Sunday, 23 June 2013

3ds Eshop review; Groove Heaven

My short stay as a human metronome

Groove heaven is simpler than simple. There are two buttons on the touch screen, Move and Turn. These need to be tapped in time to the music to complete a simple platform game.

The story is that a Devil Lord has fallen in love with an angel from the "wicked land of Heaven". He charges a devil girl, Rhymi, whom you are in charge of, to take to the angel a single Rose, the eternal symbol of Love. Along the way you will encounter Cats, Dogs and Frogs, which all bar your way.

url.jpgThe meat of the game is going up the Tower of Heaven in Arcade Mode. There are 30 levels in this mode with 3 Roses to collect in each. While the Roses do add to the re-playability of the game, they do not alter the ending or give you any other perks. There are also musical notes to be collected within the stages, collect 6 of these and you get an extra life.

The graphics in Groove Heaven are beautiful, but with 3 different environments encountered throughout the Tower. It has a very unique visual style that suits the equally cool music. If you tap out of time, then Rhymi will "stumble" and stop for a moment, which has very little effect unless you are at a critical moment.

The level layouts are incredibly linear and you will have no trouble knowing where to go, which brings me onto my next point. Groove Heaven is incredibly easy and therefore, short. Even collecting all the Roses and replaying Arcade Mode to death, you shouldnt be spending more than 3 hours on this mode. While I have mentioned that it is easy, there can be random difficulty spikes which are frustrating, but if you have enough lives (which you will) it is quite easy to get past them.

There is one other mode, Timed Mode, which has a good stab at extending longetivity, but is just a reskinned version of Arcade Mode, which you play in one go through. Considering this is a £5 title, there is not as much on offer as would be expected. That said, while it lasts, it is and incredibly enjoyable yet simple adventure.

The low-down

Overall, this is a nice game which is a lovely time waster, but it is critically short

7/10- Lovely game with not enough content on offer

Sunday, 16 June 2013

3dsWare Review; Heavy Fire Special Operations 3d

Hard as nails

At the beginning of this game, you are given a choice of 3 different save files. After selecting one, 3 different classes with slightly differing characteristics appear; Recon, Gunner and Support. After taking a shameless selfie, which is then transferred underneath a tacked-on army helmet, your profile is complete. Apart from buying guns, this is just about as far as customization goes.

You are a generic American soldier sent off to kill some generic Middle Eastern "insurgents" in generic middle eastern enviroments. However, unlike its WiiWare predecessor, you can now lose health and can die (very easily).

large.jpgWithin this, there are only 6 levels, but each one is a significant step up from the next. Grinding on previous levels is a must, simply so you can earn enough in-game cash to get a better weapon. You can also buy reload and ammo size upgrades which become necessary later on. One touch I really fell in love with was the exploding cars, barrels and destructible scenery. While only a small proportion of the maps is like this, it is a lovely touch.

The graphics are quite impressive for and Eshop title but can seem a bit muted due to the colours in which the game is set out in. The music is very standard, but does its job. The controls are very nice, with the touchscreen for aiming and L or R for shooting. This can give you a bit of cramp during extended play sessions, so if you have your Kid Icarus stand, then I suggest you use it.

Enemies which will harm you have an exclamation mark over their heads, and although this is a nice touch, there are some gimmicky kills, where an enemy runs out in front of you while you are on your last life.

The low-down

Overall, this is a satisfying buy with incredible potential. However, it falls short in story aspects and makes you want to cry in frustration with some of the times you are killed! Online leaderboards would be nice, seeing as this is a highscore game at heart. This reminds me a lot of the Arcades of my youth, so it is a huge let down to see that this has no story cutscenes or twists, and only a few lines text description before each level. Maybe if there was an option to play this out with checkpoints, it would help people like me, who found the difficulty spikes at time very frustrating.

8/10- Good in all aspects but falls short in length