Gravity Falls is a cartoon on the Disney XD cable channel, and it has become one of my most favorite cartoons ever. I haven’t been this into a cartoon ever since DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, or Animaniacs. So I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review the Gravity Falls game from Ubisoft. In the show, preteen twins Dipper and Mabel are sent to stay with their Great Uncle Stan for the summer. “Grunkle Stan” as they call him, he runs a tourist trap museum called the Mystery Shack in the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. But while the artifacts in the museum are fake, Gravity Falls is shrouded in mystery as paranormal events happen nearly every day! It’s up to twins Dipper and Mabel to discover the secrets of the town, and have some fun and maybe learn a thing or two along the way. The show is great because it has a lot of adult humor, but as a Disney channel show, it’s also fairly clean, too.
There are a couple of Nintendo related news bits that I thought you all might be interested in, so I wanted to post them right away. One is that Pokémon toys are in McDonald’s Happy Meals through December (and you can get a rare Pokémon on your 3DS via their Wi-Fi stations, and the other is about a Nintendo Holiday Mall Tour! Click to read more!
2nd Opinion: Minecraft Story Mode: Episode 1: The Order of the Stone (PS3, PS4, 360, Xbox One, PC, iOS, Android)
Minecraft is an incredibly popular open-world building adventure game with stylishly blocky graphics. It’s become a bit of a phenomenon since its release a few years back, especially with kids. In fact, Toys R Us has nearly a whole aisle dedicated to Minecraft playthings! But there’s not really much story behind it. Well that’s about to change because point and click adventure experts TellTale Games has crafted an adventure game based around the Minecraft universe! It’s available for nearly all current home consoles, PCs, and tablets, but reviewed on PS3 here.
This is a 2-D platformer featuring Mexican art, music, and themes. Play as the title character as he runs, jumps, slides, slashes cactus monsters, and farts his way to the end of each level to save the day! Viva Sancho Villa is downloadable on iOS devices and Google Play, but reviewed on iPad here.
Kung-Fu Sheep is a free-to-play 2-D arcade action game that plays like a continuous runner, but reminded me more of arcade classics like Son Son or Psycho Soldier (sorry if I got a little too hardcore there). Run and jump to collect gold and defeat enemies to get a high score. It’s available to download on mobile devices, but reviewed on iPad here.
As a guy with six brothers and no sisters, I never had much exposure to Barbie toys. I remember as a kid seeing toy commercials for Barbie’s sister Skipper, but it turns out she has two other sisters as well. See, video games do teach you stuff. So anyway, it seems as though Barbie and her three sisters have started a puppy rescue business (they must have rich parents), and now you can help them find lost puppies, give them checkups, clean them, and find them new homes! Barbie and Her Sisters Puppy Rescue is available for Wii U, 3DS, Wii, 360, and PS3, but reviewed on Wii U here.
Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince), protagonist of the third most translated book in the world, is back in the form of another boardgame. This time, it’s a young aviator who is leaving her grandfather’s house to fly to meet the little prince on his home planet. Players use cards to move their personal aviator across the map while collecting stars. The twist is in the turn order. The last place plane always takes the next move. The Little Prince is a quick little game that makes a good filler (a quick short game), but despite its art and straightforward rules it does have some aggressive play that may not fit well with younger players.
Ninja Strike: Dangerous Dash is a continuous runner just like what you’d find on a mobile device. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s where this game started. But thanks to Natsume, now you can download it on your Wii U. Play as a ninja and run as far as you can while defeating and avoiding enemies, as well as nabbing treasure, coins, and power-ups.
When I was a kid in the 80’s, Care Bears were pretty popular for a little while. They even had a couple of animated movies! (And the first one was surprisingly dark if I remember correctly.) Well, apparently the Care Bears are still around, because now you can play a free Match-3 puzzler featuring the Bears who don’t wear their emotions on their sleeves, but on their bellies instead! One day, Grumpy Bear was in such a bad mood that he accidentally caused a storm to split up Care-A-Lot! Now you must help Grumpy piece the land back together somehow by matching the different symbols on the Care Bears’ bellies, similar to other games like Bejeweled or Candy Crush. Care Bears: Belly Match is available to download on iOS and Android devices, but reviewed on iPad here.
Combining much of the best of past years with some new improvements, the newest Disney Infinity game is a worthy successor. In its third year, and creatively titled Disney Infinity 3.0, it is the newest incarnation of one of the two powerhouses of the hybrid toy figurine-videogame hybrids. Whereas the Skylander line has focused on unique characters and an engaging storyline, Disney Infinity relies on its huge back catalogue of well-known characters to bring into its game. Just in time for the upcoming movie release, Infinity version 3.0 has the pleasure of presenting the Star Wars universe.