Archives For Nintendo

Review – Pushmo

January 8, 2012 — 1 Comment

“Simple gameplay and a great level creator help make Pushmo a stellar puzzle game for your pocket.” – Read the rest at GameSpot.


We live in a world, gaming-wise,  where it’s pretty unusual for a video game –

You want this game? Better get out your stamps and stationary.

especially from a big publisher/developer – to stay exclusive to one territory. There’s still some really bizarre stuff made in Japan that doesn’t make it overseas (but usually, I don’t think many people care), but for the most part everything is shared. Heck, when an “erotic anime-style puzzle game” like Catherine can make it to the US, all bets should be off.

Yet for whatever reason, Nintendo of all people haven’t gotten the message. But some fans have finally had enough, and want to make sure Nintendo gets the message loud and clear.

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This is really more of a story than a review, but it’s got review-like qualities in it, and it talks about Nintendo’s online systems, so…

The other night I finally got around to transferring my Nintendo DSi purchases to my Nintendo 3DS – a new feature in the latest 3DS system update. I didn’t have many games (the DSiWare store wasn’t filled to the brim with quality, and it was really hard to navigate and find the gems in there), so I figured it would be a relatively painless process. The whole thing even started with Pikmin running across my 3DS screen to grab the DSi software and transfer it, so that was a nice, charming touch that made me feel pleased with how things were going.

Until disaster (almost) struck.

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Photo from

Sony stunned a lot of people when, at their E3 media briefing on Monday, they announced that the wi-fi-only model of their new portable system – now officially named the PlayStation Vita – would retail for $250 USD. This price is a big deal for two reasons: One, it’s far lower than most analyst predictions (I personally predicted a price of around $400. Some were even higher) and two, it brings the system in line with Nintendo’s 3DS.


When the 3DS launched, it had a strong start. But sales quickly dipped and the hardware currently isn’t meeting Nintendo’s expectations. That’s not to say the system is failing by any means, but it’s obviously not what Nintendo wanted. Sony, who did respectfully with their first foray into portable gaming with the PlayStation Portable, probably sees this as a golden opportunity to jump in.

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My first thoughts about Nintendo’s conference (and their new hardware) after the jump. I might make a new post after I digest it all a little. It’s pretty crazy stuff.

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Rumored "leaked" image of Nintendo's new console and controllers.

More than anything else, new gaming hardware tends to drive a lot of the excitement at each year’s Electronic Entertainment Expo. It’s for this reason that most eyes are on Nintendo as we approach the 2011 show.

Amidst rumors and speculation, Nintendo has confirmed that they will be showing their new console – a successor to their immensely successful Wii, allegedly codenamed “Project Cafe” – at E3. But that’s about all we know for certain. Rumors have been flying about what new features and gimmicks the console will bring with it. Most sources seem to pin the system’s power as at least a little better than the current Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles. That’s to be expected, as those systems are over five years old and the Wii was already an old piece of equipment. It would be absolutely crazy for Nintendo not to give this new thing more juice.

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Review – Wii Party

October 13, 2010 — Leave a comment

Wii Party is a party game for the Wii. Surprise! But it’s actually not bad, especially if you’ve got a good group of friends to play with. Check out my full review on The Daily Toreador website.

As I type, it’s 1:00am Central Time, and Nintendo is hosting a conference in Japan. The main topic of discussion: The 3DS.

Most of us were impressed with the device’s showing at E3, but now I’m even more excited for the handheld. Some bulletpoint announcements:

– February 26, 2011 launch for Japan, March 2011 for North America and Europe.

– Launching for 25,000 yen, which is around $300 USD, but no US price has been announced (I wouldn’t be surprised if it was closer to $250).

– 3DS Virtual Console, FINALLY bringing us Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Game Boy Advance games in a downloadable format.

– Tag Mode, a popular feature of many DS games, is now purely hardware based. What this means is that you do NOT have to have a game in sleep mode in order to exchange data with other users. Simple have your DS on – asleep or awake, it sounds like – and you can collect data from a variety of games and a variety of users. HUGE improvement over the old system.

– This tag mode can be used to exchange leaderboard info, download ghost data, etc.

– You can create Miis for use on the 3DS, and it sounds like you can take pictures with the system’s camera and have it auto-generate a Mii for you.

– Nintendo is experimenting with providing 3D TV on the device, at least in Japan.

– This is old news, but a ton of big hitting companies are behind the device, such as Square Enix, Konami, Capcom, Level-5, Kojima Productions, and more.

– Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D was announced. Apparently different than “Revelations,” which was announced at E3.

– Launch colors (in Japan at least) are Aqua Blue and Cosmos Black.

– Tetsuya Nomura (Square-Enix, of the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy fame) re-iterates that they want to release a number of 3DS titles, starting with Kingdom Hearts.

– Kotaku stumbled on a random (but really large) list of upcoming 3DS games online. To quote them, these games are: Samurai Warriors Chronicle, Resident Evil Revelations, Super Street Fighter IV, Dynasty Warriors Musou, Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, Kingdom Hearts 3D, Chocobo Racing 3D, Super Black Bass 3D, Super Monkey Ball, Sonic, Licca-chan 3DS, Animal Crossing, Kid Icarus: Uprising, StarFox 64 3D, Steel Diver, nintendogs + cats, Mario Kart, Pilot Wings Resort, Paper Mario, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Marble Mania, Deca Sporta, Bomberman, Gundam, Super Robot, Dragonball, Pac-Man & Galaga, Ridge Racer, Harvest Moon, Professor Layton and the Mask of the Miracle, Crash-City GP, VS-robo, Class of Heroes 3D x 3D, Combat of Giants Dinosaur 3D, Ghost Recon Tactics, Splinter Cell 3D, and Driver 3D.

– Somehow lost in the shuffle: Capcom is making Mega Man Legends 3 for the 3DS. This is pretty huge news for a lot of people.

So… What do you guys think?

The price may be a tad bit high, and I’m bummed that I have to wait until March, but this thing seems AWESOME. I’m particularly excited about the Virtual Console announcement (fans have been clamoring for that for awhile), and this new tag mode actually sounds extremely fun and useful, unlike its inclusion in some of my favorite DS games.

So yeah, I’m extremely excited. I can’t wait to get my hands on one of these.

Originally published in The Daily Toreador

Professor Layton is a very different kind of badass.

He’s the ultimate gentleman; a top hat wearing, suit strutting London man who always manages to stay polite and is willing to roll with whatever crazy curveballs life decides to throw at him. He spends his free time solving puzzles and riddles, often drinking tea along the way.

But if need-be, he can assemble a gun out of broken slot machine parts that fires coins at a high velocity so he and his friends can escape a casino full of gangsters.

Don’t get your hopes up if you’re an action gamer – you won’t find any shooting segments in this puzzle game. But it’s the characters and setting of “Professor Layton and the Unwound Future” that help make it so darn lovable.

I’ve talked about the “Professor Layton” series in the past. The previous two games (which, like “Unwound Future,” are on the Nintendo DS) provided some brilliant, brain-teasing gameplay blended with some great mystery stories. This third game is no exception, and is probably the best “Layton” title yet.

For those new to the series, don’t worry. While there are plenty of familiar faces and a few references to past adventures, “Unwound Future” is a stand-alone title, and you don’t need prior experience with the series to enjoy it.

The game opens when the titular professor and his self-proclaimed apprentice, Luke, receive a letter from someone claiming to be Luke from 10 years in the future. From there, Layton springboards into an adventure that spans two very different times in two very different Londons. The future, it turns out, is kind of crazy.

The premise may be out there, but the narrative is interesting and very well done. Helped along by some terrific voice acting as well as a few beautifully animated FMV sequences, the game tells a very charming tale that you’ll probably want to see through to the end.

The gameplay is unchanged from previous titles, but very refined. As before, you explore various locations over the course of the story, and there are literally puzzles around every corner. Sometimes a local townsperson you speak to will pose a riddle to, or sometimes a situation in the environment will prompt a brainteaser. You might have to solve a puzzle to open a lock or get directions to your next destination. You can think of the entire rest of the game as fluff between the puzzles – as if your book of Sudoku puzzles had an involved story stuffed between the numbered grids.

If a puzzle seems to tricky for you (and trust me, there are some pretty tough ones in here), you can get help from a slightly revamped, much improved hint system.

When exploring the environment, you can find tons of hidden hint coins. If you’re stuck on a puzzle, you can use a hint coin to nudge you in the right direction. You can do this three times for increasingly helpful hints, and if you’re still stuck after that you can spend two final coins and have the game give you a hint that will likely make the solution obvious. This is a good system to avoid the frustration many players might have.

Often, the way these puzzles will be presented to you in pretty contrived. For example, at one point you need to visit someone in a hospital, but you have to “fill out paperwork” first. As it turns out, the only question on this paperwork is a riddle that involves a nurse making her rounds. But these situations tend to be more charming than anything, and don’t get in the way of your enjoyment at all.

The variety of puzzles is also fantastic, which is good considering there are over 150 of them to solve, not including free downloadable puzzles that will come in the future.

If you need a break from brainteasers, there are a few mini-games you can mess around with for a change of pace.

When it comes right down to it, “Professor Layton and the Unwound Future” is an amazing sequel in a pretty amazing series, and anybody who likes using their brains at all should check it out.

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