Monday, 30 June 2014

Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition Review [PS Vita]



If you are old enough to remember those now 'ancient' computer systems like the the Amiga and the Atari ST, then you may well be old enough to remember a quirky game called Another World. The game first launched in Japan in 1991, where it quickly became noted for its cinematic cutscenes and in-game style, which eventually helped to make it a popular title in other countries too.

 The game was designed by French-born video game designer, √Čric Chahi, and  tells a story of Lester, a young scientist who, as a result of a failed experiment, finds himself transported to a mysterious and foreboding alien world. It is a dangerous and unknown environment full of deadly creatures, hard to cross chasms and unfriendly aliens, and the only way for Lester to make it through alive is if he fights for his survival.




Now, twenty-three years after the game was first released, Another World is set to make its debut on the PS Vita. So what can users really expect from this game? Well, the game has tried its best to stay as close to the original version as possible, both in its controls and in its visual style, so it is likely to be a game that will appeal to many traditional retro gaming enthusiasts. The game's original graphics have been rendered in High Definition, but pressing triangle will return them to their former graphic style.

Another World is a traditional Platformer and uses two buttons: X and Square, and the D-pad for movement. Holding down the X button allows Lester to sprint, shoot, charge a shield, unleash a power shot or kick, whereas a press of Square will allow you to jump.

However, this unusual and restrictive choice of controls felt quite difficult to master, which often made the game feel unresponsive and slow at times. The uneven use of the X button for many of the in-game actions felt very odd indeed, as the X button felt like the more natural choice for the 'jump' control instead.




The game also features some quite tricky puzzles that will need to be solved in order to progress to the next level. The game demands a high level of observation and accuracy, as failing to correctly shoot a dangerous item or locating a particular hidden switch in one area of the game could mean a very quick 'Game Over' scenario in subsequent levels.



Having trouble viewing this trailer? CLICK HERE


Depending on what kind of a gamer you are, you are likely to find the process of watching Lester die and having to reload your last saved checkpoint, either immensely challenging and engaging, or very tedious and difficult. We here at Mini Gamers HQ found it to be a bit of a mixture at different times in the game.

Nevertheless, for those of you who are not put off by seeing the 'Game Over' screen flash up several times in a row (and believe us, it will happen over and over again), or those of you who do enjoy a unique and challenging gameplay format, then this game is definitely worth a look, as the story is very interesting and entertaining despite its distinct lack of dialogue, which is quite hard to achieve.

 This is a game where the adage: "practice makes perfect" constantly springs to mind, because reloading checkpoints is a good way of learning where you went wrong, and eventually you will be able to complete all the levels with a relative amount of ease, assuming that you haven't given up playing the game entirely by that point, of course!




In conclusion, Another World: 20th Anniversary Edition is not a game that will appeal to everyone. Its retro button controls and difficult puzzles may prove a bit frustrating to some gamers. Nevertheless, the game does have a good plot and will definitely appeal to fans of the original game or to retro gamers in general. Overall Mini Gamers rating: 5/10.



Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Love Is In The Air...Or Is It? How to make Miis Into Sweethearts Or Get Married In Tomodachi Life.



Mini Gamers has noticed that a few of you have been inquiring about how to get your Miis to fall in love and become sweethearts in Tomodachi Life.  Well, as in real life, the game contains an element of chance, so there is no sure-fire way to be certain that the two Miis you wish to match up will actually fall for each other, as it all depends on their compatibility and personality traits, but there are certain elements that will make it easier for your chosen Miis to get together:

  • Friends first, Sweethearts later:
Having your two chosen Miis become friends and start hanging around together a lot, eventually leading to them becoming 'best friends,' will no doubt increase the relationship scores of your two chosen Miis, and may make one of them think about asking the other one out. 

When the relationship reaches a certain level, one of your chosen Miis will say something like: "I think [Mii name] likes me. What do you think?"  You can then encourage your Mii to pursue the desired relationship.


  • Compatibility Rating: 
It might be worth checking your Miis compatibility rating before deciding to let them become a couple. The compatibility rating is based on things such as your Miis likes and dislikes and their individual personalities. 

Nevertheless, the compatibility rating is merely a guide, and it is possible to have Miis with low compatibility form relationships with each other over time, just as it is equally possible to have Miis with a high compatibility rating suddenly wish to break-up after being in a relationship for only a short time. It is part of the quirky nature that is Tomodachi Life, and there does not seem to be a specific rhyme or reason to it.



  • Mii Matchmakers:
Other Miis on the island may also have a suggestion about who would make a good couple and may prompt you by saying something like: "I think [Person A] and [Person B] should get together, what should I do?"  

You should encourage the matchmaking Mii to get their suggested couple on some dates and see what happens. If the two Miis have compatible personalities, then cupid's arrow just might hit its intended target once they have both agreed to a date.



  •  It's All Hearts And Orange Balloons:

A good way of telling whether a potential romance is about to blossom is to watch the various thought balloons that surround your Tomodachi Islanders. Hearts often mean that romance is close at hand, while orange thought balloons with the face of another Mii in it can mean that the Mii who thought it has romantic feelings for the person whose face is being displayed.




Failure To Prepare Is To Prepare To Fail etc.: 

Once your Mii has decided to ask another Mii out, you can choose to help them by selecting the manner in which the Mii asks out his/her chosen date (e.g. sing a song, give a present, etc), as well as the setting where the Miis should meet, and what clothing the Mii should wear in order to make a good impression on their intended sweetheart.

Again, there is no way of knowing whether the combination of all these elements will actually result in a successful romantic coupling, as this will all depend on whether the object of your Mii's affections has a compatible personality, and his or her individual likes or dislikes and general mood.

If the object of your Mii's affections also happens to have a high compatibility with another potential suitor on the island, then that rival Mii may well show up on your Mii's date and also declare their affections for your Mii's intended sweetheart

It will then be up to the Mii who is the object of those desires to make a choice between his or her available suitors, so even after planning the perfect date, your Mii may still find themselves being spurned by the one they love. Thus, (Tomodachi) life can sure seem unfair at times, can't it?




Proposing Marriage: 

Once your chosen Miis have become sweethearts, they may wish to marry. Oddly, the process of getting your Mii to propose to his or her sweetheart depends on a quirky little mini-game in which a series of Tomodachi Mii faces will appear to flash through your Mii's mind. Only one of these Miis will be your Mii's intended fiance(e). 

The object of the mini-game is to tap on the heart symbol every time your Mii's sweetheart is displayed, but you will have to be quick, as it will only be on screen for about one second before another face appears. 

If you correctly select your Mii's sweetheart three times in quick succession, then the proposal will be accepted and your Miis will be free to enjoy married bliss and unlock new portions of the game that can only be accessed by married characters. 

Don't worry if you fail the mini-game, there will always be another chance for your Mii to propose again, but it may not happen straightaway, so you will have to be patient.



In conclusion, the nature of Tomodachi Life means that the game is subject to a lot of random (and sometimes unwanted) gameplay. The player's role is much more voyeuristic than in other games of this type and thus although the player can guide their Miis in certain directions during the game, they ultimately are unable to force their Miis to do things that the Miis themselves do not want to do.

Thus in the case of romance within Tomodachi Life, it is a lot of luck, some compatibility and some player-led decisions that will make the chosen Miis fall in love, but hopefully the above steps will help you to know where to start when it comes to leading your chosen Mii down the rocky path to romance and all the chaos and drama that unfolds along with it. Good luck!



Thursday, 12 June 2014

E3 2014: Nintendo Mystery 3DS Game Revealed As Code Name: S.T.E.A.M.



Nintendo has consistently promised its fans that there would be a brand new 3DS title unveiled at E3 2014. Well, that game has finally been announced as Code Name: S.T.E.A.M (originally included in the  leaked Nintendo E3 games list as Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace). So, what is this game actually about?




The game has been described as a " one-player, turn-based strategy game with lots of unique elements from action games," according to its designer, Hitoshi Yamagami.  The game is being developed by Intelligent Systems , who are best known for their Fire Emblem series of games, which utilise various turn-based tactics and centre on moving units through a map grid in order to defeat the opposition. Thus, Code Name: S.T.E.A.M is expected to function in quite a similar way.

The game will be played from a third person viewpoint rather than a first person viewpoint. This helps players to stay close to the action. There will be no mini-map displayed on screen, so players will have to use their various characters to explore the area in order to gain knowledge of the battlefield terrain.




 The game will also feature 'shooter' action type elements during attacking or movements, and touchscreen controls will be used heavily. Movement in the game is powered by steam backpacks, (hence the game's title).



Each of the in-game characters wears a backpack boiler that needs to be used carefully as the steam supply is limited.  All backpack boilers, weapons and characters will slowly gain level-ups as the game progresses.

Characters will each have a unique special ability and will also be given the option of equipping themselves with a secondary weapon. Each sub-weapon will only be permitted once per map environment however, so they must be used very tactically.




Although the game is essentially going to be a one-player experience, Online Play has been hinted at for the game, although the exact details of what this might be remain a little bit sketchy at present.  Code Name: S.T.E.A.M has been scheduled for general release in 2015, so it will be an agonising wait for those players who are just itching to try the game out for themselves.

More footage of the game is expected to be shown tomorrow, during the final day of Nintendo's Treehouse at E3 2014.We here at Mini Gamers look forward to bringing you more news about the game as it develops.








Wednesday, 11 June 2014

E3 2014: Nintendo Digital Event: Super Smash Bros 3DS Delayed... Hundreds of 3DS eShop Titles Heading Your Way, And More...



It was a disappointing start to Nintendo's Digital Event at E3 2014 yesterday, with the news that the highly-anticipated 3DS debut of Super Smash Bros. will now miss its planned Summer release date and will instead be delayed until the 3rd of October 2014. Nintendo merely said that the delay was important in order to work on 'debugging' issues, but gave no further information.




Nevertheless, the mood brightened somewhat with the announcement that Professor Layton VS. Phoenix Wright will finally be released in North America in August 2014. The game was released in Europe earlier in March this year, and has proven hugely-popular with 3DS fans.




  Furthermore, a  Level-5 inc 3DS RPG game called Fantasy Life is set to be released in North America on the 24th October 2014.  A European release for Fantasy Life 3DS is expected some time in October 2014 as well, but no specific date has been given as yet.

Fantasy Life allows players to take on a virtual life where they can have different jobs and make a life for their character. In the game, players can set out on adventures to save the world, or take up more leisurely activities like cooking or fishing.




There was more good news for fans of the Nintendo eShop, with an impressive array of new 3DS and Wii titles being announced, including sequels to some already popular games. Among those titles announced for the 3DS were:


  • Thorium Wars: Attack of the Space Fighter
  • Shovel Knight
  • Moon Chronicles: Episode 2 
  • Siesta Fiesta
  • Tappingo 2
  • Woah Dave!
  • Gunman Clive 2
  • Blast 'em Bunnies
  • PersonaQ: Shadow of the Labyrinth
  • Shantae and the Pirate's Curse
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal World Duel Carnival 

Further details of some of these games and details of the Wii U titles can be found HERE.

As an extra bonus, Nintendo have also declared that they will be offering a massive thirty percent discount off some selected eShop titles in celebration of E3 2014. This offer includes some of the popular Mario and Super Mario games, amongst others.

The discount only lasts for a limited time however, so anyone wishing to take advantage of the discount must purchase their chosen games by the 16th of June 2014. For more information on the discount or to view the selected titles, please CLICK HERE.



Nintendo also added a touch of mystery yesterday when the company announced that it would be revealing a brand new 3DS title, the details of which have been a very closely-guarded secret, but which is expected to be announced later today during one of the developers conferences. Check back with Mini Gamers for more details.

Overall, it seems that Nintendo's Digital Event has been very impressive. Nintendo's announcement of the new Amiibo NFC figurine collection and the news about upcoming releases is most definitely exciting. The future of Nintendo is definitely an interesting one.



HAVE YOUR SAY...

 What did you think of the event? Did it meet your expectations? Which Nintendo announcement was your favourite? Please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

E3 2014: Nintendo Digital Event: Introducing Amiibo NFC Figurines...


Nintendo has exclusively unveiled its special range of Near-Field Communication Figurines, which are to be known as Amiibo. These special figurines work with the Wii U Gamepad in the same way the Skylanders figures interact with the 'Portal of Power'.

Touching any Amiibo figurine to the Wii U Gamepad will instantly bring your chosen character to life in your games. All Amiibo characters work with Wii U compatible games, so friends and family can add their Amiibo figures to your game and vice versa.

Better still, your Amiibo figure and its game data develops over time, so as your character progresses through a game, the Amiibo figure gains more experience and more skills which will help you to advance through the game.

The Amiibo figurine range will launch alongside the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros, which will be released in America in December 2014. Super Smash Bros. is not the only Wii U software that will have Amiibo compatibility, other 2014-2015 Wii U releases such as Yoshi's Woolly Adventure and Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, Mario Kart 8 and Mario Party 10 have also been cited as having Amiibo compatible features.

The figures announced so far include:

◦Mario
◦Peach
◦Samus
◦Yoshi
◦Kirby
◦Wii Fit Trainer
◦Link
◦Donkey Kong
◦Pikachu
◦Animal Crossing Villager

Now, you might well question why we at Mini Gamers HQ seem so excited about a gaming accessory that is only out on the Wii U? However, Nintendo have also announced that they are planning on bringing out a 3DS peripheral that will sync the 3DS handheld with its own range of Amiibo figures.



As you can see from the list above, there are already a lot of Amiibo figures in production, with more planned for the future. It is unclear yet how much the yet-unnamed 3DS peripheral is likely to cost, but Nintendo are apparently aiming to release it some time in 2015, so watch this space!

E3 2014: Over 100 PS Vita Titles In Development, PlayStation Now and Minecraft Announced For Vita, and More Free-to-Play Titles, Promises Sony...



Unsurprisingly, Sony's PS4 led the way during the company's annual press conference at E3 2014 last night, with many big-named PlayStation games being revealed for the system in 2014-2015, including: Little Big Planet 3, Far Cry 4, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and even Mortal Kombat X, amongst others.

Nevertheless, there was more than a few surprises for fans of Sony's PS Vita handheld as well, with well-loved older titles like Tetris and the ever-popular Minecraft franchise getting their own PS Vita versions in 2014.

Tetris Ultimate was originally announced for the PlayStation 4 and PC markets, but now the PS Vita version will also be released alongside the other formats some time in Winter 2014.

The game will allow for up to four players to take part in six different gameplay modes: Marathon, Endless, Ultra, Sprint, Battle and Power-Up Battle. Players will also be able to engage in some exciting co-op play with friends, and even create their own 'battle teams' to compete with others online.



Meanwhile, the first ever Minecraft game for PS Vita consoles is set to make its debut in August 2014. Essentially, Minecraft is a block-building game, but it has been increasingly popular in recent years due to its capacity for independent, creative gameplay.

 The PS Vita version of the game is based on the PS3 version, and as a result, the game's developers, Mojang, have announced that Minecraft PS3 Edition and Minecraft PS Vita Edition will be subject to PlayStation's Cross-Buy functionality.

This means that anyone who buys Minecraft: Playstation 3 Edition from the PlayStation Network store will also get to download it on the PS Vita for free. It doesn't matter if players buy the game for PS3 or PS Vita first, they will automatically own the game for both platforms.

Furthermore, all of the game-saves will be directly transferrable between the Playstation 3 and Vita versions of Minecraft. Players can begin their craft at home on their Playstation 3, and then continue to build their creations outside the home by swapping to the PS Vita. Moreover, all of the downloadable content that has be purchased for Minecraft: Playstation 3 Edition will work on the PS Vita edition as well.



Thus, The PS Vita version will include all the features from the most recent Playstation 3 version, including online play.  Minecraft: PS Vita Edition is very good value for money and is set to retail for around £12.99, making it one of the most affordable new PS Vita titles to emerge in 2014.



Sony actually announced that more than one hundred PS Vita titles were currently in development, such as Tales from the Borderlands, which is an upcoming adventure game based on the Borderlands series, with a planned release starting in mid-2014 for various platforms including the PS Vita.

The game will follow a similar episodic format that its developers, Telltale Games, have used for their other titles such as The Walking Dead, where player choices and actions will have significant affects on later story elements.  




Ubisoft's Child of Light will also be coming to the PS Vita in July 2014. The game centres around Aurora, a girl from Austria in 1895 who contracts a mysterious sleeping sickness that causes her to fall into a deep slumber.

Aurora awakes to find  herself in the mythical world of Lemuria which has had all of its natural sources of light, such as its sun, moon and stars stolen by the Dark Queen, Umbra. Aurora is tasked with recovering the celestial bodies and ultimately reuniting with her father.



  Another surprise for PS Vita owners was Grim Fandango, which is an old-style adventure game from LucasArts, made popular by its dark comic humour and neo-noir style. The game was originally designed by Tim Schafer, whose new production studio, Double Fine, will be responsible for bringing a newly-remastered and modernised version of the game to the PS Vita almost fifteen years after the original game was first released.




Another interesting announcement was that the second video game installment of  the popular NFC franchise, Disney Infinity, entitled Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Superheroes, would be making its debut on the PS Vita some time in 2015.

It is thought that the game may indeed be released in conjunction with Sony's Playstation TV device, which will enable users to stream their Playstation games (especially PS4 games) from their console to a second TV anywhere in the house, but this is yet to be confirmed.






One of the most exciting announcements of the night was that Sony's Playstation Now streaming service will definitely be coming to the PS Vita in Late 2014.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Playstation NowThe service allows users to pay for access to a selection of original PSOne, PS2, and PS3 titles on either a per-game basis or via an annual subscription. There are plans to offer PS4 titles in the future.

A video of Naughty Dog's The Last Of Us PS3 game being streamed to a PS Vita console via PlayStation Now has been developed by IGN:


(Having trouble viewing this trailer? Please CLICK HERE)




As well as showing new releases for the PS4 and PS Vita consoles, Sony reiterated its commitment to create various Free-To-play titles across its various platforms. The new CEO of Sony Corporation Entertainment America [SCEA], Shawn Layden said that PlayStation is: "Committed to making Playstation the best destination for Free-To-Play games"

Some of the Free-To-Play PS Vita titles that have been announced are Reaper, which is an action-adventure RPG, Big Fest, which is a music festival promotion game and My Singing Monsters, which is a port of an original iOS game for the Apple iPad and iPhones.





In conclusion, although it is clear that the PS4 is set to dominate the majority of the video gaming market over the coming months, Sony has not forgotten about its handheld gaming device, which it yesterday described as: " a key pillar for us." [sourced from: http://www.mcvuk.com/news/read/sony-over-100-vita-titles-in-development/0133744] 

Given the various popular titles, Free-To-Play games and services set to debut on the PS Vita by the end of 2014, it would seem that Sony's handheld fans have a lot to look forward to this year.









Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sony and Nintendo's E3 Handheld Line-ups revealed...



There is only three days to go before one of the biggest events in the gaming calendar gets underway in Los Angeles, and already the rumors have been circulating.

E3 2014  (AKA The Electronic Entertainment Expo), promises an exciting line-up of games and news of future releases for almost every games console in existence, so what does this mean for the Nintendo 3DS and Sony's PS Vita  handheld gaming devices?

As well as the usual E3 conference, which this year takes place at 6pm on Monday the 9th June 2014 Pacific Time (or a very early 2 a.m. BST on Tuesday 10th June 2014 for UK fans who wish to watch the live-stream of the event),  Sony has also decided that it will show a total of seventy different games in its gaming booths, including several PS Vita titles such as:

(click on each link for more information about the game or trailers)

Big Fest 

Disgaea 4: A Promise revisited 

Akiba's Trip: Undead & Undressed

CounterSpy 

Freedom Wars

Gravity Crash Ultra

Gunship X

•Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Hyper Light Drifter 

Invizimals: The Alliance

Legend of Raven

•MechRunner

Metrico 

•MLB 14 The Show

•Murasaki Baby

One Way Trip

PS Vita Pets

PixelJunk Shooter Ultimate

•Race the Sun

Rogue Legacy 

Super Exploding Zoo

Switch Galaxy Ultra

To Leave 




Meanwhile, Nintendo has opted for the second year in a row to not participate in an official E3 Press conference. Instead, they have chosen to stream their own special Nintendo Direct broadcast at 9pm on Tuesday the 10th June 2014 Pacific Time (that's 5 p.m. BST for UK fans).

As well as their various announcements for the Wii and Wii U, Nintendo are also expected to reveal a few new 3DS titles, including an as yet unnamed Starfox 64 adventure and Project S.T.E.A.M (Strike Team Eliminating the Alien Menace).

Furthermore, Nintendo have already announced that the presentation will reveal a brand new NFP (AKA Nintendo Figurine Platform/NFC Featured Platform) range of toys. For those of you who have never heard of NFP, these are special figurines that have Near Field Communication built into them, which allow them to interact within virtual games in the same way that Skylanders or Disney Infinity figurines do.

This year's E3 is shaping up to be quite exciting. If you wish to watch the Press Conferences for yourself, both the Playstation.blog and official Nintendo websites will be streaming the relevant conferences live as they happen in Los Angeles.

Alternatively, PS4 owners may wish to watch the Sony Conference on the PS4's UStream app, or those of you with Youtube accounts will be able to gain access to the Ustream website by clicking the link in the E3 trailer video. Please note, that an age restriction does apply to the Ustream site and viewers will be required to give their birthday details before being allowed to view any of the live footage. Lastly, GameSpot will be offering its readers the chance to watch all the E3 conferences live, so there really is no excuse to miss out on the action.

Just a little reminder for UK fans:

The Nintendo broadcast won't be taking place at E3, but will be streamed live from the Nintendo HUB (on the Nintendo website) at 5 p.m. on Tuesday the 10th June 2014, British Standard Time.

Meanwhile, Sony's Press conference will be streamed live on any of the various channels listed above at 2 a.m. (early morning) on Tuesday the 10th June 2014.




HAVE YOUR SAY...

Which shows/announcements are you most looking forward to at this year's E3 conference?

If you have any comments, suggestions or wishlists for the E3 conference, then why not leave a comment in the box below? Mini Gamers loves to hear from you.





Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sony Stops PSP Hardware Shipments In Native Japan: The End Is Nigh For Sony's First Handheld Console...


Sony has announced its decision to no longer ship PSP units to stores in Japan after almost a decade, with similar halts to shipments in Europe and North America occurring later in the year, which essentially means an end to the production run for the portable gaming unit.

The PSP was first produced in 2004, and was initially exclusive to Japan before being released worldwide in 2005.The device sold steadily throughout its years on the market, and while it never achieved the sort of success enjoyed by Nintendo with its family of Dual-Screen products, it sold over eighty million units during the height of its success.

The decision to suspend production and shipment of the PSP seemingly coincides with  the launch of two new software bundles for the PS Vita's Slim model, which has superseded its predecessor in terms of popularity.

Japanese owners have now been offered discounts on the PS Vita and and any downloadable content, but it is not yet confirmed whether PSP owners in Europe or America will be offered similar discounts.

It will be interesting to see whether stopping the shipment of PSP consoles will help to boost sales of the PS Vita, which, despite being popular (especially in Japan), has yet to equal the PSP's sale success.



HAVE YOUR SAY...

Are you a PSP owner? What do you think of Sony's decision? Will it increase PS Vita sales?

If you have any comments to make about the above article, then why not leave us a comment and share your thoughts with other readers out there? Mini Gamers loves to hear from you!