Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the biggest Wii U title of early 2014, and it's now available in North America. The game was developed by Nintendo's own Retro Studios, who also crafted the well-received Donkey Kong Country Returns which was released for the Wii a few years back.
Tropical Freeze plays very much like its immediate predecessor, but with some new features. The big ape can now pluck items out of the ground, a move borrowed from the US version of Super Mario Bros. 2, and can also pick up enemies and throw them at their comrades (another move borrowed from the plumber's wacky NES classic). Also new to the series are Kong Pow Moves, which allow players to use the power of their Kongs of choice to affect enemies in various ways, like turning them into recovery hearts.
Fan-favorite Dixie Kong has returned after a long absence, and can twirl her hair like a propeller to get some hangtime on jumps and even some extra height. In single-player, she and Diddy ride on DK's back, essentially acting as power-ups, though both are completely playable characters in co-op, just like in the gorilla's Wii sidescroller.
Dixie isn't the only new playable character. Cranky Kong, whom Nintendo regards as the original Donkey Kong from the first arcade title, can be used as well. His cane allows him to defeat certain enemies the others can't, and also lets him bounce on spikes that would otherwise cause damage and take lives. In many ways, Cranky's abilities are very much like those of Scrooge McDuck in the NES classic DuckTales, and he has been received well by many for that very reason.
The reviews for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze have been overwhelmingly positive, and the consensus from professional critics is that it's a darn good game. As of this writing, it has a Metacritic score of 82 based on 58 reviews. Average gamers also think very highly of it, and it currently has an average of 4.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon. For those of you trust average gamers more than critics, you can read some customer reviews on Amazon here.
Jose Otero of IGN recently uploaded his video review of the game to YouTube, and he thinks it's awesome. You can watch his review after the break.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Space Enigma Studios is currently working on an ambitious game called Space Pioneer, and they plan on bringing it to the Wii U. The development team consists of world famous astronauts, engineers, designers, programmers, artists and architects who are determined to create the most immersive virtual representation of our universe ever. The indie developer says that the game is "best described as a space sim, with real time strategy and city building mechanics."
Here's a brief synopsis of the game from the official Kickstarter page:
Space Pioneer focuses on interstellar exploration; it is partially based on images and resources from the Hubble telescope, ESA/NASA, and numerous well known observatories. The player will be able to pilot a fully customizable spaceship into the vast regions of our universe and can colonize other planets beyond our solar system. In addition, he or she can research different scientifically accurate theories to upgrade their spaceship, build vast space stations and terra-form inhospitable planets.
The game's concept sounds very intriguing as well:
The player’s character is introduced as a cadet in the Academy of Astronauts within the Global Space Agency. He or she is part of a routine training expedition on the desert like planet of Gliese 581 D. He/she, along with a number of other cadets, are on a scouting ship – when they notice that in front of them lies the unmistakable relic that is an Apollo module – which cannot be anywhere near as far away from earth as it is! At this point, the cadet remembers that he has heard other astronauts mention that when exploring other worlds, it is possible for one to stumble upon artifacts that look remarkably like they originated from earth’s past. How these artifacts came to exist so far away from home is a confounding mystery.
To uncover this conundrum; the cadet heads to Earth – specifically he goes to the World Museum of Space and Cosmonautics. During this curious self initiated investigation, the cadet meets a virtual archivist who instructs him to look for specific historical artifacts in various other museums on earth. The completion of these tasks enables the player to construct a chronological history of Humanity’s advancements in space – from China’s first gunpowder rockets to NASA’S interplanetary missions. In these museums and exhibits; he learns about history, culture and science. In the finale of this tutorial, the cadet gets access to a personal spaceship, in which he proceeds to fly to the Large Magellanic Cloud to observe our Milky Way from afar.
As you can see, Space Pioneer is a massive project, which explains why the Kickstarter campaign is seeking the hefty sum of $150,000. As of this writing, Space Enigma Studios has raised just under $30,000, and that number will surely rise as the hours and days go by. If you would like to pledge money to help fund the game, or just read more about the game and the real astronauts helping with development, you can do so by visiting the official Kickstarter page via the source link below. Trailer after the break.
Source: Space Pioneer - Kickstarter.com
Thursday, February 13, 2014
|Screenshots courtesy of The Video Game Museum - vgmuseum.com|
There is just one newcomer to the North American Wii U eShop this week: Super C, the sequel to Contra. This classic from Konami will set you back $4.99, but it's well worth the price. Like the original Contra, this game has a 2-player co-op mode, and is known for its steep difficulty, but with the addition of restore points, it should be much easier for everyone to plow through. And if you really need help, there is a secret code which will grant you extra lives. You can find it here on the Super C GameFAQs page. Unlike the generous Konami Code for the first game, this code only gives you ten lives, instead of thirty, but ten should be enough. And if it's not, practice, practice, practice! Gameplay video after the break.
The first Nintendo Direct of 2014 has come and gone, but the Big N has uploaded the video to YouTube for those of you who missed it. Wii U highlights include Little Mac in Super Smash Bros., a launch trailer for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the announcement of NES Remix 2, Game Boy Advance titles are coming to the Wii U Virtual Console this April, the Koopalings will be in Mario Kart 8, a new trailer for Monolith Soft's X, and a new trailer for Bayonetta 2. You can find all of these segments and more, including 3DS news, in the embedded video after the break.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Nintendo has announced there will be a Nintendo Direct broadcast tomorrow, Thursday, February 13th, at 2 pm Pacific Time/5 pm Eastern Time. This is the first such event of the year, after a rather uneventful January. The Big N says the presentation will be "focused on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS games launching by the end of spring," so Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will almost certainly be one of the showcased titles.
During past shows, Dr. Luigi and NES Remix were revealed seemingly from out of nowhere. As for whether or not there will be any surprises this time, we'll just have to wait and see. You can watch the show tomorrow via the link below.
Nintendo Direct - 2/13/14
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Nintendo UK has released a developer interview video with Sean Velasco of Yacht Club Games, who discusses the inspiration for Shovel Knight. Velasco says the game is a throwback to the NES era when games were much simpler, and the emphasis was on gameplay and fun, rather than realistic graphics. This isn't your typical interview, as there is plenty of footage to show off what awaits Nintendo fans who are looking forward to the retro-style action-adventure title. Video after the break.
Friday, February 7, 2014
Developer Shin'en Multimedia have announced their second Wii U game is The Art of Balance: TOUCH! It appears to be a souped-up version of the 3DS game of the same name, which, in turn, was originally released as a WiiWare title, garnering some very respectable scores from critics and praise from average gamers.
Here are some of the features to look forward to:
- Off-TV play, and multiple control schemes such as analogue, touch screen and Wii Remote.
- Multiple online and local multiplayer modes for both competitive or co-operative play. Up to five players can participate in the various modes at once — one on GamePad, four on Wii Remotes — while up to ten people can play across two Wii Us in online matches.
- Online Leaderboards will be a feature, and their goal is to be region free.
- HD graphics that incorporate all new designs and locations (A few pictures below).
- More accurate physics that are processed at 240 frames-per-second (as opposed to the 30 FPS physics that the 3DS featured)
- All the levels from the previous games, and then some.
The most obvious improvements are the HD graphics, more accurate physics, and smoother animations. As many of you are perfectly aware, Shin'en Multimedia are known for making quality games, including the outstanding Wii U eShop title Nano Assault Neo, which received a solid 9 out of 10 from our very own reviewer, Jake "The King of Video Games."
For those of you who want to get a feel for what The Art of Balance: TOUCH! has to offer, you can find a trailer for the original WiiWare version after the break.
Ubisoft have released a new trailer for their anticipated title Child of Light, and the video reveals the game's official release date as April 30th, 2014. The game, which runs on the celebrated UbiArt Engine, is a side-scrolling RPG with turn-based combat, and beautiful graphics to boot. The game is said to make use of the features of the Wii U GamePad, but we have yet to see exactly how. It seems like a safe bet that Off-TV Play will be supported, at the very least.
As for what the game is about, here's a brief synopsis from the official detail page for the PC version on Steam:
The kingdom of Lemuria is in despair The Black Queen has stolen the Sun, the Moon and the Stars. You play as Aurora, a young princess with a pure heart whose soul is brought to the kingdom of Lemuria. Embark on a quest to recapture the three sources of light, defeat the Black Queen and restore the kingdom of Lemuria.
The new trailer shows off almost two minutes of gameplay footage, including a look at how combat will work, and reveals that there are over 600 items in the crafting system, and over two hundred skills to unlock. The game also features a co-op mode which allows a second player to control a blue orb character named Igniculus, who can aid the main player on their journey. Video after the break.
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Sega has revealed Sonic Boom, a new video game which is coming exclusively to the Wii U and 3DS. The third and final Nintendo console exclusive is meant to serve as a prequel to the TV series of the same name, which sees some altered designs for the iconic characters of the Sonic the Hedgehog universe. The Wii U version is being developed by Big Red Button Entertainment, which is made up of industry veterans, including former employees of Naughty Dog, the creators of Sony's Jak & Daxter games as well as the Uncharted series.
Another interesting fact is that Sonic Boom is running on CryEngine3, the well-known game engine developed by Crytek. In addition, all four characters will have their own unique abilities based on their personalities, and they will all be playable in local co-op, though there will not be any online co-op.
As for the 3DS version, details are scarce, but we know that it is being developed by Sanzaru, who delivered the PS3/Vita game Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time.
Here's a brief excerpt from the official blog post:
Sonic Boom’s visual identity includes character designs inspired by the abilities and unique personalities of each of the characters, while still maintaining the core identity and values of the Sonic brand. The rich worlds of the TV series and videogame will share a common narrative and a number of location and stylistic similarities reflecting full collaboration between videogame, TV series partners and SEGA from the outset.
Sega has released a trailer for the hedgehog's latest adventure, which features a decent amount of gameplay footage. So far, it seems to have garnered a pretty favorable reaction from viewers. Video after the break.
Friday, January 24, 2014
|Leaked concept art.|
Ravi Jayant of indie developer Dead Pixel has confirmed that the upcoming Starbeast will be a Wii U exclusive, and says the formal announcement will take place soon.
4 words: Starbeast, exclusive WiiU title. Formal announcement coming soon. @Emi1yRogers, thanks for the support! pic.twitter.com/B5vwdYUnDz
— Ravi Jayant (@ravsters) January 23, 2014
The title in question was announced a while back, and some concept art was leaked, but details were scarce. Reports suggested it was a 2.5D shoot 'em up with a sci-fi setting, but no concrete info was given. However, Jayant has now revealed a few cryptic details.
There is a lot of speculation about #Starbeast. Three things: 1 No bullet hell. 2 Concept art floating around is old. 3 Cinematic experience
— Ravi Jayant (@ravsters) January 24, 2014
One Twitter user asked Jayant what sort of unique gameplay experience to expect from the GamePad, to which he replied: "Can't say. But, I will say this: we are paying attention to every little detail." For more details, check out Jayant's Twitter account via the source link below. (Thanks for the tip, Ravi!)
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Yacht Club Games have announced that their retro-inspired Shovel Knight is scheduled for release on Monday, March 31st. The indie title will be available on the Wii U and 3DS via the eShop, and also on PC. The 2D side-scroller has received plenty of press attention since it was announced, due to the fact that the developer is made up of former employees of WayForward, the company known for its outstanding 2D games.
The company has cited classic NES titles like Mega Man and DuckTales as sources of inspiration, and it's easy to see the influence that they've had on the game mechanics. It has also been revealed that composer Manami Matsumae, who wrote the music for Mega Man 1 and 10, will be writing two songs for Shovel Knight.
To coincide with the announcement, Yacht Club Games has released a new trailer which is over 2 minutes long and features plenty of gameplay footage. Trailer after the break.
This is a very slow week for the North American Wii U eShop. The only new game is Mighty Bomb Jack, the NES version of the arcade game of the same name. Players take control of Jack and jump their way through 16 levels in a pyramid, collecting bombs and various power-ups. There is a lot of trial and error involved, and many critics and gamers have called it "frustrating," suffice to say it is definitely not a classic. This platformer will set you back $4.99, and it is highly recommended that you see it in action before making a purchase. Gameplay video after the break.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Nintendo recently released NES Remix on the Wii U eShop, a surprise title that nobody saw coming. The downloadable title features "remixed" versions of old 8-bit classics like Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and The Legend of Zelda, along with a host of others. Players are given various challenges with limited time to complete each one, and the game acts as a museum of sorts for the Big N's great franchises, some of which we haven't seen in quite some time.
Popular YouTube user the Wiiviewer has downloaded a digital copy and spent some time playing through it. He really likes the way it allows players to revisit old favorites with new twists, and for those who love the old classics, he says it's "totally worth a buy." Video review after the break.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
|Screenshot courtesy of The Video Game Museum - vgmuseum.com|
The Wii U Virtual Console version of the classic NES shoot 'em up Gradius is now available on the North American eShop. The side-scrolling shooter, which was based on the arcade game of the same name, features plenty of action with tons of enemies and deadly traps. While it certainly does show its age, it has received mostly good reviews, even after all these years. This iconic Konami title is priced at $4.99. Gameplay video after the break.
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Indie developer EnjoyUp games has confirmed via Twitter that Unepic will be released on th North American Wii U eShop on Thursday, January 16th. The RPG adventure was announced for the platform last year and was recently included in one of Nintendo's sizzle reels.
Players assume the role of Daniel, who is somehow teleported to a mysterious ancient castle in the middle of a role-playing game and finds himself on a quest to free "Pure-Spirits" from Harnakon, the master of the castle. He will be "possessed by a shadow" which will feed misinformation to Daniel throughout his adventure as it cannot escape from Daniel's body unless he dies. EnjoyUp games says, "This story sounds typical for a role game, but during the adventure Daniel will discover that everything is not what it seems."
The 2D RPG features tons of items, leveling-up, giant bosses, and multiple endings. Off-TV Play is supported, and the touchscreen will make using items much simpler than the PC version. You can watch the official Wii U trailer for the game after the break.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
Mega Man X2 is now available on the North American Wii U eShop and can be purchased for $7.99. The side-scrolling action-platformer was originally released on the Super Nintendo back in 1996 (and the Japanese Super Famicom in 1995). This was the second entry in the X series, the first spin-off series from the classic franchise.
Players take control of the titular character and guide him through eight initial stages which can be played in any order, just like the classic games. After vanquishing the enemies which dwell within the first eight levels, X must take on more dangerous foes in additional stages using the abilities and weapons he has gained. Unlike the original character, X can dash and scale walls by performing wall-jumps.
Mega Man X2 has been well-received by critics and average gamers alike, and ranks among the best in the SNES series. For those of you who are interested in this Capcom classic, you can watch a gameplay video after the break.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
Nintendo recently announced that Cranky Kong would be a playable character for the first time ever in the upcoming Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, which has drawn plenty of interest from fans of the popular series. As most of you likely know, Cranky is said to be the elderly version of the original Donkey Kong who starred in the first arcade game.
The Big N has released a trailer showing the old ape in action, and it looks like he will have some tricks of his own. Unlike the other Kongs, Cranky can use his cane to bounce safely over spikes, much like Scrooge McDuck in the classic DuckTales game, and plenty of gamers have made that comparison.
In addition to showing Cranky, the video also shows off plenty of levels including frozen lands, tropical regions, and more. The classic mine cart stages will return and the new shifting-camera system will make some of the old tropes seem fresher than usual, including the mine cart stages. Also, there is a new meter that, when filled, will allow players to perform buddy moves which will affect enemies onscreen. The screenshot you see above comes straight from the new trailer, depicting Donkey and Cranky's buddy move which turns enemies into coins.
Another thing worth noting is that David Wise, who composed the soundtracks for the original DKC trilogy, has returned to compose the score for Tropical Freeze. This is certainly welcome news considering the undeniable talent he has for all things musical.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze will be released exclusively on the Wii U on Feb. 21, 2014. If you would like pre-order, or just read more info about it, you can check out the game's official detail page on Amazon. Trailer after the break.