Hands On: Super Smash Bros. For 3DS Demo

Hey folks!

So I have been busy the last few months and just couldn’t find the time to develop my blog. Nevertheless I now present you a new post hoping that some others will follow briefly.

Not having received a code from Nintendo by e-mail, I was lucky enough to find a code for the unlimited Super Smash Bros. demo for the 3DS on the Internet. Yay! Or not yay? Or even not yay at all?

Of course, I played quite a few rounds at the weekend. Overall picture concerning gameplay: great! Overall picture regarding the first reviews of the full game: sadly, just okay…

Let’s start with the demo. The first few rounds I really had troubles with the controls. First, I’m used to have the grab at the right trigger. So I was grabbing instead of rolling all the time. Second, I was completely convinced that if I used the A button often enough when I wanted to jump, it would eventually become the jumping button…stupid me. After those rounds to acclimatisate, I came to terms with the controls better than I initially had expected. (Still, the old 3DS is just too small for my hands.) Just the circle pad isn’t 100% suitable since your fingers slip lightly, especially doing quick moves. That could become an issue in highly competitive online matches. In the full version, you can adapt the controls though (unfortunately there’s not the option to use the D-pad instead of the circle pad to move)

My favorite character is Link. That was expectable since he is one of my mains since the N64 version. The bombs are working fine (I’ve always loved using them), you can use the bow to wipe out your enemies at higher percentages and I adore the new A attack during running (yeah, I don’t know the technical terms 😉 ): a small jump forward ending with a slash. I like the villager more than I thought I would. The tons of different animations are superb and all the smashes are powerful. Mario, as always, seems to be the perfect all-round character. I don’t know why, but I’m not as good with Pikachu as I used to be. There is so significant change, but somehow it doesn’t feel smooth palying him. Interesting fact: his thunder goes through the middle platform. That seems to be a glitch since it doesn’t work for the others. I looked forward to play as Megaman, but his range attacks aren’t as impressive as I thought they would be. His smashes are really good though. Delivering a final verdict having only five chracters and 2min fights is not possible.

The graphics are way better than expected. The action is clearly visible even with four characters on the small screen. And the most important point: the game is just pure fun!

Regarding the first reviews on the game, the extent of the game disappointed me though. A lot of reused, old stages and just a few new ones; no online Smash-Run; no stage builder; no cinematic intro; no real Target Smash; no events. I hope that the WiiU version will be able to offer more content.

Originally, I only wanted to buy the WiiU version because a) I didn’t want to pay twice for nearly the same game and b) I haven’t enjoy playing on the 3DS that much recently. It’s a shame that there’s no WiiU/3DS game bundle announced. But even with all those missing features the 3DS version is so much fun that I have to reconsider that decision. Damn demo version! 😀

Best regards

A Gamer’s Panorama

P.S.: Here’s a really cool comic explaining how the dog and the duck from Duck Hunt became friends.

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Why is slashing through enemies so much fun?

Killing is bad.

Well, at least killing innocent people is bad. Murdering certain bad guys can be a good thing, but I don’t want to cover that ethical issue here. The essential thought is that ending someone’s life has also a negative effect on the offender.

Transferring the concept of killing to the medium video games, the same thoughts don’t apply anymore. Suddenly, killing is fun.
Of course, the main reason for not feeling guilty when you put someone to death ingame is that it’s not real. But the virtuality doesn’t explain why slashing has the contrary effect: it why does it make us happy?

One idea is that it’s because humans are originally bad and cruel. Only the rules, norms and laws being established when people live together countervail the bestial human behaviours. When playing video games, these rules are temporary invalid so that the player is able to show its inner beast and thus to enjoy killing.

Another approach is to consider the idea that killing someone bad might have another effect on the murderer as killing an innocent person. Thus you’ll get to another possible explanation. Playing the game makes you feel like you really save the country/the world/the galaxy/the universe. And I guess you get cheery when you’re the reason for the world’s continuity. This idea might apply at specific moments, like when you’re about to kill the final boss being responsible for the evil plans. Still, I don’t think that this is the reason why you enjoy games like ‘Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’ or ‘Diablo 3’. You don’t think about the effects an individual kill has; you just enjoy your expressed power at the particular second.

Regarding competitive video games, an analogy to athletic contests can be seen. The act of killing itself is no longer the origin of the joy. It’s the sportive thought of who kills more often/gets less often killed and therefore who is the better player that becomes important. This behaviour has always been a fundamental human one since it has always been important to be better than others to get the job, the girl or even to survive.

Killing virtual enemies works off stress. You can release all bottled-up frustration and sorrows. It reveals your abilities to you; it shows you that you capable of something or it makes you feel like it at least. The effect stays the same: you get happy, relaxed and confident. Then again, playing other games (e.g. racing games) or doing other stuff (sports) have the same effects.

Maybe the deciding factor when it comes to the joy of virtual slashing is that you’re able to shit on all those existing conventions. Maybe this exorbitant slaughter of virtual people enables us to stop researching our problems and above all duties as thinking humans and just enables us to have some fun.

So if you’re worried about a mistake you made, a lack of money, a disease or an upcoming exam, then take a break, smash some virtual heads and enjoy it! Afterwards there’ll be enough time and energy to fulfil your duties and to attack your problems. With this in mind; bye, I’m on my way to jump on some turtle heads!

A Gamer’s Panorama

So what is your favorite game to blow off some steam? Let me know in the comments!

Browser Games I Love

Browser games have been existing for quite a while. However since games for Facebook and mobile phones got really popular, a decreasing interest in browser games can be observed. Still, there are some absolutely funny and captivating games that are always fun to play. Today, I want to show you some of my favourites.

Meat Boy

Meat Boy is a super challenging jump ‘n’ run. You control a piece of meat, Meat Boy, who wants to save his girlfriend from his evil opponent. The central mechanisms of the game are running, sliding down walls and jumping. There are about 50 levels. In order to finish a level, you have to avoid disk saws, spikes and/or salt pits while you are getting from one end to the other. There are a few cutscenes telling the cute, ‘Mario’-like story. Thanks to the game’s difficulty, playing this game is really addicting because you’ll always want to finish just one more level.
There is also an enhanced and extended version available in retail sale named ‘Super Meat Boy’.

I recommend this game to everyone who’s into challenging games and/or jump ‘n’ runs!

To play Meat Boy, click here.

Learn To Fly

This game is about a penguin having the burning desire to fly. So, in the role of the penguin, you slide down a ski jump and fly as far as possible over the ocean. The farther you fly, the more money you get. You also get money for beating several achievements. To enhance your flying abilities, you are able to spend your earned money to buy rockets, gliders and higher ski jumps and to upgrade them. Your aim is to fly a defined distance in as few days as possible.

The game is very motivating thanks to its clear aim, the constant option to upgrade your equipment and to improve your personal performance and records each flight.

‘Learn To Fly’ is great and if you have some spare time, you should really try the game here.

For all of you who liked or loved the game, here is the sequel. It’s way more complex and as good as the original.

Robot Unicorn Attack

‘Robot Unicorn Attack’ is the ‘Flappy Bird’, the ‘Doodle Jump’ of the ancient days (…okay, Doodle Jump is actually older). You control a robot unicorn running and jumping through a pink world  while dashing through stars and being accompanied by dolphins and an incredible ear worm as a soundtrack.
I guess that’s enough to make you want to play this game, isn’t it?

Having three lives, the goal is to get as many points as possible. Points are awarded for every second you survive, for collecting little elves and for destroying mentioned stars. The more stars or elves you collect in a row, the more points you get for each. ‘Robot Unicorn Attack’ becomes a real challenge, because the longer you run, the faster the game gets.

The first time you see and especially hear the game, it’s possible that it doesn’t look too attractive in your eyes, but I assure you that once you have played the game, it is as addicting as ‘Flappy Bird’ and that you’ll sing the song even when you don’t play the game.

Try it here!

I hope I was able to show you some games suiting you and I’m glad for every comment!

A Gamer’s Panorama

PS: Visit the gallery for some more screenshots.

Results Of The First Poll And The New Poll

Hey Folks!

One week has passed and the results of the question which 3DS game I should buy next are here:

Pokémon X/Y — 36.36%
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds — 27.27%
Bravely Default — 9.09%
Luigi’s Mansion 2 — 9.09%
Star Fox 64 3D — 9.09%
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate — 9.09%

Thank you for your participation!

As you can see, the winner is Pokémon X/Y. Probably, I’ll pick up the game ( I think Y) this week and will write some words about it quite soon, so stay tuned!

I also added a new poll concerning your favourite current console, so click here if you want to share your favourite. You are also welcome to leave a comment explaining why it is your number one.

My new post about browser games will be available soon, so make sure to visit!

A Gamer’s Panorama

Steam Sales and Co. — or why they don’t make us happy at all

SALE

Every gamer knows them, every gamer loves them: Steam Sales, ‘Buy 3, Pay 2’ offers and other bargains. Current games, normally costing 50 to 70€ (50 to 60$), at only a fraction of their normal price. Seeing these high-rated games, everybody’s talking about, for such prices, one must buy them. One must buy them all, muhahaha! Oh yes, look at me, having bought all these cool games for just a fistful of Dollars. Oh, I can’t wait to play them, but wait…(*looking at the long list of unplayed Steam games from earlier sales and/or the full PS3 hard drive*)…guess I have to finish these first. *sigh*

Of course, having the ability to buy new games with little money is great! But there also some questions you should ask yourself before spending your money or else you won’t get lucky.

First, it is really important to consider if you really want this game in particular. Lately, I often made the mistake to buy games thinking something like ‘yeah, that sounds quite interesting and it’s only 5€, so it’s not a big deal if it’s not that good’. The trouble is that I’m a person who wants to finish everything that I have started. So, even if it’s a game that’s not my taste ( it still can be a great game; happened to me with Borderlands 2), I still feel the urgency to play this game and to not play any other games until this one is finished. Since having other games lying around that I’d love to play, that is awful. It’s even getting worse sometimes: because I don’t like the game I’m currently playing, I don’t feel like playing video games in general and I need even more time till I can play the game I wanted to.

This situation gets a deal worse when you have bought more games than you are able to play in a certain time frame. I; and I’m certain some of you, too; tend to squirrel video games away thinking that one day I will have enough spare time to play each one of them. That is wrong! Since I always buy new ones, they are not getting less. Status quo: about 40 games; abandoned ca. 15 of them.

One disadvantage of this behaviour is that on the whole you do not save any money. Regarding each game individually you save money, but buying too many games to play leads to the fact that you spend money for nothing.

It also have an effect on the games you adore. Because you think about all those games you still need to play while you are playing an extraordinary game, you feel the tendency to finish this game as fast as possible. Even if you want to spend more time on this one game (in my case GTA V) and e.g. do some more optional missions or play the online mode , you won’t because you’ll always think about the other games being still unplayed. That ruins the fun and so the purpose of playing video games.

I also made the experience that these problems have increased since I own a PS3 in addition to my PC, my 3DS and my WiiU. So a solution for the future might be to concentrate on one system, although you would still witness the games on other consoles, thus the temptation to buy these consoles. Maybe in a sale?

Because of these reasons, I sometimes miss the good old days when I was a child and only had a N64 and a GBC and no Internet informing me about other great games. I saved enough money to buy me approximately one game a month and it was perfect. Being at my friends’, of course, meant to see other games, but I always perceived these games as games I would play at my friends’ and didn’t feel the urge to own them on my own. Except it was a great game. Then I would save enough money to buy it no matter what the exact price was, because I didn’t know Steam Sales back then and I was happy.

P.S. I’m happy about every comment and remember to vote for my next 3DS game 🙂

Gifts For Gamers

Since Valentine’s Day is only four days away, I thought it would be time to write about the perfect present for a gamer or someone who’s into gaming. Therefore I present to you my top four gaming presents excluding games. (Of course, this list can also help everyone to find something nice for themselves 😉 )

Number 4: Merchandise

If your subject is the total enthusiast of a specific game or game series, s/he probably have all the games available. A solution might be to give her/him merchandise as a gift. Merchandise does exist for all popular games and in nearly any shape. There are shirts, bags, jewellery, accessories, plush toys, statues, posters, etc. It is very possible that you’ll find something suitable for the lucky fellow.

Merchandise - a 'Ganondorf' Statue and a 'Psyduck' Plush Toy

Merchandise – a ‘Ganondorf’ Statue and a ‘Psyduck’ Plush Toy

Number 3: Books

Stories and lore in video games become more and more multifaceted and important. A lot of games get additional background stories in the form of books. Since video games cover different genres, there are also books for every taste. To name some: Assassin’s Creed, Diablo, Dragon Age, Gears Of War, Guild Wars, Halo, Mass Effect, The Elder Scrolls (‘Skyrim’), World Of Warcraft, etc. But, there are also some games based on books like ‘The Witcher or ‘Metro 2033’. In most of the cases the games and the books are both great and it’s difficult to tell which one was my favourite. So, if your target is interested in gaming and reading: perfect gift! If s/he is not, it could be a way to make her/him read more. If, on the other hand, you are the gamer in the relationship, you could give your partner one of these books as a present in order to boost her/his interest concerning your hobby: video games.

Books - Zelda, Guild Wars and Metro 2033

Books – Zelda, Guild Wars and Metro 2033

Number 2: An Additional Gamepad

You think your partner spends too much time in front of his video games? Then turn this time into time spent together! Or do you think that gaming would be more fun, if your friend joined you? Then encourage her/him to play with you! How? Buy her/him a second gamepad for his/your console/PC. Playing together with or against another people in one room, especially when it’s your partner, is so much better than playing alone or online. If you aren’t or your friend isn’t interested in the games at hand, get a proper one along with the gamepad. When I got together with my girlfriend, she wasn’t into gaming at all. But after we have played some ‘Super Mario Bros.’ and ‘Mario Kart’ together, she was totally into it and today she has a 3DS, my old Wii and a Steam account on her own.

An Allegory - A Second Controller

An Allegory – A Second Controller

Number 1: Something Home Made

If you want to do something really special for your valentine, then make something home made. Last christmas I got two Zelda themed scarves from my girlfriend and I was overwhelmed! It’s like merchandise, but a thousand times fancier and ten thousand times more valuable. There are many things, you can do, like the mentioned scarves, gloves or winter hats. If you are not into handcraft or haven’t got enough time, you can get something printed, but that is clearly less personal. So you could try something more easy like papercraft. There are countless template on the internet. You cut them out, glue them and that’s it! Of course, this is something smaller than e.g. a hat, but it’s really neat as a small present.

Something Homemade - Two Zelda Themed Scarves

Something Homemade – Two Zelda Themed Scarves

I’m glad for every comment (no need to register!) and I hope that I was capable of giving you some ideas and of enabling you to express your love in the shape of a present.

Here are all of the pictures at a glance.

A Gamer’s Panorama

Insanity’s Blade — the ultimate homage to the 8-bit (actually 16-bit) era

Hey folks!

Once again I looked around at Steam Greenlight. And suddenly I saw the game that I want to review today: ‘Insanity’s Blade’ by Causal Bit Games.

The Canadian indie development team mainly consists of two guys: the owner Christopher Obritsch who has been in the game development and graphic design industry for many years and the young developer/co-owner Daven Bigelow going to university additionally.

Insanity’s Blade is designed as a series of several games with ‘The Chronicles of Thurstan’ being the first one. With the game being strongly inspired by the power of the NES, its soundtrack is even playable on real NES hardware. Originally, the game should get a 8-bit appearance, but it was later changed to a 16-bit optic. Still, the developers want to keep the 8-bit graphics for a special mode. The music is stunning! (One part of the first level’s track reminds me somehow of the Pokémon fighting theme, but I guess it’s only me who hears it :D) Graphically, Insanity’s Blade clearly orientates itself by the NES and SMS optic; the colors and designs are fitting perfectly!

Insanity's Blade Special Attack

A Special Attack

The story is told in cutscenes (adopted from the  Insanity’s Blade graphic novel by C. Obritsch) between each level. It follows the eponymous hero Thurstan seeking revenge for the murder of his wife and son who were killed by demons. In a land, encumbered with a merciless curse, he hopes to save their souls this way. On his journey through hostile terrain and hordes of monsters, Thurstan is accompanied by a dwarf (at times playable) and the ghost of his child.

Being classic and modern at once, Insanity’s Blade is a 8-bit action platform game with rpg elements. Fighting through all the 18(!) stages you level up and unlock new moves such as wall jumping abilities. I’m really into the wall jumping mechanics and its animations. They are fun! You are also able to upgrade your weapons.

The first level, an introduction into the story, took me about ten minutes. It’s set in a burning village, but you get also underground. You primary fight skeletons and bats and try to avoid some flames. There are also some villagers running around or being captivated. You are able to free the latter to get some more exp. I died two times: the first time because of a mean trap (repeating in the second level) and the second time because I didn’t watch my health bar.

Insanity's Blade Boss 1

The First Boss

So, yes the game is challenging. The second level (the first actual one) is a forest full of diabolic animals and undead. It receives you with a shop where you can spend your collected money for upgrades and with downhill skiing on some bones. Most of the time you will fight and jump using two buttons. There are different attacks and you can also pick up torches. You always start with four lives and, if you die, you’ll restart at a save point. If all the four lives are gone, you’ll respawn at the beginning of the level keeping your collected exp and money.

A co-op mode is integrated, but it’s still buggy and only to use on the players’ risk. As Insanity’s Blade is in the beta phase, there are some smallish bug here and there. However none of them is serious, so the status is absolutely okay. The game is meant to be played with a gamepad, but you can also use the keyboard.

But instead of reading about the gameplay, you can check it in person. A demo is currently available on Steam Greenlight: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/updates/202226008/1391660359

Insanity’s Blade is to be released in April 2014 on Windows, Mac and Linux.

My conclusion of this test: if you loved your NES or SMS and you just can’t get rid of the feeling that today’s games aren’t like games were back then, buy this game! If you don’t have this nostalgic feeling, you should at least take a closer look, because this game is definitely worth it.

A Gamer’s Panorama

Check out the gallery for more screenshots!

Source: http://causalbitgames.com/