This week brought a rather interesting surprise from Nintendo, as it released Metroid Prime: Blast Ball as a free download. In Europe it's effectively a gift, seemingly a standalone download that takes the mini-game / training from Metroid Prime: Federation Force and hands it over well ahead of the main game. In North America it's branded as a 'demo', with the online multiplayer servers to be switched off and activated within the full Federation Game when it launches.
Depending on your region, then, it's a generous gift or a relatively substantial early access download, with a full suite of single player, local or online multiplayer ways to tackle the 3 vs. 3 shooter / sports hybrid. It seems, on the face of it, a smart move - Federation Force continues to battle a lot of negativity, even though the dust has settled on its poor E3 2015 reveal, so Nintendo is trying to shift the tone. The big N is essentially making the case for Federation Force - "try this and see what you think, rather than downvoting the trailers without actually experiencing the game."
For some, ultimately, the spin-off nature of the game, the art style and other factors will always be used as sticks with which to beat it, whether fairly or otherwise. But it's an interesting move by Nintendo from which, arguably, it can't lose. It'll have looked at metrics and focus group-style data and likely concluded the game was destined to struggle at retail, so this is a pitch to win over sceptics.
It's not an entirely new tactic, either. We've seen demos plenty of times, of course, and 'early access' downloads like this have been deployed by Nintendo in the past. A successful example was the Splatoon Global Testfire, which introduced a new IP to a lot of gamers and generated plenty of hype. Those timed sessions also allowed Nintendo to conduct stress tests on servers, though that's likely less of a factor with Blast Ball. In any case, this out-of-the-blue Blast Ball freebie certainly created some positive vibes, with those unsure of the upcoming 3DS title being given a taster of the controls, even if the minigame is a diversion from the core campaign's gameplay.
Frankly, in hindsight the recently released Star Fox Zero Training demo, with includes animated short 'The Battle Begins', would have been ideal as an early access treat. The animation was popular, and giving players a free option for mastering controls may have gotten around the "broken controls" argument that plagued the full game's launch, as gamers could decide for themselves.
We're planning a talking point on this topic, but as is Friday tradition we thought we'd set up some polls to gather your opinions. Do early access / free downloads / trials get you more excited for games, and has Blast Ball started to change your opinion on Federation Force? Let us know by clicking buttons and posting comments below.
The game is horrible to be honest ...I didn't like the controls and the game it self
I am quite enjoying Blast Ball, even if I think it is WAY TOO LUCK BASED and can be quite annoying if you don't have good team mates or a good enough grip on the controls, however, it's still a lot of fun. Especially against the CPU; they're challenging, but not unfair.
This isn't going to change the fact I'm not going to purchase Federation Force as I'm not a fan of Metroid (I've never played one), so I don't think a spin-off is the best way to introduce me to such a critically acclaimed series.
It's a double edged sword. There's cases where it works brilliantly and ends up boosting sales, like we saw with Splatoon. By that same token, there's also cases where it kills a game and therefore lowers sales, Wonderful 101 being a good example.
The game is really fun, but for me these early demos are mainly a fun bonus and don't influence my purchasing habits.
Usually demos dont make me change my mind.It only happened thrice with Wonderful 101,Star Fox Zero and Guard.After playing the demos I didn't want anymore W101,the oppposite happened with both Star Fox games.I didn't care about them, but now I really like them.
In splatoon's case, hype was already there, at least for me. It merely reinforced my hype
@IceClimbers Honestly, I dont think Wonderful101 was going to get much sales even without the demo. The demo was bad but it at least brought the game to attention to some people who were unaware of the game in the first place.
I think if Starfox Zero had a demo, it wouldve botched the sale dramatically. Good call on Miyamoto to be a sly rat to not release a demo so we would waste money on that game
Splatoon demo made me buy it. The Castlevania demo for the 3DS made me hate it and I would of bought it had I not played the demo. I was sold with Baynetta 2. I got free a Zelda Triforce and I thought it was crap. So it was the first Zelda game I did not purchase. It depends. I usually am informed before I make a purchase, but if I wasn't interested in a game like Splatoon and then played the demo and bought it; then it helps. It is all about a great game. It is that simple.
@Snow-Dust Oh for sure. Star Fox Zero still didn't sell all that well anyways.
To be honest if you ignored all of the negative pre-release coverage on Star Fox's controls to the point where you were surprised/betrayed/disappointed with SF0, that's kind of your fault.
Demos and so called "early access" should give a taste of what the game will be like. This was beyond horrible, and if it's any indication of what the main game will be, I am losing hope
Let's face it, it's the best free game on the eShop. Not that it has much competition.
I'm enjoying the game, and have unlocked loads of coats of paint for my mech. It's not completely flawless, though...
Sometimes I score a goal and it gives it to someone else/sometimes someone else scores a goal and says it was me.
When I hit the ball, sometimes (most of the time) it doesn't feel like I've hit it, and it registers the hit a second or two too late... Not sure if it's lag or not. But similarly, finding a game is often a waiting game with people joining and leaving on a constant basis.
I'm unsure if I'll be picking up the full game, mostly because everyone I know IRL will not be picking it up, so I'll have noone to play with.
Does the full game have more modes for Blast Ball? ...
Metroid Prime Trilogy is affordable on Wii U now, and traditional games like Super Metroid and Zero Mission (unlocks original Metroid as well) are affordable and available. If you only own 3DS, Metroid (NES) and Metroid 2 Return of Samus (GB) are both available. Which those aren't as good as Super Metroid, with no maps and whatnot, but I grew up with them and love them. But definitely Prime Trilogy, Zero Mission, or Super Metroid. I don't want you to miss out on a good time. These are legendary in the Nintendo library.
I may still consider getting Federation Force, but Blast Ball is horrible in my opinion.
Global Testfire got me into Splatoon.
So yeah. More of this. So I can see if I actually like something before buying it.
Sometimes, demos can make me fall in love with a game that I otherwise might have overlooked.
In terms of Blast Ball, I wasn't expecting to enjoy it, and the demo only confirmed this.
Two things. One: what was the deal with getting kicked out of the mechs? It seemed to happen at random, and I hated that with a passion. Two: is it just me, or do the shots you're firing seem to not actually go toward the ball itself half the time, even when you're locked on? I felt like my shots were connecting less than half the time.
I was hoping for this, due to the visuals and style and all, to essentially be Nintendo's answer to Rocket League..... yeah, no, it's not that. I'd consider it, at its best, about a 5. If it felt more precise, and there weren't random moments of losing your ability to actually play and getting cheap goals scored on you, I think it could easily be a 7 or better, but yikes. What a disappointment.... and that's coming from someone who had very low expectations from the start.
I'm surprised how many people dislike Blast Ball, I've personally enjoyed it (gyro and non-gyro, still deciding on which to go with) and while I was already planning on purchasing it, it has reinforced my purchase.
It's hit and miss for me. I wasn't going to buy Splatoon and the global testfire sold me and I bought it day 1. (Turned out I thought the game was ok not great, but my wife LOVES it. It's the only game I've ever seen her put over 100 hours into)
Monster Hunter 4 demo sold me on that one and I bought 2 copies (my wife and I) and it just takes too long to get into so we haven't.
I was absolutely going to buy Wonderful 101 day 1. Then I played the demo and didn't get it. Finally bought it when I found it for $23 and quickly regretted waiting as I absolutely LOVE that game.
I haven't yet downloaded Blast Ball, but I will.
Its not great, and its not terrible. Its one of those games that helps you kill time, which some might find fun.
Demo's help but they're not the be all and end all.
I suppose that you could naturally include demos into this category of 'free downloads', and whilst demos are quite sparse on Nintendo hardware, when they are there, they're pretty good, in my opinion.
I for myself enjoyed the demo. I think since there's less places in my town to rent it is a great way for demos to help the user decide if he/she wants to buy into it.
I'll be downloading it tonight. If I can get a free demo for a game that I have even the tiniest sliver of interest in, I will download it. I like giving games a chance even if I'm 99% convinced I won't like it.
I like Blast Ball, but it definitely has it's flaws. Too many flaws , imo, such as hard controls, seems too luck based, etc., to keep me from purchasing this later on.
As for demos in general, I love them! Demos have helped me discover games that I would've never looked into otherwise, Gunvolt being a good example. So the more demos, the better!
I never understood how some people never bother to check out a free game, or demo. I like demos personally, but they are a double edge sword, for both the devs, and the customer. I know that devs usually lose money on making demos, and it doesn't noticeably add to more sales.
However, for some (like me), it is the only way I can take a real chance on a game that I may have a fleeting interest in. If not for the Dual Destinies demo, I'd never would have bought Ace Attorney. Demos have also saved many of us from some God awful games.
Free downloads and demos affect my purchase based on how good the game is, obviously. I really had not intention on picking up Metroid Prime: Federation Force, but that could change if I like the demo enough (I haven't made enough free space for it on my SD card, yet). I'll be sure to download it sometime this weekend.
There's power-ups that allow to eject other players. It's dumb.
You also have to lead the shot. Using the R and L, you shoot the ball, where it's going to be.
All demos do is let people try something before they potentially make a purchase that they regret later. I had no plans on ever getting Bayonetta 2, but after downloading the demo, I was hooked.
At one point I was considering Sonic Lost World because it was hyped up by Sonic fans to be another "good" Sonic game. I was very unimpressed with what I assume was the star level of the game, so I avoided from then on.
This should be a free too play on the Wii U with better graphics and more modes etc.
A good demo can sell me on a game. Likewise, a bad one can turn me off.
The problem is that some games just don't work very well with free demos unless they include a substantial amount of content. MH, for example. If you don't know anything about the series, download the demo, and get your butt kicked by a monster because the demo didn't bother to give you a proper introduction to the deep combat mechanics in the game, you'll probably write it off as a clunky action game.
@Moon Nah, I enjoyed that free submarine game way more than this. And I didn't even really care much for that.
This is one sweet demo. Its up there with the super smash bros demo a couple years back.
@johnodaz I agree a HD version would have been sweet!
just started playing through prime got the trilogy on wiiu! Absolutely amazing!! It's been so long since I played it on GameCube! If only they had made a new one for wiiu in hd might pick federation force up but don't think it's my type of game doing these missions all the time with help from others metroid is all about being alone and figuring where to go next
http://youtu.be/PCB6R_kjdj0 this game will probably be the best FPS on 3DS something I need in my life.
Genuinely I think the only major problem with Blast Ball is the eject power up as it is incredibly OP. Most of the other issues I've seen raised would be solved if people took a little bit of time to get good. Not saying there aren't any other issues, but they aren't too major, for a demo/early access at least.
After playing the Practice mode and a few rounds of Blast Ball, I'm sold. Any fear I had about it has been rectified (except the chibi thingy). I'm really looking forward the full game now
Not really liking Blast Ball so far. The controls are okay, but if the ball gets behind you at all, you've completely lost the game. Taking damage and dying/respawning is a negative aspect of the game as well. I will get Federation Force but won't be playing Blast Ball hardly at all.
I think blast ball needs to add a feature where you can have your friends join up online together and take on other teams. Maybe even a Mic feature where you can talk to your friends. IDK
I tried to download it, but my 3ds doesn't have enough memory.
Blast Ball is awesome, but the singleplayer "training mode" didn't sway me. Unfortunately Blast Ball alone isn't worth $40 so I'm gonna have to get my fix over the next two months before the servers switch off. Wish they would do a Starfox Zero/Guard type release so I could purchase just Blast Ball.
I remember liking project X zone the first time I saw it.
Then I donwloaded the demo, and well, It saved my wallet (a really tight and sad one)
@blooper_88 Defo would be awesome.
Huh? When was this announced?
I never did the global test fire launch for splatoon. I bought it on a whim after seeing how much fun people were having playing it. I downloaded the Starfox demo thinking I would like it. I know it's only a demo but if that's the controls... and I might download blastball but I'm naively holding out for the next 2D Metroid :/
Havent tried it and dont feel like im missing out on anything. Game seems like it get boring after 2 hours. Cant complain about it being free though.
I'm downloading the Metroid demo as I type. I never got a chance to demo Splatoon. I just purchased it based on really high reviews and praise from journalists and actual gamers.
With that being said, I usually take advantage of free downloads and demos to see if a game is worth taking a chance on. There are only a handful of games that are automatic buys for me where a demo is, personally, not necessary. They all happen to be Nintendo franchises (Main series Marios, Zeldas, Pokemon, SSB and Mario Kart). After New Leaf, I'd probably add Animal Crossing to that list. For my other consoles, I rarely (if ever) buy a game without trying out a demo.
I love it, I find it ridiculously fun. The fact in EU it is basically a part of the game and we can still play it when the game comes out is incredible. Heck I feel as if that was an accident haha.
I only played it for a little bit last night but I found the controls to be rather cumbersome and not very fun to play. I'll have to play it a few more times to have a more complete idea of what it's really all about.
"In North America it's branded as a 'demo', with the online multiplayer servers to be switched off and activated within the full Federation Game when it launches."
Genuinely confused here. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I remember reading in a previous article that the multiplayer would be switched ON in September, not off. Is it now the case that NA multiplayer for this game will be done come Sept or has it always been this way?
@EXP You should also check the Federation Force Discussion since they are also giving some tips to understand the game better.
Personally, I did enjoy the controls and almost instantly felt the same feeling as with the Prime series, but I didn't enjoy Blast Ball really much. However, I can see myself enjoying the cooperative missions quite a lot.
"I haven't downloaded it but wanted to vote anyway…" SMH
With freedom of speech comes the freedom to non-opinions and mountain-loads of non-information to sift through to find anything of substance.
I tried it and it's not my cup of tea (its just to random based!)
Come on people, Blast Ball is basically HyperBlade remastered, of course it's awesome.
It's not bad. Reminds me a lot of Rocket League (insofar that Balloon Fight reminds me of Joust).
The thing with me is that I very clearly know what I buy and want not. Sometimes I research a game on YouTube and read reviews to make up my mind but I rarely use Early Access demos for that. And I hate the Free to Play aspect of smartphone games. I know why they are so successful but I'd much rather pay the good devs their money and then get the full (non-DLC) experience.
In the aspect of Metroid FF, I'll probably pick it up but since I've never been that big of a Metroid fan, I prob won't play it for too long.
Also, I was really looking forward to Blast Ball back when it was first announced. The reason being is because I thought it'd be another Splatoon where Nintendo takes a rather boring genre, soccer in this case, and makes it fun. What I've seen of it, though, doesn't really make me wanna play it.
Unless the controls are dreadful I don't think the early access effects my buying plans, aside from maybe putting them higher or lower on "games to get next" list. Though normally they are too close to launch to change things.
I'm rather enjoying Blast Ball, there is some hidden skill in the game, figuring out where to be on the field, what shots to use when and what power ups you want and when to use them. Eject is a little too strong and the best defense against it I've seen was by the computer where they all stood in front of the net, making a wall till they could play again. There almost is a hidden luck based game when the ball first drops, its gotten me 3 scores in the first 1-2 second of a match, something to do with charge shot and the ball being bounced by the other players. It does suck when you get stuck with people who aren't sure of what they are up to and the opponents are aces by comparison. I hope friend match making is a thing in the full game, but for now, its a new multiplayer game with friends and I'm enjoying grabbing the paint jobs, as well as having rolled credits.
@Oat - When the full game launches in NA. The Blast Ball download in NA will lose the online and those servers will be used for the retail game of Federation Force/Blast Ball.
Horrible timing, it's Monster Hunting season again.
I have bought several games that I didn't intend to, after playing their demo. Pokken Tournament for example.
Demos are good, helps potential customers make an informed decision. I have bought many games after trying out their demos. One not mentioned yet is Code Name: STEAM which I bought based on how much fun I had with the demo.
On the other hand, playing demos have also sometimes given me enough of a fix to help me resist buying an actual game itself, including Legend of Dark Witch, Pocket Jockey and Rhythm Heaven Megamix (well, the price felt way too high for a digital only release). I think these were games I would likely have bought based on reviews and my interest in them alone, so in these cases, the demos had the opposite effect on me - after enjoying the demos for a while, the desire to own the game was out of my system.
As for Blast Ball, I think it's a demo done right as you don't actually play a mission in the game, but the demo does get you used to the controls. If reviews are okay, I'll be picking up multiple copies of the game on day one.
The bayonetta 2 demo made me buy a game I never would have got otherwise.
I find demos can convince me NOT to buy a game. Both Splatoon and Bayonetta demos turned me off the games so I never bought them. Sony started releasing demos back in the mid 90s. I can say right now a demo never sold a game to me. They can have the opposite effect.
I found Blast Ball to be really fun, but I don't know if I'd buy Federation Force because of it. TBH, I'd like to just keep Blast Ball as its own thing.
Maybe they could release a deluxe version on the eShop kind of like Kirby Fighters and Dedede's Drum Dash...?
I really enjoy early access trials because it not only gives you a chance to try something out before it comes out, it also gives developers a chance to tweek and listen to feedback about it. That's why I really enjoyed the Nindies early access demos on the wiiu last year. I and other people made comments about the games we played and developers responded to our comments and hopefully that affected the final program. Runbow was a great example of this. Don't get me wrong, I also enjoy demos of games but its good to know that your feedback can make a game better. I remember the good old days when you sent a company like Team 17 a blank floppy disk and a SAE and you got a free rough copy of one of their games in return for your honest feedback. Now its even easier with small companies offering people the chance to sign up for early access downloads on the internet and I hope Nintendo do more of this especially with their online multiplayer games like Splatoon and Blast Ball.
The article confused me at first, because I associate "early access" with the wretched practice over at Steam.
And no, demos generally don't change my mind, because demos can be screwed up just like anything else. Reviews and raw gameplay footage are more informative.
I'm unable to play this online so it doesn't affect me. Online gaming in Nintendo exclusive gamed and modems/routers from one of the biggest local internet operators doesn't work well together.
@peeks Blast Ball yes, a big, chaotic mess. It's not even a balanced game between luck and skill.
Federation Force looks promising so far.
@MarioPhD Getting kicked out is called "let's give a cheap chance to players who can't get good, so the winning, skilled team won't be winning all the time". It's Nintendo at their best. Remember Mario Kart and Mario Party? Yeah, that's the same deal. Random punishment for people who actually care about mastering the game.
That little item made me stop playing Blast Ball. It's so random and so unfair that you can't rely solely on your skills to dominate matches. Luck is never a good thing at competitive gaming. It's fine for casual, non-ranked system though.
Blast Ball play and controls almost as bad as Starfox Zero, Nintendo is really dropping the Ball! lol
..I'm having a ball..
If there would have been a demo of the new Starfox I would have played it and then probably decided to wait until it is $10 on sale, you can tell that Nintendo knew this was going to happen so that's why they did not release date demo prior to the release. Doesn't matter to me what Miyamoto says, they knew it was not going to sell well.
@IceClimbers bingo, I played the demo of Wonderful 101 and thought it was tragically awful, same thing with monster hunter, I get into the game and I have no idea what is going on I cannot figure it out and it bores me to death so I turned it off uninstall it and then never look at it again
Most of the games I may have ended up liking, but without a tutorial and without some kind of context and no direction it was a bad experience and that is a bad thing, I don't blame myself I blame them for not selling it properly.
I'm a bit ehhhh on Blast Ball. It's a good idea, and the fps controls are excellent, but it's got its problems:
-Major server problems, at least for me
>It's too hard to guage the impact you're making on the ball's direction
>The health of theplayers is too high so it's hard to kill them.
-When the ball speeds past you and closer to your goal it's really hard to catch up with the ball to turn the tide. Part of the problem is that opponents can shoot the ball into the goal and don't have to be anywhere near the thing. At least in regular football you the only thing propelling the ball into the net is a single person at a time.
Long time reader, occasional commenter here. The comments don't seem to reflect the polls. I for one really enjoyed Blast ball. I downloaded into 3/4 3DS's in my household. played us vs bots on a 1 or so road trip with my two younger boys. They loved it and I honestly enjoyed it too. Memories were made today. Realized this made the decision to buy three copies at release. We are going to have a blast!
@Aqueous Thanks a bunch for clearing that up for me
I'm not interested in Blast Ball, it's not my type of game and the Metroid branding stamped on it doesn't fool me!
For the Splatoon Testfire, well, I actually downloaded it but didn't play due to unfortunate playtimes.
@Oat - You're welcome
@Moon The full game can be played through Download Play, so unless your irl friends don't live near you, you can play with them even if they don't have the game.
@Slaz Blast Ball is really just an additional mode to kill time with. Federation Force (the campaign) is basically a bunch of semi-Metroid missions with the controls from Blast Ball (and if you have a new 3DS, you can also play with the C-stick).
@Meaty-cheeky So... both controls are good? With 3D off, you can lock on enemies and also move the target with motion controls. Also, in the full game's campaign, you can use the C-stick. And Star Fox Zero's controls are really good when you learn how to use them.
@Parkour_LMan Ah, thanks for letting me know. I might check out Federation Force after all then.
@Parkour_LMan You mean Federation Force is playable via Download Play... or Blast Ball?
Its a fun demo, but nothing else. I rather have a demo of the Federation force single-player campaign!
@rushiosan If nothing else, they need a mode like For Glory in Smash so people can play with the powerup if they want, and let it be extremely competitive for those who want it that way. Sure, it divides the player base, but then everyone's happy. Without that roadblock in place, if I really liked Blastball, I may well have bought MP:FF just to access it, as I've been craving a Rocket League equivalent, and I'm not going to play just that one game on my PC. Alas.....
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