Angry Birds is one of those franchises that has a pretty polarizing effect on people. Early on I was one of those people that couldn’t really understand the fad and why there was so much attention on a game that was mediocre at best. The touchy game play and unpredictable physics left me scratching my head. I just didn’t get it. I pretty much ignored the franchise in the early days and said the fad would pass. It didn’t. It’s never really gone away. There are still people to this day that get excited for the announcement of new Angry Birds stuff and the games continue to come out on a pretty consistent basis.
When Angry Birds Trilogy released on DS we were sent a review copy and I gave the franchise another go just to see if it would click with me. It did this time. I think it was the more precise control scheme offered on the 3DS using the stylus that finally won me over. I could see what I was doing without my hands in the way. I was able to get birds to launch where I wanted them to go more often. It finally made me realize the franchise could be fun. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, but I understood why people enjoyed the game. Since then I’ve sort of kept an eye on it and downloaded a few games here and there to try out. It’s been the releases of Angry Birds Star Wars that kept me playing through every level and now there is another licensed tie in that’s got me hooked; Angry Birds Transformers.
I first read the Lord of the Rings after watching Peter Jackson’s first film in the series back in 2001. I know, I know. You’d think someone who’s as big a fan of these books as me would have read them when I was five years old, but I didn’t. I knew of them, but hadn’t read them. Since then I’ve read them all at least once a year and gotten deep into many of the other Middle Earth stories written by Professor JRR Tolkien. When I heard about Shadow of Mordor and the parts of Middle Earth lore it would be exploring I was excited, to say the least. When I saw that it was taking parts of my favorite game franchise of all time and implementing them into the world of Middle Earth I was even more excited. I’m glad to say that this game held up to my lofty expectations and then some.
What You Need to Know
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor puts you in the role of Talion, a ranger that is part of a group tasked with keeping watch over the Black Gate to Mordor. The game starts with your family (and yourself) being killed by servants of Sauron. Somehow you survive and seek out revenge on those that took your family from you. The game is an open world action game where you can take on numerous side missions, collect artifacts, upgrade weapons and skills and hunt wild beasts.
I like rhythm games y’all. Games like Rhythm Heaven and Elite Beat Agents are regular entries into my systems. There’s just something about getting into a rhythm (no pun intended) and sort of zoning out on the music. I remember when Kickbeat was first announced and how interested in playing a rhythm game from Zen Studios I was and then disappointed when I found out it was going to be a Playstation exclusive (due to not having a Playstation system at the time). I’ve been a big fan of all the stuff I’ve played from Zen Studios whether it was their numerous pinball tables or their sidescrolling RTS Castlestorm. Now Kickbeat is out on Wii U so I finally get to play the game I was so excited about to begin with. Was it worth the wait?
What You Need to Know
Kickbeat is a rhythm based fighting game. Well, actually it’s mostly rhythm game disguised as a fighting game. Actually, it’s pretty much just a rhythm game that happens to have some fighting in it. Your character stands in the middle of a circle and is surrounded on all sides by enemies. They attack you and you have to fend off their attacks in time to the music by hitting the corresponding face button. The four buttons match up with the position of the face buttons on the controller so it’s easy to keep track of where you’re supposed to be hitting at all times. You play along with the game’s 18 song soundtrack as you try to restore music to its rightful place in the world. There are other modes outside of the main story mode like an endless survival mode where you are not given any of the normal visual cues and you have to survive as long as you can or an equalizer mode that basically plays the game for you so that you can listen to the music and watch the events of the song unfold on screen. (Something more rhythm games should do.
It’s really hard to review yearly sports games on a regular basis. What do you focus on for the review? Do you take the whole game into consideration? Do you focus on the changes the development wants to highlight? I think the most important part of a sports game is the action taking place on the field, court, pitch, table or whatever object that sport takes place on. That’s what I’m going to focus on in this review; the on-field action. What about this year’s Madden game makes it more or less interesting or worth picking up? You’ll have to read on to find out.
What You Need to Know
Madden. It’s football y’all. 22 dudes line up on opposite sides of a football (not the soccer kind), run into each other for 60 minutes and try to get the ball into the end of the field not colored green. Outside of that there is a ton of stuff for football fans to do. So much so that it is hard to fit it all into a review of the game. Ultimate Team once again lets you build your most amazing fantasy team out of cards earned through play or purchased through a store. Online leagues let you go head to head against your friends, or random people on the internet, to see who the best football player amongst the masses is.
The world of the dead is invading, what will you do…be a coward, run and hide? Not if your name is Juan you won’t! You’ll fight to save the village people, your true love, and your precious agave farm. This is my review for Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition.
What You Need to Know
Guacamelee was originally released on PS3, Vita, and Steam back in 2013 and I had the pleasure of enjoying my first play through of it on my Vita. Now, DrinkBox has released it in a slightly updated form, Super Turbo Championship Edition, for almost every gaming platform with a digital shop. In this side scrolling action game you play as Juan, an agave farmer who, in an attempt to save El Presidente’s daughter, has been turned into a superhero luchador with the power to travel in-between the world of the living and the world of the dead.
At it’s core, Guacamelee:STCE, is an amazing blend of the exploration you would find in any Metroid game plus the fun action from your favorite Castlevania title without overstepping it’s welcome by trying to copy them. The game may follow a set story keeping you to a certain path but you are never stuck having to follow it, there are tons of areas to explore and most of them harbor rewards for your exploration. This game taps the roots of what is know as “Metroidvania” with an abundance of witty writing and style of it’s own throughout and heck, it’s just plain fun to play!
When you start out playing Guacamelee:STCE, your ears are taken to a land filled with mariachi bands and the soul of Mexico. The color pallet is also perfect for the goal set with the game’s “Day of the Dead” theme. The art style is whimsical and fun to match the off the wall story and at no point in time does anything look out of place in the world they created.
Guacamelee:STCE, has a combo-based combat system that feels very similar to something out of Devil May Cry, it’s just plain fun and makes you feel compelled to continue trying to get higher combos. You start out with a triple button combo and will continue to learn new ways to launch enemies in the air to keep your combo counter hot. The game never makes it too hard though, giving you a training area in order to learn how to take full advantage of the system in any match. There are also countless power ups that you will unlock throughout the game that will make combat even more fun by providing different ways to juggle, launch, grapple, and downright destroy the army of foes you will encounter.
Super Turbo Championship Edition
Most of everything I’ve discussed so far refers to the original Guacamelee game but that’s not all that comes in this edition! There are a few new areas, enemies, a new boss to fight, and a brand-new mode called “Intenso”. As for the new areas and enemies, I found them extremely well integrated and just as pleasing to play through and fight as the original game. The new boss, El Trio de la Muerte, was introduced in the game seamlessly and never felt out of place with his witty writing and beautiful design.
The new “Intenso” mode introduces a new meter below your health and special meters that, once filled up, can be activated causing Juan to be practically invincible for a short amount of time in a “Rage of the Gods” like power. Though Intenso was fun for a while, I felt as though it took away from the combo-based combat that I enjoyed so much and replaced it with button mashing. Some people may really enjoy it but I don’t think I’m one of them.
I had a lot of fun playing Guacamelee:STCE, so much so that it’s definitely in my top 10 games for not only this year but I would venture to say of all time! The additions for Super Turbo Championship Edition are well worth taking a look at this game again if you already have and if you haven’t, you really need to play it! I’m going to close this review with a statement, Guacamelee is like Nacho Libre meets Samus, need I say more?
Review copy provided by DrinkBox
Played the full story mode
Total Play Time: About 7 hours