Club Nintendo Update: Star Fox, Elite Status Announcement Incoming

A new wave of Nintendo downloadable rewards are now available and it is led fearlessly by Star Fox 64. Star Fox 64‘s going rate is 200 Nintendo coins, Super Punch-Out!! is 150, Donkey Kong (Game Boy) is 100 and Aura Aura Climber is 150 coins. All these games will be available for Nintendo coin purchase until August 4.

The Club Nintendo year has ended this past weekend on June 30th and those who have hit Gold and Platinum status are now anxiously awaiting what gifts will be announced. My guess would be Luigi themed gifts to enforce Nintendo’s Year of Luigi mantra for 2013. July 6 of last year was the day the elite status gifts were announced, so I fully expect the announcement to be coming very soon.

It’s a new Nintendo year, everybody and that means it’s time to start filling out those surveys to collect coins again.

Retro Studios is bringing Donkey Kong to Wii U

Nintendo announced this morning that Retro Studios, the team behind the critically acclaimed Metroid Prime series and Donkey Kong Country Returns is bringing a new Donkey Kong title to Wii U. Coming soon is Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and it looks like it’s bringing more of what made Retro’s first title for Wii so great.

Seen from a debut trailer played during today’s Nintendo Direct, Solid platforming, mine carting and barrel blasting all make a return. While that would be good enough, because DKC: Returns was just that impressive, what makes this title more intriguing is a whole slab of brand new dynamic camera angles that make this new title look like it’ll be both disorienting and exciting.

Also new to Tropical Freeze is the addition of Dixie Kong. The character that made her debut on Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest for Super Nintendo is again playable.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is set to arrive this November 2013.

BuzzFocus: Best of Video Games 2012 Nominations

Best Action/Adventure

Darksiders II (Vigil Games, THQ)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games)
Sleeping Dogs (United Front Games, Square Enix)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)
[poll=246]

Best Story

The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Spec Ops: The Line (Yager, 2K Games)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)
[poll=257]

Best Fighting Game

Dead or Alive 5 (Team Ninja, Tecmo Koei)
Street Fighter X Tekken (Capcom)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Bandai Namco)
[poll=247]

Best Console Download Game (XBLA/PSN)

Fez (Polytron Corp.)
Journey (ThatGameCompany, SCEA)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios)
Trials Evolution (RedLynx, Microsoft Game Studios)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
[poll=248]

Best Mind Bending, Puzzle or Strategy Game

Fez (Polytron Corp.)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Level 5, Nintendo)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)
[poll=249]

Best Sequel

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Max Payne 3 (Rockstar Games)
Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (High Moon Studios, Activision)
[poll=250]

Best Shooter

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Game Studios)
Spec Ops: The Line (Yager, 2K Games)
[poll=251]

Best Game for Children

LEGO Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (TT Games, Warner Bros Interactive)
Need for Speed Most Wanted A Criterion Game (Criterion Games, EA)
New Super Mario Bros U (Nintendo)
Skylanders Giants (Toys for Bob, Activision)
[poll=252]

Best Sports

FIFA Soccer 13 (EA Sports)
MLB 12 The Show (SCEA)
NBA 2K13 (Visual Concepts, 2K Sport)
WWE 13 (THQ)
[poll=253]

Best Racer

DiRT Showdown (Codemasters)
Forza Horizon (Turn 10, Microsoft Studios)
Need for Speed Most Wanted A Criterion Game (Criterion Games, EA)
Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed (Sumo Digital, SEGA)
Trials Evolution (RedLynx, Microsoft Game Studios)
[poll=254]

Best RPG

Dragon’s Dogma (Capcom)
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (Square Enix)
The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)
[poll=255]

Best Handheld (DS/PS Vita/3DS)

LittleBigPlanet PS Vita (Tarsier Studios, SCEA)
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (Level 5, Nintendo)
Resident Evil: Revelations (Capcom)
Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward (ChunSoft, Aksys Games)
[poll=256]

Best Wii/Wii U

The Last Story (Mistwalker, XSeed Games)
Mass Effect 3: Special Edition (Bioware, EA)
New Super Mario Bros U (Nintendo)
Nintendo Land (Nintendo)
Skylanders Giants (Toys for Bob, Activision)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)
[poll=258]

Best Game on PS3

Borderlands 2 (Gearbox, 2K Games)
Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Journey (ThatGameCompany, SCEA)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)
[poll=259]

Best Game on Xbox 360

Far Cry 3 (Ubisoft)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Mark of the Ninja (Klei Entertainment, Microsoft Game Studios)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)
[poll=260]

Best Overall Game

Dishonored (Arkane Studios, Bethesda Softworks)
Mass Effect 3 (Bioware, EA)
Halo 4 (343 Industries, Microsoft Studios)
The Walking Dead (Telltale Games)
XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Fraxis Games, 2K Games)
Xenoblade Chronicles (Monolith Soft, Nintendo)
[poll=261]

New Smash Brothers Hack features PlayStation characters

A new community released mod has been made for Super Smash Brothers Brawl and it features the skins of PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale and its characters. Battle Royale is notoriously recognized as an imitation of the Smash Brothers series, and with this latest mod, you can almost say it’s a knockoff of a knockoff featured on the originally knocked offed. Yeah, wrap your head around that one.

Mods and hacks are nothing new to the Smash Brothers scene, who’ve seen multiple community driven changes, whether it be an aesthetic change like this one, or balancing tweaks, etc. This latest release comes from Kitty Corps: Meow Mix and the download can be found by here. They are one of the many harmless hackers and hacker groups who are creating in good fun, and not to steal or rip anyone off per se.

PlayStation All-Stars releases in the states a little less than a month from today on November 20th. If you’re super impatient or bored of the currently running open beta, you can give this a whirl and have it serve as a small holdover until the real thing comes out. Just be careful though, because if you don’t know what you’re doing or not very tech savvy, you can run into some problems. Fair warning.

Gaming Exclusive: See the cy-bugs of Wreck-It Ralph

We’ve got five Exclusive new concept art images of the Cy-bugs featured in the upcoming Wreck-it-Ralph game from Activision.

As the name suggests, cy-bugs are mechanical bugs. The final image below shows the concept art, drawn to scale, of the boss fight with the Queen cy-bug.

Base Cy-bug, Flying Minion Cy-bug, Juvenile Cy-bug:
Each of these common cybugs are found readily throughout the game and can attack at any time. The different variations of cybug provide an interesting challenge for players at each encounter.

Base Cy-bug

Flying Minion Cy-bug

Juvenile Cy-bug

Lamp Cy-bug:
This cybug can charge up an energy attack to fire at Ralph or Felix from a distance. The best way to approach this enemy is with Felix’s hammer throw.

Queen Boss:
The Queen Boss’ most prominent feature is also her most challenging, her long, powerful arms. Players must think carefully and work as a team to take down this Queen.

Wreck-it Ralph launches on the Nintendo Wii, 3DS and DS on October 30.

EXCLUSIVE: Wipeout 3 Hosts on Life as Game Characters

John Anderson (ESPN’s SportsCenter), Vanessa Lachey (Hawaii Five-0, 30 Rock) and John Henson (Talk Soup on E!, My Name Is Earl) – hosts of ABC’s Wipeout and the new Wipeout 3 game from Activision – shared their thoughts on their new life as video game characters.

Read what they had to say and check out their gaming avatars below:

Anderson: “It’s odd to hear my commentaries in the new Wipeout 3 game. Usually I’m talking about other people or athletes accomplishments. Must say I kind of enjoy listening to my hilarious-awesome-self without saying a word!”

Lachey: “It’s definitely a first for me to see myself as a video game character in Wipeout 3! I think they nailed my on-camera persona and attitude. I love it!”

Wipeout 3

Henson: “It’s incredible to see myself as a character in Wipeout 3. I love being on the television series…but in the new millennium, it’s all about the AVATAR, baby!”

Wipeout 3 is now available for Nintendo Wii, Xbox 360 and Nintendo 3DS.

Producer Michael Graham Says Skylanders Giants ‘Creates a New Layer in Terms of Replay’

In this interview, Skylanders Giants Producer Michael Graham says gamers can look forward to “a lot of environment puzzles” and “secrets” in this year’s follow-up to Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure.

Watch the full interview below:

Similar to the previous game, Skylanders Giants allows players to interact with the game by placing a phsyical Skylanders toy onto a kiosk. The kiosk, called a portal, then transfers that character and its stats into your on-screen character.

The upcoming game adds a new class of characters to the series. As their name suggests, the Giants are larger than the previous Skylanders. Both the Giants physical toys and their on screen images are typically twice the size of last year’s playable characters. The Giants are to Skylanders kind of what the Titans are to the gods of Olympus in Greek mythology.

Graham states that there are several “secrets that we’re littering the game with – setting a quota to make sure that every environment has a lot of secret, hidden areas.” The Giants will open up the world to new puzzles, where size matters. However, the smaller Skylanders will still be necessary in order to maneuver through several areas of the game. Graham looks forward to children experiencing a “new layer in terms of replay.”

“Somethings are a lot harder to find than we had in the last game,” Graham says. “It’s about playing with other kids and other players.” Graham states that Skylanders is a social game as much as its a single player game. Children get together to share the secrets of which Skylanders to use in different situations.

skylanders giants

Skylanders will be expanding into mobile this year. Graham says: “Games and technology is out there to younger audiences. Kids have cell phones nowadays… Technology is there. Younger kids are using it. We want to just make sure things are out there and that we can get the Skylanders universe out there in as many ways as possible. It can really evolve into a cross platform experience.”

Skylanders Giants hits shelves on October 21, 2012.

‘Battleship: Prelude to War’ Comic Bridges the Story Gap Between NextGen & Nintendo

Activision’s upcoming Battleship game, based on events surrounding the upcoming feature film, will showcase a distinct story between Next Gen consoles (PS3 and Xbox 360) and Nintendo’s Wii and 3DS.

In order to bridge the gap between the two stories, Activision has just released a comic prequel to the game. It features Cole Mathis, the main character who engages in first-person shooter missions on Xbox 360 and PS3, and Danny Hunter, the naval lead on Wii and 3DS.

Battleship the movie stars Rihanna, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Taylor Kitsch and Liam Neeson.

Check out the comic below:

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Battleship

EDITOR’S PICK: Battleship Hands-on Preview

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Battleship

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Battleship hits the Xbox 360, PS3 and 3DS on May 15, 2012. Note: The 3DS game functions as a turn-based strategy game and is not an FPS.

Battleship on Xbox 360

Battleship on PS3

Battleship on Wii

Battleship on 3DS

*This article has been updated

Children’s Games: ‘PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond’ (Nintendo Wii)

Pokémon games are broken down into two categories. There are the core Pokemon titles, which have a JRPG setup and allow gamers to catch and train Pokemon for battle. And then there are the spinoff titles, aimed at giving children a new Pokemon game to play while they await the next JRPG game. Nintendo’s latest release, PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond for the Wii, falls into the latter category. This game is designed for children who want to dive into the world of Pokemon and play fun, themed minigames. The action is a little mundane for older Pokemon fans, who love the level grinding found in games like Pokémon Black or Pokémon White. However, the cute visuals and simple gameplay will be a win for the younger, target demographic.

PokéPark 2 Pokemon

The game begins with Zekrom and Rashiram, the two lead Pokemon that were introduced in Pokemon White and Black. These two Pokemon let you know that a “supreme disaster” is on the way. They keep the details to themselves, so that you can play through the game and uncover the mystery.

Players start with Pikachu. He finds his way to Seasong Beach, which is a theme park with a lot of curious secrets. Gamers get their first taste of misadventure when Pikachu discovers several Pokemon are being mind controlled. Now, he must befriend other Pokemon and make pals so that he can stop “supreme disaster” from being so supreme.

Pokepark draws on the usual cache of themed minigames, such as its own version of Wack-a-Mole. The only difference is that in this game the goal is to make a cake. The action and end result don’t really coincide, but it’s always fun to play a Wack-a-Mole game once in a while.

When you’re not playing themed minigames, there are Pokemon challenges. Gamers can learn new attacks or befriend Pokemon by challenging them to a battle. If you win, you will either gain a new ability or get a new pal. That new pal can be used to solve various puzzles throughout Pokepark. For instance, you will need to quickly switch to the water Pokemon Oshawott to cross lakes. There are also short mazes in Pokepark. These require you to use multiple Pokemon in order to work your way through to the end.

Pokemon battles aren’t too difficult due to weak AI. You can usually run around a Pokemon to dodge an attack and button mash your way to victory with a few punches or kicks. Using your powers can often get in the way due to the activation time delay or when the power is Wii-waggle activated.

Core gameplay requires you to hold the Wiimote sideways like a standard control pad. Using the D-pad to navigate can sometimes feel awkward when you’re trying to run across a rooftop ledge. There are several minigames that require you to hold your Wiimote in the typical point and shoot format. You can also take pictures of different areas of the Pokepark. The game stores up to 72 pictures and deletes photos once you hit the maximum.

Unfortunately, there are some Wii-shake controls that are grueling. When you need to open up portals, you will have to shake your Wiimote for an excessively long period of time to fill up the meter. The game doesn’t make it clear that it’s easier to open up portals (and requires less shaking) if you have befriended enough secondary Pokemon to your team.

PokéPark 2 is a fun little adventure that children will have a blast playing. There are a few control issues, but they do not get in the way of the usual excitement found in playing as your favorite Pokemon character.

*Games denoted “Children’s Games” are designed and reviewed FOR CHILDREN. The scale should not be looked at as a comparison to Triple-A games like Call of Duty, Mass Effect 3, or Fifa 12. These games are not about blood, violence and trash talking competition, but rather about a simple thing called FUN for Kids.

PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond
PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond
Genre: Action
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Creatures Inc.
Release Date: February 27, 2012

Rating:

8 / 10

New Video Game Releases: Week of March 13, 2012

There are ten new game releases to check out this week on console and handheld systems.

The week kicks off with Mario Party 9 from Nintendo, featuring an explosion of new mini games.

Sega hops on to Walking Dead fever with Yakuza: Dead Souls, taking its PS3 exclusive franchise into the world of the undead.

EA Sports pushes its Fifa franchise into the NBA Jam and NFL Blitz domain with Fifa Street, an edgier soccer game.

Nacmo brings Tales of Graces State side in Tales of Graces f, which should delight RPG gamers who’ve wrapped up Final Fantasy XIII-2 or who are looking for a change of pace from Skyrim. Also from Namco is Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations. If you’re a Naruto fan, you’ll definitely want to check this one out.

Silent Hill: Downpour from Konami brings the game back to its slow-paced roots.

The 3DS gets a new title with Planet Crashers 3D, a cartoony RPG combat game from UTV (note: this title was delayed).

Finally, we have three new titles available for download on XBLA and PSN on console: Defenders of Ardania, Shoot Many Robots and Journey. We’ll be knee deep in Shoot Many Robots tonight, where we’ll be doing just that.

What games are you playing this week?

Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm Generations
On PS3/Xbox 360


Mario Party 9
Wii


Defenders of Ardania
XBLA


Tales of Graces f
PS3


Yakuza: Dead Souls
PS3


Fifa Street
Xbox 360/PS3


Planet Crashers 3D
3DS


Shoot Many Robots
XBLA/PSN

Silent Hill: Downpour
Xbox 360/PS3


Journey
PSN