Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World Review


It’s time to look at the sequel to the original Tales of Symphonia game. As I recently beat the first one I knew it was time to jump right into the sequel. It’s definitely a very worthy successor. Is it as good as the first one? Well….it’s a tricky one. I do appreciate that we no longer have to worry about big dungeons and there are a lot more cinematics here. On the other hand, the original game had the better story if you ask me. So overall I would say that the original wins but it’s very close and that’s definitely impressive considering how good the first one.

It’s been a few years since the original game’s events concluded. The heroes succeeded in merging the two worlds together but this didn’t result in the perfect utopia that they expected. Instead of war about to break out between the half elves and humans, now there are big battles between the inhabitants of both worlds. The Church of Martel seems to have become more radical as well. The game starts with Lloyd appearing and murdering everyone in the city of Palmacosta. Emil barely manages to escape and saves a girl named Marta as well. We then skip forward a few years. Emil doesn’t remember these events and has had a pretty tough time of it. Nobody likes him as they believe him to be a bad luck charm. One day he meets up with Marta again who is being chased by a bunch of villains. She asks him if he will serve her as a Knight of Ratatosk and since he has nothing to lose, Emil agrees to this and gains a lot of power.

Marta explains her mission. She has to find all of the Centurion Cores and awaken them. This will restore Lord Ratatosk who will bring peace to this chaotic world. There are a lot of questions here to be honest but Emil doesn’t care. He’s finally found someone who needs him and so he has a purpose at long last. Emil agrees to help but he also wants revenge against Lloyd along the way. Emil doesn’t understand why people seem to love Lloyd so much despite the guy being a mass murderer. Most people don’t even believe Emil. Then you’ve also got the Vanguard which is an army of extremists who are trying to murder everyone and Emil’s mentor of sorts named Richter is a part of their group. The heroes will definitely need to take some sides here.

There’s a lot of story going on here and that’s why it’s always interesting writing reviews for an RPG. It’s a lot different from my standard game reviews where the plot doesn’t have to be mentioned much. Even from what I’ve written below, there’s just so much more to get into. Of course, it’s a story that is constantly evolving as you go through the chapters so you don’t want to get into it too deeply either. Needless to say there is a very large cast of characters here along with a ton of plot twists. You’ll need to play through the game in its entirety to really get the payoff here. I’ll still give a few thoughts here.

One of the big plots here is naturally involving Lloyd and how he went from being the main character of the first film to now seemingly murdering a bunch of people. If you played through the first game then I’m sure you’re thinking that there’s no way Lloyd would actually be evil. It would certainly be a bold move though that’s for sure but it would likely be a very unpopular move that would turn the fanbase against you. Well, the game explains why he’s doing all of this by the line but I just don’t buy into it. The whole thing is a huge stretch if you ask me. The guy’s just out of character, there’s no other way around it. It’s great to see him of course but he just doesn’t act like Lloyd.

It is always nice to see the old cast show up when you’re with a new group though. To date the game that did this the best was the second Golden Sun game. It was handled masterfully. Here you aren’t squarely against the old cast although you do get to fight Lloyd a few times which was neat. The game comes so close to making Lloyd the final boss which was impressive. It’s also just hype to see the characters acknowledge that Lloyd and the others saved the world a while back. It’s rare to go back to a world where the heroes are now famous for saving the world from the brink of disaster. Richter managing to fight off the whole original group was certainly impressive.

The game also retroactively shows us why the villain from the first game had some good points. Uniting the planet did nothing to stop the class battles. It just switched the sides. Now people from both planets are getting into even more fights than the old days. The characters are far from perfect and the world is in desperate need of someone saving it once more. The problem is that without a tangible villain to fight against for the most part, this battle is a lot tougher on the heroes. Then you’ve got the fact that Emil and Marta are working for a powerful spirit named Ratatosk who may or may not be evil.

So it’s a very ambitious story and certainly one that I enjoyed quite a lot. As for the characters, they’re definitely solid. Aside from Lloyd, I’d say that the rest of the old characters are in character. I’m glad that most of them are still trusting Lloyd although I don’t blame the ones who stopped due to how shady he is. If Lloyd doesn’t trust them then why should they trust him right? For the new characters, I’ll start with Emil. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of his. He’s just too timid. The guy backs down to everyone and always tends to panic. When the others get in trouble Emil is forced to call out for Ratatosk mode to save the day each time. Emil’s standard form is just in over his head and to save his character he would have needed to get with the program a lot sooner.

As for his Ratatosk mode, that’s when Emil’s at his best. It’s a similar dynamic to Jekyl and Hyde or Yugi and Yami Yugi. They are effectively different characters. As Ratatosk, Emil is a fun character even if you may not be able to call him a very heroic one. He’s always ready for a fight and isn’t passive this time around. When there’s someone in his way Emil will just blast through them. I wouldn’t have minded if he was in this form all the time. Then you have the heroine Marta. She’s a pretty unique characters. For starters she is constantly flirting with Emil due to admiring him after he saved her as a child. Emil doesn’t remember this and isn’t as brave as Marta expected him to be but that could also be why she was enjoying teasing him the whole time.

Beneath that she has a solid character arc though. Like Emil she has a lot of reasons for being fairly withdrawn and creating an external persona. She wants revenge on some characters but tries to hold this back. At the end of the day she is doing what she can to save the world and does well at this. I would say that she is better than the heroine of the first game. So the these two characters make for a solid duo. Then you’ve got Richter who is one of the major players of the game. He’s definitely a solid villain. No matter what justifications he uses, one of the guy’s first appearances is to try to murder Marta so there’s no way you can stretch him into being a hero. The guy has his goals and the motivations are solid but he definitely goes too far in trying to achieve them. He has the best theme in the game though which makes it extra fun whenever he appears. I also liked his weapon of choice.

The game’s story has a ton of cinematics which is fun because it makes this feel like a movie type event at times. There is always something happening and a benefit of being a sequel is having a lot of nostalgic moments everywhere. Pretty much every town is accurately recreated from the first game including the dungeons. The hub world is gone so now you go directly from place to place. I was definitely pretty cool with that. The graphics are quite solid and the soundtrack is good. While the first game wins with the music overall, I really liked Richter’s theme as well as the various remasters from the first game.

There’s definitely a lot of replay value here. The game itself is over 20 hours long and there are a lot of side quests and bonus cutscenes you can experience during the game as well. Add onto that the various collectibles and this will definitely last you for a while. It’s not quite as long as the first game but still quite long in its own right. There are also some new mechanics compared to the first game like being able to train up monsters. While it’s always sad to see them go back to level 1 when they reincarnate, their stats go quite high. They were super valuable during the final bosses here and they level up faster than the human characters so at least to me it seemed to balance out pretty well.

Overall, Dawn of the New World is a great sequel to the first Tales Of. I definitely recommend picking this up whether you’ve played the first one or not. Either way it’s a great RPG that really succeeds in every area. The fact that most of the dungeons are already completed when you start the game is fine by me. It just means that there’s more time to focus on the story and battles. We get quite a few action scenes in the cinematics like Lloyd taking on Richter or the main duo going up against Alice and her partner. The story gets quite deep at times and doesn’t pull its punches. The ending is pretty tragic in some ways but I was glad that at least some of the characters got a happy ending here. It would have been pretty sad if the game had cut out a bit early. Hopefully they bring these characters back for another adventure some day.

Overall 8/10

Super Monkey Ball Banana Blitz Review


It’s time to play a game that relies on 100% complete motion control abilities. As you may suspect this can get a little dicey due to the fact the Wii motion controls can be pretty bad all the time. There’s just no getting around that and since the Monkey Ball games have always been built around having a lot of precision, it makes for a messy experience. Throw in a few poor design choices and this game was ultimately not able to rise to the level of what I would consider “good”

There’s a story mode although it’s incredibly basic. There’s an opening and an ending but that’s really it. The general plot is that a villain has stolen the legendary bananas from the world. It is now up to Aiai and the crew to bring these fruits back. The most difficult part here is going to be the fact that these monkeys aren’t really all that powerful. If we’re being honest here they’re a little out of their leagues. Fortunately the monkeys do have their rolling balls at the ready which should help to bridge the gap here. So long as they roll quickly and with purpose they should be able to claim victory.

There are 8 worlds to navigate through. Each world has 8 levels in addition to a bonus level and a boss stage. The key thing to remember here is that you have to clear all of the levels in one sitting. You can’t quit and then try again later. You do have unlimited lives though is nice. Watch out though, every time you get a game over the game asks if you want to continue. If you hand shakes even slightly then you may end up saying No which will erase your progress. It’s one of those things where it feels like the game just wasn’t play tested enough. Why was something like that not caught earlier? You should be able to quit a different way where you don’t risk the whole world. Additionally there is no way to pause during a level. Yeah…that’s pretty iffy. You can override it by using the Wii home screen at least so that’s a nice workaround. There should be some way to save your progress during a world as well. Otherwise in the final levels you may find yourself stuck for 30-40 minutes and not be able to leave since you don’t want to start over. These are the kinds of quality of life updates that the game desperately needed.

The main gameplay is simple enough. You roll through the levels in hopes of grabbing a big ring at the end. Once you clear it you will have completed the level and moved on to the next one. The first levels are almost insultingly easy while the last ones are criminally hard. I still hold to the stance that the first two games had more difficult levels but the controls here do ultimately make this a lot more challenging. It’s just hard to get the ball where you want it to go at times. Just moving in a straight line while have you shaking from side to side quite a bit. That said, straight lines were never really my specialty. I go with a more custom style of drawing.

The game definitely does get creative with the levels so I will give it credit for the designs. Each world does feel different and the game does take advantage of its unique gameplay style to offer up a lot of different experiences. No two levels are the same here which is definitely a good thing. The most difficult level for me was the large tower in level 8-7. It’s hard to go down the tower and then once you do the final jump is incredibly difficult. You really need to take that at the perfect angle or you ultimately don’t have a shot. Trust me, it’s more difficult than it sounds.

The graphics are solid. This game definitely looks nice with its colorful effects. That may even be the highlight of the game to be honest. The soundtrack is less memorable. It has a few decent themes to be sure but I wouldn’t say that any of them are particularly great or anything like that. They aren’t particularly memorable at the very least. The overall game’s story will probably take you around 5-6 hours give or take. It really depends on difficult you find the controls and levels to be. Technically if you don’t lose much in any of the levels they only tend to be 1-2 minutes long so you can breeze through the game way sooner. I find it pretty unlikely that someone would be able to beat this game without a lot of deaths though so I don’t see it being too short. The game also has a lot of replay value with the minigame modes and general multiplayer here. There’s definitely a lot of content to enjoy as Monkey Ball did not forget that as its core it is a party game that is meant to provide a lot of fun and excitement to everyone.

Overall, Monkey Ball is a franchise that I enjoy quite a bit but this was the weakest installment I’ve completed. Once I get back to Adventure and complete that one it’ll likely reclaim the title but it’s just hard to be weaker than Banana Blitz. This game just really didn’t have a whole lot going for it. the controls just held this game back more than anything else. The story mode goes out of its way to make the bosses not very cool either. Their weakpoints are certainly not very ideal in combat and make things a little on the dicey side. If you like testing your balance then I would sooner recommend playing one of the original Monkey Ball titles. That said, if you see this game on the cheap then it’s not a bad title to snatch up. I think you can get it for under $5 sometimes now.

Overall 5/10

Need For Speed Nitro Review


I’ve really been making great headway on these Need for Speed titles haven’t I? Nitro is the only Need for Speed game that I have on the Wii and it makes for a very different experience. All of the other Need for Speed titles that I’ve played have felt a lot more on the realistic side compared to this one. Maybe at most you could say that Hot Pursuit II was closer to Arcade style but even that one wasn’t to the same extent. This one’s definitely going for that retro feel and it works out quite nicely. While I would have to say that it’s probably the weakest Need for Speed game by default, it does understand the series a lot more than Drift.

You start the game by being introduced to the main campaign. There are 3 cups, Bronze, Silver, and Gold. Effectively they are all the same game but just with different difficulty levels. You have to do them in order though. When you enter the Bronze cup you are given around 5-6 cities. Your goal is to earn 100 stars which will let you enter the Grand Prix. Once you win that, you will unlock the Silver Cup so rinse and repeat until you’ve won them all. Not a bad deal right? The star system is very similar to Drift. It means that you don’t necessarily have to win every race but it does help. There is less margin for error here compared to Drift as you do need the majority of the stars in order to qualify. I believe there are 128 stars in each world so you can only miss 28. I recommend not losing.

On a more serious note, this game does introduce a certain amount of RNG within the game that means you can’t always guarantee yourself a victory. Sometimes things will happen that you just can’t control. For example, a new mechanic to this game is the Shield weapon that you can use. What this does is it summons the cops to attack a player of your choice. It’s a pretty powerful attack because there’s not much you can do. They run you off the road or if you’re really unlucky they’ll keep spinning you in a circle so that you can’t reset. It’s a fun way to include the cop presence here since there’s no free roam available. Drift probably should have done something similar although I’d say in just one kind of mode. For the most part I still like my normal racing.

This is the kind of thing that’s good as a side gimmick because of how it’s a change of pace. I don’t know if it would work quite as well if this was happening constantly. As the title suggests, this game also focuses a whole lot on the Nitro mechanic. So you’ve really got to make sure and boost a lot. It’s also crucial for a lot of the bonus stars which are score related. When you do a super boost it really has a noticeable impact on your points. I dare say that getting some of these bonus stars would not be possible otherwise. Boosting is fun though so I recommend it either way. It really gives you a jump on the competition.

The game can be a little tricky at times but really just because of the controls. I played this one through the Wii U so I wasn’t able to use the adapter to play it. As a result, I had to use the ole Wii remote. Surprisingly they don’t let you hold the remote sideways, you have to use it pointing at the screen and tilting which is an odd way to approach this. I suppose I’ll give the game some credit for going in a different way but I dare say that it was the wrong way. In particular this gets tough for the drifting levels where you have to try not to hit too many objects as you get to the goal. Not to be confused with the Drift levels where you max out your score. I believe the former is officially called Time Attack here.

I do like the graphic style though. It’s definitely going for a bit more of a cartoony hand drawn style. You have little cutscenes before every world which I appreciated. It at least makes the game appear to have more of a story. It may not be much but it’s a start I suppose. The game isn’t particularly long if you stop after 1 cup but playing all 3 should stretch the time out to around 7 hours which is pretty solid. Once again, the cars you buy are important here. There’s no upgrading so just focus on buying. I say try to survive on your present car for as long as possible and then upgrade. It can be a difficult thing to do of course, but it really pays off in the end.

Overall, Need For Speed Intro is definitely very original and in this case it worked out in a good way. Perhaps total free roam would have been a little too much for a quick Wii game so going full on arcade racer was the next best thing. With non motion controls this game would be even better. I like how fast you can drive around and the level designs were on point. I feel like this game had a good amount of energy behind it which really makes a difference here. It didn’t feel phoned in or anything like that. If you’re looking for a more upbeat kind of Need for Speed title then this is the one for you. It’s very easy to just plug and play which is probably the idea.

Overall 7/10

Pac-Man Party Review


A lot of people may not remember this but at one point Pac-Man was a global icon and had the most popular game of all time. He’s been largely abandoned in the gaming world but has still obtained a solid collection of games. Pac Man Party is one of the last ones that I needed to get and I can confirm that it was worth the wait. This is a game that’s a blast and a half to play as long as you’re playing with friends. The story mode is more on the weak side. It’s a step above most party games but falls far short of Mario Party. That series will continue to be known as the best and at this point I don’t see anything passing it anytime soon.

The basic story is that someone has stolen Mr. Cookie’s prized recipe of how to make the cookies. He begs Pac Man for help on this. The hero agrees to help of course and quickly figures out that the ghosts have taken the recipe. He asks them politely to give it up but they refuse. The only way they will give it up is if Pac-Man defeats them in various rounds of the cookie game. Pac will have to play hard to win this match, but will the ghosts really end up keeping their word? It’s going to be tricky.

The story at least shows that Pac is still a guy you can count on. He’s going to a lot of trouble to get the recipe back. He has to deal with some powerful monsters as well as each of the 5 worlds has a boss creature at the end to defeat. These range from the Kraken to giant mechanical bears. One thing’s for sure, Pac-Man can’t let his guard down. The ending of the game goes in a pretty interesting way that’s sort of wholesome even if it’s not what you may have been hoping for. It’s not particularly long at around 5 hours so you shouldn’t have a problem beating the game. Pac-Man Party is also unique in that the story will end whether you win or lose. There will just be a slightly different cutscene that ends up playing in that circumstance.

How the game works is the 4 players start out on the board. They roll the dice using minigames rather than just hitting the dice. This lets you go across the board. If you land on an empty space then you automatically build a castle there. If you land on someone else’s castle then a minigame starts. If you win then you take the castle and if you lose then you have to pay the winner in cookies. The amount varies on the level of the castle. You win the overall match by earning a certain amount of cookies (Usually 12,000) and then making it back to the starting point. The maps are all circular so you keep looping around until you have the cookies. The best way to earn cookies is to have a lot of castles and then have the computers challenge you. Of course, you have to actually win the minigame or you could go from having 5 castles to 0 in a single minigame.

The A.I. is actually pretty good in some of the games. It’s interesting because in some games they are excellent and in others they are pretty terrible. Maybe the programmers had a hard time making them good without being OP in those so they just left it at them being pretty weak. Still, as the game goes on they should give you a pretty good challenge. Each player has a few super cookies at their disposal. You start out with 3 and can earn more. If you use them during a minigame they amp you up and greatly increase your chances of winning.

I highly recommend saving these for battles where you are defending a castle since those are the most lucrative battles. You will find yourself wishing you had kept a few on hand if you spend them all early on. When a computer is attacking another computer’s castle, don’t bother with the cookies. Win or lose you don’t earn any points so it doesn’t matter much. Your only consolation is you get a super cookie for coming in first so using one to get one wouldn’t make sense. The main problem with this system is that the battles can take a while. Keep in mind that the story took 5 hours and there are only 5 stages in the game. That puts each map at about an hour which is pretty crazy for a Mario Party setup. There should be a specified amount of turns or an easier way to get points. There was one world where I got enough points right after I passed the start spot so I had to wait another full lap to win. As the games goes on you get more battles per turn so it took forever to make it. I don’t think that’s particularly good game design. It reminds me of PS All Stars, it had a unique gimmick but the gimmick just wasn’t good.

There are a lot of minigames so I’ll just quickly talk about some of the highlights. You’ve got a classic jumping minigame where you have to time your jumps as a giant hammer is trying to swing away at you. This one’s all about timing and makes for a nice competitive battle. You’ve also got the classic minigame where you’re on a ball and have to try to roll everyone off the mountain. As the game goes on parts of the ground will begin collapsing as well so you definitely have to stay sharp. There’s another minigame where you’re in a soda cup and have to get to the top. As you’d expect a great deal of the minigames are food related. That does help to distinguish the games from most party titles since they don’t deal with food as much.

The graphics are pretty nice though. This is a very good looking Wii game that holds up well to today. The character designs are on point and I like the level layouts as well. The minigames have a large variety of backgrounds and themes. I feel like a good amount of budget was actually put into this game. The music’s more forgettable but I suppose that’s to be expected. There’s also a good amount of replay value to work towards as the game has its own built in challenge system. If you clear all of the challenges then you’ll feel pride and satisfaction. I got a few but wasn’t about to go in again to get the rest.

Overall, Pac-Man Party is a fun party game. At its core that’s where you’ll find the most enjoyment. This kind of game definitely doesn’t seem like it was really made with story mode as the main focus so if anything I’m just glad it has one. A lot of party games don’t have a full story so that’s pretty nice. There’s also a good variety of minigames so you’ll rarely if ever play the same one twice in a battle. A lot of them do feel pretty much ripped out of the Mario Party series but I suppose at this point almost every kind of minigame has been done. At least the execution isn’t bad considering this is on the Wii so we have some motion controls. A lot of the games use the Wii Remote sideways so it feels more traditional. I’d actually say that most of the minigames are downright fun. The only one I disliked was curling since as always that minigame feels like it takes way too long. If you want to enjoy a solid party game I’d check this one out.

Overall 6/10

30 Great Games: Winter Fun Review


It’s time to look at the latest installment in the 30 Great Games series. The franchise has definitely not been known for its high quality standards or anything like that but when I see it in stores I can’t help but give it a shot. Party games are just nice to give a look at even if you know they won’t be very good. This game clearly had some effort put into it but being on the Wii didn’t help matters. The motion controls are just terrible heavily hold the title back. Even the games with the best of ideas ultimately aren’t able to do anything to save themselves.

When you get into the game you can see right away that there aren’t a lot of options. I’ll just defend the game here as in a party game you really only need two options, a main party mode and a minigame mode with friends. This title has both of those so it doesn’t technically need any more than that. So long as the games are fun then this isn’t a problem. There are 5 worlds and each one has 6 games. The idea is to clear them all and you will have played 30 “great” games. That’s not a bad approach right? Well, the game fumbles the ball on the execution a bit. How it should work is you just beat all of the worlds one at a time. Instead the game has you replay them.

When you first enter a world it only has 5 games. You have to complete the world once and then complete it a second time to play the 6th game. When you beat the first 3 worlds twice then you unlock the next world and the games that accompany it. This is an awful lot of replaying for a game like this though. You really just want to go through the worlds once. It’s better than in another Wii party game I played though where they had a bunch of different worlds but they kept re-using the minigames to pad out the length. This is still better than that.

The game has a winter theme so naturally all of the games follow that path as well. They can be pretty similar but I’ll quickly mention some of the games that weren’t that bad. One that I enjoyed was trying to climb down a mountain. The idea is you let go of the rope and free fall for a few seconds but then you have to grab again or you’ll plummet to your doom and waste a lot of time. If you land on ice that will also waste some time. Then you’re got a minigame where you have to try and sink your claws into the mountain as close to the edge as possible without falling over. It’s pretty fun to see how close you can get. We even get a Bomberman type game where you have to drill through and blow up some blocks as you try to get treasure. While I like the idea, I don’t like the fact that this game is 100% RNG. You never know if you’ll get treasure or a bear.

The worst games are easily the ones that have you racing. Whether you’re snowboarding down the trails or using skiis, these games just aren’t fun. They suffer the most from the motion controls. You’ll find yourself bumping into the edges quite a lot and the computers will just leave you in the dust. It’s no coincidence that the best games in the collection used minimal motion controls. I can’t stress enough that this could have actually been a pretty good game if it had been for a different console. Imagine it on the Gamecube with a solid set of controls. It actually might have been pretty fun because I did appreciate the creativity behind some of the games.

The graphics for the game aren’t honestly all that terrible. This looks like a reasonable party game if you just take a look at the graphics. The levels and minigames all appear very clear and the character models are good as well. I had no complaints in this area. The soundtrack on the other hand is basically nonexistent. I can’t think of a single theme in the game. They’re all very forgettable so hopefully you are too engaged in the activities to notice this too much.

In terms of replay value it will completely depend on how much you like the actual minigames. There are literally no other options for things to do outside of that. You just play the minigames and try your best to see why this game had potential. If the game were to explain its minigames better the first time around and didn’t use motion controls then this could be a very different review. Part of the problem that I didn’t go into earlier is aside from the minigames having terrible controls, the rules aren’t explained very well either. Usually you won’t win a minigame the first time around because you just aren’t really sure of how to play it.

As a little aside, the game did have a fun start though. Nobody could cross the goal in time so we timed out. Keep in mind that I was playing by myself so the other 3 players were A.I. and they couldn’t win either. I think that speaks to the overall game design because there’s no way that should ever happen. After that first level the A.I. went back to normal and started clobbering me though so it was a one time thing. I thought it was pretty funny though.

Overall, This is one title you should avoid. I wouldn’t say it’s the worst game in the series which is kind of sad in itself, but it’s just not a good game. Even though the going price is only around 2-5 dollars there is no reason to buy this game. There are far better titles to be obtained in the same genre or even in any other genre. You’d need to be really desperate to pull the trigger on this one and if you do just be prepared for those motion controls. Some of the games have good ideas at least. I think if you play this with a few friends with the intent to have fun it can certainly happen. Since this is a party game maybe it still ends up succeeding in its objective even if in an ironic way.

Overall 4/10

Wario Land Shake It Review


It’s time to take a look at a Wario game that I hadn’t gotten around to purchasing until very recently. It’s always nice to see him take the center stage. While Mario is certainly the more heroic character, Wario’s definitely a guy that doesn’t let everyone push him around. He just goes at the villains with all he’s got and makes for an entertaining lead. Shake It is a solid game that is slightly held back by the treasure mechanic, but does bring a breath of fresh air into the usual Nintendo platformer.

The basic plot is that a mysterious pirate has kidnapped a bunch of fairies. One of them manages to escape and convinces Wario to help in exchange for a bunch of treasurer. The fairy also heads to a local pirate for help as well and she decides to come along. Can this trio really stop such a powerful adversary or are their stories about to come to an abrupt end here? Only time will tell, but this could get dangerous.

The gameplay has your usual end goal. You have to get to the end of the level only that’s not where the level stops this time. You have to free the fairy there and then dash back to the beginning of the level with a 2-3 minute time limit. If you don’t make it then you’ll have lost. You get to keep whatever treasure you grabbed on the way to the start. You have a few different control options like the usual jumping and ground pounding, but also new ones like slamming into opponents or throwing them at obstacles. You’ll get the hang of these controls pretty quick and from there on it’s just a matter of plunging through.

Each world has 4 levels and there are 5 worlds here. You may think this sounds extremely short right? Well, it’s not a particularly long game, but it’s almost as long as the usual platformer. (Most platformers are around 6-7 hours) I’d put this game in at 5 hours personally. Each level won’t take you longer than a few minutes. So you may wonder why you can’t just beat this game in 2-3 hours or something right? Well, the game forces you to collect a ton of treasure in order to unlock each world. You’ll need 200K for World 5, 150K for World 4, etc. It’s around 700K in total I believe. I usually got around 20-30K per level so I only had to do a little grinding for the final world. If I didn’t have to worry about treasure I could beat the levels way sooner. As if the mock you each level has a very direct route from start to finish. However, if you want to get the treasure you’ll have to go through a bunch of alternate paths to get at it. The levels don’t become super long or anything like that, but you do realize the time you’re wasting throughout.

I’ve never been a big fan of forced items. I don’t like the idea of the game telling me how I have to play it because you are effectively being penalized for blasting through the game. As a bit of a speed runner myself I like conquering the games and just showing them what’s up. I can’t do that if the game is holding my hand the whole time and taking me down the various paths. Since the game does show enough restraint not to make the counts too obsessive it doesn’t hurt much, but it just limits the game from being quite as fun as it could have been. At least its upfront about how much treasure you’ll need for each world at the beginning so you can plan it out as you’re going through the game.

The graphics here are definitely really good. I was also impressed that we got a full opening anime movie to start the game off with and one at the end as well. Why does Wario get all this fanfare rather than Mario who is supposed to be the company’s mascot? It doesn’t make any sense to me and I was thinking about it for quite a long while. I’m sure there is some rationale to this and I’m thinking it’s that Nintendo can experiment more with Wario, but I’d love this treatment for the next big Mario platformer. The soundtrack for Shake It! isn’t quite as impressive as in Yoshi or Mario, but it’s a decent array of songs. None of them really stood out to me though.

Then we have the bosses which are pretty inspired. One of the final ones does get a little cheesy with the only way to beat it being a move that you were never formally taught to do in this situation. Ignoring that, all of the bosses have unique designs and ways to defeat them. There are no recycled fights like you would see in most of Nintendo’s other big games. In part this is because each world only has 1 boss instead of 2 and I think that makes sense to keep each fight fresh. They’re all a lot of fun, but the best boss has to be the final one. Not only does he have a proper two phases like a Mega Man villain, but his design and moveset are really something special. The guy can fire off giant energy blasts and makes it look easy. Additionally he just feels like a final boss. The guy has his own throne. I’d love to see him make a comeback at some point. He’s one of the few Nintendo villains I’ve seen who is played completely straight. He has no comedy moments to speak of.

There’s a good amount of replay value here after beating the game. You can work to find all of the treasure chests or even complete all of the bonus missions. Then with that treasure you can buy some extra heart containers or the opening movie to re-watch at your leisure. I don’t think the game will still last for much longer after all of this, but it’s a fair amount of content that really helps justify the price even further. The game goes for around 15-20 nowadays which is a fair price in my opinion. It’s rare that Wario gets his own game so I’m glad Nintendo put some real effort into it.

Overall, Wario Land Shake It! is a pretty fun game. It was more enjoyable than I expected as the motion controls were actually handled well here. You don’t use them much at all except for aiming and it was pretty responsive. Wario makes for a fun lead and the game just feels very unique. It can’t be compared to Nintendo’s other titles so easily. Hopefully we get a new Wario Land game at some point, I think there is still a lot that can be done with it. I also think Nintendo should consider a crossover game someday with Mario, Yoshi, DK, and Wario mixing and matching all 4 of the styles. That would have the potential to be Nintendo’s best platformer yet!

Overall 7/10