Reviews - News

November2012

  • 32

    3DS eShop

    Review 2 Fast 4 Gnomz

    Gnome-madic

    While the title might indicate that 2 Fast 4 Gnomz could be the marriage of Miami street racing and gnome culture we've all been waiting for, what we have instead is a much-improved eShop version of QubicGames' WiiWare runner of the same name. In fact, the title's silly, Prince-esque number usage and 90's-edgy "z" belie the fact that 2...

  • 24

    DSiWare

    Review Cake Ninja 2

    Unjust desserts

    Almost one year ago, the DSiWare service was graced with the appearance of Cake Ninja, an unrepentant clone of mobile craze Fruit Ninja. However, its lifeless approach to the formula, lack of addictiveness and total dearth of variety doomed it to receive a mere 2/10 in our review. Now we have Cake Ninja 2, which seeks to atone for...

  • 16

    DSiWare

    Review Spot It! Mean Machines

    I spy a decent game

    At a glance, Spot It! Mean Machines is simply a collection of grainy photographs of piles of junk. If you continue to explore this title, you'll find that your initial assessment was astute, but you will also find that it’s amazing how much fun can be had while staring at these still images. If you’re a fan of classic Spot...

  • 20

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review Shock Troopers

    Don't think, just shoot!

    While the run-and-gun genre generally evolved into the side-scrolling blast-a-thons we all know and love, there were a few titles during the early arcade days that took a more overhead perspective like Capcom's popular Commando arcade release. It was this direction that developer Saurus took when it came time to put together...

October2012

  • Movie Review Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

    A true gentleman never disappoints his fans

    Puzzle 001: How do you adapt a best-selling puzzle series for the big screen? The answer? Bring the puzzles along for the ride. For most movies, shoehorning in memorable gameplay elements hasn't always worked out as planned — the first-person shooting segment from Doom was lampooned by many viewers,...

  • 14

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Mighty Bomb Jack

    Not so mighty

    The original Bomb Jack was an addictive little arcade game in which the objective was to collect all the bombs in each level while avoiding enemies. Sounds like a simple concept - and it was. For the NES, though, Tecmo decided to make a sequel with a bit of an adventure game element to it. The bomb rooms from the original game are...

  • 37

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Ghosts 'n Goblins

    A Halloween greeting from Satan himself

    Capcom couldn't have picked a better time to release Ghosts 'n Goblins onto the 3DS Virtual Console. It's Halloween, after all, and this is one of the most classic spooky games there is. The real question is how well it holds up today, and that's one we're happy to answer: quite well, actually. Despite the...

  • 19

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Gradius

    Dated, but legendary

    To say that the original Gradius was influential on the evolution of the side-scrolling shoot 'em up would be a gross understatement. When the game hit arcades in 1985 it was lauded for its amazing level designs and simple, yet wildly playable, power-up system. This NES release was one of the first home ports of the game and has...

  • 10

    DSiWare

    Review Puzzler World XL

    My God, it's full of puzzles

    Based on a popular brand of pencil-and-paper puzzle collections, Puzzler World XL is the latest release from developer Ideas Pad. It doesn't stray far from its digital cousins or its analogue ancestors, but fans of classic puzzles will find an excellent companion in this expansive, well-rounded package. First and...

  • 11

    DSiWare

    Review 18th Gate

    Dungeon crawler

    18th Gate is not a game for the easily bored. It's a fairly basic strategy RPG that has you edging through – yes – 18 dungeons to the magical portal gates at the end, with the caveat that you only have a limited number of turns to escape from each maze. Each turn can be an attack, a spell or a single step to an adjacent hexagonal...

  • 16

    WiiWare

    Review Reel Fishing Ocean Challenge

    Pain in the bass

    It’s been about two years since the last Reel Fishing game was released for WiiWare, and you’d think that that was enough time to figure out how to improve on the formula. Unfortunately, that isn't at all what has happened. Instead, a series of games based on an activity as simple as fishing has somehow managed to sink deeper...

  • 53

    3DS

    Review Style Savvy: Trendsetters

    They see me stylin', they hatin'

    What's the hottest new fashion trend this fall season? Nintendo's hoping it won't be cobalt leg-warmers or autumn florals, but rather their newly released 3DS fashion sim, Style Savvy: Trendsetters. With engaging collection and customization-based gameplay and classy production values, they've certainly got a good...

  • 45

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Mega Man

    The NES experience, now on 3DS

    A while back, the 3DS Virtual Console got Mega Man: Dr. Wily's Revenge, the Blue Bomber's first Game Boy outing. It's a decent conversion of the console game, but many would agree that the handheld Mega Man games didn't really begin to shine until later in the series. Curiously, instead of working their way closer to...

  • 19

    Game Boy

    Review Castlevania Legends

    Tainted bloodline

    The odds were stacked against Castlevania Legends almost from the start. When it was released towards the end of the '90s, it had the near-impossible task of following Castlevania: Symphony of the Night - a game which had revitalised Konami's gothic series and won widespread critical acclaim. To add to the heady level of...

  • 132

    3DS eShop

    Review NightSky

    A perfect circle

    Three years ago, Nicalis announced a game called NightSky for release on WiiWare. Needless to say that never happened, but the project was far from dead. Last year our excitement was renewed by the news that NightSky would instead be released for the 3DS eShop, and now, at long last, it's finally here. The question everyone should...

  • 82

    GameCube

    Review Kirby Air Ride

    A Ride for all ages?

    Kirby, everyone’s favourite pink puffball, has hopped on his Warpstar and blasted into the world of “kart” racing in Kirby Air Ride for the Nintendo GameCube. He’s brought with him a few of his brethren, a unique set of controls, and some recognizable scenery, which is packed into this multiplayer-centric package. While...

  • Movie Review Ace Attorney

    Phoenix's début on the big screen makes a good case

    While the video game and movie industries have arguably managed to advance and make some great strides over the last few years, the same can't be said for their offspring. Whether it be the sexy archaeological adventures of Lara Croft, or the hard-hitting, guns-a-blazing ways of Agent 47, most...

  • 17

    Wii

    Review Inazuma Eleven Strikers

    Crazy super-duper Strikers!

    When it comes to Inazuma Eleven Strikers, don't let any references to football (soccer if you're of the North America persuasion) or the snazzy kits fool you, this isn't a football game. It's a ball game with football-style rules, infused with extravagant special moves and buckets of charm, which is guaranteed to raise an...

  • 19

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review The Last Blade 2

    Last Blade Part Deux

    When the original Last Blade title was released it took weapons-based fighting in 2D to new heights with its fluid play controls and intense fighting action. Not wanting to rest on its laurels, SNK soon put together a sequel that didn't try to really overhaul anything, but rather stuck to tweaking a few minor aspects of the...

  • 4

    3DS eShop

    Review Nurikabe by Nikoli

    Blocked and loaded

    The Nikoli puzzle factory is filled with evil geniuses. There really is no way else to explain their signature puzzle types sudoku, kakuro, hitori and the plethora of others that have hit the eShop by way of developer Hamster — the puzzles are simple in premise, seem easy enough to complete but then dropkick your brain when...

  • 96

    3DS

    Review Code of Princess

    A code worth cracking

    For a while now, hack-and-slash has been significantly undermined as a legitimate genre in video gaming, but Code of Princess doesn't care about any of that. Code of Princess spits in the face of modern 3D gaming and says “I can do things better,” and then goes out and does it. Being touted as a spiritual successor to Sega...

  • 3

    DS

    Review Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2

    Is history repeating itself?

    In these risk-averse times, publishers are increasingly relying on sequels to existing IPs to ensure that they turn over a profit. The problem doesn’t stem so much from a dearth of creativity in the industry, but rather as consumers we have a horrible habit of sticking with what we know. Much like the video game...

  • 52

    3DS eShop / GBC

    Review Mario Golf

    A beautiful day on the links

    Released in 1999 to dovetail with the N64 game of the same name, the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf is more than just a scaled-back, portable edition. In fact, it stands well enough on its own merits, and it's almost unfortunate that it shares a name with its console counterpart; it really does have an identity all...

  • 38

    3DS

    Review Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask

    It's Layton, so you probably know the answer

    While gamers in Japan are eagerly awaiting the final part of the Professor Layton prequel trilogy, those of us in the West are relieved to finally get our hands on what was a Japanese 3DS launch title, Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask — originally known as Professor Layton and the Mask of Miracle...

  • 9

    DSiWare

    Review Robot Rescue 2

    Robot Parade

    The sequel to Teyon's first DSiWare release from back in 2009, Robot Rescue 2 charges players with leading a flock of oddly organic looking robots to safety across gridded stages. Rescuing these robots is made more complicated, and much more interesting, by the fact that their movement is synchronized. Press any direction on the D-pad...

  • 34

    GameCube

    Review Geist

    A Ghost of the Past

    Nintendo doesn’t have much of a history when it comes to publishing mature-rated games. In fact, they had never directly released an M-rated game before they published the critically acclaimed Eternal Darkness for the GameCube in 2002. So when it was announced that Nintendo was working closely with developer n-Space on Geist...

  • 107

    3DS eShop

    Review Samurai G

    The "G" is for "garbage"

    UFO Interactive's eShop releases seemed to be on a slow but steady progression towards quality, with Johnny Kung Fu almost breaking through this underwhelming barrier. But then along comes Samurai G to pee in everyone's cereal. Samurai G is like being presented with a spoon and a bowl full of live bees: just one look is...

  • 57

    3DS eShop

    Review Liberation Maiden

    Maiden voyage

    A few months ago, Japan received the 3DS game Guild01, essentially a compilation of four specially developed games, each created by different well-known designers. Instead of simply releasing the collection in the west, Level 5 has chosen to instead publish the individual games as eShop titles — though it seems that only three of the...

  • 35

    3DS

    Review Crosswords Plus

    A few cross words

    The 3DS is no stranger to puzzle games, with Japanese developer Nikoli being responsible for most of the puzzle games on the market. While games like Sudoku, Hitori and Kakuro have provided us with enough numbers to last a lifetime, there’s a distinct lack of wordplay on Nintendo’s newest handheld. Enter Crosswords Plus, the...

  • 18

    3DS

    Review Boulder Dash-XL 3D

    Rockford reborn

    Every system has little-known titles — packed with content and well-constructed gameplay — that fail to fly off shelves or, in some cases, even get into high street stores in the first place. If Boulder Dash-XL 3D suffers that fate it'll be a pity, because it takes its subject matter and goes beyond the basic requirements,...

  • 18

    Wii

    Review Just Dance 4

    Sweat baby, sweat

    The video games industry is currently inundated with a plethora of fitness games promising to give you abs like Schwarzenegger - if you're willing to pay the price. But how many of these titles actually perform? While the Just Dance franchise might be categorised into the silly party genre, Just Dance 4 in fact provides a fun...

  • 7

    DSiWare

    Review Academy: Chess Puzzles

    Chess, minus chess

    Sometimes a game is so simple in concept that it’s difficult to find the right words to describe it. It’s also worth keeping in mind that simplicity is not always a bad thing, and it can often work in a game’s favor. With that being said, Academy: Chess Puzzles is the definitive simple pleasure. The first thing that needs...

  • 6

    WiiWare

    Review Successfully Learning English: Year 5

    One more class, Freddy

    Successfully Learning English: Year 5 represents, probably, the end of an edutainment era. Across DSiWare and WiiWare, Freddy the Vampire has appeared in over 20 titles covering a few different subjects in relentless detail for young pupils, all with the same style, structure and bland presentation. The final part of the Wii's...

  • 46

    3DS

    Review Disney Princess: My Fairytale Adventure

    A royal pain

    Disney has a long history of using video games to place its familiar characters into unfamiliar contexts, often mixing several disparate worlds together for the sake of effect. The best part? It quite often works. From Mickey Mouscapade to the Kingdom Hearts series to the upcoming Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion, it's usually great fun...

  • 23

    WiiWare

    Review Drop Zone: Under Fire

    Falling with style

    One of the coolest things video games can do is let us perform daring, stylish feats we might never attempt in the real world. Drifting around corners at 100mph, snowboarding off the edge of a mountain with reckless bravado, even plucking vegetables from the ground and hurling them at a pink dinosaur — all things we can...

  • 121

    3DS

    Review Angry Birds Trilogy

    Fowl play

    Something of a cultural phenomenon by now, Rovio's Angry Birds franchise is one of the few in gaming to capture the general public's eye, time, wallet and wardrobe, becoming the poster child for "the future" of the industry. It has been called quite a few things in its meteoric rise: Herald of the death of dedicated gaming handhelds...

  • 73

    3DS eShop

    Review Pokémon Dream Radar

    Dreams become reality

    With the Pokémon series still a ways off from making its proper debut on Nintendo 3DS, fans who had purchased the stereoscopic handheld were in need of something to tide them over. Less a proper game and more a companion "app" to Pokémon Black and White 2, Pokémon Dream Radar uses the 3DS's AR capabilities to bring the...

  • 11

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers

    Fair and balanced

    Real Bout Fatal Fury 2: The Newcomers marks the seventh release in the series and the third and final release in the Real Bout sub-series. While there has always been a lot of debate about whether this game or Real Bout Fatal Fury Special is the better overall fighting game, it's nice to see SNK-Playmore giving Virtual Console fans...

  • 73

    DS

    Review Pokémon Black and White 2

    Pokémon used Sequel! It’s super effective!

    It's fitting that the franchise typically relied upon to sell Nintendo handhelds is also the swansong that bids farewell to the mighty Nintendo DS. The enormously popular Pokémon series graces the highest-selling handheld console of all time for one last hurrah and the result is nothing short of...

  • 33

    DS

    Review Learn With Pokémon: Typing Adventure

    SEMI-COLON COMMA WOOBAT

    It would be very easy to dismiss Learn With Pokémon Typing Adventure as ‘just another Pokémon spin-off’, or even worse, an ‘edutainment game’. Yet in fact, the title conceals a rather addictive addition to the Pokémon franchise, bundled with a nifty Bluetooth keyboard and stand. As with most Pokémon spin-offs,...

  • 86

    3DS eShop

    Review Cave Story

    Spelunker

    Stop us if you've heard this one. A guy by the nom de plume of Pixel made a really great game all by himself and released it on PC for free in 2004. It's called... Oh, so you have heard it. We thought so. In 2012, Cave Story needs no introduction. It's not an unknown quantity. In fact, not counting this eShop release, publisher Nicalis...

  • 8

    3DS eShop

    Review Hitori by Nikoli

    Brainy cells

    Connoisseurs of the eShop should be well acquainted with Japanese puzzle maker Nikoli: Hamster has trickled out an assortment of its brand of logic puzzles for months now, with varying success. Hitori by Nikoli offers a clever inversion on typical puzzle design, a Jeopardy!-style twist to its approach by handing over a grid of answers...

  • 40

    3DS

    Review Hotel Transylvania

    Stab it with your steely knives

    Released as an obvious tie-in with the movie of the same name, Hotel Transylvania aims to provide an experience evocative of some classic Castlevania titles, particularly the DS games and that influential masterpiece Symphony of the Night. That's the good news. The bad news is that, as with many movie tie-ins, Hotel...

  • 22

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review Quarth

    Break it down

    Originally released for the Game Boy in 1990, Konami's Quarth takes the presentation of a Space Invaders-type shooter, and instead gives us a puzzle game. As tempting as it might be to enter these stages with guns blazing, what Quarth actually requires is a healthy amount of foresight and on-the-fly problem solving. It's not without...

  • 5

    DSiWare

    Review Kart Krashers

    A party worth krashing?

    Kart Krashers has a plan to shake up the kart racing genre: keep the karts, erase the race. Sure, it sounds rather pointless, but stick with us. The basic idea is to drive your kart around arena-like courses, shooting for a high score by collecting stars and rings and taking out baddies. The "Krashers" in the name implies a...

September2012

  • 101

    3DS eShop

    Review The Denpa Men: They Came By Wave

    Radioheads

    When we first started hearing the news about Denpa Ningen no RPG coming to the West, we didn't know what to expect. Its visual debt to Nintendo's Miis and Pikmin intrigued us, and the fact that the brains behind this game had their fingers in Pokémon Colosseum and great series such as Dragon Quest, Final Fantasy and Ogre Battle meant...

  • 30

    DSiWare

    Review Retro Pocket

    Through the Past, Darkly

    Before Retro Pocket, Game & Watch fans were poorly served. If they wanted to enjoy those early Nintendo forays into gaming, they were out of luck. There was no way for gamers to get their hands on recreations of those originals, short of picking up the Game & Watch Collection, of course. Or its sequel. But apart...

  • 50

    Wii

    Review Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition

    Sweet dreams

    The Kirby series has been a staple of Nintendo game systems since the pink fluff first appeared on the original Game Boy back in 1992. While the games have always been known more for their charm and unique gameplay than their difficulty, they've become some of the best selling video games in history. Now Nintendo has released Kirby's...

  • 69

    WiiWare

    Review La-Mulana

    WiiWare's last big game?

    La Mulana's WiiWare release has been a rocky road. It was first announced by developer Nigoro in 2009 and suffered several delays before finally hitting the service in Japan in 2011. Of course, most were expecting it to be released elsewhere soon after, but that didn't happen. It was eventually cancelled by its old publisher...

  • 17

    3DS eShop

    Review Heavy Fire: Special Operations 3D

    Fool us once...

    Slowly but surely, Teyon is on its way towards a half-way decent entry in its Heavy Fire series of military pop shooters. After squeezing out two downloadable disasters and an inexplicable retail release, Teyon returns to the well with Heavy Fire: Special Operations 3D — a reloaded version of that first WiiWare gem, now with added...

  • 30

    3DS eShop

    Review Rising Board 3D

    All that glitters is not gold

    The endless runner craze isn't about to end any time soon, and that's understandable. The genre offers an experience that is both suited to quick play sessions and unique every time you boot it up. The DSiWare service even received a rough equivalent in I Must Run!, and now the eShop has Rising Board 3D, an endless...

  • 9

    3DS eShop

    Review Crazy Kangaroo

    Hop, Skippy and jump

    No wonder poor old Barney has gone a bit loopy. Crazy Kangaroo's mad marsupial is on the run after escaping the grasp of evil poachers by daringly bundling himself out of a plane. Unwilling to give up their prize, his captors continue their relentless pursuit to tie this kangaroo down. If you've been near a smartphone in the...

  • 31

    DSiWare

    Review Bookstore Dream

    Let us tell you about this game, fair reader

    Bookstore Dream, to be clear, has about as much book-selling realism as the Call of Duty series has to real warfare. Ultimately though, it is just a game, and this one draws much of its inspiration from a series of smartphone resource management games from developer Kairosoft. We won't complain about...

  • 53

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Zelda II: The Adventure of Link

    The underdog of the Zelda series returns

    Back in the early days of several franchises, the second game in a series tended to be radically different from the first, because developers had not quite pinned down what they wanted the series to become - take a look at Castlevania II or the western Super Mario Bros. 2 for example. Zelda II is another big...

  • 49

    3DS eShop

    Review Fractured Soul

    Seeing double

    Anyone who's followed the development cycle of Fractured Soul will know that the game has experienced quite a few ups and downs on its route to retail. Not only has it been in development for close to eight years, it's also a game that even the developers wondered would ever actually see the light of day. Now resurrected on Nintendo's...

  • 5

    3DS eShop

    Review Heyawake by Nikoli

    Mind bending

    Heyawake has been around since 1992 and has spawned several books of puzzles for brain teaser fans to tackle. Now the puzzles are appearing on the 3DS eShop in the form of Heyawake by Nikoli. You can take on 50 puzzles of increasing difficulty on your 3DS and compete with up to three other players in a race to see who can finish the...

  • 25

    DSiWare

    Review Crazy Hunter

    Hunting, it’ll make you crazy

    Have you ever thought to yourself, “what’s the least amount of fun I can possibly have while playing a DSiWare game”? Well, think no more, because now your wildest fantasies can be a reality when you play Crazy Hunter. With a plot that makes no sense and controls that are almost impossible to master, you’ll be...

  • 30

    3DS eShop

    Review Picross E

    Almost picture perfect

    By now, most of you should be familiar with the concept of Picross. First appearing on the Game Boy with Mario's Picross and most recently in slightly altered form in Picross 3D, Picross has always been a bit of an unassuming, almost low-key affair, but those who invest their time into it tend to discover an incredibly...

  • 15

    3DS eShop

    Review Balloon Pop Remix

    A popping good time

    Balloon Pop Remix, the latest offering from developer UFO Interactive, is a stylus-based variation on the "bubble-pop" puzzle theme. You slide the stylus over two or more adjacent balloons of any colour to pop them, and as the balloons from below float up to take their place, any matching colour combination of three or more will...

  • 44

    3DS eShop

    Review Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D

    To the hunt

    Even before it was released, Outdoors Unleashed: Africa 3D was already turning heads and churning out some very interesting debate about what is and is not considered appropriate for a video game. Because this title is all about hunting on an African safari and involves the killing of wild - and in many cases, endangered - animals,...

  • 4

    WiiWare

    Review Successfully Learning English: Year 4

    A bit tougher than A, B, C

    So, the Successfully Learning series continues its relentless march onto WiiWare, with Successfully Learning English: Year 4 being the third entry in this particular run. As we've come to expect it's much of the same thing, but with a notable step up in challenge for its young pupils. Freddy the Vampire is starting to get...

  • 20

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review Kirby's Star Stacker

    Stacked

    Anybody who plays video games probably knows all about the likes of Tetris, Dr. Mario, Puzzle League and other puzzle games, but Kirby had his own original puzzler (as in, not a reskin of Puyo Puyo) as well. The last Kirby game for the original Game Boy, Kirby's Star Stacker is actually a fairly fun game, if a little shallow. Like most...

August2012

  • 21

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review Metal Slug X

    X hits the spot

    While Contra has always been the game by which all run and gun titles have been judged, serious fans of the genre will still flash a wide grin at the mere mention of the Metal Slug series, especially Metal Slug X. There's no denying that Metal Slug 2 had all of the makings of an amazing run and gunner, but the rampant slowdown ended...

  • 3

    WiiWare

    Review Successfully Learning English: Year 3

    Freddy says relax

    Certain things are inevitable, such as death, taxes and another Successfully Learning download. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you have a young child that could use some extra help with the subject at hand, and Successfully Learning English: Year 3 delivers reliably. It does exactly the same as predecessor Successfully...

  • 20

    DSiWare

    Review Abyss

    Fun but lacking depth

    Abyss is almost an archetypically simple game. There are no modes, power-ups, online features or options, and every face button performs the same action. The premise is correspondingly uncomplicated: as the charmingly named deep-sea submarine “Nep2no”, you'll float through close-quartered underwater stages, avoiding the...

  • 52

    3DS eShop

    Review VectorRacing

    Lines and lines and lines and lines and lines!

    There's an episode of Family Guy in which Peter Griffin attends a production of Uncle Vanya. Partway through the play he stands up, bored out of his mind, and shouts, "for crying out loud, somebody throw a pie!" That's more or less how we felt playing VectorRacing. VectorRacing is the epic tale...

  • 19

    DSiWare

    Review Crazy Chicken Pirates

    Not crazy enough to work

    Recently two games were released via Nintendo’s handheld online services, Crazy Chicken Pirates and Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D, and, as you’ve probably guessed, they’re very similar to one another. By “very similar”, we actually mean that — with the exception of the additional 3D effect and higher resolution of the...

  • 20

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review Real Bout Fatal Fury Special

    Special indeed

    Generally speaking, the "special" SNK releases are generally used as an upgrade to iron out kinks found in the previous releases of the game. Real Bout Fatal Fury Special is no exception and actually goes quite a long way at upgrading the previous Real Bout Fatal Fury title, even tossing in a bunch of new goodies for fighting game...

  • 20

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon

    Not so mystical

    Shortly after the original release of the excellent Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon for Nintendo 64, Konami released another game with the same title for the original Game Boy. Tragically, the N64 game has still not been released on Wii Virtual Console, but is this handheld offering a good alternative? This instalment of the Goemon...

  • 5

    DSiWare

    Review Escape The Virus: Shoot 'Em Up!

    Not hugely contagious

    Escape the Virus: Shoot 'em Up! is a top-down twin stick arcade shooter without the twin sticks. As a tiny bit of friendly bacteria, you zoom about firing out rounds of red and blue pills at an endless onslaught of nasty-looking viruses, shooting in whichever direction you're moving. The viruses always eventually win, so the...

  • 29

    3DS eShop

    Review Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D

    This poultry is paltry

    There's a story in Crazy Chicken Pirates 3D, but believe us, you won't need one. The game — whose title reads about as gracefully as magnetic poetry — sees you gunning down chickens for 90 seconds. Then, we guess, you can do it again. If you'd like to. You may not, but the option to play again is about the only option the...

  • 52

    3DS eShop

    Review SpeedX 3D

    Speed demon

    There's always the temptation to be a bit snobbish about games that are ported to traditional consoles from smartphones. Given the enormous success of "casual" experiences on mobiles, many dedicated gamers view even the best titles as vapid, shallow experiences — a perspective which is reinforced by the hordes of clones and rip-offs...

  • 9

    DSiWare

    Review The Lost Town - The Jungle

    Lost in translation

    It’s rare for a sequel to a well received game to be released with little to nothing in terms of new content. Usually, a sequel calls for a fresh plot which ushers in new characters and gameplay elements to keep the familiar franchise fresh. Sometimes though, a sequel gets released that is essentially just a re-skinning of the...

  • 28

    3DS eShop

    Review Touch Battle Tank 3D

    Bad touch

    Good intentions most certainly pave the road to disappointment in Touch Battle Tank 3D. While it's clear that the 70 levels of non-stop blasting are meant to feel like frantic, satisfying plunges into arcade-style madness, it's also clear that the components simply don't come together the way they need to. Touch Battle Tank 3D simply feels...

  • 26

    3DS eShop / GBC

    Review Toki Tori

    A good egg

    Many will be familiar with Toki Tori on WiiWare, released a few years ago and since on several systems; it's been quite the popular game, but not many people are familiar with the original entry in the series. This is understandable, because it was released at the tail end of the Game Boy Color's life cycle back in 2002, but now has a...

  • 219

    3DS

    Review New Super Mario Bros. 2

    Going for gold

    At the time of writing, the 2012 London Olympics are in full swing. A global expression of unparalleled sporting excellence, the Games feature hordes of top-class athletes attempting to grab gold glory by taking part in events which are steeped in history and tradition; ultimately, the objective isn’t to be innovative in your...

July2012

  • 18

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review World Heroes Perfect

    Not quite perfect

    When World Heroes was first released on SNK's Neo Geo arcade and home console system, it was yet another attempt to capture the popularity of Capcom's Street Fighter, this time by developer ADK. While the game featured some unique gameplay and visual features, it was still regarded more as a nice attempt at the genre than any type...

  • 57

    DSiWare

    Review Decathlon 2012

    Torch it

    Well, the London 2012 Olympic games are officially underway, and the eShop now has its equivalent of those ubiquitous bootlegged t-shirts in the form of Decathlon 2012, a digital souvenir that hopes to coast on the excitement of the Olympics without shelling out for the rights to refer to them by name. Already we're off to a great start,...

  • 60

    3DS eShop

    Review Planet Crashers

    Crash and burn

    On first inspection, Planet Crashers is the cute, warm and whimsical RPG world you would expect from Mutant Mudds developer Renegade Kid, providing a shot of humour, quirkiness and style to an already crowded and tired genre. However, much like other adventure RPGs lining our shelves at the moment, Planet Crashers is very much a case...

  • 67

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review Mole Mania

    Dig in

    Poor Muddy Mole has returned home to find his family kidnapped by the evil farmer Jinbe. That's the entire plot, and we're happy about that. After all, Mole Mania isn't about storytelling; it's about a massive gauntlet of clever puzzles, and that's exactly why we like it. Divided into eight very large levels, Muddy's adventure finds him...

  • 10

    3DS eShop

    Review Dot Runner: Complete Edition

    On the dot or a runaround?

    Dot Runner: Complete Edition is the latest release from Intense, developer of unique DSiWare RPG GO Series: Picdun. This outing shares the dual perspectives of that title but little else; here you collect dots as a futuristic man-on-a-mission named BOLT in a chase puzzler that's fast and fun, but seriously flawed. While...

  • 39

    3DS

    Review New Art Academy

    A flawed masterpiece

    New Art Academy’s arrival on 3DS comes as no surprise, as the original DSiWare titles and the retail compilation on DS further boosted the handheld’s appeal, particularly to those who wanted more from a gaming machine. As part of a group of ‘bridge’ titles from Nintendo, designed to attract new audiences, it served its...

  • 10

    DSiWare

    Review Rabi Laby 2

    Return to Wonderland

    Remember the old adage “less is more"? Even if you don’t, Agetec certainly does, as is clearly reflected in Rabi Laby 2, its most recent DSiWare release. While it’s true that not much has changed from the first instalment, the original Rabi Laby was pretty good, so there’s not much to find fault with here. Much like its...

  • 5

    WiiWare

    Review Successfully Learning English: Year 2

    Back to the classroom

    If you combine DSiWare and WiiWare, Tivola’s Successfully Learning series has been one of the most prolific franchises available for download. Just when we thought it was all over, Successfully Learning English: Year 2 makes the transition from DSiWare to WiiWare, and young pupils can breathe a sigh of relief. The question is...

  • 107

    DSiWare

    Review Petit Computer

    Massive potential, minor headache

    There are few better places to learn programming than within the BASIC family — heck, it's in the name — which offers general-purpose, relatively simple environments in which to learn the ropes and concepts of coding. Petit Computer is a powerful BASIC coding environment, a type of homebrew application seldom...

  • 9

    3DS eShop

    Review Masyu by Nikoli

    Circle gets the square

    The ...by Nikoli series is nothing new to the eShop, but Masyu by Nikoli stands out for being a puzzle of Nikoli's own creation. This means that if you'd like to play it, more than likely this will be your only option on the service. Therefore the question really boils down to whether or not that puzzle is worth seeking out on...

  • 25

    3DS eShop

    Review The Phantom Thief Stina and 30 Jewels

    Hidden gem or a kick in the jewels?

    The Phantom Thief Stina and 30 Jewels is an arcade-like game that has you breaking into an assortment of stages, grabbing keycodes, deactivating security systems, and escaping into the night with shiny jewel in hand. As a concept, Phantom Thief is intriguing, but while it can be fun, it's ultimately let down by...

  • 26

    3DS

    Review Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!

    Get your freak on

    When it was released on eShop, Freakyforms: Your Creations, Alive! was a thoroughly charming and cheerful creature creation tool, tailored to entertain kids and big kids alike. Its positive sales on the digital platform were clearly enough to convince Nintendo to expand the package, with Freakyforms Deluxe: Your Creations, Alive!...

  • 51

    3DS eShop / Game Boy

    Review Wario Land II

    Greed is good

    After the success of the first Wario Land, Nintendo decided to take another shot at putting its beloved new anti-hero in the spotlight. To differentiate it from Mario even further, it removed the "Super Mario Land" prefix and also made a massive gameplay change for Wario Land II. But is it one for the better? Defeated at the end of...

  • 17

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review The King of Fighters '96

    A step in the right direction

    King of the Fighters '96 marks the third release in the popular SNK fighting game series, and while we've already seen KoF releases from both before and after this title, SNK has finally decided to go back and release this pivotal release in the series. With a host of new gameplay additions, many of which help balance...

  • 14

    WiiWare

    Review Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition

    Hopping mad

    Frogger reached its 30th anniversary last year so, as is tradition for gaming birthdays, Konami has marched out a new edition of the arcade classic. Frogger: Hyper Arcade Edition sets out to bring multiplayer and new play styles to the franchise, but it's not quite all it's croaked up to be. It's split up into eight modes – six game...

  • 131

    3DS

    Review Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance

    Like a dream, or just plain heartless?

    This is a good month for Square Enix fans. First rhythm-action masterpiece Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy came storming into our midst and now it's Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance’s turn to hold the spotlight. Kingdom Hearts 3D may be one of the best looking games on the 3DS, yet like many previous Kingdom...

  • 67

    3DS eShop

    Review Johnny Kung Fu

    Like a punch to the Wang

    We're on to you, UFO Interactive. You've released these side-scrolling action games every few months now and, we'll admit, each one has had a fairly interesting premise — a samurai slicer with RPG elements and a zombie-flavored rhythm game? We can dig it. Now you roll out what seems like an ode to LCD handheld games...

  • 30

    3DS eShop

    Review Sparkle Snapshots 3D

    Take a pretty picture

    It’s easy to forget about all of this multi-functional nonsense and think of 3DS as an all-out gaming machine, but occasionally a new app appears to remind us that, actually, Nintendo intends for the system to offer much more. The arrival of Sparkle Snapshots 3D in the eShop is one such reminder, a camera app designed to...

  • 16

    Wii Virtual Console / Neo Geo

    Review 2020 Super Baseball

    Step up to the plate

    Taking a popular sport and fusing it together with a futuristic theme is certainly nothing new in the world of video games. Atari managed quite a bit of success with its robotic football release Cyberball, so it comes as no surprise that other companies would follow suit. Back in 1991 SNK took a page out of Atari's book and...

  • 16

    DSiWare

    Review Candle Route

    Candlelight delight

    Candle Route is a unique and colourful puzzle game starring Sparky, a plucky, anthropomorphic flame charged with bringing light to Crayon Castle before night comes around. The adventure that follows feels a bit like a cross between ChuChu Rocket!, mini-golf, and being a mother duck; most importantly it's beautiful, original and...

  • 25

    DSiWare

    Review Ace Mathician

    Smooth operators

    Ace Mathician, from Flipper developer Goodbye Galaxy Games, is a unique puzzle-platformer that succeeds in combining the magic of both marsupials and maths. The basic idea is to help a friendly koala named Ace reach the fruit at the end of each single-screen stage by rearranging platforms using algebraic equations. Make no mistake:...

  • 58

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review The Sword of Hope II

    The great black and white hope

    Poor Prince Theo. Not only is his first game still unavailable in the eShop, but his second adventure begins with all of his previous hard work being undone, an evil spirit being set free by would-be grave robbers, the Sword of Hope being stolen, and a young orphan accusing him of murdering his father. He really can't...

  • 69

    3DS eShop / GB

    Review Kirby's Pinball Land

    Less than the sum of its parts

    While primarily known as the star of a reliably charming series of platformers, Kirby has also starred in a fair share of spin-offs. One of those, Kirby's Block Ball, came to the eShop just a few months ago. It's a flawed but fun reimagining of Breakout. It plays to the strengths of both Breakout as a template and...

  • 36

    3DS

    Review Harvest Moon 3D: The Tale of Two Towns

    Come a cropper

    Marvelous, Natsume and Rising Star Games certainly feel like they're onto a high-yield crop with Harvest Moon; Harvest Moon 3D: The Tale of Two Towns might be the first 3DS entry but it's the eighth HM game in five years. Any concerns that the creative well is running dry are understandable — after all, it's only farming — but...

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