Can't wait to hear more about games like Splatoon and Etrian Mystery Dungeon? As Japan's primary gaming magazine, Famitsu receives exclusive previews and reviews of Nintendo games well before the same coverage sees the light of the day elsewhere in the world. The 4th March edition features a pile of information on Splatoon's Hero mode, another pile of information on Etrian Mystery Dungeon, a review for Mario Party 10 and some quirky Japanese downloadable titles. We've managed to nab a copy and rigorously translate it to the best of our abilities for your reading pleasure.
Read on for previews and reviews of everything Nintendo in this week's Famitsu magazine.
Famitsu's four-page cover of Splatoon gave us more information on Hero Mode. It appears Hero Mode will function as a platformer, puzzle game, and third-person shooter all in one. It's up to you to retrieve power sources from enemy octopuses by blasting through waves of sea-themed creatures using "Gimmicks" to navigate through levels and solve puzzles. In-game characters will provide hints just like most other Nintendo games for those who require a little extra help to play, so don't worry if you're not much of a puzzle solver.
Several "Gimmicks" were detailed. A place where friendly-coloured ink has gathered allows you to rocket yourself across the map. This is similar to the mechanic seen in multiplayer matches which shoots you from your spawn point directly into the fray. Second, propeller lifts—platforms with huge fans on them—will move if sprayed with ink, allowing access to different parts of the level. Last, Famitsu introduced ink rails. Ink rails let you transfer from one point to another if filled with ink and hopped into. Undoubtedly, these so-called "Gimmicks" will provide some interesting puzzles to solve.
Etrian Mystery Dungeon hit Japanese shelves today, but the magazine hasn't printed a review for it quite yet. Instead, Famitsu put together a dozen pages packed full of Etrian Mystery Dungeon details. While we've heard most of the information before, Famitsu did drop some details on three classes developers Spike Chunsoft and Atlus have kept tight-lipped about, along with some new information on what NPCs will assist you in the game.
First up is the Ninja. Ninjas play a lot like the Dark Hunter seen in Etrian Odyssey Untold or the Nightstalker in Etrian Odyssey IV. With high accuracy and health, this class works best on the front-line of battle. However, Ninjas have low defense. It's an all-around tricky class to use, but Famitsu stresses you will find it very rewarding as well. Skills largely focus on raising critical hit chance and evasion rates.
Next up is the Prince and Princess class. Yeah, we think the name sounds a bit odd, too. The Prince and Princess class return from Etrian Odyssey III. They're the ultimate buff class, more or less. If you take a Prince or Princess dungeon crawling with you, you can restore your party's heath and technique points, buff stats, and cure ailments. Furthermore, this class comes with the ability to auto-heal allies outside of combat. If that wasn't enough, Prince and Princesses can also halve damage received to the party and double damage given to enemies with their special skill. Apparently, they do all this with their impeccable charisma.
The third class covered translates as the Wanderer class. This class makes itself useful by helping the party out in the field. From collecting ingredients and making medicines to walking on water and making traps, the Wanderer promises to make your life easier as you delve deeper and deeper into dungeons. Of course, with so many outside-battle skills, a Wanderer will also weaken your party in combat. However, this class comes paired with a skill that blows all enemies away, giving your party respite from battle when necessary.
Famitsu also took a look at NPCs who will help you throughout the game. Along with NPCs that allow you to save and store items, craft gear, and manage your guild and party members, Etrian also features allies that offer side quests to help you buff your skills within the game. Niraruda, a darker-skinned woman in green, will give the player quests to complete while out dungeon crawling, and once these quests are completed she'll award the player with items used to buff skills.
Note: Famitsu reviews are done by four reviewers. They each give an individual score out of 10.
8/8/8/9 - Mario Party 10 is the series' debut on the Wii U. Due out next week in Japan and on 20th Mar everywhere else, Famitsu's reviews show we have another Wii U game to look forward to. The reviewers enjoyed how Amiibos allowed for an extra game mode called Amiibo Party—which introduces more items and specific maps for each Amiibo—and they welcomed the extra game mode wholeheartedly. Also praised was the game's GamePad support, which allows a fifth player to control Bowser using the GamePad screen. One reviewer found Bowser party the most enjoyable because it facilitated a lot of teamwork between the non-Bowser players. Another reviewer stated, "Even people who don't like party games will enjoy Mario Party 10."
7/7/8/7 Nintendo Life reviewed KAMI recently, and came to a similar conclusion as the Famitsu staff. KAMI, available on the 3DS eShop, means paper, and it's a puzzle game about changing the colour of paper with as few moves as possible. Famitsu's review team seemed enamored with the Japanese aesthetic and peaceful sounds, factors also covered in our own KAMI review. However, Famitsu cited too-few puzzles for the high-price point as the main a drawback.
Hippari-Nya! "Pull Cat"
7/7/7/6 Famitsu labels Hippari-Nya!, literally translated as Pull Cat, as a "simple but fun touch screen action game" for the Nintendo 3DS. As a combination of tower defense and action gameplay, Famitsu enjoyed how frantic the game's battles became. It makes you feel like a master tactician to send your enemies flying with a flick of the 3DS's stylus, and the game is overall very cute and just "simply looks fun." With ample amounts of powerups to buy for your characters, Famitsu said Hippari-Nya! promotes a decent amount of character progression. The drive to upgrade characters through sling-shotting more and more enemies was a refreshing take on the genre. However, one reviewer found the controls couldn't keep up with the frantic gameplay, and it is even harder to play for left-handed people.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there are any plans to pull Hippari-Nya! out of Japan.
Ansatsu Kyoshitsu: Koro-sensei Dai Hoimo "Assassin Classroom: The Great Besieging of Koro Sensei"
7/6/7/5 Ansatsu Kyoshitsu is a remarkably Japanese game. Based on a book [update: not 'erotic book' as we originally translated] for young adults, it's a Nintendo 3DS game filled with "dumb laughs and gag humor." Even part of the title, "Koro Sensei" hides a pun (korose) that means to kill or assassinate. Dumb laughs and gag humor, like character's falling into traps, aren't a knock against the game, however. The reviewers appreciated it. Unfortunately, the reviewers found the game difficult to understand. While it's some sort of action game featuring guns in a school setting, not much was explained in the way of gameplay. When the reviewers are confused, we are too.
Like Hippari-Nya!, this game isn't likely to make it out of Japan. That's probably for the best.
This week was a light week when it comes to Nintendo news in Famitsu magazine. Upcoming magazines promise to have more information on Splatoon and Etrian Mystery Dungeon, so be sure to have an eye out for future updates.
Did any news out of Famitsu this week get you particularly excited?
A special thank you to Bill Alexander for the direct translations!