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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Sonic Unleashed (2008) Review

Well it’s been a while since we talked about Sonic, in fact its been over a year since we reviewed Sonic 06 so I feel it is time to hop back into the series and I’m sure that this time we will have a much better experience ………….right?

Sonic unleashed was developed by Sonic Team and released in 2008 for the PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360, It was the final main series title released for the PS2 and the first to get a Wii release. I played the PS3 version of the game so my opinion is based on that version.

Dr Eggman is back trying to destroy the planet this time by waking an evil entity known as Dark Gaia, he manages to trap Sonic in his super form using a power ray which strips away the power of the Chaos Emeralds. Eggman uses the power to then wake Dark Gaia who breaks the earth into seven pieces and also manages to put a curse on Sonic turning him into a Werehog. Sonic is blasted into space but luckily is rescued by a new friend called chip who helps guide Sonic across the globe while he tries to break his curse and return the earth and the Chaos Emeralds back to their original forms.

So whats weird with this one is that we went back to a single character campaign where we only play as Sonic, however due to the whole Werehog situation we do technically have two main variants of gameplay.

In the regular Sonic stages we run at high speeds across various continents while blasting robots and avoiding obstacles, whats new here is a super speed mechanic. Your rings do not only represent your life but also allow Sonic to run at hyper speed and completely annihilate anything that gets in his path, while in hyper speed you also attract rings towards you so its easier to collect tons of rings this way compared to the regular running mechanic.

At night you can play the Werehog stages these are much slower and focus more on combat, here you fight Dark Gaia’s minions and collect loads of experience points, when battles become too tough you can can use some of your collected energy to give your Werehog form some extra power in order to help tackle these trickier situations.

In between stages you will be exploring various hub worlds which each represent different countries, the hub worlds are not great and don’t really offer much apart from shops to buy food and souvenirs as well as hiding the occasional Sun/Moon coins and offering some extra side content.

I did manage to finish all of possession missions which involves players committing to small battle arenas and surviving onslaughts of bad guys. The other side missions are time/ring/no damage trials these are fine enough but a big issue I have with the game is that they keep repeating the same stages for these challenges for example in the time trials the game will ask you to finish the stage in 3 minutes then the challenge will be to do the same level in 2 minutes. I understand you don’t have to commit to these missions but I still think that some more creativity and implementing some of the optional stages would have worked a lot better.

The main levels work pretty well, I had very little issue due to gameplay problems and overall I found both types pretty satisfying, I really enjoyed the high speed action of the Sonic stages but also appreciated the more brawl based stages with the Werehog, I did find the final stage a little too long but I did die a lot and ended up clocking in at around 90 minutes.

The game for a PS3 title is very visually appealing I love the dark colours and glowing enemies at night and during the day time stages the details of the backgrounds are really quite impressive especially considering that even with the high speed action there is little to no issue rendering background details. I also really like that the game takes place in different countries not only because it represents various cultures but also makes each level feel very unique and special in their own ways. I do wish the hub worlds were a little bigger and hid more secrets for us to find, they are very small areas that are linear and quite limited in what they offer but I can appreciate that they were not the main focus of the game and this probably doesn’t bother many other players.

The soundtrack is really good! The main vocal track Endless Possibilities is great and singer Jared Reddick knocks it out of the park, various stages carry that rocking vibe we are used too with these games now but also there is a certain amount of diversity to represent the country you are currently playing in making sure to show appreciation for the various cultures explored throughout the adventure.

Sonic Unleashed is a massive improvement to the atrocity that was Sonic 06 the gameplay here while not perfect at least doesn’t feel broken and is enjoyable, if the game has any sins its biggest is how mediocre and somewhat forgettable it is. I loved the music and the day time stages but nothing else really stood out to me as being what I consider a great Sonic experience, visually those Werehog stages are stunning and while they are decent levels they can be a little long and dont really hold their satisfaction from a gameplay perspective. Personally I think they should have had the ability to turn into the Werehog implemented into all stages and allowed players to Switch between both forms quickly and freely.

The cultural representation of the hub worlds is obviously really important and I feel Sonic Team did an ok job but again these are quite empty and could have had a lot more secrets to find as well as offer better and more creative side content and missions.

As a final note I will say that this game was acceptable, in certain areas it works extremely well but struggled with everything else so what we were left with was a small amount of great content surrounded with a lot of uninspired and in someways lazy game design so I think a 6/10 is a very fair score and I can only hope that next time when we take a look at Sonic Colours we finally get back to the flawless gameplay I know this series can pull off.

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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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Acme Antics and Dizzy Driving GBA Review

Unfortunately I cant get a lot of information about this game, what I have learned from playing it though is that it is a bundle of two short games based around Looney Tunes, one game is reaction based game and the other is a top down kart racer.

It was developed by Way Forward who you might know from the latest Donkey Kong Country Games and was released in 2005.

I’m going to review each game as I play them, I started with Acme Antics mainly because it was first one that was highlighted when I booted the game up.

This is a very beautifully animated game where you play the role of Road Runner escaping the claws of that greedy Wile Coyote.

The game looks amazing and feels very close to one of the cartoons in its animation and well chosen colour palette, the GBA always looked really great when developers put effort into the visuals and this is one of the best I’ve seen.

The only real issue with this is that the whole experience is very repetetive, the backgrounds are mostly the same and the music loops, when Wile shows up it gets a little more creative as he will start using ACME products to try and get the bird, he even has boss fights which again shake up the gameplay enough to keep it enjoyable, the whole thing is only about a half hour long but it is fun, they should have added a points system though so you could try and beat your high scores the next time you played.

Up next is Dizzy Drivers, I feel this will be a fairly short review so hopefully this next game has a bit more meat on its bones.

I actually really enjoyed this one Dizzy Drivers is as expected a kart racer and in the game your goal as your selected character is to come first in the races. I of course picked Foghorn Leghorn my favourite Looney Tunes character and considering he is the fastest in the game it was really quite easy to control. The game is not forgiving if you mess up and the other racers get a good lead on you, you haven’t got a chance in catching up so you really to master the controls to fully enjoy the game.

The music changed here too it wasn’t very good tracks but at least there was variety.

There are weapons in the game but they are not very memorable and most of them are hard to get hits with, I mostly just ignored them in the game but what you could expect was the obvious bombs, rockets and oil spills that come with every Kart Racer, a missed opportunity for some really cool themed things like Marvin the Martians shrink ray, Wile’s inventions, Taz wasn’t playable so he could be thrown at players and so on, none of those were used and I came up with those in about 15 seconds so I don’t really think there is much excuse for the lack of variety here.

So thats really all you get with this GBA title, I couldn’t say much because there wasn’t really much here, this is not a game I would say you have to play but if you did go straight Dizzy Driving because personally I think a more fleshed version of that without the Acme Antics game would have been better.

I think the most fair score I can give this is a 5/10 it controls well, it looks great and for a quick pick me up it is a pretty fun game but there isn’t a lot here and I think most people would get bored after a few play throughs. A good effort from way forward but cramming two tiny games into one cartridge when they could have had a much better fleshed out kart racer really takes away from this one.

That leaves just one more game and more movie for this second edition of Looney Tunes month. stay tuned over the next 10 days and hopefully the month will go out with a bang and with the next game I’m reviewing I really think it might make up for the less than impressive game choices this month !

See you then

Padawan

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New Pokemon Snap (2021) Review

New Pokemon Snap is the highly anticipated and unexpected sequel to 1999’s Pokemon Snap.

It was developed by Bandai-Namco and was published by Nintendo for the Nintendo Switch family of systems. In a similar manner to the original this game is an on-rails photography puzzle game where the main goal is to capture photographs on Pokémon in their natural environments with bonus points awarded for special moments such as rare encounters or reactions.

In the game you play as yourself, you pick an avatar and are a Pokemon photographer, I liked this more than the game just giving you a pre designed and named character like they did previously.

This time you are guided by Professor Mirror of the Lental Region and are tasked with photographing Pokemon but now your main goal is to capture images of illumina Pokemon, these are extremely rare Pokemon that are only known from legend and have never been seen or photographed before.

I think this games best feature is its visuals, it is absolutely gorgeous and feels so real because of how naturally the Pokemon AI move and interreact with the environments, this was handled much better than the first game and I really appreciate that because this game is very relaxing and a chill out experience to hop on to when taking breaks during more stress enduring games.

There are way more islands to explore in this game and each one has a day and a night cycle. this is awesome because it means you can get access to Nocturnal Pokemon whish was not possible in the original.

I also really like that you can be awarded stickers and filters to help create unique and funny pictures which you can share with your friends using the online services of the game.

Throughout the game you will unlock new items you can use to interact with Pokemon and the environment, some of these have been carried over from the original game but the majority are new.

All together we have

Fluff Fruit – These can be thrown at Pokemon or used to entice certain Poke creatures to draw closer to your camera.

Illumina Orbs – These can be used to help interact with specific environmental items and to help some Pokemon perform rare actions.

Melody Player – Very similar to Illumina Orbs, the Melody Player can be used to encourage Pokemon to perform calming actions such as sleeping, Dancing or showing genuine happiness.

Neo One Turbo – This is a boost for your vehicle allowing you to speed through courses, great for getting specific shots near the end of courses.

The Soundtrack is not great in my opinion, the original game had a very simple soundtrack that worked well for the game and each section had a theme that seemed to fit in well with its environment, I feel the same here but it doesn’t quite hit the mark for me, I ironically I feel this one is a little too simple, it doesn’t quite have that Nintendo charm and none of these tracks are that memorable, its not bad by any means It’s just not for me.

New Pokemon Snap is a game that I was very excited to play when it got announced, I had not long beat the original game and I did that over a weekend, that first game is very charming, its addictive and full of great puzzles. I really enjoyed this version as well, it looks a lot better and having a compelling story, voice acting and realism adds a whole new experience to the series that works very well.

However I dont like this game quite as much as the first, dont get me wrong I think this is a great new version of Pokemon Snap but it feels different to that first game, I couldn’t bring my self to keep playing this, some times it felt like a chore and other times I just wanted to play something else, I think this game works great in 45 minutes bursts with other games being played in between.

I believe my opinion is purely just a personal thing because the game is very good, it has a lot going for it and if you want a relaxing experience then this just may be the game for you, but personally I will just boot up the N64 again myself.

With all my opinions put aside New Pokemon Snap gets a very good score of 8.8/10

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The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess 2006 – 2016 Review

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess is the 13th instalment in the Legend of Zelda videogame series, it was both developed and published by Nintendo for the Gamecube and the Wii.

It is a much darker and serious take on the series compared to its predecessors and can technically be considered the third game in the Hero of Time trilogy.

The game was remade in HD for the Wii U in 2016, the three different versions vary, both the GameCube and Wii games are mirrored while the HD remake follows the maps of the GameCube and has slightly improved visuals and Gameplay, the mirrored maps are instead included in Hero Mode in the HD version. I tend to play the Wii version myself but all are so similar any will do nicely just note the original GameCube game can fetch a high price these days.

The plot follows the adventures of a young farm boy named Link who is dragged into a twilight realm after trying to rescue the village children from goblins.

Since he is no longer in the light world Link is transformed into his spiritual counterpart, he takes the form of a wolf and is rescued by a cursed princess of the spirit realm Midna, they escape his prison cell and find Princes Zelda who explains that her kingdom had been taken over by Zant the King of the Twilli and she tasks the two heroes with restoring the light guardians and bringing peace back to the realm.

One thing this game does incredibly well is how after the main tutorial area you have free reign to explore Hyrule to your liking, the Kingdom is quite expansive in this game so the fact that you are given a horse immediately is great, I love unlocking the horse in previous games but I think it was a good decision to just let the players use her immediately to traverse the larger areas.

The game does help you a little bit by trying to point you in the right direction but you are not expected to just follow a linear path, the majority of secrets, upgrades and even additional moves are hidden throughout the world with no hints of their whereabouts, if you want to find them “without reading them up online” then you will have to explore and that is exactly how a Zelda game should be.

The temples and dungeons are very challenging as well, this game takes second place for most annoying water temple in my opinion but that’s not a bad thing, you want to get lost and have to figure out where you went wrong in games like this, the previous title Wind Waker had very linear dungeons and in my opinion that took away from the Zelda experience for me.

For me the issues with game begin with the wolf sections, the majority of time as the wolf is ok, you are able to see spirits that cannot be seen in human form and you able to wipe out groups of enemies in as little as one attack but what I really dislike is when you are forced to collect the light of spirits, while this only needed to access three of the in game temples, the sections feel unnecessary and can affect the games pace, a similar issue can be extended to the entire world map, while it is large and impressive large portions of it are empty and can take a while to traverse.

The temples in this game really stand out not for just being challenging like earlier titles in the series but they are some of the best in terms of creativity, while the majority are quite standard with the themes of forest, fire and water the second half are really memorable for taking place inside of a giant mansion, a city in the sky and an ancient tomb.

The new items in this game are fantastic and in my opinion some of the best in the series, highlights are the ball and chain which can take out some larger and armoured enemies in a single hit, the dominion rod which can control statues for puzzle solving and finally the double hookshot allowing you to easily traverse across large and expansive areas.

The 3D Zelda games are known for having great side content along side the main plot and this is no exception, I never did everything in the game and to be honest I never do with Zelda, I only really stick with what I enjoy and in this one it was collecting all of the bugs, discovering the howling stones to get new moves and funding Malo’s shop. You can also collect all of the Poe spirits but I found this a little tedious so I didn’t bother doing this myself.

I have mixed feelings on the visuals here because while it really cool to see a realistic Legend of Zelda game I feel they could have added more colours while still keeping the realism, the game mostly looks depressing with its muddy colours and dark atmosphere and by giving it a little more life I feel it could make it more pleasant to look at and in turn more fun to see and explore.

The music is outstanding even for Zelda which has always been known to have fantastic melodies for each part of the game, the composer Tori Minegishi did a phenomenal job creating such an atmosphere and choosing to use a variety of different instruments to suit various environments and scenes, my favourite track in the game is near the beginning when Link meets Llia at the water, its a very beautiful song which lifts my heart every time I hear it.

So with all of the praise I have given Twilight Princess it might surprise you to know that it is my second least favourite game in the franchise, don’t get me wrong I do think this is a very good game but I think it takes itself a little bit too seriously, the realism actually takes away from the experience for me because there just isn’t much in the game that is memorable outside of the main quest. Apart from the bugs there are no side quests that really stand out when compared to its predecessors even the characters are quite boring with the exception of Malo and the guy who runs the cannon, everyone else is just cookie cutter normal people, The Goron elders are fairly interesting and of course the Yeti couple at the mansion stand out as some of the best in the game but they are part of the main quest, its everything else which I feel is missing a lot of the charm the series is known for. Apart from this it has an outstanding soundtrack, very cool visuals and a great plot, I do like this game but I don’t ever feel like I cannot wait replay it and that really sucks for me. 6/10

I realise my opinions here are controversial considering how beloved this game is but please remember it only my opinion and is not fact, the amount of fans this game has goes to show that many feel differently than I do so please don’t let my feeling put you off trying the game for yourself.

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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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The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004) Review

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is an action adventure game developed by Flagship with funding from Capcom for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance.

It is the twelfth game in the Legend of Zelda game series and is the first game in the timeline which focuses on the villain Vaati, who’s story is continued in both Fours Swords and Four Swords Adventures. Minish Cap was directed by Hidemaro Fujibayashi.

The game focuses on Vaati a new villain who was previously seen in Four Swords and would appear in Four Swords Adventures later on, This is his origin story and his first evil scheme where he turns Princess Zelda to stone, this event causes link to collect the elements and form the Four Sword in order to save her and defeat the evil Minish wizard.

The game follows a very similar formula to prior games in the series where you will travel across the Land, collect upgrades and conquer dungeons, I found that the game felt closer to the original games as it didnt really hold your hand or drop too many hints on where are you are supposed to go which really helped to encourage players to explore on their own which is the best way to play any game in this series. When you reboot the game after shutting off the power, the character Ezlo (Links Hat in the game) will tell players what the current main quest is, I like this as it is useful as a quick reminder without forcing you to stick to the quest.

I don’t want to give too many spoilers here as there is a lot of side content to discover but one of the most interesting for me at least was when I accidently found a port hole which took me to a house where I was able to help exorcize an evil spirit. Because I chose to do this, later on in my quest the main plot returned me to this house and I was awarded the Light Arrows, unlike other games these are not needed to defeat the boss but are substantially more powerful than the original arrows.

In the game you can find items called kinstones, these can be paired with other characters kinstones to unlock secrets and helpful items, almost all NPC’s have kinstones so just try to connect with as many as possible, I thought this was one of the most creative parts of the game and I really enjoyed finding as many secrets as I could and I know that I left a lot behind so I look forward to returning to Minish Cap again to try and find the rest of them.

The main mechanic of the game is the ability to shrink down to the size of a Minish, the Minish are miniscule elf like creatures who live in tiny homes hidden far from the human eye. Link can shrink in many areas of the game and this mechanic is used for discovering further secrets and to defeat some bosses and solving dungeon puzzles, I really enjoyed this mechanic as it added so much more to the game and was implemented really well as it very important to the plot and was genuinely a lot of fun to use.

The game recycles a lot of music from past games and uses a few original tracks as well. The re-used music has been enhanced with some changes so that it works on the GBA and it sounds really nice, the soundtrack may not be as ground-breaking as other games in the series but it is very impressive for GBA title, The music is well composed and has extremely high quality for a game on the GBA, in fact some of the music in this game I prefer over the original versions from games such as Ocarina of Time and a Link to the Past.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap really surprised me because for some reason I always skipped on playing this one, I’m glad I played it now as it was one of the best gaming experiences I have had in a very long time, as it normally is with hand held titles the game was short and after I was finished I really wanted to start the game again hopefully this time discovering new secrets.

I do have some complaints but they are only minor, the first is that while collecting sea shells and trading them in for models was a cool idea I thought it could have been executed better as it took a long time for me to empty my shells so that I could make space for more, the only other issue I had was the fairies, in all games prior to this fairies your trap in bottles would either fully heal you or give you a fair amount of hearts when you die, in this game you only get four hearts back so you really want to focus on buying Red Potion instead. I would not normally complain about this but it is so different to what we got before and it is not explained in the game that they will only give you a few hearts so it is very annoying for regular fans of the series who would not expect this.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap is easily one of the best GBA games I have ever played, It was really fun to explore Hyrule in this and the new mechanics such as shrinking, the mole mitts and fusing kinstones gave me lots of secrets to uncover and it felt like a title in the series that really took a leaf out of Zelda’s roots, the complaints I do have with the game are tiny, the fairies are very annoying as it was not stated clearly in the game that they wont fully heal you and while the models took a very long time to empty your shells, you don’t have to do this at all, I know wont be doing this next time I play it. The sound track while mostly recycled was very good and I loved every second of it, graphically the game is stunning and is an art piece throughout, as a Minish when you start to explore smaller areas it is beautiful and I give credit to the artists.

My issues with this game as so small that I think unfair for me to even consider them for my final rating, the worst was the fairies but unless you are a long time fan of the series this probably wouldn’t bother you, so with this in mind I think that this games does everything that a Zelda should and more, it is pratically flawless in its visuals, music, gameplay and story and is now one of my favourite games in the series and it is only deserving of a 10/10 a rating which has only be received by a Link to the Past so hats off to Minish Cap it truly is a wonderful gaming experience.

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Spongebob Squarepants: Plankon’s Robotic Revenge (2013) Review

Spongebob Squarepants: Plankton’s Robotic Revenge is a 2013 third person shooter based in the Spongebob universe. It was developed by behaviour interactive and was published by Activison for the PS3,Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo DS and the Nintendo 3DS.

I played through the Wii U version but after further research I realised that all versions are practically the same with small gameplay and graphical changes.

A military ship accidentally drops live batteries into the ocean causing them to land outside of the Chum Bucket where they are collected by Plankton. Plankton uses these batteries to power a robot army in order to steal the Krabby Patty secret formula and take over Bikini Bottom.

So before I rip into this game I want to say that to have multiplayer co-operative play is a really great idea for a kids game and I love that Mr Krabs and Squidward are both playable as they are often not playable in the Spongebob games.

The game is a third person shooter, players are able to collect gears by killing robots and then they use those gears to purchase new weapons and upgrades. This may sound fun but it’s not very well designed I found that if you fully upgrade the standard pickle blaster you can take out most enemies with a few shots and because the game gives you auto aim and auto fire as a standard this makes the journey to completion very easy.

It doesnt help that you fight ths same handful of enemies throughout the 15 levels in the game, there is no variety between worlds and apart from the final world of Bikini Bottom the game looks boring and uninspired.

Even the three boss battles in the game feel very similar again there is no variety and the game is very repetetive, the only saving grace is that its so short, I beat the entire game in less than 3 hours and with no side content there was nothing else to it, I was happy that the game ended because of how boring it was but I’m still annoyed with home much I got ripped off in paying for it, the game should be a £9.99 e-shop title at most, it literally gives the player the bare minimum amount of effort needed for a game.

The soundtracks very good I can at least say that, it mostly uses music either from or inspired by the TV series and of course due to that the soundtrack fits perfectly into the game and I cant really complain about it.

For the first video game of Spongebob month I can’t believe the bad luck I had in picking this one, I feel that if more effort was put into the game a third person Spongebob shooter could be really fun, they could have implemented more antagonists from the show as boss fights and if they had given each world unique robots then it wouldn’t have been so boring. But for what this is regardless of its music It’s just a very bad and lazy game that should not have been released, it makes the developers, publishers and Nickelodeon all look bad for releasing such a scam a of a game that it serves as nothing more than a cash grab, there is nothing special about this and I cannot recommend it to anyone 2/10

My Favourite Spongebob episodes – Idiot Box

At the end of every review I’m going to write a very short review on my favourite episodes of the show.

Idiot Box was part of the third season of the show, in the episode Spongebob and Patrick are using a TV box to play imagination games, Squidward doesn’t believe this as the sounds coming from the box are so realistic that he is convinced that Spongebob and Patrick are playing a trick on him.

This is by far one of funniest episodes of the TV series, you really start to understand Squidward as a selfish and grumpy character here with him failing to understand to concept of an imagination and mocking those who do. The ending to episode has me laughing hysterically every time I see it, its very well directed seeing Squidward alone on the box losing his mind trying to find a sound recorder only to have one of the funniest final moments in the shows history, Idiot Box is a great episode and one of my personal favourites.

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