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Shovel Knight photo
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight amiibo probably coming to US early next year

Really early
Sep 30
// CJ Andriessen
Shovel Knight, the greatest hero to wield a shovel since The Shoveler, is getting his own amiibo. That we know. We also know this future garage sale item will most likely be hitting stores in Europe this November. What we don...
Chibi-Robo photo

Zip Lash may be 'the last chance' for Chibi-Robo

That's the latest word from Nintendo
Sep 30
// Jordan Devore
I have a browser tab open for a used copy of Chibi-Robo, and I don't trust myself to walk away. It's one of the few GameCube games I regret missing. But $60, if I'm lucky? I don't know. My mind is on the delightful household ...
Super Smash Bros.  photo
Super Smash Bros.

Hey, there's a bunch of new Smash Bros. content available

That Brawl pirate stage is back
Sep 30
// Laura Kate Dale
Hey Smash Bros. fans, guess what? A bunch of new content for Super Smash Bros. just dropped on Wii U and 3DS. The Wii U version of the game has had the pirate ship level from Brawl ($2 or £1.79) added to the mix, ...
Inside amiibo photo
Inside amiibo

Dig into an amiibo card and this is what you'll find

RIP Walker
Sep 29
// Jordan Devore
In the name of science, Michibiku tore into a duplicate Animal Crossing amiibo card to see what the innards would look like. About what you'd expect, really: a little chip and not much else. "Surprisingly, the tech isn't that...
Shovel Knight photo
Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight sales were dominated by PC, Nintendo platforms

32% on PC, 30% on 3DS
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
Recently at an event called Gaming Insiders, Nathan Vella of Capybara Games shared some indie sales figures with us, in an effort to shine a light on the indie industry. Apparently, Shovel Knight sold best on PC, with 32...
Mighty Gunvolt PC photo
Mighty Gunvolt PC

Mighty Gunvolt is headed to PC today

Free if you bought Azure Striker
Sep 29
// Chris Carter
If you bought Azure Striker Gunvolt at any point before today on PC, you'll net yourself a free copy of Mighty Gunvolt, which is now available. If not, you'll have to pony up $4.99 for the privilege. This version will sp...

Review: Skylanders: SuperChargers

Sep 28 // Chris Carter
Skylanders SuperChargers (3DS, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Vicarious VisionsPublisher: ActivisionReleased: September 20, 2015MSRP: $74.99 (Starter pack, two characters, vehicle, base, game) To be frank, I was worried about the state of Skylanders after Trap Team. I mean, sure, it was a great action game and still had its charms, but I was starting to think that Activision had been scraping the bottom of the barrel with its newest gimmick. With the vehicular-based focus however, Vicarious Visions has turned the formula on its head again, going back to basics with old-school, sensible tendencies. The focus here is vehicles, and not just cars. Land, sea, and air-based transportation is at the crux of the experience, with the Starter Pack providing the former. To be clear, there are elemental gates for ancillary content (forcing players to use certain toys to access some areas), but the fact that the entire core game can be completed with one land vehicle, and the vast majority of sidequests are accessible with just one sea and air toy respectively is a massive step up from past titles. Yes, you will have to spend a bit of extra cash to get everything, but I was completely satisfied with the main campaign on its own terms. Speaking of the toys themselves, they're still at the top of their game. All of the vehicles sport moving parts, and take me back to my Micro Machines days, racing cars across a table with glee. There are fewer new characters this time around in favor of the vehicles, which is fine in my book, as they're much easier to wrap your head around with three distinct varieties. Just like before, two players can play together on the same console with two different Skylanders -- here, a vehicle can be added to the mix with the new portal. Yes, that's one vehicle. While I initially thought it was a limitation, it actually feels like a more deliberate design choice, as sharing a ride is much more fun as a co-op experience. [embed]312286:60536:0[/embed] One person drives, and the other shoots -- it's that simple. With the touch of a button you can switch roles, should someone else want to take the driver's seat. Movement is intuitive, as the driver is only focusing on traversal, and the shooting bits cleverly make use of a reticle to avoid the need for the driver to always be in sync with their partner. In short, it allows everyone a ton of freedom, but it isn't too overwhelming of a prospect to hop from car to car. The story this time around doesn't require any prior knowledge of the series, which simultaneously works in its favor and hurts the setup. Once again, Kaos (who is still charming as "Not Invader Zim," but is getting a bit old at this point) reigns supreme, it's just that this time he's taken the noble Eon captive, leaving your ragtag team of Patrick Warburton and company to save the day. It's a plot that belongs in a Saturday morning cartoon, but the sleek visuals and upbeat performances sell it well enough. During the 10-hour campaign, you'll find plenty of variety when it comes to mission types, enemy patterns, themes, and gameplay. One moment you might be diving underwater in an obstacle course of sorts with a submarine, and the next, you're up in the air dogfighting, Star Fox style (yes, you can barrel roll). The pacing is excellent, and boss fights are seen in a whole new light as vehicular confrontations. But this time you'll have Mario Kart-esque races as a distraction as well, which are easily the best pieces of side content yet for the series. The entire affair feels thoroughly integrated into the game itself, without feeling like a tacked-on "me too" mode. One race for instance features a level populated by two giant dragons, who constantly are visible throughout the track, and occasionally pop out to cause havoc for the participants. Each level feels like it was given a sufficient amount of love, to the point where I'd put many of them on par with classics like Diddy Kong Racing and some of the best Mario Kart games. That's not to say that it completely measures up to its contemporaries. The item system feels limited, and the combat system in general (all cars can use their standard attacks during races) is disjointed, as some elements from the campaign don't quite work in this gametype. Plus, you'll need to buy a certain number of toys to access every track. No, it's not perfect, but again, as a side mode, it does its job and then some. Online play for the campaign and racing modes also don't hurt its case, on top of the revamped Triple Triad-like Skystones mini-game. I'm utterly surprised that Activision hasn't run this franchise into the ground yet. Skylanders: SuperChargers reinvigorates my interest in the series, and I'd go so far as to say that I wouldn't mind a full-on SuperChargers racing spin-off in the same vein as a proper Mario Kart game (note that the Wii and 3DS editions are racing games, essentially). After all, a little competition never hurt anyone -- maybe they can put that Crash Bandicoot license to good use. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. The Starter Pack and a few additional toys were provided as well.]
Skylanders review photo
Back to business
Year after year, I can generally count on the Skylanders games. I had zero hope for Spyro's return back in 2011, but every single iteration has been a competent brawler. While Activision can be accused of running franchi...

Zelda photo

Zelda: Tri Force Heroes' UK trailer is significantly less weird than the Japanese one

Less crying king
Sep 28
// Chris Carter
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes kind of snuck up on me. It's coming out in less than a month, and it feels like it was only just revealed. I'm looking forward to the Four Swords-esque cooperative scheme for sure, a...
Weird 3DS sale photo
Weird 3DS sale

After five years, Nintendo discounts an uneven list of 3DS games

Games for cheap you might not want?
Sep 28
// Steven Hansen
Nintendo games age somewhere in between a wine and a new car. We keep getting older and they just stay the same (price). The exception is in the "Nintendo Selects" line, which takes games that have already sold very well and ...
amiibo photo

Retailer-exclusive amiibo may be showing up at other stores

Greninja, Shulk, and Lucario
Sep 28
// Chris Carter
One of the worst things Nintendo ever did in terms of exacerbating the amiibo situation is make so many retailer-exclusive deals in North America. While everyone all over the world could find any amiibo in any location, the U...
Wayforward photo

Sup Holmes goes back to school with Wayforward's Austin Ivansmith

Sup Holmes every Sunday at 4pm EST!
Sep 27
// Jonathan Holmes
[Sup Holmes is a weekly talk show for people that make great videogames. It airs live every Sunday at 4pm EST on YouTube, and can be found in Podcast form on Libsyn and iTunes.] [Art by Kokosac.] Today on...
3DS cover plates photo
3DS cover plates

Nintendo has more New 3DS cover plates

Better late than never in North America
Sep 25
// Jordan Devore
If you've been thinking about upgrading to New 3DS but don't want the XL model, today is the day. The standard New 3DS is out now in North America along with some swappable cover plates. For the time being, the only way to ge...
amiibo Retro 3-Pack photo
amiibo Retro 3-Pack

The amiibo Retro 3-Pack is out today, comes with all four Game & Watch variants

Here's some pictures
Sep 25
// Chris Carter
Today, the Retro 3-Pack amiibo set went on sale, consisting of Duck Hunt, R.O.B., and Game & Watch. It's available for $34.99, and in an unprecedented manner, Nintendo seems to have overproduced this particular set, as it...
Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is getting new items in Japan

Next month
Sep 25
// Chris Carter
Starting October 1, new items will be hitting Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer in Japan. They're mostly Mario related, including question mark blocks, shells, coins, stars, and even the iconic end of level flag....
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Also, Extreme Exorcism
Sep 24
// Chris Carter
The 3DS is taking the center stage this week, but the Wii U has a few releases to tide you over. First up is Extreme Exorcism, as well as Starwhal, The Ignition Factor, Hold Your Fire: A Game About Responsibility, Beatbuddy, ...
Zelda: Tri Force Heroes photo
Zelda: Tri Force Heroes

Zelda: Tri Force Heroes will have 32 stages, boss rush mode

More details
Sep 24
// Chris Carter
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to games is an over-commitment to secrecy. Ok, I get that most big games need massive, hype-ridden PR campaigns, but Jesus, give us a bit of info every once in a while before you cha...
amiibo cards photo
amiibo cards

The first amiibo cards are up for pre-order

Animal Crossing Series 1
Sep 23
// Jordan Devore
Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the Animal Crossing amiibo cards. Be strong. 100 cards are in Series 1 and they're being sold in packs of six for $5.99. Currently, Amazon is limiting orders to four packs per person, thoug...
Pokemon photo

The Yo-Kai Watch anime debuts in October in the US

The next worldwide Pokemon?
Sep 22
// Chris Carter
There are a number of reasons why Pokémon took off overseas (the games were pretty damn good for one), but there's no doubt that the massive success of the TV show and movie series have played their part. Now, Nintendo...
Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

This gorilla wants to give you gifts in the new Animal Crossing

Do you trust him?
Sep 22
// Jordan Devore
I'm not sure whether to laugh or cry while looking at Louie. He initially seems funny in an off-brand Donkey Kong sort of way, but the longer I stare, the more unsettling his appearance becomes. He's headed to Animal Crossing...

Review: Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer

Sep 22 // Ben Davis
Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer (3DS)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoRelease Date: September 25, 2015MSRP: $39.99 Happy Home Designer puts the player in the role of interior decorator as an employee of the Happy Home Academy. It's your job to listen to clients' requests, fulfill their needs, and add your own bit of flair to their home designs. There are more than 300 villagers in need of decorating advice, and Isabelle will visit with requests to design public facilities around town. Each villager request will have a special theme to follow pertaining to their vision of an ideal home, such as "a tropical resort," "a forest of books," or "a bamboo playground." They'll bring along a few pieces of their favorite furniture which must be used in the design, but the rest is up to you. Design their yards, the exterior of their homes, and of course the inside as well, and try to fit the theme to make the clients happy. Isabelle will also drop by occasionally with requests to design larger public spaces, such as restaurants, schools, hospitals, and more. Many of these buildings have multiple rooms to decorate, each with their own set of requirements. These were the most fun for me, because I got to use items which I never wanted to use in my own home in previous Animal Crossing games, and the layouts were a lot different than what I was used to working with, so everything felt new to me. [embed]311329:60430:0[/embed] Every new request adds new items to the catalog of furniture at your disposal. Any of these new items are sure to make the client happy, although ultimately it really doesn't matter too much. They will be pleased as long as the furniture they brought along is used, and it's actually not possible to say that the house is finished until those items have been placed, so there's really no way to make any of the clients unhappy. This was the most disappointing thing about the game to me. I was hoping to be graded on my designs, with the ability to make clients happier with more thoughtful interior decorating skills or upset if their house turned out to be a disaster. In reality, they'll be just as happy if you take time designing a beautiful house as they will be if you walk in, unpack their boxes, and say that everything is finished without adding or moving anything at all. It's terribly unsatisfying, but I suppose it does give players the freedom to play however they like without the fear of upsetting any of the villagers. Fortunately, your designs can be graded by other players if you choose to upload them to the Internet via the Happy Home Network. Houses and public facilities can be rated by four different categories: cuteness, coolness, uniqueness, and the "I'd live here!" factor. If you find an interesting design online, you can visit that person's house to walk around and check it out before giving an assessment. It's a pretty neat feature and a good way to get some feedback, but it's not quite the same as having the game score your designs. That being said, designing rooms is still super fun, and easier than ever to do. Just drag, drop, and rotate furniture with the touch screen, add more items from the catalog, duplicate items with the L and R buttons, drag unwanted stuff to the trash can, and voila! No more slowly pushing and pulling furniture into place (but you can do that too if you want). Also, there are no bells to worry about, so the only limit to the amount of items which can be added to a room is the space afforded by the floor plan. Decorating rooms in Animal Crossing has never been simpler. There are also options to add ceiling fixtures, create your own custom designs, have Cyrus refurbish stuff, add background noise other than music, and more which can all be unlocked with Play Coins. Once a house or public space is finished, you're free to go back and visit it whenever to hang out with the residents or offer a remodel (although public spaces can only be remodeled after they have all been built). Villagers who have been helped already can be found walking around town, and new potential clients can also be found wandering around with thought bubbles above their heads. Finished public spaces will also be used by villagers, and their roles within the buildings can be chosen by the player (meaning you can decide which villagers are customers or employees). Happy Home Designer features support for amiibo cards. The game includes one amiibo card to start with, and more can be bought in packs for $5.99. The cards can be used to design homes for special villagers who wouldn't normally come by as clients. I got Lyle's card, for example, a higher-up at the Happy Home Academy, so I got to decorate my coworker's home. The cards can also be used to summon villagers to public spaces, so the town can be populated by all of your favorite villagers. That's essentially all there is to Happy Home Designer. Just design homes and admire the finished projects. But even for such a simple idea, I still find myself going back in to see which villagers are looking for a new home and how interesting their theme sounds. It's strangely addicting, and designing homes for some of the more offbeat villagers like the mad scientists, wrestling fanatics, and criminal masterminds is really fun. I just wish they had built in some kind of grading rhetoric for how well your designs resonated with the clients. There has always been a grading mechanic for your own homes in previous Animal Crossing games, where the Happy Home Academy would award points based on how well the furniture fit together, how everything was arranged, and so forth. It's strange they would scrap that idea for a game built entirely around the Happy Home Academy, but that's the way it is. I would recommend Happy Home Designer for anyone who really enjoys designing and decorating virtual spaces. If finding the perfect furniture for your house in Animal Crossing was your favorite part of the series, then you'll surely get some enjoyment out of this game. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Animal Crossing review photo
Comfortable living
Animal Crossing's home design feature was actually the thing that got me hooked on the series in the first place. Back when I was addicted to building houses in The Sims, one of my friends came over for a visit and broug...

Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors requires New 3DS to play in 3D

Needed the additional processing power
Sep 21
// Kyle MacGregor
While Hyrule Warriors Legends, an updated Nintendo 3DS port of last year's action game, will be compatible with older models of the portable, its stereoscopic 3D effects will not. Speaking with 4Gamer at Tokyo Game Show, prod...
Questions photo

Is there a fictional character that you'd follow anywhere?

I'm looking at you, Segata
Sep 20
// Jonathan Holmes
Back in the Atari 2600 days, it felt like there were only a few hundred video game characters throughout the industry as a whole, with only a few like Pac-Man or Pitfall Harry with any personality to speak of. These days it'...
Disney Magical World 2 photo
Disney Magical World 2

Disney Magical World 2 is pushing the Frozen property pretty hard

Much to my chagrin
Sep 19
// Chris Carter
So, Frozen. I must be one of the only people on the planet who doesn't like it. I mean, I love Elsa -- it's about time Idina Menzel and her amazing voice got the respect she deserves -- but the rest, including most of th...
Project X Zone 2 photo
Project X Zone 2

Nintendo characters join Project X Zone 2 cast

Chrom, Lucina, Fiora, oh my!
Sep 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Project X Zone was a nice bit of fan service, and the sequel seems to be taking things up a notch. In addition to featuring a procession of familiar faces from the vaults of Sega, Capcom, and Bandai Namco, Project X Zone 2 wi...

Monster Hunter Diary contains pure silliness, with plenty of cats

Sep 18 // Chris Carter
Diary DX is very much like Animal Crossing, or in a more relevant but more obscure comparison, Disney's Magical World. It's part simulator in the sense that you can roam around talking to other Palicos in the Monster Hunter universe, but the end goal is to participate in a bunch of mini-games located within each micro hub. The hub itself is made of different spokes, with the ability to fast travel instantly with the tap of the bottom screen. Palicos are front and center here, inhabiting each realm and going along for the mini-game rides. During my time with the demo I was able to play two such micro-games -- a pig race, and a Patapon-like sidescrolling adventure sequence. The former sees players betting on pig-riding Palicos, with the power to control a single rider, jumping over logs and other obstacles in the race for first. It's simple, and not something I'd likely want to do more than a few times in total. The Patapon bit was a tad more enjoyable, as it provides options as you follow a set path, like the choice to eat a mushroom, ignore it, or harvest the ingredients -- likewise, enemies can be approached with a stealth or combat option. For the most part, this seems really geared towards Monster Hunter fans, and it's something that the younger audience would enjoy more than a seasoned veteran of the franchise. Monster Hunter Diary DX was recently released this past week in Japan, with Mario and Tom Nook costumes. There's still no word on a localization, but it might be possible if the series continues to sell like gangbusters in the US.
Monster Hunter Diary DX photo
Did I mention the cats?
Monster Hunter Diary DX for the Nintendo 3DS is a silly game. That much is evident from watching the series of commercials presented on a nearby TV screen at TGS, which shows a variety of cats in a variety of different k...

Phoenix Wright 6 photo
Phoenix Wright 6

Phoenix Wright 6's setting marks the biggest departure for the core series

Also, dead people vision
Sep 18
// Chris Carter
I'm pretty happy that Phoenix Wright has permeated throughout the gaming industry. He has a full-on combat appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3, his own live-action film, a crossover with Professor Layton, and now, as a summon i...

7th Dragon III Code: VDS is uncompromising, or I suck at video games

Sep 18 // Brett Makedonski
[embed]311332:60431:0[/embed] Those two little bastards repeatedly killed me. Like, ten times straight. Each of their attacks would take off a third of my health, leaving me forced to use a health potion. They attacked again and I was right back where I started. When I got a blow in, it wouldn't defeat one of them (even my specials). Worse, because I didn't spend that time healing, I'd usually die on their next turn. I tasted victory once when it let me start the encounter with a preemptive attack. I think the game felt bad for me. With only a sliver of health left, I dealt the final strike and escaped the situation scathed but alive. Progress. Incredibly uncompromising and frustrating progress, but progress nonetheless. Seconds later, I hit another random encounter against the same two enemies but now with the amount of health I had after the first fight. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. I gave up. 7th Dragon III Code: VDS wasn't going to work out for me. I know when I'm bested, and I absolutely was. Maybe I was missing something important and it's really not all that hard. Maybe it's tough as nails. Whatever the case, it sent me packing with my tail between my legs, and it's been a long time since a demo has been able to do that to me.
RPGs that are hard af photo
Maybe both
As I spend the week demoing games that are entirely in Japanese, I accept that I'm not going to understand a lot of things. I know the kanji for "forest" and that's the extent of my fluency with the language. Dialogue's the f...

Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Free Shovel Knight DLC

Also, Skylanders
Sep 17
// Chris Carter
We already have a heads-up on what's going down this week on the Wii U and 3DS eShop, and the headliner is easily the free Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows update. This expansion will be integrated into the game by way o...
Ace Attorney 6 photo
Ace Attorney 6

Ace Attorney 6 trailer is looking pretty feudal

Nice beard, judge
Sep 17
// Darren Nakamura
Capcom has a new Japanese trailer up for the recently announced Ace Attorney 6. Though I don't know what they're saying, it has all the desk-pounding and witness-badgering we have come to expect from the series. Also, check o...

Very Quick Tips: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

Sep 17 // Chris Carter
General tips: Although Plague Knight's explosion is mostly meant for horizontal movement, you can actually trigger an up-explosion as well. It gives you a lot more control and is generally a whole lot safer. Note your invincibility frames during your explosion attack. You can briefly avoid damage with the initial blast, but anything that hits you directly after is fair game. Don't recklessly use the explosion to avoid constant damage. Additionally, getting hit allows you to start charging an explosion, and since Plague Knight flinches quite a bit, you'll want to remember this. You can also charge during screen transitions and in-game animations. The best time to use health potions is either the start of a level you are confident with, or right before a boss fight. Don't waste precious temporary health slots on a blind run of a stage until you learn the layout. If you find a potion on the way to a boss and are at the maximum allotment, drink one to pick it up. Attacking mid-air delays your descent, but you'll need to attack more than once to cue the slow. You can also combo into more explosions to nudge over to a ledge or avoid enemies on the ground. Collect the Cipher coins -- seriously. If you avoid everything else, including cash, just get the Coins. They're vital to opening up more upgrades in the shop. Though the standard equipment is enough to complete the entire game, the host of options available might suit your personal playstyle better.
Shovel Knight tips photo
I can dig it...wait
Much like Shovel Knight, the Plague of Shadows expansion was pretty top-notch. Since the new anti-hero controls rather differently than the titular hero, I figured I'd share a few tips in regards to the changes.

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