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Cary's Pretend Christmas Present Party 2019!

On 12/10/2019 at 08:00 PM by Cary Woodham

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Merry Christmas everyone!  It’s time once again for my annual Pretend Christmas Present Party!  Here’s how it works: in the comments section, you give me a pretend Christmas present.  It can be whatever you can imagine.  It’s the thought that counts…literally!  Then when I reply, I’ll give you a pretend present as well!  It’s fun when it’s fun.  Also, I have some more presents for you!  New game reviews I’ve recently written at!  Just what you always wanted, right?  Anyway, please click on the links and read as many as you can, and maybe post a ‘like’ or comment or two.  I’d really appreciate it, and seriously, doing those things is just as good as any old present you could give.  So let’s get started!

Have a Merry Mario Christmas!  

Let’s start out with something Christmas related!  I’ve gotten a few Mario and video game themed Christmas items lately, so I thought I’d show them to you.  Most are Hallmark Keepsake Ornaments, but there are a few surprises, so let’s check them out!

New Super Lucky’s Tale (Switch)

I have a lot of game consoles, but two that I don’t have are any sort of VR device, and an Xbox One.  I don’t have anything against Microsoft, in fact, the 360 was my favorite console of last generation.  But game consoles are expensive and there just isn’t enough games on the Xbox One or VR titles that would get me to buy one of those.  But one year at PAX I saw a VR game that looked right up my alley.  It was a colorful 3-D game called Lucky’s Tale that starred a cartoon fox who looked suspiciously like my favorite SEGA character (minus one tail).  And after that, there was an Xbox One title called Super Lucky’s Tale.  But now I don’t have to worry about either of those because New Super Lucky’s Tale is now on Switch, a game console I do have!  Since I’ve never played the others, I don’t know what’s new or super about it, but New Super Lucky’s Tale is a colorful and cheerful romp that reminds me of the 3-D platformers you could play in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  It’s not perfect, but it put a smile on my face and games don’t do that as much as they used to.  Plus I thought it was a much better throwback 3-D platformer than other recent ones like Yooka-Laylee and A Hat in Time.

The King of Fighters ALL STAR (iPad)

The King of Fighters is a long running one-on-one 2-D fighting game series featuring characters from SNK’s other brawlers like Fatal Fury, Art of Fighting, and more!  And now there is a new game with The King of Fighters ALL STAR.  But surprise surprise!  It’s not a fighting game, but a 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up!  You’d think that kind of game wouldn’t translate well to mobile devices, but it actually works really well and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.  I’d still rather this be a console game, but for what it is, it’s definitely one of the better mobile games I’ve played in a while.  I only wish I could’ve unlocked Leona as a playable character.  I did get a version of Yuri in a baseball uniform (so adorable) so that was kind of cool.  Can you guess who my favorite KOF characters are?

SkullGirls: 2nd Encore (Switch)

I already put a link to this review on my last blog, but I thought I’d post it again here just in case you missed it.  I liked the characters in this game so much that I wrote a blog about them last time!  I’ve been wanting to review this 2-D one on one fighter since 2012, but never got a chance to until now that it’s on the Switch.  Now I can see why it got so much hype.  It’s almost on par with other fighters like BlazBlue!

Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san: A River City Ransom Story (PS4)

The River City Ransom series sure has gotten a lot of games this year!  First there was River City Girls by WayForward, then River City: Melee Mach!!, which I reviewed earlier.  And now there is Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san: A River City Ransom Story.  It’s kind of a side story starring Kobayashi, one of Kunio’s rivals.  But who is Kunio?  He’s the main character of most of the River City games.  In Japan there is a popular series of video games that has gone back since the 80s starring Kunio.  He’s a hot-blooded high school student who sometimes gets into fights and trouble, but always stands up for his friends and against bullies.  Kunio also likes to play sports and when he’s not beating up baddies, he’s competing in events like soccer or dodgeball.  Some of Kunio’s games have made it to the US under name or graphical changes.  If you’ve ever played a game like Renegade, River City Ransom, Crash N the Boyz Street Challenge, or Super Dodge Ball, then you’ve played a Kunio game!  This new one plays like a River City game, but it’s a little weird.  The story involves time travel, you fight mostly Power Rangers style grunts, and sometimes even beat up UFOs and flying robots!  It has multiple endings but the difficulty is unbalanced and there is no map or shops, so it didn’t hold my interest.  If you can only play one River City game this year, I’d go with River City Girls instead.

Bloo Kid 2 (Switch)

Even though Bloo Kid 2 is about as vanilla as a 2-D platformer could be, I still enjoyed it for what it was.  And it reminded me of the games I used to rent back in the day on my Super Nintendo.  You’ll travel through five worlds as you hop and bop your way through enemies and secrets.  It doesn’t revolutionize the 2-D platform genre in any way, but I still had fun with it while it lasted.

Bee Simulator (PS4)

To bee or not to bee?  Well now you can be a bee in Bee Simulator.  It’s a flying action game where you play a part of a honey bee in a hive, and must fly around a vast park to collect pollen, battle rival bugs, and ultimately save your hive from construction workers who want to chop the tree down where your hive is located.  I really liked the graphics and unique gameplay, but one main thing that ruined it for me was that you have missions that make you fly through rings like Superman 64, one of the worst games ever made.  It’s a shame because the rest of the game is pretty neat.  I also liked how the game is somewhat educational as well, with facts on bees and bugs during the intro, loading screens, and in the game, too.  I first played this game at PAX South, and when I mentioned how I liked that the game is educational, the developers shied away from talking about that, like it was a bad thing.  What’s wrong with a game being educational?  I think that’s good!

Sparklite (PS4)

I first played this game at PAX as well.  It won me over because it was a 16-bit style overhead Zelda type game.  But what they failed to mention to me then was that when you die and start again, the world randomly changes and I hate that!  I’d rather have one good designed world rather than a bunch of randomly generated mediocre ones. 

Squidgies Takeover (Switch)

And finally, Squidgies Takeover is a downloadable Switch exclusive that mixes physics style gameplay with Lemmings-like puzzles.  Cute little baby alien octopus creatures are venturing out from their mother’s tentacles so they can take over their own planets.  It’s up to you to distribute powers to them so they can safely reach portals in each single screen level.  The game is a bit hard in places because of the physics style puzzles, and it’s best played with the touch screen so it's only really fun in handheld mode.

And that’s all for now!  Thanks for reading and commenting on my reviews, and don’t forget your pretend present!  --Cary




12/10/2019 at 11:20 PM

Bee Simulator sounds neat. 

How about a Cotton Candy machine. Yum. 

Cary Woodham

12/12/2019 at 03:58 PM

The 'fly through the rings' sections of Bee Simulator are not fun.  The rest of the game is neat, though.  Thanks for reading!

Thanks for the cotton candy machine.  To be honest, in real life I can't stand cotton candy, though.  But then, I don't really eat sweets very much anyway.

Your pretend present is also a cotton candy machine, but it's a special magical machine that makes cotton candy that gives you super strength when you eat it!


12/12/2019 at 10:08 PM

Rings and flying should never go together. 

Cotton candy is at least colorful. A strength boost sounds perfect. 

Cary Woodham

12/13/2019 at 09:42 AM

I think the only game where I enjoyed flying through rings was Pilotwings.  Not even NiGHTS Into Dreams could get it right.

Cotton candy is colorful, but not in an appetizing way.


12/13/2019 at 10:10 PM

Flying is hard enough. To heck with rings. 

Cary Woodham

12/14/2019 at 09:56 AM

At least you don't have to fly through rings in Starlink.


12/15/2019 at 12:25 AM

Only through those enemy force fields in Hyperspace. 

Cary Woodham

12/15/2019 at 09:41 AM

Yeah but I think you're supposed to avoid those!


12/15/2019 at 06:42 PM

In avoiding the energy field you have to fly through something that looks almost like a ring. 

Cary Woodham

12/15/2019 at 11:15 PM

Well it's been a long time since I played it.  I ran away from thieves most of the time because the reward wasn't big enough to spend the time to fight them.  Plus I had places to be, planets to save, etc.


12/19/2019 at 11:42 PM

I love the way you can just take off on a planet and break through the atmosphere to enter space, then hit the hyperspace and get to another planet. 

Cary Woodham

12/21/2019 at 08:09 AM

I like how they use taking off from planets and hyperspace as a way to cleverly disguise loading screens. :)


12/21/2019 at 09:23 PM

I really like it. Few games give you that feeling of normal transition between planet surface and space. Usually the loading is too obvious and takes you out of the experience. 

Cary Woodham

12/22/2019 at 09:31 AM

Yeah the loading times aren't that bad, really.  At least it's not like you can play a round of Galaga while Ridge Racer loaded on the PSOne!


12/11/2019 at 12:18 PM

I haven't tried KOF All Star yet but I think on Twitch Prime they're giving something away if I give it a spin so I might take advantage of that. 

As for a present I present to you this little bottle of magic that restores all health and prevents you from taking damage. This will come in handy the next couple of days if you choose to accept the mission of last minute Christmas shopping. The level is filled with crazed people, long lines, countless sales, and hard to find parking. 

Cary Woodham

12/12/2019 at 04:02 PM

You should give KOF ALL STAR a try!  It's one of the better mobile games I've played.

I've got all my Christmas presents bought and wrapped, so I don't have to worry about last minute shopping.  I do work retail, though, so I know what you mean!  Luckily I work in the plumbing section of a major hardware chain, so I don't have to worry about too many Christmas shoppers.  Most people don't give toilets as presents. :)

Your pretend present is all the LEGOs in the world.  Have fun building!

Matt Snee Staff Writer

12/12/2019 at 12:49 PM

I'm getting you a PacMan car that chomps its mouth as it drives down the road. 

Cary Woodham

12/12/2019 at 04:11 PM

Does it look like this?

Or this?

Either way, you'll have to get me a driver for this car on account of I've been blind in my left eye since birth and can't drive a car (that's true).  So who is going to be my driver, huh?

Your pretend present is your very own bookstore.

Matt Snee Staff Writer

12/12/2019 at 04:44 PM

Ha ha. No, it would be much bigger and self-driving with an artificial intelligence good at eluding ghosts. 

Cary Woodham

12/12/2019 at 04:55 PM

I wish GOOD self driving cars actually existed.  By the time they are perfected, I'll probably be too old to use one!

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