A Plague Tale: Innocence (2019) Review

A Plague Tale Innocence is the first game in a new video game series from developers Asobo Studios, It was published in 2019 by Focus Interactive for the PS4, Xbox One and PC with a PS5, Xbox Series X/S releases coming out in 2021 Cloud based releases also came out for the Nintendo Switch and Amazon Luna. I played the PS5 version of the game so my opinions are mostly based on that version of the game.

The game takes place between the years 1348 and 1349 in France during the Black Plague and the 100 year war. You play the game as Amicia De Rune who is trying to escape the French Inqusition who want to take away her sick 5 year old brother Hugo so they can run experiments on him due to something in his blood. Since the game also takes place during the plague outbreak avoiding infected rats is also a major key to survival.

The game has a very high focus on stealth, in fact I would argue that this is almost the entire game, I dont mind stealth but I have always struggled with it and normally die a whole bunch which was no different here. I was surprised with how much I actually really enjoyed the stealth gameplay though.

I like how the entire experience is like a puzzle, you can attack enemies with your slingshot to kill them but throughout your journey you do unlock new ways to use your sling with a crafting system, you can make fire, extinguish flames and do an attack that forces soldiers to remove their helmets.

You can even find other ways to get rid of enemies such as throwing rocks and pots to lure them away from your location or you can create a sleeping solution to knock them out, the goal of the game is not to avoid violence but to avoid being seen and it is really fun to figure out different ways to achieve this. Hugo makes this difficult because he is only a child and gets upset if you go too far away from him so for the majority of the game you are holding his hand and need to be sneaky while also making sure to keep him safe as well.

The way that rats work is they only attack in the dark and always come out in groups that will eat you alive. You need to stay in the light or find other ways to distract them, I don’t want to spoil too much but one way to distract the rats is to encourage them to eat the enemies, you can do this by extinguishing enemy fires or by throwing a smelly solution at the French Soldiers to over-empower your own scent. As for Hugo’s secret blood and abilities I wont discuss them in this review as that would be a major spoiler for the game but I will go into a lot more detail when we discuss the upcoming sequel.

Sometimes during the game you have allies that you need to command to help you take out enemies or finish puzzles, this doesn’t happen too often but whenever did happen the game was clear with its hints and I didn’t have too much trouble.

The game looks great visually it fits the theme of desolation, loss and fear that a lot of people had during the time period, the abandoned villages and mass hysteria of certain groups reminds me of the early days of something we all had to suffer through recently and I want to make it clear that in my spare time I am a massive history fanboy. The Black Plague is something I have researched a lot over the years and while of course this is a video game so it does over exaggerate certain things it is what I would expect from a game based during those troubling times. It even makes an effort to be somewhat historically accurate, above you can see white crosses on the doors and in the game Amecia explains that people in those houses have been locked in as they have caught the plague and this is actually true to historical evidence although the crosses were more commonly painted in either red or black.

The soundtrack for the game was composed by Olivier Deriviere a French videogame composer best known for the Alone in the Dark Series. The Music here is very eerie and gives off chilling vibes of loneliness and an odd sense of calm. There isn’t really a lot of big action in the game so the music tends to fit the slower pace with it’s composition and while I wouldn’t necessarily go out of my way to listen to it I do appreciate what we were given and I look forward to seeing if the composition changes much in the sequel.

A Plague Tale Innocence is best described as a great experience but not one you would really want to revisit straight away, the core gameplay is really good and it works to tell a fantastic and emotional story of two struggling siblings during one of the most horrific pandemics in History. The biggest issue with the game is that it is much too linear, there are collectables but for the most part you are on one path with very little room for exploration, I wish there was more too it perhaps some side quests or morale choices that effect the outcome of your journey, maybe the possibility to play the game in co-op would have been a good addition considering that out of the entire story only a handful of chapters focus on one character.

The game is one of the more affordable options for the PS5 and Xbox Series X/S, in fact I got this sealed for a measly £20 and for that price its a bargain, I just hope the next chapter in the adventures of Amecia and Hugo just offers a little bit extra and that big reveal at the end plays a much bigger role next time.

7/10

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Kirby and the Forgotten Land (2022) Review

Kirby and the Forgotten Land is the first fully 3D platformer in the Kirby series, it was developed by Hal Laboratories and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch videogame system in March 2022.

During his morning stroll across the Planet Popstar, Kirby and the the waddle dee’s are sucked into a mysterious dark vortex. Kirby awakens on a quiet beach and soon find himself in a land left to rot and succumb to neglect, the waddle dee’s have been stolen and its up to Kirby to fight his way across the various forgotten landscapes with the help of his new friend Elfillin and his brand new mouthful mode abilities in order to save his friends and defeat the cause of the vortex.

The gameplay while it is technically a 3D platformer it is quite linear apart from the occasional secret path which hides secrets. The game is split into 6 main worlds each with a different elemental theme and while fairly simple the levels do hide various collectables and each have missions to complete, this was a nice addition as it added additional challenge to the normal difficulty mode and added some replay value. The way the game feels is very similar to Super Mario 3D World with how it uses its camera angles and hides certain routes behind the need for various copy abilities.

Copy abilities are nothing new to the Kirby franchise becoming a staple after 1993’s Kirby’s Adventure for the NES, for those who don’t know Kirby can suck up enemies and consume their powers, gaining abilities such as bombs, drills, boomerang, sword, fire, ice and much more. In this game you can also pay coins and rare stones to upgrade these abilities once you discover blueprints hidden in certain stages.

Also new to the game is Mouthful Mode, Kirby is now able partially consume very large things which he can wrap his body around to control, here I have shown the cone that can body slam metal crates and break broken ground and the the car which can be used to travel fast and jump large gaps. I wont go over anymore of these as they really are one of the best things to discover in the game and with it still being fairly new at the time of writing this I don’t want to spoil the experience.

The boss fights are one of the biggest highlights of the game, they are all very memorable with the adorable but slightly threatening designs which capture the themes of the series perfectly, each fight is very unique and needs to be taken on with different approaches, also each boss has a weakness to specific copy abilities and it is up to the players to figure out which ones are best to use.

In between the main stages various challenge levels open up each is very short and is a great way to master the copy abilities and mouthful transformations. Each of the levels also has a time limit to beat for extra coins and these times can get very challenging, I did all of them but they don’t add towards your 100 percent completion so are not necessary and only really go as far as bragging rights.

After the main game there is still plenty of replay value in the package, you can continue to finish the level missions to get the waddle dee’s, you can also try and master the battle arenas which are boss rushes and once finished offer big cash prizes, you can also try to fill out your complete Gatcha collection, these can be purchased from machines in the main plaza but also can be earned by completing specific tasks, you can attempt to catch the biggest fish in the pond fishing game and finally there are five post game levels and a secret true final boss to beat so make sure you do those too. 100 percent completion of the game took me just under two weeks and I still want to go back to the game to do it all over again in the future.

The game is absolutely stunning, not only is this one of the best Nintendo Switch games in years it is also one of the best visually, the amount of detail that went into the games visuals is awe inspiring, this world looks like something out of an animated film and does hold some realism in its layout and overall designs, the game has no issues with lag and runs smoothly which is great considering every last detail was considered for the game including smaller things such as fish swimming beneath you in the water, fire flickering in the wind and releasing embers and even dust particles from disrupted mounds of dirt. We expect these details from more modern hardware’s such as the offerings from PlayStation and Xbox but for the Switch this really does go to show how a smaller graphics card can have a lot to offer as well.

The soundtrack is good but I would be somewhat lying if I said it held up when compared to past titles, the more modern spin we have here is fine and some of the more rock and roll versions of songs such as King Dedede’s theme is actually pretty sick, but I think most would agree that Kirby’s music just works much better in it’s original chip tune versions. When playing the game you wouldn’t really focus on the music as it does work but personally I just much prefer what we got before.

I don’t know what else there is to say,I was slightly worried about Kirby’s transition to 3D especially since the game was only announced six months or so before release and we didn’t know much about it, some additional video footage and a demo came out that I actively avoided so that I could go into this completely blind and I think I made the right choice because not only is this now officially the best Kirby game I have ever played but it is also one of the best games I have played in a long time and I really hope this is a sign that Nintendo are going to let the Switch go out with a bang before its next console is inevitably revealed but that is a discussion for another day.

Go and buy Kirby and Forgotten land it is a new start for the franchise and is easily up there with some of the best Nintendo Switch games 10/10

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The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword (2011/2021) Review

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the sixteenth main entry in Nintendo’s popular action-adventure videogame series, it is easily the second most controversial game in the series due to its emphasis on motion controls a feature many players dislike, A HD version of the game released in 2021 which promised to fix these issues. I have had experience with both versions of the game and I have a lot of opinions on this so called HD improvement so without further ado lets get straight into it.

Taking place at the very beginning of the timeline the three goddesses Farore, Din and Nayru created the triforce (a magical artifact able to grant the wishes of who ever possesses it. The Demon King Demise causes destruction and wrath in a desperate search for such power eventually being defeated by the great goddess Hylia and the few survivors of the world.

Many years later, the survivors future kin live on an island of the sky name Skyloft, here a young knight name Link has just passed his final exam to become a knight, at the same time as passing the test the Princess Zelda is taken into the skies by Dark clouds leaving Link to leave Skyloft to rescue her not yet realising the massive quest that he has coming his way.

Before discussing the gameplay I want it clear that most of the images I am using from this point forward are from the HD version due to how much cleaner they look compared to the original (see the image above). Although both are very impressive for the hardware they are played on the HD is generally better for seeing the finer details.

The main new mechanic of this game is how to traverse the skies, you are given a bird which you can use to fly to the different islands of the skies and to access the different parts of the world beneath the clouds. The motion controls for flying while not great do work well enough that once you get the hang of things you can eventually travel with ease. I thought the idea of flying was really ambitious but the lack of real areas to explore outside of the main quest doesn’t give players much incentive to try and find secrets which is a shame as that was originally the whole point of the series. There are some fun minigames to play and chests to find but apart from this there is nothing much here.

By far the best area of the game is Skyloft because not only is it the most diverse and interesting but almost all of the side quests start here. The three areas you can visit beneath the clouds are all very visually appealing and creative but they are linear and again do not really encourage players to explore freely.

Taking a positive spin I actually really like the temples in this game, Zelda games are known for themed dungeons which are packed full of puzzles and challenges, this is no exception and to top it off not only are only are these some of the most creative in the series and on par with Twilight Princesses but they are the most visually appealing as well.

The are only a few in the game but they are very large and again very creative, one dungeon takes place inside of an active Volcano, another on top of an invisible pirate ship, the final dungeon has you rotating the rooms and even the water dungeon is really fun and was actually one my favourites which is saying a lot considering how much I disliked the water dungeons in Ocarina and Twilight.

Apart from its characters and puzzle, one of the best of a parts of a Zelda game is the combat, unfortunately the motion control issues I never saw any improvement in the HD version but thankfully a new control method was optionable allowing you to flick the joysticks to imitate motion swings and this did work much better, its still has some issues with pulling off finisher moves and some times it is difficult to get the perfect angle for an attack but it is doable and a good addition to the new version.

A character named Fi is introduced here as the spirit of the goddess sword or the master sword as it is more commonly known, this is its origin story and explains how the sword has its godly powers in all future installments, the character is fine but interrupts the player with hints far too often in the original version, in the HD version these hints were optional and is another point in the remakes favour.

The music for the game does not disappoint, it uses a mix of new music which can be calming in most areas but in the more adventurous sections the tracks really pick up and get you in the mood for a really epic time, older Zelda tracks are also remixed into this game played using different instruments and music styles to make these recognisable tracks feel fresh and fit into Skyward Sword very nicely.

Skyward Sword is a game that I do actually really like but I just cant look past the issues with its controls and linear gameplay. Its really hard for me to judge it to harshly because I really like the dungeons, the music, visuals and the story but its lack of really memorable side content does make it feel a little lackluster compared to what came before it and while this is a really fun game it just really needed more explorable areas, they could have had larger sky area with lots of little secrets and islands, similar to the ocean in Wind Waker instead of the empty rocks you can land on here often only holding one or two chests.

So thats my opinion of Skyward Sword it is a really weird one for me to rank because from a gameplay perspective I really like this but I just don’t get excited to replay it again, it fails to have that feel of adventure that you get from games such as a Link to the Past, Ocarina of time, Majoras Mask and Windwaker but as controversial as this may be I do think its better than Twilight Princess as the world is less boring and I do really like the vibrant colours and visuals here much more as well as its plot and characters so I think the fairest scores I can give these games are

Skyward Sword 6.2/10

Skywards Sword HD 6.5/10 (mostly due to more control options and less Fi interruptions!)

I skipped a few games to cover this one since the remake just released however I do plan of finishing and reviewing those last few games so next time we do Zelda it will be Phantom Hourglass.

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Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest (1995) Review

After the massive success of Donkey Kong County a sequel starring his nephew Diddy was put straight into development, a choice to remove Donkey Kong as a playable character may seem odd but it is a decision that helped expand the DKC universe and the Kong Family Tree. The game was created by Rare Ware for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System and was released in 1995.

After the events of Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong is relaxing on a beach while Funky Kong is surfing the waves. Cranky Kong is not happy with Donkey Kong Keeping his guard down when he should be working, stating that he never stopped throwing barrels or kidnapping maidens back in his day. Donkey ignores Cranky’s words and falls asleep on his chair deep into the night.

Diddy Kong in the mean time has gained a love interest in another young Monkey named Dixie Kong, later on they both head to the beach where they discover a broken chair and a note which reads “Hah-arrrrh! We have got the big monkey! If you want him back, you scurvy dogs, you’ll have to hand over the banana hoard! Kaptain K. Rool”. Cranky does actually suggest handing over the Banana horde but after himself and Donkey worked so hard to get it back last time Diddy decides to take on K. Rool again alongside his new girlfriend Dixie.

The gameplay here is quite different when compared the original, the standard 2.5d platforming is the same, the goal is still to get from start to finish in each stage. There are still Kong letters and Banana’s you can collect to gain more lives and apart from some new enemies the platforming is very much the same as before.

The animal companions are different, the only returning animals are the Rhino and the Sword Fish, we now also get a parrot who can fly and shoot eggs, a spider who can shoot webs and build platforms and a snake who can bounce really high.

Out of all of these the parrot is by far the animal companion needed the most and the game has sections dedicated to the parrot. The spider was very useful as well especially for climbing up inaccessible areas, unfortunately I didn’t really enjoy using the snake and he was mostly useless minus two stages.

Apart from the companions, the actual stages do have new challenges mixed into them to make this game much more difficult than the first, the barrels now allow you to fully rotate them to allow more freedom in where they fire you and other segments such as the hot air balloons in the image above need to be traversed very carefully to make sure you don’t get hurt, this becomes particularly challenging when the lava below is not the only obstacle you need to avoid.

The bonus areas are completely different here as they act as either small challenges unlocked by finding secrets in levels or entire new stages which can bought by a brutish Kremling named Klubba using Kong Coins.

The challenges are a lot of fun and its cool to see different missions that have to be taken on with various skills. if you finish one of these you will unlock a Kong Coin.

The secret area I never got to see because unfortunately I didn’t perform all to well in my playthrough and by the time that I beat the final boss I had to managed to collect only one measly coin which wasn’t even enough to unlock the first secret level but none the less it is pretty amazing to see such attention to detail and replay value in a game from 1995.

The boss fights in the game are all fantastic and some of the best I have seen in any of the DKC games so far, I really liked that they were all different in how they attacked and took damage, it was also really challenging for some fights which required some platforming alongside the battle. The new backgrounds for each fight are a really nice touch as well instead of just using the same background like they did in the original game.

As I have mentioned this game is five times more difficult than its predecessor, you now can only save your game in an area for free once so simply saving between levels is not really an option, because of this the developers added a pretty challenging quiz area in some worlds, here you pay a fee to answer questions about the game and if you are correct you will gain lives, if not you just wind up losing coins so you do need to be careful.

The music was once again composed by David Wise and is very good but it not quite as great as it was before, the original game has such iconic music and it works so well, I won’t go into too much details as I have already reviewed that game but the tracks are recognisable and memorable. I’m not saying they aren’t in DKC 2 but none of them have got that great hook nor are any of them really that fantastic that you could listen to them and say “yeah that’s from DKC 2” maybe you feel different but for me while this soundtrack is good it is also lacking when compared to what came before.

Donkey Kong Country 2 is a game I have wanted to play for a very long time, I guess the idea of not playing as Donkey Kong put me off but now I realise that I was stupid because I think I like this one a little bit better than the first.

This game took Donkey Kong Country and expanded upon it in the best ways possible, you now have the return of Diddy Kong who plays the same as before but now you can also play as Dixie who has the ability glide making some gaps much easier for her to cross, she was particularly useful for avoiding the canon fire of K.Rool’s final form as well.

The new bonus stages were a nice addition and the overall challenge of the game while difficult is still fair, the soundtrack while not as good is still really well composed and the only real issues with this game are some of the controls being a bit sensitive especially during the flying and trickier platforming sections also having to pay to save the game while adding to the challenge was going a little overboard as the game would have still been difficult without that extra barrier.

DKC 2 was a lot of fun even though I did tear my hair out a little bit but it is definitely a game I will play again and deserves a rating of 9.6/10 … bring on DKC 3 whenever I get my hands on that one as I cant wait to dig deeper into this bananarific franchise !

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Guacamelee (2014) Review

Guacamelee is a game that I avoided for a very long time as the advertisements never really appealed to me but now I feel a little silly that I left it for so long.

Guacamelee was developed and published by Drinkbox Studios, its a metroidvania style game based in Mexixo and was released in 2014 for the PS3, PC, PS4,PS VITA XBOX 360, XBOX ONE and the Wii U, the game was later released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch which is the version I played.

A young Mexican named Juan is about to propose to his childhood love interest the El Presidente’s daughter, however she is unfortunately kidnapped by a Charro Skeleton named Carlos who kills Juan sending him down to the underworld, he is given a luchador mask which gives him the powers of a Mexican warrior and he is brought back to the land of the living to rescue and reunite with his true love.

As a metroidvania style game, players are immediately able to explore the majority of the large in game map and areas. In the game you can find Chozo statues which grant Juan new abilities such as wall jumping, smashing through specialist blocks, flying across large spaces and a temporary increase in strength.

Later on the ability to swap between the world of the living and the world of the dead as well turn into a chicken will allow you to platform further and explore tight areas.

There is also an in game store which allows players to purchase new costumes which each have unique advantages, you can also change characters to other in game NPC’s for new and unique ways to play. New abilities can also be bought along with health and power upgrades.

I also think it is important to make it clear that up to four players can play simultaneously in the campaign.

The visuals of the game are very impressive for what can only be considered an indie game. Im not saying that independent developers cant make beautiful visuals because in many cases indie do this better than triple A titles but there is something about Guacamelee’s style that really drew me in. The game is very well animated and during gameplay enemies look and appear in a modern cartoon style. Don’t get me wrong this not as good in visual style as a game like Cuphead but it is still very impressive.

I am lost for words on just how amazing this soundtrack is, it was composed by Rom Di Prisco and Peter Chapman, it uses a mixture of mariachi band music and remixed dance music for a beautiful collaboration which is absolutely perfect in every sense, I love every track in this game and have downloaded the official soundtrack to my phone and honestly its not often that an indie game can encourage me to do that.

Guacamelee is a massive surprise to me because I didn’t think I would like it because original trailers for the game failed to pull me in. Now I wish I did play this back in 2014 because it really is an almost perfect game, it has an decent plot, great visuals, excellent and challenging gameplay and an insanely good soundtrack. Unfortunately it does fall short of full marks for me because there are two things that really bother me about it.

The first is the side quests, there are not many in the game and they all feel a little bit pointless as they are mainly only in one or two areas of the game.

The other issue really takes away from metroidvania style this was going for because the game tells the player where they need to go for the main quest, there is no part of this game that makes you feel lost or confused which may sound like a good thing but is the polar opposite of what can considered a metroidvania style game, this feels a lot more like a 2d platformer with some secret passages and upgrades to find.

But I think if you only focus on the main quest then this is a phenomenal game its just for me I have to look at everything and its these tiny little setbacks which are going to leave Guacamelee at a 9.8/10

With that go and download this game if you haven’t played it, it really is fantastic and I am looking forward to eventually covering the sequel.

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Pikmin 3 (2013 – 2020) Review

Before continuing to read this review please check out my reviews of the first two Pikmin games !

Pikmin https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/01/23/pikmin-2001-review/

Pikmin 2 https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/08/19/pikmin-2-2004-review/

Pikmin 3 is the third game in Nintendo’s popular action-strategy series where players are given control of Hocatate Captains who control the adorable Pikmin creatures to collect treasures and defeat big bad bugs.

In the game our three Captains Alph, Britany and Charlie are scouting various planets seeking food sources with little luck, they eventually Crash Land on PNF-04 better known as Earth and are separated, they eventually find each other along with the Pikmin who help them find lots of food sources in the form of different fruits.

Data files left behind by Captain Olimar and his assistant Louie can also be found in the game, this eventually leads to the trio realising that the two former explorers are in serious danger and the main goal of the game becomes having to track down signals and rescue the series beloved heroes !

The Series staples Red, Yellow and Blue Pikmin return and to replace the Purple and White Pikmins from the second game, here there are two new types, Rock Pikmin which can be used to deal major damage to enemies and bosses as well as smashing crystals and Winged Pikmin which are able to fly and sprout these pink plants which often hide treasures and fruits.

The game is fairly easy due to the amount of fruits available as well as the fact that the combat has seemingly been tamed compared to the previous games, I played the Deluxe version on Nintendo Switch on the Hard difficulty setting and only really had major trouble in two areas of the game, the boss Quaggled Mireclops who’s tongue can take out large quantities of Pikmins in one swipe and the final challenge of the game before the final boss encounter.

You control three captains in the game and you can choose to have them all in one party or you can split them up and set them different tasks, It was very rare that I chose to not keep them together because while there are areas you can explore by doing this as well as collecting more fruits, it adds a significant amount of danger to all three parties as each would have less Pikmin to take on larger enemies and mini bosses.

The reason fruit is important is because it gets juiced which provides a food source for the captains, one bottle is used each day and if you run out you will get a game over, I feel like this is unlikely considering that on my first playthrough on a hard difficulty I completed the game with 38 bottles of juice still left over, I suppose if you have never played a Pikmin game it might be more difficult, but in my opinion it is by far the easiest game in series due to the abundance of fruit and the fact that enemies appear to be weaker than they ever have been previously.

In the Nintendo Switch version there are various differences but the best one by far is the two side stories that are unlocked through out story mode, both of these see Captain Olimar and louies journey before the events of Pikmin 3 and focus on hitting certain goals such as gathering enough treasures to pay off a debt, beating tough bosses and hitting all goals within a time limit and many more.

I have never played the Wii-U version so I cannot comment on it here nor can I tell you many of differences so please use this link for an accurate list of ever difference between the two games

https://www.pikminwiki.com/Pikmin_3_Deluxe#Changes_from_Pikmin_3

This may be my favourite soundtrack in the series, it is very simple and has a very innocent feel to it, I think this suits a series like this very well, It is not as whimsical as the first games soundtrack but I do prefer over it Pikmin 2’s music, the music is more intense in the games final area the Formidable Oak but it is not so intense that it feels out of place in a game like Pikmin.

Pikmin 3 is a fantastic game, I hadn’t played Pikmin since 2017 before I started this one and it immediately got me hooked and reminded me why I love this series as much as I do, the only real issue I have with it are the easy difficulty and its very short length, I beat the game in less than 8 hours and I am only glad that I got the switch version for the extra content because at least I had more to do after I finished the main campaign. Apart from this the game looks gorgeous and carry’s all of the charm, humour and wonder that this series is known for. I still recommend the game because even though it is short, it has a lot of replay value with its in game achievement system and a more difficult campaign is unlocked after beating the final boss.

I missed Pikmin so much and really hope that a fourth main game is released soon, but for now I think I will give this an 8/10 putting it right in the middle, better than first but cant compare to Pikmin 2 which is still superior and I only wish that those first two games get re-releases on Switch as well.

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Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom/Rehydrated (2003/2020) Review

Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom is a 2003 action platformer developed by Heavy Iron Studios and published by THQ for the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. The game was remastered in a 2020 release Titled Spongebob Squarepants: Battle for Bikini Bottom Rehydrated, this version was developed by Purple Lamp Studios and was published by THQ for the PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC and Xbox One.

In this review I will be mainly looking at the original game and then briefly discussing the remake afterwards.

Plankton has built an Army of Robots to help him steal the Krabby Patty Secret Formula and take over the world. Unfortunately for him the robots were set to not obey mode and instead decide to take over Bikini Bottom leaving Spongebob, Patrick and Sandy to defeat the robots and put a stop to their chaos.

There are three playable characters in the game which can be switched at bus stops hidden within levels, each of these characters have different abilities which are needed to find secrets and progress through out the game.

Spongebob has the most moves in the game and each of these revolve around blowing bubbles, his most commonly used move puts a bubble helmet on his head which he uses to destroy robots that are positioned high above the ground.

His bowling bubble can be used to hit enemies that are wedged within difficult spaces or to hit buttons when he is standing on a pressure pad.

The cruise bubble is a projectile move that allows Spongebob to blow a timed missile at enemies.

Patrick is able to pick up heavy objects which he can hurl at buttons or stack up so that he can climb to higher places. Using freezing fruit Patrick can temporarily freeze body’s of water so that he can walk over them to find secrets that could not be found otherwise.

Sandy is my favourite character to play as in the game, she is able to use her lasso to grab enemies, swing across specific sections and temporarily glide across large gaps.

There are various surf sections in the game where players need to quickly travel down ski slopes which hide additional secrets and collectibles. I really like these sections I found them to be challenging with tight enough controls and overall a great experience.

I really enjoyed the boss fights in the game I thought they were really well designed and challenging to fight, some of these were references to episodes from the Television series and the others were robotic versions of the playable characters. Concept Art from the game shows art for a robot Squidward fight, this could be a sign that he may have been designed as a playable character at some point in development.

The main collectable in the game are the Golden Spatulas, these are needed to access new levels and areas in the game, players can either find these or be given them as rewards for helping in-game NPC’s. You can also get spatulas for finding Patrick’s missing socks, or by purchasing them from Mr Krabs in exchange for Shiny things the in-game currency.

The soundtrack is really fun and is one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard in a licensed videogame, its not phenominal or anything but it really works so well for this game. The music is a lot of a fun and can be more serious at times when needed, what I really appreciate is that in the rock bottom section of the game they removed the music entirely so that it felt just like the episode it was based on. my favourite was the Bikini Bottom Music that played during the hub world it made me think of jolly sailors travelling the high seas.

Battle for Bikini Bottom is one of the greatest licensed video games ever made, this is a really solid experience and a love letter to Spongebob fans from the developers. I was shocked with how much effort was put into this, mulitple playable characters, funny dialogue, great music, tight controls and lots of things to do, I do wish that the theatre gave us a little more than just concept art and a better completion bonus would have been appreciated but apart from that I can only reccomend you get yourself a copy of this game even though these days it doesn’t sell for very cheap I think it is well worth its price and is better value for money than the remake which we will discuss now.

The new version obviously looks better than its predecessor the graphics are lot more appealing and run at a higher frame rate compared to the original.

I also really enjoyed that the new game added up to date Spongebob references and memes for the younger fans and the older ones too.

Gorgeous new visuals aside lets discuss the game in general, the first thing that really sucks about this is that they didnt add anything new so this is purely a visual remake.

They modernised the music as well and while still is very good its lost a lot of its charm and doesn’t suit the game as well as did previously.

The theatre returns but they removed the concept art which makes sense as they should have replaced it with concept art from this game but instead they put a handful of still images from the game as your reward for unlocking the theatre.

I haven’t really got much else to say about this remake as it is very close to the original but it just feels like a few more months fixing up a few of its fall backs were needed. I think a bonus world would have been a great addition and if not the robot squidward fight that was added into the multiplayer could have just been added into the main game even if it was a hidden boss fight. As for the theatre how about instead of screen shots from the game they could have placed a playable ROM of the Battle for Bikini Bottom GBA game as it will probably never be released virtually anyway and it would give fans of the console game a chance to play a version they may have missed.

Speaking of the GBA game maybe one day I will take a look at it to see how it holds up compared to the console version.

If you do not have a an older system then rehydrated is still a really fun game it just struggles to compare to the original game that in my opinion is vastly superior.

Battle for Bikini Bottom 9.5/10

Rehydrated 7/10

My Favourite Spongebob episodes – Rock Bottom

In this season 1 episode Spongebob and Patrick have just finished a day of fun at Glove World and are catching bus home to Bikini Bottom but unfortunately they are on the wrong bus and end up in a town called Rock Bottom.

Rock Bottom is a unusual place where everything is backwards or just genuinely doesn’t make any sense, the area is quite dark and somewhat creepy which makes the need for Spongebob to get home even more intense.

The episode only really gets funny when Patrick manages to catch the bus home and Spongebob is left alone, poor Spongebob keeps missing every bus home by seconds and no matter what he tries he just cannot catch that bus and it soon becomes apparent to the viewer that the bus might be missing Spongebob on purpose. This is definitely one the funnier episodes and may be one of the highlights of the show where the comedy is at the expense of Spongebob and not another character.

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Yooka-Laylee (2017) Review

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Yooka- Laylee is a 3D platformer- Adventure game that was developed by Platonic Games a team of Developers that used to work for Rare Ware. Yooka-Laylee was crowd funded on kick-starter as a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie.

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After stealing a magical book from our protagonists an overly corrupt business Bee and his Duck head henchman want to collect all of the worlds books to gain enough literary knowledge to take over the world leaving Yooka the lizard and Laylee the bat to collect all of the pagies and defeat Capital B.

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The main game takes place in a series of different themed lands which each hold various collectables including pages of the book, quills, four ghosts, a play coin for playing arcade games, a power extender, a health extender and a molly cool to unlock a transformation.

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There are many moves you unlock in the game from a snake named Trowzer, these are paid for with the quills you collect, the most useful move is definitely the roll mechanic which allows Yooka and Laylee to move a lot faster and also to manoeuvre specific surfaces that cannot be climbed otherwise.

Other moves that really stand out in this game are the Bubble.

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This ability allows Yooka and Laylee to walk underwater without having to worry about running out of oxygen.

The Slurp Shot

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Later on in the game you can purchase the slurp ability allowing Yooka to lick specific items to temporarily gain their unique abilities.

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Flappy Flight makes adventuring really fun as it allows them to fly for a long distance, it is a lot of fun to use and makes the final world Galleon Galaxy really satisfying to search through.

These are my personal favourite moves in the games, however this is only scratching the surface as there are a lot more in the game, the moves I have not gone into detail here are.

Sonar Shot, Buddy Slam, Glide, Lizard Leap, Lizard Lash, Camo Cloak, Sonar Splosion, and Sonar Shield.

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The worlds are really fun to explore and the missions needed to gain the pagies are some of the games highlights. I cant pick out the ones I enjoyed the most because I loved all of them equally, there was a nice variety in things to do and what skills were needed to commit to some of the pagies, a few of them are actually very difficult and take a lot of practise.

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There is no denying that the game is absolutely gorgeous with its charming visuals and vast worlds, I love exploring the large worlds especially once you have expanded them  however this does have some impact on the frustration of collecting everything because they are all very spread out.

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Each world has one transformation that you can unlock, you use these transformations to collect specific items in the game, I enjoyed all of these but my favourite was the helicopter as it was needed for a large chunk of its level, all of the other transformations were only really needed once or twice and I wish they were implemented for more use in their stages.

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I also was not a fan of the arcade machines as I felt the pagies for them felt out of place and they interrupted the consistency of my run of each world, these work a lot better as part of a multiplayer experience but I do wish they were not in the main campaign.

The music in the game was composed by composing legend Grant Kirkhope who is well known for classic Nintendo 64 games from Rare Ware, the music here is excellent and uses the bouncy and fun style that Kirkhope is known for.

Yooka-Laylee is a really good game and in my opinion it was successful in its goal of being a spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie, these days unless you are playing Nintendo or one of a few indie titles the 3D platformer is essentially dead and Yooka-Laylee is a sign that they can still successful in this day and age with the correct team developing them.

8.8/10

Thank you for reading my review of Yooka-Laylee for the PC, PS4, Xbox One and the Nintendo Switch

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Animal Crossing an ever expanding series

Animal Crossing is a popular social video game series where a human character moves to a town or village inhabited by animals, the games are known to give each player a unique experience with every play-through having different villagers and things to do. Players are also encouraged to be creative in the games and every game is able to be played in real time with the seasons and holidays being accurate to real life because of this each game is intended to be played daily until the next entry is released.

In this article we will be looking at all of the main series entries as well as its spin offs.

I haven’t played these games in a very long time so I will be using images from others peoples villages so if yours is on here and you want it removed please let me know at the email address on my contact page.

Animal Crossing was originally released for the Nintendo 64 in Japan, this version was never released worldwide and the rest of us got introduced to the series through the GameCube version which was enhanced with new features and better graphics.

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The main goal in all of the games was to pay off a property that you have on a mortgage with Tom Nook, every-time you gain enough bells by selling bugs, shells, fish and other things you collect, you can pay off your home which will make it bigger, you repeat this process until you have the biggest home available in the game.

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On a side note you can also find and collect fossils, bugs and fish which can be sent to Blathers the Owl at the Faraway Museum for analysing.

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You can have many villagers join your village, they will either stay or leave depending on how you communicate with them, many of them will ask you do tasks for them, in the first Animal Crossing game you could have 15 villagers in your village at one time.

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In the game players could, find, trade and be gifted games for the NES, all of these games were fully playable and this idea was really revolutionary at the time.

Two of these games could only be accessed using e-reader cards, and two more were giveaways to certain players, The Legend of Zelda for NES was in the games code but was never put into the final game.

Some of these games could even be transferred to the Gameboy Advance using the GBA link cable.

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Using a GBA Link cable players are also able to access a secret island that a character named Kapp’n can take them too, on this island is a hidden villager and special fruit such as coconuts.

The GBA can also be used to create special clothing designs at the Able Sisters shop.

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Animal Crossing on the Gamecube is the version I played and to this day I still think its a great game to play over and over again, there are so many cool things to do, there are the NES games to find as well meeting interesting characters such as Tom Nook, Kapp’n, Tortimer and K.K Slider who have all become fan favourites K.K slider is particularly fun because he plays music for you and then gives you a copy of the track which you can play whenever you want giving collectors another thing to collect. Animal Crossing is a chilled out experience but also a really immersive game that is still one my favourites.

In 2005 we got Animal Crossing Wild World for the Nintendo DS, in my opinion there is not much new material here and this is more of a enhanced port of the original game than it is a sequel.

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Because the DS used dual screens the sky above the player would move as the character moved making the game a little more realistic and immersive than the original

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The use of the DS stylus made certain aspects of the game such as creating patterns and writing letters a lot easier than they were on a controller.

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What is consider to be the best new addition was the ability to visit other peoples villages over the Nintendo WiFi connection, this was really cool but you could only visit villages using someones DS friend code and you were unable to connect to a random village. Online was able to be used in the game until 2014 when the service was closed down.

Apart from this there wasn’t many differences to the game-cube version, there were no retro games this time around and apart from online I cant think of any reason why this version would be superior.

Animal Crossing Wild World is in my opinion the weakest game in the main series, this does not mean that its bad, it just lacked new features and it was missing certain elements from the original game and its for that reason why I think it’s not as good.

In 2008 we got the third main series Animal Crossing game for the Nintendo Wii in the US it was called Animal Crossing: City Folk but over in Europe our version was called Animal Crossing: Lets Go to the City.

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The base game of City Folk was very similar to the previous entries and not much was added as new content however for the first time a new area could be accessed without the use of a second games system. This new area was the City, players could access this area by hoping on a bus driven by Kapp’n. In the City you can take part in various activities including shopping, getting your haircut, bidding on items and visiting the local theatre, I really enjoy the city area of the game as its a nice distraction from the regular village.

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A new peripheral was available with the game, this was Wii Speak an electronic device that allowed you to talk with other players in real time using voice chat. I never owned one of these myself so I am unable to comment on its quality, other devices that could be used with the game were the Nintendo DS, you could use the DS to transfer you character and other elements from Wild World to City Folk and for easy messaging in the game you could use a PC keyboard instead of the wii-mote pointer.

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It should also be noted that using a service called Wii Connect 24 players were able to order special items from Nooks Store, during special events Nintendo would release special clothing and items that could be downloaded into the game, this service was shut down in 2013 upon the release of the Wii U.

Even though there wasn’t many new things added to this game it managed to maintain the charm present in previous games, it never tried to over whelm the player with new content and it was clear that Nintendo knew what the fans wanted, with only few extra additions Animal Crossing: City Folk was a really nice entry to the series it was as good as we expected it to be without it being to ambitious.

Animal Crossing: New Leaf was released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 it was the fourth game released in the main series and at this moment it is still the most recently available main entry game, the game also introduced players to new series character Isabelle.

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The game came with the usual fare of Animal Crossing game-play such as fishing, collecting shells and bugs and selling items for bells but a major change was the player being mistaken for the town mayor, this opened up many new types of game play.

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As the mayor you are now able to modify to the majority of the village, you can add new buildings, you can fund projects and construction jobs such as adding bridges and fountains to the town, also as the mayor the villagers will ask you for help in various ways, they did this in previous games but the jobs were never anything memorable and were usually delivering an item from one villager to another.

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Another thing you can do as Mayor is ordinances this works somewhat in a similar manner to legal laws, you can use ordinances to control how certain aspects of your village and residents work, for example you could ask for more trees or flowers to be planted or you could change what time the local shops will open and close.

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The special island re-appeared in this game, players could go over to the Island to collect bugs and fish not available in the regular village and some mini games could also be played over on the island.

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new mini-games were added to the Island in a free update.

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Multiplayer returned along with being able to visit your friends towns, the dream suite feature allows players to visit dream like versions of random players towns over Nintendo Wifi Connection, another really cool online feature allowed you to view players homes that you found via the 3DS street pass, you were even able to buy the items that they stored in their homes.

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The last feature I will talk about is the sewing machine in the Able Sisters shop, by using this machine you could create QR codes for the patterns and designs you create, other players can scan these using their 3DS cameras to download the patterns.

Animal Crossing New Leaf is one of the best games available on Nintendo 3DS, it changed up the game play while still remaining respectful of its purpose, it was a nice change of pace and its new features made the game more playable and kept players interested with its consistent game play with plenty of things to do.

Animal Crossing Home Designer was the first spin off game in the Animal Crossing series, the game had players designing multiple homes for villagers and trying to design the decor and furniture to suit their needs. It was released in September of 2015.

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In this game the main focus is designing homes so there is no mortgages to pay off, different villagers will hire you to theme there homes on specific things this adds a bit of challenge to the game and also encourages creativity and imagination. The shops have returned from the main series however more items are available from the get go and more can be unlocked as you progress through the game.

The game also incorporated Amiibo cards that could be used to invite main series villagers to join parties in the town, you might even get the opportunity to design homes for these characters.

Animal Crossing Amiibo Festival was released in November 2015, it was based on the Mario Party video game series, the goal of the game is to make your villager the happiest in town.

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In the game players will roll a dice to move around the board and you will see events, depending on how these events turn out you will either gain or lose happy points and at the end of the game the player with the most happy points wins.

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The game gave us animal crossing amiibos, by scanning these amiibos into the game you could then play as those characters, you could also scan amiibo cards to play some minigames with your friends.

Animal Crossing Pocket Camp is a free to play mobile game that was released Worldwide for android and IOS in November 2017.

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Surprisingly this mobile version of the series is not much different to the main series games that we have come to love, the biggest difference was that it was based on building a campsite instead of a village but apart from that the core game-play remains almost the same,  I personally think that this game had much more memorable events and holidays as some of these were based on other Nintendo series.

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Like similar games on mobile, the core game is free to download and play but things take a long time to build and require a lot of patience however if you are feeling up to it you can use real currency to purchase Leaf tickets to speed up the process, the tickets can also be used to build things that you may not have the correct materials for.

The Latest main series title Animal Crossing: New Horizons was released for the Nintendo Switch on March 20th 2020.

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In the game players need to choose an Island layout before being shipped to that Island, from here a naming ceremony is held along with a bonfire party, this part of the game is mandatory and is the only time the game is not following real time. Once the player goes to sleep real time and seasons will start and the Animal Crossing experience will begin.

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A really fun crafting system has now been introduced to the series, players are able to gather materials from trees, rocks and other things in the game to combine and make furniture, new tools and decor, special recipe cards can be discovered or traded allowing players to add more craft-able items to the list.

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The staple Bell Currency is back as usual however this time it is joined with a new type of currency called Nook Miles, Nook Miles allow you to purchase special items and updates to your game, this includes visiting new islands, upgrading item storage and general enhancements to the experience of the game. You gain this currency by finishing special tasks acting in a similar way too an achievement system, along with main nook goals special daily goals are available as well.

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Late into the game, players can unlock an Island Designer mode, this mode allows the player to edit their islands by removing specific terrain or creating rivers and cliffs, this allows a serious amount of customisation in the game.

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The game can bug although this does not happen, there is a rescue service option available which can help the player in these circumstances by spawning them back at their house, it does cost 100 Nook miles to use.


Swimming was introduced to Animal Crossing: New Horizons allowing players dive for deep sea creatures a new addition to the museum.

The last thing I feel needs to be mentioned here is the lack of Mr Resetti, for those who don’t know, Mr Resetti is a frequent character in the series who would scold a player when they forgot to save their game or when they reset their town, the character has been removed from New Horizons due to the Auto Save system.

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In 2021 fans were given a major update to the game which brought back fan favourite characters, Brewster returns along with his cafe.

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Cap’n is back and can take players to random mysterious islands where they can find unusual materials that are more difficult to find otherwise.

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Harvs Island upgrades to allow us to open stores and make special sets for his photography.

General updates such as new ways to use the camera, group stretching activity were added, new ways to upgrade your home decor and general design and more items have been added to purchase via nook miles. We can now also add lighting and decoration to our roofs and for the first time in the series history we can cook using different recipes.

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An finally Gyroids have returned and can now be customised to fit your tastes.

Happy Home Paradise is a new Animal Crossing designer game that was added as a DLC to the base game, this is an entire game on its own but only can only be accessed if you own a copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The game is very similar to Happy Home Designer and has a similar premise of creating homes for different animal residents and trying to build the houses to match the required theming for each client.

You do get paid for your work but only in a currency that can be spent on the design island however these furniture and clothing items can be taken to your own island and are each unique to those who own the DLC.

And that is where we are left with the Animal crossing series to date, I find it hard not to love this series for its simplicity, cuteness and relaxed atmosphere, I will update the new horizons segment if major updates are added but for now we will continue this series with the next games release.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (2017) Review

Before reading this review, I highly suggest checking out my reviews of Shovel of Hope and Plague of Shadows

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2015/11/15/shovel-knight-2014-review/

Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows https://ragglefragglereviews.com/2019/06/01/shovel-knight-plague-of-shadows-2015-review/

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Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment was the second alternative campaign added to the Shovel Knight Treasure Trove, it stars Specter Knight and was released on March 3rd 2017.

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Spectre Knight has been given the task of creating an army for the Enchantress, he must travel across various lands to find Knights that would be the perfect choice for her planned order of the no quarter, the plot is quite simple however it stands out for being a prequel to the original Shovel Knight game.

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Similarly to Plague of Shadows the levels and overall boss fights are the same as the original game and while Spectre of Torment has a different plot apart from that there are only a few differences to the game-play.

The major difference is how you traverse the levels and take on enemies and bosses, in this game your primary weapon is your scythe and you use it to both attack enemies and propel yourself into the air, you can propel yourself from both environmental items and regular enemies.

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Specter Knight has a large arsenal he can play with all of these abilities are called curios and can be bought using the red skulls you collect in levels, my top three curios were

The throwing sickle – a projectile weapon that can be thrown at enemies for fast damage

The will skull – this can be used to restore some of Spectre Knight’s will (Health)

The judgement rush – a magical jewel that can be used to attack the closest enemy.

Will and Darkness wisps are hidden in levels allowing you increase your power and ability to use curios.

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Instead of a world map this time around we get a very simple level select and to be honest I think I preferred this as it was really quick to get to levels with no back tracking needed.

We are treated to more exclusive new tracks in this game and they are really good, they all have an epic but slightly emotional and tragic feel, this suits the nature and the ongoing plot of this game really excellently and you cannot ask for more than that.

Overall another fantastic game from Yaught Club and a great prequel to the events of Shovel Knight. It is similar to the other games but there is something about this one that makes it feel a little more fresh, its short which is fantastic for a quick game to run through time to time and its unique game-play is really easy to get the hang of, I have only good things to say about this one and its only fair to rate it the same as the original game a strong 10/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment

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