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Ninja JaJaMaru-kun Review


This is one of those games that is quietly very good. It has a bit of a Donkey Kong feel to it as you run through vertical levels as you take the enemy ninjas down. The main villain has the heroine trapped up at the top so when you reach her it becomes your job to take this guy down. The game loops very quickly so it’s pretty short but still makes for a fun little time. The length would be more of an issue if this was a newer game.

The gameplay essentially has 2 controls. You can throw shurikens up or in front of you and you can jump. That’s pretty much it so from there it’s up to you to use your abilities as quickly as you can. It can be difficult to take on some of the enemies straight up so I recommend retreating often. For example you can only shoot one shuriken at a time while most of the enemies can shoot two. So wait until they are nearly off screen and then shoot since they probably won’t be able to react. Additionally you can also jump on most enemies which makes them unable to use their attacks.

Jumping gets more and more useful as you go through the levels to the point where you probably won’t use many other options after a while. Jumping is just the best course of action. At times the villains move so quickly that you can expect to die a lot before you get used to the speed. Fortunately that’s what the rewinding and access points are for. It must have been quite the challenge when it first came out though. Reacting to those guys is really difficult.

The graphics are pretty good. It’s not super detailed or anything but you do see what they are going for here and you always know what is happening. At the end of the day that is definitely the important part. The soundtrack is fairly limited but the main theme is catchy which is really what matters in the end. Ultimately it’s a good package.

With arcade type games like this the most important factor is always making sure that the game is fun and has a lot of replay value. I would say this is achieved here so it gets a positive score in the end. It would be nice to have a little more depth to it but at the end of the day this is effectively an arcade game after all. It’s not like you could add everything to it.

While the game does loop almost immediately it is worth pointing out that new enemies continue to show up until you get to around the 3rd loop. Not saying that’s enough to keep on playing but it’s at least good to know. The enemies continue getting tougher and tougher by the end. There’s even a loose fireball that starts to show up and naturally letting it hit you is fatal so definitely don’t do that. You want to stay one step ahead at all costs.

Overall, This is a solid game that I would recommend if you have the Switch Online service. It really does feel like an alternate version of Donkey Kong which is pretty interesting. The throwing stars makes for a good weapon while keeping in the Mario jumping mechanics. When you have all of those options at your disposal you really can’t go wrong right? I could see there being some potential in a 3D remake of this someday. In the meantime, playing through this title at least once is a good idea.

Overall 6/10

Joe & Mac Review


It’s time for another platforming adventure. Joe & Mac is essentially the bargain bin version of Mario and Luigi but it actually holds up a little better than expected. I’ve played my share of caveman type adventures over the years and this one is a lot smoother than the competition. It’s fairly short and never really threatened the bigger players but it makes for a fun little playthrough.

The general plot is that a bunch of giant animals and a wizard have kidnapped all the cavewomen in the tribe. Joe and Mac must now head out to save them. Each level has you defeat a giant dinosaur/creature at the end and you save one person at a time. There are 10-13 levels in the game so it’s fairly quick since each level is around the length of your average platformer. Watch out also as you don’t get unlimited game overs. Lose all your lives too many times and there is no way back. Instead you will just have to endure your defeat.

Of course as this is on the Switch Online you are able to rewind as needed so you should never be in any true danger. Just be ready to back out at any given moment. Some of the bosses can be rather intense although at the same time I would also call them easy to exploit. Just hide under the head a lot of times and they just can’t reach you. Pretty good deal right? Occasionally they will mix things up a bit so you just need to be able to react and get out of there as soon as possible.

When it comes to the graphics the game certainly looks good as you would expect. The stages look solid and there’s a lot of variety throughout the game. The enemy bosses look good but they do tend to reuse the same bosses a few times. Since the game is so short this is very noticeable. The game probably won’t last you much longer than an hour so when you see the same boss it’s impossible to miss.

Now when it comes to the main characters I wouldn’t say they are very likable but this is the kind of game that’s not really character driven anyway. You should be able to just completely ignore them as it is. The gameplay is what you’re here for. Come to think of it, I haven’t really gone into the gameplay yet so I should do that now.

It’s a classic platformer where you have to jump and smash your way to the end. You have a club by default but you can unlock various power ups based on the items you pick up from a box. This includes boomerangs, stone discs, and even fire balls. The best item here is definitely the throwing stones. You can spam these and they deal a lot of damage. I highly recommend holding onto these as long as possible. That makes things tricky if anything because you will want to actively try to avoid the other power ups which is a little different compared to the other games.

It’s an odd feeling when you are trying to not allow yourself to get power ups. It’s not too hard to avoid them though so you should be good. As for the minions, it can be difficult to hit them without taking any damage so keep that in mind. Try to stay from afar or even skip them if needed. They don’t drop food all that often after all so a lot of times hitting them is really just putting unnecessary risk on yourself the whole time.

This is really why the game stands out. The gameplay actually feels like a big Nintendo game. The controls are very responsive. The only thing that takes some getting used to is how the characters keep their momentum when jumping. It can be a little difficult to stop on a dime or change direction. It’s not a bad thing per say, it’s just not quite what you’re used to in a platforming title. Once you get the hang of this then you are definitely set for the rest of the way.

Due to the straight forward nature of the game there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about with it. It would be nice to see this game get a sequel I suppose but at the same time since Nintendo can easily make a high quality game they may as well make a whole new franchise with this style of gameplay. The caveman era never really made for the most interesting saga if you ask me so changing things up would definitely be for the best.

Overall, Joe & Mac is definitely a game you don’t want to miss out on if you have the Switch Online. It’s a well balanced platformer that should keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. It’s definitely a short title so it won’t take you very long to beat it but you’ll have a good time. Considering that it’s free if you have the Switch Online, it’s a pretty good deal.

Overall 7/10

Prehistorik Man Review


With Prehistorik Man out of the way I am once again caught up on the new SNES games to hit the service. Hopefully Nintendo speeds things up a bit because I want more games to check out. Well, this one’s definitely not as good as you would have expected given the platforming nature of the game. I’ve always considered the platforming genre to be one of the safer ones out there due in part to the fact that as long as you can move and jump the gameplay should continue to work from there. Unfortunately the issue here is that it decides to add some exploration elements to the game which really backfire. You don’t want to do that, trust me.

The basic plot of the game is that the local village is running out of food. Additionally one of the cavewomen has been kidnapped as well. The main character will now have to search the land to save her and while he is on the journey he is also tasked with bringing back a lot of food so that the village can thrive. It’s a big mission but one that he is absolutely ready to conquer. The world definitely does not realize that it is about to witness the birth of an ultimate hero. This guy doesn’t have a lot of personality though. He’s very similar to Crash. The hero is always grinning but he doesn’t actually seem to understand what is going on. It may be for the best since the chief is always insulting him.

On its surface the game has pretty pleasant gameplay and solid levels. You have to jump around until you reach the goal and you can also attack enemies with your club or even with projectiles at times. The levels are quite large so expect to be moving around a lot. Now this is where the game fumbles the ball at the end. In some levels instead of making it to the end you have to find a pair of keys or a firefly. Doing so takes a long time as you navigate the level only to realize they cannot be found. That’s when you do several laps around the place until you finally find the little corner the objective was hiding in. If you ask me the game should not have had the collection element in. It would ultimately just end up being rather tedious the whole time. Then you’ve also got some levels where the design isn’t very good.

For example there’s a fire level where you have to keep moving forward but eventually there is nowhere left to go. Well, the answer was you had to use the club to strike at a specific part of the tree which could be broken. This was definitely something that came out of nowhere and would have been difficult to realize on your own. Additionally there are invisible platforms which don’t appear until you strike at the air itself. Now that just comes across as rather cheesy.

So when you add all of those elements up it definitely had an immediate effect on the game’s quality itself. Instead of being a solid 7 and going on its way the game managed to lose 2 stars just like that. Definitely not a good look for the game in the slightest. It’s just not designed very well and a platformer is so hard to mess up ordinarily that it becomes quite noticeable. It’s not as if the story is especially strong to hold it up either. It’s rather plain but standard for a platformer.

As for the graphics, those are pretty good. The game feels a whole lot like the Donkey Kong Country titles. It has a very similar graphical style, sound effects, and even text boxes. I feel like perhaps this was originally being developed as a DK game and then at some point they had to scrap the process but they kept it around just in case as a whole new game. It makes a good amount of sense at the very least even though it was never confirmed. The soundtrack has a similar energy to that as well and works with the stages. On a technical level I definitely have no complaints with the game.

The game’s length is a bit more impressive than a lot of the other SNES games. This should last you close to 3 hours I would expect. Particularly since you should get lost at least once while playing through the game. I wouldn’t say there is any replay value here though. Once you complete the game then that’s basically it. Don’t expect you will be coming back for more. Considering that it’s free with the Switch Online though that’s not too bad.

Overall, Prehistorik Man could have been a lot better than it was. It got too tricky for its own good with how the game was handled. Having to go and find things is just not a very useful way of getting the level objectives across. It slows down the flow of the title and works completely against everything the game was trying to accomplish. If you want to make a platformer then you design solid levels and let the player jump to the end. If you want to do a puzzle game then you can do that but mixing the two is not something I would recommend. Definitely give this one a skip as almost any other platformer surpasses this one.

Overall 5/10

Psycho Dream Review


Next up in the review ranks is a game that throws in some good sci-fi angles at us. Psycho Dream is fairly short but has good gameplay and a solid story. Of course with a game like this it is quite interpretive so to an extent you get to decide what the plot is. If you were to look up the game’s plot online I’m sure you could come away with a definitive answer but purely from the game’s context a girl has been kidnapped and now you need to find her. The main character has a pretty cool suit. He looks kind of like a ninja and with the way he’s running around that may not really be on base. Either way this made for a great setup to start the game.

This rescue won’t be easy though. For starters there are a bunch of giant monsters running around. The whole game plays out like a dream with each world getting weirder than the last. It’s nice because the game is able to go all out with the graphics. The level designs are very creative. You get to visit a whole assortment of places and the bosses all have fun designs as well. You definitely won’t get lost or anything while you run around the levels. It’s all pretty straight forward. As for the gameplay, it’s in 2D. You have various weapons at your disposal such as a blade or even laser blasts. Throughout the levels you are able to change and upgrade your weapons to fit the situation.

This is one game where I would say that it’s not always good to power up though. The best weapon you can get is one where you can use your sword and then your energy blasts nonstop. Unfortunately the middle power ups just have one laser which doesn’t cover nearly the area that the blade can. Most times you are better off just sticking with the blade. It doesn’t deal the most damage and it isn’t the fastest weapon but it’s definitely one that you ca count on to get you some nice wins. It has a good reach for every boss you may end up coming across so I’d say it’s the most consistent weapon.

There’s certainly room for a sequel with how suddenly the game ends. Who knows, maybe there is already a sequel out there somewhere since this game is so old. At the very least from the new SNES games added to the collection this would definitely have to be one of the higher recommendations. You can beat it in around an hour or so and there is no replay value so you really just need to have fun on the opening playthrough and then you’ll be set. I don’t see why you wouldn’t though, all of the fundamentals are intact.

The soundtrack isn’t very memorable but I want to say it was decent. I would have probably given it some more rock tunes or fast paced techno to fit in with the game’s layout. Imagine jumping across the platforms in the final boss fight while you’re getting really intense battle music. I think that would have worked out rather well if you ask me. Definitely a good way to amp up the game but it’s a solid all around title either way. It’s an hour where you should have a blast. The game is reasonably difficult. It’s not as tough as Doomsday Warrior but you still can’t go in expecting to walk all over the game or you will definitely be in for a surprise there.

Overall, Psycho Dream goes all out with making sure this is a very original video game experience. It does a great job of making itself standout among the crowd. There just weren’t a lot of games in this era that looked quite like this one. The only thing I’d say against the game is that I don’t get why the laser is so weak. I feel like all power ups should be stronger than the original weapon. It feels like a trap if you get a power up because then you may be stuck fighting an enemy who is too powerful when it should be the opposite. It’s just a little odd having to recommend you keep your initial weapon but that is the case here.

Overall 7/10

Doomsday Warrior Review


The SNES certainly had quite a few fighting games back in the day. Doomsday Warrior is one of those titles that you probably won’t remember for very long because it doesn’t do a whole lot to stand out. I’ll give it props for having a real story though so you at least have a little something aside from the actual combat. The game is also a lot more difficult than you would first suspect as well. It’ll take a lot of fundamentals to complete the game. Still, it’s a good game in the end and worth playing through.

You get to choose from several different characters. I picked the one who looked the most like he would be the lead. Then like in a Mega Man game you choose who you will want to fight. After you beat the main 8 enemies that’s where things get interesting. You get to fight a dark version of yourself as well as two cosmic beings. Then you face off with the final boss who suspiciously looks like he may be your father. That leads to a solid epilogue. So the story is rather good. It’s basic of course and there aren’t a whole lot of cutscenes but I don’t expect you would have really been thinking it would be more than that. For its time and given the genre I was pretty satisfied with this. The climax actually felt like a real one you could see in an RPG.

The gameplay is a bit of a weak link for the game though and that’s not good when you’re a fighting game. I would say the main issue is just that it is not very inspired. The attacks are all rather cookie cutter and plain. There isn’t anything that really helps this game stand out. Part of the difficulty is also in the fact that the attacks have a very short range and the computer is always able to jump in and land the right blow at the right time. Short of stopping time and freezing them in each encounter you won’t be able to do a whole lot. Some characters at least have one basic special move though which I appreciate. It at least spices things up a little bit. Maybe making the gameplay a little faster would have helped too. At the end of the day all I can say is that it didn’t click as well as you would expect.

I still enjoyed the style but as it felt weaker that is the main thing that kept this game from getting the solid 7. Additionally I wouldn’t say the replay value is incredibly high. You can beat the game as the rest of the characters I suppose which should be pretty fun in itself but I’m not sure if that would be quite enough to push it into the next tier. Most likely after you complete the game with one character you will be ready to call it a day and move onto the next game.

As for the graphics, those are fairly decent. The illustrations at the end of the game have good art which is nice. In the actual gameplay there isn’t a ton of detail but what we have there looks good. The soundtrack is a little forgettable but it’s not bad. That’s really what describes most of the game. It’s not bad and it is good in the end but it just doesn’t stick out. Only being good when there are so many other fighting games to try out is a pretty dangerous spot to be in. You really need to stick out at this point.

Overall, Doomsday Warrior is a good fighting game, but one that won’t last you a whole lot of time. The character roster is fairly small and there isn’t a whole lot of reason to go back and replay the game more than once. I will say that the characters had fun designs though. One of them reminded me of Chaos Zero from Sonic. These guys all feel rather different which is especially important if the game only has a handful of characters to choose from. If you have the Switch Online service then I would recommend checking this game out. If you don’t have it then I would say that it’s probably time to keep moving. This isn’t the kind of game you would buy a whole service for. I do think there’s a lot of potential here for a remake or a film someday. The core plot seems interesting and any action plot that involves robots, aliens, and monsters has to have potential.

Overall 6/10