Category Archives: Super Nintendo

This category is for Super Nintendo games. This includes titles released directly for the console, as well as those ported to the Super Nintendo 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: Umihara Kawase

2016-02-28_00001

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: Final Fantasy IV

First up is our disclaimer.  We got 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.FFIV_PC_Black_Magic

Final Fantasy IV, like many Square games, is not a direct sequel to Final Fantasy III. It is an entirely new game, following a more direct story with deep character development. In this game, you follow a dark knight named Cecil who is serving a kingdom that ultimately creates war and destruction wherever it goes.

Eventually Cecil confronts his inner evil to ultimately become a paladin and heads off to save the world, friends in tow. That’s the abridged version…don’t want to ruin the plot for those who haven’t played it.header_710_final_fantasy_iv_the_complete_collection

This was Square‘s first Final Fantasy not released on the original NES, and it has been rebuilt and ported many times. The game debuted on Super NES in both North America and in Europe. It was subsequently recoded and repackaged alongside Chrono Trigger on the original Sony PlayStation. It also appeard in Final Fantasy Chronicles and Final Fantasy IV: The Complete Collection on the Sony PSP. It has also been ported to the Nintendo 3DS and is now available on Steam for the PC.Rosa_White_Magic_FFIV_PC

Needless to say the game has been around for a while, and in each incarnation there have been a handful of changes. The entire graphic system received an overhaul in the latest rebuild. This gives a newer, more “3D” look to the classic sprite-based game.

Final Fantasy IV was Square‘s first in-depth take on the series, adding an array of new locations, characters and a longer story. Although the first Final Fantasy games can be completed in roughly twelve hours or less (my personal record), this game boasts a 40-hour minimum. It also sports one of the best story-lines in the entire series (Final Fantasy VII usually taking top honors).
Ultimately, does Final Fantasy IV deliver? The answer is yes. With a unique cast of characters and some of the most challenging battles to hit the classic RPG to date, I recommend it highly.

How does our grading scale work you ask? Read about it here if you want to know!

-Daniel Clatworthy-
Final_Fantasy_IV