Friday, March 31, 2006

Tamagotchi Connection: Corner Shop (DS)

Reviewed by Kit
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Tamagotchi, a game designed to suck you in for hours raising an annoying little creature that will never really become anything. Of course we've all played some version of this at one point or another. And here's a version where you don't raise the little bugger. Instead you open a shop, or multiple shops. There's no real purpose. It just seemed one day your tamagotchi wanted to run a shop. Anyhow, let's go.
Graphics: Nothing really impressive here. Your tamagotchi looks like somethign a five year old drew. All the little critters do. 2/5
Audio: Cutesy at best, grating at worst. You quickly decide to turn down the volume. Also it is either very loud or very quiet. 1/5
Gameplay: This is a game highly dependent on the stylus, so if you hate the stylus, don't pick this up. No matter what shop you open you will have to make use of it. Most involve rubbing the stylus on the touch screen, some involve dabbing it. Simple enough to do. A bit tedious at times, and it certainly gets boring quickly. 2/5
Story: As I said before there isn't much of a story. You open a shop. You have only two choices at first. A dentist office and a laundry mat, and oddly the dentist office is the least income producing business. And the most tedious. Every few customers your tamagotchis father will show up in a disguise and give you money to expand the business. After two expansions of any business, a new one will unlock. Then you can move your operation somewhere else. 2/5
Replay: The game gets boring before you even finish upgrading all the shops. It could be good, but the repetitiveness is horribly obnoxious. Still, if you want to unlock all the furnishings for your own home (no prupose) then go on and play with those shops some more. 1/5
Overall:It could be a good game. Certainly the premise is neat. But the choices are small and the jobs are tedious. If I wanted to iron shirts all day, I'd actually get a job at a laundry mat. Some of the shops are cute. I highly recommend the flower shop. It gives you almost complete control on what you do. I say that the music store is horrible, unless you ahve a great sense of timing. If you really want to play, rent it. Otherwise, it's not really worth the time. 1/5

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Naruto: Clash of the Ninja (GC)

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It's me Yuuki here woot. Today I have Naruto: Clash of the Ninja. So I'm a giant fan of the anime and watch it religously but, this game was a travesty on that great piece of Japanese culture. The game is short and not really all that engaging. So here we go.

Gameplay: Pretty standard fighting game combos none of which are all that orginal. Basically a buttonmasher's paradise if you pick the right characters. Basically its taijistsu, ninjistu, and throws. There are specials which look kinda cool but you get bored with them really quick. The fact that once you unlock Rock Lee, which is really easy your pretty much set as he is really unbalanced. Yeah it was stereotypical fighting game. 2/5

It covers basically all of the american released episodes. The Zabuza arc to the begining of the chunin exams. So you have about 8 or 9 characters and like I said all you need is Rock Lee. Not alot to say other than at lease this was right. 2/5

This game was released sometime ago in Japan so they aren't grand but, also they aren't bad. Special attacks are kinda nice nothing all that note worthy though. Not bad, not great. 2/5

They have all your favorite english voices...wait those suck. Yes the game was massacred in translation and ninjistu were put in english and miss pronuced. Some were changed entirely to some kind of mutant hybrid that just hurts to hear. Music was from the show as far as I could tell but as it again is the english covers it also sucked and if I hear him say "Believe it!" one more time I'll kill myself. 1/5

We played it for about an hour and got bored. I wouldn't even recommend renting this. If you do you can unlock everything in 3 hours and your done. 1/5

Yeah, we have bad voice acting, okay graphics, easy gameplay, and 3 whole hours of play time. People I strongly urge you to avoid this game like the plague and wait for something better. If you do get it you should only rent it and even then only if you want to commit acts of horror on yourself. 1/5

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Super Princess Peach (DS)

Reviewed by Kit
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Finally, a chance for Peach to do something besides get kidnapped. In Super Princess Peach she must rescue Mario and Luigi from the clutches of Bowser. In this installment they are on Vibe Island, a tiny island with a beach, a volcano, a glacier, a forest, plains, some clouds, and of course Bowser's giant castle. As Peach you take a magical umbrella who can affect the emotions of those around him...i.e. Peach. Depending on what mood you are, Peach can do different special abilities.
Graphics: They aren't particularly fancy. I've seen better graphics on the DS. If you really must equate them with something, I would say SNES level. The top screen of the DS is dedicated to the dungeon Peach is in while the touch screen shows Peach looking like an airhead with the four emotions you can transform into. 2/5
Audio: If you've played any mario game then you should know what to expect from the sound. Upbeat tempos that somewhat fit the stage. Peach occasionally makes noise. This is to tell you she has discovered something interesting in the area. So then you must spend time finding this item. 3/5
Story: It's not much of a story. It's a nice change of pace playing as a female instead of a fat plumber, though. Essentially you must rescue the Toads that have been locked into all of the levels and then destroy Bowser. 2/5
Gameplay: As I mentioned earlier, you can change Peach's emotions depending on what is needed at the time. When she is crying you can water plants, put out fires, and run like there is no tomorrow. As angry Peach (and my personal favorite) you become a giant fireball of doom. Wooden bridges tremble at your presence. With calm Peach you heal yourself. It's useful, but slow. And the most used of the moods is joy. You fly or become a whirlwind depending on the need. It drains the vibe meter fastest as well. The vibe meter, by the way, is needed to change her emotions. You can replinish the vibe meter by jumping on enemies, picking them up, and sucking them into your umbrella. You also find coins which you can use to buy things such as mini games or audio tracks, or you can buy useful things like new moves and more life. There are four mini games you can play. None of them are particularly exciting. There are about eight stages to work through. Each has five levels and a boss. There are three Toads in each level, and you need to find all of them to get into Bowser's room. They aren't particularly hard to find, but there are a few that irritated me greatly to get. Also you can put together puzzles as a sort of minigame. These puzzles are easy to do and there is no real benefit to putting them together. 3/5
Replay: After you finish rescuing Mario, you can go through all of the levels again. However, like any Mario game, replay is solely for entertainment value when you're bored. It is not a thought provoking game, but it is fun to waste some time messing with. 3/5
Overall: The game starts out great. It's vastly entertaining, and you don't mind using the stylus too much because it is minimal. However, the levels become more annoying. Nothing is truly difficult, but navigating the dungeons begin to require jumps that don't seem possible and impeccable timing that only the patient have. The game is fairly simple, so it's on par with an NES or early SNES Mario game. I recommend picking up for young people, or people who are nostalgic for the much simple times of games. 3/5

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Grandia 3 (PS2)

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Yuuki here with my Review of Grandia 3. This is another series that I'm a big fan of and I was excited to play this game. I'd heard alot of talk on wether it was good or bad and I'm here to tell you. So let's begin.

Gameplay: As to previous Grandia games 3 employes similar play in most respects. Battles are still done in the same open medium allowing you to catch all your enemies in a single wide range spell/skill or miss and only get one. When wandering the dungeons and fields you have a nifty radar system for finding chests and points of interest. This is nothing new but still a nice feature. You move about the world map via plane which is kind of fun, doing loops and such. 4/5

The Basic story is your typical would be hero and girl who must save the world. The Main characters Yuki and Alfina are your average hero types, she is determined to save the world and make everything puppies and rainbows and he just wants to fly around in a plane. You'll quickly find both really annoying and become more interested in the other characters. The side characters are much more entertaining, like Yuki's mom (?) Miranda who you'll be wondering is that really his she looks his age. Ulf the wolf boy who rides a dragon and few others. Basically its a point A to point B system of saving the world, nothing great there and really kind of slow to develop. 2/5

Beautiful to say the least, areas are colorful and somewhat interactive. Characters all have great costumes and just look great in and out of battle. Add the fact that the game is full of enough cutscenes to make it more feel like your watching a movie than playing a game, but that can be really tedious at times as you can't skip thru them. Magic is all basically the same as previous games only much prettier, I'd cast certain spells just to watch them. Again though skills and magic take forever due to all the graphicy shiney goodness. 5/5

Great voice acting and cinema. BGM is nice, but easily goes unnoticed as it isn't great. Lots of nice little add ins like the sound of enemies screaming in pain as you belt them with lighting or burn them alive. Well done but nothing special. 3/5

The game is long and the story isn't really note worthy. I'd only replay it if I had nothing better to do. and the first time through I found it to easy to just put away and play something else. 1/5

Here is the low down. Its nothing great, the game if freaking pretty but thats about it. Battles get tedious and you want to start skipping them which you shouldn't as most bosses are way over balanced. Cutscenes happen about every 15 minutes and last about 20. You'll quickly feel like its an interactive DVD and would rather go watch March of the Penguins. For the most part is not a bad game but not a great one either. I'd only recommend it to people are fans of the series or like that love will save the world stuff. 3/5

Monday, March 13, 2006

Wild Arms 4 (PS2)

Reviewed by Kit
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Wild Arms 4 is the (obviously) fourth installment of the series. The story is that of a young boy trying to understand the powers he was born with while at the same time protecting a girl. As always, other, more interesting characters join the party as well.
Graphics: The game is pretty with sprites and well down environments. Every person has their own art model that you view when talking to them. This creates a brief lag every time you talk to a townsperson, which becomes annoying quickly. Dungeons are somewhat 3D, but there are also parts that are side scrollers. There is no rotating camera. Graphics in the cut scenes are less well done. The characters look a bit blocky. There is an anime opening, once you pass the prologue, that is very pretty. 3/5
Like all Wild Arms, the music is western themed. It’s not the greatest soundtrack, but it serves its purpose. There is voice acting for some cut scenes, dialogue, and in battle. The voice actors are good, and in general the voice acting isn’t bad, but there are times when it just sounds off somehow. 3/5
There are quite a few new elements to this game that were not in any previous version. First off, you can import your saved data from Wild Arms: Alter Code F which will allow you all sorts of bonuses, including increased gella drops and increased experience. Like Alter Code F, you can get exp bonuses by doing certain moves in battle (kill a monster, dodge an attack, perform a critical). After battles, HP is immediately fully restored, but MP is not. Battles are done on 7 hexagons, three of which are elemental based. There are quite a few special attacks which will differ depending on what element they are on. For example, Yulie (the main girl and summoner) will call a different guardian depending on where she stands. On an elemental hexagon she’ll call that elemental guardian, but on a non-elemental hexagon she’ll summon a guardian that replenishes life to the party. At first this system seems strange and silly, but it does grow on you. Also to get items at the end of battles, one of your party members must be in the hexagon where the chest lands. Another change is that your character can jump, stomp, slide, and slow down time on dungeon maps. You’ll find that slowing down time is used often. Occasionally while running around you will see exclamation points appear. The game does not mention it until some time into it, so if you want to know what to do, hold down the L1 button for a few seconds and you will interact with these things. Mostly they are signs or points of interest. As you level you get skill points which can be added to a list of all the skills your character will get. Your character will still earn skills even if you don’t distribute the points, but by distributing the points you can use skills earlier. These points do not become permanently distributed, so you may move them around as you like. Also there is a battle arena where you can go to test your strength. It costs money to enter, but of course you get prizes. And if you collect a ROM for this one guy, you can play an arcade style game. Finally, there is no longer any true world map. Ever thing is either dungeon or town. You have a map on which you point and click to get to a new area. 4/5
You start the game as a young boy who apparently has never done anything besides being raised by his entire town and skipping classes. How he manages this as the only child in the town is a good question. One day the sky shatters, yes shatters, and Jude, the hero, goes to explore. He is of course still skipping classes. He then sees a girl. The first girl he has ever met. Because apparently girls and women are completely different and he must investigate this girl. After rescuing her from the military men who have just shattered the sky, they join up with a sexy teenager, Arnaud, who can use magic. Jude finds out he can use Arms, which magically appear in his hand, and accidentally destroys his town, which apparently is flying through the air. From that point on the group of them are on a mission to keep Yulie away from the military. They are quickly joined by a powerful swordswoman named Raquel, who is by far much cooler than Yulie or Jude. Discovering Jude’s abilities and Yulie’s secrets while avoiding the military take up the plot. 3/5
Like most RPGs, replay is completely at the discretion of the player. Pick it up again if you want to see the story again. There’s an epilogue as well, but nothing particularly special. 2/5
Like all the Wild Arms games, 4 offers a solid game, but it isn’t something spectacular. The new battle system is innovative, but I’m not sure if is good enough to be widespread. The skill system is nice, but it’s hard to know what skills the points should be in until after the battle they are needed. For example, I didn’t put points into the anti-undead spell because I hadn’t met any undead yet. The next boss was of course undead, but I didn’t have the skill learned. I then put points into the spell, but no more undead were around. For all it’s mediocrities, it’s a sold game and worth picking up for fans of the series. 3/5

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Atelier Iris: Eternal Mana (Ps2)

Reviewed by Kit
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This game of course came out quite a while ago. However, we were requested to write a review, and so we have. Atelier Iris is the tale of a young man trying to become a great alchemist like his grandmother. He begins his journey outside a small town where he meets a young woman named Lita, who is a monster hunter. Well then, let's get on with this.
Graphics: The graphics are well done. Inside of cities and dungeons the backgrounds are done in watercolors. In battles the backgrounds are less attractive. Characters and monsters are brightly colored sprites. On the world map, the player is portrayed as a tiny sprite on a giant map. The graphics are attractive but nothing outstanding. 4/5
Audio: The music serves to set the mood, and for the most part it does. You don't really notice it too much. Characters have voice acting in battle and in important cutscenes. The voice acting is well done, though I could be biased since I recognize and like most of the voice actors. 4/5
Gameplay: There are quite a few things to note in this sections. First off battles. You can only have three people in your party at a time, but you are able to switch out characters if you want. Characters will receive some experience if they are not in your party at the end of the battle, and switching out characters does not give all characters who participated equal experience. There are also area ranges for attacks. The monsters are laid out on vertical and horizontal planes. Some attacks will go through the horizontal planes while others go through the vertical. Each character has a weapon best suited for different areas of attack. The main character Klein uses a cane and can swipe monsters in a circular pattern. Lita slashes with claws which hit horizontally. You create items by either learning recipes at stores and bringing them ingrediants or learning recipes that are made through alchemy. Klein meets elementals throughout the game who help him make battle items. However to make these items he needs elemental energy, which luckily you can get by zapping things around you. 4/5
Story: It's a fairly simple story of boy meets girl, girl calls boy a loser, girl joins up with boy, girl is hiding a big secret and nearly dies because of it. Of course in the end you are saving the world. Wouldn't grandma be proud? During the course of saving the world you are hunted down by soldiers, haunted by a ghost, introduced to brownies, meet the lords of the elemental realm, turn into a bunny, and join up with a cat girl. Sounds like fun, right? 3/5
Replay: Once you beat the game you can load your previous save and go do some extra stuff like play around in a bonus dungeon. This of course can only happen if you've done enough side quests and found enough recipes. That is to say, I know peopel have done it, but not I. The game clocks in at about 30-40 hours without the bonus dungeon. It's fun, but you probably won't be picking it up again and again. 2/5
Overall: A fun, cute game with a basic story and a fun cast. It's worth picking up, but don't expect sliced bread. Certainly worth renting. I beat it in slightly over a week, so die hards could do it in three or four days. 3/5

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Bust-a-Move DS

Reviewed By Kit
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This is a puzzle game where the object is to clear the board. To do so, you must line up three bubbles of the same color together. So, let's dive right into this review, shall we?
Graphics: The graphics are simple. It's mostly circles all over your screen. Nothign impressive. 2/5
Audio: Typical puzzle game sounds. Repetitive, but appropriate. 3/5
Story: Puzzle game, no story necessary. 1/5
Gameplay: It's very simple to play this game. You control a giant slingshot that shoots bubbles into a screen filled with bubbles. Your goal is to clear the screen. This is puzzle mode. There is also VS mode and Continuous mode. VS pits you against the computer or other players in the area. Continuous leaves you with the goal to survive as long as possible. There are special bubbles as well that help clear the screen as well. 4/5
Replay: This is a great game to pick up again and again. It's not thought provoking, but it keeps you satisfied. 5/5
Overall: A great puzzle game that can keep you occupied for hours, even if you don't mean to be. I would recommend it for anyone with free time on their hands. 3/5