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Found 22 results

  1. Jason Clement

    Review: Bomb Monkey

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Release Date: Out Now Platform: 3DS eShop ESRB: E for Everyone Everyone loves monkeys, right? But give one a bomb and you may get some rather explosive results (pardon the pun). You'd also get Renegade Kid's latest game, a new eShop puzzler appropriately called Bomb Monkey. Luckily, the titular character is not destructive for mischevious reasons; rather, he's a participant in an in-game sport called Blok Bombing. The goal of the game is rather simple - toss bombs at blocks that rise up from the bottom of the jungle floor (or bottom of the screen in our case) in an attempt to destroy them, all the while making sure that they don't rise high enough to knock you off of your perch. But is this your typical falling blocks puzzle game, or is there more to it than meets the eye? In what might be a first for an eShop game, Bomb Monkey requires the game to be played by holding the 3DS in a "book style" format (90 degrees to the left from how it's usually held). Ultimately, it's a smart design decision that allows the gameplay to flow much better as you'll soon hear about. As for the game's controls, you're given three different input methods to choose from: the d-pad, circle pad, or touch controls with the stylus. There are only three main actions in-game: moving left, moving right, and dropping bombs (left, right, and down, respectively). It's nice that all three control inputs can be used to control the game, but I found the touch controls to be the most effective, though the D-pad works fine as well. Six different gameplay modes await you when the game starts up, and they are: Endless, 2P Versus, 2P Co-op, Rescue, 3 Minutes, and Numbers. Endless is what you could consider the main mode in the game, and it consists of Bomb Monkey's core gameplay and mechanics - to match colored blocks together and detonate them with bombs in order to clear them away. There is no end goal (except in some other modes) - only bragging rights for getting the highest score. Where Bomb Monkey really begins to shine, however, is its added layers of complexity when compared to the usual falling block puzzle formula. As the game progresses in its difficulty, you'll need to deal with more and more locked blocks that take two blasts to clear. And where the fun really kicks in is when you can set up special blocks that increases the bomb blast's radius to clear a whole row either vertically or horizontally (depending on the type you get). At this point, you'll begin to start setting up elaborate ways of clearing the blocks in order to maximize the points you get from the detonation when all is said and done. In fact, the right chain reaction could potentially clear the whole screen - if you're savvy enough. There are also special letters that are scattered through the blocks as they rise up from the floor, and by bombing them and progressively spelling out "B-O-M-B," you'll trigger a short power-up mode in which the Bomb Monkey will toss nothing but bombs for a few seconds. It adds a fun little twist to the game and is especially useful in the higher levels where the blocks move punishingly fast. The 2 player modes are wonderful additions that allow you to play with a friend using the same 3DS; the execution of which was mind-blowing to me when I tried it for the first time. Each player uses one screen of the 3DS and opposite ends of the handheld to control their respective character, with Player 1 using the circle pad/D-pad and Player 2 using the A, B, and X buttons. It's definitely a great inclusion, and makes me wonder why more 3DS games haven't implemented this sort of simple functionality in other games as well. Another mode is "Rescue," and it's easily one of my favorite modes. The objective is simple - break out your monkey friend out of a cage that is laying among all of the other blocks. However, it'll takes 50 direct explosions to destroy the cage, so in addition to working to free your friend, you'll also need to keep an eye on the overall circumstance of where the rest of the blocks are. Pay too little attention to the rising blocks and you'll pay the consequences by being knocked off your perch (and having to restart). It's a nice little game that definitely infuses a bit more strategy into the gameplay, and you'll need to divide your attention equally if you hope to conquer it. The 3 minute mode is exactly like the Endless mode but contained with a 3 minute time limit. It's perfect for controlled sessions where you don't have much time but also want to see how much of a score you can squeeze out in that time period. And finally, Numbers is another of my favorites - the objective being to clear numbers marked 1, 2, and 3 among the blocks, but in order. If you accidentally clear one out of order, it's game over. It makes for some truly interesting gameplay, especially in the later levels when the number you need to get to is buried in such a way that you'll have to avoid bombing the other two while getting to it, or they might all be right next to each other. The design of the game is simple, yet it works. There's something entirely whimsical about the Bomb Monkey character himself, and thus he ends up being likeable. In Endless Mode, the left screen displays a bigger version of the Bomb Monkey, and I can't help but smile when I see him bouncing back and forth and smiling; there's definitely some great sprite work here that pixel enthusiasts will especially appreciate. Last but not least, there's only one main music track in the game (aside from the menu music) but it's quite catchy and faintly reminiscent of Renegade Kid's last eShop game, Mutant Mudds. Everything considered, Bomb Monkey represents a simple game at its best. It doesn't beat you over the head with lots of unnecessary exposition or clutter; everything is to the point and simple enough for anybody to understand. That said, those looking for a challenge will still certainly find it here in the way of setting high scores (which Renegade Kid keeps track of on their site if you send in photographic evidence). Anyone looking for a great little puzzle game would do well to download Bomb Monkey; its different modes will keep you busy and addicted while you attempt to keep beating your (or your friend's) high scores. Simply put, Bomb Monkey is a blast. Pros: + Addictive puzzle gameplay + Catchy music + Multiple game modes to play through Cons: - If you dont like puzzles or aiming for high scores, this may not be for you Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Bomb Monkey is a quintessential game to own on 3DS for puzzle fans and will no doubt become the new go-to title for when you want to play a quick game.
  2. 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
  3. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Dementium Remastered

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop) Release Date: December 3, 2015 ESRB: M for Mature Official Website Originally released as Dementium: The Ward for the Nintendo DS, Dementium Remastered is a 3DS facelift of a game that takes quite a bit of influence from classic video game horror. In fact, the original DS version began as an idea for a Silent Hill game, which developer Renegade Kid pitched to Konami, only for the idea to get shot down. As a result, the developer opted to turn the idea into an original game. Thus, Dementium: The Ward was born. And later, remastered. What Dementium: The Ward did well, Dementium Remastered does just as well, and in some cases better, partly thanks to the hardware it runs on. Unfortunately, whatever shortcomings the original had also made their way into the polished port. And without even looking at the cons of The Ward, there are some noticeable flaws with Dementium Remastered that are hard to forgive. Thankfully, there is enough right with this game to make it a generally enjoyable horror experience. The most important aspect of any game that wishes to be classified as "horror" is its ability to frighten the player. Or at least try to. Hey, some people are just hard to scare (says the reviewer with a smug face). Dementium Remastered does a pretty good job in that regard. Renegade Kid was clearly looking at classic survival horror games for ideas, as this game certainly feels like something I'd have played on the original PlayStation alongside Silent Hill and Resident Evil. For starters, Dementium Remastered has a fairly eerie setting that helps the game be delightfully creepy. Of course, the game takes place in a psychiatric hospital, which is a setting with a lot of creepy potential. And it certainly helps that it's dark, requiring you to use a flashlight to see past your otherwise restricted field of vision. And you wanna know the best part? In order to fight monsters, you have to put that flashlight away. That's right, Dementium Remastered does not allow you to hold both your flashlight and a weapon. Which is, in my opinion, a brilliant idea for a survival horror game. It really does add to the terror. Speaking of the psychiatric hospital in which Dementium Remastered takes place, the reason the protagonist is even there is something that hooks you early on. Why are you there? You want to know the answer to that question, especially after watching the weird opening scene, so you keep playing. Then you hear via news programs and flashbacks that a man apparently murdered his wife while his young daughter watched. Is that man you? And if it is, did you really do it? The story of Dementium Remastered is certainly interesting enough to hold your attention until you get answers to your questions, even if you find them obvious. Unfortunately, you might find yourself disappointed by an ending that leaves you with more questions than answers. It's clearly little more than a cliffhanger for the sequel, which I found kind of cheap. Now let's talk about the monsters. You can't really discuss a survival horror game without talking about the creatures that make it such a game. The creatures in Dementium Remastered? Man, lemme tell ya. They're not as horrifying as monsters in some horror games I've played, but they're still pretty damn scary. For starters, these monsters will freak you out before you even see them. Even the most common enemy you encounter has a creepy breathing sound that's frightening simply because you don't know where the thing is. It makes you jump when it comes charging right at you through the darkness. And pretty much every other monster has a really creepy noise to go along with it. Especially the heart-stopping shrieks of the banshees. Those things will scare the [censored] out of you from time to time. Unfortunately, there are also times when the monsters are more frustrating than they are terrifying -- especially in the final chapter. Now, to be fair, I did choose to play the game on hard mode, but I do think Renegade Kid could have balanced the difficulty a bit better. I'd hate to try the remastered version's exclusive "Demented" mode... Of course, most of my problems may have been avoided if not for the controls. Playing on the 3DS, I found myself wishing I were holding a controller with more precision. In the end, I found that the best thing to do is probably getting used to the touch control method. Or maybe use a Circle Pad Pro. I'm honestly not sure, as I didn't use one. I did, however, use the little nub on the New 3DS. I'll tell you right now, it isn't the best way to move the camera while fighting monsters. You can also go with the ABXY option, but that's even worse. Maybe others have had a better time with the controls, but I found myself raging over them. Most of the control options just seem too clunky and imprecise. It wasn't a problem too often for the game to be unplayable, but still. While we're on the topic of things I don't like about Dementium Remastered, this game has far too many bugs -- some of them almost making me have to start from my last save point. Namely, a certain glitch that caused me to get stuck in a doorway. Luckily, I was able to use my buzz-saw to push my body through. Not only is that the most useful weapon in the game, it also saved me from a grave inconvenience. Then there was this glitch that kept me from picking up health at one point. There was also a bug I noticed that kept certain chapter title screens from triggering. I noticed it when I went from Chapter 4 to Chapter 7, then later from Chapter 10 to Chapter 13. There are some other bugs, but you get the idea. They were mostly very minor problems, but noticeable. And a noticeable bug makes the whole game look bad. Remember that, devs. Getting back to the not-so-bad aspects of Dementium Remastered, the visuals are pretty nice. The game looked good back when it donned the "The Ward" subtitle, but that was a DS title. So as a simple remaster of said title, the graphics are pretty great. I do wish they could have given the hospital more variety in design, rather than having nearly every area looking the same, but it's forgivable. As for the music, it's okay. It's certainly no Akira Yamaoka of Silent Hill fame, but it does its job in helping to set the tone of the game well enough. The songs sound pretty outdated for a 3DS game, but again, it originated as a DS game, so that's perfectly understandable. Oh, and if you were wondering, the 3D effect isn't worth using with this game. I don't know if it's me, but I always seem to get double/triple vision when darkness is involved. And darkness is almost always involved. At the end of the day (which is the time you should play this game for the full horror experience), Dementium Remastered is a good survival horror game. It just has a few shortcomings that weigh it down a bit, like clunky controls and glitches galore. But behind its unfortunate downsides are plenty of good things that make this a pretty solid and fairly horrifying addition to your digital library. It's not very long, but if you're looking for a good horror game to play on a handheld and haven't played Dementium: The Ward already, give its polished 3DS port a try. Pros: + Classic survival horror influence + Setting is delightfully creepy + Mysterious plot that'll hold your attention + Frightening monsters Cons: - Clunky and imprecise controls for most control methods - Riddled with bugs (the developmental kinds) Overall Score: 7 (out of 10) Good Taking quite a bit of influence from the classics, Dementium Remastered is a generally satisfying survival horror experience, regardless of its unfortunate shortcomings. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  4. It“s certainly no secret that I love Mutant Mudds. And it“s also no secret that I“m highly anticipating Mutant Mudds Super Challenge, a game built "for super players." Ever since the game was initially announced, Renegade Kid promised to take Mudds veterans to task, while introducing more than one new twist in the gameplay. Once I heard Jools Watsham was going to be at E3, I decided I would play through the original Mutant Mudds and see if I could 100% the game during my initial flight into Los Angeles. I“m happy to report I succeeded. Rest assured, I am someone who has effectively mastered that game. And Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge most definitely chewed me up and spit me out. Think of this game as the Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels of Mutant Mudds. The gameplay starts off naturally difficult, because it assumes players have at least some experience with the first game. Mutant Mudds teaches you Renegade Kid“s level design conventions. Super Challenge shows you ways those conventions can be turned on their head sometimes, often leaving you to curse out loud at the game“s tendency to be a little mean. The game picks up right where the first left off. After gathering absolutely everything in the first game, Max says he“s going to go off on his own to investigate some "new intel." His new quest brings him to a brand new hub world that feels absolutely refreshing and much more open than the first game, as though you're progressing towards some larger purpose rather than just completing levels and cleaning up muddy pests. I played one later level from each world, including the final one, as well as facing one of many bosses. So, what“s changed? First and foremost, the diamonds you collect in each level as you progress to the end are much more cleverly hidden, or in particularly cruel spots. The first game sort of treated these collectibles as a path leading to the end of the level. In the case of Super Challenge, though, I can almost guarantee you won“t get all 100 on your first go...either because they“re too tricky to get to without a challenge, or because you“ll miss them at first, since you“re too focused on the chaos around you. The overall presentation is much improved as well. The ice glistens with a sparkle effect. The game“s 3D now places Max behind clouds in the game“s sky levels instead of simply placing him on the foreground. Kind of feels like a slight nod to Mega Man. Level designs often follow various themes now, such as one of later ones being a mirrored reflection of itself that has you approach it from both the left and right sides. There are handfuls of small touches that will make you appreciate how much love Renegade Kid put into the experience. It really does feel like a stepping stone to Mutant Mudds 2. I wouldn“t be surprised if many of the stylings of this game made it into the sequel. What impressed me the most, though, was the boss I fought. Every third level in the game is a ghost level, like those found in Mutant Mudds Deluxe. And the boss I fought...was also a ghost! That meant you could only harm it (and the other enemies around it) with a ghost shot item limited to only ten uses. Hitting the boss was easy. But getting to him... ergo, defeating the many ghost Mudds that stood between me and the boss that involve tricky platforming to avoid — was another matter. Most boss battles would have you just shoot something until it dies. The boss battle I experienced cleverly meshed tricky Mutant Mudds platforming with combat. Want to take up the challenge for yourself? There's a demo of Mutant Mudds Super Challenge on the eShop right now! The game will be released this summer. Do check out Renegade Kid“s official site for more information on this game, Dementium Remastered, and more!
  5. 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.
  6. Jools Watsham at Renegade Kid has been teasing a new game announcement from Renegade Kid for a few days now. Today, on the third anniversary of Mutant Mudds' release, he took to Twitter to announce Mutant Mudds Super Challenge for 3DS and Wii U: One last bit of info from Jools is that Mutant Mudds Super Challenge will not replace Mutant Mudds 2. "Think of it as more of a delicious stepping stone of fun and challenge," Watsham mentioned. As aforementioned, this month's Nintendo Force offers more information on the next game from Renegade Kid, including two new world themes, as well as the one shown in the article above. We'll offer more details as they come! Be sure to check out our review of Mutant Mudds if you haven't already! Also be sure to swing by Renegade Kid's official site. Are you excited for Mutant Mudds Super Challenge? Be sure to let us know!
  7. 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?
  8. 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?
  9. Have you been looking for another eShop to game to play recently? If so, your wait is about to come to an end. Renegade Kid has announced that the first episode of their first-person, sci-fi adventure game Moon Chronicles is confirmed for release on the 3DS eShop next week. Moon Chronicles is an episodic game that will span four episodes in all, and it follows protagonist Major Kane as he journeys to the moon to investigate a mysterious hatch of unknown origins. Each new episode will bring John closer to unraveling the secrets that lie beneath the surface of the moon. For graphics junkies, Renegade Kid has confirmed that the game will run at 60 FPS. Also, the game is set to feature a number of different weapons, including alien technology, as well as segments where you control a remote robot to navigate tunnels and unlock secret doorways and moon buggy segments that allow you to explore the Moon's surface. You'll be able to download the first episode of Moon Chronicles on the 3DS eShop on May 15th for $8.99. Future episodes will be coming as downloadable content later on. Also, Renegade Kid announced that Season 2 will premiere in 2015 with all-new content. UPDATE: Renegade Kid has clarified with us that Episode 1 will cost $8.99, but subsequent episodes will be less, though they have not determined their price just yet. Are you interested in playing Moon Chronicles?
  10. Jason Clement

    Treasurenauts Delayed to Early 2014

    While the first trailer for Treasurenauts was just released two months ago, and it was looking like it might have made its release before the year's end, Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham has now confirmed on his blog that it has been pushed back to 2014 now. That isn't necessarily to say there's anything wrong with the game, just that Watsham and his team have decided to give the game the polish it needs before it's released. At this time, they're aiming for a Q1 2014 release, so stay tuned. Watsham also makes mention that Treasurenaut's development has put the planned Mutant Mudds sequel on hold for now as the Renegade Kid team likes to focus on new games in between sequels to help give them more perspective when they eventually do work on a sequel. And finally, two new Renegade Kid games are also in the works, one of which is a 3DS title that will be announced in January, whereas the other will be announced further down the road. For now, you can look forward to Treasurenauts being their next big release in 2014.
  11. Renegade Kid have their fingers in many pies nowadays, with horror episodic game Cult County having been announced earlier at PAX East, and Mutant Mudds 2 being confirmed to happen at some point. However, their next upcoming game is a new 3DS eShop title called Treasurenauts. Today Renegade Kid head Jools Watsham rolled out the first trailer for the game, and as you'll be able to see, Treasurenauts is all about exploring and collecting...well, treasure! Even when you get hit by enemies, you lose treasure instead of health points or hearts, so you can see just how prominent the theme is in the game. It also sports a 8-bit pixelized aesthetic similar to the one in Mutant Mudds. There's no specific release date yet for Treasurenauts, but Watsham says the game is coming to 3DS eShop soon. You can get a look at three of the game's playable characters (including one recognizable face) as well as the different weapons and levels you can expect to see in the final version in the video below.
  12. If you've played Mutant Mudds, you'd know it's a pretty decent game and certainly a good enough fit for Steam given all the other games that have made it onto the platform, but it seems as if Renegade Kid has gone through hoops trying to get the game onto Steam with no success, even attempting to go through Greenlight as well. In his recent blog, Renegade Kid Co-Founder Jools Watsham explains exactly why Mutant Mudds hasn't made it onto Steam yet, and why that's troubling for them. Here's a partial excerpt: Check out the full blog here: http://joolswatsham....t.html?spref=tw
  13. Marcus Estrada

    PAX East: Renegade Kid Announces Cult County

    Developer Renegade Kid is spending the weekend at PAX East to unveil their latest game to convention-goers. The first game they developed was Dementium on DS, and since then have transitioned to 3DS eShop titles such as Mutant Mudds and Bomb Monkey. What is their newest project? Prominently displayed at their booth is a sign for Cult County as well as a playable demo. Unfortunately, not too much is known about the game just yet. What we do know is that it's a 3D FPS horror game coming to the 3DS eShop. It remains to be seen if Renegade Kid returning to their horror roots will be a good thing or not. The official Cult County site is available here, although there's not much to see as of yet. If you check it out then there's a QR code available which, once scanned on a 3DS, displays a game screenshot in 3D. Hopefully more will be revealed about Renegade Kid's new game soon.
  14. In what can be filed under "huh, who knew?" well-known game developer Renegade Kid made a demo reel of age-old Playstation mascot Crash Bandicoot titled "Crash Landed." The demo, which was made in a matter of weeks according to Renegade Kid co-founder Jools Watsham, was submitted to Activision for consideration four or five years ago - to obvious no avail. Upon footage finally leaked to YouTube, Watsham verified the video and called it a "blast from the past." The Crash Landed demo showcased a fully 3D level featuring a beach side level of sorts. In many ways the thought of seeing Crash in modern day does tickle a certain spot of nostalgia, but I fear he may go the way of Duke Nukem and just not have stood the test of time all too well.
  15. Marcus Estrada

    Renegade Kid Clarifies Comments about Piracy

    At the start of the week, developer Renegade Kid had some harsh words to share with gamers. Before that a new hack of the 3DS had been unveiled, and seemed to actually be near to a breakthrough that the hacking scene had been waiting years for. In response to this, Jools Watsham posted that Renegade Kid would "have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games." Due to some backlash over his statements, Watsham has posted another blog entry to clarify himself. First, he addressed that what he said was never an attempt to insult Nintendo. He has always been a "huge supporter of Nintendo" and for anyone to have interpreted statements otherwise were barking up the wrong tree. Interestingly, he goes on to say that he isn't against piracy itself either. His revisited statement in regards to piracy is as follows: "This does not mean I am taking a stand against piracy. This does not mean I am taking my business elsewhere in an action of protest. What this means is if we cannot make money from developing games we can no longer develop games. That is what can happen if piracy gets bad. If enough people choose to illegally obtain copies of my games for free instead of paying for them, it directly affects my business and my home." Why not actually take a stand against piracy? He goes on to say that it exists in every market. After that, he mentions that games must be priced fairly to help alleviate some of the issues, but piracy is always going to go on regardless. So after all that, we see that his initial post was more of an emotional reaction than pure business strategy. Watsham recognizes it is a bit futile but the relative safety of the 3DS for so long had lulled him into a false sense of security.
  16. Jason Clement

    Mutant Mudds 2 Confirmed By Renegade Kid

    Today, Renegade Kid's Jools Watsham made a casual announcement on Twitter that a sequel to last year's Mutant Mudds (which we gave a favorable review to) will happen for certain and that it will indeed be different from the upcoming Mutant Mudds Deluxe for Wii U. No gameplay specifics have been detailed, nor is the game confirmed to be in development at the moment; Watsham has only announced his intention to have it happen at some point (likely in the near future). There are no platforms announced for the game either at this time, though it would seem likely that the 3DS eShop will be a targeted platform given Renegade Kid's longstanding relationship with Nintendo platforms and since the original Mutant Mudds was released there first. In the meantime, Renegade Kid's next releases will be ATV Wild Ride, which is scheduled to release on the 3DS eShop in the near future; and Mutant Mudds Deluxe, an enhanced version of the original Mutant Mudds with additional content that is heading to the Wii U eShop. Watsham is hopeful that both games will release this quarter. Did you play the original Mutant Mudds? Are you looking forward to an eventual Mutant Mudds 2?
  17. Marcus Estrada

    Renegade Kid Voices Opinion on 3DS Piracy

    Co-founder and Director of Renegade Kid (Mutant Mudds, Dementium), Jools Watsham, had some interesting things to say yesterday. Very recently, the 3DS hacking scene has begun to bear fruit, and people are taking notice. It isn't just excited hackers or those hoping to benefit from them though, as even developers are paying attention. On his personal blog, Watsham shared his opinion about piracy and what it could mean for the company. "Piracy on the Nintendo DS crippled the DS retail market, especially in Europe. We“ll never know how/if Dementium II landed in as many hands as the first game, Dementium: The Ward, due to the rampant piracy at the time. Dementium: The Ward sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide, which is a great success for an original mature-rated title on the DS. Recorded sales of Dementium II are less than half that. We“ll never truly know why that was so, but many seem to believe that piracy had a lot to do with it. If piracy gets bad on the 3DS, we will have no choice but to stop supporting the platform with new games." It would be a huge shame if developers like Renegade Kid and others decided to go this route with the 3DS in the future. For a system to thrive it is dependent on many good game offerings, both from big and small developers. Obviously small developers must be more careful about sales, but it all seems a very tricky situation. However, at this point, his post seems to focus more on "maybe" than factual evidence as to rates of piracy versus sales. Watsham also doesn't consider the fact that many pirates are young people with very little disposable income, which would not really aid sales anyway. Hopefully the point doesn't come where Renegade Kid choose to abandon the system, but no one could fault them if they did.
  18. Jason Clement

    Mutant Mudds Review

    Developer: Renegade Kid Publisher: Renegade Kid Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: Out Now ESRB: E There's no doubt that Nintendo's eShop service for the 3DS started out a bit slow, but over the holidays it has pumped out some great original content, starting with Pushmo and continuing on with Mighty Switch Force, VVVVVV, and Zen Pinball 3D. I'm happy to say that Renegade Kid's first endeavor on the eShop, Mutant Mudds, carries on the streak of great games. In what seems to be an all-but forgotten genre nowadays, the game features a young boy with glasses named Max as he fights against the titular Mutant Mudds in a brand new platformer that harkens back to the good ol' 8-bit days of the NES. So grab your super soaker and read on below to hear about one of the most interesting new original games this year so far. Mutant Mudds hits the ground running from the first moments of the first level. With only the most simplistic of instructions (signboards that you tell you what a certain button does as you pass by), the game is almost a return to the old style of NES games that left players to their own devices as far as how the game is played. Fortunately, there isn't too much to the controls; mostly moving left or right, jumping (and hovering with Max's water-based jetpack), and shooting blobs of water at enemies. However, don't think that the simple controls are indicative of the game being easy- far from. In fact, Mutant Mudds is one of the most punishingly difficult games I've played in some time. I don't know if I'd rank it alongside the likes of Super Meat Boy, but again, it really does reflect the 8-bit days where games were genuinely challenging. Much of the challenge comes with timed jumps and your ability to defeat the different breeds of "mutant Mudds," which can range from a standard floating Mudd to ones that shoot projectiles or even ones that carry a sword and shield. Each level is designed with these factors in mind, so you may come across a narrow corridor with a few Mudds to dispatch first, or you may have to make a jump to a small platform with a Mudd on it, so either you'll have to position yourself in a way that you'll have just enough room to land while still not touching the Mudd or you'll have to defeat it first. You'll also make use of a special platform in order to traverse between the foreground and the background as you make your way through each level. While these platforming conventions offer a great challenge for most, I actually started to grow a little tired of them a little more than halfway through the game. For all of the interesting layouts in its levels though, Mutant Mudds feels like it's missing something. There are a few "power-ups" that you'll have access to after collecting a certain number of the many numerous medals scattered about each level and you'll need to go back and make use of all of the power-ups in order to access the game's secret levels, but it just doesn't seem like enough to really give the game enough variety. In fact, the game only has four or five main enemies or so, and a few lesser ones that are meant to serve as nothing more than obstacles. Once you learn each enemy's attack pattern, it slowly becomes monotonous in having to deal with them; there are only so many times I can jump over a sword and shield-armed Mudd, only to shoot it three times in the back to defeat it. And while the different power-ups do have their use throughout levels, they simply don't change up the gameplay enough to really give it some pizazz; you're simply relegated to a jetpack that let's you reach greater heights, a jetpack that let's you hover longer, and a special water gun that breaks orange walls. That's it. So when there's only one way method of defeating enemies, it can get a little monotonous. On the flipside, developer Renegade Kid put most of the emphasis on the actual platforming itself, thus many of the levels are built around Maxwell's jetpack and how skillfully you use it. It works well for the most part, but I wish there were some more ideas built in to each world. In contrast, VVVVVV's different levels introduced entirely new gameplay concepts that worked well and made the game continually interesting; it would have been nice to see a similar treatment used in this game. Visually though, the game has a very nice and clean esthetic to it, with 8-bit-like pixelated graphics that really pop (especially when the screen's brightness is turned up to max). In addition, the transitions from foreground to middleground to background are handled very well, with no noise or degrading of the sprites themselves. Maxwell might appear a little small on the background, but he's still very much visible enough to see what's going on, and the fact that foreground objects and enemies often obscure what is going on in the background makes for an interesting challenge at times. Also, some of the music in the soundtrack is very good, reminding me of early Mega Man games and Capcom's other 8-bit hits. Overall, Mutant Mudds still offers some of the best value out of all the eShop games despite some of its shortcomings. I clocked in at almost six hours when I was done with the game, so there's definitely a bit of content to play through. With 40 different levels to play through, challenging gameplay, and some rockin' 8-bit tunes, Mutant Mudds is still worth playing if you're a fan of platformers (especially if you loved the NES games of the late 80's and early 90's); it's just a shame that the game never evolves beyond basic platforming. Pros: + Interesting level designs; later levels are very challenging + Visuals have a very attractive 8-bit look to them. + Music is catchy Cons: - Game feels a little repetitive in design in certain parts - Not a whole lot of variety throughout the game Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Mutant Mudds is an admirable attempt at a new IP by Renegade Kid even if it falls short a little. If you're looking for something new and challenging to download off the eShop, I'd recommend giving it a try.
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