Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Too Good to Be True: Tingle Pack

This collection of DSiWare fun applications starring Tingle was released yesterday for the Japanese DSiWare system. It contains five different "minigames":
  • Fortune Telling
  • Tingle Timer
  • Tingle Calculator
  • Tingle Marionette
  • Tingle Coin Tosser

The pack will cost 500 Nintendo points. Considering that a single application like the Animal Crossing clock or the Mario calculator normally costs 200 points, this is isn't actually too expensive. But if this is worth getting, definitely depends on if you can stand Tingle or not and if you like those silly DSiWare applications. The calculator seems to focus on currency translation, based on Tingle's love for rupees. How many rupees are hundred dollars, hm? The marionette game uses your photographs from the DSi camera as a background, but seems to be pretty useless besides that. The only fun thing might be the fortune telling with the tarot cards and Chiko's mum.

However, we got Animal Crossing and Mario clocks and calcalutors and I'm still waiting for a Zelda version, but isn't the DSiWare system capable of more? Of course for Nintendo it's an experimental platform for marketing tests and all those applications are probably a defensive move against the iPhone, but an actual game from time to time won't hurt, or does it? Tingle's Balloon Fight on DSiWare for example would have been nice, since it's probably one of the rarest Nintendo DS games out there. That's something worth spending Nintendo Points on. But I'm not even remotely sure, if the Tingle Pack will make it to Europe. If it does, I probably just get it, because they had the courage of releasing this here (if I got a Nintendo DSi in the meantime, of course). The US won't see this anyway, because they voted for Tingle hate. It's not really a loss, but the new Tingle game Color Changing: Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love might be.


Official Site

Double Tingle: Balloon Trip of Love and Tingle Pack

Next to the basically most amazing artwork for a game of all times those Famitsu scans show actually two games and not only one. The big game is a sequel to Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland and instead of money it will focus on getting women. Awesome. It looks like they got rid of my major complaint of the first game: the bargaining, which is a good thing. Instead of gambling you will hit on women, which seems to work pretty similar to hiring bodyguards in the first game, but with some love cards instead of rupees. No sign of fighting enemies or dungeons, too, maybe the game will be a sole Adventure. But this is all speculation based on the few screenshots.

The second game looks like a minigame collection starring Tingle for DSiWare. It contains a fortune telling minigame, a calculator, a clock, a coin tosser and something where Tingle dances and it will cost 500 Nintendo Points. It was released yesterday in Japan, so we should get more infos soon. But looks like it's finally something worth getting a DSi for. Just kidding, it looks like crab and Nintendo is really overdoing it with those clocks and calculators. Anyway, the Tingle Pack seems to be the best deal, since you get five applications for 500 points, while normally a single application costs 200. If you like Tingle, of course. I'm still waiting for the official Zelda clock and calculator, but Nintendo should start coming up with some new concepts for their DSiWare service.

The titles of the games translate as the following (thanks to our Japanese translators at the Pirateboard):

"Color Changing: Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love"
"Too Good to Be True: Tingle Pack"


Friday, June 12, 2009

Tingle Teaser online

There is a teaser site for the new Tingle DS game online and it confirms, that the new Tingle game will be a sequel to Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland. It features music from the game (just listening to it makes me wanna play it right now) and one of the characters (Chiko's mum) as a fortune teller. Besides that it just tells you to stay tuned for more updates. I will do that and I'm officially excited. If the game doesn't make the same mistakes as the first one (please remove or at least improve the bargaining, pleeeaaase), then it's going to be fun and I will definitely get it.

The site, however, uses fortune telling and tarot cards as an important element. I can see, that this will end up as an important element in the game as well, mixing and picking the cards with your stylus. But what functions this fortune telling system is yet unknown, maybe it even helps you with the bargaining problem.

Link: Teaser Site

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Tingle Returns

There were rumors for a while now, that Vanpool is working on a sequel to Freshly Picked: Tingle's Rosy Rupeeland, but no one could be for sure. If you have read my review for Rupeeland, you may have noticed, that I actually liked it. It wasn't a great game and I wouldn't want to compare it with A Link to the Past and alike, but it was definitely something fresh, funny and enjoyable. So, what's the news? Apparently another Tingle game is coming to the Nintendo DS system. The advertising simply shows Tingle flying with a balloon and with something in his hands, I can't really identify (probably a bomb). The text asks "Fairy?". No, that's definitely not a fairy, but it's definitely going to be some fun.

The question is, is this really a sequel to Rupeeland developed by Vanpool or a new Balloon Fight with Tingle as the main character again (like for example as a small application on DSiWare)? The former would have something to do with Zelda, the latter not really. I don't consider Tingle's Balloon Fight to be a real spin-off of the Zelda series. It's the newest installment of the Balloon Fight series featuring characters from the Zelda series. Like Super Smash Bros. does feature characters from Zelda, but still is not considered to be a Zelda spin-off. Okay, this comparison is obviously lacking, but the point is, Balloon Fight is Balloon Fight and not Zelda in any way. Rupeeland did feature the typical Action Adventure mechanics, which a Zelda game should have and which made this game interesting for Zelda fans. If they get rid of the stupid bargaining system the game has at least the chance to be a small light in the shadow of Spirit Tracks.

Source: NintendoLife

Super Smash Bros. on European VC this Friday

Thank you, Nintendo of Europe! After The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask we get yet another great game on the Virtual Console before the US. I guess, if we can't get the big new games released early here, then at least the big old ones.

Source: Official UK Nintendo Magazine

Monday, June 8, 2009


Since the weather was bad, I decided to spent large parts of the weekend with this pearl in the pinnacle of 16-Bit RPG gaming. It's actually the third part of a trilogy, the other parts being Soul Blazer and Illusion of Gaia, but Terranigma really stands out here and those games don't have much to do with each other after all. It also only was released in Japan and Europe, not in the US, which is why this game is pretty unknown, though its unmistrusted greatness. It's an Action RPG and my very favorite one, it easily beats Mystic Quest and Secret of Mana for me. Actually, I stumbled upon this game, when I tried to get into Secret of Mana, but I didn't like the combat system too much there. Unlike in its predecessor Mystic Quest, which I have heavily featured on this blog a year ago, you always have to load up your weapon to deal some damage to your enemies, which gets really annoying after a while, especially if the enemies constantly dodge your attacks. And if you try to hit them Zelda style, you do nearly no damage at all. In Terranigma it's the exact opposite, the faster you fight, the more damage you do - that's how I like it, so I stuck with this game. And it turned out to be absolutely amazing, the story was really great, the graphics were awesome for 16-Bit standards and the soundtrack... uh, I love the soundtrack of this game, it really hits the nail and knows how the get the right emotions out of you.

The story of the game is pretty complex and very open to interpretation. It deals with the Gaia philosophy and the idea of having a underworld and an overworld, where light and darkness, good and evil are in balance. You start in a village in the middle of the underworld, where you open the Pandora's Box (which then becomes your menu), which freezes all the people in your village. To rescue them, you have to visit five towers in the underworld and defeat their guardians. This has the "side effect" of resurrecting all the continents on the overworld and the elder of the village then tells you to go there and resurrect its life. This is the first chapter of four, called "The Outset". In the second chapter of the game, "Resurrection of the World", you will ascend to Earth and revive all the lifeforms, including plants, animals and finally the humans. The third chapter, "Resurrection of the Genius", is the most interesting one, because you will spend most of the time with advancing mankind. With simple trading quests you will help expanding villages all over the world, which is a lot of fun. However, the third chapter ends with a surprising storytwist and you will die, only to be resurrected in the fourth and final chapter, "Resurrection of the Hero", where you will return to the underworld to face those, who used you for evil. I can only scratch the surface here, but you have to play the game at least twice and deal with some of the philosophy to fully get the story, the entire ending even is left open to your own interpretation. The game is rich of references to real events and persons and it takes place on the entire actual world, so you travel through America, Europe, Australia and so on. The world is shown as a big sphere and you can travel entirely over it by foot, birds, boat and even plane. If you hit a special location, like a village or a dungeon for example, it will go to the "action screen", where you can perform combat and other actions. It works basically like in Zelda II with the difference, that you travel over an entire planet. And even through the inside of an entire planet, the underworld with its crystal forests and lava lakes appears to be mapped on the inside of a sphere, which looks really cool.

Gameplay. Let's start with the combat system. You always fight with a spear, but you perform different moves, depending on if you're running or jumping or both while attacking. There's also a fast rushing attack, which I call the Minigun of all melee attacks and you can block projectiles. That's it, sounds simple, but it is a LOT of fun to fight in this game. You can also use magic rings to fight, but trust me, you won't. The combat system is as simple as addicting and keeps you getting back to the game. There are 25 different weapons and 25 different armors in the game, which is a lot. You probably won't use or even get half of them and there's limited space for 16 items in both categories. Four of them are reserved for the special weapons, so you have 12 slots to keep items as you please. Coincidentally enough there are next to the strongest normal weapon and armor exactly 11 weapons and armors with special abilities (such like elemental weapons or poison protecting armors), so it's not hard to choose which items to trash and which to keep. Some of the elemental weapons even may come in handy later, even if they are much weaker than your current weapon, because they can do more damage to certain enemies, if they are weak to the corresponding element. Like I said, there are also magic items. They are produced from so called Magirocks and you can collect up to 96 of them. While collecting the crystals is a very enjoyable sidequest, the magic items are totally useless, except for the BonePin, which teleports you to the start of a dungeon. If you use a magic item, you will get the Magirocks used to create it back, so the number of Magirocks determines the maximum of magic items you can carry at the same time, and not the maximum of magic items you can get during the entire game, like I first thought, which is why I never used them in the first place, because I didn't want to waste them.

But if you level up, you will always be strong enough. The game has a simple experience and leveling system. Let's say it in a way, that this game can be very hard or very easy simply depending on if you level up from time to time or not. You don't have to kill boars for days like in other RPGs, sometimes 10 minutes of slashing strong enemies is more than enough to reach a high level, so you can beat the upcoming boss with one hit. While, if you run through the game like it's Zelda and don't level up on purpose at all, some of the bosses, like Bloody Mary for example, will simply kick your ass into another dimension and you will need like all healing potions you can get to beat the fight. But it's not hard or annoying to get to a strong level fast, if you know the right locations to do so. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there and you're on the right level. When I played through the game this weekend, I killed 90% of the bosses in the game with one hit. But when I first played this game, some bosses were nearly impossible to beat for me, because I didn't care about leveling and couldn't do enough damage. You can reach up to level 50, but I never surpassed level 40, because leveling up after level 37 really is a pain in the ass, because the gaps between the levels become astronomical. But level 37 is enough to beat the final boss like in 4 or 5 hits, so this should do it. If you reach level 50, there's probably nothing in the game, which can stop you.

Well, the first chapter is pure dungeon crawling in the underworld. You have five dungeons in the form of the towers here and your first boss in the fifth tower. There are also two optional minidungeons, where you can resurrect the small islands Polynesia and Mu in the Pacific Ocean, where Mu is named after a hypothetical continent. While Polynesia isn't of any use, you can find one of the four special weapons in Mu, so make sure to revive this lost land (I forgot it the first time I played this game and then got angry). However, the entire first chapter looks totally "off" in the game, except for the combat it isn't like anything else in the rest of the game. And when you return here in the final chapter, it always feels like ages ago, even though you only have played the game for 11 hours or so. The second chapter then is about reviving the world, here you get four nature themed dungeons and completing them helps to bring back plants, birds and the wind, the rest of the animals and finally the humans. You start at the Amazonas, which is still a deserted wasteland and your journey ends in Tibet, where you resurrect mankind. The third chapter, which is about the mankind and advancing its technology, then ironically starts with a zombie town. Then you end up in a middle aged Europe, where you help to end the tyranny of the monarchies here. Then with the help of Columbus you will find the "new world" (which isn't really new to you, because you've been there before), where you will help the humans by creating new inventions like the airplane. With that one you finally arrive at Mosque and Siberia, which were isolated from the rest of the world before, where some mad scientist, Beruga, has invented huge robots and other technology, that goes even beyond our present. His goal is immortality for selected humans, but for that the rest of mankind has to die. Now comes the evil twist and I will put this in a spoiler box:

This is it. I just can recommend this game to anyone, who hasn't played it already. The story is appealing, the combat system is a lot of fun and the soundtrack is pure epic. Great Action RPG, if not the best Action RPG (there aren't too many, Secret of Mana probably is the only big "rival" here). I could get more into detail here, this article was a mere overview. But consider my recommendation, if you somehow can get your hands on this game, play it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

First Zelda Wii artwork

On the E3 Miyamoto finally gave us some more information about the upcoming Zelda Wii, he also showed an artwork, which was now finally leaked. He stated, that the game would heavily use the MotionPlus controls (if MotionPlus will be successful, but I don't have any doubts about that) and that the controls will be very similar to the sword fighting and archery in Wii Sports Resorts in this case. He also said, that this will be a new era (so no continuation of Twilight Princess) and gave us a little hint about the story, by pointing out that Link doesn't carry his Mastersword in the picture.

If you look close, the little girl, that somehow looks like the great fairy in The Wind Waker, closely resembles the Mastersword. In Zelda Universe Forums someone even showed the similarities in a graphic, so take a look. So, obviously the Mastersword will be alive this time and this girl/fairy/spirit/whatever is the physical incarnation of the Master Sword. It probably will be able to transform into the fairy, so it can communicate with Link, and back into a sword. So, the Mastersword itself will be Link's next sidekick.

My theory is right now, that this idea was created for first person gameplay in Zelda. There were rumors about a first person Zelda since the release of Link's Crossbow Training, where Miyamoto stated that this game is supposed to be a bridge to more first person games, and I even talked about this a lot on my blog in my "The Future of Zelda" articles. Nintendo experimented with the first person perspective since the development of Ocarina of Time and there even was a first person demo of Twilight Princess. Plus the first person perspective would be the perfect choice for more MotionPlus powered gameplay.

So, what does the artwork have to do with first person gameplay? We have a living Mastersword, that can take the form of a fairy or something similar. But why should Nintendo want to do that? The story of a Zelda game is ALWAYS developed around the gameplay elements, which they want to add to the game. I love the Midna example in this case, Midna was created, because they wanted to have a Link, who can transform into a wolf. But a Wolf Link alone looked boring, so Miyamoto suggested to have something riding on it - and that's how Midna and her story was born in the end. So, why should Nintendo want the Mastersword to be a girl? The Mastersword must be really important for the game (even more than usual) and maybe it's simply because of MotionPlus. But I guess, this case is pretty similar to the Midna one. So far they used the 3rd person perspective, because it was nice to look at Link and it was the best way to distinguish the different forms of Link in the N64 games (young Link, old Link, Deku Link, Zora Link, etc.) So, but now if you use the first person perspective, it would be boring for Zelda gamers, because there isn't anything interesting to look at all the time, you can't see how Link does his fancy sword moves with his full body and so on, like you're used to. That's why they needed something interesting in front of the player and what would be more interesting in the case of a Zelda game than sword, that is actually alive? That's a freaking cool idea and I believe, that's how Nintendo came up with it.

Source: IGN Miyamoto Interview

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spirit Tracks at E3 2009

New Artwork:

New Trailer:

What I love about this trailer is the whip. Link is doing the Indiana Jones now? But it seems like it will replace the Grappling Hook, because the use is pretty similar, except for the cool fact, that you can use this item as a weapon. And the train boss battle does look awesome, too. It reminds on the second official Twilight Princess trailer, where Link ran away from a giant spider, which got cut out in the later game. There's a demo playable at the E3, so stay tuned for more Spirit Tracks information. They also showed us their first Spirit Tracks artwork (see the picture above), the train definitely looks "badass" and it looks like your Phantom buddy does play a more important role, even storywise.

Also, Miyamoto is at the E3 and in a press roundtable he gave us more information about Spirit Tracks and first information about Zelda Wii. Spirit Tracks will feature four-person multiplayer. Since it's developed by the team, which made Four Swords Adventures, I'm hoping for some new Four Swords style action here, maybe even randomly generated dungeons like in the original Four Swords on the GameBoy Advance. But a small battle mode would be fine too, as long as they give us some fighting and no hide and seek game like in Phantom Hourglass, which wasn't too much fun. About Zelda Wii, more on that later as soon as someone posts the official artwork presented by Miyamoto.

Miyamoto stated about the multiplayer, that it will be like a tag game and it will be indeed more like Four Swords, but there won't be any swords used. Huh. I guess, we will get either something in the style of Navi Trackers (or "Tetra's Trackers"), where you didn't have any swords but lots of other items, or something similar to the multiplayer mode from Phantom Hourglass. Maybe every player controls both a Link and a Phantom and your goal is to be the last man standing.

And please give us a stage builder! Unlike in Super Smash Bros Brawl selfmade stages can't be too far behind original stages in terms of quality, because everything already is very simple. Imagine putting a small Zelda world together, placing a tree here, a rock there. Or a maze like dungeon environment with some fire traps. Wouldn't that be nice? Also, this would be a DSi exclusive feature, because you need a SD card to save the stages, and we all know, that Nintendo likes those small system-exclusive features to push their sales a little. Though the DSi doesn't need to be pushed, it goes like hot cakes, but there's still no real reason for a Zelda fan to get a DSi.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Metroid: Other M announced

Well... the Nintendo E3 press conference. I don't really know what to say. First of all, I'm disappointed (again) about the lack of Zelda Wii, I really hope, this game isn't taking them too long and there's a good reason, why they haven't showed us anything (again). I mean, on the conference they announced like four new Mario games, but not a single new Zelda game? Well, my hopes for a Virtual Handheld on the DSi was also disappointed, but at least not my hopes about a new Metroid game.

But what the hell? Team Ninja? I really like Team Ninja, I really do... for their animations of wiggling tits in Dead or Alive. Combine this with Metroid and you get a sexy Samus wrestling with Ridley. I'm not so sure, if this is the right way. For me the 3D Metroids were pretty much defined by the Metroid Prime Trilogy, now to change the gameplay, style, controls and obviously everything else again is a very radical move, or is it? But on the other hand it definitely looks better than a simple rip off like Super Mario Galaxy 2, it's something very new and hot for the franchise. So, let's wait for more information about this one. Storywise this game looks like the latest part of the series, while it shows us some of Samus' backstory, it has Adam Malkovich in it and we can see something, that resembles the final scene of Super Metroid. Well, I would say, it takes place after Fusion and shows us Samus' past with cinematics. I think, the only cutscene that took place in the actual events of the game was the last one with the blonde, pale girl in the ice station. One important question is now, how much exploration, puzzling and collecting items will become an important part of the game. All of this defines Metroid next to the action, while "Other M" looks right now like a fighting game with some beautiful cinematics. Actually, I'm worried, becaus it reminds me on the "Hardcore" trend of games on the XBox360 and PS3, which focus too much on cinematics, story and graphics, more like they're movies than a game. But I don't play a game for story or cinematics, I play games for gameplay and fun.

Update: A recent interview with the developers confirmed, that the game will take place between Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion and will explain what happened in this time, e.g. what happened to Adam Malkovich. So, the scene where Samus is fighting Mother Brain takes place at the beginning of the game. It's part of the R&D1 games' storyline and will show more of Samus' backstory. Also, exploration will still be an important part of the game despite the impression of the action oriented trailer and it definitely won't be just Ninja Gaiden with Metroid skins. With more than a hundred people working on this game, this will be the largest Metroid project so far. All members of the old Nintendo R&D1 team are working on this game, so they're alive and well, which is great news. They still have the idea of "Metroid Dread" in their mind, which might turn into a future project. So far so good!

But what happened to Retro Studios? It's as silent about them as about the Wii Zelda, we haven't heard anything about Retro for years now (well, except for the Metroid Prime Trilogy compilation), which makes me very curious, what their newest project will turn out to be. Obviously not a new Metroid game. That both the Wii Zelda and Retro's new project are kept secret, gives me still hopes, that they might be involved in the new Zelda game.

Links: 1Up Interview