6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wario’s Woods Review

It’s time to look at another classic NES game from a while back. It’s pretty neat that Wario actually got his own game so long ago. Personally I wouldn’t have really expected that. The guy’s popular but even Luigi has only had a handful of games in his career and he’s a lot more popular than Wario. This game’s pretty fun. It’s basically a slightly different take on the Dr Mario series and that works out pretty well. I prefer Dr Mario but this one has an actual story which is cool. The story isn’t deeper than just a handful of cutscenes every once in a while but they’re still pretty cool. I’ll take what I can get.

The gameplay is all about matching the objects and destroying all of the monsters. To defeat a monster you have to match it with 2 blocks of the same color. One of those blocks has to be a bomb and then you’ve got 3 objects in a row of the same color. When you get a match then all 3 objects are destroyed and you rinse and repeat as more blocks appear. New blocks constantly fall from the ceiling so you have to move quickly. If the blocks make it all the way to the top then you’ll have lost as an energy blast instantly zaps you into oblivion. Trust me, it’s not a fate that you will want to experience. At times Wario will take control of the stage and will make the ceiling start falling towards you. That is when the stages are at their hardest so keep on matching. One thing to take note of is that you can match blocks diagonally as well so keep that in mind.

Eventually the monsters themselves get a little more powerful. The only way to defeat them is through the diagonal option and that gets really hard to do when there are monsters everywhere. Other monsters can regenerate so you have to blow them up twice within a short span of time. If you only blow them up once they go back to full power. So there is definitely an increase in difficulty to the point where the final levels are incredibly difficult. It took me around an hour just to knock out 2 near the end. Ultimately I made it to level 60 out of 99. That’s pretty good progress I’d say and kudos to anyone who made it to the end. It’s definitely a lot more difficult than it would appear.

You’ll figure out little tricks as you play the game though. You can quickly grab and then drop a piece while still moving so you sort of cheat the gravity effect. You can jump on top of a bunch of blocks by holding up when lifting a lot of them. Sometimes you will match some blocks you didn’t even know were there while jumping and placing. That’s because the blocks only have to match for an instant in order to count so sometimes I recommend just running around and seeing what sticks. It’s a method that can prove to be most useful.

The graphics are solid. I like the animations and how everyone looks. Wario definitely appears as more of a villain than usual that’s for sure. The presentation is just solid with everything appearing clearly. You won’t have any issue with wondering what is going on in the screen. The soundtrack is more on the generic side, but catchy nonetheless. It’s an easy beat to listen too as you try to make the connections. Wario’s Woods is definitely a soothing game even though it’s very difficult. You can always try again and again until you have it beat.

The amount of content here is also impressive. 99 distinct levels is more than even most modern games would supply. It’s impressive and you don’t really need any replay value other than that. There are some other modes here like a Vs. mode though so you’ve got options. I’m surprised Wario’s Woods never got a sequel or some kind of re-release. I feel like there would be a market for it and you can be sure that it would work quite well as a mobile title. Just look at Dr. Mario. That was one of Nintendo’s better mobile titles if you ask me.

Overall, Wario’s Woods is pretty fun. I appreciate the extra development time they clearly put into this. This is a game that has aged well. If you plan to play the game all the way to the end then definitely expect to stick with this one for quite a while. It’s just fun to play and the kind of game that you can plug in at any time. The fundamentals will come back to you pretty quickly but you will want to play it a lot to keep your speed up. The faster you match the objects the better in order to increase your score and make it up to the end.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Gradius Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 5/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Volleyball Review

Now it’s time to look at the next sport game on the NES. This time it’s good ole Volleyball which is another sport that I haven’t gotten to play a whole lot in video game format. The best one I can think of is the minigame from Mario Party 4 or 5. I think it was 4, but I’m not positive. I thought that one had really good mechanics and I would go as far as to say that it was the definitive volleyball game. This one also does a good job though and can get quite fun by the end of the journey. Once you get the controls down then you’ll be ready to have some fun.

The whole game revolves around the match of course, but for some reason I wasn’t able to move or change the settings in the main menu. It would only let me enter and then I could move which was odd. It’s almost like only part of the game could be licensed but maybe it was just my controller acting up. You can never really tell sometimes but either way I thought it was pretty odd. Well, in the games I lost the first few rounds pretty badly because I just couldn’t rebound the ball. It’s very difficult to determine where it will land as I found the shadow to not be all that reliable. As you play you’ll get a better eye for it though. Eventually I was able to go on the offensive and score points.

Ultimately I didn’t win any of the matches but I gave them a good run for their money. I found the best strategy was to run up to the net and jump to block the shots at times. It only got dicey when they would change up the timing but it worked better than just waiting for their shot to arrive. Once you have possession of the serve it’s also easier to go on a roll and keep the momentum. When they serve it can be difficult since even returning the opening serve can be very difficult. It is always pretty impressive to see how difficult these old games were. Then when you factor in the no save feature part it would really be dicey. I imagine you would usually be playing this with friends though so hopefully that would force you to keep getting better.

The gameplay is executed pretty well even if difficult though. You feel like the developers did understand the crucial elements of Volleyball as they incorporated them into the game. The graphics are also pretty sound. There are a good amount of details added to the backgrounds and in the game. It all looks pretty smooth and deserves a spot as one of the better NES games that I played. I’d definitely be up for more Volleyball games in the future. A Mario Volleyball would probably be a very fun adventure and Nintendo should go back to making more sport games. If they dabbled with new sports that they hadn’t made a full game for I think they would sell quite well. Bring in Volleyball, Basketball, and Football. None of those have had a full home console release before.

Overall, Volleyball is a straight forward game that was executed very well. You’ll be able to jump right into the action and have a blast here. I’d have liked some more stage options and variety but the gameplay is definitely the most important element at the end of the day and it is quite sound. It has more replay value than a lot of the other sport games that I’ve played on the NES. If you’ve got the Switch Online then you should definitely check it out. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much fun it is.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Dodge Ball Review

It’s time for another retro NES game and I have to give this one major props for actually going above and beyond the game. You actually get to travel to another dimension in the final levels and the game gets a bit supernatural. I mean, you’re probably not playing a Dodge Ball game for that, but it’s still a nice addition if you ask me. You get to fight all of the other countries during the Arcade Mode and the final boss takes you into space. Then there is an extra bonus challenge where you fight zombie versions of your characters. It’s like looking into a mirror and fighting your distortions which I was not expecting in a game called Super Dodge Ball.

In a way the retro sprite style helps to build the atmosphere. It’s like how Undertale changed the game for most people with what you could do with sprites because of the atmosphere. It’s possible that if this game was more polished it wouldn’t look quite as intriguing with the backdrops because maybe it’s not meant to be space or your shadows in the final level. It’s all in how you interpret it, but I was definitely impressed. The gameplay took a little time to get used to though. I had to look up the controls online but after that I was ready to dominate. It’s actually a lot of fun and I always thought Dodge Ball looked pretty fun in real life as well.

The goal is of course to tag your opponent with a dodge ball at top speed which will take some of their health away. You win when you’ve tagged all 3 of your opponents enough times for them to be knocked out. When they throw the ball your two options are to catch the ball or dodge. Catching is the best way to counter though because dodging usually lets the ball get back to the opponent on a convenient bounce. Also in this ruleset catching the ball doesn’t tag out the guy who threw it, but it does give you possession back which is very helpful. The controls are also pretty in depth with each character having several super moves.

You can use a running start to throw a softball at the opponent or you can jump and fire a spiral shot. There are quite a few moves but my favorite is the running jump super charge. If you land that you can deal around 30 damage compared to 2-3 for standard shots. It’s also hard for the opponent to dodge. If someone tries it on you I recommend trying to jump out of the way. You can jump really hard in this game but the catch is that you can’t move after jumping so if they pretend to throw but don’t then you could be in quite a bit of trouble there. It gives the game extra depth.

I think you can already see why this is one of the better NES sport games. For sure I can say that it has more personality than a lot of the others and you can really feel the care and passion behind this one. The gameplay is actually a lot of fun once you really get the hang of it so I recommend looking up the controls to make sure you enjoy this one. If you don’t know how to play then there is definitely the chance that you will give it a thumbs down and that would be unfortunate.

Overall, Super Dodge Ball is a fun title. The length and amount of content are naturally quite limited, but even if you just play it for a quick playthrough it’s worth the experience. There aren’t a lot of dodge ball games out there so it’s also pretty unique which is a plus as well. Throw in the fact that there is virtually a story mode and you’ve got yourself a winner here. This is definitely one NES game that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.

Overall 6/10

6 Star Movies, Game Reviews, Live Action Movies, Reviews

Soccer Review

It’s time to go further back in time to the NES. Now that I’ve played through all of the non story based SNES games it’s time to do the same for the NES. I’ve got over 30 titles to work on for this console so I imagine this will take some time to wrap up. What better way to start than with Soccer since I played Super Soccer pretty recently? I actually preferred this one to the super version. It may be less intricate but sometimes less is more. I felt like this version was just a lot more fun. It was very entertaining and that’s what counts.

The only real mode here is playing Soccer of course although you can play it single player or multiplayer. The goal is to kick the ball into the other team’s net of course. You can run, pass, and kick the ball. That’s it so the rest is up to your skills. Try to run in front of the opponent and you’ll be able to steal their shot. I played on the various difficulties and wrecked the opponent twice on 1, but lost on the higher levels. The game can be quite challenging but it’s very fast paced which I like. You can keep on running up and down the field until you manage to score.

One tactic that worked to me was shooting the ball at the opponent even when I was way too far. This allowed me to run in and get the ball again where I now had a better shot. The opponents usually wouldn’t try for the ball once I had shot it which I found interesting. That may be an exploit or something, I’m not sure but it was effective. On higher difficulties it was less useful since the computers would steal the ball as soon as I obtained it anyway. They were quite relentless and it was just hard to keep up with them at all. It’s almost like they had super speed although I don’t think the computer was cheating or anything. They just had the controls totally mastered.

The graphics aren’t very good or anything, but this is a very old game. All of the sprites have minimal details on them but you can always tell what is happening on screen which is the important part. The backgrounds for the stage is interesting but I would have liked more of a variety. I only saw one stage but maybe there is a way to switch it somewhere. There really isn’t much of a soundtrack so don’t count on that. This isn’t that kind of game.

Overall, Soccer is a fun game. If I had to explain why I preferred it to the sequel, I’d say it’s because I felt like I was more in control here. The fundamental gameplay here was on point and I took quite a lot of shots until I got the goals in. It’s all about try, try again until you make it. You can keep running in front of the ball when the goalie throws it out so effectively you can take unlimited shots. It was pretty satisfying to launch this but it is tricky to get the timing just right. I can see myself having a good amount of fun here and if you like Soccer then I definitely recommend giving it a spin. You may be surprised at how good such an old game can be.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Smash Tennis Review

It’s time to look at a SNES game from a while back. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of sport titles because you really get to feel what it’s like to play the actual sport. You feel energy and excitement while scoring points and claiming victory. Really the only way a sport game can go wrong is if the controls aren’t all that good or the sport it is based off of is one that I’m not really a big fan of. This one suffers from the controls.

There aren’t a lot of modes or anything here but as it is an SNES game that should be expected. You really are here to play some good tennis and have fun along the way. You can play against a friend locally or against the computers online. That’s really it so just keep on playing for as long as you’re entertained. The game is free with the Switch Online anyway so that’s always a good benefit. The gameplay is pretty straight forward. Be sure to hit the ball when it gets close to you and the goal is to hit it in a way where the opponent can’t counter it. Furthermore, you can’t hit it too far out of range or it’ll be “out” and the opponent will gain a point.

Typically this is fairly easy to not do, but in this game it is pretty challenging. You’ve got to be very careful in what direction you are tilting the control stick because it’s very easy to hit the ball out of bounds. It seems like holding in any direction will bring some issues with this. At the same time if you just hit the ball straight then the opponent will certainly hit it back at you so as always there has to be some balance here. I played 5-6 games as each match goes by very quickly. Unfortunately I was only able to score a few points at best as the opponent would thoroughly take me apart in each round. He was really not holding anything back here.

You can take solace in the fact that this game is not a walk in the park. You are going to have to play seriously if you want to beat the computer even on a standard setting. They react to the ball very quickly and are totally comfortable with returning the ball even from rather complex angles. The graphics are fun enough. I like the fact that we have background elements in all of the levels which make them pretty unique. You can go from playing inside of a mall to being on the beach to resting at the park. There are a reasonable number of stages and they’re all pretty different so that’s pretty impressive. I can’t say that I was expecting a whole lot of variety here.

Overall, Smash Tennis is a fairly standard tennis game for its time, but compared to modern ones it’s pretty lackluster. I don’t really mind the lack of content so much as that is perfectly understandable, but the gameplay could have been a lot tighter. A lot of times you’ll feel like you hit the ball in time and it’ll still get past you. It feels like a losing battle from the start. No game is impossible because they are play tested and all, but a little more refinement would go a long way. As it stands I’d definitely say to check it out because it’s free so you may as well. At the same time I don’t see you spending more than an hour or two here. Not when something like Virtua Tennis exists.

Overall 5/10