From the spelltacular to the magically mundane

The pixel art seen throughout Magical Vacation, Brownie Brown's 2001 GBA RPG, is never anything less than utterly stunning. Every location is bathed in comforting pastel colours and brimming with astonishing levels of detail, this art encompassing everything from lush forests to industrialist towers and populated by fluffy dog people, talking puppets, and every other kind of … Continue reading From the spelltacular to the magically mundane

Happy! So happy! Mega happy!

Korokoro Puzzle: Happy Panechu! is a GBA puzzle game released exclusively in Japan in 2002 and developed by Mobile 21, perhaps best know for their work on a different title for the same handheld: Gradius Generation (AKA Galaxies/Advance). Unlike the seventy billion other puzzle games released for Nintendo's portables over the years (exact quantity possibly a little less than that), … Continue reading Happy! So happy! Mega happy!

Samus’ spooky adventures on SR388

The 3DS remake was... fine, I suppose, and the fan remake swiftly shut down by Nintendo's ever-vigilant lawyers was nothing short of fantastic, but what about the real Metroid II, the original monochrome Game Boy game? It doesn't have the historical significance of the NES classic that started it all, and neither is it as lush or eternally popular … Continue reading Samus’ spooky adventures on SR388

Let’s get ready to rhumble!

Nintendo ushered in rumble-tastic gaming with the wonderful Star Fox 64 (or Lylat Wars, as we used to call it over here) in 1997 with Sony's PlayStation introducing the new all-in-one DualShock controller just a few months later, offering not only built-in battery-free vibrations but also two - two! - analogue sticks as standard, unknowingly defining the basic features and … Continue reading Let’s get ready to rhumble!

The Mother of all fishing games

I love Sega Bass Fishing. That little Dreamcast game is everything other virtual fishing experiences are not. It's exciting for starters; its arcade roots allowing users to get straight to the best part of the whole soggy affair - teasing a hungry fish with your specially selected lure before hooking and then frantically reeling them … Continue reading The Mother of all fishing games

Gotta hack ’em all!

For an adventure game with such impressive development talent behind it - that'll be Red Entertainment (Sakura Wars, Galaxy Fraulein Yuna) and Creatures Inc. (Mother 3, manymanymanymany very good Pokémon spin-offs) - Japanese DS exclusive Project Hacker: Kakusei failed to do much more on release than exist in as unremarkably and inoffensively a manner as possible, quietly coming and going … Continue reading Gotta hack ’em all!

More of the same, please

What do you get when Hudson Soft, the developers of the Nectaris (AKA: Military Madness) series, are given the keys to Intelligent Systems' Famicom/Super Famicom/Game Boy Wars? Exactly what you'd expect. There's your little cluster of buildings. There are the enemy's. Each side has to shoot and shell their way across the map, soldiers taking … Continue reading More of the same, please

Super [Famicom] storytelling

At first glance, a second look, and even after skimming over a few screenshots, anyone interested in playing Heisei Shin Onigashima could reasonably assume this 1996 (Satellaview release, with some differences)/1997 (Nintendo Power service)/1998 (boxed retail cartridges shown above) two-part Super Famicom adventure game wasn't much more than a graphical overhaul of Nintendo's 1987 8-bit … Continue reading Super [Famicom] storytelling

Change is bad. And good. And necessary.

PlayStation cutscene 'em up Metal Gear Solid was a legend in its own lifetime, selling millions of copies worldwide and responsible for a huge shift in mainstream gaming's attitude towards how games could play and the sort of weighty subjects their plots could tackle. It made "stealth action" mainstream in a way Tenchu, released the … Continue reading Change is bad. And good. And necessary.