FanBolt Gaming Digital Magazine
Interview with Vector Unit
Heroes of Ruin Gravity Rush Tony Hawkâ€™s Pro Skater HD
Kingdom Hearts 3D:
Dream Drop Distance Review
LittleBigPlanet Beta Blowout!!
AVerMedia Game Capture HD Review
Heroes of Ruin Review - Page 4 Galaxy Tab 2, Mobile Gaming and Riptide GP - Page 7 Interview With Vector Unit - Page 8 3DS Games To XL - Page 12 The State of the Nintendo 3DS eShop: A One Year Retrospective Look Back - Page 14 Damage Inc. Preview - Page 17 LittleBigPlanet Beta Blowout!! - Page 18 Game Capture HD Review - Page 22 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review - Page 23 Gravity Rush Review - Page 24 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review - Page 26 Digital Recommendation List - Page 29 Hello Everyone!
Welcome to the second edition of the FanBolt Gaming Digital Magazine!
I can’t believe it’s already time for the second issue of the magazine to be released; time has really flown by after the release of our inaugural edition last month. We’ve learned a lot from publishing the first edition of our magazine and we’ve applied that to this issue. We hope that you notice those improvements and that it leads to a more enjoyable reading experience. This is still a very new journey we’ve embarked on and we shall continue to learn and improve as we push forward with our digital magazine. We look forward to your continued support and suggestions. I have some fun plans that I’m putting together for the next issue - something completely different in style. Until then, I hope you enjoy our August issue! Andrew Stevens Publisher & Editor in Chief Page 2
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“A very enjoyable experience” FanBolt’s Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review
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Heroes of Ruin Review By Andrew Stevens Heroes of Ruin Nintendo 3DS Square Enix Action/Adventure (A Dungeon Crawling Lootin’ Good Time)
Heroes of Ruin is an action/adventure title in form of a dungeon crawler available for the Nintendo 3DS system. You play one of four roles which include a vindicator, gunslinger, alchitect and savage, each class skilled with their own abilities and weapons along with their own shops in the main town of Nexus. There is a decent storyline that keeps you interested, it never gets too deep, but it does feed you enough to enjoy the setting in which you will play. Plus, by the end, I think you will be satisfied overall with its progression. It has a nice artsy style that tells the story by using lovely 3D effects. The voice acting is also very good within the scenes. There are a ton of side quests to partake in as you travel along the main quest, however, they don’t feel like side quests at all as you can easily complete them while in the process of the main quest.
I am a huge sucker for these types of games and this one proved to be just as addicting Page 4
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and fun. However, this game is very basic and doesn’t add much to improve the genre. There are 5 different dungeons locations, each with multiple areas. Each area will feel pretty much the same, so it’s a nice change once you move on to a new location. The size of the dungeons are just about right, they feel big at first, but are not that large after you have had a chance to explore them. I do wish they had more variations within each dungeon, which is one of my disappointments with this game. There are a variety of enemies, each posing their own unique threat to you. The bosses are decent enough, but if you play the game right and you are able to build your character with a lot of strength, you will be able to blast your way through this game with great ease. Only a couple of battles towards the end may slow you down a bit. This was another disappointment of mine as the boss battles where very weak. In some cases they can be threatening, but they won’t make you think too much or give you that good of a challenge until the end. In fact, the game is so easy that the only time I had to purchase health and magic potions was at the very end of the game and I only did that once. You will be able to level up your character to level 30 and you will be able to beat the game before reaching that maximum level. I ended at level 26 with my character by the time I beat the game. So there will still be incentive to keep playing with that character after you August 2012
beat the game so that you can max out your characters level. There are a ton of weapons, armor and other accessories for you to collect as you play through, each giving you different ways of building your character as you level up. I like going for straight power over defensive abilities, so I equip items with higher attacking power and might, over items that increase my health and armor. The level up system is a good one and every step of the way you will have something that excites you as you level up. There is almost always an item available during each ranking that increases your abilities. Each character type is a lot of fun to play with and also neat to see how each one progresses. Plus, as you rank up you will be able to purchase and improve on new abilities depending on how you want to play the game. There are plenty of options for those who like strength and for those who like magic.
game more enjoyable afterwards if you beat the game and you had the ability to play the same dungeons again, except this time against more challenging opponents. One of the great features with Heroes of Ruin is the online playability with up to four players. This makes it a great and enjoyable time and it runs very smoothly. It also features voice communication through the 3DS as well. You will be able to set up rooms very easily to join others around the world or specifically those on your friends list. Another thing you can do is link your 3DS to the official website where you will be able to get daily challenges and much more. All of these features easily make this game a winning and must own title on the 3DS. We finally have that great online adventure that you and your friends can embark on by connecting to online play.
Visually the game is solid but not overly impressive. It does have some nice 3D moments, but it also has times where you will A lootin’ good time is what I had with this want to turn the 3D half way down or comgame! There is a lot of loot to collect in terms pletely off. This is probably the most I’ve of items and money bags. Each dungeon has 1 ever adjusted any 3DS game in terms of the hidden treasure room for you to find. It’s usu- 3D slider. I did find myself annoyed on a ally easy to find and always towards the end few occasions with the surrounding. I had my of the dungeon. I wish this aspect of the game overhead view blocked so that I couldn’t quite was a bit more random and more challenging see how my battle was going. Only a couple as well. The overall game is very simplistic of times did that happen and it wasn’t a horand I wish there was a hardcore mode to unrible thing, just an annoyance. It has a wonlock at the end. That would have made the derful soundtrack with it that most should August 2012
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However, the sound effects take a hit every now and then; multiple times I had my character’s sounds disappear on me, at which time my character wasn’t making any noise at all. There was another instance where the background noise would do strange things by getting loud and then being gone in a second - Just a little glitchy.
Heroes of Ruin Review
It didn’t take me much over 8 hours of time to beat this game, but there is still a lot of decent replayability by playing online with friends, leveling up a new character and of course the daily challenges that are offered. It’s a very easy and simplistic game without much of a challenge. It also doesn’t offer much that is too different from what we’ve seen from other dungeon crawlers, but this is still just as addictive and something that every 3DS owner was waiting for in a great online adventure with friends. This game will easily have you drawn in and addicted until you beat it, but once you do I just don’t know how much you will want to keep playing it. However, it is a great experience on the 3DS and worth the play-through.
Score: Page 6
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Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2, Mobile Gaming and Riptide GP By Andrew Stevens
Recently I got my hands on Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 2 and I quickly fell in love with its sleek design and how fast it ran. I was able to cruise through websites, video and so on with very little time to wait which was a big improvement over the previous Galaxy Tab. The only disappointment with the Galaxy Tab 2 was its camera…absolutely horrible. Other than that it was very easy to be mightily impressed by the Galaxy Tab 2 and of course it didn’t take me long to start running the games on it as well. When it comes to me and mobile gaming, it’s a fine line between love and hate – there is absolutely no middle ground for me and mobile gaming. Now of course this is all due to the touch controls and with most games the touch controls are just not good enough. The virtual game pad, in my opinion, is terrible, especially when there is too much going on. That’s being kind because I really can’t stand anything that the virtual pad offers. If there were only a few buttons to use and the rest were motion controls, then I could start appreciating it a little bit more. Anyway – This time around I was in the mood for a good racer and for whatever reason Wave Race 64 had been on my mind for the past month. (I still need to feed my craving on that one) However, as I was searching around I stumbled upon Riptide GP which looked perfect to try out, especially while craving a similar type of game. Before purchasing I had noticed that the developers of Riptide GP are the same developers that had released Hydro Thunder Hurricane on the Xbox Live Arcade – Sold! - After seeing that, I quickly, without hesitation, purchased Riptide GP and began to enjoy it. I started out with the motion controls which was fun and handled pretty well, but the gameplay was exactly the type of racing that I was looking for at that moment; Fun racing, dealing with waves, having a boost meter August 2012
that can only be filled up by doing tricks on big jumps. It was perfect! Riptide GP has become my favorite mobile game to date. Ok, back to the Galaxy Tab 2. I got brave and decided to test out the touch controls. Vector Unit, the company behind the game did a magnificent job setting up their touch controls for the game - simply touching the left or right side of the screen. No funky fake virtual joystick to try and manage, just simple easy touching on the screen that made control of the vehicles that much easier and so much better. When it came to performing tricks, you would simply slide your thumbs in specific directions on the directional sides to perform the tricks which again are simple controls. The only other button you need to push is a boost button. Vector Unit nailed the touch control with perfection in this game.
Riptide GP Fantastic controls and wonderful gameplay make this a must own game for anyone looking for a fun water based racing title on your mobile device. Plus, it looks absolutely amazing and to further increase its value, also features multiple game modes with courses to unlock, vehicles to unlock and the best feature of all in online leaderboards through openfaint. Don’t question this game at all, get it and have a great time!
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Andrew Stevens Interviews Matt Small of Vector Unit
Vector Unit is an independent game developing company that was founded back in January of 2008 by Ralf Knoesel and Matt Small. In July of 2010, they captured my heart with their first project, the Xbox Live Arcade release of Hydro Thunder Hurricane. Hydro Thunder Hurricane is a sequel to a game that I loved and spent hours playing on the Sega Dreamcast. Vector Unit did a fantastic job of recapturing those fun moments that I enjoyed long ago. Hydro Thunder Hurricane will also be made available on Windows 8 devices this fall. Lately they have been known for their mobile game releases of Riptide GP and Shine Runner, both of which also take place on water. There is just something great about being on the water, isn’t there? However, with their latest work “Beach Buggy Blitz” it looks like we will not be on the water at all – at least not intentionally.
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First of all I would like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us at FanBolt Entertainment. I look forward to what we are going to learn about your company’s current and future projects. It has almost been 5 years since you began this venture of building your own company. How easy or difficult was it in the initial start-up and what was it like having Hydro Thunder Hurricane, a game that sold well over 200,000 copies as your first project?
Getting started was definitely not easy. It was the typical startup story in a lot of ways, working from tiny rooms, eating lots of Top Ramen. We spent the first 6 months putting together our original boat racing demo, and then another 9 months pitching and negotiating to try and find someone to fund the whole project. Eventually Microsoft came through, and in talking to them the idea came up of making our boat racing game into a full-fledged Hydro Thunder sequel. It was pretty close already, but we were really excited about going all the way with it because we were huge Hydro Thunder fans. It was a little daunting too, because we really wanted to do justice to the original game. But we’re pretty happy with how it came out. You followed up Hydro Thunder Hurricane with the mobile release of Riptide GP. I normally don’t pay close attention to mobile titles, but I recently stumbled across Riptide GP and immediately fell in love with this game as well. What are some of your favorite things about Riptide GP and what was it like following up Hydro Thunder Hurricane with this title?
With HTH, we set out to make a hard core, classic arcade style racing game. With Riptide GP, since it’s a mobile game, we wanted to make it a little more accessible to new players, keep it easy to play but still have challenge there for more hardcore players. For example, HTH had all these obstacles you could crash into, and narrow passages you had to thread for shortcuts. In Riptide, the tracks are pretty smooth – there are not too many places you can crash or get stuck. The emphasis is more on keeping it steady, reading the waves and keeping a good line to get the best time. I think the thing I’m happiest with about in Riptide GP is the controls, both for driving and stunting. It was our first time working with touch-screen controls, and we wanted to keep the stunts feeling natural -- as soon as we put the thumb-swipe combos in, it just felt really good. August 2012
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Interview with You and Ralf originally worked on the Xbox title Blood Wake, a boat battle game that of course took place on water. Did that game inspire you to carry on the theme of water based settings for your games? Yeah, we really like water. It’s fun and physicsy-feeling, and it looks great when you do it right, with reflections and waves and splashes. After Blood Wake we always wanted to do another water-based game, and when we started Vector Unit it just felt like a natural progression. Follow up – Is that a type of game you are looking to recreate in the near future? It’s definitely something we want to do at some point. When you add weapons to water physics, it can get really fun – boats blasting each other with torpedoes and mines, making these huge waves. We haven’t had a chance to come back to that at Vector Unit, but it’s definitely something we talk about. With your latest project, Beach Buggy Blitz, you get away from the water setting and take to the land with this racing title. I am sure we can expect the same ease of control and fun racing gameplay that we have gotten from you with your past titles. What else can we expect from this game? Thanks! Controls are really important to us, and it’s the first thing we focus on with each game we do, to make sure we get it feeling right. I like to think of Beach Buggy Blitz as a driving-adventure game. The goal is to drive as far as you can into this tropical island, and the whole thing gets generated randomly in front of you, so each time you play it’s different. And the further you go, the more new areas you discover, like flooded caves, temples, and giant pits of lava. Like in our previous game Shine Runner, just about everything in the world is destructible. BBB is also our first free game. You collect coins, and you can spend them on all kinds of stuff, new cars and characters, upgrades, powerups, and custom paint schemes. Beach Buggy Blitz is said to be full of lush environments, big jumps and the punting of seagulls. I’ve been impressed by each one of those things in your previous titles, except instead of punting seagulls it was alligators in Shine Runner. How much have your previous titles played a role in the creation of your new game? I think every game we make builds off the games we did before. When we started working on Buggy, we really liked the totally-destructible environments in Shine Runner, and the cartoony art style, so those were big influences. One of the things I love about Riptide GP is the depth behind it with multiple game modes and things to unlock. Beach Buggy Blitz is said to have “tons of unlockable content.” Does Beach Buggy Blitz blow Riptide GP out of the water with its amount of unlockable content? In Buggy we really wanted to let people customize the look and feel of their car and driver, so we have focused a lot on that. There are 6 different cars, and each car can be upgraded multiple levels, with visible changes for every upgrade. Plus you can customize the paint and decals on the cars. There are also a bunch of characters you can unlock, at least 6 but maybe more if we can get them in. Plus there are powerups and other game related things you can upgrade. And we’ll keep adding more of this Page 10 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
stuff as time goes on. Vector Unit’s first four titles are all racing games – is this a pattern that you will primarily stick by or could we see you explore other genre’s at some point in time? Yeah it’s kind of worked out that way. We really do like driving games. But we started off doing other types of games. Ralf and I both worked on action-adventure games like Lord of the Rings and James Bond, and I could see doing something like that. We have a couple of ideas for simple platformers that we’ve kicked around as well. But racing definitely seems to be working for us right now. Hydro Thunder Hurricane was released on the Xbox Live Arcade and soon for Windows 8, but your last three games where all mobile based titles. Do you plan to continue to focus on mobile games or could we see future games back on gaming consoles again? The thing we like about mobile development is we can publish our own games, which means we maintain more control over the design of our games and the way we run our business. Developing for consoles is a lot of fun, but it’s harder to make the business part of it work. On the 360, you have to be sponsored by a publisher to get a game in XBLA. I’m hoping that Microsoft and Sony both open up their game stores more to independent developers. If we could publish our own games on the 360 or PS3 we definitely would. You will soon be releasing Hydro Thunder Hurricane on Windows 8 devices, what can you tell us about that? We’ve been talking to Microsoft about bringing HTH over to Windows for a while, and when they announced Windows 8 it just clicked. It’s basically going to be all the levels and boats from the XBLA main game and the “Tempest Pack” DLC, plus we’re adding a new Ghost Race feature so you can race against ghosts of your Friends’ times. We’re optimizing the game to run on tablet hardware too, so you’ll be able to play it on your desktop system and then just unplug and take it on the road. I must say that I am now a fan of your games and I look forward to all of your future projects. Are there any hints that you would like to share with us about your future plans? Thanks a lot! I can’t say too much right now about what’s next, except we’ll be coming out with another new game around the end of this year, we’ll probably announce it this fall sometime. And we’re not done with water. Last Call – Anything else? That’s it! Thanks a lot for the great questions and thanks a lot for the interview! I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to speak with us and we are very excited about what you have in store for us all in the near future. Thank you! August 2012
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3DS Games I Want To By Andrew Stevens
With the 3DS XL under a month away, I am thinking about all of the 3DS games that I can’t wait to try out with the larger screen. I’m sure we all have been envisioning the experience that we will soon get due to the larger screen and that we all have our own preferences. Here are a couple of games that I personally would love to see on an extra-large screen.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy Easily one of my favorite 3DS games to date due to my love for flying. The simple idea of having a larger cockpit view could make this game that much better and more enjoyable, especially when you have enemy targets lined up on screen. Heck, I can’t wait to use the special manuver on the 3DS XL just to see the effect on a larger screen. Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy will easily get a lot of hours on the 3DS XL for me. Quote from my review: “I love the Ace Combat series and flight games in general, so of course this was a game I needed to get my hands on and I am glad that I did. I had a great time playing through this title as it provides for good air combat. It has a good amount of missions with good replayability and provides you with good bonus content to unlock as well. All of those things will keep you busy for a while and I still believe this is a title that you will come back to from time to time. It shouldn’t be a one-time play through title, at least it won’t be for me. Ace Combat fans should definitely pick this title up even though it is not perfect. But if you like to fly around and want to fly in 3D then this is a good choice. It also features a good and enjoyable soundtrack. One last thing I must mention is that everything is always better when you have the F-22.”
PilotWings Resort Sticking with the aviation theme, Pilotwings Resort is a game I feel will greatly benefit from the 3DS XL platform. When I first played it last year I always got the feeling that the planes were just a little bit too small on the screen and that’s something that the 3DS XL will fix for me. I think the 3DS XL will give me a brand new level of enjoyment when it comes to playing Pilotwings Resort. Page 12 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
Quote from my review: “It is a perfect pick up and play title for when you have an hour or just a few minutes. The missions are fairly average at first, but get much better, more entertaining and difficult the further you get in the game. You will want to go back time and time again to try and better your scores. You will also have a free flight mode for even more to do!” Those are two major titles that I will spend a lot more time with if they were offered on the larger screen of the 3DS XL. Now besides those, I could also see myself enjoying the follow games as well.
Nano Assault: Why this game? Because
it’s my favorite game on the 3DS and I wanted to give it another shout out!
Quote from my review: “Nano Assault
is an excellent and must have title for any 3DS owner and I really hope we see more like it on the 3DS.”
Heroes of Ruin: Here is a game that just
released that I feel could benefit from being a bit larger on screen. I know that I personally would enjoy the larger surrounding and character visuals.
Quote from my review: “I am a huge
sucker for these types of games and this one proved to be just as addicting and fun. It is a great experience on the 3DS and worth the playthrough.”
Super Mario 3D Land: Still a wonder-
ful experience in both gameplay and 3D. I, of course, have to see how this one looks on the 3DS XL as well.
Quote from my review: “I haven’t had this much fun with a Mario title since Super Mario World on the SNES. This really is a grand experience and you shouldn’t wait on purchasing your copy of this title.”
Those are just a few games that I will be playing on the new 3DS XL. What games do you plan on playing? Tweet me on Twitter @caffeinatedgamr and let me know what games you plan on playing on the new 3DS XL. August 2012
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The State of the Nintendo 3DS eShop: A One Year Retrospective Look Back By Greg Wiggleton
The Nintendo 3DS digital marketplace, otherwise known as the eShop, is now over one year old. Now is a good time to look back on its early life and see how the Nintendo 3DS eShop has fared and where it is likely going. It’s no secret that the eShop fumbled out of the gate, but how is it doing now? Is it still having issues or is it starting to become a hit? I’ll first talk about the game releases and then the eShop system itself over the course of the past year.
see the release of one VC game and at worst we would only get DSiWare games. Some of those VC games were of quality like Super Mario Land 2 and Donkey Kong ‘94, but mostly the VC greatness were few and far between. Where were the original 3DS apps and games? Shouldn’t we have had some at or at least near launch? Weren’t their talk of demos at E3? These were some of the questions Nintendo faced from its consumers early on as week after week of sparely releases.
Looking back to the North American launch of the Nintendo 3DS, the eShop was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be until early June, over three months since the release of the 3DS that the new digital marketplace would finally open. The launch itself was actually strong with releases of the classic Super Mario Land and Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX for GameBoy Color. Not to mention, a free Pokedex 3D app and a free limited download of the 3D Classics: Excitebike. Those that never had the DSi before were also now able to download any of the many great DSiWare games that instantly became available to them.
While slowly, some original and 3DS only apps did start to make its way to the eShop. Nintendo Video was an original idea from Nintendo that features music videos, trailers, and short skits that were created in 3D for the app. The app was limited to four spots, so anything that got auto
At the time things were looking up, or so it would seem. The DSiWare section of games still had great games released every week with usually two or three per week. Some great games like Antipole and Go! Go! Kokopolo! were released over the summer. Even now there are still great DSiWare games being released, such as Amoebattle and future potential great games like Spirit Hunters Inc. The DSiWare section had a lot of momentum going for it in terms of available content and the potential was certainly there for Virtual Console and 3DSWare games as well. Unfortunately, in those early months, it never came to fruition. Excluding DSiWare games, those early months barely saw any releases. At most we would only Page 14 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
downloaded was usually gone in a week. Nintendo Video had its own rocky start with it trying to find its footing in the community. Eventually the series Dinosaur Office helped the service become enjoyable. Netflix was promised and was then released in mid-August. Having Netflix on the 3DS was a big plus for anyone that wanted to watch TV shows and movies around the house and on the go. Being a flip design system also helped to make Netflix more enjoyable and easily place-able anywhere as long as you had internet. Another entertainment service known as Hulu August 2012
did have several big hits on its hand such as the beloved Mutant Mudds, Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword and Dillon’s Rolling Western. Come March we go to see the release of the first three GameGear VC games, while in April we got the much creative and addicting app Colors! 3D along with the 3D pretty Ketzal’s Corridors.
Plus was also mentioned to be coming to the Nintendo Wii and 3DS systems. Eventually it did get released on the Wii, but it has been noticeably absent these previous 7 months past the original estimated launch date. Those were some of the entertainment services, so what about the actual 3DS eShop games? Where were those? Well, we did start to receive some, but usually one or two a month. During the 2nd half of the year we ended up seeing some great 3D Classics games like Xevious and Kirby’s Adventure, and also a dud known as Urban Champion, but what about 3DSWare specific games? We barely saw any during the 2nd half of 2011. In fact the only two 3DSWare games we saw before November were Let’s Golf 3D and Pyramids, both of which were released three months apart from each other. While decent and fun games, both were not exactly known for being killer apps. So as you can see, up until November the eShop was mostly in a sorry state with basically the only thing keeping it alive were the sparse VC games and weekly DSiWare games. Things looked bleak at this point, so why were there no Nintendo produced 3DSWare games outside the 3D Classics family? Luckily Nintendo had something up its sleeve with its first Nintendo Direct event. November was the introduction of Freakyforms from Nintendo and the much celebrated and killer puzzle game, Pushmo in December. December was also the beginning of major 3rd party 3DSWare games such as Mighty Switch Force, VVVVVV and Zen Pinball 3D. The early parts of 2012, while slightly light August 2012
Unfortunately while things were starting to look up, we didn’t see many releases come the month of May. Luckily though this was not a repeat of last year with June firing up with great games such as Art of Balance TOUCH!, Order Up!!, Marvel Pinball 3D and Bomb Monkey at the end of the month. All four were welcomed additions to the eShop. So 3DSWare games and apps have started to really come in and flourished, but what about those VC games? Sadly, in the last six months we’ve seen fewer than ten VC games get released. What also made this annoying was the fact that Super Mario Land 3: Wario Land, which was released for several months in both Japan and Europe, has yet to see the light of day in the US. So things have been pretty bad for VC so far this year. However, hope is not lost yet, as Nintendo will be releasing two VC games per week for the eShop for a total of eight this month.
So that brings us up to speed on the games to come out of the eShop since launch, but what about the service itself? One thing that was a big welcome was a major overhaul of their marketplace. The Wii Shop service was only a big category list with no way to really recommend games and DSi Shop was even worse with no FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE Page 15
Continuing... The State of the Nintendo 3DS eShop: A One Year Retrospective Look Back categories and only showing 2 results per page. This made finding excellent games very challenging in both services. So what would the eShop do different? Well, it ended up being used to show interesting and exciting games while showcasing them to you. This made finding quality games a lot easier. Though with no official categories, finding specific type of games would become hard. To help correct this, Nintendo had updated the eShop’s look with a second row to be filled with category like features. For example, the VC and Retail lists are now found down here. There This also happens to include Kirby’s Pinball Land is still an issue with no official category system and Super Mario Land 3: Wario’s Land. Howon the eShop, but this does help the system out. ever, it is uncertain as to where this will leave the VC service after July. Another issue happened to be that you could only add specific amounts to the eShop wallet instead of the required amount if you were low. This would later to upgraded near the end of 2011. These days if you don’t have the correct amount you can directly add the left over required amount to your wallet. A big issue that plagued the eShop for months was the download system itself. Like the Wii and DSi Shops before it, you could only download one game at a time and you had to stay on that screen for it to download. Even for fast small games, this became an issue when you needed to download five games at once. Like the eShop wallet issue, this of course was also fixed. Now it is possible to add up to ten games to your pending download list to be downloaded automatically while your system is in sleep mode. This basically means that your pending downloaded games will start to download anytime you close the system, but keep the power on. So as you can now see, the eShop swindled for a long while during its time in 2011, but finally started to really bloom during 2012. So where does that leave things for the future? Right now, things are promising. While the lack of VC games is still an important issue, we will be receiving two VC games per week for this month. Page 16 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
The VC service might end up being slow after July, but we can rest knowing that original games for the 3DSWare service is so far going strong and looking to continue that way for the rest of the year. We have much to look forward to such as escapeVektor 3D, Cave Story+, ATV Wild Ride 3D, NightySky, Pinball Arcade and much more on the way. Not to mention both Zen Pinball games should start receiving DLC soon in form of new tables. This of course doesn’t even cover the release of retail games on the eShop next month. Perhaps I will have to do another article next year to look back and see how that is handled. If we’re lucky, we will see older retail games from last year for a discounted price and perhaps some DS titles added to the eShop. So in the end, things are looking up for the Nintendo DS eShop service. The service might have had a late start and a rocky one at that, but it has now found its footing with a much improved environment with great games that are out now and coming soon. It is clear that Nintendo themselves have heard the complaints about the service and have done their best to fix and improve things. Let’s hope that Nintendo continues this, but improving on the eShop even further as more great games continue to appear on the service. August 2012
Get Ready To Rule The Air With A True Flight Sensation Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII By Andrew Stevens
I have always been a huge aviation fan and would always make sure to play the latest flying games that were released – arcade and simulation. I could easily spend hours and hours in most flight related games by simply just flying around and getting absolutely nothing done. Damage Inc. Pacific Squadron WWII is the latest flight game that is due to release on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on August 28th. What makes this one even more interesting is that it has a $99 dollar Collector’s Edition that includes a “Pacific AV8R Flight Stick.” They promote this as “The ultimate thrill as a WWII fighter pilot” that will feel the “sensation of true flight” with the flight stick. It is also said that it features a soft-touch rubber finish for lasting comfort and a grip similar to those found in historic military planes. It certainly sounds good enough and worth a checking out. So I certainly will be all over it once it releases. The game features over 30 aircraft for you to pilot as you battle through WWII in air-toair, air-to-ship and air-to-ground combat. There are over 12 hours of campaign missions for you to enjoy with more than 20 multi-objective single player and 2-4 player co-op missions. In addition, you will also be able to go head-to-head in online dogfights with up to 8 total players. These features are all embellished with beautifully rendered aircraft, islands and battle scenes that take place in historically accurate locations. Right from the beginning they placed a great deal of importance on “coupling authenticity with historical accuracy.” The developers spent a great deal of time in conversations with historians to capture authentic historical accuracy for us all to enjoy as we pilot our way through the game with one of many aircraft in use with the Pacific AV8R Flight Stick. I absolutely can’t wait for August 28th and to get my hands on this title. It has caught my excitement and anticipation. I do hope it proves to be well worth it with fun gameplay in use with the flight stick and fun to play missions. Plus, you know that I will be spending many hours online in dogfights trying to prove my dominance of the skies. Will you?
Damage Inc. Collector’s Edition “The Collector’s Edition is our special bundle for the gamer that wants true immersion into the game. Consisting of the game, the Pacific AV8R Flight Stick, a special DLC plane and a stylized WWII-era sticker sheet to customize your stick, the Collector’s Edition lets you experience the ultimate thrill as a WWII fighter pilot and promotes the sensation of true flight.” August 2012
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E Th L s T e LITare Yourselv Prep
W O L TA B
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L Co y P o b BIG e Sack
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By Maxwell Marshall
It has been a year and a half since the last installment of LittleBigPlanet, but fret not- for we are getting not one, but two LittleBigPlanet games before the year’s end! First up is LittleBigPlanet Vita, which is the more traditional offering. It features the platforming and level creating that we know and love. Changing things up is LittleBigPlanet Karting for the PS3. It also proudly displays the “Play, Create, Share” mantra that the series is known for, only this time the worlds are completely 3D and traversed via speedy cupcakes and cardboard boxes. Now- the interesting thing to note about both games is that neither one is being made by Media Molecule, developers of the first two console LBP games. Tarsier Studios/Double Eleven and United Front Games are handling the Vita and PS3 games respectively, and rest assured that the franchise is in capable, series-faithful hands. Media Molecule is providing a supporting role to the developers as they work on the new games. For those that were not completely convinced, both games ran invite-only public betas this summer. Read on to see what we thought of them!
LittleBigPlanet Vita Playstation Vita Tarsier Studios/Double Eleven Platformer TBA 2012
The development of LBP’s first portable outing on the PSP was spearheaded by SCE’s Cambridge studio, and did a decent job of replicating the LBP experience on the handheld. Cambridge is now rumored to be working on the first Killzone game for Vita, so the development has shifted to Tarsier Studios (who worked on DLC for the first two LBP games) and the newly-founded Double Eleven.
many hours playing Media Molecule’s masterpiece last year, and I was truly blown away with how well it translates to the Vita. It really looks, sounds, feels, plays, and creates just like LBP2 on the PS3. But that was just my initial impression. Playing on, I realized there was more. More that My initial impression? It is a pixel-perfect recrecould make this a truly unique and special offeration of LBP2 on the new handheld. I spent many, ing for the franchise. Page 18 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
have a feeling that we have not seen the end of the integration.
Upon booting the game, I jumped right into the very first stage. I traverse the staged with ease until I reached some impassable stacks of blue blocks. After standing there for a few seconds, I saw a fingerprint flash across the blocks, enticing me to press it. The blocks were “pushed in” by my finger, allowing me to pass through. Soon, I was drawing paths through the blocks with a swipe of my finger, then frantically switching back to my Sackboy controls to get him through before the blocks shot back out. It has always amazed me how such a slow and floaty platformer can be so frantic, and this just takes it to the next level. Now, as I moved along, I came to another platform that needed to be adjusted for me to pass. But pushing and sliding across it did nothing. Puzzled, I noticed a pink dot appearing on the screen every now and then... a pink dot caused by my finger brushing the rear touch panel. I tried touch the block using the rear touch panel instead, and the block suddenly slid forward. Brilliant. Something as simple as pushing and pulling blocks is made infinitely more satisfying by using the two touch panels in such a simple way. For some reason, I was not expecting LittleBigPlanet to take advantage of these unique control options, much less use them to great effect. But it does, and I August 2012
The developers also provided us with a few tastes of other levels reminiscent of LBP2 to show us that the game can do everything LBP2 can do, with the classic finish line race, and versus mini-game that had you and an opponent trying to take out each other’s tanks with missiles. Online play worked without a hitch, and I spent about a half-hour taking out enemy tanks. Finally, there was a bit of a surprise from a mini-game called “Taplings”. It looked nothing like LittleBigPlanet- more of a cross between Limbo and LocoRoco- and controlled primarily with the touch screen. Just a little taste of what can be done with the powerful Create tools. Speaking of which, creating your own levels will be very familiar for LBP2
veterans. The biggest change is that most of the creating process can now be done with the touch screen- which is the preferred method in most cases except when pin-size precision is needed. Shame that touch screens these days cannot benefit from stylus control. All in all, it looks like LBP Vita is on the right track, and we can’t wait to get our hands on the full version and see what surprises are in store. Let’s take a look at Karting! FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE Page 19
Continuing LittleBigPlanet Beta Blowout!!
LittleBigPlanet Karting Playsation 3 United Front Games Kart Racing TBA 2012
The announcement of LittleBigPlanet Karting came out of left field and caused some confusion- United Front Games has recently been known for creating Sony’s flagship kart racing game, Modnation Racers on the PS3. It looks like Modnation is in the hands of SCE’s San Diego Studio for now, and United Front has turned its attention to the Sony’s new flagship kart racing game (as well as the eagerly-anticipated Sleeping Dogs, but that is for another day). Much like LBP Vita, you are greeted with familiarity upon booting the Beta for LBP Karting. The Pod, Popit, Planet, and Moon are all intact and looking very similar to LBP2. Only now your Sackboy is behind the wheel of his new ride. I immediately went for the Sebastian costume and fashioned myself a cupcake tank with a soda-cantab steering wheel. So far, so fun. What I encountered next was a bit disconcerting, but we will chalk it up to the whole “beta is not representative of the final product” bit. Upon attempting to join a race, I was placed into a freeroaming practice session while I waited for the match to start. Fifteen minutes later, I was still doing this and very bored of exploring every inch of the track. This has happened just about every time I’ve played, so my experience has been a little tainted by it. That said, when I did get to play, it was awesome. The driving feels similar to, but better than Modnation Racers. The best part of the game is all of the LBP touches- from picking up bubbles for more points, to swinging across gaps with the Grabinator. It’s a kart racer, Page 20 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
but it definitely feels like it belongs in the LBP universe. Item pickups put an interesting twist on the Mario Kart design- you actually have the opportunity to know what item you’re going to get- sort of. The pickups flash different colors, representing different items like missiles and mines. It changes so fast though, that I’m not sure if I actually had the opportunity to pick the one I wanted or if I just thought I did. Either way, it makes obtaining an item more exciting, especially during multiplayer battles. You will find yourself going out of your way to get them. You will also find yourself failing to contain what we’ll call “Mario Kart Rage”. Yep, it’s that kind of kart racer. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Finally we have the track creator, which is probably the most anticipated feature of any kart racing game ever based on my vast knowledge of anticipated kart racing features. Honestly, I found the creator to be daunting more than anything. The map is huge and flat- you’re literally startAugust 2012
ing from scratch, as always, making mountains and valleys and roads, etc. The tools are numerous and varied, with dozens of tutorials available and more on the way. I have made a few LBP levels in my day, but nothing to this scale. Iâ€™m sure that the veteran creators will eat up the newfound freedom and create some mind-blowing, death-defying tracks for us to race on, but when the full game launches, I see myself making smaller maps intended for battles. The betaâ€™s opening screen promises a full story mode served by the Creator Curators, four-player split-screen multiplayer, and a more complete set of tools and tutorials for creating. We are looking forward to racing our cupcake tank on your tracks, so bring it on!
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AVerMedia’s Game Capture HD Review: Capturing Exciting Moments By Andrew Stevens
Over the many years that I have spent gaming I have always had moments that needed to be captured. While explanations and sharing those moments were good, there were times where it just didn’t do certain situation justice. However, if you had video to go along with your explanation it would have made things that much easier to understand. Having AVerMedia’s Game Capture HD device allows me to now share those moments and highlight my playing experience more thoroughly. Whether there are exciting battles, funny situations like a horrible glitch or just to show your high score run or fastest lap time, I am able to better explain the experience with this tool. The Game Capture HD opens up those doors for me to share any situation in game and to quickly upload it to YouTube with ease. What makes AVerMedia’s Game Capture HD so great is that it’s absolutely easy for anyone to use. It comes with all the component cables you need to hook up to your Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii. Unfortunately it does not support HDMI, so you will have to deal with all of those component cables – It’s not a bad problem. Once you have your Game Capture HD hooked up to your TV and console of choice, you are be able to record straight to a hard drive that can be attached to the bottom of the device or you can simply record straight to a USB drive. On the front of the Game Capture HD there is an easy access port for you to plug-in and remove a USB drive with ease making the transition from the Game Capture HD to a computer a lot easier. You can record a video and quickly transfer it to a computer in no time with the use of the USB drive. Once you turn on the Game Capture HD, it is very easy to start recording and to take screenshots. It comes with a small remote control that you can use to control everything you do. It’s also very easy to bring up the menu screen on Page 22 FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE
your device and then the file management folder to view all of your recordings. You can also choose to delete them right there as well if you don’t like a particular recording or snapshot. You may also go to the settings and change the format of how it records as well as the quality for both the videos and images. The highest optimal recording for video is at 15 MB per second with the lowest being at 10 MB per second. The finished product looks very good, I did have a few moments where the recording wasn’t 100% smooth, but it’s not often enough to be troublesome. Also, the images will appear darker than normal as well and you may need to adjust the brightness on a few of those. Again, it depends on the scene for the image; if it’s a bright image then it won’t be a problem for you. All in all, I was very satisfied with the finished result of each and every video and image. To simply put it, AVerMedia’s Game Capture HD is a wonderful and easy to use device that anyone who has an interest in recording their own clips should own. The videos below are just some of the examples of things I can do by owning the Game Capture HD. If you are passionate about games and you want to share the play by play of what it is you are doing or experiencing in a game, then this is a must own device. Test Drive: Ferrari Racing Legends http://youtu.be/A_pYMpeB2Pg Ghost Recon: Future Soldier - Arctic Strike http://youtu.be/LXG6_7p6bDU Akai Katana http://youtu.be/_z4BqB_J5gk Over G Fighters http://youtu.be/c89a0PUlrz4 August 2012
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Review By Greg Wiggleton Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Xbox Live Arcade
to get used to. So anyone familiar with the old controls won’t take as long to get used to them again.
The once great Tony Hawk series is back with Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD on the Xbox Live Arcade. Does it live up to the nostalgia and greatness of the early era or does it falter and stumble? Sadly the game, while still fun, is not as polished as it could have been. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD is a collection of levels and music from the first two games in the series. It takes the two-minute time limit goals of those levels and brings them into the HD era, exactly two generations later.
Although the game certainly looks nice on its own, it doesn’t really stand out as being outstanding in the visuals department. The Tony Hawk series has always had a good selection of music to play while you skate to it. This HD remake is no exception, with several songs from the first two games making a re-appearance as well as new songs being used. Unfortunately, it seems that you have no control over what song is currently playing or the option to change the playlist. This is a big letdown as this has always been a pretty big and standard feature in the Tony Hawk games. In the end, I can really only recommend this to those who have been big fans of the Tony Hawk video game series since the beginning. Anyone else will likely get annoyed at the dated controls and the lack of a level editor and other standard Tony Hawk Pro Skater modes. If you can get used to the dated controls once again, there is some fun to be had here. While nowhere near perfect, the game does offer some fun to it.
The gameplay and control are literally taken right out of the first two games. This is unfortunate, as it leads to some dated controls that are very frustrating to use. It’s understandable to not find later mechanics like reverts, since those would not fit well with the levels, but the controls themselves do feel like they can be updated. Even the wall-ride mechanic are still just as hard and frustrating to pull off as it was originally compared to how it was in the later games from the series. Even though the controls can feel frustrating to use, they don’t take that long August 2012
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By Greg Wiggleton
Gravity Rush is one of the first exclusive PlayStation Vita games that was built from the ground up and makes use of nearly all of the Vita’s capabilities that it has to offer in an enjoyable fashion. This is a game for the PlayStation Vita that should not be overlooked or forgotten. The game starts out with you, a young woman named Kat, falling from high above to the currently floating city of Hekseville. You begin your little adventure with a magical cat, who’s named Dusty, which is able to give you the power to control gravity. As you start out, you have no idea who you are or where you are from and have limited powers. As the game goes on, more of the story is revealed as well as additional powers that are granted or can be upgraded. Since this is an open world game, there are very little limitations on where you can go. Being able to fly from one side of town to the other really makes you feel as if you are flying. Don’t expect the story to reveal all by the end. Sadly, the game is left with a lot of open questions about pretty much everything. The game
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does seem to try and answer some important questions such as who Kat is, but then seems to forget about that important plot by the end of the game. The main concept for the gameplay deals with changing the direction of the gravity. This isn’t just up or down, but full range of direction to which you have access to. Because of this, the game makes full use of the right stick for manually adjusting the view as well as full gyro controls when you are in the air. These gyro controls are implemented very smoothly and nicely. A special sliding mechanic is also used within the game, which allows you to use gravity to slide your way through the game. This is done by placing both thumbs on the lower corners of the screen. Pretty August 2012
much every aspect of the Vita controls are used in an interesting and effective manor with this game. The camera in the game feels like it could use some adjusting. While it does work very well, in some cases it ends up frustrating the heck out of you. When you are in a small closed off area the camera will try to go through a wall, it will then start to act odd by zooming in and out in an annoying fashion. There is another issue dealing with enemies. The majority of enemies have an area on them that glows, indicating that you will need to attack them there. In some cases it becomes very frustrating trying to destroy these enemies in limited time. The game does seem to compensate for this a little with some auto-homing attacks, so this shouldn’t bother you too much. Gravity Rush has a cel-shaded look within the game, this greatly adds to the comic book style of the entire game. A lot of the cut scene dialogs are presented in a form of an actual interactive comic book. This even includes the camera switching from each interactive cell whenever you slide your finger to move on. This is a great effect that really adds to the atmosphere of the game, and one that was done well. As a cel-shaded game, this game looks amazing on the Vita’s screen. There is no voice acting here, but what is presented is a pseudo fake language that I believe helps the feeling of a foreign world. Since the game is presented like a comic book, expect action hero type of music. The sounds and music not only adds to the game, but really helps to get you interested in continuing on with the story. In the end, I very much recommend Gravity Rush for anyone who is looking for a unique experience with their PlayStation Vita system. The gameplay and story really shouldn’t be missed. There is a certain thrill to being able to change gravity on a whim and free fall at great speeds across the world.
Score: 9/10 August 2012
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Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Review By Andrew Stevens Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance Nintendo 3DS Action/RPG
Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is my first jaunt through a Kingdom Hearts series and one of the first questions you always ask yourself is “will I end up being lost with the story?”. To quickly answer that question – no, you will not be lost. I was able to get into the game and learn the theme and storyline rather easily. One thing that Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance does is allow you to view flashbacks and chronicles that help bring the story together, and that also allows a new player, such as myself, to learn some of the history from the previous games. The storyline is fun and can be charming as you travel through the different Disney worlds and experience all of the characters. It’s very easy to get into the game and enjoy it throughout your play-through. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance follows the main characters Sora and Riku through
a journey of different worlds. What makes this further interesting is that Sora and Riku are split between two different realities and every so often you will be “dropping” back and forth between Sora’s reality and Riku’s. This also means that when you visit the same world with RIku and then with Sora, you will get a slightly different experience, so you will not be doing the exact same thing twice with both characters. When you travel to a different world, you will be traveling there with just the one character, meaning you can play in two different worlds with Sora being in one location and Riku in the other. However, if you would rather just fully complete a world by beating it in both realities with Sora and Riku, then you may do that as well. That’s what I did, as I wanted the full experience of the world at the same time between both realities. Don’t be alarmed though. It sounds a lot more confusing than it actually is. The gameplay can be a very enjoyable experience outside of a few minor complaints. First of all I want to mention that you can play this game with the circle pad pro, however, I tried it and ended up going back to the basic controls without the circle pad pro. It’s absolutely not needed, but some may enjoy it more for an easier combat experience when it comes to selecting targets. If you have a circle pad pro you should
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give it a try, but don’t go out and buy one for this game. My only issues with the controls is that you need to cycle through your items with the thumb pad to find the item you need while dealing with combat. Sometimes it’s just a little too much to handle, especially when you need to cycle through to find your potion when your health is low. Now when it comes to the combat it is very simple yet still enjoyable. You will have your basic attacks that you will use a majority of the time and then you also have special attacks and an ability known as flowmotion. Flowmotion allows for you to do powerful attacks in a few different ways depending on how you interact with your surroundings and it is a lot of fun to do in addition to your regular attacks. You will also have little creatures known as spirits that help you in battle. You will be able to have them join your party and fight alongside you. You can also link up with them to give you special powers for a short period of time. This is yet another good addition to the combat and gameplay that makes it even more entertaining. You will be able to do a few things with the options menu, but most importantly you will be able to advance their
abilities by feeding them items you have collected along the way. The enemies are always fun to fight and will vary in type and strength, depending on what world you visit. The bosses are fairly enjoyable to fight against as well, but some aren’t too exciting to go up against and you will just want to power through them and move on to the next world. As you beat each world you will attain a new keyblade to use, one stronger than the last to help you in your continued journey. Also, every world has something different for you to interact with through the touch screen. When in traverse town you will be able to use the touch screen to launch
barrels at enemies or other random objects. When you are visiting The Grid you will be able to use the touch screen to hack objects. Each world has something different for you to interact with that supports the world you are playing in. You will also notice that each world has a large amount of treasure chests hidden for you to find and the game will keep track of what percentage you have found. The game keeps track of a large number of stats and records that anyone who enjoys that type of thing will be in love with due to the sheer number of stats that are available. Visually the game looks pretty decent and especially so with the characters, but the backgrounds can be rather plain and boring. The 3D effects have a lot of great moments and a lot of disap-
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pointing moments with shadowing issues to the point where I needed to turn the 3D off. I ended up playing a majority of the game without the 3D effects, but during certain points I would turn it on to enjoy some sequences better. Leaving the 3D slider at mid-way seemed to work best for what I enjoyed. Musically the game has some wonderful tunes, but I didn’t care for them at the start of the game at all. I actually got pretty annoyed with the music in traverse town, but after that the music wasn’t an issue at all. Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance is a fun action/RPG with an enjoyable story that can be interesting and charming at times. This is certainly another must own game on the Nintendo 3DS and it’s so easy to get into and enjoy. It also doesn’t drag on much at all; in fact you’ll find yourself flying through the game fairly quickly and enjoyably. At the very least you should be checking this game out by downloading the demo from the eShop.
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Fanbolt Digital Recommendation List XBLA Limbo Hydro Thunder Hurricane Rez HD Joy Ride Turbo Castle Crashers Carcassonne Jet Pac Refueled N+ Toy Soldiers: Cold War Roboblitz Bastion Stacking After Burner: Climax OutRun: Online Arcade Ilomilo Trials Evolution
PSN Super Stardust HD Super Stardust Delta Puddle Escape Plan Journey Wipeout HD Flower Stacking Battlefield 1943 Shatter Zen Pinball Dead Nation Critter Crunch Pixeljunk Shooter Fat Princess
WiiWare EscapeVektor: Chapter 1 The World of Goo Lost Winds Liight Art of Balance August 2012
And Yet It Moves Orbient Gyrostarr Excite Bike: World Rally Moto Heroz Fludity FAST Racing League Jett Rocket Contra Rebirth Groovin’ Blocks
3DSWare Pushmo Mutant Mudds Mighty Switch Force Art of Balance Touch! Dillon’s Rolling Western VVVVVV Ketzal’s Corridors Sakura Samurai: Art of the Sword Order Up!! Bomb Monkey Colors! 3D Zen Pinball 3D Pyramids 3D Classics: Kirby’s Adventure Bomb Monkey
DSiWare Mighty Flip Champs Flipnote Studio Go! Go! Kokopolo! Amoebattle Metal Torrent Shantae: Risky’s Revenge Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Minis March Again Metal Torrent Antipole Aura Aura Climber Undead Storm - GO Series Mighty Milky Way Touch Solitaire Divergent Shift Photo Dojo FANBOLT GAMING DIGITAL MAGAZINE Page 29
FanBolt Gaming Digital Magazine - August 2012 Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance LittleBigPlanet Gravity Rush 3DS Games To XL and More!