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Wii

Review: A Boy and His Blob

Feb 06 // Brett Makedonski
A Boy and His Blob (Linux, PC, Mac, PS4, PS Vita, Wii, Xbox One [reviewed])Developer: WayForward TechnologiesPublisher: Majesco EntertainmentReleased: October 13, 2009 (Wii), January 20, 2016 (Re-released on other platforms)MSRP: $9.99 WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is intentionally vague and that's possibly its best quality. In an opening sequence reminiscent of EarthBound, a child is woken in the middle of the night to a crash outside his window. After a brief bout of exploration, Blob is discovered. From there, it's just adventuring for the sake of adventuring, and saving the world for the sake of saving the world. Blob is billed as the greatest asset, a shapeshifter who can perform about a dozen different functions. For example, Boy feeds Blob a jellybean and Blob turns into an anvil. Or a soccer ball. Or a trampoline. Over the course of 40-some levels, variations of this sequence play out hundreds (maybe thousands) of times as the main function of this puzzle platformer. You wouldn't think it from the game's title, but Blob is actually a tertiary character. If it were named more accurately, this would be called A Boy and His Jellybean Wheel. A disconcerting amount of time is spent in a time-frozen state clumsily navigating a menu of the level's eight-or-so pre-assigned jellybeans. After a jellybean is thrown and Blob (hopefully) performs his duties, it's only a matter of seconds until you're forced to again pull up that menu. That process sucks the life out of A Boy and His Blob. Even though most of the game's levels are notably short, they often feel like arduous endeavors because the pace grinds to a crawl. Puzzle solutions are usually easily identifiable -- in fact, there are often giant signs pointing out the answer -- but their execution is needlessly slow and sluggish. [embed]338372:62152:0[/embed] Making matters worse, there are many many instances when Blob simply won't do what you want. Blob has a tendency to shift shapes just ever-so-slightly not quite where intended. It's annoying at first, but becomes a detriment in later levels. That combined with stiff and unresponsive platforming controls often leads to starting the section over from scratch.  And, that's all when Blob is actually on-screen. It's not uncommon for Blob to be missing altogether, either because it was left behind or it hopped into an abyss. When this happens, the game would like for the balloon jellybean to be tossed, causing Blob to eventually float to your position. Mercifully, however, there's a call button that can just be impatiently pressed over and over until it balloons your way automatically, slowly but surely. What A Boy and His Blob has on its side are intangibles, of sorts. They're plucky attributes that significantly and understatedly enhance a game, but don't necessarily make a game. For instance, there's no denying A Boy and His Blob's innocent aesthetic, unspoken emotion, or charming spirit. Those are the qualities that make the game more tolerable than it would otherwise be. Without much option of anything besides leaning on the NES version's method of using Blob (a non-playable character) as the means of gameplay execution, WayForward's take on A Boy and His Blob is frustratingly imprecise and inaccurate. But, by deviating a bit and adding the jellybean wheel, it killed any momentum and turned the game into a slog. That is truly the worst of both worlds. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
A Boy and His Blob review photo
Blah-b
A Boy and His Blob, a 2009 "re-imagining" of the NES game of the same namesake (and recently re-released on current platforms), is an interesting case study. When does retro game design and a devotion to source material becom...

RE4 on Wii U photo
RE4 on Wii U

Resident Evil 4 hits Wii U in North America this week


A re-release of the stellar Wii Edition
Feb 01
// Jordan Devore
How many ports does Resident Evil 4 warrant? All of them. Forever. Those of us in North America will have another chance to nab the best-playing version, Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition, when it comes to the Wii U eShop this Thursday, February 4. I'm not sure what took so long, as European players have had it since last October. Weird.
Zack & Wiki photo
Zack & Wiki

Zack & Wiki is launching on Wii U today in the US


Finally
Jan 21
// Chris Carter
Third-party support was off the chain on the Wii for a while, and that includes the amazing Zack & Wiki: Quest For Barbaros’ Treasure from Capcom. I mean truly, I can't say enough awesome things about this game...
'Play' station photo
'Play' station

Xbox goes soft as PlayStation users reclaim 'most porn watched'


Pornhub data shift in porn console king
Jan 11
// Steven Hansen
Pornhub, which I am told by other people familiar with the webpage is a site for viewing adult, pornographic films, has released its statistical year in review. All sorts of interesting trends popping up, here. "Lesbian" bump...

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...
Smash photo
Smash

If this is really it for the new Super Smash Bros., what did you think of it?


Best iteration yet?
Dec 17
// Chris Carter
Nintendo just had its "final" Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct, and it was a big one. In addition to the confirmation of Corrin, the launch of Cloud (and his Midgar stage), and the announcement of some Mii costumes, Bay...
Zack and Wiki photo
Zack and Wiki

Zack and Wiki just found its way onto the UK Wii U eShop


Easily one of the best Wii games
Dec 03
// Laura Kate Dale
Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure is one of the true forgotten gems on the Wii. A point and click puzzle adventure game, it focused on using the motion controls the console was based around in really intelligent way...
Project M photo
Project M

Popular Smash Bros. mod Project M ceases development


Long live Melee?
Dec 02
// Myles Cox
The rise of the Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament scene has been almost impossible to ignore, even to casual players of the series. Even as of this year (year three of Luigi, mind you), Smash players travel all across t...
PlayStation 4 photo
PlayStation 4

Research group says millennials prefer PlayStation


Especially on Black Friday
Nov 30
// Mike Cosimano
Shopping research group InfoScout has published its post-Black Friday findings as they relate to video game consoles. As you can see in the chart below, 40% of participating millennials (defined as ages 18-35) buy PlayStation...
Dragon Quest X photo
Dragon Quest X

Dragon Quest X is getting a Wii, Wii U, and 3DS bundle in Japan


Whoa
Nov 26
// Chris Carter
Another year, another lack of Dragon Quest X in the west. Square Enix has added insult to injury recently too, as it just announced a new Japanese bundle that includes the Wii, Wii U, and 3DS versions of the game. So if...
Rodea the Sky Soldier photo
Rodea the Sky Soldier

Watch me stream the Wii version of Rodea The Sky Soldier


Check out the first 2 hours of the game
Nov 14
// CJ Andriessen
Curious about the Wii version of Rodea: The Sky Soldier? Chris was able to review the Wii U edition and talk briefly about the 3DS one, but a lot of people have been asking about covering it on Wii, so here you go. I'm strea...
Rodea photo
Rodea

Sonic creator asks you play Wii version of his new Wii U, 3DS game


Listen to it on vinyl
Nov 11
// Steven Hansen
Rodea: The Sky Soldier went through a heck of a development cycle and somehow came out the other side but not unscathed. Chris gave it a good score, though he noted, "the game's tumultuous development process bleeds through t...

Review: Rodea the Sky Soldier

Nov 09 // Chris Carter
Rodea the Sky Soldier (3DS, Wii, Wii U [reviewed])Developer: Kadokawa Games, PropePublisher: Kadokawa Shoten, NISMSRP: $39.99 (3DS) / $59.99 (Wii U with Wii edition for first-print copies)Released: April 2, 2015 (Japan), November 10, 2015 (US) Rodea is a strange, strange game. While the Wii version uses IR movement and is more in line with the creator's original vision, and the 3DS edition has even more differences, this assessment deals directly with the Wii U. This is a traditional single-player action game with RPG elements, most of which remind me of the golden age of JRPGs. You have your shonen hero (Rodea), a robot who has been stricken with amnesia at the start of the game, and must stop the evil Naga empire from taking over. Oh, there's one catch: his princess gave him an actual heart, so he's not a soulless machine. If you end up choosing the Japanese audio option, the narrative, while cheesy, is watchable. Where Rodea really spreads its wings is the open-ended flight gameplay, similar to Nights into Dreams. Within the confines of each semi-open level, Rodea can move around on foot, jump, hover, boost attack enemies, and blast off into the sky. The gist is that he has a limited flight time (it's actually rather generous), and once his meter is expended, he must either pivot off of a solid object, or land on the ground and start a new flight pattern. It's jarring at first, but it's easy to get the hang of after about 30 minutes, and you have a huge degree of freedom. Some of it is even automated (grabbing pickups, grinding wires), but never to the extreme degree of the 3D Sonic titles. Although the GamePad does support off-screen play, there's no need to even look at it, as the controls are entirely traditional on Wii U. The open design works both for and against Rodea. While it's amazing to look into the horizon at times and see areas you can readily explore, the draw distance is often so poor that it's tough to plot out a full course. Additionally, a lot of zones tend to blend together, with entire areas that have nothing more than empty plains seemingly unfinished. Rodea also starts to falter when it adds more elements to the mix beyond its core conceit. While the boost attack is fairly foolproof (it's a lot like the 3D Sonic games' homing attack), gunplay is shoehorned in. It isn't fun at all. The fact that the controls feel dated isn't entirely the player's fault, as the entire game feels like something out of last generation, and possibly even a generation before that. That's not to say Rodea doesn't sport a beautiful art style -- because it does -- just that occurrences like slowdown, pop-in, and occasional glitches are present more than they should be. Individual missions can get boring, but flying is always a joy, and bosses are often the highlight. They'll range from humanoid fights to giant hulking monstrosities, and both varieties are a blast while they last. This is a decently long affair, with over 25 levels, upgrades to purchase, and even a secret shop with extras like an additional mode. You can expect anywhere from 15-30 hours once everything is said and done. You rarely see things like this outside of DLC, so it's refreshing that the game feels so feature complete, even if it technically has three different versions in the end. Rodea the Sky Soldier really hits that sweet spot when it comes to evoking the wonder of flight, but the troubled developmental process is tangible in the final build. For those of you who can stomach older experiences however, you'll likely overlook some of its issues and find a lot to love. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Rodea review photo
A rusted robot with a heart
The history of Rodea the Sky Soldier is one muddled with platform changes and developmental issues galore. Originally slated as a Wii game in 2010, producer Yuji Naka ran into publishing troubles, and the project was ess...

Sonic Wii VC photo
Sonic Wii VC

Sonic games are being removed from the Wii Virtual Console


Bummer
Oct 29
// Chris Carter
The digital revolution has its conveniences. For instance, I tend to jump into FPS games randomly, playing a few rounds before moving on to the next one. Being able to do this instantly is great, and I don't necessarily need ...
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D photo
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D

Watch Xenoblade Chronicles 3D run at the clock speed of an original 3DS


The game is exclusive to 'New' hardware
Oct 28
// Chris Carter
When Xenoblade Chronicles 3D arrived earlier this year, exclusively for the New 3DS, fans were skeptical as to whether or not it would have just ran on older hardware. YouTube user Osha has given the experiment a go...
Resident Evil 4 photo
Resident Evil 4

Resident Evil 4 is coming to Wii U next week


At least in Europe
Oct 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition might not be the prettiest version of the game, but is by far the best. The Wii U faithful (the European variety, at least) will soon have an opportunity to see why, as the Capcom classic is launc...
Nintendo photo
Nintendo

Fans hope upcoming Nintendo online maintenance means good things


Club Nintendo successor is almost here?
Oct 18
// Jonathan Holmes
Rumor buzz warriors in Nintendo land have been on high alert of late. Between the clamor around the buried listing for Twilight Princess HD and the hopes/dreams/nightmares that Shovel Knight will a Smash Bros. DLC character, ...
Little King's Story photo
Little King's Story

Little King's Story coming to PC in early 2016


XSEED behind new HD remaster
Oct 16
// Kyle MacGregor
Little King's Story is coming to Windows PC in early 2016, XSEED has announced. The new version is a visually-enhanced port of the Wii original that XSEED (along with its parent company Marvelous and European distributor...
Scalebound photo
Scalebound

Scalebound originally starred a young, female protagonist


Was shelved twice before this version
Oct 01
// Laura Kate Dale
Scalebound is one of those games I've just been excited about since it was shown off at E3 last year. A new game from Platinum, the master of character action, about riding dragons into ancient combat while modern music blare...
Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Rodea: The Sky Soldier delayed again


Now planned for November
Aug 12
// Kyle MacGregor
NIS America has once again delayed the release of Rodea: The Sky Solider. After initially planning on a September release, the publisher pushed the game back a month. Now it's happening again. The new target dates are Novembe...
Captain Rainbow Patch photo
Captain Rainbow Patch

Captain Rainbow translation complete, but needs someone to make a patch


Can anyone help make this a reality?
Aug 07
// Jed Whitaker
Nintendo fans have yearned for Captain Rainbow to be localized in English ever since its reveal in 2008, but that isn't likely to ever happen, officially. If you're not familiar with the game, it was predicted to be the ...
Friday Night Fights photo
Friday Night Fights

Friday Night Fights: I am obsessed with Rocket League


And you should be, too!
Jul 31
// mrandydixon
Look, I know Mike has gone on and on about Rocket League already, and you're probably sick to death of hearing about it by now, but I don't even care. This game is fucking awesome. Seriously, I just can't get enough. I'v...
Kirby's Birthday Partay!! photo
Kirby's Birthday Partay!!

Three of the best Kirby games on Wii U Virtual Console in NA today


And arguably the best Wii game
Jul 30
// Jed Whitaker
Nintendo teased that the Wii U Virtual Console would be getting three titles added for Kirby's birthday today, and an ESRB leak has confirmed what those titles are: DS's Kirby: Squeak Squad, N64's Kirby 64: The Crystal S...
Skylanders amiibo photo
Skylanders amiibo

Get ready to drop a lot of cash on the Skylanders line, amiibo collectors


Very expensive variants
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
Those who collect amiibo are no stranger to the variant game. It was just this past spring when both Gold Mario and Silver Mario released -- the former significantly more sought-after than the latter. Two more variants were a...
Project H.A.M.M.E.R. photo
Project H.A.M.M.E.R.

What happened to Nintendo's canceled Project H.A.M.M.E.R.


What Nintendo doesn't want you to know
Jul 04
// Jed Whitaker
Unseen64 is a great source for cancelled video game content, and this exposé on Nintendo's canceled Project H.A.M.M.E.R. may be its best work yet. The doomed game went through development hell, with management an...
Canceled Mario photo
Canceled Mario

Spikers: Canceled Mario was a volleyball/wrestling hybrid for Wii


Super Mario Spikers
Jun 29
// Steven Hansen
Next Level Games developed two fun soccer games, Super Mario Strikers, then a bunch of other junk before the excellent Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon. Somewhere after the Wii version of Strikers, though, it was working on some u...

Rodea: The Sky Soldier might be a bumpy ride

Jun 25 // Kyle MacGregor
Rodea: The Sky Soldier was initially conceived as a Wii game, but it came too late in the day for a system nearing the end of its life cycle. It needed to be reworked as a Wii U and 3DS title. The thing is, the Wii is a special console, and Rodea was developed with its unique attributes in mind. Motion controls are a tad different than standard inputs, and the transition between the two seems to have left an indelible imprint on Rodea's design. Taking to the skies in this aerial action game doesn't come as second nature. With the press of a button, Rodea lifts into the air and hovers for a moment as you aim where you want him to go. He can't fly indefinitely, though, and will fall to his death unless you find another object for him to bounce off within an allotted time frame. It seems like the type of interface that would work seamlessly with the Wii's IR pointer, but on Wii U GamePad, I found myself flying off at odd angles, often coming frustratingly close to objectives that seemed just out of reach. Perhaps it's the sort of thing that comes with practice, but in a brief demo on the E3 show floor, I only got a glimpse at what sort of joys Rodea might have to offer.  Though it never felt intuitive, there were flashes when I managed to soar through the air with some semblance of precision. And in those fleeting moments I could really feel Yuji Naka's (Sonic Adventure, NiGHTS into Dreams) fingerprints all over the game, as I bounded from one floating isle to the next, collecting rings in this ethereal obstacle course. More than anything, my time with Rodea: The Sky Soldier made me oddly happy the Wii U version is coming tethered with a copy of the game on Wii. I'm not sure how much easier it will be to pilot on its original platform, but it feels like that's how it was intended to be experienced. Either that or flight isn't a skill easily mastered in a few mere minutes.
Rodea impressions  photo
Awkward aeronautics
My first flight with Rodea: The Sky Soldier wasn't a smooth one. But perhaps that's to be expected of a title that's seen such a turbulent development history. The project went dark shortly after its initial announcement in 2010, then underwent a change of platforms -- something that seems all too apparent after a few minutes with the final product.

Wario-man wafts to battle photo
Wario-man wafts to battle

Competitive Super Smash Bros. Brawl mod Project M 3.6 beta released


Pokemon's Saffron City in HD!
Jun 24
// Jed Whitaker
Project M is a well known mod amongst competitive Super Smash Bros. players, as it modifies Brawl to be more like Melee. For those of you not in the competitive scene, you might still be interested in the just...
Just Dance photo
Just Dance

Ubisoft has turned your phone into a console camera


Unless you're rocking a 2004 Razr
Jun 15
// Brett Makedonski
Man, so many people just want to dance in front of their video game consoles. You may scoff, but Just Dance is the most successful music franchise ever, so that statement applies to some folks. For those who haven't alr...
Rodea: The Sky Soldier photo
Rodea: The Sky Soldier

Rodea: The Sky Soldier launch delayed


Now coming in October
Jun 10
// Kyle MacGregor
The wait for Rodea: The Sky Soldier has been a long one and it just got a little bit longer. NIS America has revised its plans, pushing back the upcoming Wii U and Nintendo 3DS action game's September launch until O...

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