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Book Review: Dark Eden

dark-eden

Author: Chris Beckett
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2012

In my home holiday time is reading time, a chance to catch up on the growing digital pile of reading material that I just kept on buying throughout the year like I had all the time in the world for leisurely pursuits. Having been blown away by Adrian Tchaikovksy’s Children of Time I decided to see if anything else on the list of Arthur C. Clarke Award winners grabbed my attention, and Dark Eden seemed like a reasonably safe bet.

And so I lost myself in another culture on a different planet for the two days that I only put this book down to sleep and make the occasional snack.

The Plot

160 years ago Angela and Tommy found themselves stuck on Eden, a sunless rogue planet, after their companions Mehmet, Michael, and Dixon attempted to make their way back to a damaged spaceship and then to Earth to call for help. But help has been very slow in arriving.

In the 160 years that have passed Angela and Tommy’s 532 descendants have developed a matriarchal society (Family) whose sole purpose is to stay close to the initial landing site where Angela and Tommy landed on Eden and to “maintain the ways of Earth” so that when help arrives from the home world they will be deserving of rescue and a place on a planet where light streams down from the sky.

John Redlantern, who recently entered his teenage years, doesn’t agree with the highly conservative teachings of Family, and knows that if it continues to grow at its current rate it will rapidly outgrow the valley it calls home and deplete its already limited food source. By going against all the wisdom and teachings handed down he will eventually break Family and commit atrocities never before seen on Eden, and in doing so hopefully ensure the survival of humans on this dark little planet.

The Writing Style

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of everything there is one issue that you should consider if you’re thinking of picking this book up, and one which many Amazon reviewers have taken exception to – the language spoken on Eden. The way in which the various characters speak is relatively unsophisticated, and admittedly takes a bit of getting used to in the first few chapters. The reason for this is that Eden was settled by two adults and their later offspring – what you essentially have is a mixed dialect based on the speech patterns and sayings of Londoners (from Angela) and Brooklynites (from Tommy) and heavily influenced by baby-speak, which in turn is being used to describe an alien world. While it takes a bit of getting used to it’s (1) entirely worthwhile because the story is amazing, and (2) lends far greater understanding later on to the way in which the characters see their world.

What I truly enjoyed about Beckett’s writing is just how simultaneously amazing and horrible Eden is. Nearly all life on the planet is bio-luminescent, including its trees, which is how humans are able to see despite the lack of a star, and most of the trees are geothermal, which keeps the planet warm enough for habitation. That covers a lot of the scientific ground, but the thought of living life in perpetual night with absolutely no chance of a sun ever rising is absolutely terrifying. Equally horrifying is the fact that all the animals on Eden have been named after an Earth equivalent. For example, leopards are known to hunt on the periphery of the area inhabited by Family – except these leopards are six-legged, furless creatures with bio-luminescent stripes, feelers around their mouths, and flat, black, unblinking eyes; the people of Eden may not know the difference, but the reader sure as hell does.

The culture and people are also incredibly well described, again in a way that is a wonder and truly horrifying. If nothing else 160 years of non-stop inbreeding has taken its toll, and its reasonably common to find adults with the mental capacity of infants. Equally problematic are genetic issues inherited from Tommy and Angela, coupled with the fact that nutrition on Eden is in short supply, resulting in numerous children being born with cleft lips and palates (‘Batfaces’) and club feet (‘Claw Feet’). Again, the people of Eden know no different, and have formed a societal hierarchy based on limited knowledge that includes and makes provision for all the members of Family while simultaneously trying to reduce the number of children born with such limitations, but for the reader it’s difficult since we understand that inbreeding is dangerous (and have enough options on Earth to avoid it), and that medical issues like a cleft lip can be easily treated.

The Feelings

What really struck me while reading Dark Eden was this sense of people being completely out-of-place. While Eden may be technically habitable it’s a world that was never meant to accommodate creatures like humans – the reader knows that, and the people of Eden know that as well. But coupled with this is the conflict that forms the crux of the entire story – do you stay in one place and hope that things will magically get better, or do you strike out and make the best of a bad situation?

What really helped in creating this sense of isolation and being out-of-place is the fact that, unlike almost all other books in this genre, Tommy and Angela were not scientists. Eden wasn’t intentionally colonised by highly skilled individuals who would know how to adapt their environment to be more suitable for human habitation – Tommy was some kind of thief and Angela was a police officer, so they have no scientific knowledge to pass onto their children and brought nothing with them to make life on Eden any easier. For example, the people of Eden have a rudimentary idea of what electricity is, but have no idea where it comes from or how to generate it because Tommy and Angela, much like most people, would have known how to use it, not how to make it. This creates a culture beholden to ideals of Earth without actually knowing exactly what those ideals are, let alone how to accomplish them.

By the author’s own admittance you could probably rip many a hole through the probability of this book, but in reality Dark Eden is more a sociological adventure than one based on hard science fiction, and I look forward to reading its sequels and seeing where this world takes me.

My Final Rating8 / 10
Buy Dark Eden at Amazon.com

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2017 in Book Review

 

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Book Review: The Man Who Came Too Much

The Man Who Came Too Much

Author: Ellie Saxx
Genre: Erotica
Published: 2012

Education, my dear reader, is the key to everything. It will lift you up, empower you in your career, and allow you to pursue those mental avenues that leave you feeling intellectually stimulated and challenged. To an extent I think that we’ve all, at some point, either taken part in, or been witness to, the size vs girth argument that has plagued men for years. This fascination and preoccupation with size and girth, however, leaves little room for considering what we as individuals would do if placed in a situation where we were being unexpectedly bukkaked by a single man. With this in mind I bravely read Ellie Saxx’s treatise The Man Who Came Too Much to see if it could shed any light on these previously unexplored avenues of thought.

The Plot

Chet Flood is a man with a unique problem (or talent, depending your personal proclivities): of average length and girth and testicles he himself describes as being the size of small lemons, he is nevertheless able to fill entire mason jars with the semen from a single ejaculation. This confused him as a teenager and later left him with visible bruising at the hands of some blonde female who really did give it the old college try, but sadly just wasn’t quite able to keep up.

As Chet comes to realise that he’s gay he also learns that men are perhaps more open-minded and willing when it comes to what he can offer in the boudoir. But love, while truly a many-splendoured thing, also takes a long time to find. Chet has to wade his way through several lovers (while the lovers wade their way through something else entirely) that treat him as either a fetish or something that will go viral on Pornhub before he meets Rodney, who takes him just as he is.

And the only way to describe the way Rodney takes it is with superhuman capability. I personally don’t know of anyone who would forego the oxygen they need to live (not in a serious way, anyway) for the dick they happen to find themselves on the other end of, but here you have it. I salute you Rodney for your ability to make industrial vacuum cleaners seem underpowered, and wish you and Chet nothing but the best for the future.

The Writing Style

Surprisingly competent.

The whole pamphlet (totalling 19 pages) is written from a first-person perspective, which isn’t the easiest thing to pull off. In this genre it’s also something incredibly rare to see people attempt, let alone master. Given the limitations of her subject matter, Ellie Sax has done a very good job here.

Whilst not necessarily a critique, anyone who reads this looking for a fetish story isn’t going to walk away feeling very satisfied. The Man Who Came Too Much is actually fairly sedate erotica with a slightly saltier ending and those of you in a kinkier mood would do best to look elsewhere.

The Feelings

Sticky and concerned.

Far be it for me to judge any person for what they deem to be sexually attractive or what they like to do/have done to them in the bedroom. That being said, I couldn’t help but feel that someone should give Chet some loving advice. Like go see a doctor. Eat less protein. Stop storing your baby juice in mason jars – that shit isn’t gonna keep. Again, not to judge, but I sure as shit wouldn’t put the milk and cheese in the fridge next to enormous containers of someone’s sperm.

If nothing else at least Chet’s helping the economy out. I can’t begin to imagine what his pineapple budget must be, but some farmers will be able to comfortably set up trust funds for their great-grandchildren if this book is anything to go by.

My Final Rating: 3 / 10
Buy The Man Who Came Too Much at Amazon.com

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Movie Review: Mine Games

Mine Games

Released: 2012
Genre: Mystery / Sci-Fi / Thriller
IMDB Rating: 5.2 / 10

Having recently acquired Netflix I have developed the rather annoying habit of spending several hours adding things to my ‘To Watch’ list and then losing all interest and returning to my seemingly never-ending Grey’s Anatomy binge. Eventually I got tired of it and swore to myself that I’d watch at least one movie in my ever-growing list, and Mine Games was what I settled on. I wouldn’t say I was pleasantly surprised but I did find it exceptionally watchable. It’s the horror fan’s equivalent of a Sunday evening chick flick.

Nothing good ever starts out this way...

Nothing good ever starts out this way…

The Plot

As I’m sure many can testify, when you finish with college all you want to do is get away and have some fun, and that’s exactly what our seven generic twenty-something college kids are going to do! Michael, Lyla, TJ, Claire, Lex, Rose and Guy are getting away from it all, escaping to the country to enjoy the rustic ambiance of their friend’s modest forest mansion. It’s going to be a trip filled with nothing but laughs, swimming, hiking, and recreational drug use (except Michael, who’s on some serious anti-psychotic medication which you, dear viewer, will be reminded about many times throughout the course of the movie), and they’re certainly not going to be put off by something minor like nearly running someone over on their way up to the mansion, crashing the van, and finding an unexpected dent and blood on the front bumper.

This excitement is only amplified by TJ’s discovery an abandoned mine during one of his morning runs, and the group simply must investigate what might be hidden beneath miles of solid dirt in said abandoned mine with no concern for their personal safety whatsoever. This is despite the fact that there is a sign across the mine’s entrance warning people not to enter, the rather ominous wording ‘Break the Cycle’ written on the mine’s outside wall, and the occultish references inscribed on the walls inside the mine. But hey ho, you only live once and all that…

It’s after they leave the mine that things start getting a little weird. Rose, the group’s resident sultry Latina and part-time medium, is starting to get rather vivid images of angry spirits running in the woods, which is very draining on her and gradually drains her of both her energy and sultry-ness. Add to that the fact that TJ, Lex and Guy have just found their own corpses in one of the rooms in the mine, and the group starts to realise that what’s going on around them may not be entirely without its supernatural overtones. Michael’s also been acting a little weird…

As Rose’s visions become more intense and her ability to gyrate her hips abandons her entirely, the group must find a way to get out of the forest, not become corpses, keep Claire from meeting a version of herself that’s locked up in the mine, and ask Michael a few more times if he’s taken his medication if they ever want to feel civilisation’s smoggy embrace again.

It's either very ominous or we'll dealing with a very emo demon...

It’s either very ominous or we’ll dealing with a very emo demon…

The Visuals

There’s not an awful lot to say here. Most likely working with a limited budget, Mine Games (and a lot of other movies could learn a thing or two here) doesn’t try to over-extend itself with special effects that it can’t achieve and which are ultimately unnecessary. The mine itself is creepy enough with enough scattered rags and empty cans to make the locale plausible, but ultimately the movie relies on the inherent creepiness of a forest at night and an abandoned mine to create tension, which works quite well.

None of the actors are going to go on to win an Academy Award but they’re all competent enough and there’s enough variety on display that at least one of them is going to visually appeal to whoever’s watching. The movie’s also quite low on gratuitous nudity, with only one naked couple in a single sex scene (who, shortly after succumbing to the very heights of passion, are violently murdered). This allow’s the movie to tick all of the necessary ‘kids in the haunted woods’ boxes while keeping the story on track without the unnecessary flaunting of breasts at every twist and turn.

When scurvy strikes...

When scurvy strikes…

The Feelings

Comfort. As I said at the beginning, Mine Games is the horror fan’s equivalent of a Sunday evening chick flick; it takes an idea that has been done many times before and does absolutely nothing to push the envelope, but within those limitations it is executed flawlessly.

Sometimes you want to watch a movie that stretches your mind to the limits, both in terms of the plot and the sheer terror that will leave your body pumped full of adrenaline for hours to come. Other times all you want is to lie in bed at 2am and let the movie gently take you wherever it wants to go without having to extend your brain beyond the command to keep your eyes open and directed at the screen. Mine Games fulfills the latter need to a T, and there’s absolutely no shame in that.

My Final Rating: 6/10
Buy Mine Games at Amazon.com

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Movie Review

 

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Book Review: Fangs, Fur and Mistletoe

Fangs, Fur and Mistletoe

Author: Selena Blake
Genre: Romance / Science Fiction
Published: 2012

Dear God, when will I learn? Normal people have a stop-gap between ‘what the hell is this?’ and ‘click to buy’ where one pauses to deliberate on the choices you are about to make. I, apparently, lack such a stop-gap, and that’s how I landed up reading Selena Blake’s debut Mystic Isle novel, Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe. I’m not romantic in the slightest, I’m fairly sure the sex described in this novel isn’t physically possible (or, at the very least, would be tremendously awkward to execute), the book decimated both established vampire and werewolf lore in the space of a few pages, and I was ultimately left with more questions than answers by the time I’d concluded its torturous 96 page length. To top it all off, because I actually finished the book, the recommended page on my Kindle is currently being blighted by others of its kind. This is where e-books fall far short of their paperback cousins – deleting a book just isn’t as effective as killing a particularly awful one with fire.

The Plot

Right out the gate I had a problem. Sometimes, when I read a book, the characters will form in my head exactly as the author described them. Other times, my mind will cross-pollute a point of reference and substitute an entirely different likeness for the one intended. Since the novel follows a black vampire named Coco, all I could conjure in my head was Coco Montrese from the 5th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and that image stuck. Not one to be defeated, I powered on. Coco and her coven of vampires (I don’t know – just run with it) are taking a week off to visit Mystic Isle, a sexual resort for paranormal beings. Coco’s just coming out of a rather tumultuous relationship and needs to be banged six ways from Sunday to feel a bit more like herself again.

Littered across this resort is a plethora of poorly constructed paranormal creatures: vampires, werewolves, demons, Adonises (apparently these are a species and not just one mythological man), fae (although not at all resembling actual fae) etc. But Coco’s eyes are drawn to only one creature – a werewolf named Grayson that she met on a battle field 100 years ago (oh yeah, werewolves are immortal now, and vampires breathe and have souls). The attraction and immeasurable horniness is instant, and the two cannot keep away from one another. What will follow is a struggle as old animosities between vampires and werewolves are laid aside, friendships are tested, relationships are formed, and Coco is violently fingered at an erotic orchestra while a randy demon looks on. Brace yourself – things are gonna get really weird really quickly.

The Writing Style

The problem with this book, and I imagine many other books in this genre, is there’s only so many ways one can describe a vagina or two people getting their rocks off. Now, bless Selena Blake for giving it her best shot, but by the time she was done describing Coco’s anatomy I had this vision in my head where all she had between her legs was a layered cake (and, as a side note, the phrase ‘nether lips’ should never, under any circumstances, be applied to any part of a woman’s person). Never mind the fact that vaginas apparently hug things or that, before sex, it’s apparently always a good idea to weigh your partner’s penis (I cannot imagine any situation where the weight of a penis would have any bearing on a sexual act). Maybe my idea of both men’s and women’s anatomy is entirely off, but I’m fairly sure that none of these things hold true in real life.

Then there’s the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to keep pace with any form of dialogue that’s taking place when Grayson isn’t pistoning Coco into a palm tree (the book’s words, not mine). This is because the characters apparently feel the need to have an entire internal monologue between every phrase they utter. At some points you need to turn back more than two pages just to remind yourself where this conversation started and where it might be going. Not that the dialogue is tremendously important since all you’re really doing is waiting for the two of them to make the beast with two backs, but those of us who can’t quite bear the notion of a 14 inch penis near us (this is an estimated measurement based on numerous paragraphs devoted to the exquisiteness of Grayson’s manhood) would appreciate some properly constructed dialogue before the floor needs to be mopped again.

The Feelings

Confusion and a complete shutdown of sexual desire. Confusion because, whilst you’re being told that two people are having sex, you can’t quite picture how it’s being accomplished. Believe me, I tried to figure it out. I even brought a female friend over and read the book to her and asked her if she knew how such things could be done – she didn’t have a damn clue either. Then there’s the fact that, for all the book is entirely devoted to non-stop rough sex and people orgasming so hard its a miracle they have any bones left, at no point is any of it actually erotic. It’s the literary equivalent of watching fat people make amateur porn on a betamax tape.

Certainly, novels like this fulfill the needs of a certain kind of reader, and given that Selena Blake is apparently a rather prolific author someone’s obviously reading and enjoying her work. How this has a 4.5 rating on Amazon is something the Good Lord only knows, but I for one will be avoiding any further jaunts on Mystic Isle. The only thing that stops me from giving it a bottom-of-the-barrel rating is the fact that I’ve read In The Velociraptor’s Nest, and even Selena Blake cannot detract from the sheer awfulness that is a Christie Sims novella.

My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy the Book at Amazon.com:
Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe (Mystic Isle, Book One)

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Book Review: Season of the Harvest

Season of the Harvest

Author: Michael R. Hicks
Genre: Science Fiction
Published: 2012

Last week, as a going away present from my former work colleagues, I was given a Kindle. To paraphrase a line from The Simpsons, I felt like Christopher Columbus – I had discovered something that millions of people already knew about before me. I couldn’t get over how amazingly easy it was to get comfortable in bed while holding it (which only served to enhance my already all-encompassing sense of laziness) and that I could even read it without my contact lenses in (even if it meant only squeezing about 3 words onto the page) – I was in literary heaven. And then I discovered that you could get books for free! My inner cheap skate went on the rampage, downloading books indiscriminately (which is how I landed up with the vampire-werewolf erotic novel Fangs, Fur and Mistletoe, but that’s a story for another day). Eventually, after I had trolled the darkest nether regions of Amazon’s free list and separated the possibly good reads from the predetermined rubbish, I decided that I should perhaps read one of the many novels I had gotten my grubby, electronic mitts on. Through a process of dropping my finger onto the screen at random I started reading Season of the Harvest, and I must say it was a pleasantly surprising read.

The Plot

The world is under attack. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t know it’s under attack, and, as a citizen of the world at large, neither does FBI agent Jack Dawson. Sheldon Crane, Jack’s best friend, has just died a rather gruesome death by vivisection in the basement of a University’s genetic research lab. The lab is owned by New Horizons, the company spear-heading progress in the development of genetically modified foods, and Sheldon had no official business being there. What starts off as a routine search into his friend’s death will lead Jack down a road to hell littered with corn kernels.

The world is under attack by aliens. Thankfully, for my tastes, these aliens are not flying around in space ships above our heads and blasting ray guns; the aliens themselves aren’t even sure how they got to be on Earth. All they know is that they have a mission to carry out – by genetically modifying the most basic food crops and then disseminating it across the planet they hope to reverse-terraform Earth so that it becomes habitable for more of their kind. They have managed to infiltrate some of the highest positions of power, and the fact that they can shape shift into any human form they like certainly doesn’t hurt their cause.

Jack, through a series of unfortunate events, lands up being conscripted into the EDS: The Earth Defence Society. Outwardly a group of crackpot alien hunters, this rather well-organised group of scientists and ex-military personnel are the only ones that know what’s going on and are the only people in a position to try and stop the creatures they call the Harvesters. Armed to the teeth with every conceivable weapon you can imagine and a backup team of several hundred cats (this becomes more important as the book progresses) they will do everything they possibly can to keep Earth for Earthlings only.

The Writing Style

I have to give Michael Hicks tremendous credit for taking two subjects, GM foods and alien invasions, that very quickly could have become overwhelmingly preachy for one and inane and absurd for the other, and bringing them together in a cohesive plot that you actually want to read.

The characters themselves are well-developed, and if you don’t like any of them in particular it’s because you don’t like that character type, rather than a failing on the author’s part. A fair amount of research has obviously gone into a number of different subject matters (at least I assume this to be the case – I personally don’t have a great working knowledge of how Cold War-era nuclear bunkers were designed or functioned) and this again helps to ground the novel in a sense of reality that could otherwise have easily been lost.

Some liberties have obviously been taken here and there to move the plot along – I don’t think (or at least hope) that invading the sovereign territory of other nations or launching an all-out nuclear war are perhaps as easy to do as the book suggests – but in the context of what’s happening it all tends to make sense and you never have to force yourself to suspend belief in order to accept the direction the narrative wants to take you in. All in all, I can’t fault the writing style.

The Feelings

Satisfaction. I don’t know about everyone else, but for me there is a tremendous sense of satisfaction that comes from reading a book that’s safe. Season of the Harvest isn’t a work of literary genius and it certainly isn’t going to redefine the canon of English literature as we know it. But that’s not a bad thing – it takes a plot that has, in some form or another, been done many times before and gives it a slightly different twist that fits in with what’s going on in the world around us today. There aren’t many tremendous plot twists and you don’t really have to exercise your brain to follow what’s going on, but it’s been written in a way that is enjoyable to read, something that not many authors get right a lot of the time.

If you like a science fiction novel that is competently written and isn’t set in some God-forsaken nebula occupied by energy beings whose names have been constructed by the author slamming his face into the keyboard to provide as many implausible letter combinations as possible, then you could do far worse than Season of the Harvest. Also, for anyone with a Kindle or the Kindle reading app, the book is free!

My Final Rating: 7 / 10
Buy the Book at Amazon.com:
Season Of The Harvest (Harvest Trilogy, Book 1)

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Game Review: Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

Wario Land_Cover

Original Release: May 13, 1994
Original Platform: Game Boy
Virtual Console Release: February 16, 2012
Price: £3.60

I must confess going into this review that this game holds a very special place in my heart. Back when I was but a wee lad who had successfully whined enough at his mother to buy him the original Game Boy (what a glorious brick of a machine it was), this was the first game I got for it.

Whilst I imagine virtually everyone who has ever played a video game has, at some point, played something starring Mario in his constant attempts to prevent Princess Peach from being kidnapped, playing as Wario is a decidedly different kettle of fish. As a kid I remember actually feeling quite naughty playing this game, as virtuous attempts to save the damsel in distress are chucked out the window in favour of pure, unadulterated greed. It appeals to me even more now as an adult as I would gladly run around an island beating up anthropomorphic ducks if it meant earning a fortune and buying my own castle. Couple that with the fact that this game, in my opinion, started one of the best platforming franchises in gaming and you have a winner on your hands!

Wario Land_LoadThe Plot

Poor Wario. After a valiant struggle against Mario at the end of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins (itself a very good game, and the reason for the ‘Super Mario Land’ title tacked on at the end of this game) Wario was ejected from the castle he stole from his nemesis and now has nowhere to live.

Like any good bad guy, however, you just can’t keep his rotund figure down for long, and Wario has an ingenious plan to get back at Mario: BUY AN EVEN BIGGER CASTLE! But he’s not going to earn the funds to do that by getting a regular 9 to 5 and resorting to efficient financial planning, oh no. Instead, Wario decides to steal an enormous statue of Princess Peach from Captain Syrup and the Brown Sugar Pirates, currently residing on Kitchen Island. Along the way he will also beat up anything he comes into contact with and steal any treasure that happens to be left lying around the island (now that, my friends, is an example of poor financial planning). Not being the most friendly chap out there he doesn’t have any friends to call on for help, but he does make the most out of some smashing hats, and that’ll get him quite far in his adventure.

Wario Land_Little Wario

The Gameplay

Wario Land has its roots in the Game Boy Mario games, as well as the larger body of Mario games on the systems of the time, and takes its cues from them, so none of the initial controls should be very difficult to master. Kitchen Island acts as the overworld which is then divided into seven worlds with multiple stages each. Each world comes with its obligatory boss who needs to be defeated before you can move on to the next world. Before that you will need to collect at least 10 coins in most of the stages in order to progress to the next one (you gotta spend money to make money, after all). It is vitally important to collect as much loot as you can in each stage, however, as the end of each stage presents you with mini games that you can play to increase your total coin stash. The more cash you have amassed at the end of the game will ultimately decide what kind of new lodging Wario gets to buy himself – after several play throughs I’ve never managed to get him anything bigger than a habitable tree trunk, but here’s hoping you can do better by him that I could.

So far as controlling Wario goes it’s all fairly simple. He walks, creeps, crawls and jumps like Mario does. The primary difference is that, unlike Mario, Wario jumping on a foe won’t kill them, but rather stun them. Most enemies can be stunned and then picked up and thrown and other enemies, making for a decidedly more brutish romp through the Mushroom Kingdom than Mario could ever hope to give you. The only flaw in Wario’s design is that he doesn’t so much jump as he floats. No man as corpulent as he is should be allowed to defy the laws of gravity in such a wanton manner. It’s by no means game breaking, and once you have gotten used to it it’s easy enough to judge where he’s going to land, but in a game that is otherwise masterfully crafted it does stand out like a bit of a sore thumb.

While Mario has his array of mushrooms, flowers, and feathers to aid him in his transformations, Wario has his aforementioned collection of stylish hats. These different hats, donned by finding different pots hidden throughout the game’s stages, allow for 3 different transformations: Bull Wario (who can shoulder charge and take out objects and enemies with greater ease), Dragon Wario (who can spit fire out of the hat’s nostrils) and Jet Wario (who can fly for short distances – although it should be noted that the author of this review in no way endorses flight that would put your neck under that much strain). Being hit by an enemy will transform him into Mini Wario, who isn’t nearly as useless as Mini Mario, and can trot into otherwise hard to reach places.

Wario Land_Jet Hat

The Feelings

How this game makes you feel ultimately depends on how dude-broish you are in your day-to-day gaming jaunts. If, like myself, there isn’t a strand of it in you you’ll probably revel in getting to be the would-be villain out for nothing but self-gain and fabulous-hat-wearing. If you like to smash beer cans against your head and chest bump because you managed to get through a stage, then you’re going to find this a bit trickier, but only because it’s difficult to hold a handheld gaming device AND smash a can against your head at the same time. Go for chest bumping, it’ll be easier.

Whatever your preference, this is a finely crafted game that goes above and beyond what you would expect from both a platformer and a Game Boy game. If you have some spare change floating around in your pocket I strongly suggest downloading this little guy and giving him a go. You haven’t lived until you’ve proudly walked through an enemy-infested beach billowing fire from your head.

My Final Rating: 8 / 10

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Posted by on April 7, 2014 in Game Review

 

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