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Nintendo 3DS Reviews Reviews

Steel Diver Review

Welcome to the world of submarines:
When I first came across Steel Diver I felt very intrigued by this title, it seemed very different from other games on the market and offered some very unique gameplay on the 3DS console. Let’s find out if Steel Diver is as unique as it looks… Periscope down, review up.

Story: 
Steel Diver takes place in 19xx (yes, this is not very specific) when a rogue nation has invaded its neighbouring countries and is placing the world in danger. A secret submarine fleet has been banded together to stop the chaos and destruction. Ok, so the storyline is a little shallow but it works for Steel Diver.

Gameplay:
The campaign mode in Steel Diver is not particularly long , although it can be very addictive and engaging. In the beginning of each mission, you are given a rundown of the conflict that you will be facing and then it’s off to select one of the three submarines to use in the mission. You can either choose either a compact, midsized or a large submarine to go about destroying other ships.Compact submarine: The compact submarine offers easy movement, although no pitch wheel is used for positioning the sub. Torpedoes fire vertically and horizontally, which comes in handy when facing multiple enemies. The downside is it only fires one torpedo at a time.Midsized submarine: The midsized submarine offers easy movement and can fire off two torpedoes one after the other. The downside is that the torpedoes are fired horizontally, so you will have to position the sub using the pitch wheel in order to fire at ships that are on the surface.Large submarine: The large submarine is slightly harder to manoeuvre and can be a slight pain, but it does fire four horizontal torpedoes that results in maximum damage on enemy ships and submarines. Similar to the midsized submarine in order to fire at ships on the surface you will need to use the pitch wheel to position your torpedoes trajectory.In most missions, I used with the compact sub as it was far easier to manoeuvre through each mission and easier to destroy ships or other submarines. The downside was it took a little longer to do all this.

Periscope Strike:
In this gameplay mode players need to control their periscope by using side-to-side movements while tapping on the touch screen to fire torpedo’s at enemies. This is by far one of the best features of Steel Diver.Steel Commander:
Steel Commander is more of a turn-based gameplay mode. Each player takes a turn moving their fleet and the game is over once all the ships or supply ships are destroyed. This mode offers a think before you act approach and brings a very nice multiplayer aspect to this title (I would call it a modern day version of battleships).


Controls: 

The submarines are controlled via the touch screen, which is made to look like a control panel in a submarine (Thumbs up). Players can use the touch screen’s interface to control several different functions of the submarine, from the speed, depth, pitch and offensive measures. In theory, this sounds simple enough but becomes tricky when you are faced with multiple enemies. You may find yourself stumbling with the control system at first but after a little practice, you will be blowing enemy ships and submarines out of the water very soon.Sound: 
Steel Diver offers great sound; you can hear the sonar of your submarine in the background, as well as the bubbling of the water around your sub. The background music definitely sets the mood in Steel Diver. A note I would like to make is the Nintendo 3DS itself sounds fantastic and is far more superior in the sound department than other handheld console on the market at the moment.Graphics:Although this title is a 2D side-scroller it does not seem to make much use of 3DS’s 3D potential, except while playing Periscope Strike, which looks amazing in 3D. Overall, Steel Diver looks great in the Periscope Strike mode but not that great during the side-scrolling missions.

Conclusion: 
Steel Diver is definitely a title you should have in your 3DS collection; it offers unique intuitive gameplay, great sound and a decent control scheme. The only downside is the fact that Steel Diver does not look as great as it should. Periscope Strike is where this title shines and honestly, it should have had loads more missions that incorporated it.The Breakdown: 
Storyline: 5/10
Gameplay: 7/10
Controls: 8/10
Sound: 8.5/10
Graphics: 6/10

Predominantly reviewed on Nintendo 3DS.

Categories
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

Star Fox 64 3D Review

Star Fox, also known as Starwing, was the first Nintendo game to make use of 3D Polygon graphics. It debuted on the Super Nintendo and since then the game has spawned numerous sequels including titles for the Nintendo 64, Game Cube, Wii and DS. The series has won critical acclaim and Nintendo constantly reinvents it across its different consoles. The latest game in the series is an example of how Nintendo can revitalise older titles. Star Fox 64 3D is the latest addition to the Star Fox series, also known as Lylat Wars. It is the revamped version of the Nintendo 64 game on the 3DS. Let’s see how it contributes to the saga.

Storyline:
Star Fox 3D looks like the Ewoks were the protagonists in Star Wars and Slippy Toad resembles Kermit the Frog in the Muppets. This makes sense as the series’ creator Shigeru Miyamoto was inspired by puppet dramas, such as Thunderbirds. Star Fox follows a Sci-Fi plot. Nintendo has successfully created a whole universe for the series in the form of a group of planets known as the Lylat System. The game’s antagonist, the ingenious scientist Andross, in the style of early-1990s video games, becomes a mad scientist bent on destroying the otherwise peace loving planet using biological weapons.

Exiled to the planet Venom, Andross begins plotting his revenge and it is discovered that he has created a new army to destroy the planet Corneria. The player takes control of protagonist Fox McCloud, leader of a band of mercenary fighters called Star Fox. Fox is also fighting a personal battle to avenge his father’s death at Andross’ hands. The storyline takes a number of surprising twists and delivers an entertaining narrative that accompanies the exciting gameplay.

Gameplay:
Star Fox 3D takes place in corridor mode, in which the player must pilot a vehicle, usually the Arwing spacecraft, through a fixed path on various planets and in asteroid fields. Nostalgically, I was reminded of various derivatives of Asteroids, Spacewar! and other Space Shooter games that I used to play both on PC and the Nintendo NES. The player can execute a U-turn and a barrel roll in order to evade enemy fire. Fox’s main arsenal is laser-cannons, which the player uses to blow up as many enemies as possible in order to attain a high score.

Power ups include smart bombs that hone in on your attackers and ones that replenish your ship’s shield. These power-ups conveniently remain with the player from level to level. The player must also take care to protect his wing-men. Fox’s teammates fly alongside the captain and must sometimes be defended when they fly out in front. If the player fails to rescue his teammates they retreat to the mother-ship for repairs. The game is not completely linear in terms of which levels are visited. Various paths lead the player to different levels although ultimately they will all tie up with Fox’s confrontation with Star Wolf. A great feature on this 3DS version of the game is that the player can choose which planets to visit. The player can also opt for traditional controls or gyroscope system that allows you to move the ship by tilting your 3DS. Either way the controls are easy to handle.

Graphics:
when the characters speak there appears to be no lip syncing at work. This is because the characters mouths were made to pop open and closed like those of puppets. It was fantastic how the game intentionally uses its characters as puppets, creating a comedic edge while actually having a solid plot and serious overtones. Star Fox’s designers have also done away with the blocky polygons of the original Nintendo 64 version. The graphics are sharp and appealing. In 3D you are piloting your way through the stars and it’s mesmerising.

Sound:
Star Fox 3D once again uses its sound to create a juxtaposition between the comedic and overtly dramatic. The happy, cheerful voices of your puppet-like teammates contrast with the strong, theatrical music that sets a dramatic tone.

Online:
Strictly speaking the multiplayer in Star Fox 3D is one of the only areas that lacks something. In Download Play you can play with up to four people in a co-op, against AI mode, but you can’t play in a mass multiplayer mode. You can battle for a set number of points, fight for a certain amount of time or try to be the last plane flying. New power ups become available in this mode including invisibility and one that allows you to swap positions with the player closest to you. It’s all quite quirky and makes for some loony skirmishes. The live videos of your friends’ faces as you play ads to the hilarity and makes up for the lack of online play.

Conclusion:
Star Fox 64 3D for the 3DS marks the exciting return of Fox McCloud and the crazy cast of the series. It is great to see how Nintendo can revive a classic. It is still essentially an arcade-style shooter and the player has little control over his movement in its corridor mode. The inclusion of being able to choose your destination makes up for this and breathes new life into the adventures of the Star Fox team. It has been a while since I played a video game on the 3DS and it’s a
marvel to see how Nintendo are still making titles that appeal to audiences of all-ages because they flow, are fun, graphically appealing and above all else extremely creative and different from the serious tones of some other mainstream games today.

The Breakdown:
Storyline: 9/10
Gameplay 7/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 8/10

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.

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
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Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands Review

In 1989, a game was released called Prince of Persia (abbreviated as PoP). It introduced an interesting story and awesome gameplay consisting of acrobatics and fight sequences. This 2D action-platform game was only the beginning. It spawned a popular franchise and gained a huge fan base. Over the years, games have been released on multiple platforms such as the PC, Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, PS2 and even mobile phones. The game evolved from 2D to 3D towards the end of the 90’s, capitalising on the advances in technology. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is the latest outing for the franchise.

The story returns to the series created by The Sands of Time and takes place during the seven year gap between The Sands of Time and Warrior Within. The titular character, only known as “The Prince”; returns after his adventure in Azad to visit his brother’s kingdom. Upon his arrival, he discovers that the Royal Palace is under siege (talk about a welcome home party). After a little searching, The Prince finds his older brother, Malik. The two set off in the same direction but on different paths making every effort to defend the palace from the invading forces. In a desperate attempt to save the palace, the two brothers decide to make use of the ancient power of the sand. The Prince then sets off on an adventure that will teach him about leadership and responsibility. Unfortunately the story is quite forgettable but the manner in the way it is told adds a nice touch to the game. The Prince narrates as events take place during the game, which is pretty well done and helps show some of his personality.

The gameplay features fan favourite elements from the original series but also adds some new innovations. As expected, the ability to rewind time is available from the beginning of the game since this takes place after The Sands of Time. However, unlike the 2008’s Prince of Persia; you are able to die. You have a limited amount of chances to rewind time with the sands but it can be replenished by finding blue energy all around the environment. As you progress, more powers can be learned. One power that you unlock is the ability to freeze water and use it to advance through an area. Depending on how the water is situated in the environment, it could be frozen to form a column, a bar to swing on or a wall that could be run across. The new powers spice up the gameplay and force you to think carefully about your next move. The combat portions of the game are very similar to The Sands of Time. So fans will feel right at home. The Prince is able to fight multiple enemies at once. Up to 50 enemies can be on screen, so crowd control is vital to your survival. Also, the ability to block is absent from The Forgotten Sands and there are no Quick Time Events either. Combat is quite easy though, so the absence of these features will not make your gaming experience less enjoyable.

The in game graphics have been very well done. The environments are beautiful and the Prince is looking good. However, the camera did become a bit problematic. It was especially frustrating when there was a fight and the camera swung around behind a column and obstructed the view of the action. The voice acting is excellent. Yuri Lowenthal, who voiced the Prince in The Sands of Time and The Two Thrones, is back in The Forgotten Sands. So expect the charming Prince and not the brash Prince from the 2008’s Prince of Persia. The music is also well done, giving an epic feeling during those huge battles.

Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands is a good game. It’s not as good as The Sands of Time, but it is better than the Prince of Persia from 2008. It has great platforming and good combat. The story could’ve been better and the camera needed work but it is still enjoyable. Fans of the series will love this latest adventure with The Prince.

Predominantly reviewed on Xbox 360.

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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.