Kirby Super Star Review

I haven’t reviewed a Kirby game since Kirby’s Dream Land, and that was way back in the first month of this site’s existence, back when I still tagged reviews as “spoilers” and “non-spoilers” because it never occurred to me that the former was an extraordinarily bad idea. Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking, either. Those days are long gone now, and so it’s strange to suddenly delve back into something Kirby-related. Super Star is a game I’ve owned for a long, long time, though, and I was curious to see how well it’s held up since I played it last (I must have left it unplayed for something like a decade). The answer is “surprisingly well, with one or two caveats,” and it’s made all the more worthwhile by the fact that you can see the mechanics and franchises that would eventually coalesce into Super Smash Bros starting to come together here. Read more →

Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Review

I had originally intended to play through Okami next, but nostalgia is a hell of a drug and it ended up being littered with various problems that had me yelling at my television screen despite showing up in just about every “best games ever” list I’ve read. The more I tried to play it, the more irritated I would get at its shortcomings, and I found myself playing a few minutes of other games as a palate cleanser of sorts. Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse, the third game in the Shantae series, is the one that I kept returning to. The more of it I played, however, the more apparent it became that I was missing out on back story and potentially spoiling plot points from the first two games, so I decided to play one of the earlier games instead of continuing. Risky’s Revenge, to be more specific. While the first game for the Game Boy Color would probably make for a better starting point, I wasn’t very impressed when I watched footage of it on Youtube, and the thought of giving Nintendo a cut of an eShop purchase after they so recently butchered my favorite series of all time made me feel ill. Besides, Risky’s Revenge popped up in a bundle after I decided to wait for a sale (patience is a perk of having a backlog in the quadruple-digits), and between Okami irritating me and my interest in these games suddenly coinciding with them showing up in a bundle, it felt like fate. Read more →

Puzzle Quest Review

I picked up Puzzle Quest and its sequel quite awhile back, but never got around to trying it until I saw a comedy video about it. That’s when I knew I needed to try it. Unfortunately, it really didn’t live up to my expectations, and I can’t help but wonder if the near-universal praise for it has something to do with the match-3 concept being more interesting back in 2007 than it is now that a million mobile games have exhausted it (many of which do it better than this game, in my opinion). Coming at this game without any nostalgia, I was blown away by just how shallow it was despite all of its complexities, with the vast majority of the game coming down to the same flawed matching system and feeling same-ish no matter what items and special attacks you have. That’s to say nothing of its non-story or the fact that the last third of the game is a giant, seemingly unending fetch quest, either. It’s just not anywhere near as enjoyable as its praise led me to believe. Read more →

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a classic example of “less is more.” Throughout the game, you play as a new ghost who just happens to have the power to go back in time four minutes before an individual’s death and manipulate objects in order to save them (those being the eponymous “Ghost Tricks”), and the locations you do this in are always a bit on the small side. In addition to that, there are a limited number of objects you’re able to “inhabit” and thus interact with at any given point. This actually works in the game’s favor by providing a certain amount of focus to the story, and it’s when Ghost Trick starts to think big that everything falls apart. Read more →

Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume Review

Some people like to hurt themselves. It’s just a fact of life. Whether it’s wearing pink sweat pants or actively hammering nails into their skull, there are those out there who live for inflicting pain on themselves for no reason apart from the simple joy of overcoming it. These are the people who will find Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume appealing, because Covenant is a challenging game that becomes outright sadistic toward the end. Read more →

Luminous Arc Review

Luminous Arc is a decent game that’s better than public opinion of it would tend to imply. It is, however, plagued by a number of issues, the most prominent being that its combat is way too similar to Final Fantasy Tactics. There are a million games out there that “borrow” that kind of isometric, turn-based combat, and I simply can’t understand why; it’s a system plagued by menu after tiresome menu (many that amount to little more than “are you super super sure that you want to do that?”) that do little to add depth. This approach to gameplay is cumbersome and vastly inferior to the way Fire Emblem handles the Strategy RPG genre. Apart from that flaw, however, this is actually a pretty good game. Read more →

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