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    Oct 19th, 2009 at 08:43:34     -    We Love Katamari (PS2)

    We ♥ Katamari
    PS2

    SUMMARY---===

    The word Unique is incapable to describe the innovative, refreshing game style of the Katamari Damacy series. There is truly no other game in existence that has the same game play or styling as the “Clump Spirit” series of games. Considering that most of the industry is dominated by the common, dark FPS where the protagonist is a stoic, devoid of emotion macho man shooting zombies in what appears to be the same locations, The Katamari series is a warm welcome to the gaming industry for those who get tired of the same FPS made by a different company.

    (I am doing We ♥ Katamari primarily only because I don’t have the funds to purchase Katamari Forever. But the games throughout the series are practically the same with the exception for the addition of a few stages).

    GAME PLAY---===

    Imagine an everlastingly sticky ball of pudding at the top of a hill, which is pushed down the hill and sucks up any object that it comes into contact with (as long as the object is near the size of the ball of pudding). Eventually the ball of pudding will grow to tremendous proportions due to the amount of items stacked on it (and amazingly kept proportionally spherical). Through in some oddly head shaped characters, Kings, Queens, Princes, Cousins (of the First, Second, and even Third order), some eccentrically beautiful music, wrapped in a PS2 box with some inspiringly childish artwork, and you’ll have a game from the Katamari Series.

    As the Prince of The Cosmos in We ♥ Katamari, your purpose is to use your Katamari, or sticky ball which absorbs items on contact and grows, to create stars to dot the Galaxy. Your father, the King of the Cosmos has specific requirements for the various stars which dot the sky, which include creating a Katamari of certain size, or having it made in a certain time. Each level has its own crazy concept, like being in the supermarket or at the zoo. The differences of stages combined with the unnecessarily specific requirements for each, and the music makes each stage very unique.

    The game in itself may seem simple, but, as mentioned before, the different challenges which are presented do seem to grow in levels of intensity. A player may find it difficult at times to try and roll up 500 pieces of fire in about 3 minutes. The items in this game range from practically everything that is used in daily life, to people (of all variations and professions), animals, statues, cities, countries, and eventually stars. To be able to roll up these different objects primarily depends on what size you are started off at , which is dependent on the stage. There is one stage which is highly expansive however, which starts you off at the smallest possible size, and plays on for approximately 20 minutes until you are sucking up different continents, clouds, tropical storms, and even random Thunder Deities. As you can probably imagine, such a progression will take a long time. Although repetitive as it sounds to just roll up items, similar to the objects in the game play and the Katamari, you just get stuck to the game. I urge you to pick up the controller and see how long you’ll play before you put it down.

    Remember when I mentioned the tons of cousins that are in this game? If ever you get tired of using The Prince of the Cosmos, and desire something more appealing on the eyes, you can always switch to one of his cousins that you’ve rolled up in the stages you’ve played. Staring at a green, sausage-headed thing gets boring after a while. And on top of that, completing challenges can also unlock clothing options, so you can have a stylish savvy Prince or Cousin Player. This is particularly important for differentiating yourself from another player if you decide to play multiplayer, which basically offers the same game play as the solo player story, and a few versus challenges.


    MUSIC---===

    The composition of music in this game is one that simply inspires passionate rolling! Well, the upbeat nature of most of the music does seem to grant the player the energy and desire to roll further and further! Even the slower ballads seem to have a seamless end, causing the player to want to roll until their mission is done. The game features prominently pop, or techno pop sounding styles, but even has a few beat boxing selections. The artists responsible for the soundtrack are Akitaka Tohyama, Asuka Sakai, Hideki Tobeta, Tomoki Kanda, Yoshihito Yano, Yuri Misawa, and Yu Miyake.

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    Oct 8th, 2009 at 13:21:36     -    Wii Sports (Wii)

    Wii Sports
    Wii

    SUMMARY---===

    What an innovatively fun method for utilizing the Wii’s motion sensory controls! As one of the earliest games for the Wii console, it is the epitome of what is possible when you get up from the couch and put some motion into it!

    After years of having a single motion-sensory console reach mass popularity, the Wii was released and warmly welcomed! Wii Sports utilizes the motion-sensory capabilities, and combines it with the common multiplayer aspects which are both popular and common of Nintendo. The game is almost perfect in its attempts to immerse the player in a sports world.

    GAME PLAY---===

    Of course, as one of the first games for the Wii, Wii Sports is designed to ensure that the motion sensitivity of the Wii is pushed to the max. All of the games require the use of the Wiimote and generally all of them would require that the players stand in a fashion similar to the sport which they are playing.

    Bowling seems to be the easiest game for an individual to play, and seems to be the easiest to develop. It requires the player stand in the appropriate form, while holding the Wiimote in the manner that they would to roll a bowling ball. Although the game recommends having the controller in front of your face prior to rolling the ball, similar to the style of professional players, it is not required. You could throw the ball in a frenzy fit if you’d like, as long as you ensure the Wiimote is held in your hand, and the proper (and both conveniently placed and non flow interrupting) buttons are pressed. The game’s engine will do it’s best to mimic your movements with the Wiimote in hand, and will determine how your Mii (or Wii Avatar), throws their ball, and get points accordingly. Or you could also sit down lazily and flick the Wiimote carelessly and get strike after strike like my younger brother.

    Boxing is another of the more interesting games playable in Wii Sports. This game requires the use of the Nunchuck, an attachment device for the Wiimote that also utilizes motion sensitivity, to duplicate the left hand as the Wiimote emulates the right (or vice versa if left-handed). The commands for this game are extensive, as is comparable to real boxing. The player has the options for ducking, throwing uppercuts, swift jabs, and blocking. All of these attacks are dependent on the movement of the Wiimote and Nunchuck. The accuracy of a player’s hand movements is generally good, but of course the more accurately you attempt to emulate Mike Tyson, the less the Wii will be able to track your motions. Or you could also sit down lazily and randomly swing the controllers and get consecutive KO’s like my younger brother.

    Regardless of your play style, this game is amazingly fu. The only drawback is the occasional inaccuracy caused by the Wiimote and Nunchuck. It gets frustrating knowing that in real life, you could easily defeat your opponent in boxing or whatever sport it is, while you lose in the game due to the occasional inaccuracy in the WiiSensor’s reception. Still, amazing game!



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    Sep 28th, 2009 at 08:33:08     -    Rhythm Heaven (DS)

    GAME PLAY---===

    Although covered briefly in Summary, the simplistic controls deserve to be mentioned again. Unlike more advanced games which require intricate button combinations, this game is clearly targeted towards both gamers and those who don’t play too often. Even the game’s advertising campaign featured individuals and celebrities who could be assumed to be too busy to play the game often (especially since Beyonce has to ensure that all her single ladies are faring well). The five commands Tap, Flick, Hold, Slide, and Lift are significantly easy to perform, and prior to each of the games, there is a brief introduction on how to properly utilize the game controls. This ensures that all people playing this game will have no excuse for their poor performance (which shouldn’t be too bad, since most of what you’ll be doing is simply tapping the touch screen).

    Rhythm Heaven has 50+ games, each utilizing its own controls. The game’s musical style is different in each stage, and requires the player to obtain a different beat while playing. While most of the earlier stages are original, the last few are simply remakes of the original stages on harder difficulties to challenge advanced players. There are also plenty of mini games to unlock through perfecting and completing the games. Although it also seems as if such a simple game with simple commands could be completed quickly and with little challenge, a player playing for the first time will realize that many stages will have you become accustomed to a certain flicking or tapping pattern, and then rapidly switch it while still maintaining the beat. And some of the remakes are just downright difficult due to the rapid succession of flicks and slides.

    Apart from that, succeeding in this game is considerably rewarding. The satisfaction of knowing you’ve mastered a rhythmic challenge grants you major musical confidence. You’ll also see an improvement in your abilities to obtain and maintain the beats of songs. Levels which seemed difficult at first will be almost impossible to err on after playing this game often. And what’s better than demonstrating your new found musical skills from Rhythm Heaven at a party?


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    Sep 27th, 2009 at 20:49:41     -    Rhythm Heaven (DS)

    Rhythm Heaven
    Nintendo DS

    SUMMARY---===

    One touch of the game box and you will instantly feel the pulses of rhythmic fun blasting through you! While there have been plenty games in the past which deal with music and maintaining the beat, Rhythm Heaven separates itself from the Dance Dances and Tap Taps by utilizing five simple commands; Tap, Flick, Hold, Slide, and Lift. I am positive that these input options which will have you Sliding and Flicking to the games stylish music!

    Rhythm Heaven in comparison to other Nintendo DS games does not seem to utilize much of the breakthrough handheld’s capabilities. It relies all on input using the DS’ stylus, and interacting at the right time with the music. What separates this game drastically from other games is that the necessary commands vary from slightly to drastically in several games, making each mini game a unique experience. While some games may require you to flick repeatedly to the beat, some may require you hold your mouth shut at the right time, such as in a personal favorite, Glee Club.

    MUSIC---===

    The game’s play all revolves around the music, which, for those who haven’t played, is a blessing. For the lovers of cheery, stereotypically Anime-esque music, this game is a pot of gold. The Nintendo Software Planning and Development staff ensured that attractively engaging music was composed by employing the help of professional musicians Tsunku, Canary Club, and The Possible.

    The Music in this game ranges dramatically from slower, melodiously harmonic samples such as Struck By The Rain in the games Karate Man and Karate Man 2, to simple and energetic beats as used in Rhythm Rally. The music is composed in a manner that ensures that the player will know exactly when to react to the game, just as long as they ensure the player maintains the beat. The music so accurately follows the players movements that it would seem more accurate to assume that the game play was actually created after the music was composed.

    In particular, a few songs stand out as amazingly memorable and fun. Glee Club has a sensationally relaxing atmosphere created by jazzy instruments, and low tempo riffs. The slightly melancholy attitude is strengthened by the plain background, and stoic character positions. The music in Glee Club rashly contrasts that of games such as Munchy Monk, which utilizes quick and upbeat sections that use segments of repetition to give the song and game play a snappy beat. Love Ooh Ooh Paradise and Thrilling! Is This Love? represent the unnecessarily emotional, love yearning cries of typical anime girls. Albeit embarrassing to sing in front of your friends, these two songs provide an undoubtedly catchy tune that makes one ponder the effects of love. The many Remixes, which combine several games into one challenging match, seamlessly mesh the different musical styles and often add stylized themes, such as love for Remix 4, and western for Remix 3.

    This games music could honestly rival those of highly acclaimed compositions for games such as Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, or the Final Fantasy series. So many different musical styles guarantee that every player will be able to find a song to call their favorite.

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