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  1. Eliwood8

    Pinstripe Review

    What better time of year than October to take a quick trip through Hell? Pinstripe, created by Thomas Brush with developer Atmos Games and publisher Serenity Forge, takes players on a surreal adventure through the underworld, one that is haunting and eerie rather than filled with brimstone and fire. It's that atmosphere that makes Pinstripe special though, even if the gameplay challenges are light. In Pinstripe you play as Teddy, an ex-minister who, as the game begins, is traveling on a train with his three-year old daughter Bo. After meeting the perfectly creepy Mr. Pinstripe, Bo is kidnapped and whisked away to Hell, leaving Teddy to chase after them through eerie landscapes populated by despondent souls in the thrall of Pinstripe. If there's one thing this game does perfectly it's atmosphere. The entire adventure has an emotional, melancholy tone, and not just for the fact that a father is rescuing his daughter. In addition there's a bit of a mystery element to the game since nothing is explicitly explained to you, and the bizarre setting has a variety of strange quirks in it. It's enough to keep you completely enraptured by the game, and even if the game's themes of loss and despair end up feeling a little light by the end it's easy to be invested in the journey. The gameplay itself is something of a mix of adventure exploration and puzzle-solving, i.e. you may need a specific item to progress, but to find it you'll go through a variety of puzzles. It's a solid gameplay basis though tends to err on the easy side—this isn't the kind of game where you'll get stumped on a puzzle or lost for a good amount of time, everything is laid out before you pretty clearly. There are still a lot of fun little puzzles to enjoy in Pinstripe but ultimately it feels like the gameplay is just something to keep you busy while you're drinking in the atmosphere and story rather than the core of the game. The game also includes light combat, though generally enemy attacks are only a minor nuisance and you can easily dispatch them with your weapons. Aiming can feel a little clumsy at first, perhaps because the game was built for PC so dual-stick aiming feels a little off, but you never really have to aim and fire quickly so it's not much of a problem. The only other notable issue with Pinstripe is the loading times which are a little too long when you're moving between regions (within regions there's no loading). This can be particularly tiresome since you have to backtrack a few times throughout the game, and the loading screens spoil some of the game's momentum. Even if the puzzles and exploration are a bit light Pinstripe has an undeniably beautiful sense of style. The best description of it is simply atmospheric—the visual design does an incredible job of reinforcing the sense of loss and isolation that Teddy is going through, and also provides some beautifully eerie scenes. It's the kind of visual design that makes you pause to appreciate the small touches on every screen. All of this is matched with an equally fantastic soundtrack, one that perfectly captures the haunting atmosphere but also has a number of quirky and catchy tunes as well. It's eclectic, and yet somehow suits the somewhat surreal world of Pinstripe. If there's one other major complaint about Pinstripe it's simply that the game is so short. Especially with its simple puzzle design it's easy to run through the game in just a couple of hours—and that's not the say the game isn't enjoyable during that time, but both the environments and gameplay design feel like they could have been put toward an even longer game. There's also a new game+ option which allows you to explore a few more areas. These don't hold anything of crucial importance to the game's story or gameplay but it can be nice to replay the game and take in all of the little details it offers—it'd only take you a couple of hours after all. Pinstripe offers beautiful and haunting trip through a surreal Hell, where psychological abuse seems to weigh more heavily on its denizens than physical torture. All of that incredible atmosphere unfortunately isn't matched by the gameplay, which proves somewhat shallow, but even if the challenges are small there are still some fun puzzles to enjoy. Players looking for a thoughtful, emotional adventure would do well to give Pinstripe a try. Rating: 7 out of 10 Stripes Review copy provided by the publisher Pinstripe will be available on the Switch eShop on October 25th for $14.99. Pre-purchase the game now for a 20% discount.
  2. For a while there it looked like we weren't going to get this game in the West (originally called Monster Hunter XX in Japan), but Switch owners can rejoice: while other systems are playing Monster Hunter World we've got Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate, the most jam-packed Monster Hunter game to date. This is an expansion of the 3DS game originally released in the West in 2016 so the basic premise will be familiar to many players (in fact, I'm reposting my review of that game below since it covers so much of this game as well), but a little similarity to previous entries has never stopped a true Monster Hunter fan. For those of us that are helplessly addicted to the hunt, Generations Ultimate is…well, the ultimate experience. First off, one of the nicest features in this game is simply the fact that you're able to transfer your progress from Generations on the 3DS to this Switch game. It's a quick, simple process and incredibly valuable for saving a lot of time building up an inventory of basic resources. Tackling every hunt can be a lot of fun in Monster Hunter but transferring data like this helps veteran hunters jump right to the new content. It's hard to know what to say about Generations Ultimate since it's basically an expansion of Generations for the 3DS. The core elements are the same but this game adds more monsters, more hunting styles, more maps—more everything! Generations Ultimate may not have a fancy new gameplay gimmick or monster type but the game doubles down on Generations' premise as a collection of Monster Hunter greatest hits. With even more monsters and maps from the franchise's history represented here, this truly is an almost all-encompassing representation of the series's rich hunting history. For fans of Monster Hunter it doesn't get much better than this—Generations Ultimate is everything you love, all packed into one Switch cartridge. And on the other hand, Generations Ultimate may not necessarily win over new players. Monster Hunter games have grown increasingly more accessible with each generation but there are still plenty of little aspects that players might find tedious, like collecting resources or the seemingly endless grind to earn rare item drops from monsters. If the game clicks for you you'll be hooked for literally hundreds of hours of playtime, but if not the gameplay might seem repetitive. Aside from just plain more monsters to fight, one of the more significant additions to Generations Ultimate is two new hunter styles, Valor and Alchemy. Valor isn't that dissimilar from the existing Adept style as both rely upon reading the monster perfectly to time your dodges, but Valor also gives the benefit of building up a Valor State that allows you to perform new attacks, depending upon what weapon you're using. It can be a risky style to use but also a fun change of pace for pros that want a little something new. Alchemy lets you craft items in the middle of a battle, some of which affect the whole hunting party, so it's useful for players that like playing support. It's also pretty complicated to learn since you basically have to learn all of the alchemy recipes and then remember which ones you want to use in battle, but with a bit of practice it's a nice addition to multiplayer hunts. Of course, possibly the best reason to get Generations Ultimate even if you played the 3DS game to death is the addition of G-rank, the highest difficulty rank in a Monster Hunter game where enemies hit even harder and add new attack patterns. One of the best things about Monster Hunter is the satisfaction of defeating a particularly troublesome beast, so adding another layer of difficulty to the game is perfect for players that enjoy a challenge. G-rank is a true test of skill, and rising to the challenge either alone or with friends is a blast. It's been a while since we've gotten to enjoy a Monster Hunter game on an HD system (well, an HD Nintendo system at any rate) and seeing all of the game's 93 monsters on the big screen is a real treat. Granted, Generations Ultimate still has its roots in the 3DS so the visuals are upscaled and still retain a certain grainy simplicity, notably in menus, but the graphics are still good—they're just not as great as they might have been if the game was built from the ground up for the Switch. The music isn't half bad either and helps give each hunt an epic tone—there's no better song to pump you up for hunting than the series's main theme. That "Ultimate" addition to the title isn't much of an exaggeration: Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate takes a game that was already made to be a compilation of the greatest hits from the franchise and packs in even more content with a quest list to make even the most seasoned hunter's head spin. The new features may be pretty minimal in the grand scheme but fans of the series won't mind. This isn't a game made to revolutionize the way Monster Hunter is played—it's a game for hardcore hunting fans that can't get enough of battling gigantic monsters, crafting weapons and armor, and doing it all again and again. Rating: 9 out of 10 Monsters Original review for Monster Hunter Generations (3DS):
  3. Took 20 years but at least we can become Pokemon Masters. Sorry Ash.
  4. Chinese mobile device manufacturer, Huawei, is marketing their new Mate 20 X as a Switch competitor... I guess everyone one wants a pace of the Switch pie. Unless they can get 3rd parties on board to release games of the quality of the ones on Switch, then I don't see this doing much. Plus, it's 3x the price of a Switch!!! EDIT: Wait! This thing really only has one controller? WUT?! o_O
  5. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch DARK SOULS: REMASTERED – Re-experience the critically acclaimed, genre-defining game that started it all. In this beautifully remastered game, return to Lordran in stunning detail. DARK SOULS: REMASTERED includes the main game plus the Artorias of the Abyss DLC. The DARK SOULS: REMASTERED game is available Oct. 19. Zarvot – This is a game of cubes – tiny, adorable cubes with hopes, dreams, unrequited loves … and unlimited destructive power. In Story Mode, you’ll follow the adventures of Charcoal and Mustard as they search for the ultimate birthday present to cheer up their best friend, Red – who is feeling quite blue. In Multiplayer Mode, invite your friends and challenge them to cutthroat competitive cube combat. Just Dance 2019 – The Just Dance 2019 game features 40 hot tracks from chart-topping hits to family favorites, including “Havana” by Camila Cabello, “I Feel It Coming” by The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk and more. Your Just Dance experience is now personalized as the game learns your dancing habits and suggests content. Just Dance 2019 launches Oct. 23. 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: Luigi’s Mansion My Nintendo Platinum Points – Can you help Luigi find the FOUR hidden Boos on the Luigi’s Mansionwebsite? You can earn 25 My Nintendo Platinum Points* for each Boo you find. Nintendo Account Linking Event! – You can redeem 300 Platinum Points within My Nintendo before 11 p.m. PT on Oct. 22 for 20 Leaf Tickets that can be used in the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp app! Details can be found by visiting https://my.nintendo.com/news/18e13ab8c6e6e2bd. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO 3 COUNT BOUT (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bass Pro Shops: The Strike – Championship Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 23 BLACK BIRD (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Cabela’s: The Hunt – Championship Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 23 Drift Legends (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) I Hate Running Backwards (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 19 Just Shapes & Beats – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 24 Momonga Pinball Adventures (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Nickelodeon Kart Racers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 23 PAW Patrol: On a Roll! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 23 Personality and Psychology Premium (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pizza Titan Ultra (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 19 Season Match (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SINNER: Sacrifice for Redemption (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Spencer (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SpiderSolitaire BLACK (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Syberia 3 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tetra’s Escape – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 19 The Legend of Evil (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 19 The MISSING: J.J. Macfield and the Island of Memories (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Room (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tied Together (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 19 Valkyria Chronicles (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) WILL: A Wonderful World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Windjammers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 23 Word Puzzles by POWGI – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  6. Eliwood8

    Mega Man 11 Review

    It's almost hard to believe we were once seeing new Mega Man games just about every year, but then waited over a decade between Mega Man 8 and 9, and now eight years between 10 and 11. Even though Capcom likes to keep its fans in constant suspense over the future of its franchises they've produced some outstanding titles recently, including Mega Man 11. With a perfect blend of old school difficulty with new visuals and gameplay features, Mega Man 11 finds a fantastic balance between retro charm and modern flair. This may shock longtime Mega Man fans, but the plot of this game involves Dr. Wily using eight robot masters to try to take over the world. Shocking, I know. Even though Wily is up to his same old tricks he's got a new gadget to get the job done: the Double Gear, a piece of technology he created in his younger days to make robots stronger and faster. To defeat him this time Mega Man makes use of the same tech. Mega Man 11 isn't about to win any writing awards but the game does add a little to the backstories of Wily and Dr. Light, and the use of voice actors helps make the intro and ending cutscenes a little more fun the watch. Despite the facelift to 2.5D graphics, the gameplay here is classic Mega Man. You have eight robot masters to defeat, each with a themed level and a weapon you'll receive upon beating them, and Mega Man has his standard arsenal of tools: Mega Buster, charged shot, sliding, Rush Coil and Jet, etc. Mega Man 11 is everything players love about the franchise and feels right at home alongside the other main numbered entries. The robot masters don't have the same charm as past bosses, nor quite the same challenges, but the formula of defeating one to use its weapon against another remains an engaging one. The one egregious missing element, though, is the fact that Mega Man does not freeze when jumping through boss room doors. How dare Capcom overlook the most important aspect of the Blue Bomber. Mega Man 11 also has a classic sense of difficulty. It's not quite as completely cutthroat as the original NES games but it gets pretty close at times, from spike traps to tricky jumps where wind is pushing you in one direction or the other. As usual there are checkpoints throughout each stage but losing all of your lives sends you back to the beginning. Fans of the series know that some of this repetition is just par for the course though, and the challenge of perfecting your skills throughout the early portions of each stage is far more satisfying than it is stifling. Plus Mega Man 11 makes things easier on the player with a generous items system that allows you to buy extra lives, energy tanks, and permanent upgrades that can be invaluable if you're struggling. This game captures that classic sense of difficulty without the same sense of frustration thanks to these concessions to the player. In addition to all of the classic elements of Mega Man that have returned there is an important new feature: the double gear. This ability lets you temporarily increase your speed or power, perfect for getting around a tricky enemy or taking down a robot master quickly. The double gear feels right at home in the series: it's a valuable tool but doesn't feel like an uncomfortably different play style from classic Mega Man since it only enhances his abilities rather than create new features to learn (although I often forgot to use it, being used to classic Mega Man gameplay as is). Since you can only use it for a limited time before it overheats and reduces Mega Man's power it's also nicely balanced—it'll help you get through some tricky moments but you can't just rely on it constantly, you still need to hone your platforming skills. Mega Man 11 clocks in at a respectable five hours or so—it feels like the right length for a Mega Man game, though admittedly a significant chunk of that time is spent on the first few levels, dying and retrying before you have enough bolts to purchase extra lives and upgrades. If you can't get enough of the Blue Bomber though there are different difficulty levels you can tackle plus a variety of challenges that give you specific goals, from simple time trials to finishing a level while jumping as little as possible. The game's power up system also makes it easy to set your own challenges—playing the game without power ups or purchasing extra lives is a lot more difficult but some players might appreciate the classic feel it offers. Unlike the classic pixel art of the original NES games or even the more detailed pixel art of some of the later entries, Mega Man 11 features 2.5D graphics which gives a pseudo-3D effect while still retaining basic side-scrolling gameplay. The effect is great and feels like an appropriate modernization of Mega Man. You get some beautiful background artwork and a few flashy visuals without betraying the familiar, somewhat cartoonish design of classic enemies and of course Mega Man himself. The soundtrack also does a fine job of capturing the nostalgic charm of past music tracks while still feeling fresh and new. Not all of the songs quite live up to the franchise's history but to be fair those are some big shoes to fill. Just like Mega Men 9 and 10, Mega Man 11 is a love letter to the Blue Bomber, recreating all of the best—and some of the more challenging—elements of the franchise. Unlike the other games though, this one also does a fantastic job of establishing new gameplay elements that feel fresh and valuable without betraying any of the classic difficulty or game design of the series. Longtime fans will love having another Mega Man adventure to play through, and new players will enjoy the fact that, while still challenging, Mega Man 11's item system makes the adventure much more manageable. Rating: 8 out of 10 Robot Masters
  7. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch The World Ends with You: Final Remix – Complete the mission...or face erasure. That’s all Neku knows after regaining consciousness in the middle of a busy intersection without his memories. Now he and his partner must fight to survive a life-or-death game in this twisted tale with more turns than the urban labyrinth of Tokyo they’re trapped in. This definitive version of Square Enix’s RPG classic brings the dark story to life on the Nintendo Switch system along with an extra chapter, exclusive two-player combat, and some killer, new remixed music. The World Ends with You: Final Remix game will be available on Oct. 12. Starlink: Battle for Atlas Digital Edition – In the Starlink: Battle for Atlas game, you’re part of a group of heroic interstellar pilots, dedicated to free the Atlas star system from Grax and the Forgotten Legion, an evil robot force. Assemble your fleet and mix and match your pilots, Starships and weapons to create your own play style and defeat the enemy. The Nintendo Switch console version even features characters and vehicles from the Star Fox series! Starlink: Battle for Atlas Digital Edition will be available on Oct. 16. LEGO DC Super-Villains – It’s good to be bad. Embark on a new DC/LEGO adventure by becoming the best villain the universe has seen. Players will create and play as a new super-villain throughout the game, unleashing mischievous antics and wreaking havoc in an action-packed story. Joined by renowned DC Super-Villains the Joker, Harley Quinn and countless others from the Injustice League, players will set out on an epic adventure. The LEGO DC Super-Villains game will be available on Oct. 16. The Jackbox Party Pack 5 – It’s the return of the classic pop culture trivia mash-up game, YOU DON’T KNOW JACK: Full Stream; the game of hilarious hypotheticals, Split the Room; the lyric-writing, robot rap battle, Mad Verse City; the inventive drawing game, Patently Stupid; and the outer space fling-fest, Zeeple Dome. Use your phones or tablets as controllers and play with up to eight players, plus an audience of up to 10,000. The Jackbox Party Pack 5 game will be available on Oct. 17. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 – NBA arcade action is back with the NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 game. The sequel to the original smash hit takes street balling to the next level with a massive roster of current and retired NBA players, improved online matchmaking with dedicated servers, four-player online matches, three-point contests, new playgrounds and custom matches. NBA 2K Playgrounds 2 will be available on Oct. 16. Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online*: NES Open Tournament Golf – Challenge another player in Stroke, Match and Tournament modes. Play on three fantasy courses in the USA, the UK and Japan, and try to win a million dollars. Make sure you keep an eye on the wind and distance to the hole before selecting your club, or else you’ll be racking up some high scores…which is exactly what you don’t want to do in this game. Solomon’s Key – As Dana, a skilled and talented hero, you must strategically maneuver through over 40 stages using mysterious block-creation skills and other magical powers. Free the captive Fairy in each stage by finding the Bell, and escape by grabbing the Magic Key. Use quick thinking and magical firepower to discover hidden items and evade numerous enemies as you race against the clock. Super Dodge Ball – In the Super Dodge Ball game, you take control of the USA Dodge Ball team and travel the world in an effort to become the best dodge ballers around. Step onto playing fields in countries all over the globe and use a combination of normal and super shots to help take down your opponents. But be careful, as some destinations have surfaces that can affect your footing. Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS Luigi’s Mansion – G-g-ghosts! Time to suck those suckers up because Luigi is back in the first portable version of this spooky classic. To beat the mansion’s many bosses and puzzles, a friend can join in for 2-player co-op**! Follow a map on the touchscreen, shine a flashlight, blow fire, shoot water, stun ghosts, and trap them…before Mario is trapped forever! Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities: My Nintendo “Games with an Edge” Sweepstakes – It’s the last week to enter the My Nintendo “Games with an Edge” Sweepstakes. Enter now for a chance to win a HUGE Nintendo Switch prize pack. While you’re there, be sure to take the quiz to discover what game to play next. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are a My Nintendo member and at least 13 years old. Promotion begins on 9/24/18 at 11:00 am PT and ends on 10/15/18 at 10:59 am PT for a chance to win. One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive: one (1) Nintendo Switch system, one (1) Home Cinema Projector for Gaming with Short Throw | HT2150ST, one (1) JaeilPLM 100-Inch 2-in-1 Portable Projector Screen, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC, one (1) download code for 2,500 V-Bucks for use in Fortnite (game not included) and one (1) download code for Stardew Valley(AVR $1,398.94). Ten (10) First Prize winners will each receive: one (1) Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC, one (1) download code for 2,500 V-Bucks for use in Fortnite (game not included) and one (1) download code for Stardew Valley (AVR $259.95 each). Total ARV $3,998.44. Winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries. Odds of winning a prize depend on number of eligible entries received. Details and restrictions apply; see Official Rules available at nintendo.com/switch/games-with-an-edge/sweepstakes-official-rules Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc. The World Ends with You: Final Remix Wallpaper – My Nintendo is celebrating the launch of The World Ends with You: Final Remix with some new wallpaper. You can redeem your My Nintendo Platinum Points to get the wallpaper, which becomes available Oct. 12. Visit my.nintendo.com for more information. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO ZUPAPA! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Art of Balance (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Battle Group 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Big Buck Hunter Arcade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 16 Boom Ball: Boost Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Chasm (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Child of Light Ultimate Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Crayola Scoot (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 16 Dungeon Village (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) EXORDER (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 16 Feral Fury (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Game Dev Story (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hot Springs Story (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Iris School of Wizardry -Vinculum Hearts- (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Joggernauts (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Madorica Real Estate (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Nefarious (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Rapala Fishing Pro Series (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 16 The Swindle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tricky Towers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) WARRIORS OROCHI 4 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 16 Pinball Breakout (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Triple Breakout (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS) Petite Zombies (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
  8. I've really been slacking off on making this thread, GU has been out for almost three weeks now. I've only been playing in earnest for the past week or so though, and just got to G1 rank over the weekend (I transferred my data—so nice to be able to just jump right into the game without tediously building up resources!). So consider this a general discussion thread for GU. Who else is playing? Did you start from scratch or transfer your data? Any interest in forming a regular hunting party here on Ninfora? What's New in Ultimate? Generations was already meant to be a collection that draws upon aspects of the entire Monster Hunter series, and Ultimate manages to expand on that even further—there are 93 large monsters in this game! Here's quick highlight of the new content: First and foremost, G-rank! The highest level of difficulty in a Monster Hunter game returns in GU, perfect for players that already mastered Generations and want to jump right into the more challenging content. 20 Additional Monsters (including old, new, and new variants): 2 New Hunting Styles (plus one new Art for each weapon): 7 Additional Maps (1 brand new, 2 returning, 1 arena, 3 monster-specific maps): Last but certainly not least, players are able to transfer their save data from Generations on the 3DS to GU by downloading a free app to the 3DS. More details here: https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/monster-hunter-generations-ultimate-save-data-transfer-app-3ds
  9. It may not have the star power of Final Fantasy or Dragon Quest but the Ys series been around just about as long as those two RPG franchises, and continues to put out new content with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, originally released in Japan in 2016 and recently ported to the Switch. Don't worry if you haven't been keeping up though; Ys VIII acts as a standalone title that anyone can jump straight into, and RPG fans will want to give the game a look for its fast-paced combat and large, engaging environments to explore. Each game in the Ys series follows the same protagonist, Adol Christin, adventurer extraordinaire, who seems to have a knack for stumbling into the right place at the right time. As the game begins Adol and his pal Dogi have found work aboard a passenger ship, but when a ferocious sea monster attacks Adol wakes up shipwrecked on the deserted island of Seiren. Strange rumors surround the island though, and it's up to Adol to get to the bottom of them while also rescuing other castaways and finding a way off the island. Ys VIII does a fine job of keeping the player engaged as you gradually find more survivors and uncover more strange happenings on the island. There are, however, some cliché plot points and one subplot in particular that feels completely out of left-field and oddly melodramatic—some parts of the writing definitely could have been tightened up. Also, despite a patch to address the more egregious typos and text errors, there are still a handful of noticeable typos throughout the game. But there's still a lot of charm in the writing thanks to a large and likeable cast of characters, as well as the mystery at the heart of the story. One of the defining traits of the Ys series is its action-based combat. Rather than turn-based or even combat-mode battles of similar JRPGs, Ys VIII lets you run right up to an enemy and smack it with Adol's sword. Monsters are scattered everywhere on the island and thanks to the seamless fluidity of attacking or fleeing from them Ys VIII has a great sense of fast-paced combat. You're free to move about while attacking and you have both dodging and blocking mechanics that give battles a satisfying intensity. Plus the game finds an excellent balance of difficulty. There may be an emphasis on dodging to avoid attacks but you're not going to be overwhelmed if you're not the type of player with perfect timing. This isn't a full-on action game where you need to pick your moments precisely—there's enough freedom that you can just go all out on an enemy, you'll just do a little better for dodging and blocking effectively. It makes the combat feel vibrant without bogging the player down in learning every monster's attack pattern. There are also a couple of other important aspects of combat. Most monsters have an attack-type weakness (slash, pierce, or strike) and each member of your party uses a different attack-type, so to play most effectively you'll want to switch between your three active party members (naturally, as an action-RPG, you can only control one at a time). Additionally, every character has unique skills for dealing more damage, and the party shares one SP meter. With these other elements in mind, combat in Ys VIII has a satisfying blend of both strategy and fast-paced action—there's something incredibly rewarding about demolishing a monster by using the right attack-type to break its defenses then using flashy special attacks to defeat it. And again, Ys VIII never bogs the player down with little details. You don't have to worry much about managing your SP meter since it recovers pretty quickly as you attack. The members you're not actively controlling still attack for a small amount of damage, but on the plus side they'll take little damage as well so you don't have to babysit them. The only minor annoyance here is that status effects can be hard to notice sometimes, but you can pause the battle at any moment to use a recovery item, so once again Ys VIII makes it easy to just enjoy the combat without punishing the player for not playing perfectly. The other core aspect of the game is exploration. It's only one island but Seiren is a big environment to explore, although it's mostly linear thanks to specific checkpoints that require special items or plot progression. Also each area is divided up into smaller regions, so the island isn't quite seamless (and even with these subdivisions distant objects sometimes pop into view with a jittering low framerate). Still, exploring is pretty fun in Ys VIII, partially thanks to the item collection/crafting system that encourages you to explore every nook and cranny. The materials you find or pick up from defeated monsters can be used to upgrade weapons or craft new armor and items, so it behooves you to pick up everything you can. This kind of item collection can be tedious in other games but Ys VIII makes it pretty simple, especially because you can also trade materials for others, so if you're missing just one piece of ore to upgrade your sword you don't have to run around fighting monsters until you find it. The only problem with exploration is the odd use of adventuring gear. These are items you need to progress further, such as gloves that let you climb vines. What's odd is that the game forces you to equip these in special adventure gear slots, which feels like a pointless restriction when these are simple necessities for exploration. It's not hard to swap out these items on the fly but it still feels like an unnecessary quirk of the game. Control-wise Ys VIII isn't too hard to pick up, but if you do have any trouble with them the game features full button customization. For example I swapped L for ZL and R for ZR which felt more comfortable for dodging and blocking. The game makes it easy to find the right fit for you. The visuals in Ys VIII feel like somewhat of a mixed bag. The graphics are by no means bad—characters have a charming anime look that is bright and colorful, and the animation is nice and smooth—but overall the art style never truly impresses. The environments are fine for what they are but there aren't any scenes that feel particularly stunning or stylish, plus there's a grainy, low-res look to some of the textures. As mentioned the draw distance can get a little funky at times as distant enemies stutter through low framerate movements. None of these are problems that will spoil the experience at all, but it does feel like the graphics are the one area of Ys VIII that truly lacks polish. On the other hand, the game does boast a pretty excellent soundtrack, one that is just as fun and catchy when it's playing for a momentous boss battle scene as when it's just adding ambiance to exploration. There are plenty of great songs to enjoy throughout the adventure. With it's large island teeming with monsters and treasures, Ys VIII clocks in at a pretty respectable 40 hours or so, assuming you don't waste too much time just exploring. But the game also features a number of side quests, courtesy of the other castaways you rescue. You're able to help them and raise their affinity which aids in another side adventure, fortifying your base of operations from monster attacks. Plus there are also optional areas to explore, and if you decide the gameplay isn't challenging enough you can up the difficulty. And finally once you finish the game you can start again with new game+ and carry over certain features. For RPG fans there's plenty to enjoy here. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana feels like it has a good chance of completely flying under the radar thanks to other high profile recent RPG releases on the Switch, but RPG fans would be doing themselves a disservice by overlooking this one. With its appealing story, fast-paced combat system, satisfying exploration, and stellar soundtrack, Ys VIII offers a lengthy, engrossing adventure. A few rough edges in the plot and visuals shouldn't deter anyone looking for an engaging action-RPG on the Switch. Rating: 8 out of 10 Castaways
  10. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Super Mario Party – The original four-player Mario Party series board game mode that fans love is back, and your friends and family are invited to the party. Freely walk the board, choose where to move, select which Dice Block to roll and compete to win the most Stars in skill-based minigames. And wait till you see the 2-vs.-2 mode* with grid-based maps, the creative new uses of the Nintendo Switch system and the series’ first online** minigame mode. The Super Mario Partygame launches on Oct. 5. Mark of the Ninja: Remastered – In Mark of the Ninja: Remastered, you’ll know what it is to truly be a ninja. You must be silent, agile and clever to outwit your opponents in a world of gorgeous scenery and flowing animation. Marked with cursed tattoos giving you heightened senses, every situation presents you with options. For the first time, enjoy the critically acclaimed game, as well as the additional Special Edition content, on the go. Mark of the Ninja: Remastered launches on Oct. 9. Disgaea 1 Complete – To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Disgaea series, the game that started it all returns in HD. Relive the expanded adventures of Laharl, Etna and Flonne in Disgaea 1 Complete, launching on Oct. 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: My Nintendo Activities – What type of game are you in the mood for this week? Take a quiz for game suggestions, plus while you’re there you can also enter the My Nintendo “Games with an Edge” sweepstakes for a chance to win a huge Nintendo Switch prize pack. Visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/games-with-an-edge for more details. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void where prohibited. Open to residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec) who are a My Nintendo member and at least 13 years old. Promotion begins on 9/24/18 at 11:00 am PT and ends on 10/15/18 at 10:59 am PT for a chance to win. One (1) Grand Prize winner will receive: one (1) Nintendo Switch system, one (1) Home Cinema Projector for Gaming with Short Throw | HT2150ST, one (1) JaeilPLM 100-Inch 2-in-1 Portable Projector Screen, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC, one (1) download code for 2,500 V-Bucks for use in Fortnite (game not included) and one (1) download code for Stardew Valley (AVR $1,398.94). Ten (10) First Prize winners will each receive: one (1) Nintendo Switch Pro Controller, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2, one (1) download code for Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion DLC, one (1) download code for 2,500 V-Bucks for use in Fortnite (game not included) and one (1) download code for Stardew Valley (AVR $259.95 each). Total ARV $3,998.44. Winners will be selected at random from all eligible entries. Odds of winning a prize depend on number of eligible entries received. Details and restrictions apply; see Official Rules available at https://www.nintendo.com/switch/games-with-an-edge/sweepstakes-official-rules/. Earn My Nintendo Points – Can you find Toadette? Search for six hidden Toadette characters on the Super Mario Party siteto earn My Nintendo Platinum Points***. The more you find, the more points you’ll earn. If you find all six Toadette characters, you can earn a free wallpaper. My Nintendo is also celebrating the Super Mario Party launch. Redeem your points and get new Super Mario Party themed rewards at https://my.nintendo.com/. Nintendo Labo Creators Contest No. 2 Results – Winning creations for Best Toy-Con Musical Instrument and Best Gaming Experience using Toy-Con Garage have now been selected. Be sure to check out all the winning entries, including the runners-up in each category, on the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest Winners’ page. Looking for more DIY projects? Nintendo Labo: Vehicle Kit is now available. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO THE KING OF FIGHTERS 2001 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Animated Jigsaws: Japanese Women (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Batman: The Enemy Within (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Bombing Busters (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 8 Demon’s Crystals (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 5 Dokuro (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Frutakia 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams – Owltime Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Goosebumps The Game (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 9 Hardway Party (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Hot Gimmick Cosplay-jong for Nintendo Switch (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Jettomero: Hero of the Universe (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) KEMONO FRIENDS PICROSS (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Ninjin: Clash of Carrots – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 10 oOo: Ascension (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Party Crashers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Revenant Dogma (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Shift Happens (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Oct. 10 Six Sides of the World (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Soulblight (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Splash Blast Panic (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Tangrams Deluxe (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Midnight Sanctuary (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Trouserheart (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 1 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) True Fear: Forsaken Souls – Part 1 – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Vertical Drop Heroes HD (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  11. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Fortnite Battle Pass Season 6 – Fortnite Battle Pass Season 6 is here! Jump in now on your Nintendo Switch system and start playing. With every new season comes new locations, new gameplay items, a new Battle Pass and more! FIFA 19 – FIFA 19 delivers a champion-caliber experience on and off the pitch. Led by the prestigious UEFA Champions League, FIFA 19 offers enhanced gameplay features that allow you to control the pitch in every moment. There are new and unrivaled ways to play, including a new mode in the ever-popular FIFA Ultimate Team and a new Kick-Off mode experience. Champions rise in FIFA 19. FIFA 19 is available on Sept. 28. Mega Man 11 – To save the day, the Blue Bomber must battle Robot Masters and take their powerful weapons, which now changes the hero’s appearance with added levels of detail. The innovative Double Gear system lets you boost Mega Man’s speed and power for an exciting twist on the satisfying gameplay the series is known for. Mega Man 11 is available on Oct. 2. Arena of Valor – Build the ultimate team with your friends to crush your opponents in the first MOBA game on the Nintendo Switch system. Explore and command a roster of more than 39 fearless heroes, with roles including Tank, Assassin, Mage, Support, Warrior and Marksman. Discover and dominate all the gameplay modes, including 5-v-5, 3-v-3, 1-v-1 and a unique “Hook Wars” mode that will challenge your skills and prove your hero as a true champion. DRAGON BALL FighterZ – DRAGON BALL FighterZ is born from what makes the DRAGON BALL series so loved and famous: endless spectacular fights with all-powerful fighters. Partnering with Arc System Works, DRAGON BALL FighterZmaximizes high-end anime graphics and brings easy-to-learn but difficult-to-master fighting gameplay. DRAGON BALL FighterZ is available on Sept. 28. New Update YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps and YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad – Today marks the release of the free Moon Rabbit Crew update for both the YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps game and the YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad game for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. This new content includes more missions, areas to explore, and Big Bosses to befriend. Players will be able to link their save data from YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: Red Cat Corps and YO-KAI WATCH BLASTERS: White Dog Squad to get special bonuses. 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 Nintendo Switch Online – Introducing a new online membership service from Nintendo. With a Nintendo Switch Online membership,* you will get access to online play in compatible games, a growing library of classic NES titles, cloud backup for your save data in compatible games and more. My Nintendo Quiz & Sweepstakes – Wondering what to play next? Take this quiz for game suggestions, plus while you’re there you can also enter the My Nintendo “Games with an Edge” sweepstakes for a chance to win a HUGE Nintendo Switch prize pack!** Visit https://www.nintendo.com/switch/games-with-an-edge/ for more info. Luigi to the Rescue? – Capture those ghosts, then catch these spooky My Nintendo rewards in October! Help poor Luigi survive a night in a haunted house in the Luigi’s Mansion game, now available for pre-purchase on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. You can also earn Gold Points*** with your pre-purchase of the game. To help celebrate this spooky season, My Nintendo is also offering an October calendar and Halloween-themed wallpapers. For more info, visit https://my.nintendo.com/. Last Chance for the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Offer! – We’re continuing the launch celebration of the Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country game with two new rewards. You can redeem your points*** for a printable Nintendo Switch box art cover or a wallpaper featuring art from the game. Plus, don’t forget that My Nintendo members get free in-game items for purchasing the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 game by Sept. 30. For more info, please visit https://my.nintendo.com/news/825d87caf3c9077a. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO CYBER-LIP (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Alwa’s Awakening (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives EXCITEBIKE (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Armello (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Demon’s Crystals (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available September 28 Find the Balance (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Jack N’ Jill DX (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Marble It Up! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available September 29 Monster Loves You (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available September 30 Moorhuhn Wanted (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Pilot Sports (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Rise and Shine (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Risk of Rain (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Rooms: The Adventure of Anne & George (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SEGA AGES Lightening Force: Quest for the Darkstar (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SEGA AGES Sonic The Hedgehog (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Escapists: Complete Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) TowerFall (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Valthirian Arc (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available October 2 Wandersong (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Whispering Willows (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  12. Eliwood8

    Flinthook Review

    In a galaxy full of scoundrels, one small pirate is ready to rise up and steal his share of the treasure. Flinthook is a roguelike action/platformer built around a handful of simple actions that are put to the test through a variety of randomly generated challenges, pushing the player to perfect the core mechanics of the game to prepare for anything the game can throw at them. Although the gameplay is solid, the roguelike elements prove to be more draining than entertaining. The storytelling in Flinthook is pretty minimal, especially since the main story is told without any text or dialogue, but an opening cutscene reveals a space pirate heist and you, as Flinthook, set off to stop the pirates and collect a little treasure for yourself. That's mostly all you get for plot in this game since the focus is on replaying runs over and over, but you can also find bits of lore hidden in pirate ships which flesh out the game's world a little more. It's a shame since the space pirate concept seems like a fun idea to build on, but the light story ultimately doesn't detract too much from the gameplay. Armed with a pistol, a grappling hook, and the ability to slow down time, Flinthook takes on all manner of challenges as he boards one pirate ship after another, leading up to a climactic boss fight at the end of each run. At its core the gameplay in Flinthook is a blast: swinging around on the grappling hook feels great and although you don't have a lot of variety in your attacks (aside from your gun you can hold one subweapon, such as a bomb) it's still satisfying to hone your skills to dodge and shoot your way through each ship. Flinthook does a great job of focusing on a couple of interesting game mechanics and building out fun challenges around them. The only problem I have with the game is just the fact that it's a roguelike, meaning that the game expects you to try, fail, and retry constantly while stumbling through procedurally generated levels. When you die you lose all progress in that run, and having that sword hanging over your head the entire time can be pretty discouraging, especially when the randomly generated levels start tossing out frustrating and sometimes even downright unfair rooms—more than once I entered a room and immediately took damage from a trap, which is pretty obnoxious, needless to say. The limits on healing may make the game more challenging but it mars the fun freedom of using the grappling hook as you end up often playing super defensively which feels at odds with the fluidity of the grapple movements. On the brightside Flinthook does allow you to purchase permanent upgrades and equip perks to boost your skills, so even failed runs can yield some degree of progress. The game doesn't make earning these upgrades easy though, and you essentially have to grind for quite a bit of time to earn enough currency to purchase them, which brings the gameplay right back to the repetitive trial and error formula that makes roguelikes great for replay value but also incredibly tedious and downright disheartening at times. Like any other roguelike you have to approach Flinthook with an abundance of patience and the understanding that progress comes slow. As for controls Flinthook feels pretty intuitive from the moment you pick it up, with just a couple of small issues. One, aiming with the left stick—the same stick you're using to move around—makes for a pretty challenging experience since it's hard to be precise with your aim or dodge away while still firing. Using your slow-motion ability alleviates a lot of that awkwardness though, plus the game has other control options that might feel more comfortable. Two, some enemies have a bubble shield that you need to pop with your grappling hook before you can damage them. If a bubbled enemy is next to a hook though it can be hard to hit them as the grappling hook might automatically attach to the hook—especially problematic if you're dodging incoming attacks at the same time. Although Flinthook's controls are overall pretty satisfying to use, there are these occasional instances that can frustrate, which is only amplified by the high stakes of each run. The pixel art aesthetic sure is common in indie games but it almost always manages to look great, and Flinthook is no exception. The game gives off a classic SNES era vibe with beautiful backgrounds and charming character/enemy designs. The downside is that the scenery occasionally feels a bit too busy while you're trying to focus on dodging attacks, but overall the style still looks beautiful. The soundtrack also has a nice classic feel to it. The music can feel a little repetitive at times, mostly because you're constantly exploring one pirate ship after another with similar tunes guiding you along, but there's still a great fun sense of energy to the audio that helps propel you along the adventure. Flinthook's charming aesthetics and focus on simple but satisfying 2D action/platforming mechanics makes for a great side-scrolling adventure, as long as you're prepared to handle the repetitive nature of a roguelike title, including the occasionally clumsy or unfair challenges that arise from randomly generated levels. It would have been great to see the same mechanics used in a more structured game, but as it is the roguelike gameplay at least guarantees plenty of unique challenges as you shoot and grapple your way across the galaxy. Rating: 7 out of 10 Hooks
  13. UPDATE: Announced in Nintendo's Nintendo Direct: E3, Fortnite will be available today at 10 am PT! -------------------------------------------------------------------------- With all the recent leaks, we all know Fortnite is coming to Switch...It's just a matter of when (It's literally the only platform it's currently not on). Apparently the game is supposed to drop tomorrow ( I assume after the E3 Direct), because the eShop page for the game is up on Nintendo's servers, but has not been made public yet. *Sorry if I spoiled this for anyone, but there has been talk of this coming to Switch for months. I've yet to play Fortnite yet, but I'll give it a shot when it hits Switch. From what I've seen, It looks like it could be pretty fun for a F2P game and I really like the art style.
  14. Someone found a Super Mario Party cartridge at an airport and decided to sell it on ebay.... Ok...I can understand this if it were like a Smash Bros. or Pokémon, but Mario Party? WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?!!! o_O' Maybe Nintendo is the one who bought the game, because they don't want it out in the public and leaks and all (you know how they are)? Though, most likely their ninjas would have just showed up at the seller's house and confiscated the game. Now that I think of it, it could be someone like a YouTuber who bought the game to get all those views for that sweet YT $. Though, wouldn't Nintendo take down their video(s) if posted before release? Anyway, I'm not sure how the game got out, since stores most likely haven't gotten the game yet, but if you look at the eBay listing, it says from Seattle Washington. Maybe a NOA employee dropped it while at the airport, or dare I say...something shady went down?
  15. A dataminer has found code within the Switch eShop that mentions SNES, N64, and Game Boy, and DS... Apparently, this is the same code that can be found on the 3DS, so it could be just something carried over. Though, I do find it odd how there's no mention of NES. If Nintendo does have plans of a traditional VC, does this mean that NES games will be exclusive to NSO members? That would really suck if all NSO members got were NES games, and if you wanted games from other systems, you have to buy them individually. I know people would rather just pick and choose which VC games they'd like to own on Switch, but I personally find it more of a value to have a Netflix style service for the VC included with your NSO membership. As much as everyone wants a traditional VC on Switch, I don't see it happening. Nintendo has said they "There are currently no plans to bring classic games together under the Virtual Console banner on Switch", so most likely classic games will be only be available as apart of your NSO membership. However, they could sell classic games in the Switch eShop, but not under the VC banner. Though, like I said, I don't see it happening, especially if they want to use games from other systems besides the NES as a selling point for NSO.
  16. Link: https://en-americas-support.nintendo.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/22525/p/897
  17. Man, I love that 2-row setup for game/app icons (it's what I use on 3DS). I'd love to have the ability to resize icons like on 3DS. *Sigh* Once again Nintendo is letting hackers out do them with features on the Switch...Features we should have already had by now, none the less. I was hoping we'd get themes, folders, etc. in the 6.0.0 update, but it seems Nintendo was solely focused on NOS with that update. Hopefully we'll see themes, folders, etc. in the next update.
  18. Eliwood8

    Hollow Knight Review

    In an subterranean world of insects, a kingdom lies in ruins with only a handful of residents still eking out a living in the derelict halls. Hollow Knight paints a grand setting for a game that is essentially about a community of bugs, but regardless it probably isn't the story that will pull you in initially with this game. It's the elaborate Metroidvania gameplay, challenging combat, and wealth of subtle options that makes Hollow Knight a uniquely compelling adventure. Hollow Knight doesn't spoon-feed anything to the player, and unfortunately that includes the story. If you're playing normally you'll likely be confused about what the exact details of the plot are, especially since you have so much freedom in exploration that there isn't a linear path of story beats/checkpoints to follow. It's kind of a shame because there's a lot of interesting backstory here—the developers have done a fine job of building this little world of insects and establishing both the rise and fall of its society, but for the most part the player only sees this through scattered bits of lore. It's still easy to immerse yourself in the underground world of Hollow Knight but just a little more clarity—for example, a journal to keep track of plot elements that you find—would have been invaluable. In true Metroidvania fashion you'll explore a vast, inter-connected environment that gradually opens up to you as you gain more abilities and can explore further. The game's map feels huge (and not just because you play as a bug) and a bit daunting but compelling as it's easy to just wander around discovering new little bits of the game. Hollow Knight doesn't make this easy though, as you'll have to find a map maker in each region and purchase a map before you can actually keep track of where you are which can be a bit frustrating at first. Backtracking isn't easy either, even when you do open up stations that act as warp points, and if you're playing without any kind of guide you're probably going to be wandering and backtracking a lot. The game is full of little touches like this, features that make the game a little more challenging but also frankly rather annoying as well. Combat, in particular, skirts a fine line between fun and frustrating. First off I'll say that your actual attacks feel great—the Knight has a fairly short range weapon but there's a satisfying weight to it when you strike, and you gradually pick up useful dodging options like dashing and double jumping. It's easy to pick up as you fight normal enemies but once you get to the bosses that's where things get challenging. Boss fights are really about pattern recognition and you generally want to play defensively as your healing options are limited—you can use a spell that costs mana to use, but it also needs to be charged, leaving you vulnerable. As such these fights can be incredibly demanding. They're not necessarily unfair, but they can be rather tedious especially because, when you die, you're bumped back to your last save point and also lose whatever currency you have (but you can recover it by returning to the spot you died and defeating a shade version of yourself). In that regard Hollow Knight is a pretty punishing game, one that is already built upon combat mechanics that require careful consideration of enemy attacks and sharp dexterity. To help alleviate a bit of the difficulty the game includes a charms system where you can equip a wide variety of charms that give beneficial effects. For example, one might increase the range of your attacks, or another might make it easier to collect mana for your healing and offensive spells. There's a huge amount of customization available here so you can tailor your approach however you like. There's a limit on how many charms you can equip though, and like most things in this game there's no direction given on how to expand your charm slots to equip more, but if you keep exploring you'll eventually find ways to increase your strength. Additionally you can also power-up your weapon and learn new combat skills, though even with a well equipped arsenal of charms and abilities the game's difficulty never lets up. The base game of Hollow Knight is already a pretty formidable adventure, one that can last a good twenty hours at least, which doesn't even necessarily include finding and collecting all of the game's many secrets (and optional bosses). This Switch edition also includes all of the additional content that has been released, offering even greater challenges. All told, there is a ton of content to enjoy in Hollow Knight, even if too much of the game's playtime ends up being dedicated to retrying and backtracking over and over. With its hand-drawn art and traditionally animated 2D graphics, Hollow Knight is simply gorgeous. There's also a brilliant balance between the cartoony art style of the characters and the sinister, creepy atmosphere of the game, which only adds to the somewhat mournful tone of the ruined kingdom. The environments are great as well, though at times it feels like the game leans too heavily on the shadow and darkness motif. Granted it suits the game both as a subterranean world and as a city in disrepair, but oftentimes I just wanted to take in the visuals more clearly. The music is fantastic as well, perfect for the epic yet sorrowful tone of the adventure. Beautifully animated and scored, Hollow Knight takes players on a gripping adventure through tunnels and ruined structures in a hauntingly atmospheric setting. However, the game's staunch difficulty and refusal to make things clear for the player, including not just where to go next but basic plot points, can make the experience feel overly demanding. The excitement of tackling challenging bosses is tempered somewhat by the game's tedious backtracking elements that almost seem to discourage the frequent try-and-retry structure that the game is built around. Still, for players up to the challenge, Hollow Knight offers satisfying Metroidvania exploration and sharp combat features that reward patience and perseverance. Rating: 8 out of 10 Knights
  19. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country – Start your Xenoblade Chronicles 2 journey at the beginning. Guide a group of legendary warriors through the tragic history that doomed a kingdom. Defend yourself from Malos and his forces using all the fury of a refined battle system that allows you to fight as both the artificial lifeforms known as Blades and their masters, the Drivers. The Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country game will be available on Sept. 21. Valkyria Chronicles 4 – Commander Claude Wallace and his childhood friends set out to fight for freedom in a desperate war, but bone-chilling blizzards, waves of imperial soldiers and the godlike powers of the Valkyria stand between them and victory. The strategy-RPG Valkyria Chronicles 4 is available on Sept. 25. The Gardens Between – Best friends Arina and Frendt fall into a series of vibrant, dreamlike island gardens peppered with everyday objects from their childhood. Lost in a mysterious realm where cause and effect are malleable, the friends find that time flows in all directions. Manipulate time to solve puzzles and reach the apex of each isle. FINAL FANTASY XV POCKET EDITION HD – Explore the world of FINAL FANTASY XV with a cast of cute and cool characters. After years of fighting, the nations of Lucis and Niflheim at last agree to an armistice. As a symbol of this promised peace, Noctis, crown prince of Lucis, is to wed the Lady Lunafreya of Tenebrae. The prince sets forth for his wedding on the eve of the signing ceremony, sent off by his father, King Regis. Unbeknownst to Noctis, however, the journey ahead is fraught with perils... Cities: Skylines – Nintendo Switch Edition – Cities: Skylines is a modern take on a classic city builder, with original gameplay to realize the thrill and hardships of creating and maintaining a real city. Boasting fully realized transport and economy systems, Cities: Skylines is designed to suit any play style. And on the Nintendo Switch system, it can now be played anytime, anywhere. 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 Nintendo Switch Online: More Games. More Features. More Fun. – Introducing a new online service from Nintendo! With a Nintendo Switch Online membership, you’ll get access to online play in compatible games, a growing catalog of classic NES titles with newly added online play and cloud backup for your save data in compatible games. Plus, you can receive special offers and enhance your online experience with features available through the smartphone app. Level up with a Nintendo Switch Online membership*! Get In-Game Extras When You Buy Xenoblade Chronicles 2 by Sept. 30 – We’re celebrating the launch of Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country with free in-game items for My Nintendo members who purchase the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 game. You’ll get these helpful in-game items for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 via download code: 15 Legendary Core Crystals, three Char-Grilled Grumbirds, three Crispy Blendshakes and three Clicky Clacks. To qualify, purchase the digital version of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 or register your physical game with My Nintendo by 11:59 p.m. PT on Sept. 30. For more information, visit the My Nintendo website. It’s Party Time! Earn Double Gold Points with Digital Pre-Purchase of Super Mario Party – Receive a bonus of 300 My Nintendo Gold Points** when you pre-purchase the digital version of the Super Mario Party game from Nintendo eShop or Nintendo.com (where available). The offer ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Oct. 4. Bonus points will be issued on the game’s launch day, are earned based on the original list price of the game on Nintendo eShop and will vary by country and currency. Also new this week: A Case of Distrust (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) A Gummy’s Life (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 ACA NEOGEO AGGRESSORS OF DARK KOMBAT (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Arcade Archives RYGAR (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Broken Age (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Broken Sword 5 – The Serpent’s Curse (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 21 Capcom Beat ‘Em Up Bundle (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Debris Infinity (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 21 Detention – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Gaokao.Love.100Days (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 24 Hover (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Legendary Fishing (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Light Fingers (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) MagiCat (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Mitsurugi Kamui Hikae (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) My Brother Rabbit (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 21 Oh My Godheads: Party Edition (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 Reigns: Kings & Queens (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Retimed (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Snake vs Snake (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 26 South Park: The Stick of Truth (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 Speed Brawl (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Spider Solitaire F (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) THE Card: Poker, Texas hold ’em, Blackjack and Page One (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Think of the Children (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 This is the Police 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 Ultimate Chicken Horse (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 25 Velocity 2X (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch)
  20. Eliwood8

    The Gardens Between Review

    Where else but in the realm of indie gaming could you find a game that so beautifully leverages a unique puzzle concept with a serene yet emotional story? The Gardens Between, created and published by Australian developer The Voxel Agents, sends players on a touching journey into the shared memories of its two protagonists where, instead of controlling the characters directly, you manipulate time, moving forward and backward to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. This intriguing mechanic and beautifully surreal world make The Gardens Between a wonderfully entrancing puzzle experience. The Gardens Between follows Arina and Frendt, neighbors and childhood friends who are swept into a dreamlike world made up of their memories of spending time together. The story is told entirely through the game's gorgeous visuals but even without any text or dialogue the game does a fantastic job of gradually revealing the bonds of these two characters, which is also reflected in the gameplay as you need both of them to solve puzzles. The theme of friendship, particularly childhood friendship which represents a certain ease and simplicity that is reminiscent of lazy summer days and an abundance of free time, is an easy emotional anchor for any player to relate to in order to care about these characters, making the story's conclusion quite affecting. It's a touching journey, one that is handled beautifully through the game's aesthetic and style. The gameplay is, at its heart, a puzzle game with the goal of reaching the end of each level, but the time manipulation mechanic makes things a little more unique in The Gardens Between. By moving time forward our protagonists will walk forward toward the goal, but in order to overcome obstacles you'll need to rewind a bit, sometimes changing the scenery to make a clear path. In addition to just reaching the goal you'll need to ensure Arina is carrying a light in her lamp, which can be snuffed out by obstacles that you'll need to avoid by rewinding time and making new paths. Successfully solving each stage means carefully observing how your time manipulations affect the environment and create opportunities for you to bring our protagonists and a lit lamp to the summit of each level. This description may make the game sound more complicated than it is, but one of the beautiful things about The Gardens Between is how easy it is to pick up. The controls are essentially limited to moving time forward or backward or interacting with specific highlighted objects, so it's easy for any player to jump right into the game. That doesn't mean that the game is overly simplified, though. There are plenty of good challenges to enjoy here, puzzles that are genuinely clever—more than once I found myself, after finding the correct solution, charmed by a clever puzzle that puts the game's time manipulation mechanics to great use. There's something delightfully satisfying about seeing all of the pieces of a puzzle come together, and The Gardens Between captures that feeling perfectly when you see your time manipulations create a perfect chain of cause and effect that leads to the goal. Time mechanics in a puzzle game can offer a huge variety of puzzles and can easily fall into overly complicated tedium, but The Gardens Between finds the right balance of clever concepts that challenge the player without overwhelming them. Part of this is due to the fact that each stage is relatively short and often includes checkpoints that you can't go back through, so even when you're lost there is only a small range of options and tools to work with which guides the player into examining the scenery carefully. By focusing on just a couple of gameplay mechanics in short stage sections The Gardens Between lets you focus on the problem at hand. This gameplay philosophy makes it easy to progress through the game—perhaps even too quickly, as soon enough you'll reach the end of the game, and it'll feel like you only just began! In fact, if there's any issue with the game at all its the short length of the adventure, which can be finished in a single afternoon (assuming you don't get too stuck on puzzles). To be fair the game doesn't feel artificially short, rather the game is so engaging that it's a shame it isn't longer, and the time manipulation puzzle mechanics are so clever that they could easily be used in even more puzzles. As it is though, The Gardens Between is still a decent-length game—you'll just be eager for more even as it ends. From start to finish The Gardens Between is a beautiful looking game, which might seem a little surprising considering each stage takes place on a self-contained island. But the storybook-style scenery with its surreal objects is absolutely gorgeous, combining a simple style with eye-catching details and a color palette that perfectly captures the dreamy quality of this journey through memories. The art in this game is just completely charming and the perfect setting for a game that offers a heartfelt exploration of friendship in a relaxed puzzle setting. Of course, a big part of establishing that atmosphere comes from the soundtrack, which is also a spot-on choice for the dreamlike visuals and story. It's a soft ambiance soundtrack that sets the right mood for a thoughtful puzzle adventure—ideal background music for this game. And be sure to stick around during the credits for the closing song, which puts a touching cap on the end of this game. The Gardens Between is an unmissable puzzle adventure, one that blends clever gameplay mechanics, a heartfelt story, and beautiful art and music into an emotionally affecting game. Players will no doubt be drawn in by the game's charming aesthetic and stick around for the delightfully unique time manipulation puzzles, but it's the game's visual storytelling that is the heart and soul of the adventure. Although the game ends all too soon, The Gardens Between is a beautifully thoughtful experience, the likes of which you won't find anywhere else. Rating: 8 out of 10 Gardens Review copy provided by the publisher The Gardens Between will be available on the Switch eShop on September 20th for $19.99.
  21. Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles distills the normally big-budget studio open-world adventure experience into a more modestly priced indie game. The game's world has all of the item collecting and exploration you'd expect from the genre, as well as plenty of side quests and items to craft, but the one thing it doesn't have is any combat elements. Instead, Yonder is a more friendly, easy-going adventure, one that proves just as compelling even if some of its mechanics make exploration a little more repetitive than it ought to be. Yonder takes place in the land of Gemea, a vibrant island that is currently plagued by patches of dark energy called Murk. Your customizable character is journeying to Gemea for the first time, but the ship crashes on the island, leaving you alone to explore the scenery and meet the island's inhabitants. You're able to communicate with the fairy-like Sprites of the island so it falls to you to save the land from its current downfall. The overarching story's set-up isn't bad but there isn't much payoff as the plot continues, leading to a fairly abrupt ending. Still, the other characters you encounter are cute and offer plenty of little side stories, even if none of them feel particularly deep. Like the game as a whole, the story and writing in Yonder is more concerned with making a friendly world to explore rather than a complex or challenging experience. Like a lot of open-world, sandbox games, the basic gameplay principle in Yonder boils down to: explore. You're dropped into the middle of a large environment (with almost no restrictions on where to go) and are free to just wander about, occasionally interacting with things, such as picking up every stone and stick you come across or talking with villagers to help out with whatever side quest they need. There's not a lot of urgency to the main story so Yonder really is a relaxing adventure, one that offers a break from more intense, action-oriented games. Of course, a completely directionless game would get boring pretty quickly, so in Yonder you can work toward perfecting your crafting skills, building farms, and completing side quests. There are several "schools" of crafting and you can join each one, thereby gaining access to recipes to craft bigger and better items. It's always fun to create things in games, and Yonder gives you plenty of opportunity to seek out materials and craft the items villagers need. There are also several farms in Gemea that you can take over in order to grow crops and raise animals. Thankfully you don't have to watch over farms super carefully—they'll mostly take care of themselves, and you can hire a helper to manage each farm—so it's not like you're constantly cut off from exploring to go home and tend the crops. With eight regions of Gemea to explore there are plenty of villagers to meet, materials to collect, and side quests to tackle—it always feels like there's something to do in Yonder, something to keep you moving forward. On the other hand though, Yonder's gameplay doesn't always feel super rewarding. Collecting materials gets pretty repetitive, and it happens pretty quickly when many materials are just found on the ground and all you do is walk up to them and pick them up. Even when materials require a bit more work, such as mining ore or fishing, the gameplay still feels a bit basic. You never gain new equipment so these tasks never feel different from the start to the end of the game. The biggest issue, though, is the limited inventory. You can hold a lot of materials but when you pick up everything you find you'll end up running out of space, and running back to one of your farms to store extra items isn't very convenient. Worse yet, you may find that you put away the one item you need for a side quest, which means returning to the farm, grabbing the item, then returning to the quest giver. The inventory cap ends up being pretty inconvenient if you're meticulous about collecting materials and completing quests. Exploration has its downsides as well. As beautiful as the game's world is it does get old to run from one location to the next. There are a couple of fast travel options but both have their limitations. Option one: you can find and activate sage stones throughout Gemea, which act as portals to each other. There's a simple quest attached to each one but their locations aren't always quite where you'd ideally like them to be. Option two: you can craft a traveler's knot which allows you to instantly travel to any farm you own. It's the same problem here: farms aren't always close to villages, which feels like the obvious choice for a fast travel point. It may sound like a minor point but walking everywhere ends up being a little tedious when you just want to complete a specific task, not wander over yonder. Yonder's colorful graphics and simple art design is almost aggressively cute. Much like the gameplay there's a nice simplicity to the artwork that makes it accessible to any player, and animals in particular look adorable. At the same time the simplicity of the art can feel a little bland at times, and within each region it would've been nice to see a little more variety, but the towns and special events like the Halloween event look great. And although there are no long loading screens which makes the game world pretty seamless, there are occasional frame rate dips which is a little annoying to see. Yonder isn't the kind of game you want to rush through, partially because it's a sandbox-esque game but also because that's just not what the game's inherent pacing is all about. Still, if you only focused on story missions you could finish the game in just a few hours—it'll still require a decent amount of exploration though. Beyond the main quest there are plenty of side quests to tackle and small points of interest to explore in Gemea. Granted it's not going to be as much as you might see in other open-world games, the ones that typically come from huge, expensive studios, but if you take the time to just wander about and enjoy Yonder you'll find the adventure lasts a good length of time. For anyone that wants the freedom and exploration of an open-world game without any of the stress of combat, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles fills the niche nicely. The game's overwhelmingly cute and friendly style, combined with the general low difficulty, makes it ideal for first-time players or anyone looking for a relaxing game. The sense of freedom in collecting items, crafting new ones, and taking on dozens of quests is undercut a bit by some of the game's mechanics which can end up feeling a little repetitive or at least time-consuming, but at its core Yonder provides a charming, simple adventure, perfect for a relaxing afternoon. Rating: 7 out of 10 Clouds
  22. This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch Undertale – Indie RPG Undertale comes to the Nintendo Switch system. Fall into the underworld and explore a hilarious and heartwarming world full of dangerous monsters. Date a skeleton, dance with a robot, cook with a fish woman ... or destroy everyone where they stand. The future is yours to determine. Undertale is available on Sept. 18. Wasteland 2: Director’s Cut – From the producer of the original Fallout comes Wasteland 2, the sequel to the first-ever post-apocalyptic computer RPG. The wasteland’s hellish landscape is waiting for you to make your mark ... or die trying. With more than 80 hours of gameplay, you will deck out your Desert Ranger squad with the most devastating weaponry this side of the fallout zone, test the limits of your strategy skills and bring justice to the wasteland. Bastion – Bastion is an action role-playing experience that redefines storytelling in games, with a reactive narrator who marks your every move. Explore more than 40 lush, hand-painted environments as you discover the secrets of the Calamity, a surreal catastrophe that shattered the world. Wield a huge arsenal of upgradeable weapons and battle savage beasts adapted to their new habitat. New DLC Xenoblade Chronicles 2 – New DLC is releasing for owners of the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Expansion Pass. Buy the Expansion Pass to gain access to titanic content, including the Challenge Battle Mode and additional Rare Blades. Expansion Pass owners will receive the Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country content on Sept. 14, one week earlier than the launch date of Sept. 21. Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Torna ~ The Golden Country – Guide a group of legendary warriors on a prequel journey to the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 game. Defend yourself from Malos and his forces using all the fury of a refined battle system that allows you to fight as both the artificial lifeforms known as Blades and their masters, the Drivers. For full patch notes, please visit the Xenoblade Chronicles 2 Nintendo Support site. Nintendo eShop sales: Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch, Nintendo 3DS and Wii U Great deals this week! Check out the full list of deals available this week at http://www.nintendo.com/games/sales-and-deals. Activities Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp Splatoon 2 Crossover Event – Every day is a new day in the Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp smartphone game. Starting today, the Splatoon 2 Crossover Event begins. You can get Splatoon 2 inspired gear from in-game events to make your camp drip with freshness! This two-part event kicks off with Blitz Clam Scavenger Hunt at 11 p.m. PT on Sept. 13, which runs through 10:59 p.m. PT on Sept. 25. The second event, Fishing Tourney #6, begins at 11 p.m. PT on Sept. 19 and runs through 10:59 p.m. PT on Sept. 27. To celebrate the Crossover Event, Splatoon 2 Cookie Packs are now available for purchase at the Tommy’s shop in the Market Place. Check out the game site for more information about the event. Also new this week: ACA NEOGEO NINJA COMMANDO (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Danger Mouse: The Danger Games (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Defunct (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Doughlings: Arcade (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Labyrinth of Refrain: Coven of Dusk (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 18 Mega Man® 11 – Demo Version (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Monkey King: Master of the Clouds (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Old School Musical (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Omvorm (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 18 Scribblenauts Mega Pack (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 18 SENRAN KAGURA Reflexions (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Shadow Fight 2 (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Siegecraft Commander (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 19 Slice, Dice & Rice (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Super Dungeon Tactics (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Surgeon Simulator CPR (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) Sword of the Guardian (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) – Available Sept. 18 The Mahjong Huntress (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Spectrum Retreat (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) The Warlock of Firetop Mountain: Goblin Scourge Edition! (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo Switch) SPACE DEFENDER BATTLE INFINITY (Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS)
  23. Source English trailer Japanese overview trailer
  24. I mentioned this title already in my PAX West impressions but I thought I'd highlight it again since it's coming out next week. The Gardens Between looks like a really beautiful puzzle game and pretty unique since you control the game by moving forward or backward in time rather than controlling the characters directly. Anyone else interested in this one?
  25. Dust: An Elysian Tail first entered the public eye nearly a decade ago when it won Microsoft's Dream.Build.Play competition, earning it a publishing deal on Xbox Live Arcade. After releasing in 2012 and hopping from one console to another over the years, the beautifully traditionally-animated Metroidvania title is now available on Nintendo's console/portable hybrid. Fans of side-scrolling action/adventure games will want to take note: Dust: An Elysian Tail hits all the right notes for a classic action game with light RPG elements, and does it all while looking gorgeous. After a brief prologue our protagonist, Dust, wakes up in a forest clearing with no memory of who he is, but he's holding a mysterious sword that is able to speak to him. With the aid of the sword and Fidget, the blade's fairy-like guardian, Dust travels to a nearby town in the hopes of finding out who he is and why he was in the forest. Clearly An Elysian Tail leverages some classic tropes for its plot—the amnesiac protagonist is well-trod territory—and throughout the game there are a handful of plot points that feel a little too trope-y, but the story still proves to be engaging. Dust and Fidget's banter is charming and the cast of anthropomorphic animals is cute, helping make the game's relatively small world an interesting place to explore. And by the time the big questions of the plot are answered, late in the game, you'll be plenty invested in Dust's adventure. The gameplay is based around classic Metroidvania elements: you have a large, side-scrolling environment to explore with a number of secrets to find, and as you progress you'll gain access to new abilities which allow you to explore further. No matter how many games use the same basic premise the formula remains satisfyingly engaging, and An Elysian Tail finds a nice balance of difficulty in finding the many hidden items and treasure chests scattered throughout the environment. The map will actually tell you if there's a hidden item somewhere in your immediate area, but finding them is still challenging and keeps the player interested in searching every corner of the screen. The game finds the sweet spot of accessibility: easy for anyone to play, but still challenging enough to satisfy more experienced players. Aside from exploration the real heart of An Elysian Tail is the combat system, which is similarly simple to learn but still engaging. Not surprisingly, Dust uses his mystery sword to attack, and there are a handful of different attacks and combos you can execute (Fidget can even join in for some slightly weaker elemental projectiles). There's a decent amount of depth to the game, such that you aren't just button mashing, but you won't be overwhelmed with options either. Dust's movements are also incredibly fluid so it's a lot of fun to roll around the screen, dodging attacks and striking back quickly. In fact Dust's movements might be a little too fluid at times, which can make some of the platforming moments feel a little slippery, but it's easy enough to work around. Overall combat tends to skew on the easy side, and even boss fights don't pose too much of a challenge, but it's still fun to rack up a large combo of attacks and decimate the monsters on screen. And finally, An Elysian Tail has some RPG elements as well. Dust earns EXP in battle but rather than boosting all of his stats every time he levels up you can choose which stat to increase—maybe you feel like you've been taking too much damage, so you boost defense, or maybe you want to use Fidget's projectiles more, so you boost that stat instead. You aren't allowed to focus exclusively on one category (like maximizing attack power without upgrading anything else) but it still adds a little bit of customization to the game. In addition, you can find, buy, or craft equipment to further prepare yourself for battle. Monsters drop items which can be used to craft, but the nice thing in An Elysian Tail is that, after selling the item to a merchant, you'll be able to buy that item from the store in the future, so you don't have to rely upon tedious item farming. That's one of the best things about the game: much like Dust's quick attacks there's a satisfying sense of momentum in the game, and the player is never bogged down by quibbling details. I should mention that An Elysian Tail was almost entirely created by one person, Dean Dodrill, who single-handedly illustrated and programmed the game, which makes the strikingly hand-crafted art style all the more impressive. The hand-drawn artwork looks beautiful and is truly refreshing to see in a game, and the traditional animation gives the entire game the feeling of a classic cartoon, which is utterly charming. The environments and backgrounds in particular deserve special mention for their beautiful, painting-esque art style. The visuals are matched by a fun, lively soundtrack and a voice cast that feels suitably cartoony—not all of the voices feel quite right but their energy still brings the unique cast of characters to life. At around twelve hours or so An Elysian Tail feels like just the right length: enough to make a decently varied game with unique locales and environments, but not so long that the side-scrolling exploration wears out its welcome. However, if you do want to get the most out of the game there are side quests to tackle, optional challenge rooms where you can perfect your skills, and different difficulty levels if you want to up the ante for yourself. Either way there's a solid amount of content here. Dust: An Elysian Tail is not only an impressive feat from a one-man developer, it's a well-polished Metroidvania adventure whose fluid gameplay and charming presentation will keep players glued to the screen from the first step of the adventure to the last. Despite a few storytelling tropes and a sense of difficulty that leans on the easy side, An Elysian Tail proves to be an engrossing action/adventure title, one that leaves you eager to keep exploring one more screen, battle one more monster, and find one more treasure. Rating: 8 out of 10 Tails Review copy provided by the publisher Dust: An Elysian Tail is available today on the Switch eShop for $14.99.