It’s called “Yet Another Stars Rating” and it works pretty good. There are some options that let you change the theme from light to dark and if you want the stars to be auto displayed. You can have different sizes of stars too. I’m personally going with small as that is the best looking size overall, and it matches the text size. There is a pro version, but I don’t think I’m going to ever be using that. If I really need those features, I’ll either make it myself or find something FOSS. As of now, the free version works.
This is a free game in the Google Play store made by the same guys who made Bloons and Bloons TD, NinjaKiwi. There is no paid version of the game, meaning you will have to sift through ads to find and purchase the Ad-free option. Interestingly, you can pay for it with in-game currency. The currency can be bought with real money, however, I don’t recommend ever going this route.
You can battle against other opponents in either an Assault or Defense mode. You can also choose to battle friends if Facebook is your thing. Unfortunately, as of writing, this game doesn’t feature any Google Play Games support. Sorry fellow G+ users. We’ll have to remain anonymously known as “Player.” You can also play a training mode in Defense, or play a tutorial.
Each game you start against a rival, you will use up a win or a loss depending on the outcome. You also have the opportunity of winning tokens. Tokens can be used to buy various in-game items like tower upgrades, the ad-free option, or decals. My recommendation is that if you are actually going to play, get the ad-free first as they are ridiculously annoying.
The towers are pretty much the same as in Bloons TD 5, and there are quite a bit to mention them all. You have everything from dart monkeys to super monkeys, and even mages and explosives. There is another in-game sort of currency called energy. You get a max of 20, which you can use for various things like getting a fully upgraded random 4th tower, spying on your opponent, and speeding up your balloons during deployment in Assault mode.
Back to the modes. Defense mode is a competition to see who can last the longest. You start off with very little money and can spend it on more income or more towers and upgrades. The strategy is to see how well you spend your money available to you. If you both are really good, this could end in a stalemate or even freeze devices with the amount of balloons appearing on stage. Assault is a lot like defense, you have to outlast your opponent. However, instead of just buying income, you get to buy balloons to send to your opponent. You start off with a high amount of income and the income bonuses earned from sending balloons is very little, so it is more of who can defend the best the fastest. Like Defense, this also has a possibility of ending in a stalemate, but it is less likely.
Due to Android being an open platform for a wide variety of applications and even the ability to root devices, there are some cheat applications that could take the fun out of the game. The thing about this game is to take it for what it’s worth, a cheap thrill, and just take a loss against these guys. You will see that pretty much everyone has a high rack of losses and wins on them. I’ve seen people play who have an insanely high number of wins that make it obvious that they’re cheating. It is up to the developers to try to block this, but not everything can be blocked.
I’ve never had the opportunity to experience the friend battles as I don’t use Facebook, however, it would be nice to play with Google+ friends and have a more worthwhile game. Random opponents can only go so far.
Despite all of the things wrong with this, I still say it is pretty fun to try out at least once if you’re a tower defense fan. There are better games out there, though some of them are paid. It also has a potential to get very addictive and repetitive. Great for passing time on the can. Not so great for any long-term enjoyment.
Recently, I was invited to use Viber by a good friend of mine. I was a bit skeptical at first due to my experiences with Skype, another closed source chat/voice/video client. Viber works on Windows, Mac, and they also provide Debian and Fedora packages. Arch has an AUR package as well, but it is a bit of a hack, due to it repackaging a Debian package. They even have an Android client as well.
The one thing that got me attached admittedly was the stickers. There are so many of these things and they aren’t very annoying either. I’ve had many IM clients that tried to do their own thing and most of them got pretty annoying or pretty generic. You can’t go anywhere without finding an emoticon these days. Stickers are a bit unique as I’ve never seen them before. There’s a sticker for practically everything and they also have added more, and (unfortunately) some paid sticker packs. Can’t say I’ll get much into those, but they do look nice. Android gets a free batch of Android stickers that get tied to your account so you can use them on PC as well after “buying” them.
Viber is a closed source platform, so one would have to take that into consideration before using it. They are owned by Rakuten, who acquired Viber in February 2014. Can’t say I know too much about them, but they don’t seem as threatening as Microsoft. I could very well be wrong.
Anyways, the client also features backdrops that you can use. The Linux client doesn’t seem to support this, unfortunately. You can also send a message of a really long length to people, as well as pictures.
There is a group chat function as well that you can invite other people to and it will go to another tab. There is a bit of an issue with this, however, as since you use your phone number with Viber, anyone can see it. There needs to be some sort of a friends function to keep those things private. If you trust your friends not to add you to any weird group chats, then you’ll be fine.
This should probably be treated more like a Hangouts clone rather than a Skype clone, as Skype allows you to remain fairly anonymous behind a username. Although, Hangouts also lets you remain anonymous by just giving people your e-mail to use. Viber sticks to just using the phone number you registered with. You could use a service like Google Voice to register with Viber and remain a bit anonymous that way. (That’s what I did at least.)
I haven’t tried the voice or video myself, nor do I plan on it either. I will stick with a more trusted company (well, one that I trust), like Google for that. Also Mumble does a lot better job with just voice chat with low latency. That said, Viber is probably going to remain on my installed applications list for a bit of a while until I find some pressing issue with it and decide to remove it (or an alternative SIP client possibly). Until then, I’ll enjoy sending these little cute stickers to people…Yes. I said cute.
Mining meets Metroid. SteamWorld Dig is setup as a free roam type mining game. The story is pretty brief. You get landed right into the action. There is a vast mine left for you to explore and find out the answers to everything. The Metroid feel comes from getting upgrades as you are roaming. As you progress, you get stronger and better at mining and acquire different skills.
This is a 2D platformer, and the graphics are a bit like the previous game in the SteamWorld franchise; SteamWorld Tower Defense. Old western colors. Cartoon-like images. Even the music is western.
When mining, you will find a lot of different ores, and as you dig deeper, things get harder to mine. The map on the bottom screen will tell you how many times you’ll have to hit something before it will be mined. You will get better pickaxes as you progress as well, making it easier to mine. You will also get upgrades that will aid in navigation and even allow you to carry more ore. Basically the whole point is to dig deeper. Must. Dig. Deeper. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not boring at all. As you progress, you will also find out more about the story of the town and what happened to it.
As far as modes go, this is a single player game. You get 3 files to choose from and no difficulty settings. Depending on how meticulous you are, this game can either be relatively short or long. It does end, unfortunately, and there is no infinite land to mine in. I do personally wish they added a few randomly generated lands to mine in and some sort of score system. But hey, for what it’s worth, it’s a pretty good story.
As stated before, you can get all kinds of upgrades, from boots that make you run faster, to a drill that lets you mine faster, or even a drill gun. Your mining trip is limited to how much light you have. When you are in the mines, your light meter depletes and when it reaches 0, you cannot see anything except the tunnels you already made. This makes it a challenge to try to get as far as you can get before having to go back up for light. If you did try mining, you never know what you will run into and may end up getting smashed by a rock above you, or another enemy. There is one boss in the game…. and that’s it. But it is a worthwhile battle and some build-up leading to it.
Overall, I’d say that this game is worth taking a trip into. It doesn’t cost very much in terms of money, making it a reasonable buy. However, there is so much more that could have been added to make it more worthwhile for replay value. Once you’ve mined up everything, there’s really not much to do except look at the emptyness.
From the moment this game was announced, I was wanting it. Finally, Ocarina of Time on a portable system. I didn’t get it for almost a half a year later. My only wish for this game is that it received better ratings from Nintendo fans. When it first came out, you had to dig through the loud complaints about Nintendo releasing a remake in order to find a review that was worthwhile. And then, when you did praise the game, you had to put up with being called a fanboy. Whatever. I grew up with Nintendo. I’ll admit I’m biased, but I am not afraid to talk about the not-so-nice things that I see.
This game is one of my top games on my playlist, even today. I have yet to ever do a 100% run on this game on any of its releases. There has been so many releases over the years as well. All of them just as good as the last. I don’t label it as my favorite Zelda, however. There’s so many good ones to label just one, however, I do have a sweet spot with Twilight Princes. That said, Ocarina of Time is still awesome, and will continue to be a classic.
First off, the graphics. Everything has been updated and there is so much more detail in almost every nook and cranny. It’s almost in your face from the moment you start up the game, you can FEEL the amount of detail. It goes without saying that this is the best port to this date. Link looks so much better than he did before. No more blocky and triangular things. You can even walk on things in houses that never existed before. As far as the 3D portion goes, it’s one of the earlier games, and you might get some double vision. I personally don’t use it due to the fact that you get more detail with it off.
The game hasn’t changed much since its predecessors. Still the same story. There are a couple new features, like the hint stones (these can die in a fire), and an unlockable boss rush. Master Quest is also mirrored, to make things even harder.
The controls are laid out pretty well, but they could have done better. Control stick moves you (obviously). A is your main action button. B is for your sword. You can assign items to X and Y, and you also get 2 slots if you want to use the touch screen for items. R is for your shield. L is for the old Z-Targeting. Start and Select both pause the game. Am I forgetting something? Hmm… I can’t think of anything. OH! The control pad. Utterly. Useless. It does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Remember the old N64 controller and how it had C-buttons for things? Well instead of just using the control pad for those, they just scrapped 2 of them. Remember those old songs you knew by heart on the ocarina? Time to re-learn them! Their buttons have changed as well. Seriously, if they used the control pad for C-Buttons, they’d cover all of the used buttons in the N64 version, and have one left over.
But anyways… I’ve pretty much gotten used to the re-organized buttons by now. It’s easier to play the ocarina by the touch screen anyways. At least they are positioned correctly when you play that frog game. Speaking of the touch screen, there’s more on it. You can go to the gear, items, and map without having to fish through menus. The most noticeable change is you can re-organize all of the items in the items menu. This is actually pretty nifty. Strangely, there is not enough slots to put away every single item.
Another change is you can use the gyroscope to aim at things. This may come in handy or become a nuisance depending on your environment. Good thing there is an option to toggle it off in the Start menu. You can also switch camera controls and L-targeting there.
One other gripe I had about this game is that when you are playing, the wifi portion of the 3DS gets shut off. You can still get street passes, but your friends won’t know you are playing unless you go to the friends list.
I don’t like to focus on the gripes of this game too much because it is really beautiful and so nice to have on a portable console. The pros of this game do outweigh the cons. Overall, it is a masterpiece re-done into another masterpiece. Even the music feels updated. There’s but one game that should also be re-done that isn’t in the Zelda series. Super Mario 64. (Yeah, they’re already doing Majora’s Mask, so that wish came true. Have to wish for something new.) Dare I give it a flawless rating?
I do note the fact that this was one of the first 3DS games and most of the time, the first games on a console don’t take full advantage of the console’s capabilities. They don’t perfect it until later in the lifecycle. I am glad that they are pushing out Majora’s Mask at this time instead of earlier. They have done so well with recent games, and with the n3DS (New 3DS) coming out, the game has potential to be even better. Hopefully it isn’t exclusive to the n3DS.
If you have ever played Arkanoid or any block breaker game and liked them, you will probably fall in love with AlphaBounce. Picture RPG type modifications meets Arkanoid. I’ve read that there are almost infinite levels in this game. I’ve never conquered all of the levels yet myself, but I’ve seen that there is potential for a lot of them.
You start off with 2 modes of play: Easy and Normal. The story is you are a prison inmate that has to fly a ship around space. Yeah, not very good with summarizing, but it’s probably better to just read it in the description. (It’s really long.) Anyways, you are presented with a command center map on the bottom screen. The map is laid out like a grid and every square represents a level. You are restricted to a box around the area until you collect an access key for the next area. There are different planets you can beat all of the levels within the planet to gain another ship.
There are many different ships that you can collect that do various things from healing themselves to making balls do different actions. There are also items scattered about that let you upgrade ships and even unlock more slots for ships that you can take on missions. Ships basically act as lives and when you run out, you have to start that level over. In order to get the items, you have to beat the level that is in the grid square. After you unlock the 3rd key, the realm of space is opened up to you and you can go anywhere. You will get upgrades that even let you travel further without having to beat so many levels in between.
Levels vary from easy to hard. Some levels even complete themselves and you may find some glitch levels. The game saves after you beat a level, so if you did encounter a glitch, don’t fret; you won’t lose much of anything. You can also get scanner upgrades that let you see what the level is going to look like and where the special items are.
There is a lot of content in this game and it may seem a bit repetitive and never ending, that’s also a good thing because it makes for some great replay value. Some upgrades add lasers to your ships that will help you destroy bricks by shooting them. There are various balls that have special powers, like a ball that can burn through blocks.
This is also a single player only game. You only get one file to use, so it’s best to beat either Easy or Normal, and you can unlock the Hard mode, which adds another planet to beat. Hard mode also lives up to its name since the levels are much harder from the start.
There are also 27 planets you have to find that are scattered throughout the space. Each one will also give you a piece to the puzzle to find Earth.
I had spent hours in this game, but I lost my progress with a system transfer. The DSi to 3DS transfer wasn’t as efficient, or I did something wrong in the process. Despite that, I still play off and on. It does become a grind if you are going for getting everything. If you are trying to beat every single level, you will probably be playing forever.
Overall, this game is pretty great if you are an Arkanoid fan. If you are new to the series, you might find it is a bit overwhelming to complete. The story is a nice touch, but you’ll eventually forget that it even exists. I’d say this game is for anyone who wants to take a dip into the Arkanoid type games. While you might not complete the entire game, you will still get your money’s worth.
Within this review, I will refer to the previous release as NSMB2, and the Gold Edition as GE. They are pretty much the same games, however, GE comes with all of the DLC you would normally have to buy in NSMB2. GE is also exclusive to the 3DS XLs that come with it pre-installed. If you perform a system transfer to one of those 3DS XLs, the game will be transferred to your account and you can re-download it from the eShop. This is probably the better deal to go with, unless you already own a 3DS XL. If you were like me and already bought NSMB2, you cannot transfer your save data to GE, unless Nintendo updates the transfer tool. I went ahead and started over since this game wasn’t really a Wi-Fi game. The street pass content was lost, but it’s better to have the game on my system than to have to swap out a card in my opinion.
The DLC adds level packs to the game to use in Coin Rush, which I will get to later.
First off, the story. Spoiler Alert! Princess Peach is kidnapped again! You know how the Mario Bros. games go. This one revolves around collecting coins and going through levels to get to the castle and save Peach. There are quite a bit of worlds and some hidden worlds. The map layout is pretty linear, with a few paths that lead away. Each world has its own map. The creativity for these maps is pretty poor compared to former Mario games, most notably Super Mario World. In Super Mario World, you get to go through the levels on one huge map. This one, every level contains a tiny map that goes from side to side. They are pretty detailed for the small amount of space they take up, I’ll give it that.
As far as the levels go, they vary from challenging to easy. You get to solve puzzles, find hidden doors, find 3 coins per level, and a wide array of enemies. The power-ups are pretty much the same. You get the flower, which gives you the ability to shoot fireballs. Mushrooms make you grow. Giant mushrooms make you grow huge for a limited time. And leaves make you have a Tanooki tail and ears. New to this game is a golden flower that will give you the ability to shoot golden fireballs. The fireballs will turn blocks into coins, and make ? boxes dump out their contents, and also activate coin boxes. Any enemy you defeat also nets you coins, and the more you defeat at once, the more coins you will get. If you deplete all of the coins from a coin block quickly, it’ll turn into a golden block, which you can wear if you jump through it. If you are already wearing a coin block, it will spit out tons of coins for you to catch. The coin block helmet will make you collect coins as you are running or jumping through the air. Oh, and there’s 1-Up mushrooms… as if you even need them.
There are also rings that you can jump through to activate special events. One event is the red coins. If you jump through the red ring, 8 red coins will appear and if you collect them all, you will get a 1-up mushroom. In coin rush, you will get a golden mushroom that gives you coins. The yellow ring will double the amount of coins you will get from certain actions, and make every enemy turn into a golden enemy. Koopa shells will drop coins when sliding around. Hammer Bros will throw coins. It’s pretty much coin meyhem.
You are probably wondering what in the world Mario will do with these coins. Do they make up for all the coins Wario stole from him? There used to be a coin counter on Nintendo’s website that counted the coins collected worldwide. Now they have leaderboards for all of the coin rush packs. These packs are priced at $2.50 and some come in bundles for $7.50. I had them all when I had NSMB2, however, that was back when the game was still new. On the menu screens and map screen, you will see a coin counter. Your goal is to fill it up. This will take a while, but there is a bit of a reward if you fill it up. You can watch the main screen fill up with coins and eventually special events will happen when you get to a certain amount. The story videos will even change.
The other difference I noticed is that coin rush is unlocked from the start on GE, whereas you have to earn it in NSMB2 by playing the story. In coin rush, you go through 3 levels with a limited time. This counter can be refilled by grabbing stopwatches scattered throughout the levels. At the end of the level, if you jump to the highest point on the flag, your coin total will be doubled. There is a max of 30,000 coins that you can collect. I wish they didn’t have a max, but this is probably a better idea since otherwise, you could play through the gold rush pack and fill up your global coin counter quickly. This adds a bit of a grind. I think the level packs are worth getting, however, you will only get 3 levels in them. The levels are pretty big compared to the main game levels. There are a couple really hard packs as well.
You can go through the coin rush levels as either normal Mario or White Tanooki Mario, who is invincible throughout the entire level. I also noticed that deaths seem to continue the coin rush round in GE, whereas they just stop the round in NSMB2. The leaderboards are located at: http://newsupermariobros2.nintendo.com/coin-rush/
There is also a Multiplayer Co-Op that you can play. You can choose to be Mario or Luigi. Whoever is Mario will determine which save data gets used. In this, you and another person can go through all of the levels and collect double coins when you both are playing. If one is stuck in a bubble or died, the coin counter is no longer doubled. Unfortunately, the screens aren’t independent and instead, they focus on either Mario or Luigi. There is at least one way to switch the focus that I’ve found by ground pounding the other guy. This type of focus works for the console games, but it is really bad for portable since the screens are so small. If the guy in focus goes too far away, the other guy will turn into a bubble and will have to be popped back out.
Overall, this game is pretty good. I do admit it could have used more content, especially in the map design and possibly more levels. It does have quite a bit of replay value and grinding aspects, especially if you are wanting to get all of the coins you can. The co-op is also nice for a local multiplayer session. Both of you need the game, however.
Picked up this game again after a while and it is still fun to play. Graphics are about like the Gamecube. There is a lot of detail added to the tracks that you can stop and look at. They’ve even added a lot of detail to retro tracks.
As far as the modes of play go, it feels a bit lacking for single player. You get Grand Prix, where you can go through the 32 tracks (16 new, 16 retro) in 4 cups; 50cc, 100cc, 150cc, and Mirror. The tracks are limited per-track for laps. Some tracks have 3 laps, some have just one. You can grab coins in this mode to get random upgrades for your kart. You can only have 10 coins per race, leaving you with a potential of 40 coins per grand prix. This is the only single player mode that coins actually count on your total.
The 2nd mode is Time Trials. You can race for the best time using 3 mushrooms in your arsenal. Ghost data can be shared via street pass and to the world via spot pass. You never know what spot pass ghosts you will get. You can also race with up to 7 random ghosts, or race against a select one. There could have been an ability to add laps to tracks, but time trials works, for what it’s worth.
Then there’s Balloon Battle. This will probably look familiar to the other Balloon Battles from previous incarnations of Mario Kart. Don’t worry, you don’t have to blow your balloons up anymore. You can choose the CPU difficulty (Easy, Normal, Hard), stages (Choose, Random, In Order), Items (All Items, Shells, Bananas, Mushrooms, or Bob-ombs only), and teams. You can switch the teams around by hitting R and L. Next up; the tracks. There are 3 retro and 3 new. Each battle is timed and the winner is determined by how many players he/she knocked out. You have unlimited lives as well. No customization of round times or win determination.
And then there’s Coin Runners. The options for this are the same as Balloon Battle. Stages are also the same. Each round is timed and the outcome is determined by whoever has the most coins at the end of the round. You can carry up to 10 coins and will lose some if you get hit or fall off the stage. Again, there is no customization of time or win requirements.
And that’s it for single player. Yep. No Versus mode letting you make up your own sandboxed races with however many laps you want and CPU players.
There’s 2 options for Multiplayer; LAN and Online. Local Multiplayer lets you go against up to 7 other people, and they don’t all have to have the game in order to play. Online multiplayer is where the rest of the fun picks up. You can play Worldwide, with friends & opponents, or with communities.
Worldwide mode lets you do either a race or a battle. Both have 4 rounds and a vote for the track that will be played. In battle mode, it will flip back and forth between Coin Runners and Balloon Battle. Also, any coins collected will count in your coin total.
For Friends & Opponents, you are presented with a list of your 3DS friends mixed with opponents you have raced against in the past. If they are online, you can join in to their session.
Communities is a new element to the online gameplay. You can play in one that’s already made or create your own. Each community can have its own rules of play and has its own leaderboards. Coins are not counted in this mode. Each community also has a 1 line mini description on the bottom. My favorite ones are the Mushrooms Only communities. There is nothing sneaky about it, just pure racing skill and a bit of luck to determine what kind of shroom you will get.
My community is: 43-9804-8384-6897
The last mode on the menu is Mario Kart Channel. You can see what ghosts you have for street pass and spot pass. You can also get a list of players you have street passed. Also you can see and change your profile settings here. You can change your Mii, short message, kart, and make your own Grand Prix for street pass. Also the settings are stuffed into this area. You can turn off the Gyro sensor if you want to race in first person mode without all the tilting requirements.
There are tons of kart customizations and some gold ones as well. You can earn them with coins and VR accumulated online.
Overall, this game is a bit lacking for single player. It could have used some features to make it a bit less repetitive, especially for coin grinding. It makes up for it with the online mode, which is just amazing compared to previous incarnations of the game.