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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.

Nov 152013
 

Following the success of New Super Mario Bros DS came the sequel New Super Mario Bros. 2 for Nintendo 3DS. From power-ups to enemies, this game has new features as well as classic ones.

The game play and sound are a lot like what’s on New Super Mario Bros. Wii, but includes a few things from Super Mario 3D Land as well. The main item I’m referring to is the Tanooki leaf that turns you into Raccoon Mario. You can fly as well as descend, which is helpful when trying to land on moving platforms.

The new power-up is a golden flower. One blast can destroy a group of bricks or vanquish tough enemies, turning them into coins. Speaking of coins, they seem to be the main focus of the game because each stage shows the most amount of coins you’ve gathered among the statistics on the map screen. I don’t know what the significance is for it.

Speaking of coins, the repeating coin blocks in this game turn into golden blocks that Mario can wear on his head and more coins come out as he moves through the level. I only find it useful as an extra hit point when going through a tough area. When hit by an enemy you get to keep your power-up but you lose the coin block helmet.

What I really find interesting is that the Koopalings return. As each one is defeated in his/her castle, another Koopaling snatches Princess Peach and drags her to the next castle. What is this, a tag team? More importantly, why doesn’t Peach ever put up a fight? Remember that she used to kick butt on the Super Smash Bros. games.

There are also towers in each world. Bowser Jr. doesn’t return in this game, so instead the boss is Reznor. That’s the group to triceratopses that sit on rotating platforms and can only be defeated when hit from underneath. Reznor’s first and only appearance was on Super Mario World as the boss of every fortress. It’s cool that these old foes make a comeback in this game, but why do they sound like elephants?

Oddly, there are only six worlds in this game. Only five of the seven Koopalings are featured before getting to Bowser’s castle in World 6. To get to the other two Koopalings, you’ll need to get to the warp cannons that send you to some special worlds. I was a little worried at first because it just doesn’t feel right when you don’t get to face all seven.

Speaking of the warp cannons, normally you just go in and it blasts you to the next world, but not in this game. After you’re blasted, you automatically run fast while you have to dodge enemies and jump platforms without an opportunity to slow down. If your timing isn’t perfect, you die. That is so ridiculous. You shouldn’t have to do that at a warp zone.

I really enjoy this game for its adventure, which would be expected from a Super Mario Bros. title. Bowser is still bigger and badder than ever, but the real enemy is that rising lava. That usually leaves me uneasy.

Aug 302013
 

Earlier this month I got a Nintendo 3DS, which is an updated version of the Nintendo DS. I’m also glad that it works with DS games as well as the newer 3DS ones. The main 3DS game I looked forward to playing was Super Mario 3D Land, mainly because of how interesting it looked on YouTube.

The game play is fun and simple as any Super Mario Bros. game should be. It also comes with some nostalgic value. The most common is the super leaf that turns you into Tanooki Mario. Remember the Tanooki suit from Super Mario Bros. 3? The major difference is that you can’t fly with it, you can only descend slowly, but it’s still very helpful. Sometimes it is even more so than the fire flowers.

The control is a bit awkward because the joystick to move Mario is much like the one for the Nintendo 64. It takes a little getting used to as well as the 3D perspective. The most common time I struggled with the 3D is when there are platforms that rotate, disappear, or switch around whenever you jump. It’s tough to see where you’re going to land.

Another major comparison this game has is with New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Each world either has a castle or an airship. The castles are often inhabited by a fake Bowser that is defeated by the “bridge out” method. Unfortunately, fireballs won’t work on him this time.

Then we have the airships. Apparently, the only bosses featured are Boom-Boom (another classic Super Mario Bros. 3 character) and Pom-Pom. She is a female version of Boom-Boom that throws boomerangs. Maybe she’s Boom-Boom’s sister. I don’t know.

As much as I like these two, it was disappointing because I was expecting the koopalings, especially after making such a triumphant comeback on New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Why were they not featured?

Another item this game has is star coins. There are three in every stage and can sometimes be hard to get to. The only crucial reason to get them is that some levels do not unlock until you certain amount of star coins. One thing’s for sure, once the star coins are found it becomes more fun to go through the levels again and again. Thank goodness for the auto save function.

After you defeat the real Bowser at the end of the game, it’s not over yet. This unlocks the special worlds, which are more difficult and provides the opportunity to play as Luigi once you rescue him from the first castle.

Sometimes the difficulty can be frustrating, particularly the levels that you have you rush through and that takes the fun out of it. The speed makes it hard to see in order to jump the different platforms because your timing has to be exact. I’m not just talking about the stages with fast side scrolling. There are actually levels with a very short time limit. In order to keep going you have to collect clocks. The blue ones add 10 seconds and the green ones add 100 seconds. The clocks are common items throughout the game, but they’re not as crucial in the earlier stages.

Another difficulty some levels have is the Cosmic Clone. He will follow you everywhere you go and match your every move. Only an invincible star can stop him, but not for long. If he touches you, you’re dead, so you have to constantly keep moving. I have used over 20 lives trying to get past these frustrating obstacles. It’s ridiculous.

The only Super Mario Bros. villain I ever disliked as much as the Cosmic Clone is Boss Bass from Super Mario Bros. 3. He was the giant fish that could swallow you whole, even when you’re fully powered up. How would you compare the two?

Despite the difficulties, Super Mario 3D Land is an excellent game with cool graphics and music. It’s also nice that it’s generous with extra lives. Instead of leftover time going into a high score, it goes into your coin total. It’s definitely more beneficial that way.