Let’s talk about Smash Ultimate

However before we do, you need to know my background on this series and of my love for Nintendo. I grew up with Nintendo and have always enjoyed the games that I have been privileged to have played. Anyone who knows me will know that my three favourite game series are Zelda, Animal Crossing and Metroid. I have played ALL the games in these series. Knowing this about me you can imagine me as a kid picking up Super Smash Melee for the GameCube. Now yes it wasn’t the first Smash Brothers but it was my first. Seeing my favourite characters from different games coming together to fight was mind blowing to my child’s mind. What made this game great was there was so much to do, you had all these different modes and they had characters that unlocked depending on certain criteria, always remember the moment that I unlocked Mewtwo after playing the game for 100 hours.

You can probably see where this is going but let me try and explain why I feel Smash Ultimate is game that is good but has missed the mark on being the Ultimate Smash game. There are three areas that I would like to discuss and compare between the two games in the series. These are;

Character unlocking
Modes
Tournament

What I hope to show you is that this the way in which this game is built differently, upon these reasons and that by having these opinions doesn’t stop making Smash Ultimate from being a great game, but instead just to show how for me it hit the mark on lost potential.

Character Unlocking

It’s funny to me that one of the complaints that people have about Smash Ultimate is that it’s too hard to unlock characters. That all the characters should come unlocked already like with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. For me this is ridiculous I find it too easy. Why is this?

There are two primary ways of unlocking characters within Smash Ultimate. These are
Unlocking one character every 15 mins in any mode
Unlocking one by one in World Of Light
I will get on with the problems of World Of Light in the modes section. However most people will unlock them using the first method. Which means countless repetitive gameplay trying to unlock these characters.

In Smash Melee there was a lot les characters but each character had a specific ‘quest’ behind, as said above you got Mewtwo after playing 100 hours. Maybe it was playing classic mode 10 times or playing as a specific character or on the hardest difficulty. This made the game interesting because you never knew when you were going to get a new character. Also at this time we didn’t have Nintendo spoiling EVERY character. The first time I got Mewtwo I was genuinely surprised and excited by it. Now I know exactly who is in the game and the element of surprise has been taken from me.

I honestly think that all the characters that have come to Smash Ultimate are amazing. I was super excited that Isabell was coming. But how cool would it have been to stumble across her in game doing a quest/achievement that we weren’t aware of? This is how Smash Melee was to me. As a kid I was super excited every time I found one of those secrets.

Modes

So Nintendo has all these amazing characters that arguably could have been dealt with better. But let’s look past that for a minute. Lets look at what content is in the game. Straight from the home screen I see four options.
Smash
Classic
World of Light
Online play
The initial thought that comes to mind is ‘wow so much to do where do I start’. Then you start playing the different modes. Then you realise each mode is exactly the same. Smash mode you Smash. Classic you Smash. World of light you Smash. Online you Smash. The entire game is one giant mode. All you do is fight.

New people to the series are probably confused by that paragraph, surely buying the game I knew that all you did was fight? What these people don’t know is that the series used to be an Adventure/fighting game. In Smash Melee there was different modes and things to do.

Adventure mode was my favourite. It was a mix of stock battles, 2d platform and puzzle adventure challenges, with a boss fight at the end. It was great fun. What do we get in Smash Ultimate, stock battles with one crappy chase puzzle near the end.

You also had different modes like a target practice mini game. This was amazing. Each character had there own map and targets to break. You had to get all targets in a certain time limit. This was hard and challenging, pikachu’s was the easiest imo. And then there was the baseball game where you had to throw a punchbag as far as possible.

There was just a normal Smash mode but this was just used when you had friends or you wanted to have a tournament. In some respects it was the secondary mode to the game the main reason and top of the home screen was adventure mode.

I hope that from this section that you can see where I’m coming from coming from Melee, I was coming into the game from an adventure background, the next section will explain why I feel the direction of the game has changed, From it’s past. Going from a game with so much to do, to a game that promotes it has a lot of content but than it’s just repetitive gameplay.

World of light, you’re saying to me. Isn’t that adventure. No, no it’s not. It pretends to be and you would think that’s what it should be. However take away the amazing cutscene (credit where credit is due) all it is a series of stock/timed battles for nearly 40 hours. Granted there is a few boss battles every now and again. But these are far and between. Unfortunately this game mode REALLY misses the mark.

Tournament

So what do I mean by this section. This is what I personally feel Smash Ultimate is Ultimate at being. There is no doubt in my mind that some amazing and hard work has been into making all characters perform well under tournament conditions. This however has been done while forgetting that 90% of players are not going to be playing in tournaments but as single players or with friends. This means that a whole demographic has been forgotten.

This is more evidence of what I was trying to communicate in my last section that the game has changed from what it first was. The stock/battles which used to be a secondary mode in Melee have taken full stage. This is down to the success of Melee and its rise in popularity in tournaments. The key with that game was that it was never created to be that way. Where as Ultimate was designed from the ground up to be that game.

This is great if you want to get into tournaments or just fight and Smash. But for the average player there seems to be lack of coherence gameplay to comeback time and time again. I was looking on my friends list, splatting 2 average 150 hours, this appeal to all gamers. Average for Smash 1 month down the line, 22 hours. Think these numbers speak for themselves, one person had 120 hours which brought the average up. Surprisingly they like tournaments.

Conclusion

In conclusion I hope that this retrospective has illustrated why I was left disappointed in Smash Ultimate. I also hope that you know that I don’t think Smash is a bad game, but as I said in the introduction I feel it missed the mark on being something awesome. There are many other aspects I could talk about such as Trophies vs Souls. But if I were to comment on every detail this retrospective would be a lot longer. My hope is that people recognise these problems and the next game be made with the common player in mind. I honestly hope you enjoyed this retrospective and feel free to get in touch to answer any questions.

UNIRACERS: RETRO REVIEW

Released: December 1994

Developer: DMA Design

Publisher: Nintendo

WHAT IS UNIRACERS?

Uniracers is a racing game for the Super Nintendo. In Uniracers the player is an unmanned unicycle that races through a set track consisting of loops, ramps, twists and turns trying to reach the finish line as fast as possible. Uniracers has a single player mode where you race against A.I. racers as well as a two-player mode where you can challenge friends. May the best Uniracers win!

ARE YOU FAST ENOUGH?

In single player mode, you choose from sixteen coloured unicycles based on your preference since all play the same. There are four tours to choose from at first with four visible unlockable tours once the first tours are mastered. Each tour is made up of five tracks with two races, two circuits, and a stunt track. A hidden ninth tour becomes available once all eight are beaten, with extremely difficult races waiting.

Uniracers Retro Review

IT’S “TRICKY” TO ROCK A UNICYCLE

Your Uniracer can perform tricks while airborne, this is done by hitting any of the face or shoulder buttons. If landed properly, you are given a burst of speed. Doing multiple tricks will result in even more of a boost. Wipe outs will put your racer back to regular speed. So remember to keep your wheel down as you fall back to the track.

UNI-RACE A FRIEND

In Uniracers two player mode, you play against friends on individual tracks or on entire tours. A horizontal split screen shows player one on top and player two on the bottom with a race to the finish line. Stunt tracks are extra fun by trying to out stunt each other within a set time limit.

IN CONCLUSION

Uniracers is a great game with awesome music and fun stunt and racing mechanics. A challenging single player mode will keep players engaged, and a multiplayer mode that will have competitive friends challenging each other over and over. Uniracers will have a special place in any retro gamers collection.

Author: Tom aka The Fobiwan!

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Check out Wikipedia for more info on Uniracers!

Secret of Mana: Retro Review

 

RELEASED: August 6, 1993 (Japan)

October 3, 1993 (N.A.)

DEVELOPED: Squaresoft

PUBLISHED: Squaresoft

Secret of Mana Retro Review

WHAT IS SECRET OF MANA

Secret of Mana is an action/adventure game with RPG elements, originally released for the Super Nintendo. Like many RPG’s at the time, Secret of Mana uses the overhead view. Set in a world where “Mana” is fading, a boy finds a rusty sword hidden by a waterfall where he and the other children from his village of Poto’s are forbidden. Once he finds his way back home and defeats the Mantis Ant boss that is attacking Poto’s village, he is cast out for releasing the sword that is said to protect the village from monsters. During the boys’ adventures, he learns that the Empire is stealing the wills of the people of Pandora. What could the Empire be up to?

FRIENDS ALONG THE WAY

Once the Mantis Ant is killed in Poto’s village, Jema the Knight tells the boy that he is destined to become the Mana Knight and must restore the Mana Sword to its full power. On his journey in the opening quests, the boy meets up with a girl and a sprite. The girl is trying to find out what happened to her soldier boyfriend Dyluck and the sprite is trying to find his way home.

Later the group saves a small baby dragon named Flammie. King Truffle of Matango Village takes care of Flammie while the group continues their journeys. Once the dragon is mature enough he joins the group as a rideable mount.

STEEL AND SORCERY

While journeying the group finds other weapons and magic to help them along the way. Eight weapons (Sword, Axe, Whip, Spear, Bow and Arrow, Boomerang, Javelin and Glove) and eight magics (Water, Fire, Earth, Wind, Light, Dark, Moon, and Wood). Weapons gain new levels by collecting orbs from defeating bosses or from chests along the way. To add the orb to the weapon you need to visit Watts the Blacksmith. Each weapon changes in appearance with each max level gained. All characters gain weapon experience by using said weapon and killing monsters. Every level gained gives a new chargeable attack that is charged by pressing and holding the attack button, upon releasing the button a special attack is unleashed.

Magic is leveled similarly to weapons by instead of orbs, each mana temple has a mana seed. Once the seal is broken on each seed, a new level can be added to each magic elemental type. Each time a spell is cast, experience is gained for that element until 100 is reached and then a level is gained.

GETTING AROUND

Traveling in Secret of Mana is done in three different ways. Walking is the first way to get around. It is also the best way to level both character experience and weapons/magic. The Canon Travel Centres bring you to key zones, but later on they shoot the group off to far away continents. Lastly our dragon Flammie drops down and whisks us off to anywhere that wants to be explored.

Secret of Mana Retro Review

IN CONCLUSION

 Like many of the RPG’s in the Super Nintendo library, Secret of Mana breaks new ground on controls and mechanics. The attack gauge is a new mechanic that made a stick and move fighting style instead of spamming the attack button. Secret of Mana was celebrated on its Ring command menu, amazing soundtrack, and its colourful graphics. Love for Secret of Mana is still being felt today with its remake in 2018 as well as it being released on virtual consoles and on the SNES classic.

Author: Tom

Want more reviews? Check out our Horizon Chase Turbo Review HERE

More information on Secret of Mana can be found HERE

Party Hard: Beautifuly Brutal Fun

Party Hard for Nintendo Switch

Could Ya Quiet Down!

It’s time to Party Hard, and get down with another Q4P game reveiew! You’re an annoyed neighbor praying for some peace and quiet, but the quietness never comes. So you decide to take matters into your own hands, and kill them all! Tiny Build has once again nailed down solid, addicting, fun gameplay in Partry Hard. In Party Hard you take on the role of the annoyed neighbor that goes on a killing spree, ending each party one at a time.

Beautifully Brutal Fun

Sheldon Benedict

Brutally Fun Gameplay

The idea is simple, you show up at a party and you kill each guest. The gameplay may be simple but Party Hard will have you slaughtering people in all sorts of creative ways. Your character has one attack, but the levels are full of environmental traps to further your massacre. For instance some levels may have a keg or drink bowel that you can spike with poison which will start taking people out slowly. You can knock someone of a roof, or push someone into a fan all effective methods of taking down the party.

But before you turn into a straight up Jason Voorhees, you need to plan your attack. If someone catches you in the act they will call the police. They will also call the 5-0 if they see a body. The cops will come to the party to bag bodies. If you are called out as the killer, the fuzz will chase you. You can outrun them, and they will give up, but when they come back, they will be harder to shake.

Outside guests that show up at the party consist of firemen, EMT’s, FBI agents, and your friendly local arms dealer. The salesman, who reminds me of the “Whatcha buyin'” guy from Resident Evil 4, will show up from time to time and will hook you up with an item to aid you in your mission. There is a whole bunch of things that you can get like poison, smoke bombs, and more. 

The levels in Party Hard will change every time you restart a level. This will keep you on your toes looking for a new way to take people down. Layouts stay the same but the objects that aid you like beer kegs, punch bowls, grills etc, will change.

Bag The Bodies and Party Down

Party Hard hits so many notes right that make it a must play, especially on Nintendo Switch. It fits the handheld nature of the switch where you can pull it out and kill time (pun intended). With that said, I really do hope that Party Hard 2 will come to switch. It is a game I’d recommend playing with the sound up or with headphones. The music really upgrades the gameplay. Its catchy music that doesn’t wear out while you play. The game also has a story that unfolds as you play, if you’re into storylines. Party Hard will have you coming back for more for a long time. I truly recommend grabbing this game if you haven’t already. Tiny Build keeps pumping out gems like Party Hard and has me super excited to play the squeal.

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TrouserHeart; A Pantsless Adventure

Where’d My Pants Go?

What is TrouserHeart? Well, it’s an action/beat-em-up games with a slight rpg element mixed in. TrouserHeart starts out with a fiendish mouse stealing the heroes pants. Your task, get your pants back! 

From Left to Right


“Trouserheart is meant to be accessible for all, anyone can pick it up and have fun. We tried to make the game play humorous with a playful art style” – Anthony Vanoostendorp TrouserHeart Dev

Trouserheart item upgrade

The game is simple to play. You start at your house. While here you can upgrade your health and gear. Once you’re ready, head to the left and leave your home. Once outside you will be presented with an overworld map. Here you choose a level, and you’re off. You can choose to play in either hard or normal mode. I suggest trying normal first. The levels start easy enough, but trust me the difficulty will ramp up! Each level consists of several segments that you fight your way through collecting coins and health. At the end of each level you will face off against a boss.

The Boss fights were my favorite part of the game. Each boss you face off against has a unique ability, making each brawl challenging in its own way. Once you defeat the boss you head back to your home and level up your gear and continue on.

To Sum It Up

TouserHeart is available on the Nintendo Switch eShop for $7.99. Is it worth it? For what the game is, I feel like it does a good job. The graphics are on point, the gameplay is easy enough for anyone to pick it up and play. TrouserHeart provides a challenge if you want it. One issue I have with the game is the lack of collectibles. I wish that they would have added collectibles and more puzzles to the game. I feel like this would have added more gameplay value to TrouserHeart. Overall TrouserHeart is a good game that accomplishes what the developers wanted, its a fun game that anyone can sit down and enjoy. In the end, that’s what matters most!