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1:30 PM on 03.05.2015

GDC 15 DLC #2: Oily hamburgers and Cranberries

The second lunch of GDC was much messier than the first, which you can watch here. Today (well, two days ago, actually) we went with an American staple, the "Hammed Burger," so named for the first woman who ever went totally...

Steven Hansen



Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars photo
Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
by Darren Nakamura

A little more than four years ago, Nintendo released Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! on the original DS. It continued the series' focus on the miniature Mario robots, to the chagrin of fans of the platforming in the original. In our review, Jonathan Holmes said "It didn't make me feel much, or think much, or have much of a memorable effect on me at all."

Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars plays the same as Mini-Land Mayhem!, but with a few new features. It remains a puzzle game that acts as filler; it can be picked up and played just as easily as it can be put down and forgotten.

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Smash Bros. dev bringing blocky puzzler BOXBOY! to 3DS photo
Smash Bros. dev bringing blocky puzzler BOXBOY! to 3DS
by Steven Hansen

HAL Laboratories (Super Smash Bros., Mother) has been busying itself with a couple Kirby games recently, but it looks like someone over there had an idea for a lil puzzle game and rolled with it.

BOXBOY! (already released on the 3DS eShop in Japan) is minimal outside of its charming animations. It is black, white, and mostly made of squares. You can walk Qbby left and right in an overworld with a Ms. Pac-Man-esque bowtied Qbby trailing behind. Enter doors to start a world, most of which seem to be designed around a particular technique. Five worlds (with around seven levels each) were playable during my GDC demo. There are 17 in total.

Aside from running and jumping, Qbby can bud blocks from his body. Each level gives you a limit to how many blocks you can produce at any given time, while there is also an overall number of blocks you can use on a stage. Getting to the end while collecting one or two black crowns will net you a "perfect" rating (and give you currency to unlock fun extras).

When you start, you can produce one block from your body and usually throw it to use as a step to reach a higher platform. As the levels go on and the block limit gets higher, you use new techniques. One section is themed around using blocks as a hook. That is, you produce three stacked blocks straight up, followed one to the right, forming a hook atop your head. You can then latch that last block onto a high ledge and have Qbby contract up to that latched block like folding in one side of the accordion.

I'm fine with the absentee art style (and Qbby's dumb lil feet as you move the box back and forth), but I never felt stumped throughout the first five worlds. It was more relaxing than puzzling. Maybe that's the point. Or maybe the later worlds will combine the various techniques a bit more, or make it so the limit of blocks you can produce per stage actually feels like a restriction; I never ran out.

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Review: Pneuma: Breath of Life photo
Review: Pneuma: Breath of Life
by Brett Makedonski

Pneuma: Breath of Life is, through and through, a creationist tale. There's no theory of evolution, carbon dating, or Darwinism to cause debate. It's one god and the world that he brought into existence mere seconds earlier.

As it turns out, being the only inhabitant of a world is a dull affair.

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3:30 PM on 02.24.2015

Besiege brings its funny, sexual, weird medieval siege engines to Mac and Linux

AT-AT by Poroh I thought Besiege looked good based on the developer-made gifs and videos, but the game's community has elevated the title to new heights with its ingenious, often times so-wrong-they're-right medieval creation...

Jordan Devore



PC Port Report: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty photo
PC Port Report: Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty
by Darren Nakamura

Like Chris, I had my first taste of Oddworld when it was new, back on the PlayStation in 1997. Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus were two of my favorite titles from that era, so when Oddworld: New 'n' Tasty was announced, I was pretty stoked to revisit the adventure through RuptureFarms and the surrounding areas.

To my chagrin, the PC version would not launch for many months after the PlayStation 4 version. At the very least, the wait is justified; New 'n' Tasty runs beautifully on my aging computer, and it features some of the bells and whistles that come with a Steam release too.

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Review: Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora photo
Review: Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora
by Jason Faulkner

I’ve really been delving into the indie scene lately. There’s a huge amount of games coming from smaller development studios, and I’ve found a few that really impressed me. When I heard that a “crime noir Metroidvania with a cat in a fedora” was available to review, I was all in. I mean Cave Story, Terraria, and Shovel Knight are indie titles that could all fall under the fairly vague “Metroidvania” genre and they’re some of the most critically acclaimed games of all time.

As I played Hot Tin Roof: The Cat That Wore a Fedora, I found myself alternately intrigued and absolutely disinterested. Some things were well executed, while others were distracting and annoying. Having such fond memories of exploring Castle Dracula and Zebes, I expected a title that took on their mantle to continue the gaming traditions they established, but what was here was sandpaper compared to those classics’ smooth marble.

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Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary photo
Review: htoL#NiQ: The Firefly Diary
by Josh Tolentino

No, that isn't an encoding error up there in the headline: "htoL#NiQ" is indeed this PS Vita game's title, and is essentially a very stylish way to type "The Firefly Diary" in Japanese.

Whatever personal peculiarities led the team at Nippon Ichi to title their new game this way seem to extend to the game's design as well. htoL#NiQ marches to its own rhythm, and ends up being two things at once: a fascinating work of minimalism, and a needlessly difficult ordeal best enjoyed only by the most masochistic of flagellants.

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2:30 PM on 02.20.2015

Rez, Lumines creator working on puzzle RPG '18'

On a few separate occasions this year, I've been reminded that Rez exists and felt a flood of guilt after recalling how long it's been since I last played this ridiculously cool sequence (too long). A new Rez, or Rez HD on c...

Jordan Devore

9:30 AM on 02.20.2015

Final Fantasy x Puzzle & Dragons crossover unveiled

GungHo is now collaborating with Square Enix to unite the worlds of Final Fantasy and Puzzle & Dragons. That's about all we know at the moment, but we'll update you when there's more to tell. Final Fantasy x Puzzle & Dragons [GungHo Online via 4Gamer]

Kyle MacGregor

1:15 AM on 02.20.2015

Puzzle & Dragons: Mario Bros. Edition is damn sexy

Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, the exciting new collaboration between Nintendo and GungHo Online, is coming west this May and I really couldn't be more excited. As a longtime "Pazudora" addict, it's somethi...

Kyle MacGregor



Very Quick Tips: Pokémon Shuffle photo
Very Quick Tips: Pokémon Shuffle
by Chris Carter

Pokémon Shuffle has an under-handed microtransaction system that heavily relies on making you wait to play, unless you pay.

But for some of you, casually picking up five games per day will be enough, and there is some fun to be had when you wade through all the nonsense. Here are some tips to help you stay free.

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Review: Pokémon Shuffle photo
Review: Pokémon Shuffle
by Chris Carter

Nintendo takes on the world of microtransactions with Pokémon Shuffle. What could go wrong?

A lot. 

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11:00 PM on 02.17.2015

Pokémon Shuffle's microtransactions are even worse than I thought

I just obtained my review copy for the upcoming 3DS match-three puzzler Pokémon Shuffle, and man, is it rough to get on-board with this microtransaction scheme. If you want the full rundown of what to expect you c...

Chris Carter

2:30 PM on 02.16.2015

What the hell?! Captain Toad has a spin attack!

Have you ever pushed through an annoying sequence without realizing that you were in fact "playing it wrong" and failing to grasp a concept or mechanic? I am guilty of this, but I'm struggling to think of an example newer tha...

Jordan Devore

6:00 AM on 02.15.2015

Some haikus about free puzzle platformer Symmetry

Flash game on NewgroundsLike VVVVVVSuperficially Mirror imagesForm platforms on either sideClimb to the portal Push boxes aroundAvoid deadly laser beamsFlip the gravity

Darren Nakamura