Tag Archives: Konami Digital Entertainment

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night Review: A Traditional Castlevania Experience with a Twist

Like most Castlevania fans I was more than a bit skeptical when Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night was announced for the iDevices.  But like any true hardcore gamer, I decided to reserve my judgement for the final product itself.  While I was not thrilled with the idea of a puzzle fighter I decided to give it a chance and let Konami put my fears to rest.

What I found was, in fact, one of the deepest and surprisingly longest games I have ever played on my iPod.  The game takes place after the legendary Symphony of the Night game and has you take up Alucard’s mantle once again.  Featuring high production values and a single player campaign that is incredibly long, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night has a lot more to offer than most any other game on the app store.

Likes

Classic Castlevania feel: This was quite possibly the biggest and most pleasant surprise of the entire game.  Konami managed to maintain the very essence of Castlevania through traditional map exploration, short character interactions, and many traditional RPG elements such as a leveling system, spells, equipment, and other items to manage.

Music: The music also has a very classic Castlevania sound to it that really helps maintain the essence of the franchise while also keeping the mood intense throughout the entire experience.

Art style: Keeping with the series’ now trademark 16-bit art style, Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night again maintains the integrity of the franchise by not straying from another key element.  The detail of each segment of the castle is also instantly noticeable and easily appreciated for the intricate designs.

Depth: Despite the overly simple puzzle fighter mechanic, there is a surprisingly deep and long adventure/RPG in there. There are lots of items/item sets to collect and a wide array of in-game achievements that inspire the player to scour every inch of the castle in search of its secrets.  The castle itself is as big as any found in previous titles with many varied areas.  Just exploring this behemoth will take hours of your time.

Story: The traditional short story segments spread throughout the castle are by today’s standards sub-par. Contrary to this, these snippets of story have long since been a staple of the series’ storytelling format and thus add a smidgen of charm despite the weaker dialogue than in previous games in the series.

Dislikes

Boss fights: The one real flaw about the game is the lack of potency of the boss fights.  The vast majority of them did not feel much different from regular monsters.  Sometimes the difficultly is ratcheted up a few notches but often times they just feel like regular fights that go on a little bit longer.  This is the only area of the entire experience that really shifts away from the classic Castlevania style.  Boss fights always stand out and often require a dramatic shift in gameplay tactics over trash mobs.  Perhaps the puzzle-fighter aspect of the game is what prevents this traditional part of the experience from being presented since it’s highly restrictive on what can and cannot happen during a battle.

Control: Another small grievance is the control issues.  While the puzzle touch sensitivity can be adjusted it does not seem to help the occasional hiccups that occur with the controls.  More often that could be considered just a fluke I found that when I was swiping a puzzle piece around the screen it would randomly drop straight down when I had not made the downward stroke for it to do so.  Also the exact opposite happened occasionally as well: I made a downward swipe to make the puzzle piece fall straight down to the bottom of the puzzle and instead it would either do nothing or make one turn in a different direction.  Fortunately these problems never caused any major harm I was almost always able to recover from the mistake.

Another control issue that arose was very similar in nature, leading me to believe that there is some fault somewhere in the control design. Quite frequently I would tap on one side of Alucard only to watch in shock as he would walk in the exact opposite direction.  The end result would often be two unnecessary fights to get back to where I started.  This quickly became my greatest frustration with the game as I am usually pressed for time and would like to make as much progress as quick as I can and avoid any unnecessary combat.

Hints: One of the most frustrating parts of any Casltevania game is when you occasionally get lost when backtracking and retracing your steps in order to find where to go next.  Konami has decided to alleviate this problem by having the Master Librarian give you hints at any given point throughout the game.  However, the Master Librarian’s hints are often incredibly cryptic and/or vague and as a result are almost completely useless.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night took me by surprise in many ways.  Having seen so many classic franchises fail miserably when trying to do something a little different, I was initially concerned that making the game a puzzle fighter was a misstep.  Fortunately, Konami obviously took very special care to craft a full (and I mean FULL) Castlevania game for the iDevices with a fresh take because what we received is quite possibly one of the biggest games exclusively made for the iDevices.  While the game is clearly made with longtime Castlevania fans in mind, there is more than enough content for a newcomer to the series to get their feet wet and enjoy.

Castlevania Puzzle: Encore of the Night was developed by Konami Digital Entertainment, and I played through version 1.0.10 on my iPod touch 2G.  The price is $1.99.


Update for ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2010’ Released, Fixes Many Issues

Konami released a 1.3 update to their soccer game Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, and it has added some things that I disliked.  One particular feature seems to be the ability to manually switch players, which in the version before, was not possible.  This seemed to be a major oversight from Konami, but luckily, they have added it along with many other fixes and features.

Here’s a list of all that’s been updated:

  • Manual switch of defending player (button mode only): When you don’t have the ball, tap on any free part of the screen to switch player.
  • Kick feint: Prepare a shot and quickly press B (or tap on any free part of the screen in Touch controls) when the power gauge appears.
  • Improvement of ball control reactivity (less latency when a player controls the ball).
  • Improvement of headers.
  • Improvement of performance on iPhone 3G.
  • Yellow and red cards management in competitions.
  • Display scorers’ names on Pause/Half-time menu.
  • Improvement of the simulation of the other match results in a competition.
  • Improvement of the camera angle in Offside replay.
  • Improvement of the team random selection in Quick match and Exhibition.
  • Fix of miscellaneous little bugs.

If this is your first time hearing about Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, be sure to check out our review.  Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is available in the App Store for $6.99.

It was a Mistake: ‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2010’ Gets Bumped to $6.99

Seems like Konami made a mistake with their pricing and released PES 2010 for $1.99, instead of the usual $6.99 price tag.  Fortunately, I was able to pick the title up for the lower amount, and I highly doubt it’ll go down to that price anytime soon.  Of course, it’s still a good game although I would advise to read around the interweb to form some opinions.  You can read our review to get a feel for the game, as there were some problems that I dealt with.

With no multiplayer (that means no WiFi, Bluetooth, or online multiplayer), this is a hard one to recommend for $6.99.  The single player mode isn’t bad though, and the controls, AI, and character models are by far the best we’ve seen yet.  Again, it isn’t the best and it sure is missing some features, but if you’re looking for a challenging soccer game, this may be worth your hard-earned dollars.

Be sure to check out our in-depth review before making the purchase.  If you’ve already purchased the game, let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 Review: Not Quite there yet

Soccer games on the iPhone and iPod touch have all but been lackluster and mediocre; X2 Soccer 2010 has its lag and animation problems, Real Soccer 2010 has its AI problems, and FIFA 10 has its control and other issues.  But let’s put in yet another soccer game into the confuzzled mix, in this case Pro Evolution Soccer 2010, and you get a solid soccer game that could have been better.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 includes all of the basic things you would expect from a soccer game: exhibition, league, and cup play, along with the inclusion of a UEFA League mode with licensed, European league teams.  Of course, that’s not enough to really balance out the fact that Pro Evolution Soccer doesn’t include much more than a standard soccer game.

Along with that, it’s failure to include multiplayer seems like a huge oversight to me.  Even WiFi and bluetooth multiplayer would have been great, and with the competition such as X2 Soccer including online multiplayer, Konami did something that was quite surprising.  Multiplayer is a standard now in most iPhone games, and it just seems like a huge misfire by Konami.

Other than that, Pro Evolution Soccer contains a lot for the $1.99 price tag, regardless of its lack of multiplayer.  Sure, it’s not the best game on the platform and it would have been nice to see more, but the single player mode is actually much improved from its predecessors.

Likes

Speed: In PES 2010, the speed of the players feel normal; they’re not going drastically slow such as the case with X2 Soccer 2010, and when they’re sprinting it actually looks like they’re sprinting.  Some people may have to adjust to the speed (although I highly doubt it), but PES 2010 adds much needed quickness to a should-be quick game.

Player models: If I said the graphics were good, I would be lying to myself.  The grass detail is lacking, and it looks just like a green rectangle angled a bit to “look” like grass.  But enough of that aside, PES 2010’s player models are probably the most detailed of all soccer games on the App Store.  They actually look like people, compared to other soccer games that have players with very pixelated arms and legs, with little or no eye or hair details.

AI: If you’re one of those people that love a challenge, this is definitely the soccer game for you.  In the regular difficulty (mind you, there’s two levels higher than that), I never lost, but I did tie three times with teams I just couldn’t score against.  But that’s a huge improvement from Real Soccer 2010 and X2 Soccer 2010; I was able to score 11-0 and 7-0 respectively pretty much every match.  The average scores for PES 2010 range anywhere from 1-3, as I haven’t scored four goals yet.  That’s much more realistic and akin to professional soccer matches; you won’t even find an 11-0 score in a kiddy game.

They actually block the ball: Wow, what a surprise!  The players can actually be used as blocks now, like they are in real soccer games!  If you kick the ball and happen to hit a player, the ball actually bounces back!  This is how it should be in any soccer game, but I first encountered it here in PES 2010; this shows that iPhone soccer games still have a ways to go.

Dislikes

Lack of multiplayer: This is a HUGE oversight by Konami.  With multiplayer, I believe the game would have easily achieved the Must Have award and proclaimed the best soccer game so far.  But without it, PES 2010 is somewhat crippled in terms of features, and without any new game modes other than the standard, I just don’t understand why they didn’t include it.

No commentary: Meh, I’ve never been a huge fan of commentary, as soccer players are on the field and not in the commentary box.  Games such as FIFA may be trying to achieve a more “TV” type of soccer game, and it just feels natural and not as quiet with commentary in there.

Nothing more: Like I mentioned before, there’s nothing more than the standard gameplay modes: League, Exhibition, and Cup.  X2 Soccer atleast has the Dream Team mode, FIFA the Be A Pro mode, and Real Soccer 2010 with something similar to the Be A Pro mode.  PES 2010 has nothing more, which in turn takes a huge hit on the amount of content it has.

Manual switch?: Is there a button to manually switch players?  I can’t seem to find it.  If it’s not there, then someone at Konami really needs to wake up, as it’s yet another huge oversight.

PES 2010 is, at best, a good soccer game.  There are a lot of feature and content problems that I know could have been nonexistent had Konami been more creative.  Along with that, it would have been very nice if they included some sort of multiplayer in here; a single player experience just isn’t enough anymore with App Store games.  Other than that, the gameplay experience is definitely one of the best out there, and the AI is probably the most intelligent of all.

Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 was developed by Konami Digital Entertainment, and I played with version 1.0 on my iPhone 4.  The price is $1.99.


‘Pro Evolution Soccer 2010’ Available in the US App Store… for $1.99

Woah there, can this price tag be for real?  It would appear so.  PES 2010 is available in the US App Store now, after being released for European countries and Australia/New Zealand.

From early impressions, it seems as if the game is being matched as equal to or even greater than X2 Soccer 2010, which I found to be okay but hampered with animation problems and lag.  It almost got it right though, making PES 2010 the next soccer experience for me on the iPhone.

Let’s just hope Konami got everything right in this one, as I’m in full soccer mode thanks to the World Cup.  I’m downloading this as I type, but if anyone out there has some impressions on the game, be sure to post them in the comments.

Like I said before, Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 is available in the US App Store for $1.99.