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Legend of Heroes Trails into Reverie review

System: Switch
Release Date: July 7, 2023
Developer: Falcom
Publisher: NIS America

Following the steady drip of titles from Falcom’s Legend of Heroes series, Trails into Reverie is the latest installment coming to western players. As before with Trails to Azure, our latest game is also interwoven into a storied timeline. This time, we’ll be following up after the events of Trails to Azure and the Great Twilight events of Trails of Cold Steel IV. With these stories being so connected, there are no ways to absolutely avoid spoilers for the previous games, but we’ll do the best we can in case this is your first introduction to the series. With this particular entry first launching in Japan, the Switch port will see the world of Zero/Azure in HD for the first time, and follow up almost immediately after the events of Trails of Cold Steel IV – the interwoven timeline for both lines of games finally converges, and both protagonist groups of Lloyd and Rean are joined by a third protagonist – the black-clad and mysteriously masked “C.”

Last week, the internet was graced with a jam-packed Nintendo Direct that revealed a ton of exciting games, especially for fans of Mario and friends. In this week’s episode of Nintendo Everything Refresh, join your hosts Nick, Dennis and Eli (who’s joining us for the first time!) as they break down all the big reveals from the direct, including Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Super Mario RPG, Pikmin 1 + 2 HD, and MUCH more!

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Hot Wheels Unleashed 2 preview

2021’s Hot Wheels Unleashed was a huge surprise for fans of arcade racers and the die-cast toys alike; I had a great time with it when I reviewed it, even if I felt the game could have benefitted from tweaked vehicle handling and more variety overall. Now, two years later, developer Milestone is gearing up for the release of Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged on October 19, and I had an opportunity to check out an early build of the game at Summer Game Fest. While some of my critiques of the first game – like environmental variety – look like they may not be resolved at launch, I enjoyed some of the new mechanics and modes the team is adding this time around.

We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie review

System: Switch
Release date: June 2, 2023
Developer: Bandai Namco / Monkey Craft
Publisher: Bandai Namco

Sometimes, the biggest challenge we face as reviewers is in describing simple concepts – take Katamari, for instance. You play as a tiny green man called the Prince, and you’re tasked with rolling around a comically large and sticky ball. You navigate contained levels with the aim of rolling stuff up into that ball, and growing larger as a result. It sounds closer to a cheese-dream than a compelling gameplay loop, doesn’t it? Despite the outlandish premise, Bandai Namco’s Katamari series has garnered a sizable fanbase over the last two decades. While us super-fans collectively pine for a brand new entry in the series, a re-release of the franchise’s phenomenal second outing We Love Katamari has found its way into our lives courtesy of developer Monkey Craft. Out of all of the base expectations you can have for a remake or a remaster, matching or exceeding the original title in every metric is paramount. When it comes to We Love Katamari Reroll + Royal Reverie, we get a couple of hits, and a whole bunch of misses.

Splatoon 3 Deep Cut origins

The developers of Splatoon 3 have commented on the origins of Deep Cut, including why Nintendo didn’t just settle on making more idols.

Each entry in the series has introduced their own musical group. In Splatoon 1, we saw Callie and Marie of Squid Sisters fame. Splatoon 3 then introduced Pearl and Marine with Off the Hook. Both of those were essentially protagonist idol groups, but Splatoon 3 mixed things up. Deep Cut has the trio of Shiver, Frye, and Big Man and are actually more like antagonists. 

Lets Talk Direct June 2023 reactions

We’re a few days removed from the June 2023 Nintendo Direct, and now we’re interested in hearing your honest reactions to the event.

As always, Nintendo brought a few key announcements to the show. A week ago, many wouldn’t have guessed that Super Mario RPG would be getting a remake on Switch. The other big moment of the show was Nintendo unveiling Super Mario Wonder. We also heard about a new Princess Peach game and Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon for Switch that are coming out next year, and WarioWare: Move It was revealed for November. Detective Pikachu Returns was unveiled after being teased years ago, too. Pikmin 1 and 2 for Switch were even revealed and announced on the same day.

On the third-party front, there were some announcements as well. Metal Gear Solid Collection Vol. 1, Batman: Arkham Trilogy, Dragon Quest Monsters: The Dark Prince, Star Ocean: The Second Story R, and Penny’s Big Breakaway were shown.

This wasn’t everything, but those were some of the notable games shown. You can catch up on everything in Nintendo’s recap here. And let us know how you felt about the Nintendo Direct as a whole, and what your favorite announcement was.

Sports video games have been a part of my DNA since I first picked up a controller. My dad had an NES hooked up to the TV while I was young, and so I was graced with some incredible arcade-style sports games – the likes of Blades of Steel, Tecmo Bowl, and RBI Baseball. When I was a little older, I got some great mileage out games like Backyard Baseball, and after the Wii launched, I jumped into the obvious hits – Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort. I’m probably forgetting a few, but all those games have one thing in common; none of them are simulators of the sports they represent. That’s why I love them, and why we need more games like Super Mega Baseball 4.

Splatoon 3 Tricolor Turf War

Splatoon 3 introduced Tricolor Turf Wars as one of its big new features, and the developers behind the game have now discussed how it came to be.

Tricolor Turf War puts a spin on Splatfests that started out with the series’ very first game. During the second half of these events, three teams fight at the same time and it’s up to the first-place team to defend themselves in the 4-v-2-v-2 match type.

Just before the latest Nintendo Direct aired, we decided to wrap up all the exciting announcements for Switch this summer prior to the big event.

After a long few days of showcases from companies not named Nintendo, Sam breaks down all the notable announcements from the week including those from the Summer Game Fest, Devolver Digital, Future Games Show, Ubisoft Forward, and Capcom to see which amazing looking games are coming to Nintendo’s platform.

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Fae Farm preview

It’s becoming more difficult for games in the increasingly crowded farming/life-sim genre to stand out from the pack. Fae Farm – the next release from Phoenix Labs, who previously released Dauntless – is trying to carve its own niche by embracing a magical setting and promising exciting features like drop-in-drop-out online multiplayer and combat-focused dungeons. The game has had some prominent marketing, but it would be unfair not to mention that several thematically-similar indies have also been announced recently, including Garden Witch Life, WItchbrook, and Fields of Mistria. After getting hands on with Fae Farm, though, I was surprised at just how massive this game’s scope appears to be – it seems poised to be one of the densest, most mechanically rich attempts at this type of game that we’ve seen in a while.

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