Daily Archives: October 19, 2014

Review #035: Nicktoons – Spongebob And Friends – Battle For Vulcano Island (GBA) ~ Again?

2549PS2 version (Article)

Wait, what? I already talked about this game… True, but for the GBA month, I decided to review the GBA version of this game. The game that actually made me buy the PS2 version. I found out about this game when my local game store still had a renting system. I rented this game and I finished it after renting it three times. Surprisingly, nobody deleted my save files. Anyways, I wanted to buy myself a copy of this game, but I haven’t been able to. If somebody has a copy of this game laying around, please contact me. I would love to buy it. Since I really like it this game. But that isn’t what this article is about, isn’t it? This article is about how the game is. It’s a review. So, let’s take a look at Nicktoons – Battle For Volcano Island. How good or how bad is it? Keep in mind that I’m doing this review out of memory and the first few levels I was able to play through some alternative means. 

Different story?

image0230_1163556274So, I already too a look to the PS2 version of this game. Let me tell you, apart from some characters, the story is exactly the same. In the GBA version, there are fewer characters you can play with, but I think that is for the better in this version.

So, in this game you are summoned to free Volcano Island from an evil entity. It’s a story that will appeal to children but it will be bad in the eyes of adults. I could start bashing the game for this, but I think that would be unfair.

The game is aimed at children and people who like a nice platforming game. Those games have in most cases no real deep story or character development. Most platformers add an additional genre to have a better story.

This game is at it’s core a platformer. So, the tutorial shouldn’t take long. Don’t worry, in this game the tutorial doesn’t take long at all. The first level isn’t challenging but it’s a great way to learn the ropes of the game.

How does it play?

hqdefaultSo, you play as one of 4 Nicktoons. Each character has their own special abilities. Spongebob can go through dirt, Patrick can use his air pants to float through the air, Timmy can stretch his arms to … crazy lengths and Danny can use his ghost powers to a certain extend.

The game isn’t very long, but it’s length is quite decent. There are 4 worlds with each 4 levels. Then you have an additional final boss fight. Let me tell you, the final boss fight is a real test of your skills with this game.

Something that might have crossed your mind is that this game is easy. I urge you to think twice about that. The game isn’t as easy as you might think. That’s due to the amazing checkpoint system.

Each time you get hit, you loose a heart. Five hits, and it’s game over. Each hit sends you back to the last visited checkpoint. Each new checkpoint you visit gives you back one heart. So, if you aren’t careful, you have to redo a level over and over again.

There is some replay value in this game as well. In each level, there are several golden hearts. If you gather enough of them, you unlock a special level. But getting the golden hearts is the really tricky part. They are sometimes hidden but most of the time hidden in plain sight. The kicker is that they need pixel perfect reflexes. The golden hearts get added to your total heart count at the end. So, if you get hit, you loose your special golden heart. I promise you, it gets challenging in some places.

Each world has a theme. Well, sort of. The nice thing is that you don’t have to beat every level in order. You have a hub world where you can go and play any level you have unlocked.

The music?

Nicktoons - Battle for Volcano Island-3Some levels might have a bit of back tracking, but it’s done in such a way you don’t really notice if you don’t pay attention to it. Since in those levels you go back in a different way because you gained a new ability.

Visually, this game looks how it should. Bright and colorful. In my opinion it looks extremely nice on the gameboy screen and made me play this game to the very end. Everything has that Nickelodeon vibe over it and all the art styles of the different series mixed without something that stands out.

In terms of the animation, well, it’s quite basic. Nothing really special but it gets the job done without a problem. I don’t have any complaints there.

The music is what it is. It isn’t too memorable  but it isn’t forgettable either. I had the tunes stuck in my head for a couple of days but as soon as I played some different games, I forgot about them. Honestly, I don’t think the game has bad music. No, it’s quite decent but not good. I have that feeling that there could have been done more with the music. The same goes for the sound effects or rather the lack of variety. There aren’t a lot of sound effects in this game. So, I sometimes felt that the action wasn’t… well, action-y.

Anyways, I think I’ll leave it here for my review. I talked about what I wanted to talk about. Let’s go straight on to my conclusion. For the people who are new here, I usually never talk about a game in-depth because I want to leave some things to surprise you when you decide to play this game.

Conclusion

The bad:

– The music is so-so.

– Weak story, but good enough for the kids.

– The placement of the golden hearts is just brutal.

The good:

+ Amazing visuals.

+ Great level design.

+ Addictive gameplay. (You truly use all characters)

Final thoughts:

Okay, I think it’s quite clear that I like this game. I think it’s one of the best games I played on the GBA. Like my last review, this game is an overlooked game because … It looks like a kids game. There are a lot of elements in there for more veteran gamers and there are elements in there for the younger gamers.

This game is a must buy or must play if you are a big GBA fan or a big fan of platformers.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this review. I hope to see you another time on my blog. ~

Score: 80/100

Review #034: Barbie – Secret Agent – Royal Jewels Mission (GBA) ~ Girls Game?

Barbie Secret Agent GBAGamespot entry

I can smell the comments already. I’m going to put my reputation on the line here. Oh, this review is going to be so much troll bait. You know what, I’m not to give a single care. Not only do I want to open my GBA month with a blast of an article, I want to prove something with reviewing this game. Since I got it so busy, I’m saying that the GBA month will last until roughly the end of November. I’ll write a Tumblr update soon to update my shedule. Anyways, let’s get serious. I’m going to review a girl children game for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance. I’m going to make it even better. I have beaten this game in my childhood and I wasn’t ashamed of it at all. There is a reason why I approve my comments, to only accept the serious ones. Don’t worry, the troll ones on this one will be deleted. A moderated comment section has benefits. Yeah. As always, feel free to leave a relevant comment in the comment section underneath this article. 

Kids game

secret-agent-barbie-royal-jewels-mission-usaThis game was originally owned by my sister when she was younger. Back then we couldn’t buy so many games, so I played every game I could get my hands on. My sister and I were playing this game together. This game is memorable to me because I have such fond memories with my sister playing this game. ^w^

But why would I be interested as a boy to play a game clearly meant for girls? Well, the subject material does a lot here. Why do boys want to be a superhero? Because that’s something that interests a lot of boys. Being a secret agent gives you that vibe of a superhero and to me it doesn’t matter that it’s a girls toy.

The story isn’t anything to write home about, it’s as basic as a children game can get. But it does get one job done, it draws kids in. It gives a sense of purpose to the game. Thanks to the story we also visit different locations around the world and it gives some great variety in the locations you visit in the game.

Discs

1539Tutorials, it can be such a pain. But this children game got it actually right. The first level is amazingly designed that little children learn to play this game with ease. You first start with a couple of jumps. Then the game hides the game mechanic that will drive children to explore the levels. In each level there are a certain amount of discs hidden. Getting all the discs will unlock a secret.

It never gets explain what the secrets do. At first it looks like a simple costume change. But it goes much further then that. Do you want to know what, well give the game a try. It’s worth it.

The goal of each level is trying to look for the exit. There are several levels ranging from England to China. Each level has various stages. So, this game isn’t a short one either. It doesn’t have a saving system but it does have a password system. So, with this the developers avoid the flaw of having kids save over the progress of the file of their brother or sister’s.

In the later stages of the game, you will be asked to use your gadgets creatively. When I was replaying this game to give it a second look, I did get a challenging time here and there. Yes, even as a 21-year adult. When you aren’t clever, this game can catch you of guard quite easily.

A negative of this game that I remember are the minigames in the final levels. It are the mini games at the start but sped up to a crazy speed. So, you will need less skill and more luck. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that this game has mini-games. These are used to open gates and locked doors.

The other thingies.

secret_agent_barbie

This game controls pretty well. It’s fluid and responsive. You will need that because this is a stealth game. The controls are really straight forward. Logical, a kid needs to figure it out.

Visually, this game looks pretty nice on the Gameboy Advance. I have seen screenshots from the PC version of this game and the visuals of this version are quite better. They aren’t anything ground breaking but they do the job quite well.

Earlier I said that the controls are really good. A big part is the animation. Like I said for the graphics, it’s animated like a typical GBA would. This is actually a benefit of the game.

I want to address one final point of this game before I end this game, and that’s the music. Long time readers know that I can talk in great detail about the music of games. I even write a series about it. But there are low chances that the music of this game will appear on those lists. The reason for that is that it’s mediocre. It fits the mood and style of the game but it isn’t memorable. I have a hard time remembering tunes from the game.

And with that said, it’s time to go to the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– Mediocre soundtrack.

– Minigames are more annoying in the final levels.

– Weak plot, yet good enough to draw in kids.

The good:

+ Fun gameplay.

+ Rewards that are worth it to explore the level.

+ Different level styles. 🙂 (That’s something else for you to discover when you play the game.)

+ Great controls.

+ Password system.

+ Neat visual design.

Final thoughts:

So, if I haven’t proven my point yet; I think I will have to actually literally say it. This game is quite amusing. It isn’t the best game out there, but it’s better then you might think. It’s not just a game that you give your young daughter to enjoy herself. It’s a game that can be enjoyed by young and old.

While the younger audience would be more engaged by the story and setting of the game because they have the more child fantasy, the older audience can find their enjoyment in the great level design and fun game that is presented.

This game might have some flaws but the flaws aren’t game breakingly bad. When you put aside the “Barbie games are for girls” mentally and remember in the back of your mind that this game has some flaws but is very enjoyable, you won’t regret it. Give this game a shot and try to remember what I said in the review. Hopefully you will see that this game is actually well crafted.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this first article of the GBA specials. I hope to see you in another article.~

Score: 70/100