Tag Archives: nintendo switch

Pokken Tournament DX Review

Pokken Tournament DX Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product for this review is provided by Nintendo.

What do you get when you take two popular franchises and combine them together? You get something that caters to both. In this case, it’s Pokémon, an RPG franchise that specializes in capturing, battling and raising creatures and Tekken, a popular 3D fighting game franchise. Last year, Nintendo and Namco Bandai released Pokken Tournament, a fighting game involving Pokemon for the Wii U. It gained a lot of praise, despite being on a console not many owned. A year later, Nintendo would bring this to their new console and give it an upgrade in the form of Pokken Tournament DX. With this now on the Switch, does this surpass what the original lacked?

Pokken Tournament DX, like the original takes place in the Ferrum region. After creating your own character, you choose a Pokemon that you want to have as your partner. After that, you have the option to play whatever mode you wish. There are many different modes for you to choose from. For starters there’s the Ferrum League, a single-player mode where you and your partner Pokemon have to battle in hopes of being Ferrum League Champion. It’s also home to the game’s plot involving the Synergy Stone and how a strange Pokemon called Shadow Mewtwo siphoning its energy for some sinister purpose. It’s an all right story and it balances things nicely as you play. In addition to the Ferrum League, you can go into Single Battle for 1-on-1 against the CPU or if you have a friend, there’s Local Battle. For players that want to take the battle online, Online Battle is there. Online Battles give you access to ranked & player matches and you can set up tournaments too. There’s also the training mode for players that want to learn about the game and try their luck in the action or combo dojo in hopes of learning how the game and each Pokemon play. You can also customize your character in My Town and there’s a very deep amount. In addition Nia can be customized with different outfits as well. Pretty cool.

New to Pokken Tournament DX are the Team Battle and Daily Challenges. Team Battle has you choosing 3 Pokemon and using them to take on opponents in 3-on-3 battles. Daily Challenges have you battling with Pokemon that are assigned to you to earn Skill Points. I like this because it helps players be able to get Skill Points so they can raise their stats. Yes, there are RPG elements and it’s mostly for improving your Pokemon throughout the game. Not only that but the game gives you all the characters and stages right from the start. This includes Mewtwo and Shadow Mewtwo as well as five new characters. Four of them are characters exclusive to the arcade version while one, Decidueye is a character exclusive to this game bringing the total character count to 21. It’s quite a lot and it’ll give players incentive to try out each and every one of them. Support Pokemon are also included and like the characters, they are all unlocked from the start with the addition of a new pair: Litten and Popplio. Having them do help turn the tide of battle if things get rough and it’s always fun seeing them attack.

The gameplay is similar to the original with players using their Pokemon to duke it out on the field. Battles shift between Field Phase and Duel Phase and controls change depending on the current phase. Thankfully the controls are similar to the Wii U game and the game carries that Tekken feel. Pokken Tournament DX also follows a rock-paper-scissors mechanic in terms of attacking. There are three types: Normal, Grab and Counter. Normal beats Grab, Grab beats Counter and Counter beats Normal. Though the game is simple, it does offer a good amount of complexity in terms of its fighting system. Players who master it will dominate the battlefield, online or off. Each Pokemon also has a Synergy Burst they can use to deliver the coup de grace but it can only be done by filling up your Synergy Gauge.

Presentation-wise, the game is a big step up. The game runs at a solid 60 fps in both docked and handheld. I’m impressed that Nintendo was able to pull this off on a console like this. The stages do look colorful and at some cases, expressive. The Magikarp Festival is one example as you would never expect a stage devoted entirely to a Pokemon like Magikarp. Some stages do pay nods to the Tekken series and I like that. Characters are significant and well designed, whether it be during their attacks, animations or even their Synergy Bursts, they always have a way to provide something unique. The music is really good. Some tracks are addicting to listen to and can get you on your feet dancing. Controls are great and the game gives you access to multiple control opinions such as JoyCon, Pro Controller or even the Hori Pokken Pad. It’s pretty awesome. Gameplay is solid, load times are pretty short, customization is high and there is Amiibo support but it’s all for cosmetic purposes.

But if I had any negatives, it’s in the Ferrum League mode. Battling just to reach #1 and be able to access the Placement Test can get repetitive, albeit a bit too much. It does alleviate since you get experience to strengthen your Pokemon but some times, it can take upwards to an hour just to reach #1 and hopefully rank up. Another issue is Nia and at first, she can be very informative but her advice can be a bit tedious. Thankfully there is an option to minimize what she says in My Town so that’s a plus.

Overall Pokken Tournament DX is a big step up from the original. The game is just like the original but the presentation is a step up. There’s a lot to do and for $60, you have the complete package. With over 20 characters, loads of Support Pokemon, various ways to play and the fact that you can play it on the go really is the definitive version. If you haven’t experienced this game when it was on the Wii U, what are you waiting for? Get Pokken Tournament DX today! I promise you that you will not regret it.

I give Pokken Tournament DX a 8.5 out of 10. The game is a must own for anyone who owns a Nintendo Switch.

Advertisements

Sonic Mania Review

Sonic Mania Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by SEGA. Special thanks to them.

For more than 25 years, Sonic the Hedgehog has been one of SEGA’s flagship franchises. It had humble beginnings during the 90s console wars between the Genesis and SNES but after SEGA went 3rd party, the journey got a bit shaky. 2006 would be the year Sonic would enter a dark age with many of their titles getting mixed to negative receptions. Things would pick up in the following years, despite some flops, and last year SEGA announced that Sonic would return with 2 more titles. One of them, Sonic Mania has been hyped for some time. Does the hype pay off?

Sonic Mania takes place after the events of Sonic 3 & Knuckles. The plot centers on Sonic & Tails returning to Angel Island, learning that a strange energy source was sighted there. Unfortunately, a legion of Eggman’s robots has got there first, getting their hands on the Phantom Ruby. However, it whisks Sonic, Tails, Knuckles (unexpectedly) and the Egg Robots to a familiar locale. Seeing the danger & the evolved Hard-Boiled Heavies off with the jewel, Sonic along with Tails and Knuckles must team up to prevent the Phantom Ruby from falling into Eggman’s hands.

It’s simple Sonic storytelling. Eggman enacts another of his world domination plans and it’s up to Sonic and his friends to stop them. Surprisingly he’s not the only threat they have to deal with. Eggman’s personal squad, the Hard-Boiled Heavies are also involved. This makes things a bit intense but what do you expect in a Sonic game. I have no complaints with it honestly.

Sonic Mania brings Sonic back to its 2D side-scrolling roots and it’s one that works, taking inspiration from the 16-bit Sonic games that made Sonic what he is today. If you’ve played many of the old school Sonic games, you will feel right at home here. You have three playable characters: Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles. All of them play the same but with a few differences. They can jump, run, spin dash, etc. You get the idea. Sonic has a peel out move that lets him be on the move quickly. Tails can fly to avoid enemies and find hidden secrets and Knuckles can glide, climb walls, has a jump that isn’t as high & can access areas that Sonic and Tails can’t go through normally. You will need their strengths to conquer the game’s 12 zones. As far as length, you can beat the game in just a couple of hours and with three playable characters, it adds a lot in terms of replay value. There’s also Time Attack where you can race to get the fastest time and Competition where you and a friend can go head to head offline to see who can reach the end of a stage first. It’s great.

There are 12 zones in this game, each with two acts. More than half of the zones are classic levels from previous Sonic games but they’re given a revamp when it comes to level design. The rest are brand new to the game and offer so much to the experience. What’s interesting is that each level offers many paths for the player to come from. It’s still simple enough going from start to finish but how you go about it depends on the player. Sometimes there are secrets you can find such as item boxes or giant rings. Like the classic games, there are bonus stages and by hitting checkpoints or finding giant rings, you get access to them. Checkpoint bonus stages are of the Blue Spheres from Sonic 3 & Knuckles and completing them net you medallions and they’re used to unlock various secrets. The Giant Ring bonus stages have you chasing after a UFO that carries a Chaos Emerald. Your skills will be tested, as you must collect blue spheres to increase your speed and rings to extend your time. Beating them will be a challenge but worth it in order to get the Chaos Emerald. There are 7 of these and they get harder as you progress.

At the end of each act, there is a boss. Many pay nods to previous Sonic bosses. If anything SEGA really puts a lot of heart when it comes to the game and it shows. It also helps that Sonic Mania has a truly stellar presentation. The graphics are just what you expect for a retro 16-bit game and they did a job keeping it faithful to them. All of the levels offer something different and they are vibrant, full of colors and if you look hard enough, there are many nods and references to various SEGA related stuff. Sprites are detailed and authentic as well. They’re also expressive. Controls are very precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to describe how good the game plays. I mean it. It’s perfect and easy to pick up and play. Whitehead Productions should be praised for giving us a Sonic game that feels like the old school games but in a new environment. I only hope SEGA can get him involved in a possible Mania sequel.

Although I want to praise the game for its presentation, what really nailed it in for me was the music. Tee Lopes went in and delivered a soundtrack that is godly. I kid you not. All of the music in the game is amazing to listen to. Whether it’s remixed versions of Green Hill & Flying Battery or songs from the new stages like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon, this game has it all. A game that has a stellar presentation, topped with a superb soundtrack. What more needs to be said?

I do have one minor issue with the game and it can be quite a challenge. The game feels like the old school Sonic games and new players who may experience this can find it to be one that requires them to get good. The difficulty is a bit balanced but there will be some moments of unfairness. It shouldn’t dissuade anyone though. Sonic Mania has a lot of content and high replay value that anyone can be able to enjoy no matter what. But yes, it is challenging but there’s a good amount of reward for those looking to complete everything.

It’s surprising how fans of the Sonic franchise were given the go ahead by SEGA to produce a game that’s not only fun but serves as a love letter to the Sonic franchise, it’s fans and SEGA as a whole. Sonic Mania is a special kind of game. Being at around $20 is enough to convince anyone that it’s worth a definite buy. Everything about the game whether it be its presentation, controls, music, etc. delivers on all fronts. Sure it can be a challenge for those that have little idea but it shouldn’t dissuade anyone otherwise. If you haven’t played a Sonic game or if you feel you want something that reminds you of the good old days, Sonic Mania is THE game. The blue blur isn’t going anywhere and this game proves that he’ll be around speeding through for many years to come.

I give Sonic Mania a 9 out of 10. I want to make it a perfect 10 but I feel this rating is more than enough.

Splatoon 2 Review

Splatoon 2 Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided for this review by Nintendo.

Two years ago, Nintendo released Splatoon for the Wii U gaining high praise across the board. At first, it didn’t have much content but as time went on, Nintendo added features and modes while refining the game and making it a satisfying experience. From then on, it became a game that anyone who owned a Wii U should play. When Nintendo announced a sequel for the Nintendo Switch, expectations were high. Now that the game is released, does it meet up to all the hype that fans were expecting?

For starters, Splatoon 2 is a huge step up compared to the first. The presentation is spot on, capturing the feel of the first game but on a much broader scale. Having it on the Nintendo Switch helped considerably. The soundtrack is great with tunes that are fun to listen to. As far as its plot goes, it takes place 2 years after the first game. Its single-player campaign has you taking the role of an Inkling, which you can create, by the way, encountering Marie one day in Inkopolis. Marie asks for the Inkling’s aid in finding her cousin Callie. It’s a simple plot but with Splatoon, it has a sense of humor and it’s done well. I only wish that there would be a bit more backstory in regards to the two Squid Sisters and what happened to the two in the two years between the two games.

Like many other games Nintendo has made, it follows an adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you played the first Splatoon, you will feel right at home in this one although to a degree. Yes, there are motion controls in the game but it’s more used towards aiming your weapons. You use the left analog to move, ZL to turn to a squid so you can traverse faster, ZR to shoot, R to use secondary weapons and B to jump. Clicking the right analog lets you use your special attack. It’s just as good as it was in the previous game and with the improvements, it makes the experience better. But for anyone that feel motion controls aren’t for them, the game gives you the option to use analog control just like in traditional shooters. A welcome feature since the first game didn’t give you the option to turn off motion controls. It shows that Nintendo is listening to feedback and that’s a good thing. In addition, you have access to over 20 different weapons with some being brand new like the Splat Dualies, Herobrush, Hero Gatling and many others. There are also new secondary and special attacks that add a lot to the game.

Splatoon 2’s single player campaign has you going through six areas each with up to 6 stages. In each stage, you go from start to finish taking out enemies, solving puzzles and finding secrets such as Sardinium and pamphlets. In some levels, you are given a weapon to use and you need to beat the level with said weapon in order to unlock it. There are 8 weapons in all and using Sardinium and small fish eggs, you can be able to upgrade them so they can be stronger. The best part is that you can replay any of the levels, including the bosses with any weapons that you unlock. This adds a lot of replay value to the campaign, for those that want to beat every level with every weapon. There are bosses here and some can be a challenge but if you know what you’re doing, you will manage. Checkpoints are there, including boss fights, making the trek a bit of a reprieve for players.

Now let’s get to the meat and potatoes of Splatoon 2, the multiplayer. Splatoon 2 online is just as good as the first. It’s split between three modes: Random, Ranked and League. Each of the three modes put you in one of two maps that change every two hours. You play with 7 other players and are split between 2 teams of 4 players each. Random (or Player) battles have you and other players compete to see who can cover the map with the most ink in 3 minutes. It can be really addicting but also it requires you to be alert since your opponents will spare no expense in ensuring you go down. Ranked and League Battles take things up a notch with various goal-based types such as Splat Zone, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. Splat Zone is straightforward, Tower Control focuses on teams battling over a moving mobile tower and Rainmaker is like capture the flag except you have access to a powerful weapon that can turn the tide. What makes this better is that all three have their own ranking system and they change every few hours making things fresh and exciting.

For those that want to team up with friends, you have Salmon Run. You and three friends (local or online) team up to get golden eggs from enemy Salmonids in a set time limit in each wave. Teamwork is key but what makes it fun is that in each wave, you start with a different weapon and you need to adapt not only to what you have but with your teammates as well. It can get crazy and really fun plus playing with friends is always a blast. Plus you get paid whether you succeed or not and you can use the bonus from it to unlock new gear that you can use to customize your Inkling. My only complaint is the fact that Salmon Run is only available at certain times of the week. Upsetting I know but I wish in the future Nintendo could allow this as a permanent mode.

Customization is aplenty in Splatoon 2. There are shops where you can buy weapons and gear. Using currency that you earn by playing online, you can use it to unlock new weapons for online matches and gear that gives your Inkling various bonuses. Not only that but if you feel that the bonuses aren’t to your liking, you can speak to Murch to gear scrub your gear and put new abilities on it. It’s incredible. Also with the Nintendo Switch app, you can be able to buy gear that you can transfer into the game. That’s cool. Splatoon 2 has Amiibo support just like in the first game and using them allow you to save data for your weapon, hairstyle, and gear. They can be used to set up, even on another console. Plus they unlock new gear and exclusive weapons for your Inkling. Like the first game, there will also be Splatfests where players choose a side and they work to see who will win. Additional content is coming down the line adding more to an otherwise intense game.

If I had any negatives, I feel that in regards to the online maps, they’re chosen at random. It doesn’t hurt the game as much as I thought originally but I wish they would allow it at least for private battles with friends. Also like in the first game, there’s no voice chat but in truth, there is but you need the Nintendo Switch App and a Splatoon 2 headset to actually do it. I find it to be cumbersome, unnecessary & a step backward. Yes, I know that Nintendo values safety but I wish they would get with the times and try incorporating voice chat in the game without the need for anything ludicrous.

Overall, Splatoon 2 is a big step up from the original. Huge amount of customization, a good single player campaign and addicting online multiplayer provide so much for your money’s worth. Negatives aside, the game offers so much. With the Nintendo Switch already being a big success for the company, if there is any game that is worth a full purchase price, it’s this one. Becoming a squid kid has never been so much fun and I couldn’t have it any other way.

I give Splatoon 2 a 9 out of 10. This is a must-buy game and I highly recommend it. It also earns my personal seal of approval.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review – Written by Jose Vega

Product provided by Nintendo for the sake of this review.

Three years ago, Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U and though it was a great game, it was on a console that not many people bought. When Nintendo announced their new console back in 2016, it was hinted that there would be a possible Mario Kart. Those hints prove to be true when it was announced that a port of the game would be coming to the new console. But it isn’t just any port. This is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, taking the original Wii U game and adding a whole bunch of new features. Is this game worth getting on the Nintendo Switch? The answer is yes. Absolutely.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is filled to the brim with content that is fun with friends or solo. You can take part in the Grand Prix, consisting of 12 cups spanning 48 courses. Many are new, some are revised classics from previous games and the rest are of the DLC cups that were in the last game. As you play through each track in the cups, you can collect coins that can be used to unlock new stuff. In Mario Kart 8 you would unlock new characters and parts. Deluxe makes this less of a grind by having all the characters unlocked from the get-go. For one thing, it’s awesome that you have everyone unlocked including the DLC characters.

What makes it better is that MK8 Deluxe introduces some new ones: Bowser Jr., Dry Bones, King Boo and the Inklings from Splatoon. It raises the character count to 43, which makes this the biggest cast for a racing game. You also have access to difficulty modes from 50 to 200cc, unlocked from the start, including mirror mode. There’s also Time Trials for those that want to test their skills and Versus where up to 4 players can race each other. Also in races, you can now hold up to 2 items, similar to Double Dash. It adds another level of strategy but at the same time it leads to some crazy shenanigans especially in multiplayer.

One of the biggest negatives Mario Kart 8 had was its battle mode being lackluster. Nintendo seem to get the message and decided to do a complete revamp. Battle Mode in this game has been redone, implementing a scoring system and providing players with 8 battle courses, 5 new, three retro. In addition there are 5 mode types: Balloon Battle, Renegade Roundup, Bob-omb Blast, Coin Runners and Shine Thief. Renegade Roundup is like “cops and robbers” where players are split into two teams. One are the cops, the other are the robbers. All of this now adds more to a game that truthfully feels like a complete package.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe also has Online Racing where up to 2 players can race together against players from all over the world. You can compete either in Worldwide or Regional in both Racing and Battling. As far as stability goes, it’s good. There are times where connection errors happen but overall it’s a pleasant experience. Players can set up online tournaments easy and up to 12 players can take part in races or battles. A lot to take in and the replay value for the game is at an all time high. No joke. Also you have access to three different control schemes: Switch Pro Controller, Joycon Grip or individual Joycon. With two Joycon controllers, they count as having two players. That’s incredible but a little tough to adjust for some people.

Compared to the Wii U version, this port of Mario Kart 8 delivers an improved presentation. It looks a lot better with the game now running at 1080p at 60 fps. A big improvement compared to the original running at 720p. With the improved 1080p, the visuals get an upgrade where even the small details can be seen. Loading times are reduced from 22 to 9 seconds. Better if you just want to race and have fun. The music is still a delight to listen to with many tracks having very good tunes. The controls are refined and spot on. Fun to use whether using a Joycon or a Switch Pro Controller. There’s also wireless play where with 2 Switch consoles, you can have up to 8 players playing it. Though it isn’t easy to do, having a lot of people together for a game makes it truly a delight. Like the previous game, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has Amiibo support where you can scan them to get costumes for your Mii. This time around, they now expand beyond Mario & Smash characters and into stuff like Splatoon. It’s simply cosmetic but nice to see.

In conclusion, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe takes everything that makes Mario Kart 8 great and turn it into something better. Containing all the DLC, an improved battle mode, good online, tight controls, great music, amazing presentation, what else is there to like? Everything. If you haven’t gotten a chance to play it on the Wii U and you have a Switch, this is a must-buy game. Since it is now the fastest selling Switch title, you can’t deny that it’s good. In fact, it’s excellent. Get some friends, buy this game and you’ll see just how amazing Mario Kart can be. You won’t regret it.

I give Mario Kart 8 Deluxe a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth the full purchase price.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of this review.

Since 1987, the Legend of Zelda has been a franchise that has endured the test of time. It introduced many things that would be mainstay for the series and would serve as inspiration for other games to follow. Now on it’s 30th anniversary, Nintendo decides to pull out all the stops to deliver a game unlike any other… that is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Funny since it is not only the last game released for the Nintendo Wii U but also one of the first on the Nintendo Switch. Despite this, the game is everything that Zelda has to offer and then some.

The game’s story takes place 100 years after a calamity destroyed the kingdom of Hyrule. Link wakes from a long slumber, guided by a voice telling him that he must go out and save it once more. However he suffers from amnesia. Despite this, Link heads out into Hyrule, hoping to save it from a threat named Calamity Ganon but also learn the truth about what happened. It’s a story that has me intrigued and at the same time fills me with a lot of questions. Sometimes stories in Zelda take a back seat in favor of gameplay but not in this case. Here, Breath of the Wild provides a story that pays tribute to the franchise while offering something very intriguing. I loved it and by the time I finished the game, it left me with a satisfying feeling and a sense of hope.

Breath of the Wild is a departure from many other Zelda games. Although it does kind of borrow elements from games like Elder Scrolls, you can’t deny that Nintendo actually took a chance to change something that has worked and make it better. For starters, the world of Hyrule actually feels like an open world, not to mention a lot bigger. Though you are quite limited at it in the beginning, once you get the Paraglider then the real fun begins. You aren’t limited to just following objectives. It’s up to you to decide what to do from here. This is the freedom this game gives you and I like it. Not that it’s a bad thing. The game introduces a nifty item, the Sheikah Slate. It is a tablet that allows Link to do a variety of functions like forming bombs, ice platforms or even trap things. It can also get upgrades that add more to the device. Pretty nifty. It also replaces items that we’ve used many times in the Zelda series.

As you progress, you have the option to collect gear such as weapons, shields, bows, outfits, etc. You need them to survive the harsh environment. Unlike previous Zelda games, you don’t use hearts to restore health. You use food. They can be collected, eaten up or cooked to create dishes that provide various effects. Speaking of effects, they can range from resistance to various elements to providing temporary health. The possibilities are endless and they even work on elixirs too. With all this, the game offers a lot to do and how you do it depends on you, again the freedom. You can move about either on foot, horseback, swim if you’re in water or you can glide. If there’s a wall or mountain, you can climb. Know that doing any of it drains your stamina. If it runs out while doing any of it, you have to wait until it’s filled up.

Every Zelda game always has dungeons that put your skills to the test. Breath of the Wild has plenty of them in the form of shrines. Shrines are mini-dungeons and there are 120 of them. Some require simple puzzle solving. Others involve a test of combat. Tackling them is simple but finding them is the challenging part. Completing them nets you Shrine Orbs, which you can exchange for more health or stamina. As for the actual dungeons, they take the form of the four Divine Beasts. They require a bit of puzzle solving, culminating with a boss battle at the end. The bosses are a challenge and depending on your equipment can determine the outcome.

Breath of the Wild has additional new features. Link can now jump with a button press. It can be useful for exploration or in battle with the Flurry Rush. If you time your evasion well enough, you go into a matrix-style slowdown and then follow it up with a series of strikes that can damage your enemies. It’s nifty and for anyone that masters this can be unstoppable. Another thing they included and one I feel isn’t the most useful of additions is durability. No weapon lasts forever and they’ll break. When that happens, expect to switch to a new one fast. You can always throw the damaged weapon to an enemy for double damage so there’s a workaround. It’s not limited to weapons like swords, axes or bows. Your shield can also break if it absorbs too much damage. Gear can get upgraded too with the help of the Great Fairies. You need to trade items in order to do so.

Breath of the Wild’s length depends on the player and how he goes about it. Since it does depend on the player, there is an insane amount of replay value. On average, the game can be beaten in roughly 16 hours but to complete everything, it goes beyond into the hundreds. Even now players always find ways to go around and that’s really cool. If you wonder about Amiibo support, there’s plenty. Scanning Amiibos like the Legend of Zelda line can net you stuff and they depend. If you’re lucky, you’ll get rare garb that you can use to dress up.

Presentation-wise, the game is fantastic and colorful. It is a marvel whether playing it on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch. It is marvelous. The music is amazing. I recommend giving a listen to some tracks so you can see how great they are. Character models are pretty good, with Link being my favorite since he can express himself in many ways. Also, a first for the Zelda series, the game has full voice acting. I was surprised they included this. Link is still mute but as for some of the other characters, they are pretty good. It’s a nice addition and one we waited for quite some time. The game is also on the Wii U but it has some problems on the frame rate department. They are minor at best but if you’re on the Switch, it’s consistent and flawless. Overall, both Wii U and Switch are similar if anything.

In conclusion, Breath of the Wild is a game that offers many firsts to the series. It does borrow stuff from other games but it brings it’s own flavor into the mix. Fitting that this serves as a farewell to the Wii U and a welcome to Nintendo’s new Switch console. Despite some shortcomings, you can’t deny that this game is truly one to behold. Great combat, amazing presentation, addicting gameplay and high replay value all add up to a game that just screams perfect, despite some faults. Nintendo nailed it and it’s going to be a game people will be talking about for a very long time.

I give The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild a perfect 10 out of 10. It is worth your money whether on the Wii U or on the Nintendo Switch.

Blaster Master Zero Review

Blaster Master Zero Review – Written by Jose Vega

Purchased product for the sake of the review.

During the era of the NES, a game called Blaster Master was released made by Sunsoft. It was a fun game that got a lot of praise but sadly not a lot of love. It was overlooked but it did have a legacy that lasted almost 20 years, spawning a sequel, spin-offs, and a re-imagining. In November 2016, Inti Creates announced that they plan to try their luck on the franchise with a retro 8-bit remake called Blaster Master Zero. The guys at Inti know how to deliver good titles such as Azure Striker Gunvolt as well as the Mega Man Zero & ZX series but could they pull it off with this? The answer is simple. Yes.

Blaster Master Zero is an 8-bit remake of the original and since it is, the plot is similar. The story is set on Earth, set centuries after humanity was able to restore the planet after it plunged into an ice age due to endless wars. It focuses on a scientist named Jason Frudnik who finds a frog-like creature, calling it Fred. One day, Fred escapes and heads to a strange hole. Jason gives chase only to end up inside and discovers a weaponized tank called Sophia III. Seeing that the underworld is still around, Jason uses Sophia III to explore in the hopes of finding Fred and anything else that comes his way.

It’s straightforward but unlike the NES version, it includes stuff that was in the original Japanese incarnation, Metafight. I like how it ties the two together, despite it being a reboot. But in a way, I find it enjoyable seeing how Inti Creates pays tribute to the franchise as a whole.

Being that it’s a reboot, Blaster Master Zero’s gameplay is similar to the original NES game. Piloting the tank Sophia III, you explore 9 different areas while battling enemies and acquiring upgrades for your tank. Sophia III can shoot in three directions, jump really high and can contend with any situation. I should mention that the game is a Metroidvania-style game, hence the exploration. But you aren’t limited to just Sophia III. Many of the areas contain small caves for Jason to explore. The game then shifts to an overhead view where you explore said caves, shoot down monsters and find items. Your gun has a total of 8 different types and each work well depending on the situation. Heck, some gun types can be more effective than others. Boss fights are there too and strategy is important because just shooting may not be enough.

As far as length goes, the game will take you roughly 5-6 hours if you are going for 100% completion. If you are playing the game on the Nintendo Switch, the game also has co-op multiplayer where you and a friend can team up and kick butt. A nice welcoming feature indeed but sadly it isn’t on the 3DS version. Not much of a bad thing but regardless, the game is still enjoyable. Unlike the NES version, this one actually have save points and checkpoints. The checkpoint system is superb and in case you go down, you can continue where you left off either at a save point or in a cave entrance. Amazing. A sigh of relief for people that felt the original was too hard. Presentation-wise, the game is amazing. Inti Creates did a great job reimagining the original Blaster Master and making it better. It’s vibrant and lively, not to mention colorful. The music is amazing with some really addicting tunes and they also help add more to each area. Controls are spot on and precise. Perfect would be too appropriate of a word to say how good they are. With a recent update, the game also supports the Switch Pro Controller so to anyone that has this you have another option to play the game. Blaster Master Zero has a fair amount of challenge. It isn’t too hard or too easy but if you know your way around, the game isn’t difficult.

If I were to find any negatives, it’s that some levels have way too many hazards, forcing you to either find a way around or go for what’s obvious. It can get difficult especially with enemies firing at you and one mistake can lead you to an unexpected death. It would be nice if the game wouldn’t have sections that require you to improvise but since it’s a reboot, I only wish it can be alleviated. But honestly the game is that good, I see it as a minor negative at best.

Blaster Master Zero is a game that brings new life to a franchise that has a lasting legacy. Sharp controls, great music, amazing presentation and the addition of co-op on the Switch version adds a lot to an otherwise impressive game. What’s even better is that the game is worth $10. For $10, you are getting a game that offers so much and more. If you haven’t played the original NES game or any of the others, this is a perfect start for you. Bottom line, Blaster Master Zero is worth your money. I guarantee it.

I give Blaster Master Zero a PERFECT 10 out of 10. It also earns my personal Seal of Approval. Get this game now whether on the Switch or 3DS.

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment Review

Product provided for this review by Yacht Club Games.

Three years ago, a little game called Shovel Knight was released. It was praised both critically and commercially for not only being fun but as a tribute to the games of yesteryear. A year later, Yacht Club Games releases its first expansion, Plague of Shadows, serving as a what-if story with Plague Knight as the protagonist. It was a great expansion that offered something different. Now Yacht Club Games is back at it again with the second expansion called Specter of Torment. The focus shifts on the scythe wielding Specter Knight but can this second expansion deliver just as well as the last one?

Unlike the previous two campaigns, Specter of Torment is a prequel to the original Shovel Knight. It centers on Specter Knight as he’s ordered by The Evil Enchantress to gather knights from all over the region to form her Order of No Quarter. In addition, the campaign details on Specter Knight’s origins. It is an interesting premise and adds more to the lore of the Shovel Knight world.

Shovel Knight has always been best known for its gameplay and presentation. The gameplay still is excellent in the case of Specter of Torment. Since Specter Knight is the focus, he plays differently than the previous two. He packs a scythe that can be used offensively against foes and is also used as a means to move about. He can do a dash strike either diagonally up or down and it doubles as a dash. He can walk up on walls for a few seconds, allowing wall climbing. He is fueled by darkness and in turn, has access to several “curios” or relics that offer unique advantages. To get those, he has to collect red skulls in each level and exchange them. The abilities can also be upgraded too. Like Shovel and Plague Knight, he can get garb that can change how he plays. It adds more variety to a character that can provide so much.

There is no world map for instead you have the castle that serves as a hub for all your needs. Similar to the Mega Man series, you have the option to choose your stage. It’s good in case one level is tough, you can try another that’s easier. As far as length goes, it’ll take you 4-6 hours to beat and New Game + adds more hours into it along with the challenges providing a lot for your money’s worth. I’m serious. For $10 (or $25 if you get the Treasure Trove Pack), it offers a lot.

The presentation is simply a sight to behold. Though it’s old school, the detail is amazing. It amazes on how a game like this provide so much and fact is, Yacht Club Games captures the feel of old school games for the modern era. Specter of Torment should get praise for its music. Jake Kaufman is back at it again delivering music that makes your ears fill with excitement. They are remixed, yes but they also feel original. Good much alongside great gameplay and a strong presentation really makes this a surefire hit. I love it personally. Now I only wish that we would get the soundtrack for this.

As for anything negative, I couldn’t find any that hinders the game. Absolutely none. The game can be hard but it’s a good kind of hard, something that is sadly missed nowadays. I’m happy that it can be challenging and it doesn’t punish the player as much. From my experience, I say that it is a game that’s worth playing plus it does detail what would soon follow in the events of Shovel Knight’s campaign. People that couldn’t get it on the Switch will have to wait a month before this comes out for all the other consoles. If you purchased the Treasure Trove Edition, the game also comes with the option to body swap in Shovel Knight’s campaign. You can mix the genders of all the characters involved for some crazy possibilities.

Specter of Torment offers a lot at a reasonable price giving us a new playable character, hours of replay value and other additional features. Yacht Club Games hits it out of the park yet again with another expansion to an otherwise amazing game. With King Knight’s expansion on the horizon, I can say that Spectre of Torment is one that is worthy to be knighted… with a shovel of all things. You know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

I give Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment a perfect 10 out of 10. This game is worth your money, that’s a fact.