Crush (PSP) – Review

Crush - CoverCrush, developed by Zoë Mode and distributed by Sega, is a platform puzzler for the Playstation Portable, and may be one of the most unique, challenging, and playable games for the system in a long time.   The game features the ability to “crush” a 3D level down into a 2D platformer, along the lines of Super Paper Mario but with many different elements and tactics that can be used.  It is not easy, but nor is it difficult nor unforgiving, and really makes for a great puzzle game for the PSP.

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Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 (NDS, Import) – Review

Ouendan 2 - CoverWith the success of Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan!  in both the Japanese market as well as an import title to English parts of the world, iNIS, the developer of the game, worked with Nintendo to bring Elite Beat Agents to the Western world based on the same gameplay and approach.  It comes as no surprise then that iNIS expanded upon the improvements made in Elite Beat Agents and applied those to the sequel to Ouendan, called Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Damashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 (henceforth referred to as Ouendan 2).  The game is just as fun as both predecessors, a notch more difficult, and definitely shows the the series still has good legs despite the rather simple concept.

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Lumines II (PSP) – Review

Lumines II - CoverWith the success of Lumines as a launch title for the PSP last year, it was no surpise to see a follow up to the game, though surprisingly with the game out for XBox Live and soon for the PS3, it may seem a bit much Lumines overkill. Particularly with the fact that the core gameplay hasn’t changed, the only direction that Lumines can be taken is to add more “skins” and visual improves to the game. For the most part, that’s what Lumines II, developed by Q? Entertainment and distributed by Buena Vista Games, for the PSP offers; old skins have been included and redone, but the game features a lot more skins as well as licensed music from a variety of modern artists. Unfortunately, while the core game is still good, it doesn’t have the freshness that the first game had, and the inclusion of sort artists, over others, feels more like a way to push the music as opposed to selecting the best music for the game.

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Grim Grimoire (PS2) – Initial Impressions

Just a note that this is slightly spoilerish, though if you’ve read any pre-press literature for the game, it’s not revealing anything new.

The game is done in a very similar graphics style as Odin Sphere including what appears to be the same artist, but also the same use of 2D “living” art, and the like.  It is definitely up there among the pretty games.

The game as far as I’ve gotten is a simplified RTS.  There’s resource gathering (using elves to mine mana), offensive units, and more.  So far, I’m still in the “training” portion of the game where each unit is introduced, but so far nothing terribly hard.

What I’m waiting to see is how the time loop comes into play.  Your character, after 5 days, will be brought back to day 1, and will try to prevent events from happening a certain way, but I don’t know if you make choices or gameplay decisions that affect the direction of this plot.  I’m really hoping for something like a Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask type experience where, as you play, you learn what you need to and when you need to be at places to stop events, but in this game, the time resolution is by “days”, each day comprising a bit of story/plot and then an RTS battle, so I don’t necessarily see how that will play out.   I’m going to try to at least work through one loop today to see if it’s just a linear plot or if there’s more flexibility given what the player does. If Odin Sphere is any indication, there’s more than just a linear plot involved, but we’ll see.

Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree (Wii) – Review

Wii Degree - CoverWhen the Nintendo DS gained both Brain Age and Big Brain Academy last year as alternative games – ones that aimed to improve the player’s mind, it launched numerous copies and sequels. It comes as no surprise that with the unique Wii control, such games could easily be taken onto the Wii. Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, created and published by Nintendo, is just that; while it compromises different activities as its DS predecessor, the aim of the goal is pretty much the same. The game does provide some unique multiplayer modes that allow you to virtually play against friends, but for the most part, the game feels much like a rehash of the DS version without too much focus on making the game a more unique Wii experience.

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