Archive for the ‘R4i Cards’ Category

Nintendo’s TVii on Wii U

Monday, January 7th, 2013

Nintendo TVii

It took a month, but Nintendo finally released TVii for the Wii U. This feature on Nintendo’s new game system turns the Wii U gamepad into a touch-screen remote and smart program guide that incorporates online services into live television for following your favorite shows, movies, and sports teams. I spent some time with TVii, and while it’s not a complete or polished service, I was impressed by how smoothly it organizes your television.

Setup
The TVii setup process is easy and direct, but it can take some time adding all of your favorite content to the system. First, you need to configure the Wii U to work as a remote control for your TV and set-top box. This is a simple process that you can go through in the Settings menu before you turn on TVii. You need to enter your TV and set-top box manufacturers, perform a few tests to make sure the gamepad is using the right remote codes, and you’re ready to go.

TVii then asks you for your ZIP code and cable or satellite provider. This lets the Wii U know what program guides to use to determine when shows are on and what channels are available at what numbers. Because TVii works by using the gamepad as a remote control, it changes channels by manually entering the number for the channel as a remote control code. There is no actual connection between the Wii U and your set-top box besides the remote, and the interactivity is little different from using an iPad remote app and a remote accessory, like the Griffin Remote.

Once your cable or satellite provider is entered, you can start teaching the Wii U your favorite shows, movies, channels, and sports teams. Shows, movies, and channels appear as a short list of popular choices, which you can click on or off to add to your favorites list. You’ll probably spend most of your time at the far end of the scrolling menu, where a magnifying glass on an empty panel sits. This is the search function, and it lets you search for your favorite shows and movies. Most shows and movies appear with their own graphic for easy organization, but there were several mysterious grey panels scattered through my searches that I couldn’t identify without loading. For the majority of shows and movies I looked for, though, the gamepad showed big, colorful panels that identified them clearly.

Channels are also organized by popular choices first, so if you want to set more targeted channels like the Food Network or the Hub you need to manually enter the channel number in the search menu. Be careful to make sure you enter the HD channel number so you get the most out of the feature.

Finally, sports teams can be selected from NFL, NBA, and NCAA basketball and football choices, presumably because these are the active sports in December. We’ll find out if TVii gets baseball teams in the spring. Adding favorite teams is as easy as adding favorite channels and movies, without the search option. Instead, each team is organized alphabetically in each conference.

The Lost Levels (3DS eShop / NES): Super Mario Bros

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Lost levels = lost sanity

It’s a story so well known now that we’ll just summarise it for you: what is now known as Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels was actually released in Japan as the sequel to enduring classic Super Mario Bros. Western gamers instead received the subconscious vegetable buffet that we more traditionally think of as Super Mario Bros. 2.

Various reasons have been given for the switch — brutal difficulty ranking high among them — but whatever the rationale, we’re glad that we’re able to play both sequels to the original classic, as they’re fantastic in their own ways.

The Lost Levels, of course, is best known for its controller-smashing challenge. Even with the restore points on the 3DS Virtual Console, you’ll be in for some serious difficulty.

While this game doesn’t innovate the franchise nearly as much as its Western cousin did, it does take some interesting liberties with the formula set down by its predecessor. For instance, Luigi has distinct jumping and running physics from Mario, a sort-of tradition that would reappear in several other games to come. For fans who knew the original game inside and out, this alteration was both a serious curve-ball and an impressive new way to experience the Mushroom Kingdom.

Speaking of the Mushroom Kingdom, The Lost Levels obviously takes place in an even more vicious region than the original game did. Here you’ll find all manner of traps to take you down in the most ingenious — and sometimes hilarious — ways. Everything from springs, to invisible coin blocks and even warp zones will conspire to work against you, and it’s unlikely that anyone other than the most expert players will find their life counter reaching double digits.

Visually there’s not much new here. Nearly everything has been carried over wholesale from the first game, though there are a few notable exceptions, such as the notorious poison mushroom. Otherwise sprites are identical to the originals, even if they behave in new and interesting ways, such as the increased lift you’ll get from a stomped enemy, and a surprising overworld appearance from an enemy you’ll only have previously encountered under water.

The Lost Levels are — this cannot be said enough — relentless. Expect to die, and expect to die often. In fact, the entire release feels like a ruthless ROM-hack more than it does a proper title. It’s another pack of levels designed explicitly to break your spirit and frustrate you endlessly, packed with pixel-perfect leaps, blind jumps, and sadistic castle mazes. But one thing’s worth noting: regardless of how difficult the game gets, you can never fault its physics.

Yes, much like the original, The Lost Levels controls brilliantly. The game is responsive and reacts immediately to every press of a button; it’s not its fault if you decided to leap into that pit, after all.

The music is also carried over from the first game, again making The Lost Levels feel like a bit of a retread. When measured against the significant changes introduced by the Western sequel, The Lost Levels feels like it lacks innovation. What it does do, however, is build upon the innovation of the first game, and re-employ enemies and gimmicks in extremely creative — and punishing — ways.

If you enjoyed the first Super Mario Bros. game (and really now, who didn’t?) then this is an expansion worth experiencing. Don’t expect to finish it, though; it’s not an experience many people will complete, but it’s one everybody will remember.

Conclusion

Anyone who feels that Mario’s 2D adventures have softened over the years owes it to themselves to experience Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. With a difficulty curve that’ll have you pulling your hair out by the second world, game-loving masochists are in for a genuine treat. Be warned, however: the challenge here is unquestionably excessive, and it’s not an experience for everybody. Those willing to invest the time — and who aren’t afraid of shouting a few cursewords — will find a clever and creative palette of charming frustrations here to greet them. And, frankly, we think it’s worth a little grey hair.

Nintendo Wii U Japan sales top 300,000 during launch weekend

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

While players in North America and Europe have been enjoying their Wii Us for a little while now, the newest Nintendo console only launched in Japan this past weekend. We’re now hearing the first numbers from the Wii U’s Japan launch, with statistics from Media-Create putting the Wii U’s launch weekend sales at 307,471. That certainly isn’t bad, with Nintendo selling 400,000 Wii Us during the console’s North American launch week.

Which games performed the best? By far it was New Super Mario Bros. U, which sold 160,140 copies. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate did well too, with 106,454 copies sold. Little surprise there, considering that Monster Hunter has proven to be an incredibly popular series in Japan (with some very passionate fans in other regions of the world). Nintendo Land, on the other hand, didn’t perform as well as those two, pulling in only 66,583 sales.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that Nintendo Land isn’t a pack-in game in Japan like it is in other regions, so there aren’t any bundle sale to boost the game’s numbers. So, it appears the Wii U and a few of its headlining games made a pretty strong showing during launch weekend, but that’s expected for most new hardware launches. Considering we’re right in the middle of the holiday shopping season, Nintendo can probably expect strong sales through the month of December, but whether or not those numbers stay up as we move away from the holidays is another matter entirely.

Nintendo 3d
Nintendo 3d

Once we’re into 2013, we’ll be able to better gauge if Nintendo has another Wii or another R4 Nintendo 3ds on its hands. If it continues selling strong, then there’s nothing to worry, but Nintendo is no stranger to botched launches – the 3DS was struggling in a big way until Nintendo cut its price a mere six months after release. Is a similar future in store for the Wii U? Only time will tell, but at the moment, things are looking pretty good.

Amazon and YouTube Video apps go live on Nintendo Wii U units

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

The YouTube and Amazon Instant Video icons have been present on US Wii U consoles since its launch last weekend, but clicking them didn’t do much, until now.

Wii U Screenshot Both Amazon and YouTube have made their video apps live for Nintendo’s new console Stateside. Clicking on the icon now will prompt you to download the full app.Amazon Instant video offers 140,000 movies and TV episodes available to purchase or rent, while Amazon Prime customers can stream 30,000 TV episodes and movies at no additional cost.

R4i 3ds DUAL CORE per nintendo 3ds + 4gbonly € 29,00

The YouTube app, meanwhile, looks rather like the original Wii one, but can now stream true HD content, and uses the GamePad screen to browse content and display video details while viewing, and the GamePad can be used as the primary viewing screen.

Nintendo 3DS Ads Roll Out For Holidays

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Nintendo dish out some prospective propaganda as That Time Of Year™ continues to encroach on us all.

Nintendo 3DS American Ads Roll Out For The Holidays

Things are pretty big for Nintendo right now. There’s the Wii U launch to consider, still awaiting release in some regions of the world. There’s Nintendo’s own promise to ensure that the R4 i 3DS remains a top priority this festive season. There’s even praise coming from Sony, it seems, as Nintendo expands its scope.

But with the coming of the busiest month of shopping on the calendar comes a new range of Nintendo advertising, and the 3DS commercials from Nintendo Of America are out in force!

In the first, various gamer chaps compare New Super Mario Bros. 2 bragging rights. And snails. Obviously.

Despite being released many months ago, both games seem to be big hits for the Christmas period, or so Nintendo seems to hope. Are you looking forward to getting New Super Mario Bros. 2 andFreakyforms! Deluxeyourself? Or have you already played these?

The second commercial focuses on Nintendo of America’s ongoing efforts to characterise the R4 3ds as a trendy lifestyle accessory for the garrulous gal about town. This is possibly due to the ongoing inability planet Earth has to realise that female human beings can play videogames too, without them having to have pixies and chocolate sprinkles on them or something.

R4i 1.4.3 NINTENDO + 4 gb
R4i 1.4.3 NINTENDO + 4 gb

Still, she seems to be having a lovely time, so we can hardly blame her.

So there you have it! The advertising begins. Do these commercials do enough to portray the merits of the 3DS in an admittedly small timeslot? Can Nintendo rely on big name titles and niche new instalments of Style Savvy alone? Will the Wii U itself be making so much noise that our beloved little handheld that could gets forgotten?

As 2012 rushes to a close and harrowed gift-givers rush to the shops, it will fall to campaigns like these to ensure the 3DS’s message is put across. What’s your opinion on the marketing thus far?

Dragon Quest VII Nintendo 3DS Remake Imagery Looks Mighty Fine

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

Gaze upon this loveliness and hope for a global release date!

RPG fans were delighted by Square-Enix’s recent plans to revamp and rerelease Dragon Quest VII on the Nintendo 3DS. With development well underway, the videogame giant has seen fit to show off some screenshots of the project itself, and we must say it’s looking pretty gosh-inducing.

Siliconera has rounded up a wealth of imagery to be perused, which showcases a variety of gameplay elements from conversation to battle and exploration.

Warrior Gal“Ugh, I get this all the time… look, I know I have a pointy green hat, but I’m NOT Link, alright?”

Ringy!“This your grandmother’s engagement ring? Too bad, I’m taking it down the pawnbrokers, bwahahaha!”

Comparing these images with those from the much beloved Dragon Quest IX on the Nintendo DS is like night and day. Square-Enix seem to have gone all out in bringing this roleplaying classic to the Nintendo R4 3ds with style, and with an orchestral soundtrack promised it seems the audial experience isn’t going to disappoint either.

MeadowsAnother fine day in the countryside ruined by an amateur Benny Hill chase.

Gems!“Help me move this thing, we’ll make a fortune on eBay.”

The classic Dragon Quest art is in full effect, promising a vast world to explore and a ton of characters to meet, greet and inevitably perform all kinds of dangerous quests for. The monsters are just as outlandishly silly as we remember them, offset by the classic battle system that’s underpinned the franchise for years.

Dragon Quest VII on the 3DS is currently slated to release in Japan on February 7th, 2013. An international release is yet to be announced, but we hope Square-Enix will make it happen, as this certainly looks to be the perfect remedy for 3DS fans in need of some epic RPG action.

New Leaf doubles Nintendo 3DS sales: Animal Crossing

Friday, November 16th, 2012
Nintendo news 3DS, thumbnail 1
T.S. Eliot might have called April the cruelest month, but for Sony it’s difficult to imagine a month crueler than November.

After last week’s sobering sales figures which saw sales of the PlayStation Vita slip to a record low, Sony’s latest handheld has slid even further down the hardware charts in Japan, selling only a modest 4,021 units between November 5 and November 11.

Based on the numbers posted by Media Create, this is a 17 per cent decrease from last week’s figure of 4,842 Vitas sold.

Sony’s PlayStation Portable also slipped a bit in sales, falling from 13,868 units sold to 12,076 – yet it still managed to outsell the Vita three to one.

Meanwhile, in Nintendoville…

Nintendo’s 3DS saw a substantial increase in sales this week, owing in no small part to the release of Animal Crossing: New Leaf. Sales for the 3DS jumped 99 per cent, surging from 93,989 units sold last week to 187,077 units sold.

Unsurprisingly, Animal Crossing: New Leaf secured the top-selling software spot for the week while New Super Mario Bros. 2 and Bravely Default Flying Fairy remained the fifth and sixth best-selling games, respectively.

KonamiWorld Soccer Winning Eleven 2013 was the only PSP or PS Vita title to rank in the top ten for the week, coming in at the number eight position.

A New Beginning for Nintendo 3DS: Harvest Moon

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
3DS  header logo
Harvest Moon: A New Beginning 3DS, thumbnail 1

You probably know what makes a great Harvest Moon game by now. Being left to your own devices, with the occasional nudge towards things you might want to check out, is the key to farming heaven.

The latest in the series, A New Beginning for Nintendo 3DS, introduces a huge number of new elements that genuinely add to the base experience, and breathe new life into the age-old franchise.

If only we didn’t have to battle through tortuous hours of awful tutorials and locked content we might have enjoyed it. Unfortunately, any possible enjoyment is dulled by the first dozen hours or so.

Out with the old, in with the new

The basic Harvest Moon outline is still there, and still going strong.

You’re tasked with keeping your family farm in check, looking after the crops and keeping your animals fed and warm. On the side, there’s a town full of people to interact with, potential wives/husbands to woo, and extracurricular activities to get involved in.

Before you can tend to any of this, however, you’re going to have to put up with many, many hours of slow, tedious tutorials, and barely any content at all.

A New Beginning may well have the slowest start to a game that we have ever experienced. For the first several hours, there’s so little to do that you’ll spend most in-game days simply watering your plants, tending to your animals, and then going back to bed at 8am.

R4i 3ds PER NINTENDO 3ds + 8gbonly € 29,90

It’s an absolute nightmare, truth be told. You know that there’s a ton of content ready and waiting for you to dive into, and you can see empty space and pathways all over the place that are ready to be explored.

But until you’ve slogged your way through hours of not very much, it’s all off limits.

Long harvest

If you’re able to snore your way through around a dozen hours of play, things finally start to pick up, and you witness the true potential of the game.

There are tons of customisation options, from the way your character looks to the layout of your farm. There are new animals, new crops, new locations, new Harvest Sprites, and new everything, really.

And chasing your preferred bachelor/bachelor is as fun as it ever was – as is watching the nearby town build up into a bustling area of discovery. This is truly a jam-packed Harvest Moon, with more content that you’ll know what to do with.

But none of this matters if you can’t bring yourself to slog through the first, utterly atrocious section. Why developer Marvelous thought it was a good idea to hide the good stuff behind a wall of shallow, bare repetition is beyond us.

Harvest Moon: A New Beginning is great when it finally gets going. Until that point, however, it’s barely even a game.

Full Review Dress To Play: Cute Witches

Monday, November 12th, 2012

Half witch, half craft

Older gamers might look at Dress to Play: Cute Witches! and see echoes of the Cotton series, or Magical Chase. Cute witches (lowercase) are certainly no strangers to shoot-’em-ups, and this game aims to combine a simplified (and bullet-free) version of that side-scrolling action with a dress-up element for character customization. In concept, dressing up a character and then seeing them star in a simple action game could be perfect for younger players. Unfortunately, while the action side of the equation is flawed but still enjoyable, the dress-up fun promised beforehand falls almost completely flat.

The customization in Dress to Play: Cute Witches! is, to put it mildly, lacking. The options on offer would seem paltry in almost any context, but for a game with “Dress to Play” in the title, they’re almost criminally limited. There are a total of 14 tops and 18 bottoms, and a handful of accessories; that includes colour swaps, so that a blue skirt and a pink skirt in the same style have to be unlocked separately. And yes, those totals are after unlocking everything in the game; as a novice broom-flyer, your pickings are even slimmer.

Worse is the fact that there’s very little variety in the items available, and sadly nothing about any of the outfits in this game is particularly “witchlike”. Sure, these pint-sized pythonesses have enough command of witchcraft to fly around on a broom, but they’re not certainly dressing to prove it. The most magical accessories available are cat ears in various colours, and most items of clothing stick steadfastly to the anime schoolgirl style.

Further stymying the fun of customization is the interface, which is slow to respond and presented poorly. You’ll have to scroll through items in each category one-by-one, re-tapping the left or right button each time; a list would’ve made the process much easier, and seems like a no-brainer with such a small number of outfits.

R4 3ds
R4 3ds€ 20,90

Once you’ve accessorized your sorceress, you can head out into the Adventure mode, and happily things pick up from there. The game plays like a junior version of a side-scrolling shooter, minus any shooting, and while it’s extremely simple, it’s actually pretty fun. You’ll fly endlessly to the right, avoiding enemies and trying to stay alive as long as possible. Your witch has a gas gauge (don’t ask) which depletes over time or when you hit an enemy, and is refilled by picking up stars. There’s a nice variety of enemy types, and each group has their own signature movement pattern, which is helpful for young players. Octopi float from the bottom up, goldfish swim slowly from the right, large Boo-like clouds just sit patiently in your way, and so on.

Hands make the rounds of a giant analogue clock on the bottom screen in fast forward, and the background’s progression from day to night and back to day again keeps pace with this timepiece. Each time the clock strikes midnight, you’ll see a different “Magic Hour” – a constellation announced with a charming gong – and receive a heart power-up to restore your gas gauge. These moments are great visual rewards for lasting through another day, and add a lot to the “just a little further” feel that keeps you going.

While it’s fun in spite of its faults, the execution does leave something to be desired. The controls are manageable if a bit floaty, and the collision detection is consistent but odd – your witch is a bit smaller than she seems for enemy-avoidance purposes. A larger problem is the framerate, which takes a dive with the 3D effect turned on, or when there’s much of anything flying by on the screen. It’s a shame, as quieter sections of sky give brief glimpses of a much faster-moving game, and the cloud-on-cloud layered backgrounds were definitely designed to be seen in 3D. Finally, while the randomly generated layout keeps things from feeling too familiar with each replay, it’s not a perfect system; stars are sometimes placed directly behind unmoving enemies, and that can be a real bummer when you’re minutes from midnight and need a quick pick-me-up.

Graphically, the game takes its cues from simple, Flash-based games, with puppet-esque animation of colourful 2D figures. The art style is cheery, and while much of it will come down to personal preference, the character design does lead to a hilariously poor implementation of “shoes”. There’s only one musical track to accompany the action, and it’s an appropriately airy affair with some non-verbal vocal work that fits the flying well, while the menu music is filled with nicely soothing music-box melodies.

Flaws aside, Dress to Play: Cute Witches! does have some nice touches, especially in its achievements system. There are 50 different achievements, and completing each one will unlock a new item to customize your character with. As previously stated, the items themselves aren’t much to get excited about, but at least there’s a fun way to earn them. The challenge set also strikes a good balance between accidental (play the adventure mode 5 times, accumulate 15 minutes of play, etc.) and skill-based (see 3 Magical Hours in one go, pass 300,000 points, etc.) goals, so less experienced players won’t be left out of the action and more accomplished witches still have something to strive for. There’s also a high scores table, and, as a welcome addition for southpaw sorceresses, the face buttons can be used for movement.

Conclusion

Dress to Play: Cute Witches! is a game that attempts to combine two different styles into one experience, but ends up feeling half baked. The combination of character customization and side-scrolling shooter ‘lite’ is a solid concept for younger players, and could make a great game with better execution. As it stands, there’s definitely still enjoyment to be found here, though it’s only in the latter half of that combination: the simple fun of the flying sequences could be enough to carry the game for some players, but the severely limited dress-up side of the experience will leave fashion-conscious enchantresses disappointed.

Nintendo Wii U eShop First Look

Friday, November 9th, 2012

First look at Wii U eShop

We have the first photo of the Wii U eShop, thanks to an update on the console’s Japanese website.

Take a look below:

The page mentions most of the features that are included on the 3DS eShop. You’ll be able to download games and demos, view videos such as commercials, and rate content you’ve played.