Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition is free on the 3DS eShop


Until Feb. 2, North American 3DS owners will be able to once again grab The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Anniversary Edition for free on the 3DS eShop. This excellent title isn't a "traditional" Zelda experience with a large world to traverse, but focuses on cooperative puzzle-solving and coordinated action to make it through the various distinct areas. Conversely, you can compete with friends to see who can collect the most loot. It can be played alone, but is best with at least one other person as controlling two Links on your own is cumbersome. There's no conceivable reason to turn down a free game. Even if you're not a fan of Zelda, this non-traditional adventure might just spark your interest.

Wii U Will Soon Be Able to Play DS Games

Nintendo is struggling. This is something Nintendo fans like myself have had a very hard time swallowing lately. The Year of Luigi was a massive success for the 3DS, but the Wii U was left in the dust. As 2014 heats up, everybody is looking at Nintendo, waiting for them to spike sales of their newest home console. During their investors meeting yesterday, Nintendo said they think they have an answer to the Wii U's troubles, or at least part of an answer. Nintendo has decided to look to mobile to help generate Wii U sales, but not mobile in the form of a smartphone, mobile in the form of their top selling handheld, the DS. Soon, your favorite DS games will be available on the Wii U virtual console! It is currently unknown how they will be played, whether it will be 2 screens on the gamepad or the top screen will be the TV and the bottom screen will be the gamepad. Whether this will help Wii U sales or not, the DS definitely has some kick-ass games I'd like to playthrough again. More info in the video.

Pissed at King? Here are the Best Alternatives to Candy Crush Saga

It should be no secret by now that Candy Crush Saga developer King is one mega corporate jerk. In light of the recent news that they have trademarked the word "candy" (along with the words "crush" and "saga"), you have every right to not want to support them any longer. Not to mention the fact that they admitted to their game Pac-Avoid being a direct clone of an indie game. However, the sad truth is that Candy Crush Saga is an addicting game, the perfect game to kill time in a study hall. Luckily for you, plenty of other very similar games exist for iOS and Android that will kill time just as well, if not better!

Bejeweled

Bejeweled is the hipster of this list. It was the exact same game as Candy Crush Saga WAAAAAY before Candy Crush Saga was cool. Bejeweled dates all the way back to 2001. Also, remember how I said Pac-Avoid was a clone game? Candy Crush Saga is a clone too. A clone of Bejeweled. This is definitely the best alternative game if you are looking for the EXACT SAME experience Candy Crush Saga provides.

Juice Cubes

Whether you like Angry Birds or not, there is no denying that Rovio makes some of the highest quality games for mobile devices. Juice Cubes is a rare example of Rovio making a game that doesn't involve birds and it works really well. Juice Cubes has charming graphics, catchy music, and tons of levels, just like Candy Crush Saga. The gameplay is slightly different, but that's what makes this game so unique. I personally have been playing a ton of this game and it is probably the best alternative when it comes to overall quality.

 

Dots

For the simple man is a simple pleasure. Connect the dots. It's an age old concept, but Dots gets it totally right. Super clean graphics, simple sound effects, and lots of colors make dots an addicting but also extremely minimalist alternative to Candy Crush Saga. Be warned, this game will not offer you any kind of action packed adventure or challenge, but it certainly is a lot of fun.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Review: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is a Zelda game. I could end the review there. If you’ve played a Zelda game, then you’ll know what to expect from A Link Between Worlds. It follows series conventions like a duckling follows its mother. Still, it does so with such competence and style that it winds up being a great game, like the rest of its series.

If you’re new to the series, here’s a primer: You play as Link, a young man/boy in a green tunic and a ridiculous hat. You travel the land of Hyrule, fighting monsters and exploring dungeons for the magical macguffins needed to defeat the villain (usually series mainstay Ganon) and save Hyrule, which usually also involves rescuing the eponymous Princess Zelda from imprisonment. As you travel, you acquire new tools and items which allow you to solve new puzzles and reach new areas.

The game that A Link Between Worlds is most harkening back to is the SNES classic A Link to the Past. The events of that game are referred back to in A Link Between Worlds (though no prior knowledge of that game is necessary) and the world map and art style are very similar, as is the story structure. You collect one set of macguffins, then plot twist, then a new parallel world opens up with a new set of macguffins to collect.

Usually, the 3D environments work well.
A Link Between Worlds is played in a classic style top-down perspective like A Link to the Past and previous portable Zelda titles, but blending 3D elements. It feels like a natural bridging of the gap between 2D and 3D Zelda experiences, with the 3D largely making for more natural camera transitions and allowing flying enemies to move through vertical space. It also means that multilevel dungeon rooms can genuinely have multiple layers instead of the simulated layers of the true 2D games. There are a few occasions where the game takes this too far however, requiring Link to make large but accurate falls with moving platforms or obstacles. It's rare, but frustrating, because it's the one place where the 3D environments feel like they are working against you instead of being a natural outgrowth of the game's 2D roots.

Sometimes they don't
A Link Between Worlds does do some things different than is traditional for the series, and most changes elevate the formula. For starters, the whole of Hyrule is available to explore from the get-go, though barriers will prevent you from reaching a few small-but-important areas early. Later on, once you unlock the other world, it’s the same thing, with the entire map open to exploration. The maps hit a good balance of being big enough to make exploring feel worthwhile without feeling overwhelming.

Along with this more open world is a more open item system. Rather than finding items in dungeons, you can rent or buy them from the merchant Ravio, who takes up residence in Link’s house early in the game. This also helps keep the absurd sums of money Link inevitably collects relevant, as purchasing items is expensive, and rented items cannot be upgraded and are lost on death. Most dungeons are based around the use of one item, which will be required to enter the dungeon. This also means that, with a few story-based exceptions, the dungeons can be completed in any order. The lack of linearity really makes the game world feel open. It’s always frustrating to see games focused around exploration - like the Zelda games - that are nevertheless filled with “you’re not supposed to be here yet” barriers. A Link Between Worlds neatly solves this problem, and as a result, the game achieves a sense of exploration and discovery that few games manage.

One other small change that fans of the series will likely enjoy is the elimination of consumable ammunition like bombs and arrows. Instead, all items draw from the same energy pool that rapidly refills when not in use. The system keeps you from spamming powerful items in combat while removing the need to ration consumable resources, which was never a particularly interesting gameplay element. It’s intuitive and streamlined, and I like it a lot.
 
A Link Between Worlds has one more gimmick up its sleeve to differentiate it from its peers in the series. Early in the game, Link gains the ability to enter walls as a two-dimensional painting. While in painting form, Link can move along walls left and right, but not up or down. It’s a great mechanic, and it allows for some interesting puzzles. Like any great puzzle-solving mechanic, it’s simple and intuitive but has a lot of room for depth. You’ll quickly start to see walls as alternate paths. Rough walls and torch sconces become barriers, and awareness of your vertical position becomes essential.


The story, however, may be the most fascinating part of A Link Between Worlds. What at first appears to be a simple cookie-cutter Zelda story (evil sorcerer seeks ultimate power) turns out to have a surprising amount of complexity and emotional depth. Link and Zelda are completely one-dimensional as the shining hero and benevolent princess, but the story manages to make them interesting by setting up alongside more complex characters who see and recognize them as the archetypal heroes that they are. It is these characters that make the story of A Link Between Worlds interesting, with Link and Zelda largely there to give them something to act off of.


It’s not without its flaws, of course. The vast majority of what makes the story interesting happens right at the very end and hinges on a fairly predictable twist. Still, the ending scenes of the game stuck with me in a way that few game endings do. The puzzles also feel too easy, especially early on - likely a result of the game’s non-linear structure - though they get a bit better near the end.

At the end of the day, A Link Between Worlds gets a hearty recommendation. Series fans will feel right at home, but small changes to series formula feel well-implemented and in many ways make for a more open and explorative experience than most Zelda games. With its memorable story and well-polished gameplay, A Link Between Worlds is familiar, but brings enough of its own ideas to the table to stand out, and everything is so well executed that it’s hard to find much complaint with A Link Between Worlds.

Find The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds on ebay | Amazon

Released: 2013-11-22
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Portable Gaming in 2014



Last year, I wrote about my predictions and hopes for portable gaming in the year 2013. Now it's time to do it all over again. The comments on last year's post were riddled with naysayers, but many of them ended up being completely wrong as 2013 went on. In fact, most of what I said ended up being true. In 2014, handheld gaming will only get bigger, smartphones will only get more popular, and free to play will dominate the market.

Game-Changing Headlines

2013 was indeed the year of the 3DS. Once an underdog system with no reason to buy it aside from Super Mario 3D Land, Nintendo's DS successor proved to be a success after all. Not only did it outsell the Vita 6:1, but it also stole the crown for top selling game console around the world. Games like Animal Crossing New Leaf, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and of course, Pokemon X and Y all helped the Nintendo sell "45% more" 3DS games in 2013 according to Polygon. Meanwhile, on the smart devices side of things, analysts have predicted that the free-to-play model will generate 80% of game revenue on iOS and Android. However the most surprising headline of all from late 2013 was the rumored Nintendo-made educational tablet, presumably based on Android or a custom OS. This tablet could be introduced as early as 2014 and if it actually exists, Nintendo adopting tablets is a huge sign that dedicated handheld gaming systems will eventually be a thing of the past.

Play All Day

My favorite argument against last year's article was that smartphones and tablets do not have the battery life to replace dedicated handheld consoles. While even a year ago I do not think that was true, 2013 has guaranteed that smartphones and tablets of the future will have more than enough battery life for gaming all day. Phones such as the Moto X, Samsung Galaxy S4, and Nexus 5 all can easily game for 6 hours straight, putting them a little bit ahead of the 3DS and Vita in terms of battery life. Batteries will only continue to improve, in fact the Droid Razr Maxx can boast a whopping 12 or more hours of straight gaming.

Choose Your Controls

Another significant breakthrough in 2013 for portable gaming was Apple's release of iOS 7, which has native support for game controllers. Android can be expected to release a similar feature in the near future to compete. CES 2014 introduced multiple iPhone controllers, compatible with more games than ever thanks to their native functionality. Brands like Steel Series and Logitech have already shown off some brilliant controllers, which means many other companies will jump on board the iPhone controller money train in 2014 as well. Controller support means we will see many different kinds of games for smart devices, especially FPS and other 3D games that often work best with a controller. Meanwhile, we will continue to see great touch control games as well.

Upcoming Portable Games of 2013 

(Click the links to pre-order these awesome upcoming games!)

3DS







PS Vita




Review: Kong Feng GB Boy Colour

The Game Boy Color was the first foray into portable gaming for many. Its simple, pocketable form and sturdy build made it the perfect entertainment device for kids. Its vast library of games made it the perfect companion for long car rides, birthday parties, a trip to grandmas, or Saturday mornings lounging on the couch. It was a major step up from its predecessors, the Game Boy and Game Boy Pocket, boasting improved processing speed and a glorious color display. However, the lack of a lit screen meant playing at night was a hassle, requiring you to sit directly under a light source or utilize one of the many available accessories, such as the infamous "worm light".

With back-lit screens coming standard with all modern portables, this first-world problem is a thing of the past, but there's something special about going back and playing the old classics. Sure, many can be downloaded on the 3DS virtual console or emulated on one of the many obscure handhelds being produced, but it just doesn't feel quite the same. And while the Game Boy Advance SP is wonderfully designed, there's no denying how great a Game Boy Color feels in the hands, not to mention the nostalgia it brings. 

There were many copycats clambering to cash in on Nintendo's success, releasing all manner of knockoffs, many of which were nothing more than simple one-game machines with a shell made to resemble a Game Boy. However, there were a handful of respectable clones that played the original software, and a Chinese company by the name of Kong Feng were one such producer, cloning the Game Boy Pocket (GB Boy) and then the Game By Color (GB Boy Colour). They later came out with a GBA SP model, but it's just the GB Boy Colour with a different shell.

The GB Boy Colour, in addition to playing original Game Boy and Game Boy Color cartridges, supports multiplayer via link-cable, has a headphone jack, and can be powered via AC adapter. It does have an infrared lens, but there don't appear to be any infrared LEDs inside. Physically, it's practically identical to the real thing, though it is slightly bigger, and has a rectangular screen which distorts the graphics ever so slightly. The buttons don't quite live up to Nintendo standards, but clones never do. They're less mushy and more firm (which makes quickly rocking the D-Pad a little more difficult), but they're not terrible by any means and are quite comfortable. Unlike a lot of knockoff handhelds, this one is surprisingly well built. It's got some weight to it and doesn't feel like it'll crumble under the force of your thumbs. The battery life is excellent, giving enough playtime even on store-brand batteries to play through the majority of Link's Awakening, and the speaker is significantly louder than that on the original GBC. When they're almost out of juice, the system will repeatedly reset to the boot screen.

Aside from the back-lit screen, the biggest reason to hunt one of these units down is for the built-in games. The box touts a whopping 188 titles, but it's really 66 listed three times each. Unfortunately, not every GB Boy Colour out there comes with these on-board games for one reason or another, so make sure you know what you're buying if you do decide to pick one up. This handheld was produced in blue, green, yellow, crystal blue, crystal purple, and crystal green.

Whether you're a handheld enthusiast looking for the next cool toy for your collection or just want to experience those classic games from your childhood a second time around, the GB Boy Colour is well worth owning. 

Update: I've finally got my hands on one with 188 built-in games. It should come as no surprise, but the list is only 66 games long, repeated 3 times. Even so, you can't go wrong for the low $30 price tag for a quality backlit GBC clone with 66 built-in games with the option of playing carts as well. Below is a list of the included games:

Contra
Super Mario Land
Bugs Bunny
Parasoru Hembei
Go Go Tank
Tenchiwokurau
Donkey Kong
Aladdin
Mario & Yoshi
Duck Tales
Pac-Man
Side Pocket
Kid Niki
Yar's Revenge
Yakuman
Bubble Ghost
Migrain
Othello
Honk Kong
Korodice
Master Karate
Shisensyo
Shanghai
Tennis
Trump Boy
Volley Fire
Alley Way
Pitman
Space Invaders
Asteroids
Battle City
Bomb Jack
Boxxle
Boxxle 2
Amida
Tetris
Brain Bender
Tic-Tac-Toe
Castelian
Centipede
Crystal Quest
Dragon Slayer
Drop Zone
Dr. Mario
Flappy Special
Flipull
Heiankyo Alien
Hyper Loderunner
Klax
Koi Wa Kakehi
Kwirk
Loopz
The Game Of Harmony
Minesweeper
Missle Command
Motocross Mania
NFL Football
Palamedes
Penguin Land
Pipe Dream
Pop Up
Q Billion
Serpent
Tesserae
World Bowling
Daedalian Opus

You can purchase a GB Boy Colour here

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Club Nintendo 3DS 18-cart case is back in stock

The highly sought after 3DS Game Card Case quickly sold out when it was first introduced, and having not been in stock for months with no word on whether or not it had been discontinued, causing ebay prices to jump to around $30 a piece. However, Nintendo have recently reintroduced the item, this time with The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing designs, for 400 coins. 

As per usual, the digital game rewards have been swapped out. Until Feb 9, Game & Watch: Cement Factory and Spin Six are available on the 3DS for 100 and 150 coins, respectively. Wii U owners can also spend 200 coins each on F-Zero and 1080 Snowboarding.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Review: République Episode 1: Exordium

Kickstarter has certainly seen its share of success stories over the past few years, and now it’s new studio Camouflaj’s turn to have a go at making the Kickstarter magic happen with it’s debut game République. The game is planned for episodic release in five parts. As of this writing, only episode one has been released.

République is a stealth game in the purest sense. Gameplay consists of traveling from room to room evading enemies with a real emphasis on patient gameplay. You look ahead and watch guards to get a sense for their patrol patterns before committing to movement. The protagonist, a young woman named Hope, has no means of defending herself aside from using consumable items - pepper spray and tasers - to ward off attackers. Refreshingly absent from République is any kind of stealth takedown move. Hope can not incapacitate enemies without using precious, finite resources. Enemies are to be avoided, not engaged.

Along the way, you can pick up various bits of information, hacked emails, newspapers, and the like, (including a bizarrely out of place option to collect game cartridges to get a chance to hear the developers gush about their favorite mobile games) which can be sold on the information black market for upgrades. A lot of games have collectible bits of lore lying around, and more have upgrade systems, but I’ve never seen the two combined in this way. It’s a great system, and it enforces the running theme in the game that information is power.

The story is typical dystopian fare. The government controls and watches everything, relying on information control and propaganda to keep the citizenry in line. The story follows Hope, a young woman living in the titular république of Metamorphosis, found in possession of anti-government propaganda and now facing a “calibration” procedure, the details of which are never revealed but implied to be very bad. Hope escapes from confinement and then seeks to escape from Metamorphosis altogether.

As far as dystopian fiction goes, République is competently written, but otherwise unremarkable. The government of Metamorphosis is every oppressive authoritarian government you’ve ever seen in fiction. It bans books, it watches everything, it uses excessive military/police force. The writing is heavy-handed even by dystopian standards, and the propaganda is often so transparent that it’s a wonder anyone gets taken in by it. It feels like it has very little new to offer the dystopian genre, no Hunger Games style twist on the formula, but then again, the game has four episodes left to bring some surprises.


The one really interesting part of République’s story is also its most interesting gameplay mechanic. You see, you don’t actually play as Hope. You play as a mysterious benefactor helping her escape. You connect to Hope through her phone and can hack into the surrounding security systems. Security cameras become your viewpoints as you guide Hope through Metamorphosis. This creates an interesting gameplay element where finding the right camera and wrangling it into the best position to guide Hope through a room feels like an engaging challenge instead of a simple chore. Jumping from camera to camera is also how you scout ahead. Since your viewpoint isn’t bound to Hope, you can move your viewpoint to cameras around corners or the other sides of doors to check for guards or analyze patrol patterns without exposing Hope.

It also creates an element of mystery in the story, as it’s never made clear who or what the player actually is. Are you a friendly hacker? A sympathetic Metamorphosis security officer? Personally, my money’s on rogue A.I., but in any case, the mystery does a good job of drawing you in.
I am a little disappointed at the lack of options for the player’s seemingly unrestricted access to Metamorphosis’s automated security system. You can acquire a few upgrades that let you remotely lock doors or create distractions, but the vast majority of what you’ll be doing with your control over Metamorphosis security is simply jumping from camera to camera. I feel like an opportunity was missed to give the player more of an omniscient puppet master feel. Let me turn out the lights to let Hope sneak by. Let me activate sprinkler systems to make enemies slip.


Controls are largely functional, though they often seem imprecise. You direct Hope by tapping where you want her to go. Double tapping makes her run, which is faster, but the noise can attract guards. The imprecision can be a sticking point, however. On a few occasions, I found Hope moving in ways only vaguely associated with what I wanted from her. This makes getting just the right camera angle critical, but it nevertheless feels clumsy. Time is stopped whenever you enter hacking mode, and it feels like the control problems would have been eliminated if you could give Hope directions while paused. The game is also sorely in need of a map screen, as jumping from viewpoint to viewpoint can be very disorienting.

In conclusion, République is competent, but not stellar. The story and writing feels largely unoriginal, but is presented well enough to be entertaining, and there’s enough mystery there that I’m interested to see how things turn out, keeping in mind that there’s plenty of room for curve balls in future episodes. Gameplay is similarly solid, but there was never a point where I felt like the game really wowed me. Certainly worth a look, but not something that I anticipate setting the world on fire.

Get it on iOS (PC and Mac versions coming in 2014)

Released: 2013-12-19
Developer: Camouflaj LLC

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Aeterno Blade Demo Impressions


A demo for Aeterno Blade recently hit the eShop, with a price yet to be declared as it's still apparently in its early stages. It's being developed by Corecell Technology and published by Arc System Works. It's billed as a 3D Action Platformer and resembles the older Castlevania titles, before huge, sprawling maps were introduced. This is more of an arcade experience, with distinct stages with a performance ranking at the end of each. 
For an eShop title, Aeterno Blade is visually very impressive. Character models are well detailed, and we're treated with a nice-looking cinematic at the start. Nothing incredible, but more than one might expect from a largely unknown company. Unfortunately, in its current state, it looks a lot better than it plays. 

It seems Corecell are putting presentation ahead of gameplay with Aeterno Blade. It just feels unpolished, and a little sluggish. Freyja, our protagonist, is armed with a number of different flashy attack sequences that can be thrown out in rapid succession, while enemies seem to attack once per second, at most. This turns it into a mindless button masher with pretty visuals, but little sense of reward. These skills, as well as four basic stats, can be strengthened as Freyja levels up. She can also equip various trinkets that increase hit points and mana, among other things. It's all pretty standard. 
Aeterno Blade has a time-rewind mechanic that, while not completely original, is used in clever ways. Upon death, the player can rewind the clock on Freyja's blade to reverse the events leading to her death, essentially acting as an extra life. This mechanic uses a significant amount of mana, which recharges slowly over time. Later in the stage we gain the ability to reverse time at the push of a button while being able to move freely, but objects that blink green are unaffected. This is used to access a previously out of reach area by reversing one moving platform in order to make it cross paths with a timeless one. Seeing how this is used in later levels is almost more compelling a reason to play the game than the combat itself.  

Braid crossed with Castlevania is a game I can get behind, so I won't write it off just yet. In its current state, it would be well worth a few bucks but given the level of production it'll probably be around the ten dollar mark. Hopefully the folks are Corecell can turn this into a game worthy of that price tag.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Review: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon


Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS is the second Luigi’s Mansion game and the first on a portable console. The original Luigi’s Mansion was a launch title for the Gamecube back in 2001 that holds a lot of fond memories for me. The Gamecube’s launch was the first console release I was old enough to really appreciate, so I had high hopes for Dark Moon. Unfortunately, the changes from the original left me feeling disappointed.

As in the original, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon sees you controlling Luigi, the younger and less famous Mario brother. Luigi is called to Evershade Valley by Professor E. Gadd to assist in recovering the shards of the titular Dark Moon, which has a pacifying effect on the ghosts of the valley, but has been shattered by unknown forces, leaving the ghosts wild and out of control. It’s a simple enough set up, but the story can’t seem to decide whether it wants to just be an excuse to send Luigi ghost hunting or whether it wants to take focus, and what we’re left with is a simple and predictable story with far more dialogue than it needs.

The dialogue was actually the biggest problem that stood out to me. Whatever lingering affection you might have for Professor E. Gadd from the original will be eroded away as you proceed through Dark Moon. He will call you up for every trivial thing to let you know what’s happening and what you need to do. There’s a well known rule in writing: show, don’t tell, but it seems that the writers of Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon forgot this rule because the game just outright tells you everything. Go here. Do this. Catch this ghost. Find this key.

Part of the blame for this can be laid on the game’s mission structure. There are several mansions to explore, and each one has multiple missions to complete. In each mission, Luigi is teleported into the mansion, completes some task, then is teleported out. Before and after each mission, you’ll need to listen to the professor yammer on about what you’ve been doing and what you’re about to do. He never says in one word what could be said in twenty, and his endless exposition doesn’t contain itself to pre and post mission briefings, either. He’ll call you up during missions as well, and he never makes things brief. The constant interruptions break the flow of gameplay in ways that go beyond simple annoyance and into outright frustration. This is all made worse by the aggressive hand-holding. The game doesn’t think that you’re smart enough to figure out its uninteresting story, so it spells everything out for you in the most obvious terms. It frankly gets to the point where it’s insulting.

It's a shame because the core gameplay is actually quite solid. You travel from room to room, using your ghost-catching vacuum, the Poltergust 5000, to round up troublesome ghosts. There’s a real investigative element to gameplay as you explore the mansions. Hidden ghosts and collectible gems give an incentive to go through each room with a fine-toothed comb and reward attentiveness to detail. Searching for all of the mansions’ secrets is a real joy. It’s just a shame that it keeps getting interrupted by E. Gadd’s endless dialogue.

The very mission structure itself rails against the most interesting elements of gameplay. Most missions are short and linear, removing much of the fun of exploration. Furthermore, at the end of every mission, you are given a rating, which rewards completing the mission quickly, finding lots of treasure, and minimizing damage taken. The incentive to finish quickly in particular is at odds with the game’s core of exploration. You’ll want to make a slow, methodical search of the mansions, then get slapped with a poor rating at the end of the mission for taking so long.

In brief, it feels like all of the game’s problems can be tied back to the mission system. Were the game simply a series of mansions to explore, each one filled with ghosts and secrets, then the whole thing would have flowed much better. Funnily enough, what I’ve just described is how the original Luigi’s Mansion was structured, and I feel that that game was far superior because of it. Dark Moon polishes some of the gameplay of the original, but the mission rankings, the dialogue, and the fact that you get pulled out of gameplay at the end of each mission are just too aggravating for me to really recommend Dark Moon. There’s some excellent gameplay to be had at the core, but everything built around that core detracts from it. An ill-advised mission system and clunky dialogue degrade what could have been a great experience into a mediocre one.

Find Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on ebay | Amazon

Released: 2013-03-24
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Next Level Games