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  1. Jordan Haygood

    Review: Shadow Puppeteer

    Developer: Sarepta Studio Publisher: Snow Cannon Games Platform: Wii U (eShop), PC (Steam) Release Date(s): January 28, 2016 (Wii U) September 29, 2014 (PC) ESRB: T for Teen Official Website Remember that scene in Peter Pan where Peter runs around the Darling children's room because he lost his shadow and is trying to catch it? If you were to take that whole "shadow with a mind of its own" shtick and make it into a game, you'd get the indie title Shadow Puppeteer. Except in this game, there's less chasing after your shadow and more working with it to get through a puzzle-platforming adventure. And while the main draw of the game -- its gameplay -- is pretty unique and fun much of the time (with a few other enjoyable aspects to compliment it), there are some unfortunate shortcomings that ultimately hurt the game in the long run. Shadow Puppeteer is a game of few words. Well, actually, it's a game of no words, if you don't count basic stuff like the title screen. That isn't necessarily a bad thing; it just makes the game rely on purely visual and audio storytelling. Which is pretty nice, actually. The gist is that this evil dude known as the Shadow Puppeteer (which you wouldn“t know from the game itself due to the no dialogue and text and whatnot) comes to a village and takes everyone's shadows with an instrument he plays save for a young boy, thanks to the guy's instrument breaking, and the boy and his shadow go on a journey to save everyone else's shadows. So, you know, a story made specifically to fit the gameplay. SEGWAY! From the moment you see the title “Shadow Puppeteer†and lay your eyes on the protagonist and his shadow, you can kinda guess that the gameplay is most likely centered around shadows. And you“d be right, of course (what, you think I“d write the previous sentence for no reason?). You play as both your physical self and your shadow, moving each separately in cooperation to solve puzzles and get through each level. Well, in single player mode you play as both. If you happen to have a friend/family member/shadow to play with, then you both control one of the two. Unfortunately for you loners, co-op is a lot more fun, and with fewer annoyances brought on by having to control both characters yourself. It gets really confusing at times and you often find yourself dying simply because you can“t keep your eyes on two characters at once. Don“t get me wrong, the game is plenty of fun thanks to the original gameplay with its clever use of shadows. It“s just that it also has plenty of not-so-fun qualities that make you question whether you“re actually having fun or not. The level designs are pretty good, but the platforming aspect can get really frustrating due to the fact that your physical self is moving within a 3D space. Not simply because of the 3D space, but because of the camera angle you“re given. When you go to make a jump, you“ll occasionally fall to your death because you can“t see where you“re going to land. It“s not something that will happen all the time, but it happens frequently enough for me to talk about how annoying it is. Another rather infuriating aspect of Shadow Puppeteer lies with the boss fights. Though this is made much less infuriating by playing with a pal in co-op. It's nice that the developers wanted to shake things up by making the bosses shadows, but it takes far too much time to figure out how to beat them. They will kill you. A lot. Especially the final boss, who might just be one of the most annoying final bosses I've ever endured. Not challenging. Annoying. But again, this annoyance is mainly apparent in single player mode, as your many deaths are attributed to the difficulty of controlling both protagonists at once. Unfortunately, your trials-and-errors will often result in you having to sit through many a loading screen. No, you seriously see a screen that says “Loading…†every single time you die. Not only are Shadow Puppeteer“s loading screens rather frequent, but some of them are quite long. Especially the ones you have to sit through as one level transitions to the next. I know, I know, “be patient, young grasshopper.†Yeah, well, in 2016, I was hoping to see fewer loading screens… Thankfully, there are still a few more positives left to talk about regarding Shadow Puppeteer. Rather than trying to impress on a graphical standpoint, the developer decided instead to make a game with a whimsical, cartoony, Burton-esque art style. And yes, I do mean Tim Burton. And to add icing to the cake, this game has just the type of gloomy atmosphere you would expect from something considered “Burton-esque. Considering that this is a game all about shadows, these two elements fit perfectly. You wanna know something else that Shadow Puppeteer“s art style and atmosphere fit perfectly with? The music. This game has a pretty beautiful soundtrack, I must say. Each song fits its accompanying level like a glove, whether it“s a pirate-themed level, a cave level, or just a simple village. And not only does the music work well with the game, but they“re just pleasant to listen to. Shadow Puppeteer“s soundtrack is almost enough to forgive the game for its downsides. Almost. Shadow Puppeteer isn“t a terrible game, but it does have some pretty jarring shortcomings that are hard to forgive. Though most of them are thanks to a single player mode that can get so frustrating that you want to hit something. Or someone. Of course, if someone else were with you, you“d be enduring fewer annoyances, since the game becomes a bit more fun in co-op mode. Regardless, Shadow Puppeteer is still plenty of fun with its original, shadow-centric gameplay. And with a whimsical art style and atmosphere that would make Tim Burton proud and a very pleasant soundtrack that works well within the game, Shadow Puppeteer wouldn“t be the biggest waste of your time. Pros: + Original gameplay centered around shadows + Whimsical, cartoony, Burton-esque art style + Appropriately gloomy atmosphere + Great soundtrack Cons: - Single player mode can be a pain when controlling two characters at once - Camera angle occasionally makes platforming a grave annoyance - Frequent, long loading screens Overall Score: 6 (out of 10) Decent It may have been plagued with some pretty jarring downsides, but with its original, shadow-centric gameplay, whimsical art style and a great soundtrack, there is plenty of fun to be had with Shadow Puppeteer. But play it in co-op if you can. It's better that way. Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.
  2. This week“s Nintendo Download has unique eXperiences, the newest SEGA 3D Classic, another hardcore Wii U Virtual Console release, a bunch of indie favorites, and more. For starters, let“s talk 3D Gunstar Heroes. One of my favorite SEGA Genesis games ever is perfectly ported and portable with new modes and features, including the ability to possess all combinations of all the game“s weapon choices right from the start. This week“s Virtual Console releases seem strategically placed. The Wii U is graced with Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising, as well as Genghis Khan II: Clan of the Grey Wolf. Speaking of strategy, some brain-power is needed to play The Bridge, a 2D puzzler arriving on the Wii U eShop today. The Bridge isn“t the only unique indie game arriving this week: there“s also Crab Cakes Rescue, Factorum, Mortar Melon, and Woah Dave! While you“re taking a look at all those titles, you may want to grab the Demo Version of Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX as well. There are a few more things of note popping up on both eShops. Little Battlers eXperience is out on the 3DS eShop today, and (from August 21st through 23rd) the Splatoon Testfire is making its grand return. Whether you“re fighting LBX robots or blasting your friends with ink, there“s definitely some multiplayer fun to be had. The Testfire happens each day this weekend from 3-5 PM PT, 6-8 PM ET. This week“s sales offer humongous discounts (up to 66% off) for certain Capcom games, like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate from August 24th through 31st. Devil Survivor: Overclocked is $19.99 again until August 24th. Senran Kagura Burst is also $19.99 until September 15th. There are plenty more sales this week, so be sure to check here after the Nintendo Download goes live for more marked down games, including the Capcom ones Nintendo didn“t list in their Press Release this morning. This is the second week in a row Nintendo hasn“t highlighted any new themes. But...there“s certainly more than enough content in this week“s Download! Will you be picking up 3D Gunstar Heroes or any of the other games offered this week? Be sure to let us know!
  3. This week“s Nintendo Download offers a surprise choice for the Wii U Virtual Console, a shiny object, a handful of sales, and more. For starters, let“s mention Wind-up Knight 2, a popular mobile platformer that“s making its way to the Wii U eShop today. If platforming isn“t your thing, and you need a little more meat on your bones... Pandora“s Tower arrives on the Wii U Virtual Console today. As a former Operation Rainfall guy, that makes me all warm and fuzzy. While it may seem like Nintendo reached out to XSEED to make this happen, and thus opened the door for third-party releases on the platform, that's not the case. XSEED only had the rights to the physical version of the game. And hey, It's worth noting that Pandora's Tower was published by Nintendo in other regions, and has already hit the Wii U overseas. Also — this is the first Wii retail game that can be played using only the Gamepad, if that“s your style. Pandora“s Tower can be purchased for $19.99. In addition to those two games are several sales across both the Wii U and 3DS eShops. There are handfuls of games on sale like 3D Game Collection, Murder on the Titanic, Suspension Railroad Simulator, Bombing Bastards, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune from Nordic Games, Stone Shire, Nano Assault EX, and more! Be sure to check out each respective eShop for a full list of games on sale; they are numerous this week! There are activities happening on Codename S.T.E.A.M. (a tournament), Art Academy Home Studio ( ), and Pokémon Shuffle (if you purchase six jewels, you“ll get six more for free). And last but certainly not least, that Shiny Rayquaza Event I mentioned earlier was highlighted in this week“s Download. For more information (the duration of the event is August 12th through September 14th), check here. No new themes were highlighted this week, unfortunately. Will you be grabbing Pandora“s Tower this week? What about any of the other games on sale? Be sure to let us know!
  4. I don“t often mention the odd disparity between the Virtual Console services in Europe and North America. But I“ve been very vocal about how I feel about this on Twitter, particularly when it comes to games I really want, like Golden Sun: The Lost Age. For those who aren“t in the know, Europe“s had the game on Wii U since November 13th of last year (not to mention, they have almost ten Wii retail games available digitally on Wii U to North America“s...four). Not sure what the reasoning behind all of it is, but...this week“s Nintendo Download offers Golden Sun: The Lost Age on the Wii U Virtual Console! I“m a happy guy. In addition to that game, the GBA classic ONIMUSHA TACTICS is available. Apparently the month of August will offer “hardcore games” on the Wii U Virtual Console in North America. Could we eventually see the digital release of Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii, like Europe got this week? Even though the Virtual Console is my personal highlight this week, Nintendo had a lot more to talk about in the Press Release. They highlighted the huge Splatoon update that went live yesterday, as well as the Smash Bros. update that brought Tournament Mode, additional Mii Fighter Costumes, and two new stages. Pokémon Rumble World also gets an Update Bonus that gives you access to a new area and items. Also: enter the password 48213190 after installing the latest update to receive 100 free PokéDiamonds! Nice. This week“s big retail release on Nintendo 3DS is Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight. Outside of that, there“s just some sales to highlight: Citizens of Earth is only $4.99 (that“s over 50% off) from August 10th ”til August 17th. Stealth Inc 2 is only $7.49 for pretty much the entire month of August. Etrian Odyssey Untold: The Millennium Girl is $14.99 until August 10th. And...Shin Megami Tensei IV will be permanently reduced to $19.99 beginning August 10th. Last but not least, this week“s themes pay homage to Aeternoblade and Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition. Plenty of sales and new content for hardcore gamers has arrived, and apparently will arrive, during the month of August. Be sure to check out the eShop for even more information! Will you be getting Golden Sun: The Lost Age and ONIMUSHA TACTICS this week? Are you looking forward to seeing more “hardcore games” on the Wii U Virtual Console? Be sure to let us know!
  5. This weeks Nintendo Download has a ton to get excited about for Wii U owners! I“ll get to the Virtual Console stuff first, since I actually alluded to it last week, and it was teased earlier. A “triple deluxe” birthday package of Kirby games arrives today, featuring Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards ($9.99 or $1.99 to upgrade), Kirby Squeak Squad ($9.99), and (for the first time since January 29th, in North America) a Wii retail game available to purchase digitally! Kirby“s Return to Dream Land will be available for $19.99, which is much cheaper than what you“ll find the physical version going for these days. Just in case you need a refresher on how these games work, I created a thread back in January explaining things. Xeodrifter arrives on the Wii U today as well. I“m happy folks will get to experience one of my favorite games from last year on the big screen. And I“m even happier that it“s cross-buy! If you already own the 3DS version, the Wii U one is yours for no additional cost! Otherwise, it“s $9.99. In addition to Xeodrifter, there“s also BADLAND: Game of the Year Edition, a side-scrolling action game. And there“s a Just Dance 2016 Demo for those interested in that. Nintendo also highlights the big Splatoon update coming soon . You can check here for more information on that, or eagerly await August 5th, 2015. This week“s noteworthy sales include Eliot Quest on Wii U ($10.99), and several titles from EnjoyUp Games including 99Moves and Abyss. And LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham is now $19.99; that“s a permanent price-drop. In case you didn“t already notice, Miiverse has been entirely redesigned; they mentioned that as well. Last but not least, this week“s new theme pays homage to Etrian Odyssey Untold 2. Be sure to check the Nintendo eShop for even more updates and activities when this week“s Download goes live at 12 PM ET/9 AM PT. Are you excited for all the Kirby this week? Will you be playing Xeodrifter for the first time on Wii U, or making the jump to the big screen? Be sure to let us know!
  6. This week's Nintendo Download brings a legendary game to the Wii U Virtual Console, offers a handful of decent sales, and has a few adventurous games of note. To start with: Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 ($39.99) arrived on the Nintendo 3DS eShop this past Tuesday. This game was developed to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the franchise, so expect plenty of added challenge and surprises. The Wii U eShop brings Roving Rogue ($7.99), a clever platformer that...starts at the end of the story, then works its way backwards. You play as Kurt, a heroic rouge who teleports his way across some forty challenging levels racing against rising lava, collapsing walls, and fearsome foes. There's even a multiplayer element to the game. But stay tuned for more from me on Roving Rogue; I'll have a review up in the coming days! This week's Virtual Console release is Ocarina of Time. I wonder how many people prefer the Nintendo 64 game over the visually remastered Ocarina of Time 3D. At least you can play this one on your television! This week's noteworthy sales feature some Ace Attorney games on Nintendo 3DS. For starters, Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies will be $16.79 (regular $29.99). And the Ace Attorney Trilogy is $22.49 (regular $29.99). These two games will be on sale until July 16th. Last but not least, this week's themes feature four flavors of Ace Attorney (two from Dual Destinies and two from Ace Attorney Trilogy) and two more flavors of Pokémon (Mega Charizard Y & Mega Rayquaza, plus "Eevee Collection - Espeon & Umbreon). That about covers it for this week. Be sure to check the eShop when it updates at 12:00 PM ET, 9 AM PT for even more sales and additional information. Will you be grabbing Ocarina of Time this week? How about the Ace Attorney games while they're on sale? Be sure to let us know!
  7. This week“s Nintendo Download...has Xenoblade Chronicles 3D in it! That“s all you need to know, right?! ...No? All right. I guess I can keep going. I“m not kidding, though. Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is coming to the Nintendo eShop tomorrow, April 10th, and is exclusive to those who own the New Nintendo 3DS XL in North America. Two new themes have been released this week to celebrate Xenoblade; they are “Xenoblade Chronicles 3D: Mechonis” and “Xenoblade Chronicles 3D: Monado” respectively. Have you read our review of the original Xenoblade Chronicles to see what all the hype is about? Fans of the Pokémon Rumble spin-off series should appreciate the free-to-start Pokémon Rumble World; that“s also been highlighted this week. With over 700 Pokémon available to collect, there“s certainly a lot of content to be had. Speaking of Pokémon spin-off games, there“s new content being promoted within Pokémon Shuffle as well. You can check here to learn more about special events featuring Blastoise and Rayquaza. ATLUS also gets some love this week, as Etrian Mystery Dungeon has been in stores and on the Nintendo eShop for a few days now. If you picked up the game, are you enjoying it? Be sure to let us know! And last but certainly not least, in the indie scene, Affordable Space Adventures releases on the Wii U eShop this week! This week“s Virtual Console releases continue to deliver on what was revealed during last week“s Nintendo Direct. North America gets Yoshi Touch & Go, as well as WarioWare: Touched via the Virtual Console on Wii U. And last but not least, there are two noteworthy sales (as well as even more price reductions) starting soon. Nintendo is advertising a Super Spring Sale; you can check here when the eShop update goes live for more information. And Watch_Dogs on the Wii U eShop has been reduced to $29.99 from $59.99. Will you be picking up Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, New Nintendo 3DS XL owners? Have you already tried Pokémon Rumble World? Interested in the new Virtual Console stuff? Be sure to let us know!
  8. Venom

    Review: Rock Zombie

    Rock Zombie recently shambled onto the WiiU eShop, just in time for Halloween. But how does this rockin' undead beat 'em up compare with the games of old that it claims to take inspiration from? Grab your zombie survival kit and read along as I tell you the tale of...The Rock Zombie Review! Developer: Quaternion Studio Publisher: EnjoyUp Games Platform: Wii U via eShop (version reviewed), Steam (coming in late 2014) Release Date: October 30, 2014 ESRB: T for Teen Rock Zombie tells you most of what you need to know right there in the title - there's gonna be rock, and there's gonna be zombies. The name of the game is also the name of its trio of stars, Zoe, Crystal, and Sasha, who have formed an all-girl band called Rock Zombie. While rocking out at one of their shows though, things go a bit south when a green mist seeps into the venue and turns their screaming fans into moaning zombies. Now the girls have to fight their way across the stage and across town in search of answers. What is this green mist? Where did it come from? Whose face do they have to melt to find out? The game promises an intriguing story, which is told entirely through static comic pages between certain levels. While there is certainly more story than your average beat 'em up, it's also a bit of a moot point when most players aren't going into a brawler for the story in the first place. It also doesn't help that the writing in the comics isn't particularly engaging or even grammatically correct at some points. Thankfully, regardless of if you care about why you're doing it or not, the game delivers plenty of opportunity to bash in some undead brains. Rock Zombie is a pretty typical beat 'em up that doesn't try to change too much about the genre. You've got a regular attack, a strong attack, two magic attacks - because the characters are also witches, you see - and the ability to block and evade. The magic attacks are tied to a bar that fills as you take out enemies, and serve as great projectile attacks to keep enemies from getting too close. Your standard melee attacks do the job of killing zombies just as well though, so there's not a lot of incentive to mix things up. You can create combos out of certain moves, but they don't string together well enough to be any different than just performing each attack separately. As you might guess, you'll mostly be fending off zombies, which come in regular, flaming, and acid spewing varieties but there are a few non-zombie enemies in the game, like giant spiders. Naturally, you'll be seeing the zombies more often than anything, and you'll also face off against a few bosses over the course of your 4-5 hour journey, some of which provide more challenge than others. And when I say "you" I unfortunately mean just you - the game lacks any multiplayer whatsoever. It's a baffling decision for a game that claims to have learned from the knee of its elders (like Golden Axe) to leave out one of the things that made those games so popular in the first place. The game was clearly designed with single-player in mind as well, as some of the areas would be too cramped for two players to move around easily, and there are a couple of atrocious vehicle segments that wouldn't work with two players. Most of the game isn't so challenging that you'd need an extra hand, but it would certainly make things more entertaining to bring a friend along. If you do soldier through the game alone, you'll find that there's lots of bonus goodies in the Zombie Museum to unlock with coins you gather through the game, as well as achievements to unlock that will require more than one playthrough to obtain them all. Beyond the gameplay, Rock Zombie doesn't really have much in the way of distinct visual or audio flair. While the environments look good and there's some variety between most of the levels, there's just not anything that really stands out either. You'll see sewers, city streets, warehouses, and other places that look exactly like your typical video game sewers, streets, warehouses, and so on. The character models for the enemies don't look too bad, though the player character models appear as if they're made out of plastic, like dolls with shiny hair and painted-on clothes. The audio, meanwhile should be one of the standout features - after all, it's right there in the name. While there's plenty of rocking and rolling, most of the music and sound effects are so generic that you'll hardly give them a second thought. It's a bit of a shame, since one would expect a game that lists the varied soundtrack as one of its features to make sure that the soundtrack is actually memorable. Perhaps more pressing, there were some glitches on both ends. The graphical glitches weren't too bad, and mostly consisted of the camera sometimes getting confused during perspective shifts and switching rapidly between different views, and just some oddities with enemy corpses and the blood that forms around them being wonky. There was also a pretty severe audio glitch around halfway through the game that caused the music and most of the sound effects to cut out completely, and the only fix was to quit back to the WiiU menu and restart the game. Overall the game definitely lacks technical polish, but fortunately there weren't any game-breaking bugs - everything works, it just doesn't all work particularly well sometimes. Given that it's mostly the work of a single person though, that's pretty understandable. When it comes down to it, Rock Zombie is a schlocky B-game with a schlocky B-movie premise, and it makes no apologies or excuses for it. Even if you're into that sort of thing, though, it would be difficult to actually recommend this game. It's certainly possible that players might get some mindless fun out of it, and, at $6.99, it's pretty cheap - worse games have cost more money. Unfortunately, there's just no stand-out aspects of this game that make it something everyone should experience. If, however, reading this review has gotten you interested in playing it, go for it - just know that not everyone is going to enjoy rocking to this game's tune. Score: 5.0/10 TL;DR version - Rock Zombie is a beat 'em up containing plenty of rock and plenty of zombies, with a storyline that delves into far more detail than most brawlers. While bashing in zombie heads over the course of the 5-ish hour campaign might offer some cathartic thrills, the lack of technical polish, of multiplayer, and of stand-out gameplay features means it's probably best to keep shambling past this title in search of something more engaging. Still, if you like B-movies, you might get a kick out of it, but you should probably still wait for a sale if you decide to try it.
  9. Ladies and gentlemen, Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS comes out tomorrow/tonight at midnight! That's the highlight of this week's Nintendo Download. Like with the Japanese release, fans planning on purchasing the game at launch can save time by downloading the free software update (version 1.0.2) on the eShop in advance. The update, which is required for online play will be available starting at 9 AM PT/12 PM ET. What else is new this week? The Virtual Console on Wii U gets Castlevania Dracula X later today. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon is coming to the Wii U Virtual Console next week. And Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance is coming a week later on October 16th. Harvest Moon 2 is coming to the Virtual Console on 3DS on October 16th as well. The Wii U eShop gets 99Seconds and Red Riding Hood, respectively. And the 3DS eShop gets Tenkai Knights Brave Battle and a demo for Color Zen. Lastly, in terms of sales: Poker Dice Solitaire Future is available for 0.69 (from 0.99) until October 30th. Jet Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai is available for $5.99 (from $8.99) until October 23rd. And Tappingo is available for $1.99 (from $2.99) until October 16th. Will you be picking up Smash for 3DS tonight? Planning on grabbing anything else revealed this week? Be sure to let us know! Source: Press Release
  10. Leah

    The Denpa Men 2 - Overworld

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © Genius Sonority Inc.

  11. Venom

    Review: Dr. Luigi

    To cap off the Year of Luigi, Nintendo did what they've done best with these games - created something whose basic gameplay emulates an old favorite, but managed to put a Luigi-themed spin on it somewhere along the way. For his latest feature, Luigi gets a shot at playing doctor. How does it stand up to the classic, Dr. Mario? Keep reading to find out! Developer: Nintendo, Arika Publisher: Nintendo Platform: Wii U (via eShop) Release Date: December 31, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone It may have taken him 30 years, but Luigi has finally gotten his Ph.D and is ready to help cure the viral infections of the world by throwing multicolored pills at them. Filling in for Dr. Mario is no easy task, but Luigi manages to follow the proper procedure set forth by his brother as well as bringing his own unique methods of medicine to the operating room. All the elements of Dr. Mario are intact and the basic gameplay remains untouched, so your enjoyment of Dr. Luigi might hinge on whether or not a twist on the familiar is enough reason to make another appointment. If you've never played Dr. Mario before, here's the gist - red, yellow, and blue viruses fill the screen, and it's your job to place pills of the same color on the viruses. Stack 3 of the same color on a virus and it's gone. Pills will sometimes be solid colored and sometimes have a different color on each end, which keeps things varied and challenging as you enter later levels and more and more viruses appear on screen. You can choose to start at low levels or dive right into a germ-filled field, and you can also change the speed that your pills drop as well as choose the music you'd like to hear while you play. Dr. Luigi of course features this in full form, but, as mentioned, manages to work in a couple of new ways to play. Dr. Luigi features four main modes - Retro Remedy, Operation L, Virus Buster, and Online Battle. Retro Remedy, as you might expect, is the classic Dr. Mario gameplay as it's always been. You can play this mode solo, against one other local player, or against a CPU opponent. In 2-Player and Vs. CPU modes, the players work to be the first to clear their screen, and playing well and making combos results in junk pieces dropping into the other player's screen to hinder their progress. There's also a variation on the Vs. mode called Flash, where instead of attempting to clear the entire screen, players attempt to be the first to clear specific, flashing viruses. Operation L is a new take on the tried and true gameplay, modeled after the good doctor - Instead of a single pill, Luigi drops two pills stuck together in a L-shape. This changes the gameplay more significantly than you might think, as you're forced to adopt new tactics to account for the extra pill as well as the shape. You'll need to think ahead to account for where each piece of the pill will drop, and as you get higher in level and more viruses appear on screen, you'll have to figure out how to deal with moving the oddly shaped pills around to where you need them, and you'll also need to find new ways to get unneeded pills out of the way. This often presents situations where you'll simply have to drop pills wherever you can and clean them up later, which can prove difficult if you're not careful. Players new to the series or those who are just a bit rusty will most likely be overwhelmed by the new mode at first, but even seasoned veterans will find that it takes some getting used to before they'll be comfortably clearing screens with the L-pills. Virus Buster mode returns from Dr. Mario Online Rx, trading out Wiimote control for touch-screen control via the Gamepad. In this mode, rather than having a full playing field, you'll be restricted to the bottom portion of the usual pill bottle. Pills will begin descending and you'll use the stylus to move them around, and tap them to rotate. The real kicker to this mode may come as a sudden surprise though - after a short time of play, two pills will begin to drop at once, and a bit later three pills will drop at the same time, forcing players to multitask and get everything where it needs to be. This requires as much planning ahead as possible as well as being able to deal with unnecessary pills or clearing the wrong color off a virus quickly due to the small size of the playing field. Virus Buster is easily the most difficult mode of play and will take a fair bit of practice for even skilled players, but it's great if you're seeking a challenge. Last is Online Battle, which is exactly what it sounds like. Online Battle lets you play against players around the world in ranked matches, and allows you to view the leaderboards at any time. You can also simply have a friendly match that won't be ranked, and you can play Retro Remedy or Operation L in normal or Flash modes. Unfortunately, I've yet to be able to find anyone seeking a match so I can't say if the netcode is any good or not. All modes can be played off-TV on the Gamepad alone, but only Virus Buster uses the touch screen. All other modes use traditional button inputs. From a sound and visual standpoint, Dr. Luigi doesn't really try to do anything different. It's nice and bright and colorful, just as past iterations of the series have usually been. The sounds and music are mostly recycled, with Chill and Fever sounding pretty much the same as they have since Dr. Mario 64, although there are altered versions of the songs depending on the mode you're playing. Operation L features two new songs, both of which are nice and catchy, but not as memorable as the classic tunes. All in all, Dr. Luigi is a fine iteration in the Dr. Mario series, but, again, your enjoyment may depend entirely on how appealing Operation L sounds, unless you've not grown tired of the classic gameplay. There are versions of Dr. Mario for most major Nintendo systems so there are always other (and less expensive) options for that, but if you want to experience the changes Luigi and the Gamepad bring to the series, or you've never played any other version of the series, it's certainly worth checking out Dr. Luigi if you've got a case of puzzle fever that needs to be cured. Score: 7.0/10 TL;DR version - Dr. Luigi brings everything from past Dr. Mario iterations to the Wii U, along with a fun new Luigi-themed mode. Operation L will challenge your ability to wield oddly shaped pills and Virus Buster will keep you on your toes by dropping multiple pills at once. Still, the very basic concept remains the same, as does most of the sounds and sights, so the main reason to pick this up is if you really want to see the new modes or if you've never played Dr. Mario before. If you just want the classic gameplay though, it's best to stick with a cheaper option like Dr. Mario Express or Online Rx.
  12. DarkCobra86

    Redownloading on eShop

    I know that on the Wii U in eShop there is a place where you can click on that say something like "Titles you've downloaded" where you can redownload a digital game that you either have redeemed or bought. But I don't see that on the 3DS eShop. I googled that and see that people are saying you have to do a system transfer if you ever change 3DS. But what about if I just change memory card. It may never come down to this, but what if I find a deal on a bigger memory card and I switch it out. I can't redownload my redeemed games like A Link Between World?
  13. Developer: Neko Entertainment Publisher: Ynnis Interactive Platform: Wii U, PC, 3DS, and iOS Release Date: November 21, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone A Wii U downloadable code was provided by the publisher for this review I have a confession to make - before going into this game, I honestly had no clue what The Mysterious Cities of Gold was. And for those of you who don't know about this 1980s animated series, you might want to catch up if you plan on playing this game, as the story is a bit more confusing if you're new to it all. Nonetheless, there are plenty of other factors to this kickstarted game that you don“t really need to fully understand the story to enjoy it. But while The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths does have pleasing visuals, decent music, and a few tricky puzzles, is it really worth it? The game follows Esteban, Zia, and Tao – three children who have some connection with the Cities of Gold – and the (adult) navigator Mendoza. Though to put it bluntly, the story itself is pretty uninteresting. At least as told by the game. As I stated earlier, The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths is based on an animated series from the 80s. Or should I say, it's the video game adaptation of its second season. The original anime series had only lasted a single season before concluding, with its revival finally happening after about 30 years. And while the footage I“ve seen of both the original first season and the newer second season make the show look awesome, the game simply doesn“t do it justice. One reason I found the story so disappointing is due to the game being severely rushed. Each 30-seconds-or-less cutscene has a billion things happening and it gets to the point where you wonder what the hell is even going on. One thing happens in five seconds, and before you know it, the story just jumps ahead to what may very well be a few episodes later in the show, and then it jumps again in another five seconds. They rush through the story too fast in order to get to the levels, which might not sound like a big problem considering this is a game, but it often feels like the cutscenes should have just been left out. Another reason, albeit a small one, are the minor characters. Characters are randomly introduced before they just disappear. Perhaps the cartoon gives these characters a bigger, more on-screen role, but they seem to matter very little in the game itself aside from merely helping the main characters out with something in order for them to continue their journey. This may be linked with my previous criticism about the game rushing through the story, as these characters might have an episode or two dedicated to them for all I know. The voice acting is pretty laughable in this game - the English voice acting, at least. Other languages could have it much better for all I know, but in the language I speak, the voice acting hurts my ears and soul. The music is good, though, with some pretty nice Chinese-style ambiance during levels, but nothing really stands out too much aside from the opening theme song, which is the very same one from back in the 80s with a Chinese spin on it. Not that that“s a bad thing, as that song is actually kinda catchy. As far as the gameplay goes, it can be fun. There's indeed some level of challenge, which rises as the game progresses, yet it still never becomes all that challenging. The puzzles are sometimes pretty creative, with each of the three playable characters (seriously, Mendoza, why don“t you ever help them?) having their own unique abilities, although they can typically be solved without a whole lot of brain power. There are also enemies you have to sneak around, but it's damn near impossible to get caught by them. You could literally be seen by several enemies at once, hide in a barrel, and then it's like you were never there. Guard 1: "Hey, I just saw some kid jump into that barrel, and now they're suddenly gone! I also heard a parrot screaming, but the sound mysteriously disappeared!" Guard 2: "What? Well, I don't see them, so just turn back around and stare at that wall for a few seconds before turning around again. At the same time as me, of course." Seriously, these lousy enemies don't feel like a threat at all. Especially since, once caught, they put you back merely a few seconds before the capture. The only real challenge here is if you're a completionist, as there are certain objectives to fulfill in order to 100% a level - one for keeping from getting captured a certain number of times, one for clearing the level under a certain time limit, one for collecting all the scrolls scattered throughout the level, and one for finding the secret chest in that level. There are two different ways to play this game, for the Wii U version at least. One way is to go the point-and-click route and use the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen to tap where you want the characters to move after tapping their icons to switch between them. The other way is to use the ol“ stick-and-buttons layout to control each character. Both ways are fine, but the latter control scheme is a little flawed, as moving a character along certain paths seem to be really clunky, with the characters themselves moving strangely as if confused. The art is probably the game's strongest point, with its cartoony nature being quite pleasing to the eyes. In addition, the cut-scenes look nice, as are the assets used during actual levels. They seem to have taken the art style of the first season back in the 80s and updated it for modern times without changing it a whole lot. Though from what I understand, the cutscenes in the game are simply clips from the show's second season (although maybe jumping ahead in the story a bit too quickly). The art in each level is exclusive to the game, though, and it still looks nice. Oh, and by the way, lemme take a moment and point out that THEY CUT THE GAME SHORT UNTIL THE ENTIRE SHOW IS DONE AIRING! Now, I'm not about to factor that silly decision into my score, as it has less to do with the quality of the game itself and more to do with them not wanting the last third of the story told before the show told it (maybe), but if you don't like getting incomplete games, feel free to subtract a point for that. Although I will have to cut the score down a tiny bit due to the bugs this game has, such as one that causes the camera to jump to a completely random part of the level on its way to show you what a switch does, and another that causes a character to just run through walls. I guess there were certain kinks the developers failed to work out, though thankfully not a whole lot. The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths isn“t a terrible game, but it“s not that great, either. It“s just pretty average. It has its good points, such as some pretty good music, cartoony visuals that are pleasing to the eyes, and puzzles that can be pretty tricky at times. However, its bad points weigh it down. With a poor way of telling a possibly great story, bad voice acting, lack of challenge, and some various bugs and control issues, Secret Paths is really just a game for fans of the series and kids just now getting into it with its revival, rather than gamers looking for a quality experience. Pros: + Nice, cartoony visuals that are pleasing to the eyes + A pretty good soundtrack that matches the game's mood + Puzzles can be fun and tricky at times Cons: - A potentially great story told pitifully - Laughable voice acting - Lack of any real challenge - A few noticeable bugs and control issues Overall Score: 5.5 (out of 10) Average While not a terrible game, The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths isn't that great, either. It may have its good points, but the bad points weigh the experience down.
  14. Jordan Haygood


    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Neko Entertainment, Ynnis Interactive

  15. Jordan Haygood

    Guards All Around

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Neko Entertainment, Ynnis Interactive

  16. Jordan Haygood

    Dragon Statues

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Neko Entertainment, Ynnis Interactive

  17. Jordan Haygood

    A Dragon On The Wall

    From the album: Jordan's Review Images - Part II

    © Neko Entertainment, Ynnis Interactive

  18. Jordan Haygood

    EarthBound eShop

    From the album: Kaptain's Gallery

    © Nintendo

  19. Leah

    Review: Shantae

    Developer: WayForward Technologies Publisher: WayForward Technologies Platform: 3DS eShop Release Date: July 18, 2013 ESRB: E for Everyone A woman“s hair is something that she can be very proud of – so why not use it as a weapon? Okay, that seems a little weird, but Shantae is much more than that and has some history to it. Late in the Game Boy Color“s life, the eponymous half-genie girl made her debut. Unfortunately, it was a quiet one and Shantae did not receive another game until 2010. With Shantae having gained popularity with Risky“s Revenge, fans wanted to play her original game. It took some time, but WayForward finally made it available for download on the 3DS. Was it worth the wait? Has this platformer aged well at all? Trouble starts immediately for Shantae in the little fishing village of Scuttle Town. Risky Boots, the lady-pirate, is tearing the town apart in search of a treasure! It is Shantae“s ultimate goal to catch Risky Boots and get that treasure back before it“s used for nefarious purposes. How“s a simple half-genie supposed to do that? She whips her hair back and forth. Duh. It“s not the best way of destroying enemies, though (you“re better off avoiding enemies and running away from them). Her hair attack has incredibly limited reach. Enemies are also merciless and tend to spawn on top of you. Because of this, an already difficult game becomes even harder. Thankfully, money is easy to make in this game if you abuse the Dance Parlor. Thus, you“re able to buy the equipment that gives you access to special moves sooner rather than later. You can also use your newfound riches to buy health vials and whatnot to make things a little more manageable. Eventually, you“re able to transform into different animals such as a monkey and harpy. It“s a neat concept, and cute to see Shantae in these different forms as well, but it quickly becomes stale and tedious. Dancing to transform every time you need to climb? No, thanks. These animal forms are used, of course, to solve many of Shantae“s puzzles and navigate around dungeons. While challenging in a good way, dungeons can become confusing with the lack of an in-game map. Sure, these areas are no walk in the park. They are truly a test of skill for seasoned platformer enthusiasts, though! Although the gameplay could be a bit better, Shantae is nonetheless wrapped into a nice little package thanks to its graphics and music. As a Game Boy Color game, it“s beautiful, colorful, and high-quality. The animation is also very smooth. The music is just as good with catchy tunes everywhere you go in Shantae. For $5, you can“t go wrong with adding Shantae to your digital download collection on your 3DS. It“s an absolute steal compared to how much you“d have to pay for a physical copy nowadays anyway! Shantae is a great game to play to this day and definitely deserves a chance if you“re interested. Pros: + Some of the best graphics and music you“ll find from the GBC days + Challenging platforming and puzzles Cons: - Enemies are frustrating and unfair - Easy to get lost Overall Score: 7.5 (out of 10) Good Shantae is a platformer that has aged pretty well thanks to its graphics and soundtrack, even if the gameplay may need some fixing up.
  20. Leah

    Shantae - 3

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © WayForward Technologies

  21. Leah

    Shantae - 2

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © WayForward Technologies

  22. Leah

    Shantae - 1

    From the album: Leah's Review Images

    © WayForward Technologies

  23. In the past, many have accused Nintendo of not knowing how to effectively utilize the online portion of their consoles. Although they still have some issues to work out, such as marketplace simplification, they are doing better. Case in point, they recently started a promotion to offer $30 of credit to those who bought Fire Emblem Awakening and Shin Megami Tensei IV. Now there's a new promotion underway for Wii U owners, although it might not sound as sweet. Nintendo is attempting to up the amount of digital purchases on the home platform by saying if you put at least $50 of eShop credit then you'll be rewarded. At $50, they add $5 to the account. At $100, you get $10. If you were already planning to update your balance with $50 or more then definitely take advantage of this! All you have to do is add funds and Nintendo will send out the credit on August 2nd. As such, you only have until July 28th to load up the eShop balance.