Monday, December 31, 2007

DS Review Grab Bag

I'll take a break from playing Animal Crossing to catch up on a few reviews. This time of the year is traditionally slow in terms of releases so let's backtrack a little before we get cooking again with the new stuff.

Solitaire Overload

This game would win an award in the category of "Most Accurate Title." Truly I was overloaded by the amount of solitaire contained in this cart. With over 100 versions of solitaire broken down into families you'd have to love solitaire a whole lot to consider this one. I had no idea that many solo card games even existed. If your goal in life is to enter and win the World Solitaire Championships then better grab this cart today and start training. It'll also help if your life is already all about solitaire because the instructions are pretty light for each individual game.

I've got to give this one at least a hold because you get exactly what the box describes. If you really like solitaire then this has to be a buy.

Jenga World Tour

I'll admit it: I started thinking up mean stuff to say about this title before I even powered up my DS. I mean come on a video game version of Jenga? How could this possibly turn out? I couldn't believe how surprised I was to find out that this game was even worse than I could have ever imagined. There is a special place in Hell reserved for this game. I can't figure who makes up the market for this game. I'm guessing it's three year olds who can read and spend time with Grandma in EB: "'Gramma! JENGA!' 'That's right honey! Jenga. Let's see I did say you could have one thing today. Do you want Jenga?'" Honestly, it's the only scenario I can think of that would result in a sale of this title. I'm not even going to explain how you use the stylus to take a block from the middle and put it on top. One thing I can say though; just as I was about to turn this steaming pile off I was told my next challenger was an alien from an intergalactic race obsessed with Jenga. For whatever reason I waited to see who this alien might be and what he looked like. But now that I've admitted that I hate this game even more.

Sell. And then burn the money you got for it.

Dr. Seuss: How the Grinch Stole Christmas

It's a kids sure but does that mean it has to be so very bad? Kids deserve a lot better than this. Why even bother making a Christmas game at all? Who's going to be playing this in July? Worse, I'd hate to meet the kid who's all "Mommy! It's November! Almost time to get out How the Grinch Stole Christmas for DS!" Goodness. I was almost going to be swayed on this game when I realized it was sort of a stealth game. You have to maneuver the Grinch around and steal presents without anyone seeing you do it. Sounds promising but then the goofballs wore off. Look, I acknowledge a kid might like this and the presentation isn't the worst I've seen but my point is that you can do a lot better with your DS dollar by closing your eyes and feeling around the rack at Gamestop.

I'll sum this one up with a quote from Professor Julius Sumner Miller addressing critics who thought his lectures might prove too difficult for children: "The best must be made to reach and it will serve them all their lives."


Left or Right: Ambidextrous Challenge

Played through the evaluation round and was surprised to learn that I "favor" my "right" "hand" over my "left" hand and that I'm not alone and that most people seem to "favor" a hand! Stunned I played on in an effort to correct this apparent disability but then I came to my senses and snapped this cart in half; using my dominant right hand. A disaster. I think Nintendo needs to start issuing licenses to companies looking to publish "training" games to cut back on some of this junk. Shovelware in that I want to hit this thing with a shovel.

Sell this can of garbage. Don't peel off that plastic; you'll be sorry.

Math Play

This game isn't in the same league as Brain Training in terms of quality of gameplay and training value. I will say though that parents who subscribe to Highlights Magazine for their children will probably see some value in this title. Cute little animals and fairly challenging math questions for children to chew on are the reason this game was a hit in Japan. The biggest problem is there is only one mode of gameplay: equation making. Over and over with the equation making. I bet Japanese mothers drool at the thought of having junior grinding his way through this and that's exactly what'll it be for most kids: a grind.

Hold I guess.

Back to Animal Crossing. Wake me when Advance Wars: Days of Ruin comes out.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


Dear Yuka,

Thought you might be tired of holding it in all this time.
Enjoy this toilet dude.

From Biff

Dear Blaire,

So are you a squirrel or a skunk or what? Lemme know ASAP
before I ask you out.

From Biff

Dear Joey,

You're yellow.

From Biff

Dear Jay,

What say you and me hit the gym and see what happens?

From Biff

Dear Elvis,

Please don't eat me Mr. Lion.

From Biff

Friday, December 28, 2007

Vanilla's #1 Virtual Console Pick!

Having trouble deciding what to download from your Virtual Console? Never fear, the Assassin is here.
My #1 pick is an oldie but a goody. I’ve loved this game ever since I first played it so many years ago. You won’t be sorry.

Balloon Fight

You control a character with two balloons stuck to his back. You float around in the air trying to kick bad guy ass, who like you, use balloon power to float around. If they pop both your balloons, you die. When you hit your enemy’s balloon, they float to the ground with the aid of a parachute. There’s a lake at the bottom of the screen and if the enemy lands in there, usually a big fish pops up and devours them. If they hit land you have to kick their ass before they finish pumping their balloons back up and taking to the air. You can also kill them by hurting them as they float to the ground via parachute.
If you float too dangerously near the lake, the giant fish may try to devour you. Be careful because that fish has never heard of mouthwash.

Sometimes lightening, which is represented by an electrically charged dot flies around the screen. Careful cause if this touches you, you’re fried.
Now if that’s not rockin the fun outta your ears, there’s a two player mode where you go head to head with an opponent. Doesn’t get much better than RED VS BLUE!

The View Ahead: DS in '08

The year 2008 is on deck and pinky swears to add another banner to the DS's rafters. I've taken a sneak peek at the menu and it's making my pie hole water in anticipation. Here's what's going to be weighing down my plate at the buffet: all guaranteed BUYS! Don't wait for the reviews or even the previews; preorder today!

Advance Wars: Days of Ruin

Can. Not. Wait. A darker style this round for Advance Wars. Some are complaining but I'm open to new art as long as the gameplay stays relatively the same. New units and officers please. Apparently the Dual Strike powers are gone and replaced with a new system. That may or may not be a downer but it's definitely not a deal breaker. This game is a must. Should be dropping into your hot little hands sometime in early January.

Nanostray 2

Follow up to Nanostray obviously. The original was a great rail shooter at a good price. I'm more than willing to give this a shot sight unseen.

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

I'll have to wipe the drool from my mouth before I can write about this title. First in a trilogy of Professor Layton carts, the Curious Village also serves as the North American debut of this franchise. The game is an adverturer that requires the user to solve puzzles to move forward. Players can download new puzzles from Nintendo's Wi-Fi service to keep the game fresh. Can't wait.

Super Dodge Ball Brawlers

Remember Super Dodge Ball on the NES and GBA? Well it's back; in DS form. This should be a pixel painted blast. The game will support 8 players.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game

I've been dying for a new Ghostbusters games since my C64 games. Guess I can wait a little longer.

Bob Ross: The Joy of Painting

Do you want to put some little trees there by the pond? Let's put some nice clouds over here. Great, great. Even if this ends up being pure junk I'd still buy it as long as Bob is on the cover.

Indiana Jones (Title TBA)

Two Indy titles expected this year. Lego Indiana Jones and an offering from LucasArts. It's mainly the latter I'm interested in right now. I'm hoping it ends up being like the old school adventure games that LucasArts used to put out like Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis.

Codename: Panzers

Sequel to Panzer Tactics. More missions, more units, more officers, more wasted days and nights.

Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney 4

In a stunning turn of events Apollo Justice takes over from Phoenix Wright. I will buy this but to be fair I wouldn't have added it to this list as something I was especially looking forward to. That said, I didn't want to be buried in complaints from the fanboys.


I've no information on this. I'm adding it to this list as something I'd like to see. This is the fourth year of DS and seems a bit late in the game without an F-Zero title. Come on.

Wii Connectivity

From what I read Nintendo has only scratched the surface of Wii-DS connectivity. Can't wait to see what they've cooked up. Some of the rumors are pretty out there like the new GBA/DS download service and official DS flashcard. The service will be set up in parallel to the Wii Virtual Console. If that's true I'm going to have to wrap my head in plastic bags to make sure it doesn't explode. What we will see for sure is a raft of games that allow you to transfer content between the Wii and DS. Animal Crossing Wii is scheduled sometime in the next four quarters and I can't wait to see if my DS characters will be able to immigrate to my Wii town.

All in all, 2008 can't start soon enough. Start saving your pocket change because you're going to need it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007: Mesmerised By Caty's Nintendo DS

Christmas 2007: Mesmerised By Caty's Nintendo DS
Originally uploaded by Craig Jewell

A cute Flickr photoset of a DS Christmas.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Von Kaiser's Best of the DS 2007

The year is fast approaching its wrap party. A tsunami of titles overwhelmed the little village DS but thankfully I have a bucket and sponge and can help clean up the overflow. Let's reminisce...

The best of the best of 2007:

Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords

A strange hybrid of puzzle game and RPG that somehow works out perfectly. The kind of title that is so good that a sequel would be a disservice to the original. One of kind; let's hope it stays that way. Puzzle Quest: You are victorious!

The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass

A gimme. Come on, when would a Zelda release not make a list of the best releases of the year? The ignorami complain that Nintendo recycles titles like Zelda every couple of years but if they continue to make games this great then who cares? I'm astonished that a title based on a twenty year old franchise still manages to be fresh and fun. You have to give credit where credit is due. Phantom Hourglass picks up where Wind Waker left off and offers a brand new control scheme that is touch screen only. Easy pick for Game of the Year.

Geometry Wars: Galaxies

A port that turned a five dollar download into a full-featured time sucker. It'll leave you wanting to dust off that time machine you have out in the garage in an attempt to kill off Euclid before he can unleash the horrible destructive might of geometry.

Picross DS

A puzzler that has probably ridden more public transit than a welfare bum with a subsidized bus pass. Great fun and a relief from all the Sudoku titles pouring in.

Master of Illusion

The biggest surprise this year. A fun little gem of a game that uses the DS as your magic hat as you perform illusions for your friends and family. You'll be the hit of the party with this title in your DS. Guaranteed to make Zombie Houdini crap his pants with wonder and whimsy.

Pokemon Diamond and Pearl

The kind of game that you don't want to play too much in one sitting because then it'll be over too soon. Comfortable as a warm boot, Pokemon is your best friend on the subway from the job you hate back to your apartment on W63rd. "My Pokeymans; let me show you them." has turned into something of a gentle mock but it'll become your catchphrase in all sincerity after capturing a few Pokemon and stuffing them into their Pokeballs.

Contra 4

The Return of a Legend. I'm not going to write any more on this. Don't be dumb. It's Contra. 4.

Hotel Dusk: Room 215

This one squeaked in with a January release date. Hotel Dusk is one of the most stylish adventure games I've ever played. Beautiful pencil sketch graphics paired with an atmospheric soundtrack captures a pulp novel from the 40s but is, for whatever reason, set in the 70s. Gorgeous. If Geometry Wars is the girl you want to date, Hotel Dusk is the woman you want to marry.

Panzer Tactics DS

An impressive WWII strategy title with over 150 units and a depth of gameplay that will make you think even the bottomless pit can't be this deep. Some might compare this title to Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Not me though. Dual Strike is the better game overall and one of the best franchises Nintendo holds. Still lots of room for Panzer Tactics however. Can I just say again that Advance Wars is the best? I only wish it was a 2007 release so I could write more about Advance Wars: Dual Strike. Unfortunately it was an '05 release so I'll just have to leave it at buy Advance Wars: Dual Strike right now. Even if you already own it.

Biggest Disappointment

Spelling Challenges and More! Absolute garbage. I wish I knew that the "and More" referred to a bowlful of cold diarrhea before I laid out 30 clams on this title that can most charitably be called "broken."

Runner-up: Having no luck when it came to setting up SvSIP Such a tantalizing proposition; use your DS as a telephone. Why won't you work for me?

Best Homebrew

Colors! It'll hold you nicely until Bob Ross' Joy of Painting is released in 2008.

Best Accessory

Nintendo Headset

No longer do I have to shout "BLUE" into my DS's built in mic when playing Brain Age. Nice design too.


Finally, an emotional goodbye to my original DS; a piano black unit I bought used at 1UP in March. After 240 consecutive days and 1000 hours of playtime its trigger were broken and the touchscreen felt like a sandbox under my stylus. I traded it in for $75 and used that towards a brand new polar white unit. I'll miss you John M! You served me well.

Nintendo makes one little girl's Christmas extra-special

"Everyone likes an uplifting story during the holidays, don't they? Heck, we like to read or hear about them any chance we get. And this story is no different, as one little girl in Australia suffering from arthrogryposis, a degenerative muscle disease, recently got a wonderful gift from Nintendo."

read more | digg story

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas from Von Kaiser and the Vanilla Assassin

Von Kaiser and the Vanilla Assassin want to wish a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night! Gloria in excélsis Deo!

World Series of Poker 2008: Battle for the Bracelets

Ever since "Rounders" I've enjoyed poker and specifically Texas Hold 'Em, by watching it on TV, reading about it, and playing video game versions.

I'm not sure why but most poker video games I've played have been lacking something. Some don't include avatars, some have crummy AI, some don't allow you to skip all the animations after you've folded pre-flop; one I played didn't allow a player to go "all in!" This is the first poker title that's been able to keep my interest for more than a couple of days.

This title includes tons of licensed players including Phil "The Brat" Hellmuth, loads and loads of statistical features, nice artwork (I love how this game deals your cards face down and you have to "peek" at them unlike every other game I've played that deals your cards face up. Nice detail.) and an amazing career mode that really captures the climb to the top. Also included is a heads up ladder challenge and cash games that pop up from time to time. You're informed of the cash games by a call on your cellphone. The title also features some nice full motion video of venues in Vegas in the cut scenes. Nice stuff that really adds to the immersion.

The statistics and tools that are included are really top notch and could easily serve as a training program for an aspiring player. You can quickly check the hand odds, the percentage of hands you've folded pre-flop, the cost odds of the pot and everything else they flash on the screen during a televised WSOP match. Play enough and soon this stuff is really going to stick. I just wonder if the screens could have been better utilized to allow me to have these stats up top during a match.

The only gripe I have about the game is the title. I know that the World Champ of Poker receives a bracelet but if I were WSOP I'd either downplay that little fact or just come up with a better jewellery-themed trophy. How about a ring guys? Works for every other championship. My point is how many guys want to battle for a bracelet?

No wi-fi and the multiplayer requires a cart per player and supports up to nine players.

Personally, this is my pick for the best poker title on the DS but I'm sure this won't be the last poker title either.

I can't give this game a buy rating because it's for poker fans, and more specifically Texas Hold 'Em fans, only. Others are going to be hurting for wi-fi. Finally, you can't save mid-game so you have to finish a whole match first which can take an hour or more easily. So overall, this is a "hold."

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Hood episode 3 Peachee Menace

Last time on The Hood....

Rev's innocent idea to invite a neighbour may have become a catastrophic mistake. Suri and Biff visited the Hood. But once they left, Rev found that his townman "Chief the fox" was swooning over Suri. At one point looked up to the sky and beautiful hearts floated out of his head after mentioning Suri's name.
Call it a coincidence, but after Suri left, Victoria the Horse packed up her things and left for Peachee. Rev could not change her mind into staying.

Knocking on his friend "Bill the Duck's" door, Rev noticed Bills boxes were packed up. After throwing up in the patch of pansies, Rev asked Bill why he's leaving. Bill replied that he had alot of fun in the Hood but his training has taken him to the next level and he has to leave. BUT! Suddenly to his fright, Bill realizes that he had lost his passport and decides to cut the conversation short.

Pango, the Hood's newest citizen from Juniper, shares a note with Rev. It was from Biff. But Pango tells Rev that unless a note is like a charging bull or fully action packed, then notes are useless.

After reading a note from Rev, Mitzi decides to confront her admirer about it. She explains to Rev that writing her notes that she can't understand, makes her sad. In an angry fit Rev picked up his rod and went fishing. Slamming the door behind him, pondering what Mitzi had told him.

Tune in next time for the next episode of the Hood

Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

Being totally absorbed by the game Animal Crossing Wild World for the DS, i did realize that there are other games for the pocket console. So i decided to try my hand at SEA MONSTERS A PREHISTORIC ADVENTURE. Personally i wish this game was fossilized, never to be played again. I would have had more fun picking up a fossil and tossing it against an Xbox.

On the package there's a comment stating "Experience the adventure of the giant screen film". I experienced something, but what that was i don't know. Maybe a sense of sadness. I wanted to like this game. I wanted to be a sea monster and swim around a prehistoric ocean. Cool concept.

I'm not a huge graphics guy. I believe in my heart that if a game is fun, graphics don't matter a whole bunch. Problem was, the graphics are crap and the fun is lacking. I played for about 20 minutes and then shut it off.

I really hated when i swam against a land mass, it seemed as though i went through the land mass and back into the water. Kind of like the game couldn't differentiate between the land and water. I know that there's a nerd term for this, which i don't know.

This game had potential. But it just bombed.

I highly advise you not to BUY this game. Don't even pick it up to look at the description on the back.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Animal Crossing: The Movie Trailer

Animal Crossing Cosplayers

Found this great image of Animal Crossing cosplayers at

The Office theme done in Mario Paint

Friday, December 21, 2007

Last minute DS help for Moms and Grandmoms

Still a few days left before Christmas.

I'm sure there are a few folks out there who are still entirely confused by their children's requests for a "Dee-Ess" and "the game with the little animals that talk." With that in mind, here is a quick roundup of what it is your kids are asking you for.

1. Nintendo DS. Nintendo's newest handheld. It has two screens (one of which is touch sensitive), a built in microphone, built in WiFi, and comes in Arctic White, Onyx Black, Crimson and Onyx, Coral Pink, Gold (available in the Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass bundle only), and Silver (available in the Nintendogs bundle only.) If your kids are asking for blue or metallic rose be aware they're offerings available in Japan only.

Your kids may refer to it as the DS Lite. They're all "Lite" now so don't even worry about it. It's just a thinner version of the original. They play the same games; don't worry.

The DS will also play most of the older Gameboy Games that your children have lying around. You don't need to buy anything extra for that to work. There's a second slot on the bottom of the unit that takes those older cartridges.

Everything you need is in the box. Except for a game.

The DS doesn't come with a game unless you buy one of the above mentioned "bundles."

2. The games

Here's a list of the most popular games for the DS and how your kids are probably describing it to you:

  • The Legend of Zelda: The Phantom Hourglass "Zelda."
  • Animal Crossing: Wide World "The one where the little animals are friends."
  • Nintendogs "The one where you get a dog."
  • Pokemon (Diamond and Pearl) (Both games are virtually the same. You only need one or the other) "Pokeymans!"
  • The New Super Mario Brothers "Mario."
  • Mario Kart "Mario."
  • Mario Party "Mario."
  • Master of Illusion "The magic game."
  • Brain Age 2 "The brain game" or the "learning game."
  • Tony Hawk's Proving Ground "Tony Hawk's skating game" or the "skating game."
There are loads more titles that you may be asked for. I kept my list to the 10 most common and the 10 that are suitable for almost everyone. If you find yourself stumped, shoot me an e-mail and I'm sure I can sort it out for you and save you the embarrassment of asking at Gamestop or EB.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Hood Episode 2

Sorry about the lack of regular game reviews. I'm just totally hooked to Animal Crossing. Without any further stalling.......

Last time on "The Hood"

Rev can't make heads or tails of Mitzi's feelings. Rev's gut feeling tells him that Mitzi might be sweet on Jeremiah. This won't pose much of a problem because Rev swares that Jeremiah is pink. On a few separate occassions Jeremiah has made slight advances towards Rev. Asking him which side of his face looks best and then commenting on Rev's face. Or when Jeremiah told Rev that he likes him but then quickly changed topics "I.....". On another occassion Jeremiah asks Rev what he's doing at his house so late.
But, you never know as Jeremiah and Mitzi are both in the same cookingclass and you know what they say "cooking makes people hungry". But why did Mitzi give Rev a picture of herself?

Rev is having difficulty paying off his next mortgage so he reorts to planting turnips which he purchased from old Joan.

Elvis, for no real reason just packed up his bags and left town. Which is no biggie as Rev didn't care much for Elvis. Also Victoria has threatened to leave. But Rev is doing everything in his power to keep her from she leaving? The only reason Rev can come up with is the time he went to Bill the Duck's house. Bill asked Rev if this 8ball shirt belongs to him.
But as Rev thought for a moment, he remembered that Victoria wears the 8ball shirt and when he confronted Victoria, she was actually wearing a different shirt.

Rev joined the fishing tourney on Sunday but came in second being beaten out by Chief.

Tune in Next time for More episodes of The Hood.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007 Video Game Awards

What do you get when you mix together nerds, rockers, Hollywood, hippies, and 1-800-XXX staff members into an auditorium? A total waste of my time.
Did anybody watch the 2007 Video Game Awards about a week ago? I could barely even get through half of the show. The show was awful. All the presenters seemed so fake. As if they were forced to be there. I know that the show was supposed to be “cool” but the vibe I got off the show was low budget, the look of the show seemed low budget. To me it seemed like a really bad Canadian skit type show. I found it funny how the rockers and Hollywood members were supposed to add "coolness" to the show and then really nerdy winners trying to be all "hip"went up to accept the really awful award.
By the way, what was the award? Was it a monkey with a cigar in it’s mouth?
If you want to make the award show something “good”, give the winners a real award. I’d be happier accepting a used urinal.
Samuel L Jackson’s slight jab at Miyamoto was pretty lame. He was wondering if Miyamoto was smoking something when he conjured up the idea about a plumber flying around in space. I’d like to ask Jackson how many happy pills he was on when he accepted the role in the movie, “Snakes on a plane”.
Anyway, to make this article short…I thought the Video Game Award show, was utterly crap.

Seeya next time.

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Hey, hey Nintendo fanatics...
Vanilla Assassin here,

Included in my top 10 games ever would be Super Nintendo’s, “Pocky and Rocky 2”. I’ve always wondered what happened to Pocky and Rocky after their fighting adventures. I know they did some fighting for the GAMEBOY ADVANCE, but then what?

Since playing Animal Crossing for Nintendo DS, I think I found Rocky. I could be wrong but I think that he changed his name to Tom and opened up a store. He’s now living the quiet and peaceful and sneaky merchant life in Animal Crossing.

The similarities between Tom and Rocky could be that they’re both raccoons. BUT! Take a closer look….if you have to fight giant trolls and ghostly babies and other such fantastic creatures, as Rocky did in his adventures, you have to be tough and angry. Tom Nook seems tough and angry to me at times.
Although Tom Nook may seem to be a rip off merchant, I do get the sense that he wants to see you succeed.

In the Pocky and Rocky adventures, Rocky was quite loyal and helpful to Pocky.
Finally, what is the logo that Tom Nook uses for his store? It’s a leaf with a piece cut out of it’s side. In the Pocky and Rocky adventures, what was Rocky’s favourite weapon? A leaf which he tossed at enemies, inflicting certain death.

So I rest my case for now. Rocky and Tom Nook could very well be the same raccoon. Or, if not the same raccoon, then they could very well be related.

If you have any clues which support or disprove my claim, please post here. I’d love to read what you think.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wii Dual Charge Station AC

Wii fans, here’s some advice from good old Vanilla Assassin. Instead of going out and purchasing rechargeable batteries for your Wii Remotes, go out and buy yourself the Wii Dual Charge Station.
The difference in price is only about five or six dollars but with the station you not only get the two batteries but also the charging station.
I found that the WDCS juices up my Wii remotes quite quickly and the red and blue light indicators make it look a lot more fun.

This is a definite BUY.

Virtual Console Update for US Brings Gifting Feature

Pokemon Snap, Ghosts' Goblins, and Baseball Stars 2 released on VC along with Gifting Feature.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Animal Crossing: Wild World Thread

Feel free to post friend codes, information, tips, and anything else related to Animal Crossing: Wild World.

Von Kaiser FC: 3222-4143-1996

Monday, December 10, 2007

THE HOOD episode1 Courtesy of ANIMAL CROSSING

Previously on THE HOOD:

Rev cabs it over to a quaint town named THE HOOD. Here he was put up in a house owned by Tom Nook, the town shop owner. Moneyless, Rev was soon hired on by Tom to do odd jobs. Tired and taken advantage of by the sneaky raccoon, Rev soon dislikes Tom and when Tom asks Rev to make a sign for him, Rev posts a harsh note on the town bulletin board claiming Tom to be a slave driver and that Tom has beakfarts for sale which Tom has not gotten wind of.
Accomplishing all the tasks set out for him by Tom, Revbecomes aquainted with the town locals. He meets two townspeople "Mitzi" and "Opal" who seem to grow fond of him. Rev grows attached to Mitzi who in turn seems to have a thing for "Bill" her neighbour. While Opal tries to no avail to go out with Rev.
Rev decides to grow an orange orchard, goes on fishing expeditions and collects sea creatures washed up on the beach, finds a fossil worth over 4 grand and soon makes enough money to pay off his mortgage, unforeseen by Rev the sneaky Tom Nook decides to build an add on to Rev's house. After a few moments of a yes and no game, Rev is pressured into having this addition built and both parties agree on a Hot Pink roof.
Among the before mentioned townsfolk are Jeremiah and Chief. Chief seems to be mysterious and wants nothing to do with a friendship with Rev. A sneaky crook named Red, has also set up camp in The Hood. He claims to be a merchant but Rev soon realises that Red's products are Hot.
Stay tuned for Episode 2 of THE HOOD!

Disconnected players will be replaced with CPU bots

Smash Bros. Brawl will replace players who get disconnected or exit early from online matches with computer-controlled bots to prevent a match from ending or becoming unbalanced.

read more | digg story

Animal Crossing Wild World Nintendo DS

Hey there, Vanilla Assassin here,

I know, many of you have already played this game but there are many of those who havn't.

I have always meant to pickup "Animal Crossing Wild World" for the DS but i never got around to it.

I finally gave in on the weekend and picked up a copy.

What do i think of this game? I think that it's one of the best damn games i have ever played. Not since the hay day of Civilization have i been so addicted to a game.

The premise is simple. You arrive at your town via a taxi cab and are shown to your home, owned by the sneaky shop keeper, Tom Nook. You must pay a mortgage to Tom. That’s really about it. Basically, it's a life simulation game.
To make money you can do things like collect items such as sea shells or oranges or go fishing and catch fish etc and sell these items to Tom Nook. You can also do jobs for the villagers.
During the game you can buy accessories and decorate your house or design your own clothing.
You can also leave your town and visit your friend’s towns via wireless. The game uses your DS's onboard clock to keep track of real time. Therefore if it's december 1, 2007 2:02pm in real life then it's December 1, 2007 2:02pm in the game.
Although the game sounds simple. There are so many different things you can do that will keep you coming back for more.
This game is highly addictive. I’ve been playing it non stop. If you’re looking for a totally fun game for your DS, don’t hesitate to Buy Animal Crossing Wild World.
Move over archaic idea of virtual reality. Animal Crossing is here!
Buy Buy Buy!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

What makes a gamer Hardcore? It's not what you think.

You hear about hardcore gamers a lot these days but what constitutes a hardcore gamer exactly? Who can claim to be one?

If you scan the online gaming forums most people who claim to be hardcore games appear to be fans of the Xbox or PlayStation brands. They love FPSs (Halo in particular), sports titles, and any game appearing on Gamestop's top 10 sellers list or Spike's Video Game Awards show.

In contrast, the casual gamer is normally characterized as someone who loves Nintendo, Mario, and what are perceived as “children's games.”

I would put myself among the second group but I consider myself a hardcore gamer; more so than those who identify with the first group of gamers. I think a hardcore gamer has to meet the following conditions: he has to play a wide range of games, he has to at least be open to different types of gameplay, he has to seek out unusual titles, and he has to log the hours.

If a gamer is not playing a wide range of games and experiencing different genres, I don't think he can be described as hardcore. I recently saw the latest PS3 advertisement on television, Universe of Entertainment. Admittedly, this is the cut-for-television version of the commercial but what they decided to include in the edit is interesting. It seems that the spot spends a lot of time on an image of the PS3 bristling with pistols, knives, machine guns, and fists. The ad cuts to images from Drake's Fortune where the protagonist is firing a shotgun. Then a cut to Heavenly Sword where Nariko is shown swinging her blades around her body. Another cut to the console with the blades wrapping around it. Then some Warhawk imagery. More guns blazing. The spot drips with violent content. I don't have a problem with violent video games. It offends my sensibility as a hardcore gamer however to see the same type of game showcased over and over. Kill the enemy, kill your opponent, kill the monster. Kill me. It's so boring. Isn't there another type of game available for the PS3? The irony is that Sony is trying to appeal to the hardcore gamer with ads like this. Sony subscribes to the popular notion that hardcoreness is measured by love of violent games. But what's hardcore about sticking to a single genre? What about broadening your horizons a little? (As an aside, check out my list of favorite video games. They span 3 decades, multiple platforms, and most genres. At the very least, you'll get a smile or two remembering a game you've long forgotten about.)

If you aren't at least open to different types of gameplay you ain't hardcore. I'd go further though. A true hardcore gamer will not only be open but will seek out new experiences. Approach a group of college gamers playing Halo on-line and you may think that's the image of the hardcore gamer. However, show them a copy of Cooking Mama for the DS and ask if they'd like to play. What do you suppose their reaction would be? You'd likely receive a big horse laugh for your troubles. But why? As a hardcore gamer I was excited to first read about Cooking Mama. It was a title unlike any I had ever heard of before. After 25 years of playing video games those kind of surprises are few and far between. Of course I was eager to try it. What true gamer wouldn't?

Of course, because those experiences are getting rarer and rarer that means I have to try and find games that push the envelope and try to come up with something new. I used to enjoy music and bought a lot of CDs. I even got myself a job in a record store. I quickly came to the point where I had already heard all the hits, the classics; the history of 20th century pop music. Where to go now? I began to read every music related magazine and website I could find. I went to record shows. I bought tickets to see bands I had never heard of. I was trying to find something. Something new, something different, something I hadn't heard before. I still kept tabs on what was happening in the mainstream. It's not hard to check the charts and grab a few titles but that's going to get old real fast. It's the same with games. While most so-called hardcore gamers are content to wait for the new Madden or to buy the games getting a 9 on Metacritic (When was the last time Yahtzee reviewed a game that wasn't already a best seller?), the actual hardcore gamers are importing games from Japan, learning to read Japanese menus, paying for shipping for European releases just so they can be the first to try a new title. As a fan, I put in the hours for my love of gaming.

You have to spend a lot of time if you want to be a hardcore gamer. You need to read the literature--even if it's not in your native language--download the demos, and you've got to play the games. Most gamers who claim to be hardcore look at gaming as something to kill some time when the opportunity presents itself or when friends come over. On the other hand, I play when I wake up, in the bath, on the bus, on my lunch break, before I go to bed.

In sum, it's not the Halo-loving, Dew-drinking, high-fiving, Madden-upgrading jock that is the hardcore gamer. The hardcore gamer is closer to a geek. He is cross-platform, cross-genre, equally skilled with an analog stick or WASD, lives and breathes gaming (not just Halo) and knows a lot about his passion.

I own a Wii, I play Cooking Mama, and I'm hardcore.

It's a Wonderful World (outside of Japan)

Created by the same team that brought us Kingdom Hearts, It's a Wonderful World (renamed to The World Ends with You for other territories) is releasing outside of Japan in the spring of 2008.

read more | digg story

Mario Galaxy Director: How I Sneak Stories Past Miyamoto

Shigeru Miyamoto really doesn't like having too many story elements in Nintendo's games. But the director of Super Mario Galaxy loves them, and tells Wired about how he snuck them in to Mario and Zelda games for years.

read more | digg story

Guitar Hero III for Wii "mono" fix to be available in 2008

Activision has acknowledged the "mono only" sound bug in Guitar Hero III for the Wii and will fix it in future versions of the game. They expect to have re-mastered discs available by early 2008 and will be offering existing consumers replacement discs at no cost once they become available.

read more | digg story

Nintendo decides to pull Wii ads

Seems that Nintendo is pulling ads for Wii because consumers are frustrated that they can't find any consoles in stores. Personally, I wonder why they don't cancel the Mall Tour as well. That's a real tease. Wii ads are being replaced by a DS campaign. Shortages of the hand held are not as severe.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The 1 to 10 scale is broken or Why I hate the number 7.

Welcome to Leave Luck to Us. Here we rate video games. But we don't rate them from 1-10. We rate them a different way but more on that later.

Whether it's women, restaurants, movies, one-liners, or video games; I've never liked the idea of rating things on a scale of 1-10. It seems to me that asking someone to rate something on a gamut more often than not turns into "Pick a number from 1-10 that's higher than 5."

It's not natural. When riffing with your friends on the latest RPG seldom does your friend comment on the 1-10ness of it. Rather, he'll comment on whether it's good or bad. Buy or sell. See or skip. Yes or no.

So why do most sites rate games numerically and how useful is the scale? How honest are the reviews?

I guess sites rate games with a number because they think that's what their readers want. To be fair, it is a convenient way to quickly encapsulate a review. But it's my opinion that therein lies a problem: It's too easy to wrap a review—whether it's positive or negative—in a 6 or 7 rating. Putting it into a box with a number on it can disguise a lot of what the author may really mean. For example, the writer may complain about control issues, audio problems, and inferior graphics. However, at the end of the review you may be surprised that the game has been issued a 7/10.

This way the writer can have it both ways: he isn't a fan of the game but a 7 means it's still playable for most of his audience. He's neither right nor wrong. If the author manned up and rated it an honest 3 he'll be bombarded with complaints from fans of the game. Now if a fan approaches him, he can say “Look. I gave it a 7. That means it's a decent title.” Conversely, if a critic of the game approaches him he can respond. “Yeah. That's why I only gave it a 7.” So my theory is that a rating of 7 is meaningless and has replaced 5 as the new average.

I wondered if I could somehow prove that 7 has become the new average and settled upon the following methodology:

I went to for my dataset. I chose to look at PS2 games because I felt that the number of reviews would provide a fair test. Also, these reviews would span from system launch to system retirement and that should serve to flatten out any personal feelings people may have held about the system.

IGN allows users to select games with a given rating rounded down to the nearest whole number. I simply counted each title found under each rating. (IGN actually scores games to within 0.1 accuracy. I've discarded the decimals and scored the games as whole numbers. For example, 4.2 becomes a 4. It might be interesting to further break down the scores to include the decimals. I wonder if they would follow a normal distribution or IGN's curve. We'll leave that one to the chaos mathematicians.)

After counting all of the scores I was able to create the following graph:

The red bars indicate scores given to games while the black curve approximates a "normal distribution"; a bell curve.

In any healthy population you'd expect the black curve but IGN's scores appear quite skewed to the right side of the graph. In fact, it seems that "7" is the actual peak of the graph. Much as what I expected to find.

Basically, this graph shows that 7 is indeed the new average. I believe it's because, as mentioned earlier, a 7 is a nice “safe” score to give a game if a writer doesn't want to be too committal.

I started examining this issue in response to the recent controversy regarding the recent firing of Jeff Gerstmann from Gamespot allegedly for scoring Kane & Lynch a 6. Had he scored it a 7 he probably would have protected himself from much of the fallout.

At any rate, I have decided on a new system for rating games: Buy, Hold, and Sell. It's the same rating system investors use when evaluating stocks. It's honest, natural, compact, and tells you everything you need to know in a easily digested nugget. It also eliminates much of the infighting between fans because a game they like “only” scored an 8.8. It's also harder to gloss over bad reviews with a middling score. With only three available ratings—not including the qualifier “strong” as in a “strong buy”—an editor is forced to be more honest. No longer can he hide behind a meaningless 6 or 7.


Old School

Penny Arcade makes a comment on the wide appeal of the DS in this comic strip. This is something I've seen with my own eyes. Just the other day an elderly lady was shoulder surfing me on the bus while I was playing DS. She instantly recognized Tetris and asked how much a DS might cost. She inquired where she could get one. I told her about a couple of places in the mall she could try and off she went.

Homebrew games turn wifi signals into game elements

Couple of interesting homebrew games for the DS to report on. Jazzbox turns ambient wifi signals into jazz while Wardrive turns signals into enemies you have to defeat with the stylus. Might be worth a download.

Samba de Amigo for Wii?

Can it be true? My favorite game I've never played being released for the Wii? I had a Dreamcast but missed out on this game and didn't want to pay the eBay premium to get a copy. No maraca controllers but I'll take what I can get. It's all about the gameplay anyway.

Wireless Nunchuk

Wireless nunchuk for Wii has been announced. Only issue is it's third party. Meh. I'll wait for a first party solution.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pororon! Dokomodake DS

Dear Anybody,

If anybody would buy me this game, i would be eternally thankful. Even if you are an Xbox fan sending it to me.

With great Love,

Vanilla Assassin

Pororon! Dokomodake DS. Now this is a game to look out for on the Nintendo DS. It's a puzzle game which looks deliciously fun! I've never played Pororon Dokomodake, so i can't advise you on buying it or not. But like i said, it looks deliciously fun.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Rampage Total Destruction

I’ve known the Rampage series from my early years as a gamer. I have always had a sort of like/dislike relationship with it for as long as I can remember. I mean, it’s a good game if you want to spend an hour causing mayhem.

As a monster, you destroy city after city. It’s fun eating people and tossing cars around.
In Rampage Total Destruction, you are given a task before each board. For example, eating 10 mimes, or on another board eating 10 cops or snack on skaters.
You can also learn different moves like spinning around like a helicopter propeller while trying to aim your fists at an object and destroying it. Or there’s a super jump you can learn If you want to soar through the sky. There’s also a lot more choice in monsters.
The cool part is the Wii controls. One example being if you want to grab an object, swing the Wii controller down in the direction of the object. It kind of feels like you're reaching down with your hand.
If you love the previous Rampage games or want cheap therapy sessions
You’ll like this one. For me, this game borders on fun and basically doing the same thing over and over it's somewhat repetitive and quickly falls into the danger zone of becoming boring. Now if you had multiple players goin at it, it would be a pretty cool party game.
If you can find a used copy at a cheap price, then I say buy it. Otherwise I have to say hold off on this purchase, and borrow it from a friend or if you can’t find a friend or if you can’t find a friend with this game then rent it.
Take a hold on this game.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

NBA Live 08

Hello all.
For the last few years I’ve had to listen to how awesome Xbox is and how awesome Play Station is.
Let me tell you something Jr. Watching a realistic drop of sweat roll down an athlete’s face in a video game, doesn’t make those systems awesome. Fine, a realistic droplet of sweat might be good as a pop for a few moments, but not for the long term.
I find that when “Nintendo-ITES” back an Xbox slave or a play station drone into a corner they try defending their system by saying how great the graphics are. Let me learn you something, Jack….graphics ain’t shit if the whole package isn’t there. You don‘t hook up with someone long term solely on good looks. If you do, you’re probably a shallow person.
NBA 08 for the Wii has good graphics. They may not be super duper but they are good. They are advanced enough. Mix in the “funness” that the Wii controls bring to this game and you have a Wii version of NBA 08 that’s great. I’m not a huge basketball fan but I found myself playing this game all night and I would have loved to play more if my eyes weren’t tired as hell. The soundtrack which includes Timbaland’s “The way I are” fits great. The game is pure fun. Passing, Especially when you have a buddy playing with you.
If you own a Wii, and are a basketball fan, or if you like sports games in general grab this game.


New domain name

Switch your bookmarks everyone! You can now access our blog at!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Ghostbusters for DS will play a little differently

The recently announced Ghostbusters game will be released for all the majors sometime next year. The interesting news is that the DS version will play a little differently. Seems the DS version will focus more on the management of a Ghostbusters franchise. I think I just peed a little.

Nintendo cares about its fans.

Over the last month here is a list of things that Nintendo shipped me absolutely free:

  • 2 Wii Remote clear plastic sleeves.
  • 2 Wii Remote wrist strap upgrades.
  • 1 box of 7 colored styluses for Nintendo DS.
  • 1 feather-shaped Legend of Zelda stylus for Nintendo DS.

They didn't even charge for shipping. What do you figure the other console makers are giving out? Oh, that's right. NOT A DAMN THING!

Nintendo: Now you're playing with power. And a bunch of free stuff too.

Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land

If you want to play Tingle's Rosy Rupee Land you're going to have to pony up the bucks to import it. You're never going to see a North American release for this title. Nintendo felt that the foppish Tingle was too "dandy" for North American fans. Their loss. There's the Japanese version and, thankfully, a Euro release that includes English menus and dialogue.

The best thing about this game is it teaches kids that money equals life. You don't have any cash, you die. Seriously, you life bar is the same as your rupee balance. You can imagine how crazy this makes game play. When you need something, like a map, or a bodyguard (Tingle can't punch his way out of a paper bag) you need to spend your VERY SOUL to get it. Worse, the prices are all negotiated! You may offer some cash and if it's not enough, not only do you not get what you need but you lose the cash you offered too! So if I want to buy an apple the storekeeper will ask "What do you think an apple is worth?" If you offer 20 rupees dude might say "That's not nearly enough." and you're out of luck and, ultimately, life points. It's pretty stressful. Some townspeople won't even talk to you without greasing their palms.

Funnier is when you do right by someone and they offer you a reward. They ask you what you think they should give. (You get that feeling in your gut like when your Grandma asks how much scratch you need for school supplies. You can tell her you need a Benjamin and you're happy to get it but you feel sick because dude, you just ripped off Grandma. ) Bid low and you'll get your cash but you'll be left wondering if you could have gotten more. Bid high and you get a big horse laugh and no money at all. The balance in the gameplay is near perfect as a result.

Controls are slick and make perfect use of the touch screen. Animations, backgrounds, and character design are delightful and really make for a fun experience. Sprites. Nothing wrong with that.

Play-Asia doesn't stock the Euro release so you'll have to try someone like NCX. That's who sold me mine. At around $50 it's a little more but it's definitely worth it to have Tingle in your collection.

Buy like you're underwater and there's a hot dog cart giving out free cans of air with every Looney Dog.


Shortly after I bought this I sold it for 2 DS titles. Just seemed so easy and it got boring real fast. The controls were slick I'll admit. Just tweak the graphics, rebrand this as Ghostbusters and I'm back in.



Hey, hey Nintendo fans,

What do you get when you give a game a chance because the price is low, low, even though you think there’s a good chance that the game is going to be shite? This was my experience with a certain game for the Nintendo DS. The answer to my question is….you find yourself a hidden gem. In my case this hidden gem was Polarium.
In this game, you use your stylus to make horizontal lines on the touch screen with one clean swoop. You either have to change the white blocks to black or the black blocks to white. Sound easy? Yup, it is, until you realize that there are blocks coming down from the top forcing you to speed up your color changing mission. There’s a head to head mode so that two players can battle it out.
If you’re into puzzle games such as Tetris. This game should fit your fancy.. On the other hand I’m not a huge Tetris fan but I love Polarium.
If you commute to work or school on a bus or sub and have the need to fill time instead of staring at the person across from you, I recommend grabbing up this game. You can find this game with a really cheap price tag slapped to it. But don’t let that fool ya.


Dementium: The Ward

First of all I would like to thank the site Leave Luck To Heaven for helping people on their quest to purchasing worthy games. Also, for providing me a platform to share with you, my thoughts on Nintendo DS games. I have been a fan of Nintendo since the early years and I may have been the first person to properly MOD a Super Famicom. I have helped put to rest junky consoles like Sega, Turbo GraphX 16 and Panasonic 3DO. Next hits on my list are Playstation and XBOX. This is my first review for this site and hopefully I’ll be asked back for more. Now let’s get down to business….
I'm a huge fan of being scared. I have always enjoyed my adrenaline working overtime knowing that something is about to jump out at me and try to scare me out of my own skin. Be it through horror movies, games, a sickly dog who's leash is never attached to it's neck or the neighbourhood kid who gets his thrills by jumping out at passer by's from behind a tree. So when I saw the game Dementium The Ward, for the Nintendo DS, sitting on a boutique's third shelf from the top, my heart exploded into many pieces.

Could this be the creepiest game I have ever come across? I thought. Damn straight it can. The box was dark with an image of what seems to me like a face sleeping in that darkness. I guess everyone needs a break from shooting up mutants. How can this game not be creepy.So I took the game home, turned the light off in my room, Jumped onto my bed and began playing.

In the open scene you have no damn clue what's going on. Your ass is being wheeled down a hospital hallway, (in a wheel chair of course) quicker than the Xbox and Playstation 3's popularity going down the toilet.You don't know who is pushing you, I assume some half dead nurse with a bad attitude. As you're speeded down the hall you see blood and gore all over the walls, floor, and ceiling. Some freaky kid disappearing into the darkness and your heart rate meter climbing. All this to the tune of creepy whispers surrounding you until you're tossed into a bedroom.

The creatures in this game are described as grotesque surgical experiments. I don't care if their names are Larry, Mo, and Curly. As long as I can hit the power button if I get too freaked out, I'm happy.

In the game you get to collect things like a flashlight so that you can see what's lurking in the shadows. A pistol so that you can shoot those miserable creeps who love to come running at you with their insides exposed. A notepad so that you can remember things like the combination to a door. There are puzzles that you have to figure out throughout the game and a big-ass creature dawning a butcher knife and dragging a girl who looks ever so scared by the feet and disappearing behind a couple of swinging doors.

You have to use your stylus to look and the crosspad to move. The left trigger is to use your weapons or flashlight. It might just be me, but I have trouble moving and using the weaponry with my left hand. But I can get used to it.

If you're into creepy games, you're sure to like Dementium. Find yourself a dark, quiet place and turn on your DS.

A Definite Buy!

WWE Vs Raw 2008 Featuring ECW

Now don't get me wrong; I love wrestling. Especially WWE's brand of wrestling. What I don't love, is this game. I loaded up the cart, scrolled through to find Booker T, set up a match and went at it. As soon as I saw that you had to use the touch screen to gesture control the moves, I was out. Turned off the DS and walked away. I just don't have time for this title. It should have been all D-Pad and Buttons and then throw in some touch screen thumb presses for special moves and you're good to go. Forget this.


Name change, new contributor, and new mandate!

Leave Luck to Heaven will now be known as Leave Luck to Us to reflect our new contributing editor the Vanilla Assassin! Watch for his first review coming soon!

We'll also be expanding our coverage to all things Nintendo!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Master of Illusion

Hahahaha. I love this game. I actually imported the Japanese version of this game "Magic Taizen" about a year ago through Play-Asia. It was cheap and I wanted the deck of cards the game came with. I figured that the Ace of Spaces with Nintendo on the front would make a cool convo piece considering that Nintendo started as a manufacturer of playing cards back in the 1800s. I couldn't make heads or tails of the gameplay so I put it away.

I would have bet money that this would never be released here but it was. Now that I have it and get to play it I love it. It's a magic kit that uses the DS as a prop to perform tricks.

I brought this game with me the other day and showed it to some friends. What a hit. People love magic and some of these tricks are really surprising.

Please, don't buy this game. I want to be the only person to have this game. If you buy it you will learn how to do the tricks too and I would hate that. I want it all for myself.

The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass

Does this game even need a review. No. No it doesn't. You want a review anyway? Fine: Zelda. Buy. Now.

Since it's Zelda though, I guess I don't mind writing something further. I guess it's like how I bought the Ultimate Collector's Strategy Guide. I don't need it, I already know everything in it but I like to look at it and think of Zelda.

Basically, the game is as near perfect as you're going to get regardless of system. The puzzles, artwork, and music in the game are absolutely beautiful.

The game picks up right where Wind Waker left off and even includes a little prologue recapping the events of that game just to get you back up to speed on what's happening.

The controls fit the game very well. Just one tip though about the sometimes hard to perform running roll: instead of drawing a circle at the screen's edge as the game instructs, instead draw a line to the edge of the screen and quickly swipe back and forth. Doing this will perform the roll everytime without fail.

There is a capture the flag style multi-player game included so there's something to do after you beat the single player story.

Strong buy.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Napoleon Dynamite: The Game

Seems a little late in the day for this game to be coming out doesn't it? Napoleon Dynamite is the kind of movie you either love or hate and the same can probably be said for this cart.

Personally, I love the movie so it was a given I'd be trying this. It's a bunch of mini-games that do a pretty good job of capturing the humor of the movie.

The games got a smile out of me and the art style--it combines collage and Napoleon's drawings--really makes this game unique. Feeding Tina some FOOD is pretty funny. Honestly though I doubt I'll be picking this up anytime again soon. I got mine as a gift and I'll be holding onto it.

A buy for Napoleon Dynamite collectors, a hold for mini-game compilation enthusiasts, and strong sell for everyone else.

Spelling Challenges and More

Epa. What a mistake. It's no co-incidence that this game's title creates the acronym "SCAM." Long story short, the game flashes the word you have to spell on the screen and then asks you to spell it. Well you just showed it to me so if I didn't know how to spell it I do now.

I kept playing thinking maybe if I got to a certain difficulty level then the game would start to say the word instead of displaying it. No luck. Guess they couldn't fit the voice files on the cart which seems strange because the announcer in the game speaks quite a bit.


Sell, sell, sell!

Panzer Tactics DS

I'm a big Advance Wars fan and I just assumed that this was going to be a letdown compared to Dual Strike. I'm pretty happy I took a chance on this title. It's very similar to Dual Strike but it actually has a lot more depth and detail. In fact, it might be a problem for some; too many variables. You've got 150 unit types, half a dozen terrain types, logistical issues like fuel and ammo, visibility, unit morale, officer effects, movement costs, weather conditions, fame points, defense bonuses; the list goes on. Did I mention 150 unit types? There's definitely a learning curve here. I still can't figure out what to use to take out those Russian KV-2s. It all makes for a very deep turn-based strategy game.

Graphics are pretty good but can be hard to decipher at first. With 150 unit types and only 50 pixels or so to render them in it can be hard to tell the difference between your Pioneres and your Fallschirmjagers at first. First thing you're going to want to do is turn off cloud effects just to clear up some of the noise on screen.

Controls are a good mix of stylus and buttons. I'd probably just use the buttons but the hex grid makes moving around the screen with the D-Pad a little less than smooth.

Wifi included but it's a bit of a chore trying to find a matchup online. You're probably best off phoning your friend beforehand to set up a match. Fortunately the single player, 30 mission campaign is more than enough to keep you occupied for months.

So glad they added a Save Anytime feature. That way I can still take this for the ride to work and pick it back up on my lunch.

A hold. See if you can borrow it from someone first to see if you'll like it. I love it but it's not for everyone.

Contra 4

I went into this knowing I would never beat this game. Didn't care. It's Contra. I bought it just so I could see the spine of the case in my collection. So far I've gotten to the second stage on Easy. Of course, since it's Contra, there are no save points so probably not the best game to bring for your morning bus ride. What can I say? Frustrating as anything but when I first saw Bill Rizer riding in on that Huey and start running through the jungle, you couldn't wipe the smile from my face.

Perfect retro look and feel is complemented by the 80s guitar driven soundtrack. Two player is here too. I haven't tried it but I'm sure it's frustrating as well. Especially on the vertically scrolling levels.

All the guns you know and love are here and are automatically upgraded on the Easy setting. Biggest complaint is that for whatever reason you can't configure the button layout! Personally I'd rather use B as my fire button and roll my thumb over Y to jump. As it stands you have to arch your thumb over Y and roll back to B to jump. It gets sticky sometimes. Would've liked to start with a bomb or two as well. And why can't I do the poses like you could in Alien Wars?

Other gripe is that apparently there are a couple of older Contra titles included on the cart but I guess you've got to unlock them first. The game delights in reminding you how hard it is so it seems a bit cruel to have to beat the game before you get the bonus content.

If you're one of those people who buys a game planning to sell it when you've beaten it then steer away from Contra 4 because you'll be holding onto this game for a long time.

Buy it because you've got to TRY DAMN IT!

Geometry Wars: Galaxies

A gem. I've been hoping for this title to be ported to the DS ever since it was released as a $5 XBLA download called Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved. Ported it was but as a bonus game attached to this game subtitled Galaxies.

That's right, where Retro Evolved was a fun little distraction for an inferior system, Galaxies has been fleshed out quite a bit. An automated, upgradeable, drone has been added along with a slew of new enemies. Also added are Geoms. Space bucks you can use to open up new systems and planets and that also serve to multiply your scores.

Beautiful to look at and tons of SHMUP action. Controls took a bit of getting used to and made me wish I could play it with dual analog sticks or a Wii Remote and Nunchuk. Minor issue though and not nearly enough to warrant passing this title up unless you have really fragile thumbs. I'm not going to lie, my little hitchhikers are really barking after playing this game for a few hours.

The closest I could get to simulating dual analog sticks was to use the control pad for movement and ABXY as a second D-Pad to shoot; just roll your thumbs over two buttons at a time to shoot diagonally.

One issue though: lag. At first I thought I had found a secret powerup that slowed down time. Then I thought, wow, I must have gotten so far in the game that I broke it! No. After a few million points and the waves of polygons start pouring from the corners you'll find the game really starts to chug. It can be kind of frustrating.

Lots of replay value for people who like to post High Scores. You can post your scores to Internet leaderboards as well. I've been playing it non-stop since release trying to up my total score and earn all the medals.

Overall, a strong Buy.

The 1 to 10 scale is broken.

Rating games between 1 and 10 is a cancer and I am the thing that beats cancer. Pure rock.

Welcome to Leave Luck to Heaven; a Nintendo DS news and review site. Leave Luck to Heaven refers to both the English translation of "Nintendo" and to your not having to choose DS games based on cover art or a 7/10 rating. My reviews are short and sweet and are based on the rating system for stocks: buy, hold, sell. I'm not going to analyze the games to death but instead I'll let you know about any major gripes I may have with the game or anything that makes the game stand out. Consider each review a one-off. That is, where some sites may always rate "Controls" or "Audio", I'll only bring it up if it needs to be brought up.

Why only DS games? I love my DS and as a DS fan I know that the library of games is getting to the point where it can only be described as overwhelming. If any system's library needed a guide, this is it. With so many games you want to be sure you're picking up the right ones for you.

On to the reviews!