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Hype and 3DS eShop Games: A Fickle Mistress

by Neal Ronaghan - August 20, 2013, 1:30 pm EDT
Total comments: 13

Pleasant surprises for some can lead to disappointments for others.

SteamWorld Dig and Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale are two games I played post-hype, and I think that colored my opinion on both. After hearing positive buzz on the recently released 3DS eShop games for what felt like an eternity, I finally played through both last week, finishing each one within a day or two of beginning it. Now, neither game is long, but I still romped through each game with expediency. I stole time away from breaks during work to play another 10 minutes of Friday Monsters. I played 15 minutes of SteamWorld Dig before the movies last weekend. Both are scenarios where I usually don’t play games, but I was compelled each time to play Friday Monsters and SteamWorld Dig.

The weird thing is, I've come away from both games not totally getting the hype. Friday Monsters was cute, but not the transcendental Ghibli-esque experience it was trumpeted to be. SteamWorld Dig was a cool 2D platformer with a pleasant Metroid-esque progression, but I felt like I spent half of it digging monotonously in caves. I waited too long to play them, I fear. I was taken in by the hype, so unless they were second comings of Super Metroid (or even Mutant Mudds), my destiny was to be disappointed.

Mutant Mudds was like the reverse of that for me. I loved the demo I played at a table in a food court at E3 2011, but after espousing positive thoughts about Renegade Kid’s 2D debut for six months, I was kind of terrified it was going to suck. When I first started playing Mutant Mudds for review shortly before it came out in early 2012, I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was going to tragically disappoint me. Thankfully, it didn’t disappoint, and then, like our own Daan Koopman did for SteamWorld Dig, I started shouting how freaking awesome Mutant Mudds was from the Nintendo World Report rooftops.

And I’m sure there is a reader or three here that felt that same mild disappointment with Mutant Mudds that I felt with SteamWorld Dig and Friday Monsters. It’s just a really peculiar feeling, and it’s kind of funny that a few recent games have swung far the other way for me because of my lack of personal hype. I think Pikmin 3 is working so well for me because I wasn’t previously a huge fan of those games before, so my hype level was lower.

What games have you played after all the hoopla that either delivered on the promise or fell short?


Leo13August 20, 2013

I almost didn’t buy Xenoblade and Fire Emblem Awakening because I thought all the hype would set my expectations too high, but both were better then the hype for me.

I kept hearing tons of hype for Mighty Switch Force so I bought it but I’ve only played it like 4 times because there’s nothing pulling me back.

With New Super Mario Bros 2/U it worked funny. I bought U first and enjoyed it about level with the hype that was around, but with 2 everyone was playing it down and saying that U was better so I wasn’t going to get it at all. I found it for $30 so I decided to grab it (with a backup plan of selling it used for $30 if I didn’t like it) and turned out I liked it significantly better then U.

Reminds me of Animal Crossing on the gamecube. It’s the kind of game where when I heard about it and watched a buddy play it I thought there was no way on earth I’d like it even a little. Then my buddy made me try it for an hour and I ended up buying the game and loving it. Oddly enough every time I’ve seen the newer ones (DS, Wii, 3DS) I’ve thought that game looks boring even though deep inside I’m pretty sure I’ll like it if I just give it a chance it’s hard for me to want to jump on it.

jarodeaAugust 20, 2013

Hmm, can't say I've been hyped Hyped HYPED for any eShop games.  At the moment I've only purchased Dillon, Crimson Shroud, and Liberation Maiden.  Didn't expect the world of any of them and didn't get it, which is fine.  Given other indie/download games I've played that's about the best I can expect (though Mutant Mudds was pretty good from what I played of it).

Evan_BAugust 20, 2013

I'd like to hear what article you read that hyped Friday Monsters as a transcendental ghibli-like masterpiece, Neal. Because that's your problem right there- hype is what hype is, but there's a line that needs to be drawn between honest critique of a game and the off-chance that every element of a game just clicks with someone.

Fiendlord_TimmayAugust 21, 2013

Count me among those who were pretty disappointed with Mutant Mudds. After hearing so much about it from people on NWR, I was expecting great things from it. It ended up being a pretty average game as far as I'm concerned. It's certainly not bad, but it wasn't special in ANY way. Mentioning it in the same breath as Super Metroid is, to be quite honest, pretty insulting to Super Metroid. Same goes for the comparisons to classic Mega Man games, which I feel are superficial at best. Not trying to pick a fight here, but it was certainly on my mind after reading this article.

Another huge disappointment for me was Skyrim. After the collective fellating the industry gave that game, I was expecting it to basically be the second coming of the messiah. What I ended up playing was a decent and fairly enjoyable RPG with more than a handful of SERIOUS flaws. The amount of attention it gets to this day is kind of unbelievable, with people commonly nominating it for "Game of the Generation" discussions. This is simply ludicrous to me, as it wouldn't have even cracked my top 10 games of 2011.

On a much happier note, Xenoblade not only lived up to the hype, it surpassed it. I can't remember the last time a game left such an impression on me. The thought of giving it a place in my top 10 games of all time keeps creeping into my mind. Sure it has its flaws, but its virtues far outweigh them. There are a lot of things about it that just resonate very strongly with me personally as well - things that many other people will not appreciate nearly as much. People always talk about their dream game, a game made specifically for them. Well, the more I think about it, I think Xenoblade is pretty damn close to that for me.

I'm sure I could come up with more examples if I thought about it for a while, but this diatribe should suffice for now. XD

I don't remember being that hyped for Mutant Mudds, but now it's probably in my top 5 3DS games.

An example of the hype getting me a bit was the recent Cloudberry Kingdom. I still think it's a great game, but I really had that game built up in my head. To contrast that, there's a game on the Wii U eShop called Kung Fu Rabbit, which is pretty good, but not on Cloudberry Kingdom's level, that because I went into it with no expectations I think I enjoyed it more than I'm enjoying the better Cloudberry Kingdom because of the different levels of hype going into it.

It's probably less a consequence of hype (remember, any so-called hype for these two games is highly relative) and more a matter of them being somewhat idiosyncratic experiences that are bound to appeal very strongly to certain people and less so to others, though anyone can appreciate the quality of craftsmanship and creative vision.

MagicCow64August 21, 2013

I was pumped for Mutant Mudds based on the praise the 3DS release garnered, and bought it recently for the WiiU. It's okay I guess (I mean, I collected all the water sprites, so there was enough polish there to bring me back a few times), but I wouldn't call it particularly memorable. And if it wasn't for the ghost world and Granny levels from the PC version it would be pretty darn thin on content.

Based on this, I doubt I'll pick up Mighty Switch Force, which I was previously planning to do.

In a way, this is a repeat of my Xbox Live Arcade experience when I owned a 360. I would get excited about these indie games that got pumped in the press, and most of them were stone mediocre. So I mostly stopped getting them. For some reason I fall for these non-mainstream hype machines while I've known better for years when it comes to full fledged console games.

@Fiendlord - I wasn't meaning to say Mutant Mudds was on the same level as Super Metroid, though I get why you took it that way. It was more my way of transitioning to talk about Mudds as a game I was on the opposite end of the spectrum on.

Fiendlord_TimmayAugust 21, 2013

@Neal - Ok, rereading it now, I can see what you meant. But I'm sure I'm not the only one who interpreted it the wrong way.


In a way, this is a repeat of my Xbox Live Arcade experience when I owned a 360. I would get excited about these indie games that got pumped in the press, and most of them were stone mediocre.

I've had this problem as well, but every time I started to lose faith in the indie hype, I'd play a game that would change my mind. At this point, I'm willing to try out pretty much anything, because for every Limbo, there's a Super Meat Boy or a VVVVVV. And with steam sales, none of these indie games are much of an investment.

MagicCow64August 21, 2013

Yeah, on Arcade Super Meat Boy was the only game I thought really fulfilled its promise. I liked Limbo a lot, but it was probably not worth what I paid for it (not to mention Outland, Shadow Complex, Bastion, Incredibly Twister Shadow Planet, etc.).

I also loved Braid, but I bought that for like a buck on Steam. Methinks Nintendo needs to implement super sales. As of now, I'm going to be extremely cautious what I'm paying $10 for.

Mop it upAugust 21, 2013

Heh, I guess I'm one such person. I tried the demo of Mutant Mudds and didn't "get" it.

I'm trying to think of either such moment for me, and it's tough to think of one. I usually just try to avoid talk of games I haven't bought yet, since I don't want to know anything about them... but then again, that just applies to stuff I plan to buy at some point. I recall this board talking about games like Little King's Story and Rune Factory Frontier back in the day, I don't know if this qualifies as "hype" since it wasn't wide-spread, but there were a few core people really singing the praises of the games that lead to me buying them. And neither disappointed at all.

For the opposite, I guess I'd say Super Smash Brothers Brawl, although in this case I bought it at launch so it was pre-release hype that was coming from reviewers and such, not regular players.

Fiendlord_TimmayAugust 21, 2013

@MagicCow - I agree, the reason I think I can enjoy so many of these indie games is because I always buy them on mega sale on steam. A few I've even gotten for free from PS+, which is an even more extreme case.

I think it would be wise of Nintendo to start implementing regular sales a la steam. There are games on the eshop like Mighty Switch Force, Dillon's Rolling Western, Sakura Samurai, etc. that I've heard good things about, but I would never be willing to buy them at the current price. They might be able to scrape a few extra sales out of people like me if they gave them deep discounts at this point.

Leo13August 22, 2013

If my understanding is correct, the only eShop games that Nintendo is controlling the prices on are games that were developed by Nintendo.
Therefore, if I'm correct it isn't Nintendo that should get steem like sales going, but the developers of Mighty Switch Force, Mutant Mudds and Cloudberry Kingdom.
Dillions Rolling Western, however, is one of Nintendo's so yes any sales would be done by them.

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