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Found 602 results

  1. An HD remake of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is coming to Switch Oct. 29th (also on PS4/STEAM)... Screenshots: https://gonintendo.com/stories/340085-super-monkey-ball-banana-blitz-getting-a-remake-first-screenshot I'm all for Monkey Ball coming back, but why Banana Blitz? This isn't considered to be that great, especially its minigamees. Speaking of the minigames, are they going to have totally new ones, because most of those were designed around the features of the WIi Remote? Why didn't they just do an HD collection for the first two games on GCN? That would be an instant buy for me and I assume a lot of other people. Those games were damn fun and the best in the series!
  2. 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.
  3. Dodge the obstacles and complete the level as quickly as possible. It doesn't get much more classic than that in video game design, but developer PixelNAUTS Games has managed to give that premise a fresh spin with LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity. Set in the ominous solitude of space, one man's quest for survival turns into a fast-paced, score-chasing adventure, one where dodging hazards with split-second precision proves intense and engaging. You play as Harrison, an astronaut maintenance worker who becomes stranded in deep space when his ship is damaged. Using only the boosters on his suit, he has to careen past deadly asteroids and space debris to make it back to civilization with the help of an AI drone. The main game gets a little philosophical about the nature of humanity and perseverance (through the eyes of a mechanical drone) while the new content for Terminal Velocity takes a different track and is much more silly and comical. The sci-fi ponderings are a little more interesting while the comical stuff feels better suited to the game's action, but ultimately Terminal Velocity might be at its best when there's no dialogue at all and you're just focused on survival. The bottom line of the gameplay is perfectly simple: dodge whatever obstacles are in your path to reach the end of the level. Naturally Terminal Velocity has a lot more going for it than just that, though. For one thing the controls aren't perfectly precise—by design. You have to be extremely careful about adjusting your position slightly since it is extremely easy to overcorrect and end up hurtling off in the wrong direction. To keep things interesting throughout the adventure, even after you've mastered the controls, Terminal Velocity gives you rank on your performance in each level, based on the time you took, number of deaths, and whether you grabbed all of the collectible Obtainium in the level (more on that later). You have to play pretty perfectly to earn the highest platinum ranking by taking on risks to maintain speed, but it gives players a nice incentive to push their skills. You can finish the game by playing extremely carefully and slowly, but to really master the game you've got to keep your boosters at maximum from start to finish, narrowly dodging hazards left and right. There are also a good number of unique obstacles that keep the gameplay feeling fresh over the short length of the campaign. You're able to pass through small planets that might give you a speed boost or slow you down to adjust your positioning, or you might leap through wormholes to zip around the screen. There's enough variety that the gameplay stays engaging from one level to the next. You're also able to upgrade your abilities with the Obtainium you've collected, which makes for a nice sense of progression while also helping you perfect your skills with helpful bonuses. There aren't many upgrades to unlock and they aren't so varied that they truly change the way you play the game, but there's still something satisfying about continuously upgrading your boosters to breakneck speeds. A few aspects of the game can feel frustrating though. It's particularly hard to see and react to asteroids that come in from the sides of the screen, plus the game uses a wraparound screen (i.e. if you go off the left side of the screen you'll end up on the right side of the screen) which can be extremely disorienting. There is a small indicator of where you'll end up on the other side of the screen but this small flashing light looks so similar to the HUD that it really doesn't stand out well. Thankfully there are frequent checkpoints though so even if you do end up dying a lot in one area you won't lose too much progress. The Terminal Velocity edition of LOST ORBIT also adds entirely new levels in the epilogue which add a real game-changer: a drill that lets you break through asteroids in your path. It significantly alters the way you approach obstacles in the epilogue and serves as a perfect safety net that allows you to correct minor mistakes (though of course the epilogue also throws plenty of obstacles at you that can't be drilled through). The culmination of the epilogue levels is the most unique and at times frustrating level in the game, where you have to clear out all of the asteroids in your path by drilling through them. It's a clever inversion of the main gameplay mechanics though it really highlights how the controls are extremely unforgiving to small mistakes. The game's presentation isn't particularly flashy, but when it comes to speeding past obstacles where even one minor mistake will kill you, all you really need from the game is smooth clarity, which the game manages well. The epilogue adds some cartoonish character portraits to complement the more comical dialogue, but in both cases less probably would have been more. The game also features a pretty solid soundtrack, but there are two caveats here. For one, there aren't enough unique tracks—the songs that are in the game are great, but a little variety would have helped. Secondly, the drone's voice acted dialogue causes the background music to be turned down, which is a shame. The voice work is fine but the music is much more engaging, especially when you're just in the zone with the obstacle-dodging action. LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity offers a solid if brief take on the classic "avoid the obstacles" video game structure. Clever hazards, mechanics, and upgrade features help keep the fast-paced action engaging, though the real meat of the game comes from your interest in earning a perfect platinum medal on each level. Time trial fiends will love perfecting their techniques to get through the game's challenges unscathed, but anyone less invested in score-chasing might not gravitate toward Terminal Velocity. Rating: 7 out of 10 Asteroids Review code provided by publisher LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity is now available on the Switch eShop for $9.99.
  4. Some games, especially indie creations, suffer from having too broad of a scope and trying to do too many things at once. Streets of Rogue, from developer Matt Dabrowski and publisher tinyBuild Games, somehow manages to avoid those pitfalls while still packing an impressive amount of content into a fast-paced rogue-lite. Whether you're playing as a soldier and go in guns-blazing or try to play a more sneaky character class, Streets of Rogue offers up a ton of variety to make every playthrough engaging. In a city of rampant inequality (as well as a surprising number of supernatural hazards, including vampires, zombies, and werewolves), a group of freedom fighters band together as a resistance against the mayor's tyrannical rule. That sets the stage for Streets of Rogue, but storytelling isn't really a priority here—dropping the player into a procedurally generated sandbox to play in is the real focus of the game. It's a shame too since when you do get a bit of dialogue it's usually pretty funny, but players will just have to be content with the endless possibilities of destruction available in the gameplay. Your goal throughout the game is to reach the Mayor's Village by first starting out in the slums and working your way up through the city, which in gameplay terms means fifteen procedurally generated levels. Each level has one or more missions you need to complete to progress, plus optional side missions, plus an overarching bonus mission depending on your character (e.g. the soldier needs to destroy power generators on every level). And since the layout of the map is different every time you play, the challenge is more in learning how to master the fundamental gameplay structure rather than memorizing paths or patterns. Although there is a short tutorial, the game doesn't do any hand-holding—like most rogue-lites, trial and error is the key to progress in Streets of Rogue. It's pretty overwhelming on your first attempt or two, but it helps to stick with one character at first while you learn the basics (the soldier is particularly nice since he starts with strong weapons and has health regeneration). Like any good rogue-lite it's not just the randomly generated levels that keep things interesting, it's the item selection. There's a wide variety of items to find, purchase, or earn as a reward for completing missions, and they all help you interact with the game's world in unique ways. You may want to load up your character with guns and grenades in order to blast your way through missions, or you might stock up on lockpicks and window cutters to sneak into buildings covertly. Streets of Rogue finds a satisfying balance of letting players approach missions in different ways without completely overwhelming them. After a few playthroughs you'll have a good understanding of how best to use each item and whether or not they mesh with your current strategies, and at that point it becomes super addictive to try to make the most out of the items you find. And it's not just items that are going to make your playthroughs unique. Completing missions rewards you with experience points, and when you level up you're able to select a new trait which adds a passive effect or bonus, such as making it harder for people to see you when you're doing something illegal or increasing your melee damage. Even moreso than items these traits have a huge impact on how you progress, and like any rogue-lite there's a degree of luck involved—a powerful trait unlocked early in the game can make things significantly easier on you. There's a wide variety of traits that can be unlocked throughout the game and the good news is that you can toggle whether or not they show up in your current playthrough, which adds a helpful degree of customization and allows you to avoid traits that are less useful to your current character. What truly makes Streets of Rogue stand out and helps make it so replayable is the variety of approaches you can take, which is generally dictated by your character class. For example, the soldier may be adept at surviving gun fights, but a physically weak character like the hacker has to rely upon more crafty strategies. Then there are characters like the bartender who are not built for combat or espionage at all, but excel at winning over ally NPCs to help complete missions or occasionally do your dirty work for you. In a way these non-combat classes are the "expert mode" of Streets of Rogue, since you have to have a good understanding of how the game's AI interacts between characters to play them effectively, but they represent an entirely different approach to the game which is just as much fun to explore as blowing up hostile characters as the soldier. You can even create custom characters to create unique challenges for yourself (or to build a totally overpowered character and just wreak havoc). The depth and variety of options is truly impressive and makes the game a true sandbox that rewards player creativity. That said, the game does have its repetitive moments as well. For all of the various options in the game there are still aspects that end up feeling a bit repetitive, and it's generally the missions you're assigned. There really only seem to be a handful of mission types and even when you're putting your unique traits and items to use they can get a little tiresome. You'll also run into disaster scenarios on occasion which up the ante with special challenges, such as a zombie infestation, though these disasters can be just as frustrating as they are exciting. What does help break up some of the monotony, though, is multiplayer. Adding a friend (or three) either locally or online has a big impact on how you approach the game. For the most part it makes it much easier since you can watch each other's backs when things get rough, but the added chaos factor is a blast even if you just want to mess around a bit. The pixel art aesthetic is pretty charming as well, though it can't help but fall victim to some of the monotonous repetition that most procedurally generated games do. Even if you do end up seeing the same character designs over and over though, there is something satisfying about seeing these squat pixel characters racing around the screen. The music has a similar issue with being overly repetitive, but that's just the result of having a game based on replaying levels so much. Still, the techno soundtrack is infectiously upbeat, the perfect background music for causing a little mayhem. Streets of Rogue is an ambitious game, and the good news is that it delivers well on the promise of varied, addictive rogue-lite gameplay. It's the kind of game where completing it once only gives you a small glimpse of the game's potential, because with a different character, different traits, and different items, you'll be treated to a whole new experience, not just in terms of map layouts but in how you fundamentally approach challenges. Add in a friend for some co-op chaos and you've got a game perfect for players that enjoy figuring out every little possibility that a game has to offer. Rating: 8 out of 10 Traits Review copy provided by publisher Streets of Rogue is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  5. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 – To stop the worshippers of an ancient evil, you must join forces with the mysterious Malroth and build a ravaged world into the realm of your dreams. In this RPG adventure, you’ll explore huge islands, gather and craft with materials, design towns, level them up and defend them from monsters and bosses. As you progress, you’ll unearth crafting and building recipes. Dash, glide, explore underwater, fast travel and play in optional first-person perspective as you try to find them all. In the Isle of Awakening, you and up to three other Builders can explore together in local wireless* or online** play. The DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 game will be available on July 12. GOD EATER 3 – Devour monstrous gods with your allies! The latest numbered entry in the popular God Eater franchise has finally come to the Nintendo Switch system. Now you can experience the game’s intriguing story, distinct characters and stylish, high-speed combat whenever you’re on the go, both alone and with friends*. The GOD EATER 3 game will be available on July 12. Nintendo Mobile Dr. Mario World – Nintendo’s newest mobile game, Dr. Mario World***, is now available for smartphone devices. In this free-to-start puzzle and virus-matching puzzle game, meddlesome viruses have the in-game world in a panic, and Dr. Mario and friends must eliminate them by matching capsules with viruses of the same color. Dr. Mario World can also be played together with friends and family around the world. In Versus Mode, players can turn up the intensity by challenging their friends or any other players online to a one-on-one showdown in real time. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Starting with Hello Kitty® and Cinnamoroll on July 11, in-game items featuring popular Sanrio® characters are coming to the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp*** mobile game for a limited time. The Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Sanrio Characters Collection event gives players the opportunity to obtain adorable in-game items like sofas, beds, hats and dresses featuring various Sanrio characters. DLC: DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 DLC: Fans who want to expand the range of things they can make in DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 will have multiple options when one free DLC pack and three packs of paid DLC hit starting on July 26. Fans can purchase each paid pack of DLC separately or save on the combined cost of each pack with the Season Pass for only $20.99. Different packs offer different content, such as new locations to explore, additional recipes, new quests and a variety of customizable options like clothes and hairstyles. Full version of game required to use DLC. Sold separately. 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: Arcade Archives Ninja Spirit Blazing Chrome Bleep Bloop – Demo Version Bouncy Bullets – Available July 12 Dead in Vinland – True Viking edition Desktop Bowling Distrust – Available July 16 Doodle God: Crime City Eagle Island Forklift – The Simulation – Available July 16 Laser Kitty Pow Pow Lethal League Blaze – Full & Demo Versions – Available July 12 Let’s Go Nuts – Available July 17 Let’s Sing 2019 – Available July 16 LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity – Available July 16 Mad Bullets – Available July 12 Metaloid: Origin Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets Psyvariar Delta Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition Streets of Rogue – Available July 12 Super Mutant Alien Assault – Available July 12 The Sushi Spinnery – Demo Version TINY METAL: FULL METAL RUMBLE Vektor Wars Venture Kid – Demo Version Wayout Ziggurat Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Sketchy Snowboarding
  6. After the success of the first game on the Wii U it makes sense that Nintendo would put out a sequel to their Mario level creator, but the breadth and depth of new content in Super Mario Maker 2 is definitely a pleasant surprise. New items and themes, a longer Story Mode, multiplayer features—Nintendo pulled out all of the stops to ensure Super Mario Maker 2 would feel like a fresh new experience, and based on the kinds of levels already created by the community, it's safe to say they succeeded. The original Wii U game included a number of levels created by Nintendo that served as a decent but small selection of offline content, but SMM2 ups the ante a bit with a more in-depth story mode. Mario is helping Toadette and her team of construction Toads rebuild Peach's castle, and to raise funds for the project you have to complete a variety of courses. The story itself may not be all that exciting but Story Mode serves as a great introduction to the world of Super Mario Maker. The courses here are each themed around a central concept, such as the new 3D World theme that brings with it clear pipes, the Cat Suit, and other features that are completely unique from the other Mario game themes. If you're not familiar with 3D World, Story Mode provides a perfect way to both learn how to play in this theme and spark ideas for level design concepts. With so many possibilities in SMM2 it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so having a solid source of inspiration like Story Mode is a great addition to Mario Maker. Just like the first game the real heart of SMM2 is in user-generated content, whether you're designing levels yourself or hopping online to take on whatever insane challenges that players the world over have cooked up. The first game had the benefit of the Wii U's Gamepad as a perfect control system for dropping blocks into a level, and although neither a normal controller nor the Switch's touch screen is as perfectly suited to course creation as the Gamepad, they both still get the job done pretty well. With a bit of practice the controller is perfectly manageable, even if it's not as fast as a touch screen, and using the Switch's touch screen undocked sacrifices precision for speed. Ultimately neither is quite ideal but their quirks end up being minor issues when you're focused on creating levels. SMM2 also does away with the tedious unlocking process of the original Wii U game, so players can simply dive in and immediately start making insane challenges out of the wealth of options available. I won't bother touching upon each and every new item available in this game, but suffice it to say the possibilities are even more varied than the first game, including some truly inventive twists like nighttime levels. The game does little hand-holding when creating courses unless you specifically seek out the game's helpful tutorials (or take inspiration from Story Mode) so veterans of the original game should be happy to jump right into the action and simply play in this digital toy box. For many players the most important aspect of SMM2 isn't creating levels but playing other players' creations online. Players can once again enjoy a seemingly never ending stream of courses created by other players the world over, though granted there is quite a range in terms of quality. Still, the chance to see something entirely new every time you load up the game is absolutely wonderful, and although Nintendo's online features are still a bit archaic and stilted (for some reason you can't just see your friend list within SMM2, you'll have to exchange player ID or course ID codes outside of the game) it's still delightfully addictive to see what new courses you can find every day. One of the biggest additions to SMM2 is multiplayer, both locally and online—although to play multiplayer on the same screen you have to download a level (or create it yourself) to enter multiplayer mode. Co-operative multiplayer is as chaotic and goofy as you'd imagine, especially because most courses aren't designed with multiplayer in mind. It's a bit of a shame that there aren't co-op-specific levels available (or a way to make them easily searchable, like a unique tag) because the co-op level seen at the E3 Invitational was brilliantly inventive and specifically designed for two players, but perhaps we'll see a future update that caters to co-op. SMM2 also includes competitive multiplayer levels, and even though there is a unique versus tag it's still hard to find solid multiplayer levels just because we're still in the early days of the game's release. Regardless, competing with three other players to reach the goal first makes an already wacky game even more insane, in a fun and ridiculous way. The only problem is you may be faced with some truly atrocious lag depending on each player's internet connection, and trying to hit precise jumps with a stuttering screen is horrendous. Hopefully this can also be rectified in a future update because right now multiplayer versus is not at its full potential. With five different game themes as well as a wide variety of backgrounds there's quite a spectrum of visual and audio design on display in SMM2, and all of it is just delightful. Whether it's the nostalgic rush of seeing familiar sprite designs from Super Mario World or the surprise of seeing items/enemies rendered into anachronistic game themes, the presentation of SMM2 is a fun reminder of just how much personality and charm Mario's graphics and music have always had. Super Mario Maker 2 adds even more creative possibilities than the first game, and just a week after launch there are already plenty of brilliantly inventive levels available online. Story Mode, a significant expansion over the original game's offline game mode, is a perfect tutorial for not just playing Super Mario levels but creating them as well, and a great starting point for getting acclimated to the new features available. Multiplayer modes, though not as smooth as they ideally ought to be in terms of online connectivity or accessibility, flesh out the game's replay value even more and provide an entirely new way to consider level design. Even if you don't bother spending much time in creation mode, Super Mario Maker 2 is a must-have for Mario fans. Rating: 9 out of 10 ? Blocks
  7. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Stranger Things 3: The Game – In the companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series, play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen quests, character interactions and secrets. This adventure game blends a distinctively retro art style with modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Team up in two-player local co-op to explore the world of Hawkins, solve puzzles and battle the emerging evils of The Upside Down as one of 12 beloved characters from the show. Stranger Things 3: The Game will be available on July 4. SolSeraph – As the guardian of humanity, civilization is in your hands. Build your cities and set up defensive structures to protect them from the constant threat of monsters, and then descend into their lairs with sword and spells to eliminate the monsters for good. Explore floating islands, ancient caverns and lost cities. The world is yours! The SolSeraph game will be available on July 10. 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: Ankh Guardian – Treasure of the Demon’s Temple – Available July 5 Ape Out – Demo Version Arcade Archives CLU CLU LAND Asdivine Dios – Available July 4 CLANNAD – Available July 4 Desktop Baseball – Demo Version Desktop Table Tennis DOBUTSU SHOGI WORLD Grass Cutter – Mutated Lawns – Available July 10 Hero Express – Available July 5 Hyperlight Ultimate – Available July 9 OVIVO – Demo Version Paradox Soul – Available July 5 Penguin Wars Pure Mahjong – Available July 4 SENRAN KAGURA Peach Ball – Available July 9 Siralim 3 – Available July 5 Terraria Voxel Sword – Demo Version What Remains of Edith Finch – Available July 4 World Of Riders Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Wii U: Horror Stories – Available July 4
  8. First Team Sonic Racing in May and now Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled—it seems like the Switch just can't get enough wacky kart racers. But while Sonic's team-focused racing experience was entirely new, Nitro-Fueled is actually a remake of a 20-year-old PlayStation game, now with a new coat of paint and a few tune-ups to suit the online landscape of 2019. Fans of the original may love getting the chance to revisit familiar courses and characters, but new players might feel a bit burned by the steep learning curve. A racing game hardly needs to even bother setting up a storyline, but Nitro-Fueled opens with a planetary invasion from an alien named Nitros Oxide who claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy. He challenges Earth's best driver to a one-on-one race with the fate of the planet in the balance, and so Crash steps up to prove his mettle against four boss races before taking on Oxide. Aside from brief intros and outros to each boss race there isn't much else to the story, but it's nice to have a reason to race—aside from the glory of a first-place trophy. As a kart racer, Nitro-Fueled has all the basics you'd expect from the genre: you'll race across a variety of elaborate tracks, picking up items to attack other racers in order to take first place in the end. There are some great track designs here (which actually draws from the original Crash Team Racing as well as its sequel, Crash Nitro Kart) which make good use of the game's drifting boost and aerial boost mechanics without bogging down the tracks in too much confusing fluff. There's also enough depth to most tracks that you'll want to replay them over and over to fully master the ideal path. Some courses do seem to drag on a bit with nothing more exciting than a few turns and jumps though, and those tracks probably could've been a little shorter. The game also has a decent number of playable characters, though there are only a few real "class variations" that impact a racer's speed, acceleration, and turning ability, but it's still enough variety that you can spend plenty of time figuring out your perfect fit in terms of both stats and looks. The item selection feels somewhat limited though, especially since half the items are rather similar to one another. But the game does spice things up with a unique item mechanic: if you collect ten Wumpa Fruits during a race (usually found inside crates, or scattered on the track) all items will take on slightly stronger properties. It's a good incentive to collect Wumpa Fruits, not to mention the fact that you'll go faster with more fruits in your pocket. Possibly the most defining aspect of Nitro-Fueled is the way drift boosting works here. Instead of just holding the drift button down or wiggling the control stick back and forth, you have to press either L or R then press the opposite (R or L) at the right time to activate the boost. If you time it perfectly you'll get a bigger boost, plus you can chain up to three boosts in one drift. The timing is based on a small gauge in the lower right corner of the screen, plus this remake makes things a little easier by making your tires glow when the time is just right to hit the boost button. Ideally you'll eventually just know the timing perfectly by heart, but these visual cues are invaluable to new players, because this drifting system is undoubtedly one of the more complicated ones you'll find in a kart racer, especially one that otherwise appears to be a very kid-friendly. In fact the complexity of this drift system can make the single-player adventure mode extremely challenging, even on normal difficulty, since you kind of have to master it to get over the AI racers' perfect performances. It's definitely frustrating for new players to try to jump into Nitro-Fueled, where the AI is relentless (and sometimes appears to be rubberbanding when even a speed boost item isn't enough to put significant distance between you and them) and you unfortunately can't change the difficulty level without restarting adventure mode entirely. Nitro-Fueled also has some more technical issues that weigh on the experience, such as some truly horrendous load times. It might be more tolerable if they were less frequent, but every time you start or finish a race you'll be treated to a good thirty or forty seconds of loading screen. That kind of constant annoyance is a real drag on the otherwise fast-paced action of the game. The system for unlockables is also a bit annoying. You'll unlock several characters, karts, and other customization options just by playing adventure mode, but many items must be bought with Wumpa Coins, which you earn from every completed race, whether you're playing solo, multiplayer, or online. The catch here is that you have to be connected to the internet to actually earn the coins—if you're, say, playing on the bus, you're not going to be accruing any coins. It's already a huge grind to earn enough Wumpa Coins to unlock items, so missing out on the chance to earn coins while not connected to the internet is disappointing. Regardless of whether or not you're raking in the coins, there's plenty to do in Nitro-Fueled. Adventure mode can be completed in just a few hours, but there's also a "true ending" that requires you to tackle additional challenges. And of course there's the endless potential of multiplayer to stretch out the game's length, including both local and online multiplayer. The online connection was fairly smooth for me—one or two minor lag issues but nothing out of the ordinary—and there's already a decent number of players to race online. There will also be planned online events that give players the opportunity to earn DLC items (via challenges or by spending Wumpa Coins) so Nitro-Fueled should see plenty of long-term support. With Crash Bandicoot in the lead role, you can expect some charmingly goofy and colorful graphics in Nitro-Fueled. The game's cartoony style is well preserved from its PS1 origins, now with higher quality. The Switch version does look a bit rougher compared to other consoles, but it's only really noticeable during the slower moments of the game—when you're in the middle of a race, the graphics look fine and run at a stable 30 frames per second. The soundtrack is also fun and cartoony in its own way, though it has fewer standout moments than the art design. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled offers up yet another solid kart racer for the Switch, complete with colorful tracks and wacky item action. Despite that cartoony appearance though the gameplay requires a fairly significant investment of practice before a player is going to be able to race competently, largely thanks to the game's unique drift boost mechanic which is indispensable for winning, even against the AI. Long loading times also have a way of preventing the game from maintaining top speed, but anyone willing to overlook those faults should enjoy the frenetic kart-racer action. Rating: 7 out of 10 Wumpa Fruits
  9. There are plenty of farming sim games focused on growing crops, raising animals, and bringing new life into the world, but how many focus on the inevitable end result? In Graveyard Keeper, from developer Lazy Bear Games and publisher tinyBuild, your objective is to build up an immaculate, sparkling cemetery, and if along the way the interred bodies should lose a few organs or bones, well, the villagers will be none the wiser. It's a charmingly macabre take on the farming sim genre, though not taken to its fullest potential. The story actually begins in the present day where, while walking home one night, our protagonist is hit by a car and wakes up in a medieval village where everyone is calling him the new graveyard keeper. After quickly acclimating to his new surroundings (which includes a talking skull), the nameless keeper must figure out a way to return to his own reality by building up a successful cemetery and business. Along the way he meets a handful of villagers with their own goals and tragic backstories, which slowly converge into key quests throughout the game. It's a hilariously dark premise for a game and undeniably unique, but the problem is that Graveyard Keeper doesn't quite make the most of it. The story missions are fairly bland (and replete with typos), and the dark comedy/death-focused angle is ultimately rather light in terms of story impact. Certain plot points are brought up repeatedly but never get a satisfying conclusion (or any kind of conclusion for that matter) which just makes the game feel unfinished. Despite a unique hook the story and setting are used to their fullest and end up feeling totally routine. That's really a major issue throughout Graveyard Keeper: the unique premise is overshadowed by the farm sim aspects we've seen a thousand times in better games. Early in the game maintaining the cemetery is certainly the focus and it's delightfully dark to work on preparing bodies for burial, removing their organs, and decorating their graves with proper headstones, but that aspect of the game shortly falls to the wayside and you end up more concerned with basic farm sim tasks like planting and harvesting crops, chopping down trees, or fishing. The darker and morally questionable aspects of the adventure (such as selling human flesh to the tavern as a cheap meat source) soon feel like just another side pursuit in a game full of things to do, and worse yet the morally dark stuff doesn't have any significant impact on the story or progression of the gameplay. It's a shame that the game doesn't focus more on its most defining feature. Graveyard Keeper is also an unrelenting grind of a game. Farm sims, by their nature, are all about repetitive tasks, but whereas successful farm sims find the charm and joy in performing menial jobs and seeing the fruit of your labor, Graveyard Keeper just feels like a chore. Your stamina seems to drain incredibly quickly, and early on when your food options are limited this means you need to take naps constantly. Progress comes slowly, partly due to the game's skill tree system which requires you to collect experience points before unlocking more advanced features. The skill tree isn't a bad concept in and of itself, but the game gives you almost no direction as far as what are the most important aspects to upgrade first, which can make the early parts of the game feel like an unending grind as you slowly gather up experience points if you wasted them on a feature that isn't important yet. The game has a bad habit of being too directionless in just about every aspect. Talking to villagers might give you a quest to bring them a specific item, but there's no way of figuring out how to craft/find that item for them—crafting potions with alchemy in particular is ridiculous since there are seemingly hundreds of possible combinations of ingredients, most of which result in nothing. For some reason there's no codex in the game to keep track of recipes or blueprints, which means you might waste a ton of time walking back and forth to collect items you forgot you needed (pro tip: the Switch's screenshot feature is invaluable in this regard). The relatively small inventory space and slow walking speed only make this more tedious, especially when there's something particularly far away from your home base and the dozen item boxes you'll end up building to store everything scattered around your farm/cemetery. It's simply unrealistically difficult to organically uncover major aspects of the game, meaning you're best off playing with the game's wiki open on your laptop/phone at all times. You'll eventually also unlock a dungeon that you can explore, but fighting monsters is a pretty bland, tedious affair. The only weapon at your disposal is a sword and, although you can gradually craft stronger swords, combat mostly involves spamming the attack button as you walk up to enemies. The dungeon really feels indicative of perhaps Graveyard Keeper's biggest issue: the game spreads itself too thin, which results in a lot of shallow, half-hearted mechanics that are entirely too reminiscent of other games (specifically, other games that did it better). There's so much to do in this game and you're kind of just dropped right into the thick of it, but too much of it feels bland and grindy rather than satisfying and engaging. It's easy to burn through hours and hours of playtime with Graveyard Keeper, but when looking back on it, too much of the game ends up feeling like busywork. It's also disappointing to find that the game has a variety of small bugs and glitches. Nothing is gamebreaking thankfully, but sometimes you might be crafting something and, because your inventory is full, the item floats away to another part of the map. Or you might open up your inventory and the cursor gets stuck at the bottom of the screen for seemingly no reason. When you're constantly shuffling your inventory to make room for new items, these kinds of minor issues end up becoming major annoyances. There's also a tiny bit of choppiness to the game's framerate—not enough to really affect the game in any meaningful way, but enough to notice. The game's presentation puts a perhaps incongruously cute pixel art aesthetic on a game about running a cemetery, but regardless the game features some solid artwork and a light, chipper soundtrack. Both may end up feeling entirely too repetitive after a dozen hours of collecting materials, farming crops, and exploring the game's dungeon, but the visuals and audio have a simple charm to them. Graveyard Keeper offers up a decent farm sim experience, but never quite manages to shake the feeling that its merely imitating games that better managed the genre. The cemetery angle plants a great setting that doesn't quite grow to maturity due to the sheer variety of tasks that spreads the gameplay too thin, and even with a handful of bugs and glitches the most frustrating aspect of the game is simply the unending grind and slow, unrewarding sense of progression. Fans of sims may enjoy having a new and slightly darker twist on the familiar formula of gathering materials and slowly building a successful business, but Graveyard Keeper's more tedious aspects won't win over anyone that isn't already invested in the genre. Rating: 6 out of 10 Graves Review copy provided by publisher Graveyard Keeper is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  10. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Super Mario Maker 2 – Mario fans of the world, unite! Now you can play, create and share the side-scrolling Super Mariocourses of your dreams in the Super Mario Maker 2 game, available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch system. Dive into the single-player Story Mode and play built-in courses to rebuild Princess Peach’s castle. Make your own courses or team up with a friend to make some together. And with a Nintendo Switch Online membership, share your courses, access a near-endless supply of courses made by others and enjoy online* multiplayer. If you’re not already a Nintendo Switch Online member, the Super Mario Maker 2 + Nintendo Switch Online Bundle might be perfect for you. It’s available as both a physical and digital release and includes a 12-month Individual Membership for Nintendo Switch Online. Super Mario Maker 2 will be available on June 28. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 – Demo Version – To stop the worshippers of an ancient evil, you must join forces with the mysterious Malroth and build a ravaged world into the realm of your dreams. In this RPG adventure, you’ll explore huge islands, gather and craft with materials, design towns, level them up and defend them from monsters and bosses. As you progress, you’ll unearth crafting and building recipes. Dash, glide, swim, fast travel and play in an optional first-person perspective as you try to find them all. Try out this free demo before DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 launches for Nintendo Switch on July 12. ©2018, 2019 ARMOR PROJECT/BIRD STUDIO/SQUARE ENIX All Rights Reserved. Developed by KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD. 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: Another Sight – Available June 28 Arcade Archives WILD WESTERN Attack of the Toy Tanks – Available June 28 Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.2: 1313 Barnabas Dead End Drive Bitlogic – A Cyberpunk Arcade Adventure Bus Fix 2019 – Available July 3 Chiki-Chiki Boxy Pro Wrestling Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada Devil May Cry Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator – Available July 2 Driving School Original Epic Astro Story Furwind GOD EATER 3 – Demo Version Goonya Fighter Graveyard Keeper Headball Soccer Deluxe – Available June 28 Home Escape Human Rocket Person Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love Lines X Lucah: Born of a Dream – Available July 3 Maddening Euphoria – Available June 28 MotoGP19 NEKOPARA Vol.3 OVIVO – Available July 3 Q-YO Blaster Rain City – Full & Demo Versions Rally Rock ’N Racing – Available June 28 Real Drift Racing – Available June 28 Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered – Available July 2 Redneck Skeet Shooting – Available July 1 SCRAP RUSH!! – Full & Demo Versions SEGA AGES Virtua Racing SEGA AGES Wonder Boy: Monster Land Spell Casting: Purrfectly Portable Edition – Available June 28 War Tech Fighters Word Mesh Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Pinball Breaker 3
  11. For years turn-based strategy fans have been lamenting the fact that the Advance Wars franchise has been seemingly abandoned, but thankfully indie developer Chucklefish took it upon themselves to create their own tactical wargame, complete with rich strategic gameplay and charming army factions. Wargroove picks up the mantle of Advance Wars in a beautiful way while still putting enough unique touches on the gameplay to feel like a fresh experience. The story follows young Queen Mercia who is forced to flee her homeland, the Kingdom of Cherrystone, when undead invaders attack. Now she must travel across the continent of Aurania to gather allies and fight to reclaim her homeland. Wargroove certainly isn't earning any points for originality with this storyline, but even if it feels far too familiar for this kind of war-strategy game, there's still plenty of charming personality to buoy the adventure, as well as interesting backstories when you take the time to read each character's codex. The handful of main characters and their quirks are fun to watch throughout the game's short cutscenes, and how many games feature a dog as not only a main character but as an army commander? Players familiar with any of the Nintendo Wars games will instantly recognize the core gameplay structure in Wargroove: 2D, turn-based strategy combat. Each mission pits you against an enemy force (usually better armed and entrenched) and you need to plan your attacks thoughtfully in order to advance across the map, seizing towns to earn money and barracks to deploy more troops. Wargroove perfectly scratches the itch that Advance Wars left behind. You've got a decent number of unit types at your disposal, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to pursue unique strategies in order to overcome the enemy army. When you're deep in a challenging mission, it's incredibly easy to lose track of time as you monitor your army's progress. And even when that victory screen comes up you'll want to dive right back in with another battle. Every unit has its own strengths and weaknesses, and in Wargroove this is further bolstered a semi rock-paper-scissors mechanic as well as a critical hit system. Certain units are more effective against other unit types, which means you have to be ready to effectively counter whatever units the enemy throws at you in order to defeat them efficiently. For example, pikemen are particularly effective against cavalry. It's totally possible to defeat a cavalry unit using basic swordsmen, but to defeat them quickly and with fewer losses on your own side it's best to keep in mind which units are particularly effective against any other given unit. Wargroove also features a critical hit system which can alter how you approach an encounter. Every unit type has a unique critical hit condition—going back to pikemen as an example, they'll deal a critical hit when standing next to other ally pikemen, so it behooves you to keep multiple pikemen around and move them forward as a unit (to help balance this, pikemen have the shortest movement range of any unit). Keeping critical hit conditions in mind has a huge impact on the way you play, adding a satisfying extra layer of strategy to the action and a helpful boost in your back pocket since a few key critical hits can drastically change the flow of battle. It's a bit frustrating that some critical hit conditions rely upon the enemy's placement rather than your own, but regardless, critical hits are a welcome wrinkle in the turn-based strategy mechanics. In Wargroove, your commander also exists on the field of battle as a playable unit, and a pretty powerful unit at that thanks to their ability to naturally regenerate health each turn. Commanders hit hard but you can't be too cavalier with them since, if your commander dies, it's game over. Commanders also have powerful Groove abilities that, once charged, can have devastating effects on the tide of battle. Mercia, for example, heals every ally unit in range for 50% health. Some of these Groove abilities feel a bit unbalanced, such as the vampire commander's deadly ability to instantly kill an enemy unit and heal herself, and since each commander has a unique ability it's a bit of a shame that you can't choose which commander to use during story missions. Still, having your commander on the field with the Groove mechanic opens up even more opportunities for strategic planning, and helps keep the gameplay varied. Another significant twist for Advance Wars alumni is the way healing works in Wargroove. You aren't able to combine two of the same unit when they're injured, but there are two ways to recover health aside from Mercia's Groove. Rather than positioning a unit on top of a friendly town to recover health, you can purchase reinforcements from the town, which also lowers the town's defenses (towns recover health naturally each turn). It's an interesting mechanic since you're actually weakening your defensive/money-making position in order to recover your offensive position. In a way it makes it seem like you shouldn't be relying on towns to recover health too much, but it definitely makes you think more critically about whether a unit on the frontlines is worth healing. Wargroove also features mage units that are able to heal nearby allies (for a small fee) which feels like a suitable replacement for maintaining your forward momentum without retreating to, and weakening, your towns. Wargroove features some great pixel art that perfectly references Advance Wars' colorful look while still feeling unique in its own way. The sprite-work on each unit is excellent as well, though perhaps there's too much variety and detail in their designs—sometimes you need to just see what types of units are on the field at a glance, and it might take you a while to recognize all of them. There's undeniable personality in every sprite though and the unlockable concept art is a lot of fun to sift through. The soundtrack is brimming with upbeat charm as well, even if there isn't a huge amount of variety in the tunes. Wargroove certainly isn't lacking when it comes to sheer amount of content. In addition to a decently lengthy campaign which includes a variety of challenging side missions, there's also an arcade mode which is more like a short gauntlet of missions and a puzzle mode which is an interesting twist for a strategy game. Each puzzle tasks you with clearing the map in a single turn, usually by means of defeating the enemy commander. These puzzles require you to master each unit's abilities, especially their critical hit requirements, in order to clear the map quickly, which is great practice for learning how to use each type of unit as efficiently as possible. And all of that covers just the offline, single-player content. There's also local and online multiplayer as well as a level editor to create, share, and download custom maps. Suffice it to say, when you get into the groove, there's no shortage of gameplay to enjoy. Wargroove wears its Advance Wars inspiration on its sleeve, but rather than feel like a simple imitation it comes off as a loving homage. The core mechanics are instantly familiar but there are enough unique quirks to let Wargroove stand tall as its own challenging and engaging strategy game. With plenty of depth to the gameplay and an incredible wealth of content, Wargroove is a must play for strategy fans and a decent place to start for new players thanks to its sliding difficulty options. Rating: 9 out of 10 Grooves
  12. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night – Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a gothic horror action side-scrolling RPG set in 18th century England. A paranormal force has summoned a demon-infested castle, revealing crystal shards infused with tremendous magical power. Collect, craft and unlock a vast array of weapons, equipment and loot to defeat the countless minions and bosses of hell that await. The Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night game is available June 25. Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled – Crash is back in the driver’s seat! Get ready to go fur-throttle with Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled. It’s the authentic CTR experience, plus a whole lot more, now fully remastered and revved up to the max. Race online* with friends and Crash the competition with online leaderboards. With Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled, the stakes are high and the competition is fierce. It’s the CTR you love, now kicked into the highest gear. My Friend Pedro – My Friend Pedro is a violent ballet about friendship, imagination and one man’s struggle to obliterate anyone in his path at the behest of a sentient banana. The strategic use of split aiming, slow motion and the ol’ stylish window breach create one sensational action sequence after another in an explosive battle through the violent underworld. Activities: Pre-Register for Dr. Mario World – Pre-register now to be notified when Nintendo’s newest mobile game, Dr. Mario World, launches for iOS and Android devices on July 10. Check out the recent trailer revealing details about this new puzzle game, including its capsule and virus color-matching gameplay, by visiting https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8b4DNKfs_tU. 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: Arcade Archives POOYAN Azuran Tales: TRIALS – Available June 24 Blade II – The Return Of Evil Boxing Champs Captain Cat – Available June 21 Catan Cybarian: The Time Traveling Warrior – Available June 21 Deer Drive Legends Duke of Defense Forest Home GUILTY GEAR GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS R Iris School of Wizardry -Vinculum Hearts- – Demo Version Kitty Love -Way to look for love- – Demo Version Mainlining Miner Warfare Muse Dash Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets – Demo Version Queen’s Quest 3: The End of Dawn Realm Royale Rolling Gunner Scrap – Available June 21 Secret Files 2: Puritas Cordis Slender: The Arrival Strikey Sisters – Demo Version – Available June 26 Super Kickers League – Demo Version Super Neptunia RPG – Available June 25 The Childs Sight We. The Revolution – Available June 25 ZOMB – Available June 21
  13. It's pretty incredible that after so many years of mainline Final Fantasy games skipping over Nintendo systems, the Switch has played host to several titles that past Nintendo consoles have missed out on, including Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age. Originally released in 2006 for PS2, the game has gotten an HD makeover for this edition, as well as updates to the soundtrack and various gameplay adjustments such as a speed-up ability to make battles progress faster. Add in the Switch's portability and you've got arguably the definitive edition of a now classic RPG. The Zodiac Age takes place in Ivalice where the empires of Archadia and Rozarria are locked in an on-going war while the small kingdom of Dalmasca is caught between them. Like most Final Fantasy games you play as a ragtag group of heroes who band together purely from chance and yet must work together to stop the tyranny of the Archadian Empire. Unlike other titles in the series though there isn't much emphasis on your characters' personal journeys—the focus of the story in The Zodiac Age is more on the overarching political conflict. As such the storytelling feels a bit bare-boned. Without strong characters for the player to focus on it's hard to get fully invested in the conflict, and too often cutscenes feel rather boring as the characters simply go through the motions of finding a mystic power that can be used to stop the evil empire—pretty standard stuff in the realm of video games. It doesn't help that the writing seems to be made to mimic some sort of Shakespearean loftiness, but the execution falls well short of that mark. The writing is necessarily bad, but it never hits the highs that normally make RPG tales so engaging. Although The Zodiac Age retains all of the recognizable, trademark creatures and traits of the Final Fantasy series (chocobos, Moogles, character classes like white mage or black mage, etc.) there's a huge difference in how battles work here compared to previous entries in the franchise. For one thing, battles begin seamlessly—if you see an enemy in the field you can run up and attack it with no transition to a battle screen. You also only directly control one character at a time, though you're able to quickly swap characters (and even change characters in your active party in the middle of a battle). The key to the battle system here is the Gambit system, which allows you to essentially create auto-commands for your AI controlled party members to follow. For example, you might have your healer set to cast cure on an ally if their health drops below 50%, that way you don't have to manually enter that command any time it occurs during a fight. Every action, spell, or item can be set with the Gambit system, and you can purchase new commands to target a huge variety of enemy types to cover any situation. There's a degree to which the Gambit system makes it feel like the game is playing itself, but the benefits outweigh that minor annoyance. Standard battles fly by thanks to this feature, and given the real-time combat structure the alternative would be a tediously slow process of making sure each character is fighting intelligently. Plus you can always assume direct control over any character's actions anyway if you just need them to quickly do one thing, such as throw out a quick healing item. As is, the Gambit system feels like a happy medium—you have enough control over the AI that you won't feel stymied by their inability to adapt to changing circumstances during a battle, particularly a boss fight (and by the way, Gambits can be easily toggled on and off at any time as well) and at the same time you don't have to micromanage your party through every enemy encounter. This Final Fantasy game also has its own slight variation on character classes. You're able to choose a character's job (or license) right from the beginning—or at least, once you've unlocked it after a couple hours of playing—and from there you have access to a job board with various abilities that can be unlocked with license points. There are some similarities between boards but each class's most defining features are unique—for example, both white and black mages can unlock mystic armor to equip, but their respective white and black magic spells are unique to their job boards. You're able to select what to unlock or upgrade so there's a decent amount of freedom in choosing how your characters grow, though you're still limited by what equipment or spells you can buy in stores—unlocking the ability to cast Firaga early in the game is all well and good but useless until you've actually purchased the spell. There's something oddly addictive about opening up your job boards and poring over what to upgrade, though it's a shame that the physical classes have quite limited variety in terms of what they unlock. You're able to purchase non-magical techniques, but they're few in number and even more limited in use. It would've been nice to have more variety among the physical classes outside of weapon choice. A new feature for this edition of the game is the ability to swap licenses (in the original game you were stuck with whatever you initially chose). This is a great help in figuring out your ideal party structure, especially since each character can more or less excel in any job, and simply makes the game more convenient to play since you don't have to restart completely if you find a certain set-up just isn't to your liking. With the aforementioned speed-up ability as well, The Zodiac Age makes some valuable quality of life improvements that make the game more accessible. It wouldn't be a Final Fantasy game without a healthy dose of optional content, and The Zodiac Age features plenty of nooks and crannies to explore that are only safe to venture into once you've reached a decently high level. There's also the hunt system which tasks you with tracking down powerful monsters and defeating them. This process can be a bit tedious when the path to a monster is particularly obtuse, but hunts pose some good challenges that thorough players should enjoy tackling. This edition of the game also includes Trial Mode for an extra challenging gauntlet of fights that rewards you with rare items that can be transferred to your main game, perfect for players who want to put their skills to the test. The remastering of the game's visuals has done a great job of polishing the graphics. It is unmistakably a game that was originally released over a decade ago, and the art style has its ups and downs—from varied and imaginative creatures to some of the most ridiculous outfits, even by Final Fantasy standards—but the new coat of paint gives it a nice HD sheen, especially the full motion cutscenes. The voice acting, unfortunately, isn't quite able to shake off its clearly dated quality as several of the major characters sound rough, either from an acting perspective or just a sound quality perspective. This probably doesn't help with making the characters feel memorable and engaging. The soundtrack doesn't feel dated at all though and music fans can enjoy three versions of the soundtrack: original, orchestral, and OST. Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age introduced some innovative game mechanics into the long-running RPG series which are just as fun to play around with today as they were thirteen years ago. Some of the game's unique features might feel passé today now that ally AI has become a little more sophisticated and commonplace in RPGs, and the storytelling doesn't quite hit the high marks of other prestigious RPG titles, but the Gambit-focused battle system and satisfaction of building up unique job combinations proves plenty engaging for hours upon end. Rating: 8 out of 10 Gambits
  14. There's no better feeling in an action game than when you're locked into the rhythm of the gameplay and are flying through a stage, perfectly defeating enemies and flying over obstacles. Katana Zero is built entirely around that satisfying feeling—with only a sword at your side, you cut your way through rooms full of gun-toting enemies by dodging or deflecting bullets, knowing even one hit means death. Add in some stylish visuals and a thumpin' soundtrack and you've got an impressive, modern take on side-scrolling action games. You play as a mysterious samurai assassin deployed to eliminate key targets—and whatever bodyguards they might have defending them—using your sword and a bizarre ability to rewind time, meaning death is never permanent for you. It's a bit cliché but our protagonist has amnesia, and relies upon a somewhat suspicious psychiatrist who administers drugs and dossiers for your next target. As you progress you'll gradually uncover the truth surrounding the samurai's murky past as well as just a little of the setting's bleak, neon dystopian society, including some sort of devastating war that concluded only a few years prior to the events of the game. The story's slow pace at unveiling one more piece of the puzzle keeps things interesting as you struggle to comprehend what is really going on, but ultimately the game leaves a lot of questions unanswered which is a little disappointing. It's still an engaging story but you're really only getting a small peek at what is clearly a larger and more elaborate world. Katana Zero is all about fast-paced and fluid action. Since your main weapon is a short-range sword—and most enemies are equipped with guns—you have to be thoughtful in how you close the distance to a target to strike him down. There are opportunities to get the drop of enemies by busting down doors or even breaking through the floor, but if you're not careful it's easy to get overwhelmed. Your sword strike also have to be precise since a missed attack can leave you open—there's no worse feeling than missing a valuable deflection. This isn't the kind of game where you can rush in wildly and hope to squeak through anyway, which makes the action feel even more intense. When you're playing well it's incredibly satisfying to zip from one target to the next, dodging through enemy attacks and even deflecting bullets back at attackers (you also have a slow-mo ability which is invaluable for timing these deflects). There are plenty of ways to approach each stage too so you never feel pigeon-holed into a specific strategy. When only one hit can kill you, the game can feel punishingly difficult at times. The good news though is that stages are generally fairly short, so dying really doesn't penalize you too much. The game is also super quick about dropping you right back into the action, which is always appreciated. Most importantly though, even a failed attempt can provide some invaluable information about how to approach the stage on your next attempt. Even after dying and retrying a few times, the action of Katana Zero never loses momentum. And although your sword is always your main weapon, it is possible to pick up throwable items—and even C4, which you can remotely detonate—which adds just enough variety to how you approach enemies to keep every stage feeling fresh and still challenging. There's also something hilarious about defeating an enemy by throwing a soda can at them from across the room. Unfortunately, all of the game's fast-paced action also seems to translate to a quick, short game length. Just four hours or so will see you through the whole game, which is a shame since the game's formula certainly doesn't grow old by then. If you can't get enough Katana Zero though there are some hidden bonuses, including additional levels and a secret boss, but the difficulty of figuring out how to reach them might be a little too much without a little help from an internet guide. The visuals in Katana Zero combine classic pixel art design with eye-popping neon colors, plus plenty of blood splashing across the scenery when you cut down guards. The smooth animation just makes all of the frenetic action all the more intense and satisfying, and the developers have put a ton of great detail into the pixel artwork. The visuals are complemented by a fantastic techno soundtrack, complete with synthwave tunes that fits perfectly with the setting's 80s retro-futuristic style. From the first stage to the last Katana Zero throws you into an intense and wholly engaging action experience whose focus on fluid kills and unrelenting action helps it stand out in a sea of indie games. The intriguing setting and story doesn't quite result in a satisfying payoff, but the addictive gameplay is more than enough to keep you glued to the game throughout its short length. Rating: 7 out of 10 Katanas
  15. HORI is releasing special Joy-con form Daemon X Machina... So, Pro Controller X Joy-Con? These actually look pretty cool. I love the Idea of actual controller styled Joy-Con. Though, are these comfortable? How much heavier do they make the Switch? Too bad they will only work in handheld mode, since they lack a battery.
  16. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda – In the Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring the Legend of Zelda game, each move you make – whether it’s moving, attacking, defending, using items or more – must be timed to the beat of the music, which features remixes of familiar tunes from the Legend of Zelda series. Choose to embark on your as Cadence, Link or Princess Zelda, each with different powers and abilities, before adventuring through a randomly generated overworld map where classic areas like the desert or the forest will differ, meaning no two playthroughs will be the same. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online* Double Dragon II: The Revenge – Billy and Jimmy Lee, the Double Dragons, are back to avenge the loss of Marian. In their quest to defeat the evil Shadow Warriors, Billy and Jimmy must complete nine missions, facing deadly street gangs, ninjas and huge mutant fighters. Can Billy and Jimmy contend with the enemies placed before them and ultimately save the world? Volleyball – Enjoy a game of volleyball as you spike for a point, slam a perfect serve and make a save that wins the game for your team. As captain, you’ll lead your team through a fast-paced warm-up round, and then quickly move into the heat of real volleyball competition. The first team to 15 points wins the set, and the first team to win three sets takes the match. City Connection – After breaking into an exclusive paint store in New York City, you’re on the run from the cops! Carrying leaky 10-gallon cans of paint, drive over every mile of New York City highways before catching a boat to England. From there, you will go on a tour of the world, avoiding the police and leaking paint everywhere you go. Nintendo eShop sales: Save Up to 50% on Select Digital Games Celebrate E3 2019 by checking out the savings on select digital titles in fan-favorite franchises—including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, FINAL FANTASY and more. Offer ends June 18 at 11:59 p.m. PT. 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: Arcade Archives Solomon's Key Citizens of Space – Available June 18 Cricket 19 Dead Dungeon – Available June 14 Demolition Crew – Available June 14 Enchanted in the Moonlight - Kiryu, Chikage & Yukinojo – Enchanted in the Moonlight - Miyabi, Kyoga & Samon – Leisure Suit Larry - Wet Dreams Don't Dry PlataGO! Super Platform Game Maker Please, Don't Touch Anything: Classic Pocket League Story – Demo Version Radiation City Rolling Gunner Sea King – Available June 17 Soccer Pinball Submerged Them Bombs – Demo Version – Available June 14 Verlet Swing – Available June 14 Vosaria: Lair of the Forgotten – Available June 14 Worldend Syndrome – Demo Version Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Pinball Breaker 2 Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Wii U: SCOOP! Around the World in 80 Spaces
  17. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! – As Qbby or Qucy, you’ll create boxes and use them to surmount more than 270 puzzling stages – the most in the series to date. The box planet is plagued with obstacles, so jump, climb, drift, ride and warp your way past them in three modes, complete with their own stories, stages, challenges and techniques. You can even team up for a two-player adventure starring both star-crossed boxes. The BOXBOY! + BOXGIRL! game is available April 26. A free demo for the game is now available in Nintendo eShop. FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGE –The high-definition remaster of FINAL FANTASY XII THE ZODIAC AGEintroduces several modern advancements, including reconstructed battle design and a revamped job system. The FINAL FANTASTY XII THE ZODIAC AGE game is available April 30. SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech – SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech is the role-playing card game you’ve been waiting for! Lead a party of aspiring heroes through a beautifully hand-drawn world and intense battles using only your wits and a handful of cards. Take on whatever threat comes your way by crafting your own deck, choosing from over 100 unique punch-cards. Activities: Mario Tennis Aces: Special Online Demo – Get ready to swing into action with the Mario Tennis Aces: Special Online Demo. Hop online* and fight your way to the top of the in-game bracket before the event is over. Test your skills in frenetic singles tournament matches, and gain points based on your victories. Players who participate can unlock Mario’s classic overalls outfit and use it in the full version of the game (sold separately). This demo event is active only from noon PT on April 26 to 9 p.m. PT on April 28. Nintendo eShop sales: Praise the sun! Starting at 9 a.m. PT on April 25 and running until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 8, DARK SOULS: REMASTERED for Nintendo Switch is 30% off! 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: ACA NEOGEO SAMURAI SHODOWN V SPECIAL Aces of the Luftwaffe – Demo Version – Available April 26 Aggelos Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Crashbots – Available May 1 Croc’s World 2 – Full & Demo Versions Cytus α Darkest Hunters – Available April 29 Death Coming Dig Dog – Available April 26 Ding Dong XL Everybody, Hearts! GoatPunks – Available April 27 Gym Hero – Idle Fitness Tycoon – Available April 27 Homo Machina Hotel Dracula – Available April 26 Joe Jump Impossible Quest Lost King’s Lullaby Moai VI: Unexpected Guests Moero Chronicle Hyper – Available April 26 PICROSS S3 Puzzle Herder – Available May 1 R-Type Dimensions EX – Demo Version Robox Secrets of Magic – The Book of Spells Shalnor Legends: Sacred Lands – Available April 26 Super Blood Hockey – Available April 26 SUPER DRAGON BALL HEROES WORLD MISSION – Demo Version Table Top Racing: World Tour – Nitro Edition – Available May 1 Theatre Tales Type:Rider UglyDolls: An Imperfect Adventure – Available April 26 Vandals Witch Thief Zeroptian Invasion – Available April 19 Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: ZARA the Fastest Fairy
  18. Following the intense kart-shapeshifting mechanics of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, released back in 2012, developer Sumo Digital has changed tracks in order to focus on a team-based racing game. Team Sonic Racing, as the title implies, requires racers to work together by sharing items or boosting one another to win—or lose—as a team. But the novelty of this gameplay hook doesn't have quite the mileage that players might hope. When a mysterious tanuki named Dodon Pa invites Sonic and his friends to compete in team-based kart races, the blue blur and buddies saddle up in advanced cars to tear up the tracks. The quality of the writing is more or less what you'd expect from recent Sonic games, which is to say not great, with jokes that tend to fall flat more often than not, but the good news is the game lets you skip the introductory dialogue before each race—in fact it's kind of the default, since pressing A allows you to skip and pressing Y lets you listen. Regardless of the writing, the story mode is a valuable introduction to the mechanics of the game (even if the AI tends to rubberband no matter how well you're racing) and even includes a variety of alternate challenges such as collecting rings or passing through narrow checkpoints along the track. These bonus challenges can be frustratingly difficult since it seems there's no room for error at all to earn a high score, but for a racing game like this getting as much practice in as you can helps hone your skills. If there's one thing Team Sonic Racing has retained from its predecessors, it's elaborate, insane, and intense track designs. There are 21 courses in this game—divided into seven themed worlds of three tracks each—and each is pure chaos, in a good way. With everything from moving hazards to short cuts there are plenty of great courses to enjoy here, not to mention the mirrored version of each one to keep racers on their toes. There's also a decent selection of items to pick up while driving, each of which can have helpful effects for you or create nasty obstacles for your opponents. The only minor annoyance is that all items are Wisps which have a tendency to all look the same, especially when you're focused on racing and only glance at the item symbol in the corner of the screen, but it just takes practice to recognize them. The crux of Team Sonic Racing is, of course, racing as a team of up to three characters. These races are decided on a score system and the higher you place in the race the more points you get—you might place first and get 15 points, but if your two teammates are dead last your team might still lose overall. You don't have to simply hope that your teammates do well, though. You can help them in a couple of ways: for one, you can share items with teammates. A homing missile Wisp is pretty useless if you're already in the lead, but if you send it to a friend it might help them move up the ranks. What's odd is that you can't see what items your teammates have, even when they offer to share them (a prompt appears on screen to accept a teammate's shared item). You might not want what a teammate is offering, or it might be put to better use in the hands of your third teammate, but there's no way to know this in-game. Even so it's still helpful to share since certain items only appear with this sharing mechanic, but it's weird that there's a degree of mystery to it. The other key co-op feature of team racing is slingshot boosting. Whoever is currently the furthest ahead on your team automatically generates a yellow boost track behind them, and when teammates drive through these tracks they can charge up a boost. Any kind of speed boost in a racing game is hugely helpful, and it's nice that it's a sort of passive boost to your teammates, but it's a shame you can't do much more for them. If you're close to a teammate it's possible to repeatedly boost one another as one player gets ahead of the other, but if they're far behind all you can really do is keep driving and hope they're benefiting from your tracks. There's also a skim boost when you can perform by nudging a teammate who has just spun out (due to getting hit by an enemy or falling off the track, for example) which gives them a small boost to get back up to speed. Skim boosts can be pretty disorienting for the boostee though, and if you're on a curve or near a hazard they can be just as harmful as they are helpful. Finally there's the team ultimate boost, the biggest team effect and potentially a real game changer if you're lagging behind in a race. Every time you perform a team action (sharing items, sling/skim boosting) you'll charge your ultimate meter, and once full you can activate an extra powerful boost which also renders you temporarily invincible (it's like a Mario Kart super star times ten). Ultimate boosts are super helpful, though the fact that every team will probably charge up at least one use during a race means they also have to be used strategically. You also end up going so fast that these boosts can be harmful on sections of a course that require precision, which makes it a real problem if your teammates activate the ultimate when you're not ready. Ultimately these boosts can be just as frustrating to work with as they are useful. Although it won't take too long to power your way through the story mode there's plenty of replay value in Team Sonic Racing, whether that means trying different racers, playing locally with friends, or challenging other players online. Online races are pretty smooth, with only the occasional minor hiccup that one typically sees in an online match, but what's odd here is that there's no way to play with friends in a public match. You can create your own private lobby to race with friends, but there's no way to form a team of three and face random players online. In a team-based game that's a pretty silly oversight. On the presentation front Team Sonic Racing is a colorful, stylish racer with plenty of elaborate background scenery on each track. The fact that the courses are divided into seven worlds means there's a bit too much similarity between some tracks, but still, the art design is solid. The soundtrack has plenty of decent songs as well, though the voice acting sticks out a bit, in a negative way. Characters' quippy comments while racing get old fast, and while the voice work isn't all bad the sheer repetition and cheesy writing makes it pretty grating after only a couple races. Team Sonic Racing puts a uniquely co-operative spin on arcade-style kart racing, and the result is…fine. The team mechanics aren't quite as polished as I'd prefer to make it truly feel like a co-operative racing game, but the core gameplay hits enough of the familiar beats of a racer to keep the experience pretty enjoyable. The oversight on team-focused online features is bizarre though, and puts a bit of a shadow over the experience. It's far from the best racing game on the Switch, but for the budget price of $40 Team Sonic Racing is a decent enough for a quick spin. Rating: 7 out of 10 Karts
  19. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Slay the Spire – The Slay the Spire game fuses card games and roguelikes to make a dynamic single-player deck-builder. Discover hundreds of cards to add to your deck with each attempt at climbing the Spire. Select cards that work together to efficiently dispatch foes and reach the top. Whenever you embark on a journey up the Spire, the layout differs each time. Choose a risky or safe path, face different enemies, choose different cards, discover different relics and even fight different bosses. Craft a unique deck, encounter bizarre creatures, discover relics of immense power and Slay the Spire! 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: Happy Fathers’ Day! – Celebrate Father’s Day with great June rewards from My Nintendo, including fun printable gifts for dad. Click here for more information: https://my.nintendo.com/news/e66276a9b1b967b9 Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Arcade Archives ALPINE SKI Artifact Adventure Gaiden DX Battle Worlds: Kronos – Available June 11 Bullet Battle: Evolution Car Mayhem Desktop Baseball Dyna Bomb Fat City Geki Yaba Runner Anniversary Edition Hue Legend of the Tetrarchs Neon Junctions – Available June 7 Phantom Doctrine PICO PARK – Available June 8 Refunct – Available June 7 Season Match 2 She and the Light Bearer Summer Sports Games Super Skelemania The Savior's Gang The Sushi Spinnery Toon War Warlocks 2: God Slayers – Available June 7 Word Wheel by POWGI
  20. It's been a while since Mortal Kombat graced a Nintendo system, but finally Nintendo fans can rejoin all of the bloody battles, bone-crunching hits, and gruesome fatalities that the series is known for. Mortal Kombat 11 adds a few new features to the franchise to keep the visceral action fresh and engaging, though the modern accoutrements unfortunately includes an emphasis on grinding in-game currency to unlock minor features in the game. The game features a full story mode that allows you to play as one or two characters in each chapter. The plot more or less picks up immediately after the events of Mortal Kombat 10 (though unfortunately the game doesn't feature any kind of recap of the story so far, which is especially a shame for players that only have a Switch). In short though, Raiden and the defenders of Earthrealm recently defeated Shinnok, the disgraced former Elder God of Death, but in doing so they've earned the hatred of Shinnok's mother, Kronika, the keeper of time. She uses her power to bring past and present versions of our heroes together in an attempt to create her own timeline, so now Raiden and company must unite to fight for their own reality. References to past games might sail right over Switch-owners' heads but regardless of your familiarity with these characters, the story mode features tons of crazy action cutscenes that are pretty fun to watch. The writing may not be much better than a soap opera at times (a soap opera featuring time travel and demonic beings, at least) but it's fun to indulge in some of the campiness and just enjoy the ride while it lasts. The gameplay in Mortal Kombat 11 is fundamentally unchanged since the franchise's origins and is extremely similar to the most recent entries: it's a 2.5D fighting game of 1v1 battles that emphasizes gruesome attacks and bloody fatalities—they're brutal but always satisfying to execute. Characters have a handful of combos and special attacks but there's tons of depth in learning all of the ins and outs of each character, enough to keep a player occupied with only one character for a long time. The flow of combat feels measured, not like the rapid chaos that can overwhelm match ups in Smash Bros., but the game is no less engaging for it. Precision over spamming feels like the name of the game here, and it helps acclimate new players to the action without reducing the intensity of each match. Mortal Kombat 11 introduces some new flashy moves such as Fatal Blows which are devastating cinematic combos that are only available to use once your health bar has dropped below 30%. These can also only be used once per match, so even when your health is low it's worth considering whether or not you're in an opportune time to use it. Fatal Blows represent not only Mortal Kombat's love of brutal attacks but also a great strategic element that can help the underdog in a match even things up. In addition to the story mode (which can be played on multiple difficulty levels) there are a couple of other single-player pursuits in Mortal Kombat 11. There are the Klassic Towers, essentially the familiar solo-play tournament progression of battling one enemy after another before facing off against Kronika, and the Towers of Time which introduces a random wacky effect to contend with such as increased enemy health or a barrage of projectiles to dodge. The chaos can be just as frustrating as it is entertaining but it does add a unique variability when you're tired of fighting the same AI battles over and over. There's also the Krypt, a third-person mode where you explore Shang Tsung's island to find treasure chests to unlock features like alternate costumes for characters and other customization items. Opening chests costs in-game currency, which is gradually amassed through normal gameplay. The rate can be excruciatingly slow based on how expensive the chests in the Krypt can be though, which makes the customization aspect of the game feel like an imbalanced grind. It wouldn't be a modern fighting game without an online mode as well, and Mortal Kombat 11 features a couple of options for battling online. There's a classic mode for jumping right into a match with another player, a ranked mode to put your skills to the test, and private rooms that you can set up just for playing with friends. For the most part the online matches are pretty smooth—not as fluid as offline but not so much that it significantly impacts the experience. The online community is decently populated as well so it's not too hard to find an opponent. But the downside to Mortal Kombat 11's online functionality doesn't even have to do with playing online, but rather trying to play offline. Due to the way the game continually registers your progress with unlocking items and earning currency online, you're locked out of certain solo modes if your Switch is not connected to the internet, e.g. when you're playing handheld on-the-go. Not being able to play solo modes while offline is obnoxious, especially given the Switch's handheld functionality. The game's visuals are an unfortunate reminder that this Switch edition simply isn't the most powerful and polished version of the game. The graphics can be gratingly low res at times, which is particularly noticeable during story mode as the game transitions from beautiful cutscenes to grainy in-game models. They're not terrible, but the muddier textures and grainy hair effects are undeniably noticeable. The game will even lag at times when there's a lot of effects on screen, such as during a Fatal Blow. On the brightside though the gameplay runs smoothly—during a match the lower resolution graphics never interfere with your attack inputs. It's still disappointing to see the lower quality visuals, but it's more important that the flow of gameplay is preserved. What's inexcusable though is the game's tendency to crash, whether playing a solo mode or online. Since it's a fighting game you thankfully rarely lose much progress but it's still an issue that pops up far too often. Mortal Kombat 11 is a great opportunity to jump back into the bloody action that has defined the series for decades, but this Switch version comes with some obvious issues, ranging from understandable lower-quality visuals to more frustrating problems like crashing or the necessity of an online connection to play solo modes. The base gameplay is still solid but the visuals are a constant, unfortunate remidner that you're playing an inferior version of the game. Rating: 7 out of 10 Fatalities
  21. There might not be a better recent example of unique, creative indie game creation than developer Gabe Cuzzillo's Ape Out. Where large studios might not be willing to take a risk on an original, unorthodox game, Cuzzillo and publisher Devolver Digital have taken the plunge on a stylish, jazzy action game that puts one ape against a seemingly endless supply of gun-toting captors. It's hard to spend time with Ape Out and not be completely mesmerized by its addictive gameplay and incredible sense of style. Storytelling isn't really a concern in Ape Out. It's clear that our ape protagonist is being held in some sort of research facility which has caused the deaths of other apes, but the game communicates all this without a line of dialogue or text. It's certainly never explained why there are so many armed guards surrounding the ape facility, nor why an ape would end up on the thirtieth floor of a skyscraper (King Kong notwithstanding). Regardless, it's not hard to empathize with the ape's pursuit of freedom, even if he does cut a bloody trail while finding the exit. The goal of each level is simple: wind your way through a randomly generated, labyrinthine level while dodging or defeating the armed guards in your path. Your tools are limited as there are really only two actions the ape can perform—grab or throw. Throwing an enemy into a wall (or into another enemy) results in a satisfyingly bloody explosion, or you can grab an enemy to use as a human shield before tossing into another group of enemies. That's all there is to know about Ape Out's controls—grab, throw, and never stop moving. The simplicity of its controls is key to Ape Out's addictive appeal, as is the rush of excitement in maintaining your momentum by bowling over one guard after another in a desperate bid for freedom. Every time you see an enemy a question pops up in your mind—do I try to rush him for a quick kill, or do I try to dodge and escape? It's a perfect distillation of the fight or flight instinct (appropriately exemplified in an animal protagonist) and helps keep every level feeling fresh and unique since you never know what you're going to encounter in the claustrophobic corridors and interconnected rooms. Thanks to the randomly-generated room structure and enemy placement each attempt is a new challenge, and rather than memorizing the layout of the game you're instead honing your instinctual reactions and ability to keep cool while staring down five armed guards. The top-down perspective does an amazing job of emphasizing this intense, slightly nerve-wracking feeling of not knowing what's up ahead, only knowing that you have to keep moving no matter what. Levels are quite short but surviving can be quite challenging—three gunshots and the ape goes down, and you gradually face more dangerous guards and even explosives which will instantly kill you. Dying near the end of a level can be frustrating but the game's quick, addictive nature means you'll likely just be energized for one more attempt, and of course it makes victory that much sweeter once you finally conquer a tricky area. Even when dying and retrying repeatedly (and you will) Ape Out isn't a very long game, which is a bit of a shame since the formula doesn't grow old at all by the time the end credits roll. The good news of course is that the game is nigh endlessly replayable thanks to its randomly-generated content, plus there's a hard mode for an extra challenge and a score-chasing arcade mode to truly put your skills to the test. Ape Out is short but the experience is magnetic and makes every second with the game count. The most immediately striking aspect of Ape Out is its visual style, which is both minimalist and mesmerizing. The colors are brilliantly vibrant, there's a beautiful textured, grainy quality to the art that makes it feel alive, and the narrow top-down perspective kicks up the intensity of the gameplay. For all of its simplicity, nothing is lost in terms of gameplay with this visual style—the ape is always a clear, bright figure on screen, enemies are immediately recognizable even once you have contend with various enemy types, and important hazards like doors that you have to pull open are clear. And bloody remains of a squished guard are pretty satisfying to see explode on the screen in a burst of red. The soundtrack is also not just a fantastically jazzy number, it's uniquely integrated into the game in a way rarely seen. Described as a reactive music system, the jazzy drum beat of the background music changes depending on how you play—e.g. smashing an enemy into a wall results in a satisfying cymbal crash, and if you take out multiple enemies in quick succession the tempo picks up to match the action. The improvisational nature of this soundtrack is a brilliant way to match the improvisational nature of playing the game. You aren't going to do the exact same thing every time you play through a level, and the music matches it. It's an almost obnoxiously clever way of integrating the soundtrack into the game, and best of all the jazzy drum beats are an absolute delight to listen to—and in a way you get to put your own personal touch on the music. Ape Out positively oozes style in its minimalist visuals and driving jazz drum soundtrack, and best of all pairs it with an addictive, fast-paced, intense gameplay structure. Though short, the challenge of escaping is absolutely mesmerizing and easily pulls players into its frenetic arcade-style action. With so many unique titles already on the Switch's eShop, Ape Out manages to stand out as a brilliantly creative experience. Rating: 8 out of 10 Apes Note: The game is currently on sale for 30% off, so it's the perfect time to give the game a try!
  22. From indie developer Rayark, creators of Deemo and VOEZ, comes a third rhythm game for the Nintendo Switch. And just like those games, Cytus α offers a wide selection of techno, electronic, and pop music from Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, all of which offer catchy beats for you to tap along to on the Switch's touch screen or using a controller. Even if this type of music isn't your normal forte, you may find yourself a new fan of the style thanks to the game's relatively low barrier of entry and addictive gameplay. Like all rhythm games your objective here is to keep up with the rhythm of the song by hitting notes as they appear on screen. Notes can either be a single tap, an extended hold, or require you to drag your finger along the screen while following the path of the note—sometimes you even have to hit two notes at once, though I found myself wishing there were a better visual indication of this since it's an easy cue to miss on the particularly fast songs. Since notes can appear literally anywhere on the screen it can be daunting and chaotic at first, but there are some important rules to remember. There's a black bar that moves up and down on the screen, and when it passes through a note that's your cue to tap. Notes are also color coded, so you can see at a glance whether you need to hit a note as the bar is moving up the screen or moving down. And of course, above all you need to listen to the rhythm of the music. Even once you're in the groove with the game, earning a high score can be a serious challenge; some songs will have you tapping the Switch's touch screen in such a flurry that you can barely register what's happening with your eyes, you just have to give yourself over to the rhythm of the song. And when you tap into that rhythm, Cytus α is a blast. The best part of any rhythm game is getting into the flow of the music, and Cytus α has tons of great tunes to bob your head to. There's an incredible variety of songs, and the good news, if you just want to unlock them as quickly as possible, is that you don't have to complete every song in a chapter to unlock the next, so you can focus on the songs you like. Completing a song, even with a low score, isn't terribly difficult thanks to the game's leniency when it comes to your timing—you don't have to be perfectly precise in order to get a high score. There's a separate accuracy rating though, and that's where you'll measure your skill once you're good enough to earn a max score on any song. Though even getting to that point can be a gargantuan task. Cytus α features over 200 songs, including tracks from the game's original release on mobile devices as well as entirely original and exclusive tracks for this Switch release. Each song has an easy and a hard mode as well as a numerical rating to let you know how difficult it is (e.g. you might be willing to tackle a level 5 song on hard mode, but a level 8 song on easy would be even more challenging). Just playing every song once will last hours upon hours, and perfecting your skills on each gives the game a huge amount of replay value. Once you've developed your tapping skills you may want to tackle the online multiplayer mode and compete with up to two other players on the same song. The mode feels a little bare-boned though, and not just because it's difficult to find anyone to play with online. The matches are simply score battles, so you don't interact with your opponents—it kind of seems like an unnecessary mode, in fact, since Cytus α also features online leaderboards for every song. Still, multiplayer can be a fun way to compete with a friend and show off who has better rhythm. It also feels like a bit of a missed opportunity to not include any kind of music player mode to simply listen to the songs. There are tons of great tracks and it would've been nice to listen to them outside of the gameplay. I mentioned previously that Cytus α can be played on the Switch's touch screen or by using a controller, and while both are totally viable methods, it's safe to say the touch controls feel better overall. Somehow it's easier to get into the rhythm when your fingers are flying around the screen instead of simply pressing buttons on a controller—buttons just doesn't have the same satisfying tactile feedback. The downside to playing on the touch screen though is that your fingers might end up blocking the screen at times, and since notes can appear anywhere on screen it's a little too easy to trip yourself up this way. Although you might not expect it from a rhythm game, Cytus α does tell a story through unlockable data entries. It's not much—and doesn't quite tie into the gameplay precisely—but it's a neat little sci-fi story and worth taking the time to read through once you've unlocked them all. The writing itself leaves something to be desired but the sci-fi premise alone is worth reading. Cytus α offers a wealth of rhythm gameplay on the Switch, perfectly suited to the system's touch screen. The sheer amount and variety of songs means that anyone will find something to enjoy, and rhythm fans will love the challenge of perfecting every song on both easy and hard modes. Although the multiplayer mode is a bit lackluster and the $50 price tag might seem high for what was originally a mobile game, Cytus α is a treasure trove for rhythm fans. Rating: 8 out of 10 Taps
  23. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Resident Evil 4 – Step into the shoe of Leon S. Kennedy as he shines a light on the grim transformation of a European village while searching for the President’s abducted daughter. Resident Evil 4 introduced an over-the-shoulder camera and responsive action mechanics that continue to influence the series. This version of the game also contains Separate Ways, a scenario that was included in other HD rereleases. The Resident Evil 4 game is available May 21. Resident Evil – Experience the remaster that brought the 1996 horror classic back to life. The original 2002 remaster not only featured reimagined HD environments and characters, but also enhanced vocal performances to create an even more terrifying retelling of the original story. This HD remaster features all of the chilling moments and claustrophobic tension of the original release, and also includes the Wesker’s Report and Wesker’s Report II video features. The Resident Evilgame is available May 21. Resident Evil 0 – Resident Evil 0 details the events aboard the Ecliptic Express, which led up to the Mansion Incident depicted in Resident Evil. This ambitious prequel featured various mechanics that were new to the series, including the partner zapping system, which allows players to switch between the two protagonists on the fly. Wesker Mode lets you experience the game in a different way by introducing series antagonist Albert Wesker as a playable character, complete with his superhuman powers. The Resident Evil 0 game is available May 21. Team Sonic Racing – Team Sonic Racing combines the best elements of arcade and fast-paced competitive-style racing. Face off with friends in intense multiplayer* racing, race together across stunning worlds and work together as a team by sharing power-ups and speed boosts. Take control of your racing style: Choose from three distinct character types and unlock game-changing vehicle customization options to suit your racing style. The Team Sonic Racing game is available May 21. Fortnite – Season 9 – The future is yours in Season 9! In this new Fortnite season, the volcano has erupted and forever changed some long-lasting locations. Grab the squad to explore the bright lights of new attractions like Peely’s Banana Stand and Nugget Hut. Catch a ride and quickly traverse areas by flying in and out of the new Slipstream wind transportation system. Use the new Air Vents to quickly navigate from building to building. You can even take a glide over to the new Mega Mall to do some shopping before the storm hits. A new season also means a new Battle Pass. More than 100 new exclusive rewards are ready for you to unlock, and it still costs the same 950 V-bucks. This season, you’ll get the Sentinel Outfit and Rox progressive Outfit instantly when you purchase the Battle Pass. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online** Donkey Kong Jr. – Based on the popular arcade game, Donkey Kong Jr. is the sequel to the immensely successful Donkey Kong game. Play as Donkey Kong’s son, and rescue your dad who has been kidnapped and imprisoned in a cage by Mario. Use jumping and climbing abilities to clamber up vines and chains, gather vital fruit and keys, and open the cage to free your father. Make sure you avoid the pesky birds, nasty electric sparks and creepy chompers. Four different worlds filled with numerous climbing and jumping puzzles await you in this timeless classic. VS. Excitebike – Fans love the Excitebike game for its frenetic races, high stakes and sweet jumps. With this game, you can take it to the next level with the Famicom disk version of VS. Excitebike – complete with two-player split screen. Create tracks from 20 classic Excitebike track parts, and go for a best time or take on friends. Racing is even more exciting when the rivalries are real. You can also try out the single-player mode in VS. Excitebike. It adds tracks, music and the ability to save your high score. Clu Clu Land – The greedy Sea Urchins have stolen all of Clu Clu Land’s gold bars and buried them in a series of mazes. As Bubbles, a brave bubble fish, you’ll set out to uncover all of the gold bars in each maze. With 20 stages to complete and increasingly complex conditions (like having to pass over the gold bars twice to uncover them), you might just want to bring along a friend for help. 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: Pokémon My Nintendo Rewards – You can redeem your My Nintendo points*** for new Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield wallpaper featuring the game’s three partner Pokémon. Which one is your favorite? You can also redeem your My Nintendo points to get 30% off the Detective Pikachu and Pokémon Art Academy games for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. For more info, visit https://my.nintendo.com/news/67e29f7f01f2c3f4. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: 39 Days to Mars Akane – Available May 17 Arcade Archives NINJA GAIDEN Assassin’s Creed III: Remastered – Available May 21 Atelier Lulua ~The Scion of Arland~ – Available May 21 Blades of Time Chicken Rider – Available May 17 Darkwood Devious Dungeon 2 – Available May 17 GUILTY GEAR XX ACCENT CORE PLUS R Gunlord X – Available May 22 KORAL Octogeddon Pocket League Story Project Nimbus: Complete Edition Super Life of Pixel Tales From Space: Mutant Blobs Attack TerraTech The Last Door – Complete Edition – Available May 22 Thief Simulator
  24. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Gato Roboto – Pounce inside of your cozy armored mech and set off on a dangerous trek through an alien underworld full of irritable creatures and treacherous obstacles in a valiant effort to save your stranded captain and his crashed spaceship. Tiptoe outside the friendly confines of your technological marvel and follow your feline instincts through tight tunnels and mysterious waterways to scavenge for new weapons and gear. Adventure awaits the most curious of cats in Gato Roboto! 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: 30-in-1 Game Collection Ages of Mages: The last keeper Alternate Jake Hunter: DAEDALUS The Awakening of Golden Jazz – Full & Demo Versions Anarcute Arcade Archives IMAGE FIGHT Assault on Metaltron – Demo Version Cafeteria Nipponica – Demo Version Crypt of the Serpent King – Available May 31 GoFishing 3D Golem Gates – Available May 31 Hob: The Definitive Edition – Demo Version Kotodama: The 7 Mysteries of Fujisawa – Available June 4 Monkey Business Mowin’ & Throwin’ – Available May 31 Perchang – Available June 4 PixARK – Available May 31 Prime World: Defenders Ragtag Adventurers Red Siren: Space Defense – Available June 4 Realm Royale Founder’s Pack Robot Squad Simulator – Available May 31 Selma and the Wisp – Available May 31 Slay the Spire – Available June 4 Super Arcade Soccer – Available May 31 Super Cane Magic ZERO The World Next Door – Demo Version – Available May 31 Timespinner – Available June 4 Tiny Derby – Available June 4 TT Isle of Man Vectronom Viviette – Demo Version Warlock’s Tower – Available May 31 Watermelon Party – Available May 31 Word Wheel by POWGI – Demo Version Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: PDI Check Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth – Available June 4
  25. PKMN Home: I take it this is the next evolution of PKMN Bank on 3DS? PKMN Sleep: So, is this what became of Nintendo's QoL project? I remember hearing they were working on a sleep device. Interesting that this will device will also have GO + functionality. *My thoughts on the actual device HERE <-- Detective Pikachu (Switch): Nice to see an new Detec. Pika game coming to Switch. I wonder if this will be more in-line with the recent movie than the 3DS game?