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November 30, 2015

Introduction to Demo Reviews (Last)

Alright, so this is the third and last time I'm reviewing Demos available on the Wii Shop Channel.  I still have 21 of those to publish, and I'll try to get them all on the site before December ends. But, before that, I have already made many of those Demo Reviews, some in December 2013, some in August 2014... here's the complete list.

1: Lead The Meerkats
2: Furry Legends
4: 3D Pixel Racing
5: Soccer Bashi
6: Frobot
8: FAST Racing League
9: Rage of the Gladiator
10: Mix Superstar
11: NyxQuest
12: Jam City
14: 2 Fast 4 Gnomz
15: Liight
16: Gnomz
17: Fish 'Em All!!
18: Zombie Panic
19: Paint Splash
20: Art of Balance
21: Robox
22: PooYoos 1
23: PooYoos 2
24: PooYoos 3
25: Fluidity
26: World of Goo
27: Kyotokei
28: Monsteca Corral
29: Max & the Magic Marker

I hope you enjoy the last 21 items of this list as they are published on the blog, starting tomorrow!

November 27, 2015

Art of Balance

Let’s see if we can finish the year with a review of another good WiiWare game! As I’ve proven multiple times in the past, a lot of WiiWare games turn out to be, well… less than stellar. It appears that a greater proportion of WiiWare titles are meh at best, horrible at worst. That’s in part why I like the idea of trying out demos of certain games available there. I would download all the available demos, try them out, and write a little post about each on this site. In fact, there will be Demo Reviews throughout all of December. However, there’s “trying” and then there’s “buying”. And one month where I had some extra bucks, I went through the Wii Shop Channel. I was looking for whatever WiiWare and Virtual Console games that looked interesting. I finally chose to buy Art of Balance, a puzzle game for which a Demo had been made available. I remembered liking the demo, so I told myself “hey, why not?” and paid.

So, what are my final thoughts on this game?

…Oh wait, I’m too early for that.

Let’s start at the beginning: Art of Balance was released by Shin’en Games in 2010. There are three versions of this game:
-The Wii one, which I am reviewing today;
-The 3DS one, adequately renamed Art of Balance Touch!
-And the Wii U version, also titled Art of Balance. Yep. Same title for a game different from its predecessor. Is that confusing enough for you? I mean, couldn’t it have been called Art of Balance U?

The full WiiWare title costs 800 points (thus approximately 8$). Sure, this can be a bad thing if the game doesn’t offer enough to justify its price (Looking at you, Pop-Up Pursuit), but from what I’ve seen so far, this is an excellent price for a high-quality game. The full game offers a hundred levels in its solo mode alone. And for a puzzle game, that’s a good start.

November 23, 2015

VGFlicks: Hard Corner Le Film (Part 2)

Continuing where we left off, Benzaie has hit an all-time low, but his imaginary friend Alpha Man may just have the idea to get him out of trouble: Presenting the project to a bank and get the funds to open his store. Of course! This sounds so simple! But how? Well, Alpha Man has the answer to this as well: Why not a video to explain the project in thorough detail, to get investors? It would be fine, but Benzaie doesn’t have a camera. Oh, but wait: Alpha Man has an answer to this as well! When Benzaie’s father died, didn’t he leave anything for his son? Yep, an old camcorder! You know, the ones that worked with tiny tape cassettes before everything functioned with SD cards? Um... Alpha Man, are you sure you're an imaginary friend? Benzaie recovers the briefcase in which all this stuff is kept.

How convenient. A tape cassette recorder for a man who
has stunted his growth in the nineties.
...Damn I'm mean.

A tad too curious, Benzaie decides to view the contents of the tape currently in the camcorder… put simply, it’s his parents in the middle of something he never should have seen. Much vomiting ensues… Hey, I did say this movie delved into a lot of gross-out vulgar humor. I warned you in Part 1. After Benzaie is, ahem, done “viewing” the tape, he starts seriously working on his project video.

He who has never done anything like this may throw the first stone-

November 20, 2015

VGFlicks: Hard Corner Le Film (Part 1)

Have you ever heard of Benjamin Daniel? …I don’t blame you if you haven’t, he isn’t the most known guy on the Internet. Maybe you know him more under his reviewer name Benzaie. Does that ring a bell? The Frenchman from Kickassia who travelled around with a talking teddy bear? The one who dressed up as some Conan type guy in Suburban Knights? …Maybe you know him for this kind of comedy (warning: not quite safe for work)…

…Don’t worry, I had pretty much the same reaction as Angry Joe.

Those were things my straight eyes were never meant to see.

Probably not the most recent
photo, but whatever.
Okay, let' go back to being serious. Benzaie is the creator of a video series called Hard Corner, where he reviews collector’s items and other video games-related merchandise and media. Is he still making videos, long after his departure from Channel Awesome? Heck yes he is. I think he releases a new Hard Corner every two or three weeks, And that's not counting his game streaming on Twitch, his quick movie reviews, and everything else. But you probably don’t watch any of this unless you understand the French language. Which I do; my first language is Canadian French after all. His new videos are almost exclusively in French, so that may be why you're not watching them. Also of note, Benzaie doesn’t shy away from sexual comedy, whether it's about a flamboyant gay alter-ego (as the earlier video showed), or fetishes, or unusual preferences. So if you’re uneasy with that, just skip this review.

His character is the Hard Corner storekeeper: A dirty long-haired guy who gathers collector items and gaming memorabilia and makes VHS videos about them. Of course, he’s a hardcore gamer who refuses casual gaming and prefers the challenges of old-school arcade and console gaming. This guy’s got issues. On the other hand, which reviewer doesn’t?

As this review's title card can attest, I actually met Benzaie when I went to the G-Anime convention, back in January. Awesome guy, super friendly, I can only say good things about him. Among other things, he was there to promote his little independent movie called Hard Corner Le Film, which is meant as an origin story of sorts for his metalhead hardcore gamer character. It’s not long, just 66 minutes long, perfect for a two-part review. And besides, this movie is too funny to remain unseen. It’s got Benzaie’s personal brand of humor and touches on a lot of interesting topics… which, of course, are all crushed by the massive amount of sex jokes. It's not for everyone, and it may be too vulgar for some, but it's still a thing to witness. Yeah, sure, I’m gonna be making fun of this film in this review, but Benzaie is an Internet comedian and reviewer himself, he’ll understand, right? Okay, let's start!

If you want to watch this film while reading the review (which will give a detailed description of the plot, as usual), it's available on YouTube. Just go here. And don't worry; for those who wish to learn how to say these characters' names, a pronunciation guide has been added to this part of the review.

The movie opens on crappy animation presenting to us an old 80s-ish cartoon titled Alpha Man. A He-Man pastiche with all the innuendo that the original series was known for, such as doubtful dialogue, phallic and spherical objects placed in suggestive ways, and- Dammit, a dick already? With this tower and those domes? We’re six seconds into the freaking movie! Six seconds, and there’s already a suggested dick onscreen!

November 16, 2015

Super Mario 64 DS (Part 2)

Missed the previous part? Just go here, and give it aread!

The map of the higher floor.
Bowser has already been defeated twice, the heroes have found 30 Stars (and are thus 20% through finding every single star in the game), and it seems that the turtle-dragon is itching for a third and final battle. Plus, we’ve just unlocked the top floors of Princess Peach’s castle! From this point on, we can access a number of new courses: Snowman’s Land, Wet-Dry World, Tall Tall Mountain and Tiny-Huge Island. It should be simple to get a lot of Power Stars around here… Oh, what’s that? Another big Star Door? Oh hey, maybe we can get there already?

Well, no. It would be too easy. We need 50 stars to get through that door. Well, we have 30 Stars, thus it’s time to collect 20 more. There’s enough levels in this section of the castle for that! Oh, what’s this door? It leads to a room with a large mirror, and this is where we can find the entrance to Snowman’s Land… but wait, what’s that here? A portrait of Luigi? And in the reflection, it’s actually a portrait of Wario?

I’m afraid that attempting to comprehend the logistics – no, the MAGIC – of this would just fry my brain. On the other hand, if we enter this room as Luigi, a Power Flower appears on one of the pillars; by turning intangible, Luigi can pass through the mirror and into the Wario painting. This is another ice world, similar to Cool Cool Mountain and Snowman’s Land.

November 13, 2015

Super Mario 64 DS (Part 1)

My problem with Nintendo DS games these days is that I’m running out of games! Well, not quite. I still have at least 10 Nintendo DS games to review for this site, but at least 5 of them are planned for later, usually for a future theme month. Other games are pretty long, and sometimes I like to have simpler reviews. What’s more, I had no idea what to review this time around, so I decided to ask the members of the Planned All Along community on Google+.

The result? A crushing majority for Super Mario 64 DS. And when I say “crushing”, I mean 100%. Everyone who responded to the poll checked that box.

Oh, so you guys want me to bash the Mario series some more? No problem! In all seriousness, though, I really like to talk about the Mario series. It’s still one of my favorite series, even if I've been mocking it quite a bit. And I know I’ve been referencing Pokémon a lot these days, but I still adore the Mario games. And Super Mario 64 is no exception. Hailed as one of the best games on the Nintendo 64, the first platforming Super Mario game in full 3D. Sure, there was Legend of the Seven Stars before, but again, I mean platformers specifically. Super Mario 64 paved the way for more 3D Mario adventures; then followed Sunshine and two Galaxy games. And then some. A lot of good can be said about the first three-dimensional Mario game, but it wasn’t quite perfect, what with all those glitches to exploit to beat Bowser with only a few stars – or worse even, with none!

So such a game had to be remade. But how do you improve that which is near-perfect? Good question, Watson, and the answer is simple: More playable characters. More missions. More mini-games. More secrets. More multiplayer options. More. More. More. MOOOOOOOOORE! How much MORE? Well, read this to find out!

November 6, 2015

Kirby's Dream Land

It was a nice day in Dream Land… WHEN THE NIGHTMARES CAME! …Oh wait, I’m burning the steps. Nightmares don’t come around until the sequel. There were no nightmares in the first Kirby’s Dream Land.

With still five games to review in Kirby’s Dream Collection, I decided to switch things up a bit. I noticed that if I don’t review the Kirby games much faster, with at least one in every review cycle, I’ll need to catch up on them later, and I don’t want that just yet. I also noticed that I had less and less Nintendo DS games (so much so that I have almost twice as many Wii games left to review now), so my old schedule wasn’t working anymore. For a while, I was using this reviewing schedule:

1 movie or 1 TV show -> 2 Nintendo DS games -> 1 Wii game -> 1 WiiWare or Virtual Console game -> 1 Top 12 list.

It will be replaced by this:

1 movie or TV show -> 1 Kirby game from Kirby’s Dream Collection -> 1 Nintendo DS game -> 2 Wii games -> 1 WiiWare or Virtual Console game -> 1 Top 12 list.
Note that this order can be changed a little, though it should always include all of these parts. Really, the only major addition is the review of a Kirby game in each cycle of reviews, and 2 Wii game reviews instead of 2 DS games.

Now that my announcement has been done, it’s time to move on to the actual review.

And that was BEFORE the copy abilities!
Will anything ever be able to stop this pink hero?
Kirby’s Dream Land was released for the Game Boy in 1992, which means Kirby is about as old as I am. It makes me feel all kinds of weird to know that I’m the same age as an all-copying puffball with a high-pitched voice. Although, contrary to popular belief, Kirby was not always an all-copying puffball. (And since the Game Boy games couldn’t contain recorded voice clips, he didn’t have his high-pitched voice either.) However, he already had his special talent: A vacuum mouth. And the ability to inhale and spit out almost anything in his way. As the cute little book packaged with the Kirby’s Dream Collection Wii box states (the one I'm holding on this review's title card), this is all done by the press of one button. Quote from the book: “By removing an enemy from the field and giving Kirby something to attack with, this simple combo blends defense and offense perfectly for a novice player.” Kirby can also jump (kind of a prerequisite for a platformer, don’t you think?) and fly when you press Up. What’s more, when he flies Kirby inhales a lot of air, which he can then spit back like he would do to an enemy he inhaled. No enemy to inhale in sight? Take flight, land and throw that air!

And don’t ask me how he does that. The physics of Kirby’s anatomy are mind-boggling. I tried to ask some scientists, but Neil DeGrasse Tyson rejected my interview, stating that this wasn’t his domain. Maybe an astrophysician wasn’t the right person to ask that question to. I’m dumb like that sometimes. And no, I am not asking my question to Matthew Patrick.

November 4, 2015

The Latest Title Cards

Today, I'm updating the Title Cards section of my site.

New title cards for reviews predating the time I was making title cards, or for recent reviews that mysteriously didn't have title cards






November 2, 2015

Impromptu Movie Review: Goosebumps

So, I had more money than usual in my wallet - gotta enjoy when that sort of thing happens. I decided I was uneasy with having so much, so I went to the nearest theater. Because why not? Besides, it was all rainy on November 1st anyway. So, I know I'm 1 2 days past Halloween to post this, but I went to watch the Goosebumps movie. Why? Well, it was either that or Hotel Transylvania 2, or perhaps anything else that is, you know, NOT for kids. But I dunno, I wasn't in the mood for anything else.

This poster is lying!
The pumpkin-head monster is just a cameo...
and Goosebumps books were never as thick as the
one they're standing on.
The rest is accurate.

Like a lot of kids in the nineties, I grew up with Goosebumps. Oh, sure, I had the books translated in the French language, but the stories were the same: platonic relationships, bad parenting, twist endings of varying quality and horrible monsters. Needless to say, one does not simply say "Let's make a Goosebumps feature film!" and not expect the inevitable "How do we approach it? This series is HUGE!" Well, yeah, it is. I mean, I didn't even own half of the first 62 books - or rather 60 because, for some bizarre reason, the French Goosebumps books missed two titles (Ghost School and Monster Blood IV), and the titles were in a different order... And then there's Series 2000, Give Yourself Goosebumps, the Horrorland series, the new Most Wanted series... but I digress. R.L. Stine's penchant for twist endings, no matter how crazy, made this series a real treat to read. Contrary to what the title may imply, the Goosebumps books weren't that scary, and that's because the horror is directed at children, so everything is toned down. But as adults, a few of these stories gain a new layer of creepy, like the stories featuring Slappy, which have big underlying themes of domestic abuse and slavery and, well... since the protagonists of those books are young girls, you can kinda see where the creepy comes from. Many of these stories would be even more terrifying if the villains didn't hold back, out of fear to lose the "G rating" of the series.