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2D will ride again! photo
2D will ride again!

More footage from the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter


2D will ride again!
May 22
// Steven Hansen
Last month we finally got a look (in video form) at the new 2D Dragon Ball Z fighter from BlazBlue developer Arc System Works. One month ahead of its Japanese release date, Bandai Namco has released another decent length loo...
Splatoon amiibo photo
Splatoon amiibo

Here are some closeup shots of the Inkling Boy Splatoon amiibo


Love that detail
May 21
// Chris Carter
A few months ago I shared some closeup shots of the Mario Party amiibo line, and you guys seemed to really enjoy it, so here we are today with the Inkling Boy figure. I've been playing Splatoon for over a week now (revie...
Lord of Magna photo
Lord of Magna

Lord of Magna is nearly here, so have a website and a tutorial video


Have it all!
May 21
// Chris Carter
Lord of Magna looks like a fun little strategy romp on 3DS. I haven't played it yet, but I'm hoping to get my hands on it soon. In the meantime, XSEED has opened up a new website for the game, and dropped a new tutorial video that explains the combat a bit. In short, it looks a lot like Valkyria Chronicles, where it's more action-based, sans grid. I'm down with that.
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Mega Man May is nearly over with Mega Man Zero 2


Also, Swords and Soldiers II
May 21
// Chris Carter
This is a pretty massive week for the eShop, which I don't get to say that often. Seriously, I'm psyched!The Wii U is getting Swords and Soldiers II today, which is a pretty fantastic (local-only) little strategy game. M...
Pokemon Mystery photo
Pokemon Mystery

Nintendo announces Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, launching this year


Winter 2015
May 21
// Chris Carter
Nintendo has revealed a new entry in the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon franchise -- Super Mystery Dungeon. Not a whole lot is known at this time outside of the fact that it will feature more randomly generated layouts, an...
Samurai Warriors photo
Samurai Warriors

Samurai Warriors 4-II and Chronicles 3 are coming westward this year


The latter is for 3DS and Vita
May 20
// Chris Carter
Are you ready for more Samurai Warriors? No? Too bad! Koei Tecmo has just announced the localization of a pair of games from the series.  Samurai Warriors Chronicles 3 is up first, which will be available exclusivel...
eShop photo
eShop

Anonymous European developer speaks out on the woes of the eShop


Low sales occur more than you'd think
May 20
// Chris Carter
The Wii U and 3DS eShops (the latter in particular) are a great source of original games. While disc-based titles are often thrown by the wayside by third-parties on the Wii U, there's a ton of exclusive content on there that...
No weapon durability photo
No weapon durability

Fire Emblem If changes up series-staple weapon triangle


Magic, bows, concealed weapons
May 19
// Steven Hansen
The lack of weapon degradation isn't the only difference to the upcoming Fire Emblem If's combat. The swords-beat-axes-beat-lances-beat-swords triangle is changing, too, Famitsu reports (picked up by Hachima Kikou and transla...
Club Nintendo Europe photo
Club Nintendo Europe

Club Nintendo Europe just got three new 3DS themes


500 Stars
May 19
// Chris Carter
Still clinging on to your Club Nintendo account? I have a few hundred Coins left -- I'll probably wait until the last minute to spend them. All you Europeans out there now have a new set of 3DS themes to take a gander at thou...
Sad Miku photo
Sad Miku

Sega slaps Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX with a delay


Oh, good...
May 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Hatsune Miku: Project Mirai DX will not be launching next week, as was originally the plan. The Nintendo 3DS rhythm game has been delayed until September 8 in North America and September 11 for Europe, Sega just announced alo...
Lord of Magna photo
Lord of Magna

Get a load of Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven's cast


Out next month on 3DS
May 18
// Chris Carter
Next month, Lord of Magna: Maiden Heaven will arrive on the 3DS, both digitally and physically. It's a strategy RPG that features a pretty interesting cast, which you can check out in the official video above. Looking at the actual gameplay involved, it looks pretty charming -- everything is colorful and pops out of the screen. Expect my review sometime in June.
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo talks restocks of Marth, Ike, and Meta Knight amiibo, but again, it's 'limited'


Haha, limited to disappointment
May 15
// Chris Carter
Nintendo took to Facebook today to assuage fears of US amiibo restocks, noting that Marth, and "a few other amiibo like Meta Knight and Ike" (gotta love the vagueness, like they don't know who exactly was reprinted) will...

Review: Stretchmo

May 15 // Chris Carter
Stretchmo (3DS)Developers: Intelligent SystemsPublisher: NintendoReleased: May 14, 2015Price: Free-to-play with microtransactions ($9.99 for everything) The way Stretchmo's microtransaction setup works is very confusing at first glance. Initially, you'll have access to a select few intro puzzles. After that, there's one 100 level pack for $4.99, three 50 level packs for $2.99 each, and the option to buy all of them for $9.99 upfront. If you buy each add-on individually, there's a small discount for purchasing more. My guess is that the series didn't perform as well as Nintendo would have hoped outside of Japan, so they want to give international players a chance to "get a taste" for a few bucks. Whatever the case may be, it's not a bad idea as it basically functions as a demo, outside of the fact that there is no way to sample individual packs. As for the game itself, it's pretty much business as usual outside of one new addition. Our heroes will have to solve various block puzzles and reach a predetermined goal (usually at the top of the heap) by pulling and pushing them into submission to create new paths to jump and cross. In this edition you'll have the power to "stretch," blocks on the side, which actually adds quite a bit of depth to the proceedings. You'll soon learn that blocks can be manipulated in a multitude of different ways from every single angle, creating some of the most taxing puzzles yet. Intelligent Systems also brought back the convenient zoom feature, as well as the effective 3D technique, which makes it very easy to move about each creation. Beyond that one new mechanic Stretchmo's gimmick is found in its various level packs, which all have a different theme and character. The 100 core levels are hosted by Mallo, and are actually the easiest of the bunch -- some of which are even remedial. If you enjoy the core Pushmo experience, I'd recommend picking them up, but they aren't anything special. [embed]292153:58540:0[/embed] Poppy is next in line, with items that are themed after real-life objects. While her 50-stage gauntlet has a bit of charm to it it's only marginally more difficult than Mallo's adventure, and I wouldn't say that it's essential in any way. Corin on the other hand kills it with the Fortress of Fun. This add-on brings in more gadgets, including full-on enemy characters to deal with. They remind me of the Sackbots from the Little Big Planet series in that they're crudely designed and only sport a base-level AI, but they're probably the most innovative addition to the series yet, because nearly every level is crafted around avoiding them and jumping on their heads. It adds a degree of twitch action that wasn't really present before. Papa is the last pack in the bunch, and his theme is old NES classics. You'll find levels designed around retro art like an 8-bit Mario head, much like the maps that so many players have created and shared on their own. This add-on however has the benefit of being the most difficult set of levels in the game, and when you add in the stretch ability, I'd be comfortable with making the claim that they're actually some of the biggest challenges in the entire series. For those who are interested, yes, Stretchmo still has a creation studio (that's enabled after you make one purchase). It can read QR codes just like the old iterations, and your gadget unlocks are tied directly to your progress in each pack. In other words, if you want enemies you'll have to buy Corin's levels, and so on. [embed]292153:58557:0[/embed] While all of this is generally pretty great, there are a few downgrades in comparison to the previous version. In particular, the Pushmo World Fair feature from the Wii U release is sorely missed. Although the idea of socially sharing your QR codes with one another is cool, I loved the ability to instantly jump in and casually browse through online creations, even if I didn't play all of them. I also miss the screen real estate provided by the GamePad, which has since spoiled me. Still, the new concepts presented in two of the level packs (Fortress of Fun and NES Expo) make up for it. If you've never given Pushmo a fair shake before, trying out the free stages in Stretchmo is a great way to start. While I'd generally recommend going the full mile and buying the whole thing outright, you can also just spring for the Fortress of Fun for a few bucks and come out on top. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Strechmo review photo
Sure, I'll push some mo'
Nintendo has been silently crafting some killer franchises over the years. While he may not light up sales as much as Mario, after four years, I'd consider Pushmo's Mallo to be a fully-fledged Nintendo character. Now he's back in his fourth game on the 3DS in the form of Stretchmo, which adopts a rather odd free-to-play scheme that essentially functions as a demo.

LEGO photo
LEGO

LEGO Jurassic World releases alongside the new movie on June 12


Walk the dinosaur
May 14
// Jordan Devore
Jurassic World opens on Friday, June 12. I'm skeptical, but I'll probably wind up seeing it anyway for the trained raptors. TT Games' LEGO Jurassic World, which spans the four films, releases the same day for all major conso...
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Mega Man May continues with Mega Man Battle Network 3


Also, Stretchmo
May 14
// Chris Carter
Mega Man May is still going strong in its second week, which will see the debut of Mega Man Battle Network 3 (Blue and White) on the Wii U Virtual Console. Also on the Wii U is Nihilumbra, Ultratron, Funk of Titans,...

Review: Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition

May 14 // Chris Carter
Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition (3DS)Developer: GungHo Online EntertainmentPublisher: GungHo Online Entertainment (JP) / Nintendo (EU, US)Released: April 29, 2015 (JP) / May 8, 2015 (EU) / May 22, 2015 (US)MSRP: $29.99 It's not just a checkmark on the side of a game box -- this 3DS package really is two full games in one. You'll get the traditional Puzzle & Dragons experience with Z, as well as a Super Mario Bros.-centric romp. But even the former feels like it was severely influenced by Nintendo, which is definitely a good thing. In the world of Z, Dragon Tamers roam the land in search of adventure, much like Pokémon Trainers. Hell, it even has the option to choose between a male and female protagonist, and the story starts off in your house with a conversation with your mom. It gets even more on the nose from there with a "D-Gear" instead of a Pokédex, and the presentation of red, blue, and green monsters as your first party members. Truth be told, despite how familiar this setup is, and how much the generic story drags at times, it's far more endearing than the gambling nature of the free-to-play mobile game. The events of the story are set in motion by a massive earthquake from the evil organization Team Rocket Paradox, but the world is more captivating than the actual characters or events involved -- odds are you'll be skipping a lot of dialogue. Thankfully, the creature designs in Puzzle & Dragons are interesting to fight and discover, as they look wholly unique, and even while battling static monsters with just a few animations on-screen the game still has a ton of charm. If you do happen to dig the story though, you'll quickly suffer a degree of disappointment, as it takes a backseat in favor of dungeon crawling and constant battling. [embed]291810:58494:0[/embed] Remember, the core principle is to match three orbs on a grid to damage your enemies. You'll drag and drop them on the bottom screen using your stylus, and said orbs will initiate attacks based on elements that you match. So for instance, a simple activation of three fire orbs will kick off a small fire attack from your appropriate party members, but a huge combo of red and blue will see a stronger counter from multiple party members. Matching more than three will also queue up more devastating attacks, and so on -- you've seen this before. Puzzle & Dragons does have a few nuances in place to differentiate itself though, like an active time gauge to keep you on your toes (allowing you to create combos while you're at it), the ability to target specific enemies with the D-pad, and a rock-paper-scissors mechanic with the elements involved. It also has a light amount of party building, as the best way to succeed is to diversify your setup to allow the most coverage in terms of orb attacks. Each character also has a super that can be used every so often, like a direct-damage power or an ability to change up colors of specific orbs. It's not incredibly deep, but there's some meat to it, especially when you pick up more characters and start making decisions on who to use, as well as who to upgrade, and who to sacrifice to make existing party members stronger. As it turns out, the Super Mario Bros. portion of the game is fairly remedial. If you've never played a match-three before or have children, you'll want to play this one first. It has the same basic gameplay, but with a new "story" that involves Mario and the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom, including the lovable Koopa Kids. As usual the plot is fast-tracked here, with Bowser once again capturing Peach due to the power of "mysterious orbs" from the P & D franchise. That swift pace carries on throughout the experience, and it's rather jarring to go from the sprawling Z to this.Remedial as it may be, it has some challenging spots, and it's still worth playing if you dig puzzle games. The thrill of building a party is still present, and although the world isn't all that engaging (it feels as lifeless as the first "New" game on DS), most Nintendo fans won't pass up the chance to fight and capture classic characters like Goombas or Piranha Plants. It's disappointing that the Mario part isn't as fleshed out, but it's more excusable when you add in the fact that the core Z experience is worth the price of entry alone.Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition isn't likely to wow anyone, but it's a pretty comprehensive package that would make a great gift to any match-three addict. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Puzzle & Dragons review photo
Two games in one
Puzzle & Dragons came out some time ago in 2012, and has since taken the world by storm. Although its origins started as a humble match-three puzzle game, GungGo Online cleverly added in slot machine-like addictive qualit...

Silver Mario amiibo photo
Silver Mario amiibo

Nintendo finally spills the official beans on the Silver Mario amiibo


Not exclusive
May 14
// Chris Carter
[Update: I am being told by a source at GameStop that Silver Mario will not be available for pre-order, and should be in-store on May 29 for purchase. "No replenishment" is the expectation being communicated to stores na...

NERO collectibles guide part two: The Hospital and The Desert

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter Three: The Hospital Piece 1: This chapter's first piece is down the stairs at the beginning. It's right next to the text "He needs his mom. He needs comforting." Piece 2: This is the first collectible in the game that NERO really makes you work for. It's locked behind a door that can only be opened by solving a puzzle. This room's off to the right after entering the hospital. The puzzle is completed by lining up the three holes in the bookshelf and throwing a light orb at the activation switch. Piece 3: Now that we're properly in the hospital, we see that there are a ton of optional rooms to go into, and even multiple floors. We'll tackle everything on the ground floor first before moving upstairs. Keep an eye out for signs denoting rooms, as it'll help you find the right place for collectibles. The third piece is pretty simple. It's in the left side of the restaurant. The restaurant is right by the words "Work needs me. We have bills to pay." Piece 4: Move past the open courtyard to find a receptionist's desk. The fourth piece is behind it, by the phrase "There is nothing, nothing left to be done. What's the point?" Piece 5: Staying on the lower level, you'll find a room marked "Pharmacy" which is near "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece number five is in the pharmacy. Piece 6: This one's in the men's bathroom, which is a bit past "I try to be collected, to not cry when he looks at me for strength." Piece 7: Now we've cleared out the ground floor and can move upstairs. I took the stairs by the restaurant, but there are many paths leading up. The next collectible is sort of near the text "Tell David not to fear, I will be there waiting for him in a better place." But, it's kind of off on its own without anything too describable nearby it. Piece 8: Find the room marked "Women's Ward" and move through it to find the eighth piece. Piece 9: Here's another that requires some work. This one's also in the Women's Ward, and it's locked behind another door. Solve the puzzle to be granted access to the ninth piece. Piece 10: Still on the upper floor, there's a room called "Supervised Observation" that houses this piece. Piece 11: Make your way around the upstairs to the Men's Ward. Work your way through here to find a side room with the penultimate piece of the puzzle. Piece 12: After opening the gates, go down the stairs to find the final piece resting in the room that also contains the chapter's final puzzle. Chapter Four: The Desert Piece 1: At the beginning of the level, there's an anchor made of rock to the right. The first piece is up against it. Piece 2: Continuing down the path from the rock anchor, veer a bit to the left to find this piece in plain sight across from the giant glowing artifact. Piece 3: Now get close to the artifact, as the third piece is right alongside it. It's near the text "I never meant for any of this to happen. I'm so sorry." Piece 4: Moving forward, there are some monkey statues that are covered in moss. The next piece of the puzzle is right in front of the central one. Piece 5: You'll eventually come across the words "It's all my fault. I should've seen it coming." The fifth piece is a bit beyond that down a short path to the left. Piece 6: You don't have to go far to get to the next collectible. It's just beyond the fifth one, and it's in between the trees with glowing cracks in their branches. Piece 7: This one has quite the picturesque view! It's on the cliffside immediately behind "I could have done better. I should have done better." Piece 8: The eighth piece is hard to miss. After crossing the rope bridge, it's just waiting right on the other side, ready to be collected. Piece 9: After opening the gate, this one's right on the other side by the words "It wasn't meant to end like this." (I redacted some text from the narrator on this screenshot that could be considered a spoiler. I did this on the last image too. Although, if you've made it this far, you probably don't care much about spoilers.) Piece 10: We're getting awfully close to the end. The tenth piece is up the path and to the left of the previous one. It's a little ways before "Why should the ending be more important than the moments leading up to it?" Piece 11: Before going inside the lighthouse, this piece is just beyond the stone ramp leading up to the entrance. Piece 12: Finally! The last piece! As you're ascending the lighthouse's spiral staircase, this one will be about halfway up out on a balcony. Pat yourself on the back for finding all 48 pieces and putting together all four puzzles. In case you missed it, here's part one of the NERO collectibles guide, which covers The Caves and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
Well, we have 24 of NERO's puzzle pieces in the bag, which means there are 24 to go. The second half of the NERO collectibles guide features The Hospital and The Desert.  No sense wasting any time; let's jump right into it. If you don't know the drill, part one of the guide has all the details.

NERO collectibles guide part one: The Caves and The Forest

May 14 // Brett Makedonski
Chapter One: The Caves Piece 1: In a house off to the right at the very beginning. The text near the house reads "These brigands had dozens of hideouts scattered throughout the oceans." Piece 2: Off to the right of the first puzzle. It's behind an orange plant and a tree with three branches coming out of the ground. Piece 3: Shortly after the first puzzle. Right in front of the text "small waterfalls and underground rivers kept the caves humid for mushrooms to fluorish." Piece 4: In the room where you get the light ability. Down the right-hand path from "One of those contraptions was blocking the passage in a dark room filled with crystals." Piece 5: Shortly after the text saying there are two paths up ahead. It's to the right of the multi-tiered waterfall. Piece 6: Take the left-hand path. The sixth piece is directly behind the text that reads "A giant torso of an ancient god made of stone was crying water to the lower room." Piece 7: This one is in the room with the three monkeys puzzle which is necessary to progress. It's off to the right side of the door. Piece 8: You'll soon come back out to another empty village. The eighth piece is in the house with the words "An opening in the rocks gave enough light and several ponds of fresh water served the brigands well." You have to go around the side of the house, though. Piece 9: There's a ramp leading down to a puzzle with nine circles. The next piece is right on the other side of the ramp. Piece 10: Just to the right of "Long and dark was the road David walked to meet his fellow brigands, but the sense of love they felt for each other helped." Piece 11: The eleventh piece is up on the balcony under the text "There was something magic about that place, something romantic about the songs the brigands sang in the evenings." Piece 12: The Caves' last piece is in a puzzle room where the far wall has three circles with rotating dots on it. This piece is to the right of that behind a large stone. Chapter Two: The Forest Piece 1: This one is right at the beginning of the level, behind and to the left of the words "In a remote area of the world, existed a place filled with wonders and beauty." Piece 2: This piece is a bit in no man's land. It's far out in the field behind the text "Right in front of the tree, David had decided to found the village." It's nestled among three giant glowing mushrooms. Piece 3: After opening the gate, you'll see the words "They already gave their assessment, they won't save him, so I will at least try to." It's in the nook behind this and between the buildings. Piece 4: Shortly after the last piece, walk to the base of the waterfall to find this one. If you're having trouble, it's behind the words "It is taught that even today those glowing animals are still lighting those houses, giving the village a sense of false life." Piece 5: This one can be found while walking through the village. It's behind the text "The villagers built an elaborate stone bridge in order to cross the small river ending at the waterfall." Piece 6: After a mandatory puzzle that opens a gate, there's a clock puzzle a bit ahead and to the left. Along the left-hand side of the clock puzzle will be a little nook containing the next piece. Off in the distance is the text "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker." Piece 7: After the words "That site had a strange attraction and for the villagers it was also connected to something even darker," follow the path under an arch. Hang a left before the words "He's sounds asleep, how long have you kept watch?," and the next piece is resting in a field. Piece 8: This piece is right behind a very large tombstone puzzle. The text in front of the puzzle reads "He asks for you, you know. He wants you to read him the giant jellyfish story this time." Piece 9: From the last piece, keep walking directly backward from the giant tombstone. This piece is at the entrance to a canyon which leads to another puzzle. Piece 10: After the tree falls, the tenth piece is just to the left of the text "The treatment just needs more time." Piece 11: Eventually, you'll find yourself in a cemetery. Take the right-hand path by the text "A statue representing a goddess was placed beneath the open mausoleum, it is said that the ghostly figures would gather there by night," and the next piece is hiding in an open stone structure. Piece 12: Progress just a bit further through the graveyard until you see the words "Strange to say and to see, the mausoleum was the only bright and lively part of the cemetery." The Forest's last piece is directly behind this text in another stone building. Good job! That's half of the game in the books. Here's the guide to the second half -- The Hospital and The Desert.
NERO guide photo
Let's put together a jigsaw puzzle!
NERO is an experience in exploration that beckons for the player to scour every inch of its world. Scattered across the game's four levels are 48 puzzle pieces, and they're hidden in every nook and cranny imaginable. Parts of...

Sega's Thunder Blade makes a fierce return in the 3D Classics Series

May 13 // Alessandro Fillari
Originally released in 1987, Thunder Blade brings players to the helm of a heavily armed attack helicopter as they battle waves of foes in tanks, jets, and battleships across a variety of locations. Much like the other Sega offerings of its time, the story is kept light in favor of offering accessible and fast arcade-style gameplay. You're the good guy, everyone else is bad -- shoot them. Though unlike most other shoot-'em-up titles, Thunder Blade features a unique take on perspective, as the action will transition from an overhead angle to the over-the-shoulder look similar to Space Harrier during key sections of the stage. This dynamic switch of perspective made it a welcome fit for the 3D remaster. "We felt that this point of view was extremely well suited for a stereoscopic 3D conversion," said producer Yosuke Okunari. "When we went to actually build the game out in 3D, we found that it gained a very unique sense of actually being suspended in their air, and was even more impactful than the original game. This same thing happened with 3D Galaxy Force II, where by implementing stereoscopic 3D, the game's visual view point style transcended in to its final form, you could say." Thunder Blade has made the transition quite well, and the new hardware has done wonders for the gameplay. The frame rate is rock solid, and the controls for the 3DS are super sharp and make controlling the attack chopper feel very accurate. The left stick controls movement and altitude, while both shoulder buttons control speed (increase and decrease). Though the 3DS is a far cry from the control scheme found on the original arcade release -- which featured a flight stick and a special chair that sought to emulate the cockpit of a helicopter -- I can safely say that 3D Thunder Blade is a fine port, and the action still kept me on my toes during the hectic battles. Much like the other 3D Classic titles, Thunder Blade makes exquisite use out of the new 3D visuals and hardware. One of the most striking elements is its depth of view during altering perspectives, and the new 3D visuals do well to enhance the view and sense of movement during the action. Though the draw distances unfortunately haven't been improved, I was still quite impressed with how the visuals sharpened up. Interestingly enough, the transition to 3D meant having to design the new visuals around the new perspectives independently, and layering them on top of one another. "For this version, we had to implement 3D separately for each of these three types of scenes," said the producer. "The boss stages were particularly difficult. The original game actually had preset depths. Even more so than some of the Genesis games, there were a number of situations where we wouldn't really have to worry about if we left them in 2D, suddenly [having] paradoxical situations when we put them into 3D." "Thunder Blade has three types of gameplay for every stage. The first are scenes that are from the top-down, which allow you to fully appreciate and enjoy changing your helicopter’s altitude. The second are scenes that are 'over the shoulder,' which are reminiscent of After Burner II. The last are the boss battles, where you are not able to change your altitude but you are placed into a forced-scroll situation where you can control your speed and progression. There are no other games that allow you to experience these three types of gameplay all in a single game." Though they were keen on keeping the 3D remaster as it was with the original title, they did implement some new features -- both out of necessity and the desire to include new content with the original game. As some areas didn't take to the new 3D visuals too well, such as shadows glitching out and boss battles resulting in odd bugs, they had to be cut in order to preserve the experience. But in order to make up for this, they implemented a stage that's brand new to the original Thunder Blade. Okunari stated that the new level will be consistent with the rest of the game and really offer an exciting finish. "The new stage feels natural and uses the graphical style of the era, all while taking advantage of the stereoscopic 3D to deliver a scene where you flying into the center of a base, reminiscent of the final Death Star scene in Return of the Jedi. The boss has a really awesome background to it as well, so I encourage everyone to check it out." Not only that, there's the new Arrange mode which is unlocked after completing the arcade mode. In Arrange Mode, players will control an alternate helicopter with different weapons and tackle stages that have some additions to them. While the the original arcade mode is exciting, the extra content goes above and beyond what I expected. I was pretty damn pleased with how 3D Thunder Blade turned out. It helped to scratch that shooter itch I had after playing Space Harrier and After Burner, and Thunder Blade definitely holds its own. While the style and approach is a bit different, I still found it to be a welcome addition to the Classics series. And it's a fine 3D remaster, too. This title is a good one to close out the spring phase of the Classics series, and it'll definitely hold you over till the summer titles come a knocking.
Sega 3D Classics photo
Sans crazy arcade installation
It's been a real joy re-experiencing classic titles from Sega's past. With the recent releases of Outrun and Fantasy Zone II bringing back some serious nostalgia trips, the folks at Sega have still got plenty of 3D remasters ...

Review: NERO

May 13 // Brett Makedonski
NERO (Xbox One [reviewed], PC, Wii U, 3DS)Developers: Storm in a TeacupPublisher: ID@XboxReleased: May 15, 2015 (Xbox One), TBA (PC, Wii U, 3DS)Price: $19.99 But to spend a little more time in NERO's world is a wondrous thing. The omnipresent phosphorescent set-dressing strikes a dissonant chord against the subject material, but works in an odd mutuality. When hope seems like it's sure to slip away forever, the aesthetic inspires in an underlying way. Hey, maybe things will turn out all right after all. As this is a foray through a child's mind who's going through uncertain realities, nothing about NERO is metaphorically black and white. The journey is paced however you see fit. Meandering about is enticing, as everything about it begs for exploration. Backtracking is likely to occur often, as you realize you've been staring at the lustrous sky for too long and forgot to pay attention to your surroundings. Every time this happens, you'll fall a little more in love with NERO. Wandering off the beaten path has its benefits beyond taking in more scenery. NERO is a first-person puzzle-solving game, but it can be very light on the latter if you so choose. The majority of the puzzles are tucked away in areas that aren't even necessary to venture to. Those who opt to complete these brain-teasers will be awarded with an extra slice of narrative. [embed]292028:58522:0[/embed] Honestly, those who take the quick and narrow path through NERO are robbing themselves -- not just of a few puzzles, but of the core experience. It's a game where you slowly figure out that aimless wandering is the aim. It's something that requires some marinating, soaking in the world to fully appreciate it. Approaching NERO with a destination in mind is a mindset that will result in disappointment. Likewise, those who appreciate clearly drawn lines will similarly feel frustration. NERO is intentionally ambiguous at all times about its narrative, but its tone is always striking. Different thematic accents constantly punctuate different scenes; the ones that don't happen to arch over the course of the entire journey. For all the discussion it's sure to raise regarding plot, it's undoubtedly a story of love and loss, grief and guilt, companionship and family, and coping when the world is so goddamn unfair. All that being said, NERO isn't perfect. Detractors will knock it for a short run-time, flat textures, frame rate stutters, and lack of puzzle variety. However, isolating those issues is akin to missing the forest for the trees. There's something greater at play here, and letting yourself become immersed in NERO will likely render those shortcomings moot. Even after finishing, it's difficult to pin NERO down to a concept or feeling that's easy to explain. It's a game that prioritizes emotion above all else, and it does so wonderfully. But as the boy at the heart of this tale learns, emotions are tough to understand, and thus NERO is tough to understand. You'll just know that you felt something, and that sensation alone is worth the journey.
NERO review photo
A strange and distant land
I don't know why I kept playing NERO. That's not a statement meant to express disdain. I literally don't know what -- but something -- drew me to keep trekking through this sad, enamoring world. Its gravitas has a gravity abo...

Pushmo photo
Pushmo

The fourth Pushmo game is out in Japan, free-to-play


Interesting
May 13
// Chris Carter
The first three Pushmo games were pretty fantastic, and as of this week, Japan has another entry in the series. It's called Pushmo: Hippa Land, and it's a free-to-play release for the 3DS. No, it's not completely free -...
Dragon Quest 3DS photo
Dragon Quest 3DS

Dragon Quest VIII is coming to Nintendo 3DS


...in Japan on August 27
May 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Good lord, am I excited. Also, scared. Dragon Quest VIII is coming to Nintendo 3DS, which is potentially the best news ever or a harbinger of the apocalypse. You know, depending on whether Square Enix intends to localize the ...
Marth photo
Marth

The Marth amiibo restock situation doesn't look good at GameStop either


Only a few per store
May 12
// Chris Carter
We've talked about it at length before -- the great Marth amiibo restock of May. Well, it doesn't seem all that great so far. Amazon was trickling out select orders through the day last Saturday (and were, for all intents and...
Fire Emblem photo
Fire Emblem

Fire Emblem if will have a 'Phoenix Mode,' also removes weapon limit


Also, nine save files
May 12
// Chris Carter
In addition to the whole "permadeath" thing, having a limit on weapon uses is one of the most taxing aspects of the Fire Emblem series. You have to constantly decide whether or not it's even worth attacking someone with ...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo unveils European release dates for the next amiibo waves


Yar, there be a shit storm a brewin
May 12
// Chris Carter
Nintendo of Europe has let the cat out of the bag in regards to the availability of European amiibo. The next wave involves Ganondorf, Palutena, Dark Pit, and Zero Suit Samus, which will debut on June 26. After that, Dr. Mari...
Emulation photo
Emulation

The first commercial 3DS game's been successfully emulated


Don't get your hopes up just yet
May 12
// Joe Parlock
Emulation’s in a weird legal grey area that’s all kinds of fascinating to me. The actual bit of software designed to play ROMs is legal, but the BIOS file that makes it run? You usually have to acquire them throug...

Review: Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains

May 11 // Chris Carter
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (3DS)Developer: Spike ChunsoftPublisher: AtlusReleased: May 12, 2015MSRP: $39.99 Just like the TV show, you'll embark upon a campaign that takes place across multiple points of view -- Eren, Mikasa, Armin, Levi, and Sasha. It re-explains the gist of the anime, where humans are under constant threat from mysterious Titans, and have subsequently sealed themselves into cities with giant walls. Thankfully it picks up after Eren, the main super shonen hero has been trained, and it doesn't waste much time with the Battle of Trost happening in mere minutes. The actual cutscenes are not new information or footage, as they are ripped directly from the anime, and the dialog is only in Japanese. It's a recap of sorts of the show, but with a lot of filler cut for time, which is definitely a good thing. Battles take place in an arena-like format, kind of like a baby God Hand, but not nearly as open or interesting. In other words, there's enough room to move about and locate boxes to slash, but they're not packed with secrets or anything.Amazingly, Humanity in Chains' gameplay emulates the feeling of zipping about in the show. You can use the R trigger to "Spider-Man swing" around cities at will, which is a blast. Y allows you to aim your hooks (you can even do it in the air), and players will be doing most of their combat in the air, which makes for a fairly action-packed experienced -- if you want, you can beat some missions without ever touching the ground. [embed]291391:58445:0[/embed] Most of your attacks will be swooping in to engage Titans (and their weak spots at the nape of their neck) with a timed QTE of sorts. It's cinematic, with a zoomed-in camera to boot, but it's also functional and easy to use -- and it's ever so satisfying to cut off an arm or a leg even if you don't get a killing blow. The Circle Pad Pro or New 3DS nub can be used as a camera if you have either one. I wouldn't recommend playing with 3D on, as it slows the frame rate down to a crawl, even on the New 3DS, which is a massive disappointment. The action is all very cool looking and fun to play, if a bit muted by enemies who practice similar mechanics, and déjà vu  environments (with plenty of retreading and re-used maps). Part of the reason the Titans aren't all that compelling to fight is that the AI is fairly easy to counter, and a lot of foes are kind of just "there," wandering around. Still, it does accurately capture the feeling of the show, and when Titans are aggressive, it's an odd balancing act that works. I'd actually claim that it looks more badass than the anime does on a consistent basis. After a couple of hours into the roughly 10-hour campaign you'll unlock "World Mode," the real meat of the game. Here you'll access the sole multiplayer component of Humanity in Chains (both offline and online with matchmaking), as well as an RPG-heavy system that allows you to create a character, level him up, and recruit new members into your party. It's a lot more involved than I thought, forcing you to scale up your base of operations, purchase supplies, pay to recruit soldiers, and embark upon missions much tougher than the story. You'll have to repeat a lot of missions to grind up more currency, but if you're so inclined you can also start up online sessions (which were smooth, in my experience) to mix things up a bit, and hire "mercenaries" by way of StreetPassing friends. My favorite aspect of World Mode is access to more open plain levels, where you can't rely on fluttering about on invisible buildings, and have to rely on horseback riding and pinpoint Titan attacks. It still has a lot of the same closed city maps though, so it's not a game-changer. Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains often can't shake the limitations of the 3DS platform, but it captures most of what makes the anime's world so captivating. If you can deal with similar environments and a lack of compelling objectives outside of the rat-race of World Mode, you'll have a lot of fun here. But in some ways, it feels like a tech demo for the next title. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Attack on Titan review photo
Now with slightly less crybaby Armin
If you even have one friend who enjoys anime, odds are you've heard of Attack on Titan. As a fan myself it seemed right up my alley, and my weekly anime club ended up giving it a shot last year. Sadly, I wasn't impressed. Whi...

Marth photo
Marth

That Marth amiibo restock may have already came and went on Amazon


Mash F5
May 09
// Chris Carter
When Nintendo announced the Marth amiibo restock for this year, I had a feeling it wouldn't end well. It was originally scheduled for April, then May, and now that the month is here, the publisher is still completely silent a...






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