Friday, February 14, 2014

Eight things I liked about yesterday's trio of Nintendo Directs

Real talk: it would be easy peasy for me to write a post that points out all of the things I found disappointing about yesterday's Nintendo Direct broadcasts.

For instance, there was the lack of news regarding a Western release of the 3DS Dragon Quest VII remake. Also, aside from Steel Diver: Sub Wars (more about this one below), no completely new 3DS or Wii U games were revealed in any of the three Nintendo Directs, as far as I'm aware--which is a real shame, especially since the 3DS is my go-to system this year.

Anyway, let's push those negatives to the background for the moment and focus instead on the positives--like the eight bullet-pointed items below--that I personally took from yesterday's Iwata-led extravaganzas:

A Free-to-Play 3DS Game? From Nintendo?--Wasn't the word on the street that Steel Diver: Sub Wars was being made for the Wii U? Whatever, I'm actually glad it was developed for the 3DS instead--you know, because I don't currently own a Wii U. Anyway, the game's out now and is completely free--or at least a portion of it is. (The full thing, which gives you access to additional missions and subs, costs $9.99.) Consider me intrigued, and consider it downloaded, too.

Hey, Sega, You're Bringing Hero Bank to the States, Right?--Seriously, this upcoming 3DS game, highlighted during the Japanese Nintendo Direct, looks great. And I mean that literally--as in, I love its art style. Unfortunately, I've never had a clue as to what's going on in any of the gameplay trailers that have been used to promote it, and that leads me to believe I should avoid playing it in a language I don't understand. So, uh, throw me a bone, will you, Sega? Pretty please?

Hurray! Kirby Triple Deluxe Finally Has a Release Date--Unfortunately, the date is May 2--the same day Mario Golf: World Tour will hit store shelves, incidentally. Oh, well, that just means I'll be able to take my time with Bravely Default, Yoshi's New Island and a small handful of other 3DS games that are set to be released between now then.

I'm Still Not Sure What I Think About Yoshi's New Island--On the one hand, this game's graphics have started to grow on me in recent weeks, at least in a general sense. On the other, its gameplay doesn't look anywhere near as interesting as what was found in the original Yoshi's Island. And then there are those feet. You know the ones I'm talking about. Still, I'm buying this one despite my reservations, as I just couldn't live with myself if I passed on it simply because it looked kind of boring in trailers. 

I Need Another Portable Puzzler Like I Need A Hole in the Head, But I'm Still Buying Pokemon Battle Trozei--Could a game be more up my alley than this one? I doubt it. I mean, it's adorable, it's a puzzler and it's coming to the 3DS (eShop). Oh, sure, Nintendo could give it a better logo, some cute (and colorful) cover art and offer up a physical release, too, but I can't blame them for going the digital-only route. Regardless, it's mine on March 20.

I Never Thought I'd Say This, But I'm Buying a Baseball Game--Specifically, I'm buying Rusty's Real Deal Baseball once it hits the North American 3DS eShop in April. This one's a localization of Darumeshi Sports Store, by the way, which has been available in Japan for a while now and by most accounts is a completely awesome and worthwhile experience. 

Inazuma Eleven Earns a Stealth eShop Release--Most folks assumed us North Americans would be getting this soccer RPG sometime soon after it showed up on early last month. I doubt, though, that many of them thought Nintendo of America would toss it onto the eShop immediately following today's Nintendo Direct. No joke: I'd pick it up right now if I didn't already own the European DS version of the game.

Weapon Shop de Omasse Will Be Mine--I'm not so sure it was wise to give this 3DS eShop title (an English localization of the last of Level-5's Guild 01 games) such a weird name, but what do I know? Also, what do I care? All I care about at the moment is that I'll finally be able to get my hands on it--as will you, if you own a North American 3DS and you have $7.99 to blow--on Feb. 20.

So, those are my main thoughts on yesterday's trio of Nintendo Directs. What are yours?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Manual Stimulation: Nazo Puyo: Aruru no Roux (Game Gear)

Let's be honest here: Aruru no Roux's instruction manual would be worth checking out even if it consisted of nothing more than a single slip of paper bearing the yellow-tinged concoction seen below.

Thankfully, though, there's more to this manual than its striking cover imagery. Much more. Case in point: the following illustration of the titular Aruru (aka Arle).

That's far from the last of this manual's fabulous illustrations. In fact, here are four more:

Should you want to take a closer look at any of this post's many scans, by the way, just click on them.

Anyway, although the next few pages of Nazo Puyo: Aruru no Roux's manual are a bit less awe-inspiriring than the ones seen above, they're still pretty awesome. I mean, how can you not love an illustration that shows the Puyo Puyo series' Carbunkle character cooking Nasu Grave (aka Eggplant Grave)?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Shall We Do It? (finishing EarthBound and sleepwalking through Sweet Fuse)

Let's get the big news out of the way this week: I FINALLY FINISHED EARTHBOUND.

Sorry for the shouting but, really, if beating EarthBound (for the first time in my life) doesn't warrant a bit of excitement, what does?

Perhaps unsurprisingly (especially to those of you who've also completed this SNES classic), I'm having a hard time coming up with words to describe how I feel about the game's final salvo.

Other than "it blew my mind," I mean.

Seriously, the last few areas of EarthBound--the Lost Underworld, Magikant, whatever the final location is supposed to be called--were pretty awesome. And the final boss? Uh, wow.

Speaking of Giygas, I have to admit that I had to take two runs at him. I wasn't entirely sure what I was supposed to do during the first attempt and as a result I wound up getting my butt handed to me. My second try was much more successful, thankfully, and ended with me turning the tables on ol' Gassy (as I like to call him) and his long-winded sidekick, Pokey.

As happy as I am to finally finish this sucker, I'm also kind of sad about it. The last few weeks I spent with EarthBound were equal parts enchanting, invigorating and emotionally draining, so having all of that end in one fell swoop has been a shock to the system.

That said, I so loved the experience that my first thought was to trudge through it again immediately. I've since talked myself down from that ledge--mostly because I've got other games I want to wrap up before my copy of Bravely Default arrives on my doorstep sometime next week.

Specifically, I want to reach the end credits of--or at least get as close as possible to the end credits of--Sweet Fuse: At Your Side.

If you'd asked me last week if I thought I was going to succeed with that goal, I would've answered in the positive. No question. Today, though, I'm not so sure.

Don't get me wrong, I'm enjoying Sweet Fuse's story and characters well enough--especially the game's main baddie, Count Hogstein. I guess I'm just not in the mood for this kind of game right now. I don't know if that's because I'm experiencing a bit of a let down in the wake of A Link Between Worlds and EarthBound, or if it's because I just just finished a rather riveting novel (Wool, by Hugh Howey), but I'm having a hard time convincing myself to boot up this visual novel whenever I find myself with some free time--something that never seemed to be a problem with the aforementioned duo.

Oh, well, I'll do my best to continue to plug away at it--as well as Zoo Keeper 3D, which I'll chat about further in a few days--even after Bravely Default is in my hands and begging to be played.

See also: previous 'Shall We Do It?' posts

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One of the many reasons I'm glad I finally picked up Zoo Keeper 3D: it comes with an actual manual

After months of threatening to do so, I finally bought a copy of Zoo Keeper 3D--aka one of the most overlooked Japanese 3DS games around.

You may not realize or remember this, but I've long been a big fan of the first Zoo Keeper game, released for the GameBoy Advance as Zooo.

I like the DS version well enough, too, although not nearly as much as I like the GBA "original"--mostly because I consider the dual-screened iteration to be a smidge too easy.

My slight disappointment with the DS-based Zoo Keeper is what kept me from going ahead and picking up the Japan-only 3DS sequel until now, actually. I just couldn't shake the feeling that it would leave me feeling similarly let down.

I'm going to save my first impressions of Zoo Keeper 3D for a separate post that'll be published later this week (or early next), but I can share now that my initial fears were unwarranted.

Also, after playing it for a fair bit over the last few days I have to say I'm both shocked and saddened that Zoo Keeper 3D has yet to see the light of day outside Japan.

Gaining access to it via the eShop would be especially nice, in my opinion, as this is exactly the kind of game I'd like to have on my 3DS at all times.

Rather than obsess about this title's lack of a Western release, let's focus on its packaging and instruction manual and insert, which can be seen in the photos above and below.

Sadly, the manual I gushed over in this post's header isn't as fabulous as it could've been. Where are all of the adorable illustrations of the zoo's mustachioed curator that I expected to see, for instance?

Oh, well, at least the game's plastic wrapping came with a rather cute "10th Anniversary" sticker attached to it.

See also: 'For the ninth game of Christmas, the UPS man brought to me ...'

Monday, February 10, 2014

You say 'ecpica,' I say 'adorable'

I need a little adorableness in my life today, so rather than present all of you with yet another rambling post about an unheralded GameBoy or PC Engine game I've decided to present you with the following:

Each of these photos were taken by Singapore-based Flickr user ecpica, by the way, with the one above being titled "Siesta Time."

This one, on the other hand, is called "Lazy Afternoon."

And then there's "The Strange Bees in My Garden," above.

For even more adorableness, check out ecpica's Flickr photostream at your earliest convenience.