Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Demo

Mario and Sonic are back, and this time they’re competing at the London Olympics.  Who’s the superior one, the adventurous plumber or the racing hedgehog?

Once again, I am reviewing a demo, but this time it’s in two franchises that I’m actually familiar with.  In the demo, you play five Olympic events with characters that the computer assigns you at random.  The events are shooting, football, trampoline, swimming and racing bikes.  Each one relies on different controls to operate each game, only one relies completely on the stylus.

The first event I took part in was the shooting game.  The target moves to the left and you have to press the r button to shoot five targets.  How many points you get is dependent on how close you shoot to the center.  You get three rounds, and the target speeds up during each one.  By the third one, you’d have to be the Flash to get a perfect score.  I barely got any points and the fact that the computer had me play as Metal Sonic only made me think that he desperately needs to get his system rebooted.

The second event was a football game where you have to kick the ball past the goalie to score.  For this one, you have to press the circle pad down while turning it to aim.  Then you have to wait for the ball to come in contact with you and release the pad at the exact moment it does.  I kept releasing the pad too early and I couldn’t get the aiming right, so this was another one I totally sucked at.  Oh, and for those of you wondering why I’m describing soccer, even though I said it was football, please keep in mind that this is the Mario and Sonic London Olympics.

The third event was a trampoline game where you have to press the a button right at the time your character lands on the trampoline and you have to move him or her back to the middle while he or she is in the air.  This was my favorite game, because it’s the only one I could get the hang of.  The controls were easy to understand, yet it was still challenging in its own way.

The fourth event was swimming.  In order to beat the other swimmers, you have to draw a circle on the bottom screen that is an exact copy of the one on the top screen.  There is no tracing and you only have a limited amount of time to draw.  It put quite a bit of pressure on me and I only got most of the circle right by pure luck.

The final event was just racing bikes.  This might seem simple, but that is far from the truth.  Not only do you have to turn the bikes, you also have to time your jumps perfectly and tilt the Nintendo 3DS in order to land properly.  Trust me, that last part is nearly impossible.  I learned one thing during that event; Sonic is only the fastest when I’m not the one controlling him.

The game was pretty fun, but with most of the events, I couldn’t get a hang of the controls.  Therefore, I have no interest in getting the full game.  I haven’t played any of the Mario and Sonic games on the Wii yet, but I’ll still try it and see if it’s more suited for that gaming system.

Resident Evil: Revelations Demo

Jill Valentine awakens in a strange room separated from her partner, Parker.  While trying to find him, the monsters that roam the ship constantly attack Jill.  Will they survive this seafaring nightmare?

Okay, I have no knowledge whatsoever of Resident Evil mainly because when the game came out I was too young to play it.  Therefore, I had to consult Wikipedia for a bit of information so I don’t look like a complete moron in this review.  The sad thing is even after that, I still have no idea what I’m talking about, so just bear with me and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

One thing I can say about the game is that it did shock me a little bit.  Whenever I roamed the ship, monsters would come out of nowhere and they actually killed me a couple of times.  The fact that I had a tendency to confuse the x and y buttons just made it easier for them.  Well, that and I once thought the a button was the shoot button; wasted a perfectly good herb for that mistake.  Thankfully, you’re allowed to play the demo thirty times and I didn’t even need that many to complete it.

I really did enjoy the game play, even that one part with the touch screen.  I did like going through the two guns I found in the demo and there are even plants that you can use to heal the damage you take from the monsters, hence what I said earlier about accidentally using one.  Like every other game for the Nintendo 3DS, it also has a 3D effect.  However, you can change the strength of it so that it is either at its strongest or at its weakest.  This is good, because if the 3D’s too strong and I’m really tired, I tend to get headaches, so I took full advantage of that system.

The only character you get to play as is Jill Valentine and I have to say, so far, I like her.  She seems very tough and independent, and from what I read about her on Wikipedia, it doesn’t seem like she ever suffers from what TV tropes would call chickification.  At one point, I was afraid that she was going to be a damsel in distress, like I’ve seen far too much in video games, but I’m very happy to say that she surprised me.  In all reality, the only time she seems weak is when I’m controlling her during the game, and that’s my fault for being a newbie.

At this point, I usually give the game a rating, but I can’t rate a demo.  All I can say is whether or not I would play the whole game, and not only would I do so, I want to play every Resident Evil game ever made.

House M.D.

Everyone’s favorite ***hole doctor gets his own video game!  Help House diagnose his sick patients while pulling clinic duty and trying to solve the mystery of Cuddy’s package.

As I said earlier, this is a video game based on the hit TV series, House.  You have five cases that you need to solve with mini-games to play throughout each case.  All the characters are here and perfectly in character.  You even have to take a break from the cases to deal with the patients in the clinic.  Don’t worry, the patients there are as stupid as they have ever been and House is there to remind them.  There is also a side plot where House sees a package Cuddy has delivered, but it really serves no purpose other than to make it feel like you are watching the series and it did that part well.

While the mini-games are fun, there is one thing that annoys me.  Every time you start a new mini-game, the makers feel that you have to have systematic instructions on how to go through it.  If it were not for the fact that some mini-games are frequently used it would not be so frustrating.  Look we get that we need instructions, but you do not have to tell us how to do the same damn mini-game repeatedly!  Is your target audience the mentally challenged?  Either that or you thought your audience had no short-term memory.

I wish this review could be longer, but there is really nothing more to say about the game.  All you’re really doing is watching five lost episodes of House with mini-games added throughout the whole thing.  Despite how irritating it is that the makers tend to hold your hand through the mini-games, it is still a fun play when you do not have anything else to do.  I give this game 5 out of 10, I don’t love it, I don’t hate it, it’s just there.

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future

In the future, a criminal organization led by a corrupt Professor Layton has taken over London. In order to stop him, Luke has sent a note ten years in the past in the hopes that Layton will bring down his future self and save the city.

As usual we have Professor Layton, Luke, Flora, Chelmey and many other characters that we are familiar with from previous games, as well as a few new ones. In this game we finally discover what made Layton the gentlemen he is today, why he treasures his hat and what started the one-sided feud between him and Don Paulo. Despite how happy Layton might seem, his past is actually a tragic one. At the end of the storyline he cries. I want to leave this review spoiler free so I can’t say why he cries, but I can say this: when he cries he actually seems more human. Luke is, as usual, the doting apprentice of Professor Layton. He happily solves puzzles and defends Layton when he is insulted. In this game you truly see how close he and Layton are as certain events unfold. Despite those events, Layton and Luke continue to have their beautiful friendship. Flora is the odd one out. She is loved by both Layton and Luke, but she is not fully accepted as part of the group. When she confronts them about leaving her behind, Layton breaks his gentleman code by lying to her. He claims that it’s because he doesn’t want to put her in danger and that is a factor, but not the true reason. Flora is still new and she is not as close to Layton as Luke is. Plus, let’s face it; Flora cannot take care of herself due to her past (those who have played Professor Layton and the Curious Village will understand what I’m talking about). Still, I was happy that Flora included herself in the adventure and she even got to solve a few puzzles. Unfortunately she is still a damsel in distress, yet I really hope that these are the first few steps for her to slowly develop into a strong character. The character of this story that truly surprised me was the villain, who despite his evil plan, is actually a very sympathetic character.

Like every other game in this series, you will be solving puzzles and they get harder as the game goes on. Trust me, you will need to collect as many hint coins as possible and some of them will be sent to the riddle shack if you fail to solve them in time. However, in order to advance further in the game, you will need to backtrack and solve a few more puzzles. The puzzles also reward items that are necessary for completing the three mini-games. In this game, they are the delivering parrot, the toy car and the picture books. The parrot delivers items to various characters in the game and once he finishes the last delivery, you have a new companion to help you collect hint coins. The toy car comes with various courses and is actually my favorite of the mini games, and not only because of the animation and the arrows. It also gives you a glimpse into Luke’s character. Despite how hard he tries to be an adult, he’s still a ten-year old kid who likes to play every once in a while. The picture books are incomplete and it is your job to collect various drawings and finish each story. When you’re through with the story and the mini-games, you unlock Layton’s Challenges and when you’ve completed those, you unlock profiles, art, sound clips and various other special features. If that’s not enough, you can download new puzzles using the Wi-Fi on your Nintendo DS. In other words, not really that different from other Professor Layton games, but sometimes consistency is not such a bad thing.

Not only is the game fun and challenging, it is also a compelling story with true characters. The story was filled with twists and turns that I honestly did not see coming and the characters show a hidden depth that will surprise you. For the first time in this series, I actually cried. I give this game a ten out of ten. I was going to give it an eight or a nine, but the fact that the game emotionally affected me brought it up to a full ten.