Oddworld: Soulstorm Collector’s Odditions Available for Pre-Order

Microids and Oddworld Inhabitants have unveiled the retail editions of Oddworld: Soulstorm.

The PlayStation®5 and PlayStation®4 physical editions of Oddworld: Soulstorm will be available at retailers on July 6. Pre-orders for the Day One Oddition and Collector’s Oddition are now open at participating retailers.

A selection of retailers will offer a set of exclusive digital content, available through download codes for every preorder.

Here is the list of preorder bonuses:

  • Oddworld: Soulstorm’s Original Soundtrack: listen to Oddworld: Soulstorm’s epic & atmospheric soundtrack.
  • Digital Oddworld Artbook: discover the dark world of Oddworld and its unique art style!
Odwworld Soulstorm PS4 PS5 Pre-Order Bonuses
Pre-order bonuses include a digital soundtrack and artbook.

Discover the Day One and Collector Oddition’s content, both available on July 6 on PS5 and PS4!

Odwworld Soulstorm Collector's Edition Oddition Day One Steelbook PS4 PS5 Pre-Order Bonuses
Includes a snazzy steelbook. Everyone loves a steelbook.

The Day One Oddition will feature the game in a collectible metal case.

Odwworld Soulstorm Collector's Edition Oddition Day One Steelbook Abe Figure Artbook PS4 PS5 Pre-Order Bonuses
Wouldn’t you just love having a little Abe creeping around your house?

The Collector’s Oddition consists of:

  • A Unique Collector’s Box
  • Oddworld: Soulstorm’s standard edition for PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5
  • A collectible metal case
  • An exclusive 22cm figurine of Abe, Mudokon hero
  • A premium 160-page artbook by Pix’n Love Publishing
  • An exclusive Mining Company keychain
  • Three art prints
  • Ancient Mudokon Tribal stickers
  • Abe’s hand tattoo

About Oddworld: Soulstorm

Oddworld: Soulstorm is the bigger, badder, bolder action-adventure platforming sequel to the renowned video game series, and the explosive second installment in the quintology. You play as Abe, the reluctant Mudokon hero whose actions sparked an uprising and now must lead his fellow Mudokons in their fight for freedom against the Magog Cartel and the planet’s ruling power.

Abe will struggle for survival against the planet’s ruling and well-funded power. They are armed with all means of oppression, from propaganda to biological to ruthless deadly force.

Explore massive cinematic scale and 2.9D environments filled with breathtaking visuals. Scavenge for supplies, craft weapons, arm your followers, solve puzzles, and attempt to safely deliver all of Abe’s 1,000+ followers to freedom.

Once pre-orders are live I’ll be updating this post with the links.
PS4 Collector’s Edition at EB: https://www.ebgames.com.au/product/ps4/266680-oddworld-soulstorm-collectors-edition
PS5 Collector’s Edition at EB: https://www.ebgames.com.au/product/ps5/267010-oddworld-soulstorm-collectors-edition
PS4 Day One Edition at EB: https://www.ebgames.com.au/product/ps4/266679-oddworld-soulstorm-day-one-edition
PS5 Day One Edition at EB: https://www.ebgames.com.au/product/ps5/267009-oddworld-soulstorm-day-one-edition
PS5 Collector’s Edition at JB: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/playstation-5-oddworld-soulstorm-collectors-oddition?queryID=611ce842543192454aca888e5c6f3a63&objectID=517347
PS4 Collector’s Edition at JB: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/playstation-4-oddworld-soulstorm-collectors-oddition?queryID=611ce842543192454aca888e5c6f3a63&objectID=517348
PS4 Day One Edition at JB: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/playstation-4-oddworld-soulstorm-day-one-oddition?queryID=611ce842543192454aca888e5c6f3a63&objectID=517350
PS5 Day One Edition at JB: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/playstation-5-oddworld-soulstorm-day-one-oddition?queryID=611ce842543192454aca888e5c6f3a63&objectID=517349

Undertale and Octopath Traveler Coming to Xbox Gamepass

In an announcement overnight, Microsoft has revealed the next set of games arriving on Xbox Gamepass. The list includes popular titles like Nier: Automata, Star Wars: Squadrons, Yakuza 6: The Song of Life, indie hit Undertale, and my personal favourite of the bunch, the first game in Square Enix HD-2D series: Octopath Traveler. A brilliant lineup of games with some excellent titles!

The full release schedule is as follows:

Week of March 15: 

·       UndertaleAVAILABLE NOW (Console and PC)
·       Empire of SinMarch 18 (Console and PC)
·       Nier: AutomataMarch 18 (PC)
·       Star Wars: SquadronsMarch 18 (Console)
·       Torchlight IIIMarch 18 (PC)

Week of March 22: 

·       Genesis NoirMarch 25 (Console and PC)
·       Octopath TravelerMarch 25 (Console and PC)
·       Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire – Ultimate EditionMarch 25 (PC)
·       SupralandMarch 25 (PC)
·       Yakuza 6: The Song of LifeMarch 25 (Console and PC)

Week of March 29: 

·       OutridersApril 1 (Console)
·       Narita BoyMarch 30 (Console and PC)

For more information, including news about the latest Xbox Game Pass Quests and DLC, head over to Xbox Wire. The official announcement can be found here: Coming Soon to Xbox Game Pass

Natsuki Chronicles Review – PS4/PS5

The shoot ’em up is still alive and well and flying guns-blazing out of bullet hell.

It’s time to go back in time to an era where sweaty teenagers were jammed into dimly-lit arcades. To a simpler time of basic controls, where a joystick and a couple of buttons was really all you needed. When depleting credits either meant you scrounged for more coins, gave up, or faced the odds through an onslaught of bullets.

This was the age of the shoot ’em up (affectionally termed the shmup). A truly iconic genre and a classic staple of The Golden Age of Video Games. Games that feature the player facing off against waves of enemies, screens littered with bullets, an array of ship upgrades, weapon enhancements, and massive boss battles.

Shoot Em Up Gradius 1942 Ikaruga
Left to right: Gradius III, 1942, Ikaruga.

You’ll probably be familiar with games like the classic Gradius or 1942, or more recent titles like Geometry Wars and the critically-acclaimed Ikaruga. It’s a genre that spans decades, with the highly-influential Space Invaders being considered one of the earliest titles in the genre.

Though shmups aren’t quite as popular as they once were, there are still games that are keeping the genre alive, and today I’m writing about one that completely took me by surprise: Natsuki Chronicles. The developers, Qute Corporation (what a cute name), are quite experienced in creating games of this genre, and this game occurs in parallel to their previous title, Ginga Force.

Natsuki Chronicles PS4 PS5 Boss Fight
Yep, you’re supposed to dodge those. Good luck!

PLOT

You play as budding pilot young Natsuki Sugiura aboard a ship by the name of Dominator and is a new member of the planet’s Rapid Defence Force (RDF). The game follows a story linked to its predecessor and is scattered with character dialogue and short cutscenes at the beginning of each mission. Although the story feels somewhat tacked on and certainly is one of the weaker parts of the game, that’s perfectly fine, because nobody plays a shmup for the story. It’s all about the gameplay. Thankfully this is where Natsuki Chronicles goes above and beyond.

GAMEPLAY

The game has two modes: story and arcade mode. Both take you through 10 main levels, each in a distinct environment with set patterns of enemies, plenty of hazards, and a challenging boss fight at the end. During the story mode you start each stage only being allowed to take 3 hits (which slowly recharge), but as you progress further through the stage this contributes towards stage XP, overall XP, and credit points which you can spend on weapons and upgrades.

With each failure your stage XP increases and unlocks additional shields to use during the level. Every additional shield will allow you to progress slightly further through the level until you reach the perfect point where you have just enough to take down the boss. Some bosses are brutal and will require a full set of shields, but never felt unfair or overly difficult. It’s a perfect way to adapt the difficulty based on the player’s proficiency.

Natsuki Chronicles PS4 PS5 Boss Fight
You’re gonna need every shield you can get.

Over the course of the game you’ll begin to level up and unlock an array of armaments. You can choose to change your main weapon, sub weapon and special weapon with an almost limitless number of combinations. Whether you have a play-style that best suits a hard-hitting focused beam, bullets that spread out and cover the entire screen, or a homing attack so you can focus on dodging instead. There’s something for everyone! Certain weapons are also suited for particular stages: a level with lots of walls requires a weapon that can fire through them, or a level with lots of enemies approaching from behind requires weapons that can fire backwards.

Natsuki Chronicles PS4 PS5 Ship Customisation Equipment
The equipment screen, which allows you to change your weapons prior to the level.

VISUALS

Playing on PS5, the game runs at 4K and maintains a consistently smooth framerate, and as such is highly responsive and looks detailed and clean. Though the game is far from a visual marvel, the environments of each level are a pleasure to look at and the enemies have a distinct cartoonish appearance allowing them to stand against the background. The same goes for your ship: the Dominator; even when the screen is jam-packed with bullets you’ll rarely lose track of yourself. The game also aides you with warning lines to mark the trajectory of incoming bullets, which comes in handy during particularly difficult sections of the game.

Natsuki Chronicles PS4 PS5 Boss Fight Visuals
At least this boss is an easy target!

EXTRAS

During the story mode there are also extra “training missions” and certain levels that allow you to pilot a much larger ship that launches a literal wall of bullets. Each level in the game can also be played on one of four difficulties; I played through the entire game on Normal and felt this was a reasonable challenge. If you’re a bullet hell maniac then by all means play on Hard and above, but I would not recommend this for the regular player.

Natsuki Chronicles PS4 PS5 Boss Fight Extras Arcade Mode
Try throwing dollar coins at the screen during arcade mode for an authentic experience.

Arcade mode also offers a more challenging version of the game, as you collect power-ups while progressing through each level. Getting hit forces you to lose a power-up instead of a shield, meaning that dodging bullets is even more important. Once you aim for the hi-score you’ll be able to upload it onto the global leaderboard in order to gloat to your friends. I got #100 globally after a few tries which was satisfying, so fans of arcade gameplay are likely to get decent replay value out of this mode.

The soundtrack by composer Yousuke Yasui is also one of the game’s best features. Its fast-paced beats, retro style and funky bass lines feel straight out of the ’80s and are incredibly fitting alongside the frantic gameplay. He’s no stranger to shmups, as the composer has created music for a massive list of games including the previous Qute games, multiple Touhou series games, Under Defeat HD, and outside of the genre even 3D Dot Game Heroes! It’s well worth a listen even after having finished the game.

CONCLUSION

Overall the campaign took about 8 hours to complete (with many deaths along the way), and during this I ended up unlocking a majority of the weapons and trophies along the way. It’s quite a lengthy campaign for a shmup game and felt like good value for the time that I committed. The vast options for weaponry along with a clever level-up system and adaptable difficulty make it one of the best modern shmups I’ve encountered. If you’re a fan of the genre you’d be a fool to go past Natsuki Chronicles.

So why should I play it?

  • You enjoy the shoot ’em up genre.
  • Lengthy games are too time-consuming – something quick and engaging is more suitable.
  • Space ships, guns and bullets (lots of them) are your thing.
  • Arcade gaming is a fond memory for you.

But why shouldn’t I play it?

  • You dislike repetition and would rather not play through the same levels repeatedly.
  • Hundreds of bullets on screen at once would give you a heart attack.

Thanks to Rising Star Games and Plan of Attack for providing a PS4 review code for the purpose of this review. The game was played on a PS5 console.

“To the Rescue” Unleashes Doggos on Nintendo Switch and Steam

To The Rescue! Finds its Forever Home on Nintendo Switch, Steam in Late 2021

A brand new indie dog shelter simulator game To the Rescue! launches later this year which allows you to run a dog shelter. Purchasing the game will also allow you to help real-life doggos, with 20% of all profits from the game being donated to animal shelters. As a veterinarian myself, I’m honestly pretty excited to try out this game!

To The Rescue Nintendo Switch Dog Breeds
Each dog has their own individual personalities, stats, and health traits. Just like real life!

Build a shelter and help stray pups find good new homes with loving families. Construct an ideal environment to meet the needs of man’s best friend and maximize their chances to be adopted. Caring for dozens of doggos is rewarding, but the mission has its share of challenges as well. 

Every pooch has their own personality. It’s important to get to know each dog and find out what makes them unique. People have their preferences too, so learning what they’re looking for in a pupper is critical when making matches that will last a lifetime.

To the Rescue Nintendo Switch Adoption Centre
Gotta adopt ’em all!

Between visits from potential pet parents, there’s never a dull moment. Shelters have plenty of mouths to feed and treating illnesses like kennel cough is always a concern. Then there’s logistics to worry about. It takes no shortage of supplies to keep the operation up and running.

Meanwhile, someone has to manage the finances and make sure to keep the lights on. Shelters need to be thrifty and make hard decisions. Hiring staff and dealing with investors is as much a part of the job as scritching Rex behind the ears and giving Fido belly rubs. There can be tough times, but at the end of the day helping dogs find their forever homes is always worth it.

To the Rescue Nintendo Switch Stats Finances
Finances of the shelter also need to be managed.

“The challenges dog shelters and their volunteers face every day truly inspire us,” said Olivia Dunlap, co-founder, Little Rock Games. “It’s a setting we felt was ripe for exploration in games and we look forward to bringing this world to Nintendo Switch and Steam later this year.”

To The Rescue! will be available in late 2021 for Nintendo Switch as well as Steam on PC and Mac for $19.99USD. The development team pledges 20 percent of profits to pet shelters. 

Here’s the official trailer for the game:

Fore more info check out the official website: Little Rock Games

Monster Hunter Digital Event Summary 8.3.2021

Leading up to the release of Monster Hunter Rise on Nintendo Switch, a new video update with information about the upcoming game and the brand new Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin was streamed last night. Containing plenty of new info on Rise, the stream also unveiled a brand new demo featuring the chance to fight the flagship monster: Magnamalo.

Here’s a brief summary of everything from the event:

  • New Monster Hunter Rise demo coming to Nintendo Switch. Features new quests one of which is against the flagship Magnamalo. Demo releases on March 12th.
  • Release date for Monster Hunter Stories 2: July 9th 2021. Simultaneous release on Switch and PC.
  • Three new Amiibo releasing alongside MHS2.
  • New gameplay features: “Hunter Connect” which allows you to tag your objectives/play style and search for similar hunters to fight alongside. New “Silkbind” and “Switch Skill” attacks for each weapon class.
  • DLC plan for Monster Hunter Rise, with the first set of DLC featuring the elder dragon Chameleos.

That’s most of the big news revealed last night. Plenty of other snippets in the video, which you can watch here:

What are you looking forward to most about Monster Hunter Rise?
Or are you more excited for Wings of Ruin?

Everhood Review – Nintendo Switch

Undertale meets Guitar Hero in this psychedelic, mind-bending indie rhythm RPG.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and the video game industry is no exception. Thanks to its massive success, it’s no wonder that the critically-acclaimed 2015 indie game Undertale would spawn others that clearly took inspiration. Though quirky RPGs are not a new genre – take games like Earthbound, Moon: Remix RPG Adventure, or even the more recent Citizens of Earth. If you’re a fan of any of these games, then you might take an interest in this strange indie rhythm/RPG you’ve probably never heard of: Everhood.

Everhood Nintendo Switch Gif

The first title from oddly-named indie European developers, Foreign Gnomes, Everhood is a perplexing blend of bare-bones RPG gameplay, quirky characters and dialogue, and a combat system unlike any other you’ve ever encountered. While on the surface this may just seem like a simple cash-in on the game responsible for a million skeleton memes, there is enough to set itself apart as its own unique, ridiculous, and oftentimes disturbing adventure. What it lacks in base gameplay, it makes up for in spades with its creative Guitar Hero-esque combat which thankfully makes up the majority of the game.

Plot

Playing as a mute doll known only as Red (who reminds me heavily of Geno from Super Mario RPG), you awaken in an unknown land to find your arm has been taken by a thief. The story initially is simple: retrieve your arm and along the way discover those responsible, all while meeting the odd cast of characters who live in the mysterious world of Everhood. Initially the plot, setting, and characters seemed very cliché, and its attempts at forced humour and striking similarities to Undertale were almost off-putting.

Everhood Nintendo Switch Gold Pig Villain
Don’t worry, Gold Pig, he’s armless!

However, as I progressed further through the story and encountered a massive plot twist, I found myself becoming engrossed. In fact, by the end of the game, I had become quite involved and attached to some of the characters. I had judged a book by its cover, and had been pleasantly proven wrong.

Gameplay

There’s nothing overly impressive about Everhood’s gameplay outside of combat, most of which is achieved through entering different doors as part of a central hub world. Each door leads to a unique area, characters whom you interact with, occasional secrets and items to locate, and once completing each area you slowly progress towards the goal of retrieving your arm.

Everhood Nintendo Switch Visuals Undertale
The central hub world, which is completely lacking in the graphics department.

The game’s quirky and sometimes bleak sense of humour will grow on you and makes traversing otherwise bland areas much more entertaining. Along the way you’ll encounter a colourful cast of characters that seem as if they may have been pulled from some sort of Undertale bootleg, but there’s a certain charm to them. It’s a game that is sometimes odd, sometimes genuinely funny, and sometimes just downright disturbing.

Combat

This is where the game truly shines, and thankfully this is also where you’ll be spending the vast majority of your time. Not only is the combat incredibly unique – blending platforming, action and rhythm into a streamlined experience – many fights are exhilarating, visually impressive, and accompanied by some brilliant beats.
As I mentioned earlier, the combat is somewhat like Guitar Hero: five columns, notes of different colours flying towards you to the beat of the music. You have the option to dodge them, jump them, or as you progress through the game you gain the ability to deflect them back.

Everhood Nintendo Switch Combat Battle Rhythm
One of the earlier encounters, in which you are challenged to a dance battle.

On numerous occasions throughout the game I was downright impressed by this combat, which despite having an initial steep difficulty curve, becomes natural after only a few encounters. You’ll find yourself improving with each failed attempt, and can also adjust the difficulty on the fly. Once you develop a feel for the beat of the music, your twitch reactions will improve to the point where you barely even need to think about your moves.

This is also where the visuals will completely blow you away. What was once a bland, undecorated game, becomes a visual spectacle thanks to the effects featured in the game’s battles. Whether you’re playing in handheld mode or on a larger screen, the graphics during battle will truly immerse you. And don’t take my word for it, check out this short excerpt from one of the trippier battles:

Soundtrack

So for a game that relies heavily on rhythm, you’d expect a pretty decent soundtrack, right? Well Everhood delivers.
The soundtrack is created by the developer and multiple indie musicians and features music spanning multiple genres. What initially starts out as simple drum n’ bass tracks progresses further into the realms of rock and heavy metal, discordant pop, short pieces of classical music, and even some tasteful flamenco guitar. Each track also has a distinct style of attack for you to overcome. Fast-paced songs are littered with small notes you can easily jump, whereas bass notes can take up the entire playing field and chords will launch a wall of notes that can only be dodged.

Conclusion

So is it just an Undertale rip-off? No. Although it takes many elements from Undertale in terms of its character design, aesthetic, and even small details like the font and character voices, there is enough to set Everhood apart as its own unique experience.

Is it as impressive or memorable as Undertale? Not quite. Admittedly the game still feels rough around the edges. Some areas appear bland and can be tedious to explore, certain snippets of dialogue feel forced, and gameplay outside of combat is lacking. However, the truly brilliant and engaging combat makes up for all the game’s shortcomings. Considering the game takes only 5 – 6 hours to completion, I’d say it’s well worth your time if you’re looking for a unique indie game in a similar vein to Undertale.

So why should I play it?

  • You’re a fan of rhythm games and RPGs (think Crypt of the Necrodancer).
  • Undertale had you hooked.
  • You’re tired of turn-based RPGs with boring combat and want something different.

But why shouldn’t I play it?

  • Rubbish at rhythm? You’re gonna have a bad time.
  • Forced humour makes you cringe.
  • You can’t tolerate games with very basic, minimalist graphics.

A review copy was provided for the purpose of this review.
You can find out more about Everhood here: Everhood Official Website

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: The Game – Complete Edition Review (PC)

A pilgrimage back to an iconic modern beat ’em up.

The year is 2010. A simpler time.

Books are overrated and don’t have enough pictures, so you’re flipping through a graphic novel:
…it’s Scott Pilgrim.
You’re at the cinema, purchasing overpriced popcorn to eat during a new movie starring an awkward Michael Cera:
…it’s Scott Pilgrim.
You get home and turn on your Xbox 360 and log onto Xbox Live, and what’s on the home screen?
…it’s Scott Pilgrim.

It was the series of graphic novels that for a brief moment in time seemed to spawn a phenomenon, and then after a year or so in the limelight almost vanished completely. The series is less about teenager Scott Pilgrim and more about his struggles against his newfound love’s Seven Evil Exes, who he must defeat in order to date her. It’s a quirky plot packed full of silly humour and pop-culture references, and became popular enough not only to justify a movie, but a tie-in videogame, and now 10 years later an enhanced version of that same game! But is it worth revisiting?

One ex to rule them all.

If you’ve played the original game, you’ll know exactly what to expect from Complete Edition, as not much has changed. It’s a port of the original game with all added DLC, along with some minor additions and quality-of-life changes, available on PS4/Xbox One/Nintendo Switch/PC and… Google Stadia (I feel dirty typing that). For those that haven’t played it, it’s a retro-style beat ’em with simple controls, gorgeous pixel art, and a banger of a soundtrack. But is it worth playing considering it’s pretty much the same game?

Gameplay

In typical beat ’em up style, the gameplay is very simple: choose from a roster of characters from the series, fight swarms of enemies through seven distinct levels, and defeat one of the evil exes at the end of each level. It’s a game that’s easy to pick up and play, either through single player, local co-op, or now in Complete Edition through online co-op (which is how I played majority of the game). There’s not really much that stands out about its gameplay – characters have slightly different play styles, can be levelled up to unlock new attacks and abilities, and by spending in-game currency you can purchase food and other items to improve the characters’ stats.

Can’t put your feet up on the train seats, but fighting is perfectly fine.

Combat initially can be quite a challenge (especially if you’re a rookie to the genre like myself), as enemies easily stun-lock and swarm you without giving you a chance to fight back. Bosses are the same, but follow more of a pattern that allows you to predict and dodge their attacks. Thankfully over the course of the game you’ll have access to shops, weapons and abilities that allow you to dispatch enemies more efficiently, but it took me the majority of the game before I truly had a hang of the combat. If you have the option, I’d recommend playing the game with a friend. Not only is it significantly more fun and less gruelling than single player mode, but you also have the ability to revive allies on screen by mashing a button over their lifeless corpse.

Oh, and on the topic of lifeless corpses, at the end of every level you’re rewarded with a scene of Scott and Ramona making out (much to the disgust of their friends). And sometimes on the top of a pile of lifeless corpses is just the most romantic place.

Gross. The kissing, not the corpses.

Visuals and Style

Its style is hands down the best aspect of the game. The pixel art is vibrant and detailed, with heavy character outlines and intricate backgrounds. In reflecting the style of art from the graphic novels, the game achieves an eye-catching visual aesthetic that works incredibly well and makes the characters, enemies, and environments all stand out against each other. Although sometimes the screen can become quite busy, you’ll rarely lose track of your character thanks to this design.

Each level also has a distinct design themed around the evil ex and their hideout, with matching enemies many of which have very amusing outfits and attacks. You’ll fight through the snowy streets of downtown Toronto, defend against katana-wielding ninjas in a flaming teppanyaki restaurant, and of course fight a giant robot boss on top of a skyscraper. Many times throughout the game I found myself stopping to admire the designs of not only the levels, but some of the animations which are incredibly detailed and impressive (see below).

There are also many visual homages to other series/games, and plenty of pop culture references. For example in one of the later stages a boss battle starts with a Guitar Hero sequence. You can also purchase an Energy Tank to restore your health, and the logo looks like it’s directly ripped from Mega Man. The overworld too is a nice touch, as its retro design is clearly a throwback to the SNES classic, Super Mario World.

The overworld, or should I say, Super Mario Overworld.

Audio and Soundtrack

There’s no way I could write this review without mentioning the killer soundtrack that features in the Scott Pilgrim game. As you fight through the game’s levels and boss battles you’ll notice an intense, fast-paced blend of chiptunes and pop/rock with heaps of catchy licks. That’s thanks to New York-based chiptune rock band: Anamanaguchi. Like other bands in the Nintendcore genre of music (yep, that’s a thing) they use hardware like a Gameboy and NES to play alongside guitar, bass and drums. It’s a sound that seems to fit perfectly in the setting of the Scott Pilgrim game, and a creative way to modernise chiptunes.

To celebrate the launch of Complete Edition, the band even played the entire soundtrack live!
You can find it here: Anamanaguchi – Scott Pilgrim vs the World: The Game Soundtrack

What else?

In addition to the main gameplay which can be completed by yourself or with a friend, there are four other game modes. First is a boss rush mode in which you face off against every single boss in a row to challenge yourself – I found this was an easy way to revisit some of the cool moments from each boss. There are also three minigames that were introduced as part of the original game’s DLC:

Survival Horror – an endless fight against constantly-spawning zombie enemies.
Battle Royale – no, it’s not 1 v 100. It’s basically PvP and has you fighting against each other in a small arena.
Dodgeball – no weapons this time, your only attack is throwing a small ball at your opponents. Just like real life.

The DLC characters, Knives and Wallace, from the original game are also made available from the start, and there’s an added secret character that unlocks once you beat the game with the four main characters. Though unless you’re a completionist I probably wouldn’t bother with this.

So why should I play it?

  • You haven’t played the original game.
  • Cool pixel art always catches your eye.
  • You’re wanting a simple game to play with friends.
  • Chiptunes and game soundtracks are your jam.

But why shouldn’t I play it?

  • There’s nobody else for you to play the game with. 😦
  • You’ve already played the original game to completion.
  • Lengthy games are more your thing, as this can be finished in a couple hours.
  • You don’t want to download the Ubisoft PC client (if playing on PC).

A download code was provided for the purpose of this review, which was played on PC.

Nintendo 3DS 10th Anniversary Podcast

On February 26th 2011 in Japan, Nintendo launched its latest handheld gaming console featuring dual screens and glasses-free 3D: the Nintendo 3DS. Selling over 75 million units across six different models, and amassing a library of hundreds of games, the console was a massive success. Ten years later the console now sits in the shadow of the Nintendo Switch, but many of us have fond memories of playing our 3DS – in fact I started up a club at my university dedicated to it!

To celebrate the 10th birthday, WindyCornerTV has created a podcast episode and asked me to join, in which we discuss the different models of the console, our initial hype, some of its best games and the hidden gems and valuable games to be found in the library.

So what are some of your favourite memories of the 3DS?
Leave a comment below, on the YouTube video, or reach out to me on social media.

Project Triangle Strategy Demo Impressions

It has been over thirteen years since the last Final Fantasy Tactics game, and 10 years since the highly-praised Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together – two Square Enix games that together helped define the tactical role-playing game genre. For the last decade there has been a lull in the genre from the acclaimed developer. That was until last week’s Nintendo Direct, which included the surprise announcement of the next game in the HD-2D series: Project Triangle Strategy for Nintendo Switch. Though it may have a bland and boring name, the game is anything but.

As an avid fan of the tactical RPG genre and having previously played Octopath Traveller, this announcement piqued my interest, and to my delight an extensive demo was made available on the Switch eShop immediately after the Direct. In this article I’ll be discussing some of the most important features of Triangle Strategy, some interesting aspects of the demo, and what to expect from the full game when it releases in 2022.

First impression:
Immediately upon booting up the demo, you’re greeted with a sequence that shows off the game’s distinct HD-2D art-style: 2D character sprites combined with high-definition pixel art environments jam-packed with beautiful lighting and particle effects. If you’ve played Octopath Traveler, this game will certainly look familiar. Though don’t be mistaken, this is no follow-up to Octopath, as it is set in a brand new continent, Norzelia, with an entirely new cast of characters. There’s no messing around once you press New Game either, as you’re immediately thrown right into the middle of the story, starting at Chapter 6 of the game.

The main menu, showcasing the game’s distinct HD-2D art style.

Plot & Characters:
The player assumes the role of young protagonist Serenoa Wolffort, heir to House Wolffort, who is caught in the midst of a struggle between three warring nations: Glenbrook, Aesfroste, and Hyzante. Each nation has control over a specific resource, and as such they compete for each other’s materials, known as The Saltiron War. Alongside him fight a band of companions, childhood friends, warriors, and his betrothed who hails from the opposing nation of Aesfrost. The story which is spread across two chapters taken from the game, is highly political, and allows the player to view each nation’s perspective during event sequences scattered throughout the world map. The tone of the game feels very similar to that of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together, as it feels quite real and gritty as opposed to a whimsical high fantasy setting.

Below are a few of the game’s main characters, represented in character cards that appear when you press X during any line of their dialogue. A nice touch that allows you to keep track of who’s who.

Gameplay:
At approximately 3 – 4 hours in length, the demo provides a surprising amount of content and allows an adequate amount of time to get a feel for the gameplay, which is divided into three separate areas: exploration, persuasion, and combat
Exploration: allows the player to walk around a particular area, interacting with NPCs, finding items, entering houses, and gaining more insight into the region. This is integral to the combat phase, as you may discover insightful snippets of knowledge or environmental aspects that aide you during battle.

Project Triangle Strategy Nintendo Switch Final Fantasy Tactics Exploration
The exploration phase, where you can move freely around towns.

Persuasion: during the course of the demo you will have to make quite an important decision that affects the gameplay. The characters vote on the “Scales of Conviction” – casting their vote for a particular plan, and your dialogue as the protagonist will influence which side of the scale is tipped. This sequence is highly important, and directly influences the story through the choices you make.

Project Triangle Strategy Nintendo Switch Final Fantasy Tactics Voting
The climax of the persuasion phase, which ends in a vote using the Scales of Conviction.

Combat: the most important, strategic aspect of the game. If you’ve played any previous tactical JRPG, you’ll feel right at home with Triangle Strategy’s combat. Characters are assigned a spot in a queue based on their speed, and move a number of tiles followed by an attack with a weapon, an ability, or use of an item. This simple combat becomes increasingly complex when aspects such as terrain, height, and environmental traps and weapons are added into the mix.

Project Triangle Strategy Nintendo Switch Final Fantasy Tactics Combat
The combat phase, laid out like a grid, will feel familiar to those who have played previous tactical RPGs.

Controlling an entire party against a formidable foe is incredibly satisfying, and easily the best aspect of the game. On multiple occasions I had to stop and plan my following moves, particularly during the last mission of the demo, which poses a challenge for new and veteran players alike. The visuals too are fitting to the style of gameplay, as during combat you can rotate the battlefield and observe it from any angle to plan your attack. I found the only drawback to this was some slight framerate drop when the screen was particularly busy. It’s a very attractive game in both handheld and docked mode, and the environments are particularly gorgeous in the HD-2D style.

One of the maps with detailed HD-2D visuals, which you can rotate 360 degrees.

Soundtrack:
And finally, what JRPG would be complete without a brilliant soundtrack?
As a follow-up to Octopath Traveler, I expected the return of its composer, Yasunori Nishiki, who created some of the most gorgeous music I’ve heard in a modern JRPG. Sadly this is not the case, but do not despair! Instead the composer this time is Akira Senju, best known for composing many anime soundtracks, notably the critically-acclaimed Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (a personal favourite of mine). There is a certain epic quality to his music, which utilises heavy orchestral pieces filled with blaring brass that feel as if even the music itself is taking you into battle. Impressively there is almost 3 hours of music in the demo alone!

So should you download it?
This is easily one of the best demos available, and an insightful experience into Square Enix’s next foray into the tactical RPG genre. Whether you’re a die-hard Final Fantasy Tactics fan like myself, or even just curious and want to dip into the genre, and would highly recommend downloading this free demo and trying it for yourself. Project Triangle Strategy currently has a release date of 2022, and this demo though only a few hours long, will leave you hungry for more.

The Legend of Zelda Turns 35

On February 21st 1986, a brand new game called The Legend of Zelda was released in Japan for the Family Computer Disk System. More than a year later, the game was released outside of Japan for the Nintendo Entertainment System, and became the first home console game to include an internal battery for saving data directly to the cartridge. The game’s directors Shigeru Miyamoto and Takashi Tezuka, both relatively new to creating games, unlikely realised at the time the lasting impact they would leave on the videogame industry.

Two budding young game developers: Shigeru Miyamoto (left) and Takashi Tezuka (right). (Source: Super Mario World interview, 1990)

Now thirty-five years on, the series truly has become a legend. With 19 main entries to the series spanning decades of home and portable consoles, multiple spin-off games, an animated TV series, novels and manga, and even a live-action Netflix series (which has reportedly been cancelled). Certainly Zelda has become one of the most widely-celebrated video game series of all time, and more recently the legend continues with the announcement of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD for Nintendo Switch, and the continuing development of Breath of the Wild 2.

It’s a series that has definitely had a profound impact on me; the first game I ever played and completed was Link’s Awakening for the Gameboy. Without this series I don’t think I ever would have been quite so passionate about games, and I’m sure the same goes for many of you reading this.

So what are some of your favourite memories of The Legend of Zelda? I’d love to hear from you!

Here are some of mine:

Please leave some of your favourite Zelda memories below, or reach out to me on social media.