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Jonathan Holmes avatar 9:55 PM on 02.09.2010  (server time)
Quickblog- Tomena Sanner and Blaster Master: Overdrive impressions

As a non-fan of Bioshock and God of War, I wasn't sure what I was going to be playing this week. I've played No More Heroes 2 to death, and I've noticed that everyone online is getting much better than me at Tatsunoko Vs Capcom. I still have Bayonetta to play through, but for some reason, I'm having a lapse of interest in the game.

Luckily, not one, but two interesting WiiWare gmaes came out on Monday. Here's what I think of them.

Tomena Sanner

Imagine Guitar Hero, but give yourself only one fret to play. Now turn it on it's side so that the notes are coming at you from the right side of the screen instead of the top, and replace the "strum area" where you wait for the notes to go before you strum with break dancing businessman, and the notes with farting giraffe men, hellish demons, housewives, and Frankensteins, and you have Tomena Sanner.

*The game really grew on me. At first, it seemed like a one trick pony, but the more I played it, the more I loved it. There is actually a lot of non-linear stuff going on here, multiple paths, ways to beat levels, get points, etc.

*The game consists of 12 levels, plus an endless mode, a Turbo mode, and 2-4 player competitive mode. There are also online leaderboards. Playing through the game through on single player mode is really just scratching the surface.

* I laughed a lot when playing the game by myself.

* I laughed even more when playing with friends. It's a game that anyone can pick up and try, and depending on their reaction time, they may get good at it really quickly.Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to attack each other, Mario Kart style, so the tables can turn at any second.

*The best part is, even when you screw up, you'll be entertained. The game is packed with unique animations, for success and failure.

*My only complaint about the game is that the soundtrack sometimes seems a bit uninspired.

*To sum up, it's the best five bucks I've spent on a videogame in a while. The game is a testament to how easilily random events, comedy, twitch-reflex gameplay, and simple, iconic characters can make an experience addicting. If you like any of those things, totally buy this game.

Blaster Master:Overdrive

* It's not a remake of Blaster Master. The music is the same (sort ofs, the core gameplay is the same, a few power-ups return, and some of the enemies and bosses are reminiscent of the original, but other than that, everything is different.

* Like with Tomena Sanner, I wasn't totally sold on the game at first. I actually found my initial five minutes with the game to be sort of painful. It sounds and looks much worse than the NES original (to my 8bit-trained eyes anyway).

* Things get a lot more fun once you get some power-ups. In the overhead sections, you have three weapons at all time. You can switch between them on the fly. They all have specific purposes (some enemies can only be killed with some weapons, etc). This adds a lot of depth to the combat, which in the original game could feel a little mindless.

* I've only beaten two bosses so far, and obtained two power-ups for the jeep-tank. One is a grappling hook sort of thing, and the other is the "hover" attachment from the original game. Both have their uses, but neither is game-breaking like some of the power-ups in the original. Hover has been toned down a lot, and is now just sort of a glide move.

* It took me about an hour to get that far. In that time, I've seen about four areas, but only fought bosses in two, meaning the other two definitely have more to show me.

* The best thing about the game so far is that it feels really non-linear, more so than even the original game, and way more so than recent Metroid-type games like Shadow Complex or the Metroid-vanias. In Blaster Master: Overdrive, you really have no idea where the hell you're going or what your doing. It truly feels like your exploring. You have a map this time, but because the game never tells you where to go, you can still feel lost. That makes it all the more surprising when you suddenly discover a new path, or bump into a giant boss. It's very old school, but in a good way.

* The save system is punishing. It feels like classic Resident Evil, but without the ink ribbons, but more random. Unlike almost every game ever, you cannot always save right before fighting a boss. So far, every save room I've found has been in an out-of-the-way corner of a room, randomly placed for my eventual discovery.

*All in all, I like the game so far, but I don't love it like I do the original, or other sequel/remakes like Bionic Commando Rearmed. It's definitely got different strengths and weaknesses than Konami's Rebirth games, but since I love the Rebirth games, I'm not sure it that's a good thing. I look forward to playing through the whole thing, and seeing how much better (or worse) it gets.

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