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Hello there, I'm just some teenage kid who likes games, and likes to talk about them. I plan on mostly doing reviews of newer games and opinion pieces on the current going-ons in the industry.

I have another blog at NigmaBox Where I do random game and anime reviews. No longer posting them here, because I like writing, but not posting. I also am doing a narrative that is somewhat fanfiction with some Dtoid people, somewhat internet critique, but mostly insanity, check it out Here.

I am winging everything that I do, so if I mess up please tell me, although please be kind about it. Since I always assume the worse when I read text from another person and have to force myself to read and respond you the comments of you lovely people, because I am a wimp like that.
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As I try to make clear in most of what I do, I love things that are weird, odd, unique, eccentric, or just plain old different. So when I see a game that looks to have a unique angle from it, with a studio whose previous Xbox Live Indie Games I enjoyed, it makes sense for me to schedule a review slot for it. But does this wild looking title shine through, or is it just a nice coat of paint that makes the titles sound even stupider? Letís find out and also see if my quality of reasoning degrades under a self-imposed deadline! Yay for trying to be topical!

Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit Review
Release Date: 26/9/2012
Platforms: XBLA(Reviewed), PC, PSN
Developer: Arkedo Studios
Publisher: Sega

First, let me explain what I could gather about this gameís history. Arkedo was working for a publisher who was limiting their creativity and they wanted some creative freedom from their dull lives, and started work on an anarchic project that became Hell Yeah! And after they realized this anger filled project could be something people would buy, they went to Sega in order to help give them some guidance with their chaotic project. And since the staff was forced to make lots of cute things, they wanted the game to be centered about killing and enslaving them.

The gameís plot is fairly simple, you play as Ash, an undead rabbit who is the king of hell after he murdered his father. But Ash is also a ďsexual deviantĒ, god it hurts to type those words, who likes ducks, and some swanky photos of him and his duck got leaked to the ďhellternetĒ and he needs to kill the 100 demons who viewed them. It is fairly simple, and is centered more around the frame work for its style than normal storytelling. However the little bits of dialog all seem to fall flat.

You are an angry cute character going through a world in which you kill cute things, how hard is it to just give him a few dialog cues and a few witty lines that someone voiced. Iím sorry, interrupting a game that is primarily centered on action through text boxes makes me just want to skip past them. I had this same problem with Moon, but seeing as how this game is suppose to be humorous, I just find it hard to care about what is going on with the world. I am one of the few people who love little bits of lore, yet when you have 100 entries about the demons I killed and their former lives, some of them are bound to sound samey, and you will get bored of reading all of them

However, Arkedoís never been huge on the story, so maybe the gameplay can help this title stay afloat. Sadly, that is not the case, but it could be fixed in a remarkably simple fashion. To quickly summarize, this is a platformer where you move around on a mix between a buzz saw, tire, and jetpack. Although, when you are not leaping, drilling, and sawing through foes and hazards, you are shooting at foes with the right stick to aim. However, there are two massive oversights with the shooting that could be fixed in about a day of work, tops.

First of all, the jump button, which you use a lot seeing as how you have a jetpack, is the A button, and you cannot remap your controls on the console version. So if you want to shoot and fire your weapon at the same time, enjoy jumping with your tilted left index finger. Secondly, the gameís camera is in too close, 90% of the time. Now, I have this gripe with a lot of titles, yet here it is just pathetic. You see, by pressing the right bumper, you can pause the action and zoom out the map. And since enemies can attack from offscreen, they are clearly rendering them through the map, if not then why would the loading screens be 10-15 seconds long for a 2D platformer? But I might be able to deal with that, except for how firing off screen results in your weaponís fire being destroyed.

I need to question whether or not anyone tested a game when I see problems as simple as these. They are not intricate schemes. I mean, I nearly failed my AP Computer Science class, and I could at least remap control inputs. And you barely ever zoom out, so it being activated by the A button would really not change anything for it. Well, it would make the three demons that you kill by using it harder to kill. Yes, three of the 100 ďuniqueĒ foes in this game are killed just by pressing one button. Hell, there are about six guys who run around and need to be juggled by sawing into them. And even then, none of the battles with these colorful beasts are all that memorable. I mean, I ended up accidentally killing about 10 of them.

But hereís the kicker, after you kill these cute neon... They have no consistent theme, so Iíll just call them things. You get to play a little Warioware style minigame. Now, I actually enjoyed Warioware quite a bit with the first GBA title and the DIY DS one. And my favorite thing with these was practicing them so I could get a long combo going. So when it turns out there are only about 30 or so of these, with them only being one per demon, I was a bit disappointed. That, and they can be a lot harder to understand, since the one word prompt is trying to be funny, and they have to deal with several buttons, rather than just doing it with two at its most complex point.

After plowing through this title within 3 days, which totaled at about 10 hours, I can hardly even remember what the beginning of the game was like. All of these little annoyances like money you collect for personalized items, the abundance of insta-kill spikes, because they are just wonderful and fair. The somewhat floaty controls, where every jump is a leap of faith, because the developers donít understand that jetpacks fire in bursts. It all becomes one great blur on minor design errors that make this really feel like it was designed by people who had no idea what they were doing.

Granted, this game is at least 10 times more complex than Arkedoís other titles, with things like multiple weapon slots and an entire metagame where you use your slayed foes as day laborers, in a main menu option known as the island. Let alone a few dozen customizable one piece outfits, and multiple coverings for your buzz saw. So I should feel some understanding that the gameplay is very rough, and I might be willing to, since the game can get pretty intense and fun when the invincibility frames are not being reduced to less than a secondís worth. It is just a mess of ideas that could fit, but donít really mesh well. And the same could be said for the visuals.

Now, I absolutely adore 2D art, to the point where I find Rayman Origins to be the best looking videogame of all time. And I will say that all styles are fine in my book, yet Arkedoís art direction always felt a bit off to me. I think the game is trying to be as cute as it can be so the blood splatters feel all the more potent, by the way, this is somehow a T rated game. But it is almost to the point where it just gets annoying. I love primary colors and things that are both disgusting and adorable, yet these deformed creatures just look like random doodles from the artist, with no real consistency or quality control, just the first 100 miniboss ideas they could muster up.

Now, I wouldnít call them especially poorly designed, some look great for the minute they are alive but with the entire world being a stylized rainbow mesh that is trying to be as colorful as possible, the entire game starts looking bland later on. It is somehow both anarchic and very, very safe, trying to wallow in the fact they are killing monsters that are very cute, and it just gets dull the tenth time you do it. Moderation is the key to impact, keeping a superb engagement flow of peaks and valleys is how you keep an audience, but here it is always on, and always hitting either the same or very similar notes.

I do actually like some of the tracks, with the second area and the happy-happy worlds having either a very cool beat, or a French woman seeing a song that oozes TwistedPixelís style. Yet the entire game could benefit more from getting some voice work than nearly any other I could think of. Seriously, the game is ripe for a psychotic sounding French guy to voice Ash and cackle as a madman, while tearing up insects and... Seriously, what the hell are these designs? And donít worry about subtitles, this game is suppose to be insane, and another languageís direct translation would already sound wonderfully mad for people who donít speak French, and just the fun kind of mad for those who do.

To condense this into something that is just 3 pages in length, I am actually shocked at the final product of Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit. Not by the fact the game is bad, since there is some fun to be had in small doses. Rather how the title has so much that could be done well that seems so easy in hindsight. It did not frustrate me as much as some other titles, but I certainly was not smiling a lot during it. From the relatively boring visuals, the lack of sound clips that would enhance a game like this tremendously, the repetitive gameplay, and a stupidly short blink time, I cannot recommend it either. It is what I call a failed shuttle of a game, one that can only be learned from, but is really not worth playing. perhaps a designer can find some interesting lessons about planning ahead, but for the average buyer, it falls downhill after the demo. Feeling mishandled at the best of times, and processed at the worst.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
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I have heard that it is a better stance to be indifferent toward everything from the start, in order to prevent disappointment. However, if you are indifferent towards entertainment from the initial standpoint, why would you ever bother purchasing it, when you are not able to portray an emotion towards it, good or bad. I say this because I was fairly excited for this game and it did indeed let me down, yet by how much? When I break down this game on paper, it sounds like a prime contender for one of the best of all time, so by default it must be a disappointment, but how so and how much? Letís dive on in!

Jet Set Radio HD Review
Release Date: 19(18)/09/2012
Platforms: XBLA(Reviewed), Playstation 3/Vita, PC, iOS, Android
Developer: SmileBit, ported by Blit Software
Publisher: Sega

Set in the semi-futuristic city of Tokyo-To, a wave of graffiti spraying roller skaters, referred to as Rudies, have been assaulting this town with their creative expressions. You play as members of one of the gangs, the GGs, who are trying to obtain more territory over the city so that they could spray it with more of their art and style. Thus begins a struggle for power involving several themed gangs and their eventual stumbling onto a massive corporation that is trying to take over this city and bring on the lack of individuality.

Yeah, Japan has this thing where, and Iím paraphrasing someone with more knowledge than me, the end of high school brings forth a life that shuns creativity and desires every worker to just be a machine who spends literally half of their life working. Taking refuge in a spouse early on, in order to plant the seeds of their next kin, and repeat this cycle all over again. So they need to make media that reflect that fun time, hence their love of characters in high school.

However, beyond my first paragraph, the game is very lean on things like plot. You see, instead of seeing the characters do anything, this game tells us what happened through an eccentric DJ known as Professor K, the only character with more than 30 seconds of voice clips. So right out the gate it provides a pretty solid and, at least in recent years, formulaic set up, but then drops the ball and does something that breaks the first rule of filmmaking, let alone gaming. Now, I am attracted to this gameís lore like iron to a magnet, so it was incredibly saddening when I discovered that the 10 or so characters you get through the story mode, the changing antagonists, and a lot of the world itself, all feel very basic and flat. I understand limitations and the expected level of story, but would it kill them to include a paragraph to describe every character?

They all have a unique design, so I am attracted to learning about them, but I am not really given anything. Subtleties within gameplay are a great way to learn about characters, but they all feel pretty much the same, and there is not a lot of incentive other than how many spray cans and health these characters can hold. I understand removing a learning curve with all characters, yet this is not a good way at making everyone feel like any more than a skin. I only complain because of how much I care about seeing this world be fleshed out, but the entire plot of this game is the cliffnotes of a modern gameís plot, which just makes the potential feel utterly wasted in the narrative sense.

But hey, this game is trying to pull off an arcadey vibe, so I can understand having a brief plot, I guess, and the gameplay would be where this title really needs to stand out. As stated prior, the game centers on a gang of roller skating youngsters who like to graffiti things beneath arrows. As explained through both the game itself and its hard as crap tutorial, because discouraging you by telling you to do a 50 part combo is a great way to get you to teach you the ropes. Every normal level of the game has the same goal of stylishly getting to spray points through grinding on rails and doing jumps and wall runs. You gather around spray cans so you can spray more points and enter the QTE, which actually do sorta feel like spray painting something, required for them.

However, there are really only three large areas where you search for things to spray with your customizable graffiti, but all of them depict a different time of say and section of the city. Sure, you have two large urban areas with a very nifty pier and housing section, but I actually had a blast going through and memorizing how to best get through these areas, although sometimes I feel as if I shouldnít have. You see, during the later levels, the game limits the number of spray can to just being one or two areas, and since these places are, in the end mostly linear. You need to either try to power through the areas or skip through a bunch of it in order to spray the larger sections, which take more time and leave you vulnerable to attacks from police officers, helicopters with machine guns, katana wielding afro men, and machine gun jetpackers. It sounds pretty awesome, but this is what I classify as a Flow Game, which is a title more about style and finesse, rather than just going through it without getting your ass kicked too much. So getting hit often due to some tricky to dodge machine gun fire. And with some hard to make jumps, it is easy to feel like you just suck at the title.

The game also does not allow you to quickly reset a stage unless you die or the 10-15 minute timer runs up, which it did a ton for a few stages. This lead to scenarios where I spent 3 hours desperately trying to get through one single level because I couldnít get the wall run to work properly, and guys were whipping my Asian girlís ass. Now, this could just be due to how I suck at games, which I kinda do. I couldnít get the last purple coin rolling mission in Super Mario Galaxy 2 or beat Cave Storyís hell level. But Iím pretty sure that it is due to how the physics of this game are, well, kinda crap. And not the controls as some have said, the only problem with them is how the spray button repositions the camera, which disorients you up while spraying moving targets.

This game originally came out in 2000, before Havok and Unreal were used for 60% of games, and in house engines were made for pretty much a game by game basis. Pair it off with the fact that the only game like this, Tony Hawk Pro Skater, was set in part specifically made for skating, and it is easy to see why traversing the streets of Tokyo-To can be difficult. But it still feels like crap a ton of the time. I am no expert on physics in any regard, but the way that speed can just be completely lost like it is here, just feels wrong. As do the moon jumps which can be a pain if you want to keep your speed while grinding, and not making an ass out of yourself.

It is hard to explain, but it is not comfortable to traverse this world, when you can screw it up this easily. The challenge should not be in execution, it should be in using the mechanics to build up enough points to get a high rating if that is your thing. And having sharp corners in a game that requires you to be smooth, along with little gaps you need to awkwardly jump over, a bit of a misfire in level design. Now, I like how it looks like a city that could exist, the game is cel-shaded, you can get away with things that are stylized.

Oh yes, the cel-shading. I will go on record by saying that cel-shading is one of the greatest things to happen to gaming since it came into 3D. It is actually very saddening to see there being so few titles that bother to use this. I am aware that people prefer to use preset shaders, since they are easier than making several new ones. But so far, Borderlands 2 and the The Darkness 2 have been some of the best looking games of this year, because they decide to adapt a style that ages really, really well. Hell, as a title that came out in 2000 for the Dreamcast, the game looks a bit low in terms of polygons, and could use some more environments, but still looks great despite that. The vibrant colors, great looking character models, and surprisingly busy world all make for a game that, despite the lack of polygons, is one of the best looking 3D games Iíve seen.

And the music is also pretty great, taking a good amount of up-tempo tracks that manage to fit the vibrant and lively look if the title to a near fault. And considering that the soundtrack contains everything from J-Pop, Jazz, Rock, Electronic, and funk, it is impressive how going from one song to another does not have any large tonal shift. Iím pretty sure there is a song or two missing, but even as a collection of 28, although some might be cut due to regions, but I think that was amended, it is varied, upbeat, and always picked me up when the physics and level design disagreed on how I should do an action.

Through the glasses of modernity, I can still declare Jet Set Radio to be a game that is good, yet owes a lot to the positively lovely aesthetic sense it has. The wonderful style of the skater culture the game is influenced from, and the sheer brilliance of the very concept help forgive a lot. While the story is underbaked and pretty poorly executed despite a cool narrator , and the physics are kinda broken, especially with the way the levels can be set up, do break the flow the game relies on. But the satisfaction of getting things to work properly, and the fact the game stay so damn happy throughout, help make the title worth playing.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
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This is a response to the utter rage over the DmC reboot and reactions like, well, this. I felt like giving my two cents about the issue, because I don't see my views being shown in this whole... kerfuffle.So read my words if you feel like it, since it'd make me happy!

To be honest, I kinda understand where people are coming from with the character design.Now, I am not much of a fan of the original Dante's design, so I don't think I have a major bias towards the old design. At the same time, I don't think this redesign is all that good. When you break it down, the new Dante is a lean guy with brown hair, a white tank top, jeans, and a red jacket. In terms of character design, it is really just cutting back the muscles and making it look a bit more realistic. However, he doesn't look overly appealing as a character in a game where you use weapons to beat up monsters.I had a similar problem with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the developer's previous title. Where the main character was just a muscled guy with some weird spiky hair. If you showed me just that, I'd think the actual design was pretty lame. However, I ended up enjoying all the characters in that game for one simple reason, they were given character. You see, the appearance of a character in a primarily visual medium is still important, but it is not necessarily a deal breaker. For example, just look at the wave of nondescript movie stars in games aspointed out by good old Jonathan Holmes. None of them are very appealing to look at, yet my good, and pretty much only, friend adores the character of Nathan Drake warts and all. So why would it matter that Dante looks like Travis Touchdown if his lost the shades and got all of his outfit from a bin?

Seriously, am I the only one who noticed this?

Or looking into, say, Silent Hill 2, the main character looks just like a regular dude, but how many people fell in love with his character? Hell, all live action media requires very simple character design that you will only remember if the character itself is good. And even with a character who doesn't seem likable, that doesn't mean that the game will suck, since based on this, and the other trailers, the environments look wonderful and gameplay looks like a blast. It is healthy to utilize caution with redesigns, but at least give the game a chance until you call in garbage. If you really want a reason to hate the game, pull out the whole anti-Capcom spiel. They throw coffee at employees, they don't let you go to the hospital if you feel like you're going to have a heart attack. They overburden their employees and make them beg for not doing the impossible. They have development teams of 600, and expect their title to sell 7 million because of it. Those are good reason to not buy a title. I am not trying to say that you shouldn't play it since it looks great and my town's tax dollars are so going towards it. But if you are going to hate something and not buy it because of it, don't bitch that a character is changing their hair from platinum blonde to brown. Besides, his old character is pretty dated nowadays, so they're at least identifying that and are doing something different.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve. Like my work? Check out my personal blog, NigmaBox, if you want to see more.
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I enjoyed 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, and Ghost Trick Phantom Detective, So it would make sense that I would end up playing the most well known visual novel for the DS, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney! But is this series of murder cases interesting enough to have me search through the series? Letís find out!

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Review
Release Date: 11/10/2005
Platforms: DS(Reviewed), GBA, WiiWare, iOS
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom
Price I Paid: $14

The game centers around Phoenix Wright, a rookie defense attorney during his first trial. His job consists of three tasks, searching around crime scenes to steal little knickknacks, showing people everything in his pocket, and pointing out contradictions in witnessís testimonies via evidence. However, he is a newbie, and always need the help of his tutor Mia Fey, and she is needed in every single case. And I do mean all five of them And even when she is nowhere around, he still has epiphanies about her telling him what to do. I think that might be a way of showing how he defend murder suspect himself, but it makes him feel incompetent. And he really isnít since the trials you get into become simple murder, to elaborate schemes spanning a decade of deception and destroyed evidence.

The game keeps on saying how he needs to get 3 years under his belt, but he seems to be just as good, since he mostly engages against a somewhat ruthless prosecutor, MIles Edgeworth. Serving as the closest thing to an enemy in this game, Edgey has over two years of very successful experience, and he gets foiled every time you meet him. I appreciate that they are establishing him and not having a bunch of adversaries, but seeing as how colorful the supporting cast of suspects and witnesses is, I must wonder why they feared to add more. This is the exception to my rule of keeping the character count low, from the hyperactive kid who has been held back twice, the 1337 5934k1ng film director, and the cartoonishly overconfident posh final boss. Well, heís the final boss of the fourth case, but the fifth one was added for this remake, since this was a GBA title. And guess what? It has next to nothing to do with the first three titles.

Speaking of characters, to juxtapose Phoenixís straight man logic based approach that is not afraid to joke, we have a hyperactive 17-year-old sidekick. Miaís sister, Maya Fey is a spirit medium who, and this is fairly common knowledge, so I donít feel bad about spoiling it, channelís her... Well endowed older sister so that she can talk to Phoenix and present withheld evidence. And moving to the gameplay, that is something that really ticks me off about certain items in this game, more than once, you lose a piece of paper that you could have just as easily copied the document, and you wouldnít have lost it. This also applies into the contradiction search, which is called cross-examining. There are a lot of descriptions that request them to do things in a certain way, and for presenting a related piece of evidence, I was penalized by losing one of my five points. Writing a very precise cross examinations would take hours upon hours just to write for a game like this, but who uses the term, ďsound the clock,Ē when the clock states the audio of the time?

But the actual writing has a lot of clever twists, funny lines, great characterization, and it keeps on feeling fresh even though you repeat the pattern of, search for stuff and talk to chaps, use your evidence in court, leave and find more info, over 15 times. But the actual searching part amounts to just placing a cursor on something, move to another room when you ran out of stuff to do, and hope the green text appears to state the area, because that means you are on the right track.

And I understand having a linear path structure, but most areas feel jumbled together, rather than important sections in a city. A simple map system could have remedied this, since that at least gives you a sense of location. However, regardless of the lack of gameplay in these parts, it is where you get the majority of the character bits, and the constant revelations do push me through figuring out what was going on that boat on Christmas Eve, and why people think thereís a loch ness monster here.

But the cross examinations in the courtroom remind me a lot about the puzzles from Portal 2. You have all the time you need, but if you do manage to get the contradiction right, the sense of satisfaction is most certainly noteworthy. Especially because of how on the surface level, the cases should be done within a day, rather than three, which is the maximum for cases in Japan, I think. Well maybe not, since the game takes place in 2016, where black and white photos are the norm.

Visually this is still a GBA title, except for the final case which has 3D models and touch screen segments. However, due to the nature of visual novels, they are allowed to be very well drawn and this game offers one of the best mixes between realistic proportions, and anime style expressions. And while limited, the animation is very smooth, but I praise a 2D game for having more than two mouth movements per characters, so maybe itís not that great, but it is very distinct in the designs of the characters, and the backgrounds look lovely, so that must amount for something. Oh, and the music is pretty great as well. There are only a few tracks, but all of them are memorable, grant the title personality, and enhance the mood. A sound cue and screen shake can really help the mood a lot, and when you are basically taking a script and putting it into a game, you pretty much need that to justify it.

Overall, Phoenix Wright impressed me. The gameplay is what I refer to as the good kind of repetitive, where the structure remains the same, but the set pieces are good enough to hold it through to the end. It also does something that I really enjoy seeing from a game, make you feel really smart when you figure out what is wrong with the information provided to you. And while you can often be overloaded with supplies, especially during the last case, that just amplifies the feeling of accomplishment.

The characters you interact with are memorable and very expressive, with each of them having a clear personality by the end, and I do mean every character to have a very well drawn series of animation cells. Tie that in with memorable music that Iíve been humming since I started playing, and sound cues that make it feel like a waste of time to play the game without them, and you have a very well done package that is more than good enough for me to dive into the other 4 games we got thus far. Well, when I find them for cheap.

Have a positive or negative response? Please leave one below, it's the only way I'll improve.
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3:59 PM on 09.12.2012

I tend to use the site Glyde for a ton of my impulse buys, because the price is cheap, and they sell both new and used titles. It is basically a less jerkish, more pro-consumer version of Gamestop. So I ended up finding this little title for cheap, and picked it up. From developer Renegade Kid, who I know as the guys who made Mutant Mudds, got their start making FPSes for the DS, with this being their second one. And as somebody who always thought a simplistic DPS could work well on the DS, can this result in a forgotten gem, or is the idea of an FPS on the DS a very stupid idea in reality? You know the drill!

Moon Review
Release Date: 13/1/2009
Platform: DS
Developer: Renegade Kid
Publisher: Mastiff

Why would you pick a name as broad as Moon for your game? No subtitle or anything, no extra words at all? Nobody had trouble searching for the game? Whatever, the year is 2058, and man has several bases on the Earthís moon, which they are planning on colonizing while preparing the same for Mars. You are some guy named Ed Kane, a military person who was called in to investigate an anomaly. And we know the plot, aliens wreck your stuff, you have an officer telling you what is going on, and it is up to you to save the world. This is textbook stuff, but then we got to the truth that aliens have been kidnapping humans and smelting them into tubes of... Stuff, that increases a personís vitality and makes them more athletic. Other than that, I could barely make it out. There are disjointed boxes of text that tell you some backstory, but interrupting an FPS with text never really bodes well.

But hey, Painkiller had a moronic story, and it is considered to be one of the best FPSes in the past decade. And did anyone care about the plot of Doom? No, they wanted to shoot demons in the face! But those only represent one third of what I consider to be the FPS paradigm. On one hand, you have your Serious Sam and Borderlands, games about the fun of the frantic shooter gameplay. On the other, you have your Half-Life 2 and Bioshock, games with a sense of survival and carry a strong narrative. And the other one is the multiplayer focused games, mostly having to do with war, the most boring subject matter ever made, unless it is in space, but space makes everything better. So where would I place Moon? Well, at the beginning, it felt a lot slower paced and had a more narrative focus than the plot would have me believe. But by the end of it, I was fighting an indescribable alien by shooting circular explosions at him.

So we have an indecisive title that wants to marry these two warring cousins, while not bothering with the one who was raised by children who consider war to be the ultimate joy. As such, I am a little conflicted when describing the gameplay. You only have seven weapons, ammo is limited for the most part, and there are exploration elements for upgrades. But on the other hand, enemies drop a ton of ammo, take the default weapons hits like you are shooting them with a BB gun, and they are floating metal eyes, golems, and robotic spiders. And speaking of the default weapon, for something called the Super Assault Rifle, it has a hard time killing rat sized bugs in more than 3 shots. I appreciate how it has infinite ammo, but that just made me try to use it for the majority of the game. I only used the other weapons during the last chapters of this gameís 17. Oh yes, and when a chapter that takes me nearly an hour is followed by one that takes me about 3 minutes, you might want to fix something.

But back to the exploration, the areas are linear corridors that occasionally have a small door that you main character cannot get inside, since he can only move, shoot, open doors, pick up ammo and ammo upgrades, and open doors. So Mr. Kane needs to find an RC car called a RAD, which looks like an alien form when you are controlling it, that can stun enemies, and temporarily flip switches. You use it a lot, but even during the five or so dungeons in the game, this puzzle was used to death. I understand maintaining the usefulness of an item, but I would like to see one area where the only secrets arenít hidden behind an orange door that needs to have a switch shot before I can get my alien artifacts for a VR mission Iíll never play.

There are also vehicle sections, where you drive around in a car with a laser gun, and it controls like a literal brick. Despite being on the moon, it is controls like it is very heavy, and just doesnít want to turn, instead it want to run into yellow indestructible mine put out by your colleagues. And we only see this three times, making i feel like it couldíve been cut, and all weíd lose would be a chapter or two. And speaking of the chapters, why is the boss a chapter separate from the dungeon? They average at about 5 minutes, and just make the game look longer than it actually is.

I also have gripes about the results contain something known as merits, but it never says what they are. I missed three during my run, but I thoroughly explored the area, well what I could access. There is often an inaccessible area on the map that just holds a set piece, meaning that you can never really clear out a map. It has no real purpose, but why even include it the set piece area on the map? I feel really annoyed when I beat a boss, but canít clear their room, since there is a foot high ledge around the area that most of them sit in.

The enemies are pretty run of the mill, as stated earlier, and only fire projectiles that are pretty much always in a pattern, and only get annoying when you are in a cramped area and you are hoping that you pink space suit steps on a full heal item, which looks just like the minor heal items, which look just like a certain type of ammo. Seriously, this thing is the difference between dying and beating the bosses with your eyes closed. You are down to your last hit, step on some compressed human turned into juice, and are back to 100% health.

Speaking of bosses, these are some of the worst bosses Iíve fought in a while. The bosses are blatantly recycled, so Iím not spoiling much. There is one robot with four arms that you first encounter around columns, so you hide behind them and take potshots at his flashing red weak points. The you meet him again, but you have no columns, and it spins around to fire in every direction, and he kicked my buns like they were stale egg rolls. Then there was a rotating column that shot the same large and easy to touch balls of energy that every enemy uses, but if you stay back, his balls evaporate and your assault rifle can still hit him. And when you take out all four panels covering him, it is a giant yellow pillar that shoots four thin lasers at once, but you can still hide from them. Or at least I hope so, since before I developed this strategy, I had to travel the preceding area 4 times because there is no save point before this bass.

And in a later area, you need to fight three of them as separate minibosses. Except they no longer spin, and now toss grenades that have a stupidly large range. So it is again with the potshots between those and the three balls it fires. And then you fight one again, as the second to last boss. Only difference is that he has more health. But the worst boss needs to be the rolling one. Now, I defeat this boss in many ways. I got his face stuck between terrain and fire at it with your assault rifle. Then I had it ram into me, stuck in a loop, but never actually dealing damage, when it shouldíve cut off a third of my health. And I simply circle strafe around it, while it did not roll at all. This is what you call greatly designed enemy AI. It is the kind of stuff that allows me to shoot odd a spider turrets feet while it is behind is corner, and somehow kill it. And a lot of bosses are protected by an eyeball door, kind of like the one in Metroid. Except this guy takes 3 minutes to kill, while I am standing still, holding the L button, not even touching the bottom screen to aim. This is what you call a pointless obstacle, since if I just use my infinite Assault Rifle that destroys its projectiles, I cannot be defeated by this thing.

Speaking of Metroid, there are three instances where Kane needs to escape a base or get to a location before a timer dings. This is a staple of the Metroid series, often done after the final boss, but they do not do that here, and there is no tension or challenge to leaving an area after you just did that twice with a lot of time left to go. The first time was pretty cool, with enemies firing at you, and you tried to keep them back while making it out of the area. But seeing the playable character carefully get out of a land rover is just boring, and distracts from the fact that you are being timed. These are like the Moon traveling, pointless and forgotten come the end.

So there is a lot of pointless crap, the difficulty curve is like a rollercoaster, and the shooting in unsatisfying, but how about the audio-visual stuff? The game does indeed pull of some of the best 3D on the DS, but there is a very notable fog, enemy filching is hard to notice, and everywhere looks the same. And as for technical stuff, it is impressive based on the hardware, but there is so much technology littering the corridors, that I was actually killed over 15 times by a boss, just because the wall was filled with holes that led to square pillars trapping me between some lasers. Just looking at it while the game is in motion, makes my eyes drawn away from the scenery, and therefore the world, destroying any hope of immersion. As for the music, it could work, but it dissolves into soulless electronic garbage that is just noise while you kill enemies. Early on, there was atmosphere, a sense of powerlessness, but it is hard to feel weak with a space rocket launcher!

As a whole, Moon is a mix between the run and gun shooters of old, and the resourceful shooter of yesteryear, but the actual shooting lacks any weight. There is a stupidly jagged difficulty curve, and so much unneeded crap is used to fatten this game up into 8 hours. The game is also pretty ugly and would be better if there was nearly no music, just ambiance noise. It is certainly interesting, but that means crap unless the product is still moderate quality. Moon is certainly worth observing, but I can not say that it is fun. There is a glimmer of some better game between its cracks. There are good ideas, but compensation due to the DSí limitations have resulted in a slightly below average product. It was worth playing, but then it declined far into mediocrity, if not deeper.

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5:15 PM on 09.10.2012

Oddly enough, I am willing to publish a review I made in June, but not ones published on my other blog, NigmaBox, before August. Funny how that works.

Ubisoft, what the hell were you thinking with this title? It is odd enough that you would decide to release a 2D platformer, a sub-genre that has been reduced to downloadable titles unless it stars an Italian plumber, at retail for $60. But you release it on the busiest day of the busiest month in the industry? On the same day as your own Assassin's Creed Revelations? You developed an engine to make this game, so you were trying to toss it into the lionís den? Well, jokeís on you, this game not only survived the lions, but it crashed into your office looking for more work. This is Rayman Origins, my favorite 2D platformer of this generation, if not all of time!

Rayman Origins Review
Release Date: 15/11/2011
Platforms: Xbox 360(Reviewed), Playstation 3, Wii, PC, PS Vita, 3DS
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Publisher: Ubisoft

The game opens with Rayman, some big blue slap happy frog thing, and some little blue guys known as Teensies, munching on fruit and snoring so loud that it wakes up some old people who are under the Earthís crust, and they end up taking over the world so the noise will stop. It is so stupid that is is great, and the game never goes off in a direction where the plot feels out of place. All you are really doing is saving busty fairies and letting them grant you powers so that you can make your way through the 11 areas in this game.

But kicking the narrative in the head, letís talk about the gameplay. It is a fluent platformer that thankfully has the dash button be a shoulder button, because my least favorite part of 2D Mario games in how Nintendo never realizes that humans might prefer that option. You run, jump, punch, and glide through over 60 stages with secrets and a bunch of little yellow lums to collect so that you get prizes in the form of character skins. I cannot begin to describe how smooth the control is, never feeling slippery or tight, and it only comes close when you are running on ice. And I must applaud the game for having the best underwater controls that I have ever seen in a 2D platformer, mostly due to the fact that you actually swim rather than float around like a ball of fat or move with less gravity.

From the frantic wall running, the careful jumps where you must manage the distance with your ability to glide, and the occasional mosquito 2D shooter section, the game manages to feel fresh for an amazingly long amount of time. This is somewhat surprising, since you really only go through vibrant jungles with the best looking 2D water that I have seen in a game, didgeridoo filled windy deserts, fiery kitchens, giant freezers, a mellow sea, and some steampunk final areas. The themes are simple, but there is always a bit of an angle that makes the areas feel distinct from other games of a similar nature. But now I must talk about this game's amazing visuals.

Iíll admit that I am a sucker for 2D art, since I feel like I can never create it, while 3D art seems easier to make. But this game still looks wonderful, with a very unique and lively style that oozes with personality from every single frame. From the normal goons you fight, to the simple act of running on grass or getting hit. I actually feel bad for not having a massive TV to display this game on. Everything looks like a quick and jagged sketch after a team of artists polished it until it shined. And even though the game uses something similar to flash animation, it still feels far more livelier than a lot of games that use motion capturing for the majority of their animations. Every expression is lively and it feels like care was placed in every cell of every frame of this polished, but not necessarily professional style.

And the music! It is on par with the visuals in creating an atmosphere of pure fun! From the catchy beats and the overall oddness of it all, mixing many styles, from the lovely chime when you get double Lums for a few seconds, to the calming gibberish of the wonderful water levels. The tense sounds of some of the massive bosses, to the mix of westerns and didgeridoos in the desert area, it all sounds amazing. And if anything, it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it. I actually have trouble finding any complaints with the game, from the creative and expressive enemies, the massive bosses that animate beautifully, so you want to just see what their next animation phase is, even though you died 8 times thus far. And the wonderfully structured treasure chest levels, with everything moving like an amazingly well done Rube Goldberg machine, with collapsing structures that you need to interact with while dashing at insane speeds. One slip up in your quest and bam, back to the beginning!

The only thing that some might dislike it's the difficulty, but this game does something so sadly uncommon that it creates limitless amounts of ecstasy when I see a game where when I die for 3 hours straight, and want to keep playing. I feel like going back on in until I master the well structured challenge before me. I donít consider myself to be notably good at games, so the fact that me and my friend beat it 100%, it feels fantastic. Okay, Iím not counting the trophies and medals, but those I consider to be 101% and 102%, or in other words, pointless semantics. But I still got over 300 Lums in every normal level, found all secret rooms, cleared all the time trials, and it just feels wonderful to see how far I got in this beautifully designed, wonderful looking, and amazingly fun world.

Through a shifting development platform, and a bunch of assets going into a sequel, I am proud to have purchased this title a week after release, and play through it even though it took me about 7 months. many games can get annoying when you die for the twentieth time, but the lack of weight that the designers placed on the death really makes dying a minor hiccup in your journey to the end, and what a journey that is. It is an absolute joy to play a game so beautiful, so fair, and so much fun.

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