Nintendo Switch: All You Need to Know

Have Fun Looking into the Past!

Launching March 3rd, 2017.

I hate to start off with a large negative, but the Switch will have a paid online system. Multiplayer will be free up until the fall of 2017. After that? Monthly subscription fees kick in for those who want to play their beloved games online with friends.

Said service will act like their competitor’s with the addition of voice chat, the choice of one SNES or NES title with online functions per month and discounts on other products. More details to come.

The console will have anywhere from 2.5 to 6.5 hours of battery life depending on what it’s being used for. Not unexpected, but better than what I had predicted. (3-4 Hours.)

Region locking has been removed. This is a plus. Now one won’t have to purchase a whole new console from another region in order to play an unlocalized game.

The Joy-Cons have NFC for amiibo, a Capture Button, two internal triggers for use when disconnected, “HD Rumble” or a haptic feedback system to simulate real-life actions. Color variations will exist, and a wrist strap connection will be shipped as well. Also, an IR camera is on the front of the right Joy-Con. This thing can detect shapes and distance, although nothing showed it being used in a game. These could be used in rather interesting ways, but may fall by the wayside if not utilized well.


The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild will be releasing on 3/3/17 alongside the console on both Wii U and Switch.

Several new games were announced.

1! 2! Switch! seems to be this console’s Wii Sports. Acting as a game using the Joy-Con’s haptic feedback to simulate actions. It’s a local Player-vs-player title, however the screen is optional. Launch Day Release.

Arms (Which I hope is a working title.) An Arena-boxing title except everyone has spring-loaded arms… Personally it reminds me of Punch Out!! This is a completely new Nintendo IP. “Spring” Launch. No pun intended, I hope.

Splatoon 2. New maps, weapons and possibly gamemodes. Other gameplay mechanics have been added, such as rolling. Summer, with additional updates as with the original.

Super Mario Odyssey is the next 3D Mario title, taking place in a fully explorable 3-D environment heavily inspired by some real-world locations while still having the bizarre Mario worlds we all know. Also Bowser’s attempting to Marry Peach. Yep. Things got weird again. Launch during the upcoming Holiday Season.

Mario Kart 8 is getting a “Deluxe” edition. An actual battle mode will be added, along with new characters such as Splatoon’s Inklings. Launching April 28th.

Several teasers were shown for other games, such as Xenoblade 2, Square-Enix’s “Octopath Traveller” alongside Fire Emblem Warriors and another Shin Megami Tensei title. One title was completely lost on the English audience as the translator got lost. Details will come in time.

Skyrim, as shown in the teaser will be coming to the console.

EA Sports is promising a FIFA title as well.

80+ more titles are noted to be in development.


Final words

Now to the nitty-gritty. Miis are shown for a brief moment in one of the end trailers. The console will ship with the console, (duh) two Joy-Cons, a Dock, HDMI Cable, Joy-Con Grip, Wrist Straps and a single A/C Adapter. One can purchase the console with colored Joy-Cons or with the standard Grey Joy-Cons.

Apps are being released to have additional control/additions to the system. The only one that currently seems to be out is a Parental Control app, which is a severe improvement over past systems.


Comments? Questions? Opinions? The Comment Section Awaits! -Ian “The iKim” Kim

GFA: Cave Story

There’s a story. You’re in a cave. That’s the game. It’s good. I rate it 8/8.
Ian Kim, We’re done here.

…?
Oh, you wanted my usual review size. Well then:

Cave Story, released in 2004 as a freeware PC title. All developed by one man. It’s a 2-D shooter platformer in which you’re quickly dropped into Mimiga Village, populated by the rabbit-like Mimiga. Apparently, someone known only as “The Doctor” (who has no ties to the Time Lord, mind you) has been kidnapping Mimiga left and right for unknown reasons. Our amnesiac protagonist seems to be the only one with a chance at ending this.

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I can’t continue without spoiling anything. Do yourself a favor and Do. Not. Look. Up. The. Plotline. However, I will say it does have multiple endings depending on your actions.
The freeware version originally only shipped in Japanese. There was a translation patch made, which works, but does have a few grammatical issues here and there. This still doesn’t detract from the occasional bit of humor and character moments you’ll run into throughout this story.

Controls are as simple as it gets, as an NES controller would do just fine with this game. (Although you’d be hitting the inventory screen about as often as you would be in a Mega Man title.) Shoot with one key, jump with another. Shots can be directed and weapons can be swapped with a single button push. This is one of those easy-to-learn-hard-to-master kind of things.
You’ll encounter a total of 26 bosses. 8 of these guys are 100% optional though, as they can only be found either by a dialogue choice or by going through the hardest of the endings. Dispatching of these baddies can be done through several weapons, ranging from a standard limited ammo Missile Launcher to a… Bubble Gun. It’s more useful than you’d think once you level it up.

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As seen noted above, Cave Story has a simple mechanic where you can Level Up weapons. This is based on EXP pickups that are scattered about or dropped by defeated enemies.
Taking damage, however, will cause you to lose EXP on your currently equipped weapon. The game keeps up a decent dance with danger, as losing too much health won’t only bring you closer to death, but will also make your current weapon weaker.

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The game is designed much like the 8-bit titles of old in visual, audio and gameplay style. Metroid is an easy comparison. However, unlike Metroid, you have a map, secrets aren’t as hard to find, and the whole thing can be finished in about 5-7 hours depending on your level of completion.
The older 8-Bit titles were designed to be difficult for multiple reasons, and Cave Story does retain that difficulty in some ways. Boss fights may initiate when you least expect it, instant deathtraps exist all over a few areas and, later in the game, heal stations are much harder to come by. However, this isn’t at Super Meat Boy levels of difficulty. By the time you’ve reached the Final area, you’ve been equipped with enough knowledge to beat the game.
Graphically, the game is surprisingly detailed. Small touches such as the face of a bat when it’s attacking or character portraits really make this pixelated world feel alive, as cliche as that is, one can’t deny the truth. Balrog, possibly the first boss you’ll face, only gets half of his face in his dialogue portrait. Even then, his personality gets through.
The music is an absolute joy to listen to. With the main theme and Labyrinth Fight being my personal favorites. It’s upbeat, somewhat goofy when needed, but not afraid to be serious.
In a more modern sense, Cave Story is to Metroid as Undertale is to Earthbound. It takes well-established mechanics and places them into a small, lovable package of retro joy.
Does this line ring a bell?

Chrono Trigger, anyone?

My one minor gripe with this game is the fact that the most satisfying ending is locked behind a set easily missed choices and a rather difficult end section that behaves exactly like a roguelike. Death in this last section boots you back to the start of it, no matter how far you were into it’s multiple rooms of crazy.

I myself have been at it enough times over that I have lost count. The sign at the beginning of the area noting “Welcome to Hell!” should have been a major tip…
I’ll finish it someday though… Regrettably with the help of a guide.
Other “secret” items hidden like this serve no purpose. Life upgrades can be found with some simple exploration though.
Cave Story gets a Good solid 9.5 out of 10 in my book. With strong callbacks to the golden age of games all wrapped up in a short, free package, one really can’t go wrong. Unless they try to go for the hardest ending as frustration can easily settle in.

Now this is A Year to Remember.

108 years.

That’s how long it took for the Chicago Cubs to win the World Series again. Not being a baseball fan myself I can now understand why it’s such a big deal. The tension can be enough for some grown men to lose their fingernails, and for others to sweat in the rain.

This sits as the sole game I have watched with complete interest, ranging from the opening Home-run to the final play in the bottom of the 10th. A well played game on both ends.

I really don’t think we could have had a better game. Baseball fans are free to say what they wish.

Now, the real question is how on earth Back to the Future got so darn close to the actual year… Where’s that Almanac?

The Good, the Fad and the Ugly: Distance

Writer’s Note: This was written the week of 9/11/16. At this point the game was still in its Early Access format. Because of this, information below may or may not remain relevant in the future.

Saw blades, large cylindrical grinders, Pumpkins and Lasers. These may sound like standard sci-fi and horror film props, but would you be surprised to find them in a racing title?

In this GFA review, I present Refract Studio’s Distance. A Survival Racer.

One that pits you against the hazards of the track in addition to the traditional clock. There are no laps, nor items. It’s you, and the track. The aforementioned hazards are all standard obstacles that will stand in your way, minus Pumpkins. They’re ready to slice, dice and completely destroy your car. However, you have the advantage of a rocket-boosting-self-repairing car. That last part can only be done at specific Checkpoint/regeneration rings however. As long as you have at least one wheel you can keep going. So, yes, driving half of a car (or even less) is a mechanic in this.

Did I mention this car has the ability to jump, and take flight as well?

The controls are simple and easy to grasp. Although, I can say from experience that Rocket League did somewhat mess me up. The Boost option is normally where Jump would be. Although remapping the controls is easy.

The HUD is, rather cleverly, displayed on the back of the car itself. Every now and then a trick notification will show up, but this is only for a moment. Boost and flight are tied together. The engine can, and will overheat if left to run for too long. Pulling off tricks, or going through rings will cool down your engine, keeping you from exploding.

In terms of the car itself, it handles incredibly well. Not just on the track, but in the air. This thing may as well be a spacecraft. With not just a rocket motor on the back, but rotational thrusters as well. They’re not just for show though. The road at some points may quite literally flip out.

If you weren’t already sold on this car, its colors can be customized as well.

As seen above, the game itself is set within a rather mysterious floating city. There’s really no sign of human life other than large propaganda-esque signs reading things “Salvation in Science” or “Together We Progress.”

Considering everyone seems to be gone though, this society obviously failed. Without God we would quite literally be nothing. However, self separation only leads to ruin. Something that Jonah, and this city learned the hard way.

Without giving away too much, whatever it was that caused everyone to leave appears to still be out there. One of the first things noted is that an “Anomaly” had been detected in Sector 11.
It’s your job to find it.

You’ll be travelling through a world with design inspiration from things like TRON. If the Wipeout games sound familiar, this visual and musical style should be of no surprise. It’s electronic, but not harsh dubstep. It’s more in the ballpark of the Rocket League soundtrack. The world will also illuminate and pulsate according to the music. All music is also able to be replaced with custom tracks.

So, I could be barrelling down a course to F-Zero’s Mute City theme.

Currently the Adventure mode mentioned with the vague plotline above is incomplete. However, an extremely robust Level Editor and Automatic generator both exist to allow for completely new races. The community has created some excellent levels. Some are obviously better than others, but in my experience one has to work in order to find the more iffy levels.

There are also a few other additional modes. A One-Life run through a small course, a “Reverse Tag” that acts like keep-away and finally, Soccer. So, Rocket League without Boost and flips if you will. These are fun little additions, but they are just that. Additions.

Although, if you search “Horror Racing Game” an article about this game is the first result. The developers have noted that they do intend for it to be somewhat frightening. Mainly with this Tweet. Now, I’m no fan of the horror genre, unless you consider the Ghostbuster-esque title Luigi’s Mansion a horror game. Either way I’m oddly excited for this.

In terms of non-horror Spooky things, the sole achievement available for this game is called “Pumpkin King.” You have to smash every pumpkin on the Spooky Town Reverse Tag Map.

In its current state, Distance has a heavy focus on gameplay, rather than plotline. Because of this the rating itself will be given on the core gameplay and visual/audio design rather than level structure or plot.

Distance earns a Good rating, with a score of 9/10. Easy to grasp gameplay along with a great visual and audio style lead to something I desperately want to see brought to Arcades. The sole reason I can’t give this a full 10 is due to it currently being in beta.

PS: Distance is the spiritual successor to Nitronic Rush. A free student-made game that set the foundation for this title. Some of the original developers are currently working on Distance as well! Check it out here.

I Tune, Do You?

iTunes. The software and store that killed the Record Star. Among several other things.

With the most recent update, I myself am not so certain as to how much longer I’ll be using the program. I understand the purpose behind the shifts, but I do question how much thought went into these changes.

Some of my albums contain several dozen pieces, and now, instead of a multiple column list, I have a large, single column to scroll through.

Enough about my little gripes, my main concern is that my copy of iTunes is sentient, somewhat.

I’m not writing one of those crazed “Sweden doesn’t exist” kind of things. It’s just that more times than I can count, the shuffle feature has somehow managed to time music to real world, unpredictable events. Or I think about a piece and it begins to play.

Call it hidden Apple AI or (preferably) Divine Intervention of a rather humorous sort. Sometimes I get just what I need, or something completely opposite. Programs never cease to amaze me.

…now to get a second opinion.