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By Ramon Rivera On 9 Jan, 2018 At 11:21 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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I really like to drive; there is nothing more relaxing than taking your car for a ride around the city to clear your mind.  But I also love the speed, love to see what is the top speed I can get on my car.  However, due to obvious reasons, it’s not possible to do it in the city.  Luckily for me, racing games are here to stay. Classics like Outrun and Top Gear were influential during my childhood.  Now, 80’s Overdrive captures the best of said franchises and create a great experience that no racing fan should miss.

If I could describe 80’s Overdrive, I would say that is a love letter of the golden era of 16 bit racers.  The pixel rich visuals are a treat to your eyes, and the game play is simple but engaging in a way that, once you are hooked, you won’t notice time flying by.  The game’s Career Mode is where you will undoubtedly be spending the majority of your time. You purchase a car and then take it out to compete in a range of ranked road races. Each one carries an entry fee, but the cash prize for winning is more than worth the initial outlay.  From time you time, you’ll get the chance to earn bonus money by collecting items, causing a certain amount of damage to a rival or – most usually of all – finishing dead last. These variables add a little spice to the racing action.  Finishing first in the races boosts your global ranking which not only pushes you up the leader board but also unlocks other races around the world. The cash you earn can be used to enhance your current vehicle, giving it a faster top speed, better steering, and more stability.  This is especially important as it reduces your recovery time, should you get into a bump. It’s also possible to equip nitro boost, which can be deployed a limited number of times per each race, provided you’re hitting your top speed.

Another aspect that I like of 80’s Overdrive is the music, which contains suitably atmospheric tracks from the likes of Angst78, Aceman, Karolis, Vectorwolf and Vocoderion, which in my opinion adds to the feel of the awesome 80’s the game is based upon. The time-attack mode, the most obvious nod to the Out Run games before it.  Simple by nature, time-attack tasks players with reaching checkpoints within a time limit.  Reaching a checkpoint adds more time to the clock and seamlessly leads players to another location for their synth-driven journey to the next checkpoint. Racking up points the further you drive, it is telling that the clock tracking your time driven measures in seconds, minutes, and hours. Dodging traffic and veering around tight corners while attempting to beat your best time is the most unadulterated fun 80’s Overdrive offers, especially considering failure yields no further consequence beyond starting again.

Bottom Line: 80’s Overdrive is an amazing racer with rad tunes beautiful pixel graphics and nods to popular culture icons of the 80’s (like Mr. T and the Delorean).  It is a game that any 3DS owner out there should not miss on.

 

 

By Ramon Rivera On 8 Jan, 2018 At 02:49 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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When Smash Bros was released, it took the world by surprise. No one ever imagined to see Nintendo characters fighting each other, and the idea proved to be well done. After Smash Bros came out, many games emerged with the same idea of, throwing the opponents from a platform in order to win the match. Many had different mechanics, but all usually had the same objective to them.  Some were average and others were bad, but ultimately, no game was able to stand apart as anything other than a smash clone. That is until now that Brawlout has entered the fray.

At first glance, you might think that Brawlout is another smash clone because it shares some similarities with the aforementioned series. Once you get into it, however,  you can see that Brawlout is very different from Smash, and that it can stand proudly next to it. Control wise you have two jump buttons, an attack button, a special button, and L and R serve as dodge and aerial dash buttons. One novel thing in Brawlout is that while you can do basic attacks with the A button, and directional and charged attacks (like Smash the developers decided to add something new: combos.

While it’s true that there are combos in other games,  they tend to be more advanced level combos than most entry level gamers can’t pull off. Brawlout on the other hand, decided to go the extra mile and make the game accessible to everyone, while keeping tech and skills at a level that even advanced gamers can enjoy. The combo system is really intuitive: pressing the A button three times and then pressing the B button will have your character performing a combo. While the command is the same for all characters, each one has different attacks and properties.

There are some that have follow up attacks on their specials.  Also, there is no shield here.  Instead of blocking, you can simply dodge pressing either the L or R button. For me, this is awesome because match are more fast paced, and if your opponent is combo happy you can dodge and bring some punishment.  The lack of items is another thing that I applaud.  If you win, it’s based on skill, not for an item, another great mechanic in Brawlout is the Rage System.  While you are receiving damage, a red gauge starts to fill.  When it’s at fifty percent, you can press L and R at the same time to use it as a combo breaker, so if you are getting pinned down, it is a way to turn the tables on your favor. If it reaches 100%, you can enter Rage Mode by pressing L and R.  Rage Mode raises your attack power, makes you harder to knock down, and gives you more recovery speed, while being thrown out of the stage.  If you are being thrown you can use the double jump and the aerial dash to get back to the platform.  Also Up B  can get you to the edge, so you can use all three to get back so even if you are thrown far you still have a chance.

You have six original characters, plus two guest characters: Juan Aguacate from Guacamelee and The Drifter From Hyper Light Drifter. Each character has different move sets with their own strengths and weaknesses.  For example Paco, whose moves are set around, throws like a luchador.  For me, this is one of the stronger characters on the game. Brawlout is a fast paced, all out battle royal, meaning that in order to win, quick thinking and fast reactions are key to victory. Brawlout feels really smooth: running at 60fps both docked and undocked.  The game allows this fast pace to work really well.  It also has several modes for you to get into, as well as an in-game store to unlock extras. Single player offerings include your standard quick-play and tutorial options, a free practice mode, and an arcade mode where you have to play through rounds of matches across three difficulties. Playing in these matches will raise the ‘mastery’ (or skill level) of your chosen character, eventually working towards future unlocks. Some things, such as new skins or taunts, are unlocked randomly as you earn more in-game currency by playing matches and completing daily challenges. New stages, on the other hand, are locked behind specific characters.  You’ll need to get each character to level 10 to get their specific arena.

There is also an online mode which consists exclusively of one-on-one matches. In a nice touch, you are able to jump into local matches or browse through the in-game store while the game tries to find an online match for you. Following the theme of the action so far, when online matches are working perfectly they are great fun and you can host your own games for friends to join.  If you like, however, due to the nature of peer-to-peer online servers, several matches where a user had a poor internet connection caused the entire match to run in unplayable slow-motion. Of course, everyone’s experience with this will differ, but I recommend ensuring that you have a very fast and secure connection if you wish to jump online.

Bottom Line: Brawlout is another great addition to the Nintendo Switch.  If you were hungry for a Smash-like game, you can’t go wrong here.  It has a great cast of characters, fun game play unlocks, and daily bonuses. Brawlout has something for everyone, and I definitely recommend it.  I hope to see you online!

By Ramon Rivera On 18 Dec, 2017 At 01:32 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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Point and click adventure games were never my cup of tea.  I knew they existed and that they had a following of fans that really like them, but I just did not see the appeal.  I always questioned myself: what is so good about them? Why do gamers like them so much?  I got my answer when I got the chance to play Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today.

The plot of the game puts you in control of Michael, a man that a family found and brought with him.  When he wakes up, he is in complete darkness with no recollection of his past.  He’s completely amnesiac.  While he was asleep, he heard a woman’s voice telling him to wake up and calling him “Michael” and that he is the only one who can stop this.  He wakes suddenly and meets his savior, a man named Rob. After speaking with Rob for a while, he fills you in with a little of what has happened to the world, and tells you to go outside to see for yourself while he hurries to a room (that he left locked on purpose), and you are left to explore and discover what’s going on with the world.

I don’t want to spoil much in this review, so I’ll try to concentrate in the game play elements instead of the story.  For one, I like the fact that the game doesn’t hold your hand.  It’s like, “Okay, Michael is awake; it’s up to you to decide what to do next.”  For me, it’s an important part of the plot as well because I think that the developer tried to make you a part of the story.  What would you do if you suddenly awoke to a world unknown to you? Imagine the despair of not knowing who you are or why are you here?  Also the atmosphere, the sudden feeling of oppression, the dark ambiance that you step into in this world is severely ravaged by events like the Great Wave, and the Dissolved.

The art direction the developers took in this game is superb.  It goes so well with the dark theme and history, the subtle tones of the music, and the detailed backgrounds of each screen in which you venture through assures the player that is the end of the world as you know it.  You have to come to terms with the new reality before your eyes. Also something that I commend the developers for is that the game is completely voice acted.  It was a treat for my ears, and I was so submerged in the story( definitely recommend to play with earphones) that sometimes I lost track of time.  The voice acting is really good, and each of the character voices suited them so well.  At times I forgot I was playing a game, and I thought that I was watching a movie. I also loved the different options of dialogue that you had to interact with other members of the story, sometimes funny, sometimes infuriating, and sometimes sad but that is human nature. The Puzzles are clever and I must confess that I got stuck sometimes trying to find the solution to move on.  I also liked that when there were no objects to interact with if you put the cursor over them and press the Y button, Michael comments about said object(for a person with no memory he sure is knowledgeable) so it’s a nice touch.

Bottom Line: Dead Synchronicity: Tomorrow Comes Today is a really good game with an interesting story and plot twists, great voice acting and puzzles that will challenge your wits. I am impressed with what the game has to offer.  The only thing that I can say that left me underwhelmed is that I felt that the game was too short.  However, the ending left me with hopes of a so much needed sequel, but don’t let that affect your decision to try it. I definitely recommend it despite this shortcoming.

By Ramon Rivera On 8 Dec, 2017 At 08:25 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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A little of ancient history: when I was younger there was a game that was a heavy influence on me, a game that got me started in the wonderful world of top down racers.  That game was R.C Pro-Am for the NES. It was a game presented in an overhead isometric perspective,  where a single player races a radio controlled car around a series of tracks. During that time, I was in awe with the game play and how fun it was.  Until this day, similar racing games came and went with top down action, but none of them brought me back to that time–that is until I had the privilege of playing Mantis Burn Racing.

At the beginning of the game, you are greeted by your mechanic.  He tells you some tips of how the game works and you choose your first car. You start in the Beginner class going all up to the Elite class, each class consist of 3 seasons of races each, with different events like time trials, sprints and knockout. The game play is smooth.  I was completely surprised with how responsive and simple the controls are.  You accelerate with ZR and use the control stick to steer, one button for boost, one for brake, and you are gold. There are also motion controls for those who like them as well (I personally prefer the stick but motion controls work out as well).

As you overtake, drift, and tailgate your way among the other AI racers, the boost gauge fills out once is full you can use it to get ahead or to try to get closer to the competition. One of Mantis Burn Racing stronger points is the RPG-like level up system: every action you do, like passing other drivers, drifting around corners, jumping, etc. gives you exp points.  As you accumulate them during races you can level up, which bring perks that can give you an edge above the competition: upgrades. There are different types of upgrades, some raise you speed, others raise the potency of your boost and so. At first, your car only has 3 slots for upgrades, but once you fill them up you have the opportunity to level up you car, which in my opinion gives a lot of room for creating a car that suits your needs.

Speaking of Cars, there are a lot of types, in 3 weight classes light, medium, and heavy. Light type cars have more grip and suspension.  Medium type cars have average speed and boost power, and Heavy type cars have more speed and less grip but have the ability to break fences and create shortcuts. In each racer class, the designs and stats vary with each car.  The Elite class having the faster but albeit harder to control (like the futuristic design on them).Vehicles in the battle events are equipped with a machine gun and after the first lap, can drop mines, kind of like a top down twisted metal kind of vibe. A good thing is that repair points can be found on track, and it’s a relief to make it to one should you be close to exploding (which will happen a lot if you are not careful). Also on each race, there are a set of mini challenges that you can complete for gears (they are needed for being able to be accepted on the next season and so forth).  The challenges range from placing first, to drift and winning without using your boost which is a good way to keep you on your toes.

One of Mantis Burn’s greatest features is the cross platform play. I really like the fact that I can play with owners of the game from Xbox One and PC, and if I play against someone that doesn’t have all the DLC (which is included in the Switch version), there is the option to play with them without using the DLC (although those worldwide lap times are INSANE!!), so there is always someone to play with, and if you don’t want to play online you can take out the Joycons for local split screen action.

Bottom Line: Mantis Burn Racing is another hit for Nintendo Switch.  It is an example of a game that fits the console so well, that is seems that is was tailor made for it. Cross Platform play, local play and a simple but effective control scheme makes Mantis Burn Racing a MUST for every Nintendo Switch owner out there. Mantis Burn Racing can be for you what RC Pro-Am was for me, a complete joy ride.

 

 

By Jessica Brown On 14 Sep, 2017 At 08:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

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  • Title:  “Ancient Frontier”
  • Developer: Fair Weather Studios, LLC
  • Publisher: Fair Weather Studios, LLC
  • Genre: Sci-Fi Turn-Based Strategy
  • Platform: PC (Steam)
  • Release Date: September 21, 2017

I’m going to be very honest: turn-based strategy games, while enjoyable, are not my main area of expertise. While I certainly enjoy strategy games from time to time, they just aren’t games that I often gravitate towards and so it’s been a fair bit of time since I’ve delved deeply into one. Perhaps that’s a good thing, though, because in the case of this game it allows me to offer a pretty objective review.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of Ancient Frontier. I knew absolutely nothing about it and at first, when hearing the title, I thought this was going to be some sort of medieval fantasy strategy title. Well, it turns out I was quite wrong, though I think this was a very pleasant surprise.

Ancient Frontier is a science-fiction turn-based strategy title from indie developer Fair Weather Studios and is a sequel to their 2016 arcade shooter Bladestar. The game is set sometime in the distant future, long after humans managed to colonize Mars and Earth has since been lost to a catastrophic destruction (the nature of which I’ve yet to discover so far). Humans have colonized many different worlds and star systems by the time the game takes place, though the events focus on a distant region of space known primarily as “the Frontier.” This region lacks any inhabitable planets or moons but is sustained by many different starbases and mining colonies that have come out there to mine its rich mineral and energy deposits. At the offset of their campaign, players will have to choose whether they want to play as an officer in the Federation Navy or as a member of the Alliance with the story and available ships varying considerably.

The core game consists of a cinematic story (with enjoyable voice acting) presented a series of missions that the player will need to complete. Missions are divided into three types: Story, Bounty, and Simulator Missions. Story missions are, of course, the way to progress through the main events of the game. However, between each of the major story missions, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in either Bounties or Simulator runs. Bounties are essentially side-stories where you’ll participate in one of a variety of scenarios with the ability to gain experience and various resources that you’ll need to purchase or upgrade existing ships as well as research new utilities or abilities. Simulator runs will only gain your units (crew) experience points but won’t yield any resources. On the other hand, though, simulator missions don’t present any true risk (units lost during these runs will return during normal play). Bounties, though, will result in permanent loss of any units that get destroyed during them (depending on your chosen difficulty setting).

Each mission will have a different goal in mind but ultimately is presented in a uniform fashion. Players will have their units placed on a large grid that consists of hexagonal spaces. Your movement does, of course, depend on unit type. Some units will only get one move (though they may be able to traverse several spaces at once) while others may get several. The “fog of war” prevents you from seeing too far into the distance at first as well, but this is remedied through mapping out each area. The “fog” is explained as being the limit of your current long-range sensors, so you’re forced to press into an area to map it, reveal hidden resources or anomalies, and discover enemy units. The sensor range, like most other stats of a unit, can be improved with utilities you can research and purchase with resources (or salvage from destroyed enemies).

Overall, success will heavily depend on pacing as in most turn-based titles. Since each unit will get a certain number of turns as well as a certain number of actions (attack or skills), careful planning needs to go into whether you’ll want to go on an all-out assault against an enemy unit or do a hit-and-run type of maneuver (keeping in mind that debris fields and other similar things provide cover during combat). Obstacles also exist that can turn a battle very quickly, such as minefields on some maps that will cause incredible damage to any unit that ends their turn on an adjacent hex space. Optional objectives are present on each map too that will yield additional rewards if they are completed before the main objective.

The game has a fairly high level of difficulty, even if played on the Normal setting. Under normal conditions, units that are destroyed during a mission will be permanently lost, which adds to the immediacy of using effective strategies. Since resources are finite (you only have a certain number of optional deployments you can embark on), suffering too many lost units will eventually leave you with a fleet that won’t be sufficient for advancing the story. Thankfully, if that level of hardcore realism isn’t quite your thing, you can play on an easier setting that will keep the mission difficulty intact while allowing defeated units to return after completion (though any unit defeated in combat won’t gain any experience). This will allow more casual players to be able to enjoy the game without having to feel like they won’t be able to enjoy the story progression due to failed mission attempts.

Visually, the game looks quite nice. Although it typically is viewed from a rather zoomed-out perspective, you can easily rotate the camera and zoom in a decent amount to see the details in the environment and on your (and enemy) ships. As mentioned earlier, the voice-acting in the game is actually quite enjoyable, though I did find that the written dialogue could have used a little more polish (which may be addressed by the time of release). However, one thing I was really impressed with was the game’s soundtrack. There are several memorable tunes (I particularly liked the song that plays in between missions) and I really hope the developer makes the OST available as an optional purchase on Steam.

Overall, if you’re a fan of turn-based strategy titles or if you enjoy a good sci-fi narrative, Ancient Frontier is certainly worth giving a good, hard look. While it may not initially appeal to everyone (especially if you’re not generally into strategy games), I found the game to be very approachable. Once I gave it a chance I easily found myself spending two solid hours in a sitting digging deep into the game, wanting to shore up my fleet and press on in the main campaign to see where the story was going. That, I think, is a solid indicator that a game is a worthwhile investment.

ADDITIONAL SCREENSHOTS (Click for 4K):

 

A review key was provided by the developer.

By Cataclysmic Knight On 1 Sep, 2017 At 10:46 AM | Categorized As PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News, Xbox 360/Xbox One | With 0 Comments

No GravatarBioshock: Infinite. Telltale’s The Walking Dead: Season One. Life is Strange. Final Fantasy VII. These are some of the games with moments so powerful I’ll never forget them. It’s a list with some incredible games, and What Remains of Edith Finch definitely belongs on it as well.

Title: What Remains of Edith Finch
Developed By: Giant Sparrow
Available For: Xbox One (reviewed), PS4, Windows (Steam)

When I first started playing the game, my fiancee actually mentioned that the game reminded her of Bioshock: Infinite. It’s gorgeous, and even though I went into the game entirely blind there was always this nagging feeling that there was something dark going on. That balance of emotions – gorgeous, peaceful, curious exploration combined with dread and a twinge of sadness.


In Giant Sparrow’s second game (their first being the unique The Unfinished Swan) you play as Edith Finch, a 17-year-old girl returning to her old home after being left a mysterious key in her mother’s will. Edith is the last living Finch and she’s decided to return and explore. The house is perhaps the most accidentally creepy home ever with the rooms of dead family members sealed off and peepholes added to let people see inside like a museum. These rooms each have memorials to those who lived, and perusing their memorials brings Edith into the final moments of each family member.

These final moments are the true meat of the game, with wildly varying scenarios and themes. A child star famous for her scream ends up having her death told through a horror zine with classic horror music playing and a Tales from the Crypt-like host. A baby plays with a bouncing frog in the bathtub, collecting other toys that bounced around with it. The most unique of all was Edith’s brother, a gamer and stoner who worked a boring job at a cannery. Here you’re tasked with the monotonous task of cutting the heads off of fish with the right stick and controlling a dude in a maze with the left stick with a psychiatrist narrating his story. As he devolves further and further into his imagination the screen is taken over more and more by the old-school game that gradually evolves from something reminiscent of Atari titles into a present-day 3D adventure.

What makes these minigames so particularly wild is that it’s such a juxtaposition of emotions. These scenes are full of joy, of adventure and of wonder and yet, deep down, you can’t help but remember you’re essentially causing this baby to drown to death. Despite always feeling a nagging “what am I going to do to get this person killed?” I always happily continued on. It’s also worth noting that this is a game that will not only hit you in the feels, it’ll continue to do so repeatedly throughout your 2-5 hours with it.

This is a narrative game with even less “gameplay” than typical narrative games where you make meaningful choices that change the outcome of events. It’s incredibly linear, and you never once make any important decision. However, the narrative is extremely powerful, and the controls of the game really made me feel connected to what was going on. You grip things with the right trigger and then use the stick to move your hand to do things like pull a door open or turn a music box handle. I also enjoyed having a plain white orb as a symbol that items can be interacted with as the home is SO full of stuff! I read somewhere that it truly felt like the home was lived in and I couldn’t agree more. Despite how linear the game is and how short it is, it’s a masterpiece. I absolutely can’t recommend it enough, it’s just amazing.

Note: I received a code for the game from the developer in exchange for an honest review.

No GravatarSometimes there are very special games that will forever hold a place in the heart of gamers. Chrono Trigger is one of those games. It is a game that is often hailed as being one of the best RPGs of all time and, in many cases, can be considered on of the greatest games of all time, period. Here are the reasons why:

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Chrono Trigger is a role-playing game developed by Square (now Square Enix) for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). The game was created by a team of extremely talented individuals, including Final Fantasy’s creator, Hironobu Sakaguchi. It was published in 1995 with critical success and was the third best-selling game of that year. Chrono Trigger was later ported to the PlayStation in 1999 and then repackaged in 2001 with Final Fantasy IV as “Final Fantasy Chronicles.” With such critical and commercial success, it has been later ported to the mobile platforms of the Nintendo DS, iOS, and Android. It is a revolutionary game that spawned the sequel Chrono Cross and gave a lot of fans some very happy memories.

The game follows Crono, a main character who never speaks during the game, Marle, a princess, and Lucca, Crono’s super-smart friend. During a Millennial Fair for the time period of AD 1000 in their world, Lucca and her father demonstrate a new teleporter. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work quite like it was supposed to and teleports Crono, Marle, and Lucca in time. They bounce around both forward and backward in time, learning about a creature named Lavos that wipes out civilization. The party is then determined to do what they can to save the world through time travel.

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It is a fantastic story, filled with twists and turns. Players end up traveling between seven different eras with their distinct characters, setting, and feel. Along the way, you meet the wonderful characters of Robo, Ayla, Magus, and the best and coolest video game character of all time, Frog. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Trust me, though. Frog is freaking amazing.

One of the many revolutionary aspects of Chrono Trigger was the possibility of multiple endings. However, there were other advancements including plot-related, character-driven sidequests. These may not seem like a big deal today, but in 1995, that was unheard of.

Though the game play is a fairly standard RPG, there were several new ideas to come forth as well. Done with beautiful two-dimensional graphics (that still look good, by the way), the player can roam around in an overworld typical of RPGs of the time and visit different areas. Each area has things to interact with, whether it be people to talk to, puzzles to solve, or enemies to defeat. One change to the traditional RPG is that Chrono Trigger has random encounters for enemies, some which may be visible and some that will ambush you. Unlike other RPGs at the time as well, the game’s battles take place in the same map area instead of being whisked off to a different screen.

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During fights with enemies, Chrono Trigger uses an active battle approach. Each character can do an action based off of a personal timer that is affected by that character’s stats. Characters can either do a straight attack or use their Techs, which use their magic points. One unique feature for the time was the ability to do combined attacks with characters using the Techs. The characters can double or triple their Tech use to create an even greater effect.

The game play is a lot of fun and allows a player to use many tactics to defeat enemies. Another really cool element that Chrono Trigger officially introduced was the New Game+ feature that allowed players to keep their characters’ stats, techniques, and inventory when playing a new game. This helped players go through the multiple endings easier. Though this idea may have been used in earlier games, from my research, it does look like Chrono Trigger was the first to actually use the term “New Game+.” Pretty awesome, right?

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One of my favorite game elements of Chrono Trigger is actually the soundtrack. It was primarily done by Yasunori Mitsuda, who had some help with the legendary Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. The shear amount of tracks for the game was an amazing feat for the time frame. The music is otherworldly and consists of some amazing songs, one of which is my all-time favorite: Frog’s Theme. Seriously, whenever I do something cool, I start humming it. Yes, the song is THAT epic.

Chrono Trigger took some giant leaps forward for gaming. It helped push some of the gaming elements that we all love so much in modern RPGs, especially Western RPGs. The game will always hold a special place in my heart, and I am planning on making it the first game that my daughter and I play together. It is just THAT amazing.

By otakuman5000 On 27 Feb, 2014 At 04:44 PM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Reviews, Reviews | With 0 Comments

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First Appeared on The Legend of Lorie

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

If you’re looking for a challenge on your Nintendo Wii U system, look no further as Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze will most likely make you go bananas… in a good way, of course. Retro Studios brings a direct sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns giving players a new adventure, additional playable characters, and unique ways to take on brand new, gorgeous levels.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes place after the Nintendo Wii title, Donkey Kong Country Returns. Starting the game, you see Donkey Kong and his friends watch as their home is overrun by animal vikings known as the “Snomads” who freeze Donkey Kong’s island. Donkey Kong and his gang set off in an attempt to take back their home traversing through water levels, icy terrains, and many other challenges.

Snomads
The evil snowmads that are the new enemies in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze.

If you’ve played the previous Donkey Kong Country games, you’ll be very familiar with the frustrating yet addicting platforming mechanics. Donkey Kong can roll, jump, and ground smash his way through enemies and obstacles. Besides your basic maneuvering on the ground, Donkey Kong and the gang will need to swing on vines, travel on various vehicles and animals, and now swim through treacherous deterrents. Controlling DK and the gang while swimming will take some time getting used to at first as the controls were a bit shaky, however, I was surprised at the attention to detail that was given to the newly added swimming gameplay. If you were to jump in the water, DK gracefully dives right in instead of his normal clunky, gorilla jump. In addition to the new underwater levels and swimming mechanics; the vehicles in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze have been revamped a bit. When riding in a mine cart, the screen will sometimes switch to 3D where controls will be shifted to navigate the cart by jumping from side to side. This happens interchangeably from side scrolling, to 3D, and  then viewing the game from above.  This adds a slightly new challenge to the already difficult mine cart levels. Speaking of difficulty, the Donkey Kong Country series has been known to give even the best of platformer gamers nightmares but in Tropical Freeze, the difficulty has been toned down a notch. Now don’t get me wrong, this game is still incredibly difficult. If you press the jump button too hard while on a mine cart level, you’ll hit an enemy flying only inches above the track or an incorrectly timed barrel shot will equal your inevitable demise. Nintendo, however, added a few things to make DK’s adventure a little bit easier for players like a shield power up you can buy from Funky Kong’s shop to help you pass that frustrating mine cart level. Regardless, if you’re a patient person then you’ll be looked at as a saint in the gaming community for beating a pretty difficult game.

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Underwater levels are a new and fun addition to the Donkey Kong Country series.

Retro Studios has done an amazing job at rebooting an already beloved video game that originally released on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System about 20 years ago. One of the most notable things has been the revamped soundtrack and the stunning graphics. A new soundtrack has been added to Tropical Freeze but veterans of the Donkey Kong Country series will notice a couple of tracks that sound a bit familiar. Why does it sound so familiar? Because David Wise, the original composer of the Donkey Kong Country series, was brought back on board for Tropical Freeze. You’ll find yourself humming or bobbing your head to the catchy, island-y type tunes that are in this game. On the subject of island-y type… “things”, the graphics in Tropical Freeze are beautiful. DK’s home has been transformed into an tropical mix of arctic and fire-y madness. Many levels take place in chaotic situations that DK and his gang have to escape from. One specific example that was actually one of my favorites in the game was a level that took place inside of a tornado. I found myself several times putting the controller down and just gawking at some of the brilliantly thought out levels and scenery. If you’re like me and notice the little things, you’ll see that the updated graphics have improved on the Wii U system. Donkey Kong looks “fuzzy” and you’ll notice Cranky Kong’s wrinkles in his muzzle. Basically, the game is gorgeous and it looks absolutely flawless playing on the television and off-screen on the Wii U Game pad. Tropical Freeze does not utilize the Wii U game pad in anyway except for having the ability to play off screen while leaving the main television screen available for another activity. I was slightly disappointed that there was not as much integration with the Wii U game pad but was still satisfied with the ability to play the game on the game pad when someone else in my household demanded the main television.

I’ve mentioned a few times in this review already but obviously Donkey Kong can’t save his island alone and in Tropical Freeze he has more than just Diddy Kong to help him on his quest. Besides Diddy Kong, additional playable characters have been added to the game with nifty abilities that will help with certain challenges players will come across. Diddy and Donkey Kong’s blonde haired friend, Dixie Kong, joins the gang and has some pretty useful tricks up her sleeve… or should we say ponytail? Look for the barrel with the cute, pink text to release Dixie and utilize her helicopter-like pony tail ability. This ability will help Donkey Kong hover in the air after a jump and will also lift him higher for a bit. If you’re playing as Dixie in co-operative mode, Dixie uses a bubble gun and a projectile and can also double jump. Cranky Kong also joins the team this time and even though he’s old, he is definitely still useful to Donkey Kong. Cranky can use his cane to bounce DK off of the ground and traverse through terrains that contain spikes or thorns. If you’re playing as Cranky Kong in co-operative mode, he throws dentures at enemies as his projectile weapon. With all of these playable characters; when you collect 100 bananas, you can utilize a new ability called “Kong Pow”. When you use Diddy Kong’s kong pow, all enemies on the screen will be turned into red balloons which are extra lives. If you use Dixie Kong’s kong pow, all of the enemies on the screen will turn into golden hearts which allow Donkey Kong to withstand one more hit before depleting red hearts. Last but not least, if you use Cranky Kong’s kong pow ability, all enemies into banana coins which allows players to purchase items from Funky Kong’s shop. With the addition of these characters, tackling the challenges in Tropical Freeze makes things a bit more interesting.

After collecting 100 bananas, players can activate the "kong pow" ability which does different things depending on which character DK is partied with.
After collecting 100 bananas, players can activate the “kong pow” ability which does different things depending on which character DK is partied with.

Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is a fantastic addition to the Donkey Kong Country series. Fans of the Donkey Kong Country series will instantly recognize the upbeat music, the difficult yet addicting platforming mechanics, and the memorable characters that really make the Donkey Kong Country series special. Don’t be fooled, however, this game is different from it’s predecessor. With a new story, new ways to take on the environment, additional playable characters, and a brand new soundtrack; you’d be doing yourself a disservice to not have this game in your Wii U library.

By Sean Jacobs On 17 Jan, 2014 At 02:06 PM | Categorized As Games You Slept On, Indie Spotlight, NINTENDO, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No Gravatarnano ship

Nano Assault Neo is a great game that harkens back to the old school games of the 16 bit era brought to you by Shin’En. Games like Gradius, R-Type are ones that I think of when I am trying to sell this game. While, I only use these classic titles as mere reference points into luring you the reader or any random person whom is looking for a good game to try, this game packs so much more. Nano Assault Neo is a very beautiful, fast-paced (16:9 60 frames per seconds) space shooter based inside the microscopic world in linear PCM 5.1 surround sound. Nano Assault isn’t just a side scrolling shooter like the games I originally mentioned yet it is a 3D hybrid of those titles. You will face all sorts of microscopic creatures that will come at you from various angles even from ways you can’t even see them attacking you from. These strange creatures come in all shapes and sizes with a large arsenal of projectiles speeding your way these will not be your only obstacles neither, the world itself presents its own challenges.

NanoAssault stage                                                      Nano-Assault-Neo-2                                                                                          nano crazy legs boss

“A warrior never enters a battle without a proper weapon” with the “Nanoshop” provided to you in between the 16 stages divided between 4 uniquely designed microscopic cluster worlds you can upgrade your ship with points collected on the previous stage completed with up to 3 different types of Subweapons and 4 Satellites which are position-able anyplace around your ship via your Wii U Gamepad. You can buy extra lives, Item Attractors, Score Doublers amongst other additions to your arsenal. Each world has its own large “extreme boss” after the 4 stages are completed within each cluster. Then fun can also be shared with a friend locally via co-op play using the TV & gamepad the gamepad even displays a small live feed in the corner of it displaying the action that’s going on screen with your team member. Additionally, missions are given to you that you can decide to complete if you desire along with competing with online with the ranking system provided to you the system ranges from all modes available to you within the game like single-player, two-player  & survivor mode to name a few.

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nano gamepad tv

This game is another great title that utilizes the Wii u gamepad well in small subtle ways that are intuitive and not overly done. Nano Assault can be used totally independent of the television, which is a plus for a parent of a house load of children and a wife who just might want to use the TV right when I am deep within a battle on one of these tyrannical micro worlds of Nano Assault Neo. This game can be played by any level of gamer but, you have been warned this game is not for the faint of heart, just endure the pain that will occur you will be thankful afterwards. This is an excellent shooter to the controller gripping end, I hope my words has moved you to go pick up this title on Nintendo’s Eshop now available for $9.99 in the U.S. Don’t miss out on this great game you already slept long enough on Shin’En games Nano Assault Neo.

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