Reviews - News

April2014

  • 66

    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review Golden Sun

    Magic Hands Make Light Work

    The more formulaic counterpart to RPG oddball Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Golden Sun expands on proven genre archetypes to deliver an experience that both pays tribute to and refines the classic role-playing adventure. It also gives some Wii U owners, potentially, their first experience of a franchise that has a...

  • 162

    3DS

    Review Mario Golf: World Tour

    Hard to putt down

    For a slightly out of shape plumber that very rarely seems to do any actual plumbing, Mario sure enjoys plenty of different sports. It remains an integral part of Nintendo's delightfully quirky games catalogue for its mascot and the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom to meet up for various extra-curricular activities, and golf is a...

  • 9

    3DS eShop

    Review Tiny Games - Knights & Dragons

    The dark knight

    Taking the title of this game at face value, one could understandably conjure some exciting images of brave warriors setting off to battle in a land teeming with adventurous opportunities. The medieval setting is well-established by this point, and is versatile enough to appeal to even the very young demographic that Tiny Games...

  • 13

    3DS eShop

    Review Boxzle

    Lock the box and throw away the key

    With a huge assortment of puzzle titles on the eShop, PouncingKitten's Boxzle doesn't do nearly enough to set itself apart from the rest of the litter. With three variations on the "sliding box" mechanic the potential for clever and satisfying puzzles is there, but poor visuals and sound, generic presentation and...

  • 7

    3DS eShop

    Review Atlantic Quest

    Aquatic amusements

    All prefaces about there being too many match-three puzzle games available on the 3DS eShop have been exhausted. While it still rings true that there is an overabundance of them on the digital marketplace, there's no use beating the dead horse that this genre and joke have become. The fact is that people love tile matching games,...

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    Wii U eShop

    Review My First Songs

    Hickory Dickory Don't!

    We all had high hopes for My First Songs, with fifteen of the most legendary nursery rhymes of all time finally together in one package. Bangkok-based developer RingZero Game Studio brings us this hotly-anticipated karaoke title just in time for your tax refund shopping spree — alas, My First Songs is not quite a Yankee...

  • 53

    3DS eShop

    Review Bit Boy!! ARCADE

    Kubi, you blockhead...

    It's been almost five years since Bit Boy!! graced the WiiWare service, providing a generation-spanning adventure through the history of video games. Unfortunately the execution of that game was middling at best, leaving a great concept — the guiding of a single hero on a nostalgia-tinged journey through the past — sorely...

  • 42

    Wii U eShop

    Review Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure

    A few carnations short of a full bouquet

    You're a pint-sized explorer that's crash landed your spaceship on an alien planet dominated by vegetation, where flowers are your greatest ally. No, it's not Pikmin, it's Flowerworks HD: Follie's Adventure. A high-def remake of the well-received 2009 WiiWare title, Flowerworks HD is a floral-themed action...

  • 62

    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review F-Zero Maximum Velocity

    Back to the future

    Ah, F-Zero. The futuristic racing series that’s so fast that even Nintendo appears to have lost track of it. While it’s true that Nintendo hasn't really done anything new with the series since it last released the Japanese exclusive F-Zero Climax way back in 2004 (the last game we got was F-Zero GP Legend during the same...

  • 70

    3DS

    Review Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars

    Birth of the cool

    Brought into the world by Spike Chunsoft — of both Danganronpa and StreetPass Battle/Warrior's Way fame — Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars is a delightfully different affair. The generational suffix refers to its pedigree — a single, Japan-only PSP predecessor — but all you need to know about this standalone...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Governor of Poker

    Deep in the debt of Texas

    Imagine that Donald Trump stole the DeLorean from Back to the Future. He warps to the Wild West, but instead of saving the Doc like in Part III, he creates a form of government in which you rule by simply owning every building in sight. It’s a monopolocracy, if you will, and everyone crams the saloons to play poker for...

  • 10

    3DS eShop

    Review Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove

    Dire, dire docs

    You know the drill. Mysterious, seemingly-abandoned location. Haunting atmosphere. Looming tragedy that unfolds through documents you find scattered around. It's a formula that works well for video games in general. As an interactive medium, the scares can be taken to a whole other level in the right hands. The mere fact that you...

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    Wii U eShop

    Review Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate - Deluxe Edition

    The broken Bat

    For as long as portable games have existed, the trend of developing handheld versions of popular console titles has been present and correct. These games tend to be inferior versions of the originals, taking a substantial hit graphically and often limiting gameplay, depending on what the portable console is capable of. In some cases,...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Pure Chess

    En Passable

    VooFoo Studios took on a tough challenge in not only producing cross-platform online chess multiplayer, but achieving it on both the Wii U and the 3DS. Pure Chess immediately earns credit right away, in that case, as a technical example of what can be achieved on what is relatively old tech with the 3DS. Bonus points are due, then, but...

  • 9

    Wii U eShop

    Review My Exotic Farm

    Not a roaring success

    Farm management sims are hard to get right; farming is work, after all. Successful farming games either add substantial non-farming elements like Harvest Moon's social elements, or they take the work so seriously that it becomes comically overbearing, à la Farming Simulator. French studio BiP Media's My Exotic Farm ultimately...

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    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Mach Rider

    A forgotten gem from the NES launch library

    Mach Rider is an impressive feat for an NES title — a faux-3D motorcycle combat game with dozens of courses, an endurance mode, and a track editor. Not only was Mach Rider an NES title, but it was an October 1985 NES launch title. Namco's Pole Position had only hit arcades three years earlier, and...

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    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$!

    Fun incorporated

    Ever since its first foray into the video game market, Nintendo has been known for the incredible amount of creativity it brings to the medium. Innovative ideas – whether they add a pleasing minor touch or groundbreaking gameplay feature – have to some degree been the company’s bread and butter for decades. It’s these...

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    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

    Kirbytroid

    For the most part, not much has changed about the Kirby series — many of its titles are fairly straightforward platformers in which your main ability is to suck up enemies and acquire their powers. It's not until somewhat recently that the development teams started trying different things, and one can certainly make a case saying that...

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    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

    Double trouble

    Back in 2003, Nintendo had already released two excellent Mario RPGs; Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars and Paper Mario. Rather than immediately making a Paper Mario sequel, the company decided to add a third completely different game to the line-up. While the previous games were developed by Squaresoft and Intelligent...

  • 56

    3DS eShop

    Review Nintendo Pocket Football Club

    Back of the net

    Although they are perhaps a little alien to those outside of Europe, soccer management titles have a long and respected pedigree among those who commit weeks, months and even years of their lives to playing them. In the United Kingdom especially, such games have existed since the days of the 8-bit microcomputers, with franchises like...

  • 53

    3DS

    Review Disney Magical World

    A magical world indeed

    To anyone familiar with the handheld’s lineup, it may seem like a bad business decision to make a life simulation game for the 3DS at this point. Three years into the console's life we've seen two Harvest Moon titles, a Rune Factory game, and The Sims 3. All that, and we haven't even mentioned

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    3DS eShop

    Review I am an Air Traffic Controller Airport Hero Hawaii

    Come fly the frazzled skies

    All right, let’s address the 500-ton jumbo jet in the room: I am an Air Traffic Controller Airport Hero Hawaii is a long and silly name. Although IAAATC is actually an established series in Japan, it’s not the kind of title that tends to inspire great confidence in the West. That’s too bad, in a way, as Airport Hero...

  • 97

    3DS eShop

    Review Rusty's Real Deal Baseball

    A dog's life

    To start with a key point, the actual games in Rusty's Real Deal Baseball are window dressing for Nintendo's rather quirky interpretation of the free-to-play microtransaction craze. A collection of ten baseball-themed minigames start out at $4.00 each, but players are encouraged to haggle with the eponymous middle-aged dog Rusty to get...

  • 24

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Super Dodge Ball

    Utterly ridiculous and sublime

    When firing up an NES game in the modern day, no less a silly spin-off sports title from the era, a certain mindset is required. If you're intolerant of sticky animation, that flickering effect that NES games have when there's too much on screen and wonky frame performance, there are plenty of games that are immediate...

  • 95

    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review Metroid Fusion

    SA-Xcellent

    Released a full eight years after its phenomenal Super Nintendo predecessor, Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion is a well-paced, tense, atmospheric game and an oft-overlooked GBA classic. Players assume the role of Samus Aran, the legendary bounty hunter responsible for overturning the sinister designs of the Space Pirates and obliterating...

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    Wii U eShop / GBA

    Review Advance Wars

    War has never been so much fun

    Mention Advance Wars to a seasoned gamer and they're almost guaranteed to have heard of it. One of the earliest major Game Boy Advance titles, it's now also one of the earliest titles from the handheld on the Wii U Virtual Console, giving veterans another chance to pick it up and newcomers an ideal opportunity to see...

  • 50

    3DS eShop

    Review Young Justice: Legacy

    Downright offensive

    Welcome to Young Justice: Legacy, where the mechanics don't work and "play" doesn't matter. The game purports to be a strategic turn-based experience but accomplishes nothing more than being a horrendous nightmare. It is astonishingly incompetent in every field. Its gameplay, engine, animations, and entertainment value are among...

  • 31

    DSiWare

    Review I Am In The Movie

    I am in disbelief

    Have you ever wanted to be a film director? Have you ever wanted to capture life through the lens of a camera and use it to craft your own cinematic masterpiece? Do you have even a fleeting interest in special effects? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, now’s the time to leave all of your hopes and dreams on the...

  • 16

    3DS eShop

    Review Skater Cat

    This cat ain't rad

    There's been a surge of popularity when it comes to "runner" games over the last few years — games where you do little more than move right (or occasionally, left) while dodging everything that comes at you in an attempt to improve your high scores. While "endless" runners seem to be the most popular variant, Skater Cat falls...

March2014

  • 22

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Clu Clu Land

    Spinning from poles as a fish with human limbs...

    Clu Clu Land is one of those unassuming early Nintendo Entertainment System releases that seems to show up all the time these days, from cameos in Super Smash Bros. to minigames in NES Remix, right alongside classics like Mario and Zelda. Even if you didn't grow up playing Clu Clu Land, most Nintendo...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Yumi's Odd Odyssey

    Ocean Belly River's back!

    In some games, just moving around is a joy. Soaring through the skies in Pilotwings, loop-de-looping in NiGHTS into Dreams, wet-jetting around Isle Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine, and tumbling through town in Gravity Rush are all exhilarating experiences in their own right, as memorable as the games built around them.

  • 15

    3DS eShop

    Review Lola's ABC Party

    P-A-R-T-WHY? Because I gotta learn my ABC's!

    The adorable panda bear, Lola, is back at it again. This time she's putting her life as a train conductor in the past, and is instead throwing a party...of knowledge. Being the second game in the series to focus on basic ABC's and spelling, following Lola's Alphabet Train on DSiWare back in 2012, does...

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    Wii U eShop / SNES

    Review Super Mario Kart

    A timely boost for a classic

    With a PAL release a mere nine months after the April 1992 launch of the UK SNES, during a 16-bit era where show-boating superior technology and exceptional console power was at the forefront of Nintendo’s objectives, Super Mario Kart remained humble in exhibiting its technical prowess. European gamers had been...

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    Wii U eShop

    Review Pure Chess

    This is a review you should check, mate

    When Pure Chess was first announced for the Wii U and 3DS, it created a considerable buzz for a game that's based on a relatively niche, high-brow hobby. However, there was good reason for this; developer VooFoo Studios and its publisher Ripstone were not only determined to deliver a graphically rich...

  • 19

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Volleyball

    Flat ball

    What’s your favourite major sport? If you answered “volleyball,” there’s a good chance that you’re among a minority of sports fans. That’s not to say that volleyball is a lesser game than the titanic football – European or American, your choice – or any other major sport, but it does make one wonder why Nintendo would...

  • 41

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Devil World

    Absolutely Diabolical

    Very few developers can boast the introduction of as many unique and refreshing gameplay concepts as game-crafting master Shigeru Miyamoto. Nintendo’s iconic developer has reinvented and reinvigorated countless genres, breathing new life into stale and tired gameplay tropes and carving a name for himself as one of the...

  • 33

    Nintendo 64

    Review Quake II

    Worth the "Stroggle"?

    When it comes to first-person shooter games on the Nintendo 64, there’s one title which stands out above all the rest: GoldenEye 007. During the late 1990s, Rare’s Bond-themed masterpiece provided gamers with countless hours of single- and multiplayer fun, and because of this it is still fondly remembered by many to this...

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    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Adventure Island II

    "Just you wait, Master Higgins!"

    The original Adventure Island — though a fun little platformer in its own right — is most fondly remembered today for being a strikingly comprehensive clone of SEGA's Wonder Boy, as a result of developer Escape licensing the property (minus SEGA's character designs) to Hudson Soft for an NES port. Adventure...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Ice Hockey

    Not that cool any more

    Nintendo released a number of sports titles in the NES era, a reflection of a simpler time when having a fancy home console was enough of a novelty that a game simply called Ice Hockey would seem like an awesome prospect. You like Ice Hockey? You've got Nintendo? Get Ice Hockey, which is Ice Hockey on your Nintendo! That...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Bubble Pop World

    Burst in line

    The hardest part of starting Bubble Pop World might be remembering where you left the “?” box AR card you’ll need to play it. Precious few 3DS games have taken advantage of the system’s augmented reality feature, with the majority employing it just for an amusing little extra. Developer Cypronia, however, has fully dived into...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Cube Tactics

    Strategy cubed

    Given their relatively low asking price, it can be quite easy to fall into the trap of thinking that games on Nintendo’s eShop service amount to little more than short, throwaway experiences. You pay less and, therefore, you must get less value from that game, right? In terms of pure content, that may be true (unless you’re...

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    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Galaga

    Space: The Original Frontier

    There are a few reasons so many early video games took place in space. While the most obvious one is budgetary — a flat black background being quite literally the easiest possible background to render, thereby making "space" a pretty natural choice of setting — there's a psychological reason as well: space is a...

  • 53

    3DS

    Review Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

    A puzzling crossover to be solved

    It's no surprise that the announcement of Professor Layton Vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney back in 2012 in Japan caused quite a buzz among keen Nintendo portable gamers. The two franchises typify much of what made the DS a phenomenal success — even if Ace Attorney had its beginnings on Game Boy Advance — by...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Inazuma Eleven

    A Beautiful Game

    In Japan Inazuma Eleven is an institution — a multi-modal soccer sensation spanning several sequels and spin-offs, a wildly successful anime adaptation, and even a collectable card game; it's also enjoyed a number of releases in Europe. It's captured hearts from Kyoto to Cádiz, and now Level-5 is aiming to complete that...

  • 12

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Renegade

    GET LOST, PUNK!

    What's the expiration date for nostalgia? Is there a certain amount of time that has to pass before we start looking fondly back at the old, often inferior, games of our youth? It's undeniable that some games have aged gracefully and are still just as good today as they were at their initial launch, but that's far from a steadfast...

  • 323

    3DS

    Review Yoshi's New Island

    Dino-lite

    Back in 1995, Yoshi's Island turned heads when it was announced as the successor to the masterful Super Mario World. Appearing to be more of a spin-off than a direct sequel, there was skepticism as to whether such a departure could live up to the Mario name and please fans of the series. Fortunately the unique gameplay mechanics,...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Dr. Mario

    One play a day...

    It feels as if Dr. Mario has been a near constant presence — in some form — over recent years, but the oddity is that the Wii U Virtual Console release of the NES version is the début for that iteration over the most recent system generations. We've had fresh DSiWare and WiiWare releases, with the latter perhaps halting a...

  • 73

    3DS eShop

    Review Pokémon Link: Battle!

    Match maker

    DS title Pokémon Link — known as Pokémon Trozei in North America — was a fine example of how Nintendo has been able to diversify and expand the franchise in different directions. This download-only sequel — once again developed by Genius Sonority — continues that trend, but has more monsters to catch, locations to explore and...

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    Wii U eShop

    Review Evofish

    A fish out of water

    The core premise of Evofish is based ever so loosely on the fundamentals of nature and evolutionary science. As a fish in the ocean, you must snack on fish smaller than you are while also avoiding larger predators looking to eat you. Doing so successfully will enable you to grow in size and “evolve” into a species that’s...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Vacation Adventures: Park Ranger

    Park 'n Hide

    Nature. The Great Outdoors. Land of beauty and majesty, where the earth itself holds reign over a freedom and intrinsic order spanning the eons. And, if you’re a hidden object game, a primo place to dump all manner of human-made junk imaginable for people to find. The nature of hidden object games can’t be denied, however, and...

  • 19

    3DS eShop

    Review Kung Fu Rabbit

    Kung Fu-cious says hop

    Today’s games industry has become infamous for its endless copycat efforts and yearly sequels, which tend to stick to a very specific template and only offer a modicum of improvement. Nevertheless, while it’s easy for us to call out these games for their lack of innovation (only for us to all then go and buy them anyway),...

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    3DS eShop

    Review Weapon Shop De Omasse

    Well-crafted

    Remember the Guild01 series from all the way back in late 2012? Of course you do. It’s the little eShop series that could. Defying all expectations, the Guild games jumped the pond from Japan and landed securely on the Western 3DS eShop stores, providing three indie games that span a variety of genres. The success of the original...

  • 76

    3DS eShop / GBC

    Review Super Mario Bros. Deluxe

    Super Small Screen Bros.

    Especially in recent years, we've seen Super Mario Bros. re-released a ton, but back in 1999 it had been a number of years since the last release, Super Mario All-Stars. As such, Nintendo decided to port the original game to Game Boy Color and add some interesting new features at the same time. Naturally, at its core, this...

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    Wii U eShop

    Review BLOK DROP U

    In Soviet Russia...

    Developed by the one-man team at RCMADIAX, BLOK DROP U represents the first eShop release to emerge from the Nintendo Web Framework platform, an HTML5-based approach that aims to deliver browser-bite-sized indie experiences direct to your GamePad. True to that concept, BLOK DROP U is a simple physics-based puzzler with a fun and...

  • 11

    3DS eShop

    Review The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths

    Just golden

    When a cartoon series receives a download-only spin-off, with localisation that's crowdfunded, it's only natural to sound a klaxon of caution. Both scenarios apply to The Mysterious Cities of Gold: Secret Paths, yet it's a pleasing tale of fulfilled expectations; it may not blow many minds, but we'll say early on that it fulfils its...

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    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Renegade

    Crime doesn't pay

    The company known as Technos might be best known for creating Double Dragon and River City Ransom, but before coming up with either of its two big hits, it made a number of lesser known titles — of which perhaps Renegade is the most well-known. Renegade is actually the first game in the Kunio-kun series, which River City Ransom...

  • 9

    DSiWare

    Review Hidden Expedition Titanic

    The fun is also hidden

    Thanks to the blockbuster movie of the '90s, the sinking of the Titanic seems to be less a tragic historical event and more a part of story-telling culture. Whether that bothers you is up to you, but Hidden Expedition Titanic merely pretends to include a story around the ill-fated ship, throwing some nonsense around a fairly...

February2014

  • 33

    3DS eShop

    Review Tappingo

    Pixel-by-numbers

    Tappingo is a game for those who enjoy methodically teasing order out of an apparent mess. Really. When you begin one of the 100+ puzzles, the upper screen that displays your goal in progress looks like an NES sneezed on it. Yet by working out the numbered blocks on the grid below, colours and form fill in until you’re rewarded...

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    3DS

    Review The LEGO Movie Videogame

    Movie Mildness

    Video game tie-ins have been haunting films since the inception of the interactive medium, especially when those films are deemed "kid friendly." Essentially used as a marketing ploy, video games based on motion pictures are usually ill-fated projects that never stood a chance from the very beginning. From Disney cartoons to sci-fi...

  • 21

    3DS eShop

    Review Quell Reflect

    A rainy day delight

    Puzzle games are masters of covert time consumption. Some, like Tetris, keep players on their toes with an unrelenting pace and an addictive “one more try” appeal. Others, instead, offer a calmer, more contemplative experience, letting the player move at his or her own pace as they descend into the logic and rules of the...

  • 15

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Sky Kid

    Heavy Weather

    An arcade force to be reckoned with, Namco graced the Famicom and NES with impressive cartridge conversions of quite a few of its enduring coin-op classics. From Dig Dug and Pac-Man to Galaga and Xevious, Nintendo's console quickly amassed a collection of A-list arcade hits, and — along with the heavy hitters and household names —...

  • 101

    3DS eShop

    Review Steel Diver: Sub Wars

    Dive right in

    Nintendo has been working on a game to enter the free-to-play market for a fair amount of time, announcing last year than an early experiment with the idea would involve the Steel Diver series. The basic concept has been a game that is free to download and partially play, but requires you to pay a little extra if you want to unlock all...

  • 19

    3DS eShop

    Review Spot the Differences!

    Spot the exit sign and run

    There is nothing wrong with simple games on the eShop; players have demonstrated through iOS and Android that quick, fun bursts of creative gameplay can work wonderfully. Unfortunately, Bigben Interactive's Spot the Differences! crosses the line from simple to empty. While it works in the most rudimentary of ways — you...

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    3DS eShop

    Review AeternoBlade

    Meh-ternoBlade

    It may have taken a bit longer than anyone expected, but AeternoBlade has finally ventured beyond Japan and to reach both North American and European markets. The game was nearing completion back in June of last year, but developer Corecell Technology didn’t have the necessary funding to move along with the localization process,...

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    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review NES Open Tournament Golf

    Par for the course

    If there's one specific niche of which there is no longer any shortage, it's sports titles featuring Mario. The iconic plumber's unlikely prowess at just about any athletic challenge is now extensively and frequently documented, with the likes of Mario Tennis and Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games gracing home consoles on a...

  • 27

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Super C

    Junco Partners

    Konami's massively popular Contra became synonymous with side-scrolling shoot-'em-up action when it was released for the NES in 1988 — so much so that when the sequel hit Nintendo's home console in 1990, Konami felt confident that a single, stylized 'C' would be enough to evoke the series' name in the hearts and minds of loyal fans...

  • 377

    Wii U

    Review Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

    Ain't no business like monkey business

    It says much for the level of expectation placed upon Nintendo and Retro Studios that some questioned the decision to revisit the world of Donkey Kong for Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, yet that initial reaction should be pushed aside. Anyone that discounts this title due to the fact it’s not the exact...

  • 18

    Wii U eShop

    Review My Farm

    Bad harvest

    The idea of packing up, escaping the crowded, polluted confines of the city and setting up a farm out in the sticks is something that has often been romanticised in various media. The thought of kicking back and raising some chickens in the peace and quiet of the countryside sounds nothing short of blissful to some people. The reality,...

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    3DS

    Review Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW!

    Size doesn't matter

    D3Publisher, Cartoon Network and WayForward were definitely onto something in Adventure Time: Hey, Ice King! Why'd You Steal Our Garbage?! Though the title was over too soon, it took players all over the Land of Ooo on a true-to-series nonsensical quest using Zelda II-like gameplay, with a top-down overworld and side-scrolling...

  • 57

    Wii U

    Review The LEGO Movie Videogame

    Almost everything is awesome

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock or have been otherwise indisposed from newspapers, radio, television, the Internet, or any of the other countless forms of communicative devices that the news media uses to infiltrate our lives in 2014, you’re probably well aware that a new movie based on your favourite...

  • 23

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Ninja Gaiden

    Original Gaiden

    With a hit-list of sequels and spin-offs spanning more than two decades and its latest iteration — Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge — even slicing out a spot in the Wii U's launch lineup, Ninja Gaiden's reputation precedes it. An East-meets-West action platformer with an Japanese aesthetic and an American action-hero heart, this is...

  • 8

    3DS eShop

    Review Touch Battle Tank 3D 2

    Two of the same

    Ideally, a video game sequel should feature everything that worked about the first game and expand and improve upon it so that the the new entry doesn't feel like an expansion pack. Unfortunately, there was very little that worked about Agetec's Touch Battle Tank 3D, and Touch Battle Tank 3D 2 is basically more of the same. With the...

  • 6

    3DS eShop

    Review Castle Clout 3D

    Regal rebellion

    Long before the modern age of mobile gaming and pocket-handy computers that we refer to as "smartphones," poor, lowly players would flock to the Internet in order to get their cheap gaming fix. In this era that time has forgotten, those seeking digital entertainment would subject themselves to monstrosities known as "Flash games,"...

  • 15

    3DS

    Review Inazuma Eleven 3: Team Ogre Attacks

    Extra time

    We're no strangers to dual releases in the Inazuma Eleven series, as it apes the money-spinning convention best seen in the Pokémon franchise; yet Inazuma Eleven 3: Team Ogre Attacks adds a third variation at a later release date. For fans of Inazuma Eleven 3 in either of its first two forms this is potentially more of a rather good...

  • 29

    Wii U eShop

    Review Percy's Predicament

    Keep rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin'

    Games like Marble Madness and the Super Monkey Ball series have had their share of devoted followers throughout the years, but they exist in a genre that isn’t exactly bursting at the seams with new entries. To those unfamiliar, these are games where the player controls a ball through a series of narrow...

  • 12

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Mighty Bomb Jack

    Pyramid schemes

    Bomb Jack, released in 1984, was one of Tecmo's early hits, a single-screen arcade game that had players rushing to diffuse bright red bombs planted at major tourist attractions around the globe. By the time its sequel rolled around in 1987, the Super Mario Bros.-induced side-scrolling craze had taken hold of the gaming world, and...

  • 53

    3DS eShop

    Review Retro City Rampage: DX

    A Blast From the Recent Past

    About one year ago, Vblank Entertainment released Retro City Rampage on WiiWare. While it had also been released in other forms, it served as a notable last breath for Nintendo's first serious digital marketplace. It was a solid game that we enjoyed with some reservations, but the developers made no secret about the...

  • 21

    3DS eShop

    Review ARC STYLE: Solitaire

    Forever alone

    If you've ever had a) a computer, b) a deck of cards, or c) a grandmother, then the odds are good that you've had some exposure to Solitaire. At a relatively low-price point, ARC STYLE: Solitaire aims to bring that hot solo card-arranging action to the 3DS eShop. We would have thought that such a simple game in combination with a touch...

  • 41

    Wii U

    Review Barbie Dreamhouse Party

    Problems with plasticity

    It's easy to dismiss licensed games like Barbie Dreamhouse Party as cheap cash-ins on popular franchises because, in all honesty, that's usually what they are. Creating a video game based on a classic line of dolls may seem like a step in the right direction towards our increasingly digital future, but it comes with the...

January2014

  • 49

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels

    Super Masochist Bros.

    Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels is the famously difficult, Japan-only sequel to the titular plumber's breakout NES hit, expanding on the original formula with deviously challenging level design and obstacles. Western audiences were instead given the comparatively easy 'Super Mario USA' (a re-skinned translation of Nintendo's...

  • 28

    3DS

    Review LEGO Friends

    No friend of mine

    Warner Bros. Interactive and Hellbent Games' LEGO Friends is a bad game. There's no nicer way of putting it. A squandered opportunity to make another gaming hit out of a popular LEGO property, LEGO Friends feels like a cynical cash-in designed to provide young gamers with a few minutes of mindless diversion before they request the...

  • 45

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Mario Bros.

    Subpar Mario

    Mario and Luigi’s adventures have been nothing short of fantastical over the years, to the point where you could be forgiven for questioning their occupations as plumbers. But despite the brothers’ incredibly varied employment history as doctors, sportsmen and racing drivers — in which they’ve rarely called upon their supposed...

  • 22

    3DS eShop

    Review Brilliant Hamsters!

    Not quite brilliant

    Nintendo revived the pet simulation genre with its hit Nintendogs series, and since then there have been plenty of other pet sims hoping to catch the animal-loving gamers' hearts. Bergsala Lightweight's eShop title Brilliant Hamsters! is a competently crafted pet simulator that simply doesn't present enough variety to sustain...

  • 35

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

    What a horrible night to play this game

    Sequels of the present day are almost an inevitability; a safe way for a developer to earn some extra revenue by expanding their previous game, slightly tweaking gameplay nuances and throwing in additional levels and enemies. However, in the late '80s, things were different – sequels could vary wildly from...

  • 46

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Castlevania II: Simon's Quest

    Should've put a stake in it

    With 1987's Castlevania on the NES, Konami created a classic. The vampire hunting action game was a whip-roaring success, kicking off one of gaming's most iconic series and introducing a generation of gamers to the adventures of Simon Belmont, the joy of whip-based combat, and the explosive properties of holy water. The...

  • 38

    Wii U eShop

    Review F1 Race Stars: Powered Up Edition

    This Formula isn't quite the One

    The kart racing genre has never been particularly short of options. While Nintendo may have created the most enduring franchise in the form of Mario Kart, others such as Sony and Sega have produced high-profile efforts, with Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed being a recent and excellent example. The fantasy of...

  • 70

    3DS eShop

    Review Chibi-Robo! Photo Finder

    Photogenic or photobombed?

    Explaining the attraction of the Chibi-Robo series to the uninitiated isn't the easiest task. While the idea of a helpful little robot may be charming enough, it's the activities he takes part in — which, on the surface, might sound like little more than virtual chores — that are sure to scare away many a gamer. What...

  • 10

    Wii U eShop / Wii U

    Review Cocoto Magic Circus 2

    Look ma', I shot that lizard!

    Nintendo, the pillar of family friendly gaming, once made a good amount of money by selling kids plastic guns. OK, it was a Zapper, but the point stands; we may bemoan some mature, modern shooters for the violence they promote, but more fantastical and cuddly violence has always been part of the gaming landscape. Cocoto...

  • 18

    Wii U

    Review Hot Wheels: World's Best Driver

    Lead it Away

    It’s wonderful to think about the toys of our childhood and how they’re being brought back to life as video games. Through gaming, new generations of youngsters can enjoy the same things that older gamers did in their youth, but in a completely different way. It’s safe to assume that many of you reading this grew up building with...

  • 70

    Wii U eShop

    Review Unepic

    Not ungood

    So you know how it goes: you’re playing a tabletop RPG with your friends. They poke fun at you because you, the Modern Gamer, want to try something that tends to work on a screen but doesn’t jive with the “realism” of high fantasy. Whatever. You excuse yourself to 'observe nature', but the lights go out and suddenly you’re not...

  • 34

    3DS

    Review Disney Frozen: Olaf's Quest

    A short and chilling quest

    Those of you that are keen movie buffs will know that Frozen is Disney's latest animated motion picture, and — judging from the enthusiastic critical and commercial reaction — it's fair to say that it has gone down a treat with adults and children alike. Full of lovable characters and boasting a good soundtrack (like...

  • 21

    Wii U

    Review Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure

    Well-written heroes

    There’s an oddly profound moment at the beginning of Scribblenauts Unmasked: A DC Comics Adventure in which Batman tells Maxwell, the series protagonist, that “no one respects a hero who takes the easy way out.” That one line, though innocuous as it may be, actually sets the tone for the rest of the game. It’s a reminder...

  • 58

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Super Mario Bros. 3

    Pixel-perfect platforming

    Many old-school Nintendo titles are remembered fondly and adored by nostalgic fans; The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Kirby’s Adventure and more still receive heaps of praise and see frequent re-releases to this day. Few games, however, received the unanimous commendations lavished upon Super Mario Bros. 3 on its release, an...

  • 42

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Double Dragon

    Dragon us down

    From the moment protagonist Billy Lee’s sweetheart is sucker-punched in the opening sequence, Double Dragon establishes itself as an action-packed, thrilling battle through hordes of enemy combatants in an attempt to reclaim the captured damsel. As soon as gameplay begins, however, this façade is quickly stripped away to reveal an...

  • 45

    3DS eShop / NES

    Review Life Force

    A force to be reckoned with

    The space shooter is a genre that has somewhat faded into obscurity in recent years, both due to advances in technology rendering their limited scope obsolete and their typically gruelling difficulty proving unpalatable to some gamers. The NES port of Life Force, (or Salamander, as it was originally known on Eastern...

  • 13

    Wii U

    Review Zumba Fitness: World Party

    Around the world in 80 calories

    A modern take on Sweatin' to the Oldies with party-people style, the dance-fitness sensation known as Zumba has become incredibly popular over the last decade, and been perfectly positioned to take advantage of the video-game fitness craze started with Wii Fit. Now, after three successful outings on the Wii, Majesco's...

  • 38

    Wii U eShop

    Review CastleStorm

    Always in another castle

    Zen Studios, known mostly for its pinball titles, has created a promising new IP in CastleStorm, a tower defence / real-time strategy game with easy-to-learn, difficult-to-master gameplay and a tongue-in-cheek story filled with humour and personality. Playing a bit like a hybrid of Swords & Soldiers and Angry Birds, it's...

  • 58

    Wii U

    Review Monster High: 13 Wishes

    Make it stop

    Monster High: 13 Wishes is garbage. There's no getting around it. Don't play it, don't buy it. Just don't. Spend your cash on something more worthwhile. Buy a Monster High DVD if you must. Invest heavily in dogecoin if you're determined to do something crazy with your money. Just, not this. Anything but this. In a nutshell, Monster...

  • 53

    Wii U eShop

    Review Dr. Luigi

    Just what the doctor ordered?

    Nintendo ends the Year of Luigi with Dr. Luigi, a puzzler that feels more like a green, L-shaped re-skin of the Dr. Mario series than a true sequel, due to its identical gameplay, much of the same music, and simplistic visuals. Fortunately, Luigi proves to be just as good a doctor as his more experienced brother, and...

  • 73

    Wii U eShop / NES

    Review Super Mario Bros. 3

    A truly super Mario game

    Super Mario Bros. 3’s recent arrival on the Wii U eShop seemed like a conspicuously low-key affair compared to the considerable hype that surrounded its hugely anticipated original release back the early nineties. However, that doesn't mean that the lack of booming fanfare should be interpreted as a cause for concern; over...

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