Paul Abbamondi's reviews and writings

Check out his own video game blog, Grinding Down.

  • SimCity DS

    Half-Hour Handheld

    Simcity ds CoverBesides Super Mario World, SimCity was one of the first games I got for my Super Nintendo Entertainment System way back when. Countless hours were spent creating the most glorious cities…and then throwing total havoc their way. It was one of the first simulation games I’d ever played, and watching the seasons change, residential zones flourish, and roads fill up with traffic was extremely satisfying. Alas, I traded in my SimCity cartridge for something else (hopefully not Shaq-Fu) because I was young and stupid once. Now I’m just less stupid. Moving forward, I dabbled in later PC versions of SimCity, but never found any of them to be what I used to love. Maybe SimCity DS will be the one to warm the cockles of my heart?

    Greg reviewed the DS sequel, SimCity Creator last year.

     

  • Odin Sphere

    First Hour Review
    Odin Sphere Cover

    If there’s ever a time to start completing your PlayStation 2 collection, now is that time. A bunch of solid PS2 titles are still being sold in the numerous brick and mortar businesses that like to hock videogames. Each one will most likely cost less than $20.00, and given the number of games filling bargain bins to the brim, there’s good reasoning to dig around.

    For example, Odin Sphere. A stylized, 2D action RPG based on Norse mythology from Atlus, it won’t win any "games as art" debates, but it could probably put up a decent fight for "games with great art." How will it play though? Let’s give it an hour.

  • TouchMaster 3

    Half-Hour Handheld
    Touchmaster 3 Cover

    TouchMaster 2 claimed, "Starting is simple. Stopping is impossible!" In this sequel to a sequel, TouchMaster 3 takes it up a notch, purporting "Once you start, you can't stop!" Bold claims for a game that is ultimately a gathering of twenty mini-games, each of their own quality and quirks. If it wasn't obvious from the series' ridiculous title, these mini-games make heavy use of the stylus and touchscreen. In fact, that's all they use. Be prepared.

    These sorts of collection games are abundant on the Nintendo DS, and a lot of their content often blurs together. Out of the 20 mini-games in TouchMaster 2, I found myself only ever returning to less than five of them. I hope there's more to enjoy in TouchMaster 3, but I'm not expecting a treasure chest of gold, to be honest. Maybe a gem or two surrounded by hand-me-down trinkets.

    Also, I knew immediately that this would be a half-hour handheld review because this sort of hodgepodge game is great in chunks, torture at length. Thirty minutes is just enough to sample a good selection of mini-games and decide if it's worth pursuing any further.

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