Category: Feature

Any kind of post that is unique to GameLuv.

Is Super Mario Odyssey Nintendo’s response to annoying Mario canon questions?

This scene couldn't be any more Japanese

Everything in Super Mario Odyssey seems designed to rattle even the most absurd head-canon that fans have crafted for themselves over the decades of loosely connected Mario games. It started with the debut trailer back in January with Mario running around in the human-sized New Donk City and it’s only gotten stranger with this week’s E3 reveal.

Pauline, Mario’s original heroine from Donkey Kong, is the mayor of New Donk City and its streets are named after members of the DK clan. We’d seen Bowser in a white tuxedo before with Peach at his side in a matching wedding dress but now we see that Mario is also dressed for “the big day”. So who is crashing whose wedding and does Peach have any say in this nuptial knockout? Finally, just who is singing the vocal track heard in the new trailer with lines like “I’ll be your 1UP girl”? The camera sure lingers on that saucy singer at the New Donk City Festival, doesn’t it? Could this be the end for Mario and Peach?

Is Mario butting in on a harmonious union?

Things are just as extraordinary on the gameplay end of things. Mario’s traditional powerups are nowhere to be seen and he instead utilizes the sentient, mind-controlling tophat we now know as Cappy. With Cappy, Mario can do typical video game things like boomerang his hat around to hit enemies or grab coins. What was revealed at E3, though, is a completely surprising mechanic that lets Cappy possess most enemies and suck Mario into them, slapping the red cap on their heads and a mustache on their face.

Goombas, Hammer Bros. and Bullet Bills are all commandeered by Mario as well as totally unexpected objects like taxi cabs, tanks, frogs, Rapa Nui statues and rocket ships that look straight out of Super Mario Bros. 2. Then there are the scenes where Mario is squashed flat a la Link Between Worlds and things get decidedly old school.

Between this and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle I’ve never been more excited for new Mario games and there’s surely more bizarre stuff to be seen from both; at E3 and in the months leading up to their releases. Bring it on Nintendo, the weirder the better!

Crossout: Surprisingly Fun Car Building & Car Destruction

Crossout: Surprisingly Fun Car Building & Car Destruction

Super quick pitch here since I’m only an hour or two into Crossout. What is it?

Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts car building
with
Mad Max, post-apocalyptic styling
set in
Online arena battles between two teams

The description bills it as an MMO but Crossout is much simpler than the long-lost “CARPG” Auto Assault. The real draw is the Build mode where you pluck from an expanding array of car components, mods, and weapons to build your ultimate fighting machine… or the dumbest thing on 4 (or more) wheels.

While I’m simply trying to balance a Howitzer on top of a 4×4 others are offering up insane creations in the Exhibition area. There are plenty of cool looking tanks but I laughed out loud when I scrolled to a vehicle named “Bruce Willis”. Using the various car parts and paints, someone managed to create a Minecraft-like character model holding two cannons that’s too big to get out of the garage. Elsewhere was a 28-wheeler with no weapons and a ton of booster engines. Are they useless in combat? Maybe? I’m still very early on with the game but the idea of loading in and seeing Bruce Willis stampeding around the battlefield is enough to keep me coming back for a while.

Crossout comes from Gaijin Entertainment, the folks behind War Thunder, so there’s more going on than simple run ‘n gun. Waiting in ambush or building an artillery vehicle to fight at a distance are already viable strategies. Each of your vehicle’s parts can also be individually destroyed so it’s possible to pick off someone’s guns or leave them spinning in circles with 2 tires. It puts even more emphasis on your build: do you weigh yourself down with layers of protection? Do you keep your weapons close, sacrificing their attack radius to protect them from damage?

These are the things I started to realize just as I was about to write the game off. I’m glad I stuck with it just a little longer because now I’m hooked on what I can create, how I can get the most out of my lowly level-6 parts, and what new toys I’ll unlock next.

Crossout is out now and free-to-play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One but coming to Steam as well, presumably by the end of June.

First Impressions: Flinthook

MenuBounty

Oh, crap. This game is difficult.

The first thing you need to know about Flinthook is that it is merciless in its mechanics. It’s a roguelike, so that means I’m back at the beginning of the level every two minutes or so. I’m having such a hard time just trying to shoot enemies, fire my hook in the right direction and not step in the bad stuff all at the same time. I loved Spelunky, where I felt like I was actually making progress in the caverns before dying a hero’s death (not really). Flinthook is not like that. Flinthook doesn’t care about your feelings.

On the upside, the game is beautiful and has really fun music. I mean, check this out. This is cool. I fell in love the second this started playing, not knowing that I would be crying within five minutes.

So, onto the combat itself.

You have a gun. It shoots plasma orbs. You can slow down time. I always forget this feature exists, because I’m too distracted. It would probably help a lot if I remembered to use it. I could not fathom playing this game with a keyboard and mouse, however, if you’re using a controller I hope you can get used to everything being mapped onto one side because you can’t change it. Hahahahaha!

Ha.

…Damn.

Honestly? This doesn’t bother me. While playing I never stopped to think, “man, I really wish I could reconfigure the controls.” Some people might, but for me, it wasn’t a deal breaker. I’m just bad at the game, and a different control scheme is not going to save me.

SquareSpinningBalls_NickOfTime

Fortunately, even though I’m dying a lot I’m still making progress. I’m still leveling up and collecting items that will open up new worlds to explore. The downside is that the worlds are all a bit samey. I haven’t played far enough to see if this ever changes, but it seems like all the worlds are pretty much the same theme which might get a little bland after a while. It also seems like there’s a fair amount of grinding involved. This will either be hit or miss for some folks. I personally don’t mind shutting off my brain for thirty minutes on the couch while I grapple hook around and break things. It’s cathartic.

SquareDodgersHelmet

So far, I like Flinthook a fair bit but I really wish it was on the Switch. I’d like to curl up in bed and play it.

Developer: Tribute Games (Shawn says he enjoys the look of their stuff but doesn’t actually like playing any of it. Shawn, you’re not going to like this one either. Go back to Spelunky.)

Release date: April 18th, 2017

Platforms: PS4 (played), Steam PC, Xbox One

Regular price: $14.99

Official website

 

In Memoriam: The Fur Babies of Gameluv

archeage2

My fiance and I were sitting in the veterinarian’s waiting room filling out paperwork for our cat. He was a stray, and I had no idea what kind of cat he was, let alone his actual date of birth. Still, we had to jot something down on the line.

“When did Super Mario Galaxy 2 come out?” I asked him. He shrugged.

“Uh, 2008? 2009, I think?” He replied.

“No, that doesn’t sound right.” I said as I quickly googled the answer. He looked at me like I was crazy for even thinking about a  video game at a time like this, but it was relevant to me.

“Ah, May 2010. I thought so!” I said and jotted down the date onto the paper.

I adopted my cat, Mocha, around the same time Super Mario Galaxy 2 came out and it’s the only way I was able to remember his date of birth. This may seem like a small, insignificant thing to everyone else but to me it meant something. I was so busy taking care of my new kitten that the release of a game I had been anticipating didn’t seem important. I never did get around to playing it. Mocha proved to be too much of a fun distraction.

archeage1

 

Years later, when it was time to make a logo for the Gameluv sail in the MMORPG Archeage, it seemed like an obvious choice to display our cats. Why wouldn’t we? Our precious pets were an integral part of our lives. They watched us game, they purred on our laps while we held our controllers. They meowed loudly for attention when we didn’t want to be interrupted, because that’s how cats roll. I’m glad that we paid homage to them on that sail, especially now when a few of them have taken the trip over the rainbow bridge.

I didn’t get enough time with my Mocha, he was only seven. That vet trip was his last, and what I thought was a “better safe than sorry” check up turned out to be our worst nightmare. He took the same trip Molly did recently, and I remember how painful it was to watch Shawn and Katy grieve her. She was a good kitty, too. If there is a special place where cats go after death, I really hope that Mocha and Molly can hang out with one another to compare notes on their gaming parents and how they are now immortalized forever in our hearts and on the Gameluv sail.

Rest in peace, fur babies. We’ll miss you.

Also pictured and deceased: The adorable orange kitty in the sail, who belongs to Gameluv’s Shane! Katy recalls its name being Maus. For some reason, I thought it was Tank. Perhaps Shane could let us know which beloved kitty is on the sail, but they also have a spot in our heart.

Help, I’m drowning in the pool of my own back log

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This screenshot has nothing to do with the post, except that while I was typing up all the games I’m playing I remembered how Shawn told me Zoombinis was on Steam. Crap, I wanna play this too!

Hi guys. Long time, no write. You may recall me as being the woman who was strangely obsessive about a certain marine arcade game at the boardwalk. Still in love with it, by the way. So, you may be thinking that I probably haven’t been up to much, gaming wise. Actually, this post is a legit SOS because I have so many games that I need to either pick up or finish it’s unreal.

So, let’s see what I’ve got on my docket right now…

Thimbleweed Park – A game in the spirit of the 90s point-and-click adventure titles that Lucas Arts used to put out. I have an impressions piece I’ll be posting about this.

Yooka-Laylee – I’ve been waiting on this for forever. Reviews are…not good. Mostly they’re complaining that it’s very 90s to early 2000s adventure platformers. Way to miss the point, guys. That’s exactly what people wanted and why they kickstarted it to begin with. Anyway, the frame rate issues that people are reporting kinda scare me, but I’m going to remain optimistic.

Persona 5 – Yeah, so this game alone will end up being more than a hundred hours. Which would be perfectly fine…if this was the only game I purchased this year. Anyway, I’m about seven hours in so far and I’m really pleased with it so far. It’s so stylish it hurts and the soundtrack is of course, brilliant. But I have no idea when I’m going to find time to finish it. Maybe in twelve years. Just in time for them to re-release with bonus content or something.

Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns – I feel so bad for neglecting my farm. Totally going to woo Ford, by the way.

Psycho Pass: Mandatory Happiness – I have the collectors edition of this dang thing, too! It’s really good. It’s just that whenever I lay down to play it in bed on my vita (yes, people still own those…or at least, just me), I end up falling asleep.

Runner2 – I just got this off Limited Run Games and I played it for a solid hour. Strangely soothing for my anxiety.

Flinthook – Hopefully will be nabbing this off Limited Run Games in a couple days. Found out this game exists from Fangamer, when I saw their awesome t-shirts. Ironically that is how I found out about Thimbleweed Park. I think their marketing teams need to step up their game a bit…

Ray Gigant – Another vita title I’ll be nabbing off Limited Run Games if I can manage to remember.

SERIOUSLY WILL SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME FINISH SOMETHING BECAUSE THEN…

Zelda: Breath of the Wild – Haven’t even TOUCHED IT yet. When will I be able to?! I still have WORK I need to do, guys. And then worst of all…

Final Fantasy XIV: Stormblood – Let’s be honest. I’ll be playing this, mainly. Because it’s an MMO, which means it’s a horrible time sink.

I think I might just cancel my pre-order for Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia because let’s be REAL. I’m never going to play it. Not at this rate. Nope. Maybe I’ll get around to it in 2024. I don’t need to buy anymore games for another five or six years.

…But I know that once Supergiant’s Pyre comes out I’ll be throwing money at it. Geez, it’s feast or famine with the gaming industry. Last year I didn’t even really play anything other than Final Fantasy XIV because there was nothing interesting to me coming out. Now it’s a torrential downpour of games. What are you all playing? Are you collapsing under the weight of your back log or are you somehow managing?