A Look Back at ‘StarFox 64’ – The Most Quotable (and Memeable) Game in Existence

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, there existed a game which would shape my childhood for the rest of my life. That game was StarFox 64. As simple as it was, it came with its share of challenges that would ensure its playability for years to come. Nearly 25 years later, I still find myself reliving its moments of shooting enemy ships and getting feedback from my teammates in so many different interactions. The most important thing about StarFox 64 is how fun it is, even after all this time! For those who do not know (and why wouldn’t you), StarFox 64 is kind of a follow-up to the original StarFox that was on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES), but that’s as simple as that gets. The plot, however, is that of an evil scientist named Andross who lays waste to the planet of Corneria, only to be exiled by General Pepper to the barren desert planet of Venom. Years later, the team known as Starfox, which involves James McCloud, Pigma Dengar, and Peppy Hare, are sent to investigate the goings-on in Venom. Upon arriving, Pigma betrays the team, and Andross captures James and Peppy, though Peppy is the only one who makes it out alive, as he goes home to tell James’ son, Fox about his father. Years pass, and Andross is trying to take over the Lylat System. General Pepper thus hires a new StarFox team with Fox taking over as leader, accompanied by Peppy, along with Falco Lombardi, and Slippy Toad to foil Andross’ plans and save the Lylat System. In case the names don’t spell it out for you, they also happen to be animals.

Judging by the synopsis, it is clear that I know this game left and right, front to back, as a lot of what I just explained is part of the opening narration, which could make for a great opener for a film adaptation, if one ever gets made. The whole of the game is basically you, as Fox, flying through different planets and shooting enemy ships while your teammates constantly interact with you. Though the way you explore through different planets depends on the choices that get made, whether it be a teammate’s ship needing repaired after being hit one too many times, or you find a different path, or maybe the offset chance that you mess up an objective. After many playthroughs, you start to get used to a certain path, which can be repetitive. Yet, on some planets, you are given a choice on whether you want to change course, or retry the same planet. The only takeaway is that, if you are a first time player, some plot elements don’t make sense when you get through certain planets. But you can always try for medals by shooting up the highest total amount of ships, if you can, which unlocks bonuses for later play.

Now that I got through the gist of the game, I want to talk about why StarFox 64 was a huge part of my childhood, and why I still enjoy playing it to this day. I have already talked about the fun of the gameplay and the interactions that stay with you. But there is something about the controls that make the flying of the Arwing smooth and the constant shooting fluid to the touch, compared to video games that feel stiff with their controls. Of course, you could say the same thing about any game on the Nintendo 64 (N64). What keeps me coming back for more is the dialogue, which I like to breathe in every time I play. The constant chatter from the teammates is entertaining, to say the least. I can quote this game off the top of my head, added to the voice acting; the wise words and advice from Peppy (“Do a barrel roll”), the snarkiness of Falco (“I guess you’re good for something”), and yes, even the whininess of Slippy (“Fox! Get this guy off me!”). Pure enjoyability! It’s no surprise that this game is the subject of memes!

Continue reading “A Look Back at ‘StarFox 64’ – The Most Quotable (and Memeable) Game in Existence”

World Flipper – I’m Reviewing a Mobile Game?!?

A Rare Occasion Indeed

I have a rule about not downloading or playing any mobile games. One of the biggest reasons is I don’t need to be “plugged in” to something 24/7, and another being that when I get into something, I really get into it. However, a buddy of mine told me about a free to play RPG that fuses several things I enjoy. You’ve got a real-time RPG that uses pinball as its battle system, couple that with the waifu gacha, and personally, that’s a recipe for success. World Flipper just enjoyed their global release after being an exclusive in Japan since 2019, so for the sake of review I bit the bullet, dove in (rather hard actually), and am ready to review the game to the best of my ability. Continue reading “World Flipper – I’m Reviewing a Mobile Game?!?”

Mini Motorways – Creating Spaghetti City

A Great Sequel!

There’s this great little real time puzzler game called Mini Metro that you may have heard of before. Well, a few years later and a sequel was produced. This time, instead of managing metro lines, you are tasked with creating intricate (read spaghetti) roadways as cars try to reach their destinations as efficiently as possible. It may sound simple, but it’s one challenging game! As a sequel, it takes the gameplay loop I already loved from Metro and makes it even more compelling, but there are some things that could still be better. Continue reading “Mini Motorways – Creating Spaghetti City”

Disco Elysium – I am a Reviewer?

Recently I Finished Disco Elysium

Ever since its release mid-October 2019, I’ve had a keen interest in playing Disco Elysium, a cop-drama, RPG with a focus on philosophical and political quandaries. Recently, however, it got a big (FREE) update and the timing finally felt right; so I played it! You play a man with amnesia, he can’t even remember he’s a cop! And yet, you are tasked with solving an increasingly perplexing case in a town with a rich history and many secrets of its own. You are free to mold yourself how you will, approach every situation however you’d like, and hopefully, solve the mysteries the game has to offer with as few casualties as possible. So here I am, a reviewer of sorts, to tell you just what I think of Disco Elysium. Continue reading “Disco Elysium – I am a Reviewer?”

Eternal Return: Black Survival – Battle Royale MOBA Combo?

A Diamond in the Very Rough

I’m really not sure what possessed me to try out the recently released Eternal Return:  Black Survival, a free to play battle royale MOBA hybrid. I’m not a huge fan of either types of games save for a select few titles in each respective genre. However, I gave it a go on a whim and have now invested about 10 hours into the game itself. The experience is one that is simultaneously frustrating, but keeps me coming back for more. Let’s dive right into why I think Eternal Return is worth your time. Continue reading “Eternal Return: Black Survival – Battle Royale MOBA Combo?”

The Song of Saya – A Continued Look at Gen Urobuchi’s Earlier Work

A Disgustingly Beautiful Visual Novel

In the world of anime Gen Urobuchi is someone who needs no introduction. You might recognize him for such titles as Madoka Magica and Psycho-Pass, but his career actually goes a lot deeper than this. Last year I spent a ton of time researching and familiarizing myself with his creations for a review of Phantom: Requiem for a Phantom (which I recommend you give a look as I don’t want to retread that same information here), upon doing so, I was reminded of today’s focal point:  The Song of Saya. Continue reading “The Song of Saya – A Continued Look at Gen Urobuchi’s Earlier Work”

Remnant: From the Ashes – My Game of the Year

Darksouls with Guns?

It’s very rare for me to want to jump on a new game, especially at a $40 price point given my current level of income, but Gunfire Games convinced me with Remnant:  From the Ashes. What’s often hailed as “Darksouls, but with guns”, I was skeptical that I would enjoy this game given my relationship with both Darksouls and Bloodborne. They are frustrating games that I just don’t really enjoy that much, so what exactly makes Remnant click for me? Let’s dive in and find out why this is my game of the year. Continue reading “Remnant: From the Ashes – My Game of the Year”

Night of (the) Full Moon – A Free Alternative to Slay the Spire?

Surprisingly Good

I held off on doing my review of Night of Full Moon because I wanted to explore a good chunk of its content prior to review, but I’m finding that there is actually just too much content for me to justify holding this off any longer. As such, I’m here to let you know that if you like games such as Slay the Spirebut don’t have the budget, then this is an excellent free alternative! Continue reading “Night of (the) Full Moon – A Free Alternative to Slay the Spire?”

Dauntless (Open Beta) – Mini Review

More Than a Monster Hunter Clone

You’ve probably heard of a “new” game that’s become quite popular on the Epic Games store recently called Dauntless. It’s out for PS4, Xbox, and PC with a Switch port coming soon. Even better than that, it is 100% free to play. So what exactly is Dauntless and why is it so popular?

This game has actually been around for some time, since 2017, but it never gained traction until just recently. Many wrote this off as a buggy and inferior copy of the smash game series, Monster Hunter, but after some time in the oven and a wide release on multiple platforms, it seems things have really turned around for Phoenix Labs.

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I’ll admit that I was skeptical of the game. I don’t like Monster Hunter and it seemed like the kind of grind that would get old fast. However, something compelled me to give this a try and I’m really glad that I did. What I discovered was a game that was great for popping in and out of with a nice community.

As I’ve mentioned, the game is not dissimilar to Monster Hunter, specifically World. The key difference being that Dauntless is more of an arcade-y experience working on a free to play model. Don’t let that scare you though because the game is extremely solid and friendly to those not wanting to invest a cent.

For an open beta product, the foundation of the game is extremely solid. You can choose from one of several weapons ranging from a sword, spear, or guns, called “repeaters” in this game. Each weapon has various elemental forms that can be upgraded and modified as you play to best counter each monster.

What I particularly like about this is the mastery system Dauntless has. As you use each weapon, you unlock mastery in it. This in turn grants you new ways to further customize your weapon of choice. However, the game also gives players an incentive for keeping a more well-rounded approach by having quests and challenges that grant rewards tied to getting just a little bit better with every weapon.

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As for micro-transactions, there are some. The worst of the bunch is the needless “Hunt Pass” which is a weird battle pass thing in a free to play MMO type game. That said, it only grants a very minute bonus to resource gathering as well as additional premium currency that you otherwise wouldn’t get right away. At least, that’s all that it impacts in terms of gameplay. You do get several cosmetic items by purchasing the pass but it is by no means necessary.

Free users still gain rewards on the Hunt Pass, just a lot less after the initial few levels. Still, free users do gain many of the same things the paid users get, just in smaller quantities. What you’ll largely miss out on is cosmetic items.

Having put in several hours over the course of two weekends, I can confidently say that the Duantless has a solid playerbase that is ready and willing to help new players. It doesn’t take long to get to a pretty competent level either. I’m already at some pretty high-end stuff with multiple sets of highly leveled gear.

Fighting the monsters has been largely rewarding. Only a few are slightly frustrating but each is pretty different than the last. When I was talking about weapons earlier, you really are rewarded for having mastery over a couple because some weapons do way better against certain monsters. As you play, you pick that stuff up in an organic kind of way and it is really satisfying.

It’s not all sunshine and roses though. Every now-and-again, the servers seem to be overloaded. You may disconnect in the middle of a 15 minute battle and lose out on all that work. Also, the devs haven’t implemented loadout slots yet so you are constantly needing to shuffle around gear.

These are things that can be, and will be, fixed though. If you like games like Monster Hunter and don’t mind a bit of a grind, than Dauntless is something you should check out. It being free and on virtually every platform with a linked account across each of ’em, there really isn’t much risk for just popping in. You may just find a new favorite like I did!

You can check the game out in more detail on the Dauntless website. If you would like to play with me I am available sporadically on the weekend. The game has crossplatform play, so even if you aren’t on PS4, we can play together. Let me know in the comments if you want to add me or send me a private message on my Twitter (@JS_Reviews) so we can get that sorted.


Let me know how you’ve been enjoying Dauntless and if I convinced you to check it out. Even if you hate the game, I’d love to hear why. If you want to support my writing here please consider a donation by hitting the Ko-fi button below. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy day to read and have a good one!

ISLANDERS – Mini Review

Casual Rougelite, City-building?

Not too long ago I decided to pick up a little game called ISLANDERS which is self-described as a minimalist strategy game about building cities on colorful islands. However, it got some media buzz where folks were saying it brought together two genres that normally shouldn’t mix:  citybuilders and rougelites. Was this just a passing fad or something worth your time?

For a studio I didn’t really know anything about, GrizzlyGames absolutely knocked it out of the park with ISALNADERS. It’s deceptively simple, something you can play for five minutes or five hours, and does so while offering a decent puzzle challenge. Let me explain how you play a bit.

Each phase of the game you are given an assortment of buildings that you need to place in order to gain score. In essence, this is a score attack game, so how high can you go? Buildings like and dislike certain things which increase or decrease your score accordingly. If you make enough score in that time, you get to select a new “pack” of buildings and keep going. All the while, you are working towards unlocking the next island, because eventually, you will run out of moves and need a fresh start.

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It’s really that simple! While this may seem too minimalist, its actually something that will manage to hold your attention for several hours. It’s easy to say to yourself, “Just one… more… turn…” which is something you want to see in a game like ISLANDERS.

The more you play the better you’ll get. There’s a weird psychology to the game where you want to make an aesthetically pleasing city, but you also need all the score you can get. After a few runs, you’ll get really good at planning your cities out in advance to achieve both goals simultaneously. That, or you’ll throw beauty to the wind and really get some high scores!

Either way, there isn’t really a “wrong” way to play this one. You may think that needing to hit point goals may make the game a little stressful, but it doesn’t. Play occurs at whatever pace you are comfortable with, there are no time penalties. Failure isn’t a big deal either. Usually, it results in you having made a mistake or just not being prepared for upcoming buildings.

When you are new, this may be slightly frustrating because you will lose games to not optimizing for the late game, but that’s also part of the fun. It never felt unfair to me, there always felt like I had a chance at success even when first starting. Even with 8 hours under my belt, I still figure out new ways to do even better on future games.

The game has a set way it progresses through the islands, which offers variety while still letting you plan ahead accordingly. Really, there is very little randomness in the game. You choose what will come up next most of the time, though you don’t know the exact things a pack will contain, and the packs come up in a certain relative order. Eventually it’ll start giving you random pieces, but at that point you are doing really well on an island. Once you move to a new area, the cycle repeats.

That’s really all there is to ISLANDERS. It has received a few updates which tweak the balance, they have added new buildings, and seems like it will receive further support. For a $4.99 game, it may be a bit expensive for some, but for most it will be worth the cost. I highly recommend this one.


Have you played other strange genre mashup games like ISLANDERS before? What two genres would you want to see mixed? Let me hear your thoughts on this game and those in the comments. If you want to support my writing you can do so via the Ko-fi button below. Thanks for reading and I hope you have a good one!