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  1. Jordan Haygood

    Shovel Knight

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Yacht Club Games

  2. Jordan Haygood

    Hyrule Warriors

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo

  3. Jason Clement

    Yoshi's Woolly World Confirmed for Early 2015

    Good news, Wii U owners; Nintendo confirmed yesterday that yet another title is joining early 2015's Wii U lineup: Yoshi's Woolly World. That puts it along releases like Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (scheduled for release in February) and Splatoon, rounding out three major titles for the first six months (that we know of so far). And with Shigeru Miyamoto confirming that the next installment of Star Fox would be arriving before the next The Legend of Zelda game, it looks like 2015's Wii U lineup is shaping up nicely. Yoshi's Woolly World is developer Good Feel's spiritual follow-up to their 2010 release, Kirby's Epic Yarn, and looks to have many of the same yarn mechanics that that game introduced and more. We'll have more info on the game as we approach its release in 2015 next year. Source: Press Release Are you looking forward to Yoshi's next big release
  4. Jason Clement

    Review: Tengami

    Developer: Nyamyam Publisher: Nyamyam Platform: Wii U eShop, iOS Release Date: November 13, 2014 ESRB: E This review is based on the Wii U version of the game Though there have been a number of great eShop games over the Wii U's two year lifespan, it's surprising to see that few actually base the game's design around the Gamepad's touchscreen. Enter Tengami, an atmospheric adventure game by developer Nyamyam that's set inside a Japanese pop-up book; a title that was developed from the ground up for use with a touch screen. This results in one of the most unique uses of the Wii U Gamepad outside of Nintendo's first-party titles yet, though it also doesn't quite reach the level of ambition I hoped it would achieve. Artistically speaking, Tengami is gorgeous, colorful and really does look like a piece of literature that's come to life with its illustrations. As such, its pop-up book presentation holds tremendous appeal and is a great fit for something like the Wii U's Gamepad. However, because of its touch-based nature, you will be looking at the Gamepad much more than the TV screen since all of the interaction demands that you look at where you're touching or pointing at. The story centers around restoring life to a dead tree, though there isn't much to it beyond that and a few cryptic haiku poems you'll see at the end of levels. In each area, you'll guide the protagonist around by using the stylus to point to where you want him to go. There will occasionally be certain spots on the screen that you'll be able to interact with (which are represented by little glowing auras) which will give the player the ability to initiate a pop-up sequence, where by flipping the area (or the page) over, it will change into something else through pop-up mechanics accordingly. For example, if you come to a river you can't cross, you may be able to flip the river over so that a bridge will pop up and appear. This type of design accounts for most of the puzzle gameplay throughout and is actually similar in some ways to the critically acclaimed mobile game Monument Valley, where the idea is to manipulate and change the environment in order to proceed. In a sense, Tengami has more of an epic feel than the aforementioned game due to the sense that the protagonist is traveling through different areas (and eventually by boat and such). However, it feels as though the game never gets too ambitious with its puzzles. The first level more or less serves as a sort of tutorial and thus is a bit easy, and the game only truly offers a semblance of challenge in its final level. Unfortunately, this is the game's biggest weak point: it finishes just as it feels like it's getting started. It's very short, with my overall game time coming out to just over an hour and a half when the credits started to roll. There are ten hidden Miiverse stamps you can find throughout each stage as well, but you can find most of them on your initial playthrough, meaning that it won't add too much replay value. That isn't to say the game isn't enjoyable, however; in hindsight, it's definitely one of the most interesting and visually enjoyable experiences I've played through this year. The game thrives as an atmospheric piece, making great use of locations such as waterfalls, abandoned shrines, and forests, complete with an ambience created by real sounds (wolves howling, water trickling etc.) and soothing but haunting melodies by composer David Wise. There are few tracks and they're nice to listen to, even if they aren't necessarily his most memorable work. Overall, the real star of the game is the pop-up nature of the world. It's highly entertaining to see how the screen is manipulated so that the world changes from an exterior shot to suddenly being inside a shrine, and then how it alters the current scene further through pop-ups to change angles or even rooms. The super short, overall length makes Tengami tough to recommend at its $9.99 price point, but if you're more interested in the artful experience and seeing what the pop-up world has to offer, definitely consider checking it out. Pros + Beautiful visuals + Pop-up mechanics are pretty neat + David Wise's soundtrack is atmospheric and pleasing to listen to Cons - Extremely short - The game's design never quite gets that ambitious; mechanics don't evolve Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Tengami is an impressive visual and atmospheric experience that falls a little bit short when it comes to gameplay. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Wii U eShop code provided by the publisher.
  5. http://www.joystiq.com/2014/12/02/report-super-smash-bros-wii-u-error-code-bricking-systems/ If you haven't seen it yet, be sure to check this out. It's not anything too big to worry about, but basically don't turn your Wii U off in the middle of gameplay and then turn it back on again, and avoid For Glory mode for now as it seems that those are the reasons this error is happening. Also, don't look into your data management for the time being; that was another thing cited as possibly causing the error. Hopefully this will get fixed soon. However, you should be fine if you want to play online or just playing through Solo mode and such.
  6. With less than 24 hours to go until its release, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is nearly upon us. After watching the Nintendo Direct that highlighted 50 previously unknown facts about the game and seeing the breadth of content it contains, it became clear that this would be the version of the game to get if you had to choose between it and the 3DS version. And yet, despite the Wii U version's obvious superiority, I can't help but feel a bit sad about certain features that won't be in it. Granted, there isn't a whole lot of content that is exclusive to the 3DS version, and not all of it is great (certain exclusive levels aren't all that great), but at least some of it is. And since we won't be seeing them making the hop over, here are five things I'll miss from Super Smash Bros. for 3DS that won't be in the Wii U version. 5. Dream Land The stage based on Kirby's Dreamland for the Game Boy was one of the biggest surprises for me, having not had it spoiled before-hand. Design-wise, there isn't anything that makes it a particularly amazing level to play on, but for Kirby fans who grew up with series, it definitely hits that nostalgic sweet spot and ends up being one of the more clever retro-inspired levels the game offers, complete with areas from multiple stages throughout the original game and a few that even scroll through the level. Of course, seeing the Game Boy outline around the screen and the greenish monochrome visuals really sells the whole experience and makes it one of the more charming levels to play in. Unfortunately, this is one of the levels specific to the 3DS version, due to its handheld theme. With the Wii U slated to focus on console game-based stages for the characters in its roster, hopefully we'll get a level that's similar to this; perhaps one based on Kirby's Adventure or Kirby Super Star. 4. 3DS-Specific Trophies While not a huge loss given that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U will feature even more trophies than the 3DS version did, it's still a shame that we won't see some of them. Specifically, each character's Alt trophy (which were attained through beating All-Star mode) will likely disappear in lieu of Final Smash trophies coming back, and trophies that are focused on items, enemies, and many (but not all) characters in handheld games (like Spirit Tracks, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, Fire Emblem Awakening, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, etc.) will be gone in favor of those series' console games instead. On the flipside, this is one of the cooler 3DS-exclusive aspects of the game, and while it's by no means a main reason to buy the handheld version, it does remain an interesting one for those who are interested in seeing/collecting everything. 3. Tortimer Island Yet another stage exclusive to Smash 3DS, Tortimer Island is based on the location of the same name from Animal Crossing: New Leaf. It's one of the most interesting and best new levels introduced in the 3DS version due to it being mostly flat (and thus being ideal fighting terrain), but also because it isn't a virtual clone or visual palette swap of past stages like some others are (like Unova League, Arena Ferox, Rainbow Road, and Paper Mario). What also makes it interesting is that the layout changes each time you play on it, meaning that the stage could be barren except for one tree and a pier on the left end while another time there might be two or even three trees occupying the middle of the stage with the location of the pier reversed. The trees themselves can vary as well, and drop health-restoring fruit or ones that are hard and can be thrown at your opponents to damage them. Above all else, it gets the location just right, with charming little touches like Kap'n coming and going with his boat, one of his family members appearing in the background (along with the family hut), an occasional shark in the water that will attack if you get too close, and more. 2. Spirit Train The last exclusive level on this list and probably my most favorite of them is the Spirit Train stage, based on The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks. In addition to having a great stage theme (with the Spirit Tracks medley playing), Spirit Train is just an exciting stage to fight on given the movement and idea of fighting on a moving train, especially given that you might lose a life if you fall off and onto the tracks. It also has a number of surprises and events that happen, such as other trains approaching from the front or behind, platforms appearing above, and even large platformed areas popping up in the rear of the train, keeping things entertaining. But more than anything, it's also one of the best looking levels thanks to its colorfulness and sweeping vistas in the background. While the Wii U version will be getting a level based on Skyloft from Skyward Sword, Spirit Train will definitely be missed, especially since it seems to be more unique between the two levels. 1. Smash Run Love it or hate it, Smash Run is the single biggest exclusive feature/mode that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS has going for it (aside from its portability, that is). Outside of Classic and All-Star Mode, it could be considered the closest thing to a campaign that this version has. Essentially, it's almost a story-less, revamped version of the Subspace Emissary mode from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but with one single, massive level to explore and a time limit. At first, I was indifferent to it, but over time, it actually grew on me. Fighting various enemies from different franchises that you could only see in this mode is one part of why I enjoy it, but it really is like an adventure and it's fun to explore around, finding stat increases, treasures, and the like. More than anything, it's fun to see how far you can raise your stats before time runs out, watching your character grow stronger and stronger along the way. If Subspace Emissary didn't do anything for you, Smash Run probably won't either, but it's an inclusion that I'm glad director Masahiro Sakurai decided to add, and I expect it to be the main reason I'll still pick up and play Smash 3DS even after the Wii U version releases. Do you agree with my list? Disagree? Which features exclusive to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS do you like best? Let me know in the comments below!
  7. With less than a month until its release, bits of info about Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker's development are starting to come to light. One of the most interesting tidbits is that the game almost didn't star Toad; in fact, it wasn't even set in the Mario universe. According to Game Informer, the game's director, Shinya Hiratake, came up with the idea for Treasure Tracker's smaller diorama levels when he realized that by removing the jumping element, he could shrink a level's size significantly. Obviously, most Mario characters can jump, so who would be an ideal candidate for this design? That's right—none other than The Legend of Zelda's Link. Though Link has jumped in some games before (both as a product of a special item or simply in a limited fashion, such as leaping off the edge of a platform), he is a character that is known for not being able to jump freely (especially in his 2D games), thus he was the ideal candidate. However, the idea was shot down by Miyamoto in an early meeting, though he saw potential for the project and gave the go-ahead to include it as special levels in Super Mario 3D World. Tasked with finding a new protagonist for this design, Hiratake settled on Captain Toad, who was first introduced in Super Mario Galaxy. Hiratake had reasoned that, with Captain Toad carrying a heavy backpack, he'd be so weighed down that he wouldn't be able to jump. And the rest, as they say, is history. After Super Mario 3D World released, Miyamoto approached the team about making a full-blown release for the concept, culminating in what we now know as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is slated for release on Wii U on December 5 for $39.99. Source: Game Informer Are you surprised the game was originally conceived as a Zelda title?
  8. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is in a bit of an odd spot - it's a licensed game, which usually means trouble, but the show it's based on is itself based on an established gaming icon. Does it overcome the stigma of licensed games to earn a spot in the collection of every Pac-Maniac, or is this ghostly adventure haunted by its status as a tie-in product? Read on to find out! Developer: Bandai Namco Games, Monkey Bar Games Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Platform(s): Wii U, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, Nintendo 3DS, PC via Steam Release Date: October 25, 2013 ESRB: E10+ Review is based on the PC/Steam version Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a 3D platformer based on the DisneyXD television show of the same name. In the game, Betrayus, whose name pretty much tells you everything you need to know, is up to his old tricks and aims to take over Pac-World and turn all its residents into ghosts! Only Pac-Man and his friends can stop him, but you already knew that. This time around, Pac-Man must traverse various dangerous worlds looking for stone tablets that, once deciphered, may hold the key to stopping Betrayus' villainy once and for all! Of course, if you're like me and have never seen an episode of the show, none of that will really matter. The characters (besides Pac-Man, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde) were all new to me, and some references to events from the show went over my head. If you are a fan of the show, you'll certainly get a kick out of these, but if not, then you'll be left wondering what they're talking about - thankfully, other than the winks and nods, the story is self-contained enough that anyone could follow it regardless of prior knowledge. Story cutscenes are also generally few and far between and really only serve to fill in the gaps between levels, so the real focus will be on the hopping and chomping you'll be doing. Ghostly Adventures takes you through different worlds as you run, jump, chomp enemies, and gather collectibles as well as the ever-present pellets and fruit the series is known for. You'll also come across various power-ups ranging from the ability to throw fireballs to puffing up Pac-Man like a balloon to float through windy areas and reach new heights. The power-ups play into the levels by requiring you to use them to traverse certain areas or defeat certain enemies, and you'll often use more than one powerup in a single level (or even in a single area of a level) which keeps the gameplay from getting too stale over the rather short course of the campaign. You'll also need them for the majority of the boss fights, which pop up in different levels rather than always at the end of a world, so they'll keep you on your toes. When not partaking in perilous platforming and performing powered-up poundings on poltergeists (try saying that five times fast) there's a hub world to play around in the form of Pac-Man's school, where you can converse with characters and play a few arcade-style games that you'll unlock over time, none of which, for some reason, are the original Pac-Man. While the game works fine as a 3D platformer - which makes sense because it's not even new ground for Pac-Man - it also falls prey to some of the pitfalls of the genre, notably a finicky camera that sometimes struggles to show you where you're going. Thankfully, the controls work well enough that you can often recover before plummeting to your doom, and if not, the game is generous with extra lives, which can be picked up in the levels or obtained after defeating enough enemies. You won't really need them that much, though, because most of your deaths will come by accident rather than from the enemies, since, as a game based on a children's show, it doesn't offer up a whole lot of challenge. Some of the later levels can get a little hectic, but you'll never see anything on the same scale as, say, a late-game level in one of the 3D Super Mario games. Also, in comparison to Super Mario, the game's physics, level layouts, and general gameplay all have their own feel to set Ghostly Adventures apart from the competition, so fortunately you're not likely to suffer from déjà vu during your playtime. Aside from the campaign, there's also a multiplayer mode, but it's local-only so I was unable to try it out. From a visual standpoint, the game is generally bright and colorful, which is typical of 3D platformers but welcome nonetheless in today's gaming climate. Each area also has its own distinct look, and there's a good bit of set dressing to really give each world its own personality. While the game isn't a graphical powerhouse - and indeed, barely looks the part of a seventh-generation console game - it doesn't really need to be one, either, so it's not likely to bother even older players. SInce the show is done in CGI, the game is able to simply emulate the same three-dimensional look, which helps tie the game to its source material. On the audio side of things, the game features a fun, bouncy soundtrack that incorporates some tunes from Pac-Man's past as well as the show itself, a nice touch for fans of both. The sound effects in the game are mostly pulled from the arcade game as well, though there are a few new ones that work just fine too. The game also features full voice acting, though soundalikes were used in place of the show's original cast. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun and colorful platformer with a laid-back attitude, with all the key elements of the genre coming together to form an enjoyable romp through Pac-World. However, a couple of things hold it back from true greatness - foremost is the game's length, which clocks in around 5 hours. The other is that, while the game is certainly distinct from other 3D platformers and stands on its own, it still doesn't do anything new or particularly interesting with the genre. Add to the fact that this game is mostly aimed at the younger crowd, and you've got a recipe for a good rental, but not necessarily a good purchase. There's certainly a lot of fun to be had, but there's just not enough to the game to really chomp into, leaving a ghostly trace that will haunt players with a hunger for more. Score: 7/10 TL;DR version - Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is a fun platformer that manages to stand apart from the likes of Mario, and also manages to escape from the general awfulness of licensed games. There's a lot to like for fans of the show and even those who haven't watched it may still find the game enjoyable, however, the game's short length and lack of true challenge for hardcore gamers keeps it from being a truly significant experience. It might be worth a rental if you're hankering for a 3D platformer that doesn't star a portly plumber, but I honestly can't recommend a purchase.
  9. barrel

    Review: The Swapper

    Developer: Facepalm Games/Curve Studios Publisher: Facepalm Games Platforms: PC, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U Release Date: November 6, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the Wii U version of the game Every time I heard about The Swapper after it arrived on PC mid-2013 it was almost always met with unanimous praise. But, because of my general anti-PC gaming sentiment, I stubbornly managed to ignore those positive voices until more than a year after. By now the cult-classic The Swapper has made its way to various other platforms including the PS3, PS4, PS Vita, and now finally the Wii U, and has left me with no more excuses to not play it. Was it finally worth abandoning my ignorance under a rock or would my consciousness have been better placed elsewhere? For something that shares the E rating, The Swapper somehow manages to feel very unsettling. It“s not unsettling because the game is necessarily scary, but because it has a real strong sense of isolation and foreboding. This is communicated in a lot of ways from intriguing journal entries, ambiguous messages placed throughout, and the in-game visuals. The Swapper does a great job at crafting a real sense of atmosphere and smartly, but gradually, introduces you to its world and nuances. This carries over to the gameplay as well in regards to the puzzle/platformer focused design. There are two primary mechanics to keep track of, those being the Swap and Clone mechanics. The first of these introduced is the Clone mechanic in which you are able to create up to four duplications of yourself, and the second allows you to Swap between which of these clones you want to directly control. Though neither of these mechanics are completely unique to video games individually, it is how they are cleverly handled together that makes them feel consistently fresh during the experience. The crux of the gameplay is centered around exploring a space station and implementing those key mechanics to progress. The general flow of this involves collecting specific orbs, which are obtained in what are essentially puzzle rooms, and reactivating parts of the facility with those same orbs in order to help escape. Having said that, it does feel much less straightforward in the midst of actually playing because of the ambiguity of the setting and its many branching areas. What I like the most about the game design in The Swapper is how it doesn“t deliberately tell you what to do. From exploring the space station to learning more about what is going on narratively to naturally allowing you to figure out puzzle solutions for yourself, it generally respects the player's own ability to progress forward. Almost every puzzle adds an extra layer of depth to the established mechanics and smartly inverts how you arrive to solutions, sometimes literally. Puzzles get surprisingly complex, but they also become that much more satisfying when they are complete because the player knows full well what they did in order to figure it out. Still, the game does lose a bit of steam near the end for both puzzle design and, arguably, narratively as well. Some of the later puzzles feel rather devious because their solutions can be undone very quickly. This can be rather annoying considering how much prep work is required, including precision Clone placement and quick Swap timing, so you may inadvertently have to start over and not really feel like you entirely figured out what you did wrong. Another wrinkle is the abrupt endings. I'm sure they can spur philosophical discussions among more enthusiastic fans, but by themselves it feels like they aim more for the initial shock of a twist than addressing prior intrigue that is built up. These are both minor in the grander picture of its generally quite satisfying and smart puzzle design, but it is disappointing that it slightly undermines what is built up prior to it. As with Wii U port tradition, the gamepad serves as a multi-use secondary screen. It can be used to view the map, unlocked story logs, and can also be the primary screen. It“s nothing complicated, but it generally works well and I found it neat for the story logs in particular. When using the gamepad as the primary screen you can have the touchscreen replace commands that require the shoulder buttons, like the Swap/Clone mechanics. I occasionally used the touchscreen for Clone placement, just because analog placement can be rather fidgety at times, but its touchscreen usage is pretty negligible otherwise just because of the gamepad's inherent lack of quick multi-touch responsiveness. The Swapper is a refreshing take on puzzle-focused gameplay. It respects the player's own ability to progress by weaving some truly complex, yet satisfying puzzles while crafting a really strong sense of atmosphere to accompany them. It may have its head in the wrong place near the end due to some minor pacing missteps, but everything prior to it does a great job of playing with expectations as a rewarding, if not a bit ominous, puzzle/platformer title. Pros: + Strong sense of atmosphere that is both very interesting and unsettling + Very clever uses of its puzzle mechanics + Game design is pretty seamless and allows the player to naturally learn its nuances Cons: - Some puzzle solutions get pretty devious later on - Not very long and endings feel abrupt Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great In many instances The Swapper exudes intricate, rewarding puzzle design and an immersive sense of atmosphere that certainly warrants the curiosity of puzzle fans Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Wii U code provided by the publisher.
  10. It seems pretty likely that most of us probably haven't been playing Mario Kart 8 recently, especially with Smash 3DS having released and such. That said, I'm still pretty psyched about the first pack of upcoming DLC coming out for it in December, which includes Link and... Dry Bowser, was it? Anyhow, as it cool as it will be to play as Link, I'm actually looking more forward to the 4 new tracks that are coming with the pack, especially since we still don't know what they are. I'm fairly confident they won't all be brand new tracks, but that's okay with me since I've really been enjoying 8's retro tracks so far. I'm hoping for at least one track from Super Mario Kart since we only got Donut Plains 3 in the main game. What about you? Looking forward to grabbing the DLC and getting back into Kart 8 in November?
  11. Venom

    Review: Rock Zombie

    Rock Zombie recently shambled onto the WiiU eShop, just in time for Halloween. But how does this rockin' undead beat 'em up compare with the games of old that it claims to take inspiration from? Grab your zombie survival kit and read along as I tell you the tale of...The Rock Zombie Review! Developer: Quaternion Studio Publisher: EnjoyUp Games Platform: Wii U via eShop (version reviewed), Steam (coming in late 2014) Release Date: October 30, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Rock Zombie tells you most of what you need to know right there in the title - there's gonna be rock, and there's gonna be zombies. The name of the game is also the name of its trio of stars, Zoe, Crystal, and Sasha, who have formed an all-girl band called Rock Zombie. While rocking out at one of their shows though, things go a bit south when a green mist seeps into the venue and turns their screaming fans into moaning zombies. Now the girls have to fight their way across the stage and across town in search of answers. What is this green mist? Where did it come from? Whose face do they have to melt to find out? The game promises an intriguing story, which is told entirely through static comic pages between certain levels. While there is certainly more story than your average beat 'em up, it's also a bit of a moot point when most players aren't going into a brawler for the story in the first place. It also doesn't help that the writing in the comics isn't particularly engaging or even grammatically correct at some points. Thankfully, regardless of if you care about why you're doing it or not, the game delivers plenty of opportunity to bash in some undead brains. Rock Zombie is a pretty typical beat 'em up that doesn't try to change too much about the genre. You've got a regular attack, a strong attack, two magic attacks - because the characters are also witches, you see - and the ability to block and evade. The magic attacks are tied to a bar that fills as you take out enemies, and serve as great projectile attacks to keep enemies from getting too close. Your standard melee attacks do the job of killing zombies just as well though, so there's not a lot of incentive to mix things up. You can create combos out of certain moves, but they don't string together well enough to be any different than just performing each attack separately. As you might guess, you'll mostly be fending off zombies, which come in regular, flaming, and acid spewing varieties but there are a few non-zombie enemies in the game, like giant spiders. Naturally, you'll be seeing the zombies more often than anything, and you'll also face off against a few bosses over the course of your 4-5 hour journey, some of which provide more challenge than others. And when I say "you" I unfortunately mean just you - the game lacks any multiplayer whatsoever. It's a baffling decision for a game that claims to have learned from the knee of its elders (like Golden Axe) to leave out one of the things that made those games so popular in the first place. The game was clearly designed with single-player in mind as well, as some of the areas would be too cramped for two players to move around easily, and there are a couple of atrocious vehicle segments that wouldn't work with two players. Most of the game isn't so challenging that you'd need an extra hand, but it would certainly make things more entertaining to bring a friend along. If you do soldier through the game alone, you'll find that there's lots of bonus goodies in the Zombie Museum to unlock with coins you gather through the game, as well as achievements to unlock that will require more than one playthrough to obtain them all. Beyond the gameplay, Rock Zombie doesn't really have much in the way of distinct visual or audio flair. While the environments look good and there's some variety between most of the levels, there's just not anything that really stands out either. You'll see sewers, city streets, warehouses, and other places that look exactly like your typical video game sewers, streets, warehouses, and so on. The character models for the enemies don't look too bad, though the player character models appear as if they're made out of plastic, like dolls with shiny hair and painted-on clothes. The audio, meanwhile should be one of the standout features - after all, it's right there in the name. While there's plenty of rocking and rolling, most of the music and sound effects are so generic that you'll hardly give them a second thought. It's a bit of a shame, since one would expect a game that lists the varied soundtrack as one of its features to make sure that the soundtrack is actually memorable. Perhaps more pressing, there were some glitches on both ends. The graphical glitches weren't too bad, and mostly consisted of the camera sometimes getting confused during perspective shifts and switching rapidly between different views, and just some oddities with enemy corpses and the blood that forms around them being wonky. There was also a pretty severe audio glitch around halfway through the game that caused the music and most of the sound effects to cut out completely, and the only fix was to quit back to the WiiU menu and restart the game. Overall the game definitely lacks technical polish, but fortunately there weren't any game-breaking bugs - everything works, it just doesn't all work particularly well sometimes. Given that it's mostly the work of a single person though, that's pretty understandable. When it comes down to it, Rock Zombie is a schlocky B-game with a schlocky B-movie premise, and it makes no apologies or excuses for it. Even if you're into that sort of thing, though, it would be difficult to actually recommend this game. It's certainly possible that players might get some mindless fun out of it, and, at $6.99, it's pretty cheap - worse games have cost more money. Unfortunately, there's just no stand-out aspects of this game that make it something everyone should experience. If, however, reading this review has gotten you interested in playing it, go for it - just know that not everyone is going to enjoy rocking to this game's tune. Score: 5.0/10 TL;DR version - Rock Zombie is a beat 'em up containing plenty of rock and plenty of zombies, with a storyline that delves into far more detail than most brawlers. While bashing in zombie heads over the course of the 5-ish hour campaign might offer some cathartic thrills, the lack of technical polish, of multiplayer, and of stand-out gameplay features means it's probably best to keep shambling past this title in search of something more engaging. Still, if you like B-movies, you might get a kick out of it, but you should probably still wait for a sale if you decide to try it.
  12. Just a week ago, we got a glimpse at the first new track that would be included in the upcoming first DLC pack for Mario Kart 8, and that was a newly updated version of Yoshi's Circuit from Mario Kart: Double Dash!!. Today, we now have a glimpse at the second track that will be included: the Excitebike Arena. True to the Excitebike series' nature, the course will have hills, ramps, mud pits, and more. In fact, the location of ramps and speed boosts will change every time you play, adding a bit of a random factor into the mix to keep things fresh. The first Mario Kart 8 DLC pack is expected to release sometime in November and will include the above mentioned tracks as well as two more, and three new playable characters in the form of Link, Cat Peach, and Tanooki Mario. Check out preview footage of the Excitebike Arena track below. You can check out our review for Mario Kart 8 here. Source: Game Informer Are you interested in trying out the new Excitebike Arena track?
  13. Holy Toledo, Smash fans. Tonight“s Super Smash Bros. for Wii U 50-Fact Extravaganza presentation certainly gave those hyped about the upcoming release more than one reason to flail around like Kermit the Frog. Since the presentation itself and the fact sheet do most of the talking, I“ve taken the liberty of including them below. The presentation is just over thirty minutes in length, and features some cool new stuff at the end. Throughout the presentation you“ll see things like a new starting roster, a look at new modes and stages, and even a look at what tracks are featured in the Club Nintendo Special Soundtrack Offer! Grab some popcorn, sit back and enjoy the full presentation! For all those curious about the 3DS version of the game, you can check out my review! The official Press Release, found here, reads as follows: REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Today Nintendo unleashed a deluge of information about its upcoming Super Smash Bros. for Wii U game, including an eight-player mode, the ability to build and share custom stages and an exclusive soundtrack offer. Nintendo revealed these and many more details in a live-streamed video announcement. To view the video in its entirety, visit http://www.nintendo.com/nintendo-direct. “Super Smash Bros. fans got a full look today at the unbelievable variety of options and surprises that await them in the Wii U version of the game,” said Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America“s executive vice president of Sales & Marketing. “Millions of fans around the world already can“t get enough of the Nintendo 3DS game, and we want the Wii U version to build on that momentum.” Some of the topics covered in the video include: 8-Player Smash: In a major first for the franchise, a special mode lets eight players fight simultaneously in local multiplayer. This option appears only in the Wii U version, and lets players compete on even larger stages to accommodate all the characters. amiibo Figures: When a player touches an amiibo figure to the Wii U GamePad, the character joins as a “figure player.” The amiibo figures can gain levels to become stronger and add equipment as they gain experience through battling. Players can have amiibo fight one another, and amiibo will bring you presents from the battles they fight in. Custom Stage Creation: The touch screen of the Wii U GamePad makes it easier than ever for players to build their own stages and eventually share them with friends and other players around the world using broadband Internet access. Controls: Players who own the Nintendo 3DS version of the game can use their Nintendo 3DS systems to control the action on the TV screen, in addition to the many other control options available. Importing Fighters: Fans of the Nintendo 3DS version of the game can immediately benefit from the fruits of their smashing labors. Players can import custom Nintendo 3DS fighters to the Wii U game, along with their customized equipment, costumes and hats. Special Soundtrack Offer: Everyone who buys both the Nintendo 3DS and the Wii U versions of Super Smash Bros. and registers both games on Club Nintendo by Jan. 13 will receive a two-disc soundtrack of music from the games. Mewtwo: Like the soundtrack, this series veteran fighter will be made available as free downloadable content in spring of 2015 for anyone who buys both versions of the game. Modes: The Wii U version of the game offers many new modes and different ways to play that keep players coming back for more: Smash Tour: World Smash is a fighting party game that looks like a board game. Players use items, spin a wheel and advance around the map. Up to four players can compete at once as they navigate the board and gain fighters and power-ups they can use in a final battle. Special Smash Mode: Players can customize battles with unique parameters. Coin Battles: Players compete to collect coins from other players. Stamina Matches: Players fight until their hit points reach zero. Classic Mode: One or two players fight through a series of battles and advance as long as they survive. Many random events can shake things up, and players can adjust the intensity settings. The more difficult the game, the greater the rewards. All-Star Mode: Like in the Nintendo 3DS version, opponents appear in chronological order. Only this time, the newest fighters appear before the older ones, and two players can battle through this mode together. Event Mode: One or two players take on set character- and theme-based battles. Clearing stages helps players see the way forward. Masterpieces: This menu gives players a peek into the past lives of some of the Super Smash Bros. characters. Players can play cut-down versions of the characters“ greatest games. Stages: The Wii U game offers more stages than any game in the series. The expanded Big Battlefield makes its debut in addition to the traditional Battlefield Stage. The Great Cave Offensive, based on the underground labyrinth found in Kirby games, challenges players to avoid potentially lethal danger zones – or throw their opponents into them. The Jungle Hijinxs stage, based on Donkey Kong Country Returns, lets players fight in the foreground and background. Blast barrels shoot players from front to back and vice versa. Tunes: The game includes hundreds of music tracks, songs and jingles that players can listen to and settings to customize what music plays during game play. Players add songs to their library by collecting CDs that appear while smashing or after completing challenges. Movies: When players clear Classic or All-Star modes, they“ll be treated to a brief movie featuring whichever fighter they used. Every fighter has a movie, so it“ll be a challenge to view them all. Ridley. Yes, Ridley: Fans have been clamoring for Ridley to appear in a Super Smash Bros. game for a while, and now they“re getting their wish. But true to form, Ridley appears in an unexpected way. Players will find him in the Metroid series-inspired Pyrosphere stage, but he does more than just hassle players. If one player attacks Ridley enough, Ridley will join that fighter“s side and attack others. Players (including the one on Ridley“s side) can KO Ridley to earn a point toward the match result total. And if Ridley consumes enough energy, he will become Meta Ridley and all the more vicious. Characters: The Wii U version offers 40 characters and the use of Mii characters from the start. Each character“s moves match those found in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, so players who hone their skills in the portable game will have an edge over opponents in the console version of the game. Remember that Wii U and Nintendo 3DS feature parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit http://www.nintendo.com/wiiu or http://www.nintendo.com/3ds. What was your favorite part of today's presentation? For those who plan on buying both versions, will you play Wii U or 3DS more? Let us know!
  14. At long last, we'll finally get information on the long-awaited Super Smash Bros. for Wii U during a Nintendo Direct this Thursday, as announced by Nintendo this morning. Even more interesting—50 new things about the game will be revealed during the Direct, presumably by the game's director Masahiro Sakurai himself. Recent rumors have been circulating about possible new modes such as a 6-player match, so perhaps these will be among the confirmed new things to be in the game. If you're interested, bookmark this link and be sure to be there at 3pm PT/6pm ET on October 23rd to get the full scoop as the curtain is pulled back on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. For those that are more interested in the recently released 3DS version of the game, you can check out Jonathan's review here. Source: Press Release What do you think some of the new things that will be discussed are?
  15. Next week 3DS owners will get to experience the long-awaited sequel to 2010's Shantae: Risky's Revenge with the release of WayForward's Shantae and the Pirate's Curse when it releases on the eShop. After the events of Risky's Revenge, Pirate's Curse sees Shantae teaming up with her nemesis Risky in order to save Sequin Land from a deadly curse, but whether she can trust her is another question. Players can also look forward to brand new weapons, tools, monsters, and more to experience throughout. While the game is also slated for release on Wii U, WayForward has mentioned that that specific release will come at a later point. And of course, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (which will be available on a large number of platforms) is still on the way as well though more will be announced about its release at a later point. Shantae and the Pirate's Curse sails to the 3DS eShop on October 23rd for $19.99. Source: WayForward Are you excited for this Shantae sequel?
  16. Jason Clement

    Review: Paper Monsters Recut

    Developer: Mobot Studios, Inc. Publisher: Mobot Studios, Inc. Platforms: Wii U eShop Steam (coming soon) Release Date: October 16, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone Papercraft visuals are something I really hope start catching on with more video games nowadays. There's just something so darn charming and fantastic about it that I can't help but be won over by the look in a lot of cases. Paper Monsters Recut nails this visual style extremely well in most aspects, even if it's not quite as ambitious as what Different Tuna did with Derrick the Deathfin a few years ago, where they used real papercraft to model and film its characters. And being a 2D platformer, there are definite similarities to LittleBigPlanet with its aesthetic choice as well. Unfortunately, the actual gameplay doesn't quite match up with the ambition shown on the visual front. At the outset of the game you're introduced to its paper world, fittingly called Paper Land, where a villain named Lord Papyrus has taken over with his minions of paper monsters. Of course, the only one capable of stopping him is you, a character made out of... cardboard. That's essentially as much of a story as you'll get since there isn't much more to it than that. You're given a quick tutorial level at the very beginning to understand the basics of what's what and off you go to rescue Paper Land. An overworld side-scrolling hub connects each world and its levels, and you'll eventually work through them in a linear fashion, though there are some worlds that you can choose to go to before others. You'll also find some minigames and other hidden things if you explore around a little, but as a whole, there isn't a ton to see or uncover in the overworld area. Levels play through as a fundamental platformer—you'll run and double jump between platforms throughout each level, collecting buttons (essentially this game's version of coins) along the way as well as three golden paperclips that are generally hidden (or at least out of the way). I usually found that the latter weren't too hard to find in most levels, which was a little disappointing. Enemies also don't pose much of a threat as most are rather slow and can be defeated with a single bop on the head from a jump. Worlds run the gamut of themes from your typical grassy and blue sky "first world" to space, western, ice world, and more. Some of them have unique aspects beyond their aesthetic, such as the space world giving the protagonist a space suit, laser gun, and a jetpack that you can use when it has sufficient fuel. There also some segments where you'll control a submarine, a sled, or in later levels, a helicopter. By and large, I found that most of these don't really change up the pace that much and aren't that well-executed (maybe except for the submarine); the sled, for example, is rather slow and lacks the thrill of speed (either downhill or horizontally) like you'd expect from the real experience. Unfortunately, the biggest gripe I have with the game is that the different worlds never truly feel that much different from each other, other than their theme. Level design never really becomes that differentiated throughout and many areas feel entirely too similar, save for the Space levels and some at the very end. It's a shame too because I enjoyed the first world thoroughly, but many levels begin to feel the same after that, just with different backgrounds and such. There's also little to no creative use of the papercraft style to make inspired platforming puzzles or design choices, like LittleBigPlanet or Kirby's Epic Yarn have done in the past. The papercraft visuals are purely an aesthetic choice, and that's all there is to it. It may look like paper, but it doesn't entirely feel like it. When it comes to the game's soundtrack, it's a bit hit-and-miss as well. There are a few tracks I really enjoyed, though much of the different tracks and themes are largely repetitive with the same beats and loops, not to mention short, making it a little bit hard to listen to over and over. They do tend to fit each world's theme well, though. Overall, the very best things Paper Monsters Recut has going for it are its charming visuals and presentation. I hoped that the gameplay would measure up to such a unique theme, but in the end, much of it does feel a bit bland and uninspired when it comes to level design. Still, there are enjoyable moments to it and Mobot Studios does manage to pack in a good amount of content for only $8. It may be a bit easy for most hardcore platformer enthusiasts, making it ideal mostly for children and younger gamers in general, but if you're hungry for platform games and have nothing to play, it might be worth checking out. Pros + Beautiful, charming papercraft visuals + Decent amount of content and levels, giving you 4-5 hours worth Cons - Much of the level design leaves a lot to be desired - Virtually no creativity with the papercraft theme Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent Paper Monsters Recut has a charming papercraft look but falls somewhat flat with its level design. Still, it has its moments and may be worth looking into for platformer enthusiasts and younger gamers. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Wii U code provided by the publisher.
  17. This week Nintendo has added a brand new functionality to their website—that being the ability to pre-order digital titles straight from the site. Why would anyone be interested in such a thing? One reason is that they offer either a download code or to have the game sent directly to your console through your NNID when it releases, which could be handy for those who might experience trouble buying a game on the eShop the moment it comes out (due to a heavy load from others being on the server and such). Unfortunately, pre-installing is not a part of the deal for now. At the moment, only a select number of upcoming first-party games are available to preorder, such as Fantasy Life, Pokemon Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon Omega Ruby, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, and Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. No word on whether third-party games will be available for pre-order as well, but we'll keep an eye on any developments as they happen. Source: IGN Does pre-ordering digital games on Nintendo's website appeal to you?
  18. Jason Clement

    Review: SteamWorld Dig

    Developer: Image & Form Publisher: Image & Form Platform: Wii U, 3DS, PC, PS4, PS Vita Release Date: August 28, 2014 (Wii U) ESRB: E 10+ This review is based on the Wii U version of the game SteamWorld Dig was one of the biggest surprises of 2013 when it initially debuted on the 3DS eShop before subsequently getting an HD version on Steam and later PS4 and Vita. Not that the eShop doesn't have its share of great games, but this was a game from a small Swedish developer that had the ambition, charm, and polish of a triple-A developed title. Now that it's finally arrived for the Wii U audience, how does it hold up one year after its initial release? Grab your cowboy hat and pickaxe, because we're about to find out! The game begins with a cowboy hat-wearing robot named Rusty arriving in the nearly deserted town of Tumbleton in order to investigate a mine that his deceased uncle Joe left him. Like most everything else in SteamWorld, Rusty is a steambot that runs on... well, steam, instead of electricity for reasons that aren't made apparent (at least not initially). In fact, the entire game is set to reflect an Old Western setting, even riffing on a certain Clint Eastwood movie with its subtitle. But why exactly is the world seemingly only populated only by steambots? Why does everything run on steam? And what happened to humans (if they even exist)? These are a few of the mysteries you'll uncover as you dig down deeper and deeper into the earth. And dig you shall, as that's what the game is centered on. After a brief tutorial scenario in the beginning which has Rusty falling through the earth and having to make his way out, he obtains his uncle's pickaxe, which he'll use to dig through the ground in the mine. Your ultimate goal is to dig deep and discover exactly what uncle Joe wanted Rusty to see. Also, it may not be apparent at first, but SteamWorld Dig has some really interesting subtext and undertones in its story, especially late in the game; something that was a pleasant surprise. While the gameplay does take precedence, it was nice to see that there's a deeper story going on here; one that Image & Form seems to be making one of the building blocks of the SteamWorld franchise. One of the most unique and interesting aspects of the game's design is the fact that the layout of the mine itself is procedurally generated (i.e. randomly generated) in each new playthrough. No two mines are the same, save for certain subsections and areas where Rusty collects new parts that help him advance. The process of digging is a bit of a slow process at first as it takes anywhere from 5+ hits to destroy a unit of earth/dirt. Fortunately, any paths you dig are permanent, and you'll eventually make your way deeper and deeper into the shaft this way. Digging aside, one of the other primary things you'll be doing in the game is mining different kinds of ore which Rusty can then sell back in Tumbleton for gold coins. In turn, you'll use the coins to buy more equipment and upgrades for Rusty which in turn will help him progress further and further into the mine. You'll also be forced to return to town every so often due to limited light from your lantern (which slowly burns out) and limited room in your rucksack for ore; both of which you'll incrementally upgrade to last longer and store more, respectively. This sense of gradual progression on two fronts—digging deeper in the mine and upgrading Rusty with newer, better equipment—makes the game incredibly fun, and mining for more valuable ore becomes addicting. As you dig deeper into the ground, the level design becomes increasingly more complex as well. You'll run into enemies that require more thought to destroy, be more decisive about where you dig, and avoid toxic waste, spikes, falling blocks, and more. The areas that contain new upgrades or rare ore are also a welcome diversion as these present more platform-oriented gameplay and puzzles. Especially interesting is the level design in the later areas, where the setting and obstacles change pretty drastically, resulting in some of the most gratifying, intense gameplay in the game. Another thing that makes SteamWorld Dig so good is its visual presentation. The game looks great with its traditional 2D sprites, cartoon-like appearance, and silky smooth animation. Its quality is readily apparent from the title screen alone—this is a game that could easily be mistaken for Nintendo's own. Those that only played on 3DS before will also notice that the previously static portraits for each of the robot townsfolk are now animated, which is a nice touch. The Wii U version even gives you three different options for displaying the HUD (on Gamepad entirely, on the TV screen entirely, or offscreen-play on Gamepad) as well as fully customizable controls, letting you make any control scheme you want. Interestingly, SteamWorld Dig isn't Image & Form's first rodeo, but it most certainly is its best. Despite being on the shorter side (you'll beat it in 4-5 hours the first time through), the game's pacing is fantastic, making it one of those games that treads the line between leaving you wanting more and feeling just long enough to leave you incredibly satisfied with the experience before the magic wears off. Its visuals and world within are charming, the gameplay is addictive, the western-inspired music is catchy, and the sense of exploration you get from mining is incredibly fulfilling. If you haven't played yet, do yourself a favor and check it out, because SteamWorld Dig is possibly the best new game IP to come out within the last year. Pros + Premise of digging, collecting ore, and buying/collecting upgrades is a lot of fun + Visuals/presentation and music are charming + Great pacing throughout with the progression and level design Cons - Not a huge thing, but traveling in and out of the mine manually can be repetitious for the first hour or so Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic SteamWorld Dig is charming, addicting, and lots of fun to play. Definitely check it out if you're a fan of platformers and Metroidvania-type games. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  19. This week“s Nintendo Download features something many have been waiting for. So I“ll get it out of the way right off the bat! Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS has a free demo coming tomorrow. This demo is, as far as I understand, identical to the demo that Club Nintendo folks got almost a week ago. I“ll get back to you guys once I figure out if it has the limited 30 uses that the Japanese one did, or if it“s unlimited like the Special Club Nintendo one. The Nintendo Download also praises Tuesday“s release of Theatrhythm Final Fantasy: Curtain Call for Nintendo 3DS. If Final Fantasy music isn“t your cup of tea, perhaps you“ll be interested in Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! That about does it for major retail and demo talk. On to the Virtual Console and sales! The Virtual Console on Nintendo 3DS gets Legend of the River King 2 this week. And the Virtual Console on Wii U gets Wild Guns. This week continues the Super Smashing Sale that has discounts on Smash Bros fighters. I“ll update this article once I figure out exactly which games are discounted, but Press Release seems to suggest we“ll get Pokémon and Metroid discounts this week, plus more. Also: Moon Chronicles and Mutant Mudds (down to $5.99 from $8.99) are on sale starting today until October 2nd. Last but not least in the land of noteworthy, Shin Megami Tensei IV, Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars and more ATLUS games are going on sale the week of the 22nd through 29th. That about covers this week“s Nintendo Download, beyond their mention that Hyrule Warriors is coming soon. What are you looking forward to most in this week“s Nintendo Download? Be sure to let us know! Source: Press Release
  20. Watch Dogs originally released on Xbox and PlayStation consoles (as well as PC) back at the end of May, and despite some initial uncertainty in whether we'd see it or not, Ubisoft has now confirmed a release date for the Wii U version of the game as well. This version will be launching on Nov. 18, and will include an interactive map available on the Gamepad screen as well as off-screen play. Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has previously mentioned that this will be the last mature game they publish on the Wii U, as previously-released games in that age rating (such as Splinter Cell: Blacklist and Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag) did not sell to expectations. You can check out our review for Watch Dog's original release here if you're interested. Source: Polygon Are you interested in the Wii U version of the game at all?
  21. Jason Clement

    Super Smashing Sale - Week 2's Selection

    Last week, the Super Smashing Sale kicked off with sales on eShop games based on select characters from the series. Week one consisted mostly of the Mario series along with Yoshi and Little Mac, but this week things expand to the realm of Zelda, F-Zero, Fire Emblem, Mega Man, Kid Icarus, and Sonic. Here are the deals you can expect to see on games based on each highlighted Smash character in Week 2: Link, Sheik, Toon Link, Zelda The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - $29.99 $39.99 (3DS) The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past - $4.99 $7.99 (Wii U) The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages - $3.99 $5.99 (3DS) The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons - $3.99 $5.99 (3DS) The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap - $4.99 $7.99 (Wii U) Captain Falcon F-Zero - $5.99 7.99 (Wii U) Lucina, Marth, Ike, Robin Fire Emblem: Awakening - $29.99 $39.99 (3DS) Mega Man Mega Man - $3.49 $4.99 (3DS) Mega Man 2 - $3.49 $4.99 (3DS) Mega Man X - $4.99 $7.99 (Wii U) Mega Man X2 - $4.99 $7.99 (Wii U) Pit, Palutena Kid Icarus: Uprising - $24.99 $34.99 (3DS) Kid Icarus - $3.49 $4.99 (Wii U) Sonic Sonic the Hedgehog - $3.49 $4.99 (3DS) Source: Nintendo Are you looking to buy any of these games this week?
  22. Jason Clement

    Review: Wooden Sen'SeY

    Developer: Upper Byte Studio Publisher: Neko Entertainment Platform: Wii U, PC Release Date: July 24, 2014 (Wii U) ESRB: E 10+ This review is based on the Wii U version of the game Japanese settings don't seem incredibly common in today's games (at least the ones developed outside of Japan), especially in the platforming realm, but Wooden Sen'SeY attempts to rectify this with its focus on a heavily feudal Japanese-themed landscape and scenario infused with a bit of a goofy plot. Add in some impressive visuals and art, and it seems like the combination would be a no-brainer, but unfortunately the game's mechanics make it more than just a bit difficult to enjoy. You play as Village Chief Goro, who is out for revenge at the outset after his alcohol is stolen by shadow creatures. It's the thinnest of plots but it becomes evident that Wooden Sen'SeY isn't exactly the most serious of games anyhow. Axe in hand, Goro sets off to eliminate any shadow creature in his way. It's worth noting that the game doesn't really give the enemies a name, so I just call them that due to the fact that they look like shadow creatures. Some are small, round, and float in the air while others are more human-like and wear Japanese garb and wield weapons such as spears and the like. The game itself is a mostly by-the-books platformer where you run to the right, jump between platforms, and attack anything in your way, but there is an interesting gameplay element that makes the experience a bit more unique. At certain points, you'll make use of Goro's grappling hook to get across large gaps or even to scale walls and such; these are by far the most interesting parts of the game, especially since much of the rest of the game's levels are very vanilla in design. What makes this aspect more interesting is that Upper Byte Studio attempted to include some unique functionality regarding this in the Wii U version with the Gamepad's accelerometer, so shifting the pad in the direction Goro is swinging in will help him gain momentum. Also included as Gamepad functionality is the ability to quickly thrust the the Gamepad forward and downward (as if you're putting a book down) while jumping for a ground pound and higher jump; however, the same can be achieved through the use of buttons as well. Unfortunately, the game stumbles majorly in one big area—the reach of Goro's axe(s) is virtually non-existent and requires you to be literally right next to an enemy in order to damage them. I'm unsure if Upper Byte did this intentionally (perhaps to increase the difficulty level) but more often than not, this design makes it difficult to tell when you're getting too close and thus damaged if you touch an enemy. Because of this, some enemies are extremely difficult to land hits on, especially bats or other flying enemies. Fortunately there are some secondary weapons you can collect and use in certain levels, such as throwing stars and bombs, but these often come in short supply. Further aggravating the point about the combat being too close for comfort is the fact that there are usually several areas in each level where you'll have to fight a number of various shadow creatures before you can proceed (much like old-school 2D brawlers used to do). It isn't that the combat is near impossible; it's just extremely irritating and was easily the lowest point of the game for me, especially in the later levels. A shame too, because while the combat leaves a lot to be desired, the rest of the game's design during levels is mildly enjoyable between bouts of platforming and grappling across gaps and up the sides of walls. On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, are the visuals and art direction, which add up to being one of the game's best aspects. This is especially the case early on with the Japanese-inspired countrysides, colorful backgrounds, and bloom effects (incorporating such things as falling cherry blossom buds and such) all of which create a wonderfully cartoonish-looking world. Even the game's menus and GUI have an appealing look to them. Wooden SenSeY is a game that I really wanted to like, but unfortunately its unbalanced gameplay and combat really hinders much of the experience. It's completely playable, but a lot of it is aggravating and feels rather unoptimized for the best experience possible. The actual design isn't incredibly inspired either, but there are flashes of good moments throughout; namely, the grappling sequences. It's also quite short; you can finish the game's 9 stages in as little as 2 hours or less, though Upper Byte did include achievements for those who want to extend the game a bit longer. For what it's worth, Wooden Sen'SeY could have been so much more and, unfortunately, the experience ultimately ends up feeling true to its name: wooden. Pros + Some beautiful artwork and backgrounds throughout + Certain aspects can be fun such as using the grappling hook Cons - Most of the platforming is rather dull - The short reach of Goro's axes make combat unbearable - Plot is barely understandable; no explanation of anything Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average Wooden Sen'SeY looks nice during certain sections throughout, but has glaring issues with its gameplay. Look elsewhere if you're wanting a competent platformer to play. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable Wii U code provided by the publisher.
  23. Jason Clement

    Hyrule Warrior's Download Size Revealed

    Earlier today on Destructoid, Chris Carter confirmed the game is going to be 7GB in size if you're downloading it off the eShop. Woof. I know that it isn't a lot for some of you with blazing connections, but I'll probably be buying the game in light of this (as I usually do with everything that is over 5GB in size, except for PC games, ha). Actually this does make me wonder - what's the largest file size you'd consider downloading before switching to buying a physical copy? Does it matter to you if it's 14GB or 40GB (in theory, I guess)?
  24. In honor of of the upcoming Super Smash Bros. for 3DS and Wii U, Nintendo is having a sale where you can get select games starring the different Smash characters up to 33% off. The sale will last until Oct. 2, with each week focused on a new set of fighters and thus games that are based on them. This week will start off with Mario, Bowser, Peach, Luigi, Yoshi, Little Mac, and Rosalina. Here are the games corresponding to each- Mario, Bowser, Peach, Luigi Super Mario Bros. 2 - $3.49 $4.99 (on both Wii U and 3DS) Super Mario Bros. 3 - $3.49 $4.99 (on both Wii U and 3DS) New Super Mario Bros. U - $39.99 $59.99 Super Mario 3D Land - $19.99 $29.99 Yoshi Yoshi's New Island - $29.99 $39.99 Little Mac Punch-Out!! Featuring Mr. Dream - $3.49 $4.99 Rosalina Super Mario 3D World - $39.99 $59.99 Remember, this is for eShop only; it doesn't translate over to retail. Next week is slated to focus on the characters from The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Kid Icarus, F-Zero, Mega Man, and Sonic the Hedgehog. Source: Nintendo Will you be buying any of the games from the Smashing Sale this week?