If there’s one thing Nintendo has absolutely always been good at, it’s sequels.
How do you follow up a big hit like Donkey Kong? More of the same? Some lesser companies might think that is a good way of doing things, but not Nintendo — even back in the ’80s. Instead, they chose to take a very interesting approach: they’d take the formula of Donkey Kong and flip it on its head, placing the previous game’s hero in the role of the villain, and tasking you with rescuing the titular big ape.
Donkey Kong Jr. was born, and Nintendo’s rapidly establishing reputation for creating simple to understand, difficult to master and highly addictive games was further cemented.
Continue reading NES Essentials: Donkey Kong Jr.
Okay. Let’s talk about how this game looks, because it’s a real highlight of the experience.
One of the things I really like about the Nintendo of the Wii U and Switch generations in particular is the fact that they’ve demonstrated themselves to not be afraid of experimenting with aesthetics and overall style — though there’s a certain amount of internal consistency there, too.
Specifically, it’s all about Nintendo’s desire to make interactive experiences that are as much “toys” as they are “games”. And Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush is a great example of this at work.
Continue reading Delving into Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush – #2
The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more here, but you’re out of time to leave suggestions, I’m afraid!
One’s first love is a powerful thing. Often it influences the way you feel about all sorts of things for the rest of your life — sometimes without you realising it.
Rediscovering one’s first love can go in one of a few ways. You can find yourself wondering what on Earth you were thinking. You can recall exactly what caused you to fall in love in the first place. Or you can be delighted to find that your first love has actually been making something of themselves, and is ready to provide you with some all-new entertainment that is simultaneously fresh and familiar.
This metaphor is getting slightly tortured, but regardless, this latter option is what today’s award is all about.
And the winner is…
Continue reading The MoeGamer Awards 2018: The Old Flame Award
Imagine Tetris. Then imagine it wrapped around a sphere. Then forget whatever you just pictured, because Tetrisphere is nothing like that. It’s still great, though.
Technically Tetrisphere is a little outside of MoeGamer’s normal remit in that it was not developed by a Japanese company, nor was it ever actually released in Japan. It did, however, find its home on a Japanese games console — the Nintendo 64 — and as such it totally counts. Particularly as it’s an awesome puzzle game, and we’re all about awesome puzzle games.
So how can one possibly make something as simple and elegant as Tetris work in a three-dimensional, spherical space? Well, as I’ve previously alluded to, you don’t; you do something a bit different.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Tetrisphere
I’ve always had a soft spot for block-breakers, ever since Arkanoid on the Atari 8-bit, and Puchi Carat makes me happy in all the right ways.
Combining elements of traditional classic block-breakers with mechanics from puzzle games such as the Puzzle Bobble/Bust-a-Move series, it’s an enormously addictive, highly unusual game that is simultaneously unique and absolutely representative of the time in which it came out.
In short, if you like adorable late ’90s anime style characters, coloured things going “pop” and gameplay that is as much about skill as it is about intelligence, Puchi Carat is definitely a game that you should check out.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Puchi Carat
Magical Drop III, first released in 1997, is widely regarded as the best installment in Data East’s series of frantic puzzlers.
The series as a whole is noteworthy in that it provides a distinctly more fast-paced take on what is typically regarded as a relatively sedate genre, but Magical Drop III took the core mechanics established in its early incarnations, polished them to a fine sheen and created one of the most addictive puzzle games of all time… not to mention the origin of the “Fairy Bounce” meme.
Magical Drop III got released on all manner of platforms, but today we’re primarily concerned with the European PlayStation release, which includes a port of the Saturn version, itself somewhat rebalanced from the arcade and Neo Geo versions, as well as a port of Magical Drop Plus 1!, an enhanced version of the first game in the series that was originally released in the West as Chain Reaction.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Magical Drop III
I love puzzle games, if that was not already evident.
However, I particularly love late ’90s arcade puzzlers such as those put out by Taito, Data East and their peers, for one reason in particular: as well as providing solid, addictive gameplay, they also had a tendency to have a cast of wonderful characters to accompany the action.
While you may want to debate whether or not Taito’s 1997 block-breaker Puchi Carat is truly a puzzle game or not, one thing we can hopefully agree on is that it features a spectacular cast of waifus.
And Queen of the Puchi Carat Waifus, so far as I’m concerned anyway, is Peridot.
Continue reading Waifu Wednesday: Peridot
You can make games about pretty much anything.
Demolishing buildings, for example, is a theme that we’ve seen a few times over the years, most notably in Midway’s classic arcade game Rampage, though you might not think this inherently destructive activity is the best fit for the rather cerebral puzzle game genre.
You would, however, be wrong, as Kadokawa Shoten’s PlayStation 2 puzzler Detonator aptly demonstrates.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Detonator
Although the abstract nature of the puzzle game genre makes it theoretically possible to make a game out of pretty much anything, we tend to see a lot of the same sort of thing.
In particular, over the years, we’ve seen a lot of “match dropping things so that their colours match”, “swap things around to make lines of three like-coloured doohickies” and “shoot bubbles at precarious arrangements to make groups of three like-coloured blobs”. As such, it’s always rather pleasing to come across a game that does something a little different from one of these common conventions favoured by the most popular titles in the genre.
Starsweep, a game that originated in Japanese arcades and was subsequently ported to PlayStation and Game Boy, is just the ticket to refresh the jaded puzzle fan.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: Starsweep
HuniePop from Ryan Koons’ studio HuniePot was partly developed as a sort of “protest” game: an attempt to fight back against the growing trend of political correctness that was starting to take root in the games industry.
There was clearly demand for such a game, even back in late 2013; a successful Kickstarter campaign allowed those who were similarly frustrated with the situation to put their money where their mouth was and show their support for the kind of thing they wanted to see more of: something lewd, crude and rude — and unashamed of being any of those things.
The remarkable thing about HuniePop was that it ended up being a damn good game as well as a resounding middle finger to the “everything is problematic” crowd. Not only that, it also demonstrated that independent Western developers were more than capable of putting interesting new twists on Japanese-style aesthetics by combining anime-style artwork with a hilariously abrasive and distinctively modern, American script.
Continue reading Puzzler Essentials: HuniePop