Fins with Kin
As the house of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue, Arc System Works is perhaps best known for its fighting games, but over the past few years it's also been quietly churning out a series of arcadey eShop sports games starring a multitalented Japanese family. Billy and his hyper-competitive clan have already brought charming, thoroughly decent...
Not so extreme
Outside of Super Smash Bros., it feels like there's something of a gap in the 3DS library when it comes to fighters, so the overseas arrival of Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden is a welcome one. A 2D, sprite based brawler that features characters and storylines from the perpetually popular manga and anime property, it's a solid if...
Wii U eShop
War, war never changes
Oh Brave Tank Hero, you were not a great game on the 3DS. For those of you who missed the review, ultimately Brave Tank Hero was a mediocre affair on the portable system - the flawed game design and an array of oversights ruined what could have been a good title. Now, Natsume has released the game for the Wii U eShop; will a...
A delight at every turn
Gotcha Racing is about as simple as racing games come, but it's far more addictive than most. The concept is derived from Japan's Gachapon capsule toys — small, highly collectible toys that usually go for about 100 yen apiece. It's this concept that drives the heart of the game. When you first start Gotcha Racing you'll be...
As Salvatore from Wind Waker would say… "Splish!"
In Conker's Bad Fur Day, there is a chapter towards the end of the game called War. In that chapter there is one small section in which the protagonist squirrel has to get inside a tank and storm the Tediz's base. Brave Tank Hero is somewhat similar to that section of Conker's BFD, in the sense...
If there's anything that movies, television and games have taught us, it's that ninja are deadly. Give them knives, blow darts, ninja stars and swords and they're virtually unstoppable. Ninja Usagimaru - The Gem of Blessings proves that they don't need any of those things to be vicious. Give a ninja a simple addition of a block to...
Alone in the darkness
Side-scrolling hack and slash games fall into a tricky genre. It's such a simple concept at its core, but it can easily be ruined by something as basic as poor controls or lack of originality. Swords & Darkness, the latest in the genre to make its way to the 3DS eShop, is an unfortunate example of what happens when little...
Wii U eShop
Not without its faults
If there's one thing that Arc System Works - with this game published by Shin'en Multimedia - can't be accused of, it's of sticking to one genre. Over the years it has displayed a competent ability to develop quality beat 'em ups, side scrolling fighters and even racing games, such as Final Lap, a game that dates as far back...
There's always excitement in the air when a new fighting game hits the streets. These days, especially with the upcoming release of Nintendo's premier brawler, it's easy for lesser-known releases to get swept under the rug. Some fighting franchises are big among niche groups of gamers, but this means that great titles often get...
Take me out to a real ball game...
Arc System Works' latest casual sports title, Arc Style: Baseball 3D, contains the same extensive customisation options of Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D, but it also retains the sluggish, repetitive gameplay and adds some new issues to boot. There is fun to be had in the local multiplayer and even the single player...
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...
Pins with kin
If you were fortunate enough to grow up near a bowling alley, you might have fond memories of family outings full of comically unappealing shoes, embarrassing bowling stances from certain members of your clan, and slipping spectacularly on finely polished floors at least once. You probably didn't get to throw a twelve-pound ball at a...
Family, friendly - fun?
After developing something of an unenviable reputation on WiiWare, Arc System Works' Family series of sports games has been reborn as a dependably decent option on the 3DS' eShop. Following on from Family Tennis 3D and Family Kart 3D, Family Table Tennis 3D is the latest in the line, and while it isn't quite up to the...
A familiar feeling
Fresh off the court from the surprisingly fun Family Tennis 3D, the world's most competitive family returns to the 3DS eShop to hit the racetrack in Family Kart 3D. Developed by Arc System Works - yes, they of Guilty Gear and BlazBlue fame - this is a simple, straightforward kart racer that fails to stand out from the crowd, but...
Is there something about the 3DS that screams out to developers that it just might be the ideal platform for arcade shooters? Maybe it’s the 3D effect that adds simulated depth to in-game environments, or maybe it’s the touchscreen which is seemingly built for aiming a crosshair? Whatever the case may be, the 3DS has seen at least a...
Lines and lines and lines and lines and lines!
There's an episode of Family Guy in which Peter Griffin attends a production of Uncle Vanya. Partway through the play he stands up, bored out of his mind, and shouts, "for crying out loud, somebody throw a pie!" That's more or less how we felt playing VectorRacing. VectorRacing is the epic tale...
A good second service
Arc System Works, most fondly known for the Guilty Gear and BlazBlue series of 2D fighting games, also dabbles in the casual sports genre with its Family series for WiiWare. Those titles generally haven't been very well received, but the series' first entry into the eShop, Family Tennis 3D, is a happy reversal of that trend...
Like real soccer, it's better with friends
Hoping against hope to sweep the award for most cumbersomely titled game in the eShop, Arc Style: Soccer!! 3D is here, and it's brought with it a slew of impressive options for customisation. Unfortunately, the gameplay seems to have been sacrificed on their behalf. As with just about any sports game, Arc...
Middle of the road
Many games take the history of Asian nations as their focus, from the Japanese combat-based Samurai Warriors series to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms games, which use the warring kingdoms of first-century China as their basis. The newest to enter the ring is Defense of the Middle Kingdom, which also focuses on the latter's...
There is no tagline for a title like that
If you’ve never been confused by a video game’s title, now’s your chance! With all of its punctuation and absurdity, Pro Jumper! Guilty Gear Tangent!? is easily one of the most interesting titles on the DSiWare service. As the name suggests, this is a spin-off of the Guilty Gear series of fighting...
3DS eShop / GB
Streets of Joy
Double Dragon begins with Marion minding her own business when she is confronted and kidnapped by three thugs. She can remain calm, though. It's not because the cartoony visuals give the abduction a Donkey Kong vibe (even with a punch to the gut) – it's because her boyfriend is professional bottom-kicker Billy Lee. Based on the...
Keeping the 2D brawlers alive and well
The catalogue of 3DS launch games has, arguably, been a mixed bag. Unlike the DS before it, however, the 3DS is quickly building a fantastic stable of fighting games with Super Street Fighter IV 3D Edition and Dead or Alive: Dimensions; BlazBlue: Continuum Shift II is no exception. Until now, this stylish 2D...
A royale pain
Arc System Works' BlazBlue fighting games, with their unique anime-style visuals and enjoyable fighting engines, have become quite popular among fans of the genre. Of course, this makes it all the more confusing to see them take such a high-quality series and dumb it down for their DSiWare spinoff release BlayzBloo: Super Melee Action...
Deer Captor is a blast from the past, a lazy rehash of a genre over two decades old that lets you blast stuff. The game doesn't look or feel particularly bad upfront - it has decent graphics, clean presentation and well functioning motion controls - but playing it is simply a bore, like you've been sold some watered-down version of those...
A pit stop on the road to hell
The family that just can’t get enough of each other is back in their eighth outing on WiiWare. By now, Aksys has had plenty of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t in this series of games. And it was becoming pretty obvious that if these games have a fault (and they’re all pretty flawless) it’s that...