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KickBeat: Special Edition Review (Wii U)

September 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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I like rhythm games y’all. Games like Rhythm Heaven and Elite Beat Agents are regular entries into my systems. There’s just something about getting into a rhythm (no pun intended) and sort of zoning out on the music. I remember when Kickbeat was first announced and how interested in playing a rhythm game from Zen Studios I was and then disappointed when I found out it was going to be a Playstation exclusive (due to not having a Playstation system at the time). I’ve been a big fan of all the stuff I’ve played from Zen Studios whether it was their numerous pinball tables or their sidescrolling RTS Castlestorm. Now Kickbeat is out on Wii U so I finally get to play the game I was so excited about to begin with. Was it worth the wait?

What You Need to Know

Kickbeat is a rhythm based fighting game. Well, actually it’s mostly rhythm game disguised as a fighting game. Actually, it’s pretty much just a rhythm game that happens to have some fighting in it. Your character stands in the middle of a circle and is surrounded on all sides by enemies. They attack you and you have to fend off their attacks in time to the music by hitting the corresponding face button. The four buttons match up with the position of the face buttons on the controller so it’s easy to keep track of where you’re supposed to be hitting at all times. You play along with the game’s 18 song soundtrack as you try to restore music to its rightful place in the world. There are other modes outside of the main story mode like an endless survival mode where you are not given any of the normal visual cues and you have to survive as long as you can or an equalizer mode that basically plays the game for you so that you can listen to the music and watch the events of the song unfold on screen. (Something more rhythm games should do.

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Hyrule Warriors Is a Family Affair

September 22, 2014 Leave a comment

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It’s not uncommon to see members of my family playing together. Whether it’s my wife and I challenging each other at Jeopardy, my son and I digging a giant hole in Minecraft or four of us going at each other in a round of Mario Kart 8 there’s a good chance at some point during the week you’re going to see multiple people crowded around the TV enjoying a game together. It’s a part of how my family bonds. Lately, however, another game has been the sole occupant of the late night Wii U hours in my house and it’s not one I had seen coming.

I’ve been playing a lot of Hyrule Warriors. My review is up on the site and you can see some of my thoughts of the game there. When I started playing it I remember my 16 year old daughter saying, “I’ll probably watch you play it, but I don’t think I’ll be playing it myself,” or something to that effect. She wasn’t interested in the game outside of the fact that it was a Zelda game, a series she has some interest in. As I played a few hours a night she spent a good part of that time watching me. She spent time with me enjoying the story, helping me figure out which characters needed to be leveled up and what items I needed to upgrade the badges for specific characters. Then one day it happened. She booted up the game and started playing herself. I wasn’t really surprised as she and I share a lot of common gaming interests, such as our love for the Assassin’s Creed series. I suppose just watching me play the game wasn’t enough. She actually had to play the game for herself and she’s been enjoying it.
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Hyrule Warriors Review (Wii U)

September 17, 2014 1 comment

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To say I was excited about the announcement of Hyrule Warriors would be accurate. I’ve been a fan of the Dynasty Warriors series for a while now and seeing that combined with one of my favorite Nintendo franchises of all time seemed like a dream come true. One thing I’d always imagined was what was going on while Link was away fighting his battles against Ganondorf to save Hyrule. What were all those soldiers you’ve seen in past games doing? There had to be wars raging on in the background. Hyrule Warriors isn’t that, but it’s as close as we’ve seen to that dream up to this point. As more and more characters were announced I got more and more interested in seeing this game in action. The question is, ultimately, is the game any good and does it live up to being a part of the Zelda franchise?

What You Need to Know

Hyrule Warriors is not a Zelda game. There’s a reason that KoeiTecmo and Nintendo left “The Legend of Zelda” off the title of this game. It’s essentially a Dynasty Warriors game with Zelda mashed on top of it. You play as one of a few named heroes on a battlefield against hordes of enemy soldiers. There are objectives to complete during battles and territory to claim that will make your fight a little easier along the way. You have special, more powerful moves that can take out huge numbers of enemies at one time. Traditional Zelda items and bosses make appearances to give it that Legend of Zelda feel that at times might trick you into thinking you’re actually playing a Zelda game and not a Warriors game. Read more…

Hyrule Warriors Cast Of Females Is Mostly Great

September 11, 2014 Leave a comment

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With a lot of the internet’s focus lately on the role of females in games and their portrayal it’s great to see a game like Hyrule Warriors come along and do a really great job in portraying the female members of the cast. Every playable female character in the game, of which there are eight (seven if you don’t consider Fi a female), are fantastic in their own way. They’re strong, they’re unique and they’re a great cast of characters for any female player out there to be proud to use.

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Hands-On: Super Smash Bros

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

It’s one of the marquee moments on any Nintendo platform, and for one platform, the game that will hopefully drive it out of its current lull. Super Smash Bros is almost upon us, and this time around, in two forms – for 3DS and for Wii U. With anticipation building ahead of its release at the end of the year, I got some time with both versions to see just how big a leap this is from Brawl.

SSB Wii ULet’s start with the Wii U version. The most obvious difference between this and Brawl are the graphical improvement afforded by HD. The game looks absolutely beautiful, and as shown in the daily screenshots, the range of small details on show in just a few minutes of gameplay is a sight to behold. With the addition of the GameCube adapter, this really does feel like the evolution of Brawl and Melee, and I slipped right back into the groove of playing it.

In terms of gameplay, Super Smash Bros for Wii U falls in between Brawl and Melee – it’s much faster than Brawl, and much punchier than Melee, leading to a weighted feel. Every impact feels like it has something behind it, and there’s a definite thud from the audio as KOs are made. This feels very much like the next step in Smash Bros. Read more…

Hands-On: Miyamoto’s Projects

September 5, 2014 Leave a comment

If there’s one name that is synonymous with creative ideas in the games industry, it’s Shigeru Miyamoto. It’s little wonder then that Nintendo are turning to him in a bid to save their ailing console, looking for fresh ideas with a focus on the GamePad. While E3 gave us a tantalising glimpse of a new Star Fox game, two playable ideas from the mind of Miyamoto were shown; Project Guard and Project Giant Robot.

While both of these are in a playable form, they clearly remain at a tech demo stage, and showcase ideas that could be implemented on the GamePad. As to whether they’ll ever see a retail release, it really is anyone’s guess. Nonetheless, I got a chance to play them, and a rare glimpse at the tech demo process within Nintendo.

Project Guard

Project Guard is Nintendo’s crack at the tower defence genre. Besieged by robots of varying design, your job is to man one of 12 defensive towers to defeat the oncoming horde. It’s a simple principle, but one that is greatly enhanced through use of the GamePad.

Project GuardWhile the TV shows video footage from all 12 cameras at once, with focus on a controllable one in the middle, selection of your currently armed camera is done entirely through the GamePad. The result is a split focus – do you focus on the overhead map on the GamePad to select targets, or do you attempt to utilise the displays of all 12 on the TV? It’s a delightful mix of tower defence and tactical thinking, and one that is enhanced with a group of friends helping you to analyse the TV screen.

The gameplay boils down to selecting a camera on the GamePad, bringing it up on the TV, and then taking manual control to defeat in-coming robots. There are a variety of robots to defeat, be it birds that steal the cameras or ball bots that need to be pushed away before they explode, leading to a high level of tactical planning, especially when placing cameras before the match starts. Read more…

Nintendo Download: August 28th, 2014

August 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Splinter Cell Blacklist

The eShop for both Wii U and 3DS see a number of good releases this week led by the unusual team up of Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton. Inti Creates launches their not-Mega Man platformer, Azure Striker Gunvolt, and the Wii U gets to take digging to a whole new level (no, it’s not Minecraft).

Wii U:

Steamworld Dig
The Fall

Wii U Virtual Console: 

Mega Man X3

3DS:

Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney (Available 8/29)
Azure Striker Gunvolt (Purchase of this also gives you access to Mighty Gunvolt for free) (Available 8/29)
Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter

eShop Sales:

Select Capcom titles are 60% off until 8:59am PT Sept. 4th
Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo: $3.95 (50% off) until 8:59 a.m. PT on Sept. 24
Soccer Up : $1.99 (71% off) until 9 a.m. PT on Sept. 17
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist is being reduced in price to $19.99 permanently beginning Sept. 1st

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