Sonic Unleashed

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Sonic Unloaded is a game released in 2008 for the Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, and Wii systems. The game follows Sonic the hedgehog as he stops Dr Eggman from unleashing a monster known as Dark Gaia. Sonic does so with the help of an amnesiac Light Gaia. Meanwhile Sonic has to deal with his werehog form, which he turns into at night.

There are two versions of the game, version one was released for the Xbox360 and PS3, and version two was released for the PS2 and Wii. Version one was pretty fun to play. The daytime levels are fast placed and action packed, but the nighttime levels are bland and boring. Not to mention it has the worst difficultly of any video game I’ve ever played. I love the open worlds that you explore in between levels.

Version two had action packed day levels, but they were kind of bland. The night levels are more fun, but still not that great. I also hate how in between levels you point and click on pictures of the world, rather than exploring it.

Overall this game is good, but not great. I can’t decide which version I like better. My final score is a 7/10.

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Alto’s Odyssey

I like games that look and feel good. Crisp, artistic graphics? Intuitive controls? Either one of those would sell me on a new app, but when they’re combined, they blow other options out of the water. Alto’s Odyssey does a great job of integrating gorgeous scenery and easy controls into a genuinely fun and uncomplicated time-killer.

Alto’s Odyssey is basically a running game with snowboarding. Tapping makes your character jump, and holding down makes them do a backflip. This simple mechanic is tested by the terrain and features of the game. Alto and his friends can grind on vines and ruins, boost off of waterfalls, and slide on the sides of canyons in the desert environment of the game. Combining tricks can get you an extra boost, but if you misjudge a landing, you will lose it all. There are mischievous lemurs to avoid that will knock you off your board. And if you forget which character you’re playing, the individual strengths, weaknesses, and abilities of the six characters can trip you up. It’s not hard to remember what to do, but gameplay is just tricky enough to make achievements rewarding without making them frustrating.

This game was based on an earlier and simpler app with the same mechanics called Alto’s Adventure. That game was set in the snowy Andes, and although it had largely the same characters and moves, it lacked the new terrain and biomes that have made Alto’s Odyssey so fun for me. Odyssey sends the snowboarders from Adventure into the desert. Their snowboarding moves translate well to sliding on the sand (Sandboarding? Is that a thing?). The best part of the new game is the biomes. You can only find vines and ruins in the Temples biome. Floating hot air balloons (great for bouncing on to make combos!) appear more often in the Dunes, and canyon walls show up in, uh, the Canyons. Biomes gradually shift over a single run. The variety makes every run fun.

Characters and power-ups are perfectly balanced – just helpful enough to make them interesting and useful, but not so pricey or overpowered that they ruin the experience. Speaking of pricey, it is possible to buy in-game currency, but you earn it rapidly enough through normal gameplay that it’s not really necessary! It’s kind of refreshing.

And it’s pretty! The scenery is gorgeous and as the weather changes and the day slides into night, the shifting colors make the game feel entirely new. It can be a bit hard to see in sandstorms, though. The lighting is calm, chill, stress-free, and beautiful.

If you’re looking for a low-stress running game, this one’s probably one of the best out there – and my new favorite. 4.5 out of 5, because Nothing is Ever Perfect. 🙂

Alto’s Odyssey – iTunes, Google Play

Alto’s Adventure – iTunes, Google Play

Super Mario Bros Wii review

Super Mario Bros Wii is a fantastic game for making memories with your family. Super Mario Bros Wii has legendary multiplayer, so I would recommend playing the game with friends or family. The courses are as original as it gets, which makes Super Mario Bros U look like nothing more than a boring remake. I like the new powers in this game because they were very fun to use and they were very useful. All of the worlds are so well-made that I can’t tell which world is my favorite. This game has so many fun challenges like coin rush, free-for-all, and trying to find all of the star coins. The enemies and bosses were the best I have ever faced in Super Mario Bros.  One thing I would have liked to have seen was more levels that could be unlocked through a secret passage, because that would increase the excitement of the game even more. The atmospheres in the levels were exciting; they gave me an experience I wanted when playing this game. The bubbles used to save yourself in multiplayer is useful because you can make a mistake in a level without having to lose a life.

Monument Valley 2

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Monument Valley 2 is a surreal, beautifully interactive work of art, a moving story, and a wonderful experience. Don’t get this if you’re into hardcore puzzles or vast realms of content. Do get this if you’d like a low-stress game that lets you marvel at beautiful vistas of pixels or if you enjoyed the first game.

Monument Valley 2, from ustwo games, has been out for a few months, but I’ve been looking forward to it ever since I played (and reviewed) the first version. That game was interactive, mysterious, immersive, and magical.

I am happy to tell you that Monument Valley 2 is just as good. “Just as good,” though, has some modifiers — an obvious downside of the original Monument Valley was the lack of content. It’s about an hour or two to play through it the first time. Monument Valley 2 has about the same amount of content. Knowing this, I consciously rationed my play to spread the game out over four days. This second game’s gameplay has a distinct lack of challenge to it. The puzzles seem to be there for show. I only remember feeling challenged at three points in the entire game.

Now for the good stuff.

The characters are Ro, her unnamed child, and several ghosts. Ro and her child explore Monument Valley, working together and separately to solve puzzles and discover themselves.

The art is just as wonderful as ever. Beautiful new mechanics, an emphasis on plant life and water, and a consistent theme throughout levels even improve on the original. I don’t really have anything to say about the art that I haven’t said before — magical, minimalistic, surreal, etc., etc. I could not stop playing the game on the first few occasions I started it up — the old familiar “just one more level,” for slightly different reasons. The game was so beautiful I only wanted to see more.

The music is even better than the original game’s. In this game, sounds create an immersive effect that pulls you into the story. At the beginning of the game, text even states that “this game is best played with sound.”

The story is quite a lot more immersive. Simple motions, sounds, and memories included in the game imply a level of emotional depth and attachment that wasn’t so obvious in the first game. This second story is far more open-ended, but it is much, much more relatable. I’m not saying that the first game’s story was bad. It wasn’t. But this one informs the level order, the level design, the characters’ journeys, and your sense of Monument Valley’s history. When compared to this story, the first story seemed like it was written in as an afterthought.

The gameplay mechanics are still easy to understand and use. There’s a pretty cool new ability to draw the sacred geometry that Ro and the child create. It has me incessantly striving to make my geometry even prettier.

I rate this a 4/5, because there is still not enough content. This irritates me deeply. All I really want is more Monument Valley, but even when they released this new game, I didn’t get what seemed like my money’s worth. Four more levels at least, please, and I’ll throw all my money at ustwo games.

Rainbow Six Siege Video Game Review

rainbow_six_siege_blood_orchid_header-163c2b75-c8c1-4f7d-91aa-5cbb43d3ffccRainbow Six Siege is a tactical high-skilled shooter video game. You play in 5 vs 5, attackers and defenders playing around a key objective. The attackers have a choice of 16 different operators only on offense. These operators have special abilities and a non-unique gadget like grenades. For example, one operator has a large sledgehammer he can use to open up floors, walls, and hatches and another operator has the ability to destroy reinforcements placed by defenders. Defenders can choose from 17 different operators unique to their team. Their job is to keep the attackers out of their objective for a set amount of time. Defenders have abilities like one-way mirrors and protective armor plates. They can also barricade doors and reinforce walls. Barricades take 3 punches to destroy and cut off movement routes for defenders and barricades are unlimited. Reinforcements are limited to 2 per defender (10 total) and can be placed on walls so that you need a special ability on offense to break them. Defenders use these to defend their objective, which is either hostage, secure area, or bomb. In hostage, you must extract a hostage outside, in bomb, attackers plant a defuser and must defend it, and on secure area you need to clear the area and stand on the objective without any defenders in the room. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes first-person shooters and wants to try something new.

 

Jack, 8th Grade

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker

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Review by: coolkid73

The Legend of Zelda is a video game series everybody has heard of, whether you’re a gamer or not. In 2003, The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker was released for the Nintendo Gamecube. It was then re-released in 2013 for the Wii U under the name Wind Waker HD.

In this game, Ganon has returned and has kidnapped Link’s sister. Link must now travel to several different islands, get items, and defeat enemies. This game uses anime style graphics to make it cartoony, which is only in the Gamecube original. The Wii U remaster upgrades to HD graphics.

One of the biggest alterations between the versions is the huge triforce hunt near the end. The locations of the triforce shards are switched, and so are the locations of some other items. The soundtrack is a mixture of calm, upbeat, chaotic, and adventurous songs. The Wii U remaster upgrades some of the songs to sound more realistic.

If you are new to Zelda games, this is the game I recommend you try out first. If you ask me which version I prefer, I would have to say the Gamecube original because that’s the one I grew up with, but most other people prefer the Wii U remaster. This game is fun, so I give it a 10/10.

Fun fact: If you own an older model of the original Wii, you can play Gamecube games on your Wii. You will need a copy of the game you are playing, a GameCube controller, and a GameCube memory card to play. You’ll know its an older model because it has four controller ports and two memory card slots at the top.

Dye Review

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Review by: jakobsherman

Dye is a fairly new indie game about a white blob who jumps around to color stuff. I know, an engaging plot. But what this game loses in story it more than makes up for in game play. This game plays excellently, especially with a controller. If you’re using a keyboard, well, it’s not that great. I decided to use my Retrolink SNES USB controller. I had a problem using it in game, so I downloaded JoyTokey, a free application that reads controller inputs and converts them into key presses. If you go this route, make sure to get the application from JoyTokey’s website, or else you might be at risk of a virus.

Dye is very good for what it is. It is easy to compare to Super Meat Boy for their tough game play and tight platforming. In Dye, you will die. Like a lot. In fact, for the best experience, I recommend creating a mindset where you’re okay with dying. Otherwise, prepare to rage. This game is perfect for any one looking for a retro game similar to things like Mario World, but with a modern twist. There is a ton of content in this game, especially if you’re going to one-hundred percent or speed run it. In the newest patch, there’s even a speed run counter, so I encourage you to run through it.

I picked this up recently, when it was on sale for less than four dollars, but I would recommend picking it up now while it’s on sale, and maybe even getting the bundle with the soundtrack for only a dollar extra. This game’s presentation is very nice. There are things in this game called Pigments, which are basically this game’s main collectible. The more you collect these, the more the levels fill up with color.

In conclusion, I would recommend picking this up now while it’s cheap, but otherwise, you should probably get it anyways, unless you don’t like this genre. I give Dye a solid 9.2/10, for it’s solid, yet difficult game play.