7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Wargroove Review


It’s time to look at a game I had never heard of prior to buying it. Still, the price was really good at Gamestop and I needed a third game for the buy 2 get 1 free sale so it made a lot of sense. It’s definitely a pretty fun game and definitely the most tactical one I’ve ever seen before. Before now I’d say that honor would have gone to Disgaea but this one has even more moving pieces. At a time you can have around 80 guys running around the board and if you forget about any of them it can spell big trouble down the line. This is also a pure tactical game so there are no level ups. That means there’s no way to train, you just have to come up with new strategies. One level in particular had me stumped for a while (6-2) to the point where I had to see what strategies people would use to conquer it. Seems like you have to move in very specific ways to beat that level. I don’t know how long it would have taken me to figure that out.

The game starts with a vampire appearing and murdering the king of a kingdom. His daughter finds out about this, but by then the kingdom has been overrun by the enemy and she is forced to flee with her trusted advisor. The two of them need to find some allies so they get ready to approach the other kingdoms for help. The only tricky part with this is that not all of the kingdoms get along and there are also a number of bandits who are around and ready to score some quick money. Mercia will have to keep her guard up, but she will not rest or relent until she has avenges her father and saved the Kingdom.

It’s a pretty direct plot and one that is filled with a lot of fun characters. It actually has a very Shantae type feel to me with the character designs and level layouts. At least that’s the vibe I got from it. Maybe it’s all the boats or the fact that one of our main allies is an undead veggie monster. Ragna, one of the main villains also looks a bit like Risky Boots. It’s a good ensemble cast and there are a lot of twists and turns. The vampire who murdered the King definitely gets a solid role and I would say that she is definitely the best villain. Prepare for a lot of infighting among the different groups though until they all come to an understanding.

There are 7 chapters in the game. Each chapter only has 2-3 levels but they can be quite hard in part because of how many characters and turns there are. Don’t expect to be breezing through this game. Interestingly though the game actually starts you off on hard mode by default. I highly recommend lowing it to standard unless you are very experienced in the genre. Otherwise it feels like you’re just making things more difficult on yourself for no real reason. Trust me, standard will still be a pretty big challenge for you right from the start. I like to say I’m pretty good at these strategy type games and some of these levels still had me stumped.

I didn’t really go into detail on the gameplay so here’s a brief description. The goal is to either take down the enemy commander or break their base. Sometimes your goal is also simply to escape rather than fighting at all. In each turn you can move your current units and have them attack enemies or capture bases. You obtain 100 gold coins every turn for every base you currently have occupied. The same goes for the opponent so one of the strategies here is to slowly weaken their forces while strengthening your own. Ultimately you want to press the attack and then you win. Each type of character you can summon has a different type and attack range. Some also have special abilities like healing. You want to have a few good anti air types to fend off the aerial assaults in later levels. Then you’ve also got water creatures and air fighters. All in all there are probably close to 300 different summons so budget your gold accordingly as you take them all on.

The gameplay is a lot more complex than that, but I think it gives you a good gist of what to expect. Personally I usually would focus on capturing a ton of bases and that would ultimately lead to a win. In some of the later levels though the best play is to completely ignore them and then just go for the base. On 6-2 which is the crazy level, the only way to beat it was to ultimately just skip most of the enemies and bases and just take the castle down directly. If you try to go for a skip strategy like that I highly recommend equipping a lot of dragons. I also like the golems, but they are super pricey so it takes a while to get them ready.

The graphics are pretty smooth. The art style is nice and it helps with the level designs as well. It’s all pretty clear and also helps make the gameplay more enjoyable. Believe it or not, graphics can make quite the difference there. The sound effects and ost are also solid. I think it would have been nice if we could have gotten full voice acting in this day and age though. Only a few sound bites here and there feels like something more from the GBA era than PS4. It’s also not like there were a ton of lines to go through here. Since each character did already have a voice, why not just give them a few more lines right? It’s a small thing, but I think it would have helped the experience as well.

Overall, Wargroove is definitely a pretty fun game and one that I would recommend. It takes tactics to a whole other level. The characters are good and the plot is enjoyable as well. The campaign is a decent length and there is a lot of replay value. You can work on getting all of the PS4 trophies as well as the epilogue. The game ends on a huge cliffhanger but since there is an epilogue to unlock I’m assuming that it will probably tie things over. That said, it would be really cool if we did get a sequel. I’d certainly keep a lookout for it. I need more experience with these strategy games so that would be the perfect way for me to get back into the mix. As long as you’re in the mood to really test yourself this is a brilliant game to check out!

Overall 7/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Disgaea: Hour of Darkness Review


It’s time to look at a pretty big RPG that I’ve had on the backburner for quite a while. Disgaea always looked like a blast and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. Most RPGs tend to languish for a while though as I focus on the shorter games, but it was time to finally just jump in and this game was worth the wait. The game definitely takes a lot of strategy and grinding levels to get through but it always feels like you are making good progress here.

The game follows the demon prince Laharl. His dad died when choking on a pretzel and Laharl nearly got assasinated in his sleep, but the assassin messed up and didn’t give him enough poison. Laharl is now determined to prove that he is the Overlord as the rightful son of the former king, but he will have to earn this respect by beating up all of the other demons. An angel named Flonne is sent to assassinate him but she can’t go through with it because it doesn’t seem like a holy thing to do. She is determined to prove that even demons can experience love and other emotions so she tags along with Laharl.

There’s a lot of plot in the game, but needless to say it involves a lot of big battles with the humans of Earth, the Angels of Celestia, and even other Demons. Along the way Laharl, Flonne, and Etna gradually become more like actual friends and we meet other party members as well. Can Laharl ensure Flonne’s safety through all of this or will he see this emotion as weakness and ultimately leave her on her own? He’ll have to face his many insecurities along the way in this journey.

The story’s definitely solid here. The game has a lot of fun with the various accents that the characters have. The Dark Adonis (Or Mid-Boss as the characters call him) definitely has the best voice. He’s a very quirky character but one that works quite well. A lot of his scenes are pretty fun. I like how he laughs with such confidence and you can always count on him showing up in various chapters. He’s also one of the most deadly bosses as losing to him will cause you to go all the way back to level 1 and have to replay the whole game. Just reset the console at this point, resetting the game is not worth it if you ask me. There isn’t really any benefit to going through multiple cycles.

The Defender of Earth, Gordon is also pretty fun. He has that very over the top hero voice that most shows use as a parody nowadays. He may not be very smart but his heart is in the right place. Some of his decisions towards the end of the game are questionable though and do hurt his character. Jennifer was fun, she’s definitely the real brains behind his team. She certainly likes to mess with Laharl a lot though. The only weak part of their trio and one of the weakest characters in the game is Thursday. He’s not nearly as entertaining although he has one or two good lines. He just takes way too long to get to the punchlines.

There are a solid array of villains here. I really don’t get the Seraph’s plan though. I can’t talk about the ending much so as not to give spoilers here, but the test wasn’t very good. It’s all a bit convoluted on his end and you can’t really justify any of it. The game has multiple endings so things will change a bit based on how you play the game. I got the standard ending which is definitely pretty emotional. I wasn’t expecting such a sad ending considering that there are a few sequels. So far they don’t seem to tie into this one very much though. It was a good emotional ending.

One side character that is a lot of fun is Kurtis. He doesn’t get a huge role but whenever he appears you know that something hype is about to go down. In general the game really turned up during this part of the game although all of the chapters were pretty fun. From the main 3 characters Flonne is the weakest one although she’s still reasonable. She’s definitely a bit on the naive side and can be quite pushy but she’s a nice friend to have. While I didn’t have a proper mage she was still reasonable for healing a bit at times.

Etna was another main character and she’s a blast. She narrates the next episode previews for most of them and likes trolling everyone. She’s completely unhinged so you never know if she will help out or stab you in the back. I suppose that makes sense for a demon though and Laharl always seems proud of her for that reason. She’s pretty entertaining and a good example of how to properly make a crazy character. Finally we have Laharl. He’s a bit whiny and self conscious because nobody ever pays him any respect but I liked him overall. He’s definitely quite powerful even if there are some enemies who are clearly above him in power. He may be the Overlord but that doesn’t make him the strongest. He gets a lot of development as the game goes on and we also get glimpses into his tragic past.

The gameplay is quite smooth. The levels can take a little while because of the nature of the game though. You command up to 10 characters at a time and levels can have up to 15 enemies. That’s 25 character turns you have to watch each time with unskippable animations for their attacks. It’s not as long as it sounds but that’s part of why you will be playing the game for around 30-40 hours. The game is quite long and there’s a huge post game to consider as well. This game can really last you just about forever if you stick around.

The level cap is 1000 which gives you a good indication of what to expect. One thing to note here is that equipment is more important than levels. Your top priority is absolutely getting the best gear you can. If you get stuck for a while on the final boss as I did then I recommend capturing some enemies and selling their equipment. It’s a great way to earn cash. There’s a lot of features I haven’t even touched on here like the Dark Assembly where you bribe senators. There’s a ton of things to do in this game but there are a lot of tutorials to help you out. It’s easily the most complex game I’ve played in a while and the best part about that is you really have a ton of freedom to play it however you like.

The graphics are pretty solid here. The animations are really good and some of the attacks get quite out there. It’s like you’re watching DBZ at times. Then the soundtrack is pretty catchy too. You’ll know the themes quite well by the end of the game but that doesn’t make them any less exciting. This is really a very well balanced game. There are no weak links to be had and it’s part of why I jumped right into the sequel. I’ll have a review for that one up as soon as I complete it.

Overall, Disgaea: Hour of Darkness was really a great start to the franchise. It’s a pretty long RPG so you really have time to get used to all of the characters and master your Xcom skills. This kind of strategic gameplay is really satisfying to get through. You do need to really enjoy the gameplay to really get the most out of this game because replaying levels is effectively mandatory here. There’s no way you can beat the game without getting some good level ups and equipment. I probably spent almost half of my play time replaying levels and the final boss was still a real challenge. How difficult the game is will depend on how you build your team though. The best part of Disgaea is that you can play it hundreds of different ways with some loadouts being better than others. My mistake was not having a mage on my side which I made sure not to repeat in the sequel.

Overall 8/10

8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle Review


It’s time to look at a Mario game that came out quite a while ago. This was back during the first days of the Switch. I nearly got the game back then, but ultimately Fire Emblem Warriors won out and so this one took the backseat for a long time. After finally playing it I can definitely confirm that this game is a lot of fun. The plot may not be all that solid, but as every other aspect of the game is on point it's definitely easy to get into this one. There aren't a whole lot of strategy games quite like this one.

The main plot is that the Rabbids have infected Mario's world. They are contaminating everything and in particular this can be traced back to one Rabbid who has on a pair of glasses that allows him to manipulate reality. It'll be tough for Mario and pals to deal with this, but they are ready nonetheless. Bowser Jr. wants this rabbid for his own purposes as well though so the heroes will have to contend with him. Fortunately Mario and the gang have arm cannons now so they can blast away at any who would dare oppose them. It's definitely handy to have a long range weapon like this.

So in this game you control 3 characters at a time. You're put on an overhead map much like Fire Emblem and the goal is to strike at the enemies. Well, most levels are about defeating all of the enemies but some are simply about getting to the goal at the end. It's a turn based system and when it's your turn you are able to make a movement, launch an attack, and use a special ability. Once you've finished moving all 3 of your fighters then the opponent gets to have their turn. The villains can sometimes have up to 8 people on a team so they get a lot of turns in a row. Ideally you want to always be hiding behind a rock or something as otherwise they'll finish you off very quickly.

You always want to be thinking one or more turns ahead of the match. You also have to take into account that there are some variable features to look out for like critical hits or moves that have a special element to them. Usually it will work in your favor, but that won't always be the case. I hadn't played an Xcom game quite as advanced as this one before. The one I had played previously was on the GBA and it's definitely not as intricate. I can definitely confirm that I like this system. It's pretty fun and definitely challenging. You won't be fast blasting through this game so easily.

That said, as long as you patiently look at the enemy patterns then you'll be okay. I certainly did die a few times along the way, but after a loss you will always have a better idea of what to expect the second time around. Usually my plan was to keep my 3 members pretty close to each other so we'd overwhelm the opponents when they got close. My go to team was Mario, Peach, and Rabbid Peach. With two healers on your team you're ready to go for the win. Not to mention that the healers can also survive on their own for a while. There are multiple battles where 2 of my teammates died and I was fighting 2v1 or 3v1.

One of the most hype moments came during the final boss battle as rabbid Peach was the only one left against 4 of the big bruisers and the final boss. It was intense and it took me 22 turns because I had to rely on running and gunning it, but it all worked out. It was definitely a pretty intense boss battle. I did manage to beat it in one try, but it's no walk in the park. Going slow was really all I could do in order to ensure that I got the victory.

I also tried other characters along the way like Luigi and Yoshi. Luigi's pretty handy, but he feels like a glass cannon. Often times he would be the first one to be defeated. Then you've got Yoshi who is pretty good and a nice power hitter, but I just really needed two healers on my team. Only having one made things tricky. That's also because Peach tends to hit people with collateral damage a lot. I really love her high attack power, but with her eagle eye skill she would end up hitting me pretty much as often as she would hit the villains. The damage adds up very quickly and she is partially why Mario died after 1-2 turns in the final boss level. Gotta keep an eye on her cannon.

The graphics are definitely pretty sharp here. The colors are vibrant and the cutscenes that we get look really good. I can't say that I'm surprised since Ubisoft always runs a pretty tight ship. The same can be said for Mario games in general so there was no way this one wasn't going to look good. The soundtrack isn't quite as good as most Mario games, but maybe that's the Rabbid influence. It works well enough I suppose.

There's definitely a lot of replay value here as beating the story is just the beginning. There are many challenges to conquer and new areas to explore. There are also a lot of collectibles scattered across the levels so getting those will take a while. The main story is also pretty long. It's hard to say how long it took me to complete this one but it was at least 10 hours and likely quite a bit more. My Switch won't show the play time yet since it's still too new, but it'll show soon and then I'll upload that stat to the rankings. The game has also had quite a bit of DLC so you've got a good amount of content to work through once you play this title.

While the plot is still "Mario" I do appreciate the fact that there is a lot more dialogue than usual here. It gives the characters more personality and I'd like to see more of this in an actual Mario platformer title. The extra story details and such would definitely help and without the Rabbids to distract you it could really go far. Fans of Bowser may be a little sad at his portrayal here, but while he doesn't look tough it was nice to see him as the considerate father figure to Bowser Jr. In general Bowser always seems like a nice guy aside from the whole kidnapping Peach thing. Not really something you can overlook though.

Overall, Mario + Rabbids is definitely a successful experiment. Of course, that's mainly attributed to the gameplay. I'd definitely like to see more Mario games adopt this style. I can see how it would be a little tough for kids, but they do have an assist built into all of the levels where you can start the match with extra health for all of the characters. I think that should help the kids get through it a little easier. I definitely recommend not using that feature though because it will take away from your ability to adapt to the level. If you've got a crutch like extra health then you simply won't see the point in honing your skills. If you haven't played this game yet then you should change that. It'll give you a run for your money.

Overall 8/10