Nintendo Universe - Preview Issue
A dedicated magazine for the Nintendo fan, with preview and review content alongside topical features. Covers Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, Wii and Nintendo DS.
A DEDICATED MAGAZINE FOR THE NINTENDO FAN KID ICARUS: UPRISING MARIO TENNIS OPEN PREVIEW ISSUE KINGDOM HEARTS 3D CONTENTS CONTENTS CONTENTS WELCOME PREVIEWS Mario Tennis Open When Nintendo Universe first began, I had envisoned that it would continue to establish itself beyond simply offering its readership a website full of content. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Today marks the first stride towards such goal, this preview issue acting as the concept for an expanded, free digital magazine that will launch toward the end of June. Theatrhythm Final Fantasy We’re set to attend the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles this year, and our debut issue will provide extensive coverage of everything that we can feverishly get our hands on. With impending Wii U reveals, it’ll most certainly be an exciting read! REVIEWS Whereas the website will continue to deliver timely news coverage, our digital magazine will largely form the home for articles, preview and review content moving forwards. Kid Icarus: Uprising With the Wii U firmly on the horizon, and the Nintendo 3DS release schedule now brimming with plenty of fantastic titles vying for your attention, there really couldn’t be a more exciting time to be a Nintendo fan. Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure As we continue to learn more throughout the year, I hope that you enjoy sharing it with us! Alex Seedhouse Editor Pandora’s Tower BIT.TRIP COMPLETE BIT.TRIP SAGA Editorial Alex Seedhouse - Editor email@example.com Inazuma Eleven 2 Contributors Darren Kerwin, Chris Smith, Tom Worthington www.nintendo-universe.co.uk FEATURES www.twitter.com/NintendoUni Concept: Metroid Wii U www.facebook.com/NintendoUniverse 2 Nintendo Universe Nintendo 3DS: A Year On Nintendo Universe 3 3 Nintendo Universe PREVIEW PREVIEW MARIO TENNIS OPEN Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Camelot Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] May 25th [US] May 20th Head to the shop area of the Club Room and you can spend Coins earned during play on items, including racquets, trainers and wristbands, that allow you to influence your Mii’s character stats under Power, Spin and Move. Mario and pals once again grab their racquets and hit the courts, as Nintendo prepare to serve Mario Tennis Open for the Nintendo 3DS. Tournaments and Exhibitions invite players to engage in both single and double matches, taking place across courts inspired by Mushroom Kingdom locales, such as Mushroom Valley, Peach’s Palace, DK Jungle, Bowser’s Castle and Penguin Iceberg. There’s an interesting approach to control input. Whilst the Circle Pad, as standard, allows you to move your chosen character across the court, players can choose between either the ‘Shot Panel’ on the touch screen or buttons to determine their choice of shot. It’s likely that most will opt for buttons, yet use of the Shot Panel allows you a greater degree of scope to strategise during play. Here you select and hold the panel responding to the shot you wish to make, essentially lining them up before they are made. This provides valuable seconds to plan, which will prove especially effective when playing on higher difficulties. There are five differing coloured shots for you perform; Topspin (Red), Flat (Dark Blue), Slice (Light Blue), Lob (Yellow) and Drop Shot (Silver), each enabling you to adjust your tactics in an effort to catch your opponent off-guard. Players can also adorn themselves in full character suits, the fearless Bowser costume granting a more daunting demeanor courtside. or right respectively. During play coloured circles, known as Chance Areas, will appear on court. If you play the corresponding shot, this will then be performed as a Chance Shot with an elevated power than usual. Special Games aim to spread a little fun, Super Mario Tennis seeing the player hit the ball against a side-scrolling wall on which the early levels of Super Mario Bros. are seen. “...the Shot Panel allows a greater degree of scope to strategise during play.” Galaxy Rally, on a court inspired by the critically-acclaimed Super Mario Galaxy, sees holes appear within the flooring with the player required to accurately aim shots, whereas Ring Shot sees you direct your shots through rings that appear across the court, scoring points for each the ball passes through before the time limit runs out. Additionally, motion controls are also implemented. Holding your Nintendo 3DS vertically will see you enter Direct Mode, in which your character automatically moves and aims shots in whichever direction that you’re facing. Online multiplayer support is an enormously welcome addition to the series, seeing you able to play with friends and other opponents within your region across the Nintendo Network. It won’t be the preferred control scheme for the competitive type, but aids accessibility for the broader audience that Nintendo so readily seek to welcome. Whereas an Exhibition match invites you to play against up to three friends, it will be Open matches that prove most popular. Taking on players of a similar skill level to you, it sees you pitted in single-player face-offs whose outcome affects your positioning on the overall leaderboard. Great strides have also been taken to provide much deeper customisation options, with the incorporation of Mii’s within the game. Mario Tennis Open’s ability to readily engage all manner of audiences is its greatest strength. Now just over a month away from release, we can’t wit to gear up and hit the courts. “Online multiplayer support is an enormously welcome addition to the series.” Perform a Lob to push them back to the baseline, for instance, only to then pull off a cheeky Drop Shot that will then see them manically dashing back toward the net again. Sneaky. Flat shots smack the ball straight down the middle of the court, whereas Slice and Topspin curve the ball to the left 4 Nintendo Universe 5 Nintendo Universe PREVIEW KINGDOM HEARTS 3D: Dream, Drop, Distance THEATRHYTHM FINAL FANTASY Publisher: Square Enix Developer: Square Enix Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] July 20th [US] July 31st Publisher: Square Enix Developer: indieszero Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] July 6th [US] July 3rd “...worlds, remaining disconnected from the others due to their dormant state, are now plagued by Dream Eaters.” Faced with the eventual arrival of Master Xehanort, Yen Sid places Sora and Riku through the Mark of Mastery exam so that they may become Keyblade Masters. Rhythm-action becomes the latest genre for Square Enix to spin their enormously successful Final Fantasy franchise off into. Such sets the foreboding precedent for Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, the eagerly awaited Nintendo 3DS exclusive. Yet, whilst this perhaps isn’t the Nintendo 3DS debut most were anticipating, it most certainly shouldn’t be instantly dismissed. Separated as part of the trial, both Sora and Riku find themselves tasked with venturing to worlds previously destroyed by the Heartless, which have since been restored. Released, in part, to mark the franchise celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy provides a kaleidoscopic musical journey through an assorted collection of its most beloved scores. These worlds, remaining disconnected from the others due to their dormant state, are now plagued by Dream Eaters that hunt the surface for Keyholes. Much of this is plucked from the compositional talents of the long-adored Nobuo Uematsu, expanded further with the likes of Final Fantasy XIII composer Masashi Hamauzu. “...a kaleidoscopic musical journey through the most beloved Final Fantasy scores.” There’s also been a steady stream of downloadable content support that has followed the game’s Japanese launch, which will most likely find its way westward too. This has included a broad scope of music, such as “Etro’s Champion” from Final Fantasy XIII-2, “What Becomes of Us” from Final Fantasy Type-0, and “Somnus” from Final Fantasy Versus XIII. Such creatures are a new introduction to the series; colourful “Spirit” Dream Eaters become a central mechanic to the game in which they are able to be recruited by the heroic duo to aid them on their continual quest. Multiple Dream Eaters may be used at once, able to be levelled up in the same way as Sora and Riku. Their support is vital in defeating “Nightmare” Dream Eaters, which must be felled to complete the Mark of Mastery exam, and to also travel to other worlds. It’s shaping up exceptionally well, and July can’t come soon enough. The promise of revelatory secrets in relation to Kingdom Hearts III makes the wait ever more antagonising. Alex Seedhouse Each track is represented through three differing styles of play. ‘Field’ music sees the player’s adopted character (which have seen an artistic redesign for Theatrhythm Final Fantasy) perform a leisurely stroll through background scenery as they respond to notes to score points. ‘Event’ music is similar in concept to this, although FMV sequences provide the backdrop this time around. Lastly, ‘Battle’ music sees a party of four characters find themselves faced with going up against a monstrous beast, where damage is dealt by successfully hitting notes. There are four differing types of note; Red, which must be tapped; Green, which must be held and then traced along an on-screen pattern; Yellow, where the player must slide the stylus in the indicated direction; and Blue, which provide opportunities for the play to perform a summon. It’s a relentless, addictive and, more importantly, a wellcrafted experience. With Uematsu revealing that even he “was reduced to tears” with the memories it brought flooding back, Theatrhythm Final Fantasy is surely set to be a formidable hit for Nintendo 3DS. Alex Seedhouse 6 Nintendo Universe 7 Nintendo Universe Feature Feature Feature Concept: Metroid Wii U It is inevitable that Nintendo will eventually add a new chapter in the Metroid series. For twenty five years, Metroid has been a core franchise for the company. Since Samus’ great reveal as the female bounty hunter in the original Metroid on NES back in 1986, the series has offered constant innovation. In 1994 the series brought us Super Metroid, which is considered to be one of the finest games on the SNES by its fan base and regularly appears in polls listing some of the greatest games ever made. The series then took a questionable jump into the third dimension as a first-person adventure game in the form of Metroid Prime in 2002. Critics had their concerns, especially after an eight year hiatus, but Metroid Prime became one of the best selling titles on the GameCube, and the best selling Metroid game to date. Metroid has constantly evolved over its twenty five year history but has always retained key elements such as exploration, atmosphere and hunting for secrets that has made the series appealing to me. I feel that a future title for the Wii U should retain these core elements and offer a fresh new experience that adapts well to the new hardware. I feel that a brand new first-person adventure Metroid game would be best suited for this platform, but should move away from the Metroid Prime series and the Phazon storyline. Recently, the series has taken a further twist in the form of Metroid: Other M, perhaps the most controversial addition to the series yet, which some people claim has caused a rift in the fan community, dividing loyal fans and leaving them with questions to the direction the series is taking. So what surprises could the future of Metroid hold and where should it go from here? Here are some of my own personal thoughts regarding the possibility of a new Metroid game for the upcoming Wii U console. It’s obvious to me that the Wii U controller is going to be the main feature of any new Metroid game; it could be used in multiple ways. The standout thought to me would be to use the screen of the Wii U controller as a scan visor, allowing the player to scan and explore the environments. For example, the player could hold the controller up to the screen and use it as a tool to collect data on surroundings. Ever since the system was shown at E3 in 2011, I have been excited at the possibilities of what the system could bring to future Metroid titles. When I saw The Legend of Zelda tech demo displaying what the Wii U was capable of graphically, the question “How awesome would a Metroid game like this be?” immediately came to my mind. The Wii U console is certainly capable of displaying games in a higher quality format than its predecessors and a HD Metroid would be visually stunning. Although many Nintendo gamers will argue that graphics don’t make a game, I feel that they can certainly help the overall experience. What’s wrong with having good game play and graphics? It could be used to find hidden power ups and weapon expansions, and could be used to scan creatures and major enemies and bosses to gather information on its weak points. The scan visor was a vital part of the Metroid Prime trilogy and as mentioned, exploration has always been present in the series. The X-ray visor could potentially return, along with others that could each make a good use of the Wii U controller’s many features. “The standout thought to me would be to use the screen of the Wii U controller as a scan visor.” 8 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 9 9 Nintendo Universe Feature 2D side-scrolling format. A heavily rumoured game titled Metroid Dread that was apparently going to release on Nintendo DS was said to fit this criteria but didn’t surface. I feel the Wii U controller could also add a great deal to the puzzle aspect of Metroid, with its gyro sensors and touch screen features. Consider for a moment, a morph ball puzzle in a third dimensional view where the controller is placed flat on a solid surface, or perhaps the player kneels which will activate morph ball mode. Samus has to traverse through a lava filled area with floating platforms that need to be moved in order to progress across. The touch screen could be used to interact with the environment on the small screen to pull platforms around so Samus could cross the area, while avoiding lava plumes as she progresses. The morph ball would be controlled by the Circle Pads. Everything the player does will be seen on the main TV screen. Once out of the area, the player would simply hold up the Wii U controller to the TV to return to first person mode. The player could also pause the game, briefly stopping the action on the big screen while focusing on the Wii U controller screen to access menus and features such as a map, where you could draw or pinpoint a route. Imagine a scenario with use of the gyro sensors in the Wii U controller, where the player has to turn switches in order to gain access to new areas, similar to how Samus could unlock doors and elevators in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. A prompt would appear on screen to ask if you want to interact directly with this feature, the player would then be able to turn the controller with 360 degree flexibility and accuracy to complete the required task. At a push you could incorporate voice commands through the built-in microphone and maybe even the camera with augmented reality. But what if someone would like to use the TV for something other than gaming? Short of telling them to get lost, I feel that all the action of the Wii U Metroid experience could be contained within the controller quite easily. For example, scanning could be done via a menu and touch screen, while morph ball puzzles could be controlled in the same way as suggested above, without the view displaying on the big screen. It would handle like a portable version of Metroid Prime, without the additional features of using two screens. Additional menu’s could be enabled when playing in Wii U or controller mode. There’s certainly a lot of creative ways that the controller could be used to benefit the experience, but could be considered by the fans as a gimmick. When it comes to the story and plot of the game, there are endless possibilities. Many fans would like to see a game taking place after the events of Metroid Fusion in a 10 However I feel such a game would be more suited to the Nintendo 3DS as a 2D side-scroller, much different than what I think could be possible on the Wii U. I feel there is room for another chapter in the series prior to the events of Metroid II: Return of Samus. For the Galactic Federation to send Samus to planet SR388 to eliminate all Metroid life, there has to be a pretty good reason for doing it. Perhaps the game could focus on a terrible event that has affected humans and other species that are part of the Galactic Federation where the Metroids have destroyed colonies under Space Pirate command? Introducing new characters and expanding the Metroid universe a little, offering reference to the Metroid manga and more of Samus’ back story could be a good idea too. I feel fans should be educated on the back story of Samus through cut scenes similar to that seen in Metroid: Other M. For that reason, D-Rockets would be an excellent choice to provide the cinematic scenes for this HD Metroid experience. Musically, Nintendo should bring back Kenji Yamamoto to provide the soundtrack to the game due to his work on Super Metroid and the Metroid Prime series, offering a part orchestrated, part electronic score, providing brand new themes that will be memorable for years to come, as well as classic themes from previous games that are still memorable today. Nintendo 3DS: A Year On It’s amazing to think that it has been a whole year since the Nintendo 3DS launched in Europe. March 25th 2011 was a date I had been counting down to ever since the system was given a release date. After owning the original Nintendo DS for several years, it was time for a change and I was very much looking forward to playing Nintendo’s new handheld. The next exciting generation of portable gaming was here! Since the system launched in Europe last year, almost four million 3DS consoles have been sold, with close to fourteen million sold globally. It is the fastest selling console ever in Japan and is dominating the gaming industry. However, it hasn’t been all good news, weak launch titles and an overpriced system lead to a slump in sales in its first few months and it took a sizeable price cut and compensation to customers who bought it for numbers to grow. As the year went on, the 3DS started to receive more hardcore titles with 3D remakes of Starfox 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, followed up with two new Mario titles: Super Mario 3D Land and Mario Kart 7. Nintendo have released several system updates which have added or updated features such as 3D video recording and changes to the Nintendo eShop. I have personally enjoyed my experience with the 3DS so far, and while I agree that there should have been a stronger software launch, there have been enough notable moments since its release to keep me interested. This and a million other possibilities can be speculated on, and with the endless amount of ideas that the team at Nintendo could come up with, it’d be unfair to say that this is the direction I want it to take. As long as the experience retains a lot of what I love about the Metroid games, I’m happy with what they throw at me. Because I couldn’t decide on a suitable launch title when I bought it, the augmented reality games built into the 3DS were my first gaming experience for the handheld. Nintendo may feel as if they need to win back the trust of fans after Metroid: Other M, is a first-person adventure Metroid what they want? I would welcome such a move if it was done correctly. I would trust Retro Studios to develop the game and I am sure would do a great job if they were offered it, they’ve clearly proven it with the Metroid Prime Trilogy to me, and I feel they would add an excellent chapter to the Metroid legacy once again. Darren Kerwin Nintendo Universe Pointing the camera at an AR card and have a mighty dragon leap out and claw at you while shooting targets was awesome! I was impressed by the fact that you could move around the card in various directions and shoot targets from the side or above it. It’s cool to think that all this can be achieved with just a single piece of card and some built-in software. I loved the built-in Face Raiders game, taking pictures of family and friends and using them in game as live targets had hilarious outcomes! It was a nice touch and demonstrated from the start that the 3DS was a fun and impressive system. Gaming has always been a pleasure that mostly existed within my four walls. I would rarely take my Gameboy or DS out of the house. But the 3DS changed all that with its 11 StreetPass feature, offering games such as StreetPass Quest, an RPG where you use StreetPass to collect Mii’s from other 3DS users to use as heroes to fight evil monsters and Puzzle Swap where I could collect pieces of a 3D puzzle based upon key Nintendo franchises. There was now an incentive for me to take the system out with me, even if I wasn’t planning to use it for gaming on the go. The thought of sharing game data such as high scores and additional game content like trophies and by simply passing people in the street or on a train fascinated me. I found myself checking my 3DS often in populated areas to see if I had received a StreetPass hit. Last year I was lucky enough to attend a StreetPass event organised by Nintendo Scene at the Zelda Symphony concert in Hammersmith, London. This was the first true test to see exactly what could be achieved with StreetPass and I was amazed at how popular StreetPass was with 3DS owners. I picked up around 150 StreetPass hits, which shared Mii’s, game data and allowed me to complete my StreetPass Quest and Puzzle Swap games. I can only hope that Nintendo continue to build on this feature in the future and give 3DS owners more reasons to use StreetPass. The Nintendo eShop has been a great addition to the 3DS and has built on the success of the Wii Shop Channel and Nintendo DSi Shop. The eShop offers a growing range of retro and original titles that have enhanced my 3DS experience at times when Nintendo Universe review Feature Review there hasn’t been many titles at retail to interest me. It was great to experience The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX, a title that I didn’t play on the Gameboy Colour originally. Kid Icarus: Uprising Publisher: Nintendo Developer(s): Project Sora Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] Out Now Pullblox is another title I adore, a cute little puzzle game where you can create your own puzzles and share them with friends via QR code which can be scanned and downloaded to other systems. I have also enjoyed the 3D Classics series by Nintendo. Kid Icarus and Excitebike which offers a classic gaming experience with a 3D touch. A notable mention should also go to Pokédex 3D, a free application where you can find information on creatures from the Pokémon Black and White games. On a wing and a prayer, Kid Icarus: Uprising prepares to take to the skies as the next flagship title for the resurgent Nintendo 3DS. I feel that the eShop has come a long way since it was made available, and although I am disappointed it wasn’t offered at the launch of the 3DS, it has done a lot to make up for it and is looking in pretty good shape for the future. Under the guidance of Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, can this debut release from Project Sora studio soar to the success of Nintendo’s more established franchises? It’s a daring move, of sorts. In the ever looming shadow of the instantly recognisable portly Italian plumber, angelic hero Pit will be a relative unknown to the majority of consumers. Yet for such risk, the end result pays off in dividends, with the artistic flair, direction and unending humour on display here clearly geared toward laying an enviably strong foundation, from which Nintendo can catapult their re-envisioned IP to even more dizzying heights. When sales of the 3DS slumped, Nintendo announced that the system would receive a substantial price drop. Although I was happy to pay the higher price tag at launch, I felt incredibly disappointed that I had overpaid for the system. But that disappointment soon faded when Nintendo announced that customers who bought the 3DS before the price drop, would receive 20 free games, ten from the NES and ten from the Gameboy Advance! We were given the fancy term of “Nintendo Ambassador” and were treated to some classic and highly respected titles. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the games and it gave me a chance to play things I had missed out on. It proved to me that Nintendo does care about their customers, and I am pleased that they took the step to offer compensation to those who bought the system early. One thing that the 3DS lacked on release was the ability to communicate with friends. The Wii had a built-in message system from release where you were able to communicate with your friends and allowed you to attach pictures and sounds to your messages, so I was quite disappointed to find that a similar service was absent from the 3DS. When Nintendo Letter Box (or Swap Note) was announced as a free download, I was finally satisfied. Once released, I found myself sending notes to friends often, attaching 3D images and sounds to my messages. I became addicted, perhaps even obsessed with this simple yet effective and new method of communication. I still enjoy sending the odd note to people and sharing all of the new stationery that I receive, I feel that Letterbox E3 will surely announce even more titles for us to look forward to in the next year or so. Additionally, I also hope to see more third party support for the system in retail and on the eShop. Nintendo have already made further steps to assure this, with the arrival of Game Gear games on the eShop. It is almost inevitable that we will eventually see a new 3DS model, most likely incorporating features from the Circle Pad Pro peripheral, such as a second circle pad and shoulder buttons. It will also give Nintendo a chance to redeem themselves and prove that the 3DS is a popular choice for gamers. Happy first birthday Nintendo 3DS! Darren Kerwin has given people a good reason to use their 3DS more often. All in all, the future is looking good for the 3DS. Kid Icarus: Uprising has recently joined the list of “core” first party titles for the 3DS with Luigi’s Mansion 2, Paper Mario 3D and Animal Crossing 3D set to join them later this year. 12 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 13 13 Nintendo Universe Review Having laid dormant for twenty years (Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters being his last outing on Game Boy back in 1991), Pit returns once again to face Medusa’s Underworld Army currently indulging in their favourite activities that include ransacking cities, mercilessly slaughtering humans, and generally causing quite a mess. Palutena, goddess of light, provides Pit with guidance on his quest and grants him with the power of flight, regrettably limited to only allowing him to remain airborne for no longer than five minutes. Such a fact helps correlate aross to game design, which sees each chapter within Kid Icarus: Uprising’s ‘Solo’ mode beginning with air-based combat before seeing Pit take to the ground, eradicating enemies across distinctive environments as you hunt down increasingly daunting bosses who each pose their own individual challenges. Prior to any chapter you must first designate your chosen ‘Intensity’ level, which sees the player gamble gathered hearts by placing them into the ‘Fiend’s Cauldron.’ The scale ranges from ‘Effortless’ right through to ‘White Hot’, the more heightened the difficulty seeing the player receive more hearts from bested foes and the chance to obtain stronger weaponry for your efforts. It becomes vitally important that your choice matches your level of in-game prowess, as, if defeated, hearts will spill from the Fiend’s Cauldron and you’ll find your level of challenge suitably lowered as a result. Perhaps what will prove most divisive amongst those that pick up Kid Icarus: Uprising will be its chosen control scheme, remaining at its core similar in design across both air and land battles. The player uses the Circle Pad for movement, aiming through use of the stylus with the touch screen, and performing either ranged or melee attacks dependent on how close you are to an enemy by the L Button. Firing, smartly, is continuous when pressed, removing the need to keep hammering away. During flight sequences this works well enough, yet noticeably suffers during land battles mainly due to camera control being subjected to the player being required to slide the stylus quickly to the left or right to spin it to face enemies. Over-sensitivity will cause bouts of frustration, the player resoundingly never feeling that they truly have as much precision as the game necessitates at times. A bundled stand seeks to improve comfortability and accuracy, yet seems an odd requirement for a handheld fundamentally designed to be played on the move. Whilst this proves cause for concern, Nintendo have thankfully seen fit to ensure that those left tearing their hair to shreds can delve into an array of control customisation options to find whichever settings suit them best. If wished, you can ditch using the touch screen for camera control entirely, A, B, X and Y moving the reticle instead. What remains baffling, is that whilst support for the recently released Circle Pad Pro attachment ensures left-handed players have a reversed control scheme, it grants no ability to use each Circle Pad for movement and aiming. Bizarre. Players can also dash or run by pushing forwards on the Circle Pad in quick succession, as well as dodging incoming attacks by moving it to the side just before the point of impact. Evading also grants a further opportunity for the player to immediately sling a charged shot back at your attacker, whichever direction you’re leaping in, enabling you to always remain on the offensive. Having touched upon combat, Kid Icarus: Uprising sees players able to implement use of a diverse arsenal of weaponry from across nine categories, each granting their own style of play – Blades, Staffs, Claws, Bows, Palms, Clubs, Cannons, Orbitars and Arms. Acquired sporadically throughout your adventures, no two weapons are the same and are further differentiated through modifier stats. Those accumulated are viewable through the ‘Arms Altar,’ where the player may also convert unwanted weapons for hearts that may then be redeemed to expand your arsenal. ‘Weapon Fusion’ also proves to be invaluable, seeing you fuse any two weapons together to create something entirely new, with previously held modifiers having the chance to be carried across. StreetPass support also comes into play here, with players able to share ‘Weapon Gems’ that may also be used to craft new creations. Powers further diversify your experience, providing additional offensive or defensive abilities such as health recovery, elemental attacks, or the hugely satisfying ‘Mega Laser.’ Whilst numerous powers become available, those that you choose have a designated shape that must be slotted within an adjacent grid – ensuring that the player never becomes overpowered. As seen within Super Smash Bros. Brawl, unlockable content serves to expand upon an otherwise purely gameplay experience and there’s a sheer wealth to explore here. ‘Idol Toss’ sees players fling eggs to gather Idols (3D models of characters, enemies, items and locations), a ‘Power Portrait’ tasks you with gathering every power within the game, whereas a ‘Music Gallery’ allows you to sit back and listen to Kid Icarus: Uprising’s rousing orchestral score in its entirety. There’s also the ‘Offering,’ where you “offer up hearts to the goddess” to bring her closer in spirit, although I haven’t quite figured out the benefits of doing so yet…! Similarly, Solo mode also includes ‘Treasure Hunt’ which faces the player with certain tasks that they are able to receive rewards for. Many will be accomplished through natural progression, but such inclusion helps to objectify your experience beyond completion. Also proving to be fairly addictive is the game’s fast-paced multiplayer offering, playable through either a local connection (‘Nearby’) or online across the Nintendo Network (‘Far Away’). You’ll find two contrasting modes here; the self explanatory Free-For-All, and Light Vs. Dark. 14 review Review Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 15 Origins 3D Classics Kid Icarus Price: £5.40/€6.00 Available through the Nintendo eShop, 3D Classics Kid Icarus provides the opportunity to revisit where Pit’s adventure began. This is the original 1986 NES title, complete with remastered 3D visuals. Pit must save goddess Palutena from evil Medusa to defend Angel Land. Using his trusty bow and arrow he must seek out the Three Sacred Treasures on a journey from the underworld to the sky. Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters Price: £2.70/€3 Also available, this time through the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console, is the sequel, which followed in 1991 on Game Boy. Here, Pit made his return to face off against the evil forces of the mysterious demon Orcos. Whereas the original was a solely vertical-scrolling action game, Of Myths and Monsters expanded upon this through introducing an added side-scrolling dimension. 15 Nintendo Universe review Review Multiplayer Light Vs. Dark This sees two teams of three battle it out, with each defeated player causing your team’s life gauge to slowly eradicated. Once it is completely depleted, the last player to die is turned into Pit (or Dark Pit) and once they are taken out the opposing team claims victory. Free-for-All Six players go head-to-head, in an effort to claim the leaderboard top spot. Your score is based on the value of the weapon you choose to use, all those locked within the single player campaign available. multiplayer will be sure to reap the rewards here, as it also provides further opportunity to gather hearts and weapons for use across the entire game. As a whole, Kid Icarus: Uprising is a joy to behold from start to finish, marred only by a lacklustre control scheme that serves to derail the experience for those that don’t tweak options to suit. Bittersweet is the fact that with dual Circle Pad support, this could’ve delivered another slice of handheld perfection. The latter sees two players of three players go head-tohead, and whenever a player falls part of their team’s overall life gauge depletes. You’re free to use any weapon that you’ve collected, however the stronger its value the larger the portion of your team’s life gauge you’ll lose if you die. Once it is completely depleted, the last player on your team to fall will become either Pit or Dark Pit respectively, and defeating them decides the overall victor. This proves as blistering a challenge as you’d come to expect from the masterful talents of Sakurai, and feels carefully structured and balanced. Finding other players proved a speedy process, and the mode itself endorses team work that those that I played alongside easily seemed to grasp. Those that enjoy investing time into competitive 16 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 17 Although, its sheer visual expanse – which beautifully showcases the graphical capabilities of the Nintendo 3DS at its very finest through colourful vistas – allied with numerous throwbacks to the franchise’s heritage, and rounded off with an absolutely hilarious script, Kid Icarus: Uprising certainly deserves to be amidst your gaming collection. After a twenty year hiatus, Pit’s return is nothing short of a sensational adventure. Alex Seedhouse 8 out of 10 17 Nintendo Universe review Review A tragic tale of love and devotion becomes the centrepiece for Pandora’s Tower, the latest action role-playing game in Nintendo’s Wii exclusive line-up. A forward driven narrative grasps the player’s attention right from the start. It is the year 511 of the Unified Era, and we find temple maiden, and key protagonist, Elena preparing to perform at the Harvest Festival in the city of Halycon. Trouble awaits, however, as, afflicted by a terrible curse, she transforms into a monstrous beast and unleashes a devastating attack on those in attendance. Immediately swept under the protective wing of Aeron, her true love, the couple flee, through the aid of mysterious companion Mavda, to a desolated valley known as The Scar, where they take refuge within an Observatory. The Scar, described as being a significant ‘wound’ within the planet’s surface, is held from worsening by huge chains and surrounded by a foreboding series of Thirteen Towers. The Beast’s Curse, from which Elena suffers, leaves a branded mark on the victim’s skin, and, once it has progressed beyond a certain point, will see them never able to recover to their human form – seeing them turn into a grotesque beast. With Elena traumatised by the predicament she faces, Aeron vows to do whatever is necessary to ensure that she is cured of the affliction. Fortunately, Mavda knows the cure. Whereas mere Beast Flesh temporarily quells the curse, it is the Master Flesh obtained from the bosses across each of the Thirteen Towers that will rid Elena entirely of the curse. Slightly cruel, however, is the fact that doing so causes her to go entirely against her religious beliefs. The Way of Aios, a creed that embraces the worship of many gods, teaches a respect for all living things and forbids its followers from eating animal flesh. Nevertheless, Elena is forced to break such oath. Pandora’s Tower Publisher: Nintendo Developer(s): Ganbarion Format: Nintendo Wii Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] TBA 18 Nintendo Universe down Aeron’s face as he sees what she is to become. Your journey through each of the Thirteen Towers therefore proves to be where much of your time will be spent. Navigating rooms, defeating enemies, gathering materials and seeking out the chains that must be broken for you to unlock the door that will allow you to face the tower’s boss. The Oraclos Chain, a gift bestowed to Aeron by Mavda, proves an invaluable, multi-functional tool. Possessing mysterious powers it not only aids your traversal – swinging across rooms, pulling you up scalable walls, and collecting items – but also sees extensive use during combat. What ensures that the game maintains pace is how large a role this plays within the over-arcing gameplay. Whilst you’re gallivanting your way through each of the Thirteen Towers, or even standing idle for that matter, a meter keeps track of how much time Elena has until she turns into a beast. Elena’s plight remains never ending, the player required to deliver a steady supply of Beast Flesh to her to buy her more time and refill such meter. Utterly heart wrenching is the fact that however close you leave it to depletion, you return to see Elena at various stages of her transformation – a tear trickling Nintendo Universe 19 19 Nintendo Universe review Review Rhythm Thief & the Emperor’s Treasure Publisher: SEGA Developer: SEGA, Xeen Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] July 10th The device, aimed using a continual on-screen pointer with a further zoomed perspective that grants commendable precision, can be used, for instance, to chain enemies together to impair their movement, encase their arm to prevent them from attacking, or even wrapped around their head to block their sight. Such effects are temporary, of course, but ensure that combat situations prove entirely different from similar games within the genre. This is further diversified through the inclusion of a weaponry range that vary the experience, early examples being the Athosian Sword, Twinblades and Military Scythe. Whilst the Thirteen Towers have their unique visual style and setting, it is the boss fights in which Aeron must scure the Master Flesh that prove to be the most distinctive. Not only are the boss creatures magnificently crafted, but the variance in approach poses significant challenge. The player must first discover how to exploit their weaknesses, before the Master Flesh is exposed and the Oraclos Chain is put to use to slowly tug it from their torso. It’s peculiarly gratifying, seemingly matching Aeron’s desperation to save his beloved. Between your visits to the Thirteen Towers, players are freely able to build their bond with Elena as well as indulging within crafting. Improving such bond, which can be done through providing gifts or chatting about the ongoing situation, is important, with that which you build governing which of the game’s multiple endings you receive. The mysterious Mavda acts as a travelling saleswoman, the player able to purchase and sell items, as well as upgrading weapons and creating items from gathered materials. This predictably aids your progression, weapons able to deal heightened damage that will enable you to fell increasingly difficult enemies. Ganbarion should be commended for their efforts with Pandora’s Tower, providing inventive gameplay mechanics alongside a rich narrative experience that many will surely enjoy. Alex Seedhouse 8 out of 10 “... the boss creatures are magnificently crafted, but the variance in approach poses significant challenge.” 20 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 21 21 Nintendo Universe review Review Rhythmic action There’s a diverse selection of rhythm play styles in Rhythm Thief. We guide you through a few examples. Strike a Pose Four coloured panels on the touch screen each signify a different pose, with the player tasked with hitting the correct one in correlation to on-screen statues. To the rhythm, of course! If you were to ask gamers what game truly defined the Nintendo DS for them, I would imagine a large number would answer with Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan. Back in 2005 I was having trouble trying to justify my DS purchase at the time, then Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan arrived, showcasing just how good games could be on the handheld. The game controls by moving our hero Phantom R around a map on the top screen, each area you visit will have someone or something to interact with. This could be characters who will give you quests, characters who will offer up a rhythm game, sounds to record that will help solve puzzles later on or hidden items – although, I won’t spoil that part. Fast forward to 2012, we have seen a number of excellent rhythm games over the years, with the Nintendo 3DS a year old, it too gets a taste of rhythm gaming in the form of Rhythm Thief & The Emperor’s Treasure. Story progression is marked on the map with a purple exclamation mark above the location, with the meat and potato of the game comes in completing the rhythm games in each story level. Veteran SEGA designer Shun Nakamura is the brains behind the game, but this isn’t his first foray into the world of rhythm gaming. In 2000 he directed the brilliant Dreamcast and Arcade release Samba De Amigo, so, for me personally, this certainly has something rather large to live up to. There a few extras to sink your teeth into once the story is over, such as an Endless Mode, where you can play through songs and see how long you last. Those that feel competitive can also indulge within StreetPass and local multiplayer support, the former seeing a new character placed on the player’s map who you must beat within a rhythm game battle so that they can become your fan. The more you accumulate sees a range of special characters become available. The story of the game sees our hero Phantom R, known by Raphael when he isn’t wearing his hat and stylish suit, and his sidekick Fondue searching for clues to locate his missing father. The duo are shortly brought into a much bigger and darker chain of events, set in motion by the return of Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte – still rocking the short stature, despite the recent revelations that he wasn’t actually that short. It probably sounds wacky (well, it is) but it is told in a very charming way, with characters who are well presented and very likeable. It won’t win Oscars, but taken for what it is, it really is rather fun. The whole game is brought to life with some gorgeous cel shaded visuals in-game, lovely animated cutscenes and one of the best soundtracks to grace the Nintendo 3DS so far. This is very much a SEGA game at its best. However, there were a couple things that rub me up the wrong way. The first of which is how easy it is to lose your score combo. You could see yourself racking up a huge combo of 56 then a couple of poorly timed misses could see a B rank reduced to D. I’m at a loss as to why it is so unforgiving here, as even finishing with an E rank is Air on a G-String Marie is a talented violinist, yet it is up to the player to ensure that she plays harmoniously. Here, the player must slide back-and-forth on the touch screen in time with the prompts. It’s slightly confusing at first, but once mastered these provide some of the most magical moments within the game. Food Grabbing Raphael’s dog Fondue is a hungry hound. Within an early game, the gyroscopic controls of the Nintendo 3DS are put to use as you tilt left, centrally or right to successfully gulp down incoming food to munch. enough to see you through to the next section. Another niggle is with the gyro sensor, which really doesn’t feel precise enough for what it sets out to do. I found myself a couple of times completely missing my action because the gyro sensor hadn’t picked up where my previous move had ended. It’s not entirely game breaking, but it can cause moments of frustration. On the whole, the game is a lovely light-hearted adventure, presented excellently. Whilst it won’t perhaps have the same impact that Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan did in 2005, it is certainly worth its pride of place within your Nintendo 3DS collection. 8 out of 10 Chris Smith 22 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 23 23 Nintendo Universe review Review What BIT.TRIP COMPLETE offers doesn’t end their either, with additional content, including art, video, audio and letters, able to be unlocked through the completion of levels, challenges and achieving perfects. An inclusion that will be appreciated by those that have previously purchased games within the series. 9 out of 10 An irresistible audial and visual assault on the senses, BIT. TRIP COMPLETE could easily be recognised as representing the finest compilation of digital games to have graced any platform. Relentless appeal, and an unending level of addiction, ensures that CommanderVideo’s journey is one most certainly worth taking. BIT.TRIP COMPLETE Alex Seedhouse Publisher: [UK] Rising Star Games [US] Aksys Games Developer(s): Gaijin Games Format: Nintendo Wii Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] Out Now CommanderVideo continues to remain an unsung hero of Nintendo’s faltered WiiWare service. Gaijin Games, an expert in their digital craft, having created an eclectic group of titles that perfectly blend chiptune beats with rhythm based gameplay, overridden with devout retro inspiration. We have Rising Star Games, then, to thank for bringing BIT.TRIP COMPLETE, a compilation of all six games, to Europe. Not only granting an opportunity to pick up the series in entirety for a rather bargainous price, but also hopefully introducing it to those that weren’t aware of what they’ve been missing. Loosely chronicling CommanderVideo’s journey home, the BIT.TRIP series greatest strength lies within the fact that each game is so strikingly different from each other in terms of approach. Whereas BEAT heralds a concept inspired by Pong and Rez, CORE then switches things up entirely where players must fire a beam, fixed on horizontal and vertical axis, to eradicate increasingly challenging waves of blocks. Across the series rhythm remains fundamental to your success, taking note of the Wii Remote’s steady rumble proving vital assistance to aid you in progression. This doesn’t come without its consequences though, a sense of achievement soon rewarded by more complex on-screen visual animation that serves to distract you from your objective. BIT.TRIP SAGA At the other end of the spectrum, failure sees the screen become instantly devoid of colour, and sound, as the player is granted a last attempt to prevent themselves from being greeted by the Game Over screen. VOID, the third instalment, proves particularly addictive. The player guiding the titular dark void, weaving around white blocks as you seek to consume the black. As you do so, the size of your void increases and you must therefore determine when to ‘Pop’ and disperse to ensure you remain unharmed. Predictably, you gain a greater amount of bonus points dependent on how large the void becomes prior to dispersal. Acclaimed as being the best the series has to offer, RUNNER sees the player in control of CommanderVideo as you jump, slide, kick and spring your way non-stop across environments – the collection of three, scattered plasters seeing the protagonist expel a radiant, multi-coloured rainbow. Nabbing Gold Bars, also laid in your path, see you able to partake in a ‘Retro Challenge’ at the conclusion of the level, where you can secure bonus points by traversing 2D NES-style landscapes. FATE is an on-rails strategic shooter, the player once again in control of CommanderVideo as you navigate a fixed path, neutralising oncoming enemies as you go. A This mixes concepts from previous titles in the series, the player controlling a paddle, as in BEAT, as you deflect white blocks, whilst avoiding certain blocks similar to that encountered in VOID. Publisher: [UK] Rising Star Games [US] Aksys Games Developer(s): Gaijin Games Format: Nintendo 3DS Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] Out Now Let’s face it: Nintendo’s WiiWare platform wasn’t the biggest of successes was it? formula are such great examples both benefiting from touch screen controls. LostWinds, Fluidity, the Art Style games – all great but it wasn’t enough when compared to the sorts of digital offerings from the competition that was crying out for our pocket change. Some like CORE, a game where you time directional moves with pixels, are a little harder to become invested in and the difficulty of mastering each game in order to unlock subsequent levels might be a turn off for some. Then there’s the BIT.TRIP games, taking old arcade tropes, picking them apart and making them seem utterly cool again with retro visuals and that plinky-plonky chiptune music that you struggle to convince others is music. Despite running at a silky smooth 60 frames-per-second in 2D, a slight nudge of the 3D slider and the noticeable framerate drop will make for some uneasy playing. SAGA forms the collective works of the series to date, a compendium of six WiiWare offerings thrown onto a 3DS cartridge. You won’t find the game’s cover box protagonist CommanderVideo in two thirds of this collection, but Gaijin Games’s penchant for seamlessly syncing old arcade systems with striking visuals and musicality serves as their signature touch across this assortment. The benefit of having them in your pocket becomes apparent when you plug in some comfy headphones, and let each game take you to a euphoric-like state that can only be reached by batting back pixels Pong-style or blasting enemies in a shooter that’s literally on-rails. Standing tallest above its stalemates is RUNNER, an addictive side-scrolling platformer that has you kicking, ducking, and jumping over each obstacle in your way. Each little success is rewarded with an added effect to the game’s soundtrack (provided by chiptune band Anamanaguchi) and as you progress, the music builds adding new layers to the track. For a game that relies almost entirely on all of its elements to be simpatico, it’s a disservice to Gaijin Games’ fine craft especially when those unique 8-bit visuals should look stunning in 3D. A lack of optimisation makes SAGA less essential than its bonus-packed Wii COLLECTION but regardless of how you play it, you need to get the BIT.TRIP series in your life – especially if you missed these digital treats on Nintendo’s failed WiiWare. Tom Worthington 8 out of 10 It’s these concepts that make the BIT.TRIP games so commendable. BEAT and FLUX’s takes on the old Pong 24 Nintendo Universe Nintendo Universe 25 25 Nintendo Universe review Review Inazuma Eleven 2 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: LEVEL-5 Format: Nintendo DS Release Date: [UK] Out Now [US] Out Now “Inazuma Eleven 2 fails to establish itself much further than the boundaries set by the original.” Predictably, in most instances you must win the match to progress. Although, when wandering around locations between central plot points, there are random encounters where local players will challenge you to score a goal or gain possession within a specified time limit. Raimon Eleven hit the pitch once more in this sequel to last year’s Nintendo DS release, Inazuma Eleven. Through playing matches you will level your team members, regularly making passes and besting your opponents in command duels rewarding you with a ‘Nice Play’ bonus that grants more experience points. Having won the Football Frontier the team now faces an even greater challenge, as an alien team from Alius Academy arrives on Earth. Taught to use soccer as a means of destruction, they destroy Raimon Junior High School and set out to turn the other schools across Japan into similar wrecks. You will also earn both Prestige and Friendship points the former being used to purchase items and equipment to boost the statistics of your team, whilst the latter are a necessity for recruiting new players. Mark “football fanatic” Evans, Raimon’s goalkeeper, is horrified that his favourite sport is being used for such destructive means, and rallies his team to put an end to it. Without the strength to defeat Alius Academy with their current team, the Raimon Eleven hop aboard their mini bus, the Inazuma Cabin, as they travel across Japan to recruit the very best players. Whilst the most significant will be encountered through natural story progression, a scouting system, sourced through Coach Hillman, allows you to search for those that play in positions that you feel your team don’t quite excel in. You can also spot new talent through indulging within ‘Competition Route’, a series of matches in which you play against rival teams that also allows you to level your current players. This mode proves a notable aside to the core game, with its reward soon becoming apparent. Matches are once again played from a top-down perspective, team movement being directed through drawing lines with the stylus from individual players. With the ball, tapping a spot on the pitch sees you perform a pass in that direction, whereas tapping your opponent’s goal, once you’re near enough, will allow you to perform a shot. 26 Stumbling into the path of another play on the pitch will see you enter a command duel, in which your statistics and element type will be compared with the opposing player to determine a Form value.The player with the higher value will therefore either succeed in retaining or regaining possession of the ball. Each player, and their special moves, are assigned their own element between Air, Wood, Fire and Earth, each having their own strengths. These must be exploited to succeed, Air beating Earth, Earth pounding Fire, Fire besting Wood and Wood triumphing over Air. Similarly, the power of special moves can be increased if used by a player with the same element. With two versions, ‘Firestorm’ and ‘Blizzard’, each with exclusive content, you are encouraged to trade players with friends, as well as playing matches together. Disappointingly, Inazuma Eleven 2 fails to establish itself much futher than the boundaries set by the original, becoming marginally evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Still, there’s a solid foundation that remains to be built upon, and those that enjoyed Raimon’s first outing will surely find the sequel just as engaging. I just hope that LEVEL-5 are able to demonstrate more ambition within the next instalment, as Inazuma Eleven 2 regrettably plays it safe. Alex Seedhouse Such special moves are a clear highlight, players leaping into the air to unleash a fiery tornado as they kick the ball never becoming tiresome. out of 10 Once during a match, you can also press L (or R) to fire up your team, immediately making their shots more powerful, lowering TP usage, and increasing their chances of winning command duels. Nintendo Universe 7 Nintendo Universe 27 27 Nintendo Universe THATâ€™S A WRAP! www.nintendo-universe.co.uk 28 Nintendo Universe