Category Archives: Game Review

Review: Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)

This review is late, very late in fact but there’s a very good reason why this review of Super Mario Odyssey is late. Probably the last one to hit the interwebs and the reason is…I just couldn’t tear myself away from it. It’s so perfectly crafted from the bite sized levels to the exquisite music playing throughout the levels.

The story is predictable to say the least however this is part of the charm of any Mario game. Yet again, Princess Peach finds herself in peril when forever bad guy Bowser kidnaps her with the intention of marrying her. I don’t even know how that would work? Anyways, Mario sets off on a rescue mission around various lands that are all diverse, satisfying and amazingly visualised. Let’s start at the beginning. All levels while new, pay homage is some way or another to past levels in Mario games. From a modernised water level, lava level, sky level and more, it’s so hard not to feel nostalgic when you find yourself comparing what you’re playing with past Mario titles.

I mean just take a look at these pics in this review (thanks Nintendo) but seriously…how beautiful does this game look? And playing it in handheld mode is a wonder for the eyes even if it a drainer on the Switch battery. I know I mentioned this before, but these levels have been crafted at perfect playing times for public transport. If you’re just playing straight through without wanting to get 100%, these levels will test you up until the obligatory boss battle. The boss battles themselves have foes that are varied and fun to beat with different techniques required to master if you want to get the better of them.

The game really showcases the free roaming, open world design very well with literally everything that can be climbed, bounced on, ridden on or interacted with in one form or another. And they’re a real feast for the eyes as well varying from cartoony levels right through to levels with the photo realism ramped right up, every level is a joy to play. You have a certain amount of Power Moons to find in each level, with a different minimum amount needed to power up your ship, The Odyssey, allowing you to travel between worlds.

The gameplay is usual fare, bouncing on enemies to dispose of them or throwing your cap, possessed by a spirit called Cappy, at them. Most enemies can be controlled in this manner giving you new abilities from flying, smashing through obstacles, not slipping on ice and heaps more. In a cute touch, when you possess an enemy in this manner, they get the familiar Mario moustache on their face. Ever seen a Goomba with a Mario moustache? Cute or even better, a T-Rex? Where else can you see this? There are various checkpoints littered throughout the levels which allow you to warp from one to another to get to the other side of the level really quickly without risking being wiped out by an enemy.

In an absolute stroke of genius, scattered in various location across the level are stages where you get absorbed into the background and it becomes an 8-bit version of the game and changes from 3D to old school side scrolling platform game complete with retro sounds and music.

The levels also have stores in which you can spend your hard earned coins on various outfits from shorts to a dapper suit, samurai suit and so many more. You can also buy stickers for the Odyssey and knick knacks for the inside of your ship. The outfits themselves aren’t just for aesthetic reasons, there are sections in the levels that can only be accessed if you’re dressed appropriately so if you want to complete everything then these are a must and will have you doing even more exploring to find all the coins.

The game features a two player mode where another player controls Cappy but this requires the utmost coordination and communication as often Mario will be running one way while your friend is throwing Cappy in the opposite direction. Expect many arguments playing this way like any good co-op game.

There’s a neat feature where you can go into picture mode and even apply Instagram like filters which are fun to play with. This mode is highly customisable and lends itself to some stunning pictures. This feature rounds out an already tightly packed game filled to brim with amazing gameplay, lush visuals, stupid over the top fun, music that you’ll find yourself humming when you least expect it and a throwback to other awesomely fun Mario games such as Super Mario Galaxy. Super Mario Odyssey is magical, charming, full of that “one more go” feeling and an absolute must buy, system seller for the Switch. Nintendo have crafted yet another highly memorable Super Mario title and one that will keep you playing for ages if you want to find all the Power Moons and coins. Super Mario Odyssey will be at the front of your gaming shelf not pushed to the back with lesser played games. Welcome back, Mario…we’ve missed you.

Final score: 10/10

Review: Monster Hunter Stories (Nintendo 3DS)

Capcom return to the Monster Hunter series with a new entry that ventures into new territory that’s different to the series while at the same time retains the charm, action and adventure that fans have come to know from this universe. This is Monster Hunter Stories!

Continue reading Review: Monster Hunter Stories (Nintendo 3DS)

Review: Hey! Pikmin (Nintendo 3DS)

Hey! Pikmin makes a fun-filled, adventurous debut on the Nintendo 3DS in a game that is charming, cutesy and above all else fun.

It’s Pikmin but not as you know it as the familiar 3/4 overhead perspective is changed to a side scrolling game that sees Captain Olimar crash landing on a planet, meeting and befriending many different types of Pikmin. Anyone familiar to the game series will feel right at home as the mechanics behind the Pikmin are the same as are some of the enemies which show up from the previous console versions to the handheld. New players have a handy tutorial to introduce them to the game, the characters and the cutesy Pikmin.

The premise of the game sees your ship in need of repairs and in order to repair it, you’re tasked with finding Sparklium which can be obtained by finding three relics that are hidden across each level. These will give you a generous amount of Sparklium for finding them however by defeating most enemies, you also receive a smaller amount. The levels themselves are varied and make use of both screens so sometimes if you can’t find a way out, try looking at the top screen. There are water level, ground levels, underground levels and more and as you progress through the game, you gradually unlock more levels to explore.

There also some bonus level where it literally rains Sparklium across the screens so you can grab some to add to your total. These level are fun as you can stand on one side and catch them while you simultaneously throw Pikmin across the scene to catch some on the other side. Also of particular note is that this game uses the touchscreen constantly and you can’t play without it. It’s how you select items on the screen that you want Pikmin to attack or just to carry and bring back to you.

I’ve read some reviews that found the game fiddly, boring or otherwise lacking. I haven’t really encountered these issues. I’m not saying the game is perfect as some levels cam come across a little same but at the same time, there’s enough variety to keep you going. It’s also the perfect game to play in sporadic bursts as the levels aren’t too long making it ideal to play on public transport as well. Being that it’s on a handheld, there were always going to be compromises so I’m not sure what other reviewers were expecting but it really is a delightful game that keeps you coming back.

It has a great blend of nice, colourful graphics with a lighthearted soundtrack to accompany it. This is one game that I’ve always started on console but never finished but I can really see myself giving this one a go for hours. It has a nice mix of easy and harder levels as well. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s a war in the park because it’s on a handheld or it’s adorable appearance. Looks are deceiving in this game and believe me, it will keep you entertained!

*Thanks to Nintendo for the review copy*

Final score: 8.5/10

Review: Splatoon 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Splatoon 2 picks up where its predecessor left off on the Wii U. Delivering more fun, action, cutesy visuals and ink loads of shenanigans that feel more at home on the Switch than ever.

So just quickly in case you’re not familiar with the Splatoonverse, the main gameplay consists of 4 on 4 battle where your squid avatar is armed with a variety of weapon which shoots out coloured ink. The main objective being to cover more of the playing arena with your colour while the opposing team is doing the exact same thing. The maps themselves aren’t overly huge which invites tight contests and frantic action as you walk, run and swim through the ink trying to gain the upper hand over the opposing team.

Before I launch into the multiplayer aspect, I just want to touch on the single player mode which is actually very well put together and keeps you playing in between the online multiplayer part of the game. The campaign part of the game revolves around you being recruited by war veteran Captain Cuttlefish in the Octo Valley to help save The Great Zapfish who supplies Inkopolis with its power. This campaign has a section at the start which serves as a tutorial and introduces you to the gameplay and the various weapons you can upgrade to once you reach a certain level in the game. There’s also various clothes and add ons, all which serves various power ups and aids during the game.

The idea of the tutorial is to pick up Golden Eggs while taking out the various enemies that occupy the levels. Each level has a minimum number of Golden Eggs to collect and as you pick up each one, you deposit it in a container but be warned, the enemy can and will intercept you, stealing the egg and making a run for it. If you’re quick enough you can take them out and get the egg back to else you need to get a new egg all over again. I never found this tedious though and always heaps of fun which kept the game going.

The campaign itself sees you using and utilising your newly acquired skills and knowledge to traverse various levels which are chockfull with enemies and hazards which will require the use of ink to navigate and get around. As you reach the end of each level, you’re give a Zapfish which results in you being whisked out of that level and starting a new one. These levels are fun, varied and will keep you on your toes as you progress through in order to reach a boss at the end. When you do beat the boss, you then go back to the main map and start a new series of levels to rescue the other Zapfish. I still haven’t finished this mode but it’s proving to be bucketloads of fun.

Now, the multiplayer aspect is where the game comes alive and where you’ll find the most rewards. As with other similar games, when you complete a round of skirmish, win or lose, your player receives points and can progress through various levels. As I type this my character is up to Level 5, lowly I know but it’s given me access to new weapons which will hopefully start to give me an edge in the battles. My internet connection is just ADSL 2+ but I’ve experienced zero lag and drop outs whatsoever. This is something to be commended as with the nonstop, fast paced style of the game, you may expect some lag but so far, so good. You have your choice of ranked matches or regular ones and the maps you play on rotate once every four hours which is a nice touch.

Here’s a breakdown of the rules that are set out for each battle type:

  • Splat Zones is a King of the Hill style of gameplay where you need to keep a certain part of your territory occupied with your team’s colour as the enemy attempts to colour it with their colour ink. You have a counter which you need to get down to zero before time runs out.
  • Turf Wars which is what the game defaults to is where you invade the enemies land all the while spraying your team’s ink as you go in three minutes.
  • Rainmaker is your Capture The Flag game where you venture into enemy territory, steal their flag and race it back towards your base.
  • Tower Control is similar to Rainmaker expect you’re transporting a tower and when the time runs out, you get points for how close you got to your base even if you weren’t successful in bringing it all the way home.

It’s safe to say that this is one game that a lot of Switch owners have been waiting for and it’s easy to call it a system seller as well. With it’s blend of cool characters, loads of customisation options, awesome catchy soundtrack and massive blend of fun, it’s one game that will keep players busy for hours. I didn’t get a chance to play it with the newly launch Nintendo Switch phone app which is used for voice communication but I imaging it’ll come in handy for strategising and communicating orders to team mates. It’s one game where you really need to come together as a team or else it’s difficult to come up a winner.

To the best of my knowledge, the game doesn’t have offline bot play so if you wanted to play it on the go on public transport, you can’t do that. I could be wrong but I haven’t been able to find a mode like this only the single player campaign mode. I missed the first Splatoon on the Wii U which was always a regret but this release more than makes up for it and like a lot of people I just can’t stop playing! It’s inktacular, full of ink loads of fun and needless to say, it’s inkcredible!

*Thanks to Nintendo for the review copy*

Final score: 9.5/10

Review: ARMS (Nintendo Switch)

I was lucky enough to attend the media Nintendo Switch press event before the console was launched and had an absolute blast and great time. There were so many games to play from Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Breath Of The Wild, Splatoon 2 and many more gems. However there was one game that for me really stood out among some of these AAA titles and that game was ARMS, a unique fighting game developed by Nintendo that brought something new to the fighting genre. Now that I’ve spent time with a final copy of the game, I can safely say that it’s a ton of fun!

The game itself has a few different modes from Grand Prix, Versus, Party Match and Ranked Match. There’s also an option to duke it against people in your Friends list or you can also fight against nearby players as well. You start with 10 combatants who all vary with vastly different appearances and fighting “gloves”. More on that in a minute. There’s a nice spread of male, female, robot and even a mech combatant. You can choose to hold a joy con in each hand and simulate boxing which is actually really intuitive and loads of fun and no, you don’t need to know how to fight to enjoy it this way. You can also play in portable mode and just have the joy cons attached to the Switch in normal fashion.

 

At the start of each fight, you can choose which “glove” or weapon each hand will hold. All the fighters have different weapons to choose from for the most part but some are shared between them and they all have different abilities from temporarily freezing your opponent to even shooting rockets at them. The fighters are beautifully drawn and the detail in their design is absolutely gorgeous with brightly coloured clothes, hair and arms. See, this is where it all starts to come together. The battles take place in stunning locales with detailed backdrops which all vary from circular, rectangle and square. The fighters arms are basically curly elastic bands which spring out and with some leaning on the L stick even bend towards your opponent giving the game an extra element of strategy.

What I love about it is that it doesn’t play play out like similar 3D fighting games and by having these crazy arms that can do these bendy tricks, ARMS makes you really think how you’re going to handle each opponent. Do you just charge it with a 1, 2 combo, do you circle around the arena throwing a combination of straight punches and twisting jabs? It’s all up to you and there are endless combinations on offer when you take into account the different behaviour of each fighter and the different weapons they can take into each fight.

Fighting games can get a bit samey as you progress through and take on fighter after fighter after fighter…but ARMS has that magical “just one more” feeling which you can’t put down. Throw in some awesome sound effects, fantastic music and a a special move that each fighter has and this is one well rounded game that will bring hours of fun. I wasn’t able to test the multiplayer aspect but that will just open up more to the game and will definitely foster a competitive community online. I’d be surprised if there weren’t contests built around this game in the future, it’s that engrossing a title that’ll keep you and your friends going for many battles to come.

Final score: 9/10

Review: Fire Emblem Echoes Shadows Of Valentia (3DS)

Intelligent System are onto another winner with the release of the latest entry into the Fire Emblem universe, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows Of Valentia. The game is a remake of an earlier title that was never released outside of Japan until now where it had the title Fire Emblem Gaiden.

The game does have an aged appearance to it but this isn’t a bad thing and in fact, marks a very welcome change to the series even if it’s only for this outing. I’ve played quite a few of the FE entries and as an SRPG, they’re 100% solid and will challenge the most hardened strategy fan. One thing that was new to me was the ability to roam about dungeons in 3rd person mode which is a great way to roam about and find treasures. When you encounter enemies in this mode, the game switches to the familiar style of gameplay with the landscape showing the enemies and your group ready for combat.

The main protagonists are Alm and Celica, a pair of teenagers, who lead two different armies, are thrown into combat against the evil empire hellbent on taking over the land known as Valentia. As you progress through the main story, you’ll begin to unravel lies and truths that you thought weren’t there at all. It’s a great storyline which I can’t wait to see where it ends and is definitely one of the better stories in the series. There is a Casual and a Classic mode where the latter sees fallen comrades stay dead for the entirety of the game so you need to make very careful choices…or not get too attached to the characters.

You can also scroll through characters in your party and see their fatigue levels, this determines how they behave and perform on the battlefield. The moods are shown via the emojis so they’re easy to read and if anyone is feeling down in the dumps, you can feed them some bread or offer them a drink to lift their spirits. Using special abilities in battle also uses the characters’ HP and can be topped up this way as well. Along the way, you’ll have battles with enemy soldiers and some lackeys known as Terrors which can be challenging.

There’s a new addition to this title called a Convoy which allows you to swap out items between your different groups when you come across a village which is a handy inventory management tool. When you find items that you can’t carry anymore, you can opt to send them to the convoy. You can also recruit many different characters, each with their own motives for wanting to fight. You can also change the class they originally start with if you find your army lacking a mage or fighter, for example. This can only be done when you come across a statue of a deity known as Mila’s Statue. Another feature that Mila offers is a turnwheel option which is used to bring your Alm or Celica amiibo into the game to use in battles. You can also give up some of your health in battle which is then used to summon an Illusory Hero, which can then be used as a temporary ally. It’s also worth noting that previous amiibo such as Marth, Robin, Lucina, Roy, Ike, and the yet to be released Corrin can also be used in the game to summon Illusory Heroes too.

Another thing to note is that this game is entirely voiced and spoken in English which is a first for the series and adds another element of immersion and depth. Add into the mix some extensive and feature rich DLC that will be available and you’ve got yourself a very solid game that will allow you to sink 50+ hours and completely lose yourself in a new FE adventure.

*Thanks to Nintendo for the review copy*

Final score: 8.5/10

Review: Pokemon Sun & Moon (3DS)

Alola, Pokefans and welcome to a brand new Pokemon adventure for the Nintendo 3DS, Pokemon Sun and Moon. First things first, this review was written after playing Pokemon Moon and secondly, I hope I do this review justice as there’s so much to see and do in this latest Pokemon outing!

There’s so many new things, I’m not sure where to start but let’s begin with were the game is set. Say good bye to the Kanto region and hello to the Alola region where the sun always shines, the birds always sing and everyday is more beautiful than the last. This region consists of four islands: Melemele Island, Akala Island and a couple of other islands that I am yet to unlock. But what I can tell you is that each island has a series of trials which you must undertake. These consist of a trial captain and their Pokemon facing off against yours in a familiar battle. Once you accomplish that, you then take on the Kahuna of the island. Each island has a kahuna and each island has a different number of trials to complete. There are no Gyms in Pokemon Sun and Moon, this is how it’s done in this latest offering. The prize for beating the trials and kahuna is a Z stone which unlocks the Z-Move in your Pokemon. These new powers have to be seen to be believed, they can turn the tide of a game in the blink of an eye but you have to choose when to use it as the Z-Move can only be used once in each fight. Each Pokemon in your party can hold their own Z-Stone as long they’re compatible with it. Once you use it, you can’t use it again until the next battle so it really makes you think very carefully about just thinking you can win each fight with your Z-Move.

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Team Rocket has been replaced with Team Skull who show up when you’re least expecting it and try to steal your Pokemon or they’re trying to steal some else’s Pokemon and it’s up to you to save the day. I can’t help but think of a past game for the DS, The World Ends With You, whenever they show up as their music is very reminiscent of that Square Enix title. Anyone who’s played TWEWY, trust me on this, you’ll know when you hear it. As can be expected, things never go their way but it’s always fun when they show up.

You can traverse the game using Pokemon to ride on land, sea or take to the skies with Charizard which is really cool. Each Pokemon that you’re riding also have abilities which you can use to access new parts of the game that you wouldn’t be able to if you were on foot. Riding Tauros around, for example, allows you to smash rocks which get in your path and stop from accessing more of the map. Speaking of the map, you always know where you have to go as there’s a handy arrow indicator so you can’t really get lost. I honestly don’t recall this feature being implemented in past titles and if it was, somehow I missed it but it’s really obvious in this game. If you’re unsure where to go and the arrow isn’t on the screen, walking around usually reveals it and the path you need to take.

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The multiplayer aspect I haven’t really been able to explore due to very few people having the game in this region but what little I did play was really cool as it’s all accessed through an area called the Festival Plaza.In here you can use the communication features of the game for trading and battling but you can also meet other players in a hub of sorts.You can play games and win coins which are then redeemable for items which will help you along the way. This is one part that I can’t wait to really play with once the game is out, it looks like a lot of fun will be had.

Your friend in the game is Hau who happens to be the grandson of Hala the Kahuna of Melemele Island. He’s a very likable young kid and you end up having battles with him on your journey which get harder as the game progresses. You also receive guidance and assistance from Prof. Kukui, he’s just like the Oak version only he walks around topless a lot.

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Two things that I always like to talk about in games I review are the music and the visuals. The music is amazing, it’s so good! It’s a blend of Hawaiian with gentle drums and changes up for nearly every part of the map so just as you start to get bored of it, it changes with the terrain. It’s a very Caribbeanesque soundtrack which may not be for everyone but after hearing subtle changes in the score in previous Pokemon games to this score which is vastly different and matches the environment perfectly, it’s a very welcome change. Add some ocean breeze and the sound of palm leaves waving in the wind and the sound is totally on point. Visually, it’s also a feast for the eyes. Everything is so lush and colourful that it’s very hard to put the game down once you start playing. It’s so nice to have such a bright landscape with rich colours and warm tones that help to really draw you into the game and make you forget how long you’ve been playing for. The new Pokemon look great! I’m not going to pretend that I know all their names but I loved encountering new ones purely for the new experience of seeing what they look and what their abilities are. Older generation Pokemon like Rattata and Zubat look amazing and have received a facelift so they blend in effortlessly among the newer looking Pokemon.

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I have to be completely honest here and say that I’ve only ever completed one Pokemon game and that was Pokemon Black but I can wholeheartedly say that this new entry will keep me going until I reach the end and so far, it’s been the only game to tear me away from Monster Hunter Generations. I really don’t want to say more unless I spoil it and I sincerely hope that I haven’t done that. I think Pokemon fans will be extremely familiar with the game mechanics as the core of the game hasn’t changed at all. What has changed is how it look, sounds, feels and to a certain extent, how it plays. The Z-Moves will keep you on your toes and by now I think we’ve all seen the countless videos showing them but seeing them right in front of you at a pivotal moment of the battle is a fist pumping moment.

In this new game, for me personally, I feel that any little gripe I had with past games have been addressed and polished to perfection. You can see the amount of testing and work that went into this game, it’s a very well rounded product and one that must be experienced for both existing fans and newcomers to the series. I’m really having a lot of fun with this one and found it extremely hard to put down to write this. This is the pinnacle right here for Pokemon games. It doesn’t get much better than this.

Final score: 10/10

Review: Superdimension Neptune Vs. Sega Hard Girls (PS Vita)

I love a good mashup in video games be it Fire Emblem and Persona on the Wii U or as in this instance, between Hyperdimension Neptunia and the Sega Hard Girls. Sega Hard Girls are moe characters that have been visualised from the Sega consoles of yesterday into really kawaii girls. Sounds weird but it works really well as in this case, Superdimension Neptune Vs. Sega Hard Girls from Compile Heart.

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The plot of the game revolves around the two main protagonists of the story IF and Hatsumi Sega, the latter of which is a newly created character for this game. In the game, the characters are introduced to the grand library, a library that literally contains all the history in the world. There are supposed to ancient books that have the ability to rewrite history and change the course of events. Something has been occurring lately that changing past events and making history disappear as if it never happened. This begins to affect the world as parts of the world itself also begin to vanish as if they never existed.

And so kicks off a grand adventure where you’ll explore countess dungeons and lands with names of past Sega consoles. The Sega Saturn Era, Mega Drive Era, Game Gear Era and the Dreamcast Era. While you’re in the library, you can visit any of these Eras as you unlock them and can also change the game settings, buy items in the shop to help you in the game and other assorted options.

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Let’s talk about the visuals which I have to say are simply some of the best I’ve ever seen on the Vita. From the colourful worlds and beautiful character designs to the lush cutscenes, this is the type of game the PS Vita was made for. It looks amazing and really draws you in and makes it extremely hard to put down. The backgrounds are rendered just as beautifully and the game has an impressive draw distance. You can see quite a long ways into the level you’re on without having to run there to make it appear.

Another new system that I was introduced to with this title was the battle system. As you traverse the terrain, you’ll see enemies which you can choose to encounter and enter a battle with or simply run away from. Upon choosing to fight, if you make first contact with your weapon, then you have the first attack in the battle. You have an action gauge in the bottom left of your screen which begins to fill with each attack you do. When the meter hits the red zone, your attack is over and it switches to another member of your party. However, you have the option to end your turn before the gauge enters the red zone by hitting the “R” button. What this also does is control how long you have to wait before it’s your turn to attack again after the enemies’ turn is over. This brings an element of strategy into the mix as it’s really unwise to just keep button mashing, taking all your characters into the red zone as you then have to stand there taking hit after hit from your foes.

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As you battle, you have another percentage gauge slowly filling up to 100%. Once it reaches capacity, you can choose to enter Fever Mode just for that battle where your hits to the enemy cause more damage while at the same time, the damage you face decreases as well. Each of the members in your party have their own individual meters as well which slowly increase with each battle. These can be used to call powerful skills when you battle. From powerful fireballs which damage multiple foes to calling upon the ability to transform into a different form of your character which then unleashes even more damage with each hit. This probably sounds really confusing and I was a bit overwhelmed when I first started playing but it really does get easier with each battle, very fast. Each new section or ability you unlock in the game comes with its own mini tutorial from Histoire, the character who maintains and looks after the Grand Library.

The only thing I can say about battles is that they can appear  a bit samey and repetitive but it’s fun knowing that you’ll soon have charge built up to unleash powerful abilities so the tradeoff is worthwhile. The music is pretty solid throughout as well, so much so that there’s also an option to play back the music which can be found in the Options. So if video game music is your jam, then give them a listen, it’s totally worth it!

I’ve only been playing for about 5 or so hours and have two characters in my party but I’ve noticed that there’s an additional two slots which I can only take to mean that more characters will be joining me at some point as the game progresses and becomes harder. I’m really liking this game, so much so that I had to buy the Limited Edition which came with some really cool stuff. If you want to see what that came with, watch out for the unboxing video I did which I’ll post very soon! And I’m also a fan for the Sega Hard Girls, I don’t know much about them but I do like that there are minds which have taken some of the best and iconic consoles and reimagined them as kawaii girls.

Final score: 8/10

Review: Yo-kai Watch 2 (3DS)

Yokai Watch 2 is a game that I wasn’t expecting, a game that I honestly thought was going to be a clone of Pokemon. I never got a chance to play the 1st game in the series but I’m so so glad that I gave the sequel an opportunity. This game look, plays and sounds like a dream. Bright and quirky, smooth with an element of strategy and with a delightful blend of modern and boppy tunes that help along a game that has been so excellently crafted.

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For this sequel, developer Level-5, have adopted a familiar approach and released two flavours of the game, Bony Spirits and Fleshy Souls. Both games are identical but there are some yo-kai you can catch in one and not the other. And that’s about where the similarity to Pokemon ends.

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The story revolves around the main character you play, waking up one day and having no memories of the events of the first game or that yo-kai even exist. It doesn’t take long however for the action to kick in and things resume with you along your new adventure. You’re able to see these ghostly yo-kai using a handy wristwatch which ends up doubling as a handy aid in the game as many add ons become available to you along the way. The game essentially consists of having different tasks or mini quests to complete and along the way you meet, fight and occasionally befriend the titular yo-kai which are scattered throughout the map. The yo-kai are extremely varied in appearance, personality and temperament. You can often thrown a candy to one during a battle and they’ll stop the fight and ask to be your friend.

Speaking of battles, I wasn’t expecting a battle system like this and it took me a little while to get my head around it. Effectively when you battle, you don’t have any control over the moves that the yo-kai do with the exception of the powered up super moves, healing your yo-kai and removing other abnormal statuses. The super moves are quite fun and really well animated but then again, that’s one of this game’s huge strong points: the animation.

It’s a game that looks so beautiful and better than a lot of the other games on the 3DS. Really vibrant visuals with lush colours and an extremely high level of detail for handheld graphics. I would easily say it’s one of the better looking games on the 3DS but let’s not forget that it comes from Level-5, these guys are absolute masters in what they do.

This is one game that I can’t recommend highly enough, I was telling friends about this game within 30 minutes of playing it, it hooked me that bad. Another stellar game from Level-5!

Final score: 9/10