Reviewing the games in Kingdom Hearts 3’s Toy Box world
In Kingdom Hearts 3, when you visit a video game store in the Toy Story world, you’ll find a huge collection of fake video games.
I couldn’t help but imagine how they would play.
Luckily, I don’t have to wonder, because there just so happens to exist a branch of GameCrate in the Toy Story world, and they’ve been begging to review of every single game on sale at the High Score video game store.
We let them have it, and these are the results.
The Play Plus Console
Let’s start by taking a look at the latest and greatest in gaming hardware, the Play Plus home console. The fifth in GoGames’ line of Play consoles, the Play Plus has some ups and downs in its design.
First and foremost, it’s butt ugly. The white and orange color scheme is just hard to look at. The strange design with a cut out for its orange disk bay seems like it was made specifically to accommodate its top loading disk design, which itself is problematic. I keep dropping disks when I try to load them into the thing.
I do like how all its electronic components are kept in its back dock. This allows you to take the main console on the road, a lot like the old Play Portable or the Play Vita. It doesn’t have a built in screen, but this is where the Play Pad comes in.
Easily the high point of the console, the play pad combines touch screen technology with NFC technology to create an incredible experience. Dedicated gamers might notice similarities to the Bintendo MeYou console that bombed just a few years back, but the Play Plus takes a different angle with this two screen setup.
First of all, you aren’t using the screen itself as a controller. Rather, you set it on the table or use the attached stand and it simply acts as a second screen for the gameplay, similar to the Bintendo Deez. The buttons on the Play Pad are mostly used for switching view modes in different games. And yes, you can place your collectible Playmiibos on the screen to unlock new content if you like collecting little pieces of plastic.
The genius design is what happens when you take the Play Plus on the road. It slots out of the back dock and slots into the Play Pad, creating a new portable screen. The only issue is that you still have to set it down somewhere to play with the PPcontroller.
Speaking of the controller, it’s only OK. It has a profile similar to old Saga Jamesis controllers, which is a little uncomfortable. Its d-pad is depressingly small, and its triggers and bumpers are huge. Also, I really dislike the fact that they changed the position of the / button to the top of the controller while the //// button is at the bottom now. That still screws me up! Still, the combined touch pad and speaker on the middle of the controller is a nice touch, and it stands in for the Play Pad’s touch controls while in mobile mode.
Overall, the Play Plus could have been better, and suffers from a general lack of focused design, but it’s a powerful and innovative system whose flaws can easily be fixed in later iterations. Just be sure you pick up a link cable and memory card. The biggest you can get right now is 64GB, and that’s abysmal. Hackers are well on their way to creating a converter that lets you use plain old SD cards rather than GoGames’ dumb proprietary format, but whether you want to risk modding your system is something is a decision I can’t make for you.
It’s the long awaited return of Square-Enix’s Rex series to the next generation, and frankly I couldn’t be more excited. Rex XIII was surprisingly great and Agito Rex was a great spinoff. Despite rumors of Verum Rex turning into Rex XV and being turned over to a whole new designer, Square-Enix designer Tetsuya Nomura stuck out the project to the end and brought us a JRPG experience like no other.
In the grand tradition of the Rex line of games, this weaves an interesting narrative of magic versus technology, with Nyte, the prince of the magical kingdom of Drym, fighting against the mechanically fueled empire and their army of Gigas robots that siphon energy from the planet to run. Nyte is betrothed to the empire’s princess, Starla, who shares a dark past with the prince, and when the Empire figures this out they attempt to manipulate her for her own ends.
Honestly, everything about this game is awesome. It’s fast paced battle system is amazing. Its characters are bright and colorful and wear colors other than black sometimes. No one is obsessed with cars, and in a landmark decision, Square-Enix actually decided to package the whole story in the original game, no DLC required!
God wouldn’t it have been awful if Nomura left the project and the whole thing was forcefully yanked in another direction to try and cleave to current day open-world trends. What a terrible game that would be.
Verum Rex: Gigas
With the release of the Gigas line of action figures comes a spinoff game that converts the JRPG formula of the Rex series into essentially a first person shooter seen from the perspective of a Gigas pilot. It’s alright, but the environments are all kind of samey, made up of the same metal construction sites and grey textures. The gameplay is also repetitive, usually reducing itself down to horde defense style levels capping out with a boss encounter. It’s fine for a tie-in game, but I wouldn’t go out of your way to purchase it separately.
I was a huge fan of the original Space Cats, and an even bigger fan of Space Cats 64. So imagine my excitement when Bintendo said they were going to bring Space Cats to the current gen. It’s basically everything a Space Cats fan could have wanted. You get to fly around space in a number of both open and on rails segments in a ton of different slightly polygonal spacecraft. Yes, there are a couple levels where you take Whiskers McGun and his team on foot, and these don’t play fantastic, but frankly you can power through them to get to the great space fighter segments.
Also there are no motion controls! I know everyone was afraid that Bintendo was gonna make you waggle around the Play Pad just to control your ship, but everything can be controlled with the PPcontroller. It’s good that Bintendo has stopped trying to shoehorn in dumb motion control schemes into their franchises that work just fine without them.
The original Pitapat franchise helped define what rhythm games would look like for several generations. However, rhythm games are out right now, so Bonami decided to try and shake things up by repackaging their headlining dancing franchise as a party game.
It… works? But not in the way you would expect. Players traverse several game boards while facing off in dancing mini-games (all with a You Got Served flavor.) Each of these mini-games puts some restriction on your dancing. You’ll have to avoid touching certain buttons, freestyle certain moves, sometimes even your dance commands will fade into invisibility as they scroll down the screen. The better you do, the more coins you get, and you can spend these coins to make other player’s dance challenges harder. Your goal is to become the Star of the Stage by amassing fans in your many dance performances. It’s a fun time for a few playthroughs, but a lot of the items just make the game too random and playsessions last for hours at a time. That’s a long time to use a dance controller.
Yum Yum Café
Yum Yum Café is a puzzle game with a simple premise. Types of food will drop from the top of the screen, and your job to line up four in a row. You have two control modes. You can either control the dropping food as the chef, or you can switch to the waiter who can flip the position of two food items.
The waiter is obviously where you want to be spending most of your time, as he lets you set up major changes, but as you control him food will keep dropping no matter what you do. Also, you can only trigger your clears by dropping as the chef, so you’ll have to split your time between the two.
There are a lot of really interesting modes in Yum Yum Café,’ from versus mode to puzzle mode, and there’s even online play. However, it’s hard to justify spending a full sixty dollars on what is essentially a puzzle game we have seen time and again on mobile systems like the Play Vita. Maybe this is your type of game, but, I’d wait till it drops in price.
This is the main reason I think that Yum Yum Café is a ripoff. Twinkle Puzzle is amazing. The classic gameplay asks you to form lines across your play area while matching up as many triangles of the same color as possible. Clearing a line will get rid of it, as well as any matching colors connected to any of the cleared triangles in that line. The play area is 30 triangles across, so you have a lot of room to set up massive clears.
Not to mention, Twinkle Puzzle has amazing psychedelic graphics and a kicking soundtrack, all for twenty dollars less than Yum Yum Café.
Frankly, if you want a puzzle game, then this is it.
Herd of Zombies
Herd of Zombies is really just a graphics demo for the new Play Plus. GoGames wanted to show how many zombies they could put on screen at once.
The answer? A lot.
However, there is only so much fun you can get out of mowing down herds of zombies. There is a neat sound mechanic that draws the zombies to your location if you fire a gun and four player co-op can be somewhat fun, but frankly the game is just too easy and zombies are kind of out of style these days anyway. There’s a nugget of good game design here, but honestly I had a lot more fun with Spigot games’ Dead and Left Behind 2, and that game is 10 years old.
Deep Dark Castle
Deep Dark Castle is the HD remake of Frame Software’s original Dark Castle super-hard action RPG, and it is fantastic. This is the sort of HD remake that defines HD remakes, with new content, new items, new classes, new skills, new dungeons, and new bosses, all playable in the game’s new revamped online suite. There’s a reason why all super-hard games are now called “Castle-likes” and everyone loves to call particularly hard games the “Dark Castle” of their genre, even if that has become something of a stereotype these days.
You already know if you like this one if you liked the original Dark Castle, and if you missed out, then this is definitely the definitive version of an already amazing experience. Pick it up!
Amazing Jam 2001
BAM SHAKALAKA! The Amazing Jam series is back baby! In this market of sports games that love to sell you the simulation experience, Amazing Jam unabashedly gives you the fantasy basketball you love. Dunk from half court, shatter the backboard, handspring off your teammates. This is basically the Harlem Globetrotters made manifest in a competitive basketball experience. There’s even a mode that makes trick shots worth more points, forcing you to style on your opponent.
Local multiplayer is fine, but online multiplayer suffers a bit. Matchmaking takes forever, and there’s a ton of lag in any match you find. It’s unclear if this is because the code itself is bad, or if it’s because this is 2001, and our technology just isn’t up to the task of translating Amazing Jam’s fast paced high flying gameplay in an online setting.
Wall Street Ninja and Wall Street Ninja 2
Wall Street Ninja is well known for its stealth gameplay, as you disguise yourself as a mild mannered business man and target the CEO’s of corrupt corporations by blending in. Three years ago, the original Wall Street Ninja was received well, but was criticized for its limited assassination toolset, samey environments, and an ill-conceived idea that had assassination targets only available for a short window in real time.
Wall Street Ninja 2 takes the gameplay of the original and improved upon it in every way. It gives you more weapons, new environments, more traversal tools, and even the ability to take out multiple targets at once.
The only problem is that this makes Wall Street Ninja 2 feel more like an expansion pack for the original Wall Street Ninja than anything else. That would be fine if it wasn’t retailing for seventy dollars, ten bucks over the normal retail price. Granted, that ten dollars extra basically gives you all the content that would have come out as DLC if the price was 60 dollars, but I think that’s going to cause sticker shock for the general gaming populace.
I love fighting games, but Blood Fight was frankly disappointing.
The whole concept was that Blood Fight was a more realistic fighting game, showcasing dirty mixed martial arts style fighting techniques rather than the high flying fireball slinging antics of games such as Road Brawler and Death Qombat.
What the developers never realized is, that’s not what people come to fighting games for. They come for a bunch of interesting mechanics and charismatic characters all beating the crap out of each other in different ways. As you can tell from the title art, Blood Fight’s roster is mostly made up of jacked, muscly, bald dudes all punching each other in the groin… you know like real MMA. The promise of realism just doesn’t let this fighter contend in a market saturated with good fighting games.
Perfect Smash is an odd case of a game that has gotten worse after motion controls were taken out. Everyone remembers Bintendo’s Me Tennis, which was phenomenally fun despite being just a tech demo. Well, Saga’s competing series, Virtual Smash and Almost Perfect but Only Pretty Good Smash, have been the Tennis game to go to basically because they utilized motion controls better than Bintendo ever could. However, with the Play Plus’s move away from motion controls and toward touch based gameplay, Perfect Smash just isn’t as fun to play.
On the plus side, Perfect Smash does include a guest character from Bintendo’s own Tennis franchises and the crossover is pretty neat.
Yes fans, finally, Lawuigi is going to be in Smash.
The Cute Chef: Delicious Theater
The Cute Chef series is just not a game for me. I know some people out there really like its mini-game focused gameplay and the fact that it gives you actual recipes for cooking is actually pretty cool. The thing is, it feels like this isn’t doing anything that a mobile game couldn’t do, and charging 60 dollars for a mini-game compilation these days is just a little too much to ask.
Fun Farmer is a game about a city boy who gets away from the daily grind by moving onto his dead grandpa’s farm. This sets the player up for the normal farming sim of buying seeds, growing crops, clearing your land, and so on. However, the game expands into so much more than that.
Aside from being able to woo and date nearly every NPC in the game, you can also venture into hidden dungeons that you find entrances to in your land, set up business routes to ship your farm’s goods to bigger cities, customize your own farm equipment in order to automate your harvest, and even branch out into other vocations such as shop owner, blacksmith, or sanitation worker. All of this hides a surprisingly dark backstory to your farm that draws on Lovecraftian influences, but whether you decide to delve into that backstory or just milk your cows and marry your waifus is up to you!
Calling Fun Farmer a farming sim would be doing it a disservice. It’s a multi-game experience that will suck hundreds of hours out of your life. If you have the time to make that commitment, I cannot recommend it enough.
Tick-Tick Party is an interesting little puzzle platformer from the Tick-Tick series. The Party in the title comes from the fact that up to eight players can now try to complete this game’s mind bending arts and craft themed puzzles all at once. You’ll be teaming up with your friends to sew ladders into the backdrop of the stage, weave parachutes to allow you to fall from high places, and generally alter your environment with a number of craft’s tools in order to get each stage’s glowing green gems.
It’s a fun time, but it really only works when friends are around.
Speed & Danger
I would be calling Speed & Danger just another title in the long line of Speed & series racing games if it were not for its Playmiibo functionality.
It works like this; you can buy car parts at the store and build them into your own, perfect, model racing car. Then you can place it on the Play Pad and it will import that car into the game, allowing you to race around with it. You don’t need to use Playmiibos to unlock these parts, but buying them comes with other unlocks too, such as special paint jobs, hidden tracks, and more.
There’s something really enjoyable about getting to display your winning racer on your shelf at home, and it would be cool if more developers looked at applying the Toys-to-Life formula to other genres like this.
That’s all the reviews we have for you today from the land of Kingdom Hearts, but check back in ten years when KH IV hits the market.
Share your reviews in the comments, and be on the lookout for our review of the GP-20 Pro Gaming Headset, which is apparently the same headset that Lucio from Overwatch uses.
It says so right on the box.