When I was growing up with computers and consoles in the early days of gaming, my dream of “what graphics will be like in the future” was not one of photorealism.
Okay, I’ll admit, attempts at photorealism — particularly in games that tackled this challenge early on, such as flight simulators — impressed me a great deal. But what I really, really wanted more than anything was that elusive thing: a game that truly looked like a cartoon; a true interactive animated movie.
Today, I have that. And it’s wonderful.
Continue reading Shantae: 1/2 Genie Hero – Beyond the Pixel
There’s something really satisfying about the title “Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse”. It sounds like the sort of thing I’d have had on my bookshelf as a kid — part of a series I’d have almost certainly wanted to collect an entire set of. Remember books? They were pretty all right.
Anyway, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is the third installment in the Shantae series, marking a few fundamental shake-ups to the game structure we’ve come to expect by this point, an interesting new narrative, absolutely beautiful pixel art and some of Jake Kaufman’s finest soundtrack work.
Oh, and it’s also one of the slickest, most satisfying titles in the series in terms of gameplay, too. If you only play one Shantae game, play this one… although I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear by now that you should probably actually play all of them. In order. One after the other. As soon as possible.
Continue reading Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse: What a Lovely Day to Have a Curse
If you ever wanted to play a game that is clearly Inti Creates “at play”, Mighty Gunvolt Burst on Nintendo Switch and 3DS is emphatically the game for you.
Coming across as a rather wonderful attempt to fling everything at the wall and see what sticks, this NES-style, Mega Man-inspired romp features an impressive degree of customisation, plenty of variety — and, for some, represents an overall better experience than the divisive Mighty No. 9, despite being based around many of the same stages and bosses.
One thing’s for sure: it’s a ton of fun, and if you get a kick out of Inti Creates’ authentic but modern take on retro-style gameplay, you’re going to love this.
Continue reading Mighty Gunvolt Burst: Bringing It All Together
As we’ve already seen, one of Inti Creates’ biggest strengths as a developer is its ability to understand what made the games of the past great while simultaneously updating them with modern conveniences and conventions.
Azure Striker Gunvolt, a relatively new series from the company but one which has already gone on to be popular and well-received, is a great example of this philosophy at work. Adopting a pleasingly chunky but detailed late 16-bit pixel art look and combining it with delicious 2D art, excellent storytelling and a well-crafted world, the game provides a wonderful experience, whether you enjoy it on its original host platform of the 3DS, its port to PC or its most recent incarnation on Nintendo Switch as part of the Azure Striker Gunvolt Striker Pack alongside its sequel.
Let’s take a closer look at where this game from and what makes it tick… or rather buzz, perhaps.
Continue reading Azure Striker Gunvolt: An Electrifying Action Platformer
Mighty No. 9 is an interesting tale from 21st century gaming that has doubtless been very influential… though perhaps not in the way that was originally hoped for.
One of the earliest success stories of the crowdfunding boom in the early 2010s, the Kickstarter campaign for Mighty No. 9 promised something a lot of people were hungry for: a new Mega Man game in all but name. And oh boy, people were hungry for it; the campaign smashed through its initial $900,000 goal within days of its announcement, and the final total raised through crowdfunding cleared $4 million.
It was a game that should have gone down in gaming history. Instead, its lasting legacy was as an example of how not to manage a crowdfunding campaign, and a final product that had a somewhat mixed reception. But was it actually that bad?
Continue reading Mighty No. 9: “Better than Nothing” – The Game People Love to Hate
Cave Story has been around for a good few years now, and indeed is still available for free download from the Web.
You may have already played it. You may have already beaten it. Perhaps you even set an amazing time in that bastard hard “secret” level on the way to the best ending. So why would you spend money on another copy for Nintendo’s latest console?
Well, firstly because Cave Story is a lovely game by a talented developer, and is worth supporting at every opportunity. Secondly because the Switch version feels like the most delightfully complete edition of this game there has been to date. And thirdly because this game just belongs on a Nintendo console.
Continue reading Switch Essentials: Cave Story+
Today, Nintendo is primarily known for its excellent first-party games that it produces for its unique consoles and handhelds. But there was a time when Nintendo games were a lot more platform-agnostic than they are now.
That time was the early ’80s — specifically, the years before the release of the Famicom in 1983, and its Western incarnation, the Nintendo Entertainment System, in 1985. During this time, Nintendo was making arcade games. And there was a great hunger for ports of these arcade games to home-based systems of the time.
Nintendo’s 1981 classic Donkey Kong was a game that got ported to pretty much every platform imaginable at the time. And the 1983 version for Atari home computers was one of the best.
This is a cross-post with my new site AtariXL; please head over there and follow if you’re interested in Atari computers, games, software and hardware!
Continue reading Nintendo on Atari: Donkey Kong