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Found 10 results

  1. WildCardCorsair

    Game of the Year 2016: Wildcard's Picks

    End of the year lists are fun for me, mostly because it allows me to reflect on the things I loved about video games during the whole year. Typing these out and remembering "Oh yeah, that really was a good game" is like a wonderful trip down gaming memory lane. One that you, dear readers, can take with me! I had less trouble than I thought picking my 10; in fact I had a few fight just to get on. I guess that makes 2016 a pretty good year (in gaming at least... sheesh!) and as excited as I was for many of the games on my list, I know 2017 is going to be just as good. Until then though, I had lots of releases to keep me busy, the best of which (in my opinion, at least) are below. So read and enjoy, or fight me, whatever! 10. Pokemon Sun/Moon I“ve had my share of criticisms of the seventh generation Pokemon games Sun and Moon but that doesn“t mean I don“t like them. For one, they finally gave me the thing I“ve always wanted: a slow and public death for HMs. Sun/Moon even gave me things I never knew I wanted, like island trials, which even on their worst day are still more fun than gym leaders. Trials even allowed for better characterization of the trainers of their island, which lent to an already more intimate Pokemon journey than we“ve had in a very long time. Even catching the same Pokemon for the unpteenth time was more fun with the addition of regional variants. At the end of the day this game may come in last on my list, but it doesn“t come in last in my heart, for what that“s worth! 9. Animal Crossing: New Leaf ~Welcome Amiibo~ What? Didn“t this game come out like 4 years ago? It might have, but right when I think I“m finally done with it the Welcome Amiibo update hits, bringing features, improvements, and content for days. Seriously. How is a guy supposed to move on? Entirely new villagers to invite, vast improvements to the ease of filling your town with the villagers you want most, a much needed expanded storage system, two new minigames that are tied to two of a slew of new furnishings, even the ease of Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer“s interior designing UI are all now in the game you could have sworn you were done playing. The update is so hefty it really could have been called an expansion. I was already just shy of 400 hours, but I have no doubts I“ll hit the big four-oh-oh now. 8. Deus Ex: Mankind Divided It“s funny, that the largest criticism I“ve heard about Deus Ex: Mankind Divided was how similar it is to Human Revolution. It might have been a problem, I think, if it had been less than the five-year-long hiatus the series took between installments. Instead, the game expands the Deus Ex world, which has managed to become somehow even worse for Augmented citizens. It“s sad to say but the plot -- despite its solid Sci-Fi theme -- feels all too real in our current day and age. Even though the game kept some of the things I wish it hadn“t (*coughgridbasedinventorycough*) it still has fantastic level design and unparalleled freedom in how you approach the missions you are given. So yes, it“s more Adam Jensen. I definitely asked for this. 7. Odin Sphere Leifthrasir I“ll admit, I never played the original, but after both Muramasa Rebirth and Dragon“s Crown, there was no question in my mind I needed to. Leifthrasir, however unpronounceable the name is, proved to live up to my every expectation for a Vanillaware game. The artwork is absolutely gorgeous, with it“s hand drawn character animations and magnificent backgrounds. The entire game belongs on the side of some epic van mural. The action is no slouch either, with a combat system that keeps the action fast and fun, like a perfect mix of Muramasa and Dragon“s Crown. The high-fantasy Norse-inspired theme even gives it that little extra bit of charm. Really, there are really very few reasons not to check out this game. So what are you waiting for? 6. Kirby Planet Robobot Ok I“m really not the world“s biggest Kirby fan, in fact I suspect that might be Jon, but I digress. Kirby: Planet Robobot truly surprised me, mixing classic Kirby action with a new mechanic that didn“t focus the game too tightly around it, some fun new mini games, and of course you can“t go wrong with amiibo support. It even has a lot of call backs to Kirby“s long history, which I“m sure Jon already discussed to the point of beating a dead horse so I won“t touch it, but what I will say is that I enjoyed it even more than I did Triple Deluxe (which I did enjoy). Plus there“s a freaking mech suit, man. Come on, how do you top that? 5. Bravely Second I know I got a lot of… fiddle faddle for having the original Bravely Default on my GOTY list way back when. However, being the stubborn (and always correct) person that I am, I stand by that decision. What Bravely Default did right, it did in spades. A well thought out and nothing short of revolutionary combat system sold me that game in a big way and its sequel, Bravely Second continues that proud tradition, but fixes some of the more infuriating plot devices of the first. It even adds some cooler jobs (Catmancer, hello!). If you passed on Second because of Default, let me be the first (or perhaps only latest) person to tell you, you“ve made a huge mistake. 4. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE Sometimes it“s hard to imagine that a game like Tokyo Mirage Sessions exists. Nintendo collaborating with Atlus to produce an RPG for Wii U that combines the fundamental elements of the Fire Emblem series with that of Atlus“s Shin Megami Tensei games (including elements of Persona) -- well pinch me cause this year Christmas came in June! Aside from the multifaceted combat system and game“s rich Japanese idol culture premise (both of which are highly enjoyable by the way), the game manages to do the one thing few other games on Wii U ever do… make the gamepad make sense. Aside from a functional map, the game uses the bottom screen like a cell phone, allowing you to receive (and occasionally send) text messages to your friends, all of which feel like message convos taken from my actual phone. TMS's cast of characters are as charming as they are genuine, hardly the typical JRPG tropes seen in other games. The side missions are incredibly worth it, and the designs for both mirages and main characters alike are unforgettable, especially when the game“s solo mechanic kicks in, treating you to a miniature concert as an impressive mirage attack occurs. Sure, it“s got tons of style, but TMS#FE has plenty of substance too! 3. Zero Escape Vol. 3: Zero Time Dilemma This is one of those video games in which I almost can“t say anything because SPOILERS. But the third game in Kotaro Uchikoshi“s Zero Escape series, for those of you who haven“t had the pleasure of playing them, is somewhere firmly between SAW and The Butterfly Effect (minus that goon Ashton Kutcher). The puzzles in this series are well thought out but seem to be harder in this installment, giving the most challenge I“ve encountered in this series to date. The game also hilariously has an ending you can earn in the very first minute -- if you“re lucky. But you probably aren“t so prepare to die… a lot! I honestly wouldn“t recommend playing this without playing the first two first, cause you“ll be more lost than the S.S. Minnow, but if you like a good survival horror/sci-fi-ish/VN/puzzle/psychological thriller loaded with fringe science theory and cat puns this is definitely your game. 2. Severed Imagine there“s this game system. PlayStation makes it, it“s a handheld. It has a gorgeous OLED screen, with touch capability and dual analog sticks. Now imagine the people who made other top tier games for this system that were fun, funny, and vibrant, they make a game that is about death, loss, and grief. You get to see what profound loss can turn you into if you aren“t careful. And it does all this with mostly images and very few words. And it plays like a grown up version of Infinity Blade mixed with an old school first person dungeon crawler. Well, you don“t have to imagine because all of this happened -- you probably just didn“t play it. The beauty and the pain portrayed in Severed is matched only by how simple and refined the combat is. It may not have the whimsy of their other games, but Severed is easily one of DrinkBox Studios“ best, and one of the best games overall on the Vita -- not just of this year, but of any year. 1. Overwatch It“s hard to quantify a single thing about Overwatch that pushed it to the top for me, because it isn“t a single thing, or even a few things. In truth what I liked about this game is everything. The characters are diverse and loads of personality, way more than they should considering there“s no actual story mode. Instead random character interactions and voice lines work well at giving you plenty of insight into their personalities, while additional material like the backstory and comics on Blizzard“s website fill in the gaps. The action itself is fun and frenetic, with enough updates, character and map additions, and special events to keep me playing all year. All of which were free, in fact. But at the end of the day I think the real deciding factor here is that the game is just fun, capitalizing on the things people loved about Splatoon and Team Fortress 2 and mashing them together for something that managed to stand out above just about every other game for me this year. And the best part is, I know I will still be playing this game around the time I begin to write next year“s GOTY list too.
  2. Jonathan Higgins

    Game of the Year 2016: Jonathan's Picks

    We“ll be six months into next year before I fully come to terms with the fact that 2016 happened. But here“s a list of cool video games I played — one that slightly differs from my normal protocol, at that. For the first time, I“m going to include a Pokémon game in a prominent spot... if only to make a point. And... instead of ten unique games, I“m really going to start at nine. I hate to say it, but I didn“t put forth my due diligence to play “current games” in this current year. I“d love to say I could speak highly enough about Miitomo and Pokémon GO to put them on here. But despite spending a ton of time with them, and the latter reigniting a cultural phenomenon... I don“t consider either to be worthy of my personal praise. I mean, it was fun answering questions as part of my morning routine for several months. And I still find redeeming value from Miitomo when I get to... dress up my Mii character in Kirby clothes. But don“t even get me started on GO. I“m still a daily user, but... it“s gotten me outside less and less over time, especially considering the fact that it reduces background audio (like music & Podcasts) by 50% while the dang app is open. What“s up with that, anyway? There are also games I started but didn“t finish that would vie for my #10 spot. I know several people reading will give me flack for not seeing the credits of Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE. I“m genuinely surprised I didn“t complete Dragon Quest Builders either, despite a fondness for the series. I guess my distaste for Minecraft-style games as a genre was too strong, in the end. Maybe I“ll surprise myself and finish it before the year“s done. And then there“s Oxenfree, a game I grabbed around Thanksgiving. It definitely seems like it“ll impress me, but there“s no way I“d get to the end it in time to give it the consideration it probably deserves. So without further ado, here are the games I feel confident enough giving time to shine: 9) Pocket Card Jockey I have a wild grudge against card games. I just... don“t like them. No, really. So how is it that one ended up being an exception? “It“s because you like Game Freak, and all that glitters from them is gold.” I“m not going to sit here and pretend I don“t have a little bias against the company. Honestly, my “Game of the Year lists” have started to follow a bit of a pattern. TEMBO made the cut last year. If Giga Wrecker ends up being of a similar quality, it might make the cut in 2017. I might feel like I“m in a daze most of the time, but I“m not too asleep to notice that I truly enjoy Game Freak“s non-Pokémon endeavors. Pocket Card Jockey... one part horse-racing, one part solitaire... makes its mark for its addictive qualities. It“s not a perfect game by any means — you“ve got to breed horses to even stand a chance at higher stakes races, making even perfect solitaire runs useless at times. But even if some races are an exercise in nihilism, I still felt the need to push forward. Maybe I“m motivated by the cute horsies? The models are very simple & easy to love... kind of similar to other things I like. If you don“t mind some minor timed elements tied to your solitaire gaming, you should give it a chance! There“s a demo to sink your teeth into, still, and the price has always been right. 8) BOXBOXBOY Official GP Review Speaking of my yearly lists following a pattern... HAL Laboratory knows how to create a fun, smaller project and keep it that way. There“s even a third game confirmed for next year in Japan! So it“ll be interesting to see if BOXBOXBOXBOY, or whatever they end up calling the third game when it ventures West, appeals to me as one of 2017“s greatest games. With the release of the Switch, Final Fantasy“s 30 Year Anniversary, and tons more coming... it“d have to endure against a lot of competition. The premise behind Qbby“s quests are simple, minimalist fun. Rather than revolutionize the mechanics of the first game, I think HAL just set out to convince everyone that “just more BOXBOY” is never a bad thing. I suppose they achieved their goal of convincing more people than just me, if Qbby“s coming back for one last hurrah! Hopefully they continue to embrace the sentiment behind carrying earned costumes and content from the first game to the second; that really was a nice touch. BOXBOXBOY is a game to remember because it“s consistent fun that“s easy to recommend for everyone. 7) Creepy Castle Official GP Review Not too long ago, I had this bizarre itch to play The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls. I even went so far as to try and track down a reproduction cart that had the fan translation installed on it! I ended up not going through with it; money“s a little tighter than I“d like right now. Sad times, but at least I still own the Japanese version on my Nintendo 3DS LL. And then came Creepy Castle... the closest possible match to... that game I really wanted to play. To fall on that word I overused in my review, again... goodness, it“s a quirky adventure. It won me over because it happened to scratch an itch I would have never thought possible. But it“s stuck with me because it challenged me without being overly frustrating, it made me giggle at times, and it even taught me something. I“m not sure if Creepy Castle manages to surpass The Frog For Whom the Bell Tolls, if I“m being honest. But it certainly manages to capture the same sense of unique charm, while offering some more modern takes on that game“s philosophy. Definitely give it a try, if quir-- I mean “weird”... is a thing that catches your eye. 6) Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus Official GP Review The first thing that caught my eye was its aesthetic. Far too many games inhibit their artistic style by aiming to stay consistent with a certain “era”... be it 8- or 16-bit. Games like Shovel Knight and Axiom Verge are wonderful examples of design that can break free of these constraints, and Chronicles of Teddy joins them as far as I“m concerned. I contemplated if this game could even be qualified to make the cut, since “Finding Teddy 2” released on PC a ways back. But hey, I“m going to let Aksys Games have their moment in the sun for pushing it onto consoles with a bit of a rebranding; I“d have never known about it otherwise. Do you like Zelda II: The Adventures of Link? I can“t think of a better game for that crowd released this year. You“ll recognize the lady protagonist“s movements right away; the whole “couch to slash under an enemy“s shield” is a concept I mentioned in my review verbatim. The developers“ efforts to modernize Zelda II honestly left me with more respect for the NES classic than when I started. For being attracted to the game at first due to purely aesthetic reasons, I came away from it with a deeper knowledge as to what “Zelda II-likes” were capable of, and what fans of the NES game found appealing about it. I“m even pushed to try other contemporaries like Eliot Quest, now. Considering the absence of Breath of the Wild this year, Chronicles of Teddy ought to scratch a Legend of Zelda itch for you, and then some. 5) Owlboy I miss Disney Interactive. So much of what made their older games for Genesis and SNES resonate with me when I was littler, and the same reason something like the appeals to me now, has to do with how alive their characters feel. “Immersion” is a popular buzzword this year, especially with the rise of Virtual Reality. But those games proved to me a long time ago that I don“t need complex headwear, or even the world“s most realistic graphics, to truly connect with what I“m playing. Ori and the Blind Forest is a decent contemporary. Its cast of characters and world are definitely captivating and invoke similar sentiments. I“m even more attached to Otus, and felt more compelled to push forward, because of how out-of-their-way D-pad Studios went to put emphasis on small, otherwise unnoticed moments. When you“re walking past a graveyard for the first time... not only is Otus himself downtrodden, sullen... but your movement is very slow and restricted, to further the meaning behind this unique blend of sadness and respect. So much about what makes Owlboy worth experiencing isn“t in the mechanics, but in its cast and environments. You won“t feel triumphant in the end — it“ll be more like you just watched a really awesome Disney movie. The folks behind Owlboy put so much meticulous care into their work that it took nine years to make. The end result is absolutely worth your own time and attention. 4) Pokémon Sun Official GP Review Honestly, no one“s more shocked than me that the new Pokémon game, with my favorite region in the history of the series, didn“t make my “Top 3”. But, rereading my review from a short while ago, plus thinking critically about how I“ll feel about this game when “the next one” comes along... I just had too many personal qualms with the compromises made to make Sun what it is. Some encounter rates are ridiculously low, the Pokédex is smaller than I“d like, most people consider the changes to EVs to be a step backwards… What it boils down to is: my remaining three games didn“t have as many parts that either annoyed me or stressed me out. But getting the negative stuff out of the way is easy. Alola is an absolutely, positively phenomenal place. Choosing to construct a brand new “Island Trial” over the conventional four-walled path to the Pokémon League is, hands-down, my new favorite thing. I hope future games in the series abolish the “Gym Challenge” in favor of making each new region“s trials be... whatever they want to be. Alola“s challenges were versatile; I“ve never had as much fun with a main story in a mainline Pokémon game. The soundtrack is absolutely phenomenal; “The Battle At the Summit!” is probably Masuda and his team at their absolute best. Those who know my love of Pokémon music... know I don't say that lightly. Narrative direction? Superior, bested only by Black & White. Music, sounds, and general ambiance? Also top-tier. I may have my personal problems with these games, but Sun & Moon are easy to recommend to first-timers, or lapsed fans. That“s why I“m including it this time, if not to prove I liked a handful of more games this year... better than Pokémon. 3) Mutant Mudds Super Challenge Official GP Review Years after its initial release, I can still confidently say that Mutant Mudds is among my Top 5 favorite games on the Nintendo 3DS. And Max“s newest adventure picks up right where that one left off — in terms of design philosophy, more than anything. It really does feel like Renegade Kid“s take on “The Lost Levels”. Max doesn“t learn any new tricks, but anyone who plays it might have to adapt if they don“t want their death counter above 500. Every once and a while, I“ll pick it up and start a new file, trying for a No Death run. No such luck. Have y“all seen their for the game? Games six through nine on this list were pretty easy to write about and rank. But when you start getting up to the top five, or even top three... it“s been pretty difficult for me to determine what exactly it took for one game to rank above the previous one. What gives Super Challenge that “oomph” to best other games here? Here“s the deal: I argued whether or not certain choices that Renegade Kid made were “fair” or not in my review. But ultimately, it could go either way. I“ve thought critically about it; I really can“t recall any level in this newest venture where I thought, “Well, thank Heavens that“s over.” It“s quite the contrary. Even when I was cursing out loud at some cheap shot a Muddy or some friggin“ spikes would take at me... I knew I“d be back. I“m going to play over and over again, whether it“s on Nintendo systems or PlayStation, too. I know Renegade Kid is no more. But I“m genuinely happy that this turned out to be their finest hour as well as their final one. And I“m excited to see what Atooi does next with Mudds, sometime down the line. There is more than one allusion to Xeodrifter in the final levels of MMSC, after all. 2) Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past Official GP Review And here“s a game that“s definitely a “super challenge” in a completely different way. This tale of quite literal world-building is like no other in the Dragon Quest series: a very long, involved endurance test. It“s not a game I can honestly recommend to everyone; you probably gleaned that from my review. But it“s absolutely a game that I feel is best suited for me, in many ways. It's my new second favorite Dragon Quest, bested only by V (and here“s your disclaimer that I haven“t played VIII before & won“t until January 20th; I“m keeping an open mind). The only real “fault” I“d give my 80+ hour journey was the new encounter system. Besides that, the feelings it elicited when I saved a piece of the world — and the elation that beamed from me when I finally saw the credits, were more rewarding than any Final Fantasy I“ve played through since IX. DQVII isn“t this high up “just because it“s a Dragon Quest game”, while my bias is undeniable. I“m not spoiling anything beyond the first ten or so hours here but... there“s a whole town where every person has been turned into an animal & every animal into a person. I have never bought a weapon from a chicken, who clucked at me just like it was any other written dialect in an RPG... and then moseyed onto my next adventure inside a painting clearly inspired by Salvador Dali with my friend Ruff — the wolf cub who was turned into a boy & spends the entire game on his caretaker wolf“s back, riding it like a horse. Giant run-on sentence or not, I just can“t deny that level of obnoxious charm. It“s not something I can “demand that everyone play”, like last year“s runner-up Axiom Verge. I“m not going to be screaming from the rooftops about it for a long time to come. My “top 2” are here for very personal reasons. When I saw those credits roll, I definitely felt a sense of personal triumph. The helped. 1) Kirby: Planet Robobot Official GP Review I have not shut up about Robobot for quite some time. So many people could have easily predicted it“d take my #1 spot, months ago. Just take a look. For those keeping score beyond Twitter: I bought the game in both Japanese and English. My Import Review is actually more of a companion piece to an impressions thread, as well. I didn“t just beat the English version, I 100%ed it... which involved toppling the first True Arena I“ve ever toppled in Kirby History. I spent over nine hours of a random Saturday absolutely determined to prove to that game mode I was better than it... and I won, in the end. I have so many freaking stories about this game! It will fuel my love for Kirby well beyond his 25th anniversary; that celebration is already underway. It“s so delightfully over the top. If you dig the modern mechanics of familiar entries like Return to Dream Land or Triple Deluxe, this newest game stacks Robobot Armor... think “mechs”... on top of it. It“s the natural evolution of the “animal friends” from Dream Land 2 & 3, and it feels as essential to the evolution of Kirby“s movements and capabilities as the transition from Super Mario 3 to Super Mario World. It“s bigger, better, faster, stronger. And it“s filled with so many fan allusions that I could write a full-on spoiler post. There are so many surprise returns, or twists reminiscent of almost every game in the series. It“s goofy that we“re heading right into the 25th anniversary immediately after the release of a game that I think successfully celebrates everything Kirby is, in almost every way.
  3. Jonathan Higgins

    Import Review: Kirby: Planet Robobot

    Developer: HAL Laboratory Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: April 28th, 2016 (JP) June 10th, 2016 (US) ESRB: E for Everyone Long before the days of rechargeable batteries and every handheld device coming with a power cord to plug into the wall, the red light on my old Game Boy went out. My bubbling excitement stopped abruptly and I shook my head, “Man -- it died just when things were about to get good!” Mom was in the room with me and snuck a peek at what game I“d been playing. She“d genuinely wondered what kind of game would make me all giddy. I was chastised later that evening -- for having strong feelings about a Kirby game. Whether it“s 1995 and I was just about to have a showdown with Dark Matter in Kirby“s Dream Land 2 -- or it“s 2016, and I just knocked out the last of the extra modes in the Japanese version of Kirby: Planet Robobot... I“ve always been that way. There“s something about what Kirby games offer, philosophically, that serve as a direct portal back to childhood, for me. Their relative ease, and the intuitive -- not vexing -- forms that their puzzles take, typically offer a uniformly relaxing platforming experience. How traditional Kirby fans feel about his core experiences are usually relative to how much each entree goes out of its way to feel refreshing and new. To that end: I don“t think I“ve ever played a bad Kirby game, but there has been plenty of mediocrity in his non-experimental outings. I really wasn“t impressed with Squeak Squad, and Amazing Mirror has its share of shortcomings, too. But, the most topical among his adventures that I consider “average”: Kirby Triple Deluxe. I expected Kirby: Planet Robobot to amount to “a slightly better Triple Deluxe”. Like Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Tri Force Heroes, and many other 3DS contemporaries from recent years -- this game uses the same engine and graphical stylings as the one that came before it. I wanted to grab the Japanese version of the game, months ahead of the American marketing machine and websites“ pre-release hype, to assess every aspect of this particular Kirby game for myself, like I did back in the Game Boy era. The prospect of putting Kirby into an odd pink robot sounded just asinine enough to pique my interest, then lead me down a computerized rabbit hole in a language I don“t understand at all. But... my overall experience didn“t just exceed my expectations -- it obliterated them. From the mechanized main story, to the handful of sub-games and unlockable modes -- I haven“t been this delighted by a Kirby game since Super Star and Return to Dream Land. Kirby manages to sleep through a robotic alien invasion. Despite King Dedede and Meta Knight“s valiant efforts to thwart the attackers, Planet Popstar becomes overrun by the Haltmann Works Company. Kirby“s got to work his way through the five corners of his home (and beyond) to undue the damage done -- and maybe figure out why his home was invaded in the first place. The game uses fancy camera work, cutscenes, and even a fair bit of dialogue to advance the plot. Of course, the story in Kirby games is hardly a labyrinthine thing worth shedding light on, but hey, there are a fair bit of things to read and discover. Right: remember when I said “fancy camera work”? That“s one of the very first presentation-related aspects that Planet Robobot really knocks out of the park. For a more nuanced look, I wrote up lots of impressions, but this game“s clever use of perspectives help make its environments (which would otherwise feel like mechanized versions of stuff you saw a lot of in Triple Deluxe) feel large and open versus contained in a glorified path leading forward. The corners of Planet Popstar all feel largely connected, as well. It“s a small touch, but you can actually go from one end of the world to the other without ever using a Warp Star to travel. You“ll notice the same common themes of many a Kirby game: grass lands, a desert, a city setting, and docks. But there are plenty of thematic levels sprinkled throughout the entire game -- like a dessert level (filled with ice cream cones that collapse as they move from the background to the foreground, obstructing your view and potentially squishing you) preceding the desert world, crazy casinos with billiard balls that act like rolling rocks, and so much more. Every time you approach a lab from the Haltmann Works company, the camera pulls itself back and gives you a big space to run towards, like you“re storming the final boss“s castle. The game is filled with small touches that make it feel like a delightful celebration of Kirby versus a simple follow-up to Triple Deluxe. Before I start discussing mechanics old and new -- just a brief note on the game“s music. There are a staggering 162 tracks in the game, including the brief intro music that plays before it“s selected from your 3DS Home Screen. Many of these are brand new, some are taken directly from other Kirby outings , heard somewhere in World 5 or so. And a great many more are remixes of jams from previous Kirby games -- you“ll hear new renditions of everything from to the from Kirby“s Dream Land 2. There“s so much musical charm thrown into this relaxing venture that I“m again compelled to say how it feels like they“re throwing everything they can at Kirby fans in a single game. “Okay, but when do we get to the robot part?” I hear you...and it happens relatively early on in the game. Unlike the Hypernova and the Super Abilities of Kirby games past, the Robobot Armor doesn“t feel limited or what amounts to a glorified key. It feels like it“s the natural evolution of Kirby“s animal friends. The armor is just as prevalent as they were in Dream Land 2 & 3, and it“s absolutely used as a means to amplify Kirby's power in puzzle solving and enemy pummeling. The game has a tendency to drop Kirby in the middle of a situation with gigantic opponents and obstacles, only to have him make quick work of them later once he“s acquired the Robobot Armor in a level. It“s wholly satisfying to play through, even if the armor feels just a little too powerful sometimes. Kirby“s regular Copy Abilities are numerous, just as in Triple Deluxe.There“s even an old Copy Ability or two first introduced in Super Star that make a return! A few new ones of note are the Poison and Doctor Abilities, both of which have several puzzles used to acquire the game“s Big Collectible. Like Triple Deluxe“s Sun Stones, there are a handful of what I“m calling “C Blocks” hidden in every level --100 total. The Poison Ability lets you blow a toxic cloud to slowly suffocate enemies... and just one of the puzzles associated with it involves a level“s wind carrying that cloud to a Bomb Switch you can make explode, opening your way to the C Block ahead. These puzzles don“t really get too complex until around the endgame, but the lack of difficulty is hardly something new to the series. The Robobot Armor has exclusive Copy Abilities, too! Acquiring an umbrella will turn the Robobot“s arms into helicopters allowing fly freely for a while versus its otherwise limited double jump. Grabbing a wheel will let the Robobot Armor switch from the background to the foreground of a level, allowing for slightly more complex puzzle-solving and platforming than before. And grabbing a rocket turns the Robobot Armor -- and the level itself -- into a more Gradius-style fare, where you shoot foes and obstacles ahead. There“s even a well-hidden allusion to a Kirby“s Dream Land boss hidden in one of those stages. Speaking of bosses: the long-winded life bars on powerful foes aren“t just saved for the end of each major section of the game. That big hulking enemy you see is found towards the end of one of the regular levels. Having powerful enemies littered throughout normal levels both messes with series expectations, plus helps make the bosses themselves feel that much more memorable. There are plenty of extra minigames beyond the main story, too. Team Kirby Clash feels like the Kirby RPG many have always wanted. And Kirby 3D Rumble is a score attack that shakes traditional Kirby gameplay up a bit by putting everything on a three-dimensional plane. I felt like the minigames that Triple Deluxe had were rather bland. Planet Robobot suffers the opposite problem. It feels like there's just enough of these two interesting concepts to say, “Buy the bulkier eShop games when they're announced later this year!” Kirby“s latest outing has me reflecting upon my childhood, and how these games make me feel, in a different way than I expected. I simply haven't felt this impressed, this unbelievably delighted from a Kirby game since my childhood. I've often said that Return to Dream Land marks the pinnacle of traditional Kirby gameplay. But Planet Robobot takes it -- and fans“ expectations -- and manages to make everything feel like a mechanized wonderland. Pros: + There are so many phenomenal, over-the-top moments in the game that spoilers could be a genuine thing to worry about. So much cool stuff happens that it feels like a celebration of Kirby moreso than a follow-up to Triple Deluxe. + The Robobot Armor feels like a natural extension of Kirby's abilities versus a tacked-on gimmick that you see a handful of times during the game. + Everything ties together so well, thematically. The 3D effects of Kirby: Planet Robobot are among the best on the system. Cons: - Kirby games are very easy and relaxing by nature, but the Robobot Armor could maybe feel a little too powerful for some. It never bothered me, though! - While there's plenty of unlockable modes, the two minigames you start with definitely feel a little too short to be properly enjoyed. Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10) Fantastic If this is the last Kirby game that Mr. Iwata ever oversaw -- Planet Robobot does right by him. Far more than a follow-up to Triple Deluxe, it feels like an over-the-top celebration of everything that Kirby is.
  4. During a Nintendo Direct in March, Kirby: Planet Robobot burst onto the scene. Like its first-party peers Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam and Tri Force Heroes, this is definitely one of those games that reuses the engine and assets of the game that came before it, Kirby: Triple Deluxe. Whether it“s something traditional or experimental...I happen to adore Kirby games, almost as much as Pokémon or Yoshi. With all that in mind, plus the fact that reading comprehension isn“t necessarily the heaviest requirement--I decided a ways back that I would import the game, especially since it came out today there & doesn“t arrive until June 10th here. More fun for y“all, since you get to hear me waffle on forever and ever like I did for Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Let“s start with the new modes: Team Kirby Clash seems like the closest thing we“ll get to an actual Kirby RPG, until they make one. It plays the same as the main game, but a few mechanics are fundamentally different. For starters, you pick from one of four copy abilities to use during the fight: Sword (Knight), Hammer (Warrior), the new Doctor ability (a healer?), and what feels like a different take on the Magic ability (Mage). Whichever you choose, in my opinion, seems to fit a particular RPG combat trope so you can back up your ally--whether they be a real life friend or AI. As you can see from my screen above, enemies take numbered damage. If you win, you“re rewarded experience that eventually leads to leveling up, increasing four different parameters...that I can“t read. I“m going to go ahead and guess one of them is your weapon“s strength, because I certainly took out my foe more easily the second time around. It“s got a few bells and whistles to it. One example: you and your ally can work together to perform a kind of Super Ultra Mega Attack that sends your enemy hurling down like a meteor for 1,000 damage versus the typical 100--my AI partner initiated that, so I couldn“t really tell you how it“s done. I know that I lined up a Kirby face to a cursor, though! You“re given a certain amount of points based on how well you performed during battle, and that qualifies you for Bronze, Silver or Gold Medals. Replay value, ahoy! I“ll be sure to spend more time with this mode before my full review. 3D Kirby Rumble is much quicker to explain. It“s conventional Kirby, but with the added perspective of a fully 3D playing field. I only played through one world of this, so it could get more complex, but--it seemed relatively simple in execution. Earn points when you chomp stuff. Spit stuff out at other stuff to stack points. Do it all quickly to earn incremented time bonuses at the end. And hey, don“t get hurt! While the RPG-based mini-game seems to have a few complex layers to it (as well it should), the other one“s relatively easy to master, in my opinion. Its scoring system works a lot like the Challenge Rooms from Kirby“s Return to Dream Land, if you“re curious. Both of these minigames have what it takes to become their own separate things, like the two from Kirby Triple Deluxe. Don“t be surprised if that happens...and to be honest, I“m much more a fan of both of these than I was either mini-game in Triple Deluxe. If you“re anticipating either Side Thing--I“d say they“ll meet or exceed your expectations The Main Game. There is a definite mechanical theme going on in this game. Machines and high tech stuff are everywhere. Waddle Dees drive cars. Things get screwed and unscrewed. The mechs are prevalent and versatile. I“m a bit into World 2 as we speak, and I haven“t really seen any unfolding story--but in the game“s opening, Dedede and Meta Knight both get pretty trashed by the game“s Big Bad, so I“ll bet I“ll be seeing them eventually. “It“s more Triple Deluxe.é You knew this, I think. But it does so much better. There“s a level of polish that Triple Deluxe lacked, in my opinion, and it starts with the visual sense. Kirby doesn“t just get his face pressed up against the screen when he“s swatted by a foe towards the front--he“ll pretend-break your system if he happens to be in his Robobot at the time. As you move through the game--either on your own or riding around--you“ll notice a better sense of visual cohesion in levels, like they took the three-dimensional mechanics they learned in Triple Deluxe and stepped things up a level or two for this game. It“s really cool to see. The new Copy Abilities I“ve seen are pretty great. Mirror makes its return from Super Star (Ultra)--haven“t seen that one in a while. And there“s the one from that screenshot there, where you can float around, teleport, and control a giant ball of energy like Ness“s PK Plus from Smash. Okay. So in most Kirby games, you“re treated to a Boss at the end of every world. That“s the case here--but it seems like Boss-style challenges are much more prevalent in Robobot than any previous Kirby entry. Rather than face the same boring Copy Enemies [like Boomer] you“ve fought since the days of Kirby“s Adventure, Robobot steps things up a notch and introduces foes with a lot of versatility and a lot of life to chip away at...smack in the middle of an action stage. Absolutely an improvement to the series formula, and something to look forward to. (This is at the end of a regular level--not a Boss Stage!) I cannot overstate how satisfying it is to have Kirby riding in a Mech-Thing. Both the Super Abilities and the Hypernova from the two most recent traditional Kirby games felt like gated experiences that were timed and worked more like glorified keys and puzzle-solving mechanisms. The Robobot feels like the natural evolution of Kirby“s Animal Friends from Dream Land 2 & 3--they“re used a lot more, not timed, not treated to some Special Music each time like an Invincibility Star or something--they feel way more natural. If you were hyped about this mechanic before--I can safely say get more hyped. There are several Copy Abilities used in tandum with Robobot control, and I haven“t run into one I don“t like, so far. I think that“ll about do it for my introductory post & Day One. I“ll be back this time tomorrow with more progress notes and discoveries. While I“m at it: does anyone have any specific questions they want me to address? I“ll come back with some answers, if you do! Ultimately--my first impressions of Robobot is that it“s everything Triple Deluxe should have been. It“s shaping up to be one of the better Kirby experiences, putting it right up there with Super Star in my eyes. We“ll see if the strong start stays consistent.
  5. Today's Nintendo Direct brought quite a bit of new information our way. While no information was given about NX, Nintendo had plenty to spill on new games coming to both Wii U and 3DS, including announcements on some brand new titles. Check out the headlines below: Project Guard becomes Star Fox Guard; will be bundled with Star Fox Zero Remember Project Guard? It was a quirky concept that Shigeru Miyamoto introduced an E3 or two back that utilized the Wii U gamepad as a sort of security monitor that would have the player tracking different cameras around a complex of sorts while making sure enemy units didn't get past them. Anyhow, that concept has finally been realized as a real game that is now called Star Fox Guard in which players will set up 12 cameras to find and defeat enemies who are plaguing the mining site of Slippy's uncle, Grippy (yes, really). The game will offer 100 levels and the ability to create and share your own online, and will be included with the physical retail release of Star Fox Zero, all for $59.99 on April 22. You'll also be able to buy it standalone on the eShop for $15. Paper Mario: Color Splash announced for Wii U Hey, we predicted this last year (better late than never, right?)! Anyhow, after rumors abounded recently, it was confirmed today that a new Paper Mario game is indeed in the works for Wii U, and it's called Paper Mario: Color Splash. The game takes place on Prism Island, where the island itself has been drained of color, so it's up to Paper Mario to restore its color with his hammer. Apparently there is a battle mode, but not much has been shown of it just yet. However, the game is being referred to as an action adventure game, so this may be more of an extension of Paper Mario: Sticker Star than it is of the early RPG games in the series. Stay tuned for more information at a later date. New Super Mario Maker DLC adding keys, skewers, and more Super Mario Maker is the gift that keeps on giving as the Direct revealed that new DLC is coming that will allow you to shake a Thwomp in order to turn into a giant skewer (like the ones in Super Mario World). Also, keys are finally being added, meaning you'll need to find them to unlock certain doors in levels. Finally, a Super Expert mode will add six additional levels to play through, and 12 more Mystery Mushroom costumes are also on the way. Atlus' Fire Emblem spin-off finally has a name ...and it's called Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE (the last part is pronounced "sharp eff-ee"). I... still kinda don't get what this one is about, but apparently J-pop and fashion figure greatly into it, and it's still an RPG at its heart. In any case, expect to hear more about it soon as it's releasing on Wii U on June 24. Bandai Namco's Lost Reavers coming in April We first heard about Lost Reavers when it was announced as a free-to-play joint called Project Treasure last year. Now it's finally coming to Wii U on April 28, with a beta starting on April 14. It plays as a co-op action game where you'll team with other players online to fight zombies, solve puzzles, and find treasure. There's also a skill-based system and level progression for your characters, so if that appeals to you, keep an eye out when it launches in late April. Kirby returns to 3DS with Kirby: Planet Robobot and a new amiibo line Yep, a new Kirby game is upon us. This time Kirby will put on mech suits to dish out punishment against invaders that have mechanized Dream Land. Additionally, while piloting the mech, it will absorb any abilities that Kirby sucks up from enemies. Neat! The game will also contain a mode called Team Kirby Clash that allows up to four players with four different roles to team up against bosses and earn experience points that they can use to level up. Finally, a new Kirby amiibo line is coming! The new amiibo line features a Kirby variant with him riding a star, a Meta Knight variant, a Dedede variant, and an amiibo debut for Waddle Dee. Both Kirby: Planet Robobot and the four new amiibo figures will be releasing on June 10. Metroid Prime Federation Force coming this Spring Yup, it's still alive. After a less than welcoming reception from fans when it was announced at E3 last year, Nintendo confirmed that Metroid Prime: Federation Force is alive and well. A new trailer was showcased for the game, in addition to being confirmed for a late Spring release. Rhythm Heaven Megamix bringing the series' biggest hits to 3DS We knew it was coming sooner or later since it launched in Japan last year, but now it's official -- Rhythm Heaven Megamix is coming stateside and will offer 30 new rhythm games as well as 70 ones handpicked from previous entries in the series -- including the never-before-released-in-US GBA game. Rhythm Heaven Megamix is coming to 3DS later this year. Capcom localizing Monter Hunter X as Monster Hunter Generations in North America Another game we knew was coming sooner or later. Monster Hunter Generations is the follow-up to last year's Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and will feature crossover Fire Emblem costumes and bonus content if you have Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate save data present on the 3DS you play the game on. Monster Hunter Generations launches later this Summer. Medli and a season pass heading to Hyrule Warriors Legends On March 25, players will get to delve back into Hyrule Warriors Legends with brand new characters. One of those new characters was revealed to be Medli, who will be available as free DLC. Also, a transfer code will be made available to those who buy the game that will allow them to download the five new characters to the Wii U version of Hyrule Warriors. Additionally, players can buy a Season Pass for four upcoming DLC packs for the game; the first of which will include a new costume for Ganondorf. SNES Virtual Console games coming to New 3DS For the longest time, Nintendo fans have wanted Super NES Virtual Console games on 3DS, and now it's going to happen, albeit on New Nintendo 3DS exclusively. Super Mario World, F-Zero, and Pilotwings are currently available to buy on the New 3DS eShop right now. Then on March 24, Donkey Kong Country, Super Mario Kart and EarthBound will join the lineup, with The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Metroid and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy“s Quest coming on April 14. The New Nintendo 3DS will enable a "Perfect Pixel" version of these games, enabling them to play in their native resolution, looking better than ever. Best of the rest Splatoon is getting some updates that will add some fixes and balances to weapons and matchmaking. Disney Art Academy is coming to 3DS on May 13. It is exactly what it sounds like. Bravely Second: End Layer is coming to 3DS on April 15. Best Buy Gamers Club Unlocked members will receive a special 16 digit code to access the demo early on March 7. It will then go public on March 10 and allow players to transfer bonuses into the full game when they buy it. Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past was given a new trailer but no specific release date just yet. It's still planned for Summer 2016. Fire Emblem Fates: Revelations is launching digitally for $19.99 on March 10 for those who don't have the Special Edition. Two new maps are being released for purchases today at the Dragon's Gate, and Royal Royale will be coming on March 17, with new maps coming every week thereafter until April 21. Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 is coming to 3DS this Summer and includes Gunvolt's rival Copen as a playable character. As a promotion, the original Azure Striker Gunvolt is on sale for $9.99 on the 3DS eShop until June 1. Pocket Card Journey is a new game coming to 3DS courtesy of Game Freak, which meshes Solitaire with horse racing. It launches in May. Mini Mario and Friends amiibo Challenge is a free game coming to 3DS and Wii U that will let you use amiibo to play as 1 of 11 characters with their own specifically designed levels to play through. You'll be able to play the game through a download code provided with the purchase of an amiibo on March 25, or you can download it for free on the eShop starting April 28. Isabelle amiibo figure will be available for purchase separately on June 10, along with an alternate figure featuring her Summer outfit on the same day. Series 4 of the Animal Crossing amiibo cards will be available for purchase on June 10. Which announcements are you most excited about?
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