Nintendo Life Review – Tank! Tank! Tank! (Wii U)

Meh! Meh! Meh!

Every so often a video game comes along with a concept so amazing that copies should come with a roll of duct tape to keep consumers from having their faces rocked off. Tanks with crazy weapons fighting giant robot monsters in expansive, destructible cities seems like a concept that you’d have to work pretty hard to screw up. Apparently someone at Namco Bandai was really burning the midnight oil, because Tank! Tank! Tank! somehow manages to drop the ball.

Tank! Tank! Tank! has a simple premise: hop into your tank and blow up some monsters. It’s deceptively simple, as the controls only employ the analog stick and one button. Any vertical aiming is all done automatically – all you need to do is point your tank and what you want to blow up and push the button. Power-ups – which are scattered throughout the stages and are dropped by enemies – will override your default attack, so no weapon management is necessary. There are some pretty unique and fun weapons to find, including the awesomely-named “colossus missile” that’s essentially a nuclear bomb capable of devastating the landscape.

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Nintendo Life Review – Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (Wii U)

Bloody hell

It’s been a long time since master ninja Ryu Hayabusa infiltrated a Nintendo home console, with 1995’s Ninja Gaiden Trilogy for the SNES marking his last appearance. Tecmo Koei decided the time was finally right for Ryu to make his return with Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge, a souped-up, improved version of Ninja Gaiden 3, which launched on the 360 and PS3 earlier this year. We’d roll out the red carpet, but Ryu’s already done a good job staining the ground that colour himself.

 

While in the context of the story Ryu is presented as a calm, serene man dedicated to his duty, in practice he is the ultimate “flip out and kill people” kind of ninja. Combat in Razor’s Edge centers on fighting large groups of enemies at a time and killing them in delightfully brutal ways. Ryu has several weapons in his arsenal, from his trusty Dragon Sword to metal claws on his hands and feet to a giant staff, as well as many others. Each introduces a unique play style that will compliment different situations; for example, dual katanas are much faster and allow for flashy combos, while the giant scythe is much slower but deals massive damage.

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Nintendo Life Review – Mighty Switch Force! Hyper Drive Edition (Wii U)

Arresting development

When Mighty Switch Force was released for the 3DS eShop it was quickly heralded as not only one of the service’s best games but also one of the best games on the stereoscopic handheld period. Faultless controls, addictive puzzle platforming and a healthy dose of WayForward’s trademark charm made it shine, and now with the release of the Wii U there’s a chance it’ll win over an entirely new audience with Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition.

The game is basically the same as the portable version: you play as robocop Patricia Wagon and have to track down the Hooligan Sisters as fast as you can through a variety of stages. The only moves in Patricia’s repertoire are jumping, shooting, and switching blocks, which forms the core of the puzzle-themed adventure. With a flash of her helmet-mounted siren, Patricia swaps blocks between the foreground and background, allowing her access to different parts of the levels.

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Nintendo Life Review – Tekken Tag Tournament 2 Wii U Edition (Wii U)

Tag, you’re it

For as well known a household name as Tekken is, it’s strange to realize that it’s never made its way to a Nintendo home console at any point. There have been handheld offerings on the Game Boy Advance and 3DS, but portable fighters are rarely more than appetizers compared to their beefy console counterparts. Namco Bandai finally decided that the time was right and brought the biggest Tekken game to date as a launch title for Wii U, with Tekken Tag Tournament 2: Wii U Edition.

Try to follow us here: Tekken Tag Tournament 2, despite being released after Tekken 6, is technically the sequel to the PlayStation 2 launch title Tekken Tag Tournament. Rather than adhering to the series chronology, it pulls in a bucket-load of characters from all corners of the Tekken world and pits them against each other in furious bouts of 2-on-2 fisticuffs. Having a partner allows the Iron Fist Tournament participants to perform some pretty impressive moves, like tag throws and extended juggle combos.

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Nintendo Life Review – ZombiU (Wii U)

Fear Factor

ZombiU definitely has a lot to prove. After Red Steel - Ubisoft’s hardcore offering at the Wii’s launch – failed to win over the masses by making large promises it failed to deliver on, public response to ZombiU has typically been laced with skepticism. Now that the game has been unleashed and is happily infecting shiny new Wii U consoles, fears of a repeat offense can be put to rest, while whole new fears grow in their place.

At first glance, ZombiU could easily be written off as another first-person shooter where the player runs and guns their way through hordes of the undead, using an endless stream of bullets to turn them into disgusting Swiss cheese, but the reality of the game is about as far from that as you can possibly get. ZombiU is unequivocally a survival horror game, and not a “survival horror game by 2012 standards.” ZombiU takes players back to the genesis of the genre by providing a constant fear of the unknown and the tension that comes from being only just prepared enough to handle what’s coming next. It’s a breath of fresh air and quite a pleasant surprise seeing as the old powerhouses of the genre -Resident Evil and Silent Hill - have all but abandoned their traditions of turning your fears into a plaything and have instead morphed into straight action games.

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Introducing The Backlog!

So I haven’t written much in a while, and that sucks. But I have a good excuse! I’ve started a webshow, and thanks to some very generous folks who donated via Kickstarter, I was able to get my idea off the ground and explore a new way to share my love of retro games with the world.

Now that the preliminary work is done I plan on writing more here in between episodes. If you’re interested in the new show, I have a new site for it over at http://thebacklog.pkbloggin.net. Check out the first episode focusing on the Sega Genesis classic Sub-Terrania!

Nintendo Life Review – Pokémon Dream Radar

Dreams become reality

With the Pokémon series still a ways off from making its proper debut on Nintendo 3DS, fans who had purchased the stereoscopic handheld were in need of something to tide them over. Less a proper game and more a companion “app” to Pokémon Black and White 2Pokémon Dream Radar uses the 3DS’s AR capabilities to bring the delightful monsters into your living room.

If you’ve played Face Raiders you’ll immediately know your way around Dream Radar. You move around, using your 3DS as a viewfinder for your surroundings and shooting at targets. Rather than humorous depictions of your friends and family, though, you’re blasting Dream Clouds, Dream Orbs and Pokémon themselves in an attempt to capture them.

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Nintendo Life Review – Pokémon Black and White 2

Pokémon used Sequel! It’s super effective!

It’s fitting that the franchise typically relied upon to sell Nintendo handhelds is also the swansong that bids farewell to the mighty Nintendo DS. The enormously popularPokémon series graces the highest-selling handheld console of all time for one last hurrah and the result is nothing short of excellence.

Pokémon Black and White 2 are the first direct sequels in the monster catching series. Traditionally after the primary paired versions have been out a while, an enhanced third version is released that adds some useful things but does little to chart new ground. This time around, however, the new additions are paired with a story that has you seeing and dealing with the repercussions of the storyline that unfolded in the original Black and White versions.

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Push Square Review – NiGHTS into Dreams

Love the NiGHT life

While SEGA’s offerings in recent years have been a varied assortment of peaks and valleys, there was a time when there was no disputing their quality. During the Saturn era Sonic Team put out several innovative games that defied genre conventions and immediately captured the hearts of the SEGA faithful. NiGHTS into Dreams has remained a beloved cult classic since it was released in 1996, and now, with the HD re-release, a whole new generation will get the chance to see why it’s held in such high regard.

Even with no prior experience with the game, it’s impossible not to be taken aback by how whimsical the experience is. Fantastical dreamscapes filled with dazzling colour draw you in, which, when coupled with the game’s charmingly jazzy and peppy soundtrack, create a special atmosphere.

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Push Square Review – Derrick the Deathfin

Not-so-great white

It’s always unfortunate when a game shows a massive amount of promise and ultimately falls short, but in the case of Derrick the Deathfin it’s almost criminal. The game is stunningly beautiful and the amount of care that Different Tuna’s invested into development is evident from the start, but unfortunately the rest of the package doesn’t quite deliver.

Derrick the Deathfin is, according to the studio, “the world’s first underwater papercraft video game,” and you certainly won’t hear any argument from us on that point. You play as the titular Derrick, a young shark whose parents are killed by one of the many atrocities humans have built that are polluting the ocean. Your quest for vengeance sends you to 32 levels spread out over four continents with plenty of things to collect and animals to munch on along the way.

Read the rest at Push Square