Date Completed: February 2nd, 2019

Moss is a PlayStation VR title that received a bit of hype and I was very interested in trying out.  The game is exactly the type of game my kids would enjoy unfortunately only one person can really experience it in VR at a time so when my kids came to watch they had to see the goofy looking flattened version on my TV set.  My daughter stuck around the most.  She really liked the little mouse character and the story book part of the game which came up between the chapters.  Occasionally I’d put the VR headset on one of my kids so they could see what I saw but I wouldn’t leave it on long because of the warning “Children will go permanently blind if they look at VR for even a moment”.

Moss is a basic platform / puzzle game in a fantastic VR world.  You play the role of ‘the watcher’ and you silently help a young mouse named ‘Quill’ navigate her way through a dangerous world.  The VR effects are very cool – you can examine each scene and look behind obstacles by moving around.  In places (such as ponds) you can see the ghostly reflection of yourself as the watcher which only adds tot he sense of immersion.

The game is full of charm but sadly is extremely short.  It leaves the game open for more titles in the series and I hope additional titles eventually do come.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 8/10
Length: 4 hours
System: PlayStation 4
Genre: Platform / Puzzle



Super Mario Bros. 3

Date Completed: November 28, 2018

It looks like I’ve gotten over six months behind on my blogging again.  That’s usually my hint to pump a bunch of entries out all at once so here I go.

Nintendo finally released their much ballyhooed ‘Nintendo Online’ feature (just in time for Smash Bros. Ultimate) and they attempted to ‘trick’ fans into buying it by giving them access to free classic titles.  This allows us select few to play games that have not only been available for dozens of years but in my case are games that I already own multiple copies of on several different consoles.  One such title was the great Super Mario Bros. 3.

Super Mario Bros. 3 is debatably the greatest Mario game of all time and is certainly the greatest of the NES era.  I decided to skip using warp whistles this time through so I could enjoy playing through all eight worlds.  It’s a well-known secret that if you beat one of the Koopa Kids while wearing the Frog, Tanooki or Hammer Bros. suit the king has a special message for Mario.  I was only able to do this once back in the day but by abusing the state-save feature of the Nintendo Classic application I was able to achieve this several times.

Super Mario Bros. 3 has held up remarkably well over the years and was a lot of fun to re-play.  Nintendo Online may not be useful for much yet but access to classic titles for 20$ seems like a no-brainer to me.

Is it fun: Yes
Score: 9/10
Length: 4 hours
System: Nintendo Switch
Genre: Platform

Shovel Knight : Shovel of Hope

Shovel_knight_cover(1)Date Completed : June 16th, 2018

As mentioned much earlier in my blog, I purchased Shovel Knight : Specter of Torment when I originally bought my Nintendo Switch because my copy of Zelda didn’t include launch-day delivery and it was the cheapest game available.  Eventually a deal was offered for a significant discount on Shovel Knight if you owned Specter of Torment so I bought it too.

Shovel Knight is a lot like Specter of Torment except instead of Specter Knight you are the titular Shovel Knight.  Shovel Knight isn’t quite as satisfying to play as Specter Knight was but the game is still a lot of fun.  My kids enjoyed it as well and my boys both tried playing with varying degrees of success.  Shovel Knight hearkens back to a simpler time when games required skill to succeed and my kids were frustrated quickly.

In conclusion I’m very happy with Shovel Knight.  Great concept.  Fun game.  Shovels.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  10 hours
  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action / Platform

Super Mario Odyssey

Date Completed : January 7th, 2018

I knew when this game was announced that I would buy it eventually but I wasn’t as excited about it as I usually would be for a new Mario game.  The screenshots didn’t really grab my attention and the Wii U Mario games fell a bit flat.  I planned on putting the game on my Christmas list and playing it whenever I got around to it.  The reviews that game out were overwhelmingly positive but I’ve learned that reviews – particularly game reviews – don’t always align well with reality.  I didn’t end up putting the game on my Christmas list because I was considering the idea of getting it for one of my sons but I couldn’t decide which one and ended up forgetting about it.  Christmas came along and in the aftermath my wife noticed that we didn’t yet have a copy of Super Mario Odyssey in the house.  She ordered it immediately and we had it a few days after Christmas.

It turns out the reviews were accurate.  This game is fantastic.  The game feels both instantly familiar and excitingly new.  Nintendo has clearly adopted the ‘social network’ strategy of constant positive reinforcement.  The goal of the game is to collect ‘Power Moons’ and there are power moons EVERYWHERE.  There are so many power moons in the game that someone figured out that over the course of the game if you collect all the moons you will spend over an hour watching the brief ‘You got a moon!’ animation.  That’s a lot of mooning.  The massive quantity of moons hidden also encourages full exploration of the various worlds you explore, all of which are fantastically designed and very unique.

You may be wondering what’s new and exciting about this Mario game that Mario games didn’t have in the past and the answer to that question would be Hats.  Mario’s had is replaced by ‘Cappy’ some sort of Hat monster that has the ability to possess other creatures that Mario encounters.  Almost all enemies from Goombas to Dinosaurs can be controlled and even some inanimate objects are not immune to Cappy’s Imperius curse.  This sets up for some truly great moments that I don’t want to spoil but I was ALL SMILES.

My kids all loved watching me play and since I finished the game both of my older children have played their way to the final level and one of them has even beaten the final boss (I suspect my younger son will beat it tomorrow).  We found out that there is a two player mode where one person controls Mario and a second player can control Cappy.  This was also a lot of fun and the second player was really able to help with some precision Hat throwing while I was able to focus on my Mario-ing.

Overall a fantastic game.  Total recommend.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 10/10
  • Length:  20 hours
  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Platform


Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D

June 17th, 2017

This game is a smaller, 3D version of Donkey Kong Country Returns which I have already reviewed.  Nothing has changed, except the game is a lot smaller.  A LOT smaller.  When I originally bought the game I owned a standard Nintendo 3DS and it was hard to see so I upgraded to a larger 3DS XL.  Sadly the 3D wasn’t very stable so I sold my 3DS XL and replaced it with a ‘new’ Nintendo 3DS XL with super-stable 3D.  The 3D doesn’t really add much so I ended up playing most of the game with the 3D off.

If you don’t have a Wii or Wii U it’s worth picking up but if you have the option I found the experience to be superior on a Big Screen.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~8 hours
  • System: Nintendo 3DS
  • Genre: Platform

Shovel Knight : Specter of Torment

Date Completed : March 6th, 2017

Nintendo Switch launch day happened to be my day off and the local Fred Meyer is often overlooked by console hunters on launch day.  I wanted one really badly but my wife suggested I call and ask if they had any in stock.  The sales guy coyly said they did have a few left in stock and after that I pretty much had to get one.  It turned out that Fred Meyer had a giant pile of about 30 consoles and we had our pick.  I had taken my daughter with me and I let her pick the color.  I got the console home but I hadn’t purchased any games so it was a pretty expensive paper weight.  I poked around the eshop looking for a cheap game but the only cheap title I could find was Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment for about $10.  It turned out to be a great purchase!  Specter Knight has a really satisfying ‘dash slash’ ability that I found particularly enjoyable to use.  I had a lot of fun with this game and I’d consider looking into other Shovel Knight games in the future.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 8/10
  • Length:  ~5 hours
  • System: Nintendo Switch
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Platform


Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

Date Completed: February 19, 2017

I had this one sitting on the shelf for a long, long time.  I really enjoyed ‘Donkey Kong Country Returns’ and I was still hoping the Wii U would catch on when this game was announced so I was excited.  It too me a long time to get around to it and I ended up disappointed.  The level design didn’t really click with me like the previous game.  It’s not a bad game but it’s not great.  I was ready to move on when I was done.

  • Is it fun: Yes
  • Score: 6/10
  • Length:  ~12 hours
  • System: Nintendo Wii U
  • Genre: Action / Platform