Kick Bot – This Is Impossible, But I Can Do It

“Kick Bot,” it’s an exciting precision platformer on the way from Two Scoops games. It’s time for Dave Pizza to step outside his comfort zone and try some of these more challenging game foes. And I’ll tell you, I thought it was broken because I didn’t know how to play it. It’s definitely challenging, but definitely possible. And with the retro-tastic sound effects and neon robot package, it’s exciting to look at and play. In fact, it does that thing where it reminds me of the 90s without cheapening it. So, let’s see what this precision platformer that got my attention is. JUMP IN.

Jump Up, Jump Up, And Jump Down, Kick Bot

Okay, let’s see if I can contextualize this for you. This game basically feels like a TMNT spinoff, and I like it. It is definitely a more Dimension-X of TMNT experience than otherwise experienced though.

The audio design makes me feel like a dream where my braces, I don’t have braces, are peeled off my teeth by a Moog synthesizer. Woah, that was pretty weird, sorry. It’s got a catchy chiptune beat though, and I really liked it. It’s one thing to write about a game and say it reminds you of something, but another to say it is that thing. So, whether it’s cyberpunk or sci-fi, I don’t even really know, it feels darn good though.

I had a little trouble when I played this last week. I thought maybe it was a short demo. Hint: you can sometimes find out what to do if you pay attention to the background. I noticed this when I was reviewing the video later. Pretty much everything that you can do is controlled by two buttons. The triggers on my controller, or left and right arrow buttons on my keyboard.

Tips and Tricks in Kick Bot

Spikes, saws, laser beams, the whole works. There are also springing platforms, stomp areas, and wall edges that you can grip to pretty well with some slight entropy, but that’s no problem as you can also climb the walls before you leap to the other side. If you’re not familiar with this type of game, timing is everything. Timing is everything in Kick Bot. Oh yeah, the reason it’s called “Kick Bot?” … A robot with a giant boot kicks you through the roof when you complete a level. Hey, why not?

Levels assuredly will get harder the more you progress. Just experiment, and persist.

Thwomp

The part where I found my limit, for this casual experiment, were the lava-filled thwomp areas. Thwomp? I don’t know, that’s what they’re called In Mario. I feel comfortable saying that since they are not exact replicas and have their own style.

I’ve been sitting on this game for too long, and the showcases are pouring in. I will be covering the latest Onirism update soon, so stay tuned for that.

There’s going to be a lot going on here soon, and that’s okay since no one said you can’t go backward if you can’t keep up. Except in Kick Bot… yeah, that probably wouldn’t end well. Wishlist on Steam now!

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza! If you have a moment, check out my Buy Me A Coffee page. And please come back again! Until then, thank you so so much!

Power Rangers Battle for the Grid: Review

The Power Rangers Battle for the Grid DLC packs showed up on Steam today. While the DLC’s don’t interest me yet, I did remember I have been eager and hopeful about the core game which is available on Xbox Gamepass, and I knew what I had to do, review the core game! It’s not accurate to sort Power Rangers into any category I decided. This is because it’s a phenomenon in and of itself. As a millennial, I was raised on Zordon and Tommy. So, I knew I could check this out without extending my spirit too far. Thus, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The Power Rangers Battle for the Grid.

Ahem… IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!

Whatever your cultural disposition, I suspect it’s probably not hard to be aware of the Power Rangers, with whatever your impression of them is. When I was initiated into this series, news specials were brooding over the violent themes of the show and its impression on children. I know it didn’t have that impression on me, although I guess there were stories of kids scissor-kicking teachers in the neck and summoning Zords. I don’t know. For me, it was a show that catered to the creative but easily entertained. It was so simple.

Teenagers morph into spandex outfits with dinosaur coins. Then start fighting a random themed kaiju or whatever you want to call the monsters. Rita would make the monster grow, you’d use the Zord, and win. 100% of the time, it works every time. Shake and bake.

If you’re already lost and need more information on what the heck Power Rangers are, you can definitely stop by for lore at the fabulous Ranger Fandom Wiki

Amazon.com: Power Rangers Mighty Morphin Legacy Edition Morpher Action  Figure: Toys & Games

Ah, Yes, I Remember

This game made me realize how special watching this show was as a kid. Not to go full-blown nostalgia too much, but when it came to the toys, this “Morpher” belt buckle thing they sold in the 90s that I begged for was one of the coolest things ever. I was a tiny disappointed when it didn’t literally turn me into a power ranger, but you were in your heart Tiny Dave Pizza. The masks you could get during Halloween were also haute couture.

My sister enjoyed playing power rangers too, so it wasn’t just a boy thing. Throw in too many kids though, and EVERYBODY wanted to be the red ranger. And then, when he was introduced in the TV show, they wanted to be the white ranger. I actually related more to Billy the blue ranger because he was a friggin’ nerd like me.

Bangarang, 2D Fighter

The shows didn’t fade out of existence by any means either. After the feature film starring that purple goop villain, the show started crossing over into all sorts of new themes. There were space rangers, jungle rangers, and all sorts of stuff. Apparently, the American TV show I watched in the 90s wasn’t even the origin of them, there were power rangers for eons practically in Japan, but I’ll level with you, I’m no otaku. It was all around the time I decided I need to grow up and away from these colorful heroes, but this game brought it all back. So let’s talk about it.

This is a 2D Fighter, although more like a 2D platform with 3D models. As if I need to explain that. But anyway, there are a variety of modes to select from. Online, versus, story, arcade, training… I tried the story mode first, which was pretty good for me because it had strong visual novel elements. If this game had been a pure visual novel, I probably would play it from start to finish. Maybe I will anyway. The CPU combat was not terribly difficult for a beginner though at least at first. I just kind of took it one move at a time.

Jason and Tommy, the red ranger and green ranger, were formidable foes in any regard, although Jason seemed to get super strength and focus a couple of rounds in. That didn’t eliminate me, but I’m not totally sure how I won. When Kimberly, the pink ranger, stepped in though, she kicked my butt! It was like a maelstrom of hurt from that pterodactyl bow.

Power Rangers Battle For the Grid “Aye-yi-yi-yi-yi!”

Personal revelation: I don’t know if Alpha 5 will ever be playable, but I think that would be hilarious. If you don’t recall, that’s the android in Zordon’s headquarters where the rangers go to morph and talk to Zordon. I’m not really even sure if he shows up in this game, but I don’t think so, which is kind of a shame, but not a total loss.

Additionally, I tried some other types of gameplays like Versus and Arcade. Button mashing is one thing, but trying to legitimately act like this high-quality game is going to put up with that is a laugh. I like this game quite a bit, it’s easy to get into. With a little practice, I might continue playing it, because let’s face it, this is extreme nostalgia-level content here. And it makes it easier to be patient during the learning curve.

I particularly enjoyed the representation of the character Goldar, one of Rita’s henchmen. I just always liked the way he looked. That was one cool thing about Power Rangers, you got to see all these gnarly monsters, but they weren’t too scary for kids.

That’s about it for Power Rangers Battle of the Grid. I can’t offer any tips on training or button combos, but if that’s your playstyle you can learn! I seriously suspect if I played this online I would get pwned by Bulk and Skull. So much solo content though, I don’t need to. It’s available on everything including Steam as well as Xbox Gamepass. I might check out the Switch version. If you’re looking for a game with lots of replay value, check it out!

Power Rangers Battle for the Grid: Final Thoughts

I did what I could. Try it yourself! It’s not bad.

A personal thank you for checking out MrDavePizza.com, today. I am doing some major infrastructure and design projects with this site, and the content is just going to keep getting better. I’ve got a new VHS/DVD review section in development that I am very excited about. If you want to take a gander at that, although there’s just one listing now, it’s over here at this link (it’s also accessible from the menu up top.) If you’d like to see more reviews, look around and read as much as you like. It is free!

ToeJam and Earl: Back in the Groove! Funky Future

The game traces its origins to a 1994 Sega Genesis game called “ToeJam & Earl.” Simple enough. I suppose the novelty is that whether it is a solo team or a small team, an indie-developed video game is always a novelty when it becomes really popular. And de facto, the fact that it is indie. This is my suspicion at least.

I’ve been mining the Gamefly indie genre listings for some new games lately. My gameplay is sort of different that a traditional gamer. I play around 30 minutes to an hour of gameplay a night. And generally, a new game every night, although sometimes I go beyond. Maybe not totally different, but for me a habit that has definitely become rewarding.

Around a couple of weeks ago, I was playing a game called Super Indie Karts, which is a kart racing game featuring indie game characters. Incidentally, two classic indie game characters showed up in that game named ToeJam & Earl. I’d heard their names before, but I didn’t really know much about them.

So, when I saw ToeJam and Earl on GameFly. I ordered it.

ToeJam and Earl Who Are These Funky Dudes?

ToeJam and Earl are two friends who visit Earth from another planet. When they try to blast some funky music from their spaceship, Earl accidentally sucks the entire Earth and themselves into a black hole. Their ship and the planet are left in shambles. Thankfully, as these characters, you can traverse the floating islands of exponentially bizarre inhabitants to collect pieces flung from your ship. Collect items to rebuild your ship and head from there.

The description says this game is multiplayer or online optimized. I pretty much never play games that way, so I decided to select the character ToeJam as a single player. I played this on the Switch, so it’s possible, but I do not know if the online multiplayer works, I did not try it. You can also play local co-op

The floating islands are filled with all sorts of food, mythical characters, archetypes, stereotypes, and machines. I sincerely had no clue what was happening, but I did narrow down on my own where the ship parts were, well, most of them.

Fresh, Yo

I like the art in this game, it’s totally a blast from the past 90’s Rocko’s Modern Life graffiti aesthetics. Don’t worry though, as if you would, it’s all been cleaned up quite nicely for the contemporary release. This game is totally polished.

I sort of feel like this game may exist mostly in the realm of novelty. Having never owned a sega genesis, I don’t know if it would have passed through my prism or not.

I did take a look at some screenshots from the original, and I sort of saw what they were doing in here. It’s basically the original with substantially less janky graphics and more RAM. So stuff, instead of here and there, is simply everywhere. Incidentally, I’ve been obsessing over pixel art since this morning, so got thrown through the wringer with this, but it was fun enough that I was receptive.

Another thing, the characters have hilarious lines. Everything is voice narrated, so you get to hear some pretty funny stuff. These are some hip-hop-wise extraterrestrials, plain and simple.

An Excellent Homage

Some have noted that the original sequel had a ton more content, but this is a nice homage to the original. And for the gameplay, it’s not infinite but it’s a game you can just keep trying things and moving around when you feel like playing as one of these out-of-this-world characters.

P.S. If you want to see ToeJam & Early back at it in Indie Super Karts, I wrote a whole article about it here: Super Indie Karts: Toe Jam and Earl Race in Early Access

And as always, thanks for reading MrDavePizza.com.

NES Nostalgia: Games From My Youth

I wanted to call this “NES Games That Influenced Me” or something like that. Honestly though, I can’t totally remember WHY I remember these games, only that they evoke some mood or emotion when I play them. I guess you could call it nostalgia. Yeah, that’s probably it. The main reason for this is I wanted to try writing about something I haven’t tried.

So here we go, six games I played when I was younger and what I can tell you about their place for Mr. Dave Pizza in the elusive 80’s and early 90’s. Note, I did not create nor own the footage in this commentary, they are just used as a visual aid. Okay, dear readers, put on your power-gloves.

1. Super Mario Bros. on NES (Obviously)

I have played this game SO many times. Any time I get a little downtime these days I usually play through a few levels. Only recently did I start to notice that I don’t even think of it in terms level obstacles any more. It’s just mushroom here fireball there. One summer home from college, I spent ages learning how to speed run it, just for fun. I have beat this game in under 5 minutes, although I used warp pipes so some people might not consider that genuine. I know there are super ninja speed-runners out there too so, that’s that.

The NES was an institution in our household as a kid, and this is one of the games we always played. When somebody finished a level I’d celebrate, and when they fell in a hole, I’d scream.

Eventually I was initiated and learned how to play it myself. I learned where all the warp pipes were, which blocks had powerups in them, and how to sneak around. In your twenties these are translatable skills. At least amongst peers. And if you play a musical instrument you should probably learn at least one Mario song for parties.

Here’s a link to a cover-band/musical-group called PostmodernJukebox covering the main theme with live instruments and tap dancing.

2. Bart Vs. The Space Mutants

If there’s a game I loved as much as Mario, this is it. There have been several Simpsons games throughout the years, and I’ve played a good percentage, but this is probably my favorite. The gameplay is kind of quirky and fun. It basically goes like this.

Space mutants are purple. Bart must turn everything purple orange by whatever means. Collect letters and defeat bosses level by level. It’s quite a lengthy game, and I really struggled with it, but there are so many Easter eggs and secrets in the game it has a lot of replay value. I don’t mind The Simpsons now, it is still very funny, but back in the early 90’s, The Simpsons was IT!

3. Paperboy

Okay, first off, this game is hard! It’s also super fun. It is a simple concept, but like certain NES games the controls are at once intuitive and confounding the same time. You should get the idea though. The sound design of this game is inviting, and something nostalgic.

I feel like there’s some sort of patch in gamers that have not ever heard of this game. It sounds kind of boring right, Paperboy? At least maybe back then compared to other games. It’s good fun though and pretty comical. That was one thing I loved about NES Games, they often were pretty fun and lighthearted, especially with multiple players!

4. McKids (Obscure McDonalds NES Game)

This game is on track with some of the gaming weirdness of the early 90’s. The game is about collecting arches and other objects for Ronald McDonald. As in McDonalds, the restaurant. I know, it’s so weird, but if you were like me, McDonalds was pretty awesome back then. It was mostly about the awesome toys I’d get from Happy Meals back then, or a hot fudge sundae (which are actually still pretty good.) When I found out there was a McDonalds video game, I was stoked.

The game is kind of mediocre, but good enough. I think I was pretty good at this but I don’t totally remember. I simply wanted to talk about it, because I remember playing it every once a while with a thought of “hmm, that was kind of weird.”

5. Mega Man

Another game I’m still bad at. When I played it all the time, however, I was pretty good at it. And it’s a fun game to be good at. You’ve probably heard of this game, I’d be surprised if you hadn’t! It has a catchy title, but if you’re thinking this is your average shooter or contra or something, it’s not. The bursting, stifling nature of the gameplay is what makes this series good. That and the awesome robot monsters I guess. If you make it through the first level you have my respect. There are I think ten Mega Man games altogether now, including a new version on Switch. I might have to check it out. I’m waiting for the right moment I guess.

6. BattleToads

I’m definitely remembering why I liked this game after this recent play session. It wasn’t just because BattleToads seemed like a nice spin off of Ninja Turtles. Actually, that’s not so far from the truth, but that’s kind of divergent from the subject. Anyway, it’s pretty good. The animations and level creation, everything is super rad as it was back then and the gameplay mechanics are very easy to pick up. If you’re a game dev, I recommend you check out this game if you’re digging through a stack of original NES cartridges, because it does a lot of things right, which we can learn from in the context of game design today.

Closing Remarks About NES Nostalgia

This was a pretty interesting topic for me. I guess I must have played quite a few games when I was a kid, because there are so many others beyond these I remember. That is good though, because it makes me realize that they have a place in my being beyond mere hobby. I’ll probably return to some more retro gaming topics, but I think this is a good start.

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Star Wars Episode I: Racer (A Re-released N64 Classic!)

Look no further, ’tis I Jedi Master Mr. Dave Pizza with an encoded message from the Tatooine system where there is sand everywhere. I’ve been wanting to do a piece on Star Wars for ages now. When the Skywalker Saga concluded last year, I felt like a muted voice in an ocean of opinions. This blog didn’t even exist then, but everybody was all “”MEH” STARMWARMS, WAT!” The tide is falling back though, and I want to take a moment to talk to you about Star Wars Episode I: Pod Racer and how Star Wars has affected me over the years. Sometimes a really simple game is a really simple solution for something we can’t quite put our finger on.

Okay, 1st This Game

I’ve been doing all this waffling around with what my first Star Wars review would be like. I was bedazzled when I saw some of the gameplay for Star Wars Rogue: Squadrons. So… I downloaded it? My Gaming Machine is starting to deprecate with outdated equipment I am afraid. It still is a beast, but I never got the game to run so I returned it to Steam. It does look fun though and it is compatible with most VR Sets, a light on the horizon sort of equipment luxury for me. I wasn’t too discouraged though.

Okay, here’s the main juice. I had eyed this Star Wars pod racer game I’m reviewing on the Nintendo eShop a while ago. It came out in June of 2020, and I just thought it to be a moneygrab port. I need to start realizing that not every game is a moneygrab, but sorry, I’ve been burned.

Anyway, I just decided to look it up, and wow, people LOVE this, somewhat chintzy, sort of obscure, low res texture, port from Nintendo 64. And then I started to realize I had played when I was a kid when it was originally on N64. A download and a trial run later, I realized not only did I play this game but I LOVED it. What the heck happened to those memories, and why are they back? I don’t know. Even more, I think Phantom Menace was my very first Star Wars experience before it became Mr. Dave Pizza lore. I had a best friend from school who had some pretty sweet toys and stuff from his parents as we were kids. He knew everything about Star Wars and had many toys confirming this. Further were his books and a graphic encyclopedia of Star Wars that exposed me to the sheer macrocosmic universe these stories belonged in. I still don’t really understand who writes down and illustrates every detail in the quantum universe about BB-8 (I love BB-8) or some obscure space junk barge in Star Wars, but you can get really really deep.

Gameplay

I was thinking for a second of explaining the plot of Star Wars for anybody who didn’t know it. And then I thought about that again, and again, and here we are. Okay, so there’s this one movie that everybody on the planet has seen… I kid. But if you want an insta-spoiler which will pretty much never matter: Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader. That basically sums it up. Now lets race some pods.

The best way to approach this game is the same way you would approach any racer game. You’ve got a button that accelerates, one that brakes, maybe a drifter, and some thumb-sticks. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart, you’re prepared. It’s not psycho high graphics like CyberDunk 2050 is but it’s not downright ugly either. Its design has more to do with the technology around during its release in 1999. Besides, if you really want to see some eyepopping graphics just watch the movie! You are usually racing so fast that the textures just look like they’re blurring with speed. It doesn’t need to look like the best graphics ever to speed 1,000 miles per hour through it.

Some of it is quite good though too as you see above, however, these are higher quality cutscenes in the game.

For Sake of Comparison: Pod Racing VS Mario Kart

I’ve tried so many racing games out there and they are often so difficult to steer into their operation that they’re practically unplayable. I really don’t appreciate starting a game where I have to drive or fly and immediately crashing and burning in the first obstacle in the game. That’s so stupid, why not just stop trying to impose realism on the game and make it actually playable. I keep saying this but it’s true, players like fun games but they also like EASY games. A little challenge is good, but you’re not training a race of cyborgs, just make left go left and right go right. I don’t have to wonder if I’m living up to the games expectations of me, I just played it. Oh, did I mention? This game is pretty much totally non-violent, so I wouldn’t feel hesitant about anybody trying it out.

If that rant was a bit too much, I only said it so that I could come to say that racing in this game is actually a delight. You can crash, but it’s no big deal. Actually there’s no pressure to do anything you don’t want to in this game. You can run the tournaments on different planets and upgrade your vehicle, or you can just race any of your unlocked maps and blast through a mountainous canyon in a relaxing yet efficient way. It’s also got multiplayer. Maybe even immerse yourself for some Phantom Menace nostalgia.

Final Thoughts

Well, I don’t want this to be my last Star Wars review I realized. Daniel Radcliffe recently made a comment about how being obsessed with a group of books or movies is actually a pretty good thing obsessed about. There is SO much Star Wars stuff. I could spend some times on Knights of the Old Republic or The Old Republic or The Force Awakened, these games might not fit in here, but they are quite good. The one I really am looking forward to is the LEGO Skywalker Saga. That may possibly be one of the best LEGO games out there, and I trust those games to uphold a family friendly vibe.

A group of people in recent times have identified themselves as Jedi’s. It’s silly, but I kind of like this. There is rich culture and mentality in Star Wars. There are books, movies, tv shows, games, art, clothes, toys, a thriving collectors scene, blue milk. Ew, blue milk? A rich culture though really. I have often observed that the description of “the force” is a metaphor for something deep too. I also want a lightsaber. So who knows. There is no shame in being nostalgic about Star Wars. It’s got a little something for everybody.

Thanks for reading Mr. Dave Pizza, please have a look around!