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  1. It seems that customer reviews will soon be coming to the Nintendo eShop on Switch. If you go to a Switch game's page on NIntendo.com there's a new section for reviews. Try it out: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/the-legend-of-zelda-breath-of-the-wild-switch *Note* - To leave a review: You need to log-in to your My Nintendo account. Must have played the game for at least 2 hours. - When leaving a review: Your nickname and Mii™ character (if applicable) will appear along with your review. Your review may appear on our website and on other Nintendo marketing materials and services. Your review is subject to the terms and conditions of the Nintendo Account User Agreement, including the Code of Conduct. Reviews will be moderated, but will not be modified, removed or rejected based on the fact that they offer a negative evaluation of a Nintendo product. Pics:
  2. Fe Review

    Fe from developer Zoink Games marks the beginning of EA's indie games program, EA Originals, but it also marks a change for Zoink's style. Their previous original games, Stick It to the Man and Zombie Vikings, as well as their upcoming title Flipping Death, all have a distinctly comical tone and outrageous but distinctive character design. But with Fe they're trying something new, something more sober, something more emotional. Fe relies upon simpler themes and classic adventure/platforming design to provide a beautiful, serene experience. Outside of a scant few tutorial directions Fe is completely devoid of text or dialogue, but the visuals alone are enough to establish the setting and basic premise: a magical forest filled with giant flora and unusual fauna is in danger of being destroyed by alien/robotic creatures. You play as a diminutive animal of some sort—it looks something like a fantastical take on a wolf cub—who is able to sing to interact with other animals and plants. It may sound weird when written down but this is the kind of game where you just kind of go with the flow of the experience, and if you do you'll be treated to a beautiful little journey about preserving life and nature. I'll be honest though: by the end of the game I wasn't quite sure what happened in the story. Specifically, the motivations and actions of the antagonists, the Silent Ones, is a little confusing after everything is said and done. But Fe isn't a game about telling a specific story so much as it is about eliciting emotions and broad themes, and in that regard the game accomplishes what it set out to do. Even if I wasn't positive exactly why everything happened in the game, I was still moved by the game's concluding moments. The basic gameplay in Fe is pretty intuitive: you're plopped down into the middle of a magical forest where you can run, jump, and explore. What makes Fe unique is the singing mechanic where you can essentially resonate with other animals and plants in order to explore further—for example, in order to jump across purple flowers you may need to enlist the help of ferret-like creatures that can activate the flowers. You actually have to tune your voice when singing by moving the Joy-Cons up and down in order to match the song of other creatures, which is a neat touch (you can also turn off motion controls but it's a pretty easy motion here). Gradually, you unlock new songs and new abilities that allow you to explore further and help rescue other forest animals from the influence of the Silent Ones. It's definitely a unique way to interact with a game world, and the more you play the more it feels like a natural interaction. The developers have done a great job of making the world feel large, with lots to discover, without making it feel overwhelming. Every time you gain a new song you'll be eager to go out and see what it unlocks, what new paths or collectibles you'll discover. Once you get started Fe can be hard to put down. There's also something just plain fun about climbing trees to glide from one platform to the next. There's a lot of freedom in Fe that encourages looking around and being aware of your environment, especially since there are so many collectibles to find. First off, you can collect pink crystals that add new abilities, some of which are required but the last few are purely for making exploration a little easier and more fun. You can also find memory orbs that flesh out the story a little from the perspective of the Silent Ones, and you can sing next to shimmering rocks to reveal murals, which also adds to the game's narrative. The murals offer vague hints to the game's story though, so don't feel like you're missing out on a ton for skipping over them. They're great ways to spend a bit more time with the game—which is otherwise around six or seven hours long—but finding everything can be a bit more challenge than it's worth. Our petite protagonist only has the power of song at his command so there's no combat element to Fe. When you do encounter Silent Ones you'll need to rely upon stealth to avoid capture. And there isn't any kind of elaborate stealth system at play here: you can hide in tall grass or oftentimes just run when the enemy is looking in the other direction. For the most part these stealth sections are pretty easy, and even if you do get captured the game reloads quickly, but there's still something satisfying about sneaking around enemies and escaping unscathed. A big part of what makes exploration in Fe such a joy is the visual and audio design. The graphics aren't flashy, high-end, detailed technological wonders. Instead it's the art design that really sells the beauty, mystery, and serenity of the world of Fe. The visual identity comes down to a fairly simple interplay between light and shadow. A lot of the scenery is dark, with rough shapes, but then when the light hits it there are blooms of color that are just gorgeous. Each area of the game has it's own dominant color and the effect creates plenty of beautiful vistas. The only downside is that the framerate can be a little choppy at times—not enough to spoil any of this lovely art design, but still noticeable. And as you might expect for a game that involves singing, the soundtrack is wonderful as well. Much like the simple art design the music doesn't rely upon anything too elaborate, but the tunes mesh perfectly with the heavy emphasis on nature—soothing sounds when you're just exploring, more intensity when you encounter enemies, and perhaps most important of all the soundtrack knows when to hold back and just let the visual design speak for itself. The sense of nature that Fe so perfectly captures—serene, yet full of life—can't truly be done justice in these screenshots and descriptions. Zoink took a step out of its comfort zone with Fe and stretched itself to create a game completely unlike its most recent releases, and the result is an absolutely beautiful game. The gameplay mechanics make the world of Fe fun to explore, from forest to waterfall to rocky cliff face, but it's the game's tranquility that pulls you in. The game isn't particularly long but if you take your time to drink in the scenery you'll enjoy every minute of it. This stylish journey into nature is one Switch platformer that shouldn't be missed. Rating: 8 out of 10 Songs Fe is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  3. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION 2 PLUS – The highly acclaimed PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION series has finally come to Nintendo Switch. Featuring eye-popping high-resolution 3D graphics and funky visuals, the latest version of the classic game takes chomping and chasing through mazes to a whole new level. PAYDAY 2 – PAYDAY 2 is an action-packed, four-player co-op shooter that once again lets gamers don the masks of the original PAYDAY crew – Dallas, Hoxton, Wolf and Chains – as they descend on Washington, D.C., for an epic crime spree. (Additional games and systems required for multiplayer mode. Sold separately.) PAYDAY 2 launches on Feb. 27. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS SteamWorld Dig 2 – SteamWorld Dig 2 takes you on a platform mining adventure. When an old trading town is struck by mysterious earthquakes, it’s up to a lone steambot and her unlikely companion to uncover what trembling terrors lie beneath. Dig your way underground and explore vivid worlds riddled with treasure, secrets and traps. New Update: Super Mario Odyssey Update – Starting today, you can download a free update for the Super Mario Odyssey game for the Nintendo Switch system. The free update adds a fun new minigame called Balloon World (internet access required*), which you can play after finishing the main story. To get started, just find Luigi in a kingdom and talk to him! In Hide It mode, you can take a balloon and hide it somewhere in that kingdom for other players to find. In Find It mode, you must find balloons hidden by other players. There’s a limited time to hide and find the balloons, so act fast! All the secret and out-of-the-way areas you found while playing the game will come in handy! The update also adds new outfits and filters to use in Snapshot Mode! 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: ACA NEOGEO MAGICAL DROP III (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ace of Seafood (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives HEROIC EPISODE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bridge Constructor Portal (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 28 ChromaGun – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Dragon Sinker (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hollow (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) MEMBRANE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) POOL (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Radiation Island (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Spacecats with Lasers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Spot The Difference (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 26 Superola and the Lost Burgers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Final Station (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 23 Toki Tori 2+: Nintendo Switch Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 23 Twin Robots: Ultimate Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 23 Typoman (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fat Dragons (Nintendo eShop on Wii U) The Alliance Alive – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) – Available Feb. 27 Fat Dragons (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  4. Old Man's Journey Review

    Video games are so often focused on epic quests to save the world, or at the very least have a defined antagonist for the hero to struggle against. But sometimes a thoughtful, emotional story is made, the kind that gives you a few quiet moments to reflect upon grounded, real-life joys and sorrows. Old Man's Journey by developer Broken Rules is a meditative game that dwells on the ups and downs of life, reflected in the rolling hills of the game's colorful countryside. It may not be a long or particularly elaborate puzzle game, but Old Man's Journey will have an undeniable effect on anyone that plays it. Old Man's Journey begins with the eponymous Old Man alone in his little seaside house when he receives a letter. There isn't any dialogue or text in the game at all, but through the emotive and adorable animation it's clear that he is surprised by the contents of the letter, which moves him to set off on his journey. What follows is a fantastic example of visual storytelling as the player slowly sees glimpses of the Old Man's life through memories stirred by the objects and people around him. I don't want to reveal too much since a big part of the game's appeal is just in seeing the Old Man's life unfold before you, but I will say it's one of the more emotional games I've played in a long time, largely because of its reliance upon simple human truths. There's no grandiose storytelling happening here; Old Man's Journey is an honest, emotional look at life, and it's all the more powerful for it. Of course, this is still a video game, so what exactly is the gameplay in Old Man's Journey? In a way it's almost a reverse platformer—instead of running and jumping from one platform to another, you actually move the ground to accommodate the Old Man. Your goal is simply to keep the journey moving forward, so in order to get around a hill or a gap you actually pull, push, and move the landscape in order to create paths which allow our protagonist to move into the foreground or background. It's a simple puzzle structure but it works well. This isn't the kind of game to throw complicated and challenging puzzles at you; this is the kind of game where you just get to enjoy the scenery and story, so don't expect anything too difficult in the gameplay. But while it may be pretty simple there are a few curveballs thrown into the mix—sometimes stone walls or sheep block the Old Man's way—and there's something amusing about imaging the hills themselves bending and contorting to accommodate one old traveler. Although the goal is to help the Old Man along on his journey there are a number of little touches that bring the scenery to life. Tap on a closed door and it might pop open, revealing a short scene of a child playing with a toy. Tap on a radio and it might spring to life with a quick little tune. These little aspects are completely optional but they're delightfully charming and worth seeking out. You're encouraged to poke around a bit and see what you can find, which feels like a fitting philosophy for the game's unassuming and undemanding adventure. And you'll enjoy whiling away a bit of time thanks to the game's absolutely gorgeous artwork and music. The hand-drawn art and animation is just enchanting—almost every scene of the game could be a beautiful illustration on its own, but then seeing the animation bring it to life is truly delightful, especially around the houses and towns the Old Man passes through. You'll want to run off to the European countryside to find these kinds of lovely landscapes yourself after playing this game. And the music manages to perfectly sum up the emotions of every scene. Buoyant and jolly when our hero is passing through colorful towns, somber as he reminisces upon his life and the choices he's made, but always with just the right balance of sweet and melancholy sounds. The Switch version of Old Man's Journey includes a few unique features. For one thing, you can choose from three control methods: control stick, motion, or touch. The game was originally designed for the touch interface of tablets and mobile devices and it remains the most natural way to play on the Switch, though of course you'll miss out on seeing the gorgeous artwork full-sized on your TV (although the game still looks fantastic on the Switch screen). But since this is a fairly relaxed puzzle game it's perfectly playable with the other control methods as well, just maybe not quite as smooth. The Switch version also includes a two-player mode. No, a second old man doesn't appear. Instead there's just a second cursor on the screen that works exactly the same as the first player: move the landscape, interact with scenery, etc. None of the puzzles have been redesigned with two players in mind so there's no actual need to involve a second player, but it's kind of a nice touch to bring someone else along for the journey, especially once you delve deeper into the narrative and see more of the man's choices in life. I should mention that, as charming as the adventure is, Old Man's Journey is a surprisingly short game. A good 90 minutes can see you through the entire trip, which might make the $9.99 price point seem like a bit much. If you wanted to judge the game solely upon the length and depth of gameplay then sure, the short length might be a knock against it. But the Old Man's story and the beautiful presentation make this a journey well worth taking. Old Man's Journey doesn't set some kind of grand quest to save the world or give you a time limit to earn the most points possible. There isn't a demon, demigod, or monster to defeat. There isn't even a line of dialogue in the game. This is simply a glimpse into the life of one man, with the kinds of dreams, choices, and burdens that can be found in any person's journey through life. It's a quiet, beautiful, and melancholic expedition into memories both joyful and sorrowful, and a good reminder to take a moment to appreciate not just the scenery but the people around you. Old Man's Journey isn't a game about being a hero. It's a game about being human. Rating: 8 out of 10 Journeys Review copy provided by the developer Old Man's Journey is available to download today, February 20th,on the Switch eShop for $9.99.
  5. In 2014 developer Over the Moon released The Fall, an engaging adventure/puzzle game with a compelling sci-fi story. There was one big problem though: the game was only part one of a larger narrative. Fans of the first game have had to wait almost four years for the next installment in the series, but the wait was worth it. The Fall Part 2: Unbound continues the first game's story and puzzle structure and adds several new features to create a longer and more varied adventure. Not all of the new aspects are well fleshed out but the puzzles are just as fun and the story is just as gripping. The story picks up immediately after the events of the first game and even includes a handy recap to bring you back up to speed about what happened to the Artificial Intelligence system A.R.I.D. Her AI has been disconnected from her body and she is now driven by the singular goal of finding and stopping "the User" in order to save herself. To do so A.R.I.D. possess several other AIs, who all offer new perspectives on robotics and human-AI interactions. I wouldn't want to spoil any other details—like the first game a big part of Unbound's appeal is its sci-fi storytelling that tackles concepts like AI freedom and self-determination. And like the first game, it's refreshing to see a story that delves into some heady sci-fi ideas rather than just shooting aliens. A.R.I.D. is changing, adapting even, and seeing her interactions with other AIs makes for a fascinating journey. The only downside is that once again the game ends on a cliffhanger—not quite as massive as the first game's, but you'll still finish Unbound with an itch to see where else the story goes. Hopefully we won't have to wait another four years for the next installment of The Fall. The gameplay in Unbound follows the same adventure game puzzle-solving as the first game but mixes in a few new features that help keep the gameplay feeling fresh from beginning to end. When A.R.I.D. first connects to the cyber network she enters a sort of Metroid-style world, complete with doors that you shoot to open. Exploration here is fairly basic though. As the game progresses you gain access to different areas but it's not nearly as complex as other Metroidvania games that require significant backtracking. You only gain a couple of new abilities throughout the game and even the way A.R.I.D. moves is somewhat stiff. Ultimately these forays into the digital world are more like interludes and lack the same draw as the main puzzle-solving gameplay. Additionally, there are light combat elements in cyberspace. Combat in Unbound is both an improvement over the original game's shoot-outs and yet still not totally comfortable. The repetitive cover mechanic of the first game is gone; in Unbound you have more freedom to move, jump, shoot, and dodge enemy attacks. But the stiff movement never really gives you the sense of fluidity you want in a shootout. Battles tend to be rather rote: wait for enemy to attack, jump, then shoot back. Even with a couple of new combat abilities throughout the game the combat just fails to excite. Plus there's one strange aspect to fighting: both gunshots and jumping are tied to an energy meter—run out of energy and you can't shoot or jump. This only encourages you to play as mechanically as possible to conserve energy, and tying your main dodge ability (jumping) to an energy bar just feels a little odd. But puzzle-solving is really the heart of the game, and where you'll be spending most of your time. A.R.I.D. inhabits multiple AIs in her quest to save herself, and each AI has its own mechanics and habits that you need to break. For example, the first AI you encounter, a robotic butler, adheres to a strict schedule of taking care of his human masters, and you need to find ways to break his routine in order to let you explore the house. Unbound does a great job of throwing different scenarios like this at the player—each AI you encounter feels unique, and so do the puzzles you face. The developers have also done a fine job of keeping the difficulty of the puzzles balanced. Solutions are rarely obtuse—if you're stuck you'll generally find that you merely overlooked an object that you can interact with. In that regard you have to play Unbound like a classic adventure game: click on everything you see and make sure you keep a mental note of what seems important. And in an adventure-puzzle game, examining everything has the added benefit of fleshing out the story of the game's world. Unbound also keeps its environments fairly small and segmented. Aside from the game's finale you are generally kept to small areas where it's easy to examine everything and keep track of where things are and even test out items on each object if you need to. The only downside in the gameplay comes from the controls, which have the same stiff movement/looking system of the first game. In order to interact with an object you need to look at it by shining your flashlight on it. Sometimes this means you can be standing right next to an object but because your light beam passes over it you can't actually touch/examine it. Aiming is pretty slow and stiff as well, so even shining your light on the exact spot you want can be a bit clumsy. Thankfully no puzzles have a time limit so the slow aiming system doesn't hamper the gameplay too much (and in combat you can lock-on to enemies), but it still feels a bit awkward, and certainly something that could have been changed between the first game and Unbound. Visually Unbound retains the same style as the first game, but thanks to a far greater variety in environments there's more of a visual identity to each section of the game—each new area with a new AI has a different color palette that helps set the atmosphere. The mood of the game isn't quite as focused on eerie, unknown threats like the first game, but there's still a heavy reliance upon shadows that give the game a somewhat menacing feel. They're not the most complex or detailed graphics you'll see on the Switch but it suits the story and atmosphere of the game perfectly. There is also a lot of great voice work that helps bring the story to (artificial) life. Voicing an AI undergoing an existential crisis is actually a pretty tall order, and the actors do an excellent job of skirting the line between robotic and emotive voices. Unbound is longer than its predecessor but it's still a relatively short to mid-length game, depending upon how quick you are with the puzzles. A good six or seven hours should see you through the entire game, and since it's largely a puzzle game there isn't a lot of replay value here. However, just like the original, replaying Unbound to re-examine the story with a new perspective can be a worthwhile pursuit. The Fall Part 2: Unbound builds upon all of the best parts of its predecessor for a larger, more engaging game. Not all of the new features are ideal but just by expanding the characters and setting Unbound is building up a fantastic sci-fi universe. This continuation of the story is everything fans could hope for: deeper exploration of robot and AI concepts, which seems to be setting up for a killer third and final act. Now it's back to the long wait for the next installment. Rating: 8 out of 10 AIs The Fall Part 2: Unbound is available now on the Switch eShop for $16.99.
  6. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Bayonetta – Bayonetta is a butt-kicking, havoc-wreaking witch, and she’ll shoot, whip and slice as she uncovers the truth about her own past. Her weapons and moves are all stylishly over-the-top, but she can also dodge attacks to slow down time, and inflict Torture Attacks on her enemies. Use Wicked Weaves to summon Infernal Demons, dodge enemies’ dangerous attacks to slow down time and punish angels with deadly devices. You can even dress Bayonetta up in four Nintendo-themed costumes: Princess Peach, Princess Daisy, Link and Samus Aran. Bayonetta will be available on Feb. 16. Bayonetta 2 – Bayonetta’s back and more powerful than ever. Wield wild weapons and execute deadly moves – like the powerful Umbran Climax – to take out angels and demons in this breathtaking and critically acclaimed action game. The Bayonetta 2 game also features an online and local wireless two-player cooperative mode in which players bet halos on their performance and work together to amplify their sass, cause destruction and score some riches. (Additional accessories are required for multiplayer mode and are sold separately.) Bayonetta 2 will be available on Feb. 16. Get both Bayonetta games for a great price! – Purchase Bayonetta or Bayonetta 2 on Nintendo.com or Nintendo eShop and get a discount on your purchase of the other game. Once you purchase Bayonetta or Bayonetta 2 from Nintendo.com or Nintendo eShop, any time you purchase the other Bayonetta game from Nintendo.com or Nintendo eShop, you’ll get an automatic discount applied at checkout. Fe – Fe is a new type of platform adventure where the story is up to you to discover, without handholding, told wordlessly through the discoveries you make during gameplay. Run, climb and glide your way through a dark Nordic forest and explore its living, breathing ecosystem filled with secrets and mystical creatures. Fe will be available on Feb. 16. New DLC: Fire Emblem Warriors Season Pass (for Nintendo Switch/New Nintendo 3DS) – New playable characters, History Maps, costumes and more have come to the Fire Emblem Warriors game. Here’s what’s in the Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon pack: three new characters, three new History Maps, four new costumes, new armor break models, new support conversations, new weapons and new weapon attributes. If you already purchased the Season Pass, this DLC Pack is available to you at no additional cost. The Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon DLC Pack can be purchased on the official site. Note: new costumes, character-exclusive weapons and weapon attributes must be unlocked as rewards from playing through the new History Maps. The full version of the game is required to use the DLC. 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: ACA NEOGEO FATAL FURY 3 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 13 AQUA KITTY UDX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ESCAPE TRICK: 35 Fateful Enigmas (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Joe Dever's Lone Wolf (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 16 Johnny Turbo's Arcade: Gate Of Doom (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Layers of Fear: Legacy (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 21 Millie (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Old Man's Journey (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 20 Pool BILLIARD (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Puzzle Puppers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 20 Quest of Dungeons – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Samurai Aces for Nintendo Switch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) TorqueL -Physics Modified Edition- (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Violett – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Wanderjahr TryAgainOrWalkAway (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Wanderjahr TryAgainOrWalkAway – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Xeodrifter (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Machine Knight (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) RTO 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  7. Developer Lienzo announced that their game will release on the Switch eShop on March 1st (also PS4/Steam on February 27th and XBO on March 2nd). Check out more info about the game on their site, 'cause it's interesting stuff. The game is based on the culture and mythology of the Tarahumara people, an indigenous tribe of northern Mexico that still exists today. I played a demo of the game at PAX West last year and it was one of my favorites of the show. It's an action-adventure game kind of like Zelda, and the low-poly art style is pretty slick.
  8. Today publisher tinyBuild announced six games coming to the Switch over the course of this year. The only game I'm really familiar with is Hello Neighbor, which I played a demo of a while ago and it seemed like a pretty unique though difficult stealth game. The rest of the five games has a pretty wide variety of gameplay styles, so anyone might find something to look forward to here. Everything below is taken from the announcement on their website here.
  9. Dandara Review

    Dandara from developer Long Hat House and publisher Raw Fury turns Metroidvania exploration on its head—somewhat literally. Instead of running from room to room the eponymous heroine leaps from floor to ceiling to wall, rotating your perspective on your surroundings. You'll explore a labyrinthine world full of enemies and power-ups to collect using only these short range jumps. Dandara is delightfully original and a blast once you get a handle on the unique movement system, but some obnoxious aspects of the game make the adventure a little more tedious than it ought to be. The game takes place in the world of Salt, a peaceful land of creativity and creation that is being oppressed by a group called the Eldarian Army. Our heroine, Dandara, is born form the Crib of Creation to defeat the Eldarians and bring peace back to Salt. The story is pretty minimal in this game, which is kind of a shame since it's clearly a very surreal world that the developers have created. There are plenty of eye-catching details in the scenery but as far as the plotline is concerned you're just exploring and fighting enemies. The most interesting aspects of the narrative come from researching the development of the game and seeing how much of it is drawn from Brazilian history or culture, including the main character Dandara, named after a 17th century Afro-Brazilian freedom fighter. It would have been difficult to integrate some of the real life history seamlessly into the flow of the game, but it's worth researching on your own. As is, the game itself ends up feeling like just another good-vs-evil adventure. Dandara's unusual movement system might seem complicated at a glance, but surprisingly it's pretty easy to grasp quickly. You aim with the left control stick and jump with A—pretty simple. Zipping from floor to ceiling in order to move down a hallway is a lot of fun, and the game does a great job of giving you a solid sense of speed and fluidity. Despite being tethered to the walls, floors, and ceilings—you can leap to anything with a white surface—Dandara has a surprising sense of freedom and exploration that makes it fun to simply bounce around. It's only when you need to be more precise with your jumps that the controls start to feel clumsy, especially when you're being bombarded with enemy attacks. In this regard boss battles can feel like entirely new challenges since you can kind of skate by against normal enemies by sticking to a slow, careful approach which doesn't work in boss fights. Furthermore, when there are more than a couple enemies on screen you can easily get overwhelmed. Worse still, when you take damage you end up floating a bit off of the surface you were on, which has a way of throwing off your rhythm with jumping/dodging (eventually you get a shield ability but for much of the game you'll need to be quick to dodge enemy attacks). While floating you can still take damage which leads to a pretty vicious cycle of getting trapped by multiple enemy attacks. Like I said, slow and steady is oftentimes the best approach. Oddly enough, for as much as the movement system encourages a certain style of speed and fluidity, your attacks are quite slow and limited in the early parts of the game. Dandara can shoot out a sort of shotgun blast of projectiles, but they're short range and you need to charge up in order to fire. The idea of charging attacks really feels at odds with the fast-paced movement, especially when getting hit interrupts your charge. Once you hone your leaping skills the charged up attack system almost feels like a weight upon you, as if the developers were worried you'd end up being too powerful if you could both move and shoot quickly. Trying to find a free second to charge up a shot adds plenty of challenge to the game but it can also make even basic enemies quite frustrating. On the brightside, there is an RPG-like system that gives you experience points when you defeat enemies (you can also find XP in treasure chests). When you find a save point, you can spend your XP on upgrading Dandara's skills—maximum health, maximum special weapon ammo, and health/ammo potion efficacy. Enemies respawn when you use a save point, so technically you can grind to make yourself stronger, though it's a pretty slow process up until the last area of the game where enemies give decent XP. However, there's also a looming shadow over the entire XP system: you lose your XP if you die, like the Dark Souls series. You can recover your XP if you get back to the place where you died, but really, any time this Dark Souls system is used in a game it seems primarily to be there to frustrate the player. You're already sent back to your last save point when you die—a sufficient penalty in an exploration game, especially with how few save points there are in Dandara—so losing XP too is just kicking the player when he's down. Even if the stakes are high though, simple exploration can be a lot of fun in Dandara. The tone of the game is classic Metroidvania: there's little direction on where to go, but when you run into barriers that require special items or weapons you gradually learn where the game is funneling you. The maps themselves are pretty well designed too. They're intricate, but not so complicated that you lose track of yourself every five seconds—although the game would have benefited from some sort of mini-map on-screen just for quick reference instead of pulling up the entire map screen. Just seeing the screen flip around when you move between doors so you can orient yourself is a neat touch. And even if you're not running and jumping in a traditional sense there are some solid platformer challenges in Dandara, many of which revolve around avoiding enemy attacks while still moving forward. I suppose I should also mention that Dandara includes touch screen controls as well, but I only bring them up to say: don't even bother. It may seem intuitive to flick on the screen in the direction you want to leap, but the touch controls are never fast or accurate enough to compete with the normal control stick/buttons. All of those moments when the game throws tons of obstacles at you at once would only be made completely frustrating if you try to handle them with touch controls. It wouldn't be classic platformer/exploration design without classic visuals to match, would it? Dandara features some gorgeous pixel art that would be right at home on a classic system but still feels fresh and interesting. As already mentioned the backgrounds are peppered with some great visual details, some of which references famous Brazilian art, and the result is satisfyingly surreal. Plus the soundtrack is outstanding—a perfect match for the otherworldly vibe of the game. It's just the right blend of driving rhythmic beats as you explore and battle enemies and slightly eerie melodies as you stumble through bizarre environments. Dandara isn't a terribly long game but it doesn't feel all that short either. There are actually only a handful of areas to explore but with the backtracking and probable deaths/retries the game still comes out to a decent nine or ten hours. There are also plenty of hidden secrets to find, as well as the possibility of grinding XP until you reach maximum power, so it's possible to stretch the game out a bit as well. Additionally, Dandara seems like a prime candidate for speed-running, just like Metroid games, since most upgrades are optional. Overall it's a decent amount of content for your fifteen bucks. Dandara's unique movement puts a whole new spin on Metroidvania exploration while still staying true to the classic structure of the genre. With a bit of practice the ability to jump from surface to surface is a lot of fun, and being able to find something new and entertaining about just moving around the screen speaks to the creativity of the developers. As strong as the concept is though, the execution has some notable faults, mostly with regard to combat that too often feels punishing and somewhat at odds with the fast-paced fluidity of leaping from wall to wall. If you're prepared to stomach the challenges—and fairly frequent deaths/retries—Dandara is a delightful take on a familiar genre. Rating: 8 out of 10 Salts Dandara is available now on the Switch eShop for $14.99
  10. UPDATE: Eurogamer is confirming that though multiple sources Bandai Namco (Singapore) is indeed working on Metroid Prime 4... ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Seems very plausible to me. Nintendo has worked with Bandai Namco in the past, like on SSB4 and people loved that. Still, it makes me wonder what the hell Retro is working on since they aren't working on MP4 and we haven't seen anything from them since DKC: TF. Anyway...I guess we'll find out for sure who's working on MP4 at E3 this year.
  11. Not sure if there was any information on this yet, but I just stumbled across this on my YouTube feed: Includes all the DLC from the original and Legends included, plus Breath of the Wild costumes. Makes me not feel so bad for skipping Legends.
  12. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Dragon Quest Builders – Gather, craft and build the kingdom of your dreams to restore the ruined world of Alefgard. As the legendary Builder, you’ll construct rooms, towns and defenses while fighting monsters. In Terra Incognita, build freely, share creations online, battle in an arena and access exclusive content to the Nintendo Switch version of the game—gather special materials with the Great Sabrecub to unlock retro customization options, including the Dragon Quest Game Pak (Nintendo Account required. Online services and features, including online gameplay, are free until the paid Nintendo Switch Online Service launches in 2018). Dragon Quest Builders will be available on Feb. 9. A free demo version of the game is available now for download in Nintendo eShop. Owlboy – Owlboy is a story-driven platform adventure game in which you can fly and explore a world in the clouds. Pick up your friends, and bring them with you as you explore the open skies. Overcome great obstacles and even greater enemies when Owlboy launches on Feb. 13. Aegis Defenders – Explore, build and defend in this unique mashup of action-platformer and tower-defense-strategy. Play as a team of Ruinhunters searching for the one thing that can save their village: a legendary weapon known as Aegis. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology – Unlock the time-traveling power of the White Chronicle once again in Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology. This beloved classic is an expanded version of the original Nintendo 3DS game, and contains a great deal of added gameplay/story content, an updated presentation and new ways to experience the adventure. Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology launches on Feb. 13. 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: ACA NEOGEO 2020 SUPER BASEBALL (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Aperion Cyberstorm (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives CRAZY CLIMBER (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ATOMIK: RunGunJumpGun (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Disc Jam (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mercenaries Saga Chronicles (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 13 Pic-a-Pix Deluxe – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Premium Pool Arena (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Fall Part 2: Unbound (Nintendo eShop on Switch) – Available Feb. 13 The Longest Five Minutes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 13 The Men of Yoshiwara: Kikuya (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Aperion Cyberstorm (Nintendo eShop on Wii U) IMAGEFIGHT (Virtual Console on Wii U) IMAGEFIGHT 2 (Virtual Console on Wii U)
  13. http://www.ign.com/articles/2018/02/02/nintendo-labo-hands-on-ap-parent-benefits?abthid=5a74f84a683637510c00004d *has video I thought these videos and their content gave some good real world feel and impressions of the Labo sets.
  14. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is available on a Nintendo system. Even after having played through the game I still find this kind of shocking. It was obvious back in 2011, when the game was originally released on other systems, that it wouldn't have worked on the Wii, but more than just hardware limitations there was a sense that a game like Skyrim, a Western developed massive open-world game, just didn't seem to gel with Nintendo's style. There was a certain difference in design philosophy between the two, which also kept a lot of other third-party games at arm's length from Nintendo's systems. But the times, they are a-changin', and when Nintendo officially revealed the Switch in 2016, one of the first games shown in the trailer was Skyrim. And let's be fair, the game is several years old now which represents quite a leap in hardware design, but it's still pretty incredible to see one of the most lauded games of the past decade finally find its way to a Nintendo system. Best of all, it's still a really fun game. There's a good chance that you've already played Skyrim, or at least know the premise, but here's a quick recap: you play as the Dragonborn, an individual with the unique ability to absorb dragons' powers. Your arrival in Skyrim seems destined as the land is plagued with dragon attacks, and only you can stop them. That's just the main story though. The incredible thing about Skyrim is its sheer size, not just in physical locations but in the hundreds of side stories that the game's inhabitants live out. In any open-world sandbox game it's easy to lose yourself in the game's world since there's so much to do, and that's never been more true than in Skyrim. There are a multitude of combat options—even if combat feels a little stiff and repetitive at times—and a whole host of non-combat activities to busy yourself with. The degree of freedom and opportunities for side quests is staggering, and not a little intimidating, but when you throw yourself into Skyrim you'll find yourself engrossed in the game's world for literally hundreds of hours. The base game is still a wonderfully compelling adventure, and this Switch release includes all of the DLC that was added to the game post-release. Additionally, the developers have thrown in a few minor Nintendo touches. Skyrim on Switch supports amiibo, which drops a treasure chest in front of you with a random assortment of goodies. Since you're constantly collecting and hording stuff in Skyrim it can be a nice boost early in the game but after a few hours you'll probably move beyond the need for random goodie bags dropping from the sky. If you use Zelda amiibo you might receive special Zelda equipment—Master Sword, Hylian Shield, and Link's Champion's Tunic from Breath of the Wild. Again, these are pretty useful early on, plus it's just fun to see a lizard man running around with the Master Sword in hand. And don't worry if you don't collect amiibo; the Zelda equipment can also be found by visiting an important location in the main story. This Switch edition of Skyrim also adds motion controls, so you can swing a Joy-Con to swing your sword into your fearsome dragon foes. You can also aim bows or magic spells with the Joy-Cons' motion controls, and even pick locks by rotating the Joy-Cons. But since the game wasn't originally designed for motion controls, swinging the controllers around isn't very comfortable in Skyrim. It's fun for messing around a bit, but playing through the entire game like this would get pretty tiring quickly, and not just physically. Of course, as a Switch game, Skyrim can also be played in handheld mode, which is easily the biggest addition to this version of Skyrim. This is the kind of game that can take over your life while you're playing it, so squeezing in a bit of extra playtime on the bus or even just in the kitchen is a great feature. The game also runs quite well in handheld mode. Obviously everything is a bit smoother when you have the system docked, and dark shadows become even more difficult to see through when playing in handheld mode, but overall the game is perfectly playable on-the-go. I should mention though, as compelling as Skryim still is it also still has plenty of little bugs and glitches, some of which can be pretty problematic if you haven't saved recently (although you can save anywhere, so just remember to save as often as possible). Additionally, Skyrim is really showing its age as an over six-year-old game. Some of the animation is looking pretty stiff these days, and character models are looking rough. Still, the overall aesthetic of the game holds up well, especially since the game is simply so large and transitions between areas pretty smoothly. Even six years after the game's original release it's not hard to see why Skyrim was so highly praised. It remains an incredibly engrossing adventure, one that can last for hundreds of hours, and this Switch version has the benefit of both handheld mode and all of the game's DLC packed in. The other additions for this edition may not be particularly exciting, but the base game has enough content and appeal to keep you glued to your Switch all the same. If you've never taken a trip through this game's snowy landscapes and deadly dungeons this Switch version is a perfect time to do so, and even if you already have you'll probably still enjoy once again exploring every detail Skyrim has to offer. Rating: 9 out of 10 Dovahkiins
  15. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Pokkén Tournament DX Battle Pack: Wave 1 – The Pokkén Tournament DX Battle Pack grants immediate access to Avatar items upon purchase and two waves of DLC as they are released. (The full game is required to access the DLC.) The Battle Pack contains two new Battle Pokémon and two new Support Pokémon Sets. With these Pokémon joining the fray, the battle is just getting started. Wave 1 launched on Jan. 31 and contains Battle Pokémon Aegislash, a new Support Pokémon set featuring Mega Rayquaza and Mimikyu, and additional Avatar items. Wave 2 releases on March 23 and contains Battle Pokémon Blastoise, a new Support Pokémon set featuring Mew and Celebi, and additional Avatar items. Crypt of the NecroDancer: Nintendo Switch Edition – Crypt of the NecroDancer is an award-winning, hardcore rhythm-based dungeon crawling game. Players must move on the beat to navigate randomly generated dungeons and battle dancing skeletons, zombies and dragons, while grooving to the game’s award-winning Danny Baranowsky soundtrack. Players can even team up with a friend in local co-op mode. Dandara – Welcome to a unique 2D platformer full of mystical creatures and boundless exploration. Defy gravity as you jump across floors, walls and ceilings alike. Discover the mysteries and secrets hidden throughout the world of Salt and its diverse array of characters. Empower Dandara for combat and survival against enemies bent on oppression. Dandara will be available on Feb. 6. Night in the Woods – Night in the Woods is an adventure game focused on exploration, story and character, featuring dozens of characters to meet and lots to do across a lush, vibrant world. Break stuff, play bass, hang out, walk on powerlines, jump between roofs, and discover strange and amazing and terrible things you never asked for. Come home and waste your life away in Possum Springs. 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. Fire Emblem Heroes Activities: Fire Emblem Heroes One-Year Anniversary Celebration! – We’ve reached our one-year anniversary! Thanks for your support. To thank everyone for playing the game, we are holding a celebration with five different events: Summoning Focus: One-Year-Anniversary Hero Fest, from Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. PT to Feb. 8 at 10:59 p.m. PT. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Fire Emblem Heroes, four dependable Heroes are part of a 5-star summoning focus. Also, the initial summoning rate for 5-star Focus Heroes will be set to 5%. For new summoning events, the first time you summon, you won’t have to use Orbs. Check it out from the Summon menu. One-Year-Anniversary Present, from Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. PT to March 7 at 10:59 p.m. PT. During this time, anyone who logs in can receive 50 Orbs, one time only. One-Year-Anniversary Celebration Log-In Bonus, from Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. PT to Feb. 16 at 10:59 p.m. PT. During this time, you can receive a Log-In Bonus up to 10 times, for a total of 20 Orbs. Daily Special Maps, Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. PT to Feb. 25 at 11 p.m. PT. Daily Special Maps will be sent out every day for 25 days. There are two difficulties for each: Normal and Hard. You can earn up to 50 Orbs by playing. Double EXP and SP Event, Feb. 1 at 11 p.m. PT to Feb. 8 at 10:59 p.m. PT. During this time, the EXP and SP you earn in battle will be doubled. A Hero Rises – Now that the Choose Your Legends event is over, it’s time to decide who the No. 1 Hero is in all of Fire Emblem Heroes. Get ready for a new event, A Hero Rises, which runs from Feb. 1 at 7 p.m. PT to Feb. 19 at 6:59 p.m. PT. The top Hero will be given to players as a 5-star unit at a later date. Check out the voting website, and choose your favorite Hero. Illusory Dungeon – A new event, Tap Battle: Illusory Dungeon, will be here, with the Labyrinth of Mists. The event runs from Feb. 8 at 11 p.m. PT to Feb. 22 at 10:59 p.m. PT. Illusory Dungeon is a simple battle game in which you time your taps on the screen to defeat enemies. You can even use Heroes who have not yet been leveled up, so feel free to choose your four favorite Heroes. During this time there will also be daily quests where you can earn different rewards each day. Starting on Feb. 11 at 11 p.m. PT, there will be two types of Tap Battle quests. Thanks again to everyone playing Fire Emblem Heroes, and happy anniversary! For more information about Fire Emblem Heroes, visit the official site. My Nintendo Activities: My Nintendo February Rewards Get set for Valentine’s Day with new My Nintendo rewards: My Nintendo is offering a cute Super Mario: Pastel Pink Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme. You can redeem points for the reward up to five times, so you can share it with someone special. The offer ends on March 31 at 11:59 p.m. PT. February is shaping up to be a great month for classic Nintendo game fans. Three beloved Nintendo 3DS games – Super Mario 3D Land, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and Ultimate NES Remix – have just been added to the Nintendo Selects series. To celebrate, My Nintendo is offering the official Prima eGuide for The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. Redeem your points and get the eGuide to maximize your adventure. My Nintendo is also offering discounts for some awesome games, including certain Nintendo Selects games. Redeem your points and get discounts for games at great values – many participating titles are under $18. Not a My Nintendo member? Sign up now for free at my.nintendo.com. Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS: New themes this week include: Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Theme Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology Chibi Theme Pokémon: Team Plasma (Pokémon Black and Pokémon White) Pokémon: Team Plasma (Pokémon Black 2 and Pokémon White 2) Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO SAMURAI SHODOWN II (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) 3D MiniGolf (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Black Hole (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 6 The Darkside Detective (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 7 10 Second Run RETURNS (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) AeternoBlade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) AeternoBlade – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Frederic 2: Evil Strikes Back (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Her Majesty’s SPIFFING (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Island Flight Simulator (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mad Carnage (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 2 Mercenary Kings Reloaded (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Feb. 6 Shiftlings – Enhanced Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Sky Force Reloaded (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SteamWorld Dig (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Now I know my ABCs 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Radiant Historia: Perfect Chronology – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Toon War (Nintendo eShop on Wii U) Battle Chopper (Virtual Console on Wii U) NECROMANCER (Virtual Console on Wii U)
  16. Sonic Forces Review

    Sonic's history in the world of 3D platforming has had more ups and downs than his iconic rollercoaster level design. At times it seems like the developers find the right balance of speed and platforming, and then there are some games that seem to completely miss what makes a Sonic game fun. Sonic Forces, unfortunately, is one of the low points. The inclusion of both classic 2D stages and an avatar character with unique, customizable abilities does little to balance out the game's fundamental lack of engaging gameplay. Sonic Forces' woes begin with its muddled storytelling. The game opens with Eggman once again harassing Sonic and friends, but this time he has a powerful new ally named Infinite who defeats Sonic and throws him in prison. The story then jumps forward six months, during which time Eggman basically conquers the world, which leads Knuckles, Tails, Amy, and other side characters into building a resistance force. In itself that's not a terrible premise, but the plot moves at such a lightning quick speed that nothing really seems to matter. Sonic is imprisoned, but after the time skip he immediately escapes and starts kicking Eggman butt once again. Knuckles and friends have built up this resistance that mostly lets Sonic deal with actually defeating Eggman's forces. The avatar character is a blank slate and feels completely pointless next to the huge cast of other side characters that could have filled the same role. At one point Sonic is sucked into a black hole trap and then escapes literally eight seconds later—none of the game's events have consequences, and it moves so quickly that it kind of feels like an outline that was shipped out as the final draft. That feeling of unfinished design carries over to the gameplay as well. It feels like the developers couldn't decide what direction to take the game, so they just threw everything into Sonic Forces. There are 3D levels with Sonic, 3D levels with the avatar character who is almost exactly the same as Sonic except he carries a weapon, and 2D levels with classic Sonic. The game suffers for having three different styles of gameplay where none of them feel polished. One of the trickiest aspects of designing a Sonic game is finding the right balance of speed for the hedgehog. He needs to feel fast but not uncontrollable. In Sonic Forces his sense of momentum feels completely off, even in the 2D levels which is particularly baffling considering Sonic's long history with 2D design. In either classic or modern style Sonic will go careening off ledges at the slightest touch, and jumping has a terrible weighty feel that destroys his sense of speed. The controls lack that crucial sense of natural movement—it's just not fun to control Sonic or the avatar in this game. The other aspects of the game don't fare much better. The level design is mixed at best. A few stages have the branching path designs of Sonic's best games, but there are just as many that feel like an almost automated sprint through the level—you might as well put the controller down at times, or just hold it to jump at specific moments. It doesn't help that the game features an online scoreboard that emphasizes speedruns, which makes many levels feel like they are supposed to be rushed through in just a couple of minutes. And the levels with the most significant replay incentives are the avatar levels since you can equip different Wispons which can give you access to different parts of the level. The downside is most of these Wispons are not fun to use at all—it's just another way in which the avatar feels like an unnecessary addition to Sonic's world. The boss design is all over the place as well, in terms of quality and difficulty. The majority of boss fights are so easy they're downright boring. Sonic Forces pits the blue hedgehog against some of his classic opponents from across the franchise's history, but the battles themselves are completely uninspired. Then there's the final boss fight which is pretty decent in design, certainly more complex than many of the early bosses, but is also super difficult, seemingly out of nowhere. Everything about Sonic Forces shows that the developers really didn't have a strong idea of where to take the game, and the result is a hodgepodge of half-baked game design. On a technical level, Sonic Forces does look good. The game runs well and the splashes of movement and action in the background makes the world look satisfyingly lively. However, those flashy background details too often take center stage. The visual design is so busy at times that you can hardly see yourself amidst all of the chaos happening on screen—and of course this is only made worse when you're traveling at top speed. And although the art design of the scenery is pretty good the character designs feel lacking. Sonic and friends all have iconic designs at this point so there's not going to be much variety there, but the avatar creation options all make the avatar look terribly flat and bland. Even with all of the pointless accessories you can unlock to dress up your avatar—and there is a ridiculous amount of unlockable accessories—the avatar's visual design sticks out as much as his pointless gameplay design. Even the soundtrack in Sonic Forces doesn't feel quite on the mark. Too often it feels like a poor imitation of Sonic music rather than an exciting new soundtrack. With such an emphasis on fast, speed run levels it shouldn't be a surprise that Sonic Forces is pretty short. A good four or five hours will see you through the story mode. On the bright side there are plenty of bonus stages, but they don't really improve the basic gameplay problems found in every level. There's also the aforementioned online leaderboard to compare your time with other players, and you can use other people's avatars within levels, despite the fact that there is very little different from one avatar to another. There may be a lot of opportunities to replay the game but you probably won't be compelled to do so. At best, Sonic Forces is a completely uninspired Sonic the Hedgehog game. It introduces nothing significant to the franchise aside from an avatar system that comes across as a half-hearted attempt at appealing to the fan base. At worst, Sonic Forces is a mess of a game, one that desperately tries to throw anything at the wall in the hopes that it'll stick, and in the process fails to even properly recreate classic Sonic elements. It's a shame that after so many years of game releases Sonic still stumbles so much in 3D game design. Rating: 4 out of 10 Hedgehogs
  17. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Celeste – Brave hundreds of hand-crafted challenges in this super-tight platformer, as you help Madeline survive her journey to the top of Celeste Mountain. The controls are simple and accessible, but with layers of expressive depth to master, and every death is a lesson. Lightning-fast respawns keep you climbing as you uncover the mysteries of the mountain and brave its many perils. Virtual Console for Nintendo 3DS Pokémon Crystal Version – Originally released for the Game Boy Color system in 2000, the Pokémon Crystal game added several new features to the Pokémon franchise. For the first time, players could choose a female or male character, and Pokémon battles featured animation. And now, this game is available in 2D via the Virtual Console service and invites you to explore the Johto region again—or for the first time. The Pokémon Crystal Version game launches on Jan. 26 at 9 a.m. PT. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Nintendo Switch eShop Sale – Looking for something new to play? Download great digital games to play anytime, anywhere—and in a whole new way—with Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch system. Starting at 9 a.m. PT, you can get up to 30 percent off select digital games for Nintendo Switch. My Nintendo members also earn Gold Points on qualifying digital purchases, so it’s a win-win. Act fast, though, as this sale only runs until Feb. 1 at 8:59 a.m. PT. Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Kirby My Nintendo Rewards: Let the battles begin! Kirby is back with pink ’n’ puffy My Nintendo rewards to celebrate the launch of the Kirby Battle Royale game. Visit my.nintendo.com for the latest reward information. Nintendo 3DS HOME Menu theme: Kirby Battle Royale: May the Best Kirby Win! Kirby February calendar My Nintendo Presents Nindie Game Gold Point Rewards Vol. 3: Got Gold Points? Get select digital games! My Nintendo users can redeem Gold Points for some of the hottest digital indie games on Nintendo platforms between Jan. 26 and March 25. During this limited time, users can redeem Gold Points to download select Nintendo 3DS and Wii U digital games from talented independent developers. Users will receive a download code that is redeemed in Nintendo eShop. Visit https://my.nintendo.com/news to see a list of the games. Also new this week: Tales of the Tiny Planet (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) EARTH WARS (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ACA NEOGEO WORLD HEROES 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives Kid Niki Radical Ninja (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Dustoff Heli Rescue 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) FANTASY HERO ~unsigned legacy~ (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) INVERSUS Deluxe – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Space Dave (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) STRIKERS1945 II for Nintendo Switch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Super One More Jump (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tachyon Project (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tennis (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ZERO GUNNER 2- for Nintendo Switch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ZIG ZAG GO (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  18. Tomorrow Corporation is releasing a followup to their award-winning game Human Resource Machine: 7 Billion Humans, coming to Switch and PC. Like HRM this new game is a puzzler based on programming commands, but now you have more humans to work with instead of just one worker. The developer is promising 60+ puzzles and a new soundtrack by Kyle Gabler. I really enjoyed Human Resource Machine, though it got really difficult at times and the game doesn't offer any hints or anything like that. Still, I'm looking forward to this new game, although I'm sure it'll stump me just as much as HRM.
  19. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 has a pretty big legacy to live up to. The previous two games in the series were lauded for the massive scope of each adventure, which promised hundreds of hours of gameplay in gorgeous RPG worlds. The original Xenoblade Chronicles in particular is fondly remembered for its surprising size and compelling narrative, whereas Xenoblade Chronicles X tried something a little different, more of a sci-fi adventure, though just as fun. And now, on the Switch, XC2 stands tall as another gigantic game with a detailed, engaging battle system, a unique setting, and beautiful environments to explore. Even though the core elements of the game are similar to the original XC, XC2 offers plenty of new features for players to lose themselves in for hours and hours. Not all of the game's new ideas are entirely positive, but this is still one adventure that RPG fans cannot miss. As far as the plot is concerned, XC2 hits a lot of familiar JRPG and adventure story tropes—plucky young character, Rex, becomes a hero when he meets a mysterious girl, etc. To simplify the entire story down to just that would be a disservice, though. Like the previous XC games the world building is what really draws the player in, and XC2 features a possibly even more inventive and unusual world structure than the original XC. People live on the backs of gargantuan, living titans that move around the ever-shifting cloud sea almost like celestial bodies—it's the kind of fantasy setting that perfectly tickles your imagination. And then there's the idea of Blades, living weapons that bond with a user (called Drivers). The whole mythology surrounding these concepts is fascinating, and XC2 does a good job of both explaining things and leaving certain details up to the player's imagination. So the story begins when Rex bonds with a Blade named Pyra, who is not just a Blade but one of the most powerful Blades in existence. Rex's journey then takes him all across the world as he learns more about a massive war hundreds of years ago, as well as the formation of the world. It's fascinating to just see all of that lore unfold, and I should mention that the characters are quite charming in their own right, even if many of them lean on tropes—and Nopons continue to skirt a very fine line between adorable side kicks and annoying creatures. Even if the main appeal of the game is still it's exploration, the story will keep you well engaged, particularly the last few chapters. Anyone that has played a previous XC game will probably also expect a rich, complicated real-time battle system. Thank goodness the game only gradually introduces its many combat features, since it's probably going to sound ridiculously complex as I try to explain it now. In battle you only control one character (a Driver), who attacks automatically when in range of a targeted enemy. Drivers' weapons are determined by what Blade they currently have equipped—eventually you can equip up to three at once—which also changes the element of your attacks and what Arts (special attacks) you can use. By chaining together Arts in certain elemental combos you can unleash powerful attacks. There are a lot more little details to the combat system but that covers the essentials, and once you're playing you understand a lot of these aspects better. The combat system is clearly geared toward longer battles since it can take some time to build up good combo chains, so combat tends to be more satisfying during boss fights when you really have to keep an eye on every aspect of the battle. What's more unique to XC2 is the way Blades change your approach to battle, especially in the way some Blades are geared toward attacking, defending, or healing. Blades also have their own skill trees that grow the more you use them, so mixing up your line-up can help you unlock each Blade's potential. In an almost Pokémon-style way it's pretty addictive to try out every Blade and see how they are best used in combat. And like past XC games it's possible to run into high-level enemies anywhere in the game. Battling a monster a few levels above you is also a good way to add some challenge and depth to the battle system, as long as they aren't too high leveled. XC2's combat is equal measures of planning and then reacting with a well timed strike or button press, and it's a lot of fun when everything comes together well. However, it seems like the developers realized that longer battles are a lot more fun than the quick ones, and as a result most enemies have a ton of health, which can be a bit of a drag when you're fighting a monster twenty levels below you but it still takes a long time to finish off. It can make some battles a bit tedious. So, Drivers equip Blades to use in battle, but where do you get Blades? This is another unfortunately tedious aspect of the game, one where the developers stretch things out in an already incredibly long game. Some Blades you'll earn through the story or through specific side quests, but the majority are unlocked randomly from items called Core Crystals. You'll collect Core Crystals throughout your adventure but you won't know what Blade is inside until you bond with it—it's a randomized, Gacha Game system. On one hand the random element means that two players can end up having significantly different playthroughs based on the Blades they unlock, especially early on, which is a really neat way of allowing players to discover their own preferred play styles. But on the other hand, having no control over the Blades you unlock gets tedious pretty quickly, and is made all the more annoying by the long animation that plays every time you "open" a Core Crystal. Over the course of the adventure you'll end up with hundreds of common Blades as you try over and over to find a more valuable rare Blade. By the end of the game, I guarantee you'll find the whole format completely obnoxious. Aside from the complex battle system the other key aspect of a XC game is massive environments. Exploration feels a bit more segmented in XC2 since you travel from one Titan to another as you progress through the game but even so, the scenery is huge and it's a blast to just wander out into it—just watch out for those high level monsters. All of those varied environments are complemented by tons of side quests to complete—rare Blades all have unique side quests attached to them as well—plus tons of items to collect and scavenge. Like so many games XC2 fosters that impulse to collect everything you can as you explore. Also, once you have a bunch of common Blades cluttering up your Blade menu, you can put them to work in Mercenary missions to earn some bonus money and items for you. As the game progresses you'll end up micromanaging a ton of stuff but there's always more to see and it's hard to say no to that call of adventure. And this is only tangentially related to the game's sense of exploration but I have to compliment the fast loading times for such a large game, and that includes fast-travel. It really does help make the game feel seamless. In a game as big as this, there are a handful of other small aspects that are pretty annoying as you play, even if they are fairly minor aspects of the overall adventure. For example, Blades can use field skills while you're exploring in order to reach hidden areas or unlock treasure chests. What can be a little annoying is that you need to have the appropriate Blade equipped to use its field skill, which leads to a lot of swapping Blades just to reach one platform or unlock one chest—not really a huge issue but an unnecessary aspect of the game. There's also a specific Blade that can only unlock new equipment by playing a mini-game over and over—again, needlessly repetitive. Or there's the complete lack of direction on finding specific collectibles or specific monsters needed to level up a Blade's skill tree. There are a lot of these little touches that can make the game irritating at times, but none of them really drag down the experience as a whole. The last key component for a XC game: beautiful visuals. A big part of what makes exploration so compelling is how gorgeous the environments are, especially in the way that they feel like living, breathing ecosystems and not just scenery for the game's narrative. One might argue that XC2 has fewer standout environments than its predecessors, but that doesn't mean the graphics are at all lacking. There are still a lot of gorgeous locales to lose yourself in, as well as a lot of fun character designs, especially with so may different Blades. The rare Blades that aren't key to the game's story were designed by a number of different artists and it's neat to see that variety in a single game. In addition to great visuals XC2 has a killer soundtrack as well, and thanks to the size of the game there is a ton of music to enjoy, from intense battle songs to adventurous exploration tunes. Although oddly there is still one annoying little issue that often happened in XCX: the music plays over the voice acting during some cutscenes. Overall the English voice acting is pretty solid too—some lines fall flat, though more often than not it's down to the awkwardness of pairing English words with animation designed for Japanese. Still, it's kind of fun to hear the variety of accents used in XC2. It helps add a little believability to the differences in the various Titan nations. Just finishing the story will last you probably at least sixty or seventy hours, but more likely your playtime will be far beyond that thanks to all of the side quests, Blade collecting, and just plain sheer size of XC2. Because of the way Blades work you technically have a pool of dozens of characters that can all individually be used, trained, equipped, and have special side quests attached to them. To 100% complete this game would be a pretty Herculean task, but the mark of a good game is that all of those hours spent fly by, and that's definitely true here. You can play for hours and not realize it, because there's always something else pulling you back into the game. And when you're in the middle of the adventure, you won't mind watching those hours melt away. Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a game made for the fans that loved all of the combat elements and exploration of the first two games. At its core, this game is more of that winning formula, with new characters to adventure alongside and a new world to explore with its own rich backstory and secrets. The new Blades system offers up tons of gameplay variability and strategy depth, and contributes to the unbelievable length of the game, even if unlocking rare Blades is a more tedious than it should be. Still, Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is the kind of RPG that will keep you wholly engaged for weeks if not months, and RPG fans will love losing themselves in this adventure. Rating: 9 out of 10 Blades
  20. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Thursday Night

    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) nights are Thursday nights from 10PM - 11PM Eastern time. Information is available on the official Ninfora Discord server.
  21. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch LOST SPHEAR – The adventure of LOST SPHEAR begins in a remote town of Elgarthe, where a young boy, Kanata, awakens from a devastating dream to find his hometown disappearing. To stop the world from disappearing forever, Kanata and his comrades set out to rebuild the world, mustering different Memory and crafting the world around them. The LOST SPHEAR game launches on Jan. 23. Darkest Dungeon – Darkest Dungeon is a challenging, gothic roguelike turn-based RPG about the psychological stresses of adventuring. Recruit, train and lead a team of flawed heroes against unimaginable horrors, stress, famine, disease and the ever-encroaching dark. Can you keep your heroes together when all hope is lost? Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS Kirby Battle Royale – Kirby is entering a tournament against his toughest rival yet … himself! One to four players can fight in local or online battles (additional games and accessories required; sold separately). Pick from more than 10 abilities and 10 battle types to compete in countless matchups. Hoard treasure in Ore Express, knock out opponents in Slam Hockey and shoot missiles in Robo Bonkers. There’s a single-player story mode, too! The Kirby Battle Royale game launches on Jan. 19. A free demo version of the game is available now for download in Nintendo eShop. Game in 2D. 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. New DLC: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Expansion Pass DLC – If you purchased the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Expansion Pass, new content is available at 9:00 p.m. PT! Expansion Pass: New Quests Pack 1 Passion of the Artisan (Quest available in Chapter 2) M.I.A. Nopon (Quest available in Chapter 3) Industrial Sort of Tour (Quest available in Chapter 5) Midnight Feasting (Quest available in Chapter 7) The Lone Watchman (Quest available in Chapter 10) Expansion Pass: Helpful Items Pack 3 Driver Essentials Set 2: Rare Core Crystal x10, Legendary Core Crystal x1, Overdrive Protocol x1 Tora’s Favorite Thing: Juicy Samod x3 Poppi α’s Favorite Thing: Fizz Juice x3 Charming Driver Gear: Auto-Balancer x1 Buy the Expansion Pass to gain access to new content, including the above packs and a new story in Fall 2018! To learn more, visit the official Xenoblade Chronicles 2 site. Also new this week: Ambition of the Slimes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ACA NEOGEO Power Spikes II (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives DOUBLE DRAGON (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Baseball Riot (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 19 ChromaGun (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 22 Qbik (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Implosion – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) League of Evil – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Nuclien (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 19 Oh...Sir! The Hollywood Roast (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Oh...Sir! The Insult Simulator (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Shu (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 23 Vesta (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 19 World to the West (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Link-a-Pix Color (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Raining Coins (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  22. First Look at Nintendo Labo

    Site: https://labo.nintendo.com Well, I wasn't expecting that. Looks pretty cool and very innovative. Though, IDK how I feel about sliding my Switch and Joy-con into cardboard. The artistic people, creative people, and people who love to build things should love this!
  23. https://www.nintendo.co.jp/20180118/index.html Happening Thursday morning in Japan time but it's this Wednesday evening if you live in the west.
  24. I've meant to make this thread for a while but I haven't actually played that much of Clam Blitz since it was added last month. With the Splatfest this weekend I've been playing more Splatoon 2 in the past few days though and that includes working my way up a few levels in this new ranked mode, and I'm curious as to what people think of it. I rather like it. What's interesting is that it feels much more team oriented than other ranked mode games. In say, Splat Zones, one player can (theoretically) hold down or overtake the entire zone by herself, and this is more or less true of the other original ranked modes as well. In Clam Blitz though, a solitary player generally isn't going to score much, although sometimes just breaking the opposing team's barrier is good enough for a bit of interference/disruption. When the team is really in sync though you can score a huge amount of points in just a few seconds, which is pretty satisfying when it works out. That's also what makes it kind of frustrating in solo queue though, especially since there is only limited communication with your teammates. Even something like trying to pass your clams to a teammate that almost has ten can be dicey when they just don't notice you and swim away. But overall I like it, and it feels like a more unique mode compared to Tower Control and Rainmaker which are a little similar to one another. Your thoughts?