Tiny Cartridge 3DS

New Nintendo 3DS and XL ⊟

Just when you thought this week couldn’t get any wilder, Nintendo goes and reveals a new 3DS and XL model for Japan.

The new line also has a new stick-ish button on the right side that replaces the need for a Circle Pad Pro, a more powerful CPU, improved 3D viewing angles, colored ABXY buttons, two additional shoulder buttons, NFC support (for Amiibos!), improved battery life (up to 7 hours) and a replaceable battery, and HTML5 support for the built-in browser. It also now uses Micro SDs instead of SD cards. Check out the removable back!

The standard system features a 3.88-inch top screen (compared to the 3.53-inch top screen in the original 3DS), while the new XL screen is the same as the old one at 4.88 inches. Both release in Japan on October 10 for ¥16000 ($154) and ¥18800 ($181), alongside a new set of charging docks.

Images via Inside Games and Volotaire!

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Tappingo 2 delayed for a good reason ⊟

Nintendo of America helpfully advised Hugo Smits to push the release of the eShop game Tappingo 2 to next week, September 4. Had it been released this week, it would surely have been buried by Gunvolt and Layton vs. Ace Attorney.

So you can play it next week instead – with cool retro console puzzles and indie game sprites, like the Mutant Mudds and Toki Tori puzzles above.

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PSA: get Go! Go! Kokopolo before it’s too late ⊟

A very cool DSiWare game is disappearing at the end of this month. Go! Go! Kokopolo is a cute maze action game starring a cat who lures enemies through mazes by enraging them with scratches and then leading them into the mouth of a giant plant. It’s loaded with vibrant, cartoony art. Oh, and speaking of which, look at the amazing TC art made around the launch of the game!

Not sure why it’s being delisted – or what the status is of the 3DS sequel. But if you want to check out the original game, do so before August 31! Thanks to GSK for the heads up.

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Gunvolt and the sliding scale of perfection ⊟
Azure Striker Gunvolt is not a Mega Man game, and I mean that in the best way. While it clearly takes inspiration from the series – a blue guy gets weapons from wacky, colorful bosses – developer Inti Creates built on that foundation to create something more flexible, with more room for individual expression and variation on the part of the player.
In that way, it reminds me more of Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien… a game I needed an excuse to write about anyway!

Runner2 maintained the basic gameplay of its predecessor: jump, slide, kick, and block to the beat while automatically running through deadly gauntlets. The sequel improved upon its predecessor by adding more moves, along with totally optional branching paths, hidden items, and analog-controlled bonus loops. You can simply complete a stage – something that requires a total lack of mistakes. Or you can collect all the gold. You could get full scores on all the bonuses; you can even “dance” during free moments to boost your score a lot more. There are many different levels of perfection to achieve, starting with simple survival.
Developer Gaijin Games (now Choice Provisions) kept the gameplay tight and simple, but added multiple avenues for expert players to vary the experience and develop additional mastery. It had a nice side effect of encouraging replays and extending the life of the game.

Gunvolt features the same kind of dynamic, player-controlled difficulty. If you want to simply brute force your way through the levels, it’s not overwhelmingly hard to do so. It’s a lot easier than Mega Man on that level, that’s for sure. The platforming isn’t as extreme, and your shots essentially auto-target – you fire your gun to target enemies, then drain their health with an electric field that arcs to their location. Keeping your field charged is an interesting wrinkle, but rarely a life-or-death challenge. Well, technically. If you still have power, you can auto-dodge attacks (at the expense of some of that power) so I guess it may actually be the difference between life or death. But what I mean is that managing that power isn’t as tense as you might expect, outside of boss fights.
But those systems open up options for virtuoso play. You can play carefully and set up your shots from a safe location, but it’s more fun to dash through the levels at top speed and/or build up impressive combos once you’re comfortable enough. And then you can take on totally optional challenges – complete this stage in this time, etc. – to further test yourself. You can retry levels with new equipment, including the different guns earned from bosses, which vary the number of enemies you can lock on to and the way shots behave.
I like these kinds of systems, because they allow the player to find a difficulty level that suits their expertise and their style of play, without having to make the explicit decision to choose “easy” or “hard.” It’s the same game, but open to different approaches. And, like Runner2, it offers different ways to consider any performance “perfect.” That’s the kind of challenge that makes me want to return to a game.
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Gunvolt and the sliding scale of perfection 

Azure Striker Gunvolt is not a Mega Man game, and I mean that in the best way. While it clearly takes inspiration from the series – a blue guy gets weapons from wacky, colorful bosses – developer Inti Creates built on that foundation to create something more flexible, with more room for individual expression and variation on the part of the player.

In that way, it reminds me more of Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien… a game I needed an excuse to write about anyway!

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Pokemon Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire SteelBook edition and preorder bonuses for Europe ⊟

Though Europe gets the new ‘mons a week later than the rest of the world, if you preorder the games there, you’ll receive special SteelBook packaging, elevating you above the plastic casing plebes in other regions.

The official Nintendo UK store is throwing Primal Kyogre and Groudon figures with their respective preorders, as is retailer GAME. It looks like ShopTo is including Torchic keyrings with reservations for standard editions for the game — not sure how you get the other keyrings, but they are things that exist!

PREORDER Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire, upcoming games
  • Source serebii.net
Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley up for preorder ⊟
While GameStop has had reservations open for a while (with bonus plush dogs too), if you’re like me and prefer to buy your games anywhere else that isn’t GameStop, you can now preorder Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley at Amazon ($29.99). Note that the listed release date is just a placeholder!
This is the interesting Minecraft-y 3DS game developed internally by Natsume, by the way — the latest Bokujo Monogatari that released in Japan and is also coming to the U.S. this year from Xseed, Story of Seasons, is also available to reserve on Amazon ($39.99)
BUY Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, Story of Seasons, upcoming games

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley up for preorder ⊟

While GameStop has had reservations open for a while (with bonus plush dogs too), if you’re like me and prefer to buy your games anywhere else that isn’t GameStop, you can now preorder Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley at Amazon ($29.99). Note that the listed release date is just a placeholder!

This is the interesting Minecraft-y 3DS game developed internally by Natsume, by the way — the latest Bokujo Monogatari that released in Japan and is also coming to the U.S. this year from Xseed, Story of Seasons, is also available to reserve on Amazon ($39.99)

BUY Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley, Story of Seasons, upcoming games

Final Fantasy Explorers' Japanese special edition ⊟

As if the Crystal Chronicles-esque 3DS game didn’t look tempting enough, here’s an unusually classy special edition for Japan, featuring a 3DS case, artbook, soundtrack, and 3DS cover. 

Early purchasers of any edition (the game comes out December 18) get some Onion Knight gear in-game too! Meanwhile, in America, we get… jealous that this game hasn’t been announced yet.

BUY Theatrhythm: Curtain Call, Theatrhythm, upcoming games
  • Source inside-games.jp

These Smash Bros. leaks are out of control ⊟

Someone just dumped dozens of photos from what’s presumably a pre-release copy of Smash Bros. for 3DS — I’m inclined to believe these are legit, especially after this morning’s videos, but who knows. I’ve collected all the images from the latest gallery here (more after the break), minus the creep shots of Tharja and Candy Kong’s assist trophies.

Gambling while spectating! Dark Pit! Devil car! Via Hatchtag!

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These “leaked” Smash Bros. clips are very convincing ⊟

I didn’t really trust all the rumors and blurry shots posted last week, but these videos have me leaning toward believing them now. The above clip show Ganondorf, Xenoblade Chronicles' Shulk, and Bowser Jr. (looking cute in the tiny Koopa Clown Car) as playable fighters!

If this is all real, could the Duck Hunt dog prophecies also be true? Will we get Rhythm Heaven’s Chorus Kids? Credit to tone_def for the via.

PREORDER Super Smash Bros, Kid Icarus: Uprising, upcoming releases
  • Source twitter.com
Love this 3DS pixelart ⊟
There’s something pleasant about the idea of playing games in pink light, while the setting sun has the sky blushing. The piece comes from Amanda/Merrigo, who has posted a lot of beautiful pixels on her Tumblr. 
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Love this 3DS pixelart ⊟

There’s something pleasant about the idea of playing games in pink light, while the setting sun has the sky blushing. The piece comes from Amanda/Merrigo, who has posted a lot of beautiful pixels on her Tumblr

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games
  • Source merrigo

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley’s Sam is that one guy from Futurama ⊟

You know, this guy.

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This Slowpoke reggae song ⊟

Yeah, maybe you’ve seen it already, but I hadn’t, and I didn’t want anyone else to miss it. This is what the Pokemon Company is up to right now.

PREORDER Pokemon Omega Ruby / Alpha Sapphire, upcoming games