LIVE JUNE ISSUE PART 2 2019
Go to page 28 for more details on SPIDER MANTM FAR FROM HOME and how you could win some double passes (Australia Only)
From the Editor Hello and welcome to the second part of the June edition of Gametraders Live! This is part two so if you havent seen the first part please feel free to check that one out! As you may have noticed this one is Spider Man: Far From Home themed and we are very excited and thankful to Sony Pictures to say that we have a wonderful article exploring the behind the scenes of the movie. We also have an interview with Timothy Zahn as well as reviews for Dragon Ball Heroes and Super Broly by our writer Paul Monopli. We hope you enjoy the magazine and as always if you are interested in writing for our magazine please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Emily Langford Emily Langford, EDITOR
Spider man: Far From Home Making Of
Ten Interesting Games From E3 2019 You May Have Missed
DRAGON BALL HEROES & SUPER BROLLY pg. 34 &
THE LIVE TEAM EDITOR & DESIGNER: Emily Langford
WRITERS: Scott F. Sowter, Entertainment Review and Opinion
Paul Monopoli, Interviews / Retro Editor Adam Cartwright, Evan Norris & Taneli Palola,
A LOOK AT ALL OF THE STEALTH GAMES AVAILABLE ON VITA Pg. 42
TIMOTHY ZAHN INTERVIEW
SPIDER MAN TM :FAR FROM HOME GIVEAWAY Pg. 28
MOVIES SPIDER MAN
DRAGON BALL SUPER BROLY
WRITTEN BY PAUL MONOPOLI
Dragon Ball Su For an anime movie, the latest
After this meeting the King visits
was a huge success in theatres.
to find another child with a high
chapter in the Dragon Ball franchise Coming off the back of the Dragon
Ball Super TV series, this film is both a continuation and a self contained story that can potentially appeal to non fans of the franchise.
Before resuming the main Dragon Ball story, we are teleported back to a time before Goku was born.
King Cold, the galactic tyrant is on his way to the Saiyan homeworld,
Planet Vegeta. The purpose of this
trip is to inform the king, also called Vegeta, that he will be retiring from
the business of planet pillaging. His empire is left to his son, Frieza, a vicious alien with a short fuse.
his son, Prince Vegeta IV, only power level. Seeing him as a
potential threat, the King exiles the child, Broly, to the distant planet
Vampa, a dire land where only the
strong willed could be expected to survive. Brolyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s father, Paragus, in
an attempt to save his son steals a
ship and heads to Vampa to rescue him. Unfortunately the ship crash
lands, leaving the Saiyan father and son stranded. The problem is that
Broly has a problem controlling his
extremely high power level, leaving Paragus with two problems.
Five years later, Frieza has recalled all
and Vegeta are safe, as are their brothers
Saiyan warrior, Bardock, has his suspicions
of the Saiyans back to Planet Vegeta. A
as to why the emperor would need to do
Tarble and Kakkarot. But what of Paragus
this. The only conclusion he can draw is
The movie fast forwards us back to the
race. A planet full of warriors could be a
of Power has ended. The former baby
that Frieza intends to destroy the Saiyan threat to the tyrant, so better that he kills them all now before they can rise against him. Bardockâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s suspicions turn out to be true.
Before Frieza can annihilate the planet
and its people, Bardock and his wife Gine
ensure their sons are safe. Raditz is already off world with the young Prince Vegeta,
though their baby Kakkarot is still on the planet. They send the young Saiyan to a distant planet called Earth, where they
present day, shortly after the Tournament Kakkarot, now known as Goku, and Prince Vegeta are continuing to harness their
fighting skills. They are joined by Vegetaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wife, Bulma, his daughter Bulla, the God
of Destruction, Beerus and his attendant Whis. After six of the Dragon Balls are stolen, the gang, minus Beerus who is baby-sitting Bulla, head to the known
location of the last one. There they find
Friezaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s henchmen, who are joined shortly after by the galactic emperor himself.
promise to return if they are wrong in their
The Saiyans have faced Frieza twice
bought a surprise. The emergency beacon
assumptions. Shortly after, Planet Vegeta is
Frienza sends a message to the young
prince that his planet was destroyed by
a giant meteor. His colleagues, including
Nappa and Raditz ponder this. It makes no
sense, but there is little they can do. Raditz
before, though this time the emperor has
activated by Paragus all those years earlier had finally received a response. Broly is now a member of the Frieza force, and he is ready to take his revenge on the
son of King Vegeta. The battle is about to commence!
If you have just come off the back of
make him a part of the main series canon.
notice the new animation style. The new
had expressed his desire for this to happen
Dragon Ball Super you will immediately animation director, Naohiro Shintani,
brings a more fluid, manga-esque style
to the Dragon Ball franchise. It is a little
jarring at first, though it looks a lot nicer than the Dragon Ball Super and Super Dragon Ball Heroes anime. Lines look
The voice actor for Broly, Vic Mignogna,
in our earlier Gametraders interview. Vic’s wish has now been fulfilled and Broly has been given a richer back story than the
one he received in Dragon Ball Z Movie 8, as well as more speaking lines.
like they were hand drawn, bringing new
The problem long time Dragon Ball fans
fast paced fight scenes and attention to
of the series back story. In the 1990 TV
dimension of visuals to the series. With
detail, this movie is a feast for your eyes. The story was written by Dragon Ball
creator Akira Toriyama. Though Broly had
already featured in three movies, Toriyama wanted to return to the character and
may have with the movie is the rewriting special, “Bardock: The Father of Goku” Bardock attempted to lead a rebellion
against Frieza, and faced him before the
tyrant destroyed the planet. In this movie he does attempt to stop Frieza, though with less dramatic effect.
against Frieza, and faced him before the
Actually, it is still possible that Bardock was
he does attempt to stop Frieza, though
100 years to became a Super Saiyanâ&#x20AC;Ś At
tyrant destroyed the planet. In this movie with less dramatic effect.
The movie follows the Dragon Ball Minus
hit by Friezaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s blast and went back in time the end of the day, canon is in the eye of the individual fan.
storyline, written by Akira Toriyama in
If you are happy to mentally rewrite a bit
Bardock, who shows genuine affection for
backs in the original Frieza saga, then you
2014. This version features a less abrasive his sons and wife. The 1990 special saw a
cold warrior who could not care less about his offspring. There is also no mention of Gine in this version of events. With this major change, its 2011 sequel, Episode of Bardock, which saw the character
becoming a Super Saiyan, is also now
relegated to the same section of fandom as the Star Wars Legends stories.
of Dragon Ball history and ignore the flash are going to have a great time with this
movie. The visual effects are amazing, the music is well paced and the main theme, Blizzard, is very catchy in both Japanese and English. If the abrupt ending to the Tournament of Power put you off the
series then this is the tonic that will heal that fan wound. Enjoy!
By Paul Monopoli
Sitting in a booth at Supanova Adelaide,
surrounded by a wall of novels was the one
and only Timothy Zahn. A valuable contributor
to one of sci-fiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest franchises, the novels were the latest addition to the Star Wars
Universe and the latest in the newly revised
Grand Admiral Thrawn saga. After having my
Admiral Thrawn and Mara Jade action figures
signed, we sat down and had a discussion about his career and his return to the new Star Wars expanded universe canon.
Heir to the Empire was the first book that had been allowed to go after Return of the Jedi, so I was the first novelist who was allowed to use all the movie characters in books.
As the man who kicked off the original
Lucasfilm looked over the document,
explain how it all came about:
suggestions. This would be the process
expanded universe, Timothy starts to
“Heir to the Empire was the first book that had been allowed to go after Return of
the Jedi, so I was the first novelist who was allowed to use all the movie characters in
rejected some ideas and made some
for each subsequent story in the trilogy.
Though the planning was done book by
book, Timothy had a master plan he was working towards:
“I knew right from the beginning, before
He was given carte blanche to take Luke,
the story and the characters were going
Leia, Han and the gang and create a whole new trilogy. Along for the ride were a few characters of his own creation, including Thrawn, Mara Jade and Talon Karrde.
I submitted the outlines, I knew where
to end up… I wasn’t “OK, let’s hope I can
come up with an ending”, I already had the ending set up in my mind ahead of time.”
Lucasfilm had no input into the creation of
The other stand out character from this
had to give the go ahead before the story
Skywalker, Mara Jade. I asked Timothy
these characters or the story, though they
could be written. This meant some extensive planning was needed.
“I wrote out an outline, about… ten pages for the first book, and a couple for the
next two, because I knew that by the time I actually finished the first book I would
have had other ideas and plot threads, and I didn’t want to go too deeply into the others until I knew where I was starting them.”
new trilogy was the future wife of Luke
about her alleged inclusion in Return of the Jedi. I told him that I would watch
the Jabba’s Palace scenes as a youngster,
trying to catch a glimpse of the Emperor’s Hand. To that Timothy laughs:
“She’s just off camera. That’s my take on it.”
After the Thrawn trilogy was released
write that novel, I have no input into
setting Mara up as somewhat of a lost
character, my fault!”
Kevin J Anderson created the next trilogy, girl. There was no longer a proper head of
it whatsoever, and she didn’t care. My
the Empire she could team up with, and
Timothy explains that while he did create
would often venture to see Luke Skywalker
dictates that ownership of these assets
she refused to join the New Republic. She and seemed to be keen to continue
training her force powers. This relationship blossomed throughout the books and
comics, and she continued training her
force powers through video games such as the Dark Forces 2: Jedi Knight expansion.
the story and characters, his contract
become the property of Lucasfilm once the deal is signed. For him, the trade off was
that he was the one who got to write the
story. That meant more than the creation of the characters.
I had to ask Timothy how much input
Timothy is aware of the character arcs
beyond his own books:
backstories that were written for them,
he had in the storylines of his characters
“Beyond my books not at all. The
characters are owned by Lucasfilm, and if the Lucasfilm people and the publisher,
Bantam and then Del Rey, agree on what’s going to be done by a certain author,
I have no say about it. I have no input
into it. In fact I was once cornered at a
convention room party by a woman who was very upset with me for what Mara
Jade had been doing in the most recent
novel. And I had to explain to her I didn’t
of his characters and the additional such as the video game TIE Fighter
showing Admiral Thrawn rise to the rank of Grand Admiral. When Disney rewrote the canon almost everything that took
place outside of the movies was set aside into a “Legends” mythos. This allowed
Lucasfilm to have these “campfire” stories, as Timothy calls them, that they can pick and choose from whenever they see fit. As for Thrawn, this new version of the character worked out well.
“I didn’t have to worry about that backstory
was making a return, and he was offered
couple of years ago. So I got to rewrite the
when I did the (new) Thrawn novel a
backstory. So yeah, other people had done
the chance to revisit him within the new Star
back stories, other people had done other
“They were feeding me scripts (for Rebels)
to incorporate, and the parts I did have to
where Thrawn was ending up, since my book
things. Fortunately some that I didn’t have incorporate worked OK.”
Thrawn had been announced for the third and fourth seasons of Star Wars: Rebels.
Timothy was informed that his character
for the upcoming season, so I could see
is a prequel to that. What I could do is look
at what they were doing and incorporate bits of that as kind of foreshadowing or setup in the book.”
During the events of Rebels Thrawn
interacts with other well known characters, such as Grand Moff Tarkin. To Timothy it
appeared that these characters had some existing familiarity with each other. This
gave him the opportunity to incorporate first meetings into his book. I noted that
Thrawn and Tarkin took their time meeting each other in that book, though Timothy explained that he had other events that needed to take place before that could happen.
When asked how he felt about the Disney Star Wars canon rewrite, Timothy was understanding of their position.
“Once they decided to do new movies
and didn’t want to be restricted by all the books and comics, which I understand, what they could have done is gone
through everything and decided what was canon and what wasn’t. But to do that
they would need to know exactly what
they wanted to do with Star Wars for the next fifty years. That’s impossible to do.
They’re making it up as they go along like all the rest of us do.”
There are no plans to bring back Mara
pitch a story including her to Lucasfilm,
informed me that Thrawn’s original side
have the final say on whether she will
Jade at this stage, though Timothy
kick, Admiral Pallaeon, is once again
canon. In the last battle in Rebels Thrawn
though he once again explains that they return or not. He is hopeful it will happen:
calls for Captain Pallaeon, who could
“You know, it’s only been a couple of
become an Admiral. Zahn explains there
and you know, they’re looking at the
possibly climb the ranks to once again
was a reason for his lack of inclusion in his novels:
“The thing was, when I did (the new
book) Thrawn, if I had Pallaeon there,
it’s still a very different dynamic. It’s no longer the master and the learner as
years since Thrawn arrived in Rebels… popularity of Thrawn, and they’ve gotta be thinking “what else could we bring
back from Legends that the fans would
like?” So I’m happy to let them have time to make the right decision, i.e. the one I want.”
Pallaeon was more or less the Dr Watson
I finish by lamenting the fact that Luke
do a different dynamic I may as well do
there was no mention that he was
to the Sherlock Holmes. If I’m going to
a different character, so I came up with
Eli Vanto who’s now going to be learning along with Thrawn and finding his way through the Imperial fleet.”
Timothy confirms that if he can find a
logical place for Pallaeon to return in the novels he will definitely make it happen.
Mara Jade fans can rest assured that the
same rule applies to her. He has plans to
has now passed in the storyline, and
married to Mara Jade in this continuity. Ever the creative mind, Timothy Zahn has a plan that could make that fit in with The Last Jedi, though as always,
that is up to Lucasfilm. Though with her former popularity still quite high within the fanbase, it is my opinion that fans
of the former Emperor’s Hand may have something to look forward to in the future.
Written by Paul Monoploi
SPIDER MAN : FAR FROM HOME
Where Tom Holland’s first solo outing as
“This is so much bigger,” says Holland,
slinging icon in the familiar surroundings
across the backlot at Leavesden Studios,
Spider-Man introduced us to the webof New York City, the eagerly awaited
sequel is set to be a worldwide event.
fresh from a morning spent bounding
the London base of Sony Pictures’ epic new adventure Spider-Man: Far from Home.
After several appearances in the
in London. “This will be the first truly
“MCU”), including worldwide box office
Marvel Cinematic Universe (the
sensation Avengers: Endgame, we are
international Spider-Man movie,” boasts
familiar with Spider-Man swinging
After the events of Avengers: Endgame,
above the historic canals and bridges of
trip and spend some time with his
between skyscrapers. The sight of him Venice in Italy will be something new.
“We went for the title, Far from Home,
because it is a fun call-back to the first movie, but also because the big idea
was to get Spider-Man not just out of
his comfort zone, out of New York City,
but out of the States,” explains executive
Peter is excited to get away on his class
friends – like any regular teenager. “One of our mission statements on this film was to remind people why they loved the first movie,” adds Carroll. The fact that Spider-Man is not a prince, he’s
not from another planet and he’s not a multibillionaire, he’s just a teenager.
producer Eric Carroll. Peter Parker is
“I really want that aspect of a 16-year-
chance to see the world and then save it
again,” insists Holland.
going on a school trip to Europe: a once more.
Produced by Kevin Feige and Amy
Pascal, written by Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers and again directed by the hugely talented Jon Watts, the
storyline will spin between Mexico,
Venice, the Alps, Prague, Berlin and
the Netherlands, before culminating
old with superpowers to come across
All Peter wants is to set aside the
superhero business and have a good time only his dream vacation keeps getting interrupted. With the world forever changed after Avengers:
Endgame – and now under threat --
Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is asking
Spider-Man to step up more than ever.”
“This is the dynamic everyone got really
explaining that they put Spider-Man in
about ways we could take this movie,”
“He can’t just use force.”
excited about when we started thinking enthuses Carroll. “You would have this
grizzled Cold War spy and the teen who just wants to get back to his vacation.”
“It’s an interesting combination,” laughs
Holland, “because obviously Peter is kind of upbeat and Nick Fury is so scary. Let’s just say, it’s been a fun ride.”
With the rest of the Avengers otherwise
occupied, alongside Agent Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders), Fury recruits Spider-Man to help investigate an outbreak of catastrophic
events. The work of antagonists the likes
situations where he has to outthink his foe.
"No one ever said being a friendly neighbourhood
SpiderMan was easy."
of which we have never seen before —
Not that he will have to tackle these
mythology, each is a giant, humanoid
sees the debut of comic book favourite
Elemental Creatures. Based on classical version of
one of the traditional elements: fire, water, earth and air.
“They had thought they were legends,
but then they thought Thor was a legend
and he showed up one day,” notes Carroll,
creatures alone. Spider-Man: Far from Home Mysterio (by day Quentin Beck), played
by the brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain). With glowing green body
armour, transparent helmet and scarlet
cape, according to Carroll, this enigmatic
new arrival resembles “the lovechild of Thor, Doctor Strange and Iron Man.”
“Jake’s amazing,” says Holland. “He’s
May (Marisa Tomei) and not-so-adorable
Sometimes it is quite disconcerting
seamless in and out of character.
because you think he’s just talking to you, then you realise he is doing the scene right now. I have learned a lot.”
For all the CGI used to create the
Elemental Creatures, as well as Spider-Man and
minder Harold ‘Happy’ Hogan (Jon
There is also the tricky matter of his
serious crush on schoolmate MJ, given
such winningly offbeat charm by Zendaya. Sassy, self-reliant MJ will play a much bigger part in the sequel.
Mysterio’s more elaborate heroics, Watts is
Beyond all the realism provided by the
costumes, Holland’s enthusiasm to do his
determined to keep his filmmaking as real
The 100-acre Leavesden Studios backlot
character relationships, locations, sets and own stunts remains impossible to quench.
features a devastated Mexican street, large
“I don’t do everything,” he insists. “I am
sprawling subsection of Venice built across
do it better.” Nevertheless, he rehearsed
parts of London’s Tower Bridge and a
a huge tank. A tour of the soundstages
reveals the interior of a Stark Industries
super-jet and an Italian restaurant in New
very happy for my double to do it if he can key moves for “weeks and weeks”
beforehand, getting back into character.
York about to descend into chaos.
“At the end of the Venice sequence, with
With the film’s extensive sightseeing
fighting, they clip a bell tower,” says
bookended with sequences in Peter’s
natural habitat of New York, Holland’s hero will be reunited with his adorable Aunt
Mysterio and the Water Elemental Creature Carroll. “It is left to Spider-Man to try and keep the tower from toppling onto the
crowds, while the bell keeps hitting him
the face. We have an actual tower on an
actual gimbal that an actual Tom Holland is going to get into and we
are going to throw an actual bell at him.” There is also a new look for Spider-Man.
Care of Nick Fury’s clandestine division of superspies (which have evolved from the
remnants of SHIELD) there is what Holland calls his “stealth suit”. It is jet-black from head-to-toe with “flip-up” spider-eye goggles and presents a radically new
approach to the character. This will be the
first time in Spider-Man’s onscreen history he will sometimes be seen out of red and blue.
“He’s keeping a low profile,” says associate costume designer Michael Mooney. “You’ll see there’s no spider symbol, but we
kept a badge space, hinting that this was
some kind of old SHIELD suit. Plus, we’ve updated the web-blasters.”
No one ever said being a friendly
neighbourhood Spider-Man was easy.
Written by Ian Nathan
DOUBLE PASS GIVE AWAY
Following the events of Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man must step up to take on new threats in a world that has changed forever. Starring Tom Holland, Samuel L. Jackson, Zendaya, Cobie Smulders, Jon Favreau, JB Smoove, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr with Marisa Tomei and Jake Gyllenhaal. Directed by Jon Watts. In cinemas July 1.
WIN A DOUBLE PASS! Thanks to Sony Pictures and Gametraders you could win a double pass to see the new Spider ManTM Far From Home All you have to do is go to the Gametraders Facebook page and like the competition post, tag who youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to take and comment why you want to see Spider ManTM Far From Home!
MARVEL and all related character names: © & ™ 2019 MARVEL. Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Movie © 2019 CPII. All Rights
TOP 10 GAMEPL TRAILERS OF E3 2019 A LOOK AT ALL OF THE STEALTH GAMES AVAILABLE ON VITA
DRAGON BALL HEROES: WORLD MISSION
WRITTEN YOUR SAYBY PAUL MONOPOLI
NINTENDO SWITCH REVIEW:
Dragon Ball Heroe
es: World Mission
Card collecting has always been a
child. Playing arcade games has
are smaller, so children owning
in Japan, with many Westerners
popular pastime in Japan. Houses large collections of toys is a near
impracticality. Cards are smaller, fit in folders or small boxes, so they
are ideal for the average Japanese
also always been a popular pastime flocking overseas to check out the various game centres scattered across the land.
In late 2010 the Dragon Ball franchise
place your cards on the pad and move
the form of Dragon Ball Heroes. Finally
were used in combat and to select menu
married these two activities together in you could collect cards, then take them to the arcade and use them in a game.
them around the battlefield. The buttons options.
The Dragon Ball Heroes arcade machine
Home releases of Dragon Ball Heroes were
3 buttons on either side of it. You would
received three home ports, though until
featured a large screen, with a flat pad and
scarce until recently. The Nintendo 3DS
strategy is in managing â&#x20AC;&#x153;...The which characters are going to attack during which round... this year that was the only way to play
am still buying cards online and building
who does not live in Japan, this is where
jump right in to the game.
game away from the arcade. As a person my experience with the series begun. I
teams for my next trip there, so I can just
imported a Japanese 3DS and purchased
Obviously I am a fan, and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not the only
Fast forward a couple of years and I found
own subset of Dragon Ball culture, with
all three games are they were released.
myself in the land of the rising sun, where I was able to collect actual cards and
play the game. When I am not in Japan I
one. Dragon Ball Heroes has spawned its a promotional anime and more than one manga series appearing in various Jump
comics. Some of the characters from the
series have made their way into other
additional cards and items, then take them
could be found in Xenoverse 2. Figures of
opponents. This is where your adventure
Dragon Ball games including Fu who
characters created just for the game can
also be purchased in Japanese toy stores. In 2016 the game was refreshed to
become Super Dragon Ball Heroes (from
this point known as SDBH), including new cards and missions. This is where we find
ourselves with this title, Super Dragon Ball Heroes: World Mission.
I had seen the marketing for this game while in Japan, and I was anxious for a
release in the West. While I own the 3DS
games, they are in Japanese, which makes
to the arena to battle it out against various begins.
After familiarising yourself with the
gameplay, the story ramps up with Great
Saiyaman 3 recruiting you to help find out
why various Dragon Ball villains are making their way to the real world. The story is
rather flimsy, and it really is nothing more
than a skin on top of the shallow gameplay behind SDBH.
What? Shallow gameplay? I thought you were a fan?
it difficult a person who does not speak
While I am a fan of Super Dragon Ball
English, making gameplay so much easier.
is very limited. Each game takes place over
the language. Thankfully this game is in
While this title does accurately replicate its arcade counterpart, Bandai Namco have included a story mode, taking place in a world where SDBH is the equivalent of
an e-sport. Players can visit stores to buy
Heroes, even I can see that the gameplay a maximum of five rounds. If you fail to
defeat the enemy in that time you lose.
The aforementioned grid you place your cards on is split into four segments. The front, red section is for high attack and defence, the orange section is for mid
attack and defence, the yellow section is
you place the card. The yellow section only
section is to recharge your energy.
two and the red uses three. The strategy is
for light attack and defence, and the blue
Each card has a maximum of four energy
slots that are used up depending on where
uses one energy slot, while the orange uses in managing which characters are going to
attack during which round and who is going to recharge and be used later in the game.
The actual fights are where the gameplay
is higher than your opponent, then you
defending you are faced with a bar that
they defend your attack or successfully hit
is let down. When you are attacking or
moves back and forth at various speeds.
You hit a button to stop the bar when you think it is as high as it can go. If your bar
attack or defend successfully. If you fail then you. This element of the game can become frustrating fast, and it why I only ever play
the arcade game two or three times before
I am done for the day. Sadly this is how
arcade game the machine spits out a new
component of the gameplay. Sometimes it
given tokens which can be used in a gacha
you ‘fight’ in the game, so it is a core
is enough to make you rage quit and while it works in an arcade it does not translate well into a home release that debuted at
card for you to use. In this game you are
store, which in its defence is another way you can get cards in Japan.
If you find yourself becoming bored or
The game is nice to look at, though it
the arcade mode, that contains missions
far from stretching the abilities of the
Nintendo Switch. It looks pretty much
like a direct port of the arcade game with
frustrated with the story you can jump into found in the arcades in Japan. The problem is the gameplay is just more of the same.
little to no enhancements. On the other
I do find myself going back to SDBH,
many themes tunes have been created for
a time before I get bored and return to
hand, the music is excellent. Over the years Dragon Ball Heroes. You can hear these
and other themes from the Dragon Ball TV series in various missions of the game. The game features over 1100 cards to
collect, with over 300 different characters to use. It may seem like a lot, but when
you look at the final 3DS game, Ultimate Mission X, and realise that that game
contains 3300 cards you start to feel a little short changed. Each time you play the
though only for a couple of games at
whatever RPG I am going through at the time. The gameplay is frustrating, so it
must be the Dragon Ball license bringing me back for more. It’s not the worst
game you could ever have in your Switch
collection, but don’t pay full price! $79.99 is just not worth it!
By Paul Monopoli
A LOO STEALTH GAME
OK AT ALL OF THE ES AVAILABLE ON
This is the eighth entry in a series of articles Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m writing that will look at all of the games
available in a particular genre on the Vita. The articles will highlight all Vita-native games, as well as any backwards-compatible PSP and
PS1 titles that can be downloaded in English
(i.e. from the EU or NA stores), and will include some commentary on how well those games run on Vita and whether they fill any missing gaps in the library.
The stealth genre is one that some would
In recent years we’ve seen other things
include stealth elements, but actually fit into
Cell continue to push the genre forward,
argue doesn’t even exist – many titles
one of a number of other genres like action, platformer, or third-person shooter. Ever
since the breakout success of the Metal Gear franchise (in particular Metal Gear Solid), though, the genre seems on much more
stable footing and it demonstrated that you can have a veritable blockbuster on your
hands relying only on stealth mechanics as the main gameplay element.
like Assassin’s Creed, Hitman and Splinter although it still has somewhat limited appeal. Thankfully, the Vita has a healthy selection of stealth games available (and even more with backwards-compatibility), meaning if you’re
looking to do some sneaking on the go then you’ll be well served with the console.
VITA NATIVE GAMES Ever since the release of Metal Gear
reviews from critics, who commented
action epic series has gone from
although many were disappointed
Solid in 1998, Hideo Kojima’s stealthstrength to strength, and two of the
most well-received entries landed on
the PS2 – Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of
on the extremely solid porting job, that Peace Walker wasn’t included, making it an incomplete package.
Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake
Despite its resounding sales success,
Metal Gear Solid HD Collection in
the style of Metal Gear Solid aside
Eater. Both were ported to Vita in the 2012, which provided a fantastic way to play them on the go.
Based on the expanded versions of
each (Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence,
respectively), the games followed the further adventures of Solid Snake
(and Big Boss) in the increasingly-
convoluted storyline about patriot
control and individual freedom. The
stealth elements are incredibly welldeveloped, allowing you to cling to
walls, camouflage to hide in tall grass, and take down foes silently – in fact you can even go for a no-kill run in both titles. It received very positive
few games have attempted to copy
from spoofs like Never Stop Sneakin’ (aside from Konami’s own Nisekoi
Yomeiri?!, a visual novel with a few stealth elements thrown in). One
title that did attempt it is Volume,
an ambitious indie from Mike Bithell (famous for Thomas Was Alone)
that apes the formula of the PS1
title Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions.
Including elements such as cones of
vision and corner-peaking, as well as using sound as a hook to allow you to sneak past guards, it received a similarly positive critical reception (and a limited physical release
through Limited Run Games for those who like collecting hard copies!).
The Vita’s other tentpole AAA
Speaking of turning open-world
III: Liberation, a bespoke entry in
counterparts, another series which
stealth release was Assassin’s Creed Ubisoft’s epic open-world saga that was designed specifically for Vita.
It had you hiding on rooftops and
silently assassinating targets on the go. The was one of the big holiday
titles for 2012 and was sold alongside
a limited edition console, ensuring that it sold well enough despite reviews
commenting on its cut-back features and technical shortcomings. It was
enough of a success for the company
to release Assassin’s Creed Chronicles on the handheld a few years later,
introducing a 2D take on the formula to mixed results.
3D stealth games into 2D handheld did this on Vita was Batman with
Batman Arkham Origins: Blackgate.
Switching up the gameplay to more of
a metroidvania with a heavier emphasis on stealth takedowns than before was a unique proposition which offered a fun experience. However, its shared
development with the 3DS was evident and resulted in a title that didn’t make
the most of the console it was running on. If you’re looking for something
closer to the home console Arkham games, you could try The Amazing Spider-Man, which has plenty of
optional stealth for its indoor sections.
Offering a completely different take
Offering a similarly cartoony aesthetic but
Sly Cooper series, which consists of the
Chameleon is a puzzler where you play
compared to other stealth games is the Sly Trilogy and Sly Cooper: Thieves in
Time. All four games are 3D platformers at their core but encouraged stealthy play as you’ll need to do things like
avoid guards, pick their pockets, and make your way through laser grids. The first is arguably the best of the
bunch and offers the purest sneaking experience, but they’re all worth checking out.
just as enjoyable stealth gameplay, Spy
as a chameleon able to change his colour to avoid detection. It’s a neat idea and is similar to Level 22, where your goal is to
sneak to your office desk after being late
to work without your boss spotting you’re missing. The latter provides predictably fun and hilarious results. There’s also
Hitman Go, which again offers puzzles,
but with turn-based gameplay as its base
and it works surprisingly well - it won over a lot of reviewers.
Some stealth games in the Vita’s library got completely overlooked – one of the biggest for me is Shinobido 2:
loved it thanks to its mix of platforming, stealth and shooting elements.
Revenge of Zen, which I continually
In fact, there are plenty of indie games
gems. Pitting you as a ninja in the midst
stealth elements with other ideas, the
argue is one of the console’s hidden
of a war between clans, you undertake
missions that invariably involve sneaking behind enemy lines and assassinating
targets. It’s janky as hell, but incredibly enjoyable and offers arguably the best sandbox stealth experience out there.
Another overlooked gem is Counterspy, a Cold War-inspired espionage thriller where you have to stop a nuclear war
by collecting launch codes. I absolutely
out there like Counterspy that blend
obvious one being Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark and its sequel Stealth Inc
2: A Game of Clones. These titles have you escaping test facilities in a 2D
platformer hybrid which works pretty well. Meanwhile in The Swindle your goal is to break into banks and steal
all their gold, for which you’ll of course need to deploy a variety of sneaky tactics to succeed.
Then there are the games that really
You’ll also find stealth elements present in
stealth elements. For example, Unit 13
2 and Yomawari: Night Alone (and its
belong to other genres but include light is a squad-based third-person shooter,
but you’re going to need to hide in the
shadows if you want to succeed. The lands of Oddworld are filled with horrendous creatures you’ll want to avoid too,
which means plenty of sneaking around is required in New ‘n’ Tasty, Munch’s Oddysee and Stranger’s Wrath.
horror games like Resident Evil Revelations sequel, Yomawari: Midnight Shadows),
where it’s better to hide from monsters than engage with them. There are
elements of this in the rather abysmal NightCry too.
BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE PSP GAMES Sony’s first handheld housed the two most
Another franchise that wasn’t present on Vita
entitled Dark Mirror and Logan’s Shadow
three Fireteam Bravo entries offer some of
recent – and arguably greatest – entries,
respectively. Following super-spy Gabe Logan across the globe as he attempts to stop the
spread of a deadly virus, the series’ trademark
third-person shooting elements are still present here but there’s a much greater emphasis on
hiding in the shadows and taking out enemies without them spotting you (plus, both games play much better on Vita thanks to the ability
but showed up on PSP was SOCOM, whose the best handheld tactical shooting on the
market. In them, you order round a squad of
troops while controlling your own player from a third-person perspective, but stealth is hugely important – a single bullet can mean death,
meaning you’ll have to carefully plan your route to the target without being detected.
to map controls to the second analogue stick).
If you’re looking for a similar taste of tactical
Of course, the grandfather of the genre is here
could consider one of the many Tom Clancy
too (it wouldn’t be a Sony console without it) and you can get both Metal Gear Solid:
Portable Ops (plus its expansion pack Portable Ops+) and Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
through backwards-compatibility. Acting as
prequels to the mainline series and providing a trimmed-down version of the core experience, they still received rave reviews and introduced some interesting new gameplay ideas to the formula (my particular favourite being the
ability to kidnap tranquillised enemy troops to have them work for your squad).
shooting with a heavy dose of stealth, you titles. The obvious pick is Splinter Cell
Essentials, the original espionage thriller series following black ops agent Sam Fisher as he
carries out undercover missions without being
spotted. There’s also Ghost Recon Predator that plays like an inferior version of SOCOM, or you could try the fairly terrible duo of Ghost Recon
Advanced Warfighter 2 and Rainbow Six Vegas, both of which were massively chopped back from their console counterparts.
Then, for something completely different,
You can also get Assassin’s Creed:
controversial sequel following a mental
Ninja, prequels to their respective Vita
there’s Manhunt 2, Rockstar’s hugely patient as he attempts to escape the asylum he is sectioned in. While it
garnered a large amount of press coverage for its gruesome execution scenes (which were censored in the final release), you
can expect some tight stealth gameplay in between that has you stalking the
corridors of the asylum before finishing off your targets.
Bloodlines and Shinobido: Tales of the
counterparts, although the more primitive gameplay means you’re likely better off checking out the sequels unless you’re itching for more.
BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE PS1 GAMES While there’s precious little in the way of PS1
VR Missions (which offers plenty of timed
one key title that absolutely should be a part of
inspired imitator Syphon Filter and its two
games which offer stealth elements, there is every Vita owner’s library.
That is of course the original Metal Gear
simulation missions), as well as the heavilysequels, which offer a dated but still enjoyable experience.
Solid – the origin of tactical espionage action
Of course, there are a handful of other things
it ever has, casting you as Solid Snake as
titles, the original Rainbow Six and a number
and a title that holds up just as well now as he takes down terrorists on Shadow Moses
Island. You can also get the expansion pack
that offer stealth elements – the two Oddworld of Spec Ops games, but none hold a candle to MGS in my eyes.
CONCLUSION As a genre, stealth has remained a niche that
in all the other series here – blockbusters like
to its slower pace and the methodical thinking
Sly Cooper and Syphon Filter, and overlooked
rarely achieves mainstream success, likely due needed, which doesn’t offer a particularly
accessible experience. Despite this, when a
stealth game gets made it tends to be made
extremely well, crafted with a tonne of love and
Assassin’s Creed and Manhunt, cult classics like gems like Counterspy and Shinobido, then
you’ve got a veritable goldmine of variety in the palm of your hand.
While it is disappointing to see things like
You don’t have to look any further than the
the possibility of the games being added to
Metal Gear Solid series for this and the fact
that Vita has access to 8 entries (if we include
the visual novel) makes it basically the ultimate MGS machine on the market. When you throw
Hitman (aside from a spin-off), Tenchu (despite PS1 classics) and Thief absent, there’s more
than enough here to satisfy fans of the genre, making Vita a brilliant way to take your sneaking on the go!
Written by Adam Cartwright
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10 INTERESTING GAMES FROM E3 2019 THAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED
E3 2019, YOUR SAYBY Taneli Palola
The Electronic Entertainment Expo is once
Yet, many of these games still deserve to be
gifted us with a ridiculous number of trailers
as possible. Naturally, I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t highlight every
again behind us and the hype machine has and announcements to digest for the days
and weeks to come. As always, most of the attention at E3 goes to the big AAA titles
showed at the high profile press conferences, but somewhere beneath them there are
hundreds of smaller games that often get
overlooked or just completely ignored by the vast majority of people.
acknowledged and seen by as many people
intriguing smaller title here, and thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s never a guarantee that the following titles are actually going to be good, just that they look very
interesting and promising at present. With that in mind, here are ten interesting titles from E3 2019 that you may have missed.
Ary and the Secret of Seasons
Release date: Q1 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch The 3D action-platformers that were very much in style a few console generations ago have been
going through something of a renaissance in recent years, and Ary and the Secret of Seasons is very much looking to tap into that particular well. The main gimmick of the game is the main character Ary’s ability to control seasons, which she uses to defeat enemies, solve puzzles, and get around other obstacles in her way.
You can obviously see the limits of the game’s budget, but if the gameplay and story are well
designed and engaging then things like dated graphics aren’t going to be that much of an issue
- for me at least. Titles like Yooka-Laylee and A Hat In Time have showed that there is definitely a market for games like this, and I think Ary and the Secret of Seasons is worth keeping an eye on.
Lost Words: Beyond the Page
Release date: TBA
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch One of the most interesting parts of any E3 for me is looking for games that do something different
with established game mechanics. Lost Words: Beyond the Page is at its core a 2D puzzle platformer, but adds a very interesting mechanic in using words to change the stage around you in order to proceed further.
Games where the story and gameplay are interconnected and affect each other in a significant way are disappointingly rare, so titles like Lost Words are more than welcome. The fact that the game is
written by Rhianna Pratchett also piqued my interest. Indie platformers like these often live and die
by their stories, but here the gameplay also looks to have some welcome depth to it. Definitely one to look out for when it eventually comes out.
Release date: TBA
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch An isometric stealth game with strong spaghetti western influences isn’t necessarily something I
expected to see at E3 this year, but I’m more than happy that I did. In El Hijo you play as a 6-year-
old boy looking for his mother after bandits raided and destroyed their farm, leaving the boy in the care of a monastery. Refusing to be separated from his mother, El Hijo decides to escape from the monastery and find her somewhere in the harsh world.
There’s obviously plenty of upside to a concept like that, and while we’ve had plenty of stealth
games in recent years, the rather unique setting for one combined with a beautiful art style gives El
Hijo a very good foundation at the very least. The one thing that matters now is how interesting the actual gameplay is going to be and whether the game can provide a genuine challenge.
Release date: 2019
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch With the new Contra looking less than stellar it’s nice to see that some developers haven’t
abandoned the kind of frantic, fast-paced, run ‘n gun gameplay that Konami’s once venerated series was known for. Valfraris comes to us courtesy of Steel Mantis, a relatively unknown developer, but one with undeniable talent and potential.
With games like Contral and Turrican stated as sources of inspiration, and with its gorgeous pixel
art visual style, I was already intrigued by Valfaris, but it was the addition of a heavy metal infused
soundtrack that really caught my attention. If the gameplay lives up to the promise the rest of game is showing, we might have something quite excellent in our hands soon.
Release date: 2020
Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of classic JRPGs, from Final Fantasy to Breath of Fire and more, so it
shouldn’t come as a surprise that when I first heard of Cris Tales I was instantly excited for the prospect of playing a new JRPG that takes influence from a classic of the 90s. It also helps that the game itself
is absolutely gorgeous, with a striking art style and beautiful animations. The idea of playing in three
different time periods at the same time is also very interesting and ambitious and I’m definitely curious to see how it’s going to work in action.
I also love the fact that Cris Tales is using a turn-based combat system, for as much as I like the modern, more action-focused real-time battle systems in JRPGs nowadays I still miss playing games that require
more strategy and thinking than fast reactions and reflexes. This could very well be a real sleeper hit, as
it’s been proven several times over with games like Octopath Traveler that there is definitely demand for old-school style JRPGs.
Release date: 2020 Platforms: PC
Strategy games have quietly been experiencing a restoration of sorts in recent years and much of that has been driven by small indie developers creating interesting gameplay experiences, often
based on very familiar gameplay mechanics, but with some added element to make it fresh again. Per Aspera is essentially a base-building strategy game where you are tasked with terraforming Mars.
Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m interested to see just how vast the gameâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s scale is, as the trailer makes it seem like youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going
to be building across the entire planet at the same time, rather than being separated into individual missions, but naturally the trailer could be misleading in that regard. Whatever the case, people looking for new strategy games should keep Per Aspera in mind.
Remnant: From the Ashes
Release date: August 20, 2019 Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
The developer behind Remnant: From the Ashes is Gunfire Games, best known for creating last
year’s Darksiders III, which is at once a reason to keep an eye out for Remnant as well as cause for
concern. The studio has shown that it has the talent to create something truly special, but so far it hasn’t really been able to put everything together in such a way.
Remnant: From the Ashes is a third-person survival action shooter, where the player takes the role
of one of the last remaining humans trying to survive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland overrun by monsters. The element that caught my interest was that the game can actually be played in co-op
with up to two other players. In some ways this seems like a horror version of Borderlands, and quite frankly I’m alright with that.
Songs of Conquest
Release date: Late 2020 Platforms: PC, Mac
It’s honestly quite surprising that more games haven’t tried to copy the Heroes of Might & Magic
formula and give it a slight spin. Songs of Conquest is doing exactly that. It’s a turn-based strategy
game that isn’t even trying to hide its influences, but there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that as long as the thing you’re making turns out to be good.
The two things that initially caught my attention were the game’s visual design and the music that
played in the trailer. Then when I realized it’s basically a new take on old-school Heroes of Might &
Magic I was sold. They are some of my favourite strategy games ever after all. Unfortunately, Songs of
Conquest still has quite a long way to go before it’s finished, so anyone interested will have to wait for at least another year to get their hands on it.
Release date: Summer 2019
Platforms: PC, PS4, NS, Xbox One Rad is a game that could just as easily end up being amazing as it could turn out to be forgettable. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s being developed by Double Fine, a studio with a history of inconsistency, ranging from the exceptional to the
mediocre and anything in between. However, one aspect where Double Fine has always shined is in creating an interesting concept upon which to base its games, and Rad is no different.
Rad is an action rogue-like where the player must traverse a radioactive wasteland in order to bring life back into the world. The central conceit of the game is that the further into the wasteland you travel, the more the various toxins ravage the main character, transforming and mutating them. It seems that in mutating
the player gains new abilities to help them on their journey, but at the cost of becoming less human in the
process. Maybe thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be some kind of trade-off, where you have to give up something for these
new abilities, essentially making the gameplay a series of increasingly difficult decisions as you balance your humanity against the skills you need to survive.
Release date: Fall 2020 Platforms: PC
We’ll end this one with another rogue-like, although one very different from Rad. Griftlands is a deck-building rogue-like in development by Klei Entertainment. Klei is probably best known for
titles such as Mark of the Ninja, Don’t Starve, and Invisible, Inc., giving the company a reputation for always trying out new genres and playstyles.
Griftlands originally started life as an RPG, but after a few years in development the game’s direction was shifted and it became a rogue-like deck building game with a strong focus on narrative. In
Griftlands the player can approach situations in many different ways. You can of course simply fight your way through, but you can also negotiate, steal, or use a number of other methods to get to
your goal. It’ll be interesting to see how Klei manages to make this concept work properly, but since the game is still over a year away from release they definitely have the time to do so.
Were there any interesting, underappreciated games you came across from E3 2019 that werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t included in this list? Share them in the comments below so others can find out about them too. By Taneli Palola
It feels like slowly and quietly publisher
Crystal Crisis is a nice diversion that
universe in the style of Marvel and Disney.
its all-star cast.
Nicalis is building a video game cinematic
Blade Strangers, with its roster of crossover
unfortunately doesn’t take full advantage of
fighters, was the first sign, and puzzle
Crystal Crisis is closest in DNA to Super
characters from many Nicalis-published
puzzle game where Nicalis mascots duke it
game Crystal Crisis, which pulls together titles—including Cave Story, The Binding
of Isaac, and 1001 Spikes—is yet another.
It even introduces playable characters from Nicalis games in development (the video
game equivalent of a backdoor pilot). With
lots of familiar faces, plenty of content, and some clever puzzle-fighting mechanics,
Puzzle Fighter II Turbo. It’s a color-matching out in the background. Players drop crystals in sets of two, lining up identical colors to form square and rectangular clusters that
double attack power. At certain intervals a
spark crystal will appear. Drop a green spark crystal on a green cluster, for example, and
it disappears, filling your rival’s display with
unbreakable “countdown crystals” that
push it toward the left or right wall, it will
together spark crystal combos and it’ll
the far left side and a red crystal on the
revert to normal after several moves. Chain soon be game over for your opponent. This is well-worn territory, but Nicalis
infuses a couple inventive wrinkles into
the formula to make Crystal Crisis stand
out. The first is a wrap-around grid. If you
rotate a two-crystal block horizontally and
split—so you can drop a blue crystal on far right side. This adds a new strategic layer to traditional puzzle mechanics.
Equally strategic are burst moves, powerful offensive and defensive moves unique to each of the title’s 20 playable characters. Princess Solange’s offensive burst move,
Deluxe Countdown, changes opponents’
regular crystals to countdown crystals and
Reflection is a total game-changer. It’s no
burst move, Atomic Rotation, allows
increases them to 9. Astro Boy’s defensive players to rotate sections of their grid to
coincidence Akuji sits at the end of arcade
create clusters and set up chains.
Arcade mode comes in many different
The drawback of burst moves is that
standard puzzle mode; survival, an endless
they’re hardly balanced. Akuji (Akuji the Demon), for example, has a devastating
offensive burst called Demon Reflection,
which swaps all the crystals on your grid with all the crystals on the enemy’s grid. Now, some of the more powerful bursts require a full energy meter where lesser
maneuvers require only one third of the
meter, but even so something like Demon
flavors and difficulty levels. There’s a
gauntlet filled with increasingly-difficult enemies; inline, a variant where players must match colors in lines of three; tag team, where you swap between two
characters; and memory, a challenging mode where you’ll need to memorize color combinations as each crystal’s
identity is obscured once it lands. Inline is perhaps the best mode, despite (or
perhaps because of) its simplicity. A pared-
leaderboards to track your progress (or lack
the randomness of spark crystals and
of your energy in multiplayer matches, as
down match-three game, it strips away
momentum-killing burst moves and focuses on skill-based matching mechanics.
thereof). You may end up spending most
the game’s AI, even in the “normal” arcade modes, can prove daunting.
Most modes are available in local and online
The big draw alongside arcade mode
with buddies at home or with players from
disappointingly bland. It’s just a sequence
multiplayer, so you can pick your poison around the world. Online you’ll choose ranked or unranked matches, play with
friends, or set custom rules. There are also
is story mode, which ends up being
of 1v1 battles tied together with some
character introductions and an unexciting plot about a powerful red crystal.
Essentially it’s arcade mode with a
For folks who’ve enjoyed Tetris and Puyo
many crossover characters and fan service
longed for a return to Super Puzzle Fighter
MacGuffin. It’s a shame, really, in light of so opportunities. There is some replay value— choosing certain characters will create
branching paths—but apart from that there’s no reason to return, minus narrator Peter Cullen’s dulcet voice.
In addition to multiple modes, Crystal Crisis includes lots of special artwork, several
unlockable characters, and many in-game achievements that will keep you coming back to achieve 100 percent.
Artistically, the game won’t win any medals, but its clean graphics, meaty character models, and unobtrusive UI go a long
way. The only technical quirk: weirdly long loading times. It can sometimes take 20
seconds to boot up story mode, enter an online bout, or wait for the next match
in arcade mode. It’s hardly the end of the world, but it’s still a constant, nagging
feature of the game—strange because
it’s not like Crystal Crisis is pushing the technological envelope.
Puyo games on Switch, or for those who’ve II Turbo, this is the game for you. It’s not
as refined or as well-paced as some of the stalwarts of the genre, and its story mode is a let-down, but it’s still a clever puzzle-
fighting hybrid with many different modes and lots of fodder for fans of games like
The Binding of Isaac, 1001 Spikes, and Code of Princess EX. It’ll be fun to see where the Nicalis initiative goes from here.
By Evan Norris
Gato Roboto Not every game needs to be ground-
breaking or state-of-the-art. Sometimes
all you need is a great formula and a cute
the Metroidvania camp, let down only by its short running time and low difficulty.
cat. Such is the situation with Gato Roboto,
Gato Roboto embraces that most
of that franchise: 2D action-platforming,
responds to a distress call on an alien
a Metroid clone that leans into the best
labyrinthine maps, hidden power-ups, and
memorable boss fights. It’s a solid entry in
foundational of sci-fi beginnings—a ship world—but flips the script by sidelining
the heroic soldier and elevating his feline
companion. While the ship’s captain is stuck
upgrades, and climactic boss encounters. The
is free to roam the surface and depths of a
mech suit and some flexible (if borderline
in his crashed vessel, his adorable cat Kiki
mysterious world, fighting hostile life forms and
automated defenses, discovering and upgrading a Samus Aran-esque power suit, and, ultimately,
unraveling a surprisingly sinister and sentimental story. Overall, Gato Roboto finds a meaningful mix of genre subversion and sarcasm on one
hand and pathos on the other. Pro tip: be sure to load your saved game after the credits roll for a cute epilogue.
Apart from its unusual hero, Gato Roboto sticks closely with the Metroidvania formula. It’s a 2D action-adventure game with platforming, real-
time combat, large maps, secret rooms, optional
action is fun and fluid, thanks to Kiki’s agile
loose) controls. Exploration is fun and never
tedious, due to developer Doinksoft’s efficient use of space and shortcuts. Finally, for the
completionists in the audience, there are plenty of hidden health upgrades and cassettes, which provide different color palettes.
Those palettes, which come in everything
from “grape” to “Meowtrix”, are a welcome
sight, especially because Gato Roboto, despite extracting a lot of personality from its 8-bit graphics, suffers from a monochromatic
aesthetic. It’s just not as visually-rich as other Metroidvania titles on the market.
Its two-color scheme notwithstanding,
Gato Roboto manages to evoke a sense of place across its several biomes. Heat
a cassette, but this is the exception to the rule.
lines and plumes of fire dominate the
All that said, Doinksoft does locate an
pools of water define the aqueducts.
extraordinary collection of boss battles.
furnace area, while leaky pipes and deep In addition, each area comes with its
own unique challenges and bosses. In
underwater sections, Kiki can enter and
pilot a submersible. In the claustrophobic ventilation area, Kiki must disengage her power suit and travel unarmed through monster-infested vents. There are a lot
of different gameplay experiences in the game despite its short length.
Indeed, the biggest drawback to Gato
appropriate level of difficulty with its
Together, these fights are the highlight
of the game. There are showdowns with
angry, sentient furnaces (which look like
something out of Banjo-Kazooie), a battle against a flame-throwing mech over a pool of deadly lava, and an undersea
skirmish with a multi-tentacled robot, to name a few. All are taxing episodes that demand patience, quick reflexes, and,
sometimes, more than a few attempts.
Roboto is that it’s over all too soon.
Gato Roboto is everything you’d expect
are varied, they’re relatively small and
everything you’d want. Movement is fast
While the maps and environments
digestible—leading to an adventure
that could be completed in three to four
hours. Furthermore, the game sits on the easy side, where regular monsters and
platforming segments pose little trouble. There is one difficult section where Kiki
must use her spin jump to bounce off four suspended mines in a row, to reach
from a Metroidvania and, importantly,
and fluid, maps are vast and littered with fun secrets, boss battles are memorable
and tough, and the game’s locations have a personality despite 8-bit limitations.
With more substance and trickier tasks, it
could be a new classic. Even without, it’s a fine example of the sub-genre.
By Evan Norris
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AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY: Hyperdome: facebook.com/GametradersHyperdome
Check our past Live issues HERE: issuu.com/gametraders
FIND YOUR NEAREST STORE... South Australia Modbury..................................................(08) 8265 7283 Salisbury..................................................(08) 8281 0966 Seaford.....................................................(08) 8327 1966 ACT Hyperdome.............................................(02) 6293 3751
New South Wales Gametraders LIVE Penrith.........(02) 4731 3894 Blacktown................................. (02) 9676 1411 Macarthur Square (Campbelltown) (02) 4620 0750 Parramatta................................ (02) 9633 2833 Gametraders LIVE Hornsby...............(02) 9477 6477
For more info visit: www.gametraders.com.au Queensland Chermside...............................................(07) 3861 5000