Heck No! Keep The Cat We Know!

First, the good news: sounds like that Klonoa re-make for the Nintendo Wii will be coming stateside.

The bad news? Our favorite floppy-eared cat-like creature may be re-modeled as a bat. Yes, a bat. This isn’t your typical character re-design. It’s an overhaul. A new character.

Now, it’s not for sure…yet. How do we know it’s even possible?

Namco Bandai has sent out surveys (according to GoNintendo’s RMC) that ask questions about the game. Among them is, you guessed it, the question on whether or not Klonoa should be re-invented as a bat.

Love it or hate it?

Love it or hate it?

What do you think?

Developing…

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Review – Metroid Prime Hunters (DS)

Developer: Nintendo Software Technology Corporation
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 2006
Fun fact: from the developers of the platformers Bionic Commando: Elite Forces (GBC) and Mario vs. Donkey Kong (GBA).

All right, here’s the same disclaimer I provided when I reviewed Metroid Prime 2: perhaps Metroid Prime Hunters isn’t truly a platformer but it descends from a fine platforming dynasty and there’s definitely a lot of platforming going on. With that out of the way, it should be noted that Hunters is much more of a platformer than the other Prime entries. In fact, it has one classic platformer element that, if memory serves, has never been in another Metroid game: bottomless pits that instantly kill you!

If you expect Hunters to be somewhat dumbed down compared to the other Prime entries, give yourself a cookie. The exploration elements are much simpler (I figured most of them out for myself for a change). The total explorable area in the game is much smaller than in other games in the series. Additionally, the game is basically level-based and there is a low variety of bosses.

Fortunately, it turns out that sometimes being dumb ain’t so bad. Really, does every Metroid installment have to be the same? The level-based aspect is actually a refreshing change. The main negative aspect of this feature is that there’s definitely a formula in EACH level that goes like this: wander around, fight a rival bounty hunter, find three artifacts that activate a boss portal, fight a boss, and then race back to your ship under tight time constraints. There are really only two boss types between the levels, meaning you repeatedly fight a variation of a spinning pillar and a tentacled eyeball.

In spite of the formulaity, there is a lot to enjoy in the action-heavy design. Unlike many claims, the game is NOT merely a first person shooter in a Metroid setting – there are still many puzzles to unravel and atmospheric areas that don’t have any enemies at all. Speaking of atmosphere, it’s just what you’d hope for in a Metroid adventure. The graphics and audio are great and in line with the template established by the GameCube Prime games.

Finally, the controls – you use the d-pad or buttons to move side-to-side or back-and-forth, a shoulder button to fire, and the stylus to do everything else, at least in the standard control setup. This is somewhat awkward as you basically have to hold the DS unit with one hand and constantly use the stylus with the other. I got used to it fairly quickly but during long play stretches I felt mild annoyance in my hands.

Play the GameCube Metroid Primes first and then check out this high-quality diversion for a different take.

Grade: B+
Personal conclusion: Who knew Samus had rival bounty hunters?

Review – Wario Land Shake It! (Wii)


Developer: Good Feel
Publisher: Nintendo
Year: 2008
Fun Fact: the 8th platformer/action game starring Wario (or 10th if you count Super Mario 64 DS and Yoshi’s Island DS).

Sometimes people grow up with a video game franchise and they defend it no matter how crappy the series becomes. Other people grow up with a series and overreact to any slip in quality. When it comes to the Wario Land series, I might fall into the latter group. I just could not get into Wario Land Shake It!. Unlike the wretched Wario: Master of Disguise, there aren’t any glaring mistakes but the level design can certainly be described as uninspired. Many of the situations and layouts reminded me of other games. For whatever reason, the original Yoshi’s Island often sprung to mind but always in a negative contrast sort of way. Continue reading

New Castlevania Order of Ecclesia trailer begs you to buy

This is the brand new TGS 08 trailer for the upcoming Castlevania Order of Ecclesia on the DS. If this video does not convince you to buy the game later this month than nothing will. Great soundtrack as usual, screen filling sprite based enemies (without slowdown? I’m sold) and a fresh take on the series introducing a very heavy emphasis on magic rather than weapons, as well as a quicker “sling-like” navigation through levels. I believe the DS Castlevania games are among some of the finest 2D games in recent memory and Ecclesia seems to not disappoint in this regard.

LocoRoco 2 trailer will make you sing along

The original LocoRoco on PSP was unique for platformers in that all movement was done by using only the shoulder buttons to tilt the world left or right and pressing both at once made your character jump. It had very catchy music and an extremely polished graphical presentation as well.

LocoRoco 2 seems to be all of that and more, as we can see in the trailer all sorts of new gameplay elements have joined the series that takes it out of its once fairly straight forward point A to Point B levels. If you own a PSP you should really check this series out, there really is nothing else like it.

Spelunker will be making its way to PSN

Spelunker is getting a graphically overhauled remake on the PSN. This was originally a platformer on the NES which made it’s way to the virtual console earlier this year. A new feature is the ability to play in 4-player split screen, something obviously never possible on the NES. The game has an emphasis on ladder climbing, pit jumping, hazardous obstacles and most of all dieing a lot.

Review: Super Paper Mario (Wii)

Super Paper Mario is a cross between the RPG and side-scrolling platformer genres. When you kill enemies, you gain experience, this enhances this games play back quality. As gaining levels is vital when you need to kill a boss.

You start off as Mario, princess Peach is captured, surprise surprise, so Mario goes to save her from Bowser. The kidnapping wasn’t Bowsers doing, it is then revealed that Count Bleck, a sorcerer who wields an ancient, prophetical tome called the Dark Prognosticus kidnapped her..   Continue reading