Freedom Planet Review

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It’s time to look at a fairly recent side scrolling game that I was able to nab for free on the Wii U thanks to the MyNintendo Rewards. I can’t say that I had ever heard of the game prior to getting it, but it’s considerably better than I expected. It’s not that I expected it not to be good, but I wasn’t prepared for the game to have such a satisfying plot with so many cutscenes. The voice acting also helped it excel to the next level. It’s a very complete game that has a solid amount of difficulty while always remaining fair and balanced.

The game starts off by assuming that you are familiar with the characters and the setting. That’s always a good approach and even though it would be impossible since this is the first game in the series, it shows that the writers already have a pretty good idea on the background behind the characters. I’m sure we’ll be learning quite a lot about them in the sequels. For now, what you need to know is that Lilac is the main character. She’s a powerful dragon who has the ability of super speed at her disposal. In an instant she can cross large distances like Sonic. When an alien crash lands on the planet and warns her that an alien invasion is coming Lilac prepares to help. The problem is that both kingdoms on her planet refuse to co-operate and her friends aren’t strong enough to help her. It’s time for Lilac to save the world!

The gameplay is your classic 2D side scroller. You run and jump as Lilac as you attempt to get through the level. These stages aren’t always linear though as you may have to go back and forth to find card keys or find where the true path is. Most games of this style put in a lot of pit falls to trip you up and that’s actually the main area where the 2D Sonic games tend to falter. This one makes no such mistakes and the only level where you even can fall is the final one. The rest are fine so you can just focus on speed blasting through it. As far as attacks go you can trow out a slicing attack, skyward uppercut, ground dive, and even a super charge. The charge gives you invincibility against almost any kind of attack and is really handy against bosses.

However, the best attack in the game is certainly your helicopter move. Just double tap the jump button to activate it and deal heavy damage. The move does have a lot of end lag though so against the final boss use it with caution. The bosses are all quite diverse with a lot of different attack patterns to memorize. The game doesn’t bother with recycled animations or levels the way that some games do. This one has a lot of heart and you can tell that the developers did everything they could with what they had on hand. The gameplay is just a blast and it’s easily one of the best 2D games I’ve played in a long time. In terms of sheer gameplay it even dominates popular franchises like Sonic, Kirby, and Yoshi. Mario’s still the best in the genre, but I dare say that this has a solid shot to be 2nd. Of course, it’s a little soon to be saying that after one game so we’ll see how the sequel holds up. Hopefully it is ported over to the MyNintendoRewards shop soon.

The graphics are very solid as well. The character designs are on point and the sprites are very polished. It’s the kind of game that is easy to look at and everything is clear so you always know where the obstacles are. The enemy designs are also a lot of fun. Even when there are a bunch of enemies on screen the game rarely lags which is quite impressive as well. We can’t forget about the soundtrack and that holds up just as nicely. The themes are all very fast paced and really get you into the heat of the moment. On a technical level this game doesn’t falter.

Then we get to the length of the game which is reasonable. It’ll take you around 4 hours to complete the game. Of those 4 hours around 1 hour will be comprised of cutscenes. As I mentioned earlier the story is quite extensive to be honest. Some levels have huge breaks in between them with the multiple cutscenes and they do a good job of getting you invested in the characters. There’a good amount of replay value here as you can play as Lilac’s two friends who have unique levels and a different story perspective. Maybe it would help you like them as much as Lilac although that seems doubtful. You can also try to collect all of the badges and cards which would likely take quite a long time to do.

Time to quickly talk about the characters. Lilac is a selfless hero who is always charging into danger. She feels that by jumping into the fray like this her friends won’t have to, but they aren’t happy about this since they have to bail her out. I agree with Lilac’s logic here even if the friends aren’t really on board. Every time they try to help they get taken hostage or something so Lilac taking point makes sense. Her dragon abilities also make her considerably powerful. She’s definitely the best character in the game.

Then we’ve got her best friend Carol. Carol is more about having fun than saving the world, but she’ll tag along with the lead to keep her out of trouble. Carol’s a decent character, but she does crack midway and basically ends up proving Lilac’s point about why she shouldn’t be involved in this. Carol can fight reasonably well though and makes for a good assist when she has finally calmed down. The only member of the trio that I didn’t care for was Milla. Milla is more of a kid than the others and gets rather scared by what is happening. The game may have plans for her, but she doesn’t have as much potential as the other two.

Torque is the alien who crash landed in the first place and I can’t say that I’m a fan of him either. The guy is constantly yelling at the natives to work together, but his planet was the first to lose so he can barely talk. He always seems prepared to destroy anything to stop the villains as well so I can’t really call him a hero. Add that to the fact that he isn’t useful in a fight and the guy is basically just around to slow everyone down.

Spade doesn’t get to do much here, but considering that he is the big rival I’m sure he will do more in a sequel. He seems to have a history with Lilac and his speed is on her level. I look forward to seeing him appear again soon and he is probably the only character who could possibly surpass Lilac. Finally we have Brevon who is the main villain. He’s certainly a brutal antagonist as he rips his opponents to shreds. I even feel bad for the prince that he mind controlled since the heroes never actually find this out so they end up beating him up and possibly destroying the prince since they thought he was just another villain. Brevon is certainly thorough when he conquers planets and is a very legitimate threat. He made for a great final boss, but getting on Lilac’s bad side was probably a big mistake here. There are other characters like the two governments but they weren’t quite as noteworthy. The body guard who was always talking back to Lilac seemed cool though. She would have made for a solid boss fight.

For one last point on the gameplay, I also liked the game’s continue system. Some games force you to restart the whole level when you get a game over, this one just sends you back to the check point. That’s definitely a good thing if you ask me since some levels are over 25 minutes long and doing the whole thing over again would have been quite the chore. Likewise if you die to a boss’ 3rd phase when you come back that’s the phase that you will start with. It helps make the difficulty a fun challenge as opposed to a tedious chore. With no huge punishment for losing you are able to experiment more.

Overall, Freedom Planet is definitely a really fun game. The plot is a lot of fun and I’m still impressed that there was full voice acting. Admittedly the sound did fluctuate quite a lot though so sometimes it was rather difficult to make out what was being said, but fortunately there are subtitles. Learning how to beat a boss through repetition is fun here and the game rewards defensive play in the meanwhile. If you rush in without a plan you aren’t very likely to succeed. Slow and steady wins the race. If you haven’t played this game yet then I highly recommend doing so. You will never look at the genre the same way again.

Overall 8/10

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Super Mario Kart Review

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At time for a new title courtesy of MyNintendoRewards! Super Mario Kart is one of those games that is so iconic you are almost afraid to play it. After all, the game was a living legend for a while but since then we have gotten many more Mario Kart games, all of which have improved on this one’s formula. Still, it’s a game that needed to be played and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you will still enjoy it. The game holds up mighty well and is a good game to add to your virtual collection.
There is no plot of course and there are really two main modes for single player. They are the Grand Prix and time Trial. For multiplayer you also have races and then even battle levels which is cool. There is a reasonable amount of content her all things considered and local multiplayer always ensures that the game will retain a considerable amount of replay value.

For the grand prixs there are 4. The cups have become iconic at this point as you always see the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special cups kick in. While most of the newer games limit the cups to 4 races each this one goes with 5. That’s likely because each individual stage is quite short here. For that reason all races are 5 laps each as opposed to 3. A lot of the levels will seem familiar to you if you’ve played the newer Mario Kart games since they usually pay homage to them by including the levels in the games. This one definitely thought of a considerable amount of creative levels. In particular I liked the Boo stages as well as the Bowser ones. Those are definitely very atmospheric while racing.
Naturally this wouldn’t be a Mario game without having a dynamic soundtrack as well right? The level themes are all quite solid and have held up pretty well over the years. No expense was spared here. Then the graphics are also pretty bright and nice for its time. They’ve also aged well and it’s never hard to see where you’re going. At most pipes may appear to be farther than they actually are but that’s why you can’t trust the rear view mirror.

I would have to say that this is probably the most difficult Mario Kart game that I’ve played as well. Mainly this is due to the controls which are naturally a little rougher than in the newer games. I couldn’t quite understand the drifting feature all too well as my car would go too fast. Ultimately when I had to turn I would either slam on the brakes or let go of the acceleration button. There are workarounds like that but of course you will lose speed so be careful. Since you need to win the first 3 cups to unlock the last one failure is not an option! Harness the access points that the Wii U gives you and you’ll be fine.

Aside from the Grand Prixs you will probably spend most of your time in multiplayer mode just enjoying a bunch of racing games. You’ll likely want to move on to the newer ones at some point, but it’s also nice to just experience the game in its original form. There is also Time Trial mode, but there isn’t a whole lot to do there. I suppose if you really enjoy the levels a lot then that is a good way to play them and also to hone your skills.

Naturally there isn’t a whole lot of other things to say about the game. It’s a really good way to spend 4-5 dollars though. You really can’t go wrong with that price and while the MyNintendo Rewards can certainly be a little larger, they have gotten better than where they were. Since obtaining points is rather easy thanks to their apps, you are basically guaranteed a 50% off deal on any game from the list that you want. When you see a good game on the site just be prepared to snag it!

Overall, Super Mario Kart isn’t just a game, it’s a racing game! It’s a title that really changed the genre as we know it and is still regarded as one of the all time greats. While I tend to really enjoy racing games like F-Zero which have no items so it’s just you and your boost, these can be a lot of fun as well. Double Dash will always be the best Mario Kart but this one certainly keeps up the quality that you would expect from such a storied franchise. If you haven’t downloaded it yet then I recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10

Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two Review

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Epic Mickey was definitely not my favorite platformer game. I thought that the story was very uninspired and the levels certainly didn’t have a very good design to them. There just wasn’t too much to it but I figured that a sequel would help with all of that. Unfortunately I can’t say that this was the case as this game is still rather glitchy and has poor motion controls to back it up. It’s not a bad game but certainly not the most enjoyable one out there.

The story starts with Mickey returning to Oswald’s world because something isn’t right. The Phantom Blot may have been destroyed but citizens of the kingdom are now being kidnapped. Moreover, someone has destroyed all of the warp gates in town so they are no longer accessible. If they don’t find the villain soon, then the whole world is at stake.

Thing is, you never really feel that sense of urgency while playing the game. The heroes barely seem to care about what is happening so why should we? Even the citizens feel no sense of loyalty as one turns evil for no reason and the rest flock to be Mad Doctor since he has promised to help out from now on. The town just isn’t very smart and this makes it a little difficult to really want to save them.

That brings me to the fact that this game’s cast of characters certainly isn’t great. Mickey is probably the most reasonable member of the group here as he does at least show some passion and nearly gets into a fight when one of the splatters looks at him the wrong way. Mickey wasn’t playing around in this game and also made the heroic call to not put the hostages at risk.

Then we have Oswald…I’m not sure how heroic I can say this guy is. For starters he is one of the characters who believes that the Mad Doctor has turned over a new leaf. I can’t fault him for being optimistic and that is a heroic quality but it’s annoying because we then have to hear the villain sing constantly. What hurts him more is that Oswald quickly gets jealous when the townspeople start liking the Mad Doctor. He also encourages Mickey to finish the villain off at the end even at the expense of his friends/hostages. Granted, the hostages are robots but that’s an ethical debate that Oswald probably loses since they seem sentient and Mickey did want to save them. Oswald’s just not a very heroic guy at the end of the day.

The gameplay is that of a 3D platformer where you run and jump to the goal. Typically you have to fulfill some kind of objective before making it to the end like destroying a machine or something of that nature. You have a paint brush which gives you access to two abilities, shooting normal paint and also shooting acid which really trips opponents up. It’s a handy ability to have but one that you will wish was not in the game since the motion controls make it a disaster. In general this is a perfect example of why I’m not really a fan of the motion era. It’s all just so rigid and not very intuitive. When you’re trying to aim at someone the brush will go crazy and you have to recalibrate your Wii sensor again.

The objectives aren’t always straight forward either as you will wonder what needs to be done while you are going around blasting everything. The objectives on the map aren’t helpful either because it will show you the locations of the bonus missions but not for the main one. As a result expect to take a little longer than expected to beat the game.

The game did do a pretty good job with the boss fights at least. The final boss is pretty theatrical and uses gameplay elements from the final Sonic DX boss (In Sonic mode) like the floor giving way and even mixing in a bit of Mario there as the floor becomes lava. These fights did take a little time to figure out how to fight the opponent but the Mystery wasn’t confusing and the characters would shout-out some clues which were actually helpful for a change.

You also have to give the game credit for throwing in quite a lot of bonus content in the game. It’s story isnalreadybreasonably long at about 6 hours and with the bonus content you’ll probably be here for another 4-6. I can’t say that it is something even remotely tempting to me to be honest but it’s always a good option to have regardless as it prevents your game from being known as barebones.

The graphics are reasonably good. The final big cutscene actually looks really good so I’m thinking that they spent the vast majority of their budget on this rather than on the whole game. I can understand the case for this since gameplay isn’t quite as important visually but getting it all to look smooth is important. The actual gameplay doesn’t even look as good as some N64 games. Forget the soundtrack as well since there really isn’t much there.

There is a cliffhanger at the end which is either resolved in the extra content at the end of in a third game which will likely never come out. Ideally it’s the former I suppose. So the game did a lot of things wrong, but as I mentioned it at least had some positives to back it up as well like the boss fights. While the gameplay certainly wasn’t polished and made you feel like it was the true enemy at times, I do still generally like platformers like this one.

Overall, Epic Mickey 2 is not exactly game of the year material but it does try hard to be the big success that we all knew it could be. It just doesn’t pick up until the final boss of the game and was ultimately a missed opportunity. I’d probably still get the third game but I really wouldn’t have very high hopes for it. When you make the same mistakes twice, that is usually a bad sign. At least a sequel wouldn’t need to deal with the Wii motion controls.

Overall 5/10

Kirby Fighters Deluxe Review

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It’s time to look at a rather obscure Kirby game. Between Kirby Star Allies, Battle Royale, and Robo Kirby who had time to remember to pick up this title? If not for My Nintendo giving a pretty big discount for this game I probably would have ended up passing on it as well. Still, it’s a quality game with good gameplay, it’s just a shame that it isn’t longer or that it doesn’t have more content. I realize that you can’t ask for much when a game is only about 2-3 dollars, but I’d still expect something a bit longer.

There are 2 game modes to choose from here. Single Player or Multiplayer. In Multiplayer you fight against other people who own copies of the game. In Single Player you go through a gauntlet of 9 battles which is in a format very similar to Super Smash Bros. Once you complete that you will have effectively completed the game. On average I would complete a Single Player mode in about 5 minutes. There are 10 characters total so if you play with all of them then the game is about 50 minutes long which isn’t half bad. I managed to squeeze in about 2 hours, but you will ultimately struggle to play this game for very much longer. After all, there is almost literally nothing to do once you have beaten the game 10 times. I suppose you can just keep trying to beat the single player mode over and over again…but why?

Lets take a step back for a moment and look at the gameplay. It is your classic 2D fighter. Each Kirby has a different moveset which relates to their weapon of choice. Some items will drop on the stage as well which you can use to try and seize the advantage against your opponents. It’s a pretty sound gameplay style and one that works well. It’s one of the reasons why I was able to complete the game 10 times over without getting bored. I probably wouldn’t have done so if there were too many more characters but 10 is certainly reasonable. My favorite character was probably beam Kirby. That guy felt pretty OP. Most of them are fairly good except Ninja Kirby which is probably the worst one in the game.

The graphics are fairly solid. It does look like a modern Kirby game so I’ll give the title some credit there. The character designs are on point and the stages look lovely. It’s really everything that you could ask for in a Kirby game and then some. I also enjoyed the soundtrack which has all of the classic Kirby tunes that you would expect to see. There is really nothing wrong on a technical level and I suspect that this is where most of the game’s budget went. After all, it certainly wasn’t put into the content.

Again, it’s not as if this is a bad Kirby game. After all, the gameplay is good and I just explained how the technicals are solid as well. I don’t need a game to be super long to be enjoyable but asking for more than an hour’s worth of content isn’t a big request. At least throwing in some more incentives to keep on playing would be nice. I’ve played free games that had a lot more content than this one and they weren’t by AAA companies like Nintendo. There is really no excuse not to have made the game a little longer.

Overall, It’s a fun Kirby game. I would only hesitantly recommend it though as you will have more fun just popping in Super Smash and fighting each other there. There’s not really a whole lot of reason to play this game aside from the novelty of a Kirby fighter. It’s only a few dollars though so honestly you aren’t losing much if you choose to get it. If you are a true Kirby fan then you may be honor bound to purchase it, but if not then I recommend buying the Kirby Dream Collection. Now that game had a lot of content.

Overall 7/10

Pokemon Sun Review

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Pokémon has always been a franchise that is stocked full of high quality games. It’s hard to recall a single main game that wasn’t absolutely amazing and that’s probably because one doesn’t exist. These games are 9 star worthy and Sun is no exception. While I do prefer Y, Sun adds a lot of interesting mechanics and even challenges the notion of what a Pokémon is by adding in a bunch of aliens and monsters much like Deoxys.

The game starts off with a bang as we see a girl running away from a group of villains. Just as she is about to be defeated she manages to warp away just in the nick of time. We then cut away to the main character, Terry. He has moves to Alola and has decided to take the Island Challenge which is essentially this game’s version of the Gym Leader system. Nobody ever said the quest would be easy and our young hero knows it, but that has never stopped him before. Along the way he will have to deal with many villains and global threats but Terry is determined to take them down to prove that he is the best.

The gameplay is classic turn based combat at its best. To this day Pokémon is known as the best at this system and it’s easy to see why. The turns are fairly quick with almost nonexistent loading times and the game has a lot of depth even though you only get 4 attack options. A new feature for this game is also the ability to use wild Pokémon to get around instead of using HMs to teach your Pokémon these skills. It’s a pretty nice change since you effectively don’t need to waste a spot anymore.

Let’s talk a bit about the cast. I have to say that Hau is easily the worst rival of the series and possibly the franchise. Purely as a rival at least since this guy never even comes close to getting on Terry’s level. Almost as bad is the fact that he doesn’t care and seems to be content staying in second despite some half hearted dialogue that implies the opposite. As far as I am concerned Hau is just a bit of a miss and may have a shot at being the weakest character in the game. Not physically but in terms of character.

Lillie is a fun heroine and it’s nice to have one that learns about the importance of battling. At first she is certainly not a fan of it but by the end she has decided to start training in this style of combat. With or without the character shift her character already has more personality than many other such characters.

The main villain is also a very solid character and potentially the best villain yet. She has a solid design at the end and her ambitions are pretty decent. She is rather psychotic and doesn’t realize how evil she is but the justifications help make her a fun villain to root against since she is so in denial of what is happening. I do think the anime dropped the ball on this one.

Since Hau couldn’t cut it as a rival the game gives us a second one who is more of a match for Terry. Gladion has a pretty good theme and his Pokémon is interesting since it looks very unique. It definitely appears to be man made right from the start so of course you will start to wonder how this kid got one. He gets a big role in the climax and was one of the low key standouts of the game.

Then we have the leader of team Skull who never really gets to do a whole lot. Guzma could have been cut out of the game and not much would have changed. His team in general just wasn’t that good. I suppose it makes some sense that they would seem rather directionless since they were more of a red herring than anything else but it would have been nice if they could have been at least a little formidable. Instead they were a joke right from the start.

Going back to the man made Pokémon, this game definitely toyed around with the idea of different kinds of a Pokémon more than any of the other games. We had monsters who looked like Digimon from space and that helped to mix things up a bit. The Alola forms of the old Pokémon are nice but only when they are supplementary like in this game. I wouldn’t want them to take the place of a new generation or anything like that.

The graphics are the best that we’ve seen from Pokémon or at least the most cinematic. Now we can get full cutscenes throughout the game to ramp up the intensity. It does make the reused character animations a little more noticeable though as each character can only pull off one real animation and then keeps on doing it for a while. Our rival Hau likes to just grin for ages and ages. That’s definitely in character though.

Unfortunately this game probably has the weakest soundtrack among the main Pokémon games. In particular team Skull’s theme is just terrible and the main Alola theme is well below average as well. After seeing the incredible soundtrack of Pokémon Y it really feels like a step back. Most of the themes are still reasonable remixes but they are brought down by the first two themes.

The game will probably last you at least 30 hours and then you still have the post game to deal with. It’s one of the longer Pokémon post games in the franchise with a lot of new Pokémon to catch in the form of the aliens that escaped. It even acts like an extra story in a sense and then you can go to the battle tower and challenge all kinds of opponents. Assuming you also want to collect all of the Pokémon, you are certainly going to be here for quite a while.

Overall, Pokemon Sun is definitely a blast. While the new style of taking on Island challenges isn’t quite as fun as the normal gym leader system, it works well enough. It’s a decent gimmick but naturally not one that you would want to repeat for the next big installment. At the end of the day the gameplay is as great as always and that’s the most important thing. The game has a ton of content to get through and feels like a AAA game all the way through. I’d highly recommend checking it out.

Overall 9/10

Ninja Gaiden Review

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It’s time to look at another classic NES game thanks to the MyNintendo Rewards. This one is a clear step up from City Connection and actually feels like a real game. Right away I can tell you that this is a good thing. The game has a plot, solid gameplay, and could be mistaken for a more modern game. It wouldn’t be out of place on the Super Nintendo. I won’t say that the game was amazing, but I would call it one of the better games on the console. The game’s difficulty also lives up to its reputation as you will have a very difficult time trying to beat it without a good save option.

The game starts with Ryu getting knocked out by a mysterious lady. She explains that he has to fight and survive while dodging the enemies. He is understandably confused, but has no time to ponder this as the CIA arrives and they also knock him out. They task him with finding two statues and saving the world or they will destroy him. Ryu will do that, but along the way he also has to find his father as well as rescue the agent who knocked him out in the beginning. It’s going to be a long day, but that’s nothing new for the warrior known as Ryu.

The gameplay is that of your typical 2D platformer. It’s almost like a beat em up as well, but the game technically doesn’t force you to fight the enemies. I would recommend it though as otherwise they will get sneak attacks on you. A single fall means doom and there are a bunch of places where you can fall. Some enemies will respawn infinitely though and keep in mind that if you turn back for whatever reason any enemies in front of you will reappear as well. That’s why you must never backtrack. You can run, jump, and swing your sword. Additionally by holding up and pressing the slash button you can use whatever super attack you have at the ready. The fire balls are really good as well as the boomerang ninja star.

There are 20 levels but you only get 3 lives. If you don’t use the super save feature then I imagine that you will die around world 2. The game is super challenging, but rarely does it feel unfair. At most some of the enemies could seem a little like they are luck based in regard to hitting them before they hit you, but I think with perfect timing you can probably get around that. I can’t really say one way or the other there, but it seems possible. There isn’t any replay value after beating the game, but that along should take you quite a while.

The graphics are pretty solid and have aged very well. The character designs are good and the game even has images and text like a more modern game. The illustrations are quite good and we even get a number of solid plot twists. It really makes the whole game a lot more personal for Ryu. There is a soundtrack as well even if I can’t recall any of the themes. They all sound a little similar plus you will be far too busy trying to survive to actually listen to what the music sounds like.

Overall, This game was actually fun. Ninja Gaiden is a title that I would certainly recommend to others. It gets the fundamentals right so then everything after that is a nice bonus. This game is just the complete package and it might have the best plot for any NES game. That could be a stretch, but at the moment I can’t think of any that are better. If you’re looking for a good game on the E-shop then look no further. This is the kind of game that you want to check out and you will also be able to appreciate a part of gaming history!

Overall 7/10

City Connection Review

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I realized that I had a ton of coins on MyNintendo Rewards and they were all about to go to waste so it was time to make a move. I don’t buy digital games all that often, but when I do you can bet that they will be quality titles. Well, City Connection isn’t all that good to be honest and it’s not very well known for a good reason, but the actual gameplay is fairly unique. With modern tech it probably could have even been very good. As it stands, the game is very forgettable and won’t be remembered as well as something like Mario or Legend of Zelda.

The game starts you off right away as you drive through town. The levels are all on what is essentially 3 screens worth of ground to cover. You have to drive on everything to make the stage all white which clears the level. The stages typically have 3-4 levels of height to go through and you will have to dodge the cops and an evil cat as you do this. All you can do is drive back and forth as well as jumping. Once you master the controls you will also find that jumping and then changing directions is incredibly handy. The game is rather fast so it is very difficult not to bump into anything. One bump costs a life though so be careful as 3 bumps means that you are out.

The game has roughly 5 levels before it starts looping back to the beginning forever and ever. There is no story or ending to be found so watch out or you’ll be playing old levels. I was nearly done with beating the game a second time before I realized this. It’s rather disheartening since it means that the game was really slapped together without a care in the world. I only made it through the game because of the save points that you can exploit with the Wii U. Prepare to save it every other second here as cars will teleport out of nowhere and the cat likes to move around as well. The cat is invincible so just don’t mess with him. He will chase you if you stay on any layer of the stage too long so do a lot of jumping. Of course, when you jump you are vulnerable as a car can easily jump out of nowhere to intercept you so watch out for that.

You only counter to the cars is that you can fire back with some oil bullets. This won’t work on cars that teleport though so watch out for that as they aren’t fully materialized into this plane of existence. Again, I like the concept of having to paint a whole town. It’s sort of like De Blob, the execution just wasn’t on point. The Police Cars just seem unfair with how they teleport around and there is almost no way you can win without the extra save points. There isn’t any incentive to win either since the game has absolutely no replay value or even a real ending to congratulate you on a job well done.

There isn’t much to say about the graphics either. They are just really old and I suppose you can’t fault the game for that. It’s all right I guess, but probably one of the worst animated games that I have seen in a while. The little screencaps after each level are okay if not for the fact that they reuse them very quickly. Those couldn’t have been very expensive so I think the game could have added many more of them. There is really only one theme in the game so you better enjoy it or that will hurt the game as well. It’s not bad, but there isn’t any real personality to the theme either so it’s just there. It’s kind of like elevator music in that respect. This game needs a modern reboot to help restart the franchise.

Overall, I can’t say that the game is very fun. It’s unique and is good to play for a few minutes, but it’s not a game that I would recommend spending money on. It just isn’t worth that kind of attention and I’ve seen free games that had a lot more heart and depth to them. If you really want a good challenge then I guess this could be the ticket for you, but there are better options out there like Ninja Gaiden. I’d never heard of this game before I bought it and I can now see why.

Overall 5/10

Fortnite Battle Royale Review

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It’s time to look at what could end up being known as the greatest shooting game of them all. The best part is that the game didn’t even need a huge budget or a AAA company backing it up. It’s a very simple shooter but one that adds in a very unique mechanic to separate it from the rest. Fortnite’s building gimmick is awesome. You’ll find yourself coming back to the game for another round constantly because you simply don’t want to stay away. That’s how you know that the game is rock solid.

There is no story here and no tutorial so you are thrown into the action right away. You fight against other players in 100 man free for alls, 50 teams of 2, 50 vs 50, and squads of 4. You can also form a solo squad to really test your mettle. The map is huge though so you will have plenty of time to practice at the start of each match as long as you aim for the edge of the map. Getting used to the mechanics will happen pretty quickly, mastering them is another bowl of potatoes entirely.

The gameplay is that of a 3rd person shooter with the Hunger Games backdrop. You land on the field with no gear besides your axe. As you traverse through the stage you can break just about anything for material and you will find a lot of weapons and ammo lying around. You definitely want to have a gun for later. The material will all be good for making forts, stairs, and other such constructs. You can use them as a shield or to give yourself the high ground in a fire fight. The possibilities are endless there but just be warned that what you build really stands out and may alert others to your position. The controls are customizable as you can mess with which button does what. The 2 main divisions are Builder Pro and Combat Pro. The main difference is in how you build objects with the former giving each type its own button while the latter has you shift through them. Both have their benefits.

To prevent players from simply hiding for the duration of the map, the stage slowly starts to cave in. You’ll see a large storm approaching from all sides and you have to stay in the safe part of the map. You can use the map to see where the storm is coming from and where it will stop. The storm will move for about a minute and then stop. The game always gives clear indicators of what the status of the storm is here so there is no guess work. It is still very easy to underestimate the storm though so be careful. As you run around you will also have to choose what your strategy is going to be here. Will you run to the circle and start fighting or head to the outskirts and only approach when necessary? I typically like doing the latter as you have time to pick up a great arsenal and are almost guaranteed to place in the top 30. The downsides to this strategy are the facts that you will likely get less kills this way and you will have given up control of the inner forts to other players. I think those are reasonable drawbacks so I stick to this plan but if that sounds bad then simply adopt a more aggressive approach.

It’s very satisfying to see a player approach and then snipe them from afar or jump over to them and start blasting. While playing the game you will quickly learn where everyone’s blindspots are. It’s also not like you’re fighting A.I. who will randomly know where you are. With other humans it’s just a lot more fun because they are actual players and will react as such. It’s all in real time so you have to try and put yourself in their position as you prepare to launch an attack. If the odds aren’t in your favor then you can also fall back and plan a retreat for a while. I can’t stress enough just how massive these levels are.

This also isn’t the kind of game that you can do justice to in a review. It’s just very well crafted. Even the fact that your characters will make a little noise if you step on the grass or run as opposed to crouching. If you crouch then you are basically silent but naturally the trek will last longer. As a result there is no soundtrack as that would make it difficult to hear these details. It does seem like you can use music as a weapon though or perhaps a taunt. Definitely a bold one since you are letting the world know where you are. On the flip side, you can also shoot in a random direction from time to time to keep the other players guessing. It can also work as a bluff if they think that you are in a firefight with someone. Getting the enemy to overthink everything will certainly help you in some way or another.

The graphics look pretty good. It’s fairly plain but looks weren’t the main focus of this title. Everything is quite clear though and that’s important for a game like this one. I like the animation for the terrain. At first it can be daunting to try and create a fort, but eventually you will get it down pat. The more you play the game the better you will get at it and the title never loses its charm. On average I always make top 20 in Solo and top 5 in Duo. It’s pretty nice, but at the end of the day you will want to grab the top spot. There’s just nothing like being able to say that out of 100 players you came in first.

Overall, Fortnite is a blast and has certainly earned its reputation of a legendary game. It’s taken the world by storm and rightfully so. It’s a rather basic game on the surface, but a creative one and that’s why it succeeds. As a result there isn’t much to say about it and yet you could talk for hours about why it is so fun. There is a deeper side to the game as well if you start analyzing the guns and memorizing the map. The more you think about the game the more you will want to play the game even more to test out your theories. The matches can be long or quick and you can leave at any time once you lose or watch through the eyes of another player to get more ideas. All the game is missing is a way to jump into a 100 man free for all with a friend but of course it’s easy to see how that might be exploited. It would be a blast though and I wonder if there is a way to do a 1 v 1.

Overall 9/10

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the portable Shantae games. This one takes place after Risky Boots took away all of her powers so our protagonist is a little weaker than usual. She’s still as determined as ever though which is a good thing since the world is in peril once more. While the game isn’t quite as amazing as the PS4 one, it’s still a really fun game and proves once more that Shantae is one of the better side scrolling adventure games. Maybe she’ll be announced as dlc for the new Super Smash Bros at some point.

The game starts out with Shantae still feeling the fallout from not having her powers, but she doesn’t have time to dwell on it as the Pirate King has awoken. He plans to conquer the world. Risky Boots has made it her mission to stop him and Shantae agrees to aid her. After all, Risky may not be her favorite person in the world, but she is still the lesser of the two evils. Shantae can worry about her after saving the world. To stop the King, Shantae must find his 5 Dens of Evil and destroy him, thereby weakening him enough for Risky to vanquish him. Does she have what it takes?

The gameplay is a 2D platformer just like her last game. You try to get from the beginning of a level to the end to fight the boss. You can jump and swing your hair like a sword. A new power up can be obtained in each world like a gun, super speed, a sword that can stab through the ground, and much more. The game isn’t simply a matter of going from world to world though. Every time you get a power up you will want to go hack to the old worlds to see which new rooms can now be opened. There will also be old characters that you can talk to who are interested in items that you have obtained and will help you get through an obstacle. As such, remembering the story is certainly important for when the fans throws hints at you. It’s not as if the game is massive though so if you are unsure just go around and talk to everyone.

I wonder if Risky Boots is officially going to be more of a rival than a villain going forward. While she may have been the main villain at one point, it’s rare to start helping the main character and then revert back. She seems like a pretty cool character so I’d be okay with that.

Shantae is always a quality character herself and that doesn’t change here. She forgives Risky pretty quickly and doesn’t mind doing most of the work in stopping the villains. She has a lot of confidence and always gets the job done. While her trusting nature doesn’t always work out too well for her, Shantae keeps at it.

Her supporting cast is definitely not quite as solid when it comes to the heroes. Shantae’s uncle is on the annoying side while her friend Bolo is too clumsy to be of help. The bird owner is a decent enough character and I actually thought her plot would have a sad ending with how suddenly the guy she was with got turned to stone. Well, it was still a sad ending for her but in a different way. Shantae’s zombie friend is definitely a big troll but she’s a fun enough character. Shantae definitely shouldn’t trust her all that much though.

As always the game is very bright and colorful. The level designs really stand out and it’s usually pretty clear what you have to do. The attack animations are simple but very distinct. It just feels like a very modern portable game with a solid budget behind it. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it is a AAA title as the only thing hinting against this is the short length and to be fair, that’s something that happens to many big games as well. While the soundtrack isn’t quite as dynamic as the PS4 entry it is still quite solid. The themes have a quick tempo and really get you ready to tackle the level.

There are multiple endings in the game which are determined by how many collectibles you obtain. There are 20 Dark Minions wandering the world and by destroying all of them and absorbing their darkness into your lamp, you can get the hero ending. I got most of them but clearly not enough so the game actually ends on a rather sad note. It even leaves room for a sequel if the true ending did not exist. The game makes it easy to find these collectibles though and it’s not like there are too many of them so grabbing all the pieces of evil would be a simple matter. There are also heart containers to obtain and even more upgrades to buy for your attack power and speed. Obtaining money in this game is certainly a slow process but a steady one nonetheless. With the replay value and main campaign the game will probably be about 8-10 hours which is reasonable. It’s a little short but still not that bad.

Overall, Shantae has brought out another winner. The game is certainly very polished and the story is fun. The characters are very distinct and the game doesn’t reuse any bosses. There’s a lot to like here and I would definitely recommend the game. It was fairly close to scoring an 8 and an extra level probably would have sealed the deal. Regardless you will be missing out if you don’t get this one.

Overall 7/10

Blazblue Cross Tag Battle Review

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It’s time to take a look at one of the most eagerly awaited games of 2018! The instant that the first teaser trailer came out I knew that this was going to be an all star title. RWBY characters were finally getting a chance in the spotlight and I was also finally able to experience the Blazblue fighting style. Needless to say the game is a blast. Unfortunately while the game was expected to be relatively low budget, I still did expect a little more than what the game had to offer. It’s a great title, but perhaps one that I cannot call masterful.

The premise of the game’s story is that every character from 4 different worlds have been kidnapped. Each world gets 4-8 different fighters who compete in a big tournament to decide all of their fates. The champion must grab all 4 of the Keystones and make it to the end. Sounds simple enough, but will this mysterious cosmic being really let them go so easily? You typically can’t trust these mysterious characters. Most of the characters here just want to fight so don’t expect most confrontations to end calmly.

There are 4 stories, one for each of the various series in the game. The stories have 8 battles within them and a general story in the background. Blazblue is the only story with multiple endings though. The stories are fairly quick at around 70 minutes each and only around 10 if you skip cutscenes. The cutscenes are pretty long and have voice acting which is great but each character only has 1 stock pose. This means that characters look like they’re about to fight in every scene even when it’s a peaceful discussion. The most obvious example of this is the Persona character whose illustration shows her throwing out a kick. You see this same kick for every single scene she is in. Most games come with at least 3 illustrations for exactly this reason and it’s actually a little crazy that this game only uses one. I’ve seen mobile games with what looks like a higher budget.

Also, the story doesn’t even make much sense at all. The high above being needs energy from the combatants in order to take over their worlds. She even has a rule in place that prevents them from fighting unless it’s a tag battle so as not to waste her time. Yet, she loses control of the characters randomly at times. Sometimes she is eavesdropping on the heroes to know their plans and sometimes she just doesn’t. She does such a glorious job of messing everything up that it makes it tough for you to take the game seriously. Her power level is just very inconsistent and most of the characters act completely out of character as well. I just think the story could have been way better and honestly it is the weakest part of the game. I wouldn’t even call the game low budget at all if not for the story. The story is what makes it appear that way with the writers just phoning in the plot and not really doing much with it. If we ever do get a sequel or a full fledged RWBY game, I hope they put ore thought into it.

The gameplay is your standard 2D fighter. You attack other players with long combos and finals smashes as you attempt to get their life bars down to 0. The battles are all 2 on 2 so tagging in and out adds to the strategy of it all. There are easy auto combos that you can use while you start the game, but eventually you want to move onto more advanced techniques or you will be doomed against the stronger foes. I have no complaints with the gameplay as it flows very well and is just very well done.

There are quite a few different modes to play here aside from the story. Naturally there is the training mode which is pretty handy as well as Tactics mode. There you learn combos and complete tutorials about the game. The vast majority of the game’s replay value is through it’s online and local multiplayer mode of course. Knowing this, most of the trophies in the game are obtained through these features. You can even obtain the Platinum in around 3 hours if you are truly rushing. If you don’t have online then you want to play a lot of multiplayer matches locally. If you are just playing for single player content then you will be done very quickly.

The game got a lot of controversy for locking half of the characters behind a paywall and rightfully so. The developers are basically just reusing the characters from previous games so it hardly costs them anything. I do appreciate the price of the game being reduced to help justify this, but it’s still not a good look. As a result you fight some characters in the game that you can’t even play as. We’ll see how much each character is, but I don’t think I will be purchasing any of them. I just don’t play the game enough to make it worth it as opposed to something like Smash 4.

One of the big positives of the game is its rich soundtrack. Blazblue has always had a bunch of great themes and now we get to hear the RWBY ones alongside it. Persona and Under Night’s themes aren’t bad either so it’s just a very complete soundtrack. It’s nice to have voice acting for all of the characters as well since it makes the game look more polished. The graphics are certainly top of the line so the game’s developers spared no expense in this arena. The Astral Finish move that each of the characters have looks great and the gameplay is very bright and dynamic. Even if some aspects of the game were rushed, these certainly weren’t.

Overall, Cross Tag Battle is a great game. You just have to decide on if you want to look at it in a glass half full view where you’re just glad that the game actually got made and licensed or in a half empty view where there is so much more that could have been done with it. It’s not perfect, but it’s still a game that I had a blast playing even if it was a rather brief experience. I’ll at least go back to unlock some more trophies and if I ever buy a month of PS+ to get some online trophies maybe I’ll even go for the Platinum. Surely getting to Silver Rank online won’t be that tough right? I’d recommend checking this game out if you’re a big fan of fighters or just want to be able to play as Team RWBY. That alone makes the purchase worth it.

Overall 8/10