Mutant Mudds Deluxe Review

Mutant Mudds Title

A boy and his grannie fighting mud monsters with a water gun and a jet pack. That’s what you’re going to get when you jump into this adventure. Is that something you want? Continue reading to find out!

Presentation

Mutant Mudds Presentation

In a world where developers are fighting for the most advanced graphics, Mutant Mudds goes for a “12-bit” design. It’s refreshing to see that some developers are more focused on gameplay than amazingly astounding aesthetics. With that said, Renegade still has a fine-looking game here. Originally made for the 3DS, the designs of enemies and stages compliment that system, but it maintains appeal and purpose with its transfer over to the Wii U. Jumping to the background and foreground works the same way. Enemies continue to use their movement through the background and foreground to create hazardous platforming. In the end, you probably won’t be complaining about how the game looks. The music is a different story. While the classic 8-bit and 16-bit sounding tunes and occasionally funky beat are catchy, they are used over and over. At first, it’s enjoyable. The music slowly falls into a frustrating cycle and will most likely have you wishing there was more variety.

Story and Gameplay

Mutant Mudds Story

The game starts with this cutscene; Max and his grandmother are minding their own business at home when the earth is invaded by mud aliens (hence the term “mutant mudds”). In order to rid the planet of these creatures, Max goes on a mission to collect water sprites. These are supposed to be used to clean the land and vanquish the monsters when enough are found.

Controlling Max, you’re given very simple mechanics; you can walk, jump, shoot and duck. With these limited options, you have the abilities to take down all of the mud monsters. There are also monsters you cannot wash away with your water gun. You move, or you lose a precious heart. Precious is the correct word here because you only get three. This may sound like a lot at first, but as the levels become increasingly more difficult, you’re going to wish you had a few more. To start, your water gun will only allow one bullet on the screen at a time. As you collect golden diamonds dispersed throughout each stage, upgrades for your gun and jumping abilities will be unlocked. This will allow you to access secret and more demanding levels scattered around the game. Your goal for every normal stage is to collect 100 golden diamonds, collect the large water sprite and find the secret water sprite. There are also CGA-Land stages which can only be accessed after unlocking the grannie character who can use every power-up together unlike Max. These turn out to be some of the most difficult stages. The new addition to the deluxe version is the ghost stages. Each normal level has a mirrored ghost level. Here you cannot destroy any of the enemies. Even if you use a special ghost-busting gun, they return a few seconds after wasting some of the 10 provided bullets. This forces a different type of strategy upon gamers. All together there are 80 levels, and this doesn’t count how each level can be played differently when you switch between each of the upgrades. For only $10, that’s a win.

Mutant Mudds Gameplay

Despite the number of levels, Mutant Mudds doesn’t rely on quantity; quality matters too. You’ll quickly realize that the limited choices you have for moving and attacking translates to great gameplay. This and the ability for you to switch between 3 different depths creates a fun experience. A challenging game comes from seamlessly combining the mechanics with a variety of enemies, from a small mud monster that’s too short to shoot while standing to a mud pig that releases bombs from the sky. There are many different ways that the game challenges you, and each stage is based on different platforming skills. One level will test your ability to control the height of your jump while another may test how well you can time the need to change directions. Unlike the music, the gameplay won’t feel repetitive for a while. You’re also given a time limit for each level, applying some pressure to play at a faster rate.

While this all sounds great, a problem with the game is that there are no boss battles. To add on to this, there’s no big crowning moment in the game to help you feel satisfied or like you’ve achieved anything. Since you can generally choose which level to finish the game with, you won’t feel like there’s a finale. Instead, you’re likely to feel like the game is in a never-ending loop. In addition to not having a very engaging story, not having an ending that feels like a close to the game makes the story feel less interesting. Platformers may not rely on story, but there’s an empty feeling in this game.

 

Pros: Cons:
-Difficulty varies depending on your dedication to the game -No boss battles or big crowning moment
-Simple mechanics translate to a challenging platformer -The story is not too engaging
-Jumping between background and foreground creates different ways to play -Repetitive music
-Amount of content for the price is very reasonable (80 levels)
-Different items change how you can play each level

The Acosta Statement

$10 for a game with 80 levels? That’s amazing! The platforming is fun and the gameplay feels fresh to the genre. Everything is great, but why couldn’t there be more significant moments in the game like a boss battle or a final stage? This would help players feel like they’re actually achieving something as opposed to just playing a lot of levels. Good job on the game Renegade, but I’m waiting for those boss battles.

7/10

Mutant Mudds Meme

Oracle Review part 2: Oracle of Ages (Just in Time)

Oracle_Of_Ages_BoxArt

So it’s still Tuesday in America you guys. That means I’m in time to post the Oracle of Ages review for Take me Back Tuesday. Let’s go.

This review will be short because for the most part, the game compares to the likes of Oracle of Seasons. In fact, the things that are similar are the following: visuals, gameplay mechanics and the different terrain with animal buddies. This review will talk about what makes it different and why it may be the more superior version.

Story and Gameplay

Oracle of Ages Nayru

This time around Link is going against the likes of Veran who has taken control of Nayru, the Oracle of Ages. You must travel through Labrynna collecting songs and items to allow you to travel more freely around the lands. A big part of the game that makes it so intriguing is that you can change parts of the present by traveling to the past and changing things. This means that there are two almost completely different lands, unlike Oracle of Seasons where there were 4 slightly different lands. Items were just as cool in this adventure. One allows you to switch places with specific objects on the screen, making for greater puzzles.

One thing that makes Oracle of Ages sort of a nuisance is the button scheme for swimming once you obtain a mermaid suit. Repeatedly pressing the directional buttons propel you through the water, but this can get tedious and cause cramps in your hand, especially during the water dungeon. This is the only flaw, but it can be overlooked because of the circumstances the game was made under (limited buttons on the Gameboy Color).

On the other hand, the game is vastly superior to its counterpart. There was a lot more interaction between people of the land, and a lot more work needed to be done between dungeons to get there, making each part of the game feel satisfying. You’ll feel like you deserved everything throughout the game because of this. In addition, each boss fight was much more challenging. The final boss fight takes more effort and you’ll need to learn more patterns to fight her. There’s even a boss fight with a puzzle in it!

Something that stands out also is how many parts of Ocarina of Time this game follows. This is true for Oracle of Seasons too, but it’s not as noticeable. This can be good or bad depending on your preference.

Pros: Cons:
-Some of the coolest items in a Legend of Zelda game as well -Relies on elements of Ocarina of Time.
-Game always on a satisfying level -Mermaid suit has tedious controls.
-Replay value is very high when considering the game can be linked to increase the amount of content, and two game files can be totally different with or without having a linked game.
-Only 6 dollars
-Switches up the items, puzzles, and story enough to make it feel completely fresh compared to other Legend of Zelda games
-Side quests are fun enough to keep you playing outside of just the main story line

 

The Acosta Statement

Don’t let time pass without playing this Legend of Zelda game. It gives more of a challenge than Oracle of Seasons.

10/10

You can find the Oracle of Seasons review here: https://nintendoreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/oracle-review-part-1-oracle-of-seasons/

Also, for anymore information about Oracle of Ages, you can check this site:

http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Oracle_of_Ages

Oracle of Ages Meme

Oracle Review Part 1: Oracle of Seasons

Oracle of Seasons

The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages have been rereleased for the 3DS. There’s no better time to review them.

Things to keep in mind: The version of the game that I am reviewing is not linked to Oracle of Ages. If it was, it would have more characters, items and gameplay. You can consider the linked version of the game to be better than the unlinked version. For more information on the linked version of Oracle of Seasons, you can check this website: http://zeldawiki.org/The_Legend_of_Zelda:_Oracle_of_Seasons

Also, I will reflect on the potentially different experience of playing on a 3DS rather than a Gameboy Color.

The following statement should set the tone; Oracle of Seasons (especially on the 3DS) is one of the best experiences you could have playing a Legend of Zelda game. It is necessary to give praise where praise is due.

Presentation

tloz_oracle_of_seasons_presentation

There’s not much to say about the presentation this time around. Playing a game originally for the Gameboy, you wouldn’t expect a lot from the graphics of the game. The game does however make a successful attempt at using colors during different seasons to get the idea across – more about that later.

The music takes from your classic Legend of Zelda soundtrack. Most people will be happy with the nostalgic feel while very few will tire from the repetitiveness of the tunes. Some songs do manage to get stuck in your head while you’re playing a dungeon because of how catchy they are. Whether you like that or not completely depends on your preference, but this reviewer will be assuming it’s not a bad thing.

Story and Gameplay

Oracle of Ages Story

This time around Link finds himself in the land of Holodrum. You’ll meet the character you have to save early in the game; she goes by the name of Din and she is the Oracle of Seasons. Once the main villain kidnaps her the seasons go out of whack, and it is up to Link to save her and restore Holodrum back to normal. This story sets up the uniqueness of the gameplay for this Legend of Zelda title. Throughout the story, Link learns the ability to change the seasons whenever he finds a tree stump. Every time you change the season, the environment changes along with it. Given that there are four seasons, there are four versions of the world map and opens the game up to lots of puzzles. This could arguably be the best part of the game. The possibilities are endless. However, this is not where Capcom stops. To add on to variety of ways to play and solve puzzles, there are animal buddies. Which animal buddy you encounter at a specific time in the game determines how the world map will look. One example is Moosh the flying Bear. The world map will have more obstacles with holes in the floor given that Moosh can fly for a short period of time. As you find more items and your animal buddy, you will be able to explore parts of the world that you couldn’t before, giving the feeling of success whenever you find a new area.

The only part of the experience that some gamers may find unappealing is a few hours into the game around the second and third dungeon. Capcom’s decision to make the game much easier in the beginning is a double-edged sword. While attempting to assimilate players new to the series, veterans of the series could feel like the puzzles are too easy and feel more like a chore than fun gameplay. The same goes for the bosses – especially of the third dungeon. The moth-like monster could be taken down in less than 30 seconds, leaving little to feel satisfied about. Of course, once passed this, the real challenges begin and you can feel deserving when you take down a boss or solve all of the dungeon puzzles. One thing worth noting about all of the dungeons is that in newer Legend of Zelda games, usually defeating a mini-boss feels meaningful because an item you’ve been looking for is sure to follow. The only thing you get from a mini-boss throughout Oracle of Seasons is a warp back to the start of the dungeon. Though a bit disappointing, this is welcomed because some puzzles you may take longer to remember where a specific room is than to solve the puzzle itself. Again, the slow beginning may seem like a complete negative, but the game picks up quickly afterwards and newcomers to the series can feel comfortable. Capcom does a good job of trying to make all types of players happy. An example other than a slow beginning is the use of water in the dungeons and world map. Personally, I hate water in video games, but it didn’t bother me this time around. Instead of water dungeons, they felt more like dungeons with water in them.

Another part of the game that can be argued as the best part is the items Link acquires throughout the story. These are some of the best items in the Legend of Zelda Series, leading to some of the better and more challenging puzzles. One example is a magnetic glove. This item allows Link to pull and push himself or items around the map. Also, unlike some of the other games in the series that are quick to forget about items that Link possesses, Oracle of Seasons does a great job of combining the use of items picked up in previous dungeons for new puzzles that couldn’t be accomplished before acquiring the items. The items end up being a big part of fighting boss battles because bosses may not necessarily be defeated with an item that was found in the same dungeon. This makes for much more challenging and fulfilling gameplay.

Another thing to note about the game is that in order to increase the variety of puzzles, there are times when a room in a dungeon will become a side-scrolling room. This is a great way to switch up the puzzles and keep players on their toes. Lastly, the ordinary enemies won’t give you much trouble, though they may remind you of Mario.

Other Features and Things to Consider

Accompanying Link on his adventure are rings. You can collect rings around Holodrum for special effects like to increase Link’s strength or resistance. These rings are fun to collect and can be useful against specific enemies. Side missions like this will indeed increase replay value. There is also a second world that you will visit throughout the game, giving the occasional change of pace in the story progression. Also, though I have not played the linked version, I highly recommend it if you’re a Legend of Zelda fan because it will add content to the story and will increase replay value even more which any Legend of Zelda fan loves.

For older Legend of Zelda fans thinking of buying this game again, I can confirm that the game plays great on the 3DS. The circle pad feels like it was made to move Link, and the use of the Y button for the map feels very smooth and convenient. Even pressing start to switch items frequently, which bothered me in Ocarina of Time, didn’t bother me this time around. Besides, they’re only 6 dollars each, and you’ll be getting your money’s worth.

Pros: Cons:
-Some of the coolest items in a Legend of Zelda game -Beginning of the game starts off slow
-Gets you familiar with the game then turns up the difficulty to a satisfying level -Puzzles early in the game sometimes feel like a chore
-Replay value is very high when considering the game can be linked to increase the amount of content, and two game files can be totally different with or without having a linked game.
-Only 6 dollars
-Switches up the items, puzzles, and story enough to make it feel completely fresh compared to other Legend of Zelda games
-Side quests are fun enough to keep you playing outside of just the main story line

The Acosta Statement

Whether linked or not, Link’s adventure in Oracle of Seasons is not to be missed by any fan of the series. If you’re not a fan of the Legend of Zelda series, this may change your mind.

9/10

Oracle of Seasons Meme

The Reviews are Here

Oracle of Season and AgesOriginal Post: The next two reviews will be linked…or should I say Link. I will review both Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages in that order. Once I have reviewed both, I will post about the similarities, differences and give my opinion of which game I believe to be better.

Edit: Here they are:

 

https://nintendoreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/oracle-review-part-1-oracle-of-seasons/

 

https://nintendoreviewsblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/19/just-in-time/

 

In the second review, I do the comparison because most of the game is similar to Oracle of  Seasons. I also say which I believe to be better. You can decide for yourself when you play them.

Fire Emblem Awakening Review

Chrom.Review

A question – does anyone else have more sentimental feelings toward digital marriages than actual weddings? Well, more on digital matrimonial events later; Fire Emblem Awakening left more than tears of joy in its trail for this gamer. It left a standard for what any strategy game should try to accomplish.

I want to start with a caveat. This is the first time I have played a Fire Emblem game completely through. Also, I did so without purchasing any of the downloadable maps and characters which would add to the overall experience (especially for veterans of the franchise).

Going into Fire Emblem Awakening, the expectation was another good strategy game. This game offered a lot more. The story starts with your customized avatar waking up to the main protagonist Chrom, his sister Lissa and his right-hand man Frederick. Your character seems to be having a problem with his or her memory, but it’s what is remembered that starts off your adventure. Having recollections of being a tactician of the battlefield, your character joins the three on their adventure.

 

Presentation

fireemblem_presentation

Right from the start you will notice how gorgeous the game is on the 3DS. Intelligent Systems takes advantage of this with the occasional cutscenes and in-game battles that add to the overall intensity of the battlefield. These in-game battle scenes are fun to watch, but you don’t have to watch them if you’re not interested in that part of the game. Just turn the option off. The world map and battlefields have the classic Fire Emblem feel which is not necessarily a bad thing. You may also notice something else from the start – none of the characters have feet! At first this was a bother but no worries, you will get over it, and it does not hinder the gameplay experience.

As for what you will be hearing during your play through – there’s not much to complain about, but it’s not exceptional. During the quirky and charming dialogue presented, characters will chime in periodically to give a voice to the face, so to speak. This is a welcomed part of the experience. Hearing a voice gives a personality to each character to create a deeper understanding while not completely taking over the dialogue. One of the main antagonists of the story in particular makes great use of this; you could feel the evil in his voice, as if he is emanating hate. Some of the music is repetitive, but it fits the mood of the game so it’s hard to complain about it. When it comes to the boss battles the music always set the tone – earth-shattering. It always feels like something amazing is coming. And yes, that iconic Fire Emblem theme song is present.

 

Gameplay

Fire-Emblem-Gameplay

If there is one word to describe Fire Emblem Awakening, it’s depth. Coming from a franchise already known for its great strategy gameplay, Awakening adds on to that gameplay even more. The first thing to note is that there are two modes you must choose from before starting the game: Casual or Classic. Fans familiar with the game are used to a permadeath system. This means that once a soldier falls in battle, he or she is gone forever. Now you can choose to turn that system off. Soldiers will only be absent until the end of the battle in which they were defeated. This will allow gamers who are nervous because of the franchise’s reputation for being difficult to jump in. For gamers unfamiliar with the game, here are a few things that contribute to strategizing. One part is the weapons’ strengths and weaknesses. Different classes of soldiers will be able to choose between swords, lances, axes, bows and a type of magic ability. You will also find that some soldiers ride different types of animals, adding another level of depth. Dancers allow a soldier to move twice in one turn. Soldiers can be recruited to your army during the story and in side missions. You will find that there are many strategies to be explored, and because of that you will want to keep on playing even after you have finished the story.

There is also a new mechanic called dual support.  Different soldiers can now travel together which adds yet another level to the strategizing. Stat boosts and dual strikes are some examples of the use of dual support. This opens up the ability to attack with more than one type of weapon against one enemy. You will be able to come up with your own uses for the new mechanic.

One substantial use of dual support is the building of chemistry between different soldiers. Increasing support levels will increase stat boosts even more as well as the probability of a dual strike. Most important is when two soldiers of opposite gender build enough chemistry, they will get married and become the ultimate fighting duo. These marriages are often built off of cheesy but endearing dialogue. Parts of the game like marriage give a real sense of personality to each character. (EDIT) [That’s one of the best parts.  The game gets you involved to the point where you will put that extra effort to make sure you don’t lose even one soldier. If you do lose a soldier, there will be a moment when you feel sad about the loss and want to avenge the death. You will feel engaged personally when two of your soldiers get married. Most of all, you will want to go with and help Chrom on his quest, and you will want to see the story through to the end.] There is no doubt that the game tries to get the player to be as involved as possible with the growth of each soldier and for good reason.

Fire Emblem Awakening is not a game where you can just play through the story and ignore the rest of the game. The increasing difficulty forces you to work for the next step; this does not need to be a bad thing. It is still enjoyable to go through side missions to recruit new soldiers and increase your weaker soldiers’ ability to hold their own. This is a true strategy game at its best. You may choose to increase your soldiers’ strength by forging more powerful weapons, increasing chemistry between two different soldiers or fighting enemies for more experience. Of course, each decision will have its ups and downs, and that is the beauty of a strategy game having so much depth. There are so many possibilities, and if they are all explored, a first play through could easily take over 50 hours.

The only negative comments that can be made are the following: it is not easy to keep all of your soldiers on similar levels with the overall pace of the story, and the moments during the plot when you’re forced to make a decision are sometimes misleading.

The first point: It is very easy to step into the vicious cycle of making a small number of soldiers gain experience and sending them to annihilate all of the enemies. Once in this trap, the difficulty spike towards the end of the game can be devastating, especially when playing with permadeath. However, it all comes with a strategy game that has so much to offer.

The second point: There are multiple points of the game when you are given a choice to make. Usually in games this means there are multiple different paths that can be taken. That is not always true for this game. It is natural to want to feel like you can make a difference when given multiple different choices, but in Awakening, sometimes the decisions make a difference, and sometimes they do not.

Other Features

fire_emblem_awakening dlc

Intelligent Systems stays faithful to the dedicated Fire Emblem fans with some news features. The first is the DLC available for the game. Some of the maps which can be purchased feature past characters, or “legacies,” that can be unlocked and used in the story. Extra items and characters can also be downloaded with Spotpass. There’s more. With Streetpass, you can share your avatar, items and other content with other players.

For questions about game mechanics: http://serenesforest.net/fe13/index.html

 

Pros: Cons:
-Customizable weapons and characters -Misleading plot decisions
-New partner system adds to the already deep strategy -Difficulty keeping a balanced team as story moves along
-Accessible to newcomers and those unfamiliar with strategy games
-High replay value due to DLC, Streetpass and Spotpass
-Graphics on 3DS are gorgeous

 

The Acosta Statement

With everything it does well, Fire Emblem Awakening falls slightly short of strategy gaming perfection, and one question remains for those who have doubts about Fire Emblem and the 3DS: Will Fire Emblem awaken your 3DS?

9/10

SSB4 meme Patrick