Posts Tagged ‘Reviews’

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

Joystiq Review – Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS)

mario and donkey kong minis on the move logo Joystiq Review   Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS)

Joystiq has a review up for the 3DS eShop title, Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move, written by Mike Suszek. Here’s part of the review:

“As mini-Mario marches ever forward, tiles will randomly fall through a pipe on the touch screen into a five-tile queue. You lose if the queue overflows, so you’ll be battling it along with the timer. And, of course, you’ll also lose if your mini falls victim to a Shy Guy, spike pit, or falls off the edge of a tile. By collecting three coins in each puzzle, you’re awarded a star, which can be used to unlock more minis and games.” – Mike Suszek, Joystiq

For more of the Mario & Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move review, head over to Joystiq at the link below.

Source: JoystiqGoNintendo, & Nintendo Wiki

Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U) – Vooks Review

injustice gods among us box art multi Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U)   Vooks Review

James Mitchell at Vooks has a review up for NetherRealm Studios’ & Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s Injustice: Gods Among Us. This review is for the Wii U version of the game. Here is part of the review.

“The Injustice story does a good job for a fighting game though it’s worth admitting that there isn’t a very high precedent set. Like any comic book crossover, Injustice toys with the idea of alternate realities in order to bring together everyone’s individual favourites throughout the entire DC comics franchise as well as allow the good guys to act bad and vice versa (you see, everyone in alternate realities has an evil twin, of course).” – James Mitchell, Vooks.com

For more of the Injustice: Gods Among Us (Wii U) Review, visit Vooks, linked below.

Source: Vooks via GoNintendo

BearShark: The Game (3DS) – Nintendo World Report Review

bearshark the game logo BearShark: The Game (3DS)   Nintendo World Report Review

Josh Max at Nintendo World Report has put together a review for Siverball Studios’ & CollegeHumor’s BearShark: The Game. Here’s part of the review:

“With BearShark, what you see is what you get. If you’re someone who enjoys endless runners, you may find yourself enjoying the game. The game alternates between the woods and a lake, switching antagonists according to the environment. The objective and gameplay stays the same throughout: You, Steve, must run, jump, and swim for your life. Avoiding the various obstacles and antagonists can all be done with a single button or by tapping the touch screen, which is all responsive enough and makes the whole experience very easy at first. But with each new area Steve arrives at, the speed increases, making it exponentially harder to play.” – Josh Max, Nintendo World Report

To read more of NWR’s BearShark: The Game review, click over to Nintendo World Report, linked below.

Source: Nintendo World Report via GoNintendo & Nintendo (image)

Nintendo World Report Review – Kung Fu Rabbit (Wii U)

kung fu rabbit screen 1 Nintendo World Report Review   Kung Fu Rabbit (Wii U)

NWR has a review up for cTools Studio and Neko Entertainment’s Kung Fu Rabbit, a Wii U eShop title. Here’s part of their review:

“Kung Fu Rabbit poses a question: Is it worth conquering difficult platforming challenges to save bunnies? The answer is yes, most of the time. In an often fun, sometimes slow adventure, Kung Fu Rabbit follows the escapades of a rabbit saving his bunny disciples of kung fu from the Universal Evil, a race of alien creatures that resemble black blobs.  

Platforming is satisfying in Kung Fu Rabbit, with a jump mechanic that reacts well to how long you hold down the button, which comes in handy when you’re jumping from wall to wall, avoiding death traps and enemies. When Kung Fu Rabbit becomes difficult, it offers up a fair challenge. Since you die from only a single hit, attacking enemies and collecting carrots leave you little room for error.”

For more of the NWR review for Kung Fu Rabbit, visit Nintendo World Report, linked below.

Source: Nintendo World Report

Nintendo World Report Review – Witch & Hero (3DS)

witch and hero screen 1 Nintendo World Report Review   Witch & Hero (3DS)

Nintendo World Report has a review posted for CIRCLE Entertainment’s 8-bit style RPG-lite game for the 3DS. Is it just me or does the screenshot above look very much like old school Dragon Quest? The first one was awesome, anyways, here’s a portion of the Witch & Hero review from NWR:

“Witch & Hero evokes both a sense of beautiful nostalgia and a feeling of frustration that the game was almost great. Witch & Hero is an 8-bit-style action game from Circle Entertainment. The story is simple: a witch and a hero are hired by some townspeople to slay the evil Medusa. Medusa kicks their butts and turns the witch to stone. The hero must defeat Medusa to restore life to the immobile witch.”

For more of the Witch & Hero review, check out Nintendo World Report, linked below.

Source: Nintendo World Report

Review – The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

hyrule historia covert art Review   The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia

A few weeks ago I finished reading Nintendo’s Hyrule Historia cover-to-cover, including the manga at the end. I thought I’d do a review of the book for those of you who haven’t read it yet but might be interested.

Obviously if you haven’t played certain games in the Zelda series this book will possibly contain spoilers for you. The same goes for this review. But for the most part the book doesn’t contain too many spoilers I didn’t think. Most of us who have played a few Zelda games already know the primary plot points anyways. Zelda gets kidnapped by Ganon/Ganondorf/some other villain and Link has to rescue her. Or Hyrule or the like gets overrun by evil and Link has to save the land. But I’ll try not to include too many spoilers if possible.

Overall, I thought the book was really well written and a definite collector’s item and/or something just big fans of the series will enjoy. Personally I didn’t purchase it with the intent of keeping it in pristine condition for a collection. I purchased the book because I am a huge fan of the Zelda series and I knew it would be unlikely to disappoint me and would be fun to read through.

Some people have complained about the timeline Nintendo put forth in the book. Personally I do not have a problem with it. Why? Because Nintendo can always just fill in the gaps with new games. That’s the advantage of owning the story. It’s not like a timeline of real life historic events. We can’t go back in time and change things that happened in real life. One point of controversy I read was the timeline proposed if Link was defeated by Ganon in Ocarina of Time. Of course we don’t get to see any of this really play out in Ocarina of Time, but Nintendo basically said that this point constituted a split in the timeline, not unlike when Biff got a hold of the Almanac in Back to the Future Part II.

But see, there shouldn’t be controversy with this in my opinion because Nintendo can just make a new Zelda game that explains what happened after Link was defeated to tie the two stories together. I mean look at Skyward Sword, the latest entry in the main series. If you read Hyrule Historia and heck the game references it somewhat itself, you’d know that Skyward Sword is considered to be the beginning of the Zelda timeline. But prior to this game (and the book) we didn’t really know what the beginning was. I personally always thought Ocarina of Time was the beginning as it has a lot of back story regarding the Triforce and the Gods and if I recall correctly it is the first game to include direct references to all three segments of the Triforce. Zelda 1 had Wisdom split up and Power was retrieved at the very end, no Courage. Zelda 2 had Courage retrieved at the end, no Wisdom or Power. Zelda 3 had all 3 segments at the end, but they were not referenced by name as far as I can recall. Zelda 4 does not contain the Triforce at all. Thus Ocarina of Time (Zelda 5) is the first to contain individual references to all 3 pieces. This is why I assumed prior to Skyward Sword that Ocarina of Time was the beginning of the timeline. We also know that Wind Waker has to take place much later after Ocarina of Time as you go to Hyrule Castle from Ocarina of Time which is located underwater as Hyrule has been flooded by the Gods.

But getting back to the book, Nintendo included a bunch of never before seen artwork, storyboard-type stuff, design documents and notes, and other development details and information. This is stuff that they said has never left Nintendo headquarters. So that is pretty awesome that they chose to share these things. That being said, some of these items have incredibly small font sizes in the book and if you have average or bad vision you may need to grab a magnifying glass to read it all.

Nintendo also included a release guide synopsis for the series which is nice if you were wondering what platform each title appeared on or wanted a brief summary of each game. They also included a custom manga that was done just for this book which was pretty cool.

Overall I was highly impressed with the book and would recommend it to any Zelda fan. It’s over 200 pages long so there’s a lot of material here. I hope Nintendo considers doing this with some of their other franchises, such as the Mario series for example, or maybe even series that are newer to western audiences, like Fire Emblem. Then we can read the back story for the series and have a better understanding of the games and appreciation for the series and maybe they could release compilations with the older games that never were released outside of Japan.

So if I had to give this book a review score, I’d say 9/10. I deducted 1 point for the small font size for some of the imagery in the book which made it difficult to read at times. That was pretty much the only real flaw I could find with it. If you like Zelda, you should get this book. You’ll be glad you did.

And you can purchase your copy of Hyrule Historia on Amazon via the GameSaga Mega Store (which is powered by Amazon) by clicking our affiliate link here Review   The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia and help support the site. The prices are the same as it would be if you went to Amazon directly, but Amazon gives us a small percentage of the sale for the referring purchase.

Source: GameSaga Original

Joystiq Review – Pandora’s Tower

pandoras tower box art Joystiq Review   Pandoras Tower

Joystiq has posted a review for the last of the three original Operation Rainfall titles, Pandora’s Tower. As you may recall Operation Rainfall was formed to encourage Nintendo of America (NOA) to release Xenoblade Chronicles, The Last Story, and Pandora’s Tower for Wii in North America. Here’s a portion of Joystiq’s review for Pandora’s Tower:

“Elena is a bright and happy young girl with a very serious problem: she’s been cursed to gradually transform into a hideous monster. A strange old woman offers her and her lover, Aeron, a solution: by eating the flesh of beasts that live within the kingdom’s legendary towers, Elena can stave off her transformation. This is abhorrent to them, as the land’s religion forbids consumption of meat, but the pair is left with little choice. The flesh of each tower’s run-of-the-mill beasts, unfortunately, will only hold the curse at bay for a brief time. In order to truly lift the curse, Elena must consume the meat of the legendary Master Beasts sealed within each tower. It’s up to Aeron to retrieve this flesh, but while he’s away, Elena slowly loses her humanity.”

For more of Joystiq’s review of Pandora’s Tower, check out the link below.

Source: Joystiq

Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate (Wii U) – Video Review

Direct Link

Source: TheGamingPixelShow

Wired Review – Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney

professor layton vs ace attorney box art Wired Review   Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney

Wired’s Chris Kohler has posted a review for Level-5 and Capcom’s crossover Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. Here is part of the review:

“After a full 40 hours of staring at my 3DS screen, I finally finished Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney a few days ago. Having downloaded the crossover game’s Japanese version (at over 70 bucks, easily the most expensive virtual purchase I’ve ever incurred across all media) when it came out in December, I spent four cross-country flights playing the thing and still was only halfway through. With it all behind me, I hate to say it but I feel like this crossover was a missed opportunity.

I love both of these series, Level-5′s logic-puzzle adventures about a brilliant English gentleman and Capcom’s series of courtroom dramas with their over-the-top characters. When this team-up was first announced I freaked out. It did, as we wrote at the time, seem like a chocolate-and-peanut-butter situation, the chance to create a whole greater than the sum of its parts. And while fans of the two series (I imagine that the Venn diagram here is pretty close to just being a single circle) will certainly find some enjoyment in this one as well, it came out feeling like half a Layton game glued onto half an Ace Attorney game, something that won’t fully satisfy either group.” 

For more of the Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney review, check out the link below.

Source: Wired