Saturday, May 23, 2015

Splatoon (Wii U) Extended Cut Trailer

The final Splatoon Global Testfire was today, and it started off rocky with huge traffic and connection issues. However, this was solved by Nintendo, and because of the problems, the company offered an extra hour of play. I personally did not touch any of the stress test demos because I want Splatoon to be 100% fresh for me this Friday. That and I'd suffer withdrawal symptoms if I played a testfire session and had to wait until the 29th to play the full game. Check out this trailer for Splatoon which features a catchy ditty to go along with the action.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pokemon Rumble World (3DS eShop) Review

Hey everyone! Hope your Thursday treated you well. I have a brand-new review to share, continuing this month of Nintendo 3DS reviews. Coming next week are two retail release reviews for games that came out earlier in the year for the 3DS. For the time being, though, let's focus our attention on a free-to-play game of all things with Pokemon Rumble World.

Hear the rumblings of a free-to-play game done right.

Back in 1999, critics of Pokemon called it nothing but a fad. More than 15 years later, this supposed "fad" is still going strong, seeing new game releases on a steady basis and plenty of spin-off titles apart from the main series of games. Pokemon Rumble is one of those, and it originated as a Wii game on Nintendo's WiiWare digital service. After a retail Nintendo 3DS release and a more battle royale-focused Wii U eShop release, a new Pokemon Rumble game hits the 3DS eShop, but with a twist.

Pokemon Rumble World is another game that has Nintendo experimenting with the free-to-play model that is most prevalent with mobile gaming. However, this experiment is one that feels like a steal for the player, and it only requires additional funds from the most hardcore and fanatical of the game's players. It all adds up to a game that although simple to play and lacking in great depth, makes up for it with addicting gameplay and features.

You can travel without a Pokemon helper, so
the king lends you his Pikachu to start off with.
There are two currencies in Pokemon Rumble World: game money and Pokediamonds. Game money is used to purchase new outfits for your Mii, background images for taking photos of your Mii, and various trees that are planted within the hub area of the game, which grant attack, defense, speed, and other types of bonuses to your Pokemon in battle. Meanwhile, Pokediamonds are used for a myriad of things: purchasing hot air balloons to venture to new dungeons where a healthy heaping of new Pokemon species can be fought and captured, special houses that increase the maximum amount of Pokemon you can hold in your collection, and using them as a means to skip the time you have to wait until you can reuse a hot air balloon.

Pokediamonds are the currency that is the most important in Pokemon Rumble World. At the beginning of the game, it's quite easy to earn enough to purchase new hot air balloons, but as you continue to buy new ones and gain ranks for collecting more and more species of Pokemon, the balloons tend to cost a lot more Pokediamonds. For example, early balloons only cost about 10 Pokediamonds, which is easily attainable by simply playing the game. However, if you like the game enough that you want to catch them all, then you better be ready to spend upwards of 100 Pokediamonds to buy one hot air balloon and collect as many Pokediamonds as possible.

Capture more species of Pokemon to increase your rank,
allowing you more things to buy with in-game money.
Pokediamonds are handed out in a number of ways. The major way is through completing daily tasks that the king of the Pokemon kingdom you're in asks you to do. These include participating in Pokemon Battle Royales, where you have a set amount of seconds to defeat all of the Pokemon in an arena setting; as well as tasks like protecting a Mii character for the duration of the level. Not only can you earn Pokediamonds from simply successfully completing the king's tasks, but each task has a checklist of sub-goals to try to check off, such as beating the level without changing Pokemon, or using a Pokemon type that is weak against the enemy forces.

It's a Treecko and Sceptile hootenanny! Yee-haw!
In a sense, you can theoretically keep playing each new challenge the king dishes out to you each day to earn Pokediamonds in an albeit very slow fashion. However, to help speed up the process of gaining new hot air balloons, which again, take you to new dungeons with new Pokemon varieties to capture, players are able to purchase Pokediamonds with real world money. The great thing about this, if the word "great" should even be used in a free-to-play sense, is that Nintendo has it capped where you can only spend up to thirty dollars total on the game. Basically, if you spend the full thirty, you're cut off from any further purchases, and that's quite alright because you'll have more than enough diamonds to see all of the content Pokemon Rumble World has to offer. Personally, I've spent all but five dollars on Pokediamonds and have had enough to purchase a multitude of hot air balloons, expanding my selection of dungeons I can go to.

As stated, hot air balloons take you to a plethora of locations where you can battle and collect Pokemon. Each hot air balloon takes you to a region where one of a handful of locations is chosen by a roulette. Each location has its own set of native Pokemon you'll encounter, as well as a boss Pokemon at the end to battle. Sometimes when you're using your best luck to select a location in the roulette, a time period known as "Fever" will occur. This makes it so locations have a higher chance of capturing Pokemon, as well as changing the boss Pokemon you'll face to a rarer species.

Face Pokemon both common and legendary in Rumble World.
The actual gameplay of Pokemon Rumble World should be easy to jump right into, whether you're a longtime Pokemon Rumble fan or completely new to this spin-off series' style. You play as a toy Pokemon, going through linear stages, fighting masses of Pokemon. You have upwards of two moves to use, one with the A button and one with the B button. Defeated Pokemon drop money, but they can also sometimes shrink and fall onto the battlefield, allowing you to pick them up and essentially "capture" them, having them join your side. It's totally random whether a Pokemon defeated will become able to be captured, but there is one way to ensure it. However, this is also random-- having the Pokemon wobble from an attack. If you defeat it while it's in its wobbling state, it will automatically, 100% of the time be able to get captured.

Poor Andy. You invested all your money in the dot-com
bubble and now you're wearing a barrel...
Occasionally, other Mii characters seen through SpotPass or StreetPass will show up in a dungeon, usually requiring your help to save them from a band of Pokemon. Doing so will have them follow you around, giving you the occasional stat bonus as long as their HP doesn't get wiped out in a skirmish. Through SpotPass and StreetPass, you can earn Pokediamonds, one for every five Miis met, and some larger bonuses for satisfying other conditions.

Help a Mii out in battle, and he or she will help you out in return!
The free-to-play model rears its head into things after a hot air balloon has been used. The game will have a timer that counts down the next time you can utilize that same balloon. With the payment of a Pokediamond or two, you can bypass this and use the balloon all over again without waiting. You can even spend a Pokediamond to get the exact location you want without dealing with the roulette's luck-based results.

Pokemon Rumble World is a very satisfying game which has plenty of enjoyable, albeit simplistic battling and capturing of Pokemon. The limit on what you can spend means Nintendo isn't using dirty tactics to suck money from its most vulnerable market, kids. Even if you don't spend a dime on Pokediamonds, the experience is fulfilling enough that you don't feel like you're really missing out by not spending cash on the game. Regardless, those that do are probably the ones that enjoy the game so much that it's worth it, and indeed I did find it worth spending money on if only to further enjoy the game. Pokemon Rumble World could have been an experiment gone quite nasty for Nintendo, but in the end, it turns out to have a mighty satisfying end result.

[SPC Says: A-]

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Localizations, Please! Pre-E3DS 2015 Edition

With E3 2015 coming down the pipeline in about a month's time, I wanted to bring back a favorite segment of mine, "Localizations, Please!" to talk about five yet-to-be-announced-for-localization titles that I'd love to see reach our sunny side of the earth. Hopefully these actually come out unlike the games in this article from Friday.

For no special reason whatsoever besides by (mis)fortune, all five of this edition's games come from the Nintendo 3DS library (well, that and this month is a special Nintendo 3DS game review month). I've been getting pretty lucky with posting games I want to see localized and getting announcements later on down the road. Let's see if that continues with this set of five games.

Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)

We don't know too much about this first game, besides it being an RPG spin-off, having an adorable art style, and it being in development for a good while now. Okay, well, maybe that is plenty that we know about Monster Hunter Stories, but like a spoiled brat, I must have even more to know about! The Monster Hunter series has seen much improved sales success over the past few years, so it seems natural for this spin-off to hit the West for something more than the Japanese audience to enjoy. I guess us Westerners will just have to cross our fingers (or if you want some forced Monster Hunter reference by me) and our Jaggi claws.

Bravely Second (3DS)

The first Bravely Default was localized as part of a marketing deal by Nintendo and Square Enix. "Apparently, Square Enix can't release most of its Nintendo 3DS games without Nintendo's help," Phil said in a sarcastic and very bitter tone. Regardless, despite the game's notorious near-end design issues, it was met with overly nice critical and fair commercial success. Could a possible localization announcement come from either Nintendo's Digital Event showing or Square Enix's E3 press conference this year?

Dragon Quest VIII (3DS)

Just announced last week, Dragon Quest VIII is a port of the PlayStation 2 classic with all-new Nintendo 3DS-exclusive features. The game has seen a version on smart devices, but here's hoping that the Nintendo 3DS game handles and plays a lot better than that one. I haven't given up hope that Dragon Quest VII's remake will finally come stateside and in other parts of the world, so I have hope that some kind of localization announcement will be made for this next Dragon Quest game to hit Nintendo's auto-stereoscopic wonder.

Theatrhythm Dragon Quest (3DS)

As a big fan of the Theatrhythm Final Fantasy games, I'm up for the Dragon Quest version to get localized. Not only will it allow me a nice entry point into the mainline games, but I get to enjoy the series' stellar music while I play along, finding new classics to put on my iPod in the process. It helps that the base game of Theatrhythm is mighty addictive. Sure, it helps to know the music so you can tap, slide, and hold the touch screen in time with the notes, but I'll survive. Well, that's IF the darned game actually winds up on this side of the world, that is.

Dragon Ball Z: Extreme Butoden (3DS)

Dragon Ball Z has once again seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few years, what, with the release of two new movies and an all-new sequel series announced. In fact, Dragon Ball Xenoverse is making quite a lot of video game players happy across the world. It would be the perfect time for Namco Bandai to cash in with its Nintendo 3DS Dragon Ball Z fighting game, Extreme Butoden, and give its overseas fans even more entertainment with cast members like Goku, Vegeta, Trunks, Gohan, Krillin, and more.

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "What Is This Doing On A Tuesday?" Edition

As any SuperPhillip Central regular will tell you, SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs usually appear on a Monday to jump start the week with great video game music. However, any SuperPhillip Central regular will also tell you that I occasionally am late or a bit lazy with posting these on time. It happens rarely, but when it does, it makes a reader's Tuesday all the more special. That's exactly what has transpired with this edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs.

No worries, though, as I have come up with awesome video game tracks for us all to enjoy on this fine Tuesday afternoon. We start things off with Kumi Tanioka's Fort Farthest from Ragnarok Odyssey. Then we get rocking with some music from Mega Man X7 and Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Lastly, we wind this edition up with music from Skies of Arcadia and a jazzy little number from SimCity 3000. Let's get to the music!

v876. Ragnarok Odyssey (Vita) - Fort Farthest

Kumi Tanioka delivers to us a military march styled theme that plays at the hub area Fort Farthest of Ragnarok Odyssey and its expansion, Ragnarok Odyssey ACE. I played the latter, enjoying it as a much more beginner friendly Monster Hunter-esque game. Ragnarok Odyssey features Norse mythology and creatures, bringing with it intense battles with up to four players online or off.

v877. Mega Man X7 (PS2) - Bomb Recovery ~ Central Circuit Stage

Despite the game being the main bomb in a critical sense, Mega Man X7 should be admired for at least trying something new, fully 3D levels. However, I think most of us can be happy that Capcom went to a strictly 2D and 2.5D design sense with Mega Man X8. Still, while the quality of the Mega Man X series has been like a roller coaster, one constant is present throughout all of the games-- they have fantastic music, as evidenced by this theme for Hellride Boarski's stage.

v878. Paper Mario: Sticker Star (3DS) - My Things!

Talking about games that aren't viewed with the highest of regards, Paper Mario: Sticker Star was a competent but overall underwhelming title. It's more to do with it being part of the Paper Mario series than anything else. It lacked gaining experience from battles, partners to help Mario in battle, and the lack of a pronounced story hurt more than they helped the game. However, the music of this Paper Mario is by far my favorite yet seen in the series with its abundance of catchy tunes, such as this one for Bowser Jr. encounters.

v879. Skies of Arcadia (DC) - Blue Pirates' Ship

The Blue Rogues is led by Vyse the pirate, who is also the main character of Skies of Arcadia, known as Eternal Arcadia in Japan. The game would see a port on the Nintendo GameCube, lowering the amount of random enemy encounters that the Dreamcast original notoriously had. The game remains one of my favorite JRPGs I've ever played, and it's the charming cast of characters, unique setting, fun battle system, and wonderful music that I thank for that.

v880. SimCity 3000 (PC) - Central Park Sunday

We conclude this late edition of SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs with a jazzy song from SimCity 3000, Central Park Sunday. Sure, Sunday was two days ago, but this song is just as nice for a Tuesday. A mixture of original music is heard while tinkering around with the various tools available for creating magnificent cities with SimCity 3000, and basically all of it is just as wonderful as Central Park Sunday.