Review – LIT

LIT’s brilliance is not in the game itself (though it is a great game, to be sure), but in its ability to illuminate what makes a game fun and how developers ought to make use of the opportunity to make small games – an opportunity afforded by the Wii Shop Channel, PSN, etc. Set in an undead-filled school, LIT is a puzzle game that spans 30 levels, including 5 bosses, with each level being represented by a classroom. When I say puzzle game, however, I mean puzzle game like Zak and Wiki was a puzzle game, or perhaps even Wario Ware is a puzzle game; LIT is a metapuzzle game, the puzzle is figuring out how to solve each puzzle.

This is the first way in which LIT shines (for those playing the home game we’re up to three light puns now). →  Read the rest

Thoughts on filler

While playing Professor Layton last Spring, I remember Jay asking me (before he had purchased the game himself) if it were true that the game was bad because 80% of the puzzles were simple, the kind of thing that you could solve in 30 seconds and with little thought. The answer was a yes and a no. Yes, a large percentage of the puzzles were essentially filler puzzles put in to extend the length of the game. No, I didn’t think this made it a bad game.

This lead me to think about the nature of filler in games and how we approach and accept it in different genres. For some reason, the idea of filler puzzles seemed to bother a lot of people in the online community. In some ways, I can understand this. →  Read the rest

Review – Final Fantasy IV

Let’s be honest kids, it’s not a real Final Fantasy game until I review it here on your favoritest ever videogame site videolamer (tell your friends). Of course, as it turns out, Final Fantasy IV actually already was a real videogame, like, a billion years ago back on the SNES when we Americans called it Final Fantasy II because we didn’t know any better.

Now, full disclosure, back on the SNES, Final Fantasy IV/II was the first RPG I ever beat; I was in Kindergarten, my older brother beat it first, and to this day I lord over him the fact that I found the crystal sword (best sword in the game, now retranslated as Ragnarok) before he did.

I also beat it on its PS1 rerelease, and again as the GBA game, Final Fantasy IV Advance. →  Read the rest

Review – The World Ends with You

Set in present-day Shibuya, a Tokyo ward is famous for its fashion, The World Ends with You (TWEWY) is an RPG that follows the story of Neku Sakuraba as he wakes up in a busy intersection with no memories. A text message informs him that for the next week he will be a participant in the Reaper’s Game; failure to participate risks erasure. Players follow Neku’s journey of self-discovery (turning from emo-punk to… less of an emo-punk) as he meets other players of the Reaper’s Game and tries to discover the stakes of the game, why he’s playing, and how to win.

Now, I may be a bit biased since I can sing along to an unfortunate amount of Utada Hikaru and Rachel Yamagata tunes, but the aesthetic of TWEWY is delicious and expertly executed. →  Read the rest

Review – Professor Layton and the Curious Village

As the perpetually annoying sidekick Luke’s cockney accent will quickly inform you at the start of the game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village tells the story of the eponymous Professor Layton, renowned puzzle solver, and his apprentice Luke as they investigate the death of the Baron Reinhold in the curious village of St. Mystere (I hear that’s heavy-handed-plot-device-ese for “mystery”). More specifically, Layton is tasked with settling the Baron’s will and finding the enigmatic “golden apple” it references.

Getting to the bottom of this riddle will require interacting with the various townsfolk of St. Mystere– sounds easy, right? Only one one little problem, the people of St. Mystere just love puzzles, and if you want to get anyone to do anything for you chances are you’re going to have to solve a puzzle for them first. →  Read the rest

Politicians aiming to censor games have an uphill battle

Unless you spent the last year hiding in a cave playing Gears of War and Elebits, you’ve probably noticed that video games continue to be a great way for politicians to score points with the obsessively-worried-with-no-rational-basis constituency (I usually just call them “crotchety old people,” where, since this is a legal article and I’d hate to be vague, old is defined as “belonging to any generation that is unable to recognize the sequence ‘up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start’”).

Of course, what could be wrong with censoring video games? As spokesperson for New York State Senator Leland Yee, the sponsor of the latest video game censorship law, points out, “we prohibit children from smoking…we regulate driver’s licenses. We prohibit alcohol. We prohibit lots of things from children, and we think it’s logical that kids should not be able to purchase these games on their own.” →  Read the rest

Review – Metroid Prime 3

The moment I saw it at E3 I knew it would be one of the Wii’s killer apps. If you read any of those lesser video game sites around you know that their reviews have borne my predictions out. This review then is not meant to tell you whether or not you should buy this game.

I can tell you that right off the bat: if you have any interest in FPS or adventure games, or, to use the portmanteau generated by the ever clever gaming forum communities, first person adventure games, you need to play this game. Buy it, rent it, whatever your wallet allows, it deserves a play-through because it is one of the best games currently on the Wii and it has a lot of innovation to offer. →  Read the rest

Flash game review bonanza 3

Well I’m in that post-school, pre-summer job phase of life right now, by which I mean my cash flow is almost zero (there is, of course, always the five bucks I garner here and there for offering sexual favors to passing sailors). That being said, I haven’t purchased any new games recently, and it thus seemed time for another foray into the fantastic field of Flash-game fun (By the way, that just cost me two skill points in alliteration creation… and one in rhyming). Again trying to establish some continuity to my reviews, I decided to head over and try some of Popcap’s esteemed games. Thus, my reviews are limited to the one hour trial demo offers, and I will offer along with the review my opinion on whether or not the games are worth shelling out the 20 bucks needed for the full version. →  Read the rest

An E3 for the proletariat: Impressions Part 3

I’ve always wanted to stab a Japanese man.

Red Steel
The concept behind Red Steel is definitely cool. You use the nunchaku controller to both aim and shoot a gun and slice with the sword as well as look around while walking. The analog controller in the left hand is used to move, and by twisting it you can open doors. The nunchaku controller was very precise, though this shouldn’t be surprising because if you can legitimately blame one death in a game on your controller, chances are you don’t want to buy the Wii. Also, it did not seem like the controller required enough movement that players will get tired over time; most players already jerk their controllers around when they’re excited (no pun intended) and I think that requires just as much muscle as the Wii controller does. →  Read the rest

Review – Kingdom Hearts 2

Sora picks up a new, more badass outfit in KHII. Donald still uses his sailor outfit left over from his porn star days.

Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away (let’s call it Japan), a man from SquareEnix and a man from Disney were getting drunk in a karaoke bar when, somewhere between sake and bad renditions of Michael Jackson songs, one of them stumbled upon a most wonderful idea: why not take all the best aspects of the Disney universe, throw them together with all the best parts of the Final Fantasy series, and from this soup of uberness draw the most amazing game ever conceived by man? The two set off to do just this, and on September 16th 2002, if Jesus himself had come down from heaven to bring rapture to the world, no one would have noticed because they’d have been too busy picking up their reserved copies of Kingdom Hearts from Gamestop. →  Read the rest

Review – Megaman Powered Up

Megaman Powered Up
Developed by Capcom
Published by Capcom
Released 3.14.06

Here, Megaman faces off against Cutman, who would later go on to challenge a variety of social norms by becoming the first gay hairdresser robot.

I often wonder whether games have gotten easier over time, or if I’ve just gotten better. This weekend I picked up Megaman: Powered Up, Capcom’s PSP remake of the original Megaman, and I can now definitively answer this question: old-school games were, and still are, hard as fuck. Still, a potent combination of 1337 gaming skills, perseverance, and far too much free time on my hands allowed me to conquer (at least a significant portion of) the game and bring you this delectable review!

For those who didn’t catch the Blue Bomber’s debut back on the NES, the game takes place sometime in the year 20XX, which I guess is a really long time from now because we still just use numbers for our years. →  Read the rest

Flash game review bonanza 2

Continued from yesterday’s Part 1

Gogo Happy & Smile

Genre: Beatemup

Yo yo yo wazzup?!
Justice has taken on many forms throughout history, but never one so fierce, or furry, as in Happy & Smile.

Synopsis: This game is an unabashed rip-off of Alien Hominid, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You can play as either Happy or Smile, a cat and rabbit who fight a group of evil bears that drop lots of cash money. For those unfamiliar with Alien Hominid, Happy & Smile plays as a side scroller/beat-em up, pitting you against an unending onslaught of foes as you move across the city.

Style (9/10): The game is wonderfully themed, the art and orchestral music coming together to make the game seem like an old school gangster movie (albeit one about cats, rabbits and bears).

 →  Read the rest

Flash game review bonanza 1

There are a lot of flash games on the internet, and most of them suck harder than a hooker on Christmas. So, in order to avoid having to write six angst-riddled reviews of six horrible games, as well as give the set of games I review some feeling of cohesiveness, I’ve decided to provide reviews for the top six rated games at the infamous flash portal at Enjoy!

Raiden X

Creator: Go0gley
Genre: top-down shooter

Water attack
Laser of Doom- $5000. Futuristic air force jet- $20000000. Getting your neighbor’s kid to draw your backgrounds – Priceless.

Synopsis: Raiden X was developed as a tribute to the Raiden games. It is a garden variety vertical shooter. Certain enemies will drop power ups that allow you to upgrade one of three types of weapons: a blue laser beam, red machine gun fire, or a purple lightning type energy.

 →  Read the rest