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Founder and Executive Producer of the Heroes Podcast Network. Host of Screen Heroes and Redshirts & Runabouts podcast series. Known Trekkie, gamer, and all around nerd.

Hearthstone’s Tavern Brawl is Live

Blizzard Entertainment’s digital card game, Hearthstone, launched its newest game mode this week, “Tavern Brawl”. For those of you who speculated what that final empty space was on the main page of the game, the tile has been flipped. Here’s how their website describes the new mode:

“Each week, a different Tavern Brawl will pit you head to head versus another player using exciting and unique rules. One week might feature preset decks, while another week could have you crafting a brand new Tavern Brawl deck following specific guidelines, while others might offer buffs to specific minion types—who knows!

Tavern Brawl can be found below the Play, Solo Adventures, and the Arena buttons on the main Hearthstone screen. You may have to toughen up before entering the fray—Tavern Brawl is unlocked once a player has a level 20 Hero.”

The first go, which ends in two days, will also give you a free pack of basic cards for winning. I’ve added a small gallery of screenshots so you can see how I did. It was a fun deck to play, especially since I don’t currently leverage dragons all that much. For reference, Sauron started with 60 health and a weapon, while I started with 30 plus 30 armor and no weapon.

This mode is also playable with friends by selecting Challenge next to their names in your friend’s list. Tavern Brawl is FREE, so if you’re looking for something that doesn’t cost gold, I’d definitely check it out.

For those wondering, I played this game on my Android phone.

Have you played Tavern Brawl yet? What do you think of Hearthstone’s latest mode? Is it a keeper? Comment below!

Hearthstone’s Tavern Brawl is Live

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 3

Welcome to our third installment of our Nintendo E3 sum-up. So far we’ve talked about several major games including Star Fox Zero, Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi’s Woolly World, and Super Mario Maker. Now, I want to focus on a few more games plus one interesting aspect of Nintendo’s digital presentation.

FAST Racing Neo

Many people have been dreaming of a new F-Zero for years. Sure, the GameCube had a decent game and we all remember and love the SNES version but with today’s graphics and updated controls, why don’t we have another F-Zero? Nintendo slightly answered this by adding a new F-Zero themed stage to Mario Kart 8 but let’s face it; that’s not enough. Well, Nintendo still doesn’t have public plans for a new installment BUT there’s hope in FAST Racing Neo from Shin’en, which appears to be the spiritual successor. This game, which has amazing graphics by the way, lets you pick from various “Anti-gravity vehicles”, it includes motion control options, off-TV play (which is a feature I am always interested in), and up to four players. The game is set for a 2015 release and is definitely on my list of games to pick up this year.

FASTRacingNeo

Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash

Now this is something more familiar because if Nintendo loves anything at all, it’s using the Mario characters in as many games as possible. And so, Mario and his friends (as well as enemies) return to battle it out on the tennis court. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash is the seventh official incarnation of the game, though the GameCube version was ported to Wii and released again. In fact, it might be the only franchise that owes some gratitude to the Virtual Boy console. Don’t you all remember playing Mario Tennis at Blockbuster? All those orange\red lines floating in blackness. Good times. Anyway, I digress. This holiday season, Nintendo is bringing the franchise back with 4-player local play, some new characters who’ve never been on the court before, plus a new “Mega Battle” feature that leverages the Mega Mushroom.

MarioTennisSuperSmash

SteamWorld Heist

Last and absolutely not least, is SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form International AB. I’m just going to say it: I love these guys! Their game, SteamWorld Dig, is addictive and fun. I own it on Wii U, 3DS, and PC. If you haven’t played, pick up the 3DS version. It’s my favorite for many reasons. Image & Form returns to the SteamWorld universe with a turned-based strategy adventure action game set out in space. It is not a sequel to SteamWorld Dig but it is similar in style and tone. This game is set to release on 3DS this Fall as a single-player game leveraging the handheld console’s touchscreen interface and similar use of the dual-screen design, keeping maps and inventory on the lower screen with the action on the top. The game uses a skill-based combat system and works as a platformer, though turn-based. I can’t wait to continue to dive in the universe they’ve created.

SteamWorldHeist

Nintendo Muppets

Alright, so we’ve talked about some games and I will be provided a “final thoughts”, if you will, in part 4 of this series, but now I’d like to talk about how Nintendo started everything this year at E3. Sure, you want to start off strong, so they began with Star Fox Zero. Great choice. How did they introduce this game? With big lights, action, and spaceships? No. How about with nostalgia, catchy phrases, and throwbacks to the original? Not really, no. Oh… so what did they do? Well, they used puppets. That’s right, Nintendo’s big three, Satoru Iwata, Reggie Fils-Aime, and Shigeru Miyamoto got each other together and hit the stage in complete puppet… no, Muppet form! They weren’t just any puppets. Nintendo worked with the Jim Henson Company to make Muppets of themselves! What’s more, their Muppet-selves turned into Star Fox characters during the little segment. I’ve got to say, it was something I never expected to see. It was fun, lighthearted, and just bright. Video games can take a dark and serious tone. I think Star Wars: Battlefront, Batman: Arkham Knight, Call of Duty, and Halo have really shown that. I, for one, appreciate Nintendo’s unique and positive attempt at introducing a classic franchise.

NintendoMuppets

Well, that’s all for today. Stop by for my final thoughts on Nintendo’s E3 performance in Part 4 of this series later this weekend.

Before you go, comment below and let me know what you think of these games or anything about Nintendo at all! I’d love to talk with you.

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 3

Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition Cancelled

Less than a week before the new Batman game is set to hit store shelves and digital downloads, the top of the line model is being cancelled. That’s right, for those who pre-ordered the nearly $200 version of the game were expecting an art book, skins, and a special edition Batmobile statue, among other things, but instead, they will be receiving a refund and a “New 52” skin pack with three skins, Batman, Robin, and Nightwing, supposedly the same skin pack the edition was supposed to come with. Warner Bros. isn’t being too specific but apparently there was a quality issue, I’m assuming with the Batmobile statue itself. With the game set to release on Tuesday, June 23rd, this doesn’t give people much time to change plans, especially if they would have opted for the special Limited Edition Arkham Knight PS4 which has been sold out online for months.

Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition

Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition

Were you one of the people expecting this version of the game? Will you still pick up a different version? Comment below!

Arkham Knight Batmobile Edition Cancelled

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 2

Hopefully you’ve seen Part 1 of our Nintendo at E3 sum-ups. If not, head over there first and then come back!

Now, to Part 2! Today, we are going to cover four more games that Nintendo focused on during their big 2015 E3 digital conference.

Fire Emblem Fates (3DS)

The Fire Emblem series returns with this new 3DS turn-based RPG. Set to release in 2016, Fire Emblem Fates focuses on the Hoshido and Nohr, at war with each other. You get to choose your side, providing a lot of available game play and two very distinct story paths. Additionally, you’ll get to command your own army during the war, a feature new to the franchise. As Nintendo notes, “The Hoshido path is a more traditional path as you work together with your allies to fend off Nohrian invaders… The Nohr path will force you to revolutionize an unruly kingdom from the inside – this path offers a slightly more complex story and will be more challenging.” The graphics are very colorful and look to fit in with the spirit and style of the franchise. Fire Emblem Fates is set to release sometime in 2016.

FireEmblemFates

Metroid Federation Force (3DS)

We haven’t seen a new Metroid game in about five years. So the thought of one is very exciting. That might be why I’m a little disappointed in what I’ve seen so far. Metroid Prime: Federation Force for the 3DS is a 1-4 player co-op first-person shooter set in the Metroid universe. The game is designed to be a “team sport” where your group clears out enemy bases and completes objectives with a variety of available weapons. One interesting aspect is the addition of a mode called “Blast Ball”. This mode allows for up to six players. It’s a 3-on-3 sport where the players use their weapons to fire a giant ball into the opposing team’s goal. Seems like a fun mini-game but I’m curious why it’s being packaged with Metroid Federation Force and not sold separately. The graphics are all right, though nothing too impressive. I think the most disappointing aspect is that the game is 3DS only with no Wii U in sight, though rumors say the next Metroid might be on the fabled NX platform… whenever that happens. Metroid Prime: Federation Force releases in 2016.

MetroidFederationForge

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

This title has been teased and bits and pieces shown for months now. And. It. Looks. Beautiful. Seriously, I just want to watch people play this game. Monolith Software Inc. has created an open world game filled to the brim with monsters, creatures, and customizable mech suits! The game will provide a local single-player mode and up to 4 players online, allowing players to join squads to complete quests. Another cool feature is that other players’ avatars can be used as part of your single-player story, expanding the gameplay. This new RPG is sci-fi war at its best with humans fighting with everything they have to survive as aliens breath down their necks. It looks very exciting. Xenoblade Chronicles X hits the Wii U on December 4th, 2015, just in time for the holidays.

XenobladeChroniclesX

Yoshi’s Woolly World (Wii U)

If there is one thing Nintendo does well, it’s platformers. Let’s face it. Nintendo has managed to keep the genre alive and kicking with games like New Super Mario Bros U and Super Luigi U, but they aren’t done. Coming out this fall is Yoshi’s Woolly World, a new platformer designed around a Yoshi made out of yarn. The game allows you to use yarn to create platforms and battle enemies, all while playing as various colors of Yoshis. The game includes tons of secrets, two-player co-op play on the same screen and a special “easy mode” called Mellow Mode, which provides a winged Yoshi plus some very cool Amiibo functionality with three different yarn-constructed Yoshi Amiibo. Nintendo’s latest platformer hits shelves on October 16th, 2015.

YoshisWoollyWorld

How do you feel about the new Metroid game? Do you think Xenoblade looks as cool as I do? Will you pick up one of the yarn Yoshi Amiibo? Comment below!

Stay tuned for part 3 of our Nintendo E3 sum-up tomorrow!

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 2

Jurassic World Limited Edition Blu-Ray

Jurassic World hit theaters this past weekend, breaking records and grabbing the highest grossing opening weekend all all-time both domestically and globally. In the wake of this success, Universal Studios has announced their Limited Edition Gift Set which includes the 3D Blu-Ray, DVD, and digital copy of the major dinosaur blockbuster. On top of that, it includes a pretty exciting looking statue of the new Indominous Rex battling our hero T-Rex from the original Jurassic Park. While the set is available for pre-order on Amazon right now, the listing does not show the statue, so we’ve provided it here. What do you think? Is it worth the $107.98 price tag? Comment below and don’t forget… to hold on to your butts.

JurassicWorldLimitedEditionBluRay

Jurassic World Limited Edition Blu-Ray

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 1

This console generation has been commanded by Sony and Microsoft. Even with Nintendo’s year head start, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One came out of the gate quickly and successfully. With that said, as Nintendo’s first party classic franchises have caught up with the Wii U, Nintendo has begun to see profits again. And let’s not forget the incredibly successful portable platforms, whichever version you happen to hold. Tuesday marked Nintendo’s big day at E3 announcing everything from release dates of anticipated titles to first peeks at things we weren’t expecting. I’m going to sum up my top 12 key takeaways from Nintendo’s 2015 E3 digital presentation. Here are my first four, below. Stay tuned for part 2 for the next four!

 

 

ArwingFighterStar Fox Zero (WII U)

It’s time to practice your barrel rolls and prep all-range mode because our classic heroes from the Super Nintendo and N64 are back in a brand new adventure, Star Fox Zero. This new Wii U title is no remake, nor is it a direct sequel to any previous incarnations of the franchise… No, not the GameCube one either. This game has been teased for months with talk about how the Wii U’s GamePad would play into the second screen atmosphere. Well, thanks to E3, now we know. While your main TV screen will show the a more cinematic view of the action, the GamePad will display a cockpit view for better aim and accuracy. While the graphics are more polished and vivid than previous Star Fox titles, don’t expect Halo 5 style graphics. Instead, Nintendo keeps the soul of Star Fox alive by showing us worlds and ships we can recognize, even if just by the style. New gameplay includes additional vehicle modes including the Walker and Gyrowing, plus the return of the Landmaster. The next exciting installment of Star Fox is expected to hit store shelves this holiday season.

 

ZeldaTriForceThe Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (3DS)

The next game on the list is a little odd but comes from one of the most beloved Nintendo franchises, Zelda. Tri Force Heroes is a 1 OR 3 player game designed in the A Link Between Worlds style. The objective is to “link” up (get it?) with two other Link characters in an effort to work together to solve puzzles and complete levels. These Links are even stackable, meaning all three could be in a tower. When this happens, the bottom-most character controls movement while the top one can use items and weapons. If you happen to be the middle Link, you’re along for the ride. In “one-player” mode, you can “rent” two paper dolls to take along with you in place of your friends’ characters. Players can communicate via in-game emoticons and can connect to a game using local wireless connection, online play, and download play. This title is expected to launch this fall.

 

HyruleWarriosLegendsHyrule Warriors Legends (3DS)

Nintendo calls this game a “re-imagining” of the current Wii U version. The upcoming 3DS version includes all of the DLC characters along with additional features based on The Wind Waker and more. You can also change characters on the fly. If you enjoyed the Wii U game and want more, this would be a great title to pick up. If you haven’t played the original yet, then maybe this updated and portable version is the one for you. Hyrule Warriors Legends is expected in the first quarter of 2016.

 

SuperMarioMakerSuper Mario Maker (Wii U)

Originally titled Mario Maker, this game will let you finally become the level designing master, opening up an incredible toolbox of enemies, boxes, power-ups, platforms, and more. The game will come with some preset levels and will allow you to go online and check out levels designed by others. The game will include four different style themes from Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. The new Mystery Mushroom power-up will work in conjunction with Amiibo to transform Mario into dozens of different characters throughout Nintendo lore. In honor of the 30th Anniversary, they are also releasing an over-sized 8-Bit Super Mario Bros. Amiibo, which I am very excited for. Purchasing a physical copy of the game also gets you a special course booklet with ideas for courses, in case you need some inspiration. Super Mario Maker comes out September 11th, 2015.

What do you think of these four titles? Anything you’re most looking forward to? Are you disappointed in anything? Comment below!

Next up, part 2 of my four part Nintendo E3 summary. I’ll talk about Yoshi’s Woolly World, Xenoblade Chronicles X, and more!

Nintendo at E3 2015 – Summing Up Part 1