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Found 730 results

  1. Site: https://tetris99.nintendo.com/ Price: Free for Nintendo Switch Online Members (Exclusive) The free to download online software, Tetris® 99, is available as a special offer for Nintendo Switch Online members. In large-scale, 99-player battles, it'll take speed, skill, and strategy to knock out the competition and become the last player standing. You can target opponents by sending them Garbage Blocks, but be careful…your rivals can target you back! Defeat opponents to acquire KO badges that may give you the advantage on future attacks. Survive the onslaught and look forward to upcoming online events! (FREE with NSO membership) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) *Big Block DLC "Season Pass" ($9.99) includes 2 modes, with more to be announced at a later date. NEW Modes Now Available!: UPCOMING EVENTS: 🏆 4th Maximus Cup - 6/21 to 6/23 (Win Gold My Nintendo points!)... PAST EVENTS: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Did anyone download this yet? I played a few rounds and the highest I placed so far was 20th and most KOs I had in one match was 5. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this with being able to have multiple people attack you at once and being able to switch who you're attacking on-the-fly. So far this game seems very bare-bones right now. No tutorial/how to play, only one mode. can't play with friends, no offline practice, no unlockables, etc. It seems like Nintendo just ripped a smaller online mode out of a larger Tetris game and gave it to NSO members for free. However, there is an EXP meter witch will increase your level as you play, but IDK if your lvl even matters. Can others even see your level? I noticed it says Ver. 1.0.0 on the main menu, so it seems like Nintendo plans to regularly update this. I'd really like to see some of the things mentioned above add to the game, because I'm really digging battle royale Tetris...As crazy of a concept as that is.
  2. Clearly no concept is too peculiar for the world of video games since Wilmot's Warehouse builds an entire game around the concept of organizing objects in a warehouse to fulfill orders. But the craziest thing is just how fun it is to do that. Scratching a very particular relaxed-puzzle-game itch, Wilmot's Warehouse is an oddly compelling example of simple, addictive gameplay. The game doesn't try to build any kind of narrative around its gameplay—which is almost certainly for the best. You simply play as a square face who picks up and pushes square icons around a large black warehouse. You'll receive orders and will need to pick up the required icons and bring them to the top of the warehouse for delivery. Between deliveries you'll receive a shipment of new stock, including more and more different icons, and it's up to you to organize the warehouse in a logical way that makes it easy for you to fulfill orders quickly, because you do earn stars for delivering in a timely manner. You also have limited time between orders, so you need to be able to organize your warehouse efficiently lest you get overwhelmed with new shipments. Thankfully you do get occasional periods of unlimited time to organize your stock however you want, which is vital if you want to be able to find things easily. That's really all there is to Wilmot's Warehouse. It makes for an undeniably repetitive game—you unlock some upgrades but fundamentally there's very little different about the gameplay from your first order to your last—but it's also a wonderfully calming experience. Having this little video game world where all you have to do is keep your things tidy is oddly compelling, and certainly hits something in your brain's weird need/desire to organize things. It's a simple, repetitive task that is so satisfying precisely because it offers a basic, clear-cut goal. It's the video game equivalent of tidying your room or performing light manual labor like gardening and somehow manages to replicate the same feeling of a job well done. Wilmot's Warehouse is definitely a relaxed gaming experience, even if you do have to contend with timers and, by the end of the game, have such a cluttered warehouse that it can feel a bit overwhelming. One of the unique things about the game though is how the difficulty is kind of dictated by your own actions. Initially you have a small, random group of icons to work with, but once you're dealing with dozens or hundreds of items you might want to organize them in logical ways that make it easy to remember where things are. For example, I made a "summer items" area for things like popsicles, tents, maps, and parasols, as well as a "science items" area for microscopes, thermometers, and eyeglasses. How you organize things is entirely up to you, which is what makes the difficulty level so fluid. If you create and maintain strict item groupings, you might have an easier time remembering where something might be when you're dealing with 100+ items in your warehouse. Placing things randomly might be more of a "hard mode," requiring you to simply remember where everything is. There's also some challenge in deciding where each item should logically go—would eyeglasses fit my "science items" section better or my "clothing items" area? There's a lot of freedom in how you decide to organize your warehouse and how you play the game, which makes it a lot of fun to see how other people arrange their inventory. All that said, the game does actually have an expert mode if you want something a little more challenging, which limits some of your abilities to make you work harder. Probably the biggest change is limiting the time you can freely organize your stock. In normal mode these respites are vital to keeping the warehouse neatly arranged, but in expert mode they become yet another frantic period of fast-paced organizing. Because of this, expert mode kind of does away with the relaxed, zen nature of the game, but it's still a fun way of testing your skills, especially since the main game will probably only take you six or seven hours to complete. There's also a split-screen co-op mode which presents its own challenges and frantic moments, but it's a fun experience to share with a friend. The presentation of the game is the definition of simplicity—your player character is literally just a box with a face, after all. Still, the simplicity is appealing and reinforces the game's simple and calming tone, and having clear icons is hugely important when you need to find things quickly. Though the game still throws some curveballs at you, like the numerous icons that are simple color patterns, seemingly designed just to mess with you based on how similar they are. The soundtrack is also, not surprisingly, quite calming and atmospheric. It's nothing too fancy, but serves as perfect background music when you're shuffling through your warehouse, making sure all of your inventory is in its proper place. Wilmot's Warehouse creates a beautifully addictive experience out of the simple premise of organizing items. Though undeniably repetitive, the simplicity of the gameplay makes that repetition more of a zen experience than a tedious one. Anyone that likes to keep their surroundings organized will surely find Wilmot's Warehouse delightfully compelling, and even if you're not a compulsive tidier you'll find the game to be an engrossing and unique puzzle game. Rating: 8 out of 10 Items
  3. Special thanks to ArmoredFrog for the banner! Hello once again, Ninfora members! This is Lt. Surge, host of the widely popular and retired Mario Kart 7 and Mario Kart Wii game nights! Every Thursday night, I am willing to host a night of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe! All the craziness of the new eighth installment of Mario Kart in what I am hoping to be a successful night of fun, laughter, and nail-biting races! Joining is pretty straight forward: RSVP your spot by indicating your interest in participating and use our tourney code to enter the weekly tournament! Also, the last Thursday of every month will see the speed class in the tournament change from 150cc to 200cc for a night of high speed and crazy item shenanigans to say farewell to the current month and start anew with the following month. For those that wish to be in contact during the races, there is the forum's Discord server and the MK8 channel that was built on the server. There, we can chat via text and even join the voice chat channel in the same app. With that said, I hope to see plenty of racers every Thursday! See you on the flip side! For those interested, you can find all of the tournament highlights and streams in the following playlists, straight from The Krazy One's YouTube channel Tournament Playlist (Edited Videos) Streams (In original format ~Unlisted) Battles
  4. Release Date: June 24th Site: https://ninjalathegame.com/en/ Price: FREE (In-App Purchases) Online Manual An online action battle game featuring ninja and gum! Assume the role of a modern-day ninja and take part in the Ninjala tournament! Ninja-Gum Use Ninja-Gum to blow bubbles that can be tossed at your foes, craft all sorts of weapons, and dash across stages. The appearance and variety of your weapon will vary depending on the type of Ninja-Gum you use. Competitive Player Take part in Battle Royale-style matches of up to 8 players and vie for supremacy with ninja around the world. The player who earns the most points over the course of the match will be declared the winner. Score points by defeating your opponents, obtaining items, destroying drones positioned across the stage, and more. Earn extra points by taking down your opponents with an IPPON—impressive finishing techniques. Cooperative Play Join up with friends and take part in a 4-on-4 team battle. Cooperate with your teammates and earn more points than the opposing team to be declared the winner. Avatar A colorful variety of costumes and accessories from an array of unique fashion brands are available. Choose from a wide variety of avatar items which can be combined as you see fit. You can stick to one brand for a consistent look, or mix and match to create a style all your own! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Did anyone download this and/or participate in any of the betas? I'm still kind of on the fence about this and wondering if it's any good. I love how heavily inspired by Splatoon this is and this looks like it could be a ton of fun, but IDK. Maybe I just need to download it and give it a shot?
  5. It's been a decade since the original Xenoblade Chronicles was released on the Wii in Japan, and eight years since it was finally brought to North American shores, but the charm of Shulk's adventure with the Monado hasn't waned one bit. This is undeniably an epic JRPG, the kind that takes players on a massive journey to witness the humble origins of a handful of characters, through their transformation into powerful adventurers. But the Wii has understandably been left in the past, and now Switch owners get to experience the entire saga with Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition, a remastering that brings some welcome adjustments to the original game's features and adds a 10-hour epilogue to round out some characters' stories. Whether you're an old fan, a new player, or first heard of Shulk from Smash Bros., this is an RPG worth checking out on the Switch. The setting of Xenoblade Chronicles is arguably one of the most unique in RPGs—or any game, really. The world that Shulk and his friends inhabit is actually composed of the corpses of two giant dead gods, the Bionis and the Mechonis, who killed each other in a duel long ago. Sadly the inhabitants of these two giants continue to wage war on one another as the Mechon of Mechonis attack and pillage the peoples of the Bionis. Shulk has one ace up his sleeve though thanks to the Monado, a mysterious sword that has the power to easily slay Mechons. Xenoblade Chronicles introduces you to a lot of great, charming characters as you traverse the bodies of the two gods and slowly unravel the truth behind the Monado. The game has its cliches and melodramatic moments sure, but it's an engaging adventure story nonetheless, with plenty of twists and turns. It's hard not to like these characters, even the goofy "mascot" character Riki, a tiny furry creature called a Nopon whose broken English is surprisingly more charming than not. It's absolutely a mark of quality that a game this long can keep the story fully engaging from start to finish. One of the pillars of this game's design is the massive environment that allows you to explore in just about any direction while fighting or avoiding monsters of all shapes, sizes, and experience levels. Back during its original release the wide open vistas were arguably more novel than they are today, as we've had not only two sequels in the Xenoblade Chronicles series but a variety of other RPGs that embrace the sandbox style of exploration. Even so, running wild in Xenoblade Chronicles remains an absolute blast. Whether you're exploring to progress the story, fulfill a side quest, or just want to see what you can uncover, the sense of freedom is amazing and can easily turn a thirty minute play session into a three hour one. Combat is, naturally, another crucial aspect of RPG design, and Xenoblade Chronicles' real-time, action-oriented system makes combat particularly engaging. You can form a party of three characters but only directly control one. By running up to enemies you'll auto-attack, but the more important aspect of battling is using and managing your selection of Arts (essentially skills or spells). Arts have cooldowns so you'll need to be thoughtful about when you use them, plus they'll often have special effects, such as Shulk's Backslash that is more powerful when attacking an enemy from behind. Each character has their own selection of Arts which can offer a decent bit of variety as you play and experiment with whom to control in battle, as well as which characters combine well together. Some Arts combo well together, and oftentimes you'll need to rely on your AI-controlled teammates to finish a combo you start. For the most part the AI behaves intelligently, though the more technical characters are still best left in your direct control. Regardless of who you're using, combat has a lively feel to it that keeps even normal encounters engaging. For an RPG of this length battles can't help but feel a bit rote eventually, but overall Xenoblade Chronicles' system keeps that feeling to a minimum. The game is also jam-packed with side quests to tackle, ranging from simple "defeat X number of monsters" to little side stories about the lives of background characters. The quest list can be daunting if you let them pile up, but it's undeniably satisfying to check off these little goals as you play. They also provide great incentive to explore the Bionis fully, and of course the rewards are always useful. The Definitive Edition makes some handy adjustments to the quest system that makes it easier than ever to track your active quests and conveniently point you in the right direction. For a game this big, this is an invaluable adjustment and definitely makes clearing out your quest list feel more doable. So what else is new in the Definitive Edition? A lot of it comes down to little adjustments that provide quality of life updates. The menu UI, for example, has been simplified a bit and, compared to the original, is much neater and more readable. There are also sliding difficulty options that can help you find the right balance. For players that love tackling every side quest possible, Expert Mode is a godsend since it allows you to bank experience points instead of using them immediately (a similar system was found in Xenoblade Chronicles 2). This means you can do all the side quests you like without becoming completely overpowered for the main quest, and can still spend those extra experience points to level up whenever you want—I highly recommend turning Expert Mode on as early as possible. You're also able to adjust the appearance of each character's armor. Xenoblade Chronicles has a wide variety of armor pieces which will oftentimes make your characters look absurd when you're mixing and matching pieces to give the best stats. Now you can set a specific look for each character which is more visually pleasing and also is simply a convenient way of seeing what each piece of armor in the game looks like on each character. There's also a new Time Attack Mode that throws uniquely challenging battles at you and rewards you with stylish new armor as well as other bonus items. There are a handful of other minor updates to the game, and taken in total they make an already great game feel smoother and more accessible. The biggest addition is of course the new epilogue called Future Connected, which follows Shulk and Melia as well as two new Nopon characters one year after the events of the main game. Conveniently, you can start this epilogue at any time from the main menu, you don't have to play through the entire 60+ hour game to try this new content (though it's still worth doing that if you don't remember the ending too well). Future Connected provides a brand new location to explore—which was actually cut from the original game—and tells a slightly more personal story of how the characters are coping with the changes that the main story wrought. It's fantastic to get to experience new content in Xenoblade Chronicles, and the best part is easily the "Quiet Moments" you can find while exploring, which are short, optional cutscenes between two characters that are both cute and heartfelt. The combat system also features a slight change in how chain-attacks work, and actually brings even more Nopon into the mix. All that said, don't expect a wildly new take on the Xenoblade Chronicles formula or surprising revelations about the characters. Future Connected is an enjoyable epilogue and well worth the 10+ hours it takes to play through it, but there are also times where it felt like it could have been more than just a brief continuation, and should have had a more impactful storyline to serve as the final word on the game. In the end though, it's hard to argue with more content. The Definitive Edition's visual upgrade is a light touch, but that's not to say it's bad. Rather than completely overhauling the graphics and visual style of the original, this remaster essentially boosts Xenoblade Chronicles into the HD era, and makes the game look like how it probably lives in your memory, with somewhat cleaner, crisper graphics and brighter colors. A more thorough upgrade would have been nice, especially given how noticeably flat some of the environment textures look now, but Xenoblade Chronicles still has a great art style that's colorful and varied. It's not going to compete with brand new games developed in 2020, but the game's breathtaking locations like Satorl Marsh at night will still be enough to stop you in your tracks to take in the scenery. The soundtrack got a slightly more thorough remastered upgrade, and it sounds fantastic. The music was always wonderfully varied and full of personality, and now the clear, crisp sound quality does justice to the arrangements. Ten years have done very little to dull the brilliance of Xenoblade Chronicles. The game remains a beautifully engaging JRPG that draws players into a unique world that is fun to simply live in and walk around in, not to mention going on an epic quest of survival and revenge. Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition not only helps introduce that experience to a new and wider audience, it brings with it some invaluable adjustments as well as a welcome epilogue that lets players explore the unique landscapes of the game for just that much longer. Xenoblade Chronicles is well worth playing on any of its available systems, but this version is, as the subtitle would suggest, undoubtedly the best. Rating: 10 out of 10 Arts
  6. Release Date: June 23rd *Pre-load now (Switch/Mobile)* Site: https://cafemix.pokemon.com/en-us/ Price: FREE (In-App Purchases) Complete touch-based puzzles to serve dishes and drinks to adorable Pokémon customers! Link together Pokémon™ icons to clear puzzles as you work to build up your very own café in Pokémon Café Mix, a free-to-start game for the Nintendo Switch™ system! Meet the goals for each puzzle before you run out of turns—link a certain number of icons, get a high score, or even destroy sugar cubes to serve up Pokémon themed menu items. Meet and grow your café staff of charming Pokémon eager to help Recruit Pokémon to help out at the café (in their adorable uniforms) by building friendship and expand your café and menu offerings by completing puzzles. Each Pokémon staff member has a Café Skill that will come in handy during puzzles! Golden Acorns can help you complete puzzles and recruit more Pokémon! Earn or purchase Golden Acorns, the in-game currency, and redeem them to regain hearts, continue puzzles, and get helpful items. As you complete puzzles to build a world-class café, you’ll face obstacles such as sugar cubes, dollops of whipped cream, and tomatoes! Use your puzzle skills to clear them and employ the help of Pokémon’s Café Skills for some extra oomph! In addition to Café Skills, each Pokémon staff member has a specialty. Match a Pokémon’s specialty with the dish or drink you are making for bonuses in puzzles. Once a day you can invite two randomly-selected Pokémon to your café. Looking for a specific Pokémon to join your staff? With Golden Acorns you can refresh this selection. In addition to recruiting more Pokémon staff members and growing your collection of menu items, the café itself will expand as you play! Getting new tools or having areas added to your café may even draw in more customers. All the action in Pokémon Café Mix unfolds in a playful art style that brings out the cuteness of your Pokémon pals and patrons. It’s time to become a café owner, solve puzzles, and bring joy to Pokémon patrons! --------------------------------------------------------------------- Is anyone going to download this? I really like the art style, but I'm not sold on the gameplay with that stirring mechanic. It seems like there's not much strategie and that it's mostly just dumb luck. Also, it sucks you can only play in handheld mode. I'll give it a try when it comes out, because I absolutely loved PKMN Shuffle on the 3DS and was hoping it would get ported or a sequel would come to Switch. Here's hoping Café Mix is just as good!
  7. The mystique of the wild west, with its lawless gunfights and desolate landscapes, makes a perfect background for a fast-paced and frantic roguelike action game. Colt Canyon, from developer Retrific and publisher Headup Games, puts you in the pixel boots of a cowboy on a bloody path of revenge after his partner is kidnapped. The game distills cowboy gunfights down to quick, 2D shootouts against hordes of enemies and deadly animals, all with randomly generated scenery, weapons, and upgrades. Like most roguelikes Colt Canyon can be brutally difficult, but the wild west still holds a certain appeal. Colt Canyon essentially plays like a twin-stick shooter, with some important differences. For one, this is a roguelike, meaning every time you play you'll get a slightly different experience since environments and item drops are randomly generated. The genre is all about adapting to the types of challenges the game throws at you rather than simply memorizing what to do next, which is great for ensuring the game feels fresh even after dozens of playthroughs. I say playthroughs, but it'd be pretty optimistic to expect to finish the game quickly or frequently. Colt Canyon can be brutally difficult, even after a few hours of practice. Some of that will be down to luck of the draw, since you might find a gun you really love on one attempt but then on the next never seem to see it. But the game is also just plain challenging, and will put your twitch gaming skills to the test. Even though the core mechanics of shooting and dodging are simple enough that anyone can easily jump straight into the game, mastering them to survive against the overwhelming odds thrown at you can take some serious skill, as well as lots of failed attempts before finally reaching the end of the game. What makes a successful roguelike though is how fun the journey is, not the destination. In that regard, Colt Canyon can be a blast. The shooting and dodging mechanics are quick and snappy, and tearing through dusty landscapes leaving trails of blood in your wake is pretty satisfying. You feel like a one-man wrecking crew, a classic Western gunman, and it's an awfully fun role to dive into. That said, Colt Canyon does have a few annoying quirks. The main annoyance throughout the entire game is managing your ammo. This is a Western setting after all, so it makes sense that most of the guns have small capacities, and finding the right time to reload in the middle of a shootout adds a layer of challenge (especially when you have a bear charging at you). But the constant need to scrounge for ammo can be exhausting, and it's something that doesn't change much even as you get better at the game. Ammo can be dropped by defeated enemies or found in the plentiful jars, crates, and chests littering the environment, but the rate at which you collect ammo feels low compared to how quickly you use up those bullets. Constantly gathering ammo is a bit of a mindless chore that slows down the snappy pace of the game a bit too much, especially since it's something you'll have to do every time you start a new game. One of the most important aspects of a roguelike is variety, which keeps the gameplay feeling fresh every time you start over from the beginning again. Colt Canyon's variety is okay, but it definitely feels like there's room for improvement. Part of the problem is simply the limitation of a Western setting—there are only so many different types of revolvers, shotguns, and rifles that fit a wild west theme. The upgrades you can gain from rescuing civilians also aren't terribly varied. They're all useful certainly, but after a handful of playthroughs it doesn't feel like there's a ton of room for experimentation. You'll also unlock a few different characters to play as, each of whom has different stats and starting weapons, plus there's a local co-op mode to further shake things up. There's still enough variety to allow for plenty of different approaches to the game, but I found myself wanting a bit more. The minimalist pixel art style is undeniably striking, and a pretty clever way of conveying the somewhat bleak, desolate landscape of a typical Western. It's stylish as well as functional since enemies stand out starkly against the sepia-toned scenery. The only downside is that hazards aren't quite as clearly visible. Hazardous terrain like thorny brush has a red tint and glows slightly, but the effect is hard to notice when you're racing through dusty canyons. The soundtrack also has a great wild west vibe that feels straight out of a spaghetti Western. It's at times moody and heroic, and a great backdrop for a gunslinging adventure. Colt Canyon offers a stylishly minimalist Western adventure that will easily pull players in with its simple and snappy gun mechanics. True to the roguelike genre the game can be brutally challenging, but players that appreciate the journey over the destination will enjoy tackling the game's challenges with six-shooter and dynamite in hand. A bit more variety in the weapons and mechanics could have made the gameplay loop feel less repetitive, but as a quick pick-up-and-play challenge, Colt Canyon provides a memorable journey into the wild west. Rating: 7 out of 10 Canyons Review copy provided by publisher Colt Canyon is available now on the Switch eShop for $14.99.
  8. In the proud tradition of turning mundane activities into fun-filled video games, Moving Out transforms the hassle of moving into a frantic, co-operative race to put boxes on a truck by any means necessary. Taking obvious cues from the Overcooked! games (not surprisingly, as this game is also published by Team17), Moving Out focuses on wacky local co-op shenanigans, and is at its best when played with friends. It's when played solo that the game's slightly repetitive cracks are apparent. You play as a Furniture Arrangement and Removal Technician, which means frantically throwing boxes, appliances, and furniture into a moving van as quickly as possible. Up to four players can team up to speed up the process, though more players does mean slightly more difficult challenges, such as more fragile items that will break if tossed around haphazardly. That can be tricky since the best way to earn a fast time and a gold medal is to basically behave as wildly as possible: throw boxes through windows, off second story balconies, and occasionally launch them through the air via giant fans. As you progress the hazards in your path will grow crazier and crazier, pushing the limits of your moving skills. It gets utterly silly and is a blast to simply play around with the wacky physics that affect the game's world. Your character has a fairly loose sense of movement but it suits the frantic nature of the game—getting a box into the van would be a lot less interesting if it was perfectly easy to navigate the level. Moving Out also hits a fairly decent balance of wacky physics that aren't too frustrating. Occasionally you might curse the way heavy objects require a bit of momentum to move or how large objects can get stuck on corners, but even so the wacky physics feel right for the game. One wacky hazard that does stick out though is the conveyor belt, where objects can too easily get caught and, even worse, cause an entire blockade as more boxes pile up. It's one of the few times that the game feels unfair. But even with more and more hazards piling up with each level, it's hard to shake off the repetitive nature of the game. It's especially apparent when playing solo but even when you're playing with friends the gameplay can feel a bit too simple at times—oftentimes you don't even need to cooperate and each player can do their own thing to easily succeed. The core gameplay mechanics simply don't evolve over the course of the game, which isn't inherently bad but does leave something to be desired after playing for a few hours. It also doesn't help that there's a big emphasis on replaying levels in Moving Out. Aside from earning a gold/silver/bronze medal based on your speed, there are also three optional objectives in each stage that will earn you bonus tokens (both medals and tokens unlock additional mini-missions). The bonus objectives range from adding extra-challenging tasks to silly, oddball tasks to make the most out of every stage. It's nice to have some additional objectives, though somewhat annoyingly these bonus tasks are hidden until you finish the stage once, hence the emphasis on replaying stages over and over. I should also mention that the game features an impressive array of accessibility options. Rather than having a flat easy mode, you can customize the game's difficulty aspects to find the right balance for you. For example, you can extend the time limit to make earning gold medals easier, or you can make objects disappear once they're inside the moving van (one of the trickier tasks on any stage is arranging the furniture in the van to ensure everything fits). You can turn on one of these assist mode options, both, or go with neither and play on the standard difficulty. It's impressive to see a game take the extra step to make the "easy mode" option customizable and accessible for any player's preference. Much like Overcooked, there isn't much fancy design work going into the visuals of Moving Out, but the fun, colorful art style suits the gameplay perfectly. Even if the backgrounds are somewhat repetitive it's much more important that the objects are easily readable while you race against the clock. And much like Overcooked you can unlock a variety of oddball characters to play as, which is always a fun treat. The soundtrack has a real 80s vibe to it which for some reason fits the game nicely—perhaps it's because the game opens with a cheesy instructional video for new employees. Regardless, the music fits both the gameplay and the humor of the game. Moving Out is another charming local co-op experience on the Switch. The physics-based action is suitably wacky without getting too tedious, and although the gameplay can feel undeniably repetitive at times, having a friend or two along for the ride helps elevate the furniture moving experience. Moving Out's colorful charm and goofy sense of humor turns a real-life chore into a virtual party. Rating: 7 out of 10 Boxes
  9. Nintendo has released a free mini fitness game 'Jump Rope Challenge' for Switch, which was created by Nintendo devs. while working at home in Japan. Download it now for FREE on the Switch eShop. OK. I'm not gonna lie, I thought this was some crap shovelware when I first saw it. Anyway this looks like it could be pretty neat. I might download it and give it a shot. Nice to see that Nintendo wants to keep Switch owners active, while having to stay at home do to the pandemic. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Gameplay: There should be a way to compare scores with your friends, like a friends leaderboard or something. This would make things a bit more fun. Also, there should be some kind of unlocks to keep people coming back (outfits, backgrounds, etc.), besides the personal daily challenge. Maybe they'll add these in a future update?
  10. In a post-apocalyptic, nuclear-war-ravaged world, the fall of society left the calendar perpetually stuck in the year 1988. It's fitting, then, that Black Future '88 has so much of an 80s arcade vibe to it, from the neon-infused visuals and sythnwave soundtrack to the brutally difficult gameplay. But while a high difficulty level is standard for roguelikes, Black Future '88 has a hard time building engaging gameplay elements that stay interesting one playthrough after another. You play as a survivor who is desperately climbing the procedurally-generated Skymelt tower to reach the ruler at the top before he delivers another nuclear strike to the world. Here's the twist though: you only have 18 minutes before your heart explodes. Adding a time limit onto a roguelike platformer almost feels cruel but it also lets you know exactly what kind of gameplay to expect from Black Future '88. This is a fast-paced and short-lived action-platformer challenge that will have you dodging enemy bullets and frantically scooping up ammo and money to keep your own weapons supplied. The time limit makes the gameplay feel even more frantic than usual and puts the pressure on you to really consider your approach—is it worth exploring a few rooms in the hopes of finding a better weapon, or should you rush straight to the level's boss? The game helpfully shows you which direction the boss is in, so if you don't have any time left to waste you can run straight to the end. But such an emphasis on speed can't help but make the gameplay feel shallow. The time limit makes for an interesting challenge that sadly isn't quite backed up by the stage design. There are five distinct areas of the game, each culminating in a boss fight, but the differences are negligible, with only a small variety of enemy types that mostly just become bullet sponges as you progress. You can also unlock new characters to play as, each of whom has different starting weapons and special abilities, such as lower max health but higher odds of finding rare items. It's nice to have some variety and you'll likely settle on one preferred style once you've unlocked all characters. The most significant change from one playthrough to the next is the weapon selection, and there's a decent variety of guns in Black Future '88 (as well as a sword). Some of the variations are minimal—a long-range shotgun as opposed to a short-range one—but others are pretty unique, including cursed weapons that will actually drain the time you have left in exchange for significant firepower. The guns aren't quite enough to mask the repetition of the game though. Granted, roguelikes are always going to feel repetitive, but Black Future '88 doesn't quite make one playthrough feel particularly unique compared to the next one, nor does it have the satisfying sense of accomplishment that makes other roguelikes compelling. Shooting and running through these basic level designs is just a little too simple to be fully engaging. And like a lot of roguelikes, Black Future '88 can feel punishingly difficult at first. You have no choice but to jump into the deep end right from the start, and that includes coping with challenging gameplay elements like grabbing ammo or money before they disappear (which actually makes enemies stronger) or discovering which boosts are actually helpful for your current style or weapon selection. Even after a few playthroughs though the game's UI leaves something to be desired. The screen is rather cluttered, with some UI elements even covering up parts of the level, which can cause you to miss ammo drops or money. Combat can also feel even more chaotic when there's so much happening on screen, from exploding enemies to neon background elements that are hard to parse from actual platforms and hazards. It's a shame since the retro design and 80s color theme looks nice, it's just overdone at times. The synthwave soundtrack is pretty solid though, and feels like it would have been right at home in any 80s cyberpunk adventure. Black Future '88 puts additional pressure on the Rogue-like formula by adding a tense time limit, but otherwise there's little to make it stand out against other entries in the genre. A decent variety of weapons to find and five playable characters do little to alleviate the dull repetition of the gameplay that combines such high risk elements—time limit, limited ammo, relatively little health—that it feels like your options are actually quite limited as well. There are some fun ideas at work here, but they're not fleshed out well enough to create a full compelling package. Rating: 5 out of 10 Futures
  11. There's a huge summer sale on the Switch eShop this week, everything from first-party titles to third-party to indies (the "up to 50%" only applies to Nintendo published games, some indies are super cheap right now). Genuinely too many for me to even list the best deals, so be sure to check out the full list here: https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals/ And check up on your eShop wishlist if you keep one; seems like at least half of the games on my wishlist are on sale so I'm definitely going to jump on a couple of 'em.
  12. Here is the link for 2-step verification when signing into your Nintendo account. https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/27496 It's pretty straight forward, all you need to complete it is a smartphone and the Authy 2-factor Authentication. I had trouble typing the code manually so when setting up the code like the the Google Authenticator scan the QR code and Authy will accept that code and new code will be provided, along with back-up ones as well. This app will be the 2nd step in signing into your Nintendo account when you are on web browser and also when you are signing into eShop on Nintendo Switch. The app will generate a couple backup codes for you to sign in with in addition to your password when you sign into Nintendo account on a browser or on the eShop. This just another security layer to you from unauthorized access to your Nintendo account. EDIT: Nintendo have now officially reported that 160,000 Nintendo accounts may be compromised so not only set yourself up with the 2-step verification but change your password as well as suggested by Pichi. Emails will be sent out to those who have been compromised, regardless still set your Nintendo account up with this 2nd step. They also say credit card information is still secure but those who are worry of that, should take that off of their account, only your nickname, D.O.B., email address, country and regions is affected. NOTE: The edit above applies if your Nintendo account with the Switch is linked with your NNID from Wii U and 3DS. So to see if your linked go here: https://accounts.nintendo.com/ When you login, you are already in 'user info' area and at the bottom of that page under 'Linked accounts' you can see where your NNID is linked with your Nintendo account with Switch. Also, before or after the 2FA, under 'Sign-in history', you can see if any unauthorized sign-ins have occurred. That is a good way to know if someone other than your own have signed, incase Nintendo have not emailed you as one of the compromised accounts. Under that you can see the my '2-Step Verification settings' is set up. Thanks @purple_beard & @alienboyva for these updates. I hope this can gives those with this sort of worry, a peace of mind about their security.
  13. In an alternate reality where arcades are a common feature instead of an increasingly rare piece of 80s nostalgia, one sleepy arcade's fortunes may soon take a turn for the better. Arcade Spirits is a visual novel, a game with minimal gameplay input but an emphasis on storytelling as you follow the protagonist's journey and mold their personality. The player base this game will appeal to is decidedly niche, but fans of the genre can expect a cute if somewhat plain story. You play as a recently unemployed and rather depressed adult who, thanks to the prompting of a roommate, lands a job at a modest video arcade. You soon meet the quirky cast of fellow employees and arcade regulars, all of whom are potential romance partners (though despite the romcom game description, you don't have to pursue any romance options if you don't want to and instead can just be friends with everyone). As the down-on-your-luck protagonist, you soon connect with others and the arcade itself, which helps to stir you from depressed apathy. The writing is, obviously, key for a visual novel, and Arcade Spirits' is a resounding: okay. The story never feels wildly unique, but it's a decent down-to-earth story about following one's dreams. The humor is pretty hit or miss with perhaps too much reliance on cheesy meme references (which almost never suit a game's writing) and the romance subplots are predictably rushed (just a couple of interactions and you're ready to profess your love for one another). But if you can overlook those foibles Arcade Spirits clearly has heart, as even the more stoic or abrasive characters in the story can't seem to help but be friendly, outgoing, and encouraging. The game's overwhelmingly upbeat charm makes it hard to dislike entirely, but for a visual novel it does leave something to be desired. The gameplay of Arcade Spirits is entirely conversation driven: you can choose from a handful of responses which all fall into one of five categories: Quirky, Kind, Gutsy, Steady, or Basic. For normal conversations you can always choose any available option, but these will influence your personality, and during the more serious moments of the game you may be locked out of certain choices based on your dominant personality traits. It's a modest level of variability and replay value—the core plot obviously plays out the same no matter what—but it's still nice to have some control over your personality throughout the game, even if it mostly comes down to a couple different lines of dialogue. Arcade Spirits also features some inclusive customization options, including changing your preferred pronouns. You can also choose from three hair styles and adjust skin tone, hair color, and clothing color. Sadly that's it when it comes to customizing appearances though—being able to adjust clothing options, accessories, or even having a couple of facial feature options would have been nice. The game's presentation straddles a strange line of quality and quantity. The character portraits are colorful and lively and the background scenery is decent (and clearly playing up the 80s arcade nostalgia), but there's so little variety to either that they become stale pretty quickly. The game even lampshades its own reused assets when one room looks identical to another, but poking a bit of fun at itself doesn't change the fact that the visuals can be pretty boring. The audio has its own odd problems, including finnicky sound balancing that can make the soundtrack either incredibly hard to hear or too loud. Even adjusting the levels in the options menu doesn't fully alleviate the issue. It's also rather jarring that the background music will stop any time a voice line plays, even when it's a brief, one-word line. The voice work quality is a mixed bag as well which only makes the sudden interjections more jarring. Fans of the visual novel genre will already know and appreciate what they're going to get with Arcade Spirits: a cute story with minimal gameplay interactions, buoyed by its cast of somewhat cliche but likeable characters. For a game focused entirely on storytelling the writing isn't always up to par, especially when it comes to lazy game/meme references, but if you're willing to overlook the occasional clunky line, there's a decent story of hope, dreams, and arcades to be found here. Rating: 6 out of 10 Arcade Cabinets
  14. The idea of combining Picross puzzles with another gameplay genre seems so obvious now that I'm surprised there aren't more examples of it. Organizing the satisfying repetition of solving nonogram puzzles into a 2D exploration adventure adds a nice touch of personality and pizazz to the experience, and in the case of Piczle Cross Adventure from developer Score Studios and publisher Plug In Digital, a good deal of humor as well. Make no mistake though, this is still first and foremost a puzzle game, and a perfect one for fans of Picross. Piczle Cross Adventure stars Score-chan and her animal(?) companion Gig as they solve one puzzle after another to rescue the world from being pixelated by Dr. Mona Chromatic as she attempts to turn the entire world into black and white pixels. It's a charming, goofy premise and as you might expect the game doesn't take itself too seriously. This is a light, bubbly adventure story that is oftentimes keenly self-aware of video game tropes. Even if it's not too deep, the writing is fun, and it's hard not to smile at the quirky humor. Plus, for Picross game fans, it's a nice change of pace to contextualize the puzzle-solving process into a story with an actual goal. Even given the genre mash-up of Piczle Cross Adventure, the core gameplay is still very much a Picross or nonogram puzzle game. You'll explore the map to find objects that have been pixelated, and then solve a puzzle to restore it to its glorious full color form. For those that don't know, Picross is a portmanteau of "picture" and "crossword," which succinctly describes what these puzzles are: by following clues on a grid (like a crossword puzzle) you create a picture. These can range from fairly simple 5x5 grids to much bigger, more complex challenges. Seasoned Picross players will find that Piczle Cross Adventure is rarely mind-bendingly challenging, but it's also nice to enjoy a puzzle game with a comfortable pace of progression. And novice players may enjoy using helpful features like the hint roulette, at least while learning the ropes of this puzzle format. Unlike most other Picross games, you're not just given a long list of puzzles to solve, you have to go out and find them. For the most part this means just exploring the environment—ranging from dark caves to sprawling deserts, all conveniently within walking distance—but Piczle Cross Adventure also takes a page from traditional adventure games. Sometimes you'll need to find an item to progress, such as finding a way to move a fallen tree blocking your path. The game doesn't throw anything too complex at you but just having a reason to explore and find items is a nice change of pace for a puzzle game. There's also a small amount of freedom as you can tackle regions in slightly different orders (until you run into an obstacle that you need a specific item for) and it's cool to have the opportunity to tackle puzzles in whatever order you like. Plus it is awfully satisfying to enter a new area of the map, see all of the blank, pixelated spots in the environment, and then restore the area piece by piece. If there's one area the gameplay feels slightly lacking, it's in one small aspect of the controls. You actually have a great deal of customization options with the controls, which is great, but one feature I was missing compared to other Picross games is a "maybe" option to fill in squares when you're not sure if a square should be filled in or not but you want to make a note of where it might be. It is perhaps slightly unfair to compare Piczle Cross Adventure's features directly to other Picross games, but it's a valuable feature for puzzle-solving and it's a shame it isn't available here as well. Like any puzzle game your time with Piczle Cross Adventure can vary quite a bit depending on how quick you are at solving nonograms, but you can expect at least ten hours or so. There are also a few optional objectives that aren't needed to complete the story, but are great for completionists. You don't need to finish every puzzle to complete the story (although there are some checkpoints where you need a minimum experience level to progress, so you do still have to finish most puzzles to progress). It's hard to imagine playing a Picross game and not hunting down every puzzle available though, and you'll likely end up addicted enough to explore every puzzle the game has to offer. Piczle Cross Adventure leans hard into the retro look with not just an old-school pixel look but even CRT scan lines (these can be turned off if you're not feeling the retro vibe though). The visual design is cartoony and cute, and honestly having even a bit of visual flair in a Picross puzzle game is a welcome change of pace. The soundtrack is pretty catchy, but also a bit too repetitive. A bit more variety in background tunes, especially given the wide variety of environments, would have helped shake things up a bit. Piczle Cross Adventure offers a fun, fresh twist on the typical puzzle game format without actually changing the familiar puzzle gameplay. A cute story and simple adventure game elements provide a charming frame for puzzle-hunting and puzzle-solving, one that gives you a bit more incentive to keep playing. For Picross fans, this is another great selection of nonograms, while new players will appreciate having a story/adventure to focus on while completing puzzles. Rating: 8 out of 10 Puzzles Review copy provided by developer Piczle Cross Adventure is available now on the Switch eShop for $9.99.
  15. Update: Lawsuit officially filed. https://ninfora.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3325-switch-joy-con-drift-class-action-lawsuit... If you don't know about this whole deal with the Switch Joy-Con drift, watch the video in the spoiler bellow first. Luckily I haven't experienced this, yet. Though, I know there are a lot that have. I really hope this goes somewhere, because this is a major design flaw and Nintendo hasn't said a world. Joy-Con aren't cheap, ya' know ...Even for a single one. If you haven't experienced this yet, you will eventually. This really makes me wonder about the Switch Lite. Hopefully they didn't use the same control sicks as in the Joy-Con, because you'd be screwed if you start getting drift. You can't just buy new Joy-Con. I know you can just replace the sticks on the Joy-Con yourself, but most people are comfortable doing that and on the Lite, It would probably be more of a pain. In an all perfect world, Nintendo would fix this flaw and replace everyone's Joy-Con sticks for FREE.
  16. It would probably surprise most Western gamers to learn just how expansive and long-lived the Kunio-Kun series is—it certainly surprised me. Over thirty years of history and dozens upon dozens of games—though, granted, most being Japan-only releases—makes it a legacy series in the world of video games, despite limited acclaim outside of Japan. A new game developed by one of the biggest names in indie game development might help spread the word, though. River City Girls from developer WayForward takes the classic side-scrolling beat 'em up gameplay of the River City Ransom games and gives it a fresh facelift, perfect for a new generation of gamers, though the antiquated gameplay makes the experience a bit of a slog at times. The original River City Ransom follows two high school guys on a quest to rescue one of their girlfriends, so naturally River City Girls flips the script with two female protagonists fighting to rescue their boyfriends. It's a simple, straightforward plot buoyed by the larger-than-life personalities of all of the characters and the absurdity of punching, kicking, and otherwise beating up endless waves of thugs and gang members all over town. The developers are well aware of the humor of the situation and slip plenty of tongue-in-cheek jokes, and even if not all of them land perfectly, there's still a lot of charm in the writing. The gameplay is straight up classic brawler action: you have quick or heavy attacks at your disposal, plus a small variety of other attacks—grappling dazed enemies, picking up items to bash with or throw, special attacks that drain your special meter, etc. You'll also earn experience points and level up throughout the game, adding more attacks to your repertoire and allowing you to buy new attacks from dojos scattered across the city. The game follows a pretty constant, basic formula: enter a new area, fight or dodge a few minor enemies, then eventually hit a locked screen where you have to defeat all enemies before progressing. Beat 'em ups tend to be highly repetitive, and that's not too different for River City Girls either. Your enjoyment of the game hinges entirely on how much satisfaction you glean from beating down the same handful of enemy types over and over again. It feels clear that the developers sought to preserve the classic brawler formula as closely as possible, even if it comes off as a bit dry for a modern game. It seems like a missed opportunity not to add some more variety to the experience or even jazz up the combat with more interesting combo varieties. And it certainly doesn't help that there are only so many different types of enemies that you'll see over and over who seem to level up with you, so you never really get noticeably better at beating them up, you just have a few more combo options. Most significantly, River City Girls is beholden to the somewhat slow, slightly awkward controls of classic beat 'em ups, meaning you have to be on the same plane as an enemy to actually hit them, and adjusting up or down the screen can feel finnicky, or at least not fast and snappy. Obnoxiously it often feels like enemies don't have to be lined up as perfectly as you in order to hit you with a stunning combo. Ultimately this is a game for brawler fans, one that doesn't so much modernize the gameplay experience as preserve it, warts and all. If the game does click with you though there's a decent amount of content to enjoy. Finishing the game once can take as little as seven or eight hours, but there are also side quests to pursue, co-op mode, and additional features that are unlocked after beating the game once. The gameplay never fundamentally changes but completionists will enjoy maxing out all of these slight variations. You can also purchase and equip up to two pieces of gear which grant small buffs, such as regenerating health or increased attack power against certain enemy types. Again, these don't wildly change the experience but they add some welcome customization. The purchasing process can be rather annoying though because you can't see what effect items will have until after you buy them, which sometimes makes it feel like you've wasted your hard-earned money. It should be no surprise for a WayForward game, but River City Girls looks great. The in-game graphics feature smooth pixel artwork and slick animation for all of the various attacks you'll be dishing out, while the fully animated cutscenes look beautiful. There are also stylish black-and-white manga-style cutscenes that feel right at home in the game's universe. The synth-pop soundtrack is also excellent and adds some valuable pep and energy to beating down opponents over and over. There's also some solid voice acting, though at times I did wish I could simply speed up the text to move things along a little more quickly. River City Girls faithfully recreates the RCR experience, but perhaps could have done more to improve upon it instead. Even with WayForward's stylish visual design and catchy soundtrack, the simple repetitive nature of the beat 'em up genre can be draining, especially when little aspects like the controls feel like they haven't changed in decades. Still, River City Girls offers a fun co-op adventure tailor-made for the fans that long for the days of NES or arcade brawlers. Rating: 7 out of 10 Punches
  17. In the game's opening scene, the protagonist learns that he is, emphatically, not the hero. But just because he can't swing a sword doesn't mean he can't go on a globe-trotting adventure to save the world. Wandersong puts you not in the role of a dashing swordsman, but a humble and almost ridiculously friendly bard, whose gift of song may be the key to saving everything and everyone. Not surprisingly this makes for an utterly charming adventure, one with simple but fun side-scrolling puzzle platforming and a lot of heart. As you might expect for a game about helping people through the power of music, Wandersong is extremely cute, extremely silly, and extremely heartwarming. There is a lot of goofy humor here, not just in the way the bard interacts with people but in the odd little lives of the villagers you meet throughout the adventure. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek jokes to discover, and also a lot of text to read through (but it's worth talking to everyone as much as possible). The game balances out this happy-go-lucky vibe with some affecting, heartfelt moments as well and isn't afraid to get a bit serious at times, which makes it easy to care about these characters and their silly little lives. Wandersong nails the "child's game that adults can enjoy" aesthetic, and most players would be hard pressed not to get misty-eyed at the game's climax. The gameplay is essentially a side-scrolling puzzle platformer, but instead of using items or gaining magic abilities, the bard uses his voice to move through the environment and overcome obstacles. For example, there might be a high ledge that you can't jump to, but by singing the same song as a nearby bird, the bird will help carry you up to the ledge. There's a decent variety of puzzles and obstacles that you'll face, enough to keep the gameplay engaging throughout. You can sing different notes by hitting one of eight directions with the right control stick, and these notes are also color-coded for clarity. Using the right stick to hit notes can be a little imprecise at times but thankfully the game never really requires fast, precise songs, so a bit of looseness in the controls isn't a big deal. Wandersong isn't really a difficult game in any sense, but its casual, breezy pacing still makes for an enjoyable adventure. Plus there's a button dedicated to dancing, so you can literally dance your way through the game, and that has to count for something. You might expect the game to be incredibly short given its low sense of difficulty and relatively straight-forward story, but you can expect a good eight or ten hours with Wandersong, and a captivating eight or ten hours at that. Depending on how much you talk with villagers and other side characters throughout the game your experience might be even longer. And although the game is quite linear there's a sort of side quest in that you can learn new dance moves in each act of the game. It's not much but it's worth seeking out to see the bard bust a new move. The game's paper cutout art style may immediately bring to mind comparisons to Paper Mario, but Wandersong's aesthetic is hardly derivative. The colorful, simple, and charming visuals are the perfect match for the bubbly and breezy tone of the story and gameplay, and even if the shapes are rather simple the colors are beautiful and striking. On the Switch the edges of objects can get rather jagged though, and it's a shame that these stylish graphics aren't at their best on the system, but it's not too disruptive. And of course the music is fantastic—this is a game all about singing after all. The soundtrack is broad and varied with plenty of catchy, soothing, and touching songs for the bard's journey, culminating in a particularly harmonious final number. Wandersong's musical take on side-scrolling platforming is absolutely charming, and honestly a great break from typical sword and shield combat gameplay. The singing mechanics are simple but make for a fun variety of puzzle-solving challenges, even if the game is never truly difficult. Wandersong is an uplifting, feel-good adventure, and perhaps now more than ever that's what we want and need from video games. Rating: 8 out of 10 Songs
  18. I really hadn't intended to play and write a review about a game set during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 while we're all facing another deadly virus pandemic, but, well, here we are. Vampyr takes an unconventional approach to vampire mythos, framing it not around the allure of immortal power (or around glittering teenagers) but around temptation and morality in the midst of a crisis. It's a breath of fresh air for a vampire story, but trying to balance a morality narrative with vampire-powered combat results in a clumsy action/adventure game. You play as Jonathan Reid, a doctor who specializes in blood transfusions but is turned into a vampire as the game begins. Thrust into the undead underworld of London society, Reid struggles to understand how he became a vampire, what is the cause of the recent rash of vampirism in London, and how to stop the Spanish flu epidemic, all while fighting against his own urges to drink blood. Vampyr sets up a fantastic setting for a moral conundrum of a game, one that promises a wonderfully unique approach to essentially a monster story. The actual execution of the story leaves a lot to be desired though. The characters, including Reid, are a bit dull and lackluster—more importantly, the relationships they build and foster are so terribly rushed that it's hard to actually feel invested in any of them. Long-winded dialogue saps a lot of the energy from cutscenes and doesn't allow for much chemistry between characters. Given more space to breathe and time to develop naturally, there could have been a great story here. As is, the narrative is disappointing at best. The gameplay in Vampyr is action-RPG in a semi-open world environment: you'll explore London to complete quests, battle vampire hunters and feral vampires, and interact with NPCs to either heal them by crafting medicine or luring them into a dark corner to feed on their blood. Here's where the moral question of the game comes into play: feeding on NPCs provides you with a huge boost of EXP, far more than you get by fighting enemies, but killing too many NPCs plunges London into chaos, not to mention the toll it takes on Reid's own code of ethics. Even a small bump in EXP can be a game-changer though, so essentially the "good" path of not killing makes the game significantly harder, while the "evil" path makes it much easier (and also makes it easier to experiment with abilities). Good/evil paths in a video game aren't new but Vampyr makes the contrast particularly stark—playing the good doctor can be exceedingly difficult since being even a few levels below your enemies makes a serious difference. It's a bit frustrating that there aren't more tangible rewards for suppressing your vampire urges, but ultimately it's the player's choice whether to feed or not. It is awfully tempting to feed though since the combat system is so frustratingly clumsy, and being killed in two hits because you're underpowered makes the game incredibly tedious. There are also frequent difficulty spikes clearly pushing you to indulge your vampire needs. Combat ends up being something of a chore throughout the game, something that you feel forced to do rather than get to enjoy doing. You have a small variety of weapons and vampire skills at your disposal but the floaty, weightless movements of Reid and enemies isn't terribly satisfying—the game doesn't have that satisfying sense of physicality that makes dodging and attacking feel rewarding. It doesn't help that enemies can so easily interrupt your attacks with their own, which almost seem magnetized to you even as you dodge repeatedly. These battles definitely require an element of strategy, which can be engaging, but for the most part they're so mindlessly repetitive that they just aren't enjoyable. Vampyr's semi-open world system can be rather frustrating as well. I say semi-open world, because everywhere you go you'll run into locked gates that require taking a circuitous path around to open, and these paths are often tied to story progression. The game's wayfinding system also leaves a lot to be desired. There's a compass at the top of the screen pointing you in the right direction, but this vague arrow is woefully inadequate when you're facing locked gates or inaccessible buildings. The game's restrictions can also be rather disappointing, such as Reid's ability to teleport short distances. This could have been a lot of fun in an open world environment, but you're actually only able to teleport at specific times (often to a high ledge, but the game doesn't always make this clear). Vampyr has too many conflicting ideas like this, which one might argue reinforces the doctor/vampire conflict, but in reality just makes for a poor gameplay experience. The game's dark, dreary visuals are perfectly suited to the story's setting, though the drab environments can be rather uninteresting after a while. The music is suitably somber and rather forgettable, while the voice acting has some serious ups and downs. To be fair, the low points seem to have more to do with the script than the acting, but even undead characters don't need to sound so lifeless. More problematic is the game's performance on the Switch, which leads to rather muddy visuals and some persistent technical issues. It's not uncommon to see the frame rate stutter, and the slight delay when you open the inventory menu is a constant reminder that this game is not running as smoothly as it should be on the Switch. This is all paired with some tedious load times, including random little buffering scenes when you're running around London. It makes it hard to ignore the fact that this simply isn't the best system on which to play the game. The story will take you a good fifteen hours to finish, though Vampyr offers a whole host of side quests to complete that revolve around the NPC population. You might want to tackle these out of the goodness of your heart or to make NPCs more valuable feeding targets, but either way there's a good amount of side content to explore. The game also naturally lends itself to at least two playthroughs so you can experience both the good and evil paths, plus there are actually four different endings that vary slightly based on your choices throughout the game. These are really just slightly altered ending cutscenes, but it's something to consider for completionists. Vampyr has a lot of interesting ideas that fail to come together into a cohesive, enjoyable game. The story, like the difficulty level, is all over the place, and a study of vampire morality might have worked better if this were a purely narrative driven game and the player didn't have to contend with a clunky combat system that awkwardly encourages killing NPCs. Just the contrast of being both a doctor and a vampire would have made for an engaging story if the characters had more time to develop instead of being forced into an action-RPG system. The game's performance on the Switch is the final nail in the coffin—this port is best left buried. Review: 5 out of 10 Fangs
  19. The "kusoge" game, Hoshi wo Miru Hito (translated as "People Who Watches Stars" or "Stargazer"), is coming to Switch. I don't know what made City Connection decide to port this buggy and confusing title. But it is getting a release in Japan this summer, and they might also be planning on a western release as well, so we all can experience this. Not sure if they are going to fix a lot of the problems this game has for this port, but I hope they'll have an original "unpatched" mode if they do. What are some of the problems? The first town is invisible, you cannot beat the most basic of enemies alone, equipping early weapons will make you WEAKER, etc. Though in fairness, it is also made by one guy with a very limited budget. And to check out how bad it is, this runner at ADGQ ran this during the Awful Games Done Quick block, and also explains the game throughout.
  20. Just last year fans of the Mana series finally had the chance to experience an official release of Seiken Densetsu 3, now dubbed Trials of Mana. The port included in the Collection of Mana preserved the original SNES experience, but now this fully 3D remake provides a new dimension of action-RPG gameplay. This remake provides more than a mere facelift, but rest assured the spirit of the original game is preserved, even if some features have been left behind. Possibly the most unique aspect of Trials of Mana happens right as you boot up the game. You're able to choose which three characters you want to play as from a selection of six, and your choice of main character has an impact on how the story progresses. Each character has a unique prologue that explains why they are on this quest to save the Mana Tree from the forces of darkness, and one of the nice additions in this remake is the option to play through the prologue of all three of your characters (you can also choose to skip them). It's a small change but it's great to get to see the full backstory of each character and further cement the sense of scale and world building that the game does surprisingly well. It's not presented in the cleanest, most "readable" way at times, especially since the early parts of the game have you bouncing between cities so much that it can be hard to keep them straight in your head, but fleshing out this world with multiple kingdoms with their own stories and struggles is fun to see, and if nothing else further encourages you to replay the game to see the story from a different character's perspective. Like the original game and Secret of Mana, this is an action-RPG with real-time combat. Unlike the original game, you have several attack options at your disposal. You have both light and heavy attacks and can string them together into various combos, including aerial attacks to hit flying foes, and can also unleash powerful Class Strikes by building up your blue strike meter with basic attacks. And of course there are magic spells as well, though most characters don't unlock these until changing class partway through the game. Dodging enemy attacks is also vital, and fairly easy thanks to the telegraphed red damage zones that appear when enemies are preparing particularly powerful strikes. All of this means combat is fast-paced and engaging as you time your attacks to knock down enemies and dodge away from their deadly blows. You might not have as many attack options as other, more elaborate fighting games, but combat remains satisfying throughout the adventure. That said, there are also some somewhat annoying elements. Aerial attacks, for example, could be handled better. Jumping up to take one or two swipes at an enemy is rather tedious and hampers the flow of combat a bit. Being able to dodge enemy attacks can almost make combat feel too easy at times, although the flipside of this is that your AI companions are pretty bad about dodging. They will avoid attacks sometimes, but not nearly as efficiently as a human player (and sadly this remake removes the co-op multiplayer of the original game). You can somewhat customize your companions' attack style in the pause menu, but unfortunately you can't change this during battle, so you can't rely on them to do anything too tactical or intelligent while fighting. And finally the camera during combat can be uncooperative at times, particularly when you're near a wall, which makes fighting in small spaces like caves more difficult than it should be. Even locking onto an enemy target doesn't feel quite ideal during the heat of combat. None of these issues completely spoil the experience, but there's definite room for improvement. This remake also introduces some valuable new features, including some minor quality of life improvements. You're now given a clear marker on the map to tell you where to go next, which can be hugely helpful when you have to run back and forth between cities. Having an ever-present marker does make the game rather easy—there's no way of getting lost—but you can also turn it off if you want. In the original Trials of Mana you would be given skill points when you leveled up to upgrade your strength, stamina, magic attack, etc. Now you're given Training Points, which can be used to upgrade stats but will also unlock passive abilities. These add a welcome bit of depth to the game and provide for plenty of customization options. For example, you might give Kevin, the heavy hitting brawler, passive bonuses to his attack and defense when his health drops below a certain amount, adding a risk/reward system to his combat style. There's a decent variety to passive abilities without being overwhelmingly elaborate so it's fun to play around with them to test what works well for you. The only other major addition to the game comes after you've defeated the villains and restored the Mana Tree. There is an entirely new post-game dungeon that adds particularly challenging battles and the opportunity to change classes a third time to new, even more powerful classes. The new content is a welcome addition, especially for a game that is fairly linear and lacking in side quest options. With the new post-game additions and the ever present incentive to replay the game to test out different party compositions and see the three different story variations, the roughly twenty-five hour length of the game ends up being quite a bit more. The game's visuals have been nicely translated to 3D, even when compared to the richly detailed sprites of the original. The graphics in this remake are bright and colorful, and seeing familiar Mana series monsters in 3D is a treat. It also runs fairly smoothly on the Switch, and although there is noticeable pop-in at times it never really affects the gameplay. The soundtrack has also been beautifully remastered, preserving the exact tone and style of the original but updated to be smoother and richer. If you're a purist though you'll be happy to hear that the original soundtrack is available as well. And finally there's the voice acting which is a real mixed bag of quality. Many characters sound fine and some of them are, unfortunately, quite true to the character (namely, Charlotte's odd baby voice), but there are also some that sound terribly flat and awkward. And these are main characters, voices you'll be hearing from over and over throughout the game. If the voice work proves too awkward though you can always switch to the Japanese voice actors instead. Trials of Mana provides an excellent remake and remastering of a lost RPG classic, one that has eluded Western shores for far too long. This version takes a careful approach of updating without completely rewriting the features and style of the original, and in that regard it's an overwhelming success. There are still some minor points that could and probably should have been revised, but overall the remake preserves the unique experience of the game and presents it for a new audience on the Switch. Even with the original available in the Collection of Mana, RPG fans should have no hesitation about diving into this charming entry in the Mana series. Rating: 8 out of 10 Mana Stones
  21. What are your thoughts and feelings on Luigi's Mansion 3? I can't wait to play once I am off work. I enjoyed Dark Moon, but the first game was probably the fastest returned game ever.
  22. The Super Monkey Ball series has always seemed to have trouble matching the heights of its first two entries on the GameCube. Maybe the oddball gaming environment of the early 2000s was just the ideal place for a game concept as strange and endearing as this, but later entries in the franchise never seemed to roll as smoothly. That was also the case for Banana Blitz, originally a launch title for the Wii, and sadly the same seems to hold true for this remake. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD trades motion controls for a standard controller, but it's not enough to make the gameplay more engaging. AiAi and his primate pals are just hanging around when a villainous character steals their Golden Bananas, so our monkey heroes have no choice but to saddle up in their plastic balls and recover their fruit. Yeah, that's all you get as far as storytelling in this game, but what else do you need? It's a bunch of cute monkeys rolling around in balls, just dive into the gameplay. The main levels have been adjusted to accommodate a normal controller setup instead of the Wii's motion controls, and for the most part the transition works. There are definitely moments where you can tell that the delicate adjustments of motion controls would make more sense than a control stick, but the developers have revamped the level design with this in mind, so this version of Banana Blitz is still playable. Playable, but still somewhat mediocre. The level design is challenging but rarely inventive, even with the ability to jump which offers a slightly different twist on the Monkey Ball formula. Banana Blitz HD is a decent experience, but nothing about the game offers much of a reason for remaking the game. The mini-games, however, did not survive the transition from motion control to control stick very well. For the ten mini-games in this HD version (cut down from 50 in the original game), it's painfully clear that motion controls would make them, at the very least, more novel and interesting, if not outright easier to play. Whack-a-mole, for example, would benefit greatly by the speed that motion control provides. As is, the mini-games feel like even less interesting side features than usual, and even gathering a few friends to join in fails to liven things up. If, however, you want to show off your skills online, there's an online leaderboard feature for a time attack mode and a Decathlon mode where you play through every mini-game in pursuit of an overall high score. It's a pretty underwhelming online feature, but score chasers might enjoy measuring up to players online. There's also one aspect that is just atrocious and likely would not have been aided by motion controls: boss fights. The only thing these battles have going for them is the cute critter designs of the various bosses. Beyond that, these fights are tedious, repetitive, and frustratingly difficult because of the game's awkward camera angles. The camera automatically locks onto the boss, which makes sense since it will help you keep track of them while moving, but because the camera angle is so low to the stage you end up having almost no depth perception and very little peripheral range. While you struggle to judge distance and monitor nearby hazards, you have to contend with an exceedingly simple and drawn out battle where you hit the boss's obvious weak point over and over. The very concept of boss fights in a Super Monkey Ball game might be a mistake because they offer none of the charm or inventive design that characterizes the series. The addition of "HD" to the game's subtitle almost feels tongue-in-cheek since this is not a franchise that benefits from high definition graphics at all. Still, the monkeys are cute and the levels are colorful, even if there's nothing in particular that will blow your socks off. The soundtrack is also comfortably average with little that stands out. Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD may seem like an odd choice for a remake, and, well, it is. Updating the game with higher def graphics is almost pointless for the franchise's aesthetic, and swapping motion controls for a standard controller doesn't make the level design any more interesting. Worse yet, removing motion controls actually hurts the appeal of the mini-games. Add in some truly atrocious boss fights and you've got a remake that simply didn't need to exist. Rating: 5 out of 10 Bananas
  23. Time travel mechanics, Metroidvania gameplay, pixel art design—nothing that hasn't been seen in games before, but put them together and you get Timespinner, an engaging adventure game that draws many of the best ideas from its influences into one entertaining package. At the same time the game's most unique features ultimately feel a bit drab, but there's no denying the appeal of a solid Metroidvania adventure. You play as Lunais, a young woman trained to be a Time Messenger—a person who, as a sort of emergency resort, will travel through time to the past in order to warn her people of a coming catastrophe. Not surprisingly Lunais is forced to do just this in the opening moments of the game, but things become more complicated when the evil Emperor Nuvius himself attacks during the time travel process. Now Lunais will need to use her time travel abilities to get revenge on the emperor, though she may uncover a greater threat along the way. The game isn't afraid to throw a great deal of lore at you quite quickly, which is a little overwhelming but ultimately worth taking the trouble to understand. Timespinner's story of revenge hides a compellingly twisted narrative that takes an intriguing approach to the idea that history is written by the victors—and now Lunais is able to rewrite that history with time travel. Some plot threads seem to get lost along the way, perhaps due to the story being a little too ambitious for the relatively short length of the game, but it's an engrossing tale nevertheless. The gameplay is pure Metroidvania, though leans a little more toward the Castlevania side of things. Timespinner offers classic side-scrolling exploration with plenty of secrets and locked doors that you'll need to come back to once you've found the appropriate power-up. There's also a bit of time travel shenanigans at work here: changing things in the past might have an impact on the future, so by swapping between the two you'll be able to progress in the adventure. The dual nature of the past and present settings feels, if anything, a little underused, but the few times it comes up make for clever exploration mechanics. The combat revolves around the two orbs that Lunais is able to equip which grant her different melee abilities. For example, a blade orb creates a sword, a fire orb launches fireballs, etc. You'll gradually unlock more and more orbs throughout the game and by the end there's a ton of variety possible, giving players a lot of room for experimentation. The only downside is that orbs gain experience points to power up, so it often feels like a downgrade to swap to a new orb rather than sticking with your tried and true current equipment, but there are always extra playthroughs to experiment with everything. Equipment aside, the combat itself in Timespinner is a bit of a mixed bag. Lunais can't move and attack at the same time, so attacking always brings you to a halt. This means you have to be a little more strategic about finding an opening to attack safely, but it also makes combat feel rather stiff, especially early in the game when your attack options are so limited. Gradually you'll gain more movement abilities that help to loosen things up a bit, but the combat never felt quite as fluid as I would have liked. Thankfully the game is pretty lax about punishing mistakes. You'll end up taking your share of damage throughout the game, but save points refill your health completely and healing items are plentiful. Finally, Timespinner features one last unique feature: an hourglass that stops time. At any time you're able to freeze all of the action on screen and move freely, which means you can't hit enemies but they can't hit you either. This provides some unique approaches to dodging and platforming but is definitely underused for such a unique feature. Using it to dodge is only useful during boss fights since normal enemies are generally too quick and will immediately attack you once time starts again anyway, and using it for exploring by creating stepping stones out of hazardous enemies is clever but a little annoying since the amount of time you can freeze is limited (you can find upgrades to the hourglass's capacity though). Freezing time just should have been a more central component of Timespinner. Timespinner's presentation delivers a beautifully crafted pixel art world that wouldn't feel out of place on the SNES or PSX. The retro look is nothing new, but this game does a particularly excellent job of creating polished character sprites and environments that look retro but don't feel dated. The only downside is that there isn't more variety in scenery, but that's also understandable from a storytelling perspective since you're time-traveling between the same locations. The soundtrack is equally great at invoking a classic vibe while still feeling fresh, and it provides plenty of solid, atmospheric songs to enjoy while exploring. Like a lot of Metroidvanias, Timespinner can be pretty quickly blazed through or you can end up spending a lot of time exploring everything available. Overall the game leans toward the easy side so collectibles aren't too difficult to uncover, and finishing just the story can last as little as five hours or so, but trying to complete the game 100% can stretch that number closer to ten. Plus there is the wealth of weapon orb options that can make replaying the game worthwhile, and enterprising players might even uncover extra bosses or endings. It's still not the longest adventure around, but you get your money's worth, especially for Metroidvania fans. Timespinner wears its influences on its sleeve, but you won't find many other games that so thoroughly capture the style of Metroidvania or feature such polished pixel art design. Although its most defining time-bending features end up feeling rather underused, the overall adventure is plenty engaging. Metroidvania fans will certainly want to take note of this one. Rating: 7 out of 10 Orbs
  24. Switch firmware 10.0.0 is now available... 🔗https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22525/kw/system updates/p/989
  25. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout, the latest in the long-running Atelier series, follows the franchise's formula of crafting and creation, combined with some RPG mechanics. As someone new to the series I didn't quite know what I was getting myself into with this game, though some people more familiar with the franchise describe Atelier Ryza as being a more accessible entry point. Maybe that's true, but for a newcomer the experience was fairly overwhelming at first and yet underwhelming in the end. You play as Ryza, a restless girl who dreams of going on adventures beyond the confines of her family's farm and their small island home. She soon gets her wish when an alchemist visits her village and opens her eyes to the world of alchemy and the ability to craft items. Soon enough a grave danger to the island rears its head, and Ryza and her friends must band together to save the village. Broadly, it's a typically generic RPG storyline, one where our protagonists grow and learn to trust their own strength, though the developers have also slipped in some rather heavy topics as well. The end result feels somewhat unbalanced. The handful of heavy-hitting moments feel like they come out of nowhere when the rest of the game is so saccharine sweet, which really makes them lose their impact. Instead the characters and story come off as a bit trite and dull—cute, but a little too breezy to actually be interesting or memorable. Atelier Ryza is all about crafting through alchemy. At her home and base of operations, Ryza is able to use an alchemy pot to craft items from raw materials. The majority of the game revolves around gathering these materials by exploring the surrounding wilderness, then crafting items through the game's interactive crafting system. Items' quality and traits can vary wildly depending on the quality and traits of the materials you've gathered, so there's a real emphasis on gathering as much as you can over and over to hopefully find the best quality ingredients for your alchemy. Although you can get by on simply throwing the necessary materials into the pot to craft an item, there is an incredibly detailed system under the surface that allows you to get extremely nitpicky about crafting the best possible items with bonus traits. It feels almost needlessly complicated at first but if you're really struggling to grasp everything there is an option to auto-craft items based on the materials you have. It's a handy feature but it kind of feels at odds with the whole focus of the game, so it's probably not a great option to rely upon too much. This crafting system should appeal to a certain type of gamer, but it can also feel overwhelming when you first start. Which is actually surprising since the game eases you into the experience with an incredibly slow and drawn out series of tutorials—the game really doesn't begin in earnest until several hours in. Things get better once you unlock a proper fast travel system but these opening hours can feel ridiculously slow with a ton of just back and forth walking between cutscenes and tutorial explanations. The pacing of the game is a real drag for far too long. Once you get into the swing of things though you'll find Atelier Ryza follows the typical satisfying gameplay loop of crafting and exploring. Explore to gather new materials, craft items with said materials, explore a little further, repeat. Atelier Ryza puts far more emphasis on crafting the best possible materials though rather than simply crafting new items. There are definitely a ton of recipes to discover, but the bulk of the game's replay value comes from gathering the same materials over and over in order to find the best possible quality of materials. It's not quite as satisfying as crafting entirely new items and is a bit monotonous even for this kind of crafting-focused game. Atelier Ryza also features turn-based battles with real-time elements where you control one character and the AI controls your two partners. The crux of combat is in building up Action Points. You generate AP by using basic attacks, and then spend AP on special skills. You can also spend AP to increase your Tactics level which allows you to perform more hits per basic attack and gives other benefits to special skills. Aside from simply wearing down the enemy's health bar, you'll also want to try to crack their break gauge which leaves them stunned and open to attack for a short time. The combat system is surprisingly complex. Since everything happens in real-time (no pausing while you're selecting attacks, unfortunately) you might feel like you're scrambling to keep up at first as a cacophony of numbers, levels, and attack prompts appear on screen. It's a bit of a mess of information but once you get the hang of it combat is pretty fun, if highly repetitive, even for an RPG. Typical battles aren't too challenging but they can be rather drawn out, so it's just a lot of the same process of building up AP and unleashing special skills when you can. Boss fights are more engaging and challenging, but can still fall into a pit of repetition. Atelier Ryza isn't a short game, but your time with it can vary quite a bit depending on how deep you get into the alchemy system. Just finishing the story can be done in about twenty hours, but finding every recipe, some of which involves completing chains of side quests, can last much longer. And of course perfecting your creations with the best possible ingredients can add hours and hours to the length of the game. If you prefer an additional challenge though there's a New Game Plus option as well as adjustable difficulty levels. The visual design of Atelier Ryza hits all the checkmarks you'd expect of a JRPG, and hits them well: sweeping environments filled colorful creature designs. It's rather disappointing how quickly the game resorts to reusing monster models though (it happens in every RPG, just particularly quickly here). The character designs are also a bit hit and miss, with some frankly overdesigned characters. The soundtrack is solid though and is impressively varied, providing a great atmosphere to the adventure. Atelier Ryza: Ever Darkness & the Secret Hideout takes too long to hook the player fully, but once you have a handle on things you'll find a wealth of crafting-based gameplay to lose yourself in for hours and hours. Whether you'll fully enjoy the experience depends on your interest in perfecting your alchemy skills through repetitive tasks and combat. But players looking to kill some time can do a lot worse than the light-hearted adventure of Atelier Ryza. Rating: 7 out of 10 Alchemists