First Impressions - News

July2010

  • First Impressions Disney Epic Mickey

    How's the rodent romp shaping up?

    Disney Epic Mickey was a big hit at E3 2010, atoning for its earlier disappointing screenshots with a more refined graphical style and a gameplay system described as "playstyle matters" by Warren Spector. We got the chance to give the rodent a run-out at a recent event, and came away with admittedly mixed feelings. Taking on one of the 3D action-adventure..

  • First Impressions Wii and DS Round-Up from London

    Get the lowdown on Okamiden, Super Scribblenauts and more!

    Ace Nintendo Life reporters James and Darren were recently invited to attend a special preview event in London to get hands-on with the 3DS as well as Nintendo's upcoming Wii and DS line-up. We've already posted our impressions of the 3DS and its games, so let's cast our eye to the wider...

  • First Impressions Heavy Fire: Special Operations

    We enlist for Teyon's war shooter

    We've been bringing you regular field updates on Teyon's WiiWare lightgun shooter Heavy Fire: Special Operations since its announcement in April, and we recently got the chance to sit down and blast through two missions from the completed game. Played out entirely on-rails, Heavy Fire is immediately reminiscent of arcade light gun shooters such as Operation Wolf..

June2010

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Z・ONE 2

    More budget side-scrolling shooting for your Japanese DSi

    You might think with the release of the G.G. Series Collection+, Genterprise and Suzak would be done releasing budget games for the DSi. After all, the collection includes all the G.G. Series DSiWare releases to-date, plus another 15 games never released to the DSi Shop, but apparently it's time for sequels as one of the first games,..

  • E3 2010 First Impressions: Donkey Kong Country Returns

    Nintendo's famous ape is back and better than ever!

    When Rare developed the original Donkey Kong Country title for the Super Nintendo console, many were in awe of the impressively-rendered graphics they had managed to syphon out of the Super Nintendo's 16-bit hardware. Now with Rare a part of Microsoft, Nintendo needed someone to reignite the series and decided to look up an old friend for the job..

  • E3 2010 First Impressions: Kirby's Epic Yarn

    We take Nintendo's newest Kirby title for a spin

    In the weeks leading up to the E3 show, we all heard the rumours of a new Kirby game being possibly in development so it should come as no real shock that one actually materialised during Nintendo's Press Conference. What is surprising is that Kirby's Epic Yarn is not only a 2D side-scroller for the...

  • E3 2010 First Impressions: Nintendo 3DS

    Hands on with Nintendo's amazing 3D portable

    Any time there's an announcement of new video game hardware, a certain buzz is created. In all truth, you couldn't walk five feet on the streets of Los Angeles on the way to the Convention Center without hearing someone talking about Nintendo's upcoming 3DS system. Even the line for the Nintendo keynote...

  • E3 2010 First Impressions: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

    We got hands on with Nintendo's flagship E3 title.

    If there's one first-party game that's getting most of the attention at Nintendo's E3 booth, it's got to be Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword with the line to play it snaking around the entire Nintendo booth several times. So you can imagine the dirty looks I received when I was whisked up to the VIP...

  • First Impressions Jett Rocket

    Shiny 3D platforming comes to WiiWare

    Everyone was impressed by the initial videos of Jett Rocket when they first came out, but they don't prepare you for the experience of playing the game itself. We were lucky enough to play a preview build consisting of the first area and it's probably safe to say that based upon our experience this could be the definitive 3D platformer for WiiWare. The..

  • First Impressions Liight

    Put those backstage lighting skills to work!

    Although some may argue that there are too many puzzle games on the Wii's download service, it's always nice when a developer shows us a fresh concept in the genre. Studio Walljump recently treated us to a near-release version of its upcoming WiiWare title Liight and after a bit of time exploring what it has to offer we're happy to report that it looks..

May2010

  • First Impressions Bejeweled 2

    Crack cocaine comes to Wii

    Popcap Games is a modern internet success story. At a time when it was deemed impossible to make money from selling downloadable content on the web, John Vechey, Brien Fiete and Jason Kapalka managed to build a gaming juggernaut on the back of simple, but addictive games like Zuma and Peggle that have gone on to become the bane of office managers everywhere. Bejeweled was..

  • First Impressions Dive - The Medes Island Secret

    Diving for retro pearls

    After Cosmonaut Games' "spot the difference" WiiWare debut, 5 Spots Party, you might not have expected anything exciting to come from them. But after some hands-on time with their latest effort, Dive: The Medes Island Secret, we think that opinion may change. We were lucky enough to get to play a pre-release build of the game which, despite a rather slick..

  • First Impressions Illust Logic

    Downloadable picross? Yes, please!

    Although video game versions of nonograms (better known to Nintendo gamers as Picross) were originally controlled with a D-Pad and buttons like any other game, it's clearly a genre that benefits massively from the touchscreen interface of Nintendo's DS family of handhelds. No surprise then that Hudson has seen fit to release a version of their own picross game,..

  • First Impressions 10 Second Run

    Running on the run

    Whilst the Japanese DSi Shop features some fairly robust gaming experiences it has to be said that there's a place for quick games that can be played in a few seconds. G-Mode's 10 Second Run is a perfect example, essentially a collection of dozens of short platforming levels for when you need a quick bit of running and jumping on the go. There are 50 levels to be played in three..

  • First Impressions Fall in the Dark

    Fail in the Dark

    Fall in the Dark looks pretty good on paper: take an adventurer and guide him through a series of levels in six different worlds with gameplay that's a mix of Toki Tori and Montezuma's Revenge: difficult puzzling combined with 8-bit visuals and gameplay could be good, right? Well it would be except for some rather bizarre level design and worse game mechanics. Your Indiana..

April2010

  • First Impressions at Enter! Block Kuzushi

    Brick-breaking fun on the go

    Tasuke seems to have been putting out a lot of board game titles recently, which all seem to be broken out from a retail release called Table Game Spirits: Victory; which is itself an enhanced version of Table Game Spirits. Both of them are Japanese DS cart releases that collect various Japanese board games including shogi, go, mahjong and hanafuda, as well as Western..

  • First Impressions Aa! Nikaku Dori

    More fun with mahjong tiles

    Despite releasing versions of Shanghai on both Gameboy Color and Gameboy Advance in Japan (not to mention Wii and WiiWare versions), Sunsoft have elected not to favour Nintendo's current generation of handheld with the classic match-two puzzle game which they seem to have a monopoly on in the Land of the Rising Sun. Fortunately Acute Entertainment has stepped into the..

  • First Impressions Katamuku + Action: Katamuction

    More camera-motion mini-game madness

    It seems a number of developers have been taken with the idea of using the DSi's cameras to simulate motion-based gameplay, but unfortunately many of these games end up feeling like gimmicky tech-demos more than actually fun games. HI Games & Publishing's latest attempt makes for an uneven experience with one of the four games in Katamuction providing a..

  • First Impressions Geki Tsui Ō

    Dogfight motion demo a go-go

    Though the DSi has no native motion-sensing capabilities, it hasn't stopped developers from trying to use the system's built-in cameras to approximate the tilt-sensors of the iPhone. As expected however, cameras are not motion sensors and although the latest effort from Genki Mobile includes a fair collection of mini-games involving flying and shooting targets, it all..

  • First Impressions Frobot

    "Blame it on the (robot) boogie"

    Robots pretty much go with everything and afros are no exception. After getting a bit of time with a pre-release build of Fugazo's WiiWare debut, Frobot, we'd have to say the hairstyle is as fresh on a machine as it is a human being. Navigating menus displaying a fun '70s look to the "Single Playa" game, you'll find that Frobot is an action puzzle game..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Exciting River

    Burt Reynolds not included

    Whilst a game based on Deliverance probably would be very cool, Exciting River is about kayaking to a goal in the quickest time possible, rather than surviving a weekend river-rafting amongst crazed banjo-duelling hillbillies out for blood. Still, exciting it is thanks to good controls and fast-paced gameplay. There are a number of courses to play through in two..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Throw Out

    Fancy a game of 4-on-4 Cyberball?

    Although "proper" sports video games have been more successful at home and in the arcades, there's something to be said for the made up ones that have less focus on player stats and more on just playing the game. Suzak's Throw Out, a more recent entry in the G.G. Series of budget arcade-style games, is definitely one of the latter: a game that marries..

  • First Impressions G.G Series: Drift Circuit

    Drift on outta here

    Nothing is perfect, not even the G.G. Series. We figured there had to be at least one dud in this assortment of budget-priced slices of arcade fun and this is definitely it. From the screenshots you'd think you're going to be playing a fun overhead racer like Moto Roader or Super Sprint – a notion reinforced by the fact that there's nine tracks included – but you'd be sadly..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Dark Spirits

    Side-scrolling bullet hell magic

    One good thing about the Japanese DSi Shop for retro-gaming fans is the availability of old-school sprite-based shooters, with several decent ones to choose from. The G.G. Series already has a few among its number, but they're all different enough that it cannot hurt to add another one: enter Dark Spirts, of the bullet-hell variety. Players control a figure in a..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Shinobi Karakuri-Den

    Mappy Ninja Gaiden

    Ninja have been a fixture of video games for a long time, so it's only fitting that Suzak have created a game for the G.G. Series featuring one that bears more than a passing resemblance to Ryu from Ninja Gaiden. Though his inspiration may run around beating up street toughs, the hero of Shinobi Karakuri-Den bounces around like a certain badge-wearing mouse from Namco. It's a bit..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Black × Block

    For fans of mind-bending only

    Most of the G.G. Series previewed to-date have been pretty accessible puzzlers or arcade style games from various genres, but here's the first one that's probably only going to be a hit with a small audience due to the nature and level of the challenge on offer. The gameplay is essentially similar to Toki Tori and freeware Flash games: you control a small stick man who..

  • First Impressions G.G Series: Tetsubou

    Arcade gymnastics

    You have to give credit to developer Suzak for the work it's done with the G.G. Series. Whilst most of the games are interesting takes on traditional genres, it also likes to throw out the occasional brand-new concept, like Tetsubou: a game which could be best termed a "gymnastic puzzler." Players are presented with a multi-screen playfield consisting of a start point..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Conveyor Kombō

    A refreshingly novel take on the "match three" puzzler

    There have been many variations on the "match three" puzzle game, often involving adding another item to complete a matching set, but it's rare to see a truly new and novel mechanic used in what has become something of a cliched puzzle game style. For this reason G.G. Series Conveyor Kombō is something of a surprise, because it not..

  • First Impressions 200V Challenge Spirits Mahjong

    Challenging mahjong battles at a budget price

    Mahjong games have existed on Japanese consoles almost since the first machines were rolled out, and over time certain standards have emerged, to such an extent that having experience with one mahjong game will lead you to expect certain conventions in another. Part of the attraction of Tasuke's 200V...

  • First Impressions Furry Legends

    All the way from Poland!

    Recently an intrepid Nintendo Life reporter made the long and arduous journey to visit Polish developer Gamelion, the chaps behind DSiWare hit Extreme Hangman, to check out their upcoming WiiWare roll ‘em up Furry Legends. With the first instalment currently awaiting approval from Nintendo there was plenty to get our teeth into, and the chance to get some answers about..

  • First Impressions Bit.Man!!

    Carrying the standard for a forgotten genre

    Back in the early 80s the "maze" game was a popular genre both in arcades and on home consoles, featuring a fixed screen and expected mechanics of navigating a character around hazards whilst collecting objects. Once platforming and adventure games took off, the maze game all but vanished; even the king of mazes, Pac-Man himself, has long since..

March2010

  • First Impressions Sora o Kakeru Shōjyo Shooting

    Pretty girls and shooting action: a recipe for success

    If you weren't already jealous of the number of old-fashioned shooting games available in the Japanese DSi Shop thanks to the G.G. Series, now you have another one courtesy of I.T.L. Roughly translated as Shooting Space Girls, this is a side-scroller with a difference, though what that difference is won't be immediately apparent. You have an..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Drilling Attack

    Not a mad dentist, just more arcade fun!

    It's not hard to see why we keep on downloading G.G. Series games to preview because as many as there are, they all seem to have been made by people who care about delivering a quality slice of simple gaming fun. That they're only 200 Points each is just icing on the electron cake of arcade goodness. Drilling Attack features a robot (or person in chunky..

  • First Impressions G.G Series: D-Tank

    Tank-tastic arcade fun!

    Tanks feature in some of the earliest arcade games, from vector graphics classics like Battle Zone and Armor Attack to "newer" sprite-based games like Vindicators and Tank Force. As with the latter D-Tank sees players controlling a tank and trying to defend a base from attack by incoming waves of enemy tanks: a fairly simple premise, but as with other G.G. Series..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Assault Buster

    Arcade action the G.G. Series way

    The G.G. Series of games in the Japanese DSi Shop really are a little slice of arcade heaven. Not just because they offer some good old-fashioned fun, but because they're such well-crafted titles generally. Assault Buster is certainly one to put into the "pretty good" column, offering an interesting combination of run-and-gun and shooting action. Players..

  • News 3D Motion Gaming Debuts on the DSi

    Breaking new ground with the DSi camera

    Although rumours abound of a motion-enabled successor to the DS being readied for unveiling in the near future, it seems some developers just couldn't wait and decided to attempt the same kind of game mechanics afforded by accelerometers utilising the second camera present on the DSi. The system is known as...

  • First Impressions Uchimakure! Touchpen Wars

    A touching game of combat

    Tom Create's follow-up to the cheap-and-cheerful space-based take on Dig Dug II is Touchpen Wars, an arcade-style shooter that's also offered at the budget price of 200 Points. Don't be fooled by the title – it's not a game laden with sentiment, but uses flicks and taps of the stylus to launch projectiles from gun emplacements at the bottom of the lower screen towards..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Vertex

    More budget puzzling fun from Suzak

    Vertex is another take on the puzzle genre in the G.G. Series and like Energy Chain it's a competent and fairly original concept, but not necessarily an addictive one. Players move a small glowing green dot at the bottom which is projecting a guide line to the top of the screen. The object is to press buttons to light up the correct number of darkened vertices..

  • First Impressions Are? DS ga Sakasa Desu Kedo. Sakasa Drops

    A refreshing spin on the classic Tetris concept

    Sakasa Drops is the second DSiWare effort from Tecmo and like Gyaku Shooting is played holding your DSi upside down with the touchscreen up top. It's a novel gimmick that literally conveys the fact that the tables are being turned on some familiar gameplay. This game most strongly echoes the classic puzzle game Tetris with a couple of twists: players..

  • First Impressions Are? DS ga Sakasa Desu Kedo. Gyaku Shooting

    It's Star Force in a world gone mad!

    Tecmo have finally dipped their toes in the DSiWare water with a couple of games that have the novel feature of being played holding your DSi upside-down with the touchscreen at the top. This first one is based upon the classic Tekhan vertical shooter Star Force, which was one of the Virtual Console Arcade launch titles on the Wii. In both graphics and sound..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Energy Chain

    Budget puzzling from the budget DSiWare machine

    We have to figure that Suzak is porting games they originally developed for mobile phones for the G.G. Series, because it just doesn't seem possible that they could have made so many games in so short a span of time and actually had this many of them turn out to be worthwhile. Energy Chain is a puzzle game and whilst we wouldn't necessarily call it..

  • First Impressions Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love

    "You're a shining star, no matter who you are..."

    Sakura Wars is a rather interesting series of games and one of Sega's biggest franchises in Japan, though oddly only the spin-off anime has been seen elsewhere – until now. The fifth Sakura Taisen game (as the series is known in Japan), So Long, My Love is the first to get localised for Western markets and as such is a rare treat. We were lucky..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Chō Hero Ōga

    "There's a super-man coming, there's a super-man coming..."

    This entry in the G.G. Series is a nice little brawler with a superhero theme. As with other games in the series, there's no menu options to worry about, game modes or story: instead you just use the D-Pad and a couple of buttons to pound on some costumed freaks until they get the better of you. Stages have static backgrounds and are a few..

  • First Impressions Astro Bugz Revenge

    Buggle Bobble

    Please note that these impressions are based upon playing an alpha version of the game code. Changes are certain to be made prior to the final game release. If a developer is going to make a puzzle game that uses a well-established mechanic – such as matching three objects of the same colour – it's important to put a new spin on things, and thankfully that's what Sudden Games has..

  • First Impressions Cave Story

    The seminal indie game finally comes to Nintendo

    Cave Story is like a Cinderella tale of indie game development, arriving at a time when the conventional wisdom was that the days of a lone programmer creating a complex and compelling game were behind us; it proved that the old spirit of the 8-bit era is still alive and well in the 21st century. Independent studio Nicalis has been fortunate enough..

  • First Impressions Bit.Trip RUNNER

    8-bit run amok!

    RUNNER is the fourth and next entry in Gaijin Games' six-part Bit.Trip series and we've been fortunate enough to spend some time with the latest build, which has just been sent off to Nintendo for final approval. Though this preview is based on the "final" version of RUNNER, we want to emphasise that changes are still...

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Wonder Land

    Alice in bullet-hell land

    Genterprise has published a steady string of G.G. Series games for DSiWare, delivering some much needed arcade-style gaming at a budget price with the majority of games coming from development studio Suzak. Wonder Land is a bullet hell shooter based upon Alice in Wonderland – not exactly a logical pairing, but certainly an amusing one. The sprite-based graphics are sharp..

  • First Impressions Kappa Michi

    My little water demon

    In case you don't know what a kappa is (and we certainly didn't until we first heard of this game), know that it is a mischievous water sprite from Japanese mythology prone to eating small children (and cucumbers – hence the "kappa maki" found in Japanese sushi restaurants); now residing on the DSi. A product of internal Nintendo studio Brownie Brown, Inc., Kappa..

  • First Impressions Kai Illust Puzzle Guru Guru Logic

    Picross meets ... Quarth?

    Nintendo seems to have single-handedly popularised picross on home and console game systems, with only Hudson daring to dabble in the same space. Continuing the tradition they've partnered with D4 Enterprise to bring a new faster-paced game to the DSi which combines traditional Picross with elements of Konami's old puzzle/shooter, Quarth. Instead of creating an image..

February2010

  • First Impressions Aa Mujō Setsuna

    Lots of flash; not much substance

    Nintendo isn't exactly known for publishing shooters, much less shooters of the "bullet hell" variety, but that's exactly what we have here. Developed by Arika and recently shown at the Nintendo Media event in North America as Metal Torrent, Aa Mujō Setsuna is certainly one of the most graphically impressive DSiWare games we've seen, but the gameplay is..

  • First Impressions WarioWare DIY, FlingSmash and Photo Dojo

    Hands-on with three very different titles

    You've already heard what we thought of Metroid: Other M, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Sin and Punishment 2, and we got to play Monster Hunter 3 a few weeks ago, but there's still plenty to tell about the other titles available to play throughout the summit. One title we made a beelin

  • First Impressions Sin and Punishment 2

    Blasting, slashing, stunning – trailer inside!

    It took forever (well, nearly) for Treasure's seminal N64 game Sin and Punishment to see a Western release, but thankfully the sequel isn't due to take anywhere near as long to find its way to your Wii disc tray, with a European release date of 7th May. When Nintendo offered us the chance to play it with the Wii Zapper on a huge projection screen..

  • First Impressions Fantasic Cube

    Hey, you got your Columns in my Quarth!

    Fantasic Cube is very much an old-school puzzle game, but a decent one and more full-featured than most of the puzzlers we've seen lately. There are three single player game modes on offer and two-way multiplayer either locally or over Wi-Fi connection with friends or random strangers. The primary game mode is your typical Story Mode: the little witch girl..

  • First Impressions Handy Mahjong

    Budget majaan on the go

    Mahjong (or, as they call it in Japan, "majaan") is incredibly popular in Japan where you can find gambling parlours with fully automated tables shuffling, dealing and stacking tiles for players. It therefore should come as no surprise that there are a few mahjong games available in the Japanese DSiWare shop and Handy Mahjong is one of the cheapest available at..

  • First Impressions Metroid: Other M

    Hit me baby, one more time

    As stunning as Retro Studios' Metroid Prime Trilogy undoubtedly is, we still fondly remember Samus Aran's formative years, and particularly the seminal Super Metroid. It seems we're not the only ones fond of this piece of the bounty hunter's history however, as Team Ninja and Tecmo's take on Nintendo's sci-fi franchise...

  • First Impressions Super Mario Galaxy 2

    Truly spacial

    Super Mario Galaxy 2 had by far the biggest queues of the day, with a cordoned area showcasing the plumber's latest adventure. Our crafty writers, however, took advantage of everyone else's hunger by striking when most other journalists were stopping for lunch, managing to get a good half an hour of hands-on time. With such high hopes surrounding the sequel to arguably one of Mario's..

  • First Impressions G.G. Series Z・ONE

    Budget shooting on the go

    Genterprise has published a lot of DSiWare in the past year, mostly as part of a budget line called G. G. Series. These are small arcade-style games with a 200 Point price tag which have caught the attention of many who read our weekly Japanese download news because we just aren't seeing this kind of thing elsewhere for some reason. Z・ONE is one of the first of these..

  • First Impressions Shashin de Kakutō! Photo Fighter X

    Two street fighters and a microphone

    No doubt many have seen the latest and greatest fighting game on the Wii and thought "me and my mates could do better than that." Well Nintendo must have read your pixie-stick addled thoughts because they went and released a D.I.Y. fighting game for the DSi last December in Japan called Photo Fighter X...

  • First Impressions And Yet It Moves

    We take this gravity puzzler for a spin

    And Yet It Moves is heading to WiiWare, fresh from its critically-acclaimed PC appearance, so we were naturally curious how it would stack up on the Wii. If you've not played the PC demo yet, here's a brief summary to get you up to speed. And Yet It Moves is a side-scrolling platform game that puts you in control of a Fido Dido-like chap who, handily,..

  • First Impressions Sakutto Hamareru Hori Hori Action Mr. Driller

    Portable Driller action is Go!

    Namco's Mr. Driller is certainly one of the greatest arcade puzzle franchises ever, and has even surpassed its arcade heritage on home consoles in the the past decade of its existence. Whilst Drill Land remains the franchise pinnacle, subsequent releases on WiiWare and DS have still been fun entries in the series, providing plenty of drilling action for

  • First Impressions Monsteca Corral

    Round 'em up, move 'em out

    So far we haven't been told much about Onteca's upcoming WiiWare title Monsteca Corral, so when the developers offered us to see the game in action for ourselves we jumped at the chance. It's tough to describe Monsteca Corral in traditional genre terms, but it's perhaps closest to a real-time strategy game, although it also reminded us of European GameCube launch title..

  • First Impressions Rune Factory Frontier

    Growing a beaut

    US readers may scoff at the "First Impressions" title of this article as Rune Factory Frontier has been available in the Western hemisphere for nearly a year, but as always European gamers are left waiting for any Harvest Moon-related titles. However, farming fans need not fret much longer, as Rune Factory Frontier is due for release in the near future, and looks set to be..

  • First Impressions Earth Saver

    Dig Dug II: a new action film from Michael Bay

    Tom Create are no strangers to the Nintendo download scene having released a WiiWare "card battle" game and three budget DSiWare games last year. Earth Saver was the last DSiWare game from them in 2009: a puzzle game with a play mechanic very much like Namco's Dig Dug II, but a setting like a millennial disaster flick. The Earth is threatened..

  • First Impressions Chōkon Chicken Do Shindan

    Test your "Chicken Bird Soul"

    The DS has become massively popular in part due to the number of games on it which claim to test players cleverness in some way. These are typically referred to as "brain training" programs and they've clearly been embraced by a large audience of people that enjoy being tested on math skills and such. This application appears to be a parody of these games in..

  • First Impressions Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon

    Tri-Crescendo's brooding adventure comes to life

    You may have already heard some impressions about Fragile Dreams in our recent podcast, but there's still much to tell about Tri-Crescendo's upcoming post-apocalyptic adventure. The game begins with the death of your surrogate grandfather, the only human being you've ever had contact with. The world is empty and decaying, seemingly uninhabited, but..

  • First Impressions Panel Renketsu 3 Minute Rocket

    Pipe Mania plus Apollo Space Progam plus Sky TV?

    Whilst Nintendo's Intelligent Systems development team might be better known for the Fire Emblem series, on the download front they seem to be cutting loose with a lightgun shooter on WiiWare and now a puzzle game for the DSi. At first glance it looks like the classic puzzler Pipe Mania, but that's...

  • First Impressions Pinball Attack!

    Pinball and shooters: two tastes that go great together

    ArtePiazza is better recognised for its work on RPGs like Enix's Dragon Quest series and more recently Koei's Wii RPG Opoona, so it's interesting that their freshman effort on DSiWare is a marriage of video pinball and shooter called Pinball Attack! There are currently no other pinball games on the Japanese DSiWare service, but even taking..

  • First Impressions Space Invaders Extreme Z

    Space Invaders Extreme 2 comes to DSiWare

    Space Invaders is a video game icon: even people who don't play video games are likely to recognise the bitmap images of the Invaders thanks to Taito's persistence in keeping the brand name alive via product licensing, video game sequels and home console ports. The celebration of the 30th anniversary of Space Invaders saw the release of a new WiiWare game..

  • First Impressions Monster Hunter Tri

    Nintendo let us get to grips with Capcom's monster offering

    Yesterday we were cordially invited to a guest lecture at the Science Museum in London. The subject? Monster Hunter of course; in fact, it was the very first session of 'Monster Hunter University'. In a lecture led by long-time series producer Ryozo Tsujimoto, the assembled masses were educated on topics ranging from monster ecology to..

  • Podcast Episode 12 - Fragile Dreams and Reviews Round-Up!

    Plus first impressions and news too

    Yes, it was but one month ago we all gathered around the soft glow of our audio devices to discover who won the Nintendo Life Game of the Year Awards. This month we look forward, with audio recaps of our recent previews of Art of Balance, Rage of the Gladiator and Calling, as well as a podcast exclusive preview as I talk about my time with Fragile Dream

January2010

  • First Impressions Moyasu Puzzle Flametail

    One-third of MaBoShi reborn on DSiWare

    If you've played 3-in-1 WiiWare game MaBoShi, then you'll recognise Moyasu Puzzle Flametail as the "Square" game -- you know, the one that wasn't played with a single button press? The gameplay in Flametail is largely the same as MaBoShi's Square, but there have been some graphical enhancements and the addition of power-ups and a new play mode..

  • First Impressions Rage of the Gladiator

    Unleash Hell!

    Rage of the Gladiator may not be ready to step into the WiiWare ring just yet, but when Ghostfire Games invited us to a little sparring session with their first-person fighter we accepted immediately. We came away battered and bruised, but still very impressed with how Rage is shaping up. Each of the game’s three control methods feels completely different. Holding the Wii Remote..

  • First Impressions Calling

    One call you might want to take.

    For those of you who love a good scare or just enjoy a playful romp through the latest survival horror title, Hudson's got just the game for you. In fact, they were even kind enough to send us over a preview build of their upcoming horror release Calling to check out and we have to say, this is easily one of the spookiest titles to hit the Wii console to date. As..

  • First Impressions Art of Balance

    We get to grips with this blocky beauty

    Puzzle games are ten-a-penny on WiiWare, varying from the boring to the brilliant. Attempting to nestle nicely into this overcrowded genre comes Art of Balance, a physics-based block-stacker from the developers of DS shooter Nanostray. Having had chance to sit down with Art of Balance for a few hours it’s clear this is a classy puzzle game that should make..

December2009

  • First Impressions Kentōshi Furi Furi Boxing

    No robots, but plenty of rock-em, sock-em action!

    You might remember a plastic toy called "Rock'em Sock'em Robots" ("Raving Bonkers Fighting Robots" in the UK) in which two robots were fixed on either side of a platform and pressing buttons caused them to punch each other senseless until one of their heads popped up, only to be reset for another go. That's pretty much the same..

  • First Impressions Phalanx

    Another great old-school shooter for WiiWare

    Most of you will probably remember Phalanx as a SNES game, however that was just a port of a game that was developed for the Sharp X68000, a home computer sold exclusively in Japan from 1987-1993. The Sharp X68k (as it was commonly known) used hardware similar to arcade systems of the time; as a result it was capable of running some quite impressive..

  • First Impressions Dementium II

    Clean pants recommended

    Renegade Kid are responsible for some of the more innovative and undeniably horrific first-person experiences on DS, having already given us Dementium: The Ward as well as the excellent Moon. Dementium II was recently announced for release in 2010, hitting North America on February 16th and reaching Europe a few weeks later on March 5th. We recently got chance to have a sit..

  • First Impressions 530 Eco-Shooter

    Recycling - with a vengeance!

    Intelligent Systems has a reputation of being one of Nintendo's better first-party development teams, with an impressive resume including the Fire Emblem games, Tetris Attack, the Paper Mario series, the WarioWare games and Super Metroid. Seeing a WiiWare title from them naturally raised our curiosity, and that curiosity was rewarded by a challenging lightgun shooter..

November2009

  • First Impressions Super Meat Boy

    We take Team Meat's upcoming platformer for a spin.

    The guys over at Team Meat were kind enough to send over a preview build of their upcoming PC/WiiWare title Super Meat Boy yesterday and we've spent the past few hours putting it through its paces and snapping a few screenshots in the process. The guys at Team Meat did want us to make sure and remind readers that this is a beta version of the game..

October2009

  • First Impressions New Super Mario Bros. Wii

    Plumbing new heights

    Now we've had chance to play the final version of New Super Mario Bros. Wii, it's time to tell you the hard truth about Nintendo's latest plumbing escapades. Well, the hard truth is, it's a lot of fun and impossible to play without a smile on your face. Although a lot of emphasis has been put on the series-first multiplayer, solo play is still possible and feels exactly like..

  • First Impressions Shadow Walker (Japan)

    Unconventional puzzling for the kiddies.

    This game kind of came out of nowhere, but there does seem to be few WiiWare games concerning shadows on the horizon: Nicalis' Night Game and Hudson's Tower of Shadow being the ones that spring immediately to mind. Shadow Walker's story isn't completely clear seeing as it's relayed storybook-style with a lot of Japanese text. There's a boy with yellow hair..

  • First Impressions Bit.Trip VOID

    Could the third time be yet another charm?

    Gaijin Games has really earned a place in many a retro-gaming fan's heart with their old, old-school Bit.Trip series on WiiWare. It's one of the shining examples of how good download games can really be: updated Atari 8-bit graphics with jazzed-up special effects and a soundtrack that's enhanced by the...

  • First Impressions Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth

    Worth getting your teeth into?

    The Castlevania series of action platformers is widely regarded as containing some of the best games on the Famicom, and indeed home consoles full-stop, with top-notch instalments on Super Famicom, PC Engine, Playstation and handheld platforms to name a few. Needless to say the news that the first GameBoy game was being given the WiiWare ReBirth treatment by Konami..

  • First Impressions Need for Speed Nitro

    Leader of the pack?

    There are very few serious driving games of note on Wii - the machine is undoubtedly missing its Forza Motorsport, Gran Turismo or Race Driver: Grid - and EA's latest in the Need for Speed franchise does little to address this problem. Whilst 360 and PS3 owners can play the generally well-received NFS: Shift, Nintendo gamers are being given a very different racer in the form of..

  • First Impressions Wheelspin

    Another gaming revolution from Archer Maclean?

    Wheelspin is an unashamedly old-school arcade racer, with exaggerated physics, rollercoaster-style tracks and an emphasis on enormous speed. Its influences are clear - F-Zero and San Francisco Rush 2049 are the strongest - but sadly Wheelspin never feels more than the sum of its parts. The single-player campaign asks you to fulfill certain objectives..

  • First Impressions Manic Monkey Mayhem

    How do we like these bananas?

    It's a well-known fact that monkeys like to fling things at each other, so it should come as no surprise that UK developers The Code Monkeys have taken this concept and applied it to their first title for the WiiWare and DSiWare services, in the form of does-what-it-says-on-the-tin Manic Monkey Mayhem. MMM is a refreshing change from the regular crowd of party games as..

  • First Impressions Might and Magic: Clash of Heroes

    Might and magic and myths and... Meteos?!

    The DS has loads of good puzzle games - Picross, Tetris, Meteos - and some fantastic strategy titles too - Fire Emblem and Advance Wars chief among them. But it could certainly do with more great puzzle strategy games; titles that blend the addictive action of matching coloured objects with the cerebral challenge of conquering enemies and planning attacks..

  • First Impressions C.O.P. The Recruit

    Take the beat to the streets

    C.O.P. The Recruit was announced back at E3 in June, and quickly marked itself out as one to watch by promising an open world experience unlike anything on DS. Now we've had chance to grab a few minutes with the title, does it live up to the hype or is it lagging behind Chinatown Wars? The first thing you'll notice on loading up C.O.P. is that it looks pretty. Very,..

  • First Impressions Rabbids Go Home

    Put this in your trolley!

    There's only one possible conclusion to be drawn from Rabbids Go Home - it's mental. Anyone involved in its development should probably be sectioned under the Mental Health Act, such is the scale of the crazy acts featured in this first traditional adventure game for the Rabbids. Of course, if you've been following our exclusive Behind the Scenes Developer's Blog you'll..

September2009

  • News WiiWare & DSiWare London Event - DSiWare Coverage

    We get to grips with the DSiWare games at Nintendo's media summit held in London, 16th September

    Well, as if the landslide of WiiWare information from Wednesday’s media summit wasn’t enough, we now have summaries of the DSiWare titles on show. And while the selection on Nintendo's portable machine may not have been as high profile as its console counterpart, the DSi still had a lot to shout..

  • First Impressions Derby Dog (WiiWare)

    This breed needs a little more refinement.

    Pet sims have been all the rage with the "yoof" for some time; especially on the Nintendo DS with scads of games having words ending with "Z" instead of the more grammatically correct "S." Derby Dog for the Japanese WiiWare service is clearly designed to cash-in on this trend, however instead of simply raising a happy pet to..

  • News WiiWare & DSiWare London Event - WiiWare Coverage

    London, 16th September: Nintendo hold their WiiWare and DSiWare media summit, and we’re lucky enough to have been invited…

    Well, those of you who scan our site on a regular basis will know that today - in London - Nintendo made a few announcements regarding the WiiWare and DSiWare service: first of all, they gave us the release schedule for a lot of upcoming games and then dropped a great piece..

  • First Impressions Minna de Tobikome! Penguin Diving Hooper Looper

    Jumping off a cliff can be fun!

    "Everybody dive!" is part of the title of Agenda's newest WiiWare game to hit the Japanese Wii Shop, and that is what this game is all about: diving off cliffs – as penguins are known to do – for big points! Of course this isn't March of the Penguins, so the penguins in this game aren't dropping off little icebergs, but plummeting off of cliffs so high..

August2009

  • First Impressions Discipline (WiiWare - Japan)

    Art-house gaming comes to WiiWare.

    Discipline is a WiiWare game long-rumoured and only recently revealed. As possibly the most unusual game to yet grace the service, it game centres around a prison called Discipline, wherein you control a character apparently posing as an inmate. It's difficult to tell what exactly is happening because text plays a huge part in the game, with a lot of written..

  • First Impressions Simple Series Vol. 4 - The Misshitsu Kara no Dasshutsu (WiiWare - Japan)

    Not quite Steve McQueen...

    Well, Simple Series Vol. 4 - The Misshitsu Kara no Dasshutsu is quite a mouthful, so for the purpose of these impressions please forgive the re-titling of this game with the shorter, but still thematically correct name Room Escape. D3 Publisher is known as a publisher of budget games and has pushed out dozens of them for the PS2 and other platforms over the years for the..

  • First Impressions Ninja Captains

    We get our claws into Nordcurrent's latest

    As much as it dents our hardcore gamer image to say it, we love a good minigame compilation here at Nintendo Life. When we're not blasting through Space Pirates or springing to the rescue of princesses for the thousandth time, you'll often catch us waggling away to a batch of minigames, so it was with great excitement we placed our preview copy of Ninja..

  • First Impressions Tomenasanner

    Rock rock planet rock, don't stop. Rock rock planet rock - DON'T STOP!

    What Tomenasanner means is anyone's guess (try guessing in the comments - better still, please advise if you know!). It's written in katakana so it's apparently a word of foreign origin (sure sounds it!), but the closest that Google Translate offered was "tomen" which apparently means "bridle" in dutch and..

July2009

June2009

  • First Impressions Water Warfare

    We head to the playground to see if there's enough water in its soaker to keep gamers occupied

    Earlier this month, Hudson took a gamble and decided to release a first-person shooter on WiiWare. Due to it being the first of its kind on the platform and a new IP, some thought that Hudson would regret making such a bold decision. In the end, though, everything paid off, as not only did Onslaught..

  • First Impressions Escape Virus

    A fun little mobile game for WiiWare

    Escape Virus is the freshman effort from Peakvox - an iPhone and mobile game developer - with the focus being on pick-up-and-play arcade gaming and ascending to the top of the world ranking in each of five game modes. The menus throughout the game look like metal car number plates which drop onto a titled plane with a nice clanging sound. It's a bold and..

First Impressions - Features

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