While the Famicom saw release in the middle of 1983, most of North America wouldn't see the NES until sometime in 1986. There's actually a good few games that came out before the NES landed that never really got localized, such as Challenger, Chack'n Pop, and Antarctic Adventure. Being on the wrong side of The Legend of Zelda's and Metroid's releases, most are cyclical arcade jaunts, but some are still worthwhile places to visit.
On this Famicom Friday, we'll be taking a look at one of these primordial games that would go on to spawn its own franchise. Perhaps not a series as landmark as Ganbare Goemon, but one that has a place in gaming's history. Japanese gaming history, anyway, we didn't get too many of them over on this side of the pond.
It took me a bit, but after the urging of many Destructoid readers, I finally checked out the If Outriders demo.
It's better than I thought it would be!
Combat is a central feature to many games. We're not very good at depicting conflict resolution in an interactive way unless it involves swinging a sword or firing a gun. A debate is difficult to simulate, but ballistics are not.
Recently, there's been some effort spent at coming up with other ways to have the player solve their problems without resorting to violence. Many games are eschewing combat entirely or giving you more options about just what kind of monster you want to be. It's refreshing, since we've kind of been stuck on this one note for action games since the '80s.
I'm going to say right off the bat that Everhood is perhaps my favourite depiction of not-quite-fighting that I've encountered in a long time. It contains all the excitement of a good dust-up but without any real blows being exchanged. It's just too bad it also finds new and innovative ways to frustrate me.
Content Warning: This game, and thus the review, contains depictions and descriptions of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
Having been Kickstarted in 2014, Omori seems to have gone under many people's radar, myself included. While at a glance, it may be easy to write this off as something chasing the popularity of Undertale. But that does this game an incredible disservice. Sure, plenty of similarities exist, and I do think that fans of Undertale will enjoy Omori, but man is Omori in its own category here, for better or worse.
It's crazy to think that it's been nearly five years since The Climb!
That's about how long mainstream VR tech has been out, and thankfully, a handful of plucky studios are still plugging away at VR games. I mean, it's a niche at this point, but I'm thankful.
The Climb was a really fun effort from Crytek to help cement why VR gaming has a place in the industry. It offered a unique perspective on a harrowing activity, and used the VR medium to juice up the atmosphere on an already-firm climbing game foundation.
The Climb 2 builds further on that, and adds my most-requested feature into the mix: city maps.
Taxi Chaos is, for all intents and purposes, the spiritual successor to Sega's Crazy Taxi. It features convertible cabs driving around a city, picking up fares, and dropping them off as quickly and stylishly as possible. There's even the arrow at the top of the screen that guides players to their destinations. But like a lot of "spiritual successors," it comes nowhere near measuring up to its predecessor.
[Update: People Can Fly has applied a second update to the Outriders demo in response to complaints about the first. As noted by Eurogamer, the Gauss boss chest will have a chance of dropping Legendary items once again. Ledge gear will remain absent from other chests.]
A lot of people have been enjoying the demo for People Can Fly's team-shooter Outriders, with an amazing two million players logging in to battle over the wastelands of the planet Enoch over, and over, and over again.
In fact, people have replayed the demo so many times, that they're starting to build up a worryingly powerful arsenal of weaponry - so much so that the developer is stepping in to alter the ease with which mercs can bag this devastating firepower. The concern is that this intense method of "farming" top level gear and weaponry will leave players absolutely loaded-for-bear once the main game finally hits, and will see them endlessly cream the opposition throughout the main campaign.
Speaking in an official Reddit post, People Can Fly noted that it is well in the player's right to play the demo as often as they want, bagging whatever goodies they can along the way, but that this might serve to hamper their enjoyment of the main game, which will allow players to carry over their inventory and levels from the demo edition.
The new update - which goes live in the Outriders demo today - will remove all chance of finding Legendary gear in chests, shops, and vendors, though they will remain as rewards for completing side-quests, or as exceptionally lucky drops from defeated enemies. People Can Fly hopes that this will reduce the chance of the entire community rocking up to Outriders akin to Schwarzenegger tooling up on the beach in Commando.
Outriders launches April 1 on PS4, PS5, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and Stadia. Stay tuned, as our own Chris Carter's thoughts on the demo should be hitting Destructoid today.
Let me paint a picture for you of a quiet Sunday afternoon. I was in my living room playing with my Ripley figure as she explored a deserted town alongside Wolverine, a Stormtrooper, and Batman. Suddenly, we were attacked by a football player, Joker, a green army soldier, and Cable. It was a dramatic battle as everyone darted in and out of buildings, performed reckless jumps, and found perfect hiding spots to ambush their opponents. When the dust had settled and the fight was over, the Stormtrooper was dead, but so was everyone who'd attacked my group. The only thing those of us who remained could do was mourn the loss of our comrade and press on.
Now, what did I just describe: a game of Fortnite or me as a 10-year-old playing with my big collection of action figures?
Cblogs of 2/27 to 3/5/2021
Keeping on its current run of forgotten Jaleco titles, the retro fans over at Hamster have released the latest entry in its record-breaking Arcade Archives range. Available to download now on PS4 and Nintendo Switch is '80s fantasy platform adventure Legend of Makai.
Developed by NMK and released in Japanese arcades in 1988, Legend of Makai is a surprisingly ambitious release that is more in keeping with an early RPG, rather than a typical arcade platformer. The player steps into the role of a young warrior on a non-descript quest to rescue a non-descript princess from a non-descript evil wizard.
Check out the action in the video below, courtesy of YouTuber Dangorou Nishida.
It's been nearly two years since Bandai Namco first announced Tales of Arise, and it looks like we're getting closer than ever to seeing it hit store shelves. Today, the publisher dropped a new trailer for the game that ends with a promise of more information on the title later this spring.
Tales of Arise was first revealed in 2019 with a vague 2020 release date. Then COVID-19 happened, and the game was pushed out of its release window last summer. In December, we got word development on the title was nearing its end. With more news on it coming in the next few weeks, hopefully fans won't have to wait too much longer to get their hands on it.
Do you ever go trawling through Steam's Upcoming section looking for anything that stands out?
It can feel like a game in and of itself to find gems buried beneath the mountains of similar genres, art styles, and mechanics. But while I can be pretty picky when it comes to console games, on PC, where demos are much more widespread, I'm a bit more open-minded about what qualifies as "good enough."
Whereas I might want a second, third, or fourth opinion before trying a random game on the Switch eShop, when it comes to Steam, I'll dive right in, no questions asked – my library is already a mess.
Last night, that mindset led me to Ecosystem, an oceanic life simulation game about to hit Early Access on March 16. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for these sorts of casual sit-back-and-watch-the-chaos sims.
Ecosystem lets players drift through the ocean, spending largely passively-earned points to plop down a multitude of plant species and freaky creatures – I hesitate to call them "fish" – that will then spread.
You've got a fair amount of insight into which plants are suited for which type of terrain (which you can "paint" and mold to your liking), and initially, I just got a kick out of seeing new gardens pop up. It was relaxing to chill out and glide through the water after not being able to visit the coast at all last year.
Then I added a bunch of plant and animal life without paying attention. And then I lost control.
According to designer Tom Johnson, "Ecosystem isn't just a video game version of the laws of ecology with pre-made fish models. The simulation actually determines the creatures in the game: their bodies, how they swim, and how they think and behave. [...] To swim, creatures don't just play an animation. They move like real sea-life, applying torque at their joints to push against the water in a way coordinated to propel themselves forward." The results of these rules are, in a word, unsettling.
45 minutes into my simulation, I had created monsters the likes of which you'd typically see in a Twitter thread highlighting the cursed exploits of a deep-sea fisherman whose camera should be confiscated.
Please enjoy the miracle of life in my ecosystem while listening to this rendition of "Dire, Dire Docks."
I should've known the urchins would get out of hand. Greedy bastards.
Realistically, I'm not planning to get the full version, but I'm glad I checked out the demo. Someone will surely get a kick out of Ecosystem for its evolutionary systems, but for me, more than anything, its appeal is as a virtual aquarium – something I can peek at while it's left running on a second screen.
One of the most pleasing announcements from this week's New Game Expo Plus (NGPX) presentation was the confirmation that gorgeous pixel action series Azure Striker Gunvolt will be making its return next. Currently in development at Inti Creates, Azure Striker Gunvolt 3 will come exploding onto Nintendo Switch at some point in 2022.
A sequel to Nintendo 3DS releases Azure Striker Gunvolt (2014) and Azure Striker Gunvolt 2 (2016), the new title will bring a new slew of hyper-kinetic characters and missions, with series director Yoshihisa Tsuda teaming up with both LEVEL 5 supervisor Keiji Inafune and Bloodstained: Curse of the Moon director Hiroki Miyazawa to create an action-intensive, dramatic, and pulse-pounding new sequel.
You can check out the announcement video below, along with a few clips of a demo build in action. It's looking pretty darn slick.
Incredibly, we've already hit March, pushing into the second quarter of 2021. It's been a... difficult 12 months, I think we can agree. I so believe that positive change is on the horizon for all of us. We're far from out of the woods, and there is still much to be done. But we will persevere, adapt, and repair. We're strong like that, and we have ourselves, our friends, and each other to rely upon. So be sure to face the new month and whatever it brings with your best because, honestly, you've done just fucking great so far. I'm proud of all y'all.
I haven't had a whole lot of time or drive for gaming this past week due to a combination of busyness and dizziness. I'm hoping to turn that around this weekend, perhaps finally Pressing Start on Square Enix' Final Fantasy VII Remake, (taking advantage of PlayStation Plus' generous March offerings). The original FFVII was, for me and many other video game fans, something of a rite of passage, and as such I'm really excited to encounter the modern iteration of its memorable locations and characters. Mostly, I can't wait to hang with Aerith again.
But that's enough about me, let's hear all about you. I hope you've had a fine week and that you're finding plenty of gaming fun during this quiet release period. Every week it's my pleasure to read your comments, which always contain a wide variety of releases old and new - a testament to the community's eclectic taste. You know how this works by now, so hop into the comments and fill us in on the titles you're enjoying this mad March month.
Have a safe and pleasant weekend, from all of us at Destructoid.
It's not the first time, and it likely won't be the last, but Eugen Systems' intimidating strategy game Wargame: Red Dragon is free to keep on PC. Slide into the Epic Games Store by March 11 and it's yours.
If you've got Red Dragon – the other Red Dragon – on your mind, think less "deranged man gobbles up a work of art" and more "deranged man convincingly fakes his death in a big-brained house-fire ploy."
Case in point, I searched for a guide to get a better feel for Wargame: Red Dragon, and the first thing that popped up – seemingly the only thing that even needs to pop up – was this "200-page guide" on Steam with a five-star rating from a couple thousand people who had some time to dig in and soak.
It is absolutely nothing like StarCraft or C&C. If you play it like you play other RTS games, you will get your ass kicked. If you are new to Wargame, it is best to approach it like a new experience, and not to rely on the lessons learned in other games. Eugen takes the "Wargame" moniker quite seriously, and this game more closely resembles a fast-paced tabletop wargame than most video game RTSes. The name Red Dragon comes from one faction of the game (collectively referred to as "REDFOR") and Dragon because...dragons are...neat, I guess?
You're doing good work, SandyGunfox. This game is certifiably hobby-grade.
The Epic Store's free game for March 11–18, Surviving Mars, is more my speed. It's another repeat, though I imagine plenty of people missed the 2019 giveaway and would like another chance to build a (probably doomed) colony while many of us are in a stay-home-and-escape-with-city-builders mood.
This narrated gameplay video for Hoa, a chill-out-in-nature platformer adventure, is soothing beyond words. It's the brain-massaging tranquility I needed to cap off the week. It's seven minutes well-spent. You know that feeling you get when you think about HOAs as, like, a concept? Think the exact opposite.
You might recognize Hoa from the Nintendo Indie World presentation late last year, but if not, no worries – art director and Skrollcat Studio co-founder Son Tra is here to calmly bring us up to speed.
Not that much actually happens on-screen in this early portion of the game – it's a lot of bopping around from leaf to leaf – but the lush forest backgrounds, the big-eyed insect companions, and the sweeping soundtrack sure paint a charming picture. Things don't always have to be complex when coziness will more than suffice. I can see this clicking with families and younger players, especially.
Idea Factory International has announced that its remake of a remake Neptunia ReVerse will be launching in the west this summer, with the PS5 JRPG hitting North America on June 8, with Europe following a few days later on June 11. The release date was announced as part of yesterday's New Game Expo Plus (NGPX) presentation.
Already available on the next-gen Sony platform in its native Japan, Neptunia ReVerse is the "definitive edition" of the 2018 PS Vita release Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 Plus, which itself is a remake of the original Hyperdimension Neptunia, which launched on PS3 back in 2010. Confused? Well, that's the Nep-Nep way, chum.
I don't tend to keep up with Sony's monthly most-downloaded-games lists for the PlayStation Store, but a few months after the PlayStation 5 launch seems like a good time to check in. What are people actually playing? As someone who has bought only a few PS5 games so far, I was curious to find out.
February 2021's most-downloaded list has a few surprises, though the top-tier is what you'd expect.
US / Canada
1. FIFA 21
2. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
3. Marvel's Spider-Man: Miles Morales
4. Madden NFL 21
5. NBA 2K21
6. Assassin's Creed Valhalla
7. Mortal Kombat 11
8. Hitman 3
9. Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege
10. Demon's Souls
11. Nioh 2 Remastered – The Complete Edition
12. Immortals Fenyx Rising
13. Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood
14. Borderlands 3
16. Sackboy: A Big Adventure
17. No Man's Sky
18. Watch Dogs: Legion
19. Dirt 5
20. Dead by Daylight: Special Edition
Worth noting: "upgrades" aren't counted here. And it's interesting to weigh the PS5 list against the PS4 list – the latter is topped by Grand Theft Auto V, which bodes (scarily) well for Rockstar's "expanded and enhanced" PS5 edition, whenever that finally hits. Eight years later, this train doesn't stop.
I am surprised to see Werewolf: The Apocalypse – Earthblood and Godfall show up. Neither of them fared well critically speaking, but it's still early enough, with too few options, that they can stand out.
For those of us with PlayStation Plus subscriptions, on-the-house games like Bugsnax, Worms Rumble, Maneater, Control: Ultimate Edition, Destruction AllStars, and now Maquette are probably taking up most of the spots in our PS5 libraries. I think the last game I outright bought was Borderlands 3? And before that, it was just Demon's Souls and Miles Morales – a new console "starter pack" if I ever saw one.
Admittedly, after that initial rush, most of my time on PS5 has gone toward, well, PS4 games: overlooked bangers I missed the first time around that were bundled up in the PS Plus Collection, deeply-discounted titles, and old favorites that can't help but resurface to make a mess of my backlog. I'm trying to find the right time (and the right discount) for Sackboy and Hitman 3. Otherwise, that's it.
For anyone out there fighting to get a PS5 order placed, that's one snapshot of what you're missing.
Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn has been killing it for nearly eight years straight. The "Realm Reborn" bit of the moniker was a battle cry, as Square Enix truly allowed this game to be rebuilt from the ground up and live on for many years. It's become a case study and a strategy for many games after it. If your game fails, you can potentially invest in the "Realm Reborn treatment."
But XIV is at the point where it can really stretch its legs and enjoy that success. Which is why they've tried so many different things over the years, including interesting anime ad campaigns. But this new series is definitely aimed at a more western audience, as it hearkens back to those old World of Warcraft commercials that transposed the game into real-life situations.
This trio deals with three jobs: Dark Knight, Black Mage, and Dragoon. The gist is simple, as it tries to sell folks on Final Fantasy XIV using everyday situations like going to the gym, watching TV at home, or picking up a subscription box.
The writing is kind of stale, but they're totally worth the minute or so just to see the elaborate real-life renditions of the in-game jobs. Or you can just admire them in the thumbnails below. The costumes are great!
Indie outfit PixelHive has released a new trailer for its '90s-syle platformer Kaze and the Wild Masks, which will come bounding onto PS4, PC, Xbox One, Stadia, and Nintendo Switch on March 26.
The animated preview tells a wordless tale of Kaze's quest, as the brave bunny battles her way through The Crystal Islands of a journey to rescue the soul of her friend Hogo from a malicious curse that is smothering the landscape. In order to combat an army of killer vegetables and traverse numerous perils and hazards, Kaze will call upon the power of several mythic masks, which will imbue her with the powers of animals such as tigers, hawks, reptiles, and sharks. Altered Beast would be very proud indeed.
Just recently the Fallout 76 playerbase was collectively amped up to try out some upcoming new changes in the public test server (PTS), but Bethesda put a little damper on that with an update this week.
Here's the full rundown: "We know that some in the community have been eagerly waiting to get hands-on playtesting time with our next Fallout 76 update in the Public Test Server, and we can't wait for you to dive in, either. We still need some more time to make sure everything is fully implemented, but we're getting much closer."
Bethesda says that the goal is to open up the PTS again in "mid-March," at which point we'll be able to try out long-awaited features like Daily Ops upgrades, more CAMP slots, and extra SPECIAL loadouts. In short, it's a ton of quality of life features that should make adventuring that much easier.
The reason for this delay is multifaceted, due to the nature of the world this last year, but the "icy curveball" in regards to the weather in Austin, Texas in February was brought up by name. Given that waiting for crucial updates for Fallout 76 is a community staple at this point, I think a little more time is something everyone can deal with.
Inside the Vault [Bethesda.net]
For me, it's hard to believe Monolith Soft is even still around, but I'm glad it is.
Kicking off in 2002 with Xenosaga, the studio felt like a fever dream almost, but they expanded into several other franchises since then, and most notably, made a big name for themselves with Xenoblade Chronicles.
That game, which almost didn't see life outside of Japan, blossomed into a full franchise; almost like Xenosaga 2.0. I don't think they even knew how big it would get, hosting a sequel, an expansion, a remaster with new story content, and now, a Smash Ultimate appearance.
They're celebrating that last milestone this week, as the studio dropped a new "thank you" video showcasing Pyra and Mythra, of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 fame. It's a short little clip that has the duo accepting Smash invitations, with Pyra stating "I'm joining Super Smash Bros. today, I hope you support me," and Mythra exclaiming "I'm definitely not gonna lose."
She hopes we support her? Well, as an anime style character and a sword user, she's going to need that hope!
Nippon Ichi Software (NIS) has announced the launching of a new retro range. Prinny Presents NIS Classics will tag-up titles from the NIS archives for release on modern platforms. The first volume launches on PC and Nintendo Switch this summer and will feature Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle Remastered and Soul Nomad & The World Eaters. As for what Prinny themselves brings to the party... I'm not too sure.
Originally released on Sony PSP in 2010, Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle is itself a remastered edition of the 2004 PS2 release Phantom Brave. The story follows the adventures of a young orphan girl and her ghostly guardian as they strive to protect their beautiful world from the wrath of a returning demon. The Prinny Presents edition of Phantom Brave is expected to be the same release that arrived on Steam back in 2016.
When I got the chance to sit in with a few of the producers of Diablo II Resurrected, one of the first things that was asked was how the team was going to avoid the sins of Warcraft III Reforged. Much like the original Warcraft III, Diablo II has a huge legacy to uphold, so it was an important thing to get out of the way first.
Although they ducked the direct Reforged comparisons, they explained that this was not only going to be the same Diablo II, fundamentally, underneath the skin; but it was also not going to replace the original in any way. That's a huge deal, in the sense that the original game isn't getting overwritten or erased.
Going even further, the new re-release will evidently allow players to import their old save files. Yes, those old ones, the save files you likely abandoned years ago. Speaking to IGN Middle East, producer Matthew Cederquist confirms that they will work, and to "keep" your old saves.
Explaining the process, Cederquist says it was basically a fluke: "back when we were working on [Resurrected], we wondered if the old save files would work and we kind of shoved it in and it worked! And we were like, 'okay, that's the best feature ever."
It...kind of is? So far so good, at least. This seems like the polar opposite of how Reforged was handled, and hopefully it'll launch when it's ready. With a multiplayer stress test alpha on the way sometime this year, things are looking up in terms of them getting a handle on login issues early.
What It Takes to Remaster a Cult Classic Like Diablo II [IGN Middle East]
The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) has committed $1 million to a partnership with the Black Girls CODE initiative, a mentoring program which offers education, support, and tuition for Black girls and young women with an interest in computer sciences and technology.
Via its scholarship arm, The ESA Foundation, this new collaboration will see The ESA support Black Girls CODE on its mission to teach coding and other skills to over a million students by the year 2040. The capital will be used for the funding of workshops, investment in volunteer work, and to purchases resources used for training and educational purposes.
"We are excited to work with the ESA Foundation and video game industry on increasing access and opportunities for girls and young women interested in exploring technology as educational and career options," said BGC of the partnership. "By cultivating the next generation of developers, we hope to grow the number of women of color in the technology sector who will ultimately become the future leaders in this space."
Initially based out of the tech hub of San Francisco, the Black Girls CODE initiative hopes to utilize its ESA collaboration to expand into other major cities such as New York, Washington D.C., Houston, and Los Angeles. BGC's ultimate goal is to shrink "the digital divide": the gap between those who have regular and convenient access to modern technology, tech education, and resources, and those who do not. The BGC offers Black girls and young women the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skills, and support needed in order to find roles and career paths within the computing industry.
For more information on the Black Girls CODE venture - along with its goals, programs, events, and fundraisers - check out the group's official website.
If you count both variants (a la Sheik and Zelda), Smash Ultimate just got two more sword users with the addition of Pyra and Mythra.
This is following several other sword users across both Fighters Passes, including the most recent addition of Sephiroth. So what gives? Well, series father Masahiro Sakurai says that you can't blame him!
Speaking to Washa Live (via Nintendo Everything) this week, Sakurai had a few brief things to say on Smash Ultimate's DLC choices, but also had their hands tied a bit by how much they could elaborate on. When asked why there are so many sword fighters (a question he gets often), Sakurai explains, amid laughter: "Like it or not, it's not up to me whether another sword fighter goes in the game."
When pressed again, saying that the playerbase often groans when another sword user is announced, Sakurai follows up, noting: "Well even if it is another sword fighter, it will be fine as long as we balance them properly." He also states that sword fighters are "easy to implement," especially compared to insanely intricate characters like Steve.
But outside of that quick rundown, Sakurai says he can't really expand outside of that, and that if he "goes a little further, [he] will get something from Nintendo." An earful, it sounds like! Sakurai is very careful in what he says in situations like this, but he's made it clear on several occasions that he isn't in charge of who is picked.
Developer Crystal Dynamics and publisher Square Enix have announced a new update for their comic-book epic Marvel's Avengers. Dropping on March 18, the new patch will decelerate the amount of XP delivered to the player, slowing down the progression of each individual character and making it a tad longer to assemble Avengers.
In a statement on its official blog, Crystal Dynamics stated that the reason behind this move was to prevent players from being overrun with skill points and attributes early into a character's build. By slowing down the leveling process, players will be given the opportunity to explore a hero's skills and abilities at a more relaxed pace, rather than bum-rushing them with, hypothetically, a choice of six new moves after a single boss fight.
"In most RPGs, the amount of XP you need to level up increases as you gain levels in a curve, but our system is a straight line. This has led to pacing issues, such as skill points currently being rewarded too fast, which may be confusing and overwhelming to newer players. We want each decision to invest in a skill or Heroic to be more meaningful".
For several years, Pokemon Go existed in this sort of phantom zone; where it didn't really connect with any mainline games at all.
The Pokemon Company was clearly trying to gauge whether or not it was a hit and worth the effort to bring into the family proper, and when it really took off, they did just that. Pokemon Go started to get crossovers with recognizable stuff like Team Rocket, and it eventually could be connected to proper Pokemon titles for transferring.
But it was generally a one way street, as Pokemon Go didn't directly impact the series as a whole. That changes with this newly announced collaboration, which sees the original Go character of Professor Willow making his way into the trading card game. They'll debut in the "summer" of this year, in part due to the 25th anniversary of the series, as well as the fifth anniversary of Go.
It might not sound like a big deal if you fell off Go, but it's a huge moment for developer Niantic, as they've made their mark on the series at large.
One of the most pleasing announcements from yesterday's New Game Plus Expo (NGPX) presentation was the surprise news that retro-infused sci-fi actioner Blaster Master Zero is getting ready to blast off for one final chapter. Blaster Master Zero III is in development for PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch, and is scheduled to launch on July 29.
The third and final entry in the resurrected retro franchise will see protagonist Jason return to where it all began, the planet Sophia, in a last-ditch effort to save the life of Eve in the dramatic climax to the interstellar story. Once again piloting the sturdy and heavily armed G-SOPHIASV battle tank, Jason will face off against hordes of new enemies and boss characters in an adventure that will see our heroes not only cross the stars, but dimensions.
In addition to this second sequel, Inti Creates also announced that it is producing a compilation title, Blaster Master Zero Trilogy: MetaFight Chronicle. This release will feature all three titles in the Blaster Master Zero franchise, along with all previously released DLC. As a trilogy-exclusive feature, new voiceover work will be added to the first two titles in the series. It has not been made clear whether the trilogy release will be made available in the west, but is scheduled to launch in Japan alongside Blaster Master Zero III.
Miriam has sure been getting around lately. Fresh off of her recent jaunt to Blasphemous' grim world of Cvstodia, the Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night hero is preparing to bring her hack 'n' slash ways to the arenas of Forthright Entertainment's recently released brawler, Mighty Fight Federation.
As revealed during yesterday's New Game Expo Plus (NGPX) presentation, Miriam will arrive in-game this spring, joining a list of VIPs who have made guest appearances in the fighting title, including retro hip-hop heroes Toe Jam & Earl and platforming buddies Yooka-Laylee. According to developer Komi Games, Miriam will have one of the largest movesets in MFF to date, combining her mastery of multiple weapons with her cursed Shardbinder abilities. Bloodstained designer Koji Igarashi was on hand to ensure the authenticity of Miriam's inclusion.
While no in-game action has been made available, a short video shows off our gal's new character model and animations. She's lookin' cool, that's for sure. Hopefully, more developers will come to realize how you can immediately improve your game and optics by adding a solid dose of Miriam, and I won't rest until the Shardbinder is available in Super Smash Bros., Tekken, Puyo Puyo Tetris 2, and Madden.
In today's contest you can win a physical Switch copy of Creaks, brand new from Super Rare Games!
If you're a fan of titles such as Machinarium and Samorost, you're in luck! Super Rare Games just partnered with developer Amanita Design to release their latest charming indie puzzler Creaks in physical format! There's nothing quite like moving a game from a digital shelf to a physical one, so get your hands on this one before it's completely gone.
The Eternal Cylinder is a bottom-of-the-food-chain alien survival adventure from Ace Team, the creator of Zeno Clash and Rock of Ages, and my god does every square inch of this game look next-level weird.
Your fleshy Trebhum protagonists can mutate to have webbed toes, a third eye, a balloon body, and grasshopper legs, to name a few of the "50-plus" possibilities. Eat, mutate, survive – that's the drill.
The premise, including the "gargantuan rolling structure of ancient origin which crushes everything in its path" and is looming too close for comfort, reminds me of something I'd hear about twenty years later in a list of obscure, experimental, overlooked games we all missed – except it's here in 2021. It's not that often I see a game that's so wholly out-there with this sort of production quality. It's a nice sight!
There's a savanna, tundra, desert, and ah yes, this biome.
I just haven't had the time to dig into the squish-or-be-squished ecosystem, so this "first ten minutes" preview is much appreciated. I have a feeling The Eternal Cylinder will scratch my Ancestors itch.
The beta runs until March 25, and the final release is coming later this year on PC and consoles.
First Anthem, now Artifact – who else has a hard-to-justify game revival that needs to be scrapped?
In an ominously-titled "The Future of Artifact" post, Valve shared the news that Artifact, a collectible card game based on Dota 2 that didn't draw in enough players, won't get more "gameplay updates."
The team wrote that "while we're reasonably satisfied we accomplished most of our game-side goals, we haven't managed to get the active player numbers to a level that justifies further development at this time. As such, we've made the tough decision to stop development on the Artifact 2.0 Beta."
Where does that leave the game and its players? And what about the promised overhaul?
The original edition, Artifact Classic, will be capital-f Free, not just "free-to-play." As Valve puts it, "all players get every card," you can't buy card packs or paid event tickets, and "paid players' existing cards" will be "converted into special Collector's Edition versions, which will remain marketable."
The work-in-progress Artifact 2.0 Beta, which now goes by Artifact Foundry, is also free – you earn cards through gameplay. It's not finished, but "most of what's missing is polish and art," not features.
"Artifact Foundry gameplay gives more direct agency – almost all random elements aside from a shuffled deck have been removed – and the gameplay is more focused on heroes, which have been given a significantly more powerful role," according to Valve. "In addition to heroes, almost every card in the game has been reworked at least somewhat to be somewhat more impactful, fun, and easier to focus on. Over 100 new cards and 20 new heroes have been introduced in Artifact Foundry."
As someone who hasn't played Artifact and likely never will, the "final release" changes aren't a call to action. That said, I'm glad the 2.0 work wasn't outright abandoned. Something is better than nothing.
This feels like a rip-off-the-bandage moment for Valve.
Nippon Ichi Software has released a new trailer for its interesting looking murder mystery title Tantei Bokumetsu, which is currently in development for PS4 and Nintendo Switch. The developer/publisher also released new details regarding the quirky-looking title's gameplay.
As a quick refresher, Tantei Bokumetsu sees the greatest detectives in the world forced together to ascertain the identity of a psychopathic killer known as "Yatzuzakikou," who has racked up a killstreak of over 100 brutal murders. These master sleuths - collectively known as "The Detective Alliance" hope to combine their respective skills to unmask the killer... but little do they know that THE KILLER IS IN THE BUILDING WITH THEM AND THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE AND IT'S HIM DRESSED AS HIS MUM.
Limited Run Games has another test for us – a test to see who can stay on-budget this month.
If you skipped the digital Nintendo Switch versions of No More Heroes and No More Heroes 2 back in October 2020, or it's been long enough that you'd be okay with spending more on this series, Limited Run would like a word this month. Pre-orders are opening on March 12 at 10:00 am Eastern for physical Switch copies of both games, and there are fancy collector's editions, too. Pre-orders close on April 11.
The real reason we're here, though, is the collector's editions. These are $70 each (or $140 together with a Santa Destroy flag), which is a lot, but they look fantastic. And they line up just so on a shelf.
I kinda just want those big boxes for that spine art, if I'm being honest.
Reminder for those who need it: the digital editions on the eShop are $20 a pop at full price.
One of gaming's most recent success stories is that of open-world crafting adventure Valheim. Despite existing within an undeniably overcrowded market, Iron Gate Studios' viking themed sandbox title has won over a huge conglomerate of fans, all of whom have journeyed to Valheim to carve out a home and habitat for themselves, borne against the backdrop of Nordic lore.
The Swedish developer has announced that over five million players have logged into the title since it released on Steam Early Access a mere month ago. This community, enough to fill many a longboat, have reportedly been active in Valheim for a combined 15,000 years, have watched over 35 million hours of in-game footage on Twitch, and have solidified the title as the 39th "Best Reviewed" game in Steam history.
After a few weeks of playing Stardew Valley 1.5 on Nintendo Switch, I'm at the point – 60-some hours into the game, and a bit into Year 3 – where I'm prioritizing Ginger Island now that I'm cool with most of the villagers and the Community Center and Movie Theater quests are wrapped up. Ginger Island is a huge time-sink with lots to do everywhere I look. There's just one problem: the ground is blue!
One of the known issues with Stardew version 1.5 on Switch is that in certain areas – namely, the northern part of Ginger Island near the Volcano Dungeon – there's a "blue floor bug." It doesn't affect the whole map, of course, but it's pretty distracting. There's also an issue with the zoom-out options, though I haven't seen it yet as someone who now exclusively plays in split-screen co-op.
Both of these bugs were fixed today in an update, according to Stardew creator ConcernedApe. I booted up the game this morning to take a look and had to resist playing "just one more day."
Here's what the blue floor bug looked like before, near the Volcano Dungeon entrance:
And here's what that it looks like after updating Stardew Valley to Ver. 126.96.36.199:
It's a jarring comparison!
The only other gripe I've had with Stardew on Switch is that there's stuttering in split-screen. The stutters are short – and only really cause problems if you're fighting enemies or fishing, if at all – but they can be prevalent day-to-day. We've gotten used to them, but not everyone will be able to adjust.
Now, if I could just scrounge up more Golden Walnuts...
Today sees Sega release its third and final free content update for its colorful and extremely compelling puzzler Puyo Puyo Tetris 2. Available now on PlayStation and Xbox platforms, as well as Nintendo Switch, the crossover block-buster will also drop in on PC March 23.
The new update adds four more playable characters to the Puyo Puyo Tetris 2 roster. These include warbling angel Harpy, young warrior Ragnus the Brave, dramatic knight Legamunt, and finally the charming sorceress Rozatte. Alongside these new characters, four more tracks have been added to the game's score, including a remix of "Escape from the City" from Sonic Generations, in keeping with the blue blur's recent roster addition.
In what is becoming a biweekly event, there are now new physical My Nintendo rewards available.
Following the recent Bravely Default II reversible poster, Nintendo just dumped three new physical Pokemon rewards into the mix: a set of four ball point pens (with the three Pokemon Sword and Shield starters, as well as Pikachu), a Pokemon Sword and Shield memo pad, and a Pokemon Sword and Shield sticker set. You can grab them for 500, 400, and 500 Platinum Points each respectively.
The pens come in a 6"x3" package for reference, and the note pad is 6"x4"x1/8". The sticker set includes "two sheets featuring Grookey, Scorbunny, and Sobble," and clocks in at 11"x7". Stationary is becoming quite the go-to for My Nintendo, as there's also an 800 point Mario & Luigi notebook available, as well as a Hyrule Warriors memo pad (which is a little bigger and 200 more platinum to compensate).
While stationary generally stays in stock for a while, by and large it does disappear over time. My guess is the extreme popularity of Pokemon could result in at least the pens selling out relatively soon.
If you need some quick points, remember to check out our guide!
Rewards [My Nintendo]
Square Enix has announced that its recently released NieR Re[in]carnation has already been downloaded 10 million times. This already extraordinary figure made all the more incredible by the fact the mobile spin-off has been on the market for just two weeks.
Launching in Japan on iOS and Android February 18, NieR Re[in]carnation is a standalone tale of an amnesiac child, "White Girl," who must pick her way through a serene-but-stark environment known as "The Cage." Guided by the adorable ghostly presence "Mama," White Girl must explore the lonely environment to seek the truth of her existence, her steps dogged by a sinister and shadowy being.
We're seeing a resurgence of farming sims, as indie developers chase the success of Stardew Valley and extend the life of the genre beyond Story of Seasons.
Littlewood recently came out on Switch, and now, we have confirmation of another farming-centric adventure coming to the same system: Coral Island. The team recently smashed all of their Kickstarter goals and snagged a cool $1.6 million in funding, and are aiming for a late 2022 release, with a 2021 Early Access build target.
The gist, according to developer Stairway Games, is to "reimagine" the farming sim genre, but also take notes from the classics. You'll be able to "grow crops, nurture animals, and befriend the islanders" while staving off a greedy company (like Stardew). The inaugural trailer also gives us hints of how farming will work, including the Stardew-esque sprinkler system layout.
There will be 16 romanceable characters (a child mechanic is teased), as well as 16 townsfolk, and the ability to build your own farm, tending to seasonal crops. The "adventure" conceit comes in via diving, which you'll do to save the town and clean up the ocean, and there's a twist with support for skill trees as well.
You can find the full tentative schedule below!
Coral Island [Kickstarter]
A few years ago, The Silver Case and its sequel, The 25th Ward: The Silver Case, were given the HD remaster treatment on PC and PS4. For Western fans of Suda51, it gave us a look at some of his earlier work, the games he made before he had really established himself outside of Japan with titles like killer7 and No More Heroes. With the Switch as popular as it is, it was only a matter of time before both titles jumped over to Nintendo hardware.
Last month, both games hit the Switch in Japan as a compilation called The Silver Case 2425. If you've been wondering when those of us out west will be able to get our hands on it, it turns out the wait won't be too long. NIS America confirmed during today's New Game+ Expo stream that it is localizing the game this summer.
CI Games has announced an official launch date for its long-distance shooter Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2. Arriving on PS4, PC, and Xbox One June 4, the developer/publisher has also newly-announced next-gen editions will also launch day-and-date on PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Donning the laser-sighted eyeballs of master assassin "Raven," players will journey across a large, Middle-Eastern sandbox map, completing various objectives and giving a selection of hapless marks an extra hole in the dome. Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 prides itself on its authentic weaponry and long-distance engagements, ranging well over 1000 meters. Pin-point accuracy rewards those who take every element of the environment into account before squeezing the trigger.
You can check out a brand new gameplay trailer below. Pre-orders for Sniper: Ghost Warrior Contracts 2 are now live at selected retailers and include a bonus DLC bundle containing the Marcus Tactical light sniper rifle, the FFF-45 ACP Luring Pistol (for distraction purposes), and two exclusive weapon skins - because snipers are nothing if not renown for standing out against their hiding spots.
Following a few good first-party weeks for the Nintendo eShop, it's time for third-party studios to shine.
Apex Legends is a huge get for Nintendo, and is out on March 9 alongside of double XP from that same date through March 23, and 30 free Season 8 Battle Pass levels for Switch players. It's quite the incentive for people to jump in immediately. But Apex isn't the only game in town, as Sea of Solitude is also hopping in via the Director's Cut version, as well as Gnosia, which we'll have a review of very soon.
NIS America has announced that the localization of RPG sequel Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny will launch in North America and Europe on Nintendo Switch June 29. The announcement was made during today's edition of the New Game Plus Expo (NGPX)
NIS America also released an announcement video, (which you can check out below), spotlighting bonus characters Adell, Asagi, Rozalin, and a female variant of the mischievous demon, Laharl. These characters will be made available exclusively to players who pick up Disgaea 6 at launch. Although the anime adventure is already available for purchase on PS4 and Switch in Japan, a localization for the PS4 edition has not yet been confirmed.
Taito and Natsume announced this morning that the revitalized sequel to SNES classic KiKi KaiKai: Nazo no Kuro Mantle - known in the west as Pocky & Rocky - will launch on PS4 and Nintendo Switch this fall. The new adventure has been officially titled Pocky & Rocky Reshrined.
Developed by The Tengo Project, the team responsible for cool retro remasters Wild Guns: Reloaded and Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors, Pocky and Rocky Reshrined sees the shrine maiden and her tanuki pal return for a brand new adventure, utilizing a brand new engine and modern gaming technology while retaining the top-down, multi-directional shooter action and 16-bit audio/visual aesthetic of the original games.
Check out the previously released trailer below. What a delight! I can't wait!
Strangely, weirdly, annoyingly; several Mario games are going away at the end of the month.
Including one that's a free bonus for Switch Online subscribers! Of course, that doesn't include the Fire Emblem NES release on the eShop or the shutdown of online components for Mario Maker on Wii U, which are frequently left out of the conversation (I didn't forget you, guys).
But while folks are dealing with that impending doom in different ways, Nintendo is blindly ignoring the critics. In fact, they recently tweeted out a little infographic of just how many Mario games there were on the Switch, a marketing exercise that was supposed to make the system look good, but with one exception; they put two of the "going away to the vault" games on it!
Right there is Super Mario Bros. 35 as well as Super Mario 3D All-Stars, both of which are heading out, even at retail, for the latter. Fans have taken to "Thanos snapping" the games from existence ahead of time, with mockups like this tweet here.
Of course, Nintendo could have a change of heart after it squeezes every last sale from folks due to FOMO. And then they'd have their cake and eat it too, as they can frame it as "we listened to the fans." But in any case, it's a very strange, and very 2020-2021 move to even threaten to nuke them in the first place.
Super Mario 35th [Twitter]
There appears to be no end in sight for the debacle surrounding Lovecraft-inspired title The Sinking City. Following the mystery-horror's removal from Steam - triggered by a DMCA request by developer Frogwares - publisher Nacon has responded to accusations that it pirated a copy of the product from another store in order to re-sell on Valve's platform.
"Nacon hereby wishes to set the record straight regarding these unjustified accusations," said the French publisher. "Nacon is contractually the sole exclusive distributor of The Sinking City game on Steam. Nacon has contributed to the financing of development and the payment of royalties to Frogwares to the tune of 8.9 million euros to date (including the full payment for a version of the game for Steam), making the global investment far above 10 million euros when integrating the marketing costs. Contrary to Frogwares' allegations, Nacon has paid all amounts due".
Nacon goes on to address the issue of royalties, as well as Frogwares' decision to actively discourage sales of the recent Steam edition of The Sinking City.
"Despite this blocking situation created exclusively by Frogwares, Nacon has allowed players to access the game on Steam while still expressly indicating the ownership of Frogwares' rights to the game. Frogwares will also receive the royalties generated by Steam sales. By encouraging the gaming community via Twitter not to buy the game on Steam, Frogwares is once again sabotaging our investments in the game. Nacon obviously regrets this conflict, for which it is not responsible, and for which it did everything possible to avoid".
This latest statement is just another step forward in an increasingly combustible situation regarding numerous disputes as it pertains to the development, ownership, and sale of The Sinking City. As each party projects new statements and takes active steps toward laying claim to the psychological horror title, it seems ever more clear that the situation is once again headed toward legal proceedings - an option that Nacon hints at in its new statement.
"Nacon reserves the right to take legal action against Frogwares for its aggressive and prejudicial comments," closes the publisher. "Frogwares has been careful not to indicate that all court decisions in the dispute between Nacon and Frogwares have thus far been favorable to Nacon."
As of this writing, The Sinking City - as published by Frogwares - remains for sale on PS5, Nintendo Switch, and all non-Steam PC outlets. Meanwhile, the PS4 and Xbox One edition of The Sinking City - as published by Nacon - remains available for purchase on the respective PlayStation and Microsoft stores.
You better believe that I was racking up Mario missions so when the day came that they would come in handy: I would be ready.
That day did come after all, when Nintendo announced the second anniversary pin set. You also better believe that I was refreshing that mess of a rollout constantly, and eventually was able to place an order for one.
Behold, the fruits of my labor!
Continuing with the paid costume DLC tradition, Sakurai unveiled two new collaborations for Smash Ultimate, and surprise, it's Capcom at the helm again.
The costumes include Monster Hunter and Ghosts 'n Goblins crossovers, with Hunter Equipment (Swordfighter), Rathalos Equipment (Swordfighter), Felyne (hat), and Arthur (Swordfighter) DLC. Sakurai says that because of Monster Hunter Rise and the fact that you can fight Rathalos in-game, the costumes make sense for Smash. The same goes for the recent Switch Goblins game.
These costumes will release alongside of the Pyra/Mythra fighter(s) today and will clock in at $0.75 each.