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Ah Klonoa! This was one of my favourite games on the old PS1 and when I heard it was being remade for the Wii I was thrilled.While it appears to be a simple 2D platformer you'll be more than won over by its charm and pure addictiveness.
The remake as gone through a complete graphical overhaul and offers a whole bunch of unlockables including time attack, mirror mode and even extra costumes for klonoa. The addition of english voice actors was also included, however, I found klonoa's english voice to be completely out of place. Thankfully you can switch back to the original "Phantomile" version which has characters speaking in a made up language. The extras really add to the longevity of an otherwise short game.
A great game at a great price, theres no way you can go wrong really.
Pikmin (New Play Control!)
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Pikmin is a port of a Gamecube game released several years ago, in which having played myself was a huge fan. Sadly, the gamecube was doomed to obscurity and so this game didn't reach the audience it deserved.
For those who weren't lucky enough to play it the first time around, you take control of Cpt. Olimar who crash lands on a distant planet and has 30 days to recover his lost spaceship parts, with only the aid of the local creatures known as pikmin. Pikmin are tiny plant-like beings who seem to (luckily) obey every order issued by Olimar.Just like ants, Pikmin are pretty much useless on their own but as the saying goes "There's safety in numbers". You can have up to 100 pikmin on the field at one time and can order them to fight, build, destroy or carry anything from local hostile wildlife to your missing ship parts. With 3 varieties of pikmin, each with their own strengths and weakness you'll have to assess each new situation/enemy carefully to decide which to use.
Thankfully with the popularity of the Wii, Nintendo have re-released some of it's better titles with some extras added to enhance the experience. Pikmin features new motion controls and an improved save function that allows you to restart any day."New motion controls? big deal!" I hear some people say, but using the remote to control the cursor makes to so much easier to aim and control your pikmin and honestly feels like an improvement upon the original. Now if you can see a pikmin even on the farthest edge of the screen you can call it, while previously you'd had to have run into range. Each level is timed which helps adds to the strategic side of things, should you push for that extra spaceship part or spend time harvesting more pikmin?
This newer update is a welcome addition to the Wii's library and although people have said to buy the gamecube version, I'd have to advise the opposite. The improved control scheme and save function more then make up the difference.
However, Pikmin still remains to be a short game and I managed to complete the story and all 30 spaceship parts within 5 hours easily. The motion controls deffinately made the game easier so that could act as a double-edged sword when considering a purchase. Also the character models look dated, but you spend very little time zoomed in close enough to notice. The environments are still as lush and beautiful as before and you'll honestly enjoy exploring every nook and cranny.
Now with Pikmin 2 awaiting a "New Play Control!" release and the brand new Pikmin 3 being made, there's never been a better time to start plucking your pikmin!
Ducti Pizza Courier Bag London
This is a decent enough bag, mine did come inside a pizza box which is a nice novelty. The bag itself has some great detail but it's very narrow so you won't be able to fit much inside without it bulging unattractively.
My major issues with this bag are that the blue fake leather parts mark very easily and the velcro used to keep it closed started to come off after only the third use.
It's a great looking bag and a fun little conversation piece but with some minor cosmetic issues. Great value too.
Animal Crossing: Let's Go To The City (with Wii Speak)
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If you've played any of the previous Animal Crossings games you'll know what to expect. A game that revolves around your new life in a village of anthropomorhic animals.
Animal Crossing is such a relaxing game. You can spend time fishing, catching bugs, arranging a perfect garden and designing new clothes.
Outwardly, theres not much difference from the past games, you still start working for Nook as a brief introduction to the game. The town itself looks familiar only this time it has cliffs and water falls which add a little extra something.
The graphics are simple and charming as always, but I feel as though this adds to the game's appeal. There have been slight moderations to the interface, you can now cycle through your tools without having to open the menu with the left and right buttons (which is greatly appreciated) and you when it comes to designing you can design the front, back and arms seperately (which is again greatly appreciated).
Holiday events make a welcome return from the gamecube version, with more to look forward to than in Wild World you'll be able to obtain unique items on certain dates. The animal photograph feature from Wild world has been removed sadly so now the animals don't seem as important as they used to and you'll find yourself not caring when they move away.
The city area of the game, which I was expecting to be some sort of huge online hub, is nothing more than a few extra shops arranged around a fountain. Most of these shops were available in some other form in the past, Shampoodle having been in Nook's final shop however is now open from the get go.
The Wii Speak feature is a neat little device but the sound quality is questionable, although I was speaking to people in the US so distance might have been a factor. It still beats using the remote to type. You can also use a USB keyboard if you're not feeling talkative or confident.
Theres enough here to keep everyone busy, although if you've invested time in Wild World you may find yourself reluctant to start anew again, you can transfer your character and catalogue but not bells or items. While not having changed dramatically from its former incarnations there are enough little tweaks and extras for you to fully enjoy the experience. You'll soon lose yourself all over again!
Mario Kart Wii (includes Wii Wheel)
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Mario Kart has a history of amazing games, so as soon as you stick the disc in your Wii you know you're in for a treat. This latest installment brings a whole host of new additions to the table with new characters, new and "classic" tracks, motorbikes and online play.
Now the online I must say is the best example of the wi-fi connection used so far on Wii, the ability to race friends or join random match ups with little to no lag is a joy unlike certain other games (I'm looking at you smash bros. brawl).
Now the inclusion of motorbikes left me slightly confused, as they pretty much render the karts redundant with a higher speed and better turning. The game is called Mario "Kart" after all. As did the newly added donkey kong characters which quite frankly stuck out like a sore thumb.
It was nice to revisit some of the tracks from older games in the series, especially seeing the old SNES and GBA tracks in full 3-D. One of the newer tracks sadly was simply a reskinned mirrored version of a double dash track though.
The single player grand prix mode I found to be unfair at some points, on higher difficulties you would more often than not find yourself bombarded with weapons(namely the dreaded blue spikey shell) just as you hit the final stretch only to have first place snatched from you.
The tracks themselves are beautiful while the character models look exactly the same from the previous game and are average at best, granted you don't play mario kart to look at the characters.
The Wii wheel gets old after you realise you can steer and turn more accurately with the remote and nunchuk, though it does make the game more accessible to the casuals.
Overall Mario Kart Wii is still a great game, with loads of characters and vehicles to unlock and is great fun with a group of friends, but also has some issues with "cheating" AI - then again maybe I'm just bitter about those blue shells. Well worth a purchase in any case!
Wii Play (Includes Wii Remote)
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Like most people have already said this is worth the purchase for the remote alone as you're getting a fairly decent game for only a few pounds extra.
The games are all very accessible, my mother had never dreamt of playing a console game but she got hooked on this and played it for a good 2 hours one night.
It's also great for parties as the games themselves only last a few minutes so people can jump on and off with ease.
Seasoned gamers will most likely get bored with this after a few runs of each game(I know I did) but its such great value that you can't go wrong really.
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles
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I was really looking forward to this as I've been a fan of the resident evil series for years and always enjoyed the house of the dead style games at my local arcade.
However I must say I was a bit dissappointed, while it is an enjoyable game for the first couple of hours it soon gets annoying and frustrating when you have to shoot zombies in the "sweet-spot" on their foreheads to make any real progress with your end of level rank. What makes this worse is when you have a group of 5+ zombies lumbering towards you, while another decides to hide behind and projectile vomit at you. Boss encounters are also repetitive and long-winded.
Enough with the negatives though, UC offers the back stories of past RE games, albeit missing some games altogether, and so allows people who catch up with events. It also includes an exclusive episode featuring Chris and Jill bringing down Umbrella in Siberia. There are also a wide range of guns to unlock and upgrade although most are pointless and you'll more than likely just find yourself using machine guns and the good old zombie blasting shotguns.
Overall RE:UC is a game aimed at resident evil fans as non followers of the series will most likely be left clueless to the story and characters, and although I only gave it a 3/5 its a high 3.
Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon
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Final Fantasy Fables: Chocobo's Dungeon may look like another cutesy game aimed at the younger demographic, but underneath its sugary exterior lies a rather devilish challenge. Not to say this is a very difficult game but it'll give you a good run for your money.
The controls are very simple with the remote held sideways, although you can choose various other options, and the general interface is easy to get to grips with.The music throughout the game is one of it's high points, with some awesome remixes of past Final Fantasy tunes thrown into the mix. The voice acting is a mixed bag with some convincing while others will have you muting your TV (don't worry the game has subtitles). Graphics are just above average, although the CGI sections are truely gorgeous.
Chocobo as a character is adorable and wears corresponding costumes according to what job you currently have selected, jobs are unlocked as you progress through the game's story, and will often have you "Awwing" at his cuteness.
The dungeons are randomly generated each time you enter although they will all look rather samey with a limited amount of textures and backgrounds, which is rather dissappointing. Some are also very difficult with stringent criteria set, such as level restrictions and only have 1 HP throughout. Dying in a dungeon also means losing all your items (bar what you have equipped) and your gil, and although you can store items and money it can be a pain having to travel back and forth to collect/drop off stuff.
All in all Chocobo's Dungeon is an enjoyable little game that offers some geniune challenge but while looking like it's aimed at younger gamers they may find the difficulty rather unpleasant. Also if you can't stand playing as a cute a fluffy protanganist then this probably isnt for you either. Too bad this wasn't advertised more and will more than likely slip by without any notice.
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Finally an essential third party game for all Wii owners, be it young or old, casual or hardcore. De Blob has something for everyone, with it's simple pick-up-and-play controls, colourful vibrant graphics, and challenging yet enjoyable game play.
The basic premise of the game is that you're part of a resistance group trying to liberate your city that has been taken over by an inky evil organization, who have in turn sucked the colour from everthing and turned the residents into slaves. Blob's mission is to restore colour and oust the organization.The controls are simple: you control blob's movement with the nunchuk and make blob jump by flicking the remote downwards, and although this my seem awkward to start with you soon get used to it. The C button controls the camera and the Z button locks onto enemies.
Gameplay consists of entering an area completely devoid of colour and rolling around painting buildings and rescuing locals. sounds easy enough, but there are challenges available from your ressistance buddies, from painting buildings certain colours, to squashing a group of enemies within a certain time limit. Also within the level you're given a number of tasks to complete such as painting billboards and finding special "Style" pick ups. Each level has a time limit but this is rarely a problem as upon finishing tasks you're given extensions.
A free mode is available in which you can explore an area without a time limit but no challenges are available and each level must first be unlocked in the story mode, the same applies to multiplayer levels. A host of unlockables are present too, with cutscenes, post production art work and extra missions.
All in all de Blob is an excellent game, with some genuine charm that will last you a good few weeks if not longer and at such an affordable price for a new game of this quality, theres no way you can go wrong. Buy it!
Wario Land: The Shake Dimension
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Wario makes a return to the "Wario Land" series of games for the first time on the Wii. If you've played any other games from the series you'll already have a good idea of what to expect, if not, then the basic premise of the game is guiding Wario around levels collecting treasure and working your way towards the boss.
Now for a little more in depth description. Wario Land: The Shake Dimension is a beautiful game, The graphical style would lead you to believe you were playing a cartoon as all the characters are hand drawn and wonderfully animated. Levels are a joy to run/jump/swim through and the background music is enjoyable with some truely epic boss themes. The controls are simple, with the remote held sideways and the 1 & 2 buttons used to attack and jump respectively, the D pad to move wario and shaking/tilting the remote to perform various actions.
There are 5 worlds to explore with 4 levels and a boss fight within each of them and although this might sound short there are "missions" and treasures within each level you can choose to complete that add extra longevity to the game. Also, there are extra hidden levels to unlock.
Deffinatly worth a pick up for the gorgeous graphics, simple yet effective controls and the general experience of playing the game.