Thursday, April 6, 2017

Mr. Shifty Breaks into Switch Soon

Team Shifty and publisher tinyBuild have announced that this lovely action and stealth blend, Mr. Shifty, will arrive on Switch (and Steam) on April 13. Being described as "Hotline Miami meets Nightcrawler" was all it took for me to get excited over this, as the quick action of Hotline Miami made it one of my favorite games. If Mr. Shifty can capture the quick restart feel with the trial and error gameplay, it should be a spot on winner for me. I'm looking forward to playing this when it hits next week. Mr. Shifty will be $14.99 on the Nintendo eShop.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Upcoming Nindie Games

The following titles were shown off or listed during today's Nintendo Switch Nindie showcase video as upcoming games hitting Switch.
  • 1001 Spikes
  • Away: Journey to the Unexpected
  • Battle Chef Brigade
  • Blaster Master Zero
  • Cave Story
  • Celeste
  • Dandara
  • Duck Game
  • Enter the Gungeon
  • Fast RMX
  • Flipping Death
  • GoNNER
  • Graceful Explosion Machine
  • Has-Been Heroes
  • Hollow Knight
  • Hover : Revolt Of Gamers
  • Human Resource Machine
  • Ittle Dew 2
  • Kingdom: Two Crowns
  • Little Inferno
  • Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
  • Mr. Shifty
  • Mutant Mudds
  • NBA Playgrounds
  • NeuroVoider
  • Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas
  • Overcooked!
  • Pankapu
  • Perception
  • Pocket Rumble
  • Portal Knight
  • Redout
  • Rime
  • Rive
  • Rogue Trooper Redux
  • Runner 3
  • Shakedown: Hawaii
  • Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment
  • Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove
  • Snake Pass
  • Splasher
  • Stardew Valley
  • State of Mind
  • SteamWorld Dig 2
  • sU and the Quest for Meaning
  • Terraria
  • The Binding of Issac: Afterbirth +
  • The Escapists 2
  • The Fall Part 2 Unbound
  • The Jackbox Party Pack 3
  • The Next Penelope
  • Thumper
  • TowerFall Ascension
  • Treasurenauts
  • TumbleSeed - A Rolly Roguelike
  • Ultimate Chicken Horse
  • Unbox: Newbie's Adventure
  • WarGroove
  • Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap
  • World of Goo
  • Yooka-Laylee
  • Zombie Vikings

Friday, February 24, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 02/24/2017

The #TeamHandheld Report is back with three new Vita games this week. I still have some 3DS titles I want to go into, but other games keep getting in the way. And with the Switch launching next week, oh dear...

Now Playing

forma.8 (Vita)

I've just started on forma.8, but it already has its hooks in me. This action adventure title falls in line with Metroid-style exploration, but features a cute, floating circle as the main character. Flying around these open areas looking for the right path is engaging and feels different enough from the formula to be fresh. I've only just started on this one, so I can't say too much yet, but know that I will be back to talk more about it.

-Very engaging so far-

Vertical Drop Heroes HD (Vita)

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is the latest in the group of what I call slow progression games to hit the Vita, joining titles like Rogue Legacy and Bard's Gold. These are games where you make incremental progress while learning the basics in order to eventually be able to finish the level without dying. The difference here is that instead of venturing through a castle while fighting off foes and finding random treasure, your hero is doing all that while dropping vertically down the stage. Much like Rogue Legacy, you get to select from a random assortment of character types at the start of the level, each with their own unique skills. Much like the other games of this ilk, it's quite challenging and often frustrating, but that's all part of the charm...I guess.

-Another drop in the bucket-

Deemo: The Last Recital (Vita)

The Vita is a treasure trove of rhythm games, many of which people have probably never heard of, so it would be understandable if you'd never heard of Deemo: The Last Recital before now. This game is currently available via an Asian English import, but is coming digitally to North America soon, but I got a little impatient and opted for this version. It's delightful. The rhythm sections are about what you'd expect, though the music so far is lovely. There is also a story mode and it's strange, but I am not really here for that. Just give me more music.

-Hitting the right notes-


Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS) & Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

Both of these are still ready to go, but I've had other RPGs get in the way. I want to do these justice, so just keep hanging on.

Various (Switch)

The Switch is hitting soon, so I plan on checking out a few new games on that, in handheld mode of course.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Fast RMX Boosts to Switch Launch

The eShop will be up and running on Switch on day one and will have a few solid indie titles to support it. One of the most interesting is Fast RMX from Shin'en Multimedia. This speedy looking racer brings back memories of F-Zero and the SNES, and I can think of little that would be higher praise from me. Update: Shin'en has confirmed the price will be $19.99 at launch on Mar. 3.

Friday, February 10, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 02/10/2017

Sorry about missing last week's #TeamHandheld Report, but health issues caused a bit of a delay. No worries, though, because I'm back this week with more.

Now Playing

Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers (Vita)

I'm not the audience for most Dynasty Warriors games and I know it, but sometimes games will offer something new and catch you off guard. It wasn't until close to launch that I even looked closely enough at Dynasty Warriors: Godseekers to learn that it's actually a tactical RPG. That did enough to spark my interest, so I decided to check it out. While still filled with the DW lore that I have little interest in, combat is actually quite unique for the series.

Instead of mowing down wave after wave of enemies, it has a fairly standard grid-based battle system. Player units have various skills like a typical TRPG such as ranged attacks or close-up melee options. While still early, it's obvious that there is a deeper level of strategy at work here, so I imagine things will get more challenging as it goes on. The first few tutorials are pretty basic, but enjoyable enough to likely make this the Dynasty Warriors I spend the most time with.

-Finally a Dynasty Warriors for me-

Asdivine Hearts (Vita)

After putting a lot more time into Asdivine Hearts, I can see more of the charm of this game. While not an innovative masterpiece or flawless gem, Asdivine reminds me more of an SNES RPG I would have rented in the summers of my youth. The characters are cute, combat is varied, and the story solid enough, though the clich├ęs are out in force.

I've been on a brief break from this one while I've been checking out other games, but I've gotten back into it and plan to finish it off, which is telling by itself. While this won't likely be a big award winner, I'm happy it made it to Vita and am glad I've gotten a chance to play it.

-Unusually fun-

Uncanny Valley (Vita)

Uncanny Valley has a very unique premise, as it's an adventure game where your action will impact the story and how things play out, sometimes meaning that things could end quickly and badly. I wasn't able to get very far in this yet, but from what little I played the interface was really awkward. Unless I can get a better grip on the controls, I'm not sure how much more I'll be interested in playing. It's just super finicky with a horrible UI that doesn't work well as it's been implemented here.

-So awkward-


Deemo (Vita)

I meant to talk about this one this week, but need some more time on it.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS)

This is my last shot at this series really hooking me. I've tried all the others so far, but they've just not stuck.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

I loved the original Devil Survivor, at least until the crazy ending sections, but never really played much of the sequel. Glad to get to play the updated version.

Friday, January 27, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 01/27/2017

Welcome to this week's #TeamHandheld Report. I was able to play three games that I didn't expect to like, but found them to mostly be positive experiences. Let's see what's up.

Now Playing

Asdivine Hearts (Vita)

I've been eyeing Kemco RPGs for quite some time, but each one I've looked into or tried just didn't sit well with me. Not that they were awful games, just not a good match for me as they were a little too by the book. However, I'd heard from fellow portable gaming connoisseur Shaun Musgrave that Asdivine Hearts was the one to give a shot before writing off Kemco's output completely.

Developed by Exe-Create, this title has been more enjoyable and a lot less generic than I'd expected. There's nothing super special about it so far, but the characters are interesting, the gameplay is solid, and the story has been decent enough. I know that might not seem like a ringing endorsement, but it really is for a Kemco title. It hasn't given me quite the feeling that Circle's Mercenaries Saga series has, though straightforward RPGs have seen lots of games like this come and go. Asdivine Hearts has kept me interested, and that's saying a lot.

-A curiously intriguing, yet simple RPG-

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (Vita)

Much like dungeon crawlers have yet to really stick with me, musou games have also lacked the appeal to keep my interest. It's not a genre I try to be harsh on since I know they aren't for me, but when a game stands out enough to keep me wanting to play that's pretty impressive. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star has done more to entertain me than I thought possible of this genre. The story segments have been good and the combat, which usually is what bores me, has been faster and more engaging than prior games I've tried. While I'd initially hoped this would be an RPG like Fate/Extra before it, the end product turned out to be a pleasant anomaly and that's a good thing.

-Surprisingly fun for a genre I don't usually like-

Bard's Gold (Vita)

Bard's Gold came out a few months back and I missed it, but I was glad to finally get a chance to check it out thanks to eastasiasoft. It borrows a lot of roguelike elements and combines it with some platforming like Rogue Legacy, but is simply one stage at a time instead of working through a large dungeon. Controls were a little less tight than I'd like, and the stages were frustrating. It's a neat concept, but just didn't really sit well with me. Something like Rogue Legacy was creative with its replays, but Bard's Gold just had me doing the same thing over and over until I got it exactly right. I didn't get that far, so I can only imagine how much rougher the later stages would have been. It's not a bad game, but is totally not for me.

-Not quite my thing...-


Deemo (Vita)

I meant to talk about this one this week, but need some more time on it.

Etrian Odyssey 2 Untold: The Fafnir Knight (3DS)

This is my last shot at this series really hooking me. I've tried all the others so far, but they've just not stuck.

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker (3DS)

I loved the original Devil Survivor, at least until the crazy ending sections, but never really played much of the sequel. Glad to get to play the updated version.

Friday, January 20, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 01/19/2017

For this #TeamHandheld Report, I opted to do something different again. Instead of what I've been playing, which hasn't been as much as I'd like, I'm going to talk about some of the games coming to the Nintendo Switch. These are simply the top 10 games I am most interested in. They might not all be the best and will likely not be the only games I buy, but these are the ones that appeal most to me right now.

My Top 10 Most Exciting Switch Games

Xenoblade 2 (vague 2017, most likely 2018)

Xenoblade 2 was the part of the Switch presentation that had me cheering at my computer screen and smiling widely with great joy. I have been a huge fan of the original game, and seeing a sequel that appears to be going in a similar direction is exactly what I've been wanting. Xenoblade Chronicles X had a lot of potential and ambition, but it just didn't do it for me. Less of a massive world exploration focus and more of a story-centered adventure is what I want out of this series, so hopefully this veers back toward the original in that aspect. I love the world of Xenoblade, but I also enjoyed having a reason to be there beyond fetch quests. The art style change is a little odd, but I still love what I've seen and pre-ordered this the instant I could. I know it's listed as a 2017 release, but I've been there before and know that both of the prior games got bumped and this likely will as well. If not, I will be happy, but I'm keeping my expectations tempered on seeing it this year.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (3/3/2017)

I have a weird relationship with Zelda games. Some are among my favorites of all-time such as A Link to the Past and A Link Between Worlds while others I can tell aren't bad games, but just don't strike the right cords for me like Ocarina of Time and Skyward Sword. That said, I'm always interested in new Zelda releases, but they are not always a guaranteed hit for me. My interest in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has been tepid at best for the longest time, but for some reason, likely it's portability, this one has now sparked my interest more than I'd expected. The massive world is not the selling point for me, but the fact that the story trailer was great and the combat looks to try some new things make me curious to try it out. And man, the music has been outstanding as well. Bring it on.

Dragon Quest XI (TBA)

A new Dragon Quest and it's coming to Switch, how could I not be excited by Dragon Quest XI? While at the time of writing this we still don't know which version this will be, but I can only imagine it will be like the current PS4 one in the works. The combat appears to be a turn-based system where actions take place in the environment instead of on a separate screen, which is something I really think works well here. It maintains the classic style of Dragon Quest, while flowing smoothly like a more real-time RPG. It's the best of both world if you ask me. That said, there is still so little that has been shown that I could be completely wrong about how things play, as screenshots and video clips only show so much. Regardless, I'm ready for a new Dragon Quest, and this will fill that void.

Has-Been Heroes (3/2017)

Just watching the trailer for Has-Been Heroes didn't really do much for me, but I caught the Treehouse Live demo with the team actually playing it and thought it looked delightful. While very much a lane defense game, it adds in some RPG elements like each character having skills and spells to use that unlock as you progress. This one appears to be a challenging title with lots of unique ways to attempt each area's wave of foes. While we might not have been shown much of the story, the gameplay alone was enough to convince me to jump in, and while I try not to dwell on price, for $19.99 it's an easy risk.

Octopath Traveler (TBA)

A new RPG from Square Enix and the Bravely team is alright with me, though Octopath Traveler would likely be higher on the list if we knew more about it and had a solid release window. Ignoring that, this game looked beautiful in action, and not just from the artwork. While Bravely Default had a rocky start with lots of hate for its repetitive second half, most of what Bravely Second did really fixed those issues, so I have faith in this team. I need more details about this soon, because just watching the combat part of the trailer over and over can only do so much.

Super Mario Odyssey (Holiday 2017)

Much like I said about Zelda, my taste in Mario games is similar. They are not all instant hits for me, but I'm always willing to give them a try. The last console Mario game, Super Mario 3D World, remains a personal favorite, so seeing Super Mario Odyssey seeming to head back in the direction of the other 3D releases doesn't thrill me. Watching the trailer with more gameplay was good enough to at least keep me interested, as the real world style hub doesn't seem to be all there is. The curious, cute worlds shown in the trailer really sold me on the game's style, and I'm ready to go against Bowser and his cronies once again.

Puyo Puyo Tetris (Spring 2017)

I've been eyeing Puyo Puyo Tetris since it was first announced for Vita. While that version never hit over here, I'm glad I bailed on my import order because it's now coming to Switch. This seems like a great time waster, so I'm torn between my love of physical releases and my desire to have it always on the system digitally without the game card. I've yet to touch Puyo Puyo before, but it's hard not see the appeal of combining these two into a chaotic puzzling challenge. The importers seemed to love it, so I'm down to check it out.

Super Bomberman R (3/2017)

While I've not been a die hard fan, I really loved Super Bomberman back in the day. The idea of how easy it will be to play this co-op has me ready to dive in. Super Bomberman R looks like a great party game, and I'm not going to let the complaints about the cost of this get me down. Talk like that is what's leading us more and more toward the realm of more games being free to play (or free to start), which is not a direction I want to go in. So give me $50 Bomberman, I'll support it.

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (Fall 2017)

While I'm not specifically excited about playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim again, though I did enjoy my time with the original, what really has me wanting this game is the fact that such a massive game can be handled on the Switch. If Bethesda is willing to give it a shot, this gives me hope for more powerful AAA releases coming to the system as well. This could easily just be a one-off that never yield any fruit, but showing that such a huge game can work on the system means that other large titles could as well and that would be fine with me. I'll throw my support behind this, even if my hopes end up being for naught.

New SMT & Fire Emblem (TBA)

While I'm super thrilled for both of these games, there is next to nothing known about either. The new SMT game could very likely be SMTV, but who knows? It could be a fun spin off as well like Strange Journey. Regardless, I'm very interested to see what comes from it. And the recently announced Fire Emblem game for Switch is of course something I'm ready for. While FE Warriors isn't really my thing and FE Fates was a bit of a letdown, the announcement for Fire Emblem Echoes was enough to show me that the series is still very much of interest to me. I hope that we get some classic Fire Emblem goodness on Switch to go with Echoes, but we'll have to wait for 2018 to get to try it out.

Friday, January 13, 2017

#TeamHandheld Report - 01/13/2017

For those of you who are awesome enough to read these, sorry that it's been awhile since I last posted a #TeamHandheld Report. I took a few weeks off to spend with family, unwind, and play some games. But I couldn't get lazy and not share the handheld love. I have a few brief updates on the games I played during that final part of the year as I get back in the swing of things.

Now Playing

Hue (Vita)

I wasn't sure what to expect from Hue, as I'd not been following it that closely. Thankfully, what I got was a fantastic little puzzle game that reminded me of a colorful version of Limbo, if Limbo had been fun. In Hue, you reach puzzle rooms and have to shift between different colors to make jumps or moves through variously colored blocks and such. It sounds more confusing than it is when you play it, and the puzzles really make sense once you get going. It ended up as one of my top 10 from last year, as it was just dang charming.

-A lovely, colorful adventure-

Neon Chrome (Vita)

Now Neon Chrome is pretty sweet, but unfortunately I really am kinda bad at it. It's a dual stick shooter with some roguelike elements to its progression, as you try to get as far as you can without dying. When you die, you get to start over again. You can unlock various boosts throughout, so that helps you if you're like me and get killed a little too easily. I can see this being addictive for some, but the random nature of games like this make it tough for me to want to stick with them. Had fun with what I played, so I can't fault Neon Chrome for my inabilities.

-Fast, furious, fun...time to start over-

Slain: Back from Hell (Vita)

Slain: Back from Hell reminded me of my time with Volgarr, but it was a more forgiving 2D action game, and as such more enjoyable. The checkpoint system was much more forgiving, which I greatly appreciate. It's still a tough game, though, as it's still quite easy to get struck down. I found there was a nice variety in the stages, but I'm just not that great of an action gamer, so it's unlikely I will get through this one. Someone please stop me before I go on a Dark Souls rant about how difficulty should work. This is better than some, but I appreciate more assist features when I'm bad at a game. And easy mode isn't always the answer.

-NES hard is still a thing, but is it a good thing?-

Lara Croft Go (Vita)

I was a big fan of Hitman Go when it hit Vita earlier in the year, so when I heard this was coming I was really excited. So far Lara Croft Go has been about the same, but more puzzling in places than Hitman was. Both are using the same formula, but for some reason I keep getting stuck in Lara Croft Go more than I did in Hitman. It's like the easy parts are easier and the tougher sections are more confusing. I'm far enough along in it that I want to finish, but keep going round and round in one area. Just gotta get over that hump.

-Watch out for those giant spiders...-


Well, I'd heard that VVVVVV existed, but had no idea what it was until I got my hands on it. Even now it's tough to describe, but the time I spent with it involved removing and restoring gravity in order for me to jump between spikes and traps on the floor and ceiling. While I got a grasp on the movement and concept of the game pretty quickly, the level structure caused me to lose track of where I was and where I needed to go next. A more linear approach would have helped me get further in this, but what I played of it was unique and got my attention.

-I have no idea what I'm doing, but it's fun-

Space Overlords (Vita)

Now Space Overlords was an odd one, as I couldn't really get a good idea of what it was like from the initial description and screens. What I got was a game where you get to move around a small planet and destroy everything in sight. While doing this, you'll be assaulted by people who don't want you to smash up their planet, but you can't be a good space overlord unless you crush everything and rule all. It was pretty straightforward, but not for me. It kinda reminds me of a 3D Rampage.

-Time to smash everything-

Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (Vita)

Now I'd seen Shantae around for quite some time, but had yet to actually get my hands on one of the games before now. This gorgeous 2D platformer was more fun than I expected. Getting through the first area of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero and to the first boss fight was a blast, though there were some platforming segments that felt a little awkward at times. Falling down an entire area after one bad jump is never fun, especially when it seems like you should have made it. That said, I'm now curious to check out more of the series, so I'm glad I picked up the two PS4 versions as well...if only they were on Vita, too.

-Fun, but falling and having to start over is too old school-


Asdivine Hearts (Vita)

I've never really gotten deep into a Kemco (Exe-Create) RPG before, but there's a first time for everything.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (Vita)

I'm kinda sad this isn't an RPG like Aksys's Fate game, but I'll give it a fair shake.

Deemo (Vita)

Another curious rhythm game on the Vita is never a bad thing. I imported this one and are ready to dive deeper.