Super Cane Magic ZERO (PC) Review

Developer: Studio Evil | Publisher: Intragames Co Ltd || Overall: 9.0/10

Super Cane Magic ZERO is like a wacky Zelda game with randomized loot. Go on an adventure through the zany world of WOTF and explore all of the random shit they put in for you to enjoy. The most obvious feature is the art, which is drawn by Italian cartoonist Simone “Sio” Albrigi, who has a very particular style.

On first glance, a lot of the “garnishments” of the game actually distract from what is underneath. I’ve found the game to be a fun, methodical action game, rather than a quick and bursty one. You have to plan your moves out ahead of time since a lot of the game hinges on the “twin-shooter” controls of pointing in the direction you want to hit something. Throwing things is also a very big part of the game and also relies on this “twin-shooter” aspect. Much of the combat relies on stunning an enemy, picking them up and throwing them against a wall or against another enemy for major damage. There are plenty of other abilities and items you can get that grant you different magic spells, so this changes up certain situations, but the most effective way to defeat enemies is by chucking them at a wall after they are stunned.

The actual gameplay loop comes with exploring the world of WOTF, which is a fairly large and intricately designed place. There are plenty of secrets and areas you can only access with certain items or abilities, which gives older areas new uses. Your goal is to find powerful wizards who will unlock talent trees for you and help you save the world of WOTF. As you go along in your adventure, you will also help rebuild the Kingdom of Poptarts with collectible items you get from killing enemies. This leads into the necessary grinding that you’ll be having to do, but most of it can be accomplished through normal play as you revisit areas over and over trying to find new things.

Loot is a very important part of the game. There are a lot of different stats that do different things, and they’re sometimes named not-so-intuitive things, which forces you to menu-hunt to get an explanation. Oddly enough, I could not figure out a way to easily compare loot without equipping and unequipping several times to see the differences they make in stats. Dropped loot will upgrade as you level up, so a lot of your stuff will be simply outdated as time goes on. There are different rarities of loot, and most of what you find is junk, but you’ll get a legendary every now and then that changes up gameplay quite significantly. Even though you level up, there still feels like a bit of enemy scaling going on, because the mechanics of the enemies are usually much more important than their stats. As a result, you don’t really “out-level” anything as most of the enemies in the game stay relevant.

The biggest gains in power come from talent trees, of which there are multiple. Most of the talent trees will have two sides and only allow you to go down one side, so you have to look ahead and see what you currently need. The exception is the first talent tree where you can go down both sides. You can always respec at a vendor if you need to walk on lava and you didn’t go down that tree, for instance. As one would expect, you gain talent points from levels. What isn’t as expected is being able to gain “bonus” talent points from finding “TVs” out in the world; there are also talent points to gain from finding unique items for the Poptarts museum. This sort of lets you get ahead of your levels a little bit, I suppose, though leveling up is something that happens pretty often, so it is hard to “feel” that bonus most of the time since there are a lot of filler talents.

There is local multiplayer only, and the game is definitely built with teams in mind. You can totally play by yourself, obviously, but when you are facing a huge group of monsters, having teammates would be helpful. Each character has their own set of equipment and inventory, so you can essentially start the game from scratch on a new character with different abilities. You can unlock more characters, but after about 25 hours of gameplay, I’ve only unlocked one. I also have to unlock about half of the game still, so I guess I just play slow.

The writing, unfortunately, feels lazy compared to everything else. It is mostly nonsensical for the sake of being so, and isn’t a motivating factor at all in playing. The jokes are good, but the main intent of the writing is really just to tell jokes and make fun of stuff rather than tell any sort of cohesive story. There could have easily been an interesting story and still have jokes, but whatever, I guess. It just felt like the amount of effort put into the art style and gameplay deserved a bit more effort in this regard. On the plus side, the humor makes its way into basically every aspect of the game including items, loot, and characters. There’s plenty of laughs to be had.

Super Cane Magic ZERO is definitely a game I’d recommend. It is a lot of fun and has a lot of humor in it. The gameplay doesn’t feel lacking and there’s definitely a “point” in endlessly exploring around trying to find all of the secrets that are laying around. If there were ever a “Squackle: The Game” it would be something similar to this, and I suppose I can only dream of what that would actually be, otherwise. For now, I’ll just play Super Cane Magic ZERO.

 

Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) First Impressions

Every time a new Zelda is announced, Nintendo manages to light a collective fire among their diehard fans. Almost immediately, there are more questions than answers about the newest installment featuring our favorite wielders of the Triforce of Power, Wisdom and Courage. Most important of all, among this tizzy of emerging fan theories and confirmed features from Nintendo, the simple question of “Will it be good?” reigns supreme. With that in mind and with about 10 hours of gameplay under my belt, I can still say with certainty that this game is one of the best in the series.

The best way to describe Breath of the Wild is to say that, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While a lot of the elements are a major departure from recent installments in the series, many also harken back to more classic elements of the franchise. Working together, all of these features give a fresh feeling to the game entirely, while still being a thoroughly Zelda-like experience; ultimately a mixture of old and new turns into a great game.

With that in mind, here’s a few of the features worth noting.

The World is Your Oyster

Taking a note from the first game of the series, Breath of the Wild begins with an open world and a generous old man. Once what serves as a tutorial is put out of the way, you are given freedom on how you want to approach things and a litany of distractions to prevent you from getting anywhere. Among the main quest and side quests, there are a number of shrines that serve as mini-dungeons to explore throughout the world. Each provides a puzzle or battle to overcome and serves as a worthwhile distraction. Beyond that, the world is littered with things to do. Enemy camps, collectible items, and materials populate the world around the player. More often than not, I found myself far and away from my original goal as I pursued one distraction after the next.

Variety is the Spice of Life

Variety comes in many forms in Breath of the wild. Unlike previous iterations, Link has a more robust assortment of weaponry than the typical sword and shield. Things like heavy blades, hammers, and spears are available and have their own properties in combat. While the standard sword still swings in a half circle arch, heavy blades and hammers possess a heftier swing that can also knock a shield right out of an enemy’s hand, and spears have a far more reach but don’t swing nearly as far. The arrows also come with their own assortment of choice, each possessing moves that can shock, sizzle, freeze or even explode enemies on contact. Though where the variety really shines is how the world lets you tackle every encounter and puzzle. Every enemy can be beaten traditionally by hitting them with whatever weapon you have equipped, but it’s far more fun to use the environment against them. Big rocks, flammable grass, and exploding barrels are some of the many ways you can turn the environment against Link’s enemies. Beyond that, puzzles can be treated the same way. While most of them have a standard way to solve them, many allow for the player to deviate from the norm and find their own way to solve them.

Broken Beyond Repair

New to the series, (unless you count the Giant’s Knife from Ocarina of Time) every weapon, bow and shield in the game has durability. What this means is that those items will eventually break, and that they will break often. It’s not too uncommon to have an item break after one or two encounters, or to have several weapons break during a particularly hard battle. While a mechanic like this could easily verge on the annoying, Nintendo has done a good job at making the loss only minor. There are so many weapons, bows and shields throughout the game that finding a replacement is almost instantaneous.

Prepare to Die

Shockingly enough, Breath of the Wild can be difficult at times. Since the world is open to explore that also means that it’s entirely likely that the player will encounter an enemy they have no business facing. Every so often, I would be one-shotted by what seemed to be a common enemy only to later find out that their weapon far exceeded my current hearts or armor. That said, the enemy AI also got a boost. They no longer run blindly into danger, and seek cover when attempting to shoot them from afar. They no longer attack one at a time, but instead seek to surround link and hit him from all sides if possible. Overall, this reminded me of A Link to the Past and the many times when I was either surrounded by enemies or fighting one that was far beyond my current experience.

Everything Old is New Again

Despite all the changes to the core gameplay, Breath of the Wild still feels like a Zelda game. The story is filled with a cast of colorful characters, the sense of adventure reigns supreme, and many other elements return to define this as a Zelda-experience. While the execution may be different, there’s enough here to make any diehard Zelda fan fall right back in love.