All posts by silvershadowfly

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Pokemon Art Academy UK Review

A small adventure awaits budding artists in Pokémon Art Academy, which is delightfully appealing to children and adults alike. What it may lack in stretching accomplished artists, it delivers in bundles for beginners with easy-to-follow lessons and a good selection of fan-favourite Pokémon.

Though it may be a niche franchise, Art Academy has proven its success in the touch-based generation of Nintendo consoles. And for the first time, Pokémon fans can learn how to draw their much-loved pocket monsters from the adorably small to the ferocious and large in the 3DS application. With a variety of artist tools, Pokémon Art Academy takes you through the basics one step at a time – first you’ll learn how to quickly sketch a Pokémon’s face, then from an angle or from a curled-up pose, and eventually you’ll be taught advance techniques to bring the otherwise flat, two-dimensional sketches to life. It’s linear, accessible and, most importantly, it’s a whole bunch of fun.

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The first sketch without tracing construction lines – part of the novice stage.

Pokémon Art Academy offers three stages – apprentice, novice, and graduate – along with three to four main lessons and several mini lessons per course. Players will work alongside the Art Academy’s professor and AI buddy Lee in each lesson, learning a basic skill set with one or two main tools at any given time. There’s no grading system implemented so, no matter how your drawings turn out, players will never be forced into creating masterful pieces of art to unlock more content. The stage’s main lessons merely need to be completed in order to progress, with mini lessons serving as an extra practise session to reinforce the skill set learnt.

Although not as diverse as other professional artist applications, Pokémon Art Academy certainly delivers with an array of tools in comparison to previous entries in the franchise. From the standard outline pen and markers to the more creative pastel and graffiti spray can, players can experiment with many different styles to produce their ideal and most-treasured Pokémon. Though the lessons always pinpoint which specific thicknesses and opaque settings you should use, don’t be afraid to opt for the smallest thickness setting in order to achieve those sharper details, particularly in the advanced and unlockable bonus sections.

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Comic-book style Lapras – her neck is elongated here to reflect the style.

Providing a linear approach, the application’s lessons become too restrictive in due time and its main gripe falls at the feet of the franchise’s mascot: Pikachu. Players must conclude each stage’s finale by drawing Pikachu and applying the various techniques learnt. But since there’s no other option to draw additional Pokémon at this stage, players are forced to draw Pikachu three times – it’s tedious rather than circular, taking up two slots which could be given to other firm favourites instead.

While free paint offers a greater selection of Pokémon, without the guidance of lessons, beginners may feel out of their depth and uncomfortable with such an open format. However, construction lines and grid markers can be chosen from the layer tool, providing a basic guideline for rough sketching. Additionally, users will find the full palette, eyedropper and colour picker tools for a more superior creative control.

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And the awesome fire-breathing Charizard finishes off the Graduate course. Remember to take regular breaks as this illustration took me two hours!

Pokémon Art Academy gives users plenty of space to save their sketches in the album, as well as Miiverse interaction. But it does lack an image sharing tool, as seen in Tomodachi Life, in order to share to additional social networks with ease. And though 3D isn’t utilised, the app doesn’t suffer from its exclusion, perhaps only missing out on aesthetic appeal, making it perfect for 2DS users.

With superb accuracy between stylus and touch screen, Pokémon Art Academy delivers a solid experience for long-term fans who have yearned to draw their favourite characters. But its main drawback is its inability to bridge the middle ground between lessons and free paint. It may not be a standard Pokémon adventure, but its slogan can always be adapted: gotta sketch ‘em all.

8/10

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Fatal Frame Wii U Coming September 27 For Japan

Koei Tecmo and Nintendo earlier today live-streamed the new Fatal Frame for Wii U on Nico Nico. The Japanese-style horror game’s official name is Zero – Nuregarasu no Miko, roughly translating to Fatal Frame: The Black Haired Shrine Maiden according to sources. Taking place in a mountainous area, the horror title will revolve around the fear of water and uses the GamePad to take pictures, allowing players another field of vision, as well as the ability to attack.

During the live-stream, there was also a few details for Fatal Frame’s protagonist Yuri Kozukata. Koei Tecmo producer Keisuke Kikuchi mentioned her special ability which enables her to see the truth or “secrets” behind every item she touches. The trailer – which you can see above – shows Yuri exploring the area and finding something she didn’t quite expect.

Fatal Frame will release for the Wii U on September 27 for Japan. There’s currently no word on whether this will release for western audiences, however. Aside from the game, mangas, a novel, and a movie has been confirmed with Samuel Hadida, the man behind Resident Evil, working as producer. You can view the movie trailer, here, as well as screenshots for the game at the link, here.

Hamleys top ten toys for Christmas 2014

LeapFrog To Launch New Games Console For Kids Named LeapTV, Will Compete With Nintendo Consoles

Leading educational entertainment company LeapFrog will launch a new games console system for children later this year. Named LeapTV, the new system promises to focus on quality learning for young children, alongside boosting their physical activity with games.

The new games system will launch in October for a recommended retail price of £119.99 in the UK, and boasts more than 100 games at launch. Aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 8, LeapTV will compete against the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS family systems and tablets, all of which are incredibly popular with youngsters, as well as home console platforms.

LeapFrog plans to sell both physical and digital games for their new console, which includes motion-sensor technology in both the controller provided and system’s camera. Though many games are promised for the system, the California-based company has yet to announce exactly which developers will be on board. However, in the past LeapFrog has worked with brands including Moshi Monsters and Transformers. LeapFrog learning director Dr. Jody Sherman said the following in support of the new console:

“It is shocking that less than one percent of the tens of thousands of video game titles are rated appropriate for children under the age of six years.

“We know that young children want to experience new ways to play through technology earlier than ever, but parents quickly discover that there are very few solutions that are developmentally appropriate or educational for young children.”

You can check out a video of the games console above, but let us know what you think of LeapTV and whether it will have any affect on future Nintendo sales in the comments below.

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Nintendo UK/Euro Now Allows eShop Cards To Be Purchased Via PayPal

Nintendo UK has announced a new option which allows users to purchase digital eShop cards via PayPal. Available for European Wii U, 3DS, DSi and Wii systems, owners can either purchase an eShop card to the value of £/€15, £/€25 and £/€50 for their use, or gift the funds to another.

For those who live in the UK, remember to purchase your chosen eShop card in GBP from PayPal. On the other hand, those in Europe can purchase their eShop card through the German website at the moment. All cards purchased with Euro currency will work in other European countries,  since it is not specific to Germany. You can find out more about the terms and conditions at PayPal’s digital gifts website, here.

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Dragon Quest X Will Receive Physical Release In Japan, No Cartridge Included

Dragon Quest X will receive a physical retail release for Japan but a cartridge is not included. The popular MMORPG was announced for the 3DS last week and will arrive on September 4.  It was thought Dragon Quest X would be a download-only title, however if you opt for the physical edition you will receive extra goodies. Rather than a cartridge, owners of retail copies will be provided with an eShop download code which can be used for 60 days of online play. Additional items included in the release are:

  • Lemon Slime Board Prism
  • Five large experience point ancient documents – which entitle players to 1,000 instant experience points
  • A casino coin ticket of up to 1,000 casino coins
  • A lottery card ticket – players will be randomly allocated in-game items

While we’ve still heard no further news regarding a western release, other than consideration from Square Enix, the 3DS version is the first online streaming game for the handheld. Hopefully we’ll hear more in the future if the 3DS version is a success.

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SEGA Clarifies “No Immediate Plans” For Wii U Virtual Console, But Doesn’t Rule Out Possibility

SEGA has clarified an earlier statement from research and development producer Yosuke Okunari that said there were no plans for Wii U virtual console. Last week, Okunari responded to a fan over Twitter mentioning there were no plans to develop any Virtual Console games for the Wii U, but he failed to mention any specific details. In a recent statement to Eurogamer, SEGA has cleared up any subsequent confusion by announcing there are “no immediate plans” for Virtual Console game development, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility in the future.

“Sega would like to clarify a statement that was issued over Twitter. All options are currently on the table concerning development for the Wii U Virtual Console. Although there are no immediate plans, this does not negate the possibility and exploration of creating for this platform.”

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Nintendo Updates Wii Sports Club To Version 4.1, Features Minimal Bug Fixes

A new update for Wii Sports Club has arrived bumping it to version 4.1 after its physical retail release last week. According to the official Nintendo site, the update fixes minimal bugs and issues with no real major enhancements to gameplay. Though there’s no particular song and dance in the boxing ring or tennis court to be made here, the update will bring a smoother run for online activity as well as a tennis score card fix for both North America and Europe.  Below you can find the official word from Nintendo.

  • Fixes an issue where the results of online Two-Player Team Play tennis matches were not displayed correctly in Play Records
  • Introduces additional enhancements to improve the user’s experience and enjoyment
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Club Nintendo Platinum And Gold Member Rewards Announced For North America

Nintendo of America has revealed exactly which rewards Club Nintendo members holding the Platinum or Gold member status can receive. Unlike previous years where Nintendo has offered special physical items to those with 300 or more coins, this year the company has solely opted to reward members with a selection of digital games.

While platinum members will be able to choose from the full selection, where you must have over 600 coins to qualify, gold members will choose from half of the digital games on offer.  Elite status members can only choose one free digital game, so make sure you log into your Club Nintendo account to see whether you’ve qualified with gold or platinum. The full selection of games are listed below, or you can check them out here.

Platinum Only:

  • Game and Wario – Wii U
  • NES Remix – Wii U
  • Earthbound – Wii U
  • Dr. Luigi – Wii U
  • Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D – 3DS
  • Fluidity: Spin Cycle – 3DS
  • Dillon’s Rolling Western – 3DS
  • Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move – 3DS

Platinum and Gold:

  • Ice Climber – Wii U
  • Kid Icarus – Wii U
  • Super Mario Bros. – Wii U
  • Zelda II: The Adventure of Link – Wii U
  • Donkey Kong 3 – 3DS
  • Wario Land 2 – 3DS
  • Metroid – 3DS
  • Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins – 3DS

 

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Here’s A Better Look At Secret Bases In Pokemon Omega Ruby And Alpha Sapphire (Video)

The Pokemon Company has given fans an in-depth look at secret bases in a brand new trailer. Yesterday, we reported on the new mega-evolved form of Metagross with a trailer featuring Pikachu cosplay in Pokemon Amie and some footage on secret bases. Now, the Japanese trailer displays a thorough look at what players can expect to find and collect in their secret bases for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire.

Pokemon plush dolls, interesting gym layouts, deceptive lighting tricks and other such furniture will be available to collect in-game, giving players unlimited customisation options. Plus, there are opportunities for players to visit friends’ secret bases via QR codes. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire launches November 21 for North America and November 28 in Europe.

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Japan’s 3DS Software Promotion Adds September Titles, Includes Dragon Quest X

Nintendo Japan has updated its 3DS software promotion to include upcoming titles for September. The campaign – which started in April and concludes in September – is looking to entice potential 3DS consumers with one free game of their choice. The Kyoto-based company provides a selection of popular 3DS games which are switched on a monthly basis, broadening the choice for consumers. Previous games announced in the software promotion have included Pokemon X & Y and Pokemon Art Academy.

The official website lists the following games up for grabs this September, along with the newly announced Dragon Quest X – the first 3DS online streaming game. With September as the final month of the campaign, consumers will be able to opt for the game of their choice in advance.

  • Luigi’s Mansion 2
  • Mario Kart 7
  • Tomodachi Life (or Collection in Japan)
  • Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind
  • Dragon Quest X (available from September 4)