I’m not much of a Snoop Dogg/Lion fan, but I do like a good rhythm game, so I was fully prepared to enjoy this one. Despite the horribly cheesy presentation, I actually was having fun in the beginning. It reminded me of Elite Beat Agents on the DS. I kept thinking how much cooler this would be played with a touchscreen instead of a controller. So maybe iOS/Android would be the better place to pick it up if you’re at all interested. Pass on the XBLA version, though. It quickly falls apart. The game attempts to increase the difficulty by mixing button presses with directional movements, but this is either broken or just harder to pull off than you’d think. Missing a “note” will sometimes cross out the rest of the commands in a chain, thus adding to the frustration and setting you up to fail. If you retry a particular song too many times, the game will start glitching by rendering blank notes or leaving text on the screen that obscures your view. Considering how the background fighting is already a huge distraction, these glitches pretty much ruin it. I’d still like to see how it plays out on a mobile device, but I’m done with the console game.
Labyrinth Legends is a cute, little dungeon crawler which tasks players with saving their newly wedded bride. The simple premise and visuals are incredibly deceptive, as the game is actually kind of difficult. None of the levels have checkpoints. While this does not pose a problem at first, as you progress through the game, the overpowered bosses and respawning enemies will drive you insane, forcing you to restart levels over and over again from the beginning. As you defeat enemies, you’ll be lucky enough at times to win loot, which helps boost your makeshift knight’s defense and offense, but these loot drops don’t come often enough to mean a great deal to the gameplay, and the items are rarely different enough from your original items to elicit any sort of excitement. By far, the biggest disappointment in this game is the controls. They’re floaty and not anywhere near precise enough. Dragging boxes for puzzles and walking on platforms especially proves to be seriously frustrating. You may be charmed by the look of this game, but trust me and don’t give it a chance. It’s just not worth the time or frustration.
I have played a lot of tower defense games in my day, and I used to say they were my favorite games. That is still true today, but only well-done tower defense games. Go Home Dinosaurs is not one of the good ones. A good TD will let you choose your own way to win. Each level felt like it had a predetermined set of towers to choose from and where to put them. Any variation would result in failure or creeps getting through. I didn’t really like the money system, towers, characters, or sounds. It’s an obnoxious game. Worst of all, the player is only allowed an arbitrary number of towers and tower types per level. I didn’t like that about Plants vs. Zombies, and it’s worse here. I’d rather deal with more creeps and have to build more/stronger towers than deal with a balancing system that feels like an afterthought. Go Home Dinosaurs is not the worst TD around, but I didn’t enjoy it. I think this game was designed specifically for kids. Just because something is designed for kids does not mean adults will hate it. It does this time, though.
Doc Clock is a game with a really cool sounding premise. The idea is to take objects in the environment and create inventions to advance past obstacles. You can even store items in a talking sack until you need them. Like I said, it sounds great, but unfortunately, in practice, it is all but broken and uninteresting. It’s basically Scribblenauts without the ability to use whatever you want. Also, the dialogue between the sack and Doc Clock is intolerably bad. It’s just poor writing, bad “jokes,” and it’s unnecessary. I started out excited, but as with every other game like this, it quickly feigned. There is a lot of visual polish, but some thing just drove me insane. I don’t need Sonic the Hedgehog to blast across the screen, but Doc Clock moves really slow, and he can’t jump. Games like Max and the Magic Marker, Scribblenauts, and now Doc Clock always sound interesting, but the gimmick quickly dies, and playing them becomes a chore more than anything else. I’m looking forward to uninstalling this one.
While not actually good, Superman Returns does provide a lot of hilarious fun just because of how bad everything in the game is. Combat is awful. Combos are really sloppy despite the initial hilarity of punching someone so hard that they go sailing through the air. All of Superman’s abilities feel insanely underpowered. However, you do have the ability to unlock Bizarro and rampage across Metropolis and wreck every single thing that isn’t a building. This proves to be incredibly hilarious as, while Bizarro’s reverse powers mostly don’t differentiate from Superman’s, he does have super-suck breath. This is the funniest way to kill people and blow up cars that I have seen in quite some time. Despite the combat being bad, the game isn’t hard at all. Health bars don’t matter, because they constantly regenerate. Also, the frequent mentoring by the voice of Jor-El will eventually annoy you to the point that you’ll be eternally thankful he blew up along with Krypton. Superman Returns is a lesson in how a Superman game could almost be good, but even considering that, steer clear unless you’re a huge fan.
Motocross Madness is like a combination of Joy Ride Turbo and Mad Riders but doesn’t really do anything better than these previous XBLA offerings. While I like the trick system, the avatar support, the weekly challenges, and the mix of races and exploration playgrounds, I don’t like the way it controls. The button layout isn’t great, and I wish they had included a way to customize it. Your bike also switches between feeling too slippery and too stiff. Whenever I tried to line myself up to go off a ramp, my bike would slide all over the place. On the other hand, just about every corner required jamming on the drift and brake buttons. And then something I couldn’t even see would knock me off my bike. It never made sense what terrain I could or couldn’t drive on. Sometimes, a ramp would send me into a mountain that looked like I could land on, but it would cause me to crash instead. It’s nice that you can unlock skills to help with this like being able to brake or steer in mid-air, but these skills don’t come soon enough. Sure, if you stick with the game, you will be rewarded eventually. Me, I’d rather not work towards having fun.