Inside Pulse » Nintendo A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sun, 26 Oct 2014 05:08:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Nintendo Review: Fire Emblem: Awakening (Nintendo 3DS) Mon, 25 Feb 2013 22:18:28 +0000 Fire Emblem: Awakening
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Intelligent Systems
Genre: Strategy RPG
Release Date: 02/04/2013

Ever since its first North American release, it seemed as though Fire Emblem was here to stay. Characters continued to be added to the Super Smash Bros. games, and new titles kept coming out. The non-release of Fire Emblem: Shin Monshō no Nazo: Hikari to Kage no Eiyū outside of Japan was something of a wake up call that the franchise consists of niche titles that, if no one buys them, will not be coming here any longer. Nothing drove that fact home more than the accidental announcement of Fire Emblem: Awakening‘s localization at E3 2012. If the game is so unimportant to Nintendo that they would forget to give it a formal announcement, their forecast for its success must be absurdly low.

Fast forward to today. Shipping delays caused the retail release of Fire Emblem: Awakening to become a hot commodity in the days following its launch. Further, retailers who did get copies of the game didn’t even receive enough to cover pre-orders. If that’s not enough, you can buy a Fire Emblem themed 3DS and purchase the DLC brought over from Japan. What’s going on, Nintendo?

Regardless, the game is in my hands now and all is right in the world. Not just because it’s a Fire Emblem title either, but rather, it’s quite possibly the best Fire Emblem yet. Not convinced? Read on.

The opening of Fire Emblem: Awakening has all the trappings of a cliche-ridden JRPG. Main character with amnesia? Check. Innocent villages being burned down by bandits? Check. An unknown evil that threatens to destroy the world? Check. Yet the game masterfully takes all of these elements and spins them into a narrative that will keep you glued to the game until well beyond its conclusion. The gameplay certainly aids in that (which I’ll get to in a minute), but the character interaction is where things truly shine.

Speaking of characters, for the first time outside of Japan, you’ll be tasked with creating an avatar to represent yourself within the game. You can choose to be male or female, with a limited selection of facial appearances and voices. While I would’ve enjoyed more diversity in character customization, the way they set the game up would’ve required the artists to draw portraits for every single potential combination, which I could see as being problematic. Even so, the fact that you can do it at all is neat, and they manage to work it into the narrative convincingly.

Your avatar is found in a field by a man named Chrom and his group, known as Shepherds. He/she knows nothing other than Chrom’s name, and despite the suspicious nature of the situation, Chrom agrees to bring your avatar along anyway. Things go south as a nearby village is attacked and your avatar discovers that, not only are they capable of combat, but has skill as a strategist. Naturally, this only makes things more suspicious, though the Shepherds don’t have long to ponder on it before a group of the undead emerge from a portal. A mysterious swordsman joins the fray, referring to himself only as Marth, and explains that these things are called Risen, and are merely a prologue for darker things to come.

Sounds real original, right? Yet, as battles play out and wars are fought, you can’t help but become swept up in the narrative. Especially since some of the more interesting content happens on the side. Characters that fight side by side in battle will raise a support rating, with the highest being S rank. With each rise in support rank, the characters will have conversations on the side that you can view that not only explores the personalities of those involved, but builds camaraderie between them. If you manage to get them to S rank, the characters will marry, leading to children that not only can be recruited via optional missions later on in the game, but share statistical traits with the parents. One of the menus on the main map even lets you peek in on them in the barracks, leading to characters either wandering around talking to themselves, finding dropped items, or improving their relationships with others.

Oh, and what endearing characters these are. Some of them are interesting simply because of their backstories that are either tragic or have some elaborate ties to some of the other characters. Some characters are just so out there that you can’t help but become fascinated by them. I have yet to play another game with such gems as a quiet man wearing a giant suit of armor that nobody notices is in the room and a dark mage with an obsession with crows and bad puns, including such winners as “I’m a hex of a lot stronger now. GET IT?”

Fire Emblem: Awakening looks quite good, even if it does have its… quirks. The movies that play during the game in particular are breathtaking, making it hard to distinguish if they’re CGI or animated. In either case, it’s a perfect art style for the game, and one I’d love to see replicated. The visuals you see during battle are more on the simplistic side, as every unit is represented by a tiny sprite and it’s hard to notice the field of battle when there are blue and red grids constantly being overlayed on it. When units engage one another, you get to see a skirmish with much more impressive character models and animations, though you do notice one glaring flaw: none of these characters have any feet. It’s not a big deal, and you really don’t notice it at first when they’re firmly planted on the ground, but the moment they get knocked in the air it looks like they’ve been moving about on stumps this whole time. I suspect shoes are cheap in the Fire Emblem universe.

The game lends itself well to the 3D effect, though it kinda goes without saying, as Nintendo is one of the few publishers I’ve noticed can really use the technology effectively. The overhead view of the map creates a nice sense of depth, and the combat skirmishes are especially impressive. Even the movies can be viewed with the effect on.

Purists will be excited to know that both the English and Japanese language tracks were included in this release, though there isn’t a load of talking to start with. The movies are fully voiced, with the occasional line of dialogue uttered here and there. The story is told using mostly portraits and text boxes, so you’ll end up reading most of what’s going on rather than having it read to you. It’s kinda like The Legend of Zelda titles, in that characters make random sounds or say random things when you engage them. I’m okay with this, as I can read faster than the characters can speak their lines anyway. That being said, the English dub is very good if you decide to keep that on.

The soundtrack is so well composed, it’s a shame that there wasn’t a soundtrack offered as a pre-order bonus. Some of the more common tunes, such as the main theme and the level-up jingle, have made the transition here. Many of the sound effects were also carried over, such as inflicting damage or the little ting noises from gaining stats. It’s like comfort food for the ears.

If you’ve never played a Fire Emblem game before, it shares a lot in common with games like Shining Force or Final Fantasy Tactics. You and the opposing faction each have a party of troops of varying classes and levels. Selecting one will cause the ground to turn either blue or red, with the former indicating where you can move and the latter being your attack range. The player always gets to move all of their troops first, and at the end of their turn, the enemy does the same. Engaging another soldier will show a short scene of them inflicting damage, or healing, or whatever it is you commanded them to do. The franchise operates on a rock-paper-scissors mechanic that is still present here. So for example, a soldier wielding swords will have an advantage over axes, but will be weak to spears. You can still deal damage to enemies you’re weak against, but the likelihood that you’ll land the blow is lessened severely, and since they can counter attack, you could wind up dead if you don’t land the hit.

Most of the action takes place on the top screen, though highlighting a unit will display some useful information on the bottom screen. Things such as the current weapons and items someone is holding, for example, can help plan your next move, since certain classes can wield multiple weapon types. It’ll also display their stats and their current level at a glance, so you’ll always know who will need the next level gain.

The support rating between units is far more significant now than in previous titles. As you fight enemies side by side with your comrades, their support rating will go up, and at higher ranks will trigger bonuses for fighting next to one another. Not only will units gain stat boosts, but the second party member will appear in skirmishes and may block attacks or land additional attacks of their own. Weaker units can be paired up with stronger ones if they find themselves in a hopeless situation, or if you just want to provide a boost to the host unit. It’s also a good way to build up their support rating if you’re trying to inspire love amongst specific teammates.

While the game still progresses in a linear fashion, you now have access to a world map that will allow you to revisit areas. As you move about the map, you may see enemy units that you can engage in skirmishes with, should you wish to build up your character levels, as well as shops you can buy new items from. Expect to make a lot of trips around the map looking for weapons you need, as most every one has a limited number of uses and will eventually break. There is an option to forge weapons using your extra cash, though given the rate at which they break, I never bothered with it.

Your characters’ levels will cap out at twenty (with a few exceptions), though with the help of items found in battle or in shops, they can class change. In doing so, you get a choice as to what they become, as well as gain a load of stat boosts appropriate to the chosen class. In fact, they can class change as early as level ten should you choose to do so. After the change, they drop back down to level one, but will maintain stat gains and skills from before giving them a new class.

Fire Emblem: Awakening has StreetPass and SpotPass functionality that will send parties from other players you meet into your world that you can battle with to earn items. There are also characters and items from previous Fire Emblem games that will download to your game periodically that you can also challenge and recruit for a fee. A co-op mode exists where two players can pit three of their best in a duel against a line-up of CPU units. I had high hopes for this mode, but considering there were no strategic options and all it consists of is trading blows until the other units are dead, I was a little disappointed. The games were never exactly multiplayer focused, so it was all just icing on the cake for me. Still, having multiple armies ally against a massive A.I. controlled battalion would’ve been awesome.

Depending on the difficulty level you choose, you can probably get through the main story in around thirty hours. Outside of the core chapters, there exist “paralogue” chapters that can be unlocked, depending on the romantic choices you make throughout the game. These exist almost purely to recruit new characters, which is honestly the best reward you can ask of in a sidequest. If that’s not enough, there is a node on the map that will open up after Chapter Four and gain you entry to DLC content. New maps are released regularly, with the first being free for a limited time. These give you an opportunity to fight a battle against heroes of Fire Emblem games past and gain some of them for your own team. I was a little perplexed that this content can’t be downloaded outside of the game. These maps show up on the Nintendo eShop, but choosing to download them only launches the game. I had no idea what was going on until I realized that the content can only be downloaded within the game, but only after I completed Chapter Four. This was kind of a mess in the design.

One of the things that creates a barrier of entry for the Fire Emblem franchise is the existence of permanent death for your characters. To its credit, it is certainly effective in cementing attachment to your characters, as a misplaced critical hit could potentially send one of your best units into the afterlife, never to be heard from again for the remainder of the game. On the other hand, it causes a great deal of stress and a lot of restarted chapters. I was always ambivalent towards the whole concept, as I treated as a means to an end, something I just dealt with because I enjoyed the core game so much. Well, now you can turn this off, and by doing so, a fatal blow will just knock a party member out until the next fight. There are also multiple difficulty levels, though there seems to be a large disparity between the normal and hard difficulties. Normal feels too easy in a lot of cases, while hard is incredibly punishing, even in the early going. There’s also a difficulty called Lunatic, which is what you are if you decide to choose that one for your first playthrough. Regardless, there’s something for everyone, making this the most accessible Fire Emblem game yet.

Short Attention Span Summary
After one of the weirdest localization backstories ever told, followed by a lengthy shipping delay, Fire Emblem: Awakening finally graces the Nintendo 3DS console. Chrom and company look great in 3D, in all their feet-less glory, and the movie sequences are some of the most impressive I’ve seen thus far on the system. Classic songs and sound effects are all present, as well as a nicely done dub, though the Japanese language track is present for those that prefer that. The story skirts dangerously close to archetype territory, but the unique and well written characters carry the plot, and their numerous exchanges will have you experimenting with the various pairings for hours on end. Being able to marry party members and bear children was a fantastic addition, and having the ability to turn permanent death off for the first time in an English release poises this as the most newcomer friendly entry in the franchise. How fortunate then, that this is also one of the best, if not THE best entry as well. With great characters, engaging battles, and quality DLC that manages to incorporate the series’ past, Fire Emblem: Awakening is one of the best 3DS games I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing, and the year is just getting started.

]]> 2
10 Thoughts On… Fire Emblem: Awakening Demo (Nintendo 3DS) Mon, 21 Jan 2013 22:18:31 +0000 After being accidentally announced at E3 2012 by Nintendo of America’s Reggie Fils-Aime, Fire Emblem: Awakening has undertaken a complete reversal in regards to its localization treatment. Since then, it has been revealed that the game will release with dual language tracks and will be getting its own 3DS bundle. I would be in just as much disbelief if the Dragon Quest 3DS had made its way here (though I certainly wouldn’t complain if it did). Now, a full-fledged demo has been released on the North American eShop. Here are the thoughts I came away with:

1. My first observation is how accessible Nintendo aims to make the latest Fire Emblem title. Right from the get go, not only are there three difficulties to choose from (Normal, Hard, and Lunatic), but you have the option to disable permanent death for your characters. While the latter option wasn’t selectable in the demo, given the short length of the demo, in most of the previous games, you didn’t have a say in this. Defeated characters would be permanently removed from your party and would no longer appear in any cutscenes after that, unless they were an important character.

2. You’re also given the ability to customize your character at the beginning of the game. The demo limits you to just the character’s name and gender, but you can still view the things that are modifiable in the main game, including their facial features and their voice. It’s unclear if you are able to adjust the character’s class, though the tutorials and cutscenes that I encountered didn’t indicate that I could.

3. The game opens with your crafted character meeting Chrom, who is presumably the other lead character in this title. You’re also introduced to his comrades Lissa and Frederick. Chrom and his crew are known as Shepherds, which are exactly the kind of shepherds you’re thinking of, only more heavily armed. It’s unclear what kind of role your created character will have in the grand scheme of things, as he/she seems to have amnesia and behaves much like a tagalong character during the opening events. So long as they don’t end up in the creepy onlooker role that the custom characters had in White Knight Chronicles, it’ll probably be fine.

4. The visuals, particularly during the cutscenes, are stunning. The cel-shaded art style seems like a natural fit for the Fire Emblem series, and while the in-game graphics aren’t quite as impressive, they’re certainly on par with the Gamecube and Wii releases. During battles, your characters are in miniature form, though attacking and defending will cut to another scene that shows the exchange play out. The game lends itself well to the 3D effect, given the angle at which you view the action. The top down perspective makes it seem as if the buildings rise up towards you.

5. The English voiceovers are really well done, though there aren’t too many of them within the game. They play primarily during CG sequences, while the rest is mostly sound bites that play while reading text. While Marth from previous Fire Emblem games does make an appearance, his tone seemed incredibly high pitched, which I guess is appropriate given his feminine stature. It’ll be interesting to see if he maintains this voice, should he reappear in the next Super Smash Bros. game.

6. If you’ve ever played a Fire Emblem game in the past, you should feel right at home with this one. Your party, as well as your enemy’s party, are all laid out on a grid. When it’s your turn, you can select a character to move, which will turn the grid into red and blue squares; blue being spots you can move to and red being spaces you can attack. The character classes operate on a rock/paper/scissors mentality, with swords being strong against axes, axes being effective against spears, and spears bringing down swords. There are also magic and ranged attacks that get thrown in that mix as well, and terrain can impair the movement of certain classes. Objectives typically change from one chapter to the next, though these first few just task you with defeating all of your enemies.

7. There’s a much greater emphasis on positioning this time around in Fire Emblem: Awakening, as placing units directly adjacent to each other will give them a boost to their stats. In addition, you may notice that when enemies attack one of your units that has another unit nearby, they will appear in the melee as well and may block attacks for you. Conversely, you attacking a foe may cause a teammate to launch an additional attack. This adds a whole new dynamic to the game, as bunching up your characters now offer additional benefits that weren’t present before.

8. The demo covers two chapters, the Prologue and Chapter One. Each serve as tutorials for the various gameplay mechanics that you encounter during the game, though they are presented in such a way that they aren’t intrusive for veterans of the series. While the action takes place on the top screen, the bottom screen will show any new things that the game has to teach you, which you can certainly ignore if you already know it. You’re also introduced to the main conflict of the game, as following an initial bandit attack, you meet with Marth and must fend off an army of mysterious creatures that have emerged from a large portal. Things begin on a quick pace as they have in the past, though I’m interested in seeing what connection Marth has on the overall plot as well as what direction they take the story in.

9. When you travel from one chapter to the next, you are shown a map that is zoomed out on one screen and enlarged on another. I suspect that game progress will be done in a linear fashion as in previous games, though I wonder if you’ll be able to revisit locales in order to shop and gather information, or if you must do so from camp.

10. I found it interesting that there was a set limit on the amount of times you can launch the demo. Granted, the number is rather large (thirty), and it can easily be cleared in one go. But if it’s just a demo, why have a limited number of uses at all unless the file contained the full game? This has little bearing on the final product, but this is the first I’ve noticed anything on the eShop doing something like this.

The Fire Emblem: Awakening demo was incredibly short, but it was enough to reaffirm my excitement for the game. The gameplay is perfectly in line with what previous games have to offer and by all indications, seems to improve upon it. Meanwhile, the added accessibility should allow for new fans to take a dip into the franchise that haven’t already. Hopefully the final game pays off on my renewed enthusiasm.

Fire Emblem: Awakening releases February 4th for Nintendo 3DS.

]]> 0
Review: New Super Mario Bros. U (Nintendo Wii U) Wed, 19 Dec 2012 22:16:35 +0000 New Super Mario Bros. U
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Platformer
Release Date: 11/18/2012

For the first time since the Nintendo 64, a brand new Mario game is releasing on launch day alongside a Nintendo console (I don’t consider Super Mario 64 DS as new, so the Nintendo DS doesn’t count). New Super Mario Bros. U struck me as the kind of launch title Nintendo needed to sell the system, as Luigi’s Mansion couldn’t make a convincing case for the Gamecube, and there seems to be a lot of confusion among casual gamers in distinguishing between the Wii and the Wii U. Quite a number of times, in fact, I have heard it described by people as simply a peripheral for the current Wii. And while Nintendo Land makes a strong case for what the new console can do, it’s not nearly as great of a game as Wii Sports, nor does it have the same kind of appeal.

Which begs the question, is New Super Mario Bros. U enough to sell people on the Wii U? Only if you were already a Mario fan.

Let’s Review

New Super Mario Bros. U begins as they all do, with Princess Peach getting scooped up by Bowser and the nefarious Koopa Kids, while Mario, Luigi, and the Toads are swatted away effortlessly. Upon landing, they realize that Bowser’s airship not only guards Peach’s castle that he has now taken residence in, but it is covered in a thick whirlwind of purple smoke. Once again, it’s up to Mario and friends to save the kingdom and rescue the princess.

While the plot doesn’t even pretend to be different this time around, there are a number of additional modes that have been added alongside the main story mode. Challenge mode has several sub-categories of various challenges you can try to complete in the stages provided. Time Attack has you attempting a speed run through each course. Coin Collection has you not only trying to navigate to the end of the course, but collecting every coin you find on the way as well. 1-Up Rally is just as it sounds: get as many 1-Ups as you can, usually by hopping on the heads of foes. Special is where all the miscellaneous stuff goes; things like dodging fireballs or gliding in flying squirrel form are found here. Finally, there are Boost challenges, that require you to use the Gamepad to navigate the course by putting blocks in place with the touchpad.

Boost Rush mode is another form of speed rush type game, except that the screen automatically scrolls behind you and collecting coins increases the speed. Taking damage or losing a life slows this down, so you have to avoid damage and net as many coins as you can to get the best time. Finally, Coin Battle returns as a competitive multiplayer mode, tasking everyone with netting as many coins as they can.

Story/Modes Rating: Above Average

There’s no other way to say it: New Super Mario Bros. U looks amazing in HD. While most Nintendo franchises have never gone for photorealism, the kind of sprite work demonstrated by Mario and friends running and jumping through each stage is exactly what fans had been hoping to get out of its predecessor, New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Perhaps even more than that, despite being a 2D game, the backgrounds look phenomenal. Many of the locales that you visit have many layers to them, and it’s natural looking enough that Mario could just turn away from the screen and dash endlessly into the backdrop. I look forward to more titles, Mario or otherwise, investing the same amount of time into such details.

Graphics Rating: Incredible

Many of the remixed tracks that have become commonplace in games like New Super Mario Bros. 2 show up again here, though fortunately, after more than two decades of hearing them, they haven’t gotten old. This game brings with it some new music as well, but like the other games in the series, they suffer from being eclipsed by the more familiar songs. This isn’t to say any of it is bad; it’s all quite good, just not nearly as memorable.

Of course, Charles Martinet reprises his role as a number of the characters, including the main star of the show, Mario. Other characters similarly sound as they had in prior games, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they just re-used the sound bites for this game. There is no consistent dialogue in Mario titles, so many familiar quips such as “It’s-a-me, Mario!” sound no different than they always have. Not bad, mind you. Just the same.

Sound Rating: Great

You can play New Super Mario Bros. U with the Gamepad or a standard Wii remote turned sideways. In fact, four player games require the use of the four remotes. Regardless of your setup, things control similarly. You can use the joystick or directional pad to move and a button to jump. Another button is reserved for dashing when held down or using any of the special abilities granted by power-ups, as well as picking up objects. Hitting one of the R buttons or shaking the Wii remote will cause the character to spin jump. There are numerous other abilities activated by hitting buttons at just the right time, such as triple jumps, ground pounds, and wall jumps. Despite the limited amount of buttons required in the control scheme, Mario’s moveset remains versatile and one of the reasons he remains the head of a relevant franchise.

Mario and friends will run across various power-ups along their way, many of which return from previous entries, such as mushrooms, fire flowers, ice flowers, and stars. New this time around is the Flying Squirrel ability that lets you glide in the air momentarily as well as latch onto walls you land on. I was a bit disappointed that not only was this ability not as useful as other former abilities, but that there wasn’t more of them. Power-ups that you earn from Toad houses and other encounters can be stored for future use, though your item space is far more limited this time around, leaving room for only ten items.

Yoshi makes his return as a support character, allowing players to ride him and eat enemies so long as they don’t get hit. There are also baby Yoshi’s now that grant abilities based on their color, though only when being carried. Magenta ones will inflate like a balloon, allowing you to cross large gaps, blue ones blow bubbles, and yellow ones will light up dark areas. Unlike the rideable green Yoshi’s though, the baby Yoshi’s can be brought with you to nearly any stage, granting advantages that you wouldn’t normally have on those levels.

The world map, rather than being divided into separate worlds as it was in previous NSMB games, behaves much more like Super Mario World this time around. It’s one gigantic map, with lots of hidden shortcuts and alternate routes. This allows players to explore each individual level if they so choose, or they can skip worlds entirely if they’d rather save them for a later time.

New in this version is the ability to have a fifth player create blocks for the other players to step on, called Boost Mode. Anywhere that is touched on the touchscreen, a block will appear that will disappear after a player has stepped on it or if a certain amount of time has passed. The player can also touch enemies and stun them momentarily, much like what was done with the star shards in the Super Mario Galaxy titles. Of course, someone playing on their own can take advantage of this feature in some of the modes that require Boost Mode to be utilized, though it is tricky to focus on doing that while platforming simultaneously.

Control/Gameplay Rating: Classic

New Super Mario Bros. U is a much meatier game this time around, and not just in regards to the story mode. There are a ton of hidden stages to find and unlock, not to mention that each level has three giant coins that must be collected. Nabbing them all gives you access to the levels in Superstar Road, which are more challenging than the standard stages.

While Coin Battle still doesn’t particularly interest me as a mode, the other two, Challenge and Boost Rush, are most certainly worthwhile time sinks. Each stage in those modes awards gold, silver, and bronze awards for meeting particular thresholds in each stage, and even though Nintendo still doesn’t have a standardized achievement system in place, these are worth revisiting to see if you can perfect them all. They can even be played multiplayer.

Replayability Rating: Great

While still not as difficult as Mario titles in the 80’s and 90’s, New Super Mario Bros. U will still give you a run for your money. Especially since having more players doesn’t necessarily make the game easier. In fact, it may make it harder, since you may accidentally damage one another or jump on each others’ heads. Still, concessions are made to make the game more approachable to casual players of platformers, and the infamous Super Guide returns in order to get you through a level any time you die too much. Between that and the fact that the game throws handfuls of 1-ups at you at every turn, the game manages to maintain that fine line between catering to the mainstream and challenging the hardcore.

Balance Rating: Great

I know I’ve made this joke before, but there isn’t much that’s “new” in New Super Mario Bros. U. Still, the game has polished the core gameplay far more than previous entries have, and the addition of Boost Mode makes use of the Wii U Gamepad in a way that no other platformer has yet to do. I would’ve liked to see more abilities as well as perhaps a new villain for once, but for all of the reused mechanics, the game is as fun to play as it always was.

Originality Rating: Mediocre

While I haven’t played as many titles on the system as Alex has, this is easily my favorite one, and probably the sole reason I keep turning on the Wii U right now. Regardless if you’re playing alone or with friends, the gameplay remains fun, the level design is top notch, and there is a ton to see and do. All of the familiar Mario magic is there, and if you are a fan of the franchise, you’ll likely feel the same. Keep in mind, you may find yourself tethered to a wall outlet more than you like on account of the Gamepad’s limited battery life, though if you have Wii remotes in the house, you can switch to one of those in game and continue playing (assuming you weren’t using the Gamepad without the TV, of course).

Addictiveness Rating: Unparalleled

Appeal Factor
While Nintendo Land was poised to show Wii U owners what kinds of new things they can experience with the console, New Super Mario Bros. U is there to remind them of why they buy Nintendo systems in the first place. Mario is one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises next to Pokemon, and as such, is the one most likely to move units for them. It doesn’t hurt that those who grew up with Nintendo systems are drawn to it, it’s easy enough for anybody to learn, and is a title designed to allow families to play together. Of all the games that can be considered a system seller for the Wii U, at least until other things come along, this is it.

Appeal Rating: Unparalleled

If you remember from some of the earliest videos shown off about this game, it demonstrated how it can be played using Mii characters. While they can’t be used in the story mode, this remains true. Any of the extra modes will allow the player to pick any character, including their Mii, and allow them to choose whether or not they wear the hat with it. This is entirely a cosmetic choice, but it’s neat that you can let your creations run wild in the Mario universe.

It’s also worth a mention that New Super Mario Bros. U still lacks any sort of online multiplayer. Granted, this is likely a feature I never would have used anyway on account of the number of trolls gameplay of this type would bring. Still, if you were looking forward to online play with your friends, you’ll have to find a different game as this one is local only.

This isn’t to say the game is entirely without online functionality. It directly interfaces with Miiverse and upon performing specific tasks in game, such as making it through a stage without taking damage, it will ask you to create a post. It can be anything from tips for other players trying to make their way through the stage to cute pictures bragging of your success. These will then show up at random to other players, giving it a kind of Demon’s/Dark Souls feel in the way of information sharing.

Miscellaneous Rating: Great

The Scores
Story/Modes: Above Average
Graphics: Incredible
Sounds: Great
Controls/Gameplay: Classic
Replayability: Great
Balance: Great
Originality: Mediocre
Addictiveness: Unparalleled
Appeal Factor: Unparalleled
Miscellaneous: Great

Final Score: Great Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
While New Super Mario Bros. U still doesn’t revolutionize the platformer genre or even this particular franchise, the return of a more cohesive world and the addition of a fifth player via Boost Mode is a step in the right direction. Further, the game succeeds in being one of the best looking titles in the franchise, bringing with it some well detailed environments and impressive looking sprites. As before, the game can be played with up to four players, with a fifth using the Gamepad to provide platforms for the others, and the addition of the new Challenge and Boost Rush modes give everyone much more to do than prior Mario titles. If you’re a fan of platformers or Mario in general, no Wii U library should be without it. If Nintendo first party releases maintain the same level of quality as this one, then I can’t wait for Pikmin 3.

]]> 0
Review: Nintendo Land (Nintendo Wii U) Thu, 29 Nov 2012 22:15:24 +0000 Nintendo Land
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Nintendo
Genre: Party
Release Date: 11/18/2012

I know there were a lot of groans when Nintendo Land was unveiled as the big “reveal” of Nintendo’s E3 press conference this year and I’ll admit to not being too excited for it myself. On the other hand, I can’t think of a pack-in game that would’ve hit the kind of mainstream spread that they were going for with this and show what kinds of things the Wii U is actually capable of. Those who got the deluxe version of the Wii U got this game with it, though anyone with the basic model would have to pony up $60 if they wanted to get their hands on it. Is it worth it at that price? Read on.

As you might expect in a minigame compilation in a similar vein as Wii Sports or Wii Play, there is no real story here. When you pick a Mii, you are dropped into the midst of a carnival acting as a hub of sorts for all of the games at your disposal. You are greeted by a floating robot/monitor thing that is the Nintendo equivalent of the Windows paperclip. It means well in trying to teach you the controls and how to play each game, but having it greet you after your first several sessions with the game becomes something of a nuisance.

You have the option of walking to each individual game if you wish, though you eventually gain the ability to just teleport to the ones you want to play. There are twelve games in all, organized by Team, Competitive, and Solo Attractions. Playing games earns you coins that can be spent on the giant tower in the middle of all of the games in an attempt to earn prizes via a pachinko style game. Prizes take the form of statues and trinkets that dot the park as well as music that can be played while you move about it. There’s also a train that you can hop on where you and some friends can run a gambit of multiple games to see who wins the most.

The games are played by your created Mii characters, so as you might imagine, the visuals are on the simplistic side. Since the game is in HD, it puts this title on par with the kinds of games you’d find on the Xbox 360 that use the created avatars. Much of the visual appreciation will come from the aesthetic of your favorite franchises represented in each of the minigames. A few small details, like your tunic and hat being ripped up while taking damage in The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest were a nice touch though.

Likewise, your enjoyment of the soundtrack will be limited to how much you enjoy the remixed tracks of older games. Metroid, Mario, and even Balloon Fight are all represented here and use some of the same sound effects. The dialogue is limited to the tutorials and the announcer in each game, which fill their respective roles satisfactorily.

Since each game has such wildly varying control schemes, I will discuss each one individually before going back to my thoughts on the package as a whole, starting with the Solo Attractions.

Takamaru’s Ninja Castle – The closest thing to a light gun game in the package. The player lays the Wii U gamepad the long way and points it at the screen. On the TV screen, ninjas will pop out of hiding from different places with some of them even launching projectiles back at you. The object is to use the stylus to flick shuriken at the ninjas and try to hit as many as you can before the end of the stage. If you run out, you have to flick the gamepad to reload. Aiming a giant tablet takes some getting used to versus other Wii accessories, like say the Zapper, but it works reasonably well and is fairly entertaining.

Donkey Kong’s Crash Course – This is a deceptively challenging game. Your Mii’s face is on wheels and must navigate to the end of the course. Navigation is handled by tilting the game pad left or right, though certain obstacles can be manipulated using the joysticks or blowing into the microphone. While the objective is to get through the course as quickly as possible, moving too fast will cause you to flip over and smash your face on something. Failure will result in restarting at the last checkpoint you cleared, though you get limited attempts at trying to conquer each course.

Captain Falcon’s Twister Race – An F-Zero inspired racing game that has you trying to make it to the finish line as quickly as possible. You steer using the gamepad’s gyroscope similar to Mario Kart Wii. The key difference here is that one screen shows a view behind your car while another is an overhead view of the track. When you travel into a tunnel, you are forced to look at the other screen since the overhead view doesn’t show what’s going on in the tunnel. There are a number of traps and speed bursts to watch out for too.

Balloon Trip Breeze – The objective here is to float from island to island trying to collect as many balloons as you can along the way. Your Mii is directed by swiping the gamepad screen with the stylus, causing a gust of wind to blow in whatever direction you swiped it in. As you progress, a number of obstacles will be in your way, including other balloon riding enemies that will try to knock you down, though landing on their balloons will pop them and cause them to fall. The game continues until all lives are spent.

Yoshi’s Fruit Cart – There will be a starting point for Yoshi, a goal, and a specific amount of fruit in between. The goal doesn’t open until you collect all of the fruit, so you must draw a path using the stylus in order to navigate Yoshi in such a way that you can collect all of it and still make it to the end when he’s done. The kicker is that the gamepad doesn’t display all of the details that are on the TV screen, such as the fruit itself or the locations of pits and traps along the way. If you mess up, you can spend a life to continue from the point where you made the mistake, though losing all of the lives ends the game.

Octopus Dance – This is a simple rhythm game where you must mimic the actions of the diver onscreen. The two thumbsticks control the movement of your Mii’s arms and you can use the gyroscope in the gamepad to jump or lean from side to side. The gamepad’s camera will capture your face as you play the game and make it look as though you’re dancing in the background. Also of note, is that the TV and the gamepad will show two different perspectives; one showing the front of your character and another showing the back. It’s easier to mimic the motions while looking at the screen that shows your backside, but the diver will occasionally switch up the screens.

Of the single player offerings, not a single one really offers any lasting appeal. Of them, Takamaru’s Ninja Castle and Captain Falcon’s Twister Race are the ones I’d most likely revisit, though Donkey Kong’s Crash Course does offer up a worthy challenge. Balloon Trip Breeze, while decently entertaining, doesn’t provide enough variety for a routine visit. Yoshi’s Fruit Cart and Octopus Dance just struck me as incredibly bland. Moving onto the Team Attractions, we have:

The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest – This game can be played with 1-5 players, and plays out much like the single player mode of the Swordplay game on Wii Sports Resort. The person using the gamepad uses a bow and arrow, while the other four players use Wii remotes to wield a sword and shield. The bow and arrow player can use the added screen to zoom in on enemies from a distance, though if they run out of arrows, they have to shake or tilt the controller to reload. The sword and shield players have a much easier time, as they just have to swing at foes and can actually block with the shield as a defense mechanism. Each player also has their own set of life hearts that must be depleted before they meet defeat. These can be regenerated from picking up powerups from fallen foes.

Metroid Blast – This particular game has three modes all its own. Gamepad users are in control of Samus’ ship and can blast enemies from the air, while all of the other players must use a nunchuk and Wii remote combo to dispatch enemies on foot. Assault Mission allows all of the players to work cooperatively to take on all of the creatures in a stage. Surface-Air Combat tasks the on-foot players with trying to shoot down the one in the ship. Ground Battle is a free for all where players compete for tokens. While I was disappointed that there appeared to be no option to go into a ball form, the on-foot players at least have the option to dodge attacks by doing a roll of sorts.

Pikmin Adventure – In a move to seemingly get everyone in the mood for the upcoming Pikmin 3, this game also has two different modes. The primary one has the gamepad player in control of Captain Olimar (played by your Mii, of course) that has the ability to direct an arsenal of Pikmin that you run across as you progress through each stage. The four players with Wii remotes get to play as much larger Pikmin that can assist in combating foes, knocking things down, or can be tossed about like the regular Pikmin. All Pikmin, including those in control of players, can absorb a syrupy substance that will level them up and increase their strength, though taking damage powers them down. All players must work together to defeat the boss of each stage and escape in the ship safely. There’s also a token Versus mode that has players battling each other over candy.

It’s hard to pick my favorite among these as all three rank among my most preferred games to play in the entire package. They can be played alone, and choosing to use the gamepad or the Wii remote changes the dynamic of each game immensely, plus they also offer cooperative and competitive play in some cases that really adds mileage to each one. These games are the primary reason to pick up this package. Now, as for the Competitive Attractions:

Mario Chase – The player with the gamepad is in a Mario costume and must run from the other players wearing Toad getups. Mario has a slight advantage in that he can see the entire map as well as where any of the other players are at any given time. Think of it like Pac-Man if the ghosts couldn’t see beyond what was right next to them.

Luigi’s Ghost Mansion – The gamepad player controls the ghost who must attack the other players with the Wii remotes. Likewise, in order to win, those players must shine their flashlight on the attacking ghost. The ghost player remains invisible to to the other players, except when a flash of lightning illuminates the room or when a player shines their flashlight on him. The controller will rumble for the player if the ghost happens to be nearby. The second screen will show the entirety of the map for the player in control of the ghost at all times, thus giving the ghost player the element of surprise.

Animal Crossing: Sweet Day – The four players with Wii remotes must collect candy scattered about the map while trying to avoid being caught by the cards controlled by the Gamepad player. Each joystick on the gamepad controls an individual guard, making it possible to pursue to the other players using both at once. It’s very similar in concept to the Mario Chase game, only in reverse.

I think these games sit middle of the road. They work great in a party atmosphere and would provide a decent amount of entertainment if you have enough players to fill out the roster. They just aren’t distinct enough from one another and relies too much on a mechanic of “players chase other players.” They’re not bad by any means, but are ultimately outshined by the Team Attractions.

While the Wii U still does not have an achievement system in place, there are awards that can be earned within each of the Nintendo Land games that behave as such. So if you like performing arbitrary tasks, you can do so without any of the recognition that such accomplishments would normally provide. If this doesn’t interest you, your performance in each game will earn you tokens that can be put towards the pachinko game to further decorate your park. More than likely though, you will put this game away until you have company over, as there is no online play.

Each game in the collection is a cinch to learn just by picking up and playing it, though if you still don’t get it, the tutorials will drill the concepts into you slowly. Most of them rely on movement or just a couple of buttons on the gamepad, so it’s easy for anyone to grasp, and is designed to hit the widest spread of people possible. I think it’ll be less interesting to the mainstream than Wii Sports was, instead appealing to people that are nostalgic for the franchises represented by each game in the compilation. It plays very much like a tech demo collection, and so long as it doesn’t scare everyone away with technology that can potentially lead to more shovelware like Nintendo’s previous console, it does well enough showcasing the kinds of unique things that developers can do with the technology.

At the end of the day, barely half of the games in the compilation are worth playing more than once. I’m also left scratching my head as to why half of them are single-player only, when any one of them could have been adapted to accommodate multiple players. This isn’t to say the package as a whole isn’t worth owning. There were only a handful of games I really cared to play in Wii Sports Resort and Wii Play and I still consider them worthwhile compilations to hang on to. The ones I do enjoy manage to be fun to play alone or when friends are involved, while still showcasing original ideas featuring the Wii U’s technology. I sincerely hope third party developers are taking notes.

The Scores
Story/Modes: Good
Graphics: Decent
Sounds: Enjoyable
Controls/Gameplay: Good
Replayability: Mediocre
Balance: Great
Originality: Classic
Addictiveness: Mediocre
Appeal Factor: Great
Miscellaneous: Mediocre

Final Score: Enjoyable Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
The entire purpose behind Nintendo Land, aside from being an enjoyable party game for players of all ages and skill levels, is to show off what the technology of the Wii U can do, and it manages to achieve that very goal. The twelve minigames included in the package are going to be very hit or miss with players given that many of them vary wildly in design, though the ones with a multiplayer component are the real stars of the show. It doesn’t quite reach the heights of casual appeal that Wii Sports does with the original Wii, but as a pack-in title for the deluxe edition of the Wii U, it performs admirably enough. Even if you’re not sold enough on the idea to invest the full $60, it’s at least worth a rental just to see the kind of potential Nintendo’s latest console holds for future offerings.

]]> 0
Review: 40-in-1 Explosive Megamix (Nintendo DSiWare) Fri, 02 Mar 2012 02:39:12 +0000 40-in-1 Explosive Megamix
Publisher: Nordcurrent
Developer: Nordcurrent
Genre: Compilation
Release Date: 02/09/2012

Compilation packages, if done right, can be a really great idea in concept. After all, who can argue with the value of getting multiple games for the price of one? It’s for this very reason that Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection is one of my favorite things I own for the Xbox 360, as many of the games on there I’d have gladly paid individually for. Of course, not every compilation can contain games of that length or detail, nor have the same kind of nostalgic value that would come from playing it. Games like the Wii Sports titles manage to have enough contained within that at least a few of them will stick for most people. As long as you can hit the mark with some of the games in your collection, it can be considered a win for the compilation.

Which brings us to Nordcurrent’s 40-in-1 Explosive Megamix. A collection of 40 games is certainly an impressive amount to bring to the table for $8, provided that at least some of them make their mark. So just how does it fare?

Before I get into the meat of the collection, let’s take a second to talk about the presentation. Visually speaking, it’s not too shabby for a downloadable title. Every game in the collection has a theme that it follows, be it slime monsters playing basketball in the sewers or robots delivering teddy bears onto a conveyer belt. I have no idea why the characters are doing the kinds of things they are doing in their respective universes, but after awhile you just learn to go with it. Most characters has disproportionate features, but they look appropriate enough within the context of the game. The backgrounds for some of the games are fairly detailed, which is impressive considering how short some of the games in the collection are. There are others where it seems as though the same care wasn’t given, such as the game where you have to try to surf around poo water and the character you control is just a yellow dude on a yellow surfboard. He looks kinda like the Silver Surfer except banana colored. A few titles aside, most of the games are not an eyesore, and that’s certainly a bonus, even though it doesn’t really matter for games like these.

There are no announcers, and while there are a few sound effects depending on the game, they are pretty minimal. Most of the time, you’ll be hearing the same few tunes looping over and over again at random throughout the whole game – and the songs are utterly grating. Music may not be the most important thing in a collection like this, but you’ll still want to turn your speakers off and listen to something else as you play.

As for the games themselves, they range from somewhat tolerable to completely broken. You have ten games unlocked from the start that you can choose to play in any order. Depending on the score you are awarded, you may “complete” the game and it will have a green check mark on it indicating you met the minimum requirements to get a passing grade and are awarded bonus points. These points can then be used to unlock the other 30 games in the collection.

There are a few problems with this setup. First of all, 75% of the game should not have to be unlocked. I don’t have a problem with the concept of unlockables in of itself, as it gives you something to work towards as you play through the games naturally. However, most players are going to find a single game that has the biggest point payout and play that exclusively until they obtain all of the games in the collection. In my case it was a minigame where I had to throw garbage into the neighbor’s yard and am awarded points at regular intervals depending on how many bags of garbage I unloaded on them at any given time. The rest of the games, I played maybe one or two times and never touched again.

Which brings me to my next point. There was no consistency in terms of how many points you can earn in an individual game or what their requirements were. Some games were considered cleared once you meet the end objective, such as the one where you had to shoot all the targets. Others, like the one where you are a paper cutout trying to fall to the bottom without fans blowing you into the sides, made you feel like the victor once you made it to the bottom, but it’s not actually complete until you collect so much money on the way down. There’s almost no margin of error that you are allowed as opposed to others where I managed to get through it without even realizing what I was doing.

Once you beat one of the games, unless it’s good for providing a lot of points, there’s almost no reason to go back and replay any of them. You can try to go back and top your high score, but many of the games have caps on the number of points you can win anyway. Also, some of them don’t work consistently enough to want to go back and play them again. There was a minigame where I was a clown on a pogostick and I had to jump up and collect stars. In one instance, the game had me jumping at maximum height even when I wasn’t pressing anything and in another, the jump button wouldn’t work for me at all. Other games, like the aforementioned garbage throwing game that I grinded points with, forced me to play with the touchscreen exclusively without giving me the option to use buttons. This meant I couldn’t throw things when I was at the top of the bottom screen since there was no room to drag my stylus and it would instead move to wherever I tapped the screen. The tutorial screen that lays out your task for each game is of no help either, as it is rather vague on what exactly you have to do. Most games I had to figure out for myself what needed to be done while others I had tried a couple of times to understand it and eventually just gave up.

It’s a shame too because while most of the games on the collection didn’t break any new ground in terms of what hasn’t already been accomplished in a Mario Party game, there were some interesting ideas at work here. If the controls were more responsive or even customizable, this title wouldn’t have been such a burden to play. And without added difficulty settings or even some rewarding reason to play outside of unlocking the next game, I had a hard time finding any sort of enjoyment in the experience. The $8 asking price for this game equates to about 20 cents a game, which sounds like a great deal in concept. But there’s an old adage that talks about the importance of quality over quantity and never has that been more apparent to me than after playing 40-in-1 Explosive Megamix. Perhaps picking out half of the best ones and adding more depth to them would’ve been the best move in this case.

The Scores
Story/Modes: Poor
Graphics: Decent
Sounds: Dreadful
Controls/Gameplay: Bad
Replayability: Dreadful
Balance: Poor
Originality: Mediocre
Addictiveness: Dreadful
Appeal Factor: Poor
Miscellaneous: Mediocre

Final Score: Pretty Poor Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
Look, I like the idea of 40-in-1 Explosive Megamix. Giving the consumer 40 games for a measly $8 sounds appealing in concept. The problem is, none of the games in this package are particularly good or memorable. I’ve found maybe a few that are entertaining enough to try and meet the completion threshold for them. Unfortunately, you’ll find that most aren’t worth playing more than once, much less enough times to try to complete them, and the fact that you have to unlock 30 of the games doesn’t do much to inspire enthusiasm. Unresponsive controls, a grating soundtrack, and some broken gameplay combine to make a package that’s just simply not recommendable, especially at that price point.

]]> 0
Is Nintendo Working On Revamped 3DS Hardware? Mon, 20 Feb 2012 02:47:18 +0000 Nintendo has been working to reverse the sales trend of its recently-released 3DS hardware, notably dropping the price and pushing its lineup of first party software exclusives.

Now there are new rumors that an entirely new design for the portable could be in the works.

The source is somewhat dubious – French site 01net but some of the details ring “true” for Nintendo.

The report says that there will be a new peripheral for the 3DS which would add a second analog nub. The cost would be $10, which also could be packaged with a 3DS game much like Nintendo has bundled games with peripherals before.

Other changes could include a “phasing down” of the portables 3D capabilities, which are sometimes noted as an issue in sales.

Nintendo’s dropping of the price of the current model from $250 to $170 could be an attempt to pare down excess stock in anticipation of the new model.

Is this rumor credible? It’s hard to say, but given Nintendo is experimenting on a grand scale with ways to boost sales, a new 3DS model could be in the offing. What do you think? Talk about this 3DS rumor in our comments section!×120.jpg

]]> 0
E3 2011: 10 Thoughts On Nintendo’s Keynote – WiiU, 3DS games, Smash Brothers Announced! Tue, 07 Jun 2011 19:55:06 +0000 Nintendo’s keynote address at E3 2011 was the most newsworthy of any of the three console makers, announcing a killer lineup of first party titles for release this year for 3DS, as well as the all new console WiiU.

1) The 25th anniversary celebration of the Legend of Zelda seems well done with games stretching across all Nintendo consoles. The re-release of Link’s Awakening, finally, was one of two new game announcements. The other is that Zelda Four Swords Adventures, would be available free in the DSiWare store.

2) The Zelda Orchestra was classy and presented Zelda in a really strong light. By highlighting not only the games, graphics and lore, but the music, it spotlights the best of Zelda and celebrates the silver anniversary in style.

3) Nintendo had five major 3DS first party games to show – Mario Kart, Super Mario 3D, Star Fox 3D, Kid Icarus and Luigi’s Mansion, the latter of which was a new game announcement.

4) Kid Icarus will not only be a single player action game, but also feature trading cards that act as AR cards to add battles to the game, as well as a 3-on-3 multiplayer game as well.

5) And the announcement – WiiU! It’s an all new system, with HD graphics and a unique new controller that has a 6 inch touchscreen.

6) The “new controller” as it was called thusfar has the ability to not only supplment gameplay like the Dreamcast VMU but also can display the full game for play on the controller screen, so the TV can be used for something else.

7) One seemingly awesome feature of WiiU is that the New Controller can be used table top to play multiplayer games without the TV screen. They showed a backgammon-like game.

8) There were a variety of core third party titles shown and confirmed for WiiU, including Batman, Ninja Gaiden, Darkstalkers and Ghost Recon.

9) Just when you thought Sony won E3 2011 with the worst new system name for PS Vita, Reggie and Nintendo return to give us WiiU. One has to wonder how many additional vowels Nintendo could add to future iterations.

10 After the developers of Kid Icarus rap up that game, Iwata announced that they would be moving next to a new Super Smash Brothers game, one that would release on both 3DS and WiiU and have some sort of connectibility between both.

Check out intial impressions of :
Mario Kart 3DS
Luigi Mansion 2
Super Mario 3DS

We’ll have tons more on Nintendo and all at E3 2011 all week long!×120.jpg

]]> 0
TOY FAIR 2011: Nintendo PVC & Plush From Global Holdings Fri, 18 Feb 2011 20:26:43 +0000 Here are the images of various Nintendo products from Global Holdings. Included are keychains, plush & PVC figurines! Love me some Mario….×120.jpg

]]> 0
Nintendo Weekly Downloads For Nintendo Wii: Robox Demo, Sneezies, & Ghost Mania Mon, 03 Jan 2011 17:39:21 +0000 Here are the games now available for download on the Nintendo Wii Shop Channel.

(500 Nintendo Points)
Sneezies is an overload of cuteness! Grab a cup of coffee, sit back in your favorite plush chair and enjoy soothing, relaxed game play featuring fantastic graphics and sweet melodies. Use your Wii Remote™ controller to drop a burst of sneezing powder into the field of floating Sneezies and watch as they sneeze themselves out of their bubbles in a marvelous chain reaction. Try to rescue as many Sneezies as you can. Sneezies features beautiful graphics, varied backgrounds, hilarious sound effects and soothing background music. Play through 45 relaxing levels of Sneezies in the Classic Mode or unleash your skills in 15 Challenge Mode levels. Post your high scores online from within the game (broadband Internet access required) and see how you stack up against other Sneezies players around the world.

Ghost Mania
(500 Nintendo Points)
Ghost Mania is an original puzzle game for players of all ages, offering a new twist on the falling-block genre. Build and expand colored stacks of ghosts and blocks in any direction and any number. The game features multiple single- and two-player modes, including a relaxed and thoughtful puzzle mode, an arcade mode and a variety of two-player modes such as Battle and Enduro. The game centers on the misadventures of Becky and Tim, a pair of ghost guardians who’ve just lost their jobs. Having fallen asleep on active duty, they accidentally let all the ghosts escape from the Spirit World. Help Becky and Tim get their jobs back so they can return to the Spirit World. Catch the runaway ghosts before it’s too late.

Robox (demo version)
(Free Demo, 1000 Nintendo Points for Full Game)
Jump, explore and shoot as you discover a planet filled with strange and menacing creatures. Go through a beautiful and lethal forest, find your way out of a labyrinth cave, jump into jelly bubbles and go for a ride on a giant slug. Fight epic battles against giant final bosses. Regain the abilities you’ve lost with the help of tiny creatures. Move through walls, break the floor or get new gadgets such as drills and gigantic cannons. Discover one of the most beautiful, exciting and challenging games of the last few years.×120.jpg

]]> 0
Nintendo Weekly Downloads For Nintendo DSi: Word Searcher 2, Alt-Play & More Mon, 03 Jan 2011 15:39:09 +0000 Here are the games now available for download on the Nintendo DSi Shop Channel.

Alt-Play: Jason Rohrer Anthology
(200 Nintendo Points)
Alt-Play brings the best of independent gaming to the Nintendo DSiWare service, introducing players to some of the most unique experiences this medium has to offer. In this compilation, award-winning game auteur Jason Rohrer’s work comes to the Nintendo DSi system, including three of his best games to date: Passage, Gravitation and Between. The deep themes and distinctive presentation in Rohrer’s work help to blur the line between visual art and video games, evoking thoughts and emotions rarely associated with gaming.

Word Searcher 2
(500 Nintendo Points)
You’ll need a sharp eye and a quick mind to complete 100 themed word-search puzzles. Word Searcher 2 contains fun words from multiple categories including palindromes, pirates and painting. Packed with a huge assortment of subjects to choose from, there’s sure to be a puzzle anyone can enjoy. Help improve your vocabulary, memory and problem-solving skills. Keep track of – and try to beat – your own play-through times again and again as words are scrambled each time you play. Put on your thinking cap and conquer all 100 puzzles today.

Music on: Drums
(500 Nintendo Points)
It’s a beatbox full of features for creating songs and rhythms. With a library of 160 sounds, use your creative skills to assign them to eight available tracks per pattern. Activate or deactivate each of the 16 steps that make up a track using the buttons or the stylus and combine the eight patterns to compose up to 64 songs. If you want to produce a more complex tune, you can customize each step and set the volume, change the frequency and assign a panning. Like a professional DJ, you can create and play in real time. Once you’ve laid down your patterns, you can use them to create much more complicated rhythms in Song mode, where you can add them to a sequence of up to 32 parts and change their length, activate or deactivate tracks, add repeats and so on. Music on: Drums also includes a pre-recorded song.×120.jpg

]]> 0