For a quick fix, the solo boards really aren’t too bad, but at the same time they’re not much to write home about. Board game enthusiasts will find themselves bored quickly, the average player will only break it out when there are friends around—which is the point, and I guess with friends the skill-based games aren’t too bad—and Party aficionados will be able to scratch that virtual itch. For everybody else, unless you’re really planning on playing with others on the go, there aren’t many mini-games here worth playing more than a few times, so be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. Then again, Mario Party is a series that’s been on six different consoles (N64, Gamecube, Wii, GBA, DS, 3DS), so if you’re not aware of what’s going on by now, I can’t say I feel sorry for you.
It would have been fine to integrate the storytelling in the play—of which there is absolutely none—and had a “meh” battle system, because that would bring this up a few notches. But instead, it’s little more than an interactive manga with some battles tossed into some of the most boring environments this side of Dragonball Evolution. In fact, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but give me Dragonball Evolution instead of Romance Dawn. At least then I feel like I’m playing something.
Curtain Call is a nice and "fixed" update to the original Theatrhythm, which while good already, is made better and with a few additional little tracks tossed in. Rhythm gamers will definitely find some challenge with the most difficult levels (though not anything lower, they're super-easy to perfectly combo). Final Fantasy nerds can still scratch that itch without having to dedicate three hours at a time to leveling up and reaching new towns, and for anybody else, it's an easy portable distraction worth the time and cash. Is it perfect? Nope. But it's more than good enough.
Aside from some outdated appearance issues, JRPG cliches, and forgettable music, there isn’t anything terribly wrong with this game. The characters are charming, exploring is satisfying, the action is fast and engaging… this may not be the title that gets the Vita flying off of store shelves, but Tales of Hearts R is definitely worth adding to a pre-existing library. I may be one of the few still really happy with my PSP’s titles, but I’m growing quite fond of my PSP’s bigger little brother now.
The amazing thing about the world of RCRDX is that all of the references made are overt and recognizable, yet blends into the background so easily. Witty throwback ZERO WING reference and almost-Little Mac's trailer on a billboard? Running people over with generic replicas of the Turtle Van or a Vespa scooter, then abusing the Mariachi just to take his guitar for some pitch-perfect head wounds? If you’re an old-schooler who needs a retro fix, there are very few games that can fit the bill better than RETRO CITY RAMPAGE DX.
But hey, for what they were building, Tipping Stars does a lot of things right. My time was spent primarily on the 3DS version, but both look fantastic on their respective screens and play just as well. Some of the puzzles caught me offguard at first, but the challenge level is never overwhelming. It's just the right amount of challenge. The layouts could have probably used more diversity, but the backdrops help to alleviate any possible staleness going into later levels. The whole package is just… nice. Pleasant.
For a game with so much content, it's at home on a portable screen, even if the 3D isn't anything to write home about. (And at the higher settings is actually pretty painful... like Virtual Boy painful.) Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is an impressive title to add to the 3DS library. Now if only we could get more noteworthy profile, non-port games to portable consoles in general (and the 3DS specifically) that would be greeeeaaaat.
If you're the type that wants to find and fight everything, Etrian Mystery Dungeon will keep you occupied for days and days. If you just need a quick fix here and there, it's a great five-minute excursion (or a few hours of digging down per trip). And if you like on-your-toes strategy, this will do you good. Really, if you like a deep experience with plenty of replay value in portable dungeon-crawling, this is about as good as it gets.
If ever a game was made to put (mostly) buxom girls in bikinis and have them fight, this is the culmination of that. And hey, there's a time and a place for such things (again, LC comes to mind). Otherwise, there are so many other, better, more fulfilling beat-'em-ups to dive into. Why bother with this one-trick pony?
Really though, there's a lot of content here, and it's all worth exploring. The different character archetypes are all perfectly playable and fun to build up a personalized team with (my samurai is always named Sanjuro, in case anybody wanted to know). Difficulty might be off the scale at times, with the occasional enemy that will take going back to earlier floors to even think about taking on, and the shop gets pricey, but I can't honestly find much fault in this game beyond that. It's definitely too hardcore for many casual fans, but if you're the type that enjoys a sturdy wall to break down in the name of progress, then I hope you brought some padding… sometimes, love hurts.
The amiibo coming with the game is definitely a perk because it's friggin' adorable. The game is only an average experience. It has plenty of levels but many are the same kind of grind. Half of the non-platforming stages are fun, and the other are torturously placid. Environments do change from world to world, but the challenges are almost identical. It's not bad, but it's not great either. Could've used more "zip," I think.
The series hasn't had many disappointments in its history (*cough*WanoGamlon*cough*... sorry, I meant to say The Wand of Gamelon) and Triforce Heroes certainly isn't one of them. It looks fantastic, it plays exactly how it should, and there's plenty of both material and challenges to keep playing for a long time. The Colosseum might be underwhelming, and the picture-taking stuff is basic, but the rest is damn fun. Now all I need are friends… *sniffle*
By and large these are all minor gripes. The battle system is a lot of frenetic fun, the writing is sharp, and visually the game is that Level-5 cel-shaded colorful anime that looks fantastic. The 3D is unnecessary, but they appear to have learned from what was irritating in a game like LBX (recent as it was) and really worked to smooth out the rough and awkward edges. Aside from a few clumsy design choices, mostly regarding side mission requirements and scrounging around awkwardly for the few required missions, Yo-Kai Watch is a charming gem that's only helping bolster the claim that fun and full RPG experiences are only getting better on portable hardware. And it's a great and action-ish way to invite newer RPG players into the party without entirely scaring away the more hardcore fans. Just because it's cute and funny doesn't mean it doesn't get tense, like seeing a g-g-g-GHOOOOOOST!
I understand I shouldn't expect the depth of SRPGs like Disgaea to build up a team from scratch, but I would like to feel like I was a part of the situation and not simply watching like a coach from the sidelines. Once that's a possibility, I will totally be onboard with PXZ as a series. But as enjoyable as this can be one battle each sitting, it overstays its welcome. But I'm happy it exists, and takes the concept that established characters can be played with like the Play-Doh these devs may have snacks on as children.
For a simple experience, with multiple objectives per stage that can't be all completed at once (with a handful of exceptions), so it's good as a short-term distraction. Hitman GO is designed to be a temporary go-to for those times you're stuck in minor delays, like a doctor's appointment when you've arrived early, not the DMV or anything crazy. It'll do the trick, but aside from the lovely visual style, it's a largely forgettable experience. Not a bad one, but "oh yeah, I remember playing this" nostalgia after you've worked through the levels in the few hours it takes to shoot through.
It doesn’t have the same level of depth or detail a traditional LoZ game employs, but it’s satisfying, and I can see keeping Legends in my system for a long time coming. Sure, it can make you want to yank your hair out by the roots sometimes, but if it didn’t, would you really want it?
Senran Kagura as a series is something of a guilty pleasure for me, faults and confusion and all. At first glance… like the cover... it's a bunch of overly-exaggerated anime girls on a beach in skimpy outfits. A mission or two in, and it's overly-exaggerated anime ninjas on a beach in a contest to strip each other's clothes off. But eventually it reaches a story that's deeper than one expects from this kind of experience… then throws the mind back into the gutter for a bit. Because boobs, amirite?
So if you like classic RPGs, there's no reason to avoid any of the Bravely games, and if you're not sure about this one for some reason, download that free demo and get crackin'. It's easy to pick up for a bit (even if just for "Chompcraft" on the loo) and play a few minutes, or play through an afternoon with. Or for nostalgia's sake, you can sit super-close to your old console TV with your nose practically on the screen to relive those JRPG glory days.