This Week in Games
A New Robotech Game?!
by Heidi Kemps,
Hello again, folks! What have you been playing lately? I'm still working my way through Super Robot Wars X. Here I was thinking I might be done with it by now… well, that illusion was dispelled fast.
It's another week that's a bit sparse on news and releases… unless you're a Nintendo or fighting game fan, but we'll get to those shortly. How about we start off with a lousy Kickstarter first?
Who here remembers the Coleco Chameleon? It was supposed to be the glorious comeback of retro-style gaming and cartridges… except that it didn't exist. It's quite possibly the most amazing gaming crowdfunding disaster of all eternity, and given the stiff competition, that's saying something! What a lot of people don't know is that Coleco – or, rather, the company holding the rights to the Coleco brand – had nothing to do with it. (In fact, they rescinded the branding when it was clear things were going south fast.) You would think this would be enough to teach them to maybe hand out the brand name a little more wisely.
One of Coleco's most prized collectibles in the modern day are their “tabletop arcade” games. Released in the early 80s, these were basically fancy Tiger LCD games, but they adapted popular arcade titles of the time and were housed in a miniaturized, arcade-like shell that could withstand the beating young kids would put on them. They're pretty spiffy-looking, and if you're lucky to have one in good working condition, they're worth some cash.
This Kickstarter is for a revival of those arcade games. But they're not remanufacturing their old games, oh no – they're making all-new games based on Rainbow Brite and -- *deep sigh* -- Robotech. Yes, Robotech. They aren't LCD games, either, they're quote-unquote “real” games running on what the Kickstarter claims is “A powerful new gaming chip set”.
The problem is… well, let's not mince words here, these games look like ass. On top of that, a lot of folks in the know are speculating that the “powerful new gaming chip set” is actually NES/Famiclone hardware, the same that you'd find at those shady mall kiosks selling “6000 in one” plug-and-play consoles. Well, for the Rainbow Brite game, anyway, the Robotech game looks a lot better in terms of color depth, but features what looks like ugly traced/prerendered graphics and incredibly sluggish-looking gameplay.
Yet somehow, inexplicably, the Kickstarter has already met its $30,000 goal, so clearly somebody out there is excited to own a new 8-bit Robotech game in 2018. Look, if you're really, truly jonesing for some retro goodness in a mini arcade cab, why not get the new Neo Geo Mini instead? With that, you get a whole mess of good games (and also 3 Count Bout for some reason). You'll probably wind up happier.
NINTENDO ANNOUNCES DETAILS ABOUT ONLINE SERVICE FOR SWITCH
After months of delay, Nintendo has finally outlined what their online service for the Switch entails. Spoiler: it's still kind of a mess.
The good news off the bat: It's cheap. Really cheap. Where Xbox Live and PS Plus run about $10-12 dollars a month, Nintendo's Switch service is a mere $20 for an entire year. It gets even cheaper with a family plan, which is $35 for a year and includes up to eight people who may or may not be blood relatives. Hands up, who's planning on finding seven buddies to split a family plan?
The Switch Online service includes online play for numerous titles: Mario Kart 8, Splatoon 2, ARMS, Mario Tennis Aces, and other titles coming down the green pipes. It allows for cloud saving and special offers, and gives you access to 20 classic NES titles with online multiplayer added. You'll also get various discounts and bonuses on the Nintendo eShop.
Here's the problem: remember that Switch online smartphone app? The one everybody hated and resented having to use to get voice chat in Splatoon 2? Yeah, you're still going to need that, because it's the hub of everything. Rather than being a temporary band-aid while Nintendo got a proper online service functioning like everyone hoped, the app is here to stay, and that has a lot of folks who have had the displeasure of actually using the damn thing understandably annoyed.
The other issue is… where the hell is Virtual Console? Obviously, Nintendo understands that part of the appeal of PS Plus and Xbox Live is getting free games with the service, and it's hard to argue with the quality of Nintendo's back catalog. Online play is also a very cool new addition, as not many retro re-releases offer it. Keeping these games locked behind a subscription service, however, seems really un-Nintendo-like. Man, could you imagine them finally releasing Mother 3 and making it a subscription exclusive? There would be riots.
So yeah, that's Nintendo Switch online in a nutshell. It's kind of a mess. But really, when has half-assed online ever prevented Nintendo from making money?
NINTENDO'S E3 IS GOING TO BE SMASH-TACULAR
In recent years, Nintendo has themed its E3 presence around particular games. In 2016 it was Zelda: Breath of the Wild, last year it was Super Mario Odyssey, and this year it's very, very clearly going to be the Switch version of Super Smash Bros.
Among the promotional activities Nintendo has prepared for their Smash mega-promotion is a big invitational tournament featuring some of the biggest names across all the Smash scene: ZeRo, Armada, Abadango, Mang0, and plenty of others.
The tournament will take place on June 12th, and will very likely be our first taste of Nintendo's biggest 2018 release. (Well, 2018 provided that Sakurai can drag himself away from playing Stardew Valley.) and there's plenty of reason for the Smash faithful to get hyped for next month.
FIGHTING GAME NEWS ROUNDUP: PATCHES, CHARACTERS, AND BETAS, OH MY!
Two things have made waves in the world of competitive fighters this week. The first is that the Blazblue X Tag Battle open online beta has been made available to everyone with a PS4 preorder for the game. Fortunately, the demo opens up to the public on the 12th, and when the open beta closes on the 14th, an offline demo will be available to everyone. If you're on the fence about the game, you'll have ample opportunity to give it a shot.
Strangely, that's not the biggest fighting game news this week. A big, big patch for Dragonball FighterZ has dropped, and the reactions from the playerbase has been both mixed and very, very vocal. From my POV, I'm hearing a lot about the changes made to Android 16 that have significantly weakened the character… but I know a lot of Android 16 players.
Meanwhile, have you all heard of Blade Strangers? It's a crossover fighting game developed by the same folks who did that weird Blade Arcus from Shining fighter from a while back, and it features a lot of characters from a varied assortment of indie games: Solange from Code of Princess, Curly from Cave Story, and Shun from Umihara Kawase Shun, among others. This week, we've seen a flurry of new character announcements, and…um… this game's certainly looking like a thing.
First off is Quote from Cave Story:
Second is Gunvolt from the Azure Striker Gunvolt series:
And finally, and most puzzlingly, we have… Isaac. Yes, Isaac from The Binding of Isaac in all his bold-lined, grotesque glory.
Yeah, he really looks out of place, doesn't he? Nicalis is the publisher of Blade Strangers, and Nicalis publishes the Binding of Isaac games, so it makes sense… sort of… but he still doesn't fit. But hey, now that one Western indie character's in the game, everyone can start begging for Sans and Undyne from Undertale!
NEW RELEASES: IT'S A LOT OF OLD RELEASES, ACTUALLY
Except now… they're on Switch! Which is pretty cool, honestly – I'm really happy to see the Switch become a haven for great indie games now that Steam is crowded with so much utter trash.
The very-cool-looking Assault Spy has hit Steam Early Access via NIS America, and I fully intend to take a closer look at it when I'm done blowing up hundreds upon hundreds of enemy mechs in tactical combat. Visual novel Momoiro Closet is also hitting Steam, though, as usual, if you want the naughty bits you'll need a patch. For those who prefer their visual novels with a more sci-fi slant (and with less ero), you'll be getting Steins;Gate 0 on PC this week. Steam and PS4 users who have invested in VR tech will also get Megadimension Neptunia VIIR this week, which is a remake of Megadimension Neptunia VII with VR functionality and events added. Jeez, how many remakes has this franchise seen?
The supremely fun Death Road to Canada is making a Switch, PS4, and Xbox One debut this week. I really enjoyed the Steam version, so much that I'm probably going to double-dip on it to have a nice on-the-go Switch edition. (Also: it contains anime. Oh lord, does it contain anime.) The lovely Shantae: Half-Genie Hero also materializes on Switch as well, complete with a deluxe physical edition. One Piece fans can look forward to One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 Deluxe Edition, a fully-loaded package containing much of the DLC from the original PS4 and PC releases. This is one of the best modern Musou games and a great way to get up to speed on the One Piece story, so it's well worth your time. (If platform doesn't matter, however, you can get the same game and add-ons on Steam for much, much cheaper during a sale. Just saying.)
That's all for this week. Thanks for tuning in!
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