Category Archives: Reviews

All reviews for 3DS & eShop games.

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Review – Mario & Luigi: Dream Team reviews Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, the fourth installment in Nintendo’s humor-driven platforming/role-playing handheld series:

“[Mario & Luigi: Dream Team] seems determined to keep things as interesting and fresh as possible every step of the way…With such amusing and genuinely funny dialogue, the series has the range to appeal to younger gamers and adults players alike – almost like the best cartoons or animated films…Dream Team emerges as perhaps the most inventive and purely insane game in the franchise.”

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Review - Shin Megami Tensei IV

Review – Shin Megami Tensei IV reviews Shin Megami Tensei IV, the latest installment in Atlus’s demonic role-playing series, and one of the most ambitious Nintendo 3DS games of 2013:
“…[The Shin Megami series] always marched to the beat of its own drum, so to speak. Fortunately, [Shin Megami Tensei IV] doesn’t miss a single note – from the hundreds of demons to collect and fuse, to the streamlined ‘Press Turn’ battle system…even the quick-paced nature of the handheld-friendly ‘challenge quests’ and the early stream of DLC support seems to prove that SMT IV was built by Atlus to be one of the top role-playing games on any handheld, period.”
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Review – Attack of the Friday Monsters! reviews Attack of the Friday Monsters!, the third and final part of Level-5′s Guild02 trilogy, designed by Millennium Kitchen’s Kaz Ayabe:
“[Level-5's Guild01/Guild02 series and Attack of the Friday Monsters!]…have taken the entire purpose of indie game development and run with it like few games I’ve seen before…It is very clear from the presentation of the game and the nature of its progression that [Kaz] Ayabe had a specific idea and theme, and wanted to see his exact vision in playable form.”
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Review - Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate

Review – Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate reviews Castlevania: Lords of Shadow – Mirror of Fate, the first Nintendo 3DS installment of Konami’s classic franchise: 
“[Mirror of Fate is] a solid action/adventure game that does a fine job of continuing the legacy that started with Lords of Shadow and will be seen again soon in Lords of Shadow 2.”

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Review – Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D reviews Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D, the handheld-optimized version of Retro Studios’ critically-acclaimed Wii title:
Donkey Kong Country Returns was received very well by critics, applauded for its old-school platforming gameplay and fantastic level design, its gorgeous visuals and its nostalgic soundtrack. The Nintendo 3DS re-make brings all of this and more.”

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Review - Bugs vs. Tanks (eShop)

Review – Bugs vs. Tanks reviews Bugs vs. Tanks, a bizarre new entry in Level-5′s “Guild02″ series, created by Kenji Inafune (Mega Man, Dead Rising):
“I’m glad the game doesn’t overcomplicate itself. It really feels like a throwback to the 32-/64-bit tank games on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64; I’m not sure if that is what the creators were going for, but they totally nailed it.”

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Review – HarmoKnight (eShop)



Game Details:

Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 28, 2013
Genre: Rhythm/Platformer

Review Note- A download code was provided by Game Freak/Nintendo for review purposes.


HarmoKnight is a rhythm/platforming game designed by Game Freak, best known for its globally successful Pokemon series. Though the eShop download features none of the catching, training and battling that the Pokemon games are known for, it is nonetheless charming and thoroughly entertaining.


From its colorful visuals and cast of characters to its addictive, entertaining hop-and-bop gameplay, HarmoKnight strikes a chord that is light and refreshing. Players assume the role of a boy named Tempo, who sets out to save the land of Melodia from the dreadful Noizoids that have been appearing. Along the way Tempo joins up with others such as Lyra, Tyko, and Cymbi the monkey; each of these characters plays slightly different in the game, but the point remains to collect floating notes, avoid obstacles, and strike down any of the noizoid foes that stand in your way, all for the purpose of making music.


As that slightly annoying person who tends to whistle, air guitar and pencil-drum along to any music in the background, the game design of HarmoKnight really drew me in. Basically, each action – jumping over spikes, striking an enemy with your musical staff, etc. – results in the sound of a different note, synced up to the background music. It isn’t complicated by any means; the on-screen platforming corresponds with the score, and the better you play along, the better it all sounds.

Each stage in HarmoKnight is like another music track to perform, and the worlds of the game are stylized with different genres in mind. For example, the game opens up with the standard, simplistic ‘springtime’ tracks before taking you through metal-themed mountains, show tune cities, and even a baroque volcanic setting. The thematic approach is nice, differentiating the visuals as much as the sound. As I said before, you play as more characters than just Tempo, and some of the stages are designed around the support cast – but there are even levels based on riding a mine cart, equipped to look like Cymbi the monkey (complete with giant cymbals to smash enemies).


By successfully completing each stage, Tempo can earn ‘Royal Notes’ and progress through the world map. Although the game is quite linear, additional replay value is there: earning gold ratings is a tricky challenge, and collecting a high number of notes allows you to re-play faster versions of each track. You can also unlock a handful of bonus tracks, all of which were taken from the Pokemon series. Poke-Maniacs should really get a kick out of the Bicycle, Champion and Gym themes, among others.


If there is anything about HarmoKnight that strikes me as problematic, it is that most of the stages throughout the game are based on unique songs, none of which are immediately familiar to the player. The only fault I find here is that it makes the platforming and the rhythmic timing more difficult to pull off; not knowing all of the little sections of the stage/song means it is tough to anticipate the music and sometimes even tougher to find success with the timing of your moves.

Many of the mini-boss/boss stages proved to be very frustrating, as the simple button commands begin including directional movements to mix things up. Missing some of these notes felt less like my mistake and more like a timing issue. When trying to clear stages with gold ratings, I found this to be obnoxious, as I would often miss the one or two notes allowed without really ‘missing’ at all.


Conclusion/Recommendation – Play It.

Considering the amazing depth of the Pokemon series, I was a little disappointed by the simplicity of HarmoKnight – but to be honest, it still does everything that a rhythm game should do, and integrates the platforming mechanics pretty well. If only the score featured more of the music or even medleys of Pokemon songs, HarmoKnight’s ideas would resonate a bit more. Again, its only major flaw is that its music isn’t immediately recognizable, so the process of hitting all the notes in perfect rhythm as you run and jump along gets a little tricky.

HarmoKnight is still very entertaining, a colorful blend of platforming and rhythm-based gameplay. If you liked Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy or similar music games, you should also enjoy what Game Freak’s eShop game has to offer.

Scores -
Design/Concept: 8/10
Presentation: 8/10
Functionality: 7/10
Replay Value: 7/10

Final Score: 7.7/10