Category Archives: Nintendo 3DS

This category is for Nintendo 3DS games. This includes titles released directly for the console, as well as those ported to the Nintendo 3DS from other platforms. The reviews are listed in chronological order, and if you’re looking for a particular title please use the search bar at the top of the screen.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about our reviews, be sure to message us on our contact page or email the author and we’ll be more than happy to discuss our viewpoints.

It should also be pointed out that this area doubles as an archive, so reviews may go back quite a bit.

Haven Review: Stella Glow

First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

SGCoverRGBStella Glow is yet another title from the Atlus game company, and being honest the last few titles from them have been less than enjoyable. These include Legend of Legacy and Etrian Odyssey II, so I go into this with low expectations.

However right from the start, I noticed another company had a hand in making this title; my old friend SEGA. The game started and I was instantly taken to a screen where apparently a previous protagonist is being engulfed in some type of fire; he is dying as his teammates look on. So now I’m intrigued as I try to struggle with looking past the flames that are burning and engulfing me, and a promise is made so that no one else will have to suffer the same way.

The game soon cuts to a girl named Lisette in the village of Mithra, talking about a previous hero who stopped God’s wrath by sacrificing himself.Stella-Glow-Hilda_11-04-15 I assume this to be the previous protagonist from the cut-scene. Before long she learns that her adopted brother is off in the forest hunting, and she runs after him. As soon as they meet they’re tossed into the first battle of the game!

Combat is in the form of a Final Fantasy style tactic, with the twist that players are allowed to move around the board only a certain number of steps. When he gets close to an enemy he can attack. The game instructs the player to attack rear flanks, as enemies are weaker there. Upon attacking you are treated to a nice cut-scene of the player battling with the monster. It was a nice change from what I’ve seen in other game titles. It also gives a nice look at character appearance, in an in-depth…albeit chibi design. After the battle ends and you continue on with the story, you are treated to some spectacular voice acting that made me just want to play the game even more. The voices felt like they belonged with the characters. I also noticed that the voice actors never once went off script, where as in other games the text would say one thing and the voices another. Everything was precise and to the point, explaining the story so I wouldn’t get lost.2954587-harbingers+2

As I continued on with the game, Lisette soon became a witch and I was told to tune her soul, which played out as you would expect. No hidden mini-game, no random hidden feature, just a small story cut-scene again where I talk to her and am given some “yes” or “no” options. I was a little confused when the prologue was over. It said the story is now mine to tell, but through playing the game there was very little room for customization (outside of character creation).

The game itself is very limiting as well, as to what the player can actually do. Through my entire time playing, it felt as if the story was just advancing without much of my input. At times I felt forced to grind away.Stella-Glow-Dated-JP_03-09-15 I get that a role-playing game wants to tell a story, but it felt more like a Telltale game where I don’t get a choice between going to point A or to point B. I was just forced to do it.

Overall though, despite that one flaw with the game, I have been having a good time playing through and I wish there was more I could do. But I suppose some things are just not meant to be. I recommend picking up Stella Glow if you have the money laying around, as it’s a fun title and the story to me at least is fairly good; even with its blatant attempt at a materia-like setup for its weapons.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Stella

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Haven Review: Umihara Kawase

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Umihara Kawase is an interesting platfomer puzzle game. You play as a little girl with a fishing pole. The original game was released in 1994. In 2015 the game was reworked and launched on Steam. The game dealt with some legal issues, and after a change of developer the game is ready to be played. This review will be for the Steam edition of the game, but of course I can’t really talk about that without touching on the original game, as well.

First off, this game is incredibly difficult. You must complete 10 level chunks with a total of 8 lives. If you run out of lives then you start back at the beginning. The Steam edition has changed a handful of levels throughout the game. These changes seem more about smoothing out the difficulty curve than for anything else. The starting levels of the Steam edition definitely ease you into the control scheme and concepts of the game; more so than the starting level of the original title.2016-02-28_00003

You use your fishing pole in two ways: You can either attach it to enemies and “reel” them into your backpack (accomplished by simply running over them) or you can attach it to walls and use it as a grappling hook. This is your main way of traversing the level. There are definitely routes you can take that require intricate maneuvers with the pole, which I have yet to master. There are also the slower, safer routes. However even these sometimes require precision grappling in order to get through.

One thing that I feel is unnecessarily difficult to pull off is flipping yourself up onto solid ground while hanging from a ledge. At times it can be pretty arbitrary whether or not your character actually succeeds, or just limply dangles…flopping around just like the fish you prey upon. Numerous deaths were wasted on trying to make a jump, only to be caught on an edge rather than anything solid; then dropping into the water below instead of pulling myself up. This is the one area where the controls don’t feel as responsive as they need to be for this kind of precision. This was an issue with the first iteration of the game that wasn’t really fixed in the Steam edition. In all honesty, this more than likely won’t be an issue for experienced players. But for someone casually playing, this is definitely an area of frustration.2016-02-28_00002

The weakest area of the game are the boss fights. At the end of 10 levels you fight a boss. The fights tend to be heavily reliant on trial and error. With limited lives and one-hit kills, you can quickly get a “game over” without figuring out anything. This, however is mostly mitigated by one of the game’s best features: a practice mode. Once you’ve reached a level in the main game, you can jump over to practice mode and replay that level again and again until you’ve gotten it down. The result of adding in this practice mode means that you have to go through these training sessions to figure out these unforgiving levels. This means smoother runs through the main game and fewer lives wasted on figuring out what’s going on. However the down side to the practice mode is that the game gets away with not adding important context clues in the level design to help you navigate an area. It will occasionally throw you into a level that may take you several attempts to figure out. Again this is a pretty small complaint, since trying the level a few times in practice mode isn’t a big deal. You can pretty much figure everything out after a few attempts.2016-02-28_00005

The updated art style in the game is really nice. They took great care making the game look likes its 1994 counterpart, but with modern touches to really make the retro look work. All the fish look weird and wonderful. The colors make the whole world vibrant and the random stuff lying around the levels, like giant carrots and school supplies, add a lovely hint of the bizarre. Umihara Kawase has its flaws to be sure, but it’s still a lovely little experience; given you have enough patience for it.fishgame

Disclaimer: We received this game because we wanted to review it, and as such all views in this article our are own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

-Jordan Kamm-

 

Haven Review: Lego Avengers

logoFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

Lego. Most of us grew up with these amazing little building blocks of joy. I know I did and I really enjoyed making up fantasy worlds with them. Speaking of fantasy worlds, Marvel Studios and Warner Brothers teamed up with Lego to create Lego Avengers, and I must say it maxresdefault-4-1449431835938is my first Lego game title.

Right off the bat it throws you into action and gives almost no guidance as to the controls; for the most part it expects you know what to do. I didn’t, but after a while I finally got a pop-up saying I needed to hold “B” and play as Hawkeye to shoot a Lego rope.

I was quite literally shooting things across a small river for nearly half an hour before figuring out what to do, and that wasn’t even the worst part. They’re is a vast degree of puzzle- solving involved to get past certain obstacles. It has left me confused and dazed, but to other players (hell probably even a ten-year-old) the game is a lot easier to play.

I’ve always been worried about the learning curve with the Lego titles after seeing many popular YouTubers, such as ZackScott play them and what I thought was easy wasn’t…but enough of my ranting about that.fgtv.dimensions.ny3_

The story is pretty good and it follows the plot with Age of Ultron which I really enjoy, and Lego Ultron just looks ridiculous in his design and it even gives me a good chuckle with his dialog.

I am really enjoying the twist Lego has been putting on cinematic movies and other famous characters. The game also sticks to the family-friendly regimen, reminding all of us that we have imaginations and that we should use them. It brings life to fantasy characters in a way both children and adults can enjoy.

Now the orchestra for the game sounds at times like it has been ripped exactly from the Avengers movies and I’m not sure if that was intentional. But either way, it fits for the theme of the game and stays true to its roots in that aspect. Although since it is a game, it expands upon the Age of Ultron story line a bit more. That is to say the story is still good, it’s just I feel like some of the places in it could be cut out.screenshot 2015-10-09 15.13.24.png

Voicing for the game is also spot-on and I really love how they brought the characters to life; most notably Iron Man. But I think a fault for the game lies in its reluctance to instruct newcomers on how to play a Lego title. Everything about the game is good, but that. Perhaps they will release a update and add a tutorial so that people like myself can get a better handle on the controls.

In the end I do recommend Lego Avengers for its great story-telling, its diverse characters and its great soundtrack. If you ever get the chance, I recommend picking up a copy.

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Lego