Thimbleweed Park Interview W/ Ron Gilbert

Thimbleweed Park Interview W/ Ron Gilbert

Just a few weeks ago at PAX West i had the privilege to interview one of my gaming idols: Video game legend, Ron Gilbert. We talked about his most recent game, Thimbleweed More »

The Nintendo Switch: Six Months (Almost) Later

The Nintendo Switch: Six Months (Almost) Later

Can you believe it’s already been almost six months? I know I can’t. It seems like just yesterday Bigfoot and I were sending messages back and forth speculating about what features, games, More »

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

Now that you bought a Nintendo Switch, you need to choose one of those launch titles... Contemplating Zelda? We know you are. Read this before you rush out and buy Breath of More »

Thimbleweed Park-a-reno

Thimbleweed Park-a-reno

A dead body left pixelating in the water, two FBI agents, a video game designer, *bleep*ing insult clown, and a ghost of a pillow manufacturer are all tied together to solve a More »

Stories: The Path of Destinies

Stories: The Path of Destinies

When you first looked into this game, what was your initial impression? It’s got an anthropomorphic fox with an oversized sword, this sounds like something out of a cutesy Disney title, right? More »

 

Inversus

Some of our favorite memories of youth were sitting down around an arcade-style game with Krispy, whether it was a driver like Crazy Taxi or a vertical scrolling shmup such as the “1942” that used to be in our local A&W. Whatever it was, those short bursts of competitive and co-op gameplay were a drug that kept us coming back for more.

Inversus has tapped into that pure, endorphin-inducing goodness.

While playtesting, Krispy described it best when he said “It’s a twin stick shooter, without being a twin stick shooter.” This works great on the Switch because it means two players can double team a level, each wielding a single Joy Con. The player moves around with the thumb stick and shoots in one of the cardinal directions with the buttons on the right.

A typical level consists of you (and hopefully a friend) controlling a black square, emblazoned with up to 5 dots on the back, representing your ammo.

You start out in a small patch of white territory – which are the only ground you can roll across, but every shot of your cannon, that isn’t body blocked by an enemy square, continues across the arena clearing a path for you to travel. It never stays that way! A never-ending wave of baddies is sent in your general direction, some fast, some slow… some directly towards you, and others meandering around you. Initially, you’re assaulted by mindless red squares, each of these will cover up your white floor with darkness, but after a few waves of slaughtering these explosive little guys (they blow up and take out their compatriots, which can cause some impressive chain reactions) the upgraded enemies spawn into battle – a square that looks like you, but with the colors inverted, and which shoot back.

No one enemy is ever that difficult, though eventually they’ll take multiple shots, but the frantic gameplay comes from the overwhelming waves of cubes coming at you. It’s an overall concept that simple to learn and a bear to master.

The title flourishes in it’s simplicity, with basic controls, furiously fast gameplay, and an addictive quality that will make you say “One more try…” through gritted teeth.

On the other hand, it’s not for everyone… it’s a very simple title, so don’t expect to upgrade your ship. Which brings up another point, I wish there was some sort of story – am I commander of a lone space fighter defending against aggressive enemy aliens? Are you and a friend living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, conserving bullets as you try to protect yourself from a horde of the undead? (the latter is what I usually imagine) I guess it’s all up to your imagination.

Overall, it’s a minimalistic, retro feeling “twin stick” shooter that’ll give you reward you with some fun gaming with your bro.

The Good:

  • Fast, addictive gameplay means you can fit in a couple rounds anytime.
  • Controls work flawlessly
  • Customizable color palette works for anyone’s vision.
  • Can play co-op with a single set of Joy Cons
  • Plenty of levels
  • It’s co-op!

The Not So Good:

  • Lack of depth, I’m missing upgrades.
  • Score wall to unlock new levels is very high.
  • Not a lot of diversity in enemies.

Metroid: Samus Returns Review

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of the Metroid series. Ever since I played Super Metroid as a young lad, I have always had a strong fondness for the series. But since the release of Metroid: Other M on the Wii, we have been in the midst of a Metroid drought. And Other M wasn’t exactly the best note to leave the franchise in limbo on. But maybe that’s a story for another time. After this extended period without Metroid, many of us started to wonder when we would ever see another entry in the series again. Then in comes E3 2017. Not only do we get the announcement of a new entry in the Metroid Prime series, but also a remake of the classic Gameboy title, Metroid: The Return of Samus, and it was just months away.

The day is here. After years of waiting we finally have in our hands a new Metroid, and it is an adventure that proves to have been worth waiting for. The game, though being a remake, has introduced many new ideas and revamped many aspects of the original. Was it worth the wait?

Yes, yes it was. The game is jam packed with hidden areas and collectables to find, so it’s Metroid. The new features like the ability to counter enemies attacks, the 360 degree free aiming and the new “Aeion” abilities are all a great addition that add a certain level of excitement throughout the game. From beginning to end the game is a rather exciting troll through Planet SR388 and a great remake of the classic it is based off of.

The Good:

  • Playing as Samus in a return to the 2D play style just feels right again. Controls are smooth and responsive.
  • They did a great job giving Samus personality through the small, voiceless cutscenes. One scene in-particular proved she is still a certified badass.
  • First game in a long time where I actually enjoyed having the 3D on. All the background activity was a nice touch to bring life to the planet.
  • The soundtrack is wonderful. Has that epic spacey Metroid vibe we’ve grown to love.
  • THE BABY METROID. I want one.

The Not as Good

  • The diversity in enemies is a bit slim for a Metroid entry. Especially with regards to the bosses.
  • Some content, whereas not necessary to the game, is locked behind the purchase of the Samus Returns Amiibo’s. Which is only made worse by their short supply at the time of this writing,

If you are a fan of Metroid, you should absolutely buy this game. Honestly if you are a fan and haven’t bought it already go out and do it! We have been begging the Big N to revisit the franchise and they finally have. And it is a very worthy trip back to the galaxy.

PAX 2017

Wow. After a weekend at PAX, what more can you say than ‘Wow’? Were you able to make it this year? Maybe we bumped elbows with you in the crowded Convention Center. With so many games to sample, SWAG to bag, and booths to check out, it’s hard to pick our favorite parts… but here goes: Almost Perfect Best of PAX 2017.

Pinny Arcade pin - Double Fine
Pinny Arcade pins
An idea stolen from the Disneyland playbook and then mastered, Pinny Arcade pins are a way to show support for your favorite games and creators. Buying these beauties is certainly a highlight of my visit each year. They’re not inexpensive though – being priced at $10-15 each. I have to make sure I budget aside a Pinny Arcade fund before going in. But the fun doesn’t stop there, you can trade with other attendees, PA staff and line enforcers – who, unlike that guy next to you in line, cannot deny a trade.

Indie MEGA Booth
One of my favorite sections – and where I spent a lot of my time – was this year’s Indie Mega Booth, and it lived up to the name. This northern section on the 4th floor of the convention center was jam packed with independent developers eager for the next young soul to sample their wares. Super Meat Boy Forever, Thimbleweed Park, Eco, Earthnight… there was plenty to get excited about! We even got a chance to interview one of our favorite developers, Ron Gilbert!

Life-size Dinosaurs
Yeah, really! Life. Size. Dinosaurs. Sure, it took an hour of standing in line at the ARK booth (okay, an hour of my wife holding my place in line while I wandered) but it was totally worth it to be able to mount a raptor and then a 16 foot tall T-Rex.

Nintendo’s Nindies Showcase

For the last three years now The Big N has been kicking off PAX weekend with its own event showcasing many of its upcoming Indie game releases called Nindies at Night. It’s a fantastic jumpstart to the weekend.

They keep this showcase going through the weekend of PAX and it’s always a great way to try this upcoming titles and talk sometimes even talk to some of the devs! This year, there were plenty of Switch offerings to pick from and I was even able to play one of my most anticipated indie titles, Wargroove!(In case you were wondering, it was fantastic)

The Nintendo Switch

You may think me referencing the Switch I’m talking about the games I played. But what I’m really referring to is how the Switch worked just like Nintendo intended it to.

As my friends and I would stand in line we would pull out our Switch’s for a few rounds of Splatoon or Mario Kart. This was already fantastic. But being able to hand a joy con to someone in line who didn’t have a Switch to play too? That made for a great experience. Or playing and then have others standing in line ask if they can join in on their own Switch! It just truly felt like the teaser video Nintendo showed us when they revealed the Switch was coming to life, and it was beautiful.

Super Mario Odyssey

If I’m being honest, the whole Nintendo both was great, Fire Emblem Warriors, Pokken, Rocket League and Metroid: Samus Returns were all fantastic. But Nintendo definitely had most of its Yoshi eggs in a specific basket, and it proved to be the right choice. Super Mario Odyssey is fantastic.

In my time with the demo, I played the New Donk City level because if there is anything with Odyssey I’ve had trouble wrapping my mind around with it’s the realistic looking people. Well, after playing the level I realized, I just didn’t care anymore. It works beautifully. Using Cappy to do things from attacking, using as a way to jump further and of course, capitalize(pun intended) on your surroundings. Being able to take over objects to perform different actions like flinging yourself to a further distance or taking over someone to perform a different task like driving an RC Car to pick up one of the many power moons.

The 15 or so minutes I was allotted to play in New Donk City got me even more excited for the release of the game in October.

Thimbleweed Park Interview W/ Ron Gilbert

Just a few weeks ago at PAX West i had the privilege to interview one of my gaming idols: Video game legend, Ron Gilbert. We talked about his most recent game, Thimbleweed Park, and it’s upcoming release for the Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t played it yet, do it! We thought it was a fantastic game!

Kris: So we’ve been big fans of your work for a long time one of my favorite earlier gaming memories is playing Day of the Tentacle which I know you’re a writer on.

Ron: Actually I wasn’t a writer on Day of the Tentacle…

Kris: Oh you weren’t a writer?

Ron: I wasn’t a writer, no. I think, I think, like, Moby Games has that wrong. Yeah, I was not a writer.

Kris: Okay, so were you like a creative…

Ron: I was, you know, obviously Gary and I did the original maniac mansion and then it’s, like, right at the beginning, I think… Gary and I said, “Hey, do it about time travel!” and that was like, that was it.

Kris: So, Tim Schafer gave you the…

Ron: Well, Dave [Winnick]

Kris: I didn’t know that, now I’ve learned something! But where I was going with that, too, is I remember playing Maniac Mansion, inside of Day of the Tentacle, and it being kind of hard for me at the time but still like being blown away by how creepy everything was and really loving it. So, one of my question is, “What got you into creating video games back thirty years ago, or however long it’s been?” Now, probably more than that.

Ron: Yeah, more than that, cause I started doing games when I was in junior high school, and what really got me into it was my dad was a physicist and so he had access to these like very early microcomputers before anyone could even dream of having them at home and I was really enthralled with them and I wanted to learn how to program, and I think when you’re a kid it’s like, you want to learn, you make games… you don’t make accounting software.

Kris: “Right?”

Ron: “…you get a game so I just started, you know, doing that and I would, you know, I’d go down to like the local pizza place and I’d play the arcade game then come home and I tried to replicate them on my computer so that’s just how I got started doing it.”

Kris: “Yeah, very smart too to think, like, let me go here and play this and then try to recreate it, that’s awesome. So out of all the years you’ve been making games all the different games you’ve made, what would you say is one of your favorite projects? Would it be Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: I think my favorite games to work on were actually the adventure games that we did for kids at Humongous Entertainment.

Kris: Yeah, Spy Fox?

Ron: Yeah, Spy Fox and Putt Putt and Pajama Sam. I think in some ways those were like the most fulfilling games to make because, you know, they were real, true adventure games and, you know, just going after that kid audience, I mean kids just just devoured those games.

Kris: I remember playing them, as a kid, and actually I was at that age where I may have been a little too old. Like, I didn’t need the “Welcome” aspects of it, but I still enjoyed it.”

Ron: Yeah

Kris: It was still fun, it wasn’t dumbed down because I was a kid.

Ron: Yeah, that was very important to us. They’re kinda simplified, but they’re not dumbed down.

Kris: That was fantastic. Because nowadays it seems like a lot of games that are made for kids are just dumbed down, it’s just so boring like “This is what you do…”

Ron: Just tap, tap, tap.

Kris: It makes me sad, cause in the 90s a lot of the games I grew up on… weren’t. Like, even Nintendo and stuff, sure they made it family friendly but they weren’t easy.

Ron: Yeah, exactly, they were actually very hard.

Kris: So that makes sense. I’m sure for many kids, myself included, we grew up on those, they even came out on the Wii, like 10 or 11 years ago.

Ron: I think I think more people, far more people have played, you know, Putt Putt, Pajama Sam than have ever played Monkey Island. I mean, we sold literally millions of copies of those things, yeah, and so I mean I have no doubt that more people play that but it’s like I’m known for Monkey Island even though far more people play these other things, y’know?

Kris: I guess I can see that and now as adults that’s what we think about more. Ron Gilbert. Monkey Island. It makes sense though, that it would hold such a fondness for you. But, I mean, moving on to Thimbleweed Park. What made you decide that that was your next project after all the other stuff you worked on?

Ron: Well, Thimbleweed Park, you know came about because Gary Winnick and I, you know, we did Maniac Mansion together. We’re just sitting around we’re talking about the charm that those little games have. You know a lot of modern adventure games are good and I enjoy them but they’re missing that weird charm that those games had and so we were just talking about what is that charm? What made those charming and then thinking about well, you know, what if we made one of those games again, kind of like we made them back then, could we figure out what that charm was?

Kris: Yeah

Ron: and that’s where it kind of all started and, you know, of course Kickstarter is a great place to go for that kind of stuff and you know we’ve gotten a lot of money so I think there were a lot of other people that were also interested in that.

Kris: I would agree, I know, as I mentioned Monkey Island… not Monkey Island, Day of the Tentacle was one of the first games I ever played. I grew up on Space Quest and eventually it evolved. Space Quest was like my first point and click game. And one of the first games I ever played with one of my best friends. And then that evolved into, we played Monkey Island, we played Codename: Iceman, and, y’know, we played all these other point and click games. But it seemed like the genre had died in the 2000s especially. But the last couple years it’s kinda seen a resurgence. And Thimbleweed Park is like that perfect throwback to that time…

Ron: Oh yeah, very much.

Kris: Because those games didn’t take themselves too seriously, but yet they were serious and fun, and I feel like Thimbleweed Park is that.

Ron: Oh yeah, very much so, it is a very, very serious story, kind of. But that’s true even on Monkey Island, and if you look at the story of Monkey Island, it’s a very serious story, it’s just that it’s just kind of comedically told and there’s these comedic elements that ride on it.

Kris: It made it easy to stomach as a kid, I guess. You know you can look at the darkness, but it’s so funny! So, having used Kickstarter for Thimbleweed Park, is that something you’d do again in the future?

Ron: Maybe. You know, I think that Kickstarter… I mean Kickstarter is not like a solution to all your problems and so, you know if you get money from say a publisher, you know there’s a lot of upsides to that… there’s a lot of downsides to that. And when you get money from Kickstarter there’s a lot of upsides to that… lot of downsides to that. If you pay for the game yourself out of your own bank account lotta upside to that, a lot of downside to that

Kris: A lot of give and take.

Ron: yeah, and so you kind of gotta to decide and I think, you know, whether I would use Kickstarter again would probably depend a lot on what the game was I was building. Yeah, is it the kind of, you know, story that I can tell to Kickstarter backers to kind of get them excited?

Kris: That makes sense. So I know your first console that Thimbleweed Park was released on was Steam, PC, Xbox – what pushed you in that route first and then Sony and Nintendo later?

Ron: I think the thing that pushed us to Xbox first was, you know, we had went around to Sony and we went to Xbox and we talked to them and Microsoft just seemed really, really excited about it and they were really willing to really promote the game when it came out and a lot of stuff so it really was was just kind of their excitement for the game that’s kind of what kind of pushed us to them first but we’re out on Sony now, we’ll be out on the switch next month.

Kris: I appreciate hearing that too, about any of the “Big 3” when they’re actually easy to work wit, and they want your game there.

Ron: It makes it a lot easier.

Kris: Yeah, I can imagine.  So skip over Sony a little bit and go to Nintendo. Has it been easy working on the switch? Porting it over?

Ron: Yeah, from a hardware standpoint the switch is like really easy for us. then we’re using a custom engine, you know, we’re not using unity or anything and so getting all that over to Switch was really not that hard at all and we had started the iOS version and so I had written all of the code to deal with touch controls.

Kris: Nice!

Ron: So getting all that over to the Switch was all fairly easy.

Kris: That’s kewl, yeah I know I’m excited to play it on the Switch so I can play it everywhere I go. That’s what I love about my Switch now is how easy and accessible it is.

Ron: I don’t think my Switch has been in its dock more than, like, 10 minutes since I bought it.

Kris: Right? I put it in my dock at night, and then charge it and take it – it’s with me right now.

Ron: Yeah, just to charge it.

Kris: Another thing about the new Thimbleweed Park you can tell playing the game there was a heavy influence from shows like that X-Files and Twin Peaks,what other influences? That is correct, right? Those are a couple of the influences?

Ron: Yeah, mostly Twin Peaks. Yeah, I mean the fact that, you know, Agent Ray and Reyes look like Mulder and  Scully that was actually kind of a shock to us.

Kris: Oh really, so it wasn’t planned?

Ron: Yeah, because no it’s like we, you know, create those characters and we put the Kickstarter up and I swear like the second comment on the Kickstarter page was “Oh, they look like Mulder and Scully” and I went “oh shit” it’s like  I did not even think of that, you know, and so yeah I mean I didn’t really even watch the X-Files, you know. I mean I’ve seen some episodes and stuff but I was never really a fan so I would say far more influences has been Twin Peaks and David Lynch.

Kris: Yeah, it has that vibe. David Lynch is […?]

Ron: Yeah, he is. Have you ever seen Eraserhead?

Kris: I haven’t.

Ron: You HAVE to go watch Eraserhead.

Kris: I’ll do that.

Ron: It is the bizarrest thing…

Kris: I can only imagine, because Twin Peaks and I watched Mulholland Drive, and I’ve never been so confused than after watching Mulholland Drive. I’m still confused by it. Would you say, what other influences did you draw from?

Ron: Well… when I when when we were putting this putting the Kickstarter together and first like plotting everything out I was also watching True Detective right and so there’s the whole… there was, at least the first season there was a really kinda nice… there was an animosity between the two leading characters.

Kris: I haven’t seen the show but I’m familiar with it.

Ron: Yeah there’s a lot of animosity between them. There was a lot of mistrust between them and, you know, we wanted a lot of that to come out in the way Ray and Reyes kinda see each other. Whereas Mulder and Scully, I mean they’re friends right?

Kris: Well they slept together.

Ron: You know one of them’s a skeptic, one of them, whatever. I mean they’re friends, right? And we wanted there to be a little more animosity and also, uh, Stephen King was a big influence because you he does a really good job of writing these very kinda creepy stories that all take place in these small towns where there’s a whole lot kind of going underneath you know everything. I think those are really our three big influences.

Kris: And you can see that! True Detective I haven’t watched to truly get that.

Ron: Watch season one, ignore season two.

Kris: That’s the one with Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey?

Ron: Yeah

Kris: I’ve heard its good and the second season isn’t good – i’ll have to watch it. Now that you’re pretty much finished with Thimbleweed Park, I know you’re finishing with the porting, are you going to make another Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t tend to think about my next project until I’m totally done with my current one and had some time off, so as soon as these two ports are done, I’m gonna go, like, actually what I’m gonna do as soon as these ports are done and I’ve had a little vacation I’m gonna like download the Unreal Engine and because I’ve never played with it and I’m gonna spend like a month just understanding the Unreal Engine.

Kris: yeah?

Ron: I mean nothing may come of it but I just, I want to understand it. So that’s kind of my vacation in a way.

Kris: And as a programmer I’m assuming that that’s fun in itself.

Ron: Yeah, it is, yeah. It’s been more fun than laying on a beach.

Kris: Yeah, I agree, I mean I don’t program but anytime I’m playing with anything electronic I have more fun than laying on a beach. So I hear you. One final question for you: Who was your favorite character to create in Thimbleweed Park?

Ron: Probably Ransome the Clown.

Kris: ‘Cause he’s the best!

Ron: Yeah, he’s kind of an asshole.

Kris: He’s fantastic. He’s what you want a clown to be. An ass, and not a creepy happy clown!

Ron: I think the thing with Ransome that I really want to do with him is I wanted to make sure he had no redeeming qualities, right? And you’d look at, like in the Simpsons you know there’s Krusty the Clown and he’s kind of a jerk, but you can tell he’s got a heart.

Kris: He has redeemable qualities.

Ron: Yeah, he does! I want to make sure that Ransome is just an asshole. Period. That’s all he was.

Kris: And you’ve succeeded.

Ron: (laughter) Well, thank you, I think, I think thank you.

Kris: No, it is a success! Because he’s laughable, in a good way, in a bad way-good way. Well I appreciate your time – very much, it really is an honor to meet you. I know, not just myself but a lot of us grew up on your work and this is why I like doing this is the hopes to meet people who created my childhood and my adulthood.

Ron: Right.

A Major Minecraft Update Is Being Crafted

You have to love being able to load up Minecraft on your Xbox (PS4, PC, iPhone…) toss your friend a controller and work together with your buddy to survive those seven minutes of night time / build a neighborhood / castle / dig a hole. But what about when your other friend texts…

You’re about to invite him into your virtual world and set him to work, when you remember he’s a Nintendo Switch Fanboy! Different console versions of Minecraft will never play together, why that’s a disgusting level of cross play that just can’t be allowed. It’s unheard of! Without precedent!

That is, it was, until 2017.

The “Better Together” Update is in the works! Soon they’ll do away with most of the separate versions and unify Minecraft console, mobile, and Windows 10 versions into one shiny, yet blocky and pixelated, version: Bedrock Engine. Soon you’ll be able to create, mine, dig, build and discover on massive servers with your friends no matter what platform they’re using… almost!

The developers of Minecraft are still trying to convince Sony to jump on board, and start building in the shared biome, but as of yet there is no confirmation.

Look for it Autumn 2017!

Update: The Beta is available for Xbox

Links:

Minecraft: Bedrock FAQ

Splatoon 2 Review

When The first Splatoon came out I don’t think anyone knew what to truly expect. And it’s unlikely many expected it to be as much of a success on the system as it was. But a success on the Wii U, wasn’t much of a success sadly.

Out comes the Switch. The first video we ever saw, on the day they announced that the Nintendo Switch was its official name, they showed Splatoon in that demo reel and even with the minimal details we got that day, you could tell Splatoon was going to get the attention it deserved finally. With the Switch’s break out success, Splatoon’s sales will definitely be at a place they should always have been at, because Splatoon 2 is a fantastic follow up to its predecessor.

If you aren’t familiar with Splatoon here is a very quick synopsis. You play as an Inkling. Whether you pick a boy or a girl, they play the same. You can transition from you human-like form into a squid and swim through your color ink seamlessly to both move fast and recharge you ink. Your goal? To cover everything with ink and splat anyone who tries to stop you! Many may write this game off as a childish shooter, but its layers of depth, and just pure fun should be plenty of reason never to be one of those people.

If you played the original Splatoon you know one mode well, Turf Wars! They have made a glorious return! With a decent amount of levels to play on and plenty of weapons, both new and old, Turf War is even better then before. The shooter concept boiled down to the simple seeming idea of covering turf works so well, it’s hard to stop after just one match. You always find yourself saying just one more! Because the formula just works so well! The Ranked and League battles add even more to keep you coming back for more. And with the occasional Splatfast that The Big N plans on supporting for years to come, Turf War is easily better then ever. But this time around, Turf War isn’t the only mode and in my opinion, isn’t the one that shines the brightest..

That would be the new mode, Salmon Run. If you’ve ever played Horde Mode in Halo, or Zombies in COD, you’ll have a slight idea of what you have in store with the Salmon Runs. You’re goal is to collect golden eggs and deliver them at the drop point. You only get golden eggs from the many different bosses that come up. Some bosses aren’t too problematic, others are oh so frustrating (Im looking at you Flyfish!) But each one of them always feels great to beat and gather those gold eggs! The better you do during the online battles, the higher your pay rate goes, which helps you get bonuses quicker and quicker! These range from coupons to get boosts to experience and coins, to even getting exclusive gear! This makes taking part in Salmon Runs even more worthwhile. Where I feel the Salmon Run mode really shines is the sense of camaraderie that you get working with others to beat these runs! As the difficulty gets higher, you have to play even smarter and communicate even better. I’ve got to say, playing this local with 3 other friends with Switches is prolly my new favorite thing to do on my Switch! The actual online Salmon Run isn’t always running, which is a bit of a disappointment since it is so good. But you can always play it locally as long as you have other friend’s with Switches around.

There’s even a single player story mode to play through if you are looking for something to do in your spare time. It’s not great, but it’s better then the first Spaltoon’s single player offerings.

Splatoon 2 may not be everyone’s cup of ink. But if you have even the most remote interest in shooter types, give it a try. The game is just a ton of fun when you get going. It makes for easy pick up and play sessions and the multiplayer, both online and local, is just a blast. The amount of gear you can obtain and the versatility in the weapons give plenty of different play styles to experiment with. All in all Splatoon 2 is a game that should be in the collection of most Switch owners

Conclusion

If you are looking for a good multiplayer experience for your Switch, Splatoon is it. It’s a good take on the common shooter genre. There is plenty of content to keep you coming back and with Nintendo planning to support the game in to the future, Splatoon should have a nice long life on the Switch.

Pros:

  • Fantastic Multiplayer
  • Salmon Run is a Great New Mode
  • New Weapons Are a Nice Addition
  • Local Mulitplayer with Multiple Switch’s Works Very Well
  • Nintendo Plans to Support the Game for Years to Come
  • The Story Mode has Much More Content Then the First Games.

Cons:

  • But the Story Mode is Still an Obvious Afterthought
  • Connection Stability Can be a Problem
  • Too Many Connection Issues and they lock ya out for a bit.

 

Sonic Mania Review

“Sonic, he can really move! Sonic, he’s got an attitude! Sonic, he’s the fastest thing alive!” Every day before elementary school I would get up early enough to catch the back to back episodes at 7:00 AM to hear that theme song! I loved Sonic. So much so that I begged my parents to make chili dogs just because it was his food of choice! Bigfoot and I would play Sonic 2 all the time, and it was great. But since the Genesis era we’ve all been clammering for a Sonic game to recapture that feel of speed, and it’s true they struggled with it. Is Sonic Mania the Sonic game fans have been longing for?

The Good:

  • Sonic can really move again. The game has the proper speed of a Sonic game for the first time in what feels like forever.
  • The graphics are a wonderful recreation of the Genesis era, and looks beautiful running at 1080P and 60FPS on the Switch docked, 720P and 60FPS undocked.
  • Being able to play as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles or Sonic & Tails gives added reason to replay the game.
  • The new levels are great additions and the old levels and music are still fantastic.
  • The bonus areas are a fun challenge to unlock extra bonuses.
  • The homage to Dr. Robotnic’s Mean Bean Machine was a wonderful addition.
  • at $20 it feels like you are really getting more then your money’s worth.

The Not So Good:

  • 10 minutes just doesn’t feel long enough on some of these rather long levels.
  • The bonus stages, where a nice challenge, come up too often, and somewhat take away from the speed of the game at times.
  • At the time of this writing, the Switch version has some weird issues. Not game breaking, but not convenient.

Is Sonic Mania worth your hard gathered Rings? Yes.

If you are even reading this it is almost definitely because you are a fan of either old school Sonic the Hedgehog. The game is a perfect homage to the old games in the series and it gives me a lot of hope of what may be to come as far as the 2D Sonic games go. Flying through the levels continues to be a blast, even on my third play through.

The Nintendo Switch: Six Months (Almost) Later

Can you believe it’s already been almost six months? I know I can’t. It seems like just yesterday Bigfoot and I were sending messages back and forth speculating about what features, games, apps and other things Nintendo’s new hybrid console would bring! So the question now is, has the Switch been able to live up to that massive hype train that it was able to build up the 6 months before its launch? In short I feel the answer is, yes.

The Good

Let’s start with one word: Zelda. If you have picked up a Switch it’s almost guaranteed you’ve played Zelda. And what an adventure it is. The massive world was a fantastic showcase of how an open world game fits so perfect on this hybrid home/handheld console. It made it so easy to sink hundreds of hours into the beautiful world.

And that is where the Switch truly shines. Just as it was advertised, being able to seamlessly undock my system and continue my adventure on the go is beyond fantastic. It’s something 15 year old me dreamed about doing, and now it’s a beautiful reality. Someone else needs to use the TV and you are in the middle of a race on Mario Kart? No worries, I’ll just pause my game and undock my Switch! Get home from riding in the car and want to keep your adventure going in Cave Story, but on a bigger screen? Dock that bad boy back up! It’s just so flawless. It legitimately makes me happy.

Then there’s the game line up. Sure, at launch it was a bit scarce. But Zelda’s massive adventure made up for that ten times over. Then it wasn’t long before the quality titles started coming out. Binding of Isaac, Mario Kart 8D, Minecraft, Arms, Overcooked, Splatoon 2 and Sonic Mania just to name a few. The quality of these games is so high it’s hard not to be happy with them. Sure, all but Arms and Sonic are re-releases or ports. But is that such a bad thing, to have that wonderful hybrid console option? Especially if you haven’t played them or loved them enough to buy them again! And with the near future having games on the horizon such as Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battles, Pokken Tournament DX, Rayman Legends, Mario Odyssey, Stardew Valley, Thimbleweed Park and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, the future looks very bright for the Switch! Not to mention that’s just a small handful of games announced.

One last note in the good column, Splatoon 2’s newest mode, Salmon Run is oh so good. Be on the look out for our upcoming Splatoon 2 review for more but I will say this, one of my new favorite gaming sessions is getting 3 more friends together and playing some Salmon Runs. It is freaking fantastic.

The Not So Good

It’s hard for me to put anything in this column, but there is one thing that the Switch hasn’t done so well yet that has to be mentioned. And that is it’s online features.

Before I start my small rant I will say this, I’m giving them time to sort this out. I hope and pray that by the time their service goes to a paid service, we have a full fledged online service. But as of right now, it’s just severely lacking.

The fact that we still have to use friends codes, maybe not 100% of the time, but a lot, is just sad to me. The lack of being able to do basic things like send a message to a friend, create parties or chat with ease… is just sad. For a system with such a push to play with your friends, I wish this was all easier. And the recent release of Nintendo’s online chat app is pitiful. We shouldn’t need so many cords to chat in 2017, not to mention being tied to an app that has to be running in the forefront with the phone on to work!! But that being said there is potential here. The ability to look at your friends playtime of games is a nice little feature. Plus the fact that the system notifies you when a friend is online and what they are playing is a really nice feature. But there is a lot to improve here. I just hope they do it before the launch of the paid service in 2018.

Conclusion

The positives for the Switch far outweigh the negative. Because in my opinion there aren’t that many real negatives.  I honestly believe Nintendo will remedy the few flaws to the best of their ability. On the other had there is so many good things. The system just plays so flawlessly. The display is beyond pretty. The game selection is solid for it only being six months in, with no end in sight of awesome additions. Nintendo is supporting and pushing the system so hard it gives me a ton of faith in its future. So at this point, almost 6 months past what was possibly my most hyped console launch to date I can comfortably say that the Switch is a success.

Oh and I still love the sound the Joy Cons make when you click them on;)

Thimbleweed Park is coming to the Switch-a-reno!

It’s been four months since we reviewed Thimbleweed Park… time flies, and that body is probably still left to pixelate alone, under the Thimbleweed Park bridge. Have you had the chance to play? If not, we have great news to share – it will soon be available on the PS4 (8/22) and Nintendo Switch (TBA)!

I’ve already had the chance to play it on the PC, but love the idea of being able to take point and click adventures on the go. Why should you be tethered to your desk if you want to enjoy a good P&C adventure?

Viva la adventure games!

 

The Legend Of Zelda: Breath of the Wild Review

What do you think of when you hear the words, “Game of the Year”? I’d think for many, your immediate reaction is an eye roll because it seems to be thrown around so often through out the year. We play a game, think it’s fantastic as we play through it and start flirting with that term, sometimes before the year is even close to over. Many times rushing the gun with that verbiage. I try really hard to stay away from that phrase because, quite often, something else comes out later that has me saying Game of the Year all over again.

But today, I am going to go against myself. Im going to make the very early prediction. I think Breath of the Wild could easily be my Game of the Year. If this changes by years end, feel free to mock me for saying it. But after over 150 hours in the game and a nagging desire to go back to it no matter what I’m playing or doing, I’ll be shocked if anything else succeeds at what this new entry in the Zelda series has done for me. If you’ve played BOTW you most likely have an idea of why I would make such a prediction. But If not, bear with me as I write this review.


I’ve been playing Zelda for quite a few years now. Even though I had an NES in the days of The Legend of Zelda’s introduction into the world, I was too young to appreciate it. I wasn’t formally introduced to the series until my friend Nick (Who you all know as Bigfoot) borrowed Link’s Awakening for the Game Boy. I was fascinated with that game. I later convinced my parents to buy me a copy, and from that point I have been a fan. A HUGE fan. So naturally I was excited for BOTW. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a game blow my expectations away so much so as this game.


When I first popped the cartridge (I love being able to say that again) into my newly purchased Nintendo Switch it didn’t take long for me to climb to the highest point possible and just be blown away. To look out at a world that is so vast, and know I have so much to explore Was just an impressive feeling. Little did I know just how much exploring I was going to be doing. As of the writing of this article, 2 months after its release and 150+ hours in, I still feel like there is so much I’ve missed, and so much I want to see still. What a feat for any game. Normally if I havent finished a game by this point it has either been shelved, or I start looking at how to blow through the rest of the game. Not BOTW. I want to savor every precious moment.

In the early part of the game I was disappointed. I wanted more town exploration, more large scale dungeon exploration like in old Zelda titles. But after doing shrine after shrine, that feeling started to dissipate. I just wanted more. I wanted to discover that next shrine, Uncover more and more Korok’s, complete that set of armor, help my friend Hudson build his town. I couldn’t stop. And haven’t. With the expansion pack on the horizon, I won’t be completely done with Zelda for some time. And I couldn’t be happier.


The gameplay obviously kept me busy. I think it would be safe to say that everyone has their own favorite shrine, or favorite gear, or favorite divine beast. The best part of that being, they are all good, so it’s easy for everyone’s to possibly be different. The mechanics from using your paraglider to fly through the air to using your shield to surf down mountains, or using Magnesis to lift objects and throw them at enemies or Crystalis to walk across bodies of water, all this kept the game repeatedly fresh and intriguing. Not to mention the first time you encountered one of the Lynel’s or any of the other “Mini-bosses” scattered about the world. The world just had so much to offer, and so much reason to try it all out. THAT is how a game should be.


The graphics in the game look so crisp too. The cellshading looks so good that its easy to forget that it is even cell shaded. Taking time to look at the mountains, the fields, the lakes… it all just looks so real when you immerse yourself in the experience. It may not be as graphically complex as many of the AAA titles these days, but that doesn’t stop it from looking just as good. the music in the game is also very well done as it always is in Zelda. There are many memorable songs throughout the game. If I was to have one nitpicky complaint, it would be the lack of music as you are exploring. This is such a small thing to nitpick as there is some music there, I just found at times missing the constant music that you get in all the old Zelda titles. But really, with a game this fantastic, that isn’t a problem.


In conclusion, I’m going to be honest. I wanted to dislike this game. I wanted to be upset about the lack of “true” Zelda like dungeons, the fact that their are no classic items like the hookshot, or iron boots. But as I continued to play this masterpiece I realized, I didn’t even notice they weren’t there. Times have changed and BOTW Director Eiji Aonuma and his team, have done a beautiful job of changing with them. I can’t say that at some point, it wouldn’t be nice to see a return to the classic style of Zelda. But for now, I just look forward to playing more of Breath of the Wild, and seeing what this team as in store for us in the future.