Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 17, 2018

Lambo is trash

Lambo is not ‘Wii Era’ software. Wii Era software was incredible software such as Wii Sports and Wii Fit.

Lambo thinks it will be very profitable because it is using cardboard. Despite this, the game costs $70+!!!! For crappy software and cardboard!!??? Will the cardboard even last a year?

“This is for kids…”

There is no ‘this is for kids’. There is only ‘this is for everyone’. That is the Nintendo mantra after all. This is actually for the hardware engineers to save their jobs because the Switch software is not using the Switch ‘special hardware’.

What should be discussed are the STEM type toys such as the robots you can program and all that cost significantly less than this and do more. Lambo cannot compete with those STEM toys.

Lambo is garbage.

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Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2018

Email: Cuphead: A Casuals Perspective

Hey, Maelstrom, pardon the lengthy e-mail but I kinda just want to get Cuphead off my chest, I played Cuphead to the start of the second isle, I did enjoy it mostly and yet I never went back to it, I’ve thought about why. You’d think that I’m the perfect target, a mostly old-school gamer whos into cartoons, I tend to play fast-paced games that demand sharp reflexes so its not like I’m expecting your typical indie snooze fest, yet its been months and I havent picked up Cuphead again, why?

For starters, hearing the same song over and over upon each death got old fast, old-timey music does not go well with repeated restarts! The sound effects, while “historically accurate” I guess, could be better too. They’re simply not very clear compared to say…the original Mario, a more functional mindset would have helped here.

The arts nice, even if Cuphead suffers from “bean grin”, a purely modern aesthetic often found in TV cartoons (Gumball, Stephen Universe, Gravity Falls). Given the much praised animation I am disappointed in the lack of death animations, especially when I’m going to be dying a lot! Yes it is hand drawn and inked like ye old cartoons, so why not make a cool web-cartoon instead?

The gameplay I’m really not that keen on, save for the occasional “Run and Gun” you mostly go from boss to boss, and unlike most old-game bosses their patterns arent always consistent, on top of that the screen area suffers from “SNES-syndrome”, where the sprites are too big and its zoomed in too much, rarely are you given enough room to dodge projectiles. Then theres the parry mechanic which I never liked, rarely used, and it doesnt work half the time anywho. Its just needless mastery, something for the experts to brag about.

The Run and Gun bits feel like an afterthought (and from what I know, they were), the levels are short with no checkpoints and enemies are just dropped in hap-haphazardly, theres enough on-screen stuff that it can get distracting, and the art doesnt exactly help in this case either to be frank. In these levels its just poor design that makes the game more difficult than it should be.

The game is hard, it doesn’t have a real “difficulty curb” as much as constant dips and hills as if the game were designed out of order or something. One minute you’re fighting the overly-long Popeye boss and the next you’re fighting a fairly easy robot. I cant stress how long these boss fights are either, they really go on for too long and no doubt add to the difficulty, you can tell that the devs wanted to show off their art skills here at the players expense. The games not as hard as “journalists” make it out to be

From a mechanical stand point the game could be better, it hogs up a whopping 11GB! For a Unity based side-scroller no less! For comparison, Half Life 2 takes up roughly 5GB despite being a semi-realistic FPS. Shovel Knight takes less than one gigabyte, heck Mario Odyessy only takes up near 5-6GB! Cuphead isnt even that long of a game either, nor does it exactly have complex physics involved (if any), all of that memory goes towards the art. The game slows down at times as you play it and the controls arent entirely perfect, but still, 11GB for whats basically discount-Max Fleischer animation meets Contra.

If one wants a “retro cartoon” platformer I have to recommend Mickey Mania instead, it has a neat first level that progressively goes from B/W to color, the level design is miles better, and its typically cheaper to boot on top of being an actual physical game. Cuphead has better music I will admit, but you wont be restarting each track constantly in Mickey Mania.

Cuphead does strike me as a ‘gimmick’ type game. They use a well done gameplay mechanic (Contra style) plus gimmick (art style) and that is about it.

Remember Clay Fighter for the SNES? Reviewers went wild over the graphics, but the game was so gimmicky. Street Fighter 2 style plus art style.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2018

Impressions of Bayonettas and Steamworld Dig/Heist

I have physical copies of these games on the Wii U. You, the gentle reader, will never get physical copies of those games on the Switch. Too bad.

Bayonetta is a very weird game that is more sizzle than steak. There is a reason why Bayonetta cannot sell.

Steamworld Dig has flaws, a rather wordy and boring beginning, but is very addictive and hits the SNES ‘sweetspot’ of gameplay fun. The question is… is it replayable? Hmm….

If you were reading any other page, such reviews would already be out. However, these games stay in the oven longer. I prefer a longer gestation period to determine value, not ‘drive by’ review posting.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2018

Why the reviews?

“Isn’t this about game business? What do games have to do about game business?”

Um, everything. The business of gaming is games. A console succeeds or fails due to its games. *cue curtain*

I have been bothered by the reviews on the Internet from message forums and Youtube channels. Most of these reviews seem to be a ‘fly by’ type review. They play the game really fast and then exhale a ‘review’ from those few play sessions. Rarely do you see reviews for games that have been tumbled around in your life. It seems to be ‘receive game from publisher’, ‘play game fast’, ‘review game fast’, ‘move on to next game’.

As a consumer, I do not buy games to ‘move on’. I buy games to keep playing them.To me, the primary value of a game is that it keeps calling me back. Over the decades, I have noticed some recurring patterns of such games…

-They have excellent controls.

-They have strong, crisp, above average sounds. (Nolan Bushnell points to sound quality as a chief factor in selling games. Early Blizzard games such as Warcraft or Diablo or their console games may not be graphically impressive at the time, but the sound quality was unreal and unmatched.)

-They have a strong *frungy* element. [Haha, it made urbandictionary! Frungy is to ‘inflate imagination’ such as in Lord of the Rings briefly mentioning all these ‘legends’ but never going into them pointing to a bigger universe. An 8-bit version of *frungy* would be the blue background of Super Mario Brothers suggesting a world instead of a black background found in prior games. The blue background has no gameplay purpose whatsoever but triggers the imagination.]

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 16, 2018

Gunhouse!

Readers know that I am no shill. I do not market people’s games. I am more of an anti-marketing guy where I like to drive the Hype Bus into the ditch (because screw hype, only the game is what matters).

I am also always curious about who reads this site. I never check the site’s stats. It often feels like I am talking to myself aside from strange emails that come in (I do not even put up the email address, yet somehow they find me!).

I got an email from Necrosoft about their new Switch game, Gunhouse. Necrosoft is a three person (?) team. I suspect the email was sent because they think the audience here (!) may be a good fit for their game. Who knows. Anyway, here is the game:

What to say of this? Well, it is already more interesting than AAA Game Industry gaming. It seems that this small team is sticking to what they know is fun such as tower defense and some puzzle elements.

In an interview, Necrosoft does say there will be a physical version coming out sometime. Grats on them for putting it on physical. Since this is such a small developer, so small they cannot even afford publishing the game in Europe, and I suspect the physical print will be very small, the cartridge for this game could become quite prized in the future. (I love retro gaming, but I never see games from the big companies be the ‘prized collectible’. It is always the small companies’ games! It is always the small print runs!)

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2018

Wii U Review: Hyrule Warriors

Now this is Zelda done right…

Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors is such a game that it is a marvel it even exists. Created as a ‘celebration’ title to mark the 25th (?) anniversary of Zelda, Hyrule Warriors takes the Dynasty Warriors formula and mashes it up with every timeline of Zelda. Every character is in here. This game loves to have fun, and I cannot stop laughing with the game. It is the best Zelda game after Ocarina of Time and before Breath of the Wild.

You might ask, “What is the Dynasty Warriors gameplay?” Imagine a map that has some forts in it. One side has some forts, the other side has other forts. Armies of really dumb soldiers march out in mass with some captains. When you take over camps or forts, they will become your side’s forts and spawn units toward the enemy. The game has a spacial element that anyone who loves RTS or MOBAs will instantly recognize. There is some longterm strategy here as in what fort do you take or what is the best way to proceed through the level? You can play the same level again and again differently which gives it a ton of replay value.

Above: Oh that music…

If this game didn’t have replay value, then the ‘content’ of the game couldn’t work and the game would collapse. The ‘content’ of the game is the characters… and there a ton of them. You get to unlock them and play as them. Even better? They get their own weapons which you can upgrade. Even better than that? You can upgrade the characters directly as they all have their own talent trees.

“I want to unlock everything in this game.” Prepare to put in over a hundred hours.

But is it fun? Oh you betcha. There are many modes to this game. One of them is an adventure mode with a Legend of Zelda type map. There is also a boss battle and free play mode. You will not run out of stuff to do with this game.

This game is over the top in the fun way. Somehow, this game blends together spastic action combat, which is extremely satisfying after a long day at work, with mental strategy goals of taking over the map. The combination is like peanut butter and jelly. The Zelda universe works far too well here and seems appropriate as you upgrade all your heroes (and villains!) as the RPG elements fit Zelda.

Above: Probably the best video review of the game.

There are three modes of difficulty. There are things to collect too.

There is also a two player co-op way to play this game.

I found the story to be entertaining and wild. Zelda purists will sniff their nose, but goddamn is this game not fun.

I really like some of the new characters such as Lana. Also, who doesn’t want to play as Midna?

Now, this game does have some problems. The biggest one is that the game looks ugly. It almost looks like a Gamecube game. It is sad that the Switch port is not a remaster because this game definitely could use a graphical uplift especially for the terrain.

The other problem is that in many of the levels, there are scripted events which really prevent different outcomes on replays.

The music is funny, and I have mixed views on it. I rather like the crunk rock vibe of the game. However, it does scream ‘third rate title’ at times.

The biggest problem of Hyrule Warriors is the camera. You will be fighting the camera often, especially around walled areas.

See my first impressions of the game here.

Above: Adventure Mode!

Hyrule Warriors keeps calling me back, again and again. I love the game so much, I’ll probably buy it again for the Switch and level every character up again. Hyrule Warriors gets an A-. This is a killer app that no one will admit because this spin-off title is more fun than almost every Zelda game before it.

Oh, and one more ‘moment’….

[Back to Table of Contents]

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2018

Wii U Review: Captain Toad Treasure Tracker

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Someone said: if someone other than Nintendo made this game, everyone would be gushing praise at it. However, since Nintendo made it, it is ignored.

Captain Toad is a budget game ($20) that is a ‘maze puzzle’ game similar to Adventures of Lolo (NES). Your goal is to get to the end of the stage. However, there are optional ‘big gems’ to collect too.

Toad cannot jump, yet the controls are rather complicated for this game. You must touch the Gamepad in order to ‘rotate’ the stage or to activate parts of the stage like lifts. You must blow on the microphone in order to create wind or activate other things in the game. Remember those DS games that had to use every feature? This is like that.

Captain Toad is extremely potent in its charm offensive. This budget game has a first class presentation and characterization that is simply unmatched in other games. This game is so cute, even many girls will consider it.

Above: Captain Toad’s trailer

And despite all that, Captain Toad gets a D. Remember that I grade quality based on how much fun it is to return to the game. Captain Toad has ZERO REPLAYABILITY. Why the fuck would anyone want to replay this bucket of boredom? I just got bored to death going through the first time and stopped not too far in.

It gets worse. The game’s design simply isn’t fun. It is not fun to rotate the level in 3d just to see the ‘secret hole’ on the other side. It is not fun to blow on the microphone.

This game should be simply played with the TV off. The TV serves no function. This is actually a handheld game for your home console. This game can only be played with a Gamepad.

What more to say about it? Well, it would be MUCH MORE FUN IF THE GAME WAS IN 2d. But Nintendo says, “Fuck you. We don’t like 2d. Let us put 3d mechanics into everything!” I loved Lolo. This Toad game I detest. However, I do like Toad as a protagonist in his own game. I prefer Toad to Yoshi or Kirby.

Above: It looks fun, but it’s not. The game gets old real fast and has zero replay value.

Curiously, Nintendo uses Super Mario Brothers 2 (USA) world universe for Toad’s game. Expect to see Shyguys and other mechanics from SMB 2 such as turnip pulling and throwing. Why doesn’t Nintendo give us Super Mario Brothers 2 (USA) mechanics for 2d Mario? It is because Nintendo hates 2d Mario and thinks that SMB 2 Subcon world should only go to crappy budget spin-offs such as Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker which you play, with the TV off, by rotating the world in 3d, touching the screen to move and activate shit, and blowing on a microphone utilizing puzzle based gameplay that only poor indies use today utilizing gameplay that you never, ever want to replay again.

In short: fuck this game. Everything you hear about this game are people wanting to believe this game is good because of its charm. But truly fuck this game… There is a reason why you see stacks of Captain Toad, even with the Amiibo, on sale and in stacks still behind retail cases. Even Nintendo puts this budget game on sale because they can’t get rid of it.

[Back to Table of Contents]

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2018

Email: Wii U Review Series – Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Hi Master Malstrom,

I saw that you don’t have Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate in your list of upcoming Wii U reviews. I know that you’ve said you didn’t like playing it, so I was wondering whether you had decided that you don’t want to play it again to run it through your review gauntlet. MH definitely has a small, niche audience in the USA and it tends to be a “love it or hate it” game, so my guess is that it would score very poorly for you.

I couldn’t get into it. Apparently, neither could the mass market.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2018

Email: Zelda’s DLC quality standards

Dear Master Sword, I mean Malstrom.

Breath of the Wild’s DLC is a pace-killing, fun-sapping “hard” ruleset and a passable set of challenges with just one single neat, but pointless endgame reward: RoboHorse.

It’s sad because I should have known better than to buy a season pass as any kind of vote of confidence as I also did with Mario+Rabbids and FE:Warriors. Never again.

I could have waited for the second DLC because at least those challenges were some fun, unlike the Trial of the Sword. I will try again with mega defensive potions, because completing Beef Mode without a Beefed Master Sword looks annoying as all hell.

On the other hand, look at what the ARMS and Splatoon teams have been doing this past 9 months, content from scratch (or remade from the previous game in Splatoon’s Case) absolutely free patches. It was very engaging, I would say,

The worst thing is that they didn’t even model any new overworld sections to house the slightly different looking teleports, they just reused assets, minigames and bosses, and put cutscene triggers and teleporters in the crannies of the established map. What a joke.

They *could* have summoned the accordion’s birdguy master to guide you, they should have created far away, actually hard to reach landscapes for the new temples, they should have added all kinds of missing enemies from the series (like likes, gibdos, dodongos)

I can come up with at least 10 different new weapons/tools that could have been included in DLCs.

  • Fishing rods (as there is always a guy that added this sort of thing since OoT)
  • The Spinner from Twilight Princess (It would work as a super shield but also as long lasting, faster shield surfing)
  • The classic Fire Wand that works as a club, a torch and the fire rod.
  • Better mining tools that last longer than hammers or the Goron drill thing
  • New runes, like magic elemental explosions to thaw ice blocks and burn groups of enemies, summon lightning or storms.
  • Rainy-days climbing gear
  • Sailcloth/Korok Leaf skins for the glider
  • Ancient Motor Boat (f*** rowing with the leaf) shaped like Lapras or something.

All of that uses the rules and code already in the game and is content fit for a DLC. Egregiously in Bore Mode which at least would be fun with lots of game breaking tools like those.

– Aonuma barges in…

“but it wouldn’t be HARD MODE”

Sure Eiji, it would be challenging, and fun.

Regards.

An Engaged Switch Early Adopter

PD: Fire Emblem Warriors’ Season Pass looks like it’s already worth it, just with the first pack released alone.

I like the way you think. Nintendo was lazy with the Zelda DLC. They don’t give a damn.

I do need to play Fire Emblem Warriors more. I have too much to play at the moment.

Posted by: seanmalstrom | January 15, 2018

Email: 60% of Switch owners bought Mario

Thoughts?

It’s the only flagship Nintendo game that is exclusive to the Switch. What do you expect Wii U owners to buy on the Switch?
.
Mario Odyssey has absolutely evaporated from gaming discussions. I still see Breath of the Wild, some other Switch games, but not a word for Mario. This is very odd since Mario Odyssey is ranked as one of the best games ever made. Certainly, as one of the best games ever made, it would still be interesting after the holidays.
.
And Mario Odyssey got a shit ton of marketing. Not every game gets its own cereal.

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