Review: AiRace Xeno (3DS eShop)

AiRace Xeno is a fitting title for this game, considering the game takes the exact same formula as its predecessor, AiRace Speed, but adds an alien-styled theme to it. “AiRace Dubstep Edition” would be an even better fit, because it’s the crazy hard hitting techno beats that set this release apart. Everything else is just more of the same with a cheaper entry fee.

For those who don’t already have an AiRace title on their 3DS, Xeno is well worth the investment. AiRace titles are all about locking the throttle to the max, and tunnelling through the twist and turns of some truly treacherous tracks at breakneck speeds. Each track offers its own unique style and track layout, with branching pathways and hidden shortcuts to be found. At first, you’ll barely touch the turbo button as you learn the ropes of each track, but to have any chance of success here you’ll need as much of that nitrous button as you can squeeze out of it. If at first you don’t succeed, go down in a fire of blazing glory and all that. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Review: Moon Chronicles – Episode 1 (3DS eShop)

I have fond memories of spending endless hours playing early home console first-person shooter (FPS) titles. We’re talking Doom, Wolfenstein and Quake, here – classic corridors, horrific monsters and ever more powerful guns to earn as you play.

While the industry today has taken the genre to new (and different) heights with giant leaps in technology and online competitive gaming, I do think there will always be room to return to the classics. Moon’s developer, Renegade Kid, is no stranger to retro-themed games, with its superb Mutant Mudds acting as a love letter to old-school platforming souls. Moon Chronicles, meanwhile, is a sci-fi throwback designed just for those looking for a shot of that FPS nostalgia. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Is “Lifestyle” Really the Best Path Forward for Nintendo?

This past Thursday, Nintendo held an investor’s meeting to give insight into the company’s response to the market pressures that it is facing.

Nintendo’s stock dipped throughout the proceedings. While this a normal response when any company when it announces a major new strategy, Nintendo’s recent offerings with the Wii U has shown that the company has been out of touch with consumers and the demand in the market. Which is ironic because its portable console, the 3DS, also showcases just how successful the company can be in its strategy to deliver top quality video games on a console that’s aimed for “the whole family.”

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Opinion: Sega’s Upcoming 3DS eShop Free-to-Play Release is a Brilliant Product Strategy

Nintendo and the mobile gaming industry; it’s a conversation that continues unabated. But while many will continue to focus on Nintendo, its once bitter rival, SEGA, is about to unleash a new strategy on Nintendo’s 3DS that holds the potential of being a runaway success: the service’s first free-to-play (F2P) title, Initial D: Perfect Drift Online; and in doing so SEGA is bringing the essence of the mobile markets to Nintendo’s console.

Speaking to Famitsu and then reported by Siliconera – Sega’s Toshihiro Nagoshi, whom is known primarily for his involvement with the Yakuza series, said “In Japan, the most widely used handheld device is definitely the smartphone; but following that, it is definitely the Nintendo 3DS.”

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Review: Jump Trials Supreme (3DS eshop)

For indie developers, the go to place for platforming titles as of late has been on Nintendo’s 3DS eShop. Titles such as Mutant Mudds and Gunman Clive have been of a consistently great quality, and the asking price has been low. It’s been a welcomed treat for an old-school gamer that grew up with these type of games, but admittedly, the genre is starting to wear thin once again – it’s been right at five years since Capcom reinvigorated the genre with the release of Mega Man 9. [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Review: Crazy Chicken: Director’s Cut (3DS)

The Crazy Chicken franchise has been a runaway success for developer Teyon on mobile platforms and understandably so: its simple pick-up and play nature is perfectly fitting for gaming on the go. Yet, this whimsical series has flapped its way onto Nintendo’s 3DS eShop and DSiWare services before and its set its scenes back in action once again with Crazy Chicken: Director’s Cut 3D.

Stripping Crazy Chicken’s gameplay down to its bare bones will find that it’s little more than a repetitive gallery shooter. Using the stylus on the lower touch screen to maneuver a firing reticule on the 3D display screen of the 3DS, you’ll try to make each and every shot count as you rack up the preset quota for each bird type to complete the wave. Remaining bullets carry over to the next set piece in the scene, where a new quota appears and the process continues until you run out of ammo. It’s simple, repetitive and if left on its own, it would lead to a direct path of boredom pretty quickly. [Review Score: 3/5 Stars]

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Review: Ohno Odyssey (3DS)

One of the joys of writing game reviews is that sometimes it’s the least expected games that surprises you. When Big John Games’ Ohno Odyssey came across my desk, the thought that came to mind was: “Oh no!” Yet, this charming little alien filled physics-based puzzle game proved my initial reactions wrong and put a smile on my face each and every time one of the little aliens cried “Oh no!”, as they approached their inevitable demise.

If you’ve played a physics-based puzzle game, the basic gameplay formula is in play here. Without directly controlling your character on a 2D plane, you’ll need to make proper use of a multitude of items such as ramps, springs and balloons to devise a path to get your alien to the level’s end, which is, of course, a UFO. Yet, it’s the little alien, an Ohno, that you guide that’s so charming. The way its circular form rolls around is charming and its large mouth and eyes are largely hypnotic. To Big John Games, all I have to say is, “Oh no you didn’t!” [Review Score: 3.5/5 Stars]

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Review: Heavy Fire: Black Arms 3D (3DS eShop)

Last year’s 3DS eShop Heavy Fire offerings, Special Operations 3D, fell far short of what Teyon previously delivered on the budget retail PS3 release, Heavy Fire: Afghanistan, even though it chose to stick with the same dusty desert setting. This year, Teyon takes us out of the desert heat and into the shade of the South American jungles to track down drug smuggling cartels. But does making the move out of the desert lose all of the game’s heat in the process? [Review Score: 2.5/5 Stars]

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Review: Gummy Bears Magical Medallion (3DS)

Gummy Bears Magical Medallion is clearly aimed at a younger audience, which is fitting for the younger 3DS gamers. As a cheap low budget title aimed at kids, it’s not terribly unexpected to find a few shortcomings scattered about, though it’s disappointing that the industry continues to expect children to love products adults would never touch.

That said the only thing magical found in this title is the Gummy Bears license – even fans need to stay away. [Review Score: 1/5 Stars]

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E3 Reaction: Has Nintendo lost Mario’s “shine”?

Now that the dust has settled from the storm that was E3 2013, the time of reflection has begun. The whirlwind between Microsoft and Sony has clearly been topping headlines across major aggregate gaming sites understandably, but not so much so for Nintendo. For better or worse, Nintendo decided to sit out this year’s conference, opting to shoehorn in a few small Nintendo Directs and offering a major floor at the conference (and several Best Buy locations) for attendees to get some hands on time with its upcoming titles.

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