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In Between
In Between
Price: $2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars You will get feels, June 25, 2016
This review is from: In Between (App)
I never really imagined myself going wrong with an indie platformer that carries a narrative. They usually do a good job at keeping me engaged, and this one is no exception.

The first thing anybody can notice when looking at the game is how utterly gorgeous it is. This is a game that opts for the hand-painted look, and that kind of style just never ceases to amaze me! What’s especially appealing about the design is how there are plenty of artistic choices like the detailed background in the bedroom and how when you die, a piece of the wallpaper tears off to indicate where you died in the level. The silky-smooth 60 frames-per-second is always great as well.

The major part about this aspect that In Between wants you to acknowledge is its ability to tell a story. I kind of want to keep things vague for the review so of course I won’t go into spoiler territory or anything like that, but I will say this execution grabbed my attention pretty easily. The man the player plays as reveals early in the game that he has an unfortunate case of lung cancer, and throughout the game’s levels (which take place within the man’s mind), the story is conveyed via movie-like narration and visual depictions of events in the man’s life. It’s not exactly like Thomas Was Alone, where the story directly relates to the very structure of the gameplay itself, but there are subtle cues that complement the level layout, which does work in its own way I suppose. After all, I was constantly wondering where the story was going as I progressed; all I can say is you will feel bad for the protagonist, which is good because that means you will feel for this game, in more ways than one, but I’ll discuss more when we get to that point…

By “movie-like narration”, I mean you can hear that voice booming! It’s almost like I’m in a theater when I listen to the man’s voice, and I applaud that. This is a very atmospherically sound game, and as the visuals go hand-in-hand with the voice and the various emotional music pieces to convey this man’s struggles in life, it isn’t hard to get immersed.

Now here is the big part (aside from arguably story)! In Between is a puzzle-platformer where the player must shift gravity (wince this is his mind, it of course doesn’t have to be just like reality) to reach the end of each level. While I feel like the story isn’t 100% suited to a genre of this style, it is nevertheless a solid play.

There are a whopping sixty levels to go through in the game and each become increasingly challenging in their own special ways. For example, some levels will include red fiery orbs to represent the man’s anger, and naturally you must avoid touching them, and some other levels will be drenched in darkness to represent the man’s depression, and you must stay in the lighted areas as the levels toy around with them. And just about every level will feature spikes; you gotta love those. Oooooh yes indeedy……..

Before I start displaying my trauma, I would like to take note that the game is pretty smart with the way it utilizes its puzzle mechanics and the amount of things it throws in is a nicely varied lot. The game will pick on your brain aplenty, but if you’re a fan of puzzlers, then I’m sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy that. Just be sure to have a set of reflexes at hand as well………………………Oh boy.

This game doesn’t just test you to see how you can solve a puzzle. There are certainly times where they would also want to see how fast you can do a specific part or parts. And that is where I feel like screaming inside.

THIS GAME IS HAAAAARD!!!! Okay, maybe not “impossible” hard, but JEEZ!! This game REALLY wants to keep you on your toes, and while I do appreciate a good challenge, I think this game just goes OVERBOARD at times! There was this one level where I’m supposed to manipulate this cube via gravity changing while keeping myself away from being killed by doing that, and I had to bring it around to the other side of the level so it could press this button to activate the gate that the exit door is behind, and IT TOOK ME LOADS OF DEATHS TO BEAT. You’re seemingly expected to precisely aim the cube in particular ways to get it across and there are green areas that have their own gravitational pull. The freaking thing won’t move if it collides with spikes. Trust me when I say when you play this game, you will KNOW what I’m talking about. You will point at the screen and go “Yep, that’s what Ryan’s talking about”. And that definitely won’t be the only level you’ll have moments where you’d want to throw your controller.

Yet, in a weird way, the gameplay does have an addictive nature to it. Somehow, the need to press on even after dying a lot flows through, and it’s a way to show that the game indeed has the player’s attention and is molding it like Play-Doh.

I’m probably exaggerating too much about the difficulty, but it does seem surprisingly extreme for a game that wants to focus on its emotional plot. Regardless, I really did enjoy my time with this game (even if my rage might have been conveying otherwise), and I think it’s a very remarkable puzzle-platformer. For real, though: Be sure to have your reflexes at hand. And your emotions.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hero Portal Game
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Hero Portal Game
Offered by SD SUPPLIES
Price: $16.00
33 used & new from $9.78

2.0 out of 5 stars No Turtle Power here, June 17, 2016
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
When I was browsing in Target one day, I came across a couple game boxes that weren't on the same shelf as the rest of the video games in the lot. It is certainly because the games were apparently Plug 'n Play titles, something I didn't realize still existed at this point in time. There was one in the theme of DC heroes, while the other was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game. The screenshots made it seem like the game was in the same sort of vein as Konami's classic arcade games, but it was priced at a whopping $40 in the store. So I looked online on Amazon, saw it was being sold for $16 or less, and bought it off of there. Now you know why I never actually buy video games at Target.

Anyway, despite that Activision didn't make this game, I was disappointed to realize that this game was still pretty crappy. It falls right into that mentality of believing it follows the arcade gems without actually being anywhere as fun as them. As your favorite Turtle, Splinter, or Casey Jones, you play through six stages of beating up the same kinds of bad guys over and over again with little to no variety in between. This game is slightly better than the first TMNT game by Activision, but only because enemies don't take a million hits to kill, rather do they only mostly take like two or three. Everything else about this game still sucks, though.

While the levels do try having alternative paths and minigames, they are only there for the sake of having something else to do. You don't even move further into the level when you go through one or beat a minigame; you just head back out the way you came. The minigames themselves are poorly programmed, as well; for example, there are a few shooting gallery-style ones, but the hit detection for the bullet and bad guy collision is very clunky. Amusingly, the game blocks off a lot of these unless you buy a figurine of the character the game will allow to pass.

Yeah, this is a Plug 'n Play made to cash in on the Skylanders's popularizing the Toys-to-Life sort of game, but that sounds rather desperate to me. These aren't the kind of games that can be expanded on necessarily; it's a ROM chip in a little machine that can't be updated with external assets. Everything's pre-made in the game, so no more figurines can be made than the ones the game wants you to collect. And there's only six of them. The Turtles, Casey Jones, and Splinter.

Back to the game itself for a bit, the levels are so incompetent that even when it seems like they lead onto something, they either fail to deliver or don't bother delivering at all. What can be seen as possible level variety at first ends up being as abused as the constant placement of enemies that perform the exact same movements. And then there's the bosses, or should I say, BOSS. Shredder is the only boss in the game, and it's the worst Shredder fight I've ever played in a Turtles game.......and he's fought on the THIRD stage. That's halfway through the game! The last stage tries playing up that you may possibly fight Krang, but the actual fight is just a bunch more enemies to kill, and then.....the game just ends after that.

Yeaaaah best not to get this one.


Ice Climber
Ice Climber
21 used & new from $17.09

4.0 out of 5 stars Why is that bear wearing shades?, June 7, 2016
This review is from: Ice Climber (Video Game)
You know, it's funny. If Ice Climber was a game that was conceptualized today, it would have most likely just been some generic snowy mountain climbing simulator with realistic physics and graphics, without any sort of creative integrity in the mix. However, since this is a Nintendo-made NES game hailing from 1984, it's instead a colorful arcade-style platformer! And a cooperative one at that, meaning two players can play at the same time - a rarity for games of the era.

Much to its arcade charisma, the goal of the game is simply to climb up the mountain. As Popo (with the second player being Nana), you jump under floors to break them and hop through, scaling the mountain. Some enemies would get in the way, and others may repair the broken platforms to interfere with the climbing session. A hammer attack is enough to kill off some baddies, but things do become a tad complex when obstacles like birds and floors that slide you around come into the mix.

It all adds up to a fine little game, but I have a bone to pick with one aspect: The jumping control. If you've played as many Nintendo games as I have, you'll find the jumping to be surprisingly jarring in Ice Climber. It isn't as tight and fluent as the typical Mario or Kirby game, nor do you jump wide but not change direction like in the arcade Mario Bros. You can only influence your movement so much with Ice Climber's jump. Jumping straight up is no problem, of course, but Popo/Nana moves left and right very slowly, meaning the longest jumps one can make are probably one or two pixels across. It's nothing anyone can't get used to, but it is bound to screw up some jumps over the course of the average playthrough.


Mega Man Powered Up - Sony PSP
Mega Man Powered Up - Sony PSP
Offered by DealTavern
Price: $16.65
25 used & new from $6.70

4.0 out of 5 stars Not Powered Up all the way, but it'll do, May 27, 2016
Mega Man Powered Up is a bit of a curious release; it's a PSP-exclusive remake of the original NES Mega Man, which was then-recently re-released on sixth-gen TV consoles with nine other games in Mega Man Anniversary Collection (Come to think of it, this is reminding me of Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis on the Game Boy Advance......huh....). Even if you do end up playing the game itself, it's easy to see that its presentation, while freshly enhanced from its blocky roots, seems to cater towards kids, which is weird considering I doubt kids would be capable of taking on the intense Nintendo Hard difficulty that the franchise is known for.

But anyway, the game has a fair amount of modes for the player to check out. The New Style is obviously the highlight of the package, but die-hard fans may look forward to the Old Style mode, which is literally how the original Mega Man plays (and even has the same music), except the graphics are the modern ones. There's also a Challenge mode that features loads of little missions the player can take on (To think this concept got revisited 10 years later in Mega Man Legacy Collection), and even a whole level editing mode where people can make custom levels and share them online. Now that is cool! Lastly, there's a nice touch in which extra characters can be unlocked, including the very Robot Masters Mega Man has defeated.

So what does the New Style offer? Well, it's kind of a slight revision on what the original game set out to do, with notable changes being that there are two new levels taken up by Time Man and Oil Man, the two new Robot Masters, and usage of the PSP's wide screen ratio. Of course, being that this is a game for a new generation, this game just HAD to feature voice acting and modernize everything. The graphics are at least fairly colorful and cute, but the music sounds way too soft and bubbly for me to find it appealing. The voice acting is also on a different kind of bad than that of Mega Man 8's. Sure, 8's voice performances were awful, but they didn't have sappy in-game voiced lines before and after a boss battle!

All that said, this is still Mega Man (And unlike Sonic, it's a functional re-release). The levels are designed fairly well and hold up fine due to its deliberate enemy placement, variety and mechanics, and the run-and-gun platforming gameplay is still robust and fun to utilize. This is especially so when Mega Man defeats a Robot Master that is fought at the end of each level, as this means the player has the ability to use his power. The control appears to have a slightly different feel to them, but that may just be the aesthetics making it seem like that. What I do realize is that the game is much more beatable thanks to its choices of difficulty settings and conveniences like switching between weapons with the ease of the L and R buttons (although the traditional Pause+Pick option is there should you take it).

Nevertheless, I feel like I still prefer playing the NES Mega Man game. This is a solid attempt at remaking the game, don't get me wrong, but ironically there's something about the classic pixel graphic style that I find more charming. In fact, I still say the definitive way to go for experiencing the original Mega Man is on the Game Boy; sure, the levels are significantly changed for the handheld, but it's a much better game as a result since the levels are actually more fun, the unforgiving Yellow Devil boss doesn't appear at all, the music instrumentals are stronger, and it has a Password feature that the NES game lacks. But should you take the plunge for this PSP version, you may at least have a good time with it.


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - Xbox One
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - Xbox One
Price: $49.88
60 used & new from $23.99

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is some Turtle Power to be had yet!, May 27, 2016
I'm gonna say it right now - I hopped right onboard this TMNT game on account of Platinum Games having developed it. However, despite that, this new Ninja Turtles game does carry the Activision logo, and speaking from experience with their non-Call of Duty games, this could either be a pleasant surprise (aka Platinum's name reigning supreme) or an absolute crapfest (aka Activision meddling Platinum out of a good game as they usually do with devs). Thankfully, this game is actually the former.

So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is Activision's fourth game for the franchise, but the first one to be notable for actually trying to make an effort. While the main menus give off a low-budget feel, that matter becomes rectified by the well-presented cutscenes, which demonstrate the game's comic book styled graphics and adequate voice acting and animation. The plot is simple enough; Shredder and Krang team up to try and use outer space to invade the city and wipe it out, and of course it's up to the heroes in a half-shell, with April's guidance, to stop them. That aspect tends to go by the numbers, but it does get presented well enough, and it has its chuckleworthy moments (Well...as well as a couple cringey ones).

As can be expected from a game by Platinum, action-packed beat 'em up gameplay is key to Mutants in Manhattan's formula. The levels kinda sorta give off an open-world vibe, as places like Manhattan itself can be explored freely. However, the game really wants the player to focus on the missions. The entire adventure is mission-based, which range from killing an amount of enemies to preventing a tangible weapon from being used by them. The missions are kept at a solid pace for the most part, but there are some that I just wish were nullified or not in the game altogether; case in point is that of which the player has to disarm bombs. Don't worry, it's not like that water level in the NES TMNT game. But this game instead has you hold down the B button to disarm a bomb (Granted, enemies may try and fight the player to pose a challenge for this, but.....C'mon), which is a pace-breaker in comparison to anything else. Only a couple of the game's nine lengthy levels feature these missions, but again, I feel like they could've easily been something better.

On a slightly different note, the T Glass feature (which helps you see where your mission objective is located) seems nice and all, but I feel like it'd be cool if there was also a standard map radar in case I don't want to have to keep switching between regular graphics and the super-technical view.

When the action goes down, however, it goes DOWN. Sure, the game is oddly in 30 frames per second instead of the usual 60 that Platinum Games embrace(s), but boy does it feel like a mashup of oldschool arcade beat 'em ups and modern-day variety! Considering how many post-Konami TMNT games have been monotonous with the enemy variety, I was surprised to see that this game actually does HAVE a variety of baddies to kill, complete with their own ways of attacking. And the Turtles have a few options themselves - Each Turtle has different special moves he can pull off by holding the L Trigger and pressing a face button (and you can switch between Turtles via L Trigger and D-Pad) as well as attack combos executed by pressing X and/or Y buttons. While there are enemies that go down fairly quickly and reasonably through a combo or two, don't be shocked when the game decides to turn you into turtle soup.

This is actually a challenging game. It's not brutal by any means, but it does a decent job of keeping the player on his/her toes. The boss battles are probably what impressed me the most. They feel like bosses from an arcade game by Konami, brought into 3D. Their patterns are tricky and varied, but when you beat the crap out of them you feel like you're the MAN (or woman, depending)! Too bad you can't celebrate the victory with anyone unless you play online.

Alright, time to address some more negatives...
Easily the biggest problem with this game is the inability to play with friends on the same couch. No local multiplayer, online only, Final Desti-Wait, wrong game. But yeah, even though I don't mind playing single-player, I still find it dumbfounding that they took the time to create online servers for this game, yet for some reason the only way you're playing this locally is by yourself. Which is absolutely BS because this seems like it would've been an awesome time to spend with local friends! All four Turtles are in this adventure fighting TOGETHER after all. It all just seems like a big missed opportunity on Platinum's/Activision's part.

There's also all this talk about MiM's length, which is reported to be able to be beaten in three and a half hours or under. Personally, my first and only playthrough so far lasted 5 hours and 18 minutes, which is fair enough I suppose, right? I dunno, I'm not really the kind of guy that minds when a game is short. After all, I paid well over fifty bucks for a TMNT Turtles in Time cartridge, and that game can be played through in under an hour.

One thing that comes to mind for me is the sound design. Now, I am fond of the voice acting performances for this game, but when the Turtles end up dying, they can become the most annoying things at the moment. There is banter between them in various areas, but their deaths are when it's most blatant that there are voice clips that have a tendency to repeat, and it can be especially grating during boss battles when trying hard to survive and keep battling. At least there's an option to lower/mute the voice volume, but the attack sound effects seem like they need the voices present to complement the atmosphere. On another note, the music, while actually kind of sporting a catchy beat on certain levels, is certainly no TMNT arcade soundtrack.

Basically, what TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan is is a game not without flaws, but when you're in for the core adventure, it can actually be a lot of fun. I had a very good time playing through this game from start to finish, and if you're looking for a solid Turtles game (but aren't seeing multiplayer as a necessity) I say give this one a go. Those interested but not willing to spend $50 on a game like this can wait for the inevitable price drop that pretty much every Activision game goes through over the course of the initial or second year after release. For now, though, I'm glad to see I can finally count the amount of good games Activision released this decade with TWO hands instead of one from now on!


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - PlayStation 4
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - PlayStation 4
Price: $49.88
68 used & new from $21.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is some Turtle Power to be had yet!, May 26, 2016
I'm gonna say it right now - I hopped right onboard this TMNT game on account of Platinum Games having developed it. However, despite that, this new Ninja Turtles game does carry the Activision logo, and speaking from experience with their non-Call of Duty games, this could either be a pleasant surprise (aka Platinum's name reigning supreme) or an absolute crapfest (aka Activision meddling Platinum out of a good game as they usually do with devs). Thankfully, this game is actually the former.

So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is Activision's fourth game for the franchise, but the first one to be notable for actually trying to make an effort. While the main menus give off a low-budget feel, that matter becomes rectified by the well-presented cutscenes, which demonstrate the game's comic book styled graphics and adequate voice acting and animation. The plot is simple enough; Shredder and Krang team up to try and use outer space to invade the city and wipe it out, and of course it's up to the heroes in a half-shell, with April's guidance, to stop them. That aspect tends to go by the numbers, but it does get presented well enough, and it has its chuckleworthy moments (Well...as well as a couple cringey ones).

As can be expected from a game by Platinum, action-packed beat 'em up gameplay is key to Mutants in Manhattan's formula. The levels kinda sorta give off an open-world vibe, as places like Manhattan itself can be explored freely. However, the game really wants the player to focus on the missions. The entire adventure is mission-based, which range from killing an amount of enemies to preventing a tangible weapon from being used by them. The missions are kept at a solid pace for the most part, but there are some that I just wish were nullified or not in the game altogether; case in point is that of which the player has to disarm bombs. Don't worry, it's not like that water level in the NES TMNT game. But this game instead has you hold down the B button to disarm a bomb (Granted, enemies may try and fight the player to pose a challenge for this, but.....C'mon), which is a pace-breaker in comparison to anything else. Only a couple of the game's nine lengthy levels feature these missions, but again, I feel like they could've easily been something better.

On a slightly different note, the T Glass feature (which helps you see where your mission objective is located) seems nice and all, but I feel like it'd be cool if there was also a standard map radar in case I don't want to have to keep switching between regular graphics and the super-technical view.

When the action goes down, however, it goes DOWN. Sure, the game is oddly in 30 frames per second instead of the usual 60 that Platinum Games embrace(s), but boy does it feel like a mashup of oldschool arcade beat 'em ups and modern-day variety! Considering how many post-Konami TMNT games have been monotonous with the enemy variety, I was surprised to see that this game actually does HAVE a variety of baddies to kill, complete with their own ways of attacking. And the Turtles have a few options themselves - Each Turtle has different special moves he can pull off by holding the L Trigger and pressing a face button (and you can switch between Turtles via L Trigger and D-Pad) as well as attack combos executed by pressing X and/or Y buttons. While there are enemies that go down fairly quickly and reasonably through a combo or two, don't be shocked when the game decides to turn you into turtle soup.

This is actually a challenging game. It's not brutal by any means, but it does a decent job of keeping the player on his/her toes. The boss battles are probably what impressed me the most. They feel like bosses from an arcade game by Konami, brought into 3D. Their patterns are tricky and varied, but when you beat the crap out of them you feel like you're the MAN (or woman, depending)! Too bad you can't celebrate the victory with anyone unless you play online.

Alright, time to address some more negatives...
Easily the biggest problem with this game is the inability to play with friends on the same couch. No local multiplayer, online only, Final Desti-Wait, wrong game. But yeah, even though I don't mind playing single-player, I still find it dumbfounding that they took the time to create online servers for this game, yet for some reason the only way you're playing this locally is by yourself. Which is absolutely BS because this seems like it would've been an awesome time to spend with local friends! All four Turtles are in this adventure fighting TOGETHER after all. It all just seems like a big missed opportunity on Platinum's/Activision's part.

There's also all this talk about MiM's length, which is reported to be able to be beaten in three and a half hours or under. Personally, my first and only playthrough so far lasted 5 hours and 18 minutes, which is fair enough I suppose, right? I dunno, I'm not really the kind of guy that minds when a game is short. After all, I paid well over fifty bucks for a TMNT Turtles in Time cartridge, and that game can be played through in under an hour.

One thing that comes to mind for me is the sound design. Now, I am fond of the voice acting performances for this game, but when the Turtles end up dying, they can become the most annoying things at the moment. There is banter between them in various areas, but their deaths are when it's most blatant that there are voice clips that have a tendency to repeat, and it can be especially grating during boss battles when trying hard to survive and keep battling. At least there's an option to lower/mute the voice volume, but the attack sound effects seem like they need the voices present to complement the atmosphere. On another note, the music, while actually kind of sporting a catchy beat on certain levels, is certainly no TMNT arcade soundtrack.

Basically, what TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan is is a game not without flaws, but when you're in for the core adventure, it can actually be a lot of fun. I had a very good time playing through this game from start to finish, and if you're looking for a solid Turtles game (but aren't seeing multiplayer as a necessity) I say give this one a go. Those interested but not willing to spend $50 on a game like this can wait for the inevitable price drop that pretty much every Activision game goes through over the course of the initial or second year after release. For now, though, I'm glad to see I can finally count the amount of good games Activision released this decade with TWO hands instead of one from now on!
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 30, 2016 2:19 PM PDT


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - Xbox 360
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan - Xbox 360
Price: $39.88
47 used & new from $24.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There is some Turtle Power to embrace yet!, May 24, 2016
Jesus Christ! 11 years and the Xbox 360 library still has a little life left. Microsoft sure did a good job of making sure it was practically the 7th console gen's own Playstation 2 (whose library also spanned multiple gens). And wouldn't you know it, the last titles seem to be not just simple shovelware, but titles by actual renowned developers that apparently aren't done with the console yet, including the always-rad Platinum Games. However, despite that, this new Ninja Turtles game does carry the Activision logo, and speaking from experience with their non-Call of Duty games, this could either be a pleasant surprise (aka Platinum's name reigning supreme) or an absolute crapfest (aka Activision meddling Platinum out of a good game as they usually do with devs). Thankfully, this game is actually the former.

So Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutants in Manhattan is Activision's fourth game for the franchise, but the first one to be notable for actually trying to make an effort. While the main menus give off a low-budget feel, that matter becomes rectified by the well-presented cutscenes, which demonstrate the game's comic book styled graphics and adequate voice acting and animation. The plot is simple enough; Shredder and Krang team up to try and use outer space to invade the city and wipe it out, and of course it's up to the heroes in a half-shell, with April's guidance, to stop them. That aspect tends to go by the numbers, but it does get presented well enough, and it has its chuckleworthy moments (Well...as well as a couple cringey ones).

As can be expected from a game by Platinum, action-packed beat 'em up gameplay is key to Mutants in Manhattan's formula. The levels kinda sorta give off an open-world vibe, as places like Manhattan itself can be explored freely. However, the game really wants the player to focus on the missions. The entire adventure is mission-based, which range from killing an amount of enemies to preventing a tangible weapon from being used by them. The missions are kept at a solid pace for the most part, but there are some that I just wish were nullified or not in the game altogether; case in point is that of which the player has to disarm bombs. Don't worry, it's not like that water level in the NES TMNT game. But this game instead has you hold down the B button to disarm a bomb (Granted, enemies may try and fight the player to pose a challenge for this, but.....C'mon), which is a pace-breaker in comparison to anything else. Only a couple of the game's nine lengthy levels feature these missions, but again, I feel like they could've easily been something better.

On a slightly different note, the T Glass feature (which helps you see where your mission objective is located) seems nice and all, but I feel like it'd be cool if there was also a standard map radar in case I don't want to have to keep switching between regular graphics and the super-technical view.

When the action goes down, however, it goes DOWN. Sure, the game is oddly in 30 frames per second instead of the usual 60 that Platinum Games embrace(s), but boy does it feel like a mashup of oldschool arcade beat 'em ups and modern-day variety! Considering how many post-Konami TMNT games have been monotonous with the enemy variety, I was surprised to see that this game actually does HAVE a variety of baddies to kill, complete with their own ways of attacking. And the Turtles have a few options themselves - Each Turtle has different special moves he can pull off by holding the L Trigger and pressing a face button (and you can switch between Turtles via L Trigger and D-Pad) as well as attack combos executed by pressing X and/or Y buttons. While there are enemies that go down fairly quickly and reasonably through a combo or two, don't be shocked when the game decides to turn you into turtle soup.

This is actually a challenging game. It's not brutal by any means, but it does a decent job of keeping the player on his/her toes. The boss battles are probably what impressed me the most. They feel like bosses from an arcade game by Konami, brought into 3D. Their patterns are tricky and varied, but when you beat the crap out of them you feel like you're the MAN (or woman, depending)! Too bad you can't celebrate the victory with anyone unless you play online.

Alright, time to address some more negatives...
Easily the biggest problem with this game is the inability to play with friends on the same couch. No local multiplayer, online only, Final Desti-Wait, wrong game. But yeah, even though I don't mind playing single-player, I still find it dumbfounding that they took the time to create online servers for this game, yet for some reason the only way you're playing this locally is by yourself. Which is absolutely BS because this seems like it would've been an awesome time to spend with local friends! All four Turtles are in this adventure fighting TOGETHER after all. It all just seems like a big missed opportunity on Platinum's/Activision's part.

There's also all this talk about MiM's length, which is reported to be able to be beaten in three and a half hours or under. Personally, my first and only playthrough so far lasted 5 hours and 18 minutes, which is fair enough I suppose, right? I dunno, I'm not really the kind of guy that minds when a game is short. After all, I paid well over fifty bucks for a TMNT Turtles in Time cartridge, and that game can be played through in under an hour.

One thing that comes to mind for me is the sound design. Now, I am fond of the voice acting performances for this game, but when the Turtles end up dying, they can become the most annoying things at the moment. There is banter between them in various areas, but their deaths are when it's most blatant that there are voice clips that have a tendency to repeat, and it can be especially grating during boss battles when trying hard to survive and keep battling. At least there's an option to lower/mute the voice volume, but the attack sound effects seem like they need the voices present to complement the atmosphere. On another note, the music, while actually kind of sporting a catchy beat on certain levels, is certainly no TMNT arcade soundtrack.

Basically, what TMNT: Mutants in Manhattan is is a game not without flaws, but when you're in for the core adventure, it can actually be a lot of fun. I had a very good time playing through this game from start to finish, and if you're looking for a solid Turtles game (but aren't seeing multiplayer as a necessity) I say give this one a go. Those interested but not willing to spend $40 on a game like this can wait for the inevitable price drop that pretty much every Activision game goes through over the course of the initial or second year after release. For now, though, I'm glad to see I can finally count the amount of good games Activision released this decade with TWO hands instead of one from now on!


Eggs of Steel - PlayStation
Eggs of Steel - PlayStation
7 used & new from $14.14

2.0 out of 5 stars An Eggcellent display of bad design, May 20, 2016
I've picked this up probably a couple years ago, but I don't remember where I got it from nor why I decided to get it. I think it might have been from a eBay purchase one day, and it costed a few bucks or something (Why this is over $13 on Amazon for a used copy is beyond me), but that's about as far as my assumption goes. This game is simply a strange one. Its existence in of itself is odd; it's a game with two atrocious egg puns, yet Enix and Atlus have their names on it. YES. THEY were involved with this game in some fashion, and I don't supposed we'll ever know why they decided to be involved with this thing, but here we go. We're seeing a Playstation game about a CGI anthropomorphic egg.

So Eggs of Steel is about this egg person named Charlie working a night shift at a factory. He demonstrates his heroism by accidentally being the catalyst for a trouble he has to rectify himself, which is always a great way for player to root for the main character, right? And somewhere in the mix of it, there's this villain guy that apparently knows Charlie personally, and his first line of dialogue is "Remember me, Charlie....?" which makes zero sense since this is the first and only game we ever see these characters appear in. Maybe the market just wasn't ready for a game about talking eggs. However, it isn't like there's any specific characteristics for these guys, so I think the only reason why they are eggs is so the developers could get away with the numerous gruesome FMV scenes that occur when the player dies.

There's a surprising amount of emphasis on Full-Motion Video in this game. Cutscenes will occur at particular points in a level, when Charlie falls off and cracks his eggshell open, and when....the bad guy and Charlie have a dance sequence before and after a boss battle, respectively......

Unfortunately, the craziness mostly ends there. The game itself is a very average quest with miscellaneous tasks ruining the overall package. You'll mostly just be walking around in confined areas of the factory, hitting switches or buttons when necessary, as well as robots that feel the need to be enemies. The game REALLY wants the levels to seem interesting, but they just...aren't. The pre-rendered look has its appeal, but take that out of the equation and you've got a bland game about walking around and hitting stuff when necessary.

In fact, some levels could become obnoxious, such as one where you have to avoid falling blocks and jump onto them to reach higher heights. Because Charlie can't run, two blocks layered beside each other could mean "automatic level restart" if you are right where they'll be falling. And even some of the more consistent levels could be confusing when it comes to navigating the way around. There was one level that seemed like it had a path leading to another screen, so I hopped onto what looked like the initial platform, only for Charlie to fall through and reenact Humpty Dumpty at my expense.

Simply put, I'm not so fond of this game, and I fail to see why the prices for it are any higher than prices given to disposable games.


Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom - Nintendo 3DS
Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom - Nintendo 3DS
Offered by PNP Games
Price: $17.95
125 used & new from $7.28

3.0 out of 5 stars Stick with that game about Ice King collecting Finn's trash, May 19, 2016
I remember being a lot more fond of Wayforward's attempts to bring the Cartoon Network show Adventure Time into video gaming, but as I've played the games that come out of it, I'm not quite sure what to think. The first game, amusingly subtitled "Hey Ice King Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?!", was basically a funnier, more accessible take on Zelda II, but the next game, "Escape the Dungeon Because I Don't Know", unsuspectingly became a poor man's Gauntlet. So where does Secret of the Nameless Kingdom reside in the mix?

Well, this game is basically like The Legend of Zelda. On second thought, "basically" is probably the wrong word for it; "literally" sounds more like it. This game is literally The Legend of Zelda. The game is a top-down adventure akin to that of the 2D Zelda entries, the sound design takes some cues from certain Zelda jingles, and even the overworld has an uncanny resemblance to A Link to the Past's version of Hyrule, almost to the point where one can assume that's the actual name for the Nameless Kingdom. However, it's never really mattered about what game did what thing first; what matters is how the game is executed, and on that note, Adventure Time 3 here is a game I REALLY want to love, but can't.

Let's start with the positives. It's fun to explore in this game. The world is thankfully smaller than that of the typical Zelda title, so it's not so likely to get lost when it comes to finding yourself, especially considering there is a map that uses the 3DS's bottom screen. If you've played any Zelda game before, you'd find yourself at home with the gameplay. Finn the Human swings his sword in four directions, pick up things and throw them, use items, the works. Probably my favorite thing to do is grab a creature that acts as living dynamite, tuck him away into a baggy used for holding onto an item, and then use him when I find a secret passage blocked by rock in a distance. And when it comes to dungeons, there may not be many, but the ones that are there do a good job at delivering satisfying and interesting puzzles.

As sound as things seem, this game frustrates me on one thing. ONE. SINGLE. THING. And it's arguably fatal. That thing is the sense of direction. I don't mind at all when a game emphasizes on exploration, but it's a problem when that's all you could rely on to hope you could make progress! You may have a map that shows you where you are in the kingdom and where the next dungeon is, but that's ALL it shows! The rest is anybody's guess. For example, there's a dungeon behind a locked gate. How do you find the key? Does any NPC know about it or where to find it? What location can I find the NPC or the key? The game doesn't tell you anything! And it's not like there are any towns in the kingdom, either!

This game still isn't as offensively brain cell busting as Paper Mario: Sticker Star when it comes to extremely cryptic navigation (since the whole kingdom is small and easy to travel through), but it is nevertheless pretty darn confusing to make sense of situations within the world, and as such, I find it hard for me to come back to this one. Should you be interested in the game, proceed with caution. All I know is Wayforward has done better, including on this very license.


SEGA 3D Classics Collection - Nintendo 3DS
SEGA 3D Classics Collection - Nintendo 3DS
Price: $21.09
53 used & new from $21.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone up for some Blast Processing?, May 9, 2016
This isn't the first time Sega's done a collection of their oldies, and it certainly won't be their last. While witnessing a collection of their games is nothing new, however, Sega 3D Classics Collection is actually a fairly unique take on the concept that focuses moreso on the arcade side of the company's glory days. There are a total of ten (counting the secret Fantasy Zone game) titles in this compilation, and about half of them are actually relatively new to the whole "game collection" thing, as they've never been re-released on Sega collections prior to this one. You see, Capcom?! If you had some exceptional content in Mega Man Legacy Collection, I wouldn't have to unfavorably compare it to Mega Man Anniversary Collection!

Although if I have to be fair, Legacy Collection had a consistent lineup of solid titles from the series, while Sega 3D Classics has games that range from being fantastic and aging well to...not so much. Thankfully, the majority of the games in the collection are pretty darn enjoyable and well worth (re)playing through. Sonic the Hedgehog is as fun as it's always been since its debut on the Genesis console, and while the inclusion of the Spin Dash move from Sonic 2 may not be a new idea, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't keep things moving in a fun way anyhow. Pseudo-3D arcade shooters Thunder Blade and Galaxy Force are also pretty excellent; you could tell Sega lived its Blast Processing motto through these games' fast and frantic, yet dazzling and satisfying gameplay and graphics. Puyo Puyo 2 may not be among such, but it's a fairly addictive puzzle game in its own right.

Probably the one game I feel the need to call out on in particular is Power Drift. Finally released in the USA for the first time via this collection. I initially thought this would just be some racer I'd play once for its novelty and never again. However, it turns out its novelty is adrenaline-pumping racing action, which is one I tend to fail at putting down once I pick it up. All the arcade games are short, but they are well aware that they have to be a lot of fun while they last, and this one's no exception. You could probably think of this game as a combination of F-Zero's speed and rich graphics with Pole Position's road play and gear shifting.

Anyway, not everything is golden in Sega 3D Classics Collection. A lesser example of this is probably Altered Beast, which is at least an interesting beat 'em up/platformer hybrid, but something feels off about it, even in comparison to other Sega beat 'em ups like Golden Axe. When the protagonist gets knocked down from an enemy hit, another enemy could come right in before the character gets back up, only to get struck again and fall back down, and certain obstacles can take away too much health. And then there are the games that don't interest me much at all. Maze Walker is like a linear take on The Legend of Zelda (or Gauntlet), except the character moves too slow, and if he gets hit, he dies and the level restarts, adding further tedium. The Fantasy Zone games (for which there are THREE of for some reason) lean on the mediocre side as well, being repetitive shooters that could've been better if they weren't about shooting all the big indescribable objects in each level. And of course, I feel like the Fantasy Zone games could've easily been replaced by games that have been released on the eShop like Sonic 2 and Gunstar Heroes.

Aside from those complaints, this is an overall stellar compilation of Sega classics. I definitely recommend checking it out for the arcade games and the original Sonic.


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