Posted by murraychu on 25th September 2009
Co-op games seem to be all the rage these days and I’m not complaining. There is nothing more I like than to be able to pick up a title and enjoy it with someone close to me. Great experiences are made better just by having someone else there to appreciate it with you. It also gives rise to inside jokes and a lot of those “you had to be there” moments that forge strong bonds between people.
Cheesiness aside, there seems to be a teamwork theme this week as I review three games: Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story, Scooby Doo First Frights, and Spyborgs. Mario and Luigi’s Superstar RPG series has always been a favourite of mine. As video games’ version of the dynamic duo, the brothers can perform special attacks together and also jump to aid the other if one goes down. Scooby Doo and Spyborgs both focus on actual co-op, as two characters are always used, even when you are playing by yourself. If you’re all by your lonesome, you get a computer partner and can switch between the characters whenever you want. Since the computer partner is always there, friends can drop in and out of the game whenever they please, which is convenient.
While Scooby Doo followed the LEGO Star Wars formula closely, which I adore, Spyborgs is inhibitingly hard. Even at the easiest setting, the game becomes nigh on unmanageable and, despite rocking out exemplary graphics and combo system, the level of frustration makes it hard for me to recommend the game to anyone.
Co-op games are fun, even simple co-op modes like that of Super Mario Galaxy is nice to have so that you can enjoy gaming with friends and family. I am eagerly awaiting Pokemon Rumble, which I got to try at PAX, to come out as its co-op is very promising and I have been looking for something fun and non-competitive (and a bit cutesy) to enjoy with my fiance.
Tags: Bowser's Inside Story, co-op, First Frights, LEGO Star Wars, Mario & Luigi, PAX 2009, Pokemon Rumble, Scooby Doo, Spyborgs, Super Mario Galaxy, wii
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Posted by murraychu on 17th September 2009
So, the September 2009 list of Forbidden and Limited cards for Yu-Gi-Oh came out recently and a lot of cards and decks were hit pretty badly. (You can see my quick summary of the changes by clicking the link above). Personally, I’ve been playing Lightsworn, though poorly, but I’m not a big fan of the milling concept. Lightsworn got by pretty much untouched this time around. In fact, they got a usable card, Green Baboon, but it’s terrible now thanks to a rule change regarding its effect. For a while, I’ve been meaning to try out Synchro Cat, I just needed to get the cards for it. But now, there’s no point since practically every card associated with the archetype has been banned or limited. Poor kitty…
This week I also reviewed Scribblenauts for the DS and DiRT 2 for the Xbox 360. I love the concept behind Scribblenauts. It is a very socialable game and I think that it can be better appreciated as a multi-player game, where there are people around to enjoy those “You had to be there” moments. Unfortunately, I hate the controls and it’s right on the line where it ruins the game for me. Personally, I feel that a lot of the other reviewers are pushing themselves a bit to love the game and look beyond its terrible controls. I think the sequel to Scribblenauts is going to be awesome and all these poor design choices will be fixed. Hopefully, it will be a co-op ish console game or incorporate some kind of group interaction where people must take turns trying to solve a stage without using stuff used by previous players in the group. Demoing the game at PAX, with a crowd behind me laughing and cheering at the weird and wonderful things going on in the game made all the difference in my enjoyment. Playing at home, I can hardly do 5 stages before I want to do something else.
DiRT 2 surprised me a bit, in good and bad ways. I loved the menu, the game is beautiful. However, I simply can’t drive. My inability to handle the curves were really discouraging. At PAX, I demoed Forza Motorsport 3, which features an auto-braking option for people who don’t know how to drive in core racing games. It made a big difference and would no doubt level the learning curve for players like myself.
A boss guide for Mini Ninjas was supposed to be done for this week, but seriously, all you need to do is spam Meteor and you will win. Not a very diverse or exciting guide. Most kids should be able to figure it out without too much difficulty. Alternatively, you could also Ice them or use any other spell. I replaced the boss guide with an article on the banlist instead.
I’m enjoying Mario & Luigi: Bower’s Inside Story right now. I’ve played all the previous Mario & Luigi games and even the original Mario RPG on the SNES, which is where all the timed based attack stuff started. The game is pretty good, but I know it’s going to be a long one. Being a reviewer is tough, sometimes you just need to bog down and grind through a game quickly. I’m also getting some mileage out of Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box right now too. Does the narrator really need to tell me what to do immediately right after Hershel says it? Seriously, I had to wonder aloud if there was an echo in the room.
Tags: banlist, Dirt 2, Mario & Luigi, Mini Ninjas, Nintendo DS, PAX, Professor Layton, Rescue Cat, Scribblenauts, September 2009, xbox 360, yugioh
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Posted by murraychu on 11th September 2009
Welcome back to school everyone! Whether you love or hate school, I hope you all wrapped up your summer in style. Myself, I represented Kidzworld.com at the Penny Arcade Expo 2009 over the Labor Day long weekend. It was amazing, you can read my quick recap of PAX 2009 here.
Nintendo was the first booths I hit, they always had great swag to pick up. This year, they had red, green and dark grey toques for Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and an awesome t-shirt of Samus. To get the Metriod shirt, you had to line up and try out the new Metriod Prime Trilogy game for awhile. I watched as some people struggled with the bosses, thinking that, if only they had access to our boss guide for the game.
There were many Rock Band stations set up throughout the convention center, including the new Beatles: Rock Band game and LEGO Rock Band. The new game is pretty cool, but I really liked the atmosphere of the free play area near the back of the convention, where people were lounging and eating until 3am.
There were lots of free to play games being shown, as well as indie games and download only games. I did not see Mini Ninjas anywhere, which was too bad since I was hoping to get some comments from the exhibitors since I was reviewing it this week. I did manage to pick up a bunch of beta invites for games like Dungeon Fighter and Hello Kitty Online. We may be consolidating these for a contest later on, keep an eye out for it!
Like always, the show was great and I enjoyed it a lot. I got tonnes of t-shirts and bought myself a few new board games. I also got to meet Steve Jackson, the man behind Munchkin, and got him to sign a few cards that I conveniently had. To Tycho and Gabe, thanks for the great show, I hope you recover soon!
Tags: Dungeon Fighter, Hello Kitty Online, Mario & Luigi, Metroid Prime Trilogy, Mini Ninjas, Munchkin, PAX 2009, Penny Arcade Expo, rock band, Steve Jackson, The Beatles
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