My kids and I have been playing and evaluating Splatoon for about two weeks now. Here are some of my thoughts on Nintendo’s newest and freshest game for the Wii U.
Title: Splatoon | Platforms: Wii U | Release Date: 2015-05-29
Distribution: Retail and Digital | Digital Install size: 1674 MB
Rating: E10+ (Everyone 10 and up): Cartoon Violence
Genre: Action | Players: 1 - 8
Splatoon is a third person shooter where the primary goal is to cover as much ground as possible with ink. Splatting other players is secondary. It’s possible to play a whole match without ‘killing’ an opponent, if you were to just concentrate on inking turf. There are certain advantages to hitting other players of course, not the least of which is getting them off the field for a few seconds while you continue to cover ground. However, you don’t get any extra points for how many ‘kills’ you made, or anything like that. The emphasis is on the ink, not the kills.
Splatoon is a shooter like no other. What shooter would have a weapon like a paint roller, which can only fire blobs of ink a very short distance as you shake the roller? Not very effective at hitting targets any father away than a few feet, but extremely effective at putting ink on the ground.
The design team have also taken the Gamepad and used it to give players the option of Motion Control aiming. It’s a divisive issue, especially as it comes turned on by default, and those who are used to playing shooters with the camera on the right-stick may find it off-putting. I would recommend giving it a fair try, it might just win you over, as it did I. The right stick is still used, but only for left and right movement, and the Gamepad tilt and pan for anything else. I found the most success by limiting the Gamepad to up and down and minor left right movements, and using the Right stick for bigger turns.
Splatoon offers various modes of play. The main one is found in the Lobby: the online multiplayer mode. Upon release the game has Turf Battle mode, and Ranked Battle mode, the latter being unlocked when your character reaches level 10. Experience is gained by playing Turf Battle, and points gained in that mode double as currency you can use on upgrades and gear. Ranked Battle differs from Turf Battle in that you fight for control of zones on the map, rather than greater coverage.
Offline you can play local multiplayer in the Battle Dojo, one on one. One player uses the Gamepad for controls and looks at the Gamepad screen, and the other player uses a Pro Controller or Classic Controller (Pro) attached to a Wii Remote, and looks at the main television screen. Battle Dojo matches are determined by who pops the most balloons that spawn around the map in the given time. It’s a fun way to get to know the layouts of the maps, and have a little friendly competition as well.
Then there is the story mode: Octo Valley. In this mode, the player makes her way through various stages and floating ‘worlds’ in a land controlled by Octopi. Throughout each stage the player will navigate various obstacles, defend against Octo enemies of differing types, and make their way to the end of each stage to recover the missing Zapfish, a sort of living lightbulb. Each stage also has a hidden Sunken Scroll, which can be found through careful examination of the level and some fancy platforming to reach these hidden areas. At the end of each world, there is a boss, which in traditional Mario style must be defeated three times in order for them to be truly finished. Bosses also give the player a special scroll, which unlocks special weapon loadouts in the Inkopolis Weapon Shop. Even without that incentive, the story mode is creative, fun, and challenging. The way the differing worlds are connected to each other in a organic way reminded me of Dark Souls’ level design. And when you reach the final boss, take a moment to look around from that high viewpoint. It’s pretty spectacular. You can even see Inkopolis in the distance. If you’re wondering how much content the single player has, I would estimate between three to five hours, depending on your skill level and whether you find all the secret Sunken Scrolls. It’s definitely not an afterthought tacked onto the game, and it’s worth playing.
Sound and Music
Splatoon supports 5.1 surround, and I would definitely recommend it if you have the setup for it. It makes for an immersive experience, and shows off the excellent sound design.
From the putt-putt of the paint guns, to the guitar scream of the Killer Wail, the sounds in Splatoon are superb. Everything sounds organic and authentic, and when you submerge into the ink, all sounds take on that muted underwater quality, as they should. Even the loading screen is alive with the sounds of the city; I could almost see the commuter train as it passes from the front speakers to the rear.
The music in Splatoon ranges from Rock to laid back Reggae, all infused with tinges of Surf, as befitting the musical taste of a squid. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but at least it isn’t boring.
Thoughts for Parents
Nintendo have gone out of their way to make Splatoon friendly to new players. The one on one Battle Dojo and the offline Single Player Story Mode are both excellent training modes for the Online Turf Battle mode. Not that they aren't fun in their own right, of course. But at its heart, Splatoon is an online game, and Nintendo is doing everything it can to help people embrace that. Keeping matches short, eliminating voice chat, and focusing on turf rather than kills, takes away much of the potential for bad manners, and keeps the game fun even if you don't come out on the winning side.
My kids seem to sense that as well, and they progressed through the game much as (I suspect) Nintendo wanted them to: playing some of the story mode, doing the 1v1 with me or with each other, and then venturing on to the online game once they'd gotten a handle on how to play on their own.
Unfamiliar with a new stage, or just want to run around inking things without any enemies? There’s a Recon Mode for stages so can you explore at your own pace. Want to try out a new weapon before you buy it, or just get used to the ones you have? The Weapon Test area has dummies you can practice on.
If you want to play with your friends, you can choose to jump into their multiplayer lobby instead of a random one. If they’re in a game, a countdown timer appears to let you know how long you have to wait until they are done their match. Once you start the match, you’ll remain together in the same lobby until you exit multiplayer mode.
If you do end up waiting for a match to start, you can play a cute 8-bit minigame on the GamePad screen to pass the time. Included from the start is Squid Jump, a simple game which has you powering up to jump upwards onto various platforms in a race against time to the top of the level. It’s surprisingly fun, and is a perfect time waster. It also saves your place in the game when the match begins, and resumes from the same spot the next time you play. Other minigames can be unlocked by completing the amiibo challenges.
Speaking of amiibo, there are three characters supported in Splatoon: an Inkling Girl, an Inkling Boy, and a Squid. Each of them unlocks a series of challenge stages, as well as exclusive gear and the aforementioned minigames. I was not able to test them pre-release, but I look forward to the additional content they will unlock.
Nintendo seem to be keen on making sure the game is a success, and their plan to release a free update in August with new gameplay modes is part of that strategy. As additional modes and maps are added over time, as in-game Festivals are announced, the game will hopefully keep players engaged, and coming back for more. For an online multiplayer game to work, it must have an active community, and I believe Nintendo’s strategy is to grow it steadily over the long term.
Much has been made of the decision to leave out voice chat, and I think it’s a good decision. From a parent’s perspective, it eliminates one of the greatest issues I have with letting my younger kids play or interact with anyone online that they don’t already know in real life: the potential for abusive behaviour. In fact, with no way to speak or even type messages, the only way to communicate with my kids as they play is through other services, which lets me vet who they can and cannot interact with.
That’s not to say that there aren’t areas of the game which could be improved. Here are a few of my suggestions:
In our pre-release review copy, there is no way to switch user accounts while in game, and there is only one character per user. So if my daughter wants her own character, and wants to save her own progress in single player, we have to close the game, go to switch the Nintendo Network ID to her account, and then launch the game again. It would be great if there was a way to switch accounts without quitting and re-launching the game.
More local multiplayer:
At launch the game’s only local multiplayer mode is the 1v1 Battle Dojo. It would be a natural addition to have a local 4 player mode, so that families can play together. With local multiplayer so strongly represented in Mario Kart and Smash Bros., it seems even more glaring by its absence here. I really believe that Splatoon has an opportunity to become this generation’s Goldeneye, if Nintendo were to seize it.
Streamline the start:
When you first load the game, after the splash screen you are required to watch the Squid Sisters announce the current Turf War and Ranked Battle stages. It was cute the first time, but it does lose its charm with repeated viewings. There is no way to skip it, and even mashing the A button it still takes nearly half a minute before you can play. It is especially annoying after having to switch users (see above).
Changing Weapons while waiting for a match to start:
As it stands right now, you need to exit the Lobby altogether to change weapon loadouts, which means that if you want to swtich weapons in between matches, you have to go through multiple steps. It would be much handier to be able to access the weapon switching screen while still waiting for the match to start, without exiting and losing your place in the lobby.
Nintendo have made the first truly friendly online shooter, and have managed to do so while maintaining its reputation as a company that makes games that are safe for kids to play. At the same time, they haven’t so severely limited the game that it isn’t still fun for grownups. Amazingly fun, in fact. Splatoon keeps me wanting to play more.
Splatoon Pre-Release Review Copy was provided by Nintendo of Canada.
TORONTO, ON – May 26, 2015 – Nintendo of Canada is celebrating the launch of its newest title for Wii U, Splatoon, with the help of Yogurty's® and Yogen Früz®. Taking inspiration from Splatoon's ink-spraying, turf claiming action where players cover territory in bright, colourful ink, Yogurty's® and Yogen Früz® stores will offer special Splatoon flavours and toppings, contests and prizes, and the opportunity to play Splatoon at select stores!
From June 1, 2015 to September 8, participating Yogurty's® stores will include three Splatoon-inspired flavours: the Squidsicle sorbet, Inkberry froyo®, and swirl the two to create Squid Ink. Yogen Früz® stores will offer to splat your favourite flavours with juice-bursting popping bubbles in mango and strawberry flavours.
Splatoon and froyo® fans will be encouraged to share photos of their Splatoon froyo® creations on Instagram and Twitter for a chance to win Splatoon prizes. Use hashtags #SplatYourFroyo and #Splatoon for Yogurty's® or #InkYourFruz and #Splatoon for Yogen Früz®.
To kick off the celebration, there will be a special event held on Saturday, May 30 at the Yogurty's at 527 Bloor St W., Toronto from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m., where the first 100 people to play Splatoon will get a free cup of frozen yogurt and toppings.
Starting on June 15, Nintendo fans can visit the following participating Yogurty's® location for a chance to play Splatoon:
Yogurty's Montreal - 3454 Avenue Du Parc
Yogurty's Melville - 210 South Service Road
Yogurty's Calgary - 26 McKenzie Towne Gate SE, Unit 630
Yogurty's Edmonton - 3803 Calgary Trail, Unit 650
Yogurty's Thornhill – 8020 Bathurst Street, Unit 4B
Yogurty's Toronto - 1703 Avenue Road
Yogurty's Toronto - 527 Bloor Street West
Yogurty's Grimsby - 70 Livingston Avenue, Unit 1
Yogurty's Milton - 147 Main Street East
Yogurty's Vaughan - 9001 Dufferin Street, Unit A10
Yogurty's Hamilton - 1807 Stone Church Road
Yogurty's Niagara Falls - 4025 Dorchester Street
Yogurty's Innisfil – 945 Innisfil Beach Road, Unit 9
Yogurty's Burlington - 5010 Pinedale Avenue, Unit 1001 A
For more information about the Nintendo and Yogurty's® partnership, visit http://www.yogurtys.com/new-splatoon-flavours/.
For more information about the Nintendo and Yogen Früz® partnership, visit http://www.yogenfruz.com/splatoon-fruz/.
For more information about Splatoon, visit http://splatoon.nintendo.com.
Combining twin-stick, shoot-em up, and platforming gameplay mechanics, Two Tribes Publishing’s RIVE presents a seamless integration of the two genres in their action-packed title, coming soon to PC, Xbox One and WiiU.
You are the pilot of a transforming spaceship, spider-robot, submarine thing. During my time with the preview build, I was impressed with how seamlessly the player craft and physics changed with the environment. One moment you’re blasting blue robot balls with lasers rapid firing across vast distances, the next – you’re in water and can’t get a shot past two meters.
Dialogue is not complete, but it’s obvious from the lines that are included that RIVE is going to have a healthy dose of humor. Two Tribes may be taking game mechanics seriously, but the dialogue presented here is light, laughter-inducing and not hesitant to break the fourth wall.
I was impressed with how each of the actions felt when while controlling the game. Boost jumps in spiderbot-mode feel appropriately heavy. This craft has a significant mass, though it is relatively small on-screen. I felt like I was jumping in a mobile lead-weight. If you’ve played a recent Donkey Kong Country game, you know what I mean. Your vehicle is not a lightweight character, but thanks to well-planned platforming sections, you’ll quickly be able to predict how high and far you can jump.
Water sections can break a game for me. Submersing the craft in RIVE did not result in throwing a controller on the ground and storming off in frustration. Piloting the vehicle through water was smooth as butter. Rayman Legends featured some of my favorite water levels ever, and the brief water sections in RIVE felt comparable to those. Moving the control sticks will move your ship in a way you would expect, there’s no unnecessary weight forcing the player to the bottom of the sea *cough Mario cough*.
Assuming Two Tribes builds on the excellence they’ve presented in the RIVE preview, this will definitely be a game worth your notice and time. As this is the preview version, I am not going to formally score the accessibility to parent gamers, but I’ve highlighted some key points below.
- Quick restarts at failed sections
- Content is appropriate for all-ages
- Full-game includes a save progress feature
With just 4 days to go, this awesome looking kickstarter game needs a boost to make their stretch goal of getting the game onto the Wii U! Check out the trailer and see if you don't agree, this game looks awesome, and would look great on the Wii U as well!
Get ready to compete!
Nintendo has chosen eight Best Buy locations across the United States to host qualifying events on May 30 for the upcoming Nintendo World Championships 2015. Nintendo invites video game fans of all skill levels who are US residents ages 13 and up to take part in the qualifying events for a chance to compete in the Nintendo World Championships 2015 on June 14 in Los Angeles during the week of the E3 video game trade show.
The qualifying competition will feature the Championship mode of the Ultimate NES Remix game for the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. In this mode, players will take on a series of three score-based challenges in Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3 and Dr. Mario. Games and systems will be provided at each location, although Ultimate NES Remix is available now in stores and in the Nintendo eShop for anyone who wants to start practicing for the competition. The top scorer from each of the eight regional competitions will move on to the final event in Los Angeles, which will be a multi-round competition with a variety of Nintendo games. An additional eight competitors selected by Nintendo will also compete in the Nintendo World Championships 2015. Nintendo will reveal these competitors in the near future.
The qualifying events will take place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time at Best Buy stores at the following locations:
1717 Harrison St.
San Francisco, CA
3675 Pacific Coast Highway
10760 NW 17th St.
900 E. Golf Road
12905 Elm Creek Blvd. N
Maple Grove, MN
5001 Northern Blvd.
Long Island City, NY
9378 N. Central Expressway
2214 S. 48th St.
For more information about the Nintendo World Championships 2015, including the Official Rules for the qualifying events, visit http://e3.nintendo.com/.
Starting today – more specifically, right now! – Stretchmo, a customizable new 3D puzzle game in the Pushmo series, is available to download exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. For the first time in the well-received series, the first seven starter puzzles of the Stretchmo game are free. After trying the fun levels out for no charge, players can then choose to purchase passes for the game’s main attractions individually or as one of multiple bundles. The attractions and respective prices are as follows:
- Mallo’s Playtime Plaza ($4.99): 100 progressively challenging levels that introduce the basics of the game.
- Poppy’s Sculpture Square ($2.99): 50 puzzle levels shaped like animals and objects.
- Corin’s Fortress of Fun ($2.99): 50 levels featuring new gizmo obstacles and enemies.
- Papa Blox’s NES Expo ($2.99): A treat for retro fans that features 50 levels based on classic NES characters.
The following attraction pack bundles are also available:
- Bundle featuring all four attractions ($9.99).
- Bundle containing “Poppy’s Sculpture Square,” “Corin’s Fortress of Fun” and “Papa Blox’s NES Expo” after “Mallo’s Playtime Plaza” has already been purchased ($6.99).
- Bundle of the remaining three attractions after purchasing either “Poppy’s Sculpture Square,” “Corin’s Fortress of Fun” or “Papa Blox’s NES Expo” ($8.99).
In addition to pushing and pulling colorful blocks, the active verb in Stretchmo is right there in the game’s name: stretching. Players make their way through multiple puzzling levels by moving around blocks to reach the goal – even stretching certain blocks to extend them from every side. Players can even stretch the limits of their own imaginations and create levels in Stretchmo Studio, save them and share via a QR Code with friends and family members who also own the game! Stretchmo Studio is unlocked by purchasing any attraction pass. Additionally, different features are unlocked as players complete more levels throughout the attractions.
Stretchmo is now available exclusively in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS. For more information about the game, visit http://stretchmo.nintendo.com.
Nintendo President Satoru Iwata took some time after the Financial Briefing to answer some questions from investors. For the full English transcript, please visit: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/en/library/events/150508qa/index.html
On plans for mobile:
Next, in terms of how much the smart device business will contribute to our entire business, we announced that we will begin the service for our first gaming application by the end of the calendar year, so looking at the entire fiscal year, it will only partially contribute to our business for this period. In addition, we will not release a great number of titles one after another at the beginning. As mentioned in the presentation, we will sequentially release around five titles by the end of the next fiscal year and guide each of these titles to become hits.
On Mii's in the mobile space:
As for your second question regarding the smart device application using Mii characters, we are still working on it. We will show you it and how you can use it when it is ready. Please understand that the smart device application using Mii characters is one of the ongoing projects at Nintendo, as we are working on multiple projects simultaneously.
On choosing partners:
Nintendo is a company that, when considering possible alliances, believes that it must carefully review such factors as whether or not each company's strengths and weaknesses will smoothly complement each other and if the corporate cultures of both companies will work in harmony, rather than focusing on the potential short-term advantages. Talking about alliances in general, most of them in today's business world, as I see them, have not worked out very well. More specifically, it is often the case that the corporate cultures of the two companies just do not integrate well or that even though the top executives have agreed to work together, the people at the forefront of the actual projects are not able to establish common grounds for working together.... As a result, we spend a significant amount of time to comprehend the strengths and weaknesses of both companies and to confirm each company's corporate cultures. We not only carry out discussions with key people at the management level but also involve those who may actually work together in order to review if the alliance will be truly beneficial for both companies. We do so in order to avoid situations where we seemingly have the same interests but are in conflict behind the scenes. Because of such a thorough review process, some may say that we are slow in making alliances, but if we are going to make an alliance, we want to lay the foundations for the best possible results.
On the deal with Universal Parks & Resorts:
If I can talk a bit more about our just-announced alliance with Universal Parks & Resorts, we first met with them in April last year when I was visiting the U.S. on a business trip. We met with people from NBCUniversal who proposed the possibility of the theme park business to us. Even before then, the possibility of theme park attractions (with Nintendo IP) had become an often-discussed topic in society. Even inside Nintendo, the possibility had been discussed several times. But we had not made this a reality because, on each occasion, the time was not ripe yet or we were not able to find an appropriate partner with whom to work. In the case of our first meeting with Universal Parks & Resorts, they provided us with a very detailed proposal right from the beginning. Also, as we met right after they had opened the Harry Potter attractions, we were able to learn precisely how they had been created. We received a great deal of useful information from the first meeting for us to review if they possessed a corporate culture which would ensure us the ability to license our IP to them and to work well together. Since the proposal was so specific, as soon as I returned to Japan, I informed Mr. Miyamoto, of our company, and told him that I wanted to give positive consideration to it. Since then, we have met with them several times in Japan and in the U.S., and not only me and people who carry out our negotiations but also members from each company's creative side, namely, people who will be assigned to make the actual attractions and Nintendo's game producers who have been creating our games for many years. As a result, we confirmed that we share a lot of common ground between our corporate cultures, and because parts of the proposal made us really excited, we have decided to work together on a long-term basis.:
On the new rewards program, reducing friction, and staying flexible:
The better the system can operate, the more smoothly and frequently our consumers will be able to travel between smart devices and dedicated game systems. It will increase the number of reasons for our consumers to keep on playing games or to keep on playing with their friends and relatives, increase the opportunities where one can recommend some games to others and vice versa or where people can exchange game-related information. Today, the speed at which information can spread is extremely fast. Anything that experiences a boom in today's world is almost always riding on the wave of this information spread, so we have to construct a system which matches today's environment. In the past, TV ads and word of mouth might have been the main components of that system, but today, people argue how we should add the Internet to a system and how we should combine these efforts with smart devices, and we are aiming to construct such kind of comprehensive system. So far, we have been offering a loyalty program in which we offer corresponding points to those who have purchased our products, and we have been offering some rewards based on these points. What we are aiming to establish is not a simple extension of the existing loyalty program but a loyalty program with, say, the entertainment elements where the members feel that they have received certain rewards as a result of not only their purchases but also the history of their gameplay and how each consumer has interacted with others. Since it is impossible to define the requirements for this sort of loyalty program 100 percent in advance, we see it very advantageous that we are able to work with DeNA who will be able to flexibly deal with such requirements.
On Nintendo's IP strategy:
I have heard from our investor relations team that a lot of people appear to misunderstand Nintendo's IP strategy, here is one thing I would like to clarify. We announced that Nintendo would actively use its IP (at the Corporate Management Policy Briefing in January 2014). Some misinterpreted this "active usage of Nintendo IP" as our effort to engage in character licensing activities and to maximize the royalty revenue by exposing Nintendo IP in as many places as possible. As a result, some of you must have such questions as, "So, what is the difference with the IP usage strategies of other companies?"
The active use of Nintendo IP is our strategy for the sake of Nintendo's game software business of the dedicated game systems and, from now on, of the smart device business too. When it works well, the game software business yields high profits. For example, regardless of whether a game sells 2 million or 10 million copies, Nintendo's investments on the game development and for the initial marketing are much the same, but the revenue greatly varies depending on the unit sales, and when one software title sells well, it can significantly improve Nintendo's business performance. It happened when Nintendo was able to improve its business performance with Wii and Nintendo DS. We are trying to bring exposure to Nintendo IP in various places in order to create a situation where a wide variety of different people will have the opportunity to play with our games. Should we aim to maximize our license revenue, we would prioritize how we could increase the number of merchandising products. This is not our priority. Because the most profitable business for Nintendo is its software business, we put emphasis on considering where and how we should use and give our IP exposure so that as many people as possible will recognize and become familiar with them. In addition, we have to be careful that the way we use Nintendo IP will not end up decreasing or consuming its value but actually will increase the value in the mid-to-long term, not just for the short term.
This week’s Nintendo Download includes the following featured content:
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- 3D Thunder Blade – Blast through the skies in this re-mastered classic from SEGA. Control your helicopter and destroy enemies while navigating skylines, treacherous caves and enemy bases. Click here to view a trailer for the game.
- Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains – Join Eren, Mikasa and the Scout Regiment as they defend the Walls in Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains, exclusively on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems. If you can’t do it alone, recruit your friends and go Titan hunting through the online co-op mode. As the footsteps of the Titans grow closer, will you hide in fear or become humanity’s last hope? Click here to view a trailer for the game.
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- Nihilumbra – Nihilumbra is a puzzle platformer that tells the story of Born, a being from the Void that wants to find the meaning of its own existence. Each color you find in the game will allow you to paint the landscape with your hands, altering its properties. PurchaseNihilumbra for the introductory price of $7.99 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 28. Click here to view a trailer for the game.
- Ultratron – Experience the fun game play of this old-school arcade favorite, updated for the 21st century, with unique upgrades, player-responsive difficulty and a subtle tactics system. Purchase Ultratronfor the introductory price of $8.49 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 26. Clickhere to view a trailer for the game.
- Virtual Console on Wii U
- Mega Man Battle Network 3 White & Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue – Lan and Mega Man are ready to prove they’re the strongest in the next tournament! But there seems to be a more sinister plan behind the event. Game content is the same for Mega Man Battle Network 3 White and Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue, but NetNavi chips and other items may differ.
- New Super Mario Bros. – This Nintendo DS game introduced the now-classic New Super Mario Bros. series! Princess Peach has been kidnapped by Bowser Jr. … again! Run, jump and stomp your way across eight worlds as you smash through your foes and save the day. And then take a break from the adventure to play mini-games in four fun-filled categories.
Nintendo eShop Sales:
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
- Capcom sale! Check out great deals on select Capcom games in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 14 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 28. Visit http://www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers for more details.
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- Wooden Sen’Sey is 70 percent off (reduced from $9.99 to $2.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 21.
- Midnight and Toon Tanks from Petite Games are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 28.
- Arrow Time U is 25 percent off (reduced from $1.99 to $1.49) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 28.
- GetClose: A game for RIVALS is 33 percent off (reduced from $2.99 to $1.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 28.
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Summoner: Soul Hackers and other games from ATLUS are on sale beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 18 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 25.
- Cooking Mama 4: Kitchen Magic, Cooking Mama 5: Bon Appétit! andGardening Mama 2: Forest Friends from Majesco are on sale beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 18 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 25.
- Big Hero 6 Battle in the Bay is 33 percent off (reduced from $29.99 to $19.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on June 15.
Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:
New themes this week include:
Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains (free with digital game purchase)
Pushmo : Mallo & Friends
SEGA 3D Classics Fantasy Zone
SEGA 3D Classics Space Harrier
Nintendo eShop on Wii U
Snake Den has been reduced to $1.25 (from $3.99).
Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
Also new this week:
- Funk of Titans (Nintendo eShop on Wii U)
Online Digital Event, Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 and Events at Select Best Buy Stores Bring More Gaming Experiences to Fans
VANCOUVER, B.C., May 13, 2015 – Nintendo reaches out directly to gaming fans, media and partners with a dynamic lineup for E3 2015, starting with the exciting return of the Nintendo World Championships after a 25-year hiatus. The Championships will kick-off E3 week in Los Angeles on Sunday, June 14. Separately on Tuesday, June 16, online viewers can score the latest Nintendo news as it breaks by tuning in to the Nintendo Digital Event, followed by Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3, daily live-streamed game demonstrations from the Nintendo booth. Finally, Nintendo will deliver a piece of its E3 experience to consumers nationwide, with two hands-on sampling days of the upcoming Mario MakerWii U game at participating Best Buy stores in the United States and Canada. This year, Nintendo will go beyond the show to deliver the E3 spirit and inside scoop to a bigger audience than ever via http://e3.nintendo.com and Nintendo’s social media channels.
“Whether you’re tuning in online or joining us at the show, we want to include fans of all ages this E3 with an innovative and nostalgic focus on fun,” said Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “I’m especially eager to bring back the Nintendo World Championships and to crown the 2015 Nintendo World Champion.”
The E3 2015 video game trade show takes place June 16-19 in Los Angeles. Nintendo’s main events taking place during E3 include:
Nintendo Digital Event
Once again Nintendo will deliver its main news via an online video program. The Nintendo Digital Event will start at 9 a.m. Pacific on Tuesday, June 16. Viewers will be treated to detailed information about the various games and experiences Nintendo has in store for its systems.
Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3
Nintendo Treehouse: Live @ E3 2015 is ready to bring fans even more in-depth coverage of Nintendo products directly from the show floor. The unscripted action delivered by the gaming experts in the Nintendo Treehouse and various game developers will be live streamed. More information about the specific times will be announced closer to E3.
Nintendo Access: Mario Maker at Best Buy
On two days during the week of E3, participating Best Buy locations in the United States and Canada will open their doors to let fans try out the upcoming Mario Maker game for the Wii U console. The game lets players have fun with friends as they enjoy playing through levels in a variety of Super Mario Bros. styles. The events will take place 4-9 p.m. local time on Wednesday, June 17, and noon-5 p.m. local time on Saturday, June 20. Attendees will receive a sweet 30th anniversary Super Mario Bros. pin while supplies last.
More information about the Nintendo World Championships, events at select Best Buy stores and other Nintendo events during E3 will be announced shortly. Keep an eye on Nintendo’s social media channels, or visit http://e3.nintendo.com.
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Today's Splatoon focused Nintendo Direct video is now available on Youtube, check it out!
In a interesting move for Nintendo, the company is releasing a server load test demo this coming weekend. A playable demo will be released and players can connect for 4v4 online matches for one hour on May 8th (8-9PM Pacific) and for two hours on May 9th (4-5AM and Noon-1PM Pacific).
Check it out for yourself by downloading the Splatoon Testfire App, and connecting to play during those server test times! The Magic Hour Show co-hosts Ryan Thompson and Mikey Rollins will be there on Friday May 8th to participate in the first hour of testing, so please find them and ink them real good!
An amiibo Collector's Impressions of amiiboTAP: Nintendo's Greatest Bits
My wife and I (and our kids?) have lots of amiibo. Yep, we’re in deep enough to know that the plural form is amiibo, not amiibos. We were excited to have a reason to pull them off the display shelf. But, that reason is not compelling enough to add much needed value beyond display, and they do look awesome hanging out on our china cabinet.
AmiiboTAP is free, for what it’s worth. We didn’t find it worth the space on the hard drive. Scanning an amiibo scores you twenty-seven minutes, in most cases, of time with a Nintendo or Super Nintendo game. These minutes are split up into three-minute scenes. Some games have nine, others four to seven scenes.
Our amiibo collection is vast enough to have unlocked all the glorified demos available in AmiiboTAP, and to start seeing repeats of titles….
There are a few games we haven’t played before. My wife initially thought that “scene” meant we would be watching a video playthrough. She was only slightly more impressed when we actually played through a bit of Wario’s Woods. The playtime was enough to know why we missed that game back in the day.
Here are the games unlocked by our amiibo. This certainly appears to be random.
In a year, we’ll revisit the demos of amiiboTAP. When our daughter is old enough to experience some of the classics, TAP might make more sense. I’m sure kids will enjoy tapping their amiibo on the gamepad, registering owners, nicknaming them and watching the game present animations – over and over…. Allowing kids to play through bitesize chunks of the classics is a great way to expose them to older games and mechanics, without forcing them to endure outdated gameplay for too long. For those of us familiar with much of Nintendo’s back catalogue, TAP is a reminder of the games we loved and justification for the few games we’ve missed. But hey, all our amiibo now have registered owners and nicknames!
The recently announced Western localization of the Attack on Titan 3DS game from Atlus now has a release date! Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released on the eShop on May 12th in North America.
Attack on Titan is a popular Japanese anime and manga featuring an elite force of soldiers tasked with defending humanity's last fortified city against the large lumbering human-eating Titans who live outside the walls.
Included in this month's DLC:
- Metroid's Varia Suit
- Metroid's Zero Suit
- Metroid's Arm Cannon
- Taiko Drum Master Hunting Horn
- USJ's Star Rook armor
- USJ's Starlight Axe Charge Blade
- Mega Man
- USJ's F Star
Make sure you head over to the DLC tab and download those extra quests! Me, I'm still working to get to G-Rank, but some of these quests have been pretty fun diversions. And definitely something to do if you've somehow run out of things to do in this massive game!
My kids and I took Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U) for a spin. Here's what we thought:
Nintendo Download highlights for the week - amiibo tap, Paper Mario VC, and Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Ed. Demo
Featured in the Nintendo eShop this week:
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits – Discover definitive moments from classic Nintendo games. Download the free amiibo tap: Nintendo’s Greatest Bits application in the Nintendo eShop on Wii U and tap any amiibo figure to the Wii U GamePad controller to unlock scenes from select NES and Super NES Wii U Virtual Console games. At least one amiibo figure (sold separately) is required to use this software.
- Virtual Console on Wii U
- Paper Mario – After Bowser steals the Star Rod and kidnaps Princess Peach, Mario plots to rescue the seven Star Spirits and free the Mushroom Kingdom from the Koopa’s rule. The turn-based battle system of this classic Nintendo 64 RPG will make fighting Bowser’s baddies equal parts strategy and timing.
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition Demo – Download the free demo version of Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Editionbefore the full game launches in stores and in the Nintendo eShop. Intuitive drag-and-match puzzle game play and classic Mushroom Kingdom characters combine to create one of the most unique puzzle/RPG games ever. The full version of the Puzzle & Dragons Z +Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition game, which gives you two complete games in one package, launches May 22.
Nintendo eShop Sales:
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS
- Shin’en Spring Sale – Big savings on select games from Shin’en for spring! Check out these great deals in the Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS and Wii U beginning at 9 a.m. PT on April 30 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 21. Visit http://www.nintendo.com/eshop/offers for more details.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Monster High: 13 Wishes on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS, Young Justice: Legacyand more titles from Little Orbit are on sale beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 1 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 31.
- Kung Fu Rabbit on Wii U and Nintendo 3DS is 70 percent off (reduced from $4.99 to $1.49 each) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 7.
- Nintendo eShop on Wii U
- Pentapuzzle, Toss N Go and other titles from RCMADIAX are up to 50 percent off until 8:59 a.m. PT on June 24.
- Zacisa’s Last Stand is 65 percent off (reduced from $1.99 to $0.69) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- TNT Racers – Nitro Machines Edition is 37 percent off (reduced from $7.99 to $4.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- Nintendo eShop on Nintendo 3DS
- Castle Conqueror Defender, Demon King Box and Quell Mementofrom Circle Entertainment are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 21.
- Shin Megami Tensei IV is 50 percent off (reduced from $29.99 to $14.99) beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 4 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 11.
- 3D Game Collection, FunFair Party Games and Murder on the Titanicfrom Joindots are on sale until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- Tiny Games – Knights & Dragons is 50 percent off (reduced from $2.99 to $1.49) until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 14.
- AeternoBlade is 46 percent off (reduced from $14.99 to $7.99) beginning at 9 a.m. PT on May 1 until 8:59 a.m. PT on May 17.
- Winter Sports: Feel the Spirit is 40 percent off (reduced from $9.99 to $5.99) until 8:59 a.m. PT on Oct. 1.
Theme Shop on Nintendo 3DS:
- New themes this week include:
- Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate Hunter's Weapon Gallery (Available May 1-July 1)