Posts Tagged With 'Wii U'

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Mario Kart 8 tourney night a success

The nine Mii characters you see listed above comprise almost everyone who participated in last night’s Mario Kart 8 tourney (minus a friend who played locally with me). Our numbers weren’t great, but there was plenty of fun to be had anyway. Kevin was the first to arrive, and others continued to join over the following hour or so.

There were some great karting skills on display; Kevin, Tommy, and Mike proved themselves the ones to beat, but Kendall and Roboxer also held their own. Jason and mom were back and forth, but kudos to them for sticking it out! They probably understand what many of us competitive types don’t: that video games are meant to be enjoyed more than anything! On that note, I feel I must add that I really don’t deserve the number one slot; I’m only there because I was able to rack up a great amount of additional points after the main group left!

I had to leave the tourney briefly to see my friend off, so apologies there. I came back to an empty room (understandably) but stuck around until the end in case anyone else came by for a race or two. My patience was rewarded: about an hour before the tourney ended, Seacor showed up and joined me for a great many more races! Since it was just the two of us, the racing was pretty relaxed, which I appreciated, as it gave me even more of a chance to gawk at the beautiful new DLC tracks.

Thanks to everyone who joined! The evening was a big success, as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 16.11.2014 in All
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How would you rank the new Mario Kart 8 DLC tracks?

I know lots of things are supposed to be going through your mind at any given time, but it seemed there was only one thing on my mind this morning: the new Legend of Zelda x Mario Kart 8 DLC that arrived on Wii U. I spent as much time as I could racing the 8 new tracks, and this is personally how I’d rank them against one another:

Number 8 – Yoshi Circuit (GCN)

I didn’t play Double-Dash!! much (apologies for that), so I don’t remember a Yoshi Circuit at all. And even after today, unfortunately, I probably won’t remember poor ol’ Yoshi Circuit too well down the road. I do like that the sharp and frequent turns give me a challenge, but that’s not enough to set this track apart and make it memorable.

Number 7 – Excitebike Arena

The fact that the jump and boost pad locations are different every time you race in Excitebike Arena makes it feel really fresh for the Mario Kart series. Again, it’s a nice test of skill. It’s just too bad the shape of the track remains the same every time.

Number 6 – Wario’s Gold Mine (Wii)

Before Mario Kart 8 even came out, I was excited for anti-gravity and the way it seemed to make tracks almost roller coaster-like. Many of the base tracks delivered on that promise, but Wario’s Gold mine delivers the best, if you ask me. There are two massive dips in the course, along with a section of anti-gravity track that banks and curves downward, which all adds up to a course from Mario Kart Wii well-remade.

Number 5 – Ice Ice Outpost

The two tracks (one yellow, one green) that constantly intertwine are only half of what makes Ice Ice Outpost so awesome: this course has a few hard-to-spot secret paths that are rewarding to locate and use. The narrow moments also provide a pretty good challenge.

Number 4 – Rainbow Road (SNES)

The remastered Rainbow Road course hit me with an unexpected burst of color and nostalgia. The shape of this track is not the most exciting, but the visuals, the intense wave of the course when thwomps hit it, and the music all add up to a remake that is well worth revisiting, even though this is its second remake in 2 games.

Number 3 – Hyrule Circuit

It’s the little things that impress me about Hyrule Circuit. Instead of coins, there are green rupees (which even make the rupee jingle when you collect them). Instead of piranha plants, there are deku babas. Instead of bats, there are keese. On top of being wholly Legend of Zelda, Hyrule Circuit is a very well-designed course, and there’s even a reward for players who hit three consecutive anti-gravity bumpers that double as Zelda-like switches going down a winding staircase. You’ll have to discover that one on your own.

Number 2 – Mute City

Mute City is understandably an anti-gravity course all the way through, and it delivers on all the hopes and dreams you could have possibly had in regards to anti-gravity. The graphics are stunning, and the frequent speed boosts make for some of the most thrilling racing ever to appear in a Mario Kart game.

Number 1 – Dragon Driftway

Dragon Driftway was another course that was out of left field, but in the best possible way. The Asian motif of this course never falters, and it is brilliantly-designed to boot. It is number one in my mind because it’s fun, visually strong, and well-rounded.

It’s hard to rank such a strong line-up of courses, which means that everyone’s list will be different. What’s yours?

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 13.11.2014 in All
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Pikmin Short Movies: 3D vs HD

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Nintendo has a habit of making demos or even full games available after Nintendo Direct streams. Wednesday’s broadcast was no exception. Right after the Direct came to a conclusion, players could go to the 3DS or Wii U eShop to purchase a unique set of short movies staring Pikmin for $4.99 each. Famed game designer Shigeru Miyamoto explained his desire to make his tiny creations come to life through more detailed animation than could be achieved in a video game. The completed short movies debuted at the 2014 Tokyo International Film Festival. Now you can download the 3D or HD versions to your 3DS or Wii U, respectively. I was nice enough to buy both versions so I could give you the pros and cons of each and ultimately settle on which is better to spend $4.99 on.

First, however, I want to go over what actually comes in the package and how the movies themselves are. Both the 3D and HD versions come with three short films: The Night Juicer (less than 2 minutes long), Treasure in a Bottle (8 minutes exactly), and Occupational Hazards (about 13 minutes). The movies can be selected individually, but there’s no option to play them all one after another. Because the HD versions are on Wii U, watching them on the GamePad is an option. In addition to the three films, a bonus section features some of Miyamoto’s storyboards on Flipnote Studio.

On the movies themselves…well, I can say that Pikmin were a good choice for this undertaking. The Pikmin are beyond cute and there are genuinely funny moments throughout. The animation is bright, colorful, and possibly on par with Pixar in terms of quality. The music doesn’t have a spotlight on it or anything, but let’s just say it makes for one especially adorable moment and one surprisingly tense moment. I find myself with a strong desire to share these with my friends and family, even the ones who don’t play video games…

So, for five bucks, I’d call this purchase a no-brainer for a Nintendo fan. The question is, which version is better? If your intuition says the HD version on the Wii U, I’d say your intuition is absolutely correct. The animation is gorgeous in HD, and seeing all the little details is far better than watching in 3D. In fact, more than the 3D, I’d say the portability of the 3DS version is the reason to download it at all. If you only go for one, make it the Wii U version.

For those of  you who have already downloaded and watched the short films, what are your thoughts?

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 07.11.2014 in All
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Video: Stylish new trailer for Splatoon reveals single player mode

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During the Nov. 5 Nintendo Direct, we were treated to a look at Splatoon’s single player campaign. Even though the game focuses on frantic, 4-on-4 online battles, it will, as promised, also contain a single player mode. In it, the battle between squids and octopi rages. The player fights on the side of the squid, of course, and if the above trailer is any indication, there will be plenty of varied levels to explore and enemies to fight.

Consider me sold on Splatoon. I thought it looked alright, gameplay-wise, at E3, but I wanted to see more of a visual identity for the game. In that respect the new trailer blew me away. How about you?

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 06.11.2014 in All
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Xenoblade Chronicles X will have “bigger world to explore” than in Xenoblade Chronicles

Ever since its announcement, Xenoblade Chronicles X (which was known only as “X” until E3 2014) has been my most looked forward to Wii U game, by far. That’s saying a lot, as Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was always high on the list too. Don’t take this as anything but my personal opinion! Xenoblade Chronicles on Wii was just so massive, with such a solid storyline and great voice acting through its 100+ hours, that I can’t help but look forward to X with almost painful anticipation. Nothing made me yearn for it more than the gameplay demo at E3 this year, but Satoru Iwata’s comments today came close; the game, which is targeted for a 2015 release, will have a larger world to explore than in Wii’s Xenoblade Chronicles, and in HD no less (it stands to reason, but I’m happy to hear it anyway).

In X, Earth’s people are forced to abandon their home planet when an intergalactic war threatens their existence. They crash land on an uncharted planet and set out to explore and research their new surroundings. The main character, created by the player, is obviously heavily involved in these efforts. In addition to exploring the planet, you’ll be able to explore “home base,” New Los Angeles. From there, who knows how the storyline will play out?! We do know that quests will be integral to gameplay, though. Some quests will progress the story, while others may simply involve doing favors for other survivors.

RPG fans would do well to keep their radar fixed on this game. What are your thoughts?

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 05.11.2014 in All
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Kirby and the Rainbow Curse will have a multiplayer mode

We were treated to an in-depth look at Kirby’s upcoming Wii U game today during a Nintendo Direct video. For one thing, the name of the game has been finalized: Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (though I didn’t even realize this wasn’t final). As a spiritual successor to the Nintendo DS game Kirby Canvas Curse, the player will guide Kirby, who is restricted to ball form for the most part, by drawing paths on the Wii U GamePad touch screen. Kirby can also attack enemies and bust through certain obstacles when the player simply taps him. It sounds simple, but Kirby’ll get thrown all over the screen without careful guidance.

A multiplayer mode will allow three additional players to join the GamePad user as Waddle-dees. Waddle-dees can carry Kirby and use the lines drawn on the GamePad as platforms. This will allow first player to focus on simply drawing lines. Kirby’s clay-like nature in this game will allow him to transform into various vehicles, and Waddle-dees can help out here too. Amiibo figures will also be compatible with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, but we don’t yet know how. The game’s launch window is February 2015, a lot sooner than I personally expected. Do any of the new gameplay features tempt you to buy it?

Posted by Holly Fellmeth 05.11.2014 in All
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