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Platform games

Looking at it like $13 DLC, the Shovel Knight amiibo is worth it

Jan 10 // Chris Carter
The primary function of the amiibo, as you may have heard, is co-op, but there's so much more to it than that. Tapping a figure to your GamePad base will in fact open up the "Custom Knight" character, which looks like the main hero at first glance, but is actually so much more. Instead of gaining powers by way of Relics and Meal Tickets, this hero levels-up as you play, and saves its data to the figure itself. Skills are granted randomly, and include both Shovel and Plague Knight powers, as well as a few extras. The extras are hefty too, as each Custom can equip a Relic (as well as swap between them with L/R like Mega Man X), a charge move, special effect (like a fire trail), gesture, color, and costume. It's literally like playing as a brand new character. As for co-op, it works very well. Two players share the screen, and if one hits a transition phase, the other will teleport to their location and begin the next screen. The game is designed so that most bonus areas and such are one screen, so you don't need be jumping on top of each other constantly. If someone dies, they can revive at any given time by taking half of the surviving player's health. In terms of jumping, players can actually boost off of each other vertically with a downwards thrust, and you can even enhance that boost by having the lower player leap in the air. It reminds me of the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers NES game in all the best ways. Oh, and any supported controller can be used for either player (nice), and 10 challenges are added to the game as a result of the amiibo, including five that are specific to co-op play. So what are the aforementioned caveats? Well, to play with two Custom Knights, you'll need two amiibo. On paper it kind of makes sense (storing the information in separate figures, or as a form of DRM) but on another, it really doesn't (why can't the Wii U just store a local file?). Secondly, the Plague Knight campaign is not supported in any form, full stop -- so don't get too excited at the prospect of Custom and Plague joining forces. Though, it stands to reason that if the Shovel Knight amiibo is a smashing success, they could make more to suit the character roster. And I really hope they do, because it would make the game that much better. As far as $13 DLC goes, the Shovel Knight amiibo is pretty impressive. It not only adds co-op to the affair but it also re-ignited my interest in the single-player campaign with the Custom Knight. The concept of granting one individual character a level-up system is pretty unique, and since it rounds out the total roster to three, it adds even more content to this already packed game. At this point the Wii U has the definitive version of Shovel Knight.
Shovel Knight amiibo photo
There's a few caveats though
I managed to pick up a Shovel Knight amiibo yesterday for the US launch, and I couldn't resist giving it a go immediately on Wii U. Despite the fact that I've completed the campaign roughly 10 times since its launch (not counting the Plague Knight add-on), I was surprised to find that I fell in love with it all over again.

Mario Maker outfit photo
Mario Maker outfit

The latest Mario Maker costume is a nod to Super Mario Land


Sky Pop
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
Nintendo has tied another Super Mario Maker costume to a branded level, but at least this time it's based on an existing part of the Mario universe (Super Mario Land), not a real-world car. To earn the Sky Pop plane, you'll h...
Unravel photo
Unravel

Unravel's Yarny came from the ideas of love and connectedness


And a camping trip, specifically
Jan 07
// Darren Nakamura
We've been pretty enamored with the feels-like-an-indie-but-is-actually-EA-published puzzle platformer since we first saw it last year. At the time, director Martin Sahlin got up on stage and talked about his inspiration for ...
Psychonauts 2 photo
Psychonauts 2

Psychonauts 2 has reached its funding goal


Cleanly bisected funding
Jan 06
// Nic Rowen
Double Fine's Fig-funded Psychonauts 2 has reached its funding goal of $3.3 million with five days to spare. Fig is of course the new kid on the crowdfunding block with a system that allows for both regular Kickstarter-style ...
SNES Disney speedruns photo
SNES Disney speedruns

These Disney platformer speedruns bring back fond memories


Also, pain
Jan 06
// Jordan Devore
Some of my favorite video games as a kid were based on Disney properties. You didn't even need to like the source material to appreciate them -- they were just plain good games. Tough, too. Back then, a typical rental often w...
Boxboy photo
Boxboy

A Boxboy sequel is out now in Japan


One More Box
Jan 06
// Chris Carter
HAL Laboratories released BOXBOY! on the eShop last year, and it seems like they were keen enough to create a sequel. The follow-up, BOXBOY! One More Box is out right now in Japan, by way of the 3DS eShop for 630 Yen. This is one of the few major releases I didn't get a chance to really dig into, but I think I may fix that in the near future. There's no word yet on a localization.
pıoɹʇǝ photo
pıoɹʇǝ

This pıoɹʇǝɯ ɹǝdns mod is pretty damn rad


Turn your world around
Jan 05
// Chris Carter
There's no better time to talk about retro games than during AGDQ's recent runs, and Super Metroid is of course a classic. This crazy mod, dubbed the "perspective hack," shifts the entire camera around and flips th...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift comes with a cool 3D platformer


Lucky's Tale
Dec 30
// Jordan Devore
Lucky's Tale convinced me that 3D platformers can make terrific use of virtual reality. I had my doubts going in, thinking the game looked decent at best, but came away impressed. So did Brett. It's good news, then, that it's...
Steel Assault photo
Steel Assault

This project gave backers a refund after it changed its art style


It evolved
Dec 30
// Chris Carter
Well this is an interesting one. Some time ago, Steel Assault garnered $8,706 on top of a $8,000 goal for an 8-bit style platformer on Kickstarter. I think it mirrors the Batman NES game in all the best ways, offeri...
Excitebike photo
Excitebike

Excitebike and Birdo join the cast of Super Mario Maker this week


Footage available
Dec 29
// Chris Carter
Super Mario Maker continues to impress with post-launch DLC, and as of December 31, you'll be able to download two new costumes. Excitebike and Birdo are in, with new event courses to boot. While the latter operates exactly ...
Azure Striker Gunvolt photo
Azure Striker Gunvolt

Azure Striker Gunvolt is getting a new speedrun mode on PC


Sadly not 3DS
Dec 28
// Chris Carter
Speedrunning is one of my favorite things in gaming right now. It's not so much the rush you get from actually doing it well, but the journey you embark upon -- learning just about every facet of a game along the way to trul...
Freedom Planet 2 photo
Freedom Planet 2

Sonic-inspired Freedom Planet getting a sequel


Beta release planned for 2017
Dec 26
// Kyle MacGregor
Freedom Planet 2 is a thing that's happening, indie developer GalaxyTrail has announced. As the follow-up to what began a Sonic the Hedgehog fan game, "Freedom Planet 2 is all about advancing and evolving our style into somet...
Captain Toad photo
Captain Toad

Captain Toad is still as adorable as ever in Super Mario Maker


New 8-bit costume
Dec 25
// Chris Carter
We recently found out that Toad, Birdo, and Excitebike would be making an appearance in Super Mario Maker soon, but now that Toad is out today, you can check out some footage above. He's just as cute as ever, and his animation involves holding a star up in the air. Yes, he can jump, unlike his appearance in the titular Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Sure, I'll take more Mario Maker costumes


Special request: Ninji
Dec 23
// Jordan Devore
So long as Nintendo continues adding costumes to Super Mario Maker, I'll keep unlocking them (except for the Fighter Fly; I simply do not have the skill or patience to beat Gnat Attack on hard mode). EarthBound's own Master B...
Super Mario Galaxy photo
Super Mario Galaxy

Super Mario Galaxy hits the Wii U eShop tomorrow


Bee Mario!
Dec 23
// Jordan Devore
Super Mario Galaxy 2 was made available for download on Wii U at the beginning of the year, and now Nintendo is closing out 2015 with the first game. Super Mario Galaxy joins the Wii U eShop on December 24 in North America. I...
Ori photo
Ori

We'll have to wait a bit longer for Ori and the Blind Forest: Definitive Edition


Save those tears
Dec 22
// Jordan Devore
Recent talk about the best games of the year has me itching to play Ori and the Blind Forest a second time. I may yet, but I'm probably better off waiting for the retuned, expanded Definitive Edition. It was initially schedul...
Monster Boy photo
Monster Boy

Monster Boy captures that classic platformer spirit


PC, PS4, and Xbox One next year
Dec 22
// Jordan Devore
I haven't actively followed Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom since its announcement in January, but that has worked out fine. It's back on my radar today with a debut gameplay trailer. Monster Boy is a side-scrolling action...
Ninja Senki DX photo
Ninja Senki DX

Ninja Senki DX slashes onto PS4 and Vita with giant shurikens


Also coming to Steam
Dec 21
// Ben Davis
Tribute Games, developer of Mercenary Kings and Curses 'n Chaos, is set to release Ninja Senki DX on PS4, PS Vita, and Steam in February. Ninja Senki DX is an updated version of the freeware game from 2010 created by Jonathan...
Mario Maker leak photo
Mario Maker leak

New Super Mario Maker costume leaked


Those cheeky dataminers
Dec 20
// Nic Rowen
Looks like those dang dataminers are up to their old tricks again. According to this video by the YouTube channel GameXplain, they've plied their wicked ways on Super Mario Maker and dug up an as of yet unannounced costume fr...
Swing Copters 2 photo
Swing Copters 2

Flappy Bird creator releases a new game


Basically the same as the last one
Dec 19
// Kyle MacGregor
Well, maybe "new" isn't the operative word. Flappy Bird studio DotGears has released Swing Copters 2, a sequel to last year's Swing Copters, which itself wasn't all that different from the game that put the Vietnamese de...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker is getting a ton of new costumes this week


Badge Arcade Bunny
Dec 18
// Chris Carter
As I've said recently, Nintendo is doing a commendable job of supporting Super Mario Maker. Sure it still has a ways to go until it becomes the definitive level-making tool it was touted as, but a lot of these updates are ge...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker is getting three new elements in a free update


This is how we do it
Dec 17
// Chris Carter
Nintendo is constantly adding new things to Super Mario Maker, and now three new course tools are coming to the game as a free update. You can get the bumper by shaking a grinder (the spike wheel), doors can be turned into wa...
Mega Man X8 photo
Mega Man X8

Mega Man X8 is coming to the PSN soon in Japan


On PS3 for now
Dec 16
// Chris Carter
If you were gunning for Mega Man X8 on the PSN, you might be in luck. Capcom has confirmed that the game will arrive on the PS3 this week in the form of a PS2 Classic. If you recall, Capcom is seemingly probing public op...
Monster Hunter photo
Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter makes its way into Super Mario Maker


I'm ok with this
Dec 16
// Chris Carter
Bring on the event stages and costume rewards, I say!After plowing through all of the new events this week, I'm ready for more. Thankfully, Nintendo and Capcom are willing to oblige, with a Monster Hunter themed 8-bit fe...
Unravel photo
Unravel

Unravel looks like a wonderful platforming adventure


Releasing Feb. 9 on PC, PS4, Xbox One
Dec 14
// Jordan Devore
Unravel is probably on your radar by now, but if it isn't, I've got a trailer for you! This is a puzzle-platform game from Coldwood Interactive and EA about a tiny yarn character who ventures out into the big wide world. Yarn...
Downwell on Vita photo
Downwell on Vita

Devolver shows off Downwell running on PlayStation Vita


In tate mode
Dec 11
// Darren Nakamura
Steven mentioned in his review that he would buy and carry around a dedicated handheld for Downwell. I've had the thought that it would be great on a Wii U GamePad oriented vertically. This might be the closest either of us w...
PEWWWWWWWWWWWWDPIE photo
PEWWWWWWWWWWWWDPIE

PewDiePie's excellent platformer Legend of the Brofist is out on Steam


Love him or hate him, his game is fun
Dec 11
// Jed Whitaker
PewDiePie: Legend of the Brofist is now available on Steam for under eight bucks, and you might even enjoy it if you aren't a PewDiePie fan. I certainly did when I reviewed the mobile version a few months back.  The...
Documentary photo
Documentary

This Psychonauts making-of is a fun look at early Double Fine


The Color of the Sky in Your World
Dec 10
// Jordan Devore
After hearing that Double Fine was crowdfunding Psychonauts 2, the first thought to pop in my head was "Will there be another documentary?" 2 Player Productions did such a remarkable job capturing the studio's work on Broken ...
Lego Avengers photo
Lego Avengers

I'm warming up to Lego Marvel's Avengers


But I'll still wait for a sale
Dec 09
// Jordan Devore
Now that TT Games has begun showing more locations and characters in Lego Marvel's Avengers, I'm starting to come around. Officially, the open-world locales are Asgard, Barton Farm, Malibu, New York City, "S.H.I.E.L.D. Base E...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Nintendo partners up with Mercedes-Benz again for Super Mario Maker


Haha
Dec 09
// Chris Carter
Haha, okay. Following up its partnership with Mercedes-Benz for Mario Kart 8 cars and commercials, Nintendo has announced that there will be a new Mercedes GLA "costume" for Super Mario Maker. But completing a special ev...

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