When you think of the greatest platformers and adventure games of all time on title that will invariable come to people’s minds is Metroid. That franchise has been around for decades and there is a reason that it basically has a genre of games named after it. It’s good. If you take the basic template of Metroid, mix in some incredibly beautiful pixel art and toss in a heaping helping of fun you’d get a game like Xeodrifter. The latest game from developer Renegade Kid takes many nods from that Nintendo franchise and doesn’t even hide it. It embraces that formula to give the eShop one of the best Metroid style platformers you’re going to see today.
Xeodrifter doesn’t hold your hand. From the very beginning you’re given a brief cutscene where you are shown four different planets to go to and retrieve a warp drive for your ship. Which one you choose first is totally up to you and you have to figure out which one won’t get you killed in order to progress. It’s the Metroid-vania formula at its best. It’s up to you the player how you tackle it. You’ll be powerful enough to take on one planet, but may not yet have the equipment you need to explore another. You’ll have to search each planet thoroughly to find all of the equipment you need to progress.
Rollers of the Realm is not exactly what I was expecting when I first booted it up. I knew the description of RPG mixed with pinball put some expectations into my head as what to expect, but it’s not really what I was expecting at all. I was looking for a more traditional pinball game with some RPG elements.
Whereas most games of this nature are an RPG built inside a pinball game this is really a pinball game inside an RPG. You have all of the traditional elements of an RPG. You have a party that each have different jobs with various strengths and weaknesses. You have an experience gauge, gold and different skills. You travel to various locations to complete tasks while continuing the story of these travelers. There are enemies with health bars that you must attack.
This is probably the weirdest review I’ve ever had to write. It’s the first time I’ve reviewed a piece of software that wasn’t really a game. Pixel Paint released on the Wii U recently and we were given the opportunity to take a look at it. There’s no game elements to it at all. It’s simply a piece of software that allows you to create your own pixel art.
What You Need to Know
Pixel Paint is simply what it says. It’s a paint program for Wii U that lets you create pixel art. You simply use the touch screen on the Wii U GamePad to fill in the pixels to create the art you want, whether it’s recreating your favorite 8-bit characters to creating large, unique works of art. You can share the pictures you’ve created with others on Miiverse. There are more than half a dozen different color palettes to choose from ranging from simple monochromatic, Game Boy style colors, all the way up to thousands of colors to choose from. You’ll be able to make your art as simple or complex as you like.
Anymore a yearly Skylanders release is guaranteed as much as the next Call of Duty game. Activision hit big with the original release three years ago and they’ve continued that train with a new game in the series every year since. What began as a reboot of the Spyro the Dragon series has quickly become something all on its own and Spyro is just another character among the dozens in the series. The newest installment, Skylanders: Trap Team, brings back all of your favorite characters, adds more to the mix and even lets you take control of the villains this time around.
What You Need to Know
Skylanders: Trap Team is the fourth installment of the franchise where your figures comes to life. This time around Kaos as unleashed the most dangerous criminals Skylands has ever seen from their imprisonment in Cloudcracker Prison. From there he and the Doom Raiders unleash havoc and you have to build your team of Skylanders to try and stop him. You’ll use different elemental characters to unlock various areas of Skylands, defeat hordes of adorable enemies. There will even be betrayals or allegiances you might not expect this time around.
One of the first games to launch on the eShop was a small puzzle game from Enjoy Gaming called Pyramids. It was a Solomon’s Key inspired block puzzle game where you played as an adventurer who was dropping in a room, with limited resources and had to escape. You could drop and destroy blocks, shoot snakes in the rooms with the ammo supplied and collect treasure to unlock harder and harder puzzles. Now three years later the developer is back again with a sequel cleverly titled Pyramids 2. The premise is the same, but the puzzles are harder.
What You Need to Know
Pyramids 2 is, as previously mentioned, a block puzzle game. Like before you star as an adventurer who is trying to solve the riddles of the rooms, collect treasure along the way and escape without dying. You can drop blocks on the same level as your character, or one level lower. You must avoid traps, like spikes that come from the floor or fireball shooting statues as well as snakes, monkeys and natives along the way. You earn stars for the speed you finish the level and whether or not you collect all of the treasure in a room. Those stars are used to unlock levels later in the game, with the last set of rooms requiring you to have earned every star in the game up to that point.
Angry Birds is one of those franchises that has a pretty polarizing effect on people. Early on I was one of those people that couldn’t really understand the fad and why there was so much attention on a game that was mediocre at best. The touchy game play and unpredictable physics left me scratching my head. I just didn’t get it. I pretty much ignored the franchise in the early days and said the fad would pass. It didn’t. It’s never really gone away. There are still people to this day that get excited for the announcement of new Angry Birds stuff and the games continue to come out on a pretty consistent basis.
When Angry Birds Trilogy released on DS we were sent a review copy and I gave the franchise another go just to see if it would click with me. It did this time. I think it was the more precise control scheme offered on the 3DS using the stylus that finally won me over. I could see what I was doing without my hands in the way. I was able to get birds to launch where I wanted them to go more often. It finally made me realize the franchise could be fun. I wouldn’t consider myself a fan, but I understood why people enjoyed the game. Since then I’ve sort of kept an eye on it and downloaded a few games here and there to try out. It’s been the releases of Angry Birds Star Wars that kept me playing through every level and now there is another licensed tie in that’s got me hooked; Angry Birds Transformers.
I first read the Lord of the Rings after watching Peter Jackson’s first film in the series back in 2001. I know, I know. You’d think someone who’s as big a fan of these books as me would have read them when I was five years old, but I didn’t. I knew of them, but hadn’t read them. Since then I’ve read them all at least once a year and gotten deep into many of the other Middle Earth stories written by Professor JRR Tolkien. When I heard about Shadow of Mordor and the parts of Middle Earth lore it would be exploring I was excited, to say the least. When I saw that it was taking parts of my favorite game franchise of all time and implementing them into the world of Middle Earth I was even more excited. I’m glad to say that this game held up to my lofty expectations and then some.
What You Need to Know
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor puts you in the role of Talion, a ranger that is part of a group tasked with keeping watch over the Black Gate to Mordor. The game starts with your family (and yourself) being killed by servants of Sauron. Somehow you survive and seek out revenge on those that took your family from you. The game is an open world action game where you can take on numerous side missions, collect artifacts, upgrade weapons and skills and hunt wild beasts.