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Found 629 results

  1. Site: https://tetris99.nintendo.com/ Price: Free for Nintendo Switch Online Members (Exclusive) The free to download online software, Tetris® 99, is available as a special offer for Nintendo Switch Online members. In large-scale, 99-player battles, it'll take speed, skill, and strategy to knock out the competition and become the last player standing. You can target opponents by sending them Garbage Blocks, but be careful…your rivals can target you back! Defeat opponents to acquire KO badges that may give you the advantage on future attacks. Survive the onslaught and look forward to upcoming online events! (FREE with NSO membership) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) *Big Block DLC "Season Pass" ($9.99) includes 2 modes, with more to be announced at a later date. NEW Modes Now Available!: UPCOMING EVENTS: 🏆 4th Maximus Cup - 6/21 to 6/23 (Win Gold My Nintendo points!)... PAST EVENTS: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Did anyone download this yet? I played a few rounds and the highest I placed so far was 20th and most KOs I had in one match was 5. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this with being able to have multiple people attack you at once and being able to switch who you're attacking on-the-fly. So far this game seems very bare-bones right now. No tutorial/how to play, only one mode. can't play with friends, no offline practice, no unlockables, etc. It seems like Nintendo just ripped a smaller online mode out of a larger Tetris game and gave it to NSO members for free. However, there is an EXP meter witch will increase your level as you play, but IDK if your lvl even matters. Can others even see your level? I noticed it says Ver. 1.0.0 on the main menu, so it seems like Nintendo plans to regularly update this. I'd really like to see some of the things mentioned above add to the game, because I'm really digging battle royale Tetris...As crazy of a concept as that is.
  2. I'm making this topic to archive the Tournament videos and Highlights I've accumulated throughout the years. It'll start with the playlist of the Tournament Highlights from the original Mario Kart 8 followed by the current Deluxe Tournaments/Battles/Streams. A look down memory lane! *Features the latest Tournament* *Not much of a playlist for this one* *Stream playlist of saved and upcoming* ^I also stream this on my Twitch channel Depending on how things go in the future I might stop making the videos and have this exclusively as a stream.
  3. Who would've thought we'd be here, nearly 25 years after its original release, and Seiken Densetsu 3—now called Trials of Mana—has seen an official release outside of Japan. Not only that, but it gets bundled together with its two predecessors, Final Fantasy Adventure and Secret of Mana, two of the best RPGs on the Game Boy and Super Nintendo, respectively. There have been some unexpected revivals of old Japan-only games over the years but this one certainly ranks up there as one of the most welcome surprises (*cough* now we're just waiting for Mother 3 *cough*). But whether you're focused on its gaming history aspect or not, Collection of Mana is an incredible offer for old-school RPG fans. In addition to its three games, the collection has a couple of minor bonus features. For one, each game has a quick-save function, which is particularly handy in Secret and Trials since you need to be at a save point in order to save your progress—FF Adventure, somewhat surprisingly for an older game, allows you to save anywhere at any time. You're also able to slightly adjust the screen's size while playing, since this is a straight up emulation of early 90s games so the resolution size would look odd on a modern widescreen TV. And finally, each game has a music player so you can reminisce on the fantastic soundtracks—Secret of Mana's infectious music should be particularly nostalgic for anyone that played the game back in the day. That's really it when it comes to new bells and whistles for this collection, which is admittedly a bit light and a few other bonus features would've been nice, but thankfully the games stand well on their own. The first game in the collection, the one that started the whole series, is Final Fantasy Adventure, originally released on the Game Boy in 1991. Those details should give you a general idea of what kind of game this is: monochrome visuals with meager storytelling (and a handful of noticeable typos), but it's hard to deny that the gameplay was fairly ambitious for the time, and the real-time action-RPG gameplay holds up fairly well. Sure there isn't anything too fancy like special attacks, but combining your basic sword swipes and handful of magic spells makes for a pretty charming and light combat system. Exploration in FF Adventure can feel rather aimless at times when objectives aren't clearly explained, but the game's world isn't so expansive that a bit of wandering is ever too much of an issue (and recovering full health and magic every time you level up is also a definite plus, so you don't have to feel tethered to the nearest town). You're even able to customize your stats as you level up—there may only be four stats in the game but that makes for a pretty unique little progression system for a Game Boy title. All that said, there are still a few issues of old-fashioned game design at work here, notably the way you have to constantly buy keys to use in dungeons, where doors will re-lock after you've passed through a few screens. It's just plain inconvenient at best and at worst it can be truly frustrating when you run out of keys inside a dungeon and have to restart or hope an enemy will drop a key for you. That kind of tedium might make this a game best played with a guide or walkthrough on hand. Still, even with its old-fashioned quirks, Final Fantasy Adventure remains a fairly solid, light action-RPG, one that fans of the genre should enjoy exploring at least for its historical value. On to the most famous title in this collection: Secret of Mana, the 1993 SNES RPG that blends real-time combat with minor turn-based mechanics, all wrapped up in an innovative drop-in/drop-out three-player co-op system. It's not hard to see why the game is a beloved classic, even when competing against other highly acclaimed SNES RPGs. The combat is more immediate and satisfying than your average RPG from the time, but not a mindless button-mashing battle system either thanks to the recharge period after each sword swing, as well as the charged attack system. It finds an amazing balance between strategy and action, and manages to capture all of the satisfaction of both approaches. The stylish graphics and incredible soundtrack remain some of the best you'll see/hear from that era—for anyone else that grew up playing this game, even just the title screen music is awash with nostalgic bliss. Sure the game has its share of minor annoyances, not least of which are the AI's atrocious pathfinding at times, or how frustratingly easy it is to get stunlocked by enemy attacks, but in the end those kinds of quirks do little to dull the brilliance that is Secret of Mana. The third and final entry in this collection makes its debut in the West: Trials of Mana, originally released in 1995 on the Super Famicom but never brought overseas, should at least look pretty familiar to Secret of Mana fans. The graphics clearly borrow heavily from its predecessor, and the combat seems pretty similar at a glance, but once you get into it you'll find a clear evolution of the gameplay features from Secret. The most notable aspect of Trials is the branching character paths. At the beginning of the game you choose three characters to play as and, based on your primary character, the story unfolds in slightly different ways, primarily at the beginning and end of the game. It's awfully clever to customize the story like this, and certainly adds replay value by seeing the story in a slightly new angle each time you play. If anything the game could have pushed the idea even further, but as is, it still offers a smart way of keeping the story fresh and making the plot feel more personal for each character. And of course your character choices heavily impact the gameplay, since each character is a different class (fighter, magician, cleric, etc.) and so have different strengths and weaknesses. It's a great way of customizing your approach to the game and, again, an excellent replay incentive. Combat itself feels pretty similar to Secret with some important distinctions. For one, there's no charge attack system. Instead each character has a meter that builds up as you land hits on enemies which then allows you to execute special attacks. It is far more fluid than Secret's charge attacks and helps battles flow much more naturally, like a fully action-oriented game. On the other hand though casting magic freezes the action on screen completely, so using a magic-heavy character like Angela means a lot of pausing during a battle, which gets old fast. Battles are also sectioned off based on the screen you're on, and when you've defeated every enemy on screen the battle officially ends. It may not seem like a big change but it does affect how you approach battles when you're hoping for enemies to drop items, specifically the rare item drops needed to change classes late in the game. And finally leveling up is a little different, and is in fact similar to FF Adventure in that you choose which stat to increase when a character levels up. Unfortunately the Collection of Mana doesn't include proper digital manuals so you're better off scouring the web for details on exactly how each stat benefits your characters, but it's a nice touch of customization to the game's progression. For as much as Trials seems to update or upgrade features of Secret there is one area where Trials is undeniably shaky, and that's the slow, clumsy UI for menus. It seems to simply be some sort of lagging framerate issue when you open up the main menu for changing equipment or checking character stats, but it does get a little obnoxious to deal with each and every time you do so. A localized release of Collection of Mana seemed like a complete fantasy two years ago when Square Enix announced the game for Japan, but Western gamers finally have a chance to play an officially released Trials of Mana—and can look forward to a full remake next year. Collection of Mana rests squarely on your appreciation for classic RPGs. Each game is a straight port so naturally there are some frustrating design quirks from a contemporary perspective, but for the most part these games hold up as charming, unique action-RPGs, and fans of that era of gaming will love having all three in one handy package. Rating: 8 out of 10 Mana Seeds
  4. UPDATE: ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I have no clue what the hell this could be. At first I though the sequel to Wii Fit series, but then they showed different cities from around the world. 🤔
  5. UPDATE: ------------------------------------------------------------------------ So, Amazon had up a listing for an offical Overwatch themed Nintendo Switch carrying case, but quickly removed it. Why would they release an Overwatch case for Switch if it isn't coming to Switch? Hmm...? I'm pretty sure this confirms that the game is indeed coming to Switch. I guess we'll here about it in the next ND. Speculation has people to believe that there's going to be one in September.
  6. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch DAEMON X MACHINA – In this new action game from Kenichiro Tsukuda (Armored Core) and mech designer Shoji Kawamori, your environment is your ally. Collect and use Femto Energy on the field to boost your stats and create powerful mirages, or wield objects like cars and street signs as melee weapons and projectiles. For even more power, upgrade your physical combat abilities and learn new skills through body modification. It’ll also come in handy when you eject from your Arsenal and fight on foot using special weapons and abilities. Castle Crashers Remastered – Hack, slash and smash your way to victory in this Remastered edition of the popular 2D arcade adventure game from The Behemoth. Up to four friends can play locally* or online** and save your princess, defend your kingdom and crash some castles. The Sinking City – The Sinking City is an adventure and investigation game set in an open world inspired by the universe of H.P. Lovecraft, the master of Horror. The half-submerged city of Oakmont is gripped by supernatural forces. You’re a private investigator, and you have to uncover the truth of what has possessed the city … and the minds of its inhabitants. New DLC: Fire Emblem: Three Houses – Expansion Pass Wave 2 – In the great land of Fódlan, you must be ready for any conflict that could arise. With this new wave of paid downloadable content for the Fire Emblem: Three Houses game (sold separately), prepare your army for war by testing their strength in five additional auxiliary battles, invigorate their fighting spirit with a new auxiliary battle song option, equip them with a powerful set of items and dress them for success in a new training outfit for many characters. Oh, and the protagonist, Byleth, can wear glasses now, too. Looking good, Professor! Activities: Celebrate the launch of ASTRAL CHAIN with My Nintendo! – Find the dimensional gates hidden on the ASTRAL CHAIN website to earn My Nintendo Platinum Points***. Redeem My Nintendo points for wallpapers and printable box art covers featuring ASTRAL CHAIN, the new action game for the Nintendo Switch system. My Nintendo Back to School – Back-to-school season is in full swing with September rewards from My Nintendo. Get ready for a classic adventure with a calendar inspired by the Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening game, discount coupons and much more. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: AI: THE SOMNIUM FILES – Available Sept. 17 Akash: Path of the Five – Available Sept. 16 Arcade Archives VIGILANTE Atomic Heist – Available Sept. 13 Battle Supremacy – Evolution CHOP – Available Sept. 13 DISTRAINT: Deluxe Edition – Available Sept. 13 Ellen – Available Sept. 13 Hyperdrive Massacre Jet Kave Adventure – Available Sept. 17 KAIJU KHAOS LEGO Jurassic World – Available Sept. 17 Molecats Reel Fishing: Road Trip Adventure – Available Sept. 17 Rest in Pieces – Available Sept. 13 Ritual: Sorcerer Angel Star Wars Pinball – Available Sept. 13 Super Dodgeball Beats Sydney Hunter and the Curse of the Mayan The Tenth Line Special Edition Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Space Intervention
  7. Makes me wonder if Nintendo is really considering releasing a proper VR headset for Switch. Though, this thing better include a head strap, because no wants to play holding the Switch up their face. Sure it was alright for the Labo headset, but still people made their own head straps for it. I actually kind of hope they release a proper VR head set for Switch, because Metroid Prime 4/Trilogy in VR...OMG! PLEASE, NINTENDO!!!
  8. I'm guessing this was one of the ideas Nintendo was throwing around when they were prototyping the Switch. I don't see how this design would be that useful, unless they were going for a Wii Nunchuk desgin for when using the Joy-Con separated. Plus adding more moving parts means a higher chance of it breaking/wearing out overtime.
  9. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Divinity: Original Sin 2 – This critically beloved and fan-favorite role-playing game is now available on the Nintendo Switch system. With the power of Nintendo Switch, players can slay monsters and unleash magic with up to three other friends* at home or on the go. Deadly Premonition Origins – The original open-world survival horror game is now on Nintendo Switch. If you’ve never experienced the cult classic, now you can play it at home, on the go or while drinking coffee in a remote hotel in the woods. Super Kirby Clash – To defeat bosses this wicked, it’ll take a whole team of Kirbys! In this free-to-start multiplayer* action game, you can choose from four unique Roles and join up to three other players to take down tough bosses. Puff up your power by crafting weapons and spending materials at the Shoppe to receive even MORE weapons, not to mention armor and items. Pass a Joy-Con controller to a friend to play locally, and if you have a Nintendo Switch Online membership, you can even play online**. DAEMON X MACHINA Prologue Demo – This new action-mech game launches on Sept. 13, but players that want to take those powerful mechs for a spin can now try out the free demo version of the game. In the Prologue demo, players will pilot their mechs through the beginning of the game, and all progress earned will carry over to the main game, once purchased. A key feature of the demo is the ability to play in local co-op mode with up to four players (additional accessories may be required for multiplayer mode; sold separately). NBA 2K20 – NBA 2K has evolved into much more than a basketball simulation. 2K continues to redefine what’s possible in sports gaming with the NBA 2K20 game, featuring best-in-class graphics and gameplay, ground-breaking game modes and unparalleled player control and customization. Plus, with its immersive open-world Neighborhood, the NBA 2K20 game is a platform for gamers and ballers to come together and create what’s next in basketball culture. The NBA 2K20 game will be available on Sept. 6. Creature in the Well – The Creature in the Well game is a top-down, pinball-inspired, hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. As the last remaining BOT-C unit, venture deep into a desert mountain to restore power to an ancient facility, haunted by a desperate Creature. Uncover and upgrade powerful gear in order to free the city of Mirage from a deadly sandstorm. The Creature in the Well game will be available on Sept. 6. Risk of Rain 2 – No run will ever be the same with randomized stages, enemies, bosses and items. Play solo, or team up with up to four friends online** to fight through hordes of monsters, unlock new loot and find a way to escape the planet. Additional survivors, stages, items, enemies and features are still in active development and will be added in multiple free content updates. Blasphemous – A foul curse has fallen upon the land of Cvstodia and all its inhabitants – it is simply known as The Miracle. Play as The Penitent One, a sole survivor of the massacre of the “Silent Sorrow.” Trapped in an endless cycle of death and rebirth, it’s down to you to free the world from this terrible fate and reach the origin of your anguish. The Blasphemous game will be available on Sept. 10. Nintendo Switch Online Super Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online – Super NES games are now on Nintendo Switch – and they are free for anyone who has a Nintendo Switch Online membership! Super Mario World Super Mario Kart The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past Super Metroid Stunt Race FX (The first time it has appeared on another system outside of its original Super NES release!) Kirby’s Dream Land 3 Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island Star Fox F-ZERO Pilotwings Kirby’s Dream Course BRAWL BROTHERS Breath of Fire Demon’s Crest Joe & Mac 2: Lost in the Tropics SUPER E.D.F. EARTH DEFENSE FORCE Super Ghouls ’n Ghosts Super Puyo Puyo 2 Super Soccer Super Tennis
  10. The latest installment of the Fire Emblem series launches for the Nintendo Switch today! Are you planning on picking it up? Which house are you going to join? Who are you going to marry? Please tag spoilers.
  11. Between last year's Yoku's Island Express and this year's Creature in the Well, I don't know what it is that's making game developers think up new twists on the pinball formula, but I can say that I am all for it. Creature in the Well, from developer Flight School, combines pinball mechanics with hack 'n' slash dungeon exploration, resulting in easily one of the most unique games of the year. Most surprising of all is how well these gameplay elements merge into one cohesive whole. As the game begins, you find yourself in a desolate desert environment, a lone robot from some seemingly forgotten civilization. Upon stumbling your way into a derelict factory, you meet the titular creature, who then attempts to stop you from repairing and restarting the machinery within. Creature in the Well does a fantastic job of building ambiance with only a minimal amount of backstory and dialogue. There are only a couple of other characters you meet during the game, but they're enough to give you an idea of the world that this game takes place in, and the creature's role therein. It might have been nice to have even more fleshed out storytelling to make the game's world as robust as possible, but as is there's enough to keep you engaged and intrigued about the factory, the creature, and your job as a solitary robot. Creature in the Well's gameplay could best be described as a dungeon exploration game where you use pinball mechanics to progress. In order to move deeper through the dungeon, you need to charge the machinery with energy orbs, then use that energy to unlock doors. Energy orbs can be found in each room (or, occasionally, they're shot at you from turret guns) and you need to swipe them with a weapon to charge them up and send them hurtling toward machines around the room that look suspiciously like pinball bumpers. Although you're armed with a sword—or a rusty pipe, at the beginning of the game—swinging your weapon is useless unless you're bouncing an energy orb around. Sometimes the challenge is in aiming your shot perfectly, sometimes there are hazards that can damage you scattered around the room, but ultimately the goal is always to amass as much energy as possible by activating all of the machines in the room. It's a little hard to explain in text but when you have the controller in hand the gameplay of Creature in the Well is actually beautifully simple and intuitive. Bouncing energy orbs around the room has a tennis-like quality to it, and charging an orb freezes the orb in front of you, giving you ample time to carefully line up your shot. Dungeon rooms are quite distinctly separated, so each room acts as its own little puzzle, which helps the game from getting too overwhelming—by the end of the game the numerous hazards, switches, and bouncing energy orbs can feel overwhelming, so it's a good thing that the game keeps these challenges fairly manageable. And it's incredibly satisfying to deftly knock back each energy orb while dodging hazards, all while the creature's frustration with you grows and grows. Although the game doesn't last too long, there's a decent number of challenges thrown at you to keep things interesting. The gameplay formula has a bit of a risk of feeling one note after a while, but when the hazards are piling on top of you the action never seems to waver, plus the satisfaction of clearing one room after another keeps the gameplay engaging. There are also hidden paths that can yield valuable rewards, namely different weapons that can augment your abilities slightly, allowing you to approach rooms with a fresh strategy. It's still a bit of a shame that the game is over so quickly—only about five hours will see you comfortably through the entire adventure—but it's only a problem because the game is so casually addictive that it's easy to rush through the whole thing in just a couple of play sessions. Visually, Creature in the Well features a truly striking use of color and geometric shapes. It makes sense that a vast facility might be lacking in elaborate layouts, so the game makes up for repetitive room designs with vibrant color palettes for each region that gives the facility a sleek, simple, gorgeous sense of style. The atmosphere that this creates is enthralling—especially due to the somewhat hypnotic ambient soundtrack that isn't too flashy but gives you just the right mood for puzzle-solving and exploration. Just like with regard to the storytelling, there's just enough detail to keep you interested in this unique environment, but enough gaps to let your imagination run wild with the other possibilities at hand. Creature in the Well takes disparate gameplay elements and makes them work together beautifully. The pinball-inspired dungeon exploration ends up feeling totally natural, and buoyed by the sense of accomplishment you enjoy upon clearing one room after another as you delve further and further into the game's dungeons. Combined with the stylish graphics and intriguing setting, it's easy to dive deep into Creature in the Well's unique, addictive adventure. Rating: 8 out of 10 Creatures Review copy provided by publisher Creature in the Well will be available on the Switch eShop on September 6th for $14.99. It is available to pre-order for a 10% discount.
  12. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch ASTRAL CHAIN – In this new action game from PlatinumGames, the creators of the Bayonetta series, control the protagonist and a special weapon called a Legion simultaneously to chain stylish combos. Change Legions on the fly to vary your style and unleash a variety of abilities. The last remnants of humanity depend on you, and to save the world, you must investigate its dark side. Spyro Reignited Trilogy – The original roast master is back, and he’s on the go! Same sick burns, same smoldering attitude, all scaled up in stunning HD. Spyro is bringing the heat like never before in the Spyro Reignited Trilogy game collection. Rekindle the fire with remastered versions of the original three games, Spyro the Dragon, Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage! and Spyro: Year of the Dragon. Explore the expansive realms, re-encounter the fiery personalities and relive the adventure in fully remastered glory. Because when there’s a realm that needs saving, there’s only one dragon to call. Torchlight II – The Torchlight II game takes you back into the quirky, fast-paced world of bloodthirsty monsters, bountiful treasures and sinister secrets – and, once again, the fate of the world is in your hands. The Torchlight II game is fast, fun and filled to the brim with action and loot. Adventure solo or form a party online* with your friends. Nintendo Mobile Mario Kart Tour – Pre-registration for the new Mario Kart Tour mobile game** has started! If you want to be among the first to be notified once the game is available to download, pre-register now via the AppStore and Google Play. Mario Kart Tour launches for mobile devices on Sept. 25. A new teaser video and gameplay trailer show off the high-octane game in action. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Agent A: A puzzle in disguise Arcade Archives WATER SKI BARRIER X – Available Sept. 3 Brunch Club Bubsy: Paws on Fire! Damascus Gear Operation Osaka Deadly Fighter 2 Decay of Logos Farm Mystery Fin and the Ancient Mystery – Available Sept. 3 FUZE4 Nintendo Switch – Available Aug. 30 Grand Brix Shooter Headspun – Available Aug. 30 Heave Ho Invasion of Alien X - Earth in Crisis Legend of the Skyfish – Available Aug. 30 Little Racer Omen Exitio: Plague Pacific Wings Root Letter: Last Answer – Available Sept. 3 Vambrace: Cold Soul Wilmot’s Warehouse Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Pinball Breaker 4
  13. The Raven Remastered revives the 2013 point 'n' click adventure title with a slight visual facelift, otherwise preserving the heist/mystery plotline, compelling soundtrack, and classic adventure gameplay mechanics. The game could have used more than just a visual update though, as the clunky controls, lackluster puzzles, and awkward voice acting leave much to be desired, even from fans of the genre. In 1964, an ancient ruby, one half of a priceless set, is stolen from a British museum by the famous thief the Raven, a cat burglar thought to have been shot and killed years earlier. Now the revived thief has threatened to steal again, but a mild-mannered Swiss constable finds himself enmeshed in the chase while on a train transporting the other half of the gemstone set. It's a great set-up for a detective story—the plot truly feels like an Agatha Christie novel, complete with suspicious characters at every turn and a clever policeman able to piece together all of the scattered clues. However, at the same time, the Raven's writing feels sadly dull in many ways. The cast of characters simply isn't very charismatic—an issue that has a lot to do with the absolutely lifeless voice work—and despite the thrill of the chase, the game's pacing is positively sleep-inducing, partly due to the nature of point 'n' click adventure gameplay, and partly due to slow movement and long loading times. It doesn't suit the urgency of finding a dangerous thief to be plodding through a room, examining every item. The game's writing also takes a bit of a risk by, halfway through the game, repeating the events of the first half through the perspective of a different character. On the one hand, it's a clever idea for the mystery storytelling aspect of the game, as it helps fill in missing details. On the other hand though, it feels like a lazy fill-in for the gameplay, as retreading the same environments proves rather unexciting. All of the action in The Raven is classic point 'n' click adventure gameplay: you pick up items—oftentimes in a seemingly random, haphazard manner—and use them to solve puzzles. Oftentimes you'll need to improvise some sort of tool to unlock a door or chest, or you'll need to talk with other characters to find useful information. The game does a decent job of coming up with interesting solutions, though like many point 'n' click games it does go a little too far at times—there are a few puzzles that practically require you to randomly combine items until something works because the solutions are so obtuse. It's always frustrating to run into these kinds of roadblocks as they completely kill the momentum of the game, but on the bright side The Raven includes in-game hints if you find yourself stuck. You'll lose some points for your end-of-chapter rating but that's a small price to pay. As previously mentioned, the game's pacing leaves much to be desired. Granted, point 'n' click adventure games are inherently slower paced than other genres, but The Raven has two significant problems that make the game feel even slower. For one, the controls are incredibly stiff and awkward. Movement, menu navigation, highlighting objects to interact with—the game's controls have no sense of satisfying snappiness. Instead you feel more like some sort of robot learning to move for the first time. The other major issue is the load times. Pretty much every game has them these days, but The Raven makes particularly poor use of them, especially when you sometimes need to explore quite a bit, moving back and forth between screens to gather clues or compare notes, and every time you do so you suffer through a loading screen. It's the kind of minor annoyance that, by the end of the game, casts a pall over the whole experience. The loading screens are particularly annoying because, frankly, the game's visual design doesn't seem to justify them. The graphics are, at best, generic. The scenery is appropriate for the story's 60s setting but is otherwise quite bland, and the character design is equally dull. Something a bit more stylized might have breathed some energy into the characters, though the stiff animation doesn't help either. It is, to be honest, shocking that the game originally came out as recently as 2013. The voice work is also laughably bad at times as the actors completely fail to give the characters any sense of energy or life. Not every voice is bad, to be fair, but enough of it comes off as dull line reading that it snaps you out of the mystery story. The one saving grace in The Raven's presentation is the soundtrack, which is far more exciting and engaging than either the voice work or visual design. The soundtrack may not be particularly long, but the songs present do have a lively mystery-story vibe that suits the setting. At around eight to ten hours, The Raven doesn't overstay its welcome, which is probably for the best—there's little chance for the puzzles to get too esoteric, and the pacing is already a bit of drag as is, so another five or ten hours would only weaken the game. Of course, as a point 'n' click adventure and as a mystery story there's little replay value to enjoy here, which might hurt the relatively short length for some players. Despite a solid detective story foundation, The Raven Remastered fails to fully draw the player into the mystery. The clumsy, halting controls only further serve to slow down the point 'n' click adventure gameplay, and poor visual design and voice acting can't quite bring to life the international 60s setting. There's a decent detective story to be found in The Raven Remastered, but it feels like you have to fight against every other aspect of the game to actually enjoy it. Rating: 5 out of 10 Jewels
  14. In another blast from the past revival, THQ Nordic has remastered the 2009 destruction-fest sandbox game from the Red Faction series—a series that hasn't seen a new release since 2011. Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered draws upon the sandbox game formula but focuses on one key action gameplay hook: blowing shit up. With sledgehammer, bombs, and rockets, you're able to wreak devastation across Mars, but the fun of seeing things fall down may not be enough to sustain an entire game. Alec Mason arrives on Mars looking for work as a mining engineer, but a family tragedy pushes him toward joining the Red Faction, a resistance organization trying to throw off the shackles of the Earth Defense Force's oppressive regime on Mars. Now that he's caught up in the fight he'll do anything to take down the EDF. For a game focused on the wanton destruction of buildings and vehicles, it's probably not too surprising that the plot is pretty bare-boned. None of the characters, either protagonists or EDF villains, are developed in any meaningful way, though you can at least read about some of the setting's lore in the pause menu. To be fair though, Guerrilla is the third game in the Red Faction series, so some background knowledge was perhaps expected of the player. First and foremost, Guerrilla is a game about destroying things, and to that end the game is immensely satisfying. Watching buildings crumble definitely taps into some kind of primal urge to break things, and the physics engine powering Guerrilla makes seeing the rubble fall down around you particularly satisfying. There's also just enough realism to make it particularly engaging without bogging down the gameplay with too much detail—i.e. you can target support beams and walls to let a building fall under its own weight, but you're still able to break through just about any surface with just a sledgehammer. There are some wonky physics at times as well—a building probably shouldn't still be standing if only one wall remains—but it's hard to quibble over those details when you're in the middle of the carnage. Unfortunately, the destruction physics is kind of all the game has going for it. The other aspects of the gameplay leave a lot to be desired, from the barren open world environment where targets are few and far between to the tediously dull third-person shooting mechanics. Granted, the game takes place on a Mars colony, but the minimal scenery to interact with quickly grows boring, and the driving mechanics can be as frustrating as they are fun. Vehicles will easily bounce through the air from any little bump in the road, which can be amusing but quickly grows obnoxious when you're just trying to get to the next mission objective. Controlling even basic vehicles is just a little too wild, not to mention the fact that even small bumps can drain the vehicle's health. The relentless onslaught of enemy forces can also be a drain on the gameplay. Sure, Mason and the resistance are fighting a much larger force, so it makes sense that you're always going to be outnumbered. But Mason can die so insanely quickly against never-ending reinforcements of EDF soldiers that they're more of a constant headache than engaging opponents. Aiming and shooting isn't as smooth or tight as it ought to be, though thankfully explosions (and even the sledgehammer) are pretty effective at taking out enemy forces. Combat tends to devolve into tedious hide and seek games as you run away to let your health regenerate, and you never get the same "one-man wrecking crew" feeling fighting soldiers as you do when blowing up buildings. The biggest issue with Guerrilla though is just the fact that you'll see pretty much everything the game has to offer in the first hour or so. Drive to a mission marker, drive further to the target, blow it up, escape—there really isn't much variety or depth to the gameplay here. Sure there are a few weapon options to let you tackle objectives in slightly different ways, but in the end too much of the game just feels like repeating the same concept over and over, and destroying things just isn't enough to build an entire game around. And on a technical level, Guerrilla has a few nagging problems. Every time you load the game, reload after dying, or fast travel, there's an incredibly long load screen (although to be fair the game is mostly seamless otherwise). You may also run into other technical hiccups, including crashes and mission objectives that don't trigger properly. They may not be wildly egregious bugs but they certainly don't help the sense of bland repetition. Although the single player campaign is fairly short (even with its repetitive structure), Guerrilla has a few other game modes to keep players busy, from score chasing in Wrecking Crew to battling other destruction pros in online competitive matches, though good luck finding other players. Ultimately though, even the multiplayer options can't shake the feeling of just doing more of the same repetitive gameplay as the campaign. For a decade-old game, Guerrilla looks pretty solid on the Switch. There's no mistaking the art design for being a bit dated, but the remastered visual features are pretty smooth. Though again, the barren landscape of Mars isn't a particularly interesting setting, either for gameplay mechanics or visuals. And occasionally you might run into some framerate stuttering when there's a lot happening on screen. The soundtrack isn't particularly impressive either, though it doesn't often get a chance to shine with all of the explosions happening left and right. And the voice cast does well for the most part, even if there is some hilariously repetitive ambient dialogue at times. Red Faction: Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered serves as a nice time capsule to ten years ago, but mostly because it highlights the sloppy video game industry trends of the time. A satisfying, flashy demolition game was clumsily molded into an open-world sandbox title, which really only served to emphasize how bland and repetitive the gameplay could be. Blowing stuff up is still pretty fun, but tying it to mediocre shooting mechanics, long and dull driving scenarios, and a bare-boned story doesn't do the physics-based chaos any favors. Rating: 6 out of 10 Factions
  15. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch SUPERHOT – Blurring the lines between cautious strategy and unbridled mayhem, the SUPERHOT game is the FPS in which time moves only when you move. No regenerating health bars. No conveniently placed ammo drops. It’s just you, outnumbered and outgunned, grabbing weapons off fallen enemies to shoot, slice and maneuver through a hurricane of slow-motion bullets. Hotline Miami Collection – The Hotline Miami Collection game contains both games in the neon-soaked, brutally challenging Hotline Miami series from Dennaton Games. DRAGON QUEST XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age – Definitive Edition – Demo Version – You are the Luminary, the hunted hero who will protect the land from destruction in the latest RPG from the iconic DRAGON QUEST series. With a ragtag band of adventurers, you’ll engage in well-balanced, turn-based battles and embark on quests across the kingdom of Erdrea. Try out this free demo before the game launches for the Nintendo Switch system on Sept. 27. You can even carry your progress to the full game. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online* Kung-Fu Heroes – Monsters have taken Princess Min-Min and the 10 treasures of the land, and the people have fallen into sorrow. Only Kung-Fu Masters Jacky and Lee can save the princess and retrieve the treasures. Their journey will take them to eight different castles filled with hosts of traps and obstacles. Use punches and the Miracle Kick to defeat the enemies. You will need quick wits and lightning reflexes to make it to the last castle. Vice: Project Doom – There exists a group of undercover detectives who dare stand up to the evil in the world... They are known as Vice. Officer Quinn Hart, a member of Vice, is on the case and after the truth. High-speed car chases, action-packed battles employing three types of weapons and a mode with three 3D rail-shooting stages all bring this cyberpunk world to life. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: AER Memories of Old – Available Aug. 28 Arcade Archives VS. GRADIUS Deadlings – Available Aug. 27 Duck Life: Battle Eight-Minute Empire: Complete Edition – Available Aug. 27 ESport Manager – Available Aug. 27 Everdark Tower GRANDIA HD Collection Gurgamoth – Available Aug. 23 Hookbots – Available Aug. 28 Instant Sports Invisigun Reloaded Lines Infinite Mekabolt – Available Aug. 23 Milkmaid of the Milky Way Mr Blaster Our Flick Erasers – Demo Version – Available Aug. 23 Pantsu Hunter: Back to the 90s – Available Aug. 28 Path of Sin: Greed Please Teach Me Onedari Shogi Plunge – Available Aug. 23 SEGA AGES Puyo Puyo SEGA AGES Space Harrier Snooker 19 – Available Aug. 23 The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Whipseey and the Lost Atlas – Available Aug. 27 World Cruise Story – Demo Version
  16. Originally born out of a Seattle Game Jam, Gurgamoth, from developer Galvanic Games and publisher The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild, offers up a lightning fast party game of kill or be killed. In a vague eldritch horror setting where dark sorcerers compete to summon the elder god Gurgamoth, up to four players locally compete to be the last cultist standing. It's fast, frantic, and fun, though undeniably one note. Part of what makes Gurgamoth an effective party game is the simplicity of its controls and gameplay. You'll move around, smash into other players, dodge, or try to stun them with a risky stun maneuver. Your goal is to smack opponents into the stage's hazards, whether those are spikes, spinning saw blades, or rotating lasers. It only takes a minute to learn, though there's still a little depth that you'll uncover as you play more—specifically, baiting opponents into positioning themselves poorly, or mastering each stage's unique hazards. Perhaps most importantly, you only have a limited number of attacks before you have to wait for them to recharge (indicated by white dots above your character). This is where strategy becomes crucial, since you can monitor your opponents' remaining attacks to know when to strike, or horde your own attacks until just the right moment. Gurgamoth is fast-paced and chaotic, which makes it great for a raucous local multiplayer game night, plus the short length of most matches means the energy never flags. And although you can technically play solo against three AI controlled opponents, Gurgamoth is at its best when you've got friends sitting next to you. The only problem with Gurgamoth is that there really isn't much in the game. There are a handful of stages, each with unique hazards, so there's a bit of variety and replay value in swapping stages, but otherwise the game is woefully light on gameplay options. You can adjust how many points are needed to win, change the frequency that power-ups appear, but that's it. Other games might feel bogged down with too many side mode options, but in this case something like a challenge mode or story campaign would have done wonders to make the game feel more fleshed out. Gurgamoth is single-minded in its gameplay approach, which is admirable, but it does make the experience feel a bit bare overall. The game's colorful, cartoony look perhaps helps soften the fact that your goal in each match is to kill your opponents so you can summon an elder god. Regardless, the visuals are charming, even if there isn't a ton of variety to them. You've got a few characters to choose from and a handful of stages to battle on, but that's it, unfortunately. At least there's a decent upbeat soundtrack to match the fast-paced energy of each battle, though sadly there are only a handful of songs to enjoy here as well. Gurgamoth is great for a quick and chaotic party game, but the lack of game modes and features means it doesn't have quite the longevity of similar titles. And the game's simple, pick-up-and-play philosophy is a big part of its charm, but it's just not enough to sustain the game for too long. Give Gurgamoth a try if you're in the mood for a solid, fast-paced party game, but be aware that the longevity isn't quite there. Rating: 6 out of 10 Elder Gods Review copy provided by publisher Gurgamoth will be available on the Switch eShop on August 23rd for $9.99.
  17. Over four years since its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign was funded, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is finally available and carrying on the spirit of the Castlevania franchise, if not the name. A creepy castle full of monsters, RPG mechanics, Metroidvania progression—Ritual of the Night has all of the hallmarks that made games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia such beloved hits, but can it fully capture their charm? Ten years before the events of the game, magic researchers attempted to summon demons by using the power of Shardbinders, humans fused with the power of crystals that were charged with demonic power. The summoning attempt was, unsurprisingly, catastrophic for humanity, with only two Shardbinders surviving. One was Miriam, our protagonist, who avoided the entire ritual by falling into a deep, unnatural slumber for ten years. Now she's awake, and demons are once again wreaking havoc across the land, meaning it's up to Miriam to stop it. It's a decent backstory, if not terribly original, but unfortunately the game's few cutscenes and dialogue sequences do little to elevate the story. You'll encounter a handful of side characters along your journey but none of them feels particularly well developed, even accounting for a few twists and turns in the plot. It's a bit of a shame that this opportunity to branch out from Castlevania lore into original gothic-horror storytelling wasn't used to more interesting ends. Ritual of the Night is a Metroidvania game, meaning it generally takes place in a single location—in this case, a castle crawling with demons—and your progress is limited by power-ups gained from defeating bosses. You might wander through the castle and notice a health upgrade on a high ledge, but with Miriam's default jumping ability it's out of reach for the moment. Metroidvanias are all about exploration and making mental notes of where to return once you're better equipped (Ritual of the Night also lets you make handy marks on the in-game map to remind yourself to return later). It's an addictive gameplay formula that Bloodstained handles well. The environments are diverse, there's an exciting sense of discovery as you inch forward into each monster-filled room, and a satisfying tension when your health is running low and you're desperately searching for the next save room. Exploring and discovering what to do next is a blast, but Ritual of the Night may go a little too extreme with how difficult this can be at times. Specifically, there are a few instances where the game gives so little direction or hint while requiring a very specific solution that it is extremely difficult to solve organically. One of the worst moments involves an item that is randomly dropped from a specific enemy but is required to progress. At that point, progression is just a little too obscure, and ends up being a little obnoxious. Ritual of the Night is no stranger to challenge in general, though. Combat can be tough early on when you're still learning the ropes of the game, especially given how slow Miriam's movements and attacks feel, compared to similar side-scrolling action games. You can't swing wildly lest you leave yourself open to enemy attacks, and monsters generally take several hits to go down. The first couple hours can be extremely challenging, especially the boss fights, though gradually the difficulty mellows out, partially due to the wide range of combat options at your disposal. In addition to a variety of weapon types (swords, whips, spears, etc.), Miriam can equip shards collected from monsters which essentially act as spells. There are dozens of shards in the game, giving you free rein to customize your approach to combat—you can even save equipment set-ups to quickly switch from one to another, perhaps to best handle different types of enemies. It probably won't take you long to find a preferred fighting style and sticking with it for the rest of the game, but the opportunities for customization are still excellent and opens the door for plenty of replay value. The process for unlocking new equipment or shards can be a little tediously haphazard, though. Aside from getting random item drops from defeated demons, you can also craft weapons and armor at your base of operations. Crafting has the same issue of dealing with random drops since you're at the mercy of chance when it comes to whether or not you'll have the materials needed to craft items. It can be a tedious process if you're really trying to craft a specific item, but as with so many crafting systems it might be better to not sweat over it too much and simply play normally. The game's presentation is a real mixed bag of quality. The art style is decent enough, even if it seems to rely a little heavily on paths Castlevania already forged (though granted there are only so many permutations of 18th century gothic horror). There are some fun demon designs, and overall the colorful art style is charming. The technical quality of the graphics, though, leaves quite a lot to be desired. For one thing everything in Ritual of the Night is just kind of blurry—low resolution plagues not only the gameplay but character portraits during dialogue and cutscenes. The technical quality doesn't seem to be doing the art design justice at all. Secondly and more egregiously, the game runs pretty poorly on the Switch. You'll notice slowdown when there's a lot of movement on screen, significant loading times even when just moving from one room to another, and possibly even random crashing (which is especially problematic in a game with no autosave feature). Patches have been promised by the developer but as of writing this review the quality of the graphics is disappointing. The soundtrack, however, is pretty consistently excellent. There's no mistaking the Castlevania influence on the music, but when that style nails the mix of action-oriented gameplay and gothic-horror setting so well, it's hard to find any faults with it. The voice acting isn't bad either, but the soundtrack is far and away the highlight of the game's presentation. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a faithful recreation of the Metroidvania era of Castlevania games, even if some of its gameplay conventions feel a little too dated now. Still, Castlevania fans will be more than satisfied with the blend of combat and exploration that challenges the player to survive until the next save room. The game's presentation is an irrefutable issue with this Switch edition of the game though, one that may justifiably leave gamers wary of investing in this version, or at least warrant waiting for some thorough patches and updates to the game's visual stability. Rating: 7 out of 10 Rituals
  18. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch RAD – The RAD game is a 3D action rogue-like set in a post-post-apocalyptic world, where humanity has faced Armageddon not once, but twice. Playing as a teenage protagonist, you must venture into the Fallow — an ever-changing, radioactive wasteland filled with unknown and unspeakable creatures. The RAD game will be available on Aug. 20. ONINAKI – The new action-RPG game, ONINAKI, tells the story of one Watcher on a journey to protect Life, after Death. The ONINAKI game features exciting hack and slash style battles, with deep customization of your daemons and weapons. Experience unique action gameplay combined with a deep and satisfying story. The ONINAKI game will be available on Aug. 21. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Anode – Available Aug. 17 Arcade Archives X MULTIPLY Beholder 2 Cryogear Devious Dungeon 2 – Demo Version – Available Aug. 19 Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes Escape from the Universe – Available Aug. 16 FAR: Lone Sails – Available Aug. 18 Grave Keeper Gravity Duck – Available Aug. 16 IN-VERT – Available Aug. 20 Ittle Dew PC Building Simulator PictoQuest Rogue Singularity Tap Skaters TERRORHYTHM (TRRT) Truck Racing Championship – Available Aug. 20 VASARA Collection Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution – Available Aug. 19 Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Squarcat
  19. Thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Castlevania fans get not one but two games that draw upon the classic action gameplay that the series is known for. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was developed by Inti Creates as an homage to the early days of Castlevania, with particular emphasis on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. The end result is a satisfying blend of classic action-platformer mechanics with thankfully a few modern conveniences thrown in. You play as Zangetsu, a swordsman who was cursed by demons and has vowed to destroy any demons he can find—pretty standard set-up for a classic 80s action game. Despite that vow though Zangetsu allies himself with several demons over the course of the game, but what's most interesting is that you can reach different endings depending on how you interact with those demons (this is only accessible after your first playthrough). The story still isn't particularly deep but the different endings add a nice bit if replay value, making Curse of the Moon a decent introduction to the world of Bloodstained. The gameplay truly feels like it was lifted straight out of a NES title. In classic side-scrolling fashion your goal is to reach the end of the level and defeat the boss, but there are plenty of monsters blocking your path as well as some light platforming challenges. Curse of the Moon should feel instantly familiar to Castlevania fans—the game even retains some of the frustrations of old school gaming, such as getting knocked back when hit or the incredibly stiff controls that can make jumping feel frustratingly clumsy. The good news, though, is that Curse of the Moon features a Casual mode that eliminates the knockback and gives you infinite lives, which is useful even if you're an experienced player since it gives you chance to run through the game and acquaint yourself with the mechanics. But even on Veteran mode (the default mode that replicates classic Castlevania mechanics) the game never gets too frustrating. You'll definitely suffer through some cheap deaths, but it's not too hard to rack up a healthy supply of extra lives. Best of all though, you can change the difficulty setting any time you reload a save file to get just the right challenge balance for you. It helps that you eventually have four playable characters that you can swap among at any moment, and you won't lose a life until every character is dead (dying does send you back to the last checkpoint though, and there's no way to revive a character aside from completing the level or killing every character). Having four playable characters also does wonders for making the gameplay feel engaging. Each character has unique abilities that help make monster slaying a little more varied, plus you'll find alternate paths through each level thanks to each character's unique skills. For example, the first ally you encounter, Miriam, has a whip for longer reach and can slide through small areas. Once you have all four it's pretty satisfying to swap among them to deal with any given obstacle, or to challenge yourself by taking on enemies in different ways. Another feature that helps alleviate some of the "Nintendo Hard" feeling is permanent upgrades, such as expanding your maximum health, sub-weapon ammo, or even boosts to offense/defense. Finding these upgrades always requires a bit of exploration and using characters' unique skills, but they're always worth hunting down. Curse of the Moon is definitely not a long game—it's possible to finish the game in under two hours—but what it lacks in length it makes up for in replay value. There are the two difficulty settings to test your skills, the branching paths that reward exploration (and require keeping your characters alive), and there are multiple game modes that offer slight differences to the gameplay and story. All told, there's a decent amount of content to satisfy Castlevania fans. It wouldn't be a retro revival without recreating the classic look and sound of a NES game. The pixel art is fantastic (definitely more elaborate than your average NES title) and the music captures just the right sense of catchy, slightly repetitive chiptune audio. It may not be the smoothest pixel art or animation out there today, but Curse of the Moon is all about reviving a sense of 80s Castlevania games, and in that regard the presentation nails it. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a spot on recreation of familiar Castlevania mechanics, plus a few thankfully more forgiving features such as Casual mode. The level design and challenges aren't necessarily breaking any new ground in the action-platformer genre, but that was never really the intent with the game in the first place. This is a game for Castlevania fans, and those fans will love running through a new dark and spooky adventure and putting their old school skills to the test. Rating: 8 out of 10 Curses
  20. Ever since the release of Awakening and its surprise surge in popularity, the Fire Emblem series has gone from a dying, niche franchise for Nintendo to one of their biggest names (if Smash Bros. representation is anything to go by). As a huge Fire Emblem fan though I'm not complaining! With the latest release in the series, Nintendo had the challenge of maintaining that momentum by delivering the trademark strategy gameplay of the series, alongside fresh new features, in a format that would be just as engaging on-the-go as it is on a TV screen. Considering Fire Emblem hasn't had a home console release in over ten years, there were some high expectations here. But with its wealth of characters to love and updated gameplay mechanics, Fire Emblem: Three Houses makes the grade. The game gets its subtitle from the three school houses at the prestigious Officers Academy at Garreg Mach, a monastery where nobles and other warriors from the three main regions of the continent are trained in the art of war. As the game begins, our protagonist is a wandering mercenary who is somewhat pressed into becoming a professor at Garreg Mach after rescuing three students from bandits. The school setting might seem just a tiny bit silly compared to past Fire Emblem games that focus on epic wars, but as you might expect there are some nefarious goings-on at Garreg Mach and you'll eventually be steeped in a much more dramatic conflict. The real benefit of the school setting is immediately giving you a large roster of characters to get to know, each of which has their own charming quirks as well as much more depth than they may seem at first. It feels like support conversations have become increasingly a focus of Fire Emblem games, and Three Houses is no exception. Although the central conflicts of the game are really only based around a handful of characters, there's something addictive about uncovering each character's story through their support conversations. It's easy to get invested in these characters, even if it's initially somewhat overwhelming to interact with so many, and the mysterious aspects of the plot keep you well engaged, culminating in the second half of the game when the stakes are much higher. You're also given the choice of leading one of the three houses, which impacts the story via branching paths. The downside is that completing one path may not answer all of your questions about what is really going on at Garreg Mach, but in the end that's just a good excuse to replay the game and focus on a different path and different group of students. The gameplay of Three Houses is more or less divided into two halves. In one, you have the familiar strategy RPG battles that involve moving units around a grid-based battlefield. The other half of the game is being a professor at the monastery—you tutor your students individually to level up their weapon skills, chat with them between battles, and interact via various events such as sharing a meal together to boost their motivation in class. Early on, this monastery business can seem overwhelming. There's actually quite a lot you can do at the monastery, though your time to do it is limited at first (you'll gradually unlock more activity points), and most of all it is incredibly time consuming to walk around Garreg Mach, talking to students and just generally investing in their individual stories. The balance between battles and monastery business gets better as you progress—you'll also learn how best to spend your time, perhaps focusing only on specific students—but Three Houses still does feel a little bloated by content that is mostly secondary to the core strategy gameplay. Fire Emblem Fates had a somewhat similiar (though far simpler) version of this with My Castle, and between the two, Three Houses feels a bit overboard. The good news though is that if you're truly not enjoying your time at the monastery you can choose to skip through it pretty quickly. Obviously you'll miss out on features that do actually impact battles—not experience points but other bonuses like weapon proficiency—but sometimes it helps to just speed things along. Much of the combat system feels like a natural evolution of the Fire Emblem franchise's progression since Awakening. Not surprisingly there is once again a big focus on abilities which characters can learn to grant helpful boosts, though this time abilities don't feel quite as overwhelmingly powerful. That's a good thing, though—you won't feel as bad for skipping over certain abilities or just letting your characters grow naturally without fastidiously tracking their progress. Three Houses also introduces a few new combat tools in your arsenal. First are combat arts which were actually first seen in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and return as a more accessible option in battle. Instead of being tied to a specific weapon, characters learn arts as they increase proficiency with a weapon type (swords, lances, axes, bows, and gauntlets), and learned arts can be used in battle. Arts provide some sort of attack bonuses—increased damage, increased accuracy, increased damage against flying units, etc.—at the cost of wearing down your weapon's durability more quickly. Early on, combat arts are a valuable bonus, since even another point of damage can make a huge difference. They get somewhat less useful as the game progresses, since your characters eventually become strong enough with their standard attacks that combat arts can be less effective since you generally can't double attack with them. Still, they're another handy tool when plotting your next attack. Another significant addition is the battalion system, which allows you to assign a group of generic allies to each unit in your party. Battalions add passive stat boosts which can be huge, plus they allow units to use Gambits which, much like combat arts, are another attack option. Depending on which Gambit you're using they can be incredibly powerful, especially because many inflict special effects, such as stunning an enemy so it can't move, and Gambits never trigger a counter attack. Gambits are quite limited in use, and should your battalion fall in combat you'll have to replenish them between battles, but even so battalions are far too useful to ignore (and also quite obnoxious when enemies use them—no one likes to be denied a counter attack!). On the other hand, if battalions seem to be making the game too easy for you, you can always ignore them. In many ways Three Houses lets you customize the difficulty of the action by either using or ignoring certain features. And Fire Emblem veterans may want to take that advice to heart, since Three Houses is, overall, fairly easy for a strategy RPG. It's not just the new, powerful attacks at your disposal in the forms of combat arts and Gambits. Part of it may be due to the lack of a weapons triangle, the rock-paper-scissors system that has defined most titles in the Fire Emblem franchise. It's a shame to lose that element of strategy, since now it really doesn't matter too much if a unit only carries one type of weapon, nor do you have to be too worried about sending an axe user against a group of swordsmen (though some abilities will still affect your accuracy and chance to dodge depending on your weapon type). There's a layer of strategy lost without the weapons triangle, which makes it much easier to somewhat brute force your way through the game. On the other hand though, not worrying about weapon advantages does give you more freedom in how you build your characters and your army as a whole. You can truly use whichever characters you like regardless of the situation, which is convenient in its own way. And finally, Three Houses brings back Mila's Turnwheel from Shadows of Valentia—this time it's called Divine Pulse—which allows you to rewind time to correct mistakes in battle. Divine Pulse is, perhaps, a little too forgiving on the player, especially since you get so many uses per battle, but it does make the game much more accessible to inexperienced tacticians, and occasionally deaths in battle come down to truly bad luck rather than poor planning, and in those instances Divine Pulse is a godsend. Like most Fire Emblem games, Three Houses is by no means short. Playing through the game just once can last a good 45 hours or more, though potentially less if you really ignore monastery features. Most of all though the game truly is a time sink—in a good way. There are so many little things to fiddle with between battles: monitoring characters' study growths, monastery tasks, just chatting with students. 45 hours may seem like a lot but it really does fly by. And since there are three paths, there's inherently plenty of replay value, even for a Fire Emblem game. Three Houses also features a New Game Plus which allows you to carry over certain bonuses from one playthrough to the next, which can be hugely helpful for alleviating some of the early game grind at the monastery. Of course, even with the help of those bonuses, Three Houses is a lengthy, addictive experience. For its return to the TV screen, the developers have given this Fire Emblem game a cel-shaded art style, which is pretty snazzy when paired with the sort of anime character design that basically makes everyone pretty. Really though, there are a lot of charming character designs (and a few questionable ones), and besides, battles don't really need anything more than fairly basic graphics. It is a little disappointing that the framerate doesn't always seem up the task of keeping up with the game, but this never actually interferes with the gameplay, it's just a small visual annoyance. The soundtrack, meanwhile, has a lot of great, epic-sounding tracks, though overall there isn't as much variety as I'd like, and few songs truly stand out. The voice acting is particularly well done though, which is impressive given the huge amount of dialogue that has been recorded for the game. With so many conversations it's tempting to fast-forward through them as quickly as possible by simply reading the text on screen, but it'd be a shame to miss out on the personality of the voice work. With Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the franchise continues down a more character-driven story path, as well as a gameplay system that seems to get more and more lenient with each new release. Fire Emblem purists may sniff at the balance between monastery gameplay and actual battles, but once you're in the thick of things—teaching your students, bonding with them, raising their skills as well as your own, and of course actually battling—it's easy to become completely addicted to the cyclical nature of the game's structure. After taking so long to return to a home console instead of a handheld, Fire Emblem: Three Houses feels suitably massive, engaging, and charming. Rating: 9 out of 10 Students
  21. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition – Take your party on the ultimate role-playing experience with Pillars of Eternity, now on the Nintendo Switch system. Now the fantastical world, tactical combat and unforgettable storyline can be taken anywhere you go. The Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition game includes all the additional content from the PC version, including the DLC and expansions. SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition – Packed to the rim with content, the SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition game includes the main game, three DLC packs, the expansion “Dissonance of the Nexus” and bonus in-game items. The SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition game will be available on Aug. 9. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Fire Emblem: Three Houses My Nintendo Rewards – Have you chosen your house in the Fire Emblem: Three Housesgame? Show it off with the new downloadable rewards from My Nintendo. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: #RaceDieRun – Available Aug. 9 Arcade Archives VICTORY ROAD DC Universe Online Doughlings: Invasion Epic Clicker Journey ESport Manager – Available Aug. 12 Exception – Available Aug. 13 Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark – Available Aug. 14 Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition – Available Aug. 13 M.A.C.E. Tower Defense My Big Sister – Demo Version – Available Aug. 12 Never Give Up – Available Aug. 13 Neverlast – Available Aug. 9 Oh!Edo Towns Our Flick Erasers Pelican and Medjed Pix the Cat Plague Inc: Evolved Quench Sagebrush – Available Aug. 9 Shadows 2: Perfidia Subdivision Infinity DX Sudoku Universe Swallow Up Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” – Available Aug. 9 Taimumari: Complete Edition – Available Aug. 9 The Pyraplex Turok 2: Seeds of Evil – Available Aug. 9 Welcome to Hanwell – Available Aug. 9 Wordsweeper by POWGI – Full & Demo Versions Wreckin’ Ball Adventure
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    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) nights are Thursday nights from 10PM - 11PM Eastern time. Information is available on the official Ninfora Discord server.
  23. Marvel has been inescapable at the movie theater for the past several years, so it's a little surprising that it took this long for another entry in the co-op franchise Marvel Ultimate Alliance to grace our game systems. Though with the cinematic universe's story of Thanos and the Infinity Stones recently wrapped up, it may also be the perfect time to revisit the action-packed superhero collaboration of this series and highlight recent fan-favorites like the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order sees heroes teaming up to smash their way through hordes of enemies and iconic supervillains across the universe with an emphasis on co-op gameplay, whether locally or online. There are some undeniable rough edges to the experience, but superhero fans and action game fans will love the breadth of the roster. The story begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy who stumble upon a Kree warship that is hiding the six Infinity Stones from Thanos and his Black Order. After a short scuffle the Guardians are teleported to Earth and the stones are scattered, leading to a team-up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in order to recover the stones before Thanos—or any other villain—collects them all. The overarching story is fairly basic and straight-forward (get the powerful artifacts before the bad guys can), but there's a lot of personality and charm in seeing all of these superheroes meet and work together, much like the recent Avengers movies. In fact it's really a shame there isn't more contextual dialogue depending on which characters you're using, since it would be hilarious to see how certain characters interact, but given the huge roster size it'd be a Herculean task to plan for every possible pairing. In the end the story is really just a chance to see a quick glimpse of the characters and locations we've come to know and love from the comics, films, and TV shows, and that might be enough for such a combat-focused game. Like the previous games in the series, The Black Order lets you craft a team of four superheroes to punch, kick, and zap your way through crowds of basic enemies and, more importantly, tackle powerful supervillains. You start with just the Guardians but soon enough you'll have your pick of iconic heroes with more added as you progress through the story. The game doesn't get too obscure with its hero selection so if you've generally kept up with the recent films and shows you should recognize almost everyone, plus the game never forces you to use certain characters so you're free to make whatever odd pairings you like. You'll get bonuses depending on what characters you use (e.g. using all X-Men characters grants a bonus, or using all characters that specialize in raw strength like Hulk, Thor, and Luke Cage), but while the bonuses help you don't need to feel beholden to them. Characters can also execute Synergy attacks by combining their special attacks into a more powerful strike, but again, unless you're focused on creating the most ideal team possible for the hardest challenges of the game, there's enough variety to Synergy attacks that you're free to simply use the characters you enjoy the most and not pore over the minutiae. The huge roster does end up feeling like a bit of a double-edged sword, though. You can swap characters at any checkpoint and early on it's tempting to do so, but the characters you use gain experience points and power-up while unused heroes gain nothing. This means that swapping too much might put you at a disadvantage, which becomes pretty severe at times—there are a couple of bosses that are serious and surprising difficulty spikes, and using underleveled characters only makes things harder. The good news of course is that you can always level up other characters by replaying stages or tackling optional challenges, but if your goal is to make progress through the story you're better off maintaining a few particularly powerful heroes. For all of its options in team composition, The Black Order suffers a bit from simple mindless repetition. Even with so many heroes, each with four special attacks, the beat-em-up action is undeniably repetitive—not to an unenjoyable degree, but after an hour or so of playing you'll know what's in store for the remaining 12 hours of the story, and for the countless hours that can be spent on optional challenges. It's fun to see the likes of Spider-Gwen, Black Panther, and Daredevil square off against Thanos, but there really aren't any gameplay surprises to enjoy throughout the game. Still, a bit of mindless action isn't all bad, especially if you can enjoy it with friends. The Black Order supports local co-op (on the same Switch or local communication between multiple systems) as well as online co-op. The online system isn't too bad but as you might expect the lack of convenient communication options is a bit of a downer. The game never calls for anything particularly elaborate as far as team coordination is concerned—Synergy attacks have a clear on-screen prompt—but planning what to do next in the lobby before hopping into the game would be hugely helpful. Local co-op has the benefit of personal communication but seems to suffer from some bizarre camera issues. There's no split-screen so players need to stay near each other which can be difficult when enemies are spread out, but you may also encounter some camera glitches where the view gets stuck in a corner, obscuring the action. In fact even when playing solo the game's camera controls leave something to be desired. Even when you're facing down dozens of Hand ninjas as superpowered energy blasts are going off left and right, the visuals run pretty well on the Switch. The tradeoff is perhaps slightly less detailed character models, but while you're in the thick of things the art style is fine. The only slight problem with the visuals is that it can be hard to keep track of where you are on the screen sometimes, whether it's because you're behind a particularly large boss or because Daredevil seems to wear the exact same shade of red as the aforementioned ninjas. The soundtrack and voice work, meanwhile, are solid, if not particularly notable. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order doesn't shake up any gameplay features we haven't seen in similar multiplayer-focused action games, nor is it telling a wholly original comic book story. Those aren't the reasons anyone is playing this game, though. They're playing it to assemble their favorite heroes to team up and beat down on iconic Marvel villains, and in the end the pure charm and love of these characters is enough to give the camera issues and repetition a pass, especially if you enjoy the challenge of leveling up every single hero. Give it a try with some friends and it's easy to burn an entire afternoon with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Rating: 4 out of 6 Infinity Stones (or 7 out of 10 Heroes)
  24. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Pandemic – Humanity is on the brink of extinction. As members of an elite disease-control team, you’re the only thing standing in the way of the four deadly diseases spreading across the world. You must travel the globe protecting cities, containing infections from spreading and discovering the cure for each disease. The fate of humanity is in your hands! DOOM (1993) – Experience the classic demon-blasting fun that popularized the genre at home or on the go. Celebrate DOOM’s 25th anniversary with the re-release of the original DOOM (1993) game. DOOM introduced millions of gamers to the fast-paced, white-knuckle, demon-slaying action the franchise is known for. DOOM II (Classic) – Battle the demon hordes anytime, anywhere on the Nintendo Switch system. Celebrate DOOM’s 25thanniversary with the re-release of the DOOM II game. This beloved sequel to the groundbreaking DOOM (1993) game gave players the brutal Super Shotgun to bear against deadlier demons and the infamous boss, the Icon of Sin. DOOM 3 – Celebrate DOOM’s 25th anniversary with the release of the DOOM 3 game, available for the first time on a Nintendo system. In this critically acclaimed action-horror re-telling of the original DOOM game, players must battle their way through a demon-infested facility before entering the abyss to battle Hell’s mightiest warrior – and put an end to the invasion. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Animal Fight Club Arcade Archives ROAD FIGHTER Bear With Me: The Lost Robots Burger Chef Tycoon – Available Aug. 2 Catch a Duck Chroma Squad Classic Games Collection Vol.1 Damsel – Available Aug. 7 Divine Ascent Dungeon Warfare Fobia Hamsterdam Illusion of L'Phalcia Kiai Resonance Omega Labyrinth Life Raiders of the North Sea Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries Saboteur II: Avenging Angel – Available Aug. 2 Shinobi Spirits S: Legend of Heroes Solo: Islands of the Heart STANDBY Sudoku Relax 2 Summer Waves Super Wiloo Demake – Available Aug. 2 Swaps and Traps – Available Aug. 2 The Church in the Darkness – Available Aug. 2 The Forbidden Arts – Available Aug. 7 The House of Da Vinci
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