Tag Archives: kirby

Review: Pokémon Pinball (Gameboy)

By Merman (@merman1974)

Console: Game Boy Color (playable on DMG Game Boys, and Super Game Boy for Super NES)
Developers: HAL Laboratory & Jupiter
Publisher: Nintendo
Release dates: Japan – April 14th 1999, North America – 28th June 1999, PAL – Australia July 13th 1999 and Europe October 6th 2000

pp_box_art_hires

– US box art.

pp_japan_box_art

 Japanese box art –

 

 

 

 

A Pokémon pinball spin-off makes a lot of sense, not least because the Pokéball is round like a pinball. Let us look back at some of the unique features of the first Pokémon Pinball game.

pp_main_title

– Title screen.

 

 

 

 

 

The Pokémon you are catching are of course from the original Generation One game, Blue and Red (as they are known to Western audiences). The game has two separate tables, called Blue and Red, featuring the Pokémon from the relevant game. Unlike other Pokémon titles, you do not need to trade to unlock all 151 in the battery-backed Pokédex – but it is possible to trade high-scores via the Game Boy Color’s infrared port, as well as print out high scores if you attach a Game Boy Printer. There is a unique screen surround when playing on the Super Game Boy attachment for Super NES. Although the cartridge can be played on earlier DMG models of Game Boy, certain features are disabled (including the animated Pokémon in the Pokédex) and the graphics are of course textured monochrome rather than full color.

ppblue_supergameboy

– Super Game Boy surround with the Blue table.

 

 

 

 

 

ppred_DMG_capture – Playing the Red table on a DMG Game Boy.

 

 

 

 

 

The game was a joint development between HAL Laboratory and Jupiter, under license from Game Freak. HAL is of course known for their work on the Kirby games, with former employees and then President Satoru Iwata moving on to become Nintendo’s president. And in 2020 HAL moved part of its staff into Nintendo’s Tokyo Building, meaning it now shares offices with Pokémon creators Game Freak, 1Up Studios, and Nintendo EPD Tokyo. Jupiter is based in Kyoto, with a Tokyo sub-office. The company’s motto translates as “Let’s Play! Let’s Smile!” and it has a long history of releasing games for Nintendo’s handheld consoles – from Game Boy to Switch. Jupiter also worked on the -Game Boy Camera’s built-in software and created an unreleased Pokémon Picross game for Game Boy Color (which was uncovered in the recent large leak of Nintendo data, after only being known about through a few magazine articles of the time).

pp_us_cartridge

– The Pokémon Pinball cartridge with its distinctive shape.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At first glance, the Game Boy Color cartridge for Pokémon Pinball is much larger than normal. At the top is the cover for a AAA battery. This powers the rumble motors inside the cartridge, much like the force feedback found in more recent controllers. This feature is disabled when playing on the Super Game Boy. The Japanese and American versions allow you to switch the Rumble, so it is either on or off. The European cart offers a choice of strengths – Off, Mild or Strong. It is one of a few unique Game Boy cartridge designs with extra hardware inside, alongside the likes of Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble, Wario Ware Twisted, and Yoshi’s Universal Gravitation.

 

ppblue_field_complete

– The complete Blue table.

The complete Red table – ppred_field_complete

How do you go about catching ‘em all in this pinball spin-off? There are common modes to both tables, so it is best to look at the first and then explain the differences. The player can enter Catch ‘Em Mode by flipping the Pokéball over the GET light two or three times. A different type of Pokémon will be available to catch if you light it three times. Then the mode is activated by hitting a particular target – Bellsprout on Red and Cloyster on Blue. A silhouette of a Pokémon will then appear at the bottom of the table and must be filled in by hitting the pop bumpers (at the top of the table – Voltorbs on the Red table and Shellders on Blue). This will fill in the silhouette and make the Pokémon itself appear in the middle, so it must be hit three times to light up the word CATCH! (This is shown as GET in the Japanese version). Each Pokémon caught is recorded in the Pokédex, and awards one of three Pokéballs needed to reach the Bonus Stage (lighting up in the middle of the table). If you encounter a Pokémon but do not capture it, its image appears as a shadow in the Pokédex until you capture it another time.

ppred_abra_reveal

– Abra is being revealed for capture.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_zubat_reveal2

– Zubat is almost revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_bellsprout_2hits

– Bellsprout has taken two hits.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_zubat_0hits

– Hit Zutbat three times with the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

ppred_abra_2hit

– One more hit to capture Abra.

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have caught a Pokémon, the EVO light must be passed over three times to light it up and enter Evolution Mode by hitting the target (Ditto on Red and Slowpoke on Blue). The player uses the flipper buttons to choose between any Pokémon already captured that can evolve. Arrows will guide the player to where the necessary EX (Experience), Evolution Stone, or Link Cable are hidden on the field. The player must collect three of these items; hitting the wrong location will mean the player must send the ball around the outer “loop” of the table or wait 10 seconds for a fresh item to appear and the Pokémon to recover from “fainting”. Both Evolution Mode and Catch’ Em Mode are played against a time limit that gradually counts down. Get the three items in Evolution Mode before time runs out and a hole appears in the middle of the table; flipping the ball into it will secure the Evolution for the selected Pokémon and fill in its new Pokédex entry.

ppblue_choose_evo

– Here on the Blue table, choosing a Pokémon to Evolve.

 

 

 

 

ppblue_evo_ex_token

– An Experience Token to be hit.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_evo_1ex

– One EX token down, two to go.

 

 

 

 

 

Once the player has three Pokéball icons lit from captures, the Bonus Stage can be activated by hitting the open center hole. Red has Bonus Stages based on Diglett and Gengar, while Blue has Meowth and Seel. Completing both Bonus Stages on either table will then open the special Mewtwo Bonus Stage. Diglett requires the player to knock down all the Digletts and then hit Dugtrio at the top three times; the player only gets one ball on this stage. Gengar is played against a 1:30 minute time limit in the graveyard. Hitting Gastly ten times will launch Haunted; hitting Haunted ten times will see the player facing a huge Gengar, which must be hit five times to complete the stage. Meowth throws coins around, and the player must collect them with the ball; hitting more than one pile in a row increases the multiplier (the first coin is worth 1, the second is worth 2, and so on). Dropping (draining, in pinball parlance) the ball resets the multiplier and costs four coins. Against a one-minute time limit, the player must collect 20 coins to complete the stage. Seels swim around underwater, with their heads “popping up” every so often. Hit ahead with the Pokéball and a point/icon is earned, with the chance to earn multipliers as in Meowth’s stage. The player has 1:30 to collect 20 icons but can continue to earn points after they reach 20 until time runs out.

Mewtwo’s Bonus Stage is more challenging, as the Legendary Pokémon is surrounded by six moving black circles. Hitting a circle earns a million points and hitting Mewtwo himself earns 50,000,000. With just 2:00 to play, the player must accumulate 25 hits on Mewtwo to capture it. Fortunately, each hit also removes a black circle. A clever player can fail and replay Mewtwo’s bonus stage to earn huge scores.

To simulate a Trainer moving around the region, Map Move is used. The starting location is chosen at random from a shortlist, with different areas for each table. Each area also has its own types of Pokémon available. Red requires you to hit Diglett twice to enter Map Move, while Blue requires three hits on Poliwag or Psyduck. Once these triggers on the table are hit, the player has 30 seconds to hit key targets and make a Map Move. This means a player will play three locations from the “Area 1” list, two from the “Area 2” list, and then the sixth and final area visited will be Indigo Plateau on both tables. Mew can be encountered on Indigo Plateau, but its strength means it would take 1024 hits to capture – and so its entry is added to the Pokédex on finding it rather than capture.

ppblue_mapmove_mtmoon

– The trainer has arrived at Mt. Moon.

 

 

 

 

 

At the top of each table, above the bumpers, are three channels. Dropping the ball through a channel lights one, and the position of lit channels can be cycled with the flippers. Passing over a lit light will turn it off again. Note that on the Red table, hitting Staryu toggles whether the player can upgrade the ball using the channels. Once all three channels are lit the Pokéball upgrades, giving a higher score multiplier. The basic Pokéball becomes a Great Ball (x2 multiplier), then an Ultra Ball (x3), and finally a Master Ball (x5). Combined with the basic table multiplier this can rapidly increase your score. However, each ball only lasts a short while and will change back to the previous strength – and draining the ball off the bottom of the screen reverts to the standard Pokéball.

ppblue_masterball

– A Master Ball with its x5 bonus multiplier.

 

 

 

 

 

Also on each table are the CAVE lights (HOLE in Japan) that can be lit up by the ball passing over them. Once all four are lit, the Slots feature becomes active (but only if the player is not in another mode – i.e., Catch ‘Em, Evolution, or Map Move). The slot machine is started by putting the ball into the center hole. The reel spins to offer an upgrade, with the reel slowing down once the player presses A. Among the upgrades are Small and Big Scores, a Pokéball upgrade, or an increase in score multiplier. The ball Saver protects the player for either 30, 60, or 90 seconds (or until the ball is drained twice), while the Pika power-up can be handy. Normally a Pikachu will sit in one of the two drain channels at the bottom of the table and can be moved between them with the flippers. If his power meter is fully charged – by hitting the spinner on the outer loop, filling the thunder icon – then he will fire his Thunder Strike to act as a kickback, saving the ball from draining. If you get the Pika bonus you have two Pikachus, protecting on both sides and able to charge. The Slots can also award an extra Ball (life) or automatically start a mode – Catch ‘Em, Evolution, or Map Move.

ppred_slot

– The Slot is open.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_slot_smallbonus

– The Small Bonus awards a miserly few points.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_pika_bonus

 – Gaining the Pika bonus

 

 

 

 

 

 

The player starts with three Pokéballs, but once all balls are lost it is Game Over. Helpfully the Ball Saver is activated for 30 seconds at the start of each life. There is a separate high score list for each table, and as mentioned you can transfer these scores to another Game Boy Color via infrared for your friend to beat. Stats are shown after each ball, awarding bonus points for the number of Pokémon caught or evolved with that ball (times the score multiplier in effect), as well extra for turning the spinner multiple times. As well as flipping the flippers, the player can tilt the table to shake a stuck ball loose – but it is not often needed.

ppred_ballsaved

– Ball Saved! Launch it again.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_slot_saved

– I was going for the Slot but missed the ball.

 

 

 

 

 

Positive reviews of Pokémon Pinball give it a GameRankings average of 81.73%. This included 32 out of a possible 40 from legendary Japanese magazine Famitsu. GameSpot’s 8.7 ratings praised the display and presentation but did feel the physics were poor – and the rumble was just a “nice novelty”. CNET was more positive, calling it one of the best pinball games for the Game Boy Color and “more than a shameless cash-in on the Pokémon phenomenon”.

Looking back, these reviews seem fair. The major problem with the game – as in several Game Boy pinball titles – is the way the viewpoint “flicks” between two halves of the table. Although other Game Boy Color pinball games managed to achieve scrolling tables, the 8-bit processor was slow for moving a large table around. The physics are mixed but for the most part, the ball moves realistically. The flippers take some getting used to as there are limited angles, so it is more about controlling the speed of the ball when you hit it to get the right target. And I found the fixed launch speed unusual; most pinball games simulate the spring-based “plunger” which gives the possibility of different launch speeds and skill shots. Graphics are pleasing with some cute, animated Pokémon – although they do not move around (except in the bonus rounds). It is of course the long-term challenge of catching ‘em all that will keep you playing. Personally, I prefer the Blue table, but both are great fun to play in short bursts.

ppred_hiscore

– Red table high scores, storing the top five scores.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_hiscore

– Blue table high scores, with the names of the companies involved.

 

 

 

 

There are some other interesting problems and changes between regions, beyond the obvious Language selection menu for Europe. Japanese and American versions allow the player to reconfigure all the controls, but European users are limited to a choice of three pre-set control schemes. The Pokédex entries are taken from Red and Blue with a full stop added at the end. But there are spelling mistakes and translation errors in there. The Japanese text in-game displays the Romanised Japanese names (Poppo for Pidgey, Pawou for Seel) but the Pokédex itself shows the names in kanji. The Cutting Room Floor website (https://tcrf.net/Pok%C3%A9mon_Pinball) reveals unused graphics that could have been a third table or layout, as well as an unused Japanese font. Entering the Game Genie code 000-21D-E6E unlocks a hidden Debug menu that allows you to switch between Game Boy Color and DMG mode for earlier Game Boys.

ppblue_keyconfig

– The Key Config screen from the US game.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_pokedex_geodude_anima

 

– Geodude animating in the Pokédex.

 

 

 

 

 

ppblue_pokedex_shadow_meowth

 – I encountered a Meowth but failed to capture it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ppred_abra_text2

 – The second page of text for Abra in the Pokédex.

 

 

 

 

 

The music by Go Ichinose is particularly good for the hardware, reusing familiar themes from the games and the anime. Interestingly the Blue Table’s background theme has a melody that appeared in Pokémon Gold and Silver when visiting Ecruteak City and Cianwood City – games that were released seven months after Pokémon Pinball. Red’s background melody meanwhile is from the Generation II games, when visiting Kanto province. Catch ‘Em Mode on the Blue table uses an instrumental version of “Aim To Be A Pokémon Master” – the original opening theme of the anime.

If you have never played Pokémon Pinball, I can recommend it. For pinball fans, there are some quirks to be endured, but Pokémon fans will get a real kick out of it.

OVERALL: 8/10

ppblue_gameover

 – Game Over!

Curious for more? Well, this article is part of a collaboration between various content creators where we took a look back together on the Pokémon franchise. Feel free to read all the other articles by following the links you can find in the hub article.

 

Review: Kirby Star Allies (Switch) ~ Let’s Be Friends

KirbyStarAllies.jpg

Official website

I enjoy the Kirby games quite a lot. The atmosphere and gameplay are the biggest reasons I’m drawn to the series. So, when I learned that a new game got released on Switch, I placed it on my “To Buy” list. Earlier this month, I bought myself a copy of this game on a small sale. So, today I want to give my honest opinions on the game. Is it any good or is it not worth your time? After playing Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby Planet Robobot, I was quite interested to see what the new offer on the Nintendo Switch will bring. As usual, feel free to leave your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. 

It’s raining hearts

007.jpg

Kirby is peacefully sleeping in his house when he gets a rude awakening. Some dark hearts are raining down on his homeland, the land of Popstar. Of course, Kirby goes on an adventure to save the day.

As usual for a Kirby story, the story isn’t the big reason you play this adventure. If you played Triple Deluxe or Planet Robobot, you have seen and experienced this storyline and structure before. The writing is solid and together with the character noises, the story comes somewhat alive. But, again, the story shouldn’t be the reason you play a Kirby game.

If you do care about spoilers, don’t highlight the following part. But, I want to tell you some things about the ending of the main story. So highlight the rest of this paragraph if you don’t mind spoilers or have already beaten the game. … Okay, while I was playing the final levels of this game, I got a déjà vu. And I had to look it up. This ending has actually been done quite a few times before, but the reason I got a deja vu is that this ending is so similar to the ending of the Kirby game on NES. Seriously, watch a video from the final boss of Kirby Star Allies and then Kirby on the NES. You will be surprised. But, I guess it’s a reference or easter egg? 

Alright, the spoilers end here. Before I continue any further, I want to say that this game is extremely short. You can finish this game in an afternoon since the main story will take you only 6 hours. If you want to complete the whole game, you can do this in 14 hours. This was a huge let down since the 3DS games were longer than that to fully complete. If you wanted to fully complete those games, you have to put aside 26 hours for each game.

I honestly don’t understand why this game is so short. Since the worlds you explore are fun to go through. Yet, there are only 4 worlds, well 5 if you count the one-stage world to fight the final boss in.

Besides that, there are a few mini-games and a co-op mode and that’s it. The post-game content isn’t anything special. I’m sorry, but Nintendo, why is this game priced at 60€? Are we for real? You can get 3DS games for less money. Also, other Switch games like Super Mario Odyssey have a lot more to do in it for the same price tag.

Anyways, I’m not going to ramble about the price & length for too long. Otherwise, it will overtake this whole review. Let’s be friends and review this … short … adventure.

Let’s be friends

003

Each Kirby game has a unique gimmick that sets the games apart. In this game, you can recruit 3 enemies to fight along your side. These characters can be controlled by either a pretty good AI or a friend.

I haven’t played this game with a friend so, I won’t comment on that but, you can play this game with up to 4 players. Since the game is quite short, this game would make for the ideal late-night gaming session to play through with your friends.

Now, this game goes further with the gimmick and sort-of reuses a gimmick from a previous entry in the series. Remember Kirby 64 – The Crystal Shards, where you were able to combine two different powers to create one unique power? Well, that returns in this game. Sort of.

For example, when you get the sword’s ability, you can hold up your sword up in the air. When some elemental friend sees this, they will infuse their power with the sword. So, you can get a flame sword. This leads to some unique strategies and puzzles to get the collectibles.

I found it quite enjoyable to see which unique combinations I could make by mixing powers. While some combinations create the same outcome, I was a bit disappointed that there weren’t too many joke combinations in this game. That was part of the charm in Crystal Shards. Where a combination could turn Kirby into a fridge.

Each time you combine power, an animation plays where Kirby shows his new weapon/ability in a short of Smash Bros style. Surprisingly, you can change this in the options menu. You can choose between “always show them” or “show them only once.”. If you pick the last one, it will play the animation for each combination one time and when you make that combination again, it won’t play that animation.

There are various new unique abilities in the game as well. For example, the spider and art ability. To be honest, the art ability is overpowered, even for a Kirby game. It can spawn in various healing items with a short cool down. So, you can heal yourself and allies very quickly.

Now, I might be a bit too harsh on this game now. While the game is too short and could have been expanded a bit more, the level design was a blast to play through. The various abilities and friend combinations you can have to make for a very replayable game. Also, in the puzzle rooms, the abilities you need are usually inside the room. And if the AI kills them, just walk off-screen, wait a few moments and go back and they will have respawned.

The collectibles this time around are puzzle pieces. The hunt for them reminds me of the puzzle mini-game in the Mii Plaza on the 3DS. There are two types of puzzle pieces inside the levels. The normal blue ones and the special rainbow-colored ones. The special rainbow-colored ones unlock the pink pieces. The blue ones unlock a random piece of a picture. These pictures are just for having something to collect. I think they unlock new characters in the Dream Palace, but I’m unsure. Since I got every character unlocked by beating the game but I haven’t got all the puzzles unlocked. The message after unlocking a puzzle stats: “You will be able to meet legendary characters”. So yeah.

It’s no secret that the Kirby games are easy and have a more challenging mode for more experienced players. To fully complete the puzzles, you will have to look around at the various levels. If you would have missed a unique piece, you can see that right from the level select screen. Included on the level select screen, you can also see if there is a hidden switch in the level that opens a hidden level. Including the hidden levels, there are 40 levels in total.

Press X to revive

001

These 40 levels take you through 4 different chapters. During these 4 chapters, you explore various locations presented with amazing visual polish.

The artwork in this game is really good. Together with great animations, the game’s visual presentation is top-notch. I don’t have anything to criticize that front.

In terms of music and sound, I do have something to say. The soundtrack of this game is pretty good. For those who love nostalgia as much as myself, you will be happy to know that there are a lot of musical references in this soundtrack. Now, there are a few tracks of this soundtrack I disliked. These play in the final moments of the game. Thankfully, it’s only for one battle.

Now, speaking about battles and combat, the controls for this game are good. I did have some minor issues here and there. With some abilities, I was unable to easily switch directions, like with the bird ability. When I started attacking, I felt I was locked in that attacking animation. Giving my enemy the chance to put in some damage.

It’s a minor problem since I finished this game with 85 additional lives. You only lose a life when Kirby dies. When an ally dies, you can hold “X” for a short time to revive them with a 1/2 health bar. Speaking about those friends, like the music there are some amazing references there too. My favorite reference is the return of the animal buddies from Kirby’s Dreamland 2 on the GameBoy. That game was one of the first Kirby games I ever played.

Anyways, I was talking about the minor issues I had with controls. Another minor issue is that when you have a certain ability and you want to release that ability as a friend… Well, though luck. I haven’t found a way to do that.

The gameplay in this game is like any other Kirby game. It’s a 2D platformer-adventure game where you try to get to the big door at the end of the level. Now, another unique gimmick appears in some levels. In some levels, you will need to have 3 friends before you can progress. You can come across pedestals where you can “merge” together to from a bridge for an ally with a key to cross or you can form a boulder to roll down smashing rocks. I know that it’s a kids game, but the names the developers gave for some of these things are just… “The Friendship Bridge”… Do I have to say more?

The game is still a blast to play. I enjoyed myself quite a lot and rarely got annoyed with the level design. The final level gets a bit tricky with moving blocks. I lost a handful of lives thanks to being squished by those blocks. But, I was rushing things where I needed to take it slow.

Besides the music and various returning characters, the game has other references to previous games in them. Just look at what statues Kirby can change into using the stone ability. The Kirby dance makes a return as well and is adorable as ever.

In this game, there are also various puzzle rooms where you can get bonus stars, puzzle pieces, and various other things. By default, the game tells you which abilities you need to use to solve the puzzle. You can disable this in the options menu, from the main menu. Why are the options you find in the main menu not able to be changed during gameplay? I can understand that it’s tricky to code while you are on a level but I think it would serve no big problems on the world map right?

The post-game content is decent but I expected a lot more from it. The two new modes are fun to mess around with but I feel like they are more designed for multi-player than for single players.

Anyways, that’s everything I wanted to say about this game. I think it’s time for the conclusion of this article and my final thoughts on the game.

The conclusion

The good:

+ Fun new gimmicks.

+ Fun to play.

+ Great visual design.

+ Great soundtrack.

+ The nostalgic references.

The bad:

-Way too short & too expensive at 60€.

-Minor control issues.

-The story…

-Useless collectibles.

Final thoughts:

Is this game a bad game? No, this game is a decent game but it’s too light on content. This game has the usual Nintendo polish and there is nothing really game-breaking wrong with the game.

My big problem with this game is the length and the price they ask for it. In addition to that, some parts of this game are more designed for multiplayer. I feel that this game could be more fun to play with friends or family.

I do recommend this game, but wait for a price drop or buy it on the cheap. If you pay full price for this game like myself, the shortness of the game might be disappointing. I was able to beat this game in 2 days. This game just needed longer development time.

That’s everything for this article. Thank you so much for reading and I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Score: 65/100

EDIT: This post got a “Nice Job” badge from NormalHappenings. Read more here: https://normalhappenings.com/2018/09/14/nice-job-badges-for-september-14-and-a-guide-to-making-the-most-boring-game-show-ever/

 

Review: Kirby – Planet Robobot (3DS) ~ Kirby Goes High-tech!

kirby_planet_robobot_box_art.jpgOfficial website

Last week, when I was working on the review of Kirby Epic Yarn, I have beaten the newest Kirby game called Kirby Planet Robobot. So, I thought, why not review it. Two Kirby reviews in a row, why not? This game is the 14th main installment in the Kirby series. It’s based on the engine of the previous Kirby game on 3DS called Kirby Triple Deluxe. A game I’m planning to review soon too. In any case, I’m getting off topic. Time to dive into this high-tech Kirby game and let’s see what it’s made off. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinions on this game and/or the content of this article.

No different planet

Screenshot (56)In this game, Kirby’s home planet gets attacked robots. In contrast to the title of this game, Kirby doesn’t travel to a different planet.

In this entry, the story is a bit disappointing. I’m not saying it’s badly written. It’s badly paced. Apart from the opening scene and some dialogue in some boss fights, the actual story opens up right at the final boss of the game. This is a huge let down in my eyes. Since it feels absent and felt forced into the game. So, there was a lot of missed potential with this game!

Also, you will miss some jokes if you aren’t familiar with the Kirby games. If you don’t know who is who in the Kirby series… Well, some dialogue before the boss fights won’t make a lot of sense.

This game consists out of 6 worlds. Yes, only 6 worlds. Well, six and a half. Since there is a world 7, but that’s the world for the final boss fight. This game is very short in my opinion. I was able to beat this game in under a week. While the Kirby games are known for being easy platformers that kids can get into, this game provided almost no challenge. Also, normally a Kirby game has 7,5 – 8 worlds. I feel that some content is cut here.

The challenge came from trying to collect all the tech cubes. While some are pretty well hidden, others are in plain sight and easy to grab. And when you grab one or two cubes in each level, you are able to get to the final boss.

Speaking of which, I found it quite annoying you were unable to see how many cubes you had to collect in order to open the boss door. You were able to see it when you were right in front of it.

The gameplay in this game is quite similar to Kirby Triple Deluxe with a few changes. Instead of the Super Nova Kirby, you have a Tech Kirby. Kirby that rides a huge enemy robot. In some levels, there is another style of gameplay. When Tech Kirby acquires the Jet power-up, you can fly away and play a sort of side-scrolling shooters. These levels were the most fun in my eyes.

Potential

Kirby-Planet-Robobot-1Like I said previously, the gameplay is quite similar to Kirby Triple Deluxe. So, that means that this game has quite similar controls.

I liked the controls of that game, so I found no issues with the controls of this game. Well, no major issues.

I found the copy ability of Tech Kirby quite annoying to use. You had to stand a certain distance in order for you to copy their ability. That’s the biggest issue I had to with the controls.

Another issue I had with this game is when you sucked up two enemies from which you can copy the ability. In almost every previous Kirby game you got a random power. That random power could also be a different one than the ones you inhaled. In this game, that doesn’t happen. From what I have seen, this game picks the first enemy you inhaled.

The visual presentation of this game is amazing. In this game, you play on Kirby’s home planet that’s invaded by robotic creatures. So, you get a planet where technology is slowly creeping in. And the presentation shows that nicely.

The animation in this game is high quality as well. Not only the animation of the enemies, bosses and everything in the foreground. The animation on the background visuals makes the world come alive and feels real.

Tech Cubes

311314f77344b842a6c28d9415ae7dd2The soundtrack of this game is amazing. With familiar and new tracks, this soundtrack is one I might add to my library.

The sound design is amazing as well. Because I played most of this game on the train to work, I played this game with headphones on. And it helped to pull me into this game.

The UI is quite well designed in my opinion. I have only one minor nitpick. That’s that there is a useless button on the touch screen. That is: “Drop ability.” Since the X-button does the same thing. You use the other buttons anyways, so why tap the button on the touch screen?

Another minor issue is the steps you need to take in order to return to the mode selection screen. When you are in a level, you have to press start 3 times before you are back. A simple pause menu might have solved this.

The mini-games in this game is a mixed bag. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun to play, but there is so much missed potential. Both of them are quite short and can be beaten in a half hour. I hope that they expand on the mini-games like they did with the ones of Kirby Triple Deluxe.

Something I’m on the edge about is the stickers. You can collect them throughout your adventure. And you can collect each sticker twice. When you collect a sticker in a level, you don’t know which one it is. It will get revealed after you have beaten the level. You can also stick them on Tech Kirby’s robot. So, those sides change in cutscenes. This is a real nice idea. But it’s all for show. There is no gain to it. There are some people who like that.

After you have beaten this game, you get similar rewards than in Kirby Triple Deluxe. You can run through a remixed version of the Kirby with Mecha Knight and you open up an arena.

The arena is just a boss rush mode. I got bored of it rather quickly. But I loved the Mecha Knight mode. Since it provides a bit more challenge to the gameplay.

The two new copy abilities in this game are doctor and ESP. While I found them fun to use, I didn’t use them during boss fights. Since I found them difficult to control in tight situations and didn’t fit my playstyle at all.

In any case, I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. So, it’s time to wrap this review up and head to the conclusion of this review.

Conclusion

The good

+ The Tech Kirby was fun to play with.

+ Amazing presentation.

+ Fun mini-games.

+ Great soundtrack and sound design!

The bad:

-Some repetition in the levels.

-Way too short. Both the main campaign and the mini-games.

-Stickers are underused.

-Tech Cubes and opening the boss door…

-Lacks some minor polish in the UI and controls.

Final thoughts:

This game is fun to play and provides some quality entertainment but it’s isn’t the best game I have played all year. I have played a better Kirby game on the 3DS, called Kirby Triple Deluxe.

This game is fun in short bursts. It’s perfect when you are on the bus or waiting for something.

There is a lot of missed potential with this game in my eyes. There could have been a lot more to this game. I could expand on this, but the start of these final thoughts have explained it all pretty well.

In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoy writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day! Take care~!

Score: 70/100

Review: Kirby Epic Yarn (Wii) ~ Hiyaaah

Kirby Epic Yarn coverOfficial site

I have promised to review this game, so here I am. I really thought I had reviewed this game last year. But it turns out I was mistaken. In any case, let’s talk about Kirby Epic Yarn. The first game in the “Epic Yarn” series. I have beaten this game quite a while ago, so I have replayed a few levels to remind myself how the game played. So, I hope you are ready to dive into the wooly world of this game. I have played this game on the Wii and almost 100%’ed it. For those who are curious, why I called this game a part in a series is because two years ago, Nintendo released a spiritual successor to this game called Yoshi Wooly World. I haven’t played enough of that game in order to write about it. But hey, I’m getting off topic. Back to reviewing this Kirby game. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Wool, wool and wool everywhere!

Kirby epic yarn 01In this game, Kirby is having a peaceful day in Dreamland, when suddenly; the fire nation attacks. Oh, sorry. Wrong game. I meant, an evil wool named Yin-Yarn wizard attacked.

After Kirby has eaten a tomato that was possessed by that Yin-Yarn, the evil wizard uses his interdimensional sock to transport Kirby to Patch Land where his adventure starts.

But Yin-Yarn wants to take over the world (of course!) and possesses Meta Knight and King Dedede. This way, Yin-Yarn tries to take over DreamLand, Kirby’s homeland. Surprisingly, there is a narrator in this game. Usually, in Kirby games, everything is told through text boxes. There is only one voice though. That’s the one of the narrator.

As is tradition in these kind of platformers, the story tacks a backseat during gameplay.  Apart from some cutscenes between sections, the story isn’t that present. While I prefer deep an interesting stories in my games, this was a welcome change of pace. It was relaxing to play a game with a light story and more focus on gameplay.

While this game supports a two player option, I haven’t played it much. So, I can’t review that mode. So, in this review I’ll only focus on the single player mode.

If you are looking for a traditional Kirby game, this game isn’t it. In this game, you can’t use Kirby’s copy ability. This game is centered on the wool mechanic. In some levels, Kirby can transform in various vehicles. But how that works, I’ll leave as a surprise if you still want to play the game.

Creative ripping

Kibry Epic Yarn 03This game is a platformer. Yet, in some areas you need to think outside the box. Since Kirby doesn’t really have his float ability in this game, you need to jump over all gaps. And some gaps are very wide. So, you need to find a way to get into the background to move over the gap or use your new wool abilities to pull the other side closer to you. It’s hard to explain in just text, but when you look at some screenshots, it will explain itself.

In this game, you can’t die. The challenge in this game is in the collection of gems in each level. At the end of each level you get evaluated by the amount of gems collected. You can earn a bronze, silver or gold medals. But completionists, beware! This game hasn’t a completion bonus. But, it can keep you busy for a while since trying to earn a gold medal in each level can be difficult and finding each collectable isn’t an easy task either. The collectables are extras like movies and the soundtrack.

The wool mechanic is used in very creative ways. Like I said before, it’s used to “rip” the world. And not only that, the game is presented beautifully. The wool theme is present throughout the whole game and it looks amazing. It’s colorful and relaxing.

When I was playing this game, I felt in a relaxed state. This was a game to wind down. Overall, this game isn’t very hard for a more veteran player. If you aren’t a stranger to this game, you won’t have a lot of trouble with this game. There is one minor issue with this. I wasn’t able to play this game in long sessions. After an hour or two, I usually stopped playing this game. I got bored. This might be a personal issue… Since I had a great time with this game.

The music in this game is amazing. It’s amusing to see that Nintendo labeled the soundtrack CD of this game as the “Epic Soundtrack” like the title “Epic Yarn”. When I was playing this game I saw the soundtrack to this game as my most favorite Kirby soundtrack ever made. Now-a-days that title has been taken by the more recent 3DS games. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the soundtrack is amazing.

The sound design of this game helps a lot with the atmosphere. It adds to the design of the game and I have no complaints. Sometimes I even felt that the game almost came alive.

Hiyaaah!

Kibry Epic Yarn 02Now, let’s talk about the menus and the UI. And honestly, I didn’t have any problems with it. This game works perfectly on the Wii. I have no issues about the UI. One thing I would have changed was that the menu and the area select menu were integrated into one menu, but that putting it into two different menus works just fine.

The controls of this game are perfect. I have played this game with the WiiMotion Plus and I barely had any problems. Again, I have no complaints about it.

The mini-games are a lot of fun when you have some time to mess around. They don’t add a lot to the main game.

This game has a rather decent length. This game has 8 worlds with a variable amount of levels. So, no complaints here.

Well, so far you would think that this game doesn’t have any flaws. But, there are some things I didn’t like about this game.

It’s nitpicking but… I found that some moments of the narrator weren’t that good. They felt forced or too much focused on a very young audience.

There is one thing that got underused. And that’s the decoration of your own apartment. I wish you could do more decorating.

And honestly, that’s about all that I can say bad about this game. When you like to play charming platformers, you can’t go wrong with this one!

So, the pink thread ends here. Because I have said everything I wanted to say about this game. So, it’s time to make the summary of this article, for those who are just looking for a quick review of this game.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Very relaxing game.

+ Amazing soundtrack

+ Light story

+ Amazing visuals

+ …

The bad:

  • Sometimes mixed performance of the narrator.
  • The apartment is very underused.

Final thoughts:

This game is one of the best games I have played on the Wii. This game deserves its spot on various top 10 Wii games list. It got 8th place on my list.

While the visuals might turn some people down, for those who give it a try are in for a very relaxing and enjoyable game.

This game has a lot of polish by the developers and a lot of love was put into it. And it shows.

I loved to play this game and I hope that this review might win over some people who haven’t tried it.

In any case, thank you for reading my review and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then; have a great rest of your day and take care!

Score: 100/100

Review: Kirby – Return To Dreamland (Wii)

Kirbys_return_to_dreamland_boxart.jpgWikipedia entry

It has been quite some time since I looked at a console game. Well, honestly, I do play console games here and there… But mostly, I play games on my handhelds and my PC. In any case, a few days ago, I have finally beaten a Kirby game I have been playing on and off for the past few years. It’s called Kirby’s Return To Dream Land on the Nintendo Wii. Before I begin the review, I first want to address something about the name of this game. In Europe, this game has a different name. It’s called Kirby’s Adventure Wii. This is really annoying to me since the first Kirby game on the Gameboy is called Kirby’s Adventure. Why didn’t we Europeans got the same name as the Americans? Such a shame. In any case, enough stalling. Time to get into the review. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article in the comment section down below. Thanks in advance for that. 

The story of Kirby

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In this game, Kirby’s adventure has two big parts. In the first part of the game, Kirby helps a stranded alien to repair his ship. In the second act, Kirby helps to defeat the evil overlord in on the alien’s home planet.

That’s all I’m explain about the story. You rarely find deep story lines in a Kirby game. From all the Kirby games I played, the story is just there. Yet, the twist at the end is nice. While I honestly saw it coming, I didn’t mind. The story is fun enough to play through. In my opinion, the story isn’t that memorable. It doesn’t bother me since the game has a lot more to offer than just the story. I found that the journey was more fun than the actual story.

The writing of the story was great. I’m so glad that they used text boxes in this game since I feel that’s how Kirby stories shine the most.

4 players

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A moment of honesty here, I haven’t played this game with 4 players at once. But I have played this game with two players at once.

Together with my cousin, we have played this game a lot. This game is what I call a “sibling game.” The difficulty of this game is just right. It’s challenging for the younger players but it’s not too hard. Yet; it can be challenging to the older sibling if (s)he let’s his or her guard down.

Speaking about the difficulty, the last boss battle is rather brutal in my opinion. Since it’s mostly in a totally different gameplay style which I’m not an expert in. Then this game can become rather difficult.

In any case, the gameplay of this entry in the Kirby series is what you can expect from any other Kirby game. It’s a fun platformer where you can copy (some of) your enemies powers. The powers in this game are fun to use and every single one of them are useful. Apart from one, the sleeping one. Still as unuseful as ever.

In certain points of the game, you can receive a special powerup. This one transforms Kirby into a powerhouse. The way this powerup is used makes for some fun(ny) situations. But, that’s something I’m going to leave up to you guys and girls to discover.

Also, in each level, you can find some wheels. With those wheels, you can unlock power-up rooms. In these rooms, you can easily get any copy ability you want. On the top of those rooms, you have a doll where you can practice them.

With those wheels, you can also unlock challenges. In these challenges, you have to complete a course using one copy ability in a certain time.  These are fun to play since I love that kind of challenges.

Actually collecting the wheels can be rather challenging since some of them are very well hidden. Also, in some levels, you have a sort of bonus stage where you fight a boss at the end to receive two or more wheels. Those are really difficult and some of them, I wasn’t able to beat in few tries.

Since this is a Kirby game, I have to mention the mini-games. And man, they are a real blast to play. I have lost hours playing those with my niece. Mostly the ninja star throwing one is a real blast to play in my opinion. I had a lot of fun with it.

In any case, I think I prove my point that there is a lot of fun gameplay in this game. But I still have to talk about different aspects of this game so let’s do just that.

Kirby and more Kirby

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So, first of all, the length of this game is perfect. This game has 7,5 worlds. Each world contains around 5 levels, with the final level being a boss.

The 8th world is actually a long level with the final boss of the game. It doesn’t have multiple levels. That’s why I count it as a half world.

In Kirby tradition, each world gets a funny name. And yes, most of them have to do with food.

The presentation of this game is one of the strong points of this game. I really love the art style in this game. It’s very bright and colorful, yet sometimes the game uses a way darker pallet to suit the story.

The animation is really top notch. I have no complaint about them. The world design and the animations are really well crafted. Combined with some amazing level design, this game is almost perfect.

The music in this game is really catchy. I wish I was able to buy the soundtrack somewhere since it’s that good in my opinion. But hey, I didn’t expect anything less from Hall Laboratory.

The controls are very responsive and I have nothing to complain about there. If you doubt about the controls, you can see them in the pause menu.

Up until now, it seems that I haven’t anything bad to say about this game. Well, there is one nitpick. That’s that the first player always leads. When the first player dies, the second player dies as well. That’s the only negative I have with this game.

It’s time to wrap this review up. Here comes the conclusion!

Conclusion

The bad:

-The first player dies -> Everybody dies.

The good:

+ Amazing presentation. (Visuals & animation)

+ Very nice controls.

+ You can play with up to 4 players.

+ While this game can be rather easy, some challenges can be challenging to veteran players.

+ Great level design. And it’s fun to play more than once through some levels.

+ …

Final thoughts:

If you are looking for an amazing Kirby game, look no further. This Kirby game is one of the best in the series. The gameplay returns to its roots (like in the first Kirby games) and it’s a blast to play.

I had so much fun playing this game with my family and friends that I would love to recommend it to every Nintendo fan.

When you like what you saw on the screenshots, give this game a shot! I also heard that this game came out on Wii U Virtual Console, so there is no excuse to not pick up this gem of a game. It’s released in the summer of 2015. So, go ahead and pick up this game. It’s totally worth it.

Score: 100/100

Top 10 Wii games I played until now – Part 2

wii_repairPart 1 (10 – 6)

So, it’s time to talk about my top 5 favorite Wii games. I was rather surprised by the warm reception of my previous article. I really thought that it would slip under the radar since the Wii is out for quite a while and it’s now kind of obsolete because of the Wii U. In any case, I don’t own my Wii U yet, but that day will come soon. I’m still deciding which game I’m going to buy first. It’s a draw between Zelda, Wind Waker – Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2. I might buy one game and ask for the other one(s) for Christmas. But hey, now I’m going off-topic. It’s time to talk about MY favorite games on the Wii. I’m quite sure that I haven’t played a lot of very good titles since I focused myself on games I heard a lot about. Also, if you followed my blog for a long time, you might be able to guess some of my entries here. So, I hope that you are ready for this since I’m going to talk about a few amazing titles for the Nintendo Wii! And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the content of this article and/or the games. Feedback is always welcome. I use it to improve my blog. Oh, and feel free to leave your top 10 Wii games in the comments too. 

 

#5: Donkey Kong Country Returns

donkey_kong_country_returns_boxartBefore I came up with the idea for this article, I wanted to write a first impression about this game. But why is this game so high on my list? Well, that’s because when I play this game it gives me a vibe that I want to play on my SNES later. Why is this such important to me? Well, I love retro games. And when a game inspires me to play more retro games… That’s a good thing in my book.

This game is a sort of remake of the original Donkey Kong series. A series I have read some many articles and watched so many videos about. Like I told in an earlier article, I haven’t owned a console since the Nintendo Wii. I have played the Gameboy and PC when I was young. While I played a lot of games, I also wrote a lot of stories. So, honestly, I wasn’t that interested in consoles. Apart from the Nintendo64. Since one of my friends brought his one over to play with.

Retro Game Studios really lives up to it’s name. This game is even more proof, since it brings back memories of those times I played on a console in my childhood. But not that alone, this game is a rather solid platformer. I don’t play a lot of platformers since I’m not that interested in them. When I play a platformer, it must have a history or a certain gimmick. And this game combines both. This game has a history, it’s a remake of one of the best platformers ever made for the SNES. It also has a gimmick that sets it apart. Which is, when you are full health, you get Diddy, who gives you special perks.

If you haven’t played this game, what are you waiting for? Give it a jump.. Bad pun, I meant give it a play.

#4: WarioLand Shake It!

250px-WarioLandShakeIt Time for another shocker? This is the first Wii game I ever played. Yes, I was actually planning to buy a Wii for the Legend Of Zelda games, but the first game I bought was Warioland Shake It. Well, I know it under the name of Warioland: The Shake Dimension since I live in Europe.

Earlier I said that the only time I enjoy platformers is when they have a certain gimmick. And this game has that cover easily. It uses the motion controls of the Wii really well but doesn’t depend on them.

Personally, I think that the Wario games are better then the Mario games. Am I saying that Mario games are bad? Hell no, they are one of the best platformers in the genre. But the Wario games always add something to the mix. The stories are more varied and there is more variation in the enemies. I could try and explain why I think the Wario games are better then the Mario games, but hey… That’s comparing your favorite TV-series versus your favorite movie series. It are both things you watch but in reality they are two very different things.

This game has another thing going for it. When you are good at platformers, this game has additional objectives which make the game extremely hard in my opinion. You can’t take damage or you need to collect every coin. And with some brutally placed enemies, that’s very difficult.

Oh, I haven’t forgot about the shaking mechanic. That’s the most interesting of this game. Seriously, to get coins or healing items you need to shake things. Yup, this makes even defeating the smallest enemies worthwhile in some situations.

#3: Another Code R – Journey into lost memories

425px-AnothercodeR

Oh my, I played this game in 2013 and still haven’t beaten it…? Well, the reason for that is that my SD card died where my save file was stored. I was really far into the game but then when I played it for the 2nd time, I ate something by accident that you needed in order to progress in the story. I think it was possible to progress even without that item but I deleted my save file. I didn’t feel playing through the game for a 3rd time for over a year.

But earlier this week, I started to replay this game. It’s such a shame that I didn’t start my 3rd playthrough earlier. This game is a very nice and realistic mystery novel. It continues where the DS game left off. It further fleshes out the story of the Robins family. Thrilling is the word I would use it to describe it.

I know that this game can be boring for some people. It’s somewhat slow paced and it doesn’t have a lot of “action” that you would find in other games. The gameplay is mostly running around a rather nice lake and forest area to solve puzzles that could happen in real life too. But the execution, writing, music, presentation and characters are what keeps this game together.

But the biggest reason that this game is so high on my list is a rather personal one with one of the main characters. I don’t feel comfortable talking about it on my blog believe me, this game touched me on a personal level. That’s why I put this game on the 3rd place on my list. If you want a great story and feel like playing an adventure game… Pick up this game as soon as you can. If you want to know more about my thoughts about the game, I linked my first impression article for you to read.

#2: Okami

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Raise your hand if you didn’t see this game coming. This gem of a game deserves a high spot on everybody’s favorite Wii games list in my opinion. Explaining this game is rather difficult. The best explanation is, it’s a Zelda game in Japanese mythology with a Japanese hand-drawn art-style.

I have written a first impression about this game almost a year ago. This game is totally worth it to check out. While it released first on the PS2, I think that this game deserves motion controls. Since you need to draw on the screen or draw some objects, I think that this game would be quite a pain to play with a controller. But hey, I haven’t played this game with a controller and maybe those things are changed to work well on a controller.

This series of games needs more entries Capcom. I want to see an Okami 3! Seriously, this game is really addictive. I played this game and the sequel on the DS more times then I dare to admit. It’s a game I often bring up when I want to prove that games can educate or can be works of art as well. At the other hand, the story is neatly wrapped up in the end so a 3rd game would need to introduce more characters… It could go horribly wrong.

There were a few moments I didn’t like in this game. Some weapons make the main character glitch out real bad and some bomb mini-games.. Well, if you aren’t perfect, you won’t make it.

This game is one you have to play when you enjoy the Japanese culture. Also, when you are a big Zelda fan… You owe it to yourself to play this game. For more of my thoughts, I advise you to read my first impression article I linked for you guys to enjoy.

Honorable mentions

It was rather hard making this top 10. So, I had to cut out some great titles. Since they deserve to be mentioned, here are the other games that didn’t made the list. Well, most of them.

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, Kirby: Return To Dreamland, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, Fragile Dreams, WarioWare: Smooth Moves, Red Steel, Boomblox, Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Brothers Brawl, No More Heroes 2, Super Paper Mario, Resident Evil Dark Chronicles, Pikmin 2, Pokémon Battle Revolution and Super Mario Galaxy 1/2.

#1: The Legend Of Zelda – Skyward Sword

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If you follow my blog, you must have seen this one coming. A Zelda game as number one. The hardest part was deciding between Twilight Princess and this one. Both bring such different styles to the table, it’s was a difficult decision to make. Both games have different and enjoyable memories for me that made it even harder to decide.

But the difference was in the controls of Skyward Sword. How Link does the exact some movements you do with the Wii Remote blew me away. It felt like I was him. That I was part of this adventure.

I think it made it extremely clear how big of an influence this series is and was on me. The music of this game helped me through rough periods and it was the series I played the most as a kid. I even compared elements of the Zelda series to other games in it’s genre and got me interested in reviewing games. The Zelda games are also the main reason why I want to buy the Nintendo consoles. In the past I bought the newest gameboy to play the latest Pokémon on, but now those games are a close second. I bought a DS for Phantom Hourglass, I bought a Wii for Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword; and I bought a 3DS for Ocarina Of Time 3D. Now, I’m planning to buy a Wii U for Hyrule Warriors.

In any case, if you want to read about my thoughts of this game… I linked my first impression of this game. I have one thing to admit, I still haven’t beaten this game. But I think that the holiday season of this year might change that. So stay tuned.

Wrapping up

This list was extremely hard to put together. The reason I haven’t written this top 10 earlier was because I honestly thought that I didn’t play so much different Wii games. Looking back after writing this article, I’m surprised how wrong I was.

The Nintendo Wii is an amazing console and has an amazing library. I’m quite sure that I will enjoy the games I want to beat even more now since I start to realize that this console has still a whole lot of amazing games and fun moments up it’s sleeve. So, maybe in the future you will see even more articles on Wii games. If you want me to take a look at a certain Wii game, tell it to me in the comments and I will try to take a look at it.

In any case, this was a rather long article. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And I hope to see you in another article in the near future! But until then, have a great day and game on!

Gaming Music – My Favorites #13: Not unlucky.

photo-1024x768Link to my previous music articles.

It has been a while since I wrote one of these, is it not? Well, it’s time to fix that. I wanted to do something special for the 13th article of this series, but the only thing I was able to come up with is 13 tracks. I’m sorry, but that’s a bit overkill. Anyways, for the people who don’t know this series on my blog… In these articles I talk about some game music tracks and why I think they are really good. I try to always link to a sort of extended version or at least a high quality one. I have a rule where I can’t talk about more then one track of a game (series) per article. I think I might have broken my other rule of trying to always get unique tracks. If you see me do that, feel free to point it out! That way I will try to do something unique in the next article. Anyways, enough talk! Put on your headset and get ready for some, according to me, amazing game music! (And as always, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the music, games and/or your own favorite game music.)

Europa Universalis 4 (PC) ~ Battle of Lepanto

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_editedI think this is one of the best tracks in the entire EU IV soundtrack. It starts off kind of calm but around the 2 minute mark, that completely changes. When I close my eyes while listing to this I imagine an epic battle, where the camera slowly pans around like in those medieval war movies.

The chanting is perfect. It adds some additional flavour to the track and it makes it that more exciting to try and win your battle.

And what I adore even more about this track is that near the end, it goes to a calm-ish vibe again. Like it wants you to take a step back (or zoom out) to look how the situation is. Maybe I’m looking way too deep into this track, but it’s the vibe I actually get from this masterpiece of game music.

First Impression of this game.

Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl (3DS) ~ Battlefield – Dyed in ScarletSoulFinal

If you read my previous article, then you should already know that I’m enjoying this game quite a lot. I also praised the music for being ear-candy. If I didn’t, well, then I do it now.

This is the music that plays when you fight one of the bosses. And this sounds just amazing. It really sets the mood for an epic battle. And let me tell you, the battle with that boss is tough. You won’t be able to beat it that easily. The build-up to the boss is also incredible. Making the music sound that much better.

I have to admit that once I just put my 3DS down to enjoy the music and forgot about the battle I was in for at least 5 to 7 minutes. Now, that is proof that this is good music to me.

Kirby’s Dream Land (GB) ~ Bubbly Clouds

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When I was looking through my game collection for some inspiration for this list, I found this gem of a game. I got this game as a present from my aunt. I was a bit jealous of my sister, since she got the sequel, where the copy ability was present.

But did that stop me from enjoying this game? Oh hell no. The first time I finished this game was on one of those long car rides from Belgium to Austria to have a nice relaxing walking holiday in the summer. Man, I remember bringing my gameboy into the mountain woods and play this game. Reaching this level, the 4th one if I recall correctly, and then looking around me to take in the scenery… Those are some amazing childhood memories.

SmoothMcGroove did his magic on this tune. Go listen to it right here. 

Doom (PC) ~ E1M1 At Doom’s Gate

Doom_cover_art

So, first of all… this is one for you buddy. MiseryLC, my best friend loves this game to death. And I think he has a very good point. I used to play the demo of this game over and over again.

I haven’t grown up with any oldschool console or PC games. I grew up with a Gameboy. But each time I felt like playing some old school games, since my pc couldn’t handle newer games… I kept coming back to idSoftware.

This song takes me back to those memories. But lately, it’s reminding me of the amazing friendship I have with my best friend at the moment. Also, his birthday is in the near future. Here is to more years to come man! We shall make it a wonderful day!

Editorial note: the game I actually played the most is the more fantasy based game: Heretic. Just something in that game was a bit more interesting to me then Doom. I’m not saying it’s better then Doom… Nah, in my eyes, they are equals.

 Ace Attorney – Miles Edgeworth – Investigations 2 (DS) ~ Objection 2011

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First Impression (of the fan translation)

Man, is this a great game. Finally, we get a better look into Miles and his friends’ personalities. If you thought that the first game was great, then go play the fan translated sequel.

The music is also just great. I love hearing the familiar, yet very fresh tune. One of my favorite tracks in this game is the one I selected for this article. It plays when you finally proved the lies you expose. It’s so upbeat and adds to the rewarding feeling you get.

Also, I have almost fully finished the game. So, that means I might write a full review on this game in the near future. So, stay tuned for that.

Wrapping up

So, there you have it. 5 songs added to my ever growing list of amazing game music. I hope you enjoyed listening to them. If you have suggestions, never be afraid to contact me.

I love gaming music. Quite a lot. To the point that I listen to this amazing website called RadioNintendo, every day at work and lately when I’m writing articles. Well, certain articles…. because with articles like reviews, I play the game soundtrack in the background so I can better visualize the game while writing.

But check the site out guys, the owner is quite a cool guy and the small community is starting to grow over time. It’s quite lovely to see. While the site might have a hick-up here and there, it’s some quite impressive coding.

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this article right here. Thanks for reading and until the next one. Until then, take care & game on.

Gamer’s Thoughts: 10 facts about the gameboy and gameboy color

game-boy-color-vector-material_429388Let’s do something different, not a review or a first impression. Let’s not talk about the game music or something along those lines. In this article I want to talk about the history of the gameboy and gameboy color and maybe some facts you didn’t know about yet. So, this is an experimental article. It would help me if you guys left a comment about the content and subject of this article. Let’s begin. 

Gameboy

1) Kirby’s color is white?

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Did you know, that Kirby’s first appearance in the west was actually white? The reason for that is when Nintendo USA got the code for the game in order to translate, they didn’t mention that Kirby was pink. Because his first installment was on the gameboy, it was unclear which color he had. That’s why Nintendo decided to give him a white color.

Also, there are some rumors of Kirby’s name. It might have to do with a story of a lawyer that defended Nintendo when Universal Studio’s sued Nintendo for copyright infringement on their Donkey Kong license. But that’s only a rumor… right?

2) A calculator as inspiration.

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Gunpei Yokoi was sitting on the train when he saw a business man playing around on his calculator. You know that stuff you did back in class? Turning the numbers upside down to try and spell out words? It didn’t take long before your dirty mind took over and you turned the number “80085” upside down.

So, that’s what gave Gunpei the inspiration to make the gameboy with the RD&1 of Nintendo. Sadly enough, the creator of the gameboy has passed away in a car accident a few years ago.

He got a few awards under his belt, but to me he will always be remember as the creator of the gameboy :)!

3) The Gameboy Advance SP wasn’t the first back-lit gameboy.

Game_Boy_LightRemember those painful days when you had to have a lamp on to play the gameboy? When you couldn’t play it under your sheets easily because the gameboy didn’t had a light-up screen?

Well, the successor, the gameboy pocket got a second release in Japan. The gameboy light was actually the solution to the issue. Strangely enough, the device only stayed in Japan. In the USA and Europe we got all sorts of crazy attachments that barely worked.

What’s an every bigger mystery is why they didn’t include this feature in the gameboy color. Yes, we had to wait until the gameboy advance SP until we had backlit gameboy screens. What a shame actually. But hey, it was fun trying to hide the gameboy and put out the lights at night to avoid your parents busting in…. Just don’t forget you lower your volume.

 4) The gameboy wasn’t the first Nintendo handheld

Game_&_WatchSo, this relates to my 2nd point about the calculator. When Gunpei started to design the first handheld game for Nintendo, he developed the Game & Watch series.

The Game & Watch series are now a big collector item. It’s even believed that some Game & Watch systems gave the inspiration to the Nintendo DS’s design.

Well, more on Game & Watch devices later.

5) Samsung sold it!

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Around the time the WO II ended, Korea actually banned products made in Japan. Which meant that the Gameboy was banned. But that didn’t stop from being sold in Korea.

Samsung Korea actually sold the gameboy under another name, called the “Comboy”. It’s not the only system that Samsung sold. I know that they sell a version of the DS as well, so I wouldn’t be surprised that they helped to sell the whole gameboy line in Korea. But notice that’s I’m doubting since I don’t know for certain.

Gameboy Color

1) The SNES gameboy “port”

Back in the day, you could play Gameboy games on your TV using the Super Gameboy. You can even play with the color.

But strangely enough, the Super Gameboy couldn’t run Gameboy Color games. The SNES would be strong enough to run those games and it has color for sure.

We had to wait until the GameCube before we would be able to play these games legally on a big screen.

2) Trivia

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The Gameboy color is the only system in the Gameboy series that has clear cartrigdes.

The colors in the name of the Gameboy color stand for each different color the gameboy color was originally released in.

And final part of trivia, all black gameboy cartridges are enhanced to be in color on the gameboy color!

3) Pokemon Crystal, two versions?

Pokemon Complex Crystal (v1.33)-3-full

The most popular game on the Gameboy Color was Pokémon Gold & Silver. But strangly enough, Pokémon Crystal got two releases. I discovered this when I found out that I had two Pokémon Crystal cartridges.

When I saw the area code, somehow a “-1″ was printed on it. After I researched it, it turns out that there was a v1.1 released. There is barely anything known what is patched. But hey, time to hunt a copy down for your collection!

4) Wireless.

InfraredIf you thought that you needed to use cables when it came to connecting two gameboy colors, think again. Some games actually used the infrared port on top of the gameboy.

I never used it as a kid, but it’s interesting to learn more about. Since according to my research, it was the first handheld that had wireless communication.

5) Motion Control before it was cool.

1135408995-00Oh, and it wasn’t the only first. Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble was the first motion controlled game. It’s a sort of maze / Super Monkey Ball-ish game.

It actually worked with tilting the gameboy around. I haven’t played it, but I have seen video’s about it. It made me want to grab a copy of it. Since you can’t have the same experience with these kind of games on an emulator.

Final thoughts

So, that was the article I wanted to release last week. But, I was busy and tired, so I moved it to this week. I hope you enjoyed reading about the gameboy and gameboy color. If you knew all these ten facts, I hope it was a nice refresher.

I enjoyed writing this, did you enjoy reading it? Anyways, I hope to see you another time. Thanks for reading. :)

Gaming Music – My Favorites #10: Ten to see.

timthumbDon’t mind the title please. A title of an old Belgian TV show fitted well here. “Tien om te zien.” or freely translated: “Ten to see.” was an interesting music show at one of the cities at the beach. But in this series I talk about my favorite video game music. I’m not allowed to put more then one track of a series in one article and I’m only allowed to post originals. Remixes aren’t allowed. Although, I think I’m going to allow it in this special article. I’ll give you 5 remixes or video game related songs and 5 of my favorite video game music tracks. Enjoy listing to them while I talk briefly about my memories, why I selected the track or something else. Anyways, feel free to leave a comment on the content of this article and or with your opinion and or your favorite video game music tracks. 

Game related tracks and remixes

#1: Dj S3RL – Green Hills

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I was on the train when I suddenly heard some Sega sound effects playing. I wondered to myself, since when did I put the soundtrack of Sonic on my mobile? It turned out that I found another track of S3RL that is very game related.

When I heard it for the first time, I was hooked. Together with Pika Girl, these are my favorite tracks of this DJ.

The people who know me in real life know that I adore electronic melodic and fast music. This remix fits the bill perfectly. It doesn’t even have the annoying stop for the sound effect as in the Pika Girl song. Give it a listen for sure!

#2: SkyMarshall Arts – Forever Gamer

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Wouldn’t it be a shame if I didn’t talk about SkyMarshall Arts? I mean, this guy made some album names referencing gaming culture.

The only thing I dislike about this song is that it’s rather slow. It’s a trance song, so it’s slow by definition. But I told you guys earlier, I’m more into faster songs.

Yet, I really enjoy this song. Just listen to it and enjoy the lyrics. I can truly relate to the feelings in that … appear (?) in the song. Oh, and when you enjoy this kind of music, don’t hesitate! Give the other songs of this artist a listen. He makes some pretty good stuff.

 #3: Midibar Remix – Bravely Default – That Person’s Name Is

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I already talked about another remix of this game in one of my previous game music specials. So, since I wanted to talk about more then one track, I had to wait until a chance like this one to talk about it.

This lovely tune is a remade theme for battles and it sounds even more catchy then the in game variant.

The music sounds and feels more alive. The big difference is the ending. I love how the ending of the ingame track doesn’t loop out. So you can barely hear where the track starts or stops.

Well, the people who remember the game music better then I do at then when I’m writing this article… Is it really as good as I’m telling here. I’m kind of sure, I’m telling the truth. Now, let’s wait for the next special to talk about another remix.

#4: PokeRemix Studio – Game Studio Remix

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How do you make an extremely catchy and memorable song even “worse”? You make an awesome remix of this song of course.

This song appeared while I was doing research about the history of Pokémon. I started listing to it and since then it’s a proud part of a my collection folder of amazing game theme remixes.

Now that I’m listing to it again, I feel that this tune should go to my mobile. I love it that much. While I enjoy listing to remixes, only the best ones I put on my phone. Since those are songs I need to be able to listen to over and over again without getting bored of them. That’s mostly because I forget to put on new music frequently.

Anyways, I won’t spoil anything about this track. It’s up to you to listen to it. But let me tell you, it’s a catchy Pokémon tune made even more catchy. Be warned in advance.

#5: ZREO Orchestra – The Legend Of Zelda series

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Link to their Wind Waker Orchestra

I’m terribly sorry that I didn’t talk about this group before. Each and every Zelda fan has the right to know about the group.

The melodies of the Legend Of Zelda series are translated so well into an amazing orchestrated piece of music. Amazingly, as good as every main theme series game got an orchestral “remix”. I’m a bit sad to see that my favorite games didn’t get their whole soundtrack remixed (yet)

You could visit their website, but the last time I visited it, it was down for I think construction.

Anyways, you should really give these guys a listen! They are totally worth it. Please, don’t come complaining to me when you became addicted to their music.

Game music tracks

#6: Chrono Trigger DS – Chrono’s Theme

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I heard a lot of rumors about this game. That it’s a good game and all. At first I looked at it as one of those popular JRPG’s with a deep story that got a cult following. Rather recently I started playing.

I directly understood why this game is seen as one of the better JRPG’s. It’s such an amazing game.

What is even more mindblowing is the fact that the “remake” on the DS is more of a port then a remake. The music even sounds and has the feel from the SNES area.

I just fell in love with this game. I had to put it down for a bit recently due to a section where I needed to grind. And you guys all know how much I hate that. But in any case, give the soundtrack a listen and give the game a shot! It’s very worth it.

#7: Ducktales Remastered – African Mines

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Time for some nostalgia. The DuckTales games bring a lot of memories back to me. I never owned a DuckTales game but I was always allowed to lend it from a cousin of mine.

One-a-days, I barely see or talk to that cousin, but when I started playing DuckTales Remastered on Steam and heard the music, like the African Mines, the memories came back in full force.

It made me put down the controller for a second and take it all in. You should do that with this track too. It’s really that good and catchy on it’s own.

#8: Kirby Triple Deluxe – Techno Factory

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I only recently finished this game’s main story. It was quite a fun game. I agreed to myself that I only played this game on the train to work. That’s so hard, since this is an amazingly addictive and fun game.

While a lot of hardcore gamers say that Kirby is too easy, please consider that it might be aimed at the youngest gamers. Besides, you can make yourself some rules like not using Kirby’s copying abilities to make the game harder.

Anyways, enough of that. I am planning to write a review of this game sooner or later. In any case, we are here to talk about the soundtrack. It’s what you expect from a Kirby game. Very memorable, upbeat, melodic and fun. Oh, and catchy as well.

Anyways, give it a listen and tell me what you think. I would love to hear it. Since this game might just be my favorite Kirby game ever made.

#9: Tomb Raider Underworld – Unnatural encounter

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My first ever game of Tomb Raider was Tomb Raider Legend. When I bought it as a 12 year old youngster, I didn’t realized what I bought. The kick of playing a 3D adventure game with such updated graphics blew my mind.

Since then I’m pretty hooked on the series. I bought the next PC game so I could play even more Tomb Raider fun.

Then Underworld released and I was bummed out, my old pc couldn’t handle the game. So, I had to play the game in a different way. My mother was so kind to me that she actually bought the game on my DS for me. While it isn’t a very good game, the emotional bond I have with it makes up for it.

Then I got my laptop, the very same one I’m writing this article on, and I got myself a copy of Underworld. When I found out that I was able to run and play it…. Well, I had a few sleepless game nights.

So, that’s why I’m so nostalgic about this game and it’s soundtrack. I really advice you guys to give it a listen. It’s pretty amazing.

#10: Monster Tale – Windmill Plains

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So, you are in the final area of an amazing Castlevania-inspired game. You have fought your way through enemies and a lot of though bosses. Now, you hear a song that starts very similar to the main theme.

But a few moments later, the bass kicks in. It gives you that extra urge to finally defeat that one character that has been making your life a living hell through the story. You finally want that character to bite the dust.

The music drives you through the final parts of the game, your skills are being tested. Everything you learned in the game will be put to use now. Meanwhile you can look back on the amazing experience you just had. Well, that’s how I felt when I played this game when this track played.

Finishing this article.

I already said it on Tumblr, but I have been extremely busy lately. That’s why I don’t publish so many articles this month. Thankfully things are looking up for me. Soon, I’ll be finishing more games and I’ll be able to write more articles.

Lately, I’m doubting if I shouldn’t aim for less articles but maybe have better content. I seriously don’t know. But this isn’t material for the end of this article, isn’t it?

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this article and listening to the music. Maybe you discovered a new game or two. Who knows? I had a lot of fun writing this, you may be sure of that.

Feel free to suggest a game I should take a look at next! I love requests. But until then, I hope to welcome you a next time on my blog. Take care guys and girls.

First Impression: Kirby – Mass Attack (DS) ~ Plural For Kirby?

kirby-mass-attackOfficial site

So, what’s the plural for Kirby? I never thought I would ask myself that question. The plural that most people use is Kirbies. Thinking about the rule in English grammar. If the singular ends with a -y, the plural is -ies. You might be thinking, what in the name of holy handhelds is this blogger talking about? Well, in this article we are going to take a look at Kirby Mass Attack on the Nintendo DS. It’s going to be a first impression since I haven’t finished the game. And like my friends the Cynical Bastards said in one of their videos: “You need  to beat a game before you review it.” Otherwise, I might have to write several articles to update the previous one. And I don’t plan to write as many articles as there are Kirbies in this game. So yeah, I’m enjoying this game. But is it actually good? Is more Kirbies, more fun? You probably know already that Kirby is mostly used when Nintendo wants to try out new gameplay ideas. This, of course, is one of them. Now, I think my mind is getting into pieces, just like Kirby is this game. Don’t worry, I won’t continue using this joke in the rest of the article. I think I’m ready to finally take a look at this game. Oh yeah, one thing. Feel free to leave a comment about this article and or your opinion on this game.

Kirby is fun

 kirby-mass-attack-whispy-thumbA few days ago, I was playing with my niece on my Wii. We were playing Kirby Adventure Wii. (Which is Kirby’s Return To Dreamland in the NSTC region) She had a blast. Kirby is indeed fun. The story on the other hand is always similar to the Mario series. I don’t want to say that the story is weak or anything, it’s just difficult to make an interesting story for a platformer.

In this game, Kirby is cursed and split into 10 Kirbies. But the bad guy, the Skull gang, was smart enough to also split the power in ten. So, what this means is, the story explains why you can’t fly or suck up enemies.

I can’t be too harsh on the story since it does what it’s supposed too. It draws the children in to the game and makes an interesting setting for veteran players. Up until the point I have played this game, it will present nothing interesting for older players in terms of story. But then again, I already said it makes for an interesting setting.

If you played the previous Kirby games on DS, you are in luck. There are some things in the story that really surprised me. Certain characters have an interesting role in the plot. And that made me hope for seeing the story expand more then just the introduction. I’m secretly hoping that the story will be more present then in a main Mario game. But I fear for that. The story won’t develop more unless you beat the game. So, no explaining why you go to another world next I suppose.

How does it play?

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A screenshot in another language? Interesting right? This game plays very different then your normal Kirby game but it feels similar. Like the screenshot here, you also recognize certain things that are typical for a Kirby game.

I already told you guys earlier that you can’t fly or suck up enemies in this game. So, you will have to be smart to defeat your enemies.

This game really benefits from being on the DS. The use of both screens is just amazing. You have a nice overview of your score, amount of Kirbies and medals on your top screen. The bottom screen is used for the actual gameplay.

I have my doubts about the controls, honestly. I can understand that everything is done on a touchscreen, but I sometimes get the impression that a few button commands would help this game. This might just be how I feel about this game, and maybe the rest of the game might prove me wrong.

One thing that will be a negative in some people their eyes is the fact that you loose all your Kirbies if you go from world to world. I honestly find that a great idea. It helps the challenge of this game. Talking about that, this game isn’t really easy. But it’s not hard either.

The problem with this is game is that’s it’s a bit too unique for a Kirby game. When you want to reach a higher up platform, you where able to get Kirby to fly. Now, you have to actually group up the Kirbies and drag them up. Hoping that you can do it in time since if the meter runs out, they all drop to the ground.

My final thoughts about the gameplay is that it’s very interesting and a great spin on your standard platformer game. But you need to get used to it. I will take a more in-depth look in the review.

Clones?

Kirby Mass Attack Title Screen

I know that this game tries to be child-friendly but I think that clones was a bad choice of words. But explain that, would take us too far for just a little nitpick.

The game really delivers in being child-friendly. The visuals of this game are cute and colorful. They are just what you would expect from a Kirby game. The animation is nearly flawless. If only it was a bit more clear if you were either going to defeat the enemy or if the enemy will be able to throw you off. You can’t really make it out.

I can’t really talk about the game’s length just yet. Since I’m now in the 2nd world of the game. If we look at previous Kirby games, I think we might expect a solid ~ 20 – 30 hours game. Please, don’t take my word for it, since I’m not that good in guessing the length of games.

Interestingly enough, this game has achievements. Yes, achievements. But I will comment about them in my review. But there is something else that is a negative for me. There are mini-games included in this game. But sadly enough, you unlock them way too fast. I nearly unlocked 1/2 of them by simply beating the first world. I just hope that there are more mini-games then shown.

So, that will conclude my first impression of this game. When I ever finish this game, I will surely write a review to talk a bit more in-depth about this game. Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing this one. Hopefully I can welcome you in another article.