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Found 2 results

  1. review

    Hey! Pikmin Review - Written by DestinyDecade Product provided for this review by Nintendo Nintendo has a knack for providing franchises the exposure they need and they do so via consoles and handhelds. Sometimes they work and other times can lead to a franchise dying out. The results vary but when it was announced that a new Pikmin game would be coming to the Nintendo 3DS, people were curious. Pikmin has had a few successes with its three main games with a strong reception, but the idea of a spin-off game seemed questionable. Eventually Hey! Pikmin would arrive but the big question is this: Does this spin off hold its own compared to its main series? Or will this be another case of a franchise that ended due to an unexpected flop? The story centers on Capt. Olimar, who is returning back after completing another assignment. During his trip, his ship gets struck by an asteroid and ends up crashing on an unknown planet. He learns that in order to fix his ship and get back home, he needs to seek out an energy source called Sparklium. But he won’t do it alone. The planet that he crashed in is home to Pikmin, little plant-like creatures that Olimar can use to complete his mission. With these helpers, Olimar heads off to find what he needs to fix his ship and head home. It’s a simple story, traditional since it’s almost the same in every Pikmin game. Sure the previous games add a little bit here and there but in Hey! Pikmin, the plot is barebones. Sadly it also takes a backseat in favor of the game and it doesn’t be any relevant until at least you collect 30,000 Sparklium. But for a Pikmin game, what can you do? Now since this is a Pikmin game, your job is to find Pikmin and use them to solve puzzles, defeat enemies and find treasures. Olimar can’t defend himself. He doesn’t have anything that can provide offense. All he has is a whistle and a jetpack that lets you hover for a short time. The only form of offense that you have is the Pikmin. They come in different varieties and each of them provides a different advantage for your journey. Red Pikmin is immune to fire and are strong fighters. Yellow can be thrown farther and can withstand electricity. Blue Pikmin are agile swimmers and essential for underwater combat. Rock Pikmin pack a punch and can destroy crystalized walls and Winged Pikmin can help you float through dangerous hazards and can reach high places. Unlike the main Pikmin games, this one you are only limited to 20 Pikmin in each area. This adds a bit of strategy but also a bit of micromanaging since you need to make sure everyone is safe from harm. Carelessness will lead you to defeat. Hey! Pikmin has you traveling through 8 Sectors, each with 5 areas. As you trek, you need to seek out Pikmin and use them to survive what lies ahead. This also relates to finding Sparklium. You do that by collecting Sparklium in each area. Finding treasures also count because they net a high amount of Sparklium and each area has at least 2-4 treasures to find. Finding them is the challenge. They can appear where you least expect it. Exploration is a definite must and the game offers a lot of it. If you’re lucky, you may find a hidden exit that can lead to an Area X. Those areas put your Pikmin playing skills to the test. Sometimes they can be a cakewalk and others can be a test of skill. At the end of every sector is a boss fight. If you know how the bosses behave, then they won’t be much of a challenge. One good thing about it is that the game really does a good job showing them before the big fight. In addition to exploration, there’s also Pikmin Park and using all the Pikmin you gathered, you can order them to head to specific areas to excavate more Sparklium. It’s a neat addition and offers more to an interesting game. As I said before, getting Sparklium is needed to reach the end and you’ll have to do so in this 10-12 hour game. Going for 100% will have you clocking in at about 16 hours since you need to complete every stage, find every treasure and do so with all Pikmin unharmed. This game will test you. For a 3DS game, the presentation is well done. The characters and environment are vibrant and colorful. Each world has a unique theme that offers something different as you progress. Olimar and the Pikmin I feel is the best thing since they express themselves in the form of short cutscenes. Some are rather humorous but it’s to be expected for a Pikmin game. The game has some great music. Unlike other games where music doesn’t reflect the game, this does and it’s done very well. Some songs like the cave areas have a bit of a Metroid vibe to them. It’s pretty good and it helps make the game feel enjoyable. The controls are good. You just tap with the stylus on the touchscreen and you can fling your Pikmin to where they will go. It can help with some tricky puzzles. The touch screen is also used for the whistle to get your Pikmin in line as well as the rocket backpack. Movement is done either with the analog stick or the D-Pad. The D-Pad is a safer bet if you feel analog isn’t your thing. Though I do enjoy some of the good things, there are a few things I find problematic with the game. First, the puzzles are too simple at times. Understandably since this game is meant for kids but for others, they may find them to be too easy. The same can be said for the bosses. Many of their patterns are simple to figure out, making some of them be a joke. Thankfully each boss provides a different challenge, requiring you to use the Pikmin you have to take the boss down. Replay value is there if you want to go back and beat every level with all Pikmin intact but other than that, there isn’t much. It’s pretty much a one & done game when it comes to finding everything. Speaking of which, the Pikmin is another flaw I have with the game. They’re only useful when they see anything of interest and are pretty much brain dead. Sometimes they don’t follow fast enough and you can end up either losing Pikmin or getting killed and forced to restart. Oh and there’s no checkpoints. If you die, you have to start the level all over again. That is an issue especially in tougher levels where you are forced to redo a lot of progress. That’s upsetting. In conclusion, Hey! Pikmin isn’t a bad game, far from it. It’s an enjoyable game that offers a lot of charm and a pretty acceptable challenge. For a handheld, Nintendo did well in bringing Pikmin to the small screen. A good presentation with simple yet effective controls added with an acceptable amount of challenge make this a worthy addition to the franchise. If you want something to keep yourself busy before Nintendo makes an official Pikmin sequel, this is it. Trust me. You’ll enjoy it. I give Hey! Pikmin an 8.5 out of 10.
  2. Mario Party Star Rush - A Review by Jose Vega aka DestinyDecade of the Angry Army Product provided by Nintendo. Special thanks to Nintendo for giving me this opportunity to cover this game. Mario Party has always been known to be a game where you and a few friends can sit back, have fun and see how much hilarity can ensue amongst each other. The franchise hasn’t had much success in recent years. It started being a turn based game and has stuck from the first game all the way to Mario Party 8. However the game went in a different direction with the use of vehicle based movement in Mario Party 9 and the overreliance of Amiibo functionality in Mario Party 10. The franchise wasn’t limited to consoles. They tried their luck with handhelds. After the mixed reception of Mario Party Island Tour, Nintendo and Nd Cube try their luck with Mario Party Star Rush. Will it suffer the same fate as its previous entry or have they got something up their sleeve that’ll make it a well-needed hit? Mario Party always had a formula that worked while adding little things to improve the game experience. In the case of Star Rush, the turn-based gameplay that has been a staple since the beginning has been removed completely. Instead once everyone roll the dice, they all move at the same time. You can also determine where you go before you move. This adds a layer of strategy but at the same time you need to be aware of what your opponents will do. It’s a matter of predicting the best course of action on the playing boards. If you want to make sure to have an advantage, careful planning is key. At first I didn’t like that they removed the turn-based gameplay but it grew on me over time. I like it. It saves me a lot of time while providing something fresh, new and fast paced. Future Mario Party games should implement this style. Imagine the craziness that can ensue with everyone moving at the same time, trying to reach where they need to be. Star Rush has multiple modes for you to tackle with Toad Scramble as the main mode. Up to 4 players can play as a Toad and trek through various boards, gathering Mario characters as allies and taking on bosses in mini games to recover Power Stars. Each character has their own unique ability and dice and it can help turn the tide. You can have up to 4 ally characters in one time and having more allies mean more of an advantage. Bear in mind that it can be a disadvantage if your opponent has more allies than you so be careful. Items are aplenty in this game though not as big as in the previous games but they do add something to the game that can be good or bad. It’s random and it’s what Mario Party boils down to in a nutshell. Mini games are also the name of the game in Mario Party and there are many. They depend on the control scheme. Some are simple using buttons and an analog stick (or d-pad) while others take advantage of the touch screen. It works, giving it variety. However some mini games can be a bit of a pain to do than others and depending if you either have a regular 3DS or a New 3DS XL then some can be without a doubt annoying due to the microphone. In addition to Toad Scramble, there are other game modes. Coinathlon is a race where up to four players collect as many coins as they can in minute long designated coin mini games to progress through three laps. They get hectic and it comes in two modes: Free Play and Rival Race. Mario Shuffle is a two-player game that uses Amiibo functionality. Using Amiibo figures, players race across a one-way board to the goal with one going right, the other left. If you don’t have Amiibo, cardboard cutouts are used. Balloon Bash is like Toad Scramble but you collect coins and stars in a mini board with a turn limit and mini games. You can also play as any Mario character so that’s a plus. Rhythm Recital is where up to four players work together and play classic Mario tunes using the Touch Screen. Challenge Tower is a single player game where you have to climb a tower with LED Spaces on it. There are varying difficulties with some being harder than others. Last but not least is Boo’s Block Party, a puzzle game where you spin sides of a number block to earn points. If you move enough of the same block, they get sent to the other player. It’s addicting and challenging if you want to get the high score. There’s a lot to do in the game and let’s face it. Half of the time you’re going to be spending it trying to complete the modes to level up. Star Rush has a leveling system where as you play, you earn points. Once you gain enough, you level up and unlock either a new mode or a new character. It’ll take hours trying to unlock everything and it can be quite a challenge. It can get a bit repetitive too having to do it over and over just to unlock everything. The game offers a lot but I wish there’d be something to alleviate things. But if I had any issues with it, it’s that most of the time you’ll be playing it in single player. If you want to play multiplayer, each of you must have your own 3DS and a copy of the game or the free Download Play that you can get on the eShop. It’s like Smash Bros. for 3DS. Overall, I can say that Mario Party Star Rush improves the formula in some ways. Having a fast paced style where everyone plans their moves adds layers of strategy. Various modes add replayability plus with 4-player co-op equaling insanity. What else can I say? I know games should try to implement new things but this is a step in the right direction. If you have friends and a few 3DS handhelds, then you will have a fun time. I give Mario Party Star Rush an 8 out of 10. It earns Angry Joe's BAD-ASS SEAL OF APPROVAL.