Nintendo’s New Approach to New IPs

Over the years, Nintendo’s franchises have continued to grow, but many old games (F-Zero, Ice Climbers) may not see a new entry, and a few games (Code Name: S.T.E.A.M., Captain Rainbow) will likely never get a single sequel. There are a couple new strategies they’ve started using that are really elevating the new IPs right out of the gate.

Free Content

They don’t even call it DLC because it’s not optional. Updating new games instead of asking people to spend extra money on something new and unknown is such a smart move. You can purchase a game at launch knowing you’re getting the full experience… over time. There were a few things that should have been in Splatoon at launch (TEAMS!), but the map and weapon additions every Friday after the game came out that continued for months kept me going back. There’s no way I would have bought all the content in that game (as I tend to like certain weapon types), but giving them to me for free convinces me to try them out and dig deeper into the game. They’ve already confirmed that new fighters, stages, and arms will be available in ARMS following launch, so I know I’ll be throwing punches for a while.

Free content = Ongoing happiness

Tournaments

Splatoon was featured as part of the Nintendo World Championship and now both ARMS and Splatoon 2 have tournaments at E3 2017. This builds so much hype around their games and shows off the competitive side as well. Looking from the outside, ARMS and Splatoon appear to be casual games, and can totally be played as such, but for the gamers that want a deep and challenging experience, there’s no better way to show it off than on a big flashy stage.

Nintendo Directs

Having a Nintendo Direct specifically dedicated to a game has done WONDERS for Nintendo. For the day(s) from announcing the direct until the actual stream, I see Nintendo fans going wild with rumors and speculation of what the Big N has up their sleeve. Showing off new stages and modes plus announcing new characters in ARMS has reignited a spark for that game in a lot of people (myself included). There have been a ton of posts on social media about which fighter is someone’s favorite and planning which arm combos they’ll use with said character.

The possibility of more Reggie is never a bad thing.

Global Tests

Both Splatoons have had a Global Testfire and with ARMS set to have a Global Testpunch this weekend and the following weekend, it’s bound to get even more people interested and talking about the game. While it would be nice to have longer increments to check the game out, I think it’s smart to give people a taste with set times to play. It whets your appetite for the game just enough to sell it to you and makes you want to play the title right at launch to get back into it.

Here’s hoping to the success of ARMS and Splatoon 2. With all the hype that continues to build around them, I don’t see them going anywhere in the near future… but only time will tell.

How Should Nintendo Follow Up Breath of the Wild?

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been out for a month and a half now and I still haven’t beaten it. That’s because after 70 hours I’m intentionally not finishing it quite yet as I don’t want this amazing experience to end. Even now, before experiencing the end-game, I have to wonder: how in the world will Nintendo follow up this masterpiece?

Dungeons

The few main dungeons BotW does have are really good and unique, but their lack of themes that we’re used to combined with overall length of dungeons is something that could be improved upon. Majora’s Mask and Wind Waker both had fewer dungeons than your average Zelda, but thy had more character and intricacy. This is a common thing I’ve heard from fans, and I expect Nintendo to step up the dungeon game in Link’s next open-air outing.

Weapons

I love the wide variety of weapons available, but they don’t last quite long enough. I appreciate the fact that it forces you to use different weapons and switch up your playstyle, but if I find a really great weapon it’s always so hard for me to use it as I don’t want it to break. I hope weapons continue to break in future games as well, but once you leave the beginning area of the game the weapons should last much longer.

Items/Abilities

You get all of your key ways of traversing and puzzle solving before you leave the tutorial area this time around. Once again, Nintendo did the right thing for this game by giving all control over to the player. Next time traditional items such as the Grappling Hook, Mole Mits and Ball & Chain make could a return while still giving the player freedom. The way they could do this is color code the key items, and the entrance to certain dungeons and mini-dungeons that require certain items will be color coded (think colored doors in Metroid). The players can still explore how they want, but will have to leave areas for later once they collect the right items.

Nintendo has already said that Link will continue his adventures in an open-air Hyrule, so here’s hoping they can change up a few little things that will make a huge difference in the future. Until then I’ll have to finish Breath of the Wild… someday.

The Switch Doesn’t Have Hidden Fees

The Switch is not as expensive as most outlets are making it out to be. Far too many sites are claiming that the Switch has a ton of hidden fees and will end up costing you over $700 which is totally ludicrous and completely untrue.

The Switch is $299.99 (in the US). Period.

Just because the system is launching with a ton of add-ons and accessories does not mean the price of the system is increased. All of the extras are completely optional. Do you want a pro controller? Cool! Buy one! Don’t need an extra dock? Okay, don’t get it. It’s not a tacked on price that’s required by Nintendo that you purchase every available accessory at launch. Not to mention you can play 2-player games right out of the box at no additional cost thanks to the versatility of the Joy-Con.

An argument could be made that the system is actually $359.98, because what is the system without any games? That’s an expected cost though, not a hidden cost. I’m sick of gaming journalists trying to get clicks to their content by making up shocking headlines or articles. While all of this info may be painfully obvious to some, I wanted to educate the few that may not know to help save your wallets.

The cost of all your Switch launch day goodies can add up extremely fast, so make sure you need certain accessories before pulling the trigger and getting a bunch of things you’ll never need.

 

This has been your dose of financial advice from someone who has no business telling you how to manage your finances.

The Secret of the Switch

We did it. We finally know what the Switch is. We had a minor reveal late last year that provided a few answers, but it also brought up a lot more questions. There’s one thing in the long road of the Nintendo NX that completely astounds me: how on Earth did Nintendo keep a secret this long?

How did Nintendo keep a secret this long?

In this day and age, and with all the technology and leaks that happen constantly, it’s absolutely amazing that while a general idea of what Nintendo was cooking up was touched upon, up until the presentation we were still left guessing. So many times come E3 big reveals are ruined, but not this time. It was rumored that the Switch had a touch screen and motion controls, but we only now just confirmed it. We still had a few surprises that weren’t even guessed upon such as HD rumble, colored Joy-cons and the games for the Switch (excluding officially announced titles).

A lot of this was a mystery until less then two months from launch.

I don’t know how they did it, but I hope it’s a trend that continues. I loved being left in the dark. Not while it was happening, mind you, but it only strengthened the hype after the fact. Here’s hoping E3 can bring as much excitement and anticipation as the console reveal. Now excuse my insomnia while I wait (impatiently) until March 3rd…

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX Review

After being released in 1993, and re-released in color in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is now available on the 3DS Virtual Console. It is developed and published by Nintendo.

Unlike most of the other Legend of Zelda games, Link’s Awakening does not involve you finding or rescuing Princess Zelda. Instead, Link’s ship has crashed on an island after a storm. It’s up to Link to find the eight instruments of the sirens to wake the Wind Fish so he can escape the island. Little does he know, the island holds a secret…

Puzzle solving in the dungeon.
Puzzle solving in the dungeon.

If you’ve played any 2D Legend of Zelda game you know exactly how this plays. If not, it’s pretty basic. You start off in a main overworld and must find your sword. With sword in hand, you make your way to the various dungeons collecting the different instruments. In these dungeons you also collect a large variety of tools to help you along your journey, such as Roc’s Feather which allows you to jump, or the Power Bracelet which helps you move large rocks and pots. The dungeons are filled with puzzles and enemies with each one containing at least one mini-boss and one main boss. There are two main collectibles in Link’s Awakening, Pieces of Heart and Secret Seashells. The pieces of heart increase your overall health for every four you find and every time you collect a Secret Seashell it simply says, “If you find enough of them, something good is bound to happen.”

The DX version of the game includes and extra ‘Color Dungeon’, which if completed instead of rewarding Link with and instrument or Heart Container, gives him a choice between a Blue tunic (Cuts all damage Link takes in half) or a Red Tunic (Doubles all damage Link deals out). These tunics are extremely helpful.

It's out old pal, Boo!
It’s our old pal, Boo!

There are lots of references to other Nintendo games such as Kirby, a Yoshi doll, and a large variety of Mario’s enemies which are seen in wonderfully-done platforming sections.

The graphics are that of almost any Gameboy Color game. I found that this game’s visuals in particular still look simply fantastic and drew me in as much as the newer games.

If you enjoy Zelda games, or even adventure games at all, you owe it to yourself to play this game. The mystery of the story kept me wanting to play more to see everything unfold and captured me more than any other 2D Zelda. I can’t recommend this game enough.

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening gets 5 opening chests out of 5.

(Link’s Awakening is available for $5.99 on the 3DS eShop and took me a little over 15 hours to complete.)

Nintendo and the ‘M’ Rating

Nintendo, especially in recent years, has marketed itself as a family friendly console. This is very apparent when looking at game ratings on their consoles compared to competitors. With the Switch on the way it looks like their could be a slight shift. For the first time in a long time Nintendo is marketing a console to the older generations that grew up with their systems. Could we possibly see more games with mature settings and themes from the big N? Only time will tell.

While I’m very interested to see what Nintendo could do with a mature title, I hope they do it right and add a few simple features to make them more accessible. I recently started Devil’s Third on Wii U because I was interested in checking out a Nintendo published ‘M’ rated game. After booting it up I went directly to the settings to turn on a profanity and gore filter, but much to my surprise no such settings were to be found. This really baffled me. Multiple Xbox games in recent years such as Gears of War and Sunset Overdrive have had these features. I figured if anyone were to have such a feature it would be Nintendo. No such luck. This is something I hope they seriously consider in the future. I don’t play ‘M’ games when my son is around, but now that he gets himself out of bed silently after his nap and comes to find me it’s extremely nice to have the filters on when he sneaks up on me. Not to mention most games these days are a bit over the top when it comes to gore and language.

I also think it’s a bit odd that when it comes to localizing games Nintendo always cuts promiscuous sections or adds clothes to nearly bare characters, but the adult language is still fully intact. Especially when the box art that North America gets an angry or aggressive looking character while then Japanese cover has a cute and cuddly mascot, but I digress…

Why did they decide to change Pit's facial expression?
Why did they decide to change Pit’s facial expression?

 

They have published a handful of ‘M’ rated games such as Geist, Eternal Darkness, Perfect Dark, and Ninja Gaiden 3, but I think it’s time for them to develop one in house. I honestly just want to see what they can come up with. Most Nintendo games don’t focus on the story, but I would love to see a story based Nintendo game with mature settings and hard-hitting themes. They could easily have a filter available in the settings they can nerf it to a ‘T’ rating. Here’s hoping the Switch will give us something like this that Nintendo hasn’t experimented with before.


For more info, check out our video: What Do ESRB Ratings REALLY Mean?

An Open Letter to Whiny Nintendo Fans

We need to talk. I’ve been a part of the Nintendo community for a long time now, and what used to be something to be proud of has me quite ashamed from time to time. The actions I see online are absolutely ridiculous and seem to get more out of hand every Nintendo Direct. Of course, not everyone acts the ways described below, but far, FAR too many do.

Make up your minds, please.

When Nintendo releases new games in the same franchise (Mario, Zelda, etc.) a lot of what I hear is whining for new ideas and new IPs. When Nintendo releases a new game or new IP (Federation Force, Codename: S.T.E.A.M., etc.) I’m also hearing a ton of complaints and hate. If you try a game and decide you don’t like it, that’s completely justified, but when Nintendo announces a game and it’s suddenly the apocalypse… not okay. Nintendo is completely aware you want a new Metroid game, I assure you.

No unreleased game deserves this much hate.
No unreleased game deserves this much hate.

I’m a HUGE fan of the first two Paper Mario games, but couldn’t get into Sticker Star at all. While Color Splash looks more like Sticker Star than a traditional RPG, that doesn’t mean I’m going to attack the game. I’m going to do something revolutionary instead: I’m not going to buy the game. If reviews come out and the game happens to be incredible maybe I’ll change my mind, but there’s no reason whatsoever to throw punches at Nintendo for simply making a game I’m not interested in.

Nintendo is a business.

Why make Paper Mario: Color Splash when Sticker Star wasn’t as well received as the other games in the series? It sold well. Nintendo makes decisions that will first and foremost make them money. They try to please as many people as possible, but you’ll certainly never please everyone, and they know that. If Sticker Star hadn’t sold well either they would have taken a different approach for the next Paper Mario game or the franchise would cease to exist.

Enjoy your (extra) life!

So many people act like the decisions Nintendo makes will make or break their quality of life. Just take a deep breath and calm down. It’s completely possible to not be interested in any games Nintendo is releasing for months (possibly years) on end. Luckily they have such an amazing backlog of games that it should be easy to find something you’ll enjoy. So bust out that dusty N64 and 4 controllers, because Mario is always ready to party with you.

I wont stop being a part of the Nintendo community – it’s in my blood – but I sure hope the overall attitude changes soon.

/endrant


Check out our non-biased review of Metroid Prime: Federation Force and our rant on game review scores.

Ranking All Nintendo Controllers

I love every Nintendo controller, but some are easily better than others. Today we’ll take a look at my personal ranking of Nintendo’s controllers from best to worst, and the reasoning behind it. Remember, this list is entirely my opinion and yours could be completely different.

 

7. Wii U

Wii U Gamepad

The main problem I have with the Wii U gamepad is when a game gives me the option to use the Wii U Pro Controller, I use the Pro Controller every time. While the touch screen is insanely helpful for a map in Splatoon, or item management in The Legend of Zelda, the gamepad never had a very compelling reason to justify the second screen in my mind. I only ever used the off TV play a handful of times, because the resolution on the gamepad leaves much to be desired.

 

 

6. Nintendo 64

 

 

The Nintendo 64 controller was designed for people with 3 hands. I only ever knew of a few games that even used the D-Pad because it was located off to the side, but I loved the control stick and the Z-button as a trigger was amazing.

 

 

 

5. NES

NES-Controller-Flat

Simple. Clean. Classic. It doesn’t get much easier than this. The fact that almost anyone can pick up an NES controller and play because of its simplicity is amazing. Truly a monumentous achievement when your original controller still holds up so well today. The only thing holding this one back is the square design. While it looks amazing, it can become uncomfortable to hold during extended play sessions.

 

 

 

4. Virtual Boy

Only used to its full potential a couple times, but easily the best part of the console. The L and R buttons located on the back is fantastic and the dual D-pad was great for added control. Created with a mirrored design meant that games that only used one D-pad let the players pick which one they wanted to use, so whether you were left or right handed you could pick what felt comfortable.

 

 

 

3. Wii

242196-nintendo-wii-remote-plus

 

Not everyone loves motion control gaming, but the Wii did it right. The controller was designed to be similar to a TV remote for ease of use with all demographics. They nailed it. The main thing I didn’t like about it was the 1 and 2 buttons were far down on the controller, but they were usually used for menus and map anyhow. As an added bonus you can plug in the nunchuck attachment for added control-ability or turn the controller sideways and it essentially becomes an NES controller. Brilliant.

 

 

2. GameCube

 

ABXY? Check. L and R? Check. Dual analog? So close! The main thing holding this controller back in my mind is the tic-tac C-stick. There’s a very good reason it’s many peoples go to controller for Smash Bros. to this day. Very comfortable and great button placement. You could even update your default controller to the Wavebird for wireless gaming.

 

 

 

1. SNES

SNES-Controller-Flat

 

Nintendo took the NES controller and improved on it in every way. Rounded so it was more comfortable, added buttons for more functionality, but still incredibly simple and user friendly. It really doesn’t get any better than this.

 

 

That’s all of them, folks… for now! I can’t wait to see where the NX will end up on this list. Be sure to let me know how your list compares!


Scott and Simeon recently ranked all of Nintendo’s consoles! Check out Part 1 and Part 2 to see how they stack up!

Pokémon Go Meet-up

Recently I got the opportunity to go to a Pokémon Go meet-up in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and let me tell you: it was an absolute blast!

What started out as a Facebook event for a few friends quickly got shared by an astounding amount of people and turned into thousands. The creator of the event had intended it to be 25-30, but the end result was 5,300 going and 7,500 interested. I would easily estimate 6,000 people ended up attending, if not more.

If there are 4 Pokéstops in one area, they will come.
If there are 4 Pokéstops in one area, they will come.

The corner pictured above was standing room only, and was quite a scene to behold. Teams wore clothing and glow-sticks to match their team color and every once in a while trainers would chant their team names.

The best way I can describe it was civilized mayhem. It was awesome.

Everyone was in on Pokémon Go that night. All the local news outlets were there, people made t-shirts and stickers to sell, even the local businesses (if they were smart) were getting in on the action with discounts for hungry or thirsty trainers. Both businesses and trainers were turning almost every Pokéstop into a lure. Everywhere you went Pokémon were popping up constantly. Luckily there are plenty of spots to refill all those Pokéballs you were bound to throw.

Lures galore!
Lures galore!

The sense of community this game brought out in everyone was a really great thing to behold as well. If a rare Pokémon had spawned, someone would always yell it out so others could join in. I was lucky enough to do it once for a Dratini that had spawned by a bridge, and boy did they come running.

If you have a Pokémon Go meet-up near you I highly recommend you check it out. Plus, the more people playing in a given area, the more chance for a rare Pokémon to spawn! I’m more of an introverted person with people I don’t know, but I had a lot of fun talking to fellow trainers I had only just met. This night will easily be going into my (non-existent) gaming scrapbook.


Haven’t tried Pokémon Go yet? Click here to see Scott and Simeon’s thoughts on the game.

BoxBoxBoy! Review

BoxBoxBoy! is the sequel to the hit downloadable puzzle game BoxBoy! for the 3DS that expands on the original, quite literally, as this time around you use two sets of boxes instead of one. While no prior experience with the original is needed, it really helps as the mechanics you learn over the course of an entire game you learn in a few levels. You’ll still be hopping on and throwing boxes, along with hooking onto ledges and snaking your way through narrow paths, and it’s all still a lot of fun.

3DS_BoxBoxBoy_E32016_SCRN_06
Hooked on a feeling.

The only new idea is creating two sets of boxes, but that’s okay as it completely changes the way you have to solve the puzzles and sometimes significantly ramps up the difficulty. There’s still plenty of switches, spikes, and lazers to deal with and it definitely had me stumped for a while on more than one occasion. There are usually a few levels in a row where you use the same mechanic in increasingly difficult puzzles, only to ditch it for a long while and come back to it when you’ve forgotten about it. Absolutely fantastic level design and it made feel dumb for not realizing the solution much soon than I had. There are bonus levels in which you replay chunks of levels you previously completed except this time with either the ninja or the bunny costume from the first game, but you have a lot less boxes at your disposal.

Two sets of boxes, twice the challenge.

The collectible crowns are back once again. If you’re not familiar, think hidden coins from Mario, except you have a limit of boxes you can create until it disappears. Being the OCD gamer I am, I had to get all of them, and a few were extremely difficult. It adds a lot to the way you approach levels and to the overall replay-ability.

BoxBoxBoy! really stacks up to the competition.
BoxBoxBoy! really stacks up to the competition!

The more crowns you get, the more coins you get at the end of every level, which can be spent in the games shop. There you are able to purchase new costumes, short a quirky comics, and music from the game. All of the costumes you unlock from the original BoxBoy! transfer over too, which is a neat little addition.

There’s quite a lot of content for the price and is a great buy for the puzzle and platformer fan alike. While I recommend playing the original game first, this is a sequel that lives up to the original and shouldn’t be missed.


Check out our video review of BoxBoxBoy! or the original BoxBoy!