When your roommate leaves you alone at a singles bar, it’s your opportunity to break out of your shell. Are you capable of handling a player lifestyle?

From the above paragraph, you’d think that you play as a guy stringing girls along when you actually get to pick your gender and string the opposite sex along. The plot is the same no matter what gender you pick. You get two phone numbers, you pick a person you want to live with and another you want to keep on the side while your ex blackmails you. I’ve played dating sims where you can pursue the same character no matter what gender you pick but there was one thing they did differently. While some of the dialogue was the same, the game changed key plot points in order for the path to better suit the character. For example, when romancing Isabella as Max in Roommates, you are the pursuer. When you romance Isabella as Anne, you are the one being pursued. It fits, not because of gender stereotyping, but because Max is a rebellious rock star wannabe while Anne is a shy bookworm trying to break out of her shell. I will say this, the makers of this game have no double standards. Why else would the plot play out exactly the same no matter what gender you choose to be?

The game play is just you making dialogue choices to the characters that talk to you. If you make the right ones, their affection goes up and you can go to the next scene. Make the wrong ones, and you have a game over. There are some extras in the game such as quizzes or a love test but you can look those up on the internet.

This game is a little entertaining but incredibly repetitive. I give it 4 out of 10; nothing more than an escapist fantasy.

Mario Bros. (Nintendo 3DS eShop)

Mario and Luigi were just a couple of plumbers trying to do their job. Unfortunately, monsters live in the pipes. Can Mario and Luigi destroy these monsters before they go above ground?

Mario Bros

I finally got to play what people consider the very first Mario game. Donkey Kong may have been Mario’s first appearance, but Mario Bros. is the first game where our hero got his name and title. The first game in the series is nothing more than one long arcade game with Mario knocking monsters on their backs and then destroying them. You go through phase-to-phase collecting points by killing monsters or collecting coins. This game also has a special bonus level where you try to collect all the coins before time runs out.

This game is simplistic yet addictive. I give it 5 out of 10; Mario got off to an okay start.

Donkey Kong 3 (Nintendo 3DS eShop)

Donkey Kong’s back and this time he’s tormenting a poor gardener named Stanley. Can Stanley keep Donkey Kong at bay while keeping insects from destroying his garden?

Is it just me, or did these plots go from manageable to incredibly stupid? What’s Donkey Kong doing harassing a gardener? I guess it was his day off and he didn’t have anything better to do.

Instead of your typical platform jumping, your primary concern is to spray the bugs and Donkey Kong. In order to get to the next level, you have to spray Donkey Kong enough so that he retreats to the very top. Keep playing, if you care about getting the high score. Since I didn’t, I stopped playing after a few levels. I’ll admit that spraying Donkey Kong consecutively was entertaining.

This game is stupid yet addictive. I give it 3 out of 10; once again, something to do when you’re bored.

Donkey Kong Jr. (Nintendo 3DS eShop)

When Mario kidnaps Donkey Kong, it’s up to Junior to rescue him. Can Junior free his father from Mario’s wrath?

That’s right, Nintendo made a sequel to the original Donkey Kong and they switched the roles. Donkey Kong’s the good guy and Mario’s the bad guy. Not much else to say about the plot except for one thing. Instead of a hero rescuing his girlfriend, it’s a son rescuing his father.

The game play is similar to the first one in that you have to jump over minions, collect items for points and get to the top to free the captured victim. The only difference is the final stage where, instead of destroying the construction site, you use six keys to unlock Donkey Kong’s cage. If you care about getting the high score, keep playing the same four stages over and over. If you just want to see the ending, quit after the fourth stage.

This game is addictive yet simplistic. I give it 6 out of 10; something to do when you’re bored.

Donkey Kong (Nintendo 3DS Shop)

When a mad ape terrorizes the city, he abducts a young girl named Pauline and brings her to the top of a construction tower. Can Mario save his girlfriend from Donkey Kong’s wrath?

This is the old arcade game that introduced not one but two of Nintendo’s iconic characters. This game is third in my Art of Video Games book and was the very first game to have a set plot. The game based its plot on the 1930s King Kong movie where an evil ape goes on a rampage in New York City and abducts the blonde leading lady. Before I get comments telling me that I’ve got it all wrong and King Kong is the good guy, I said that it was the 1930s version. King Kong didn’t become the good guy until the later remakes. This being an old arcade game, the plot is very simplistic and enforces gender stereotypes. The man’s the hero and the woman’s little more than a prize. I read an article once that said Donkey Kong was Mario’s pet ape that he abused. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any evidence to support that, so I’m going to leave that fact alone.

The game play is that of your typical classic arcade game. You jump through a construction site in order to get to the top and rescue Pauline. In the third stage, your job is to jump over small bits of the construction site so you can kill Donkey Kong once and for all. You can collect more points by jumping over barrels and collecting items on your way to rescue Pauline. Did I mention that you play the same three levels over and over? If you’re obsessed with getting the high score, go for it. As for me, as soon as I played those levels I was done. One more thing, if you buy the game on your 3DS, you can create restore points so you don’t have to start the game all over when you get a game over.

This game is simplistic yet slightly addictive. I give it 5 out of 10; something to do when you’re bored.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Gamefly.com)

After finding the city of Ambrosia, Professor Layton receives a letter from an old friend to come to Monte d’Or.  It turns out a man called the Masked Gentleman has been using an artifact known as the Mask of Chaos to cause incidents all over the town.  Now Professor Layton must face his past in order to save the future of himself and those closest to him.

The game alternates between playing in the past and playing in the present.  In the past story line, we discover how Layton became interested in archaeology in the first place.  That and Layton has one screwed up past.  I don’t want to give anything away but can you imagine forever living with the knowledge that if you had agreed to leave a dangerous place, your friend would still be alive?  However, I will admit that his friend, Randall, does seem a bit self-absorbed.  He constantly tries to get Layton interested in archaeology despite his repeated claims that he has absolutely no interest in it.  Yes, I am aware that Layton does get an interest in it later on, but the fact remains that Randall tries to push his interests on other people.  He also wants to go on a dangerous mission despite his girlfriend, Angela’s, concern for him.  I’m not saying that he deserved what happened to him.  I’m just saying that if you want to go on adventures you can’t have a family that’s constantly worried for your safety waiting for you at home.  In the present, Layton travels the city with Luke and Emmy looking for information about the Masked Gentleman and trying to discover the secrets behind his dark miracles.  Again, I don’t want to give anything away but I felt that Professor Layton forgave the Masked Gentleman way too easily.

The game play is the same as any other in the series.  You travel around the city solving puzzles.  Each one you solve awards you with a point system called picarats.  The more you collect the more bonuses you can unlock.  You also have to complete three mini-games in order to unlock more puzzles in the bonus section.  Oh, and you can participate in a horse racing mini-game which I actually enjoyed even though it had no point.  There are also these puzzles in the past where Layton and Randall explore the ruins of an ancient civilization while avoiding mummies and giant boulders.  This was my favorite part of the game because we truly get to see Layton in his natural habitat.  Yes, I am well aware that archaeologists in real life don’t avoid mummies and run away from giant boulders but for once, the game came across as less like Sherlock Holmes and more like Indiana Jones.

This game is exciting and challenging.  I give it 7 out of 10; despite a few plot issues, I truly enjoyed it.

Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Demo)

When Bruce Wayne beats Lex Luthor for the man of the year award, he teams up with the Joker in a fiendish plot to destroy Gotham City.  Now it’s up to Batman, Robin and the entire Justice League to stop them.

You’re never too old for Legos, but you can be too broke for them (I’m serious; one Lego set costs over a hundred bucks).  That’s why these video games exist in the first place.  It’s the digital experience of Legos without having to shell out all the cash.  You can build stuff, you can destroy stuff and you can collect stuff.

In this little demo, you play as both Batman and Robin.  Each character has their own specialties; Batman’s suit gives him stealth and x-ray vision and Robin’s incredibly acrobatic.  You take on Harley Quinn, the Riddler, the Penguin and the Joker in that order.  You also have hints about future super heroes that you can play.  Along with using the Penguin’s own weapons to stop him and using the batarang to bring down a few bad guys.  You have to defeat a number of goons and you can collect coins during the adventure.

This game is an awesome use of the DC Universe.  I’m definitely getting the full version.

Order Up!! Demo (Nintendo eShop)

A chef dreams of owning his or her own restaurant one day.  Unfortunately, all he or she can get is a job at a fast food joint.

In the tutorial, you have the choice between playing as a man or a woman.  During the first order, a guy who sounds like the pimply face kid on The Simpsons gives step-by-step instructions.  You cook food on the stove or in the fryer and make sure it doesn’t burn.  In the case of the stove, you have to turn over the food to cook both sides.  You also have to tear the leaves off lettuce, cut slices of tomatoes and fill up soda.  Make sure to get a good score so that the customer will give you a decent tip.

You can also do a quick play, where you have to handle three orders.  You basically do all the stuff you do in the tutorial; only after three orders, you’re done.  I don’t have a whole lot to say about this part.

It seems like a fun game, so I might purchase the full version.  Not sure if I actually will.

Nintendogs + Cats: Golden Retriever & New Friends Demo

A new friend joins the world of Nintendogs and Cats.  Play with this dog, feed it and teach it tricks.  It’s just like having a real pet.

            Well, now that I figured out how to summarize this, time to get to the review.  First, I’ll have to say that the little puppies and kitties are just so cute.  It’s so adorable how they make those sounds, and how you can feed them, dress them and even play with them.  What was even cuter was my dog’s reaction to it.  She thought there were new friends for her to play with, and I would show her the screen just to see her reaction.  She just jumped into my lap and tried to get to the dog.  Don’t worry about her being lonely, she has a giant German Shepherd to play with.

            Speaking of my dogs, having this game is nothing like having real dogs or cats (yes, I also have two cats).  For starters, when you change your mind, you can just stop playing the game.  In real life, when you get pets, they are there for good.  Well, you could get rid of them, but you’d have to be one hell of a cruel jerk to dump a living thing out in the middle of nowhere who would either starve to death or die of thirst because you got bored with it.  There’s also the fact that sometimes cats don’t want your attention when you want theirs and you do have to clean the litter box daily.  Dogs are even worse, because sometimes they just bark nonstop and it can be for absolutely no reason.  You also have to take them outside every hour to potty train them if they’re not potty trained already, and sometimes they want your attention when you’re busy with other things.  The last part can also be a problem with cats.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my animals and I know they love me, but sometimes they can be a real pain in the ass.

            I have to admit that I didn’t really enjoy this game.  Sure, I can see the appeal if you can’t afford cats or dogs or if you want pets without all the responsibility, but I already have both these animals, so this game really has no point for me.  Therefore, I have no interest in getting the full game.

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.