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The latest reviews from MaRacey CEO, Waterbolt952!

Time Hollow

Relevant to Nintendo DS

Hello MaRacey Readers, it's me, WB952, breaking through this years review freeze (I can't believe we have been inactive for four months!) to bring you my review of a DS visual novel; Time Hollow. As you may have gathered by my reviews of Ace Attorney titles, I am an avid visual novelist. I am also a big sci-fi fan. I would love to see a game that untited these two genres together somehow....... cue Time Hollow!

Time Hollow is a visual novel based around time travel... of sorts. The game follows Ethan Kairos, a young boy who wakes up on his sevententh birthday to find himself in a world where his alive-and-well-the-night-before parents have been missing for twelve years, and Ethan is now living with his uncle who we met briefly before the change. If this wasn't a story about time travel in the vein of some episode of Star Trek: Voyager, I would blame continuity editors. Anyway, tied to the back of Ethan's loving cat Sox, is a mysterious pen that allows Ethan to open a "hole" in time and manipulate things through this hole. I'll talk about this mechanic a bit later. So, basically, the story follows Ethan as he moves about this strange and changed world. Every so often, roughly once a chapter, Ethan will get this strange feeling and see images of people and events. Ethan will go to a place to look for his friends, and he finds that time has changed again. He has to play flatfoot until he finds what's happened and how to change it, manipulating time to do so. Though these events seem random, things all become clear in the end. The ending of this game will leave any visual novel enthusiats or general story lover truly satisfied. However, those who don't like time paradox scenarios, you probably should steer clear. Me and a friend of mine, who are, incidentaly, both bofs, spent about half an hour on a bus back from France, shooting the breeze, trying to contemplate this. This game's plot isn't for those who played Phoenix Wright and are looking for a similar game. You're right, it's similar, but it's complex!

That's enough about the actual story, let's have a (brief) peek at the characters. The game features thirteen human families (I say families because some characters have the same surnames.) all of which have surnames that incorporate a number (with the exception of the Kairos'). All of these characters have deep backstories and, characters you would never think to be signficant, always turn out to be a bigger part than anticipated. These deep characters are what visual novels are all about!

Now, the graphics. This game is, as I have said, a DS game. You can't expect too much from the graphics. The game is, in true dual-screen visual novel tradition, in 2D. All of the characters and gackgrounds look crisp and you know what everyting is. If I had to campare it to another video game, think Phoenix Wright!


"I KNOW I JUST MADE A TINY DETAIL SOUND SO MAJOR, BUT, IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT!"


The gameplay of this game is, to be honest, very standard visual novel. You tap to move, tap to advance text and tap to examine areas of a location. However, don't get me wrong, I love visual novels! One of the nice little things that developers Konami have put into the gameplay is that, when you tap to go to a different place, you here Ethan's footsteps; and, when the tension is up, you here him running! I know I just made a tiny detail sound so major, but, it's the little things that count! The most iconic part of the gameplay is "time holes". With the help of his trusty Holopen, Ethan can cut through time and space like Scooby-doo can through thick-as-pea-soop fog. In reality, you use the stylus to draw a cirles that forms a hole into the past, through this hole, you can see into the past and look around a limited area. Before you get any silly ideas, the hole can only be so big and you can only open so many holes before ethan becomes fatigued. Once you find something in the past that is off place, you can interfere and put things back to how they were. Sealing the hole again will allow the timeline to change and, bobs-your-uncle, everyones happy! This gameplay mechanic is great, it would just be good if we saw a bit more of it...

And now, leaving the lifespan till last. To put it nicely, the lifespan on time hollow is worse than the craeture stage of Spore when a nine year old is playing for the first time; at least that can be done in more than a day! When I purchased this game, preowned, for £15 in GAME, and got home and did my brand new game playathon, I thought I would have a week or so of gameplay fun, the same I got from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. To say the least, I was wrong. This game is made up of six chapters, not including the prologue and epilogue. I has playing the game for a bit, the day after purchase, and I suddenly realised that the story was picking up, nearing what is commonly called "the end". I had to put the DS down and do other things. That is a disapointment. Personnaly, I hate to end on a downer, so, let's think to the future. I personally think, that a sequel could be produced, to the point of emailing Konami about it; the robot on the other end said "No". But, with great characters, strong concept and a good genre to look to, anything is possible.

I would also like to make a comment about replay. This game has a alternate ending. Basically, it is possible to start the game and simply stop Ethan's parents for going missing in the first place. As well as this, there are a few things that can be changed on replays that couldn't on the first playthrough. It is an unimportant and unexpected detail, but a good one, none the less.


POSITIVES +

Deep Characters

Twistly Plot & Satisfying Ending

Good Holopen Game Mechanic

Way to go with a visual novel!

Colourful Sprites


NEGATIVES -

Why so SHORT!

Time Paradoxes aren't for everyone...


Graphics: 83%

Lifespan: 47%

Gameplay: 85%

Features: 80%

Plot: 90%


OVERALL RATING: 73%

Great Story, Great Gameplay; Just a shame about that Lifespan!


BETTER THAN: Roblox (40%)

WORSE THAN: Holotrek (74%)

W.B.952-Project Founder-Objectopedia, Gameopedia, Nationopedia 18:17, April 7, 2011 (UTC)


Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations

Relevant to Nintendo DS and Gameboy Advance.

Okay, it's time for my final review of the Phoenix Wright trilogy; Trials and Tribulations. This game is the third in the Ace Attorney Series, and, in my opinion, second or even join best in the series, along with the original game. This game is jampacked with all the best characters and enough nostalgia to make you weep for the memories and good times you've had with the characters. My reviews for the previous two games can be found down in the archives (click "Reviews" on the navbar, then click "2010 Reviews"), so you may want to read those before you read this one. So, let's crack on!

The game is set roughly a year after the previous game, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All, and once more we are following ace lawyer Phoenix Wright on his quest for justice. This game is plit into five cases where the player has to face all odds to clear the name of a defendant who is charged with murder, or, at one point, theft. However, this game does have a twist; in two of the five cases, the player plays as the late Mia Fey, Phoenix's busty mentor, who we saw in the first case of the first game before her death in the next case. After this case, however, Phoenix has gained her much needed help through her spirit medium sister and cousin, Maya Fey and Pearl Fey respectively. The "Mia Cases" take place a few years before the first game, where Mia faced some dark cases, that are VERY much linked to the plot of the main game, which is good as this is the first time that the first case of an Ace Attorney game has been linked to the plot, a tradition continued into the next two games, Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney and Miles Edgeworth: Ace Attorney Investigations. These five cases all link together and conclude in probably the best case in the whole series: Bridge To The Turnabout. This case features so many twists and turns that any detective fan would salavate madly at! Some say the final case of the previous game, Farewell My Turnabout, was the best because of the emotional jounrey Phoenix takes but for me, this one takes the biscuit! All of the cases have great mystery writing that Sir Athur Conan-Doyle would be proud of!

The characters of the game are, as with any Ace Attorney game, bright, excentric and colourful. They all have their own manerisms and style of speech that all add to the game's natural charm. Be it from Maya's cheery smile to new Prosecutor Godot's enigmatic mask, everything is a pleasure to watch. The characters all have deep backgrounds too, especially the above mentioned proecutor. This fleshes out the characters beautifully and gives a more realistic feeling to the game.


'"'ALL IN ALL, THIS IS A HAPPY POINT AND CLICK ADVENTURE WITH LITTLE ADULTERATION!"


Gameplay-wise, the game is the same as with previous Ace Attorney titles. Move about and meet people via tapping menus in investigation mode, once you've found the right stuff, you advance to court, cross examine witnesses, present evidence, rinse and repeat....... I LOVE IT! They could have varied it a bit, but who cares! The game sees the return of psyche-locks that allow you to see the secrets of people's hearts while investigating. This time, the psyche-locks are considerably harder, with the occasional set of six locks guarding a secret. All-in-all, this is a happy point-and-click adventure with little adulteration! Simples!

The graphics of the game do see slight improvement from previous installements, particularly in the brand new character models. The game's music is truly amazing, listening to it really makes you feel in the situation that is happening onscreen and the character themes really suit their characters. This game, as well as all others in the series has a great audio soundtrack and is really worth a listen if you like that sort of thing, by the way!

Lifespan wise, the game is pretty good. If you can bring yourself to play only a certain ammount a day, which is very hard, you will get an even longer time out of it.

I'd now like to talk a bit about nostalgia. This game makes the end of the "Phoenix Wright Trilogy". At the end of this game, we say good bye to all those amazing characters like Mia, Pearl, Maya and Lotta Hart (although Maya, Pearl and Lotta all make cameo appearances in the fifth game). We say good bye to all the good times and step into the next frontiere of new protagonists. And as those credits role with a tune that seems to be a remix of the trial music and Maya's character theme, you feel a sense of completion. There is a tribute of Youtube called "Phoenix Wright - Unforgetable Memories", which is what these are: unforgetable. So I'd like to say "Well done, Capcom; ya done good!".

Oh yeah, Phoenix is in the sequel..... what a way to screw a beautiful sign off!!


POSITIVES +

Amazing Characters

Awesome Climax

Mia Cases!

Great Music and Imroved Sprites

Brilliant Writing

Nostalgia......


NEGATIVES -

.....Which is Practically Screwed Up In The Next Game!

Could have revamped the gameplay.


Graphics: 87%

Lifespan: 85%

Gameplay: 88%

Features: 85%

Plot: 94%


OVERALL RATING: 90% GOLD AWARD

Amazing Game, Brilliant Story, Great Nostalgio: Lovely Jubbly! Time for a replay!


BETTER THAN: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All

WORSE THAN: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (91%)

W.B.952-Project Founder-Objectopedia, Gameopedia, Nationopedia 11:36, May 8, 2011 (UTC)

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