Posts Tagged ‘GameSaga Reviews’

So Many Me (PC) – GameSaga Review

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We recently had the opportunity to review So Many Me from Extend Interactive & Origo Games. It’s a cute, charming puzzle-platformer that will lure you in with thoughts of fun-filled adventures and then make you beg for mercy with its challenging puzzles. Want to know more? Read on for our full review.

Graphics - 7.5/10 – So Many Me may not blow you away with graphical prowess, but what is there is well done and is well-suited to the nature of the game. The game is meant to be a fun whimsical romp through the land of Xio and the art style definitely helps set the mood for this theme. Characters and enemies are easily distinguishable and your Me’s convey a lot of personality despite being little slime-like creatures. So Many Me feels like a children’s storybook or younger audience comic book come to life and if you’re just playing the game without trying to progress, the setting will surely put a smile on your face.

Sound/Music - 9/10 – Music in So Many Me is very well done. I came away quite impressed with it and like the graphics, it is also well-suited to the game’s theme. It’s very pleasing to listen to and would make good background noise to do just about anything while listening. I’m not sure if a soundtrack is available or not, but even without one, you can still just load up the game and sit there with it running and listening to the cheery tunes. Sound meanwhile is not as impressive in my opinion, though it is by no means bad, it’s just okay. I did like the “voices” of the Me’s though and thought that this added to their charm.

Gameplay - 8/10 – Games like this are designed to have gameplay be the bread and butter and this is certainly the case with So Many Me. The game is a puzzle-platformer as I mentioned above. As such, there are numerous puzzles throughout each level for you to solve. Some are optional, though there are others that required in order to complete a level. Optional ones generally lead you to areas where you can collect the various artifacts that are strewn about the levels. There are gold rings for example which you can exchange in one of the hub worlds of the game to a NPC who will give you various abilities in return. Some of the platforming segments in the game require nearly precision inputs and thus can be challenging if you’re not used to this type of game. Fortunately, the developers at Extend Interactive were kind enough to give players infinite lives so you can keep on trying. So Many Me also features transformations where you can change your Me’s into larger characters with different abilities. One of the first ones you gain access to is a dinosaur looking one who is heavier and thus can break through blocks by falling from great heights. He can also whip enemies and other blocks with his tail. Fortunately you can switch back and forth from this form to your group of Me’s whenever you want and some levels even require you to do this in order to progress. It’s a fun mechanic and one I enjoy in platforming games.

Story – 5/10 – The story in So Many Me doesn’t seem to be that apparent or obvious. Though being a puzzle-platformer, that is to be expected. The game even makes fun of the tropes of platformers where the hero is tasked with a quest to save the world and the NPC you meet seems frustrated that the Me’s didn’t let him finish explaining the game’s story/objective. I thought that was pretty fun and a nice touch for those of us who have played dozens of platformers before. Basically your objective is to guide Filo and your group of Me’s through their adventure in the land of Xio.

Challenge – 8/10 – Now challenge, that is another area where So Many Me truly shines. If you’re looking for a difficult game, you should check out So Many Me. It starts off simple enough and you’ll probably think, oh this isn’t so bad. Well just wait until you get to later levels. You’ll have to use enemies to bounce across dozens of spike covered platforms, quickly switch back and forth from block form to your Me form and still dodge enemies at the same time. As I mentioned above, certain sections of the game require the utmost precision and if you make even the slightest error, there’s no recovery from it and you will die. But like I said, you have infinite lives, so it’s not as bad as it could be in that regard.

Replay Value & Fun Factor – 7/10 – So Many Me features support for Steam Achievements and there’s 30 total to unlock in the game. There’s also tons of different costumes you can unlock as well to change the appearance of your Me’s. As I mentioned earlier, you also will be able to unlock different abilities to help you progress through the game, which is a trait not usually seen in games like this. If you can get past the challenging parts, there’s a lot of fun to be had in So Many Me. And you’ll want to keep trying just to see what is thrown at you next and to find more of your Me buddies.

Buy It Or Not? – Try The Demo, Buy If You Like It! – Games like So Many Me are not going to appeal to everyone as it is a difficult game in my opinion. As such, I would recommend you check out the free demo that is available on Steam to decide whether or not you’d be interested in it. Like I said, the game definitely is a fun experience if you can muster through the difficult areas and the music and graphics are quite pleasing and makes you just want to give the game a hug. Filo and the other Me’s are quite adorable and if their budget allows for it, I think Extend & Origo should market plush toys of them. That would be a neat thing for fans of the game and also advertise it as well.

Overall (Average) – 7.4/10

Overall (Non-Average) – 8/10 – I bumped up the score a little bit for So Many Me because overall I like the game. It just can be very difficult at times and this might make you want to throw your controller across the room, but if you persevere, there’s a lot to like in the game. Plus I really enjoyed the art style and the music for So Many Me as I mentioned above. So be sure to check it out on Steam. You can download a free demo and pick up the full version of the game for just $14.99.

Source: GameSaga Original

Image: Extend Interactive

Concursion (PC) – GameSaga Review

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We were recently given the opportunity to review Concursion, the retro style mash-up from Puuba Games & Mastertronic. As you may have seen on our Twitch channel the past few weeks, we’ve been finishing up the game and streaming footage. The game was tons of fun though it sure had its stressful moments. If you like old school games that will challenge you but still maintain a fun factor, you should check out Concursion. It’s available on Steam, for only $11.99. Want to know what we thought of the game in more detail? Read on for the full review.

Graphics – 7/10 – The graphics in Concursion are vivid, vibrant, and well suited to the game, but let’s be honest, this is not going to wow you with graphical prowess. Why? Because that is not what this game is about. It’s intended to be a retro-style game with 16-bit inspired graphics. Thus, graphics are mainly there to give the player something to look at and be able to distinguish themselves from enemies. That being said, some of the background art in the various stages is just gorgeous in my opinion. Very nicely done and would make nice wallpaper on a computer. Could the game look nicer? Yes, but it could also look a lot worse, and like I said, it’s not intended to be a gritty, realistic, art house type style.

Sound/Music – 7/10 – The music in Concursion is fairly catchy and nice to listen to as you to try to progress through the levels. It doesn’t oversaturate the levels, but provides a good background setting and allows you to concentrate on the gameplay, but still enjoy a nice relaxing theme. Same thing goes for the sound effects. Though I will admit, you will likely get sick of hearing the death sound effect as I know I did, as this is a tough game in spots and thus you’ll likely hear the death noise over and over again.

Gameplay – 9.5/10 – Now this is where Concursion truly shines. Puuba Games has developed quite an impressive amalgamation of genres. There’s platformer stages, Ninja Gaiden inspired stages, Pac-Man like stages, jet pack stages, and spaceship style stages resembling classics like the Gradius & R-Type series. And on top of all that, they even mix the different genres together within a single stage at times. Sometimes it’s two or three types, sometimes it’s all five. It really makes for an interesting gameplay mechanic and is something you don’t usually see a lot of in the industry. Most games stick with one or two genres, maybe three, but Concursion goes full-bore with five different ones in the same game, mixing them throughout like a fine cocktail of gaming goodness. And just when you think you’ve got things down and you’ve learned how the game will throw things at you, it’ll spin things around you and make you play the same exact kinds of stages in different ways. To conquer Concursion, you will truly have to master the different genres and be able to switch between them with only a few seconds of time to prepare.

Story – 6.5/10 – While the gameplay is phenomenal in Concursion, the story is somewhat bland and not too compelling in my opinion. That’s not to say it’s horrible or anything, it just is seemingly the same kind of thing we see in a lot of platformer type games. Though admittedly Concursion is more than just a platformer. But there is quite a big twist near the end of the game which reveals that the story is not all it seems to be and this twist is something that isn’t usually done in games like this, so that makes it a bit different from your average platformer type game. It’s a nice surprise, though it kind of makes you wish this had been revealed sooner and expanded upon further, as it would make it easier in my opinion to get into the game’s story and your objective.

Challenge – 9.5/10 – Wow…just wow. At first glance, you might think to yourself, how can a game like Concursion be difficult? Surely it’s just another cute platformer like so many games were back in the 1980s and 90s, right? Well, you’d be wrong, quite wrong. Why is that? Because this is much, much more than a mere platformer. As I mentioned above, there are a whole four other genres included within the game, puzzle, action, shoot-em-up, and adventure. So it’s not just a platformer. And let me tell you, this game will have you wanting to throw your controller at your monitor. It is that tough. Are there easy spots in the game? Yes, of course there are. But there’s plenty of hard sections as well that more than make up for this. There were certain levels I was stuck on for days and must’ve attempted 30 times or more before I was finally able to clear them. These types of stages require nearly 100% perfection on the controls and the gameplay mechanics in order for you to progress, so if you don’t have a solid grasp of these things, be prepared to struggle. Fortunately once you clear a stage like this, the game usually gives you a break and has several easier levels afterwards to help bring your frustration level back down to normal. And keep in mind, this has thus far said NOTHING about the collectible gem shards in the game. This is just to clear a level. To truly beat a level and accomplish everything, you have to collect around three to five gem shards in each stage. All while dodging the multitudes of enemies, avoiding falling the numerous pits, performing insane jumps, maneuvering through spiked corridors, and much, much more. While you’re flinging your controller towards your screen, you’ll likely rip out your hair as well. All I can say is, just take a break and come back to it in another day or two and maybe you’ll finally get past the super difficult parts. Concursion is definitely old school with its challenge, but fortunately, the game gives you infinite lives, so as long you reach checkpoints, you’ll rarely ever have to start a stage over completely.

Replay Value & Fun Factor8/10 – Concursion is a fun game overall, in my opinion. Is it tough? Yes, but it feels oh so rewarding when you finally clear a tough section of the game and even more so when you finally beat the game itself. That being said, this game will likely frustrate you, especially if you’re not used to retro style gaming. But even with the challenging portions, switching between different genres in the same game and even in the same level is an interesting mechanic and makes for a fun time. It’s somewhat similar to games like The Lost Vikings in that regard, though admittedly TLV didn’t switch genres on you, but rather had different abilities for the different characters. But you are required to switch between genres to progress in Concursion. If you do not, you will never complete the game. As far as replaying it goes, there are Steam achievements to unlock, gem shards to collect, and best time per stage leaderboards to conquer. Other than these things, there doesn’t seem to be much reason to play the game further once you have done all of this. I was unable to gather all of the gem shards in my play through and it’s possible that doing so may change the ending or unlock a hidden mode or feature, but that remains to be seen.

Buy It Or Not? – Buy! – If you like the idea of retro style gaming and are okay with games that will make you angry from how difficult they are, you’ll find a lot to like in Concursion. The game is difficult for sure, but not so much that you will play it thousands of times and never make it through. I mean, this isn’t Iron Tank after all. And even when you finish the game, you still can go through and collect gem shards you missed, unlock Steam achievements, and try to reach the top of the leaderboards for each stage with the fastest completion time. Concursion is only $14.99 on Steam, so there is a lot of game here for just $15. It’s well worth the money if you like the idea of retro inspired gaming and want something that will challenge you and still be fun at the same time.

Overall (Average) – 7.92/10

Overall (Non-Average) – 8.5/10 – I bumped the score up a bit for Concursion because it is just a fun game overall. Is it perfect? No, but few games are. There is a lot to like here in Concursion. The challenge is insane in the game and the gameplay itself is brilliant and makes me hopeful that game will do well enough to warrant a sequel. I’d love to see more games that utilize this type of mechanic, changing gameplay styles on the fly in levels.

Source: GameSaga Original

Mario Golf: World Tour (3DS) – GameSaga Review

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Mario Golf: World Tour is the latest entry in the Mario Golf series, which sees characters from the Mario series of games take a break from adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom and pick up some clubs and hit the links for some golf action. But this being a Mario game, there’s of course some Mario themed hijinks thrown in. For the first time in the series, you can now use items before you take a swing. Items function somewhat similarly to how they do in the Mario Kart series. Mushrooms speed your ball up after it lands, Fire Flowers let you “burn” things (i.e. you can pass through the leaves of trees with no detriment to your drive distance), Bullet Bills rocket you ahead (this particular item makes your drive around 100 yards longer than it normally would be), etc. Of course you don’t get unlimited items because that wouldn’t make for much challenge. Items are limited and one time use only unless you happen to collect multiples of them. The items themselves appear on the ground or in the air of each hole usually in sets of 2-4 item boxes and you have to hit your ball through the item box to pick up the item. Power shots return as well, and like previous entries in the series, these too are limited with a set number per course (shared among all holes of that course).

Mario Golf: World Tour features Castle Club Courses and Mario World Courses. There’s also a clubhouse which is connected to an overworld of sorts which serves as the hub for single player. You can talk to various NPCs to find out about the game, shop for new unlocked gear, switch out gear, and walk to the Castle Club Courses to play through those. The Club features are similar to previous handheld Mario Golf titles and add in some light RPG-type elements. It’s one of the more enjoyable aspects of the game to me. My only complaint about it is that I wish there were more of it. I think the courses should’ve been divided more evenly in number instead of favoring the Mario themed ones.

Mario Golf: World Tour is also the first game in the series to feature DLC and one of a handful of Nintendo published titles to support this feature. I did not purchase the DLC for the purposes of this review as I was more concerned with the main game overall. The DLC adds in additional characters and courses which gives you even more to do in the game.

All-in-all though, Mario Golf: World Tour is a pretty fun game if you like golf or more specifically the Mario Golf games at all. It’s best played in pick up and play type of sessions in my opinion. This is probably not a game you will be playing for 10 hours straight like an MMORPG or anything like that, but it’s not that type of game of course, but there’s still plenty of content to unlock. The game features several unlockable characters and courses. I didn’t particularly like the unlocking method in Mario Golf: World Tour. Why? Because in previous games like Toadstool Tour for example, you could unlock things through several different modes. In Mario Golf: World Tour it appears Camelot decided to make pretty much everything unlocked from within the Challenge Mode of the game. This would be fine if you there were more variety of challenges, but as there’s only 7 different types offered it limits the appeal of this method in my opinion. Then when you consider the fact that there are around 10 challenges per course with 5 courses to unlock and 4 characters to unlock through Challenge Mode only you can see why it might become tedious. You don’t unlock them by completing certain challenges. Instead you unlock them by collecting Star Coins, which you get from completing challenges. It might seem like a minor thing, but it seems like it makes unlocking things much more time consuming than it was in previous games. There’s also unlockable gear, difficulties, Star versions of characters, and more. So there’s plenty to do, it just gets kind of repetitive after a while in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, the main game is fun, but the Challenge Mode leaves something to be desired. I’d rather have characters unlocked through 9 or 18 holes of Match Play against said character for example. That would be more fun to me. As far as the breakdown about different aspects of the game, read on to find out what I thought about all of that after the jump.

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) – GameSaga Review

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The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is simply one of the best Zelda games in many years. With Skyward Sword before it and now this one, Nintendo has gone 2 for 2 with awesome Zelda games. Sure the game does have some aspects I wasn’t particularly fond of, but these are few and far between. All in all, it’s still an amazing game and one you need to play if you’re a Zelda fan or even just a fan of action-adventure games. Is it worth picking up a 3DS for on its own? I’d say yes, especially if you’re a Zelda fan. But you won’t have to worry about a lack of games either way, because after the slow start in the launch window, the 3DS has really picked up steam the past year or two and this latest entry in the Zelda series is another great game for Nintendo’s handheld.

Graphics – The graphics in Zelda: ALBW are not super impressive in my opinion, but that is not what most people play Zelda games for anyways. The 3D effects can make it difficult to get a good view of the action at times, but you just have to re-focus your eyes to adjust to it. Of course you can always turn the 3D off, but that would deprive you from the full experience of the game, though admittedly, ALBW doesn’t use the 3D that much. It’s mainly used for hopping down from ledges, from floors above to lower floors in dungeons, and other similar situations. I was surprised that it wasn’t implemented much at all in the boss fights. The style is very reminiscent of Link to the Past on the SNES, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, as that was one of the best looking SNES games for its time. ALBW may lack in blow away graphics, but what is there gets the job and serves its purpose. 6/10

Sound/Music – Music in ALBW is a mix of classic Zelda themes with some new ones thrown in. Some are simply backwards versions of existing themes. All-in-all, the music is nice and fits the game well. Sound effects are pretty much the standard Zelda variety, nothing really that exciting in this area, but that’s not to say they’re bad, because they’re not. 8/10

Gameplay – I think most Zelda fans would agree that gameplay is where the series has always shined and that is no different with ALBW. While the game takes place in the same world as Link to the Past, there’s quite a few changes. For example, once you get to Lorule, you can’t just wander around anywhere you want. You have to use the fast travel option or go back to Hyrule to move to a different area. This was not the case in LTTP’s Dark World. One of the biggest changes in this entry in the series is that you now can rent (and later buy) nearly all of the items in the game from practically the very beginning of the game. But there’s a catch. If you game over while renting an item, you lose that item back to the shop and have to re-rent it. Fortunately you’re later able to buy the items outright and that means they stay with you even through death. It’s an interesting change and means you can tackle the game pretty much however you want. That’s another switch on the traditional Zelda formula. Normally you’d have to complete dungeons in a linear fashion, but in ALBW you can do them in any order so long as you have the required item rented or bought from the shop. There’s also special items found only in the dungeons which are not necessarily required to complete the game, but will help you out a lot along the way. Plus you’ll need the Titan’s Mitt if you want to get 100% of the collectibles found in the game.

Puzzles in ALBW are a mix of the standard Zelda type of puzzle, plus some new ideas involving use of the 3D mechanic as well as the new painting mechanic. In some parts you’ll have to use the Tornado Rod to elevate Link to higher areas. And you’ll have to merge into a painting in many parts of the game, in the overworld and in dungeons in order to progress. This is also used for certain collectibles. Another thing which I think is new is found in certain dungeons where you come to a room with water or the like and a raft that you normally can’t use besides standing on it. But if you use the hookshot, you can propel yourself forwards on the raft. Nintendo also changed how item upgrades work in ALBW versus how they did in LTTP. Previously in LTTP you had to go to the correct Great Fairy and the Blacksmith to upgrade items. In ALBW, you have to find the collectible critter known as a Maiamai (little octopus/shellfish things) and turn them into their mother to unlock item upgrades. You also have to own the item, not just have it rented. The sword is still upgradeable at the Blacksmith like in LTTP, but instead of finding a missing blacksmith, you have to find something called Master Ore and you need 4 of them to get both upgrades. Another thing which I thought was a nice touch was the inclusion of the Sacred Realm, which is the first time as far as I know that the uncorrupted form of it has ever been playable (albeit briefly). The Dark World was the fomer Sacred Realm (then called the Golden Land) in LTTP, but we never got to experience the Sacred Realm after saving Hyrule. It’d be cool if this is expanded upon further in another entry in the series as it is one of the few things that has not really been done much at all thus far. One thing I didn’t like was that you are given one of the Pendants. I didn’t like the similar part of Twilight Princess where you’re given a piece of the broken mirror, and I don’t like this either. Why? Because I feel like it should be acquired from a dungeon like the rest. You’re not just given a piece of the Triforce in Zelda on NES. You’re not given a Pendant or Crystal in LTTP. You’re not given a medallion in OOT. And so forth. 9/10

Story – Another big selling point of a Zelda game is the story. As you would expect, the story in ALBW is somewhat similar to the one in LTTP, but does have a few differences. While in LTTP, you rescued maidens trapped in crystals, in ALBW, you rescue sages (like in OOT and TWW) from paintings. The villain this time around is a sorcerer named Yuga. He plays a role somewhat similar to Agahnim in LTTP, but he is not the only villain found in ALBW. I won’t spoil it here, but you might not see it coming initially unless you were paying close attention. Yuga initially wants to obtain the full Triforce for a somewhat noble reason, but later intends to use it to obtain power and beauty. The same reasoning for why he wants to resurrect Ganon. Link has to rescue the Sages trapped in the paintings by Yuga and put a stop to his evil plan and save Hyrule & Lorule. 7/10

Challenge – While there were parts of ALBW where I got stuck, that was mostly due to my not remembering to try to use the painting ability, which as I mentioned earlier, is used frequently in the game. I think this is because having played just about every Zelda game there is, I’m used to the concept that when you’re stuck it usually means you are missing an item you need to progress. That does happen in ALBW but not as often as you can rent everything right away once you have enough rupees. In ALBW it can also mean you need to use the painting ability. Other than that though, the enemies don’t provide too much of a challenge. There are a few like the Lynels for example that are tough, but once you figure out the trick to defeating them (close, quick attacks), even they are no match for Link. One of the hardest parts of the game is the advanced version of the Treacherous Tower, but this not required in order to complete the game. And this is only tough because you’re facing lots of enemies in succession with little to no recovery items. I took 3 blue potions and 2 fairies and used all of them. Even with all of that, I never got a game over screen in ALBW. I did die a few times, but being a Zelda pro, I know to always carry fairies in bottles to be resurrected and thus kept the record intact. There’s also Hero Mode unlocked once you beat the game which a harder difficulty, but this review is not covering that part of the game since it’s basically more of the same game, just a little more difficult. 5/10

Replay Value – ALBW offers up several things to contribute to replay value. Of course there’s Hero Mode which I just mentioned, if that sort of thing interests you. You don’t seem to get much of a reward from it, so I’m not sure it’s really worth it in my opinion. There’s also several mini-games in ALBW, like the Cucco one, the Tower, Rupee Rush, and more. And of course there’s plenty of Pieces of Heart to find like in most Zelda games. There’s also the Maiamais I mentioned earlier. Though all of that being said, I found about 2/3rds of the Maiamais in my initial play through before I started going out of my way to find them (to get all the item upgrades) and all but about 7 or 8 heart pieces. And that is without really trying to find them, so you might not get much replay value out of that. Nintendo also incorporated a pseudo multiplayer mode utilizing SteetPass. When you get a StreetPass match, you get to fight a Shadow Link version of that a player, though they are controlled by the game’s AI and not the player themselves. You can collect a bounty for defeating each one, but this doesn’t seem to serve much purpose other than to serve as a sort of high score feature. 6/10

Fun Factor – ALBW is one of the best Zelda games in recent memory in my opinion. It may have some flaws, but overall, it’s a very fun game and highly recommended you check it out even if you don’t currently own a 3DS. If you get the special Zelda-themed edition of the 3DS XL, it comes with a free eShop download code for the game, so that’s a good option if you don’t already own the handheld. While the world may be the same as in LTTP, even if you’re a pro at LTTP, you’ll find lots to love in ALBW and will appreciate the nods to the game’s inspiration and pseudo-prequel. 9/10

Buy It Or Not? – Really, if you’re even a minor Zelda fan, there’s no reason not to buy this game unless you already own it. Do yourself a favor and buy it, I doubt you’ll regret it. It is simply one of the best Zelda games in a while and it’s really close to pushing into my Top 5 Zelda Games, though I’d place it just below Wind Waker and Skyward Sword. The game is available on the eShop as a digital purchase at a variety of retailers. You can also find it Amazon by clicking this affiliate link. Buy!

Overall (Average)7.14/10

Overall (Non-Average) – You might look at that average score and think this means ALBW is a bad game. I assure you, it is not. The average is lower because of the scores for Graphics, Challenge, & Replay Value. But these things are not that important in a Zelda game in my opinion, thus I am increasing the score for the Non-Average Overall. Sure there are some flaws in the game, like the lack of much challenge or replay value, but those are not enough to detract from the overall quality of the game. 9/10

Source: GameSaga Original

NES Remix (WU) – GameSaga Review

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NES Remix is exactly what it what sounds like, classic NES games remade for the modern era. But these aren’t your typical HD remakes like you’d find on other consoles, no these are designed to be quite similar graphically speaking to the original games, but adding in new or refined challenges. For example in some of the Super Mario Bros. stages, you’ll find yourself having to defeat say 15 enemies within a time limit, or get to the end of the stage without the ability to stop running. In one Donkey Kong Jr. stage, Mario turns out the lights on you periodically as you have to make your way to the top while dodging hazards along the way. In a Mario Bros. stage, you have 2 Mario’s, not unlike the Double Cherry power up from Super Mario 3D World and you have to get all the coins within the allotted time limit (15 seconds). It may not sound difficult when you read it, but when actually playing, it is much more difficult given the very floaty mechanics of the original Mario Bros. The remix stages all have a sort of HD makeover look to them and it looks great on a HDTV. This might be what it would’ve been like in the 80′s had modern HD technology existed back then. Pretty cool stuff. Want to get your own copy of NES Remix? You can purchase eShop cards through Amazon by clicking this affiliate link and use it towards the purchase of the game.

The music in the game is mostly the same songs we all remember, though there is some new stuff added in for the menu screens and the like as well. There’s also stamps to collect in NES Remix, which is a feature first seen in Nintendo Land. Perhaps this is something Nintendo is going to keep doing in their games going forward? It works basically the same way the ones in previous games did, but unlike in Super Mario 3D World, you don’t find them in the game world, but rather you earn them when you’ve earned enough “bits” which are essentially points in the game. You earn bits (points) by completing stages, gaining extra for completing the stage without dying or finishing quickly. Each time you fill the bar (usually 500-1,000 bits) you unlock a new stamp you can then post on Miiverse with. Yes, NES Remix has built-in Miiverse support as well, so you can post all about your trials, successes, failures, opinions, and more, all with the use of 8-bit style black & white stamps.

There’s several more games represented in NES Remix, like Balloon Fight, Excitebike, and more. There’s 25 main Remix stages (with additional ones to unlock as you progress through the game) and each game seems to have about 10-15 (on average) of their own stages as well, which each having between 1-4 challenges, similar to what you’d see in a WarioWare game. It’s a lot of fun and some of the challenges Nintendo has come up with are just insane and makes you excited for the future of this new franchise, especially with the sequel, NES Remix 2 just around the corner. It can be frustrating at times (here’s looking at you infinite running SMB stages), but that is just because you have to retrain yourself to playing the old school stages in a different way than you are used to. On these stages you have to alter your jumping to make it to the end, you can’t just spam the jump button repeatedly or you will die, EVERY time. It’s definitely a switch from how you normally would play these levels if it were in classic SMB.

GamePad support is in full effect as well, including Off-TV Play. It’s only $14.99, which is a great price for something like this. If you were to buy each game individually in cart form, you’d probably spend at least that much, if not more. Granted the games within NES Remix are not the full versions of the games, but it’s still a really fun experience and highly recommended for you to check out if you’re a fan at all of retro gaming or old school NES games. The sequel, NES Remix 2 is due out this Friday, the 25th, and will feature more games, some of which are not included in the first game, so that’ll likely be awesome as well.

Each game has between 7-23 stages, with most being around 10 or so. The Remix ones number in at 25 stages. You have to unlock these by earning stars from clearing stages from the included games, with a max of 3 stars per stage. You can also get a rainbow rating, which is a rainbow-colored variation of 3 stars if you do really well. There are unlockable games with more stages as well. These you don’t have access to initially until you’ve cleared enough of the Remix group of stages. NES Remix also features a few “hidden” games which are not separated out into their own set of challenges but rather they appear in the general section of challenges which has a mix of games. The game is a lot of fun especially if you’re an old school NES fan like I am. Though it can quite frustrating at times as well. A lot of the “glitches” found in the old NES games are still present, like the poor collision detection in Ice Climber for example. I lost count with how many times I fell through platforms playing those challenges. Stuff like that makes you really appreciate when you jump on a platform and you actually land on the platform like the graphics indicate that you should. But even with minor issues like that, it’s still a blast to play through.

Nintendo has done a lot of neat stuff with the game like upside-down stages, backwards stages, silhouette stages, “lantern” stages, and much more. Some may find the $14.99 price tag a bit steep, considering these are at their core retro games, but personally I think it’s a reasonable price. You get a lot of gameplay out of it even without multiplayer, which seems to be strangely missing from NES Remix. I’m not sure why they didn’t include a multiplayer option. Maybe it was a time thing? Or maybe they’re saving that for a future title? I’d like to see Nintendo expand this series as we go forward, though not so rapidly that it gets worn out. Imagine what a SNES Remix could be like for example or GB Remix? Games like these are perfect for the true purpose of DLC as well, that is to add in content to expand on the main game that it wouldn’t have had otherwise, that isn’t available on the same day as release. Nintendo could, in theory, add in say 3-5 new games, maybe 1 every month or every other month after release and thus give players even more to do with the game. We shall see if they choose to go this route. Even without a DLC option though, NES Remix is still a worthy purchase for any Nintendo fan or retro gaming fan. You can pick it up on the Wii U eShop for $14.99 right now. If you don’t have a credit card and still want to get NES Remix, you can click this affiliate link to purchase an eShop card on Amazon and use it of the game and still have some credit leftover.

Graphics – Seeing as how this is a retro based title, graphics are not going to be strong point of a game like NES Remix. Even so, the pseudo-HD versions of NES games in the Remix stages looks pretty awesome by 8-bit standards and Nintendo & indieszero even added in brand new sprites, like giant fireballs in some of the Mario levels for example. 6/10

Sound/Music – Well, you either love old school 8-bit music or you don’t. Personally, I’m a fan since I grew up playing the original versions of these games. Much of the classic sounds & music return for NES Remix along with a few new tracks here and there. If you’re a retro fan like me, you’ll find yourself humming along just as you remembered from when we were kids. But there’s not a whole lot of new ground broken here, but again, that’s not the point of a title like NES Remix. 8/10

Gameplay – NES Remix is just a fun game to play. Some of the challenges are efforts in pure frustration, but most are fun and reasonably challenging but not impossible. As I mentioned, glitches present in the original versions of the games still seem to be present in NES Remix, so that can have an effect on your playing ability and it’s important to make note of. The Ice Climbers one is such a glitch along with one which I didn’t remember with Super Mario Bros. In the SMB levels when Hammer Bros., you can die even if you jump the enemy, as apparently there is a sweet spot to it that I wasn’t aware of or just didn’t remember from back in the day. Another issue is learning to control the games, especially if you’ve never played them before or haven’t in a long time. On Tennis for example, I hadn’t played it in probably 20+ years and so I could not for the life of me hit the ball when serving. Finally I learned that you have to wait until it’s about even with your hand before you can hit it. Stuff like that you wouldn’t know initially unless you had played the game extensively. There are how-to-play type videos for each game, but that can only go so far. 9/10

Story – There’s not much of a story in NES Remix as far as I can tell, but this isn’t Zelda, Final Fantasy, Elder Scrolls, Metal Gear Solid, or Dragon Quest. This is a retro throwback pick-up & play time killer type of game. The story here is what you make of it. N/A

Challenge – Be warned if you’re thinking of playing NES Remix, some of the challenges offered are brutal. The phrase Nintendo Hard came about for a reason back in the day. If you’re not conditioned for retro gaming, you will likely want to slam your controller in frustration. I had several experiences like that myself. Some of the infinite running SMB stages require such precision that you’d swear you’d have to be a computer to pull it off, but they are possible, just very difficult. Fortunately you get infinite continues in NES Remix (though continuing after a game over means you can only earn 1 star on that level unless you exit out and/or restart). Other challenges make you think they’re a joke or just put in as a rest period/breather between the super difficult ones. 8/10

Replay Value – While NES Remix may not offer multiplayer, there’s still quite a lot of things to do in the game. You can collect stamps as I mentioned, earn bits (points), unlock all the challenges/games, & earn rainbow triple star ratings in all challenges. Since some of the challenges are quite difficult, it’s likely you’ll be trying to get the perfect rating for these for quite a while. Even so, the game could’ve benefited from multiplayer of some kind and/or post-release DLC. 6/10

Fun Factor – NES Remix is just plain fun if you’re a classic gaming fan. It’s a fun trip down memory lane with a lot of games we grew up with, though some of them are less memorable than others (Clu Clu Land anyone?). Even so, it’s a title you can just pick-up & play and try to beat your best time or the best time someone else has earned (which is accessible through Miiverse). 8/10

Buy It Or Not? – NES Remix to me is game that could be a full retail title if everything was multiplied by 2. If there were multiplayer & double the number of challenges, games, stamps,  etc., then Nintendo could’ve charged $50-60 for this, easily. But instead it’s a $15 eShop title and as such is a decent price for what you get. Some might find it steep, but I think it’s a good price and well worth the cash if you’re a retro gaming fan. Buy!

Overall (Average)7.5/10

Overall (Non-Average) – Whether or not you like NES Remix is dependent on two main things. Is multiplayer a necessity for you? If so, then you’ll likely be disappointed with NES Remix, as it is not offered. The other factor is, are you a fan of old school games? If so, there’s lots to love in NES Remix, if not, then you might want to pass on it. But for me, it’s a definite must have. As such I bumped up the score to a 9 from 7.5 due to my love of classic gaming and the fact that it’s just plain fun in my opinion. I would give it a 10, but with the glitches not fixed, I have to deduct for that as well as the lack of multiplayer (despite the latter not being that important to me personally).  9/10

Source: GameSaga Original

Image: Kidlat404

RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage Review

rainblood chronicles mirage logo 3 300x116 RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage Review

Badass music, ninjas, beautiful cel-shaded/comic style graphics, a Chinese setting, what’s not to like about a game like RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage? We recently were given the opportunity to review this game and wow, this is just an all around great effort from the team at S-Game, a Chinese independent developer. This is their third RainBlood game, but unlike the first two, Mirage is not an RPG, but rather a side-scrolling beat’em up/hack & slash/action game. If Final Fight was set entirely in China and you replaced gangs with ninjas and such, then you’d get something like RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage.

Graphics – As I mentioned above, RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage uses a style quite reminiscent of cel-shading which gives it an almost comic book like look. This visual style seems to suit the game quite well in my opinion. Both playable characters and individual enemies are easily seen for the most part, though sometimes the enemies can be hard to individually distinguish from one another when you’re fighting against large groups of them, but given that this a beat’em up type of game, that usually isn’t that important to do (the exception being the ranged enemies which will be a major pain in the neck if not dealt with). 9/10

Sound/Music – Wow, just wow. The title theme in RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is one of the best title themes and pieces of game music I’ve heard in many years, simply phenomenal. If this track doesn’t get you pumped to kick some ninja butt, nothing will. This theme wouldn’t be out of place in an Asian themed Mega Man level even. The rest of the game’s sounds and music are also well done. As you would expect, they have a heavy Asian influence/theme going, but that is what you would want from a game set in China. RBCM features voice acting as well, but unfortunately (or not depending on your perspective), the voices are in what I assume is Chinese. I don’t speak Chinese, so I have no idea what they’re saying, but fortunately S-Team was kind enough to put in English subtitles. 9.5/10

Gameplay – Being an action/beat’em up/hack & slash game, RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage follows a pretty simple formula. Kill all the bad guys and find your way to the end of the level and kill a boss, pretty standard fair. But RBCM adds in special skills and abilities you can use to do different moves and attacks. The game features a “store” where you can use several types of in-game currency to unlock said moves and attacks. Some are button combos to perform more advanced attacks, while others are special abilities that will use your special move meter to attack all the enemies on the screen at once for example. I did sometimes find it difficult to perform special moves, but maybe that is because of user error and not the game’s fault. They’re not 100% required to advance in the game from what I could tell, except for a jumping move you’ll learn, but that one is easy to execute. 8/10

Story – The story in RBCM sees our heroes going after an evil organization who are up to no good and Soul & Shang seek justice against them. Pretty standard stuff in this type of game, but still cool nonetheless. The game features various dialog sequences with just the heroes, just enemies, and with the heroes and enemies together. There’s also various collectibles you can find which tell you more of the story as well as hidden rooms with more story scenes. 6/10

Challenge – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage would certainly make a good arcade game in my opinion. Why? Because the game is quite challenging even on Medium/Normal difficulty (which is called Killer in-game). It’s not a matter of if you’ll die, but how often. This type of game would be a quarter muncher back in the day for sure. Fortunately however, the game does provide extra lives you can collect, but in my play time with the game, they are few and far between. You can buy extras from the in-game shop using the game’s currency, but they are quite expensive (as you would expect to prevent “cheating”). RBCM features checkpoints even if you do wind up with a game over, but usually you’ll be sent back quite a ways and have to repeat challenging parts. Fortunately, you have two playable characters, so you can swap in and out to navigate through the game, though there is a short cooldown on this ability so you can’t just spam it constantly. 8/10

Replay Value – RBCM is a Steam title and as such, it features achievements that you can unlock. The game also has a lot of collectibles hidden throughout the levels for you to find and purchase unlockables such as abilities, attacks, and things like reduced damage or increased drop rate of currency. There are tons of things to unlock, so it’s doubtful you’ll be able to unlock every single thing without playing through each level multiple times. Multiplayer is featured in RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage as well, though I was unable to test this aspect of the game for this review. 6/10

Fun Factor – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is definitely a fun game if you enjoy beat’em up games, which I do. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a lot like Final Fight in a Chinese setting. The game’s challenge can be somewhat off-putting, but it doesn’t make the game less fun to me. I’m sure it would be even more fun in two player mode as well. 8/10

Buy It Or Not? – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is only $10 on Steam, which a great price for a game like this. That’s the advantage of something like Steam. Back in the day, this game would’ve been $50-60 easily, possibly more, but with Steam it’s only $10. If you like beat’em ups, you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of RBCM for just $10. Buy!

Misc Notes – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage does have a few flaws which didn’t bother me that much, but still deserve mention. There are occasional typos or incorrect word choices in various places such as on the game’s main menu screen. Here you’ll find the words Setting and Credit used instead of Settings & Credits, which makes more sense. But given that this game was developed by a Chinese team and for many of them it’s likely that English is not their first language, I can forgive this sort of thing for the most part. I mean they know English a lot better than I know Chinese for example.

Overall (Average)7.79/10

Overall (Non-Average) – RainBlood Chronicles: Mirage is a fun, albeit challenging game. The music is just awesome and makes you want to kick some butt. The visuals are very nice as well. I rounded up to 8 and added an additional half a point because I like the game overall despite a few minor flaws. 8.5/10

Source: GameSaga Original

Image: Steam

Talisman: Digital Edition Review

talisman digital edition logo Talisman: Digital Edition Review

As we mentioned back in December in our Talisman Prologue review, we had the opportunity to review the multiplayer/updated version called Talisman: Digital Edition as well. As expected, the game shares a lot of similarities with Talisman Prologue, but unlike Prologue, Digital Edition supports multiplayer. You can have multiple AI opponents as well. TDE also has Steam achievements, a leveling system for your player character, and something called runestones which can provide benefits to your character and are gained at various points. TDE has fixed some of the bugs we mentioned in our TP review as well. The music and sound levels can be adjusted just fine for example. TDE adds in the ability to resume your last played game if you quit in the middle of it. The game will auto save for you, which is nice. The quests featured in TP have been removed as TP was designed to be a single player game and TDE is multiplayer focused. Other than these few things though, the games are quite similar. Want a copy of Talisman: Digital Edition for yourself? You can grab the Collector’s Edition of the game from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link. Talisman: Digital Edition Review

Graphics – The graphics in Talisman: Digital Edition are not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but they are not mind-blowing either. But that’s not the point of a game like Talisman. Being a video game version of a board game, it’s not about graphics, it’s about gameplay. The artwork for all the various cards in the game is nice though and for the most part you can tell what each space on the game board is supposed to be without having to click on it. 7/10

Sound/Music – Talisman being a fantasy-themed game, you’d expect fantasy-themed music and that’s what you’ll find here. Personally I’ve always been a fan of fantasy type music in games and the music in Talisman is quite good and catchy. The sound effects are fine as well, nothing bad, most are pretty good actually, including a lot of different ones for the various cards in the deck, such as The Hag cackling when you get her. Though some are re-used for multiple cards, but that is probably to expected because how do you come up with a sound effect for a healer versus a mage? 8/10

Gameplay – Talisman is a fun game if you enjoy board games and don’t have a problem with video game adaptations of them. Being based on the board game, the objective of the video game is basically the same thing. You want to get to the Crown of Command to “win” the game. Unlike in Prologue, there aren’t any quests to be found so you can in theory go straight for the Crown of Command, but you can’t just go there right away in reality, because you have to “level up” your character in order to survive. You level up your character through drawing cards that increase stats, acquiring objects to increase them, finding followers, or through board events. There are a few ways to move to the inner region of the board, and the most reliable method is to defeat the Sentinel in combat, but he has a Strength rating of 9. So you’ll likely need at least 9 to beat him. Talisman being a board game based video game, it uses dice for movement and just about every other decision in the game (though some instances have you choose from a list of various choices). So unless you’re extremely lucky, you’ll need a high Strength rating to get to the inner region. You can also get there by building a raft or through teleportation (which is available in various forms). The game progresses until you or an opponent reach the Crown of Command and only one player is left alive. Arriving at the Crown of Command gives you the ability to cast a spell which will take a life from a player of your choice if you roll within the required range. Unlike in TP, there is a save option in Talisman: Digital Edition, so even if you quit in the middle of a game, you can come back to it later. This is an important thing to consider because just playing against one AI opponent can take over an hour to finish. 9/10

Story – There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of story in Talisman: Digital Edition. You’re basically limited to what the cards say and whatever your class description is. That’s about it. Why are you supposed to go the Crown of Command? Who knows? The game never tells you from what I could tell. But again, this is a board game based video game, which aren’t exactly known for epic storytelling. 4/10

Challenge – As this is a game based on a board game and thus uses dice heavily throughout, a lot of the gameplay in Talisman: Digital Edition is based purely on luck & chance. If you don’t like games like that, you won’t like Talisman, but it actually isn’t as bad as it might seem. You’re not limited in direction of movement, so you can keep going back and forth the same direction each time if you’d like. The “luck of the draw” provides the main challenge in Talisman: Digital Edition. You draw cards from the deck and have to do whatever it says. Some will be good results like adding gold to your inventory, or giving you a Strength object, whereas others will be bad like drawing The Hag card which is a follower who prevents you from getting other followers until you get rid of her. The dice only goes from 1-6, so the most you’ll ever roll normally is 6 (the exception being certain spots on the board [the Warrior class gets two dice, but the values are not combined and thus he can only roll 1-6 as well). 8/10

Replay Value – While Prologue lacked much replay value, Digital Edition tries to fix this issue. As I mentioned there are now Steam achievements, leveling for your character/profile, and runestones. There’s also DLC available for the game which will add new playable classes. There’s several different classes to choose from even without the DLC, so if you want to win a match with all of them, you’ll be at it for a while. There’s even a random class option which wasn’t in TP, which can be used for AI opponents as well. All this being said, the game is an enjoyable experience and if like board games even a little bit, you’ll find plenty to do in Talisman: Digital Edition. 6/10

Fun Factor – I had never heard of nor played the board game version of Talisman prior to playing the video game versions of it, but if the board game is anything like the video game, it’ll be a fun time as well. Talisman: Digital Edition may lack a lot of depth, but it is just fun to go around and see all the different cards, power up your character and take down all the big bad enemies. Matches can take an hour or more of real time depending on your luck, so there’s tons to do in the game if you want to complete a match with every class. Whether or not you have fun with Talisman hinges on whether or not you like board games. If you don’t, you probably won’t enjoy this game, but if you do, you’ll find plenty to love in Talisman: Digital Edition. 8/10

Buy It Or Not? – Whether or not you decide to purchase Talisman: Digital Edition depends on how you feel about board games. Personally I like them, so I think the game warrants a purchase. The game isn’t super expensive either, just $15 on Steam, so there’s not a lot to lose even if you don’t wind up liking it. You can also purchase Talisman: Digital Edition Collector’s Edition from Amazon by clicking this affiliate link. Talisman: Digital Edition Review Buy!

Overall (Average) – 7.14/10

Overall (Non-Average) – I added extra points to my score for Talisman: Digital Edition because I enjoy the game and think that while it may have minor flaws, it makes up for them with just being fun to play. The Story & Replay Value are not the main selling points for a game like this, so their low score shouldn’t be weighted as heavily as the other aspects of the game. Talisman: Digital Edition is a worthy purchase for any board game fan or fantasy game fan. You’ll have hours of fun with the game and you’ll likely never play the exact same game more than once as there is so much random luck & chance in the game that each time through will be different even if only slightly. Talisman: Digital Edition makes it easy to pick up and play and you don’t have to know anything about the board game version to play and enjoy the video game version. The game explains things to you along the way and the interface is simple and easy to understand (you simply click the dice or card deck). Talisman: Digital Edition is a worthy addition to any Steam library, especially for only $15. 9/10

Source: GameSaga Original

Image: Steam

Talisman Prologue (PC) – GameSaga Review

talisman prologue logo 300x168 Talisman Prologue (PC)   GameSaga Review

Graphics - The graphics in Talisman Prologue are not horrible by any stretch of the imagination, but they are not mind-blowing either. But that’s not the point of a game like Talisman. Being a video game version of a board game, it’s not about graphics, it’s about gameplay. The artwork for all the various cards in the game is nice though and for the most part you can tell what each space on the game board is supposed to be without having to click on it. 7/10

Sound/Music - Talisman being a fantasy-themed game, you’d expect fantasy-themed music and that’s what you’ll find here. Personally I’ve always been a fan of fantasy type music in games and the music in Talisman is quite good and catchy. The sound effects are fine as well, nothing bad, most are pretty good actually, including a lot of different ones for the various cards in the deck, such as The Hag cackling when you get her. Though some are re-used for multiple cards, but that is probably to expected because how do you come up with a sound effect for a healer versus a mage? 8/10

Gameplay - Talisman is a fun game if you enjoy board games and don’t have a problem with video game adaptations of them. Being based on the board game, the objective of the video game is basically the same thing. You want to complete your quest(s) and get to the Crown of Command to “win” the game. But you can’t just go there right away, because you have to “level up” your character in order to survive. You level up your character through drawing cards that increase stats, acquiring objects to increase them, finding followers, or through board events. There are a few ways to move to the inner region of the board, and the most reliable method is to defeat the Sentinel in combat, but he has a Strength rating of 9. So you’ll likely need at least 9 to beat him. Talisman being a board game based video game, it uses dice for movement and just about every other decision in the game (though some instances have you choose from a list of various choices). So unless you’re extremely lucky, you’ll need a high Strength rating to get to the inner region. You can also get there by building a raft or through teleportation (which is available in various forms). The game progresses until you either complete you Quest Objective or reach the Crown of Command. Unfortunately, there is no save option in Talisman Prologue, so you’ll either have to keep playing until it’s over or leave the game running and come back to it later if you need to stop in the middle of a game. This is also a strictly single player game, which seems odd considering it’s a board game video game. But Talisman Digital Edition which we’ll be reviewing soon as well, offers multiplayer and other new features over Talisman Prologue. 7/10

Story - There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of story in Talisman Prologue. You’re basically limited to what each quest tells you before you embark on it and whatever your class description is. That’s about it. Why are you supposed to go the Crown of Command? Who knows? The game never tells you from what I could tell. But again, this is a board game based video game, which aren’t exactly known for epic storytelling. 4/10

Challenge - As this is a game based on a board game and thus uses dice heavily throughout, a lot of the gameplay in Talisman Prologue is based purely on luck & chance. If you don’t like games like that, you won’t like Talisman, but it actually isn’t as bad as it might seem. You’re not limited in direction of movement, so you can keep going back and forth the same direction each time if you’d like. The “luck of the draw” provides the main challenge in Talisman Prologue. You draw cards from the deck and have to do whatever it says. Some will be good results like adding gold to your inventory, or giving you a Strength object, whereas others will be bad like drawing The Hag card which is a follower who prevents you from getting other followers until you get rid of her. The dice only goes from 1-6, so the most you’ll ever roll normally is 6 (the exception being certain spots on the board [the Warrior class gets two dice, but the values are not combined and thus he can only roll 1-6 as well). 8/10

Replay Value - There doesn’t seem to be a lot of replay value in Talisman Prologue. The game boasts several different classes each with their own quests, though some share quests like the Crown of Command quest (which is the final quest for most classes). So you’ll have plenty of classes to play through before you’re completely finished with the game, but outside of that, there doesn’t appear to be anything else to do, just do the quests for your class(es) and that’s it. There aren’t even any credits upon completing a Crown of Command quest for a class. That being said, the game is still enjoyable to me despite those factors. 4/10

Fun Factor - I had never heard of nor played the board game version of Talisman prior to playing the video game version of it, but if the board game is anything like the video game, it’ll be a fun time as well. Talisman Prologue may lack a lot of depth, but it is just fun to go around and see all the different cards, power up your character and take down all the big bad enemies. Quests can take an hour or more of real time depending on your luck, so there’s tons to do in the game if you want to complete every quest with every class. Whether or not you have fun with Talisman hinges on whether or not you like board games. If you don’t, you probably won’t enjoy this game, but if you do, you’ll find plenty to love in Talisman Prologue. 8/10

Buy It Or Not? – Whether or not you decide to purchase Talisman Prologue depends on how you feel about board games. Personally I like them, so I think the game warrants a purchase. The game isn’t super expensive either, just $7 on Steam, so there’s not a lot to lose even if you don’t wind up liking it. Buy!

Misc Notes – I did notice a few of what appeared to be bugs in the game when playing for this review. One time the game locked up on me completely when I had rolled an outcome that forced me to lose a life for myself or a follower. I had a spell for my character that allowed me to use it to prevent these deaths, so I used it and picked my follower, but the game didn’t do anything after that. It didn’t end the turn, it didn’t kill me or my follower, nothing. It just stopped doing anything. I had to quit the game to get out of it.

There was another bug where I won a fight at The Tavern space on the board. Normally in combat the game plays combat based music and when the battle is over the music goes away. Well this time for some reason, it kept playing, and playing, and playing, even after I successfully engaged in combat with other enemies. Even abandoning the quest didn’t help. I had to exit the game completely to fix it. I like the music in Talisman Prologue, but I don’t want to hear the combat music over top of EVERYTHING else in the game.

Speaking of music, when I experienced this bug, I also tried to lower the volume of the music and sound both with the in-game controls. Neither appeared to do have any effect. Not sure if it was just one time thing or what, but something to make note of.

Overall (Average)6.57/10

Overall (Non-Average) - I added extra points to my score for Talisman Prologue because I enjoy the game and think that while it may have minor flaws, it makes up for them with just being fun to play. The Story & Replay Value are not the main selling points for a game like this, so their low score shouldn’t be weighted as heavily as the other aspects of the game. The minor bugs I encountered were annoying for sure, but they happened once each in hours and hours of playing, which definitely isn’t game-breaking. Talisman Prologue is a worthy purchase for any board game fan or fantasy game fan. You’ll have hours of fun with the game and you’ll likely never play the exact same game more than once as there is so much random luck & chance in the game that each time through will be different even if only slightly. Talisman Prologue makes it easy to pick up and play and you don’t have to know anything about the board game version to play and enjoy the video game version. The game explains things to you along the way and the interface is simple and easy to understand (you simply click the dice or card deck). Talisman Prologue is a worthy addition to any Steam library, especially for only $7. You can also pick up a copy of the game through Amazon by clicking our affiliate link here. Talisman Prologue (PC)   GameSaga Review 9/10

Source: GameSaga Original

Image: Steam

Retro Throwback – Blaster Master (NES) Review

blaster master box art Retro Throwback   Blaster Master (NES) Review

Sunsoft’s Blaster Master for the NES is another somewhat underrated gem from the NES library. It’s also available on the Wii Virtual Console. There’s also a remake on WiiWare. Basically your goal in this game is to rescue your pet frog who disappears after becoming mutated. It’s a pretty simple story, but what it lacks in story it makes up with awesome music and gameplay.

And speaking of the gameplay, Blaster Master basically amounts to 3 play styles in one game. Your main style is controlling your vehicle (which is a cross between a car, tank, and a Harrier-like jet) in a standard side/vertical scrolling action/platform game manner. Sometimes you’ll need to exit the vehicle to enter small doors and reach otherwise inaccessible areas. In this mode you control the main character Jason and are much weaker and more likely to be killed very easily as you take extra damage. The third mode is related to the second in that when you enter a door as Jason it takes you to a new distinct part of the game. In these parts you’re playing as Jason in a sort of top-down action mode. You’re much larger and not as weak as you are in the normal mode. You can also get gun upgrades (which if I remember correctly don’t last between different sections), but they’ll disappear if you take any damage (one at a time). You also get grenades in this mode. The boss fights for the game take place in this mode as well, with them being much larger than Jason. There’s also a famous glitch for the game where if you throw a grenade and hit pause as it’s exploding, and then unpause a minute or so later, the boss should be dead. You can only do this on some of the bosses though, not all of them.

As I mentioned, the music in this game is awesome and the graphics are decent as well for the time. The game is just fun overall. It’s not unlike Metroid or post-Symphony of the Night Castlevania’s in that you have to do backtracking to progress. If you enjoy that type of game, you’ll enjoy Blaster Master. But like a lot of older games, there’s no passwords or save system here. So you either have to beat it one sitting or leave your NES on until you do. Despite these drawbacks, it’s still well worth checking out and worth the time invested. If you haven’t played it and you like these kinds of games, you need to play it. In fact, we’ll probably do a Let’s Play for it eventually.

Blaster Master did actually receive a few sequels/remakes, despite not selling well in Japan. Sunsoft originally didn’t want to make any sequel for it because of this. There was Blaster Master Jr. on Game Boy which is not a true Blaster Master game, but rather a sequel to a game called Robowarrior, but for some reason was lumped in with Blaster Master. A proper sequel was released for the Sega Genesis and takes place after the first game. A remake of the first game was released on Game Boy Color called Blaster Master: Enemy Below. It’s also on the 3DS Virtual Console. A 2nd sequel came out on PlayStation and it’s called Blaster Master: Blasting Again. And finally the remake on WiiWare we mentioned earlier is called Blaster Master: Overdrive.

Overall I would give Blaster Master for NES a score of 9 out of 10. I deducted 1 point for some of the “cheapness” in the game. For example if you’re exploring outside of the vehicle with Jason and you fall too far, you can die. I hate when games do this. I get that its realistic, but it just makes things needlessly difficult for no real reason. Another cheap thing is that you lose your gun upgrades when you get hit. Sure it ups the difficulty, but it also means you’re better off spending more time running from everything than trying to kill it once you’re fully upgraded. Why? Because in addition to that, enemies respawn if you move off the edge of the screen. But see, this is not like Zelda. They respawn on the same screen too, not just separate ones. That is cheap. And if I recall correctly, they don’t drop any loot when you kill them multiple times either, so once again, it’s pointless to try to kill them. But these things are relatively minor flaws. The game is still really fun and highly recommended. Grab your own copy of Blaster Master from Amazon by clicking our affiliate link here! Retro Throwback   Blaster Master (NES) Review

Score Breakdown

  • Graphics – 8/10 - The graphics as I mentioned are pretty good for the time period. The vehicle is easily distinguishable amongst multiple enemies and the color scheme doesn’t interfere too much. Enemies could stand to have a wider color palette, but given that this the NES that kind of thing is expected.
  • Sound/Music – 10/10 - Well if you like game music and you don’t like the intro to Blaster Master, then I don’t know what to tell you. It is just awesome and gets you pumped for the game. Several developers really got a lot out of the NES sound hardware and Sunsoft definitely did here. Capcom is another example of this.
  • Fun Factor – 9/10 - Like I said, this game is just pure fun. Who doesn’t love blasting mutants to bits? You get to control a badass tank-like vehicle and save your pet, what more could you want? It’s challenging but not so much so to prevent you from finishing the game.
  • Story – 4/10 - The story in this game is quite limited, but it’s not Final Fantasy 7, it’s an action game. Basically you just are out to stop the mutants and rescue your pet frog. That’s pretty much all there is to it.
  • Challenge – 8/10 - As I mentioned Blaster Master can put forth a decent amount of challenge, especially if you’re not used to these kinds of games. If you’ve played any Metroid game, modern Castlevania games or anything else like those, you’ll feel right at home here. In fact, the vehicle parts are quite similar to the original Metroid only with a vehicle instead of a bounty hunter. There’s lots of hazards and traps and seemingly dead ends until you get the right equipment, like any good Metroidvania title.
  • Replay Factor – 4/10 - As far as I know there’s no 2nd quest, no alternate endings, no multiplayer, no real reason to replay the game. It’s a fun game though and one I’ll occasionally play through just for kicks. The only thing you could do is to make your own achievements or challenges such as not using certain abilities, using Jason as much as possible when in the vehicle mode, never upgrading your gun, etc.

Overall (Average) - 7.167/10

Overall (Non-Average) - 9/10

Source: GameSaga Original

pin it button Retro Throwback   Blaster Master (NES) Review

Retro Throwback – Faxanadu (NES) Review

faxanadu box art Retro Throwback   Faxanadu (NES) Review

Faxanadu for the NES is a spin-off from Nihon Falcom’s Dragon Slayer series. Faxanadu is kind of a hybrid between the Action/RPG/Platforming/Adventure genres. You play as a no-name hero who sets out to save the Elves from the Dwarves and restore the Elf fountain and the World Tree. The game is a side-scroller which plays somewhat similar to Zelda II’s battle sequences. But in Faxanadu, you don’t have an Overworld map or anything like that. You can go up, down, left, or right and kill the enemies on the screen or not, sometimes it’s not necessary to actually kill the enemies unless you need food (which is used as health in this game), gold, or experience. Speaking of experience, the experience system in this game is rather pointless in my opinion. You can go see a guru in a church and get a new title at set intervals but it doesn’t serve any purpose beyond saying what your title is in the sub-screen as far as I can tell.

The game has some awesome music, fun gameplay, decent graphics (for the time), decent length for what basically amounts to an action game, and is just fun. The game allows you to sequence break to some degree if you’re patient enough to grind out the gold required to buy top end equipment early on. You can also go straight to the boss of the area once you have the proper key and occasionally a special item, such as certain rings that allow you push blocks.

A couple things I don’t like about the game are the password system and the useless buildings and rooms. This game is famous for it’s long complicated passwords which use some sort of hybrid between a fantasy font and a normal font. This results in certain letters being hard to distinguish. For example, an uppercase letter H looks like an uppercase letter N. It’s pretty funny when NPCs in the game say Hello and it reads like Nello. Now the useless buildings and rooms on the other hand, I know that’s pretty typical RPG fair, but it still annoys me. Who wants to waste time exploring a room/building with nothing in it? In Faxanadu the areas you kill bosses in are separate from the main world you travel through. They’re basically the equivalent of dungeons in a dungeon crawler type game. Falcom for some reason thought it was cool to put in dungeons that serve no purpose. You don’t get anything of value from them, except some experience, some gold, and possibly a couple of consumable items, such as potions. Why couldn’t they put in more equipment and have you get some of it from a boss in these dungeons? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Overall though I think Faxanadu is a fun game and one I go back to occasionally to just play through again. If I were to give it a rating, I’d say it’s 8/10 for me. I took off 1.5 points for the useless dungeons, buildings, and rooms, and 0.5 points for the complicated password system with poor font choices. It’s available on Virtual Console, so if you like Action-Adventure games with minor RPG elements, I’d recommend picking it up. If you’re looking for a NES copy of Faxanadu you can find it on Amazon by clicking our affiliate link here! Retro Throwback   Faxanadu (NES) Review

Score Breakdown

  • Graphics – 8/10 - Like I said above, the graphics were pretty good for the time. Nowadays they’re not anything special, but your character is easily recognizable and buildings are easily distinguished once you know what each symbol means.
  • Sound/Music – 9/10 - The music in this game is the main draw from an audio perspective. I still hum it on occasion even though it’d been a while since I’ve actually played the game. The sound effects are nothing that special, standard fair, but they’re fine. The music takes the cake definitely.
  • Fun Factor – 8/10 - While I personally really enjoy this game, there are some frustrating aspects. If you’re on a ladder for example, you can be knocked off it. You can easily miss jumps in sections which requiring platforming skills and there’s almost always enemies that can mess you up in these parts of well. There’s also the limited duration items, like the Wing Boots for example, which if you’re not sure where to go when you need them to progress, you can waste a lot of gold buying new ones. There’s also one part where you have to go through a door but there are enemies we do area of effect damage (hits you no matter where you are on the screen). You wind up losing 1/4 – 1/2 your health just trying to walk in the door, which is annoying. Overall though it’s a fun game.
  • Story – 5/10 - This game doesn’t have a whole lot of story going for it, unless you talk to all the NPCs. Basically your goal is to save the Elves from the Dwarves, who poisoned their water and have seemingly killed the World Tree. The NPCs which do not sell you things or perform services (such as health restoration) are used to fill in the gaps and tell you more of the story, so if you skip on that you won’t get much out of it.
  • Challenge – 7/10 - As I mentioned above there are frustrating elements in this game which adds to the challenge. When magic hits you, like Deluge for example, even when you have a shield if I remember correctly. This doesn’t make sense. If I have a shield I should be able to block it, no? Some of the boss fights can be very tricky if you don’t know the tricks or patterns. For example the rock dropper boss on at least one or two of them you can come up behind him and avoid 90% of the rocks and kill him fairly quickly. A couple of the dragons you can just stand in one spot and hit it as it comes up to you without getting hit yourself. But there’s others where you don’t have that option.
  • Replay Factor – 5/10 - There’s really not much in the way of replay value for this game. There’s no multiplayer option of any kind, there’s no 2nd quest to my knowledge, as I mentioned there’s no real benefit from gaining experience, so there’s little reason to play through more than once. Like I said, I enjoy the game, so I like to replay it just for the heck of it sometimes. The only thing you can really do is set your own achievements/challenges, like going through the game with minimal equipment, magic, no health potions, etc.
Overall Score (Average) - 7/10
Overall Score (Non-Average) - 8/10

Source: GameSaga Original

pin it button Retro Throwback   Faxanadu (NES) Review