DreamRift Announces Monster Tale Ultimate For 3DS eShop

Florida-based developer DreamRift has revealed a remastered version of Monster Tale will arrive exclusively for the Nintendo 3DS eShop later this year. Originally released on the Nintendo DS in 2011, Monster Tale was received favourably among critics upon release and featured virtual pet elements, alongside metroidvania gameplay. The title – which followed a young girl named Ellie and her monster companion on various quests through Monster World – has had a complete overhaul by the studio and will showcase new areas and visuals, as well as restore balance and introduce backtracking to the gameplay, without making it necessarily easier.

Monster Tale Ultimate is currently a 3DS eShop exclusive only, though DreamRift says a retail version may be considered in the future. The studio’s creative director Peter Ong said the following below in support of the game. Monster Tale Ultimate will target a Spring 2015 release on the Nintendo handheld. You can view a trailer for the original DS game above.

“A lot of the rebalancing has nothing to do with difficulty. [It] is, instead, about making the various components of the game more balanced in a manner that makes the game more strategically interesting.”

 

Mario Party 10 Review

It’s time to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer with Nintendo’s first HD Mario Party game for the Wii U. Promising a strong mix of luck and skill-based minigames, the game’s three party modes flourish with friends and refresh the franchise. But a series of drawbacks really kills the merrymaking mood, quicker than Bowser’s fiery breath.

Developed by Nintendo’s SPD team, Mario Party 10 brings two new modes to the buffet table with a GamePad-focused Bowser mode and Amiibo party, which echoes the classic mode from past series’ entries, as well as the returning Mario Party mode. With over 70 minigames to play, including 10 boss stages featuring enemies from the Mario universe, and a variety of extras in Toad’s room, players are unlikely to throw in the towel after a few short hours. But, as always, the franchise is best served in multiplayer with its infuriating RNG rates to test even the hardiest of relationships. Sore losers will crumble, newcomers will triumph, and the Luigi death stare will make a comeback between friends. Yet the resulting fun and ongoing hilarity with character animations is just too good to miss.

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My own Yoshi amiibo had an eggs-ellent time collecting coins and stars on his green-tiled board. Yes, I used that pun.

The best mode, perhaps, is one that stays closest to the iconic board game with Amiibo Party. Yet ironically, it’s the “bonus” section you can only unlock with a compatible figure model from the Super Mario series. As such, Smash fans can use their Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Donkey Kong and Rosalina amiibo with this mode, along with Toad and the remaining cast from the Super Mario Collection. Fortunately, not every player needs to own an amiibo, as just one model figure will unlock a character board. As per classic Mario Party rules, players can move their character figure around the board individually with the roll of a computer generated die, collecting coins to grab those elusive stars. Each round will give you a chance to build up your stack of coins via a minigame, in free-for-all, two versus two and three against one.

Yet it’s in amiibo party’s customisation mode that really keeps the festivities varied and interesting. Drawn into four segments, the circular board can be customised to your liking after picking up a number of scattered character tokens. Blending the DK jungle with Peach’s castle, or Mario’s pipes and Yoshi’s mountainous eggs helps keep players on their toes. And it’s not set in stone once you begin playing either, with players freely able to mix and match between character boards throughout gameplay. It’s truly a fantastic blend of chaos and fun rolled into one.

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The perfect party for your best Bowser impressions. Release the carnage in the only GamePad mode!

As part of the only mode that utilises the Wii U GamePad, Bowser Party works as a mad dash to the dessert spread, where all the good stuff vanishes in the first few moments. Picture whippy cream for kids; amazing in the moment but a mess to clean up. Similarly, Bowser mode can be utterly delightful in its twisted minigame carnage, where knocking players out with fireballs, hammer slams and bullet bills is fantastically entertaining, as well as making excellent use of the GamePad’s gyroscope and touchscreen controls.

But if you’re a regular player cooped up in a vehicle, you’ll be fighting for your life in minigames devilishly skewed in Bowser’s favour, with very little drive to reach the end. And unless Bowser rolls a number to catch up to your vehicle, players will be stuck without a minigame in dreadfully boring cat-and-mouse territory. And don’t we always want to be the cat?

Although vehicles in Bowser Party feel justified, cramming all four players into a car in Mario Party mode dilutes gameplay, creates friction and tilts many of the available boards directly into luck-based fields. Players can choose from six boards in the luscious Mushroom Park, sinister Haunted Trail, the idyllic Whimsical Waters, the cloud-filled Airship Central and Bowser’s brutal Chaos Castle. Each board has its particulars, from Boos to hot lava, and can be adjusted via the menu to involve no luck-based minigames, vehicle selection and to change the CPU difficulty.

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The rolling green fields of Mushroom Park are so lush we could probably live there. Just don’t bring any flint and steel.

Aesthetically, Mario Party mode looks beautiful, with character animations fluid and funny as many fans would expect. Yet, unfortunately, the boards feel far too short. The minigames are sparse, despite being such a pleasure to play, mini star gates will only distribute to one player, and occasionally you’ll miss out on the coolest sections of the board because one character has mixed up the order of play. However, the mode’s saving grace is in its fixed boss fights.

With ten minigame boss fights, players can crank out their skills and best a huge Goomba by bopping on its head or take on Bowser in an epic end battle. As such, working as a team to beat the boss delivers great satisfaction, along with trying to thwart your friends and push them into danger for your own selfish needs. In fact, many of Mario Party 10’s minigames are top notch, with only a few duds including the narcissism-led Flash Forward and the clunky controlled Piggy in the Middle. While race-to-the-finish minigames such as Ice Slide, You Slide; Snake Block Party; Rapid River Race; and Peepa Panic all deliver fun-filled action, as well as others such as Steal the Beat and Boo Burglars to add rhythm and teamwork to the mix.

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OK, this guy. I mean THIS GUY is just a hoot. Unlock him and play as him. You will not regret it.

Other than the three main modes, Mario Party 10 has many extras in Toad’s room, achievement unlocks and bonus minigames such as Bowser’s challenge, a minigame tournament and a coin challenge. Players will also be able to unlock two new characters with Toadette and Spike, the latter providing laugh-out-loud, killer dance moves which are not to be missed. Yet since the game relies solely on Wiimote controllers, the GamePad is seemingly shoved into a corner, wearing the only dunce-labelled party hat in the room.

With the lack of a real single-player challenge and online mode, Mario Party 10 is a little too remote to be the life of a get-together. But the game’s interesting amiibo use, sublimely designed minigames and hilariously frustrating luck rates will certainly help beat the boredom. Mar10 day might have been and gone, but Bowser’s manic mayhem – arguments and all – is here to stay.

7/10

Aonuma Announces Majora’s Mask Art Academy Contest Winners On Miiverse

The Legend of Zelda producer Eiji Aonuma has revealed the winners for the Majora’s Mask Art Academy contest on Miiverse. As always, the calibre of entries and the level of detail or imagination used to craft each one is wonderful to see. Announced as part of a joint celebration for the launch of Majora’s Mask 3D on Nintendo’s handheld and the return of The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Master Quest Tour, the contest encouraged artists – from the amateur to the professional – to design an entry last month based on the creepy world of Termina and its inhabitants.

To view the wonderful artwork selected by Eiji Aonuma, you can head over to the Nintendo Japan site, here. Alternatively, all the contest winners are posted at the bottom of the producer’s Miiverse message. Here’s what Aonuma had to say:

Sorry to keep you waiting! Without further ado, I would like to announce the winners of The Legend Of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D drawing contest! The following works have all caught my personal attention, and receive the Aonuma Prize. Here we go!

Warner Bros Has No Plans To Release LEGO The Hobbit Five Armies DLC

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has announced it currently has no plans to release DLC for LEGO The Hobbit. In an official statement released today, the publisher confirmed The Battle of the Five Armies DLC – which sees Smaug’s end and an epic-scale battle between the citizens of Middle-earth and its evil forces – is no longer in development.

Shortly after the game’s multiplatform release in April last year, Warner Bros together with TT Games informally revealed that plans for a third film expansion were in place. However, with both the developer and publisher’s quiet stance on the matter, fans of the game feared the promised DLC had been canned. It’s uncertain how long the expansion was in development and exactly when it was ceased by Warner Bros. In our review of the Wii U game, we awarded it a gracious 7, despite the game’s flaws and deeply unsatisfactory end. You can view Warner Bros’ official statement below.

“The LEGO The Hobbit videogame gives LEGO and Middle-earth fans a fun, new way to experience the legendary adventures of Bilbo and company as told in the first two films of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy. The game provides an excellent set-up for the concluding chapter of Peter Jackson’s film, The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies. There are no plans to develop DLC based on the final film of the trilogy.”

Sega And Game Freak’s New Game Revealed As Tembo The Badass Elephant, But It’s Not Coming To Wii U

Sega and Game Freak have revealed Tembo the Badass Elephant as their new collaboration title. Following speculation and reports of a rather intriguing postcard sent to several online gaming sites last week, the two companies announced the big reveal via an announcement trailer earlier today. Despite initial hope, the side-scrolling action title – which sees players control the elephant Tembo through an array of levels to smash, dash, and destroy everything in its path – will not release on the Wii U.

Platforms supported for Tembo the Badass Elephant include PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam on PC, with all versions targeting a summer 2015 release. When asked about why the game would not be released for Nintendo’s home console, Game Freak’s character designer James Turner said the following below.

When I was writing the presentation documents for this game, I drew a mockup poster, and I put the Steam, PlayStation, and Xbox logos at the bottom. It seemed to fit, and it happened to stick that way. We thought about other hardware during development, but our hands were pretty full with those three platforms!

Trine 2 Owners Can Grab Trine Enchanted Edition For A Special 20% Discount On Wii U From Tomorrow

Finnish developer Frozenbyte has offered a special discount to fans in celebration of Trine Enchanted Edition’s arrival on the Wii U tomorrow. The gorgeous fantasy action platformer is due for release on the North American eShop on March 12, usually priced at $14.99. But, if you’ve already bought Trine 2: Director’s Cut on Wii U, you’ll receive a nifty 20 per cent off on purchasing the Enchanted Edition. And with Trine 2 currently on sale until April 2 in the eShop for $9.99, it’s a double bargain for new players.

Nintendo of Europe has stated Trine Enchanted Edition, which is an upgraded version of the first game in the series, will be heading to the European eShop some time this month. Frozenbyte has echoed the sentiment on its official blog by saying the European release will follow soon after North America, though no specific date has been set.

Japan: 3DS Sells 33k And Wii U Sells 7k

This week’s Media Create sales are now in from Japan. Keeping its lead at the top of the software chart is Dragon Quest Heroes for the PlayStation 3, but hot on its heels at 2 is new 3DS release Etrian Mystery Dungeon. The Etrian Odyssey spin-off, which pits players in various dungeons with turn-based combat, almost topples its competition with 65k units sold. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D also continues to sell well, and is joined by New Prince of Tennis: Go to the Top for the Nintendo 3DS to round out the top 5.

Regards to hardware, the 3DS is once again second best to the PlayStation 4, which is boosted by sales of Dragon Quest Heroes. However, total sales for Nintendo’s handheld come out on top with nearly 34k in sales. Wii U sales remain steady at 7k, though manage to creep up slightly this week. Below you’ll find the top 20 best-selling software in Japan, with the hardware chart following.

Software Sales (followed by lifetime sales)

  1. [PS3] Dragon Quest Heroes (Square Enix, 02/26/15) – 67,514 (392,960)
  2. [3DS] Etrian Mystery Dungeon (Atlus, 03/05/15) – 65,226 (New)
  3. [PS4] Dragon Quest Heroes (Square Enix, 02/26/15) – 35,425 (304,729)
  4. [3DS] The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D (Nintendo, 02/14/15) – 23,764 (365,761)
  5. [3DS] New Prince of Tennis: Go to the Top (FuRyu, 03/05/15) – 22,568 (New)
  6. [PSV] God Eater 2: Rage Burst (Bandai Namco, 02/19/15) – 17,710 (289,539)
  7. [PS4] Evolve (2K Games, 03/05/15) – 16,851 (New)
  8. [3DS] Yokai Watch 2: Shinuchi (Level-5, 12/14/14) – 14,278 (2,528,184)
  9. [3DS] LEGO City Undercover: The Chase Begins (Nintendo, 03/05/15) – 13,284 (New)
  10. [3DS] Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire (Pokemon, 11/21/14) – 11,297 (2,549,155)
  11. [3DS] Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS (Nintendo, 09/13/14) – 7,431 (2,173,243)
  12. [3DS] Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Capcom, 10/11/14) – 6,673 (2,492,332)
  13. [PS3] Dragon Ball Xenoverse (Bandai Namco, 01/29/15) – 5,787 (86,874)
  14. [PS3] River City Super Sports Challenge: All-Star Special (Arc System Works, 03/05/15) – 5,473 (New)
  15. [Wii U] Mario Kart 8 (Nintendo, 05/29/14) – 5,342 (931,332)
  16. [PSV] Diabolik Lovers: Dark Fate (Idea Factory, 02/26/15) – 4,902 (12,164)
  17. [Wii U] Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Nintendo, 12/06/14) – 4,829 (602,560)
  18. [3DS] Animal Crossing: New Leaf (Nintendo, 11/08/12) – 4,671 (3,933,006)
  19. [3DS] Doraemon Shin Nobita no Daimakyo: Peko to 5-nin no Tankentai (FuRyu, 03/05/15) – 4,663 (New)
  20. [PS4] God Eater 2: Rage Burst (Bandai Namco, 02/19/15) – 3,654 (48,883)

Hardware Sales (followed by last week’s sales)

  1. PlayStation 4 – 33,753 (46,139)
  2. New 3DS LL – 21,402 (22,620)
  3. PlayStation Vita – 19,757 (23,619)
  4. New 3DS – 7,661 (8,515)
  5. PlayStation 3 – 7,645 (8,926)
  6. Wii U – 7,379 (6,606)
  7. 3DS – 2,566 (2,795)
  8. 3DS LL – 2,321 (2,666)
  9. PlayStation Vita TV – 621 (838)
  10. Xbox One – 445 (703)