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  1. Image & Form, the developers behind the SteamWorld Dig games and SteamWorld Heist, have announced a brand new entry in their steambot series: SteamWorld Quest, a card-based RPG set for release on the Switch later this year. Check out the trailer above for a quick preview of the game's hand-drawn world and turn-based battles. I've loved all of the other SteamWorld games, so I'm definitely looking forward to this one! Press release:
  2. Dataminers have found signs that point to firmware update 7.0.0 releasing within the next 24 hrs... If this is true, I really hope it adds folders/arranging icons, themes, and a web browser. Though, most likely it will just be system stability and/or some new profile icons.
  3. It's been nine years since we last had the chance to roam the streets of Santa Destroy as the foul-mouthed otaku Travis Touchdown, cutting down fellow assassins in an over-the-top bloodbath of stylish action-gameplay. But punk game auteur Goichi Suda (Suda51) has finally returned to Travis's story, this time in the form of a small-scale, indie-game-inspired adventure inside of a video game console—that's right, this is a video game that takes place within a video game. Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes may not be quite the same insane action experience as the first two No More Heroes title, but Suda51's inimitable style is still on full display in this hilariously bizarre game. Seven years after the events of the last game, Travis is living an isolated life in a trailer somewhere in Texas, but that doesn't stop the assassin Badman from hunting him down for killing his daughter Bad Girl in the first NMH title. The two duel but are soon pulled into the Death Drive Mk-II, an experimental video game console that was never officially released. Now the two must battle through a series of games to hopefully gain the ability to fulfill any wish. Like all Suda51 games, the writing here is truly bizarre, in the best way possible. It may seem like just plain insanity at first but there's something beautifully poetic about the madness of Suda51, like a stream-of-consciousness style of writing that just lets all of his ideas pour out into the game, full of pop culture references and goofy, meta dialogue. It's a style unlike any other game developer, and it's the kind of writing that you just have to submerge yourself in, whether you fully comprehend or appreciate all of its bizarre nuance or not. Travis Strikes Again, moreso than the past two NMH games, doesn't quite stick the landing on tying all of its ideas together into a satisfying conclusion, but it's a wild, beautiful, entertaining ride while it lasts all the same. Travis Strikes Again re-imagines the NMH formula into a smaller indie-game setting. Travis still wields his beam katana to strike down hordes of foes, but in an overhead point of view. Combat is less flashy here, relying only on basic light and heavy attacks with little room for variation or combos, and there aren't any wrestling move finishers, unfortunately. It's a simple combat system and fairly repetitive, but to spice things up you can customize up to four special attacks by equipping skill chips. Each chip grants a different special attack, ranging from area of effect strikes to defensive abilities like healing or dodging, and all operate on a timed recharge system so you can't just spam these powerful attacks nonstop. There are dozens of skill chips to collect so there's a good amount of variety if you take the time to experiment, and although you'll most likely stick to a handful of favorites these skills chips really represent the meat of the combat system. Timing them efficiently, comboing them together, finding your favorites—skill chips add a much needed layer of depth to just hacking away at enemies. Of course, it wouldn't be a Suda51 game if things didn't get a little weird as well, and although the core gameplay of Travis Strikes Again is always the combat, each game within the Death Drive Mk-II is framed a little differently. For example, one game has a puzzle game element as you need to rotate panels to create paths, while another is inspired by survival-horror mansion exploration. There's always something a little different within each game (and Suda51 finds ways to insert some goofy humor and gaming references into plenty of them) which helps the combat from getting too repetitive. Even so, it might have been even better to push the idea further and make each game even more unique, as the mansion exploration ends up being fairly basic. Boss fights are undoubtedly the highlight of NMH games, as even the first two titles were more defined by their over-the-top boss battles than by their hack'n'slash combat and exploration. Travis Strikes Again is no exception here: each boss is delightfully unique with some sort of insane backstory and stylish visual design. However, the battles themselves don't hit the highs of the two previous titles. The boss battles don't have the same inventive variations as before, and combat can once again feel fairly repetitive. The fights are still fun, but in the end don't distinguish themselves too much from any other battle in the game. Unlike the two previous games, Travis Strikes Again introduces a co-op element—naturally, since both Travis and Badman are pulled into the Death Drive Mk-II. Two players can team up locally for some good ol' fashioned co-op combat, all with convenient drop-in, drop-out accessibility. The game doesn't change at all to accommodate the second player, but it's still nice to bring a friend along for the ride. Badman also has a handful of unique skill chips, so he can provide a slightly different playstyle (even while playing solo you can select Badman). The only minor downside to co-op is the effect it has on the controls, as they're built around allowing each player to use a single Joy-Con. For the most part this isn't a problem, but when using a Pro Controller or both Joy-Cons it would've been nice to have an option to remap the buttons to make them a little more convenient. The visuals and audio have all of the beautifully eccentric style that you'd expect from Suda51. In honor of its focus on video games there's a clear pastiche of 80s gaming design, from eye-popping neon colors to vector art graphics, along with plenty of references that can be fun to spot. As always boss designs are stunningly stylish and a highlight of the visuals, and although the basic enemy designs and environments are a bit more flat, there's still a lot to love about the game's aesthetic. Plus, in a loving nod to indie gaming culture, Travis can collect and wear dozens of T-shirts sporting logos from all corners of the indie gaming world, from the recent YIIK to fan favorites like Undertale. You only get to see logos in this game, but who knows, maybe you'll be inspired to try out some of the many indie references found in Travis's closet. And finally the soundtrack is, of course, a fantastic aural backdrop to the game, with plenty of catchy, eclectic tunes that you just want to groove to while playing. Travis Strikes Again isn't all that long of a game, beatable in eight or nine hours, which might make the $30 price tag sting a bit. However, that estimate doesn't take into account the time spent hunting down collectibles such as skill chips or Azteca coins (used to purchase select shirts), nor the multiple difficulties you can tackle. There might not be much variation when you replay levels but hunting down collectibles is still a fun pursuit. Travis Strikes Again sets out to replicate the NMH formula in a smaller, quirkier indie game style, and in that sense it perfectly succeeds. The game retains the off-kilter style and meta humor of the previous games, and condenses the hack'n'slash combat formula down to a satisfying if fairly repetitive adventure. It is by no means a mainline NMH experience, but Suda51's distinctive sense of vision is as entertaining as always. Even in this indie-styled format it's great to see Travis again, and hopefully this paves the way for another full-fledged title. Rating: 8 out of 10 Death Balls
  4. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes – The setting is a small town in the middle of nowhere in the American South. Badman shows up at the trailer Travis Touchdown has been living in to exact revenge for the murder of his daughter, Bad Girl. But things go horribly wrong. As they battle it out, the two are sucked into the game world of the Death Drive Mk Ⅱ. Beam Katana in hand, Travis strikes again! The Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes game is available Jan. 18. YIIK: A Postmodern RPG – After witnessing a woman vanish from an elevator, college graduate Alex embarks on an adventure to rescue her that spirals into an epic quest with stakes higher than he could have ever imagined. Alex’s search for the woman and the truth behind her disappearance lead him and his companions toward the new millennium, on a journey rife with mystery and danger … or so goes the tale of YIIK: A Postmodern RPG, the surreal Japanese-style RPG from Ackk Studios and Ysbryd Games. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO KZUNA ENCOUNTER (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Apocalipsis Wormwood Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) At Sundown: Shots in the Dark (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 22 Bash the Bear (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bedtime Blues (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Big Crown: Showdown (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bubble Shooter DX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Combat Core – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Crazy Strike Bowling EX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Drowning – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) DYING: Reborn – Nintendo Switch Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Elli (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Feudal Alloy (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fight of Gods (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 18 Football Heroes Turbo (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fragment of Marine (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) FutureGrind (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 22 Gunman Clive HD Collection (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Guns of Mercy – Rangers Edition – Full and Demo Versions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Holy Potatoes! We’re In Space?! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) IHUGU (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 21 Left-Right: The Mansion (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Marble Power Blast (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mars or Die! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 18 Mecho Wars: Desert Ashes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mega Mall Story (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Neko Navy – Daydream Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Number Place 10000 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Octahedron: Transfixed Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Old School Racer 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 18 Rampage Knights (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Samsara: Deluxe Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Shift Happens – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 18 Spot The Differences: Party! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Office Quest (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Raven Remastered (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 22 The Shrouded Isle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tied Together – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Voxel Sword (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Woodle Tree Adventures – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 22
  5. It's hard to imagine any video game recapturing the blissfully bizarre style of Earthbound, but YIIK: A Postmodern RPG from developer Ackk Studios and publisher Ysbryd Games comes far closer than most. With a mind-bending storyline full of metaphysical and philosophical twists and turns, engaging RPG battle mechanics, and a slightly otherworldly 1999 setting, YIIK invites players to take a chance on a wholly unusual experience. And despite a few rough spots along the way, the journey is well worth it. The year is 1999 and Alex, a recent college grad, has returned to his hometown when some odd things begin happening. He stumbles upon a strange girl in an abandoned factory who is soon whisked away by otherworldly beings, and it only gets more bizarre from there. It's a fun, surreal, not-quite-the-real-world setting, but the most impressive part of the game is how far the game pushes its metaphysical and philosophical ideas. YIIK isn't afraid to deliver some lengthy cutscenes that delve into ideas like astral projection or the nature of souls, and even though it can get a little hard to follow at times it is nevertheless a fascinating storyline, one where you genuinely don't know what to expect from moment to moment. It makes for a compelling mystery, and it's easy to get invested in the characters as well because YIIK also isn't afraid to paint its lead protagonist as kind of a dick sometimes. He's not the noble heroic lead of so many other games—instead, Alex is presented as human, with plenty of flaws and brutally honest truths about human behavior. It's refreshing to see a video game deal so directly with this kind of psychological development and show a character being introspective about his fears and doubts. YIIK's story and writing leads you on a mind-bending journey, but it's also absorbing and thought-provoking. Between cutscene expositions on supernatural realities, YIIK plays like a classic JRPG. There are towns to wander through, dungeons to explore, and, not surprisingly, an oddball cast of monsters to fight. Taking a page from Earthbound, you'll fight things like animated stop signs and violent traffic cones, all in a turn-based battle system that revolves around mini-game button presses to execute attacks—kind of like the Paper Mario games, but more involved. Alex, for example, uses a vinyl record to attack enemies, so in order to attack you'll play a short mini-game of hitting the colored sections of a spinning record. The better you do, the more damage you'll deal, and there's also defensive mini-games when enemies attack that can let you block or dodge damage completely. On one hand, the mini-games are a fantastic way of keeping battles engaging. You can't just mash "A" to attack enemies over and over, you have to pay attention to the battle. Each character has their own mini-game as well, so there's a bit of variety in what you have to do and you're always actively involved with the action on screen. On the other hand, all of these mini-games means battles tend to drag on at a slow pace. The worst offender is when an enemy uses an attack that hits everyone in your party, and you have to do the same mini-game four times in a row. Enemies also level up alongside your party so there's not much opportunity to power up so much that you can crush enemies quickly—battles will always take a while to complete, as a typical enemy will require several hits to go down. Although the mini-game system is fun, the pacing of battles can make it a little tedious at times. It doesn't help that the game, as a whole, can be slow-paced, down to little things like long loading screens to enter and exit battles, or the slight delay between walking up to an object you can interact with and the button prompt actually appearing. There are a handful of little issues like this in YIIK that would really benefit from a bit of polish, such as the item menu that requires you to scroll through everything slowly if you want to look at the new item you just picked up. These kinds of minor annoyances can wear on the experience after a while. And YIIK is a good sized RPG at about thirty hours, so you're already investing a good bit of time into it. Still, even if the slow details get to be a little grating, the game as a whole stays plenty engaging, especially when you're dealing with one wild new plot development after another. RPG fans should be pleased to hear that there are a variety of side quests scattered throughout the game as well, though for the most part YIIK is a fairly linear game. And if you can't get enough of the game after finishing it, there's a New Game+ option—which might be a good idea just to re-experience the story one more time. Aside from the intriguing storytelling, the other highlight of YIIK is its unique visual and aural aesthetic. The game uses sharp polygonal shapes, no textures, and bright, saturated colors for an incredibly striking look. The lack of textures makes the colors pop even more, and during the more surreal moments the color palette becomes incredibly vivid yet dreamlike. It's a beautifully original visual style that continues to surprise and delight throughout the length of the game. The animation also has an unusual slight choppiness to it that adds to the otherworldly nature of the setting—it stands out at first but as you play it feels oddly suited to the world of YIIK. The sound design in YIIK is just as eclectic and impressive as the visuals. The soundtrack seems to draw from a huge variety of influences—it makes sense that there are several guest composers on the soundtrack as well, adding ever more unique sounds to the game—and somehow the game manages to make the transitions from jazzy, funky numbers to dreamlike pop songs feel natural and seamless. Just like with the story, you never quite know what you're going to get with YIIK's soundtrack, but it's always exciting to see what comes next. And finally the voice work in the game does a fantastic job of bringing these characters to life, especially all of Alex's internal struggles, doubts, and fears. It's a story heavy game after all, so it's great to hear the characters put a voice to all of the crazy plot developments. The entirety of YIIK: A Postmodern RPG feels like some kind of intense dream, one that looks bizarre from the outside, but while you're in it everything feels natural and you're driven by a need to see what happens next. In addition to the bold, eclectic visuals and music, it's the game's intense otherworldly quality that makes it so compelling from start to finish, and despite some rough spots in the gameplay design, battles are stylish and engaging. Fans of thoughtful storytelling and classic RPG beats can't miss this surreal, one-of-a-kind game. Rating: 8 out of 10 Vinyls Review copy provided by publisher YIIK: A Postmodern RPG will be available in the Switch eShop on January 17th for $19.99.
  6. Eliwood8

    Double Cross Review

    13AM Games made a big splash in 2015 with their colorful party platformer Runbow, and now they're following it up with the single-player action-platformer Double Cross, co-published by Graffiti Games and Headup Games. Double Cross trades Runbow's short speed-based challenges and colorful design for classic 2D platformer gameplay and a fleshed out adventure story, but the developer's knack for addictive, charming platforming action is still on full display. In Double Cross you play as Zahra, an agent of RIFT—Regulators of Interdimensional Frontiers and Technology—an organization that is able to hop between different dimensions to keep the peace. An attack on RIFT headquarters itself sends Zahra on a multi-dimensional adventure to track down the culprit, the mysterious Suspect X, who may actually be a traitorous RIFT agent. It's a solid mystery story—though you don't actually have to piece together any of the clues yourself—and buoyed by an endearing cast of odd characters, from Dr. Sam Squatch who is a sasquatch to Agent Pineapple who is a…pineapple. In a story where literally anything can happen thanks to multi-dimensional shenanigans, Double Cross keeps things relatively simple, but as the plot develops you'll find it's more than just a good vs. evil story and actually speaks to some thought-provoking ideas about the duty of a regulatory force. Don't let that intimidate you though—at its heart, Double Cross is a fun, charming adventure with a whimsical cast of characters. The gameplay in Double Cross is classic 2D action-platforming, so much so that this feels like it could be a remake of a beloved NES or SNES title. There are all manner of platforming challenges to overcome here, and each region of the game puts a clever twist on the core gameplay mechanics with features like bouncy goo or zip lines. You're also able to tackle the game's levels in any order, which gives the game a nice sense of freedom and lets you prioritize certain levels if you find yourself stuck on another one. Zahra can also level up over the course of the adventure by collecting upgradium crystals in each level, unlocking both permanent upgrades and skills that can be equipped and swapped at any checkpoint. The skills don't completely alter how you play but they can be helpful boosts depending on the circumstances of each level and add a touch of customization to the gameplay. The key unique feature in Double Cross is the proton slinger, which allows Zahra to grapple onto specific targets and pull herself forward. It is essentially a grappling hook, but the game puts it to good use in a variety of challenging scenarios, and it's always fun to quickly zip through the air in any game. The developers have also found something of a balance between ease and complexity: when aiming the proton slinger everything around you slows down so you can aim precisely, and you're also able to adjust your momentum mid-air, but there are still plenty of tricky areas in the game that put your 2D platforming skills to the test. In that regard it's not hard to see the echoes of Runbow at play, when you have to tap into an almost rhythmic sense of fluidity to survive the game's challenges. It's wonderfully satisfying to beat these sections, and the frequent checkpoints means even your failed attempts aren't terribly discouraging. Naturally Double Cross isn't just about platforming, as there's a combat element as well. Zahra can use light and heavy punches to defeat enemies and tackle intimidating bosses, plus there are a couple of special attacks that require energy. The boss battles have a great mix of fighting and creative platforming/dodging, but the standard combat leaves something to be desired. With only punches at her disposal Zahra's attacks just aren't terribly satisfying, and although you can unlock new attacks as you level up, such as a slide kick or uppercut, the standard three-hit-combo is the most effective more often than not, so fighting can feel a bit repetitive. Most enemy attacks aren't at all challenging to dodge either, so it's kind of up to the player to find creative ways to spice up combat by playing around with the special attacks, even if they're slower. It's not a bad system but the combat could have been more fleshed out. Sharp 2D artwork gives Double Cross a stylish Saturday morning cartoon kind of look, which feels fitting as the dimension-hopping setting could easily translate to a weekly show. The environment design only offers the occasional visual thrill (although the Funderdome levels are certainly a highlight of the game), but the character design has plenty of personality and charm. Unfortunately the frame rate feels a little choppy at times, but thankfully it never interferes with the gameplay. The soundtrack is also something of a mixed bag, with several fun, catchy tunes but just as many that are less memorable. Still, the overall presentation in Double Cross has a delightfully light-hearted charm to it that easily pulls you into the game. Double Cross isn't a long game by any means—if you were to rush through the game you could easily finish it in a matter of hours. That would be a disservice to the game though, as there are plenty of engaging and challenging nooks and crannies to explore in order to find all of the upgradium crystals. More than just giving you a helpful edge with new abilities, hunting down upgradium helps flesh out the adventure and put all of Zahra's skills to the test. You can easily replay levels in order to retrace your steps and find crystals you initially missed, though there really ought to be an option to skip dialogue when you're replaying a mission to speed things along. Additionally, completionists can try tackling the various commendations (achievements) that can be earned, many of which offer a good incentive to replay levels once more. Double Cross finds a comfortable groove in the classic 2D platforming mechanics of yesteryear, spiced up with a fun grappling system and sharp HD graphics. It is, perhaps, less brazenly original than Runbow, but the smart platforming gameplay shines through just the same, and this time with an engaging narrative that is both charming and thoughtful. Fans of platformers won't want to miss the dimension-traveling action found here. Rating: 8 out of 10 Dimensions Review copy provided by publisher Double Cross is available today in the Switch eShop for a launch discount price of $14.99 (normal price $19.99).
  7. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe – Join Mario, Luigi and pals for single-player or multiplayer* fun anytime, anywhere. Take on two family-friendly side-scrolling adventures with up to three friends* as you try to save the Mushroom Kingdom. The New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe game includes the New Super Mario Bros. U game and the faster, more challenging New Super Luigi U game – both of which include Nabbit and newly added Toadette, who can use the new Super Crown to transform herself into Peachette, as playable characters. Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition – Celebrate the 10th anniversary of the fan-favorite Tales of Vesperia game with the Definitive Edition. A power struggle begins in a civilization dependent on ancient technology and the Empire that controls it. The fates of two friends traveling separate paths intertwine in an epic adventure that threatens the existence of all. Dive into the definitive version of this game with updated HD graphics, new music tracks, exciting mini-games, bosses and a collection of unreleased costume DLC. The Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition game is available Jan. 11. Double Cross – Double Cross is an exciting action-adventure game that has players take on the role of Zahra, an agent of R.I.F.T. (Regulators of Interdimensional Frontiers and Technology) whose job it is to maintain peace and order between all dimensions. A recent attack on R.I.F.T. headquarters thrusts players into a thrilling new case during which they must use their R.I.F.T.-developed gear to sling, swing, fight and investigate across distinct dimensions. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey – Laugh your way through a hilarious story told from three perspectives. Search the Mushroom Kingdom for a cure as Bowser, explore his innards as the Mario Bros. and discover the untold story of Bowser Jr.’s Journey. Overcome Fawful’s fury, action-packed battles, puzzling tasks and giant bosses in a classic action RPG – stuffed with new content! Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Mushroom Kingdom Wallpaper – To celebrate the launch of the exciting games New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe and Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey, My Nintendo is offering three different wallpapers. Redeem your My Nintendo points** to plaster your computer or smart phone with Mushroom Kingdom heroes. Also, don’t forget to take the quiz on the Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr.’s Journey official site to earn My Nintendo Platinum Points**! For more info, visit https://my.nintendo.com/news. Animal Crossing 2019 Calendar – Before you shake that tree, download and print a 2019 calendar inspired by the Animal Crossing series! Redeem your My Nintendo points** and celebrate the birthdays of your favorite Animal Crossing characters. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Piranha Plant Limited-Time Offer – Purchase and register your Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game by Jan. 31 for a download code to play as Piranha Plant when it releases. Get all the details at https://smashbros.nintendo.com/buy/#piranha-plant. Also new this week: A Ch’ti Bundle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ACA NEOGEO RAGNAGARD (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) ANIMUS (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) BQM -BlockQuest Maker- (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Brick Breaker (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bury me, my Love (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Caveblazers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Clock Simulator (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Combat Core (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ethan: Meteor Hunter (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Everything (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Forever Forest (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 14 Gnomes Garden 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Grab Lab (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hive Jump (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 11 HoPiKo (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Inside My Radio (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Knock ’Em Down! Bowling (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Lightseekers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Momodora: Reverie Under the Moonlight (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Onimusha: Warlords (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 15 Overdriven Reloaded: Special Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pang Adventures (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pic-a-Pix Pieces – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Planet RIX-13 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 16 Retimed – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SEGA AGES Out Run (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Snowboarding The Next Phase (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Stellar Interface (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 11 Tetraminos (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  8. Hot on the heels of 2017's remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap comes a brand new entry in the Wonder Boy franchise: Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom. Cursed Kingdom retains the classic side-scrolling platforming of the series as well as the monster transformations of The Dragon's Trap, all with a beautifully hand-drawn art style and lovingly crafted soundtrack. As good as the presentation is though, Cursed Kingdom has some rough edges when it comes to the gameplay design. In Cursed Kingdom you play as Jin, a young boy thrown into a chaotic quest to save the world when his uncle—seemingly drunk on royal nectar—uses a magic wand to transform all the people of the Monster World Kingdom into anthropomorphic animals. To reverse the curse Jin has to collect five magic orbs—a classic adventure quest. The game doesn't try to do anything new other than rehash the old tropes we've seen hundreds of times, but as an homage to a classic 80s series, the cliché plot doesn't feel out of place. Cursed Kingdom nails the feeling of an old-school action-platformer—perhaps too well, in fact. Because while the game recreates the look and sound of 80s platformers, it does little to modernize the gameplay. There's a frustrating clunkiness to the action that means your movements and attacks never feel quite as smooth as they ought to. Unlike a lot of other action games, Cursed Kingdom never quite finds the right rhythm to give the player that satisfying sense of fluidity. Instead combat just feels choppy, even by the end of the game, often due to clumsy hitbox detection which means you'll stumble into attacks and hazards far more often than you'd think. The combat just never feels satisfying. The platforming side of the gameplay fares a little better, thanks to the variety of abilities that your monster transformations give you. As a snake you can climb mossy walls, as a frog you can swim freely underwater and use your tongue to grapple things, as a pig you can…cast magic for some reason. Regardless of the specifics, the monster transformations also transform the way you play and interact with the environment and offers up plenty of fun and clever puzzle-platformer scenarios that rely upon one form or another. The game's pacing on giving you these transformations feels a little off—obviously the last transformations will be the most powerful/useful, but the first couple are downright boring at times—but still, each new form offers more variety to the platforming gameplay. Cursed Kingdom is also a challenging game, surprisingly so in fact, and too often for frustrating reasons. There are old-fashioned annoyances like enemies that swoop in from off screen to attack you and bothersome quirks like how coins bounce away so you have to chase them down, but the most difficult aspect of the game might just be the fact that you consistently feel underpowered. You can equip different swords/armor to boost your defense a little, but these are mostly used for the special effects they offer, such as a frost sword that can create ice blocks in water. Even with the right equipment enemies hit hard, easily draining your energy in just a couple of hits, but the short range on most attacks means you have to get up close and personal. This is what makes combat so frustrating, since your range and movement don't feel up to the task. As such you'll likely die/retry a lot in this game, but the checkpoint system can be annoyingly limited at times. There are a number of checkpoints scattered throughout the game, granted, but their placements mean you'll be stuck replaying certain difficult portions of the game every time you die, and at that point Cursed Kingdom just feels tedious. Ultimately, the game doesn't balance its difficulty with rewarding gameplay and instead relies upon some dated mechanics. The one area of the game that is perfectly modernized though is the presentation. Cursed Kingdom retains the cartoony style of the previous games in the series but recreates it with beautiful hand-drawn graphics that are not only gorgeous but utterly charming as well. It's the details in the smooth animation that brings Cursed Kingdom to life and gives the game an adorable, playable-cartoon vibe. The music is also pretty incredible—it captures that childlike sense of heroics that defines classic cartoons and classic video games, but does it with modern sound design that's a joy to listen to. Even at its most difficult moments, Cursed Kingdom's presentation is wholly charming. At around fifteen hours Cursed Kingdom feels like the right length for its adventure. There are a number of locations to visit and a good variety of challenges that don't get too repetitive. In Metroidvania fashion there are also plenty of hidden power-ups and collectibles to find which often require retreading old areas with new abilities, and thankfully a warp system makes backtracking a little easier. Completionists can get a little more out of the game by finding everything, but even at that point Cursed Kingdom feels like a single playthrough kind of game. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is clearly a loving tribute to a classic franchise, and maybe that's why the developers seem to have missed the fact that plenty of old-school challenges just aren't fun anymore, and certain gameplay elements are best left in the past. Still, if you're willing to look past the awkward combat mechanics and cheap deaths, Cursed Kingdom boasts incredible audio and visual design as well as a decent variety to the platformer side of its gameplay. Just be prepared for some frustrating elements along the way. Rating: 7 out of 10 Monsters
  9. Eliwood8

    The Messenger Review

    There's no shortage of side-scrolling platformers from indie developers these days, but there's something to be said for capturing the essence of the genre so well. The Messenger draws inspiration from Ninja Gaiden to make a modern ninja action game that capitalizes on old-school appeal while infusing plenty of inventive new twists into the gameplay. And just like in Ninja Gaiden you can expect some unrelentingly difficult sections paired with satisfying platforming action. In the last bastion of humanity besieged by demon forces, a young ninja is chosen to carry an all-important scroll and deliver it to the top of a mountain, thus making him The Messenger. The initial premise seems classic enough for an 80s throwback game but the developers have a lot of fun with the clichés of the genre and mix in plenty of humor as well as some plot twists. The surprises are fun but it's the jokes and meta-humor that stand out in the writing, particularly the interactions between our hero and the enigmatic shopkeeper. It's not hard to see the Ninja Gaiden influence right off the bat: 8-bit graphics, side-scrolling levels, and you're mainly armed with a sword (as well as a limited number of shuriken). Although the game eases you into the gameplay with a pretty simple first level, it doesn't take long for the complex level design to shine through, offering up a lot of unique, challenging obstacles that take all of your skill as a ninja-acrobat. It takes a bit of time to get used to the flow of gameplay in The Messenger, but once it clicks you'll appreciate how inventive and satisfying the game is. It's quite challenging—frustratingly so at times, due to things like instant-death pits—but the smoothness of the controls gives you a great level of control over how you move, and chaining together multiple jumps through the air is incredibly satisfying. A big part of what makes the gameplay work is the small but invaluable selection of skills you pick up along the way, so again the early parts of the game can feel limited. Once you've got the full arsenal of abilities which let you glide through the air, grapple suspended hooks, and cling to walls, the fluidity of movement in The Messenger becomes a blast. There are also plenty of optional upgrades you can purchase to make things a little easier on yourself. Pro players (or masochists) might be willing to skip over these upgrades but for most they'll be invaluable in balancing out some of the more difficult and tedious sections of the game. One of the things that makes The Messenger so unique is the shift that comes approximately halfway through the game when the linear progression is opened up into a more Metroidvania experience, allowing you to return to previous areas to collect hidden items. Additionally, you are able to transition between the present and the future (represented by 8-bit and 16-bit graphics, respectively) though only at designated points throughout each level. It's a clever twist but in practice it is incredibly tedious to have to replay large portions of the game, mostly because the checkpoint/warp system isn't as helpful as it ought to be. The warp points are too limited and distant, so you'll inevitably be retreading the same ground over and over, and this is all made worse by the fact that you're meant to be searching for special items using only cryptic clues to guide you. Some of them aren't too hard to suss out but the most annoying issue is stumbling upon an area in the wrong "order," meaning you'll have to leave and come back later, retreading all of that ground once again. The Metroidvania half of the game may offer some great challenges but the pacing ends up needlessly dragging. That said, the game should last around twelve hours or so, but a big part of that will depend upon how good you are at this kind of no-nonsense action-platforming and how efficient you are in the second half of the game. There are also hidden collectibles scattered throughout the game that essentially act as challenge rooms, requiring all of the skills you've developed over the course of the adventure, and a recent update to the game added a New Game+ option for an extra challenge. The developers have also recently announced free DLC coming this year, and hints within the game point to more DLC, so there should be plenty more of The Messenger to enjoy. Like so many games released these days, The Messenger features a charming retro aesthetic, complete with chipper chiptune music and classic sprite artwork. The developers have done a fantastic job of bringing that old-school feel back while still making it unique and stylish—some of the environment backgrounds are gorgeous. And of course, there's the clever twist that time travel also changes the look and sound of the game. It's a fun way to reflect the time change and also lets players re-experience the whole game with another visual design which is just as meticulously crafted and stylish as the first. The game's unrelenting difficulty doesn't often give you room to pause and appreciate the scenery, but it's worth risking it anyway just to take in the graphics and energetic soundtrack. The Messenger does a fantastic job of blending both old-school mechanics with modern twists and 8-bit presentation with 16-bit. The result is one of the most clever retro-style games you'll play. Although the high learning curve can be punishing and the second half of the game is a little too repetitive, don't let that deter you from The Messenger. The fluid gameplay and inventive twists on a classic genre make this a must-play for fans of side-scrollers. Rating: 8 out of 10 Messages
  10. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Fitness Boxing – Get moving with fun, boxing-based rhythmic exercises set to the instrumental beats of songs by popular artists. You can personalize your workouts by selecting from different fitness goals. Train your way, whether you’re on your own, with a friend, at home or on the go. Now you can work out anytime, anywhere on the Nintendo Switch system! A free demo of the Fitness Boxing game is available for download now, and the full version is available Jan. 4. Catastronauts – Gather your friends and join the illustrious Space Fleet in this fast-paced party game. Can you deal with unrelenting disaster and hold your ship together long enough to destroy the enemy invaders? Repair systems, extinguish fires, arm the torpedoes, avoid deadly solar flares, destroy your friends and clone them back again – it’s all in the life of a Catastronaut. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Piranha Plant Limited Time Offer – Purchase and register your Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game by Jan. 31, 2019, for a download code to play as Piranha Plant when it releases! Get all the details at https://smashbros.nintendo.com/buy/#piranha-plant. Also new this week: 99Seconds (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 4 ACA NEOGEO THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2002 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Animated Jigsaws: Wild Animals (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Don’t Sink (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Dreamwalker (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) JCB Pioneer: Mars (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Job the Leprechaun (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Fighter’s History (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mad Age & This Guy (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 4 Mentori Puzzle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Octahedron: Transfixed Edition – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pic-a-Pix Pieces (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Aquatic Adventure of the Last Human (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Unicornicopia (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) RTO 3 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  11. Twenty years after Pokémon Red and Blue launched in North America, sparking a wildfire of Pokémania in children across the US, Game Freak is ready to do it all over again with Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee! For many of us this will be a trip down memory lane as the games are enhanced remakes of Pokémon Yellow, but the game also represents a meeting point between traditional Pokémon trainers and Pokémon GO fans, as some of the mobile game's features are recreated here. No matter how the details change though, the core Pokémon adventure remains wonderfully charming and addictive. Let's Go, Pikachu! is essentially a retelling of Pokémon Yellow, so once again you have Pikachu as your main partner and Team Rocket's Jessie and James pop up as you explore Kanto and collect the eight gym badges needed to challenge the Pokémon League. While it would've been nice to have perhaps some of the story beats be a little different, there's something to be said for the charming simplicity of the writing here. After all, if this is meant to be an introductory game to the main series of Pokémon, perhaps it helps to keep things basic. Just like in every Pokémon game you capture wild monsters, train them to do your bidding, then pit them in battle against one another (but in a cute way). However, in this game you don't actually battle wild Pokémon, and don't have to weaken them in order to capture them. Instead, wild Pokémon are visible on the map, and when you touch them you're given a chance to simply catch them directly by placating them with berries and throwing Poké Balls at them—literally, thanks to the motion controls. This will feel more natural to Pokémon GO players but for veterans it's an adjustment, especially given how this new method can feel both finnicky and a little boring after a while, especially the way the game encourages you to capture duplicates as well. It's not entirely a bad change but it does reduce some of the game's challenge. And that's a theme throughout Let's Go, Pikachu! Small details have been adjusted to make the game friendlier to new players and erase some of the more technical video game-esque" elements. For example, you no longer have to use a PC to access your Pokémon Box—your entire collection is available to you at any given moment. There's no need to prepare a team of six to take on a certain route, cave, or gym because you can swap out your current six-Pokémon party between any battle. You also don't need to worry about using Hidden Machines (HMs) for the vital abilities that allow you to explore (such as cut, surf, or strength) because Pikachu will learn these abilities without wasting a slot on his four-ability move list. And for most gyms you can't even challenge the gym unless you have a Pokémon of an advantageous type or are at a certain level. Again, none of these are bad changes—they're all done to the benefit of the player—but they show how Let's Go, Pikachu! has been simplified for less experienced players. Pro trainers might scoff at some of these—and frankly the original games weren't so difficult that they really need all of these adjustments—but they're undeniably helpful and can mostly be avoided if you want to maintain a more classic sense of challenge. Possibly the biggest way that Let's Go, Pikachu! makes things easier is the fact that a second player can jump in to play along at just about any point in the game. Player Two can also throw Poké Balls at wild Pokémon and even join in battle using one of your six main party Pokémon. Such 2v1 battles can be overwhelmingly easy but still, this is a fun way to get another player involved without the need for an entire second Switch/game. It's a perfect way to help out inexperienced players or just pique someone else's curiosity about the game, and since you only need one Joy-Con to play you don't even need a second set of controllers. It's a great way for Pokémon to embrace a more accessible approach for any player. Speaking of controllers though, that might be the one area that Let's Go, Pikachu! went a little overboard on the new features. You only need one Joy-Con to play, which is pretty neat, but frankly not terribly comfortable to hold sometimes, and the game flat out doesn't support the Pro Controller. You also have to use motion controls when throwing Poké Balls at wild critters which is novel the first few times but quickly grows tiresome, especially since throwing isn't super accurate—you can aim left and right but it always felt pretty inconsistent to me. The only way to use more traditional controls is playing in handheld mode, though of course that means you don't get to enjoy Pokémon on the big screen; it really is a shame that even using the Pro Controller isn't an option in this game. The game's presentation might best be described as aggressively cute. This may not be the series' first foray into 3D models, but as the first HD home console title it's certainly a landmark entry, one that does a great job of capturing the charm of Pokémon in smooth HD without overdoing it on unnecessary frills. Instead it's the perfect translation of what we remember Kanto being like, even though we played it all those years ago in pixely monochrome. And being able to get up close and pet Pikachu is simply too cute. The soundtrack also does a great job of modernizing the classic tunes of the series, capturing the same fun, bubbly, exciting background music that we remember. The adventure is pretty much exactly the same as Pokémon Yellow, which means conquering the Elite Four of the Pokémon League takes about twenty hours or so. There are, of course, more things to do if you want to truly be a Pokémon master, including post-game challenges, collecting every Pokémon, and trading/battling online. The online interface could be a little more robust here—it seems like in an effort to keep things simple the developers went too far and made it a little more tedious than necessary to find the specific trade you want—but even so there's more than enough gameplay here to satisfy any Pokémon Trainer. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! perfectly accomplishes what it set out to do: create a happy medium between Pokémon GO's more casual, capture-focused gameplay and the traditional main series Pokémon games. That means it's simplified some of the core aspects of the franchise's gameplay and includes a few features that make the whole journey much more forgiving, but these concessions don't spoil the enduring charm of capturing, training, trading, and battling pocket monsters. And for those of us that grew up on the original gen I games, Let's Go, Pikachu! also provides an adorably endearing trip down memory lane. Rating: 8 out of 10 Poké Balls
  12. Welcome to the 2nd annual Ninfora Game Awards, AKA Eliwood highlights a bunch of games he liked this year and no one else gets a say. Nintendo followed up their launch year for the Switch with a strong if somewhat less ambitious second year—though to be fair it's hard to top a launch year that includes a new Zelda game and a new Mario game. Still, 2018 saw plenty of great releases, including re-releases of some of the best Wii U games, a massive number of outstanding indie titles, and a little known crossover fighting game released just a few weeks ago. Like most years there were simply too many great games to include them all on this list, but here are some of my favorite titles of 2018. Best Crossover Event of the Year: Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Sorry Avengers, but it's right there in the name of the game: this is the Ultimate package, a lovingly crafted ode to not just Nintendo but gaming in general. Smash is the perfect encapsulation of our beloved pastime, one that celebrates all of the incredible memories we've each built over the years as Nintendo fans—and then lets us beat the crap out of each other with them. Because for as much as Smash is an interactive museum of nostalgia, it's also one of the finest fighting games around, one that is so customizable to player preference that it works whether you're a pro competitive player or just picking up a controller for the first time. Not matter how you prefer to play, Smash Ultimate is an utterly addictive, mind-boggling display of fighting game design and Nintendo knowledge. Most Delightfully Original Game: Yoku's Island Express One part pinball game, one part Metroidvania, and starring a dung beetle working as a postmaster—apparently it's a formula just crazy enough to work, because Yoku's Island Express is undoubtedly a highlight of the indie scene this year. In addition to putting a fun and fresh spin on two game genres, Yoku features some of the most charming visuals and audio you can enjoy on the Switch. It's a game that just captivates you from the moment you start playing and keeps you enchanted throughout the whole experience. Best Comic Book Adaptation: Battle Chasers: Nightwar To be honest I didn't even know Nightwar was based on a relatively short-lived comic book series from the 90s when it first caught my attention, but Joe Madureira's distinctive artwork (also seen in the Darksiders games) is all over this, and was enough to pique my interest. Don't worry if you're not familiar with the comic either—the game stands perfectly well on its own and takes players on a uniquely engaging RPG adventure that blends elements of turn-based combat, dungeon crawling, and procedurally generated level design. The final product is certainly on the difficult side, but if you don't mind the challenge you'll find a deep and rewarding RPG that encourages you to craft your own strategies. Most Thought-Provoking Game: Iconoclasts When you first start Iconoclasts it seems like another cute, charming, retro-inspired Metroidvania, but it doesn't take long for the game to drop some heavy ideas on you. I suppose the title should've been the first giveaway that this wouldn't be your typical adventure story, but it's still a surprise when the game takes a turn for the more serious—a welcome surprise though, because Iconoclasts does a fantastic job of balancing compelling characters and their personal development with excellent 2D action/platforming design and incredible boss fights. It's an unforgettable journey, and the best compliment I can give Iconoclasts is: you've never played a game quite like this one. Most Funky Game: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze I couldn't very well compile a list of games from this year and ignore the funkiest Kong around, now could I? Okay, so the Switch version of Tropical Freeze has some underwhelming additions—particularly the fact that Funky Kong is relegated to his own "easy mode" so you can't just swap to him on the fly—but even so, the core experience remains an absolutely fantastic display of 2D platforming. In the world of platformers it's so easy to tell when something just feels off, when the platforming mechanics don't quite click, but Tropical Freeze is pure platforming perfection, one that isn't afraid to push the player with intense but rewarding challenges. Best Narrative: The Gardens Between How do you make a great narrative in a game that doesn't feature any text or dialogue? Well, you'd have to ask The Gardens Between developer The Voxel Agents about that, 'cause they nailed it. A short, sweet, melancholy trip through the shared memories of two children is one of the most emotionally affecting games I played this year, and to take it one step further the developers also slipped in a brilliantly original puzzle mechanic that revolves around time manipulation. It may not be a long game but it'll absolutely stick with you. Second Best Ultimate Game: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate MHGU was so close to wrapping up that Best Ultimate Game award, and yet Smash just had to release this year. Still, in the same way that Smash Ultimate is an insanely jam-packed collection of Nintendo nostalgia, MHGU is an insanely jam-packed collection of Monster Hunter content. The massive roster, variety of weapons/hunter styles, and of course the fun of jumping online to team up on a hunt makes for a wonderfully addictive game, the kind that eats up an entire Saturday afternoon before you can blink. It'll be interesting to see where the franchise goes in the future as well, considering the success of Monster Hunter World, but for now MHGU is one incredible treat for classic MH fans. The "Frustrating Yet Rewarding" Award: Runner 3 From his first humble days as the star of Bit.Trip Beat, Commander Video has lead a unique video game career—who could have predicted that those early pixel days would lead to the insanely surreal landscape of Runner 3? Regardless of the setting, the Commander finds himself in another addictive rhythmic race, this time adding some helpful new features like double jumping. The game is still tough as nails though so it's not a game for the easily flustered, but the insane visuals, catchy music, and addictive "one more try" mentality of the game will keep players coming back for more. Best Surprise: Valkyria Chronicles 4 No, not because I didn't think it'd be good, I'm surprised we got the game at all considering the last numbered entry in the franchise was a Japan-exclusive PSP game and just last year Valkyria Revolution was released to overwhelmingly poor reviews. But VC4 recaptures all of the charm that made the first game a hit: a fun cast of characters, engaging strategy gameplay, and stylish presentation. There's something hypnotic about playing a strategy game, something that pulls you into the experience completely, and VC4 perfectly captures that feeling as well. Best "Nintendo Difficult" Game: Hyper Light Drifter: Special Edition Hyper Light Drifter takes several cues from classic Nintendo game design—the Zelda influences are clear enough as you explore an open 2D environment initially armed only with a sword—and not least of which is the classic sense of difficulty that the game poses. Still, while some "Nintendo Difficult" games were unfairly challenging, Hyper Light Drifter finds the perfect balance of difficult-but-fair. No player death can be attributed to a cheap shot on the game's part, only a failing of the player to play carefully given the limited tools the game provides. And no matter how many deaths you rack up, there's always a driving incentive to try again. Most Beautiful Game: Gris There are a lot of beautifully made games on this list, but none of them can boast the same incredible combination of aesthetic and technical design that Gris has. Every screenshot of the game is captivating, combining surreal details with a gorgeous watercolor effect that truly makes the game feel like a living painting. The animation is mesmerizing, and to top everything off the soundtrack is beautifully moving. The gameplay itself is perfectly enjoyable as well, but the art and music of Gris stands out far more. Best Port or Remake: Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition This was actually a pretty competitive category with all of the Wii U games that have been ported to the Switch this year (and no, Smash Ultimate does not count as a port!). And while Hyrule Warriors may not necessarily be the best game overall out of the many ports released, I'm giving it a special mention for truly being the definitive version of the game: all of the DLC that has been released over the years and all of the features from the Wii U and 3DS versions combined into one game makes for a pretty fantastic experience at a great value. Even after playing for hours upon hours there's just a seemingly endless amount of content, and although it can feel a bit repetitive at times it's always fun to demolish groups of Bokoblins and Stalfos. Best Roguelike Game: Dead Cells Despite the growing resurgence of the Roguelike format, I'm often frustrated by the cycle of playing, dying, losing everything, and starting again from scratch, so it should be clear that I don't take an award like this lightly. Roguelikes distinguish themselves by focusing on the journey and not the destination, and that's something that Dead Cells does perfectly. There's a beautiful rhythm to the combat in this game, its speed, fluidity, and most importantly its variety which allows you to easily try new things playthrough after playthrough. You may not always reach the end boss, but it's always an exciting journey. Best Game Starring the Grim Reaper: Flipping Death Zoink Games returns to their roots with this spiritual sequel to Stick It to The Man, and it's just as bizarre, goofy, and absolutely charming. Flipping Death doesn't take itself seriously at all and the result is a hilarious game about the afterlife and the restless spirits that inhabit it. The writing is without a doubt the highlight of the experience—this is definitely the kind of game where you want to talk with everyone just to enjoy all of the dialogue—but in the midst of all of that oddball comedy the developers have crafted tons of unique and clever puzzles as well. With its exaggerated and cartoonish graphics and voice acting, Flipping Death is the definition of quirky, and it's also a must-play this year. The Award for Most Complicated Title: YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana Seriously, at a glance this title looks like someone just mashed their keyboard for a bit then submitted it as a video game. But crazy title aside, YS VIII is a fine addition to the Switch's slowly growing collection of RPGs, one that offers a fast, fun combat system, a richly engaging environment to explore, and a story that balances out its cliché elements with a satisfying mystery. It's a decent blend of classic and modern RPG elements—appropriate for a franchise that has lasted over thirty years now. Best Chicken-based Combat in a Game: Guacamelee! 2 For all of the addictive indie games released this year, there's only one that lets you seamlessly transition between a buff, masked luchador and a squawking, belt-wearing chicken. Guacamelee! 2 follows up the original game with an equally fantastic Metroidvania that combines addictive combo-friendly combat with tight, challenging platforming. If the game is perhaps too similar to the original, it can be forgiven simply because the gameplay formula is yet again so well polished, whether you're juggling enemy skeletons as a luchador or fluttering over hazardous pits as a chicken. Best Sci-Fi Adventure: The Fall Part 2: Unbound 2014's The Fall was one of the best examples of classic, thoughtful sci-fi, because while plenty of games have sci-fi settings, few actually explore sci-fi themes, the ones that question the nature of society, reality, and intelligence in an increasingly technological world. It's not an easy topic to translate into an entertaining game, but developer Over the Moon has once again managed it with the second installment of The Fall. Unbound expands on the heady topics of the original and adds a lot more unique and challenging puzzle gameplay as well, though fans will once again have to endure a cliffhanger ending. The wait was worth it for part 2 though, and hopefully it won't be as long for part 3. Best Nostalgia Trip: Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu & Eevee! It was almost exactly twenty years ago that I pestered my mom to buy me a copy of Pokémon Red after my brother received Pokémon Blue for Christmas, sparking a childhood love of Pokémon that has admittedly waned over the years. Returning to Kanto in Let's Go, Pikachu! was still a time machine though, one that meticulously recreates a landmark game of my childhood with beautiful, adorable new graphics. Not all of the changes made to cater to Pokémon GO players are necessarily improvements but it's still pretty heartwarming to see all of my old Poké friends in charming HD, even for this trainer who gave up trying to catch 'em all a long time ago. Most Culturally Unique Game: Mulaka "Educational" isn't usually a well-regarded quality in a video game, and even that label isn't quite right for Mulaka, but still, the game offers a fascinating window on a Native American culture that few people would have heard about otherwise. In the same way that so many other games draw upon Greek mythology, Japanese folktales, etc., Mulaka draws from the stories of the Tarahumara people of northern Mexico and builds a beautiful adventure game out of it. Some of the gameplay elements lack polish, but the overall journey is still compelling, and you're guaranteed to walk away with a new insight on a native Mexican people. The "Looks Aren't Everything" Award: West of Loathing If you only judged this game by its cover you probably wouldn't be impressed, but after a few minutes with West of Loathing you'd change your tune completely. This quirky, story-driven RPG absolutely delights in winking at the player, making fun of game mechanics tropes and generally just being as absurd as possible, and it's a genuinely hilarious ride while it lasts. That's something few games can truly boast: this is a comedy game through and through, and it works perfectly as one. Game of the Year 2018: Octopath Traveler Yes, I know this is my love of JRPGs shining through, but Octopath Traveler truly was an incredible experience on the Switch this year, one that beautifully plays off the nostalgia for SNES-era RPGs while also taking a chance on a unique system of eight characters with eight individual stories. Frankly, everything about this game is surprising, from its stylish HD-2D graphics to the fact that it's an exclusive third-party game for the Switch, but putting aside all of the quirky aspects of the game, Octopath Traveler is a fantastic RPG. It obeys the single most important rule of RPGs: make every battle interesting since otherwise exploration will just get tedious, and the game's shield-breaking and skill-boosting mechanics mean you always have to put a little thought into your attacks. The game also perfectly balances this with giving you the freedom to build whatever team you want to—with eight playable characters and twelve character classes there is a lot of room for variety and experimentation. Maybe some of the game's features get to be a little too quirky for some players, but it's refreshing to see a game take such an original direction with narrative, visuals, and combat mechanics, and most of all to see all of these aspects come together so well. Ultimately, just like the characters in its story, Octopath Traveler gathers disparate elements into a greater whole, one that takes players on a wonderfully unique and engaging RPG adventure.
  13. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch DYNASTY WARRIORS 8: Xtreme Legends Definitive Edition – Immerse yourself in the vivid tales of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Play as the mighty warrior Lu Bu, and embark on a journey that depicts his way of life. The Definitive Edition includes all of the downloadable content from past versions of the game. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Splatoon 2 Frosty Fest – Fans of the Splatoon 2 game have plenty of reasons to start inkin’ online*. Frosty Fest will turn Inkopolis Square into a festive winter wonderland. Inklings and Octolings will even get to use some very fancy glitter-filled ink! In keeping with the season, this special Splatfest asks: Who do you get most excited to spend the holidays with: Friends or Family? Choose a side and battle it out from Jan. 4 at 2 p.m. PT to Jan. 6 at 2 p.m. PT. You can also get seasonal gear that will be distributed via the Splatoon 2 News channel on your Nintendo Switch system. Look for these free gifts in late December. Need a reminder? Redeem your My Nintendo points** now for a themed wallpaper featuring the special gear. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Piranha Plant – Don’t forget that My Nintendo users who purchase and register the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game by Jan. 31, 2019, will receive a download code for Piranha Plant, which will join the battle as a playable character when it’s available. Get all the details at https://smashbros.nintendo.com/buy/#piranha-plant. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO PUZZLE BOBBLE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives DONKEY KONG JR. (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Diggerman (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Gelly Break – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Jewel Fever 2 – Full and Demo Versions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mech Rage (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Revenge of the Bird King (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Xenon Valkyrie+ (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Jan. 1
  14. Few Nintendo games excite the gaming community as much as Smash Bros., and given a bit of time with the series it's not hard to see why. Each previous title has impressively balanced fast, intense fighting game mechanics with a wealth of gaming references to many of Nintendo's beloved titles, as well as select third-party games. As a result each game has had a lot to live up to, and yet Nintendo still had the cheek to dub the latest entry Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. It really shouldn't surprise anyone that they've delivered on the promise of that title perfectly: this is the ultimate Smash Bros. experience, the ultimate multiplayer fighting game, and the ultimate collection of gaming references and nostalgia. The core gameplay feels as great as it ever has—Ultimate is fast, smooth, and there's no random tripping mechanics. Every Smash Bros. game does an amazing job of finding a happy balance of accessibility and depth, and that's certainly true here. You could put a controller in the hands of a brand new player explain the basics, and he'd be able to do okay. After hours of practice though, all of the depth of the gameplay opens up and the wealth of options shines through. Ultimate works as an intense 1v1 duel or as an insane 8-player mash-up; however you prefer to play, the gameplay manages to feel fresh and exciting every single time you start up a match. Ultimate also boasts a fantastic array of options for customizing your Smash Bros. experience, and a large part of that comes down to the sheer amount of content in this game. There are a whopping 76 characters to play as (with more on the way as DLC), and 103 stages to battle on (with, again, more on the way for a DLC fee). Just playing as every character once would take a significant amount of time, much less learning each one well enough to play at a high level. It's a little daunting perhaps, but the sheer variety this provides ensures there's always something new to try in Ultimate. The developers have also had a bit of fun at players' expense by making the starting roster a measly 8—the original 8 from the N64 game—and forcing players to unlock the rest. It may be a time consuming task but it's always exciting to see a new challenger appear, and giving players these characters piecemeal might actually help players acclimate to each character gradually instead of being overwhelmed from the start. Even without the insane size of the character roster, there are tons of little things to enjoy in Smash, including challenges and side modes. One of the highlights has to be the reworked Classic Mode. Now each character has their own themed journey based on their original game, and there are a handful of different final bosses which helps make each character's journey feel unique. It's just one of the many ways that Ultimate pays homage to the rich video game history represented here. And oh boy are there homages. The most unique new feature in Ultimate is Spirits, characters from other games who are not playable characters but are still represented by a uniquely themed fight. Chun-li from Street Fighter, for example, is represented by Zero Suit Samus with increased kicking power. There are some ingenious references in these Spirit battles, and they offer another fantastic way to pay tribute to the many amazing games that have graced Nintendo consoles over the years. You really can't help but shake your head at some of the clever twists the developers have cooked up here. When you win in one of these Spirit battles you're able to claim the Spirit as your own and use them to augment your power and abilities—just another interesting way to shake up the standard battle formula. Collecting every Spirit seems like a Herculean task but it's a fun single-player pursuit when you want a break from all of the multiplayer action. Solo play fans will also be excited to see Ultimate has a brand new, extensive single-player adventure mode called World of Light. In this mode you battle Spirits and possessed fighters to free them from the control of an angelic creature named Galeem. There's an extensive map to explore in World of Light and it really does get quite addictive as you gather more and more Spirits. It's also surprisingly long and offers plenty of challenges, even for experienced Smash Bros. players. It does get a little tiresome by the end but it's a great way to see the many unique Spirit battles that Ultimate offers. In addition to all of the different characters, stages, and rule sets, Ultimate also has you covered when it comes to finding your controller of choice. The game supports the same GameCube adapter that the Wii U used, so purists can dust off their GameCube controllers (admittedly, it doesn't really feel like Smash Bros. without a GameCube controller). The Pro controller also works well of course, and if you're a masochist you can try playing with a single Joy-Con—or maybe that's the best way to give your friend a disadvantage after she crushes you for the tenth time in a row. The one area that Ultimate disappoints is, not surprisingly, online play. Smash games have always had rocky online gameplay, but it's particularly frustrating now that Nintendo is charging an online subscription fee. First off, there's the ever present issue of button lag. It is, to be fair, the most understandable issue in a game like this where combat is so fast-paced, but it's still frustrating to have to deal with as it throws off the flow of gameplay so much. Although the much bigger culprit in that regard is connection lag. I'd consider my internet connection to be pretty decent—I've never had significant issues with any other online game I play—but just about every online match I've played has had some degree of lag. No matter what your connection is like though, there's no guarantee of smooth matches since, if your opponent's internet is slow, the whole match will be slow. At least it's easy to find a match—what can be trickier is finding the match you want, though. Ultimate has done away with the For Glory and For Fun modes of the previous Smash game and instead just has Quick Play which throws you into the first available match, and Battle Arenas where you're able to customize your preferences a bit more. Quick Play also allows you to set preferred rules so that the game will try to find the kinds of matches you want (1v1, items on, time matches, etc.) but Ultimate doesn't do a great job of adhering to your preferences. It'll find matches that are close, but you'll rarely get exactly the match up you want. That's where Battle Arena steps in, but even here there are some frustrating quirks. Arenas can hold up to eight players but can only have one match going at once, so up to four players are going to be spectating while they queue up. However, you can't change your character and retain your place in the queue—which is also a problem in Quick Play—so any time you want to make even a minor change you'll be booted to the back of the line. And of course, this being Nintendo, there's no way to notify friends in-game if you want to play—you'll have to use something outside of the game to message people to get a match going. Smash Bros. has always been at its best when you're in the same room with your friends battling it out, but it's still disappointing that even Ultimate, the culmination of the Smash series so far, leaves so much to be desired when it comes to online play. The presentation, however, is everything you'd want from Smash Bros. This game is gorgeous—you could easily spend a whole match just taking in the background details. Just like with all of the Spirit references, there's an insane amount of care put into all of the minor touches of the graphics and audio, such as Olimar's helmet cracking when he's knocked out. Naturally all of the amazing visuals are complemented by silky smooth animation that (at least offline) never suffers a single hiccup. And the final example of Ultimate's insane amount of content is the soundtrack, featuring over 850 songs, remixed and inspired by some of the most recognizable and catchiest tunes from games recent and old. Even if you wanted to just sit and listen to the music, you'd have hours and hours of content to enjoy, and every track sounds amazing. The numerous composers have done a truly incredible job of remixing and recreating all of the songs that will instantly spark nostalgia in your mind—there's no better soundtrack to battle to. With Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, the franchise continues to be one of the most addictive and satisfying fighting games around. It can't be understated though just how incredible it is that the developers have packed in so many references, so much love for gaming's history, into Ultimate. This is an interactive museum of Nintendo history, one whose scope truly is awe-inspiring between the intense, engaging matches with an amazingly large and varied cast of characters. Rating: 9 out of 10 Spirits
  15. Eliwood8

    Gris Review

    It was only a few months ago that we got our first look at Nomada Studio's gorgeously animated game Gris, but for me that was enough to immediately put it at the top of my most-wanted games list. Everything about the game's aesthetic in that reveal trailer was completely mesmerizing, and I'm happy to say the full game lives up to that expectation fully. There's only one word appropriate to describe this game: enchanting. The game opens with a mysterious girl sitting in the palm of a giant stone statue, singing, when suddenly her voice goes quiet and the statue begins to fracture. Without any text or dialogue, Gris is an enigmatic game, but the atmosphere speaks worlds. This description is woefully overused when talking about indie games like this but it applies here perfectly: Gris is a work of art, one that emotes to the player and touches you with only visuals and music. The lack of a traditional narrative is in no way detrimental to the experience of exploring this beautiful, melancholy world with a young girl who has lost her voice. And this really cannot be overstated or exaggerated: Gris is a completely gorgeous game. In some games you'll get one or two moments where the camera pans back and gives you a beautiful, screenshot-worthy glimpse of the environment. Gris is literally filled with these moments. Every other minute of the game could be an absolutely beautiful poster. And it's the game's surreal, dreamlike aesthetic with its delicate, ruined buildings and serene environments that draws you into the game so fully. Each new level manages to top the previous one in terms of stunning environmental design. On top of all of this outstanding scenery is a striking watercolor effect that further gives the game a feeling of beautiful fragility. And finally, tying all of this together is the detailed fluidity of the animation. Rarely do you see a game where even just the movement animations are so mesmerizing, but in Gris you can spend minutes just watching how the girl's dress flows around her as her delicate, spindly limbs tap along the ground. The artwork of Gris is, in short, a masterpiece. I can't overlook how much the soundtrack adds to the emotion of the game as well. The visuals set the scene for Gris's surreal, melancholy world but it's the music that truly transports you there. From the airy, atmospheric melodies as you explore ruined structures to the more energetic songs during chases and boss encounters, the soundtrack offers one magical song after another. The group Berlinist supplied the music in Gris and it truly is every bit as emotional and moving as the art design. So now that I'm done gushing about the beautiful art and music of Gris, let's get down to the actual gameplay, which follows some pretty classic platforming elements. There are a handful of locations to explore in this two-dimensional world, most of which is pretty linear, and you'll need to progress by overcoming simple platformer puzzles and gaining new abilities that allow you to explore each area fully. There are plenty of good platforming challenges here, the basics of which will be pretty familiar to anyone that enjoys platformers, but Gris does them with an undeniable style. Occasionally you might get a little stymied by the game's lack of direction (again, no text or dialogue), but each level of the game is short enough that you won't feel lost, you'll just have to examine your surroundings a little more closely. There aren't many truly revelatory moments in the gameplay of Gris, but the experience remains engaging throughout. Gris is also a pretty short experience, lasting around four hours or so. To be fair though, the game does a great job of keeping every minute of the game engaging, through its stunning visuals if nothing else, so even at that length Gris doesn't feel too short. Completionists can also try to complete all of the achievements and find the hidden icons scattered throughout the game—plus, these would be great excuses to give the entire game a second playthrough just to take in the scenery one more time. Gris takes players on an unforgettably beautiful journey through one gorgeous, stunning scene after another. The puzzle platformer gameplay is solid, but its the emotive atmosphere that makes Gris such a unique, enthralling experience, one whose incomparable art design and music leaves a lasting impression. Don't miss out on one of the most exquisite games of the year. Rating: 9 out of 10 Stars
  16. WOW! This is freaking insane! You'd think that everyday items would be at the top (they are for almost every state), but in CA the Switch, which coast $300? ...For all of 2018?!!
  17. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Donut County – Donut County is a story-based physics puzzle game where you play as an ever-growing hole in the ground. Raccoons have taken over Donut County with remote-controlled trash-stealing holes. You play as BK, a hole-driving raccoon who swallows up his friends and their homes to earn prizes. Sundered: Eldritch Edition – Confront hordes of terrifying enemies in an ever-changing world inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Sundered is a challenging and unique take on a classic genre from the creators of Jotun, now with local co-op. The Sundered: Eldritch Edition game is available Dec. 21. Battle Princess Madelyn – Follow the journey of a young knight in training, Madelyn, and her ghostly pet dog, Fritzy. They set out on a journey to save her kingdom and her family from the clutches of an evil wizard. InkyPen – Get your hands on thousands of comics with a monthly subscription. InkyPen includes comics from across the globe, from big-name publishers to indies and webcomics – this includes comics like Hellboy (Dark Horse), Robotech(Titan), Transformers and Judge Dredd (IDW), and Sarah’s Scribbles (Andrews McMeel Universal). Either read InkyPen yourself or set parental control restrictions in the app so you can share age-appropriate comics with younger readers. Read great classics and standalone series. Read comics set in the worlds of your favorite games, TV shows and books. Read across the widest range of genres and tastes available in one app. Subscribe to read it all without limitation! New DLC: SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzy – With the latest paid DLC* now available for the SNK HEROINES Tag Team Frenzygame, you can add the audacious Jeanne from the World Heroes series to your roster of heroines. Please click here for more information. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Earn Double Gold Points for a Limited Time! – Earn up to 600 My Nintendo Gold Points** – twice the normal amount – when you pre-purchase the digital version of the New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe game through Nintendo eShop or Nintendo.com (where available). The offer begins Dec. 20 at 9 a.m. PT and ends Jan. 10 at 8:59 p.m. PT. Click here for more information. Celebrate the Holidays with Animal Crossing Rewards – Hey, campers! Are you enjoying Jingle’s Toy Day Decor seasonal event that’s happening now in the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp game***? You can collect bell ornaments to exchange for in-game furniture and clothing that’s perfect for the season – it’s super fun! To help celebrate this event, we’re offering My Nintendo members a printable 2019 character birthday calendar, printable holiday cards and a digital wallpaper featuring Animal Crossing characters. Visit https://my.nintendo.com/news for more info. My Nintendo 2018 Favorites – Happy holidays, Nintendo fans! My Nintendo members’ most wished gifts of 2018 have been announced. Check them out here: https://happyholidays.nintendo.com/favorites/. Have a wonderful 2019! Limited-Time Offer – Be sure to get Piranha Plant in your Super Smash Bros. Ultimate game! Get all the details at https://smashbros.nintendo.com/buy/#piranha-plant. *Full version of game required to use DLC. Sold separately. **Gold Points are awarded based on the amount you pay (excluding tax and any points or discounts used) and have no cash value. Bonus points will be issued on the game’s launch day, are earned based on the original list price of the game on Nintendo eShop, and will vary by country and currency. Terms apply. https://accounts.nintendo.com/term_point. ***Persistent Internet and compatible smart device required. Data charges may apply. Also new this week: Aaero: Complete Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Abyss (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 25 ACA NEOGEO METAL SLUG 5 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives ATHENA (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 21 Awe (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Blacksea Odyssey (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Bring Them Home (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Cake Laboratory (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Chronus Arc (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) City Builder (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Clouds & Sheep 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 21 Clue: The Classic Mystery Game (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Desktop Soccer – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Digerati Indie Bundle: INK & HackyZack (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Dynamite Fishing – World Games (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 21 Funghi Explosion (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Guess the Character (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Horizon Shift ’81 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Kingmaker: Rise to the Throne (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Koloro (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 22 Leopoldo Manquiseil (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mahjong Solitaire Refresh – Full and Demo Versions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mana Spark (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 22 MIND: Path to Thalamus (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 23 Nightshade/百花百狼 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Nippon Marathon (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Odium to the Core (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 25 Omega Strike (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Party Arcade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pic-a-Pix Pieces – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pipe Push Paradise (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Rain World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) RAZED (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Revertia (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Super Hero Fight Club: Reloaded (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 Super Treasure Arena (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 24 The Keep (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) TRYBIT LOGIC (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Uncanny Valley (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 25 Venture Towns (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Viviette (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Wondershot (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 22
  18. Eliwood8

    Guacamelee! 2 Review

    The original Guacamelee! was one of the best indie games to come out in the last few years, combining classic Metroidvania progression with a tight, satisfying combat system. Guacamelee! 2 brings back everything that made the first game great, and ups the ante with new features that make Juan's adventure throughout different dimensions of the Mexiverse even more compelling. Tie up your boots and get your mask on, it's time for some luchador action. Seven years after Juan rescued Lupita in the first game, the two are happily married with two kids and living a quiet life on the agave farm. But Juan's old mentor Uay Chivo suddenly appears with dire news: the entire Mexiverse is in danger when a rogue luchador attempts to steal the Sacred Guacamole from the realm of El Otromundo. In case this premise isn't indication enough, Guacamelee! 2 is just as packed with humor as the first game, and there truly are a hilarious variety of jokes and pop culture references to enjoy here. This is a game that delights in being light-hearted, even as Juan traverses different dimensions and travels to hell, and it's an incredibly fun ride throughout. It's a game that features a buff luchador transforming himself into a chicken, after all. Besides, stealing guacamole is a serious offense that can't go unpunished. With Juan's mighty array of punches, kicks, and throws, you'll travel across an interconnected Metroidvania style map, picking up new abilities along the way which allow you to explore further. It's a classic gameplay formula and one that Drinkbox Studios has now executed perfectly not once but twice. Both Guacamelee! games capture that addictive thrill of exploring new areas and unlocking new abilities to gather more items and power-ups. It's a formula that just doesn't get old, especially when it's as well polished as it is in Guacamelee! 2. What really makes this game a joy to play is how perfectly it nails the two key aspects of a Metroidvania: combat and platforming. Every fight is engaging in Guacamelee! 2 because all of Juan's attacks are so satisfying to land, and combos flow smoothly. You can hit enemies with a rapid barrage of punches, launch them into the air, then slam them back down before grabbing them for a suplex. Guacamelee! 2 finds a delicate balance between giving you a lot of combat options without overwhelming you, so even by the end of the game when you have a variety of attacks to choose from, combat never feels overwhelming and Juan feels powerful but enemies are still threatening. There are also plenty of fantastic platforming sequences in Guacamelee! 2. The same principles from the combat system apply here: tight controls and smooth transitions between jumps, wall runs, and aerial acrobatics makes the platforming sections of the game a blast—platformers are at their best when even just moving and exploring is fun to play. The platforming here can also be quite difficult, particularly in the optional challenge areas, but even so it's never difficult for the wrong reasons. These sequences may demand perfect platforming from the player, but they never rely upon cheap deaths. That simply wouldn't be the honorable luchador way. Like the first game Guacamelee! 2 also supports multiplayer, but this time it's up to four players at once, which can make things hectic on screen but also makes things a little easier. Taking out a room full of skeletons isn't as much of a challenge when you've got allies keeping them busy while you handle the leader, after all. Couch co-op for a full game isn't all that common these days so it really is great to see it put to such good use here. From Guacamelee! to Severed to Guacamelee! 2, Drinkbox Studios has cultivated an absolutely gorgeous visual aesthetic. The rough shapes of characters and scenery is stylish, and the color palette is incredible—every single scene of the game pops with vivid colors and beautiful environment designs. It really can't be overstated how well this game captures both clear Mexican art influences and humor with one unforgettable look—just the way that chickens are animated is probably example enough of how charming this game is from start to finish. It shouldn't be any surprise then that the music is absolutely fantastic as well, with catchy, upbeat songs throughout the entire adventure and a lot of great Mariachi influence that makes for fantastic guitar and trumpet tunes. The game lasts about ten hours or so, which ends up feeling like the perfect length—there's a good variety of power-ups to collect and regions to explore without any of it ever getting tiresome. There are also plenty of optional challenges you can tackle if you want, including the aforementioned extra-difficult areas of the game which can feel relentless but are still satisfying to conquer. And if you just can't get enough luchador action there's a hard mode that opens up after finishing the game once—perfect for those platforming pros that are eager for more. Guacamelee! 2 is a worthy sequel. It captures all of the charm, humor, and challenge of the original while building upon the core gameplay to create yet more satisfying combat and platforming scenarios. Sure it may not be significantly different from the first game, but there's something to be said for honing a formula and executing it well, and Guacamelee! 2 handles the Metroidvania genre just about perfectly. Rating: 9 out of 10 Luchadores
  19. Not sure why Nintendo would feel the need to rebrand the Switch eShop. The eShop was a nice unified brand they could use across all current and future systems. It's definitely better that just calling it the "Wii Shop" or the "DSi Shop". Calling it the Nintendo Switch Online Shop could cause some confusion with some people thinking you need a Nintendo Switch Online membership to use it. I really hope this doesn't mean that are planning to shutdown the eShop.
  20. In the midst of a heated war between two countries, the death of a priestess heralds the resurrection of a world-destroying dark god, sealing the fates of both sides—but what if there was a way to stop it? Omensight: Definitive Edition, from developer Spearhead Games, takes players on a time-traveling murder mystery where you relive the last day before the destruction of the world from different perspectives, gathering clues to figure out what really happened, and how the calamity might be avoided. Although hampered by some technical issues, the process of unraveling the mystery will keep you captivated. You play as the Harbinger, a mythical warrior who only appears in times of crisis. With the power to relive the last day before the calamity, you're able to visit four key characters and, with their help, gather clues for what really happened to the Godless-Priestess and discover the cause of the spreading evil infecting the land. It's a great premise for a game and wonderfully told with interesting characters and the overarching mystery driving your every action. The characters you meet are on both sides of the war so you get to see things from every perspective and sometimes fight against both factions, which gives a satisfyingly well-rounded view of the game's world. And like any good mystery story, every clue you find only leads to more questions and pulls you into the narrative—Omensight is definitely a hard game to put down once you're invested in the overarching mystery and how these four characters relate to it. Additionally, this definitive edition includes the extra ending accessible in the post-game, which is a nice inclusion for anyone that might feel the normal ending is a touch bleak. Each time the day "resets," you choose whose day you want to follow, and from there the game plays out like an action-RPG: you fight enemies in real-time with a sword and engage in light 3D platforming as you explore and gather information. Sometimes you might reach the end of a day and find you're lacking a key piece of information to progress because that clue is actually found in a different character's day. You'll have no choice but to restart with another character, but one of the nice features in Omensight is that, once you do have the necessary clue, it's possible to jump straight to the important part of a character's day that you've already played, so you don't have to replay the whole thing. This can be a huge help because, even though there are little things different in each day for each character you visit, there's still a lot of repetition in Omensight and skipping over some of the tedious aspects reduces it a bit. Aside from gathering clues, the main focus of the gameplay is combat. The Harbinger is equipped with a sword and you can also rely upon the character you've selected to help in battle a bit. Combat in Omensight is a bit tricky to grasp, partially because of its slow, stylish nature. The Harbinger's attack combos tend to be flashy, with lots of jumping flourishes, which can make attacks feel choppy since there ends up being quite a delay between hitting the button and the actual action on screen. It takes some getting used to and can be extremely challenging in large group fights when you've got enemies on every side. Your attacks and combos are generally suited to one-on-one fights so anytime there are more than a few targets around you battles can get obnoxious as you try to bait out or focus on single targets. The game's fixed camera and auto-targeting system don't help here either—both can mean it's easy to attack a target you weren't intending to, oftentimes leaving yourself open to counterattacks. And finally there's the level up system which unlocks helpful new abilities, but actually using them can be a bit finnicky since some require holding down the attack button—sometimes you'll end up accidentally using one of these abilities, or it won't seem to trigger as you're pressing the button. The whole combat system in Omensight is serviceable but it would have been nice to see the same kind of unique thought put into it as is found in the story. Omensight also suffers from some persistent technical issues, generally surrounding loading screens. There's a major loading screen at the start of each day or while transitioning to a new location and the stuttering visuals on screen as the game loads are incredibly distracting. Furthermore, you'll also encounter short loading screens while moving between doors, which can also make the frame rate drop for a bit while the game struggles to load everything properly. Thankfully these issues never truly interfere with the game, as even when the frame rate stutters you're almost never in combat, but the clunkiness can still be hard on the eyes. And it's a shame since the game's gorgeous art style deserves a silky smooth frame rate. Bright, vivid colors make every environment pop—the outdoor locations are easily a highlight—while the character design makes these anthropomorphic animals feel stylish and unique. The aforementioned flashy combat system makes for some great animation as well—even if it feels like it interrupts the flow of battle, seeing the Harbinger flip around to stab an enemy on the ground is definitely cool. The downside to the graphics is, of course, simply the fact that there really aren't too many different locations since you're reliving the same day over and over, but the distinctive art style makes up for it. The music isn't half bad either, with grand, epic songs to accompany your time-traveling murder investigation, and there's plenty of great voice work to bring the characters to life. At about seven or eight hours, Omensight feels like just the right length. Given its cyclical structure any longer might have been overdoing it, but its current length is just enough to make the story intriguingly elaborate but also engaging from start to finish with no unnecessary fluff. Plus, if you do want a little more out of the game, you can try to collect all of the hidden lore that adds to each character's backstory. For a game so focused on narrative these are definitely worth pursuing. Omensight: Definitive Edition mashes together time travel storytelling with a murder mystery, and the result is a unique, engaging adventure that keeps you eager for each new revelatory clue in the investigation. Parts of the game unfortunately lack polish, from the choppy loading screens to the somewhat awkward combat system that isn't quite as fluid as it should be, but the overall package is one that feels stylish and compelling from start to finish, and is certainly a must-play for anyone that enjoys a good mystery story. Rating: 8 out of 10 Omens Review copy provided by the publisher Omensight: Definitive Edition is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  21. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch GRIS: Gris is a hopeful young girl lost in her own world, dealing with a painful experience in her life. Her journey through sorrow is manifested in her dress, which grants new abilities to better navigate her faded reality. As the story unfolds, Gris will grow emotionally and see her world in a different way, revealing new paths to explore using her new abilities. Quarantine Circular: A group of scientists interrogate an alien discovered at the heart of a global pandemic. Work with your team, make decisions, and uncover the alien’s true intentions. Inspired by classic adventure games and modern dialogue systems, Bithell Games has created another single-session story which respects your time and intelligence. Firewatch: The year is 1989. You are a man named Henry who has retreated from your messy life to work as a fire lookout in the Wyoming wilderness. Perched high atop a mountain, it’s your job to look for smoke and keep the wilderness safe. Your supervisor, a woman named Delilah, is your only contact with the world you’ve left behind. When something strange draws you out of your lookout tower and into the world, you’ll explore a wild and unknown environment, facing questions and making choices that can build or destroy the only meaningful relationship you have. The Firewatch game is available Dec. 17. Fitness Boxing – Demo Version – Get off the couch and get moving with fun, boxing-based rhythmic exercises set to the instrumental beats of songs by popular artists. You can personalize your workouts by selecting from different fitness goals. Train your way, whether you’re on your own, with a friend, at home, or on the go! Now you can work out anytime, anywhere on the Nintendo Switch system! The demo version of the Fitness Boxing game is now available for download from Nintendo eShop. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online – These three games are now available in the service*: Adventures of Lolo – After the love of his life, Lala, is kidnapped by the devilish King Egger and taken to his haunted castle, our hero, Lolo, sets out to rescue her. The journey is perilous, as the Great Devil’s fortress is guarded by a massive army. But Lolo has a few tricks up his sleeve. Combining clever environmental puzzles with tricky enemies and an engaging style, Adventures of Lolo is a true classic. Ninja Gaiden – Take on the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a rising ninja in his family’s clan who travels to America to seek vengeance for his father’s death. Fight your way through six challenging side-scrolling chapters/14 stages (not including boss battles) while defeating gangs of street thugs, battling evil ninjas and fighting barbarian bosses by using the deadly Dragon Sword, ninja skills and ninja magic. Wario’s Woods – Control Toad as he scrambles along the bottom of the screen picking up monsters and bombs and arranging them vertically, horizontally and diagonally to clear the screen of enemies. This game features several modes of play, such as basic, lesson and time race. If you like puzzle games like Dr. Mario, you will definitely love this one! Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO TWINKLE STAR SPRITES (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Almightree: The Last Dreamer (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives DOUBLE DRAGON II The Revenge (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Atari Flashback Classics (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Big Bash Boom (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Blue Rider (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Football Manager 2019 Touch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Gnomes Garden (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hunter’s Legacy: Purrfect Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hyperide: Vector Raid (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 17 INSTANT TENNIS – Full and Demo Versions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ivanych vs. Eared Beast (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Julie’s Sweets (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Knights of Pen & Paper 2 Deluxiest Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Knights of Pen & Paper Bundle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Lazy Galaxy: Rebel Story (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 14 ’n Verlore Verstand (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Omensight: Definitive Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Oxyjet (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Peace, Death! Complete Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 14 Race Arcade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 14 RollerCoaster Tycoon Adventures (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SEGA AGES Phantasy Star (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Sheltered (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 18 Solar Flux (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Starman (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  22. Eliwood8

    Dead Cells Review

    Play, die, repeat. Roguelikes have taken advantage of this simple gameplay loop since the original game that coined the term, Rogue, released in 1980. I'll be honest though, as a person that generally prefers narratives and a rewarding sense of progression, I don't often find a Roguelike that truly clicks with me. But Dead Cells, from developer Motion Twin, is one of those rare exceptions. By blending some Metroidvania mechanics into the extra challenging, procedurally generated game design of a Roguelike, Dead Cells is an experience unlike any other. Storytelling is not a priority in Dead Cells. You don't sit through long cutscenes, even when you first start up the game, and in fact your very reason for exploring the game's world isn't fully explained. In a way though, that kind of suits the game. Dead Cells is about exploring and trying new approaches, and the scant few details about the story and setting that you pick up while collecting loot and fighting monsters suits that approach perfectly. And even if you make it to the end of the game without fully understanding why you're there (or even what you are, exactly) the mysterious and derelict atmosphere of Dead Cells is undeniably compelling. As a Roguelike, every time you play the game the details are a little different. The stage layout, enemy placement, loot you can find—all of it is randomized. Roguelikes can be discouraging since, if you die, you have to start from the beginning without any of the awesome weapons and perks you've picked up along the way. Dead Cells is no exception to this and can be frustrating, but what keeps Dead Cells feeling fresh and engaging playthrough after playthrough is the fluid, satisfying combat system. The action in Dead Cells is fantastic and almost hypnotic when you get into a good groove, no matter what combination of weapons you're using. All of your attacks (and enemy attacks) are quick, and the potential for devastating combos makes every enemy encounter just plain fun. Even when you're discouraged by starting over there's a magnetic draw toward picking up your sword once more. Dead Cells also does a great job of balancing both breadth of content and easing the player into the core mechanics of the game. There are several different kinds of weapons you can use, shields, items, magic spells—enough that you can approach combat in a unique way in dozens of playthroughs. There's a lot of variability to enjoy as all of these weapons and items are useful, and the best part is that Dead Cells doesn't overwhelm you on your first few playthroughs. New weapons and items have to be unlocked as you play so your first runs will stick to more basic equipment while you learn best practices and suss out your own preferences. It makes the game inviting to new players but also include tons of depth for veterans. Additionally, although you have to chance upon specific weapons every time you play, you can earn permanent upgrades that help make the game a little easier—or at least give you more options as you try again. In a way, the game gets harder/more complex as you get better at playing it, which helps prevent the game from being too daunting at the start. Another unique aspect of Dead Cells is the way it incorporates elements of Metroidvania exploration into the game. In addition to randomly generating rooms and enemies, there are branching paths throughout the game that let you explore different environments—all with the possibility of different treasures to find. But again, Dead Cells eases players in by locking these branching routes off until you unlock certain permanent upgrades, so you won't just stumble into the harder regions of the game when you're just starting out. It's just another way that the game finds the right balance between randomized content and giving the player clear paths to follow that won't overwhelm. Dead Cells embodies careful and polished game design in every aspect. And that includes presentation, because the pixelated graphics are absolutely gorgeous. The background scenery is foreboding, the character/enemy designs are stylish, and most of all it's just impressive how well detailed everything looks while relying upon this pixely look. And all of that fast combat is displayed with gorgeous, fluid animation—including the occasional humorous touch for our mysterious protagonist. The art of Dead Cells never stops impressing, whether you're on your first playthrough or your hundredth. The music composition is sharp as well, even if the game more often relies upon a slightly muted background soundtrack. It would be hard to focus on the music anyway with all of the intense combat to enjoy. In perfect pick-up-and-play fashion, one run of Dead Cells only lasts an hour or so, which is just enough time to make the gameplay feel varied and engaging but not so long that it stings too much when you die and have to start over. That's an important balancing act for a Roguelike, where maintaining interest in trying again and again is vital, and Dead Cells handles it well. Dead Cells infuses enough Metroidvania exploration concepts into the Roguelike formula to make the gameplay feels fresh and engaging, even in a time where this genre swarms the indie landscape. More importantly though, the polished, satisfying combat, combined with the wealth of possibilities when it comes to weapons and items, makes every playthrough of Dead Cells wonderfully engaging and exciting. Roguelikes aren't for everyone, with their cyclical, ever-challenging gameplay, but this one might be enough to convince a few new players to give the genre a try. Rating: 8 out of 10 Cells
  23. Eliwood8

    Cat Quest Review

    Cat Quest from developer The Gentlebros captures the essential ingredients of an RPG adventure in a compact, adorable package. When the evil Drakoth kidnaps his sister, our feline fighter must unlock his potential as a Dragonblood cat and grow powerful enough to stop the mysterious figure. What follows is an enjoyable journey across a wide open continent rife with caves to explore and treasures to find—just don't expect too much depth from this lighthearted adventure. The developers have described Cat Quest as an effort to streamline the kind of open world experience found in games like The Legend of Zelda and Skyrim, and in that respect they've certainly succeeded. Cat Quest feels like every action-RPG you've ever played simplified down to its most basic roots: fighting monsters, exploring caves, and earning EXP. Your stats are kept to an easy to understand handful of numbers (HP, physical attack power, magical attack power), equipment management is streamlined so you aren't constantly juggling your inventory (for example, if you have a wizard's hat and pick up a second one it will simply improve the one you already have rather than giving you a duplicate), and the game world is large enough to encourage exploration but not so large that you're ever in danger of getting lost. Everything in Cat Quest has the feel of an epic RPG adventure but on a much smaller, more manageable scale, one that would be perfect for novice players. Of course, part of the appeal of open world games is their complexity, which allows two players to have significantly different experiences within the same game. By removing that depth, Cat Quest ends up feeling rather shallow. There is very little variety in the caves and dungeons you explore (all of them are short and simply require you to kill every enemy found within), your combat options are limited to choosing which spells you prefer to use which, despite some minor differences in their area of effect or status ailments, are all equally effective on any enemy, and equipping different weapons changes nothing about how you attack. There are also only a handful of enemy types in the whole game, and even then there's very little variety in their attack patterns or weaknesses. Occasionally you might see a jump in difficulty, but raising a few levels evens things out quickly. Cat Quest's gameplay formula is in no way bad but it'll likely leave some players wishing for more. If the game does click for you though you'll be treated to more cat puns than you can handle. Your main quest to rescue your sister leads you on numerous side quests as well, and it's clear the developers were having a blast thinking up every possible feline, fur, and purr related pun. It can make the dialogue feel incessantly goofy, but thankfully it's never obnoxious. Cat Quest stays squarely in charming, silly territory that will keep you smirking even if it doesn't make you laugh out loud. Perhaps it helps that the game isn't terribly long either. The main storyline only takes on a handful of quests, but you kind of have to spend time on side quests to level up enough to tackle the main challenges (oddly, side quests give you a recommended level but the main story never offers a similar helpful hint). But even working through the majority of side quests as well as the big baddie only takes six or seven hours, while the post-game side quests will extend the game's length a little further. One of the more valuable features in Cat Quest though is the Mew Game mode, available after completing the story once, which is essentially a challenge mode that lets you select difficulty mods like disabling EXP gains or limiting the number of times you can die/revive. More than most games these challenges add a decent incentive to replay the whole adventure, especially if you thought it was too easy the first time anyway. With bright, colorful, and cartoonish graphics Cat Quest only reinforces its appeal to the younger crowd. Anyone is likely to appreciate the overwhelmingly cute style of the game though—our hero's running animation is particularly adorable. As mentioned the game doesn't do much to make the different caves and environments feel unique but the game's look is undeniably fun. It shouldn't be any surprise that the music is much the same: not the most original score you'll hear in a video game, but it's bubbly and chipper and a nice aural backdrop for the experience. Cat Quest is a perfectly enjoyable little RPG adventure, whose only real fault is simply the fact that it doesn't try to be anything more than that. In an effort to streamline the open-world RPG formula, the developers might have gone a bit overboard, simplifying Cat Quest down to such a basic action-RPG that there's little depth to explore, outside of a repetitive cycle of taking on side quests and exploring identical caves. Still, even if the game lacks bite, the adorable feline world makes for a cute setting, purrfect for a young player's first action-RPG adventure or a relaxing, undemanding afternoon of gameplay. Rating: 7 out of 10 Cats
  24. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Super Smash Bros. Ultimate – Gaming icons clash in the ultimate brawl you can play anytime, anywhere! Smash rivals off the stage as newcomers like Simon Belmont and King K. Rool join Inkling, Ridley and every fighter in Super Smash Bros. history. Enjoy enhanced speed and combat on new stages based on the Castlevania series, the Super Mario Odyssey game and dozens of other video game franchises. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate will be available Dec. 7. Fortnite Season 7 – Fortnite Season 7 has arrived on the Nintendo Switch system with the smash of a mysterious iceberg. Winter has brought many changes to the Fortnite map for you to explore. Ziplines are a new way to help you travel to and from high terrain. For you seekers of chills and thrills, the new Frosty Flights location and Expedition outposts are outfitted with the new Stormwing planes so you can take to the skies. There are tons of new areas to venture to and secrets to uncover, so stay frosty. Katamari Damacy REROLL – The stop-at-nothing pushing prince is back and ready to reroll. When the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky, he orders you, his pint-sized princely son, to put the twinkle back in the heavens above. Join the King and Prince of Cosmos on their wacky adventure to restore the stars at home or on the go. The Katamari Damacy REROLL full game and demo versions will be available on Dec. 7. Carcassonne – Make your kingdom come alive with meeples, tiles and tactics. Draw and place your tiles to build your medieval city. Cities, roads, monasteries and fields will help you enlarge your landscape, where you can place your followers, the meeples. Whether they are knights, robbers or farmers, each meeple will help you control your territory and win points. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online – Three games are coming to the service* on Dec. 12, including: Adventures of Lolo – After the love of his life, Lala, is kidnapped by the devilish King Egger and taken to his haunted castle, our hero, Lolo, sets out to rescue her. The journey is perilous, as the Great Devil’s fortress is guarded by a massive army. But Lolo has a few tricks up his sleeve. Combining clever environmental puzzles with tricky enemies and an engaging style, Adventures of Lolo is a true classic. Ninja Gaiden – Take on the role of Ryu Hayabusa, a rising ninja in his family’s clan who travels to America to seek vengeance for his father’s death. Fight your way through six challenging side-scrolling chapters/14 stages (not including boss battles) while defeating gangs of street thugs, battling evil ninjas and fighting barbarian bosses by using the deadly Dragon Sword, ninja skills and ninja magic. Wario’s Woods – Control Toad as he scrambles along the bottom of the screen picking up monsters and bombs and arranging them vertically, horizontally and diagonally to clear the screen of enemies. This game features several modes of play, such as basic, lesson and time race. If you like puzzle games like Dr. Mario, you will definitely love this one! Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Celebrate the Launch of the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Game with My Nintendo Rewards – In honor of the release, My Nintendo is also offering a Super Smash Bros. themed January 2019 calendar and wallpapers. Redeem your points** to get this cool reward when it’s available on Dec. 7. Don’t forget that My Nintendo users who purchase and register the game by Jan. 31, 2019, will receive a download code for Piranha Plant, which will join the battle as a playable character when it’s available. Also new this week: 3D Billiards – Pool & Snooker (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) ACA NEOGEO NEO GEO CUP ’98: THE ROAD TO THE VICTORY (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives ROUTE 16 (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) ARK: Survival Evolved (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Atelier Arland series Deluxe Pack (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Atelier Meruru ~The Apprentice of Arland~ DX (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Atelier Rorona ~The Alchemist of Arland~ DX (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Atelier Totori ~The Adventurer of Arland~ DX (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Basketball (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Beholder: Complete Edition (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Color Zen (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Conduct TOGETHER! (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Desert Child (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 11 Everspace – Stellar Edition (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 11 Guacamelee! 2 (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 10 Hello Neighbor Hide and Seek (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 7 Kingdom Two Crowns (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) LongStory: A dating game for the real world (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Monica e a Guarda dos Coelhos (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Rival Megagun (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Santa Tracker (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 7 SEGA Genesis Classics (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) – Available Dec. 7 Ultimate Runner (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) Xenon Valkyrie+ – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch) PixelMaker Studio (Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS) Call of Nightmare (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)