September 22, 2012

Kirby’s Dream Collection

Review Kirbys Dream Collection
With the countdown to the release of the Wii U drawing ever closer, Nintendo offers one last release for the Wii, honoring the 20th Anniversary of their pudgy pink star with an endless appetite, Kirby.

This special edition release wraps a soundtrack and art book within some adorable packaging, along with six of Kirby’s earliest adventures, so let’s break that down below.


February 12, 2012

Review – Rhythm Heaven Fever

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 9:19 am

Review Rhythm Heaven Fever
Videogame releases comprised entirely of mini-games leave me struggling come review time, puzzling over some means to measure and weigh how the individual offerings form together into a cohesive experience. The situation might be easier if today’s game was 101-disposable-games-in-a-box – insofar as I could probably get away with giving the quick thumbs up or down to each tiny game and be done with it.

But as with the WarioWare series, Rhythm Heaven is less about bargain quantity and much more about offering dozens of brilliant ideas for tiny games – a landslide of joyful tactile discoveries that find harmony in the audio and visual to leave an impression best captured by a snapshot of the player’s lips curling into a smile the longer they play. My best attempts to describe the experience to others recently tended to descend into off-key singing and wild hand gestures while hurriedly listing off the games that stood out most.

The best review is probably that there are so many offerings from Rhythm Heaven Fever that I feel obliged to mention. If you’re willing to read on however, I’ll try to offer some more constructive words on the subject.


November 1, 2011

Review – Kirby’s Return to Dream Land

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 4:10 pm

Review Kirbys Return to Dream Land
For the second year in a row Nintendo’s pink pudgy star brings his insatiable appetite for adventure to the Wii, as well as his seemingly never-ending vendetta against a familiar tree. It would be forgivable to view this release with a pinch of cynicism, as a kneejerk attempt to pad out a Wii release schedule that hasn’t thinned out so much as dried up with the shift in focus to the 3DS and Wii U.

And though it only took a day to lightly pass through Return to Dream Land, I’m not feeling quite that cynical. Kirby’s latest outing sports significantly less yarn this year, instead offering a traditional Kirby platformer that gives Hal Laboratory another chance to strut their penchant for visual flair and rather magical stage design. However, Kirby’s return does suffer for want of a point to all the wonderful abilities Hal can grant him, and in the absence of any real challenge the finer points become so ridiculously subtle that one could miss the treats entirely for never being encouraged to discover them.

The old rules apply, and Kirby once again becomes who he eats, which makes the menu of potential powers the emphasis, and though stages never slouch about finding space for moments of inspiration that leave me smiling at how clever Hal continues to be, the playing is much more an act of design appreciation over tactile engagement.


September 21, 2011

Review – Driver: San Francisco

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 8:42 am

Review Driver San Francisco
Before I begin discussing Driver: San Francisco, I feel it’s important to mention that I have an issue with driving games. There’s a conversation that happens between myself and any such game I sit down to play, and it goes like this:

“Use the handbrake for sharp turns, Brad!”

“Okay, driving game—oh, I made the widest possible turn, spun out and crashed into a wall. Thanks.”

As a result of my crippling deficiency, driving isn’t usually a lot of fun for me. The driving games I play are invariably the ones where I can mitigate my incompetence with offense. That is to say, there’s a gap between me and the amount of skill necessary to win a driving game, and I close it by shooting other drivers. Mario Kart, Extreme-G, Blur—these are the games I can contend in (just barely), because I can leverage missiles and mortars and heat-seeking koopa shells against my fellow racers.

Driver: San Francisco doesn’t have any of that—but it does have something even more unusual.


May 18, 2011

Catching Up with the Thunderer

Thor: God of Thunder
To say that I read comics does not adequately describe the depth of my madness; to achieve that, one must paint a picture of filing cabinets, shelves and boxes spilling over with twenty years of meticulously bagged and boarded comics, piles of this month’s readings strewn across the floor; walls adorned with art, shelves with models, and a stack of individually framed posters from The Dark Knight that haven’t yet found wallspace. There’s a batmobile on the shelf behind me, and I assure you it isn’t my only one.

Suffice to say, I am invested.

Thus, I took the opportunity to play Thor: God of Thunder on both the Xbox 360 and Wii recently, and I will now leverage that terrible qualification to examine whether these titles do justice to Marvel’s Norse thunderer. Surprisingly, the version to come out on top isn’t the one you’d expect.


May 2, 2011

Review – Conduit 2

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 9:03 pm

Conduit 2
Conduit 2 is a strange, mysterious product—much like the preposterous conspiracy story it attempts to tell. A mix of ideas from other games, painted with a brush of humor and absurdity and featuring a hero who recalls Duke Nukem more so than the grim soldiers of more recent games, it’s software that strains against the limitations of its platform and manages to come out only as satisfying as it is frustrating.

The protagonist is Michael Ford, former secret service agent on a quest to defeat some sort of alien bad guy who’s out to do stuff, I guess. I can’t tell you much more than that, because the game didn’t see fit to tell me much more than that. The story provides no context for the events, which I imagine is fine if you played the previous game—but I did not. I suppose I now understand how new players feel when picking up Halo 2 or 3.


December 27, 2010

Lost in Shadow’s In-Store Demo

Filed under: News Feed — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 12:47 pm

Lost in Shadow Demo
While you’re out and about hunting down boxing days deals, it might be worth noting that Best Buy locations in the United States have teamed with Hudson to offer a playable demo of their Wii title Lost in Shadow before the January 4th release.

The in-store demos run from December 26th – January 8th, and a list of participating locations can be found here.

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