last SNES sport title I hadn’t played so next time it’s back to more of the side scrolling type!

Overall 5/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Earth Defense Force Review


It’s time to look at another SNES game from back in the day. I know about the newer installments in the series, but didn’t realize that the SNES already had one. It’s cool that the series dates back all this way. The game does a good job of feeling like a nice sci-fi adventure. The story may be a little light even for SNES standards as there are no cutscenes, but it’s a solid/quick game to check out. The weapon customization also adds an extra layer of depth that most of these old shooters did not have.

The gameplay is that of a 2D side scroller. It’s an auto moving game so the screen is always going forward but you can still stay near the back of the screen or fly up close to test your luck with the various attacks going your way. You have a primary weapon which you can shoot and then you have mini drones of sorts that you can summon around you or use to focus your attacks. With them by your side your ship becomes even more of a threat although it can be hard to know which way to use it. Towards the end of the game I went with the focused attack and just trusted my primary weapon to get the job done.

As for your weapon, you’ve got around 8-10 options. There’s the classic machine gun which is still one of the best weapons you can have. It shoots very quickly and covers a wide range. Then you’ve got the bombs which look like lasers but when you hit an enemy they explode. It looks really cool even if I felt like it had less of an impact. There’s the laser which basically shoots out continuously and wracks up the damage. There were other weapons but since this game only has 6 levels I was careful not to switch it up much towards the end. I just went with the laser and figured that would be enough to help get me out of the jams.

This probably goes without saying but the game is extremely difficult. Without the added benefit of the SNES access points and rewind feature it is unlikely that I would have been able to complete the game. Right from level 1 you’ll be faced with a barrage of powerful attacks. They never let up even for a moment and 3 hits is enough to finish you off. Even when you think you dodged an attack sometimes you will find that it actually did connect. One level took me dozens and dozens of tries because of how many enemies were on the screen. The bosses are actually the easiest part since it is just one enemy attacking so you can focus more. The final boss is an exception to this as he spawns a bunch of little minions to help him out.

All of the bosses have fun designs and there is a good amount of variety here. Even not counting those guys the game spared no expense in the graphics department. The backgrounds really stand out and the game is just very vibrant. It’s ahead of its time here and it does help you appreciate the gameplay even more. The soundtrack isn’t memorable though so I suppose the game couldn’t quite win it all. The fun gameplay and solid graphics still ensure that this is a winner though.

The game is fairly short, but that is really to be expected here. There are 6 levels so you can probably take this game down in under an hour. It would be even shorter if you could beat every level in one shot but that is extremely unlikely. This game is no cakewalk and will require a lot of concentration to get through. Once you complete the game you will definitely get a sense of pride and accomplishment. That’s when you know that the game was indeed a winner.

Overall, Earth Defense Force is a very old school spaceship fighter. It’s like Galaga, but in 2D. One of the areas that really makes this game stand apart from the rest is how you can switch weapons. It’s a really nice touch and I definitely liked being able to choose what weapon I wanted for a given mission. Most likely you will find a favorite and just stick to it by the end, but I’m sure there will be some who will have fun switching the weapon based on the level they will be challenging. If you haven’t played this game yet then I definitely recommend doing so. The SNES Online has been great for checking out a bunch of games like this one.

Overall 7/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Puyo Puyo 2 Review


This is definitely an interesting SNES online game because it wasn’t translated. The game is still in Japanese from the controls to the cutscenes. While this does mean it’ll be impossible to follow the story unless you learned some Japanese, at least the game came at all. Better to arrive like that than to never arrive right? I like Tetris gameplay a lot and while I realize Puyo is quite a bit different I thought my skills would transfer over. Unfortunately that was not the case and I kept getting wrecked on the second level. There must be some gameplay mechanics I am not aware of because this did not feel legit.

When you boot up the game there are quite a few modes. You’ve got speed run, options, and the main one. There were two others that I did not click on. Naturally I ran to the main mode and did not look back. I was able to consistently beat the first guy with my quick combos. The problem was always the second level. So the goal of the game is to match 4 bubbles of one color. As long as the bubbles connect in any form then you just need to get the 4. It doesn’t have to be a complete line like Tetris. As you get more and more combos you will be sending bubbles to the opponent’s side. Once someone’s screen fills up with bubbles that person is defeated. You can get rid of these bubbles by making matches so it will come down to speed….seemingly.

The issue here is that I only ever seem to send over a few bubbles to my opponent while he is suddenly able to send an army at me. I’m assuming it’s because he either lands some kind of combo or manages to match 5-6 at a time. I tried both options but even then he would take the win. It would happen pretty suddenly too as I would have a huge lead and it would all go away in an instant. It definitely didn’t feel very legit, but I’m sure one day I would get the hang of it. That day was not in time for the review though so I was left spinning my wheels for a bunch of rounds before I eventually turned in the towel.

I think the craziest part here is that this was technically still just level 2 of Easy mode. It makes you wonder what normal and advanced levels of difficulty look like. The game really expects you to be a master at this point and I suppose this is the second game in the Super series so maybe that’s a fair expectation. I did try one round of the speed run part, but I died pretty quick. That seems like it would be a good way to hone your skills and level up though. Eventually you could land the pieces without any real effort. That being said, the toughest part about going at a high speed is that it’s easy for the control stick to move to the left or right and then you’ll have quickly gotten yourself into a big hole. Once you’ve messed up a piece making a comeback is even more impossible.

I suppose the gameplay wouldn’t change much from level to level so I still got most of the experience. The most interesting part of the game was definitely the plot and it’s not like I could actually follow that part. The animations were very expressive and it looked like it had a pretty colorful story. The graphics have aged incredibly well for its time and I’d be game for a newer Puyo Puyo game coming to America someday. I’d buy an HD collection for that. The soundtrack is less noticeable, I can’t really recall any of the tunes to be honest. That’s something it’ll need to work to improve since the music in Tetris 99 is downright excellent!

Overall, Super Puyo Puyo 2 is one of those games with a lot of promise. I like the fact that it has an actual story. It looks like an RPG and the colorful characters really help to make this game stand out from the pack. I suspect that is part of what helped make it so popular along with the gameplay. The gameplay didn’t really click for me but I’m thinking that’s partially because you’re just thrown into the action. If you’re more familiar with the gameplay and know how to really put up a fight then I expect you’ll really like this game. Try to learn some Japanese while you’re at it and then you’ll even have bragging rights when your friends come over to play.

Overall 5/10