Grow Home (2015)

Grow Home Game Review……………………………………………………………………………

Grow Home Game Review

Grow Home is a 2015 adventure platform video game developed and published by Ubisoft. It is an authentic and overall satisfying, albeit frequently frustrating experience.

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Grow Home Game Review……………………………………………………………………………

The gameplay is pretty unique here. Yes, the goal is to climb to the highest point and that in and of itself is obviously an archetypal gameplay originated way back in the 80s platformers. But it takes that formula and does something entirely different with it. First, it adds an open world aspect to it which is great. Secondly, it contains gems and other collectibles suited for the needs of those who wish to complete one hundred percent of the game. And the last but not the least, it has such a unique gameplay style to it in terms of the climbing and jumping.

You climb the trees and when you find a bud, you grow it in a different direction towards the sky and you have to continue doing that until you reach one of the islands. When you get all of the islands, you can get to the ship and the game is over. Also, you get various other helping tools along the hiking trip such as a gliding leaf and of course the leafs can  bounce you higher and there are transportation points as well. Although I liked those tools, I still didn’t find them useful as most of them aren’t even that easy to unlock, let alone use. But the overall gameplay experience is awesome here and even though it can get difficult climbing 2000 kilometers, it was still a rewarding experience whenever you reach a higher, important point.

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Grow Home Game Review……………………………………………………………………………

Whereas Grow Home succeeds in terms of the gameplay, it mostly fails in terms of the control system which is so troublesome. It was at times even difficult to maneuver the character and the fact that the game lacks any tutorial whatsoever is even more problematic.

I liked the plot here which is simple, but works really well. The world building is absolutely magnificent. The designs are great, the world looks detailed, there is night and day etc. Not only is it original, but also entirely engrossing in its world and characters. It is also a really good mixture of adventure and platforming genres and it succeeds at both of those fronts.

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Grow Home Game Review……………………………………………………………………………

Let’s talk about the graphics. Grow Home has a very simplistic look to it, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad. Yes, its square look is at times distracting, but it is mostly visually appealing and I really enjoyed some of the sky shots that were so pleasing. For an indie game, it surely looks good.

The character design is where the game shines visually. B.U.D. is so incredibly endearing that you can’t help but love him. He is a perfect protagonist with a cute appearance as well as personality. Also, I have to talk about the physics. This game has possibly the best incorporated physics ever in a game, at least of those that I’ve played. Everything is so realistic as all movements are so natural and the meticulous approach that went into this product is evident.

The score is also absolutely magnificent. It is wonderfully atmospheric and fittingly otherworldly. It perfectly accompanies its well realized world and great visuals. The pacing is also pretty good and I don’t know why many argue that it’s short, but I found the game to be pretty long. At least it took me countless days to beat it.

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Grow Home Game Review……………………………………………………………………………

Which brings me to my next point – the game is too difficult. But not in a good way unfortunately. Because the controls are needlessly complicated and because the tutorials are lacking, it makes it more difficult to understand and play. And the major problem to me was the fact that in my opinion you can’t possibly finish Grow Home in its entirety without at least sometimes watching some walkthrough videos. I know I had to do that. Couple that with some rather unfortunate and annoying bugs and a pretty low repetitive value and you’ve got a very flawed game indeed. But because it is so original, cute and interesting, I found it satisfying nonetheless.

Grow Home is very problematic in terms of difficulty, controls and bugs, but it is visually pleasing, it has a great evocative soundtrack, it is so endearing with a cute protagonist and it has such greatly incorporated physics in it. But it is above all fun and unique enough in its gameplay that it mostly manages to transcend its many problems.

My Rating – 3.8

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Ice Climber (1985)

Ice Climber Game Review…………………………………………………….

Ice Climber Game Review

Ice Climber is a 1985 platform video game developed by Nintendo for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It is a flawed, yet mostly satisfying and admirable early platformer.

The gameplay consists of 32 levels that are basically mountains that you have to climb all the way up to recover stolen vegetables and get picked up by a giant condor. And of course there are various obstacles and enemies on the way up. I really liked the concept of this video game mostly for the fact that it is so original and very detailed and complex.

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Ice Climber Game Reveiw…………………………………………………….

Let’s talk about those enemies first. The short yeti is called Topi and he is such a fascinating creature that I absolutely loved here. Not only can he kill you, but he also has his own business and doesn’t notice you at all. That I loved and his ice repairing was without a doubt the most fascinating aspect of Ice Climber because it leads to many interesting moments during the game. He sometimes is on your way and you just want to stop him from repairing. However, sometimes that repairing can be very helpful and even necessary and those are the moments where you have to wait for the little guy to do his thing and then hit him in the head. That was so funny and authentic.

Nitpicker is this very annoying pink bird who is much more of an enemy than Topi is. Not only can he cross and go wherever he wants, but genuinely goes for the target and sometimes even at exactly the crucial moments making him somewhat difficult. And of course you have the Polar Bear whose task is to move the screen to the next height when time is up.

All of those creations are so well designed thanks to some strong character design at display here. I really liked the Eskimo protagonist as well as the aforementioned characters above as they all look great. Really, the graphics is absolutely fantastic, extraordinary even in the context of time. This looks magnificent for 1985 as it is quite polished with good designs and fine colors.

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Ice Climber Game Review…………………………………………………….

I also really liked the technical aspects in Ice Climber mainly the sound effects which are terrific and the score at the end of the levels which is so good and done in that great 80s arcade style. The level design is mostly great as some levels are so tough to get through and are perfectly constructed. I also adored the attention to detail that went into this game not only in its characters, but also in its surroundings as well as its technicalities.

But Ice Climber is far from a perfect platformer as it is plagued by some big problems. One of those problems is obvious and that is its uneven structure. Of course, you can’t expect that all of the levels get progressively harder with just the right amount of more difficult level design and tougher enemies. But again, this was ridiculous here as the levels are so clearly unconnected as you basically get one level that is super hard and then the next one is as easy as they come. That was so frustrating.

Another problem is the overall difficulty level which is not high. Yes, some levels were annoying and quite difficult, but not one of them was excruciating and too many of those levels were either too simplistic or way too easy to beat. And I have to say that the level designs were sometimes uninspired and that the overall mountains should have been higher. And yes, the longevity has to be taken into account and this game only has 32 levels and all are very short leading to a frustratingly short game and a very quick gaming experience. But despite those obvious flaws, I still liked Ice Climber, quite a bit actually because it was so fun and entertaining to play and it was charming in its humor, animation and detailed originality.

Ice Climber is a bit too easy to finish and of course uneven and short, but whereas it lacks in terms of difficulty, it more than compensates that with some great level designs, extraordinary graphics, superb humor and details, evident originality in its concept and obvious entertainment and replay values to it.

My Rating – 4.2

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Cloudberry Kingdom (2013)

Cloudberry Kingdom

Cloudberry Kingdom Game Review

Cloudberry Kingdom is a 2013 indie platform game that is one of the most difficult games I’ve played.

The gameplay here consists of various alterations of game physics from double jumping to changing size to changing shape. I liked that as it led to a lot of interesting scenarios and different gameplay methods. I liked how you have to constantly change your tactics due to changing physics. But what wasn’t so great is its variety which is lacking as the game is authentic and different early on, but it gets repetitive in its later stages which was troublesome. Plus those obstacles also became repetitive.

Cloudberry Kingdom is one of the toughest games that I have ever played! Every world here (despite the first one naturally) is just so incredibly difficult to beat and that was great. I loved how frustratingly hard those levels were and especially the various obstacles could get really problematic to get through. The last two worlds were just so difficult that it took me hours to beat them despite their short length.

Yes, the game is very short and that is its flaw. It can be beaten in a couple of days, if you are capable of such a task. It should have definitely been longer and more varied. But the level design is absolutely fantastic and the highlight of the entire game. It is not only well realized, but also so incredibly convenient as every level and obstacle here can be beaten, but most just by a margin due to some excellent designs and timing they put through. The timing is crucial for the game to the point of being too important as the overwhelming emphasis on that aspect instead of the skill itself was unfortunate.

Cloudberry Kingdom is a flawed game because it isn’t very creative or original, save for some interesting game mechanics from time to time. And the plot is typical with the characters being forgettable. The sound during those cut scenes is just too low as it isn’t synchronized with the rest of the game. And speaking of sound, the score is quite poor and easily the worst aspect of the game. It is basically angry, overloud club music which I was never a fan of and although some themes were okay, most were too loud and obnoxious and just put me at unease.

The character design is odd, but the graphics isn’t bad for an indie game and is perfectly passable, but you shouldn’t have high expectations for it. The game is mostly coherent and I loved the fact that it progressively got harder as these game usually don’t have a great balance of difficulty, but here it is mostly well handled. Because the game is so frustratingly difficult, its short running time can be said to be a positive thing.

The game is masochistic to the point of being too much at times, but I mostly liked that approach and I especially loved how short the levels were as that made the game all the more fast-paced and approachable.  Cloudberry Kingdom is too repetitive and predictable in its later levels, but I liked its traditional feel and its level design and difficulty level worked well for me. It is an infuriating, but still addictive and brief game.

Cloudberry Kingdom is a very flawed game. The graphics and score are mediocre and it can be too repetitive at times, but the gameplay is mostly fantastic due to incredibly difficult  but satisfying obstacles, superb level design and some finely incorporated game mechanics that enhance the experience wonderfully. It is repetitive and problematic, but addictive and short and one of the hardest games there is.

My Rating – 3.7

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Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (2012)

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams Review

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is a 2012 platform game by Black Forest Games. It is one of the best and most difficult recent platformers.

The gameplay is extraordinary here. The concept is genius not only in approach, but in execution which doesn’t disappoint. By shifting from cute to punk Giana, you always need to change quickly because the pace is quick and the enemies are always demanding. But both the movements from the two characters are superb with cute Giana’s movements being intended for slower and more leisurely falls and jumps and punk Giana’s movements being used for attacking and running through obstacles.

The bosses are superb with the last one naturally being the most difficult. The first one is great for having a chase first and then a fight and although it is not as demanding, it is pretty good having in mind it’s the first. The second boss is an octopus and it is phenomenal not only in its moves but also in level design. And of course the last boss is terrific. That dragon is incredibly difficult to beat and it got me at least a good 40 minutes or so of repeated attempts to successfully get past him. It has many obstacles in it and it progressively gets more frustrating and not to mention the fact that you are supposed to constantly be alarmed and moving and the right combination of moves gets you past this. It is so ridiculously hard and I loved it for that.

I liked the concept of the game. Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams has three worlds of which the first one is pretty easy, but the second is difficult and the third one is frustrating from time to time. But in order to unlock the levels, you have to find the required amount of collectibles of the previous levels. The last level of the game is somewhat hard to unlock and requires many repeated plays of the previous levels and only of the last world which makes the situation much more demanding. I liked how the diamonds are so well hidden and I liked the many secret passages present here.

Yes, the level design truly is fascinating. I respect the game for making it really difficult to find all of the collectible items and that is achieved by having great designs with perfectly hidden passages and even having the whole, vast areas filled with them. Almost all levels are worth revisiting and are so beautifully constructed.

The graphics is also fantastic. I liked its colorful approach and the difference between the two modes is clear and distinct with the one being very colorful and bright and the other being moody and dark. But it is always pleasing to the eye and so beautiful with phenomenal backgrounds and excellent 2D mechanics.

The score is absolutely amazing and one of the highlights of the game. It is always so catchy and filled with many memorable themes. The distinction between the two modes is again distinct and greatly achieved with the one being more soft and the other being more metal. But it is always great to listen to and the theme at the end of the level in particular is so catchy and immensely satisfying to hear at the finish line of each demanding journey.

The plot is typical and simplistic, but well handled with great beginning and end. The character design is superb and the two girls are super cute. The game is pretty coherent and has a great repeat value and can be played over and over again. The enemies are also phenomenal and so well designed and the sound effects and especially score is unforgettable.

The flaws here are twofold. First, the game has its bugs and some of those can be incredibly infuriating and just so frustrating. That was a big minus. And also the graphics aren’t as variable as I wanted it to be and the video game is awfully short with just three worlds to be played. But that doesn’t change the fact that this platformer is easily one of the more difficult and naturally one of the best genre games of recent years. Without any doubt.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams is one of the best platformers in recent memory with stupendous level design, great graphics, amazing and memorable score, high difficulty level, great boss battles and the game can be played many times and is always entertaining and satisfying.

My Rating – 4.7

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Super Bomberman 4 (1996)

Super Bomberman 4

Super Bomberman 4 Review

Super Bomberman 4 is a 1996 platform action video game and the fourth game in the series. In a very good franchise, this is unfortunately a weak entry.

The gameplay once again consists of battle and normal mode. Let’s talk about the normal first. It has five worlds and each consisting of eight levels. The first world is incredibly weak and probably the weakest world in this whole series unfortunately. And I noticed from the first moment playing that something is wrong and I was right. There are many unfortunate choices here such as the one where you get to carry all the eggs behind you. That was unfortunate because it was such an easy way to beat the game. And overall this whole world was filled with me wondering what was going on as there were many puzzling things about it.

The second world is much better, has some interesting designs and is harder of course, but it is still lacking and still quite forgettable. The third one is more of the same, but weaker this time around. As for the fourth world, it is the first truly great one as the enemies are so difficult here and even extremely fast which made it all the more fun.

Now of course the fifth world is the reason why this game is worth playing in the first place. As is the tradition with the franchise, the last boss is extremely difficult. You get to play all of the previous bosses before playing the last one and that is awesome as it makes it truly hard to beat and at times even frustrating. And I honestly was stuck here for a pretty long time. The first two bosses are not a big deal while the third has some interesting moves, but is also pretty manageable. But the fourth boss which is a giant worm is the most menacing. This one bothered me for a very long time as its moves are so unpredictable and it overall requires a very precise combination of quick movements and clever, targeted attacks. It is definitely the highlight of the game. And as for the fifth and the last boss, it is nowhere near the difficulty level of the previous boss, but it is definitely a feisty one.

The battle mode is lacking to be honest. The A.I. isn’t particularly smart and the design is pretty repetitive from the previous games. The eighth arena has some clever and authentic design and properties, but is not particularly difficult, engaging or that well executed as is the whole battle mode. The seventh arena is one of the highlights as it has hiding places which makes the play more difficult as the A.I. knows those things pretty well. The ninth arena is stupendous because of its solid execution of a phenomenal playground property incorporated into the battle. And the last one is also pretty good and one of the harder arenas to get through.

The graphics in Super Bomberman 4 is really good and a return to the looks of the previous games after the old-fashioned style of Super Bomberman 3. I liked its visuals and found the graphics to be one of the strongest aspects of the game. The character design is also very good and pleasant, but the same cannot be said for the level design. The sound effects are good and the score is once again a good and catchy, if repetitive one.

It is such a disappointing entry as both Super Bomberman 2 and even the first Super Bomberman are better. And naturally Super Bomberman 3 remains the best in the series as it is so strong. This was unfortunately so disappointing and I wish the final entry will be an improvement.

Super Bomberman 4 has great graphics and character design, the bosses are once again so frustratingly difficult and the highlight of the game and it overall has its strengths, but it is still so disappointing and inferior to the previous entries due to inferior level design, weak A.I. and some rather unfortunate choices.

My Rating – 3.7

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Super Bomberman 3 (1995)

Super Bomberman 3

Super Bomberman 3 Game Review

Super Bomberman 3 is a 1995 platform action video game and the third game in the series. It is such a good game and a great addition to the series.

The gameplay once again consists of normal and battle mode. Let’s talk about the former first. There are five worlds here, each with four levels. The first world is the weakest and most forgettable one, but the second one is such a great world with the mining setting wonderfully put to use with some excellent level design and of course great enemies and excellent difficulty level.

The aqua levels in the third world are not as memorable, but are still so much fun, albeit the boss is somewhat stupid. The fifth world is the first one which is truly great. Not only is its Egyptian setting beautiful to behold with some great character design, but it is very difficult and sometimes frustratingly so which makes it wonderful.

The fifth world is excellent as well. The icy levels are a blast to play but it is the enemies that are the highlights here with some clever movements and quite stupendous difficulty. And of course all of them don’t matter in comparison to the final, sixth world. It is the last world but the one which, unlike the others, cannot be accessed by cheats and has to be beaten all at once. That makes it difficult naturally, but it is the opponents that make it frustrating! They are so well made and it is interesting how many of them have to be bombed at least twice to be destroyed and that was super hard. But the level design is great and also not easy. It is most certainly the hardest and the most entertaining world in Super Bomberman 3.

But the last boss is excruciatingly hard! It was maddening to me. It has to be beaten once which is difficult, but then you get another fight when it comes into a robot and that robot is so frustrating with its many missiles and weapons. It isn’t quite as difficult as the last boss in ‘Super Bomberman 2‘, but it is definitely near that level as he is so hard and it took me hours to beat him! Not to mention the fact that the whole world has to be played just to get to him as there are no cheats.

Once again, the previous bosses fail in comparison to the last one. Not only are they much weaker, but also much less memorable. But the character design is great, the enemies are excellent and the levels are really well imagined and the worlds are diverse. The score is really good as are the sound effects. As for the graphics, it is an interesting experiment. It is a throwback to the previous Bomberman games, especially ‘Mega Bomberman’ and that differentiates it from other entries in this franchise. And although that choice was weird, I appreciated it in the end as I liked that old-fashioned graphics in the first place. It is colorful and really pleasant to watch. It is technically a solid game.

As for battle mode, this is where it shines. Not only is normal mode great, but the battle mode is also really good. Most are great. The first, fourth and eighth zones respectively are lacking, but others are excellent with the second one being really inventive, the fourth one being very entertaining and the ninth one being so interesting and different from the rest. But the tenth zone named Swamp Boogie is without a doubt the standout as it is incredibly demanding. It took me hours to beat it! And although the rest are pretty easy, that one is so hard not only for its annoyingly difficult design, but also because the opponents are so good. Yes, interestingly enough, the A.I. in Super Bomberman 3 is really good. It is of course not as good as when you play with real people, but it sometimes comes close as they can be a nuisance and they can make some really clever movements and decisions. And that really took me by surprise.

When comparing it to the previous games, Superb Bomberman 3 just might be the best one yet because it has the modes which are both great. It is better than ‘Super Bomberman’ even in the Battle Zone and it is overall even better than ‘Super Bomberman 2′ as it is more diverse and at times more difficult. It is such a great entry in the series and I really hope the next two are going to be the same.

Super Bomberman 3 is nice to look at, really addictive and so fun. Both modes are well crafted, the opponents are great and the boss is superb which are all the reasons why it just might me the best entry in the series yet. Such a fun and demanding experience.

My Rating – 4.6

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Super Bomberman 2 (1994)

Super Bomberman 2Super Bomberman 2 Review

Super Bomberman 2 is a 1994 platform action video game and the second game in the series. It is mostly a very good game and an improvement on the original.

This game once again consists of normal and battle mode. First I will talk about the normal mode as it is the game’s standout feature. It is mostly spectacular. I was blown away by how good it is. It is definitely much better than the one in ‘Super Bomberman‘ mainly because it is much more demanding. It consists of five worlds with each having eight levels within. The first world is one of the weakest, but still good. The level design is very memorable here and excellently executed and it also has some puzzles in it as well and while I am not a fan of them, they were still interesting. This is a solidly demanding world, but mostly the one which is just a foreplay.

The second volcanic world is even better in terms of difficulty as it is very annoying at times and it has its frustrating moments mainly the fact that everything you destroy can pop up again later and the enemies are good but more on them later. The third world is the easiest and shortest without a doubt and while that is troublesome, the fact that it incorporates some incredibly inventive level design, but most importantly new gameplay, makes it good. It is the first world in the whole series where the gameplay isn’t as linear and where it has some pretty interesting new features. And it is accompanied by a very cute music.

The mechanical forth world is the easiest and also the most forgettable one. Yes, the setting is intriguing, but it is still too easy and the design could have been better. But the moving platforms are introduced here and that was interesting. The last fifth world takes us underwater and features arguably the finest levels, not to mention the most difficult. The disappearing parts are frustratingly difficult, some of the enemies are so hard and above all the inclusion of hidden bombs make this world the hardest and the most frustrating. It took me the most to get past this level undoubtedly.

Now, the enemies are superb and some are so fast and have such sudden attacks that they really make the game difficult. As for the bosses, most are really well designed and in terms of strength, quite solid, but rarely too good. Except for the last boss. Now, this got personal. This last boss is so incredibly powerful that it took me hours to beat him and I literally played just his level as much as all of the other levels combined! Yes, he is that good. But more frustrating than anything else. Also, the whole inclusion of another fight after it with just the eye of the monster staying behind to fight is so unexpected and adding to its longevity and difficulty. I also forgot to mention that I absolutely loved its incorporation of two bosses. You get one boss in front of the other one and in that previous level you need to beat him while also gathering power-ups in order to beat the other guy. That was great as the game provided you with an extra chance, but also an extra level. I really loved that part which is one of the main reasons why the whole game works.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about the battle mode. It is this time inferior to the battle mode in the previous entry because the opponents are just so weak. Yes, the designs are good and there are some nicely executed zones, but the lack of stronger opponents made it too easy to beat. The fifth, seventh and tenth zones are the highlights and the very best. The fifth has an interesting design, the seventh is very authentic with its emphasis on some new elements and the tenth introduces jumping over the zones which is certainly a new and interesting addition to the battle. But the weak A.I. just ruined it for me and it is best to play this game with real people.

The level design is great and the graphics and character design is pretty good and better than before. I also liked its score as it has some really catchy themes. There were also no bugs, it was immensely entertaining and the concept is once again great. And even the plot is better here and the difficulty is excellent with the bosses being very good as well. Comparing it to its predecessor, it is weaker in battle mode, but much better in adventure mode which is why it is overall a better and better crafted game and I can’t wait to see if the third one is going to be even better.

Super Bomberman 2 is inferior to its predecessor when it comes to battle mode, but as for adventure mode, it is infinitely better with a much more demanding A.I. and level design and having some really inventive levels as well. It is a very well crafted and above all immensely difficult and entertaining entry in the franchise.

My Rating – 4.4

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Super Bomberman (1993)

Super BombermanSuper Bomberman Game Review

Super Bomberman is a 1993 platform action video game and the first game in the series. It is surprisingly good given the fact that it is the very first.

The gameplay here is great whether you choose to play the battle or the normal mode. First I will talk about the latter. It consists of six worlds each having eight stages within. The last of the eight is the boss fight. Now, I absolutely adore this series in both competitive and single-player mode. I love that it is divided into distinct worlds and each with its own set of enemies. But my flaw with it in this particular game is twofold. First, it is way too short to be enjoyed more. It just has six worlds and it is easily finished. My second and much bigger problem is that Super Bomberman is overly simple to beat. The difficulty should have been much higher. Now, the enemies are not the problem as some of them are annoyingly difficult in the levels themselves with great abilities, but the bosses are the biggest problem that the game never overcame. They are just too easy when compared to the usual levels when they should be harder. Yes, some of them are okay and most have interesting designs and abilities, but both the number of lives you get and the bosses’ easy to predict movements make them too easy to finish off.

That is one of the biggest reasons why it is much inferior to ‘Mega Bomberman‘ which is in my opinion one of the greatest video games in history and my personally all-time favorite. I absolutely love that game and that is not only for its addictive battle mode, but for how difficult the normal mode is as well which is the reason why Super Bomberman can never compare. But it can compare in the battle modes for sure.

Yes, the battle mode here is stupendous. It is in some ways even better than in the aforementioned game. It has more stages to choose from, with 12 of them to be exact, most of which highly entertaining. Some are quite weak with the Power Zone being problematic, Normal Zone having the unfortunate choice of putting you in the middle of the arena which is super weird and reduces the length of the play and Western Zone is just a weakly animated rendering of the first stage with no distinguishing qualities whatsoever. But all of the other stages are absolutely superb and some, which are the same as in ‘Mega Bomberman‘, are first conceived here as this is the earlier game and that is why I appreciate it most. The Jump Zone is probably the most unique and weird as well, Tunnel Zone is very well executed and one of the hardest, Duel Zone is a different take on the all-out fight with the items spread throughout the whole arena. Light Zone is very frustrating in its difficulty and the most authentic for sure and the Speed Zone is also a standout.

It is always better to play the battle mode with a friend and an actual human being than with a computer. However, the A.I. in Super Bomberman is in some ways better than the one in my favorite game, but still weaker in some aspects. It is weaker because the opponents sometimes just stop fighting for some reason and stay with the bomb and await their doom which is just so ridiculous. However, on the other side, they can use special abilities here which is a refreshing approach. Also, they surprised me at times with violent and pretty well organized attacks which is the reason why my whole experience with battle mode lasted so much longer than with the adventure one.

But the level design is easily the highlight of the whole game in both modes. It is also super entertaining to play and it is just fun with a great concept as always. The character design is solid, the graphics are okay for the time but nothing too remarkable and the lack of a story is troublesome. But the score is marvelous and though too fast, it is excellent as is the sound. And although the opponents are weak in the story, the enemies in battles are surprisingly good. And Super Bomberman is also highly original in some designs of the levels and stages. And there were no bugs whatsoever which is a great accomplishment.

Super Bomberman does last for an incredible short time and the story mode is lacking and rather easy, but the battle mode is the highlight with some incredibly well imagined stages, stupendous enemies and an overall addictive gameplay, solid soundtrack and great level design. It is a flawed, but still a stupendous game for being the first in the series.

My Rating – 3.9

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Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (2013 video game)

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a 2013 platform video game and a remake of the original 1990 game of the same name. It is definitely not on par with the original, but it has its many strengths.

The gameplay is solid, but it has many problems. First off, the controls. The controls are definitely weak and they can be frustrating to some. I got used to them eventually, but it is definitely flawed mostly because the jumping is awfully done with barely any choice given to the player. Also, the inclusion of a castle between the levels where you can freely roam is a nice element added to the game, but it barely added anything because you cannot do much there. However, what is good is that the game is fun, as fun as the original. And I really had a great time playing it. I also love its 2.5D approach. I love 2D way more than 3D, but this game managed to have many sequences that are in the middle and that created some interesting gameplay as well as some beautiful parts visually.

Speaking of the visuals, the graphics is really good with a nicely updated cartoon feel from the original. I like the color palette and the levels are somewhat inventive and really well animated. The character design is also solid, if the villains are too reminiscent to some classic Disney villains. What I was not a fan of are the cut-scenes. They are probably the major problem the game never overcame. I don’t know why, but they decided to just put images instead of movies in those sequences and it just felt cheap. And some characters and some parts in the game felt dated visually.

The narrator can be annoying and I can see how most people would hate him, but he was not bad in my opinion. Some lines of his are even charming and he brought that innocent feel to this game that I really appreciated. The voice cast is also quite good with Mickey’s voice being very good and true to his character. The story is typical and simplistic, but it is endearing and very childlike which I liked. But interface is quite poor with weak menus and options and the lack of choice to skip the cut scenes after you die is really unfortunate.

As for the difficulty level, it is solid. It is never nearly as hard as its predecessor and some parts are incredibly easy. Also the bosses are not properly scaled with the later ones being somewhat weaker than the previous bosses. But the last boss is really good and it took me time to defeat her. I overall liked all of the bosses and they are really well realized. I also liked the number of lives you get which is neither too small nor too big. It is overall not that hard, but there are some very difficult levels in here and the level design overall is really good and a beautiful throwback to classic platformers from the 80s and 90s.

I absolutely love the soundtrack in Castle of Illusion. It is so good and so charmingly old-fashioned and catchy that it brought me back to the nineties instantly. The theme after every completed level is so fun. As for the longevity, that is certainly a problem as the game is too short. It is well split into levels and worlds, but it is way too short and can literally be played and finished in a couple of hours.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse is a fun game and a nice remake of the original. It isn’t as good or as difficult as the original, but it still has its hard moments, the bosses are all very well done and the soundtrack is superb. Though the cut-scenes are weak, the controls are problematic and the game is too short, the 2.5D approach is fantastic and inventive, the graphics is mostly good, the level design is great and it is overall a very entertaining and charming platformer.

My Rating – 3.7

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Mega Man 2 (1988)

Mega Man 2

 

Mega Man Review

Mega Man 2 is a 1988 platform game published by Capcom for NES. It is a sequel to a classic 1987’s ‘Mega Man’ and is usually regarded as the best in the franchise for a bunch of good reasons.

The gameplay is absolutely amazing. It takes the concept from the original and even takes it to higher levels. You have the level select option which is absolutely spectacular. But what takes it to the next level is Dr. Willy’s fortress which is the last level or a world of levels to be exact. And what is there to say except that it is probably the finest finale ever in a video game, or at least one of the best. You have to defeat each of his henchmen: Air Man, Bubble Man, Metal Man etc. And when you defeat all of them, you arrive to this villain’s fortress. There awaits you not only another six levels, but also you have to beat all of his henchmen once again in order to progress to Dr. Willy afterwards. It is amazing, it was literally the hardest time ever I’ve had with a video game, it took me one whole evening to finish the last levels and bosses. It is one of the hardest games I have ever played, even more difficult than the original or even ‘Super Meat Boy’.

I like in the ending not only how difficult it is, but also how Mega Man 2 finishes off with a story, unlike its predecessor which was my chief complaint there. The story is simplistic, but it works for this genre perfectly and I like all the powers, fighting styles and designs of all the bosses. Those attributes distinguish them wonderfully. But what is even more amazing than the presence of a story and excellent design is definitely the incorporation of power-ups. Unlike ‘Mega Man‘, this video game lets you obtain a weapon’s power of each of the bosses you meet. And those powers later on have to be used in Dr. Willy’s fortress in the levels which cannot be finished without them. And although it makes it a bit too hard and convoluted, it is still a masterful feature deftly executed, especially for such an old game.

My only complaint here is the uneven difficulty which is present even more than in the original. Yes, it is great that the last level is so difficult and powerful, but it is still a bit too much, making it exceedingly frustrating to finish it. But the problem is how before that, I literally thought the game was too easy which just goes to show how uneven it is, starting easy and then suddenly going incredibly hard. And the final fight was too easy and compared to the previous bosses, Dr. Willy was too easy to beat. But those are just minor flaws that don’t prevent this game from reaching a masterpiece status in my opinion.

The level design is once again superb with at times seemingly impossible scenarios which is a testament to the makers’ great feel. And visually, Mega Man 2 is terrific. It never improved too much from the first one and it can be too garish at times, but the graphics are still excellent with some terrific character design, weapon design and a superb attention to detail. And the music is very good, but not quite on the level ofMega Man. It may seem like I too much compare it negatively to the original, but in those technical aspects, the original is better, but just slightly. However, more importantly, this is still a bit better video game in my opinion as it is more difficult and way too memorable and authentic with a lot of excellent choices you get to have.

With amazing level design, great incorporation of a story, different styles and weapons of the bosses and a terrific finale with a set of powerful levels, incredibly frustrating fights and a memorable conclusion, Mega Man 2 may be a bit weaker technically when compared to its predecessor, but it is still in substance a better game with so much more options at display here and a difficulty level which is just incredible. It is undoubtedly a masterpiece, an eternal classic and one of the finest platformers ever made.

My Rating – 4,9

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