Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice Review


It’s been a little while since I played Disgaea 2, but I’ve been meaning to jump into 3 for a while now. The strategic gameplay of the series is always a blast. It really brings you in for a big challenge from start to finish that’s for sure. You have to consider a lot of angles when playing. While the core story is definitely a bit weaker than the first two, it makes for a great game either way and one that you don’t want to miss.

The game starts by introducing us to Mao. He’s the son of the Overlord and his goal is to rise to that position by destroying his father. The reason he wants to do this is because the Overlord broke his video game console a while back. To that end, Mao has decided that he will need to figure out what powers a hero since heroes usually take the Overlord down. Once he is able to figure that out then he will be ready to roll. To that end he captures a hero named Almaz and steals his title. Now, this gets a little meta and the game isn’t afraid to break the 4th wall but bear with me here. So effectively everyone has a title which actually affects how you act and think. Now that Almaz’s title has been taken he is slowly becoming a demon. He has to find a way to get into Mao’s heart (Which is located as basically a department store that you can walk into) to steal his title back. Will either of the characters get what they want?

Most of the game takes place at school or on campus as Mao tries to locate how to find a lot of power. Heroes are almost mythical in the demon world because of how rarely they appear. Everything is backwards in this world so to be an honor student you need to keep on cutting class and just being mean while the delinquents are people who attend class and are nice to others. It’s a fun dynamic and there are 3 little minions who show up in basically every chapter of the game to try and cause trouble. They’re always fun to have around for sure.

As a main character Mao is decent. He has his entertaining moments and I do like that he is always trying to set the record straight that he has no friends. The guy has a lot of secrets and a fascination with live experimentation so even by the end he isn’t a true hero. Still, he does end up fighting with the villains so you are at least glad to have him on your side at the very least. Almaz is the other main hero and he’s pretty fun. His plot is about getting Princess Sapphire to finally notice him but he is content to stay in the shadows until he works up the courage. He protects her from a distance and all. A one way romance like this can always be rough but at least the demons aren’t too hard on him about this.

Sapphire is a solid Princess though and one of the better ones of recent years. She has the brilliant idea of going to destroy the Overlord before he even thinks of kidnapping her. That’s pretty proactive so I can certainly get behind that. Princess Peach should consider capturing Bowser next time instead of waiting for the inevitable. She can fight which is always a pretty good skill to have as well. Her super strength punch and Buzzsaw even scare Mao at times.

Mao’s rival is a solid character as well. As leader of the delinquents you’d expect nothing less. One supporting character who could be annoying most of the time was the cook though. Literally all of his lines are using food lingo. I can appreciate good puns and all but I felt like he would never actually get to the point so he didn’t really serve much of a purpose at times. He gets a lot of hype and is apparently super strong but the game doesn’t do much with that concept.

As an RPG there are tons of other characters of course but those are the big ones. You’ll enjoy the story, there’s a lot going on. For the gameplay, it’s the same as in previous titles. You control up to 9 characters and maneuver them through a chess board of sorts. The idea is to take out the opponent fighters. Sometimes this will be straight forward and you just run to take them out while at other times there are a bunch of obstacles to get past. The levels become more like a puzzle as you have to decide how to attack the enemy. A good strategy is just as important as your level ups here.

The game holds nothing back so you will likely need to go replay levels a bunch before clearing the game. It’s difficult to level everyone up here since only the character who beats the enemy gets the level up this time. So by the end of the game I had 4 really strong fighters and my other guys were scrubs. It was worth it though. Then you want to save money to buy excellent equipment. The equipment will really come in handy since it boosts your stats massively. For example you can switch out your weapon with 100 attack power for one with 700 and suddenly you’re blasting through everyone. The toughest part is always choosing between buying a new weapon or new armor. I always prioritized weapons first since it makes the grinding quicker but ultimately you will need armor or you will fall. My strategy is to sell off all the equipment of all my other fighters and only stick to 4 but of course this is risky. It’s a great way to raise funds short term though.

There’s a whole lot of depth to the gameplay as you can also upgrade attacks here. Doing so makes them more powerful but drastically costs more magic meter as well so sometimes getting it too strong can actually be a bad thing. Then you can go to class to have the students give you money or unlock more levels at the shop. There is definitely a whole lot to consider here. The main story took me over 20 hours and there is a sizable post game story as well. This game can easily last you 50+ hours so there is a ton of replay value here. I would definitely recommend sticking with it

Naturally the soundtrack is also pretty solid. You’ll recognize a theme or two from the original game in addition to the new ones. Then you’ve got the solid graphics which go all out with the special attacks as always. It really knows how to make everything look really high tier. I do low key wish you could skip the cinematics on the special moves eventually since it takes up some time but I suppose after putting so much effort into the attacks they don’t want people just skipping them each time.

Overall, Disgaea 3 is a solid way to end the trilogy. The game has a lot of heart and depth to it. It’s a very complete RPG that excels in all areas. While I would say that the first two defeated it, you’ll definitely be invested in the game. It may be very difficult but you always feel like you have hope even if you need to go back and earn some more level ups again. Sometimes that’s just something you have to do. Going back to get stronger is a noble quest at all times.

Overall 8/10

Nightshade Review


We have made it to the final new NES game added to the service by Nintendo. It’s definitely a very complex title with a whole lot of mechanics and such to learn. Unfortunately the idea was a little ahead of the technology in this case. It’s just not easy to seamlessly use your many items and the puzzles just don’t work as well as you would hope. The game isn’t all that fun and I would ultimately have to give it a fairly low score here. I just don’t see it being all that fun even if you were to progress further.

The main plot of the game is that you’re a detective on the trail of a villain. Unfortunately he caught you and tied you to a chair. I will admit that the opening of the game is intense as you literally start out strapped to the chair and have to slowly try to escape. The way to do this is to back up and cause a candle to burn through the ropes. It’s pretty interesting and not really something you see a lot. From there you work on escaping the castle and once you’re in the town it’s time to find where the villain is. I played the game for around an hour as I looked for the elusive villain. Let me tell you, that guy’s not easy to find. There are a lot of areas to explore and items to inspect.

The main gameplay style here is a 2D platformer but you are able to move up and down so I suppose it’s close to 3D. If you press the A button you can move a magnifying glass to inspect all kinds of objects. From there if you have a good hint of an object looks useful, press the B button to take out your other magnifying glass and inspect again. You get a different message that way. At this point if the object is even more interesting then click the select button to take out one of your items and try it out on the object. You can also pick it up if the thing you are inspecting is a loose pipe or something like that.

You’ll have a ton of items at your disposal by the time you finish getting out of the castle. The game doesn’t really explain any of this though so I recommend looking up the guide online for the controls. It makes a big difference knowing what you are supposed to do next as opposed to just stumbling through the levels hoping for the best. Not that’s a scenario that can get pretty dicey pretty fast. So I do applaud the fact that the game crammed so much in but I do think it comes at the expense of the actual user experience. At the end of the day you want these levels to be fun and you just don’t get that feeling of excitement from the game.

There’s even combat elements thrown in and I don’t feel like they were all that fun. It was pretty surprising though as a cop ran into me and then suddenly the game turned into a 2D fighter. The controls are really difficult though. It took me around 20 minutes to beat a female ninja that showed up. Apparently there are combos though so if you master those then that may make a good difference in the long run. Normal blows are easily blocked and countered by the A.I. here.

One more touch that the game added which was pretty nice is what happens when you die. When you lose a life you suddenly find yourself on a conveyer belt with the villain mocking you. Based on how interactive the whole time is I suspect that there is a way to break free but every time I reached for the lever the game told me I was too far away. I figure it was worth a shot at least. Then we get some images of the villain hanging out at a rooftop as some sad music plays. It’s all very atmospheric and works rather well.

When it comes to the graphics I would definitely give this game a thumbs up as well. It’s aged quite beautifully with the character designs being on point and the backgrounds looking quite nice as well. The music is good and so on that level the game succeeded. At least those background elements help to offset the gameplay. I think this is the kind of game that could do really well if it were ever remade in the modern day.

Overall, Nightshade is a very different kind of NES title. It’s a game that wants you to do a great many things. The fact that it originally came out with a part 1 in its title shows you just how ambitious the game was to start with. Clearly the developers had a really good plan in store for the series even if it ultimately didn’t pan out. I wouldn’t recommend this game. It’s just not really any fun and that’s definitely one of the biggest negatives I would hold against a title like this. At the end of the day you have to be fun.

Overall 3/10

Cardfight Vanguard Zero Review


It’s time to look at a recent app that I downloaded. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Cardfight Vanguard show so I figured playing through an app game would be pretty fun too. It’s got a unique gameplay style that is different from Yugioh and I’ve never gotten to play it in action before. This was my chance to change that and the game is definitely a lot of fun. It’s also very challenging so you can rest assured that it will force you to become a better player as the levels go on. With an active user base and ongoing events there will be enough content to keep you entertained for the long haul.

As with most mobile games there are a ton of options that greet you on the menu. It can all be pretty overwhelming so the game wisely locks a lot of the options behind level ups so you experience them all gradually. You’ll likely be spending most of your time in the story of playing online battles. Aside from that you can also clear daily missions, fight practice battles, customize your deck, and buy more cards. While there are some paid options you can do the game is 100% free to play and you can do quite well without spending any money. It’s the kind of game where you can absolutely hold your own without spending a dime.

The story mode has 11 chapters which consist of around 50 rides. While you might think you can clear those right away, it will take a lot of time. Every 3-4 rides you have to go and do other tasks to unlock the next ones. These range from beating an opponent 5 times to fighting online for 3 battles. There are a lot of different tasks and it is the game’s way of making sure you try everything out. I could be a little annoyed at having to take a break from the story so often but I understand the logic. I don’t approve, but it is what it is and the rest of the modes are all fun as well which helps a lot.

The story mode covers the first season of the show although I expect as more and more levels are added it will eventually cover the entire series. It’s been pretty detailed at trying to grab almost every fight and the game actually plays whole anime scenes which is pretty cool. You don’t see a lot of mobile games do that so it was pretty nice. I made it through around half of the rides before doing this review and they’ve been fun.

I’ll quickly go over the gameplay but it’ll be difficult to go too in depth due to how many rules there are. First off you start with a hand of 5-6 cards and then each player rides a grade 0 Unit. As each turn passes you can ride a card with 1 grade higher until you get to the max of 3. (There are future cards that go higher but I doubt they’ll be added anytime soon) There are 3 columns and 2 rows which you can rill with monsters. Only the 3 monsters in the front row can attack and the one in the middle is your Vanguard. He gets a Drive Check which has the potential to strengthen your team, heal your damage, or do something else. The first player to get to 6 damage loses the match. The only way to deal damage is to attack your opponent’s vanguard with a monster stronger than his own. The attacking player has the advantages of having a support monster to boost attack as well as the drive check so attacking is quite easy.

You’ve also got a bunch of other mechanics like sentinels and intercepts so you’ll want to study a bit. There are a few rules that are simplified here compared to the actual show and I imagine it was to help balance the game as well as make it go quickly. Depending on how many rules were added each round could take forever. As it stands most duels aren’t very long although I can’t say that I’ve actually counted how long any of them took me. I imagine they may be around 10 minutes or so. The deck I went with was Kagero and it served me well. Ultimately the battle I ended up getting stuck on was Aichi on Hard mode. That guy’s pretty hard to deal with and he’s also got a permanent attack boost on all of his monsters which is a little suspect if you ask me.

As for the graphics, the game looks quite good. Aichi’s character model is the only one that looks unfinished but everything else is very polished and holds up quite well. The soundtrack is excellent with the full anime opening being the intro music. I definitely appreciated that nod and in general it’s all very high energy so you’re always right in the thick of the action. It makes every duel even more enjoyable and for a mobile game the key is making the game easy to pick up and play at a moment’s notice. This game achieves that because you’ve always got time for a quick duel. I think card games really excel in the card game format and this one is no exception.

Overall, Cardfight Vanguard Zero is a great game. You’ll have a lot of fun here and even if you’ve never played before you’ll be fine. The game gives very detailed tutorials and the online community will also be more than willing to help you out. There’s a good amount of support here and a lot to do. I’m definitely confident that you will be engaged for the long haul. Right now I’m pretty busy with Final Fantasy VII Remake but Zero was definitely a whole lot of fun and I look forward to seeing the game grow. As with most mobile games this is where my journey will end, but it was still a pretty fun experience.

Overall 8/10

Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories Review


It’s time to take a look at the second Disgaea game. After the first adventure I knew that it was time to jump into the second one. It’s a tad shorter than the first but by the end my playtime for both of them was basically on the same level. One big difference though is that the second game requires less grinding. At the same time, it’s also in part because I understood the mechanics better and had a more balanced team. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a mage on the team. I got one named Marcia in this title and she saved me more times than I can count.

The story starts by introducing us to a human town that has slowly been corrupted. Now all of the citizens are turning into monsters and it is the work of Overlord Zenon. Adell is the only human on the planet who has been unaffected and he takes this as a sign that he has to be the one to find Zenon. His Mom tries to summon Zenon but they accidentally summon his daughter Rozalin instead. As Rozalin is bound by the contract to stick with Adell for a while he promises to get her back to her father. This way they will both get what they want. Can he really trust this Princess though?

Along the way the duo meet quite a few allies to help in their quest. First up is Tink who is a demon frog with a split personality. He’s definitely a little on the crazy side and is easily the weakest character of the group. He never pitches in when it counts. Then you have Adell’s little siblings Hanako and Taro. Hanako is always calling Taro named and looks up to the demon lord Etna. She is a reasonable enough character I suppose and could be worse. Taro is too lacking in confidence and the fact that his goal in life is to be Razalin’s servant doesn’t really bode well for his character.

One character that shows up later in the game is Yukimaru. She is an assassin who wants to end Lord Zenon once and for all. Her ice abilities are pretty fun and her gimmick isn’t bad. Basically she says zam at the end of every sentence. Her brother also shows up on a similar quest although he isn’t nearly as heroic as she is. By the end of the game Yukimaru is one of the only characters who can keep up with the main two so I recommend keeping her in your party. As a character she is fun to have around as well.

One of the most enjoyable characters is Etna though. Since she was from the first game that made her appearances extra special. Initially she shows up as a guest star character who is at a crazy level 1000. She even takes down Zenon which is immensely impressive. I was glad to see the old characters get their hype since they didn’t get to be main characters this time. Etna is still as ruthless as ever though as she constantly destroys her minions. While she may be hanging out with the main characters for most of the game don’t mistake her for being some kind of hero. She’s definitely just in it to get more power and destroy Laharl once and for all.

Laharl gets a much smaller role as he only shows up for a quick boss fight. It’s still an amazing scene though and reminds you why he is the Overlord. Ultimately Laharl actually meets his match though. I would have liked to have seen him fight longer, but it was a decisive loss for him. Power isn’t everything and he probably could have used some of his old pals to help even the playing field a bit. Part of what makes Disgaea 2 so much fun is how epic these scenes are. It has the advantage of being a sequel to it can utilize the nostalgia of bringing the old characters back like this.

The amazing soundtrack is also handy for this. Etna gets a cool insert song whenever she appears as well and it fits with her amazing boss fight where you are completely helpless. It also builds the atmosphere as well. Axel gets a similar theme that’s really hype and of course Laharl brings in some of the themes from the first game. Despite just playing that one I can see how nostalgic that would be. The game also has a fully animated opening which is pretty awesome. You don’t really see those as often as you’d like. It’s got a little more shipping in it than you’d expect but the action is really hype and the lyrics are catchy. I’ve listened to that theme quite a few times.

Axel The Dark Hero is basically the replacement for the Dark Adonis. He’s another guy who thinks he is the rival to the main character. His story is a little tragic as he just wants to be rich and famous but things never tend to work out for him. When he finally does get his success everyone says he made the wrong choice. I think they were all just jealous to be honest. While I wasn’t a big fan of Axel at the start the game does a good job of developing him into a quality character. By the end he was quite enjoyable. I still prefer the Adonis but they were close.

As for Overlord Zenon, he’s a very unique villain. He takes a lot of losses throughout the game and gets beaten up so badly you keep wondering if the guy is really such a feared Overlord. It’s an interesting take because he clearly isn’t the strongest villain out there, but he’s just strong enough where people fear him. It’s a nice theme that Disgaea has done with the villains. Zenon makes up for this weaknesses with his near immortality and to be clear, he is still immensely powerful. He’d probably be top 10 for the fighters we’ve seen so far. His master plan is definitely twisted but really interesting. I don’t think I’ve quite seen such a plan before and his target’s reaction to it is also amazing. This fighter wasn’t phased in the slightest.

Adell is a great lead and one of the better main characters that I’ve seen in recent years. He’s just a guy who wants to protect his family and doesn’t need to have more of a backstory than that. He’s a very honorable main character who refuses to ever break a promise. While everyone doubts whether he is a human or not for the whole game he never has any doubts about it. His confidence is part of what makes him so solid and the game likely did subvert a lot of expectations with that. I was expecting some kind of twist by the end but Azell just didn’t need one.

Meanwhile Rozalin is a great heroine as well. At first she is constantly scheming to destroy Adell to protect her father but gradually realizes that he is not a bad guy. It’s a nice character arc for her and in particular she gets a pretty solid scene with Laharl. As royalty Rozalin refuses to back down to anyone. The only part that gets repetitive is the line “I’m a being of solitude” which gets old after the first 3 times. It gets spammed relentlessly in some games. That’s really the only thing I can say against the game though. This is pretty much a perfect adventure and the banter between Adell and Rozalin is a lot of fun. Disgaea 2 really does a superb job of balancing the hype scenes with more light hearted comedy/parody elements.

Wait a minute, did I skip the gameplay section? Well, the gameplay is basically the same as in the first one. You are in an overworld map view and your goal is to destroy all of the enemies on the square. You control up to 10 characters in a turn based combat system and use attacks and magic to defeat the enemies. You can gang up on an enemy or divide and conquer them. The tricky thing to keep in mind here is that only the opponent who actually destroys the enemy gets any XP. Everyone else does not so it can be very hard to keep a balanced party. I ended up having Laharl and Rozalin way higher leveled than the others. It takes too long to level everyone up so I just focused on having two. It’s rare where you’ll need more than 2 characters in a level if they’re strong enough.

A huge part of the game is the equipment you get though so make sure to buy the best of the best. It increases your stats way more than leveling up would. I also recommend focusing on attack power because it makes the grinding a lot faster. Also you should turn off the combat animations once you’ve seen them enough because it speeds the game up greatly as well. You’ll need to use the Dark Assembly to unlock higher enemies for the shop. If you want to pass any real bills though you’ll need to bribe them which can get expensive. It’s great for the post game though.

The main story is around 20 hours and then the post game is effectively endless. You can go up to level 1000 and there are so many things to do that it can get a bit intimidating. It’s nice to have though because if you really love the game then you can be here for quite a while. Disgaea never backs down from giving you quite a lot of content to deal with which is pretty awesome. The graphics are also quite sound and you can see how they’ve improved since the first game. It all looks quite clear and I look forward to seeing another upgrade in the third game.

Overall, Disgaea 2 is an excellent game and I would actually say that it surpassed the original. It’s very close in terms of characters but the story of the second game is just a lot more interesting and high stakes. I like the idea of every Overlord deciding to duke it out to see who the strongest one is. It’s a very complete story and one that doesn’t need a sequel but I’d like for these characters to show up again at some point. Perhaps the group would be seen as too powerful at this point but it would be perfect for a 2 on 2 fight, Adell & Rozalin vs Laharl and Etna. I’d definitely buy that. If you like a good RPG with tactical gameplay then I highly recommend checking this one out.

Overall 9/10

Transistor Review


It’s time to look at a video game I just managed to complete today. It’s not a title that I was familiar with before playing so it’s always fun to enter a game blind. It’s definitely got a very cryptic environment which works well like Bendy or Undertale. Like those games there is a deep plot that you’ll understand if you pay attention and do a lot of the bonus content, but if not then you’ve got the dedicated fans who will spell it out for you online. It’s a fun experience although I do have to give the ending a thumbs down.

The movie starts off with the lead Red as she wakes up next to someone who’s been stabbed. The enemy had tried to destroy her, but they ended up getting this guy instead. When she takes the sword out it talks to her and reveals his name to be Transistor. Red’s voice was unfortunately damaged so she can no longer talk. Red used to be a singer so this was pretty tragic. The whole city (Maybe the whole world?) has been taken over by a robotic army led by the Camerata. Red needs to take them all down and steal their souls to try and find a way to revive Transistor. Unfortunately the entire city is basically a ghost town at this point so she has to wonder how much progress she is actually making.

If you want a more detailed plot definitely check out Wikipedia as they’ve got it all down there. You’ll get the basic plot as you play the game, but don’t expect to learn it all right away since it is part mystery. The pieces start to add up and you’ll come across a lot of news articles and blogs in the game. There are terminals that can be found just about anywhere. You get extra trophies for interacting with everything so it’s not a bad idea to check them all out. Now lets talk about the gameplay. You are able to hum with one button and another lets you sweep a bit. You’ll never need to use either technique, but it’s nice to have them around.

The actual gameplay is Xcom style, but with a dash of real time action. You manuever your character through a sealed off area as you try to eliminate all of the enemies. You can attack in real time with one hit at a time or you can freeze time and use a few actions as a combo. The latter is pretty much mandatory as you progress through the game. Hitting an enemy from behind will deal more damage but then you have to try and calculate their trajectory to land the follow-up hit. There’s a ton of strategy to consider here which is pretty cool. Then you’ve got a robust level up system which unlocks more powers. You have to choose which ones to equip and which to keep on standby as you have very limited space. You also have limiters you can put on which further restricts your memory, but gives you more XP per fight. I turned on every limiter I had until the very final boss.

It was fun to take off my limiters as if this was DBZ and then go wild on the guy. It will ensure you have more of a challenge throughout the game, but in my opinion it’s worth it because every level up helps you out considerably. This is the kind of game where level ups make a huge difference. You also have a beach house you can go to in order to do extra fights and grind some XP as well. There’s no need to do it as the game is challenging, but not crazy. Still, the option is there so you will want to keep it in mind. Also make sure to destroy the enemy cores after you beat the minions since they will revive within 5-8 seconds otherwise.

The actual game is fairly short at about 3-4 hours. You can stretch this out to around 8 or so if you go for everything. I think one of the trophies is for beating the game twice as well so getting the Platinum will take quite a lot of time. It’s a short title, but a fun one so I expect you’ll have a fun time regardless. The deciding factor here will likely be how you enjoy the gameplay. I liked it a lot since strategy is my thing. It’s the kind of “puzzle” in a sense that I can actually enjoy. I also did like the cryptic plot. In a way games can be extra fun when they never tell you what’s going on. You get to fill in all the blanks and whenever a game/film/any kind of media hides things rather than spelling it out I think it works really well. It just adds on to that mystery angle.

The graphics here look pretty good. It’ll remind you of some of the alien games for the Wii. Naturally this isn’t going to look at high end as the average AAA PS4 game, but it’s all still very smooth and leak. I also like the illustrations that pop up after each level. They look quite grand and I’m sure quite a lot of effort was put into them. Some of these are interactive as well so always be sure to stay sharp. As for the soundtrack, I can’t say that it was very memorable. It was cool that we got actual songs though. The song that played during the first level was quite good. I was surprised that we didn’t get many more after that, but considering that it has a full soundtrack I imagine there are a ton more that were created for the game.

As I mentioned the ending isn’t very satisfying though. I can’t really talk about it at all without spoilers, but it didn’t really work. I will say that it’s not all that selfish on Red’s part since as I mentioned there aren’t a lot of people around anymore. I was just against it on principal, but in her shoes its not as if the decision doesn’t make sense. It makes sense for sure, but in the same logic that a lot of villains tend to use in various series. It was unexpected though, I’ll definitely grant the game that. I did not think it was heading in that direction at all.

Overall, Transistor is a fun game. It’s definitely one of those titles that is a lot of fun for the experience. Once you know how things are going to end up I don’t think you would be able to play it through for a second time. At least not for a long while. At the same time the new game + may give you extra story details which would be cool. There is a lot of post game content here as well as you try to max out your level. If you haven’t played this game yet then I’d recommend checking it out. I don’t think you should really be paying more than $20 for it though considering the short length. Once you start you will definitely be sucked into it and hopefully we do get a sequel someday. It doesn’t feel very likely based on the ending though.

Overall 7/10

Digimon World Championship Review


It’s time to look at a Digimon game that I’ve kept on the backburner for quite a while. This one sounded pretty interesting at first since you could have the Digimon fight each other in real time combat. The problem was that this isn’t the case at all. It’s actually a computer fighting game. By that I mean that the A.I. control the Digimon in combat and all you do is look out for them. It’s a similar mechanic to the Digimon World series, but to a much harsher extent. It’s a game that gets better as you play it, but ultimately you just feel like it’s a bit of a waste. It’s a game that could have been significantly better.

There is no plot here so we can get right to the meat of the game. Naturally that is the tournaments. The game runs on a calendar system (Which is always a terrible idea) so as you play the in game timer moves on. Each hour seems to pass by in about a minute or less. You’ll be running through the days which have no end. There are 4 seasons in the year and they keep on repeating. The first thing you need to do is catch some Digimon. You do this by going into the hunting ground and using your rope to catch them. It’s similar to the Pokemon Ranger system, but a little more tedious and annoying. This is because the Digimon tend to break free of the rope and run away. The screen isn’t always very responsive either so good luck chasing them. Still, eventually you’ll get the Digimon you want. If you want to catch stronger ones then you’ll need a better rope, but for that you need money. You get money by winning fights. These can either be Title Fights, Free Fights, or Championship bouts. Don’t worry about the final category since you need a team of Megas to even attempt such a thing. Title Fights is where I spent 90% of my time but Free Battles is a great way to get started.

Once you finally get your Digimon you have to realize that this is quite the responsibility. Your Digimon need food to eat and they need it at least once a day. They also do their business all over your cages so you have to keep cleaning them or the Digimon feel bad. They catch colds if you don’t put them in the Medical corner too often and they can’t handle 2 attributes at once. This means that if you are increasing their attack power you are weakening their defense and vice versa. The game is made so that there is always a catch which makes training take forever. Whenever you actually have a spare moment you’re expected to run to the store and buy more food and bandages since the Digimon go through them so quickly. They also get depressed for no reason and if they get scared in combat they will refuse to attack. This is always terrible since your Digimon may be strong enough to win, but doesn’t feel like he can so he won’t even try. It’s just such a terrible mechanic and it’s why I rarely like to leave it all in the hands of the A.I.

Well, somehow or other you will finally get around to getting involved in Title Fights. At first your Tamer Rank is 1, but the more medals you earn from these Titles, the more your rank increases. As your rank increases you’ll be able to buy a lot of extra items to make everything easier. It’s made to be one of those games that really encourages you to just keep playing. Get over the initial hump and you’ll really be ready for success. The first few battles are tough, the middle ones are easy, and then the last ones are tough again. I made it all the way to Tamer Rank 5 and won about 20 Titles so I figured that was good enough for the review. Towards the end the tournaments started having a lot of unnecessary conditions like “Only Rookies allowed” or only Holy Digimon allowed. If you don’t have one then you’re sunk since it means training one from scratch or catching it in the wild. Often times these fights are 3 v 3 so you would need to get 3 more. The problem is that you can’t keep too many Digimon in the cage with you or you’ll run out of space. You can see why the game is so frustrating.

Naturally the game also brings back the concept of your Digimon dying. When that happens they are turned back into an egg and you have to start the training back from scratch. Why even put something like that in the game right? It’s a big thing that is in a lot of Digimon games and ultimately ends up holding them back. I just don’t think that it’s a good idea and it makes you not want to invest too much time into any partner. From the start I decided I would stop either when I got enough titles or when my Digimon died. The former happened first, but I was definitely getting close with my guy since he’s been with me for around 3 years I believe.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re fairly zoomed out though and don’t look as good as the average mobile game. It takes a lot for me to say that a game looks bad, but I will concede that it is well below average. You could easily make a game that looks better than this one with just about any company’s budget. The looks aren’t that important, but it doesn’t set a good first impression. As for the soundtrack, it’s as bland as can be. There are only a few themes and none of them are particularly noteworthy. At least they’re not bad though.

As for replay value, the game technically has a lot there. With your Digimon constantly dying or needing your attention, you could play this game for many hours. That being said, I don’t imagine that you would have a ton of fun with this so I wonder how long you would last. This is probably the weakest Digimon game yet which is unfortunate. Hopefully the Digimon World series is basically over or gets an overhaul since it just doesn’t seem to hit the right notes. Only Digimon World 4 seems to have been really well made and that one was a radical change from the others.

Overall, Digimon World Championship will test your baby sitting skills. It’s basically the only way to keep the Digimon in line. I’ve ranted about the game long enough though. It still isn’t a bad game and I did have fun grabbing the titles once I got more powerful Digimon. The problem is that in order to get all of the titles you would have to repeat this process many times over which is just something that I wouldn’t plan on doing. Even when you have a strong enough team to win, a large part of the battle depends on luck and the whims of the A.I. I just don’t think that would work for me. If this sounds like your cup of tea then by all means go for it. It’s definitely a fairly unique game I suppose.

Overall 5/10

Professor Layton and the Curious Village Review


This game was stuck on the backburner for a very long time. That final puzzle was just insane and I had to quickly confer with the Gamefaq experts. In the end, I do think it was a fair puzzle though as the squares all seemed rather legitimate. This is a puzzle game that actually handles them really well and the game never felt unfair or unbalanced. It’s one that I’d highly recommend and you’ll find it hard to put the game down once you have started.

The tale follows Professor Layton and his sidekick as they enter a mysterious village. There is something wrong with the place as people disappear or seem to be murdered and then show up the next day. If they want to get to the bottom of this, the heroes will have to solve a lot of puzzles and make their way to the suspicious tower. Luckily Layton is a gentleman so he knows how to handle every situation thoughtfully and with purpose.

Layton’s gameplay is rather easy to understand. You click on various objects to see if they have puzzles or hint coins. Each hint coin allows you to unlock a hint for a puzzle, but you have to spend them wisely as each puzzle has 3 hints, but there are more puzzles than coins. As such, you should only use them on puzzles that you really can’t figure out or you will have used them up on all of the easy ones. I was able to achieve a very nice balance as I had coins whenever I had need of them. Even with the 3 hints, the final puzzle was a little too much though. You’ll never have to do anything complex as the puzzles are purely about figuring things out as opposed to any sort of platforming.

The actual plot was interesting enough. Layton makes for a good lead and he’ll remind you of the Adam West version of Batman. He’s very down to Earth and always considers everything. His young apprentice isn’t quite as wise yet, but he’s learning and always makes sure to complement Layton. There are a host of supporting characters who all seem rather suspicious. As with any good mystery novel, you can’t really trust anyone here. The main villain is also reasonably good although he’s not too charismatic. I wouldn’t mind not seeing him in the sequel since he doesn’t add much to the game, but he’s not bad either. he did add a touch of danger to the climax so I’d say that was a good thing. The train plot will probably be a little better for me as I like a good ride. I have heard that the sequel is shorter though which is a little concerning, but I’m sure it’ll be long enough.

The graphics were certainly acceptable here. It’s the kind of game where graphics don’t really mean all that much and aren’t given a chance to show off either way. There were some fully animated cutscenes though so those looked sharp and a lot of DS games don’t even have that so it was impressive. The stills looked good as well and all of the characters were on point so I’m definitely satisfied with how it all went down. The music is rather boring, but it’s probably meant to be that way so it doesn’t get in the way of your puzzle solving abilities. You’re not really playing this for the music after all, though I am of the opinion that fast paced rock music would actually add to the experience.

There is certainly some replay value here as you can go back and try to solve all of the puzzles. I found a bunch of them, but didn’t actually solve them all. I left the most challenging ones of course and I expect that you would do the same in the game. As such, there is guaranteed to be something to do and the game should easily crack 20-30 hours by the end. The actual game’s length I’d say is probably around 10-12 hours, but it took me 16 because of that final puzzle which I spent hours and hours on. I just didn’t want to surrender, but in the end I have to admit that it defeated me. I have a feeling that a rematch would go quite differently though and I aim to prove that in the sequel.

Overall, Professor Layton and the Curious Village is a great game. It’s just really fun and I could play it for hours and hours. There is really something to be said for simple puzzle games or any game that has a very clear and easy to understand objective. No matter how hard the individual puzzles may be, it’s not as if you’ll ever be lost and wonder what you have to do next. The challenges are straight forward and it’s simply up to you to meet them head on. I look forward to playing the next title as I already own it and will be tackling it very soon. The game is very streamlined all the way through and it’s easy to pick up and play. It can hold its own against just about any other game and is easily the best puzzle game. I want to play Ace Attorney someday to see how it stacks up even if both games are quite different. They’ve always been natural rivals.

Overall 8/10

Mercury Meltdown Revolution Review


One can never get tired of playing these obscure Wii games eh? Mercury Meltdown Revolution is one of the many games that I bought a while back when Gamestops were emptying out their Wii inventory. The sheer amount of levels deterred me from starting this one for a while, but I decided to finally take the plunge. I didn’t play all 160+ levels, but I went as far as I could without grinding out some levels to get the final worlds. It’s a pretty fun puzzle game and it’s quite a bit better than most of the other Wii games that I’ve played. There are a few iffy levels and the controls aren’t explained too well, but this one’s a keeper.

The gameplay is fairly similar to Super Monkey Ball. You control a blob of Mercury and you have to get from the start to the finish. At first, the levels are fairly linear. You just have to use the Wii’s motion controls to get across. Later levels turn into intricate puzzles where you have to bump the mercury across a corner to split it and then navigate through the level along both paths simultaneously while not letting any of them fall. The levels continue to get tougher and tougher as you move along so expect to have to retry many levels multiple times. You need to pay close attention to the primary colors and subsets since some levels will only allow you to complete them as a certain level. Once in a while there will be levels where you can be dead without even knowing it. This happens when you turned into the wrong color or left your Mercury pal behind.

One thing that the game doesn’t mention is that a certain levitation button reverses your direction. I died over a dozen times trying to perform the fall just right without realizing that I was only falling due to the reverse. Trust me, it wasn’t a very happy situation. There is a lot of strategy in this game and much more so than Monkey Ball. Monkey Ball’s still better though because I prefer the physical skill aspect to be the big focus. This game is good for making you play patiently as you think about the options, but sometimes you just want to rush in there and start completing levels. You won’t be able to do that very much in this title.

Still, it’s definitely a pretty calm game. It’s something you can play to relax or to compete with a friend over who has the firmer hand when navigating the tougher turns. There is apparently a party mode since I unlocked party games several times. I didn’t actually check out the mode, but I’ll probably play it at some point in the future. It’s a good thing to have for the replay value although the game has quite a lot of that already as it is. Going back to each level and trying to complete them with more Mercury is a fun way of adding a challenge. I’m not crazy about it being tied to the rest of the worlds, but considering that there is no story mode anyway, it’s a little less annoying than it would be otherwise. You’ll also want to grab the stars that are scattered in all of the levels to unlock more party games.

The graphics are simple and to the point. They’re pretty bright so you don’t have to worry about straining your eyes to see what is happening The only area where the graphics are lacking a bit is that it can be hard to tell what color your Mercury is at times. Yellow, Aqua, and Silver all look almost identical. It’s pretty crazy since Yellow and Silver should never look that similar. Beyond that, the graphics are good. They aren’t great, but they’re certainly passable for this game.

Surprisingly, the soundtrack is actually pretty good at times. It is annoying how the same victory theme plays for each level though. You’ll get annoyed by it fairly quick as it isn’t even a good tune. Seeing the Mercury try to dance around can also be fairly disturbing. Get rid of the victory theme and the music would be just about perfect in this game.

One of the crucial parts that made the game good was the fact that the controls are actually very smooth and responsive. You will rarely die because the controls forced you over the edge. That is very crucial because the whole game is about testing your steadiness and reaction times. Bad controls would defeat the purpose and make the game unfair. It’s especially impressive since most Wii games are downright terrible when it comes to this area.

There is only one kind of level that I didn’t like in this game. Those are the escort missions. As always, escorting someone is pretty annoying. You’re trying to get a square of jelly to step on a switch for you, but he doesn’t like to listen to reason and gets in your way as often as possible. There was one level with a green jelly who could KO you in one hit if you bumped into him. That guy was also very unforgiving and my best advice is to simply stay away from him. No good will come out of those levels and they’re not worth the time sink. Stick to the standard levels.

Overall, Mercury Meltdown Revolution is a game that is easily worth the 2-4 dollars that you’ll spend to get it. Having over 160 levels is quite the feat and none of them are copies either. The levels all feel distinct and offer their own original challenges within. Each level is an experience while you may not want to try and beat too many levels in one shot, you won’t burn out too quickly if you do. If you like puzzle games a lot, then I recommend this one. It is certainly no Professor Layton, but these challenges will still have you scratching your head. It’s the kind of game that I’d never buy for the original retail price, but it’s a fun brain teaser.

Overall 7/10