Lackluster Collector’s Editions: Sonic Mania… Just Meh

I should mention first and foremost that the purpose of this post is not to comment on the game itself but instead the retail release of Sonic Mania only. The only thing I will say about the game is that while it is fun, it is incredibly easy and lacks that little something special in it, otherwise it is a perfectly good game, in terms of Sonic games. The focus of this post is to take a look at this sorry excuse of a Collector’s Edition. 

It’s great to see some effort put into releasing this game with some physical bonuses, but why? Why did they include these extras only to skimp out and include a download code for the game rather than a physical copy??? This is my biggest complaint for this release. Typically a person that will go out and buy a special release of a game is a person that collects. They want physical items, not a code on a piece of paper. I really think they misread their audience on that point there. Yeah it would cost more to produce but at the size of this box, people would pay even upwards of 150$, well, until you see what the figure actually looks like. 

Will I’m fine with the design and look of the figure, a large Sonic on top of a model 1 Genesis, I hate the execution of it all. The plastic feels cheap and incredibly hollow. While the sound gimmick reminds me of my childhood, once you realize how basic the function is it makes you wonder why they couldn’t include any other sounds or lights. And of course considering that the plastic feels cheap and the figure is hollow you could probably guess that it is also incredibly light for something its size. 

As for the rest of the included items… WHY??? Why did they include the biggest tease of a retro style bonus item in all of existence. It seemingly looks like a Sega Genesis game cartridge but you excitement will quickly go away as you realize that it is only a case in the style of a Genesis cartridge. And to make it worse, what is it a case for you ask? A ring, a gold Sonic ring. Yeah you heard me. Inside this fake out of a bonus item is an absolutely pointless and useless gold ring. Also for what it’s worth there is a quite pointless metal card included for some unknown reason. 

Am I cheesed, definitely, but don’t get me wrong about this all. I am still very happy to own this. The nostalgia is strong in this special edition. And for me it’s getting to be just enough nostalgia to make up for the downfalls of the Sonic Mania Collector’s Edition. So unless you are a big Sonic fan, don’t waste your money, just download the game and leave it at that. 

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Chibi-Robo Zip Lash ***Rating 4/5***

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I gotta say… good job Nintendo! I absolutely enjoyed this game! I only have two faults with this game, but that will be addressed later on. First things first, I absolutely love the character of Chibi-Robo and to get to adventure with him again is greatly appreciated. The platforming is easy to accomplish with Chibi-Robo’s skill set allowing for easy hovering and jumping. The controls for the game are prime as well. You use the X button for the standard short range attack, and if you use it while jumping you can combine the action to hover momentarily. The Y button is used for for the more powerful long range attack, which can also be used to ricochet off certain walls to attack multiple enemies or reach platforms in difficult to reach locations. to target an object to hit with your plug you can use the circle pad, but for more delicate targeting you can use the D pad for minor adjustments. The gameplay is not extremely varied, but the typical platforming is broken up by segments or nearly entire levels where you are on a vehicle or some means of transportation, these levels tend to be a little bit more difficult if you are a completionist and don’t have great hand eye coordination. But at least the game doesn’t make it too difficult for young players or people that are not as good with platformers as it makes it very difficult for you to die, as long as you have been collecting and depositing trash and buying backup batteries and jet packs. The included Amiibo in the bundle is also a great item to have included as the pose is adorable and gives your character an in-game super boost. Other Amiibo also unlock bonus coins of the in-game currency. Overall the game itself offers a lot of items to collect that will have you repeating levels over and over again if you weren’t lucky enough to get it all the first time around.

Now come the two things I viewed as faults, two reason that resulted in me scoring this game a 4/5 rather than anything higher. The worlds of the game are just dull and repetitive. They are not all that great to look at but at least they function as suitable locations for platforming. My biggest gripe with the game is the roulette mechanic of the level select screen! in each world you have six levels, followed by a boss level that unlocks after the other 6 are completed. But instead of progressing through each level in order, you have to spin a wheel that gives you either 1, 2 or 3 spaces to move, resulting on repeated levels if you happen to land on the wrong number. At the end of each level though you get a chance to target one of three space ships, Gold, Silver, Bronze and they give you 3, 2, or 1 extra spin on the wheel respectively. Along with this you have the option of buying numbered tiles to replace ones on the wheel so that you have a better chance of landing on the desired location. They included a method of level selecting that was indirect and almost random, but then gave players several different methods to which they could avoid this whole mechanic. This I did not like at all, but it does not ruin the entire game for me, in fact it only somewhat affected my opinion of the game, but did not stop me from playing it for hours on end. It’s a great game to pickup and play for a few minutes or to sit down and enjoy for an hour or two. Hopefully this was of some help in your decision making process in purchasing this game.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Super Mario Maker ***Rating 3.5/5***

So it has been a few weeks since Super Mario Maker was released for the Wii U and I feel like I have given it ample attention to give a well rounded review of the whole game. Nintendo has yet again produced a game that is good, but will only get better with time. To give a basic overview of the game for those of you that have not played yet the game consists of a level editor that lets you create your own side-scrolling Mario levels. As well as the level editor you can post your creations online and try out other people’s levels as well. There are also two game modes that consist of a series of randomly selected player created levels that are meant to be completed with either 10 lives or 100 lives depending on the game mode selected, and at any point you can choose to skip a level if it proves to be too difficult to complete.

The main reason to play the game though is the level editor which allows you to mix and match different items, materials and enemies from across the series in any possible combination. It proved to be enjoyable to power up the enemy monsters by giving them super mushrooms, wings, or placing them in crazy positions or on the backs of other enemies. The game lets you create levels using assets from Super Mario Bros 1, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. In Super Mario Bros 1 mode you can even create a power-up mushroom that lets you transform into any of your Amiibo or a range of other unlockable characters. You can even share your creations online and get feedback in the form of comments and votes from other players. Nintendo also assured that the levels created would be winnable by making it a requirement that each creator has to complete a run through of their level before they are able to upload their content. If you come across a level that you particularly enjoyed, you can even choose to download and save it to play again at another time. Overall the style and amount of content available made my experience creating levels very enjoyable.

The downsides to this game though can be a little too much for most to accept. The biggest issue of this game comes from the fact that the player is not given all of the building materials from the start of the game but instead has to unlock more content by playing long enough to queue the “delivery” of new content and then wait a day for it to be “delivered”. It can take days to unlock the full content, but extra impatient players can go into the system settings and change the day settings to unlock the content much more quickly. Next downside can barely be blamed on Nintendo but the fact is the levels created by other players fall into two categories: easy to play or pure hell! The easy levels tend to focus more on the showmanship of the creator and less on creating a challenging course to play through, while the levels that are pure hell tend to focus on either 1 mechanic that needs to be executed in rapid succession or longwinded levels where absolutely every item is used at least once throughout the course of the level. The challenge is that you want to complete the level because you know that its creator was able to do it, but it just kills you over and over again. This can make even the most seasoned of Mario players out there seethe with anger and frustration. Also included are pre-made levels that randomly unlock over time but these levels made by Nintendo tend to be far too trivial, sticking to accepted Mario conventions with minor additions tossed into the mix. I get that this game focuses mostly on the ability of the player to become the creator, but it seems that lately Nintendo is focusing more on online functionality and group play rather than building single player experiences anymore. If only they had included a game mode that features a set of worlds created by Nintendo that felt like a natural progression of the side-scrolling series while adding the peculiarities of its level editor gameplay as well.

I personally enjoyed the game, but I could not sit for too long and play Super Mario Maker for hours on end, or even for any extended period of time. Typically I can run through an entire World of any given Mario game in a single sitting, but after playing through half of the 100 Mario game type I was far too frustrated to complete it in one sitting and found myself saving the game half way through to complete at a later date. My review is based on my personal experience with the game and should only be accepted as a suggestion that may aid you in your decision to buy this game. I rate this game 3.5/5 for the following reasons: It features a large amount of content for the player to create any type of Mario level they can imagine of, but other than that I don’t see the reason to justify the price tag of $69.99 in Canada. The majority of the content in this game is the level editor with very little actually being content produced by Nintendo for us to play. The player then has to rely on other creators out there to produce levels that are challenging but not too difficult and enjoyable but not too easy, which is a lot to ask with no real quality control other than the creator being able to complete the level prior to uploading it. The rating I give it though is only temporary and hopefully it will get better with time. My rating of 3.5/5 then is only a jumping off point or a baseline that represents the game at this moment in time. If the price drops on the game it would be a big plus and if more content is released as well then I might bump it up to a 4/5 in the future.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition ***Rating 2.5/5***

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Now don’t be mistaken by the low rating, I do not think that this is a bad game in any capacity. I will go into further detail as to why my rating is so low later on but I thought it’d be better to start off with the aspects of this game that I enjoyed. For a Nintendo game developed by a third party developer it does still look to have the appropriate Super Mario art style as well as a Pokémon-esque character design for Puzzle & Dragons Z. The developer Gugnho Online Entertainment from my understanding has mostly developed PC MMORPG’s as well as a few Vita and DS games. I personally played more of the Mario game, but I have played both and I’ll say this, the gameplay is exactly the same between the two games with it only being skinned differently, with the only noticeable difference between the two games being that in Z you have a overworld that you are free to roam and experience, while in the Super Mario game you have your typical Mario overworld map. The game itself is a pretty straightforward puzzle game akin to bejewelled but the key difference is that it is a puzzle RPG in a sense as it requires that you chain together combinations of spheres to attack enemies. I like that the Super Mario game features classic Mario enemies as well as the Koopa kids. I am unfamiliar with the Puzzle and Dragons series prior to this so I can not make any real claims about the dragon designs within the Z game. There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with this game other than the fact that it can be boring and needlessly difficult at parts.

The learning curb is serious in this game. It is pretty straightforward when it comes to learning what types are strong against each other, that I got from the start, but what does make this game needlessly difficult is as follows: the stylus controls have to be spot on or else you might lose grasp of the puzzle piece you are holding, the fact that you only have a fixed amount of continues and you cannot gain more, and that the puzzle is unlike any I’ve ever played before. Basically when playing this game you select a certain piece and you can place it anywhere on the board within a short period of time. The thing that complicates this even more is that when you move a piece, it displaces all the pieces in its path, so chaining together massive combos can prove to be problematic if you don’t have a plan of action set in your mind going into it. Even worse is that in most puzzle games like this if you pick up a piece but don’t move it your turn is not actually concluded, but in these two games the second you come into contact with a puzzle piece if you let it go even on its original position you automatically lose that turn, so sometimes you might find yourself losing a turn because you didn’t quite have a firm enough grip on the puzzle piece.

In the end for a puzzle game, while being ok as a time waster, I don’t see myself playing this game constantly and I have no draw to finishing the game of Puzzle & Dragons Z in any capacity. It is ok and offers up a mixing of different genres which I typically like but it is still lacking something, and I do not think that that something can be added in DLC or patches. If you are looking for a simple enough game to play for a few minutes a day I can recommend this to 3DS owners, but if you do not own a 3DS this game is definitely not a reason to buy the system. I give this game a 2.5/5 because it lacks the feel of a true Nintendo game, it can be needlessly complicated, but it is simple enough to pick up and go, for the most part, and it can be a relatively enjoyable experience, depending on the duration of gameplay.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Pokemon Shuffle ***Rating 3/5***

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My enjoyment of this Free-to-Play game for the 3DS family of systems came to a quick end once I noticed some fairly large faults. Other than the fact that this game is merely a clone of Bejewelled, with slightly tweaked gameplay, the first thing that got me was how long it took to regenerate lives in the game. 5 minutes is fair, 10 minutes is reasonable, but 30 minutes to wait to regenerate a single life is far too long to wait, and I find myself only playing 5 rounds at a time and then giving up after those 5 rounds are up. But I totally understand that that is how Freemium games work, you pay to make your way through it at a faster rate.

Even with the negative aspects the base game is still fairly enjoyable. There are incentives for playing daily, you can unlock Mega Pokémon and Legendaries, and as the game progresses, the difficulty progresses accordingly as well. As the form factor for the tiles is pretty small, the character designs can be lacking or just very basic, usually featuring just the head of the Pokémon or a morphed body. These designs though are clean, simple, and still pleasing visually.

If you are a parent and are downloading this for your child, please make sure that there is not a credit card connected to your eShop account, as there is the possibility of your children charging you for extra lives in game. As one of Nintendo’s first attempts at a Freemium game, Pokémon Shuffle is fun, although it suffers from generic traits of this game type.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire ***Rating 4.5/5***

Even though there have been over 20 main series Pokémon titles, including the remakes, in my opinion the release of these two games were the most anticipated of all! for years people had been asking for a Hoenn Region remake game, and we finally got it just a few days ago on the 21st of November. It has only been 4 days, but I’ve gotten through a good chunk of the game and I base my review on what I have experienced in the game up to this point.

To start out with one detailed I noticed from the beginning, it seems that the game has become far more personal than any other Pokémon game in the past, even more so than X&Y, with its customization. The inclusion of segments where we get to experience the game from a first person perspective really made me feel a stronger connection to the character I was playing as. Another little and all too necessary addition was the range of facial expressions different characters had throughout the game, especially when coming into contact with your rival.

I won’t comment on the base gameplay or the story much because they are pretty much the same as always, so I will skip ahead to some new things I really enjoyed! The biggest new game mechanic you will notice in the game is that after you encounter the legendary Pokémon of whichever game you chose, you will get access to the Eon Flute which let’s you call Latios or Latias to fly you anywhere you would like! Instead of flying like you would earlier in the game, or in previous games, this time around you have control over your Pokémon and you can fly anywhere on the map, that you have previously visited, including routes, caves, and other locations, which were never accessible by flying in the past! While in the air you can encounter some random Pokémon, mostly flying types, as well as access some uncharted locations where you might encounter a legendary. In these random locations you will be able to fight and possibly catch almost all the legendary Pokémon from all the other main series games. The only downside to this is that you have to meet exact requirements in order to unlock these hidden locations so that you can have an opportunity to catch these legendaries.

Every aspect of this game has received a well wanted facelift, and now we can all finally enjoy our classic games in a new format. One aspect of the game that I really disliked in the original has even been reworked in the remake and in my opinion it’s for the better, that aspect is the Pokémon Contests. I disliked these when I was younger, couldn’t make heads or tales of what attacks did what, but now it is all so simple. While the changes to the Pokémon Contest are minor, I enjoy performing in them much more now than in the original series. These Contests were supposed to show off your Pokémon and their attacks, and I finally think they have managed to achieve that.

Even though I have defeated the 8 Gym Leaders, I feel like there is a lot more to come, and the story is definitely nowhere near done yet. I have enjoyed playing the Pokémon games since Yellow Version in the late 90’s, and now over 15 years later I find myself still playing. You might have expected me to give the game a perfect rating, 5/5, but I just can’t do that to a game that is in a series that is quite repetitive and to a game that is a remake of another. Even though it is an amazing game, it did not push the envelope far enough to give us a totally unique Pokémon experience. So I do give the game a 4.5/5 because every other aspect of the game is absolutely amazing as usual. I did not pay much attention to the series in the 5th generation, but following the conversion from 2D to 3D art style I find myself getting drawn back in. Who knows, maybe the next generation will offer something that we have all been craving for some time, something that will make us all come back to a series we grew up on.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Fantasy Life ***3.5/5***

Fantasy Life is one of the latest RPGs to be released for the Nintendo 3DS and whats the first thing that comes to mind? meh… While the game is not terrible, by any stretch of the imagination, its also not great. Story is nearly nonexistent in this game, even though there is a story to it. I can say now that my character is level 38 and I’ve played for a little over 40 hours, but the story itself was completed back at about 12 hours into the game. But the story takes a back seat in this game and the true reason to play this game is to experience all that the world has to offer, craft new items, banding together in parties to defeat strong enemies, and to solve absolutely everyone’s problems in the region.

While it is an interested RPG, the way you play the game depends greatly on which of the 12 classes you choose to play as. You can change your class at any point in the game and all that it affects is your class based quests, and certain tools and gear you have equipped. If you choose to play as a Paladin, Hunter, Mercenary, or Wizard, you will mainly be playing an Action RPG, going on journeys, banding together and taking down strong enemies. But if you pick any of the other classes, such as Miner, Woodcutter, Angler, Alchemist, Carpenter, Blacksmith, Cook, or Tailor, get set for some true RP. While Miners, Woodcutters, and Anglers require you to explore the land, it is highly recommended that you level up as a Paladin, Hunter, or Mercenary first just so that you have a stronger base attack and are able to fend yourself in the wild. With Miners, Woodcutters, and Anglers you need to travel the map finding rare ore, rare trees, and rare fish that you can only obtain after learning those prerequisite skills. Following these two groups come the lesser classes that mostly involve creating items out of components you have collected on your journeys. This third class should really be left to play after you have at least completed one of each of the previously mentioned classes. In my play through of the game I started as a Paladin, became a Miner and a Woodcutter, and finally I have moved on to the third category, playing as a Carpenter, Blacksmith, and Tailor. These three classes play exactly the same, by creating new items through perfectly timed button presses. The reason to eventually play as every class though is to be able to complete each and every side quest in the game.

Throughout the game you have an ever-growing list of quests belonging to three separate categories you must complete to either progress the story, get Dosh (the currency of the game), or to level up your character’s class ranking. Later in the game quests increase drastically in difficulty, making near impossible to complete them on your own, such as taking on the Silver and Gold Dragons. Another thing that proves difficult are the countless rare ores and trees that you cannot mine or chop down until you have increased your skill level, increased your overall level, and equipped the best gear. At level 38 with high mining and woodcutting skills, I am still unable to do any damage to the rarest of items, but in time that will change.

Fantasy Life is the game for the person that likes to explore and sink hundreds of hours into one gaming experience. If you are looking to just play a game for its story and be done with it, this is not the game for you. In completing the story you will have only finished a small percentage of what this game has to offer. In the end I gave it a 3.5/5 rating because it can be lacklustre and drawn out at times, but the world looks amazing and offers so much to explore! but the score also dropped down because the story is far too short for the shear amount of gameplay available in this game. It almost feels as if the story is a fond memory that I long to return to. But who knows? Maybe the DLC will add more chapters to the story and will help me in reconsidering my  rating of 3.5/5.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Theatrhythm Final Fantasy Curtain Call ***4/5***

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Curtain Call is proving to be even better than its predecessor. Curtain Call features the exact same rhythm based gameplay as the first entry into the series but this time Square Enix has changed up how the game is played. In a positive move, at least in my opinion, they have decided to go for a more open and varied feel, making multiple individual songs available to you to play at any time, instead of having to play preset groupings of songs from individual games. You can still choose from Event Music, Field Music, or Battle Music, but now if you want you can choose to play them in any order you like! For even more choice as well they have included 3 difficulty settings for each song starting at Basic, then Expert, and ending with Ultimate which offers some fast paced gameplay and a much higher degree of difficulty.

Along with this new choice of music Square Enix has included several new game modes that help break up the repetitive nature of most rhythm games. The new game modes include Versus and Quest. Versus mode has been a little difficult for me as it is competitive online play and you can choose to sabotage your opponents, which all depends on how well you are playing the game. In Quest mode you are able to play through a string of songs to collect items that help you progress in the quest, as well as other items such as shards that help you unlock more characters.

I have few complaints about the game and they aren’t very serious ones either. First off there is DLC. I do not like DLC, especially when it costs money. Available to purchase they have a selection of music for 99 cents each and a couple of characters as well. The only other thing that bothered me was that there was no way in game of telling how much you have unlocked so far and how much more is left to unlock. If only they had put into the game that you have unlocked 6/12 songs for a specific title, I feel like I would be able to gauge my progress better but it’s not available.

All in all I rate this game a 4/5 because the gameplay is as good, if not better than the first game, the faults are minor, and there is just a mass amount of content available to play with in the game. If you enjoy the idea of a rhythm-based game with RPG elements then this is your game!

Included below is my video unboxing of the game, featuring the included music disc. Enjoy!

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Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Kirby Triple Deluxe ***4.5/5***

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I have to say that I am almost never disappointed in a Kirby game. This addition to the series was definitely the game I was waiting for and it had the same quality I would expect of any other game in the series! It’s colourful, cute, and oh so endearing, but even though it has these qualities, Triple Deluxe was still a challenging game. For the most part you can get through the levels easily while still finding all the secret areas and hidden key chain collectibles. I myself made it all the way to the sixth world before I reached the end of a level without collecting all the items. Unlocking bonus stages is a breeze and with 2 other mini games included with Triple Deluxe you will have loads more to do following the final boss fight. The power ups were great as usual with the standard fare of the series but this time there was the new Hypernova ability that while looking awesome did more or less what the giant mushroom did for Mario in New Super Mario Bros for the DS. This power up destroys everything in your path by super charging Kirby’s standard ability, allowing you to suck up boulders, blocks, various enemies, and even moving trains in one stage! Although Triple Deluxe has an extensive amount of content it still felt like it was lacking a little something, but that may be partially due to the ease at which I play the game. It might prove to be more challenging to other players but for me it was a fun and speedy adventure, completing it after having played for several hours a day over the course of a week. In the end HAL Laboratories has made another great game for Nintendo, propelling this classic character well into the future for us to enjoy in subsequent instalments. I rate the game at a 4/5 because while it is an overall enjoyable game, I felt that the main portion of the game went by too fast for me. If there was a larger degree of difficulty I believe that it would have masked the game’s quick pace, giving the illusion of a longer game by upping the difficulty on it, forcing the player to take more time in completing any given level. But you can take what you want from this short review and make what you like of it. This game will be enjoyable for both children and adults, and offers a little something for everyone. If it is for a new or experienced gamer, I believe both will get fun out of it!

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Review- Tech- Limited Edition Pokemon X&Y Nintendo 3DS XL ***Rating 4.5/5***

Since I already reviewed the 3DS XL already when I purchased the Mario Kart 7 Bundle, you can see my review of it at the following link: https://dragondudecollecting.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/review-tech-nintendo-3ds-xl-mario-kart-7-bundle-rating-45/

So this review will be covering the physical appearance of the console itself as this is the only difference from the other models. The unit is Red with silver and black outlines of the new legendary Pokemon Xerneas, and Yveltal. On the back on the bottom right corner there are three silver silhouettes of the Gen VI starter Pokemon Chespin, Fennekin and Froakie. This version of the console unlike the previous models has a more glossy finish, but it is not so glossy that it is reflective. The finish is comparable to that of the DSi XL.

Now we all know it kinda sucks that it wasn’t released alongside the launch of Pokemon X and Y, and that the game will not be bundled with the console, but in all honesty who wants a digital copy of a Pokemon game? I’d much rather have my main series Pokemon games on cartridges or on another form of physical media.

In the end I rate it higher than my previous 3DS XL only because it’s freakin POKEMON! All of the limited edition Pokemon consoles over the years have been amazing, all the way from the Yellow Pokemon Game Boy Color and the Pikachu N64 up to this latest entry. I grew up with Pokemon and there will always be a special place in my heart and mind for it, even as the Pokemon get more and more ridiculous. I would have given it a rating of 5/5 if it included even a preinstalled digital version of the game, but because it did not include X or Y, or any other game for that matter, it only gets a 4.5/5 because it is still a beautiful console and it still comes with a nice 4GB SDHC memory card and a charger, unlike the 3DS XL in other regions.