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2upGamers 6th Gen: Shaky Start with a Strong Finish

It was once again the first Friday of the month and that means another 2upGamers event. It took place on the 1st of June 2012; this time at Peninsula Cricket Academy. It meant a longer drive for me but I was excited nonetheless.

I arrived at the venue just before the scheduled starting time of 18:30 and thought that the event may have started. I got upstairs and then realised that I was wrong. Things were still being set up and didn’t look close to being done.

There was quite a delay but after a while, Hylton Arendse got things underway by welcoming the gamers to this new venue and letting us all know what was on the agenda for the evening. It turns out that Glenn was in Johannesburg busy with another event not relating to the 6th Gen.

First up were the guys from LG, who brought along one of their new products. This came in the form of a 3D TV, which was capable of enabling players to play a split-screen game but still allows the players to see the full image across the screen. This is done by overlapping the images and giving the players different sets of glasses in order to see the images separately. I had only heard of this kind of technology before; seeing it in action was an absolutely brilliant experience.

Next on the microphone was Philipp Schmid from Friends of Design with guests from Blankets for Africa. Schmid showed off a game entitled “Run Vlokkie Run” in which players control a sheep and have to dodge different obstacles in order to get its wool shaven off to produce blankets. There are different power-ups throughout the levels which will make the sheep move faster or even bypass obstacles. He also mentioned that the game will be available to play on PC, Mac and Real Player.

Nick Holden from Clan Connection then took the stage and told everyone what they’re all about; their main goal is to develop competitive gaming in South Africa to a point where we can compete on an international level. Their site isn’t ready yet but be sure to keep an eye on www.clanconnection.co.za. Holden then called up MWEB’s Desmond Kurz to tell everyone about the upcoming Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 (MW3) tournament that MWEB, Apex Interactive and Clan Connection will be holding called the King of Console Tournament. It will start off as a Free-For-All tournament in order to determine the top 16 players on both Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The 16 on each platform will then fight it out until they are narrowed down to the top 4 players. The top 4 players on each console will then do battle as a team to decide the victor. The best part is that anyone can enter and stand a chance to win prizes worth over R25 000. How awesome is that?

Nintendo South Africa’s Communications Manager, Mandy Meredith was up next. She told everyone in attendance about some of the upcoming games from Nintendo. Project Zero, Kingdom Hearts 3D and Luigi’s Mansion are just a few of the titles that were mentioned. Meredith was rather excited about a game entitled Spirit Camera: Cursed Memoir and then proceeded to show us a rather chilling trailer for the game. She also informed us about the DS Lite’s comeback as it is now retailing for only R999. Also, she didn’t come empty handed; Meredith came prepared with mugs, a Mario hoodie, copies of Mario Tennis and Pandora’s Tower and Resident Evil holographic covers. Can I get a 3DS over here? Anyone? No? Okay.

Last but not least was Wikus from Ozone South Africa, who mentioned that their Ozone Energy Drink would be launching very, very soon. He also introduced something called the ‘Ozone Circle’, which will become a regular feature at future 2upGamers events. The Ozone Circle will be home to exhibition matches that will take place on different platforms and with different games. Wikus also announced that the PlayStation 3 clan known as F34R would be the next clan to be sponsored by Ozone. Congratulations go out to the guys from F34R!

By the time that all the speakers had finished saying their piece, the pizza had arrived and everyone was free to go play games, socialise and chow down. The clans High 5 and F34R went head to head in a series of MW3 matches but not before the power tripped and shut off their consoles. After the technical hiccup, the matches continued and had many attendees focused on the action.

Despite a shaky and delayed start to the proceedings, the event was great. Everyone had a really good time and to me, that makes a successful event. Despite the problematic acoustics at the venue the occasional heckler in the audience, I felt Hylton Arendse did a great job of driving the evening into the right direction. In the end, people left with a smile on their face; including the 3 journalists who were last to leave at around 01:30, about half an hour after the venue’s doors had been closed. Ah, good times. See you at the next event!

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News Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Old faces and very new tricks: Nintendo stand at rAge 2011

‘I waited impatiently behind a kid who didn’t really seem to know what he was doing’ a twenty-five year-old male rAge Expo visitor tells me, as he begins to talk about his experience of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D. ‘The funny thing is I didn’t even know that the game was going to be here, as it was one of this years most highly anticipated 3DS release.’

It is interesting to me that Nintendo has managed to constantly breathe new life into its now long-standing characters such as Link and Super Mario. I watched children that were as young as I was when I first met Super Mario on the SNES console, enjoy a mass multiplayer game on the handheld 3DS console with all too familiar characters. It got me thinking that Nintendo has managed to establish its virtual concepts as a real-world playground of Cops and Robbers or Tag; As Nintendo is becoming a fundamental part of how children learn and develop through playing.

It is no surprise really, that Nintendo has managed to do this. After all, the company has been around since 1889, when it started out creating card games. It has a lot of experience in being sensitive to the needs of a changing society. The real question is, does the company simply ‘leave luck to heaven’ or does it have a multitude of ingenious minds that continually reshape old ideas into something new and relevant for today’s gamers, be it the long time fans ot those just getting their hands on their first console?

ITF Gaming, editor and owner, Darryl Linington says, ‘Nintendo has built a phenomenal reputation over the years, and I personally believe that the company has a great approach when it comes to fun, education and family orientated entertainment.’

He continues by saying, ‘I remember back when I was 6 years old, my father came home with this contraption that would change my life forever. The contraption was a Nintendo NES and I had heard about them on the playground at school. I watched eagerly as my father set it up, and then eventually let myself and my older brother figure out how it actually worked. Once we figured it out, I remember playing Duck Hunt, Hogan’s Alley, Excite Bike and the ever so popular Super Mario Bros for days on end.’

‘I thank Nintendo for introducing me to video games and compliments of this introduction, I have learnt so much over the years. I feel that video games have inspired me to be the person I am today, and I hope that the industry will continue to inspire and focus on developing young minds through education, imagination and inspiration.’ He concludes.

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Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Super Pokémon Rumble Review

Super Pokémon Rumble has finally ventured onto the Nintendo 3DS. While this title is the first Pokémon game to grace our presence in stereoscopic 3D, we ask ourselves does it live up to the standards of the previous Pokémon titles or is it just a weak attempt to get Pokémon on the Nintendo 3DS? Let’s find out!

Super Pokémon Rumble is the latest spin-off developed by Nintendo-owned studio Ambrella, creators of Hey You, Pikachu! for the N64, Pokémon Dash on DS and Pokémon Rumble, a bite-sized downloadable game released into the wilds of Nintendo’s WiiWare service.

Gameplay: 
The basic premise of this title is simple, take on numerous toy versions of Pokémon in a button mashing mini-adventure. The mini-adventure allows you to travel through different areas filled with multiple Pokémon that you will need to defeat, which will help you gain access to various Battle Royale arena’s. The Battle Royale arena’s put you up against a vast collection of Pokémon in a timed out battle… win the battle and you will be announced the winner of the Battle Royale and hordes of respect will flow automatically from your fellow Pokémon peers.

While this does sound simple enough, Super Pokémon Rumble provides gameplay that is fun and at the same time a great challenge; however, it seems to lack depth and variety. While there is indeed a vast number of different Pokémon to collect within this title, Super Pokémon Rumble still seems fairly linear and repetitive.

While battling it out through the various areas and Battle Royale’s, you will need to keep your Pokémon collection’s health in check. By switching out your injured Pokémon with a fully healed Pokémon frequently, you will prevent yourself from loosing valuable, high-powered Pokémon. Although, not many switches will be needed as the levels tend to be fairly short and the enemies can be bypassed quite easily if you just make a dash for it. One thing I did notice within this title is the fact that elemental damage still reigns supreme, which basically means that water Pokémon will still have a massive advantage over fire Pokémon.

Super Pokémon Rumble has an additional 2-player feature, which is a fun addition that will help you collect items and figurines at a much faster pace. Although, while playing 2-player you both need to complete a chosen level separately before attempting to hook-up via the 2-player mode.

While Super Pokémon Rumble is a decent title to play, I feel that it comes off as incomplete. The linear based gameplay is something that needed to be worked on more, and the addition of a much larger in-depth storyline would have been fantastic.

Super Pokémon Rumble

Graphics:
Super Pokémon Rumble looks fairly decent, I will say that Toy Town does look good when you are introduced to it; however, the Pokémon featured in this title don’t! The Pokemon models tend to come off as blocky, jagged and awkwardly shaped. This is rather disappointing as the Nintendo 3DS has shown some brilliant graphics, especially in titles like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Super Mario 3D Land.

Sound:
I tend to personally find that most Nintendo 3DS titles feature the most annoying, irritating, aggravating music on the planet; however, Super Pokémon Rumble tends to feature music that is pleasant and easy on the ears.

Conclusion:
Super Pokémon Rumble is great title for those of you who are fans of the series; however, it is rather linear and tends to lack a unique storyline that will captivate or entertain you. The 2-player mode will however keep you and a friend entertained for hours though.

Super Pokémon Rumble is one game that does deserve praise when it comes to the music aspect; however, the graphics featured within this title tend to look outdated especially with the jagged, awkward looking blots on the screen that try to resemble Pokémon.

If you are looking forward to grasping the world of Pokémon on the Nintendo 3DS… Fantastic! Although we would rather suggest looking at other titles, which are far more deserving like Mario Kart 7, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time or Super Mario 3D Land.

The Breakdown: 
Gameplay: 6/10
Graphics: 4/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 6.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Super Mario 3D Land Review

Developed by Nintendo, Super Mario 3D Land is the latest Mario title to grace the Nintendo 3DS. Super Mario 3D Land is pure Mario to its core, with an additional 3D twist; however does Super Mario 3D Land hold high in the ranks of gaming on a handheld console? Let’s find out!

Storyline: 
Super Mario 3D Land brings the traditional storyline of the Mario world to the Nintendo 3DS. As always, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, and it is now up to Mario to save the Princess. Although this is a traditional Mario storyline, I couldn’t help but smile while watching the short animated cut-scenes.

Gameplay:
Super Mario 3D Land is a platform title that combines the elements of the 3D into the gameplay. The main objective is to reach the end of each level by either avoiding or taking out enemies, within the time limit, and grabbing onto the flagpole at the end in order to progress. Super Mario 3D land features some killer power-ups including: The Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Super Leaf and many more! I will admit that I have been hooked on my 3DS for most of the morning, and I found it hard to pull myself away.

While Super Mario 3D Land uses the 3D feature of the Nintendo 3DS quite brilliantly, it is also an integral part of the gameplay, as it is generally harder to complete without the use of the 3D effect. Super Mario 3D Land is a genuinely fun title to experience especially when it comes to gameplay and it also includes some stylish bonus content.

Mario titles from the past have never been a walk in the park to complete… by saying this, I have not come across anyone who has ever finished the first Mario title; however, completion is still achievable in Super Mario 3D Land. While breezing past the first few levels, I noticed that from World 8 the gameplay tends to shift quite a bit, bringing a sense of freshness to this title.

Super Mario 3D Land also incorporates the use of the gyroscope and StreetPass to further increase the appeal of gameplay. The Gyroscope can be used to look through binoculars and gain a better perception of the level at hand.

The addition of the mystery boxes is an additional bonus. While these tend to be more time challenges, they do allow you to gain those much needed power-ups and special items. While some 3DS titles tend to be too short, Super Mario 3D Land will keep you entertained for hours on end, as well as promote multiple playthroughs.

Graphics:
Super Mario 3D Land looks spectacular and completely utilises the power of the 3DS to its advantage. While this title is visually appealing with the 3D turned on, it looks equally as good without it.  The level design is beautiful and the characters have been designed with crisp, clear visuals.

Each World has a basic theme to it, which showcases colourful forest areas, spooky ghosts and a wide variety of visually stunning elements. When it comes to graphics this title plays smoothly and effortlessly.

Sound:
Nostalgia of note is included in this title! The music is a perfect fit and so is the quirky sound effects featured throughout. Classic Mario based tunes have been included and promote a nice up beat gameplay experience.

Lasting appeal:
Super Mario 3D Land is a title you will want to play over and over again. While the last few levels can be blatantly hard to complete, you will find yourself coming back for more Mario action quite often. Additionally, the StreetPass content included will keep you entertained for quite a few hours more.

Conclusion:
Nintendo has surprised me lately, especially with the amazing titles they are bringing out of late. Super Mario 3D Land is one of these amazing titles and a great addition to any 3DS owner’s collection.

Super Mario 3D Land brings well designed levels, innovative gameplay and sound that really sets the mood to the Nintendo 3DS. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to take on Bowser and his army of awkward looking minions and rescue the beloved Princess Peach.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Tetris 3D Review

Nintendo tends to have this unique ability of  breathing new life into even the oldest video game titles to date. Nintendo’s latest rebirth is in the form of Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS; however, does this new version of the classic Tetris of the past live up to today’s standards? Let’s find out!

Key features:
Tetris for Nintendo 3DS  features a range of fun multiplayer options to keep you and your friends engrossed – five Local Play modes and three Download Play modes designed for up to eight people to enjoy at one time. What’s more, the Download Play multiplayer modes only require a single Game Card. Addtionally, you can also go online and compete against the rest of the world over the Internet using the World Battle and Friend Battle game modes.

Gameplay:
While there are plenty of Tetris titles out there at the moment, Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is by far one of my favourites at the moment. This title features over 20 modes to explore including: Marathon, CPU Battle, Fever, Survival and various ways to play using the AR functions.

Tetris for the 3DS also features various Party modes, which include various options such as: Fit, squeeze blocks into specifically shaped holes; Bombliss Plus, use bombs to explode blocks coming up from below; Capture, strategically cover stars on both sides of the Matrix with Tetriminos; and Jigsaw, solve picture puzzles or import your own pictures. Make sure you also look out for new items available via SpotPass for Fever mode. These modes are fun and entertaining and allow for plenty of hours of Tetris madness.

The standard mode of Tetris is also included in this title, and allows one to reminisce to the good old days of Tetris. Tetris back in the day either had you jumping for joy because you just beat your friend’s highest score, or it made you want to take the cartridge and stick it in a giant bonfire due to frustration and aggravation. However, this it what Tetris is all about it’s a challenging puzzle that will push your brain to its limits.

Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS is a great idea; however, it is an old concept that has been brought back to life. While this version is fantastic, it does however have many competitors on the market already.

Graphics: 
While playing Tetris in 3D, you will notice how much the game actually changes. Animations are brought to life and the backgrounds now seem more involved and show a great sense of visual appeal.

One thing I will note is, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

Sound:
When I first loaded this title into my 3DS I felt a great feeling of nostalgia. This was due to the classic music and sound effects that have been included; however while this nostalgia only lasts for a few moments, you will find yourself muting this title after an hour or two of gameplay.

Conclusion:
Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is definitely a title that deserves a lot of credit. While this title is indeed fun and entertaining, it will bring back age old memories from your childhood. Tetris is a great way to pass time and even better way to challenge your friends and family to some good clean fun.

As noted above, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Replayability: 9/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

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News

What to expect at rAge 2011

The rAge expo has officially kicked off this weekend at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg.

ITF Gaming had the opportunity to join in on all the fun by hosting some awesome prize give-aways compliments of Apex Interactive and the team on the Nintendo 3DS stand. The Nintendo 3DS stand is showcasing an array of upcoming 3DS titles to test out, so make sure to swing past the stand and chat to the guys about anything and everything Nintendo related. The team from ITF Gaming will be situated at the Nintendo 3DS on the 01/10/2011 from 10am – 12pm and on 02/10/2011 from 12:00pm to 13:00pm.

Apart from all the Nintendo awesomeness, ITF Gaming has compiled a list of the must see exhibitions at rAge 2011. If you are only joining in on the rAge action on Saturday, then this will give you a preview of what to expect.

Things to check out at rAge 2011:

Nu Metro:
Batman Arkham City
Lord of the Rings: War in the North

Megarom Interactive:
The Darkness 2
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
Final Fantasy XIII – 2
Xmen Destiny

Electronic Arts (EA):
Need for Speed the Run
Battlefield 3
Mass Effect 3
Grand Slam Tennis
The Sims 3 Pets

PlayStation:
Tekken Hybrid
Dead Rising 2: Off the Record
Dragons Dogma
Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Microsoft Xbox 360:
Gears of War 3
Kinect: The Gunstringer
Kinect: Star Wars
Kinect: Disney Land Adventures
Forza 4

Nintendo:
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D
Dead or Alive
Resident Evil
Street Fighter
Steel Diver
Pilot Wings
Kid Icarus
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

A few of the major highlights to look out for on Saturday and Sunday will be at the main stage, this will include: Tomb Raider, The Darkness 2, Guildwars 2 and a host of epic presentations and give-aways.

Categories
Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Wii Reviews

Super Mario 3D Land Review

Developed by Nintendo, Super Mario 3D Land is the latest Mario title to grace the Nintendo 3DS. Super Mario 3D Land is pure Mario to its core, with an additional 3D twist; however does Super Mario 3D Land hold high in the ranks of gaming on a handheld console? Let’s find out!

Storyline: 
Super Mario 3D Land brings the traditional storyline of the Mario world to the Nintendo 3DS. As always, Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser, and it is now up to Mario to save the Princess. Although this is a traditional Mario storyline, I couldn’t help but smile while watching the short animated cut-scenes.

Gameplay:
Super Mario 3D Land is a platform title that combines the elements of the 3D into the gameplay. The main objective is to reach the end of each level by either avoiding or taking out enemies, within the time limit, and grabbing onto the flagpole at the end in order to progress. Super Mario 3D land features some killer power-ups including: The Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, Super Leaf and many more! I will admit that I have been hooked on my 3DS for most of the morning, and I found it hard to pull myself away.

While Super Mario 3D Land uses the 3D feature of the Nintendo 3DS quite brilliantly, it is also an integral part of the gameplay, as it is generally harder to complete without the use of the 3D effect. Super Mario 3D Land is a genuinely fun title to experience especially when it comes to gameplay and it also includes some stylish bonus content.

Mario titles from the past have never been a walk in the park to complete… by saying this, I have not come across anyone who has ever finished the first Mario title; however, completion is still achievable in Super Mario 3D Land. While breezing past the first few levels, I noticed that from World 8 the gameplay tends to shift quite a bit, bringing a sense of freshness to this title.

Super Mario 3D Land also incorporates the use of the gyroscope and StreetPass to further increase the appeal of gameplay. The Gyroscope can be used to look through binoculars and gain a better perception of the level at hand.

The addition of the mystery boxes is an additional bonus. While these tend to be more time challenges, they do allow you to gain those much needed power-ups and special items. While some 3DS titles tend to be too short, Super Mario 3D Land will keep you entertained for hours on end, as well as promote multiple playthroughs.

Graphics:
Super Mario 3D Land looks spectacular and completely utilises the power of the 3DS to its advantage. While this title is visually appealing with the 3D turned on, it looks equally as good without it.  The level design is beautiful and the characters have been designed with crisp, clear visuals.

Each World has a basic theme to it, which showcases colourful forest areas, spooky ghosts and a wide variety of visually stunning elements. When it comes to graphics this title plays smoothly and effortlessly.

Sound:
Nostalgia of note is included in this title! The music is a perfect fit and so is the quirky sound effects featured throughout. Classic Mario based tunes have been included and promote a nice up beat gameplay experience.

Lasting appeal:
Super Mario 3D Land is a title you will want to play over and over again. While the last few levels can be blatantly hard to complete, you will find yourself coming back for more Mario action quite often. Additionally, the StreetPass content included will keep you entertained for quite a few hours more.

Conclusion:
Nintendo has surprised me lately, especially with the amazing titles they are bringing out of late. Super Mario 3D Land is one of these amazing titles and a great addition to any 3DS owner’s collection.

Super Mario 3D Land brings well designed levels, innovative gameplay and sound that really sets the mood to the Nintendo 3DS. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to take on Bowser and his army of awkward looking minions and rescue the beloved Princess Peach.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay 9/10
Sound: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
Nintendo 3DS Reviews

Tetris 3D Review

Nintendo tends to have this unique ability of  breathing new life into even the oldest video game titles to date. Nintendo’s latest rebirth is in the form of Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS; however, does this new version of the classic Tetris of the past live up to today’s standards? Let’s find out!

Key features:
Tetris for Nintendo 3DS  features a range of fun multiplayer options to keep you and your friends engrossed – five Local Play modes and three Download Play modes designed for up to eight people to enjoy at one time. What’s more, the Download Play multiplayer modes only require a single Game Card. Addtionally, you can also go online and compete against the rest of the world over the Internet using the World Battle and Friend Battle game modes.

Gameplay:
While there are plenty of Tetris titles out there at the moment, Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is by far one of my favourites at the moment. This title features over 20 modes to explore including: Marathon, CPU Battle, Fever, Survival and various ways to play using the AR functions.

Tetris for the 3DS also features various Party modes, which include various options such as: Fit, squeeze blocks into specifically shaped holes; Bombliss Plus, use bombs to explode blocks coming up from below; Capture, strategically cover stars on both sides of the Matrix with Tetriminos; and Jigsaw, solve picture puzzles or import your own pictures. Make sure you also look out for new items available via SpotPass for Fever mode. These modes are fun and entertaining and allow for plenty of hours of Tetris madness.

The standard mode of Tetris is also included in this title, and allows one to reminisce to the good old days of Tetris. Tetris back in the day either had you jumping for joy because you just beat your friend’s highest score, or it made you want to take the cartridge and stick it in a giant bonfire due to frustration and aggravation. However, this it what Tetris is all about it’s a challenging puzzle that will push your brain to its limits.

Tetris for the Nintendo 3DS is a great idea; however, it is an old concept that has been brought back to life. While this version is fantastic, it does however have many competitors on the market already.

Graphics: 
While playing Tetris in 3D, you will notice how much the game actually changes. Animations are brought to life and the backgrounds now seem more involved and show a great sense of visual appeal.

One thing I will note is, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

Sound:
When I first loaded this title into my 3DS I felt a great feeling of nostalgia. This was due to the classic music and sound effects that have been included; however while this nostalgia only lasts for a few moments, you will find yourself muting this title after an hour or two of gameplay.

Conclusion:
Tetris on the Nintendo 3DS is definitely a title that deserves a lot of credit. While this title is indeed fun and entertaining, it will bring back age old memories from your childhood. Tetris is a great way to pass time and even better way to challenge your friends and family to some good clean fun.

As noted above, while having a Mii character is entertaining and the concept generally brings a lot of games to life. I found the use of the Mii in this title rather pointless and annoying. This is due to the fact that the Mii character will dance in the bottom screen in a highly repetitive fashion, which is ultimately distracting.

The Breakdown:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 6/10
Replayability: 9/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
Nintendo 3DS Reviews Nintendo Reviews

Mario Kart 7 Review

Welcome to the world of Kart Racing… Mario Style!!! Mario Kart 7 is the latest racing title to hit the Nintendo 3DS; however with the amount of racing titles released this year, does Mario Kart 7 deliver something unique, energetic and absolutely amazing to the world of racing? Let’s find out!!!

One thing I did notice when popping this title in my 3DS was that 16 classic maps have been included in this title including: SNES’ Mario Circuit 2 and Rainbow Road with more recent additions, such as the Wii’s autumnal Maple Treeway and Coconut Mall, and the DS’ Airship Fortress. Nintendo has really gone all out to make this title fresh, yet holds a certain classic appeal to it as well.

Gameplay:
Mario Kart 7 is amazingly simple to get the hang of, which is fantastic for newcomers to the release. Gamers have the opportunity to choose a character from the Mario Universe including: Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Bowser and various other characters.

Mario Kart 7 offers a variety of modes, which include:

Grand Prix:
Grand Prix allows you to race it out for first position in various 50cc, 100cc and 150cc races. Grand Prix also includes various power-up’s to hinder the opposition.

Time Trials:
Time Trials allows you to achieve and then try beat your personal racing times.

Balloon Battle:
This mode puts racers up against each other, in an arena type setting, where the object of the race would be to pop the oppositions balloons in order to win.

Coin Battle:
Coin Battle places gamers in an arena type setting, where the object is to collect as many coins as possible and try hang on to them. The best part of this mode is the array of power-up’s scattered throughout the arena, which can be used to take out the opposition and steal their well earned coins; however, be wary as they can steal your coins too.

While playing through the various modes, you will notice a few new additions to the power-up’s scattered throughout the raceway.

The Fire Flower:
The Fire Flower allows you to throw fireballs at unsuspecting opponents, which will cause them to spin out of control momentarily.

The Tanooki Tail:
The Tanooki tail allows you to smash opposition players out of the way; however, you need to be in pretty close proximity to nail this one.

The Lucky 7:
The Lucky 7 offer you a set of seven items to use as you wish throughout the race, which gives the player a very unfair advantage over the opposition (hey, sometimes you have to do, what you have to do in order to win).

Another great addition to these modes is the ability to race each event via Local Multiplayer or Online Multiplayer modes.

While Mario Kart 7 is easy to pick up and very hard to put down and is not an easy title to complete. The race modes offer some really intense A.I that will not stop attacking you with power-up’s, until you either give-up or settle for last place. While it’s not impossible to win every single cup in this title, you will have a major challenge ahead of you if you do attempt it.

Mario Kart 7 is a great title when it comes to gameplay. The controls have been mapped out perfectly, and the inclusions of the various different modes and power-up’s make this title fantastic to experience.

Graphics:
Mario Kart 7 offers up some truly impressive graphics on the Nintendo 3DS. The character models have been designed smoothly and creatively and the course designs offer up some truly beautiful scenery.

Sound:
Mario Kart 7 sounds great while using the Nintendo 3DS. A few of the major highlights would be hearing more complex sounding characters, and the addition of some funky new tunes, which definitely puts you in the mood for some non-stop Karting action.

Conclusion:
Mario Kart 7 is a great title, which offers a variety of modes, features, characters and more importantly power-up’s! It is a title that is easy to pick up and really hard to put down. While most Nintendo 3DS titles tend to have this trend of including the most annoying music on the planet… Mario Kart 7 strays away from this trend. The up-beat tunes and music gear you up for some non-stop Karting fun, which is exactly what the 3DS needed.

If you own a Nintendo 3DS, Mario Kart 7 is definitely a title that should be in your collection.

The Verdict:
Gameplay: 9/10
Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound 9/10
Lasting appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
Uncategorized

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance Review

Back in 2002 the world of gaming was introduced to a very special gaming title, Kingdom Hearts, which proved to be a title that not only captured the heart, but also remained as a comforting memory for gamers who experienced its sensational storyline, unique gameplay and eye-catching visual appeal. Fast forward to 2012 and Kingdom Hearts is back, only this time on the Nintendo 3DS. Developed and published by Square Enix, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is the latest instalment in the Kingdom Hearts series.

For those of you who have not experienced past Kingdom Hearts titles, here is a background of the storyline: The first game in the Kingdom Hearts series follows Sora, Riku and Kairi. Sora is unwillingly separated from his friends when their world, Destiny Islands, is invaded by the Heartless; however, during the invasion, Sora obtains the ability to wield the Keyblade, which allows him to fend off the relentless attack of the Heartless. Soon after obtaining the Keyblade, Sora arrives in Traverse Town where he meets Donald Duck and Goofy, who have been sent by King Mickey to find the wielder of the Keyblade. The trio then embarks on an unforgettable journey, through various Disney-themed worlds, in order to prevent further invasions by the Heartless.

The Kingdom Hearts series also includes: Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Kingdom Hearts: Recoded, Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 and now Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance.

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance follows the story of Sora and Riku, who have now been tasked to take on the Mark of Mystery exam in order for them to become full-fledged Keyblade Masters and counter the coming return of Master Xehanort. As part of this trial, the two are separated from each other and sent to worlds previously destroyed by the Heartless that have since been restored, though now in a state of “deep sleep” that disconnects them from the other worlds.

These seven worlds are plagued by Dream Eaters — creatures born from darkness that seek out the sleeping worlds’ Keyholes. Sora and Riku’s given task is to reawaken the sleeping worlds by unlocking the seven Keyholes they find there and then return to the realm of light, recruiting benevolent “Spirit” Dream Eaters to guide them and battle the malevolent “Nightmare” Dream Eaters, after which they will be deemed Keyblade Masters.

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance features a thrilling, and emotional storyline, which truly makes it a great addition to the Kingdom Hearts series. Additionally, if you have had the pleasure of playing the previous instalments, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance will certainly bring back some really great memories.

When it comes to gameplay, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance mixes things up with the introduction of Flowmotion combat. Flowmotion allows the player to perform spectacular special attacks and dodge enemies in grace and style. Furthermore, it can be used to traverse various buildings and speed across various environments at amazing speeds. While Flowmotion can be a bit touch-and-go on occasions, it is still a great addition to the Kingdom Hearts series.

Another new addition to Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is the Drop system, which basically forces you to switch between Sora and Riku’s overlapping storylines after a certain amount of time has passed. The Drop system is slightly intrusive at first, as your characters can be switched at any given moment; however, it gives you a larger scope of what is happening with the other character and prevents you from neglecting each character. The Drop system is quite honestly a great addition to this title. Additionally, Square Enix has done a brilliant job of making each characters storyline unique, which really adds to the depth of this title.

Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance also features the Command Deck that first graced Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. The Command Deck allows you to equip an array of abilities or items in order to overcome the truly memorable battles featured within this title. Additionally each ability features a cool down period, which will prevent you from using the same attacks over and over again. This adds a great sense of variety to this title and also increases the difficulty of the overall gameplay. The Command Deck can also be customised, in order to suite the players needs, which will allow you to setup each character to perform some devastating attacks.

With all these great additions to Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance what more could you want? Well, apart from the above mentioned features, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance also allows you to recruit various Dream Eaters, which offer assistance during the course of battle. Each Dream Eater is the equivalent to a virtual pet that will allow you to perform special attacks and combos when the Link meter is at its full capacity. Players can also interact with each Dream Eater by rubbing the stylus across the screen, which will also create a stronger bond between the character and the now tamed Dream Eater.

When it comes to graphics, Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is a visually stunning title that really compliments the 3D capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS. The character models have been designed with flair and creativity and the environments have been designed with the previous titles in mind. This truly brings Dream Drop Distance to life while staying true to the original Kingdom Hearts series. Additionally, the voice acting is spot-on and the music featured within this title is as equally as beautiful as the graphics.

While Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is a stunning title overall, it still suffers from a few issues. At times characters will not interact with the environment as expected; this is especially prominent when using Flowmotion in order to toss larger enemies across the battlefield. Additionally, you may find yourself trying to get to areas that seem accessible, but are not. This does not entirely take anything away from the overall experience in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance; however, it can become somewhat frustrating, especially during the heat of battle.

Conclusion: 
Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is a stunning addition to the Nintendo 3DS handheld console. It features a phenomenal storyline, gorgeous graphics and sound that truly compliment this titles ability to draw you into a world that is magical, inspiring and well crafted.

While Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance is spectacular, it does however suffer from a few flaws. As stated above, characters will not interact with the environment as expected and you may find yourself trying to get to areas that seem accessible, but are not. This does not entirely take anything away from the overall experience in Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance; however, it can become somewhat frustrating, especially during the heat of battle.

If you are a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series, Dream Drop Distance is definitely worth picking up; however, if you have never experienced Kingdom Hearts I suggest picking up a PlayStation 2, and every other console it has been featured on, and start familiarising yourself with the series, as it is truly inspiring.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay: 8.5/10
Graphics: 9/10
Lasting Appeal: 9.5/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.