Man, it must feel like I'm just trying to pick fights this week. Allow me to explain myself: I love n+. It's incredibly fun, elegant, and well-made. JC gave the game a 9.5 / 10, and I'd say that's a pretty fair score. So how on earth does a good game get picked for Bury the Shovelware?
Throughout the duration of this column, we've learned a lot about shovelware. We've examined the sharing of blame between the publisher and developer, the curse of a license, the effects of critics' perception, and much more. Our top priority has been determining common attributes. One might ask what is the single, definitive trait common throughout all shovelware. The easy answer would be "it sucks." But to who? You? Me? Everyone? If you were to wander through the graveyard of the DS's library, even the loneliest tombstone will have a sympathizer or two. Particularly for younger gamers who might not know any better, cognizance is everything.
Thus, we must focus on the objective. As the swipe for this series states, "shovelware refers to any game in which time and effort were eschewed in favor of turning a quick profit." Theoretically, any game which shows compromise in any area for the benefit of time and/or money might be considered shovelware. Even if the game is a critical success, one can still identify flaws in its design. Without labeling n+ as shovelware, let's examine how its existence relates to the bottom-feeders of the DS.
Yes,. you read that correctly. We've got copy of Soul Bubbles that was signed by developer Mekensleep to unload onto one lucky reader. What must you do to get your hands on this signed copy of Soul Bubbles (retails for $30)? Simply leave a comment telling us what your favorite Eidos game is (list here if you need to jog your memory) between now and Wednesday, September 10th at 11:59PM ET, after which we'll choose one lucky winner via random drawing. Entrants may leave one comment per day.
There are a few things you should know before entering. Entrants must be current and legal residents of the United States or Canada (excluding Quebec) and at least 18 years of age or older. Read up on the rest of the official rules right here. Good luck!
To jog your memory, the colorful 2D title follows British adventurer Henry Hatsworth as he explores 30+ levels over five exotic worlds, hunting down artifacts that will grant him new powers and ultimately unlock a golden mech suit. And that's just the top screen!
On the touch screen, players are presented with a puzzle game which can be used to gain power ups and helath, as well as transform Hatsworth into different forms. Jump past the post break for videos of the game that were debuted earlier this year at GDC.
The Castlevania series has found a great home on the DS, and despite the fact that it's side-scrolling action in every game as usual, there's usually some kind of twist to spice up the action. The new trailer for Order of Ecclesia shows exactly that, as Shanoa the vampire slayer uses a grappling hook to shoot around the level and reach unreachable areas.
Every fan of the series should be on an ultimate high for the game's imminent release in Q3 this year. Why, the fast slingshot action almost makes up for sluggish gameplay and boring combat, evident in all Castlevania games. We love Castlevania here at DS Fanboy. It looks great!
The unsourced rumor of a 2008 European Metal Slug 7 release date must be acknowledged. It turns out that Europeans will not only get Metal Slug 7 in 2008, but they will also get it pretty much the same time as everywhere else. A press release has come through and announced an "Autumn 2008" release. Yes, that means Fall -- Autumn is for those lame Europeans and non-lame Australians.
To accompany this timely news, five new screens of the kill-o-rama have been updated in our gallery. With seven brand new missions six playable characters and apparently the biggest SLUG vehicle ever, this is exactly what hardcore Metal Slug fans need.
Those of you who want to get to know Shanoa a little better should check out the vid up top, which features her kicking some undead butt. She might not bring too many new things to the Castlevania-verse, but she still looks like a pretty badass character. Besides, she "shall become the sword that clears away evil" -- what more do you want? Order of Ecclesia is currently one of our most anticipated DS games, though, so do we really need another reason to convince you to watch this trailer? Just look at the footage.
Remember this khaki-clad British explorer, Hatsby? EA Tiburon's Kyle Gray introduced the character's charming sprite and his untitled puzzle/platforming DS game at GDC earlier this year, but we haven't seen or heard any news from him since! All we have had to go on all these months were the videos he left behind, which we've embedded past the break!
Artwork for the game has mysteriously popped up on the official site for Into the Pixel, an art exhibit collecting exemplary works of video game art and scheduled to open to the public at October's E for All Expo. The piece, titled "Puzzle World Twilight" and submitted by EA Tiburon concept artist Jay Epperson, shows Hatsby taking to the nighttime skies against a backdrop of Chinese paper cut outs.
Though we were already excited with the hybrid game's promises of an opera-singing boss, a robotic construct of Big Ben, and some unexplained touchscreen puzzle running alongside the platforming action, after seeing this gorgeous art, we can't contain ourselves! Tell us your secrets, Hatsby, you magnificent bastard!
In the spirit of N+ featuring hundreds of levels, we've received hundreds (well, lots anyway) of screenshots and two new gameplay videos (head past the break for the second). If there is a limit to how long we can watch a little stick figure bouncing off walls and performing gravity-defying stunts, we haven't yet reached the critical threshold.
You can start learning about the mind-bending N+ experience with our hands-on preview, effectively taking "the best platforming engine in Flash, ever," for a ride. The thing is, no matter how many screens and videos you ogle, there's plenty more brand new levels being created constantly. Best of all, the DS version is just as full-featured as any other installment, including a full level creator and Wi-Fi multiplayer. N+ should be a sure-fire hit when it's released in August.
Kirby Super Star Ultra is getting a hefty overhaul from the original SNES title, and the pink blob is right in the spotlight with an absolute metric tonne of new media. The above trailer shows all the colorful action right on the DS screens, while the gallery below has a whole range of new screens and character art -- not to mention the snazzy box art.
Finally, 'tis the season for release dates (you may have notice the whole E3 thing): Kirby Super Star Ultra will be hitting the stores on September 22nd. About damn time, too -- fans have been waiting too long after the brilliance of Canvas Curse.
We knew that Red Fly hoped to release Mushroom Men: Rise of the Fungi sometime this year, so we're pleased to hear that the software is on schedule and will be in stores this October.
Red Fly also went into more detail about the storyline of the game in a recent press release, since the DS version is a prequel to the Wii title. Both will cover different parts of the Mushroom Men's history, with Rise of the Fungi detailing a time when they first got their special abilities. The Bolete tribe must stave off attacks from hostile insects and other creatures, until the Amanitas Empire becomes an even bigger threat to their survival. Mushroom Men fighting amongst Mushroom Men ultimately leads to the Spore Wars, which are covered in the Wii game.
We really like the idea of one game's story leading into another's in such a short period of time (as in, you won't have to wait long between releases). While we're still not sure when the Wii game will follow, you can expect it in November or December if Red Fly sticks to the original plan.
Nintendo is proudly boasting that it won't be waiting until E3 to reveal some of their biggest upcoming games. The new DS announcements for today are Kirby Super Star Ultra and Mystery Case Files: MillionHeir, both with new screens in the galleries below!
As a remake of the original SNES favorite, KSSU will use the touch screen to breathe new life into the existing mini-game compilation. Yeah, if the DS does anything well, it's mini-games. It'll be a totally revamped experience, with new Revenge of the King and Meta Knight Ultra modes in the works, including local wireless play. Kirby has done everything right so far on the DS, so we should expect greatness from the little pink blob on September 29th.
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Yes, yes -- anothermysteryadventuregame is on the way in the form of MillionHeir. Get over that delightful play on words, and check out some of the previous games in the Mystery Case Files range. The DS entry will be a "painted scene" point-and-click adventure, where a cluey detective needs to find the rightful heir to a fortune. It seems like the standard pixel-hunt for inventory items and evidence -- but a multiplayer mode is also included, which is a pretty nifty addition for an adventure game. MillionHeir hits the stores on September 8th.
In the spirit of a true ninja master, the perenially popular platformer N+ is still on its merry way to the DS. Many people out there have tried several adventures of the anonymous little hero on the PC, and are better gamers for it. Put it this way -- N+ levels are really, super easy to make, so the DS version features plenty of original creations.
You can check out some of the high-flying gameplay in the new trailer above, along with two more after the break. N+ hasn't been dumbed-down for portable installments at all, and includes a full level editor and downloadable content. If you haven't tried N+ before, it would be in your best interest to slide down to your nearest store on August 28 and hand over the cash for this bad boy. Ninja-style.
We know getting our hopes up about a "book turned movie turned video game" always ends disastrously, but this time we really can't help ourselves. Perhaps it's because the software in question is inspired by one of our favorite writers, Neil Gaiman (the genius behind Neverwhere and The Sandman, to name a few).
Based on his novella Coraline (which is being made into an animated 3D film this February), the game is a multi-platform "surrealistic adventure" developed by D3. The story revolves around a young girl who enters a parallel universe that's like her own, only more fantastical.
There's no definitive date for this title (only Q1 2009), but we'd expect it to come out near the movie's release.
One of those under-the-radar titles that we can't stop thinking about is Soul Bubbles, which is why we've been giving it a lot of coverage. Not only does this LocoRoco-meets-LostWinds title look whimsical and wonderful, but the gameplay seems to offer simple, clean fun. At the same time, though, there's clearly a lot of depth behind this software.
Yet, there's no better way to learn about a game than hearing things straight from the developers' mouths, so we recommend giving this video a look. In their fabulous French accents, the devs dish on the premise and gameplay of the upcoming title. For instance, we already knew about the Tiger Mask ability, but the Mekensleep crew shows the other masks in action, too.
You'll also get to see some of the different levels throughout the game, all of which have their own fanciful themes, as well as the enemies and inhabitants of each world. Oh, and did we mention that the look of Soul Bubbles is absolutely gorgeous? If it plays just half as good as it looks, we're definitely in for a treat.
We're delighted to present a new trailer for Mekensleep's gorgeous puzzle-adventure thing, Soul Bubbles. The short clip introduces the tiger mask, which gives the player a dash move that can split bubbles. As a bonus, it also gives you a psychotic, permanent grin.
One of three available animal masks, this ability adds just a bit of depth to what may be seen as a simplistic game design -- especially in combination with the ability to use bubbles to solve puzzles (by filling them with water, etc.) It's still intentionally simple, but the player does have multiple choices to make in order to get through each level.
You should put on your own tiger mask and dash into the gallery for a look at new screens. Bubbles is due out June 30 in the U.S.