KiiGX 2015 – Part 1: Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer & The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes

Adam and Kii once again head to EGX to check out some upcoming video games!

Wonderfully, EGX for some reason let myself and Adam back in this year! The show has moved to the NEC in Birmingham which I feel is a much better venue. There’s a lot more space, it’s easily accessible by train and the layout without an upper level means you won’t forget to go to an area.

So, after getting off the train and going on a merry adventure to find the hall we gave the show a good walk around to figure out where everything is. I obviously gravitated towards Nintendo and got my hands on a couple of Wii-U and 3DS games.

 

Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer
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So here it is. My perfect Animal Crossing game. I spent so long simply building rooms to get points in Animal Crossing: A New Leaf that it was almost obsessive. Now they’ve built a game that’s exactly that. You work for the Happy Homes Association and build homes for your clients which you also then decorate to their specific needs. Having looked at Adam’s screen whilst we were demoing this, apparently the perfect home has a dessert cart, a luchadore mask thrown on the floor and a photo of the client’s daughter. He clearly has a future in interior design.

As I’ve come to expect from the series, the game is adorable and charming with increasing levels of obsessive collecting. It even has Amiibo cards which is another thing you can collect even when not playing the game! Finally, Nintendo are adding even more things for me to fill my real house with to benefit my virtual one!

 

The Legend of Zelda: Triforce Heroes
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Triforce Heroes is a three-player co-op game for 3DS, similar in design to Wind Waker/Phantom Hourglass. Minus the fact that this game relies on you having TWO friends, I had a really good time playing it! At the beginning of the levels there are three items, one per ‘Link’, in our play through these were two gust jars and a bomb sack. As you probably noticed not all the Links will have the same item so you need to work together to use the right items at the correct point in the puzzle. This can create some ‘Portal 2’ style friendship enders as one of us immediately blew another off a platform and to our doom.

wpid-20150924_135901.jpgAn interesting mechanic that Triforce Heroes has is stacking where the Links can jump on each other’s shoulders to essentially be three times the height. This, again, becomes part of the puzzles where different levels of switch need to be hit and then you can also throw the other Links off the platform to their doom.

It’s a simple game but it’s really fun. The co-op is interesting though I’m unsure how well the mechanics translate to single player unless you switch between Links. Well worth a play, especially if you have two friends who are willing to put that relationship to the test with you.

~Kii x

The New 3DS: How Kit Procrastinated This Week!

Our pal Kit picked up the new Nintendo 3DS and Zelda Majora’s Mask. Here’s what he thought!

There will be a break from Kick Ass Stories this week. This is entirely because I bought a New 3DS and was busy playing that when I should have been listening to podcasts. I’ll bring back Kick Ass Stories next time with an update of some of my favourites (including the final part of the Mongoose Trilogy!) but for now I’ll just write about my new distraction.

Two weeks ago I popped onto Facebook and saw Nintendo advertising pre-orders for the Majora’s Mask special edition of the New 3DS. As a Zelda/Nintendo fanboy (tattoo and everything) and only having an original 3DS I naturally couldn’t resist as I missed out on their first wave of stock.

£209.99 of money I didn’t really have and the deed was done. A New Majora’s Mask 3DS (digital game included) and Skull Kid statue on their way. This is where my review starts!

I’ll do this in three parts, External Bits (not in that way!) for stuff that isn’t either the Console or the Game.

 

External Bits!

Service: Nintendo have given me fantastic service over the last couple of years. And they didn’t disappoint this time! This was a pre-order for something they said wouldn’t be in stock till an unconfirmed date in the next month or two. I ordered it Wednesday March 25th. Was told on Friday I’d have it by April 1st (I was sceptical too!) but it turned up on March 30th. I was expecting it Mid-April. So can’t fault Nintendo for service at all. 10/10.

Packaging/Design: Much smaller than I expected, the box for the console has some pretty neat artwork on it, though the Skull Kid statue just came in a blank white box. The charger came separately which I didn’t expect but that’s hardly a point either way. Would have been nice for a better statue box but otherwise all good. 8/10.

PackagingSkull Kid: It’s a detailed model sat on my book case doing a very good job of looking creepy. Would have preferred it if they’d made it an Amiibo and not a statue but we can’t have everything, can we? 9/10.

skullkid

Overall: 9/10

 

Console!

Design: The console itself looks pretty awesome. I like the artwork, the screen is a vast improvement to what I’m used to, the 3D hurts my eyes less than before but I still only use it for a short while at a time, the two new shoulder buttons are easy to press and generally are very responsive. The new joystick is more of a button than an entire stick as such. It works like those mice you get in the middle of your laptop that no one likes. So far in using it though it’s been perfectly fine. 9/10.

MM 3ds

Set Up: Transferring my profile from my old 3DS system took about 20 minutes, considering this was done by wifi and was a few gigs of information this is pretty impressive. It even has a cute Pikmin animation to go with it! I gave my old 3DS to my (much) better half to keep her distracted from her studies too! 10/10.

Other Features: The Amiibo compatibility hasn’t been something can take advantage of yet outside of scanning them and changing their names. It’s certainly a more powerful console I had before, booting up faster and any internet browsing or general functionality rums that bit smoother. I’ll not take the Amiibo into account in my score though as I have no compatible games yet. 9/10.

General Game Play: All of my old games run very smoothly. They boot up quicker than before and can’t fault them at all. I’ve not tried any New 3DS exclusives yet though. 10/10

Overall: 9.5/10

 

Game!

Graphics: Compared to the N64 version, damn. There has been a huge improvement. It looks great and I’d say the 3D does add something to the game. Playing with it on (when you’ve got it at that point your eyes don’t want to bleed) and both the general game and cut scenes look great. 9.5/10.

Sound: There’s not much I can say on this outside of ‘it’s good!’ The soundtrack is fun and enjoyable, when you put on the masks the screams are creepy, it’s all good. 10/10.

Gameplay: Yes, it is a game I’ve finished before, but fortunately that was over 15 years ago so it’s largely playing as new to me. It’s a favourite Zelda of mine, providing a much darker tone to what you’d usually expect from the series. There is one problem though. Glitches. Around one in ten times I load up the game Link will either fall through the ground into nothingness, the world will flip upside down when I run or I’ll walk through a wall into the background of the graphics. This… isn’t ideal. On this note I’m quite disappointed with Nintendo. They’ve pushed back games before when they’ve either been incomplete or glitchy to finish them properly. I much prefer this than the disappointment when the world starts to fall apart around your character and not in a good way. I found it was a known issue with the game when I looked it up online and there are patches being made. It does run properly once I switch it off and leave it for a while but yeah, try harder next time Nintendo. 7/10. Would have been 10 if it played as it should.

Overall: 8/10.

game

I’m very pleased to have the machine, I’m bound to loose many hours on it and it’s re-sparked my enjoyment of 3DS games. Is it worth getting one? Yes if you don’t have a 3DS or only have an old 3DS. If you have a 3DS XL though… then I’m not so sure if it would be worth it. Most of my enjoyment comes from the increased power and screen size the 3DS XL at least offers an upgrade to the original. If you have one wait to see if the right exclusive New 3DS games come out before rushing to your nearest game shop!

Overall-Overall: 8.5/10

HYAAH!: A Hyrule Warriors Review

Our resident Nintendian Kii gives us her verdict on the new Hyrule Warriors game on the Wii U.

I know what you’re thinking, how can Kii possibly be reviewing a game within a year of the release date? Well I’ll tell you. Hyrule Warriors. That’s it. Hyrule Warriors, Kii’s wet dream of a Legend of Zelda game. When Nintendo first announced that they were going to be giving third party companies access to their core franchises I was unsure what to think. Were they giving up on their in-house developers or trying to breathe new life into potentially stale game formats? Whatever the reasoning for their choices I am so friggin happy. Not only did the Tekken team get hold of the new Smash Bros but Koei gleefully ran off with the Legend of Zelda to squirrel it away in the insanity house that births Samurai and Dynasty Warriors.

Omega Force (ω-Force) are famous for the 1 vs 1000 style of game that they have perfected. This is a format that is often repeated by other companies but in my opinion none can hold a candle to Omega Force so it’s understandable that if Nintendo wanted a company to display an outright war in Hyrule, Omega Force were the perfect choice. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a childhood Zelda fan, Twilight Princess was my first hands-on experience with the series and I instantly fell head over heels. Since then I’ve worked my way through the DS games, Minish Cap and the fabled Ocarina of Time. Ocarina was where I met Sheik. In Hyrule Warriors you can play as Sheik. Can you see where this is going?

YOU CAN PLAY AS SHEIK. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT? Actually you can play as a fantastic selection of characters and use a myriad of weapons from all over the Zelda universe which not only makes the game really interesting but great for long term fans. Nintendo, as always, build games with the ability to enjoy them with more people whether that be via the Miiverse or in your own living room. Hyrule Warriors has taken my household by storm, myself, my partner and our housemate all have our favourites and rotate the Game Pad when levels with those characters appear. There’s also co-op using the Wiimote or Wii-U Pro Controller where one player uses the TV and the other exclusively the screen on the game pad.

ImpaandSheik

But I’m not so blinded with love that I can’t critique the game. The Wiimote controls don’t feel very natural when you’ve been using the game pad and I feel that you’re at a disadvantage if your player 2 doesn’t have the Wii-U Pro Controller. Swinging your arm to do your standard attacks works in the normal Legend of Zelda games, however when your attacks are extremely combo based as Omega Force love to do, it’s hard to know where you are in your inputs. It’s also exhausting with the amount of enemies around. My other issue is a bit of a catch-22, Hyrule Warriors has stayed true to the Zelda standard of nobody having voice actors, solely relying on screen text to display dialogue (including a literal ‘Proxie’ fairy for Link’s speech). Whilst I’m happy that they’ve stuck with the formula, this has reduced the game’s accessibility if you’re playing with someone impaired or a younger child who can’t read as fast. The story is great and it saddens me that some people will miss out on it or even miss in-game instructions through no fault of their own.

On a less in-depth note, it’s beautiful. The character designs are elaborately stunning and the updates to older characters like Impa brought them immediately on par with the newer guys. The other game modes are also fantastic including Adventure Mode where you play to acquire segments of the original Legend of Zelda map. According to the DLC release schedule on the Nintendo e-shop future releases will include Adventure Mode maps for Majora’s Mask and Twilight Princess as well as new playable characters, weapons, costumes and game modes. Why yes, I have already bought it.

Hyrule Adventure Mode

With the, quite frankly, ‘iffy’ response to Skyward Sword I feel that Hyrule Warriors has been the adrenaline injection that the Zelda franchise needed. No longer is it a series locked to outsiders who don’t know what a Cucco is and why you NEVER EVER HIT ONE. People who like the Dynasty Warriors style of game are wandering over to see what all the fuss is about and without the prerequisite of having to spend five hours in the water temple utterly lost, less marathon style players are having a look too.

So my final words on Hyrule Warriors are this; If you like The Legend of Zelda, bloody well play it. If you don’t, bloody well play it anyway. Borrow someone else’s, be someone’s Player 2 (but ask to use the Game Pad) or watch a Let’s Play and then just buy it, I guarantee that you’ll have fun.

Now I’m off to stare at Sheik’s butt. I mean, play as a kick-ass ninja who gets 100 KOs in one move (whilst staring at ninja butt).

Kii