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Review: Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash

Oct 08 // Ben Davis
Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash (3DS)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: October 9, 2015MSRP: $29.99 In Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash, pint-sized aliens have invaded Earth, stealing resources along with everyone's favorite snacks, and it's up to Chibi-Robo and his partner Telly (who is now shaped like a computer) to save the day. Chibi-Robo will travel the globe, putting a stop to the aliens' plans and rescuing any snacks he might come across (all based on real name-brand snacks and candies from around the world). To navigate the areas around him, Chibi-Robo uses his plug as a whip to destroy enemies, collect items, grapple onto certain surfaces, or helicopter across pits. The plug can ricochet off of walls as well, opening up a lot of possibilities for interesting platforming as the player tries to angle the perfect shot in order to reach distant objects. The cord starts off rather short at a measly 6 inches at the beginning of each level, but it can be lengthened up to 120 inches by collecting blue orbs. [embed]314129:60631:0[/embed] Aside from the plug mechanics, there are plenty of jumping sections, puzzles to solve, enemy hordes to destroy, items to collect, and even a few levels which have Chibi-Robo skateboarding, wakeboarding, and traveling by balloon to reach the end. There are also some pretty cool boss fights to round out each world. Just looking at the platforming mechanics alone, Zip Lash is a perfectly competent entry to the genre. Each world changes things up with new ideas and interesting layouts, so that the gameplay doesn't become stale too quickly. Once again, Chibi-Robo's health is indicated by his power supply, which slowly depletes as he's moving around and decreases significantly if he falls into a pit or gets hit by an enemy. He can recharge at any outlet by inserting his plug, which will cost a few watts (watts are earned by recycling trash). He can also buy spare batteries as a backup. For the completionist gamers out there, each level is filled with several hidden collectibles to find, including the aforementioned name-brand snacks, special medallions, Chibi-Tots playing hide-and-seek, toys to talk to, and trash to clean up and convert into energy. If something is missed the first time through, levels can be replayed in order to search more thoroughly, but only after certain conditions are met. Which brings me to my least favorite aspect of Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash. Most platforming games like this feature a map with each level laid out on a path, which are then played sequentially. Zip Lash tries to subvert this common feature by implementing the "Destination Wheel." After each level, Chibi-Robo will spin the wheel to select a number. This number determines the amount of spaces he'll move on the map, which in turn determines the next level to play even if it's not the next level in the sequence. Once every level on a map has been discovered and beaten, the player can then proceed to the next map. Basically, this means that most people will be playing the levels out of order, which could have been a neat idea. The problem, however, is that maps are laid out in a circle, and if the player loops around and lands on a level they have already played, they will be forced to play it over again in order to proceed and pick another level. Because of this, this one simple idea of the Destination Wheel single-handedly demolished my excitement for Zip Lash. Being forced to replay levels due to bad luck is not a fun mechanic. The only reason I can think of for this to exist in its current state would be to artificially extend the game's length, and that's not something I can get behind. They even included a separate wheel to spin for boss levels, which is completely pointless and a waste of time as there's only one space on the entire wheel. The Boss Wheel might have been a funny joke if the Destination Wheel wasn't already such an annoyance. Granted, there are ways to sort of bypass the wheel. Wheel numbers can be purchased with moolah (the in-game currency) so that the player will be more likely to land on a number they want. It's also possible to get more than one spin, assuming the player was skilled enough to hit the gold or silver flying saucers at the end of the last level. Finally, once every level has been beaten and the world has been cleared, players will no longer have to spin the wheel for that world and can freely select whichever level they wish. If only it were possible to do that from the start... Unfortunately, the Destination Wheel wasn't the only problem I had with Zip Lash. As if being forced to replay levels due to poor spinning wasn't enough, certain areas of each level will only become accessible after the levels have been completed. These areas are totally optional and are only used for the chance to obtain costumes for Chibi-Robo (which can also be obtained by finding codes posted on Miiverse), but it still sucks to have to replay every level again, possibly for a third time or more if the player is really unlucky, just to find everything. I also had some problems with the lack of checkpoints during the skateboard/wakeboard segments, but that seems like a comparatively small issue next to everything else. All that wheel nonsense sadly soured Zip Lash for me, which is a huge shame because almost everything else about the game is fun and charming. The new platforming mechanics work well, the boss fights are exciting, and Chibi-Robo himself is as cute as always. I would have been content with this game had it not been for the awful Destination Wheel. If you're a die-hard Chibi-Robo! fan, or if the possibility of having to replay the same levels over and over again doesn't bother you too much, then Zip Lash might be for you. Unfortunately, it's tough for me to give this game a good recommendation after the frustrating time I had with it. I still love you, Chibi-Robo, but this was not your best effort! [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Chibi-Robo review photo
Poor little robot...
I've been a fan of Chibi-Robo! ever since the original was released for the GameCube back in 2006. It was a weird, adorable adventure game with a tiny robot who was tasked with cleaning up an enormous house, with happy musica...

Project X Zone 2 photo
Project X Zone 2

Can you sit through this 14-minute Project X Zone 2 trailer?

It's pushing it
Oct 08
// Chris Carter
I liked Project X Zone 2 well enough. It's basically another edition of the first game with more characters -- so it's going to be pretty easy to tell on paper if you're going to want to pick it up. For those of you on ...
Dragon Ball Z photo
Dragon Ball Z

Here's what the pre-order bonus for Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden looks like

Super Butoden 2, an SNES game
Oct 07
// Chris Carter
Some of my fondest gaming memories involve late-night fighting sessions with Dragon Ball Z games. The Butoden series was a classic, but I also played plenty of Dragon Ball Z: Legends on the original PlayStation, wh...
The baddies take Hyrule photo
The baddies take Hyrule

Skull Kid and Phantom Ganon announced for Hyrule Warriors Legends

Are you a kid now, or a ghost now?
Oct 06
// Jed Whitaker
Scans from Famitsu have confirmed that Skull Kid will be a playable character in Hyrule Warriors Legends for 3DS when it launches early next year. The leak also revealed that Phantom Ganon will show up as a boss, though ...
Colbertoid photo

Colbert is giving his audience an earful of The Legend of Zelda

Symphony of the Goddesses on Oct. 13
Oct 05
// CJ Andriessen
I have been to two performances of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The first was at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles for one of the three premier performances. The second time was this past summer at the Wa...
SMT IV Final photo
SMT IV Final

Shin Megami Tensei IV Final isn't a repeat

Don't be fooled by the name
Oct 05
// Jordan Devore
Atlus has been building to something Shin Megami Tensei related with a countdown. Thanks to Famitsu, we now know it's a new 3DS game, not rehash, called Shin Megami Tensei IV Final. It's expected to release February 10, 2016 ...
Zelda photo

Get a closer look at Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Warriors Legends

Oct 05
// Chris Carter
Hyrule Warriors Legends is set to debut on January 21 in Japan on 3DS, but for now, you can get a closer look at the new characters by way of the Zelda Musou Twitter account. New character model visuals are present for T...
Zelda photo

Zelda: Tri Force Heroes region locks online play

Nope, none of this
Oct 03
// Kyle MacGregor
Cloaked behind a curtain on the flank of Nintendo's overflowing E3 booth this year, the company set up an intimate corner for press to see the likes of Star Fox Zero and Super Mario Maker without having to deal with the swarm...
Zelda: CRY Force Heroes photo
Zelda: CRY Force Heroes

Tri Force Heroes' new tell-all trailer brings the puns and tears

Crying princesses, typical Nintendo
Oct 02
// Jed Whitaker
I really wish I hadn't seen this new tell-all trailer for The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes because now I'm both incredibly pumped and disappointed. I'm pumped because I didn't realize the game has online matchmakin...
Pokemon Rumble World photo
Pokemon Rumble World

Pokemon Rumble World is ditching its F2P scheme with retail release

In Japan
Oct 02
// Chris Carter
Well this is kind of cool. While I thought Pokémon Rumble World was rather fair with its free-to-play scheme, it will be getting a full retail release in Japan on November 19. It'll run you 3,700 yen (roughly $30 ...
Mewtwo amiibo photo
Mewtwo amiibo

The Mewtwo amiibo is up for pre-order now in the UK

Oct 02
// Chris Carter
Right now you can grab the Mewtwo amiibo off of Nintendo UK's official site for £10.99. The planned release date seems to be October 23, so you still have plenty of time to grab it, if the high volume of shipm...
amiibo photo

Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam uses 18 amiibo

Hey, I have one of those!
Oct 01
// Jordan Devore
Gosh, I keep forgetting about Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam. I've always been more of a Paper Mario man than a Mario & Luigi guy, but this fusion of the two RPG series showed promise at E3. They're both fun and funny on th...
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Freedom Planet

Also, Smash Bros. DLC
Oct 01
// Chris Carter
At last -- Freedom Planet is hitting the Wii U after multiple last-minute delays! If you happened to get the demo during the Nindies@Home promotion you'll get 15% off the full game. Also on Wii U is that last bit of Smas...

What does the Destructoid UK Team think of Tri Force Heroes?

Oct 01 // Laura Kate Dale
Joe Parlock - Pleasently Surprised Compared to a lot of people, I am an incredibly new Legend of Zelda fan. I didn’t play my first one in the series until earlier this year, starting with A Link Between Worlds. With the simple, responsive gameplay and fantastically designed puzzles, Between Worlds really made me fall in love with the series; I'm currently playing through Ocarina of Time on the 3DS for the very first time and am having a lot of fun with it. When I heard that there was to be a new Zelda with three-player co-op on the 3DS in the same style as A Link Between Worlds, I was immediately excited. Fortunately, I got to try Tri Force Heroes out with Destructoid’s own Laura Dale and an unsuspecting member of the public at EGX 2015 in Birmingham. Because Laura is apparently evil and cares little for the suffering of the less experienced of us, she guided our little team in to what was apparently the hardest level in the demo. There was lots of lava and lots of enemies, and considering the noise in the convention hall made communicating difficult, we died a lot. But god damn was it fun. In a lot of ways it reminded me of Portal 2’s amazing co-op mode: Working with other people to solve puzzles (or, rather, frantically yelling “PICK ME UP DAMN IT” over the blaring noise of the Nintendo stage at EGX), making in-game gestures to help each other understand what was going on on the screen, and having far too much fun killing my own teammates were all incredibly fun. Other than that, it felt just like the dungeons in A Link Between Worlds as their own expanded game. The boss fight saw us have to take the aggro of a big wormy thing, and then quickly pick each other up to do damage. It was just as well designed as anything from Between Worlds, and really made use of the co-op elements well. I do have one minor concern about the game, though. Much like Portal 2’s co-op, I’m not convinced Tri Force Heroes will have the staying power that makes games like Ocarina of Time and A Link Between Worlds so popular. Playing with somebody who already knows the solutions to all of the puzzles could potentially be a frustrating experience that could only be exacerbated as time goes on. I can’t imagine playing this with random people on the Internet would be much fun six months after release as it could be on launch. Overall though, I was blown away by my time with Tri Force Heroes. Not only did it prove to be a competent Zelda game to this newbie, it scratched that puzzle co-op itch I’ve had for four years now. I'm probably going to pick this up on day one, and I just need to convince Laura and Destructoid UK’s Vikki Blake to let me chuck them in lava come launch. I’m very excited. Laura Dale - Cautiously Optimistic As a long time dedicated fan of the Zelda series, I have been pretty excited for Tri Force Heroes since its announcement at E3. It may not be the sprawling single player epic I had initially hoped I would be playing at the end of this year, but the idea of dragging my friends into playing Zelda with me certainly has its own charms.  At E3 a few months back I focused on playing some of the demo's more entry level missions and exploring the grander scope of what the game is trying to do. You can have a read of those overview thoughts here. With my time with the game at EGX, I was more interested in trying the hardest level on show and seeing how far I could push the game in ways it perhaps was not meant to be pushed. I came away pretty pleased with the level of challenge offered to core players, but a little concerned by some of the multiplayer dungeon design. So, let's start with the positives. The volcano dungeon we played through at EGX was tough. A strong mix of puzzles and combat, I was most surprised to see how many of the puzzles risked injury and death if not completed in a timely manner. In place of simply sliding block puzzles, we instead had sliding block puzzles in tight spaces with lava spewing from the floor below. The challenge was not just work out how to complete this puzzle, but execute your solution as a team, with a very minor margin for error, or face punishment.  The added level of risk involved in executing puzzle gameplay really encouraged team discussion, forming solid plans of attack before moving and working together as a team very quickly. Team communication was vital, and that was a very pleasant surprise. I'm glad to see even seasoned Zelda veterans are going to have a hard time successfully navigating these dungeons. The boss of the volcano dungeon we faced was a particular highlight, standing toe-to-toe with many of the series' more memorable bosses in terms of mechanics. The boss would at any one time have eyes that glowed matching the tunic of one player. That player would be chased by the boss, but the other players wouldn't. Those players not being chased would have to get behind the boss, form a tower and attack the bosses raised tail. If you successfully harm the boss or it successfully harms you, the player being chased will switch up, instantly requiring the team to scramble and reformulate their layout. The boss was challenging, hectic, and just fast enough to pose an ever-present threat to the team as a unit. One of the more concerning aspects that popped up during my time with this demo however is that it was possible to get the team into positions where they could not progress, and using up one of the team's three continues was the only was to restart the section we were trapped in. From progressing from the starting platform before every player has picked an item from the pedestals provided to throwing a player onto a platform from which they could not get themselves back, there were a couple of places in the dungeon where careless play could result in an unwinnable situation. While this is currently just a demo, I would like to see a penalty-free way for the team to return to the beginning of the current room in the dungeon. Still, the more of Tri Force Heroes I play the more convinced I am that mechanically, this Zelda game is going to be what I am after. Challenging temples, frantic gameplay necessitating minimal margins of error, and boss designs that feel fresh and unique. Yep, I'm pretty pleased with what I'm seeing of Tri Force Heroes.
Tri Force Heroes photo
A lot of laughing and dying occurred
At the tail end of last week, UK editor Laura Dale and news team member Joe Parlock both whisked themselves away to the EGX games convention in Birmingham to play a bunch of unreleased video games. Looking for multiplayer gam...

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...

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