Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinity Gauntlet Review

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It’s always a little unfortunate when having a story mode isn’t a positive for a game. It’s not as if it’s bad enough to lower the score (Although it was close) but the game doesn’t benefit at all from having it. That being said, this is Super Hero Squad so you have to enter the game with reasonable expectations I suppose. I didn’t mind the show too much when I watched it although it is certainly one of Marvel’s weakest titles. I played the first game a while back so it was about time that I got to try out the sequel. It’s about as good, maybe slightly better. The gameplay is more diverse, but it doesn’t really do a whole lot to make a name for itself.

The plot is about how the Infinity Stones have surfaced. Iron-Man tells the Sqauddies that they cannot let the villains take them so they decide to collect them all. Unfortunately for them, Dr Doom and his army of henchmen are after them along with Loki and his cabal and even Thanos and the Skrulls. With 3 different factions after the stones, the heroes will have to keep their guard up at all time. They’re not too good at that though.

I mean, it is a comedy storyline since it’s in the Super Hero Squad universe so I never expected anything serious. That being said, the characters talk a lot during the game. I don’t mind this when it’s witty banter like in Spider-Man or Sonic, but when it’s these characters it just isn’t quite as fun. They all only seem to have 2-3 phrases as well so they end up repeating them over and over again. I think some more variety could have helped them out. The comedy is also pretty weak so the game won’t be getting any laughs out of you. The only scene that I actually thought was pretty fun was the final one where Thor puts on dancing boots and is forced to dance for everyone’s amusement. It was pretty mean of the others to just let that happen, but it is what it is.

The gameplay is your standard Ultimate Alliance/Lego style where it is mostly overhead as you dish out the pain. Each character has their standard punch and projectile. You can charge up these attacks and also use Ultimate Attacks when you have enough meter. The meter builds rather quickly so you can use the super attacks constantly. Button mashing your standard attack will work for just about the whole game as well since the enemies will just run into your attacks. It’s a pretty simple, but repetitive style since all of the enemies start to be the same after a while. I don’t really mind that per say as I love beat em ups and button mashing is one of my strengths.

What is annoying is that all of the bosses and big enemies have super armor so they hit you as you hit them. When your character is launched it takes a few seconds to get back up and the bosses also deal a lot of damage. You can expect to die a lot if you’re rushing through the bosses but it doesn’t count as actually losing unless both characters die at the same time. The A.I. is terrible so this may occur once in a while, but usually it’s not a big deal. So I like the actual combat for the minions, but the bosses weren’t really a lot of fun to beat up. I did enjoy getting a chance to spam my projectiles for such a long time though.

The game was clearly developed with co-op mode in mind. When playing single player there are some levels that just don’t work well. The ones where you have to shoot at objects approaching from the skies comes to mind. The A.I. couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn so you end up having to hit both sides on your own which gets really tricky. It made these levels tougher than they should have been. Same with parts where you have to use both character’s skills as the A.I. will follow you and forget what they’re supposed to do. It’s not really a problem if you choose to play co-op, but be warned if you’re a solo fighter.

The graphics aren’t bad even if they don’t look quite up to par with what you’d expect from a PS3 game. The character models look good enough and the level designs aren’t bad. It looks like a mobile game if I had to make a comparison so take that as you may. It’s acceptable while not being impressive. The soundtrack is less impressive as we get the classic theme song, but not much else. I wasn’t expecting much in this category to begin with though.

One part of the game that is pretty mild but annoying is that if a character is blocking your way, you can’t move. The A.I. has a habit of cornering you if you go into a tunnel so if you want to back out the only way is to switch to the other character and move him out of the way. It’s such a random little thing that you may have to do a double take at some points. Just one of those things that they probably should have picked up in quality control if they had been playing the game more.

The main campaign is 11 levels long and they vary in length. It’s not a very long game so I think you could reasonably complete it in around 5 hours or so. Perhaps a little less but the cutscenes do make a difference. The replay value here are the Challenges you can tackle and the large array of trophies available. I don’t imagine that this would be a very difficult game to Platinum if you were ever so inclined. There is certainly enough here to give the game some reasonable replay value.

Overall, Super Hero Squad was a little glitchy and the story wasn’t particularly engaging, but not everything can be Sonic Adventure 2 Battle right? I think the game could have used some more quality control, but it worked well enough. It had its issues, but I’d still say that it was a good game in the end. If it had dragged on too long that may have been an issue, but it didn’t happen. The gameplay is good and I did enjoy throwing everyone around with my special abilities. I think what makes this game seem a little worse than it is at times is how good most other games are. Comparatively speaking this game isn’t great, but if you look at the game on its own then it works pretty well. That’s a win in my book. So, buy this game if you want some classic Marvel action, but you should probably just grab Ultimate Alliance instead.

Overall 7/10

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Star Trek Encounters Review

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It’s time to look at a game that I got a very long time ago. I found this one at an obscure Gamestop on a random day and thought it looked interesting enough. It’s not exactly what I expected and had a bit of a slow start due to the game not explaining things very well, but it picked up quite a bit as the game went on. It’s not the ideal Star Trek game but if you’re really just interested in the space aspect then this is certainly the game for you.

The story mode features 3-5 levels from each of the Star Trek shows. Classic, Enterprise, Voyager, Star Trek, Next Generation, and probably some others. There are also two final levels which crossover the whole franchise. Maybe more like 1 to be honest as the first one just sets the stage for the event. There’s not much of an actual plot as each mission or series of missions are essentially stand alone adventures. You get some text at the very beginning which tells you what is happening and mini cutscenes during the level. Only very small parts of the game have any real voice acting.

You figure out early on that you need to be playing this game for the gameplay and not the plot. You never get to see a single character as the ships are then only things on the screen. As I mentioned, the gameplay isn’t explained too well as it’s actually fairly complex and intricate. It’s an overhead airplane shooter. Of course you’re a spaceship and not a plane. You explore the universe, fight aliens, and help people out. You have your primary weapon which you can switch from two different options and your sub weapon. The sub weapon has around 6 options and some of them are not actually meant for combat like your tractor or energy fuel. They all serve a purpose though so you’ll want to know what they are when tackling a level. You can use R2 to target an enemy so that you can transport some of your crew aboard or to shut down their engine without destroying the ship. You can alter your ship’s stats during the level as well by putting more power into shields at the expense of weapons or vice versa. Throughout the game I always kept weapons and engines on maximum with shields and scanners on minimum. It’s just the best call for me as otherwise the weapons take a really long time to load up.

After you get the hang of the controls, the levels start to feel a lot easier. There is also the occasional race level which is a nice change of pace. When the Borg Queen attacks you are not strong enough to stop her so racing through a bunch of portals is your only way out. The races can be reasonably difficult as missing more than a few portals can be fatal and crashing into enemy ships is just as lethal. They were some of the most fun levels in the game as I do like racing quite a bit. The most tedious levels where the ones where you’d have to do the same thing multiple times like transporting bombs. Plus, I just don’t like having to protect things (Like the bomb) as I prefer to just fight and knock everyone out. It lets me just go all out.

So the difficulty is pretty reasonable and the game’s length isn’t bad. I could usually only complete 4-5 levels in one sitting and there were around 20 if I’m not mistaken. It should last you around 6-7 hours if I had to make a ballpark estimate. There are a lot of checkpoints throughout the levels and you have infinite lives so you don’t have to worry about replaying a large segment or anything like that. One unfortunate thing is that you cannot skip cutscenes. If you lost in a place where the cutscene is particularly long, you have to watch it over and over again.

The graphics for the game are pretty nice. They may not pop out at you quite as much as in the cover, but it’s aged really well for the PS2. The colorful levels towards the end like being in the pink monster were really intense and I liked the last level’s design as everything would keep spazzing out to show you that you were in a time loop. The soundtrack is quite bland though. I feel like there were only 2-3 songs that just kept repeating over and over again. None of them were catchy either so that’s a little disappointing.

There’s a little replay value here, but not much. You can try to find all of the collectibles which honestly weren’t that hard to find. I grabbed about 80-90% of them without even trying during the normal play through. Hopefully it tells you which levels have the rest though since it would take a while to go through all of the levels. I can’t imagine that the reward is really worth the time to be honest so it’s not something I would pursue. There is also Skirmish mode which sounds like endless fighting and multiplayer so that definitely helps the replay value quite a bit. It’s no Star Fox, but I can see you having some fun here.

On a final note I do have to say that the final level was a little anticlimactic. There wasn’t a final boss or anything which was a little disappointing and the level just ends. We were actually losing against the legion of enemy ships, but the time stream just ends up warping them away so everything is happy again. I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that a full win would have been a lot more satisfying than the villains simply being whisked away. The only true boss in the game was probably the Borg Queen which was handled well. The final level should have absolutely done the same thing.

Overall, Star Trek Encounters is a fun game. I really think it could have used more of a plot but at least the gameplay was solid. The final level was pretty epic as it was great to see all of the Starships from the Star Trek franchise team up. We may have only been all together for the final part of the level but it felt like a really good payoff. Since this was a crossover Star Trek game, I would have felt a little cheated if this didn’t happen. The game did a good job of including all of the iconic Star Trek enemies like the Klingons and the Borg as well so it had a nice attention to detail. I’d recommend checking the game out, I think you’ll like it more than you’d expect. You should play it straight through though as forgetting the controls can be fatal in a title like this one.

Overall 7/10

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy Review

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I don’t buy games on Day 1 too often. When I do it’s typically for a big franchise that I follow like Super Smash or Dragon Ball Z. If you asked me a few months ago if I’d buy Crash day 1, I probably would have chuckled. Crash always seemed fun enough, but I’ve never played any of his games so I couldn’t call myself a big fan. That being said, the collection got a lot of hype and just about everyone I talked too had also pre ordered it. I decided that I needed to see what the hype was all about. It’s not the greatest game of all time as I’ve heard some say, but it is definitely a very solid title. The fact that it is 3 games in 1 just makes this even more of a bargain!

Lets start with the first game. There isn’t much of a plot, but Cortex has decided to destroy the world. Crash must stop this mad scientist’s quest for power while he can. The problem is that Crash isn’t very smart so he just mindlessly runs around and beating people up. He’s a force of nature and fortunately he is acting on the side of the heroes. The 3 games have some similarities as they all have around 25 levels and in the same format. You have 5 worlds and each world has 5-6 levels. That’s where the similarities start to end. The first game is easily the hardest of the 3 and relies less on gimmicks than the others. All of the levels in the first game are classic platforming challenges in 2D and 3D.

One of the level styles is the overhead water ones. They were my favorite levels but they were admittedly the easiest as well. I found them to be pretty bearable as I jumped from platform to platform. There were also the boulder chase levels where you have to rely on your reaction times to jump when a pit appeared since you couldn’t see them. (You’re running towards the screen) Surprisingly, this is the one aspect where the sequels were a bit tougher..or maybe my reaction time just slowed down.

The meat and potatoes of this game are the sky levels where you have to get past crumbling bridges. Apparently you can cheese parts of the level by running on the rope, but I didn’t notice that so I had to beat them the old fashioned way. I must have gotten 30-40 game overs on this level style because I just couldn’t get past some of the obstacles. Finally completing them was always a very satisfying experience. There were quite a few levels that I just barely completed and can’t imagine going back anytime soon. The game is merciless with the difficulty and it’s no walk in the park. I usually would only beat 1 world every time I turned the game on because it wasn’t easy to beat them in large batches like the sequels.

The gameplay is simple as you just run, jump, and spin. It’s easy to know the controls, but the levels are still tricky because you have to be very precise. If you don’t time your jumps perfectly, then it’s game over for you. I have to give the game credit for never being unfair though. The challenges were tough, but they weren’t luck based or anything like that. The more you played the levels, the more you got used to the obstacles. Also, you would only have to restart the level so the penalty for dying wasn’t absolutely terrible or anything. It was an intense way to start the collection.

The sequel adds some more plot and cutscenes into the mix. Cortex has asked Crash for help because an asteroid is going to crash or some other villain is messing around. Anyway, he demands that Crash find all of the gems once again and gives them to him. Crash’s sister consistently warns Crash that the guy is lying, but Crash doesn’t seem to understand and after being threatened, gives them to Cortex. I may as well say it now, I don’t like Crash. He’s not smart and not endearing. He makes all of the wrong decisions time and time again. He’s just lucky that Cortex isn’t much of a villain either. He’s certainly no Eggman or dare I say even Bowser? At least Bowser was threatening for a time. Cortex is just a second rate Wily.

This game is noticeably easier than the first. I only got the game over screen a handful of times and in particular the first level of the final world. Part of why the game is easier is because they added a new dash mechanic similar to DK Tropical Freeze. You don’t have to be as precise with your jumps anymore because the dash grab can cheese almost any obstacle. All of the villains are slower now so it is easier to time when you should spin. The final boss takes this low difficulty to the extreme as you can beat him in about a minute. He literally can’t attack you so you just chase him down 3 times which is incredibly simple. I was shocked at how fast he went down. There was no final form though so I guess that was that.

The second title experiments with the game a little more as you get airship levels and other gameplay styles. This meant there was a little less time for the traditional Crash levels which plays a big part in why the game was easier. Although, the normal Crash levels have also been nerfed from the first game so it’s probably a moot point. While the first game may be more satisfying, I can safely say that the second one is better since it had more of an actual plot and I did like the gameplay variety.

Finally, we make it to the third game. This one ramps up the gameplay variety even more as you get racing levels, water racing, underwater submarine combat, Star Fox simulator, and then the occasional Crash level. This game easily has the fewest Crash levels which may be a little sad for gamers who had to wait until it came out back in the day but since this collection already had a bunch of those I was pretty content. This game is even easier and I only saw the Game Over screen once. Admittedly that was kind of my fault for underestimating the game. It got so easy that I allowed myself to get a bit sloppy for a while there.

The plot for this game is that Uka Uka has returned and is commanding Cortex to destroy Crash. They also halfheartedly try to trick Crash again, but don’t seem too committed to that as they flip flop around the issue. I doubt Crash figured that out anyway though. Despite the hype, I can’t say that I care much for the mask. I can’t really take him seriously and his design isn’t all that good. Honestly the Crash series needs a better supporting cast. Who knows, maybe I’ll like them more as I play more games though. There are definitely a bunch of others to get at some point right?

There is a lot of replay value here and that’s an understatement. Even after beating the three games, there are many collectibles to get in each. Obtaining the 3 Platinum Trophies in the game will also take a considerable amount of time. Games 2 and 3 are easy enough, but part of getting the Platinum in the first game involves completing all of the levels…without dying. That sounds pretty insane to me and I just can’t picture pulling that off without an incredible amount of work. I don’t think I want to spend quite that much time since the deaths will really get to me, but this is certainly great news for Crash fans. You’ll have a shiny trophy to prove that you’ve overcome all of the odds.

The graphics are pretty good and it is nice that the game completely redid them from the ground up. They have certainly modernized Crash and friends with the new designs. The soundtrack is also surprisingly catchy. Some of the themes are pretty memorable like the final boss tunes and some of the factory ones. Crash 1 certainly has the best array of songs, but they’re all pretty good in their own right.

I do have one big criticism with the game though…the unskippable cutscenes. You can’t skip the Gameover screen which is the saltiest part of the whole losing experience. You have to watch the Mask laugh at you a few times and there isn’t anything you can do about it. The cutscene isn’t incredibly long, but it is definitely long enough to make you wince and take a step back. It feels quite bad. You also can’t skip the opening credits to the game. Every time you boot it up you have to watch all of the logos fly by and the narrator try to hype the game up. I can understand doing that the first time, but I don’t want to have to watch it every time. That’s just a little too much product placement.

There are no other real negatives to the game, but I did find a glitch during one of the boss fights. If you hit the scientist who throws the bottles at you too soon, he’ll forget to drop the bottle and just stay in a permanent electrocuted position. You then have to get out of the game and retry. It’s a mild thing as you can easily beat the boss another way, but it felt like I was being punished for being too fast. Did the quality testers never see this because they weren’t fast enough to beat him that way? Not to toot my own horn or anything. I do like the fact that there is an auto save for the game active and that you can save at any time as well. It’s just a nice quality of life addition that makes the whole package better.

As for the bosses, most of them were pretty easy. The only challenging ones were in Game 1 as you’d expect. It took me a little to realize that I could jump on the first boss so that took a bit. Any boss that involved aerial combat was a breeze. The final boss in Game 1 was reasonably difficult since dodging the energy bolts was tricky. Game 2’s was easy as I mentioned and Game 3’s was also very simple. It wasn’t all that hard to dodge his attacks. There was a lot of variety in the bosses so the game did good on that front. Very rarely was a boss similar to a previous one.

So, how does Crash stand up next to the all time greats? Clearly he is no match for Mario or Sonic, that one’s a given. I’d also give Ratchet and Clank as well as Jak the edge. Crash does surpass Sly and Klonoa though. I think that’s roughly all of the main platformers. I’d mention Rayman, but I haven’t actually gotten to start that one yet. One of these days though, it’s just around the bend.

How do the 3 games stack up? Well, as I said Crash 2 is the best, then 3, and then 1. I do appreciate Crash 1’s challenge and difficulty of course, but you can see how the games got a little more polished after that. As I mentioned, I like how they shifted the gameplay a lot in the sequels. The first will always be a classic, but the addition of a plot is just too big of an advantage to miss either. I will say that the first does give you the most bang for your buck since you’ll be there a while.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend picking this game up. It’s quite a bargain considering that you’re getting 3 full games for the price of 1. They are all classics as well so it’s not like you’re getting Flip’s Twisted World or anything like that. They have a seal of quality on them with solid level designs. It’s an all around pleasant experience. The 2nd and 3rd games are great for relaxing as you can breeze through the levels with minimal effort which lets you enjoy the scenery more. Then the first game helps wake you up every day as you have to bring your A game to conquer it. I suppose I may buy the next collection day 1, (After all, the 3rd game does end with a cliffhanger!…even if you can’t take it seriously) but it likely won’t be an issue because I plan to buy the sequels way before such a collection comes out. Gamecube/PS2, here I come!

Overall 8/10

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Review

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Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first video games that I ever played. It came along with the Gamecube and while I did play on the Super Nintendo/N64/Game Boy, this was one of the first games that I really remember playing with my full gamer skills intact. It was a tough game and had a lot of replay value as I went through it many times. This sequel can’t fully match the original’s true greatness in part because of the nostalgia and also the fact that the Gamecube really made the most of the game. The original had more features and took greater advantage of the concept. That being said, this is still a great sequel and everyone’s favorite Mario villain finally gets to take center stage once again after a rather disappointing appearance in Super Mario Sunshine. (The one time Mario really took it to the guy)

The game starts off with Mr. Luigi “I do it” Luigi resting at his summer cottage. Unfortunately, E Gadd kidnaps him and tells Luigi that he has to liberate the city since all of the ghosts have turned evil after King Boo blasted it into multiple pieces. Luigi barely got away with his life the last time so he isn’t thrilled about getting a rematch, but he doesn’t really have any way of getting out of this. Luigi grabs his flashlight and prepares himself, but King Boo isn’t playing around this time. He has already kidnapped Mario and a bunch of the toads…Luigi may be next!

One thing you’ll notice straight away in the game is that the format is a little different. It’s not the free roam environment that you may be used to from the first game. Instead it is divided into linear levels among the various worlds. Each level will tell you to do something and then you’re beamed home afterwards. It’s different, but I’ll take it since we’ve been getting a lot of big free roam games lately like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey lately so it’s good to keep things varied. The game is still reasonably long as some levels can take upwards of 40 minutes. Others are finished in under 10 though so it varies quite intensely. You should expect the game to last you at least around 10-13 hours.

The game’s difficulty is pretty low so you shouldn’t have much trouble against the actual ghosts. The power ups that you get during the game make this even easier. I only lost twice if I recall correctly. Once was to the Giant suit of armor and I also lost to the boss where you had to slide a few times. Beyond that, it didn’t feel like a cakewalk or anything, but you won’t feel too threatened. You are given a lot of health and it’s always easy to find more hearts.

There is some replay value here as you can go back to all of the old levels and grab all of the Boos/Gems. It may not be a whole lot, but it’s something to do and it won’t take an insane amount of time to do it. Hopefully you get something cool like an extra ending or picture. I think the first game let you upgrade your mansions based on how much money you had so that was a nice incentive. I thought there would be more power ups so I could list that under the replay value, but we maxed out before the final chapter even started. Between the solid length of the story and getting all of the collectibles, there is certainly a lot of content here.

The graphics are pretty good. Some elements are pretty stunning like the energy blasts, King Boo’s design, and one of the final cinematics as Luigi’s destination is forcibly changed. The game really put in a lot of effort towards the final levels with all of the cool designs. The soundtrack is mostly forgettable to be honest, but I did enjoy the final boss theme for King Boo. That one sounded really good and worked quite well to build up the tension. One good theme can always go a long way.

I do have to call the game out for being a little lazy with the sound effects and cutscenes though. We get the same recycled scene of Luigi being transported, landing, using his vacuum, and picking up the DS throughout the game. Adding insult to injury is the fact that we also get the same sound effects in the same order. Luigi grunts 4-5 times every time he lands which starts out as rather painful gasps to tired ones. After a while you sort of hope that Luigi will just get his game on and save the world. He also randomly utters one of the phrases that they recorded once in a while like “I do it” even if they aren’t totally relevant at the moment. I think Nintendo did phone it in to an extent in this department and could have certainly recorded more lines. That or they could use text like with what they did for King Boo. It just felt like someone was always talking throughout the game, but not in a fun Spider-Man kind of way, but in a forced “Lets play another grunt” way.

I was a little surprised that we didn’t get back some classic features like shooting fire or ice in this one, but we got a black light flashlight so that was neat. It lets you see invisible things and is immensely useful once you obtain it. The controls are simple so you’ll get used to them right away. You have your flashlight and your Vacuum Cleaner. Those are really the main 2 weapons that you’ll be using during the game.

Naturally we can’t end the game without talking about King Boo. He’s easily one of the strongest Mario villains even if he isn’t talked about quite as often as you’d expect. He defeated Mario even when the hero was aided by the Power Star and in this game he has done it again. He seems to have some reasonable reality warping abilities or at the very least advanced telekinetic abilities. His power lasers are great as well and he’s just a pretty intimidating villain. I actually feel kind of bad for him since his arch nemesis isn’t quite as intense. It was nice to see King Boo and I’m glad that the first game was mentioned so as to keep the continuity straight. It does kind of hint further that the Sunshine King Boo was different since he went straight from the first game’s painting to here, but I still think the Sunshine appearance needs to be looked into a little further.

The game really doesn’t have many negatives to talk about. The actual gameplay is simple, but well constructed. You won’t be running into random glitches here or poor level designs. One thing about the various mansions is it allows the game to give each one a different design which is nice. My one complaint is probably that Luigi’s a little too scared the whole time even if that is the point. I always imagine a game where Luigi is actually really hardcore and eagerly fights the villains, but maybe you could make the case that it wouldn’t be the same character. I still think it’s worth the risk and maybe it’s about time they announce a Luigi’s Mansion 3. Honestly, I’ve love to see a big budget one with a long campaign. (Think equivalent length to a big Mario platformer) It could have an array of side characters, maybe even a level or two where you play as Mario and physically try to fight King Boo. Of course, King Boo would need to be in it or the fans would riot.

Overall, I put off getting this game for many years as it kept sinking below other games that would come out. Well, I finally got to nab it and it was certainly a really fun game. I’d definitely recommend buying it, especially since it goes for only about 15-20 dollars now. That’s a really great deal and it’s why the Nintendo Selects tag is always a welcome addition to any game. Be prepared though as the game may be more intense than you’d expect and you’ll have to make some tough calls.

Overall 8/10

Neopets Puzzle Adventure Review


It’s time to look at one of the most intense puzzle games I’ve ever played. At the very least, it’s the best Othello game out there. I haven’t played much Othello over the years, but I knew the concept and figured that I could flex my latent skills on the poor computers. It took a little bit of getting used too and I had to unlock 2 OP abilities, but then I was ready to rock and roll.

The plot follows a young dragon who has decided to save the planet from destruction. He does the laundry, helps people find plants and stuff, etc. He just likes helping people out and always accepts a good game of Othello. His peaceful life is forever changed when a meteor crashes into Earth and giant monsters run out. They all want to play Othello, but this dragon is just one guy. Can he really defeat them all and stop them from crushing the planet just because they can?

I feel like it’s a parody of Yugioh at times since the villains just really want an Othello match. It’s like how every villain decides to rule the world through trading cards in Yugioh. So at first I was having a tough time in the Othello matches and they certainly did take a while for each round. Since there are a lot of Othello matches in the game, I knew that I would need a better way than button mashing. (To be fair, button mashing paid off quite well for a while there) So I bought a special ability that allows me to steal an opponent token and keep my turn. Then I also got a Skeith scepter which lets me steal another piece and use it for combos. With this pair of items I became unstoppable. 9 times out of 10 you’re fighting on the same stage and the opponent would do the exact same thing. I found a way to beat just about all computers in around a minute which saved me a great deal of time. It’s no stretch of the imagination to say that this made the overall game a lot more fun as well. No more waiting or trouble winning, it was all just smooth sailing.

The graphics are decently good. I like the character designs at any rate. The actual Othello board is simple, but effective. The overworld is a little bland though and nothing is very detailed. I suppose you could say that the graphics are average at best. They aren’t anything to write home about, but they put up a pretty good effort and that’s what I like to see. The soundtrack isn’t much though. There aren’t really any good themes. I suppose there may have been one good theme near the end of the game, but I can’t really even remember it anymore so could it have really been that good? I have my doubts about this.

Othello makes up about 95% of the game, but there are two other gameplay styles. One is cooking which I had to do exactly once. The other is matching cards which you use to train your Neopets. I decided that instead of catching them all I’d just pick one so I grabbed the top tier and maxed him out in about 2-3 minutes. I really like the matching cards minigame so I kind of wish that this had been the main gameplay. I suppose it would have been too easy, but I definitely could have gotten behind such a move.

There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here. There are a lot of Neopets to capture and a bunch of side quests as you help townsfolk with their chores. As tempting as this all sounded, I decided to just blast through with the plot. The story mode is reasonably long though so even without all of the other stuff the game will last you for a bit. Content is one area where this game was absolutely not lacking.

The plot may not have been the most engaging out there, but it wasn’t bad. It started out really slow, but the climax really hit it home as we got traitors and end the world plots. There are some rather vague endings like the one girl who jumped into a pool of lava, but the narrarator sounds hopeful that the villain could survive so I’ll just have to take that at face value. The game just ends rather suddenly, but I am glad that they didn’t try to stretch the game out just to inflate the numbers. That just wouldn’t have been the right strategy if you ask me.

Overall, I have finally completed a Neopets game and it feels good. I still have one on the PS2 and one on the PSP that I need to work towards completing. Those two are quite a bit longer and more heavily plot based though so I’ll have to bring my A game for those. I expect that they’ll probably beat this game since the gameplay styles are a little better, but at the same time I’m going to miss my Othello. Who knows, I may never see another Othello game again. I definitely recommend checking this game out and I’d advise you to pick up the Skeith staff and pick a good Neopet buddy. It makes the battles a lot more manageable so then you can enjoy the plot without worrying about the fights. Don’t worry about the lag either, it’s not too extreme for the most part. Although I guess in the end what will determine whether you like the game or not is Othello. The gameplay is pretty faithful to the actual game although there are some special abilities. Make sure you learn how to use them and the board to your advantage.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes Review

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It’s time for another title set in the Clone Wars. Republic Heroes may be the first Star Wars game that I’ve played on the PS3, but it ended up being the weakest installment in this saga. I don’t know why, but it just couldn’t hang with the others. I blame it on the game’s poor gameplay mechanics and lackluster plot. It’s still a solid game that will last you for a reasonable amount of time, but I was expecting a little more since we are now in the modern era.

The game has you split up into several groups. It appears that Count Dooku is up to something again and he sends Ventress off to cause some havoc. Cad and Kul are also fighting over a weapon of mass destruction. I don’t think we ever actually learn what it does to be honest. Well, Anakin and Ahsoka go to check things out while Obi Wan and a Jedi master I’m not familiar with head to a space station. Two other Jedi Mastered investigate the canyons and along the way the Clone soldiers do their best to help out as well. The heroes have spread themselves rather thin, but they’re always ready for danger. Hopefully they are prepared!

Here’s why the plot sags behind the others…there are no hype moments. The original Wii game was a blast because of the stellar soundtrack and the tough talk between all of the characters. It worked really well as a result. The DS game worked because of the fun gameplay and I really enjoyed the Shadow sisters as villains. The problem with this game is that none of the villains are particularly interesting. They don’t feel like threats either. Cad is a guy with a gun…so he shouldn’t last long. Kul is a robot who has a lot of weapons, but it seems like it’d be an easy matter for the Jedi to swing him around. That just leaves Ventress and Dooku but since they lose in all of the games I don’t think we’re meant to take them too seriously anymore. The banter between the characters can still be pretty fun and the characters aren’t bad, but the plot could use a little work.

The gameplay is 3D hack and slash. You have to fight your way through large armies of droids as you try to keep your wits about you. There is a lot of variety as you will play as both Jedi and Clones as well as ride hovercraft and large robots. You can also jump onto any enemy to control it and force others to try and oppose it. You can use your Force abilities or go in close for the lightsaber. The Force is incredibly overpowered here so the game got that part down pat. To make up for this, it doesn’t give you all that much money so if you want to buy a lot of stuff in the shop you should stick to close quarters combat. I was able to buy everything anyway at the end and I used a lot of The Force so money isn’t a huge issue. Even if you don’t have enough by the end you can probably just replay a level and you’ll be good to go.

It’s fun to mow down legions of enemies with your blade. The game can feel like a mini beat em up at times due to this. That’s also why the Force waves are fun as you can send about 6-10 enemies flying with a single hit. Unfortunately the gameplay can also be a weakness. The title uses an odd auto jump system where your character will lock on to an object and try to land in a controlled arc when you jump. The problem is that the character can’t decide what to do right away so a lot of times he unlocks right as you jump and you plunge to your death. You always have to wait a second before jumping to make sure that you don’t flal. It feels rather odd and it’s a weird part of the game. I had a ton of deaths that way.

Fortunately, there are no real deaths here. Each character has infinite lives and even if both die at the same time, you’re still fine. I am playing on the first difficulty though so maybe that changes later. I wasn’t about to start the campaign on hard after all. It’s pretty useful I admit even if it maybe does make the game a little too easy. I did die over 140 times according to the stats though so I probably got sloppy thanks to it as well. The game just doesn’t explain things too well at times like how to defeat the large droids. That kind of messed me up at times and those bosses would take ages. Just remember to jump on the enemy when in doubt since it automatically destroys most of them.

The main campaign has around 35-40 levels and each of them is about 5-10 minutes long. That will last you for a good amount of time and getting all of the PS3 trophies will add in some replay value as well. There are a lot of collectibles to grab so keep a sharp eye while in the levels. The more that you grab now, the less that you’ll have to worry about in the future right? I grabbed as many as I could, but I believe that I may still be missing around 30 or so.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are all that good. They look like a Wii game rather than a PS3 one. They haven’t really aged well I’ll admit. It’s not like they’re awful or anything though, they’re still good enough. The blasters and attacks look good at any rate. The soundtrack is rather limited. It uses a lot of the same themes from the other two games. Surprisingly, the only good theme in the game was the end credits tune. That one was surprisingly amazing so I’m a little sad that they saved it for the credits. It should have been used for the actual game if you ask me.

I’ll give the game credit for handling the Force well though. This game probably had the best application of it from all the games that I’ve played so far. It was actually very useful the whole time and didn’t feel like a tacked on feature. There were also no artificial moments made to make the game longer. Every level was direct and to the point. I can definitely appreciate the game’s honesty there. I’ll take a 6 hour game with no repeating levels than a 30 hour one where it is just the same level over and over again.

Overall, Star Wars Republic Heroes is a good game. It could have easily been a great game if the gameplay was smoother and the story was more interesting, but it tripped up there. There’s no way I’d die 140+ times if the gameplay had been smooth. It feels a bit like a cash in at times, but you can tell that some effort was still put into the game. It at least feels like a real game and the levels go by fairly quick. The developers certainly had a bunch of ideas as the game introduces new features even near the end of the game. It’s interesting to see a tutorial message pop up when you’re in the final act. It may not have all worked and they should have used some more time to refine the actual platforming element of the game, but it’s a nice package overall. I’d recommend getting it. It’s not the best Star Wars game on the market, but it’ll introduce you to all of the core concepts.

Overall 7/10

M&M’s Adventure Review

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It’s time for another game in the M&Ms saga. The previous ones weren’t all that bad. The DS game’s gameplay was pretty interesting and you can’t really mess up a racing game. This was the first one to be a full platformer though so that naturally came with some considerable risks. It has quite a few glitches and plays out like a slightly higher budget version of Ninjabread Man at times. The game definitely makes some mistakes and I’d have to call it a bad game. It’s not on the same level as some of the other disaster titles, but it makes enough of the wrong moves to sabotage itself like having to replay a whole chapter if you lose. Lets dive in!

The game starts on Christmas Eve as the M&Ms are getting ready to lock up for the night. Unfortunately, a security breach occurs and all of the M&Ms are stolen. The heroes have to quickly re grab all 120 of them before leaving, but they are now being guarded by a Snowman who likes to yell “Its hot”, The Easter Bunny who is very hungry, The Nutcracker who wants to blow everyone up, and the Halloween Man who is trying to scare everyone. Fortunately our brave heroes won’t back down when candy is on the line.

The gameplay is very straight forward. It’s a 3D adventure that “should” play out like a Mario game. You move and jump as you cross the level. Getting to the end is your destination, but not the goal. You must find all of the M&Ms in each level or else you’ll have to replay it anyway. Each level has 3-4 areas which can be as large as an average level in another game. You must beat them all without losing all of your lives or you’re sent back to the beginning and you’ll need to grab the M&Ms again. That is definitely the most annoying part of the game. Most of the levels aren’t all that difficult, but the last 2 are tough. There is a huge jump in difficulty between levels 2 and 3.

Level 3 has you go through many jumps with metal birds trying to peck you along the way. It seems like you can possibly step on them or lure them to a bomb, but it’s much harder than it looks. With enough repetition you’ll get through it, but the levels can be long so you don’t want to have to replay them too much. Fortunately to counter this, the bosses are incredibly easy. The only one that is even a little difficult is the final boss which is also very generous with health bits everywhere. For the Cupid you just have to hit a bunch of switches. Taking down the Bunny just means luring him to candy and you lure the soldier to poison smoke. You lure the Lantern to bombs and take out the Snowman by hitting a lot of switches. Either the developers didn’t put too much thought into the bosses or they just didn’t want to make them too difficult. Imagine having to go all the way back at that point.

There is one part of the game that is just unfair though. In Green’s last level there comes a point where you have to board a boat as cannons shoot at you. The problem is that you die instantly for no reason. It’s possible an unintentional glitch in the game or something, but that’s it..you’re done. The only way around this that I found was to just jump in the ice cream and swim to shore. It takes up a lot of health, but at least I lived. I wasted a lot of lives trying to figure out why I was dying though. It would be like an invisible energy blast hit me or something.

Fortunately the game has so many glitches that you can exploit them as well. You can jump on air to skip parts of levels by just mashing jump and you can also achieve infinite lives. The way to doing the latter is getting a lot of coins like 98 for example. Then you reach a checkpoint. After that you grab the final 2 and keep on going. You get the extra life from this and then even if you die, you’re brought back to 98 coins at the check point. Since the coins reset despite the life sticking around, you can keep on getting lives forever. Figure out what section it the toughest for you and do the coin trick at the nearest checkpoint. This helped me a lot in the Snowman level. Hey, if the game is going to pull out cheesy tricks to stop me from winning…then two can play at that game!

The graphics are nothing special, but they get the job done. You can always tell what is happening and the level designs are pretty clever. The Christmas levels have the best designs for sure, but the Halloween level is surprisingly spooky as well. There are creepy portraits everywhere and even the music feels rather dire for the heroes. I think they put more effort into the soundtrack and levels than the gameplay so their priorities may have been a little mixed up. It was fun hearing Jingle Bells and Sleigh Bells ring at the end. It helped show that the developers cared about this game at least a little.

There isn’t any replay value here though. Once you gain the 120 M&Ms you are completely done with the game. That’s the end of your adventure and it’ll be time to put the game back in the drawer. The campaign isn’t all that long, but it is artificially lengthened by having to play the same levels as all 3 characters each time. If you ask me, you shouldn’t have to collect all 120 M&Ms to see the ending. That’s like having to grab all of the Stars in a Mario game. It’s something you should want to do, not something you have to do. Mix that in with the tedious nature of having to replay levels while looking for M&Ms and the game definitely gets hurt quite a bit.

There’s also a glitch where you’ll turn invisible if you try to approach the M&M machine. I guess the game won’t even let me look at the cool candies that I’ve collected eh? Well fine, I didn’t want to look at them anyway. I should quickly mention that each M&M has an ability. Red can fly whenever you see a flight symbol, Yellow can double jump, Green can swing her tennis racket whenever she finds a tennis symbol. Red’s flight levels are the best part of the game so I wish they had appeared more. It was certainly better than the main part of the game.

Overall, This game had a lot of potential, but the gameplay’s just a little too weak. You know there’s a problem when some levels are purely luck based. I almost died at the very end with Green because you have to dodge falling rocks for about 3-4 minutes. I barely survived and since I had 0 lives left that would have been fairly upsetting. I do like the challenge at times as some of them can be fair, but then we should get more lives or every stage should be its own level. That would fix a lot of issues. I died a lot of times on the revolving Ice Cream door which is easily the toughest part of the whole game. Seriously, just try to get out of that one in one piece. It can hold its own with some of Mario Maker’s toughest levels. Having to go back all the way is just too much of a detriment. The game is only about 5 dollars so if you want a real challenge it’s worth taking a look. That being said, it’s not always fun to play and games should at least be fun. I’ll have to give this one a thumbs down and I recommend Mario Galaxy instead. Even the ending was very lackluster.

Overall 4/10

Frogger’s Adventures: Temple of the Frog Review

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I saw that the next Frogger game was only about a buck on Amazon so I realized that I needed to snag it. Who doesn’t want to start off the day with some nice Frogger adventures right? That being said, shipping was 4 dollars so it nearly hit the 5 dollar bin. It’s a very short game so that’s definitely more or less what it is worth. You can beat the game in about an hour if not sooner. The gameplay is fun though and while one aspect worries me, it’s a wholesome game. (Like the 1 dollar pizza stores it will satisfy your craving for a delightful experience)

The game starts with the bigwigs calling in Frogger. They need him to find all 4 of the legendary elements, defeat the bosses who guard them, and liberate the Frog Temple! Frogger’s on board with this since he’s always wanted to leave the swamp but pretends that he just wants to stop the villains. The elders let him go and Frogger gets to work at doing what he does best…knocking out the baddies!

After the interesting (glitchy) PS2 Frogger game, it was nice to see one go back to its routes. This is the Frogger that you’ve likely grown up with as you move from space to space. You’re not dodging cars too often here as you’ll be dodging characters and animals the whole time. You can only move one space at a time usually, but you can jump which lets you cover 2 spaces. You can press B to stick your tongue out, but that’s only good for grabbing butterflies which gives you lives. Use L and R to turn Frogger around. These are the only controls in the game so you’ll be able to master it in seconds. The simplicity is what got Frogger popular in the first place and I can see why. A lot of simple games became masterpieces like Mario, Sonic, Pac-Man, etc. Of course, complex games can also go down as legends like Final Fantasy, but that’s another story.

There are 5 worlds and each world has 3 levels. They range in difficulty from easy to relatively difficult. None of the levels will stump you for very long which is nice. You get 5 lives and if you lose them all you can just hit continue. What worries me is that it said you only have a few continues left and the number started to go down. I completed the game before it hit 0, but I get the crazy feeling that it’ll take you back to the beginning of the game if you lost it all. Surely this wouldn’t be the case…right? I’m going to assume that this isn’t true but if it is and I had lost all of my lives, I’d probably deduct another star from the score.

The graphics aren’t bad. They’re decently bright for a GBA game and the sprites are on point. It’s not one of those games that will make you take a step back, but considering that the game feels like it had a low budget otherwise, I’d say that it did pretty okay for itself. The soundtrack is utterly forgettable though and you won’t be able to remember any of the tunes. It’s as generic as it gets and this felt more like the game you’d expect.

We have to address the elephant in the room, the game’s short length. It’s hard to justify a game only having 1 hour of content. There is no replay value either since there is nothing to collect. This will definitely be a 1 and done experience so you definitely have to get invested into the game. I enjoyed the gameplay which is why it has a positive score, but if you bought this for full price back in the day you should definitely be pretty upset. I wouldn’t pay 30 dollars for one hour, much less 50. That would be crazy and you’d basically be spending a dollar for every minute that you play the game. No, that definitely doesn’t sound like a blast to me. Keep the length in mind when you shop for the game, you need to get it at a good price.

The story is pretty forgettable, but that’s fine. For a game like this, you don’t expect much. I am glad that the game actually did have some bosses though and slight voice acting at the very end. That was a nice touch. The game was fairly innovative with the bosses considering that they were working with a very limited style of gameplay. It was a good test for my reaction times that’s for sure. The final boss nearly nailed me a few times, but I definitely wasn’t going to go down easy. They had some good designs as well.

There’s one part of the game where it tries to troll you so watch out. It says that you need 50 coins to enter the final world so I went out of my way to grab a bunch. However, you actually need 100 coins since you need 50 for each of the two acts. Luckily, I got that amount naturally but it would have been annoying to have to backtrack at that point. Make sure you earn 100 before you get there. It’s fairly easy if you know to get them, but it’s also easy to just skip them and shave a few seconds off each level. Once you earn 100 then you can fast blast through the levels.

Overall, This is a pretty fun Frogger game. While it is incredibly short, I can definitely say that it’s a lot more fun than the PS2 one. I like the gameplay and it tests your strategic decisions and reaction times. I expect that other versions of this game will likely ramp the difficulty up even further so I look forward to meeting the challenge. The duration is the game’s only weak point but it is a fairly significant one. You have all of the data now so you can decide if buying the game is worth it or not. For what it’s worth, I’d recommend it. 1 hour of fun is better than 10+ hours of repetition right? I look forward to seeing how the next Frogger game plays out.

Overall 6/10

Star Wars: The Clone Wars Jedi Alliance Review

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After a long break, it’s finally time to take a look at the next Star Wars game. This title keeps us in the Clone Wars which is the best era in the Star Wars mythos. I know what you’re thinking…how can the prequels have the best timeline? I’ve thought about that myself and it all boils down to the fact that it felt more like a cool Sci-Fi franchise back then. There were a ton of Sith and Jedi fighting it out along with a bunch of other factions who could use light sabers. In Episode IV and beyond, there aren’t really Jedi or Sith anymore so we don’t get a bunch of fights. There are less variables and pieces on the board. That’s why I like this part of the series. Starting from when Anakin became a Jedi to when Darth Vader was in his early days. That’s the best period in the series even if it wasn’t handled too well in the movies.

The Nightsisters have stolen important cargo from the Jedi. It’s a power source that uses the Force and they are going to put it in a weapon that can destroy entire worlds. The Jedi council decides to do something about it so they send in Anakin and Obi Wan. Moreover, they bring in a few other Jedi to assist them when they learn that Count Dooku and other Sith members are involved. It’s a decently large cast and each of the 3 main villains are a serious threat. The leader of the Nightsisters ends up being the most formidable threat as she decides to blow up the planet on her own. Dooku gets some hype since he stays standing after her attack, but he did run off rather quickly.

The game’s cutscenes are a little cheesy when the narrator explains what’s happening. I could have done without him so be honest since he has absolutely no enthusiasm for the game. The actual cutscenes were pretty good though. It’s impressive that the game had voice acting and it helped make the story feel more real. I also thought the actual plot was a lot of fun. Whether these Nightsisters are created for the game or exist in the comics/TV show as well, they were great antagonists. Their designs were really cool and they got a lot of solid lines. Their leader is probably one of my favorite Star Wars villains. I guess I’d put her 4th behind Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Jango Fett. It’ll be hard to defeat those 3. She gained my respect when even Anakin and Mace didn’t want to risk a confrontation with her.

The graphics aren’t amazing, but few DS games are. To this day, Mario 64 DS, One of the Kingdom Heart titles, or Ghost Trick probably leads in this category. Still, it looks reasonable and the game excels during the actual combat. The sword swings are handled pretty well when you engage opponents and the level designs aren’t bad either. This title shines even more with the soundtrack. It has some recycled themes from the other Star Wars Clone Wars games, but also some original one. The cool rock theme that plays when you infiltrate the Nightsister base is really good and gave the level an epic feel. It was my favorite level for that reason and it certainly one of the most hype moments in a Star Wars game.

What hurts the game a bit is the gameplay. The actual platforming can be a little boring since the characters move very slowly. Imagine walking in a Mario game without being allowed to run. That’s their max walking speed in this game and you can’t go any faster. This makes going from place to place a little tedious or at least more than it should have been. There are little minigames that you play to deactivate computers and such like connecting the symbols and connect the circles. They were all right. I don’t think the game needed them, but they were short enough to not really get in the way.

The actual combat is all right although it’s a little repetitive. You keep tapping the screen to hit your opponent and you tap high or low depending where you want to hit. The computer will block everything 100% of the time so you just have to swing until he/she gets tired. Then you actually land some damage and repeat the process. It makes for a fun visual with the constant attacks and I found it to be reasonably enjoyable. It’s just very limited. You have Force abilities but don’t actually use them in combat except for certain bosses who are impervious to any other attack. That was a bit of a missed opportunity since I love wielding the light sabers.

I should mention that you always control the characters through the touch screen. I prefer moving with the control pad myself. This only becomes a problem during the quick time events. Yes, the game actually has a bunch of quick time events which is extremely impressive. I can’t think of any other game that implemented them. Unfortunately, the screen doesn’t always work well. I think this was more on my console than the game as the screen is likely pretty bruised by now. Still, having to repeat an entire section a bunch of times because of that can be a little annoying.

There is some very mild replay value here but not much. You can replay the levels to earn medals, but I don’t really know how you even get the medals. They’re related to challenges in the level I suppose like defeating a certain amount of enemies or something. I can’t say that I’m too interested in trying that. The game’s story was of a reasonable length though. It’ll last you a few good hours and the price is low so it’s not a bad buy.

Overall, The game was pretty fun. It was ahead of its time in some ways, but that also meant that the gameplay styles could be a little rusty like the Quick Time Events. The sword clashing was interesting and while it may not have been the best, it was fun for a while. The game likely benefits from not being too long or the repetition could have begun to really show. I’d definitely recommend buying this Star Wars game. It has likely flown under the radar compared to the more popular titles, but it can hold its own with the solid story it presents and the fun soundtrack that accompanies it. It’s a well made game.

Overall 7/10

Split Second Review

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It’s time to check out a car game that I recently got. This may come as a surprise to some, but I’m actually a huge fan of the racing genre. There are few things more satisfying than nailing a crisp turn and sailing into first place. It’s why I used to play a car game on my PC for so long. Anyway, this is the first racing game that I’ve played in a while, not counting spinoff titles like Farmyard racing. This is probably the first pure racing game I’ve played since Asphalt 3D. (I think that was the title) This is definitely a really fun game and one of the best core driving games out there. It does have a gimmick and while I sometimes prefer my racing games not to have any (F-Zero) I don’t mind them if they’re handled well. Look at Mario Kart after all.

There are a few modes to play when you start the game. Online mode is around of course, but you’ll likely be heading straight to Season mode. (Honestly, I haven’t gone online at all) The season has 12 episodes in it and the general plot is that you’re starring in the show. Think of it as one of those reality programs on TV. You have to dodge all of the landmines and disasters to claim first and prove that you’re the best. Each episode has 5 events, with the final one being unlocked if you’ve earned enough points. Rinse and repeat until you’ve reached the end and you can replay old levels to increase your standing and earn more points if you’re short. For the most part I was able to make it to the end naturally but I did need to replay a few. Once you unlock a certain car at the end of the game, you’ll be breezing through it with no problem.

There are different kinds of events. The main one is a race. You go through the stage and try to come in first. The gimmick that this game rolls with is that you can use your energy meter to set off traps. You can energy by turning and driving behind another car. The best way is to dodge an opponent’s trap, but they rarely spring any. You can activate traps as soon as one energy bar is filled or you can wait til they’re all filled and activate a massive one. I don’t recommend the latter since you’ll typically destroy yourself as well. If there’s going to be a gimmick, I typically prefer a quick booster, but I can live with this. It’s a pretty unique concept after all and I like the strategy behind it. You always have to decide if it’s worth using your energy now or later.

Another event is Elimination. You start with 60 seconds and have to ensure that you’re not in last. After that, another car is eliminated every 20 seconds. You must stay at the head of the pack or you’ll risk being eliminated. This is another pretty fun event and as it’s quite a bit shorter than a race, it’s a lot easier to keep on replaying. Another event is the Airplane boss. You have to attack it by shooting missiles using your action meter. In this case, I recommend waiting until the red one is ready to go since you can then deal massive damage. Next is Survival which is probably the weakest by default. It’s just you by yourself as you try to complete the stage while the A.I. activates all of the traps. It’s essentially a time trial so it’s not all that exciting.

Finally, there’s the Oil tanker battles. This is the best one by far. A truck ahead of you will be spilling barrels and you have to dodge them as you overtake it. The more trucks that you pass in a row without being hit, the more points that you get. It really tests your reaction times and takes you down if you dare to go too fast. It’s just a lot of fun and I would have loved to have seen more of it. The variety of events in the game helps keep the gameplay fresh throughout.

With 72 levels in the game, it’s certainly one that has an ample amount of content. If anything, I’m glad the game didn’t overdo it and throw in over 150 levels just because it can. As it is, most of the levels are the same. I think there may be 12 tracks total, with a few more if you count night versions. It’s not a lot although I suppose it’s a decent amount. You’ll memorize the layouts after a while which is certainly useful. There’s a lot of replay value here as well. If you decide to aim for the Platinum, you’ll need to get 1st place on every level which will be quite difficult. It’s certainly not impossible, but I’d expect you to be replaying the levels many times before you can finally ace them all. Multiplayer also guarantees that the replay value is basically unlimited.

The graphics for the game are quite good. All of the cars look shiny and new. I could have sworn that one of the cars almost looked as good as the Ford Focus. The levels are nice and bright and the rare night time versions are also quite crisp. The game has aged very well there. Furthermore, the soundtrack is also pretty nice. There are some really good action themes. The music fit in pretty well even if I didn’t notice it in some episodes. It would sort of pop in and pop out if that makes any sense. I suppose not every theme can be an instant winner.

The game’s difficulty level feels pretty fair. There was a very brief time where I felt the computers were a little too fast and strong, but once I got the super car it was all good. I never really mastered the drifting mechanic, but I’d say that it felt fair. The overall gameplay was nice and smooth. Towards the end there weren’t many opportunities to drive as fast as the title would suggest, but driving as fast as possible was always very satisfying.

I also have to give a shoutout to the ending of the game. The voice acting was spot on and the way the game ends just begs for a sequel. Whether we get one or not, it works really well as a stinger. I was practically shaking by the end of the cutscene. You’ll see what I mean when you watch it, but I can safely say that I would be super hyped if they announce a sequel.

Overall, Split Second is definitely a great game. It’s one of those titles that you just don’t want to put down once you start it. You’ll find yourself wanting to play it constantly and you’ll be sad once it’s over. Once again, I do think the length was just right though. Extending it further might have felt artificial and they also got the right balance with the points needed to unlock the final levels. You had to do pretty well in the events (1-3rd place for the most part) but it wasn’t anything too crazy. You don’t want it to have to be a grind to beat the game, that should be left for the people who want the Platinum. The game was just solid on all accounts and I’d highly advise buying this title. It’s one of the best car games on the market.

Overall 8/10