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Found 6 results

  1. Jonathan Higgins

    Review: Mutant Mudds Super Challenge

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Platform: 3DS, Wii U Release Date: March 17th, 2016 ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the 3DS version of the game In 2012, a new game headed to the Nintendo 3DS eShop had caught my eye. I had low expectations at the time, though. Before playing Mutant Mudds, I went into the experience expecting to be underwhelmed. How many shades of mediocrity marketed to the retro-gaming crowd does it take until someone, somewhere finally manages to get it right? I had no idea that Renegade Kid actually would manage to have exactly what I look for in games from the genre, and that I“d go on to smash the 3DS eShop version, its twenty added levels that were once exclusive to PC, and even the when it was re-released as Mutant Mudds Deluxe to additional platforms. I know our review didn“t come away feeling as strongly as I did, back then. But I think whether your opinions of the original are positive or middling, Mutant Mudds Super Challenge offers a look at how both presentation on the outside, and structure on the inside, has evolved over four years“ time. If you managed to gather everything in the first game, you already know where this one starts. Max sets off alone to investigate a large meteor in a far-off region. If you“re going into Super Challenge hoping for some clues that point towards even more adventures, what happens will absolutely meet your expectations... and maybe even exceed them, if you notice a clever allusion or two that come together towards the end. Much like it picks up exactly where the first game left off with its story, that“s also true for its level design. The learning curve present in Max“s first adventure is completely gone -- the controls are easy to learn, and it“s only the levels themselves that get more complex, so I wouldn“t say playing the original is absolutely required. Both games can stand on their own, and offer fundamentally different things from each other -- like the nuances between the original Super Mario Bros. and the numbered sequel that didn“t leave Japan until it came over here as “The Lost Levelsâ€�, years later. Aesthetic evolution will be apparent right away. The Lost Levels didn“t change the original“s graphics much at all, but that“s absolutely not the case here. The hub world is sliced apart thematically to show off the types of levels you“ll be having a go at, if you choose to enter. If you look closely enough, you“ll even see that every third level is colored a little differently, indicating that it“s going to be like a Ghost Level first seen in Deluxe. Environments feel much more cohesive and connected. In addition to aesthetic additions, the game features a new Jukebox room where you can listen to 41 tracks you find hidden in the game“s levels. Plenty of the music you hear is the same as before, but there are handfuls of new tracks. If you liked Troupe Gammage“s music from the first Mudds, his new stuff will also delight. Last but not least, the coolest addition (in my opinion) is that there are twenty secret characters to find, if playing as Max isn“t your thing. Evidence of this game taking steps to make itself memorable, despite not “reinventing the wheelâ€� of Mutant Mudds gameplay, starts at the aesthetic level and ends at the kinds of characters you can play as. Each is expertly crafted and deviously hidden. These characters don't alter how the game is played in any way. But including a character from outside of Renegade Kid“s games, , shows that the team wants to make collecting these characters absolutely worth the effort. I feel like there“s one more addition I“m forgetting! Oh right -- a death counter. It“s definitely useful, because with this game“s level design, you“re going to die so much that you“d lose count otherwise. I died 1030 times while playing the game start to finish. But that death counter -- viewable before you even access your save file, has nine digits... indicating that someone, somewhere may theoretically die 999,999,999 times. When you look into the abyss of the Game Over screen, as it prompts you to Retry or Quit while you listen to the familiar tune from the original Mutant Mudds... does it stare back at you? All right...I“ll concede that as much as I want to paint Renegade Kid as these maniacal, evil level designers who will watch players die over and over again for fun... as challenging as these levels are, they“re both inventive and fair. Most of the time. To elaborate on “inventiveâ€�, briefly: There are three power-ups in both Mudds games. While the original required you to collect Golden Diamonds in order to unlock these power-ups, all three are available to Max pretty much right from the start in Super Challenge. Some of the levels take strategic advantage of choosing one power-up over another. Attempting levels with just the Vertical Boost at your disposal is way different than going about them with the Extended Hover. Plenty of the Secret Lands will have you only be able to access them with the Power-Shot, so you can“t use the longer or higher jumps as crutches to accomplish your mission. Adds some replay value, for sure! But the thing that stood out to me the most about the level design in Super Challenge is how the levels themselves seemed as cohesive and connected as the artistry that houses them. Longtime Mudds fans know full well about the hammers that can sometimes crash down on Max after a brief waiting period. One of the Secret Lands has a design objective that“s carried out specifically through the use of these hammers. The way they crash down...and how you“ll learn to avoid them... is by recognizing the familiar knocking rhythm that goes along with the old folk song “Match in the Gas Tank, Boom Boom.â€� Both how objects and enemies are placed, as well as specific ways to avoid them, appeal to players“ visual and auditory senses. The small touches put into Super Challenge“s inner-workings are just as impressive as the polish on the outside. For the most part, I think the objective of remaining fair but challenging is met. There are occasional portions, however, when I can“t help but question whether a design choice was fair or not. In one of the levels, for example: spikes were placed at both edges of a platform, punishing players whose instinct is to jump after a running start with immediate death as soon as one pixel of Max“s foot touches the edge. If you do make the jump... there are easily five more cleverly arranged platforms of the same design, just begging you to collect the Golden Diamonds around them. They begged me too...then I died 100 times in one sitting. In the twenty minutes it took for me to get from the Checkpoint to the end of that level, my death count went from 852 to 952. So there“s that. There are several instances, I think, where obstacles end up being cheaper than intended, exposing some flaws. I“m also kind of disappointed that mappable controls still haven“t been added. I“m very much an “A to jump, B to shootâ€� kind of guy; Mudds has always made you jump with both A & B, then shoot with Y. Giving me the freedom to choose my own controls would have sponged some of my deaths. The other things that vexed me were two of the game“s five bosses. While all of them have clever designs and executions, and many of them are more puzzle-platforming oriented than combat-based, I“d say the two that are combat-based will add a heaping handful to your death counter. I don“t think the bosses themselves are designed unfairly; it's just that some of the pain associated with confronting them could have been alleviated by having them spit up an extra heart for Max to grab when he hits them. Contemporaries like Shovel Knight, Cave Story, or Bloo Kid 2 offer similar challenges, but more life/hearts to pull them off without frustration. Mutant Mudds Super Challenge brings new level design, bosses, music, aesthetics, and playable characters to the table. Despite sometimes retreading on familiar things, and not offering any new power-ups or ways to utilize Max himself, this is a game that really does its absolute best to stand apart from the one that came before it. With loyalty discounts for owning the first game, and cross-buy options available, its price certainly shouldn“t hurt either. While this is hardly a challenge suited for everyone, it should absolutely delight fans of the first game... and give those who maybe weren“t won over by it a reason to try -- and die -- again. Pros: + Environments and visuals feel invigorated and refreshing, especially in comparison to the first Mutant Mudds. + Levels themselves, while challenging, offer plenty of unique design choices that help make the experience even more memorable + There are numerous things to collect. Golden Diamonds and music tracks are in every level of the game, and there are even secret characters to find. Cons: - Some of the game's more challenging segments may come off a little cheaper than intended. Nothing is impossible, but there are certainly some vexing moments. - Some combat-focused bosses, while unique in their own ways, are perhaps a little too challenging without some way to restore hearts. Overall Score: 9 (out of 10) Fantastic If designing a challenging, but fair action game was ever the key to thwarting an alien invasion, Renegade Kid would be the ones for the job. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the publisher
  2. This weeks Nintendo Download has a ton to get excited about for Wii U owners! I“ll get to the Virtual Console stuff first, since I actually alluded to it last week, and it was teased earlier. A “triple deluxe” birthday package of Kirby games arrives today, featuring Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards ($9.99 or $1.99 to upgrade), Kirby Squeak Squad ($9.99), and (for the first time since January 29th, in North America) a Wii retail game available to purchase digitally! Kirby“s Return to Dream Land will be available for $19.99, which is much cheaper than what you“ll find the physical version going for these days. Just in case you need a refresher on how these games work, I created a thread back in January explaining things. Xeodrifter arrives on the Wii U today as well. I“m happy folks will get to experience one of my favorite games from last year on the big screen. And I“m even happier that it“s cross-buy! If you already own the 3DS version, the Wii U one is yours for no additional cost! Otherwise, it“s $9.99. In addition to Xeodrifter, there“s also BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition, a side-scrolling action game. And there“s a Just Dance 2016 Demo for those interested in that. Nintendo also highlights the big Splatoon update coming soon . You can check here for more information on that, or eagerly await August 5th, 2015. This week“s noteworthy sales include Eliot Quest on Wii U ($10.99), and several titles from EnjoyUp Games including 99Moves and Abyss. And LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is now $19.99; that“s a permanent price-drop. In case you didn“t already notice, Miiverse has been entirely redesigned; they mentioned that as well. Last but not least, this week“s new theme pays homage to Etrian Odyssey Untold 2. Be sure to check the Nintendo eShop for even more updates and activities when this week“s Download goes live at 12 PM ET/9 AM PT. Are you excited for all the Kirby this week? Will you be playing Xeodrifter for the first time on Wii U, or making the jump to the big screen? Be sure to let us know!
  3. Jason Clement

    Review: Xeodrifter

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Platforms: 3DS eShop, PC (Steam) Release Date: December 11, 2014 ESRB: E for Everyone Note: This review is based on the 3DS version of the game When playing a game, you can usually tell early on if the developer had a lot of passion for the project or not. A game that feels soulless often is because the developer never quite believed in it enough to make it the best they could before releasing it. On the flipside, one that is brimming with passion will shine through right away. That said, I could tell Renegade Kid was the latter example while playing through Xeodrifter, their latest 2D action-platformer, and it becomes even more evident if you read up on the history of how it came about. Essentially, lead designer Jools Watsham dove into development on the game out of a passion for the Metroidvania genre (as well as science fiction in general) and what resulted in the end is a fitting tribute to a dear classic—Super Metroid. The plot in Xeodrifter is relatively simple—you play as an unnamed, spacefaring explorer whose ship is damaged by a rogue asteroid. As it turns out, the ship's warp core is damaged, and you'll have to explore four nearby planets in order to find enough material to produce a new warp core. Interestingly enough, the game leaves everything to you right at the outset; there is no hand-holding or even a tutorial (though one could easily look at the digital manual if they needed help with controls). The game assumes you are smart enough to figure things out on your own, which is largely a good thing as everyone should be able to figure out the basic controls (i.e. run, jump, shoot), though I am surprised it assumes that the player knows to press B + Down to fall through thin platforms. However, it does leave you in a precarious situation at the outset—which planet do you go to first? Given that you can go to any of the four available planets, it initially appears that the design is non-linear, though a quick tour of the playable area in each will reveal that this is not the case as there are clearly barriers set to prevent you from progressing out of order and areas that appear to be out of reach. There is a set, linear path you're intended to take, but you're supposed to find out where to start on your own. It doesn't take too long to find out which is the correct first planet to visit, but it did feel strange that it doesn't at least start you on the right path instead of having you play through trial-and-error first. In typical Metroidvania fashion, you'll explore an area of a planet, fight a mini-boss, and then gain a new ability. Then you'll go to another world, find areas that were previously inaccessible, use your new ability to proceed further, and repeat the process. In this sense, Renegade Kid does a remarkable job of replicating the Metroid formula here; it doesn't come off as tired or uninspired. There are a number of different enemies on each planet that you'll encounter, each with their own attack patterns, and there are different environments you'll need to traverse, such as water/liquid and moving over lava, or flying upwards with a rocket boost. Everything mentioned thus far is pretty standard Metroidvania fare, but the main thing that separates Xeodrifter from the rest is its inclusion of the concept of jumping between the foreground and background to progress—a mechanic that originated in previous Renegade Kid title, Mutant Mudds. In the latter mentioned title, you would traverse both planes in order to proceed through levels, but it's a bit more cleverly implemented in Xeodrifter as it actively plays a part in some action-puzzle segments. For example, you may need to speed boost across molten terrain but also jump between the foreground and background when you reach dead ends in both, or you may have to do the same while using the super jump move (similar to the Metroid series' Shinespark jump). There's only one type of boss throughout the game (with different color variants), which is slightly disappointing, but it's used in an interesting way. Each time you come across it, the creature will have learned at least one new attack method. It's similar in a way to Mega Man bosses where you need to nail down the attack patterns before you can beat them, but in Xeodrifter it actually trains the player to learn these patterns over each new encounter while at the same time making each fight more and more complex by consecutively adding more attack patterns. These boss fights are difficult, for sure, but they never feel unfair; you simply have to be on the ball with memorizing everything to succeed. One of the most charming aspects of the game by far is its 8-bit-inspired visuals, which fits the world and environments to a "T"; In many ways, it's almost like a cuter, more family-friendly Metroid, with the short chibi-esque spacefarer protagonist wearing a spacesuit that almost looks like a red hazmat suit (the boss character has a pretty adorable design as well). And while the soundtrack isn't quite as good as Mutant Mudd's, there are a few tracks that I really enjoyed; it's mostly upbeat fare, so it's in keeping with the game's lighter atmosphere. In the end, I completed the game in just over three and a half hours, which included extra backtracking to hunt down many of the remaining items, meaning the actual campaign from start to finish comes in at around two and a half to three hours. It's definitely on the shorter side, though the pacing is excellent and never leaves you feeling as if it's overstayed its welcome, making it feel like it's just the right length. That aside, Xeodrifter is a lot of fun and a Metroid surrogate worthy of your time. Pros + Great use of the Metroidvania formula, backtracking + Game feels like an ode to certain games, but is original enough to be its own thing + Mutant Mudds-esque visuals work well with the environment and atmosphere Cons - May be a bit short for some people - Use of the same boss over and over is a bit disappointing Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Xeodrifter is the Metroid title we wanted but never got from Nintendo, and though it's a bit short, it's a rollicking good time while it lasts. Disclosure: This review is based on a 3DS eShop downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  4. Renegade Kid announced their new Metroidvania-inspired sci-fi game Xeodrifter back in August, and now it's confirmed for release next week. The story of Xeodrifter has its protagonist trapped in a cluster of four planets after his spaceship is damaged by an asteroid, and you'll need to explore the different planets (a la Metroid, finding new power-ups and abilities to help you progress) in order to find the materials needed to fix the warp core on his ship if he ever hopes to make it home. Needless to say, if you enjoy Metroidvania and/or sci-fi titles, you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for this one. Xeodrifter is set to release on the 3DS eShop on December 11 for $9.99. Source: Jools Watsham (via Twitter) Are you interested in playing Xeodrifter?
  5. Today Renegade Kid announced the development of a brand new 3DS title on Go Nintendo called Xeodrifter. It's a sci-fi/space Metroidvania type game that was born from the idea of a 2D demake of Moon Chronicles and eventually became its own thing, inspired by such games as Super Metroid and Castlevania: Circle of the Moon. Xeodrifter's story features an interstellar drifter on a mission of exploration when suddenly his warp drive becomes damaged after a collision with a rogue asteroid. After a scan of neighboring planets, he discovers that a cluster of four planets may hold the material he needs to fix the warp drive and return to his exploration. These four planets all have their own Super Metorid-esque maps to help you get around them, though it should be noted that this may not necessarily be the final version of them since the game is still in development. Unfortunately, work on Xeodrifter has means that Renegade Kid has had to put their other upcoming 3DS game Treasurenauts on pause for the meantime. However, studio head Jools Watsham confirmed that he is still excited about Treasurenauts and will resume development on it as soon as work on Xeodrifter is complete. No release date or window has been announced as of yet, so stay tuned for more information at a later point. Source: GoNintendo Are you interested in Xeodrifter?
  6. Jason Clement

    Xeodrifter Map

    From the album: Editor's Gallery