Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Kid Icarus: Uprising Review

April 22, 2012

As soon as the first level of Kid Icarus: Uprising starts, Pit (the star of Kid Icarus) exclaims “Sorry to keep you waiting!”. It has been 20 years since Pit has taken the lead role in a game (though he was a playable character in Super Smash Bros. Brawl) and his return was worth waiting for.

One of the strangest things about Kid Icarus: Uprising is it’s control scheme. You play Kid Icarus by moving with the circle pad, aiming with the stylus, and shooting with the L button. This may seem strange, but it totally works. However, holding the 3DS with your left hand for long periods of time may become uncomfortable. This is why Nintendo decided to include a 3DS stand with every copy of the game. Though it isn’t usually necessary, it can be a good way to play the game and it’s nice that Nintendo was so thoughtful.

There were many ways Kid Icarus: Uprising blew my mind, but one way I wasn’t expecting was in the story. Kid Icarus: Uprising has a deep and complex story that unfolds beautifully without any cutscenes. Yep, the entire story unfolds on the bottom screen during gameplay. This includes incredibly cheesy/well-acted witty back-and-forth banter between the heroes and villains. The goofy style of writing surprisingly fits well with the cast and story.

The levels of Kid Icarus: Uprising are broken into two segments. First, a five minute flying section where the Goddess Palutena explains the situation. This section is an on-rails shooter where you destroy large groups of flying enemies. Following this, you land and play the rest of the level on foot. You run though the level with full control of where you go crushing all of the villains in your path. Lastly, you end each level with an epic boss battle.

Kid Icarus: Uprising looks beautiful. Throughout the game, whether you are in the skies or on the ground, playing by yourself or online, the graphics are smooth, crisp, clear, and are comparable to the Xbox 360 games I’ve played. This, of course, is without adding the 3DS’s ace in the hole…3D. The 3D pops into your face with detailed characters and the incredible textures of the environment sink deep into the screen. It is quite literally like nothing you’ve ever seen. It’s a treat to the eyes.

Besides the excellent story mode, Kid Icarus: Uprising has robust multiplayer modes including local multiplayer and a couple fantastic online modes. One is a free-for-all mode where you fight to stay alive and annihilate as many other players as possible while the other is a team mode called “Dark Vs. Light”. In this mode you fight alongside two other players and try to defeat another team. This mode stands out for me as it allows players of different skill levels to have the same odds.

Also, every player you battle with or against is going to have a unique fighting style. This is partly because of the elaborate weapon customization options Kid Icarus gives you. You are able to purchase a ton of different weapons in the game. Each individual weapon (even ones that have the same name) have different stats. Furthering this concept is that any two weapons can be combined into a more powerful weapon.

In addition to the story and online modes, Kid Icarus: Uprising also makes use of some of the 3DS’s remarkable features including Streetpass and augmented reality. Players are able to swap their customized weapons with Streetpass while Nintendo has invented a little AR card game. The AR card game is a pretty brilliant distraction and I hope other developers begin creating this sort of experience.

For me, the list of flawless games is short (and happens to contain a lot of Mario). Kid Icarus: Uprising makes it onto this list. It blends a number of different game styles and creates a console quality experience that is entirely new and utterly fantastic.

Graphics: 10

Sound: 10

Design: 10

Story: 10

Gameplay: 10

Value: 10

Overall: 10

Pet Zombies Review

November 22, 2011

Recently I reviewed Pet Zombies for OWTK. One of the weirdest game concepts I’ve ever seen. Go check out my review here.

Also, I posted a review for Pinkalicious for the DS. I would recommend reading it because it’s for the little girl in your life, but coming from me… it sounds totally ridiculous. You should totally check it out.

Major News and an I Spy Castle Review

October 31, 2011

I am very pleased to announce that I, Cooper McHatton, am now the gaming correspondent for Out With The Kids! My first review is for I Spy Castle DS! Go and check it out here and tell me what you think!

Game Dev Story iOS Review

October 3, 2011

Pros: Practically flawless. My current favorite iOS game. Too addictive. Fantastic retro graphics and sound. Loads of replay value.

Cons: Missed opportunity for more creativity options (Yep, that’s all I can think of).

Comments: There is something so amazingly addictive about running an incredibly successful virtual game developer. Hiring and firing parodies of real people (I’ve had Stephen Jobsen, Shegeto Minamoto, Gilly Bates, and Walt Sidney as employees) is a feeling of content. I’ve played Game Dev Story to completion (a task that takes a couple of weeks) a good 5 times. I’ve played from periods of anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple hours at a time. It may be a $4 game, but there is play value here worth far more.

Graphics: 9 (excellent retro style that would feel right at home on your old Nintendo)

Sound: 10 (hyper retro beats and sound effects that are fun to hear)

Design: 10 (beautiful design that is a joy to play)

Story: 10 (runs through 20 years of game industry parodies)

Gameplay: 10 (so good you won’t want to set it down)

Value: 10 (the game takes a week or two to beat and has enough variations in storyline that you’ll want to play it again and again)

Overall: 10 (get it now!)

A Whole Bunch of Reviews

October 3, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve written reviews on my iPod during my spare time. I plan on dumping them all here very soon. Before I did I wanted to talk about my reviewing system. When I review a game, there are two main things I look at. I compare the game to other games of it’s sort on the same system and I value the game based on it’s price. For example, a $50 dollar Wii game is not going to be reviewed on the same scale as a $1 iOS game.

Well that’s pretty much it. Get ready for a review dump!

Super Mario 3D Land Preview

July 28, 2011

At the end of my Comic-Con adventure, I walked over to the Nintendo gaming lounge at the Marriott to play Nintendo’s newest games before they hit stores. I played quite a few games at the con, but nothing compared to the happiness I got from playing Super Mario 3D Land.

Before I go into details on the game, I need to give some backstory. I am colorblind, wear glasses, and have a stigmatism. I have been unable to see the 3DS’s 3D effects on demo systems at Target and Best Buy or playing on my friend’s. I have been thinking it was something to do with my eyes. I was wrong. In the dim lighting of the gaming lounge I could see the 3D perfectly. I’m assuming that it has something to do with the lighting, but I don’t know for sure. If you have a 3DS, can you let me know if there is a difference between playing in dark areas and light areas? Maybe it’s just the quality of the game. I don’t know. Anyway, the four 3DS games I played at the Nintendo lounge (Super Mario 3D Land, Mario Kart 7, Starfox 64 3D, and Kid Icarus briefly) all had 3D effects that worked flawlessly for me.

Now on to my impressions of Super Mario 3D Land.

There are 2 things you first notice after picking it up, how good the mushroom kingdom looks with all that depth and how slow Mario moves. First let me talk about Mario. As a design choice in this game, Mario moves much slower, strangely that’s ok. You can hold down a button to make him run faster (I ended up holding it down a lot), but you really don’t need to. It works surprisingly well.

Now, for the 3D effect. The world looks clear, crisp, and full of life. The 3D depth and effect looks amazing. I was truly mind blown just how everything looked from the depth into the world to the fireballs and ink that would fly at the screen. Once I even ducked to try to avoid ink hitting me in the face! One of the coolest experiences playing the game is when Mario goes down a warp pipe and you appear in a zoomed out room with a overhead-ish view. You are standing on a platform and there is a block with a large coin on it floating above you and in front of you. Now because you are viewing it from a top down view, that normal block floats a good inch and a half out of the screen in clear, crisp 3D. I was ecstatic. Then when Mario jumps on it! Just amazing.

I played all four levels available (cause that’s just how I am) and every level worked very well. I played through an outdoor grassy level, an underground dungeon-ish sort of level, a level based off of moving platforms, and what looked to be a mid-world airship boss with a mid-world boss character from Super Mario Bros. 3.

There were two items available in the demo: the Tanooki Suit and the Fire FlowerIn all 4 levels you have the option to use your Tanooki once a level. For reasons I can’t figure, the Tanooki suit doesn’t let you fly or turn into a statue like it did in Super Mario Bros. 3. It only let’s you flutter around and swing your tail. Now Nintendo has said that that it would be difficult to be able to fly in a 3D Mario game on a handheld. What no one is pointing out is what nonsense that is. Mario flew in Mario 64 DS just fine, and that was 5 handhelds ago! It makes no sense to me. Then why can’t you turn into a statue! There is no limitations with that! This whole Tanooki suit thing just makes me think that Nintendo is lazy. However, the game plays just fine without either of those abilities. The Tanooki suit is very fun to use and really helps complete levels in Super Mario 3D Land, it just makes me more annoyed than anything that I can’t fly.

Gameplay itself is fantastic. Mario has a full arsenal of moves including a new summersault roll move that came in handy a lot during my demo. The levels I played were well thought out, fun to play, and showcased the 3D effects well. So many great little moments. One of my favorites is when Mario is going to walk through these giant swinging spiked balls that are moving toward and away from you. Just brilliant.

The game is filled with shout outs to past Mario games, from the airship with the mid-world boss from Super Mario Bros. 3, to the way every level ends. Every level that I played ended in Mario jumping on a flagpole for the first time in a 3D mario platformer. I didn’t think this would work well, but surprisingly it worked great. They did it perfectly.

It’s hard to explain just how good Super Mario 3D Land is, and I could go on and on trying to. This game justifies spending the $170 on a 3DS (maybe not $250, but for $170 I see it being worth it). It is the perfect example of a Mario game. A great mix of quality, fun, and a great new gimic. I personally can’t wait to play more when the game comes out this November.

League of Evil Review

July 4, 2011

Note: Video is a little out of date, it has 132 levels as of this blog post.

The list of great iOS platformers is incredibly small. Most suffer from lame controls, a horrendous lag, or a  failed gimmick. The few greats are generally endless running games where you can’t control how fast or in what direction you run (Monster Dash, Canabalt, etc.). Some secede with their gimmick (Bounce On, etc.), but many don’t.

League of Evil is perfect. It’s everything you could want in a platformer. Easy to use controls, hilariously fast response time (seriously, it’s amazing), a funny story, an awesome 8bit style, a very large amount of content, and excellent level design that’ll kick your butt (but never until it hurts). It has created a flawless formula that works incredibly well as a iOS title, speed, control, and character placement on your screen (your fingers are never in the way). I am not sure how it manages to succeed where every other game has failed, but it destroys at what it does.

Gameplay involves 4 buttons. A left, a right, a jump, and a punch. Your character has to navigate complicated paths through turrets, gunmen, and boatloads of spikes. You have to double jump, wall jump, and punch your way through each level to reach the evil scientist at the end and sock it to em. This seemingly easy task isn’t easy. It’s super duper hard, but it’s never impossible. Every time you lose you just play the level again. You can do this because there are no lifes and the levels are fairly short. There are usually a few paths to complete a level, an optional suitcase to collect (which doesn’t give you a bonus, it just makes you feel awesome for collecting it), and a clock to try to beat your fastest time (you try to get a 3 star time as you play). This all adds up to a incredibly addicting combo.

If fantastic gameplay isn’t enough for you, the game has a great amount of content. With 132 fantastically hard levels that take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes (if you have to replay it over and over), you won’t run out for a long, long time. Not to mention that more free levels may be on the way.

I would recommend League of Evil to any platformer fan or non-believer of the iPhone’s ability to play great platformers. Also, did I mention this fantastic game is only $.99? I love the App Store. Even with the low price, if you’re still unsure, you can download the lite version or play 40 different levels on your computer here (the computer controls aren’t quite as epic, but just click the link and try it).

Gameplay: 10
Quality: 9
Value: 10
Sound: 9
Controls: 9

Overall: 9.5 (Get it NOW)