Saturday, March 30, 2019

Got a Guardian Nendoroid

Last weekend I've picked this up on a local Manga Con. It already had my attention a year ago, when they've presented this as one of the upcoming Nendoroid figurines, but now I've finally got one.

Overall I'm not the biggest fan of the Nendoroids, because they feel a lot more like toys with their moveable and interchangeable parts than amiibo do. Well, you can really play with them and they are quite cute, but with that they seem like they would be more interesting for children.

This isn't even my first Nendoroid, because two years ago I got the Majora's Mask 3D Link (No. 553) with the different masks as a Birthday present from a colleague, who made a trip to Japan that year. I was really happy about the present, but to be honest I haven't even opened the box yet. It's just there in my collection.

The Guardian Nendoroid, however, is different. It's such an adorable little killing machine that I really wanted to have one and yes, even play with it.

"Pew, pew!"
"Stop it, little Guardian, that tickles..."

You can pull out any of the joints of his legs to make him look damaged. You can also replace the eye with one that has a laser beam coming out of it. And there is an Ancient Bow for Link, as well as funny Game Over screen.

But most importantly, it looks cute and makes for a nice figurine to have and look at, unlike most of the Nendoroids in my humble opinion.

So, I probably wouldn't start collecting any more of them. They are quite expensive anyway - the Guardian cost me 70€.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Cadence of Hyrule Announced

Well, here we have our rumored 2D Zelda eShop game already. Turns out that this wasn't something from Nintendo after all, but a spin-off based on the indie title Crypt of the NecroDancer. You can watch the trailer here.

My first reaction wasn't really a positive one, because this looked a lot like an actual Zelda game, but with super low budget graphics, as this was another Vanpool creation, the makers of the Tingle spin-offs. I'm not familiar with Crypt of the NecroDancer, so I wasn't aware that this actually a rhythm-based Action Adventure, which certainly puts it in a different spot.

According to the press release it also features a randomly generated overworld and dungeons. A randomized Zelda game is something that I've wanted for the series for a long time, where it's kind of disappointing that this idea is now put into a spin-off instead of an actual 2D Zelda title...

It's similar with a playable Zelda. That would have been perfect for a new 2D Zelda game, maybe one that focuses on coop gameplay. But instead of implementing this into one of their own games, they outsource this to a spin-off title.

Let's see, where this is going. But I'll have to play Crypt of the NecroDancer first. Maybe I can appreciate Candence of Hyrule more afterwards.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Another 2D Zelda on the eShop?

Before the Nintendo Direct last month, Vergeben said that the new 2D Zelda game won't have a connection to Link's Awakening (source). When it came to predicting the roster of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Vergeben was on point, but otherwise it doesn't really seem like we can trust the guy, as proven by the fact that the new 2D Zelda game is literally Link's Awakening.

Now, apparently this came from one of Vergeben's sources, who is confused about this reveal as well and now claims that he or she has heard about a different 2D Zelda game that is going to be eShop exclusive (source). But this is quite the claim, honestly, and far from a safe bet, because Zelda games normally get a retail release, unless it's Virtual Console. But the Switch so far only featured a Virtual Console via the Nintendo Switch Online service.

The only new Zelda that ever used to be eShop exclusive is none other than the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. And even that was just a FREE re-release of an old game with some new features.

So, one scenario would be that we're getting another enhanced port of an old 2D game, where it offers something new, but it's still too "shabby" for a retail release. This doesn't allow for many options, however. The NES games are already part of the Nintendo Switch Online service. A Link to the Past will most likely follow. And the GameBoy (Color) games are currently all ready for remakes. That basically leaves the Four Swords games...

Of course they might decide to re-release the Four Swords Anniversary Edition for free again, maybe make it even part of the Nintendo Switch Online service and add online multiplayer to it. That would be great. Or they could decide to finally do something with Four Swords Adventures, but that could be eligible for a retail release...

Otherwise the emphasis really is on "free". If they ever release something for Zelda that is digital-only, it's probably because it makes no sense to distribute it as a retail release for some reason, like this being a free to play game.

This could even happen with a new game. Take something like Kirby Team Clash Deluxe for example, which is a horrible example with its monetization via Gem Apples, but still an example from Nintendo. They could use the engine of the new Link's Awakening to make a new multiplayer Zelda that focuses on the Battle Mode, like the Shadow Battles in Four Swords Adventures or the Coliseum Mode in Tri Force Heroes.

Similar to the different Kirby minigames on Nintendo 3DS, they could take such a small mode and turn it a game of its own. It certainly had some potential, but ultimately lacked the focus it needed to become something lasting.

Well, this would be something new entirely and could be used to advertise Link's Awakening. "Like the minigame? Then get the real deal with this upcoming remake in the same topdown style!"

Right now we don't have any reason to believe that there really is going to be another 2D Zelda game coming this year, but it's a possibility nonetheless.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Zelda II - The Adventure of Link SPECIAL

This has been released next to Kid Icarus and StarTropics in the newest update of the Nintendo Switch Online NES library.

In this special save game you really start in the game's 2nd Quest / New Game+ with your Attack, Life and Magic values maxed out, and with both sword techniques and all Magic Spells available. This is exactly what we proposed, when the SPECIAL version of The Legend of Zelda got released, and pretty much all it needs to make the game more enjoyable by taking away the necessity of grinding levels.

When I replayed Zelda II on the Nintendo 3DS in 2016, I had a lot more fun with the game's 2nd Quest mode with the exact same setup. Sadly, it removes the excitement of discovering new Magic Spells and the hidden sword techniques, where it probably would have been enough to max out all the levels. But in any case it should make the game more accessible to those, who found it too hard in the past.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Return to Kirby's Epic Yarn

Eight years ago I rented and almost completed a copy of Kirby's Epic Yarn for the Wii. This Friday the game is coming to Nintendo 3DS, where I personally didn't like the demo as much. The new "Devilish Mode" seems rather annoying and the game doesn't actually feature 3D effects. With exceptions like Hyrule Warriors: Legends, I usually enjoy my 3DS games in 3D, so not even having the option is a big no-go.

And that's why I decided to finally add the Wii game to my gaming collection instead and complete it for good. Why am I telling you all this? Well, back then this blog featured a small review of Kirby's Epic Yarn, where now I'm inclined to go back and clear some things up.

While apparently the main game was quite easy and only took me one weekend to complete, I didn't get all the fabrics from the minigames. And it turns out that these levels can be quite challenging, where it probably took me about as long as the rest of the game. Some of the missions are outright frustrating and leave little to no room for error, where completing the fabric collection wasn't much fun overall.

I've also tried to play some of it in multiplayer, but for the minigames the multiplayer wasn't always as great as originally thought. There are levels, especially those where you have to collect a number of Beads or where you have to transport Carrie, that are certainly easier in multiplayer, because you can do twice as much in the same time.

But then there are missions where you just keep getting into each others' way. It's easy to accidentally grab the other player instead of an enemy or something in the environment. It's also a problem when the players get too far away from each other, because then the game drags one of the players to the other and often not to your advantage.

But of course this won't be a concern with the 3DS version, because it doesn't even have multiplayer. Instead it features hats with abilities like in other Kirby games. The 3DS version will have more fabrics to collect and together with the annoying Devilish Mode, I will stay away from that game as a completionist.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Bell Emblem

With the upcoming remake of Link's Awakening for the Nintendo Switch they've added a nice detail to Kanalet Castle. If you look closely, you can actually spot banners with a bell emblem on the castle walls:

On first glance this might simply be the Sea Lily's Bell, the Instrument of the Sirens that you get from the following dungeon, but both might actually be a reference to The Frog for Whom the Bell Tolls, the GameBoy game that the original Link's Awakening was based on.

Prince Richard is actually even a guest character from the game, where the music in his villa is the game's overworld theme. The frogs inside his house are another reference, since he gets transformed into one and they are a part of the title, much like the bell.

The bell emblem even made me realize for the first time that the Sea Lily's Bell in itself always has been another reference to that game, because it's probably not a coincidence that they've chosen a bell out of all instruments as a reward for the dungeon that follows the quest around Prince Richard and Kanalet Castle.

(It might even be the reason why this particular instrument was chosen as Marin's weapon in Hyrule Warriors.)

Friday, March 1, 2019

Link's Awakening Remake: Hylian Shield

One curious detail about the Link's Awakening remake is that Link actually brought the Hylian Shield with him from Hyrule:

That's not an item from A Link to the Past, though it appears in A Link Between Worlds – in a dungeon in Lorule, which makes no sense at all, because that should have been the Lorulean Shield. In this case it does make sense, however, and if they were to remake A Link to the Past, they probably would get the Hylian Shield somewhere in there, too. The original Fighter's Shield was actually quite similar in design, but maybe they would even go as far as replacing the Mirror Shield just like they did in A Link Between Worlds.

But let's hope that they won't replace the Mirror Shield in Link's Awakening. Well, considering that the Hylian Shield seems to be Link's starting shield this time, there is a fair chance that the Mirror Shield will finally return. Sadly, it's been completely absent since The Wind Waker (HD) and The Minish Cap.

In the meantime the Hylian Shield grew more and more in importance, making it effectively the Master Sword of shields in the series. Twilight Princess started this trend and Skyward Sword solidified it, where in Breath of the Wild the Hylian Shield again became the best shield in the game. But it doesn't feel entirely right, because in its first appearance in Ocarina of Time, the Hylian Shield has been neither indestructible nor the strongest shield. That was still the Mirror Shield at the time.

Maybe the Hylian Shield can even be eaten by Like Likes just like in the original and maybe the Shop will sell you a different looking shield as a replacement, which would put it into a similar situation as the Ordon Shield in Twilight Princess – just with the difference that losing it won't matter, because it will get replaced in the end anyway.

In any case the Hylian Shield in Link's Awakening should be more like this shield:

The original shield from the GameBoy classic. And not like the all-powerful shield that it has become over the years...

That would be a nice change for the role of the Hylian Shield, which is badly needed to get away from that whole Master Sword & Hylian Shield "stigma". Apropos, we also have to worry that the Seashell Sword will simply be the "Master Sword" as well... After all the original was kind of similar and it didn't even have an actual name in the game.

But I really hope that they will make it clear that this isn't just the Master Sword.