Keen and I are longtime Pokemanics and have been glued to our 3DS' since yesterday morning. We make the vow to catch them all every time a new game comes…
I’m a huge fan of Mario’s various RPG outings. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the original Mario RPG, the Paper Mario Series (Which I actually streamed 2 summers ago), or the handheld Mario & Luigi series. I love them all. I have been trying to cram in as much of the newest M&L title in between Keen’s and my foray into Final Fantasy XIV. It’s the first in the series to come to the 3DS and the bar was already set pretty dang high by the last game, Bowser’s Inside Story. However, it doesn’t take very long to see that the game measures up fairly well.
Just like in past games you control both Bros. at once. Mario leads the team and Luigi takes up the rear. The A button is assigned to Mario and will perform all of his actions like jumping, hammering, etc., while B is used for Luigi in the same way. In order to traverse some of the game’s minor platforming elements you will need to time your jumps so that both Bros. stick together without getting separated. Bros. maneuvers are also back to help you get around and accomplish specific goals, but seem slightly changed as they are in every version. For some reason you will have to relearn your old moves along the way but you’ll still be doing stuff like using Luigi to hammer Mario into the ground. Interestingly enough, though, in this game in order to pound Mario into the ground you must be on soft ground, otherwise you will only shrink him. In BIS, for example, hitting Mario with the hammer anywhere would shrink him and in order to get underground they would stack up and spin-drill downward. In previous games before THAT each Bro would actually swap positions to hammer each other for those moves. It’s interesting how they make slight alterations to these. I got a little sidetracked there but the general gist is that it’s comfortably familiar. (more…)
I don’t remember exactly how SteamWorld Dig came to my attention, but as soon as I watched the trailer it had my interest. SteamWorld Dig, available for the Nintendo 3DS eShop, is sort of a cross between Spelunky and Metroid set in a sort of steampunk machine world inhabited by robots. You continuously dig down looking for rare minerals to sell while trying to avoid falling rocks, spikes, various enemies, and other hazards. Along the way you can obtain special powerups that will help along in your adventure. It’s a really fun concept that works rather well.
Initially you are only given a pick which starts things off slow. You can dig one space down, up, left and right. If you get to the very edge of a block you can hit a space two over but for the most part that’s the extent of your reach. You wont be able to break some of the harder dirt until you start to upgrade your pick and rocky blocks require a drill to get through. There are also some blocks that cannot be broken at all. They are mainly off to both sides to limit your horizontal traversal but are also sometimes used to support doorways or specifically designed puzzle areas. Mixed in with all of these are gem blocks that will reward you with valuable ores and gems which can be sold in the town above. Up there you can spend your money on upgrades to your pick, armor, and other powerups you find along the way.
You will have to make regular trips back to the surface because you are only given a few inventory slots initially, and your light source has a limited burn time. As it runs out the area around you gets dimmer and dimmer until you can no longer distinguish what is in the earth around you. You are still able to see a little bit and could keep digging if you really wanted but you risk not being able to see valuable ores and you could easily cause your own death by causing a rock to fall on you or by striking an explosive barrel. To make traversal easier you can buy ladders and torches but not really in high enough quantities to benefit you over a long period of time. You can also buy a teleport pad which is immensely useful for instantly getting back to base. However these require special orbs that you don’t come by often and are also used to upgrade yourself so you really have to decide where your resources are best spent.
My favorite aspect of the game is your ability to use steam to power your various functions. Your little robot dude will find pools of water underground which he can suck up and store in his tank. With that he can power is steam drill, steam boost, and steam punch. Each use takes a portion of your tanks so you will have to manage your supply until you can upgrade to a higher tank capacity. It creates a fun power-management aspect of the game. You can’t refill your tanks at town so you have to keep an eye out for water.
Every now and then you will come across a room which you can enter. These are the rooms which will hold the various powerups you can get and are usually designated so on your minimap as where to go next. There are other unmarked rooms which contain just ore or orbs but they seem to be entirely optional. These rooms usually offer most of the platforming that you will come across along with some puzzle element. There are usually one or two secret areas as well which lie behind inconspicuous blocks and usually keep a valuable gem or orb cache.
The whole game will take you probably anywhere from 7-8 hours on your first go depending entirely on how many upgrades you want to max and how much money you earn. You can actually get rated at the end of your run in categories like Time, Deaths, Money, and Orbs. I think I got gold in orbs and Money but bronze in the others. What can I say, I like to take my time and collect stuff. Plus I died a whole lot. Anyway, it’s a great game and easily among the best – if not the best — of the Nintendo 3DS eShop.
This game marks my first foray into the main MegaTen series. My prior experiences being only with Persona 3 (P3P) and Persona 4 Golden. I think I even blogged about the latter a while back. I heard that the main series was pretty different compared to the Persona offshoots and their time management aspects. Having really enjoyed P3p and P4G I was a little concerned that SMTIV might not do it for me, but after 10 or so hours I’m already hooked.
The game takes place in, what I can only assume to be, some kind of post-apocalyptic Japan. Things have pretty much reverted to a more feudal era with stuff like kings, castles, nobility, and of course Samurai, which play a pretty large role in things. Every year or so all young men are called to attend a gauntlet ceremony to see if they will be chosen to join the Samurai, etc. Obviously you as the protagonist gets inducted and the game goes from there. It’s a pretty interesting narrative so far and I have the feeling that I’m just scratching at the surface so far. I can already tell there is going to be a lot of philosophical thinking about good and evil. I’m usually more for the lighthearted kind of stories but it is still interesting so far. Plus, supposedly you get to make more choices down the road and depending on who you side with you get a different ending. I’m looking forward to seeing the extent of that. (more…)
I wanted to write about this game like a week ago but our copies were in a state of shipping purgatory or something and didn’t manage to get here until quite late. Since then both Keen and I have been glued to our 3DS screens and doing our damnedest to shake the yolk of oppression placed on us by our Raccoon overlord, Tom Nook, all while juggling the new responsibilities that come with being Mayor. Most people have probably played or at the very least heard of Animal Crossing so I’m just going to go into the game elements that are new and appealing to me.
The new housing options are a much welcomed addition to the series. Mr. Nook takes a slight step back in this installment and deals only in real estate, but make no mistake, he will gladly shoulder you with crippling amounts of debt every time you want to upgrade your house. Now you can also buy different additions to the outside of your house. New doors, fencing, roofing, etc. A regular item store still exists and is run by Nook’s kids, Timmy and Tommy, so the whole Nook clan will be able to meet your housing needs.
Making designs for clothing has never really been chief among my Animal Crossing interests but for some reason I’ve caught the bug in New Leaf. You can make some pretty swanky stuff with the new pro-design options that let you have independent designs on the front, back, and sleeves. I’ve been working on a line of Adventure Time clothing featuring Finn and Jake. Pants are another neat addition to the clothing aspect of the game. Or skirts, if that’s your thing. You get a lot more options now to make your villager quite stylish. (more…)