Archive for August, 2014

Upcoming Mario Kart 8 DLC brings this universe one step closer to perfection

August 26, 2014


Link, Villager, and Isabelle are joining the race! Nintendo’s UK store recently listed two new DLC packs — and they feature more than just Mario. According to the listing, each pack will three new characters, two new cups, and four new vehicles, drawing from Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing games for track design and characters.

Here’s the listing in full:


Each Add On Content pack will contain two new cups, each with four courses, which, in total, increases the number of available courses by 50 percent. The Add On Content packs include classics like Wario’s Gold Mine from Mario Kart Wii, as well as new courses, some taking place in the worlds of The Legend of Zelda and Animal Crossing. New vehicles will also arrive with each pack, including the Blue Falcon kart representing the F-Zero franchise in the first AOC pack.

Mario Kart 8 Pack 1 – Released: November 2014

Pack 1 includes:

  • 3 Characters: Tanooki Mario, Cat Peach, Link
  • 4 Vehicles
  • 8 Courses

Mario Kart 8 Pack 2 – Released: May 2015

Pack 2 includes:

  • 3 Characters: Villager, Isabelle, Dry Bowser
  • 4 Vehicles
  • 8 Courses

As a bonus for purchasing both packs – as a bundle or separately – you can get eight different-coloured Yoshis and eight different-coloured Shy Guys that can be used right away.

That’s a lot of awesome news for Nintendo fans. Looking closely, we can see what appears to be an Animal Crossing village stage above Dry Bowser, as well as a probable F-Zero stage on the left under Link’s kart. I don’t recognize the stage on the bottom left, either — with the rough geometry on that hill, could it be based around Excitebike?

Also intriguing is the question mark panel on the bottom right. Maybe it’s a totally unrevealed stage, or maybe it’s a tip-off to the return of the fake item block.

Hopefully we’ll have all the answers in November 2014 and May 2015, when Nintendo’s slated these DLC packs for release. We might even get some battle arenas, too.

Until then, I’ll keep dreaming.




August 24, 2014

famicons final small

Diorama design based on the original Super Mario Bros., featuring recolored Japanese Famicom controllers. Conceptualized, painted, and arranged by myself, with help from this sprite sheet courtesy of Zeon and Beam Luinsir Yosho.

Vita review: Magical Beat

August 14, 2014


Phlat beat

I love genre fusion games. Love ‘em. So when I heard about Magical Beat, a battle puzzler slash rhythm game, I was totally into it. The core conceit is that you’ve got your standard colored pieces to drop, and now you have to drop them in time with the music or they scatter all over your board and make a mess of your life and everything you hold dear. That’s rad; I can dig.

Magical Beat’s genre fusion isn’t entirely fleshed out — I expected more depth from the rhythm element — but overall it’s a fun, charming little game. The characters are cute as heckums, the puzzle blocks are vibrantly colored, and the vocaloid soundtrack is insanely catchy. Said sountrack is so cute and chirpy that it’ll cause most gamers to run screaming, but most gamers probably aren’t playing Magical Beat, so that’s fine.

What’s not fine is Magical Beat’s lack of content. All you get here is a series of beginner, normal, and hell battles, plus the option to face a CPU opponent on a single song. There’s an ad-hoc multiplayer mode, but let’s face it — when’s the last time you played local multiplayer in a Vita game? There’s not even a minimalist story to enjoy solo.


Indies have arrived

August 11, 2014


Amidst a scarcity of big budget games, indies are stealing the spotlight

Looking through my Playstation 4’s media bar last night, I noticed something strange: a complete absence of big-budget, publisher-backed titles. There was the Destiny beta, of course, but nothing truly substantial, nothing I’ve actually bought. In fact, the beep of an empty disc tray is something of a running joke in my house — of course there’s nothing in there; we don’t even own a physical disc for the system.

For me, that’s incredibly weird. I’m not a primary consumer of AAA big-budget titles, but neither do I consider myself an indie gamer. I’m not prone to playing navelgazing, experiential indie titles; instead, I play scrolling shooters, platformers, role-playing games, kart racers, and brawlers. Seeing that my library consisted of nothing but indies came as a real shock to me.

But that’s a defining core of this generation: the walls have broken down, and all of a sudden indies sit flush alongside mainstream titles. New distribution models are allowing indie developers a voice, and they’re making that voice heard.


Wii U review: Shovel Knight

August 5, 2014


Dig it or shovel off

To miss Shovel Knight’s NES-throwback ambitions would be next to impossible. Styled after any number of classic Capcom platformers, Shovel Knight features colorful sprites, chirpy tunes, a wide array of weapons and powers, and eight wild bosses to bury.

Shovel Knight dispenses enemies with sideswipes and pogo jumps of shovel justice, unearths gems by digging up rocky mounds, and hops from platform to platform seeking justice. Not to mention he’s seeking his partner and love interest Shield Knight — she’s been taken by a shadowy enchantress, and it’s up to Shovel Knight to save her. I promise their relationship isn’t as banal as it sounds.