Posts Tagged ‘3ds’

wiiu

So I recently came into possession of a Wii U. In particular, the swanky Deluxe Set pictured above. I’ve been having fun with it so far. The only two games I’ve played on it so far are Nintendoland (Which comes with the Deluxe bundle) and New Super Mario Bros. U. I’ll blurb briefly about some of the big talking points of the system and what I think.

The System Itself

wiiu1

The system itself is oriented differently than most other systems. Whereas most systems have more width in the front than length on the sides, the Wii U system has a more narrow front/back and longer sides. I find it to be a bit more convenient because of my limited shelf space. The door that houses the media ports (1 SD card slot and 2 USB ports) has a nicer feel to it than the cheap-feeling hinges on the original Wii that came off so easily. The Wii U supports the original Wii A/V cables and sensor bar. Although the Wii U comes with a sensor bar of it’s own (for use with the Wii remotes), it does NOT come with standard A/V cables. Instead, an HDMI cable is packaged in. Convenient if you have an HDTV (which I don’t). Otherwise you’ll need to track down some Wii A/V or component cables (in my case, I still have old Wii, so it was only a minor hiccup).

The Game Pad

wiiu2

What a comfortable controller! This guy is pretty darned ergonomic! The design and buttons feel solid and not cheap. The glossy finish will leave some fingerprints behind, however. The TV remote function is really awesome, easy to set up, and even works when the system is not on (which is cool because my universal remote is missing)! The screen in the middle is high-def and is my screen of choice when playing NSMBU (like I said, older-ish TV. Plus, no aspect ratio or resolution setting looks right on my TV). As a result, battery life on this thing is not good at all. 3 hours maybe while gaming, 4 hours if watching Netflix. While watching Netflix (if you’re viewing on your TV) the Game Pad will display your current show/movie along with episode/movie information, pause buttons, and progress bar. The screen will auto-dim after a while, but considering how short the battery life is, I would have liked to see it shut off after a while on auto-dim. Luckily, the charger cord is of a decent length and total charge time doesn’t seem to be that bad.

The Pre-Installed Apps

wiiu3

Right out of the box, the Wii offers you 4 different video-watching services. Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, and Amazon Instant are all included right from the start. I don’t have a Hulu Plus or Amazon account, so I was unable to view anything via these services, but I did take a look at Netflix and YouTube. Netflix is a decent app. You can watch on your TV or the Game Pad. Switching between the two is seamless and there is no delay at all. I just wish the Wii U’s Netflix app had the auto-play feature for TV show viewing, where a new episode would automatically start at the conclusion of the current one. That would be my only gripe with the app. HOWEVER! The YouTube app is completely terrible. I don’t know if I’m missing something, but this thing was completely impossible to navigate properly. I hope this thing gets updated soon.

As for other non-video apps, the Miiverse app is pretty cool and easy to navigate. It’s like a simplified Facebook. Pick a community to post in, whether it’s an app or game, and you can comment on it, draw a picture, or give a “Yeah!” to a post you like or agree with (think Facebook “likes”). The eShop is alright the way it is… for now. I have a feeling it will need to be updated as more games get added to it. Two pages of games is not difficult to navigate at the moment, but as more games and apps are added, some clear division will be needed. The 3DS eShop has this problem. There is no way to view certain games unless you specifically search for them.

The Mii Maker is pretty much the same as always, but you can transfer your Mii from another system if you so choose. I transferred mine from my 3DS. That Mii is then tied to your brand new Nintendo Network ID! No more friend codes! Yay! You can also create a Mii from scratch or use the camera on the Game Pad to take your picture and build one from that.

The Games

nsmbunintendoland

Like I said earlier the only two games I’ve played so far are the ones pictured here. I really like both of these games. New Super Mario Bros. U is nothing revolutionary, but as a Mario nut, it sufficiently gives me my fix. Plus, it’s actually a bit challenging! Multiplayer can be played with multiple Wii remotes and/or the Game Pad. However, the Game Pad in multiplayer can only be used for Boost Mode, where you can tap on the screen to create blocks to help your 2nd player (and/or 3rd and 4th players). I would have liked to have the option to use just the Game Pad and Wii remote when my girlfriend and I played 2-player, but it wasn’t a big deal. There are also some neat challenge modes, similar to the coin rush mode on New Super Mario Bros. 2 on 3DS. Some are timed speed runs, some have you competing in endurance challenges.

Nintendo Land is the Wii Sports of this system, but so far seems to be so much more than what Wii Sports was. Unfortunately since I lack a Wii Motion Plus (merely setting for regular remotes) I wasn’t able to experience all games. I’m not sure I would have paid $60 for this (as those that purchased the Basic Set will have to, should they choose to play this game), but for a pack-in game, it’s perfect. Mario Chase and Pikmin Adventure are two of my favorites so far. I haven’t played all that were available to me, but we seemed to have the most fun with those ones out of the games we played.

Overall Impression

wwp

This is a fun system as it is and it has the potential to be so much more than it already is. I was a bit skeptical when it was first announced, but playing one could change your mind, if you’re wavering on buying one. The big annoyance out of the box is that EVERYTHING NEEDS AN UPDATE! The system itself (the infamous 5 GB download), each app, and both disc-based games so far. Some technical hiccups are to be expected with a new system launch and I try not to get upset about these updates (and I didn’t!) but it’s a bit frustrating when you’re excited to pop in the latest Mario adventure and you have to wait another 10-15 minutes for the update to download and install. I forgive it though. Just like every other system, it’s not perfect out of the box. It’ll get better with age. But as it is, it’s pretty fantastic. I’m not saying you MUST go out and get one, but if you were at least considering it… do it!

Hey, you there! Did you know I’m on the Facebook? I’m also on the Twitter! Guess what? I got that Nintendo Network ID too! Send a friend request to FiveDollarGamer on the Nintendo Network if you have a Wii U!

As always, thanks for reading!

 

OK, so I’m going to take a break from the norm of talking about old cheap games and talk real quick about the new 3DS XL. I had my original 3DS since launch day and it quickly became my favorite Nintendo handheld.

Sorry, toots. Found a new love. You’re old news.

When the 3DS XL was announced, I was skeptical at first. Nintendo had burned me before with an XL revision of their hardware. When I upgraded from the DS Lite to the DSi XL, I upgraded the day it was released. The very next day Nintendo announced the 3DS. I actually didn’t upgrade from the 3DS to the XL until about 3 days after it was released, but thankfully Nintendo didn’t announce like… the 4DS or the DS Phone or something.

Nintendo Phone, you are doing it wrong.

So yeah, the 3DS XL, it’s pretty amazing. Everyone is going to talk about the bigger screen and they should. It looks amazing. I first tried Pilotwings Resort on it and it looked pretty good. I still can’t play Pilotwings in 3D though. It’s too much side-to-side movement for me. I then tried Super Mario 3D Land. This was a game I liked playing in both 3D and not 3D on my old system. It looked just as good as before. But what really made me fall in love with this system was playing Mario Kart 7 on it. Mario Kart 7 was already my favorite 3DS release so far, but I didn’t like playing it in 3D. That changes with the XL. Mario Kart 7 looks stunning in 3D on the XL. It’s stunning to the point where I can’t play it without 3D on anymore. It’s that good. If you want to see the difference between the 3DS and 3DS XL play Mario Kart 7 on it. If you are showcasing the XL to someone, show them Mario Kart 7.

Don’t really have a caption for this… paragraph was getting kinda long… wanted to put a relevant picture to break it up… WAHOO! MARIO!

Another thing about the XL is the size in regards to pockets. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m a bigger guy with bigger pants and therefore bigger pockets, but the XL fits in my pocket just fine. In fact, I think it fits better because of its slimmer profile. It doesn’t bulge in your pocket as far. If you have the means, get one! Being the cheap-ass I am, I traded in my old 3DS and a bunch of games and scored mine for $35 out of pocket.

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System: 3DS eShop (also available on PC, Mac, and Android)

Release Date: December 29th, 2011

Rarity: N/A (it’s a download-only game after all!)

Price: $7.99

“Wait, hold on, FDG! I thought your name was the FIVE Dollar Gamer! What’s this $7.99 business?!” Let me spin you a tale, dear reader. You see, fairly recently (as of the time this article was written) Nintendo started discounting a game for a weekend. One of the first games they made cheap(er) for a weekend was retro-modern (modern-retro) game VVVVVV. What magical price point did they discount this game to? Why, it was lowered… for one weekend… to $4.99. Which happens to be the regular price for the game on Steam… soooo I win on a technicality? I’d rather play on my 3DS anyway.

Nintendo knows me.

I’ll admit the thing that initially hooked me, beside the price, was the retro-style graphics. Despite the 80’s PC-looking graphics, this was a game developed only a couple of years ago. It is part of a growing trend of indie games utilizing 8-bit graphics in modern-day games. But you know what? This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the game programmed around it is good. I have been conned before into playing a bad game because the retro graphics made me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days” of gaming.

Pictured: One of the thieving bastards.

VVVVVV is quite an interesting game. You play as Captain Viridian and you must rescue the other crew members of your spaceship after a teleport goes wrong and separates your crew. Each crew member’s name starts with a V (hence the name of the game). The game is open-ended, allowing you to begin your journey in any direction. Viridian moves from screen to screen avoiding spikes, enemies, and other traps and dangers. But you don’t do this by jumping or shooting some kind of awesome space blaster. The controls for this game are very simple. L, R, A, B, X, and Y all serve the same function. Hit one of these buttons and gravity will flip, allowing Viridian to walk on the ceiling.

“Hey spikes! I can see down your shirt!”

For a game with such a simple control scheme it can be downright brutal at times. Some rooms are like puzzles that you must navigate flawlessly to get through. One wrong move will send you back to the last checkpoint. Lucky for us, the checkpoints are plentiful. Also lucky for us, the lives are like soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden, completely unlimited.

But less likely to give you an upset stomach.

It may not seem like there is too much to this game, but just when you’re beginning to think that, a new small twist gets thrown at you that drastically changes how you play certain sections of the game. For example, after finding one of your crewmates, a teleporter once again fails on you, and instead of bringing you back to your ship, you must navigate several rooms of death with your partner in tow. Problem: While your crew member will automatically follow you, he does not have the same gravity-defying abilities you do. The strategy lies in the fact that he will not move while you are on the ceiling. Once you hit the floor he will come running to your location. One room will have you flipping back and forth between the floor and ceiling several times as your crewmate navigates a series of moving platforms placed precariously above and below a series of spikes. Oh, and stay on the platforms too long and it will deliver his squishy skull into the bloodthirsty spikes.

This is that room. The room that nearly broke me. It broke Viridian several times though!

There are also several collectables scattered throughout. These shiny trinkets don’t server a purpose at first and it isn’t explained to you (at least not up to the point I played) what purpose collecting all 20 will do, but Viridian brushes it off by basically saying “Eh, why not?!”

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

If you want a game that will test your patience with challenging action puzzles, this is the perfect game for you. I had to put the game down at several points (especially during “…Not as I Do”) just to avoid bursting out in a series of swears. But not once did I feel like it was the game’s fault. The flipping mechanic and physics are smooth as buttah. And the rush of relief I got after getting through “…Not as I Do” was what put the game over the top for me. It was some kind of weird high for me. That a game can get me so emotionally invested, not through its story, but through its gameplay is just… awesome. If you don’t want to pay $7.99 for it on the 3DS eShop, like I said, it’s $4.99 on Steam ($2.49 during the summer sale!).

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System: Game Boy

Release Date: March 1991 (Game Boy)/January 18th, 2012 (3DS Virtual Console)

Rarity: 48%

Price/Location: $2.99/Nintendo eShop

I love Nintendo. Nintendo is in my blood. Nintendo has been in my house in one form or another since before I was even born (full disclosure: 1987). So when I am virtually strolling along the Virtual Console section of their 3DS eShop, I tend to take their word for it when they upload classic Game Boy games. A lot of these games I had never heard of. I saw it as a virtual goldmine of material. Classic, unknown Game Boy games hand-picked by Nintendo to be shared with gamers worldwide, all priced at under $5 no less! Some of these games I had played before and were better known like Super Mario Land 2 and Kirby’s Dream Land, but the Five Dollar Gamer likes to keep his game review choices as sight unseen as possible.

Shut up Neil deGrasse Tyson or I’ll give you some stars to look at.

I chose Maru’s Misson from the bunch because it was about a ninja. Ninjas are cool. How could I go wrong with this game? It’s from the early 1990s and it’s about ninjas.

This assertion typically applies only to video games.

Before I discuss the game play I wanted to point out the hilariously inaccurate box art. I mentioned this game was about ninjas, but as you can tell from the American box art, there appears to be an average 1991 kid featured. The screenshots shown on the 3DS VC store show a cute little ninja sprite.

Awwww. :3

Why? Why change it? Would Americans not buy a game with ninjas on it? Is it not American enough? Why must we change the box art for game about a freakin’ ninja into one featuring a character who looks NOTHING like his in-game counterpart. It should have prepared me for what I was about to stumble into.

Yeah. That’s stupid. No kid would want that. Give him a backwards cap and a Walkman.

The opening cinematic gives you the bare-bones basics of the razor-thin plot of this game. You, Maru, are walking with your girlfriend, Cori, in New York when a monster jumps out of the water and kidnaps her. That’s it. No dialogue. I forgive this transgression against storytelling because it’s an early-1990s Game Boy game and hope that like Chaos Legion before this, the gameplay will make up for the forgettable (non-) story. So the controls are pretty straightforward and standard platformer fare. A to jump, B to attack/shoot. If you hold A you can jump higher… all the way off the screen even. You’ll eventually come crashing down though, so don’t think you’ll be pulling a Kirby and flying through the level to avoid enemies.

Chicken.

When you throw your shurikens at an enemy and defeat it, you get an item that refills 5 units of health, which is useful because each hit will cost you 10. Now, these health items I’m assuming are supposed to be the spirit of the enemy you killed, but my dirty mind can’t help but wistfully play in the gutter and think it looks like something else…

I’ll just come (pun not intended) out and say it. It looks like sperm.

At about the same point in each level, right near the start you get a random power up such as bombs, comet-looking things that shoot from left to right wiping out any enemy in your way or a warp to the end of the level. Yes. Randomly it will warp you to the end of the level. I’ll talk more about this in the summary. The levels themselves are not too long and before you know it you’re at the first miniboss, Eyeclops. He goes down easy and gives you an item to help fight the level boss, Insector. Now, I don’t mean, you defeat him and an item pops out of nowhere or you gain access to an item he was guarding. He willfully gives it to you saying it will help you defeat the boss.

I’d thank you if your lack of loyalty didn’t sicken me.

You get to Insector beat him and he tells you Cori has been moved to Romania. So off to Romania, right? Whoa, whoa, whoa! Not so fast there, gamer! You’re going to go kill sharks first! …what?!

Ancient ninja secret. They never tell gaijin about the part of ninja training where they use harpoon guns to kill aquatic life.

So then. After that odd distraction, you’re off to Romania now! … … … I said you’re off to Romania now! … … …

Everyone is familiar with the arid Romanian desert right? When I think “Romania” I think “F*** Dracula! Watch out for that killer cacti!”

Whatever. You fight Wolfman and he gives you some garlic to fight Dracula. At least the 2nd part of this level is true to the image one would ACTUALLY think of when picturing Romania. Kill Dracula and he tells you Cori has been moved to Greece where Medusa awaits. They sure are going through a lot of trouble to keep Cori away from me. Greece is some kind of underground bone dungeon. I made it to the miniboss, Golem. That’s where I stopped. I’ll explain why.

Verdict: BARGAIN BIN

This game pissed me off. The flimsy story, questionable shark killing, and misused environments are one thing, but on 3 separate playthroughs I made it to the Golem and died. What happens when you die? Well, let me show you:

Push Start… to waste your time.

No lives. No continues. Die, and it’s back to the title screen. Remember when I said I’ll talk more about the “warp to the boss” power-up? I wanted to talk about it here because it’s one of the things that pissed me off about this game. I started off one particular level low on health and had planned on meticulously defeating enemies and gaining health so that I had plenty of leeway in battling the boss. Nope. I warped to the end of the level still low on health and soon to be destroyed by said boss. The health power ups are useless since you lose more when you get hit than you gain by getting the health item. In many games it’s a 1:1 ratio or a #>1:1 ratio. In this game it’s 1:2. Sure, it makes it challenging. But when there are so many freaking enemies on screen, they’re hard to avoid. Not to mention, said enemy count causes some significant slowdown. Nintendo may have acquired the rights to distribute a bunch of Jaleco Game Boy games digitally, but that doesn’t mean that should have. I can’t vouch for the other Jaleco games they put up on there, but this game doesn’t make me want to take a shot at them. If you have a 3DS, please, leave this game in the virtual bargain bin. You can do way better for about $3.

Like using that $3 to buy (roughly) a gallon of gas to drive to the store to by a better game.

That does it for Episode 4 of Five Dollar Gamer! If you want to leave comments, praise, criticisms, or suggestions you can leave them here, or on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

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