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  1. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Shadow Puppeteer

    Developer: Sarepta Studio Publisher: Snow Cannon Games Platform: Wii U (eShop), PC (Steam) Release Date(s): January 28, 2016 (Wii U) September 29, 2014 (PC) ESRB: T for Teen Official Website Remember that scene in Peter Pan where Peter runs around the Darling children's room because he lost his shadow and is trying to catch it? If you were to take that whole "shadow with a mind of its own" shtick and make it into a game, you'd get the indie title Shadow Puppeteer. Except in this game, there's less chasing after your shadow and more working with it to get through a puzzle-platforming adventure. And while the main draw of the game -- its gameplay -- is pretty unique and fun much of the time (with a few other enjoyable aspects to compliment it), there are some unfortunate shortcomings that ultimately hurt the game in the long run. Shadow Puppeteer is a game of few words. Well, actually, it's a game of no words, if you don't count basic stuff like the title screen. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; it just makes the game rely on purely visual and audio storytelling. Which is pretty nice, actually. The gist is that this evil dude known as the Shadow Puppeteer (which you wouldn“t know from the game itself due to the no dialogue and text and whatnot) comes to a village and takes everyone's shadows with an instrument he plays save for a young boy, thanks to the guy's instrument breaking, and the boy and his shadow go on a journey to save everyone else's shadows. So, you know, a story made specifically to fit the gameplay. SEGWAY! From the moment you see the title “Shadow Puppeteer†and lay your eyes on the protagonist and his shadow, you can kinda guess that the gameplay is most likely centered around shadows. And you“d be right, of course (what, you think I“d write the previous sentence for no reason?). You play as both your physical self and your shadow, moving each separately in cooperation to solve puzzles and get through each level. Well, in single player mode you play as both. If you happen to have a friend/family member/shadow to play with, then you both control one of the two. Unfortunately for you loners, co-op is a lot more fun, and with fewer annoyances brought on by having to control both characters yourself. It gets really confusing at times and you often find yourself dying simply because you can“t keep your eyes on two characters at once. Don“t get me wrong, the game is plenty of fun thanks to the original gameplay with its clever use of shadows. It“s just that it also has plenty of not-so-fun qualities that make you question whether you“re actually having fun or not. The level designs are pretty good, but the platforming aspect can get really frustrating due to the fact that your physical self is moving within a 3D space. Not simply because of the 3D space, but because of the camera angle you“re given. When you go to make a jump, you“ll occasionally fall to your death because you can“t see where you“re going to land. It“s not something that will happen all the time, but it happens frequently enough for me to talk about how annoying it is. Another rather infuriating aspect of Shadow Puppeteer lies with the boss fights. Though this is made much less infuriating by playing with a pal in co-op. It's nice that the developers wanted to shake things up by making the bosses shadows, but it takes far too much time to figure out how to beat them. They will kill you. A lot. Especially the final boss, who might just be one of the most annoying final bosses I've ever endured. Not challenging. Annoying. But again, this annoyance is mainly apparent in single player mode, as your many deaths are attributed to the difficulty of controlling both protagonists at once. Unfortunately, your trials-and-errors will often result in you having to sit through many a loading screen. No, you seriously see a screen that says “Loading…†every single time you die. Not only are Shadow Puppeteer“s loading screens rather frequent, but some of them are quite long. Especially the ones you have to sit through as one level transitions to the next. I know, I know, “be patient, young grasshopper.†Yeah, well, in 2016, I was hoping to see fewer loading screens… Thankfully, there are still a few more positives left to talk about regarding Shadow Puppeteer. Rather than trying to impress on a graphical standpoint, the developer decided instead to make a game with a whimsical, cartoony, Burton-esque art style. And yes, I do mean Tim Burton. And to add icing to the cake, this game has just the type of gloomy atmosphere you would expect from something considered “Burton-esque. Considering that this is a game all about shadows, these two elements fit perfectly. You wanna know something else that Shadow Puppeteer“s art style and atmosphere fit perfectly with? The music. This game has a pretty beautiful soundtrack, I must say. Each song fits its accompanying level like a glove, whether it“s a pirate-themed level, a cave level, or just a simple village. And not only does the music work well with the game, but they“re just pleasant to listen to. Shadow Puppeteer“s soundtrack is almost enough to forgive the game for its downsides. Almost. Shadow Puppeteer isn“t a terrible game, but it does have some pretty jarring shortcomings that are hard to forgive. Though most of them are thanks to a single player mode that can get so frustrating that you want to hit something. Or someone. Of course, if someone else were with you, you“d be enduring fewer annoyances, since the game becomes a bit more fun in co-op mode. Regardless, Shadow Puppeteer is still plenty of fun with its original, shadow-centric gameplay. And with a whimsical art style and atmosphere that would make Tim Burton proud and a very pleasant soundtrack that works well within the game, Shadow Puppeteer wouldn“t be the biggest waste of your time. Pros: + Original gameplay centered around shadows + Whimsical, cartoony, Burton-esque art style + Appropriately gloomy atmosphere + Great soundtrack Cons: - Single player mode can be a pain when controlling two characters at once - Camera angle occasionally makes platforming a grave annoyance - Frequent, long loading screens Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent It may have been plagued with some pretty jarring downsides, but with its original, shadow-centric gameplay, whimsical art style and a great soundtrack, there is plenty of fun to be had with Shadow Puppeteer. But play it in co-op if you can. It's better that way. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. In today's GP Daily, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst leaps back into the headlines, Undertale may be coming to other platforms, and we've got word of a few other nifty games coming out soon. Check out the headlines below. Mirror's Edge: Catalyst gets a new story trailer And holy cow, does it look good. Not that that's too surprising; after all, DICE also released what is possibly the best looking game (in terms of graphical fidelity) of 2015: Star Wars Battlefront. The newest trailer offers a glimpse of what you can expect from the story, and it's looking to be a pretty cinematic adventure. Check it out above. Undertale might be getting a port to Nintendo platforms Despite Undertale's extreme popularity these days, it's still only available on PC, surprisingly enough. However, one platform it could be heading to in the future is one of Nintendo's. Word first got out when some people on Twitter noticed that a Nintendo representative reached out to speak with the game's creator, Toby Fox, but today the latter confirmed that he is interested in getting the game on Nintendo's platforms while simultaneously saying that the whole ordeal is not an announcement and that he isn't promising anything yet. One issue Fox brought up is that the game was made using Game Maker, but that particular program does not export directly to Wii U, so the port would have to built from the ground up. Fortunately, there appears to be at least one studio that is interested in helping in this case, and that's Broken Rules -- the developer behind And Yet It Moves and Chasing Aurora. The studio is no stranger to porting games to Wii U, as they've previously ported Guacamelee, Blek, and Electronic Super Joy to the platform in the past. In any case, we'll have to wait and see what happens. It's pretty interesting to see Nintendo reach out to initiate conversation on this, so perhaps Undertale may be in Nintendo fans' future at some point. Source: GoNintendo Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale dated for release in March If you've never heard of PopoloCrois before, you're not alone. It's a bit better known in Japan where it existed as a series of RPGs on PlayStation and PlayStation 2, before finally culminating in a PSP game that released over here as well. In any case, the series is getting a crossover with Story of Seasons (the series formerly known as Harvest Moon and better known as Bokujō Monogatari in Japan) and it's coming pretty soon. RtP:ASoSF will feature classic RPG elements blended with life simulation elements, and will also feature a Japanese voice track in addition to the English voiceacting. Also, the game reportedly has a 25+ hour story, nearly 100 sidequests, and over 600 items, and also features activities like crop-raising, bug-catching, rock-quarring, item-synthesis, and forming relationships with others. Return to PopoloCrois: A Story of Seasons Fairytale will be available on 3DS in North America via digital and retail on March 1. Source: Press Release Ninja Senki DX to offer up Mega Man-esque goodness in late February If you love retro-inspired action platformer games that are similar to Mega Man, you'll want to check out Ninja Senki DX. The game was developed by Tribute Games and is an enhanced port of a free Flash game that they debuted in 2010. Ninja Senki DX is coming to both PlayStation 4 and Vita, as well as PC (via Humble Store) on February 23. The best part? It'll only cost you a cool $5. Source: PlayStation Blog New Humble Bundle Weekly offers real-time strategy titles The newest Humble Bundle Weekly was revealed today and its theme is "Make Your Move," which is in reference to the need to move quick in real-time strategy games. Here's a list of the games included in the bundle and the tiers they're in: $1+ tier Frozen Synapse Frozen Cortex Lux Deluxe Shattered Planet Beat the average ($5.25 as of this writing) tier The Last Federation (Betrayed Hope DLC) Reassembly Frozen Synapse OST Frozen Cortex OST Shattered Planet OST The Last Federation OST $15+ tier Chaos Reborn Big Pharma Source: Humble Bundle Weekly Latest Nintendo eShop Update brings New Smash DLC, RE4 Wii Edition, something fishy, and something nostalgic Some big games on the Wii U eShop this week, including the final DLC characters for Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS: Corrin and Bayonetta. Also welcome is another Wii Virtual Console game: Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition. And yet two other games of particular note - Shutsumi, from Choice Provisions; and FreezeMe, an indie 3D platformer in the same vein as Super Mario 64. Check out the full list below- Wii U Super Smash Bros. for Wii U - Corrin and Bayonetta DLC Shütshimi Resident Evil 4 Wii Edition FreezeMe Peg Solitaire Typoman (demo version) 3DS Super Smash Bros. for 3DS - Corrin and Bayonetta DLC Alphadia For a look at eShop games on sale, check out the source link below. Source: Nintendo Press Release What do you think of Mirror's Edge: Catalyst? Would you want Undertale on Nintendo platforms? And have any of the new game announcements caught your eye at all? Let us know below!
  3. In today's news, more NX rumors surface, SEGA teases Sonic news soon, we get some more information on Dragon Quest VII, and more! Read on below for the full scoops. New NX Rumors Surface Still no official word on what Nintendo's next platform codenamed 'NX' will be, but new rumors are circulating about the console's technical specs. A survey from GFK (a client of Nintendo) which was leaked from Liam Robertson (who has ties to Unseen64, a site about unreleased and cancelled video games) seems to add further fuel to the fire about connectivity between a handheld and console unit. Furthermore, it makes mention that video calls will be able to be made through your TV through the NX and it will support 4K/60fps video streaming and gameplay graphics at 900p/60fps. Finally, a sensor bar is also reportedly supposed to be bundled with the system; an interesting tidbit for sure, if true. As usual, take this all with a grain of salt until we get actual confirmation from Nintendo, which will hopefully come sometime before E3 (if not at the trade show itself). Source: Nintendo Inquirer SEGA teases Sonic news in February If you're a Sonic fan, good news -- you might be hearing more Sonic game news very soon. Apparently SEGA's teased an announcement of... some announcements to come in February on their Tumblr page. Might they reveal a new Sonic game or two? It's possible considering that this year is the 25th anniversary. Stay tuned... Source: Sonicthehedgehog.tumblr.com New Info on Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past Many fans have long been awaiting Dragon Quest VII remake here in the US, and yesterday brought a slew of new info on the localization. Namely, Dragon Quest VII is basically a brand new game with all new writing and no random encounters (you'll see the enemies on the map). Also being implemented are a story summary feature and Streetpass feature that will net you tablets. Keep an eye out for more Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past news leading up to its release later this Summer. Source: Siliconera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kuzx7OKR40Y&feature=youtu.be&t=6m10s Aryll speaks for Toon Link in Hyrule Warriors Legends Hyrule Warriors Legends on 3DS is slated to include a few new characters that weren't present in the Wii U version of the game. Chief among them is Toon Link, and recent information has revealed an interesting tidbit about him. Other incarnations of Link usually have a fairy speaking in behalf of him throughout the game but Toon Link will have none other than his kid sister Aryll speaking on his behalf, which should be a nice change. She'll be speaking to him through the power of the Pirate's Charm, the same item that Tetra and The King of Red Lions used to communicate with Link in The Wind Waker. You can hear her talking at the 6:10 point in the video above! Of course, you'll also be able to hear her for yourself when the game launches on March 25 in North America. Source: Zelda Informer Twilight Princess HD amiibo functionality detailed Wondering what the Wolf Link amiibo will do when used with the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD? Well, we finally have an answer. According to this week's Famitsu magazine, using the amiibo at a certain location will allow the player to experience "Thorough Battle: Trial of the Beast." Clearing it will net you a "Bottomless Wallet," which can carry up to 9,999 rupees (the max amount, safe to say). Also, the amiibo will allow you to import data from Twilight Princess HD into the upcoming Legend of Zelda Wii U game. What the data is is currently unknown still; expect to hear more leading up to the game's release. Finally, other Zelda-related amiibo will be able to be used once a day for different effects, such as replenishing arrows, hearts, and even making enemies dish out twice as much damage (thanks, Ganondorf... I guess). Source: Nintendo Everything Knuckle Sandwich is a visually stunning, upcoming Earthbound-inspired indie RPG Who doesn't love Earthbound (am I right)? 2015 saw a slew of indie games inspired by it, such as Citizens of Earth and the ever-popular Undertale (which I hear may have won our Game of the Year 2015 honor). Anyhoo, an upcoming indie RPG from Andrew Brophy called Knuckle Sandwich looks to be inspired by the SNES classic as well. The game stars a boy who's living on his own for the first time, and gets caught up in a mystery where people are disappearing from town. No release date has been detailed just yet, but Knuckle Sandwich will be coming to PC at some point. Be sure to check out the game's trailer above. Source: Polygon What news stood out to you today? Do you think the new NX rumors have any merit? And will SEGA announce something exciting for Sonic?
  4. News is a bit light today due to it being Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there are still a few interesting tidbits that have arisen over the weekend. Read on to hear about Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc and Minecraft: Story Mode coming to new platforms in addition to some other news around the industry. Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc Coming to Steam in February Ever since the Danganronpa series began, the PlayStation Vita has always been its home, but it looks like that's about to change come February when Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc will be making its way to Steam. It appears that series developer Spike Chunsoft will be self-publishing the game as well. If sales do well, it seems likely we'll probably see the game's sequel and spin-off in due time as well. Is this the beginning of Spike Chunsoft's new relationship with Steam? Considering that the Vita isn't selling gangbusters, it seems like they're trying to increase their revenue stream with a secondary source, meaning that we could begin to see this with many of their titles going forward. Haven't played Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc yet? Be sure to check out our official review! Minecraft: Story Mode Coming to Wii U Well this one was certainly a surprise. Sort of. Telltale's episodic games aren't usually known for coming to Nintendo consoles (with the exception of earlier titles such as Tales of Monkey Island, Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, and Back to the Future: The Game), but perhaps this one is coming due to the recent arrival of Minecraft on Wii U. Perhaps it's part of a clause in the licensing agreement with Microsoft? Who knows. This port of the game will feature off-screen play and mirroring, and the first episode will be available for download on the Wii U eShop on January 21 (hey, that's this Thursday!) for $5. Subsequently, players can buy a season pass for $20, which nets them episodes 2-5 as they come as well. Source: Press Release The Witness Not Coming to Xbox One... For Now Jonathan Blow's first-person puzzler The Witness is nearly upon us with its release on PlayStation 4 and PC next week, as well as on iOS a little bit later. An ESRB rating was spotted for an Xbox One version as well, but Blow mentioned that they have no plans to put it out on Microsoft's ecosystem for now. So why does the ESRB rating exist? "We only put XB1 on there because it doesn't cost anything, and if we were to want to do an XB1 version later, we don't have to go through ratings again," Blow mentioned . "But it is totally provisional, we have no plans for an XB1 version right now." Sorry Xbox fans; looks like you'll have to get your The Witness fix on PS4 and PC for now when both versions arrive on January 26. Source: Polygon Bertil Hörberg speaks on Gunman Clive HD Sales Numbers Gunman Clive 2 was a nifty little action platformer that launched on 3DS last year, and then later on Steam and as part of the Gunman Clive HD collection on Wii U. The game's developer, Bertil Hörberg, spoke out on NeoGAF on the HD Collection's sales progress, saying that it sold 9,000 units so far (not counting Japan). Although, Hörberg lamented that it wasn't an amazing number, he did mention that it was profitable in the end. If that sounds surprising, also take into consideration that both Gunman Clive titles have been entirely developed by Hörberg alone, so that does help things a bit. Even more surprising, however, is the fact that the HD collection has sold 10x more copies than Gunman Clive 2 on Steam, though Hörberg pins the blame on poor promotional efforts on his part. It's unknown if a third Gunman Clive will be developed at some point, but if you haven't played Gunman Clive 2, it may have made a certain Jonathan's Top 10 Games of 2015 list, so definitely give his take on it a read if you're interested. Source: NeoGAF (via Destructoid) Shadow Moses: Fan Project to Remake Metal Gear Solid 4 in Unreal Engine 4 A fan project called Shadow Moses has been announced and their aim is to recreate Metal Gear Solid 4 using Unreal Engine 4. Admittedly, this sounds pretty interesting, though it's hard not to think that it won't get shut down by Konami right away. Still, the project's creator, Airam Hernandez, believes honesty is the best policy in this case, opting to announce the project with the hopes that Konami may let the project proceed with their blessing. If I was a betting man, I... probably wouldn't bet that Konami will let this happen given their erratic behavior in 2015 (not the least of which was their public breakup with famed developer Hideo Kojima), but then again, stranger things have happened. Would you be interested in this if it were to continue? Let us know! Source: Facebook (via Destructoid, Game Informer) And hey, let us know what you think of this new format! If you like having all of the days big news in one place, we'll likely keep doing this (where possible). And on the flipside, if you think this is the worst thing ever, let us know as well (hah).
  5. With just a month until its release, Nintendo is finally starting to trickle out information about Mario's latest sports spin-off title, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash. The first bit of news is that the game will support amiibo, not surprisingly. amiibo Functionality Supported amiibo will include all of the basic Mario characters, including Mario, Luigi, Peach, Toad, Bowser, and Yoshi along with Wario, Rosalina, Donkey Kong, and even the Yarn Yoshis. Taking a page out of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, amiibo will work in a similar fashion here, where you'll be able to use one as your doubles partner and train them. So the more they're used, the more skill and experienced they'll get. Players will be able to use amiibo partners in two modes: online double matches and the offline Knockout Challenge mode. New Moves and New Modes In addition to standard Tennis shots, this game introduces the new Ultra Smash, where characters will perform strong, unique, colorful techniques that have a devastating effect on their opponent. There will also be four different main modes to play. Knockout Challenge, which pits the player against increasingly tough opponents in tiebreak matches. Mega Battle, the mode you might've noticed in the trailer which sees characters grow to a gigantic size after they nab a Mega Mushroom, giving them a distinct advantage over their opponent in power and range. Classic Tennis, a traditional tennis match split into two modes -- one that includes Chance Shots and Jump Shots, and one that doesn't. Online Multiplayer, which offers players a chance to play with other players around the world in ranked play in Mega Battle or Classic Tennis modes. Up to two players can play cooperatively in this mode per console (or you can use an amiibo partner as mentioned earlier). And finally, Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash will include multiple controller options, including Wii U GamePad, Wii Remote, Wii U Pro Controller, and Classic Controller Pro. Source: Press Release What are your thoughts on Mario Tennis Ultra Smash's new additions? And will you be buying it on release?
  6. In a year where we've already seen one big Nintendo game delayed (The Legend of Zelda for Wii U), the big N has unfortunately delayed another highly anticipated title -- Star Fox Zero. Shigeru Miyamoto took to Facebook to explain the reasons for the delay, citing the fact that the team needed more time to polish each level, perfect tone of cutscenes, and delve into making the game a better two-screen experience. He also acknowledges that though the game could technically be ready for a Holiday release, the delay will allow for polishing that will ultimately make it a much better game. The good news is that the game won't be delayed for too long. Nintendo is aiming to release Star Fox Zero in Q1 2016. Source: Facebook Are you disappointed that Star Fox Zero has been delayed?
  7. If you've been stewing in misery over some of the great special editions for Nintendo games that other territories have been getting over the years, I have good news for you — Nintendo of America has been listening. Tonight at PAX Prime 2015, Nintendo announced a special edition for Xenoblade Chronicles X that is exclusive to North America. So what's in it? You'll receive the game itself, a concept art book that is more than 100 pages in length, a USB drive modeled after the game's "Lifehold Unit" which will include 10 select tracks from the game's soundtrack, and a limited edition matted 5x7 art card featuring a painting done for the game by Takashi Kojo. If you're interested in the special edition, you'll need to cough up a cool $89.99 ($30 more than the standalone version's MSRP). The good news is you can pre-order it right now, but you may want to do so soon before it runs out of stock eventually. Both versions of Xenoblade Chronicles X are slated for release on Wii U on Dec. 4. Will you be buying Xenoblade Chronicles X's special edition?
  8. The Shovel Knight mystery deepens! As we reported earlier in the week, rumors have been circulating that Shovel Knight will appear as a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, and the announcement could come as early as tonight. While that bit of news has yet to be substantiated, another huge announcement has been leaked by GAME (a retailer that is essentially the UK equivalent of GameStop) — Shovel Knight is getting his very own amiibo. The leak comes by way of a specific GAME location's Twitter account (@GAMEBrighton) which mentioned a release date of November 27. Apparently, the tweet was sent out too early and has since been deleted, but was expected to be sent out alongside the supposed announcement that may happen later today (or this weekend). Interestingly enough, the Shovel Knight amiibo's box does not have the Super Smash Bros. moniker on it, so it appears that it will be entirely standalone from that specific line. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that it won't work with Super Smash Bros. We'll have to wait and see if his appearance in the game is in fact a reality first. However, the Shovel Knight amiibo is reported to work with Nintendo games that Yacht Club Games produces in the future. And though this part is just speculation, it isn't hard to imagine that Yacht Club may have something in store for current Shovel Knight owners; we'll have to wait and see. Source: Nintendo Life What are your thoughts on the Shovel Knight amiibo? And do you think we'll still see him appear in Smash Bros.?
  9. The announcement about Pokkèn Tournament coming to the Wii U was certainly welcome to hear last week, but it's beginning to sound as if it won't be the main Pokèmon thing happening next year if The Pokèmon Company has anything to say about it. Nintendo World Report spoke with a representative from the company last week at the 2015 Pokèmon World Championships in Boston, and they asked whether Pokkèn Tournament would be the main plan for the series' 20th anniversary in the early part of 2016. The response? "No." The Pokémon Company International“s Director of Consumer Marketing J.C. Smith then admits that while he may be "splitting hairs" on the subject, there are a number of things planned for 2016 that they can't discuss at the moment. So what could be bigger than Pokkèn Tournament? Could it another mainline game or two be releasing next year, or is there a substantial spin-off in the works? Perhaps even some kind of new Pokèmon convention? We'll just have to wait and see. For now, it's safe to expect that we can see more than just Pokkèn Tournament when it comes to new game releases. Source: Nintendo World Report What do you think could be happening next year that's bigger than Pokkèn?
  10. Shovel Knight is by far one of the most popular third-party characters that have been requested by fans for inclusion in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, but could such an addition actually happen? According to mounting evidence from several sources, the answer may be 'yes.' According to Nintendo Life, multiple anonymous sources with the video game retail sector have confirmed that Shovel Knight is indeed heading to Super Smash Bros. as a playable character and will receive an accompanying amiibo as well. A second hint that gives this rumor weight is the fact that Yacht Club Games has teased a megaton reveal this week that is separate from the Plague of Shadows trailer that was revealed yesterday. PAX Prime is also happening this week, and Nintendo will be throwing a big, Nindie-focused, pre-PAX show on Aug. 27 where Yacht Club will be there to discuss both Plague of Shadows and "what's next for Shovel Knight." Might this be the big Smash Bros. announcement? We'll have to wait and see, but there's certainly a possibility. Stay tuned for more on what the big announcement is when it rolls around later this week. Source: Nintendo Life Do you think Shovel Knight will be announced as a playable character in Smash Bros.?
  11. Lots of Nintendo news today as the company completely unveils full plans for its Fall and Holiday 2015 lineup. That means official release dates for most of the games are finally here. It was also announced that a new dual-pack consisting of New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U will be available on Oct. 16 for $59.99. Additionally, a Walmart-exclusive Wii U bundle containing Super Mario Maker, Idea Book, and the 30th Anniversary Mario Modern Color amiibo will go on sale on Sep. 11 for $299.96. One last note — Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash and Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival are the only games with a vague release window of Holiday 2015 at the moment, so stay tuned for more release date info on both later on in the Fall. Here are the other release dates for games coming out in Fall/Holiday 2015- Wii U Sep. 11 - Super Mario Maker Oct. 16 - Yoshi's Woolly World Oct. 16 - New Super Mario Bros./New Super Luigi Dual Pack Oct. 22 - Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water Nov. 20 - Star Fox Zero Dec. 4 - Xenoblade Chronicles X Dec. 11 - Devil's Third Holiday 2015 - Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash, Animal Crossing: amiibo Festival 3DS Sep. 25 - Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer Oct. 9 - Chibi Robo! Zip Lash Oct. 23 - The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes Nov. 6 - Yo-Kai Watch Nov. 20 - Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon
  12. It“s been rocking arcades in Japan since July, and many fans were doubtful we“d see it anytime soon because it was missing at this year“s E3. But Pokkén Tournament was officially confirmed for Wii U at the Pokémon World Championship this morning, and it“s got a global release window of Spring 2016--you know, the cut-off date for many of this year“s E3 titles. I suspect they withheld news on Pokkén until now so they“d have something big to kick off the event with...which means we probably won“t hear news on a new Pokémon game for a little while longer, despite . Who knows, though? I“ve certainly been wrong before. Pokkén Tournament is a collaborative effort between Game Freak and the folks behind TEKKEN. It“s a traditional fighting game that pits Pokémon like Gengar, Pikachu and Suicune against each other in battles unlike anything you“ve ever seen before. You can check out the official North American trailer below! It“s almost fitting that today“s Individual Values concerns battling. Maybe when I get back from vacation in a few weeks, I“ll do a comprehensive write-up summarizing everything we know about Pokkén Tournament thus far. Is everyone excited for Pokkén Tournament“s Wii U confirmation and release? Will you be picking up the game day one, or would you rather wait to hear more? Be sure to let us know!
  13. In a surprising move, Nintendo has announced that it is teaming up with Hasbro to bring a Transformers-themed Splatfest to Splatoon very soon. During this special Splatfest, Players will get to decide if they want to be on Team Autobot or Team Decepticon, and they'll get to wear a special shirt that displays their Transformers allegiance. This development is an interesting one since it marks the first time Nintendo has licensed a popular a franchise to be a part of one of their games (an temporary online event, no less). It's unknown if Hasbro is being compensated for this in any way, but it's not entirely farfetched to think that they could be doing this for free in exchange for free advertising. The Transformers-themed Splatfest is scheduled to run from 9pm PST on August 28 through 9pm PST on August 29 and is open to all Splatoon players with an internet connection. Source: Press Release What are your thoughts on this? Are you surprised to see Nintendo teaming up with Hasbro to bring Transformers to Splatoon in this way?
  14. Jason Clement

    Rodea the Sky Soldier Delayed Once Again

    Rodea the Sky Soldier can't seem to catch a break these days. After initially announcing a September release date, the game was then subsequently delayed to early October. Now, the game has been pushed back another month, this time to November 13. Not much is being said about the reason for the delay, but NIS America cites "ongoing technical difficulties" and wanting to give players the best experience possible. If they're trying to iron out any problems that might make it a messy experience, perhaps the delay is for the best. Regardless, you'll be able to buy Rodea the Sky Soldier on November 13 for both Wii U and 3DS. And don't forget — the 3DS version will be shipping with a bundled soundtrack while first-print copies of the Wii U version will also include the Wii version of the game as well. For more info on the game, be sure to check out Jonathan's hands-on impressions from E3 2015. Source: Press Release Are you surprised that Rodea the Sky Soldier has been delayed again?
  15. If you were looking forward to playing Project Cars someday on the Wii U, well... I have bad news for you. Developer Slightly Mad Studios has announced that they have officially dropped version that was in the works for Nintendo's console. Andy Tudor, creative director on the project, had this to say about the decision: "Despite much perseverance on the Wii U version of Project Cars we will no longer be actively pursuing development on it as the quality does not meet our own high standards nor our intended vision for the title on this platform. We eagerly look forward to any announcement of further hardware from Nintendo but right now Project Cars is simply too much for Wii U despite our very best efforts. Apologies to our Nintendo fans out there that have been waiting for further news on this but have no desire to release a product that isn't at the very least comparable with our highest-rated versions on other platforms. We optimistically look forward therefore to what the future may hold." While it's a shame that the Wii U won't be receiving what looks to be a quality, third-party racer, the news isn't entirely surprising either. Past reports indicated that they were having trouble getting the game to run up to speed with the other versions (on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One), and not wanting to compromise on their vision of the game, the rest is history. They haven't ruled out a version for Nintendo's next console (codenamed 'NX'), but it's worth noting that they've already begun development on Project Cars 2, so if the NX gets anything from them, it's likely to be that one. Source: Game Informer What are your thoughts on the cancellation of Project Cars for Wii U?
  16. In case you somehow missed it, Nintendo released Earthbound Beginnings (previously Mother 1) on the Wii U eShop right before E3 began. I've been playing it off and on for over two weeks now, so I definitely have a good feel for it. And honestly, it's definitely a strange game. I don't mean that necessarily on the story front, but you can tell this particular game aged a lot worse than the original Earthbound (SNES) did, particularly because it has some ancient mechanics. First off, random battles - much like other RPGs of its era, Beginnings uses random battles as a means of getting by a technical hurdle. The problem, like other NES RPGs such as Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest is that the number of random battles is often absurdly high, where you might get one literally every few steps you take. Also like those other games, Earthbound Beginnings requires you to grind like crazy, especially at the beginning when you just have one character. Personally, I feel this is going to turn a lot of people away early on, but there is an interesting game there if you stick with it. If you've played Earthbound (SNES), this actually feels a lot like an early alpha version of that game. Naturally it would, since it's the first game in the series, but it's amazing how much of Earthbound first existed in this title. Some of the musical themes (such as the classic "Shop" song, or the Hippie battle music), locations (not really spoilers, but Magicant and the Desert, and even a city named Spookane, much like Earthbound's 'Threed'), and enemies all originated here. In this sense, Earthbound really feels like a reimagining of Beginnings instead of a sequel. Anyhow, those are my thoughts so far. Anyone else play it yet? Do you have plans to?
  17. Keen Nintendo fans may have noticed that one game was notably absent from Nintendo's E3 lineup this year. Of course, that title was Devil's Third, a mature-rated Wii U title being developed by ex-Team Ninja developer Tomonobu Itagaki. Several media outlets inquired about the game's absence during E3, and Nintendo of America was mysteriously silent on the matter, offering no comments at all. Was this cause for concern regarding the game's release? Well, where there's smoke, there's fire, and if a recent rumor from Unseen64's Tamaki is anything to go by, NOA has now opted not to publish Devil's Third in North America. Tamaki states that the reason lies mostly with poor reception regarding the game's gameplay during test sessions. This wouldn't be the first time NOA has rejected a game based on how well it plays either; Nintendo president Reggie Fils-Aime famously slammed Monolith Soft's Disaster: Day of Crisis years back, saying that he doesn't believe it's a $50 game and that the "audio was laughable." As a result, the game never released in North America. However, this doesn't mean Devil's Third is out of the Western equation just yet. While NOA may have no plans to publish it in North America, Itagaki has recently reiterated that he is adamant that his game will be released in North and South America. Whether this means his studio, Valhalla Games, will self-publish on the eShop or if a third-party publisher will be brought on to help out remains unclear. Source: What are your thoughts on NOA dropping Devil's Third from their releaselineup?
  18. Jonathan Higgins

    Review: Roving Rogue

    Developer: Padaone Games Publisher: Padaone Games Platform: Wii U Release Date: July 2, 2015 Official Website The Nintendo eShop is crowded with platformers from developers both noteworthy and newly risen. In order for these games to stand apart from their contemporaries, their presentation has to keep folks entertained, and the gameplay premise should be intuitive, if not simple. Enter Roving Rogue — as Kurt the Righteous, players are attempting to return home after defeating the final boss. It psyches you into thinking you“ve won within the first few minutes, but really... the end is actually the beginning. With only a two button control scheme, Kurt“s journey is an example of what could be an enjoyable gameplay premise, if it has variety and keeps things interesting in its execution. I spent just under six hours completing the entire game from start to finish, and saw the credits roll a second time and gathered each of the three collectibles hidden in forty levels. Philosophically, and in terms of its level design, the game is all right. No trick the developers throw at you feels unfair. Each level is a race to the goal, more or less — you“re either climbing up a level to avoid rising lava, or running to the right of a level, away from the threat of a collapsing wall behind you. Sometimes you're doing this in the dark. There are checkpoints to prevent frustration, and you're not punished if you get stuck for a bit. Ultimately, if there were a little more variety with its enemies and types of levels, I would call this game well-executed, in terms of its mechanics. Uncovering the story by way of collecting a level“s three “amnestatuettes” is a useful tool if you otherwise have little means of advancing the story. But... I think I can count the number of different enemies I encountered on a single hand. I feel like Padaone Games restricted themselves by going for a retro-inspired feel, here. Roving Rogue's presentation, beyond the high notes I discussed above, leaves me shaking my head. The story“s premise sounds unique all by itself, but when each of the levels you play feature an introductory bit of text advancing the story that... is literally a tweet from Kurt or another character — complete with hashtags — even die-hard Twitter Faithful will audibly groan. A loosely paraphrased example from one of the earlier levels is a tweet from one of the enemies of the game proclaiming, “kill kill kill kill kill #kill”. Even if you“re forgiving of how it“s been presented to you, I promise — and I“ve seen the end, mind you — it“s truly forgettable. It“s unfortunate, because the Wii U (as far as I know, this game was released exclusively for it) has an entire social media platform in the Miiverse. Why weren“t the tiny story-advancing segments done as Miiverse posts instead of tweets? So much about my experience with the game just spells #missedopportunity. Underneath the presentation, though, is a game that has a disturbing lack of quality control. Its sense of design is certainly fair, but the controls that dictate it sometimes miss the mark. You only have one control option in the Gamepad, so shelf your Wii U Pro Controller and Wii Remotes if you have them. And if you“re going for off-TV play, get ready for several bits of stuttering, especially if you die often. It“s like the engine sometimes can“t catch up with putting you back at a checkpoint quickly after you die. You sometimes see enemies falling towards you as you return. Gameplay frames sometimes freeze in place during high impact moments — and that“s just on the Gamepad, mind you; not the TV. Last but not least... my save data disappeared without warning before I could finish the game the first time. I have no idea what caused it, but I restarted from the beginning and (especially since I knew where all the amnestatuettes were) had the whole game completed in just a few short hours. If I had to summarize my experience with Roving Rogue with a single comparison, I“d choose to describe its last level. It feels too long, there aren“t enough variances in gameplay for it to stand apart from anything you“ve played before. There is a definite lack of depth in the story and characters, and a distinct — pretty much disqualifying — lack of quality control. You won“t feel overwhelmed as you play. It“s more like the game itself will feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of enemies that populate the screen at one time, as a means to make things more difficult. For its asking price, even with a multiplayer element, I really can“t recommend this one. Its structure and foundation seem competent and unique on the outside, but as you make your way through the story to the ending, you“d be left seeing more of its faults than anything. Pros: + Interesting premise that has some well-executed parts to it + Level design is never too unfair Cons: - Story is advanced in the form of tweets... literally - Gameplay often stutters, and controls are assuredly not as tight as they could be - It's short, but not sweet. Beyond multiplayer, you won't be given any reason to return to this game after beating it Overall Score: 3.5 (out of 10) Poor Roving Rogue could have been a decent game if the developers had made some better choices and spent more time fine-tuning the experience. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a Wii U download code provided by the publisher
  19. If you own a Nintendo platform, chances are you're aware of the dearth of first-party games over the course of the Summer. Why doesn't the Big N typically release games over the Summer? Nintendo's Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Charlie Scibetta provided an answer to Nintendo World Report recently, and it's a bit more simple than you'd think. Scibetta outlined that Nintendo releases games when people are in the mood to buy, referring specifically to the months in the Fall leading up to the Holidays where he also mentioned that they do 60% of their business throughout the year. He also said that they target May/June since that's a time period where graduations are happening. This lines up with their major May release this year, which was Splatoon, and Mario Kart 8 in the previous year. However, despite the fact that Nintendo doesn't think as many people are willing to buy during the Summer, they have released some games during that time in past years, such as Pikmin 3, which released in August of 2013. For now, it looks like you'll have to work on that backlog until new Nintendo titles start releasing in the Fall. Source: Nintendo World Report What are your thoughts on Nintendo not releasing games during the Summer?
  20. If you thought you had seen the last of Shovel Knight, think again! Yacht Club Games had some big news to announce today regarding the fan favorite indie game; not only has the game now sold 700,000 copies of the game, but a retail release is on the way for all consoles and 3DS (no physical Vita version, however). Yacht Club announced that they'll actually be publishing the physical version of the game themselves thanks to a partnership with distributor, U&I Entertainment, who helped distribute physical versions of Telltale's The Walking Dead and Divinity: Original Sin. Also worth getting excited about — Shovel Knight's first new free DLC campaign, Plague of Shadows, will actually be launching even before the physical release of the game. As reported earlier, this DLC will have you play through the game as Plague Knight, and he'll have his own narrative and such along the way. Yacht Club is teasing more news later in the month as well, including a breakdown of the Battle Mode that is coming as well as a release date for Plague of Shadows and more. Source: Yacht Club Games Will you be picking up the physical release of Shovel Knight?
  21. Last year, we were met with a Harvest Moon game that wasn“t actually part of the long-lived Bokujou Monogatari farming series. You see, XSEED is now publishing the Bokujou Monogatari games in North America. But because Natsume owns the rights to the Harvest Moon name, XSEED couldn“t title the recent Story of Seasons as such. Natsume decided to take advantage of the fact that they still had the Harvest Moon name, and so they delivered their own brand new creation called Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for 3DS. This Minecraft-esque farming simulator paled in comparison to the Bokujou Monogatari series and was extremely repetitive and empty. It seems Natsume hasn“t given up hope, however. They“ve listened to fans“ criticism of The Lost Valley and are aiming to make a (hopefully) better game with Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories. Very eager to see how different this upcoming title from Natsume would be, I had the lucky opportunity to try Seeds of Memories out at E3. Natsume boasts that Seeds of Memories is “inspired by the old-school gameplay of the very first games.†If you couldn“t guess from that, yes, Seeds of Memories has a top-down 2D view like the older Harvest Moon games versus The Lost Valley“s completely 3D one. The graphics alone already show a definite improvement over those of The Lost Valley. While it“s not a complete throwback to the days of old with pixels and such, it“s still a nice 2D cartoony art style that suits the game. Unfortunately, Natsume“s demo for Seeds of Memories at E3 didn“t really go into gameplay such as taking care of crops or animals. All it had you do was go around the town and talk to villagers. “Wait, Leah. Did you say ”town“?†I most certainly did! If you played The Lost Valley, one of the first things you probably noticed was the lack of a town, which was one of the biggest factors in making the game feel terribly empty. Thankfully, Natsume realized how important such a thing was in these types of games and implemented one in Seeds of Memories. Seeds of Memories“ plot is pretty basic as far as Harvest Moon games go. Basically, you must “unlock the titular Seeds of Memories†by performing tasks such as giving a villager their favorite item or catching a giant fish. In a way, this premise sounds very much like collecting musical notes in Harvest Moon: Magical Melody for the GameCube. If you liked that particular Harvest Moon title, then Seeds of Memories might be right up your alley. Natsume hopes to release Harvest Moon: Seeds of Memories sometime this winter for Wii U, Steam, iOS, and Android. While the demo that Natsume presented at E3 didn“t really show much to judge it properly, I am really hoping that Seeds of Memories is a lot better than The Lost Valley.
  22. Jason Clement

    How are you liking Splatoon?

    I actually got Splatoon in the mail on Friday but admittedly, I haven't played it just yet; hoping to get a chance to do so later today, so I'll fill you in on my thoughts soon! Anyhow, if you've played it, what do you think of it so far? Is the single-player and what's there of the multiplayer all that you hoped for?
  23. Jonathan Higgins

    E3 2015 Hands-On: Rodea The Sky Soldier

    Rodea The Sky Soldier certainly has some interesting history. Many fans of Yuji Naka (creator of Sonic the Hedgehog, and games like NiGHTS Into Dreams, for those unfamiliar) are happy to see that this game exists, and is coming west sooner rather than later. I stopped by NISA“s booth and was able to get some hands-on time with the Wii U version of the game. For those unfamiliar with my Sonic Team-related history — suffice to say I have a history with Sonic, and I“ve had more than one run-in with NiGHTS Into Dreams in my day. I“m bringing up those two games because Rodea certainly should ignite familiar feelings to those who have played any Sonic games, and especially NiGHTS. The player controls Rodea, a robot who lost his memories and was found by a girl named Ion, and the game's story seems like a mixture of both heavy and comical. I got to see some opening scenes, as well as play through the game“s first stage in its entirety. There“s an old man who“s suspicious of Rodea, an evil empire, some fun dialogue... it“s all consistent with your average Sonic game, really, perhaps skewing a little darker at times. I think folks familiar with Naka“s work will see some of the tropes Rodea The Sky Soldier follows coming from a mile away. The gameplay... really worries me, though, if I“m being honest. I tried to get used to it, but I couldn“t really wrap my head around it. Maybe it“s a learning curve thing that I“ll get better at as time goes on, or maybe it“s a type of gameplay I“m not necessarily comfortable with? I don“t really have the heart to cut down a game in a preview context, when I“m playing it in a convention setting. I can, however, explain and offer a word of caution. Rather than controlling Rodea himself, it“s more like you control a reticle that, when you confirm its direction, makes Rodea go to the spot. I“m just not a fan of the “point and then [he] goes” style of gameplay. Pointing somewhere amidst action just doesn“t gel well with me. So I can“t call the gameplay bad, so much as say it... wasn“t what I was expecting. If you wanted full control over Rodea, you won“t get it. You can make him boost into things--and trust me, there are numerous things to collect, and each level has a bunch of numbers attached to an overall ranking system, such as completion time. But I feel like Rodea The Sky Soldier was too confusing for me. Y pushes you up in the air, A only pushes you further up if you“re already in the air? You can“t harm enemies while you“re standing on the ground with a punch attack, or something? Indeed, if you“re on the ground, it seemed to me you were virtually defenseless. It all just feels rather restrictive, in my opinion. It certainly wasn“t the best parts of NiGHTS. I“m not necessarily saying to avoid Rodea at all. Its story seems good enough, and it“s certainly very pretty and put together. Perhaps these words, in summary, are telling everyone who wants to see more from Rodea to go into it with a completely different set of expectations than I had. Don“t expect to fly as freely as you like. Just let the reticle guide your way. You can check here to learn more about the game.
  24. Jason Clement

    You're a Kid Now, You're A Squid Now!

    I dare you not to get this song stuck in your head. It'll happen, just watch... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjPOSKnOftA
  25. The Nintendo World Championships 2015 certainly ended with quite a bang today in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, the final game that closed out the tournament turned out to be the game previously known as Mario Maker, which now has "Super" added to the title. During the last round of the NWC 2015, spectators were treated to a number of levels that were represented in each of the game's four different visual styles that were previously revealed last year as well as a slew of new bits of info. It was revealed that enemies will be able to grow larger just like Mario if they come into contact with a mushroom, and that all enemies, items, and obstacles will represented in the four distinct styles. One example we saw of this was Bowser's flying clown copter being represented in the 8-bit style during a level that was played using the Super Mario Bros. 3 aesthetic. Also intriguing is the use of a few new "hats" as it were; NWC 2015 finalists Cosmos and John Numbers made use of a buzzy beetle shell (and later, a spiny shell) that became sort of a hard hat that would protect Mario from certain obstacles. I'm sure there's plenty more that we haven't seen yet as well. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information about Super Mario Maker later this week at E3 2015. Are you excited for Super Mario Maker after seeing it demoed during the NWC 2015 final matches?