StarFox 2, Crystalis and more on Nintendo Switch Online ⊟
On December 12, North American Switch Online users will get free access to four more Super Nintendo games (StarFox 2, Super Punch-Out!!, Kirby Super Star, and Breath of Fire 2) and two more NES games (Crystalis and Journey to Silius).
Here’s why this rules:
It’s more games, which is just basically a good thing
StarFox 2 was previously exclusive to the SNES Classic
These games are all pretty good, and Kirby Super Star is going to be amazing with online multiplayer
Hey look everyone, the classic game releases aren’t dead!
Originally announced in 2015, and released in Japan in 2017 (on 3DS!), Level-5′s cross-media convenience store roguelike is being released in North America on February 14, 2020! In case you worry that it’s lost even a molecule of Level-5-ness in that period, let me reassure you:
Danger threatens Snack World when the evil mogul Sultan Vinegar attempts to resurrect the Deodragon, Smörg Åsbord. In this roguelike adventure, customize your character and join the heroic treasure hunters Chup, Mayonna, and the gang as they make their way through a slapstick comedy-filled quest to restore order to the land of Tutti-Frutti.
This “Gold” version contains all the expansions from the Japanese version built-in. There’s no mention of the NFC “Snack” and “Jara” toys – those items are in-game and tradable, but no idea if you have to go buy them or whatever. I doubt it!
Mario and Sonic’s ‘Dream Karate’ is an Olympic surprise ⊟
I have a lot to say about Mario and Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. With this being my first experience with this Sega X Nintendo X Every Nation on Earth crossover series, I’m overwhelmed by basically every aspect of it: the eclectic mix of characters, the variety of events, the control options, the bombardment of Olympic factoids, Eggman. I’ve been playing various events with my kids, and trying the single-player story mode on my own, and hope to take in enough to deliver an actual review.
But in the meantime, as a preview, I’d like to highlight a single event: Dream Karate, which has quickly grabbed our attention and become a family favorite.
The “Dream Events” in these Olympic Games games are Sega’s attempt to create fun Mario/Sonic minigames that take inspiration from Olympic events but don’t attempt to mimic them. Tokyo 2020 has Karate, of course, in which two competitors face off and attempt to score points by connecting with a punch or kick. It looks much like the real Olympic event barring the presence of Vector the Crocodile.
Dream Karate, on the other hand, bears no resemblance to anything that happens in the real world. Instead, it’s a genuine four-player party fighting game. That’s even more surprising than Dr. Eggman in a swimsuit!
Dream Karate is a fighting game presented in a top-down Bomberman perspective, in which up to four players fight to claim territory in the arena. The only way to claim a square is to knock an opponent down into it, in a sort of Smash Bros-esque abstract damage system. Everyone has punches, kicks, and throws, plus a few randomly appearing items and splashy special attacks that require a fully charged meter.
It’s very simple, but that’s to be expected from a party minigame collection – and it’s the thing that makes Dream Karate work so well for my particular gaming needs. There’s nowhere near the complexity of a Smash Bros. or Towerfall, which makes it even more egalitarian for people of different gaming experience levels. For me, that means this is the fighting game I can play with my two six-year-olds, all of us giggling the whole time.
It also means that Dream Karate is the perfect introduction to the concept of party fighting games. My kids can understand the simplistic combat of this game, and they can easily parse the visual indicators of who is winning, and by mastering the basics, I think they’re on the right track toward an important developmental milestone, which is to say a developmental Power Stone.
I don’t know if this game has enough substance to be broken out into its own separate download, but it’s a happy surprise to find one of the most accessible party games in here – on a console that already has tons of accessible party games.
I am in total support of Arc System Works’ weird experiments with Kunio/River City Ransom! Here’s Stay Cool, Kobayashi-san! A River City Ransom Story, a sci-fi spinoff in which Kobayashi (Thor of the Zombies in the US River City Ransom) meets a time traveler and gains the ability to relive his past adventures.
The first time you complete the game, it is hard to stop the schemes of the evil organization. Fortunately, Kobayashi-san is now accompanied by the boy from the future, Mizoguchi. Using his time-travel ability, you can expose their intentions and bring an end to their schemes. What is more, you can collect the stars the enemies wear to upgrade Kobayashi-san, Mizoguchi, Kunio and the others! Time-travel and become the strongest!
Arc System Works will release this on Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC November 7.
We’ve covered Analogue’s gorgeous, high-end retro hardware here a lot, but now the company has officially taken up residence in Tiny Cartridge’s wheelhouse. The Analogue Pocket is a $200 handheld with a USB-C charger, a
1600×1440 screen, stereo speakers, and – this is the important bit – compatibility with all Game Boy, Color, and Advance games, plus available adapters for Game Gear, Lynx, Neo Geo Pocket Color, “and more.”
The thing also comes with the chiptune sequencer Nanoloop preinstalled, meaning it’s useful as a musical instrument!
Instead of emulation, the Pocket uses the same kind of FPGA-based hardware as previous Analogue consoles, which is to say games should run really accurately.
And with an optional dock, this thing will output to TV and connect to Bluetooth controllers. It’ll be out sometime next year!
Crossniq+ is the puzzle game of the retro future ⊟
Crossniq+ does two totally disparate things really well, combining two disparate design accomplishments to create something special. First, Crossniq+ is a new, fresh, well-designed puzzle game, something I can’t conceive of doing myself and don’t understand how anyone could accomplish.
The second accomplishment is a note-perfect riff on the style of late-90s/early 2000s, mid-tier Japanese games. I never even considered that style a “style” until being presented with Crossniq+. Essentially, it’s as if developer Future Memory traveled back in time and came back with an undiscovered Dreamcast game.
Here’s a cool thing I can do: I can explain the gameplay by sending you over to the free web version. However, I can also explain it with words. You shift squares around on a grid to form intersecting lines. When a line from left to right crosses with a line from top to bottom, you get a “cross,” the ever-decreasing timer resets, your score increases, and the crossed tiles change colors for you to shift again. When I first encountered this, I felt like I was being asked to complete Rubik’s Cubes on a constant deadline, a task I haven’t otherwise been able to complete within a generous 39-year deadline. After a first attempt that saw the timer elapse while I stared hopelessly at the screen, it clicked for me and I was sliding tiles around the screen at high speed. It’s one of the most drastic, enjoyable learning curves I’ve had in a puzzle game. I’ve mostly been obsessively replaying the “endless” mode, submitting middling scores to the pre-launch leaderboard, but the game has local multiplayer as well, along with a nice “chillout” mode with no timers.
The excellent base game has been paired with some awesomely late-90s visuals and sound, described as a “Y2K aesthetic.” It’s kind of what I still think of as “the future,” with chibi superflat avatars, video backgrounds, and weird flavor text in corners. Every mode corresponds to a spot on a transit map for basically no reason, and everything sounds cooler than it needs to.
I don’t think you need to be my exact age to enjoy Crossniq+. Though I’m biased, I think it looks cool. More importantly, it’s a deviously craveable puzzle game, great either on a TV or touch screen. Also, I happen to be my exact age, and it perfectly targets my sensibilities. That’s a bonus.
I love it! Coming October 17th to Switch, the never-released-outside-Japan sequel to Columns, and an equally Japan-exclusive puzzle minigame collection.
Heading to the West for the first time, Ichidant-R pushes the limits of your brain as you hunt for hidden vampires, conduct an orchestra, shoot down UFOs, and much more across 20 wildly varied mini-games that can be enjoyed locally or online! Mega Drive Mode adds in an RPG-like Quest Mode, a unique Competitive Mode designed as a board game for up to four players, and a point-based Free Mode (Note: Mega Drive Mode is presented with Japanese text only).
Ten games into the series, and we’re already way out there. I respect that from Sega and M2.
Over the weekend, we attended the first-ever TinyCon, a small gathering organized by Club Tiny members! So there’s a lot of party game talk and a lot of quacking, plus news about Ring Fit Adventure. Listen in! It’s like you’re there, eating a singular raviol.
Yakuza: Like a Dragon refreshes the West next year⊟
Sega is making big, bold, powerful moves with its next Yakuza game. Yakuza 7 will be called Yakuza: Like a Dragon when it is released in the west in 2020, uniting the original Japanese series name with the Western name for the first time.
It’s also changing the combat style. As Sega puts it in the press release: “
Yakuza: Like a Dragon’s combat system has undergone a major overhaul, combining Yakuza’s established brawling action with a turn-based RPG battle system.
New series protagonist Ichiban Kasuga (another big swing) calls out Dragon Quest in the trailer, which seems like no accident. By merging its biggest-selling series with turn-based combat, I believe Sega is aiming for Japan’s Dragon Quest audience, basically the only way this thing could get any bigger!
Moon: Remix RPG Adventure is coming to Switch in English – I’m screaming ⊟
SCREAMING. Moon, the RPG deconsstruction by Love-de-Lic, was released on PlayStation in Japan back in 1997 and in the West never. Until now! During the Japanese Nintendo Direct, Million Onion Hotel developer Onion Games (a group of Love-de-Lic vets!) announced plans to release Moon on Switch October 10 in Japan, with an English translation coming afterward.
One night, under the silvery light of a full moon, a young boy is suddenly sucked through his TV and into a videogame — a classic JRPG called “Moon World”. Following closely behind the game’s brave hero, the boy begins his own journey to recover the world’s missing moonlight by collecting “Love”.
As Moon World’s hero loots and levels up by cutting down monsters for experience points — you know, as heroes do — the boy releases their souls and collects their “Love”. Moon is not a game where you’ll fight to level up — your own progress comes by gathering lost “Love”!
As you explore the world, you’ll meet a crazy cast of weird and wonderful NPCs. Observe their strange habits and daily routines by visiting them at different times and days of the week, and learn their secrets to uncover even more lost “Love”!
“Now… use your own power to open the door…”
A lot of stuff happened at this Nintendo Direct, but this is it for me. I cannot believe this. A lot of my favorite game trends – the like, quirky RPG, the game about helping a town full of characters – started here. The Nintendo Switch is the best game console of all time, y’all.