Category Archives: Featured Content

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.

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

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

Spikey Walls Review

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Release Date: September 18, 2014 | Price: $0.99
Genre: Arcade | Platform: Wii U eShop
Developer and Publisher: RCMADIAX

Spikey Walls was announced just a month ago and its release is already upon us. RCMADIAX set out to deliver Wii U owners a Flappy Bird clone, and a Flappy Bird clone is exactly what we get. While Spikey Walls is devoid of any real creativity, it does one thing that improves upon Flappy Bird’s gameplay.

Spikey Walls is an arcade-like experience that focuses entirely on the gameplay, so don’t expect to find a narrative here. At its core, Spikey Walls plays exactly like Flappy Bird. You control the flight of a fly as spiked walls of various sizes continuously scroll to the left, and your objective is to safely fly between gaps in those walls. Each gap you clear will add 1 point to your score total, which makes achieving the highest possible score the ultimate objective. Where Spikey Walls excels is in its control scheme. Using the A button to keep flying is not only simple, it’s precise. Precision is what made Flappy Bird an aggravating experience, whereas the precision of a button makes Spikey Walls much easier.

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While Spikey Walls nails the gameplay, it doesn’t do anything to elevate it, or expand on the original premise. New gameplay modes or mechanics could have made this a deeper game. However, the reason games like this have any charm is in the challenge of beating high scores, which is something you’ll be able to share with the Miiverse at launch. Hate or love this simple style of gameplay, Spikey Walls does exactly what it sets out to do.

As for the rest of the package, Spikey Walls hits both good and bad points. For the most part, the game’s graphics are passable, though I prefer the colorful world of Flappy Bird. That being said, I especially find the fly’s design to be quite charming, and I like the game’s user interface. The static grey brick background when combined with the scrolling walls creates a distracting effect. Ditching the busy background for something more subtle could make Spikey Walls a better experience. As for the audio, there are no sound effects in the game, making it feel unpolished. Lastly, the game is better played without sound as the music is quite grating on the ears.

Final Thoughts:

If you want a Flappy Bird experience on the Wii U you’ll find one in Spikey Walls. You could buy worse for $0.99, though Spikey Walls is the kind of game that gets played a handful of times. It could make for some interesting party games, and I’m sure some YouTubers will find pleasure in making videos of the game. Whatever way you spin it, Spikey Walls is a lacking experience that has better gameplay than Flappy Bird, but lacks the charm that made Flappy Bird a massive success.

4/10 – Below Average

Review copy provided by RCMADIAX

Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Demo Impressions

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While I wasn’t lucky enough to receive any Super Smash Bros. for 3DS Demo codes in my e-mail, I did manage to snag a code from a local game trading group. Naturally, I have been furiously playing the game all weekend, and now I’d like to share my impressions.

First off, Super Smash Bros. for 3DS feels absolutely fantastic. The controls don’t feel weird to me at all, though it did take a game or two to get used to them. The game is faster and less floaty than Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but a little slower than the fast-paced Super Smash Bros. Melee. I once preferred Brawl’s slower gameplay over Melee, mainly because I felt like I had more control over the characters. However, after a recent stint with Brawl, the game felt way too slow for my tastes. Luckily, this new game speeds things up and just feels fantastic overall.

As for the characters, I’ve been spending most of my time with Link, Villager, and Mega Man. I very much disliked Link in Brawl, but wow, is he a lot of fun to control this time around. I found it very easy to transition between all of his moves, and felt that the Bow, Bomb, and Boomerang special attacks were more effective. All of his smash attacks are effective, though some of his moves leave him vulnerable for a tad too long. Regardless, I can see Link being my number one favourite after the full version is released.

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My second favourite character – so far – has to be Villager. Villager could actually be this game’s Meta Knight as he/she is way overpowered, though that’s why I found him/her fun to use. He/She has great launching moves with the forward smash bowling ball and the excellent tree planting down special, plus his/her up special recovery is absolutely broken. I love it. His/Her other special moves are also fantastic and have a variety of uses. His/Her neutral special can be used to grab projectiles of all kinds to be used later, likely resulting in some major damage. Lastly, his/her side special is quite versatile. You can launch a Gyroid rocket at your foes, or ride it for recovery, or just to get closer to your opponent. Villager is a varied fighter and a great addition to the roster.

I need to play with Mega Man a lot more before I can form a better opinion, though he is still a fun character to use. His standard attack throws me for a loop because I’m expecting him to throw punches, instead, he attacks with his Mega Buster. You can charge up his buster by using the side smash attack, which is quite satisfying when delivered. His Rush recovery is neat, but as most smash fans know by now, you can cancel out of a weak launch attack with it. His overall moveset is quite nice with almost every move being a reference to his past games, specifically the powers he gained from robot masters.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about either Mario or Pikachu. I barely played as either of them, though they both seem like they can be formidable opponents. Neither characters were ones that I gravitated toward in other Smash games, and I likely won’t use either of them much when I get the full version.

Nintendo has given us an awesome demo to play while we wait for the full version of Super Smash Bros. for 3DS to release on October 3, 2014. It gives us enough to hold us over, though it doesn’t come close to satisfying even the smallest thirsts for the new games. With only one stage – complete with its Final Destination option –  a handful of items, assist trophies, and Pokeballs, and five fighters, there’s plenty more to experience come October 3rd.

Tappingo 2 Review

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Sequels are to be expected in the world of video games, well, it’s to be expected for anything that is successful. So, shortly after Tappingo (a well-received puzzle game developed by Goodbye Galaxy Games) was released, a sequel was announced. Tappingo 2 promised to fix the issues found in the first game, and of course, more puzzle gaming for 3DS owners. With that being said, is Tappingo 2 worth a look? Absolutely.

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Tappingo 2 has identical gameplay to the original, though there are some nice tweaks that enhance the gameplay in the sequel. Here’s a quick recap: the Tappingo games have the player extending lines from numbered blocks to create an image. Lines will overextend until they reach a dead end, so creating the image with the desired length is essential to solving each puzzle. Of course, some lines must be extended before the player can properly extend another line. Extending lines is easily done by tapping a block and sliding the stylus in the direction you want to extend. Players can also undo their actions by tapping the block the line originally extends from. The gameplay is extremely easy to learn, and most puzzles are fairly easy to solve, both of which make the game quite addictive. So, that’s the game in a nutshell, but there are still some important additions to talk about.

The main addition to Tappingo 2 is the zoom feature. The zoom feature is only enabled on the game’s larger puzzles and it makes solving those puzzles a more enjoyable experience. In the first game, players could accidentally extend lines they didn’t want to, which made larger puzzles a pain to solve. The zoom feature is such a simple addition, though it’s one that makes Tappingo 2 the better game. Another addition – or enhancement – is the sound effect that plays after extending a line. Not having that sort of feedback in the original made the game feel slightly off. It is a nice addition to Tappingo 2, and it can be turned off, though there’s still a certain delay that occurs when extending lines that feels odd. It’s actually an extreme nitpick, though I had trouble finding anything else to criticize about this game.

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As for the game’s presentation, Tappingo 2 certainly delivers. The user interface has received a nice bump in quality, and the game’s visuals in general are simply great. Tappingo had a calm, relaxing, yet catchy soundtrack, which Tappingo 2 also delivers. It’s hard to say if one soundtrack is better than the other because they are so similar in style. I’ll give the edge to Tappingo 2 because there are two tracks in particular – the urban and tropical sounding ones – that I love to listen to over and over.

Final Thoughts:

If you liked Tappingo, then Tappingo 2 is a must purchase. If you’ve never played the original, but you love puzzle games, Tappingo 2 is worthy of a look at its low price of $2.99. The game is packed with puzzles – 104 to be exact – and includes cameos from Two Tribes and Renegade Kid games. Puzzles can take anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes to complete, so there is plenty of playtime here for the price. The gameplay is excellent, the control is close to perfect, the soundtrack is stellar, and the visuals are stylish and pleasing. Tappingo 2 is a gem on the Nintendo 3DS eShop and a must purchase for puzzle game fans.

9.5/10 – Excellent

Review copy provided by Goodbye Galaxy Games

Swatter – Free Mutant Fly Swatting Game

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Description:

Swatter is an arcade-like homage to the Fly Swatter game from Mario Paint. Use your trusty Super Swatter to swat mutant insects as they invade your home.

Instructions:

Use your mouse to control a super swatter to defeat mutant insects. Left click to attack those pesky mutants! Press Enter (or P) to pause

Tips:

  • Increasing or decreasing your mouse’s sensitivity can make Swatter easier, and more enjoyable to play.
  • Swatter works best in the latest version of Chrome.

Other info:

Music by Ozzed and is licensed for commercial use under Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Send bug reports, feedback, etc. to fortressgames(at)minifortress.com.

Swat Mutant Insects Today in Swatter

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Just last week I was finishing up my first ever complete video game. Now, that video game has gone live thanks to the clay.io service. On Friday, I uploaded Version 1.0.0 of Swatter, a “fly swatting” game that is most definitely inspired by Mario Paint’s Fly Swatter. The game was never officially published until Saturday evening, due to a bug on clay.io’s end, but it is now ready to be played.

Before starting development on Swatter, I was working on another game – I will reveal this game down the road – and thought it would be an interesting project to see through to the end. I can say that I am extremely happy with how Swatter turned out, especially as a first project. Is there room for improvement? Of course, I’d be ignorant to say no. Things I have in mind if I ever had a chance to remake the game include: HD, hand-drawn graphics, improved AI, more mutant insects, multiplayer, etc. Speaking of improvements, I had to face some bugs just yesterday, meaning my first improvements to the game came within two days of publishing.

One bug completely broke the game after exiting Survival mode, and the others required specific actions to be completed. One in particular let you win the game and gain an achievement just for pausing and exiting during the final boss battle. Obviously these were bugs that ruined the experience and had to be addressed immediately. There are some other changes and additions, so how about some release notes for Version 1.1.1?

Release Notes for Swatter V1.1.1

Bug Fixes

    • Fixed bug that deactivated the player’s ability to swat enemies after exiting Survival and opening the arcade mode.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the player’s health to not deplete when damaged after exiting Survival mode and opening arcade mode.
    • Fixed a bug that caused the game to play events that occur after destroying a boss.

Changes

    • Players now can’t access the pause menu after the Super Swatter is destroyed.

Additions

    • Added View Leaderboards/Achievements to the Title Screen.

I really have nothing else to say at the moment, though if you want to ask me questions, please leave a comment below and I can address it in a future blog post. For now:

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Demon King Box Review

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Release Date: August 21, 2014 | Price: $3.99 | Rating: M
Genre: RTS/RPG | Platform: 3DS eShop
Publisher: Circle Entertainment | Developer: Lanon

Circle Entertainment is no stranger to Nintendo’s digital stores as they’ve published quite a few DSi games over the years. Now, Circle Entertainment is focused on bringing digital games to the Nintendo eShop. Their latest offering on the Nintendo eShop is Demon King Box, developed by Lanon, a visually stunning, real-time strategy game with RPG elements.

demon-king-boxDemon King Box tells the story of a demon pig named Poohdark and his quest to help the Demon Lord reclaim Demon World. Demon Lord, once the ruler of Demon World, was sealed in the Demon King Box by humans in a previous war. After many years, the seal on the box weakens and the Demon Lord escapes. Now, the Demon Lord calls upon Poohdark to help him lead an army of demons against the human warriors.

The story is told mostly through dialogue between the game’s many characters. This method is perfectly fine for a game like this, though it sometimes falls apart because of the game’s translation and overall broken English. The story, while never really too complicated, can be hard to follow at times because of the above issues. In fact, the story is the only downfall of Demon King Box as the game delivers on all other fronts.

Demon King Box puts the player in control of an army of demons, each with their own abilities and stats. Each level takes place on a battlefield that is separated into five different lanes. It is your responsibility to summon demons to one of the five lanes to defend your demon hero, and fight an army on the opposite side. Summoning demons is done simply by touching their icon on the touchscreen, then dragging them to the desired lane. Smaller demons can only occupy the main three lanes, while the two lanes in between those three are for summoning the larger demons.

Summoning demons will use up spirit, which gradually regenerates as you battle. Each demon takes up a specific amount of spirit, so choosing wisely at the beginning of each battle is a must. After summoning a demon, they will go through a cool down period before they can be summoned again. Overall, this system is extremely easy to learn and use, which makes Demon King Box a joy to play.

There are two different types of levels in Demon King Box: regular battles, and boss battles. The objective during regular battles is to defeat a set number of enemy demons while defending your demon hero. The demon hero you choose can be important as each one has different HP and abilities that can help you sway the battle in your favor. In boss battles, defending your demon hero is still important, though instead of defeating a set number of enemies, you must defeat the boss demon at the end of the lane.

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On the surface, Demon King Box seems repetitive, though there is enough content here to keep the experience fresh. After each battle, you will receive food that can be fed to your demons to level up their stats. Levelling up your demons will be necessary to overcome some of the more difficult levels, though testing different teams of demons will also be important. You’ll get new members for your team as you play the game, so mixing and matching becomes a big part of the experience.

Visually, Demon King Box is absolutely stunning. Its anime-like, hand-drawn graphics are a delight to look at. These visuals are stylish and colorful, giving the game an excellent sense of uniqueness amongst the countless pixel games. There is no stereoscopic 3D in Demon King Box, though its absence is certainly not missed. The game is rated M and there is some slight nudity, though the game never crosses the line and isn’t constantly shoving it in your face. In saying that, the game is certainly not for the younger audience. Before concluding this review, I want to add a small snippet about the game’s audio. The music and sound effects are both great and add to the game’s overall atmosphere. Maybe the music won’t be remembered like themes from Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda, though it serves its purpose well in Demon King Box.

Final Thoughts:

Demon King Box is a worthy purchase at $3.99, especially if you’re into line defense games with RTS and RPG elements. The main game will take anywhere between 6 and 7 hours to complete, with more hours put into leveling up your team, exploring post game content, or getting all the game’s achievements. Demon King Box is a surprise hit and an excellent addition to the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

9/10 – Excellent

Review copy provided by Circle Entertainment

I Present to You my First Video Game, Swatter

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I never would have dreamed in a million years that I would be typing those words. However, the hype is real: I’m about to publish my first video game. That video game is called Swatter.

Swatter is a HTML5 game developed with the Construct2 engine that pays homage to Mario Paint’s Fly Swatter game. While the concept isn’t exactly original, the gameplay is something I have adored since my first “coffee break.” However, there are a few things that set Swatter apart from Mario Paint’s Fly Swatter. The first would be that Swatter doesn’t feature real insects, instead, you will find cartoon-like, mutated versions of some common insects. The second thing would be that Swatter features a health system instead of a lives system. Finally, the game also features two game modes: Arcade and Survival.

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Arcade mode gives the player 30 levels of mutant fly swatting madness to overcome. The objective of each level is to swat all the mutant insects. The game gradually gets more difficult as you progress, which includes the introduction of new enemies and attack patterns. Also, there will be boss fights that give you a break from the game’s main form of gameplay. While you have three hit points, you are given an infinite amount of tries to beat the game. When you beat Arcade mode – or get sick of trying to beat it – you can head over to the game’s Survival mode.

In Survival mode, the objective is to… survive. You will be given one life and three hit points to last as long as you can against a swarm of mutant insects. This mode will feature the enemies found in Arcade mode, but no bosses. Also, this mode features the ability to post your score to our Clay.io leaderboard.

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Swatter has been in development since June 1, 2014, so for nearly two months. I designed the game, created all the graphics and animations, programmed the events, and created sound effects. The only thing I didn’t do was the music. The music is being provided by Ozzed.net, which, in my opinion, fits what I wanted for Swatter. I have been extensively testing the game myself over the past two months, though I did have two outsiders test the game and provide feedback.

Swatter will first appear on clay.io and be free to play, however, I am exploring other options. One of those is to publish the game here on MiniFortress.com, where it will also be free to play, and another is to offer a downloadable version for PC/Mac/Linux on itch.io for $1. Of course, any updates or additional content that are added to the game will be free, including the downloadable versions.

So, when can you get your hands on Swatter? Well, I’m aiming for an August 29, 2014 release date, which would be this Friday. The only things that would hold the release back are unforeseen problems with publishing the game on clay.io, and/or any game breaking bugs that I detect before then.

Soon Shine Review

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Release Date: August 14, 2014 | Price: $1.99
Genre: Action Arcade | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: Dahku Creations

Soon Shine is the second game from Dahku Creations to hit the Wii U eShop. Much like its brethren, Chubbins, Soon Shine opts for a simple concept that is easy to learn, but hard to master. In fact, Soon Shine can be best compared to classic action arcade games that gradually become more challenging as you play. While the game’s classic gameplay style might not appeal to everyone, there’s no denying that Soon Shine delivers fun and challenging gameplay.

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In Soon Shine, your task is to try to survive an attack from ravenous spirits for as long as you possibly can. To survive, you must use the sun and moon’s power to destroy the spirits before they can reach the sun/moon; however, don’t worry too much as spirits can be destroyed while they are sapping the sun/moon’s power. Spirits are destroyed by tapping them on the Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen, though certain spirits can only be destroyed by sunlight, while others must be destroyed by nightlight. To switch between the sun and moon, you must make a sliding movement across the touchscreen. This feels natural and is extremely important to master as you’ll be using it quite often.

As for the spirits themselves, they spawn in five main colors: red, green, purple, black, and white. Black spirits must be killed by sunlight and white spirits by moonlight. The catch for the other colors is that darker reds, greens, and purples only spawn during the day, and can only be destroyed during the sunlight. Of course, this means that lighter reds, greens, and purples will spawn during the moonlight. Also, spirits that spawn during sunlight will stop dead in their tracks once you summon the moon. The same can be said about those that spawn during the moonlight.

Destroying each spirit will add points to your total score, but to really garner a high-score, you must game the system to create massive combos. Creating combos is extremely simple and is done by destroying same color spirits in succession. However, as simple as creating a combo is, the challenge lies between being able to flip back and forth between the sun and moon to keep building it. This combo system is hectic and forces you to either sacrifice some of the sun/moon’s power, or chicken out and destroy incoming spirits. Soon Shine showcases a winning combo system, one that offers plenty of depth to those that are paying attention.

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There are three modes of gameplay in Soon Shine, all of which are nearly identical save for some slight differences. Standard is the standard mode of play, which happens to let you use items. Purist mode denies you the ability to use items, while Timed is basically a three minute version of Standard mode. Getting a high-score in all three modes is important for earning tokens. Earned tokens can be used to buy items, new backgrounds, and new music. Items can refill your health, destroy spirits, and more, all of which can come in handy during gameplay. Also, the ability to buy new backgrounds and music is a nice touch and will serve to push gamers to unlock everything.

Final Thoughts:

Soon Shine is an absolute delight to play. It offers easy to learn gameplay, flawless controls, a deep and rewarding combo system that is hard to master, as well as a charming and relaxing soundtrack. My only criticisms of the game are directed toward the graphics and lack of online leaderboards. As for the graphics, they are definitely a step above Chubbins, though there are a few jagged edges that I would have preferred not to see. Online leaderboards would increase this game’s value even more, though I guess an alternative would be to brag about your scores on the Miiverse. As an overall package, Soon Shine offers hours of challenging, score attack gameplay for just $1.99.

9/10 – Excellent
Review copy provided by Dahku Creations

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