Tag Archives: Wii U

Discussion: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

The impact of color in the darkest nights of winter.

Like many people, I have issues. Specifically, I suffer from regular depression, and it’s compounded during the winter by Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don’t say that for pity, or because this is about to be a rant about what a unique snowflake I am. I say it because I know I’m not the only person who does, and I hope that by reading why Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (and by relation, other Super Mario games) mean so much to me during these long nights.

There’s something that Nintendo’s EAD studio puts into their art design that I haven’t been able to fully articulate in words, which is why this article is inundated with pictures of the game Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. It looks infinitely better in motion, but I just want you to try and see what I see; color, simplicity, and a certain glamor that is unrivaled in the video game industry. This subtle, inviting visual style makes Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker a safe place to be, even when things are at their most hectic. It’s a trait shared with the game that spun off this series, Super Mario 3D World, also for the Wii U. Last year, that was that game that kept making my jaw drop with every level’s visual design bursting with color on the screen. This year, though, it’s all about Captain Toad.

There’s something nostalgic about the colors Nintendo uses, and the way they use them. And I’m not just referring to the “oh Nintendo just relies on nostalgia form their previous games to make money” mentality that a lot of people have fallen into, complete with untold amounts of cynicism and blindness to other developers who do the same thing. It’s a real nostalgia that brings back memories of Christmas and seeing all the houses decorated in an array of brilliant lights, shining atop a field of fresh snow. It reminds me of fireworks blasting in the warm June sky. Every scene is a rush of positive memories and emotions that come flooding back, and so each level fills me with fuzzy feelings. How am I supposed to not like a game that does that? It is literally giving me the feeling that this time a year does so well at suppressing, and makes it nigh impossible to feel sad.

At some point I should mention that Treasure Tracker is about playing the titular Captain Toad and running through small, floating dioramas in order to find gems and collect the star at the end of every stage. Most stages have a fairly simple point A to point B puzzle to get the star and move on, but the real challenge lies in hunting down every gem and completing each level’s secret mission. It’s fairly simple, but the puzzles ramp up to brilliant early on, and get genuinely difficult before too much longer.

The games aren’t perfect. Captain Toad has some issues with juggling the Game Pad and the main screen, especially when it comes to interactions with things like wheels that need to be turned. I don’t want to give the impression that I’m too busy gorging on warm fuzzies to identify the problems this game has. I just want you to know that I don’t think they matter in the face of the brilliant, pocket-sized spectacle Nintendo has created here.

If you’re facing some Winter doldrums, or are just in need of something a little less bloody (and a little more functional out of the box), I cannot recommend Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker enough. Though I would recommend you hold off if you haven’t played Super Mario 3D World first. Like any spin-off, it just makes the experience more meaningful if you’ve covered the source material first.

How about you? Have you had a chance to play Captain Toad? What do you think? Drop a comment and let me know!

Review: Pushmo World

Pushmo returns in HD, and manages to rekindle my desire to shove blocks around.

The 3DS saw one of the most innovative puzzle games in recent memory with Pushmo a few years back. A simple downloadable title became one of the 3DS’s best games, if nothing else for the refreshing nature of it’s gameplay. It wasn’t about speed or necessarily skill, it was about thinking things carefully to get from the bottom to the top. Plain, simple, and immensely enjoyable.

Pushmo World seeks to bring that same innovative gameplay to the big screen. Admittedly, it’s not as fresh the second time, but it still delivers head scratching brilliance with a new batch of puzzles. You also get a more robust social feature through Miiverse, allowing you to find and endless assortment of user-generated Pushmo puzzles!

Here’s one I created! It’s kind of terrible, but you can scan the QR code into either version of Pushmo to try it!

What makes Pushmo great is it’s simplicity. The colorful art style, the peppy music, and the minimal amount of mechanics helps to keep the game clear and concise, and yet the variety of puzzles seems endless. The amount of innovation you get from a game about pushing and pulling blocks around never ceases to surprise me, even in the franchise’s second iteration.

Ultimately, Pushmo is a puzzle game only in competition with itself. It’s nice to see that Nintendo didn’t try and staple more weird mechanics into it, or re-introduce elements from the less favorable offshoot Crashmo (also available on the 3DS). What we have is a great game, in high definition, with nearly unlimited content. At the end of the day that’s all anybody could ask for.

Mario Kart 8 – A Hundred Word Review

Fast, gorgeous, and full of online fun.

MK8Shot2 Mario Kart 8 is probably one of the strongest Mario Kart’s to have come out. It’s gorgeous, fast, and entertaining.

As far as Mario Kart‘s go, you’re not getting a bunch of new territory here outside of the brilliant zero-g racing. Riding upside down and on walls never fails to be fun. Above all else, come to this game for it’s gameplay, but while you’re here, enjoy the bountiful visual feast blowing out of your screen.

The battle mode is the worst, but the online works phenomenally! Creating videos with Mario Kart TV and viewing them at Mariokart.tv is a blast. MK8Shot1 This is a new format I’m trying called the “Hundred Word Review.” Just like it says, I take only 100 words to describe my feelings towards a game. I’m doing this in an attempt to find a gimmick that appeals to folks. Quick, bite-sized reviews are the idea. Something to counterbalance the half-a-novel reviews you see elsewhere.

I could write a lot about Mario Kart 8, but I feel like these 100 words are all I need to say to tell you what I think of it. Let me know what you think in the comments. Does this format work for you? Am I omitting things? Do you like the idea of shorter reviews in general, or have I taken it to far? Please slap that feedback on the table so I can write more gooder for you.

Smash Bros. TNG – Zelda!

Hyrule’s Princess Returns!

I realized that I had skipped Zelda with everything going on in December, so I’m here to right that wrong with a piece on her and her JoJo-tastic  poses!

That dazzling attack cuts through the air!

Interestingly, the announcement of Zelda had now accompaniment of Sheik. I’m pretty sure it went down like that with Brawl too, and I get that they’re treated as different characters for a lot of reasons, but it’s still just kind of weird to me, you know?

“ZA WARUDO! TOKI WA TOMARE!”

So far her moves, while more dazzling, appear to be mostly unchanged. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of balance tweaks she gets, especially in the speed department. She’s always been a powerhouse to be reckoned with so I’m intrigued.

In other news, you can springboard off the ropes!

You’ll note she’s in her Twilight Princess/Ocarina of Time style get-up. While she looks great, I am just a skosh disappointed she’s not looking like her Skyward self. Hopefully that’ll be some alternate costume potential.

The Nintendo Princess roster has just about reached it’s cap. One can only hope for Midna but… more on that later…

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: King DeDeDe

Return of the King

King DeDeDe is one of those characters that I just loved, even though I was apparently playing him wrong. Apparently you’re supposed to just chain-grab with him a lot. Me? I had fun throwing his hammer around and posing for the camera. Silly me, I guess?

Anyhow, The King in Red is back with better visual fidelity, animations, and an improved rocket hammer! Hopefully we’ll see him get a few gameplay changes like Bowser, who is now faster on his feet and able to throw out sweet drop-kicks. I’m not saying DeDeDe needs too much balance change, but it would be odd for him to remain the heaviest character when other big guys get so much more spring in their step.

Not much is known about this expressive combatant from the Kirby series in terms of changes. At present we’ll just assume he’s a better looking version of himself from Brawl.

What do you think, though? Are you glad to hear DeDeDe’s right back at ya? Anybody else you’re looking forward to? Leave a note in the comments below!

Smash Bros – The Next Generation: Mega Man

The Blue Bomber Drops In

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnNew02_02_E3

 

When Smash Bros. for Wii U and Smash Bros for 3DS were announced, It was a shocker at the end to see that Mega Man had joined the ranks! It was mostly a surprise to me for 3 reasons:

1. I was hesitant to believe we’d ever get a 3rd party character again, save for -maybe- Sonic.

2. There’s an increasing mountain of evidence that suggests that Capcom really doesn’t care to continue Mega Man games, perhaps out a deep seeded grudge against Keiji Inafune, the character’s creator. #tinfoilhats

3. and because I was almost positive that if Capcom could throw anything into the ring, it’d be Ryu’s headband. Being a fighting-game character, easily transferable to the Smash style (Spam B for Hadoken, up+B for Shoryuken, etc.), and because he’s just more popular right now, especially for Capcom.

Mega Man takes out the rage of thousands of scorn gamers out on Fox. Poor fox.
Mega Man takes out the rage of thousands of scorn gamers out on Fox. Poor fox.

So I’ll admit, I was surprised to see Mega Man. But I’m absolutely happy with the way we got him. His move set just makes perfect sense. I think any of us would have predicted using boss moves for his special attacks, but the using them for his regular attacks never would have occurred to me. And the fact that his buster blasts are his -normal- attack, and a charged shot is his smash? Brilliant! Just brilliant! I’m absolutely thrilled to have him along for the ride.

Hot steppin' it.
Hot steppin’ it.

The obvious question is what do we do with Mega Man? Where does he fit into single player? What does he bring with him in terms of trophies/stickers/assist trophies/music? Well those are mostly all things I discuss in separate posts, but I did want to touch on two things: his final smash and a potential alternate costume.

Samus already has a screen-tall hyper beam, so it’d probably be weird to try and just bring that in for Mega Man, so what else can he do? Looking at other Mega Man appearances in fighting games, we can see Hyper Mega Man from Marvel vs. Capcom 2. He could don his canine companion as armor for the Power Rush Adapter armor, allowing him to go invincible with a unique pool of unblockable, unstoppable moves. Or perhaps the ultimate Final Smash for Mega Man would be that using it releases Mega Man Legends 3 onto your 3DS.

That was me when Mega Man Legends 3 was announced.

I’m not going to lie, I’m totally happy with this Mega Man, but I wanted the Mega Man Legends version. He was even fairly recently featured in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom, and was a rather unique fighter. Would have loved to see something like that come back. Oh well.

Everybody jump now!
Everybody jump now!

For alternate costumes, I think Mega Man’s silence is going to be golden. It allows us to technically give him any appearance we want. Now, If I had to guess, I’d say his alternate palette swaps are going to be indicative of other Robot Masters (a red and yellow Gutsman style, a white and pink Cutman style, etc.) I’m just saying we have options there. If we did do an alternate costume, Proto Man and Bass are kind of the two obvious choices, but again could be made due in a palette swap. I’m thinking this is where Ryu could get his points, and Mega Man dressed as Ryu would be the costume. I think it’d be neat, and you could even throw in a classic “SHORYUKEN!” for the uppercut move that Mega Man has!

"It's Mega Time!"
“It’s Mega Time!”

We shall see what the future holds for Mega Man, but so far I’m pretty excited. Thoughts? Comments? General rantings of the lamentably insane? Please, feel free to write/type/scrawl with a plastic fork into the boxes below!

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: Samus

The Original Bounty Huntress

Y can't metroid crawl?
The Samus has Landed

One of the original members of the Smash Bros. team, Samus is back and sporting a much edgier look. No, I mean it. Her suit has a lot more edges on it. A lot more convex edges, to be specific, giving her a very sleek, very sharp appearance. Frankly I think she’s never looked better, but I’ve got a thing for power armor.

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnC03_02_E3
Dat sizzle.

Sadly we’ve had only one Metroid title since our Brawl; it’s the one she draws her redesigned appearance from: Metroid: Other M. There’s not a whole lot we can really pull from that, at least nothing new. I can only hope for some grapples of some sort to reflect her new brutal take-downs from Other M. But aside from that… I dunno. I’ve got a couple of stage ideas, sure, but that’s another discussion.

3DS_SmashBros_scrnC03_04_E3
What’s in there?

The real question here is whether or not Zero Suit Samus is still involved. Is she still even a character? Is that Final Smash swap mechanic gone? Has she gone independent? Seeing as how we have a screenshot of her busting out the Hyper Beam, I think it’s fair to assume that she sheds that slick new armor at some point or another, but I don’t say anything’s certain until I see it for myself. ZS Samus may have become her very own character, if nothing else than to be less system intensive for the 3DS version of the game.

3DS_SmashBros_scrnC03_02_E3
I’m sorry, what? I got distracted by that sweet kick.

I’m still gunning for a Fusion Suit costume swap, but the gal’s got a whole slew of amazing armors from the Metroid Prime as well. It’s asking to much, I recognize, to get a different suit for each color swap… but man. Wouldn’t that be nice? I did appreciate the color swap in Brawl at least being evocative of those other armors, if nothing else.

zlCfzRDdsCwwVRWIER
Now that’s just cold, girl.

That that about wraps up out conversation about our armored heroine for now. What sayeth you? Do we want to see her Zero Suit mechanic split? Do we like her new armor? It’s okay if you don’t, you can be wrong sometimes! I still love you ~<3

And here’s the usual gallery:

 

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: Pit

An Angel Descends Once More

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnC06_05_E3

 

The hero of Kid Icarus: Uprising is in an interesting position. For starters, his most recent title was made by Smash creator Mashahiro Sakurai, putting him in a position to already be on the creator’s mind. This is a character that was resurrected from a 20-something year old grave and, for all intents and purposes, given a brand new life. Next to his Kirby stable, Sakurai knows none of the characters in Smash better than he knows Pit. That has some promising aspects.

If you’re unfamiliar with Kid Icarus: Uprising, the player has the ability to customize Pit with a series of “perks,” as well as a bevy of weapons of varying qualities and stats ranging over 7 types. Claws, cannons, bows, and Orbitars make up just a few of the weapons he can bring, and we’ve seen some of them already. So the  question is: what else?

It looks like we killed off the spinning blades forward+B special, and I couldn’t be more ecstatic about that. I’ve always thought that move to be extraordinarily cheap, especially since it can deflect- defeating the purpose of his Down+B Mirror Shield). Instead it’s been replaced with a new weapon, the Upperdash Arm.

The Upperdash Arm.
The Upperdash Arm.

His Mirror Shield, one of the ancient treasures found in the original, ball-busting Kid Icarus on the NES, was a deflective special in the previous Smash, but appears to have been upgraded to the Orbitars.

Or is this just a cutesy visual for his guard?
Or is this just a cutesy visual for his guard?

The door is entirely open for even more of Pit’s toys, but honestly I don’t think we’re going to see a whole lot more. It’d be cool to see him become just a hammer-space of weapons for smash attacks and mid-air weapons, but honestly I think that dual-sword-bow is going to continue being his main offense. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that arsenal show up elsewhere. I expect that we’ll see at least a couple of Pit’s weapons, like the Tiger Claw or Eyetrack Orbitars as pick-up weapons that fall to the ground for everyone to use. Pit himself might even go berserk and whip out a large cannon attack as a Final Smash, where he unleashes a barrage of fire on the stage.

Oh it's on.
Oh it’s on.

If I could use Pit’s post here to divert a little bit. I have a sort of broader idea for the new Smash Bros. games: perks and weapons. This means customizing your characters with a bevy of passive abilities like better jumping, or stat boosting items. Similar to the sticker system in Brawl’s single player, but designed for the full multi-player experience. Now, as Capcom X Tekken has shown us, that kind of deal can get game-breaky fast, so I don’t know how much we can look into it. But the idea of at least starting off with different items or boosts that can be triggered mid-fights is at least worth exploring. It was in the multi-player and single-player for Kid Icarus: Uprising, so it’s a system Sakurai has some history with. The legendary developer even mentioned that the Wii U and 3DS versions of the game will have some form of profile connectivity and customization, and this sounds like it could be exactly that.

Majestic.
Majestic.

My knee-jerk reaction is to say an alternate costume should be Dark Pit, but that’s just a palette swap (and was in Smash Bros. Brawl) from white to black. Instead I move to postulate that a better costume would put Pit in his armor of the Legendary Treasures, as seen most impressively in Kid Icarus: Uprising, but originally from the NES Kid Icarus title. Alternatively, we could dress him up like one of the guardians from Uprising‘s multiplayer, or even just give him something original like a festive little kimono.

A wild clash!
A wild clash!

Pit’s back, with a lot more possibility than most returning characters. I hope this spirit of rebirth and open-mindedness comes up with some interesting new ideas for the Smash Bros. series to tread. Honestly, I’ll buy it day one, no questions asked, but I’d really like this to be more than just another Smash Bros. game.

Taking aim at the stars.
Taking aim at the stars.

But that’s me, now it’s you. Your thoughts on Pit? Favorite weapons? Palutena (who I learned recently shared the voice actress of Liara in Mass Effect, and more recently, the sultry voice of Burroughs, your AI guide in Shin Megami Tensei IV.) Drop your comments in the boxes below.

Just below this sexy gallery, that is!

Smash Bros. – The Next Generation: The Boxing Ring

The Squared Circle

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnS01_12_E3

To me, the most interesting thing about this stage right now is that we don’t know what it’s supposed to be from. The giant logo in the middle would suggest that, perhaps, it’s just kind of a generic Super Smash Bros. themed stage. Which is possible. It could even be this game’s take on Final Destination, with a desire to mix up the usual floating platform and turn it into a spectator’s event.

The telltale signs of this stage are the giant logo on the bottom, the gigantic screen in the back, and a crazy laser light show. You can catch some quick glimpses of it in action in the trailers, but nothing too prolonged, unfortunately. It’s a wonder if the ropes do anything on the side, like bounce characters or at least provide some sort of wall. It’s hard to imagine they do -nothing-. There’s no sign of a stage hazard yet, so this really does seem to be a vanilla-flavored stage with a neon-flashing lid. However, there are a few hints that might lead us into what else this stage could be.

First, let me show you the ropes!

WiiU_SmashBros_scrnC03_03_E3
Look at the totally unnecessary level of detail in Samus’ blaster as she lays into Link. So awesome!

When you’re done admiring the game’s insane attention to detail, look at the coloring of those ropes in the background: Blue, white, white, red. It’s a fairly standard coloration, I admit, but it does bear an identical resemblence to these ropes:

Blue, white, white, red.

What’s more… if you look at the part of the initial Smash Bros for Wii U and 3DS trailer, you might catch that the ropes are different!

Sorry ’bout the blur.

Red, white, blue white. Another fairly standard look for boxing rings, sure. But that means at -some- point in development, this was the color scheme, and were changed for the level from the cinematic. The importance here is that the ropes now directly correlate with the ropes in Super Punch-Out!!

That’s how your mind feels right now.

Finally there’s the Smash Bros. emblem, which, while not exact, does seem to be gussied up to be fairly similar to the WVBA emblems in Punch-Out!!

Smash Circuit?

At this point I’d be like 99% ready to call this stage a technically unannounced Punch-Out!! stage, but let’s think about this from the other angle. Three flaws come to mind. Number one: Why not just use the WVBA or Punch-Out!! logos? And number two: why is it suddenly so flashy? It seems more like a wrestling arena than a typically darkened boxing match. Heck, at first, I thought it might be a King stage. But that brings me to reason three: Masahiro Sakurai is developing Smash Bros., and he’s famous for one other series: Kirby. He himself is the creator and voice of King DeDeDe, whose castle famously features…. wait for it…

Another wrestling ring.
Another wrestling ring.

I’m less likely to consider this for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the lack of Kirby characters in the background of the smash trailer and a King DeDeDe face on the mat, but Sakurai himself has been surprisingly restrained in the Kirby love in Smash. But poor DeDeDe didn’t even get a stage to himself in the previous Smash, so it’s not out of reach that he’s just dressing it up a bit for the announcement.

My last theory is my personal favorite. You see, The Ice Climbers were born into Smash Bros. Melee not to represent just the game Ice Climber, but to sort of be the flagship for all of the old school NES titles. Early development of Melee shows Sakurai experimenting with Balloon Fight Guy as well. But after two Ice Climber stages, and the potential of the Climbers not even returning in the next game, where else in the old NES one-off’s do you root around for a stage?

How about Pro Wrestling on the NES.

The best cover, IMO.

The Famicon Wrestling Alliance needs some love, and this might very well be the stage to do it. Who knows, maybe favorites like Starman and The Amazon might show up and be a stage hazard… or PLAYABLE CHARACTERS! *pause for dramatic effects*

I’m not even remotely anticipating that, but I still like saying stupid stuff now and again.

In the end we don’t know much about the stage. It looks neat, might be “tourney legal,” and it’s a wrestling ring. Hopefully some more updates in the form of screenshots will illuminate the subject a little more for us!

Action!
Action!

 What think you, dear readers? Have I struck the chord of likelihood? Have I percolated the perception of your mind coffee? Am I just crazy, or am I just crazy enough? Drop off your comments below.

All angles on the arena thus far:

Smash Bros. – TNG Wishlist: N

The One Who Protects Pokémon

We’ve yet to have a ‘summoner’ style fighter.

It’s easy to see why N might not be a favored character with some people… But there’s a unique idea here. Rather than just being a Pokémon Trainer clone, N’s mechanic revolves around him calling in Pokémon to help him. He has an aversion to keeping pocket pets locked in their little spherical prisons, so they’ll either hang around him or be quickly summoned in with his special attacks. For example, his Up+B could summon an Archeops to carry him up a short distance. His Forward-B could Klinklang to do a beam attack, and his +Down+B could could summon Carracosta to protect him with his shell.

N, not to be confused with n+, an amazing masochism platformer.

His Final Smash could be summoning Reshiram and/or Zekrom to drop some Fusion attacks on the stage. As for an alternate costume for this Sudowoodo-hugging hippy, I’m thinking maybe something of a more proper Team Plasma outfit. Preferably from Black and White 2.

We don’t have any character who uses summoning as a method of combat, and outside of pulling 3rd party characters, I think this is the best chance for a fighter like that we can get. Plus, he’s a great way to cram five or seven Pokémon from the fifth generation into the new Smash games. As it is we already don’t have character representation from the second or third generations. But we have to remain current, and aside from moving on to the 6th generation Pokémon X and Y games coming out here soon, this is where the focus should be.

And for my finale… Lot’s of burning things!

I’ve pitched this idea to people in the past and some people see the merit in it, others think I’m crazy. Where do you fall on this wishlist? Either way, stay tuned because I’ve got plenty more crazy ideas coming!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditby feather