The scenery boasts some impressive locations including a magical tower, a tranquil lake, and misty tombs. The motion controls are a mixed bag. The ice cream cone-shaped Move controller waves your wand, but a navigation controller is required to move, dodge, and block (a normal controller will also work). Using both controllers at once is awkward, but casting magic spells is fun for a while. You can open doors and move stone pillars with a flick of the wrist. You can reconstruct objects by moving the wand in a clockwise motion. Like the Lego games, it's fun to watch objects like bridges rapidly assembled before your eyes. You can shake the controller to activate a potion, causing your Move "ball" to turn red before you down it with a drinking motion.
But the primary use of your wand is firing bolts of energy at banshees and resurrected corpses. This is done by flicking your wrist in a rapid-fire manner. Not only can you control the direction of these shots, but you can even make them curve! Sadly, the novelty doesn't last, and during an extended boss encounter my wrist started aching really badly from shaking the controller so much. On top of that, the calibration occasionally goes wonky, causing your shots to fire in random directions. Sorcery has its moments, but when you start wishing you could play with a normal controller (and you will), that's not a good sign. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Space Ace might be described as "Dragon's Lair in space" but that would be giving it too much credit. Dragon's Lair offered a series of quick challenges in enclosed spaces, making it possible to logically deduce your next move (in theory). But in the expansive universe of Space Ace however you're at the mercy of blinking prompts, or more likely - trial and error! Many of the moves completely defy logic!
The visuals are nice at least, with artistic backgrounds that resemble oil paintings. The game stars an irritating kid named Dexter who periodically transforms into a muscular stud. The non-stop action will have you leaping between crumbling ledges, dodging falling lava, and blasting robots with your laser gun. It's more fun to watch than play. The lengthy sequences are hard to complete and one screw-up sends you back to the start. I seriously doubt I would have reached the ending (all three seconds of it) had it not been for my friend Steve's perseverance.
You also have the option of sitting back and just watching the story play out in its entirety. Space Ace was never a good game to begin with, and coupled with these technical issues I can't recommend this Blu Ray. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Archery feels completely natural as you hold one hand forward and pull the other back, and it's satisfying to splatter targets like watermelons and pumpkins. The well-designed Beach Volleyball lets you perform block and dig moves without hitting the ceiling or breaking a lamp. Disc Golf is good enough to justify the entire package with its scenic, multi-tiered holes. It feels like you're throwing a Frisbee just as you would in real life!
Table tennis gives you one-to-one control of the paddle without the erratic hiccups associated with similar games on other platforms. Gladiator Duel offers exciting one-on-one combat as you angle a shield with one hand while wielding a sword with the other. And for goodness sake don't sleep on Bocce! It might seem like a lame ball rolling game, but it's remarkably fun and competitive.
Sports Champions features gorgeous graphics and a diverse selection of characters including a mega-hottie named Belle. Playing head-to-head is extra fun because players can stand a safe distance from each other thanks to the wide-angle Move camera. If you tried these on Kinect you'd be bumping into each other like keystone cops. The champion mode lets a solo player work up the ranks, and upon completing the bronze level of archery I was prompted to pose for the camera with a virtual bow in my hand. That was pretty amazing.
There are plenty of loading screens, but they let you pass the time by paging through helpful hints. I guess the only downside to Sports Champions is that you'll need at least two Move controllers (ideally four). At $50 a pop, that's not exactly chump change, but it's the price you pay for premium motion sports action. © Copyright 2012 The Video Game Critic.
Golf itself is worth the price of admission. The controls let me use my natural golf swing, and the courses are absolutely gorgeous. It's a far superior experience to EA's Tiger Woods series. Tennis is equally impressive, and probably my favorite event. You can position your racket for a forehand or backhand shot and apply spin with ease. It's extremely satisfying to smack a hard shot down the line. I love the robot tennis player who lets out electronic "grunts". Bowling is fun but maybe a little too easy. Still, I love the fantasy bowling alleys including one in a cozy log cabin and an outdoor alley at a tropical resort.
Boxing is a tough sport to get right because the action must closely follow your movements, but this version is pretty close to 1:1, so you can really let the punches fly. Skiing is a sight to behold with its gorgeous mountain scenery and scintillating sense of speed. Using a pair of Move controllers, you use your arms to turn, crouch, and perform tricks. It works, but I have to admit that a balance board would have really rounded out the experience. Archery gave me a bad case of deja-vu, since it was on the first Sports Champions. Its controls are surprisingly awkward.
Sports Champions 2 is obviously a nice party game, but it's the "cup play" that gives the game legs. This mode offers a series of short, diverse challenges of increasing difficulty. Tutorials are spread out over the challenges, gradually introducing new concepts. So what's wrong with Sports Champions 2?
Well, the controller calibration is a pain, especially when you want to add a second controller during an event. And if any game could benefit from an install option, it's this one. The load screens are frequent and long - a real party killer! Still, Sports Champions 2 pushes the envelope for motion games. It doesn't get much attention today, but this would have been a monster hit six years ago. © Copyright 2013 The Video Game Critic.
The opening stage is set in a high-tech facility and it's fun to dash through its corridors while slicing enemy robots in half. Strider dons a red scarf around his neck, making me realize this is what Shinobi (PS2, 2002) probably should have been. The controls feel crisp as you slide down walls on your knives and break through grates with an emphatic downward strike. As you acquire new powers the fights evolve from mindless button-mashing to more deliberate, strategic encounters. The first boss is an exhilarating ride on a flying armored dragon, and the second stage takes place in a snowy retro-futuristic city.
The game looks amazing, and a mini-map and handy arrow keep you headed in the right direction. Strider has only hampered its modern trappings; namely a lengthy install process and online-only access to leaderboards. I didn't really miss the leaderboards since progressing through the game is rewarding enough. I only wish there were more save points. Strider Hiryu has a substantial learning curve but you'll want to stick with this one because it just keeps getting better as you go. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
The gameplay consists mostly of talking to various characters from the show like Homestar, Marzipan, Bubs, Coach Z, and the Cheat, and then trading something they want for whatever you need to advance the plot. True to the show, the dialogue is hilarious and easily the best part of the game. I even replayed certain parts just to hear all of the conversation options. Each episode also has minigames and side objectives like drawing comics, finding hidden collectibles, and of course answering Strong Bad's infamous emails, but none of them were ever engaging enough to hold my attention.
You move Strong Bad with the left thumbstick but it's never clear where you can and can't go, so you'll constantly be running into invisible walls. Selecting objects to interact with is finicky, often requiring you to stand in a specific place for it to even register. The game would have benefited greatly from a mouse. It's also buggy as hell, with dialogue either de-syncing with the video or cutting out entirely. Background objects can block your view during cutscenes and some interactive prompts feel unresponsive. A few of the puzzle solutions are way out in left field. Why would stealing a light bulb deactivate a security system?
This game is clearly intended for longtime fans of the cartoon, with numerous jokes and references that will leave non-fans wondering "Why is Homestar crying over a popcorn machine?" and "Why does Strong Mad have a haunted painting in his closet?" If you enjoy the cartoon you'll find plenty of Homestar Runner's trademark quirky humor to keep you entertained. Everyone else will want to pass on the bad controls, annoying bugs, and one-note gameplay. © Copyright 2021 The Video Game Critic.
Screen shots courtesy of IGN.com