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Messages - Penguin_Of_Thyme

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TalkBack / Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin Interview with Edelweiss
« on: May 03, 2020, 08:09:58 PM »

We spoke with the Japanese indie developer Edelweiss and learned some fun details about their upcoming game.

During E3 2019, Nintendo World Report had the chance to chat with the Japanese indie developer Edelweiss about their upcoming game, Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin. The development team consists of just two team members, Director Nal and CG Artist Koichi. We talked about the decision to bring the game to Switch, the varied gameplay, and some of the game's inspirations.

[Note: A corrupt SD card prevented us from sharing this interview until now. Apologies for the delay.]

Nintendo World Report (NWR): For our readers who are unfamiliar with Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin, could you please give a brief description?

Edelweiss (EW): Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin is a combination of an action game and a rice farming simulation RPG.

NWR: It was announced recently that Sakuna is coming to Switch. What led to the decision to bring the game to Switch?

EW: We’ve been interested in the Nintendo Switch ever since its release. And then we met with some folks from Nintendo and they asked us “why don’t you bring the game to Switch.” And then from there we just started programming and developing the game for Switch and now it’s coming to the Switch hardware.

NWR: In the side-scrolling action portion of the game, you have a lasso ability that can make for some fun level traversal and combat. Could you please talk a little bit about this mechanic?

EW: You can stretch the Divine Raiment to move about and also grab and swing around enemies. It can be used as both a moving and action tool. The Divine Raiment also has a very important role for the story.

NWR: Could you please tell us about the game’s story?

EW: Sakuna used to be a high up goddess in the celestial capital city. She made a really bad mistake and was banished to a very dangerous island and must now spend her time with the humans that live there.

NWR: Who is composing the game’s music?

EW: The composer is Hiroyuki Oshima. We want the music to be melodious. I feel like for a lot of games the BGM (background music) doesn’t interact with the gameplay. But on the other hand, for this game we wanted to make the music more impactful with the gameplay.

NWR: Can you talk a little bit more about the action gameplay?

EW: People think Sakuna is an action game and it does look like an action game, but the controls are actually inspired by fighting games. So players have tight control and smooth mechanics so that’s what we prioritize for the action combat.

NWR: The E3 demo ended with a battle against a relatively large opponent. Will there be many battles throughout the game with foes of that size?

EW: There will be various types of gigantic enemies.

NWR: The development team for the game is quite small. Could you tell us about some of the challenges and freedom that arise from such a small development team?

EW: One of the benefits of being such a small team is that we can be the decision makers. When we face a big obstacle, we don’t have a lot of manpower since we’re basically just a two-man team. When there’s something that’s really technical that we can’t handle, we have to outsource and then we also have to manage those people. So that’s an example of a difficulty we have as a small team.

NWR: Were you inspired by any other games during the creation of Sakuna: Of Rice and Ruin?

EW: The action part of the game was sort of inspired by Devil May Cry, but the backbone would be more from the Super Nintendo game Terranigma. We were also inspired by the movies, the Seven Samurai and Princess Mononoke.

NWR: Would you say any characters in Sakuna are similar to or inspired by the characters in Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai?

EW: It might be hard to tell in the game, but I kind of got some ideas from characters in the Seven Samurai.

NWR: Any final words for people who are excited about the game?

EW: First of all, thanks for the wait. We are most confident that the game will be really good so we hope that players can enjoy a smooth action combat game and also have more interest in rice farming and Japanese culture as well.

NWR: Thank you very much for the interview.

TalkBack / Streets of Rage 4 (Switch) Review
« on: April 29, 2020, 04:01:00 AM »

It’s time to hit the streets again.

It’s been over 25 years since the last entry in Sega’s Streets of Rage series. The fourth game in the iconic beat-‘em-up series has not been developed in-house at Sega, but instead is a collaboration by Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games. These developers did not give themselves an easy task, but they’ve successfully made a worthy follow-up that is a love letter to the classic Genesis brawlers.

Streets of Rage 4 occurs approximately 10 years after the finale of Streets of Rage 3. A new crime syndicate has taken over the city and it’s up to a cast of new and returning heroes to get things under control. The story is told through short cutscenes featuring mostly static images of artwork. While the plot is very simple, it does explain why the heroes are traversing the town and also features mind control, which is always fun. In addition, those who would rather ignore the story can easily bypass it with the press of a button.

The game features five main playable characters (Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, Cherry Hunter, Adam Hunter, and Floyd Iraia) who each have their own unique attacks. The basic controls hew closely to the precedent set in Sega Genesis titles. Each character can initiate a strong attack, by holding down the Y button or perform a blitz move by double tapping left or right and then hitting the Y button. Back attacks and throw moves have also returned. Special attacks are performed with the X button and come in both defensive and offensive varieties. It’s super satisfying to knock down foes with Cherry’s guitar or use Floyd’s metallic arm to grab an normally out of reach opponent. One negative of the special attacks is that they’ll drain your character’s health. However, if immediately after using a special you can land some normal attacks without being hit, you can actually gain that health back.

The A button lets you pick up health restoring items (roast chickens and apples) as well as weapons. The same button also lets you throw and catch weapons. There’s something extremely pleasurable about catching a pipe right before it knocks you on your ass. If you’re lucky enough to be carrying a star, you can hit the X and A buttons simultaneously to do a powerful special attack called the star move.

The variety of attacks would mean nothing if the combat wasn’t enjoyable. I’m happy to report that the gameplay is vintage Streets of Rage and it feels great fighting through the game’s 12 stages. There are numerous returning enemies who will feature the attack patterns you remember. The game has some really inventive new elements as well such as wrecking balls and chandeliers you can crash down by cutting a rope. Another fun element is the game’s combo system. The combo counter will let you know how many hits you’ve been able to string together without getting hurt. While stringing together a large combo is satisfying on it’s own, it’s also a great way to build up your score. Scoring 8,000 points in a level will gain you an extra life, which is always beneficial and your score will also determine how you get graded when a level is done. Your single player high scores can be compared with your friends.

A few years ago, I was blown away by Lizardcube’s Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap thanks in no small part to it’s beautiful hand-drawn artwork. Lizardcube’s artistic work for Streets of Rage 4 may be even more impressive. Along with creating the beautiful backgrounds for each stage, they also meticulously updated the artwork for the game’s returning heroes and enemies. It’s extremely commendable the amount of work that goes into rendering each frame of animation for the game’s large cast. You don’t see many 2D games that look this beautiful and fluid because most don’t include such a large amount of hand-drawn animation. The game features multiple unlockable art galleries, which I strongly recommend checking out.

The vast majority of the game’s stage themes were composed by Olivier Deriviere. While I didn’t love every track, there are some real bangers in the mix. In addition, there are numerous guest composers that include Yuzo Koshioro and Motohiro Kawashima who were the main composers on the Genesis games. In a perfect world, Yuzo Koshiro would have composed every single track, but we still ended up with a pretty amazing Streets of Rage 4 soundtrack.

Along with the regular story mode, there’s also an arcade mode where you’re tasked with completing the game with no continues, a boss rush mode, and a PVP battle mode. One other awesome feature that I haven’t mentioned is the ability to unlock 12 retro fighters. These characters are pulled directly out of their Genesis games and feature their original pixel art and moves. It’s worth noting that the game also features some other retro goodies that are worth experiencing for yourself.

I feel that Streets of Rage 4 shares a lot in common with Sonic Mania. Both game’s were led by development teams who had the challenge of continuing classic and beloved series. I’m happy to say that the dev teams creating Streets of Rage 4 have completely succeeded in making a new 2D entry in the series much like the Sonic Mania dev teams did. The utmost respect for the source material is clear throughout Streets of Rage 4 and I’m thrilled that we have this great new brawler in 2020.

TalkBack / We Played Sludge Life at PAX East 2020
« on: March 19, 2020, 08:06:00 AM »

Sometimes all you need in life is a cat with two buttholes.

Back in the 90s, there was a Simpsons PC game called Virtual Springfield that I never got to play, but it sounded awesome. You would explore the lively world of Springfield and have the opportunity to speak with your favorite Simpsons characters. Sludge Life from Devolver Digital feels like the Virtual Springfield I imagined in my head, except its world is filled with a zany set of oddball characters from an animated television show that doesn’t exist.

In the game, you play as a young graffiti tagger named GHOST. Players can explore the small open-world island, which is filled with numerous spots to leave their tag. While the basic concept might sound similar to the graffiti-laced classic Jet Set Radio, Sludge Life is it’s own unique beast.

Sludge Life comes from the minds of Terri Vellman and Doseone (they’re also working on the upcoming Disc Room). The idea of Sludge Life first entered their minds while working on the first-person shooter High Hell. Terri basically envisioned the world of High Hell with no guns and then they started brainstorming from there.

The game’s cel-shaded island is dominated by the evil corporation Glug. Glug has polluted the island with toxic waste and they also manufacture the Ciggy Cigs brand of cigarettes. Unfortunately the mascot for the cigarettes, Ciggy, gets crushed by a statue, which leads to Glug’s workers going on strike because the corporation won’t clean up the mess.

Players can learn more about the Glug Corporation if they like, but are equally encouraged to just explore the small town and speak with it’s zany denizens. Developer and music lead Doseone was walking me through the demo when we encountered a guy who was clearly enthusiastic about exercising. Doseone explained to me that the character’s dialogue and personality was partially based on a guy who used to always talk with him at the gym. Many of the game’s characters have been inspired by people that the developers met in real life.

Sludge Life is a laid back game where you can do whatever you want. From my short playtime it’s clear that there are tons of secrets to find. While exploring an apartment building I crawled through a vent and found a man who had seemingly been locked inside an asylum like room for ages. I also got to meet a gigantic baby and shoot some hoops on a basketball court. Another fun experience was finding a mushroom and literally getting high. My character shortly after ingesting the mushroom began flying to the top of the building and then burst through the roof like the great elevator in Willy Wonka. I could then see the entire town and fly wherever I pleased. Doseone explained this is sort of a cheat code that lets you find places to visit.

Another cool feature are the game’s interactive computers that use an OS reminiscent of Windows 3.1 on acid. There’s even a fully working puzzle game called Crypt Creeper that you can play inside the game. It’s also worth noting that I met a cat with two butt holes. It was unclear to me if all cats in the game world have multiple butt holes or just the one I encountered.

Sludge Life is a strange title. There’s no big objective. Players are free to choose what they wish to get from the experience. Those who want to solve some of the town’s mysteries are free to do so and might get a special ending for their effort, but overall you can do whatever the hell you want. I’m ready to take another visit to the game’s strange world when it comes out later this year.

TalkBack / Disaster Report 4 Interview with Kazuma Kujo
« on: January 07, 2020, 01:20:00 AM »

We spoke with the chief producer of Disaster Report 4 and learned some interesting details about the April Switch release.

During E3 2019, Nintendo World Report had the opportunity to sit down with Kazuma Kujo to discuss Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories. Kujo is chief producer of the game and has been involved with the series since it's inception. We talked about the team's decision to bring the game to Switch, the excitement of bringing the new installment to a Western audience, and also disaster movies. The game will be available in North America, Oceania, and Europe on April 7.

Nintendo World Report (NWR): Could you please talk a little bit about the decision to bring Disaster Report 4 to Nintendo Switch?

Kazuma Kujo (KK): In Japan, the Nintendo Switch has been gradually rising in popularity and Granzella has been receiving a lot of requests to put their titles on the Switch. The final push was actually from NISA, who recommended to have Disaster Report 4: Summer Memories on the Switch as it's very major in the West.

NWR: Can you talk a little bit about the new game and explain some of the new features for people who have played the previous Disaster Report games?

KK: The previous games in the series were more action-oriented, like having to flee from collapsing buildings or cracking streets within a span of 1-2 days in the city. This time, we emphasized the realistic aspects of experiencing an earthquake (or just a natural disaster in general), like a shortage of food or immense stress and how to survive for 6-7 days under such circumstances. Betrayal is one theme, as the player will encounter others who may deceive them or act prejudiced towards them. Another example is when you're within a rescue area, several problems come up [and it's up to the player on how to act], so this ability to choose one's own course of action reflects how more in-tune to reality this installment is.  

NWR: Granzella acquired the rights to the Disaster Report series. Can you talk a little bit about that process and why you wished to do that? 

KK:  There were talks between Granzella and Irem Software Engineering (the previous company we were at) about purchasing the Disaster Report IP, as we still had a strong desire to keep the series going. Our team thought the title had a lot of potential and wanted to produce more installments.  

NWR: Can you talk about the localization process?

KK: When it comes to localizing our game, it's not just limited to North America or Europe! We talk to our partners worldwide and receive feedback on what's the best way to localize the game for that specific audience. Taking such into consideration, the game for each region has its own subtle differences and specialties. Such collaboration comes about more when the game is near completion.

NWR: Can you talk a little bit about the music for the game?

KK:  As some may already know, the original production of Disaster Report 4 was halted, so the music for the game's first part was composed with the PS3 in mind. After the IP was purchased in 2014, we found that we still needed a couple more songs to put into the game. So that time, we went to a different composer located near Granzella's headquarters which makes it easier to communicate.  

NWR: Has the game been designed with newcomers to the series in mind? Also, are there any callbacks to previous entries?

KK:  Disaster Report 4 was intentionally created so that a person new to the series can pick it up and start playing. There are some characters from previous installments that make an appearance, but it's not necessary to know their background to enjoy the game.  

NWR: Are there any final things you would like to say to fans in the West?

KK:  It's always been our goal to have our games enjoyed by a broader audience, so Disaster Report 4 getting a Western release feels surreal. Since this title has a more Japanese-oriented background and involves a natural disaster that some parts of the world don't really experience, we hope that players can pick up the essence of what it's like to be in an earthquake-prone area. So, please enjoy this game!  

NWR: Is being informative about disaster's a core part of the game?

KK:  We actually get asked quite often in Japan whether these games are meant to inform users about disasters, but in my [Kujo-san] mind, if people are able to take away helpful information from the game, that's good. However, these games are more for entertainment and to get the player's heart beating fast from the high-tension of being in such situations. I felt that such feelings would make for good entertainment, especially in a game format. Take the United States for example. There are whole movies centered around natural disasters, so I felt it's a good "medium" to put into a video game.  

NWR: Do you have a favorite Western disaster movie?

KK:  I like the movie "Twister"!  

NWR: Thank you very much for your time.

TalkBack / Alien: Isolation (Switch) Review
« on: December 28, 2019, 10:00:00 AM »

The atmospheric survival horror game is now on the Nintendo Switch.

Creating a sequel to a beloved film is not an easy task, especially when it uses a completely different medium to tell its story. Luckily for gamers, Alien: Isolation is an extremely effective follow-up to the original Alien film released in 1979. Unlike the more action-oriented film sequel Aliens, Alien:Isolation hews closely to Ellen Ripley’s first extraterrestrial encounter and focuses on horror. The Nintendo Switch version of Alien: Isolation is a scary and atmospheric horror adventure that is a must play for fans of the genre.

Alien: Isolation starts off approximately 15 years after the events of the original Ridley Scott film, with Ellen Ripley’s daughter, Amanda, on a mission to find out what happened to her mother. Amanda hopes the answers she seeks lie on the flight recorder of her mom’s lost ship, the Nostromo. The majority of the game takes place on a remote space station called the Sevastopol, which currently houses the flight recorder. I’ll tread lightly on further story details, but I will say that the voice cast does a great job of bringing the game’s inhabitants to life and that the story is told through both cutscenes and via messages left on the in-game computer terminals.

Employing stealth and avoiding detection are vital to survive in Alien: Isolation. Along with the titular otherworldly creature, human and android foes also can be found aboard the space station. While you have an assortment of weapons and gear that you can craft and utilize, they usually will only slow down your opponents temporarily. Similar to stealth in Metal Gear Solid, sometimes the best option is to hide in a locker, hold your breath, and wait for the alien creature to walk away.

It’s worth noting that sometimes Alien: Isolation can be very frustrating. Depending on what difficulty you choose, you might find yourself repeatedly falling to the same foe, which certainly can dampen your enjoyment of the game. Thankfully, you have the option of adjusting the difficulty whenever you like, if a certain section gets too tough, for example. (Note: If you choose the “Nightmare” difficulty mode, you cannot make an adjustment later on, and I promise you will die a lot.)

Whether you’re playing on your HD television or with headphones on in portable mode, the game is extremely unnerving and scary. Feral Interactive developed the Switch port and have done an amazing job at maintaining almost all graphical effects and details. The lighting engine is especially impressive. Unlike some Switch ports, I’m happy to note that the audio and music do not appear to have been compressed to a lower bitrate. Playing with headphones is strongly recommended because the sound design is great and might actually help you realize an alien is approaching. Another unique feature for Switch is the ability to aim certain items, such as your handgun, via gyro controls.  

The game’s ability to capture a strong dose of the original Alien film’s atmosphere helps create a wonderfully immersive experience. As long as you understand that this is a survival game where brute force will simply lead to a quick death, it’s highly recommended.

TalkBack / Ring Fit Adventure (Switch) Preview
« on: October 08, 2019, 11:28:00 AM »

Nintendo’s latest fitness experience promises to make working out a ton of fun.

Each copy of Ring Fit Adventure comes with two things, a flexible plastic ring called the Ring-Con, and a leg strap. After placing a Joy-Con into each of the included items, you can go ahead and wrap the leg strap around your left quad (I’m fairly confident it needs to be attached to your left leg). Pick up the Ring-Con, and now you’re ready to both exercise and play.

Whether it’s playing bongos to make Donkey Kong run and punch or dodging soccer balls by leaning on the Wii Balance Board, Nintendo has often excelled at creating fun control schemes using off-the-wall peripherals. The Ring-Con is another very unique way of controlling the action on-screen, and it’s both super intuitive and, depending on the activity, super tiring. The first activity I got to try was the Pectoralis Major Challenge. I held the Ring-Con in front of me like a steering wheel and my goal was to perform as many ring presses as possible in a short period of time. The Ring-Con displayed both it’s flexibility and durability when I attempted this challenge. Squeezing the Ring-Con was easy at first, but after pressing the ring inwards over fifty times, my muscles began to ache and I couldn’t keep my pace up. I managed to perform 96 ring presses and that result showed up on the in-game leaderboard. You can compare certain results and leaderboards with others in your household who are playing on the same Switch. In addition, those who pay for Nintendo Switch Online can compare their scores with their internet friends.

The second activity I tried was called Robo Wrecker, a whack-a-mole type mini-game. Once again, I held the Ring-Con like a steering wheel, but this time I needed to either press in on the ring or pull on the sides to squish the moles popping up. It’s necessary to spin the wheel to have the spring-loaded smashing devices line up with the moles. Like any good game of whack-a-mole, you really need to pay attention if you want to knock out a high number of the critters. The constant stretching and squeezing also does a number on your arms and will make it nigh impossible to catch every mole.

While there’s a variety of individual activities to try, the most exciting part of the game is the main adventure mode. In this mode, you play as a young woman who must use different exercises to traverse the land and defeat enemies. Unlike regular RPGs, the player’s attacks consist of a wide selection of exercises. Some of the exercises included are thigh press, knee lift, bow pull, and overhead arm twist. Similar to Wii Fit (and many other Wii games), the game constantly instructs you on the proper way to perform each exercise/attack. You actually perform a stronger attack when you use the proper form and motions to execute the exercises. Defeating enemies helps you level up and earn in-game currency to spend on new workout clothes and smoothies, which can provide stat upgrades or restore your health. In total, there’s over 40 exercises/skills that you can unlock. Along with the battles,the simple act of traversing each level is a lot of fun. If you run faster in real life, your female avatar’s hair will catch fire and she’ll speed up. You’ll need to perform many different motions to traverse the world’s many obstacles.

Ring Fit Adventure is also extremely customizable. When starting a new adventure session, you have the option of lowering or increasing the game’s difficulty. The game also features a custom mode where you can build out different fitness lists of your favorite exercises. I was told that you can probably complete the adventure mode in about two months if you play one hour each day. Knowing Nintendo, there will likely be multiple incentives to jump back in after your first Adventure, in addition to just wanting to get a good sweat on.

I should also mention the game’s achievement-like system, which comes in the form of new titles. It was unclear if you’ll be given specific instructions on how to unlock the titles, but hopefully you’ll know what’s necessary to unlock titles like “Runner with a Dream!” One other nifty feature is that by placing your finger over the Joy-Con’s IR sensor, you can see what your current heart rate is.

My short time with Ring Fit Adventure was really enjoyable. Making exercise fun is no easy task, but it seems like Nintendo has crafted an addictive and unique way to get fit.

TalkBack / Re: SNES Games That Should be on Switch
« on: September 05, 2019, 02:15:14 AM »
Interplay I believe still has the rights to Earthworm Jim. In fact, they're actually developing a new game in the series for the Intellivision Amico (we'll see if that actually happens).

TalkBack / Xenoblade Chronicles Comparison Video
« on: September 04, 2019, 07:12:42 PM »

Check out how the Wii version looks compared to the upcoming Definitive Edition on Nintendo Switch.

Watch the Xenoblade Chronicles video comparison below.

TalkBack / Re: Classic SEGA Arcade Games Will Not Be In Shenmue 3
« on: June 18, 2019, 02:42:22 PM »
Don't the Yakuza games still include Sega arcade games?

Yes, they're still featured in the Yakuza games and also appear in the Yakuza team's other games like Judgement and Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise.

TalkBack / Re: Classic SEGA Arcade Games Will Not Be In Shenmue 3
« on: June 18, 2019, 09:37:44 AM »
SEGA arcade games currently available on Switch as part of the SEGA AGES series somewhere in the world:

Out Run (Yu Suzuki masterpiece)
Gain Ground (cool game, no Yu Suzuki involvement)
Puyo Puyo (currently only available in Japan)
Virtua Racing (Coming June 27 to rest of world, Yu Suzuki heavily involved)
Wonder Boy in Monster Land (Coming June 27 to rest of world)

Two other Yu Suzuki arcade games that we'll be getting on Switch at some point:

G-LOC: Air Battle
Space Harrier

TalkBack / Classic SEGA Arcade Games Will Not Be In Shenmue 3
« on: June 18, 2019, 12:32:54 AM »

The creator of Shenmue, Yu Suzuki, confirmed that his old creations like Out Run & Space Harrier will not appear in the upcoming sequel.

During an interview with NWR at E3 2019, the acclaimed game designer Yu Suzuki explained that unfortunately his classic arcade games would not be playable in Shenmue 3.

As the head of SEGA's AM2 division, Yu Suzuki designed arcade hits one after another during the 1980s and 1990s. Games like Virtua Fighter and Daytona USA delivered addictive gameplay and bleeding edge visuals. When the original Shenmue launched on the Sega Dreamcast in 1999, it included two playable classics, Hang-On and Space Harrier. Shenmue 2 would continue this trend with the addition of two more games created by Suzuki, Afterburner II and Out Run.

When we asked Suzuki if some of his classic titles like Space Harrier and Out Run would be returning in Shenmue 3, he responded, "I'm sorry we don't have those arcade games, but instead I do have a lot of other games." Upon noting that we've already seen many of the games that will be featured (like the pachinko game Lucky Hit and turtle racing), Suzuki-san told us, "You'll see more."

Shenmue 3 will not be completely devoid of references to classic SEGA arcade games. For example, during the new wood chopping job, an upbeat tune from After Burner II will start playing if you slice multiple pieces of wood in succession. Failing to hit the next log with your axe will instantly stop the arcade music and switch it to something much more calming. Yu Suzuki described these music changes in correspondence to your actions as a feedback mode.

We'll have a full preview of Shenmue 3 in the near future.

Note: Nintendo World Report will continue to mostly focus on Nintendo games. The coverage of Shenmue 3 is a rare exception.


It's not possible to transfer Mario Maker stages that were created on the 3DS or Wii U over to Super Mario Maker 2.

At a recent Mario Maker 2 press event, a Nintendo Treehouse representative told NWR that courses created in Super Mario Maker for the Wii U cannot be played or imported over to Super Mario Maker 2. In addition, Super Mario Maker courses created on the 3DS are also incompatible with the upcoming Switch sequel.

The Nintendo representative explained that the extensive list of new items and features was a major reason why the two games are incompatible with one another.

Players will need to recreate their old courses from scratch in order to bring them over to Super Mario Maker 2.

TalkBack / Trine 4 Preview and Interview
« on: April 10, 2019, 05:35:58 AM »

We got to take a look at the next installment in the Trine series.

Trine 4 returns to the 2D sidescrolling gameplay that appeared in the first two entries. Check out our video preview below (and don't stop watching early or you'll miss a quick interview with Frozenbyte's Kai Tuovinen).

TalkBack / Gear.Club Unlimited 2 (Switch) Hands-on Preview
« on: December 02, 2018, 07:42:00 AM »

This arcade racing sequel features a number of improvements over its predecessor.

I recently spent an hour with Gear.Club Unlimited 2. The arcade racing sequel from developer Eden Games comes out on December 4. While the game has many similarities to the first title in the series, there's definitely been some major improvements.

First of all, the graphics have seen a major upgrade. Level geometry seems to have been vastly improved and I also witnessed some great looking lighting effects. The improved visual look is thanks to an upgraded version of the unity engine. In docked mode, the game runs at 1080p and in handheld mode it runs at 720p. In addition, the game appeared to run at a smooth 30fps at all times.

The car handling seems very similar to last year's edition. I had a fun time racing around the tracks and think arcade racing fans will feel right at home. There's also a number of driving assists available to help make racing easier if needed (such as braking and steering assistance). Players who wish to use gyro controls can also pretend their Joy-Con or Pro controller is a steering wheel and race that way. The lack of analog triggers on the Switch has also been addressed by the development team. The game uses a software system to help simulate different pressure inputs.  

Car enthusiasts will be happy to learn that the game features 51 real world cars from a number of different manufacturers. These cars can be worked on at the in-game performance shop where you can buy new car parts and give each vehicle a new coating of paint. The development team worked diligently to make sure the digital versions of the cars accurately reflect their real world counterparts.

The most important change in the sequel is likely the inclusion of true online multiplayer this time around. In the first Gear.Club, players could compete against the best track times of their friends, but you couldn't actually have a live online match. Unfortunately, I was unable to try the online multiplayer during my demo, but it's great to know it's included. Players can also participate in up to 4-player local split-screen racing.

My short time with Gear.Club Unlimited 2 was very enjoyable. I've always liked arcade racers and it appears that the development team has put a lot of work into the sequel. It's also worth noting that even though the Gear.Club series started in the mobile world, the brand new entry on Switch was designed from the ground up for the Nintendo console. I look forward to the game's upcoming release and hope the online multiplayer delivers a smooth experience.

TalkBack / Starlink: Battle For Atlas Video Preview
« on: September 25, 2018, 05:15:07 AM »

TalkBack / Re: Pair Of Classic Shooters Releasing On Switch This Winter
« on: September 05, 2018, 08:54:25 PM »
I believe it was de-listed for a while, but reappeared a year or two later.

TalkBack / Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night Interview
« on: August 26, 2018, 04:28:00 PM »

Check out our interview with producer Koji Igarashi.

Earlier this year, we had the pleasure to interview Koji Igarashi at E3 2018. Watch the video below.

TalkBack / Re: Nintendo Sales Party: July 2018 US NPD Group Results
« on: August 22, 2018, 09:01:12 PM »
That's it. If Warioware couldn't top Pokemon Ultra in sales for the month, it's over. 3DS is dead. Nothing is selling well on it aside from the Pokemon Ultra games. Even Detective Pikachu came and went with low sales. Switch has taken over and that's where the game sales are happening now for Nintendo.

WarioWare Gold did come out at the very end of the month. It might be the number 1 3DS title in August.

TalkBack / 21 Minutes of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
« on: June 18, 2018, 11:46:52 AM »

Check out some matches of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate played by the NWR crew.

Watch the off-screen Smash video below.

TalkBack / Team Sonic Racing Interview with Richard Acherki
« on: June 18, 2018, 04:31:23 AM »

We talked with the game's lead designer at E3.

There's a new Sonic racing game coming to Switch later this year and the new game has a strong focus on working together with your teammates. Lead designer Richard Acherki tells us about the team mechanics, the development studio, and more. Watch the interview below.

TalkBack / Team Sonic Racing Gameplay
« on: June 12, 2018, 10:58:54 AM »

Cars aren't alive (in this universe) so he's still the fastest thing alive.

Gameplay from the PS4 version of Sonic's latest racing experience.

TalkBack / New Crash Bandicoot Level "Future Tense" Debuts at E3
« on: June 11, 2018, 10:30:00 AM »

Crash Bandicoot gets a bit more N. Sane with a brand-new level.

Activision brought a brand-new Crash Bandicoot level for its N. Sane Trilogy to E3. The N. Sane Trilogy is slated for a Switch release on June 29.

Check out gameplay and more E3 news on Nintendo World Report TV.

I'm very excited for this series of games. M2 always does a killer job with emulation and is super respectful of the source material. I'm hoping they bring Outrunners or Golden Axe: Revenge of Death Adder to Switch.

TalkBack / Re: Double Cross Emerges From The Rift In Summer
« on: April 03, 2018, 09:37:03 AM »
I added some off-screen video to the article. Aaron recorded it at GDC.

TalkBack / Toki Tori 2+ (Switch) Review
« on: March 22, 2018, 05:31:40 AM »

Don’t let the cute veneer fool you, this puzzle game can be quite difficult.

It's been almost 5 years since Toki Tori 2 debuted on the Wii U (Click here for Guillaume Veillette’s original review). The '+' version now available on Switch has seen numerous enhancements that help make the at times difficult adventure a little bit easier. If you are up for the challenge, Toki Tori 2+ is a platforming journey worth experiencing.

The games titular star, Toki Tori is a cute yellow puffball that has an unusual move set for a baby chick. Along with waddling about the game's 2D world, Toki Tori has two special actions in his arsenal; whistling short little tunes and performing a butt stomp. While your moves are limited, the game does an impressive job of setting up varied puzzle scenarios.

The puzzle diversity depends on the creatures and obstacles surrounding Toki Tori. For some creatures, a butt stomp will simply change the direction they're facing while others like the lizard will go into a blind rage and impale Toki Tori with their horns. As you progress further, the puzzles can become somewhat obtuse, but there's always logic behind the madness on-screen.

The game is filled with checkpoints, which often dictate the beginning or end of a puzzle. Toki Tori's whistle move is often used to alert nearby creatures to your presence and move them about the play field. However, a specific combination of notes can also trigger special songs that help you on your quest. The song system is very similar to the one found in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. One important song allows you to restart a puzzle by returning to the last checkpoint passed.

Toki Tori 2 can very easily frustrate you. I got stuck on a number of puzzles during my play through. While it's never fun to have your progress halted for a long period of time, it's always extremely satisfying when you finally solve a puzzle (Note: Slightly less satisfying when you Google the solution, but the goal of the game is not to lose your sanity).

The development team at Two Tribes has continued to introduce new tweaks to each re-release of the game. Along with bug fixes and minor changes to the gameplay, players have a new song which allows them to place a checkpoint wherever they wish. The Switch version also includes HD rumble, an in-game achievement system, and video capture support. In addition, the game runs at a smooth 60fps and features a 1080p resolution in docked mode and is 720p when playing handheld.

I've always loved a good puzzle platformer.  Toki Tori 2+ follows the mold set by great efforts of the genre such as Braid and The Lost Vikings. Unlike the frequent changes George Lucas made to the original Star Wars trilogy, it's commendable that Two Tribes has listened to criticism and continued to implement improvements. Anyone who enjoys a challenge and likes games where you can temporarily travel in bubbles should give Toki Tori 2+ a look.

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