● Nintendo are running a free games campaign from 26 April until 30 September where purchasers of a 3DS LL can choose between one (in total) of two top games which will change monthly. The first games offered will be Youkai Watch and Animal Crossing: New Leaf.
● Arc System Works announced the puzzler Slice~It! (¥500) for the eShop next week. Also announced is 3D OutRun (¥823) which features two new tunes, Nursery Rhyme Fun ♪ Play With Musical Instruments (¥100) with a sailor seagull, Typhoon April (¥200) which is the latest in the Petit Novell series, Pet Penguin 3D (¥500) which is the localisation of 101 Penguin Pets 3D and the Virtual Console release of Final Fantasy III (¥514).
● There will be three ultra limited edition Pokémon 3DS LL’s given away at three J-League teams home matches. The clubs (and colours!) are Marinos (white), Urawa Reds (red), and FC Tokyo (blue).
● 3DS hardware sales have slowed down post tax increase and pre Golden Week to just 24,044. Youkai Watch continues to sell and is now upwards of 700K! On the eShop Pokémon Battle Trozei continues to dominate and has risen to #7 on the All Bestsellers (3DS only).
● The week after next is looking busy on the eShop too with Alien Escape? Derudederude (¥500) from G-Style, both Mighty Flip Champs and Mighty Milky Way (unpriced) as DSiWare, Star ★ Series: Magic Bubble (¥300) which is the localisation of Dress To Play: Magic Bubbles and finally Star ★ Series: 3D Darts (¥500) which is the localisation of Darts Up 3D.
● Future eShop games announced include finally Cave Story+ which is scheduled for Summer, Star ★ Series: 3D Soccer which is the localisation of Soccer Up 3D and due on 28 May and finally the localisation of Governor of Poker due ‘soon’.
● The only other news being Tomodachi Collection: New Life turning one with Nintendo confirming SpotPass support until the end of the second year and Rune Factory 4 achieving 200,000 total sales with a limited half-priced eShop offer on the game.
● In site news I’ve updated the Schedule, Designs and Reviews pages (found by clicking the three black stripes towards the top of the screen) and reviewed SKYPEACE (6/10), Nekketsu High School Soccer Club: World Cup Edition (5/10), Super Donkey Kong GB (8/10), Sagittarius A-Star (7/10) and Tank 3D (6/10) with at least a couple more planned for this Easter weekend! And thanks everybody for the follows, likes, reblogs, comments and mentions etc - ‘tis much appreciated!
Japanese 3DS developers seem to have a thing for tanks what with the two super simple and super selling Touch Battle Tank games and Keiji Inafune’s Bugs Vs. Tanks and now Tank 3D from perennial eShop publishers Arc System Works. Released earlier in April for ¥700 Tank 3D aesthetically looks like Bugs vs. Tanks (albeit sans bugs, and Nazis!) although plays very much like a 3D version of Touch Battle Tank would.
With fifty missions in story mode Tank 3D is rich in content. The mission objectives are simple enough for the non-Japanese speaker with either a time limit or huge arrow depicting what needs to be done, otherwise just destroy all the other tanks (the radar is on the bottom screen with obviously gameplay taking place on the upper screen). The story is simple enough: regain the Paradise City from the Devil Tank Army.
Choose from three tanks (these vary from the durable to the long shot to the slow but powerful choices) and, er, fire away! Tank controllage is as sluggish as controlling a tank probably would be but it feels more like it’s done for simulation effect than the failure of the developers. You can either choose for ‘lock-on’ to be Auto or Manual where I found automatic lock-on to be totally effective. Each level boasts various buildings and trees.
The scenery is for far more than decorative purposes as they enable some retro Metal Gear-esque stealth. Tactics throughout are entirely up-to the individual player. I prefer to push in and pull out before release although I can confirm that this method isn’t without risk. Innuendos aside; Tank 3D is often a very fun, rewarding and solid gaming experience but it isn’t without several faults that affect the overall enjoyment of the game.
Whilst the difficulty curve is perfectly adequate the inability to move within some openings in-between buildings and trees is wholly frustrating (WHEN YOUR TANK CAN PHYSICALLY FIT DAMMIT) and several objectives involve Japanese text pop-ups at the most inopportune time obstructing crucial vision. Ultimately the game becomes highly repetitive with fifty all too similar levels although these criticisms aren’t to imply Tank 3D is strictly one-dimensional.
With bosses after every ten levels (sadly these aren’t overly exaggerated super huge Contra Spirits type bosses but they are super powerful) and with the stars (up-to five per mission) gained from completing each mission you can level up in a light-RPG style way. Overall Tank 3D is a great little eShop game to pick-up-and-play and with many hours of gameplay offered with fifty missions although just like with all three tanks choices: each good point is counteracted with a bad.
Review by Bri Bri. For more information on Tank 3D go to http://www.arcsystemworks.jp/arcstyle/tank3d/
Sagittarius A-Star -or SA* for short- is a new DSiWare vertical shoot-em-up by LukPlus. Boasting astounding title screen music upon loading the game and just a few options (all in English): play on the upper or lower screen and remap your shoot and attack buttons with the only other options upon pressing play being to replay your highest score or training mode (play with 99 lives the levels unlocked but no chance of progressing).
It’s a rarity to being thrust straight into a game in this day and age and Sagittarius A-Star is just rife with old school fundamentals with no unnecessary storyline, no quests nor filler/padding content and just three aims: kick ass, score big and progress. Even assumed criticism doesn’t hold much validity with the lack of power-ups for once less of an issue due to the awesome Attack Attack feature which literally slices through the opposition.
With the power-up situation dismissed the other two issues I have with portable shooters are sprite size and lame bosses. Fortunately SA* has both beefy sprites (and a TON of bullets to avoid) and some of the most impressive bosses of this (well actually last!) generation. It’s a shame the game isn’t a 3DS original as the graphics are truly impressive and could work fantastically in 3D and not being the polygonic jagged messes from a lot of DS titles.
The aspects that set Sagittarius A-Star apart from other shooters is the aforementioned Attack Attack feature where your ship rotates (although fires only vertically) with the Attack button allowing you to thrust in that direction cutting through all enemies in your path enabling high-score maximisations. The training mode is also an ace addition enabling less hardcore gamers (hiya!) a chance to playthrough levels without getting their sorry asses kicked.
It’s probably human nature to glance at the review score before -or even instead of- reading the review and perhaps in support of the score (WHICH IS STILL A HIGH SCORE DAMMIT!) is that the very lack of options that help make the game as instant as it is miss the one option that would make this reviewer enjoy the game that bit more (which is of-course a lower difficulty setting) although hardcore shmup fans and fans of old-school arcade gameplay should definitely check out probably the DSiWare of the year.
Review by Bri Bri. For more information on Sagittarius A-Star go to http://www.lukplus.co.jp/sagittarius-a-star/
After releasing Dress To Play: Cute Witches in Japan last week as Star ★ Series: Cute Witches, Starsign have announced three new localisations. The first being Star ★ Series: Magic Bubble (which was Dress To Play: Magic BubbleS) which is similar to Cute Witch except you can also dress a boy (yay!), there is a puzzle game added plus a super penguin! It’s released on 30 April for ¥300. Bought!
The second game is Star ★ Series: 3D Darts (which was Darts Up 3D) and is (obviously) a 3D darts game but where you get to use your Mii! Again yay! And again the release date is 30 April but the price will be ¥500. Maybe bought!
The final game is Star ★ Series: 3D Soccer (which was Soccer Up 3D) and which I already own. The game isn’t too great but does allow you to play with your Mii (unlocked after I think two hours of playing). This will be released on 28 May nearer to the World Cup and will again be ¥500. Already bought!
Edit: also announced (through Teyon) is a localisation of Governor of Poker. No date nor price as of yet.
As well as finally being confirmed for Europe in May I can now confirm that the excellent Cave Story+ is coming to the Japanese 3DS eShop sometime this Summer. Can’t wait! No definitive date nor price as of yet but I’ll keep you updated!
Super Donkey Kong GB (Donkey Kong Land) is not the Game Boy version of the Super Famicom’s Super Donkey Kong (Donkey Kong Country) as mostly assumed but a brand new Donkey Kong adventure based upon the excellent 16-bit platformer and is acknowledged as a sequel I’m the game’s plot. Sharing the same ore-rendered character models of its big brother which unfortunately haven’t aged as well as what they looked back in the day.
Graphical commentary could easily descend into whining with Nintendo’s seeming inability to add a Super Game Boy mode to its 3DS Virtual Console games which would probably aid Super Donkey Kong GB perhaps more than any other. Whining aside, Donkey Kong’s second Game Boy entry (after the awesome Donkey Kong ‘94) is just like the 16-bit prequel in being one of the most ambitious titles on the screen, not only aesthetically but also in content.
With 34 levels and the ability to play as both Donkey and Diddy Kong (they have the clichéd attributes of Donkey being slow but strong with Diddy fast but less powerful) plus the inclusion of the excellent rhinoceros (Rambi) and ostrich (Expresso) certainly make the ¥411 price tag seem a steal. Gameplay itself is similar to where Retro is with the series today with the same rolling into enemies, swinging across the screen and swimming levels as today.
The game also shares similar mechanics to the Super Mario series with the bananas acting as stars (collect 100 to receive an extra life), balloons as one-up mushrooms and even the buddy barrels effectively working similar to a super mushroom. Super Mario comparisons are perhaps more relevant as both series shared a trilogy on the Nintendo’s first dedicated portable with Rare’s effort comparing extremely favourably especially in regards to content and challenge.
Playing on the 3DS is somewhat superior to playing on a GBA SP (original Game Boy is always a no-no in comparison) due to the save states eradicating the broken save system requiring collecting K, O, N and G although sadly the often confusing backgrounds with the lack of colour palette make the Super Game Boy version the supreme way to play. These messy graphics are the only real downer of an otherwise excellent platformer that is just about as good as Donkey Kong Returns 3D at a fraction of the price.
Review by Bri Bri. For more information on Super Donkey Kong GB go to http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/eshop/vc/ra3j/index.html
01. Pokémon Battle Trozei
02. Bike Rider DX2: Galaxy
03. Bird Mania Winter 3D
04. Tank 3D
05. Urban Trial Freestyle
06. Bike Rider DX
07. Simple DL Series Vol. 24
08. Mario Party: Island Tour
09. Bravely Default -For The Sequel-
10. Youkai Watch
11. Coro Pata
12. Pokémon AR Searcher
13. 9-in-1 Arcade Game Collection
15. Soriti Horse
16. Super Donkey Kong GB
17. Chat Chat Everyone
18. Super Mario Bros. 3
19. 3D Fantasy Zone: Opa-Opa Bros.
20. Puzzle & Dragons Z
Where as the original Famicom Nekketsu High School soccer game featured a tournament between high schools and the localisation featured international teams; the Game Boy version is based on the localised Nintendo World Cup. Known in Japan as Nekketsu High School Soccer Club: World Cup Edition and again featuring the Kunio-kun list of characters the aim is to fight (literally) through twelve teams in order to become the champions of the world.
Essentially playing the same as the Famicom version (reviewed at http://www.japanese3ds.com/post/80967999552) where you control just one player in a team of six (although as captain you have the say whether in your teammates pass or shoot when they have the ball or tackle when they don’t) which definitely makes the game(s) stand out amongst other titles (apart from perhaps Capcom’s Mega Man Soccer and SNK’s Soccer Brawl).
Other than the tactics from being appointed captain Nekketsu High School Soccer is as far removed from a simulation game as you would expect with the only aim being to progress in the competition, and with no referee sprite you are free to use your studs or hands on other players as they are in return. Each match is two halves of five minutes real-time total and each team and pitch have different graphical subtleties which add some welcome variation.
The Game Boy version unfortunately reinforces the often erroneous perception that portable games are a stripped down version of the superior home console effort with the game lacking the fantastic cut scenes of the Famicom version (the NES localisation also lacked them) although each country features an often borderline stereotypical image and tune. The main theme isn’t as catchy however and despite some good sprites in screenshots the graphics are also inferior
Whilst these sprites are bigger in size to accommodate the smaller screen; in this game’s case it is unnecessary as you are constantly running around trying to get your player to appear on the screen and when up against a team that utilises many passes often get lost. The flickering of the original also becomes unbearable here when several characters are onscreen together. And whilst the review can be surmised as the same “fun but flawed” of its big brother, the whole game’s necessity is negated upon the availability of the Famicom version.
Review by Bri Bri. For more information on Nekketsu High School Soccer Club go to http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/eshop/vc/rcaj/index.html
G-Style have dated Alien Escape? Deruderuderude (website http://www.gstyle.co.jp/3ds/deru/index.html) for 30 April where the aim of the game is to escape (as an alien) from your spaceship! Priced at ¥500, there will also be a playable demo. The other two games are Intergrow localising the DSiWare Mighty Flip Champs and Mighty Milky Way again for 30 April but no price as of yet. And in other eShop mews: there will be a demo for World Soccer Winning Eleven 2014: Aoki Samurai no Chousen up soon too!
Tomodachi Collection: New Life was released in Japan exactly twelve months ago today and my original plan to celebrate the anniversary was to re-review the game on the eve of its Western release (6 June) but since that has already been done (10/10!) I thought it’d be more effective to recap a full day of Tomodachi Life. I’ll add to this post though-out the day:-
6:52: The day always starts with me going to the fountain area to collect payment from the Miis. President Iwata is the first and all dressed (by himself, not by me!) in a jester outfit! ¥20,120 is collected. Enough for four retail titles! The fountain area then becomes a foods tall with Mattman selling some deep-fried concoction with ketchup for a reduced price. Next stop the fashion emporium with today’s item being a homemade robot looking affair. I like the green!
Final stop before bed (real-life bed!)! is check out the Miis! My Mii is asleep and dreaming of a giant sea monster Brion! The only Miis with issues are Tymek (wearing his little hamster number) wanting to be Tomodachis with Brion which goes well and Mattman playing guess the Mii. I won some lipstick but wanted the teddy bear! I’ll feed the Miis later when more are awake. Thanks for following!
12:26: Marc is selling a pink girl’s top in the open grass area, I’m guessing not from his personal collection whilst Tymek is supping coffee in Tobakaido (the café). Next stop - check the status update of Bri Bri (my Mii) who is at President Iwata’s!. One favourite meal (sad to say it’s not vegetarian) and a cup of coffee later and I’m now the proud owner of a green robot outfit! Meanwhile Marc, Ryan, Ikay and Louie are all hanging out playing Wii U!
KL wants a new hat and is adequately impressed with his monkey hood. My youngest son Dalekid is playing 3DS with Ryan (who sure gets around a bit!) and the President and wants to sneeze. I fail with the feather:-/ Ikay demands food and receives soup, paella and a CD player! PeePants Is on the phone whilst President Iwata and Ryan are both putting on make-up together!
13:39: I’m at the fun fair! President Iwata is shocked by his weight! KL is dancing hilariously to his stereo! I love this game! OMG My Mii is going up in the big wheel with his best friend Thay! I think Thay saw me! I’ll play again in a couple of hours for the retro JRPG!
15:00: Retro RPG time with QLee, Ikay, Thay and PeePants! We had a few issues with the coffee cup before battling the dungeon boss (a high heel). Thay followed by QLee are first to perish. Eek! PeePants has used up his MP (Ikay hasn’t any magic) and they are reduced to just 13 and 11 HP respectively but several sword blows later and the high heel is defeated!
17:09: At 5pm the fair closes with a stall opening up with a mystery ¥5,000 grab bag. Sadly it’s not a Super Potato grab bag. PeePants is the seller. First item a toy robot (sadly it serves no function in-game), a hamster cage room decoration and a glass of water! Random! Next stop the Mii apartment block - Brion wants to be Tomodachis with Mattman which again goes well and I get a snow globe for my efforts!
18:38: After giving Ikay some pills for his headache and it’s time for the word ending game where competing Miis have to end a word or something like that. Team Ikay (with Marc and President Iwata) take on Team Tymek (with Thay and Zanreo). Team Ikay win! I think PeePants is dead. Zanreo is playing with her new pet dog, KL utters some obscenities and that’s all for now!
4:36: My last visit to my Tomodachi Island for the day and PeePants is indeed alive as he’s listening to music with my Mii anf Thay! KL is having a hide-and-seek dream where all the hiders fall from a tree, QLee is having the revolving door dream with Ryan hiding behind the door whilst Vanian dreams she’s a keychain on a backpack in the woods. As you do!
Nintendo have announced that they will be supporting Tomodachi Collection: New Life for the entire duration of its second year of release with twenty four special goods delivered via SpotPass to the game until 15 April 2015 which should theoretically complete all colours of all clothing. More information at http://www.nintendo.co.jp/3ds/ec6j/haishin/index.html
To celebrate 200,000 sales (retail and digital) Marvelous AQL are offering Rune Factory 4 for half-price on the 3DS eShop from 23 April-07 May at just ¥2,685. A new introductory video is also at http://youtu.be/vkCTX5spBjk
After the excellent (but too short) SKYPEACE, Sonic Powered are set to beat even their ¥300 entry price with Nursery Rhyme Fun ♪ Play With Musical Instruments coming to 3DS next week for just ¥100!. The game is obviously directed at children (and me!) and involves tapping a musical instrument to the nursery rhyme with tambourine, trumpet, triangle and drum included. Five types of nursery rhymes are included and it’s presented by an adorable sailor seagull. All kinds of win!
01./02. Youkai Watch (28.701 / 708.675)
02./01. Mario Party: Island Tour (28.407 / 292.997)
03./00. Crayon Shin-Chan: (16.158 / NEW)
04./03. Kirby Triple Deluxe (11.106 / 566.939)
05./04. Fossil Fighters: Infinite Gear (5.807 / 142.467)
06./05. Puzzle & Dragons Z (5.318 / 1.371.557)
07./06. Pokemon X & Y (5.185 / 4.339.972)
08./09. Monster Hunter 4 (4.396 / 3.439.347)
09./08. Dragon Quest Monsters 2 (4.086 / 723.024)
10./07. Harvest Moon: Linking The New World (4.032 / 198.519)
11./11. Hero Bank (3.962 / 32.791)
12./10. Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3.393 / 4.121.946)
Hardware just 24,044 but still above Vita and double that of PS4! Youkai Watch above 700K! Girls Mode, new Detective Conan and Ace Attorney 123 next week!
Next week there will be two ways to play Final Fantasy III on the 3DS with the 3D remake on the NDS and now the original Famicom game on the 3DS Virtual Console. The latter costing just ¥514. Originally released in 1990 coming with awesome character designs and an amazing soundtrack but also with one of the steepest difficulty curves, some unforgiving gameplay and necessary grinding. I must’ve put easily 60-70 hours into the original Famicom cartridge finally beating it last year. One day I aim to beat the NDS cartridge but first impressions were less than favourable due to the vastly inferior soundtrack!