Out of the blue, the appropriately-named developer Giant Squid, in partnership with independent publisher 505 Games, have announced the 2016 title ABZÛ will make a splash on Switch on 29th November for $19.99.
Several members of the development team previously worked on the highly-praised 2012 PlayStation exclusive Journey. This includes the director Matt Nava (also the artistic mind behind Flower) and two-time BAFTA-winning composer Austin Wintory, previously known for his work on The Banner Saga series.
ABZÛ is described as a meditative oceanic adventure that immerses players in a vibrant underwater world filled with mystery and plenty of aquatic life. You take control of a diver – with your mission to change the world around you for the better. Below is the full description:
Playing as the Diver, you’ll discover hundreds of unique species based on real creatures and form a powerful connection with the abundant sea life. But this underwater world can be dangerous, broken and toxic – and your mission is to unlock the mysteries of the deep and change the world around you for the better.
ABZÛ is told in the form of mythology and folklore, while capturing the dream-like feeling of underwater exploration. The name is derived from ancient Sumerian language; AB, meaning water, and ZÛ, meaning to know: ABZÛ is the ocean of wisdom.
Tell us if you’ll be diving into this underwater adventure when it is released at the end of this month.
Another rumour has surfaced online. This time it’s regarding the Japanese developer PlatinumGames – a company originally founded in 2007 after a merger between Seeds Inc. and Odd Inc.
According to Nintendo Insider, the developer has a total of three games currently in development for Nintendo Switch. The first, as we’ve known since last year’s Game Awards, is Bayonetta 3. As for the other two titles – take a guess.
The source – LeakyPandy – said Hideki Kamiya is associated with all three projects and two of the games – one of them being Bayonetta – are targeting 2019 releases:
PlatinumGames has two more games for Switch beside Bayonetta 3… [Hideki] Kamiya is credited in all three of them. Both Bayonetta 3 [and] a second game target 2019.
Earlier this year, both Atsushi Inaba and Hideki Kamiya were throwing around the idea of Wii U title TheWonderful 101 making a comeback on the Switch, and at the time were reportedly in negotiations with Nintendo.
On a separate occasion, Inaba said Platinum had a desire to create and self-publish a brand new IP – with it likely to be a mid-tier release, not a AAA one due to finances at the company.
What do you make of this rumour? What other games would you like to see Platinum release on the Switch? Tell us below.
Cellar Door Games put itself on the map with the release of Rogue Legacy, a critically lauded roguelike sidescroller that in some ways set a trend still being followed by indies today, but the studio later went on to release a new game, Full Metal Furies, to much less fanfare. There were plenty of factors that resulted in the studio’s sophomore release largely flying under the radar, but the overall dismissal of this beat ‘em up certainly couldn’t have been due to its quality. Full Metal Furies is one of the best brawlers we’ve played in years, expertly weaving together old-school arcade elements with modern game design to provide an experience that no fans of the genre, or action games in general, will want to miss out on.
Full Metal Furies follows the story of a group of four girls: Alex, Triss, Meg and Erin, as they spearhead a resistance effort against a group of powerful foes called Titans, whose warmongering is causing all sorts of collateral damage. The war-torn world that they live in is a dangerous, broken place, and though each Titan may initially seem to be purely villainous, later plot developments reveal that there’s much more to each character than it seems. Despite the seemingly dark overtones, Full Metal Furies delights in keeping things lighthearted and borderline silly, with witty dialogue and plenty of fourth-wall-breaking humour woven throughout the experience. Each of the four girls is given plenty of screen time in cutscenes and though they don’t generally experience all that much character development over the course of the narrative, you’ll likely come to love this team of quirky and interesting characters.
Full Metal Furies is a beat ‘em up brawler at heart, but there’s actually considerably more going on behind the scenes if you choose to delve in deep enough. There are four characters to pick from on the team: the tank, the sniper, the engineer and the fighter, and each of them has a radically different playstyle that impressively alters the way that you approach combat. Erin the Engineer, for example, primarily deals damage with her pistol—which has to be reloaded when your clip runs empty—but she also has a deployable drone that can lock down a specific area with cover fire. Meanwhile, Alex the Fighter carries around an enormous hammer that would make Amy Rose jealous, and relies on rapid-fire hammer swings and a Marth-esque counterattack for doling out punishment. Every character’s kit is the same in the sense that they each have an escape move, a big damage dealing move and so on, but it’s rather striking how well Cellar Door has managed to differentiate each move-set. Although the foundations may be the same, switching up characters requires dramatically different tactics in many situations, making Full Metal Furies feel like a much deeper and replayable experience than a typical brawler.
Of course, Full Metal Furies isn’t just about punching bad guys in the mouth; there’s a strong RPG system underlying all the chaos that creates an addictive and rewarding feedback loop that encourages you to regularly diversify team compositions. Each character is equipped with four items—one for each kind of attack—but there are three extra items available in each category that must be unlocked by beating certain missions and acquiring the blueprints. The newer gear is more powerful in some ways and less powerful in others, giving players plenty of autonomy for speccing each character to a specific playstyle, but there’s even more depth to then be found in levelling-up the gear itself.
Full Metal Furies employs a deeply satisfying ‘account-centric’ system of levelling in which levelling every individual piece of gear benefits the entire team. Each piece of gear is affected by a certain stat, like TEC or HP, and every time you level up that gear, it adds a percentage buff to the overall account buff being contributed to. For example, you could have a 6 percent boost to strength that all four of the girls benefit from, and 3 percent of that comes from Alex’s hammer being levelled-up twice while the other 3 percent comes from levelling-up both Meg’s rifle and Erin’s pistol once. What’s nice about this system is how it encourages players to constantly experiment with new team setups; it takes longer to level up gear that’s already accrued a couple levels, so if you want to see more stat percentage gains, you have to equip new gear and use characters that usually sit on the bench.
The RPG mechanics don’t just stop with gear either, each girl can be individually levelled-up to acquire character-specific stat gains and skills. Gold is dropped by each enemy you kill and stage you clear, and this can then be spent on buying nodes in a skill tree for each girl. Hitting certain level milestones unlocks new nodes which contain powerful abilities, such as Alex’s hammer swings lowering ability cooldowns, and once again, players are subtly encouraged to invest in all the girls rather than just a couple. Unlocks for each girl become gradually more expensive with each purchase, but there’s a ‘VIP’ system at play which discounts unlocks across all girls by a set coin amount which goes up a bit with each purchase you make. Therefore, buying new skills for under-levelled girls is made free or extremely cheap, while the upper unlocks for your higher level girls require a heavy grind if you don’t want to lower the costs by boosting your VIP discount through making cheaper purchases on other girls. Between this and the system used for gear levelling, Full Metal Furies finds that sweet spot where there’s a steady stream of meaningful upgrades being doled out while ensuring that players are experiencing the full scope of the game through playing all types of characters and gear equally.
Once you’re on the battlefield, combat is relatively straightforward, primarily orienting around moving between arenas, roundly defeating all comers and then moving on to the next arena. New enemy types are introduced at a consistent clip as you move through the story, continuously requiring players to change tactics and adapt to new threats on the fly. For example, one enemy attacks by calling in repeat airstrikes for devastating AoE damage, while another enemy is almost completely invisible and attacks with powerful sniper fire. It would be hard enough to dodge between the madness on screen as it is, but things are made further difficult by the introduction of colour-coded shields; each shield corresponds to a character, and only that one character can damage that enemy to break their shield.
In single player, you control two girls at a time—tagging out as needed with a tap of the shoulder button—but this shield system can still make fights extremely difficult if one of the girls happens to get knocked out. When this happens, a bar over the girl’s head slowly creeps up towards one hundred percent, which you can speed up by running over to her and holding down the tag button to revive her. In the thick of battle, it can be quite an effort to dodge between all the shielded enemies to bring back the character needed to fight them, but then again, Full Metal Furies revels in its punishing difficulty. You’re sure to see the game over screen plenty of times here, as there’s a distinct rhythm to combat that can take some time to get to grips with. Moreover, it takes a while to learn new enemy attack patterns and weaknesses, and given how many enemies Full Metal Furies loves to throw at you at once, it can be a lot to handle. If you consider yourself to be someone with slow reflexes, you’re gonna have a bad time, but mastering battle is an exhilarating experience once you get the timing of attacks down.
Beat ‘em up games are typically expected to be shallow and relatively straightforward arcade experiences that don’t require much thought, but this is yet another area in which Full Metal Furies defies expectations. When traversing between arenas in each stage, its possible to stumble upon one of the game’s many secrets in the form of optional side areas. Some of these require a careful navigation of a difficult obstacle course while others contain more cerebral puzzles that we won’t spoil here, but the journey is almost always worth it as you’re treated to a new blueprint or a Rosetta Stone.
Rosetta Stones form the foundation for a mystery that permeates the entirety of Full Metal Furies, and the depth to this mystery is more complex and rewarding than you’ll see in most games in general, let alone beat ‘em up games. Each Rosetta Stone is part of a pair, and the first one that you find always includes a riddle pointing you towards the next one. These have you doing relatively simple things like pausing the game at a certain point on the overworld map or going backwards in an area that you ordinarily would go forwards in, but soon give way to much more meta-puzzles that require you to do things like translating morse code or watching trailers for the game to find a critical piece of info. We often found ourselves solving a puzzle, only to realize that the solution to the puzzle is part of a much larger puzzle, which itself is part of an even bigger puzzle that intersects with other puzzles in some ways.
Clearly, Cellar Door Games has put a considerable amount of effort into designing this system of puzzles and mystery, and praise is certainly deserved for the creative ways in which solutions are hidden behind riddles and misdirection. Indeed, if you’ve ever felt that the design of puzzles in Zelda games has been a bit too simple, you’ll be more than pleased with the challenging brain-benders on offer here, and the developers have ensured that there’s an equally enticing reward waiting in the centre of it all. It’s satisfying how much more depth this adds to the gameplay experience; when you aren’t busy managing team compositions or dexterously combating the pleasurably difficult hordes of enemies, you’re staring at a wall of gibberish or hieroglyphs with a pen and paper trying to decode a message that’s stumped you for hours. We’d recommend that you go into this one as blindly as possible; though the temptation of going to the internet to find the answers may be strong, these puzzles are considerably more rewarding when you finally reach that ‘Aha!’ moment.
All these disparate gameplay elements are made considerably more compelling, then, when you throw some other players into the mix. Full Metal Furies is a wonderfully engaging experience when playing in single player, but it’s taken to another level when you have a friend or two next to you on the couch to experience it with you. Not only is it more fun to find a good rhythm and set up multi-character combos that positively melt the opposition, but having a couple more brains to throw around theories and ideas around the more esoteric puzzles makes for a collaborative experience that you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere on the Switch. And for those of you that don’t have any friends on hand, Full Metal Furies features online multiplayer, too.
Unlike most other indie games of this generation, Full Metal Furies employs an art style that doesn’t use pixel art as a crutch, tastefully weaving in retro character and enemy models into carefully hand-painted environments. Each character sprite is exceedingly well detailed and animated, and though the environments do fall into relatively uninspired world tropes (oh boy, another desert world), there’s a striking visual style to having pixelated characters fighting on semi-realistic backdrops. Backing all the action is a wonderful soundtrack that employs a mixture of chiptunes and rock, evoking the soundtracks of the Mega Man X series in more ways than one. There weren’t any particularly anthemic tracks to be picked out of the bunch, but what’s here is sure to please and fit tonally with everything happening on screen.
Earlier this year in July, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against two ROM and emulator websites at the federal court in the US state of Arizona for trademark and copyright infringement. The latest development is the owners and operators of the now-defunct websites – a married couple – have agreed to a settlement exceeding $12 million in favour of Nintendo.
In August, it was revealed both parties wanted to avoid prolonged court proceedings – with consent judgment and permanent injunction now resolving all of the outstanding disputes. The owners of the sites admit their involvement was both direct and indirect copyright and trademark infringement, resulting in irreparable injury for the Japanese video game company. Below is the unsigned verdict:
Plaintiff is hereby awarded judgment against all Defendants, jointly and severally, in the amount of $12,230,000.
As noted by TorrentFreak, this high sum is likely intended to act as a deterrent for any other ROM and emulator websites. It is unlikely the couple has this amount of money, and a jury likely would not have reached this same figure. If this is the case, it would not be the first time a judgment in court has been more than what two parties agreed to privately.
The permanent injunction in the settlement prevents the couple from infringing Nintendo’s copyrights in the future and requires them to hand over both website domains as well as all of the games and emulators in their possession.
PQube and developer Onion Soup Interactive have shared a brand new trailer for the upcoming party racer Nippon Marathon, revealing that the game will be available on 17th December.
Featuring a song performance from no other than Diana Garnet, the singer of the Naruto: Shippuden outro, this new trailer gives us a good look at some of the crazy race courses players can expect to find in the game. One minute, players are being thwarted by giant fruit; the next, everyone’s jumping across trains and Ferris wheels, and the whole thing looks more and more like a crazy Japanese game show every time we see it.
We’ve also been treated to some new screenshots of the game’s seventh level “JINKO EKI STATION”, where runners have to jump from bullet trains to a literal bull train, as well as a quick look at the story mode of Snuguru Maestro – a half-human, half-dog “with the voice of an angel”. Essentially, the Story Mode allows you to choose and follow the journey of the four main characters in what turns out to be a mix of racing and visual novel gameplay with numerous chapters. You can see a tease of this one in the final image below.
As mentioned above, Nippon Marathon will be arriving on a Switch next you just in time for Christmas.
Will you be joining in the madness? Share your thoughts on the game below.
The first official trailer for the upcoming Pokémon Detective Pikachu movie has officially arrived, giving us our very first look at the film in action.
As you can see above, the trailer gives us a good look at how the Pokémon have been adapted to work on the big screen alongside their human counterparts, with Detective Pikachu himself, Mr. Mime, Jigglypuff, Charizard, Greninja, and more all starring in the clip. As mentioned in the recent early screening report, the characters have a real-world art style to them which takes a little getting used to at first, but certainly leaves a lasting impression.
We also get to see a nice, fan-friendly level of detail plastered through each scene; the house is full of posters and artwork that look like they’d belong in a real Pokémon world (with references to not-as-famous elements of the games, too) and the Mr. Mime scene provides a really interesting – and comical – take on the character.
With Ryan Reynolds starring as Pikachu, Justice Smith playing Tim Goodman, and other stars such as Kathryn Newton and Ken Watanabe joining the cast too, this strikes us as having a great deal of potential. The movie hits cinemas on 10th May 2019.
What do you think? Will you be going to see the movie yourself? Feel free to share your thoughts on this trailer below.
Campo Santo’s award-winning 2016 title Firewatch was revealed for the Nintendo Switch earlier this year in April and has since gone missing. When it was originally announced, it was said to be arriving at some point in the near future. With 2018 nearly over, it’s left us wondering if it will still show up before the end of the year.
According to Campo Santo co-founder Jake Rodkin, the game is “very close” to release. Rodkin delivered this information in a reply to a Twitter user asking about the availability of the game on the Switch. This followed his original tweet about how “ridiculously nice” the Switch version of the game looked. Here’s the initial tweet and latest screenshots:
If you haven’t heard about Firewatch before, it’s a traditional ‘walking simulator’ mixed with a linear narrative and set in Shoshone National Forest located in the US. You take on the role of Henry who is a fire lookout. Being in complete isolation, the only person Henry has contact with is his supervisor Delilah via radio communication. Take a look at the game’s original 2016 trailer below:
Have you experienced this indie hit previously? Are you a fan of story-driven walking sims? Tell us in the comments.
If you happen to enjoy toasties, baguettes, crumpets, bagels, bread crumbs and laser beams, Toast Time: Smash Up! by indie developer Force of Habit might just be the game for you. This pixelated multiplayer brawler based on the “cult smash hit” Toast Time will be released exclusively on the Switch eShop on 16th November and is priced at €8.99 / £7.99 / $9.99. There’s also a 10 percent launch discount and you can pre-order it now if you live in Europe.
Here’s the premise of this game according to the PR:
Toast Time: Smash Up! pits players (toasters) against each other with a variety of bread and breakfast-based projectiles: Bagels, Baguettes, Croutons, Crumpets, Doughballs, Toasties, etc., more than you can shake a breadstick at. Using only the recoil/propulsion from fring to navigate, players must outwit their opponents by positioning themselves within line-of-sight striking distance, all the while utilising their favourite breads to attack in full advantage and take each other out. It’s mutually assured destruction.
And these are the features:
54 action-packed single player missions – each served warm with it’s own choreographed soundtrack.
16 exciting bread-based weapon upgrades – from crumpets to baguettes you’ll never go hungry.
2 – 4 Multiplayer SMASH UP Mode – garnished with all-configurable gameplay mix-ups.
Loads of colourful pixel art hats and customisations – glazed to perfection, from pirate to pharaoh.
Addictive and original gameplay – topped with intrigue and zealous delight.
Iron man survival mode and bonus coffee time mode – the icing on the figurative cake.
Take a look at the game’s brief announcement trailer above and tell us if this multiplayer brawler interests you.
Paul Davies is a game design consultant, editorial manager and writer who has been working in the UK games industry since the early ’90s. During his career, he has edited best-selling publications such as Nintendo Magazine System and Computer & Video Games, and has contributed to countless other sites and magazines. In this special one-off piece to celebrate the upcoming release of Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee on Nintendo Switch, Paul reminisces about his discovery of Pokémon at a time when the craze had yet to leave the shores of its native Japan…
1995 through to 1999 was something of a whirlwind period for me, as a direct result of how gaming was evolving, let’s say. So much happened inside those few short years, but one thing I’ve seen that has endured beyond reasonable expectation has been this peculiar thing called Pokémon. You see, I unknowingly smuggled the first news of Pokémon – or Pocket Monsters as it was known back then – into the UK after visiting Japan in November of 1995. I’d been on a press trip to cover the Nintendo-hosted Shoshinkai show, during which shiny new Nintendo 64 (or Ultra 64, if you prefer) was officially revealed.
Of course, most of the attention was on that amazing new console – who could ignore Super Mario 64, and the rest of that early line-up? Nintendo 64 utterly dominated the December issue of Computer & Video Games magazine, which I was editing at the time. However, amid the press materials – which in those days comprised of 35mm transparencies and high-quality photographs to scan – were a few images of the Game Boy title Pocket Monsters, with two versions: Red and Green. Our deputy editor, Tom Guise, quite liked the idea of this unusual game that featured little creatures that could be nurtured and trained for battle. We ran the smallest of news pieces, largely to keep Tom happy (quiet) as much as anything else. He had a hunch. We believed in those.
All went quiet on the Pocket Monsters front for roughly a year. I returned to Japan to spend New Year with my eventual in-laws at the turn of 1997. Tamagotchi was the big thing then, and my wife and I queued for hours to collect our commemorative gold and silver editions, much to her parents’ bemusement. However, also emerging from stores were these small clusters of junior school kids clutching their battered monochrome Game Boys, sporting Pikachu winter hats while assorted ‘Pocke-mon’ (the abbreviated form of Pocket Monsters, and not officially a name yet) mascots could be seen dangling from the bags of older children. Well, it was good to see that Tom’s thing was taking off.
While I was heading up C&VG, we had a guy based in Tokyo called Warren Harrod, who – as our ‘Man in Japan’ – would mostly visit publishers on the magazine’s behalf. We were also very fortunate that Warren had his ear close to the ground, so to speak, and his eyes fixed on everything that was wonderful and emerging in the world of anime and broader youth entertainment. Even he was surprised at the speed at which ‘Pocke-mon’ gained momentum in the wake of the first dedicated anime series, which started in Japan in the spring of 1997.
Now, C&VG (we liked to think) was the home of cool fighting games, mind-boggling racing games and basically anything that could be considered cool in the world of gaming – stuff like Virtua Fighter 3 or PaRappa the Rapper, that kind of thing. But here was Warren literally begging me to run a feature on the Pocket Monsters craze that had gripped the Japanese nation. It was no longer just the Game Boy thing; in addition to the anime which had brought Pocket Monsters vividly to life, there was the collectable card game and all manner of must-have merchandise. At this point, the team agreed that this could be a fun thing to read. After all, we’d run stories on Tamagotchi, which we’d then seen come to the UK, and a ‘Next Big Thing’ was always welcome. To add to this, Warren’s article was very sweet. He’d been allowed to interview his friends’ kids playing the CCG at a ‘Pocke-mon’ party of sorts.
I was fortunate to attend Nintendo’s Space World show in November 1997, where the N64 game that allowed kids to talk and play with Pikachu was first shown (known as Pikachu is Fine in Japan, but you might know it better as Hey You, Pikachu). The impact was utterly astounding. Crowds of bedazzled children and their parents gathered to watch the stage presentation. I remember that the café which overlooked the Space World show floor was also rammed with people with their faces pressed against the window, keen to confirm what friends had been telling them. The look on the kids’ faces when Pikachu responded to their words was unforgettable. This felt like real magic.
After spending another incredible New Year in Japan for 1998 – where Pikachu lunch-boxes, manga, mascots and train-station snacks were now the norm – it was clear that this ‘Pocke-mon’ thing had become a social revolution of sorts for Japanese kids. I had also learned that Pocket Monsters was to be released in the US that year under the name ‘Pokémon’. Having followed its progress for the past couple of years, I asked to speak with our Nintendo contacts during E3 1998, specifically about the series and how great it would be to make C&VG the home of Pokémon; after all, we had been pretty much the only UK magazine to give the series significant coverage and we considered ourselves to be reasonably well-versed in all things Pocket Monster.
No word of a lie, I had to explain to my Nintendo UK friends about why Pokémon was so cool, what it was all about, and the ways in which we could write about it in the magazine. For them, several months away from the US launch, Pokémon was probably just another name on a list of titles with a certain amount of allocated budget. I probably seemed a bit crazy.
I picked up both Pokémon Red and Blue as imports the day they were released. I went ahead and played this thing that had been bubbling under in the West while it raged in the East. Sure enough, the US went nuts for Pokémon, and at this stage the UK arm of Nintendo saw for themselves the potential. Sadly, C&VG didn’t get any official support, despite all of the groundwork we’d done pushing the game in the UK since 1995. Of course, the honour went to Nintendo Official Magazine, which was published by the same company as C&VG, EMAP Images. It was a real blow, but I do suspect that I had the guys at Nintendo UK to thank for putting my name forward for a mainstream TV interview on the subject, however.
This would’ve been in 1999, I guess. Fairly sure it was ITN, a breakfast news item. Basically, the questions were along the lines of ‘What is this Pokémon thing’ and ‘How long will it last?’ While I couldn’t have predicted 20 years of Pokémon passion outside of Japan, it was clear to me that it was here to stay. It wasn’t so much that it was breaking the banks of parents whose kids had gotten involved. Mainly, it was obvious that the likes of Pikachu, the mysterious Mew and darling Togepi had found their way into our hearts.
I’ll confess to listening to Japanese Pokémon songs on my way into work. I spent an entire holiday beside my wife with my face stuck in Pokémon Yellow. I had this awesome Pokémon Center Pikachu rucksack that I proudly paraded on the London underground. At work, I replaced all of my Mac alerts with Pikachu wav files – my email alert was literally ‘Pikapikpika’, which must have driven my co-workers crazy. I was a fool for Pokémon for a long while, but I loved it. Though I can’t excuse such behaviour at the age I am now (it was barely acceptable then), I now have my own little boy who tells me all about this thing that he’s discovered, and how cool it is, and please can he have it for Christmas.
To commemorate Ash Ketchum and Pikachu travelling together for more than 20 years in the Pokémon television series, The Pokémon Company is running a limited time event where you can redeem a total of five Pikachu in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon. These distributions match the ones from last year (minus the Kanto and Johto regions) and can be claimed in Japan, America and Europe.
Each Pikachu is wearing a different hat matching what Ash wore in each of the respective regions in the television series. In addition to the unique hats, each Pikachu has different moves. To add five of these electric rodents to your party, simply follow the steps below and input the passwords. This limited time event runs until 30th November.
Open your Pokémon Ultra Sun or Pokémon Ultra Moon game.
Select Mystery Gift on the main menu.
Select Receive Gift.
Select Get with Code/Password, then Yes, then Yes again to connect to the internet.
Enter one of the passwords listed below.
Watch as Pikachu arrives in your game.
Speak to the delivery person in any Pokémon Center to receive your Pikachu.
Repeat steps 2–8 to receive the other Pikachu.
Be sure to save your game.
Hoenn Cap – LETSGOPIKACHU06 Sinnoh Cap – LETSGOPIKACHU09 Unova Cap – 13LETSGOPIKACHU Kalos Cap – LETS17GOPIKACHU Alola Cap – LETSGO19PIKACHU
Do you still play Pokémon games on your 3DS? Or are you more excited about Pokémon Let’s Go? Tell us below.