3DS

TheatRhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix
Release Date: September 19, 2014
Score: 9.2/10

Theatrhythm_Final_Fantasy_Curtain_Call_US_coverCurtain Call is the TheatRhythm game that the first should have been!
This is the second version of TheatRhythm to hit our shelves and comes jam packed full of goodies. Not to say the first wasn’t good, on the contrary it’s great! I played it for 60+ hrs and every now and than I would still pick up and have a quick blast.

My gaming background covers 90% of the Final Fantasy games released.  I own at least 1 version of every numbered series and have completed nearly every one at least once.  One of the aspects I absolutely love about the series is the music within the games. I don’t just love the music I have bought some of the official and LE soundtracks and have watched Distant Worlds at the London Albert Hall.

Taking this in mind you can see why this would be an entertaining game for me.
The game is much like the first but with a hell of a lot more tracks, 221 to be exact!. The layout of the tracks have been improved and it’s now easier to navigate through tracks, you can also place a heart against your favorite tracks and than sort through that way.  A Co-Op mode has also been added however I’ll come back to that a little later. Airship sections have been added into the field music which are okay but not as good as the normal Field levels.

The game flows a lot better than the first however issues still remain.
On ultimate difficulty I found that sometimes the touch screen doesn’t pick up your taps or strokes, this maybe due to the speed and sensitivity, it’s an improvement on the first game but seems to sometimes still happen. The other issue is with the EMS, the sections you tap does not seem to be in sync with the music at all.

theatrhythmcurtailcallheaderThe game really is just a tap and swipe in time with the music game along to Final Fantasy music but boy is it addictive!

The Co-Op is a nice addition.  It does seem to take a while to load up and find an opponent but the battle offers a different style of play with the ability to dish out status effects on your opponent which disorientates them by speeding up the symbols or blanking them out completely but while you are dishing them out so is your opponent so watch out!

The three difficultly levels are open from the start, offering you a chance to chose between Basic, Expert or Ultimate. The step up in difficulty between them are quite big so you may want to watch yourself however I find the once you have played a few of the tracks on Ultimate it’s the only way to play!

Few other mentions
– The RM is no longer capped at 99999 as I currently stand at 171248rm
– if you don’t feel you have enough tracks there are 50 more for you to download through DLC and a few more characters too! This is more justified over the first game as you have over 200 tracks built into the game already.
– 65 Characters to unlock and play as.  Once you hit level 99 you can reset them and start again
– Tracks of the day! there will be 5 Tracks of the day to chose.  These give you small bonuses

The Quest medleys are separated into 4 sections including Short, Medium, Long and Inherited.  These are sections where you travel along a path playing random field or battle tracks to progress.  At the end you have a boss who will drop items or crystals to unlock new characters.  This is a good way to play new tracks but once completed and the next one is unlocked I found the difficulty spiked very quickly.  Not an issue for me but may be to difficult for some.

All in all over 80hrs of happy gaming and I still go back for more.  Personally this type of pick up and play game never gets boring.  You will find yourself humming along to tracks, hording items you will never need and sometimes get frustrated but I promise you if you are a fan of Final Fantasy and you have a 3DS this is a must buy!

Enjoy

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3DS

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Format Played:  3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Nintendo
Release Date: November 22, 2013
Score: 8.7/10

The_Legend_of_Zelda_A_Link_Between_Worlds_NA_coverI loved A Link to the Past on the SNES! The music was catchy, the world was immersive and the dungeons provided some thought and skill to get through as well as a dark storyline.
A Link between Worlds feels very much familiar which is no bad thing, having the ability to hire every weapon from the start of the game lets you chose your own path and also stops you having to see something and remember it’s there until you have that certain item or weapon to achieve it.  My only issue with the game is it’s too easy! just under 20hrs of gameplay I managed to collect everything and die! um 0 times! not one death, at first when it popped up and told me I was feeling good about myself and only once i thought about it I was a little saddened by the lack of challenge the game provided.  In games like Zelda there should be puzzles that make you stop and think about it! challenging area’s that make you do it differently when you fail! I think even kids need some sort of challenge in a game otherwise how will you learn or get that sense of achievement?

Something new that the game brings is the ability to turn into a painting on the wall, this opens up more possibility for puzzles but I don’t think Nintendo used it’s full potential which is a shame.  Having said all that the story is great, the game can be picked up and played by absolutly anyone and you don’t even need to have played any other Zelda game in the series.

Recommended to all! fun and short with hours of entertainment I wasn’t bored once!

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3DS

Pokémon Y

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo, The Pokémon Company
Developer(s): Game Freak
Release Date: October 12, 2013
Score: 8.5/10

PokemonY_3DS_boxartHaving never completed any Pokémon game in the series and not having played one for quite a while I decided to give the latest version a try. Gamefreak finally decided to put more effort into updating what can only be described as the same style game since the Gameboy days I decided I too would also make the effort.
Joking aside the game actually looks beautiful and for the first time it feels like a next gen Pokémon title, something that was missing from previous games.  I have always enjoyed the series but could never tell you why I have never ever finished a single one.  Sure it does essentially feel like you keep playing the same game with different characters and added Pokémon from the last one but there is something about the series which makes you enjoy the experience.

I don’t have a lot of bad points to bring up apart from the fact the 3D isn’t always on, something I find highly irregular for a big Nintendo based title.  It’s not that I used the 3DS much anyway but I am sure some people do and I cannot understand the reasoning behind only having 3D in certain sections of the game.

The game controls are pretty much the same, the battle system also hasn’t really involved much either but the main difference really is the graphics and I can’t stress how much better this looks to previous titles.
The story is ok, not great but enjoyable, hell, I even made it to the end and captured the legendary Pokémon, something I have failed to reach in previous games, although having said that the Legendary Pokémon did seem a little too easy to obtain.  In fact the game as a whole is pretty easy and I rarely faced any sort of challenge along my journey.  I know this game is aimed at younger gamers but come on! wouldn’t a difficulty option hurt?  I mean a lot of people growing up with Pokémon games would now be in their 20’s and 30’s!

The moto that has always stood behind the Pokémon series “gotta catch them all” has long since departed as I felt no need to collect every Pokémon, heck half of the ones I did capture I never used anyway.  I just found my favourite 6 and stood with them to the bitter end.
Hmm said I wouldn’t find bad points but I seem to be finding more as I write this! Oh well I might as well continue. I felt there were too many abilities and items being thrown at you (didn’t use half of them), the abilities like Cut and Strength are back forcing you to use them to gain extra items (you probably won’t use), however this time you can’t create a utility Pokémon to dump all abilities on,  you are forced to use different Pokémon if you want to use them.  On top of that you are unable to delete the ability once you give it to that Pokémon.  For example if I wanted to fast travel the world map I had to use the only flying Pokémon in my party which happened to be the legendary one, Um no thanks, I’ll walk!
pokemon-x-and-y-yveltal-screenshot
These are all little issues I had with the game. As I previously said this is the first Pokémon game I have stuck with until the end and I found myself playing for long periods at a time, on the small sized 3DS which cramps my hands when playing for long periods (anyone wanting to buy me a 3DS XL Pokemon Red I would be grateful).

So in summary, looks great, familiar gameplay and story, lack of 3D for those who use it and also something I failed to mention was the music was catchy and enjoyable.

If you are a fan of the series this is a welcome familiar addition, if this is your first Pokémon game, this is an enjoyable pick up and play game, even if there is a coffee shop around every corner!

3DS

Luigi’s Mansion 2: Dark Moon

Format Played: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher(s): Nintendo
Developer(s): Next Level Games
Release Date: March 28, 2013
Score: 8.5/10

Luigi's_Mansion_Dark_Moon_(Boxart)Loved the original game on the GameCube as it was different to all the other Mario games out there and I wondered why it never got a sequel until now.  I don’t tend to play games through in 3D but always flick it on now and then just to check it out and it does look pretty good compared to some other 3DS games I have played but personal preference it’s not for me.

The game is essentially the same mechanics as the first Luigi’s Mansion.  Anyone who has recently gone back and played the original will notice that there has been a huge leap forward with the look of the game (not even including the extra 3D element).    The controls remain the same, see a ghost flash them with your torch then suck theme up until their number depletes to 0.  Yet this never seems to get boring through the game.  The ghosts later become a bit more of a challenge but not by much.

The little touches are what make this game, The Gameboy Color Luigi uses to contact the Professor is now a DS, Luigi still hums along with the music which always tickles me and I love the comedy of the ghosts themselves, very enjoyable.

I don’t really have anything bad to say about this game although I would have liked more of a variation in ghosts like the original.
The bosses are all fun to play and they all have to be tackled in different ways, some of which may take a little time to figure out.

Other points to note = the game seems longer than the original; however I did aim to finish everything which meant collecting all hidden Gems and Boos which I must add didn’t seem to reward you much for doing so and because I spent ages looking for things I got more annoyed when I did happen to die as you have to restart the whole level again including revisiting Boo’s and collected Gems.

I can see Dark Moon being a hit for kids and adults alike, there Is something for everyone, and the simplicity of the game really does help that.  It’s a fantastic game to add to handheld system and even the Mario games.
Luigis-Mansion-Dark-Moon-Preview-2

3DS

Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

Format Played: 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Square Enix 1st Production Department
Release Date: July 20, 2012
Score: 8.9/10

KH3D_Euro_CoverI love the Kingdom Heart series, two of my favorite things stuck into one game, Final Fantasy and Disney.  However the series is hardly fan friendly as the games span over multiple consoles so not everyone can keep up with the complete story line.  I remember one of my friends complained about the start of KH2 on the PlayStation, to him and I assure you others the start made no sense unless you happen to have played Chain of Memory on the Gameboy.  This is frustrating to any fan who doesn’t own all consoles, now the KH games span across the PS2, Gameboy advance, PSP, DS and 3DS.  The HD collection coming out in September will give PS3 owners a chance to play the original and the remake of Chain of Memory which was release on the PS2 in Japan but not here, I also believe there is the story cut scenes remade in HD of 358 Days but not the game itself.

Kingdom Hearts DDD or previously titled Kingdom Hearts 3D does a great job explaining everything that has happened so far with short cut scenes and texted Chronicle section throughout the game.  The story is set after KH2 and is supposed to link in the next numbered game which has been announced on the Xbox One and PS4.

Graphics are very good for a handheld game, on a par with Birth by Sleep on the PSP, maybe even slightly better, the 3D looks pretty good too but if you play like me you would only use it to see what it looks like then revert back to 2D as keeping your eyes focused while fighting in 3D can be a little tricky.

In the game you take control of both Riku and Sora who undergo the Mark of Mastery exam in order to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters after the destruction of Ansem and Xemns.  Both characters are separated into a dream world however these worlds where once destroyed by the heartless and now have been restored in a state of deep sleep.  When Riku and Sora enter these worlds they cannot see each other yet somehow still manage to have an effect on each other’s worlds with their actions.  Like previous games of the series you will travel to Disney worlds, Tron from KH2 is back but has updated itself to the latest film Legacy; Pinocchio is also back from KH1 however not confined to Monstro himself.  New Worlds include the 3 Musketeers, The Hunchback of Notre Dame & Fantasia.  Other Square-Enix worlds return including Radiant Garden, Traverse Town and another I won’t mention.
As someone who has played all the games (Apart from Re Coded) I can appreciate the little hints and follow on stories from previous games which I feel maybe lost on those who are new to the series.

Combat is taken from Birth by Sleep and why not as it’s probably the strongest battle system out of the lot.  This being said you are also accompanied by up to 3 Dream Eaters as companions, like Donald and Goofy these fight by your side but you do not control them. You start with one but can gain other throughout the game through recipes.  These friendly dream eaters have mini games you can play to level them up, feed them and pet them, it was very Nintendogs for me and I never really bothered with it.  I kept one Dream Eater with me and never bothered collecting anymore.  It was an added extra I didn’t need.  Maybe why I found the end so hard!
Also added in each world was a command that came up on the touch pad, once swipe down with your finger (because who else keeps the stylist in their hand) and you enter a short mini game that helps you in combat, this at times was quite tricky to move your finger/thumb from the analogue stick or buttons quickly enough to catch but was a nice addition none the less.
I love the BBS combat system however my only flaw with it and every Kingdom Heart game is healing.  Potions aside, spells like Cure, Cura etc take some time to perform, if you haven’t selected it as a shortcut you have to find it with the D-Pad and then use it, if you are hit while casting you lose that turn and have to wait while the bar refills.  This really becomes an issue with harder boss fights who don’t give you time to mess around trying to find a cure spell and use it before being hit and can really become a major frustration.
This is my only major issue with the game and although it does add to the challenge of timing everything I don’t feel this is the best way to make the game harder.
The other issue I had was part of the games story which had the characters falling asleep.  This is how you switch between characters, Sora or Riku will fall asleep after a certain amount of game time and then you will resume where the other character left off, you can delay the time before hand and most of the time it isn’t as bad as you get a heads up before the switch.  The time where this becomes an issue is during boss battles, because if you haven’t beaten that boss before the timer has run out when you resume playing said character you have to start all over again!

1346951296KH3D Neku

The game really does focus on Riku more than Sora which is a little strange as Sora has been in the spotlight in most of the KH games.  Riku has the harder and better boss battles and is actually more fun to play.  I find this very strange if they will be using Sora as the star in KH3.

Music is what you expect from Disney and Square-Enix, beautiful with familiar sounds, the difficulty is a challenge throughout but more so near the end.  There is a hidden boss which again is an extra challenge is there if you want it.

All in all a welcome addition to the series with some minor flaws.

3DS

Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy

Format Played: Nintendo 3DS
Publisher(s): Square Enix
Developer(s): Indies zero
Release Date: July 6, 2012
Rating: PEGI 12
Score: 8.8/10

If I was to sum up Theatrhythm in one work it would be Addictive!  Mainly aimed at Final Fantasy fans Indies Zero have taken the Elite Beat Agents idea and put a Final Fantasy spin on it.  In a nut shell Theatrhythm plays music from Final Fantasy 1-13 across three types of levels designs against three difficulty settings, throughout the whole game which you will be tapping and swiping the screen in time with the music.

What keeps you and everyone else interested apart from the music is how much there is to unlock.  You start the game with a handful of characters, music and equipment but as you play you will unlock and unlock new items, characters, extra’s and levels all the time which is what grabbed my attention.  Aside from loving the music from Final Fantasy I wanted to unlock every character, beat every level with a perfect or near enough score and level up each character to the maximum 99.

Theatrhythm is split between three levels, they are as follows:

Field Music: By far the easiest of the three your chosen character will walk/run along a field, the distance he travels depends who his level/equipment and how well you preform.

Battle: In the style of the original Final Fantasy battle systems the music will come at you in 4 lines for each of your 4 chosen characters.  During this time you will be fighting enemies and a boss for each song.  How much damage you do again depends on level/equipment and how well you preform.

Event:  the lines will come at you in more of a spiral motion while a FMV cut scene plays in the background.

Once you have played for a while you will also unlock a Chaos mode which will feature the Field Music and Battle stage.  Here you will have to do your best in the field to get as far as you can to unlock bosses 2 or 3, if you fail to reach the marker you will face boss #1.  Then you will play the battle mode, reaching and beating the boss will unlock better items used to unlock new characters.

You are scored on everything, getting a better score is more a personal achievement and won’t really unlock anything more than completing the level will get you.  Scores range all the way up to SSS rank which involves hitting everything perfectly with no items equipped.

That game itself isn’t without its issues.  I found that if you missed a tap on a quicker harder mode sometimes the game will not register some of your next few taps as the game momentarily freezes and that seriously affects your score and health bar and it’s quite frustrating.

Theatrhythm is repetitive but in a very good way.  Fans of the music and games will welcome this title with open arms, the RPG element separates it from games like “Elite Beat Agents” or “Guitar Hero” and the unlockable extras like cards and FMV’s are an added bonus.

If you are a fan of the music from Final Fantasy and you have a 3DS this game is a must.  I have been playing for hours and have finally unlocked everything there is to do and I still want to play it.

One last thing there are some DLC which can be purchased at the Nintendo shop the first for a game on the 3DS.  The DLC for this game are extra songs come at a price which I felt is too step for what it is.

3DS

Super Mario 3D Land

Format Played: 3DS
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Nintendo
Release Date: November 18, 2011
Score: 88%

It’s a Mario game so I’ll keep this short and sweet.  At first I was disappointed about how quickly I was progressing through the levels and worlds managing to easily pick up the 3 star coins in each level and collecting lives quicker then the amount of levels I was completing.  There was doubt in my mind that I would finish the game within a couple of days but thankfully World 8 isn’t the end of the game.  The game does however get a bit more challenging but my only downside is the star coins! These coins are relatively easy to find and pick up with the exception of a couple in the whole game that actually gave me any issues to find.  The star coins you can collect seem to become pointless by the end of the game, they are used to progress and open up new levels but they are so easy to collect you should never have any issues.  Not only this but you can still keep collecting them after you finish the game but to what purpose I am not sure.

 

By the time you get to the real end of the game you will come across a few levels which will eat away at your lives as you slowly start making silly mistakes the more frustrated you get.  Luckily no doubt you will have over 100 at this point so there is no real threat to seeing that game over screen.

The game itself no matter how easy is very enjoyable to play and you will find yourself finding it hard to put down.  The controls are easy enough a novice could pick them up with no trouble and graphically looks impressive in both 2D and 3D.  I did however find myself turning off the 3D view during some levels as I found myself missing jumps because I wasn’t where I thought I was.

The other issue I have is with boss battles becoming to repetitive, I would rather they mixes it up a bit instead of having the same fights throughout the game.

This game is very enjoyable to play but anyone looking for a challenge will be slightly disappointed despite a couple of very challenging levels.  Anyone who enjoys Mario will love this game, it’s a brilliant addition to the Mario games and it brings newness to the series without losing that familiarity.