It’s review round-up time once again, so join me as I take a look at what I’ve been playing recently. In today’s round-up, I:
• get fired into Mega Man Legacy Collection on Xbox One, PS4 and PC
• form unlikely allegiances in Miitopia on 3DS,
• fire more bullets than a Rambo marathon in Aero Fighters 2 on Switch,
• invoke the spirit of Roberto Baggio in Super Sidekicks on Switch, and
• try my best to ignore massive tits in Puzzle Adventure Blockle on Switch.
For the first time, my review round-up will be presented in both video and written form (the ‘script’ for both is exactly the same). This lets you decide whether you want to watch or read my reviews, whatever suits your mood.
Please do watch the video if you get time and let me know what you think and where any improvements are needed. I’m trying to build my video content on the site but I’m a writer, not a video producer, so it’s very much a work-in-progress situation. As such, your advice and feedback is especially valuable at this point.
That said, here’s the video: the full written version is underneath. Enjoy!
Mega Man Legacy Collection 2
Xbox One, PS4, PC (Xbox One version reviewed)
A couple of years ago Capcom released Mega Man Legacy Collection on PS4, Xbox One, PC and 3DS.
It contained no fewer than six Mega Man games: specifically the six entries in the NES series (that’s Mega Man 1-6 if you aren’t a nerd like me).
This follow-up completed the main series by compiling Mega Man 7, 8, 9 and 10 in one handy package for your gaming pleasure.
“Hang on,” I hear you object. “That’s only four games. The first one had six. THIS IS A FUCKING OUTRAGE.”
Well, yes, but the four entries on offer here are at least slightly more varied than the six aesthetically similar NES games.
Mega Man 7 is a SNES game, for example: one that differed from the evolving Mega Man X series by sticking to the NES roots and remaining steadfastly like the 8-bit games in terms of feel.
Mega Man 8 did the same thing, but on the PlayStation instead. This means it has easily the most impressive graphics and character animations in the main Mega Man series (although the voice acting is shit).
Then, wrapping things up are Mega Man 9 and 10, which despite their appearance are actually modern(ish) games, released in 2008 and 2010 respectively as homages to the NES originals.
For your £20, then, you get this quartet of side-scrolling platform shooting goodness, along with a hefty concept art gallery and even an ‘Extra Armour’ mode which lets you take half the damage: perfect for today’s mollycoddled gamers who may not be able to deal with the brow-moistening difficulty Mega Man games are notorious for.
There’s even a cheat code: enter Up, Down, Left, Right, Left, Right, Down, Up, Up, Down on the title screen for Mega Man 9 or Mega Man 10 and you’ll unlock all the DLC that was released for those games.
Not a bad wee package for fans, then, although there’s obviously room for improvement. Given that Mega Man X would likely warrant its own standalone package, it would’ve still been nice to maybe have seen some other less common Mega Man games in there, like Mega Man & Bass on the SNES or the bizarre Mega Man Soccer.
The lack of a Switch version is also massively disappointing, since the classic ‘instant action’ gameplay Mega Man provides would have been excellent for quick bursts on the move.
Still, Mega Man fans will get a kick out of it anyway, particularly because of the presence of Mega Man 8, which hasn’t been seen since the Anniversary Collection on the PS2, Xbox and GameCube over a decade ago.
Nintendo EPD / Nintendo
Ever since the 3DS launched, I’ve held out hope for a beefier version of StreetPass Quest, the system’s built-in Mii RPG (also known as Find Mii in the US).
The idea of using actual people I’d encountered in real life as party members in an RPG was a brilliant one, only let down by StreetPass Quest’s piecemeal approach which limited you to a tiny chunk of adventuring each time, before you had to recruit more StreetPass soldiers.
Miitopia is more or less that Mii-based RPG I’ve been dreaming of for the past six years, and it turns out it’s a great laugh: as long as you’re willing to put in some admin work.
The game’s set in Miitopia, a peaceful land where Mii characters live, love and drink copious amounts of Irn Bru Xtra (probably).
This paradise is dumped on its arse one day when the evil Dark Lord turns up and steals the faces of all the Mii community.
He’s not just doing this to save face (sorry): he plans to apply these borrowed visages to his new evil army so they can have the eyes, mouth and such necessary to take over the world.
It’s up to your hero Mii, and a bunch of other Miis who team up with them, to save the day by punching fuck out of the baddies and getting the townsfolk’s faces back.
Here’s the twist: every single character in the game starts off as a standard generic Mii character but can be replaced with any Mii of your choosing: either from your own Mii library, by scanning a QR code or via Mii Central, a built-in gallery of popular user-generated Miis (I saw the likes of Batman and Rick from Rick & Morty in there).
Populating the entire game – as well as your main squad, obviously – with custom characters makes Miitopia far more entertaining, as the various interactions that take place throughout the game gain an extra sense of surrealism.
My four-man consisted of myself, Morgan Freeman, Barack Obama and Russell Brand, and seeing these very different characters playing off each other was a great laugh.
This is helped by the fantastic localisation, which Nintendo has once again knocked out of the park. I played the UK version of the game, which has its own different localisation from the US version: the ‘run’ button during battles is replaced with one that simply says “leg it”.
Speaking of battles, the actual RPG mechanics involved are relatively enjoyable, at least at first. Although it’s a turn-based affair you only control your own character: the other three members of your party are AI-controlled and act depending on the personality settings you assigned to them at the start.
In between battles your squad wanders along a series of preset paths, with occasional forks in the road where you have to decide which way to go. These paths fill in on the map permanently as you explore them, which helps do away with unnecessary grinding as you can see at a glance which routes you still have to uncover.
That said, things can start to feel a little repetitive after a while as you start to cover path after path, and before long the only thing keeping you going is trying to see which comedy cutscene will trigger next.
Ultimately, then, how much you’ll get out of Miitopia depends on how much you want to buy into the concept of casting as many Mii characters as possible in the game’s roles. As an RPG it’s a little basic, but the interactions between your party members and other characters in the game are what really makes it. Commit to personalising these as much as possible and you’ll have a fun time.
ACA Neo Geo: Aero Fighters 2
Video System / Hamster Corporation
Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC (Switch version reviewed)
There are now officially more Neo-Geo games on Switch than there are Russian athletes who took drugs, and Aero Fighters 2 is one of the latest arrivals.
It’s a vertical-scrolling shooter from the imaginatively named Kyoto-based developer Video System, and for the most part it’s your standard shoot ‘em up fare.
Pick a ship, fly upwards, shoot all the baddies, avoid the bullets, collect power-ups, beat a boss at the end, beat all the levels, job done, have your dinner, brush your teeth, go to bed: it’s the same routine you’ve seen in loads of other similar games.
The one interesting thing Aero Fighters does have, however, is a large number of playable characters – 8 to be exact – some of whom are a little odd to say the least.
From a head in a jar to a punk rocker to a baby wearing a flying hat, each character fires a different type of weapon and, even better, has their own odd cut-scenes in between each level.
Best of all is Spanky who, in his own words, is “the world’s first dolphin pilot”. And you can’t really argue with that.
Aero Fighters 2 doesn’t do anything particularly special but it doesn’t do anything exceptionally badly either. It’s a perfectly fine 90s era arcade shooter for your Switch, right down to the moments of ridiculous slowdown when things get too hectic.
The only niggle some people might have is that when you get to the final level the continue mechanic changes and you no longer respawn where you died when you continue.
Instead, you’re unceremoniously dumped back at the start of the last level, meaning you can’t just use infinite continues to brute force your way to the ending: you’ll actually have to ‘git gud’ at the game in order to see what happens to Spanky.
Admit it, you’re curious.
ACA Neo Geo: Super Sidekicks
SNK / Hamster Corporation
Switch, PS4, Xbox One, PC (Switch version reviewed)
What do you know, another Neo-Geo game on Switch. Hang on though, this one’s important because it also marks the first football game on Nintendo’s new system (at least until FIFA 18 comes later).
As you’d expect from an arcade-based football game, Super Sidekicks is light on tactics and heavy on speed and spectacle.
There are a mere two buttons – pass/tackle and shoot/slide tackle – and not really much more to it than that.
However, this means it’s a piece of piss to get used to and before you know it you’ll be swinging over pinpoint crosses and slamming in ridiculous overhead kicks like the ghost of Pele. Well, if he was dead.
It’s a fun, mindless football game that’s ideal for local two-player gameplay: the big chunky sprites make it great for playing with a pal on tabletop mode on the move.
Do bear in mind, though, that there were another three Super Sidekicks games released on the Neo-Geo and they were all better than this one.
While it’s great as it is, then, at the rate these bastards are being churned out on Switch it’s probably only a matter of minutes before we get Super Sidekicks 3 or The Ultimate 11 (the fourth game) as well. By all means get this if you’re okay with that possibility.
Puzzle Adventure Blockle
Finally, we have this curious wee puzzler from Japanese studio Intense (who previously made the Picdun games on DS and 3DS).
It consists of 80 levels in which you have to guide a confused cat to the exit by rotating the entire stage.
It’s a bit like the rotating room they built for the first death in A Nightmare On Elm Street, where Freddy drags the half-naked woman onto the ceiling.
It’s even got the half-naked woman in there too, in the shape of Arika, a young ‘goddess’ whose tits are barely stuffed into her chestpiece, a look that’s only slightly more awkward than the look on your face if you decided to play this on the train in public.
The game itself is a harmless puzzler. The room-turning mechanic makes for some interesting puzzles and there are optional objectives for each stage – clearing it with a certain number of turns, beating it within a set time, etc – that encourage some replay value.
Not a lot, mind. Once you’ve beaten each of the 80 stages there’s no real reason to go back to it, unless you’ve got a real thing for awkward sexual innuendo between a top-heavy schoolgirl and a round cat thing.
Mind you, don’t we all.
In order that I could write the above reviews, I received copies of each game from their respective PRs. The content of my reviews and the opinions therein were in no way positively influenced by this.
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