Thursday, April 17, 2014

Super Mario Bros. 3 now available on Wii U Virtual Console


Screenshot of NES game Super Mario Bros. 3, with title character kicking a red koopa shell into a question mark block, releasing a Magic Leaf.
Screenshot courtesy of The Video Game Museum - vgmuseum.com

The NES version of Super Mario Bros. 3 is now available to download on the Wii U Virtual Console, and is priced at $4.99. This side-scrolling platformer is arguably the greatest NES game of all time, and is still seen by many as the definitive title in the series.

Miyamoto's masterpiece features many classic power-ups including the familiar Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Starman, while introducing a few new ones as well. Raccoon Mario and Tanooki Mario are still fan favorites, and recently made their triumphant returns in a few releases as of late. The Hammer Bros. Suit is also beloved due to its powerful projectiles and fireproof shell, though it is extremely rare and has not been seen since.

Super Mario Bros. 3 really needs no introduction, and the perfect scores it has received are well-deserved. If you do not yet own a copy of it one form or another, you should definitely consider downloading the Wii U version, which features restore points and Off-TV Play, just like every other classic re-release on the platform. Gameplay video after the break.


Friday, April 4, 2014

Mario Kart 8 - Two new gorgeous gameplay videos

Screenshot of Mario Kart 8 with title character driving his kart in large stadium. Wario and Yoshi can be seen in the background, along with many others in the distance.

Mario Kart 8 is sure to be one of the best-selling Wii U titles of all time, and if the latest videos are anything to go by, it will also be one of the best-looking games on the console. Nintendo has released a new trailer showing off the gorgeous visuals of the many tracks, and the company has confirmed that there will be a number of retro tracks thrown in the mix as well.

Eurogamer has put together a comparison video which shows the original versions of the retro tracks side-by-side with their HD remakes and there is no comparison. Even the tracks from the original SNES game that kicked off the franchise look amazing. You've got to see these videos. You can watch them after the break.

Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct scheduled for April 8th, 2014

Announcement of Nintendo Direct for April 8th, 2014, which will focus on Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS

The Big N has announced a Nintendo Direct presentation for this Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, starting at 3PM Pacific Time. The broadcast will focus on the new Super Smash Bros. games for the Wii U and 3DS. The roster has been filling in nicely, with Rosalina from the Super Mario Galaxy titles set to make her debut in the fighting franchise, along with Little Mac of Punch Out!! fame. You can watch the presentation via the link below at the scheduled time.

Nintendo Direct 4/8/14 - nintendo.com


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wii U eShop updates - 4/3/14 (North America)

Nintendo eShop logo on Wii U GamePad

The North American Wii U eShop has a few new titles available to download, including Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate - Deluxe Edition, Evofish, Advance Wars, Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, and Metroid Fusion. In case you didn't notice, those last three were originally released on the Game Boy Advance, and will be the first of many. Details and videos after the break.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sonic Lost World gets free Zelda DLC

Sonic the Hedgehog wearing Link's Green Tunic in The Legend of Zelda DLC for the video game Sonic Lost World

Sega has announced that some free Zelda-themed DLC is coming tomorrow, and will be free for all Wii U owners to download, provided they own a copy of Sonic Lost World. The DLC features a massive level set in Hyrule Kingdom, which includes Hyrule Field and Hyrule Castle. The stage will place an emphasis on exploration, with plenty of hidden areas, including some which are accessible only with bombs.

A number of familiar characters appear, including Stalchilds, Cuccos, Gorons, and even Fairies. In addition, Sonic the Hedgehog himself will don Link's green tunic, and the green-clad hero himself will make cameos every now and then. It appears that finding the Triforce will be Sonic's primary goal.

IGN has released two videos which show off the level in action. The first is a basic announcement trailer, which lasts a minute, while the second includes a five-minute walkthrough of the level by a member of Sega. It goes without saying that this DLC will probably sell more copies of the Blue Blur's latest adventure.

Professional game critics gave Sonic Lost World  mixed reveiws, and it currently has a Metacritic average of 63 based on 64 reviews. However, average gamers seem to have a much more favorable opinion. Amazon customers have rated it very well, and you can read some of their reviews here. Trailers after the break.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hover: Revolt of Gamers coming to Wii U

Screenshot of video game Hover: Revolt of Gamers

French indie developer Fusty Game has announced via Twitter that its new game Hover: Revolt of Gamers is coming to the Wii U this year, in addition to PC, Mac, Linux, PS4, and Xbox One. The unique title is a futuristic racing game in which players use parkour to traverse Hover-City, as they try to reclaim their video game consoles. It runs on the Unity engine, which is very popular among developers.

Hover seems to have drawn some inspiration from the Dreamcast classic Jet Set Radio, specifically the art style. Interestingly, Fusty has even hired Jet Set Radio's composer to write the score. The gameplay of the indie title bears some resemblance to Mirror's Edge, another parkour-based game which featured plenty of platforming, but it appears this game will place the focus on movement rather than combat.

Here's a brief synopsis from the official Facebook page:

Currently in development since November 2013 and based on new technologies like the "Oculus Rift", it takes place in a 3D futuristic open world. The new Mayor of Hover-City is prohibiting video games and all sorts of entertainment. Anyone catched in such a act would be send to hard labour.

You play the "Gamers". They created the Resistance to help citizen to get back their consoles, create a diversion among the Cops while others are hacking the Mayor propaganda . In front of Non Playing Characters and other players in multiplayer you have to show your skills (speed race, triks, agility, speed hacking, diversions...). Other Gamers will join you during the adventure. Try to become the leader of the Resistance!

The development team has already put together a video preview showing off a glimpse of some early gameplay footage. Video after the break.

Source: Facebook, Twitter


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wii U eShop updates - 3/20/14 (North America)

Nintendo eShop logo on Wii U GamePad

There are a handful of new games available on the North American Wii U eShop this week. Pure Chess has arrived at an affordable price, and supports cross-platform play between Wii U, 3DS, Android, and iOS players. In addition, the NES title Volleyball has arrived on the Virtual Console, and a new game called Hello Kitty Cruisers will be available to purchase starting tomorrow. If you're looking to pick up something for cheaper than usual, there is a trio of games currently on sale, including Darksiders II, Jeopardy!, and Wheel of Fortune. For those of you who don't see anything that appeals to you, it might interest you to know that all Wii U owners will have free access to Wii Sports Club this weekend, allowing you to play remastered versions of Tennis, Bowling, and Golf. Details and videos after the break.


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels now on Wii U Virtual Console

Title screen of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels and screenshot of gameplay

The Wii U Virtual Console version of Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is now available to download on the North American Wii U eShop, with a price of $4.99. This game was originally released only in Japan, where it was known as Super Mario Bros. 2. This installment in the series is pretty much like the original NES game but much, much, harder. The developers really went out of their way to ratchet up the difficulty level, and there are all sorts of tricks that await players.

Instead of having an alternating two-player mode, The Lost Levels features only a single-player mode, but gamers can choose to play as either Mario or Luigi. Mario controls pretty much like he did before, while Luigi can jump much higher and has less traction, which makes him skid after running or landing. Due to the unique abilities of each brother, certain areas will be easier or harder depending on who you choose to play as.

To give you an idea of what sort of devious tricks await you, here's a brief list of a few infamous features:

  • Some mushrooms are actually Poison Mushrooms, which will harm or even kill you (if you're small).
  • Some warp zones will send you backwards to earlier worlds.
  • Many castles have puzzles that require you to choose the right path to proceed (just like some of the castles in the first game).
  • Some land enemies now appear underwater, and vice versa.
  • Many other surprises.

Again, Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels is very hard and is certainly not for everyone. Nintendo of America actually refused to release the game in North America due to the high difficulty level, and as a result, we got a reskinned version of another Nintendo game called Yume Kojo: Doki Doki Panic which was retitled Super Mario Bros. 2 (which explains why that game is so unlike any of the other entries in the series).

The Lost Levels was released on the Wii Virtual Console years ago, but this new version features Restore Points which will definitely come in handy and ease the ridiculous difficulty a little. You can find a gameplay video after the break (Wii Version).

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze - Video Review by IGN

Donkey Kong with Diddy Kong on his shoulders. They are jumping in the air while penguins walk below them on a tropical beach. Screenshot from video game Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

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 Pioneer being developed by real astronauts, Kickstarter seeking funds

Concept art for video game Space Pioneer

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.


Concept art for Space Pioneer, depicting a ship flying with a planet in the background

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

Super C now available on Wii U Virtual Console

Screenshots of NES version of video game Super C
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.

Nintendo Direct - February 13th, 2014

Screenshot of Little Mac fighting Sonic the Hedgehog in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

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 Direct scheduled for February 13th, 2014

Announcement of Nintendo Direct scheduled for February 13th, 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

Shovel Knight - Developer interview with gameplay footage

Screenshot of video game Shovel Knight

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

The Art of Balance: TOUCH! coming to Wii U eShop

Screenshot of Wii U game The Art of Balance: TOUCH!

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.


Child of Light scheduled for release on April 30th, 2014

Image of turn-based combat in Ubisoft video game Child of Light

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

Sonic Boom - Wii U Trailer

Tails, Knuckles, Sonic, and Amy running through a jungle in the Wii U version of the video game Sonic Boom

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.

Wii U eShop updates - 2/6/14 (North America)

Nintendo eShop logo on Wii U GamePad
There are three new titles on the North American Wii U eShop this week. Percy's Predicament, a game which appears to have been inspired by Super Monkey Ball, is now available to download. The NES version of Ninja Gaiden is on the Virtual Console, complete with Off-TV Play. And The LEGO Movie Videogame will arrive tomorrow. Details and videos after the break.