Pikmin Platformer Announced for 3DS

Pikmin

Almost one year ago, Shigeru Miyamoto revealed that a new Pikmin game was in development and close to completion.  In today’s Nintendo Direct presentation, it seems like that game has finally been revealed.  Granted, it’s not completely clear whether or not this is the same Pikmin 4 game that Miyamoto described then as an official title has not been attached to the game.  The new game is also not exactly what fans would expect to see from Pikmin 4 as it will release exclusively for the 3DS and will be a 2D platformer as opposed to the unique RTS-style that the series is known for.

This unnamed Pikmin game still has a focus on gathering hordes of the sentient plants that the series is named for and commanding them to solve puzzles and battle giant beasts, but the core gameplay has taken a shift to simple, side-scrolling action.  Red, blue, and yellow Pikmin will all appear with their unique traits from the main series intact.  Red Pikmin are immune to fire, blue can breath underwater, and yellow can be thrown farther.  It’s currently unknown if the white, purple, flying, and stone Pikmin from the sequels will appear in the game.

The reveal for the 3DS game closed a Nintendo Direct that also revealed new amiibo for The Legend of Zelda series, a massive update for Streetpass that includes five new games, and 3DS ports for Super Mario Maker and Yoshi’s Wooly World.  The game is scheduled to release sometime in 2017.  You can watch the Direct in its entirety here.  What do you think about the newest game?  Does this new spin-off peak your curiousity, or are you just keeping your fingers crossed on the NX?  Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

Crash Bandicoot: 5 Reasons Why It’s The Best Platformer

Naughty Dog has taken the spotlight recently due to gaming marvels like The Last Of Us, The Nathan Drake Collection and the upcoming (and much anticipated) release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. With all the praise and excitement received on behalf of these unquestionably awesome titles, it is almost as if we’ve forgotten that some time ago now, The Naughty Dog team presented us players with the greatest, most memorable platformer of all time, Crash Bandicoot.

The game’s aim was all but a simple one, ”beat the bad guys”, and yet Crash Bandicoot proceeded to go down as legend, a wonderful Playstation Classic. Here’s 5 very plausible reasons as to why Crash Bandicoot is in fact the best platformer game.

1. The Game Is Wack!

To summarise Crash Bandicoot generally, the game is extremely whacky. The foundations for this general feel to the game are laid at the very first level, Crash’s home N.Sanity beach (an obvious play on the word ”insanity” for the more oblivious reader). As soon as Crash, Naughty Dog’s anthropomorphic rendition of a bandicoot, gets swept up onto the sandy shores of the island, the craziness begins to unfold as he has to traverse through evil crabs and tortoises in order to complete the level. Snapping plants and lily pads, hostile mammal wildlife including bosses Ripper Roo (a mutated kangaroo in a straight jacket) and Koala Kong (an over grown, body-building koala) and strange unpredictable settings all contribute to the whacky atmosphere the player will be subdued to as they play eagerly through this platformer’s painfully addictive levels.

A game series released more recently with mildly comparable wackiness was Rayman Origins and it’s sequel Rayman Legends (Ubisoft). Despite it’s vibrant, crazy settings and the games general incoherence, it still struggled to compete with our Crash Bandicoot classic.

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2. Crazy Yet Cute

Nothing makes a game more memorable and enjoyable than a downright awesome character stealing the leading role. Crash Bandicoot, the games protagonist, achieves this criteria exceptionally, mostly evident in the fact he is the face of the more classic side to Naughty Dogs releases and generally in Crash Bandicoot’s overall success as a game.

Crash is eccentric, crazy and cute. Upon playing this game in it’s prime, I found myself spending countless occasions being inactive and leaving Crash to his own devices, watching him fail at juggling apples. These animations were funny and gave Crash the character he couldn’t portray verbally (he doesn’t really speak aside from his emotional outbursts after completing a level or boss battle). Furthermore, Crash’s slapstick death animations and end of level summaries (given boxes are missed during a level) are incredibly comical also as he must stand on a pedestal and take the boxes he missed to the head. Crash is not all comedy however, he is actually rather adorable and as the player more or less tortures him during a playthrough they will no doubt grow to pity the poor soul.

Crash is a well developed starring role to this legendary platformer and it is hands down one of the reasons Crash Bandicoot remains to be the best platformer ever.

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3. Superb Soundtrack 

Although not immediately a noticeable contributor to the awesomeness of Crash Bandicoot, the soundtrack accompanying the madness within the game plays a huge part in the overall tone and enjoyment of the game.

The music for each level in Crash Bandicoot is fun and bouncy, maintaining the general feel of the game whilst still remaining suited to the specific tone and setting of each individual level. If we take one of the levels titled Slippery Climb as an example, we can see more literally how the soundtrack contributes.

The level itself is relatively dreary and dull, however, the soundtrack for this particular level somehow manages to capture this but twists it to be somewhat catchy and bouncy, maintaining the collective pace and ”feel” of Crash Bandicoot.

In certain levels, the rhythm and beat incorporated within that levels soundtrack actually provide some aid in level completion. For instance, in levels The Lost City and Sunset Vista the rhythm of the soundtrack coincides and matches up with the speed of the interchanging platforms within the level that Crash must jump between, making the level considerably easier to get to grips with.

Crash Bandicoot’s original soundtrack is not only key to generating the fun, bubbly feel of the game, but also poses to be helpful too. It definitely adds up in making Crash Bandicoot the best platformer.

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4. Crash Caters For All

I quite vividly recall the first time my mum sat me down, Playstation One controller in hand, ready to play Crash Bandicoot. After some swift tutorials from her on which button did what, how to tackle the crabs, the first notable enemy of the game and some insight into the Aku Aku mask that hovered beside me, it was safe to say I became addicted. Now, the best part about that little anecdote is the fact that 14 years on from my first playthrough, I am still undoubtedly addicted to Crash Bandicoot. The fact that this game can be appreciated over a span of age groups is what in fact makes it such an outstanding game. It has the profound and valued ability to appeal to the adult with a love for addictive games and too much time on their hands whilst also being able to devour the attention of youngsters attracted to the games vibrancy and simplicity. Crash Bandicoot can even manage to engulf a nostalgic fan as if it were their first playthrough.

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5. Adamantly Addictive

Lastly, yet most importantly, Crash Bandicoot harnesses the profound addiction factor expected from a platformer. No matter how many times you fail on a level or become infuriated as Crash stands on that pedestal in humiliation as the one or two boxes you missed drop shamefully on his head, you will always continue to play. Crash Bandicoot almost taunts you with its simplicity and being a seemingly straight-forward platformer and, in doing so, continues to draw in players. Furthermore, Crash Bandicoot’s incredibly fun levels are almost impossible to turn boring or repetitive, allowing you to indulge time and time again.

All in all, a combination of its catchy original soundtrack, simple game dynamic, strange characters and unquestionably lovable protagonist is the reason Crash Bandicoot remains to be so darn addictive and in turn the best platformer.

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The legendary platformer

Crash Bandicoot will always be the best platformer in my eyes. It harnesses each and every aspect to a successful platformer and will always stand as my means of comparison for any more recent platformer as I just don’t think it can be topped. 14 years after my first playthrough, I can still sit there happy as Larry playing this awesome game for hours upon hours and, to me, that makes it the best platformer.

Indie Spotlight: Kick and Fennick

If I haven’t said it anywhere publicly before, I’ll say it here: Playstation Plus is amazing! Every month I get at least 2 new games for each of my Playstation consoles for free. Sometimes, I get games that I heard of but never had the chance to play or I’ll get an indie game that I never heard of. Earlier this year, the indie game I didn’t hear of was a game on PS Vita called Kick & Fennick. I downloaded it because the image caught my eye as looking cute and I thought it could be fun. What I didn’t expect is that this game would become a contender for my personal Game of the Year.

This game is a has a simple premise, a small boy named Kick wakes up in what looks to be a post-apocalyptic/1984-esque world. Kick gets saved by an even smaller robot named Fennick who has a dying battery. The two, along with a big gun, then go off an adventure to the Core Tower to fix up Fennick.

The gameplay is a sidescrolling platformer where you use a giant gun to destroy robots and launch Kick like a tiny cannonball. The simplicity is shocking, because I’ve never played or heard of a game that has a mechanic like this through the majority of the game. It opens the game up to have tight, well developed levels, which bring the difficulty and the fun. It reminds me of an old school Rareware game in all of the best ways.

Throughout each level and world, it gets progressively harder and you have to really think about how to make each jump. It’s really interesting to have a platformer where you have to think strategically about how you get from one platform to the next. The levels also never overstay their welcome, which is something a lot of games fall into the trap of.

If I had one complaint, it’s with the combat. When Kick shoots an enemy, he always gets knocked backwards a bit. It’s not a flaw in the game design, because it’s clearly meant to be like that, I’m just saying it got a little frustrating. However, whenever you die in this game you never feel like the game cheated you. Since the player has to strategically make all of their jumps, the only person to blame is themselves. Despite the “meh” combat, everything else is amazing!

This isn’t a review, I just want to shine some light on a great game, but if it was I would give this game a 10/10. It’s a charming game made by a rad developer for a system that needs more great games. If you have a Vita, it is currently $7.99 on PSN and is totally worth every penny. As a side note, if any of the people from Jaywalkers Interactive are reading this, please know that you now have a ride or die fan in me because I completely adore this game. Good luck with everything, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for you guys!

Never Alone – A Touching Tale

Tale

This exquisite and truly emotional game follows an Alaskan Native, Nuna who in an attempt to put an end to an eternal blizzard, encounters and forms and unlikely friendship with an Arctic Fox. Upper One Games story of the pair is based around an Alaskan folklore tale and is incredibly orientated around the Inupiat culture.

Gorgeous Gameplay

Never alone is a puzzle-platformer game. The player must swap between the two companions in order to overcome the many obstacles on the pairs journey to discover the source of the almighty blizzard. Each character features differing qualities and abilities. Whilst the Fox can run faster and more nimbly traverse through the icy wilderness, Nuna may push objects and gain access to more areas using her weapon of choice, the Bola. Platformers are renowned for being exceedingly addictive and this game also maintains those expectations, having the player always want just one more attempt to overcome a particular puzzle. It is also worth noting that you are able to play this short but moving story cooperative.

Utterly Beautiful

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There are several factors that make Never Alone such a poignant game. One of which is undoubtedly the games scenery. The game is set in the cold and icy lands of Alaska which is overwhelmed by an eternal blizzard. This setting is raw, unpredictable and ultimately dangerous and really helps generate an important atmosphere of fear. From this a player will initially derive a sense of much needed caution, coaxing them into putting a little bit more thought into the reckless pushing of buttons and to instead take more time on each puzzle. However, this is not it’s only means of significance as it brings so much more. In creating such a fearful atmosphere, the game has added further focus on the friendship between Nuna and Fox. The player will value the companionship as opposed to the alternative of isolation. Sustaining this focus is key to successfully drawing out the emotion within the game and the developers do so brilliantly. The divine visuals really aid in portraying the harshness of the surroundings and really do the game justice in providing a truly haunting feel.

Hunter And The Hunted 

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At the heart of Never Alone is the pairing between the hunter, Nuna and the hunted, Fox. This peculiar friendship is thoroughly heart-warming. The defiance of a renowned prejudice between the two is engrossing and by the end of a playthrough, the player will too be desperate for a companion like Fox. Upper One Games maintain focus throughout the game on the relationship between the two main characters. Throughout they’re always portraying so effectively that although the two differ so much, they excel as a partnership, complimenting each others abilities and ultimately proving that despite the preconception that they are oppositions, they need one another. As puzzles become more difficult, alongside the environment itself, the reliance between the pair grows stronger and the player is guaranteed to be entirely captivated by it.

Inupiat Culture 

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Never Alone embraces the Inupiate culture, enlightening the player of how they live. The whole story of Never Alone is based on Alaskan indigenous folklore. This makes the game incredibly intriguing as learning of this culture as events within the game unfold is actually very interesting. The collectibles within Never Alone are known as insights. These can be identified as tiny owls perched in various places through each chapter. These are brilliant collectibles and self-explanatory, they provide the player with an ‘insight’ into a particular aspect of the Inupiate culture, usually relevant to the specific chapter the player has found the owl within. The player will want to hunt down these owls as to enhance their knowledge and understanding of the games proceedings.

Never Alone Is An Inspiring Must Have

Upper One Games have successfully developed a miraculously moving game that although short in play-time, will remain with players for much longer. With a simple premise and a clear, well-assigned focus on an adorable pair will emotionally intertwine with the player. Addictive for all the right reasons and brimming with such wise morals and messages, you will surely find you yourself alone if you don’t get started on this touching tale right away.

Should Sonic Retire?

Sonic

Sonic, the ultra fast blue hedgehog, Sega’s answer to Mario. Everyone knows who Sonic is, and back in his hayday, Sonic was considered a contender to Nintendo’s platforming throne. He was marketed as this “hip” and “cool” character, lightning fast, wearing sneakers and a wicked set of spines protruding from his head. His games managed to deliver, and for the most part, garnered some critical acclaim. However, as Mario revolutionized gaming as we know it with Mario 64… well… didn’t.

Sonic’s early foray into the 3rd dimension was disastrous. But why? The reason Sonic has not transcended, is purely because Sega does not have faith in their concept. It may sound strange, but Sega do not believe Sonic can support a game based on his merits alone, so they bog their games down with, despite my love of Sonic, crap. Once again bringing Mario into the mix, his 3d games are open, expansive, relatively plotless, and focus entirely on the gameplay. You always fight Bowser, you always save the Princess. Lets take Sonic: Unleashed as an example of how things were done wrong. Super fast, albeit restrictive, Sonic sections that are done decently bogged down by slow, tedious brawling, abysmal platforming and an awful plot that literally does everything to get in your way. The pattern continues with Sonic Boom, Segas latest attempt. Despite it being a buggy cesspit of awful, the actual gameplay has fast, on rail sections smothered by monotonous combat, hilariously bad plot and a dire open world full of nothing. I wont even get started on Sonic 06, or Sonic’s medieval adventures…we don’t speak of them…

Simply put, Sonic games are full of gimmicks. You have the core, on-rail sections and a bunch of gimmicks and things to distract you. Let us not forget Sonic’s cast of cuddly friends. All of which are generic, pointless, bland, and not Sonic. We buy a game to play as Sonic, not to listen to the constant babble from his paper thin mates, and heaven  forbid we actually play as them. The only thing worse than his allies are his enemies. Once upon a time there was Eggman, a fat red man with a tash (remind you of anyone?) now we have quite possibly the longest list of antagonists to ever walk the earth. All of them are forgettable, accompanied by a terrible story, and none of them ever reach the heights of Eggman.

I will admit, I am laying into the blue hedgehog pretty hard here, but it is not all doom and gloom. There ARE some good games. Sonic: Lost World was a massive step in the right direction. Essentially a Mario Galaxy clone with paint slapped over it, the game was great. Fun to play, controlled well, and was pretty to look at. Whilst it was still burdened with a plot, Sega looked liked they were heading in the right direction. it Generations was a great mix of new and old, and even lightened up on the oppressive plot. The problem is, every game that game post Lost World, or post Generations was nothing like its predecessor. Sega reinvent Sonic with every new game he stars in, removing what we liked, keeping what we don’t and releasing more and more crap with only a few diamonds. It is a sad day when you realize the best games  has starred in recently are apart of the Smash series…

Should it go away peacefully? Honestly, yes. it’s time has passed. Sega has no faith in the Hedgehog, and any good that has come from him is vastly overshadowed by the tosh surrounding it. Sonic, we all love you, so please, just stop. No more chilliedogs, no more anthropomorphic allies, no more lame stories. Just go to your grave with your head held high. You tried my friend, but ultimately, going fast is not really going to save you.

Free Game Download: Game of Thrones – The 8 Bit Game

Game of Thrones

I am a huge Game of Thrones fan – just like anybody else on this planet – and I’ll try any game that’s related to the popular books / TV show. And today we have to share with you one that’s available as a free download: Game of Thrones – The 8 Bit Game.

Created by a Spanish comic artist, Abel Alves, GoT – The 8 Bit Game comes with some retro platformer action that will surely make you remember the NES era and basically any game in the early 90s.

You won’t be able to play the game for hours (unless you really want to) as it only has 4 levels – but pretty challenging ones – that will give you the chance to control 4 of the this Game characters. They all have special attacks and simply radiate amazingness, so it will surely be fun.

And since it’s free to download, there’s nothing you have to lose if you give it a try, so head over to the game’s official website and download this Game – The 8 Bit Game. Enjoy!