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  1. Jonathan Higgins

    Review: Miitopia

    Developer: Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: July 28th, 2017 ESRB: E for Everyone Since I was small, and the manual for The Legend of Zelda on NES dictated, "YOU ARE LINK", I've always named the main characters in RPGs after myself and friends. That extra layer of immersion — that probably bounces right off a lot of people, then and now — has always brought a smile to my face. Even if I'll never actually be Link, something about it just makes the whole journey that much more meaningful, to me. Miitopia is built for anyone who grew up putting themselves in video games and other adventures in media. Ever since I created my first Mii, I knew they'd become as versatile as they have over more than a decade. Whether we're talking about the way Mario Kart Wii incorporated Miis into the settings of race courses, or when they've actually been playable characters in everything from Wii Sports up to Super Smash Bros. for 3DS & Wii U... an RPG where you can alter every single NPC and party member to suit your own imagination was always on my mind. Every character in this story, no matter how major or minor the role, is whoever you want them to be. My journey to save the world from the clutches of the Dark Lord Gaston (with love to @Nintendo_Legend) is one littered with personal touches. I put as much care and attention as I could to casting every towns-person in ways that were meaningful to me. Every denizen of Greenhorne Castle was a 1MoreCastle alumni, ruled over by king a handful of you might recognize. With a few button presses from the menu, you can change the identities of any character you've met on a whim. If the prospect of selecting or creating the identities of over 50 non-playable characters overwhelms you, you can always leave the casting decisions up to fate. Maybe the king of your Greenhorne Castle will be Shigeru Miyamoto, President Obama, or whoever some of the folks playing with SpotPass chose. That's the beauty of it all! If the appeal of Miis is completely lost on you, I don't think you're going to have much fun. Before I deal praise too excessively here, let's discuss Miitopia's inner-workings: If I had to describe the way battling works, early Dragon Quest comes to mind. After you've created or chosen your main character, you assign them with one of six jobs, at first. You've got the usual fare in RPGs, like "Warrior" and "Cleric", plus some oddball choices like "Pop Star" and "Chef". As the plot develops, the number of jobs available to you grows to over fifteen, and each new job is more obtuse than the last. Got someone in your life who really likes being a cat? Grab their Mii through a QR Code on Miitomo, your Tomodachi Life save file, or your 3DS Friends list... and put them in a cat suit for a while. Princesses in your party will behave like royalty should: using a fan of money as their primary weapon in battle, or maybe restoring everyone“s MP with a spot of tea. Someone given the job of a "Flower" or a "Tank" will actually dress up like one. But you won't be able to directly control a single action of your party for the entire adventure, besides the main character. Philosophically, this game would rather you watch these Miis interact with each other in battle based on their personalities (you can select from up to seven when you create your allies.) Your role as the player is far more omniscient than directive. I never found battling to be too meddlesome. It's the simplest of simple fares. Even healing is more dependent on you (literally) sprinkling HP, MP, and other fun battle effects on your Miis moreso than your party's Clerics or Mages performing duties specific to them. No job is really too inferior for the main story. Miitopia wants battles to be more fun than strategic; that's my biggest takeaway there. If you want direct control, complexity, or a way of battling where your finger won't be on the fast forward button a lot of the time, your experience is going to be varying degrees of flawed or frustrating. When you're not fighting to reclaim faces from enemies — like this aptly named Twerky or over 250 other monsters — control isn't any more direct. Exploring a dungeon isn't a matter of freely moving your characters around; it's watching your party run from one area to the next down linear paths, occasionally picking which forks they'll take when things diverge. You can go back to previous areas after you've run down one path to select the next. If you're not the patient type and you'd rather quickly go from one room to the next, advancing the plot as quickly as possible, it's all going to grow very stale and get very repetitive. Even purchasing equipment for your Miis can sometimes go wrong — they may bring back a snack instead of the item they want. You'll still get your hard-earned gold back though, so their indecisiveness isn't truly inconveniencing. What little control you do have in Miitopia boils down to stat and relationship growth. The former is done by getting food from enemies in battle and feeding your Mii characters whatever you like when they arrive at an inn. The latter is far more integral to the entire journey, and begets further explanation. In Tomodachi Life (another game based around Miis that was released a few years back), a major draw to keep playing was watching your Miis get married and raise little ones together. There was drama, romance, and the like. Miitopia is far more centered around friendship, or so it would have you believe. Two of my lady party members are actually maxed out at the "max level relationship" of 99. They're "Soul Mates" — and they show off for each other, avenge one another, team up for attacks, or in general kick a lot more monster tail in battle. All you've got to do is pick which Miis room together when you arrive at the inn. If you took issue with how Tomodachi Life handled relationships in the past, I think your concerns have been addressed in a meaningful way. One last thing about lack of control and Miitopia's choices that might turn away most of you who are left: The adventure plays out with you and nine other partied-up allies. But... for over half the game, you only have access to three of them at one time. Arbitrarily and without warning, the three friends you travel with for one segment of the story will get... spirited away. And the powers of the job your main character had at the time will be "sealed", forcing you to start back at Level 1 with a brand new job of your choosing (so that three more allies who join you will be on a level playing field, no doubt). If you, like me, chose to make your first three allies... say, your wife and two close friends? Them's the breaks, until you get them back a good 10-15 hours later. Even after all your allies have been reunited, you'll still get thrown a curve-ball or two: In later areas, one of your party members can randomly fall down a hole and be lost to you for the rest of the journey, until you find an inn. Furthermore, random Miis will "feel under the weather" and be unable to set out in a dungeon with you until you've set out with other Miis at your inn a few times. In a game with a myriad of customization options that has simplicity at its core, this is the one choice made that kind of gives me pause. If you're still with me after all this: I found the story so endearing that most of these flaws I've spent time warning about... felt like minor gripes. What can be deal-breakers for a majority of you, no doubt, I've overlooked or let slide. Why? The answer is simple: I got to see a very long story...with its share of humor, twists and turns...play out starring people I like a whole lot. As I was adventuring, I was often sharing screenshots with my Miis' real-life counterparts. "Look what you did!" or "Look what happened next." Even if the mechanisms behind the journey are extremely divisive, a goofy smile never left my face. The reason I feel so compelled to tell people about Miitopia, flaws and all, is because its value is something that's precious to me, specifically. There are nine large parts of the world to explore, each with individual areas — caves, forests, towers, coasts, fairy lands that border on the abstract — that make them unique, plus two more islands that unlock after you've trounced the final boss. Each new place is a genuine treat to see! The title screen music will change depending on where you are when you last saved. And speaking of the soundtrack — there are 204 unique melodies to accompany battle, story beats... anything you can think of. As you journey onward, you'll learn about amiibo compatibility to get special costumes, maybe subject yourself to some mini-games to earn currency, food, or travel tickets that can be used to rapidly grow relationships, plus more. The post-game is so ludicrous that it grants you the ability to create up to 90 additional Miis besides the main story's 10 (or recruit former NPCs to be your actual party members) to accompany you as you mash daily quests, unlock even more jobs, and continue your adventures after the credits roll. I've spent over 40 hours with the game from start to finish, and that time will only grow long after this review is published. Even though Miitopia was a genuinely enjoyable experience to me, I know one person's happy satisfaction is another's, "Guess wait for a sale." There“s no shortage of content and charm to justify the fact that this is indeed a full retail package. But whether or not that content bounces right off you due to some questionable choices, or you find it as delightful as I did, isn't really up to me. Pros + The story itself isn't customizable, but the characters in it are. Every Mii you meet can be whoever you want them to be. + Hundreds of medals to collect, costumes to wear, foods to eat, places to explore, and Miis to meet. If you want Miitopia to last forever, it can and will. + The game's mechanics may be divisive, but its presentation is not: music and visuals are pretty and plentiful. Cons - If you'd rather control and strategize things in your RPG, this more omniscient game is not for you. The "RPG" part of Miitopia feels like it belongs on the NES. It's a bit too repetitive, even with a fast-forward button. - In a game that prides itself on customization, taking your allies away from you no less than three times [plus more slightly restrictive limits placed on you later] feels jarring. Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Miitopia is built for anyone who puts a little bit of themselves into the RPGs they play. Its repetitive mechanics will be divisive at best, but the beauty is in how personal you can make your adventure. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a digital copy of the game purchased by the author.
  2. Though Yacht Club Games originally were planning to release their final Shovel Knight campaign, King of Cards, along with Shovel Knight: Showdown (the multiplayer competitive mode), an amiibo 3-pack (featuring King Knight, Plague Knight, and Specter Knight), and a physical version of Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (the complete collection of every piece of Shovel Knight content in one package) on April 18, the indie developer has now announced one last delay for all of the content. The reason for this is because the team needs more time to polish off the gameplay and make sure everything is in tip-top shape before they're satisfied with the final result. As for the amiibo, Yacht Club Games mentioned that their functionality is tied to the launch of King of Cards, which means it only makes sense to release them when that campaign is ready to go. Due to all of this, Yacht Club Games is not announcing a new release date until they're certain of it, but insist that the delay should only push the release back several months. Here are a few other interesting tidbits that the team revealed: A new screenshot showcasing King of Cards reveals a brand new side-character named 'Traitorus,' who happens to be King Pridemoor's former advisor. Another King of Cards screen reveals what the world map looks like; quite a bit different from Shovel of Hope's. A new story screenshot shows Specter Knight rushing off to confront The Enchantress. King of Card's levels are shorter than previous Shovel Knight levels but are more numerous (with more than 30). At one point, Yacht Club wasn't sure if King Knight would fit on the 3DS due to his size, but that problem has since been solved. Words of Magic and 8-4 Games have helped translate the game into 9 languages now. In the meantime, stay tuned for a final release date for the rest of Shovel Knight's upcoming content. Source: Yacht Club Games
  3. Digital versions of Nintendo's games seem to be showing up in more and more places for purchase these days and, as of today, Humble Bundle can now be adding to that growing list. Right now the selection features a mix of 40 different Switch and 3DS titles, from recent games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the Pokemon: Let's Go titles to even Virtual Console titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda. All titles are selling at their full MSRP, and none qualify for charity contributions either. Nintendo titles are eligible for the $5 discount you get with Humble Bundle monthly subscriptions, but beyond that, there doesn't appear to be much of a difference from any other retail store (online or brick and mortar). Humble Bundle has not stated whether third-party and indie Switch and 3DS titles will be offered at some point, so hopefully we'll hear more regarding that sooner versus later. Source: Humble Bundle
  4. Jordan Haygood

    Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon artwork.

    © Game Freak, Nintendo

  5. Though we had previously gotten a "mini" Nintendo Direct in January, the one we had yesterday was effectively the first real substantial Nintendo Direct of the year. And what a Direct it was! I won’t cover every announcement here as there are plenty of other places to go for a detailed recap, including watching the actual video itself. Instead, I'll be analyzing what we saw and what it means, all starting with the video's biggest reveal. Super Smash Bros. is finally coming to Switch, and it’s likely not a port Let's be real here: Of everything Nintendo could have announced, Super Smash Bros. was one of the least suspected games. In fact, it was almost a given that it wouldn't be shown. Why? Because every past iteration of the game has been announced at E3, arguably the most important video game industry event of the year. The fact that they chose to reveal the game now instead of E3 is very interesting; perhaps Nintendo wants to it to have a greater mindshare among fans now rather than simply revealing it four months before launch. The strategy behind it makes sense; generate a ton of hype and let fans spread the word, then get even more info in June. You think people were excited for E3 before? They’re going to be ecstatic now that it’s guaranteed Smash will be the main showcase. And, oh yeah – the game is coming out this year as well. It was a well-played, strategic move on Nintendo’s part, and the reveal was pulled off excellently (the reflection of the Smash logo in the Inkling’s eye was a great touch). Those short few seconds will help sustain the hype for Nintendo and the Switch over the next few months as we wait to see what else they’ll reveal. Third parties are crushing it on Switch (or should I say "Crashing" it?) The Switch already pulled off some impressive third-party surprises in 2017. From Bethesda’s Skyrim, Doom, and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to Rockstar’s L.A. Noire and more, the Switch is getting the most third-party support it’s seen since the Gamecube’s heyday. But yesterday’s Direct was a clear affirmation that third-parties are continuing to take notice of the Switch’s success and that they’re largely here to stay this time around. Nowhere was this more evident than with the announcement of Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – previously a PS4-exclusive – coming to Switch this year. Not only that but other powerhouse AAA titles like South Park: The Fractured But Whole, Okami HD, Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, and even indie hits like Undertale are making their way over as well. Unless Nintendo does something to really botch up the 2018 release schedule, momentum will likely only keep building from here as more and more third parties square up to release their games and nab their own piece of the Switch pie. The Port, Remaster, and Collection Plan – How 3DS will be sustained Microsoft and Sony would probably be booed into oblivion if they announced as many ports, remasters, and collection/remixes as Nintendo announced, but there’s at least one good reason why the latter can get away with it for now. The Wii U was an unmitigated sales disaster and only the most hardcore Nintendo fans played whatever games came out on it. So, for most people, when it comes to these ports? This is all new material, baby, and that includes games like the much-lauded Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze – all of which we’ll see before the end of this year. On a similar note, we finally have a good idea of Nintendo’s plan for the 3DS going forward. We saw some of this last year, but the recent Direct outlines the fact that 3DS will be sustained with ports, enhanced remasters/remakes, and collections/remixes. And why not? It’s clear that Nintendo will be focusing 90-95% of its creative efforts on Switch now, and releasing ports and remakes of older games will be the cheapest, fastest, and most effective way to ensure that 3DS players will still be thrown a bone every now and then. Not only that, but Nintendo has chosen some interesting games that even longtime fans will have a hard time ignoring. Luigi’s Mansion is something we haven’t seen since the game’s original release on Gamecube in 2001, so its arrival on 3DS – especially after its sequel, Dark Moon, released on the handheld in 2013 – is a much-welcomed addition to the library. WarioWare Gold is getting the same treatment that Nintendo gave to Mario Party: The Top 100 and Rhythm Heaven Megamix, where it’s essentially a compilation of the series’ best mini-games masquerading as a new game. Yet, it’s been years since we’ve gotten a new WarioWare title, so many fans are excited and willing to overlook that particular tidbit. Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey is a bit of a headscratcher. Developer Alpha Dream released Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions – an enhanced remake of the very first game in the series with a new, added side story – just last year, and now they’re doing another remake? Let’s not forget that they skipped over the second game, Partners in Time, either. Personally, I would think that many fans are getting fatigued from this series with all of the releases in recent years, but apparently they must be selling. That said, there are still new 3DS games on the horizon with the likes of Dillon’s Dead-Heat Breakers, Detective Pikachu, and Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido. Also, I suspect Nintendo is holding back one or two other new 3DS titles for an E3 reveal – possibly a new 2D Zelda as one last hurrah for the series on the system. Aside from that, expect to see this trend of ports and remakes on the 3DS as the handheld (presumably) continues to die down in 2019. The future for Splatoon 2 is bright; it’s the closest thing Nintendo has to a Games-as-a-Service title now Splatoon 2 is, without a doubt, one of the biggest successes on Switch outside of Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. Plenty of players dismissed it as a 1.5 version when it was initially announced, but the amount of new content Nintendo continues to pour into it is staggering. Oh, and did I mention that the DLC has been 100% free? It’s no wonder that the game manages to maintain a steady playerbase to this day. And now with yesterday’s Direct, they’ve confirmed the 3.0 update will bring dozens of new items, three new courses, and a brand new rank (Rank X) among other things. But even more importantly, Splatoon 2 is getting its first paid DLC, which smartly introduces a new single-player campaign called 'Octo Expansion' instead of splintering the player-base with multiplayer content that’s locked behind paywalls. The new campaign is quite hefty to boot, with 80 missions in addition to new stories that shed light on the series’ different characters. Oh, and you’ll unlock access to Octoling characters in multiplayer after beating it. With the continuing DLC and Octo Expansion, Nintendo appears to have a pretty clear roadmap for Splatoon 2 and values it as one of their biggest properties to keep supporting. I’m willing to bet Octo Expansion may not be the last paid DLC either; if new free DLC continues past this year, they’ll likely use the paid expansions to help fund the free updates for multiplayer while keeping the paid stuff to non-essential, optional features. Nintendo’s roadmap into 2019 and beyond Yesterday’s Direct obviously didn’t reveal everything this year has to offer, but we did get a look at a good chunk of it. Here are the most important things we now know about where the company is heading with its strategy. Nintendo is rallying around Super Smash Bros. as its big title for 2018 There will, of course, be other games coming this Fall, but these other titles will likely act as supporting games. This will probably include the still-unnamed Yoshi title that was revealed last year in addition to the new Fire Emblem. Beyond that, perhaps we'll get a Mario Party or other tertiary title? If anything, the biggest question mark is now Animal Crossing. Will we finally see it a new one for Switch at E3? Or will Nintendo save it for 2019? If Metroid Prime 4 is positioned as next year's major game, it stands to reason that it probably won't matter whether Animal Crossing releases this year or next. We’ll find out for sure in three months whether we’ll see it in 2018 or not. Switch’s lineup will likely continue to be padded with ports for the next year or two Nintendo has done an impressive job releasing at least one big game a month for Switch since its launch. But if it wants to maintain that schedule, it’ll need to rely on ports to do it, simply because new games take time to develop and it likely can't sustain that kind of momentum with them. Case in point, this spring we’re getting four ports; Bayonetta 1 and 2 have already released, and Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition are coming in May. That leaves April as the only month without a first-party title for now (January also had nothing). As for the second half of the year, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is the only confirmed port so far; it’ll be releasing in July. Don't be surprised if we get at least one or two more before the end of 2018. Nintendo will, for the first time in a while, be able to rely on third parties to help fill the gap between first-party releases For the last five years (at the very least), Nintendo has turned to indie games to help fill in gaps while their own first-party titles were being polished for release. This was largely out of necessity since most of the third-party support for the Wii U trickled off fast in 2013. But with the advent of Switch, third-parties are back in a big way and are releasing some of their popular titles on the platform, making the wait between big first-party titles like Smash Bros. a little easier. Also, let’s not forget the onslaught of indie games that have been coming consistently every Thursday since the end of last Summer or so. 3DS is being wound down with smaller games and ports This was expected, but what’s surprising is how Nintendo is actually keeping the 3DS alive longer than most expected. With this in mind, we'll likely see the platform being kept alive with ports and smaller games until 2020 when it’s either retired or succeeded by something else. That said, the future is looking pretty good for Nintendo. While it's hard to say whether the Switch will hit its goal of selling 20 million units for the year of fiscal 2018 (it will easily pass that number in total sales to date) it definitely looks a lot more plausible with the impending arrival of Super Smash Bros. and the gauntlet of other great games coming our way soon. What are your thoughts on the recent Direct? Has it changed your outlook on Switch this year?
  6. We're less than two weeks out from the release of Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology -- the enhanced re-release of the 2011 RPG which adds all-new game content -- and now Atlus is giving you a closer look at what you can expect to get with the launch edition of the game. It's a clever little video that mirrors the game's alternate timeline scenarios where Atlus PR Manager Jacob Nahin must choose three different paths for the game's unboxing, thus giving you three different links to choose at the end of the short video. Regardless of which you choose, you'll get a closer look at the game's elongated box, art book, and stickers. Also, if you're interested in the game but aren't sure whether to make the leap and buy it yet, you can check out the demo for the game on the 3DS eShop right now. And while you're there, you can pick up the Radiant Historia 3DS theme for the low, low cost of completely free. Finally, here's a glimpse at the game's DLC release schedule- February 13 (Launch Day) Growth Ring ($1.99): Consumable item. Gain additional EXP. Mole Armlet ($1.99): Consumable item. Gain additional money. New Difficulty: DEADLY (Free): Unlock "Near Death" difficulty. Chibi Art Pack ($2.49): Switch main character art to Chibi art. Classic Art Pack ($2.49): Switch main character art to original version's. Bathing in Mana ($3.99): Fan service event. Each character will show up ready for a swim. Plus an additional boss battle. February 20 Rage of the Fallen ($2.49): Rescue Aht and Marco in New Granorg in different timeline. Under the Moonlight ($2.49): Investigate information leak with Eruca and Rainey in New Granorg in different timeline. February 27 Settling the Score ($2.49): Investigate the distortion in time with Rosch and Gafka in different timeline. Fight against seven bosses in sequence. Meeting in the Chasm ($2.49): Explore the hidden past of Nemesia. Hunting Corridor (2.99): A dungeon that you can find an item to boost up your character parameters. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is set to launch on the 3DS family of systems on February 13. Will you be picking up Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology? What are your thoughts on the launch edition?
  7. Atlus is gearing up for the new year with a new trailer and release date for Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology -- an expanded port of the original game that came out on the Nintendo DS back in 2010. Perfect Chronology's newest trailer details the 'White Chronicle' -- the game's key item that allows its user to move freely through history and alter the course of events. Throughout the course of the game, you'll use it to determine how things unfold and travel to different multiverses. There's also quite a lot that's been added to this new version of the game, including voice-acting, redesigned character art, a new opening animation (produced by A-1 Pictures), new theme song, event illustrations, five new tracks from Yoko Shimomura, and added difficulty settings. Atlus also included new story content in the form of new character "Nemesia" and a third timeline that explores some of his actions through "What If" scenarios. You can either access this right away through the new "Perfect" mode or play "Append" mode in order to play through the original story first before the New Game+ content is accessible. Last but not least, if you pre-order the game in North America, you'll be getting the "Launch Edition" of the game which includes an art book and a decal set representing the key characters in the story. European fans will be getting just the art book tucked into the game's case at launch. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology is set to release in 2018 on February 13 in North America and February 16 in Europe on the 3DS. Source: Press Release Are you looking forward to Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology?
  8. A few game announcements (and one that is rumored), some interesting industry tidbits, and the King of Pop round up today's headlines. Check 'em out below! Yes, Michael Jackson DID work on Sonic the Hedgehog 3's soundtrack Sega-philes have known for a while about the rumor that Michael Jackson had contributed in some form to the soundtrack, but recently we've received possibly the closest confirmation we may ever get to an official acknowledgement from Huffington Post's Todd van Luling in a new article that sheds light on the long-speculated matter. Of course, SEGA won't spill the beans, and some of that could be for legal reasons, but in an interview with the game's composers, they all confirm that Jackson did have a hand in composing some, if not all, of the game's tracks. Reportedly, one of them even signed on to the job because he was told he would be working with Jackson. In the end, two things seem to have contributed to Jackson's name being pulled from the credits. One was the 1994 scandal in which he was accused of molesting a boy (in which case SEGA would want to distance themselves from the accusations). The other is that Jackson apparently was disappointed with the way the final soundtrack sounded, with the Genesis not being powerful enough to simulate the music and instead being reduced to "bleeps and bloops." Regardless, it's a fascinating read. If you want to read more, check out the source link below. Original Source: Huffington Post (now seen on GeekWrapped) Mighty No. 9 is delayed for a third time No, unfortunately this isn't a joke. Mighty No. 9 has officially been delayed yet again, as mentioned in a note to backers of the Kickstarter today. The game's creator Keiji Inafune mentions that the delay is due to issues with the multiplayer mode -- something that was added as a stretch goal when the Kickstarter campaign was going on. Inafune has expressed his apologies over the delay, mentioning that there's 'no excuse' for disappointing fans and backers once more. Unfortunately, there is no new release date, though Inafune says he expects it to be in Spring 2016. Source: Engadget Rumor: Paper Mario Wii U will be announced this year Could it be? Even after making his appearance in the recently released Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Paper Mario might be getting his own standalone Wii U release courtesy of Intelligent Systems. We totally called this last year, by the way. According to industry pundit Emily Rogers (who has leaked game announcements successfully before), both have confirmed with five separate industry sources close to the matter that a Paper Mario game for Wii U is indeed in the works and will be announced at some point this year (probably E3). Whether or not the game is an RPG like the first two games in the series is unknown at this point, but hey, one can always hope. The latter two games have strayed a bit from the original formula, with 2007's Super Paper Mario opting to be a bit more of a platformer, and 2012's Paper Mario: Sticker Star was more of... well, its own thing, I guess (we reviewed that one here). Nintendo has not confirmed this leak, so it remains a rumor for now, but the info does line up with reports from last Summer about how Intelligent Systems put out a job listing with Paper Mario on Wii U being listed, so make of that what you will. If true, this will be the first Paper Mario on a console in 9 years. Source: Emily Rogers (via Twitter) SEGA 3D Classics Collection is coming to 3DS Last Thursday, SEGA gave us a little taste of something they're bringing to 3DS soon -- SEGA 3D Classics Collection! While SEGA has bundled their classic games in collections previously, this collection specifically houses their classic titles that have been ported by M2 to 3DS with 3D functionality added (and sometimes additional options). Here's a list of the games that will be available in the collection: Power Drift Puyo Puyo 2 Maze Walker Fantasy Zone II: The Tears of Opa-Opa Fantasy Zone II W Sonic the Hedgehog Thunder Blade Galaxy Force 2 Altered Beast Since the collection is missing some of the more recent 3D classics that SEGA has recently put out (3D Gunstar Heroes, 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2, etc.), it seems likely that there will be a Volume 2 at some point as well. SEGA 3D Classics Collection will be available for $29.99 on April 26. Source: SEGA Blog Shutsumi blasts its way to Wii U eShop next week Choice Provisions announced earlier today that Shutsumi will be making its way to Wii U eShop next week. The game originally released last year on Steam, PlayStation 4, and PS Vita, and features a muscle-bound fish defending the seven seas in a randomized shoot-em-up campaign. Also, isn't that promo image amazing? Source: Choice Provisions Ubisoft dev speaks on why he went indie Ever wonder what drives developers at AAA companies to go indie? You probably already know, but a Ubisoft dev recently wrote at length about his experience at the company and why he chose to go it on his own. He has some pretty interesting things to say about working on games such as Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands, the Wii U version of Assassin's Creed 3, and even his own internal game pitches that eventually were shot down and cancelled. Check out the full post at the source link below. Source: gingearstudio.com Are you disappointed in Mighty No. 9's delay? And what are your thoughts on 3D SEGA Classics Collection as well as the new info about Michael Jackson composing Sonic the Hedgehog 3's soundtrack?
  9. 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.
  10. barrel

    Review: Culdcept Revolt

    Developer: Omiya Soft Publisher: NIS America Platform: 3DS Release Date: October 3, 2017 ESRB: T for Teen If there is one thing that I have learned from various traditional card and board games, it's that they fail to hold my attention every single time. I have had Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh decks given to me by friends hoping that I share their costly paper cards addiction as well as after playing with them multiple times, but to no success on their end. I have also spent many rainy days playing Monopoly with family and... well, never want to play that game ever again. Strangely enough, what is basically Magic-meets-Monopoly: The Video Game Series, AKA Culdcept, has captivated me in each incarnation. Though, admittedly, the strategic card game series has not been released nearly as frequent as I would like considering the last title we even got from the series in English was Culdcept Saga back in 2008 on the Xbox 360. Nearly a decade later, publisher NIS America has decided to give the previously thought-to-be-dead franchise overseas another shot by localizing Culdcept Revolt on the Nintendo 3DS. With welcome portability and various refinements to the addictive core gameplay Culdcept Revolt makes for a worthy gem amongst the 3DS's library. For something that is clearly its own breed of card game, Culdcept Revolt eases the player into its systems quite nicely. Tutorials are plentiful as each new card mechanic and stage gimmick is introduced. To break it down into more layman terms, the basic ebb and flow is that players roll dice on a looping game board and try to collect tolls until reaching certain total of points (and then reaching specific goal posts). Sounds a whole lot like Monopoly, right? You would be right in assuming the similarities to the iconic board game, but the part which actually makes Culdcept Revolt fun is the card game component that bears many similarities to Magic: The Gathering. Throughout the match, players will put down different creatures to guard certain spots. If an enemy player lands on the square with a creature, they can either attempt to defeat it with one of their own or be forced to pay the toll. There are a lot of tricks to employ from smartly seizing territory, utilizing spell/item cards in and out of battle, or finding that right sense of creature card synergy too. And that is just the surface of it. Deck building in of itself is one big learning experience in Culdcept Revolt. Players will be getting plenty of random new card packs via the in-game shop and will face enough devious AI throughout the main story whom are not sympathetic toward those who don't change things up. To give one an idea of how much fine tuning I did, I started the game with the basic Air- and Water-themed deck that is strongly reliant on overwhelming the board with many monsters and gathering chain bonuses. By the end, however, my main deck primarily composed of only a handful of fire/earth monsters and whole lot of spell cards to quickly shuffle, gain extra money, and insanely buff those handful of creatures in the process. As with pretty much any game around dice rolls and shuffled cards, there is a fine line between it feeling fun and fair or cheap and annoying. Unfortunately for the player, the default AI difficulty in Culdcept Revolt is skewed towards getting more lucky dice rolls than they deserve. I will be honest and say that my loss ratio is easily higher than my win ratio, and a lot of it was oppressively bad luck and dice rolls early in (ok, the latter never got better for me). Still, there is no penalty for losing (aside from time) as you can not only forfeit mid-match at any time if it feels like a lost cause, but also still get points to purchase more cards via win or loss to encourage that much more player card experimentation. Win or lose, however, I was utterly absorbed in learning/employing the different strategies in matches and stealing many clever tricks that the AI used against me for myself. There is more than enough depth to the gameplay, and deck composition in general, to compensate for bad luck as I gleaned from overhauling my card decks more than a few times. It is genuinely rewarding to formulate a smarter overall play style, and I eventually got to the point where my current card deck pretty much never lost at all in the story mode at all because of how far removed from luck it became. Though, I certainly had to learn to understand the means in which I accomplished it. Believe it or not, there actually is a story in Culdcept Revolt. Not a good one, mind you, as it features the whole amnesiac lead trope and throwaway supporting characters, but it is there in some capacity. The storytelling is thankfully inoffensive and provides just enough context as well as excuses to see different creative applications of decks and the various game modes. It is also worth noting that the player can not even touch or see most modes and features until getting to a certain point within the campaign -- including online/offline multiplayer (which makes sense since you can only really get points to buy card packs early in by playing story mode matches). When you do unlock them, the player can create lobbies with specific rule types like team matches, card types limitations, or even turn animation speed, to cater to a more competitive spirit if one is so inclined. 2017 has been a curious year for the 3DS library. Nintendo has gone out of its way to bring many old-school Metroid and Fire Emblem fans exactly what they want. But if the player decides to stray off the beaten path of first-party titles, they will find gems like Culdcept Revolt this year as well that are more than worth keeping an eye on for existing 3DS owners. While its inherent focus is not likely to change the mind of those that detest card games in general, Culdcept Revolt should please those with an open mind towards strategic card/board games and is more than rewarding on that front. For a series that has a surprisingly long history, Culdcept Revolt manages to be a fun and fresh new addition to the 3DS's library. Pros + Addictive, strategic gameplay that somehow makes what is essentially Monopoly mixed with Magic: The Gathering much more fun than it should be + Many cards and types that allow players a lot of freedom in deck composition + With the addition a decently sized single player campaign, as local/online multiplayer mode options, gives players plenty of excuses to be occupied with the game Cons - Default AI difficulty seems to get a few too many lucky dice rolls, which can be rather frustrating at times -Inconsequential storytelling Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great If you're looking for a satisfying way to pass the time Culdcept Revolt is a rewarding, addictive take on card/board games that pleasantly surprise those willing to give it a shot Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS code provided by the publisher.
  11. Jason Clement

    Review: SteamWorld Heist

    Developer: Image & Form Publisher: Image & Form Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: December 10, 2015 ESRB: E 10+ Two summers ago, nobody knew who developer Image & Form was. And almost overnight, they became an indie sensation. SteamWorld Dig put the Dutch team in the spotlight big time, winning huge acclaim from critics and fans everywhere for its unique, cartoon-like spin on the Steampunk genre and addictive gameplay. Subsequently, any other developer probably would've followed up such a hit game with an obvious sequel, but Image & Form boldly went in a different direction this time around. Enter SteamWorld Heist, a strategy action game based on boarding spaceships, shooting up rascally scoundrel Scrappers, and plundering all of the resources on board. But hold on just a second -- how did we get from digging down into the Earth all the way to plundering spaceships? Well, that's a tale for another time, according to Image & Form. What you will find out is that some pretty severe things have happened to SteamWorld since we last left Rusty. A catastrophe of sorts destroyed the planet, forcing the Steambots into outer space to live amongst the stars. At the outset, we learn that there are three distinct factions of Steambots now: The Cowbots, who mine for ore and water; Scrappers, who are pirates and thieves that scavenge and pillage other ships; and Royalists, an oppressive regime that rules the sector and enforces strict taxes on the Steambots. You play as Captain Piper Faraday, a headstrong female Steambot who runs a crew of smugglers that steal and plunder from Scrappers in order to help the Cowbots. When the game starts, you discover that Faraday had lost most of her former crew in a raid, and thus must rebuild it with new recruits over the course of the game. You'll encounter more Steambots throughout the course of the game and will be able to recruit them into your party by either paying their asking price (which is paid in water), having enough reputation points (which you get by completing missions), or a combination of the two. Each Steambot also has their own class and skills -- one might be able to use general handguns and pistols while another may act as a sniper, and yet another will be skilled at using heavy weaponry. As mentioned earlier, the core gameplay revolves around raiding ships, taking out enemy Scrappers and Royalists aboard, and grabbing any loot you come across. You'll make use of a branching space map in order to guide Piper's ship to different locations. Once you've boarded a ship, each level generally has a certain goal you must reach before you can hightail it out of there, whether it be grabbing a certain amount of loot, destroying x amount of Scrappers, or something else. The loot you acquire at the end of each mission can then be used to fortify your crew with new weapons and other equipment. In fact, the game has an amazing system of progression. Every Steambot that survives through the mission will gain experience, which in turn will lead them to level up and acquire new skills that will enhance their adeptness during battle. While you can't personalize each member of your crew's skills, it still is a lot of fun and exciting to unlock new ones, and you really get the sense that each crewmember is becoming better and more useful for every mission. There are a wide variety of weapons to acquire and buy as well, which help keep things diverse and interesting. Each mission will have Faraday and one or more of her crew infiltrating another ship, and the layout is all in 2D, similar to how SteamWorld Dig looked. However, being a strategy game and not a platformer, each of your crewmembers will have their own turn to move a limited amount of spaces and perform an action, whether it's taking a shot at enemies or using an assist item like a health pack to restore HP. Every ship will generally have a different layout of rooms and such, but the way each room is laid out in function will be the same. You'll have multiple levels of platforms to work with, ladders, and barrels and other objects to use as cover. It's simple in concept, but there's a world of depth to it when you really dig into the meat of the game. What really makes Heist's gameplay tick is its great use of gunplay. It doesn't just boil down to aiming your gun at an enemy and firing. Thank goodness too, because that would get old real fast. No, you'll be making use of angled shots to help hit certain foes. For example, your character and an enemy might both be using an object as cover, but -- given the right circumstances and position -- you can angle a shot so that it ricochets off the ceiling, then the wall behind the enemy before finally hitting them. Combined with the different ship layouts and enemy types, this mechanic gives the game a ton of flair and depth. However, It isn't just the gameplay that makes SteamWorld Heist special. Everything about the game shows that Image & Form put in a ton of effort to make this a truly quality game. The visuals show off a level of detail and polish that is rare to see outside of AAA games, and all of the animations are smooth as butter. Seriously, this is easily one of the best looking 2D 3DS games ever made. One can only imagine what it'll look like in HD when brought to PC, Vita, and other consoles. Even the music and soundtrack are extremely well done. The main theme that plays when you're raiding ships once again has a catchy old-western ambience to it (like in SteamWorld Dig), and I was blown away to find out that Image & Form produced entire songs with actual sung lyrics that play in the bars that you'll occasionally stop at. And if you listen in the back of Piper's ship, you can hear the sound of a large steam engine roaring to keep the ship running. Simply incredible. All I can say is Image & Form has done it again. SteamWorld Heist is a near-masterpiece of an experience and proves that SteamWorld Dig was clearly not a fluke. Even though the game is a complete 180 from Dig in terms of gameplay, it's a gamble that paid off in the end because it's a ton of fun and has loads of depth for players of all types. I can't say it enough -- SteamWorld Heist is fantastic, and it's the one 3DS game I would recommend above all others this year. Pros + Fantastic 2D visuals + Deep strategic gameplay + Multiple difficulties that are changeable at any time + Charming writing and cast of characters Cons - Customizable skillsets would be nice (I'm really reaching to nitpick here) Overall Score: 9.5 (out of 10) Fantastic SteamWorld Heist is an incredibly thrilling strategy game, and Image & Form's best title to date. The amount of polish is unbelievable for a 3DS game and the depth of its gameplay will have you playing over and over again. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the publisher
  12. Today's Nintendo Switch was quite a doozy. For 45 minutes, we watched as Nintendo announced game after game that would be coming to 3DS and Switch, and they definitely had their share of surprises, even if there may not have been a megaton. Here's a quick look at the biggest news coming out of the event if you missed it. Kirby Battle Royale announced for 3DS in 2018 Remember at the start of the year when Nintendo announced a multiplayer-focused Kirby game that would be coming later? Turns out it was delayed a tiny bit, and will instead be one of the first new 3DS games out in 2018 when it hits on January 19. Titled 'Kirby Battle Royale,' it's a single- and multiplayer-focused fighter that sees Kirby battling it out alongside other Kirbys (Kirbies?) in various modes. Mario Party: The Top 100 surprise announced for release in November on 3DS This was one that sort of came out of left field. Technically, it's not a full-fledged new Mario Party, but it does contain some of the series' best minigames to play through. And while it doesn't support online play, it does offer local download play, so you can play with three other friends on just one game cart. Mario Party: The Top 100 launches on Nov. 10 on 3DS. Minecraft is coming to 3DS too?? Okay, this one was legit surprising, especially considering that 3DS is in its twilight right now. Yes, Minecraft is coming to the handheld, but only the New Nintendo 3DS, not the original. This version features Survival and Creative modes, five skin packs, and two texture packs. Also surprising: the game actually released today, but only the digital version. A physical version is releasing at a later date. Atlus bringing the heat with four upcoming 3DS games When all is said and done with the 3DS, let everyone remember that Atlus was by far one of the biggest and most productive publishers on the handheld. Even in its late hour, the 3DS is getting four more RPGs from the Persona publisher, and they are as follows: The Alliance Alive Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey Redux We've actually known about all four, and two of them are remakes/remixes of previous games, but it's still nice to know they're coming. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 finally has a confirmed release date, and it's coming before year's end And you thought it wouldn't make it this year! To be fair, I was iffy on whether it would release as well, but Nintendo assured as that all was good and well with the game as it will officially make landfall on the Switch on December. Also, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 will be getting a special edition that includes a sound selection CD, a special metal game case, and a 220-page hardbound art book all for $99.99. A Nintendo Switch Pro Controller themed around the game will also be available for $74.99, and boy does it look snazzy. The Kirby Switch game is revealed as Kirby Star Allies Remember that Kirby game that was in development for Switch? It's now called Kirby Star Allies, and you'll be able to recruit up to three enemies as allies (with either friends playing or CPU) and mix abilities to create new powers. Did I mention that it looks like a continuation of Kirby's Return to Dreamland? Because it does, and that can only be a good thing. Anyhow, the game is coming to Switch in the Spring. BETHESDA IS BRINGING 'WHAT' TO SWITCH??? Easily one of the biggest surprises of the Direct, bar none, was the announcement that Bethesda would be bringing both DOOM and Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus to the Switch. You heard that right, this is not a drill! DOOM will be arriving first this Fall, while Wolfenstein II will be releasing in 2018. Square Enix reveals more about Project Octopath Traveler Another game that got way too little screentime in the Nintendo Direct from earlier this year was Project Octopath Traveler, a curious yet beautiful game from the same developer that brought us Bravely Default. And, with a brand new video showcasing what the game is about, Square Enix dropped a bomb on everyone, revealing that the game looks pretty darn amazing. The developers have utilized a mix of 2D and 3D visuals to create a new aesthetic that they're referring to as HD 2D (huh), and you'll be able to choose one of eight different characters and play through their own unique story. Oh, and there's a demo on the eShop as we speak, so be sure to check it out and see what the fuss is all about. And it's coming in 2018. Yes, we know, Super Mario Odyssey still looks amazing (and why isn't it out yet?) At this point, if you're not convinced Super Mario Odyssey looks amazing, I'm not sure what else I can do. And I'm pretty sure I don't have to convince anyone else that's already looking forward to it, so I'll say that what they showed was -- once again -- pretty fantastic stuff, showcasing a few new worlds that you can expect to see, story details, and more. Be sure to check it out in the Nintendo Direct video above. Oh, and a Super Mario Odyssey-themed Switch bundle is in the works for this Fall, featuring special Mario-themed red Joy-Con controllers, a special carrying-case, a Switch console, and a download code for the game all for a cool $379.99. Other news revealed Yeah, there was something other stuff announced too that wasn't quite as big as the stuff above, but if you want to hear about it, here we go: Splatoon 2 is getting new DLC soon, including the returning Kelp Dome stage, a new stage called Snapper Canal, and an extra-large Brella weapon. ARMS is adding new playable fighter Lola Pop by way of a new update today. Fire Emblem Warriors is getting a new character in the form of Lyndis (or 'Lyn'), the protagonist from Fire Emblem on GBA. Snipperclips Plus was announced as an expanded version of the original game, and it includes more than 30 new stages, new challenges, and new features. Existing owners can purchase the new content as DLC for $9.99. It's all coming on Nov. 10, and a physical version is in the works as well. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is arriving on Switch on Nov. 17. Dragon Quest Builders is coming to Switch in Spring 2018. NBA 2K18 is coming to Switch on Sept. 15. EA Sports FIFA 18 is coming to Switch on Sept. 29. WWE 2K18 is coming to Switch sometime soon. Square Enix's Lost Sphear is coming to Switch on Jan. 23. Flip Wars is getting a new update that adds a new stage, new mechanics, local wireless multiplayer, class matches, and a new online battle mode. Morphies Law, a new multiplayer shooter is launching first on Switch as a console exclusive this Fall. Arena of Valor, a free-to-start MOBA with a roster of more than 35 heroes, will be available for beta test this Winter on Switch. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Champion amiibo are all set to release on Nov. 10. Each character will unlock a special headgear for Link based on their Divine Beast. Further functionality will be detailed later. Layton's Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millonaire's Conspiracy is set to release on Oct. 6 on 3DS. Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney is set to release on 3DS in November. To watch the Nintendo Direct in full, check out the source link below. Source: Nintendo Direct What are your thoughts on the news from this Nintendo Direct?
  13. Jason Clement

    Review: Chicken Wiggle

    Developer: Atooi Publisher: Atooi Platform: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: August 17, 2017 ESRB: E for Everyone Chicken Wiggle is Atooi's second game since studio head Jools Watsham started it last year and, at a first glance, the game's core is a lot like Watsham's biggest claim to fame: Mutant Mudds. It's a platformer, the visuals are retro-inspired and 16-bit, and you make your way to the goal while dodging/defeating enemies and nabbing 100 collectibles and other hidden objects along the way. But a deeper dive reveals something much more; so much so that this could be Jools Watsham's and Atooi's best game yet. The story begins with the titular chicken setting out to rescue his fellow fowl friends, who have all been captured by a witch on a pogo stick and whisked away into the sky. And, recognizing that chickens can't fly (at least not normally; more on this later), Chicken immediately spots and teams up with a nearby worm named Wiggle. 'FRIENDSHIP!' the game exclaims; a rather endearing sentiment, and the first of a few aspects to indicate this title is focused on positivity. Right after, you're immediately introduced to the game's core mechanic: using Wiggle as a sort of hookshot/whip to pull you toward walls and ceilings. Additionally, you can whip enemies with the worm to stop and simultaneously stun them, then subsequently peck them with Chicken to defeat them. One minor gripe about this is it feels like you need to get a little too close to enemies to peck them for the game to register it. On many occasions, an enemy would end up taking out poor Chicken because I was trying to get close enough to peck it, which was a little frustrating. In any event, the hookshot mechanic isn't necessarily groundbreaking since games like Bionic Commando originally pioneered it and it's been a staple of Zelda games over the years, but Chicken Wiggle manages to combine it with a variety of different abilities and level designs to make something pretty memorable in the end. Each in-game world is a tower based on a different theme, with one ghost level in each bunch (carrying on the ghost theme inspiration from Mutant Mudds Deluxe). Whereas I felt that some of the level design in Mutant Mudds began to feel a little bit samey, Chicken Wiggle does a great job of varying the design by introducing new mechanics and obstacles frequently. For example, in one level you'll have to navigate your way around certain enemies and their movement patterns, or figure out how to defeat them before proceeding, while in the next you'll have to deal with traversing a gel-like substance that's suspended in air around spikes. As mentioned earlier, there are also special abilities for the chicken that make the game a lot more interesting, including a superhero suit that allows the chicken to fly, a jetpack that enables a double jump, a hot air balloon that allows movement in any direction for a limited number of spaces, an ability that turns the chicken ghostly and enables it to walk through spikes and attack ghosts, and even a hard hat that allows it to peck through just about any wall. The latter especially changes up the game, giving you a lot of leeway to essentially find your own path through the level. What also gives Chicken Wiggle amazing lasting appeal is the ability to create and share your own levels, effectively giving it a Super Mario Maker vibe. As the game continues to live on, you'll get access to potentially hundreds or thousands of user-created levels, giving the game an incredible scope of content to play through, even if creating levels isn't your thing. If you do enjoy designing levels, however, Chicken Wiggle offers a robust level creator for you to play around with, giving you access to all the game's assets to use however you see fit. Also pretty nifty is the option to change the level objective from rescuing your friend to grabbing all the loot, beating all of the enemies, destroying blocks, and more. It must also be said that the soundtrack in Chicken Wiggle is fantastic and easily one of the best in Atooi's library of games to date. Matthew Gambrel's music is evocative of older mascot platformers such as Mickey's Magical Quest, and fits the whimsical world of Chicken Wiggle extremely well. From a ghost level theme with marimba/balafon beats to a hot air balloon theme with retro NES vibes, there's a lot of variety to love here. Chicken Wiggle makes a strong case for being Atooi's best game yet; Jools Watsham has touched on something extremely special here with its combination of a charming mascot duo, hookshot platforming, and a fully-fledged level creation suite. All this and more add up to a great package that's well worth the price in the end. If you enjoy mascot platformers, retro games, and/or designing and sharing your own levels, Chicken Wiggle is a must-buy. Pros + Lengthy campaign to play through + Gameplay is reminiscent of 2D '90s mascot platformers + Levels mix things up a lot with different abilities to use + Robust level creation suite and player-created levels will keep you busy for a long time + Soundtrack is great Cons - Pecking enemies can be hit-or-miss due to how close you have to get to them, causing this to be the most common (and needless) cause of death in the game. Overall Score: 8.5 (out of 10) Great Chicken Wiggle is another great addition to Atooi's stable of excellent retro-inspired platformers, and makes a real case for being the best of the bunch thanks to its added level creation and sharing capabilities. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable 3DS code provided by the publisher
  14. Chicken Wiggle, the newest brainchild of game designer Jools Watsham (formerly of Renegade Kid, now of Atooi), is coming to 3DS eShop soon and finally has a release date: August 17. For those not in the know, Chicken Wiggle is a platformer in the same vein as Watsham's previous games, such as the Mutant Mudd series -- in which you run, jump, and overcome platforming obstacles in order to make your way to the goal in each level while attempting to pick up collectibles along the way. One of this game's key elements is using the chicken's wormy friend as a sort of grappling hook mechanic which will pull you toward walls and ceilings. You'll also be able to create and share your own levels as well. Check out the action in the game's release date trailer below! If you're interested in checking out more screenshots and videos of the game, you can head over to Chicken Wiggle's website. And if you missed it previously, check out our review for Watsham's last game, Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge. Source: Atooi Are you interested in checking out Chicken Wiggle?
  15. Gurumin: A Monstrous Adventure appears to be experiencing a renaissance as of late. Mastiff Games brought the game to Steam in 2015 (which we reviewed here) -- some eight years after its original release on PSP -- and then once again to 3DS late last year. Now Mastiff is looking to give the game its first physical release on PC and 3DS since the original's PSP release, but they need your help to do so. Thus, they'll be launching a Kickstarter campaign soon. However, you can get a preview of what to expect if you head over to Prefundia. A number of backer tiers have already been announced (which include rewards such as digital keys, art, and more), and stretch goals are said to be in the works as well. In the meantime, be sure to keep an eye out for the Kickstarter campaign for Gurumin's physical release, which should be coming soon. Source: Press Release Would you buy a physical release of Gurumin?
  16. Inti Creates may have had a hand in the development of last year's critically lambasted Mighty No. 9, but the studio is firing on all cylinders this year with the the positive reception from Blaster Master Zero and the recently released Mighty Gunvolt Burst. That momentum kept going yesterday as they announced at Anime Expo 2017 that Shovel Knight and Shantae would be coming to Blaster Master Zero as DLC EX characters very soon; both of which fundamentally change up the game in pretty notable ways. Shovel Knight effectively acts as a melee character with a similar moveset to that of his own game, using his shovel as an attack and also being able to bounce off enemies with a downward thrust when he jumps. Similarly, Shantae also has pretty much the same classic moveset from her own games, which is attacking with her hair and magic as well as transforming into animals with special skills. Inti Creates is offering both characters for free when each debuts, but will then charge $1.99 for each when the free period ends. The period for when you can download them for free is as follows: EX Character: Shantae – 7/6/2017~7/19/2017 EX Character: Shovel Knight – 8/3/2017~8/16/2017 And as if that isn't enough for you, Inti Creates also teased that this isn't the end of new updates for Master Blaster Zero. More info on what's next for the game will be announced in the coming weeks and months. Could more DLC characters be in the works? Or will they add more game modes? We'll have to wait and see. Meanwhile, check out the trailer for Shovel Knight and Shantae in Master Blaster Zero below. Source: Inti Creates Are you excited for Shovel Knight and Shantae? Are you planning to play through the game as them?
  17. Remember Kirby's Blowout Blast? It was announced during the Spring Nintendo Direct as the second of three Kirby games that would be releasing this year. Blowout Blast was specifically said to be coming during the Summer, but not much else was shown or said about it beyond a few short clips of the game. Oddly enough, it was also absent from Nintendo's E3 presence in both their Presentation video detailing upcoming games as well as the Treehouse Livestream. So what's the deal with the game exactly? We finally got an answer today as Nintendo nonchalantly announced that Kirby's Blowout Blast would be coming out next week. Little fanfare aside, it is nice to have at least one more 3DS game in the lineup for what is already a stellar Summer lineup leading into Fall (with the recent release of Ever Oasis and upcoming releases of both Hey! Pikmin and Miitopia in July, and then Metroid: Samus Returns in September). So there you have it. Kirby's Blowout Blast lands on 3DS eShop on 7/6 next week. If you're interested in footage of the game, Nintendo's Japanese Youtube account uploaded a new video of the game today that you can check out below. Source: Nintendo (via Twitter) Are you looking forward to Kirby's Blowout Blast?
  18. It was largely believed by many that 3DS was on its way out by the end of the year due to the arrival of Nintendo's new Switch (which released in March), but given the new 3DS games announced in the latest Nintendo Direct as well as today's news, we may not have seen the last of the 3DS/2DS line just yet. Say hello to the New 2DS XL, a new, sleeker model that loses the slate aesthetic of the original 2DS and instead marries the clamshell aesthetic of its 3DS sibling, minus the 3D. Aside from the new look, XL specifications (larger screen size), and lighter weight, it appears there's no new functionality added since the New 3DS and New 3DS XL launched a few years back, so this is purely an aesthetic change. Check out the video highlighting it below to get a better look at the new handheld's design. The New Nintendo 2DS XL will launch in a black and blue variation on July 28th for $149.99. Two new games, Hey! Pikmin and Miitopia, will also be launching alongside the new handheld SKU on the same day. Source: Nintendo What are your thoughts on the New Nintendo 2DS XL?
  19. Today's Nintendo Direct unleashed a bevy of announcements regarding upcoming games, and one of the things that was made abundantly clear is that the 3DS isn't being retired anytime soon. Pikmin finally comes to 3DS The Pikmin 3DS game that was announced last year is now titled Hey! PIKMIN and will be releasing on the 3DS family of systems on July 28. This game tasks players with using Pikmin to help Olimar solve puzzles and traverse 2D sidescrolling levels (for the first time in the series). Also, it's not going to utilize 3D, apparently. Nintendo celebrating Kirby 25th Anniversary in Style Five years ago, Nintendo and Hal released Kirby's Dream Collection -- a collection of past Kirby games -- on Wii to celebrate the series' 20th anniversary, but this time they're releasing three Kirby titles for 3DS. The first is actually a minigame that appeared as a part of last year's Kirby: Planet Robobot, called Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. This standalone version features four Kirbys with different powers who team up to battle enemies. The game is free-to-start and debuts on the 3DS eShop today. The second is a new title called Kirby's Blowout Blast, and appears to be a spiritual successor to Kirby Tilt 'n Tumble. It'll contain 25 3D stages to play through as Kirby inhales objects to defeat enemies. You'll get to play it when it arrives on 3DS eShop this Summer. Lastly, a new, untitled multiplayer action Kirby title is in development for the 3DS and should be out by the end of the year. No screenshots or video were shown either, so it seems like they're either saving the official reveal for E3 or it's much too early to show anything at this point. An RPG for you and Mii Some more light was shed on the upcoming Mii-based RPG, Miitopia. It plays a lot like traditional RPGs with turn-based battles and such, but your allies have minds of their own and their relationships affect the outcome of battles. This one is also launching later this year. More JRPG Goodness on the way Ever the RPG machine, 3DS has no shortage of games in the genre in the works right now. Ever Oasis, which was originally announced last year now has a release date, and it's soon! You'll be able to play the new, action-RPG from Secret of Mana creator Koichi Ishii on June 23 on 3DS. Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia may be coming out next month, but there's still more news coming out about it; specifically, it's getting DLC -- both free and paid. More info will be detailed about what the content will be, but there will be a season pass you can buy to get all of it as well. Also, good news for Monster Hunter fans -- Capcom is bringing Monster Hunter Stories to the 3DS later this year. Unlike traditional titles in the series, this one is a spin-off where you play as a Rider instead of a Hunter, engage in turn-based battles with enemies, and befriend monsters by stealing eggs and hatching them. For the first time, Yo-Kai Watch is getting its own third entry in a series with the upcoming release of Yo-Kai Watch 2: Psychic Specters. The game features the same campaign but with additional content, and it launches on 3DS this Fall. NIS America is bringing two games this Summer: one is RPG Maker Fes, which launches on June 27 on 3DS. Players will be able to make their own RPGs with pre-made assets (and variants of them), and in a neat twist, players will be able to download a free application called RPG Maker Player, which will let people play fan-made RPGs from the game even if they don't have Fes. The second game NISA is publishing is Culdcept Revolt, described as a card-meets-board game. It's getting a regular and limited edition upon release, which will be on August 29. Farewell, BOXBOY. We hardly knew ye... Last but not least, Bye-Bye BOXBOY! is the third and final BOXBOY game from Hal. You'll solve new box-based puzzles with the help of four new powers and amiibo support that allows you to scan in Kirby series amiibo figures to unlock costumes. The best part? It's available right now on the 3DS eShop, as is a free demo. Source: Nintendo Direct What are your thoughts on the 3DS news that came out of today's Nintendo Direct?
  20. Jason Clement

    Review: Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World

    Developer: Good Feel Publisher: Nintendo Platform: 3DS Release Date: February 3, 2017 ESRB: E for Everyone Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World is the latest in a string of games that have been ported down from Wii U to 3DS by Nintendo over the last few years. It began with Hyrule Warriors (which gained a "Legends" suffix for the handheld port), then Super Mario Maker (which gained a "3DS" suffix), and now we've come down to Yoshi's Woolly World, which has gained a prefix this time around with the addition of 'Poochy' to the title. Developer Good Feel has also added a number of new additions and modes this time around, keeping this from being merely a direct port, but is it enough to convince fans of the Wii U version to double dip? Despite the addition of the yarn pooch's name to the title, this still remains Yoshi's game though it does emphasize Poochy's increased appearance through several new and exclusive modes. The most notable of these is Poochy Dash, in which you race through auto-runner stages as the yarn pooch, collecting yarn beads and Poochy Pups along the way. They offer a nice break from the normal Yoshi levels and even offer a few objectives to clear in each level, but they're over fairly quickly. Also new to this version is Mellow Mode, which essentially makes the game as painless as possible by giving Yoshi an infinite hover jump and three Poochy Pups that can be tossed instead of eggs (and will always return to you) as well as sniff out secrets and assist in subduing certain enemies. Additionally, there's a mode that allows you to knit a whole new look for Yoshi that gives the game a nice, extra bit of customization, as well as Yoshi Theater, which houses 31 short, stop-motion videos that feature Yarn Yoshi and Poochy in real-world environments doing, uh... cute things and being generally adorable. They unlock one day at a time, however, which can get a little frustrating if you want to see all of them. Good Feel even made some optimizations to the game's overworld, which is now laid out in a traditional side-scrolling view (a la classic Yoshi's Island) instead of using the Wii U version's sprawling, open, birds-eye-view mode to navigate to each area. You can also use the new Poochy amiibo to bring Poochy into stages alongside Yoshi for extra assistance, which is a neat new wrinkle to the game. Of course, the original game still remains as charming and fun as ever. However, the visuals do take a hit on the smaller screen, with all of the sharp detail of the Wii U version gone and looking a bit more muddy on the 3DS. The scenery and backgrounds in each level are still discernible as yarn creations, but the detail and threads on Yoshi are a lot less noticeable here; it looks more like Yoshi has low resolution yarn pattern laid out on his low-poly model. That said, it's impressive that Good Feel were able to make it look as good as they did on a less powerful device, and those that never played the original game won't notice the difference anyhow. If you haven't played the original Yoshi's Woolly World, the experience is largely modeled after the gameplay of previous Yoshi's Island games in which you run, jump and solve minor platforming puzzles throughout side-scrolling levels. Woolly World's additional spin on the experience, in which the entire world and its characters are all made out of yarn, means that you can manipulate levels' terrain in various ways, such as tugging on a string that's been tied into a bow on a wall to unravel the entire area and reveal secrets within. Instead of eggs, Yoshi acquires balls of yarn that he can throw at enemies and create platforms out of. Certain areas might look a little bent out of shape, meaning you can push against and bunch up the wall so that you can see what's hiding behind it. It all amounts to the most creative Yoshi game since the original Yoshi's Island, and though not every single level is memorable, each one does attempt a new gameplay idea that keeps the game feeling fresh all along. Additionally, there are a ton of collectibles in each level to discover and to go back to if you missed them the first time around, and there's even impetus of additional content you can play if you collect it all. Also, did I mention the music is insanely good in this game? There's a wide variety of different musical styles employed here, from guitar and piano melodies to more jazzy and experimental synth songs; it's one of the most varied and experimental soundtracks I've heard from a Nintendo game in a while and it's incredibly catchy to boot. So is Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World worth your time? If you've never played the original, I'd say absolutely, though I still think the original is the best way to experience it thanks to its enhanced visuals. But if you have played the Wii U version, it largely depends on whether the new material matters to you. None of it is particularly makes this a more engaging version, but Yoshi die-hards will appreciate and lap up all of the new content (especially the stuff featuring Poochy). At the end of the day, Poochy and Yoshi's Woolly World is yet another great way to play what is easily one of the best new classic games released in recent years. If you've not played the original and prefer to play it on the go, it's not to be missed. Pros + Great, inspired game design that is tied to its visual style + Amazing soundtrack + Solid amount of content to play through, plus extra content that is unlocked after seeking out collectibles Cons - While the visuals are still impressive for what the 3DS can do, they're scaled down quite a bit here and yarn details are a lot more blurry here - Your mileage may vary when it comes to whether you find the new Poochy content worth buying this version specifically for Overall Score: 8 (out of 10) Great Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is a solid port of a great game that shouldn't be missed, though its visuals suffer a downgrade in the process, and the added content doesn't quite merit a purchase if you're buying it for that alone. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher
  21. Getting a new numbered Dragon Quest game is a pretty rare and special event these days, similar to getting new console Zelda titles. Fortunately, Japanese fans of the series finally got to hear what they had been waiting for -- the game's release date. Square Enix announced that Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time will be released in Japan on July 29 on both PlayStation 4 and 3DS. Hardware bundles are underway for each version from their prospective platform holders (Sony and Nintendo), and it was also announced that the story would take some 50 hours to complete, with side quests bringing the total amount to 100 hours in all. Trailers were also shown as well. Check out the one below that mixes the PS4 and 3DS footage together. Hopefully a North American release date isn't far off. We'll be getting a new Nintendo Direct detailing upcoming games so perhaps we'll hear something then or at E3 in two months. Source: Gematsu Are you looking forward to Dragon Quest XI?
  22. Ever since the release of Fire Emblem Fates and some of Nintendo's more recent hardcore games (such as The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild), it seems like Limited Editions have become the norm alongside the regular physical releases. So it comes as no surprise that Nintendo has revealed the upcoming Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will also be getting one. As is par for many LEs, this Limited Edition will include a hardcover Valentia Artbook, a CD with a selection of music from the game, a pin set that features the characters Alm, Celicia, and Marth; and a reversible cover sheet that's based on the original NES game. Shadows of Valentia, as revealed before, is a remake of the second Fire Emblem game in the series -- the Japanese-only release, Fire Emblem Gaiden -- and features modernized graphics, cutscenes, and for the first time in the series: free-roaming 3D dungeons. The Limited Edition of Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia will release for 3DS for $59.99, whereas the regular edition will be $39.99. Source: Press Release Will you be buying the Limited Edition of the game? Let us know!
  23. Monday Musings is a feature where every Monday, I'll shoot the breeze about what I've been playing and what my thoughts are on various news and events in the game industry. This week I'm back to discussing certain things I've been playing instead of focusing on a single large topic like last week. I'll dive into two topics that have been on my mind as of late: Kingdom Hearts 3 and Yoshi's Woolly World. The long road to Kingdom Hearts 3, and why you should play Kingdom Hearts 2.8 As of last night, I've completely played through all of the content in Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue. I ended up saving the newest piece of content -- Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth By Sleep ~A Fragmentary Passage~ -- for last, and it turned out to be a wise choice as it's the direct piece of the collection that literally leads into the beginning of Kingdom Hearts 3. For those not in the know -- KH 0.2 was originally intended to be built into Kingdom Hearts 3 as its prologue, but director Tetsuya Nomura decided it got in the way of the game's pacing, so it was moved to the KH 2.8 collection both to expand the content there and to serve as a playable teaser for KH3 while fans continue to wait for its release. I still plan on writing a review for the whole collection, so expect that sometime in the near future for direct thoughts on all three pieces of content within. I will say right now that KH 0.2 leaves off at a very satisfactory place and will leave you desperately wanting KH3 more than ever. There isn't a big cliffhanger, per se, but what they do address near the end serves as an interesting precursor for what's to come. KH 2.8 bridges a lot of content between Kingdom Hearts 2 and the eventual third title, and some of the revelations in 2.8 are big enough to make you wonder why they revealed those story beats during in-between content instead of the mainline numbered games. Both Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance and 0.2 are more like The Empire Strikes Back in this trilogy than even KH2 is (which, I guess makes KH2 more like Shadows of the Empire?). It also ties all of the threads from previous games together in a neat way, not leaving anything hanging. All I can say is that if Kingdom Hearts 3 can put a nice bow on all of the threads Nomura has been weaving so far, it's going to be one heck of a final game for Xehanort's story arc. Go play KH 2.8. Seriously. Can a game's visuals actually be as important as the gameplay? Yoshi's Woolly World certainly makes a strong argument for it You've likely heard it said before that when it comes to games, the most important thing that matters is gameplay. The visuals can be superb, but if the gameplay doesn't stand up then nothing else matters. I certainly believe that's true for many games. But... what if those roles were reversed? What if great gameplay was paired with subpar visuals? Would the game still be compelling enough to play? And to be fair, I'm not talking about a case like Shovel Knight, whose 8-bit-inspired visuals may not be as impressive as another's, like Dragon's Crown. Those 8-bit graphics still have charm and a place for gamers who appreciate those aesthetics. I'm talking poorly designed visuals. Abysmal-looking stuff. Amateur hour. Like, the developer tried to make something look good, but... it doesn't. And when I really think about it -- and that example specifically -- no, I don't think gameplay is the be-all end-all for games. Certainly it's the most important aspect, don't get me wrong there. But if other areas of the game are lacking, I'm not going to pretend that great gameplay makes up for everything, and that includes subpar visuals. Case in point: Yoshi's Woolly World may be one of the first games that keeps me playing because of its brilliant visual style. That's not to say it isn't impressive mechanically -- it's essentially a reskin of Yoshi's Island's mechanics -- but the yarn aesthetic really makes the whole experience. Without it, I may as well be playing a standard Yoshi game, in which case things would be a whole lot less interesting. It's difficult to quantify exactly what it is that makes the yarn visuals so compelling -- perhaps it's because it's so different from the norm, or that we associate the sewing material with warmth and being comfortable. Maybe it's even because it reminds us of childhood where -- for many -- life was easier. Really though, Yoshi's Woolly World is charming as heck, and I can't wait to get back into it. It's one of few games where its visuals directly tie into its gameplay, and both aspects are better for it. If you haven't played it yet, I definitely recommend it; I'll have a more detailed breakdown of the experience in a review soon. So what about you? Have you played Kingdom Hearts 2.8 yet, and are you counting the days until Kingdom Hearts 3 comes out? And what are your thoughts on visuals in games? Do they need to be at a certain level in order for you to be interested in the game, or if a game has great gameplay, will you play it regardless?
  24. While we pretty much know all about Nintendo's upcoming Switch and its launch lineup (for better or worse), the 3DS's lineup has been a little bit more up in the air, especially after Dragon Quest VIII's release last week. Until now, that is. First up on the release docket is Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World, the expanded 3DS port of Yoshi's Woolly World (which originally released on Wii U back in 2015) that features new stages and Poochy as a playable character. You won't have to wait long for this one -- it's coming next Friday (Feb. 3). Two weeks after that on Feb. 16 comes Tank Troopers, an eShop-exclusive tank warfare game that supports up to six players battling against each other in team or free-for-all local multiplayer matches. Jumping ahead to March 24 we have Mario Sports Superstars, which sees Mario and friends participating in five different sports: Golf, Soccer, Tennis, Baseball, and Horse Racing. Both local and online multiplayer will be supported. And if you didn't hear earlier, the game is not being solely developed by Camelot, surprisingly. This will also be the first game to have its own amiibo cards (which add different bonuses to the gameplay) outside of an Animal Crossing title; the game comes bundled with one card, and additional blind packs of five will be sold for $4.99. And, while not a Q1 title, we did receive word last week that the newly announced Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valencia will be releasing on May 21. Expect to hear about Q2 releases sometime in March. At the moment, April seems to be wide open with no first-party releases scheduled, so hopefully something is planned for that month. Also, the upcoming Pikmin game for 3DS that was revealed last Fall is still in the works for 2017, though no date has been finalized yet. It's possible that it might be a Summer or Fall release, though we'll have to wait and see. Last but not least, two titles are joining the Nintendo Selects lineup and will now be available for $19.99. Those games are Kirby Triple Deluxe and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team.
  25. The farming series known in Japan as Bokujo Monogatari (which was originally Harvest Moon in the West before Marvelous started self-publishing the game) is getting its next entry in the West as Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns fairly soon. XSEED has announced that the game will be hitting 3DS on February 28 and will be getting a pocket plushie of the new in-game capybara pet with pre-orders. Also of note -- costumes based on Nintendo's Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad will also make an appearance in the game. Each will have a special effect on the main character as listed below: Mario's outfit and hat: Gives a running speed boost Luigi's outfit and hat: Improves luck at fishing Princess Peach's Dress and Tiara: Makes you better friends with people Toad's outfit: Recharges stamina over time Trio of Towns' main hook gives the player three unique locales to explore as they look for new ways to grow crops and such. Each town will also offer its own crops, potential love interests, animals, festivals, and more. Source: Press Release Are you interested in checking out Story of Seasons: Trio of Towns when it releases?