Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Monster Hunter 4G WILL get Western Release Date...

Capcom has confirmed that the latest Monster Hunter title, known as Monster Hunter 4G, which has recently been announced for development in Japan WILL also be released in Europe some time in Spring 2015 under the slightly different name of Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate.

 As well as promising that the new game would stay true to the successful format of previous Monster Hunter games, producer Ryozo Tsujimoto has promised that Monster Hunter 4: Ultimate will include lots of new game mechanics that should entice new fans to the series.

 Among those changes mentioned were: more vertical and lateral movement than in the previous games, as well as more multiplayer options, including the ability to hunt monsters with friends via online multiplayer, which is now being offered alongside the usual local wireless connection.

This is good news for all European Monster Hunter fans, although no doubt the news will come as a slight disappointment to those of you who had expected a 'late 2014' release date.

The game will be exclusive to Nintendo's 3DS and 2DS handheld consoles. Unlike last year, with the release of Monster Hunter 3: Ultimate, no Wii U version of the game has yet been mentioned. A video of the Capcom announcement can be viewed below:

* if you are having trouble viewing this video, please click HERE

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Game of the Week: OlliOlli [PS Vita]

OlliOlli is a new score-based skateboarding game. It has been produced and developed exclusively for the PS Vita by Roll7 who are best known for making IOS games for Apple Smartphones.

OlliOlli features fifty 2D side-scrolling levels, in which players attempt to perform various combinations of skateboarding moves (from 250 well-known tricks) as perfectly as possible in order to beat the current high-score.

Each level has a unique set of goals for players to complete, which can include reaching basic high-score targets to more complicated challenges like collecting certain items on route, grinding along on specific objects, or even refraining from performing certain moves during combos etc.

One of the best (and most frustrating things) about OlliOlli is that the entire game operates on a simple one-life system. This means that rather than judging the speed at which players complete the chosen level, as in some skateboarding games, the main objective here is simply to complete the level whilst performing as many combinations of tricks as possible in order to boost your high-score. If you crash once anywhere in a level, it is Game Over and the level must be restarted from the beginning. This adds tons of replay value to the game.

As well as being awarded for trick combinations, a huge number of points are also awarded for perfect landings, with no points being given for so-called 'sloppy' landings. The game uses a very simple control method, with all of the basic moves being performed via combinations of the 'X' button and the left analog stick. However, learning to time the use of these two buttons effectively is essential in earning a respectable high-score.

It sounds complicated, but don't worry. The in-game tutorial will help novices to master all the basic skills and help them to perfect their landings at the same time. Furthermore, all of the levels in the game's Career Mode are instantly re-playable by touching the 'redo' button on the top left-hand corner of the screen

Once players have significantly mastered the timings and combos in Career Mode enough to create high-scores, they may wish to take part in The Daily Grind. This is a special mode, which changes every 24 hours.

In The Daily Grind, players are expected to test their skateboarding skills on a random level of the game. The Player's high-score is then uploaded to the game's Online Leaderboards. However, the one-life functionality of the main game is also present here. This means that although players may practice the level as many times as they wish before the 24 hours elapses, they only get one chance to perform the level for real.

After the level has been completed, (which occurs by selecting the 'Play for Real' option on the PS Vita touchscreen), the player's score will be automatically uploaded to the Online Leaderboards. Players will then have to wait a full 24 hours before they can take part in The Daily Grind again.

Completing levels successfully will unlock so-called 'Spots'. Players can then challenge other OlliOlli users across the world to achieve the best score on the Spots that they have discovered in career mode. The highest scorer in the Spot Leaderboards will become the King of the Spot.

Completing all levels in Career Mode and unlocking all available Spot locations will automatically unlock a more challenging mode of the game called RAD Mode.

 OlliOlli is a game that is easy-to-play but hard-to master. Priced at a mere £7.99 (or £6.39 for Playstation Plus members), OlliOlli will suit most budgets,whilst the hundreds of trick combinations and different gaming modes means that it is both addictive and engrossing. In conclusion, this is a title that is bound to keep the majority of gamers happy for many hours to come. Overall Rating: 10/10

OlliOlli is available to download now from the PS Store. 

Friday, 17 January 2014

Iwata Refutes Rumors Of A Management Shake-Up At Nintendo...

President of Nintendo, Satoru Iwata, has today refuted claims that recent financial losses at the company had resulted in calls for his resignation.

Nintendo suffered significant losses in its overall game and hardware sales last year. Early this morning, Nintendo reported that it is revising its annual forecast. The company now expects a net loss of £205 millon at the end of its official fiscal year in March 2014. That’s contrary to its previous financial forecast, which wrongly predicted Nintendo would bring in a net profit of around £587 million.

The loss has been mainly attributed to the poor sales of Nintendo's latest home console, the Wii U, which has consistently failed to attract a high level of consumers since it was first released in November 2012. Nintendo shares have also fallen slightly in the wake of this news.

Despite the dismal fiscal forecast, Sotaru Iwata has flatly denied that there is any truth in a potential 'management shake-up' or in the fact that he himself had been forced to resign over the issue. Speaking to reporters recently, Iwata said: "There will be no major management shake-up in the short term," [sourced from: http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2014-01-17-satoru-iwata-downplays-resignation-talk] 

Sotaru Iwata has also apologized to Nintendo Shareholders recently at a special conference held to discuss the financial crisis. He said: "The most important thing is to reinvigorate Nintendo's business as quickly as possible... I will not resign, but stay in office to carry that through." [sourced from: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-01-17-nintendo-slashes-wii-u-forecast-from-9m-to-2-8m.]

However, even if Iwata's job appears to be safe for now, Nintendo are still going to have to work especially hard if they are to recover from the disappointing losses. Whether they can indeed turn things around is by no means clear. All we know at the moment is that Nintendo's future is clearly hanging in the balance.


What do you think of the news that Nintendo has experienced its third loss in three years?

Do you think that Satoru Iwata should resign as President of Nintendo?

If you have any thoughts relating to the article above and wish to share them with us, then please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

One To Watch - Mario Party: Island Tour [3DS/2DS]

The first Mario game of 2014 also marks the debut of the Mario Party series on the 3DS. The game which is called Mario Party: Island Tour, is filled with lots of fun mini-games for fans to explore.

The game is designed to be played with up to four players, and thanks to the Nintendo 3DS' handy Download Play feature, the game can now be shared via a single cartridge, which makes multiplayer gaming much easier.

The game's single player mode is designed so that players compete against three computer-generated [COM] opponents from the Mario Universe. However, players can now choose who their COM opponents will be and also alter the skill setting of each opponent in turn to make the game harder or easier to play.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the previous titles in the Mario Party franchise, the idea is that players must work their way through the island like a board game. Players must roll dice and move a set number of spaces until they reach the goal.

 All players (including COM players,) must roll a dice at the start of the game to determine the order of play - the player with the highest dice number goes first, the next highest goes second and so on. Players can also play mini games at the end of each round to earn more dice, and give them a better chance of scoring higher and thus a chance of reaching the finishing goal faster.

The game also features special spaces (as found on many traditional board games to date,) which can either help or hinder a player's progress across the board. There are many different spaces, depending on which of the game boards you have chosen to play, including the following:

SPECIAL ITEM:  landing on this space grants the player a special bonus item which can be used on their next turn. a few examples of special items include: The Golden Dash Mushroom; which allows players to add five more moves onto their dice score, The Lucky Star; which allows players to multiply their dice score by two, and The Setback Shell; which can be used to make an opponent take two spaces backwards on the board.

Players can own a maximum of three special items at any one time. If players earn more than three special items during a round, they will be asked to choose a special item to discard.

BOWSER TIME: Players who land on this space will be subjected to a random consequence imposed by the evil Bowser. These consequences are usually detrimental to the players' progress in the game, but not always.

An example of a negative consequence would be Lose all special items, which means that players will be immediately stripped of any special items that they have accumulated in the game thus far. An example of a positive consequence could see players Warp to the finish, thus giving them the best chance of being the overall winner of the game.

EVENT: This space triggers something which will either move the chosen player forward or backwards within the game. An example of this is the terrifyingly-brilliant Piranha Plant, which throws players backwards a number of spaces, depending on their roll of the dice.

CHALLENGE OR VS.: These spaces are very similar in that they will both trigger random mini-games. However, the rewards for completing the mini-games is slightly different. Challenge Squares will challenge the player to a mini-game, where being first will earn them a bonus dice or a special item.

Versus spaces [VS.] sees all four players compete against each other in a 'best of three' type activity. Completing the activity the fastest three times will result in bonus rewards.

There are a total of seven different types of main game boards each with different spaces and challenges available, which adds lots of variety to the game. Mini-games become unlocked during certain rounds of the game. Once unlocked, they will be added to the Mini-games section on the start screen and can be played independently of the main game.

In conclusion, Mario Party: Island Tour makes a very good addition to the Mario Party franchise, with humorous twists and turns and quirky mini-games, it is likely to appeal to most mini-game fans out there.

One slight criticism of the game is that some of the main game boards felt a little too long sometimes, whilst others seemed to be over far too quickly. Nevertheless, this is still a fun title to play with friends and family, as its easy and familiar style, as well as its colourful graphics will appeal to even the youngest of gamers. Mario fans are sure to find lots to delight and entertain them in this game. Overall rating: 8/10.

Mario Party: Island Tour will be available to buy from Friday the 17th of January 2014.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Upcoming Handheld Titles for 2014 - PART TWO: PS Vita 2014 Releases..

Hello! Welcome to the second of our Mini Gamers posts about the exciting new handheld games that we can expect to see throughout the coming year. Last time we had a look at the some of the best new 3DS titles on offer in 2014, and today we examine some of the best titles that Sony will be offering us on their PS Vita console in 2014. Indeed, we have unearthed a few surprises...

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z

Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z is the first Dragon Ball Z game in over two years. It will launch on January 28th 2014 for PS3 and as a digital download for PS Vita. The game will feature battle and co-op missions. It also allows players to create their own team of up to four players, and it will be the first game of its kind to feature Online Multiplayer.

Characters can now be heavily customized via 'unlockable cards', and players can team up any of the characters that they wish from those available. Players can also alter their battle style by changing Regulations in the online team battle settings.

This game also delves deeper into the historical backstory of Dragon Ball Z. If you were a fan of the original game or indeed a fan of the TV series, then this is definitely a worthy new title for your collection.


Trigger Happy Havoc

Essentially, Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is a murder mystery game. Exclusive to the PS Vita, the game plays like an interactive novel. Gameplay is similar in style to the Ace Attorney series, revolving around investigating different areas of the main location, and finding contradictions in witness accounts, but this time, the main action takes place in a High School where one of the students has been murdered.

The game has several different elements that can be enjoyed. For example, Class Trials allow players to discuss who they think the culprit is with the other 'classmates.' Class Trials consist of  four main styles of gameplay: Nonstop Debate, Epiphany Anagram, Machinegun Talk Battle and Climax Logic. The most common of these is the Nonstop Debate, where characters will automatically discuss their thoughts on the case, with potential 'weak points' highlighted in yellow.  In order to break the debate, the player must find a lie or contradiction from the displayed weak points and shoot it with a  special 'truth' bullet, which contains evidence that a statement is false.

If you like murder mysteries, then Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is likely to provide you with hours of engrossing entertainment. The game is scheduled for European and North American release on the 11th of February 2014, with a follow-up title Danganronpa: Another Episode being released later on in the year.

Toukiden: The Age of Demons

Toukiden is a third-person monster hunting game. Groups of up to four players (Via wi-fi or Online Multiplayer) or a single player with three other Non-Playable Characters fight together against various monsters during quests. 

 Players can customize their choice of weapons, armor and skills. Special abilities can be obtained through special 'souls' known as mitama, which can be collected during the progress of the game. These mitama can level up by gaining experience from battles, or by paying a certain sum of haku, which is the in-game currency.

At first glance, Toukiden: Age of Demons could be mistaken for a copy of Monster Hunter, but the games emphasis on co-op play gives it a great advantage. The game was released in Japan last year and it became the second single biggest-selling game in the country in 2013. 

If you fancy a bit of monster-slaying with your mates, then you should not have too long to wait as Toukiden: Age of Demons is expected to be released on the 11th February 2014.

Playstation Vita Pets

At first, Playstation Vita Pets could be mistaken for being an ordinary pet simulation game but we have to say, that this game does offer a lot more than the usual care, feed, wash, train and play format of most simulation games currently on the market to date.

Players can choose from one of four different breeds of puppy, each with his or her own personality. This is where the game immediately makes its own distinction from other games in the same genre, because your puppy can actually talk to you and share its thoughts.

It sounds mad - and it is! it is also strangely appealing as rather than having to guess at what your puppy is thinking, they can simply tell you. Players will of course be expected to complete the standard 'care' tasks of looking after their pet, cleaning it up and playing with it, but the game then goes one stage further, and adds an almost action-adventure element to the game.

Players and their chosen puppy can explore outside environments where you can work together to find clues and hidden objects that can help uncover the secrets of the mysterious Castlewood Island. There has also been hints of some special Augmented Reality elements, but no further details have emerged about this yet.

This sounds like a fun and original concept of a well-loved gaming genre, and Mini Gamers cannot wait to see how the game develops in the next few months. No specific release date has been announced yet, but the game is definitely expected to be released before the end of 2014.  A Youtube trailer showing the game's major elements can be viewed below:

So, that marks the end of our special look at some of the best PS Vita games on offer in 2014. Be sure to keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more new releases. We look forward to bringing you all the updated information on these games as it occurs.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Upcoming Handheld Titles for 2014 - PART ONE: Nintendo 3DS 2014 Releases...

It's 2014, and as always, a New Year always brings the promise of new games on the horizon. We here at Mini Gamers HQ have rounded up the best selection of handheld games which have all been scheduled for release in the coming year. In the first of two posts, we examine the best 2014 game releases for the 3DS, so which one will you be likely to spend your money on? Let's find out...

Kirby: Triple Deluxe

With an intended release date of Spring 2014, Kirby: Triple Deluxe will mark the series' debut on the 3DS handheld system. The game will keep a lot of the mechanics from the original Kirby titles, including Kirby's use of Copy Abilities, but new moves have also been added, including a new ability called Hypernova, which can be unlocked by touching a special kind of bean. The Hypernova ability strengthens Kirby's usual inhaling powers, allowing him to move heavy objects such as trees much more easily, or even grab large projectiles and hurl them back at enemies.

Several new mechanics, such as Star Boxes, which teleport Kirby to other boxes if he steps on them, and Glass Walls that rid Kirby of all his current collected abilities when he walks through them, are also introduced in this game. 

Kirby: Triple Deluxe also takes advantage of the 3DS' gyroscopic sensor and tilt controls during certain sections of the game. This game is most similar to the Wii title, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and indeed a lot of the copy abilities from that particular game do make an awesome return here.

 Kirby: Triple Deluxe has already been released in Japan, and although there is no definite European release date at this time, the game is certainly scheduled to reach European shores within the next three to five months. Kirby fans definitely have a lot to look forward to!

Mario Golf: World Tour

Originally scheduled for release in 2013, it has been a long wait for fans of the Mario sport titles. Nevertheless, we can now reveal that Mario Golf: World Tour has now been scheduled for release some time in 2014. 

No specific release dates or gameplay information have been provided as yet, but some of the main game features have been announced, including online leaderboards and Online Multiplayer functionality, as well as the ability for users to create their own tournaments, which will feature many beloved characters from the Mario universe. 

Professor Layton VS. Phoenix Wright

It has taken almost two years, but the 3DS cross-franchise title, Professor Layton VS. Phoenix Wright has finally been given a European release date. The game features characters from the hugely successful Professor Layton series pit their wits against that ace Attorney of law, Phoenix Wright.

The game is expected to include many of the classic gameplay elements from both franchises, and centres around a young girl who is accused of being a witch and put on trial. The game is also split into two kinds of gameplay elements - Adventure and Witch Trial - which intersperse throughout the main storyline. 

In the adventure elements, players can explore the main environments, solve puzzles and hunt for specific clues. Hint coins can be used to unlock solutions to puzzles and Picarats will be awarded for correct answers, with more Picarats being awarded for more difficult puzzles, which will instantly be familiar to fans of the Professor Layton games.

In the witch-trial elements, players will be expected to take on the role of Phoenix Wright as he cross-examines witnesses in order to defend his client. Whilst cross-examining a witness, the player can press them for more details, which can sometimes yield new information. 

The player's main task is to look for contradictions in the witness statements and present the evidence that contradicts their statement. If the player presents the wrong evidence at the wrong time, the player will lose a strike, with the game ending if the player loses all of their strikes, which again, will already be familiar to fans of the Ace Attorney series of games.

This game will also feature voice-overs and animated cutscenes, which is a brand new element for Phoenix Wright. 

There is certainly a lot on offer to fans of either franchise, and Mini Gamers predicts that this will be one of the top 3DS games in 2014. Professor Layton VS. Phoenix Wright is expected to be released in Europe on the 28th March 2014 - be sure to put that date in your diary!

Yoshi's New Island

Very little has been heard from that lovable little dinosaur, Yoshi, since Yoshi's Island was originally released on the Nintendo DS back in 2006.  Yoshi’s New Island is a 3DS sequel to the Super Nintendo title Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, and takes place in an entirely new location, Egg Island.

In this new chapter in the series, Baby Luigi has been whisked away once again, leaving it up to the Yoshi clan to keep Baby Mario out of harm’s way and embark on a mission to help reunite the two brothers.

Yoshi's New Island is expected to be released in Europe on the 14th of March 2014. There are also rumors that certain pre-orders for the UK release of the game may be accompanied by a dinosaur egg-themed storage box, but this has yet to be confirmed by retailers.

Super Smash Bros. 

For those of you who are yet unfamiliar with this series, Super Smash Bros,. is a competitive fighting game in which up to four players from various Nintendo games fight against each other. Players use a variety of attacks to damage their opponent, increasing their damage percentage which makes them easier to knock out of the playing field. 

Very little has been announced about the 3DS version of Super Smash Bros., to date. However, this title will mark the first ever portable version of the popular Nintendo fighting franchise and the game is expected to be released some time in 2014. Please keep checking in with the Mini Gamers blogsite for more news on the game's development as it occurs.

So, there you have it - some of the 3DS titles to keep watch for in 2014.  Join us next time when Mini Gamers will be looking at some of the best upcoming PS Vita titles.

Which 2014 3DS game are YOU most looking forward to

Why not leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts.