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  1. Eliwood8

    Mario Tennis Aces Review

    It wouldn't be a Nintendo system with a Mario sports title, now would it? Mario Tennis Aces leads the sports spin-offs on the Switch with all of our Mushroom Kingdom favorites taking to the court for a friendly match or two. Aces comes with the standard bells and whistles of local and online multiplayer, as well as a variety of new features to liven up the game and a return to single-player story mode. This game has a lot to prove after the rather disappointingly bare-boned Ultra Smash on the Wii U, but thankfully Nintendo and Camelot managed to avoid a double fault of Mario tennis games. Aces brings an adventure mode back to a Mario sports game, something we haven't seen for quite a few games now. The story involves an ancient powerful tennis racket taking over Luigi's body, so Mario has to collect the five infinity stones power stones before the possessed Luigi gets them and regains the full power of the legendary racket. It's not a super original story and even by Mario game standards feels pretty flat, but adventure mode does offer a nice single-player option that is perfect for training. In addition to normal matches adventure mode has several optional challenges that are essentially tutorials for practicing aim and the new zone mechanics in Aces. Plus there are boss battles which, while a little tedious at times with some of their hazards, offer plenty of practice for blocking powerful zone shots. Even if the story is super short, these challenges offer a nice bit of practice before you dive into a tournament or an online match. Obviously Aces is, at its core, a classic tennis game, with a decent variety of characters (each with their own styles) and courts (each with their own hazards). The big additions to Aces revolve around the new energy meter, which charges as you play. When a star appears on the court you can spend some of your energy to activate a powerful zone shot to aim at a specific spot on the court. These extra-fast shots are particularly difficult to return, but the defending player can use their own energy to activate zone speed to slow down time, making it easier to reach the ball. It might take a few matches to really get a handle on how to use these abilities effectively but they're a wonderfully balanced way of adding challenge without overwhelming one player since, even if your opponent uses a lot of zone shots, you can always rely on your own zone speed to keep up. And it's nice to have these new abilities that aren't wildly out of character for tennis—essentially they just power up your offensive and defensive abilities. With a fully charged meter you can also execute an even more powerful special shot, the main advantage of which is breaking your opponent's racket. Rackets have a limited durability in Aces; if a player fails to block a zone shot the racket takes partial damage while a special shot will fully break the racket—if all of a player's rackets break it's an instant loss. Although it's neat to have another way to win and another aspect to consider as you play, the concept of breaking rackets feels a little out of place, especially when practiced players can learn to block damage from these powerful shots anyway. In a way it just feels like it's punishing new players rather than adding a deep or rewarding twist to the gameplay. Another new feature that is tricky to master—and may be a little discouraging for new players—is trick shots, which allow you to quickly dash toward the ball to return it. The catch here is that you really have to be precise with your timing to use trick shots effectively, often to the point of reading your opponent before the ball is even over the net, so it can be a risky maneuver. However, the reward for using trick shots is significant. Not only can it help you reach out-of-the-way shots, you'll gain energy for well-timed trick shots, making them feel like a more unbalanced feature than zone shots or speed—it's just not fun at all to play against someone that constantly uses trick shots. As a side mode Aces also includes a motion-controlled option called Swing mode. Anyone that played Wii Sports Tennis should remember the basic mechanics here, and although swinging the Joy-Con around like a racket is a fun novelty, Swing mode might be best used as a party mode with friends that don't play as much rather than a mode with much real depth. Naturally the multiplayer options are a big part of Aces, and you can play locally or online to face off with tennis players near and far. In addition to simple quick matches against random opponents, Aces offers a tournament mode that lets you compete for points and the glory of earning high marks each month. The concept is great, and perhaps this is more of a problem with the size or variety of the online community but you'll most likely find some wildly inconsistent match-ups as you play, swinging back and forth between opponents that you easily crush and others that you can't seem to score a single point on. On the bright side I never waited long for an opponent, but the balancing of skill levels left me rather disinterested in taking tournaments seriously. The visuals and audio have all of the colorful, familiar Mario and friends design you'd expect out of a Mario sports game. There's little that will surprise you if you've played virtually any other Mario sports title but even so, Aces looks great on the Switch, both on the TV and handheld. And even if the music rarely has a chance to shine through during intense rallies, there are some fun compositions here as well. Mario Tennis Aces adds some fun new features to the familiar tennis rally, as well as some more advanced techniques that are a bit obnoxious unless you put in the time to fully master their effects, which is only made more difficult by the inconsistent matchmaking while playing online. Still, Aces offers all the standard tennis gameplay for fans to enjoy, and if you do put in the effort to learn all of the more advanced aspects of the game there's a decent amount of depth to enjoy here. Rating: 7 out of 10 Rackets
  2. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – In the Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes game, one player is trapped in a room with a ticking time bomb they must defuse. The other players are the “Experts” who must give the instructions to defuse the bomb by deciphering the information found in the Bomb Defusal Manual. But there’s a catch: The Experts can’t see the bomb, so everyone will need to talk it out – fast! Puzzle solving and communication skills – and maybe a few friendships – will be put to the test as players race to defuse bombs while communicating quickly, clearly and effectively. The Walking Dead: The Final Season - Season Pass – After years on the road facing threats both living and dead, a secluded school might finally be Clementine and AJ’s chance for a home. But protecting it will mean sacrifice. In this gripping, emotional final season, your choices define your relationships, shape your world, and determine how Clementine’s story ends. 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: Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Flower Festival Event – Every day is a new day in the Animal Crossing: Pocket Campsmartphone game. Starting today, the Flower Festival event begins. Stop by your garden to get special event flower seeds. If you cross-pollinate event flowers, you can get seeds for flowers of different colors. Trade event flowers to Lloid for items like a red-and-yellow bicycle and Flower Festival clothing, among other fun summer items. This event is running from Aug. 16 at 11 p.m. PT through Aug. 28 at 10:59 p.m. PT. August Legendary Pokémon – The Legendary duo of Kyogre and Groudon has dominated the land and seas since originally appearing in the Hoenn region. Now you can get one of them via a code from your local participating GameStop store from Aug. 3 to Aug. 26. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Pokémon Sun players can get Kyogre, while Pokémon Ultra Moon and Pokémon Moon players can get Groudon. Available while supplies last. Contact your local GameStop or check https://www.gamestop.com/stores to find participating stores. Nintendo Labo Creators Contest No. 2 Ends Soon – Calling Nintendo Labo fans! In less than one week, the latest Nintendo Labo Creators Contest ends. Have you started on your entry? A team of Nintendo Labo judges will select two Grand Prize winners and eight runner-up winners in two categories: Best Toy-Con Musical Instrument and Best Gaming Experience using Toy-Con Garage. The contest ends at 10:59 a.m. PT on Aug. 20. You can also check out other submissions here – and don’t forget to give a “like” to your favorites! The prizes include a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system, Nintendo Labo Creators jackets and more. For more info, please visit the official contest site at https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/.* *Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec), ages 13+. Nintendo Switch system and Nintendo Labo kit required. Contest begins 11AM PT on 7/19/18 and ends at 10:59AM PT on 8/20/18. To enter, upload a video of your Toy-Con creation or invention as detailed in the Official Rules. 2 Grand Prize winners will each receive one (1) collectible Nintendo Switch system (ARV: $ $1,000 USD), one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). 8 Runner-Up winners will each receive one (1) collectible pair of Joy-Con controllers, one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). Total ARV of all prizes: $3,640 USD. Chances of winning a prize depend on eligibility and quality of entries received, and how well each meets the judging criteria. Details and restrictions apply. For Official Rules, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest-rules/. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO METAL SLUG 4 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) All-Star Fruit Racing (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 21 Animated Jigsaws: Beautiful Japanese Scenery – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives Kid’s Horehore Daisakusen (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) CastleStorm (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Detective Gallo (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 17 FLIP OVER FROG (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) FunBox Party (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Nitro Ball (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Manual Samuel (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Monopoly for Nintendo Switch – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Morphite – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Next Up Hero (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Out of The Box (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 22 Persian Nights: Sands of Wonders (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 17 Polygod (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 17 Red’s Kingdom (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Robbotto (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Spectrum (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 20 Tiny Hands Adventure (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Treadnauts (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 17
  3. Eliwood8

    Road to Ballhalla Review

    One part Marble Madness, one part rhythm game, and just a pinch of silly humor, Road to Ballhalla from developer Torched Hill and publisher tinyBuild Games manages to combine several disparate elements into one cohesive game, one that is simple enough to be easily accessible but with enough depth to keep more hardcore players engaged. Even if you're looking to play through the campaign once though and not master all of the game's challenges, Road to Ballhalla offers a fun little experience with arcade-style challenges backed up by a killer soundtrack. Road to Ballhalla isn't a story driven game but I have to give special mention to the game's sense of humor. Scattered throughout each level is cheeky commentary, including pointed barbs at the player when you fail and some silly puns/references, and the jokes land far more often than not. It's like having a friend watching you play and giving you a good-natured ribbing, and it's nice to see a developer just having fun with their game. The best part might be the meta humor—be sure to check out the easy mode option in the game's settings. In Road to Ballhalla you control a ball (surprise surprise) and ultimately your goal is to simply reach the end of the stage by rolling past all variety of hazards. The catch here that makes the game a bit more unique is that it's essentially a rhythm game—hazards appear on a rhythmic beat so you want to get into the groove to roll through a level smoothly. Like a lot of rhythmic games it's incredibly satisfying to find that perfect flow. In Ballhalla, every time you reach a new checkpoint feels like a nice accomplishment. It helps that the game isn't incredibly difficult. There are challenges to be sure, and you're sure to die a few times on each level, but maybe it's the focus on rhythmic gameplay that makes the game engaging from one attempt to the next rather than stressful and tense. And Road to Ballhalla definitely takes it easy on the player in a couple of respects. One, not all hazards are instant death, so even if you're a little off the beat and take some damage it's not the end of the world. Granted, not all hazards are so kind, but it's still nice to have that wiggle room. Two, there are generous checkpoints throughout each level, and checkpoints restore your health. Even if you do die you'll never lose too much progress. And finally, rather than featuring a time limit or high score, each level has two requirements for full marks: collect all of the yellow orbs and die five times or fewer. For completionists these add a nice extra challenge but aren't overwhelming—the yellow orbs are generally laid out across the most efficient path anyway and dying isn't so common that five or fewer is an insurmountable challenge. It feels like the game isn't out to punish you needlessly, which is a nice change of pace for an arcade-style action game. The one downside is that there are only 24 levels, short enough that you could conceivably finish the entire game in just one sitting. On the other hand, with a relatively modest number of levels each one can offer unique challenges, so there aren't any pointlessly repeated concepts or hazards. Each level feels new and engaging, and the game's rhythm makes it easy to keep playing one level after another. Plus, if you are a completionist, there are actually quite a few more challenges to tackle. The main levels may not have a time limit but you can also play Rush versions which are time trials: beat the level under a specific amount of time. This is definitely a lot more challenging but given the rhythm-driven gameplay it still feels fairly natural, and even casual players might want to give it a try. Once you've had your fill of that too you can try to tackle the game's special scavenger hunt, which gives you cryptic clues for one hidden exit after another. The downside is you'll need to replay levels to get to them but it's a nice extra touch for players who've mastered everything else. Given the rhythm focus of the gameplay it should be no surprise that the music in Road to Ballhalla is excellent. More than just getting you into the groove, the soundtrack has an almost hypnotic beat to it, one that is almost relaxing if you weren't focused on dodging lasers and pitfalls. It's truly a mark of care and quality that each song feels so well tailored to the level it appears in. The visual side of the presentation is decidedly more minimalist, but even if the game is mostly just a bunch of colored grids with your ball rolling along it's still rather charming. And again there's something ironically relaxing about the game's simple graphics and groovy soundtrack—maybe that's what makes it so easy to keep playing even when you've died a dozen times in the same spot. At a glance Road to Ballhalla may look like the kind of game you've played plenty of times, but the game distinguishes itself with some important differences that keep it engaging and entertaining from the first note to the last. The rhythmic gameplay makes it easy to dive right into the game and keep playing level after level as the music keeps you entranced and the challenging yet fair level design leaves you eager to tackle each new stage. It's a shame that the main game is relatively short, but if you're willing to take on the more difficult time trials Road to Ballhalla will keep you rolling and grooving for hours. Rating: 8 out of 10 Balls Review copy provided by the publisher Road to Ballhalla is available now on the Switch eShop for $14.99.
  4. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch OKAMI HD – Take the role of Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess who inhabits the form of a legendary white wolf Shiranui. Use magical abilities, attacks, and Celestial Brush techniques to restore the land of Nippon to its previous glory full of life and color. Minit – Minit is a peculiar little adventure played 60 seconds at a time. Journey outside the comfort of your home to help unusual folk, uncover countless secrets and overcome dangerous foes, all in the hope of lifting a rather unfortunate curse that ends each day after just one minute. 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL – When Turing, the world’s first sapient machine, teams up with a struggling journalist, the unlikely duo find themselves drawn into the shadows behind the dazzling lights of Neo-San Francisco. The secrets they uncover could shake the very foundations of society. 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL fuses a classic-style adventure game with lush pixel art and a catchy electronic soundtrack that explores modern-day issues of individuality, freedom and identity. The 2064: Read Only Memories INTEGRAL game will be available on Aug. 14. DRAGON BALL FIGHTERZ – Open Beta – Go head to head in VS Online* with no fewer than 23 characters and 13 stages. Don’t forget to also stop by the Battle Tutorial to sharpen your skills and master all kinds of devastating techniques. The Open Beta servers are scheduled to be on between 9 p.m. PT on Aug. 9 and 11:59 p.m. PT on Aug. 11. 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: Calling All Nintendo Labo Fans! – In less than two weeks, the latest Nintendo Labo Creators Contest No. 2 ends! Have you started on your entry? A team of Nintendo Labo judges will select four winners in two categories: Best Toy-Con Musical Instrument and Best Gaming Experience using Toy-Con Garage. The contest ends at 10:59 a.m. PT on Aug. 20. You can also check out other submissions here – and don’t forget to give a “like” to your favorites! The prizes include a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system, Nintendo Labo Creators jackets and more. For more info, please visit the official contest site at https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/. Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec), ages 13+. Nintendo Switch system and Nintendo Labo kit required. Contest begins 11AM PT on 7/19/18 and ends at 10:59AM PT on 8/20/18. To enter, upload a video of your Toy-Con creation or invention as detailed in the Official Rules. 2 Grand Prize winners will each receive one (1) collectible Nintendo Switch system (ARV: $ $1,000 USD), one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). 8 Runner-Up winners will each receive one (1) collectible pair of Joy-Con controllers, one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). Total ARV of all prizes: $3,640 USD. Chances of winning a prize depend on eligibility and quality of entries received, and how well each meets the judging criteria. Details and restrictions apply. For Official Rules, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest-rules/. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO PREHISTORIC ISLE 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) BlobCat (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Catch ‘Em! Goldfish Scooping (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Cosmic Star Heroine (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 14 EARTHLOCK – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) GREEN (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Megaton Rainfall (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Nightmares from the Deep 2: The Siren’s Call (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 10 Pixel Action Heroes – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Shut Eye (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) State of Mind (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 15 SubaraCity (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) TETRA’s Escape (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 10 The Amazing Shinsengumi: Heroes in Love (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Toki Tori 2+ – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Unexplored (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Valkyria Chronicles 4 – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  5. Originally released in 2017, four years after the first game, The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk from developer Studio Fizbin and publisher Headup Games brings players back to the land of Asposia where, despite Robert's heroic feats in the first game, a new danger threatens to unravel Asposian society. With new elaborate puzzles, detailed environments, and of course plenty of humor, The Last Wind Monk provides a satisfying follow-up for the point-and-click adventure fans of the first game. The Last Wind Monk picks up three years after the first game, and even after Robert's heroic efforts, all is not well in Asposia. Although Robert successfully overthrew the former tyrannical ruler, the despot's supporters insist on reinstating him and paint Robert as an enemy of the state. Now Robert and Laura need the help of the last wind monk to save Asposia once again. The Last Wind Monk benefits from a stronger overarching plot—the first game had plenty of charming scenes but the first half of the game didn't have a very urgent mission. This game, however, starts off with a more serious goal right off the bat, and with established characters too. The game's political message is also rather timely for today's society. But that's not to say The Last Wind Monk is all serious business. The writing has the same blend of humor and charm as the first game, bringing the strange world of Asposia to life. This game retains all of the adventure game point-and-click mechanics of the first: in each area of the game you're going to explore, examine everything on screen, pick up items, and use them to solve puzzles. But while the first game was a bit more forgiving with its puzzle design, The Last Wind Monk ratchets up the difficulty with more elaborate puzzles. On the one hand, elaborate puzzles can be a lot of fun—they're more engaging and more rewarding once you figure out the solution, and there is also a character swapping mechanic in this game which gives even more variety to how you approach puzzles. On the other hand though, this game slips into that frustrating territory so many adventure games do: ridiculous puzzle solutions. There are far more puzzles in The Last Wind Monk that seem to necessitate just trial and error gameplay because there's little logic behind the solution, or at the very least only obscure hints. The environments in general are just bigger in this game as well, which makes experimentation a little more difficult. It's great that The Last Wind Monk ups the ante for players already familiar with the first game's brand of puzzle solving, but it might have been a step too far. Thankfully though the game still has the step-by-step hint system, so at least when you get stuck, the game can nudge you in the right direction. One of the bigger annoyances of the first game has been addressed—at least somewhat. The controls remain a bit clunky when you're playing with a controller since it's awkward to select objects to examine and scroll through them. However, if you play in handheld mode you can use the Switch's touch screen which is so much more convenient for quickly looking around and using/combining items. It's still possible to miss noticing what you can interact with but at least it's easier to select items and points of interest. The visuals and audio in the game are much the same as its predecessor—quirky character design in a fantastical world full of bizarre creatures and environments. It does feel like The Last Wind Monk is bigger and more refined than the first game though. As mentioned the environments are a bit bigger and more elaborate, meaning the puzzles are more challenging but also that there are more fun details to spot as you play. And the choppy animation of the first game, while distinctive in its own way, has been smoothed out here so the visuals seem to flow a bit better. On the downside loading times seem noticeably longer, which is especially unfortunate given how every region of the game is made up of several screens, necessitating a lot of load time as you frequently move between screens. The music, meanwhile, is largely the same in variety and quality as the first game: a decent soundtrack, but overshadowed by the variety of charming voice acting, from Robert and Laura to the various weird characters you meet along the journey. The Last Wind Monk is a bit longer than the first game, and as mentioned the puzzles are distinctly more elaborate and challenging, so you'll probably spend more time trying to figure things out. And once again there isn't much replay incentive since it's an adventure/puzzle game, but fans of the genre will still feel like they've gotten their money's worth here. The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk offers only a few new frills on top of the classic point-and-click adventure gameplay of the first game, but for fans of the quirky characters and humor of Asposia it should still offer a satisfying sequel. Although some of the new, more complex puzzles drift into frustrating territory, the built-in hint system means you're never completely without a lifeline should you find yourself completely stuck, and the touch screen controls while playing undocked is a welcome addition. If you haven't had your fill of Robert and the flute noses after the first game, The Last Wind Monk offers another charming dip into the strange but endearing universe of The Inner World. Rating: 8 out of 10 Monks Review copy provided by the publisher The Inner World - The Last Wind Monk is available now on the Switch eShop for $14.99.
  6. Eliwood8

    The Inner World Review

    Originally released back in 2013, The Inner World from developer Studio Fizbin and publisher Headup Games takes players into a totally bizarre but charming world full of oddly animated people and flying monsters. At the center of it all is one boy who stumbles upon the truth behind his unusual flute-shaped nose, and the real reason that the world is running out of wind. In classic point-and-click adventure game fashion you'll scan everything on screen to find useful items to progress through this puzzle-filled and beautifully strange environments of The Inner World. In the quirky little world of Asposia, a land surrounded by soil that relies upon three wind fountains for air, lives young Robert, a boy under the tutelage of Conroy the wind monk. Robert is a naive but cheerful lad living a secluded life, but when a pigeon steals his master's prized pendant Robert leaves the confines of his temple and discovers the real Asposia. Also, Robert has a flute for a nose. The Inner World is beautifully imaginative, the kind of story that throws one silly idea after another at you and you just kind of go along with the ride. That's not to say the game is all nonsense—the fantastical elements are actually quite charming and the plot tells an engaging little story about Robert and the truth behind his past. There's also plenty of humor found in this bizarre little cast of characters—the highly aggressive hedgehog, though more of a visual gag, is definitely a highlight. There are some perhaps not wholly unpredictable twists in the story but from start to finish Asposia paints a fun little story set in a unique world. The Inner World is a classic adventure game: click on objects to investigate them, collect items, combine them in weird ways, and solve puzzles to progress. It's a familiar gameplay formula and while this game doesn't try anything too new with it the gameplay is still quite engaging throughout the adventure. In fact, it helps that, unlike a lot of other adventure games, The Inner World doesn't seem bent on completely stumping the player. Too often adventure games rely upon completely esoteric puzzles that only drag down the pacing and enjoyment of the game—that's not the case here. The Inner World still has its challenges (and sometimes combining items in a somewhat haphazard way will lead to some useful creations) but for the most part the puzzles don't feel overwhelmingly obtuse. It helps that each region of the game is relatively small and you rarely pick up more than a handful of items at once, so it's easy to focus just on what tools you have and their possible uses in the immediate vicinity. In this regard The Inner World makes a good adventure game for players new to the genre. And as an added bonus, the game has a built-in hint system if you do find yourself stuck—happens to the best of us when we accidentally overlook one small object that's the key to the puzzle. Rather than run to an online guide, you can use The Inner World's hint system which offers step by step hints for each of your current objectives, so you don't have to worry about spoiling any other solutions or details if you just need help with one specific scenario. Everyone needs a little nudge in the right direction now and then and it's great that the game offers a detailed hint system throughout the adventure. On the other hand, players probably wouldn't need as many hints if the controls were a little smoother. On the Switch the controls are frankly disappointing—you can really tell that the game was built for a mouse and keyboard and not a console controller. You can't just walk up to an object and interact with it, you need to highlight it by pressing L, R, or Y, then select an action like examine or interact. It's a clunky interface made even more annoying by the fact that you have to be near the object to even see if you can interact with it in the first place; at the very least the game ought to highlight everything on screen when you press Y to check. This also means it's extremely easy to overlook something, and just walking around the environment is more awkward than it needs to be. Possibly the worst aspect though is pressing L and R to cycle through the possible objects on screen—it's an awkward system that will often leave you accidentally pressing the wrong button. The controls really put a damper on the pacing and flow of the game as you're constantly struggling just to select the object you want to investigate. The Inner World's unique look comes from its hand-drawn animation. The art style alone is delightfully eccentric, with all the charm and personality of an experimental cartoon, which makes exploring this strange world quite the visual feast. More importantly the slightly choppy animation gives the characters' movements a unique pacing. It's a little hard to look at sometimes but it's undeniably eye-catching in its own way. The music is decent enough as an atmospheric background soundtrack, and being able to play Robert's nose is a fun touch, but the voice acting gets special mention for being just as quirky as the rest of the game. Robert's somewhat nasally voice and quiet way of speaking is perfect for his meek character—and, you know, the fact that he has a bunch of holes in his nose. All of the voice work is charming and helps bring the odd little world of Asposia to life. The Inner World isn't a particularly long adventure, unless you find yourself often stuck on puzzles and refuse to give the in-game hints a try. On average though you'll probably spend six or seven hours in the land of Asposia. The only downside is that, as an adventure game, there isn't a lot of inherent replay incentives since you'd just be solving the same puzzles again. Still, the goofy humor and unusual art style might be reason enough to enjoy the game more than once. Full of strange characters and even stranger puzzle solutions, The Inner World is a delightfully charming adventure game on the Switch, held back somewhat by a clunky control scheme that makes every simple task a little more annoying than it ought to be. If you can look past the controls though you'll be treated to a quirky little story full of clever—but not too clever—puzzles and one of the most unique visual styles you'll see on the Switch. Rating: 7 out of 10 Flute Noses Review copy provided by the publisher The Inner World is available now on the Switch eShop for $11.99. (Keep an eye out for my upcoming review of The Inner World: The Last Wind Monk, the game's sequel, also available on the eShop right now!)
  7. Eliwood8

    Iconoclasts Review

    A labor of love from a one-man developer, Iconoclasts has been in development in one form or another since 2009, going through a couple of different names but always retaining the same core concept. Fans have had to wait patiently until the game was released on other systems earlier this year, and just this week on Switch. I'm happy to say the final game is 100% worth the wait. Iconoclasts from developer Joakim "Konjak" Sandberg and publisher Bifrost Entertainment is one of the most inventive, engaging, and thoughtful Metroidvania side-scrollers you'll ever play, and the care and attention of its dedicated developer is evident throughout the adventure. In Iconoclasts you play as Robin, an unlicensed mechanic in a world ruled by a totalitarian religious regime called One Concern. Robin's mechanic activities are illegal and punishable by death, so she has to hide her activity from One Concern. As the game begins, the story feels like a fairly standard basis for an adventure game—unique in its details, but fundamentally along the same tracks as other games, i.e. a scrappy heroine fights against an oppressive power. Once you get a little deeper into the game though the story takes off. There's a lot more interesting world building in Iconoclasts than you might initially expect, and it's all woven quite naturally into the game. There are some long cutscenes but information seems to flow at a natural pace. It's also surprising how dark and introspective the game gets. Robin is your classic silent protagonist but along her journey the people she meets go through serious character development, fueled by Robin's tireless desire to help people, and the game ends up dipping into some interesting philosophical territory. I don't want to give the impression that the story is too dry—there are a lot of great comedic moments as well, especially given the limited pixel artwork, but the somewhat surprising depth of the story is a breath of fresh air in the video game landscape, and even if there are a lot of cutscenes you'll quickly find yourself enraptured by them. Iconoclasts is a side-scrolling action/adventure game in the style of Metroidvania: Robin has a wrench and a stun gun and uses both to defeat monsters and explore a vast, interconnected world, full of secrets to find. It's a classic game genre for a good reason—the basic gameplay is simple enough for players to dive in immediately but the gradual progression of new items that allow you to explore new areas (and retread older ones for hidden items) is still wonderfully addictive, making you want to explore just a bit more every time you reach a new region. Iconoclasts in particular strikes a fantastic balance between using this classic gameplay formula but still making it modern enough to feel relevant today. Few of the little annoyances of old side-scrollers are found here, leaving only a charming adventure with a satisfyingly fluid sense of progression and challenge. The environment and level design in particular perfectly sets the pace of the game: each region has unique and interesting minor platforming puzzles to overcome, so there's always something new and exciting to engage with. The only minor quibble surrounding exploration is just that it would have been slightly more convenient to have a mini-map on the screen at all times. Pressing pause (+) brings up the map easily enough, but a constant mini-map one small feature that would have been nice. Possibly the absolute highlight of Iconoclasts, though, is the variety of bosses. The game boasts of having over twenty bosses, but what's really impressive is the variety and scope of each one. No two are alike, but each one is an intense, exciting duel that often requires a strong grasp of all of Robin's combat skills, as well as, of course, careful attention to the boss's attack patterns. And yet the bosses never feel overwhelmingly difficult or unfair. Iconoclasts manages to have inventive boss challenges, some with multiple stages to the fight, but without devolving into overtly cruel or unforgiving battles. Every time you come upon a boss in Iconoclasts you'll be excited to see what new challenge awaits you. A big part of exploring is finding hidden treasure chests, and what are in those chests you ask? Crafting materials! Iconoclasts doesn't have a hugely elaborate crafting system but you can create tweaks at special workbenches and then equip up to three tweaks at a time. Tweaks grant small skill bonuses, such as moving a little faster or dealing more damage with Robin's wrench, so they're a great little way to customize your playthrough without bogging the player down in meticulous stat building. Additionally, when you get hit one of your tweaks will break—don't worry, you can collect energy from defeated enemies to recharge your tweaks—so there's an extra layer of balancing how you use tweaks: to make the most of them, you'll have to play carefully. It may sound small but it's a fun extra layer to the gameplay. The graphics and music in Iconoclasts are absolutely stunning. If you're a fan of pixel art you're going to love this game, and if you aren't a fan this may well convert you. Not only is the scenery beautifully designed with colorful details in every region you explore, the characters are just adorable. More than that though, they're impressively expressive, even when faces only have a few pixels-worth of detail. It really comes down to classic animation techniques, and Iconoclasts nails them. Comedic moments have a wonderful flourish to them, while dramatic moments feel intense, all while working within a simple but very striking art style. From start to finish, Iconoclasts is just a joy to look at. And the music isn't half bad either, from the bubbly upbeat background music that starts your adventure to the catchy theme songs for important characters, and on to the more somber tunes when the story takes a turn for the more serious. It's a wonderful soundtrack that will keep your head bobbing along throughout the game. And speaking of which, Iconoclasts clocks in at a pretty respectable ten hours or so—though thanks to the brisk pace of the adventure those hours will fly by and the game will be over before you want it to. Like any Metroidvania worth its salt though there are plenty of secrets to uncover, as well as some side quests to tackle. The game tracks your completion percentage on your save file so completionists will enjoy seeing everything Iconoclasts has to offer. If you're not done there though you can try replaying the game on a different difficulty level or in New Game+, carrying over your tweaks. There's also a boss rush mode if you want to relive all of those boss fights in a more fast-paced, thrilling context. From start to finish Iconoclasts is a game that will keep you captivated. First for its stylish and gorgeously designed art and music, then for its polished take on a classic gameplay formula, then finally for its gripping story that seamlessly transitions among adventure, comedy, and drama. It is frankly shocking that such a game could have come from a single developer, but those years of hard work have yielded one of the best games I've played this year. Despite whatever you may think on first look, you've never played a game quite like Iconoclasts, but it's a game that everyone absolutely ought to play. Rating: 9 out of 10 Icons Review copy provided by the publisher Iconoclasts is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  8. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Overcooked! 2 – The unbread have risen! Only you have the cooking skills to put their yeast to rest. The steaks have never been higher, so prepare to save the Onion Kingdom … again. Buddy up or go it alone as you cook up a storm, chopping, steaming and frying your way through dynamic and outright crazy levels. The Overcooked! 2 game will be available on Aug. 7. (Additional accessories may be required for multiplayer mode. Sold separately.) Dead Cells – The Dead Cells game puts you in control of a failed alchemic experiment trying to figure out what’s happening on a sprawling, ever-changing and cursed island. Tough but fair combat, responsive controls and challenging foes make for a demanding and cathartic action game. Dead Cells will be available on Aug. 7. Flipping Death – Welcome to Flatwood Peaks, a small whimsical town with a problem – Death is on vacation. Play as Penny and help trapped ghosts with your trusted scythe. Flip the entire world around to solve puzzles on both the living and the dead side, and slowly uncover the mystery surrounding your own demise. The Flipping Death game will be available on Aug. 7. Salt and Sanctuary – A doomed sailor is shipwrecked on an uncharted island. In fog-shrouded valleys, shambling figures begin to stir. Beneath crumbling, salt-worn structures, labyrinthine passageways lead to unspeakable evil, long forgotten by man. The Salt and Sanctuary game seamlessly combines fast, brutal and complex 2D combat with richly developed RPG mechanics. Discover, craft and upgrade more than 600 weapons, armor pieces, spells and items as you explore a cursed realm. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS WarioWare Gold – The infamous schemer Wario is back! Play his new microgame collection, where you’ll have seconds to complete 300 different microgames. Better think fast to succeed! You’ll use the touch screen, tilt the system, push buttons and rock the mic as you laugh through fully voiced stories featuring new and classic characters. The WarioWare Gold game will be available on Aug. 3. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: Fire Emblem Heroes: Feh’s Summer Celebration – It’s been one year and six months since the release of the Fire Emblem Heroes smart phone game. We’re throwing a Summer Celebration full of limited-time events, including log-in bonuses, special quests and daily reward maps, to express our gratitude for your continued support. Check out the game site for more information about the celebration. Keep the fun going all summer long with action-packed My Nintendo rewards! – To help celebrate the launch of the WarioWare Gold game, we’re offering Wario-themed rewards, like a Nintendo 3DS Home menu theme featuring Ashley, one of the key characters from WarioWare Gold, and wallpaper. Redeem your points to get them! My Nintendo is also offering up to 50 percent discounts on action-packed titles that’ll give your gaming skills a workout throughout the summer. Check out the rewards and redeem your points for the discounts today. Click here for more details. Also new this week: 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ayakashi Koi Gikyoku -Forbidden Romance with Mysterious Spirit- (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Battle Supremacy (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Crush Your Enemies! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Cycle 28 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Dawn of the Breakers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Eekeemoo – Splinters of the Dark Shard(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Flat Heroes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Guns, Gore and Cannoli 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Iconoclasts (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) In Between (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 7 Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Shoot Out (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Kenshō (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Loot Monkey: Bling Palace (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 6 NOT A HERO: SUPER SNAZZY EDITION(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) PICROSS S2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pixel Action Heroes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Road to Ballhalla (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Slam Land (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 7 Super Blackjack Battle 2 Turbo Edition – The Card Warriors (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 7 The Inner World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 3 The Inner World – The Last Wind Monk(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 3 Toby: The Secret Mine (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Aug. 7 Yoku’s Island Express – Demo Version(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Forest Escape (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
  9. Eliwood8

    Hello Neighbor Review

    We all have that one neighbor we're a little suspicious of—the one that's coming and going at odd hours, or you heard something that sounded like a scream from their house. We've seen the formula plenty of times in films like Rear Window and The 'Burbs, and now developer Dynamic Pixels and publisher tinyBuild Games have brought the trope to video games with the stealth/horror blend of Hello Neighbor. Originally announced a couple of years ago, Hello Neighbor built steam in the fan community thanks to the variety of puzzles seen in Alpha builds, quirky art style, and the neighbor's ability to adapt to your actions as you play. But despite having a great premise for a unique game, the final product is riddled with problems, from clunky controls to insanely obtuse puzzle design. In Hello Neighbor you play as a young boy, bouncing a ball down the road, when you get to your neighbor's house across the street from your own and hear a suspicious scream, then see the neighbor frantically locking up his basement. From there your quest becomes finding out what is actually going on in the man's strange house full of odd contraptions and bizarre constructions like a ladder that leads to the roof and into a bedroom upstairs. Throughout all of this the neighbor will chase you down and throw you out if he catches you. One thing that Hello Neighbor perfectly nails is the creepy ambiance. The game's world is colorful and cartoony but everything about the neighbor and his house is unsettling—it perfectly captures that feeling, especially as a kid, of suspecting something weird is going on but never actually seeing it confirmed first-hand. As the plot progresses there are elements that become a little hard to follow, including what appear to be flashbacks in the neighbor's life, which makes the finale not quite as satisfyingly concrete as I'd like it to be, but during the game the mystery helps fuel the eerie vibe of the neighbor and his house. Gameplay-wise, Hello Neighbor combines stealth and adventure-puzzle solving—for example, in Act 1 you need to get into the locked basement, so you have to explore the house to find the key, which really means overcoming a variety of other smaller puzzle challenges to reach the key. It's a solid concept that completely falls flat in execution. On one hand it's neat that you can interact with most anything in the game. You can pick up boxes, books, picture frames, etc. and try to figure out inventive ways to utilize them to explore. On the other hand, the sheer openness of this kind of gameplay makes playing Hello Neighbor a total slog as you flounder about trying to figure out what to do. The game very rarely gives any kind of hint toward a solution, and some of these puzzles are completely wild. Sure, some things are fairly obvious—if you find a shovel maybe investigate that suspicious patch of loose dirt in the backyard—but it feels like more often you'll encounter an object that offers no explanation of what it's even for, like a button that activates something elsewhere and then you have to find its effect. It's trial-and-error to a completely tedious degree. Which still wouldn't be that frustrating of a concept if not for the neighbor's relentless pursuit of you throughout the house. Here the stealth aspect of the game comes into play: when the neighbor spots you he'll chase you down in what is truly a frightening sight and grab you, then you'll respawn outside of the house. You only get a small warning when the neighbor is near so he has a way of sneaking up on you as you explore, plus there are really only two options to evade him: run outside of the house or try to hide inside a wardrobe. The kicker is that the neighbor will adapt to your habits, so for example if he saw you coming through the front door he'll place a bear trap there to catch you next time (which is maybe an extreme response to a kid wandering into your house). Again, this is a fun, clever concept that just isn't put to good use in Hello Neighbor. Not only do these traps quickly add up, turning the already tedious process of exploring the house into an even more grueling task, but there are only a couple of things the neighbor even does to stop you. The concept seems to want to make exploration feel more dynamic, i.e. you can't use the same paths every time, but ultimately the new traps just feel kind of bland. The final nail in the coffin of Hello Neighbor is the controls. The game was originally built for the PC so it's not too surprising that there would be some awkwardness in translating the game to a standard console controller, but that doesn't excuse the level of stiff, finnicky controls found here. Interacting with objects is way more awkward than it has any right to be—especially small objects when you need to get the screen's cursor perfectly over the item. And since there are no directions in the game sometimes it's hard to understand how an item is actually meant to be used. The game's physics means you can use items in dynamic ways, such as hitting a distant switch, but it also makes just placing an object on the ground way more difficult than it has any right to be—not to mention the times when you toss an object and the physics freak out, sending the item bouncing around the room. Solving puzzles in Hello Neighbor is difficult enough as it is, but the biggest hurdle is just maintaining a concrete grip on the controls. Hello Neighbor also has some technical issues which is particularly disappointing since the game originally came out last year and such problems probably should have been ironed out by now. The game's wonky physics are again a common culprit as I got stuck in the geometry a few times—sometimes I even saw the neighbor get similarly trapped in the scenery. The game also crashed or got stuck on a loading screen occasionally, necessitating a reload of an earlier save file. In a game that already has a problem with making simple tasks more tedious than they need to be, these crashes only add to the game's frustrating design. As already mentioned the game's cartoonish art style makes for a perfect contrast to the game's creepy content. There's a 50s cartoon vibe to everything, from the exaggerated shapes to the vivid colors, and it really does make for a fun environment for the stealth and horror elements of the game. On a technical level though the game looks pretty rough. There are jagged edges over every object that do kind of take away from the unique style of the artwork, and ultimately the scenery does get a little repetitive since it's always the interior of the neighbor's house. And on one note for the design: it'd be great if whatever object you're holding didn't cover a third of the screen—that's just silly visual design. The game is split up into a few different acts, and if you know what you're doing you could potentially breeze through the game in just an hour, or even less. If you're playing without a guide though you're going to end up wandering the neighbor's house completely lost for hours upon hours sorting through dead-end paths and obscure puzzles. Regardless of how quickly you make it through the game's puzzles, the $40 price tag for the Switch version is pretty hard to swallow. Hello Neighbor is built upon a brilliant idea, one that is wonderfully tense and unsettling when you can play the game smoothly. The only problem is so much of the game seems to be battling against that. The neighbor's prowling pursuit of the player throughout the labyrinthine house makes even simple exploration more of a chore than a challenge, despite the fact that obtuse puzzle design and awkward controls demand a slow and methodical approach to the game—not to mention the technical issues the game encounters. As a proof of concept Hello Neighbor promises a delightfully eerie and exciting game, but the average player most likely won't want to pay a premium price to play what is essentially a rough draft. Rating: 4 out of 10 Neighbors Review copy provided by the publisher Hello Neighbor is available now on the Switch eShop for $39.99.
  10. Is this happening to anyone else's joy-con? *See pic in spoiler* I first noticed this happening to both of my joy-con controllers a few months after the Switch launched and come to find out, it's from the oils on your hand. Now I know your're probably thinking "So what? Just clean your joy-con.", but the things is I've tried and it won't come off. My hands don't get super sweaty when I play and they're always clean before playing, so this should not be happening, but it sux that it is. This is only noticeable in the right lighting, with the center of the D-buttons being the most noticeable, mainly do to playing a ton of Puyo Puyo Tetris and more recently, LUMINES REMASTERD. All the other buttons aren't that bad, but in the right lighting buttons like the capture button, home button, and other frequently used buttons look like they have smudges around them. When I first noticed this I came across this thread on Reddit where other people were having this same issue. It seems that it's most common with the grey joy-con compared to any of the neon colors. I've heard this is just the matte finish rubbing off, but IDK. I never had this issue with the matte finish on my back DSi, so... Here's a video I came a cross of a worse case scenario... It kinda makes me wonder how my joy-con will hold up in a few years. I've noticed that at multiple demo stations in stores that are heavily used, the triggers on the joy-con and the handles on the joy-con grip feel super glossy, which is kinda gross when realize it's not supposed to be like that and it's all from people's hands. Yeah, I'm just wondering if anyone here has this issue as well and if so, how bad is it?
  11. Back when the original Crash Bandicoot game released in 1996 for the PlayStation, it was at a unique nexus point. The 90s were rife with platformers, but with the PlayStation/Nintendo 64 generation came the advent of 3D visuals and gameplay, and games like Super Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot represented the bridge between one of the classic gameplay genres and a new dimension of gaming. But while Super Mario 64 set the standard for a lot of 3D platforming mechanics and remains a pretty solid entry in the Mario series, time hasn't been quite so kind to the early Crash Bandicoot games. Although an iconic gaming mascot of the late 90s, Crash feels incredibly dated in 2018, even in the remastered Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy. Let's start with the first game which introduces us to Crash, a bandicoot that has been mutated by the evil Dr. Neo Cortex using his Evolvo-Ray. Although Cortex wanted to make Crash into a powerful animal soldier, Crash escapes the lab, only to start a quest across the Wumpa islands to rescue the other animal captives. Despite its sleek polygonal looks the original Crash Bandicoot was more of a combination of 2D platformer gameplay with 3D visuals. Some levels are viewed from the side like classic 2D platformers but many have Crash running into the foreground or background. Amidst all this there are boss fights and collectibles—all the basic building blocks of an adventure/platformer. Now I'll say here that I never played these games when they were first released, and while I'm sure this sort of gameplay twist was impressive at the time it is kind of a mess now. In fact, the original Crash Bandicoot feels like a crash course in bad 3D game design. You have very little depth perception in these fore-/background running levels, with only Crash's shadow to tell you where you'll land during a jump. And there are some insanely difficult jumps in some of these levels. Crash's movements are also incredibly stiff since, when the game was first released, the PlayStation didn't have analog sticks, so players used a D-pad to control Crash in these semi-3D levels, and Crash's movements remain awkward. And finally, your main attack is spinning into enemies, which requires getting up close and personal with enemies who can kill you just by touching you. All of this makes the original Crash Bandicoot obnoxiously difficult. Stiff controls with an awkward camera angle and unforgiving level design means it's easy to die pretty much constantly. Although there are some clever level designs it's hard to get past how frustratingly clunky and outdated the game feels today. To be fair, some of the clumsy gameplay might be due to this remastering which required rebuilding the gameplay from scratch, so some elements might not have translated well, but anyone that is first playing Crash Bandicoot in 2018 is most likely going to feel like this game is simply a relic that doesn't quite belong on a modern game system. Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back is a marked improvement over the original game. Once again Crash is combating Dr. Cortex (though Cortex pretends to be asking Crash for help to collect powerful crystals) which leads Crash to a wide variety of different levels. There's much better stage variety in Crash 2, though Naughty Dog still loves the format of running into the foreground while something huge chases Crash. Still, Crash's movements are much smoother so it doesn't feel like you're fighting the controls throughout the whole game, and he also has a new attack: sliding. While playing these games back to back it's clear how much of an improvement it is to add even one new mechanic to Crash's repertoire. On the other hand Crash 2 also introduces some jetpack levels which, much like the entire first game, feel like an experiment in 3D game design that comes across as awkward and stiff today. But overall Crash 2 offers a more satisfying and diverse platformer adventure compared to the first game. The third game, Crash Bandicoot: Warped, is when Crash really hits his stride. The basic gameplay premise is the same as the first two (linear platformer levels that often have Crash running into the foreground or background) but the gameplay feels much more polished and, frankly, easier. But the lower difficulty is in part due to improvements to the game's mechanics. Crash moves more fluidly so it's easier to dodge obstacles. The level design is more varied and engaging, including race levels and flying levels. Over the course of the game Crash gains several new abilities, not all of which are always useful (and one of which, the gun, actually makes the game much, much easier) but the variety makes the gameplay feel more exciting from start to finish. There are fewer challenges that require super precise jumps and a lot more enemies that just stand around as obstacles rather than actively attack you, but even if the difficulty is toned down the gameplay is much more enjoyable. Each game contains around 25 levels, but to complete the games fully there's actually a lot of bonus material to cover. In each level of each game there are a number of crates you can break and, if you break all of the crates in a level, you'll be rewarded with a gem. You can also earn a gem from completing alternate paths within levels, which are unlocked by collecting gems in previous levels. In short, there's more replay value here than just blazing through each level once, and collecting every gem unlocks the true ending in each game—a fine reward for completionists. Gathering gems can be pretty tedious, especially in the first game, but it does give you more of a goal than just completing each game once. And finally there is a time trial mode to further pad out the games. There may only be a little over two dozen levels in each game but if you try to do everything you'll have plenty of Crash action here. Naturally this remastered trilogy comes with updated graphics and music, including cutscenes with voice actors from the more recent Crash games. Some of the level design still looks quite dated, which is more a product of the linear structure of each level, but overall the graphics look great on the Switch. The unique style of the Crash games is perfectly preserved while updating the artwork to something that feels more at home on a modern system. The updated music is well done as well, and has the right blend of atmospheric melodies and upbeat action. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is a bit of a mixed bag. With the remaster of the first game, this trilogy proves that some games are better off left in the past, when repetitive level design and clunky controls might have been less noticeable thanks to the purely new appeal of 3D platformers. The other two games, however, are far less dated, and even if some of their mechanics still feel notably old-fashioned they're still enjoyable platformers today, particularly Warped. Nostalgic fans may love all three equally but new players might only enjoy the third game, making even the budget price on this trilogy a bit of a stretch. Rating: 7 out of 10 Wumpa Fruits
  12. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Go Vacation – Welcome to Kawawii Island, a paradise resort where friends and family can enjoy 50+ co-op and competitive activities. There are all sorts of exciting ways to explore the island, from horseback to buggies, snowmobiles to in-line skates. And to add to the fun, up to four players can enjoy visiting and discovering every corner of the island together. Go Vacation will be available on July 27. (Additional accessories may be required for multiplayer mode. Sold separately.) Banner Saga 3 – Banner Saga 3 is the dramatic final chapter in the mature, story-driven Viking RPG series, which has won more than 20 awards and has been nominated for four BAFTAs. As the world continues to crumble around you, who can you trust, how will you protect your allies and what choices will you make as the Darkness draws near? New DLC: Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – New DLC is releasing for owners of the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Expansion Pass. Buy the Expansion Pass to gain access to titanic new content, including the Challenge Battle Mode as well as Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country, available this September. Rare Blade 2 – Crossette New Difficulty Options – Bringer of Chaos, Customize New Quests Pack 4 Sunken Boosters The Trendy Patissier Artisanal Accessories Hot Spring Bonanza Mystery Launch Codes For full patch notes, please visit the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Nintendo Support site. Full version of the game is required to use DLC. Kirby Star Allies - A free update comes to the Kirby Star Allies game on July 27, which includes three Dream Friends from Kirby’s past adventures. Daroach, leader of the notorious Squeak Squad, makes his debut as a playable character and brings some friends along. Dark Meta Knight makes a grand return as a playable character for the first time. Utilize his Mirror abilities to call upon devastating sword attacks, reflect back enemy projectiles, and create copies. Adeleine and Ribbon are back! Make Adeleine’s paintings come to life or fly around with the help of Ribbon. 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: My Nintendo Presents Nindie Game Gold Point Rewards: Summer 2018 Edition – Beat the heat this summer with some cool Nindie games! As July heats up, My Nintendo users can exchange their Gold Points for some of the hottest indie games on Nintendo platforms. Click here for more information. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO THE KING OF FIGHTERS '97(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives OMEGA FIGHTER (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives Sky Skipper (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bud Spencer & Terence Hill – Slaps And Beans (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Candle: The Power of the Flame (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Code of Princess EX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 31 Crossing Souls (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Element (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 27 Final Light, The Prison (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 27 FLASHBACK (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 31 Flat Heroes – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hello Neighbor (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 27 Piczle Lines DX 500 More Puzzles! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pure / Electric Love “Everyone else!” – Ema Sakura (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pure / Electric Love “Look at my eyes!” – Moe Yamauchi (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Sleep Tight (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) State of Anarchy: Master of Mayhem(Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available August 1 Titan Quest (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 31 Zaccaria Pinball (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) RTO 3 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  13. Candle: The Power of the Flame, from developer Teku Studios and publisher Merge Studios, takes its cues from classic adventure/puzzle games, presented with beautiful hand-painted graphics. The game was successfully Kickstarted by the Spanish developer studio back in 2013 and since then they've painstakingly crafted every scene and puzzle throughout this unique little adventure. Players can expect plenty of satisfying puzzles, but be prepared for some frustrating ones as well. In Candle you play as Teku, apprentice to his tribe's shaman and wielder of the candle's power which allows him to carry a flame and use its light to reveal secrets or activate objects. When the evil Wakcha tribe attacks and kidnaps Teku's teacher, he embarks on a quest to rescue the shaman and the other members of the tribe that were kidnapped. Although most of the characters do not speak an intelligible language, the game features a narrator that explains what is happening. The best part of the story might just be exploring this bizarre and unique world, though. You don't get long-winded explanations of each locale but there's clearly a history to each that's communicated visually and it paints a fascinating picture of the game's world. Ultimately Candle isn't about Teku's journey so much as it is about the mythology of his world, which leads to some interesting revelations near the game's climax. The gameplay is based around classic adventure/puzzle gameplay in the vein of point-and-click adventure games. After a short tutorial to explain the kinds of things Teku can interact with, there's almost no explicit instruction on how to progress. Candle is a game that rewards careful examination of the scenery, experimentation, and ingenuity. Maybe there's a block of ice that looks like it could melt—how do you get close enough with your candle flame to melt it? Since Teku only has a few abilities (most actions are context sensitive so you'll see a prompt if you can interact with something, the only exception being Teku's shining light ability) you have to think critically about what to do and how to leverage your basic abilities. There are hints occasionally, oftentimes half-hidden in the artwork of the scenery, but for the most part Candle is a game about using a small set of tools in creative ways to overcome obstacles. In that respect it's incredibly rewarding when you find the right solution. And on the other hand it's also incredibly frustrating when you're stuck. There are a lot of clever puzzles in Candle but there are also plenty that just feel obnoxiously obtuse. The game's hints are few and far between, and oftentimes you have to try something new or creative with Teku's limited abilities to progress. That's a great basis for a puzzle game but without a little more context or nudge in the right direction you can end up completely lost, repeatedly. And even if you think you have the right solution you might just be frustrated with how much time it can take to retry when you fail. Thankfully, if you mess up and are killed you'll restart from a nearby checkpoint so you don't have to go all the way back to your last save file. However, it's still a slow process to try again. Teku does not move quickly, and oftentimes getting all of the pieces of a puzzle into the right place is just a little too slow. Sometimes it's difficult to even tell if you can stand on a ledge, leading to some leaps of faith that can have deadly results. Again, you'll restart nearby, but Teku's sluggish movement and the high difficulty level of Candle's puzzles can sometimes make progress feel agonizingly slow. At the very least, while you're traversing screen after screen, scanning for any small hint or interactive object that you might have missed, you'll be treated to absolutely gorgeous artwork. As mentioned the visuals do a fantastic job of establishing the history of the game's world. The graphics are beautifully atmospheric, with colorful, intricate hand-drawn and painted designs that are just lovely to see on the TV or on the Switch's screen. The animation is also incredibly charming—Teku may move a little too slowly for the gameplay but his plodding pace is adorable to see and has a striking sketch-like quality to it. The music is also top notch and adds a lot to the atmosphere as you explore these colorful environments. The game isn't actually that long, with only three main locations to explore. If you were able to breeze through the adventure, never getting stuck on a puzzle, the game would only last a few hours, but in reality you'll spend plenty of time working out each puzzle, running back and forth to ensure you've found all the items and hints you can. As a puzzle game there isn't much incentive to replay the adventure though, aside from seeing all of the game's gorgeous artwork again. Candle: The Power of the Flame features the kind of head-scratching puzzles that will leave you completely at a loss, sometimes to an annoying degree. But the game tempers some of that frustration with some of the most beautiful graphics you'll ever see in a game—colorful, unique, and utterly captivating. The visuals alone are enough to pull you into the world of Candle, and although the game caters more to hardcore puzzle fans, those puzzle pros will enjoy the creative challenges offered here. Rating: 7 out of 10 Candles Review copy provided by the publisher Candle: The Power of the Flame will be available on the Switch eShop on July 26th for $14.99.
  14. In a recent video put out by Nintendo, Shinya Takahashi mentioned that there will be "further updates" for MK8DX... I wonder if this means we'll see more DLC packs? Not sure what else they would add via updates besides DLC. Maybe we'll see something were the upcoming Mario Kart Tour mobile game connects with MK8DX and/or a free updates with a new character, track, or kart? PLZ, Nintendo! Give us more amiibo outfits!!!!! Just go crazy with it!
  15. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Mega Man X Legacy Collection – The celebrated Mega Man X series returns. Play as Mega Man X – the powerful successor of classic fighting robot Mega Man – as he battles a variety of deadly bosses known as Mavericks in four hit titles. Mega Man X Legacy Collection includes the legendary 16-bit titles and the series’ exciting foray into the 32-bit era: Mega Man X, Mega Man X2, Mega Man X3 and Mega Man X4. Test your skills in the new X Challenge mode, which pits players against two deadly bosses in two-on-one battles. The Mega Man X Legacy Collection game launches for the Nintendo Switch system on July 24. Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 – Complete the Mega Man X saga with this collection of four action-packed titles. Spanning two gaming eras, this collection showcases the evolution of the series with Mega Man X5, Mega Man X6, Mega Man X7 and Mega Man X8. Both Mega Man X and his ally Zero return as playable characters, allowing players to jump and shoot through challenging stages with X’s arm cannon, or slash through enemies with Zero’s energy saber. The Mega Man X Legacy Collection 2 game launches for the Nintendo Switch system on July 24. Bomb Chicken – Who doesn't love chicken… especially when it's smothered in delicious blue hot sauce? After a freak accident a seemingly ordinary chicken becomes a bomb-laying, free-range hero. Explore the versatile mechanic of laying bombs in this explosive exploration platformer, and answer the ultimate question: Which came first the chicken or the bomb? Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS WarioWare Gold Demo – Wario has a special treat for you! Better think fast if you want to succeed in this demo of his upcoming WarioWare Gold game. You’ll use the touchscreen, tilt the system and push buttons as you laugh your way through the fully voiced story introduction, featuring new and classic characters! Activities: The Second Nintendo Labo Creators Contest: Enter for a chance to win a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system, Nintendo Labo Creators jackets and more. The contest runs July 19 at 11 a.m. PT through Aug. 20 at 10:59 a.m. PT. For more details about how to enter, please visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/. Octopath Traveler My Nintendo Rewards: To celebrate the launch of the Octopath Traveler game, My Nintendo is offering eight different box art covers (one for each of the main characters) for the case of your Octopath Traveler game (sold separately). Redeem your points and choose your character for your box art cover! Plus, we’re also offering downloadable wallpapers for your PC or smart phone. Check out the details at My Nintendo: https://my.nintendo.com/news/6b677325fde74ff4 Pixel Toads Lead to Platinum Points: Captain Toad is starring in his own puzzling quest in the Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker game for the Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. My Nintendo members can join the adventure with a special “hide-and-seek” mission to earn My Nintendo points. Here’s the mission: Log in to My Nintendo, then find all four Pixel Toads hidden on the official game website and earn 100 Platinum Points – that’s 25 Platinum Points for each Pixel Toad you find. Good luck! Celebrate the One-Year Anniversary of Splatoon 2 with a Splatfest and My Nintendo: July 21 marks the first anniversary of the Splatoon 2 game, and we’re celebrating with a global Splatfest! Which sea creature is your favorite, Squid or Octopus? This hotly contested Splatfest will occur from 9 p.m. PT on July 20 until 9 p.m. PT on July 21. To help celebrate, My Nintendo is offering Inkling and Octoling printable posters, as well as downloadable wallpaper. Redeem your points for these rewards today. 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 LEAGUE BOWLING (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Animal Rivals: Nintendo Switch Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives City CONNECTION (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Beat Rush (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Chicken Assassin: Reloaded (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Frost (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Galak-Z: Variant S (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ghost 1.0 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Guts & Glory (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Heroki (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 20 Hungry Shark World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Lost Phones Stories (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) NoReload Heroes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pool Panic (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Sausage Sports Club (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Semblance (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 24 Spheroids (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 20 STARSHIP AVENGER Operation: Take Back Earth (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tanzia (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Vozel Shot for Nintendo Switch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) VSR: Void Space Racing (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 20 Werewolf Pinball (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 20
  16. Following in the footsteps of the Doom port from late last year, publisher Bethesda Softworks brought another intense FPS to the Switch with Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus. Originally released on other systems last year, The New Colossus follows veteran fighter B.J. Blazkowicz as he battles Nazis in an alternate world where Nazis won World War II and have effectively ruled the world for fifteen years, aided by futuristic technology. The game is a bloody FPS as you either stealthily eliminate Nazi soldiers or go all out, dual-wielding machine guns and tearing apart anyone in your way. Whichever play style you favor you're in for a wild ride. The story picks up immediately after the events of the first game, which left off on a slight cliffhanger, so Switch-only owners might be a little lost on what is happening (Wolfenstein: The New Order was released on other consoles in 2014 but never made it to a Nintendo system). This game at least offers a quick recap of events but to truly appreciate some of the characters and their relationships with one another you ought to play the first game if you can. And this game hits the ground running, so ideally you're already up to speed on who the resistance fighters are, as well as the primary antagonist, General Engel. What follows can only be described as an action-packed thrill ride, one that takes you across the Nazi-occupied United States and even into space with one shocking event after another. What's pleasantly surprising about it all is that the game manages to maintain a sense of charm and personality throughout all the chaos. It would've been easy for the game to slip into completely ridiculous action-trope territory, but somehow The New Colossus manages to tell a viciously brutal story with supernatural elements without coming off as gauche, in particular thanks to a fun cast of characters, each one larger than life and a lot of fun to see play off of one another. It helps that there are plenty of moments of levity too, ones that clearly show a degree of self-awareness for the game's intense, over-the-top action. The New Colossus is an FPS with a mix of stealth and action gameplay. Generally you'll enter an area with a number of lackeys to eliminate as well as one or two commanders who, if they raise an alarm, will cause more soldiers to storm the area. As such you can choose to take a slow and stealthy approach to eliminate a commander without alerting anyone, or you can just charge in and go nuts. Compared to the previous Wolfenstein game the stealth gameplay seems much harder here. Enemies are far more perceptive than your average blind video game soldier—generally if you can see them at all they can and will see you—which does make the stealth approach more satisfyingly challenging, but it might be just a tad too difficult. Unlike a pure stealth game you don't have many options for sneaking, distracting guards, or eliminating them from a distance, so the stealth gameplay in The New Colossus is a bit frustrating at times. Luckily, you can always fall back on the frontal assault approach, and for the most part this gameplay style feels a little easier in The New Colossus. There is no shortage of ammo, health, or armor in this game and oftentimes the full attack option, while somewhat less elegant, is far more effective. Still, the game gives you the option of how you want to play which is nice, and halfway through the game you'll get the chance to customize your play style further with a special gadget. Furthermore, the game's perks system rewards you with bonus effects which are generally tied to the way you play—i.e. if you do a lot of stealth kills you'll get perks related to sneaking—so there's even a pleasing sense of progression based on how you approach each level. Whichever path you choose you'll be rewarded with plenty of satisfying FPS action. There are a few overall issues that detract from the experience a bit, though. For one thing the level design leaves something to be desired. There are a few standout areas, generally when you're outside, exploring an almost Fallout-esque American wasteland, but too often the game feels like a corridor shooter, which is especially disappointing if you're focusing on stealth. Additionally, the game could really use a better indication of where you're taking damage from. Too often I found myself at a loss as far as where I'm getting shot from—a better on-screen indicator would help during intense fights. The controls are decent enough for the most part, with enough customization options that you can find your preferred sweet spot when it comes to sensitivity. Plus The New Colossus offers motion aiming if that's your thing. Motion controls can feel a little unwieldy if you're not ready for them but for Nintendo die-hards that are well experienced with motion-controlled shooters this is a great option to have. Obviously The New Colossus is not going to look as good on the Switch as it will on other systems. It just won't. But unless you held the two up side by side to compare them, you probably won't be bothered by it too much. Sure some of the textures seem a bit blurry, which is distracting when there's a sign that ought to have readable text but instead it just looks muddy, but in general the game runs quite well on the Switch, and the retro-futuristic-techno setting is really cool (even if, again, there are a few too many similar corridors). Perhaps more importantly the game runs well, even in handheld mode, so a few blurry textures or lack of detail compared to other versions shouldn't be too much of a concern. On the audio side of things the music is suitably intense for an action-packed game, though a bit forgettable as well. The voice acting is excellent though, and really brings the heroes—and especially the villains—to life. The New Colossus will last a good twelve hours or so if all you want to do is finish the story. However, there's quite a bit of side content to enjoy here as well. In addition to a variety of collectibles in each stage—including concept art which is always fun to see—there are also side quests which can be rewarding if you're trying to fill out all of your perks. Plus it might be worthwhile to replay the game focusing on a different play style, and of course there are several difficulty levels to play on, from the extra easy to the uber difficult. And as an extra treat the entire Wolfenstein 3D game is available to play within this game—just be prepared for some very old-fashioned FPS gameplay. However long you decide to play The New Colossus, killing Nazis never seems to get old. Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has a few rough edges that make it hard to live up to its predecessor, but the final package is still an incredibly satisfying and bloodthirsty FPS adventure, one that manages to reward both the slow and thoughtful approach and the all-out assault style. A slight visual downgrade isn't a bad trade off for portable gameplay as well as motion control, and at its heart The New Colossus on Switch still retains the most important features, like chopping a Nazi's limb off with a hatchet. It's bloody, it's over-the-top, and it's oh so fun. Rating: 8 out of 10 Bullets
  17. Site: http://luminesremastered.com Platforms: Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC (Steam) Release Date: June 26th Price: $14.99 The critically-acclaimed puzzle game produced by legendary creator Tetsuya Mizuguchi is back! LUMINES REMASTERED is an HD remaster of the original Lumines that debuted on the PlayStation Portable in 2004. Quickly earning the top-rated PSP spot, it grew into a franchise on other platforms and selling over 2.5 million units worldwide. Relive the memories on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam (in 4K) and for the first time on a Nintendo console! LUMINES REMASTERED beautifully marries the elements of sound, light and puzzle-action into one addictive, yet easy-to-play game. You’re at the center of the high-energy, block-dropping action while you groove to awesome house, trance and techno beats! Feel the sound: Play over 40 skins with electronic atmospheres from chill to upbeat. Shuffle skins (like a music playlist) as more are unlocked in a new Shuffle mode. Feel the rhythm: Feel the rhythm and blocks dropping from the dynamic HD Rumble of the Joy-ConTM, DualShock®4, Xbox One controllers. Choose to feel both rhythm and blocks or just the blocks. Feel the vibration: Turn on Trance Vibration and sync multiple controllers to feel the bass across your body. Feel the challenge: Faster tempos means less time to make combos, but slower songs can mean uncleared stacks. You’ll get hooked. Feel the fun: Take the challenge to unlock all skins and avatars, play against friends in VS 2-player mode, or climb the ranks to the top of the online leaderboards. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Challenge: The basic game mode in LUMINES REMASTERED. Skin Edit: You can select 10 of your favorite skins and play a single lap. Time Attack: Clear as many blocks as possible in 60, 180, and 300 seconds! Puzzle: Create images (dog, cat, etc.) using one color of the blocks and surrounding it with the other. Mission: Clear some tricky missions within a given time limit. VS CPU: Challenge yourself to an AI opponent! Squeeze them out of their grid to win! 2P Battle: Play against a friend and see who's the block-dropping champ! Anyone looking forward to this? There seems to be quite a lot of excitement for this, especially the Switch version (Seems Enhance Games is really pushing the Switch version over the others). While I've never played LUMINES, I've been wanting to give it a shot for quite a while. I'm a love trippy/chill puzzles games like Nintendo's Art Style series and this looks to be quite the experience. I've heard that people have really loved the series in the past and especially its music. It's nice to see the series finally hitting a Nintendo system with the Switch, so I can finally give it a shot.
  18. Recently there have been quite a few reports of peoples Switch's cracking, mainly on the back... I haven't noticed any cracks on mine. However, I've noticed mine makes a light creaking sound just right of the the USB port, if you put a little pressure on it. There isn't any signs of it starting to crack in that spot or anything. I assume there's something that's just slightly not 100% flush or whatever, since there's nothing noticeable with the naked eye.
  19. Eliwood8

    The Mooseman Review

    One part puzzle/adventure and one part history lesson, The Mooseman from developer Morteshka and publisher Sometimes You takes a close look at a mythology that most gamers probably haven't heard of. But the developers have done an impressive job of bringing the ancient Finno-Urgic stories to life in a unique way, while heavily drawing inspiration from the artwork and artifacts of the people from the Ural region. Even though the gameplay is fairly basic, it's the storytelling and style of The Mooseman that makes it a compelling indie game. The game's mythology is based on ancient Russian stories and practices, wherein the world was created by the god Yen, which created a division between the Lower World, the Middle World where mankind resides, and the Upper world where the gods live. As The Mooseman you have the ability to see both the physical and the spiritual, allowing you to traverse the three worlds and meet gods and spirits, learning about ancient myths and following the paths they describe. Even though the game doesn't really simplify or adapt the mythology into a more modern format it's still easy to follow the story and it makes for a compelling game narrative. There's a timeless quality to myths which makes them captivating to this day, and The Mooseman does a fine job of tapping into that. The game also provides plenty of text describing the ancient stories and it's always fascinating to learn about a different mythology and gain some insight into the beliefs and values that have shaped humanity. As far as gameplay is concerned The Mooseman is pretty minimalist. The controls are also quite simple—there are only three actual actions in the game, and you can even walk forward automatically if you want—so puzzle interaction is kept to a pretty basic level. For example, you might need to find a way across a gap, so you switch from seeing the physical world to seeing the spiritual, and you might notice a spirit nearby that can help you cross. That's actually about as complex as it gets; with every puzzle you'll always see the solution nearby, so it's not even a matter of exploring to progress. In addition, each time you pass by an idol you'll get a new myth to read in the pause menu, and these myths often relay some sort of hint about how to progress, or are at least related to your current position in the journey. Suffice it to say The Mooseman does not have much in the way of gameplay challenges. This is a game you play to learn about Finno-Urgic mythology in an interactive way, not to challenge your puzzle-solving skills or your dexterity. There is, however, one gameplay aspect that is at least a little more fleshed out. Along your adventure you can find artifacts (based on actual Perm animal style artifacts) and finding all of these collectibles is surprisingly not as simple as you might think. Even though you can basically only walk left or right it's easy to miss these artifacts, so trying to collect them all can be a nice little challenge. At the very least it can help extend the game's length a bit, since The Mooseman is really only a couple hours long. In addition to the research they did in representing and retelling these ancient myths, the developers went out of their way to give The Mooseman an authentic audio and visual aesthetic as well, and it's truly beautiful. In addition to the artifacts based on actual tokens and idols found in the Perm Krai region of modern day Russia, all of the game's visuals have a beautiful ethereal quality to them, perfect for a game about balancing between the physical and spiritual worlds. There's also a roughness to the artwork that is so well suited to the cave painting art you see on your journey, and truly evokes a sense of hearing these stories thousands of years ago. The music also shows a lot of care and attention in recreating the folk music of the Komi people. The audio is beautiful but also mysterious and haunting—perfect for the ambiance that The Mooseman is creating. The game is even voiced by a native speaker, and just hearing the stories in its native language does so much for bringing them to life. The Mooseman is a brief but compelling journey into a world of mythology. As a video game it may fall short in many respects but it kind of makes more sense to think of this as an interactive educational experience. The Mooseman brings to life these ancient myths that I certainly never had heard before, and I imagine most players wouldn't have either, and it does so with beautiful, stylish, and authentic art and music. If you're interested in taking a journey off the beaten path of standard video games and more common Western myths and legends, try the Finno-Urgic mythology of The Mooseman. Rating: 7 out of 10 Moosemen Review copy provided by the publisher The Mooseman will be available on the Switch eShop on July 18th for $6.29.
  20. One part Pokémon, one part color matching game, and one part making you hungry for sushi, Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido is another oddball title from Nintendo that builds an addictive game around a relatively simple gameplay hook. Matching plates of sushi is a bizarre way of fighting but for puzzle fans on the Switch it's a great way to scratch an itch for fast-paced puzzle gameplay. In a world where wars are fought over and with sushi, one young boy (or girl) has been orphaned by the most recent great sushi war. Growing up in a poor orphanage, the child had never tasted sushi, until a strange traveler reveals the secrets of sushi combat. Now, in an effort to share sushi with everyone and stop the evil Empire from controlling the world's supply of sushi, the child becomes a sushi striker to master the art of sushi snacking. It's an incredibly silly premise for a story and thankfully the game doesn't take itself too seriously. Most of the game plays out like a cheesy Saturday morning cartoon, complete with goofy side characters and predictable anime twists. It's a bit of a missed opportunity that the game relies more on the absurdity of its premise than in actually building an original, unique story, though. In many ways Sushi Striker is a parody of Saturday morning cartoons, but without any other clever twist or commentary on the format it just becomes an average Saturday morning cartoon itself. In essence, Sushi Striker combines the creature collecting mechanics of Pokémon with color matching games like Panel de Pon or Bejeweled. In battle, you match the colors of sushi plates by dragging the cursor—or your finger—in order to build up a stack, then fling the stack at your opponent to damage them (stacks can be manually or automatically thrown). The sushi plates are moving on opposing conveyor belts, so you have to be quick and a little dexterous to build up a large stack since you only have a few seconds to create the chain. It's a solid, simple baseline for the game that becomes increasingly chaotic and engaging when you're in the heat of battle, trying to build up a good string of attacks before your opponent can do the same. The creature collecting aspect comes in the form of sushi sprites, who influence what sushi is available on your side of the battlefield (different color plates do different damage) and each sprite has a unique ability that can be activated in battle. For example, the first sprite you connect with changes every plate on the screen to the same color, allowing you to easily build a huge stack. There are a few dozen sushi sprites in the game and although their appearances feel like knock-off Pokémon—they even evolve upon reaching a certain level—the different abilities are well thought out and provide for plenty of different strategies. You can bring up to three sprites into battle so you can get creative with how your sprite abilities play off of one another. You might want a balance of offensive and defensive skills, or you might take three offensive types so you can strike hard and fast. It's great to see some variety in a genre that is otherwise kind of built upon doing the same thing over and over. Sushi Striker also features some RPG mechanics which aren't quite as valuable to the core gameplay. Both your character and your sprites gain experience and level up, affecting damage and maximum health, but it kind of just feels like a system made for grinding. Since you generally want to have as strong of a team as possible at all times this pushes you into using the same sprites over and over, which isn't great for experimentation. Of course, you can just replay earlier levels to grind some experience points, but that process is slow and makes the game feel repetitive. In fact, the single-player story already feels too long and repetitive as is, so forcing the player to grind even more just to try out other viable strategies makes the whole game a little exhausting. In addition, gaining new sprites is a semi-random system. After battle there's a chance you might get a new sprite, but there's no indication of what that chance might be. It seems to be tied to having a higher score but there's no guarantee of it, so you really have to just trust to luck. As entertaining as the battle system might be, a lot of the game feels like filler. Sushi Striker also features local and online multiplayer battles—a natural fit given the head-to-head nature of the puzzle mechanics. Like most multiplayer games fighting a human opponent is much more challenging and satisfying, and Sushi Striker forces both players' sprites to be at the same level so it really is a test of skill rather than who has the higher level sprites. The online community isn't super active but thanks to local multiplayer you can simply share a Joy-Con with a friend for some multiplayer action. Even though the controls are decent on the Switch it's clear that the game was built for the 3DS's touch screen. Playing with the control stick and buttons is a bit clunky—it doesn't have the speed or precision that the gameplay clearly demands. You can still play decently with a controller but it'll always feel like you're at a disadvantage. Thankfully, the Switch also lets you use the touch screen while undocked. You may lose the benefit of playing on the big screen but using your finger makes a world of difference for quickly and accurately chaining plates. It still doesn't feel ideal—your finger still isn't as perfectly accurate as a stylus—but as far as the Switch version is concerned it's the way to play. Everything in the game's presentation screams Saturday morning cartoon, in both good and bad ways. Some of the character design and animation feels kind of cheap at times, but it's undeniably colorful and eye-catching, even if minor characters look laughably cookie-cutter. The music isn't bad either—certainly energetic enough for a round of action-puzzle gameplay—and the voice acting is more or less in the same camp as the art design: it's exaggerated and over-the-top at times, in both charming and awkward ways. Just getting through the story lasts a good fifteen hours or so, and if you get hooked on the puzzle gameplay you can expect plenty of replay value. There are optional stages in the single-player adventure, plus high score ranks, plus stars you can earn based on specific challenges such as finishing the level with 40% or more health left. And, of course, there's multiplayer to give the game nigh infinite replay value. Even though the game can feel like a grind at times, if you enjoy the grind you'll find plenty of gameplay to enjoy here. Sushi Striker: The Way of Sushido is a charming, bizarre little twist on both action-puzzle games and Saturday morning cartoons. The gameplay is satisfyingly engaging, even if the single-player adventure turns into a grind at times, and the promise of local and online multiplayer will keep addicted sushi strikers well entertained. Although the controls never quite feel perfect on the Switch, Sushi Striker is a great way for puzzle fans to kill a bit of time. Rating: 7 out of 10 Sushi
  21. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Octopath Traveler – Eight travelers. Eight adventures. Eight roles to play in a new world brought to life by SQUARE ENIX. Explore each traveler’s story and use her or his abilities in and out of battle. Will you expand your horizons as the Merchant or track down a traitor as the Warrior? Where will you go? Who will join you? You alone can choose your path. The Octopath Traveler game launches exclusively for the Nintendo Switch system on July 13. A free demo version is also available for download now. Fortnite (Season 5) – WORLDS COLLIDE! Drop into Season 5 of the Fortnite game on the Nintendo Switch system, where we’re introducing all kinds of changes to the map! A Viking ship, desert outpost, and ancient statues have appeared on the island, changing the world of Fortnite as we know it. The all-new Battle Pass can help you level up faster by completing Weekly Challenges, and unlock additional rewards like progressive outfits, sprays and exclusive cosmetics. Play the new Season of Fortnite from anywhere. Earn Gold Coins when purchasing V-Bucks in-game on Nintendo Switch. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker – Captain Toad stars in his own puzzling quest on the Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. Our stubby hero must dodge dangers and track treasures across many trap-filled courses. Survive smoldering volcanoes, hazardous steam engines, haunted houses and even new courses based on the Super Mario Odyssey game. Luckily, in the Nintendo Switch version, a second player can join in to help toss turnips at enemies. The Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker game will be available for both Nintendo Switch and Nintendo 3DS on July 13. A free demo version is also available for download now. Activities: Nintendo Labo Creators Contest: New Winners Announced! – Winning entries have now been selected for the “Best Toy-Con Mod Using Toy-Con Garage” and “Best Original Invention Using Toy-Con Garage” categories. You can now see all the winning creations on the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest Winners’ page. Visit the site for more info: https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/winners/. 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 THE SUPER SPY (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Adventure Time: Pirates of the Enchiridion (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 17 ASSAULT GUNNERS HD EDITION (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Darts Up (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 13 Epic Loon (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 13 Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fill-a-Pix: Phil’s Epic Adventure – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Express Raider (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hand of Fate 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 17 Holy Potatoes! A Weapon Shop?! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hunting Simulator (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Let’s Sing 2018 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 17 Mugsters (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 17 RADIO HAMMER STATION (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Red Hot Ricochet (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Super Destronaut DX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 13 Super Volley Blast (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Star Story: The Horizon Escape (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Mooseman (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 18 Touhou Genso Wanderer Reloaded (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 17 Ultra Space Battle Brawl – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) VERTICAL STRIKE ENDLESS CHALLENGE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 18
  22. UPDATE: Announced in Nintendo's Nintendo Direct: E3, Fortnite will be available today at 10 am PT! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- With all the recent leaks, we all know Fortnite is coming to Switch...It's just a matter of when (It's literally the only platform it's currently not on). Apparently the game is supposed to drop tomorrow ( I assume after the E3 Direct), because the eShop page for the game is up on Nintendo's servers, but has not been made public yet. *Sorry if I spoiled this for anyone, but there has been talk of this coming to Switch for months. I've yet to play Fortnite yet, but I'll give it a shot when it hits Switch. From what I've seen, It looks like it could be pretty fun for a F2P game and I really like the art style.
  23. Battle Chasers: Nightwar from developer Airship Syndicate began as a kickstarter nearly three years ago, and after making its way to other consoles it landed on Switch in May. There aren't any fancy additions for the Switch release, but RPG fans will still want to pay attention as Nightwar brings together classic dungeon-crawling mechanics with a rich combat system that will kick your ass if you're not playing intelligently, wrapped up in a visually striking package based off of a comic series from the 90s. If you take the time to learn its battle mechanics, you'll be rewarded with a challenging but satisfying RPG adventure. Nightwar spends little time in setting up its world or characters. Your party is already a tight-knit crew who, after crash landing on the Lost Isles, has to fight their way through a variety of monsters to regroup and uncover the origin of the region's unusual mana activity. There's definitely a feeling that you'd better appreciate the characters and setting if you were already a fan of the comics, but even so, players new to Battle Chasers won't have much trouble getting to know and liking this cast of misfits. And to understand them a bit better you'll want to rest at the inn often, where you'll be treated to a short dialogue exchange between two or more characters which helps flesh out a bit of their backstories or relationships. Even by the end of the game it still feels like you've only gotten to see a small sliver of this world and the characters, especially since the central conflict of the game has little direct ties to the characters, but it's still an engaging and interesting sliver. The gameplay here is classic dungeon-crawling action, complete with turn-based battles and RPG leveling/equipment. The overworld you explore is little more than a conduit between dungeons, which are made up of randomly generated rooms full of treasure, traps, and monsters. There are actually only a handful of dungeons in the game but each one feels unique. The later ones in particular mix things up with unique mechanics—oftentimes status effects that make things more difficult for you—so the game always feels like it has new challenges for the player. In fact, Nightwar is all around a pretty difficult game, one where you really have to pay attention to the game's mechanics to survive battles unscathed. In addition to keeping an eye on the turn order, combat largely revolves around managing your mana and building up overcharge. Using basic attacks builds overcharge which is essentially temporary mana that lets you use special attacks without draining your magic power too quickly. Characters' mana pools are generally rather low—and don't increase as you level up—so to avoid squandering magic in early fights you'll want to use overcharge instead. And you definitely want to use special attacks as much as possible. In addition to just being more powerful they often have other beneficial effects such as poison, bleeding, healing, etc. which can be invaluable. On the other hand special attacks require time to cast, pushing that character down in the turn order, so that's another level of strategy to keep in mind. In short, Nightwar is the kind of RPG where you can't just mash A and rely on basic attacks in every battle. You have to pay attention to the flow of battle and build up overcharge to use the skills you need—it can be difficult but it's also incredibly satisfying for any RPG fans who get disappointed when a game only really requires strategy and forethought in boss fights. It definitely makes for a steep learning curve early on but once you have a decent grasp of managing mana and special attacks you'll find the combat to be highly rewarding. In Nightwar, every battle demands your full attention. Possibly the best part of Nightwar is the variety of strategies you can build, even with only six playable characters and three active members in battle. Generally you'll want to keep things balanced with an attacker, defender, and healer, but other compositions are equally viable, and you can slightly customize your characters with perk points and the variety of equipment found in the game. Although characters aren't completely customizable—each one clearly has a certain combat role—with a little experimentation you can come up with your own strategies which really opens the game up to replay value. Plus you can replay dungeons at different difficulty levels to earn better rewards, and since dungeons are randomized you can get quite a bit of variety out of the game. There are also side quests which can reap valuable rewards; Nightwar's handful of dungeons ends up being a solid 30-hour RPG with a decent amount of replay value. One area where Nightwar has some notable problems is technical performance, namely loading screens and frame rate issues. Moving into and out of dungeons brings up a long loading screen—long enough that you start to notice and check your watch to see how long it's actually taking. Even loading up a battle screen can be slow, surprisingly. Thankfully this isn't a game-breaking problem but it's still annoying to see. And the frame rate noticeably stutters at times, particularly in busy areas where there's a lot happening on screen. Again, this doesn't spoil the experience at all, but it's still disappointing. The artwork carries the distinctive style of Joe Madureira, artist/creator of the original comic series and known in video game circles for his work on the Darksiders games. It's hyper-stylized fantasy artwork and it looks fantastic in Nightwar, both in the 2D character portraits and also in the 3D models in battle. The scenery is also gorgeous, with each dungeon capturing a unique style that is still dark and foreboding. There are times where it's hard to make out the details in the scenery, which can definitely be obnoxious when you're trying to comb an area for all collectible items, but overall it's hard to complain about these graphics. And the music, though a little too understated, is excellent as well. You'll have to really pay attention to it at times to truly appreciate it, but when you do you'll be treated to an atmospheric and enchanting soundtrack. Battle Chasers: Nigthwar is an RPG made for fans of classic dungeon-crawling RPGs. There's no hand-holding here, no concessions to the player to help guide them through. Like the characters themselves you're dropped into this hostile territory and forced to fight your way out. But for turn-based RPG fans, there couldn't be anything better. The combat mechanics are deep and rewarding, with plenty of little strategic elements to keep track of. At the same time the battle system is versatile enough that experimenting with different strategies opens up a wealth of possibilities, even if you have to grind a bit to make them a reality. Still, RPG fans will love the challenge that Battle Chasers: Nightwar offers. Rating: 9 out of 10 Battles
  24. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Shining Resonance Refrain – Play as Yuma Ilvern and stop the Empire from exploiting the power of the ancient dragons, including the soul of the Shining Dragon within you. With the help of your in-game friends, realize your destiny, save Astoria and unleash the strength you’ve always had locked away. This remaster features all of the original game’s DLC. The Shining Resonance Refrain game is available on July 10. Pocket Rumble – The Pocket Rumble game retains gameplay elements that make traditional fighters great, but reduces the level of necessary execution and memorization. This way, players of all skill levels can get to a competitive level. 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: My Nintendo July Rewards – Get ready for adventure with Captain Toad and Toadette in July! The Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker game launches on July 13 for the Nintendo Switch system and the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. My Nintendo is celebrating all month long with terrifically Toad-centric wallpaper and a calendar that you can download by redeeming your My Nintendo points. Redeem your points for discounts of up to 50 percent on select games. Visit here for more details. Also new this week: 20XX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 ACA NEOGEO SAMURAI SHODOWN V (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Another World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 9 Awkward (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bomber Crew (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 Burnstar (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Disease -Hidden Object- (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hotel Transylvania 3 Monsters Overboard (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 Hyper Sentinel – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Two Crude Dudes (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Kill The Bad Guy (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Miles & Kilo (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Muddledash (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 Mushroom Wars 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Neverout (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 Pato Box (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 9 Rento Fortune Monolit (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 8 Squids Odyssey (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Super Rock Blasters! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Survive! MR.CUBE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Journey Down: Chapter Three (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Lion’s Song (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 10 The Wardrobe (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 6 Ultra Space Battle Brawl (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Yuso (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) PENGUIN HOP (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Zeus Quest Remastered (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  25. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus – As BJ Blazkowicz, experience an unforgettable action-packed story brought to life by extraordinary characters. Reunite with your friends and fellow freedom fighters as you take on the evil Frau Engel and her Nazi army. Wage the second American Revolution your way – at home or on the go. And for the perfect blend of immersion and accuracy, use the Nintendo Switch system’s motion controls to stop the Nazi threat. The Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus game is available on June 29. Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy – Spin, jump, wump and repeat as you take on the epic challenges and adventures through the three games that started it all: Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped. Relive all your favorite Crash moments in their fully remastered graphical glory. The Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy game is available on June 29. 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 Money Puzzle Exchanger (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Angels of Death (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Anima: Gate of Memories (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available June 29 Arcade Archives Renegade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Dream Alone (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Figment (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Fossil Hunters (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Grave Danger (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) INSIDE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) LIMBO (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) MotoGP18 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) NEKOPARA Vol.1 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 4 No Heroes Here (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Photon Cube (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Runbow (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 3 SpiritSphere DX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available July 2 The Journey Down: Chapter Two (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Waking Violet (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available June 29 Block-a-Pix Color – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) I.F.O (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)