Category: Nintendo

Wii’re here for anything relating to Nintendo and its platforms. Look to the tags for anything more specific.

Now Playing: Gotcha Racing (Nintendo 3DS)

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You know me, always happy to fawn over a little release that looks to have some quirk. That’s definitely Gotcha Racing, a game I’ve had my eye on since its quiet debut at E3. It released yesterday on the 3DS eShop for $5.99 and I grabbed it as soon as I got home from work last night. It’s called Gotcha Racing because it’s all about winning new car parts through a gashapon system. But as I would play, put it down and come back minutes later for “just one more race” I felt like the title had another meaning. After my first hour with the game I wouldn’t call it captivating but it definitely scratches that compulsive itch for progress.

Of course, I wasn’t drawn to a game because it has random loot drops from capsule toys. Gotcha Racing makes a fairly striking first impression when you see it in motion with a strict top-down perspective that spans both screens of the 3DS. The view keeps your car perfectly aligned in the center of the bottom screen, feeling a little like a sewing machine where you’re rotating the world underneath your car. It’s a peculiar sensation at first and a peculiar design choice as the game leans towards realism with its vehicle performance. Each chassis, engine and tire has an impact on acceleration, top speed, brake power, cornering and drift.

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I don’t know if it’s the perspective or the precision of the A.I. racers but I’ve never fought this hard to find the perfect racing line in any other game. Moving up a position is a battle over inches in the early game and if you can cut just a tiny bit more into a corner you’ll secure your spot in the pack. It’s turned out to be way more harrowing than I expected from what looked like a cutesy toy race car game. Grinding out parts from the capsule machine and then combining them to boost stats also seems harrowing. It’s been fun tinkering in the first hour but I can see this process getting elaborate and annoying as you can’t upgrade or sell items equipped to your four loadout slots. This results in temporarily swapping each loadout item to an inferior one, backing out, fusing the items, then going back to each car and re-equipping the new gear. Elaborate!

Gotcha Racing seems like a game I’ll pop in and out of for short bursts or maybe while listening to podcasts. I’m not yet able to move out of the initial F-Grade class because I don’t have a good enough car to win the final tournament. That means re-racing the first three courses over and over until I can win or upgrade my way out. It may not sound like fun but it’s enjoyable to play and fast to load, and there’s always a chance for that Rare Drop to fall out of the machine and make everything instantly better.

I’ll be back with an update once I hit the next noteworthy milestone with the game.

Natsume confirms Gotcha Racing for 3DS is out August 27th

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I dug the 3DS out of its tomb at the bottom of a plastic bin just the other day to see if I’d missed the release of Gotcha Racing. Since I first saw it at E3 there’s just been a special somethin-somethin about the top-down, cross-screen racing game that’s captured my interest. It turns out I didn’t totally flake out and miss it because just today Natsume has confirmed it’ll be out on the 3DS eShop on August 27th. Yay!

Unfortunately, they still haven’t released any more direct feed footage and not even new screenshots so the impact of the game may be lost with just these two images. Nevertheless, I’m planning on picking this up on the 27th so look for some kind of recap in the coming weeks. If you’d like to know more about the game, click on in. I’ll just leave Natsume’s whole press release here since I’m too exhausted at the moment to edit it down. (more…)

Sad Musings about this new Chibi-Robo

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As disheartening as 2014’s Chibi-Robo: Photo Finder was, the hot Nintendo Direct reveal of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash is doubly so. In its original form, Chibi-Robo was a wonderful little game about discovery. Not only discovering the gigantic human world he inhabited, but also Chibi-Robo’s discoveries about human nature, often from the most inhuman characters. While they were flawed, each and every Chibi-Robo game until now has done something unique. Now we have Zip Lash, a side-scrolling platformer with gameplay that’s been done a hundred times before.

Chibi-Robo’s electrical plug “tail” is now a whip/grappling hook. That’s it. It’s the damn laziest conceit you could think up from looking at the character and it makes me wonder if anyone who had anything to do with the previous games is still involved. But who cares because AMIIBO!!! Sadly, the fact that the toy is exclusively bundled with the game means this will be the best selling, most sought after Chibi-Robo title ever. It also makes me wonder if we’re about to see a deluge of cheap games and apps simply to justify an amiibo.

Maybe there’s more to Zip Lash than the little that’s been shown. Maybe it’s not just a vehicle to sell a toy. Maybe we’ll find out more at E3 and I’ll be happy to rescind these comments. Maybe.

Promo Man: Paper Mario Sticker Star?

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Potentially gillions of images featuring Mario and his cohorts have been mechanically pressed to sheets of sticky goo over the decades. But no matter how they may glisten or sniff they’ll never top these Donkey Kong stickers from 1982. I only remember the stickers but according to The Gaming Historian they came in packs of Topps Donkey Kong trading cards. The stickers and gum were obviously my favorite part as I don’t remember what a single one of the cards looked like.

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My new Fashion model/nail designer/layout coordinator job

Girl's Fashion ShootWhat I mean by that is: Hey look I started Girl’s Fashion Shoot for Nintendo 3DS yesterday and it’s super cute!

It’s hard not to compare it to Style Savvy or its sequel Style Savvy Trendsetters even though it’s not quite the same. The first video will be up on my Youtube channel at 10A EST today from when I streamed on my twitch channel yesterday.

I auditioned and was hired as a new model for Rising Star, but I don’t just model because that wouldn’t really be enough for a video game.  They also have me choose outfits and do nail design. After you do that you do a page layout for a magazine which is like designing photos in something like LINE Camera using frames & stickers which I already love doing (examples 1, 2, 3).

Unlike SST (Style Savvy Trendsetters) there doesn’t seem to be a day cycle.  You can keep going around in the infinite daytime doing things like buying makeup, clothes and new poses.  The only thing that seemed to show time passing was when I completed the 3 jobs that were available for the month.  The time change afterwards from April to May just seemed like a new day change in SST.

There are other models at the agency that you’re being ranked against, but they all want to be friends with you (this isn’t an American reality show). You can check your rank and read your fan mail! I received 2 so far and I admit they made me smile even if they are just game generated compliments.  You guys, I am someone’s favorite model!

After you complete a job you can export the photo from your cellphone album.  Below are three I did yesterday following the given themes they specify.  I’m not far into it yet, but I will say that unless it surprises me down the line, I don’t think this game will appeal to everyone who loved SST.  If anything sways me from that I will come back and post about it here, but if you just wanna see my future quips and images from it follow me on Google+.

 

Dig out your AR Cards, the 3DS has a new puzzle game

While VR constantly seems on the verge of exploding into the next big thing, AR continues to be a seldom seen diversion. I blame it on cameras: the Vita and 3DS have the worst cameras but that’s where interesting AR games keep happening.

The latest is the one you see above, Bubble Pop World, out now on the 3DS eShop for $4.99. For all the flashy features the video shows they don’t really explain how the main puzzle-popping mechanic works. It seems to be a mix of Bust-a-Move and Poppit! with the ability to move around the 3D model and insert the next colored blob wherever you’d like.

It’s got 120 puzzle and arcade levels built in with the ability to create and share your own via QR codes (another maligned AR technology!) as well as 8 underwater themed minigames. I’ve still got some cash left in my Mario Wallet (or whatever they call it on the eShop); I may have to give this a shot!

Q-Games and Nintendo made a DSi tower defense game!?

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Darting to Club Nintendo this morning after the reveal of that super sweet Luigi sculpture (which still isn’t on the site) I noticed Nintendo was offering a humble little game called Starship Defense at a discount. I somehow missed this on DSiWare back in 2010 but it’s a quaint, stark looking tower defense game published by Nintendo and developed by Pixeljunk proprietor, Q-Games.

How did I miss this!? Oh, it was on DSiWare, that’s probably how. Anyone out there played it by chance? I’m intrigued but still pretty cool on tower defense games.

Done Playing: Crash City Mayhem (3DS)

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Across five releases over the last sixteen years Climax’s Runabout series has stuck to its own inexplicable genre. Wacky Mission-Based Arcade Racer? Multi-Objective Driving Adventure? Vaguely Open-World Pedestrian Criticism Simulator? Stylistically it embodies everything a boy could love about 90’s anime: absurd and thin plots that require lots of fast driving, ridiculous stunts and millions of dollars in property damage. Crash City Mayhem definitely holds true to the series style but it also sticks to its gameplay at the risk of completely confounding modern players.

Unrelated to anything in the previous games, you play as an ex-spy-turned-courier who gets mixed up in a plot to steal an outlandish spy car. Across six missions you find intel on the car, wind up stealing it, tail a female spy who’s after it herself and ultimately save the day and get the girl. The plotline is only slightly more nuanced than a “three guys walk into a bar” joke but it’s all the setup the game needs.

Once the mission starts you’re off on a high speed race to reach whatever objective markers the stage prescribes. All six missions are set in the same world with barricades and starting points that keep it feeling different but familiar. It’s a good thing, really, as there are loads of shortcuts and alternate routes that only make sense on certain missions. It’s far from an open world but there’s enough breadth to keep you wondering if each side street offers a faster path to your destination.

Many of the 15 vehicles you unlock are novelties like the tank and scooter but all handle uniquely enough to suit your driving/crashing style. In a particularly specific callback to the original game you can even fine tune handling, downforce and brakes to tailor each vehicle’s performance. You steer with the circle pad or D-pad and pretty much every button can be remapped for manual shifting, rear view, gas, brakes and handbrake. There’s a good sense of speed that sometimes hitches the framerate and physics as realistic as you’d like for a game where an F1 car can plow into a city bus and send the wreckage flying.

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Playing all six missions in a row would take less than hour so the game abruptly reveals its dark secret to meter your progress: missions are unlocked as you complete old ones on harder difficulty levels. There are five difficulties for each mission, the first three giving you slightly less time or requiring more targets to be found. Finding hidden bonus icons and breaking jump, speed and property damage records help unlock new missions and difficulties. You’ll also unlock 20 items to equip that add goofy trinkets like a musical horn to your car or really useful things like a jump or nitro. The combination of vehicles and items add just enough variety to deaden the sting of grinding missions. Who wouldn’t crack up at the sight of a guy on an “H-David” motorcycle wearing a panda hat that conceals a smaller panda hat underneath? The engrish, the screams of overly-critical pedestrians and the unyielding surf rock tunes are hallmarks of the series and great at defusing your frustrations.

Those frustrations run highest on the Impossible and Legendary difficulties requiring you to complete the mission objectives while also causing $1,000,000 in damage or no damage whatsoever. Causing damage is like a vehicular Price is Right game; managing your damage versus dollars, looking for just the right things to hit without going over. Causing no damage at all is definitely the game’s most punishing challenge. The H-David bike is required for this one but even with its slimmer frame the 3DS’ tiny screen and the game’s draw-in cause some unfair failures. Sitting through a drawn out loading screen and mission intro every time you restart doesn’t help either.

Climax’s adherence to the Runabout style is appreciable as a fan but sixteen years on it isn’t making itself very approachable to anyone else. The peculiar genre is unlike anything in recent memory to draw comparisons to and the slapdash feel of the series — which was tolerable, even endearing in the 90’s — looks shoddy nowadays. Even I had a hard time getting back into the groove of things but I wound up having about sixteen hours of fun, frustration and nostalgia with Crash City Mayhem. I’d rather have played it on a console but the portable platform and $20 price (at retail or on the eShop) seems like the best way to dip a curious toe into this long-running and obscure series.

I don’t think I’ll record much more but I posted a few videos of the game on YouTube if this text still doesn’t explain well enough.

What would it take for you to buy a Wii U?

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On this week’s Giant Bombcast the gang was talking about what it would take for each of them to buy a Wii U. As I don’t care for most of what Nintendo’s selling these days and third-party support is all but dead I started to wonder myself. I’m tired of Mario This and Mario That. Even the ‘Year of Luigi’, starring my long-time favorite brother,  hasn’t been enough to get me to buy, well, any of Nintendo’s games. So here’s three quick responses, right from the heart.

Wave Race
What I need is a new Wave Race, one with water on par with the original. It was practically an opponent itself and being able to use momentum to force yourself underwater to shave lap times was brilliant stuff that still hasn’t been matched. I’d even tolerate tilt-only controls just to be able to catch a wave at its peak to go soaring over a blockade and into first place.

Pilotwings
Archery and golf (even swordplay and frisbee) were fun for a while but where I spent the most time in Wii Sports Resort was flying around Wuhu Island. Searching for “points of interest” and shooting balloons were more interesting than I expected but there is something deeply satisfying about exploring that island. So basically I want a new Pilotwings with more aerial diversions and a bigger, livelier island to explore. Just off the top of my head I’d like the balancing act of using the GamePad to fly but also having to hold it upright and use it as a camera to take specific photos.

Something Unexpected
The GamePad is a streaming handheld with motion sensors, cameras, a microphone, and loads of buttons that’s capable of running games concurrent with what’s on the TV. There are ideas there that I can’t comprehend, that no one to date has really pulled together. If Nintendo could get iOS developers on board there’s no telling what we’d see. Don’t get all pissy, I hate touchscreen gaming (a lot) but there have been some really clever, highly original iOS games over the past five years that are only possible with that kind of hardware. The potential is huge but the deluge remains dammed.

After today’s Nintendo Direct it seems like my personal system sellers are far, far off if they ever happen at all. And that’s fine, I’m not trying to be down on Nintendo or the Wii U and I have no pro-Sony/Microsoft agenda. Jeff asked what it would take and that’s my answer.

I brought an NES back to life last night

Last night I disassembled what I think might be my childhood NES. Much more yellow than I remember, my Dad was still holding onto it and a box of controllers, RF cables and power bricks. I picked it up from him a few months ago but it wasn’t until I set up the new Capture Cart™ this past weekend that I finally decided to see if the thing worked.

It didn’t. I got a series of colorful screens from Super Mario Bros. 2 and Batman looked mostly fine except for a weird ghost layer of pixels, like the image was being partially duplicated. It looked awesome, but not right. So I took to Instagram with a video of Batman and got the suggestion to clean the pins. Then I… wait, which pins? The cartridge? That’s not the problem…

A quick Google search led me to Dan Mahlendorf’s guide on refurbishing an NES. For as many mods and tributes to the NES that I’ve seen over the years I’ve never opened one up and looked around inside. Not surprisingly it’s pretty simple inside, had a few abandoned cobwebs in the corners and was loaded with screws. Screws on the case, screws on the RF shield, screws on the cartridge housing.

Finally I was down to the pin connector which I needed to remove by bending the circuit board ever so gently enough to slide it off. As the guide says, it was a little tricky but I got it off, cleaned it out and started examining the pins. They all look to be at the same height and are still springy but one of them on the left side is maybe missing a prong. I did what I could to bend the rest of it back up, struggled for a while getting the connector back onto the circuit board and dashed upstairs to see if it helped.

It did. Super Mario Bros. 2 works fine now but maybe glitches out hard one out of a dozen times? I only saw it once but it was a glorious moment when Peach hit a Shy Guy and the game world around their sprites deteriorated into a colorful, noisy Hell. I imagine it has destroyed everything they thought they knew about their world but it’s a bonus for me getting to watch the NES circuit bend itself at random.

And now I’ve got an NES that works so I could justify buying some games. I’m only interested in collecting complete packages but the next time I’m at the shops I might pick up some cheap cartridges.