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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, ...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Nintendo patches Super Mario Maker invincibility glitch

No more spike exploit
Sep 24
// Chris Carter
Because people will literally find anything, a glitch was uncovered in Super Mario Maker that allowed players to become invincible. You can trigger the glitch by building a door above a spike pit, then power-up Mari...
Art photo

True hardest Mario Maker level asks: Will you save your son?

Definitely the hardest Mario Maker stage
Sep 23
// Steven Hansen
False prophets are not new. Jordan told you all that this was one of the hardest Super Mario Maker levels, but it's all twitch-based reflex video games 101. Any gamehead worth her salt could polish that bad boy off, at least...
amiibo cards photo
amiibo cards

The first amiibo cards are up for pre-order

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

If you see this level in Mario Maker, run away

Mastery required
Sep 22
// Jordan Devore
Bomb Voyage blew my mind. While watching Bananasaurus Rex's triumphant run, I could hardly fathom what I was seeing on-screen, much less imagine myself ever possessing the skill needed to pull off those tricks in perfect sequ...
Coximano Challenge photo
Coximano Challenge

The Coximano Challenge: Super Mario Maker

It's a metaphor for life!
Sep 22
// Mike Cosimano
I used Super Mario Maker to drive one of my good friends into the arms of alcoholism. When Myles Cox (the Destructoid Video Boy who had his day) and I workshopped the idea that would become the Coximano Challenge, we fig...

Review: Extreme Exorcism

Sep 22 // Jed Whitaker
Extreme Exorcism (PC, PS3, PS4, Wii U, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: Golden Ruby Games Publisher: RipstoneRelease Date: September 23, 2015MSRP: $12.99 If you've played one of the many indie couch competitive games that have become popular in the past year or two, you know the drill here: gather three of your friends together and fight to the death. The gimmick in Extreme Exorcism is that winning a round causes a ghost to replay your previous actions, including firing weapons that can kill your enemies, or even yourself depending on the various customizable settings. By default each player can carry up to three weapons at a time, which spawn in predetermined places around each of over 45 stages. Weapons range from basic punches and kicks to rocket launchers, boomerangs, and magical staffs. While the variety of weapons is nice, nothing really feels original, though familiarity makes the game very pick-up-and-play friendly.  Matches are fast and furious, especially when playing with the maximum of four players. Each time someone wins a round, a ghost will spawn of their previous win, and ghosts stay on screen until exorcised via the purple wings weapon that spawns from time to time. The fact that you can potentially have ghosts from four different players running around the screen firing off rocks and kung-fu kicks in every direction makes for some hectic games.  [embed]311776:60466:0[/embed] For those of you without friends in real life, there is an arcade mode and the challenge mode. Arcade mode is a series of matches in each level of the game where you're required to kill so many of your previous ghosts to unlock each level. The first ghost is spawned by killing a possessed chair, which is super simple as the AI isn't anything special, as it doesn't need to be since you're fighting your ghosts. Arcade mode is simple enough to be enjoyable alone, but can be played with up to four players as well, working together towards an enjoyable fight with a boss in the final level.  Challenge mode, however, is for one player only. In 50 different challenges you'll be tasked with completing different goals such as killing 100 chairs with three lives, or completing five rounds only using a boomerang. The challenge mode lives up to its name. It is easily the most challenging part of Extreme Exorcism and will test even the most seasoned players. I was able to unlock every challenge, but completing them is a different story, though I didn't really feel pressed to complete them given that there is no real reward other than feeling accomplished, and achievements if you care about those.  If anything, Extreme Exorcism is a game for those who have tried TowerFall and Samurai Gunn at their parties and want something even more hectic, and bustin' makes them feel good; otherwise players new to the genre may feel a bit overwhelmed with the amount of on-screen action. As for me, I'll stick to the classics for my get-togethers. Simplicity is what appeals to me when I'm trashed and I'd rather not projectile vomit from my eyes trying to keep up with all those ghosts. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Extreme Exorcism photo
No head spinning here
Four teenagers enter a haunted house and get killed by each other until ghosts show up. No, it isn't the plot to House on Haunted Hill but the mechanics of Extreme Exorcism, the new couch competitive game from Golden Rub...

Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

Mario Maker invincibility glitch discovered

Firewalk with me
Sep 21
// Jordan Devore
As outlined by GameXplain, there's a glitch in Super Mario Maker that grants invincibility. The process involves taking damage and walking through a door placed over spikes. The trick is in the timing -- you can't enter the d...
Super Mario Maker photo
Super Mario Maker

This has to be one of the hardest Mario Maker levels

Have mercy on us all
Sep 21
// Jordan Devore
It took Bananasaurus Rex, the guy who can do the impossible in Spelunky, "about four hours from start of practice" to clear this absurdly difficult Super Mario Maker level. Just watch.
Pokken Tournament photo
Pokken Tournament

Pokken Tournament is a fun, deep little brawler

Hands-on during TGS
Sep 21
// Chris Carter
I'm still out here in Japan to cover TGS, and even though this is just my first time in the country, I'm already itching to come back. You only need to walk a few blocks to see video game and anime references everywhere, as T...
Dtoid Designs photo
Dtoid Designs

Dtoid Designs: Show us your Super Mario Maker skills

Let's see what you can do!
Sep 20
// CJ Andriessen
Earlier this month, after more than a year of waiting, Nintendo finally released Super Mario Maker on the Wii U. Our own Chris Carter liked it, and with more than one million levels created so far, it seems the rest of the wo...
Splatfest photo

Creativity trounces objectivity in the latest N.A. Splatfest

Emotion beats logic everytime
Sep 20
// Jonathan Holmes
While it wasn't as high profile as the recent Transformers-themed contest, this weekend's Splatfest worked to dig a little deeper into the collective psyche of the Splatoon fandom. The two concepts at odds this time around we...

Star Fox Zero has been delayed until 2016

Sep 17 // Jed Whitaker
Star Fox Zero had been scheduled to release on November 20, just in time for the holiday season. While it may make some people upset, as a Nintendo fan you kind of expect delay after delay which in turn guarantees a solid products upon release.  I suggest that in Star Fox's place Nintendo just go ahead and release Pikmin 4, which is apparently almost complete.
Nintendelayo photo
Rescheduled for Q1 of next year
Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto has announced that Star Fox Zero for the Wii U is being delayed and will no longer release this year: I made a big decision last week. We have been developing Star Fox Zero for Wii U with the...

Splatoon map photo
Splatoon map

Splatoon's Hammerhead Bridge drops tonight

More free content updates
Sep 17
// Jordan Devore
The Splatoon community has outpaced me. I can hold my own on the original maps, but the last couple? Not a chance. Here is another, Hammerhead Bridge, to add to that list. It joins the rotation tonight at 7:00pm Pacific.
Nintendo Download photo
Nintendo Download

Nintendo Download: Free Shovel Knight DLC

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

Very Quick Tips: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

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

ATLUS photo

Atlus picks up indie RPG Cryamore

Indie RPG also changing platforms
Sep 17
// Kyle MacGregor
Atlus will now be publishing Cryamore, the Kickstarter-funded RPG from indie team Nostalgico. The Shin Megami Tensei publisher has apparently been courting the studio for some time, offering the development team help to finis...

Review: Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows

Sep 17 // Chris Carter
Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows (3DS, PC [reviewed], PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Xbox One])Developer: Yacht Club GamesPublisher: Yacht Club GamesRelease Date: September 17, 2014MSRP: Free (with $14.99 Shovel Knight purchase) The main draw here is the new campaign, with a completely playable Plague Knight. As a note, you're required to beat the original story to unlock it, but there's also a code available that will likely be widespread after the expansion's release. For the purposes of this review however I didn't use the code, as I wanted to replay the entire base campaign so I could directly compare it while it was fresh in my mind. Whereas the original story involved Shovel Knight's quest to defeat the evil Enchantress, Plague of Shadows is an alternate timeline of sorts, where our hero was bested (but not killed), and evil rules the land. Plague Knight decides to seek out his own fortune, developing a potion of unlimited power in secret. The levels are, for the most part, the same, but are reworked to cater to Plague's particular set of skills. Most, if not all stages, have completely new paths and areas as well. This remix concept paid off, because while the actual themes of the levels were familiar, it felt like I was playing a new game. Heck, he even gets his own town. Plague Knight sports a double-jump by default, as well as a charge attack that explodes and provides a triple-leap. Because of the nature of the charge, players can employ a lot of fancy maneuvers, delaying your explosion to basically go anywhere you want. Even using his potions mid-air will delay your descent. You'll basically have to relearn the game's mechanics, as Plague Knight feels utterly different. He's a bit more loose than Shovel Knight, sliding to and fro as he runs. Attacking is even more nuanced, as Plague's potions are a delayed explosion (initially), so you can hit stronger enemies with your first barrage, and aim subsequent projectiles as traps of sorts to blow up later. From there you can upgrade your standard attack to use a longer fuse, or even orbit around your character like a shield. Overall I'd say he has more options than Shovel, but is much tougher to master. As far as collectibles go, there are Green Cipher Coins to locate (which open up more shop options) as well as cash to acquire. The Ciphers remind me of the red coins in Yoshi's Island, and they're just as fun to hunt for. The fact that the number of overall coins out there is known (420) makes them more addicting to collect, and this is on top of the musical sheets to find (now scrap sheets). My favorite new element of the game is probably the tonic system, which allows you to drink an item to gain a temporary life point until death. It's a bit more strategic and deliberate system. There is one minor hangup -- don't put too much stock in the challenge mode, which is hosted by a playable Shovel Knight. Of the challenges, most are rematches (boss rushes). A few of the boss-centric challenges are pretty tough, like the one that tasks you with beating The Big Creep in under a minute, with the minimum amount of life available. The first 10 have fairly difficult bits like riding an enemy to the end of a lengthy scrolling arena. Plague of Shadows also has its own achievements (albeit 20 compared to Shovel's 45), but I'm told that he will not take on Kratos or the Battletoads, as those fights are exclusive to the core campaign. Shovel Knight already felt complete at launch, but Plague of Shadows just makes it even more enticing. The fact that it's a free update for existing (and new) owners rather than paid DLC is the cherry on top. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Shovel Knight DLC review photo
Bubonic Chronic
I can't believe it's been over a year since Shovel Knight released -- time flies, right? Over the course of that year, I've beaten it on every conceivable platform outside of the PC edition, playing it over and over...

Review: Zombie Vikings

Sep 16 // Jed Whitaker
Zombie Vikings (PC, PS4 [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: Zoink!Publisher: Zoink AB, Rising Star GamesReleased: September 1, 2015 (PS4), October (PC), Q4 2015 (Wii U)MSRP: $19.99 Stick It to the Man! developer Zoink! decided to keep the same great art style from that game for Zombie Vikings, which is a like a combination of papercraft, stickers, and a pop-up book. The graphics really pop during the entirety of this Norse brawler, and that is about all the good things I've got to say. If I listened to my kindergarten teacher and "only said something if I had something nice to say," I'd stop here and this would be a very short review, but I'm a big kid now. Speaking of kindergarten, the humor is about on that level. Be ready for poop and anus jokes. Seems like every fantasy adventure game has to make some kind of stupid reference to the Lord of the Rings movies, which I get are iconic and loved by many people, but if I hear one more "you shall not pass" joke, it had better be next-level, second-coming-of-Christ impressive, otherwise don't. I understand that some people reference things and kind of feel like it is an inside joke -- or something only '90s kids will get -- but it isn't funny, especially when done multiple times. [embed]310977:60391:0[/embed] Now that I've made it crystal clear I think the writing and comedy are unfunny garbage, let's move onto gameplay, which isn't terrible but isn't exactly standout either. Zombie Vikings has the typical beat-'em-up flair. You'll be jumping, running, blocking, dodging, and mashing buttons to beat your enemies senseless, as well as using each character's unique special attacks and abilities. These range from more powerful attacks to swooping from the sky like a crow on top of your enemies, and clearly make some characters better than others. All in all, you're still just mindlessly beating up the baddies without much thought. The problem isn't so much what you can do, but the variety of who you're doing it to, as most every level has a variety of three styles of enemies: tiny, medium, and large. The different styles of enemies vary in appearance between stages but perform mostly the same, and after thirty levels, I was bored to tears. Bosses mix it up a bit every few levels, often requiring specific new strategies to clear before you're sent back to the same repetitive enemies. Every now and then there will be levels that mix up the formula a bit -- such as a few where you're forced to run as fast as possible from enemies -- which are the only fun levels throughout the game. Two levels have you playing a game of what equates to soccer mixed with basketball against the CPU and they easily are the most infuriating levels due to the mechanics just not working; points are really hard to score because the goals are extremely finicky when deciding if your ball goes in. Online multiplayer matchmaking was either devoid of players or just didn't function -- neither option would surprise me. Multiplayer felt necessary as you can revive other players instead of being kicked back to checkpoints, and when I was playing alone, I found myself replaying sections far more often due to death than when playing with a local co-op buddy. The cherry on top of this shit sandwich is the insane amount of bugs and glitches I experienced while playing: persistent screen tearing, levels that wouldn't allow me to complete them due to enemies getting stuck off screen or objective items not spawning, enemies getting stuck on and inside terrain, and so on. Zoink! has already released a patch on the European PSN addressing some of these issues earlier this month, which is still absent in the US for one reason or another, but that doesn't excuse the state in which it was released. I can only review the product I have in hand, not what the game could potentially be. I'm a huge fan of the beat-'em-up genre. It can be rather repetitive, but typically that can be overlooked as the games tend to be rather short. Zombie Vikings, however, overstays its welcome and starts to get rather monotonous around halfway through. While it tries to throw in some interesting levels and boss fights, those mostly end up falling flat, just like the humor. On top of all that, the game is buggy with screen-tearing issues, subtitles not working properly, and glitches preventing levels from being completed. If you're looking for a beat-'em-up to play, I'd recommend Castle Crashers Remastered and the original trilogies of Final Fight, Golden Axe, Splatterhouse, and Streets of Rage. Those games are worth far more than the asking price of this tragedy. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Review: Zombie Vikings photo
Laugh at this bug-infested corpse
Comedy is as diverse as the world around it. Some people love Larry the Cable Guy. Others prefer Louis C.K. But one thing is for sure: not every comedian is for every person. The thing that makes you laugh may not make me lau...

Wii U Indie photo
Wii U Indie

Human Resource Machine heading to Wii U

New game from the Little Inferno devs
Sep 16
// Laura Kate Dale
I was a huge fan of Little Inferno when it launched on the Wii U a couple of years ago. A twisted narrative about rampant consumerism, microtransactions, and the beauty of starting fires, it is one of those game I come back t...
Wrasslin' Chu photo
Wrasslin' Chu

Wrasslin' Pikachu Libre's new Pokken Trailer, OH YEAH!

Snap into a Poke Gym
Sep 15
// Jed Whitaker
Pokkén Tournament is looking like it is going to be the cream of the crop when it runs wild on Wii U in 2016, especially with Pikachu Libre (or is it Masked Pikachu?) in tow. Watch this hot new trailer that showc...
Mario Maker Smash stage photo
Mario Maker Smash stage

Super Mario Maker stage coming to Smash Bros.

Battleground madness
Sep 14
// Nic Rowen
A brand new stage based on Super Mario Maker is heading to Super Smash Bros. on September 30th, and it looks exactly as crazy and whimsical as you'd want it to be. Embracing the creative chaos of Mario Maker, the stage will be constructed differently at the beginning of every match and constantly edited and fussed with throughout by a stylus gripping hand like so many Duck Amuck shenanigans.
Stop gap boss photo
Stop gap boss

New Nintendo president won't divert from path set by Iwata

Likely just a place-holder boss
Sep 14
// Steven Hansen
Tatsumi Kimishima was just named president of Nintendo, a move many deem a stop gap. The former banker headed Nintendo of America from 2002 until 2006 and most recently filled a number of administrative roles at the company, ...

Metroid Maker? Zelda Maker? Should Nintendo keep it up?

Sep 14 // Steven Hansen
This is new territory, and a surprising route for domineering Nintendo, but recent moves like opening up its IP to mobile show a company that's adapting. The mad success of all-ages, creative ventures like Minecraft and even Sony's now-flagging LittleBigPlanet are easy answers for the shift. The PS4 has a dedicated Share button, but I saw as many people sharing pictures of their Super Mario Maker codes (with their phones, off their TV screens) as I did Metal Gear videos. Part of that is novelty. But, also, opening up a beloved series to fan-goofing and sharing could give Mario Maker a long tail. Then what? Super Mario Maker support with DLC, or expansion packs bringing in new 2D Mario aesthetics? Or would you like Nintendo to go whole hog on Sony's "Play. Create. Share" and start making tool sets for other popular series? I mean, it's not like Nintendo wants to make a 2D Metroid itself, clearly.
What's next? photo
If Mario Maker is a success, then what?
With the 9/11 Super Mario Maker release, it seems like a lot of people spent the weekend playing and making levels while I spent the weekend playing more Metal Gear, eating too much at an Indian buffet, and watching sports. T...

Genei Ibun Roku #FE photo
Genei Ibun Roku #FE

Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem is coming to Japan on December 26

2016 in the West
Sep 12
// Kyle MacGregor
The Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem crossover project, otherwise known as Genei Ibun Roku #FE, will arrive in Japan on December 26, Nintendo just announced via the RPG's blog. It was also revealed that first print cop...
Mario Maker levels photo
Mario Maker levels

Share your Super Mario Maker creations here!

I made one too
Sep 11
// Chris Carter
So, Super Mario Maker is finally out, and I can only assume people are hard at work creating their own levels. Thankfully the pointless "nine-day" wait function is now gone, so you can access every tool available in a few hou...

Review: Super Mario Maker

Sep 11 // Chris Carter
Super Mario Maker (Wii U)Developer: Nintendo EAD Group No. 4Publisher: NintendoRelease: September 11, 2015MSRP: $59.99 The core theme behind Super Mario Maker is simplicity. Opening up with a rather lovely tutorial section, you'll be introduced to the creation process, which is as simple as touching an object with your stylus, and placing it in the on-screen grid. The entire experience can be played on the GamePad without the use of a TV, and never seeks to overwhelm the player. As the famous fictional Chef Gusteau once said, "anyone can cook!" and now anyone can create a Mario level. While Super Mario Maker doesn't give you everything your heart desires, you'll find plenty of toys to screw around with, from enemies like Kuribo's Shoe (which are actually Yoshi in select themes), to Giant Goombas that split into more Goombas, that can assist you in crafting objectives like P-Switch-centric puzzles, and even shoot 'em up levels with clouds or Koopa Clown Cars. You can create pipes or doors to send players into different areas of a level, tracks to craft moving platforms -- every basic Mario concept you can think of is here. The bread and butter of Maker is themes. You'll start with the original 8-bit Mario theme as well as the New Super Mario Bros. U series, then eventually work your way up to Mario 3, and the always delightful World. Themes (which have their own unique physics and in a few cases, movesets) can be shifted at the press of a button, including the ability to jump into underground, ghost, water, airship, or castle settings in every sub-franchise. It's awesome to create a level and see it switch to an entirely new gimmick within seconds. An "undo" option, eraser (which can be toggled with quick trigger presses), and a nuke-like reset button make everything easier. Costumes, however, are probably my favorite extra in Mario Maker, which provide players with a way to morph into other characters like Sonic, Pac-Man, or Mega Man. They're unlocked by way of amiibo, or another method I'll get to shortly, and have some unique animations and sound effects in tow, like Pac-Man's shift to an 8-bit sprite when he runs. Sadly, all of these costumes are limited to the 8-bit style only. The more you play it, the more you'll realize that limitations are a recurring issue with Super Mario Maker, despite its immense charm. [embed]306729:60161:0[/embed] Not all of these objects will be available immediately, either. Instead, you'll have to wait nine days to obtain everything, including major themes like Mario 3 and World. I can confirm that players will be able to fast-forward the Wii U clock a day ahead at a time to "unlock" the next set of items. But the process is still painfully tedious, as you have to play five minutes to "allow" the unlock, then switch to the main menu, then back to the game to receive the items, then play for another five minutes, and so on. Since this method is available, the entire requirement is rendered pointless. Having said all that, it wasn't really a dealbreaker in any way for me, and didn't have any direct correlation to my assessment here. However, there are a number of shortcomings inherent to Mario Maker's toolset even after unlocking everything. For starters, there are no assets related to Mario 2 outside of a select few re-skins. Not only is the entire theme missing from the game, but unique objects and enemies such as the iconic Phanto are nowhere to be found. Additionally, there is no way to eliminate the countdown timer (the max is 500 seconds), which takes the wind out of exploration-based creation's sails considerably. There's also a severe limitation in terms of how you can build out levels. Right now you can't choose to create a vertical-themed stage -- you have to go with the same horizontal blueprint the game gives you without fail. Maker also limits the amount of enemies you can have in any given level (for instance, only three Bowsers or roughly 100 smaller enemies) even in the 8-bit theme, which is a silly design. Mario Maker does have a few modes beyond the creation realm, thankfully, including a "10 Mario Challenge" mode that tasks you with completing eight levels in 10 lives. This essentially functions as the campaign, and brings players through a variety of different themes composed by Nintendo. The reward is two-fold -- you'll experience a fun pseudo-story mode, and obtain each blueprint for use later in the game's creation mode. They're relatively easy, but some of them provide mechanics very rarely seen in a core Mario game, and are worth spending several hours on alone. The online hub (titled "Course World") is probably where players are going to spend most of their time in the coming months. Having played other creation games with online functionality for years, I have to say that this is one of the better modules. There's support for everything, from bookmarking levels (with hearts), to viewing your "played" history, to queuing up your own creations, and sorting potential levels with qualifiers like popularity and newly shared. It's crazy to see what people have come up with already in the past few weeks, like re-creations of old school Mega Man levels complete with the 8-bit costume, to the classic "music videos" we've seen for years on end in games like LittleBigPlanet. My one gripe with viewing levels online is that they are automatically "spoiled" right before you start them. Basically, by looking at a stage, it will show the entire layout by default -- there's no way to "hide" this currently, and a lot of courses I played lost their luster as a result of this snafu. As a bonus of sorts, the hub has its own version of the 10 Mario Challenge -- a 100 lives version, which basically grabs levels online and mixes them into a custom world. This is probably my favorite element of the game, as it does a good job of curating content and giving it to you in a rapid-fire format. It also rewards players with costumes upon completion, so you don't need to use amiibo to unlock them. Super Mario Maker is a charming little creation tool, and I'm sure fans will come up with some amazing levels for years to come. However, it feels a bit more constrained than it needs to be, and is in dire need of updates or DLC to keep it going long term. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Super Mario Maker review photo
The costumes are the best part
Ever since I was five years old, I've been drawing my own Mario levels on graph paper. It's a pretty common story, because when I look at a series to give me a platforming baseline, it's usually Mario. Nintendo didn't ju...

Splatoon photo

It's art versus science in the next Splatfest

New weapon drop tonight
Sep 11
// Jordan Devore
Of all the Splatfests to miss, it had to be the Transformers one. Damn. I would've loved to get an Autobot shirt even if it meant losing to Decepticon apologists. The topic of the next Splatfest isn't as noteworthy, but I'm a...
Collect ALL the pieces photo
Collect ALL the pieces

Day-one update removes nine-day wait on Super Mario Maker content

Just make some levels, ya dingus!
Sep 10
// Jed Whitaker
A patch for Super Mario Maker went live hours ahead of its official release that removes the requirement to wait nine days -- or set your Wii U system clock ahead -- to acquire all of the level editor parts.  The update ...

Telltale's Minecraft: Story Mode is an interesting change of pace for the series

Sep 10 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]310121:60304:0[/embed] Taking place in the world, or worlds, of Minecraft, we take on the role of Jessie, a local resident living in the wilderness along with his friends and pet pig. With the upcoming event known as Endercon approaching, sort of an in-game take on the popular Minecon, Jessie and his friends prepare for the festivities along with the rest of their community. Unfortunately, an ancient evil known as the Ender Dragon is unearthed from the nether, and wreaks havoc across the land. With Jessie and his friends being the only ones to escape, it's up to them to restore the legendary Order of the Stone, a group of powerful adventurers capable of stopping the dragon, and save the rest of the world. While it may seem unusual to try and create a specific story and narrative with predefined characters within Minecraft, which is inherently about the relative and varied user experiences, Telltale's take on Story Mode is surprisingly charming. Sure, many of the jokes focus on Minecraft-related humor and trivia, which may confuse or fall flat for those who aren't too into the adventure game, but it does a pretty admirable job of finding itself within a game world that's so varied and almost infinitely diverse. With a pretty solid voice-cast featuring Patton Oswalt, Corey Feldman, Paul Reubens, Dave Fennoy, Martha Plimpton, Ashley Johnson, and Brian Posehn, this is likely Telltale's most star-studded cast yet. During the short segment I played, we find Jessie searching through the forest for his pet pig. Gameplay will be instantly be familiar to those who've played other Telltale titles, such as The Walking Dead or Fables. You'll explore the environment looking for clues, interact with other characters, and occasionally participate in action sequences that call for well-timed responses. When Jessie was ambushed by zombies, he had to defend himself with a hastily put together wooden sword, which broke during the encounter. Eventually, his friend Petra (voiced by Ashley Johnson) saves the day and they make their way back to town. Of course, this is only the start of their troubles. Essentially, this is a very family friendly take on Telltale's past titles. Easy enough to get into, but deep enough to wonder what choices will be the best in the long run. However, one of the more interesting aspects of Story Mode is that it allows players to customize the central character Jessie. From their aesthetics to even their gender (voiced by Patton Oswalt and Catherine Taber, respectively), players will be able to build their own story and show off their character however they see fit. Given the numbers of choices and turns the story presents, it's refreshing to be able to have more of a choice in how your character looks. I'm curious to see how this title will shape up. With the first episode coming this year, Minecraft: Story Mode has some big shoes to fill. While there are many fans who may turn their nose up at such a departure from what they know from Minecraft, the developers are seeking to make a narrative that not only rewards long-time fans with a long and eventful journey through series lore, but also serves as a great opener for those who haven't taken the plunge into the quirky and incredibly popular adventure title. And it's a promising start from what I played. 
Minecraft: Story Mode photo
The Creepers will remember that
Since its announcement last year, many fans of both Mojang's Minecraft and Telltale Games were caught off guard by this union of adventure developers. With one focusing on open-ended and procedurally generated jaunts thr...

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