Saturday, May 11, 2013

Liberation Maiden (3DSWare) Review

A weekend review? Hell, a weekend post?! Yes, we've gone absolutely crazy here at SuperPhillip Central. Perhaps it's spring fever. Perhaps not. Regardless, we have a new review to share with you all. It's Grasshopper Manufacture's Liberation Maiden, originally part of the Guild01 game collection. The game, we believe, is also available on sale in North America for $4.99. After you read this review, you can decide for yourself whether or not the price is worth it.

A Game Maiden Japan

Are you familiar at all with Guild01? It was a Japanese release last year that featured four unique games developed by four different veteran developers. While these games were part of a retail package in Japan, in the West Level-5 decided to split them up (well, three of the four games) and put them on the Nintendo eShop. One of these games is Goichi Suda's (aka Suda 51) Liberation Maiden. Is this maiden voyage a success or does it suffer the fate of the Titanic?

Those who have played Suda 51's games in the past know that they usually feature a wild and wacky premise, a story that is purposefully messed up, and outlandish characters. However, in Liberation Maiden the tone is far more serious and not at all crazy. Though, to be fair, a corporation's newly elected madame president Shoko Ozora wanting to restore New Japan to its former beautiful glory by piloting one really bad-ass mech is somewhat of an off-the-wall premise all the same. An enemy county has invaded New Japan, and it's up to Ms. Ozora and her powerful flying mech suit to save her homeland.

President Shoko Ozora is all business.
There are five missions total for Liberation Maiden, and the majority of them have the main objective of destroy three targets known as Lesser Spikes. Once all three have been eliminated, the shield to the Greater Spike vanishes, allowing Shoko and her mech to "mecha" mess out of the Greater Spike, the boss of each mission. In order to finish off each boss and mission, you must use an attack that requires you as the player to frantically swipe the stylus in a circle motion so the mech smashes through the boss's core.

Light New Japan up with all of these explosions.
It's not so easy of a task to take down the trio of Lesser Spikes when you constantly have missiles, lasers, and bombs being shot in your general direction. That said, Shoko and her massive mech are not sitting ducks. By holding the stylus on the touch screen to select targets and then lifting up the stylus once a target or group of targets has been selected, Shoko's mech fires off a round of missiles. The catch here is that Shoko's mech uses nodes, the same nodes that serve as her defense. While these regenerate over time, using them all to attack a foe can leave Shoko mighty vulnerable. In the normal and hard difficulties (not so much easy mode), it's paramount to strategically know when and when not to utilize all of your nodes for offense.

Hey, I think I see my destroyed house from here.
Additionally, you have the ability to strafe around targets via holding the left shoulder button. Since I have piano player's fingers (as I've been politely told), I didn't suffer anything in the way of cramps, but I'm sure one with larger fingers will have them cramp up occasionally while playing Liberation Maiden. However, the biggest problem with the game is its unfortunate control scheme. It's nothing horrible for right handed players, but for lefties, the game is nigh impossible to enjoy. Just be wary of that if you have an interest in Suda 51's latest.

From boats to tanks, there is an admirable 
amount of variety in the enemy design.
With Liberation Maiden only possessing five missions, the campaign is over quite quickly. Perhaps taking an hour or less to complete. However, there are a series of achievement-like challenges to accomplish that unlock artwork of the game. These tasks include things like completing normal and hard mode 10 times each, purifying a level 100%, taking out a specific number of enemies, and so forth. Thus, there is some replay value to be had.

Liberation Maiden is really technologically impressive for a downloadable 3DS title. While the models aren't the most stunning the 3DS has ever seen, there are a lot of polygons on screen at the same time. The most awesome thing about this is that there is minimal slowdown to be found. In addition to the beauty of the gameplay, Liberation Maiden's missions are bookended by gorgeous anime cutscenes. The audio in the way of well done voice overs and suitable-for-combat music (some of which is vocal, albeit in Japanese) also delights and brings even more pizzazz to the overall presentation.

An example of one of the Greater Spikes.
It is nice to see Suda 51 and his team at Grasshopper branch out with Liberation Maiden. While the game is far from perfect, Liberation Maiden is a technical marvel, fast-paced, and features a decent amount of replay value. I would have personally liked to have seen more in the way of missions to beef up the campaign's length and had the developers make considerations for lefties, but all-in-all Liberation Maiden is a welcome addition to the increasingly competent eShop on the Nintendo 3DS.

[SPC Says: 7.0/10]

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fluidity: Spin Cycle (3DSWare) Review

Two reviews in one day? What kind of sorcery is this? Our next review comes from a title that released at the end of last year for the Nintendo 3DS eShop. It's a sequel to a WiiWare game, though this one has a different structure to it. Is that new structure for the better? Find out with our review of Fluidity: Spin Cycle (known as Hydroventure: Spin Cycle in PAL territories).

Go With the Flow

Back in 2010, Curve Studios developed a game under the supervision of Nintendo known as Fluidity (or Hydroventure for our PAL pals). The game released on WiiWare, and it involved tilting the Wii Remote to guide a pool of water through a multitude of cleverly designed areas. Two years later and Curve Studios returned to the franchise, this time with a release on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. Fluidity: Spin Cycle is the sequel, and I couldn't be happier to see the little droplet of water that could return to create a new franchise for Nintendo. Is Fluidity's sequel for Nintendo 3DS one that you'll want to take out for a spin?

The "flow" (if you will, har-har) of Fluidity: Spin Cycle has changed immensely from what players got from the WiiWare original. The first Fluidity was very Metroid-like in structure. As you unlocked new abilities, you were granted access to new areas. However, Fluidity: Spin Cycle forgoes this gameplay structure for something more suitable for handheld play. Instead of one huge open world to explore, Spin Cycle is divided up between bite-size levels with the goal of reuniting the male hero with the female water droplet in captivity.

Ah... together at last!
Levels are ingeniously designed, and each introduces a novel concept to the gameplay. You're essentially always interacting in some with the environment as your pool of water. One level has you switching between your water form and ice form to bring a load of treasure from the depths of a castle to the first floor. Others have you sliding over the backs of dinosaurs, using your water to carry gears over to their rightful slots, and some even have you needing to twist and turn your 3DS 180 degrees to play (more on these levels later).

Splash your way through each level,
solving puzzles and defeating enemies.
Each of the game's four worlds ends with a boss level. These are quite clever in how they are designed. For instance, let's talk about the first world's boss. It's a giant spider that spews flames at you. By activating a switch, one spike pops out of the walls on each side of the boss. By tilting the 3DS left and right you can make the spider swing into the spikes to damage its hard shell, eventually weakening it enough that you can enter inside the spider and self-detonate to destroy it. These boss fights add to the immense variety of Fluidity: Spin Cycle.

This first boss fight is seriously creative.
Outside of simply beating levels, which is a task in and of itself, there are two other things that players can do in the majority of levels in Spin Cycle. For one, every level outside of boss battle levels contains a usually well-hidden jigsaw puzzle piece. It will take most of your cunning to find them, and some of them require returning to past levels after a new power of your hero has been unlocked. In addition to puzzle pieces, completionists can look forward to trying to get five stars on each and every level in the game. That's no easy task, as you have to not only collect water orbs to add to your score, but you have to beat levels fast enough so you are awarded a time bonus. These added objectives increase the replay value of Fluidity: Spin Cycle by quite a bit.

Give that stinky T-Rex the bath it deserves!
Your water droplet hero learns various new moves, abilities, and powers throughout the course of Spin Cycle. For one, you can gather your water into one spot so you have more control over your entire puddle of water, and in this form you can later learn the ability to explode, destroying nearby weakened walls and other objects. Like the original Fluidity before it, our favorite water droplet (unless you love Dewy from that one Wii game) can freeze his body, turning into a cube of ice. This allows him to step on and trigger pressure switches to open new areas.

Those who played the original Fluidity should remember that momentum was the name of the game, as well motion controls. This has, for the most part, remained unchanged with the sequel. However, instead of tilting a controller, you're tilting the entire Nintendo 3DS system with Spin Cycle. What may bother some players is having to turn their 3DS upside-down in the levels that require 360 degree movement. It's quite uncomfortable to hold the 3DS the nontraditional way, and this is especially true when you have to use the face buttons for various actions. On my O.G. 3DS I found myself sometimes accidentally pressing the power button, totally losing any of my current progress in a level. That said, if one can adapt to these controls, one will find a worthwhile game.

Don't get dizzy spinning that 3DS of yours around!
Fluidity: Spin Cycle is a treasure to look at, and much improved from its predecessor. Worlds are more colorful, they have much more going on, and characters and enemies animate well. Given that you have to tilt the 3DS, the stereoscopic 3D in the game is unused. On the sound side of the equation, Spin Cycle sports a relaxing soundtrack that is definitely one that players can hum to as they play and replay the game's many levels.

Overall, Fluidity: Spin Cycle is a big improvement over its WiiWare older sibling. The bite-sized levels work wonderfully on a portable, the replay value is definitely there (through finding puzzle pieces and earning a five star rating on every level), and the controls are responsive, even if holding the 3DS upside-down isn't the most comfortable thing to hold in the world. I wholeheartedly welcome Fluidity: Spin Cycle to those who enjoy puzzle-adventure games, those who like innovation, and those who are yearning for something really cool and different on the Nintendo eShop. If you have an interest in Fluidity: Spin Cycle but have not yet picked it up, I have but one thing to say to you (Warning: bad pun approaching): Water you waiting for?!

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

Review copy provided by Nintendo.

Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo (3DSWare) Review

Our next review comes from a game by Pixel Toys. If you recall, we had an interview with Andy Wafer of the new studio. Their first Nintendo 3DS project is a platformer where you play as Mr. Nibbles, collecting acorns to feed his family. It's Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo. While the name isn't the easiest to slip out of your mouth or roll of the tongue, the game is actually a pretty decent amount of fun. For details on why, here's our review.

Go Nuts With Mr. Nibbles

In the past, Nintendo has had some very strict and stringent policies towards downloadable games and the developers who make them. We've heard horror stories about studios not being paid until they reached a certain amount of sales on WiiWare. Thankfully, now Nintendo has stepped up their game and loosened their grip. We see this now with both the Wii U eShop and Nintendo 3DS eShop. The latter has a new game by a relatively new studio named Pixel Toys. The studio has come out with a game with a mouthful of a name, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo. Will this game make you go nuts in the good way or the bad way?

What is a squirrel to do when his acorns are stolen and he has a family to feed? Well, if you're Mr. Nibbles, you hunker down and prepare yourself to get all of your acorns back through a myriad of increasingly more challenging levels. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is split up between three years. Each year has twenty levels inside. Every fifth level has Mr. Nibbles not only nabbing acorns but he also has to round up little babies that scurry around the levels too. The final level of each year pits Senor Nibbles against a boss who he must race to the finish. As Mr. Nibbles gains more and more acorns, an end of level gauge fills. As it crosses certain milestones, new things are unlocked such as new modes and new years to play.

Collect acorns, dodge enemies, and make it
to the goal in time to clear each level.
Every level in Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo has its own set of tasks for Mr. Nibbles to accomplish. The standard goal is to collect all of the acorns in a given level within the time limit and reach the goal. However, completionists will have a field day with this game, as there is really A LOT to do. For instance, there's beating the level's time trial, defeating all enemies, and collecting all fruit. The latter of these tasks unlocks a new costume piece for Mr. Nibbles, such as an afro, a tuxedo, and new kinds of ropes. Hey, even squirrels have to represent now and then.

Levels in general are well designed, but a lot of them share the same obstacles, enemies, music, backgrounds, and hazards, so things can look rather repetitive quite often. That said, each level is set up to challenge the player in different ways, from platforms that move to ones that collapse once stepped on. There are also places in levels where Mr. Nibbles can swing off of, which makes crossing gaps a fun excursion.

Mr. Nibbles has certainly gotten the swing of things.
To assist Mr. Nibbles in his acorn and baby collecting, there are three types of power-ups that appear in a lot of the levels. Speed is pretty much obvious as what it does, giving Mr. Nibbles a shot in the arm (or is it feet?) so he can move faster. Invincibility makes charging through otherwise impervious foes an ability, as well as smashing through walls that would at any other time be impenetrable. Finally, the high jump allows Mr. Nibbles to reach for the stars... or at least get closer to reaching them. Although all of these power-ups only last for a limited amount of time before they wear off, they are extremely helpful nonetheless.

Jump higher with the Super Jump power-up.
Outside of the regular mode that is full of replay value, there are two other modes making the game even MORE full of content. First off, there's Challenge Mode that consists of ten challenges based off of different concepts like long jumps or swinging, for instance, and each of the challenges has three difficulties to earn medals in. Not only is there Challenge Mode, but there's also something called Turbo Mode. This is a more difficult version of the regular mode the game possesses, offering even more content. It bears repeating that for a game this cheap in price, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is absolutely packed with content.

Challenge Mode is a serious... well... challenge!
When Mr. Nibbles takes damage, he gets poisoned for a temporary amount of time. In this form he cannot move as nimbly or jump as high. Perhaps my only issue with the actual platforming in Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is that the controls aren't as tight as I would have liked, leading to a lot of annoying hits and missed jumps.

Who needs to chill out during the winter months
when you have warm costumes to wear?
In way of presentation, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo does its job rather well. The graphics are quaint and cute, and the 3D effect makes a clear distinction between the foreground, where the characters and platforms are; and the backgrounds of each level. The music is highly forgettable, but thankfully it is nothing grating. It's just there in all honesty. It doesn't get in the way, but it doesn't impress either.

Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo has me excited about the six month old studio of Pixel Toys. The game makes me interested in what they're going to do next, regardless of whether they return to the Nintendo 3DS. Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo has plenty of charm, loads to unlock and do, and has accessible controls for beginners and experts alike to enjoy. The low price point is just the icing on the cake. If you're looking for a downloadable title on the Nintendo 3DS eShop that will give you plenty of bang for your buck, Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo is a perfect fit. Time to get nuts!

[SPC Says: 8.5/10]

Review copy provided by Pixel Toys.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Super Mario World (Wii U VC, SNES) Retro Review

Like it was a long time since our last entry in our Best Boss Battles in Gaming History series of articles, it's been a long wait for a new retro review. Thankfully, we haven't made you wait over year, but it has been a good while. That said, retro reviews are back with a vengeance with what many call one of the best video games of all time. It's Super Mario World, and to us it was the premier Virtual Console game in Nintendo's decidedly anemic Wii U VC service launch lineup. Let's see how good this "best video game of all time" nominee is.

In This World, Super is an Understatement.

Mario is one of the most well known characters in any medium. It was once reported that more children knew of the portly plumber than Disney's own Mickey Mouse. There's good reason for that as there has been no shortage of Mario games over the year. However, that's okay as most of them are quite wonderful experiences. Back at the release of Nintendo's second home console, the Super Nintendo (aka the SNES, aka the Super Famicom) a little game called Super Mario World launched as a pack-in title with the system. Since then, the game has had a place on a multitude of "Best Game Ever" lists, including right here on SuperPhillip Central. What makes Super Mario World such a stroke of near-perfection? Let's find out with this review.

Mario and Luigi arrive at Dinosaur Land with a message that once again Princess Peach Toadstool has been kidnapped by the sinister Bowser, King of the Koopas. (She better have gotten used to that because she would be kidnapped many many times after Super Mario World.) It's up to the Super Mario brothers to across the worlds of Dinosaur Land, such as the Donut Plains, Vanilla Dome, and Forest of Illusion, to take out each of Bowser's Koopaling offspring and finally make it to Bowser's castle to teach King Koopa a lesson in civility.

Not only did Mario's joke go over 
this enemy's head but so did Mario himself.
Like Super Mario Bros. 3 before it, Super Mario World contains its own maps laying out each level. However, there are key differences between how Super Mario Bros. 3's maps operated and how Super Mario World operates. One difference is that while Super Mario Bros. 3 was a series of eight disconnected worlds, all of the worlds in Super Mario World are a part of the same map. Not only that, but in Super Mario World you can return to completed levels. It's a necessity if you want to find all of the exits within the game. Yes, unlike Super Mario Bros. 3, World possesses multiple exits per specially marked levels. There's a normal exit and a secret exit that usually acts as a shortcut to skip whole levels or even worlds. (The secret exits generally have Mario or Luigi delivering a key to a keyhole to unlock a new path.) In total there are 96 unique exits in Super Mario World, adding a ton of replay value to an already worthwhile game.

The interconnected Dinosaur Land
As for the actual levels, Super Mario World is the benchmark of excellence in level design. Each level offers something new and fresh into the mix. There are outdoor levels, indoor levels, ghost houses full of Boos and other paranormal creatures, and castles that conclude every world, housing a final battle with one of Bowser's seven Koopaling children. There are levels where you must climb on gates, punching Koopas that come in your path. There are levels where you ride moving platforms, being forced to dodge oncoming saws or face your ultimate doom. One last example is a level where you are carried by a flotilla of dolphins, needing to ride them to avoid the spiked puffer fish prowling in the ocean below. The level variety is immense and each one has a reason for being there.

Hang tough, Mario, or else
you'll meet a painful spiky fate!
Like each level serves its own purpose, so does each and every obstacle, item box, and enemy placement. Nothing here is filler or extra. That is just an astounding concept to me and amazing design through and through. The cast of enemies borrows from past Mario games, but Super Mario World also introduces new foes into the mix. Sumo Bros., Amazing Flying Hammer Bros., Superkoopas, Reznar, Mini Thwomps, and so many more interesting foes away Mario and Luigi on their adventure in Dinosaur Land.

Dolphin overload! Are you 
guys going Mario's way?
In the way of other power-ups, there is a stark contrast in quantity in Super Mario World compared to something like Super Mario Bros. 3. In SMB 3 you had a raccoon leaf, Tanooki suit, Hammer Bros. suit, Frog suit, among other awesome power-ups. The amount in Super Mario World is much lower in that regard, with the only two real item power-ups being the traditional standby Fire Flower and the all-new power-up, the Cape. The Cape allows Mario, after a running start of course, to fly into the air, using the cape as a parachute to zip through the sky. It's actually possible to sustain a continuous flight power, skipping entire portions of most outdoor levels. Though that is a rather cheap way of playing...

The Fire Flower is the traditional Mario
power-up and it returns in SMW.
Perhaps the reason for the limited amount of item power-ups is the inclusion of a creature that could be considered Super Mario World's most important power-up. One of the most notable new additions to the Super Mario Bros. series that Super Mario World brought was Mario's dinosaur companion Yoshi. With the helpful dino, Mario can use Yoshi to eat up most enemies, though things like Bullet Bills and Sumo Bros. cannot be gobbled up. Depending on what kind of Koopa shell a given Yoshi has in its mouth, it can perform a host of new abilities. For instance, a red shell allows Yoshi to spit out three fireballs that shoot off in unique angles. Meanwhile, a yellow shell grants Yoshi the power to unleash shockwaves on the ground to nearby enemies. Finally, the blue shell is without a doubt the most helpful. It grants Yoshi the power of flight. Besides the normal green Yoshi, hidden levels house differently colored Yoshis. If Mario is riding a blue Yoshi, for example, any shell that is housed in the dinosaur's mouth will grant the temporary power of flight.

Yoshis are a plumber's best friend.
There are limitations to Yoshi's helpfulness. For one, Yoshi cannot accompany Mario or Luigi into castles or ghost houses. When Mario is hit while riding Yoshi, Yoshi will begin to run away without any caution to the wind, sometimes making it fall helplessly into a bottomless pit or even lava. Regardless, despite these drawbacks, Yoshi is still an awesome addition to the Super Mario series. Ever since Super Mario World, Nintendo hasn't made Yoshi quite as useful in a traditional Mario game as his debut in World.

As for the controls, this is the Super Mario Bros. series at its purest and finest. The controls are particularly tight, they feel superbly responsive and precise, and it's always YOUR fault if you die, not the game's. These qualities are of the utmost importance in a 2D platformer. Super Mario World is one of the best examples of flawless controls in the genre, and to this day developers struggle to match what a game in 1991 mastered.

Sticks and stones may break Mario's bones,
  but these sticks cause some pretty nasty splinters!
Super Mario World is still a good looking game, showing that simple art design, well done animation, and a colorful 2D art style can make for a game that can stand the test of time. Perhaps the only issue in the presentation department is the slowdown that occurs when there are a lot of enemies on screen at the same time. Still, this won't disturb too many players. It certainly didn't bother me. Perhaps I thought I was playing a Mario version of The Matrix or something. In the sound department, Super Mario World contains enduring music that is still as catchy and memorable as it was in 1991. Overall, Super Mario World doesn't feel dated at all. In fact, it seems like it could have been made today.

Jeez. Put on some clothes, will you? 
You're exposing yourselves here!
Super Mario World is the pinnacle of not just 2D Mario, but 2D platformers in general-- heck, even gaming in general. Mario and Luigi are a delight to handle, the game is definitely one that poses a fun challenge without getting too frustrating, and the level design is some of the series's best. Now that the game has arrived on the Wii U's Virtual Console service, players can once again enjoy this masterful title in the comfort of their chairs as they either play it on the TV screen or the Wii U GamePad exclusively. Super Mario World  is a shining example of sensational game design, and if you've not had the pleasure of playing this game ever or even in a while, you're definitely missing out.

[SPC Says: 10/10]

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Project X Zone (3DS) Capcom Character Spotlight

Banpresto and Monolith Soft have teamed up to create this sensational crossover title. It's Project X Zone, a highly anticipated game for the Nintendo 3DS coming to the system next month. The game features famous all-stars from the lineups of Capcom, SEGA, and Namco Bandai-- the latter of which is publishing the game in North America. Watch this trailer devoted to Capcom's side of the roster, including Mega Man X, Chris Redfield, and Frank West.

Best Boss Battles in Gaming History - Part Seven


We cannot believe it has been over a year since we last took a look at our favorite boss fights of all time. We're sure you're wanting to catch up, so you can see all six past installments at the end of this article. Some argue that boss battles are too old school for modern games. Something that strives to be akin to a blockbuster like Call of Duty or Killzone probably shouldn't have boss battles in them, but if it's an RPG or a platformer, then sure, why not? For us, it all comes down to what the type of game is. These five boss battles that we've selected are ones that were fun to play, awesome to see, and/or just too damn entertaining to put into words. Regardless, we've gone ahead and done the futile task of putting these fights into words. We hope you enjoy our selections. After we're done, why not mention some of your own?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS) New Trailer

Be wary of spoilers if you don't wish to view the new content Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D will have. This 3DS port of the Wii classic features an easier difficulty, new levels, and the ability to roll and perform actions via buttons as opposed to shaking a Wii remote like in the original Donkey Kong Country Returns. This is looking like a great game to double dip to. You can expect a full review of Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D soon after its release date later this month.

Top Five Star Wars Game Series

It was announced yesterday that Electronic Arts has a multiyear deal giving them the ability to exclusively develop and publish Star Wars games. While some think this is a really bad thing (those who don't like yearly releases, microtransactions, those who only own a Wii U, etc.), there is some good that can come from it.

Fresh off yesterday's announcement, it seems like a perfect time to take note of the greatest Star Wars game series that the franchise has seen. There were A LOT to sift through, but we at SuperPhillip Central have come up with the top five Star Wars game franchises that made us become in love with George Lucas's galaxy far, far away even more than we were already.

5) Super Star Wars

This Super Nintendo-exclusive trilogy consisted of 2D platforming, running and gunning gameplay, and the occasional 3D section, where Luke Skywalker or another playable character piloted a landspeeder or even an X-Wing to mix things up. For instance, the final level of Super Star Wars featured young Skywalker speeding through the Death Star's trench to blow that baby to kingdom come. The actual trilogy (Super Star Wars, Super Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Super Star Wars: Return of the Jedi) followed the plots of each of the original movie trilogy rather well. The games got a second life when they were released on Nintendo's Virtual Console service for the Wii. If you have the money, you should definitely check these excellent games out.

4) Jedi Knight

A first-person shooter Star Wars series, Jedi Knight is one of those Star Wars franchises that has been consistently terrific. It originated in 1995, and featured characters from the expanded Star Wars universe of characters and settings. Levels are primarily made up of multiple missions and objectives that need to be completed before the player can head to the next. Dark Forces II incorporated an optional third-person shooter camera view to spice things up. If you ask us, though, Jedi Knight didn't need any spicing up, because the games always kicked serious Sith ass. The addition of being able to use a lightsaber in combat only made the games even more fantastic than they already were. Case in point, we at SuperPhillip Central would absolutely love to see the franchise's return into relevance once more.

3) Knights of the Old Republic

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, or as it's more fondly known as KotOR, is a role-playing video game that was developed by BioWare, the same studio that is now owned by Electronic Arts. Small world, no? Taking the Star Wars universe and basing a game of off Wizards of the Coast's own Star Wars Roleplaying Game (which itself is based off of Dungeons & Dragons), Knights of the Old Republic started off with giving players three simple classes of characters to choose from. These classes could later in the game be upgraded to one of three Jedi classes. The game offered round-based combat where levels could be gained to expand the player character's attributes and ability range. The tale BioWare told is one of the best in a Star Wars video game. Amazing how BioWare could go from Knights of the Old Republic's fantastic story to Mass Effect 3's ending. Bah. We're just beating a dead horse here.

2) Rogue Squadron

A third-person flight-based Star Wars series, Rogue Squadron first debuted on the PC before making its own home console debut on the Nintendo 64. The original Rogue Squadron took place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, sending players right into the cockpit of an X-Wing. The subsequent sequels were released exclusively on the Nintendo GameCube, one of which being a launch title for the system. Not only were the games technological marvels (like the original Rogue Squadron was), but they allow players to relive and participate in their favorite moments of the original Star Wars trilogy. Not only that, but there were completely original missions to take on in the games as well. It is a darn shame that Factor 5 is no longer with us, as they could not only provide awesome graphical feats, but generally their games were of the utmost quality.

1) Battlefront

The Star Wars series that SuperPhillip Central selects as our favorite franchise of the galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: Battlefront puts players right into some incredibly epic confrontations. Players are placed within action-packed battlefields set in familiar locations such as Endor, Hoth, Naboo, and Coruscant. One can man vehicles and sentry guns, or opt to take the battle on foot to lead their side to victory. Star Wars: Battlefront II introduced the option to play as Jedi characters, participate in space combat, and contained Revenge of the Sith content. What followed the console and PC releases of Battlefront II was one PSP-exclusive entry in the series and one for both the PSP and Nintendo DS, marking the first and only time the series hit a Nintendo platform. Sadly, Battlefront III was canned mid-development, disappointing aspiring Jedi and Sith across the globe. Who knows, perhaps EA could bring this favorite Star Wars franchise of ours back from the grave. They certainly have the power and money to.


Did we overlook your favorite Star Wars franchise? We probably did, young Padawan, but no worries. You can make the case for your favorite franchises in the comments section below (perhaps by using a Jedi mind trick). Just remember to use the force, of course.

Resident Evil: Revelations (Multi) Wii U Trailer

Resident Evil: Revelations released on the Nintendo 3DS back in February of 2012. Now, the game is getting a boost in definition with a console release on Wii U, PS3, and Xbox 360. This trailer is specific to the features that can be found in the Wii U version, such as off-TV play, Miiverse, and two screen action. Resident Evil: Revelations releases on Wii U and other systems May 21 in North America.

Monday, May 6, 2013

SPC's Favorite VGMs - Cinco de Mayo + 1 Edition

The start of the workweek can only mean one thing-- Moonshine Monday! Wait. No. It's actually time for SPC's Favorite VGMs, your go-to source for... SuperPhillip Central's... favorite VGMs. Ahem. On this week's installment we've got music from Batman: Arkham City, Final Fantasy VIII, and Ys I & II Chronicles.

v366. Batman: Arkham City (PS3, 360) - Main Theme

I recently sat down and replayed through Batman: Arkham City. The first time was on the PlayStation 3. This second foray into Arkham City was via the Wii U's Armored Edition, a truly definitive version of the game. Anyway, this main theme says all you need to know about the Dark Knight. It's epic, it's heroic, and it's incredibly tense-- just like Batman himself.

v367. de Blob (Wii) - Raydian Day (Unstoppable)

John Cuscott and his band jam with de Blob's Raydian Day (Unstoppable). de Blob was one of those child-friendly games that added to the immense library of the Nintendo Wii. You played as the titular hero, coloring up buildings and defeating the sinister INKT baddies. It's a total shame that Blue Tongue was dissolved, even if they would have just been sold off to the highest bidder after THQ's collapse.

v368. Final Fantasy VIII (PS1) - The Landing

This theme was the first thing heard on the original PlayStation demo of Final Fantasy VIII. Actually, it really wasn't. An alternate theme was played. The story goes that it sounded too familiar to something from The Rock motion picture (that's the rumor anyway). Someone verify that for me, okay? Regardless, this version is the one that made it into the final game, The Landing.

v369. Ys I & II Chronicles (PSP) - Ice Ridge of Noltia

What starts with a lovely strings theme backed by a rhythm track turns into an affair for piano and then guitar. Ys I & II Chronicles is a collection of titles that I did not get to try out. After enjoying The Oath in Felghana, my interest in the Ys series grew heavily. It's about time I track down a copy of this collection!

v370. Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games (Wii) - Football

There's nothing like an energetic song to kick around a black and white ball to. That is exactly what you get with our last VGM of this edition of SPC's Favorite VGMs. This track plays during the football event of Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games for the Nintendo Wii. The game had its drawbacks, but overall it was a competent mini-game collection with a terrific soundtrack.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Coming Up Next: 6 Wii U Highlights That Could Change Nintendo’s Fortunes

The following is a promotional post from the New York Film Academy. We don't usually allow guest posts of this nature, but we decided for it for two reasons: 1) It goes along with the content seen on SuperPhillip Central, and 2) As the founder of this site is also a student, learning game design in school, he understands how important these kinds of university programs are. He wanted to help out by allowing this promotional post. It's important to note that SuperPhillip Central will not be a source of constant promotional material, nor do the views of this article necessary agree with our own.

Oh, Nintendo. The Wii U hasn’t really panned out too well, has it?

It seems the muddled launch of the console was a precursor for things to come, with sales so low that Nintendo have dropped their projections for the year by 17%. It’s hardly surprising, really, given the confusion over what features the Wii successor offers (or in many cases, what it even is in the first place).

Amongst its numerous other issues, the low number of major titles in the lackluster lineup has taken its toll… but are things set to improve for the better?

It seems that the releases planned for the rest of 2013 could reverse Nintendo’s fortunes of late and return them to their former glory. This is good news not only for gamers but also for developers alike; with many talented students graduating from the best game design schools this year, we’re hoping that this eighth generation of consoles provides sees the industry grow in ever innovative ways.

Whether the great titles coming through the pipeline are enough to help Nintendo survive the PS4/Xbox 720 onslaught heading their way remains to be seen, but it’s still heartening for Wii U owners who have been waiting for something decent to play since last Christmas. Here are some of the bigger titles which we’re keen to get our hands on, as well as what we know about them so far…

Batman: Arkham Origins
Release Date: October 2013

As you can imagine from the title alone, Batman: Arkham Origins will explore the dark knight’s rise in the events prior to Asylum and City. Given that the two former titles were buffed to a mirror shine (both having achieved over 90 on Metacritic), expectations for Arkham Origins are soaring in the run up to release on all the major consoles.

Some worries have already crept in, however. It’s always a contentious minefield to mess with origin stories, doubly so when it comes to Batman, but an even more puzzling bit of news is that Rocksteady Studios – the developer behind the first two stunning games – will not be involved in the project. That said, the new team are said to be sticking with the Unreal engine in an attempt to keep the aesthetic design consistent, so it doesn't sound like they’re going to try to reinvent the wheel.

But assuming we’ll see consistent quality with the third title, we’ll be treated to a great origin story which predominantly features Penguin and the Black Mask as main villains (although which Black Mask is not yet clear). It’ll also be interesting to see how the GamePad will be integrated on the Wii U port – since the series has thus far included some (surprisingly good) quick time event-based gameplay, it could translate incredibly well.

Wii Fit U
Release Date: Summer 2013

Although its name couldn’t be any more awkward, we’re looking forward to the improvements Wii Fit U are set to deliver over its predecessor.

In addition to a range of new mini games and routines, the Wii Fit U is reported to have a whole new fitness category in the form of ‘Dance’. That’s certainly going to be a hit given the number of dance-related games on the Wii, but even more noteworthy is the fact that you’ll be able to play solely on the GamePad. This is a major plus for anyone who struggled to clear a space directly in front of the TV!

Angry Birds Trilogy
Release Date: “Late 2013”

While the first three Angry Birds games have been out for some time now, we can’t see anyone balking at paying $40-ish for the bundle package given how utterly fun they are.

If you enjoyed playing Angry Birds Seasons on your iPhone, you’ll love it on the big screen in all its 1080p glory (especially with GamePad playability thrown in for good measure).

Rayman Legends
Release Date: September 2013

When Rayman Origins came out in 2011, it heralded an explosive return for the franchise which, although always well received, never gained much of a mainstream foothold. Origins was so highly reviewed that dubbed it ‘the best 2D platformer not called Mario’, and rightly so.

Rayman Legends will follow on from the titular disembodied character’s success in September this year. It was originally slated to be a Wii U exclusive, but it now being released across all platforms. If the prequel is anything to go by, this is definitely one to keep your hopes up for.

Mario Kart (Wii U)
Release Date: ???

Very few, if any, details about the Wii U’s own Mario Kart game exist, but suffice to say this wouldn’t be a list of ‘Most Anticipated Wii U Games’ if we didn’t at least mention it.

For the most part though, don’t expect too many surprises. Since the format ain’t broke, there’s no point fixing it so here’s to more of the same Mario Kart fun we’ve been waiting for.

Ah, Rainbow Road. ‘Til we meet again…

Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag
Release Date: October 2013

The continuity of the Assassin’s Creed franchise is getting as muddled as the series is popular, but that doesn’t stop us from looking forward to the next full follow-up which will take place as a prequel to Assassin’s Creed III. Or a sequel. Or both, technically.

This time we’ll be taking to the high seas in the 18th Century Caribbean as Edward Kenway, who has a vague blood tie with Desmond Miles in the modern day. Aside from the usual two-intertwining timeline plot we’ve grown used to, developers have stated that Assassin’s Creed IV will completely turn the series on its head (both in terms of setting and gameplay). Exactly how they’re doing this remains to be seen, but it’s sure to be a welcome flagship title in the Wii U’s arsenal.