Monday, August 24, 2015

Splatoon - Nintendo Wii U


Splatoon is a shooter game for the Nintendo Wii U made by Nintendo.

The Game:

In Splatoon, you play as creatures known as Inklings. Normally, Inklings appear in their humanoid form. However, they can transform into a squid mode that can swim through ink of their own color.

The gameplay is a third person shooter. Most of the weapons are based off of the types of weapons you'd see in most shooter games - pistols, rifles, sniper rifles, automatics, etc. In addition, there are also giant paint brushes and giant paint rollers. Rather than these weapons shooting bullets, they shoot ink.

The single player experience in Splatoon is fun, but very short. Playing through single player rewards you with various blueprints to buy new weapons with. The final boss battle in single player is probably one of my favorite boss battles in a game.

Single player mode isn't the real draw of the game - that would be multiplayer. There are multiple game modes for online. In unranked matches, you can play a mode called Turf Wars. In Turf Wars, the goal is for you and your team of three other people to cover more flat land than the "bad guys" before the timer runs out. "Splatting" (killing) people on the other team is not the goal of this mode. 
In ranked matches, there are three modes: Splat Zones, Tower Control, and Rainmaker. All three of these modes focus more on splatting members of the other team. In all three of these modes, your goal is to stay in control until you reach the goal or until the game timer runs out.
In Splat Zones, the goal is to hold control of one or two "zones" by keeping it covered with your team's ink. In addition to the game timer, each team has their own timer. When you hold control, your team's timer goes down. When the other team takes control, your timer gets a penalty added to it. The winner of this mode is whoever runs their timer out first, or whoever has the lowest timer when the game timer runs out.
Tower Control has you climb on top of a vehicle. The vehicle is on a track, and it starts to move towards the goal of whichever team has members on it. A team's goal is near the enemy's spawn point. The vehicle moves (marginally) faster when you have more team members on it. If nobody is on the vehicle for a period of time, it starts to move back to the starting point.

Rainmaker is similar to Tower Control. A giant weapon called the Rainmaker sits in the middle of the arena. Your goal is to destroy the shield of the Rainmaker, and bring it to the goal near your enemy's spawn point. The Rainmaker can be charged up to shoot large tornadoes of ink. Whenever the person holding the Rainmaker is splatted, the Rainmaker gets dropped and can be picked up by someone else.

Before starting matches, you can select your clothing (which can have different in game powerups) and your weapon. Each multiplayer weapon also has a subweapon (such as ink mines) and a special. As you cover the ground with ink, your special charges up. The specials include an "ink strike" that covers a large area of your choice with ink, a bazooka that shoots tornadoes of ink, and a tracker that temporarily shows where all of the other team's members are.

The controls in the game are quite unique. You have to play using the Wii U Gamepad. The touch screen shows a map of the stage with the location of your teammates. You can tap on a teammate to "super jump" to them, which takes some time. You can choose to move around with traditional shooter controls (walking with the left control stick, aiming with the right control stick). However, the default (and most used) control scheme has you walk with the left control stick, and aim by tilting the Gamepad. You can still make adjustments looking left or right using the right control stuck when in this mode. Using the tilt controls adds a lot of accuracy to shooting. It's a bit uncomfortable at first, but great once you get used to it.


The DLC:
Splatoon doesn't follow the traditional model of DLC. Rather than selling extra/locked content, content is slowly unlocked for free over time by Nintendo. All three ranked modes started out as being locked. Many stages and weapons have also been unlocked by Nintendo over time, and will continue to.

Amiibo Usage:
There are three Amiibo compatible with Splatoon - the squid, Inkling boy, and Inkling girl. Each unlocks single player challenges that award in-game currency, a special minigame, special clothes, and a special weapon. The challenges all take place in various stages from the regular single player mode, but add a twist. The special weapons are just reskins of weapons you can get through normal gameplay. They don't do anything - they just look cool. The clothes also have abilities you can get through normal gameplay.

The squid Amiibo has two different types of challenges - limited ink, and Kracken time attack mode. In limited ink, you are only able to refill your ink tank a limited amount while completing the level. This is easily the toughest of the challenges. Kracken time attack mode is the easiest! Instead of transforming into a squid, you transform into a giant Kracken that can attack with ease and doesn't take damage. Completing the challenge unlocks a robot warrior costume, a rhythm minigame that contains all of the game's music, and a reskin of one of the basic guns.

The Inkling boy challenges replace your gun with a giant paint roller. This makes some of the stages a lot easier, and others a lot more difficult. Completing the challenge unlocks a warlord costume, a racing minigame, and a reskin of the basic paint roller.

The Inkling girl challenges replace your gun with a "charger" - basically a sniper rifle that you have to charge up. As with the roller challenges, this makes some stages easier and some stages harder. Completing the challenges unlocks a school uniform, a volleyball minigame, and a reskin of the basic charger.

In the United States of America, you can buy the Inkling boy and the Inkling girl separately. The only way to get the squid Amiibo is in a three-pack that also contains both Inkling Amiibo.

The Amiibo aren't necessary for full enjoyment of the game, nor do they give you an advantage aside from some easy in-game currency. However, if you really like the game's single player mode or some shinier weapons than everyone else, they are worth getting. The figures are all highly detailed.

The Graphics:
The graphics in Splatoon are very cartoonish - which isn't bad. All of the stages, weapons, and clothes are quite detailed. Players and ink show quite well on the stages without the stages looking bland.

Although the ink colors of the teams change each match, people who are colorblind will be glad to know that Nintendo has a feature that allows you to lock the ink colors to two contrasting colors that are generally colorblind friendly.

The Sound:
Most of the music in Splatoon sounds like pop or techno. They sound good, but playing online will make you quite tired of them pretty quickly. The sound effects all sound appropriate - right down to the sound it makes when you run someone over with a giant paint roller.

My Complaints:
The single player experience is very fun, but not very long. It's barely a complaint though, as multiplayer is the main point of the game.

The Price:
$59.99 on the Nintendo Wii U eShop and most retailers

Overall:
Splatoon is a must have for any Wii U owner with their Wii U connected to the internet, and appropriate for all ages. It's a game that will keep you coming back for more.

10/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 6/6
Controls: 4/4
Graphics: 2/2
Sound: 2/2
Multiplayer: 2/2
Amount of Content: 2/2
Replayability: 2/2

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Hazumi - Nintendo 3DS eShop


Hazumi is a puzzle/strategy game for the Nintendo 3DS made by EyeCancer.

The Game:

Hazumi has you controlling a ball breaking bricks and avoiding traps in each level. The way you control the ball is interesting - you can move it left or right. Aside from that, the ball bounces off of walls and blocks, similar to Breakout or Pong.

To complete each level, you have to break all the breakable blocks on the stage. You can only destroy blocks of your ball's color. The ball's color can be changed by hitting special blocks. There are star ratings for how well you complete levels.

Hazumi includes a level editor that lets you make your own stages! Sadly, the game lacks QR Code sharing of levels.

The Graphics:
The graphics in Hazumi are a very crisp pixel art that looks fantastic. The game has 3D, but it doesn't really add to the game. A nice touch, however!

The Sound:
The music is all really catchy chiptunes. There are enough tracks to keep it from getting repetitive.

My Complaints:
I was really disappointed with the lack of level sharing via QR code. This would have added more replay value to the game.

The Price:
$3.99 on the Nintendo 3DS eShop

Overall:
Hazumi is a pretty simple game, but it does its job perfectly. With over 100 levels, it will keep you busy for quite a long time. With its low price, you have no excuse not to get this.

9/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 6/6
Controls: 4/4
Graphics: 2/2
Sound: 2/2
Multiplayer: 0/2
Amount of Content: 2/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by EyeCancer

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Art of Balance - Nintendo Wii U eShop


Art of Balance is a puzzle game for the Nintendo Wii U made by Shin'en Multimedia.

The Game:

Art of Balance is the 3rd entry in the Art of Balance series. In Art of Balance, you are tasked with balancing different objects on platforms to prevent them from falling in the water.

There is a lot of variety in the levels, even though it might not seem like there would be. Some have platforms that float rather than being anchored. Some pieces break under pressure.

There are a few different game modes including multiplayer. Multiplayer can get quite crazy!

The Graphics:
The graphics are beautiful. The menus are fantastic. The levels are just great too! The reflections of the water and glass pieces are very pretty.

The Sound:
The music is good, but there isn't very much of it. The sound effects are good.

My Complaints:
I... don't really have any.

The Price:
$8.99 on the Nintendo Wii U eShop

Overall:
If you own a Wii U, get this.

10/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 6/6
Controls: 4/4
Graphics: 2/2
Sound: 2/2
Multiplayer: 2/2
Amount of Content: 2/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by Shin'en Multimedia

The Legend of Dark Witch - Nintendo 3DS eShop


The Legend of Dark Witch is a platformer game for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, made by CIRCLE Entertainment.

The Game:

The Legend of Dark Witch has a story.. But not really all that interesting of one. Basically, a bunch of crystals that give the world power were stolen - and your job is to get them back. After beating one of the six levels, you get a little bit of story and another special attack.

You attack by shooting. The enemies are varied - some shoot, some only do damage when they touch you. Some walk, and some fly.

The Graphics:
The graphics in the menus and talking scenes are anime-style. The platforming part of the game is pixel art. Both look fantastic. Sadly, the 3D effect is not used at all.

The Sound:
The game has decent music, but there isn't very much. There is Japanese voice acting for talking scenes.

My Complaints:
The game can be pretty challenging, but there aren't enough checkpoints. Also, the lack of 3d is a bit of a bummer!

The Price:
$3.99 on the Nintendo 3DS eShop

Overall:
For $3.99, you're getting a heckuva platformer. There are better options for the price (Gunman Clive, for example), but if you want more platforming - this is for you.

7.5/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 5/6
Controls: 4/4
Graphics: 1/2
Sound: 2/2
Multiplayer: 0/2
Amount of Content: 1/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by CIRCLE Entertainment

Friday, October 17, 2014

99Seconds - Nintendo Wii U eShop


99Seconds is an action/arcade game for the Nintendo Wii U made by EnjoyUp Games.

The Game:

In 99Seconds, your job is to avoid... shapes. You move around the stage using the control stick. Sadly, there is no stylus option.

As the name implies, each play lasts 99 seconds... sort of. There are powerups to add time to the clock. Once the clock reaches zero, you continue playing until you get hit by a shape.

There is a multiplayer mode to play against your friends. There's also an online leaderboard to compare your score with other players.

The Graphics:
The graphics are incredibly basic. The shapes are just black shapes. This doesn't take away from the game - you don't really spend any time looking at the pieces aside from trying to avoid them.

The Sound:
The music is techno, but it's very soft.

My Complaints:
I was disapointed of the lack of the option to use the stylus.

The Price:
$2.49 on the Nintendo Wii U eShop

Overall:
99Seconds feels a lot like a smartphone game. For the price of the game, this isn't a bad thing. If you want a cheap action game, this is a great choice.

6/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 4/6
Controls: 2/4
Graphics: 1/2
Sound: 0/2
Multiplayer: 2/2
Amount of Content: 1/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by EnjoyUp Games

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Teslagrad - Nintendo Wii U eShop


Teslagrad is a platformer game for the Nintendo Wii U made by Rain Games.

The Game:

The story of Teslagrad starts directly from the title screen. There isn't any dialog in the game. It's all told by picture.

In Teslagrad, you run, jump, and control electricity and magnetism to move around. There are a lot of cool mechanics using this - such as moving platforms, items, and propulsing yourself.

The presentation of the game, in both music and graphics, feels like a great movie.

The Graphics:
The graphics are beautiful. The sprites look hand drawn. The backgrounds are multilayered 3d.

The Sound:
The music in Teslagrad sounds like a movie score for an epic.

My Complaints:
I had some issues with the game freezing a little when playing on the gamepad. Other than that, I don't have any.

The Price:
$14.99 on the Nintendo Wii U eShop

Overall:
This game is a great experience all around. If you want an immersive experience, check it out!

9/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 6/6
Controls: 4/4
Graphics: 2/2
Sound: 2/2
Multiplayer: 0/2
Amount of Content: 2/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by Rain Games

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Angry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade - Nintendo Wii U eShop


Angry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade is a physics puzzle game for the Nintendo Wii U made by Cypronia.

The Game:

If you didn't guess it from the name, Angry Bunnies is an Angry Birds clone - and a pretty decent one at that. In Angry Bunnies, you have two goals each level - to destroy the foxes, and to collect all three carrots.

To achieve these goals, you launch bunnies out of a cannon. (Yes, you read that correctly...) The bunnies are launched at structures to make them collapse. You control the direction and velocity that the bunny is launched at. There are different bunnies with different features - such as being able to boost mid-flight, or being heavier than the others.

The game is controlled solely by the touch screen. The touch screen shows a close up of the cannon, along with the trajectory your bunny will take. The TV screen shows the full level.

The game features an online scoreboard to share scores with friends.

The Graphics:
The graphics in Angry Bunnies are colorful and cartoonish. The backgrounds are multilayered. The bunnies, foxes, carrots, and structures are 3D models. They're fit well for the game.

The Sound:
Angry Bunnies features mildly annoying music and sound effects - a lot like Angry Birds. I played it with the sound off.

My Complaints:
You can't play the game solely on the touchscreen - you need the TV too. This feels like something that could have been easily implemented.

The Price:
$8.99 on the Nintendo 3DS eShop

Overall:
Angry Bunnies: Colossal Carrot Crusade isn't a bad game, but it feels a tad bit expensive for what you're getting. However, if you're in the mood for a low-stress game for the Wii U, this is worth checking out.

6/10 Stars  

Gameplay: 3/6
Controls: 2/4
Graphics: 2/2
Sound: 0/2
Multiplayer: 1/2
Amount of Content: 2/2
Replayability: 2/2

Review copy provided by Cypronia