Category Archives: Featured Content

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 have 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

Shut The Box Review

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Release Date: August 7, 2014 | Price: $0.99
Genre: Tabletop | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: RCMADIAX

Shut The Box is the second of three games in RCMADIAX’s “Tabletop Gallery” series to hit the Wii U eShop. While the first game in this series, Poker Dice Solitaire Future, brought forth fantastic visuals and decent gameplay, Shut The Box delivers the opposite: decent visuals and fantastic gameplay.

Shut The Box is an extremely simple game to learn – which I found out is based on a real tabletop game of the same name – and even more fun to play. The objective in Shut The Box is to eliminate as many tiles as you can from a total of 27 tiles, which is made up of three sets that are numbered 1 to 9. This is done by tossing some dice and eliminating as little as one tile that matches the numbers on the dice. For example, if you roll a 6 and a 2, you will be responsible for removing the 8 tile from the board. I mentioned that you need to choose as little as one tile, that’s because if, using the above example, the 8 tile has already been removed, you can choose as many tiles needed to make up the number 8.

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To my surprise, I found this concept to be quite appealing and actually have trouble quitting the game once I’ve started playing. This is partly due to the fact that a perfect score is 135, and the temptation to reach that score is extremely alluring; so far, I’ve only managed to score a 130. Much like Poker Dice Solitaire Future, your score and moves depends on luck, though the ability to add tiles together feels strategic and that’s something I love. One could argue that this element is also present in Poker Dice Solitaire Future, but I feel it is much better executed in Shut The Box.

Shut The Box is controlled entirely on the Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen. The touchscreen controls work as you’d expect, so there are no complaints here. However, I feel that the sense of style found in Poker Dice Solitaire Future has disappeared in Shut The Box. Objectively, the graphics aren’t even bad, though I can’t help but feel the game could have received an extra visual bump.

Final Thoughts:

Shut The Box surprised me with its addictive and fun gameplay, which coupled with its attractive $0.99 pricing makes it a must buy for fans of the genre. There’s honestly not much more to say other than I believe the game’s entrancing music kept me playing even longer than I expected. Actually, now that I think of it, having the option to change backgrounds, tiles, and music would give the game some much needed visual and aural variety.

7.5/10 – Good
Review copy provided by RCMADIAX

Mario Kart 8 Review

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It’s hard to believe that 22 years – give or take a few months – have passed since Super Mario Kart was released on the Super Nintendo. I’ll never forget how amazed I was the first time I used a lightning bolt to shrink my competitors. I’ll also never forget spending hours upon hours battling it out with my brother in the game’s spectacular Battle Mode. Fast forward to today and I’m plopped in front of my TV playing Mario Kart 8; however, I’m no longer enjoying the series’ Battle Mode.

Nintendo’s Wii U has taken quite a beating in the media since launch, partly due to its skimpy lineup of desirable software. Of course, the console is now garnering a healthy lineup of software, which includes the likes of Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, and yes, Mario Kart 8. Finally, those looking forward to the frantic gameplay of the Mario Kart series in HD can satisfy their desires.

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Mario Kart 8 has everything you love about the previous games while adding new twists to advance the series. Grand Prix – the game’s primary single player mode – returns with 8 cups comprised of 16 brand new tracks and 16 revamped retro tracks. Of course, you can also try your hand at beating the game’s speedy ghosts in Time Trials – doing so will win you some cool Miiverse stamps – and race your friends locally and online to determine the ultimate Mario Kart 8 champion. You can also play against your friends in the disappointing Battle Mode, which is made up of select tracks instead of traditional arenas, though you’ll likely focus most of your time racing against your pals. Paired with classic items, these modes are what fans have come to expect from a new Mario Kart game, though Nintendo has defied gravity once again to offer a brand new way to play.

The biggest additions to Mario Kart 8 are the new anti-gravity sections. Much like how the glider and propeller allowed you to fly in the air and drive underwater in Mario Kart 7, the new anti-gravity sections spiced up the design for the new tracks. Most notably, these sections allow you to drive on a variety of walls and ceilings, and lets you opponents for a brand new spin boost. These sections add even more excitement to the already successful kart racing formula. Even the retro tracks have added anti-gravity sections that completely change how you approach those tracks. My only complaint would be that it’s not used nearly enough as it should be, especially when you consider the possibilities in Battle Mode – a singular square arena connected by anti-gravity pads anyone?

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Of course, with each new Mario Kart game comes new items, and Mario Kart 8 certainly doesn’t disappoint. The most prominent new items are the Piranha Flower, Boomerang Flower, and the Super Horn. These items are fantastic additions to the series and give players new ways to approach each race. The Piranha Flower will hover in front of your kart waiting to take a chomp out of your opponents, giving you a speed boost with each chomp. Boomerang Flowers will give you a boomerang that can be used up to three times. Lastly, the Super Horn was added as a way to block the dreaded Blue Shell, though you can honk it to blast away your foes, as well.

While not a new addition, Mario Kart 8 lets you mix and match kart pieces just like in Mario Kart 7. You’ll gradually unlock new kart pieces by collecting coins during races. While most of your choices will be unlocked with coins, some special golden pieces are unlocked by achieving various in-game tasks. Kart pieces can drastically affect your kart’s stats, so it’s best to mix and match until you find a combination that you like to use.

Aside from single or multiplayer Grand Prix and Battle Mode, you can race against people from around the world in this game’s fantastic online mode. The online mode works similar to other Mario Kart games, though it’s most like Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 7. The big changes include a limited number of tracks to vote on between races and the ability to create and host your own tournaments. Of course, you’ll also be racing to build up your player score by coming in the top group of each race.

Final Thoughts:

There’s not a whole lot left for me to say about Mario Kart 8 that hasn’t been covered by now. Some things I didn’t cover above include the game’s stunning HD visuals, amazing soundtrack, and the ability to edit and upload highlight videos to YouTube. As a whole, Mario Kart 8 is a stellar, console-selling beast that caters to the die-hard fan, as well as those that may not necessarily consider themselves huge Nintendo fans. It controls and looks like a dream, plus offers plenty of tracks, karts, and modes to keep you coming back. It’s worth the asking price of $60 and will likely be a mainstay in many Wii U libraries. Lastly, whether or not Nintendo believes the game’s Battle Mode is important, its halfhearted inclusion keeps this Wii U title from obtaining a perfect score. Nintendo, if you’re reading this, that mode is most definitely important to the people.

9.5/10 – Excellent

Obtained by purchasing at retail

Guest Post: F1 ROC II: Race of Champions Review

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From time to time, we’ve featured articles written by other people, but this time we have a video review to showcase. Produced by Tom Badguy of VTW Productions and takes a look at F1 ROC II: Race of Champions for the Super Nintendo.

I also want to thank Tom for taking the time to create this video.

Enjoy!

What Were the Best Selling NES Games?

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A friend of Mini Fortress, Tom Badguy has put together a great, informative video regarding the best selling NES games. There are some interesting facts here that make this an worthwhile watch.

This video was originally produced for Questicle.com.

Super Toy Cars Review (Wii U)

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Release Date: July 24, 2014 | Price: $7.99
Genre: Racing | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: Eclipse Games

Mario Kart 8 isn’t the only new racer on the Wii U; Super Toy Cars from Eclipse Games was just released on the Nintendo eShop. Super Toy Cars is a combat racing game that will undoubtedly be compared to Mario Kart 8, mostly due to the proximity in release dates, though Mario Kart this game is not. Super Toy Cars can be better compared to NES games like R.C. Pro-Am and Micro Machines.

There are three main modes in Super Toy Cars: Career Mode, Quick Race, and Track Editor. The Career Mode consists of eight episodes, each containing six events worth ten points a piece. Points are awarded based on your performance and are used to unlock other episodes. Speaking of events, there are five different types to play during Career Mode: Race, Time Trial, Time Attack, Elimination, and Evade.

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The Race event is pretty straight forward and challenges you to win the race while competing against 7 computer opponents. Time Trial challenges you to finish one lap as fast as possible, while Time Attack sees you racing to cross checkpoints before the time limit runs out. Elimination and Evade are both similar and challenge you to race against other cars in a battle to not be in last place, for if you are in last place, you will be eliminated. The only difference between the two is there are mines on the track during Evade events. Of the five events, Race, Time Trial, and Time Attack are the definite highlights, while both Elimination and especially Evade can be frustrating. Regardless, it’s great to see variety in the game’s Career Mode, despite there being only 12 tracks.

When you are not racing, you can be buying new cars and upgrades with coins collected and won during Career Mode. You may have to unlock a few cars before finding one you like to control, though once you do, you’ll likely want to spend time upgrading it with new parts and perfecting its handling.

As for the other modes, Quick Race lets you play against either the computer, or three human players in one of the game’s 12 tracks. An interesting touch for this mode is that each track has an easy, medium, and hard version, which determines how challenging the track layout will be. As for the game’s Track Editor, you start with a basic track outline that you can manipulate and place objects on. The Track Editor must be controlled using the Wii U GamePad, though stages can only be saved locally and not shared online.

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As for the game’s controls, Super Toy Cars offers an incredibly competent and comfortable set that makes playing the game a blast. I used the Wii U GamePad and Wii U Pro Controller, both of which have similar controls. Of course, each car has different stats that make them handle differently, though when you find a car that suits your style, drifting around corners becomes the highlight of the game.

On the surface, Super Toy Cars looks and plays like a competent racer, though there are some glaring issues that are hard to ignore. First, off-TV play is not fully supported. You can play on the Wii U GamePad, but there are no sounds, no HUD, and no menus, which make playing on the Wii U GamePad extremely difficult. While I like the game’s cel-shaded look, it’s easy to see that the Wii U’s strength is not being fully utilized. Also, there are zero online features at the moment, though I have been assured by the developer that an update is coming to add online leaderboards.

As for the game’s tracks, while they are certainly imaginative, they aren’t nearly as unique as I wished they would be. With regards to the weapons, I also feel they are lacking imagination, though the rolling eight-ball is definitely fun to use. Lastly, I feel the music that plays in-game doesn’t suit the game’s style. Instead of the rock anthems that play, I think music that highlights the game’s playful style would have been more appropriate.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re looking for another Mario Kart 8, you won’t find it here; however, Super Toy Cars offers plenty to the racer fan, which includes a track editor, at the low price of $7.99. You could easily spend hours playing Super Toy Cars, especially if you’re trying to unlock and upgrade every car, and enjoy playing against friends. Finally, while the game does disappoint in a few areas, there is still a lot of enjoyment to be had in this game.

7/10 – Good

Review copy provided by Eclipse Games

Internal Invasion Review

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Release Date: July 3, 2014 | Price: $4.99
Genre: Action | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: Bear Box Media

The Nintendo eShop has been invaded by independent video game developers and this latest title contains an invasion of its own. Of course, I’m talking about Internal Invasion: in this world, nano-bots are injected into sick human beings to seek out infections and bring the patient back to health. In Internal Invasion, players take control of a nano-bot known as Ro’bert, who needs your help to save the life of his patient.

Internal Invasion is a unique gravity-based action game where players must launch Ro’bert from special nano-devices to find and destroy the infection. Once Ro’bert lands in a nano-device (usually a nano-cannon), players must use the Wii U GamePad’s touchscreen to manipulate the nano-devices. Controlling these nano-devices is simply done by tapping them and dragging back to increase launch power. Of course, these devices can also be rotated to launch Ro’bert in the desired direction. Gravity takes over as Ro’bert is launched throughout the level, but you must be careful as Ro’bert can only withstand being outside of a nano-device for a limited time.

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While the main objective in every level is to find the exit, players can also collect pills to use a special power and to perfect a level. Pills add power to a special meter that allows you to use a special power to attract Ro’bert to the stylus. This can be useful to help Ro’bert navigate the level. In addition to collecting pills during the level, players can also obtain two more pills for completing the level under the time-limit, and using the specified number of nano-cannons designated on each level.

Collecting pills during the level is quite easy, though navigating the levels in general can make obtaining the others a little frustrating. Usually, I had difficulty finishing a level on time, unless I bypassed most of the level, which can be done on a few levels. Also, especially during my first time playing a level, finishing it using the designated number of nano-cannons was really difficult. Of course, because of these design choices, Internal Invasion must be played numerous times to learn the best way to navigate through each level.

As for the game mechanics, they work quite well throughout the majority of the game. However, there are a few times where launching Ro’bert would lead to some unnecessary deaths. This can be chalked up to the level design and not the game’s mechanics. An example would be trying to launch through a tight corridor only to have Ro’bert bounce around wildly, resulting in having to restart the level. Opening some of these corridors even a little bit would make a world of difference.

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To keep things fresh, Internal Invasion introduces other mechanics like magnets, air bubbles, and lasers. Magnets and air bubbles will push Ro’bert in different directions, while lasers will restrict his movement through the level. These are nice additions to the game and prove even the simplest of concepts can provide players with some variety. The gameplay doesn’t really change up much throughout the game, though players must avoid a boss character while navigating every tenth level.

Final Thoughts:

In addition to interesting gameplay, Internal Invasion also features both great art and music tracks. There are a few questionable object placements that make some levels a tad frustrating to complete, though these are in the minority. Also, the game suffers from slight, but noticeable performance issues in most levels. However, I have been assured by Bear Box Media that these issues will be addressed in an upcoming update. If you like gravity-based gameplay and have the $5 to spare, Internal Invasion could provide you with an afternoon of fun. Others may want to hold out for a sale, if one should happen.

7.5/10 – Good

Review copy provided by Bear Box Media

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