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Game Reviews

Mario Party 9 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mario Party has deviated from the traditional competitive multiplayer board-game, and instead takes a more cooperative, team-based approach to the series. The change is drastic, but not entirely awful. Fans of the series may, however, find that the series' deviation is a little too dramatic of a change for a franchise they have grown to love over the years.

The Pros: 

+Change to the game’s basic structure does provide a bit of a shake-up for a series that’s getting into the 12+ territory.

+The mini games are still as fun as ever, and offer the same chuckle-worthy puns as always.

The Cons: 

-The deviation from the series is pretty dramatic, and long-time fans might be a little upset by the change.

-Everything feels a little over-simplified and watered-down.

-There don’t seem to be as many items to unlock in the game, which may reduce the replay value for some. Rating : 

Ever since the original title launched back in 1998 I’ve considered myself a competition player. I take my Mario Parties pretty damn seriously, and have always thoroughly enjoyed winning a game in Mario Party almost more than anything else, because of the wide-variety of challenges that their mini-games provide, along with the whole board-game mentality and having to deal with the luck of the dice and random changes of fortune from Bowser and his cronies. I even love the puns that the team keeps coming up for the mini-games, which I’m surprised to see are endless.

Shoot Many Robots [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Shoot Many Robots is a side-scrolling, robot shooting, beer chugging adventure from Demiurge Studios that puts you in the tough and muddy boots of one P. Walter Tugnut, a hard ass who spends his days during the robot apocalypse camping in his dodgy R.V., acquiring all the guns and ridiculous outfits he can to kick major mechanical ass.  At its core, Shoot Many Robots is a very basic 2D side-scrolling action game.  You will not find anything groundbreaking in its shooting mechanics, or anything that will make you choose its gameplay over other similar titles, however there is a lot of fun to be had inside its robotic depths, and that includes a rather fun multiplayer experience, as well as the ability to try and make Tugnut look as ridiculous as humanly possible by purchasing as many bizarre outfits and equipment you can.

The Pros: 

+ Leveling up and purchasing new loot is rather rewarding and hilarious

+ Multiplayer can be fun when playing with a friend

+ Gets rather challenging later to keep up the pace of your new awesome loot!

+ Your single player character transfers to you multiplayer game

+ A borderlands-like art  brings you the robot apocalypse in style

The Cons: 

-Can become repetitive a few hours in

-Not as fun when collecting crazy loot in single player when there is no one to share the laughter with

-Odd controls which in turn take longer to get accustomed to 

-Level design is different, but your progression through always feels the same Rating : 

You know when there is a nasty chainsaw-wielding robot apocalypse going on and all you want to do is destroy hordes of them while wearing a Jason hockey mask, jetpack, and a tutu, and then blow them up by pulling a giant bomb out of a cat carrier you were using as a decoy?  Thank God then that Shoot Many Robots came along.

Alan Wake: American Nightmare [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Using the tools established in Alan Wake, specifically the ability to re-write reality, Remedy has taken Alan Wake in a whole new direction. The game is now themed more like pulp '80s action films, moving away from its Stephen King/Twin Peaks roots, and offers a whole new (unique) story with the flavor of the mini-series Night Springs that ran within the original game.

The Pros: 

+Well written story-line that manages to feel fan-fiction and cannon at the same time.

+Improved gameplay mechanics that make the core even more fun to play.

+Remedy's love for genre films really shows through.

+Small touches like the constant narration (via a Twilight Zone knock-off host) provide that same strong feeling of the original, with a whole new tone.

The Cons: 

-The game does only use three locales, which loop three times. Rating : 

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of Remedy’s 2010 thriller title Alan Wake. I went on record saying that it was the best game of the year, and was passionate enough in my appeal of the other writers of the site that eventually we pushed it through to win. The reason was that the game brought something new to the table, it was atmospheric, creepy, smart, and offered just a touch of humor (via the TV series Night Springs, which could be watched through monitors placed through-out the world).

Rhythm Heaven Fever [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Rhythm Heaven Fever is a fun, cutesy and genuine challenging collection of rhythm minigames that incorporate the need to listen to audio cues rather than depend on visuals (as it will make a point of by obscuring your vision at certain points). It stands apart from other like titles by its certain degree of oddness associated with the rating system and funny animal-incorporated scenarios that add a flair of comedy to a genre that has otherwise been sucked dry.

The Pros: 

+ Sharp visuals and cartoony characters are a charming addition to a game that might otherwise be very flat.
+ Mini games gradually increase in difficulty, which does a good job of keeping you on your toes.
+ Certain aspects may or may not be intentionally comedic, but made it fun to fail sometimes to see what message you get.

The Cons: 

- Multiplayer felt a bit tacked on, as you seemed to repeat levels just to take turns doing the exact same thing as in single-player.

- It's not even close to a game with enduring, hours-long gameplay, but rather a quickie to pick up to play a few levels at a time before moving on.
- The button mechanics are sometimes a little clunky. Rating : 

Rhythm Heaven, as a series, is what I feel to be true to the idea of a real rhythm based game, and the new title does not deviate from this at all; Rhythm Heaven Fever is a quirky, entertaining collective of rhythmic mini-games that depend more on audio cues than visual, which sets it apart as simultaneously one of the most fun and challenging musical titles available. The cutesy animal characters give it a certain air of a children's game, but the escalating difficulties should make it accessible to anybody who enjoys investing in the genre.

WARP [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The game feels confused. It splits in multiple directions, and never really locks down one particular thing properly. It feels a little like, during the development, someone changed their mind on what the title should be; or that there were two teams working together and they ran out of time and just tossed everything in.

The Pros: 

+The mechanics behind the teleportation are solid, and fun to use.

+There’s nothing quite as satisfying as making a pleading scientist beg for his life before exploding him from the inside.

+The challenge rooms offer a great diversion to the main-story, and going back to beat your times will help stretch out the play-time with the came when the story is done.

The Cons: 

-Everything feels like a contradiction of itself. Mechanics, AI, art and story all seem to go in two different directions at once.

-For a puzzle/platformer title, the challenge in the game is minimal. Rating : 

Before I get rolling with this review, I have a couple of confessions to make:

Firstly, I’m a big fan of the puzzle genre. I’ve, for a long time, held that if you were going to try and give one game the honor of being called “the best ever” (or could have only one video game on a deserted island, each situation equally as ridiculous) it would be Tetris.

Secondly, in any debate for “which superpower would win” conversations I will always interject Teleportation.

Wild Gunman [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The retro styling in this game is a delightful throwback to a more classic digital age. From the square grimace of my wild-west foes to the checkerboard speckled black and yellow sand I truly felt transported to a different age. Kudos to Nintendo for not forgetting what their fans really come for, a unique and simple game that gives you a few moments of escape in exchange for your hard-earned money. Though I am surprised at the lack of parental warning on this game. This is a game where the main (if not only) point is to shoot another human being point blank in exchange for meaningless points and dollar amounts that seemed to be only hoarded as this game lacks any unlockables or upgrade store. Certainly there is something to be said for the strength of reflex measurement and limited fine motor-skill training but at what cost?

The Pros: 

+ Classic 8-bit style that feels genuine

+ Awesome that they took a Back To The Future 2 joke and made a game around it.

+ New orange "zapper" seems more accurate than previous Motion Plus controllers.

+ High scores stored WITHIN THE GAME to compare with friends when at their house.

The Cons: 

- Had to buy YET ANOTHER add-on. Not only does the Wii not support the game, needed a strange grey and black box, and corded controller then it would not function with my plasma TV so I was forced to dig an old TV out of my basement which mysteriously worked.

- Seems to display villains as an assortment of racial stereotypes.

- Backgrounds look stolen from Minecraft.

- Midi style sound effects and music could use a modern update. Maybe some sort of funny end of game song to sing at gaming conventions. Rating : 

I was thrilled when Shogun Gamer accepted my request to review some games for them. As a casual-gamer in every way I thought it was important for someone more or less ignorant of this genre of entertainment as a whole to get their voice out there. Some of us just play games to have a game to play, and while art is lovely and all, I just want to shoot some make-believe people then get back to other things.

Fortune Street [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Fortune Street is kind of like an advanced Monopoly. The core concept is the same: build and advance property to get more money than the other players, but with the addition of stocks, mini-games, punch-cards and sneaky insider-trading. 

The Pros: 

+More challenging than your standard gameplay.

+NPC characters provide dialog between rounds to make them feel like real players.

+Playing the stock market can be super rewarding, when you get the hang of it.

The Cons: 

-Might be a little much for the average player, or childern that generally play Mario titles.

-Rounds can feel a little tedious as games go on quite long, and are very focused on the board game without diversions. Rating : 

“Don’t call it Mario Monopoly.” Is what we were told when we first saw the game… but that didn’t stop our Managing Editor, Corey Rollins, when he wrote his brief hands-on impression of the game late last year, and while the comparison is a fair one (you are Mario, it is a board-game focused around buying and advancing property for the purposes of having the most money in the game) it doesn’t paint a complete picture of exactly what Fortune Street has to offer.

Trine 2 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Trine 2's simple concepts, easy controls, goregous graphics and quirky humor provide that 'fun for all ages' feeling that is often refered to on the back of the box, but rarely ever captures.

The Pros: 

+Beautiful art work.

+Quirky sense of humor.

+Great use of co-op

+'Short and sweet' story campaign.

The Cons: 

-Playing in multiplayer, only Player 1 can purchase upgrades for his team. Rating : 

While the site went in a bit of a ‘black out’ mode over the holiday seasons, believe it or not, video games continued to be released. One of them was a game that I was eagerly anticipating, but didn’t manage to get around to until the new year.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning is an Action-RPG.  That's not to say that the RPG elements are weakened like most others are, as a matter of fact, the game screams a traditional western-RPG and holds nothing back about its depth considering character management and story. I say Action-RPG because it's one of the only games in recent memory where one gameplay mechanic is just as strong as the other, and KOAR's combat is an absolute blast. This last bit actually broke my brain for the first few hours into the experience; the thought that I could have a game that delivers a true RPG experience and offer fun, fast, and challenging combat did not compute, but I am sure glad it came along, and if you are looking for game that has bang for its buck this year that you can spends enormous amounts of time on, you will be too.

The Pros: 

+ An interesting story that brings a lot of lore into a new world

+ Amazing combat that could stand alone as an action game

+ Environments are beautiful with tons of rewarding loot to find

+ Being able to Re-customize your characters stats and look in game

+ Voice acting is truly spectacular

The Cons: 

- Side quests are all rather similar and can start to feel like a tedious single player MMO

- Some of the creature models don’t quite meet the expectations set by the environment

- None of the NPCs really feel like they have a purpose other then to get quests from

- Sometimes during combat the camera angle is not the greatest Rating : 

2011 was one hell of a year for video games.  Platformers, action/adventure, and shooter games and yes, especially RPG's, Game developers on all fronts delivered us hit after hit last year, and even though I found myself running thin on time to take in all of the awesome, I was still very thankful for the high caliber software at my finger tips. So you can see why I felt that the first "big" RPG of 2012 had a lot to live up to.

Mario Kart 7 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mario Kart 7 is a lot more Mario Kart Wii and a whole lot less Mario Kart DS then I was hoping. The game has been watered down again to ensure that there is almost no challenge what-so-ever in winning ever single race in the game. The worst (best?) example of which is the fact that the game now plays 'clean-up,' removing banana peels left on the track after a single lap, removing the the age-old 'problem' of hitting your own traps. 

The Pros: 

+The addition of kart building means having a truly unique kart

The Cons: 

-The game is incredibly dumbed-down

-There is virtually no challenge to Mario Kart

-Tons of shoehorned features like 'The Lucky 7' and 'motion controlled first-person mode' Rating : 


Nintendo has been on a roll with their Holiday line-up. Mario 3D Land was an awesome iteration of the series on the Nintendo 3DS that brought together all the best parts of the series into one game. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first true successor to the lofty throne of Ocarina of Time, and one of the best of the series long and tenured history. That’s why when Mario Kart 7 came across my desk I, as a major competitive fan of the series, got incredibly excited. It’s unfortunate however, that the game is as lazy as its title.

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