4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

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

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

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

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

WWII Aces Review


It’s time to look at an airplane fighter that I’ve had on the Wii for a very long time. I tend to enjoy airplane gameplay well enough like in Starfox but I prefer fictional plots so this game never rose that high. We are approaching Christmas though which means an onslaught of games is fast approaching and I needed a short title to see if I could beat it in time. This one was quick enough so I went through and conquered it. It’s definitely a well made game and one that you will have fun with as you master the controls but hold your controller real steady or the motion controls will mess you up.

The game takes place during World War II as you would probably expect. There are 3 campaigns to choose from. You’ve got Germany, Great Britain, and a third one where I didn’t recognize the flag. It appeared to be Russia. Each campaign takes you through 24 missions as you fight through iconic battles. It’s time for you to almost single handily win the war. Are you up for this?

To an extent this game can feel like a beat em up with how many enemies are on screen. There’s one mission where you have to take down over 30 fighters on your own. It’s always a satisfying feeling since you pretty much feel like a champ. Make no mistake though, this game is not very forgiving and you will have to stay on your toes at all times. The game really throws you into the action and doesn’t cover the important controls.

To describe the gameplay a bit more, you are in a plane at all times. Each level will give you an objective such as blowing up all planes or protecting ally ships. There is always a lot happening in each level so be careful not to focus too much on the mission or you’ll get blasted from behind. You have an unlimited machine gun but always let go of the trigger between targets so you don’t overheat the weapon. You also have unlimited bombs which are incredibly handy for attacking ground forces. It does take a few seconds for the bombs to reload but you have so many that it is rarely a factor.

There is one move that the game doesn’t tell you about though and it is a very useful one. In fact, it is the most useful element in the game and without it beating the levels is next to impossible. Holding down the B button slows down time and allows you to really fight the enemy ships. You are slowed down as well, but this helps fight off the motion controls. I basically had it on nonstop during every fight in the game. As soon as a ship would appear I’d activate it.  I think the tutorial should have covered such a useful move….

I really don’t see how you could stand up to the legions of planes attacking you without this. They are very fast so you have to turn a lot and if you miss the shots you’ll be wrecked by another ship behind you. Since you are incredibly outnumbered you can expect a ton of sneak attacks from the back. Another handy move is to do a barrel roll. I wasn’t using fancy tricks like that for most of the game but in the final two levels it is something you will want to do.

The toughest confrontations to have in this game are when a fleet of 5-6 planes are heading towards you. If you run or fly at them you’re gonna take a lot of damage. The best thing to do is fly towards them at an angle and barrel roll out of their line of fire. You can then snipe at least 2-3 of them as you head back. Their ships are almost as fast as yours so be sure to slow down at times to aim a bit better.

The graphics are very good. Each ship is pretty detailed and the game brings in different models for each country. There is a lot of good attention to detail here. You can see objects clearly even from a good distance away so there was good effort out here. Then you have the music which is surprisingly sound. The main theme sounds a lot like Final Fantasy music. I’m still pretty surprised at that to be honest. It’s just not what I would have expected to see here but it was a pleasant surprise. It makes the game feel a little grander in scope.

There’s definitely a good amount of replay value here. The 24 missions won’t take you very long at all, but beating them with all factions will help buy some time. Additionally the game is very difficult. It’s one of the harder games I’ve played as of late and as there is no level up system here the only way to conquer the level is simply to get good. There are no shortcuts to success here so you will just have to fight your way to the top no matter how difficult that may seem. Just keep on trying and eventually you will ace the level. If something’s not working I recommend just trying to beat the game from another angle.

Overall, WWII Aces is a solid game that is hampered by the Wii’s signature motion controls. It’s quite challenging so you always have to stay sharp. Aerial combat games often give me a tough time so I was glad that the levels are so short. At least this way I did not have to replay large sections of the game. If you still have a Wii and don’t have this game yet I’d recommend picking it up. I got it for around 2 bucks and that is certainly a steal. You’ll be glad you got it.

Overall 6/10

Game Records

Family Party: 30 Great Games Obstacle Arcade Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 1h 44m

Stage records

Balance Bridge 18000
Roll’em Up 6875
Penalty Kick 16800
Hide the Joker 24000
Ghost Flashlight –
Fantasy Stick 15500
Number Balloons 16100
Rodeo 12500
Block Race –
Lightning Order 17040
Cloud Jumper 3500
Obstacle Overrun 14300
Dot Image 11200
Spark Ball 21360
Boat Race –
Air Hockey 18600
Chancy Crane 4850
Earth Defense Team 15200
Cowboy Barrel Dodge 15000
Flying Teacups 15000
Magical Panels 11500
Horse Jump 16700
Total 274025

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Pokemon Battle Revolution Review


Technically, I played through this game many years ago, but my Wii broke before I could grab the review. We got a new Wii shortly afterwards but never really got around to replaying this game. I figured now was as good a time as any so I booted it up and went through a few tournies. I grabbed my team from Pokémon Diamond which included fighters from Pokémon Ruby. With Groudon and Blaziken at the ready I was prepared to take names. Unfortunately this game still doesn’t hold up as a spiritual successor to Pokémon Stadium.

When you start the game you are introduced to your limited amount of modes. The main one is to jump right into the Colosseums as you try to conquer them all. Every time you defeat an arena you get some money which you can use in the local shop to buy some clothes. The idea is that your character will look fancier and fancier as you win tournaments and by the end you will look like the champ. There’s not a ton of outfits to buy at the moment so it seems easy to get them all, but I’m guessing that you unlock more outfits as you progress during the game. It’s a quick but nice way to add replay value I suppose. Hopefully you enjoy this because that’s really the extent of the replay value.

For the Colosseums the game makes the odd decision to add a lot of luck and chance to the equation. Before I get ahead of myself though you may be wondering how you get Pokémon. Well, you start the game off with a “rental pass” which gives you access to 6 Pokemon that the game chooses for you. You can also connect one of your portable Pokemon games to bring over a real team which I highly recommend. Once you’ve done that, you enter the colosseums which all have different rules. There is the standard 1 vs 1 battles with 3 Pokémon each and the doubles battles with 4. These are classic and work well.

Then the game decides to get sneaky and introduces the Neon tournament. This one throws in a wheel of fortune and the gimmick here is that your Pokémon as well as your opponent’s are thrown into the wheel and both of you throw darts at it. Whoever it lands on is the Pokémon you will use and each of you do that until you have a full team at the ready. Of course the computer got my Groudon right away…. I don’t see the point of putting this level of luck into the game. Part of the point of Pokémon is to fight alongside the Pokémon you’ve trained up, not some random ones.

Another problem with this one is the colosseum length which makes losing pretty punishing. The tournaments are mainly 7 rounds and you have to win them all back to back. You can do a quick save to take a break from the game but if you lose any of the 7 matches then you have to start the tournament all over again. That means for the luck based one you have to be fortunate many times in a row. That’s not really something you want to bank on. Personally I would have either shortened the tournaments to 3-4 battles or I would have just made it so you continue from where you lost. Either option makes for a much more enjoyable gameplay experience. As it stands the colosseums are too punishing and not rewarding enough.

The game also suffers from how long the matches take which is something that affects most of the big console Pokémon games to be fair. There are a lot of animations in the battles and they can’t be turned off so you have to watch each attack. Even Pokémon Colosseum was affected by this so I’m guessing it is difficult to speed up the games. The portables do it though so there’s got to be an answer. That’s actually one of the things I’m hoping Pokémon Sword can fix. If any Pokémon game can get around this it would be the latest installment in the main series. I’ll give the developers of Battle Revolution props for adding so many unique effects to all of the characters since I’m sure it was visually challenging. There should just be a way to toggle it on and off. Graphics is one of the strongest points of the game and they aged very well. All of the character models are on point and stages look quite solid. The soundtrack is also pretty iconic at this point. As soon as I turned on the game I was hit with the nostalgic tunes. Battle Revolution did a good job of creating its own soundtrack and it holds up quite well. It does lot have the scope and variety of the main games but is still a solid collection in its own right.

I think another part that hurts the game is that aside from having no story you don’t even have the classic Gym Leaders to help out. We do have Colosseum leaders, but none of them are particularly noteworthy and since you have to make it past a full gauntlet to see them you won’t really get to savor the experience for long. There’s no real hook beyond the fact that this is a Pokemon game and that’s not enough to carry a title for very long.

Overall, Pokémon Battle Revolution is one of those games that should have been much better than it actually was. I feel like it’s hard to mess up with a Pokémon game but this one threw away a bunch of opportunities through its Colosseum format. I really don’t understand why the game did that. Pokemon Stadium already created a very nice format for how you would handle a home console Pokemon game. Battle Revolution should have focused on that rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. That was their big mistake and while they may have been trying to be innovative it completely backfired. It’s still entertaining, but only in small batches and you could always be playing a better Pokemon title.

Overall 6/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo’s Dungeon Review


It’s time to look at a recent Final Fantasy spinoff I got to play. This game has been sitting on the back burner for a very long time at this point. It always looked pretty fun, but I figured it would be pretty long so shorter games kept jumping it in line. Well, no more! I finally took the plunge and it’s definitely a fun game. While I’m not a fan of all the mechanics, I can say that the game was pretty well made. It certainly does the Chocobo character justice.

The game starts with Chocobo and Cid trying to grab the Timeless Power stone from some kind of ruins. Unfortunately Cid’s rival shows up and nabs it first. Before she can gloat, the whole group is transported to another dimension and the rival vanishes. This town is a little odd as nobody remembers anything including what their names are. A bell rings every few hours which makes the memory loss even worse. Fortunately, Chocobo seems to have the ability to go inside someone’s mind which allows him to restore their memories. There is also a baby named Rafaello who seems to have something to do with it. Chocobo starts on his mission to get everyone’s memories back, but everyone keeps telling him that this is a bad idea. Even the gods of the world tell him that he will only bring despair. Is this really the right thing to do?

Chocobo’s Dungeon is the kind of game where a large part of the story doesn’t really seem to have much of a plot. You go around restoring memories, but beyond that nothing much happens. Still, it’s a pleasant enough game. Right away you can see how much content is here as there are a bunch of side missions and sub quests to fulfill. The towns people seem nice enough as well. Still, you get the sense that something isn’t right since as I mentioned everyone is against Chocobo. The bosses you have to defeat in order to save the memories are also characters like the guardians of Light and Flame. Are they really villains or are you the villain?

All of these questions are answered in the climax which is definitely intense. It’s a climax that wouldn’t feel out of place in a main installment like Final Fantasy VII. The Destroyer, who is the final boss even looks a little like Sephiroth. We get a nice cutscene towards the end where this character even takes on Chroma and I wasn’t expecting such a fight. It was cool and I’d be up for seeing this game get a remake or be turned into a movie. I know there is a sequel for the DS so maybe I’ll get that one pretty soon.

Now lets talk about the gameplay as that is the bulk of the game. It’s a 3D turn based dungeon explorer type game where you have to navigate through the many floors until you get to the boss. Each step you take counts as a turn so you will have to quickly decide whether you want to move, attack, or use an item. I do really enjoy the strategy here. Most dungeons are only 8-10 floors while the larger ones are around 20. The final dungeon is 50 floors so get ready for that. Fortunately there is a check point every 10 floors so you don’t have to worry about starting all the way from the beginning. That would have been annoying.

The game does add in some stakes here though. For one, if you die you lose all of your money and all non equipped items. This encourages you not to take unrealistic risks. Make sure you have an exit strategy in mind or at least store your money in the bank before going on a tough quest. You’ll definitely want to do some leveling up before you get to the end of the game since the final bosses see a considerable increase in difficulty. Don’t underestimate them or your items will be sorry. When going into a dungeon you also have to choose what class you want to play as. Each new dungeon unlocks a new form for you. I highly recommend the Knight and White Mage forms. The Knight has great special attacks and gives you extra defense which is always good. I used him for the first 3 and a half chapters. However, eventually he simply wasn’t cutting it so I switched to the White Mage and never looked back. This form has a lot of great healing abilities so you no longer have to worry about carrying potions. Then he also has the best ability in the game which is the fact that he can cast a revive on himself. You can also use the escape ability to just get out of the dungeon if things look impossible. The Dark Knight is typically considered to be the best, but by the time I unlocked him the game was almost over so I couldn’t really verify that.

Now, I mentioned that not all of the mechanics were my favorite. In particular I am referring to the fact that enemies can rot your weapons. It works like in Breath of the Wild where your weapons just get weaker as you use them. They don’t actually break in this version but they do get weaker which is annoying since the only way to power them up further is to spend more money. What you want to do is find a weapon with an anti rust upgrade and then fuse that to your main weapon to ensure that nobody can weaken it. At that point you are all set. There are others for extra EXP and money, but I never found the former. It would have certainly come in handy though.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s certainly a step below most of the other Final Fantasy games, but it still looks pretty good I’d say. It’s just using a different style. It’s sort of like World of Final Fantasy but not quite as polished. It does have each character keep up a motion throughout the game which is cool though like Chocobo’s power squats. He is doing squats during the entire game which is pretty impressive. Then we have the soundtrack which is pretty ordinary for the most part, but I do like the Chrome boss theme. That one’s definitely hype and will pump you up for the actual battle. It’s just that kind of high energy theme. So this game ultimately definitely delivered when it counted.

Overall, I’d recommend checking this game out. It’s a pretty fun RPG and one where you really feel like you got a lot of value for the price. The story took me 18 hours and that’s certainly a good amount of time. As I mentioned, the plot does take a while to get going, but as long as you’re fine with that then this is a slam dunk. With this game gone now I’ll be eagerly awaiting the Spyro trilogy. In the meanwhile I’ll work on Ridge Racer, but those turns are definitely real tough. I need some more training before I can be a master at the game like Chocobo. They always start out tough, but get enough level up and any RPG is cake. Sadly there are no level ups in something like Ridge Racer.

Overall 7/10