Skylanders has been a fan favourite for a number of years. This latest iteration, co-developed by Beenox (Québec City) and California-based Toys For Bob (PS4, Xbox One and Wii U versions; Beenox developed the 3DS version on their own), is a bit of a departure as it seems to be far more interactive than previous versions that I have had the chance to observe. This differentiation is present in more than just the software (the NFC-enabled “Traptanium Portal” is part of the fun as well), and creates an interesting dynamic with the audience – especially the younger crowd. Overall, the game is actually fun and features many hours of entertainment. Of course, to harvest the full potential of this title you may need to reach for your wallet.
A new holiday season is upon us, as evidenced by all of the tell-tale signs: the leaves are changing colour, the air is getting cooler and crisper, and the dance games are all being released. In the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” category, Ubisoft’s Just Dance 2015 doesn’t really shake things up too badly – but then, it never really has. Of course, this doesn’t seem to prevent it from being one of the most anticipated and loved titles in the world. Minor improvements, a few new features, and a refreshed song selection await anyone who wishes to shake a tail feather or two in front of their Xbox One’s Kinect camera. Ubisoft sent us an Xbox One code for Just Dance 2015 – and we really dug it.
He may not look like it, but this year Kirby has hit the big 2-0. To celebrate the guy’s birthday, Nintendo felt it only appropriate to release the Kirby Dream Collection: Special Edition for the Wii to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the franchise. Asking if it’s worth picking up is a redundant question, especially if you have been a Nintendo fan from the very beginning. The bonus features alone can be written off as a portion of the collection’s price point. The other portion is allocated to the six Kirby adventures that you get to experience without the need of tracking down the individual hardware and software. If you’re a collector of sorts and already own a Game Boy, NES, SNES, and N64 with the games included in the collection on hand; then congratulations – this collection may or may not apply to you. For everyone else, let me break down what comes in the pink box.
The majority of Nintendo fans have strong memories of Mario Party. We’re talking late nights with friends, screaming at each other for stealing stars, and nursing our hands back to health after brutal-analogue-stick-rotating-mini-games. Those were good times; simpler times – but the good times for Mario seemed to have dried up as things went on. The mechanics became tired and over-used, the soda had gone flat, and people just wanted to get on with their lives. When the Wii was released, interest in Mario Party was piqued again because of the play mechanics the Wii promised. Sadly, Mario Party 8 showed up to the party disoriented, confused, and lifeless. Now, however, with the release of Mario Party 9 for the Wii the development of the game has been handed to Nd Cube from Hudson Soft. Does this new developer breathe life into the stagnant series? Or is Mario left with only fond memories of his former party glory?
Since my prior experience with the Pokémon phenomenon was limited, my first impression playing this game was that Pikachu reminded me of the chipmunk that my neighbours feed during the summer; said chipmunk occasionally wanders over to my place to see if there are any snacks to be had. It has the same puffy little cheeks; the same glassy, dead-eye gaze, too.
Once I got past that, PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond is a seemingly pleasant game that sends our hero, Pikachu, on a series of adventures with his “pals” to rescue his friends from an enchanted theme park. Oh, and to repair the very fabric of his universe which is being torn asunder by the evil being behind the kidnapping of the Pokémon. No biggie.
Rhythm games are, by their very nature, addictive – especially if you are musically inclined. With one of the simplest goals of any game type (to keep the rhythm), this genre is very easy to get into and is, more often than not, packed to the brim with just-one-more-song-I-swear game-play. A few years ago, Rhythm Heaven for the Nintendo DS had us tapping our feet to the beat and swearing a blue streak when we missed a cue. Now, the franchise makes a triumphant return with Rhythm Heaven Fever for the Wii; how does it stack up against the DS version? Let’s find out!
It’s hard to forget your first moments playing a video game. There were plenty of games that I truly enjoyed as I was growing up; the one that struck a chord with me very early on was The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. At the time, the Super Nintendo was my console of choice, taking me on journeys I never would have imagined otherwise. Link to the Past was one of the first journeys I had the privilege of exploring, quickly sparking a deep passion within me that is still as strong today as it was when I was a kid. Sometimes, those first moments are pivotal.
By now it should be clear that this popular game series is something that is very important to me. For every title in the series that I found less-than-stellar, there would be one that wowed me. Initially, Skyward Sword was somewhere in between these two poles, mostly because I figured that a strictly motion-controlled experience would negatively affect the performance. Even so, I was fascinated by the fact that there were new environments (presented in a classic mood). My doubts were slightly eroded after getting a hands-on preview; but, even after my somewhat positive session, I still clung to my doubts about the finished product. I was so worried that the experience would end up being boring, repetitive and formulaic – a huge problem for many games nowadays. I was torn, so much so that it took ages to even finish this review!