7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Yoshi’s Woolly World Review


I have conquered my first game from the Christmas batch! Of course it had to be Yoshi because this game was supposed to be quite solid. I may not be a fan of the yarn aesthetic but that has no real bearing on the actual gameplay so either way this was going to be a blast. It’s definitely a pretty good game and delivers on everything you could want here. My only gripe is that some of the level designs aren’t great with invisible blocks everywhere which I find to be a bit tiresome. The final level in the game is also the worst one which is a bit ironic, but these issues are fairly minor and ultimately do not prevent the game from reaching its potential.

The story starts with Kamek showing up and stealing most of the Yoshi’s. Since they are made of yarn this isn’t really a difficult thing to do. Fortunately the main Yoshi escaped and now he wants to save all of his friends. To do that he will have to travel to all of the worlds and stop Kamek at every turn. This magic koopa may not be all that powerful, but he is fast and always manages to scamper off. You’ll quickly be able to see what the formula is here so you’ve always got a good idea of how long the game is. It should last you a good 6-7 hours I’d say.

We should jump right into the gameplay which is naturally pretty good. You have to get to the end of the level by jumping and running through various obstacles. You can eat just about anything and then you can turn them into eggs which you throw into switches and use to attack enemies. While there is a little bit of motion controls thrown into this equation it’s not nearly as intrusive as you would expect. While I am of the opinion that motion controls almost never help a game, this one didn’t particularly hurt it either. Half the time you won’t even remember that it’s here.

One area where the game really excels is in the boss battles. True, they do re-use quite a few of them, but it’s nice to have some bosses with actual moves and creative ways to defeat them. I think this is the main area where Nintendo tends to soar above the competitors. Their 2D platformers have way more strategic elements in play to keep things interesting while the others tend to be rather basic. Some of these will actually take you a few moments to determine how to injure them and each boss typically has 2 different points at which they are vulnerable. For the first instance you can take advantage of it if you are ready and quick. Then they have a second opportunity for players who may not be at that level yet. It’s all good boss design.

As expected the graphics are nice and pleasant even if they are some of the worst that I’ve ever seen in a Yoshi game. I’m sorry to say that the yarn aesthetic just doesn’t work for me. It reminds me of Kirby’s Epic Yarn where it just doesn’t hold up as well because the graphics were trying to be so experimental. Sometimes being experimental just isn’t a good thing and it’s something that can be hard for video game companies to wrap their heads around. I think this phase of Nintendo is over though and if you like this style there’s no problem. It just struck out for me.

The soundtrack is solid though. You’ll recognize a lot of the classic Yoshi themes, but then you’ve also got a new one for the lava level that is surprisingly epic. It feels like something you’d hear in a Sonic game, not a fun Yoshi game where you’re weaving yarn. Part of its effectiveness is in the fact that it comes out of nowhere like that. I was certainly impressed and have to give the game high marks for this showing.

Meanwhile there is a lot of replay value as you would expect. Each level has a lot of collectibles and it’ll actually take a good amount of time to grab them all. This will allow you to access extra levels and content which is always nice. Completing the game 100% will take you a very long time so expect to be here for quite a while. As I mentioned, this is just a very complete game and one I expect you’ll have a lot of fun with. It’s like one last hurrah for the Wii U.

Now lets talk about some of the weaker aspects of the game. There really isn’t much to talk about here. There isn’t really much of a plot but that’s to be expected. No, what I’m talking about here are the core level designs. One personal gripe is in the fact that the level designs have a lot of invisible areas. You can’t actually see things unless you shoot an egg wildly and hope it hits something. I didn’t think this was a good thing to do. Sure, it requires you to spend more egg shots and grab more enemies, but it’s not something you would find out otherwise. A good puzzle needs to give you a shot to solve it from the jump. Then you’ve also got the fact that the game will soft lock you in some sections. Sometimes you need to have an egg to throw but there are no enemies around so you’ll have to back-track quite a bit to get them. You should have the ability to always summon at least 1 egg to prevent this.

Then there’s the final level where you have to light up the statues. This level was pretty dreadful because it’s incredibly hard to find the enemies. I was probably on that level for a good 30 minutes or so. We never had anyone hidden under the water before so it comes out of left field. Most of the levels were quite good, it’s just that these things stick out and ultimately prevent the game from being higher up on Nintendo’s impressive list of platformers. Not every game can rise to the top though.

Overall, Yoshi’s Woolly World is a game that I would recommend buying. I was definitely pretty late to the party here with how many years it took for me to get to this one, but it was worth the wait. It really sticks to the Nintendo formula of high quality games and it’s hard to imagine playing this one and not having fun. I’m definitely ready to play the next Nintendo game, but I admit there probably will be another long gap before I play the next Yoshi title. There are a lot of other games to play in the meanwhile and you can certainly expect a Wario title soon enough.

Overall 7/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

ESPN Sports Connection Review


It’s time to look at a fairly recent Wii U game I got to play. I haven’t had a chance to play a true cash-in title in quite a while so it was nostalgic to an extent. That being said, the game was pretty underwhelming and falls for most of the traps that the Wii U games tend to sink in. The Gamepad and Wii Remote are both mandatory which is an issue since the Wii U should be able to play the game with its own controls. It’s like asking you to have a Gamepad while playing a Nintendo Switch game.

There are 6 games here and they range from okay to downright bad. It’s really something that Wii Sports has aged a lot better with the controls and pure gameplay. ESPN is just not on the same level and that’s really a bad sign. None of the games feel like they had any real care in them and they were simply slapped together for a quick profit. There is barely even a main menu as the only options are to click into the games or look at your in-game achievements. Those are your only options so the game is incredibly quick as you have probably already begun to suspect. Well, lets look at the games.

First up is Football which should have been great, but unfortunately the game messed this up by making it all motions controls. Throwing the ball is actually very difficult because the game won’t read your commands and by the time you are able to toss the ball it is usually too late so your guy will drop the ball. A lot of the game also boils down to luck as you pick 1 of 4 directions and hope that the other player picked a different one. If you pick the same one then the defender ends up stopping the attacker. It just doesn’t feel like Football, especially since you can’t run the ball at all even after catching it. All you can do is throw the ball which doesn’t even work well. Thumbs down on the first sport.

Then we have Tennis which has controls that are worse than the Balls of Fury game for the Wii. It’s made to be like Wii Sports as you swing your arm around and try to connect but the sensors aren’t perfect for this one either. You’ll have a very tough time hitting the ball and an even tougher time trying to get it to go where you want it to. The points all last way too long and so do the matches. It may be fair to say that this is the worst version of tennis that I have played in a game.

Not to be outdone, the Golf game here isn’t any better. In fairness to this minigame, it’s no worse than most Golf titles. It’s just that Golf isn’t for me and this is not the game to change that. You will have a hard time hitting the ball just right because you’ll end up swinging too hard to compensate for the sensor not reading your light hit. That means you can expect to get a Bogey instead of a Birdie.

Then you have Karting which is the best game almost by default. It’s not great or even that good, but at least it feels like a real game. You can actually accelerate accurately and the stages had a little effort put into them. By now it’s a pretty small bar, but I’ll take what I can get. This was probably the best game out of the 6 and it shows that racing games are still the foundation upon which everything tries to get built. It’s just easy to at least give you the impression of being in control here.

Next is Baseball and this one has the same issues as the Football game. It doesn’t feel much like Baseball because so much of the game is completely out of your control. There’s just no fun to be had here which is a real problem. Pitching feels pretty OP while batting isn’t satisfying. This leads to a poor balance for sure. Finally we have Soccer. Admittedly this one isn’t too bad. It’s up there with the Kart game for at least being entertaining. The controls are simple and you can actually score. It feels like soccer which is the important thing. So, all in all the game got 2/6 of the games right. I can’t really give it a ton of praise for that, but I’ll at least give it some credit.

Not enough to recommend the game though. When you see the name ESPN slapped onto something you expect a certain level of quality. This game did not fulfill that at all. It just went through the motions and ultimately gave you a title that you can’t really be all that proud of. The graphics are okay, but nothing special. They’re going for an art style like Backyard Football, but with less of a budget. It’s all colorful, but not very impressive. The soundtrack and presentation are basically nonexistent here so that isn’t doing the game any favors here either.

There is some replay value through the achievements that the game gives out. Each sport has 40 achievements and there are 28 social ones. Completing all of these achievements will be very difficult unless you have another player to cheese them with. I got a reasonable amount of achievements, but since they don’t unlock anything there really isn’t much point to them either. There isn’t even a mode to play all of the sports at once. It’s like playing Mario Party but without the party mode and knocking the dozens of minigames down to 6. Even if these minigames were amazing (which they aren’t) it would be tough to hold my attention for very long with such a limited selection.

Overall, ESPN Sports Connection is not a good game. It’s probably the most disappointing game since Star Fox Zero. There just should have been so much more to this title but it could not deliver on anything. Even the karting, while okay ends up making Mario Kart Tour look good. You could just buy a game that specializes in one of these 6 sports instead of buying the mini version. It can be done well like Wii Sports, but for the most part I tend to see a pattern of these kind of games being low quality. The game is only 2-3 dollars so it’s not a big loss if you buy it, but I would recommend going for something else instead. This one just won’t last you very long at all.

Overall 3/10

3 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Review


It’s been quite a while since I’ve played a low budget party game but it was time to finally do so again with this title. 30 Great Games is actually a series that also had an installment on the Wii. That one was not particularly good and the same can be said for this one. There are some decent mini games thrown in of course, but they’re surrounded by poor game design and odd decisions on how they are structured. You won’t be sticking with this game for very long.

As the title suggests there are 30 different mini games to choose from here. Some of them are pretty solid while others leave much to be desired. If you just look at the games you would probably expect this game to actually be pretty decent. They aren’t as overly long as in other party games and there are actually good ideas here that I would like to see Mario Party incorporate. If the game could have just put a little more effort into the other parts then it could have been good.

Where the game messes up is in every other area. For starters the only modes in the game are the free play mode and the main campaign option where you unlock all of the mini games. Free play is self explanatory and works well. The main campaign has issues though. There are 6 worlds and each one has 5 levels. That would have been straightforward enough but then you have to get through the 5 Gamepad levels as well and there aren’t many of those so prepare to face the same mini games over and over again. This is definitely a case of quick padding to extend the game despite the lack of content. Think about it, for every world to have 10 levels we would need 50, but since there are only 30 that means you need to keep on replaying quite a lot. Throwing away the Gamepad levels or simply including them once would have been much better. It would have been a proper campaign even if it was rather short.

As for the controls, they aren’t particularly good. Part of the point of the Wii U was to finally get rid of the motion controls so we could go back to proper gaming. Unfortunately this game didn’t get the memo. Wii Remotes are actually mandatory and you very rarely get to use the Gamepad. The game can’t even decide on what control scheme it really wants so you are forced to keep on changing depending on the minigame that has been queued up next. This means that you have to have the Wii Remote and Gamepad on the entire time which is a huge waste of battery power.

I wouldn’t say that the graphics are anything to write home about either. It looks pretty standard and I’ve seen some N64 games with more heart. Forget about a soundtrack as well. There are unlockables here and it is a party game so I suppose we do have replay value. It’s not done in a very organic way though. You can’t even play the final 2 worlds unless you beat the first 3 multiple times. I don’t really get the purpose of this except to annoy the players. Why lock the final levels behind this extra grind? It just isn’t right.

I guess we should talk about some of the minigames though. One of the ones that I did enjoy is where you have to walk around a log that is constantly shaking. While you attempt to do so the other 3 players will try to hit you with cannonballs. You can block with your shield, but you can’t move while you are blocking with is definitely a tough tradeoff. You have to go slowly but surely as you wrestle your way through the stage and it is not easy. Then you’ve got a level where you try to run over 3 players who are hiding in the dark. The 1 vs 3 games were just the most fun even if they didn’t always feel very balanced. The 3 have the edge in most of them.

There’s a free for all minigame where you have to jump over hurdles and sprint to the end. This one’s pretty fun and doesn’t really have any gimmicks. It’s just about going fast. Then there are various reaction games where you have to press the combo on screen before anyone else does. You do this for a few rounds and then the points will determine who won the battle. These are all solid and I can’t say that there were any minigames that were bad. The worst ones are really just hurt because of the motion controls. For example there was a jumping one where I couldn’t get the remote to let me jump sideways. Likewise there was another one about moving sideways and my guy wouldn’t budge. Take that away and those games would be a lot of fun.

Overall, This is not a party game that I would recommend. I would consider it to be one of the worst ones. At least the Wii party games have a good excuse since they were forced onto the console and needed to use the motion controls. This one just chose to do so for some reason and that was not the best decision. I’ll always stand by the fact that motion controls will always be worse than the standard ones and so I’m glad that they’ve been phased out. If you want a good party game to play through then I’d suggest picking something a lot more mainstream like Mario Party. You want a game like that which will last a while as well as give you a good journey along the way.

Overall 3/10

Game Records

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 2h 46m

Best Times

Alpine Skiing Downhill 2m 11s
Ski Jumping Large Hill 219.35
Freestyle Skiing Moguls 25.11
Freestyle Ski Cross 1m 5s
Biathlon 26:59
Snowboard Parallel Giant Slalom 47s
Snowboard Slopestyle 73.66
Snowboard Cross 1m 27s
Skeleton 1m
4-man Bobsleigh 58s
Figure Skating Singles 130.09
Figure Skating Pairs 163.53
Speed Skating 500m 30s
Short Track Speed Skating 1000m 1m 24s
Winter Sports Champino Race 3m 41s
Groove Pipe Snowboard 2m 12
Roller Coaster Bobsleigh 2m 4s
Bullet Bill Sledge Race 1m 45s

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games Review


It’s been a little while, but now it’s time to look at the next installment in the Olympic Game series. This one has been a mixed bag for me because some of the titles here have been really solid while others were pretty bland. I have to put Sochi in the weaker half as well. While it does have the best story in the series the gameplay is definitely the weakest. The game made the odd decision of having you switch between the Gamepad and the Wii remote constantly for story mode. That’s just an odd decision if you ask me and it’s one that slows everything down. I’ll go into that more in a second.

The story revolves around Team Sonic and Team Mario getting ready for another round of competition. They are interrupted when a giant castle shows up and mysterious keys lock down all of the doors. The heroes will have to fight past shadow versions of themselves to make it to the top and find out who is doing this. What mastermind could possibly be giving the heroes such a difficult fight? One thing’s for sure, the heroes can’t afford to hold back if they want to claim victory here.

So I definitely do give the game credit for actually adding a story here. That’s where the credit stops. I’ll talk about the positives in a minute, but the controls need to be addressed right away. Not only do you have to switch controls but you have to have the Wii Remote Plus or you won’t even be allowed to play the story. It’s a pretty slick way of making sure everyone bought the add on, but definitely a shady method if you ask me. The player shouldn’t be required to jump through all these hoops just to have some fun playing these Olympic titles.

Would it have been so hard to have just made all of the minigames Gamepad compatible? It’s just really strange that you have to keep switching. Also, the series has never been particularly good with this, but it’s really hard to understand the controls at a glance here. You can see the controls after you’ve paused the game, but the first time around you’ll probably be winging it. The controls are heavily motion based as well so get ready for the game to keep doing things when you don’t want it to. As a result this can make the game a bit more difficult than it is actually supposed to be which is definitely pretty iffy.

On the positive side, the graphics look pretty good as always. It’s always nice to see modern Sonic and Mario on the same screen here. All of the characters look sharp and the same goes for the level designs and animations. The soundtrack is also quite solid as it gives us various remixes for both the Mario and Sonic titles. This adds a little spice to the mini games for sure. It also just makes a lot of sense since the game should not use any generic themes when it has such a vast library of good tunes to choose from. That’s the way I see it anyway.

There’s a good amount of replay value here. The games are all made to be ones that you can replay a lot with friends and family to just have a good time. There are a lot of records to break and content to unlock. It’s not quite as vast as the first Winter Olympic Games which had a whole store filled with things to buy, but it’s definitely not bad either. There are a lot of modes here, but of course what will ultimately decide whether you want to play or not is how much you like the minigames.

On that note, they are very hit or miss. There are some minigames that are a lot of fun like Hockey, sliding down the hill, skateboarding, bobsledding, etc. On the other hand, there is the classic Curling game which seems to make it in every year. This game is as bad as it always was with the outcome basically being luck and the game drags on forever. You never get to walk in and out for this title. The dancing minigames also take quite a while to end. I believe they may be 4-5 minutes long which may not sound crazy, but for a minigame that is really pushing it.

At the end of the day the Olympic series has always seemed like a watered down version of Mario Party. The various games usually aren’t made with quite as much heart and there’s always a dicey one in there somewhere. Most of the games are good and I think they’ll all be reasonably enjoyable once you’re not playing a computer. This is still a good party game, but it’s definitely not the first one I’d recommend getting. I’m hoping that the new one coming out for the Switch does something different. I haven’t played the newest Olympics title yet so maybe by now they’ve fixed everything, but I can say that t this point in time I’m not in a huge rush to get the next one. I certainly will, but I do hope it’s better than this one.

Overall, The Sochi 2014 games aren’t a whole lot different from the other years. I feel like they phoned this game in to an extent. Many of the games share the same controls and aren’t terribly inspired. At the same time, the story is fun though and I think you can get some good enjoyment out of this one. The game is pretty cheap by this point so it isn’t much of an investment. I think it’s also fair to say that the game is not misleading. You should absolutely know what you’re getting yourself into before you play the game. It’s very straightforward about this so I think even without this review you should know whether you enjoy it or not. If you decide to buy the game then just be prepared to switch controllers every other match.

Overall 6/10

Game Records

Tank! Tank! Tank! Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 29m
Medals: 60
BP 200623
Tanks 12/20

Level Stats: Rank

Level 1 S
Level 2 S
Level 3 S
Level 4 A
Level 5 S
Level 6 A
Level 7 S
Level 8 S
Level 9 A
Level 10 B
Level 11 C
Level 12 S
Level 13 B
Level 14 S
Level 15 D
Level 16 S
Level 17 D
Level 18 S
Level 19 A
Level 20 D
Level 21 B
Level 22 S
Level 23 C
Level 24 S
Level 25 B
Level 26 A
Level 27 C

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Tank! Tank! Tank! Review


It’s time to look at a game I’ve had my eye on for quite a while. The cover and screenshots looked pretty good and it has a 3D multiplayer option. You can’t really beat that. Alas, there’s a reason why this game isn’t getting the critical acclaim that you might expect. The reason is that the game is quite limited in content and won’t last for very long. At full price this would be quite dicey.

The basic plot is that you are fighting off an alien invasion. We don’t know why all of these Kaiju and robots are attacking but it’s up to you and your tanks to fight them back. Show these guys that Earth is not on the menu. Defeat is not an option so fortunately you will have quite a few tanks to choose from by the end. The story is also co-op enabled or you can have an A.I. jump in.

The basic gameplay is probably just as you would have imagined it to be. You control the tank and drive around 3D environments as you take it to the monsters. You have your main weapon and you can also grab 2 other temporary ones during the level from enemies you defeat. You will naturally be driving around during this as well to try and dodge as many shots as possible but be warned that some tanks have a very hard time moving. Sometimes it’s best to just find a good spot and hold your ground. It definitely looks and feels like the arcade game that it is which adds a nostalgic twist to the title. The gameplay may not be quite as smooth as you would like but it feels natural.

The graphics are nice and bright with colorful designs for the monsters and the levels. It all looks pretty solid even if not groundbreaking. It’s a game that is very nice to look at visually. The soundtrack is less impressive as the game has a very small amount of tunes which keep on looping. The tunes aren’t bad but more of a selection would have been good. You can only hear the same tune so many times before it loses some impact.

Now lets talk about what hurt the game quite a bit. It’s the fact that the title really tries to artificially extend its length. There are around 35 levels in the game but at first you can only play around 8. How do you unlock the next batch? You have to beat all of the levels again with a different tank. The game runs on a star system. You get 1 star every time you beat a level. To complete the game you need dozens and dozens of stars so you have to complete each of the levels over and over again. It’s done to a very tedious degree.

I understand that the game wants you to play it a little extra, but you can’t lock the main story behind such a thing. What that shows is that the developers were nervous and thought people wouldn’t willingly replay the levels purely for the tanks. They have to trust in their game or put some good unlockables in. I played their game for a while and did the replays, but when I saw that I had to replay the 20 levels again deep into the game I just put it down. There’s just no way I was going to do that many levels just to play a few more reskins.

Yes, towards the end of the game you started fighting the same bosses and opponents over and over again. The stage limit is limited and same with the character models. As a result you can tell that this should be a short game. It just didn’t have the production values to be extended so much by just reusing the levels. The game could have been clever with shifting the levels or the goals a bit to make it more unique, but didn’t do any of that.

So, Tank Tank Tank is a fun game, but it is stretched out to the point where it loses some brownie points with you. It does have a good amount of replay value though I suppose. Beating all of the levels with all of the tanks will take quite a while. Each level is fairly short at only 1-2 minutes, but beating it over and over again just isn’t the most enjoyable experience. You also have to take into account the short cutscenes that play before each level which cannot be skipped. They’re short, but it’s the little things like this which hurt a bit. Fortunately the game does have a multiplayer option which is where most of the real replay value will come in. Now that’s a mode where you can play for a long time without getting bored.

Overall, I would still recommend this game. It goes for bargain prices nowadays so that will help with the lack of content issue. It’s a good low price option for getting in some multiplayer fun. You also have to give it some credit for the cool monster designs. The whole thing feels like a big Kaiju homage at times. You have characters like Ghidorah and King Kong running around and again, the core gameplay is fun. That’s still the most important part of any game and this one nails down that part so you’re still going to have fun. It’s best in short batches and if you follow that you’ll be entertained for quite a while.

Overall 7/10