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Found 616 results

  1. The latest installment of the Fire Emblem series launches for the Nintendo Switch today! Are you planning on picking it up? Which house are you going to join? Who are you going to marry? Please tag spoilers.
  2. Over four years since its wildly successful Kickstarter campaign was funded, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is finally available and carrying on the spirit of the Castlevania franchise, if not the name. A creepy castle full of monsters, RPG mechanics, Metroidvania progression—Ritual of the Night has all of the hallmarks that made games like Castlevania: Symphony of the Night or Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia such beloved hits, but can it fully capture their charm? Ten years before the events of the game, magic researchers attempted to summon demons by using the power of Shardbinders, humans fused with the power of crystals that were charged with demonic power. The summoning attempt was, unsurprisingly, catastrophic for humanity, with only two Shardbinders surviving. One was Miriam, our protagonist, who avoided the entire ritual by falling into a deep, unnatural slumber for ten years. Now she's awake, and demons are once again wreaking havoc across the land, meaning it's up to Miriam to stop it. It's a decent backstory, if not terribly original, but unfortunately the game's few cutscenes and dialogue sequences do little to elevate the story. You'll encounter a handful of side characters along your journey but none of them feels particularly well developed, even accounting for a few twists and turns in the plot. It's a bit of a shame that this opportunity to branch out from Castlevania lore into original gothic-horror storytelling wasn't used to more interesting ends. Ritual of the Night is a Metroidvania game, meaning it generally takes place in a single location—in this case, a castle crawling with demons—and your progress is limited by power-ups gained from defeating bosses. You might wander through the castle and notice a health upgrade on a high ledge, but with Miriam's default jumping ability it's out of reach for the moment. Metroidvanias are all about exploration and making mental notes of where to return once you're better equipped (Ritual of the Night also lets you make handy marks on the in-game map to remind yourself to return later). It's an addictive gameplay formula that Bloodstained handles well. The environments are diverse, there's an exciting sense of discovery as you inch forward into each monster-filled room, and a satisfying tension when your health is running low and you're desperately searching for the next save room. Exploring and discovering what to do next is a blast, but Ritual of the Night may go a little too extreme with how difficult this can be at times. Specifically, there are a few instances where the game gives so little direction or hint while requiring a very specific solution that it is extremely difficult to solve organically. One of the worst moments involves an item that is randomly dropped from a specific enemy but is required to progress. At that point, progression is just a little too obscure, and ends up being a little obnoxious. Ritual of the Night is no stranger to challenge in general, though. Combat can be tough early on when you're still learning the ropes of the game, especially given how slow Miriam's movements and attacks feel, compared to similar side-scrolling action games. You can't swing wildly lest you leave yourself open to enemy attacks, and monsters generally take several hits to go down. The first couple hours can be extremely challenging, especially the boss fights, though gradually the difficulty mellows out, partially due to the wide range of combat options at your disposal. In addition to a variety of weapon types (swords, whips, spears, etc.), Miriam can equip shards collected from monsters which essentially act as spells. There are dozens of shards in the game, giving you free rein to customize your approach to combat—you can even save equipment set-ups to quickly switch from one to another, perhaps to best handle different types of enemies. It probably won't take you long to find a preferred fighting style and sticking with it for the rest of the game, but the opportunities for customization are still excellent and opens the door for plenty of replay value. The process for unlocking new equipment or shards can be a little tediously haphazard, though. Aside from getting random item drops from defeated demons, you can also craft weapons and armor at your base of operations. Crafting has the same issue of dealing with random drops since you're at the mercy of chance when it comes to whether or not you'll have the materials needed to craft items. It can be a tedious process if you're really trying to craft a specific item, but as with so many crafting systems it might be better to not sweat over it too much and simply play normally. The game's presentation is a real mixed bag of quality. The art style is decent enough, even if it seems to rely a little heavily on paths Castlevania already forged (though granted there are only so many permutations of 18th century gothic horror). There are some fun demon designs, and overall the colorful art style is charming. The technical quality of the graphics, though, leaves quite a lot to be desired. For one thing everything in Ritual of the Night is just kind of blurry—low resolution plagues not only the gameplay but character portraits during dialogue and cutscenes. The technical quality doesn't seem to be doing the art design justice at all. Secondly and more egregiously, the game runs pretty poorly on the Switch. You'll notice slowdown when there's a lot of movement on screen, significant loading times even when just moving from one room to another, and possibly even random crashing (which is especially problematic in a game with no autosave feature). Patches have been promised by the developer but as of writing this review the quality of the graphics is disappointing. The soundtrack, however, is pretty consistently excellent. There's no mistaking the Castlevania influence on the music, but when that style nails the mix of action-oriented gameplay and gothic-horror setting so well, it's hard to find any faults with it. The voice acting isn't bad either, but the soundtrack is far and away the highlight of the game's presentation. Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night is a faithful recreation of the Metroidvania era of Castlevania games, even if some of its gameplay conventions feel a little too dated now. Still, Castlevania fans will be more than satisfied with the blend of combat and exploration that challenges the player to survive until the next save room. The game's presentation is an irrefutable issue with this Switch edition of the game though, one that may justifiably leave gamers wary of investing in this version, or at least warrant waiting for some thorough patches and updates to the game's visual stability. Rating: 7 out of 10 Rituals
  3. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch RAD – The RAD game is a 3D action rogue-like set in a post-post-apocalyptic world, where humanity has faced Armageddon not once, but twice. Playing as a teenage protagonist, you must venture into the Fallow — an ever-changing, radioactive wasteland filled with unknown and unspeakable creatures. The RAD game will be available on Aug. 20. ONINAKI – The new action-RPG game, ONINAKI, tells the story of one Watcher on a journey to protect Life, after Death. The ONINAKI game features exciting hack and slash style battles, with deep customization of your daemons and weapons. Experience unique action gameplay combined with a deep and satisfying story. The ONINAKI game will be available on Aug. 21. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at https://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Anode – Available Aug. 17 Arcade Archives X MULTIPLY Beholder 2 Cryogear Devious Dungeon 2 – Demo Version – Available Aug. 19 Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes Escape from the Universe – Available Aug. 16 FAR: Lone Sails – Available Aug. 18 Grave Keeper Gravity Duck – Available Aug. 16 IN-VERT – Available Aug. 20 Ittle Dew PC Building Simulator PictoQuest Rogue Singularity Tap Skaters TERRORHYTHM (TRRT) Truck Racing Championship – Available Aug. 20 VASARA Collection Yu-Gi-Oh! Legacy of the Duelist: Link Evolution – Available Aug. 19 Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Squarcat
  4. Thanks to a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, Castlevania fans get not one but two games that draw upon the classic action gameplay that the series is known for. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon was developed by Inti Creates as an homage to the early days of Castlevania, with particular emphasis on Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse. The end result is a satisfying blend of classic action-platformer mechanics with thankfully a few modern conveniences thrown in. You play as Zangetsu, a swordsman who was cursed by demons and has vowed to destroy any demons he can find—pretty standard set-up for a classic 80s action game. Despite that vow though Zangetsu allies himself with several demons over the course of the game, but what's most interesting is that you can reach different endings depending on how you interact with those demons (this is only accessible after your first playthrough). The story still isn't particularly deep but the different endings add a nice bit if replay value, making Curse of the Moon a decent introduction to the world of Bloodstained. The gameplay truly feels like it was lifted straight out of a NES title. In classic side-scrolling fashion your goal is to reach the end of the level and defeat the boss, but there are plenty of monsters blocking your path as well as some light platforming challenges. Curse of the Moon should feel instantly familiar to Castlevania fans—the game even retains some of the frustrations of old school gaming, such as getting knocked back when hit or the incredibly stiff controls that can make jumping feel frustratingly clumsy. The good news, though, is that Curse of the Moon features a Casual mode that eliminates the knockback and gives you infinite lives, which is useful even if you're an experienced player since it gives you chance to run through the game and acquaint yourself with the mechanics. But even on Veteran mode (the default mode that replicates classic Castlevania mechanics) the game never gets too frustrating. You'll definitely suffer through some cheap deaths, but it's not too hard to rack up a healthy supply of extra lives. Best of all though, you can change the difficulty setting any time you reload a save file to get just the right challenge balance for you. It helps that you eventually have four playable characters that you can swap among at any moment, and you won't lose a life until every character is dead (dying does send you back to the last checkpoint though, and there's no way to revive a character aside from completing the level or killing every character). Having four playable characters also does wonders for making the gameplay feel engaging. Each character has unique abilities that help make monster slaying a little more varied, plus you'll find alternate paths through each level thanks to each character's unique skills. For example, the first ally you encounter, Miriam, has a whip for longer reach and can slide through small areas. Once you have all four it's pretty satisfying to swap among them to deal with any given obstacle, or to challenge yourself by taking on enemies in different ways. Another feature that helps alleviate some of the "Nintendo Hard" feeling is permanent upgrades, such as expanding your maximum health, sub-weapon ammo, or even boosts to offense/defense. Finding these upgrades always requires a bit of exploration and using characters' unique skills, but they're always worth hunting down. Curse of the Moon is definitely not a long game—it's possible to finish the game in under two hours—but what it lacks in length it makes up for in replay value. There are the two difficulty settings to test your skills, the branching paths that reward exploration (and require keeping your characters alive), and there are multiple game modes that offer slight differences to the gameplay and story. All told, there's a decent amount of content to satisfy Castlevania fans. It wouldn't be a retro revival without recreating the classic look and sound of a NES game. The pixel art is fantastic (definitely more elaborate than your average NES title) and the music captures just the right sense of catchy, slightly repetitive chiptune audio. It may not be the smoothest pixel art or animation out there today, but Curse of the Moon is all about reviving a sense of 80s Castlevania games, and in that regard the presentation nails it. Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon is a spot on recreation of familiar Castlevania mechanics, plus a few thankfully more forgiving features such as Casual mode. The level design and challenges aren't necessarily breaking any new ground in the action-platformer genre, but that was never really the intent with the game in the first place. This is a game for Castlevania fans, and those fans will love running through a new dark and spooky adventure and putting their old school skills to the test. Rating: 8 out of 10 Curses
  5. Ever since the release of Awakening and its surprise surge in popularity, the Fire Emblem series has gone from a dying, niche franchise for Nintendo to one of their biggest names (if Smash Bros. representation is anything to go by). As a huge Fire Emblem fan though I'm not complaining! With the latest release in the series, Nintendo had the challenge of maintaining that momentum by delivering the trademark strategy gameplay of the series, alongside fresh new features, in a format that would be just as engaging on-the-go as it is on a TV screen. Considering Fire Emblem hasn't had a home console release in over ten years, there were some high expectations here. But with its wealth of characters to love and updated gameplay mechanics, Fire Emblem: Three Houses makes the grade. The game gets its subtitle from the three school houses at the prestigious Officers Academy at Garreg Mach, a monastery where nobles and other warriors from the three main regions of the continent are trained in the art of war. As the game begins, our protagonist is a wandering mercenary who is somewhat pressed into becoming a professor at Garreg Mach after rescuing three students from bandits. The school setting might seem just a tiny bit silly compared to past Fire Emblem games that focus on epic wars, but as you might expect there are some nefarious goings-on at Garreg Mach and you'll eventually be steeped in a much more dramatic conflict. The real benefit of the school setting is immediately giving you a large roster of characters to get to know, each of which has their own charming quirks as well as much more depth than they may seem at first. It feels like support conversations have become increasingly a focus of Fire Emblem games, and Three Houses is no exception. Although the central conflicts of the game are really only based around a handful of characters, there's something addictive about uncovering each character's story through their support conversations. It's easy to get invested in these characters, even if it's initially somewhat overwhelming to interact with so many, and the mysterious aspects of the plot keep you well engaged, culminating in the second half of the game when the stakes are much higher. You're also given the choice of leading one of the three houses, which impacts the story via branching paths. The downside is that completing one path may not answer all of your questions about what is really going on at Garreg Mach, but in the end that's just a good excuse to replay the game and focus on a different path and different group of students. The gameplay of Three Houses is more or less divided into two halves. In one, you have the familiar strategy RPG battles that involve moving units around a grid-based battlefield. The other half of the game is being a professor at the monastery—you tutor your students individually to level up their weapon skills, chat with them between battles, and interact via various events such as sharing a meal together to boost their motivation in class. Early on, this monastery business can seem overwhelming. There's actually quite a lot you can do at the monastery, though your time to do it is limited at first (you'll gradually unlock more activity points), and most of all it is incredibly time consuming to walk around Garreg Mach, talking to students and just generally investing in their individual stories. The balance between battles and monastery business gets better as you progress—you'll also learn how best to spend your time, perhaps focusing only on specific students—but Three Houses still does feel a little bloated by content that is mostly secondary to the core strategy gameplay. Fire Emblem Fates had a somewhat similiar (though far simpler) version of this with My Castle, and between the two, Three Houses feels a bit overboard. The good news though is that if you're truly not enjoying your time at the monastery you can choose to skip through it pretty quickly. Obviously you'll miss out on features that do actually impact battles—not experience points but other bonuses like weapon proficiency—but sometimes it helps to just speed things along. Much of the combat system feels like a natural evolution of the Fire Emblem franchise's progression since Awakening. Not surprisingly there is once again a big focus on abilities which characters can learn to grant helpful boosts, though this time abilities don't feel quite as overwhelmingly powerful. That's a good thing, though—you won't feel as bad for skipping over certain abilities or just letting your characters grow naturally without fastidiously tracking their progress. Three Houses also introduces a few new combat tools in your arsenal. First are combat arts which were actually first seen in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and return as a more accessible option in battle. Instead of being tied to a specific weapon, characters learn arts as they increase proficiency with a weapon type (swords, lances, axes, bows, and gauntlets), and learned arts can be used in battle. Arts provide some sort of attack bonuses—increased damage, increased accuracy, increased damage against flying units, etc.—at the cost of wearing down your weapon's durability more quickly. Early on, combat arts are a valuable bonus, since even another point of damage can make a huge difference. They get somewhat less useful as the game progresses, since your characters eventually become strong enough with their standard attacks that combat arts can be less effective since you generally can't double attack with them. Still, they're another handy tool when plotting your next attack. Another significant addition is the battalion system, which allows you to assign a group of generic allies to each unit in your party. Battalions add passive stat boosts which can be huge, plus they allow units to use Gambits which, much like combat arts, are another attack option. Depending on which Gambit you're using they can be incredibly powerful, especially because many inflict special effects, such as stunning an enemy so it can't move, and Gambits never trigger a counter attack. Gambits are quite limited in use, and should your battalion fall in combat you'll have to replenish them between battles, but even so battalions are far too useful to ignore (and also quite obnoxious when enemies use them—no one likes to be denied a counter attack!). On the other hand, if battalions seem to be making the game too easy for you, you can always ignore them. In many ways Three Houses lets you customize the difficulty of the action by either using or ignoring certain features. And Fire Emblem veterans may want to take that advice to heart, since Three Houses is, overall, fairly easy for a strategy RPG. It's not just the new, powerful attacks at your disposal in the forms of combat arts and Gambits. Part of it may be due to the lack of a weapons triangle, the rock-paper-scissors system that has defined most titles in the Fire Emblem franchise. It's a shame to lose that element of strategy, since now it really doesn't matter too much if a unit only carries one type of weapon, nor do you have to be too worried about sending an axe user against a group of swordsmen (though some abilities will still affect your accuracy and chance to dodge depending on your weapon type). There's a layer of strategy lost without the weapons triangle, which makes it much easier to somewhat brute force your way through the game. On the other hand though, not worrying about weapon advantages does give you more freedom in how you build your characters and your army as a whole. You can truly use whichever characters you like regardless of the situation, which is convenient in its own way. And finally, Three Houses brings back Mila's Turnwheel from Shadows of Valentia—this time it's called Divine Pulse—which allows you to rewind time to correct mistakes in battle. Divine Pulse is, perhaps, a little too forgiving on the player, especially since you get so many uses per battle, but it does make the game much more accessible to inexperienced tacticians, and occasionally deaths in battle come down to truly bad luck rather than poor planning, and in those instances Divine Pulse is a godsend. Like most Fire Emblem games, Three Houses is by no means short. Playing through the game just once can last a good 45 hours or more, though potentially less if you really ignore monastery features. Most of all though the game truly is a time sink—in a good way. There are so many little things to fiddle with between battles: monitoring characters' study growths, monastery tasks, just chatting with students. 45 hours may seem like a lot but it really does fly by. And since there are three paths, there's inherently plenty of replay value, even for a Fire Emblem game. Three Houses also features a New Game Plus which allows you to carry over certain bonuses from one playthrough to the next, which can be hugely helpful for alleviating some of the early game grind at the monastery. Of course, even with the help of those bonuses, Three Houses is a lengthy, addictive experience. For its return to the TV screen, the developers have given this Fire Emblem game a cel-shaded art style, which is pretty snazzy when paired with the sort of anime character design that basically makes everyone pretty. Really though, there are a lot of charming character designs (and a few questionable ones), and besides, battles don't really need anything more than fairly basic graphics. It is a little disappointing that the framerate doesn't always seem up the task of keeping up with the game, but this never actually interferes with the gameplay, it's just a small visual annoyance. The soundtrack, meanwhile, has a lot of great, epic-sounding tracks, though overall there isn't as much variety as I'd like, and few songs truly stand out. The voice acting is particularly well done though, which is impressive given the huge amount of dialogue that has been recorded for the game. With so many conversations it's tempting to fast-forward through them as quickly as possible by simply reading the text on screen, but it'd be a shame to miss out on the personality of the voice work. With Fire Emblem: Three Houses, the franchise continues down a more character-driven story path, as well as a gameplay system that seems to get more and more lenient with each new release. Fire Emblem purists may sniff at the balance between monastery gameplay and actual battles, but once you're in the thick of things—teaching your students, bonding with them, raising their skills as well as your own, and of course actually battling—it's easy to become completely addicted to the cyclical nature of the game's structure. After taking so long to return to a home console instead of a handheld, Fire Emblem: Three Houses feels suitably massive, engaging, and charming. Rating: 9 out of 10 Students
  6. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition – Take your party on the ultimate role-playing experience with Pillars of Eternity, now on the Nintendo Switch system. Now the fantastical world, tactical combat and unforgettable storyline can be taken anywhere you go. The Pillars of Eternity: Complete Edition game includes all the additional content from the PC version, including the DLC and expansions. SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition – Packed to the rim with content, the SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition game includes the main game, three DLC packs, the expansion “Dissonance of the Nexus” and bonus in-game items. The SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition game will be available on Aug. 9. 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: Three Houses My Nintendo Rewards – Have you chosen your house in the Fire Emblem: Three Housesgame? Show it off with the new downloadable rewards from My Nintendo. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: #RaceDieRun – Available Aug. 9 Arcade Archives VICTORY ROAD DC Universe Online Doughlings: Invasion Epic Clicker Journey ESport Manager – Available Aug. 12 Exception – Available Aug. 13 Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark – Available Aug. 14 Friday the 13th: The Game Ultimate Slasher Edition – Available Aug. 13 M.A.C.E. Tower Defense My Big Sister – Demo Version – Available Aug. 12 Never Give Up – Available Aug. 13 Neverlast – Available Aug. 9 Oh!Edo Towns Our Flick Erasers Pelican and Medjed Pix the Cat Plague Inc: Evolved Quench Sagebrush – Available Aug. 9 Shadows 2: Perfidia Subdivision Infinity DX Sudoku Universe Swallow Up Tactics V: “Obsidian Brigade” – Available Aug. 9 Taimumari: Complete Edition – Available Aug. 9 The Pyraplex Turok 2: Seeds of Evil – Available Aug. 9 Welcome to Hanwell – Available Aug. 9 Wordsweeper by POWGI – Full & Demo Versions Wreckin’ Ball Adventure
  7. until
    Mario Kart 8 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) nights are Thursday nights from 10PM - 11PM Eastern time. Information is available on the official Ninfora Discord server.
  8. Marvel has been inescapable at the movie theater for the past several years, so it's a little surprising that it took this long for another entry in the co-op franchise Marvel Ultimate Alliance to grace our game systems. Though with the cinematic universe's story of Thanos and the Infinity Stones recently wrapped up, it may also be the perfect time to revisit the action-packed superhero collaboration of this series and highlight recent fan-favorites like the Guardians of the Galaxy. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order sees heroes teaming up to smash their way through hordes of enemies and iconic supervillains across the universe with an emphasis on co-op gameplay, whether locally or online. There are some undeniable rough edges to the experience, but superhero fans and action game fans will love the breadth of the roster. The story begins with the Guardians of the Galaxy who stumble upon a Kree warship that is hiding the six Infinity Stones from Thanos and his Black Order. After a short scuffle the Guardians are teleported to Earth and the stones are scattered, leading to a team-up with Earth's Mightiest Heroes in order to recover the stones before Thanos—or any other villain—collects them all. The overarching story is fairly basic and straight-forward (get the powerful artifacts before the bad guys can), but there's a lot of personality and charm in seeing all of these superheroes meet and work together, much like the recent Avengers movies. In fact it's really a shame there isn't more contextual dialogue depending on which characters you're using, since it would be hilarious to see how certain characters interact, but given the huge roster size it'd be a Herculean task to plan for every possible pairing. In the end the story is really just a chance to see a quick glimpse of the characters and locations we've come to know and love from the comics, films, and TV shows, and that might be enough for such a combat-focused game. Like the previous games in the series, The Black Order lets you craft a team of four superheroes to punch, kick, and zap your way through crowds of basic enemies and, more importantly, tackle powerful supervillains. You start with just the Guardians but soon enough you'll have your pick of iconic heroes with more added as you progress through the story. The game doesn't get too obscure with its hero selection so if you've generally kept up with the recent films and shows you should recognize almost everyone, plus the game never forces you to use certain characters so you're free to make whatever odd pairings you like. You'll get bonuses depending on what characters you use (e.g. using all X-Men characters grants a bonus, or using all characters that specialize in raw strength like Hulk, Thor, and Luke Cage), but while the bonuses help you don't need to feel beholden to them. Characters can also execute Synergy attacks by combining their special attacks into a more powerful strike, but again, unless you're focused on creating the most ideal team possible for the hardest challenges of the game, there's enough variety to Synergy attacks that you're free to simply use the characters you enjoy the most and not pore over the minutiae. The huge roster does end up feeling like a bit of a double-edged sword, though. You can swap characters at any checkpoint and early on it's tempting to do so, but the characters you use gain experience points and power-up while unused heroes gain nothing. This means that swapping too much might put you at a disadvantage, which becomes pretty severe at times—there are a couple of bosses that are serious and surprising difficulty spikes, and using underleveled characters only makes things harder. The good news of course is that you can always level up other characters by replaying stages or tackling optional challenges, but if your goal is to make progress through the story you're better off maintaining a few particularly powerful heroes. For all of its options in team composition, The Black Order suffers a bit from simple mindless repetition. Even with so many heroes, each with four special attacks, the beat-em-up action is undeniably repetitive—not to an unenjoyable degree, but after an hour or so of playing you'll know what's in store for the remaining 12 hours of the story, and for the countless hours that can be spent on optional challenges. It's fun to see the likes of Spider-Gwen, Black Panther, and Daredevil square off against Thanos, but there really aren't any gameplay surprises to enjoy throughout the game. Still, a bit of mindless action isn't all bad, especially if you can enjoy it with friends. The Black Order supports local co-op (on the same Switch or local communication between multiple systems) as well as online co-op. The online system isn't too bad but as you might expect the lack of convenient communication options is a bit of a downer. The game never calls for anything particularly elaborate as far as team coordination is concerned—Synergy attacks have a clear on-screen prompt—but planning what to do next in the lobby before hopping into the game would be hugely helpful. Local co-op has the benefit of personal communication but seems to suffer from some bizarre camera issues. There's no split-screen so players need to stay near each other which can be difficult when enemies are spread out, but you may also encounter some camera glitches where the view gets stuck in a corner, obscuring the action. In fact even when playing solo the game's camera controls leave something to be desired. Even when you're facing down dozens of Hand ninjas as superpowered energy blasts are going off left and right, the visuals run pretty well on the Switch. The tradeoff is perhaps slightly less detailed character models, but while you're in the thick of things the art style is fine. The only slight problem with the visuals is that it can be hard to keep track of where you are on the screen sometimes, whether it's because you're behind a particularly large boss or because Daredevil seems to wear the exact same shade of red as the aforementioned ninjas. The soundtrack and voice work, meanwhile, are solid, if not particularly notable. Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order doesn't shake up any gameplay features we haven't seen in similar multiplayer-focused action games, nor is it telling a wholly original comic book story. Those aren't the reasons anyone is playing this game, though. They're playing it to assemble their favorite heroes to team up and beat down on iconic Marvel villains, and in the end the pure charm and love of these characters is enough to give the camera issues and repetition a pass, especially if you enjoy the challenge of leveling up every single hero. Give it a try with some friends and it's easy to burn an entire afternoon with Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Rating: 4 out of 6 Infinity Stones (or 7 out of 10 Heroes)
  9. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Pandemic – Humanity is on the brink of extinction. As members of an elite disease-control team, you’re the only thing standing in the way of the four deadly diseases spreading across the world. You must travel the globe protecting cities, containing infections from spreading and discovering the cure for each disease. The fate of humanity is in your hands! DOOM (1993) – Experience the classic demon-blasting fun that popularized the genre at home or on the go. Celebrate DOOM’s 25th anniversary with the re-release of the original DOOM (1993) game. DOOM introduced millions of gamers to the fast-paced, white-knuckle, demon-slaying action the franchise is known for. DOOM II (Classic) – Battle the demon hordes anytime, anywhere on the Nintendo Switch system. Celebrate DOOM’s 25thanniversary with the re-release of the DOOM II game. This beloved sequel to the groundbreaking DOOM (1993) game gave players the brutal Super Shotgun to bear against deadlier demons and the infamous boss, the Icon of Sin. DOOM 3 – Celebrate DOOM’s 25th anniversary with the release of the DOOM 3 game, available for the first time on a Nintendo system. In this critically acclaimed action-horror re-telling of the original DOOM game, players must battle their way through a demon-infested facility before entering the abyss to battle Hell’s mightiest warrior – and put an end to the invasion. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Animal Fight Club Arcade Archives ROAD FIGHTER Bear With Me: The Lost Robots Burger Chef Tycoon – Available Aug. 2 Catch a Duck Chroma Squad Classic Games Collection Vol.1 Damsel – Available Aug. 7 Divine Ascent Dungeon Warfare Fobia Hamsterdam Illusion of L'Phalcia Kiai Resonance Omega Labyrinth Life Raiders of the North Sea Robbie Swifthand and the Orb of Mysteries Saboteur II: Avenging Angel – Available Aug. 2 Shinobi Spirits S: Legend of Heroes Solo: Islands of the Heart STANDBY Sudoku Relax 2 Summer Waves Super Wiloo Demake – Available Aug. 2 Swaps and Traps – Available Aug. 2 The Church in the Darkness – Available Aug. 2 The Forbidden Arts – Available Aug. 7 The House of Da Vinci
  10. Update: Lawsuit officially filed. https://ninfora.com/forums/index.php?/topic/3325-switch-joy-con-drift-class-action-lawsuit... If you don't know about this whole deal with the Switch Joy-Con drift, watch the video in the spoiler bellow first. Luckily I haven't experienced this, yet. Though, I know there are a lot that have. I really hope this goes somewhere, because this is a major design flaw and Nintendo hasn't said a world. Joy-Con aren't cheap, ya' know ...Even for a single one. If you haven't experienced this yet, you will eventually. This really makes me wonder about the Switch Lite. Hopefully they didn't use the same control sicks as in the Joy-Con, because you'd be screwed if you start getting drift. You can't just buy new Joy-Con. I know you can just replace the sticks on the Joy-Con yourself, but most people are comfortable doing that and on the Lite, It would probably be more of a pain. In an all perfect world, Nintendo would fix this flaw and replace everyone's Joy-Con sticks for FREE.
  11. The God Eater franchise officially debuts on a Nintendo system with God Eater 3, the latest entry in the flashy action series that pits you against monstrous creatures either solo or with friends. Short, fast-paced missions may make it a natural fit for the Switch's design philosophy that is built around quick pick-up-and-play sessions, but the core of God Eater 3 leaves something to be desired. In a world ravaged by monsters known as Aragami, only God Eaters have the abilities and weapons to fight back for the sake of humanity. An even smaller subset of warriors, called Adaptive God Eaters (AGEs), are able to withstand the devastating conditions of the Ashlands and battle the new, more ferocious Aragami that dwell within. However, AGEs are feared and exploited for their power, and so begins the story of God Eater 3 as a group of AGEs are kept essentially as slave labor to battle monsters. The game certainly establishes an interesting setting, but one can't help but feel like they're always playing catch-up with the story. For one thing this is the third game in the series (not including expansions and side games) but God Eater 3 makes no effort to familiarize the player with the universe, which Nintendo fans might not be aware of. Then there's the whole concept of AGEs and more powerful ash Aragami that is intriguing but never properly explored within the main story and often leaves the player with answered questions. Instead the plot focuses on the predictable story beats of young heroes banding together to fight monsters as well as human oppressors. It's a shame that the unique setting and premise aren't put to better use. The gameplay formula of the God Eater series should be instantly familiar to Monster Hunter fans: you have a wide selection of weapons to craft and upgrade by using materials collected by defeating Aragami during missions. Missions take place in enclosed locations and pit you against one or more deadly Aragami, though you have AI helpers in story mode (and can connect with players locally or online for multiplayer missions). You have a limited number of consumables (such as healing items) that you can bring along on a mission, so the focus is really in playing strategically and learning each Aragami's patterns and tells in order to avoid taking too much damage. What makes God Eater unique is the much faster paced combat, which includes flashier attacks, particularly Burst Arts which can be charged by "devouring" Aragami with a powerful bite attack. You still need to play thoughtfully, but rather than picking your moment to strike you have a lot more freedom to dive in, slash away, and smoothly dodge back when the Aragami starts attacking. Every weapon is also able to transform between a melee form and a ranged gun as well as a shield, so you're well equipped to handle basically anything an Aragami might throw at you. It's surprising, then, that the faster and flashier gameplay is somehow less engaging than Monster Hunter. Part of it is that, overall, God Eater 3 is a much easier experience. Aside from healing items there are also healing springs scattered throughout each level, and your AI companions are able to heal you as well. The faster attacks means you can quickly devolve into button mashing without many negative repercussions since you can quickly bring your health back up anyway. Sometimes it feels like button mashing is simply the way to go since the faster pace makes it much harder to keep track of what is happening in the battle—also the game's camera is woefully inadequate at times as it either gets stuck in a corner, locking you into one view, or simply doesn't track the fast movements of the Aragami smoothly enough. Using target lock-on is particularly frustrating since it just doesn't seem to keep up with the action, and it becomes way too easy to shift your lock-on to a different creature in the heat of battle. Mashing your way through these battles ends up being totally viable and more than a little boring in long play sessions. God Eater 3's gameplay loop of fighting Aragami, collecting resources, crafting gear, and doing it all again just doesn't have the same charm as similar games, possibly because elements of this loop are even more grindy than usual since you not only have to collect materials but blueprints for new weapons as well. The resulting gameplay loop feels particularly tedious and a bit mindless at times. Even if there is a ton of content to pursue in God Eater 3, not a lot of it is particularly rewarding. Part of what makes button mashing in God Eater 3 so tempting is just the complexity of the controls. With melee attacks, gun attacks, and different dodge/block/dash actions, there's simply a lot going on and there's quite a bit to learn when you first start. A lot of it just takes some practice but some of the button mapping could have used some fine tuning. If the gameplay does click for you you'll at least be treated to hours and hours of content in God Eater 3. Just rushing through the story missions should still last a good fifteen hours or so, and then there are optional missions, different weapons to craft and experiment with, and multiplayer. The bad news is that the online community is basically non-existent at the moment, so don't count on finding random players to team up with. Coordinate with friends or resign yourself to playing solo for now. The Aragami designs are a lot like the gameplay itself: flashy and seemingly stylish but in the end a little too repetitive. Many of the monsters have variants that you'll encounter over the course of the game, and by the end the designs just kind of blend together in your mind without much personality to make them memorable or exciting. The character design isn't much better—these are the kinds of anime characters we've seen thousands of times, and without interesting personalities in the writing to help flesh them out, they're totally forgettable. The voice work falls prey to the same issue—the acting is decent but the flat dialogue doesn't give any of the characters a chance to shine. God Eater 3 has a ton of content served up with fast-paced, flashy action gameplay, but the loop of fighting Aragami, collecting materials, and crafting new weapons never feels quite as satisfying as other games. Despite a variety of attacks and approaches the combat system isn't particularly rewarding, and devolves into repetitive action far too quickly for a game that is built upon replay value. The story is a missed opportunity, while the presentation fails to give these beasts the kinds of personalities that make battles memorable. God Eater 3 is a decent action game, but never manages to be more than that. Rating: 7 out of 10 Gods
  12. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Fire Emblem: Three Houses – War is coming to the great land of Fódlan. Here, order is maintained by the Church of Seiros, which hosts the prestigious Officers Academy within its headquarters. You are invited to teach one of its three mighty houses, each comprised of students brimming with personality and represented by a royal from one of three territories. As their professor, you must lead your students in their academic lives and in turn-based, tactical RPG battles wrought with strategic new twists to overcome. Which house, and which path, will you choose? The Fire Emblem: Three Houses game will be available on July 26. Wolfenstein: Youngblood – Nineteen years after the events of Wolfenstein II, BJ Blazkowicz has disappeared after a mission into Nazi-occupied Paris. Now, after receiving years of training from their battle-hardened father, BJ’s twin daughters, Jess and Soph Blazkowicz, are forced into action. Team up with a friend online* or play alone. Level up, explore and complete missions to unlock new abilities, weapons, gadgets and cosmetics to complement your play style and customize your appearance. Wolfenstein: Youngblood features the most open-ended Wolfenstein experience to date. From a new base of operations located deep in the heart of the Paris catacombs, plan how and when to attack and dismantle the Nazi regime. The Wolfenstein: Youngblood game will be available on July 26. Forager – Forager is a 2D open-world game inspired by your favorite exploration, farming and crafting games. Start small and improve your base, skills, equipment and network of friends (and enemies!), and build your future as you see fit. The Forager game will be available on July 30. Fantasy Strike – Fantasy Strike is a colorful fighting game in which fantasy meets martial arts. It focuses on depth and strategy rather than difficult execution. It’s designed for tournament play, but also welcomes you to the genre if you haven’t played other fighting games before. 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: To celebrate the launch of the MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order game, My Nintendo is offering new wallpapers and box art cover rewards. Redeem your points** and get new rewards! Learn more at https://my.nintendo.com/news/4250562d3af95fbc. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Arcade Archives THE NINJA WARRIORS Battle Chef Brigade – Demo Version – Available July 26 Caged Garden Cock Robin Caladrius Blaze Collide-a-Ball 2 Garage Mechanic Simulator – Available July 26 Growtopia Gunpowder on The Teeth: Arcade Hoggy2 – Available July 26 Invisiballs – Demo Version KILL la KILL -IF – Available July 26 Mighty Switch Force! Collection Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden – Deluxe Edition – Available July 30 PICROSS LORD OF THE NAZARICK Raiden V: Director’s Cut Remothered: Tormented Fathers – Available July 26 Seeders Puzzle Reboot – Available July 26 Sheep in Hell – Available July 26 Smoots Summer Games Songbird Symphony Super Mega Baseball 2: Ultimate Edition Sweet Witches – Available July 27 Tetsumo Party – Available July 26 The Mystery of Woolley Mountain – Demo Version – Available July 31 The Tower of Beatrice – Available July 31 Titans Pinball – Available July 26 Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power – Available July 29 Umihara Kawase Fresh! Woodle Tree 2: Deluxe Zombie Driver Immortal Edition
  13. Site: https://tetris99.nintendo.com/ Price: Free for Nintendo Switch Online Members (Exclusive) The free to download online software, Tetris® 99, is available as a special offer for Nintendo Switch Online members. In large-scale, 99-player battles, it'll take speed, skill, and strategy to knock out the competition and become the last player standing. You can target opponents by sending them Garbage Blocks, but be careful…your rivals can target you back! Defeat opponents to acquire KO badges that may give you the advantage on future attacks. Survive the onslaught and look forward to upcoming online events! (FREE with NSO membership) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) (Big Block DLC* : Block DLC 1 - $9.99) *Big Block DLC "Season Pass" ($9.99) includes 2 modes, with more to be announced at a later date. NEW Modes Now Available!: UPCOMING EVENTS: 🏆 4th Maximus Cup - 6/21 to 6/23 (Win Gold My Nintendo points!)... PAST EVENTS: ---------------------------------------------------------------- Did anyone download this yet? I played a few rounds and the highest I placed so far was 20th and most KOs I had in one match was 5. I'm still trying to wrap my head around this with being able to have multiple people attack you at once and being able to switch who you're attacking on-the-fly. So far this game seems very bare-bones right now. No tutorial/how to play, only one mode. can't play with friends, no offline practice, no unlockables, etc. It seems like Nintendo just ripped a smaller online mode out of a larger Tetris game and gave it to NSO members for free. However, there is an EXP meter witch will increase your level as you play, but IDK if your lvl even matters. Can others even see your level? I noticed it says Ver. 1.0.0 on the main menu, so it seems like Nintendo plans to regularly update this. I'd really like to see some of the things mentioned above add to the game, because I'm really digging battle royale Tetris...As crazy of a concept as that is.
  14. The OPUS Collection brings together indie developer SIGONO's two niche story-driven games, OPUS: The Day We Found Earth and OPUS: Rocket of Whispers. With an emphasis on emotional storytelling over gameplay, each game features different characters and gameplay mechanics to craft unique sci-fi adventures. Though charming in their own ways, this physical collection does seem a bit harsh on the wallet compared to downloading the games individually. In OPUS: The Day We Found Earth, you play as Emeth, a robot who is assisting two scientists aboard a remote space station. Set millions of years in the future, the game posits a space-faring society that has advanced so far beyond its earthly origins that it has literally forgotten where Earth is. With the aid of a powerful telescope, Emeth must scan the universe to find the forgotten planet. It's an intriguing set-up for a story, and although the writing isn't quite top quality there's certainly an emotional resonance in this short game about a loyal robot. The game doesn't necessarily make the most of its premise, but it does manage to tell a sweet, heartfelt story about humanity through literally inhuman characters. It's all too brief but The Day We Found Earth manages to tell an engaging little sci-fi story. Aside from the very short, basic exploration that you do inside the space station, the gameplay here is entirely focused around examining space to locate the forgotten planet. Thankfully you don't have to examine every single celestial body though. Early on you're given specific coordinates of where to look, and gradually the clues get more obscure—for example you might not know the exact coordinates, but you'll know the general sector of where to find the next planet for examination. It's a neat gameplay concept that sadly gets pretty dull extremely quickly. It really feels like something that would normally be a side mission in a larger game, so building an entire game around it is a bit of a tall order. It is perhaps appropriate that the game is so short then, so that the gameplay doesn't overstay its welcome any more than it already does. It takes barely two hours to finish the game, and although there are a handful of side quests you can take on—which involve identifying other objects in space aside from Earth, such as stars or supernovae—there simply isn't much content in The Day We Found Earth. The bright side though is that the game's digital price is more than fair at a low $5. The game's visuals are incredibly simple since there are only a couple of characters and the bulk of the game involves looking at the stars, but even with such a limited amount of art the developers have put some charming personality into Emeth and the station. And even though it isn't rendered in particularly elaborate, detailed models, staring into space is pretty cool. The music is much the same—there's nothing too elaborate here, but the light, somber soundtrack suits the gameplay just fine. OPUS: The Day We Found Earth may be a short game with pretty basic gameplay elements, but the story still manages to present a charming, emotional experience. It won't appeal to everyone, but players looking for something simple and light should appreciate stargazing with Emeth. Opus: Rocket of Whispers changes things up. Rather than being a direct sequel to The Day We Found Earth, it's more like the two games exist in the same universe. This time the story is confined to a single planet where the populace traditionally launches rockets into space to carry the spirits of the departed into the stars. But after a devastating plague nearly all of humanity has been wiped out, leaving behind John who is haunted by the restless ghosts of the dead. One day he's shocked to meet another survivor named Fei who claims to be a Witch (a religious figure) who was frozen in cryostasis before the plague. Now the two must work together to build a functional rocket and let the spirits of the dead rest in peace. Once again players are treated to a unique sci-fi story that offers up a bit of hope in an otherwise fairly bleak setting. And like the previous game the writing may not necessarily be of the highest caliber, but the emotional resonance is there, from the scattered remains of humanity that John sifts through while looking for rocket parts to Fei's sense of guilt and responsibility over the whole situation. The pair's rocky relationship isn't anything that hasn't been seen plenty of times before in similar odd couple pairings, but still, the game has a knack for pulling on your heartstrings by the end. The gameplay is also totally different in Rocket of Whispers. This time it's more of a pseudo-survivalist game—each day in the game John sets out to collect parts for the rocket, and in order to explore further you need to gradually find and craft equipment that will let you reach farther on this desolate, snowy planet. I say "pseudo-survivalist" though because you never have to actually collect food, you only need to build a weapon one time late in the game, and you can even fast-travel back to your base of operations when night falls, so surviving isn't really a challenge in Rocket of Whispers. In fact there are very few opportunities to even get hurt, and not only can you take several hits before going down, but resting at your base at the end of the day recovers you completely. Although you don't have to forage for food there are still a lot of optional items you can recover and craft at your base, all of which relate to the people that once lived here and their memories/remains. It's a nice way to pad out the game's length a little bit, especially because the main objectives are highly linear (you can't really discover key items by just exploring, there's usually a story related obstacle in your path) though having to return to base to craft is a little annoying when it's just a simple side quest like this. Many of these optional items aren't particularly interesting either—it's a shame these side stories aren't more engaging. Like its predecessor, Rocket of Whispers has a very cute, simple art style. This game enjoys a slightly more detailed environment at your base camp, but while exploring the graphics are notably less interesting. With an overhead perspective and a snowy, derelict environment the visuals grow old quickly with very little variety. The frame rate is also, oddly enough, a little choppy while exploring which is surprising given the relative simplicity of the graphics. The soundtrack is also just like the first game: somber and atmospheric, though a little repetitive as well. OPUS: Rocket of Whispers is something like a meeting point between a visual novel and a survival game—instead of rooting through debris to find items to help you keep going, you find mementos and memories of the dead, fleshing out the hopelessness of the situation. Once again it's an emotional journey for the player, and once again the gameplay feels perhaps a little too simple, though at least Rocket of Whispers is a longer experience at around four or five hours to finish. It is undeniably a unique gaming experience though, suited to fans of slow-paced, thoughtful games. Individually, the two OPUS games are charming, heartfelt stories about humanity framed in an intriguing sci-fi universe. The gameplay is perhaps too shallow to truly create lasting appeal, but as short pseudo-visual-novel experiences there's an emotional resonance to them. The physical bundle is undoubtedly overpriced though, even with the bonus addition of a soundtrack download, which is really just the unfortunate reality of releasing physical versions of games on the Switch. Players interested in a slow-paced, reflective game experience ought to give OPUS: The Day We Found Earth and OPUS: Rocket of Whispers a try, but the physical edition will only appeal to the most die-hard collectors. Ratings: OPUS: The Day We Found Earth: 6 out of 10 Planets OPUS: Rocket of Whispers: 7 out of 10 Rockets OPUS Collection: 5 out of 10 Stars
  15. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE 3: The Black Order – The MARVEL ULTIMATE ALLIANCE series returns for the first time in 10 years with a new action RPG exclusively on the Nintendo Switch system. Assemble your ultimate team of Marvel Super Heroes from a huge cast, including the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, X-Men and more. Team up with friends* to prevent galactic devastation at the hands of the mad cosmic tyrant Thanos and his ruthless warmasters, The Black Order. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online** Wrecking Crew – In the days before Mario and Luigi became sports stars in their downtime from saving the princess, they tried their hands as one-man wrecking crews. With a hammer as their only tool, take control of the brothers and set out to destroy ladders, rip out pipes, knock out walls and detonate explosive devices. But make sure to plan your path of destruction carefully, as each building is designed as its own clever puzzle. Donkey Kong 3 – Based on the third game in the enormously popular arcade series, Donkey Kong 3 introduces an exterminator named Stanley as he desperately tries to protect the flowers in his greenhouse from Donkey Kong. Armed only with a can of bug spray, Stanley must force Donkey Kong higher and higher into the greenhouse rafters until Donkey Kong is off the screen and the next stage is reached. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Adrenaline Rush – Miami Drive Alien Escape Ape Out – Demo Version – Available July 22 Arcade Archives Shusse Ozumo Archlion Saga Astro Bears – Available July 19 Automachef – Available July 23 BATTLE & CRASH BATTLESHIP – Available July 24 Bot Vice – Demo Version Bubble Cats Rescue Desktop Table Tennis Trial Edition – Available July 19 Etherborn High Noon Revolver – Available July 23 Jim Is Moving Out! – Available July 19 JumpHead: Battle4Fun! – Available July 19 KILL la KILL – IF – Demo Version – Available July 19 Lust for Darkness Mini Trains – Available July 19 Mochi Mochi Boy – Available July 19 Pawarumi – Available July 24 Quest Hunter Redeemer: Enhanced Edition – Available July 19 Rise: Race The Future – Available July 22 Royal Roads Run the Fan – Available July 23 Switchy Road Tarot Readings Premium The Drama Queen Murder World Cruise Story Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Pinball Breakout 3
  16. An HD remake of Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz is coming to Switch Oct. 29th (also on PS4/STEAM)... Screenshots: https://gonintendo.com/stories/340085-super-monkey-ball-banana-blitz-getting-a-remake-first-screenshot I'm all for Monkey Ball coming back, but why Banana Blitz? This isn't considered to be that great, especially its minigamees. Speaking of the minigames, are they going to have totally new ones, because most of those were designed around the features of the WIi Remote? Why didn't they just do an HD collection for the first two games on GCN? That would be an instant buy for me and I assume a lot of other people. Those games were damn fun and the best in the series!
  17. Dodge the obstacles and complete the level as quickly as possible. It doesn't get much more classic than that in video game design, but developer PixelNAUTS Games has managed to give that premise a fresh spin with LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity. Set in the ominous solitude of space, one man's quest for survival turns into a fast-paced, score-chasing adventure, one where dodging hazards with split-second precision proves intense and engaging. You play as Harrison, an astronaut maintenance worker who becomes stranded in deep space when his ship is damaged. Using only the boosters on his suit, he has to careen past deadly asteroids and space debris to make it back to civilization with the help of an AI drone. The main game gets a little philosophical about the nature of humanity and perseverance (through the eyes of a mechanical drone) while the new content for Terminal Velocity takes a different track and is much more silly and comical. The sci-fi ponderings are a little more interesting while the comical stuff feels better suited to the game's action, but ultimately Terminal Velocity might be at its best when there's no dialogue at all and you're just focused on survival. The bottom line of the gameplay is perfectly simple: dodge whatever obstacles are in your path to reach the end of the level. Naturally Terminal Velocity has a lot more going for it than just that, though. For one thing the controls aren't perfectly precise—by design. You have to be extremely careful about adjusting your position slightly since it is extremely easy to overcorrect and end up hurtling off in the wrong direction. To keep things interesting throughout the adventure, even after you've mastered the controls, Terminal Velocity gives you rank on your performance in each level, based on the time you took, number of deaths, and whether you grabbed all of the collectible Obtainium in the level (more on that later). You have to play pretty perfectly to earn the highest platinum ranking by taking on risks to maintain speed, but it gives players a nice incentive to push their skills. You can finish the game by playing extremely carefully and slowly, but to really master the game you've got to keep your boosters at maximum from start to finish, narrowly dodging hazards left and right. There are also a good number of unique obstacles that keep the gameplay feeling fresh over the short length of the campaign. You're able to pass through small planets that might give you a speed boost or slow you down to adjust your positioning, or you might leap through wormholes to zip around the screen. There's enough variety that the gameplay stays engaging from one level to the next. You're also able to upgrade your abilities with the Obtainium you've collected, which makes for a nice sense of progression while also helping you perfect your skills with helpful bonuses. There aren't many upgrades to unlock and they aren't so varied that they truly change the way you play the game, but there's still something satisfying about continuously upgrading your boosters to breakneck speeds. A few aspects of the game can feel frustrating though. It's particularly hard to see and react to asteroids that come in from the sides of the screen, plus the game uses a wraparound screen (i.e. if you go off the left side of the screen you'll end up on the right side of the screen) which can be extremely disorienting. There is a small indicator of where you'll end up on the other side of the screen but this small flashing light looks so similar to the HUD that it really doesn't stand out well. Thankfully there are frequent checkpoints though so even if you do end up dying a lot in one area you won't lose too much progress. The Terminal Velocity edition of LOST ORBIT also adds entirely new levels in the epilogue which add a real game-changer: a drill that lets you break through asteroids in your path. It significantly alters the way you approach obstacles in the epilogue and serves as a perfect safety net that allows you to correct minor mistakes (though of course the epilogue also throws plenty of obstacles at you that can't be drilled through). The culmination of the epilogue levels is the most unique and at times frustrating level in the game, where you have to clear out all of the asteroids in your path by drilling through them. It's a clever inversion of the main gameplay mechanics though it really highlights how the controls are extremely unforgiving to small mistakes. The game's presentation isn't particularly flashy, but when it comes to speeding past obstacles where even one minor mistake will kill you, all you really need from the game is smooth clarity, which the game manages well. The epilogue adds some cartoonish character portraits to complement the more comical dialogue, but in both cases less probably would have been more. The game also features a pretty solid soundtrack, but there are two caveats here. For one, there aren't enough unique tracks—the songs that are in the game are great, but a little variety would have helped. Secondly, the drone's voice acted dialogue causes the background music to be turned down, which is a shame. The voice work is fine but the music is much more engaging, especially when you're just in the zone with the obstacle-dodging action. LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity offers a solid if brief take on the classic "avoid the obstacles" video game structure. Clever hazards, mechanics, and upgrade features help keep the fast-paced action engaging, though the real meat of the game comes from your interest in earning a perfect platinum medal on each level. Time trial fiends will love perfecting their techniques to get through the game's challenges unscathed, but anyone less invested in score-chasing might not gravitate toward Terminal Velocity. Rating: 7 out of 10 Asteroids Review code provided by publisher LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity is now available on the Switch eShop for $9.99.
  18. Some games, especially indie creations, suffer from having too broad of a scope and trying to do too many things at once. Streets of Rogue, from developer Matt Dabrowski and publisher tinyBuild Games, somehow manages to avoid those pitfalls while still packing an impressive amount of content into a fast-paced rogue-lite. Whether you're playing as a soldier and go in guns-blazing or try to play a more sneaky character class, Streets of Rogue offers up a ton of variety to make every playthrough engaging. In a city of rampant inequality (as well as a surprising number of supernatural hazards, including vampires, zombies, and werewolves), a group of freedom fighters band together as a resistance against the mayor's tyrannical rule. That sets the stage for Streets of Rogue, but storytelling isn't really a priority here—dropping the player into a procedurally generated sandbox to play in is the real focus of the game. It's a shame too since when you do get a bit of dialogue it's usually pretty funny, but players will just have to be content with the endless possibilities of destruction available in the gameplay. Your goal throughout the game is to reach the Mayor's Village by first starting out in the slums and working your way up through the city, which in gameplay terms means fifteen procedurally generated levels. Each level has one or more missions you need to complete to progress, plus optional side missions, plus an overarching bonus mission depending on your character (e.g. the soldier needs to destroy power generators on every level). And since the layout of the map is different every time you play, the challenge is more in learning how to master the fundamental gameplay structure rather than memorizing paths or patterns. Although there is a short tutorial, the game doesn't do any hand-holding—like most rogue-lites, trial and error is the key to progress in Streets of Rogue. It's pretty overwhelming on your first attempt or two, but it helps to stick with one character at first while you learn the basics (the soldier is particularly nice since he starts with strong weapons and has health regeneration). Like any good rogue-lite it's not just the randomly generated levels that keep things interesting, it's the item selection. There's a wide variety of items to find, purchase, or earn as a reward for completing missions, and they all help you interact with the game's world in unique ways. You may want to load up your character with guns and grenades in order to blast your way through missions, or you might stock up on lockpicks and window cutters to sneak into buildings covertly. Streets of Rogue finds a satisfying balance of letting players approach missions in different ways without completely overwhelming them. After a few playthroughs you'll have a good understanding of how best to use each item and whether or not they mesh with your current strategies, and at that point it becomes super addictive to try to make the most out of the items you find. And it's not just items that are going to make your playthroughs unique. Completing missions rewards you with experience points, and when you level up you're able to select a new trait which adds a passive effect or bonus, such as making it harder for people to see you when you're doing something illegal or increasing your melee damage. Even moreso than items these traits have a huge impact on how you progress, and like any rogue-lite there's a degree of luck involved—a powerful trait unlocked early in the game can make things significantly easier on you. There's a wide variety of traits that can be unlocked throughout the game and the good news is that you can toggle whether or not they show up in your current playthrough, which adds a helpful degree of customization and allows you to avoid traits that are less useful to your current character. What truly makes Streets of Rogue stand out and helps make it so replayable is the variety of approaches you can take, which is generally dictated by your character class. For example, the soldier may be adept at surviving gun fights, but a physically weak character like the hacker has to rely upon more crafty strategies. Then there are characters like the bartender who are not built for combat or espionage at all, but excel at winning over ally NPCs to help complete missions or occasionally do your dirty work for you. In a way these non-combat classes are the "expert mode" of Streets of Rogue, since you have to have a good understanding of how the game's AI interacts between characters to play them effectively, but they represent an entirely different approach to the game which is just as much fun to explore as blowing up hostile characters as the soldier. You can even create custom characters to create unique challenges for yourself (or to build a totally overpowered character and just wreak havoc). The depth and variety of options is truly impressive and makes the game a true sandbox that rewards player creativity. That said, the game does have its repetitive moments as well. For all of the various options in the game there are still aspects that end up feeling a bit repetitive, and it's generally the missions you're assigned. There really only seem to be a handful of mission types and even when you're putting your unique traits and items to use they can get a little tiresome. You'll also run into disaster scenarios on occasion which up the ante with special challenges, such as a zombie infestation, though these disasters can be just as frustrating as they are exciting. What does help break up some of the monotony, though, is multiplayer. Adding a friend (or three) either locally or online has a big impact on how you approach the game. For the most part it makes it much easier since you can watch each other's backs when things get rough, but the added chaos factor is a blast even if you just want to mess around a bit. The pixel art aesthetic is pretty charming as well, though it can't help but fall victim to some of the monotonous repetition that most procedurally generated games do. Even if you do end up seeing the same character designs over and over though, there is something satisfying about seeing these squat pixel characters racing around the screen. The music has a similar issue with being overly repetitive, but that's just the result of having a game based on replaying levels so much. Still, the techno soundtrack is infectiously upbeat, the perfect background music for causing a little mayhem. Streets of Rogue is an ambitious game, and the good news is that it delivers well on the promise of varied, addictive rogue-lite gameplay. It's the kind of game where completing it once only gives you a small glimpse of the game's potential, because with a different character, different traits, and different items, you'll be treated to a whole new experience, not just in terms of map layouts but in how you fundamentally approach challenges. Add in a friend for some co-op chaos and you've got a game perfect for players that enjoy figuring out every little possibility that a game has to offer. Rating: 8 out of 10 Traits Review copy provided by publisher Streets of Rogue is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  19. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 – To stop the worshippers of an ancient evil, you must join forces with the mysterious Malroth and build a ravaged world into the realm of your dreams. In this RPG adventure, you’ll explore huge islands, gather and craft with materials, design towns, level them up and defend them from monsters and bosses. As you progress, you’ll unearth crafting and building recipes. Dash, glide, explore underwater, fast travel and play in optional first-person perspective as you try to find them all. In the Isle of Awakening, you and up to three other Builders can explore together in local wireless* or online** play. The DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 game will be available on July 12. GOD EATER 3 – Devour monstrous gods with your allies! The latest numbered entry in the popular God Eater franchise has finally come to the Nintendo Switch system. Now you can experience the game’s intriguing story, distinct characters and stylish, high-speed combat whenever you’re on the go, both alone and with friends*. The GOD EATER 3 game will be available on July 12. Nintendo Mobile Dr. Mario World – Nintendo’s newest mobile game, Dr. Mario World***, is now available for smartphone devices. In this free-to-start puzzle and virus-matching puzzle game, meddlesome viruses have the in-game world in a panic, and Dr. Mario and friends must eliminate them by matching capsules with viruses of the same color. Dr. Mario World can also be played together with friends and family around the world. In Versus Mode, players can turn up the intensity by challenging their friends or any other players online to a one-on-one showdown in real time. Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp – Starting with Hello Kitty® and Cinnamoroll on July 11, in-game items featuring popular Sanrio® characters are coming to the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp*** mobile game for a limited time. The Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Sanrio Characters Collection event gives players the opportunity to obtain adorable in-game items like sofas, beds, hats and dresses featuring various Sanrio characters. DLC: DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 DLC: Fans who want to expand the range of things they can make in DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 will have multiple options when one free DLC pack and three packs of paid DLC hit starting on July 26. Fans can purchase each paid pack of DLC separately or save on the combined cost of each pack with the Season Pass for only $20.99. Different packs offer different content, such as new locations to explore, additional recipes, new quests and a variety of customizable options like clothes and hairstyles. Full version of game required to use DLC. Sold separately. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Arcade Archives Ninja Spirit Blazing Chrome Bleep Bloop – Demo Version Bouncy Bullets – Available July 12 Dead in Vinland – True Viking edition Desktop Bowling Distrust – Available July 16 Doodle God: Crime City Eagle Island Forklift – The Simulation – Available July 16 Laser Kitty Pow Pow Lethal League Blaze – Full & Demo Versions – Available July 12 Let’s Go Nuts – Available July 17 Let’s Sing 2019 – Available July 16 LOST ORBIT: Terminal Velocity – Available July 16 Mad Bullets – Available July 12 Metaloid: Origin Nelly Cootalot: The Fowl Fleet Professor Lupo and his Horrible Pets Psyvariar Delta Skulls of the Shogun: Bone-A-Fide Edition Streets of Rogue – Available July 12 Super Mutant Alien Assault – Available July 12 The Sushi Spinnery – Demo Version TINY METAL: FULL METAL RUMBLE Vektor Wars Venture Kid – Demo Version Wayout Ziggurat Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Sketchy Snowboarding
  20. After the success of the first game on the Wii U it makes sense that Nintendo would put out a sequel to their Mario level creator, but the breadth and depth of new content in Super Mario Maker 2 is definitely a pleasant surprise. New items and themes, a longer Story Mode, multiplayer features—Nintendo pulled out all of the stops to ensure Super Mario Maker 2 would feel like a fresh new experience, and based on the kinds of levels already created by the community, it's safe to say they succeeded. The original Wii U game included a number of levels created by Nintendo that served as a decent but small selection of offline content, but SMM2 ups the ante a bit with a more in-depth story mode. Mario is helping Toadette and her team of construction Toads rebuild Peach's castle, and to raise funds for the project you have to complete a variety of courses. The story itself may not be all that exciting but Story Mode serves as a great introduction to the world of Super Mario Maker. The courses here are each themed around a central concept, such as the new 3D World theme that brings with it clear pipes, the Cat Suit, and other features that are completely unique from the other Mario game themes. If you're not familiar with 3D World, Story Mode provides a perfect way to both learn how to play in this theme and spark ideas for level design concepts. With so many possibilities in SMM2 it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so having a solid source of inspiration like Story Mode is a great addition to Mario Maker. Just like the first game the real heart of SMM2 is in user-generated content, whether you're designing levels yourself or hopping online to take on whatever insane challenges that players the world over have cooked up. The first game had the benefit of the Wii U's Gamepad as a perfect control system for dropping blocks into a level, and although neither a normal controller nor the Switch's touch screen is as perfectly suited to course creation as the Gamepad, they both still get the job done pretty well. With a bit of practice the controller is perfectly manageable, even if it's not as fast as a touch screen, and using the Switch's touch screen undocked sacrifices precision for speed. Ultimately neither is quite ideal but their quirks end up being minor issues when you're focused on creating levels. SMM2 also does away with the tedious unlocking process of the original Wii U game, so players can simply dive in and immediately start making insane challenges out of the wealth of options available. I won't bother touching upon each and every new item available in this game, but suffice it to say the possibilities are even more varied than the first game, including some truly inventive twists like nighttime levels. The game does little hand-holding when creating courses unless you specifically seek out the game's helpful tutorials (or take inspiration from Story Mode) so veterans of the original game should be happy to jump right into the action and simply play in this digital toy box. For many players the most important aspect of SMM2 isn't creating levels but playing other players' creations online. Players can once again enjoy a seemingly never ending stream of courses created by other players the world over, though granted there is quite a range in terms of quality. Still, the chance to see something entirely new every time you load up the game is absolutely wonderful, and although Nintendo's online features are still a bit archaic and stilted (for some reason you can't just see your friend list within SMM2, you'll have to exchange player ID or course ID codes outside of the game) it's still delightfully addictive to see what new courses you can find every day. One of the biggest additions to SMM2 is multiplayer, both locally and online—although to play multiplayer on the same screen you have to download a level (or create it yourself) to enter multiplayer mode. Co-operative multiplayer is as chaotic and goofy as you'd imagine, especially because most courses aren't designed with multiplayer in mind. It's a bit of a shame that there aren't co-op-specific levels available (or a way to make them easily searchable, like a unique tag) because the co-op level seen at the E3 Invitational was brilliantly inventive and specifically designed for two players, but perhaps we'll see a future update that caters to co-op. SMM2 also includes competitive multiplayer levels, and even though there is a unique versus tag it's still hard to find solid multiplayer levels just because we're still in the early days of the game's release. Regardless, competing with three other players to reach the goal first makes an already wacky game even more insane, in a fun and ridiculous way. The only problem is you may be faced with some truly atrocious lag depending on each player's internet connection, and trying to hit precise jumps with a stuttering screen is horrendous. Hopefully this can also be rectified in a future update because right now multiplayer versus is not at its full potential. With five different game themes as well as a wide variety of backgrounds there's quite a spectrum of visual and audio design on display in SMM2, and all of it is just delightful. Whether it's the nostalgic rush of seeing familiar sprite designs from Super Mario World or the surprise of seeing items/enemies rendered into anachronistic game themes, the presentation of SMM2 is a fun reminder of just how much personality and charm Mario's graphics and music have always had. Super Mario Maker 2 adds even more creative possibilities than the first game, and just a week after launch there are already plenty of brilliantly inventive levels available online. Story Mode, a significant expansion over the original game's offline game mode, is a perfect tutorial for not just playing Super Mario levels but creating them as well, and a great starting point for getting acclimated to the new features available. Multiplayer modes, though not as smooth as they ideally ought to be in terms of online connectivity or accessibility, flesh out the game's replay value even more and provide an entirely new way to consider level design. Even if you don't bother spending much time in creation mode, Super Mario Maker 2 is a must-have for Mario fans. Rating: 9 out of 10 ? Blocks
  21. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Stranger Things 3: The Game – In the companion game to Season 3 of the hit original series, play through familiar events from the series, while also uncovering never-before-seen quests, character interactions and secrets. This adventure game blends a distinctively retro art style with modern gameplay mechanics to deliver nostalgic fun with a fresh new twist. Team up in two-player local co-op to explore the world of Hawkins, solve puzzles and battle the emerging evils of The Upside Down as one of 12 beloved characters from the show. Stranger Things 3: The Game will be available on July 4. SolSeraph – As the guardian of humanity, civilization is in your hands. Build your cities and set up defensive structures to protect them from the constant threat of monsters, and then descend into their lairs with sword and spells to eliminate the monsters for good. Explore floating islands, ancient caverns and lost cities. The world is yours! The SolSeraph game will be available on July 10. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Ankh Guardian – Treasure of the Demon’s Temple – Available July 5 Ape Out – Demo Version Arcade Archives CLU CLU LAND Asdivine Dios – Available July 4 CLANNAD – Available July 4 Desktop Baseball – Demo Version Desktop Table Tennis DOBUTSU SHOGI WORLD Grass Cutter – Mutated Lawns – Available July 10 Hero Express – Available July 5 Hyperlight Ultimate – Available July 9 OVIVO – Demo Version Paradox Soul – Available July 5 Penguin Wars Pure Mahjong – Available July 4 SENRAN KAGURA Peach Ball – Available July 9 Siralim 3 – Available July 5 Terraria Voxel Sword – Demo Version What Remains of Edith Finch – Available July 4 World Of Riders Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Wii U: Horror Stories – Available July 4
  22. First Team Sonic Racing in May and now Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled—it seems like the Switch just can't get enough wacky kart racers. But while Sonic's team-focused racing experience was entirely new, Nitro-Fueled is actually a remake of a 20-year-old PlayStation game, now with a new coat of paint and a few tune-ups to suit the online landscape of 2019. Fans of the original may love getting the chance to revisit familiar courses and characters, but new players might feel a bit burned by the steep learning curve. A racing game hardly needs to even bother setting up a storyline, but Nitro-Fueled opens with a planetary invasion from an alien named Nitros Oxide who claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy. He challenges Earth's best driver to a one-on-one race with the fate of the planet in the balance, and so Crash steps up to prove his mettle against four boss races before taking on Oxide. Aside from brief intros and outros to each boss race there isn't much else to the story, but it's nice to have a reason to race—aside from the glory of a first-place trophy. As a kart racer, Nitro-Fueled has all the basics you'd expect from the genre: you'll race across a variety of elaborate tracks, picking up items to attack other racers in order to take first place in the end. There are some great track designs here (which actually draws from the original Crash Team Racing as well as its sequel, Crash Nitro Kart) which make good use of the game's drifting boost and aerial boost mechanics without bogging down the tracks in too much confusing fluff. There's also enough depth to most tracks that you'll want to replay them over and over to fully master the ideal path. Some courses do seem to drag on a bit with nothing more exciting than a few turns and jumps though, and those tracks probably could've been a little shorter. The game also has a decent number of playable characters, though there are only a few real "class variations" that impact a racer's speed, acceleration, and turning ability, but it's still enough variety that you can spend plenty of time figuring out your perfect fit in terms of both stats and looks. The item selection feels somewhat limited though, especially since half the items are rather similar to one another. But the game does spice things up with a unique item mechanic: if you collect ten Wumpa Fruits during a race (usually found inside crates, or scattered on the track) all items will take on slightly stronger properties. It's a good incentive to collect Wumpa Fruits, not to mention the fact that you'll go faster with more fruits in your pocket. Possibly the most defining aspect of Nitro-Fueled is the way drift boosting works here. Instead of just holding the drift button down or wiggling the control stick back and forth, you have to press either L or R then press the opposite (R or L) at the right time to activate the boost. If you time it perfectly you'll get a bigger boost, plus you can chain up to three boosts in one drift. The timing is based on a small gauge in the lower right corner of the screen, plus this remake makes things a little easier by making your tires glow when the time is just right to hit the boost button. Ideally you'll eventually just know the timing perfectly by heart, but these visual cues are invaluable to new players, because this drifting system is undoubtedly one of the more complicated ones you'll find in a kart racer, especially one that otherwise appears to be a very kid-friendly. In fact the complexity of this drift system can make the single-player adventure mode extremely challenging, even on normal difficulty, since you kind of have to master it to get over the AI racers' perfect performances. It's definitely frustrating for new players to try to jump into Nitro-Fueled, where the AI is relentless (and sometimes appears to be rubberbanding when even a speed boost item isn't enough to put significant distance between you and them) and you unfortunately can't change the difficulty level without restarting adventure mode entirely. Nitro-Fueled also has some more technical issues that weigh on the experience, such as some truly horrendous load times. It might be more tolerable if they were less frequent, but every time you start or finish a race you'll be treated to a good thirty or forty seconds of loading screen. That kind of constant annoyance is a real drag on the otherwise fast-paced action of the game. The system for unlockables is also a bit annoying. You'll unlock several characters, karts, and other customization options just by playing adventure mode, but many items must be bought with Wumpa Coins, which you earn from every completed race, whether you're playing solo, multiplayer, or online. The catch here is that you have to be connected to the internet to actually earn the coins—if you're, say, playing on the bus, you're not going to be accruing any coins. It's already a huge grind to earn enough Wumpa Coins to unlock items, so missing out on the chance to earn coins while not connected to the internet is disappointing. Regardless of whether or not you're raking in the coins, there's plenty to do in Nitro-Fueled. Adventure mode can be completed in just a few hours, but there's also a "true ending" that requires you to tackle additional challenges. And of course there's the endless potential of multiplayer to stretch out the game's length, including both local and online multiplayer. The online connection was fairly smooth for me—one or two minor lag issues but nothing out of the ordinary—and there's already a decent number of players to race online. There will also be planned online events that give players the opportunity to earn DLC items (via challenges or by spending Wumpa Coins) so Nitro-Fueled should see plenty of long-term support. With Crash Bandicoot in the lead role, you can expect some charmingly goofy and colorful graphics in Nitro-Fueled. The game's cartoony style is well preserved from its PS1 origins, now with higher quality. The Switch version does look a bit rougher compared to other consoles, but it's only really noticeable during the slower moments of the game—when you're in the middle of a race, the graphics look fine and run at a stable 30 frames per second. The soundtrack is also fun and cartoony in its own way, though it has fewer standout moments than the art design. Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled offers up yet another solid kart racer for the Switch, complete with colorful tracks and wacky item action. Despite that cartoony appearance though the gameplay requires a fairly significant investment of practice before a player is going to be able to race competently, largely thanks to the game's unique drift boost mechanic which is indispensable for winning, even against the AI. Long loading times also have a way of preventing the game from maintaining top speed, but anyone willing to overlook those faults should enjoy the frenetic kart-racer action. Rating: 7 out of 10 Wumpa Fruits
  23. There are plenty of farming sim games focused on growing crops, raising animals, and bringing new life into the world, but how many focus on the inevitable end result? In Graveyard Keeper, from developer Lazy Bear Games and publisher tinyBuild, your objective is to build up an immaculate, sparkling cemetery, and if along the way the interred bodies should lose a few organs or bones, well, the villagers will be none the wiser. It's a charmingly macabre take on the farming sim genre, though not taken to its fullest potential. The story actually begins in the present day where, while walking home one night, our protagonist is hit by a car and wakes up in a medieval village where everyone is calling him the new graveyard keeper. After quickly acclimating to his new surroundings (which includes a talking skull), the nameless keeper must figure out a way to return to his own reality by building up a successful cemetery and business. Along the way he meets a handful of villagers with their own goals and tragic backstories, which slowly converge into key quests throughout the game. It's a hilariously dark premise for a game and undeniably unique, but the problem is that Graveyard Keeper doesn't quite make the most of it. The story missions are fairly bland (and replete with typos), and the dark comedy/death-focused angle is ultimately rather light in terms of story impact. Certain plot points are brought up repeatedly but never get a satisfying conclusion (or any kind of conclusion for that matter) which just makes the game feel unfinished. Despite a unique hook the story and setting are used to their fullest and end up feeling totally routine. That's really a major issue throughout Graveyard Keeper: the unique premise is overshadowed by the farm sim aspects we've seen a thousand times in better games. Early in the game maintaining the cemetery is certainly the focus and it's delightfully dark to work on preparing bodies for burial, removing their organs, and decorating their graves with proper headstones, but that aspect of the game shortly falls to the wayside and you end up more concerned with basic farm sim tasks like planting and harvesting crops, chopping down trees, or fishing. The darker and morally questionable aspects of the adventure (such as selling human flesh to the tavern as a cheap meat source) soon feel like just another side pursuit in a game full of things to do, and worse yet the morally dark stuff doesn't have any significant impact on the story or progression of the gameplay. It's a shame that the game doesn't focus more on its most defining feature. Graveyard Keeper is also an unrelenting grind of a game. Farm sims, by their nature, are all about repetitive tasks, but whereas successful farm sims find the charm and joy in performing menial jobs and seeing the fruit of your labor, Graveyard Keeper just feels like a chore. Your stamina seems to drain incredibly quickly, and early on when your food options are limited this means you need to take naps constantly. Progress comes slowly, partly due to the game's skill tree system which requires you to collect experience points before unlocking more advanced features. The skill tree isn't a bad concept in and of itself, but the game gives you almost no direction as far as what are the most important aspects to upgrade first, which can make the early parts of the game feel like an unending grind as you slowly gather up experience points if you wasted them on a feature that isn't important yet. The game has a bad habit of being too directionless in just about every aspect. Talking to villagers might give you a quest to bring them a specific item, but there's no way of figuring out how to craft/find that item for them—crafting potions with alchemy in particular is ridiculous since there are seemingly hundreds of possible combinations of ingredients, most of which result in nothing. For some reason there's no codex in the game to keep track of recipes or blueprints, which means you might waste a ton of time walking back and forth to collect items you forgot you needed (pro tip: the Switch's screenshot feature is invaluable in this regard). The relatively small inventory space and slow walking speed only make this more tedious, especially when there's something particularly far away from your home base and the dozen item boxes you'll end up building to store everything scattered around your farm/cemetery. It's simply unrealistically difficult to organically uncover major aspects of the game, meaning you're best off playing with the game's wiki open on your laptop/phone at all times. You'll eventually also unlock a dungeon that you can explore, but fighting monsters is a pretty bland, tedious affair. The only weapon at your disposal is a sword and, although you can gradually craft stronger swords, combat mostly involves spamming the attack button as you walk up to enemies. The dungeon really feels indicative of perhaps Graveyard Keeper's biggest issue: the game spreads itself too thin, which results in a lot of shallow, half-hearted mechanics that are entirely too reminiscent of other games (specifically, other games that did it better). There's so much to do in this game and you're kind of just dropped right into the thick of it, but too much of it feels bland and grindy rather than satisfying and engaging. It's easy to burn through hours and hours of playtime with Graveyard Keeper, but when looking back on it, too much of the game ends up feeling like busywork. It's also disappointing to find that the game has a variety of small bugs and glitches. Nothing is gamebreaking thankfully, but sometimes you might be crafting something and, because your inventory is full, the item floats away to another part of the map. Or you might open up your inventory and the cursor gets stuck at the bottom of the screen for seemingly no reason. When you're constantly shuffling your inventory to make room for new items, these kinds of minor issues end up becoming major annoyances. There's also a tiny bit of choppiness to the game's framerate—not enough to really affect the game in any meaningful way, but enough to notice. The game's presentation puts a perhaps incongruously cute pixel art aesthetic on a game about running a cemetery, but regardless the game features some solid artwork and a light, chipper soundtrack. Both may end up feeling entirely too repetitive after a dozen hours of collecting materials, farming crops, and exploring the game's dungeon, but the visuals and audio have a simple charm to them. Graveyard Keeper offers up a decent farm sim experience, but never quite manages to shake the feeling that its merely imitating games that better managed the genre. The cemetery angle plants a great setting that doesn't quite grow to maturity due to the sheer variety of tasks that spreads the gameplay too thin, and even with a handful of bugs and glitches the most frustrating aspect of the game is simply the unending grind and slow, unrewarding sense of progression. Fans of sims may enjoy having a new and slightly darker twist on the familiar formula of gathering materials and slowly building a successful business, but Graveyard Keeper's more tedious aspects won't win over anyone that isn't already invested in the genre. Rating: 6 out of 10 Graves Review copy provided by publisher Graveyard Keeper is available now on the Switch eShop for $19.99.
  24. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Super Mario Maker 2 – Mario fans of the world, unite! Now you can play, create and share the side-scrolling Super Mariocourses of your dreams in the Super Mario Maker 2 game, available exclusively on the Nintendo Switch system. Dive into the single-player Story Mode and play built-in courses to rebuild Princess Peach’s castle. Make your own courses or team up with a friend to make some together. And with a Nintendo Switch Online membership, share your courses, access a near-endless supply of courses made by others and enjoy online* multiplayer. If you’re not already a Nintendo Switch Online member, the Super Mario Maker 2 + Nintendo Switch Online Bundle might be perfect for you. It’s available as both a physical and digital release and includes a 12-month Individual Membership for Nintendo Switch Online. Super Mario Maker 2 will be available on June 28. DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 – Demo Version – To stop the worshippers of an ancient evil, you must join forces with the mysterious Malroth and build a ravaged world into the realm of your dreams. In this RPG adventure, you’ll explore huge islands, gather and craft with materials, design towns, level them up and defend them from monsters and bosses. As you progress, you’ll unearth crafting and building recipes. Dash, glide, swim, fast travel and play in an optional first-person perspective as you try to find them all. Try out this free demo before DRAGON QUEST BUILDERS 2 launches for Nintendo Switch on July 12. ©2018, 2019 ARMOR PROJECT/BIRD STUDIO/SQUARE ENIX All Rights Reserved. Developed by KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch: Another Sight – Available June 28 Arcade Archives WILD WESTERN Attack of the Toy Tanks – Available June 28 Baobabs Mausoleum Ep.2: 1313 Barnabas Dead End Drive Bitlogic – A Cyberpunk Arcade Adventure Bus Fix 2019 – Available July 3 Chiki-Chiki Boxy Pro Wrestling Dandy Dungeon – Legend of Brave Yamada Devil May Cry Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator – Available July 2 Driving School Original Epic Astro Story Furwind GOD EATER 3 – Demo Version Goonya Fighter Graveyard Keeper Headball Soccer Deluxe – Available June 28 Home Escape Human Rocket Person Irony Curtain: From Matryoshka with Love Lines X Lucah: Born of a Dream – Available July 3 Maddening Euphoria – Available June 28 MotoGP19 NEKOPARA Vol.3 OVIVO – Available July 3 Q-YO Blaster Rain City – Full & Demo Versions Rally Rock ’N Racing – Available June 28 Real Drift Racing – Available June 28 Red Faction Guerrilla Re-Mars-tered – Available July 2 Redneck Skeet Shooting – Available July 1 SCRAP RUSH!! – Full & Demo Versions SEGA AGES Virtua Racing SEGA AGES Wonder Boy: Monster Land Spell Casting: Purrfectly Portable Edition – Available June 28 War Tech Fighters Word Mesh Also new this week in Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS: Pinball Breaker 3