Cave Story 3D Review

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Cave Story is a retro side scroller that was a pretty big deal when it came out for the 3DS. I remember seeing it all the time back in the day. After all these many years I finally got to play it and it is definitely a pretty solid title. It has a good amount of difficulty which should challenge and frustrate even the most skilled players of the genre.

The game starts off with two “kids” (seemingly) chatting through their computers. One of them is locked up in a hut while the other one has managed to escape from the villain organization. Their predicament still isn’t great though as the villains are looking to kidnap Sue again. (The one who escaped) Fortunately, a Robotic soldier from the surface has shown up and decides to help these guys out. He will stop the nefarious organization and save the world. This soldier may be brave but is he up to the challenge?

One thing you’ll notice right away as you play the game is that the title is very cryptic. You are kept on a need to know basis as everyone makes references to past events or tell you parts of stories that you have to fill in on your own. As you talk to more and more NPCs you will likely have more and more questions. The game is definitely trying to set up a lot of lore and I’m sure it was fun for some people to decipher it all and put it in a wiki. I’ve always been content to figure stuff out in my own as well and don’t think the game/any form of media should spoon feed you all of the info. Let us figure out most of it on our own and only give the really crucial parts.

The gameplay is like the classic Mega Man games. It’s primarily run and gun as you go through the levels. It is part RPG though so it’s not as simple as merely running to the goal each time. You will have to talk to people and go back and forth to get the necessary items to carry on. The backtracking isn’t all that extensive though so I wouldn’t really worry about that part. You start out with a classic beam gun and quickly get missiles. How the game works is each gun starts out at level 1 and can be upgraded to level 3. Enemies drop the energy that you use to power up the weapon. Taking any damage will then cause you to lose the energy. Thus, the game highly rewards a patient approach as you try to clear the game without really getting hit. You gather energy quickly so it’s not as if you can’t afford to get hit but I like to see how long I can last. One thing to note is that level 3 of the upgraded machine gun you get later on allows you to fly by shooting at the ground. Unlike the jet pack, you can fly forever this way once you also get the quick ammo reload power up. There is apparently also a powered up Jetpack you can obtain which may do the same thing but I never found it so this is a great alternative. As you play you will have to decide which weapons you really want to level up. You can level them all up of course but there is rarely a need too. Some abilities like the sword slash feel like weaker alternatives to your regular weapons anyway.

Each boss has patterns that you can learn and exploit through experience and quick reactions like the Mega Man games. There doesn’t seem to be much RNG (if any) in this title which is good since it comes down to skill. Even then I was glad that we got consistent save points throughout or it would have been a tough trek. As it stands, there are two parts of the game where you go a long stretch without a save point and those parts was tough. In particular, the triple final boss is really difficult and I definitely had to retry that one a few times. Find each boss’ weaknesses and learn how to win while taking minimal damage. It’s a considerable challenge, but I’m sure you can get it done.

The main character is a nice enough guy but of course he doesn’t have any actual personality. Sue seems reasonable enough but she basically spends most of the game getting kidnapped so it wasn’t her best role. The guy who was on the computer turned out to be a rather old guy and one who wasn’t very brave. When push came to shove he was ready to abandon ship and even offered us a ride home. I wasn’t having any of that and stayed in to fight. The bad ending was tempting to watch though, but I was on a mission. Either way, that guy is ally that you don’t want or need to have on your side. The villains were pretty interesting and charismatic though. Not really the main villain though, but his partners. The scientist comes off as rather generic. His plans aren’t bad I suppose and he had a good super form but he just didn’t look as cool as the others.

One big villain who kept showing up was this sentient Toaster. Perhaps the game meant for him to be a boom box or an oven but he looked like a Toaster to me so I’m sticking with that. He even had his own theme music which was really fun to listen too. While the Toaster’s redemption arc may be rather cheesy and hard to buy into considering just how mean he is, it could have been dragged out a whole lot more. He is the best character in the game for sure and you have to admire his drive and persistence. No matter how many times you defeat him he will come right back. Another villain who was cool was this evil fire mage/fairy creature who is bound to serve the one in control of the temple. As a result she works for the Scientist. She’s a good fighter and her abilities seem similar to that of Infinite’s. She doesn’t get to do a lot in the game but at least we do fight her once so that was neat.

The soundtrack is limited but fairly good. As I mentioned, the Toaster got the best theme in the game. It’s just excellent and really makes you enjoy the fights. The rest of the themes aren’t bad, but you will hear them a lot so get used to it or it’ll be a tough time. The graphics aren’t quite as good as the music though. The levels are all fairly dark and the sprites are small. This makes it rather easy to get hit by stage hazards and the like even when you would have dodged them otherwise. This happened to me a few times in the final level with the stone spires. The graphics aren’t bad, it’s just that the lighting was dark which hurts the overall look. It’s still bearable though and just make sure you play in a well lit area. I also wonder if it might just be my 3DS since screenshots of the game look fine. In my playthrough you wouldn’t have even known how the main character looks if not for the cover. It’s like it was zoomed out too much or my 3DS is getting ready to kick the bucket.

The game is reasonably long and took me 8 hours. I can’t say that there is much replay value beyond beating the game but there is enough. You can keep on chatting with everyone to find out more about this war torn world. You can also grab new weapons and I believe you do unlock a new level so that would be pretty fun. All in all, it’s definitely enough content to justify the price. The game will last you for a satisfactory amount of time and the level of difficulty will ensure you don’t beat the final levels too quickly. I died quite a lot in this game so I can definitely vouch for the game’s difficulty.

Overall, Cave Story 3D is a fun game. The gameplay is on point and I did like how the weapon levels worked. It’s a very unique take on the leveling system in general and one that I’d say works. The plot may be vague and even by the end you don’t know what the full situation is, but the mystery aspect can be enjoyable in its own way. You don’t always need all of the answers. I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a very solid side scrolling adventure with a lot of options on his to play the levels thanks to your array of weapons. When in doubt, just fly. That’s my motto in this title.

Overall 7/10

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Mario & Sonic at The Olympic Games Review

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I got Mario and Sonic at The Olympic Games a long while ago so it’s cool to finally get to play it. I did dabble around with the game briefly before now but the intense difficulty and length of the games temporarily caused me to retreat. Going back to the game, it’s still quite difficult but fun nonetheless. It’s just made solely for multiplayer as the 1 player option just won’t have a great deal of entertainment value in comparison.

There’s no plot of course as you are here for the games. There is a reasonable amount of variety with the games although there isn’t quite as much as the game will have you think. You unlock a game after each tournament but these are effectively just longer versions of the games you already have. Of course I’m still glad to have more options so it’s not as if this is a bad thing. For the first game in the series it’s a rather solid start. You’ll be spending most of your time in this game in the Circuits. There are 5-6 tournaments in each difficulty level. Progress as far as you can in order to beat them all and unlock all of the games. The tournaments tend to have 4-5 games inside. You are given a token which you can use to double your points for claiming victory in one event per tournament, but use it wisely. If you don’t come in the top 3 at the event where you’ve bet your chip, it will be lost. If you use it right, you can afford to bomb one event as long as you do well in the other ones.

Another mode is Mission Mode. There you play one event at a time and accomplish the objective. Finish in 2nd place is one for example. It’s a pretty nice little mode although I didn’t play it too much. I completed Shadow’s missions and called it a day. It’s a nice way to add in some replay value though. At the very least you can’t say that this game was lacking in content. It’s got enough to keep you busy for a very long time and then some. You can unlock emblems, music, and of course the games. Completing all of the tournaments should also take a while. I’d say we’re looking at a game that’s at least 10 hours which is really solid for a Sports title. Although I guess sport titles usually last a while if you think about it. Lets talk about the games.

The first one is the Swimming event. This one’s pretty fun as you just push and pull the Wii Remote/Nunchuk as fast as you can while pressing whatever the screen tells you too. It takes fast reactions to complete, but is certainly a game of skill. There is no luck to be found here and it’s pretty satisfying. I was able to wrap my head around this one pretty quickly. Next up is Archery which isn’t nearly as good. The instructions were unclear and it felt heavily luck based with the wind factor and all. I may just not be properly appreciating the nuance of this event though, but it was one of the weaker ones for me.

The sprinting event is the best one. It’s very simple, just shake your remotes as fast as you can and get to the goal. You’ll get a real workout here, especially in the longer versions. You also have to jump over obstacles in some versions, throw a baton to a teammate, or even use items to slow the others down. I enjoyed these levels quite a bit and wouldn’t have minded seeing more of them in the tournaments. It’s just an event that you can get behind really quickly and we never did get that Track and Field Mario game that I always wanted.

There are also the jumping/spear throwing minigames. Essentially you have to make a throwing/jumping motion as you approach goal. The problem is that the game is incredibly unclear and misleading on when you have to time your jump so you have to do it quite early in order to get it right. Otherwise the game penalizes you. I figured it out the hard way after several shots, but with something like this you should be able to tell where you have to jump on the spot.

There’s also sword fighting which is pretty decent. I’d enjoy it more against a human opponent, but any kind of combat is always hype in my book. It plays out like a Pirates of the Caribbean game as there is a lot of parrying and feints. There’s also a Trampoline minigame which is handled really well as you press a lot of buttons and go for a high score before you finally land. I feel like this was my best minigame as I always beat the computers here. Finally we can’t forget about Ping Pong. That game is a classic and certainly one of the best ones. The computers don’t just roll over either so you really have to earn your win here. Watch out for their slams.

There are quite a lot of games here and for the most part they were all solid. There were a few lackluster ones, but they were in the minority. While these are all of the main minigames, there are also several variations of each one so the gameplay stays fresh. I do have to question what Nintendo was thinking when they made the A.I. though. I seriously can’t imagine a kid being able to beat most of the tournaments. The computers are simply too merciless and you have to really compete to take them down. I beat all of the tournaments under Beginner and Advanced, but Master Class is really something else. Even Beginner was really tough at first and I lost a few times there. Having a practice run before doing the real minigames would help a lot since I didn’t understand quite a few of them.

The graphics are really good and certainly hold up well. It’s definitely nice to see Mario and Sonic racing side by side. I feel like Sonic was still faster, but Mario did a good job of keeping up. The music is also on point to be sure. The technical aspects of the game were certainly on point and as a result this is a very complete game. You’ll have a lot of fun playing it for sure and at this point you can get the game at a good price. I will say that the game is a lot more fun when you’re playing with someone else though. As with most party games, the minigames are made for multiple people. With the emotionless computers, it’ll feel a little repetitive after a while. They’re also surprisingly good as I mentioned earlier so while you may post a score that you feel would have won the bout in multiplayer, that may not be the case here.

Overall, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is a lot of fun. If the game didn’t have a multiplayer mode, then I would take off one star so keep that in mind if you’re buying it to play by yourself. I’ve played a lot of party games over the years so I can definitely confirm that this is one of the better ones. Actual effort is put behind it and there were no glitches that I could see. I already own the next game in the series so I’ll definitely be playing that one pretty soon. I remember thinking it was a significant upgrade so I’m excited to check it out.

Overall 7/10

Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay Review

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It’s time to look at another side scroller in the form of Big Hero 6. Most movies may not get tie-in games anymore but Big Hero 6 dared to go against that trend. It’s a game that definitely plays it by the books and feels relatively low budget like what you would expect from the genre. It’s short and straightforward but it is also fun. I’ve always enjoyed these cash in games quite a bit. They may not be AAA titles like Mario Odyssey or Sonic 2006, but in their simplicity it brings you back to an older, more nostalgic era of gaming.

So the plot is that someone has stolen yet another one of Hiro’s inventions. I forgot which one but it’s now in the wrong hands so that makes the villain very dangerous. The team decides to locate the villain at all costs and quickly head over to take him down. The plot is pretty self explanatory as the heroes do exactly that. They find and defeat the villain rather easily and Baymax didn’t even have to do a whole lot this time as he still tries to be a pacifist. That being said, he is thrown into the conflict by the end.

There are 4 playable characters who each have a distinctive fighting style. The main character can shoot out force fields which blow the enemies away. He is fun to play as and the levels go by quickly since he is so skilled. The next character is the Roller Blades character. Unfortunately they made her the worst character in combat as her attacks are the weakest. This is supposed to be balanced by the fact that she is the fastest fighter in the game but that doesn’t matter a whole lot since it’s not by a great deal and most areas force you to stop and fight the villains anyway. The third character is the power hitter of the group who wields a sword. He is easily the best character to play as since even the strongest enemies tend to lose in a single combo. Finally we have Fredzilla. He is in the middle of the gang. Not particularly strong but not downright weak either. His super jumps are fun since you just skip a lot of enemies that way.

Aside from their signature abilities the gameplay is that of a normal side scroller. You walk and jump through the level until you reach the end. There will be a few encounters with the enemy where you quickly dispatch them and keep it moving. Each level will only take a few minutes. There are 21 levels and the game lasted around 2 and a half hours. So I guess each level was around 6 minutes or so. It’s not quite Powerpuff Girls length but still a pretty short game overall. That being said, it’s certainly a lot more enjoyable due to both the level designs and the core gameplay. It’s more polished and the boss battles are all unique as opposed to simply punching them all into submission. Some of these bosses may even take multiple tries as you try to figure out how to hurt them. The game’s a little vague on that part but simply studying their movements and all should help you figure out the weaknesses.

As far as the graphics go, the game looks good. It’s still in the 3DS era so despite not being a big budget game it does hold up well. As long as a game looks clear and I get what’s going on, I typically give it a passing grade and this game earns that. The soundtrack is pretty uninspired though. No memorable tunes are to be found here. You’ll forget the ost the instant you put the game down although I can’t say I was expecting anything different to be honest.

There is some minimal replay value here. You can find the four Hero letters in each level to do something, I believe it may unlock artwork. You can also snag the 5 Health pieces in each level to level up your characters’ health bar. These things are fine but you’re unlikely to get them naturally unless you intentionally go for them and once you’ve beaten the game you don’t really have a need for the extra health if you really think about it. It’s still better than nothing of course but the overall message you should be getting from this is that the game is quite short. Aim to have fun while completing it but don’t expect the game to last.

One easy way to help the game a bit would have been to make the plot a bit better or the dialogue more passable. All of the characters just sound really annoying, Fred in particular. It’s hard to really feel like you should be rooting for these characters and instead you just want the level to start. The “cutscenes” are all very short so they don’t drag or anything though. They really just don’t add anything to the game and that’s always a little sad for the writers when you think about it. Letting Baymax be playable with some kind of unique gameplay like a flying level would have been nice as well. That’s effectively what Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer did for the DS a while back and it worked reasonably well.

Overall, Big Hero 6 is a fun game. You’ll enjoy each level and going for the collectibles along the way is a good tactic to make the game a more complete experience. The characters and story may be rather weak but the gameplay is the important part and it works well enough. It would be nice if the game was longer or had more modes to enjoy though. Regardless, this is basically the definition of a weekend rental although it’s unlikely to last you for the full weekend. It’ll at least buy you some time and you’ll have fun along the way. An easy fix would be to add a Multiplayer mode and then the game would certainly have a lot more replay value.

Overall 7/10

The Powerpuff Girls HIM and Seek Review

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The Powerpuff Girls is one of those franchises that was a little before my time but it certainly looked like a lot of fun. The style of the show also gives the series a lot of potential for games. I’m pretty interested in trying out the GameCube title but I figured I’d settle for the GBA one this time around since the big game slot was already filled for Christmas. The title basically spoils the final twist of the game but I suppose by then you’ve already played through the game so it barely matters right? It’s a decently fun game but one that is extremely short and just couldn’t live up to its full potential.

The game starts with the girls hanging out at school. Their teacher tells the class that they will have a Scavenger Hunt and whoever collects the most items gets a gold trophy. The heroes are hyped about this and begin collecting while thwarting the many thugs who hang around the school. Can the team save the world and their school reputation or have they finally bitten off more than can chew? One thing’s for sure, you’ll find out very quickly.

The game is only about an hour long. You can certainly complete the game in less time than that if you hurry. It took me around an hour, maybe a few minutes longer so I fit into the curve. That’s definitely a very short game by any stretch of the imagination. This is a big part as to why I can’t give the game a full 7 Stars. It’s over in the blink of an eye so no matter how fun it may be, it’s still an issue. I gave Sonic Forces a lot of heat and that game was at least 3 times longer. Sure, this is a gba game but even then you definitely expect a little more to be honest.

So the gameplay is akin to your typical side scroller. Think Teen Titans as opposed to Mario though. You fly around and beat all of the thugs up. You can fly up and down as well as left and right. Just bumping into an object that is in the list will allow you to obtain it. Every area has at least two story objects to find and they typically have collectibles for others as well. Talking to the people around town will get you the rest. The collection aspect is fun enough and as a kid I probably would have tried to 100% this game since is seems like it would take a reasonable amount of time to do. Seeing the characters get the Gold Trophy is sure to be satisfying.

Some of the bosses can provide a reasonable challenge if you just have one Powerpuff Girl left but this is nullified by the fact that you instantly respawn with all 3 members back to start the fight, it makes any battle trivial in the end since you effectively have 3 health bars at this point. I would definitely give the gameplay a pass. It’s pretty easy to pick up and play while still remaining enjoyable. It feels retro and nostalgic in a good way. That’s why it’s a shame that the game is so short. There’s a lot of potential here and you could draw some similarities to the Legacy of Goku series. Of course, that series also has a great level up system and solid transformations so it’s not as if this game was ever going to pass that one. Still, it’s worth thinking about.

The only issue I’d have with the gameplay here is that it was hard to navigate around town at times. There is a map of the various areas but it wasn’t created with a lot of thought behind if and doesn’t even show you the exits that lead to the various places. Even with the NPCs trying to be helpful you are likely going to waste a little time going from place to place. It’s sort of like Breath of the Wild where you can’t run for very long so prepare for a lot of “walking” (slow flight)

The graphics are okay. The Powerpuff Girl designs are on point and they did a good job of recreating the city. It actually holds up pretty well in this regard. Unfortunately the music is less inspired. There aren’t really any memorable tunes. The only music that will really get you going is the game’s opening with is basically the opening from the show, but abridged. I would have liked more cutscenes but at least we did get illustrations for the big bosses so I guess we take those.

Overall, Him & Seek is a fairly decent game. There aren’t a whole lot of scavenger hunt games so it was pretty unique. Nostalgic Powerpuff Girl fans will definitely get a kick out of this game as well. It’s a solid title that I would recommend but you definitely need to be aware of how short the game is before you agree to purchase it. It’s a single hour long so unless you find a great price it’s not worth spending a lot of money on. Even this review was short as a result since there’s not a whole lot to talk about here. There are plenty of other games that you could buy which would give you far more entertainment. That’s why my recommendation is rather half hearted as you could certainly buy other titles that handle the genre more effectively.

Overall 6/10

Overlord: Dark Legend Review

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Overlord Dark Legend is one of those Wii games that I found in the 5 dollar bin. It stayed in the backlog for quite a while though as the game just didn’t inspire much confidence. Still, I looked up a gameplay video and figured…why not? Anyway it’s a reasonably fun game with some nice mechanics but also some glitches. These glitches could be fairly big ones as well like in one of the final bosses. It was actually handy this time around though so I wasn’t really upset about it.

The plot follows the prince of an old kingdom. His Father went off to fight evil but while he was gone his step wife’s two kids decided to take over the kingdom even though the main character was supposed to take it over. Our young main character decides that he will take the kingdom back using the powers of darkness. He will prove once and for all who the most evil prince is. Can he really hope to stop his siblings and their armies of Elves and Dwarves? Well, The Overlord has his own army of Goblins so perhaps they are up to the challenge.

The execution may not have been amazing but the actual plot really wasn’t all that bad. A villain having to stop two worse antagonists in order to reclaim his kingdom makes you wonder if perhaps this time you should root for the villain. There’s also a big Elf vs Dwarves was going on in the background and you trick then into escalating it even further. Then there are even some Fairy Tales like the Gingerbread House here. That part actually gets pretty dark. There aren’t really any cutscenes so the game has to make up for this with the text and constant banter of your partner. That guy was a little annoying but he didn’t appear too often so it was never much of a problem. The NPCs were more annoying as their sound byte would just keep replaying over and over again. Once you’ve heard them once you were good. By the 19th time you will be ready to leave the Kingdom.

The gameplay is standard 3D and it’s a platformer. You don’t do much jumping so maybe that isn’t accurate but you traverse through the levels and typically try to get to the end or destroy something. You have a sword and a variety of attack spells, the main gimmick for the game is that you also have a bunch of minions following around. They come in different types like Fire, Water, and Poison. Each type has a different specialty in combat and also a special ability during the platforming parts like retrieving items from the water or inside a poison smoke ball. Dont worry about forgetting any of the abilities since the levels force you to use all of them at many points in the game. When fighting you can order all of them to help you or split them up. This has a good amount of potential with all of the strategy involved here but the Wii remote ensures that your decisions aren’t as precise as they could be. Throw in the glitches and poor A.I. and you’ll soon find yourself just sending the full group after any enemy you come across. It’s typically the best move anyway.

Speaking of poor design, there’s a boss in the game that you can defeat without getting hit once. This isn’t even due to a glitch. You fight a giant robot in a fire area. The part that the game forgot is they left you a high platform that was needed earlier. So just head up there and tell your Fire minions to attack. They will throw fireballs at the robot and eventually you will claim victory. The robot has no projectiles so he can’t fight back and the A.I. doesn’t even know what to do so the boss just ends up standing in place. It may be a cheesy way to win but the game really should have thought that one through. Despite this boss, the game does start to get a little difficult by the end. It certainly never stops being manageable but you do have to wonder how much harder the game could have been if it had continued on for another level or two.

The game certainly isn’t pretty to look at. That will certainly be one of your first thoughts while traversing through the game. The graphics are definitely pretty low tier for the Wii and the style itself doesn’t help matters. The level backdrops seem as if they were intended to be known a game like the Ocarina of Time but with the grit of the World of Warcraft. I can confirm that the game could not pull this off. There also isn’t much of a soundtrack to listen to here as it is all instantly forgettable. It feels like it was probably just a lot of public domain music. A game doesn’t need to sound or look good in order to be a quality title but those aspects would have helped.

The game is also quite glitchy as I mentioned earlier. One of the final bosses is supposed to slam you with his sword as you slam back. Once enough damage has been done then the boss will teleport around the level and start to gain health until you track him down. This was pretty tricky since the level is quite large and after a while you will simply run out of minions to fight with. I lost to this guy a few times but then something happened. I left the area by mistake and cane back. The boss restarted but this time he had forgotten how to heal or teleport. He just stood in place halfheartedly flailing around with his sword but not actually dealing much damage. Without his special abilities it was fairly easy to take him down for the count. A pretty big glitch but one I could work with. Honestly it was mostly the bosses in general who seemed to glitch a lot as it also happened in the gingerbread house. There were times where a minion would get stuck in an action or freeze inside of a boulder. It was just a very glitchy game and something that you would expect given the price.

There definitely isn’t much in the way of replay value either. Once you beat the game you can try to get some more upgrades and fight the boss but there is no real reward for doing so. That may work in some games like Mario Odyssey where it’s all about the pride but for the most part that just isn’t good enough. I want to have a reason for doing something and especially for a game like this one. The actual campaign is a reasonable length and will definitely last you some hours. It’s not short but certainly not long. I’d place the game closer to the middle as far as action platformers go.

Overall, Overlord is definitely a unique game. Playing as the villains is already something that you wouldn’t really expect and the Pikmin mechanic isn’t something you see often either. For good reason though as I prefer to just be running through the level solo so I don’t have to watch out for my minions. I suppose I’d recommend this game as there at least was some effort put behind it. It’s not exactly Shakespeare but it does have a real story and plot. It was fairly interesting and while the gameplay wasn’t polished, it’s hard to deny that the 3D hack and slash gameplay was intense. If you do check this game out, I’d recommend sticking to the Lightning.

Overall 6/10

Pac Man and The Ghostly Adventures Review

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PAC Man is a legendary icon and one of the most recognized characters in all of media. It’s no exaggeration to say that more people know about him than heavy weights like Luke Benson or even the great Parappa The Rapper. Surprisingly he hasn’t had dozens of games to exploit this fact and at one point he went for such a long time without a game that it felt like the franchise was cancelled. This led to this game, a reboot in which PAC Man the Family Man was transformed into PAC Teen, a revel who breaks the rules and can’t control his urges for food. Would it be a success?

The plot is pretty light as the game prefers to let its gameplay do the talking. An evil ghost from the Netherworld named Betrayus has kidnapped PAC Man’s two friends and also threatens the entire world with a new weapon that he had developed. Our young hero decides to stop him but he will have fun along the way because he never recognizes Betrayus as a legitimate threat. Honestly that is probably pretty humiliating for the guy and I’m tempted to feel bad for him. That’s the plot in a nutshell and trust me when I say that the game never wants you to take it seriously either. It’s pretty much all played for laughs.

Fortunately the gameplay actually is pretty smooth. Each stage will typically have an assortment of objects to jump or walk around as you progress. You can eat ghosts or even cause objects to open so you can eat the power pellets that come from them. Along the way you will obtain various Super forms like fire and ice which each have their own special ability. Defeating the ghosts is easy no matter what form you use so I recommend making the most of them since most of the forms come with Silver trophies for eating 100 ghosts. You will get the hang of the controls pretty quickly since they are fairly limited while the levels vary in design and difficulty, the basics carry over. It is funny how some skills don’t pop up until near the very end of the game but I suppose it had to end at some point so it’s nice that they gave us more powers.

The game’s length is reasonable although definitely erring on the short side. You’ll have it beat in a matter of hours. Part of why it is so fast is because it is so easy. You likely won’t lose many lives during the game unless you get hit by glitches or try to rush a little too much. The bosses are easy and even a novice to the platforming genre should pick up on what to do before the levels get difficult. There is some replay value in the game though like obtaining all of the trophies. This will require you to complete the game twice which automatically doubles the play time. The rest of the trophies will take some time as well like clearing all of the arcade games you unlocked but they aren’t too difficult either. It’s a very achievable Platinum and one that I would recommend going for in consideration of that.

Graphically the game holds up quite nicely. The colors are vibrant and the level designs are solid. PAC Man’s design will certainly cause you to take a step back though as you wonder what the animators were thinking. His eyes are always half closed as he gives a nervous smile. Everyone else has a decent design so PAC sticks out. The rest of him is good though so it’s a relatively minor detail. There isn’t a wide variety for the music but the main theme is always fun and certainly holds up well. It’s fast paced and is a good remix of the classic theme. You definitely won’t be bored as you play through the game with the fun levels to look at and listen to.

Now the game does have some issues. Uninspired plot aside, the game can be rather glitchy. You will suddenly be stuck and unable to move at some points and you will fall through objects as you plummet to your doom. I’ve certainly seen and played glitchier games but considering that this is for the PS3 it is definitely noticeable enough to mention. It was the cause of a few deaths for me and the moral is always to slow down a little to let the game catch up to you.

Now, was PAC Man himself as bad as they say? Well, the burping gimmick does get old very quickly. He burps at the end of every single levels. Sometimes he is proud of it and other times he does seem to regret his actions. He does this in the show as well, but with no remorse and burps several times each episode. That’s his worst quality but beyond that we don’t see his other negative traits from the show so he comes off as at least a decent main character. At the end of the day he just wants to eat a lot and save the day along the way. He may not be as heroic or selfless as the original PAC Man but as far as edgy redesigns go it wasn’t half bad.

Overall, PAC Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun title. The plot may not be particularly good, but the gameplay is surprisingly solid and that makes quite the difference. PAC Man can move really fast which makes the platforming fun and the game did a good job with his powers. You always feel very powerful against the ghosts which should always be the case when you’re playing a PAC Man game. The soundtrack and graphics are good so that makes for a very complete package. The cover and the idea of a reboot for PAC man may put you off the title but you’d be missing out on what is actually a really good game. I’m definitely hyped for the sequel since I’ve heard it’s even better and can be compared to the legendary Super Mario Galaxy 2.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness Review

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There are a few games that you see as a kid but simply weren’t able to get because they were too pricey or simply lost out to other games at the moment. This is one of them and I decided that it had simply been enough time of not owning the game. It’s a solid Pokémon adventure but one that keeps the negatives of Colosseum without embracing its positives making this a rather lackluster title compared to the others in the franchise. It’s a relatively weak Pokémon installment but certainly still a solid entry overall.

The game takes place 5 years after Colosseum. Terry has seemingly retired or something as he is nowhere to be found. However a new protagonist has arrived, Terry. I’ll put the older version in bold to differentiate them. Terry is a nice kid who helps out a professor when performing his crazy experiments. This Professor has hit the jackpot though as he has figured out a way to purify Pokémon through your PC. It takes a little longer but this way you don’t have to personally fight alongside each Shadow Pokémon for a while. Of course, buying Perfume is still the easiest way to go about it but it’s only viable if you have a lot of money. The villains over at Cipher hear about this and steal the device. The organization had seemingly been destroyed in the last game but they have regrouped and are stronger than ever. They now want to make the ultimate Shadow Pokémon who cannot be purified. Terry decides to stop them but as the professionals would say, “What can some kid do!”

Terry is a good main character. He gets the job done and is always ready for a fight. Unfortunately he also doesn’t have a shred of character personality. I’m serious here, he doesn’t do anything. He saves the day and beats all of his opponents but he doesn’t really have any expressions beyond his neutral face so it’s hard to know what he’s thinking. Ah well, he’s still a good lead who doesn’t mess around so I’ll roll with it. You just can’t compare him to Terry as that guy really stole the show with his cool motorcycle and trench coat. The character was more of a rebel and was always making the tough calls.

The blame may also lie in part with how low key this story is compared to the last one. It’s fairly short as it ends in only 13 hours so you feel like they could have done more with it. It’s mostly just a matter of showing up to each location and winning. Their big plan of creating a bunch of Shadow Pokémon to take over the world is solid I suppose. It just never felt like as big of an adventure as it really should have. More like a sequel dlc than anything else. It’s not as if it’s a slice of life adventure or anything as it’s still about action but it just doesn’t come across as all that dramatic.

Further supporting this is the fact that the game feels rather low budget. Almost all of the stages in the game are taken straight from Colosseum. I somehow doubt that they were rebuilt from the ground up either. The budget just begins to show itself. Just about every character has the same fall animation and even the length is artificial. If you didn’t have to fight the same minions over and over again in battles that are basically 10 minutes long each time, it would be a lot shorter. Honestly if we just look at the plot moments then the game would probably be half its length.

Now Colosseum has this problem as well so it’s not XD exclusive but the long loading times for each battle need to be mentioned as it’s an issue that has plagued the home console Pokémon games for a long time. Even Battle Revolution has this to an extent and Yugioh is another offender. On the portable consoles the battles go by very quickly which is why they’re fun. On the big consoles I guess they want to show off the graphics as every Pokémon gets a big animation for attacking and getting hit. There is no way to turn this off which is why every battle takes forever. I actually ended up marathoning Detective Conan while playing this game. Just pick the two attacks you want to use and read in the meantime. You’ll be surprised (Or not really) at how many chapters you are able to read while waiting.

As a result, I knew from the start that leveling all of my 6 Pokemon was not going to be a good idea. Instead what I did was I just picked two of them and focused on them exclusively. I basically didn’t even use the other Pokemon and if my main 2 died I just knew that it was game over. It was a risky strategy sure, but it saved me a lot of time. I’m definitely glad that I started out with Espeon as well since Psychic attacks are good against just about everyone and Espeon even knows Bite so he can shut down other Psychic types. It’s the perfect starter and I highly recommend using that strategy if you ever play this game.

The soundtrack is decent. A lot of classic themes are in here so those are nostalgic, but not much in the way of new ones. I believe the final boss theme may have been new but since it appears whenever the trio of villains shows up it may have been in the first game as well. Hard to say, but if so then it loses some points for originality. The graphics are pretty good. They haven’t really changed at all since the first one, but I guess in this case you don’t really need to change things up. As long as it looks clear enough where I can tell what I’m doing and enjoy the backgrounds, then it’s all good. The game definitely gets a passing score there.

As far as replay value goes, there is certainly a lot of it. The main game is around 13 hours so that’s already a good length and throwing in all of the Shadow Pokemon that you can catch just makes it all the more impressive. You could stick with this game for a Very long time and still have more to do. With how long the Pokemon battles take I wonder how long it would be to complete the Tower of 100 Pokemon battles. I think the most devastating part would be making it into the 90s and then losing though. Now that would just be tragic and I don’t plan on tackling that challenge. After all, I’d have to level up all 6 of my Pokemon to stand a chance and we know that would take a while. Still, for those who really enjoy this game there’s definitely a bunch to do.

Definitely don’t get the wrong idea, Pokemon XD is a solid game. It may not fare well against the original in any category, but it’s a good game when standing on its own. The plot is decent, there are a variety of levels, and there are a bunch of fights. The gameplay is slow, but it’s smooth and it looks/sounds good as well. The game will breeze by as long as you have something to do during the fights, but that shouldn’t be too hard. Purifying a Shadow Pokemon may seem tedious at first, but once you buy perfume and unlock the second way to purify them then it gets very easy. I’m not sure about some of the extra features like leaving Pokemon some food to try and capture them since it adds luck to the equation and stretches the game out even further, but maybe it’s handy to have around. All I know is that I’m really glad I stopped to read the email and went back to the lab to grab my Master Ball. Without it the Lugia fight could have actually been difficult as opposed to just catching him on my first turn.

Overall, I have finally gotten to play the sequel to one of my favorite Pokemon games of all time. I definitely recommend the game. You’ll enjoy it a lot if you haven’t played Colosseum and if you played it when you were a kid then you’ll also enjoy this game for all of the nostalgia. Just don’t play both games back to back as that doesn’t seem like a good idea. Sequels can’t always beat the original and I’ll have to accept that, but this is one big game that I can check off my list. My Gamecube collection is one step closer to being completed as well as I have just about every interesting game for the console. More are still on the way for someday though, but the next game I review will be a newer title. It involves the iconic Pac-Man in one of his startling adventures!

Ducktales: Remastered Review

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It’s time to look at a retro game from the good ole days. It’s pretty nostalgic when you start the game up as you still hear the classic Capcom logo and all of the sound effects are very retro. It’s like getting that arcade feeling while still having the polished graphics from a modern game. Ducktales is a solid adventure for fans of the series as well as fans of the genre and is reasonably challenging as well.

The game starts off with Uncle Scrooge’s home being broken into by the Beagle Boys. They capture Scrooge’s 3 nephews, but the old Uncle is more than a match for the thugs. Scrooge then comes across a painting which works as a map and points to some legendary treasures. He decides to go and snag all of them, but the convenience of this map does make you wonder. Is Scrooge merely dancing to the tune of an unseen manipulator or is he simply leading the charge and got a lucky break? Our fearless main character is about to find out one way or the other!

When it comes to the gameplay, Ducktales has a very simple control scheme that is easy to pick up and play, but rather difficult to master. You move and jump as you go from one stage to the other. The main gimmick that Scrooge has is his cane which you can use to jump on enemies or even on spikes. You hold the O button to take out the pogo stick while in the air, but if you decide to play on Extreme Mode then it’s a two button combination of Down and O. You typically have to find a few objects which are labeled on the map. Once you find them, then you can head to the end of the stage and face the boss. I should mention now that I’m glad the objects are clearly labeled. It would just add unnecessary duration if I had to actually search for them all and get lost a few times. It’s not as if the levels are huge, but I think that this is a reasonable accommodation for the player.

There are 6-7 stages I believe. You can choose any of them to start out with first after the tutorial level and not counting the actual final. I went in order from top to bottom but the difficulty will really depend on which boss you find the most intimidating. They are all pretty tough the first time around, but gradually you’ll learn the patterns and do better the next time. Quite a few of the bosses took me two tries. It’s hard to sit back and memorize the patterns without getting hit, but this way it’s a life well spent. Surprisingly the final boss is one of the easier ones as out of Dracula’s 3 special abilities, one is really easy to dodge and the other two are pretty manageable. He does have more health than the other bosses which helps to balance that though. It’s a good amount of difficulty that tests your strategic thinking without being overly grindy. It’s a good balance.

You start the game with 3 hearts, but there are 5 upgrades that you can find in the levels. Grab all of them and your health will really be ready for the boss fights. Upgrades are really key in this game and the last parts would have been a lot tougher without them. I found 3 on my way to the goal, but I’ll look for the other two someday. The toughest part of the game actually isn’t a boss though, but the running challenge after it. In a scene much like a Mario game, you have to outrun the lava that is quickly creeping up on you. I died quite a few times during this part as the level is quite difficult. Make one mistake and you’re done. Even if you don’t make any mistakes you can still lose if you weren’t quite moving fast enough. Just keep on doing the level and eventually you will be able to clear it.

The main campaign is pretty short so you’ll have it beat in around 3 hours or so. Add in a bit of time depending on how often you die. There is replay value as you can keep clearing levels to buy all of the collectibles and earn trophies. The trophy collecting may lose some incentive since there are no Gold or Platinum trophies in the game. It’s a little surprising. Also, you have to beat the Game on Extreme, which means beating the whole game in one siting with only 3 lives. That sounds crazy hard so I already know that I won’t be getting all of the trophies in this game. Still, I got most of them so I’m still pretty satisfied in the long run. This is really a game that you complete once or twice and move away from it so it’s just important that you enjoy the initial run.

Fortunately I can say that I did enjoy the game. The story is quite solid and the writing is great as Scrooge has a lot of witty dialogue. He’s certainly a quick talker and always has a quip for the situation. His rival also made for a good antagonist. His constant insults during the last level are enjoyable for sure although Scrooge still gets the last laugh. The witch was a good villain, but a little overpowered. Since she can just stop time whenever she likes, I don’t see how the heroes can ever truly defeat her without plot hax. She just seems to be way stronger than the rest of the cast since everyone else is powerless. They’re just ducks. Count Dracula had a nice appearance even if he was completely used as a pawn here. He didn’t even get any lines in defiance!

The soundtrack is pretty solid. The level themes are memorable and in particular the final level has a great theme. It’s definitely a soundtrack where you can tell that a lot of effort was put into it. I do miss these retro soundtracks from back in the day and Ducktales definitely hit all of the right notes. The animation also looks really good as it’s about as HD as you can get for an old side scroller. The levels all look very clear whether they are in the light or in a dark cave.

Overall, Ducktales Remastered is definitely a very fun game. It’s a short one, but an enjoyable game nonetheless. You’ll have fun mastering all of the levels and making your way to the end. It’s a game that rewards your effort and each death will only lead you closer to victory. I’d love to see another game with Uncle Scrooge since he’s such a lead. The game’s ending just proves that point all the more as he’s just a nice uncle. He helped the nephews feel like the celebration was their own as well. Just don’t ask him for any money and you’re all set!

Overall 7/10

Sonic Forces: Speed Battle Review

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It’s time for the latest app game that I decided to check out. Given that Sonic Forces was basically hype confirmed I was thrilled to hear about the mobile app. On the surface Sonic Forces is just another free runner so there’s nothing really special about it. Sonic already does have a free runner game when you think about it and that one has many more levels and characters. At the same time, I’ve never played any of those before so it all felt fresh to me. It’s definitely a fun game but one with diminishing returns unlike Pokémon Go which only gets more enjoyable as you level up. It’s a fun game but one that won’t last for very long.

There is only one mode, free run. If you were hoping for 1V1 battles or mini games/a story then you’re out of luck. Every race brings 4 random racers together and you race for the goal. 1st Place will give you around 10 trophies and it typically takes 500 to level up. As you can see it takes a lot of races to level up towards the end and especially when you are fighting tougher opponents who won’t let you take 1st. You start out with 2 stages to play on and as you level up you unlock better stages and better rewards. The rewards are the points you get towards unlocking a specific character. It’s randomized and the characters are divided into rarity tiers so you’ll see how eventually you will have far more cards for characters like Sonic than Metal Sonic for example. Since this is the only mode in the game you will want to really enjoy it.

The game suffered from bad connection errors for a little while but eventually it was able to fix itself. Now there are no issues with the gameplay which is certainly good since that is the entire game in a nutshell. There is definitely a lot of skill involved as you jump over obstacles and slide under others. You want to optimize your run and figure out the fastest way to clear a level. Given that you will be playing the stages very often, that shouldn’t be hard at all.

There are three different levels in the game. The first is your user level. Upgrading this will help you with rings and your special attacks will be stronger. You get the exp for it by leveling upyour characters. Second is your online level, this is what gets you the better loot boxes and allows you to play more stages. You level this up by winning battles online. Finally there are the individual character levels. You beef these up by getting their cards from treasure chests. They amplify the character’s abilities by a small amount but it’s enough to rip the scales your way. As far as I can tell each character has 16 levels total. I can’t confirm that of course as I don’t have anyone who is over level 8 but it’s based on a little guide they have in the game on what you unlock with each level. I’m sure the exp requirement skyrockets by the end so only the most serious of players, or the ones who pay a bunch will reach that point.

The graphics are really sharp. The character models are really well done and the backgrounds are a blast. It at least does feel like a lot of effort went into the graphics. I also enjoy the music but it’s just the one theme which can be a bit repetitive at times. It’s the inspirational version of the main Sonic Forces theme so it’s fitting for any fast paced race I’d say. They should definitely add more themes in as you level up though. Each stage should honestly have its own theme and I can’t even see how that would be tough to implement. Shouldn’t they just grab the songs they need from Sega and put it in?

There’s definitely a lot of replay value to the point where it’s infinite but how fun is this replay value? After all, there’s no point if you’re not going to try and collect everything. As I alluded to in the intro, the game slowly loses the joy that it had from the start. I think the biggest detractor is how you will actually lose points once you level up if you get 3rd or 4th which is unfortunate since the competition does get a lot stronger do it will be tough to get in the top 2 after a while. The sheer repetition of playing the same level over and over again will get to you. If you think about it, most mobile games effectively have you doing the same things over and over again but they cleverly mask this or the gameplay is so fun that it doesn’t even matter. You can say that Pokémon Go is incredibly repetitive but at least it is also a blast at the same time. That’s not to say that this game isn’t fun though. I think it’s the kind of game that is best in small doses. Just play a few races every day and you’re set. I’ll give it some props for being lenient on how long you can play as well. Some games have an energy meter so you can only play a certain amount each day. Fire Emblem has that but it’s so lenient that it barely ever matters. Forces limits how many chests you can get in a day, but that’s all. You can keep playing to your heart’s content.

Overall, Speed Battle is a good app. I think it’s definitely a title that you can have fun with for a little while. I don’t think you will enjoy it quite as much if you’ve played any other free runner though as then this one won’t even feel fresh from the start. Even aside from the fact that there isn’t much variety in the gameplay, I’d at least like for the rewards to be more reasonable. You’d have to win hundreds of races to get to one of the higher levels and I just can’t see myself doing that. It would be such a large time commitment and at the end of the day these apps are fun for playing a little here and there. Not for big play sessions. I’d recommend checking this game out as it is free and all so there’s really nothing to lose but don’t expect the game to hold you over for very long. That’s just the kind of game it is and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There is a lot of missed opportunities here though. (No Infinite?)

Overall 7/10

Ingress Review

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It’s time to look at the game that came before Pokemon Go. Not many people know this, but Pokemon Go was actually copy and pasted from another game that Niantic made first. Copy and paste may be strong, but both games are quite similar and you can see how Ingress is essentially the beta version. As a result it’s pretty fun, but it really lacks the key aspects that make Pokemon Go so addicting and thus you’ll find yourself bored before long.

In the first place I picked up Ingress only because I wanted to be able to submit ideas for Pokestops in Pokemon Go. That seemed like a pretty fun goal to me, but then they said you had to be at least Level 10 to do so. That was when I stopped playing. I made it to Level 7, but each level doubles the EXP you need so it would have taken me a year at the most but at the minimum probably 8-9 months. That would be time that would have taken away from Pokemon Go and it was simply too much of an investment and I’ll let other players handle that one.

The goal of the game is to take over various points in the world for your team. There are the Green and Blue teams in the game so I went with classic Blue. Each location is essentially a Pokestop. (A little circle with a picture) You can drop off shields at the place and little generators to claim it as your own. If someone else owns it, then you have to destroy their generators before placing your own. If you take over multiple locations, you can use a Field Link to merge them and control a larger area. Nobody can take over a space that is in your area so it’s a good way to shut the opponent down. There isn’t really an end to the game but like Pokemon you can effectively say that you’ve beaten the game when you’re Level 16. That would take a really impressively long time to accomplish as well.

It’s tough going when you’re in the early levels since your weapons and defenses are weak. It will be impossible to take down any barrier that a high level has placed so stick to visiting all of the stops and getting what EXP you can. It’s really a game that is meant to be played while you’re exploring since there’s not a lot to do otherwise. There’s nothing to do if you stay in one place unless you live on a stop. (I live on two which is helpful but after spinning them then you’re stuck again) It’s a good game on the road and I may enjoy it more if Pokemon Go didn’t exist. This game is Pokemon Go, but without the Pokemon or the Gym Battling which makes it quite a bit less encicing.

Once you start playing you’ll get hooked on it, but eventually the fad will pass. I’d say that I lasted quite a while all things considered. Maybe I’ll check out the game again someday if they lower the level limit, but all mobile games stop eventually and this is just my time for checking out. The graphics are okay, but it’s not as if there is much to show. There are no creatures or anything, just a few simple animations. There is no real music in the game. There may be a main theme although I can’t remember it, but it won’t be earning any stars in that regard. As far as replay value goes, it’s essentially infinite so that’s a plus I suppose.

The game is at its best if you’re playing it with a few friends. Since it’s about taking over the neighborhood, it’s naturally fun with a group. On your own, you’re outnumbered and you’ll just have to really enjoy the process of playing the game since anything you do will likely be undone by the time you go back home. This will depend on how busy your area is of course, but at least in mine there are a ton of active players. Then there are also the likely bots and spoofers running around as well.

Overall, Ingress is a well made game, albeit a limited one if you’re on your own. It’s just very repetitive and while you can say that for just about every mobile game, it’s not quite as enjoyable as those. The game is also very vague on everything so if you want to learn what you’re actually doing it is advised that you look for the information online or go straight to Reddit. If you’re outside a lot and like visiting places then it’s a good idea to download this app and have fun getting the points. On the other hand, I’d recommend doing the same with Pokemon Go. At the end of the day, you need to decide which game is more fun and just pick one. You can’t have both open at the same time with one phone so if you play both then one is always missing out. That’s why I ended up choosing Pokemon. Ingress definitely wouldn’t rank as highly as most of the other Mobile games I’ve played, but it is tragic to an extent since it probably would get a much higher score if Pokemon Go didn’t exist. It’s just how it goes and you can’t help but compare the two as you’re playing. Maybe one day they’ll link both games with rewards or something, that would definitely be interesting. I am also interested in the new Harry Potter game that the company is working on as well. That should definitely be fun but like Ingress I’d probably only check it out for a little while. Ingress lasted a month and a half before I called it quite, we’ll see if Harry Potter can even last that long!

Overall 6/10