Retro Studios returns to gamers’ hearts with a sequel to their re-imagining of the Donkey Kong Country series. After spending nearly a decade with the Metroid series, Retro Studios conquered the sidescrolling platformer, but just a few years later, they have perfected it. Move over Rayman, the real king of jungle platforming is back.
Tag Archives: review
Genre: Puzzle | Platform: Wii U eShop
Publisher and Developer: RCMADIAX
Blok Drop U is the first game developed with Construct 2 and Nintendo Web Framework to be released on the Wii U. The game was developed by RCMADIAX, a one man team focused on bringing video games exclusively to Nintendo consoles.
Release Date: February 27, 2014
Platform: Nintendo 3DS eShop
Publisher: CIRCLE Ent.
Developer: Goodbye Galaxy Games
Hugo Smits of Goodbye Galaxy Games has long been a supporter of Nintendo’s digital storefronts. He has released many titles on the DSiWare service, but has just released his first Nintendo eShop game, Tappingo, for the Nintendo 3DS.
Unepic was released on the Wii U on January 16, 2014 – thanks to publisher EnjoyUp Games – though it has been around for a couple of years on the PC. Unepic was created in Spain by Francisco Téllez de Meneses – amongst a variety of collaborators. It originally took two years of work to create the game, though the Wii U version of the game was built to take advantage of the Wii U’s unique gamepad.
Super Mario 3D World Review
Wii U owners have been patiently waiting for system selling software to be released, and while a few enticing titles in Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD have been released, no game could pique the interest of gamers quite like the brand new Super Mario 3D World. Though, even Super Mario 3D World was initially met with major criticisms like not being Super Mario Galaxy 3 or being too much like Super Mario 3D Land. In the end, Super Mario 3D World surpassed most people’s expectations and is rightfully sitting on the thrown as the best Wii U game to date.
Cubit: The Hardcore Platformer Robot Review
Runner games have become increasingly popular over the past few years thanks mostly to their easy to learn, pick-up-and-play gameplay. Enter Cubit: The Hardcore Platformer Robot from Coder Child, yet another runner-style game that can be purchased on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. How does Cubit: The Hardcore Platformer Robot measure up to other runner games?
Kung Fu Rabbit Review
Kung Fu Rabbit was released on the Wii U via the Nintendo eShop on May 2, 2013. It was developed by Bulkypix but was first released on the Apple Store in 2012. The game was recently on sale on the Nintendo eShop so I decided to pick it up, making it my first Wii U eShop game.
Kung Fu Rabbit tells a simple story of an Ultimate Evil that has kidnapped all your baby rabbit disciples. Of course, it’s up to you, the Kung Fu Rabbit, to rescue your disciples. This story is hardly complex and won’t do much for the older gamer, but young kids will likely be drawn into its wealth of charm, including some adorable comic-like cut-scenes.
New Super Mario Bros. U Review
Released on November 18, 2012, New Super Mario Bros. U was a launch game for Nintendo’s Wii U console. New Super Mario Bros. U is the fourth game in the New Super Mario Bros. series, which first saw life on the Nintendo DS back in 2006. Like all the New Super Mario Bros. games before it, New Super Mario Bros. U recycles the revamped, platforming gameplay and presentation that was first introduced in the original New Super Mario Bros. However, despite its familiar feel, New Super Mario Bros. U manages to jump much higher than its predecessors.
Wii U Deluxe Edition Review
I’ve finally purchased a Wii U console after it spent nearly a year on the market. What convinced me to buy a Wii U? Well, the first factor was the Wii U price drop. Consumers can now buy the Wii U Deluxe Edition for $299.99, which is $50 less than it was last year. However, price wasn’t the only factor in my decision. I truly believe I needed a Wii U so I can review games for MiniFortress.com and keep the website relevant. Lastly, the lineup of incoming Wii U games seems incredible and I don’t want to miss those games. With that being said, what do I think of Nintendo’s new console? Read more
10-in-1 Arcade Collection Review
I need to admit something: I’m a sucker for video game compilations. Whether that compilation consists of newer video games (Metroid Prime Trilogy) or of classic games (Mega Man Anniversary Collection), I just can’t resist the value of owning multiple games for a decent price. Therefore, I was instantly interested when I discovered 10-in-1 Arcade Collection from Gamelion Studios.
10-in-1 Arcade Collection is a video game compilation which includes 10 games based on classic arcade games. At first glance, updating classic arcade games with fancier visuals and new ideas might seem like a great idea, but sometimes the classics shouldn’t be touched.
The most attractive thing about 10-in-1 Arcade Collection is that you get 10 games for $3.09. However, not every game in this collection is of equal quality. Games range from poor to good, but the package as a whole feels uneven.
One thing I noticed about the games from 10-in-1 Arcade Collection is that they all consist of 20 levels and are extremely easy to control. Some games will continue after level 20, though you will begin at the first level, even though the game recognizes it as level 21. As for the controls, you’ll only ever need to use one or two buttons in conjunction with the D-Pad/Slide Pad, making it easy to pick up and play.
The first standout game is Black Nightmares, which is obviously influenced by Space Invaders. In Black Nightmares, you play as a character attacked by waves of nightmare armies. You have the ability to shoot energy balls, and if the action gets too hectic, you can hide behind barriers and let them absorb the enemies’ attacks. Useful power-ups may also fall after you destroy an enemy, often giving you an enormous advantage.
Another standout game from this compilation is called Tangled Space, a game that is nearly identical to Asteroids. Like Asteroids, the screen wraps around vertically and horizontally, and you must shoot and destroy asteroids. Like Black Nightmares, Tangled Space also gives you access to power-ups, one of which makes you immune to damage.
Without going into too much detail, here are some details on other 10-in-1 Arcade Collection games that I enjoyed.
Gem Breaker – a challenging brick breaking game inspired by retro classics like Breakout – is a neat, albeit short, brick breaking game.
Puzzle fans will be happy to learn that there are two decent games for them in this compilation. First up is Ghost Cage, a game that draws inspiration from Tetris, Columns, and Dr. Mario. Ghost Cage is quite challenging right from the beginning, but because of its accessible and addictive nature, it will likely appeal to a large number of people. Box Logic is the other puzzle game that I enjoyed. The objective in Box Logic is to push boxes around until you slide them into their designated slots.
Lastly, I also enjoyed a game called Perfect Landing. The goal in Perfect Landing is to safely guide a spaceship to the landing pad whilst avoiding enemies.
The last four games are noticeably lower in quality including two that are downright poor. The most palatable of the four is Special Delivery, a generic runner-type game that is interesting enough to complete at least once. Ninja Monkey, while it starts out OK, it becomes unbearable as soon as the third level. In Ninja Monkey, you play as a Monkey that must throw shurikens at demons flying through the sky. These demons quickly become difficult to defeat and overwhelm you with enemies quickly.
Then there is Saucer Room, perhaps one of the most boring games I’ve ever played. Your goal is to control a snake-like chain of flying saucers to collect items to disable a force field. The control is horrendous and the game feels like it’s running in slow motion. Finally, the last game is Devil Maze, a game that looks like it was made by a novice student of a video game development program. The goal of this game is to collect every star on the board without running into the devils.
10-in-1 Arcade Collection has a nice overall presentation that consists of clean visuals and colorful, retro-inspired graphics. However, there are games that could use some work, including the Saucer Room and Devil Maze games. Also, 10-in-1 Arcade Collection does sport some fine looking 3D effects, which is an especially nice touch for the better games in the packages. I’ve had some good to say about the games, but I wasn’t fond of the game’s generic soundtrack. It’s hard for me to explain, but it has a sound that I’ve found off-putting since the NES era.
Void of real feelings of nostalgia, 10-in-1 Arcade Collection doesn’t quite measure up to the games it takes inspiration from. There are a few good games here, but don’t expect to find masterpiece material amongst the compilation. It’s low price of $3.09 somewhat lessens the sense of buyer’s regret, but I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this game to anyone.
5/10 – Average
Purchased on the Nintendo eShop
Puzzle games and handheld devices go hand in hand, so it’s no surprise to see Circle Entertainment bring Wakedas to the Nintendo 3DS. Developed by FK Digital – the developer of Witch & Hero – Wakedas (pronounced Wa-Ke-Da-Su) means let’s separate it. Combining the meaning of both “WAKE”, which stands for a separation of some sort in Japan, and “DAS,” an auxiliary word often used with cube games, you get the color separation puzzle game known as Wakedas.
Wakedas is an easy to learn puzzle game that challenges the player to separate and match colors on a grid-like board. The concept can be compared to that of solving a Rubik’s Cube. There are 300 puzzles in the game, separated into three levels; 100 3×3 puzzles, 100 4×4 puzzles, and 100 5×5 puzzles.
To solve a Wakedas puzzle, players must make sure that each color is separated and placed beside a matching color. Each puzzle is separated into blocks and always has at least two colors, though more colors are introduced as you play. To match these colors, players must slide portions of the grid, horizontally and/or vertically, using a simple swipe of the stylus. In fact, the game is played exclusively on the touchscreen.
Wakedas starts off easy, but gradually increases as you work your way toward the 300th puzzle. To keep things interesting – and definitely challenging – new types of blocks are introduced. You’ll encounter blocks that are separated into different colored triangles, blocks that are locked and cannot be moved, as well as blocks that rotate as you slide the puzzle. These additional elements keep Wakedas fresh and fun throughout the entirety of your experience.
As I mentioned above, Wakedas gameplay takes place entirely on the touchscreen, but there are images displayed on the 3D screen, as well. These images add a little extra to the presentation, but add nothing to the actual gameplay. Plus, despite being displayed on the 3D screen, the 3D effect is disabled entirely. The visuals on the touchscreen are simple, but colorful and effective for a puzzle game. Tying the entire package together is a soothing soundtrack that encourages mental clarity.
Wakedas is a challenging, but fun puzzle game that I believe fans of puzzle games will enjoy. The amount of time you put into the game is dependent upon how long it takes you to solve each individual puzzle. In my experience, most puzzles took me around a minute to solve, but there are plenty that take much longer. For just $2.99 on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, it’s hard to ignore the value that Wakedas gives to gamers.
8.5/10 – Great
Review copy provided by Circle Entertainment
SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt Review
Digging in the dirt isn’t a new concept in the video game world, but none do it quite like SteamWorld Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. Being dubbed a “platform mining adventure” by its developer, SteamWorld Dig is exactly that, a 2D platformer with adventure elements and, of course, mining.
You play as a mining steambot named Rusty. Upon arriving in the mining town of Tumbleton, Rusty assumes the role of miner to provide the town with resources, the same role previously occupied by his late uncle Joe. As Rusty digs through the depths of uncle Joe’s mine, he begins to uncover not only an ancient civilization, but also a new source of power.
Story elements are slowly revealed as you play. The citizens of Tumbleton will exchange small snippets of dialogue with Rusty; some conversations reveal details of his uncle’s mining expeditions. In general, the story isn’t particularly compelling, but the mystery is enough to keep you digging.
Of course, SteamWorld Dig is a game about digging, an enormous amount of digging. Rusty starts with a humble Rusty Pickaxe that can only dig in soft ground. As you dig through the underworld of Tumbleton, you’ll come across certain blocks of dirt that contain resources. After mining these resources, you can take them back to Tumbleton to exchange them for cash. With this cash you can buy upgrades for Rusty’s equipment, and a variety of additional items that will make the adventure a little easier. This is something you will be repeating often throughout your time with SteamWorld Dig.
Exchanging resources also increases Rusty’s level, which is essentially like gaining experience points in an RPG. As Rusty’s level grows, you’ll unlock new upgrades for Rusty’s equipment. There are a lot of upgrades to buy in SteamWorld Dig, and each one will make digging less of a chore. Also, new shops and locations will open in town as you gain levels.
While mining for resources is a big part of SteamWorld Dig, to continue your adventure you must uncover a number of uncle Joe’s caves. Each cave contains a new ability that Rusty must use to continue his descent. Some of these abilities take advantage of Rusty’s steambot features and will consume water. One of these abilities is a steam powered drill that Rusty can use to drill through hard ground.
My favourite part of SteamWorld Dig is the large interconnected map and non-linear progression. You literally get to dig your own path through the earth, and that path will be represented on the underworld map. Personally, I think this is a nice touch, and because the game is structured this way, you will inevitably uncover different paths each time you play. While your path isn’t a predetermined one, a marker will appear on the map which indicates the position of the game’s important caves. Lastly, controlling Rusty is extremely easy, and it’s a lot of fun to use his large repertoire of abilities and equipment.
Unfortunately, there are a couple of things I didn’t like about SteamWorld Dig. First, while there are enemies in the game, they feel like a complete afterthought. Combat is practically non-existent and the enemies hardly pose a threat. My second complaint is the digging in general; this activity is quite boring and can be compared to the monotony of doing chores. Thankfully, upgrades do help lessen this painful task.
Back on the positive side of things, SteamWorld Dig looks fantastic with 3D enabled. Its gorgeous sprites pop nicely against the layered backgrounds, offering a nice sense of depth seen in the best Nintendo 3DS games. Also, I really dig (I couldn’t resist) the game’s western themed soundtrack, though nothing really stands out.
SteamWorld Dig is an interesting game, but is weighed down by some small flaws. In general, you can tell there was a lot of work put into the development of the game, and that can be seen in its upgrade system, and inviting non-linear structure. Personally, I would have liked the digging mechanic to be less of a chore, plus it wouldn’t hurt to add more variety to the gameplay. I was able to finish SteamWorld Dig in approximately 4 hours, but you could easily get more out of the game if you continue exploring and upgrading Rusty. SteamWorld Dig is $8.99 and is available now on the Nintendo eShop.
7/10 – Good
Purchased on the Nintendo eShop
Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters Movie Review
Ecstasy is a trance-like emotion that many consider to be an altered state of consciousness. Zoning in on one particular object and blocking out everything else that surrounds you. An unbreakable focus unlike any other you’ve ever experienced. This is a state that many gamers can relate with, especially those that have had the Tetris bug crawl under their skin.
Last week, I realized that I wasn’t the only person to experience the “Tetris Effect.” After a brief obsession with Tetris a few years back, sometimes my mind would continue to play Tetris without needing to look at the game. Random pieces would drop and I had to sort through them, much like in a real game of Tetris. I was able to spin the pieces, place them, and most importantly, arrange a well to clear four lines at once, a Tetris. Of course, I discovered this after watching the awesome Tetris documentary, Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters.
Ecstasy of Order: The Tetris Masters, released in 2011, is a documentary about the best Tetris players from the United States. As with most documentaries, Ecstasy of Order focused heavily on these characters, all of which had varying, and interesting personalities. Of course, with those personalities came endearing quirks, of which I’m sure some of us also have. Why seek out the best Tetris players in the United States? To make them compete in the first ever 2010 Classic Tetris World Championship.
So, we get to meet a lot of characters and witness not only their personalities, but their history with NES Tetris, and their Tetris strategies. One particular character was only using one button to spin the tetriminos, a handicap that didn’t affect her ability to compete against the best classic Tetris players. One of these characters can be considered a part of the Nintendo World Championships lore; of course, I’m talking about Thor Aackerlund.
Seeing all these players commune to Los Angeles to compete in the 2010 Classic Tetris World Championship was a fantastic journey. Watching them compete once they got there was even better. I genuinely wanted each one of these Tetris players to win the tournament, to claim the title of Tetris World Champion.
It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen. In fact, I feel it rivals The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters as the best gaming documentary ever filmed. I can easily recommend this film to anyone looking to learn more about Tetris. The film – in digital or DVD format – can be purchased from the movie’s official website.