Wii U

Wii U – A Farewell

This month marks the closure of the official Wii U Facebook page. While the low-selling Nintendo home console was officially discontinued in the beginning of 2017, games are still being produced with 16 games released in 2018 and two more on the horizon by the end of 2019, at least in the North America region. In fact, over 760 Wii U games have been released to date worldwide.

So what went wrong with the Wii U? Being that it came out in 2012, there’s certainly a lot of articles that attempt to explain why the Wii U was not the hit success the Wii before it was or why the Nintendo Switch has already done better from a sales perspective. First, I do want to sum-up what people mean by the Wii U being a failure, a black sheep, or not a success. Normally, video game console success is measured by number of units sold in addition to how long the console or an iteration of it, is on the market.

We know that the Wii U sold just over 13.5 million consoles worldwide. This makes the Wii U Nintendo’s lowest selling home console, not counting the NES Classic, SNES Classic, and VirtualBOY. That’s right, the GameCube not only outsold the Wii U but actually sold over 21 million units by comparison. The Nintendo Switch has already passed the GameCube’s sales numbers (sold from 2001-2007) in less than two years on the market, with around 23 million Switch units sold.

Successful consoles like the PlayStation 2 (2000-2013) and Wii (2006-2017) have both sold over 100 million units with the PS2 selling over 150 million if you include every version released over that console’s incredible production run. The Wii U had two versions, both at launch, the white 8GB model and the Deluxe 32GB model in black. The Wii would have several versions over the years, just like the PS2. They’d release in different sizes, colors, and with different features from their original counterparts.

Image result for Wii U

Alright, so it didn’t sell well. But why didn’t people buy the Wii U after the Wii’s success? Was it the game library? Boasting over 760 games might not sound impressive when the Nintendo Switch already has over 1,200 games in 1/3 the time but the Wii U’s game library actually isn’t as small as you think. The Nintendo 64 (1996-2002), which outsold the original Xbox (2001-2009) by over 37%, had a library about half the size of the Wii U at just 388 games but sold almost 33 million units.

It must have been the launch window then. Nothing to play at launch? That’s a fair criticism. I don’t shy away from saying I’m a Nintendo fanboy, because I most certainly am. If you ever listened to my time on the Gamer Heroes podcast’s first 60 episodes, you’d get that pretty quick. But to be clear, I own a lot of Nintendo consoles leaving out the VirtualBOY and a few of the GameBoy and DS iterations. I camped out for the Wii in 2006… for 39.5 hours. But when the Wii U came along, I didn’t camp out. I didn’t pre-order. I didn’t even go to the store to pick one up. This was due to the games available at launch, for me. There wasn’t much to choose from that I cared about, personally, at least not on a Nintendo console.

Sure, New Super Mario Bros. U was there but Super Mario 3D World wouldn’t release for just over a year. There wasn’t even a Zelda game at launch. The Wind Waker HD wouldn’t come out for 11 months and it wasn’t even a new game! It was a remaster of the 2002 GameCube game. The only actually new Zelda game released on the Wii U was Breath of the Wild which was also released on the brand new Switch console. Mario Kart 8 took until May of 2014, about 18 months after release of the Wii U and 6 years since the previous Wii incarnation. Super Smash Bros. was two full years after the console came out. It never got a Metroid game. No Castlevania. And Splatoon, the game that so many people love now, didn’t release until May 2015, about 30 months AFTER the console launched.Wii U

I eventually bought a Wii U in the summer of 2013, about 9 or so months after it came out. I played New Super Mario Bros and ZombiU, along with Nintendo Land. But I mainly played my Wii which was now living as a legit, official emulator inside my Wii U thanks to their transfer process. So, I upgraded because I could use a single console and play the newer games. Of course I ended up with some great games like Super Mario 3D World, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, ZombiU, and the surprisingly fun Luigi U. All-in-all, I only have 9 physical Wii U games at this point. I had a few others like Pokken Tournament, but traded them in long ago for something else. The only Nintendo console I own fewer games for is the GameCube and that’s because I didn’t actually own one until last year, aside from the built-in Wii functionality that led to a couple games like Super Smash Bros. Melee. So when it’s all said and done, the Wii U might have had a larger library than the N64 but I have countless more games for the older console that one could argue hasn’t even aged as well.

People were confused too. I still have to explain to people that the Wii and Wii U were completely different things. No, the Wii U is not a Wii with a tablet. No, the Wii U isn’t just the tablet as an add-on to the Wii. The Wii U was Nintendo’s next generation console, a mid-gen console to many in the industry due to its more Nintendo-esque limited hardware. So here’s a little explanation. The Wii U was the next step in Wii development. It had better hardware, a larger form factor, no GameCube controller or memory card support, no mini-disc support, and its primary controller was a handheld tablet with physical buttons.

Image result for Wii U

Okay, so you know what it is but was it a good thing? Well, the tablet was a neat concept. Some games leveraged it really well, like ZombiU. In that game, a zombie game, you watch the TV for what you, as a character, can see and then the tablet acted as your inventory, map, details, etc. Other games, like New Super Mario Bros., just mirrored the TV screen, which did mean you could play on the tablet while someone else used the TV for another console or something. Some games like Nintendo Land allowed one player to use the tablet to perform a task like hiding, while the other players saw everything else on the TV and tried to find the hiding player. Some took advantage of the motion controls like StarFox Zero, with the tablet being inside the cockpit and the TV being a third-person view. The final group didn’t use the tablet screen at all, like Zelda: Breath of the Wild for Wii U. It was blank, basically.

At the end of the day, the Wii U was essentially a Nintendo Switch prototype. It had the tablet; you could play away from the TV. But it still required a full console box and the range of the tablet was only a few feet and certainly not through walls… I tried. Even though the Wii U was no powerhouse, it did have some cool features. It kept the Wii alive along with the Virtual Console we all miss on the Switch. It was compatible with essentially all of the Wii controllers, accessories, and such, save a few. It kept the GameCube controller alive with its USB adapter for Smash Bros., which we will see again this December. And it ended up with a substantial library of games, some of which I wish more people had tried out.

To that end, as the Facebook pages for the Wii U close on the day I’m writing this, I’d like to just say goodbye to the Wii U. For a Nintendo fanboy, the Wii U is a prime example of Nintendo’s guts, quirkiness, and style. For a general consumer, the Wii U was an odd, confusing, and seemingly unnecessary upgrade to the Wii.

If you owned a Wii U, I’d love to hear your stories. What were your favorite games? What about features? I’d love to hear about all of it because I do love the Wii U, as strange as that might be.

R.I.P.
Wii U
2012-2017
13.5 million sold

If you enjoyed this article, please consider following me on Twitter @TheStarTrekDude!

You can also find me and my thoughts on the Screen Heroes and Redshirts & Runabouts podcasts right here on the Heroes Podcast Network.

Game on!

Wii U – A Farewell

GH09: Zelda – Breath of the Switch

Zelda: Breath of the Wild is quickly becoming one of Nintendo’s greatest success stories. It’s selling at a record pace, as is the Nintendo Switch console. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a giant open world RPG that takes place 100 years in Hyrule’s future. This week, we talk about our first impressions of the game, including play style, graphics, difficulty, and story.

We also talk a bit about our first experiences with the Nintendo Switch and its launch titles, focusing on FAST RMX, a $20 digital only Indie title, and Super Bomberman R.

But that’s not all! We also repeat the winner of our show’s first contest but you’ll have to listen in to find out who the winner is.

4:00 – News: Lord of the Rings game, Xbox Subscription Service, Windjammers

17:00 – First Impressions with the Nintendo Switch: console, controllers, issues, etc.

41:55 – FAST RMX: Indie futuristic racer

45:50 – Shovel Knight Switch Details

48:30 – Zelda: Breath of the Wild review

1:10:25 – Closing & Contest Winner

What do you think of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? What about the Switch? Did you pick up any other launch titles? Hit us up with your thoughts!

Don’t miss out on our next contest by leaving us a review on iTunes! That’s all it takes to enter and you could win a free console game.

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Gamer Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
Derreck Mayer
Zach Story

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

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GH09: Zelda – Breath of the Switch

GH05: The Delayed But Whole

Castlevania is coming to Netflix, South Park gets delayed, and the Nintendo Wii U era comes to a close. We also take a minute to remember NAMCO founder and Pac-Man creator Masaya Nakamura. We talk about these current events and then dive into our main topic, handheld gaming with the Nintendo DS line and Sony PS Vita. And yes, it’s different than mobile gaming.

1:30 – Castlevania coming to Netflix

7:30 – Nintendo News: Wii U & Switch

16:20 – South Park: The Fractured But Whole Delay

19:00 – The Passing of Nakamura

21:30 – Handheld Gaming: Nintendo DS & PS Vita

43:15 – Favorite Handheld Games

51:45 – Closing

Be sure to join us next week and head over to iTunes to drop us a review (see link below)! The first person to drop us a review on iTunes will get a TBD Steam game from us!

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Gamer Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
David Doherty
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
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GH05: The Delayed But Whole

GH03: What is Retro Gaming?

What is Retro Gaming? This week we ask the question and then try to answer it. We first kick things off with some news surrounding the new  DC fighting game Injustice 2 before discussing the latest Nintendo Switch and Zelda: Breath of the Wild news. We talk a bit about what games we are currently playing. Hit up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter with the tag #currentlyplaying to let us know what you’re up to!

After a lively discussion there we dive into the concept of retro gaming. What makes a game retro? What makes a console retro? How does this impact pc gaming? Handheld? We discuss all of these aspects breaking down graphics, game play, technology, release date, and more. Check out the list below for some hot points to jump to.

1:40 – Injustice 2

12:20 – Nintendo Switch news

19:25 – Zelda: Breath of the Wild

26:55 – Currently Playing

37:00 – Retro Gaming

1:10:00 – Closing and possible contest!

Be sure to join us next week and head over to iTunes to drop us a review (see link below)!

Also, stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Gamer Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Jon Czerwinski
David Doherty
Derreck Mayer

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Michael Wallace (Flying Killer Robots)

Google Play Subscription Link
https://play.google.com/music/m/I6qwdjccfc4sxi5urxuebuisatq?t=Gamer_Heroes_Video_Games__PC_Gaming__Console_Gaming_Mobile_Gaming

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GH03: What is Retro Gaming?

Nintendo Switch Presentation Stream

Are you excited for Nintendo’s upcoming console, the Nintendo Switch?

Nintendo Japan will be revealing more details about their 2017 Nintendo Switch hybrid console at 11PM EST January 12th, 2017 and we’ve got the live stream below. Also, Gamer Heroes will be discussing the details in this week’s podcast, so look for that shortly after tonight’s stream.

[huge_it_videogallery id=”3″]

What did you think of the presentation? Are you excited for the Nintendo Switch? Disappointed? Sound off in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook at Facebook.com\HeroesPodcasts!

Nintendo Switch Presentation Stream

Nintendo Reveals Switch (NX)

(updated 10/20/2016 4:20PM EST)

Nintendo reveals the Switch and hybrid console coming in March 2017.

Press release:

REDMOND, Wash., Oct. 20, 2016 – In an introductory video released today (http://www.nintendo.com/switch), Nintendo provided the first glimpse of its new home gaming system and revealed that it is called Nintendo Switch. In addition to providing single and multiplayer thrills at home, the Nintendo Switch system also enables gamers to play the same title wherever, whenever and with whomever they choose. The mobility of a handheld is now added to the power of a home gaming system to enable unprecedented new video game play styles.

At home, Nintendo Switch rests in the Nintendo Switch Dock that connects the system to the TV and lets you play with family and friends in the comfort of your living room. By simply lifting Nintendo Switch from the dock, the system will instantly transition to portable mode, and the same great gaming experience that was being enjoyed at home now travels with you. The portability of Nintendo Switch is enhanced by its bright high-definition display. It brings the full home gaming system experience with you to the park, on an airplane, in a car, or to a friend’s apartment.

Nintendo Switch Hardware

Gaming springs into action by removing detachable Joy-Con controllers from either side of Nintendo Switch. One player can use a Joy-Con controller in each hand; two players can each take one; or multiple Joy-Con can be employed by numerous people for a variety of gameplay options. They can easily click back into place or be slipped into a Joy-Con Grip accessory, mirroring a more traditional controller. Or, if preferred, the gamer can select an optional Nintendo Switch Pro Controller to use instead of the Joy-Con controllers. Furthermore, it is possible for numerous people to bring their Nintendo Switch systems together to enjoy local multiplayer face-to-face competition.

Nintendo Switch Logo
“Nintendo Switch allows gamers the freedom to play however they like,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, President and COO, Nintendo of America. “It gives game developers new abilities to bring their creative visions to life by opening up the concept of gaming without boundaries.”Developers can design their games supporting a variety of play styles, which gives gamers the freedom to choose an experience that best suits them. Some of the publishers, developers and middleware partners announcing support for Nintendo Switch are as follows:
  • 505 Games
  • Activision Publishing, Inc.
  • ARC SYSTEM WORKS Co., Ltd.
  • ATLUS CO., LTD.
  • Audiokinetic Inc.
  • Autodesk, Inc.
  • BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.
  • Bethesda
  • CAPCOM CO., LTD.
  • Codemasters®
  • CRI Middleware Co., Ltd.
  • DeNA Co., Ltd.
  • Electronic Arts
  • Epic Games Inc.
  • Firelight Technologies
  • FromSoftware, Inc.
  • Frozenbyte
  • GameTrust
  • GRASSHOPPER MANUFACTURE INC.
  • Gungho Online Entertainment, Inc.
  • HAMSTER Corporation
  • Havok
  • INTI CREATES CO., LTD.
  • KOEI TECMO GAMES CO., LTD.
  • Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd.
  • LEVEL-5 Inc.
  • Marvelous Inc.
  • Maximum Games, LLC
  • Nippon Ichi Software, Inc.
  • Parity Bit Inc.
  • PlatinumGames Inc.
  • RAD Game Tools, Inc.
  • RecoChoku Co., Ltd.
  • SEGA Games Co., Ltd.
  • Silicon Studio Corporation
  • Spike Chunsoft Co., Ltd.
  • SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.
  • Starbreeze Studios
  • Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
  • Telltale Games
  • THQ Nordic
  • Tokyo RPG Factory Co., Ltd.
  • TT Games
  • UBISOFT
  • Ubitus Inc.
  • Unity Technologies, Inc.
  • Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
  • Web Technology Corp

Today’s video incorporated short glimpses of representative gameplay to demonstrate the liberating nature of the Nintendo Switch home gaming system. Full game demonstrations, the list of launch window titles, as well as launch date, price, product configuration and related specifics, will be shown and announced prior to the March launch.

Nintendo Switch Partners

You can already sign up for Amazon notifications in the US. To do so, click here!

So what do you think of the new console? Is it a must buy? Comment below!

Watch the release video here!

Some interesting things to note from the video:

  1. We never saw anyone touch the tablet screen, so did they remove touch screen functionality?
  2. We did see any dual screen play (something different on the TV and the tablet) for the same game
  3. These two feature changes would essentially eliminate DS and Wii U game compatibility

We got some additional clarification from IGN about the home console. In short, the Switch will indeed support Amiibo. Additionally, the docking station is not part of the console and instead acts as a power station and output to TV. The hardware of the Switch itself is inside the tablet device. Also, the two Joy-Con controllers that attach to the side of the tablet are included with the Switch console.

Finally, when asked about touch screen support, Nintendo did not directly answer, saying more information would be coming. That is an interesting answer given the touch screen history of the Wii U and DS consoles paired with the lack of showcasing such functionality in the reveal video.

Nintendo Reveals Switch (NX)

Miitomo: The Best of Social Media

Last Thursday Nintendo finally launched its new account and reward system, My Nintendo, that replaces Club Nintendo after a year hiatus. Along with this good news comes a fun little app called Miitomo. Inevitably, if you are friends with any Nintendo fans or the young at heart, you’ve likely seen an influx of Miis scattered across your social media that would rival your own Mii Plaza. I, unfortunately, will probably lose a few friends and followers by the time this particular hype train leaves the station, but I have no regrets. If you have not boarded that train, give the video above a watch to see what you’re in for and join me on this journey.

Miitomo is best described as a social media app that allows you to be the best version of yourself. You also get to post (Mii)fotos, satiate your desire to answer ALL THE QUIZZES, have a slightly repetitive time sink of a game, and be surrounded by friends who actually want to see it. For the icing on the cake, there are no ads and you get actual rewards for playing that include free games for the 3DS and useful perks for Miitomo itself. The launch video does a fantastic job of showing how to get started and some of the features. I have to admit that I am a terrible human being and take entirely too much enjoyment in making the Miis say awful things. It is truly an affliction and I just cannot help myself. Thankfully my friends have a tolerable sense of humor, or have somehow managed to exceed my own twisted thoughts. Personally, I blame Nintendo for doing such a fantastic job on text-to-speech and allowing some significant free speech (type ALL THE FOUR LETTER WORDS).

MIITOMO

Well, we do live in America.

Within about 30 minutes of answering questions and dressing my Mii up in silly things, I came to a solid theory. Miitomo seems to have drawn some of the best features of a game released two years ago called Tomodachi Life. The game itself is difficult to describe, but can be most related to a very weird voyeuristic version of The Sims. While it was repetitive and got stale quickly, the game had a unique quirky charm of being bat@#&! crazy with the most random dialogue and cut scenes. This app immediately reminded me of the good times I had in that bizarre game. I have come to the conclusion that Nintendo released Miitomo simply to record all of the weird things we say to keep their inevitable Tomodachi Life 2 fresh and exciting. I am likely very wrong, but on the slight chance that I am not, you heard the conspiracy here first, folks.

MIITOMO

This escalated quickly.

MIITOMO

#MiitomoStyle with Friends!

What about you, my fellow Nintenerds? Have you given Miitomo a shot yet? Need some random time waster in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts on it and relish in any fun moments you’ve had in the game so far. Feel free to add Mii as a friend using the QR code!

MIITOMO

Go ahead, add Mii!

You can always contact me on Facebook and Instagram @crystalbatdesigns!

Miitomo: The Best of Social Media

Nintendo Set for Pokemon Sun and Moon

With Nintendo’s latest Direct set to come tomorrow and planned to focus completely on the ever popular Pokemon series, it looks like we’re also going to get two new games, Pokemon Sun and Moon. This comes in the wake of most people assuming Pokemon Z was on the way to round out the X & Y games and complete the trilogy. According to the wonder images provided by Nerdleaks, the trademarks were filed today but that didn’t stop the video game world from picking up the news and spreading it quickly.

Nintendo has a lot planned for the 20th anniversary of the Pokemon franchise including the TBD release of Pokemon Go, the augmented reality and geolocation game. Additionally, tons of stores are using this Saturday, February 27th as Pokemon Day with places like GameStop and Toys R Us providing special events full of sales, posters, and more goodies.

The special Nintendo Direct is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, February 26th at 9:00AM CST (10:00AM EST) with streams available through Nintendo’s website and their Twitch channel.

Pokemon Moon Pokemon SunPokemon Sun and Moon TrademarksWhat do you think of the news? Do you think the games will be for 3DS or will Nintendo have these as launch titles for the mysterious Nintendo NX console? Will you tune in tomorrow for the Nintendo Direct? Comment below!

(Sourced from Nerdleaks)

Nintendo Set for Pokemon Sun and Moon

SteamWorld Heist: Image & Form’s Next Big Hit – Review

(Updated: 7:40 CST December 10th, 2015)

Image & Form, the Indie video game developer from Sweden returns to the world of steam with SteamWorld HeistSteamWorld Heist is the turn-based RPG pseudo-sequel to their previous hit SteamWorld Dig. The new game takes place in the same universe but even further into the future. Per their official fact sheet:

Join Captain Piper Faraday, smuggler and occasional pirate, as she recruits a rag-tag team of steam-driven robots and sets out on a daring adventure. With your hearty crew you’ll board, loot and shoot your way through enemy spaceships. Overcome the challenges of the vast frontier by upgrading your robots with unique abilities, weapons – and even stylish hats!

Let’s take a look at some of the facts before we move on to my review of the game so far. SteamWorld Heist released yesterday, December 9th, 2015 for the Nintendo 3DS via the eShop. The game is also slated for release on the Nintendo Wii U, Sony Playstation 4 and Vita, Microsoft’s Xbox One, Steam (PC/Mac/Linux) and iOS in early 2016. These other versions are considered HD releases, per their website. The base game sports between 15-20 hours of play but there are talks of additional DLC in the future. The basics of the game is that you captain a crew of Steambots. Using various weapons, you take out the enemy. Each character boasts different status for damage, health, speed, etc. Each weapon boasts different stats for damage and accuracy as well as class use. Weapons include unique guns, hand to hand weapons like brass knuckles, and armor in the form of vests.

There are five difficulty levels: Casual, Regular, Experienced, Veteran, and Elite. Mission failure penalties are assessed on all levels except Casual and experience bonuses, which increase incrementally each level, are provided for Experienced and higher. Additionally, the difficulty level for individual missions can be modified in-game, meaning this is not a universal setting for your entire game profile but can be set on an as-needed basis if you run into a mission that’s too easy or too difficult.

SteamWorld Heist Banner

Official Press Release

“Dear all,

After two years of developing SteamWorld Heist, our biggest effort to date, we’ve come out on the other side. Towards the end we beat a near-impossible time schedule to have the game approved on the first try by Nintendo of America and Nintendo of Europe. We made it: it would be released in 2015. A week ago we sent out for reviews and wrung our hands in giddy, dreadful anticipation of the verdicts. And we passed that test as well: in terms of reviews, SteamWorld Heist is a resounding success.

SteamWorld Heist is a game that requires a longer explanation than a brief elevator pitch. It’s a new game, a mashup of genres where the sum constitutes something unique and larger than its parts. In short you control Captain Piper, who commands a rag-tag band of steam-driven robot pirates throughout strategic, turn-based shootout missions. It’s set in 2D, so you can use the environment to bounce shots, take cover and get the upper hand. You’ll find weapons and equipment, collect swag and gather experience to upgrade your crewmates, while you’re slowly getting tangled up in a war of factions.

Today, December 10, SteamWorld Heist is finally out of our hands. It’s strange that we cannot really affect it anymore. From today it will be put to the real test – the judgment of the Nintendo 3DS community. When we released SteamWorld Dig on Nintendo 3DS in 2013, we came from nowhere and were embraced, lifted up. You can’t imagine what that’s like. Because of that, since then we’ve been determined to give as much back as possible: to make a game so great that it could change people’s preferences, to make them play a game they thought they wouldn’t like – and ending up loving it.

I believe we’ve made such a game, and here it is. With it, I hope we never have to listen to phrases like “It’s a great game… for an indie studio,” because it implies that indie studios will somehow always be second-rate. With such a preconception, we cannot charge adequately even when making top-notch games, and in turn it means that we can’t be brave enough, economically and creatively, to go all in.

Well, we have gone all in this time, and we’re not afraid. Games aren’t indie or AAA – they’re just better or worse. We know we’ve made one of the best games this year, and we want you to find that out for yourself. Your faith in our promise is the only thing we need to continue creating magic. Thanks for supporting us.

Brjann Sigurgeirsson

Image & Form”

SteamWorld Heist: My Take

For a little background, I have never played SteamWorld Tower Defense, the 2010 game that was the first in the SteamWorld series but SteamWorld Dig has been one of my favorite 3DS titles and I still play it every now and then. You can read my review of SteamWorld Dig here. But let’s talk about the game of honor, SteamWorld Heist. This game mixes up the genre again by making a fast-paced turn-based tactical RPG. I enjoy a good RPG but I tend to get bored very easily playing turn-based RGPs or turn-based strategy games. I like action and I like being able to adapt based on what’s going on around me. Now, this game does a solid job of keeping me engaged and interested without losing the turn-based aspects.

SteamWorld Heist LasersightLet’s start from the beginning. The title screen opens with a short video explaining the context of the game. For those who never finished SteamWorld Dig, there is a bit of a spoiler because it names the planet all of the Steambots are from, something mainly eluded to in the previous game. I really like this introduction video. It’s styled up in a similar fashion to the Fallout, Cold War propaganda films. There’s an excited announcer spewing biased named groups defining both the good and bad guys. It’s fun and I always enjoy a good setting.

The game allows for three different save profiles, so feel free to try it out in different difficulties. For the sake of reviewing, I left the difficulty at the default, which is Regular. In retrospect, I might go back and play Casual just to get the story because I ran into some difficult levels about 90 minutes into playing. The characters are a lot of fun. You primarily play as Piper. She is the female Steambot captain of the ship. She has a crew that grows as you complete quests and use water to recruit more for your fight. Water is the main currency and is used to purchase new items, recruit more people to your team, and is taken away if you fail a mission on a high enough difficulty level.

SteamWorld Heist Piper

The game map is pretty standard but does a solid job. It shows the various locations and ships. Locations are usually places to get information or make purchases while ships are your missions. Most missions consist of boarding a ship and getting all of the swag (loot) on board. Turrets, alarms, and unique enemy units make the tactical side of things very interesting and, at times, quite difficult. Sometimes all the cover you have is an explosive barrel, other times there are too many turrets to have any cover at all. Each mission has a possible three starts to collect. The stars are used to unlock other missions\levels. The picture below is an actual shot from my 3DS using my phone’s camera. You’ll notice that this particular mission, “Cargo Barge” is available. As the top left indicates, this mission has special swag available; I can use three mission members, and I have not earned any stars yet. In the bottom right, you can see that I currently have 10 out of a possible 45 stars. One mission, for example, required 22 stars, so I couldn’t play it yet.

SteamWorld Heist on 3DS

If I have anything negative to say at all, it’s that when you encounter a new villain, it’s difficult to know what is unique about them off the bat. Some, for example, explode when they are destroyed, something good to know… otherwise you might use a melee attack on one and blow them and yourself up. But, of course, I didn’t do that…. certainly not multiple times. Okay, I did but still.

Overall, this is a fun and exciting game that continues one of my favorite sci-fi universes, SteamWorld. The characters are unique. The animation and graphics are sharp and fit the style of this universe perfectly. I do feel like their graphic design is more sophisticated and detailed than SteamWorld Dig and they accomplish this upgrade without losing the feeling and connection to the previous game.

SteamWorld Heist is on sale now in the Nintendo 3DS eShop and will be available for additional platforms early next year.

Currently, the game sits with an 89% on Metacritics, making it the highest rated Nintendo 3DS game this year and pushing it to the top 6 on the all-time list! Very impressive.

You can pick up the game for a limited time discounted price of $16.99 USD as part of their release promotion. Additionally, a free 3DS exclusive home theme is available until December 31st. So get to downloading!

I give the game 4.5 out of 5 saucers. I feel like some of the abilities could have been explained a little better but it’s a great game definitely worth your time, even if you’re not a fan of the turn-based RPG genre.

Rating_Saucers_4.5_outof_5

 

 

Image&Form_logo1_for_light_backgrounds

Have you picked up SteamWorld Heist from Image & Form? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

SteamWorld Heist: Image & Form’s Next Big Hit – Review

Bowser Party: Mario Party 10 Review

The tenth installment of the virtual board game Mario Party 10,  released in March of this year, has been the brunt on several jokes throughout the gaming world and endless negative critiques on their new approach. As far as hatred goes, I do not find myself among these ranks since I find myself playing it often when my wife and I have friends over, but I still can’t shake the feeling that Mario Party will never be the great game it used to be ever again.

There are multiple reasons why this game simply doesn’t meet the mark.  Primarily it has to do with its gameplay structure. It pretty much mirrors Mario Party 9‘s changes. Minigames of course are a huge part of it, but almost every other element has been completely rethought and changed. Truthfully, it was almost as if everything my childhood loved about Mario Party would forever be forgotten on today’s generation.  For those unaware, the gameplay has shifted to individually moving characters on a game board. Each blue space landed on grants the roller three coins, red spaces, their opposite, take away three coins. Blue spaces have been replaced with being granted a special dice block.  These dice consist of slow dice, 1-3 dice, 4-6 dice, multiple dice…etc.  Red spaces simply are non-existent expect for in Amiibo play.  More on that later.

So you may be asking, so do I still get coins from minigames? Ha! Nope! So are there coins at all??? Well, uh…..no. Mario Party without coins?? Yep.  Instead, your character collects stars. These are essentially replaceable with coins from the previous Mario Party games. You win them from minigames, and the board awards you with them if you land on the right spaces and choose the best route. Essentially, you’re still competing for stars, but the stakes are much lower.

Mario Party 10 KartThe actual board work has completely changed as well.  All of the players ride in a cart of sorts together.  Characters take turns being the leader, or director of the cart, and are responsible for everything that happens when they are in command.  For example, if they pass through a gate rewarding 10 stars, then they go to the captain.  This is a pretty cool idea on paper. However, it simply falls short in practice.  The problem is that it completely destroys the competitive nature of Mario Party and simply doesn’t even compare with its forefathers.

What about the other modes of play, and the minigames?  I’ll start with the easiest to talk about, the minigames are very standard Mario Party minigames, and they really are a lot of fun.  It really does feel like the older games when you’re playing them. However, the problem is that they have no stake in the single player at all really.  In the older games, you had to gain coins to buy stars to win, which you really only got from minigames.  The games in the new installment only award those pesky stars, and they’re fairly generous to the point where the competition falls through the cracks.

Mario Party 10 Amiibo BoardIn the honesty of full disclosure, I’d like to come clean and say that I am too cheap to buy all the pesky Amiibo. So I haven’t actually played this one, but I’ve done my research.  Amiibo Play allows you to enjoy a similar style of gameplay that is nostalgic of the old ways.  Blue spaces award three coins, red the opposite, and stars cost twenty coins. Even the way you navigate the board is similar.  However, the board is small, like really, really small, and it’s completely linear with no freedom of direction.  Once again, the development of competition fails.

Mario Party 10 Bowser ModeLast, but not least, the part everyone has been waiting for.  What about Bowser mode? A brilliant idea really.  Have the fifth player control the Wii U Gamepad and play as Bowser.  I agree, it was a brilliant idea. However, this is one of the most broken games types I have ever played in my life of playing video games…which has been my life…all of it. Of the five times that I have played the Bower mode, team Mario has one once and from some of the articles I’ve read, looks like we got lucky.  Here’s the premise: team Mario all have to roll their dice blocks and hope to get far away from Bowser, who, when his turn arrives, rolls four dice to catch up.  Unless Baby Bowser gives him another die….which he does….a lot…then Bowser rolls five, or six dice to catch up which he almost always does.  In fact, if he doesn’t catch Team Mario, Baby Bowser will let him roll again! Yeah, this game type is so broken, it isn’t even funny.  I keep waiting for a Nintendo patch, but it hasn’t happened yet and probably never will.

All in all, I can see what Nintendo was trying to do and I can really respect them for trying to mix things up.  They have some great minds over there coming up with great ideas. Unfortunately, the execution was poor. I haven’t given up on the franchise and wouldn’t mind seeing some more work on it.  Mario Party 11 could be the break through. Seriously, it has potential. It just needs a lot of work.

Have you played Mario Party 10? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below! We’d love to hear what you think.

Bowser Party: Mario Party 10 Review

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review

Today’s review check outs a fantastic Indie game from Image & Form studios out of Sweden. Image & Form has been around since 1997, consists of 14 people, and have put together a great game here. Now, I’ll be covering Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt from the Nintendo 3DS XL perspective, though the title is also available via Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux, as well as the Nintendo eShop for the 3DS, 2DS, and Wii U consoles, PlatStation 4 and Vita. Yeah, that’s a lot of platforms. In fact, you can purchase a cross-platform, DRM free version on their website for $9.99.

Steam World Dig - RustySo what is Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt? Well, to use the developers’ own words, it “is a hardcore platform mining adventure game”. That really is the best way to describe it in a single sentence. In this game, you play as Rusty, a steambot. You’ve inherited an old mine from your uncle who’s been missing for some time. The plot of the game follows you as you mine deeper into the depths of the dirt. Along the way, you uncover minerals that can be sold on the surface for equipment upgrades. This quite literally, steampunk style game brings a ton of uniqueness to the equipment you can use. While upgrading your pickax is an option, you’ll have access to teleporters, explosives, shielding and drills. As the digging level gets deeper, you’ll uncover special areas where strange, fantastical items can be obtained. These items provide new, intense ways to smash the harder rocks deep in the dirt, like a drilling arm or steam powered fists. It’s not all smash and grab down below. As you dig deeper, dangerous and powerful enemies await, ready to attack and protect the secrets of the underground.

Steam World Dig - TumbletonWhat I love about this game is that it is not a money grab in any sense. As I noted earlier, it can purchased for $9.99. All in-game item purchases are done by selling the minerals collected during digging and no real money is ever used. That’s right, you buy the game and everything is in the game, no outside purchases. In the world of free-to-play and micro-transactions, this is a relaxing relief.

Let’s meet some of the characters of Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt. First, there’s Rusty, the player you control. In the town above you can sell your minerals to a lovely female steambot named Dorothy. Her father, Cranky, is nearby ready to sell you basic items, health, and upgrades throughout the game. Later, you’ll be introduced to Biff. He’s a competing equipment dealer with some more advanced (and expensive) items. There’s a few other characters you’ll meet along the way, but I want to save a few surprises.

Steam World Dig - Oldworld

Steam World Dig - DorothyThe mechanics of the game are complex but surprisingly user friendly and easy to pick up. There are a few metrics that are very important. First and most obvious is health. Rusty has a health bar and it can be increased as the game progresses. Healing can be done on the surface with Cranky or by getting health from killing enemies. Later, a water meter will be added. Some of the more advanced abilities require steam power and therefore, water. Things like the steam jump, drill, and steam punch all require water for power. Water can be found underground in patches. Enemies will sometimes provide some when killing as well. Then there’s the light. Since the vast majority of the game is played underground, the sun doesn’t help out much. There are some lights planted in the depths of the planet but additional lights can be placed by you and purchased from Cranky. On top of that, Rusty has some light of his own. This light diminishes while underground and is replenished immediately after returning to the surface. How long the light lasts can also be increased throughout the game. With that said, don’t forget about the teleporters. Early on in the game, these will be discovered. One sits on the surface near the mine entrance. Additional units can be purchased from Cranky and they can be placed underground. This allows Rusty to jump back and forth from the mine to the surface instantly. Trust me, this will become very important. You’re going to end up very deep. In the two times I’ve played through the game, I hit 400 meters after just 3 hours of play. You do not want to hike all the way back up on foot every time you need to sell minerals or regain light and health.

Steam World Dig - Laser DodgingSelling minerals is a cornerstone for this game. Certain rock blocks contain minerals that can be easily seen. In fact, you can see a few of them in the “Old World” screenshot above. Some minerals are worth more than others and the deeper Rusty gets, the more the minerals found are worth. Rusty has a pouch that he uses to carry minerals. This pouch is limited in size, though larger ones can be purchased from Cranky during the game. Once the pouch is full, it’s in your best interest to return to the surface and sell them to Dorothy for the in-game currency.

Steam World Dig - CrankyAs I noted at the beginning of this review, I am playing Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt on the Nintendo 3DS XL. The two screen experience is perfect for this game. The top screen, which is 3D enabled provides a brilliant universe to play in with depth, color and incredible detail for a handheld game. I’ve played with the 3D on and off and honestly, either way is great. If you’re a big fan of the 3D experience then you’ll gain a slick sense of depth but if you aren’t a fan, you won’t be missing out on much. The second screen, which is touch enabled, provides access to in-store items, and, most importantly, your digging map when underground. I can’t imagine playing this game with just a single screen. It truly feels like it was made for the 3DS/3DS XL/2DS market.

Overall, this game is just a ton of fun. Its unique steampunk style is exciting, new, and just plain interesting to watch. The characters are fun and entertaining, while the story continues to expand. At the beginning of the game, Rusty is a simple miner looking for his uncle but just a couple hours in, a new world is being uncovered. This world isn’t exactly new. In fact, you might find it surprisingly familiar. I’m not going to give any more away here, but what I began to find deep in the dirt is not what I was expecting.

If you like platform games, steampunk, and the 3DS two-screen experience, Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt is the game for you. But don’t forget it is available on Steam and PS4\Vita. The game is even available via Gog.com and Humble Bundle.

Fans of this game will be happy to know that another SteamWorld universe title is set to come out this year, SteamWorld Heist. The new title takes place in the same universe but it’s a space adventure set to release for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, PlayStation 4 and Vita, Xbox One, and Steam Fall 2015.

For more information on this title and their developers check them out here:

Steam World Dig Games

Image & Form Games

*Please note that the game play screenshots are based on the Steam version for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Have you played this game before? Are you looking forward to the new one? What are you excited about? Let us know in the comments.

Steam World Dig: A Fistful of Dirt – Review

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata Dies

I am going to keep this brief. Nintendo has announced that their CEO and employee since the 1980’s, Satoru Iwata has died at the age of 55. He had health issues recently but many, myself included, hoped he had recovered.

I am a Nintendo fan boy. Always have been. I love what they do and what their style stands for. Iwata saw the company through some amazingly good and bad times, everything from the GameBoy, DS, and GameCube through the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U. He also brought us the Nintendo Direct videos, which I used to write about in my old weekly column “Nintendo World”.

Whether you are a fan boy like me or not, Nintendo helped shape the video game revolution and Iwata was there. The industry will surely miss him as will the fans of Nintendo’s legendary franchises.

Rest in peace, Satoru.

Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata Dies