Finding Value in Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U

Rodea the Sky Soldier BOx Art Cut

I’m in the odd position of preferring Rodea the Sky Soldier on Wii U versus the generally agreed upon better release on Wii.

This video includes a quick look at developer Yuji Naka’s recent ventures, comparing the biggest changes between the two versions and how the Wii U version overcomes some of the challenges faced by the original.

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The Jump that Kills Ice Climber

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(Image Source: The Gay Gamer)

Ice Climber gets more attention than it probably deserves. It’s been released on about ten different platforms and its protagonists have been featured in one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises of all time, Super Smash Bros.

For an NES game, it showed a lot of promise. In 1985 it predated Super Mario Bros. in Japan and – unlike most platformers following it – the objective is to climb up rather than run right.

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Battling the Inevitability of Nostalgia

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I’ve feared nostalgia for years. Recommending or highlighting something simply because I enjoyed it as a kid feels irresponsible. I usually want to talk about a game’s current day relevance. Yet as I frowned upon analyzing with rose-tinted glasses, I had a lingering sense of doubt. It seems like a silly question ask, but I started to wonder if I was being influenced by nostalgia when choosing what to play.

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Feeling the Cold Winter of Shenmue

Shenmue Snow Top Cut

Many like to boil Shenmue down to an open-world adventure game. Fundamentally they wouldn’t be wrong, but it undermines the title’s ambition. What makes the game special is not the countless items you can examine, the number of characters or size of the towns. It’s the craftsmanship of the world, its citizens and how the two interact.

Part of what completes Shenmue is its weather system, which can change the atmosphere of the environment. It’s something I would largely overlook if I didn’t have a surreal experience with it.

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Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

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Kirby has become defined by his ability to copy his foes powers. But what is he without them? They add variety to the gameplay and help differentiate each title. Rideable pets modify abilities in Dream Land 2, Super Star has multiple skills per power up through button combos and The Crystal Shards lets players mix and match to create all new attacks.

However, each game has one common problem linked back to the copy abilities: they trivialize the adventure.

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Love Ruins Everyday Life in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

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Role-playing games usually lead the main characters as far away from the starting town as possible. They explore distant regions and visit new villages while rarely looking back. That being said, it isn’t too uncommon for a game to have a home base or main area players come back to. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment isn’t too far from the latter structure with a central city the characters return to after each expedition. However, I’ve never seen a game bring forward the day-to-day aspects of living as much as Hollow Fragment.

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When Worlds Collide in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

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From the 38 hours I’ve played of Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment, it seems like the definition of an average game. The battles are simple, the structure is repetitive, the zones lack compelling designs and excessive enemy placement can slow your progress to a crawl. Yet no single element of Hollow Fragment keeps it from being enjoyable. The one thing that might have stopped me from continuing is that every female character has magnetized breasts that latch onto to the protagonist in cutscenes. Still, outside of the lazy design and fan service, SAO has a unique taste because it’s essentially two games crammed into one.

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