“When Rhythm Heaven was first launched, it opened up a Pandora’s box of musical minigame mania that tipped the weirdness scale with its goofy rhythm challenges and cartoony antics. Tapping out complex rhythms while harvesting beets in the garden or juggling scientific beakers filled with dangerous substances offered some refreshingly oddball ways to get your groove on, and for the series’ console debut, Rhythm Heaven Fever brings even more creative craziness to the table. It’s easily as bizarre as its portable predecessors, and it’s just as challenging. But the ever-rotating array of charming activities keeps the sometimes frustrating difficulty curve at bay long enough for the addictive gameplay and infectious tunes to take hold.”
“When so many sword-swinging games seem to readily devolve into frantic button pounding where you slice and dice foes into itty bits, it’s refreshing to stumble across one that takes a more strategic, thoughtful approach to bladed combat. Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword doesn’t skimp on the ol’ stabby-stabby, but it favors precision and split-second timing over chaos and flying limbs. There’s a cool sense of honor that comes from dueling foes one-on-one, even when you’re fighting a large group. It’s also easy to get sucked into the campaign, thanks to the rhythmic nature of each battle and the rewarding progression system.”
“Nintendo’s popular pink protagonist has been on some wild rides of late. Journeying into lush yarn-filled worlds and splitting into a tiny horde of cute little ankle biters have offered some neat new ways to hang with Kirby and his pals. But after spending the past few games shaking up the status quo with off-the-wall concepts, HAL Laboratory returns to the series’ roots with Kirby’s Return to Dreamland. While innovation has pushed the series forward in interesting ways, the return to basics is no bad thing. New screen-annihilating super abilities and bubbly multiplayer co-op liven up this ever-charming romp through Kirby’s old stomping grounds. This is classic Kirby with a few minor twists.”
Man, the characters in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn LOVE to hear themselves talk. They love to talk to other folks. And they LOVE to talk to themselves. Despite having to frantically mash through some excruciatingly long conversations, Dark Dawn is a pretty enjoyable game. The combat is satisfying and classic, while the puzzles really make the adventure shine. You can check out my full review of the game over here in last week’s at EGMi.
“It’s easy to see why the original Picross DS resonated so strongly with avid puzzle game enthusiasts and nongamers alike. Blending elements of Sudoku, crossword puzzles, paint-by-numbers, and Minesweeper into an ultimate puzzle stew, this ridiculously addictive little game is a delightful time-sucking black hole of fun. If forming amusing pixel art images by solving 2D logic-based picture puzzles held you in its thrall, or if you don’t even know what a nonogram is, you won’t be able to pry your fingers away from the stylus once you get a taste of these mind-bending puzzles steeped in 3D. Picross 3D takes the same puzzle concepts that made the original game so enjoyable and builds on them masterfully. Solving each puzzle to uncover the 3D object encased inside of it is more like chiseling away at a rock sculpture than solving a Sunday crossword. This great new approach to the familiar gameplay makes the formula all the more engrossing.”
I’m happy to report my work for Nintendo Power continues on at a steady pace, and the May 2010 issue has both a review and a full page community piece. On Page 85. be sure to check out my write-up of Beat City for DS. It’s one hell of a catchy and colorful little rhythm game. Very funky, and I had a blast with it. Also, on pg. 94 you’ll find a full page community feature on an incredible DIY Ghostbusters peripheral for the Wii made by Jack Rossi. Great stuff. I’m working on a bunch of stuff for upcoming issues, including an awesome feature on the Minibosses and my first retro game write-up. Stay tuned for the goods!
“Even though Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver are remakes of their 10-year-old Game Boy Color counterparts, they’re the first entries in the series to actually make you want to exercise, thanks to the ingenious Pokewalker accessory that comes bundled with them. Yes, the prospect of getting up off your duff and walking around the neighborhood becomes a lot more enticing when you can level up your favorite Pokemon in the process. That’s the real hook here, and it’s a sharp one.”
Check out my full review of Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver here at GameSpot.
“Nintendo has been well known for constantly retooling its handheld gaming systems and strategically releasing upgraded version with enhanced features and fresh designs. The Game Boy and Game Boy Advance lines went through many such redesigns during their lengthy life spans, and the DS is getting similar treatment. Hot on the heels of last year’s DSi, Nintendo is launching the DSi XL on March 28.. Here’s a rundown of what’s new and notable on the handheld and what’s unchanged.”
Check out the full feature here at What They Play.
The March 2010 issue of Nintendo Power is in, and I have two articles in the Community section that turned out rather nicely. The first is a full-page feature on Dave Sterling, who crafted a close-to-scale NES console, two controllers, a Tetris cartridge, and a small TV all out of LEGO blocks. His work with little plastic blocks is quite impressive. The second is on Deadcraft‘s freakin’ adorable little Nintendo hero amigurumi dolls. So cute. Coming up next, I have two reviews and two more hefty community pieces running in the April 2010 issue that should be out next month. Cheers!
Like most respectable indie gamers, I’ve had Team Meat‘s Super Meat Boy on my radar for some time now. A little while back I went hands-on with a preview build of the game’s first world. Man-oh-man, was it something else. My preview/feature write-up on the game is now out in the March 2010 issue of GamePro. Check out the three-page spread that starts out on pg. 19. The artwork/layout is simply adorable. Pork Chop Boy…so sad! Also, I wanted to point out that the new look and direction of the magazine is really impressive. Obvious bias aside, the last two issues have really kicked things up a notch.