LocoRoco 2 (PSP) – Review

cover LocoRoco 2 is the sequel to the popular LocoRoco game, does exactly what a sequel should do – it provides the same fun, if somewhat simple, gameplay with a few added twists which don’t detract from the game’s core entertainment value, keeping the strong presentation in graphics and music that also made the game what it is.  Studio Japan’s put out another great game that works perfectly on the PSP and should be a part of any PSP owner’s collection.

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Crush (PSP) – Initial Impressions

The concept behind crush is very very similar to that from the recent Super Paper Mario, but I have a feeling the market of people that own a Wii and own a PSP is rather slim.  But still…

The story’s a little weird to start, basically an insomniac using a virtual reality device to try to cure him.  Each 3D level is a small platforming around with colored marbles about.  To open the exit of the level, the player needs to collect a certain number of marbles, and then make it to the  exit.  There are also special bonus items one can collect.  In this fashion, the game’s similar to other puzzle-action PSP titles like Gripshift.

The feature of this game is that you can have the player “stomp” to flatten whatever view you are looking in from 3D into 2D.  The views are fixed to top down and the four directions parallel to the ground.  When you do this, you end up either as a simple top-down maze (if starting from the top view) or a 2D platformer from any of the sides.  This causes platforms that may be separated by a great distance in 3D to be a step away in 2D.  Some blocks are impassible, and your stomp will be canceled if it leaves you in a precarious position.  There’s monsters that roam some of the levels that a proper stomp will crush them.  Unstomping can result in you being on a platform you could have never been on in 3D mode, so this allows you to get the necessary marbles to get the exit opened.  Unlike SPM, you can spend an indefinite amount of time in either mode without damage, which is good for collecting all the extra goodies that are available.

So far, through the tutorial and first handful of levels, there’s nothing impossible, though I think I’m still learning the “rules” of the game and most of the steps I take are by trial  and error.   But compared to some of the other puzzle games, this one seems to offer the first unique variation on the theme, and with Super Paper Mario still fresh, it’s easy to think on how the puzzles work here.

Super Paper Mario (Wii) – Review

Super Paper Mario - CoverSuper Paper Mario published by Intelligent Systems and distributed by Nintendo, is an effort to combine classic 2D platforming gameplay with RGP elements from the past Paper Mario series, with a few additional twists to make the game interesting. While overall the game is very good, those coming into the game expected to find platforming-type gameplay as from New Super Mario Bros. will likely be disappointed due to how tedious and disjointed it ends up being. Regardless, the game is still a top-notch title, and continues the excellent Paper Mario series quite well.

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God of War 2 (PS2) – Review

God of War 2 - CoverGod of War, developed and produced by SCEA, made a large impression on the gaming community when it came out 2 years ago (nearly to date), bringing life back into the stale genre of combat action games. With its success, a sequel was no surprise, but while the same developers could have stayed the course, they have instead started with a much more epic story and quest, and tweaked the gameplay just so in parts to make the sequel God of War 2 a much more impressive title, and maybe one of the top games for the PS2.

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Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (PSP) – Review

Size Matters Cover“Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters” is the 5th game in the popular shooter/platformer series, though while the previous entries were created by Insomniac Games, this installment comes from High Impact Games, which does include a number of former Insomniac people, and is also the first to appear on the Playstation Portable. While the game has every element of a Ratchet and Clank game, there’s just something out-of-place with it due to how the elements are combined that make this title definitely lacking from it’s previous namesakes.

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Ratchet and Clank: Size Matters (PSP) – Initial Impressions

So far, so good – there’s always worries in taking a game that was built for the Dualshock and making it into a PSP.  ‘Daxter’ did a good job of this, and I’m glad to say that R&C has made the transition to PSP as well.  The controls allow you to move with the analog nub or the dpad (as you see it), the other control being strafing.  You can also set the camera to be dynamic and thus remove the usual need for the second analog stick.  Everything else seems to be standard for the game, save for a twist in dealing with jumping issues.

All the usual elements are there are well, so despite not being a Insomniac title, it looks like it will be good.

Kirby Squeak Squad (NDS) – Review

Kirby Squeak Squad - CoverWhile the previous Kirby game for the DS was an excellent outing for the system, it did vary significantly from its predecessors in the gameplay style, relying more on the stylus than a standard platforming system. On the other hand, the latest reinvention of Kirby for the DS, Kirby Squeak Squad, produced by HAL Laboratories and distributed by Nintendo, is a return to a standard 2D platformer with a few tricks added in to use the DS touch screen effectively. While the game is very true to it’s roots, it unfortunately lacks a challenge for most experienced gamers and may be over with before the fun really sets in. Continue reading

Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin (NDS) – Review

Portrait of Ruin CoverA continuation on the long-lasted Castlevania series from Komani, Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin keeps most of the same gameplay as it’s previous 2D side-scrolling predecessors, adding a partnering mode previously seen as an unlockable version from Dawn of Sorrow and the use of Quests to give bonuses to the players. The game comes off quite well polished and is definitely another hit for the DS. Continue reading

Yoshi’s Island DS – ~5hr

So far most of the game is good, classic nod back to the original Yoshi’s.

However, I just hit a level mid-4th  world that features ice floors (so you slip easily), narrow ledges over bottomless pits, and worse, bouncing balls that can hit and knock you back that bounce uncontrollably about the stage.

I lost 35 lives on this level.  How incredibly insane.  Two of three of these at a time is ok, but all 3 together really make this part really poorly designed for a Ninento platformer.   Everything else about this game is great, but this one level ticks me off.

Kirby: Squeak Squad (NDS) – Initial Impressions

Squeak Squad is not a followup to Canvas Curse (in terms of gameplay), but is very much closer to the standard Kirby platformer games, updated to use some DS tricks compariable to New Super Mario Bros or Super Princess Peach.  The standard controls are normal (sucking up enemies to gain power, etc.), but you can collect up 5 items, which include treasures and special bubbles that store health or powers that can be released by touching their icons on the bottom screen, or can in some cases be combined with other stored items to make more powerful ones.  Treasure chests (which can be stolen by the foe Squeak Squad) contain the numerous unlockables for the game.

So far, so good.