Saturday, May 1, 2021

Review Round-Up - April 2021

Rising to the occasion in a big way, Monster Hunter Rise definitely delivered,
 earning Game of the Month honors here at SuperPhillip Central.
An April shower of reviews--eight to be exact--brings May flowers! That's how the saying goes, right? Or something similar to that, at any rate! It's the conclusion of another month, so before we make the march into May, let's review the month of reviews for SuperPhillip Central that was April 2021!

Beginning with some family-friendly fare, we joined Ty the Tasmanian Tiger's Bush Rescue team for the remaster of a 2004 game with Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD. It received a C+ grade. Then, we took to the starting line and raced with Nickelodeon's all-star lineup of colorful characters with Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix, speeding through the slime to get a satisfying C grade. 

We then went cheep--er, cheap, with an ultra-affordable Nintendo eShop game more than worth its one dollar price of admission, Toree 3D, a 3D speed-running platformer with some out-of-place spoopy elements. The game earned a solid B. From 3D platforming to 2.5D platforming, we then took a look at Stitchy in Tooki Trouble, a pretty short and unoriginal game, but also a somewhat enjoyable one, receiving a C+ grade.

We then moved from consoles to mobile with SuperPhillip Central's first ever assortment of Apple Arcade reviews, starting at the tee with Clap Hanz Golf, from the makers of the Everybody's Golf series. The game birdied for a great B grade. The other Apple Arcade exclusive reviewed this month was Way of the Turtle, a side-scrolling 2.5D Metroidvania. It was a shell of a time, getting a B-. More Apple Arcade reviews and content will be forthcoming here at SPC in the coming months.

Concluding the month of reviews in April were two extremes. Effie, specifically the poorly performing Nintendo Switch port, received the lowest score of the month, a C-, while Monster Hunter Rise rightfully earned an A grade and Game of the Month honors here at SuperPhillip Central.

It was a surprisingly busy month of reviews here at SPC, full of variety and good games. Let's continue the momentum as SPC heads towards its 1,000th review, which we're just eight reviews away from at the time of this post. To see all previous reviews ever posted on this site, check out the SPC Review Archive. Finally, for your convenience, here are links and excerpts from all eight reviews published this past month. Until next month, we'll catch you later, Review Round-Up!

...Even as someone who didn't play the original games when they released but has a fond remembrance for games of this era, Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2: Bush Rescue HD serves as a nostalgic trip for me. The platforming and level design are overall solid, as are the touched-up visuals. Everything else involved with the design? Well, that's better left in 2004. Still, I don't regret having Ty the Tasmanian Tiger 2 take up 15 hours of my time. It was a worthwhile game to play, despite my many misgivings with Ty's not-so-ripsnorting sequel. 
Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix doesn't necessarily finish at first place on the podium, but it also doesn't necessarily limp across the finish line on fumes, either. I appreciated the improved presentation (lack of character voices and familiar music aside) and increased number of shows and characters included in the game, whether they be playable, chief and crew members, or track designs. Better balancing of the harder Grand Prix speeds would have made for a higher level of enjoyment, as I don't know what kind of kid would not rage at the nonsense that happens during these races when a grown adult almost does, but overall, Nickelodeon Kart Racers 2: Grand Prix 2 is good slime--er, time. Lack of originality and balancing, notwithstanding.
Toree 3D more than justifies its dollar price tag, offering well executed 3D platforming and engaging levels that encourage repeated play-throughs to attempt to aim for those coveted "A" ranks (though leaderboards, even offline ones, would have been appreciated). This is a game that is perfect to pick up and play, put down, and then come back to now and again. It's a beauty to look at, it runs well, and it even has some cool, light spooky elements as well, though these seem to clash with the style of the game ultimately. Still, if you're up for a quick, bite-sized 3D platformer, have a dollar or some Gold Points to spare, then you should definitely download Toree 3D.
Despite my brief and breezy time with Stitchy in Tooki Trouble, I did find myself enjoying the game. There are some well executed ideas and concepts presented in Polygoat's title, and it looks and sounds pleasant as well. Veterans of the platforming genre won't find themselves tested too terribly much from Stitchy's adventure, aside from perhaps certain time trials, and the short length of the game is another glaring issue that might make a purchase less than ideal. For everyone else, there is a lot to like about Stitchy in Tooki Trouble.
Between the over 20 characters to join your golfing team, 6+ themed courses taking place in locales like New York City's Central Park or the Egyptian pyramids, and hours upon hours of thrilling golf gameplay, Clap Hanz's first foray into self-publishing is a great success. While the swing system takes a lot of getting used to, as it has a somewhat steep learning curve, the overall difficulty of the game isn't that high that it creates a ton of frustration. Sure, I wanted to curse the golf gods when yet another shot of mine went off track or I missed a simple putt, but ultimately, I kept plugging and putting away, enjoying myself with Clap Hanz Golf. 
Currently, with what is available in Way of the Turtle feels like a complete title gameplay and length-wise, just with a sudden cliffhanger that left me wanting more. That's a good thing--the "left me wanting more" part, as it shows that I did enjoy my time with the game. Inconsistent touch controls, occasionally poor camera angles, and an unhelpful, undetailed map are issues with the game, but on the whole, Way of the Turtle gets from me a recommendation like a turtle's shell: a solid one!
Sadly, while Ellie is most likely a thoroughly enjoyable, if not short, adventure on other platforms, it simply is not that enjoyable on the Switch. The game is simply put, a technical mess in need of some serious fixing in the frame-rate and the bug department. It's wholly unpolished, which sadly is far too common an occurrence when it comes to ports from other platforms to the Switch. I do recommend Ellie--but with a HUGE caveat that it be for platforms other than the Switch, because what's here is just not worth it. It's a real shame, too, as I genuinely had fun playing Ellie on the Switch despite this port's problems.
All in all, Monster Hunter Rise definitely has risen to the occasion for this player. After so many unsuccessful attempts to fully breach into the series' intimidating defenses, I finally got through with Rise. With its magnificent new mobility options with both Palamutes and to a much greater extent, the Wirebug, I don't know if I'll ever be able to go back to previous Monster Hunter games with the same level of enjoyment. They may just feel like tremendous regressions instead. Regardless, Rampages, wyvern riding, online hunts, expansive maps with not a loading screen in sight, and a robust arsenal of engaging weaponry makes Monster Hunter Rise more than just my favorite Monster Hunter game yet--it's also one of my favorite games of 2021 so far.
Clap Hanz Golf was one of two Apple Arcade exclusives covered
by SuperPhillip Central in review form this past month.

No comments: