Reviews & Articles

ReviewMetroid: Other M

July 29, 2013
When metroids are involved, no one can hear you scream
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

I would never have considered myself to be a long-term Metroid fan. I didn’t play the original until close I was about 9, never understood why folks got excited about Super Metroid until four years ago, and I absolutely love Metroid II on the old Gameboy despite the rest of the world hating it. I also think that Metroid Prime was the first first-person shooter that got the genre to work on a console. These thoughts have been swirling around my head as I’ve been playing Metroid: Other M. It’s not as bad as many players claim, and many of the criticisms are misplaced.

ReviewValhalla Knights: Eldar Saga

July 22, 2013
Draw your sword! Eldar needs you!
by: Link_to_the_future available on: Nintendo Wii
Valhalla Knights is a name that hearkens images of warriors and castles, lords and ladies, chivalry and evil, monsters and magic. Valhalla Knights: Eldar Saga spins an epic tale of the Eldar Region, a land plagued by monsters for a thousand years. One hero, the man destined to reunite the four races — dwarves, elves, halflings and men — is your character in this story. Hired by a young man, who is bound to a wheelchair because of a deadly illness and who is a descendant of a long line of mages, your quest is to gather the “Star Fragments.” These fragments are pieces from a great meteor shower hundreds of years ago that spawned monsters throughout Eldar.

ReviewRock Band 3

July 6, 2013
The pinnacle of music videogames
by: brubinow available on: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3

For those willing to make the investment, Rock Band 3 is one of the best multiplayer experiences around. I shudder to think how much money I’ve spent on Rock Band games, instruments and song downloads since I first got into it, but few games are as purely joyful to play as Rock Band 3. Far from being just a new songlist, Rock Band 3 represents a great leap forward for music rhythm gaming.

ReviewThe Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

June 14, 2012
One of the last hurrahs on the GameCube
by: Psychphan available on: GameCube, Nintendo Wii

I remember the original Legend of Zelda back on the NES. There was something magical about it — and it had the potential to be exceptionally frustrating at times. To be fair, this was back in the day when games did not hold your hand at all. I also was only 3 or 4 years old at the time, and it amazed my mother no end how I was able to memorize the game and beat it. I probably should replay it, though the system does have a tendency to “randomly” reset on me. But I digress. This game created the beginning of one of Nintendo’s “holy of holies,” a series it would continuously hold close from that day forward and continuously counted on to sell not only copies, but systems as well. It is no wonder Nintendo tends to keep its “mega hitters” close to its breast. The last Zelda game released on a traditional system was released on the Wii and GameCube. That game is The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. For a game that would be considered the GameCube’s last hurrah, it is more than competent to compete with other games.

ReviewCabela's Dangerous Hunts 2011

May 16, 2012
You are the hunted
by: BlueMark available on: Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Oh man, do I love to hunt.

Oh man, do I love to play hunting games.

Oh man, do I hate it when baboons attack me.

Cabela’s Dangerous Hunts 2011 for the Wii is an overall good game — a different type of hunting game than I am use to, but that is a good thing. The hunting genre is plagued by less than boring games, while Activision makes it more exciting.

ReviewThe Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

April 10, 2012
Take a seat while I take to the sky
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

I remember 2010’s E3 and going into sensory overload at the multitude of information waiting to be digested by the press. It was then The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was announced. The line of people waiting to play the demo was massive as it spanned the entire length of the main showroom floor (at least it seemed that way). As much as I wanted to play it, I figured I would have a better chance of obtaining the game than getting a chance to play right then and there. So imagine my delight Christmas morning when I opened Skyward Sword. Was it worth the wait?

ReviewRayman Origins

March 15, 2012
Insanely fun and will entertain for hours
by: Dervish888 available on: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3

If you have been a gamer since the mid ’90s, you know who and what Rayman is all about. However, Rayman has been on a bit of a sabbatical of late. We have seen somewhat recent titles such as Rayman Raving Rabbids, but the game is as far from being a Rayman game as it possibly can be. Rayman Raving Rabbids is a good game in its own right, but this isn’t what I intend to review. For now at least.

ReviewSuper Mario Galaxy

December 31, 2011
It’s how I nearly fell ...
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii
Chances are, you’ve probably heard of Pavlov. He was not a psychologist; he was a physiologist and did research with dogs. He had a laboratory, and he measured how much a dog salivated before being fed and after the food was presented. While this was a pretty basic experiment, he forgot one variable: The door to his lab had a bell. Eventually, the dogs associated the bell with being fed. Imagine his surprise, coming into work one day and finding dogs salivating for no apparent reason. So what does this have to do with videogames? In many ways, games are set up to be rewarding and to engage the senses. Now throw in a recognizable developer and publisher. What happens? People get excited and anticipate the possibilities of what could happen in any number of scenarios. This is what I had in mind when writing my review of Super Mario Galaxy.

PreviewWinter Stars

October 2, 2011
Get moving with winter sports game
by: Xenocipher available on: Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 3

As the weather starts to turn cooler as we approach autumn, many athletically inclined people start thinking of sports played in ice and snow instead of sports played in the water or grass. It can also be said the season for winter sports videogames is coming up, too. Enter Winter Stars. Developed by 49Games and to be released by publisher Deep Silver, Winter Stars is a motion-controlled game for the Xbox 360 Kinect, PlayStation Move and Wii and the Balance Board. In other words, couch cushion-gamers need not apply!

ReviewKirby's Epic Yarn

September 24, 2011
Arts and crafts feel equals awesomeness
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

I’ve been a huge fan of Kirby since my childhood. I remember the old television commercial that painted the original game as a bit grosser than it actually plays. It was an accessible game and one I had completed several times. Thus, it was with great happiness that I picked up a copy of Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii.

ReviewDonkey Kong Country Returns

August 19, 2011
An amazing game with lots of play
by: TreavorClark available on: Nintendo Wii

When you think of Nintendo, one man usually comes to mind: a chubby little plumber named Mario. Mario has become the stamp for what Nintendo is, but Mario wasn’t the original stamp for Nintendo. No, that actually goes to a barrel-throwing ape named Donkey Kong. Yes, Mario first made his appearance with Donkey Kong, but back then, he was just called “Jump Man.” But when Nintendo went from arcade to home console, Donkey Kong slowly became a lost legend as Super Mario took over with all the fame.

ReviewNew Super Mario Bros. Wii

August 2, 2011
Great concept not properly optimized for multiplayer
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

Mario is a staple of gaming; there is no denying it. He’s done it all and seems at home in almost all environments, though those with a 2-D view feel the most natural. There’s no need to make certain the camera is in the right place, no uncertainty and a nice overview of it all. So what if multiplayer was added to the traditional playing mix? Then you would get the New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and it is a great single-player game but a horrid multiplayer game. The latter is a bit harder to explain, so let’s start with the basics.

PreviewReal Heroes: Firefighter

July 3, 2011
Stop, drop and roll
by: Ophelea available on: Nintendo Wii
I’ve yet to meet a little boy who didn’t want to be a “fireman” at some point in his youth. I don’t know if it’s the equipment, the fires or the trucks. Maybe it’s all of the above. Most boys (except one of my cousins) seem to grow out of it by adulthood; I don’t know if it’s the heavy equipment, the dangerous fires or the lumbering trucks. Again, it could be all of the above. Perhaps it’s the long hours. Real Heroes: Firefighter is a stunningly well-produced, educational and surprisingly fun title that lets any little (or big) boy (or girl) experience the cool tools, raging fires and big trucks from the safety of home.

First LookWii U

June 19, 2011
Console to come with touchscreen controller
by: Rinjo @ E3 available on: Nintendo Wii

Nintendo announces the Wii U, which is a Wii too, or two, for you. And you and you and you and you. That said, one of the catchiest things about the Wii U, is the interesting controller. Although the controller looks clunky, it actually feels quite comfortable in your hands.

ReviewTrauma Center: Second Opinion

May 8, 2011
How many diagnoses do you really need?
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

I hate medical tests. Health class wasn’t just boring for me back in high school, it made no sense! The interesting little tidbits that I latched onto were never, ever, on the tests. What’s a femur? Don’t the biceps belong in the leg area? What about the location of the ribs? Don’t those belong on a cow or something? How does one pass the necessary classes when it is a painful experience? I don’t know how I passed, but I did. Although I don’t think Trauma Center: Second Opinion would have made my life any easier, it certainly would have made learning everything a lot more interesting.

ReviewMadden NFL 11

May 4, 2011
Football franchise is back on track
by: BlueMark available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2

I have to say that after the previous installments, the Madden franchise is back on track. I have every single (yes EVERY) Madden game to date, dating all the way back to the Apple II series — I have a nostalgia problem!

ReviewFinal Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers

April 25, 2011
Crystal of all trades ... master of none
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

Almost two years, there were commercials for the latest Final Fantasy game on the Wii: Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers. Peppered with rave reviews from mainstream magazines, the commercial showed the beautiful game in action. However, something didn’t feel right to me, and I let it fall off my radar until a few weeks ago. After playing the game for a while now, my initial impressions were not only spot on but incorrect as well.

ReviewGods vs. Humans

March 20, 2011
Deity-size fun fit for a human
by: josephsmits available on: PC, Nintendo Wii

Whimsical. That’s the word that keeps buzzing around my head when I look to describe Gods vs. Humans. It’s similar to other games I’ve played but, at the same time, holds its own uniqueness, its own quirkiness that, to me, sets it apart and makes it both exciting and fun. You start each level in the guise of a deity within a certain era of human civilization. Of course, with a name like Gods vs. Humans, there’s got to be a little bit of conflict between the two aforementioned groups of beings, yes? If you said yes, which I’m pretty sure you did, then you’re right.

ReviewEpic Mickey

March 5, 2011
Blasts from the past Disney fun
by: TreavorClark available on: Nintendo Wii

Do you remember those short cartoons back in the day? Some played before your movie, or some played during commercials on Disney. Even Warner Brothers had them with the Looney Toons; they were timeless and carried over into my generation for a while. What happened to them, where did they go and why are they pushed away for such bland cartoons nowadays, even though Mickey Mouse still very much exists as an icon? If you are like me and miss those classic cartoons and enjoy video games, then I have the game for you: Epic Mickey.

ReviewTom Clancy’s Ghost Recon

February 2, 2011
Fun co-op in this shooter
by: BlueMark available on: Nintendo Wii

I do not think there is a gamer alive (above the age of 18) that has not heard of or seen the name Tom Clancy. If you have not heard of him, then go to your local game store and browse around, because eventually, you will see the name across a few titles. One thing I have always known Tom Clancy for is, of course, Ghost Recon.

ReviewGoldenEye 007

January 29, 2011
Classic Bond game reborn
by: BlueMark available on: Nintendo Wii

Do you remember those times sitting at home on a snow day, rocking it out on GoldenEye 007 for the Nintendo 64? I can honestly say I am not the only one who remembers these types of days. You would call over a few friends, blow into the game cartridge and fire up a game of multiplayer.

ReviewFragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

January 18, 2011
More soul than Aretha Franklin’s voice
by: Psychphan available on: Nintendo Wii

What is the human condition? What does it mean to have a “soul?” How do we fill this hole inside each and every one of us? These questions are existential in nature and ones we typically do not care to approach or adequately solve. It’s scary. Who really wants to deal with these questions and many more like them on a daily basis? There is one game that is braving those questions: Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon.

ReviewMonster Jam: Path of Destruction

January 11, 2011
Fun with big trucks and crushing things
by: BlueMark available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

Do you love trucks?

Do you love BIG trucks?

Do you love BIG engines?

Do you love to crush things?

If so, Monster Jam: Path of Destruction is for you!

ReviewRock Band 3

December 22, 2010
Another great way to rock out with friends
by: iJanda available on: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii

Rock Band 3 is the newest installment in the “rock star simulation” genre — for this review, there will be an assumption the reader has either played or experienced or has a passing familiarity with this genre of game. The buzz leading up to the release of Rock Band 3 was that this game would be taking leaps forward, blurring the lines in a transition from simply playing a game to actually playing in a band. So, did it succeed?

ReviewSonic Colors

December 11, 2010
The Sonic game we’ve been waiting for
by: TreavorClark available on: Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS

Many years ago, mascot rivalry was a huge deal. Everyone was on the mascot bandwagon, but no one seemed to be able to overcome the looming tower named Mario. In 1991, Sega brought a brash blue hedgehog with an attitude to the table, and Mario finally got a run for his money. The competition never looked more aggressive. I took my side back then. I didn’t hate Mario, but Sonic was just all the edge and speed a little one could ask for. So if you told me back then that in 2010 the new Sonic game, Sonic Colors would be a Nintendo-exclusive, that may have upset me greatly.