Author Archives: Parko

Frenchy Bird Review

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Release Date: January 29, 2015 | Price: $1.99
Genre: Arcade | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: Carbon Fire Studio

Frenchy Bird is yet another Flappy Bird clone that has managed to find a home on the Nintendo eShop. However, in a surprising twist, this clone isn’t actually all that terrible. In fact, I happen to think the developer, Carbon Fire Studio, has done a fine job of capturing the spirit of the original Flappy Bird. However, it does away with the simple, colourful graphics of Flappy Bird and sticks to a more realistic “French” theme.

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PUZZLEBOX setup Review

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Release Date: December 25, 2014 | Price: $2.99
Genre: Puzzle/Casual | Platform: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Publisher and Developer: Bplus Games

Developed by Bplus Games, of Bit Boy!! Arcade fame, PUZZLEBOX setup utilizes the Nintendo 3DS hardware in a unique way. Defined as an “upside-down puzzle in a bottle,” PUZZLEBOX setup gets 3DS players to flip their hardware upside-down to complete images by dropping blocks from the touchscreen to the 3D screen.

puzzlebox-setup-ss1PUZZLEBOX setup offers players two ways to play. First, there’s what many may consider the game’s main mode, classic mode. In classic mode, the main objective is to drop blocks in the correct order to complete images as the screen continuously scrolls to the right. The gameplay is simple to learn and works quite well with the game’s unique setup. There are also two difficulties – or speeds as the game implies – to overcome: slow and fast. Slow doesn’t generally offer much of a challenge, unless you count the times where certain coloured blocks are only a shade away from one another, making it difficult to tell which one the game wants you to place. However, if it’s a challenge that you want, you will certainly find it by choosing to complete the puzzles using the fast speed option.

The game is described as being a puzzle game, but I have to disagree. Essentially, your only objective is to fill in the blocks by tapping the corresponding colour on the touchscreen. There is nothing puzzling, or strategic about the moves you have to make, so I’d classify this as an action game.

 

puzzlebox-setup-ss2The second game mode that you will find in PUZZLEBOX setup is copycat mode. This mode gives you a static image to complete, which makes the game much easier, or more casual than the game’s initial mode. However, one thing that I prefer about copycat mode is that you can see the full image you’re trying to complete, such as a cool Christmas setting, whereas in classic mode, the images sometimes don’t look like anything in particular. Again, there is nothing puzzling about this type of gameplay, and in fact, this mode offers less action than classic mode, though it’s just as enjoyable in its own way.

As for the game’s presentation, PUZZLEBOX setup uses simple colours and shapes to create an easy-to-use, attractive interface. In-game graphics can be compared to pixel-like images and are also quite easy on the eyes. However, perhaps the games biggest downfall is its music. I found it to be quite grating on the ears at times, however, there were a few moments when I found myself enjoying a couple of the game’s music tracks.

Final Thoughts:

For those looking for a unique experience on their Nintendo 3DS, PUZZLEBOX setup delivers with plenty of puzzles – I use the term lightly – and two different ways to play. Also, it’s an inexpensive option at $2.99 for those that want to get more value for their buck. PUZZLEBOX setup does suffer from being monotonous in the gameplay department, and sometimes not even feeling like a proper puzzle game. Also, I wasn’t a big fan of the game’s soundtrack. That being said, if you want to turn your 3DS upside-down and enjoy some casual fill-in-the-blocks type puzzles, PUZZLEBOX setup is the game for you.

7/10 – Good
Review copy provided by Bplus Games

TOSS N GO Review

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RCMADIAX has carved out a nice little spot on the Wii U eShop and 2014 ended with the release of TOSS N GO. The third in their tabletop series of games, TOSS N GO is a simple dice tossing game that challenges you to reach a score of 100 points before your opponent.

TOSS N GO gives you the option to battle the computer, or to play against a friend. If you choose to go the two-player route, you must hand the Wii U GamePad back and forth during play. So, once your opponent has been chosen, it’s time to start tossing dice. A toss of the dice will result in one of three possible outcomes: a green cross, a red x, or a yellow circle.

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There are ten dice that must be thrown at the beginning of each round, which will reduce by one as green crosses appear. You score one point for each green cross, and if you manage to collect ten green crosses, you will score ten points and a chance to throw the ten dice again. However, if your toss results in all red x symbols, you will lose your points and your turn. If at least one yellow circle appears, you will get a chance to toss the dice again, regardless of what else appears. You have the option to save your points in between tosses if you don’t feel like testing your luck, but in doing so, you pass the dice to the other player.

Essentially, that is all there is to the gameplay of TOSS N GO. It’s simple, but completely random with next to no strategy. Compared to the other two games in the RCMADIAX tabletop series (POKER DICE SOLITAIRE FUTURE and SHUT THE BOX), TOSS N GO is certainly the least exciting. Its style is probably best suited as an actual tabletop game and not a video game. In saying that, RCMADIAX does deliver decent graphics and audio, which bumps TOSS N GO into the average range.

Final Thoughts:

There really isn’t much to be said about TOSS N GO. It’s a game with appealing graphics and audio, but lacklustre gameplay. RCMADIAX should be applauded for their efforts on the Wii U using Construct 2 and Nintendo Web Framework, and you can easily see their work improving as they gain more experience. However, even at $0.99, it’s hard to recommend this game, unless this is the kind of game you enjoy, of course.

5/10 – Average

Review copy provided by RCMADIAX

Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion Review

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RCMADIAX first made waves on the Wii U eShop with its title, Blok Drop U. After a few tabletop games, and one inspired by the infamous Flappy Bird, they are back with perhaps their best title yet, Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion. Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion is a collaboration between RCMADIAX and Leuvsion, which combines the gameplay of Blok Drop U with the characters and art of Leuvsion’s upcoming Twisted Fusion.

Essentially, Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion is nearly identical to Blok Drop U in terms of gameplay. Much like Blok Drop U, players must touch boxes on the Wii U Gamepad to make them disappear, which is where physics take over and boxes drop all about the stage. Again, your main objective is to guide an object to safety and this time around, that object is Twisted Fusion’s Go Go. Of course, every box on the screen also needs to be destroyed, however, a new objective adds an extra bit of flavour to Blok Drop’s gameplay. Now, you need to ensure that every enemy on the screen is destroyed, as well. This can be done by dropping boxes on them, which is sometimes easier said than done.

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Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion is more difficult than Blok Drop U and that is evident in the game’s level design. The first half of the game is a breeze, while the latter stages may give you a bit of trouble, even if you are a master of Blok Drop U. There are times where your moves are obvious and you’ll have no trouble beating the level. However, there are also times where solving the stage seems impossible, but this is where you’ll need to start experimenting with every possible combination. The gameplay is largely trial and error, though, the physics are satisfying about 95% of the time, so it’s a fun and addictive concept. Also, there are a total of 50 stages in this game, which is quite a bit lengthier than Blok Drop U, so you’ll be spending more time with this game.

A criticism I had of Blok Drop U is there was only one track to listen to throughout the game. Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion remedies that with a new track for every set of stages in the game, which is a welcome addition to the formula. In fact, every set of stages has its own visual theme, which is taken directly from Twisted Fusion. There are grasslands, winter, and tower stages, as well as city and rooftops. This little drop of variety makes Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion a more polished venture from RCMADIAX.

Overall, the game is a really good effort, though it does have a few bugs. There is one big bug that has been plaguing some players and actually prevents them from unlocking the game’s last set of levels. There is one stage where even though you’ve cleared all objectives, the game just doesn’t recognize it. A quick search through the game’s Miiverse forum and you will find a cheat code to open every level, as well as a promise of a future patch. Offering this code is a good move by the developer, and I’m also confident a patch will come soon just based on the fantastic patch that came to Blok Drop U. Personally, I experienced a few bugs, though neither broke the experience for me. One happened when a box slid just about off the stage and I was unable to destroy it, even though I could still see it. The other happened when I tapped a box and the stage reset itself, which I could not replicate a second time, though I thought I’d mention it here.

Final Thoughts:

If you like Blok Drop U then you will undoubtedly enjoy Blok Drop X Twisted Fusion, as well. The game offers quite a bit of content for $1.99 and is easily an improvement over Blok Drop U in nearly every aspect. Aside from a few bugs, the game is well-developed and currently stands as the best game from RCMADIAX as of now. Also, the game was developed using Construct 2 and Nintendo Web Framework, and should serve as inspiration of what can be done with those development environments.

8/10 – Great

Review copy provided by RCMADIAX

Ranking the Super Mario Series (On Consoles)

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The greatest video game mascot has starred in the greatest series of video games in the history of gaming. That’s obviously a bold statement, but an easy statement for me to make considering the hours of fun I found while playing Super Mario games. I’ll admit up front that this list comes with a heavy bias – as if it wasn’t already obvious – but that’s part of what makes these opinionated lists fun to create. You’re likely going to disagree with me on my rankings, but keep in mind that being at the bottom of the list doesn’t mean the game is utter crap. That is even more true when dealing with this particular series. So, without further delay, here is Ranking the Super Mario Series (On Consoles).

12. Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levelssuper-mario-bros-2-japan

My least favourite game in the Super Mario series is the Japanese version of Super Mario Bros. 2. Dubbed Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels in North America, this game is without a doubt the hardest Super Mario Bros. game. However, I’m not basing this list on difficulty. No, this game lands in the last spot for one major reason: it does very little to differentiate itself from Super Mario Bros. It uses the majority of assets from its predecessor, making it look nearly identical to the first title, plus it does little to push the series in terms of gameplay. This game really isn’t that bad, but there are much better games in the series.

11. Super Mario Sunshine

I’ve tried to like this game, but me and Super Mario Sunshine just don’t click. I commend Nintendo for trying something radically different, but the gameplay here just isn’t as compelling as Super Mario 64 or the Super Mario Galaxy games. While there’s no arguing that the F.L.U.D.D. mechanic is interesting, the game really shines during the pure platforming sections without F.L.U.D.D. Also, to its detriment, the beach theme being used consistently makes the game feel much too familiar. On the plus side, this was the first 3D Super Mario game to feature a playable Yoshi.

10. Super Mario Bros. 2supermariobros2_boxart

Our version of Super Mario Bros. 2 is the odd one of the bunch. Everyone is more than familiar with this game’s origin story – if not you can read it in my review of the game – so I’m not about to tell it for the millionth time. Regardless of how different this game is from the rest of the series, Super Mario Bros. 2 is a solid game for many reasons. The game allows you to play as characters other than Mario. Luigi, Princess Peach – known as Princess Toadstool to us retro folk – and Toad are all playable next to the king of platformers himself. Each character has defining attributes, which slightly changes up the gameplay. However, the core gameplay itself is different. No longer could you stomp enemies to defeat them, instead, you had to pluck up vegetables – or even the enemies themselves – and toss them at your foes. This mechanic also changes your approach to each of the game’s bosses.

9. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

Not the first game to be given the “New” treatment – that game will pop up on handheld version of this list – and it wouldn’t be the last. However, of the console versions, this one is undoubtedly the weakest. With that being said, this game is a lot of fun to play. It introduced four-player co-op to the series, awesome new power-ups, and maps similar to those found in Super Mario Bros. 3. Oh yeah, this game also brought back fan favourites, the Koopa Kids. The level design is decent and the gameplay is most definitely tight, but it lacks the charm that made previous games so memorable. At the time, this game was truly a dream come true for longtime Super Mario Bros. Fans, though it is still topped by many games in the series.

8. New Super Mario Bros. Unewsupermariobrosu_boxart

When the Wii U was announced, fans anticipated the debut of a HD Super Mario game, though, this wasn’t the title they had in mind. Regardless, seeing Super Mario Bros. in HD for the first time was a treat for the eyes, and of course, the gameplay is just as good as it’s ever been. However, bringing this game down is its connection to the New Super Mario Bros. series. This game does little to evolve the that series of games – including a lot of recycled music – and its overall presentation is nearly identical. The new challenge mode and Miiverse features are nice additions, but the game just didn’t wow gamers like it needed to wow them.

7. Super Mario Bros.

The game where our fascination with Goomba stomping began. Super Mario Bros. is arguably the most important video game of all time. Without Super Mario Bros., I wouldn’t be writing these words right now. This is the first video game I ever played, and I became enamoured almost instantly. While the game is still a lot of fun to play, it is the most basic game in the series, though, who can honestly forget discovering its many secrets, or defeating the first of many Bowser imposters. However, the best Super Mario game is in another castle.

6. Super Mario Worldsupermarioworld_boxart

Another ranking that I’m sure will ruffle some Cape Feathers, Super Mario World lands at number six. It took elements of Super Mario Bros. 3 and refined them to create a more connected world. Instead of the Mushroom Kingdom, players travel through Dinosaur Land to face off against Bowser one more time. Super Mario World was the first game to display a giant connected map – or world if you prefer – and of course, the first game to feature everyone’s favourite green dinosaur, Yoshi. While these are some of the best additions in the series, the lack of power-ups and less interesting level design – when compared to the superior Super Mario Bros. 3 – aren’t enough to land Super Mario World in a top five spot.

5. Super Mario 3D Worldsuper-mario-3d-world-box-art

The better of the two Super Mario games that end with the word world, Super Mario 3D World is absolutely fantastic. I was thrilled with Super Mario 3D Land, so I was excited about Super Mario 3D World right from the first trailer. I love how Nintendo has combined the retro gameplay of sidescrolling Super Mario games with the styling of a 3D Super Mario game. There are some awesome new power-ups in this game – specifically the Cat Suit – and some of the most interesting levels in the franchise’s history. Plus, the final battle with Bowser is arguably the greatest boss battle in the series. This game must also be commended for introducing four-player co-op to a 3D Super Mario, Miiverse stamps, and a challenging end game.

4. Super Mario 64supermario64_boxart

The innovator of 3D platforming, Super Mario 64 is just as important as Super Mario Bros., and perhaps even more important to modern gaming. It revolutionized the way we play 3D games by showcasing a new way to structure 3D gameplay. Plus, Super Mario 64 gave us control of the game’s camera, an element that made 3D games of the time unforgiving. However, this game’s most memorable trait is its non-linear gameplay with a heavy focus on star collecting. Collecting stars would unlock more levels, which could then be tackled in any order the player saw fit.

3/2. Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2

super-mario-galaxyOK, I’m cheating a bit with this entry, though the games are so similar it’s hard not to think of one as the expansion pack. Mario’s first adventure through space in Super Mario Galaxy allowed Nintendo to flex their creative muscles. One moment you could be flying from planet to planet, the next you might be swimming in a gorgeous spherical body of water that truly defies the laws of gravity. Super Mario Galaxy 2 refined the gameplay introduced in the first game, but adds new power-ups, Yoshi – always a fan pleaser – and even more creative galaxy-style gameplay. I’ll give the edge to Super Mario Galaxy because it came first, though Super Mario Galaxy 2 is worth having in your collection.

1. Super Mario Bros. 3supermariobros3_boxart

I don’t think this will come as a surprise to anyone that has been paying attention to MiniFortress.com. In fact, this website’s title is inspired by the game. Super Mario Bros. 3 blew me away when I was a kid. Super Mario Bros. 3 gradually gets more difficult as you advance, has some of the best and most iconic power-ups in the series, and marked the debut of world maps. Super Mario Bros. 3 is most memorable for its Super Leaf power-up, which gave Mario the ability to fly through the sky. This amazing power-up changed the way Nintendo designed levels for a Super Mario game. Aside from the obvious sky-filled levels of Super Mario Bros. 3, the other levels demonstrate perhaps the best level design in gaming. Essentially, Nintendo took the basic gameplay of Super Mario Bros., turned it up to level 9, and out popped Super Mario Bros. 3.

How Should Video Games Be Reviewed?

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A question that has plagued both reviewers and gamers since the dawn of video game reviews. Usually, at least in my experience, you’ll find two groups of people: those who want to do away with ratings to focus on the review’s written content, and those that insist ratings have become a standard in the industry. For my reviews, I like to use both the content and rating to give the best overall impression of a video game. However, I still believe that ratings are important because they have become an industry standard. It gives readers a quick impression of how good (or bad) a video game may be, though it tends to create a bigger problem.

Unfortunately, giving any video game a rating seems to encourage readers to skip over the written content to find the game’s overall rating. A video game rating without any context is actually quite useless. I may give a game a “9/10,” but there’s a chance the reader will dislike the game, regardless of my score. That is where the written content should come in handy, however, if it’s being skipped, then the written content means nothing.

Another issue that I see often occurs when two games receive the same score. Does that mean both games are equal in experience? No, absolutely not. But, I have seen – and imagine I will continue to see – arguments that start because of this scenario. “This game is clearly better than that game, so why should it receive the same score?” While not verbatim, that is something I often see pop up around the fantastical world of the Internet. A good example of this could be when I give a Wii U eShop game a 9/10 and a Wii U game a 9/10. In no way do I consider the Wii U eShop game to be of a similar quality of the Wii U retail release. I tend to group the games into two separate camps and score them based on the content relative to other games released in their individual categories.

These thoughts were stirred up by an article I read over at Game Crusaders. Erik dives into the subject deeper than I do, so I thought I’d share the article that inspired this small piece. So, click here to read “Let’s talk video game reviews”.

Disclosure: Game Crusaders is in my links list, and Mini Fortress in their list, however this piece was written of my own accord.

Nintendo Digest: The Nintendo Direct Where Majora’s Mask 3D Was Announced

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Finally, I have come back to Mini Fortress. It’s been a long two weeks and I haven’t had much time for anything. However, I am finding the time today to write about the latest Nintendo Direct event. I’ll be skipping some of the smaller details, so make sure you catch the full Nintendo Direct video for everything.

Click the link to head directly to the story you want more information about!

 


The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D Announced for Nintendo 3DS

It’s been rumored for quite some time, and many hints were dropped by Nintendo – I’m looking at you, mask cleverly placed in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds – but is now a reality. In the vein of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D will come to the Nintendo 3DS (and Nintendo 2DS) with a visual makeover.

Not a whole lot is known about the game, though we can tell that the game will receive the same treatment as Ocarina of Time 3D. Looks like the game will share some assets with its predecessor – not unlike the original release in 2000 – and support the handheld’s stereoscopic 3D effect.

Zelda fans have been waiting for this and won’t have to wait too much longer as the game is scheduled for a Spring 2015 release.


Release Date for the first Mario Kart 8 DLC Pack

Patiently waiting to play Super Smash Bros. for Wii U? Well, your copy of Mario Kart 8 is ready to provide you with more content starting November 13, 2014.

Finally, the first Mario Kart 8 DLC pack that was announced some months ago will grace the Wii U. With it comes eight new tracks inspired by the worlds of F-Zero, Excitebike, and The Legend of Zelda. Also, three new characters (Link, Tanooki Mario, and Cat Peach), as well as new vehicles (Blue Falcoln, Master Cycle, etc.) will also be available. Most of this has been announced – or figured out by clever fans – though the release date is now official. For those of us that have this pre-ordered, you’ll be able to download the new content on November 13.

Those who haven’t purchased the new content yet can get all the pricing details here.


Amiibos Will Soon Take Over the World

More information regarding Nintendo’s upcoming Amiibos was announced. This time, that information shed some light on how they will work in Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors.

Hyrule Warrirors will let you scan any of your Amiibo figures to receive a random item in the game, though it’s their use in Mario Kart 8 that gets me excited about the future of Amiibo figures.

In Mario Kart 8, select Amiibo figures can be scanned to receive an in-game suit that can be worn by your Mii. These suits will represent the character that is scanned, which ultimately adds brand new content to the game. This is how I want Amiibo figures to work as I find it’s the more exciting option. Also, I feel this is the best way to encourage gamers to keep buying new figures.

The gaming world is set to be taken over by Amiibos, which starts on November 21.


Splatoon’s Single Player Mode Revealed

One of my personal favourite reveals today was the single player mode for Splatoon. We already knew the game will feature a heavy focus on online multiplayer, though in true Nintendo style, there seems to be a meaty single player campaign, as well.

The characters of Splatoon will battle an army of octopus enemies in what looks like a varied single player mode. Lots of new elements were introduced – including what looks like a 2D sidescrolling level – some of which seem to draw inspiration from the Super Mario Galaxy games.

I’ve always thought the game looked fantastic, but it’s this intriguing single player mode that gets my ink pumping.


Nintendo, Please Release Xenoblade Chronicles X in 2015

Last, but not least, I’d like to close on Xenoblade Chronicles X. Again, not many details were revealed – apart from a bigger game world than Xenoblade Chronicles and a navigation system for the Wii U GamePad – but I’m beginning to doubt this game’s release target of 2015.

The game is obviously shaping up to be a massive experience for Wii U owners, though I’m afraid the title won’t make it to North America or Europe in 2015. As one of the most anticipated Wii U titles, not releasing in 2015 would put a numbing feeling on the release schedule, especially when it’s clear that Nintendo needs as many games as possible to help push Wii U sales. What am I basing my fear on? Simple: localization.

I fear, even though Nintendo is seemingly making steady progress on the game, it won’t be localized in time to fulfill its targeted 2015 release date. The Wii U needs this game, Nintendo, so please, please do whatever it takes to get this out in all regions during 2015.

The Legend of Dark Witch Review

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Release Date: October 16, 2014 | Price: $3.99
Genre: Action/Platformer | Platform: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Publisher: Circle Entertainment Developer: Inside System/Flyhigh Works Games

I really enjoyed the last game Circle Entertainment published – Demon King Box for the curious – so I jumped at the chance to review their latest. That game is The Legend of Dark Witch, a game I discovered just last week. The Legend of Dark Witch is a 2d sidescroller that mixes elements from Mega Man with elements from Gradius. Lots of developers choose to emulate the Mega Man style, but not a lot then mix that with the power-up system of Gradius.

the-legend-of-dark-witch-ss1The Legend of Dark Witch is a story about a witch named Zizou Olympia and her quest to recover the stolen Syega crystals. Syega crystals are a mysterious source of power that to unlock their full potential. Zizou, a god responsible for restoring magic, appears and begins to fight through the country to question its residents on whom has stolen all the Syega. As you play through the game, you’ll uncover more bits of the story, though after the short opening cut scene, you can get right to the action.

There are three difficulty modes to choose between: easy, normal, and lunatic. My initial reaction was to play through the normal mode, though I soon discovered that to be a more difficult task than I expected. The Legend of Dark Witch isn’t too difficult during the game’s levels, though its boss fights are extremely difficult. So, to get used to the game, I decided to first play it on the easy difficulty mode. This made The Legend of Dark Witch a much less frustrating experience, and in fact, it became one of the more enjoyable experiences of 2014. Though, the game is definitely worthy of a second play on a higher difficulty, should you want to overcome its difficult nature.

Like Mega Man, you get to choose the level you want to tackle. At the end of each level, a boss waits while you fight through a variety of enemies and platforming challenges. Beating that boss will net you a new power-up, which can then be used at any time by Zizou. This would make the game nearly identical to Mega Man, but its Gradius influence is large enough to make it a different experience.

The Gradius influence is felt in the game’s install system. As you defeat enemies, TRES will be dropped and can be used to power-up Zizou. Like Gradius, when a certain amount is collected, you can activate a power-up, or collect more to activate a different power-up. You’ll be upgrading Zizou’s speed, attack, type of attack, etc., when using this install system. Installations can be set to automatic, semi-automatic, or manual, which is the closest to Gradius. You will lose TRES – the amount depends on the difficulty – if you get hit by the enemy, so being cautious becomes a necessary element of the game. After beating a level, you will retain some TRES which can then be used to buy permanent power-ups in the game’s shop. These include powering up your weapons and increasing Zizou’s health.

the-legend-of-dark-witch-ss2Zizou uses a projectile attack called the liner shot that can be power-up multiple times. Also, you can just hold down the button to attack, which is a nice touch. Despite being able to use boss weapons, the basic attack is all you really need to beat the game. In fact, the boss weapons are very disappointing with their only use being to defeat other bosses with less hassle.

The levels of The Legend of Dark Witch are linear, though the action is constant, which makes the game a lot of fun. What I particularly enjoyed about the game’s levels are their themes. You get cliche platforming themes like forest and beach, though there are unique ones like Twilight Prison and Chelsea School Dormitory.

The graphics of The Legend of Dark Witch are gorgeous. While there is no stereoscopic 3d – which seems to be the norm with a Circle Entertainment game – the game’s 2D sprites and animation are fantastic. Rounding The Legend of Dark Witch out is a fantastic soundtrack that is full of the energy needed to power through this game.

Final Thoughts:

The Legend of Dark Witch is a fantastic action sidescroller that combines reliable elements from other video games. In particular, borrowing the power-up system from Gradius makes The Legend of Dark Witch an intriguing title that fans of sidescrollers will want to see for themselves. While the game can be frustrating on the game’s normal mode, the power-up system will help you battle through the struggle. The game will take a little over an hour to complete during your first time through, though an unlockable character – with a different set of power-ups – and a ton of additional content give the game a lot of replay value.

8.5/10 – Great

Review copy provided by Circle Entertainment

Turtle Tale Wii U Review

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Release Date: October 9, 2014 | Price: $2.99
Genre: Platformer | Platform: Wii U eShop
Developer and Publisher: Saturnine Games

Shelldon is back to fight Captain O’Haire and his gang of Monkey Pirates in the Wii U version of Turtle Tale. I previously reviewed the Nintendo 3DS version of Turtle Tale, so initially I was going to skip over the Wii U version. However, I thought it would be neat to take a look back at the game to see what has changed for the big screen. So, have changes made Turtle Tale on the Wii U worthy of a double dip?

No. If you have already purchased the Nintendo 3DS version, there is really no reason to buy it again on the Wii U. Well, unless you really want to play it on a much bigger screen. Essentially, Turtle Tale on Wii U is identical to the Nintendo 3DS version. For those that haven’t played, here is a quick rundown of the gameplay. You control Shelldon on his journey to take down the invading Monkey Pirates. The game is a 2D, sidescrolling platformer with action elements. Shelldon uses his trusty water gun, which is still a lot of fun to use, to take down enemies. Turtle Tale is a conglomeration of classic platforming elements, and is generally a good game.

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As for what remains the same: levels, gameplay, music, sound effects, graphics, enemies, and end game bonus. So, in a nutshell, everything is the same. At this point, you must be wondering if there were any changes in the Wii U version, and there are, but they are small and almost insignificant. The most obvious change is that the graphics are in a higher resolution. This has made the backgrounds more noticeable, and really brings out their beauty. However, the characters haven’t received the same bump in beauty as they are still quite generic, however, I wouldn’t consider them to be bad. Other graphical changes include making crabs under the sand more noticeable with a darker outline. I can’t say I ran into the problem of being ambushed by them on the 3DS version, though if it helps somebody, it’s a valid change. The other big change is that Shelldon now has more invincibility after being hit. Again, I never had a problem with this in the 3DS version, but I’m sure it makes the game easier for some.

There are no added levels in Turtle Tale, so you’ll be making the trek through the same 15 levels across five worlds again. Though, Turtle Tale does offer a much harder second quest after you beat each level after collecting all 1,500 pieces of fruit, which was in the 3DS game, though it should now be easier to complete thanks to added invincibility.

Final Thoughts:

There’s not much to be said about Turtle Tale that hasn’t already been said. It is a decent platformer and would be a great way to game the afternoon away, that is, if you haven’t already played it on the Nintendo 3DS. It won’t be much of a challenge for gaming’s elite, though I can certainly see children falling in love with the game. At $2.99, it gives you about two hours of gameplay, including the second quest, and more if you choose to replay a second time. If you’d like to experience the game’s changes, you should be able to download an update for the Nintendo 3DS version now that will synch it up to the Wii U version.

7/10 – Good
Review copy provided by Saturnine Games

Bayonetta 2 TV Commercial

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Ice Cream Surfer Review

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Release Date: September 4, 2014 | Price: $5.00
Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up/Arcade | Platform: Wii U eShop
Developer and Publisher: Dolores Entertainment S.L.

Quirky shoot ‘em up games ran wild on the Famicom back in the eighties. However, shoot ‘em up titles with that same Famicom quirkiness haven’t been quite as plentiful in the modern era. Don’t fret, though, because Dolores Entertainment has brought back the quirkiness with a game known as Ice Cream Surfer.

Ice Cream Surfer is a 2d, side-scrolling, shoot ‘em up game that delivers the quirky ways of old. The game starts with a short cut-scene that shows an evil vegetable army – led by a devious looking Broccoli – that is determined to ruin the fun for those with a sweet tooth. If you’re looking for quirky, that scene should tell you a lot about the tone of the entire game.

Before you begin, you get to choose between five characters, each with their own unique abilities. Some characters are long range fighters, while others are more comfortable with an up close and personal style. Each character having their own abilities definitely adds some variety to this title, which is certainly needed as Ice Cream Surfer can be compared to eating a Popsicle.

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There are six levels in Ice Cream Surfer, all of which take only a few minutes to beat. It took me about 40 minutes to complete the game, which could have been shorter had I not incurred as many deaths. Regardless, those six levels rewarded me with a good experience. There are a variety of enemies to fight, some with unique attack patterns, that kept Ice Cream Surfer feeling fresh until the end. Aside from your regular attack, you can perform special moves that are helpful for getting yourself out of an overwhelming situation. Perhaps the biggest draw of the game is being able to power-up your abilities by collecting Popsicles, and adding points to your score by collecting gems. All in all, the levels themselves are pretty easy to clear, especially if you’re using a long ranged fighter, however, some of the bosses might take a few tries to beat.

While the game is short, I still very much enjoyed playing through the game, however, that doesn’t mean Ice Cream Surfer is devoid of flaws. My biggest issue with the game are the “phantom deaths” that occur during gameplay. I say phantom deaths because I’m left wondering exactly how it is I died. I figured out early that I can’t touch the game’s item boxes – these must be shot open for their reward – though I quickly discovered that I was accidentally running into enemy shots. At times, there is so much going on that it is easy to miss an enemy attack, which you will likely end up touching without realizing it. However, there were still other times where the term phantom death could certainly apply. The other flaw that I almost never even noticed occurs when playing with just the Wii U GamePad. Some of the game’s sound effects and music aren’t played through the controller’s speakers, which you would only notice if you tried out the game’s Off-TV mode.

Flaws aside, I can’t help but say how much I adored the game’s graphics. These are some of the most colorful pixel graphics I have ever seen. The game’s art lends to the quirky theme of the game, which is evident when you fight a giant baby seal that tries to kill you with his love. There are plenty more images like that throughout the game, plus you get to see polar bears riding on ice cream, which is quite delightful. The game’s soundtrack is just as enjoyable as the graphics. In particular, I like how the game sounds like an old arcade game. There’s something about that specific sound that sends nostalgic shivers down my spine.

Final Thoughts:

Ice Cream Surfer is a short, but good experience, for the most part. Aside from a few flaws, it’s easy to recommend Ice Cream Surfer if you’re a fan of quirky shoot ‘em ups. It’s $5.00 price point makes it affordable, especially if you plan to play through the game with each character. However, those not convinced might want to wait for a sale before committing to a purchase.

7/10 – Good

Review copy provided by Dolores Entertainment

The Legend of Dark Witch Coming to the Nintendo 3DS eShop on Thursday

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The Legend of Dark Witch is a 2d, action, platformer where you play as a dark witch named Zizou. The Legend of Dark Witch has similarities to Mega Man in that you can steal and use boss powers after defeating them. The ability to steal boss powers will undoubtedly be useful in your journey to collect the missing Syega Crystals. Also, you will be able to collect “Tres” that can be used to upgrade your abilities. In fact, it seems that this power-up system has been influenced by the classic shooter, Gradius.

The game promises to offer diverse, challenging levels, three difficulty modes, and additional bonuses for those that replay the game.

The Legend of Dark Witch will be released in North America on Thursday, October 16 for $3.99.

New Club Nintendo Reward – Featured Game Rewards for October 2014

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October 2014 brings us new featured game rewards over at Club Nintendo. Despite being October, Nintendo isn’t offering many horror-themed titles, though there are a few here that may be worthy of your coins.

My recommendations for this month are Kirby’s Dream Course and Donkey Kong.

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