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  1. 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
  2. After a successful Kickstarter run while supporting the game for nearly 2 years after its release, the long road for Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is finally winding down, but not before some final surprises. Today, WayForward revealed that all versions of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (both the base and Ultimate edition) will receive a free content update that will include Jammies Mode and a brand new transformation. Jammies Mode will let you play through the campaign in Shantae's pajamas as well as pillow fight enemies, float on a dream-like cloud, and use sleepy sheep as projectiles. As for the new transformation, Shantae will be able to transform into Sophia III from Blaster Master Zero and blast enemies away. Interestingly enough, this isn't Shantae's first crossover with Blaster Master Zero. Last year, developer Inti Creates added Shantae as a playable DLC character in Blaster Master Zero, so it looks like WayForward is repaying the favor with the appearance of the latter title's Sophie III vehicle in Half-Genie Hero this time around. Check out both new additions in the trailer for the new update below! Source: Press Release Will you be checking out Jammies Mode or the Blaster Master transformation in Shantae: Half-Genie Hero?
  3. Jordan Haygood

    The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Artwork

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker Artwork.

    © Nintendo

  4. Time to learn some more glitchless #Speedruns for #PaperMario! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and get cozy, strap in for the night and enjoy this hit classic! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  5. Changing things up a little tonight with the #PaperMario #Speedrun attempts. Instead of going for some of those glitches, I'm going to be running Glitchless! Come swing by the #Twitch stream and get all comfy cozy! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  6. The grind continues tonight. Come swing by the #Twitch stream and watch some more #speedrun attempts in #PaperMario! Got a few more back up strats to try for glitches, so hopefully we can make it even farther! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  7. I will finish a run! Some night! Well, come watch the progress as I continue my #PaperMario #Speedrun attempts and have a grand ol' time! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  8. Another night of streaming, and another night of #PaperMario #Speedrun attempts. Come swing by the #Twitch stream and watch some awesome game breaking glitches and fun! ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  9. The time has come! Join me tonight on #Twitch as I try and learn a new #speedrun in the incredible #PaperMario! (N64) I'm going to be doing the Any% no PW run, so be sure to bring by and bring the hype. ROYZYABOY! https://www.twitch.tv/royzoga123
  10. 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?
  11. Ever since the "Expansion Pass" for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was announced, fans have been wondering exactly what will be released in each of the three DLC packs that comprises it. While Nintendo released a rough outline of what would be in each pack, the official details on the first DLC pack have come through today, and it contains even more than what was first announced. First off, the first DLC pack will be called The Master Trials. Here's what it contains: Trial of the Sword Previously known as "The Cave of Trials," this will be accessible location will serve as a challenge for Link where he'll need to defeat enemies in each room to continue on. Much like Eventide Island, he'll start off without armor or weapons, and the trial will include some 45 rooms in all. If he manages to beat it, you'll unlock the true power of the Master Sword and it will always be in its glowing state. Hard Mode What it sounds like. Essentially this raises all monsters' levels by one, so Red Bokoblins will now be Blue ones and so forth. Enemies will also recover health over time, forcing you to defeat them quickly if you want to move on, and they'll spot Link more easily as well. Finally, new, floating planks (with balloons) will be scattered across Hyrule where Link can battle enemies and find new treasure. Hero's Path One of the most useful-sounding additions so far -- essentially, this documents every path Link has taken around Hyrule in green since the start of your adventure. It will record your last 200 hours of travel, so you'll have a better idea of where you've been on the map and where you haven't. Travel Medallion Ever wish you could travel to a certain spot but no shrine, tower, village, or stable was nearby? Now you can, registering up to one temporary point you can return to at any time. You'll have to find the chest that the Travel Medallion is hiding in first, however. Korok Mask Ya-ha-ha! When you find it, this new item will help you locate those sneaky Koroks. No more combing the map blindly for them! 8 new pieces of outfits/equipment Also one of the most interesting pieces in this DLC; among them are Majora's Mask, Midna's Helmet, Tingle's Outfit, and the Phantom Armor (that Zelda wears/inhabits in Spirit Tracks). Oh, and I almost forgot... Option to switch the game's audio between 9 differerent languages This update is actually a free one that isn't tied to the Expansion Pass. Were you disappointed you were stuck with English audio when you played through the NA version of the game? Now you'll be able to play through the game with one of eight other audio voice tracks (and on-screen text), including Japanese, French (Canada), French (France), German, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), Italian, and Russian. Also, Wii U players will need to download a Voice Pack from the eShop to experience this option. The good news is you won't have to wait long for DLC Pack 1; it's slated to release this Summer. DLC Pack 2 will arrive a little bit later during the Holiday season, and will be detailed a little before that time likely. Source: Nintendo What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild's first DLC pack from the Expansion Pass?
  12. 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'll be talking about the upcoming launch of the Nintendo Switch on Friday, one early challenge that's come up already for it, and how I haven't been this excited for a new console in a long time. Is it Friday yet? No? Then is it too late to put myself in cryogenic sleep otherwise? Maybe that'd be overdoing it a bit considering the Switch comes out a mere four days from now, but seriously... I want that Switch yesterday. It's funny -- when I think of the Wii U, I actually can't remember much of the pre-launch hype for it. I do remember that it was barely advertised on TV (much less elsewhere) -- Nintendo claimed that it was due to high ad prices because of the 2012 election -- but when it comes to being excited for it and the games it was launching with, I remember... nothing. Of course, getting a new console is always exciting -- I do remember the day my Wii U arrived in the mail, but I don't remember being super hyped for it, and it's not hard to see why when you look at its launch lineup. People like to rip the Switch a new one considering that it's only launching with 10 titles (9, if you don't count Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove and Specter of Torment as separate releases), whereas the Wii U launched with just over twice that amount. But here's the thing -- there are more titles in Switch's lineup that interest me a lot more than the Wii U's, and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one who is thinking that. Despite its superior quantity and diversity of launch titles, only five titles in the Wii U launch lineup were exclusive, none of which had major hype behind it. Its strongest first-party title was New Super Mario Bros. U, a game that was too similar to previous games in the series and launched too soon after New Super Mario Bros. 2 released on 3DS just a few months prior. Nintendo Land was a decent pack-in mini-game collection that was largely overlooked, as was Ubisoft's ZombiU. In contrast, Switch has six exclusives (Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment is a timed exclusive for one month) -- all of which I'm much more interested in than the Wii U's five, which are now looking downright ho-hum. If Switch's launch lineup doesn't interest you at all, I don't blame you. Having more titles is never a bad thing, and it's not a hugely diverse bunch of titles either. But compared to Wii U's lineup, Switch's is looking more and more like it makes the argument for "quality > quantity." The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may be the driving factor for most people buying the Switch on day one, but I'm already much more excited to play some of the other games coming day one than I was for the many launch ports on Wii U. Super Bomberman R, FAST RMX, Snipperclips, and Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove are all games I'm excited to dig into alongside Zelda, leading this to be one of the better launch lineups I've experienced in some time. While the verdict is still out on how good Super Bomberman R is, more than half of the launch titles have already received critical acclaim, which says a lot about the quality of the lineup itself. Honestly, it was easy to be disappointed when Nintendo revealed that the Switch launch lineup would be a bit more meager than both the Wii's and Wii U's, but the more time we've had to adjust to it, the more I think the Switch will be just fine in the end. Nintendo has already set in motion a number of titles (both big and small) that are set to launch in the following months and throughout the year, with more indies and third party games being announced every week -- more than enough to keep momentum and interest strong throughout the year. Wii U -- on the other hand -- had the inverse situation. It launched with a respectable number of games of varying quality and then... was virtually silent for months at a time. The next big exclusive to release after launch came in March, some four months after. This was a huge blow to the Wii U's momentum, and it showed in the monthly sales after 2013 began as the platform began to sell less and less. It's often said that a game console's library is judged by the amount of exclusives it has. Wii U had five at launch. Of 23 overall. The rest were available elsewhere. The Switch has six exclusives. Of ten overall. The remaining four? Probably not slated for doing big business, with maybe the exception of Just Dance 2017. Skylanders Imaginators isn't likely to sell gangbusters on Switch, because it's a game that's already been on the market for nearly 5 months now. Most of those third party Wii U launch games didn't sell like crazy either. Because they were also available elsewhere. You know what most people thought when they saw that Assassin's Creed III available on Wii U at launch? "Huh, that's cool. I'll buy it on Xbox 360 or PS3." 60% exclusives to 21%, that's what you're looking at with Switch vs Wii U when it comes to their libraries. Even if Tomorrow Corporation's games make Switch's launch (which it isn't guaranteed as of this writing) and bumps the number from 10 to 13, 46% is still a fairly good number for launch exclusives. One other thing Switch's launch lineup has going for it is that it knows its audience. Just look at the games -- 1-2-Switch - March 3 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild - March 3 Skylanders Imaginators - March 3 Just Dance 2017 - March 3 Super Bomberman R - March 3 I Am Setsuna - March 3 Snipperclips - March 3 Fast RMX - March 3 Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment - March 3 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove - March 3 For the most part, these are very Nintendo-oriented games, with a few casual games thrown in to attract the mass market crowd. It's not attempting to go after the Call of Duty crowd or the hardcore action crowd right now because it doesn't have to (and because it would be a moot point at the moment). Rather, they're doubling down on the games they know Nintendo fans will like best (and the ones that are actually ready to release): old-school platformers, arcade games, creative puzzle games, RPGs, racing games, and adventure games. Wii U tried to be everything to everyone, but it wasn't because it didn't have enough that was unique to it at launch, whereas Switch is more focused and selling to a very specific crowd with most of its titles, while relying on 1-2 Switch and Just Dance 2017 to reel in casuals. This is why Switch's lineup beats out Wii U's. That, and Breath of the Wild pretty much beats out the entire Wii U launch lineup anyhow. Seriously, is it Friday yet? What do you think? Is Switch's launch lineup more appealing to you than the Wii U's was? Would you have actually bought most of the third-party titles on Wii U, or would you buy them on PS3/360 at the time?
  13. 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?
  14. Ever since last year's E3, it's been assumed that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild would be the Wii U's final first-party release, but now Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aime has confirmed that this is indeed the case in a recent interview with Polygon. However, though Nintendo won't be making any more new Wii U titles, Reggie also said that Nintendo will still be supporting the online components for the foreseeable future and that the ongoing activity for both Mario Kart 8 and Splatoon is "significant." It's also worth noting that eShop releases will still continue from indie developers and possibly some smaller third parties, though it's unknown whether new Virtual Console games will be released on Wii U after the launch of Nintendo Switch. Also in question is the future of the game known as Project Giant Robot, which was one of two final games (alongside Breath of the Wild) to appear on the most recent release forecast for Wii U in Nintendo's investor reports. Whether the game was outright cancelled or changed in concept, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, Nintendo's final first party title for the Wii U -- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild -- will release on March 3. Source: Polygon What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild being the final first-party release?
  15. Jason Clement

    Pokemon Snap is out today on Wii U VC

    You know what game would have been perfect for a brand new entry (and revival) on the Wii U? Pokemon Snap. It's still pretty surprising that it never happened given that the Wii U's set-up is incredibly ideal for the game, with the Wii U gamepad acting as a camera that could then look around the room and view different Pokemon in an in-game environment. Alas, it wasn't meant to be, but Nintendo has seemingly heard fans' pleas for a Pokemon Snap game because they've just released the next best thing (or maybe the best altogether depending on how you look at it) on the Wii U eShop: the original Nintendo 64 game. For those that aren't familiar, Pokemon Snap is a quirky on-rails game where you travel through a number of levels on a cart and take pictures of the Pokemon in the surrounding environment. At the end of each level, you'll select your best shots and then be graded on them -- getting the most points for taking the best shots possible (i.e. centered and catching the Pokemon doing a cool move or pose). Ironically, the game wasn't quite what fans wanted when it initially released, having come out at a time when many wanted a full-scale Pokemon adventure on Nintendo 64, but the title quickly went on to become one of the best and most beloved Pokemon console titles and is still widely considered to be the best one by many today. You can buy Pokemon Snap right now on the Wii U eShop for $9.99. Will you be picking up Pokemon Snap? Do you have any memories of playing it from back in the day?
  16. It's looking to be a great month for Shantae fans as they'll finally be able to get their hands on the belly-dancing hero's latest adventure Shantae: Half-Genie Hero in just over a week and a half. Half Genie Hero is actually Wayforward's first game developed from a successful Kickstarter, so it's had plenty of fan input along the way. Also releasing on the same day is Natsume's final game for this year -- Wild Guns Reloaded. A remake of the original SNES game Wild Guns, Reloaded updates the classic western-themed shooter with two new characters, new stages, and new special weapons. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero will be releasing digitally on PS4, PS Vita, and Wii U on December 20 while its physical versions (which are being published by XSEED) will release in stores on December 27. Wild Guns Reloaded will release digitally on PS4 on December 20. Check out the trailers for both games below! Source: Wayforward (via Press Release), Natsume (via Twitter) Will you be buying either of these games when they come out?
  17. If you haven't been paying attention as of late, the eShop has been surprisingly steady with Virtual Console releases since earlier last Summer now. Today brings two pretty big, high-profile releases to the Wii U eShop in the form of Wario Land: Shake It! and the never-before-released-digitally Excitebike 64. Wario Land: Shake It! was actually developer Good Feel's first big AAA game that they developed. It also preceded the two games they'd become best known for creating: Kirby's Epic Yarn and last year's Yoshi's Woolly World. Shake It! also features hand-drawn animated visuals that were created in conjunction with with animation studio Production I.G. As for Excitebike 64, it was the first sequel to the classic NES game, and the only 3D entry in the series so far. Surprisingly, it also came out later in the Nintendo 64's lifecycle than most games, having released in 2000 (with 2001 being the last active year for N64 releases before Gamecube took over). In any case, both games are definitely worth looking into if you've never played either. You can download Wario Land: Shake It! for $19.99 and Excitebike 64 for $9.99. It's worth noting that, while both are out of print, you may still be able to find used physical copies of the former for less than the VC price if you look hard enough. Will you be checking out either game soon?
  18. If you've been an avid fan of the Paper Mario series since the first game, you've seen the games transition from traditional RPGs with platforming elements to, uh... the exact reverse, and more recently, an action adventure game with a bare RPG skeleton attached to it. Make no mistake, the most recent game -- Paper Mario: Sticker Star -- is definitely a divisive title for many fans due to its non-existent story, barely-there RPG elements, and its core sticker element causing a lot of headaches and confusion, even if we did like the game more than some. Where does that leave the upcoming Paper Mario: Color Splash? Some fans were hoping that the game would mark a return to the traditional RPG elements of the first two games, but according to Nintendo producer Rise Tabata, the series is charting a different path for its gameplay. Talking to Kotaku at E3 last month, Tabata described Color Splash as an "action adventure" title, and explained that the series deviated from the RPG elements from the first two games because Nintendo only wants one Mario RPG series and the Mario & Luigi series is carrying that torch now. Thus, it was determined that Paper Mario would focus on humor and puzzle-solving in order to differentiate the two series. There is some merit to this train of thought, especially given that the most recent Mario & Luigi title was actually a crossover with Paper Mario characters, so two RPG series focused on Mario might be a little redundant. Still, it's unfortunate given how beloved the first two Paper Mario games are by many games. Source: Kotaku What are your thoughts on the Paper Mario series' new direction?
  19. Hyper Light Drifter, the highly anticipated indie game that was Kickstarted by Heart Machine, is finally getting news on its long-awaited console ports. The good news? Not only is it coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, but it is indeed still coming to Wii U and Vita as originally planned. There was initially some trepidation as to whether or not the Wii U port would actually happen. Around February, Heart Machine mentioned that the source of the trouble revolved around internal contractual issues between the platform holder (presumably Nintendo) and the engine developer (Game Maker). However, it appears things have been worked out as Heart Machine has mentioned that they are finalizing details on the Wii U port and would have more details on it next month. In any case, the PS4 and Xbox One versions look to be the first ports to make it out the door; they'll announce more details next month. And finally, the Vita version is still on its way as well, but Heart Machine noted that it has been a challenge to get Hyper Light Drifter optimized on the device due to its limited specs; therefore, it will be a Fall release at the very earliest. Source: Kickstarter Are you looking forward to playing Hyper Light Drifter on consoles (and Vita)?
  20. Despite Nintendo's main focus on The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild at this year's E3, the company opened up today about a few more of their plans for the Fall. Namely, a release date for Paper Mario: Color Splash of October 7 (on Wii U). At the moment, this is the only confirmed first-party Wii U release for the rest of this year. Also, Nintendo will be demoing more of the game during the Treehouse Live segment tomorrow. Secondly, a new Mario Party game called Mario Party Star Rush will be coming to the 3DS, and it will be releasing on November 7. More info to come on it in tomorrow's Treehouse Live segment. Finally, a second wave of the Super Mario lineup of amiibo was announced, featuring Waluigi, Daisy, and Boo for the first time, and also new poses for Rosalina, Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and Wario. These amiibo will be releasing on November 4. It's unknown if these announcements represent the entirety of the rest of the year's announcements as far as 2016 releases go or if more unannounced first-party titles will be releasing before year's end. We'll have to wait and see what future Nintendo Directs have in store. Source: Press Release Are you glad to have a release date for Mario Party: Color Splash? What are your thoughts on the new amiibo?
  21. Today at Day 2 of E3 2016, Nintendo finally revealed what many fans have been wondering most during their Treehouse Live segment -- the full name of the upcoming Zelda title for Wii U and NX, which is officially titled The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Accompanying the title was a brand new trailer that showed off the spirit of that title, in which the world was brought to life with its many varied locations. Nintendo's Reggie Fils-Aime mentioned that Breath of the Wild will be the biggest Zelda game to date, and that everyone playing the demo at E3 will not be able to explore all of the large area available to them during their time with the game. Even more impressive is that the large area on demo is just a small portion of the actual in-game map. You can check out the trailer and get a sense for how big the game is below. Fils-Aime mentioned that more about the game's story and characters will be discussed at a later date, and that they would be focusing on the gameplay itself this week at E3. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is currently slated for release on Wii U and NX in 2017. Source: (via Nintendo) What are your thoughts on Breath of the Wild? Are you excited by what Nintendo showed today?
  22. If you know XSEED, then you know that they're generally an outfit for publishing niche Japanese titles. However, all of that's about to change. That's right, XSEED will be changing things up by publishing a few indie games soon. The first game on the list is Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity, an action-RPG set in the Touhou Project universe that draws inspiration from the YS series of games. Next up is Exile's End, a dark and futuristic 2D sidescroller that is described as "one part Metroidvania" and "one-part cinematic platformer." Finally, XSEED will be publishing the physical retail version of Wayforward's Shantae: Half-Genie Hero. Presumably, this means Wayforward will be handling the digital versions of the game on their own as they have with past Shantae titles. Also, the physical version will be packaged with a CD with 20 musical tracks from the game. Not bad! Touhou: Scarlet Curiosity will be coming to PlayStation 4; Exile's End will be coming to PS4, PS Vita, and Wii U; and Shantae: Half-Genie Hero will be coming to retail on PS4, PS Vita, and Wii U. Source: Press Release What are your thoughts on XSEED starting to publish indie games? Are you surprised they're publishing the physical version of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero?
  23. We currently live in an age where Video Games have become a transcendent form of multimedia. From the days of Home Pong back in 1975 to the Playstation 4, Video Games have become integrated into the entertainment industry. The reason for this is because of the amount of creativity game designers have exhibited with their vast worlds and wonderful landscapes. But even more so, it is because of the stories being told by video games evolving beyond anything most motion pictures could ever tell. But if this is the case, why does it seem we like we are living in an era of remasters and re-releases? Allow me to digress for a moment by saying that there is nothing wrong with remasters and re-releases. A lot of the games that have recently received the Next Gen treatment look absolutely stunning in comparison to their original versions. Also, reliving the wonders of games like Shadow Complex (which recently received a remastered version) reminds you of just how amazing they were during your first play through. I would never knock the prospect of replaying so many stories and reliving memories from gaming's past via a new piece of hardware. Still, it seems as if these practices are becoming a creative crutch. Shadow Complex Remastered (Screenshot Courtesy of videogamer.com) Let's take a moment to look back to the seventh generation of gaming consoles. Original stories were vast ocean of possibilities despite if they were coming from new IPs or already existing ones. We saw the Master Chief end his campaign against the Covenant. We dove deep into the reaches of insanity by exploring the mind of Alan Wake. We became morally conflicted as we traveled across the galaxy in the universe of Mass Effect. There was so much originality oozing from game studios! Now, we are receiving an influx of remasters and stereotypical military shooters. After E3 2014, Shigeru Miyamoto (the creator of Nintendo's mascot, Mario) spoke out about the mind-numbing amount of bloody shooters which dominated the press conferences that year. "To some, it might have seemed as though there wasn't a wide variety of software at E3, and as though many people followed the same direction to make their video games. I believe this is a revelation of creative immaturity on our part as creators in the video game industry." Mario Creator, Shigeru Miyamoto (Courtesy of wiiudaily.com) Was Miyamoto correct? Is the lack of creativity attributed to creative immaturity? It is true that despite the home console market being eight generations in, video games is still a very young industry as a whole. But given some of the strong showings of 2015, one could argue that this couldn't possibly be the case. The Witcher 3: WIld Hunt, which received several Game of the Year awards, had one of the most compelling stories of this current console generation. Clearly, developers are capable of giving us new and engaging plots to sink our teeth into. So, what's stopping them? In an article from theguardian.com, Holly Nielson said something that rings true to the current state of the industry from my personal opinion. "Creativity begins with how we feel and how we see and present ourselves as people. This industry isn“t just dressing identically, it draws its inspiration from the same music, movies and books. This homogeneity leads to staid ideas." This begs me to ask the question, has the gaming industry stopped feeling as a whole? What happened to games which made you invoke a certain emotion? What happened to worlds and plots which prompted you to become emotionally invested in the characters? Has the industry stopped caring about the creative aspects of the industry? I don't think that's the case. I feel like this might be a horrible case of writer's block. Besides, there are plenty of games coming this year that will test the limits of the imagination. The gaming industry as a whole must, in lamens terms, get their sugar together. We are soon to enter the four year of the current console generation. It's time to give us the glorious worlds and plots that engulfed us during the previous generation. It can be done. They just need,..a little imagination.
  24. Jonathan Higgins

    Review: Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus

    Developer: LookAtMyGame Publisher: Aksys Games Platform: PlayStation 4, Wii U Release Date: March 29th, 2016 (March 31st for Wii U) ESRB: E for Everyone This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version of the game Trying to critically analyze something you play puts you in a different frame of mind, sometimes. Have you ever read a review that comes off more like a reflection of an entire genre, or even the specific themes present within the text? Some reviews of an HD remake or remaster often ponder if the original game should have existed in the first place. A review of a retro-inspired indie game can sometimes spend more time knocking the things it alludes to, instead of offering an analysis of the text itself. Before I get into Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus, I“ve got to admit something. I am not the biggest fan of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link -- a clear source of inspiration for the people behind this game. Despite my distaste for Zelda II, however, I finished this adventure with a smile on my face. Instead of spending time picking apart an old NES sequel, let me instead say that developer LookAtMyGame's efforts have given me new perspective. The opening scene of this game describe a king who learned to respect his people, an evil wizard who usurped him, and a teddy bear. As the text scrolls down, emulating the opening of The Legend of Zelda on NES almost to the letter, it sets up how the land of Exidus fell, and how a king“s soul came to rest in an auburn-haired girl“s stuffed animal friend. It“s up to you to take up arms and venture to Exidus, to reclaim four jewels from bosses six times your size, and lay waste to the wizard Angius“s evil ambitions once and for all. Beyond the opening sequence, and a few words exchanged between Teddy and the girl, the player is rarely addressed. As a matter of fact, due to things I“ll elaborate on a little later, I can say there are around a hundred words spoken in the entire game. Since words in the game are few, beyond the opening sequence, the importance of how the world of Exidus is presented to you is a little weightier than usual. Thankfully, the choice to limit words spoken doesn“t work to the detriment of the world itself. Visuals don“t feel like they “belong on the NES” -- the pixel art and character designs don“t make you think “this should be a Zelda game instead”. There“s something to be said when the overall visual cohesiveness of a place pushes me to explore it anyway, despite having initial qualms with how a game works mechanically, as I“ve alluded to earlier. Exidus is a really cool, challenging place to explore, with plenty of attention to detail. And hey, noticing tiny details plays an important role in how you approach puzzle-solving. More on that momentarily. You“ll strike down foes that will remind you of palace guards from The Adventure of Link, with shields to block your attacks from eye-level until you crouch down to knife them instead. And there are slime enemies that call back to that game too, but their evolutions often defy player expectations as a result. Other than those two examples I can name off-hand, many of the enemy designs are inventive and original. There“s a spider-like enemy with a bomb on its back, a strange spiked plant that relentlessly volleys projectiles forward -- I could go on, because types of enemies are numerous. I genuinely enjoyed every single dungeon in Chronicles of Teddy. It may be due to every boss providing a unique challenge that properly demonstrated the powers you gained and things you“ve learned by exploring the place. But really, their proper balance of combat situations, puzzle-platforming, and... music-based mechanics... are certainly a thing to behold. Music is what makes Chronicles of Teddy unique, and helps to make a game with about a hundred words spoken feel more alive than even its loftiest contemporaries. Not far into your journey, you“ll find both a Musicon and Lexicon. Both will help you to communicate with the villagers and guardians in the many lands of Exidus. The Musicon has twelve unique Runes to find, often in dungeons, sometimes outside of them... and these Runes make up an entire language spoken everywhere in the world. You“re encouraged to speak to every single villager you find, so they can talk to you and help you fill your Lexicon. But you can only talk back to them if you“ve found the corresponding Runes. Look at the screenshot above. To you, that looks like gibberish. But at the end of my fifteen hour journey, I can tell you that means “SING EARTH TO SKY FOR SECRET.” While exploring dungeons, you won“t just find locked doors to be opened with keys. The “locked doors” are often only opened by playing a certain tune on the Musicon in front of them. Clues regarding what song should be played are cleverly hidden on hieroglyphs and other relevant things you“ll see -- and maybe miss--as you explore. A good example in the first dungeon is how you“ll see a giant mermaid statue with letters written underneath it -- clearly the mermaid“s name -- only to pass by a door with the words “TELL MY NAME” written in that same language above it. Playing the mermaid“s name on the Musicon is what opens the door to the boss! Without properly engaging the villagers, and learning words -- you“d never be able to figure out the whole “TELL MY NAME” sentence on your own. If you“re the kind of person that likes making notes as you play, Chronicles of Teddy is an experience you will surely enjoy. And that“s where I start to disagree with some of the choices made and philosophies expressed, here. The problems I had with my journey don“t have to do with the world of Exidus itself, or even the gameplay. For all the signposting the game is good at when it comes to presenting hieroglyphs that show what certain melodies on the Musicon are capable of... I struggled valiantly trying to figure out how to use the final Dungeon Weapon Thing I discovered in the game. Throughout Exidus, you“ll see these clods of earth that you clearly need to grind through from above to gain access to what“s below. While the other items were self-explanatory (hey, after finding the cute little duck inner-tube, you can swim!), the Magic Scroll that lets you conquer this obstacle left me stumped. Turns out, you need to mash the down-directional button twice while in the air, to suddenly and powerfully come crashing down to the ground below. But -- when I obtained the Magic Scroll -- nothing told me how to use it. I fumbled around with buttons until I figured it out. That“s just it! There are no explanations here. If you backtrack (and there is backtracking -- but it“s not excessive, and it“s often fun to go back to an area to play with the new toys and Runes you“ve found in dungeons) and find a peculiar item before you should, nothing tells you what to do with it, or who it belongs to. Chronicles of Teddy has a sub-menu when paused (seen above), but there are no means to scroll to each item and find out what they do or help accomplish. Every single aspect of how this game works, mechanically, is more or less saying “You“re on your own.” Rather than having a complex map that shows where chests are and features a detailed layout of rooms you“ve explored and rooms you haven“t -- Exidus is presented to you in a series of squares, like Fez, I suppose. Have you missed a treasure chest or otherwise noteworthy object? The box will be a solid blue color, indicating you should go back to it. Particularly vital objects will have a yellow color to their square on the map. Even the game“s “guide” of sorts to show the little lady where to go next... are often thinly veiled portions of maps or important rooms, again with no words spoken to the player. This sentiment of “You“re on your own” is a choice -- not something done due to technology limitations of the time, or something like that. The fact that I strongly disagree with this choice doesn“t affect my overall opinion of the game too much, but -- considering I was stuck in the final dungeon of the game for a smidge because no one told me how to use what I“d just found -- I think that says something. As I wrap things up, though -- I truly did enjoy my time with Chronicles of Teddy. I began my journey with a disposition towards the games that helped inspire it -- and I left with a greater respect for them. I“d gladly recommend this experience to fans of Zelda in general, and definitely to fans of Zelda II in particular. That recommendation comes with the caveat of “get ready to take a lot of notes, and maybe you“ll get a little lost along the way,” though. The game is chocked full of things to find and replay value (there are optional dungeons, a New Game+, and everything in the modern era that helps give a game like this extended life). If the game“s title is truly indicative that there“s more to tell of this girl, Teddy, and Exidus -- at the end of the day, I genuinely look forward to what“s next. Pros: + When the game is combat-focused, it's a genuine treat. These kinds of mechanics are all the best parts of Zelda II and its contemporaries. + The Musicon fleshes out an entirely new language, based on song, that's incorporated into puzzle-solving and exploration. + Backtracking is never cumbersome. When you know what you're doing, Exidus is a fun place to explore. Every level in the game hides secrets and collectibles, 'til the very end. Cons: - You know how, in Zelda, you open a chest and get a description about how to use the spoils you've found? ...That's not a thing in Chronicles of Teddy. It purposefully restricts itself by letting the player figure out what they've found and how to use it. - A map exists, but a game as heavily rooted in exploration as this needs a map with finer details. There are a million different collectibles to find, and no real way to distinguish what things are where on the map. Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus refreshes old school Zelda mechanics, and has plenty of great ideas all its own. But its choice to limit communication to the player may turn some away, in the end. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using a downloadable code provided by the publisher. The game is available on PC as Finding Teddy 2.
  25. Today's headlines involve some big news on the Nintendo front for Wii U owners and prospective buyers as well as news about some studio closures and downsizing going on. And of course, Tuesday means new releases on the PlayStation Store. Read on about it all below- Report indicates Nintendo will cease Wii U production in 2016 According to a Japanese report from Nikkei, Nintendo plans to end production of the Wii U by the end of 2016. The report notes that the company has already stopped making certain Wii U accessories. If true, then the claims of the Wii U successor, NX, coming out at the end of 2016 have gotten a lot more credible. However, the report also indicates that an NX release in 2016 isn't a sure thing just yet. At any rate, Nintendo likely still has plenty of Wii U stock in circulation, and the current sell-through rate (along with past holiday sales) may indicate that they can sail through this year (and perhaps part of 2017) with whatever stock they generate before stopping production. Source: IGN Sony shuttering Evolution Studios Sad news for fans of Evolution Studios, the developer behind the Motorstorm franchise and DriveClub, as Sony has announced that they have closed down the studio after a recent evaluation of their Worldwide Studios. The news comes after the disastrous launch of DriveClub and the subsequent issues with its online play and such, which ultimately saw 55 members of the staff cut last year alone. Source: GamesIndustry.biz 5th Cell undergoing massive layoffs but not closed at this time In other redundancy news, it's been reported that 5th Cell has had to lay off 45 people after their latest Scribblenauts game had been cancelled by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. It was originally thought that the studio had been closed altogether after animator Tim Borrelli tweeted that he had been laid off and "RIP 5th Cell." However, 5th Cell CEO Jeremiah Slaczka has set the record straight, saying that the company is not shutting down but is 100% committed to helping those affected by layoffs to find new jobs. 5th Cell is currently working on Anchors in the Drift, a free-to-play RPG that is being crowdfunded on investing platform Fig. Source: GamesIndustry.biz Toki Tori developer Two Tribes is retiring from game development after their next game releases This one was pretty surprising to me. Out of seemingly nowhere, Two Tribes made the announcement that they would be retiring after their upcoming game Rive finally releases. No, they didn't run out of money. Nor is there behind-the-scene drama that's causing things to go amuck. They simply decided that it's time to hang up their coats as far as developing new games go. Co-founder Collin van Grinkel mentions that it partially has to do with them feeling like "dinosaurs" (they originally started in 2000) in an age where the indie development scene is more crowded than ever. There's no word on what van Grinkel and the remainder of Two Tribes will be doing afterward just yet, but he does mention that the studio will still support their current releases and publishers; whether or not that includes ports of their existing games to new platforms remains to be seen. Their final game, RIVE, is set to release soon, and Van Grinkel calls it the best game they've ever done. If fans and the media agree with the sentiment, it'll be good to see a developer go out on top for once. Source: Press Release PlayStation Store New Releases 3/22/16 This week brings yet another surprising amount of games to the PlayStation Store, with 12 games for PS4 and two for Vita (including one surprising entry). Check out the full list below! PS4 101 Ways to Die - $14.99 Bully (PS2 Classic) - $14.99 Catlateral Damage - $9.99 Day of the Tentacle Remastered - $14.99 Dragon Fantasy: The Black Tome of Ice - $9.99 Manhunt (PS2 Classic) - $14.99 Okage: Shadow King (PS2 Classic) - $9.99 Republique - $24.99 Sebastién Loeb Rally EVO - $59.99 Smite - Free-to-Play Trackmania Turbo - $39.99 Warheads - $4.99 PS Vita Day of the Tentacle Remastered - $14.99 X-Com: Enemy Unknown Plus - $19.99 For games on sale, see the the full list at the source link below. Source: PlayStation Blog What are your thoughts on Nintendo possibly pulling the plug on Wii U this year? And Evolution Studios' closure and 5th Cell's downsizing?