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Reviews

System: Nintendo Wii U
Release Date: November 22nd, 2013
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo
Publisher: Nintendo


Author: Austin

“If it ain’t broke, make it dramatically better.”

To say that Nintendo has released too many platforming Mario games in the last two years would not be particularly hyperbolic if you concern yourself with only the raw numbers. 2011 saw the release of Super Mario 3D Land on 3DS, 2012 had New Super Mario Bros. 2 (3DS) and New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U), and now 2013 has slid soundly to a spectacular finish with Super Mario 3D World. At first glance it may seem like an annualization of gaming’s finest platforming franchise, but it would be erroneous to criticize Nintendo’s strategy when they manage to make every one of these games at the very least first-rate in fundamental design, and it would be downright dishonest to suggest that we would be better off if they hadn’t created something as lustrous and enjoyable as Super Mario 3D World.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: October 24, 2013
Developer: Capcom
Publisher: Capcom


Author: Patrick

I’ve always had a soft spot for the Ace Attorney games. Their combination of legal drama, an exaggerated anime style and frequently hilarious dialogue resulted in some of the most memorable adventure games on the original DS. After passing the protagonist baton for a few entries, the original Ace Attorney —Phoenix Wright— returns to the courtroom with a fresh look and a few new faces. Unfortunately, I have a few objections to this new entry in the series. Phoenix might have retained his aptitude at bluffing his way through trials, but there’s a sense that the game’s writers have lost some of their ability to string together a cohesive story with interesting, well-developed characters.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: November 13th, 2013
Developer: Shin’en Multimedia
Publisher: Shin’en Multimedia


Author: Austin

Released amidst a flurry of absolutely no hype or promotion– courtesy of Nintendo, it seems– Jett Rocket II: The Wrath of Taikai popped onto the 3DS eShop as the sequel to a well-loved (if perhaps a bit archaic) WiiWare title that bears the same franchise name. It’s billed as a platformer– and that it is– but it’s one that can’t seem to choose between 3D and 2D, swapping between the two as though it’s a motorcyclist in the busy lanes of a Los Angeles highway. The game is certainly trying to take you somewhere, and doesn’t seem afraid to take its own route to get there– but is the trip worth the price?

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: November 15th, 2013 (NA) – Q1 2014 (EU)
Developer: Tamsoft
Publisher: XSEED Games
Price (as of publication): $29.99 (NA)


Author: Austin

“Apparently, within 30 seconds of thinking about a possible game [producer Kenichiro Takaki] decided that one of the things people want to see the most in 3D are breasts.”

Without the existence of the 3DS eShop and a publisher like XSEED, North American audiences would probably never get to fully experience Senran Kagura Burst!. The anime-inspired (directly, in fact: there’s an anime in existence of the same name without the “Burst!” tagline) brawler seems to be on the radar of a handful of folks who probably stumbled upon an eccentric screenshot or video thumbnail that proudly displayed the game’s fascination with large, round breasts. This, after all, is how I was first intrigued.

But another curiosity quickly follows exposure to the game’s aesthetic: Is it actually well-designed, or does its merit hinge solely upon its ability to assail you with large boobs?

It is, a touch regrettably for some, chiefly to do with the boobs.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: October 25th, 2013
Developer: Armature Studios
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment


Author: Austin

“Hi, I’m Batman, and here’s uh… here’s my next game thing.”

Batman has been on a real kick lately, courtesy of the The Dark Knight trilogy of movies (which in turn, I understand, are courtesy of some graphic novels), and some of his most critically acclaimed recent appearances have been in videogames. This trend– on its fourth year– continues with the release of Batman: Arkham Origins and its sister game Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate. The latter of the two is the one that will be discussed here.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: October 12th, 2013
Developer: Game Freak
Publisher: Nintendo/The Pokémon Company


Author: Patrick

By this point I shouldn’t have to explain what this long-running RPG series is about. The coming of age story of an adventurous kid and their menagerie of bizarre monsters has been constantly repeated over the last fifteen years with a very gradual evolution in the gameplay. While I enjoyed Pokémon Black, White and their sequels, the lack of meaningful mechanical changes that came with staying on one console for too long started to set in and I was hopeful that X & Y would breath new life into some of the staler aspects of the series. Now that the series finally makes the jump to the 3DS, does it manage to revitalise the franchise with new features while still capturing the same je ne sais quoi as the other titles? Well I think it does, at least.

System: Nintendo Wii U
Release Date: October 22nd, 2013 (NA)
Developer: Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix


Author: Austin

Some games like to take themselves extremely seriously. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is one of those games.

The non-director’s cut (editor’s cut?) of this particular Eidos title came out back in 2011, and at the time it had not a home on a Nintendo console, which meant that folks who aligned themselves exclusively with the big N missed out on the game. When Square Enix saw the Wii U, apparently they also saw an opportunity to release an updated version of the game to a new audience– tag-lined “Director’s Cut”– and test the third party waters on this latest home console and its strange controller.

Roughly 7 months after the initial announcement, the game is out, and there’s good news: It’s pretty dang good.

System: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: September 20th, 2013
Developer: Zeptolab
Price: $9.99

Author: Jack

Ever go to prom? Remember the overwhelming tension and excitement surrounding the build-up to the big day? Rushing to get a last-minute suit vest the same hue as your beloved sweetie pie’s dress, making sure that painful last payment on your limousine rental went through, flipping through your anthology for the optimal Ja Rule record on the way there to set the mood just right… ah, I can almost feel it as though it were yesterday. In fact, my prom was yesterday (I’m in the Navy), and the most vivid memory I have of that fateful eve was getting my mullet trimmed and cut into a bowl cut earlier that afternoon.

While there’s surely no surrogate to be had for a proper trim and cut, with the recent release of Cut the Rope from hitherto unknown Russian developer ZeptoLab, you can now come close to replicating the same pleasurable feeling I experienced at the hands of the barber in the comfort of your home with your 3DS stylus. At a price of $9.99 (compared to the lousy $17 run-around deal I got for a pretty standard bowl shape), Cut the Rope checks off every box a figurative contemporary downloadable game assimilates, and through sheer content and professionalism, releases as one of the most polished and notable puzzle titles to be consumed on the 3DS eShop. Om Nom.

More:

468px-Scribblenauts-Unmasked-3DS-Banner


Making anything never felt so heroic. Sort of.


System: Nintendo Wii U/3DS
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Developer: 5th Cell
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment


Author: Austin

Scribblenauts had pretty humble beginnings four years ago when it made its first public splash at E3 2009. Back then, the game was known as little more than an ambitious title from a somewhat-proven developer (5th Cell, who were at the time known for Drawn to Life and Lock’s Quest) that promised you the moon and seemed to be delivering on it. The game released to fairly warm reception despite some naysayers, and has since gone on to become something of a household gaming name like LEGO or Skylanders.

With Scribblenauts Unmasked— the latest, DC Comics-infused entry in the series– the spiritual parallels to a franchise like Skylanders have become even more apparent. The game feels unapologetically directed towards younger audiences, and while it’s obvious that any lay-gamer (or D.C. comics fanatic) would have a hayday merely playing around with the object creator, someone looking for real satisfaction on a deeper level probably won’t find it within Unmasked.