Vapour Ware (Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – 3DS)

Over a life time of gaming, I’ve reduced myself to sticking with my favourites. While the intention of the developers may have differed, when it comes to RPGs, I build a party and ride it to the end. This works for me, and when you factor in grinding, this way of playing never became an issue.

Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. doesn’t let me get away with that. It boasts a cast three dozen strong, and it’s best to take each member’s strengths and weaknesses into account before throwing them into a mission. STEAM‘s difficulty is brutal, a game that isn’t afraid to flood the player with enemy forces, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be butting against an endless stream of roadblocks. What Intelligent Systems’ latest taught me is the importance of understanding when the tide has turned.

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Smash ‘N’ the Boys (Super Smash Bros. For Nintendo 3DS – Review – 3DS)

It’s funny what some new characters and stages can do to me.

While it would ignorant to believe that is all the latest Smash Bros. game has to offer, there no denying that it’s the rampant fan service that draws us in.

With that said, it isn’t the sight of Zero Suit Samus beating the tar out of Donkey Kong that keeps us playing. While these grand announcements leading up to Smash Bros.‘ release kept the hype train chugging along, it’s the content of the game that will keep me playing til the end of time.

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Laughs, Love, And a Loss of Luster (Tomodachi Life -3DS – Review)

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While not unhappy with my purchase, I find it difficult to come out and say “Yes, make Tomodachi Life yours.” The whole experience reminds me of the spat of films released in the late 90s that originated from 5-minute Saturday Night Live sketches. There, much like with Tomodachi Life, these great ideas were stretched and pulled to form something larger. What was once novel becomes repetitive as that original flash of brilliance is recycled over and over.
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Worry Wart

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When Nintendo’s financials become a conversation piece, the discussion hops from one extreme to another. What unites them all is how far in the future they would occur (if at all). The theories range from going third party, becoming a handheld only company, and a portable that streams to the television. No matter how absurd or realistic, the fact remains these assumptions are years away

But what about right now? How does a $336 million operating loss affect them in the present?

What worries me is the small stuff, things I’d like to see rectified or improved that won’t do much to improve their finances.

I think of Miiverse, and if it will be allowed the chance to grow and transform. Miiverse doesn’t move systems, and as it stands is completely functional. But could it be faster? Could it become a messaging service on the 3DS? Definitely, but when time and resources could be better spent on projects Nintendo deems as important, that kind of stuff gets pushed to the side.

With the 3DS riding high, is it safe enough for Nintendo to pull resources away from that platform and move them to the Wii U? Or will Nintendo see their handheld as the greener pasture, and push even harder for its continued success?

It’s funny how I’m writing nothing but questions. However, I think that’s a good thing. I like to think I’m a positive person; singing the praises of what I enjoy, while ignoring what I don’t. These questions show doubt, it means that I obviously don’t know all the answers (or pretend to). That mystery keeps me hopeful. I’ll do my part, buy the games I want, play them, and talk about them. There’s nothing more I can do than that, really.

What I’m seeing is a lot of confidence in what boils down to nothing more than speculation. Whether it’s from Nintendo apologists, haters, and those in between, everyone seems to know where Nintendo is heading. I have no idea how to run a company of that size, so why pretend? It’s just as absurd as Mr. Fils-Aime hopping on Twitter and telling me how to be a father of two, and where my life is headed.

I suppose I’d rather let these events run their course. I can’t spend my time worrying about Nintendo’s fate when I can just enjoy myself with their efforts now. And when the now consists of games like Super Mario 3D World and A Link Between Worlds, Nintendo is making it super hard to focus on anything else.

Eight Weird & Wonderful DSiWare Recommendations

The DSi Shop was never as glamourous as the eShop. Belonging exclusively to a physical iteration of the DS was just the start of its problems, with its layout and speed remaining an issue throughout its life. But, flying in the face of all this drama is the fact that good games remain! I’m not here to just tell you what the ‘Top X DSiWare Games That’ll Rock Your Butt’ are (someone else took care of that), but instead I thought I’d share some of the more obscure titles. They are still top notch, and I’d put them against your Shantae‘s any day of the week, but maybe you just never heard of them. Maybe some dope DS game came out earlier that week and you never thought to punish yourself by loading up the DSi Shop.

Let’s kick this thing off.

Maestro! Green Groove by Pastagames, $4.99/500 Points

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Now this is a treat for rhythm-action fans. Developed by the folks at Pastagames (Arkedo Series – Pixel, Pix’N Love Rush), Maestro is a musical platformer, comparable to HarmoKnight. It does everything right as far as my preferences for the genre, a highlight being Maestro employs one mechanic throughout its entirety. As opposed to something like Rhythm Heaven which is several mini games all using different mechanics, Maestro delivers a single mechanic that grows as you play. As Presto, that pink bird you see up there, players strum and tap the touch screen in tune to the music. The soundtrack is composed of interesting takes on classical music, which sits with me better than an all original arrangement that may have its fair share of clunkers. Presto is constantly in motion, with the player controlling his path by swiping the strings he runs on. Collectible fruit litters the path, but there’s also strings to strum in time with the music, as well as enemies to tap. It works wonderfully, and the difficulty ramps up quickly; Pastagames clearly doesn’t want you to butcher the works of Beethoven and get away with it. As lovely as Maestro‘s soundscapes are, its visuals are just as arresting.

Glow Artisan by Powerhead Games, $4.99/500 Points

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When browsing a digital games store, there’s certainly no shortage of puzzle games. While you’re drowning in a sea of ‘match three’ puzzlers, grab hold of Glow Artisan and it will pull you back to shore with its rippling, tanned muscles.

Glow Artisan manages to take something as simple as color mixing, turn it into something complex, but still keep it fun as all hell. On the top screen, players are presented with a 5×5 grid of coloured squares. Using the touch screen, the player is asked to recreate that image. By sliding from left to right and top to bottom, the player creates a row of coloured boxes. You are able to choose the colour, and by overlapping one with another, create a new colour altogether. Where things get complex is when the erase tool is thrown into the mix. The collection of squares you’re attempting to duplicate will have empty spots on its grid, you achieve this by use of the erase tool. What’s tricky is that you must erase an entire row or column, so that particular empty spot on the grid takes some special planning. Where and when you place your row becomes a science, and the game’s difficulty ramps up immediately. It’s insanely complex, but there’s just nothing else like it. As hard as it is, the game pulls at your logical and creative sides so perfectly that you can’t help but fall into that ‘just one more try’ syndrome. If you think I’m crazy, know that Nintendo saw the quality in Glow Artisan as well, allowing Powerhead Games to participate in the ‘Developer Showcase’ portion of WarioWare DIY.

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