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Wii U

Review: Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

Nov 18 // Chris Carter
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash (Wii U)Developer: Camelot SoftwarePublisher: NintendoMSRP: $49.99Release Date: November 20, 2015 There's no two ways about it -- Ultra Smash  is a bare-bones game. If you came to this court expecting anything other than basic tennis, you will walk away disappointed. And even then, it doesn't handle the basics as well as its predecessors. There is a degree of strategy at work in Ultra Smash, just like in the past games in the series. Serves can be timed for greater effect, specific hits can be returned as direct counters (such as returning a topspin with a slice), while twitch movement and the ability to predict your opponent's moves are still paramount to your success. In that regard, nothing really has changed. You do have a few extra control options as the GamePad can mirror the TV (and I do mean "mirror," as perspectives aren't shifted for same-screen play, sadly) or function as a scoreboard. The Wii U Pro Controller and the Wii mote can also be used, though the latter does not feature motion support. The core modes are Classic or Mega Battle, the latter of which just throws in a Mega Mushroom occasionally to allow your characters to grow larger for a limited time, with enhanced stats to boot. Yep, the big gimmick this time is a power-up, and only one of them, on top of the fact that only one player per side can get it at a time. There's no story mode and no real experience to gain outside of coins (which unlock a mere four characters and courts paved with new material, like carpet) -- what you see is what you get. [embed]320462:61082:0[/embed] Other modes are just as paltry. There's the Mega Ball Rally, which tasks players with slicing a ball back and forth until someone (either another person or the CPU) screws up. It's literally one round and then it's over. It's almost indistinguishable from the other modes. Then there's the amiibo-based Knockout Challenge, which is the closest you're going to get to a progression-based system. In short, you'll be pitted against a crescendoing circuit of matches one after another, earning some bonus rewards (which again, can just be bought with coins) along the way. It's basically Classic mode with the ability to play with an amiibo partner, without any of the amiibo depth from other games like Smash Bros. I had a chance to try out online play before launch, and things seemed rather smooth, even if there are no lobbies or extras of any kind. It's probably the only real shining light of this package, but even then, it feels odd that it's a surprise for a Nintendo game to feature it in 2015. Of course there's a caveat -- you cannot play directly with friends. And... that's all you're getting. If you can stomach playing classic mode for hours on end with someone local, you'll probably find something to love here. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash feels like it was rushed into the holiday season to mask the absence of Star Fox. You're better off just playing any other previous game in the series, which is particularly easy to do since the first game is on the Wii U Virtual Console for just 10 bucks. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Mario Tennis review photo
Swing low
Once upon a time, Mario Tennis was a national pastime at pretty much every household I visited. Back in the year 2000 there weren't a whole lot of alternative sports games outside of a few gems (I miss EA Sports Big), an...

Cloud in Smash photo
Cloud in Smash

Everything we know about Cloud in Smash Bros. from both a Final Fantasy and Smash perspective

In incredible detail
Nov 17
// Brett Makedonski
In the wake of last week's reveal of Final Fantasy's Cloud coming to Super Smash Bros., some people have managed to put together videos analyzing his introduction in great detail. We have two great examples for you. The firs...
Star Fox photo
Star Fox

That's more like it, Star Fox Zero

A pair of gameplay clips
Nov 16
// Jordan Devore
Comparing recent Star Fox Zero footage to what was shown in June, it's clear Nintendo made the right call when it delayed the Wii U game to April 22, 2016. Besides visual upgrades, the extra time is going toward improving the...
Smash Direct photo
Smash Direct

Smash Bros. gets one more dedicated Direct, and it's happening next month

What does Nintendo have left?
Nov 16
// Brett Makedonski
Last week's Nintendo Direct had a Smash-centric bombshell in the announcement of Final Fantasy VII's Cloud Strife coming to the game as DLC. That closed out the show, but the rest was dedicated to an array of other Nintendo t...
Nintendo photo

Nintendo successfully fends off another patent case against Wii U and 3DS

Add it to the list
Nov 16
// Brett Makedonski
Nintendo's hardware seems to be a magnet for litigation. Everyone thinks the Wii U or the 3DS infringe on their patents, but Nintendo proves time and time again that they don't. The Japanese platform-holder has another succes...
Mario amiibo photo
Mario amiibo

Walmart will have a 'minimum' of 21 Modern Mario amiibo for Black Friday

Uh...don't do it
Nov 16
// Chris Carter
According to Walmart's Black Friday ad, it will have a "minimum" of 21 Modern Color Mario amiibo at its stores. For those of you who are wondering why this matters, the figure was previously exclusive to a Wii U bundle in the...
Mega Yarn Yoshi photo
Mega Yarn Yoshi

The hunt is on for the Mega Yarn Yoshi amiibo, here is what I found

I hope you're waiting in line
Nov 15
// Chris Carter
Ever since July, I haven't waited in line for an amiibo launch. Today it would be my undoing it seems, as I missed out on the Mega Yarn Yoshi figure today at Toys"R"Us. Why did I go? My wife loves Yoshi, and hell, the thing i...

Everything from the November Nintendo Direct

Nov 14 // Chris Carter
Zelda: Twilight Princess HD confirmed for Wii U Twilight Princess HD's Wolf Link amiibo looks hot Zelda: Tri Force Heroes gets a lot deeper next month Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon looks to please its fans Finding new Super Mario Maker levels gets easy in December New Splatoon map coming out tomorrow 'Free to start' Pokemon Picross is coming in December Zelda: Tri Force Heroes gets a lot deeper next month Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam finally has a release date Pokemon Red, Blue and Yellow are coming to 3DS Lucas and other amiibo are coming January 22 Star Fox Zero launches for Wii U April 22, 2016 Final Fantasy Explorers Collector's Edition is the real deal Linkle confirmed for Hyrule Warriors Golden Mega Man amiibo confirmed, with exclusive challenges for Mega Man Legacy Collection Cloud Strife is the newest Smash Bros. character Fire Emblem Fates will have three different versions Dragon Quest VII and Dragon Quest VIII finally coming to North America and Europe Bravely Second journeys west next spring Pokken Tournament strikes Wii U spring 2016 Such a tease! Mother 3 is headed to Wii U in Japan [embed]320911:61108:0[/embed]
Nintendo Direct photo
Cloud Nine
That Nintendo Direct won E3. With a far better showing than its June event (sans the amazing puppets), Nintendo knocked it out of the park. While the Direct itself would have won over many fans, it blew up the entire Internet on Thursday with the unveiling of Cloud Strife in Super Smash Bros. Here's everything else that happened.

Animal Crossing photo
Animal Crossing

Target exclusive Timmy and Tommy Nook amiibo sighted, Roy exclusive to GameStop

Nov 14
// Chris Carter
Being an amiibo collector is an expensive hobby. But really, limiting yourself to the Super Smash Bros. line wasn't all that impossible to do. It's the other waves that are starting to get out of control, particularly Animal ...

Xenoblade Chronicles X is sprawling and unforgiving, and I love that

Nov 14 // Chris Carter
Xenoblade Chronicles X starts off with a straight-forward premise: humans have been pushed off Earth by aliens in the future, and only one "ark" is said to have made it to a far off new planet. It's a Macross-esque setting where humans are fairly advanced with their weaponry and warfare, including the Skells (mechs). From there, your character (male or female) awakens in a pod, is greeted by your first party member, and the adventure begins. I really mean "your adventure," because early on, the story mostly takes a backseat beyond a brief rundown of the situation on this new planet. This is something I'm completely okay with because of how Monolith Soft has crafted each gigantic map. There are hundreds of locations to find, secret dungeons to delve into, and enemies to battle -- and nearly all of it rewards you for your efforts. Seeing gigantic, screens-high enemies towering over me induced Final Fantasy XI Notorious Monster flashbacks, you know, in a good way. Your primary source of damage is by way of auto-attacks, but combat gets much deeper once players start unlocking more abilities. Flanking options, bonus effects (for those who patiently wait for double cooldowns), and the power to instantly switch between melee and ranged attacks are a few mechanics that pop up. Dashing is also enabled in combat, which makes for some awesome fights when popping off an enemy appendage with a rifle, and running in with dual daggers to slash at their exposed body. [embed]320860:61101:0[/embed] I'm over 20 hours in so far and still don't have access to the Skells. Very early on there's an option to buy one for an exorbitantly unattainable price, but you still need a "license" to pilot them, which I haven't obtained yet. I've already seen this design choice turn off some prospective players out there after hearing impressions from the Japanese release, but I have to say, it doesn't bother me. Movement is fairly swift, as players can sprint indefinitely and leap high into the air like a superhero. It's very easy to get from place to place, and fast travel -- it still exists. Stay tuned for our review at the end of the month.
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Our review is coming later this month
I've played MMOs with smaller zones than Xenoblade Chronicles X. The scale here is absolutely breathtaking, and a mite surreal once you realize that you're playing on the Wii U, where the development team couldn't even optimize the game on a single disc. Here's a few thoughts after spending a ton of time with the experience.

Mah tee tees photo
Mah tee tees

Nintendo removes boob size customization from Xenoblade Chronicles X localizations

All versions lack bulge sliders
Nov 13
// Jed Whitaker
The lovely people at GameXplain report that not only have the swimsuits for the teenage character Lin been changed during the localization of Xenoblade Chronicles X, but a breast-size customization slider has also been removed. According to the YouTube group, the rest of game remains largely unchanged gameplay-wise, and I'd say that is what is important.
Wolf Link photo
Wolf Link

A bunch of up-close pictures of that sweet Wolf Link amiibo

Nice moves, Puppy Link
Nov 13
// Brett Makedonski
It's Friday and you should all be gearing up for the weekend. I'm not the type who's going to make you think a bunch when it's the non-thinking part of the week. I'm not a monster. So, I just want you to use your eyeballs and...
amiibo photo

PSA: Mewtwo and Animal Crossing amiibo go on sale on Amazon in 15 minutes

Mewtwo, Mabel, Tom Nook, and a 3-pack
Nov 13
// Brett Makedonski
Friends, Romans, amiibo-hunters: lend me your ears. The day is upon us for another amiibo release. It's a little bit of Smash Bros. and a lot of Animal Crossing. Mostly cute (like last time) with just a dash of badass. Mewtwo...
Xenoblade Chronicles X photo
Xenoblade Chronicles X

You'll want to install the Xenoblade Chronicles X data packs before launch

Live on the eShop now
Nov 13
// Chris Carter
Yesterday during its Nintendo Direct event, the publisher let loose upon the world four loading packs for Xenoblade Chronicles X, which isn't even set to launch until early December. So what's the deal? Basically, you can ins...
FAST Racing Neo photo
FAST Racing Neo

FAST Racing Neo looks like a new F-Zero game for Wii U

Race fast in future space
Nov 13
// Laura Kate Dale
As part of yesterday's new Nintendo Direct presentation, Wii U owners around the world were treated to a new trailer for FAST Racing Neo. Now, where have I seen this style of game before? What possible game, much demanded by...
Looks better, duh photo
Looks better, duh

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD graphical comparison

Wii U vs. GameCube / Wii
Nov 12
// Jed Whitaker
Check out the above video that compares The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD's graphics to the original releases for Wii and GameCube from 2006. I can't believe it has been nine years already, and it is hard to bel...
Electronic Super Joy photo
Electronic Super Joy

Electronic Super Joy Wii U team talks self-censorship and the ESRB

Sexy sounds, slashes, & business reality
Nov 12
// Jonathan Holmes
It pains me that some game publishers and developers feel the need to arbitrarily add or remove sexual content to their games in order to make them more marketable, but that need is an inevitable part of any art business. If ...
Mother 3... in Japan photo
Mother 3... in Japan

Such a tease! Mother 3 is headed to Wii U in Japan

Virtual Console
Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
There was at least one noticeable difference between today's Nintendo Direct in North America and Japan, and of course it involved Mother 3. The latter region is getting the treasured role-playing game on the Wii U Virtual Console next month. It's not our year, apparently. Will it ever be? Perhaps in my lifetime. The port will be available digitally in Japan on December 17, 2015.
Pokemon photo

Pokken Tournament strikes Wii U spring 2016

Japanese debut slated for March 18
Nov 12
// Kyle MacGregor
The Wii U version of The Pokémon Company and Bandai Namco's fighter Pokkén Tournament will debut in Japan on March 18 and sometime in the spring across Europe and North America. An amiibo card for Shadow Mewtwo will be included with first-run copies of the game worldwide. Nintendo says the creature can also be unlocked sans card "after you fulfill certain conditions."
Smash Bros. photo
Not a drill
This is not a drill. Nintendo has announced the newest Smash Bros. character, and it’s only god damn Cloud Strife from Final Fantasy VII. The trailer up top shows both his FFVII and Advent Children costumes, as well as...

Hyrule Warriors photo
Hyrule Warriors

Linkle confirmed for Hyrule Warriors

I hope Zeldathan is next
Nov 12
// Jonathan Holmes
Looks like those eagle-eyed internet sleuths were right. Linkle, the woman version of Link who was previously revealed as a cut character from the game, will be making it to the upcoming 3DS re-release of Hyrule Warriors as ...
Star Fox Zero photo
Star Fox Zero

Star Fox Zero launches for Wii U April 22, 2016

Do a barrel roll!
Nov 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Star Fox Zero was initially supposed to launch this year, but the space shooter suffered bit of a delay. Now we know just how long we'll have to wait. During today's Nintendo Direct, the publisher announced plans to release the game in North America and Europe on April 22, 2016.
Splatoon DLC photo
Splatoon DLC

New Splatoon map coming out tomorrow

New guns today
Nov 12
// Darren Nakamura
During today's Nintendo Direct, Nintendo announced the immediate DLC plans for its hit multiplayer shooter Splatoon. Starting today, an update with new gear will be rolling out. The bigger deal is the new map, Museum d'Alfons...
Huzzah photo

Finding new Super Mario Maker levels gets easy in December

Website to queue up levels
Nov 12
// Jed Whitaker
A new website for Super Mario Maker is going to be released in December to make it easier to find levels and queue them up to be played the next time you're at your console. The site will be available on both PC and Mobile. Players can search for various parameters to find the kinds of levels they want.  More details to be revealed closer to launch.
Twilight Princess HD photo
Twilight Princess HD

Twilight Princess HD's Wolf Link amiibo looks hot

Coming March 4, 2016
Nov 12
// Kyle MacGregor
Nintendo just announced a new amiibo depicting Wolf Link (and Midna) from Twilight Princess. The figure will launch in North America on March 4, 2016 bundled alongside Twilight Princess HD, which can be pre-ordered today, and...
Twilight Princess HD photo
Twilight Princess HD

Zelda: Twilight Princess HD confirmed for Wii U

It's a bit of a wait, though
Nov 12
// Jordan Devore
After a short message about the tragic passing of Nintendo president Satoru Iwata earlier this year, Nintendo of America's Reggie Fils-Aimé dove right into some news in today's Nintendo Direct presentation. First up, T...
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Nintendo Badge Arcade

Also, Stella Glow
Nov 12
// Chris Carter
This is a pleasant surprise -- the 3DS just got the Nintendo Badge Arcade app, which allows you to play a crane game to obtain icons, which you can customize your home screen with. Also on 3DS is Horse Life 4, as well as...
Walmart Black Friday photo
Walmart Black Friday

Walmart Black Friday deals include amiibo, $250 Wii U, $299 PS4, and more

Get ready to stand on the edge
Nov 11
// Mike Cosimano
Best Black Friday, one of the many sites dedicated to collating deals available during the ebony-black altar of consumerism and bloodlust known as Black Friday, has published an early version of Walmart's ad, detailing its en...
Minecraft Wii U photo
Minecraft Wii U

PEGI site lists Minecraft for Wii U

Super Enderman Maker
Nov 11
// Mike Cosimano
PEGI, also known as the Pan European Game Information (the video games rating board for most PAL territories), may have leaked a Minecraft port for the Wii U via its official website, apparently set for release tomorrow, Nove...
Yooka-Laylee character photo
Yooka-Laylee character

New Yooka-Laylee character channels old school graphics

Nov 11
// Darren Nakamura
Ever since the announcement that Team17 would be publishing the Kickstarter-funded Banjo-Kazooie-like Yooka-Laylee, news has been pretty quiet on it. There have been a couple of backer updates, including one showing a cute sk...

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