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Found 120 results

  1. Developer: Gust Publisher: Koei Tecmo Games Platform: PlayStation 4, Switch, PC Release Date: October 24, 2017 ESRB: T Note: This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game The original Nights of Azure, which released in the west in March of last year, marked a departure for Gust, the development studio best known for the Atelier RPG series. A hack-and-slash action RPG, it made its name on the PS4 outside of Japan. Its sequel, Nights of Azure 2: Bride of the New Moon, however, expands its reach to new hardware and is Gust’s first title to appear on the Nintendo Switch. Set decades after the first game, the set-up for the sequel requires no knowledge of the original to understand. Nights of Azure 2 is set in the same world overrun by demons infected by the Blue Blood, but the characters and circumstances are different. The protagonist 'Aluche' -- a young knight of the Curia tasked with fighting the demons -- is ordered to escort the Curia’s chosen Bride of Time to a place of sacrifice, where her death will seal away the Moon Queen. To Aluche’s dismay, the Bride of Time is her childhood friend Liliana, but she goes ahead with her mission. From that point, things quickly go sideways. On their way to the sacrifice site, Aluche is killed in a surprise premature encounter with the Moon Queen, only to be resurrected by a Curia scientist that infuses her with some of the Blue Blood of the legendary Arnice (the first game’s protagonist), turning the once human Aluche into a half-demon. Armed with new powers, Aluche makes it her mission to find the now-missing Liliana, as well as a way to stop the Moon Queen that won’t require her friend’s sacrifice. The story and characters in Nights of Azure 2 are among the game’s high points. With a cast that grows over time, Aluche meets a ragtag collection of allies along her journey, all of whom are beautiful young women like herself. The game isn’t shy about this fact at all, and in some ways, feels like a Japanese lesbian romance in the form of an action game. In fact, the game’s lighter interludes feature plenty of sexual humor, and at times it’s a little surprising that the game managed to avoid an M rating despite the lack of red blood or sexual content beyond some slinky costumes and innuendo. The core gameplay in Nights of Azure 2 is hack-and-slash action that’s simple to learn. By default, Aluche uses a sword she can swing for combos of light and heavy attacks, and she can jump, guard, and perform a quick dash as a dodge. However, she’s not alone in combat; she leads a party consisting of one CPU-controlled partner (of a number that the player can choose from), and two Servan, who act independently, or can be ordered to act with the shoulder triggers. For Aluche’s CPU partners (or “Lilies” as they’re called in-game), each partner has her own set of strengths and skills, including special attacks they can perform with Aluche once proper requirements are met, in addition to passive skills that will automatically trigger under the right conditions. On the Normal difficulty, they’re competent and aren’t a burden when acting on their own, but there are commands that let the player dictate their basic behavior. Servan, on the other hand, are little benevolent fiends Aluche can befriend after rescuing them from flower traps. There are several varieties, including those that can turn into alternative weapon types for Aluche to wield, those that protect the party, or that inflict elemental damage. A few key Servan also have the ability to clear away or surpass obstacles on maps that lead to shortcuts, treasure chests, or additional Servan. There’s no requirement that the player find them all, but each one has its own distinct personality and history, whether that be helpful, tragic, imposing, or eccentric. Collectively, they’re a delight. If there’s one big area in which Nights of Azure 2 falls short in its gameplay, it’s really in giving the Lilies and Servan enough to do. The Lilies all have side-stories with their own quest chains to accomplish, but these quests have the player visiting the same maps over and over, with little variation save for where a target enemy or objective is on a map. And while there are plenty of Servan to befriend and bring into the party, there were many that I simply never took into battle, and at least on the Normal difficulty, I never felt penalized for sticking with the same three or four for most of the game. There are also time limits to consider. Aluche’s half-demon body doesn’t have the stamina to fight forever, and each excursion, which represents one night, has a set time limit. This limit starts at a flat ten minutes, but grows gradually as she levels up, and as points are spent on skill tree nodes to give her more time. The other time limit has to do with a magical azure moon. With each passing night, the moon wanes more and more, and the player must defeat the boss at the end of each chapter before it wanes completely, or its game over. The game does offer an emergency option to restart from the beginning of the current chapter in a worst-case scenario, but I never needed to use it. In fact, the moon time limit was never an issue for me, and I never felt pressed by the threat of a new moon. The game’s boss fights are a mixed bag. Most them are well done and offer a decent challenge relative to the rest of the game’s difficulty. But then there are the outliers. One of them was comically easy in a way that, combined with his absurd presentation, I can only imagine was intentional. And one boss fight toward the end was marred by a second phase that was nothing but tedious and seemed designed only to eat away at the timer. There are some odd quirks in the Switch version that need to be noted. One is that the game is inconsistent with its use of the A and B buttons. The A button is used for environment interaction and talking to characters, while B is used as the confirmation button in the game’s menus. This leads to unintuitive moments like pressing A to open the Save menu, and once in the menu pressing B to select a file and save the game. There were many times when I accidentally backed out of menus I had just opened because the A button is also “cancel” when in a menu. On two occasions in the twenty-plus hours of playing prior to writing this review, the game crashed and returned to the Switch home menu. However, both times it occurred were just seconds after I had saved the game, and so no progress was lost. Hopefully, Koei Tecmo will release a patch to address this issue, but the crashes were, fortunately, minor inconveniences at best. Complaints about repetition, boss fights, and technical quirks aside, I feel the game is still worth playing. The characters and world of Nights of Azure 2 are consistently entertaining, and the combat is fun. While the game lacks elements of polish, the core of the experience still manages to shine. It’s recommended if you’re looking for a fun action RPG, but don’t expect the smoothest experience. Pros + Entertaining characters and story with multiple endings + Fun hack-and-slash gameplay + Full Japanese voice acting + Beautiful character designs and models Cons - Technical and design issues - Sidequests require visiting the same maps repeatedly - Inconsistent boss fight quality - The game offers no hints on how to earn the better endings Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Nights of Azure 2 is recommended if you’re looking for a fun action RPG, but don’t expect the smoothest experience. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  2. Given how the Wii U ultimately failed for Nintendo last generation, it isn't hard to see why third-party publishers would be skeptical to believe that the Switch would fare any differently. Except, the new console was a major heel turn for the Japanese manufacturer. The Nintendo Switch picked up steam the moment it was revealed in its initial teaser trailer last year and then became an overnight sensation when it launched. Now, thanks to a steady supply of top-notch, heavy-hitting first party titles and a well-curated collection of regularly released indie titles, the console/handheld hybrid is selling like gangbusters (as evidenced by Nintendo's recent financial report). Last week, the Wall Street Journal was told by Hirozaku Hamamura, CEO of Japanese magazine publisher Gzbrain, that Japanese third-party publishers have been caught off guard by the Switch's success and are now switching gears to put their titles on it. However, Hamamura cautioned that we might not see most of the biggest titles from third-parties until 2019 given that many weren't in production for Switch until recently. As for what 2018 holds for Japanese third-parties on Switch, we'll have to wait and see. Source: Wall Street Journal (via Game Informer)
  3. Nintendo's Switch has just been updated to firmware 4.0, and with it brings a surprising new functionality: compatibility with the Gamecube controller adapter. Keen fans will be quick to note that the Gamecube controller adapter originally released for Wii U in order to serve as a way for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U players to use the GCN controller while playing. While it's possible Nintendo is just adding functionality to ensure fans have a wide array of control methods available to them, it's also sparked speculation that either a new Super Smash Bros. title or Gamecube Virtual Console titles are on the way. Both have been rumored for some time now by industry insiders, but the Smash title is especially interesting given that an enhanced port of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U was rumored to be in the works for Switch. Nintendo has been mum on the title up till now, but with the Switch lineup wide open for next Spring, fans have been speculating that Smash may be the big multiplayer release for that time window. Only time will tell. Source: GoNintendo What are your thoughts on Gamecube controller functionality being added to the Switch? Do you think news of Smash for Switch is imminent?
  4. It's a good day for indie game fans; especially those who love buying their favorite indie games physically when they have the option to. Limited Run Games -- a smaller company that currently publishes physical versions of certain indie titles on PC, PS4, and PS Vita -- has officially confirmed today that they have now been approved to publish games on Nintendo Switch. This news is fairly big in the indie scene as many fans have previously clamored for the publisher to support Nintendo's platforms, but the Japanese company hasn't allowed them to until now. While they have yet to announce what the game is, Limited Run Games announced their first published title will ship in 2018. Stay tuned for more information! Source: Limited Run Games (via Twitter) Are you excited to hear that Limited Run Games will be publishing physical/retail games on Switch?
  5. If you've yet to play the series, chances are you've heard of Jools Watsham's Mutant Mudds games over the years. The first game was a fairly big hit for the indie developer, and the title has since received an enhanced version of the game called Mutant Mudds Deluxe (which offered more levels) as well as a full-blown semi-sequel called Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge that upped the difficulty quite a bit. Now both titles will be receiving the bundle treatment with Mutant Mudds Collection on Switch. Bundled along with Deluxe and Super Challenge is a new puzzle game called Mudd Blocks. Partially a reskin of one of Watsham and Atooi's 3DS-only puzzler Bomb Monkey, Mudd Blocks offers traditional "match three" gameplay while you take on the Mudds in block form. Mutant Mudds Collection is scheduled for release on Nintendo Switch in Q4 2017. No mention on pricing just yet, but we'll keep you informed as the information arrives. Source: IGN Would you be interested in getting the Mutant Mudds Collection on Switch?
  6. If own a Nintendo Switch and haven't yet dipped your toes into last year's breakout farming sim Stardew Valley, you're in luck. Today, Chucklefish Games announced that their hit game will be hitting the eShop this Thursday, October 5 for $14.99. This will be the game's first appearance on a Nintendo platform, let alone a handheld. Apparently a PS Vita release is still in the works, but it still needs a number of optimizations before it's ready. Still, if you're waiting for a handheld version, this is as good a time as any to finally grab the game and get to farming. Source: Chucklefish Games Will you be grabbing Stardew Valley on the Switch?
  7. With Fire Emblem Warriors now less than a month away from release, we're getting more and more info on it with each coming week (including new character announcements like Celica). Today Nintendo announced that the game will be getting DLC and the Season Pass treatment, similar to how Hyrule Warriors got it a few years back. Initially, there will be three DLC packs, with each containing characters and content from a different Fire Emblem game as follows: DLC Pack #1 will feature content based on Fire Emblem Fates, and is coming in December 2017 for $8.99. DLC Pack #2 will contain content based on Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, and is coming in January 2018 for $8.99. DLC Pack #3 is based on Fire Emblem Awakening, and will be arriving in March 2018 for $8.99. You can also buy the Season Pass, which nets you all three DLC packs for a lower price of $19.99. Anyone who buys it (for either the Switch or New Nintendo 3DS version) will receive a special bridal costume for Lucina. We also have finally gotten word about how amiibo functionality will work; not surprisingly, it's similar to how it worked in Hyrule Warriors, where compatible Fire Emblem amiibo (including the upcoming Chrom and Tiki amiibo) will grant players weapons and materials when tapped (five different amiibo can be tapped per day). Fire Emblem Warriors is slated to release on Nintendo Switch on October 20. Source: Press Release Are you looking forward to the DLC Fire Emblem Warriors is getting?
  8. While Yooka-Laylee has been out on nearly every other platform since May, Playtonic Games is still hard at work on the Nintendo Switch version. What seems to be the holdup, you ask? In a new update shared on their site today, Playtonic mentioned that they've been experiencing technical difficulties with porting the game to Switch, and that they were waiting for Unity 5.6 to help clear some of them up. Unfortunately, though, the Unity update has introduced new hurdles that they're working with Unity to correct. While Playtonic says they're trying to get the game to run as well as possible before shipping it out, they do mention they're "very nearly there," and that once the issues are cleared up, then they can share the release date. It's nice to finally get word from the studio about the game considering they've been silent about it for a while, but one has to wonder if the extra time and frustration it's taken to get the Switch version working will be worth it in the end. However, a number of indie games have reported higher sales on Switch than other platforms since its debut earlier this year, so it would seem there's hope for Yooka-Laylee yet. Source: Playtonic Games Are you still looking forward to the Switch version of Yooka-Laylee?
  9. Jason Clement

    Celica joins Fire Emblem Warriors roster

    You might recall that at one point earlier in the year, Fire Emblem Warriors' creators mentioned that the game would mostly feature characters from Shadow Dragon, Awakening, and Fates. The operative word here being "mostly." While many took that to mean that the game would only feature characters from those games, a Tokyo Game Show announcement revealed today that Celica -- one of the protagonists from this year's Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadow of Valentia -- will be joining the roster as well. This brings the total number of playable characters in the game to 22 (two of which are unplayable in story mode). No doubt, it's great news for fans of other games in the series as it shows they may also get some representation in the crossover at some point. Now that Celica is a part of the cast, it may only be a matter of time before Shadows of Valentia's other protagonist, Alm, is also revealed, perhaps as a DLC character down the road. We'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, you can check out Celica in action in the latest Japanese trailer for the game below. Fire Emblem Warriors is slated for release on the Nintendo Switch on October 21. Source: Nintendo Are you excited to play as Celica in the game?
  10. Today's Nintendo Switch was quite a doozy. For 45 minutes, we watched as Nintendo announced game after game that would be coming to 3DS and Switch, and they definitely had their share of surprises, even if there may not have been a megaton. Here's a quick look at the biggest news coming out of the event if you missed it. Kirby Battle Royale announced for 3DS in 2018 Remember at the start of the year when Nintendo announced a multiplayer-focused Kirby game that would be coming later? Turns out it was delayed a tiny bit, and will instead be one of the first new 3DS games out in 2018 when it hits on January 19. Titled 'Kirby Battle Royale,' it's a single- and multiplayer-focused fighter that sees Kirby battling it out alongside other Kirbys (Kirbies?) in various modes. Mario Party: The Top 100 surprise announced for release in November on 3DS This was one that sort of came out of left field. Technically, it's not a full-fledged new Mario Party, but it does contain some of the series' best minigames to play through. And while it doesn't support online play, it does offer local download play, so you can play with three other friends on just one game cart. Mario Party: The Top 100 launches on Nov. 10 on 3DS. Minecraft is coming to 3DS too?? Okay, this one was legit surprising, especially considering that 3DS is in its twilight right now. Yes, Minecraft is coming to the handheld, but only the New Nintendo 3DS, not the original. This version features Survival and Creative modes, five skin packs, and two texture packs. Also surprising: the game actually released today, but only the digital version. A physical version is releasing at a later date. Atlus bringing the heat with four upcoming 3DS games When all is said and done with the 3DS, let everyone remember that Atlus was by far one of the biggest and most productive publishers on the handheld. Even in its late hour, the 3DS is getting four more RPGs from the Persona publisher, and they are as follows: The Alliance Alive Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux We've actually known about all four, and two of them are remakes/remixes of previous games, but it's still nice to know they're coming. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 finally has a confirmed release date, and it's coming before year's end And you thought it wouldn't make it this year! To be fair, I was iffy on whether it would release as well, but Nintendo assured as that all was good and well with the game as it will officially make landfall on the Switch on December. Also, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be getting a special edition that includes a sound selection CD, a special metal game case, and a 220-page hardbound art book all for $99.99. A Nintendo Switch Pro Controller themed around the game will also be available for $74.99, and boy does it look snazzy. The Kirby Switch game is revealed as Kirby Star Allies Remember that Kirby game that was in development for Switch? It's now called Kirby Star Allies, and you'll be able to recruit up to three enemies as allies (with either friends playing or CPU) and mix abilities to create new powers. Did I mention that it looks like a continuation of Kirby's Return to Dreamland? Because it does, and that can only be a good thing. Anyhow, the game is coming to Switch in the Spring. BETHESDA IS BRINGING 'WHAT' TO SWITCH??? Easily one of the biggest surprises of the Direct, bar none, was the announcement that Bethesda would be bringing both DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to the Switch. You heard that right, this is not a drill! DOOM will be arriving first this Fall, while Wolfenstein II will be releasing in 2018. Square Enix reveals more about Project Octopath Traveler Another game that got way too little screentime in the Nintendo Direct from earlier this year was Project Octopath Traveler, a curious yet beautiful game from the same developer that brought us Bravely Default. And, with a brand new video showcasing what the game is about, Square Enix dropped a bomb on everyone, revealing that the game looks pretty darn amazing. The developers have utilized a mix of 2D and 3D visuals to create a new aesthetic that they're referring to as HD 2D (huh), and you'll be able to choose one of eight different characters and play through their own unique story. Oh, and there's a demo on the eShop as we speak, so be sure to check it out and see what the fuss is all about. And it's coming in 2018. Yes, we know, Super Mario Odyssey still looks amazing (and why isn't it out yet?) At this point, if you're not convinced Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing, I'm not sure what else I can do. And I'm pretty sure I don't have to convince anyone else that's already looking forward to it, so I'll say that what they showed was -- once again -- pretty fantastic stuff, showcasing a few new worlds that you can expect to see, story details, and more. Be sure to check it out in the Nintendo Direct video above. Oh, and a Super Mario Odyssey-themed Switch bundle is in the works for this Fall, featuring special Mario-themed red Joy-Con controllers, a special carrying-case, a Switch console, and a download code for the game all for a cool $379.99. Other news revealed Yeah, there was something other stuff announced too that wasn't quite as big as the stuff above, but if you want to hear about it, here we go: Splatoon 2 is getting new DLC soon, including the returning Kelp Dome stage, a new stage called Snapper Canal, and an extra-large Brella weapon. ARMS is adding new playable fighter Lola Pop by way of a new update today. Fire Emblem Warriors is getting a new character in the form of Lyndis (or 'Lyn'), the protagonist from Fire Emblem on GBA. Snipperclips Plus was announced as an expanded version of the original game, and it includes more than 30 new stages, new challenges, and new features. Existing owners can purchase the new content as DLC for $9.99. It's all coming on Nov. 10, and a physical version is in the works as well. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is arriving on Switch on Nov. 17. Dragon Quest Builders is coming to Switch in Spring 2018. NBA 2K18 is coming to Switch on Sept. 15. EA Sports FIFA 18 is coming to Switch on Sept. 29. WWE 2K18 is coming to Switch sometime soon. Square Enix's Lost Sphear is coming to Switch on Jan. 23. Flip Wars is getting a new update that adds a new stage, new mechanics, local wireless multiplayer, class matches, and a new online battle mode. Morphies Law, a new multiplayer shooter is launching first on Switch as a console exclusive this Fall. Arena of Valor, a free-to-start MOBA with a roster of more than 35 heroes, will be available for beta test this Winter on Switch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champion amiibo are all set to release on Nov. 10. Each character will unlock a special headgear for Link based on their Divine Beast. Further functionality will be detailed later. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millonaire's Conspiracy is set to release on Oct. 6 on 3DS. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is set to release on 3DS in November. To watch the Nintendo Direct in full, check out the source link below. Source: Nintendo Direct What are your thoughts on the news from this Nintendo Direct?
  11. In an unexpected move today, Rockstar announced that on November 14 they are bringing back LA Noire as an enhanced version for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and even Nintendo's Switch and a VR experience that pulls from the game. The Switch version of LA Noire represents the first Rockstar game on the console, and it'll consist of the full original game, all of its DLC, Switch-specific gyroscopic/motion controls, and HD Rumble. New touch controls have also been added for handheld mode. As for Xbox One and PS4, they'll also be getting the full game and all of its DLC, plus "a range of technical enhancements for greater visual fidelity and authenticity, including enhanced lighting and clouds, new cinematic camera angles, high resolution textures and more." The game will run at 1080p natively on Xbox One and PS4, while also offering 4K for Xbox One X and PS4 Pro. Finally, the VR experience is called LA Noire: The VR Case Files and will release for the HTC Vive headset. It focuses on seven of the cases from the game, which have been rebuilt for the VR experience. Could this possibly be a prelude to Rockstar creating a future LA Noire sequel? While LA Noire's original developer, Team Bondi, shut down back in late 2011, it certainly looks like a possibility, though releasing the game on Switch is also a great way for the company to gauge how well M-rated content as a whole will sell on the console. Source: IGN Does LA Noire's announcement for current consoles surprise you? Will you be buying it?
  12. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Sonic Mania

    Developers: PagodaWest Games, Headcannon Publisher: Sega Platform(s): Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC Release Date(s): August 15th, 2017; August 29th, 2017 (PC) ESRB: E for Everyone Note: This review is based on the Nintendo Switch version of the game Let’s be real for a second; Sonic the Hedgehog hasn’t exactly had the best of luck over the years. Ever since he entered the 3D realm, our favorite supersonic hedgehog has stumbled a few too many times for his own good. That’s not to say that there aren’t any good 3D Sonic games, but… well, let’s just say the blue blur hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record (and I’m not talking about literal track records here, as I’m sure he breaks them all). Sonic the Hedgehog in 2D, however, has almost always been great, at least in my opinion. So, you can imagine my excitement when Sonic Mania was first announced. I’ve awaited a game like this for what feels like an eternity. In fact, I’d say I’ve been waiting for Sonic Mania ever since I beat Sonic 3 & Knuckles, I just didn’t know what it would be called. And once it was released, I couldn’t help but feel like I was in the 90s again. Not only does it feel like a true entry in Sonic’s Genesis era, but with today’s technological advancements, Sonic Mania performs even better, too. Some extremely creative level designs, an insanely good soundtrack, and all the nostalgia you could ever ask for makes Sonic Mania one game no Sonic fan should miss. As with most of the classic Sonic games, Sonic Mania doesn’t really focus too much on story. There is a story being told, but it takes a back seat to just about every other aspect of the game. The gist is that, following the events of Sonic the Hedgehog 3 & Knuckles, Sonic and Tails have noticed a strong energy reading similar to the Chaos Emeralds coming from Angel Island, so they head on over there. Of course, Dr. Eggman (who else?) and the Hard-Boiled Heavies – a group of robots created by the bad doctor – noticed the signal too, so they made sure to get there first. What they find is a gem known as the Phantom Ruby, which enables Eggman and the Heavies with immense power, including the ability to warp Sonic & co. through time and space. And thus, the possibility to replay old stages becomes possible. Sonic Mania is more than just a collection of old levels, of course. While the development team most definitely repurposed some of the old levels’ designs, they also made sure to change some things. For example, while the Act 1 stages of the classic zones are very reminiscent to the originals, Act 2 tends to be a brand-new level entirely. Aside from that, there are also some new zones you will only see in Sonic Mania (at least for now). And if I’m being honest here, I’d even wager that the newer stuff has the better level design (please don’t kill me…). As for how Sonic Mania controls, it’s exactly what you would expect. From the simple running, jumping, and spin-dashing mechanics to Tails flying and Knuckles gliding and climbing, the game really feels like you’re playing Sonic 3 & Knuckles again, but with a different lineup of levels. The power-ups from Sonic 3 & Knuckles even make a nice comeback. There is a new mechanic, however, that helps Sonic Mania stand out a bit more – the Drop Dash. Basically, while Tails can fly & Knuckles can glide, Sonic can now dash immediately after dropping to the ground after a jump. It can be very useful if you get the hang of it, although until I figured out how to use it, I sometimes found myself drop-dashing accidentally to unfortunate consequences. Speaking of things from Sonic 3 & Knuckles that have returned for Sonic Mania: love it or hate it, the blue sphere special stages are back. They don’t unlock Chaos Emeralds this time, however. Instead, upon clearing these special stages, you earn silver medals when hitting all blue spheres and gold for also collecting the rings. Collect enough medals and you start unlocking additional features, such as moves from previous games, Debug Mode and the much-needed “& Knuckles” Mode, a feature that allows you to have Knuckles tag along on your adventure, even if you’re playing as Knuckles. Because if there’s one team-up I always wanted to see, it’s Knuckles & Knuckles. While the blue sphere special stages don’t unlock Chaos Emeralds, they aren’t the only special stages in this game. Finding a giant ring hidden in each stage will warp you to a new type of special stage exclusive to Sonic Mania where you must catch a UFO and take the emerald from its grasp, collecting blue spheres to gain speed and rings to not run out of time. I actually found these special stages quite enjoyable, with a definite Sonic Jam/Sonic R vibe going on. And like with any type of special stage, they get harder and more frustrating, which can get annoying when you have to keep looking for the giant rings in order to retry the stages after failing. But it’s all worth it in the end, once you can become Super Sonic and fight the true final boss of the game. There’s not a ton to say about the graphics aside from it being like Sonic 3 & Knuckles, but better. And I found that delightful. As a long-time fan of the game (and the series in general, of course), I just love how similar it looks. Obviously, the resolution is higher and the overall quality is better since it can be. And I was impressed by how seamlessly the development team could create new levels that look exactly like something from Sonic 3 & Knuckles. Like, seriously, these levels don’t look out of place at all. If you’re a sucker for nostalgia, then Sonic Mania will have no trouble satisfying you. The music, though. THE MUSIC, THOUGH. Seriously, Sonic Mania not only lives up to the awesomeness of the classic games it borrows levels from by remastering certain songs we all remember from those games, but the remixes used in the Mania-exclusive Act 2 stages of some of those zones and the songs written for the brand-new zones are just pure gold. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that Sonic Mania has my all-time favorite soundtrack of any Sonic game ever. And that’s really saying something. Of course, it certainly helps that many of my favorite Sonic tunes have returned in Sonic Mania. I realize I haven’t said a whole lot about the negatives in Sonic Mania. But there’s a reason; I simply can’t think of that many. I remember one time when the game glitched on me and somehow replaced the jumping sound effect with the ring one, which was weird. I also ran into a glitch in a certain new stage right before the boss that kept the boss from showing up, thus keeping me from progressing until I either ran out of time or killed myself. Other than that, there are a few annoyances that carried over from the classics, such as abruptly and unfairly getting crushed to death. And if you’re one of those people who didn’t care too much for the stop-and-go style of classic Sonic games, this game probably won't change your mind. For the longest time, I’ve considered Sonic 3 & Knuckles to be my favorite Sonic game of all time. But now that I’ve played Sonic Mania, I’m not so sure anymore. The game has its share of glitches, but they are few and far between and takes nothing away from what makes the game so good. With some level designs so good I might even consider them the series’ best, graphics that make the game look like a Genesis game with higher resolution, and possibly my favorite soundtrack of any Sonic game ever, Sonic Mania is one hell of a comeback. If you’re a fan of the classic Sonic games, you owe it to yourself to get this game. You won’t regret it. I promise. Pros + Incredible level design that might even top the classics + Fun special stages with plenty to unlock + Delightfully retro graphics style + Amazing soundtrack that is hard to stop listening to Cons - A few minor glitches - Some frustrations passed down from the classics Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic A wonderful throwback to Sonic's Genesis days, Sonic Mania is a fantastic game and a strong contender for best Sonic game of all time, thanks to some incredible level design, a delightfully retro graphics style, and an amazing soundtrack. This is one game no Sonic fan should miss out on.
  13. Inti Creates may have had a hand in the development of last year's critically lambasted Mighty No. 9, but the studio is firing on all cylinders this year with the the positive reception from Blaster Master Zero and the recently released Mighty Gunvolt Burst. That momentum kept going yesterday as they announced at Anime Expo 2017 that Shovel Knight and Shantae would be coming to Blaster Master Zero as DLC EX characters very soon; both of which fundamentally change up the game in pretty notable ways. Shovel Knight effectively acts as a melee character with a similar moveset to that of his own game, using his shovel as an attack and also being able to bounce off enemies with a downward thrust when he jumps. Similarly, Shantae also has pretty much the same classic moveset from her own games, which is attacking with her hair and magic as well as transforming into animals with special skills. Inti Creates is offering both characters for free when each debuts, but will then charge $1.99 for each when the free period ends. The period for when you can download them for free is as follows: EX Character: Shantae – 7/6/2017~7/19/2017 EX Character: Shovel Knight – 8/3/2017~8/16/2017 And as if that isn't enough for you, Inti Creates also teased that this isn't the end of new updates for Master Blaster Zero. More info on what's next for the game will be announced in the coming weeks and months. Could more DLC characters be in the works? Or will they add more game modes? We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, check out the trailer for Shovel Knight and Shantae in Master Blaster Zero below. Source: Inti Creates Are you excited for Shovel Knight and Shantae? Are you planning to play through the game as them?
  14. Ever since the "Expansion Pass" for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced, fans have been wondering exactly what will be released in each of the three DLC packs that comprises it. While Nintendo released a rough outline of what would be in each pack, the official details on the first DLC pack have come through today, and it contains even more than what was first announced. First off, the first DLC pack will be called The Master Trials. Here's what it contains: Trial of the Sword Previously known as "The Cave of Trials," this will be accessible location will serve as a challenge for Link where he'll need to defeat enemies in each room to continue on. Much like Eventide Island, he'll start off without armor or weapons, and the trial will include some 45 rooms in all. If he manages to beat it, you'll unlock the true power of the Master Sword and it will always be in its glowing state. Hard Mode What it sounds like. Essentially this raises all monsters' levels by one, so Red Bokoblins will now be Blue ones and so forth. Enemies will also recover health over time, forcing you to defeat them quickly if you want to move on, and they'll spot Link more easily as well. Finally, new, floating planks (with balloons) will be scattered across Hyrule where Link can battle enemies and find new treasure. Hero's Path One of the most useful-sounding additions so far -- essentially, this documents every path Link has taken around Hyrule in green since the start of your adventure. It will record your last 200 hours of travel, so you'll have a better idea of where you've been on the map and where you haven't. Travel Medallion Ever wish you could travel to a certain spot but no shrine, tower, village, or stable was nearby? Now you can, registering up to one temporary point you can return to at any time. You'll have to find the chest that the Travel Medallion is hiding in first, however. Korok Mask Ya-ha-ha! When you find it, this new item will help you locate those sneaky Koroks. No more combing the map blindly for them! 8 new pieces of outfits/equipment Also one of the most interesting pieces in this DLC; among them are Majora's Mask, Midna's Helmet, Tingle's Outfit, and the Phantom Armor (that Zelda wears/inhabits in Spirit Tracks). Oh, and I almost forgot... Option to switch the game's audio between 9 differerent languages This update is actually a free one that isn't tied to the Expansion Pass. Were you disappointed you were stuck with English audio when you played through the NA version of the game? Now you'll be able to play through the game with one of eight other audio voice tracks (and on-screen text), including Japanese, French (Canada), French (France), German, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Italian, and Russian. Also, Wii U players will need to download a Voice Pack from the eShop to experience this option. The good news is you won't have to wait long for DLC Pack 1; it's slated to release this Summer. DLC Pack 2 will arrive a little bit later during the Holiday season, and will be detailed a little before that time likely. Source: Nintendo What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild's first DLC pack from the Expansion Pass?
  15. Developer: SFB Games, NST Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Switch Release Date: March 3, 2017 ESRB: E for Everyone Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! might go down as the best puzzle game to ever release at a console launch outside of Tetris. And the best part is that it sort of came out of nowhere. Developed by SFB Games in conjunction with Nintendo Software Technology (or NST), Nintendo was so impressed with Snipperclips in its conceptual form that the Japanese video game giant picked it up for publishing and helped craft it into one of Switch's very best games yet. The game's basic pitch is this: you (and potentially another player) control a pair of cartoony clipart-inspired characters that can "snip" (or "clip") each other into various shapes that can then be used to accomplish certain tasks in a given level. This is accomplished by transposing the character you're controlling over the other, forming a green area that indicates what will be "snipped" away from the other character. For example, one of the first levels you play tasks you with retrieving a basketball and then taking it over and dumping it in the hoop. You'll first need to clip one character so it's the right size to push a button, then clip the other so it can hold the ball. Finally, the ball holder will need to stand on the other character's head in order to dump the ball into the hoop. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg either; there are multiple themed collections of levels that you'll play through that add a specific element to the gameplay. A retro games-inspired world will have you simulating the movement of a smaller virtual character by using your characters to snip and clip into shapes that will allow them to move a joystick or controller as well as move gears and more. Another level has you using one character to turn a gear as the other lowers (and raises) on a platform to catch fish so that they can then return and put certain kinds in a separate contained area. Not every single level is memorable, but most of the different scenarios you'll come across are pretty creative and entertaining. And while they're rarely super challenging, the level of difficulty leaves you feeling satisfied in the end instead of frustrated. It's the perfect amount of complexity where it's not too hard but not too easy for you and a friend to tackle. This is also one of the very first Switch games that uses each Joy-Con as a complete controller on its own, so it may take a few minutes to get used to that. If you have big hands, they'll likely feel a bit crowded at first (especially since the analog stick is so close to the buttons) but I actually found myself forgetting about that and getting used to it the more I played. The only thing that's a slight pain is that you have to return to the Switch's menu and readjust the controller alignment to normal mode when you're finished playing the game since Snipperclips uses both Joy Con as different controllers. Snipperclip's adorable pair of cartoony clipart characters bring a surprising amount of personality to what could have just as easily been a lifeless (yet creative) puzzle game. They laugh and giggle as they "snip" each other into various shapes, they squirm and make funny faces as they squat or restore their full form; it's all a reminder that this is good, light fun. They even have distinctive visual nods that make them stand apart, with the more masculine orange character wearing shoes and a bowtie, and the more feminine pink character with her ribbon, eyelashes, and boots. Likewise, the soundtrack is surprisingly good and pretty memorable to boot. When I'm away from the game, I find myself consistently humming or thinking about the game's upbeat and catchy tracks, only to realize, "Huh, that's from the Snipperclips soundtrack? Wow." There's a certain similarity between a lot of the tunes in this game and the Wii Shop Channel's music, which had a nostalgic sort of '50s TV infomercial vibe to it. In all, there's a good amount of depth to the game with its 50+ levels, and when you add in the fact that you can play with at least two players right out of the box (thanks to the Switch's two Joy-Con being able to act independently as two mini controllers and the Switch's ability to be taken anywhere) and even up to four (if you have an extra set of Joy-Con), it makes Snipperclips one of the best games to play with friends. But even if you're playing solo, Snipperclips is well worth playing and makes a case for being one of Nintendo's best puzzle titles in quite some time. Pros + Colorful, appealing characters and visuals + Great, catchy music + Original, innovative concept + Great puzzle design and level variety Cons - Controls are adequate, but take some getting used to at first - Some level scenarios are re-used with added elements later Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic Snipperclips may not have the brand name recognition or hype of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but it's almost equally worth your time and attention due to its clever, original concept and satisfying co-op level designs. Don't miss it. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  16. Flinthook Developer: Tribute Games Publisher: Tribute Games Genre: Platformer Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) If you love indie games and platformers but you've never heard of Tribute Games before, they'll certainly be on your radar after today. Most recently known for Mercenary Kings and the Mega Man-inspired Ninja Senki DX, Tribute Games focuses on pixel-stylized action and platforming games, not unlike some of the great classics of yesteryear. In Flinthook, you play as a space pirate who uses a hook device to zip around procedurally-generated levels and plunder treasure and the like. Check out the trailer above! Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy: A Telltale Series Developer: Telltale Games Publisher: Telltale Games Genre: Episodic Point and Click Adventure Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Android, iOS Before 2014, almost no one outside of the comics realm knew who the Guardians of the Galaxy are, but thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe film of the same, Star-Lord and his crew are some of the hottest new heroes around. Telltale's new episodic series continues the same fun and edgy vibe projected in the movie while taking the crew on a new story that will test each team member's resolve. Plus Thanos is in it, so... instabuy, right? Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap Developer: Lizardcube Publisher: DotEmu Genre: Action platformer Platform: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC (Steam) I didn't grow playing SEGA games in my household, so I missed out on the Wonder Boy series up till now. Turns out that was a huge mistake, as Wonder Boy is one of the best platformer series of yesteryear, and Lizardcube and DotEmu's have given Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap one of the best-looking makeovers I've ever seen for a game that came out close to 30 years ago. Disney Afternoon Collection Developer: Digital Eclipse, Capcom Publisher: Capcom Genre: Action platformer, shmup Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC Ducktales. Darkwing Duck. Chip & Dale: Rescue Rangers. Tale-Spin. What more could you ask for than some of the most classic animated cartoons from the '90s? If you've never played their companion games that came out for the NES (or even if you have), this is an amazing way to experience them all. Seriously, these are some of the best licensed games of all time, and most of them hold up extremely well. Full Throttle Remastered Developer: Double Fine Games Publisher: Double Fine Games Genre: Point and Click Adventure Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC First it was Grim Fandango. Then Day of the Tentacle. And now, LucasArts' classic Full Throttle is getting the remaster treatment courtesy of Tim Schafer's Double Fine. Though not was well known as the former mentioned games, Full Throttle was an interesting game about a biker who gets tangled up in a tale of intrigue, and this is the best way to experience it nowadays. Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom Developer: Enigami Publisher: Focus Home Games Genre: Action RPG Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC It seems rare that we get full 3D RPGs from indie devs these days, but Shiness: The Lightning Kingdom definitely deserves props for being one of the best looking and most interesting in recent times. In Shiness, your crew of characters gets caught up in a conflict spanning multiple kingdoms and takes you on a journey through a universe on the verge of collapse. Let us know which of these games you're thinking of buying this week!
  17. Nintendo's new IP ARMS and the multiplayer-centric Splatoon 2 are the next major new first party releases in the Switch's line-up, and today we finally got to hear a bit more about them, as well as when we'll get to play them. First off, the Nintendo Direct yesterday revealed that in ARMS, each fighter will be able to equip two different types of customizable ARMS. These can range from standard gloves to more specialized ones, and each ARM will have an elemental attribute (ice, fire, electricity) that adds extra effects. A new, ramen-armed female character named Min-Min was also announced. ARMS is set to release on June 16 for Switch, and a special neon yellow Joy-Con controller is set to launch alongside it as well (sold separately). Check out the video segment for the new content below. Meanwhile, the Direct focused on a new area/mode in Splatoon 2 called Salmon Run. It's a four-player, co-op-based mode where players will do battle against a new type of species called the Salmonid. Also when co-op partners fall, they can be revived by teammates by being shot with ink on the battlefield. Not bad! Splatoon 2 will debut on Switch a month after ARMS on July 21. Be sure to check out Salmon Run in the video below. Source: Nintendo Direct Are you looking forward to ARMS and/or Splatoon 2?
  18. Kind of interesting to see this. At first, people were saying that it was more akin to PS4 cases, but now it appears that Switch game cases are the same as PSP's. The question is, why go with that form factor and not one that's closer to 3DS, especially since the latter uses less physical material (or at least it looks that way)? My guess is that they're trying to differentiate Switch cases from 3DS as much as possible, especially if 3DS lives on for another year or more. Image via @aevanko on Twitter I'm actually not all that crazy about those style of game cases, but at least they take up less space (I guess). What do you guys think? Do you like the new form factor for Switch's cases?
  19. Did you know that the beautifully hand-drawn retro-remake that is Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is only a few weeks away from release? Time certainly flies! And publisher DotEmu has released a new trailer for the game, detailing a brand new feature: you can also play as the brand new Wonder Girl. It appears that this is more of a palette/character swap, if anything, given that Wonder Girl is shown to have the same skill set and no new special abilities of her own. But it's a welcome addition nonetheless for female players who want to play as a female hero. Developer Lizardcube mentions in a blog post that that's actually the reason behind them adding Wonder Girl, adding that "an 8 year old girl [sic] could be playing the game today, and we felt it was the right thing to do." In addition to the Wonder Girl news, the trailer once again showcases the previous announcement where you'll be able to swap between modern and retro visual styles while playing the game. Pretty nifty indeed! Check out the Wonder Boy and Wonder Girl Trailer below. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is slated for release on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and Xbox One on April 18. Source: The Dragon's Trap Are you looking forward to playing as Wonder Girl in the game?
  20. The SNES classic Secret of Mana is one of the most beloved RPGs out there, and Square Enix just tugged at fans' heartstrings by making a surprise announcement that both its prequel and sequel would be joining the game in a collection that's due out for the Nintendo Switch later this year. Now here's the bad news: it's only for Japan. However, the fact that the collection is receiving a physical release is making some fans think that a Western release could be possible. One thing that could be standing in the way, though, is Secret of Mana's sequel -- the Japanese-only Seiken Densetsu 3 -- which would has never been localized for English territories (though unofficial translations have existed online for years). Seiken Densetsu 3 was notable for several innovations, such as being able to choose any 3 of 6 heroes at the start of the game, where their own story arcs would intersect with each others' and the overall plot throughout the course of the game. There were also three different final bosses and end dungeons to experience depending on who you chose as the primary hero. Secret of Mana's prequel was originally known in the US as Final Fantasy Adventure, and was also remade in 3D for Vita last year as Adventures of Mana. In any event, the Seiken Densetsu Collection will release in Japan on June 1 for 4,800 yen (which is roughly $43 USD). We'll have to wait and see if anything is in the works for English-speaking territories, but in the meantime you can watch the trailer below. Would you buy the Seiken Densetsu/Mana series collection if it came to the Americas and Europe?
  21. While the recently-named Sonic Forces will be bookending 2017, fans of a more classic, 2D Sonic will be able to get their hands on the upcoming Sonic Mania much sooner. Just... maybe not as soon as you were initially expecting. Sega announced at SXSW 2017 that Sonic Mania will now be releasing sometime in the Summer instead of its original Spring 2017 release date. It's unfortunate for sure, especially considering that many fans are more excited for this one over Sonic Forces due to it being a compilation/remix of levels from the classic 2D Sonic titles, but the good news is the delay isn't too long. Also good news -- Sega announced another classic Sonic stage that would be returning in Sonic Mania: Flying Battery Zone. Fans will likely remember playing the stage from Sonic & Knuckles, along with its catchy theme. Check out footage of the remade Flying Battery Zone below. Hopefully this isn't the last we hear about Sonic Mania for a while. If Sega is following the Super Smash Bros. method of drip-feeding announcements, perhaps it won't be too long before we hear more about the game and its remaining levels. Sonic Mania is coming to PS4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch this Summer. Source: Polygon Are you disappointed to hear about Sonic Mania's delay?
  22. Project Sonic 2017 was initially announced last year as the next new 3D Sonic game in the works, but little else was revealed beyond a short trailer that didn't include any gameplay. That is, until yesterday. Sega has now announced that the game's title will be Sonic Forces. The reasoning for the name has yet to be revealed, but it seems to imply that Sonic may team up and unite with other characters to stand against Eggman's latest machinations; we'll have to wait for the official synopsis from Sega to be sure. Also, the first gameplay footage for the game was revealed at SXSW, where it shows Sonic racing through a city that appears to be under siege by Eggman's robots. We'll likely have to wait just a bit longer for Sega to completely spill the [chili] beans on this one, so you can probably expect to hear more at E3 2017 in just a few short months. In the meantime, Sonic Forces is currently slated to launch during Holiday 2017 for PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. What do you think of Sonic Forces' name and first footage?
  23. The launch of Nintendo's Switch seems to have gotten off to a great start so far, with the first two day's sales already indicating that this is the Japanese company's biggest launch yet for one of their consoles. Surprisingly, the numbers are said to be above even the Wii's launch. Additionally, Nintendo of America president Reggie Fils Aime has stated that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is now the best-selling launch game, taking the title from previous holder Super Mario 64. However, while it's a good early indicator, the news doesn't necessarily guarantee the console's long-term success at this point. It's worth pointing out that the Wii U sold respectably at its launch as well before falling off a cliff in sales a month or two later. We'll have to wait and see how the Switch performs in weeks ahead to really get a good idea of its long-term momentum. Though Nintendo has a smash hit with Breath of the Wild, Switch has a few hurdles that could potentially prove detrimental to that momentum early on, including a small launch lineup, no virtual console (yet), and a number of users that are reporting issues with the left Joy-Con controller. However, a poll conducted by GamesRadar indicates that it may only be affecting a number of owners -- out of 2,700 people polled, 10% are reporting issues with the left Joy-Con, while an additional 11% indicated they were experiencing other issues. Most console launches have a subset of early adopters that run into issues with their hardware, so we'll have to wait and see how Nintendo addresses the problems and whether they continue to be a problem. In the meantime, things are looking positive for sales in the short term. Source: IGN Are you surprised that Switch now holds the best-selling two-day sales numbers of all Nintendo's consoles?
  24. Things just got a whole lot more brighter for the Nintendo Switch as today the Big N announced a slew of major indie titles that are heading to the platform very soon -- some of which were just announced for the first time. The presentation began with the announcement of SteamWorld Dig 2 before reconfirming some other big indies such as Choice Provision's Runner 3 and Playtonic Game's Yooka-Laylee. Other brand new indies heading to Switch that were just revealed for the first time include Flipping Death (from Zoink Games, of Stick it to the Man! fame) and Kingdom: Two Crowns (from Raw Fury and Art in the Heart), a tactical game in the same vein as Nintendo's Advance Wars. Also interesting -- Blaster Master Zero (from Inti-Creates) is launching exclusively on Nintendo Switch and 3DS on March 9 and will feature a two-player mode as well as numerous character cameos. A virtual reboot of sorts of the original Blaster Master (for NES), Zero is looking like an incredibly sharp Metroidvania title, so be sure to keep an eye on it if that genre is in your wheelhouse. Nintendo's Damon Baker also confirmed that more than 60 major indie titles are currently in development for the Switch, many of which are making their debut on the platform first before anywhere else and will include Switch exclusive features such as HD Rumble among other things. The full list of games shown in the presentation and confirmed to be coming to Switch are as follows: Runner3 from Choice Provisions SteamWorld Dig 2 from Image & Form Games Yooka Laylee from Team 17 and Playtonic Games Blaster Master Zero from Inti Creates Pocket Rumble from Chucklefish Games and Cardboard Robot Games Flipping Death from Zoink Games Mr. Shifty from tinyBuild and Team Shifty Wargroove from Chucklefish Games Stardew Valley from Chucklefish Games and ConcernedApe Shakedown Hawaii from vBlank Graceful Explosion Machine from Vertex Pop Tumbleseed from aeiowu Overcooked: Special Edition from Team 17 and Ghost Town Games The Escapists 2 from Team 17 and Mouldy Toof GoNNER from Raw Fury and Art in Heart Kingdom: Two Crowns from Raw Fury and Noio Dandara from Raw Fury and Long Hat Hous There are many others that weren't shown but are confirmed to be coming to Switch as well, including last year's critically acclaimed Thumper, Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, Treasurenauts, and more. You can check out the full Nintendo Switch Indies Showcase presentation below. Are you looking forward to any of the indie games mentioned, and will you be buying them on the Switch?
  25. Just a month ago, Image & Form was teasing the next installment in the SteamWorld series, and today we now know what the game will be: SteamWorld Dig 2. Although early reports indicated that the game might have been called 'SteamWorld Quest' at first, the return to Rusty's unfinished story is a welcome one, as the first SteamWorld Dig ended on a bit of a cliffhanger. In SteamWorld Dig 2, you'll play as the young shopkeeper from the original as you explore the depths of the Earth for a long lost friend. Image & Form has confirmed the game will be coming first to Nintendo Switch this Summer and will include HD Rumble (as well as Joy-Con) functionality, though they have yet to detail the specifics on it. Stay tuned for more info as we head into GDC this week, and be sure to check out the game's announcement trailer below! Source: Press Release Are you excited for SteamWorld Dig 2?
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