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Found 22 results

  1. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console. View full article
  2. I’ve had my Nintendo Switch for just over a month now, but it’s already my preferred way to play video games. As a father, I have very little time to relax once everyone goes to sleep, so I often have to choose between playing video games and just vegging out and watching Netflix or YouTube. With my Switch, I don’t have to choose, I can do both. I’ve also gotten some use out of the system’s built-in portable co-op, playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe with my nephews and, more recently, playing Death Squared with my wife – in bed, nonetheless. Death Squared released earlier this year for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC, but like so many other independent games, it feels most at home on the Switch. The puzzle game tasks players with moving two or four different-colored robot cubes across grid-based levels from point A to point B. In single-player mode, each joystick on the Joy-Cons controls a different robot (two at a time). Things can get a bit tricky when you have to move both robots at the same time. However, in co-op, with the Joy-Cons detached, each player can naturally control a separate robot independently. It’s simple and intuitive to just pick up and play the game – in a way that only really works on the Switch. Death Squared never over complicates things on the gameplay front. The only input you need to know is how to move the joystick. That’s it. The rest is a matter of learning the various traps and mechanics that are layered on top of that simple premise of getting each robot to point B without dying. The game feels right at home among easy-to-learn but difficult to master Nintendo games like Mario Kart 8 and Arms. As the name implies, Death Squared uses death to teach players how the game works – which isn’t always to its benefit. Each new puzzle layers new challenges onto the formula, oftentimes without warning. For example, you only learn about the spikes that pop up from the floor and kill your robot at the very moment they kill your robot. Playing in co-op, dying repeatedly due to your partner’s impatience, incompetence, or mischievousness can be a good time. But in single-player, the trial and error gameplay can feel unfair and quickly becomes maddening as you gingerly try to navigate around each level while the game’s characters – a man named David and his A.I. overseer – mock your poor performance. It’s all much more enjoyable while playing co-op and can become pretty addictive once it sinks its hooks in you. With each level lasting no longer than a few minutes, once my wife and I got into a groove, we didn’t want to stop playing. With each new conundrum, we became better at coordinating and anticipating the game’s dastardly traps. My wife, who rarely plays games, ended up getting sucked into the clever puzzles and every time I suggested we quit, she would plead for just one more level. While a lot of credit goes to SMG Studio for designing the most enjoyable co-op puzzle game I’ve played since Portal 2, I can almost guarantee that my wife would’ve balked at the idea of playing Death Squared on PlayStation 4. The difference comes down to simplicity. Despite the controls being essentially the same across platforms, the Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons present a far less intimidating form factor than the sixteen different buttons on the Dual Shock 4. It’s not that my wife is a simpleton (in fact, she’s much smarter than I am), it’s just that she isn’t as fluent in the language of video games. Neither are most people outside of the gaming bubble that we often find ourselves in. My three-year-old daughter never showed an interest in actually playing video games until I brought home my Switch. Now she can actually finish a race in Mario Kart 8. She hasn’t beaten me yet, but I look forward to the day when she does. So, even though the game is relatively friction-less for newcomers, some frustration rears its head through odd design decisions and technical quibbles. Each of the game’s test rooms (read: levels) are designed as floating constructs in some seemingly dark, vast warehouse. None of the test rooms have walls, so you’ll often just fall off the side of the structure and die when all you were trying to do was navigate in a straight line, especially in single-player when you’re often controlling both cubes at the same time, similar to Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. So many times, I knew what I needed to do, but actually executing it was not as easy as it should’ve been. This makes simply going through the steps of completing a puzzle more frustrating than it needs to be. This is especially compounded by the fact that the game doesn’t consistently auto-save. Too often, I would load an old save only to find that I had to start a couple of levels back from where I had last stopped. And when simply moving around the environment can be treacherous, that problem isn’t as minor as it would otherwise be. Despite some of its minor issues, I’m still having a blast with Death Squared, and I think my wife is too. We haven’t made it through all of the game’s 80 plus levels (which is why you shouldn’t consider this to be a full review), but we have every intention of going back and seeing what new predicaments we can solve for those adorable little cubes. I can sincerely say, this is a game I’d much rather play on my Switch over any other system - and the list of games I can say that about is rapidly growing in number. A game as simple and accessible as Death Squared just makes more sense on Switch, but the fact that it’s also a smaller indie title that released to very little fanfare on other systems doesn’t hurt either. With less competition, now is the perfect time for games like this to find an audience. Death Squared benefits from being a kid friendly pick-up-and-play game on a kid friendly, mobile console. Though it isn’t a perfect game, it deserves to be seen and played by more people, and I’m glad it might have that chance on Nintendo’s nifty young console.
  3. Konami dropped a slew of new goodies to Super Bomberman R. Update 1.4 brings new mode, costumes, and more to the Switch's explosive multiplayer party game. The patch introduces three new characters themed after Konami game icons: Castlevania's Simon Belmont, Silent Hill's Pyramid Head, and Gradius' Vic Viper. A new Team Battle mode allows to form their own squads and challenge players online. Four new maps arrive in Battle Mode: Plain Floor, Desert Crate, Classic Conveyor Belt, and Panic Factory. Also, two new series of accessories, Snowflake and Item, are now available. The update is live now. You can read the full patch notes here.
  4. Upon entering the arid and scenic Sand Kingdom (after turning down a romp through New Donk City), I decide to visit the local shop. I pursue its wares and notice a snazzy black suit and matching fedora up for sale. How can I resist? I drop my hard-earned coins and within moments, Mario’s stomping on goombas dressed as the world’s most adorable mob boss. That’s just an example of Super Mario Odyssey’s delightful strangeness. After getting my hands on the hotly anticipated title during E3 2017, I’m itching for another chance to return to the plumber's wackiest outing in years. Mario’s new adventure takes place far away from the Mushroom Kingdom. Joining him is Cappy, a sentient top hat somewhat resembling a Boo, who resides within Mario’s cap. I played Odyssey using the twin Joycon configuration. Swinging both Joycons up in the air, down to the floor, or in a horizontal circle sends Cappy flying like a Frisbee in the chosen direction. Players can even manipulate Cappy’s trajectory by tilting the controllers mid-flight, allowing for quick adjustments. Motion controls felt very responsive, and tossing Cappy around is strongly reminiscent to lobbing the wrench in the Ratchet & Clank games, functioning as both an effective long-range attack and a useful method of snagging distant collectibles. Speaking of collecting, Mario hunts new Kingdom Coins in addition to the traditional gold coins. These purple-colored currency are kingdom specific, meaning they can only be spent within the world they occupy. The Nintendo representative manning my demo informed me that there were a hundred of these coins in the Sand Kingdom, which I imagine will be the case for every world. Kingdom coins are spent in stores to buy items such as health and clothing, such as the Sand Kingdom’s sombrero. Additionally, green moons have replaced the signature gold stars as Odyssey’s primary collectible. If you've seen any of the bizarre gameplay videos, you know that throwing Cappy at other characters lets Mario possess them and gain their unique talents. I hijacked a Bullet Bill which allowed me to soar past platforming segments and even reach a moon stranded on a distant pillar. However, Mario can only stay in Bullet Bill form for about 15 seconds before it explodes, reverting him back to normal. My Nintendo rep proposed a trip to a secret area, an offer I promptly accepted. She led me to a hidden sand vortex that transported to a platforming gauntlet that reminded me of Super Mario Sunshine’s secret areas. This world consisted of a series of slippery, narrow ice bridges. Waiting at the end of each pathway were bounce pads that led to higher, more difficult frozen platforms. My mastery of the controls was pushed to its limit here. I had a tough time adjusting the camera using the right stick while simultaneously spinning the remotes to attack without veering off the edge. It’s far too early to tell if Odyssey’s control scheme is flawed, but it did take getting used to. After I escaped my frozen hell I met Jaxi the Taxi, a sphinx that can give Mario a lift to almost anywhere in the level. Jaxi accelerates on his own while players steer. Controlling Jaxi was easier said than done as he sprinted like a wild horse while I fought to aim his trajectory. I eventually got him to drop me back on the main path as I continued my trek towards my goal: an inverted pyramid. One of the neatest mechanics showcased in the demo were the 2D NES segments. Echoing the wall painting ability from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, entering special pipes protruding from walls transforms Mario into his 8-bit sprite. That surface then forms the canvas for a classic-style platforming segment as players hop on pixelated blocks and confront vintage versions of enemies. The effect is like playing a scrolling animated wallpaper–even my gangster suit made the 8-bit transition in a nice attention to detail. I used this ability to make my way up a towering pillar, evading Bullet Bill sprites along the way. Upon reaching the top I was tasked with locating five shards in order to open up the overturned pyramid. Unfortunately, my 10-minute time limit expired before I could enter its mysterious walls. Overall, the entire level felt straight out of Super Mario 64. The Sand Kingdom's design resembled the open hub-style worlds of that game, filled with side diversions that I could explore at my leisure. The traditional three-hit health bar returns, ditching Mario 3D Land/World’s incorporation of mushroom health into the 3D format. If you loved Mario 64 or Sunshine, you’ll likely get a kick out of Super Mario Odyssey. I walked away from my session wanting nothing more than to barricade myself in a room and play the full game. The possession feature opens a wealth of gameplay possibilities as players are no longer constrained by Mario’s specific skillset. Using the Bullet Bill to skip platforming segments almost felt like I was breaking the game but Odyssey accommodated for it. I'm curious to see how the rest of the design caters to what could be a plethora of different abilities. Once I'd gotten a handle on the controls, platforming felt as polished as you would expect from a mainline Mario title. Perhaps most of all, I simply can't get enough of the game's surreal premise and tone. As the catchy theme song suggests, Super Mario Odyssey should be a wild and wacky time when it launches for Nintendo Switch October 27. View full article
  5. Upon entering the arid and scenic Sand Kingdom (after turning down a romp through New Donk City), I decide to visit the local shop. I pursue its wares and notice a snazzy black suit and matching fedora up for sale. How can I resist? I drop my hard-earned coins and within moments, Mario’s stomping on goombas dressed as the world’s most adorable mob boss. That’s just an example of Super Mario Odyssey’s delightful strangeness. After getting my hands on the hotly anticipated title during E3 2017, I’m itching for another chance to return to the plumber's wackiest outing in years. Mario’s new adventure takes place far away from the Mushroom Kingdom. Joining him is Cappy, a sentient top hat somewhat resembling a Boo, who resides within Mario’s cap. I played Odyssey using the twin Joycon configuration. Swinging both Joycons up in the air, down to the floor, or in a horizontal circle sends Cappy flying like a Frisbee in the chosen direction. Players can even manipulate Cappy’s trajectory by tilting the controllers mid-flight, allowing for quick adjustments. Motion controls felt very responsive, and tossing Cappy around is strongly reminiscent to lobbing the wrench in the Ratchet & Clank games, functioning as both an effective long-range attack and a useful method of snagging distant collectibles. Speaking of collecting, Mario hunts new Kingdom Coins in addition to the traditional gold coins. These purple-colored currency are kingdom specific, meaning they can only be spent within the world they occupy. The Nintendo representative manning my demo informed me that there were a hundred of these coins in the Sand Kingdom, which I imagine will be the case for every world. Kingdom coins are spent in stores to buy items such as health and clothing, such as the Sand Kingdom’s sombrero. Additionally, green moons have replaced the signature gold stars as Odyssey’s primary collectible. If you've seen any of the bizarre gameplay videos, you know that throwing Cappy at other characters lets Mario possess them and gain their unique talents. I hijacked a Bullet Bill which allowed me to soar past platforming segments and even reach a moon stranded on a distant pillar. However, Mario can only stay in Bullet Bill form for about 15 seconds before it explodes, reverting him back to normal. My Nintendo rep proposed a trip to a secret area, an offer I promptly accepted. She led me to a hidden sand vortex that transported to a platforming gauntlet that reminded me of Super Mario Sunshine’s secret areas. This world consisted of a series of slippery, narrow ice bridges. Waiting at the end of each pathway were bounce pads that led to higher, more difficult frozen platforms. My mastery of the controls was pushed to its limit here. I had a tough time adjusting the camera using the right stick while simultaneously spinning the remotes to attack without veering off the edge. It’s far too early to tell if Odyssey’s control scheme is flawed, but it did take getting used to. After I escaped my frozen hell I met Jaxi the Taxi, a sphinx that can give Mario a lift to almost anywhere in the level. Jaxi accelerates on his own while players steer. Controlling Jaxi was easier said than done as he sprinted like a wild horse while I fought to aim his trajectory. I eventually got him to drop me back on the main path as I continued my trek towards my goal: an inverted pyramid. One of the neatest mechanics showcased in the demo were the 2D NES segments. Echoing the wall painting ability from The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, entering special pipes protruding from walls transforms Mario into his 8-bit sprite. That surface then forms the canvas for a classic-style platforming segment as players hop on pixelated blocks and confront vintage versions of enemies. The effect is like playing a scrolling animated wallpaper–even my gangster suit made the 8-bit transition in a nice attention to detail. I used this ability to make my way up a towering pillar, evading Bullet Bill sprites along the way. Upon reaching the top I was tasked with locating five shards in order to open up the overturned pyramid. Unfortunately, my 10-minute time limit expired before I could enter its mysterious walls. Overall, the entire level felt straight out of Super Mario 64. The Sand Kingdom's design resembled the open hub-style worlds of that game, filled with side diversions that I could explore at my leisure. The traditional three-hit health bar returns, ditching Mario 3D Land/World’s incorporation of mushroom health into the 3D format. If you loved Mario 64 or Sunshine, you’ll likely get a kick out of Super Mario Odyssey. I walked away from my session wanting nothing more than to barricade myself in a room and play the full game. The possession feature opens a wealth of gameplay possibilities as players are no longer constrained by Mario’s specific skillset. Using the Bullet Bill to skip platforming segments almost felt like I was breaking the game but Odyssey accommodated for it. I'm curious to see how the rest of the design caters to what could be a plethora of different abilities. Once I'd gotten a handle on the controls, platforming felt as polished as you would expect from a mainline Mario title. Perhaps most of all, I simply can't get enough of the game's surreal premise and tone. As the catchy theme song suggests, Super Mario Odyssey should be a wild and wacky time when it launches for Nintendo Switch October 27.
  6. It’s a golden rule of gaming, especially mobile, that you’re eventually going to want some cool accessories on the go. It can be a tricky minefield of first-party bank breakers or third-party cheapskates, though, so it’s helpful to have a guiding hand in making your accessorizing decisions. We stopped by Nyko’s booth at this year’s E3 to check out their immense collection of Nintendo Switch accessories and determine which might be good fits for owners of Nintendo's hybrid device. Power Shell Case Release: July 2017 Price: $39.99 The kingpin of Nyko’s lineup, this hardshell case not only holds your Switch and up to 12 games, but it also stores up to three hours worth of charge for the Switch. The case doubles as a stand, with the USB plug-in resting at its bottom, allowing you to charge while playing stationary. The Power Shell Case might be a solid idea if you tend to play rough or have yet to pick up a case at all. Dock Bands Release: June 2017 Price: $4.99 Simple and stretchy, these little bands may not look like much. But for those worried about scuffing or scratching the screen on their Nintendo Switch, this item might be a lifesaver. The bands slip over the sides of the Switch’s screen and provide a protective buffer between the screen and dock when you insert it. Swivel Grip for Switch Controller Release: August 2017 Price: $9.99 Want a little extra grip on your Switch Joy-Con but don’t want to spring for a Pro Controller? These cheap plastic grips attach to the bottom of either Joy-Con and swivel out to form the traditional, not-quite-banana-like shape of most modern controllers. Charge Base for Switch Release: August 2017 Price: $29.99 The Switch is designed for portability, but it’s home dock definitely isn’t. If you’re the type to bring your Switch to a party, it’s easy to run out of power before the night grows old. Bringing the charge base along with you will allow you to restore battery life while you prop up the Switch on your friend’s mom’s dinner table. Which of these accessories do you think will be a good fit for you? View full article
  7. It’s a golden rule of gaming, especially mobile, that you’re eventually going to want some cool accessories on the go. It can be a tricky minefield of first-party bank breakers or third-party cheapskates, though, so it’s helpful to have a guiding hand in making your accessorizing decisions. We stopped by Nyko’s booth at this year’s E3 to check out their immense collection of Nintendo Switch accessories and determine which might be good fits for owners of Nintendo's hybrid device. Power Shell Case Release: July 2017 Price: $39.99 The kingpin of Nyko’s lineup, this hardshell case not only holds your Switch and up to 12 games, but it also stores up to three hours worth of charge for the Switch. The case doubles as a stand, with the USB plug-in resting at its bottom, allowing you to charge while playing stationary. The Power Shell Case might be a solid idea if you tend to play rough or have yet to pick up a case at all. Dock Bands Release: June 2017 Price: $4.99 Simple and stretchy, these little bands may not look like much. But for those worried about scuffing or scratching the screen on their Nintendo Switch, this item might be a lifesaver. The bands slip over the sides of the Switch’s screen and provide a protective buffer between the screen and dock when you insert it. Swivel Grip for Switch Controller Release: August 2017 Price: $9.99 Want a little extra grip on your Switch Joy-Con but don’t want to spring for a Pro Controller? These cheap plastic grips attach to the bottom of either Joy-Con and swivel out to form the traditional, not-quite-banana-like shape of most modern controllers. Charge Base for Switch Release: August 2017 Price: $29.99 The Switch is designed for portability, but it’s home dock definitely isn’t. If you’re the type to bring your Switch to a party, it’s easy to run out of power before the night grows old. Bringing the charge base along with you will allow you to restore battery life while you prop up the Switch on your friend’s mom’s dinner table. Which of these accessories do you think will be a good fit for you?
  8. Kirby, everyone’s favorite pink ball of power, is comin’ right back at ya on the Nintendo Switch, according to a new teaser trailer from the latest Nintendo Direct. The latest Kirby game looks to be a mix-up of traditional 2D/3D platforming, complete with Kirby’s usual powers of mass consumption and conversion. The big twist this time around looks to be a multiplayer component of some sort, with Kirby chucking hearts at enemies that then become allies of his. The character bars at the bottom of the screen read “CP” for “computer,” indicating that these characters will be able to be controlled by actual players during the game. Characters can combine abilities too, like striking Kirby’s sword form with a fire attack, turning Kirby’s weapon into a blazing tool of destruction. All four players can combine to create a rolling wheel that flattens enemies underneath. A brief clip in the trailer also showed off what looks like a Super Mario-style overworld, with Kirby moving from level to level along a path. And of course, what would a Kirby game be without an appearance from your boy Whispy Woods. Kirby for the Nintendo Switch (no official title yet, it seems) is slated for a 2018 release. What crazy powers do you think HAL Laboratories has whipped up this time? View full article
  9. Kirby, everyone’s favorite pink ball of power, is comin’ right back at ya on the Nintendo Switch, according to a new teaser trailer from the latest Nintendo Direct. The latest Kirby game looks to be a mix-up of traditional 2D/3D platforming, complete with Kirby’s usual powers of mass consumption and conversion. The big twist this time around looks to be a multiplayer component of some sort, with Kirby chucking hearts at enemies that then become allies of his. The character bars at the bottom of the screen read “CP” for “computer,” indicating that these characters will be able to be controlled by actual players during the game. Characters can combine abilities too, like striking Kirby’s sword form with a fire attack, turning Kirby’s weapon into a blazing tool of destruction. All four players can combine to create a rolling wheel that flattens enemies underneath. A brief clip in the trailer also showed off what looks like a Super Mario-style overworld, with Kirby moving from level to level along a path. And of course, what would a Kirby game be without an appearance from your boy Whispy Woods. Kirby for the Nintendo Switch (no official title yet, it seems) is slated for a 2018 release. What crazy powers do you think HAL Laboratories has whipped up this time?
  10. Konami dropped a slew of new goodies to Super Bomberman R. Update 1.4 brings new mode, costumes, and more to the Switch's explosive multiplayer party game. The patch introduces three new characters themed after Konami game icons: Castlevania's Simon Belmont, Silent Hill's Pyramid Head, and Gradius' Vic Viper. A new Team Battle mode allows to form their own squads and challenge players online. Four new maps arrive in Battle Mode: Plain Floor, Desert Crate, Classic Conveyor Belt, and Panic Factory. Also, two new series of accessories, Snowflake and Item, are now available. The update is live now. You can read the full patch notes here. View full article
  11. Swedish game developer Villa Gorilla announced today that they will be partnering with publisher Team17 to bring their combination pinball-platformer to life. Yoku's Island Express offers a strangely enticing mix of pinball gameplay and platforming with pinball elements. Players take on the role of Yoku, a heroic dung beetle wh- wait, hear me out! I know video games are sometimes weird just for the sake of being weird, but this one seems weird AND cool. Yoku has arrived on Mokumana Island, a land of anthropomorphic animals, in order to take over for the old pterodactyl's mailman job. Though he thought this island gig would be relaxing, he soon discovers that Mokumana's guardian deity has fallen into a deep sleep plagued by nightmares. The slumbering god's troubled dreams create earthquakes and misery for the colorful characters of the island, even bringing down Yoku's post office. So, in order to get the relaxation he always wanted, Yoku sets off on a mission to awaken the troubled god and restore peace to Mokumana. Using Yoku's travelling ball, you know, as dung beetles do, players can help him navigate the pinball-like stages to explore the world, collect fruit, and rebuild the ruined post office. The hand-painted world of Yoku's Island Express was created by industry veterans and ex-members of Starbreeze Studios (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), Jens Andersson and Mattias Snygg. Andersson explained the new relationship with Team17 by saying, "with Team17 we’ve found a publishing partner that cherishes innovation and style – something we recognized way back when we played Alien Breed on our Amigas. We feel that their commitment to quality and fun gameplay is a perfect match for us." Yoku's Island Adventure will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2018. View full article
  12. Swedish game developer Villa Gorilla announced today that they will be partnering with publisher Team17 to bring their combination pinball-platformer to life. Yoku's Island Express offers a strangely enticing mix of pinball gameplay and platforming with pinball elements. Players take on the role of Yoku, a heroic dung beetle wh- wait, hear me out! I know video games are sometimes weird just for the sake of being weird, but this one seems weird AND cool. Yoku has arrived on Mokumana Island, a land of anthropomorphic animals, in order to take over for the old pterodactyl's mailman job. Though he thought this island gig would be relaxing, he soon discovers that Mokumana's guardian deity has fallen into a deep sleep plagued by nightmares. The slumbering god's troubled dreams create earthquakes and misery for the colorful characters of the island, even bringing down Yoku's post office. So, in order to get the relaxation he always wanted, Yoku sets off on a mission to awaken the troubled god and restore peace to Mokumana. Using Yoku's travelling ball, you know, as dung beetles do, players can help him navigate the pinball-like stages to explore the world, collect fruit, and rebuild the ruined post office. The hand-painted world of Yoku's Island Express was created by industry veterans and ex-members of Starbreeze Studios (Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons), Jens Andersson and Mattias Snygg. Andersson explained the new relationship with Team17 by saying, "with Team17 we’ve found a publishing partner that cherishes innovation and style – something we recognized way back when we played Alien Breed on our Amigas. We feel that their commitment to quality and fun gameplay is a perfect match for us." Yoku's Island Adventure will be coming to Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in 2018.
  13. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch View full article
  14. The folks at Lizardcube release their side-scrolling action-platformer Wonder Boy today. The vibrant, dream-like game follows the either Hu-Man or Hu-Girl as he/she ventures into Monster Land in search of the dragon's room. Unfortunately for our hero, the room isn't without its traps. The dragon curses Wonder Boy, dooming him to live in various animal-human forms. The trailer shows these forms in action: Lizard-Man, Mouse-Man, Lion-Man, Piranha-Man, and Hawk-Man. Each one has different advantages, like a fire breath attack as Lizard-Man or the ability to fly as Hawk-Man. Players will need to master each form in order to recover the Salamander Cross and remove the curse for good. As a nice added bonus, players can switch back and forth from the modern, hand-animated style or a retro 8-bit aesthetic. These changes can be made on the fly and even extend to the audio and sound effects. Wonder Boy is an old Sega franchise that had some of the strangest numbering and naming conventions, even by gaming standards. The series goes Wonder Boy, Wonder Boy: Monster Land, Wonder Boy III: Monster Lair, Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, Wonder Boy V: Monster World III, and Monster World IV. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is a modern reimagining of the 1989 Sega Master System title Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap for modern consoles and possibly an attempt to revive the dormant Wonder Boy IP for a new era. Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch
  15. Arms has stood out to me since its unveiling as the Switch title with the most hidden promise. Punch-Out!! for Wii proved that motion-controlled boxing can be a ton of fun. Arms puts a spin on that successful template with wacky, extendable limbs, the freedom to mix and match zany weapons, and a Saturday morning cartoon presentation. But does it perform as well it looks? I went a few rounds with Arms at PAX South to find out. The first hurdle was acclimating myself to the controls. Playing Arms requires holding a JoyCon each hand with thumbs on the respective shoulder buttons. Instead of using the analog sticks to move, players tilt both controllers to get around. Tilting to the side, forwards, and back positions the boxer accordingly. Throwing a punch in real-life causes the same to occur in-game. Holding down the left shoulder button performs a dash while the right shoulder jumps. Finally, pressing both Z buttons activates your special maneuver once the corresponding gauge has been filled. If that sounds like a lot, it kind of is - I didn’t even touch on blocking and grapples. Putting all of that into practice took more than a little work against my CPU opponents. Leaving the safe confines of the tutorial proved to be a jarring wake-up call. As the A.I. unleashed hell upon me, I struggled to competently combine movement, jumping, dashing, and punching into a coherent strategy and kept mixing up the controls. Still, I managed to win primarily by keeping my distance and performing grapple moves. The pieces began falling in place a bit better by the next round. I started timing my punches better and learned to read my opponent's movements. I even managed to block a few incoming shots and get off a few tricky combos. My bouts still devolved into chaotic, mindless punch parties where I probably looked like raging madman, but I was having some degree of fun. Close-quarter skirmishes are fast-paced affairs, but throwing punches from a distance felt comparable to launching a missile. I took aim and watched my fist hurtle across the screen in hopes it would its mark, and it felt genuinely satisfying when it did. The Switch’s much-touted HD rumble simulates the feel of the arms extending and retracting–a neat, but minor, touch. Button inputs felt exceptional, but tilting the JoyCons for movement didn’t feel natural to me. The entire time I just wished I could move with the sticks, so I’m thankful Arms supports traditional controls as well. The motion controls pick up movements a majority of the time but there were several spots where my inputs didn’t seem to register. It wasn’t egregiously bad, but the occasional misread was noticeable enough to cause some mild frustration. I found a surprising depth to playing Arms. Outfitting your fists with three separate gadgets, such as propeller blades or a missile launcher, before bouts made me consider what combinations would work best. Environmental hazards like a trampoline around an arena’s perimeter can be used to render opponents open to attack or used to evade incoming blows. Even the act of punching shouldn’t be taken lightly. Since characters’ arms extend long distances, every strike leaves the corresponding side of their bodies exposed for a second or two. That means a punch that eats air leaves a fighter vulnerable to retaliation. I’ve heard some predict Arms to become the Switch’s Splatoon. I ultimately found Arms to be entertaining enough, but I don’t think it has the novelty, personality, or shelf life to become a phenomenon the caliber of the Nintendo’s breakout shooter. Still, that doesn’t mean Arms can’t exist as a perfectly respectable and colorful fighter for Switch owners to goof around with. Arms releases this spring on the Nintendo Switch. View full article
  16. Taking A Swing At Arms' Wacky Approach To Boxing

    Arms has stood out to me since its unveiling as the Switch title with the most hidden promise. Punch-Out!! for Wii proved that motion-controlled boxing can be a ton of fun. Arms puts a spin on that successful template with wacky, extendable limbs, the freedom to mix and match zany weapons, and a Saturday morning cartoon presentation. But does it perform as well it looks? I went a few rounds with Arms at PAX South to find out. The first hurdle was acclimating myself to the controls. Playing Arms requires holding a JoyCon each hand with thumbs on the respective shoulder buttons. Instead of using the analog sticks to move, players tilt both controllers to get around. Tilting to the side, forwards, and back positions the boxer accordingly. Throwing a punch in real-life causes the same to occur in-game. Holding down the left shoulder button performs a dash while the right shoulder jumps. Finally, pressing both Z buttons activates your special maneuver once the corresponding gauge has been filled. If that sounds like a lot, it kind of is - I didn’t even touch on blocking and grapples. Putting all of that into practice took more than a little work against my CPU opponents. Leaving the safe confines of the tutorial proved to be a jarring wake-up call. As the A.I. unleashed hell upon me, I struggled to competently combine movement, jumping, dashing, and punching into a coherent strategy and kept mixing up the controls. Still, I managed to win primarily by keeping my distance and performing grapple moves. The pieces began falling in place a bit better by the next round. I started timing my punches better and learned to read my opponent's movements. I even managed to block a few incoming shots and get off a few tricky combos. My bouts still devolved into chaotic, mindless punch parties where I probably looked like raging madman, but I was having some degree of fun. Close-quarter skirmishes are fast-paced affairs, but throwing punches from a distance felt comparable to launching a missile. I took aim and watched my fist hurtle across the screen in hopes it would its mark, and it felt genuinely satisfying when it did. The Switch’s much-touted HD rumble simulates the feel of the arms extending and retracting–a neat, but minor, touch. Button inputs felt exceptional, but tilting the JoyCons for movement didn’t feel natural to me. The entire time I just wished I could move with the sticks, so I’m thankful Arms supports traditional controls as well. The motion controls pick up movements a majority of the time but there were several spots where my inputs didn’t seem to register. It wasn’t egregiously bad, but the occasional misread was noticeable enough to cause some mild frustration. I found a surprising depth to playing Arms. Outfitting your fists with three separate gadgets, such as propeller blades or a missile launcher, before bouts made me consider what combinations would work best. Environmental hazards like a trampoline around an arena’s perimeter can be used to render opponents open to attack or used to evade incoming blows. Even the act of punching shouldn’t be taken lightly. Since characters’ arms extend long distances, every strike leaves the corresponding side of their bodies exposed for a second or two. That means a punch that eats air leaves a fighter vulnerable to retaliation. I’ve heard some predict Arms to become the Switch’s Splatoon. I ultimately found Arms to be entertaining enough, but I don’t think it has the novelty, personality, or shelf life to become a phenomenon the caliber of the Nintendo’s breakout shooter. Still, that doesn’t mean Arms can’t exist as a perfectly respectable and colorful fighter for Switch owners to goof around with. Arms releases this spring on the Nintendo Switch.
  17. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild towers as the Nintendo Switch’s most anticipated title for good reason. In addition to being a new Zelda, thus being a big deal by default, the latest entry in the long-running franchise expands on the series’ formula by featuring a vast open world for players to explore freely. After much anticipation, I had the opportunity to spend roughly 20 minutes of hands-on time with Breath of the Wild. It felt like a fraction of that time because I was completely enamored with Hyrule’s wealth of possibilities. From what I understand, the demo I played was identical to last year’s E3 demo, so the opening events are likely familiar if you’ve read impressions for that version. Link awakens within an ancient temple, beckoned by a mysterious voice. After being bestowed with the magical Sheikah Slate, a multipurpose tool that serves as Link’s map, among other functions, I found and equipped basic clothing. Breath of the Wild’s vibrant world welcomed me with open arms as I exited the structure. There was only one question: Where do I head first? I could have immediately veered off on my own path, but I opted to follow a mysterious hooded man. After catching up with him and absorbing some sage tutorial advice, I embarked on my journey. My first order of business was to climb everything. Link can scale virtually any surface, his actions dictated by a stamina meter ala Skyward Sword. The ability to climbing vastly opens up exploration options. Instead of seeking out a main path, I just scampered up cliffs and improvised my way through areas. Link’s stamina drained rather quickly in the demo to the point of becoming a mild nuisance. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to for players to build up his strength in the full release. I quickly procured my first weapon: a branch. Not quite the Master Sword, but I had to start somewhere. It was a fortunate discovery, since I immediately encountered my first adversary in a lone moblin. Combat itself felt largely identical to previous Zelda games. I slashed, rolled, and leapt in and out of engagement with my foe. The controls felt smooth and responsive as we clashed. The presence of weapon degradation was the most prominent new wrinkle, as it forced me to monitor the state of items. Unfortunately, my branch splintered into pieces before I could finish my adversary, forcing me into a hasty retreat. In an unexpected and humorous moment, the persistent moblin gave chase for several yards. It even followed me down a sheer cliff drop. Even the Nintendo representative guiding me through the demo was taken aback at the beast’s determination. After a lengthy pursuit, the moblin finally decided I wasn’t worth the effort and backed off. That wasn’t the end of my troubles. I turned to discover that I’d accidentally stumbled upon a camp teeming with moblins–and I was completely defenseless. In a stroke of intentionally designed luck, though, I noticed a bow and quiver of arrows laying by a log nearby. There were also a few more branches. Now that I had a larger arsenal, I messed around with Breath of the Wild’s inventory system. Players can quick select weapons in-game on the fly by entering a separate menu. Additionally, hot key options also streamlined selection. I adapted to this new system swiftly, swapping items with ease. Before I tackled the enemy base, my Nintendo rep instructed me to slide the Switch out of its dock and continue playing in handheld mode. The transition from big to small screen was as quick and seamless as advertised. Best of all, the performance didn’t skip a beat and looked great on the smaller display. With my new bow, I took aim and sniped distant enemies, drawing their attention. As the now-alert moblins hurtled towards me, I spotted a nearby shield and quickly equipped it. With my beat-down stick and shield ready, I fought my way through the remaining horde, rolling and collecting additional arrows and sticks mid-fight. Once the last moblin fell, I began collecting the spoils. Among the loot was an actual sword. Hooray, no more branches! That sense of improvement defined much of Breath of the Wild’s experience. Every time I nabbed a new item, I eagerly compared it stats to my existing inventory and wanted to continue searching in hopes of finding greater riches. That’s a fun and necessary incentive to achieve in an open world game. After clearing the area of its riches, I decided to continue towards the main story objective. The waypoint led to a small ruin with a plate to insert the Shiekah Slate. I placed the relic, which triggered a scene where a massive tower emerged from the Earth. Interestingly, the Nintendo Rep pointed out that during this cinematic, moblins are typically present since the structure sprouts near their base. However, since I wiped out the camp before summoning the tower, the moblins were absent. I always appreciate little touches of continuity like that. I’ll have to wait for the full release of Breath of the Wild to see what follows after that tower arose from the ruins as my demo wrapped up shortly thereafter. Although I barely scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg, I left the demo anxious and excited to get my hands on the full experience. Roaming the open world, discovering items and locations with little to no guidance felt like playing a big-budget remake of the NES Legend of Zelda. It’s a freedom that’s been lacking in the last few console entries, and the next logical leap after A Link Between Worlds (a personal fave) began the shift towards a less linear direction. Breakable weapons largely irritate me in most games, but Zelda tempers that annoyance by sprinkling items all over the place. I was always picking up new equipment, and even though most of them were fragile branches, I had a supply of them to rely on until I found something better. Most importantly, Breath of the Wild was just plain fun. Combat works fine, the picturesque world was a joy to run around in, and the loop of exploration and loot has its hooks. If the gameplay continues to evolve in positive ways, and if they story is up to snuff, Breath of the Wild could be a Zelda game for the ages. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches for Switch and Wii U March 3. View full article
  18. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild towers as the Nintendo Switch’s most anticipated title for good reason. In addition to being a new Zelda, thus being a big deal by default, the latest entry in the long-running franchise expands on the series’ formula by featuring a vast open world for players to explore freely. After much anticipation, I had the opportunity to spend roughly 20 minutes of hands-on time with Breath of the Wild. It felt like a fraction of that time because I was completely enamored with Hyrule’s wealth of possibilities. From what I understand, the demo I played was identical to last year’s E3 demo, so the opening events are likely familiar if you’ve read impressions for that version. Link awakens within an ancient temple, beckoned by a mysterious voice. After being bestowed with the magical Sheikah Slate, a multipurpose tool that serves as Link’s map, among other functions, I found and equipped basic clothing. Breath of the Wild’s vibrant world welcomed me with open arms as I exited the structure. There was only one question: Where do I head first? I could have immediately veered off on my own path, but I opted to follow a mysterious hooded man. After catching up with him and absorbing some sage tutorial advice, I embarked on my journey. My first order of business was to climb everything. Link can scale virtually any surface, his actions dictated by a stamina meter ala Skyward Sword. The ability to climbing vastly opens up exploration options. Instead of seeking out a main path, I just scampered up cliffs and improvised my way through areas. Link’s stamina drained rather quickly in the demo to the point of becoming a mild nuisance. Hopefully, it won’t take too long to for players to build up his strength in the full release. I quickly procured my first weapon: a branch. Not quite the Master Sword, but I had to start somewhere. It was a fortunate discovery, since I immediately encountered my first adversary in a lone moblin. Combat itself felt largely identical to previous Zelda games. I slashed, rolled, and leapt in and out of engagement with my foe. The controls felt smooth and responsive as we clashed. The presence of weapon degradation was the most prominent new wrinkle, as it forced me to monitor the state of items. Unfortunately, my branch splintered into pieces before I could finish my adversary, forcing me into a hasty retreat. In an unexpected and humorous moment, the persistent moblin gave chase for several yards. It even followed me down a sheer cliff drop. Even the Nintendo representative guiding me through the demo was taken aback at the beast’s determination. After a lengthy pursuit, the moblin finally decided I wasn’t worth the effort and backed off. That wasn’t the end of my troubles. I turned to discover that I’d accidentally stumbled upon a camp teeming with moblins–and I was completely defenseless. In a stroke of intentionally designed luck, though, I noticed a bow and quiver of arrows laying by a log nearby. There were also a few more branches. Now that I had a larger arsenal, I messed around with Breath of the Wild’s inventory system. Players can quick select weapons in-game on the fly by entering a separate menu. Additionally, hot key options also streamlined selection. I adapted to this new system swiftly, swapping items with ease. Before I tackled the enemy base, my Nintendo rep instructed me to slide the Switch out of its dock and continue playing in handheld mode. The transition from big to small screen was as quick and seamless as advertised. Best of all, the performance didn’t skip a beat and looked great on the smaller display. With my new bow, I took aim and sniped distant enemies, drawing their attention. As the now-alert moblins hurtled towards me, I spotted a nearby shield and quickly equipped it. With my beat-down stick and shield ready, I fought my way through the remaining horde, rolling and collecting additional arrows and sticks mid-fight. Once the last moblin fell, I began collecting the spoils. Among the loot was an actual sword. Hooray, no more branches! That sense of improvement defined much of Breath of the Wild’s experience. Every time I nabbed a new item, I eagerly compared it stats to my existing inventory and wanted to continue searching in hopes of finding greater riches. That’s a fun and necessary incentive to achieve in an open world game. After clearing the area of its riches, I decided to continue towards the main story objective. The waypoint led to a small ruin with a plate to insert the Shiekah Slate. I placed the relic, which triggered a scene where a massive tower emerged from the Earth. Interestingly, the Nintendo Rep pointed out that during this cinematic, moblins are typically present since the structure sprouts near their base. However, since I wiped out the camp before summoning the tower, the moblins were absent. I always appreciate little touches of continuity like that. I’ll have to wait for the full release of Breath of the Wild to see what follows after that tower arose from the ruins as my demo wrapped up shortly thereafter. Although I barely scratched the surface of the tip of the iceberg, I left the demo anxious and excited to get my hands on the full experience. Roaming the open world, discovering items and locations with little to no guidance felt like playing a big-budget remake of the NES Legend of Zelda. It’s a freedom that’s been lacking in the last few console entries, and the next logical leap after A Link Between Worlds (a personal fave) began the shift towards a less linear direction. Breakable weapons largely irritate me in most games, but Zelda tempers that annoyance by sprinkling items all over the place. I was always picking up new equipment, and even though most of them were fragile branches, I had a supply of them to rely on until I found something better. Most importantly, Breath of the Wild was just plain fun. Combat works fine, the picturesque world was a joy to run around in, and the loop of exploration and loot has its hooks. If the gameplay continues to evolve in positive ways, and if they story is up to snuff, Breath of the Wild could be a Zelda game for the ages. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild launches for Switch and Wii U March 3.
  19. Prior to PAX South 2017, I never expected a game about cutting apart sentient shapes to sell me on the Nintendo Switch more effectively than Splatoon 2 or Arms. But after getting my hands on Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!, I came away charmed and eager to play more of the Nintendo’s ingenious puzzler. Not only does the title perform well as a puzzle game, it effectively sells the enjoyment of mobile, cooperative gaming that Nintendo has been angling the Switch to promote. I’m a sucker for cooperative puzzle games so I took to Snipperclips almost immediately. Two players, each using one JoyCon controller, command a pair of cute paper characters to solve riddles in tandem. At its simplest, puzzles may require players to fill the outline of a shape, like a heart, by positioning inside of it in the correct manner. Seems relatively easy, right? Gameplay takes a turn for the interesting with the unique cutting mechanic. By overlapping characters, players can a piece out of each other to create new shapes. It’s a neat and intuitive mechanic that promotes creative thinking and constant communication. How can I slice you so you’ll fit into that narrow hole? What’s the best shape for transporting this tire across the track? Players will need to work together to effectively address these questions and solve levels. The straightforward puzzles presented challenge and fun by providing me and my partner methods to solve them. As long as the end goal is achieved, execution can be whatever the players dream up. One level tasked the two of us to shoot a basketball into a hoop. Our solution was to cut a hole into my character for the ball to rest in, then have me jump atop my buddy’s head. Next, a synchronized jump launched the ball through the bottom of the hoop, causing it to fall back through from above. To our surprise and delight, our improvised scheme worked. I love puzzles games that allow freedom and flexibility in resolution, and Snipperclips certainly seems to be one of those games. The bite-sized riddles are enjoyable to crack and can be knocked out relatively quickly, making them ideal for quick sessions with a friend. If the final package features a robust set of puzzles or receives support in the form of new levels post-launch, I could see myself returning to it regularly. My only complaint stems from the hardware itself. Playing with a sideways JoyCon isn’t the most comfortable set-up in the world and could hamper extended sessions. But with an inventive mechanic and boatloads of charm, Snipperclips cuts a place for itself as my favorite Switch title not named The Legend of Zelda. Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! releases sometime in March 2017 after the Nintendo Switch hits the market on March 3. View full article
  20. Prior to PAX South 2017, I never expected a game about cutting apart sentient shapes to sell me on the Nintendo Switch more effectively than Splatoon 2 or Arms. But after getting my hands on Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together!, I came away charmed and eager to play more of the Nintendo’s ingenious puzzler. Not only does the title perform well as a puzzle game, it effectively sells the enjoyment of mobile, cooperative gaming that Nintendo has been angling the Switch to promote. I’m a sucker for cooperative puzzle games so I took to Snipperclips almost immediately. Two players, each using one JoyCon controller, command a pair of cute paper characters to solve riddles in tandem. At its simplest, puzzles may require players to fill the outline of a shape, like a heart, by positioning inside of it in the correct manner. Seems relatively easy, right? Gameplay takes a turn for the interesting with the unique cutting mechanic. By overlapping characters, players can a piece out of each other to create new shapes. It’s a neat and intuitive mechanic that promotes creative thinking and constant communication. How can I slice you so you’ll fit into that narrow hole? What’s the best shape for transporting this tire across the track? Players will need to work together to effectively address these questions and solve levels. The straightforward puzzles presented challenge and fun by providing me and my partner methods to solve them. As long as the end goal is achieved, execution can be whatever the players dream up. One level tasked the two of us to shoot a basketball into a hoop. Our solution was to cut a hole into my character for the ball to rest in, then have me jump atop my buddy’s head. Next, a synchronized jump launched the ball through the bottom of the hoop, causing it to fall back through from above. To our surprise and delight, our improvised scheme worked. I love puzzles games that allow freedom and flexibility in resolution, and Snipperclips certainly seems to be one of those games. The bite-sized riddles are enjoyable to crack and can be knocked out relatively quickly, making them ideal for quick sessions with a friend. If the final package features a robust set of puzzles or receives support in the form of new levels post-launch, I could see myself returning to it regularly. My only complaint stems from the hardware itself. Playing with a sideways JoyCon isn’t the most comfortable set-up in the world and could hamper extended sessions. But with an inventive mechanic and boatloads of charm, Snipperclips cuts a place for itself as my favorite Switch title not named The Legend of Zelda. Snipperclips: Cut it Out, Together! releases sometime in March 2017 after the Nintendo Switch hits the market on March 3.
  21. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not Mario Kart 9, nor is it meant to be – and that’s okay. The original Mario Kart 8 was a blast (and my personal favorite entry in the popular series), making this beefed up version for the Nintendo Switch more of the same, but with some added twists. I had the opportunity to grab some hands-on time with the upcoming Switch title at PAX South last week. I played a demo using the handheld, Vita-esque Switch set up with the JoyCons locked alongside the screen. Impressively, the game looked and performed identically to its big screen counterpart. There’s an undeniable cool factor in seeing something that vibrant and fast-paced running smoothly on a mobile device. While the game controls fine overall, holding down the Switch’s tiny face buttons–which appear to be slightly smaller than the 3DS’ buttons–to accelerate caused discomfort on my thumb after just one race. That’s a concern for those possessing even average-sized digits. Battle Mode, a glaring omission in the original Mario Kart 8, makes a welcome return in Deluxe. I played a couple of rounds in Splatoon’s Urchin Underpass arena. While the core premise of lobbing weapons at opponents to pop their balloons isn’t dramatically different, the mode remains as fun as it always has been. Perhaps more importantly, Battle Mode provides another worthwhile destination in an already solid offering. Not content with touting Deluxe as a straight port with Battle Mode tacked on, Nintendo has tweaked the gameplay and added a number of new tracks and characters. Deluxe players can carry two power-ups at a time, a feature I found added a new wrinkle of strategy to races. New faces like Splatoon’s Inkling Girl/Boy and King Boo join the fray. Fresh tracks and karts (mostly based on Splatoon) offer an expanded assortment of options for experienced racers. Mario Kart 8’s entire package, including all released DLC, is present and accounted for. Mario Kart 8 isn't the next big leap for the series, but for a super-charged version, it's firing on all cylinders. The revved up racer releases on April 28 for the Nintendo Switch. View full article
  22. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is not Mario Kart 9, nor is it meant to be – and that’s okay. The original Mario Kart 8 was a blast (and my personal favorite entry in the popular series), making this beefed up version for the Nintendo Switch more of the same, but with some added twists. I had the opportunity to grab some hands-on time with the upcoming Switch title at PAX South last week. I played a demo using the handheld, Vita-esque Switch set up with the JoyCons locked alongside the screen. Impressively, the game looked and performed identically to its big screen counterpart. There’s an undeniable cool factor in seeing something that vibrant and fast-paced running smoothly on a mobile device. While the game controls fine overall, holding down the Switch’s tiny face buttons–which appear to be slightly smaller than the 3DS’ buttons–to accelerate caused discomfort on my thumb after just one race. That’s a concern for those possessing even average-sized digits. Battle Mode, a glaring omission in the original Mario Kart 8, makes a welcome return in Deluxe. I played a couple of rounds in Splatoon’s Urchin Underpass arena. While the core premise of lobbing weapons at opponents to pop their balloons isn’t dramatically different, the mode remains as fun as it always has been. Perhaps more importantly, Battle Mode provides another worthwhile destination in an already solid offering. Not content with touting Deluxe as a straight port with Battle Mode tacked on, Nintendo has tweaked the gameplay and added a number of new tracks and characters. Deluxe players can carry two power-ups at a time, a feature I found added a new wrinkle of strategy to races. New faces like Splatoon’s Inkling Girl/Boy and King Boo join the fray. Fresh tracks and karts (mostly based on Splatoon) offer an expanded assortment of options for experienced racers. Mario Kart 8’s entire package, including all released DLC, is present and accounted for. Mario Kart 8 isn't the next big leap for the series, but for a super-charged version, it's firing on all cylinders. The revved up racer releases on April 28 for the Nintendo Switch.