platformer

Drawn to Life

Full Review

Drawn to Life CoverDrawn to Life is a Nintendo DS game that takes platformers a step forward by allowing you to draw your own character among many other objects throughout the game. It also takes platformers two steps back with its awful gameplay. Before I rip into the game though, let's take a look at the product as a whole. Drawn to Life was released in September of last year and really advertised itself as a game that would allow for so much more creativity in a genre rather lacking lately. The game is targeted for children, but I'll brave anything if it interests me, and Drawn to Life definitely did.

Anyways, awful is a rather strong word but while I'm playing a game, I'm constantly thinking about its current overall score and how it's doing in the individual categories. Drawn to Life started at around a seven (a nice number, giving the game the benefit of the doubt that it is above average), drawing your own character was kind of cool, and I put a lot of work into it because I knew I'd be staring at "me" for the next few hours. Then the real game starts, and we're faced with an empty village and a whole bunch of villagers to rescue. This got me really excited because last year I played Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime, a truly stellar title that also focused on expanding a town and opening up new things as the game progresses. So I might have bumped up Drawn to Life to an eight at that point for its potential. However, the first platforming stage begins, and I was instantly able to recognize that this game is going to be painful, I'll get more into this during the gameplay portion. Between platforming levels, you wander around town doing other painfully boring stuff, more on this below during my story review. Overall, it's a constant back and forth between crap gameplay and crap story, ending in my biggest "WTF?" moment of the year.

Enough of this, straight to the scores out of 10.

The Lost Vikings

First Hour Review

The Lost Vikings CoverThe Lost Vikings was released in 1992 and was one of Silicon & Synapse's first games. Never heard of them? They are now known as Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of many, many good games that end in Craft. Anyways, The Lost Vikings was released on the Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, and various other systems throughout the years, and gives gamers nowadays a really interesting look at the early history of Blizzard. The game itself can be described as a puzzle platformer, where you have to use the different abilities of three Vikings to solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and progress through the game's levels. My minute-by-minute update should help describe the game better. I will be playing just the first hour of the Super Nintendo version of The Lost Vikings, so let's get right to it.

In case you're a World of Warcraft veteran, you may recognize the three Vikings: Erik the Swift, Olaf the Stout, and Baleog the Fierce. They all make a cameo appearance in Uldaman, an ancient dwarven complex that serves as a mid-level dungeon. If you play as a Horde character you can even kill them for some unique items!

Psychonauts

Full Review

Psychonauts CoverWell, it's been over a month since I beat a game, this is pretty typical the last couple of years but since I started this particular review site, it's only brought it to my attention more. I recently reviewed the first hour of Psychonauts (actually just on Monday, three days ago!) and I could not put the game down. It may have been a month since I finished a game but it's been seemingly years since I enjoyed a longer game this much. Psychonauts actually came out in 2005 and I've had it in the back of my mind ever since, and just now I realize how stupid I am for not playing it until now. The game is simply a very funny, highly original platformer. Everything comes together in a perfect storm of awesomeness for 20 hours, and at the end, you come away very satisfied.

That's enough introduction, I'll let the categories speak for themselves. All the scores are out of 10.

For my longer review on just the first hour, please see my Psychonauts review at The First Hour.

Psychonauts

First Hour Review

Psychonauts CoverPsychonauts is a multiplatform adventure game from the creative mind of Tim Schafer, creator of some of my favorite games: Monkey Island, Full Throttle, and Grim Fandango. Up until recently, I had never played Psychonauts, call me cheap or call me foolish, but it's the sad truth. Times have changed though and Psychonauts is now a free game at Gametap through the end of the year! That did it for me and now I've been suckered into downloading Gametap and Psychonauts to my PC for the low price of free. Not a bad deal.

A little more on Psychonauts, it was released in 2005 to relatively lackluster sales but has since gathered a seemingly rabid fanbase. It has also been released on pretty much every digital distribution method including Steam, Xbox Live, and of course, Gametap. There aren't a lot of developers out there who are brave (or stupid) enough to make a "funny game," but Tim Schafer has the quality resume, so let's see if the first hour of Psychonauts lives up to his predecessors.

For my shorter review on the whole game, please see my Psychonauts review at Beyond the First Hour.

Kirby Super Star

First Hour Review

Kirby Super Star CoverKirby Super Star is kind of like the old-school equivalent of The Orange Box. You put down your $50 and you get a whole collection of great games. All of these games are basically running the same engine and feature the same graphics and generally the same gameplay, but yet are distinct and can individually be recognized and enjoyed. This is Kirby Super Star, easily the best Kirby game in its long and colorful career (well, until Canvas Curse came along).

Anyways, as you can see by the cover of the game, Kirby Super Star features eight games. Now two of these are just simple minigames but the other six are more or less Kirby games we all know and love but done in different styles. A few of these games could actually stand on their own too but as a collection it really feels like you're getting your money's worth (so much so I actually own two copies of this game, long story).

I'm not going to have time to play all eight games in one hour, but I'll try to get to as many as I can. So let's start the review.

Kirby: Canvas Curse

Full Review

Kirby Canvas Curse CoverKirby: Canvas Curse was one of those early Nintendo DS games that really showed off what the system could do and what happened when good developers took the time to take advantage of the DS's unique capabilities. Typical Kirby games have you basically playing a platformer, fun, but unoriginal and done to death. Kirby: Canvas Curse takes all direct control of Kirby out of your hands, instead, you draw lines on the screen to act as a path for Kirby, and the poke him along with the stylus to get him to roll along on your lines. It sounds simple, and maybe awkward, but it simply works. You can get Kirby rolling really fast and then launch him off one of your line ramps into an enemy, or make him do loops, or even scale walls with near vertical strokes. This is also one of the deepest Kirby games to date, even beating out Kirby Super Star in terms of number of things to do. The game encourages you to replay levels many times to collect more medals - to buy more stuff. The neat thing is the levels are usually different than the last time you played them, offering enough variety to keep the fun going for a while. Now for some scores out of 10.

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