Tag Archives: Nintendo Switch

NCG Review – All-Star Fruit Racing (PS4, PC, Switch)

“All Star” is usually a name that pops up in video game titles after a series or company has a good reputation.  Does All-Star Fruit Racing meet your expectations?AllStarOnline_2

Visuals

All Star Fruit Racing is very colorful, filled with an array of terrains and courses that are vibrant  and eye-catching.  Characters themselves are colorful and portray a unique fruit.  However, everything visually just seems to fall short.  Although the visuals are vibrant, there is too much on the screen making the courses feel cluttered with graphics.  One thing that I look for in a racing game is enough to create a setting or theme, but nothing that distracts or overwhelms me visually while I am trying to navigate a course, and win.  Sometimes it’s difficult to tell where the course is at and when you go off course, you’re not really sure how or why.  Characters themselves are quirky with a design that matches the fruit they’re based on, but characters fall short of being unique.  There’s a generic feel to the each character with few qualities to set them apart and make them memorable.AllStarDateAnnounce_5.png

Navigating the menu also imposes a challenge since the font is small and difficult to read.

 

Audio

If you’ve ever sat at a slot machine and kept pushing the button, then you’ll have an idea what a race course sounds like.  While playing, the course is filled with mellow tunes that fit the course design and chimes that interact with what your character is doing on the course.  Music intensifies as you lap around the course, but nothing particularly stands out about the audio tracks.

Gameplay

There are 5 game modes: Random Juicer, Juicer, Dragster, Elimination, Elimination Mix.  You’re given 10 characters to start with out of 22.

The button layout is more relatable to a modern-day racing game, but the overall game play style is similar to Mario Kart.  Each mode imposes a different challenge.  Random Juicer is the most similar to Mario Kart.  Juicer mode is a twist, where you need to race and collect fruit in order to mix all the fruits together, while racing, to get a juice.  After making a juice concoction, based on whatever you made, you can use it as a weapon or booster to help you through the course.  Elimination mode is a unique mode where players are eliminated at intervals through the race if they’re in last place. Elimination Mix is similar to Elimination, except, you never know when the counter will pop up during a race.AllStarOnline_4

While racing there is no real sense of speed.  You’re not rewarded with a boost after drifting or collecting items. The only time you feel a sense of acceleration is when you go over a speed booster, but even so you’re never really moving faster than the character in front of you. There also feels like a lack of punishment if you collide or crash around in the course. After you crash or bump into a wall, you immediately resume max speed.  Weapons feel very unbalanced and almost useless.  They impose some advantage, but they don’t feel like they’re doing much to other players since the game doesn’t provide heavy punishment when hit with the weapons.AllStarDateAnnounce_2.png

Car customization is an option, but this feature is cosmetic and doesn’t add any additional attributes to the vehicle. Characters have special abilities, but these abilities can only be accessed in the Random Juicer courses.

Verdict

Pros: While some aspects of the game feel lacking (i.e. lack of speed and punishment for messing up), you can tell that you need to be strategic about how you play.  In Juicer mode, the fruits you collect determine the weapon you send out.  You need to determine which fruits you want to collect, then you need to create and access the mixture which can be difficult to focus on while you’re driving.  The lack of speed makes sense since players will be multitasking while they race. Not only do you need to know what to mix, which fruits you want to collect, you need to know how the weapons will work since they can potentially back fire on you.  It’s a lot to take in at once but gives the game a unique challenge despite all the downfalls.

To help make load screens a bit more bearable, you get a lot of fruit facts.  Mostly trivia facts you wouldn’t have guessed… about fruit!  It made me want to sit through all the load screens and learn more about fruit!

Cons: As stated earlier, courses feel cluttered with visuals, it’s hard to read the menu, the overall design isn’t very eye-catching, and using your weapons can be frustrating.

The price tag is also a bit much.  The game doesn’t have as much to offer compared to other games of the same style.

Overall, I would rate the game a 6 out of 10.

Score

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NCG Reviews: Overcooked 2 (PS4, Switch, PC)

Team 17 is bringing Overcooked back with more kitchen madness! Jump into your food truck and find a way to defeat the un-bread!

Story

After reading the necro -nomnom- icon and accidentally raising the un-bread, you must hop in your food truck, hone your cooking skills, and defeat the un-dead bread monsters!  The story isn’t pertinent to the game, but the jokes and humor help set the overall tone for your kitchen journey.6-2

Gameplay

If you’ve played Overcooked, then you already have a feel for how Overcooked 2 will work. What I really enjoyed about Overcooked 2 is that it’s not a re-skin of its predecessor.  There are more features to the game, and more ways to utilize what you already know.2-3

Features

The throw feature is a new addition to the game.  You’ll have to figure out how to launch foods across the kitchen and chasms (and other obstacles) to ensure your team mates can cook/cut ingredients.  Throwing adds another layer of strategy to game as players learn how to send food to areas and players that can’t be reached.  Thrown food can  be caught directly,  land on a surface, or, of course, land in your hand knocking something important out of it.  The throw feature is limited to food, so you can’t throw dishes around the kitchen.  The plates would break, you know?

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Unfortunately, you can’t make your chef swear across the kitchen when you’re frustrated (*!@#$@*#$*@#$%@*!), but you CAN communicate what your chef is thinking, feeling, or doing.  This is especially helpful for online modes where you can’t yell at your friend sitting next to you.

Stages

Not only are there new game mechanics, but there are new types of levels with a variety of menus.  Dynamic levels force players to change their strategy and work around the level.  This means switching tasks between chefs and figuring out how the kitchen moves.  The complexity of the menu also poses a new challenge.  Overcooked did not require a variety of dishes to be made, but rather the dishes to be made in a complex environment.  In Overcooked 2, you really have to pay attention to not only your environment, but to what needs to be plated and which ingredients are required.  You’ll have quite a few errors if you’re not paying close attention.1-6

Dynamic levels create a new chaos, but in addition to a variety of stages, you get special levels if you meet specific requirements in a stage.  It’s like a special unlock feature! You’ll likely be looking at walkthroughs in a week or so to unlock the secret levels.  Or, you can see what you come up with on your own.  Whatever floats your boat.

Online

Overcooked 2 doesn’t require your friends to all be in the same room.  Instead, you can play online! This is a fun feature in case your friends are way across town and don’t want to come over (boo to those types of friends!).  This mode, however, can be particularly difficult if no one is using a headset.  Overcooked is a game that requires a certain level of communication that does not happen within the game.  Yes, you can tell your teammates what task you will take on while playing, but when the timer is ticking, chaos ensues!

If playing with friends is not an option, you can also jump online and play against strangers.

Graphics/Audio

This time around, the graphics and audio weren’t really beefed up.  Instead, the focus was the mechanics and game play.  Graphics do look a little bit nicer, and there are a couple new tunes to the sound track.2-6

Verdict

Pros:

Team 17 did a wonderful job incorporating new mechanics and levels to the game.  It’s enough to make the game feel “new” but it’s not a complete overhaul of the original title.  There’s enough balance that new players can jump in and learn the game, while veteran players can still feel challenged.

New modes, such as online and arcade mode, give the game a different dynamic.  You’re not limited to only couch co-op; you can now play with chefs across the world!

Cons:

While the new online feature adds another game dynamic, it’s difficult to communicate with other players.  You do have the emote option to share what your chef will be doing, but when the clock is ticking down it’s difficult to stop and alert your teammates. Although, that is part of the challenge.

Even though there are a variety of new dynamic stages and complex menus, the game can start to feel too easy.  What I enjoyed about the first title was that the challenges weren’t exactly explained to you. You break the challenge down as you play and adapt to what needs to happen in the kitchen.

I would rate this game an 8 out of 10.

Score

The game isn’t perfect but it’s a fun addition to the series.  Have you played Overcooked? How do you and your friends/family get when you play the game? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

 

NCG Review: Pixel Junk Monsters 2 (PS4, PC, Switch)

I’m not a Pixel Junk junky, but I have to admit, Pixel Junk Monsters is one of the funnest, yet most infuriating games I always find myself jumping back in to.  I was thrilled to see a follow up was coming out.  Does Monsters 2 exceed it’s former counterpart?PJM2_SS10

Gameplay

Please note: the game calls them “chibis” but I will always, and forever, call them tiki babies.  This term will be used throughout the rest of this review. Just saying.

The point of the game is to protect your tiki babies at your base from the swarm of monsters trying to attack them.  In order to do this, you must build an arsenal of defense towers to kill the monsters before they are able to get to your base and eat the tiki babies.

The game relies entirely on strategy. There are different types of defense towers that need to be used against certain types of monsters (i.e. ground, air, air/ground).  During the swarms, you’ll need to plan your line of defense and build based on the type of monster that will be coming or which monsters you know will be coming. Building is limited since you need to collect coins and gems in order to build the defense towers. You can collect these by wandering through the trees or gather them after a monster has been killed.  During raids, you will also need to upgrade your towers.  You can do this by using a gem you’ve collected from a monster or stand on a tower to level it up – the stronger the tower, the stronger the defense! You have to work between building, upgrading, and preparing for what is coming.

Two-player co-op was an option of PSP players who each had their own PSP, but Monsters 2 allows for co-op on one screen for up to four players! This can get slightly chaotic since players need to be within a certain proximity to player 1, but it allows couch cooperation -you definitely need to communicate with your team to know what you plan what you need to build next, where to upgrade, where to invest your coins/gems.PJM2_SS14

With the addition of up to four player co-op, there are new features to use within a level.  If you have enough gems you can purchase a fruit (during a raid) that temporarily buffs up your character.  On top of that, there are interactive items in the level, such as boulders, that you can use as a backup line of  defense.  The game also throws in some challenges at you for certain. For example, you won’t be able to collect coins from monsters throughout a raid.

Aside from the game play additions, there’s a really fun cosmetic feature that allows you to change the mask and shield of your tiki man.  You can purchase masks by collecting coins after completing a level.

Graphics

The most notable graphic difference from Monsters is 3D graphics which creates more dynamic levels.  Rather than an overhead view, you get to explore the area. Otherwise, not much has changed in terms of character or monster design.PJM2_SS9

Audio

What makes this game so easy to get in to is the relaxing audio track. The tracks are similar to the original Monsters which brings back waves of nostalgia (if you played the original).  The track will change when the final monster approaches, but not to the extent where you feel stressed to build your towers -only to defend your precious tiki babies!

Verdict

Pros: The game is addicting, fun, and easy to pick up.  Despite getting furious when your tiki babies get eaten, you’ll still jump back in to the level with a different plan of attack.

Cons: I know I shouldn’t complain much, but the new levels feel less challenging compared to the predecessor.  After about one unsuccessful raid (meaning only 1 tiki baby was eaten), it was easy to grasp where you needed to build and what needed to be leveled up.PJM2_SS6

Although there is an option for multi-player, only player one gets to modify their character with a new mask and shield.  It’s almost unfair if you’re stuck being player 2.

Overall, I rate Monsters 2 and 8/10.

Score

If you like Monsters, and Pixel Junk games, this is definitely worth the buy.

Do you have a favorite Pixel Junk title? Let us know in the comments!

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is now compatible with the Nintendo Labo, and Creators Contest

Nintendo has released a new update for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, which has made it compatible with the Nintendo Labo.

One thing to take note of though is that this is only set for single player because the screen will need to be placed in the Labo itself.
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Nintendo Labo and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe are available now on the Nintendo Switch.

You can check out the trailer and the press release below.

3 … 2 … 1 … Nintendo Labo! Starting today, a free software update is available for the Mario Kart 8 Deluxe game for the Nintendo Switch system, allowing you to use the Toy-Con Motorbike from the Nintendo Labo: Variety Kit to control your in-game vehicles. Enjoy every game mode and every vehicle type with this immersive, interactive controller option that makes you feel like you’re really in the driver’s seat! Click here to view a preview video of the new feature.

Fans who submit creations to the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest have the opportunity to win some cool limited-edition prizes, including a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system! (Graphic: Business Wire)

But that’s not the only exciting news for Nintendo Labo owners this week! Nintendo is happy to announce the categories for the second Nintendo Labo Creators Contest*: “Best Gaming Experience using Toy-Con Garage” and “Best Toy-Con Musical Instrument.”

Fans who submit creations to either of these contests have the opportunity to win some cool limited-edition prizes, including a specially designed, collectible cardboard-inspired Nintendo Switch system! Fans in the U.S. or Canada (excluding Quebec) who are 13 years old or older can enter their creations in the Nintendo Labo Creators Contest No. 2. Learn more about the contest and upload your submissions here: https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest/.

After downloading the update for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, simply select the “Nintendo Labo” icon on the game’s title screen to access a menu where you can select Toy-Con as the control type. When racing, turning the handlebars changes direction, twisting the right handlebar accelerates, and the various Joy-Con buttons are used for items, brakes and drifting. Up to four players can play at the same time with Toy-Con Motorbike with their own Toy-Con and Joy-Con controllers. (Nintendo Labo kits and additional Joy-Con are sold separately. Toy-Con Motorbike is part of the Nintendo Labo: Variety Kit.)

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is the first game outside of Nintendo Labo software to receive Toy-Con support, and more titles will be compatible with Nintendo Labo in the future.

For more information about Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, visit https://mariokart8.nintendo.com/. For more information about Nintendo Labo, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/.

*Void where prohibited. Open to legal residents of the U.S. and Canada (excluding Quebec), ages 13+. Nintendo Switch system and Nintendo Labo kit required. Contest begins 11AM PT on 7/19/18 and ends at 10:59AM PT on 8/20/18. To enter, upload a video of your Toy-Con creation or invention as detailed in the Official Rules. 2 Grand Prize winners will each receive one (1) collectible Nintendo Switch system (ARV: $ $1,000 USD), one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). 8 Runner-Up winners will each receive one (1) collectible pair of Joy-Con controllers, one (1) Nintendo Labo Creators Jacket (ARV: $ 70.00 USD), and one (1) award certificate (ARV: $ 70.00 USD). Total ARV of all prizes: $3,640 USD. Chances of winning a prize depend on eligibility and quality of entries received, and how well each meets the judging criteria. Details and restrictions apply. For Official Rules, visit https://labo.nintendo.com/share/#!/contest-rules/. Sponsor: Nintendo of America Inc.

NCG Review: Happy Birthdays (Nintendo Switch)

Happy Birthdays is a Sandbox game that allows you to create life!  Is this title worth purchasing?

Story:

As mentioned above, Happy Birthdays is a sandbox game so you’ll be spending more time playing with the environment than in a story.  The overall premise of the game is that you were removed from your “real life” and in order to go back you must create life on the Cube. Happy Birthdays gives players enough of a “why” in order to proceed with the game.  Make life. Go home. You’ll mostly be focusing on achieving the missions the game gives you.2018061514201100-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

Gameplay:

Happy Birthdays is a very straightforward game.  In order to create certain species, you must manipulate the environment and reach the ideal environmental conditions for species to thrive.  This entails raising and lowering the land and using select skills to nourish, extinguish, or preserve species.2018061514254000-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

Building options are limited to only raising and lowering land.  You don’t get anything special when you move land X amount of times or discover new elements. Overall, there is very little direct reward for modifying the environment.  However, you will find yourself sinking hours into modifying the terrain while trying to meet, or maintain, certain environmental conditions.2018061514093400-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

The game limits how much land you can alter at once.  You have an energy bar that depletes as you alter the terrain.  Once your energy depletes, you have to step back from the cube you are shaping and let “life” take place.  There are two modes: Micro Mode, where you are altering the terrain, and Macro Mode, where you view the world from afar and start time for the cube. Switching between modes allows you modify and then monitor the conditions of your cube. As time passes you will “witness” the birth of new species.  You will also be able to monitor the environmental conditions of the cube.

Graphics: 

What gives the game its charm is the simple graphics.  Creatures and plants are not overly detailed yet still maintain a distinct look.  You are reminded that you are not creating a “real” environment which is nice.   Real environments would feel stressful anyway.2018061514261600-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

Audio:

You basically get one track throughout the game.  But the melodic piano of the soundtrack is really all you need while you construct your environment.

Verdict:

Pros

The game is designed for you to easily sink hours in to.  Wanting to meet the environmental conditions, yet shape your cube to how you want it to look easily takes up a chunk of time.2018061514254600-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

On top of that, you gain an appreciation for the delicate details that have shaped the lives we live and the planet we live on.

Cons

While you can easily sink time into creating a unique environment on the cube, it’s easy to lose interest in the game itself.  Your tasks and how to achieve them are not necessarily clear.  After an extended amount of time with little to no achievements (because the game did not give enough direction, at least in my case), it becomes very easy to set the game down and forget about it.  Although I met the needed criteria, my planet became stagnant and I wasn’t really quite sure how to recover from it.

There isn’t much to control since you mostly raise and lower land, but if you accidentally overlap land spaces when raising/lowering you can create land too high, or too low, or with too much variation.  To go back and fix it feels tedious, especially because the controls make precision difficult when you have to manipulate 1 block at a time.2018061514272200-C7E6210BCC993E131C6B11EC9D38E3E4

I recommend this game when you want to sit down and create for hours.  It’s easy to lose yourself in shaping the land and altering the conditions of your cube. This isn’t a game you can put minimal time and effort  in to.

I would rate this game a 6 out of 10.

Score

What is your favorite sandbox game? Are you a fan of the genre? Let us know in the comments!