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Posted:
2011-01-22

demonic

Super Gamer Dude

6.0

If you have tried any snow sport, you would probably describe it as cold (obviously), expensive (think of all those layers of clothes you have to put on, not to mention put up with, Ugh!), and short (you certainly couldn’t prolong winter, and you absolutely can’t stay out in the cold for long either).

For those who don’t want to miss out on the “fun” of winter sports (if only to show that you know something about it) but hate to be out there in the cold; here’s some good news. Three cheers for Family Ski and Snowboard video game. You don’t need to go anywhere except in your living room or playroom, all warm and comfy, while skiing and snowboarding. Cool! Here’s the crucial question: Is it any better than its predecessor, Family Ski? This, I’ve already established, would have been better off with a title such as Collective Crotch Flailing – or something similar. Let’s find out.

To play Family Ski and Snowboard, you have to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk much like you would the ski poles. You need to wag them in an up-and-down motion to gain speed just like in real skiing. However, you could also gather speed in other ways by simply twisting the controllers and then tucking in your arms. This sometimes present a problem as you may have a hard time twisting the controls you’re your arms all tucked under. Possible solution is to just use the Wii balance board. You just place the board parallel to the TV set if you want to ski; or perpendicularly if you go for snowboarding. Both require you to tilt your weight so you can steer.

It might look a bit intimidating but don’t get too anxious; the balance board is totally responsive. You would probably need to train a bit, though because it can be very sensitive to the slightest movements. The board can actually sense when you do jumping motions along with the shifts from a crouching position to a standing position. A word of caution…never do a real jump; it could damage the technomagical innards of the board. Using the board is definitely more fun than just using the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Though for fancier moves you might want to perform some extraordinary twirls and spins using the remote and the Nunchuk. To feel the real vibe of skiing, however, using the board is a much better option.

Similar to the original game, there’s a free-roaming resort that you can get to explore. You can play in the slopes at your own pace, or you could join in races, trick competitions, mogul races and much more. You also meet a lot of characters including ski instructors and random people whom you can ask for help. All these stuff contribute to the game having a more realistic feel to it. Still, it’s easy to notice that it’s actually a bit unstructured. For players who are used to having linear progression in playing, you can’t find that in this game. You just randomly play without even getting to unlock new stuff as you successfully finish a game. For the most part, it’s just a lot of maneuvering in flat stretches of slopes to get to the event you have chosen. If you want to join some competition with your friends, lucky for you; there’s a Competition Mode and you can flaunt your skills in skiing or snowboarding there.

Family Ski and Snowboard in Wii can be fun, especially for those who play it for the first time. What it lacks is some progression from previous version. But if you definitely want to experience the tediousness of snow sports, then by all means; give it a try. You can always stop when the boredom becomes unbearable.

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Posted:
2013-05-23

martinraven

Super Gamer Dude

7.4

Rabbids Land for the Wii U lets people play as the popular wild, buck-toothed Rabbids characters that are also known from the previous Rabbids games. This Rabbids game is a party game that people may team up to progress or battle each other to win. For example, one player may control a part of the action on the Wii U gamepad while the other player utilizes a Wii remote to simultaneously control the action on the television screen. There will be many instances throughout playing Rabbids Land where the players will be required to team up and figure out what to do next to progress to the next stage in the level.

Some examples of how the Wii U gamepad and Wii Remote are used together is that one player may steer a boat on the television screen with the Wii Remote while another player might make a blowing sound into the Wii U gamepad microphone which would move explosive penguins into their opponent. When players are battling against each other in a mini-game, it is only ever two opponents at any given time while the other one to two players must wait their turn.

Rabbids Land for the Wii U is similar in nature to other party games as well. Many times throughout the game, players will interact in mini-games. The mini-games consist of the players taking turns to roll dice and then moving the corresponding spaces on the game board. While moving spaces on the game board, players may also pick up trophies. However the trophies must be taken from defeated opponents or may also be won by the player themselves in mini-games. Once the player has accumulated up to 10 or 20 trophies, they may then return to the center of the game board to win the game.

The game board that is played on consists of traditional game board spaces like roll again, move forward X amount of spaces, move back X amount of spaces and so on and so forth. The player can also pickup powerups or be given the chance to spin the game wheel which results in board-shifting events. There are many different types of mini-games all of which have their own unique themes and gameplay modes. For example, one game has the players shaking the Wii Remote and the Nunchuk at the right moment so that flames launch out the back of their space vehicle. The second player who is attached to the first player's space vehicle bumper has to tilt the Wii U game pad to tilt out of the way of the flames. It's games like these that tie multiplayer together in fun, entertaining ways.

There's also another mode to the game called Treasure Hunt. The Treasure Hunt feature lets players engage in mini-games and collect tokens that they may later use to unlock gameplay videos. The final touches to the game involve more defined Rabbids characters with better graphics and the A.I. is also tweaked to challenge solo players better. If playing alone, up to three Rabbids characters can be controlled by the CPU to offer an exciting gameplay experience.

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Posted:
2013-05-24

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

6.5

Ben 10 Omniverse is a new Wii-U game based on the Ben 10 television franchise. While the game is sure to satisfy die-hard fans of the tv series, newcomers may find the game content enjoyable but a bit lacking. One of the upsides of the game is the sheer amount of characters to play, and while that adds a lot of seeming diversity, the characters themselves lack a commensurate diversity of functions and abilities. The general premise of the game (and franchise as a whole) is that the main character, Ben Tennyson, has in his possession a tool which allows him to mutate into a variety of alien forms.

The aliens are all very interesting and distinct looking and the game allows you to shift into these different entities at any point during the game as they become unlocked. Even the storyline within the game radically shifts between past and future points, there isn't a lot that changes between each time shift, therefore the game comes off as that much more creatively shallow as a consequence. If the developers had added more diversity and richness to the settings contained within different time frames, it would have added a much needed sense of immersion.

There is a certain degree of creative problem solving within the game that can be quite compelling, however. When different environmental challenges present themselves, Ben must inhabit the different alien forms he has it his disposal in order to use their specific abilities to overcome an obstacle. These physics-based situational puzzles are relatively entertaining and fairly engaging, yet the simplistic difficulty seems to skew to a younger audience.

Besides the numerous environmental puzzles, combat tends to make up the meat of the game-play. As you travel from one obstacle to the next, you're bound to run into a variety of enemies that need to be dealt with. By far, the most rewarding element of the combat-based game play involves the initial experimentation you find yourself immersed within when trying to find the optimal strategy for dealing with the opposition.

After you get the hang of how to properly take down the enemies, however, the challenge begins to wane, as does the fun and engagement. An interesting quirk contained within the battles, however, involves an energy meter which you have to keep an eye on while inhabiting an alien form as Ben; if the energy meter depletes, Ben's bulky alien incarnation disappears and he is left relatively defenseless until the meter charges up again. This game mechanic makes the combat a bit more involving and requires some planning.

While the Wii-U is capable of fairly impressive graphics, Ben 10 Omniverse is somewhat lackluster. The graphics are not terrible, but they are somewhat sub-par. Additionally, the game is very linear and feels somewhat formulaic after a while. There aren't many surprises to behold. An annoying restriction of the game involves needing to have access to a television in order to activate non-TV play with the console, which is somewhat inconvenient.

Ben 10 Omniverse looks like it had a lot of potential while in development, unfortunately, the overall gameplay is somewhat hampered by a lack of depth and an abundance of repetition. While the puzzles are the main strength of the game, these elements are unfortunately the least prevalent. All in all, a fun game for lovers of the Ben 10 franchise, and a so-so diversion for others.

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Posted:
2013-05-25

deanowen

Super Gamer Dude

7.6

When Nintendo and Sega first announced that Mario and Sonic would be teaming up for a title together (along with their many friends) for 2007's Mario and Sonic At The Olympic Games, the title was heralded as exciting by many long time gamers because it was the first time we've ever seen Mario and Sonic together in the same title. The once fierce rivals from the 16-bit era then saw fit to fight each other in the Wii's Super Smash Bros. Brawl and then joined up again for Mario and Sonic At The Winter Games in 2009. We were able to forgive some of the flaws in the previous two Olympic outings for these two, simply because we enjoyed the novelty and feelings of nostalgia we received by seeing two of the industry's greatest icons finally together. Now that this spell has worn off however, we have to say that the game at its core doesn't really live up to what you'd expect from a Mario or even Sonic game. It's fun in bursts, but lacks the polish of a true high end Nintendo or Sega title. The city of London does shine bright though, and the backdrop it provides does add some charm that makes this game worth at least a look.

The games in this release are almost identical to the games released in the 2007 version. But getting to see Mario and Sonic jumping around on a pretty decent cartoon recreation of the London venues and the city itself is amusing at least for a little while. Big Ben and other London landmarks make an appearance. The game has added a bit of a Mario Party feel to it, you'll navigate to the different menus through a map of the city of London that looks similar to a Mario Party map. This is actually called "London Party" mode, so it's not like Nintendo is trying to hide the inspiration. Up to four characters can compete against each other, just like in Mario Party.

Beyond London Party are the game modes you've played before. Dream Events are mini-games where the characters get to recreate certain Olympic sports competitions with a cartoon twist. When you do the Long Jump, you'll also be trying to grab rings from the Sonic series as you fly through the air.

Finally, the game does bring back the actual Olympic sporting events, but just like in 2007, these feel uninspired. There are four new games for this version, horseback show jumping, soccer, badminton and canoeing. None of these are especially inspiring.

What's most ironic about Mario and Sonic at the 2012 London Games is that the best gameplay the title has to offer comes from the party mode and the Dream Events. The actual London games themselves don't really have much excitement or replay value. Still, seeing London in cartoon form and watching your favorite characters from the last two decades of video games jump across the screen does warm your heart a little.

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Posted:
2013-05-29

kandoo

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

Taking a much loved literary series and movie franchise and turning it into a successful video game can be a tricky proposition, but Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 for the Nintendo Wii manages to accomplish the task with relative ease. The title is a one or two player co-op adventure that allows the players to explore the world of the famous boy wizard that was revealed through the first four books and movies.

Gameplay is centered on exploring the Hogwarts castle and grounds because that area serves as the launching point for each level of the game. The castle and grounds are huge, but the game takes full advantage of whatever horsepower the Wii can conjure up because the graphics and sound are top notch and could have come right out of the films themselves.

The control scheme is pretty simple, at first because of the usual combination of Wii remote controller and Nunchuk dictate movement, jumping, spell casting, and all other player moves. The game uses a submenu, easily controlled by the Nunchuk, to select individual spells collected through playing. The spell casting menu is a bit difficult to control at first, but fortunately becomes second nature after spending some time on the game.

The biggest asset of Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is the familiar and famous characters that players get to control. Exploring the world of Harry Potter as Harry or Ron is one thing, but walking around as Dumbledore or an evil wizard is something altogether different. In typical Lego game fashion, players start out with limited character options but can unlock other characters by redeeming studs and discovering new faces around the Hogwarts grounds.

Those unlockable features are what makes the addictive gameplay of the game. Players need to find owl posts and collect as many studs as possible to get bonus abilities, like invulnerability, that make the game easier and a bit more fun to play. The co-op nature of the game requires players to work together to solve certain puzzles, which only enhances the need for certain special abilities or characters to be unlocked and playable. Luckily, this only adds to the fun of the game.

One issue in particular that changes things up for players is the split screen that occurs when players are far apart. At first the split screen can be a bit frustrating because the play area gets shrunk by nearly half for both players; however, after a few sessions, this issue becomes invaluable because both players can explore areas of the level or the castle without having to be in close proximity to each other.

All things considered, Lego Harry Potter Years 1-4 is a fun game that doubles as a platformer and a puzzle game. This combination has served several Lego titles well, and it does complete justice to this particular game. Players will spend hours combing through the world of Harry Potter and facing down the challenges the famous character encountered, which makes for some familiar and entertaining days and nights.

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Posted:
2013-08-15

Wiiaddict

Newbie

7.7

The Angry Birds Trilogy is a must have for anyone who owns or plans on purchasing a Nintendo 3DS. The reason being is that the Nintendo 3DS features a three dimensional stereoscopic view. This technologically advanced view is the one you see when you put on those 3D glasses that remind you of sun glasses. However, with the Nintendo 3DS you do not have to use any awkward glasses to get the three dimensional affect you want. You also have the luxury of playing Angry Birds Trilogy by the means of a touch screen.

Angry Birds Trilogy contains the first three games of the popular game series; Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio. These titles were released on several gaming consoles, and computer systems, but are best known for being played on everyone's smart phones. Each game gets a little more advanced in characters and obstacles and they built further upon this gaming franchise and user feedback.

Angry Birds is a simple and strategic game where you use a slingshot to throw an Angry Bird to the side where the Bad Piggies reside. This game is slide scrolling and obstacles are set up to keep you from getting the Bad Piggies. Your goal is to simply throw a bird and destroy a pig.

The graphics are two dimensional cartoons with clever coloring to add a simple roundness to the objects as well as animals. Each bird you use has a different skill you will use to destroy all the Bad Piggies. The further you get in the game, the more complex the obstacles get and the more strategically you need to think.

Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio were created as a way to give the users more game play. The public just kept asking for more, and that is what they got. The seasons change and so do the elements. Some birds are good at destroying ice that may be in the way, some will not be. Some birds may be good at destroying any logs in your way. It is your strategic thinking that will make you succeed in this game.

The Nintendo 3DS will let you take the addictiveness of shooting a bird on a sign scrolling game to a new level. Most smart phones, if not all, have a touch screen. This makes it easy to stretch the sling shot back and release the bird into orbit. The Nintendo 3DS can give you that same feeling. The effectiveness of giving these adorable little two dimensional birds with slight shading a 3D environment is even more fulfilling. You will be amazed how much a simple two dimensional game can be enhanced by adding depth to the background and bring the obstacles along with characters forward.

The three games in the hottest game ever are now available for one of the leading companies' leading hand held system; the Nintendo 3DS. This triage of popularity will have this package selling off the shelves like hot cakes at breakfast.

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Posted:
2013-12-07

budgie

Super Gamer Dude

7.0

Being much like the conceptual setup for the previous version of the Call of Duty game series, Call of Duty: Ghosts is the tenth and latest edition to the main series.

Ghosts is a game that deals with a semi mythical U.S. Special Operations unit who work behind enemy lines. The Ghosts are led by U.S.Army Captain Elias Walker but the game is mostly carried out with one of his sons, Logan Walker as the main playable character. Logan has a brother called David who also is in the action. Other featured characters are a Captain Thomas A. Merrick and Sergeant Keegan. And for all the millions of animal lovers out there a trained German Shepherd by the name Riley is thrown in for good measure, or as a source of food if rations run out. The game begins with the background history of the Ghosts begin narrated by Elias to his sons. A little corny but I suppose players need to be told somehow how the story got to where the current action begins.

The baddie in the game is a ex Ghost Gabriel Rorke who was turned by torture and hallucinogenic substances and now works for the Federation. The story deals with the events after the nuclear destruction of the Middle East, and consequently its oil, allowing the South American oil producers to grow in power and in league with the Federation to realize their desire to extend their domination northwards to the North American Continent.

Along with the basic campaign game mode there are other modes available these being squads, extinction and multiplayer. Squads is a new concept to the series and can be played solo or with other players. Each squad is made up of ten individuals who are to some degree customizable. Their are several sub-modes in Squad, these are Squad v. Squad, Wargame and Safeguard, all of which are pretty simple in design. For instance Squad v. Squad has a pair of opposing players meeting in a death match. In some of these modes, depending on which configuration is chosen, the AI can be the enemy or can act as the rest of your team.

In the multiplayer mode a variety of new challenges are available as well as new awards. Furthermore, the multiplayer game mode in Call of Duty: Ghosts is completely different from previous Call of Duty versions. The new features in the multiplayer game mode are presented in seven different game types from which players can choose to play. These include Search and Rescue, Cranked, Free For All, Team Deathmatch, Search and Destroy, Domination, Team Tactical, and more. All of these game types are team based and require certain team accomplishments to be completed.

In Extinction mode four players play in a survival type setting where the players defend their home base against a variety of different opponents. Players are divided up according to various classes that can be leveled up, and upon doing so, will unlock different weaponry and other equipment. This mode is a co-op type mode which takes the initial mission and requires extra tasks to complete it. The Extinction mode only is available to players who finish the Campaign mode.

In conclusion, the game is a mission style game, and in reality, despite all the new modes, is not very much different in conception to other games in the series or even the genre in general, but has just enough difference to make it worthwhile. There is enough internal variety to keep the player occupied for many hours.

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Posted:
2013-12-11

monk

Super Gamer Dude

8.0

First of all, I recently watched LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload which I loved. I thought the unique use of LEGO graphics was genius and fun to watch at the same time. So, when I came across the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes video game I was doubly pleased. The graphics are amazing! The style, look and feel of the game is comparable if not better than the movie. You even feel like you're part of an extended sort of choose your own adventure version of the movie when playing. I have good memories of LEGO from my childhood and Marvel Super Heroes was another favorite, so this game has combined some of my favorite things together in one, making it even more enjoyable to play.

The game takes place in a highly populated New York City and offers you the choice of a wide range of Marvel characters, both heroes and villains. Following the Marvel comics story line, the basic idea of the game is to stop Loki and the other villains from destroying the world with a super-weapon they are trying to create. You get the choice of which characters you control, and by using their different abilities like Spiderman's web action. You also get to build new constructions in the city, smash them up, solve puzzles and travel through various environments. Some of the places you will travel through are the Green Goblin's Oscorp Tower, Grand Central Station and Doctor Doom's Castle. You can also sky dive and explore the city in between missions and do so many other things. In fact, you really must explore the city in order to uncover all the secrets present within the game.

Each mission or level is quite involved and the secrets are very well hidden. Through exploring you will be able to unlock over 100 characters you can play and discover other things like hidden bricks. Every character has a unique voice and animation, making the game even more memorable. Most of the characters have multiple abilities. It's fun to figure out what character abilities are need to move past the various challenges. Personally, my favorite Marvel characters are Captain America, Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk.

A really nice feature of the game is the ability to control multiple characters by pressing a button. In order to move forward in the game, you have to use a mixture of the super-hero powers and battle the bad guys. There's plenty of humor packed in the game as well that makes it even more entertaining. During the game there are plenty of tutorials and prompts to help you play.

Overall I really think the LEGO Marvel Super Heroes game is fun for all ages. Visually, it's bright, interesting and full of a narrative that offers plenty of fun jokes. Effects like cascading water, debris flying around and super hero powers are very entertaining to the viewer. It's also reasonably priced at about $25. It's also available on all major consoles, so anyone who loves video games can easily purchase it. Christmas is coming up so it's a perfect gift for all the game lovers in your life.

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Posted:
2013-12-16

mig51

Super Gamer Dude

7.9

Donkey Kong Country Returns for the Wii was an excellent return to the Donkey Kong Country series for Nintendo, and did a great job of evoking the feeling of the old Super Nintendo games that so many of us fell in love with as children. While the name of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D might suggest a new game in the series, this title is simply a port of the original Wii game.

However, that is not to say that it degrades the game at all - in fact, Donkey Kong Country Returns always felt sort of like it should have been on the 3DS in the first place. The game's focus on multiple planes within a 2D platforming environment makes it perfect for the 3DS. Even better yet, this refresh of a classic Wii game also gets a few new features.

For starters, the designers have added a new mode with the rather blunt moniker "new mode". This mode more or less translates into an easy mode for the game, giving the player an extra point of damage they can take as well as adding some new items to Cranky Kong's shop that make the game far easier - like a barrel that allows you to respawn Diddy Kong at any time. The 3DS version of the game also tacks 8 new levels on to the end of the game, although these levels barely warrant a mention due to the fact that they are pretty generic and offer no new challenge or anything meaningfully different from the rest of the game's levels.

The port also brings some new problems to the table though. The controls, especially when it comes to charging feel a bit weird. While the shaking of the Wii remote felt pretty spot on in the original version, the remapping of that movement to a single button hold has made it awkward. Even worse yet, the down scaling from the Wii, while mostly successful has left a few residual performance issues in its wake.

If you played the original version of the game for the Wii, you will immediately notice that the 3DS version runs at a frame rate of only 30 fps instead of the original's 60 fps - but even more importantly, there are many times throughout the game where the frame rate will drop precipitously without any warning, ruining countless jumps and tricky platforming bits. It is far too clear that this was once a Wii game that was downgraded to work on the 3DS instead.

All of that said, Donkey Kong Country Returns remains an excellent platformer in its new portable form. Sure, the Wii version might remain the better version, and there is absolutely no reason to pick this up if you already played it on the Wii, but for people new to the game or to the series, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is a great place to start, and remains one of the best 2D platformers to be released in recent memory.

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Posted:
2013-12-17

pamh

Super Gamer Dude

5.0

I'll make it simple: if you are a Just Dance fanatic, this game won't explode in your face. Unfortunately, that's about the nicest thing I can say about Just Dance Kids 2014.

If you want a Just Dance experience that subtracts the potential evils of pop music so you can be absolutely sure it won't turn your kids into mini Miley Cyruses, then get Just Dance Disney Party. It is on the Wii, which means you can play it on your Wii U. You need Wii remotes and a sensor bar to play anyway.

If you want a new Just Dance game, get Just Dance 4. It has more features, far better design, more songs and includes a lot of songs kids would actually want to dance to.

Just Dance may be a successful rhythm game series where players follow onscreen avatars by moving their Wii remotes in time to the popular tunes of the day, but behind this humble premise lies respect for the player. If you're the type of person who really enjoys dancing alone or with your friends in front of your TV to pop music, it is true that Ubisoft do put a lot of effort into trying to please you.

However, this is only applicable to games like Just Dance 4. That game has shadowy, colorful avatars who allow players to project their personalities into the game. It has dance choreography that may prompt an embarrassed smile when you realize what you have to do to win, but ultimately are really well thought-out, and designed to hit a sweet spot between step complexity and fun. It has a broad selection of tunes that will appeal to a wide variety of pop music fans.

Just Dance Kids 2014 on the other hand contains unconvincing smiley digitized tweens who were probably focus-tested to produce the hippest attitudes you can get for a way cool gnarly game like this. Cowabunga dude, kids are radical, am I right? I feel sorry for the children who appear in this failure of a game, who were probably lured into Ubisoft's van by the promise of candy.

Compare the One Direction choreography in this game to Just Dance 4; it's like night and day. Kids are not morons. They can handle regular Just Dance move routines, not these totally simple and boring moves that nobody outside your 100-year-old grandpa would have a problem replicating.

Kids do not usually wake up and say, "I want to dance to Pat Benetar's 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot' today. Oh no, Mary Had a Little Lamb, I've been itching to dance to that! Oh wait, no, I love Kenny Loggins, let's do that one!" Kids want to dance to Justin Bieber, or songs like "Call Me Maybe" or "Umbrella," which are in Just Dance 4, a game that does not get a sixth of its songs by plopping in entries from other titles.

Don't be mean to your kids, get them what they really want.


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