Tagged "Nintendo 3DS"

Mar 27
By Matt Gander In Reviews No Comments

You may be thinking that this is a little bit of a pointless review. Although we won’t deny that it pretty much does what it says on the tin, to quote an advert that we hope people still remember, Nintendo’s 42 All Time Classics on DS was a game that we got a surprising amount of mileage out of. As such 3D Game Collection would only need to be half as great to make it one of the better casual 3DS titles.

Although the front of the box claims that there are 55 games crammed onto the cart, that’s something of a lie. There are a few Sliding Puzzles with different images but rather than class them as one game they’re listed as individual games to bump that figure up. The same goes for the Spot the Difference puzzles, of which there are more than one. It’s a little cheeky but thankfully there is a fair bit of variety on here including clones of Mine Sweeper, Pipemania and Boxxle. We’re sure the fact that Sudoku and Kakuro feature make this package instantly appealing to some too.

Amazingly, there’s a structure of sorts. Each game is score based with trophies handed out for finishing a game or puzzle within a certain time limit. The idea is that everybody in your household makes their own profile and then competes to see who can acquire the most trophies. It’s not much, but it could be enough to get a bit of friendly household rivalry going if your siblings are of the competitive sort.

Just like Ubisoft’s Puzzler Mind Gym 3D what we have here isn’t a very good use of the technology at hand. The 3D effect is far too distracting during the Spot the Difference puzzles and a trick has been missed for MahJongg – the tiles would have benefited from the 3DS’s illusion of depth but instead they’re displayed on the bottom screen. At least the music is quite soothing. You could even say that it’s quite good.

We thought the clone of Bejewelled – known as Match 3 – might give this package a much needed addictive streak but it’s as bland as can be. Although a couple of new coloured stones are introduced later in the game there are no combos or anything of the sort. As soon as there are no more pieces that can be matched it’s game over. We did find the Connect 4 game to be oddly engaging though thanks to some quick witted AI, and although slow-paced and as ugly as a catfish Battleship isn’t too bad either.

It’s hard to hate something that does little wrong, but at the same time it’s very hard to get excited about something that doesn’t push the 3DS in the slightest. Still, for a few hours of entertainment 3D Game Collection suffices.

Apr 20
By Adam Philbin In Blog 3 Comments

As is evidenced by the declining number of reviews I’ve written for this site over the past decade, I haven’t really been playing or writing about as many games as I’d like. Once or twice a year I go manic and indulge, usually every October (traditionally the month of big game releases and nostalgic birthday memories) and around a few other big game launches. It doesn’t bode well for consistent game reviews though.

So, having only just started playing Killzone 3, a mere two months behind the rest of the in crowd, I thought I’d instead write about the games I’ve been meaning to play for a while, but haven’t got around to yet, for whatever reason. Obviously my critical opinion on said games will be moderately worthless, but hey, I like making unordered lists!

Minecraft

MinecraftThe whole world is seemingly playing Minecraft. Initially made by a Swedish guy in his bedroom, over 800,000 people paid €9.95 to play the alpha version of the game. The final version hasn’t even been released yet, and already the alpha and beta versions have sold over 1,940,000 copies and made €23 million – talk about crafty development! Undeniably, Minecraft has been the biggest gaming success story in recent years, turning one bedroom coder into a multimillionaire almost literally overnight.

And yet, I still haven’t played it. I am that lazy. At one point I believe I even got my credit card out and went on to the Minecraft website, but decided against purchasing, in the belief that it would disrupt my workflow and project deadlines (which is fair enough really – World of Warcraft almost cost me a year of my degree).

From what I can tell, Minecraft is about exploring and building whatever you want, on a lego style island. Its simple, blocky graphics certainly have some charm, and clearly it must be pretty good based on all the success and praise. One day I’ll sit down and play it. If you haven’t already played it, you probably should.

Call of Duty: The Newest One

Call of Duty Black Ops or somethingAdmittedly, part of me doesn’t give a shit about the Call of Duty series anymore. Somehow, at some random point in time, Call of Duty went from being a dull wartime FPS game with numerous sequels, to the game industry’s annual mega hit. But you’re kind of obliged to play it, right?

I’m sure the latest one, errm, Call of Duty: Black Ops, is quite good. I guess I can expect it to contain plenty of shooting, dastardly conspiracies, and walking through linear alleys or jungles. I’ll probably pick it some day. Perhaps Activision would have sent me a review copy if I asked. Maybe I’ll get around to it before Call of Duty: Postmodernism 27 comes out.

Fallout: New Vegas

Fallout 3: New VegasWell, technically I got as far as installing this one and playing it for twenty minutes. Seeing as Fallout 3 was by far my favorite game of 2008, I feel a little disrespectful not giving New Vegas the time it truly deserves. A Fallout game requires at least a week of free time to truly experience and enjoy. Maybe I’ll get started with it on a long weekend. Alright, I’ll play with you soon Fallout, don’t worry.

All the new Yakuza games

Yakuza 4In this post-Dreamcast world we live in, Yakuza is about as close to a new Shenmue game as we’re likely to get anytime soon. It’s developed by Sega’s Amusement Vision, formerly Sega AM4, which is just two off Shenmue developers Sega AM2. Look past the Japanese gangster setting, and it almost is Shenmue.

I loved Yakuza on the PlayStation 2. It felt like the game version of a cheap Japanese gangster B-Movie, or almost exactly the type of game I’d think up. Unfortunately when I played the demo of Yakuza 3, it felt clunky, boring, and quite old fashioned. That put me off at the time. Still though, now that Yakuza 4 has finally got an English release, I probably should make the time to play it. I hear you can date hostess girls and play arcade games!

Anything on the Nintendo 3DS

Nintendo 3DS and Japanese lady's faceFive is a fairly good number for lists, and as I can’t quite be bothered to write about ten games, this should round the list off nicely. Now, I don’t want to seem harsh, as I do keep meaning to do something about the 3DS, but at the same time, the 3DS is almost completely failing to interest me.

Perhaps it’s just the uninspiring launch line-up. Perhaps it’s the idea of cross-eyed migraines trying to experience the third dimension on a flat screen. I’m certainly curious, though simultaneously, not quite bothered. I’d liken the 3DS to limping badger – the concept has me interested, and the urge to go over and have a look is quite compelling, yet I wouldn’t really want to take one home.

At least it’s Easter this week. I might actually make some progress in Killzone 3.

Apr 05
By Matt Gander In Blog 7 Comments

Sega recently announced the first batch of GameGear games that’ll be appearing on the 3DS’s Virtual Console. If you missed the announcement, the line-up comprises Sonic & Tails 2, Sonic Drift 2, The GG Shinobi, Dragon Crystal: Shirai’s Maze and Columns.

Why they chose to use the Japanese names of each is beyond me – Sonic & Tails 2 was known as Sonic Triple Trouble outside of Japan, while Sonic Drift 2 became Sonic Drift Racing. Still, it’s not a bad little line-up.

Sonic Triple Trouble is one of the best 2D Sonic games; not just on the GameGear, but in general. Dragon Crystal is very Rouge-like with a nice soundtrack. It’s bound to be panned by the press for being basic by today’s standards, but back in 1990 it was ace. Don’t be fooled by Sonic Drift 2 – Mario Kart it isn’t. The GG Shinobi has stood the test of time, and if Columns only costs a couple of quid – which is likely – then it should be an essential download if you’re looking for something to play during lunch breaks.

It’s hard to see anybody but Sega re-releasing GameGear games on Virtual Console. Nonetheless, I’ve knocked up a list of ten titles I’d like to see.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse
A straight conversion of the Sega Master System version, but no less brilliant with some memorable bosses – including a giant chocolate bar – and the chance to go swimming in a giant cup of tea. The sequel – Land of Illusion – makes my head hurt due to the way the screen scrolls, but thankfully the rare and largely unknown Legend of Illusion corrected this. Legend of Illusion would be more than welcome on VC too.

Coca-Cola Kid
A Japanese-only platformer from Aspect – the developers behind most of the 8-bit Sonic games. It bears great resemblance to Sonic Chaos, in fact, with similar presentation and some recycled sound effects. The titular kid is rather acrobatic in nature and can also jump onto a skateboard to zoom through the levels quicker. A nice little game.

Tails Adventure
Miles better (pun intended) than Tails’ Sky Patrol – in which you can lose a life by crashing into trees, walls and other obstacles – this platformer is slower paced than the Sonic games and rather lovingly made. Visually it showed what the GameGear could do when tickled in the right places. Once Sega gets the Sonic games onto VC then chances are this’ll appear at some stage.

Gunstar Heroes
One of the most impressive GameGear games to be released; only the 3D FPS Faceball 2000 looks more impressive. It’s missing a few levels from the Mega Drive version and the sprites flicker badly but the charm still remains. As with Coca-Cola Kid, this was also a Japan-only release.

Mortal Kombat II
Potentially this could make it out if Warner Bros. could ever be arsed to do a deal with Sega. There are only two backdrops but it plays smoothly and it’s better than Rage’s GameGear version of Mortal Kombat 3, which is so bad it’s almost unplayable.

Pac Attack
Combine Tetris with Pac-Man and you get Pac Attack. As well as forming lines you also have to line up ghosts for Pac-Man to eat whenever he appears. Even though it was available as part of a Pac-Man compilation on Game Boy Advance it’s something of a forgotten gem.

Marko’s Magic Football
If you ever saw this in action you’d think that it’s a Mega Drive game. The sprites are large and well animated and Marko has dozens of football-related tricks up his sleeves. And Marko is way cooler than Soccer Kid – who had a face only a mother could love.

Power Strike II (aka GG Aleste 2)
An awesome and impressive 2D shooter that’s uncommon on eBay and moves like greased lightening. With no R-Type games on GameGear this is the best example of the genre, with busy backgrounds, varied levels and a bonus stage viewed from a third person perspective.

Prince of Persia
Much like Mortal Kombat, this could appear too if Ubisoft had a chat with Sega. They’re probably too busy kissing Nintendo though. Prince of Persia, much like the early Sonic and Mario games, plays just as well now as it did when it was first released. The animation was jaw-dropping back in the day.

Ristar
An underrated platformer which plays a lot like the original Rayman. The Japanese version has an extra level which was removed from the US and European versions on the grounds that it was deemed too tough. It’s still present on these versions but you have to play it on a Japanese system to get it to appear.

I’ve left Wonderboy off the list as I’m willing to bet my last Wagon Wheel that it’ll be included in the second batch of games. Other likely candidates? Streets of Rage, Virtua Fighter Animation, Ax Battler and no doubt Sonic 2, a game which I can’t really stand. At all.

Apr 03
By Ric In Blog 3 Comments

So, you’re out and about walking around town with your Nintendo 3DS tucked in your pocket in sleep mode. You get home and, hey presto, a flashing light is emitting from the 3DS. No, not the small amber flashing light – that’s to indicate wireless. The light we’re talking about is a very special one. And it’s the colour of the food you find up your nose.

That’s right, baby, it’s green and it means you’ve had a StreetPass. StreetPass is not some kind of new sport involving playing rugby in the high street – it’s an innovative feature built into the 3DS’s glorious innards. Once StreetPass is enabled and the 3DS is put it to sleep mode if you happen to walk past other 3DS owners you’ll find a new face in the StreetPass Mii Plaza.

I decided to take my 3DS out and about whilst working this week in Manchester and found a grand total of 12 people whoring out there Miis on StreetPass. The coolest of these was an individual named ‘PooBoy’ who had a dream to be a wizard. Takes all sorts, eh?

You can also use your new friends to play the basic but fun turn-based RPG found in the Mii Plaza entitled StreetPass Quest. If you live in a backwards area where nobody else owns a 3DS then worry not as you can exchange footsteps – gained by simply walking around with the handheld – for coins and hire a hero to help in your quest. If you’ve selected cat as your favourite pet you’ll get a sword-carrying moggy to help; if you’ve selected dog you’ll get a canine critter. Your favourite colour also denotes the colour of your magic attacks. Rewards for beating the bad guys – which start off with King Boo-alike ghosts – include new hats for your Mii to wear.

Super Street Fighter 4 3D Edition also uses StreetPass, allowing you to have virtual fights with Street Fighter figurines while Ridge Racer 3D lets you race against other people’s ghost cars.

If anybody has come across a better named person than PooBoy while out Mii-hunting then let me know; I’d be interested to know what could possibly top that…

Mar 25
By Matt Gander In Retro No Comments

The Nintendo 3DS is released in the UK today. Being at the cutting edge of games journalism, we can bring you a complete look at Nintendo’s first 3D hardware. That is to say: the Virtual Boy. Not the 3DS.

Back in 1995 Nintendo went head first – no pun intended – into the world of virtual reality, despite claims that Atari’s prototype Jaguar VR headsets (and the Sega VR add-on) were giving testers motion sickness and headaches.

As predicted by many videogame journalists back in the day, it was a move that didn’t pay off. Indeed, GamePro infamously reported that they had more fun playing with the bubble wrap the console came packed in rather than the Virtual Boy itself.

Designed by the late Gunpei Yokoi, the machine launched in Japan in July 1995, and August 1995 in North America for $180. It ran off six AA batteries that lasted for around an impressive 7 hours, and was bundled with the reasonably enjoyable Mario Tennis. A red screen was chosen because red LEDs drain less battery power than any other colour. That, fact fans, is why standby lights on household appliances are always red. The joypad bore resemblance to the GameCube controller, featuring not one but two d-pads. As per all Nintendo joypads – the palm denting NES controller aside – it was comfortable to use and hold.

Although the machine had a 32-bit processor and was capable of producing 3D visuals, the Virtual Boy’s forte was to create an illusion of depth through rotating mirrors inside the headset. In Wario Land for instance, the portly doppelganger could jump out of the background and foreground to avoid swinging blades and such, whilst in 2D shooter Virtual Force the craft could move up and down to different planes to avoid enemies.

Only 33 games were released in total – 14 in the US and 19 in Japan. Many more, including GoldenEye 007, Donkey Kong Country 2 and VB Mario Land were in development but were swiftly canned. Figures suggest that there were 770,000 consoles sold in total, with only 140,000 of those in Nintendo’s home country.

Within a year Nintendo pulled the plug and had cancelled the proposed European launch. A lack of decent titles, the imminent release of the PlayStation, Saturn and Nintendo 64 itself, known then as Ultra 64, all added up to the machine’s demise. There was also fact that you were susceptible to having ‘kick me’ signs stuck on your back while playing.

Due to its quirkiness – plus the fact that it was made by Nintendo – the machine has managed to sell for a steady price on the second hand market. It’s also quite easy to get hold of original sealed copies of games: the machine was such a flop that many stores were left with countless unsold games eventually flogged for next to nothing. Some of the final releases can go for hundreds on a good day, while obscure Japanese release Virtual Lab is sought after due to the misspelling of Nintendo – ‘Ninntenndo’ is written not just on the back of the box but also on the cartridge itself.

With the 3DS now upon us there is a chance that we’ll get to experience the system’s finer software via the handheld’s Virtual Console service. Nintendo aren’t totally oblivious to the system’s existence after all – Wario Ware Inc: Mega Microgame$ featured a mini-game based on Mario Clash, while the recent Donkey Kong Country Returns was going to have a red-hued Virtual Boy-style level.

And yes, we have named this feature after a Hugh Grant film. Sorry about that.

Mar 19
By Matt Gander In Blog 5 Comments

The 3DS launch line-up is a funny thing. There’s a lack of an easily indefinable system seller, while the likes of THQ, Take-Two and Activision don’t have a single title ready. On more positive note, however, it’s quite astonishing that Ubisoft has managed to get six games due for launch. Activision would have presumably given us DJ Hero if they hadn’t lost all faith in the franchise. It’s a little disappointing that it was axed – without the need for a peripheral and no music-based 3DS games on the cards it could have found a new audience.

EA also canned MyGarden, but that’s less of a loss – it didn’t appear to resemble a proper game, more of a tech demo or a relaxation tool at the very most. A game for pansies, even.

If you haven’t made your mind up on what to get with your 3DS yet, then maybe our guide can guide you in the right direction. That’s why it’s called a guide, see?

Pilotwings Resort
A last minute inclusion into the line-up, reviews have been sadly disappointing claiming that the whole thing can be done and dusted in three hours. NGamer were particularly miffed that the island on which it’s set had already been used in previous games – such as Wii Sports Resort – thus leaving little new to explore. With decent visuals it would appear to be a good way to show off your new handheld, but don’t coming crying to us when you’ve seen it all in an afternoon.

Super Street Fighter IV
It may not be the definitive version but it’s still one to think about taking home on launch day. Nice features are plentiful, including a demo that can be beamed to nearby 3DS owners. StreetPass analyses your save games and fighting styles and will automatically play battles for you with any 3DS owning strangers that you come across on your travels too. A good conversion of a good game it would seem.

Ridge Racer 3D
The fact that this is the first game shipped to the press to review (Eurogamer published theirs on 1st March) shows that Namco are pleased with what they’ve achieved. 3DS features are heavily used – you can take a photo with the camera for your driving license – while the tracks are a mixture of old and new. Worth considering, even though there’s no online play.

Nintendogs + Cats
Available in different flavours, a la the first Nintendogs range, NGamer awarded this glorified Tamagotchi 80%. Features are bountiful, including breeding and gift sharing via StreetPass and use of the 3D camera, pedometer and AR cards. The fur effects have been greatly improved (because that’s important, right?) as has the voice recognition system. The cats can’t be entered in contests, walked or be taught tricks, which may be disappointing for moggie lovers, but it’s likely that this is one of the few launch games you’ll come back to time and time again.

Super Monkey Ball 3D
Sega’s simian sim has the same problem as Pilotwings Resort – it’s good but too short. The core game has 80 levels compared to the original’s 310 and there are just 2 mini-games. The GameCube original had 12; Step and Roll had 21. As such, it’s probably worth waiting for the price to drop.

Splinter Cell 3D
One of two Tom Clancy ‘em ups, this isn’t a new game as the title suggests but rather a retelling of Chaos Theory. Features are thin on the ground, such as the lack of co-op and multiplayer, but there are new gadgets that make use of the 3D screen such as a hacking mini-game. There’s a whiff of a rush job about it, so wait for the reviews first.

The Sims 3
It would appear that EA’s biggest brag is that you can send your Sim to other 3DSs via StreetPass. Unimpressed? So were NGamer, who claim that the graphics are “minging” and that it suffers from slowdown even during the character creation screens. Also in their preview they mention the ability to cause an earthquake by shaking the handheld. Will this make it into the retail version? If it has already gone ‘gold’ then it might be too late to remove it.

Rayman 3D
It’s good to see a platformer in the line-up, but Rayman 2 again? It was a good game back in the day but most gamers worth their salt will have played it before. In fact, Ubisoft released a conversion of this very early in the DS’s life. And it’s available on iOS for literally pence. It would have been a real treat to have seen Rayman 3 instead; that too was a genuinely great game but Ubisoft always acts as if they’re ashamed of it. If you’re desperate for some colourful platforming it’ll probably fit the bill but you’ll only be sending the message to publishers that it’s all right to endlessly recycle old code.

Samurai Warriors: Chronicle
Content-wise, this sounds a lot slicker than some of the aforementioned titles. Weapons can be traded and battles fought with StreetPass while Spotpass will eventually allow for downloadable scenarios. The single-player mode boasts of 400 battle scenarios, RPG-style elements to spice up the hack and slashing and loads of cut-scenes with full voice-overs too. Don’t dismiss it so suddenly; there are far worse 3DS games in the line-up…

Combat of The Giants – Dinosaurs
…like this one, which gained the lowest scores in Famitsu when they reviewed the launch titles. It’s a very basic affair with a ‘paper, sissors, stone’ style combat system. The DS versions were dire; this is no different. NEXT!

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars
See: we told you there were two Tom Clancy titles. Memory fails to recall another console that was lucky enough to launch with a tactical turn-based strategy game and although the visuals may be simplistic compared to other titles it’s the only game present that’ll get your grey matter ticking. Playing a lot like Advance Wars, it has quite some heritage behind it having been created by X-COM chap Julian Gallop. Give it a go: you may be surprised.

PES 2011 3D: Pro Evolution Soccer
The Official Nintendo Magazine gave Konami’s soccer sim 78%, championing the smooth difficulty curve and its compulsiveness. But with no online play and rosters that are six months old it may be a better idea to wait until the next football game arrives on the scene.

Rabbids 3D
“Bwaaah!” indeed. Previews were far from positive and both NGamer and Official Nintendo Magazine were missing reviews of this side-scrolling platformer in their launch specials. This should tell you everything you need to know.

Asphalt 3D
Let’s face it – this was always going to be in Ridge Racer’s shadow. There are just 9 tracks compared to Ridge Racer’s 15 and reviewers have moaned about slowdown. The Official Nintendo Magazine were impressed with the visuals, pointing out that you can see the dashboards through the windows, but then went onto say it’s not worth the asking price.

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
We’ve left this to last as you know what you’re going to get here. It might be an idea to wait for LEGO Pirates of The Caribbean instead, which despite being a few months off (ETA: May 2011) already has StreetPass battles confirmed. It’s your call – it’s very unlikely to be any less than average.

Coming soon: Madden NFL Football, Dead or Alive: Dimensions (delayed in Japan, was due 24th March), Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions, Puzzle Bobble Universe, Thor: The Videogame, James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes 3D, Driver: Renegade 3D, The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time 3D, Professor Layton And The Mask Of Miracle, Steel Diver, Paper Mario 3D, Starfox 3D and Combat of The Giants: Mutant Woodlice (maybe).

Jan 14
By Jake In Blog 3 Comments

This week’s shenanigans from retail group The Hut – shoving up listings for the Nintendo 3DS priced at £300 (now changed to pre-order pages) – got me thinking. The 3DS is set to be Nintendo’s most expensive piece of hardware since the Nintendo 64, 14 long years ago.

The UK price has yet to be announced – it should come out at Nintendo’s event in Amsterdam on Wednesday next week – but with the Japanese price at ¥25,000 (£191), something between £200 and £250 is expected.

Let’s have a quick look back at Nintendo’s major UK launches of the last decade and a half:

Wii 08/12/2006 £179
Nintendo DS 11/03/2005 £99
GameCube 03/05/2002 £129
Game Boy Advance 22/06/2001 £89
Nintendo 64 01/03/1997 £249

Nintendo made a conscious decision after the Nintendo 64 to produce cheaper hardware – and it shows. But there are signs of an erosion of that policy. The Wii, for example, hasn’t had a price cut from the original £179 in over four years on sale. Is that a record?

The signs are arguably clearer if we look at iterations of the Nintendo DS:

Nintendo DS 11/03/2005 £99
Nintendo DS Lite 23/06/2006 £99
Nintendo DSi 03/04/2009 £149
Nintendo DSi XL 05/03/2010 £149

That seems to me like a pretty definite willingness to charge more. And what does that willingness coincide with? Increased popularity. It’s not rocket science: if people want it, you can charge more.

Is the 3DS more expensive because of the technology inside, or because Nintendo think they can bump the price up? I don’t know. Either way, they are presumably confident that people will pay £200 or more. I wonder whether that confidence is misplaced.

I’d class myself as pretty interested in the 3DS. But even £200 is a bit rich for my liking. I’m out.

Jun 30
By Matt Gander In Blog No Comments

The announcement of Saints Row: Drive By for the Nintendo 3DS was a bit of a strange one. Now that the E3 dust has settled, it finally makes sense – it’s to be a conversion of an upcoming Xbox Live Arcade game. Nintendo “really wanted it” on their shiny new handheld, according to an interview with IndustryGamer.

Core Games VP Danny Bilson speaks:

“We were already making it as our Xbox Live game and in 3D also. It’s designed for 3D already. So the 3DS version is an incremental cost. It’s not a big startup cost. Anything in a transmedia play has a column called marketing in it. It’s also a marketing tool. So how does that game model for us? I believe it will do great, especially if Nintendo is going to go mature and really do a big mature campaign on it. It’s a killer game. It’s got all the weird humor of Saints Row, and also its existence is part of the marketing plan to sell Saints Row 3. Also, all these games have hooks where, if you play it, it unlocks things in Saints Row 3. If you play Saints Row 3, it will unlock things in the 3DS game or the Xbox Live game. I don’t know if I was clear about that, but all of our extension properties all connect and unlock things in each other.”

Just in case you only skim-read that paragraph – playing the 3DS version will unlock goodies in the Xbox 360 version of Saints Row 3.

It’s a sign of the times, people.

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