April Fools Nintendo Direct Inbound

March 31st, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

nintendo-direct-april15

In classic Nintendo fashion, Nintendo announced today that at 4:00pm CST tomorrow they’re going to announce a bunch of real news in the midst of all the jokes that will be floating around the web.  Nintendo historically likes doing this for some reason, but whatever that reason is — colour us excited.  Don’t be pulling for any NX or Zelda Wii U news, but expect more info on Yoshi’s Woolly World, Splatoon, and hopefully North American wave 4 amiibos.  We’ll have our usual summary after the event with the coolest news of the day, so stay tuned!

You’ll be able to watch the Nintendo Direct presentation when it goes live right here.

Bloodborne (PS4) Impressions

March 29th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

Bloodborne™_20150329120540

The Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls games have amassed a vocal following in recent years with gamers who equate exceptional difficulty with entertainment.  My personal gaming tastes are pretty far removed from that mindset, as I primarily prefer story and art direction/aesthetics above all else, with challenge being very near the bottom of my list of what I look for in video games.  As such, my personal history with the previous Souls games that Bloodborne is a spiritual successor to is quite limited — I bought the original Demon’s Souls expecting it to be a more traditional third person action RPG and stopped playing it after about an hour because I couldn’t progress.  My pet peeve in video games is being made to replay the same sections over and over, and the bulk of the Souls series seems to rely heavily on this mechanic, so I have stayed away from the more recent Dark Souls games.  Bloodborne, however, came with the promise of being more action oriented so when Sony’s review copy came across my desk I was excited to see if the Souls games’ accessibility issues had been addressed in any way.  Read on to find out how I liked my first few hours (that’s right, hours!) with Bloodborne.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grim Fandango Remastered (PC/PS4/Vita) Impressions

March 23rd, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

grim-fandango-remastered-hallway
1998 was one of the absolute best years in gaming’s history for new releases:  Half-Life, Ocarina of Time, StarCraft, Thief, Metal Gear Solid, Banjo-Kazooie, Sonic Adventure, Spyro the Dragon, SoulCalibur, Unreal and many more first launched that year.  Among these behemoths, many of which spawned series that are still running today, was LucasArts’ Tim Schafer-directed Grim Fandango.  The 1998 market was saturated with games of the highest calibre and although it received critical acclaim and many awards, Grim Fandango didn’t sell as well as LucasArts would have liked and more or less marked the beginning of the end for LucasArts’ illustrious adventure games.  Many of today’s adventure game fans (myself included) were either too young or too ill-informed to have yet joined the PC gaming master race when games like Grim Fandango were on the scene and even if you want to check out old PC classics, operating systems and hardware have evolved in such a way that getting such games running can often take hours of config file editing and driver hacking.  Luckily enough Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions saw fit to dust off Grim Fandango, give it a touch of paint so that it wouldn’t look like what happens when you try to hook up your Sega Saturn to a 60″ HDTV, and release a Remastered version for audiences new and old to enjoy.  We were fortunate enough to receive a copy of Grim Fandango Remastered from Double Fine, so read on to see what we thought of our first few hours with the game.

Read the rest of this entry »

Gold Mario Amiibo in Canada April 10th

March 18th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

gold-mario-amiibo-smallWith Mario Party 10 launching for the Wii U this Friday, Nintendo Canada announced today that the Gold Mario Amiibo that is being sold exclusively at Walmarts in the US will be available from a number of retailers in Canada on April 10th.  Amazon.ca preorders are already sold out, but keep an eye out for them in other places now that they’re officially making the trek to the Great White North.

Nintendo’s Next System – Code Name: NX

March 17th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon
wii-u-concept

Wii U GamePad Prototype

Along with announcing their intentions to develop straight-up smartphone games and launching a proper console-independent user system (like all of their competitors have), Nintendo announced the code name for their next home console today, the “NX”.

It’s already a better name than “Wii U” and we’re definitely happy that we can make jokes about Nintendo attempting to NX the game industry now.  No new details about the next system are known, but as with the pre-Wii U days Nintendo has been dropping hints — this time about the possibility of unifying the mobile and home console branches into a single system of some sort.

New details about the NX are supposed to come next year, so while we may not hear much extra at this year’s E3, Nintendo will likely start to let tantalizing details slip until we get a proper formal announcement about its form and features.

We’ll keep you posted on any other developments regarding Nintendo’s NX-t big thing.

 

NuGuard KXs Screen Protector for iPhone 6 Plus Review

March 14th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

KXs_iphone6p_hero

Manufacturer: Newer Technology
Current Retail Price: $24.95 (currently on sale for $9.00)

Last year we took a look at the NuGuard KXs Screen Protector for iPhone 4/4S and concluded that it was excellent.  There were a couple of small quirks, but its look, feel and functionality were second to none.  We’ve had a while now to test the equivalent KXs screen protector for iPhone 6 Plus to see if it continues the series’ fine tradition.  Does the KXs screen protector for iPhone 6 Plus keep pushing the envelope or just tread water? Read on to find out if this iteration is as impactful as the last.

Read the rest of this entry »

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. (3DS) Review

March 13th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

code-name-steam-review

Developer: Intelligent Systems
Publisher: Nintendo
Genre: Strategy / Tactics
Players: 1 (2 players local/online)
Console: 3DS
Progress: Completed single-player campaign

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is one of those games that come along once in a while that makes me wonder what kind of magic mushrooms Nintendo developers have been into lately. It’s hard to explain the level of uncanny that’s going on in S.T.E.A.M., but the combination of factors presented makes it a rather decent romp on the 3DS. Part turn-based strategy, part 3rd person shooter, part tactics RPG, S.T.E.A.M. takes players through a challenging campaign set in an imaginative world while meeting colorful characters. Does Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. deserve a home in your 3DS? Read on to find out.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cities: Skylines (PC) Review

March 10th, 2015 by
FacebookTwitterGoogle+StumbleUpon

cities-skylines

Developer: Colossal Order
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: City Building Sim
Players: 1
Console Reviewed: PC
Progress: Mayor of Blackthorn City (population 50,000)

Though we’re only in the first quarter of 2015, it’s turning out to be an exciting year for city-building sims. Earlier we reviewed the revamped Cities XXL which was a worthy, if uninspiring entry in the series. Now we have been blessed with a brand new take on the genre from a developer that burst onto the scene a few years ago with a duo of transportation simulators. As a civil engineer I am especially excited to evaluate the merits of city-building sims, not only by how they function as a video game, but also by how closely they can emulate reality in a fun way. The developer of Cities: Skylines is marketing this product as the ultimate anti-SimCity. They sought to make the definitive city-building sim that is everything that SimCity failed to be, without the destructive, toxic influence of Electronic Arts. Is this the revolution in city building that we have been waiting for? Is this the one sim to rule them all? Read on to find out.

Read the rest of this entry »