Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Review

The big End of the Year Review!

In 1996, Nintendo and Square Enix came out with the first Mario RPG on the SNES. Later in 2001, Paper Mario came out. While we waited for the next Paper Mario on GCN, which would not arrive until 2004, Nintendo treated us to a portable Mario Adventure. What we didn't know is that it would be one of the greatest games of all time.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga starts off with a very humorous catch: an evil witch Cackletta has stolen Peach's voice for her own nefarious reasons, so Mario and Luigi journey to the Beanbean Kingdom. The RPG action works like Paper Mario and even Super Mario RPG, but you control Mario with A and Luigi with B. The game focuses heavilly on timed button presses: jump at the right moment when an enemy throws something at you and you can avoid damage completely, or if you press the Jump button right before attacking, you can deal more damage on the enemy. There are also fancy Bros Attacks that are multi-button combos. There are only 8 Bro Attacks, but they're so fun to do that you most likely won't notice.

Nearly every element of SS is perfect. The plot is gut-bustingly hilarious with many quotable lines, the pacing is perfect for any style of gamer, the areas are well-designed, and the enemies are some of the most creative in the genre, from a Christmas Tree Hermit Crab to a gladiator made of soda. Every character is well thought-out and has very convincing personalities. SS is also a homage to the Mario series in general, with many cameos and gameplay parts sure to set the nostalgia glands on haywire.

The Graphics are goregeous, with every thing in the game full of emotion, plus it adds to the humor. The music is also up with other GBA greats; Alphadream really nailed the musical feel of Super Mario RPG and then some.

Pulling any critisizm on this game would be nagging, but you could say the game is a bit on the short side. SS is very replayable, however, with multiple ways to approach it.

Gameplay: An RPG that manages to emulate many other gameplay styles, while still being true to the source material. Brilliant stuff. 10
Graphics: Well-animated and very humorous to look at. 10
Audio: Excellent. A great listen. 10
Overall: Never before have I played a game that excels at nearly everything it does. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is so good, that I would go to such lengths as saying it is the culmination of RPGing in general. If you do not own this game, you are truly missing out on something special.

10 out of 10

Monday, December 20, 2010

Favorite Games for each System

Just thought I'd like to post the list of my favorite games per system. Here they are:

NES: Mega Man 4

SNES: Super Metroid

N64: Super Mario 64

GCN: Kirby Air Ride

Wii: Super Mario Galaxy 2

GB/C: Pokemon Red

GBA: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

DS: Pokemon SoulSilver (Even though Warioware DIY comes pretty close to 1st)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn Review

Nintendo loves to keep us waiting. The last console Kirby game was 2003's rather excellent Kirby Air Ride, but since then the little guy's been demoted to the handhelds. But Nintendo, partnered with Good-Feel, set to change that on the Wii; and Kirby's Epic Yarn is unlike any other game in the series.

The story of Kirby's Epic Yarn (KEY for short) starts when Kirby eats a magical Metamato. Apparently, an evil sorcerer named Yin-Yarn didn't like that, and sucks him into Patch-Land, a world made completely out of textiles. (These cutscenes are told by a PBS Kids-esque narrator that is charming at first, but gets kinda obnoxious; thankfully, you can skip the scenes.) Kirby's form changes into Yarn, and soon finds the air goes right through him in this world. Kirby still has a few tricks up his sleeve, though; he can stretch out a whip-like strand of yarn that has multiple uses, like rolling up enemies into yarnball projectiles, swinging across pits Indiana Jones-style, pulling zippers to open up parts of levels, and much more.

The next biggest change is Kirby's morphing powers. At any time, he can turn into a car by double-tapping a direction, he can turn into a parachute by holding 2, and turn into a weight by holding down in air. These instant-morphs are basically the Wheel, Parasol, and Stone abilities of old, abiet at any time. But at certain times in the levels, Kirby can touch a morphing orb and turn into a large variety of objects. One levels morphs Kirby into a tank, and the missiles are guided by moving the Wii Remote. Another level transforms Kirby into a Mole Tank, allowing him to drill deep in the surface. The best transformation, in my opinon, is the Firetruck, where Kirby can aim the hose via tilting the Remote. There's enough morphs to keep your attention for a long time, and often brings me fond memories of the vehicle transformations in Yoshi's Island- a game KAR shares a lot of influence to. Note that this game can be played with two people, which is a blast.

KAR features a lot of replayability: every level has multiple achievements and lots of alternate paths. One aspect about this game that is unlike any other Kirby game, though, is the inability to die; Kirby just looses beads if he's hit, and gets saved if he falls down holes. Getting to the end of the level without loosing any beads is pretty hard in its own right, though, and the later levels have especially tricky locations of treasure chests.

The graphical style of KAR is absolutely amazing. Everything in Patch Land is made out of things you could find at a crafts store. One level substitutes quicksand for yellow waving cloth, the next has a variety of sweets yarnified, and another has beautiful snow made out of cotton. Everything looks beautiful in this game. The music especially is wonderful. From orchestated remixes on classic Kirby tunes to beautiful piano solos, the music fits the mood of each world perfectly.

The stiching in the final framework has a couple of flaws, though. Along with the aformentioned inability to die, the game is far too short. Another big issue I have is that it really does not feel like a Kirby game: there's no inhalation, copying, or any other recognizable Kirby elements. But what the game is, it suceeds.

Gameplay: UnKirby but still very fun. A bit on the easy side, though. 9.0
Graphics: Unlike anything else out there. So much innovation in only 2 dimensions. 9.5
Audio: Enjoyable. 9.25
Overall: Kirby's Epic Yarn, while not all that epic, is a fine addition to the series, and a game all fans of platformers should pick up.
8.5 out of 10

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pokemon Red/Blue Review

In 1996, Nintendo launched an RPG on the Japanese GB: Pokemon Red and Green. These two games had a revolutionary idea: instead of having pre-set heroes like most RPGs, you had to catch animals and use them to fight. It was, at first, looking to be unsuccessful, until something clicked with the public, and they started selling like hotcakes. Nintendo took a risk and launched these games in America, and needless to say, our country has not been the same since.

Pokemon Red and Blue starts out like most RPGs of the day, but a notable difference is that it takes place in modern times. As the Pokemon Trainer Red (or whatever you named him), you walk around town, then you spot a patch of grass. The Pokemon Professor, Oak, will come over and tell you you need a Pokemon. You get to choose from 3 of the Pokemon he has. One is the cute Bulbasaur, the fiery Charmander, or the watery Squirtle. If you choose one, your rival (which you can also name) will choose another one that has a type advantage to yours (for example, Squirtle's a water-type, so his moves are more effective against the fire-type, Charmander). Type advantage is only one of the aspects of the Pokemon battle. To explain every single rule would take far too long, and it's best to figure out yourself every single rule.

Random encounters are very frequent in this game, but in a unique twist, you can "catch" a foe Pokemon and put them on your team. Only 6 can be in your party, so every team is different. The big catch about the game, really, is in the phrase on the box, "Gotta catch 'em all!" Some Pokemon are very frequent throught the whole game and are very easy to catch (with an item called a Poke Ball), like Rattata, Tentacool, and Zubat; while some are extremelly rare and very hard to catch, like Chansey or the legendary Mewtwo. The variety of the 151 creatures you can find and catch in this game is amazing, and has not been surpassed by any other sequel.

The plot itself is not the most amazing for an RPG, but it does the job well. You are tasked with beating all 8 Gym Leaders and getting their badges, then with those badges must ascend Indigo Plateau and challenge the Elite 4 to become the Pokemon Champion. Along the way you'll encounter Team Rocket (the "mob" of this game) and beat their leader, run various sidequests, and battle other Trainers (with their teams of Pokemon). The lack of various features from newer games like Abilities, a lack of a map, and Breeding means that this is one hard game. But once you develop a proper team, the challenge doesn't seem quite that daunting.

The music of this game pushed the GB to its utter limit: it still rocks today. Easilly some of the best on the whole system. The graphics, though, is something that might set those who started with the newer games off: they look downright ugly by today's standards. Another thing that might set people off is how slow Pokemon learn moves and how slow they level up. Get past those issues, and you'll enjoy a great game without all the confusions of the way-complex battle systems of today.

Gameplay: Not as complex as the newer ones, but still as addictive as it was back in 1998. 9.5
Audio: Fantastic. A joy to listen to. 9.75
Overall: If you're newer to the franchise, or wanna see where it all began, this is the perfect game to start out with. When you've caught all of the original 151, you really feel like the champion of the world. Easilly the greatest Game Boy game.
9.5 out of 10

Monday, September 20, 2010

Super Metroid Review

In 1986, Gunpei Yokoi created one of the most popular gaming franchises in history: Metroid. The game was a unique blend of Mario's platforming and Zelda's exploration that worked well, but it had a few big gameplay problems. The 1991 sequel, Metroid 2: Return of Samus, improved some of these (Especially with the Save System), but fans didn't imbrace it that well because of its linearity. 3 years later, Nintendo launched their biggest game at the time: Super Metroid. It not only improved on nearly every kink from the previous two, but is one of the greatest games ever to be made.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

Super Metroid starts out right where Metroid 2 left off. Samus had mothered a Baby Metroid off of SR388, and brought it to the research center. Days later, Samus recieves a distress signal, and finds all the scientists are dead by the hands of her archnemisis, Ridley. He takes the Baby with him and you're left with a minute to escape the exploding facility. It's an epic beginning to a game that justs get better.

For starters, the controls rock. It was probably one of the only games of its time that allowed customizable controls. Samus herself moved swiftly and finesely, and shooting with her beams are no trouble at all, a godsend after the first game's twiddly traction. During the course of here adventure in Brinstar, she gets various weapons like the Ice Beam, Super Missiles, and Grappling Shot, all are insanely fun to use. The enemies in-game are hard enough not to be infuriating, and all have great design. The bosses in particular are insanely fun to fight.

The Overworld is massive, with a ridiculous number of collectibles to find, so thank the Metroid gods they included a map. It's a lifesaver in confusing locations, and with it, you can never go back to the older ones again. The pacing at which you get items is absolutely perfect, and the puzzles are extremelly innovative.

Brinstar and its locales are absolutely beautiful: the graphics took full advantage of the SNES's power. The music is also very enjoyable to listen to, because it sets the perfect mood for the dreary world.

Not every gem is without its chinks. Wall-jumping can be infuriatingly hard, there are places you can get genuinely stuck, and you can't go back to the overworld once you beat the Final Boss. Still, those are very minor problems.

Gameplay: Insanely fun. Keeps you appealed until you beat it, and then some. 10
Graphics: Excellent. Takes full advantage of the system's power. 9.75
Audio: Tunes that set the mood for each area perfectly. 9.75
Overall: You have no excuse not to own this game. Not only is Super Metroid the best game from the 16-bit era, but explains why videogames are so fun to play: it's a giant world begging to be loved and explored.
10 out of 10

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mario Kart Wii Review

In 1992, Nintendo launched a Mario Spin-off game that would become so popular, it created a whole new genre: Super Mario Kart. It was insane hybrid of go-karts and the Mario universe, only made better by the insanely competitive 2-player mode. Mario Kart 64 added two more to the fun in 1997, Mario Kart: Double Dash on Gamecube added a co-op element by putting another character behind your Kart, and Mario Kart DS allowed you to race anyone around the planet for the first time. Naturally, Nintendo's next step was to bring it to their newest console, the Wii. Mario Kart Wii had a lot to live up to, but what we got in the end is not only the best racer on the system, but the greatest game in the whole series.

The game introduced a bunch of new elements to the series; the biggest is shown right on the box. Mario Kart Wii comes with the Wii Wheel, a plastic case that slip around the remote, and is supposed to simulate you at the hands of the Kart wheel. At first, it takes awhile for series veterans to get used to the more lifelike control, but commit to it, and it becomes second-nature. Not only is the Wii Wheel a unique way to play, but it's a great way for casual gamers to get quickly into the series. (You can also choose between multiple other controls schemes like the GCN Controller and the Remote+Nunchuck a la Smash Bros, but I prefer the Classic Controller myself)

Two other big new editions are Bikes and Tricks. There's as many Karts as Bikes in this game, and they each play very differently. A Kart is better at turns and can charge its Mini-Turbo to a shiny orange, when released, gives you a nice long boost. Bikes, on the other hand, can only charge to the second stage of a Mini-Turbo (Blue), but can pop a wheelie any time by shaking the remote, making it better on straitaways. The differences may not be big at first, but they can mean the matter of wining or loosing. The new Tricks feature is a welcome addition: if you shake the wheel just as you exit a ramp or jump, your character does a cool little pose, and when they hit the ground, they gain a mini-turbo boost. The tricks are more powerful the higher the jump, but at the same time become harder to land.

There are 24 characters (including Miis) to choose from, each of which resides in a different weight category (Light, Medium, or Heavy), allowing you to use different types of Karts depending on who you chose. Unlike Mario Kart DS, everyone now shares the same types of vehicles, and the machine variety is well-balanced, making there no real "best car". The Track selection is at its best; 16 Tracks new to the game, 16 from all the older games. Since there are now 12 Karts on track at a time (4 more than usual), the tracks are wider, have opportunities for tricks, and are very fun to race on. Despite a flurry of big Karts on screen, the Retro tracks are still extremely fun to play.

All the traditional multiplayer modes remain like Vs. and Battle, along with a massively improved online play. Connecting with 12
other humans is fast and easy; and knowing you've thrown a Blue Shell at an actual person is extremely satisfying. The game even includes a free download of the Mario Kart Channel: a constantly-growing community where you can take part in MKDS-style weekly missions, race random Time Trial ghosts, and see how you stack up against the rest of the world on each track.

Mario Kart Wii isn't flawless though; with 4 more added on the track means more items everywhere, and it seems that the person in 1st is constantly being pelted with Lightning, Blue Shells, POW Blocks, and more. The cars seem to have much worse acceleration this time around; even lightweights can take awhile to start back up their motors to top speed. The Battle Mode is fun for a bit, but the option to turn off teams would be nice. There is a small bit of frame-skipping in Multiplayer, but it doesn't take much away from the actual game. Lastly, the new Lightning Cloud item is just an unwanted addition.

Gameplay: Polished to (Almost) Perfection. The developers finally got the Mario Kart formula down and completely nailed. 9.75
Graphics: Not the best on the Wii, but still has a variety of cool lighting effects. 8.0
Audio: Mario Kart music has always been enjoyable, and this is no exception. 9.0
Overall: With over 15 million units sold, it's no wonder this game is great; the new features like Bikes and great Online makes this game a joy either to play with yourself or with your buddies.
9.5 out of 10

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Megaman Battle Network 6 Review

In 2001, Capcom launched yet anohter new era in the Megaman legacy, this time turning the Blue Bomber into an RPG star. Players found out it was more than that, though; it was more like the crazy child of Final Fantasy and Yu-gi-oh. Players could select 30 different Battle Chips out of 200 total, each wildly different and could be used strategically. Unlike most RPGs, though, you had a 3 by 3 grid you could move around in, and so did your enemy. It all seems confusing at first, but with a bit of practice, the battles became second-nature. In a 6-year period, Capcom releaced, you guessed it, 6 different versions of the game. From 3 onwards, each game was split in 2 different versions (a la Pokemon). This Battle Network was the last one in the series, and Capcom went all-out making it the most enjoyable installment in the series.

The story is much more enguaging than the previous iterations. Lan Hikari and his netnavi Megaman Exe move to the wonderful city of Central Town, so every location is brand-new and look great, plus a bunch of new folks join the party. Things seem normal then onwards, but suddenly a Cyberbeast takes control of Megaman (Different for which game you have). After a bit, you gain control of the monster within you, and you get to "Beast Out" for 3 turns each battle, and your stats rise considerably. The Beasting Out feels underutilized story-wise, but in battle, can be used in a variety of awesome strategies.

The biggest feature BN6 adds is the Cross System, a massively improved version of the Soul Unison from 4 and 5. At any time you can fuse with one of 5 Navis (once again, different for each version of the game), and gain different strategies that seem small at first, but can mean the difference from victory to defeat.

This game also takes out some of the flaws that made other instalments in the franchise annoying. Besides the aftormentioned improved Cross System, the insanely hard Liberation missions from 5 are taken out, and replaced with small story moments that highly resemble them, but are MUCH more fun. The Navi Customizer also feels more fluid, the Graphics spiced up, the Audio restored to its glory days from the 2nd and 3rd game, all the Chips are excellent, the pacing is drastically improved, and the VS mode is at its finest.

Some of the Fatal Flaws have remained from the other games, though. Random Virus Battles, though not as frequent, still happen far too often, and some of the Requests on the Request Board are monotinously annoying. A minimalist run is considerably easier than the other games, but it makes up for this due to the insanely hard Post-Game.

Gameplay: Capcom polished it to near perfection. Some flaws keep it from reaching that goal, though. 9.25
Graphics: The Sprites have been polished up enough, but it stil isn't the greatest-looking GBA game, despite a variety of cool effects. 8.25
Audio: Stellar. It sounds as good as the 8-bit installment's legendary scores.
Overall: If you're new to the series or are an Battle Network expert, this is the one to get. With an insane ammount of content and fun, me and my friend haven't put this one down for weeks.
9.25 out of 10

Thursday, August 12, 2010

WarioWare: Touched! Review

Let's face it: the first couple of launch games for the DS weren't that good. The biggest one, Super Mario 64 DS, while fun, was just a demonstration of the graphical power of the DS. No game for a few months was a real must-have for the system... until WarioWare: Touched came around.

This game had a lot to live up for: not only was the first WarioWare for GBA a killer app for the system, it was one of the most innovative games of the decade. So, hence the title, the game uses the DS' Touch Screen and its other features. For those who are new to the series, WarioWare is the ultimante ADD game. It throws at you a random game that lasts 4-8 seconds. In that time period, you have to do a certain task, for example: there's a guy and a girl apart from each other. A small message says "Hook up!", so you have to draw a line to connect them, and the game is beat. When you re-encounter the same game later on, it gets harder by placing objects between the guy and the girl, and the timing in which you have to do it speeds up drastically. You only have 4 lives, and when you loose a game, you loose a life. Every 10 microgames or so, a Boss Stage appears, which lasts much longer than the other microgames. They are usually more complicated and harder, but if you beat them, you get an extra life. This is the perfect pick-up and play game, where you can play for 3 minutes or 3 hours at a time.

Each of Touched's 180 Microgames is split up into different sections, hosted by different people. One batch may require you to make circles on the Touch Screen for each of the games, the other may having you do slicing motions with the Stylus. The most enjoyable ones, though, are 9-Volt's games, which are all based off Retro Nintendo games. Some microgames are insanely strange, bizzare, and hilarious, which adds to the fun-filled time you'll have with the game.

Beating certain objectives in the game unlocks you different applications, which are almost similar to most of the freeware stuff on Apple's own App Store. Like that, they probably won't hold your interest for over 2 minutes, but some games (like the Pyroro Challenge) take good advantage of the Touch Screen and are insanely addictive.

The Graphics are excellent, and are a massive improvement over the GBA games. The music is infectiously catchy, and the game even features full-length tracks that are sung beautifully (like Ashley's Theme). The voice acting is spot-on, too, without being too obnoxious.

Like the other WarioWares, though, this game suffers from the problem of being far too short. The Story Mode won't take a seasoned gamer over a day to complete, but the game makes up for it with its replay value: playing each section over again until you've unlocked all the games for it. Also, the unskippable Story Mode cutscenes last far too long and can drag on.

Gameplay: There are barely any games that are a dud, and are very fun to play and replay. 9.5
Graphics: Uses both the handheld's 2D and 3D to a beautiful effect. 9.0
Audio: Beats you'll be bopping your head to in seconds. 9.0
Overall: Besides DIY, this is easilly the best entry in the series. If you want a break from all other games, this should be a must-buy on your list.
9.25 out of 10

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Super Mario Galaxy 2 Review

In 2007, Nintendo launched Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii, and it wowed critics, with its innovative Gravity gimmick and supersmart cameara. While I enjoyed Galaxy, it didn't have the certain spark I expect from Mario games (such as an actual challenge, Galaxy 1 was far too easy), and I preferred Super Mario Sunshine over it. With that, I went into Galaxy 2 with caution, expecting no more than, well, more of the same. While that it is, everything is improved to perfection.

The story starts out regularly: Peach gets kidnapped by a Giant-sized Bowser, and Mario must save her. The plot was one of the things I didn't like in Galaxy 1, in any other game it would feel fine, but in a game filled with talking Mushroom heads and turtles that squawk like birds, it felt too out-of-place. Galaxy 2 simplifies it down, and that's way things should be. You eventually meet up with a fat Luma called Lubba, and sees you are the hero of the cosmos, so he fashions a ship shaped like Mario's head, which he dubs "The Faceship." With the Faceship comes a new way of getting to levels: it is set up more like the 2D Mario Overworlds, so getting to levels are fast and easy. The ship itself is smaller than the Comet Observatory from Galaxy 1, which is good, because the Observatory was far too large and hard to get around.

But you didn't buy this game to see how to get to a level, you bought it because of the levels, and on that front, this game delivers. The levels are even more linear than the first games', which I thought would be a negative, but what is in them is more fun and challenging than ever before. The Level Design is excellent, an expected from Nintendo. The camera is still scary-smart, and the controls feel a bit more comfortable than the first game's, due to the better level design.

Perhaps the biggest new feature is Yoshi, who controls great. His tounge and eating powers are used in a handful of innovative ways, such as sticking his little licker onto a peg and swinging across it Indiana Jones-style, or eating a variety of fruits to float, go super fast, etc. Another positive about him is that he appears fairly often: that was one big problem for me in New Super Mario Bros. Wii: he was only used in less than 8 levels. Here, he's used in over 16 of them, and levels with him are always a fun time.

The other big new feature is the power-ups: The Rock Mushroom, Spin Drill, and the Cloud Flower. The Rock Mushroom allows Mario to roll around like a bowling ball, and is fairly fun to use. The Spin Drill and Cloud Flower, however, are a work of genius. The drill allows Mario to, well, drill into the planet's surface, setting up a variety of innovative puzzles. The Cloud Flower lets Mario create fluffy platforms whenever he spins. It's the most used item in the game, and deservedly so: it's easilly one of his greatest power-ups ever. Returning items like the Bee, Boo, and Spring Mushroom are not used very often, and that's good: I've had enough of Mario's infernal springing.

You can't really complain about a lack of challenge: this game assumes you already got down the basics of gravity and all the other gimmicks in the first Galaxy, and elevates them tenfold. Getting the 70 stars on the initial run is fairly tough, but getting all 120 is one of the hardest Mario experiences ever. And, (spoiler), even after you're done getting the 120 stars, you've still got more to do. This is truly not for the faint of heart.

The music is nothing to complain about, either. From the Jazzy tunes of the Spin Dig Galaxy to the sweeping orchestral opening in the Sky Station Galaxy, this game's soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal. And just like in Galaxy 1, old Mario tunes get a whole new limelight. The Graphics also look beautiful, too. There's never a hint of slowdown, and you always know what everything is.

This game has a few minor problems. Most of the Comet Challenges are fun (now activated by collecting Comet Metals in each level), but some are more frustrating than fun. Also, you can't skip the dialogue, so having to hear Lubba tell you every ten minutes to take a break can get pretty annoying. These are minor issues, as the game in whole is well-polished and very fun.

Gameplay: Greatly improved over the original. The levels are all interesting, and the new power-ups are very fun to use. 9.75
Graphics: Looks on-par with a PS3 game, maybe even better. 10
Audio: Fantastic. Your ears will thank you. 10
Overall: This is an extremelly fun game that is yet another worthy installment in the treasured Mario franchise. If you own a Wii, you must buy this game.
10 out of 10

Monday, May 3, 2010

PixelMan's Flash Game Early Demo Review

In 2010, PixelMan decided to make a Flash Game with elements of multiple games. So far it's not complete yet, but from what I've played it could be the real bee's knees.

You start as a lone ninja who wants to collect all of his power-ups and reach the Win Screen. The game controls like a great NES game: X to jump, and C in various directions to use different weapons. These power-ups are useful and intuitive.

The Graphics are very fluid and nice. Pix's a really good sprite artist. But I hope he can add music and varied difficulty settings.

Gameplay: Great. Fluid and fun. 9.0
Graphics: Great also. 9.0
Audio: Nonexistent as of now. Not Rated
Overall: Pix's game is very fun. I'm exited to see the final result.
9.0 out of 10

Friday, April 30, 2010

Kirby Super Star Ultra Review

In 1996, Nintendo released what became one of the many cult hits on the SNES: Kirby Super Star. Often regarded as the best game in the series, HAL decided to redo the game 12 years later on the DS, and what came out is arguably one of the Best DS games ever to be releaced.

Kirby Super Star Ultra's main selling point is its inclusion of multiple games. I'll be going through each games, telling you which ones are the best.

Spring Breeze: A remake of Kirby's Dreamland on the Game Boy. It's only 4 short levels. Once you play through it once, you'll most likely not come back to it.

Dyna Blade: Now you can walk around a world map and choose about 6 levels, each much larger than Spring Breeze's. There's secrets in each world, but once you complete this, there's not much incentive to go back to it.

The Great Cave Offensive: This is where the games get good. You're trapped in one HUGE mine and are tasked with collecting all 60 treasure chests. You can beat it without getting a single chest, but if you want to 100% the whole game (and trust me, you do), finding all the treasures can be a gruelingly hard task. It would've been nice if there was a more detailed map at the bottom screen a la Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, but this is still a fun game.

Gourmet Race: A collection of three races against Dedede. You can go for Time Trials and the highest score, but playing it with a friend is way more fun.

Revenge of Meta-Knight: You go through about 10 timed levels, and when you beat a level, you destroy different parts of the Halebird. It's fast and frantic fun, and the dialoge that spreads out on the bottom screen is often times humorous.

Milky Way Wishes: There are 7 levels you can choose from, but they're harder than previous ones and with a huge new gameplay mechanic: Kirby has lost his power to copy abilites, so he must collect various "Copy Cards" that allow him to use an ability anytime by tapping it on the bottom screen. This is a great mechanic and it's a lot of fun to test every single one of each abilities attacks.

Revenge of the King: A significantly enhanced version of Spring Breeze, now it is a lot harder, and more fun. The starship battle against Kabulla is especially fun.

Meta Knightmare Ultra: You play through Spring Breeze, Dyna Blade, Great Cave Offensive, Revenge of Meta-Knight, and Milky Way Wishes as Meta Knight, and try to beat them as fast as you can. Playing as Meta-Knight is a blast, and by defeating enemies he gains "Order Points", which can allow him to do simple things like calling out a Helper Knight to killing everything on the screen with an awe-inspiring Mach Tornado.

The Arena: You go through 19 bosses in a row with only one life and 5 Maximum Tomatoes as fast as possible. It's pretty hard, but nowhere near the challenge as the later arena.

Helper to Hero: Instead of playing as Kirby, you play as one of about 20 Helper friends, which are basically manifestations of his Copy Abilites. It is slightly easier than the Arena, and you get a top-secret video if you beat it as each of the Helpers.

The True Arena: Oh boy. This is without a dought the hardest challenge in the series, because you have to face all-revamped versions of the previous Arena Challengers, and they can inflict massive ammounts of damage. Add that to the fact that you only have 4/5 of a M Tomato to heal with, and only one ability to choose from between rounds, and you'll be throwing your DS across the room in no time. But it's hard in the way that's addictive, and you'll be playing it again and again even after you beat it.

There's also multiple smaller Mini-games, and these are great to play in a party atmosphere.

Gameplay: They improved on the original and refined it even more. Massive fun. 9.75
Graphics: The 2D animations look spectacular, and the 3D cutscenes look Gorgeous. 9.5
Audio: It's the Kirby standard: Brilliant. 9.5
Overall: If you love Kirby, Platformers, or like well-adjusted Difficulties, you must play this game. This is the little Pink Puffball at his finest.
9.5 out of 10

Monday, April 26, 2010

Mega Man Review

Fledgling game company Capcom in 1987 came out with a revolutionary game: Rock Man. His first game shot in popularity and soon Rock Man became massively popular. Capcom tried to duplicate it in America, and to rowsing success.

The premise was simple, yet addictive: Choose one of the 6 bosses, beat their level and get their weapon, and repeat. But the real charm came in the Boss Order: using certain weapons on certain bosses, they would fall incredibly easily. The Weapons were cool and effective: The Lightning Strike remains one of the best weapons in Mega Man history. The game played like a Metroid, minus the open world. It's also notorious for being insanely hard. Until Mega Man 9 came, this was the hardest game in the series.

The game also introduced another popular addition to the series: its awesome music. The soundtrack pushed the NES to its max, and is still a joy to listen to today.

The game has gotten several scars through the test of time, though. It's far too short, has little to none bonuses, and may turn people off with its insane hardness. Still, it's a solid play.

Gameplay: Fun. The Mega Man formula still shines. 8.5
Audio: As expected, Rock-awesome. 9.5
Overall: If you're a newb to the series, get Mega Man 2 first. But if you've already played or beaten another Mega Man, this is a great way to see where the series started.
8.5 out of 10

(And if you thought I would show the American NES boxart, well, you're crazy :P)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Wario Ware: D.I.Y. Review

In 2003, Wario made a huge splash on the Game Boy Advance with a great new idea: a collection of microgames, each lasting 5 seconds. This proved so popular Nintendo releaced 4 sequels, but in 2010, they decided to take the already innovative concept even further: by allowing you to make the games.

Wario Ware D.I.Y. starts out by you playing a couple of microgames, then Wario assigns you a monster in his game: Wario Quest. The creativity barely starts there. If you try to create a game immediatly, the game forces you watch the tutorial. Trust me, you'll need it. The game's creation objects are nearly endless. You can create a game that's just about tapping one object, or make a game with graphics and gameplay that would make anyone else go into pure awe. Whatever you want to make, it's all up to you. The tutorials are not boring, and are filled with funny bits from impatient Wario.

The premade microgames are still pretty fun. They range from reflex games, sports games, retro games, and more. Orbulon's games are definitely the hardest, you almost feel like you're playing a Brain Age game when they're on. Probably the best part about the premade microgames is that you can see how they were made, and use those tips to help in your game-creating.

If you get bored of the Game Maker, DIY also offers you an extensive Music Maker, with a whole lot of note options. You can also make custom comics, which are more like still-frames from the Flipnote Studio due to the fact you can only draw in Black and White.

One of the biggest draws to this game is the Distribution Center, where you can share your microgames with friends and enter special design contests. And every week Nintendo allows you to play Superstar games, microgames made by world-famous game creators like Matt Bozon and Sakurai.

The game as a whole is pretty good-looking, and with the right effort, your games can look amazing, also. The music is nice, but no tracks really stick out. The audio is also Ok, but I still feel that Wario's friends deserve a little better voice actors.

Some minor flaws to this game are its color pallete isn't really that great, there could've been more pre-made microgames, the friend codes are still annoying, and you have to pay for Wario Ware D.I.Y. Showcase on WiiWare. C'mon, that should've been free if you have the DS game!
Gameplay: An insanely robust game, music, and comic maker spreads the longevity of this game. The premade microgames are pretty fun, too. 9.25
Graphics: It works. Nothing that spectacular. 7.0
Audio: Excluding the Music Maker, the Audio is fairly sub-par. 7.0
Overall: This game feels like Mario Paint for a new generation. Once you play this game, you can't stop. Easilly one of the best games on the DS.
9.25 out of 10

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bleach: Dark Souls Review

In 2001, Tite Kubo made a brand-new manga that would become one of the most popular in its history: Bleach. It was about Soul Reapers (Shinigamis in the Japanese version) that would deal with evil spirits called Hollows. To state the whole plot of Bleach would take a milenia, but what you really need to know is it is an awesome Anime/Manga definitelly worth your time. But with a popular franchise comes the inevidable licenced crappy game. But Sega knew this would come, so they hired one of the best action game producers, Treasure, to make a Bleach game. The first game, Blade of Fate, became a smash-hit on the DS, and Treasure handeled the sequel, improving it on almost every way.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead)
The game's main story takes place at the very end of the show's third season. A mod soul, Kai, is trying to release all of his bretherin, but ends up causing a massive Hollow invasion in the process. So, Ichigo and friends jump to the action to stop this chaos. The story is set up like Star Fox Command, with multiple branching paths. Treasure knew players would have to play through the game multiple times to get 100%, so they allowed the option to skip events you already played, saving a lot of time. (Though you won't get a money award like usual) The story mode is relatively short and can be completed in about 5 hours.

The big meat of the game, however, is its fighting mode. The game uses the DS's 4-button layout to shoot light, medium, and heavy attacks, as well as side-stepping, all features that are essential in a fighting game. Pressing L allows you to line-jump, and the R button makes you dodge an attack. This is an insanely hardcore button-masher through and throuout, but fighting newbies may feel turned off by this. To make sure anyone can be a victor, Treasure allows you to use special attacks the hard way (a rapid combo of buttons), or the easy way (tapping an icon on the bottom screen). The bottom screen also holds the Spirit Cards, allowing you to hold twice as much as in the first game. These Spirit Cards can be customized and organized in super-strategetic ways.

Of course, it wouldn't be a fighting game without multiplayer, and this game delivers, for the most part. Playing Multi-Card works fast and fluid, but playing with one card can take a LOOOONG time to load. At least in Single-Card you can choose any of the characters. The Wi-fi requires a good router, because playing with a bad one will cause matches to lag like crazy. Still, this is a great multiplayer game.

The sprites in this game are great, as you would expect from Treasure. The Audio is also very faithful to the show, using all the anime's original voice actors. Unfourtunatelly for harcore Otaku, you can't change the language to the Japanese original.

The game also includes a plethora of bonuses, like alternate colors, cards, songs, sounds, and much more. It even includes a dictionary and encyclopedia of all things Bleach, so if you ever wanted to know when Chad's height is, here's your place. The game allows custom avatars, backrounds, and announcer voices.

Gameplay: Fun. Controls well and is good enough to stand out in a crowd. 9.0
Graphics: Awesome. Treasure's mastery at Pixel art is still at large. 9.25
Audio: All the show's original actors are here, but the music feels a little lacking. It definitelly isn't as good as the show's eerie ballade. 7.5
Overall: This is a game that stands out from the norm: a lisenced game that doesn't suck. It's a great starting game for fighting newbies, and good for the fighting vets too, and definitelly pays a perfect fan service to the show.
9.0 out of 10

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Review

In 1992, Sonic had become a full-blown phenomenon. His first game was causing the Genesis (Mega Drive to Europeans), and he had his own popular cartoon and other merchandise. So Sega made the release of the sequel unlike any other event. They called the event "Sonic 2sday", and the game sold several million copies. And it improved on the original in probably every way.

Sonic 2, first of all, includes a new feature: Tails. He follows you around (but never affects you), collecting rings and being your living shield. He even helps you in battling Robotnik's crazy machines. Another new feature is the Spin Dash. Now you can get a boost at anytime by holding down and jumping. The game still feels like the original Sonic, but it feels smoother and faster. In fact, this might be the fastest speeds ever on the Genesis, or any system. There's absolutely no sense of slowdown, making it still feel as fast today as it was 18 years ago.

The levels in this game are extremelly well-designed. Unlike the first game, there's only two acts per world, but the levels are so huge that it's not a problem. Some examples of levels are a giant Chemical Plant, a giant Casino, a City, and much more. There's tons of secrets in each level for you to explore. It's the perfect length for any platformer.

The music in this game is absolutely breathtaking. Seriosly, listen to this soundtrack on Youtube sometime; It's the single-greatest soundtrack for any game. Period. Words can't describe how good it is.

There are some bad spots in this game, though. Weird glitches sometimes may kill you, Tails feels kinda useless in some areas, and the Sky Pop levels aren't all that fun. Still, ignore these, and this is a great game.

Gameplay: Fun. Speeds developers are still trying to match. 9.75
Audio: Perfect. Still impresses 18 years later. 10
Overall: It's a great game, and the best you can buy for the Genesis. Buy it on the PS3, Wii, or 360 today for a low price, or play it on the Sonic Mega Collection.
9.75 out of 10

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Super Mario Sunshine Review

When the Gamecube launched in 2002, it launched with a rather peculiar game: Luigi's Mansion. In the game, you had to save Mario as his titular sibling by sucking up ghosts in a vacuum. There was absolutely no platforming involved at all. It was a good game, but a year later a true follow-up to the N64 masterpiece appeared on the GCN, and thus Super Mario Sunshine became the most controverial game ever made.

It starts off that Mario, Peach, and Toadsworth are on a royal vacation to the tropical island of Isle Delfino. Things don't look well as soon as you get there, for a giant pile of goop is covering the tarmac. Down the runway you find the Flash Liquidizer Ultra Dousing Device(FLUDD for short), and that's where the game's main gimick sets in. The cops come and assume you're the culprit behind this goopy mess, and charge you to clean the whole island. Luckily, your FLUDD can help you with that. By holding R you can spray water, which besides cleaning up goop, can weigh down objects and defeat certain enemies.

The controls are nice and fluid, and actually feel much better than SM64's setup. You can focus the Camera behind Mario easily by just pressing L. Now you would think a game about cleaning up an island would have little platforming, but Sunshine is chock-full of it. Despite certain upgrades to your FLUDD like a Rocket and a Jetpack, some of the jumps in this game are maddengly hard. There are even some levels where you loose your pack completely, and are forced to do Mario 64-style platforming.

Speaking of difficult, this game is pretty hard. Some of the Shine Sprites (this game's equivalent to Stars) are hidden in Hard-to-reach locations, but the real challenge comes in collecting the game's Blue Coins. There are 240 Blue Coins in the whole game, and they are hidden in some of the scariest locations ever. The Red Coin Challenges return, also.

The game's graphics are nice to look at. Despite the slightly slow frame rate, everything moves at a fluid rate. The Bosses are bigger and badder than ever, and showcase some of Nintendo's best designs. The most impressive part of the game is at the Amusement-themed Pinna Park, you have to ride a high-octane Roller Coaster while shooting rockets at a Giant Robotic Bowser. The game's audio doesn't fail to impress either. It may sound like the same theme's being repeated over and over, but they remix it enough for each world. It sounds perfect for a tropical setting. Speaking of each world, there are 8 of them. Sure, that's less than 64's 15 levels, but these worlds are massive areas with plenty of secrets in them. And the game's hub-world, Delfino Plaza, definitelly feels more alive than Peach's Castle.

This game has its problems, though. The camera can sometimes feel buggy, the Underwater parts don't control very well, and the voice acting is a little cheezy. But these are minor issues. The game as a whole controls and feels very good.

Gameplay: Fun. Better than 64's, and more natural than Galaxy's. 9.75
Graphics: A little frame rate issues aside, this is a fine-looking game. 9.25
Audio: Enjoyable. You'll be humming it in no time. 9.5
Final: I really don't get why this game gets so much hate. As a Mario game it's really not that bizzare (Look at Super Mario Bros. 2 and then you'll see bizzare). If you come in with a mindset for a good platformer, you will not be dissapointed. Great game, and, in my opinion, better than 64 and Galaxy.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Mega Man 10 Review

In 2008, Capcom stunned the world with their revival of their Blue Bomber Mega Man, with 8-bit style. It didn't just feel like a Mega Man game: It felt like a total revival of the glory days of gaming. The game itself played and felt better than any of the Mega Man games before it. But one thing about the game put gamers off: its insane difficulty. The challenge was enough to make anyone except the Mega Man Masters throw their controllers in rage. So its sequel, Mega Man 10, made the game far more axcessible.

Mega Man 10 starts out that a rouge virus, Roboenza, has infected most of the robots. So Mega Man sets off to once again save the day (All these cutscenes are presented in 8-bit fashion.) One thing is different this time: from the get-go you get to play as Proto Man. He make the game harder by taking Double damage and knockback, and can only fire two shots when stationary, but can activate a Shield by jumping and Slide across the ground. (Plus, his running animation is awesome) If you've mastered Mega Man 9, play as him first. Otherwise, play as Mega Man. Another feature is included: Adjustable difficulty settings. Now there's an Easy Mode which puts platforms over spines, makes Enemy attacks weaker, and makes the attacks slower. If you're new to the series, play through this first. But, what you really came for was a Mega Man game, which are always hard challenges. So if you came with that intention, play the Normal Mode, which isn't as Brutally hard as MM9, but close.

The same classic MM formula is still intact: You can play any of the stages in any order, but there is a certain pattern to beat them in that makes the bosses far easier. The Robot Masters this time aren't as creative as previous instalments, but still have pretty cool designs (like Nitro Man). Heck, even Sheep Man has a good design, with his computer-themed stage.

The weapons in this game are pretty cool. My favorites are the Triple Blade (brings back memories of the Metal Blade from Mega Man 2), and the Water Shield (Identical to the Jewel Shield). Admitedly, some are just average (like the Commando Bomb), but they work well overall.

The Music in this game, however, is phenomenal (the Capcom Standard). All the themes fit their designated areas, and never get old. My favorite has to be Commando Man's Desert theme. You really feel like you're in a War in a Barren Wasteland.

There are some blemishes in this package, though. There's no middle ground in the Difficulty settings. Easy is too easy, but Normal is very Hard. Also, in the Time Attack mode, why does the clock still keep ticking in the Pause Menu?

Gameplay: Fun. Despite a few flaws, the Mega Man formula still works to this day. 9.25
Graphics: Terrible by today's standards, but these 8-bit graphics back in the day would be considered goregous. And there's no flicker. 9.0
Audio: One word: Excellent. 9.75
Overall: This is a worthy addition to the fabled franchise. Definitelly worth your 10bucks.
9.5 out of 10

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

New Super Mario Bros. Wii Review

The past Super Mario Bros. Games have been great. But this game elevates absolutely everything and makes all the games before it inferior. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the best game on the Wii, and the best Mario ever.

The plot of the game is normal Mario: the Princess has been captured by the Koopalings (returning after a 18-year hiatus), and you gotta save her. But once you enter the game, you know it's not your normal Mario adventure. First off, you can have up to four players on-screen at a time. It's not the mild distraction that was the New Super Mario Bros. DS' Versus mode, but the whole adventure can be played with multiple people. The ammount of people drastically changes how you play; playing by yourself allows you to show your true skills, two-player is very co-operative and probably the funnest mode in the game. The co-op mode is equal in greatness to classics like Contra and Final Fight. Playing with three players is when it starts to get hectic, and 4-player Mario is absoulute madness. One second, the person next to you is your friend. The next, he's trying to strangle you because you bounced on his head and he fell into the lava. But that's the fun of it. This game encourages hooliginery: Shells are plentiful, and it gives you limited power-ups, making players start to horde each one.

But the real reason you bought this game is because of the levels, and they do not dissapoint. The levels range from bouncing off giant catepillars, dodging giant Piranha plants, jumping across mushrooms to avoid Fuzzies, and (my personal favorite), riding a rollercoaster... OVER LAVA. The Power-ups are also fun and unique, too. The Propeller Suit has the feel of the Cape Feather in Super Mario World, and the Penguin Suits controls in water like the frog suit. Speaking of the frog suit, this game practically screams nostalgia; you have returns of classic enemies like the Rocky Wrench and the Koopalings to total remakes of older levels like the First Castle in World.

Hardcore gamers shouldn't expect this game to be as easy as the DS game; there are plentiful of challenging levels and obstacles. Nintendo is clearly aiming this game at the older and more experienced by adding skill videos that will blow your mind, and adding extra missions to players that can collect every last Star Coin. These bonus challenges are some of the most brutal levels in videogames.

Another thing about this game that'll make you never turn back to the older ones: The Spin Feature. Sure, using it on ground can spin some screws, and it's only moderatly useful, but in the air, it becomes an amazing lifesaver, even allowing you to cross almost impassable gaps. Also, the controls feel better that the DS game, and the visuals are stunning to look at.

I have some small complaints about this game, though. The underwater levels are still awful, but thankfully, there's only two in the game. Also, even though choosing two Toads as the third and fourth player is OK, but I would've liked to see Miis instead. (And am I the only person who thinks not including Online was a good idea?)

Overall, these are minor quibbles. Nearly every level has been played until it's perfect, and the game at whole is very satisfying.

Gameplay: Excellent. It's Mario at its best. 10.0
Graphics: Great. There's not a single hint of graphical glitches. 9.75
Audio: Excellent. Some of the best tunes in the series. 10.0
Overall: This is my new favorite game. Everything in this game sings, and you owe it to yourself to get this. So put on your favorite pair of pajamas, call over your friends, and prepare for the best your Wii can offer.
10 out of 10

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks Review

In 2007, Link transitioned onto the DS smoothly with the release of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass. However, the game is often lauded as the worst Zelda ever made because of one huge problem: there's a dungeon that you have to visit over and over, having to restart at the beginning each time with all the traps reset, and it gets worse because you're timed. The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks aims to fix these problems and more, and for the most part, it does.

Set 100 years after the events of the first DS game, the water has all drained and now Hyrule is a field once again. You play as the young boy Link, who is heading to the Castle to get his Royal Engineer Diploma. Here you learn how to control your train, which feels like the boat, but is a lot more fun and interractive. You can't just draw a line to anywhere a la the first game, you're restricted to the lines of the track. You would think than would lower the exploration, but while riding your train, you find hidden secrets all around the rails, and you soon become consumed into finding every last secret. You can't just sleep through rides, you get to switch rail lines in turns, blow your whistle to get animals off the tracks, and (later) be able to shoot enemies with a canon. On land, the game controls very much like Phantom Hourglass, but it has a few minor inprovements. Instead of having to draw a circle to roll, you just double-tap the screen. The controls are intuitive and work great. Also another inprovement in the plot; PH's plot often felt a little forced, but ST's plot is grand and intuitive, but nowhere near as epic as the consle's plot line. And in a shocking twist, Zelda's spirit is sucked out of her body, and she joins you throughout the whole game, letting you bond with you better. You also find out that the land's central dungeon, the Tower of Spirits, is falling apart, and you need to visit level by level, PH style. But the timer's gone, and you don't have to replay parts you've already done, making the tower a lot of fun. Another thing that's great in this game is the music. Not only is this the best music ever to hit the DS, you get a Pan Pipe that acts a lot like the Ocarina in OoT. It's fun to play, and the songs you play to uncover secrets are pretty catchy.

All the rails aren't perfect though: the items you get from the dungeons are nothing new (except the Sand Wand), and the dungeons are the standard fire, forest, and water-type generality. Also, some of the sidequest require tedious backtracking that get annoying fast thanks to the train's relatively slow pace.
Gameplay: Improved over PH. There's a lot to do and it controls fine. Great for on-the-go sessions. 9.0
Graphics: Impressive 3-D artwork that looks very good on the DS. Well done. 9.5
Audio: Fantastic. Some of the best tunes on a handheld in awhile. 9.75
Overall: This game is what Phantom Hourglass isn't and more. Easilly one of the best games on the DS and one of the best Zeldas ever.
9.5 out of 10

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Animal Crossing: Wild World Review

In 2002, Nintendo launched their social simulator, Animal Crossing, on the Gamecube in order to rival EA's popular Sims series. It was a fun little sim, but connecting with friends was a disaster because you had to trade memory cards and it just ended up being more frustrating than fun. Nintendo addressed these issues and more in their DS sequel, Animal Crossing: Wild World.
Wild World starts out in a taxi, and you already know it's not of the norm. You're apparently the only human around in a world populated by animals. Your taxi driver, Kapp'n, is a talking parrot who asks you questions in order to determine where you live and what you look like. Once the ride is over, you arrive in town. One problem, you're dirt broke. And your house is patheticly small. In order to make your house more homely, you'll have to pay off the mortage, which adds up to an astounding ammount of bells (the game's currency). Don't worry, the goverment gives you all the time you need to pay it off. Even better, the town's shopkeeper, Tom Nook (a raccoon), will pay off a little bit of debt, but you must run a couple of chores for him. These odd jobs act like the tutorials; you learn how to socialize, deliver gifts, write messages, etc. After that's over, the whole rest of the game's up to you. Do you wanna gain brownie points with your neighbors and give them rare items? Or do you want to horde every fruit (selling fruit gets you bells) and item? It's all yours. This game is very relaxed; you can do various calming activities like catching butterflies (which gives you money) or talk the latest gossip with you animal neighbors (even though the conversations are a bit one-sided). When you've gained enough bells, pay off your debt, go to the bank and figure out you have a second, even larger debt!!! This may infuriate you at first, but while you're gaining the money, you'll see how addictive the game is; special visitors appear to give you rare items you can sell for big cash, Tom Nook's shop expands based on how much you spend, you can try on some of the awesome fashions (cooler than it sounds) at Able Sister's, dig up fossils for the museum or for your own profit, do errands for your neighbors to gain money, and much more. Even though the town is relatively small, there's so much to do you'll never notice it. And your town's alive and thriving; neighbors with their own personalities come and go, though if you like certain neighbors, you can act kind to them to make them stay (though some villagers will hate you no matter what). The feel of accomplishment after paying off all your debt is so satisfyinig, it'll be definitelly worth the effort. If you have friends, you can visit their towns or vice versa, enhancing the fun.
Your life in the town won't be perfect, though. This game requires a LOT of time to play with; if you don't play for awhile neighbors will start to hate you and your town will be overrun by nasty weeds that take a long time to uproot. Also, some of the prices on things are so propostorously high you'll have to be flowing with blood in order to afford it.
Gameplay: Highly addictive. Takes a lot of your time, but well worth it. 9.0
Graphics: Standard 3-D quality graphics for the DS. Pretty good. 8.0
Audio: A little weak, but you'll start to hum it uncontrollably for a while. But K.K. Slider's songs are brilliant. 8.5
Overall: If you love sims you'll love this game. Once you start it they'res no going back.
8.75 out of 10

Monday, January 25, 2010

Super Mario World Review

In 1981, Nintendo introduced a legend to us: Mario. He originally had to share the spotlight with that Donkey Kong, but in 1985, he starred in the revolutionary platformer Super Mario Bros. The game had 2 sequels, both on the NES. But with Sega's hedgehog gaining popularity, Nintendo knew they had to eventually enter the 16-bit war. Thus call in the creation of Super Mario World, one of the finest platformers ever made.
Super Mario World, first off, was 100 times prettier than its NES cousins due to the power of the SNES. Second, it featured far more levels and worlds, with about 96 levels in total. Finally, it added multiple new moves and items to Mario's collection, some of which have become his signature moves. Probably the biggest contribution was the inclusion of the loveable dinosaur Yoshi, who could jump higher, eat enemies, and swallow shells to fly, shoot fire, etc. Two more important inclusions were the Spin Jump, which could break blocks under your feet, and the Cape Feather, which acted like the Racoon Leaf (from Super Mario Bros. 3), but you could fly forever if you could control it right. The levels are imaginative, and are much longer than the quick-fix Mario 3 levels. The variety of levels is astounding; one level you're riding a lava platform, the next you're avoiding spiked pistons from crushing you. The game's challenge was evenly set, with the early levels being fairly easy and the later levels being very hard (though nowhere as hard as Mario 3's final levels). And just when you think you've beaten the game, there's two bonus world to explore; one allows you to jump to the game's world on the fly and the other one will take your Mario skills to the max. The game all accumulates in inventive Boss battles, especially the final showdown with Bowser.
There are some small complaints, though. The underwater levels have never been fun, and this game is no exception. Also, gaining lives is far too easy, some levels give you 5 1-ups graciously, while others have none at all. These complains are relatively minor, though, and you'll probably ignore all of these due to the sheer funness of the game
Gameplay: Very fun. Even though some levels are tedious, the funner levels make you forget those other ones. 9.75
Audio: Very well done. You'll be humming it in no time. 9.5
Overall: This is one of the all-time great platformers. If you love the genre, this is a must-play now. Buy it on the Virtual Consle now for only 800 points

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pac-Man World 2 Review

In 1980, Namco released a revolutionary new character: Pac-Man. He appealed to many non-gamers with his simple yet addictive gameplay. Pac-Man decided to go on adventure on the Super NES, with disaturous results. He tried again on the Playstation in 1999 with Pac-Man World, but that wasn't so good. So in 2002, he finally starred in an adventure worthy of the Pac-Man name.

Pac-Man World 2 starts out with the ghost taking the Golden Fruit from the center tree in Pac-Village, thus releacing a menacing ghost named Spooky. Pac-Man must jouney across 6 world of platforming action, using his classic skills along with new ones in order to get the fruit.

The game's controls are simple: Control Stick to move, A to Jump, A in the air to do a butt-bounce, B on the ground to do a rev roll, and B in the air to do a flip kick. All these moves are thoughtfully interrgrated into levels, such as trampolines you have to bounce back and forth on, and boxes floating in the air that can be broken with a flip kick. Pac-Man's not always jumping around, though. Some levels give Pac a pair of skates, others allow him to swim around underwater (the funnest levels). The challenge is evenly paced: the first levels are easy and act like tutorials while some of the later levels can be very hard. Adding replay value is the inclusion of fruit around each level. If you're a collector-maniac, you'll love tracking down every single one of these pieces of produce. There are also tolkens to collect that buy you arcade games like the original Pac-Man, Pac-Attack, and a Jukebox to listen to the game's amazingly well-done soundtrack. At the end of each world is a boss, which tests Pac-Man's athletic skills to the limit.

This game isn't without its problems, though. The camera can be fine at one moment and frustratingly bad the next. You'll often die because the camera doesn't turn where you want it to. Another complaint is the game's length. It's far too short, with only about 25 levels or so. Also, some of the arcade cabniets have outrageously high tolken prices: Mrs. Pac-Man costs over 150 tolkens! But, if you're a Pac-Maniac, you'll probably think it's worth the high price.


Gameplay: Solid and fun. The camera can be wonky, but the overral tightness in the controls make up for it. 8.25

Graphics: Looks good for a standard Gamecube game. Not horrible, but not great. 7.0

Audio: Astounding. All of it's orchestrated and it sounds lovely. 9.5

Overall: If you like platformers, you'll probably like this game. Even if you aren't, it's still a solid purchase for the Gamecube

8.25 out of 10