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Hollow Knight Review

Hollow Knight Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of review.

Last February, a little game called Hollow Knight was released on Steam to critical acclaim. It actually started as a Kickstarter campaign that raised $57,000 AUD (or $42,054 US) in 2014 and took three years to develop. Team Cherry Games would also announce that the game would come to the Nintendo Switch. After a year of waiting, it came to Nintendo’s new console complete with all the expansions that were released as well as whatever yet to come. Now that it has reached the Switch, is this game worth the wait?

The plot focuses on a knight who goes on a journey to uncover the truth about Hallownest, an insect kingdom that has long been abandoned. But it’s depths brought many adventurers who wish to seek out its treasures and mysteries. But as this knight journeys through these depths, he will uncover many secrets and obstacles that dare to get in the way. All of this culminates in a battle to save Hallownest from a deadly plague that is consuming and corrupting the kingdom and its inhabitants.

Most of the story is told as you play through the game along with interacting with the world’s inhabitants. It’s similar like Metroid Prime in some ways. I kind of like it. As you play, you learn what happens in the world and what you can do. Not only that but the game delivers on its atmosphere and you can feel the sense of dread and loneliness that exists. This gives players a drive to see what happens in the end. It’s good stuff.

Hollow Knight is a Metroidvania-style game, emphasizing on exploration, discovery and challenge. It has many features that have it stand out from the rest while providing a good amount of challenge. You play as a small Knight who starts off weak and as you explore Hallownest in its many areas, you find a variety of items & abilities that can make the experience easier. The game has currency in the form of Geo and you use it for a variety of things such as buying charms and upgrades for your character, getting new attacks, expanding the world map, etc. It’s a double edged sword however since this game also has a bit of Souls mentality meaning that when you die, you lose your Geo and you need to recover your shadow to get it back. If you succeed, you get your stuff but fail again and it’s gone. It can be gutwrenching to see all the Geo you earned be lost but it should let players know to be wary and not be careless.

Equipping charms can customize the Knight itself to your liking. Charms provide a variety of buffs depending on their effects and how much they require equipping. This I feel is what makes Hollow Knight stand out since you can pretty much have him any way you like. He can have more health, consume less Soul to unleash attacks, have the range of his weapon, the Nail extend its range, etc. How you have him depends on the player and it’s pretty awesome. It also has access of Soul, the MP of the game. You get Soul by attacking enemies. Soul can be used either to restore your health or to unleash magic based attacks and there are many it can use to defend itself from enemies & players will need to use everything the Knight has at its disposal. In addition there is Essence you can collect that can upgrade the nail as a Dream Nail of sorts. Finding them requires a lot of exploring. There are boss battles aplenty with some requiring a lot of careful timing and skill & all of them are good.

Since the game follows the Metroidvania-style formula, it also reflects on its length. The game can be completed at around 8-10 hours but those who wish to 100% it expect it to rise up by about 5-6 hours. Replay value is strong since after beating the game, unlocks a tougher difficulty called Steel Soul. Plus there are achievements with some requiring players to beat the game at a faster time. Yep. Speedrunners will have a field day with a game like this. It’s also a collectathon, so expect to spend time trying to find everything too. As someone who has spent over 20 hours with this game, it says a lot since the game is just that enjoyable.

From a presentation standpoint, it’s well done. Hollow Knight has a presentation that delivers. Each area you visit is different and they all stand out whether it is the Crossroads you start traveling in or other places like the Abyss. They all feel different, each with their own gimmick and challenge. It all builds itself on atmosphere, the feeling that you are traveling deep within a forgotten kingdom and all you can do is to survive against whatever comes your way. It’s also in 2D and it’s the way it should be. The music is good with some pretty good tracks. Intense moments like the boss battles change things to one of tension and the feeling that you will be up against an impossible obstacle is amazing. Even the feeling of taking down said challenge makes it rewarding too.

Hollow Knight has additional content in the form of free updates. The updates add features such as new boss battles, items, quests and even balance fixes. The Switch version thankfully has all of this included from the get-go & with the next update coming in the form of Gods & Glory, it’s all the more reason to go in for another round.

As far as any flaws go, the game is a challenging one. The Souls mentality is there but it doesn’t hinder you as much. Thankfully the map tells you where you last died and after a few hits you regain what you lost. My only negative that I have found from my experience is that some boss battles can be a pain unless you are more prepared. They emphasize on strategy as well as trial and error. Though having the right gear can help, most of the time it’s all trial & error. Also save points are few and far between and sometimes not having enough places to save can be a bother especially if you are deep into an area. Fortunately you do get the option to teleport and if used right can lead you somewhere safe. Though expect a while to travel back to where you were.

For a game that has now reached Nintendo’s newest and successful console, Hollow Knight is great. Hollow Knight delivers in its challenge while offering a game that is heavy on its atmosphere, strategy and replayability. It does have a little bit of Dark Souls in some cases but it’s more Metroidvania than anything else. At only $15, you can’t go wrong with a game like this. Team Cherry Games made the right move in bringing it to the Switch & with Gods and Glory coming, it’ll convince me to give the game one more go around. I recommend Hollow Knight. It’s worth it.

I give Hollow Knight a solid 9 out of 10. It earns my personal Seal of Approval & I highly recommend this game.

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Shantae Half-Genie Hero Review

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased copy for the sake of this review.

Why do franchises survive? Why do they endure? That’s a question many people wonder about. How can a franchise be able to survive despite not having much recognition? Such is the case of one called Shantae. It began in 2001, released for the Game Boy Color that was well received but was released during the end of the handheld’s life cycle. Despite this, Shantae would continue to thrive with two more sequels: Risky’s Revenge and The Pirate’s Curse. Come 2013 and WayForward announced that a new Shantae game would come. With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, they succeed and in 2016, WayForward releases the 4th entry in the series, Half-Genie Hero. Does Half-Genie Hero do what Mighty No. 9 could not?

Half-Genie Hero takes place some time after the events of the third game, The Pirate’s Curse. On one eventful night, Shantae gets word that the Genie Realm would be in danger. So she heads to town only for Risky Boots to invade and steal the design for the Dynamo. After driving Risky and her crew off, her uncle works on an invention that can help drive away evil threats. So Shantae goes on a journey to help her uncle get the parts needed for his invention, unaware that it’s all part of Risky Boots’ master plan.

It’s plot is what you would expect from a game like this and it’s alright in my book. It starts off simple enough but gets interesting when you reach the end. Pretty okay and a bit satisfactory to boot.

WayForward put a lot of care and love into the Shantae series and Half-Genie Hero is no exception. The game’s a platformer but has a few things that differentiate it from other games. Shantae still plays like she was in previous games and she has most of her familiar moves. Returning to the series is her morphing ability, allowing her to shape shift into one of many animals that she unlocks throughout the game. She does this by means of dancing and you can choose which animal to use. This time around, the transformations offer Shantae a lot of advantages and are necessary in order to beat the game. There are a total of 8 transformations for her to use. She also get access to additional dances that provide support.

Not only that but the game is more of a collect-o-thon than anything else. Gems are the game’s currency and you use them to unlock various abilities for Shantae. All of them are useful. There are also other items to find as well such as Heart Holders that increase your max health and a game like this wouldn’t be complete without trade sequences. Throughout the game, you will be tasked to return to previous areas to acquire items necessary for you to trade with others. All of it will culminate in access to the next area. It does get a bit tedious after a while but necessary if you plan on completing the game 100%. Boss battles are aplenty here with some requiring a lot of skill to win.

Half-Genie Hero isn’t a long game. If you just plan on beating it, you’ll complete it in roughly 6-8 hours and trying to reach 100% will net you about an hour or so more. The replay value is high here, especially for those that like to speedrun the game. For presentation, the game is awesome. WayForward did a fantastic job on it and it shows. Not only that but the game runs great at 60fps. A well done job if I do say so myself. The music needs no words. Jake Kaufman does it again delivering some great tunes. Some songs are just too good to listen to such as Tassel Town, Neo Burning Town and others. All of them are a delight to enjoy. There is voice acting as well. Christina Vee does a great job as Shantae but also as Risky Boots as well. Simply put, this game was made with a lot of love and respect and it shows.

Since this game was made possible via Kickstarter, the game also has DLC and there are several. First is Risky Boots’ Quest, taking place during the events of the game. You play as Risky Boots as she goes on her own journey to acquire what she needs so that he can rule Sequin Land. Next is Friends to the End, focusing on Sky, Bolo and Rottytops. In this mode, the three of them head inside Shantae’s mind to save her from her dark counterpart, Nega-Shantae. Last is a special costume set giving players access to three modes; Ninja Mode, Beach Mode and Officer Mode. These are what-if stories that detail Shantae in different situations and offer different gameplay. Basically this game has a lot to do and WayForward even added a harder difficulty called Hardcore Mode that will push players’ skills to their limits. You can buy all of it as DLC but for anyone that wants it all in one, they released the Day-One Ultimate Edition that contains all of it and more. The Day One Ultimate Edition is a major recommendation.

There aren’t many flaws in the game and yeah, the game requires a lot to do if you wish to complete 100% but overall, it’s a fun experience. Having played the game many times, it’s still fun. It really is though it makes you wonder if their Kickstarter did better so WayForward can bring out even more content. Imagine the possibilities.

Half-Genie Hero does everything that Mighty No. 9 could not. The game looks great, it plays great, it has great music and it offers a lot for your money’s worth. For the franchise’s fourth game, WayForward, Matt Bozon and Jake Kaufman delivered. The best part is that it’s not expensive but if you want to have everything in one, the Day One Ultimate Edition is a definite recommendation. It’s worth the full purchase price. Let’s hope these guys can keep at it and hopefully give us more… instead of ports of older games.

I give Shantae: Half-Genie Hero my highest rating… a perfect 10 out of 10. It earns my full on seal of approval.

Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition Review

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the review.

In 2014, Nintendo along with Koei Tecmo, Omega Force and Team Ninja teamed up to give us a little game called Hyrule Warriors. Taking the Dynasty Warriors (or Musou series) formula and incorporate Legend of Zelda characters has made the game a must-buy for anyone who had a Wii U. Two years later, Hyrule Warriors goes to handheld territory with Hyrule Warriors Legends. It was all right despite many problems that plagued it. Now in 2018, Nintendo announced that they were bringing Hyrule Warriors to the Switch in the form of Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition. Taking all the content from the previous versions and putting it into one big package, does it deliver? Is this the best version of Hyrule Warriors? Let’s find out.

The plot details Link and his allies trying to save Hyrule from a sorceress named Cia. Cia ultimately uses the Triforce to bring out areas from previous Zelda games in an attempt to resurrect her master, Ganondorf. Eventually it all culminates in a fight to save Hyrule from this evil and many others who threaten them.

It’s a simple Zelda story at best and it makes sense. All players would prefer to do is get into the action. The story at least follows at a good pace from start to finish. Not only that but this game also includes additional tales that focus on other characters such as Cia and Linkle. It helps make the game feel complete and I like it.

If you’ve played a Mosou game then you will feel right at home with Hyrule Warriors Definitive Edition. The game is still fun to play and easy to get into. Legend Mode is the game’s story mode where you complete the story using various characters from the Zelda series. Definitive Edition includes every scenario from the previous games. It also comes with multiple difficulties for players to challenge themselves with. Free Play is the same as Legend but you can choose any character you wish. Adventure Mode has you taking part in battles to earn Rewards for your characters. Some rewards can only be found after using an Item Card on it. All the content from the previous Hyrule Warriors games are in here, giving players a lot to do and acquire. With Definitive Edition, you can buy item cards once you find one in the world making things a lot easier and less of a grind. Challenge Mode lets you test your mettle with various battle scenarios. The game also has a “My Fairy” Mode where you can check out any fairies you find in the Adventure Mode and customize them however you like. It was a mode that was in the 3DS version but now incorporated here, meaning the fairies look a lot better in HD.

Much of the gameplay from the previous Hyrule Warriors games are in this one so players won’t have to worry about anything new. Not only that but the game’s presentation is a step up from the original. Compared to the Wii U and 3DS versions, this game runs at 1080p in 60 fps in TV mode. Multiplayer is also in this game with 2-player split screen and it can be done on one Switch console, both in TV mode and on the device. A big step up from the Wii U version so now both players can play the game on one screen instead of relying on the screen and gamepad. Legend Mode will take players 10-12 hours to beat and with multiple difficulties, Gold Skulltulas to collect and a Very Hard mode after completing it raises it even further. Adventure Mode will take the length and raise it up to the hundreds. It’s a game that you won’t put down.

The game is still great to look at and with the increased resolution makes it better. Like the previous games, there’s no voice acting. The game’s cutscenes are good to watch and the music is still stellar. I honestly have no complaints with the game. Sure there will be instances where grinding to get materials can be a bother but it alleviates since you are going to kick butt with Zelda characters. Opinions, I know but from my personal experience, I enjoyed this game.

Nintendo made the right choice in bringing Hyrule Warriors to the Switch. A game that is a lot of fun to play but has so much to do that people will spend hours on to make it possible. Plus with 1080p resolution and 60 fps, it’s an amazing game. If you missed out on this game and you have a Switch, this game is a definitive recommendation. It’s worth the full $60 price and with all the content it has I can’t say it enough. This is the true Hyrule Warriors experience hands down. I highly recommend this.

I give Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition a solid 9 out of 10. It is a must-buy game and earns my seal of approval.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review

Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the purpose of review.

In 2010, a little game called Xenoblade Chronicles was released for the Nintendo Wii. It was a game that wouldn’t come to America until 2012. It met with not only critical acclaim but also commercial success. Last January, Nintendo announced that a new Xenoblade game would be coming to their new console, the Nintendo Switch. It would be known as Xenoblade Chronicles 2. It would come out 11 months later, serving as a sequel to the first game. The question now is this… does it hold up well against its predecessor?

The game’s story centers on Rex, a 15-year old salvager who is offered a job to recover a large, ancient ship. Accompanied by several Drivers, he wanders off only to find a strange sword and a mysterious girl. Approaching it, he is killed by Jin but then the girl, Pyra offers him a second chance. The only catch is that he takes her to a place called Elysium. He accepts and soon become Pyra’s driver. After a clash, Rex and Pyra go on a journey. They meet many friends, foes and people in their travels, culminating in a fight against good and evil for the fate of their home in Alrest.

Games like this offer much in terms of plot and this is no exception. The game’s story was intriguing, intense and it had me wanting more. From start to finish, it was great. By the time it’s over, you’ll be shedding tears. From my personal experience, it already had and then some.

Xenoblade 2’s gameplay is similar to the original in many aspects. You control a party of three characters traveling through the world of Alrest. It’s split between two styles: field and battle. In the field, you travel around many places where you can accept quests, go to town to buy supplies, find treasure, salvage and in many cases encounter monsters. Sometimes when you explore, you unlock areas that you can be able to travel to quickly. The game has fast travel and it’s a welcome feature in case the journey becomes a slog. Battle is where things play out similar to the original. Your party attacks anything automatically but you have to manage how your character performs. Since you have a total of five party members, Monolith Soft decided to compensate by giving each party member, or Driver, access to specialized being called Blades.

Blades are Xenoblade 2’s main focus. You obtain them from using special items called Core Crystals. When you use one, it goes into a lottery-like system where some cases you get a common Blade and sometimes, you can get a Blade that is rare. Rare Blades are beings that not only have personalities but also provide in terms of battle and on the field. They come in three categories: Attacker, Healer and Tank. They provide support for Drivers and in some cases assist in delivering powerful attacks. Players who devote time in building Trust with the blades can unlock improvements to their respective stats via Affinity Chart but also access to quests that go deep into each Blade. Blades also have a use on the Field with various techniques that help their Drivers do a variety of things like solve puzzles, find hidden areas, etc. They’re also helpful when Blade Combos and Chain Attacks go into play. Blade Combos are powerful attacks that can deal heavy damage and with the right combination can seal away effects that can be beneficial to the party. Chain Attacks return from the previous game but it also integrates into Blade Combos. Dealing the right elemental damage can lead to an Orb shattering and causing an Elemental Burst. This extends the chain attack and it can lead to serious damage if used well enough.

Blades also have another use and it’s in the form of Merc Missions. You can send out Blades that are not in use on missions where they can go and complete jobs. They lead to not only good rewards but also boosts toward their stats. Missions also depend on a town’s development level so if you want access to more missions, you need to do more things in the town you’re in.

A game like Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is going to take players hours to beat. Truth be told, expect to spend more than 100 hours, maybe more. DLC is included as well but unlike other games, the DLC for Xenoblade 2 offer not only more quests but also items that can be helpful on your journey. New Game + extends the length even more, offering players even more to do to the point where players can get special Blades. Xenoblade 2 offers so much for a $60 game and that’s saying a lot.

As far as presentation goes, the game is truly amazing. Although the game doesn’t run at 60fps, only 30, it’s still just as good. The transitions from field to battle are seamless and immediate. Characters look good with some though feeling like they cater to people who like anime and such. Not that it’s a bad thing. Voice acting is good in some areas though sometimes it can lead to some questionable things. Thankfully the game also comes with dual voice acting, English and Japanese. Japanese came as a free DLC. Again, not a bad thing but if you feel the English isn’t your liking, there’s an alternative. Where do I even start with the music? The music is awesome. Yasunori Mitsuda along with ACE, Kenji Miramatsu and Manami Kiyota deliver a soundtrack that is gold. Pure gold. Some tunes are outright addicting to listen to and gets you pumped for more. I personally love it.

But for as much as I enjoy the game for all its positives, there are also a bit of criticisms. This game will make you grind to get stronger… a lot. The game’s difficulty can go from being normal to difficult at the drop of a hat. There are many instances where it happens and for players, it can turn them off. Sure a bit of planning can help but yeah, that I feel is one thing that disappointed me. Also the game kind of follows some of the many tropes that are seen in stuff like anime and manga. It’s not bad but I feel it hampered the game’s plot a little. This shouldn’t stop players from enjoying a game as grand as this.

Overall, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 took everything that made the first game great and multiplied it ten-fold. The story intriguing, the gameplay and battle system are easy to get into and in some cases really addicting, it’s presentation is solid with bonus points going to its rocking soundtrack and then some. Had it not be for its criticisms, I would say the game would deserve all the praise and more. Regardless if you own a Switch, this is one journey you don’t want to miss out on. I promise you that.

I give Xenoblade Chronicles 2 a 9.5 out of 10. This game is worth the full purchase price and then some. It earns my personal seal of approval hands down!

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of this review.

The Nintendo Wii U may have been an utter failure but it was home to games that were pretty good. In 2014, Nintendo and Retro Studios released Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze. The sequel to 2008’s Donkey Kong Country Returns, the game had a mixed reception. Not only that but it was hampered due to being on a console few people were interested in, as well as some controversy. In recent times, Nintendo has been on a roll releasing updated ports of Wii U titles in the hopes of garnering interest. It paid off with games like Bayonetta 1 & 2 as well as Pokken Tournament DX. Now another game joins the Switch library as Tropical Freeze makes a return. Will the addition of Funky Mode make the game any better than it already has?

Since the game is a port of a Wii U title, the plot hasn’t changed. On DK Island, Donkey Kong is celebrating his birthday with his family. Everything’s going well until the arrival of a threat that brings in the chill. The Snowmads arrive, driving the Kongs out of their home and turning the island into a winter wonderland. Far from their home, it’s up to DK and his family to travel from island to island in hopes of driving the Snowmad tribe away and restore their home. It’s a simple plot that serves to get the game going. Nothing special.

Gameplay in Tropical Freeze is similar to the Wii U version except with the Switch, you have access to three different control options: Switch Pro, Joycon Controller and individual Joycon. The controls are similar in all three so you don’t have to worry about any additional changes. It’s simple to the point where you can just pick up and play. Co-op is also in the game. The good news is that each player can use any of the following three control options to play. Way better than how it’s done on the Wii U in my opinion.

Funky Mode is this game’s exclusive mode. Since Tropical Freeze is a very hard and challenging game, Nintendo decides to ease up on the difficulty by having an entirely new mode. It’s similar to the 3DS port of DKC Returns where they added New Mode. Funky Mode adds a bunch of changes along with the addition of a new playable character: Funky Kong. Funky serves as a jump in for new and experienced players. He has so many abilities that he pretty much serves as an Easy Mode. From my experience, he’s really fun to use and helps alleviate some of the difficulty the game has. Funky Mode isn’t just limited to a new character. Similar to DKCR 3D’s New Mode, you can still play as DK and his family but they’ll not only have an extra heart but you get access to use items while in a level. For anyone who feels like the game is too difficult, consider this a needed reprieve. There is still the Original Mode for anyone that is interested in playing the original Tropical Freeze.

The game isn’t long, clocking in at about 6-8 hours if you just want to beat it, with a couple more hours thanks to Funky Mode. For those who want to beat it 100%, expect it to be longer by a few more hours. This also includes hard mode as well. The game offers a lot not only for single-player but for co-op as well.

Compared to the Wii U version, this is a step-up. The game goes from 720 to a solid 1080p at 60fps when docked. Its presentation is incredible. The visuals are some of the best I’ve ever seen in a video game. Retro Studios really took great care in keeping the game, as it should be without making sacrifices. The load times are faster too. On Wii U, it takes 20-30 seconds to load but on the Switch, it’s reduced to 8-10 seconds. It’s a big improvement. The music is still just as great to listen to. David Wise delivered on the soundtrack and he should be praised from now to the end of time.

But although there is much praise on the game, there are a few flaws. The game is still hard. Even if you are on Funky Mode, the game will push players to their limits. Not only that but Retro decided to give players a bit of leeway. Should you lose more than 9 lives, you have the option to move on to the next area. But there’s a catch: should you choose to move onto the next level, the level you exited counts as incomplete. It’s a risk/reward but in my opinion, it shouldn’t be included. It’s a simple nitpick… a minor one at best.

Tropical Freeze is still just as good as it was in the Wii U. The addition of Funky Mode adds something new to a familiar experience. Not only that but bringing the game up to 1080p gives it more clarity. Everything else is just as you remember but better. Despite the increased difficulty, the game is still fun whether by yourself or with a friend. For anyone who had played this, you will feel right at home but for those who didn’t, it’s a game you don’t want to miss out on. I guarantee it

I give Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze a solid 9 out of 10. It’s worth your money!

Kirby Star Allies Review

Kirby Star Allies Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the purpose of review.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It’s an adage that the Kirby series has stood by for more than two decades. Whether on a Nintendo console or handheld, this franchise never disappoints and each game brings something new while having the same familiar style. One year after the release of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo brings us a new Kirby game onto the new console: Kirby Star Allies. Does this game still follow the adage or does it decide to try something different to set it apart?

Let’s get the plot underway. The story involves a ritual gone bad, sending strange dark fragments, Jamba Hearts all over the cosmos. Some end up on Planet Popstar, affecting many of its inhabitants such as King Dedede & Meta Knight. It affects Kirby but in a different way. Sensing trouble, he heads off, making friends along the way. Eventually they learn that Popstar isn’t the only place that was affected by Jamba Hearts. Kirby and his friends travel from planet to planet, taking on anything that’s in their way, as they must fight to save the universe against a dark force that threatens everything.

Kirby games aren’t always best known for their stories and it’s no exception. It’s pretty much a good vs. evil plot. Evil force threatens the world and it’s people, good guys go on a journey, they take down the bad guys and save the day. Not much to say on it. Compared to previous Kirby games, this story is a bit tame and traditional. Power of friendship huh?

If you have played a Kirby game, then the gameplay for it is straight to the point. For anyone who hasn’t, this is a platforming game where you take control as Kirby and you go from start to finish completing stages while dodging enemies, solving puzzles and taking on bosses. Kirby plays as you expect as he can run, slide or float. He can suck in enemies and acquire their powers to provide versatility, giving him access to 28 different abilities. New ones are introduced such as Water, Artist, Spider and Festival. He also has access to the game’s nifty gimmick. The gimmick is of course Allies and by throwing a Friend Heart at an enemy, they become their ally. It’s similar to Kirby Superstar where with a button press, Kirby can create an ally to join him. Here, you can have up to 3 allies at your disposal with each enemy having different advantages & disadvantages. Not only that but depending on what allies you have, with a simple press of the Up button, Kirby can also change whatever power he has and enhances it, boosting attack and its properties. It’s not limited to Kirby as certain allies can also access this as well. This offers players a lot of options to choose from and having the best set of characters can help make some parts of the game a cakewalk. You can even jump on allies to do team-up attacks that can really hammer it home.

In addition to regular friends, you have access to Dream Friends. They are special allies that can be unlocked as you progress through the game such as King Dedede, Metaknight and Bandana Waddle Dee. You can obtain one by entering a Dream Palace and using a Dream Rod. Of course you can have Kirby form a party of all Dream Friends. How you go about it is up to you. With the release of the 2.0 update, new Dream Friends are added, offering players even more allies to choose from. Characters such as Marx, Gooey, Rick, Coo and Kine add more to the overall game and pay tribute to the franchise that still goes strong.

Kirby Star Allies isn’t a long game. It’s story mode will take roughly 4-5 hours but it goes up to a minimum of 6 if you plan to complete it 100%. The game has a lot of unlockables in the form of paintings. You find puzzle pieces scattered in each level with the big pieces ranging from 1-4 pieces. Completing the puzzle unlocks the picture for you to see in the game’s Gallery. This raises the length to a couple hours more since there are many ways to acquire pieces. In addition to the story mode, there are mini games as well such as Chop Champs & Star Slam Heroes. They’re mostly fun short games and they include different control options. Guest Star Allies lets you choose an ally and complete it all while facing off against familiar and new bosses. With over 20 different characters, including the Dream Allies, this adds a lot of replay value especially if doing it with friends. The Ultimate Choice is this game’s version of The Arena, a boss rush mode and it has multiple difficulties with the hardest being like The True Arena in every other Kirby game. For a $60 game, the game offers a lot.

Presentation-wise, the game is well done. For a Kirby game on the Switch, it’s great. However it runs at about 30 frames per second. Not that it’s a bad thing. Whether you play this game solo or with friends, it’s still enjoyable. Although you can play the game by yourself, up to four players can play all this game has to offer. Not only that but it’s easy for a friend to jump into a game without interrupting. The AI for the allies is very good and responsive and they can handle situations fine. But personally if you plan on playing this game, do so with friends to get the most fun out of it. The music is good. Most of the game uses music from previous games on certain occasions, but it does have original tracks that are nice.

Although this game is fun, there are some flaws. The game is too easy. You can get extra lives rather easily meaning a game over is just pointless. Skilled players can fly through the game in one sitting. Having the right combination of allies and powers can even make the game be a joke. Most of the bosses you face aren’t as hard but there’ll be that one who can take you out. Personally there should be an added hard mode to give players a challenge. Hopefully in the future Nintendo adds it in.

For Kirby’s first outing on the Switch, Nintendo decided to play it safe. That’s not a bad thing mind you. This game is enjoyable and does provide much to do. It’s presentation is solid and charming, the gameplay has a familiar feel and it does give players much to do. But its flaws kind of hinder it a bit from being a great game. Kirby Star Allies is really fun and with friends is a blast but do expect this to be a cakewalk if you go in alone. The power of friendship truly triumphs over all.

I give Kirby Star Allies a 7.5 out of 10. It’s a good game and I do recommend it.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review

Bayonetta 1 & 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of reviewing.

Nintendo’s announcement of Bayonetta 3 as a Switch exclusive got a lot of people excited. Not only that but they announced that Bayonetta 1 & 2, released on the Wii U years ago, would also come to the Switch with improved resolution and features. For almost a decade, the series has been known to deliver high-octane hack & slash gameplay while giving players a challenge. Any game developed by PlatinumGames offers this. But do these two games together offer satisfaction or disappointment?

The plot for both games goes a little something like this. In Bayonetta 1, the story revolves around Bayonetta, a woman who was born from an Umbra Witch & Lumen Sage, a product of both. She travels to the city of Vigrid hoping to regain her lost memories while having to contend with the angels of Paradiso, who seem to be after her. The sequel, Bayonetta 2, has her traveling to reach the mountain of Fimbulventr so she can head to Inferno and save her best friend Jeanne. Not only that but she also has to contend with both Paradiso & Inferno, as a much greater evil is on the horizon. That and the balance between the two sides is out of whack.

Individually, each story has the wackiness that you’d expect with Bayonetta doing what she does best and the other characters she encounter all have roles to play. I don’t mind it since this is Bayonetta we’re talking about. No complaints there.

Let’s get right to the gist of things. Both Bayonetta games have an amazing presentation. Compared to their Wii U counterparts, they look so much better. Whether it be the backgrounds, characters, enemies, etc., everything about them is a huge step-up. Both games also run at 60 frames per second in both docked and TV mode and that’s awesome. If anything, it makes the Switch versions feel superior. The music is still enjoyable, to the point where they become ridiculously catchy. It fits since you’ll have a lot of fun playing the game and getting your butt kicked while listening to these tunes. In fact, I can say that they are just divine.

As for the gameplay, they are just as intense as the original Wii U version. However the Switch version of both Bayonetta 1 & 2 take the liberty of incorporating touch screen controls. It’s a neat feature, plus taking down enemies with them is simple yet fun. There are also traditional controls via controller for all who want to play the game the way it should be. Fortunately the controls are great and depending on which one you’re playing, you will feel right at home. Personally the second game is the best due to them being refined and feeling just perfect. All the features that were in the Wii U version such as additional costumes for Bayonetta are included in both games. Surprisingly in the second one, there’s Amiibo functionality. Using specific Amiibo will allow you to unlock costumes for Bayonetta to wear as well as weapons for her to use. They can be unlocked normally but for those that want them right away, there’s the alternative.

Each game offers a good amount of challenge and length, though depending on which game you will be in for quite a fight. The first game will take about 10-12 hours while the second is around 9-10. Fortunately they are multiple difficulties, adding more length and replayability. They offer a lot to do in each game whether it be hack-or-slash, driving, shooting, etc. If anything, I enjoy when they offer a lot to do. Boss battles are in full force in both games and your skills will be tested. There’s also Tag Climax (in Bayonetta 2), a co-op mode where you and a friend can team up to battle enemies. The good news is that you can play either locally or online so that’s a plus.

I honestly can’t find anything negative regarding both Bayonetta games. Both are truly satisfying experiences. However, I only have one complaint. It’s in regards to the first Bayonetta. That game can be unfair at times. Not to mention that some parts are difficult, especially in quick-time sections that can punish you if you make a mistake. Even in the Normal difficulty, carelessness can lead to failure. Bayonetta 2 fixes some of the problems but it shouldn’t stop anyone from enjoying what started it all. Also, I am disappointed that the first game didn’t come in a physical release. Rather when you buy Bayonetta 1 & 2, only Bayonetta 2 comes physically with the first via digital code. A bummer yes, but like I said, at least you are getting 2 games for the price of one.

Bayonetta 1 & 2 are both amazing games and with the two now on the Switch, this will give fans a chance to enjoy something they’ve missed. It isn’t for everyone and it will test players to their limits but for anyone that desires a challenge, they’re getting it. With Bayonetta 3 coming, if there’s any opportunity to get into the series and it’s hijinks, it’s now. It’s one ride you don’t ever want to get out of.

Considering that I’m reviewing both Bayonetta games, there’ll be ratings for both along with a combined overall rating.

Bayonetta 1 gets an 8.5 out of 10. Bayonetta 2 gets my highest rating. A perfect 10 out of 10!

Together, I give a combined rating of 9 out of 10. It’s a must-buy and the best part is that you get 2 games for the price of 1! It’s worth your money for sure!