Hello again and welcome to Week: End Game: On, the weekly rundown of what the Nintendojo staff are playing when they’re not writing about games instead. This week’s round table is dominated by summer releases on DS and 3DS, with our staff diving into personal adventures in everything from Theatrhythm to Pokémon Conquest! Once you’ve read up on our gaming activities, be sure to let us know what you’ve been playing over the week in the comments’ section below!
So many games, so little time! Now that The Last Story is fast approaching its US release, I feel compelled (read: pressured) to finish as much of Xenoblade Chronicles as I can before I take the journey to Lazulis Island. I’m still only about 40 hours into the game, having just arrived at the High Entia capital of Alcamoth when I last played, so I have quite a ways to go before I can even hope to see the end of Shulk’s story. At this rate I’ll likely have to put it aside for Mistwalker’s title once it arrives at my doorstep (I’m not normally one to juggle too many games at a single time, especially ones that demand my attention like RPGs), but its 20-hour quest should prove to be a brief respite from the gargantuan scope of Xenoblade!
On the handheld front, I recently played through my digital copy of Balloon Kid, which I purchased on a whim this past week while I was downloading some of the latest game demos. I have to say, despite being only about eight levels long, the game actually put up quite a challenge for me. What’s interesting about it is that it takes the mechanics laid down by Balloon Fight and incorporates them into an actual side-scrolling adventure, much in the way that Super Mario Bros. built upon the gameplay of its arcade predecessor. It also gets quite devious in its later levels, too, with an array of insta-kill hazards littering the last couple of stages. If you have an extra $3 burning a hole in your digital pocket, I’d definitely recommend giving it a try.
Beyond that, I’ve also been playing quite a bit of Mario Tennis Open, which I purchased in spite of the reviews its been getting. I’m quite glad I did, too; I was initially worried that the game wouldn’t have enough content to sustain my interest for very long, but I’ve already put nearly 20 hours into it, and I haven’t even tried playing online yet! I spend most of my time just playing against CPU opponents, dabbling in the occasional special game when I see a new item I really want to buy. I like that you unlock different pieces of equipment each time you play an exhibition match (regardless of whether or not you are successful in said match), encouraging you to try your hand against every character on the roster. It never feels like your time is wasted, either, as you’re continuously unlocking new content each time you play. If you were considering getting the game but have been put off by some of its reviews, I’d suggest taking the plunge anyway, especially if you’ve enjoyed either of the home console installments of Mario Tennis.
I still think “Theatrhythm” is a ridiculous name, but by kupo is Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy brilliant! I picked up the special pre-order edition which comes with a special stylus and a cute little sticker pack of all the main Final Fantasy characters, and I’m really enjoying it so far. I was always slightly curious about how it would play– gameplay videos never showed players using the touchscreen and stylus, so I was on the fence for quite a while trying to decide whether I should get it. I mean, I’m a big, big, BIG fan of Nobuo Uematsu’s work, so it almost seemed like the perfect match, but when I’m not really that good at rhythm games either, I was unsure about whether it would be for me.
Music and role-playing genres colliding together? Well we did love that Pokémon musical…
But then I downloaded the demo off eShop and any fears I had were soon put to rest. Tapping out beats to some of my favourite Final Fantasy battle tunes was so much fun that a quick pre-order soon followed, and now that I’ve got the full game, there’s so much more to do. Having never played a rhythm game like this before either, it’s also been really fun just getting to grips with a different set of mechanics for a change. I’d highly recommend it if you’re a Final Fantasy fan, and if you’re as much of an Uematsu nut as I am, then this really is a must-buy. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got an S rank to get on Final Fantasy V‘s Battle on the Bridge.
Let’s just say this weekend will see lots of Final Fantasy; I just treated myself to a new Sager gaming notebook, so I fully intend on using it over the next few days to get down on some serious playing of Final Fantasy XIV – yes, I still play that game. That said, I also plan on fitting in time for Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy. Although I’ve felt as if I’ve been in a Nintendo-gaming drought as of late, mostly due to the lack of releases, I have been looking forward to Theatrhythm since it was announced. I’m not sure why it took so long for Square to realize that Final Fantasy makes for the ultimate music-rhythm game. Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to play it. You can check out my full review of it here at Nintendojo very soon.
Somewhere in this mix fits Pokemon Conquest, which looks hilariously awesome. I don’t know how this gam>e came to fruition, but I love it nonetheless. I mean, Dynasty Warriors and Pokemon in one game? Uh-mazing. For whatever reason, I sort of picture this happening at the meeting where the Pokemon Conquest idea was pitched:
“Hey, I’ve got this crazy idea – let’s do a mashup of two completely different and unrelated games and try and make money off it”
“Interesting… what do you have in mind?”
“Well, picture this: Pikachu and Cho-Cho from Dynasty Warriors walk into a bar…”
“Stop, whatever you’re about to say sounds like a terrible idea already.”
“No way, dude, this is sweet. Dynasty Warriors + Pokemon = $$$.”
The entire room, “…”
In other words, whoever threw this concept out there had some serious balls. Nevertheless, it seems to have paid off as the game has been garnering praise from critics and fans alike. So I’m thinking it’s about time I see what all the hoopla is about.
Almost my entire week’s gaming has been devoted to Pokémon Conquest, which I can’t seem to get enough of. I’m over fifteen hours in and there’s quite a lot of story mode left before I finish. Finding perfect links for Pokémon and warriors is extremely addictive and will be very helpful should I attack any of the behemoth amount of content post-game. Of course, as with any turn-based game, I take absolutely forever to make decisions, which makes even simple events take what seems to be a lifetime. I’ve tried to fit Mario Kart 7 into my gaming sessions all week, and the desire to play Pokémon Conquest consistently put a kibosh on that. Maybe after this weekend I’ll get over it and start playing a few games at a time, like I regularly do.
Pokémon Conquest is quickly becoming a staff favourite!
Yesterday I found out about the game Spelunky, which just got released on Xbox Live Arcade. I’ve only played the demo, but I’m sold. After I conquer Fez (to whatever degree my feeble mind can) I think I’ll go out and buy an Xbox 360 points card just for this game.
I’m counting down the days until Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3 gets released on the North American eShop. Sure I’ve owned the cartridge (Game Pak) for a few years now, but it would be excellent to have it in digital form. Who knows when the game save battery will go kaput (Donkey Kong Land 2, I’m looking at you)? I really hope Wario Land 2 and 3 follow suit sometime in the next century (even though I own them too), because everyone should get a chance to play those superb games.
But right now I’m going to get in a little Super Mario 64 before I fall asleep. I have over 90 Power Stars and a huge list of summer games I’m going to play on Wii, so it needs to get finished– not that it’s a chore in any way!
Now that you’ve read up on our gaming activities, be sure to let us know what you’ve been playing over the week in the comments’ section below!