Reviews & Articles

ReviewNew Super Mario Bros. Wii

March 31, 2010
Twist on a classic
by: Full Sail Student available on: Nintendo Wii
“Old-school-meets-new-school” fits New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Nintendo has brought back the wonders of the classic side-scrolling fun of the original Super Mario Bros. and has made it better. The tunes have been modernized, and the controls are more comfortable. The greatest innovation to this chapter in Mario’s career is the multiplayer platform.

PreviewKid Adventures: Sky Captain

March 26, 2010
I believe I can fly!
by: monolysis @ GDC 2010 available on: Nintendo Wii
Flying games haven’t always been my strong suit. But at GDC 2010, I seemed to do fairly well with Kid Adventures: Sky Captain for the Wii. I’d hope so since — as the name implies — it’s meant for kids.

ReviewSuper Monkey Ball: Step and Roll

March 25, 2010
‘Super’ is misleading; use ‘meh’ instead
by: GrizzMagoo available on: Nintendo Wii
My Wii balance board is highly under-used. After a brief interlude with Wii Fit Plus, the board made a home under the entertainment center, where it stayed until Super Monkey Ball: Step and Roll arrived in the mail. Super! A new game to use with my ignored accessory.

ReviewCalling

March 19, 2010
Understatingly creepy
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
The word “calling” is awesome. That simple word conjures up various actions. I could simply call for help or to a friend. I could be referring to what lead me to my profession, or I could be referring to the act of making a phone call. All of this was swimming in my mind as I played through a horror game for the Wii aptly named Calling.

ReviewMini Ninjas

March 19, 2010
Everybody was ninja fighting ...
by: josephsmits available on: PC, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox Live Arcade
Games and music aren’t always mediums that complement one another. Although, think about the song “Kung Fu Fighting” by Carl Douglas. Go ahead and dance for a moment. The song, like the game Mini Ninjas, is funky, fun and a tad goofy. I’ve also decided to put “Kung Fu Fighting” on repeat while I write this since the game and song work well together.

InterviewMajor League Baseball 2K10 producers, designers

March 14, 2010
Setting the record straight
by: CentCMD available on: PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
With the 2K Sports release Major League Baseball 2K10, producer Ben Bishop and gameplay designers Jonathan Rivera and Sean Bailey were eager to sit down and discuss the details of the game. They had more than just the excitement of a game release to discuss; they had an urge to set the record straight. After all, MLB 2K9 has become something of a critical disaster for the team. With their latest installment in the MLB series, they went back to the fundamental design elements that made other 2K games a success. Their promise: MLB 2K10 not only exceeds expectations but also completely knocks expectations out of the ballpark.

ReviewNew Super Mario Bros. Wii

March 3, 2010
Beautiful, class Mario with twists
by: Full Sail Student available on: Nintendo Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is yet another Super Mario game, but this time, there is a twist, and it does not disappoint. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is — yes, you guessed it — Super Mario on the Wii! Let me start by saying this is a really beautiful game. Everything you remember from the Mario franchise is back and revamped and looks pretty awesome for a Wii title. The classic side-scroller action is back with this one, ladies and gentlemen. It resurfaces all your old memories of stomping mushrooms and spitting fire, but now you can do so with your Wii.

First LookTrauma Team

February 23, 2010
Diagnostics mode
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to be a doctor? This is something that I believe all children — at some time or another — dream about. There’s something romantic to it. Perhaps it is the amazing wealth of knowledge required or the amazing technologies that are changing every day. Or maybe it is the simple fact that you’re doing something visible that is saving lives. But being a doctor is not easy. First, you have to go to college, pass the MCATs, attend medical school and then finish a residency. So how about we skip all that and go straight to the fun stuff? Aram Jabbari of Atlus was kind enough to show us a demonstration of the Diagnostics mode of Trauma Team. So let’s keep the important medical stuff in the back of head as we discuss.

EventNintendo Media Tour

February 11, 2010
Endless Ocean, America’s Test Kitchen and Pokemon
by: GrizzMagoo available on: Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii
Nintendo stopped by the W Hotel in Times Square last week to show off the upcoming spring titles. I had a chance to put my mitts on four great-looking games, including a new edition in the Endless Ocean series and a digital cookbook/culinary class designed to engage the entire family.

ReviewPhantom Brave: We Meet Again

February 10, 2010
The most organic strategy game available
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2
It’s no secret that I love the Disgaea series. Hilarious dialogue mixed with accessible yet challenging strategy creates an intriguing experience. Plus, the games are almost overwhelmingly customizable. (And I want a prinny, dood.) So here’s the million dollar question for you: What would happen if some of the elements of the strategy genre were changed and the story took place in the islands? You would have Phantom Brave: We Meet Again for the Nintendo Wii. Gamers interested in strategy games should stop reading now and go get this game.

PreviewTHQ Kids, Family and Casual Games

February 7, 2010
Q1 Media Tour
by: GrizzMagoo available on: Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Nintendo Wii
The THQ Kids, Family and Casual games division stopped in New York during its Q1 Media Tour, and this little journalist had the chance to check out some of the latest family-friendly titles coming to gamers this spring, including SpongeBob's Boating Bash, Beat City, World of Outlaws: Sprint Cars and Nancy Drew: The Model Mysteries.

ReviewSilent Hill: Shattered Memories

February 4, 2010
Psychphan's pick for 2009's best use of ice
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2
I would not call myself a die-hard Silent Hill fan. I didn’t play the original and fall in love with it, nor did I pick up (borrow) a copy of Silent Hill 2 until my senior year of college. I really enjoyed the time I spent with it due to the surreal nature of the game and the mysterious symbolism that could (and continues) to take years to unravel. Is James’ story real? Or is it a drunken-induced hallucination? Or is he dead? Any answer is completely valid as the game gives you clues to support those thoughts. So let me present to you Silent Hill: Shattered Memories for the Nintendo Wii.

ReviewNPPL Championship Paintball 2009

January 31, 2010
Game falls a bit splat
by: Severian available on: PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
NPPL Championship Paintball 2009 is a first-person shooter set in today’s paintball tournaments. As a longtime paintballer (I started with the Nel-Spot 007 and oil-based paint in the early 1980s) and former tournament player, I had high expectations for this game. Unfortunately, they were not met. Although actual paintball equipment and even real players were modeled with seeming accuracy, the gameplay was flat and dull.

ReviewA Boy and His Blob

January 29, 2010
An excellent re-imagining of a NES game
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
Ever heard of A Boy and His Blob? I won’t be surprised if you had; it is an old-school exploration game for the NES. You controlled a boy (well, he looked like a teenager to me when I was 7), and you needed to use his blob to pass (and survive) obstacles. So how do you do that? Simple: You feed him jelly beans to transform the blob into different objects, such as an umbrella, a bubble, a ladder and a bowling ball. And you had a limited number of jelly beans to use. Oh, and did I mention the boy cannot jump? Almost 20 years later, Nintendo and Majestico have recreated and re-imagined the game for the Nintendo Wii. And the new version of A Boy and His Blob stands pretty darn well on its own.

PreviewCapcom at CES

January 28, 2010
Lots of games in one location
by: monolysis available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS, Xbox Live Arcade, WiiWare, PlayStation Store, Nintendo Wii
Capcom was one of the few software companies at the Consumer Electronics Show, and I got to see quite a few of its games, including Mega Man 10, Final Fight Double Impact, Super Street Fighter 4, Lost Planet 2, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth and Monster Hunter Tri. For more information about Capcom games, visit www.capcom.com/us/.

First LookTrauma Team

January 27, 2010
Forensics mode
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
Have you ever heard of a show called Quincy M.E.? It’s a somewhat old show, but reruns were shown on television several years ago. Of course, DVD on TV has allowed a generation of watchers to see what they have missed. Anyway, the show followed the title character Quincy, who solved mysteries. He was always leaving his examining room interviewing people, looking at the crime scene and trying to figure out the truth. In fact, I would argue that this show set the tone for shows like CSI. So what does this have to do with videogames? Simple. Trauma Team has part of this vibe. And Aram Jabbari from Atlus was kind enough to show us the first mission of the Forensics mode.

ReviewPool Hall Pro

January 25, 2010
The best pool game since 1989
by: Asterix available on: Nintendo Wii
Time-tested and socially accepted as tons of fun (with or without alcohol) the games of pool, snooker and billiards are here to stay. It does not matter if you are playing these games at someone’s home or you are hanging out with your buds and the ladies at the local night spot — the fact that you know how to play pool (at least the U.S. 8-ball game) will add 100 coolness points to your character. Take this from someone who can vividly recall being called a “pool shark” back in the day — yes, I was that good.

ReviewMySims Agents

January 15, 2010
Not an accurate name but still fun
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
I wouldn’t call myself a true fan of The Sims series. From the outside looking in, I couldn’t understand how directing people could be fun. Oddly enough, it was fun ordering people about to do my bidding. Mwhahaha — cough, cough. Granted, I had a blast playing The Sims 2. Who wouldn’t if they took the time to understand the system? I admit that I have been interested in My Sims: Agents for awhile now. The main reason was the television commercial I saw. I love spies. And I really wanted a good espionage game. Sadly, My Sims: Agents doesn’t deliver on that front.

ReviewDestroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed

January 12, 2010
Big Willy isn't so big or unleashed
by: Pashford available on: Nintendo Wii
You would be surprised at how real-world ethics dangerously coincide with gaming, whether it be inside an alternate reality or merely by rules governing such realms. Genetic engineering, and by extent, cloning, has a way of going sour quickly. Not all attempts will be futile, of course, but many die a quick meaningless death. In this way, popular games have had their slew of clones, such as Destroy All Humans! Big Willy Unleashed. The series returns with a Wii exclusive to give the Nintendo demographic a taste of the repercussions of cloning and the misery involved.

ReviewWe Cheer 2

January 3, 2010
Sometimes sequels are better
by: Alladania available on: Nintendo Wii
Our first experience with the original We Cheer didn’t go that well. My daughter had done cheerleading for a few years, and I thought she’d enjoy it on the Wii. I think she played once and that was it. She said it was too hard. I hesitated a bit on getting We Cheer 2, but I finally decided to give it another try. I’m glad we did.

ReviewDisney Sing It: Pop Hits

December 29, 2009
Perfect for family night karaoke
by: Psychphan available on: PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2
I’m a huge music fan. Of course, I’m a very eclectic listener, and radio stations tend to quickly annoy me. I listen to almost everything from Alanis Morissette to Enya to Rocco DeLuca and the Burden to The Killers plus a little bit of Imogen Heap and back to The Corrs. I have a decent idea why I agreed to Disney Sing It: Pop Hits: It was to annoy my cousins at Thanksgiving. But since that greatly fell through, I have been torturing myself instead.

ReviewGuitar Hero: Van Halen

December 28, 2009
Good addition to series
by: Pashford available on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii

Another month, another rhythm-based game. That’s how it seems, anyway, with so many trying to compete for your attention. Guitar Hero 5 was out recently, with Band Hero coming our way only two months later. DJ Hero — released only days before Band Hero — is new to the mix and falls somewhere between The Beatles: Rock Band and Lego Rock Band. So why do you need another guitar-based game? Well, you probably don’t, all things considered. With the recent deluge of rhythm-based games and all the choices you would face in your selection, you might get angrier than David Lee Roth with a bowl of brown M&Ms. So where does Guitar Hero: Van Halen stand in all of this? On the one hand, you already have so many games to choose from, but on the other hand, how could you say no to a band-exclusive game that boasts some of the most classic guitar riffs in rock history?

ReviewThe Conduit

December 18, 2009
A first-person bore
by: brubinow available on: Nintendo Wii
The Conduit is one of the most-hyped games for the Wii that I’ve seen in a long time. Every advertisement I see for it boasts that is has “great graphics,” “tight controls” and “gripping gameplay,” but they always have to add that damning endnote: “... for a Wii game.”

First LookShiren the Wanderer

December 12, 2009
Wander the dungeons aimlessly
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
Rogue is a tough game to get into. By far, it is one of the hardest genres in which to do well. This is especially true on consoles because things either get way too difficult or things are dropped or even move sluggishly. No matter what people think about it on consoles, Atlus is hard at work for proving this type of game for the Wii can work. Aram Jabbari of Atlus was kind enough to show us a quick demonstration of Shiren the Wanderer.

First LookTrauma Team

December 8, 2009
More medical technologies without the degree
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
I am not a very medically minded person. In high school, I had the hardest time keeping all of the bones and muscles that are in the body straight. Femur? What’s that? Do I even have one? It might be in my leg ...? Yes, I am that bad. Even in my nutrition class in college, I always remembered the odd stuff and never the items that were on the test. With this in mind, I present to you Trauma Team for the Wii.

ReviewDragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo

December 7, 2009
Ka-me-ha-me HA!
by: Link_to_the_future available on: Nintendo Wii
Goku leaps into center stage once again in another Dragon Ball title. This particular incarnation tells of Goku’s humble beginnings as a young boy, battling the infamous Red Ribbon Army in his quest to find his grandfather’s four-star Dragon Ball. Fans of the series and gamers new to the story will enjoy this action-packed, comical beat ’em up.

ReviewMuramasa: The Demon Blade

November 24, 2009
Sword play for those who like beautiful swords
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

I have been completely infatuated with Muramasa: The Demon Blade ever since I saw it in motion on Nintendo’s Hype Channel. Sure, I saw the screenshots online and in magazines, but a sense of awe overpowered me when I laid eyes on it. I was breathless. If the game played half as well as it looked, I knew I was going to be a happy camper. Months after it came out, I finally got my hands on Muramasa: The Demon Blade.

ReviewMonsters vs. Aliens

November 5, 2009
B Movie Game minus some flavors
by: Psychphan available on: PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3
I am not a movie buff. I watch three movies a year. That is it. One of the movies I watched this past year was Monsters vs. Aliens , a “B-movie” inspired by the old drive-in horror movies from the 1950s and ’60s. To say that my dad liked it is an understatement. He loved it. So how does the videogame tie-in of the same name fit with the movie? It comes together decently and allows novices to have fun but falls a bit short.

ReviewGhostbusters: The Video Game

October 21, 2009
Back off, pal. I’m a scientist.
by: brubinow available on: Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii
Despite the ravages of time, however, Ghostbusters: The Video Game is a thoroughly entertaining romp from beginning to end. All too eager to please, the game is a mish-mash of familiar film and videogame tropes. The Ghostbusters revisit several famous locales from the films, including the Sedgewick Hotel, the New York Public Library and the streets of New York. You’ll also be fighting lots of familiar ghosts, even including the 100-foot Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. And the game itself plays much like Gears of War, with a persistent over-the-shoulder point of view, regenerating health and emphasis on team-based cooperation.

ReviewWii Fit Plus

October 21, 2009
Well played
by: GrizzMagoo available on: Nintendo Wii
I’m pretty lazy when it comes to physical fitness. It’s my opinion that there is no such thing as “runner’s high” — it’s really hyperventilating. Nevertheless, here I was, standing in my socks next to the balance board while Wii Fit Plus toured me through the all the features waiting to improve my health. I’ll admit I got that “this is silly” feeling, and I hoped it would subside during my next month with the game.