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Mar 022016
 

The Nintendo eshop downloads for Nintendo 3DS keep getting better and better since I downloaded Ninja Battle Heroes. This side scrolling platform game has Anime style animal characters with ninja action and simple navigation. Why can’t more Anime video games be platformers that are easy to figure out?

The story line is also simple and straightforward. Set in a feudal Japan era, there are a group of warriors called the Beast Brigade led by General Yukimura. Unfortunately, all of the members were captured except one, Saizo Kirigakure. Now it’s up to Saizo to rescue them.

As you proceed through the game, other members get rescued and join in as backup. Their skills are helpful, but Saizo is really the only playable character. Also the skills can only be activated when you’ve collected enough spirit energy from defeated foes.

The rescued allies include Kosuke who can restore your life meter with first-aid and Kamanosuke who can make cyclones which is very useful when there are too many background enemies throwing projectiles.

There’s also Mochizuki (Mochi for short) who can throw fire and Jinpachi who can make an ice pillar. Their skills are interesting but not very affective.

Other allies are bosses who are under evil mind control that join you after defeating them. The first are the Miyoshi Bros., Seikai and Isa. Seikai has brute strength and uses his brainy brother Isa as a throwing weapon. However, the only skill you can acquire is their earthquake attack, which isn’t any more effective than the fire and ice attacks.

Other bosses include Rokuro, a bird who grants you flight, which is very helpful to get to those hard to reach areas, not to mention the hard to reach enemies up high. There’s also Juzo who has a rifle attack and Sasuke who can provide clones. These skills are only useful when you need a very strong attack, most likely against a tougher boss.

Eventually, it all comes down to the final boss Ieyasu. He’s tough with his strong attacks, unleashing of enemies, and has a second form courtesy of the demon Hattori Hanzo. Why does that name sound familiar?

I really enjoyed this game for its simple game play. It has its share of challenges also like completing a level within a certain time, having a big enough combo, and getting through a level without taking any damage or summoning any beasts, which is required to unlock certain skills and powers. But once you manage to succeed in these difficult tasks, you’ll feel rewarded knowing that it was all worth it.

Sep 092015
 

As great as it is to download classic NES titles onto the Nintendo 3DS from Nintendo eshop, there are also some interesting 3DS downloads as well. One of them is 10-in-1 Arcade Action. I think that speaks for itself.

Since the ten games featured are completely different from one another, I’m going to go over each of them separately. Let’s start with Black Nightmares. There are many games in sets like these to be similar to Space Invaders or Galaga. Black Nightmares is like a combination of both that includes occasional power-ups and bonus levels. Normally I would prefer the original Atari version of Space Invaders to any other, but since there’s hardly any chance of that title ever coming to the 3DS downloads, you got to take what you can get.

The next game is Gem Breaker. It’s much like Alleyway for Gameboy only taking place in the sky and the music is awesome. As you progress, the number of blocks increase and some take more hits to destroy. There are also power-ups that make your platform longer or shorter and other stuff I didn’t recognize. Why couldn’t any of these games come with an instruction manual?

That would also be helpful for the third game, Special Delivery. It’s an interesting side scrolling platformer with a nameless deliveryman armed with a slingshot. He jumps gaps, collects coins, and bops enemies like pooping pigeons and gangsters that just stand in the way. Aside from the one hit deaths my only real concern is that the hero never stops walking. You can slow it down or speed it up with the control pad, but not being able to stop is annoying, yet still fun to play.

Game number four is Ninja Monkey. With the hero’s dark presence and stormy backdrop I expected something cool, but it runs short of my expectations. This game is a mediocre 2D shooter where you throw throwing stars at flying dragons that drop demons and bombs. If any of them touch the ground you lose energy, even though they’re not actually touching you. What’s also different is that the hero just stands there and all you can move is the angle to throw your projectile. Not bad, but could’ve been better.

Then we have Box Logic, which is a puzzle game where you move square boxes to the shadowy parts on the floor. Yeah, it’s not that interesting. Moving on.

Game number six is Tangled Space. This is lot like the classic game Asteroids. The only real difference is that you collect coins after completely destroying each asteroid. The backdrop is cooler and the music has a fun upbeat piano tune. If you were playing this 10-in-1 set for the first time, I would suggest this game to start with.

In Perfect Landing, you’re an alien trying to land your spaceship safely while dodging missiles, jet planes, and men riding parachutes. The control is stiff and you can’t really shoot many enemies since your ammo is extremely limited. At least landing in the right spot is easy.

The hardest game in the whole set is definitely Saucer Room. You control a flying saucer in a confined room, but touch a wall once and you’re dead. The biggest reason for its difficulty is the control. In order to change direction you have to gradually move the control pad around and the saucer never stops moving either, so you have to be on your toes all the time. And I thought Surround for Atari 2600 was tough.

The ninth game is Devil Maze, where you’re an angel gathering stars (souls) in 2D maze-like areas while avoiding devils. This one is actually pretty good, but why does the angel look as dark and creepy as the devils?

Last but not least is Ghost Cage. At first I thought it was like PAC-Man, but it’s actually a puzzle game where you match the colors as they come down. Those are usually fun. What makes this one different is that the screen fills up from below as well as above.

At first glance it seems like most of these games are cheap knockoffs of classic titles from the Atari 2600, while the others are just puzzling. However, they’re still fun to play on occasion.

Jun 242015
 

As we all know, King Dedede is Kirby’s archenemy. There have been many Kirby games over the years, but not many that stars the villain. One of those few is Dedede’s Drum Dash Deluxe for Nintendo 3DS. Well technically this is only available as a Nintendo eshop download, but you get the idea.

This game is a musical platformer where King Dedede goes through a set number of levels by bouncing on drums and collecting coins in order to get medals. It’s entirely based on how high your score is after getting through each level.

The control is simple, which is how I like it. Dedede bounces on every platform automatically, but you can bounce higher by using the jump button the same way Mario would gain more height when he jumps on an enemy. It was then when I knew this would be a fun game.

Of course there are challenging obstacles. They include enemies blocking the path, defective drum platforms, and flying creatures carrying a rug to prevent you from seeing what’s in front of you, not to mention falling into holes. Luckily, that doesn’t kill you instantly, but you still lose energy when that happens.

The medals go from bronze, silver, gold, platinum. It’s usually hard to tell how high your score has to be to reach each metal since it’s different for every level. After finishing each level there are also bonus for time, collecting all the coins, taking no damage, and back beat perfect.

Now the back beat perfect is the most difficult bonus to collect. At the peak of every jump, you press the jump button again for Dedede to play his tambourine to the beat. This can by very picky at times because if you miss even once just by a little bit, you don’t get the bonus. It’s difficult enough to focus on the other three bonuses at the same time. It’s all about perfection.

This is a great game overall, especially for a portable game system that you can take anywhere. In case you were wondering, Kirby does appear but only briefly at certain points.

Aug 202014
 

Hotel Transylvania – Nintendo 3DS is loosely based on the movie and like many video games based on movies, this was released around the same time as the premiere.

As the story goes, Quasimodo has captured Johnny and intends to cook him and it’s up to Mavis to rescue him. Mavis must navigate through the hotel grounds and battle enemy zombies, skeletons, and knights by jumping on their heads. She tries to get her father’s help, but Dracula doesn’t listen. He’s so focused on preparing for Mavis’s birthday party that he keeps piling duties on her.

 

The other duties Mavis has to complete include looking for lost items and delivering them to other characters. The wolf pups cause many of these mishaps and sometimes you have to fight them in a boss battle. Come to think of it, these are the only boss battles in the game next to the final confrontation with Quasimodo.

As you progress in the game, Mavis gets new powers and abilities that are mostly to help her reach areas that she couldn’t get to before. They include the hypnotic stare to freeze enemies, the electric shock power, running up red walls, and the ability to turn into mist to go through grates. There’s also the ability to turn into a bat and fly, but for some reason it doesn’t last long.

 

Normally navigation is never my strong point in video games, but there is a map on the bottom screen that shows you where you are and where you need to go. It’s very helpful. The only exception is the labyrinth down below. That area is so hard to get around.

Even though there are unlimited lives and many save points, the short life meter is also an issue. In order to increase it you have to collect blue crystals, like Mario collects coins. However, it takes 200 crystals to extend the life meter by one heart and the crystals never return once you take them, unlike the enemies that keep respawning.

I find this game enjoyable. I’ve heard in some reviews that it’s like Castlevania on a much younger level. I can see it that way in quality, but not in challenge. My only real concern is that if you go into a saved file where the game is 100% complete, an error occurs and you have to turn the 3DS off. I don’t understand why that is.

Apr 302014
 

The Croods was such an adventurous film (and one I really enjoyed), so there ought to be a video game based on it. Though unlike most video games based on movies, The Croods: Prehistoric Party! for Nintendo 3DS is a series of mini games highly inspired by the movie.

There are 30 different mini games in all and you can play them one at a time or in a tournament mode. Also you can play as Grug, Ugga, Eep, Thunk, Guy, Sandy, or Gran. There’s also an eighth character that has to be unlocked, but I have no idea how to do so. On the other hand, all of the characters play the same.

From riding and fighting the wild animals to throwing and punching giant popcorn, this game has it all. What really makes it interesting is that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose the mini game. After playing one you instantly earn a prehistoric point. You use these points in the extras cave gallery to unlock images of various creatures, concept art, and movie stills. It takes six prehistoric points to unlock each image.

This game has voice acting, but not very much. And in case you were wondering, none of the original cast members from the movie reprised their roles.

Some mini games are simple and others aren’t, but like I said earlier. You still get your prehistoric points whether you win or lose. It’s definitely a perk. If only other mini game video games were that merciful.

This is a good game, which focuses on mini games. I guess playing all of those Mario Party games paid off in that sense, if you know what I mean.