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9:17 PM on 05.20.2012

Goldeneye: Doubling Up

After years of playing Goldeneye for Nintendo 64, I was recently told that the game can be played using two controllers. I was doubtful, so I popped in the cartridge and opened the in-game menu. Indeed, there were control schemes that displayed pictures of two gray N64 controllers. I recollect seeing this option in years past, but I did not think anything of it. I had no clue that the option allowed the player to use two controllers simultaneously. I chose this and proceeded to pick up both controllers by the middle peninsular handle and began controlling Bond through Dam. What this is, is really an early version of what we see with dual stick controls in modern games. The creators of this game were so innovative that they created a dual stick control scheme when the controller had but one joystick. I was impressed to discover this. This little treat had been hiding from me and many others, I am sure, for years. The control scheme functions, but takes a little time to get used to. The novelty of playing with two controllers is definitely amusing; as I doubt there are many other games, if any, in the N64 library with this option. I found this to be quite interesting, and I encourage anyone who has access to a copy of the game and two controllers to try it out.   read

5:21 PM on 05.07.2012

Review: Triple Town

Triple Town is a fun and challenging game that offers players a pleasingly addictive puzzling experience that marks it as one of the best puzzlers that could be expected for iOS. Triple Town is based on a common match-three puzzle standard, yet branches out to incorporate unique elements that make for wholesome puzzle gameplay. Although, Triple Town lacks deviation from its basic functions, and skips out progressive goals or unlock able features that could enhance gameplay.

A player matches three objects to root a "town" by planting grass, bushes, and trees; that eventually convert huts into castles. Other than resource materials that are utilized to construct the player's settlement; Triple Town adds a challenging element that calls on town wandering and sporadically jumping ninja bears that attempt to clutter the player's blueprints. These anti-establishment bears produce gravestones once they are trapped. Gravestones that represent the passed bears may be tripled to form churches. However, besides confining the bears to a single space on the town's grid; the Imperial bot wipes a single plot that can be used to remove anything; including pesky bears and the gravestones they leave. The other single-use object besides the Imperial bot is the Crystal. The Crystal acts as a development shortcut for the player in which only two similar adjacent objects are required to triple and upgrade the respective object. The crystal can also fail if no two adjacent objects are similar and turn to stone. All items are available to purchase in game with earned or purchased coins.

Triple Town is free to download, but gameplay is restricted without the purchase of unlimited turns for $3.99. The purchase of unlimited turns essentially unlocks a full game with multiple map variants, enabled achievements, and unlimited turns. The $3.99 purchase is basically required in order to experience everything the game has to offer. Before purchasing unlimited turns, the free version acts as a demo allowing players to get an understanding of the game. The price of $3.99 may be a little so much so ask, but puzzle game fans should quickly find this to be an easy purchase. The purchase of coins is unnecessary, as they are easily earned by simply playing the game, and are not a required purchase in order to properly play the game.

The Triple Town plays well, the simple controls work and are accurate, the menus are efficient and easy to navigate, the tutorials are comprehendible, the multiple map variants add some variety to the gameplay, and will remain challenging with each attempt at successful town creation. However, the gameplay overall is relatively the same. The goals stays the same, even achievements are based on simply collecting more and more points with each session. The variance of the game is greatly dependent on player input, and lacks additional elements to unlock. Yet, the never-ending challenge of bettering a player's empire promotes fun and addictive gameplay that is sure to entertain and capture any puzzle-seeking iOS gamer's attention.

8.75/10   read

3:52 AM on 05.05.2012

Review: Mario Kart 7: Is 7 Really a Lucky Number?

Mario Kart 7 is yet another installment of the popular Mario branded cart racing game from Nintendo. It has the features that anyone who has played any of the franchise's titles would expect and enjoy, but not a whole lot more is offered outside of just being a new Mario Kart game.

It would be hard for one to admit that Mario Kart games are not loads of fun. With great competitive modes and enjoyable racing gameplay that has always been offered in the series; Mario Kart 7 is no exception. But, just because a game is great fun does not mean that it is properly fueled to reach a higher level of performance. Under the hood of the latest Mario Kart rig we have Mario Kart standard gameplay, some new characters, gliding, customizing, new courses, old courses, a new driving perspective, gyro steering, and improved online play, among others. Oh, and it can be played in 3D if one so desires. It is still Mario Kart and very similar to the rest of the series with some minor tune-ups. Gliding was a newly added aspect. Not necessarily something that was expected, or that fans were just dying to see, but it is new, and leaves a minor mark of change to the game. There are more characters, some of which are quite interesting, available to race as in Mario Kart 7; a feature that would be something to expect. The new courses were well designed with great concepts in mind that are unique compared to what has been seen from the series thus far. The courses from previous Mario Kart games were an appropriate addition and were fun to revisit in 3D. A first person driving perspective was added to the gameplay. Quite frankly, it just does not work in conjunction with how the game is played. Your plane of vision is cut down drastically to the point of inevitable hinderance. The gyro steering does work, but it is not necessarily efficient. Steering with the console itself is entertaining for about two laps. As the console moves, so does the screen; as the console and screen move it becomes difficult to play the game properly and one may become ill. The online racing modes are great and allow for many hours of racing fun. The matchmaking is actually functional, and you can play with friends with made-to-call rules. Overall, the features that were added are adequate, but there could have potentially been more noteworthy features added that really impact the game. That being said, what new features are there to really expect from a new Mario Kart game? With what little room for improvement and advancements there really is to make in a Mario Kart game, Mario Kart 7 suffices.

Mario Kart 7 controls beautifully. The 3DS joystick complements the efficiency of Mario Kart 7's controllability. Press the A button to go and the joystick will take you there, if slowing down or breaking is desired press the B button; you know the drill. The gliding sequences control well and there are tactics that can be used to capitalize being airborne and be the earliest to the finish line. There is not a single thing to complain about when discussing Mario Kart 7's controls or control scheme, everything works, and it works very well. Items are far too solidified at the infrastructure of Mario Kart 7; as with the rest of the series. The items add and take away from the game.; they also take you away from the checkered flag most of the time. Of course, the item system feels purely luck-based and unfair at times because it is, and that is just how items work. A player can be in first place the entire race, get struck by a deadly blue shell, and end up in fourth. In this example scenario getting fourth place probably had next to nothing to do with a lack of skill, but a classically overwhelming amount of arbitrary item assignment that Mario Kart has always dedicated itself to. It may not be so bad to see a new item system in the next installment. The functional online play was a huge relief. It operates as it should and has a great selection of various features for you, your friends, and the world.

Playing this game was a fruitful and pleasing experience to say the least; a new Mario Kart game never disappoints because it is consistent. If consistency is what is sought, then look no further. Mario Kart 7 will deliver exactly what is expected. A fun, quirky, cart racing game featuring characters from the Mario universe that will keep oneself entertained for hours. There is a lot to do online; racing with friends, matchmaking, beating others' records, and more. The actual in-game race modes have coins to be collected that unlock customization options; although there does not seem to be an actual pattern to what is unlocked when a certain amount of coins are collected. The customizations are hidden, and with a ten coin limit per race it takes a considerable amount of time to unlock everything, so there is plenty of time to be spent playing this game. The new courses are great, as are the classics. This game does not lose its playability over time, nor does the racing become stale; provided with the new courses and features to choose from. Endless hours of fun and quirky racing can be guaranteed from this game. Mario Kart 7 is a blast! As a definite buy for all 3DS owners; it makes an excellent first game choice for newcomers to the 3DS.

8.25/10   read

5:53 PM on 05.04.2012

Yoshi's Story: The Unwritten Sequel

This past week I picked up a copy of Yoshi's Story at a local used game retailer. I have owned a Nintendo 64 for years, but I unfortunately have never owned a copy of Yoshi's Story. I have played it many times, and I have fond memories of the game. As I begin to play through the chapters of Yoshi's Story, I notice aspects of the game I had not previously been aware of while playing it in years past. The first thing I noticed was graphical; this game has aged well for a Nintendo 64 game. The graphics are smooth and sharp, and animations on most stages are lag free. I was impressed. The environments are rich with color and pleasing to the eye; everything looks quite nice. Besides commending Yoshi's Story's visuals, I would like to say that this game is purely enjoyable. It is a feel good game, one of happiest games I have ever played. Who could be angry while playing this game, besides when you get carried away to a dark tower by a weird creature wearing goggles and sporting a propeller? Hearts, fruits, singing Yoshi, great gameplay, and good graphics. Is there anything else to ask for? Well, I suppose I do have something to ask, besides why the game is so short. Why did we never see a direct sequel to Yoshi's Story? Yes, I realize that other Yoshi-oriented games have since been released, and yes, I realize this game is not a masterpiece. But, this game is good, and I believe it is deserving of a sequel. I could easily imagine a Yoshi's Story sequel for Wii. I wonder why this has never happened. Unfortunately, we will never probably have the opportunity to crack open a new installment Yoshi's Story. But until then, Yoshi's Story fans, including myself, will continue to reread a great story in the Nintendo 64 library.   read

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