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Kozaki Yusuke art for the new Smash Bros. fighters! ⊟
Even though I’m disappointed that Nintendo went for the predictable characters versus the more interesting (Sully and/or Donnel) to fill Smash Bros.' roster, I ain't even mad because we get new art from Kozaki Yusuke to celebrate today's reveal. Yusuke, if you're not familiar with the name from our past posts, is the incredibly talented character artist who worked on the No More Heroes series, Liberation Maiden, and Fire Emblem: Awakening.
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Kozaki Yusuke art for the new Smash Bros. fighters! ⊟

Even though I’m disappointed that Nintendo went for the predictable characters versus the more interesting (Sully and/or Donnel) to fill Smash Bros.' roster, I ain't even mad because we get new art from Kozaki Yusuke to celebrate today's reveal. Yusuke, if you're not familiar with the name from our past posts, is the incredibly talented character artist who worked on the No More Heroes series, Liberation Maiden, and Fire Emblem: Awakening.

PREORDER Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS, upcoming releases

The newest Smash Bros. fighter is a Fire Emblem spoiler ⊟

Nintendo unveiled four new playable characters (no, not those four) this morning for Smash Bros., including one returning fighter: Captain Falcon. The other three are Fire Emblem: Awakening's Fake Marth/Lucina and both female and male versions of the SRPG's MyUnit default character Robin.

It looks like Chrom is an assist too, or part of Robin’s final smash? You can watch the reveal trailer here. These screencaps are via HUELEN10.

PREORDER Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS, upcoming releases
  • Source neogaf.com
If Shovel Knight was released for Game Boy ⊟
… it would probably look a lot like this mock-up from Johan Vinet. You know what a Game Boy is, right? It’s one of those old things that looks like an iPhone case.
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If Shovel Knight was released for Game Boy ⊟

… it would probably look a lot like this mock-up from Johan Vinet. You know what a Game Boy is, right? It’s one of those old things that looks like an iPhone case.

BUY Game Boy games, upcoming releases
  • Source johanvinet

Mighty No. 9 animated series ⊟

Keiji Inafune and Japanese CGI production company Digital Frontier (Tekken: Blood Vengeance 3D) unveiled this teaser video for a potential Mighty No. 9 animated series that’s meant to be an “action-packed comedy aimed at kids 6-11.” It’s targeted for a Q2 2016 release with 26 episodes, though Digital Frontier has not finalized a director, showrunner, or funding.

Inafune and his company Comcept also announced a second crowdfunding campaign at Anime Expo 2014 this weekend. This effort will go toward financing bonus content for the game (e.g. full English voice acting), and will allow people who didn’t Kickstart the title to put in a preorder. The new campaign will not fund the animated series.

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Shovel Knight has a Butt Mode ⊟
Guaranteeing a Tiny Cartridge post, Yacht Club included a “Butt Mode” code, along with a few hundred other cheats, for Shovel Knight. If you enter “WSWWAEAW” as your name when starting the game, all mentions for a bunch of reocurring words (e.g. Shovel, Knight, Health, Magic) are replaced with “Butt.” Finally, video games have grown up.
I think these work with the 3DS/Wii U version, even though they were posted for the PC/Steam release? Much thanks to the dozens of readers who knew to immediately send this tip our way.
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Shovel Knight has a Butt Mode ⊟

Guaranteeing a Tiny Cartridge post, Yacht Club included a “Butt Mode” code, along with a few hundred other cheats, for Shovel Knight. If you enter “WSWWAEAW” as your name when starting the game, all mentions for a bunch of reocurring words (e.g. Shovel, Knight, Health, Magic) are replaced with “Butt.” Finally, video games have grown up.

I think these work with the 3DS/Wii U version, even though they were posted for the PC/Steam release? Much thanks to the dozens of readers who knew to immediately send this tip our way.

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  • Source steamcommunity.com

Shovel Knight shovel, helmet coming to Thinkgeek ⊟

According to this Toy Pizza video, which shows prototypes for both items starting at around 3:40. I wouldn’t mind having a big pixel shovel on my wall! And I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing Yacht Club Games enjoy even more success from that great game.

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Tentative tentacles experiment with 3DS/Wii U Cross-Buy ⊟
The first example of a PlayStation Network-style “Cross-Buy” feature for a Nintendo platform game will appear with Squids Odyssey's 3DS release in Europe — when someone purchases a copy of the third-party eShop title's portable release, they'll receive the Wii U's download for free as well.
Nintendo and third-party devs/publishers have experimented with discounts for eShop titles if you’ve previously purchased a related game before (e.g. discounts on 1,001 Spikes if you own another Nicalis release), but it appears the company is leaving it up to other game makers if they want to offer the same kind of “Cross-Buy” functionality boasted by PSN releases for some time now. It sure would be great to see more eShop titles, especially Virtual Console games, support this feature! Image via Wii U Daily.
[Update: Squids Odyssey developer The Game Baker told Siliconera that Nintendo’s European arm approached the studio with the idea for this promotion. When asked about working with Nintendo of America on a similar deal, the developer said, “We really like this promotion and wished to make it happen for all gamers, but NOA could not support this kind of promotion.”]
BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Tentative tentacles experiment with 3DS/Wii U Cross-Buy ⊟

The first example of a PlayStation Network-style “Cross-Buy” feature for a Nintendo platform game will appear with Squids Odyssey's 3DS release in Europe — when someone purchases a copy of the third-party eShop title's portable release, they'll receive the Wii U's download for free as well.

Nintendo and third-party devs/publishers have experimented with discounts for eShop titles if you’ve previously purchased a related game before (e.g. discounts on 1,001 Spikes if you own another Nicalis release), but it appears the company is leaving it up to other game makers if they want to offer the same kind of “Cross-Buy” functionality boasted by PSN releases for some time now. It sure would be great to see more eShop titles, especially Virtual Console games, support this feature! Image via Wii U Daily.

[Update: Squids Odyssey developer The Game Baker told Siliconera that Nintendo’s European arm approached the studio with the idea for this promotion. When asked about working with Nintendo of America on a similar deal, the developer said, “We really like this promotion and wished to make it happen for all gamers, but NOA could not support this kind of promotion.”]

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

Castlevania 3 on Wii U and 3DS VC ⊟

Yeah, this happened yesterday, but Shovel Knight Shovel Knight SHOVEL KNIGHT might have bumped it from your view. Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse is out on both Wii U and 3DS, causing me to mess with the poor social media manager at Nintendo.

Anyway, Castlevania 3 is a really great game, with the classic whipping and awkward jumping of the original Castlevania, along with multiple playable characters (Trevor Belmont, Alucard, Sypha  – Ms. Belnades if you’re Grant DaNasty) and branching paths. 

It’s good stuff! But don’t listen to me; Jeremy Parish has written an exhaustive Anatomy of Games series about it!

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games

The Science Wizard (Explodatorium)

Jake Kaufman • Strike the Earth! Shovel Knight Arranged

Two Shovel Knight soundtracks! If you want the original, genuine chiptune steez, you can get the Shovel Knight OST from Bandcamp here. If you want the arranged version with lots of guest artists (including Manami Matsumae remixing Jake “Virt” Kaufman!) that one’s here. The price is right for both: literally any amount of money.

If you want a version of the OST you can play in an NES emulator  – or on an actual NES, should you have a flash cart – you can get the NSF version here. What? Virt, you spoil us.

Oh, and in case you somehow didn’t hear, Shovel Knight is the business.

BUY Nintendo 2DS & 3DS/XL, upcoming games
  • Source Bandcamp
Shovel Knight: all diggity, no doubt ⊟
I usually prioritize work over games, unless I have a hard deadline for a review. Even then, most of the time. Whenever I get some free time, I’ll play a game for a bit, then turn it off, write a post, and go clean. I usually feel guilty and put the game down before long.
But that didn’t happen with Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight, I couldn’t put down. There is at least one original Tiny Cartridge feature that languishes unfinished in our drafts folder because I couldn’t not be playing Shovel Knight during the time I allotted myself for writing features. This never happens! That’s not a brag, either; I usually cannot relax, it’s a problem.
Shovel Knight is a game made by people who understand all my favorite games better than I do. It wears its influences on its sleeve gauntlet?, referencing everything from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Mega Man to Castlevania to Zelda 2 to Ducktales – but not just to elicit nostalgia. It takes elements from them because they are fun, mashing all the best of the NES’s classics into a surprisingly cohesive whole, with just the right amount of modern technique.
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Like, it’s pretty dang hard to get through each (long!) stage, but there are checkpoints throughout. If you want the extra challenge, you can destroy the checkpoint and get some treasure (treasure is used for weapon, armor, magic, health, and item upgrades), but you will definitely, definitely hate yourself for doing that.
Another nicety you wouldn’t find in a genuine retro game: infinite lives. When you die, you lose some money that you can pick up again, and you start over at the last checkpoint. An elegant system like this makes me wonder why games punished us with limited lives for so long, after the advent of home consoles obviated the need to incentivize putting more coins into arcade machines.

It’s also easy to get healing potions before any level (along with a potion that makes you temporarily invincible, or one that attracts treasure to you/wastes a space you could use for healing); though there were a few times I accidentally wasted my healing “ichor” deep within a level and got frustrated, it never compared to the frustration of having to, like, save up for them or worse, find them. It let me get on with the business of playing, and I appreciate that. The Troupple King that fills your Ichor Chalices for free will also treat you to a lovely dance if you ask.
More than anything, though, I think what makes Shovel Knight such an addictively transcendent game is the difficulty curve. It’s just… perfect. Rarely have I ever played a game in which I could so clearly, noticeably do just a little bit better every time I died. I miss a jump, die, and nail it the next time. I replay a level to farm treasure, and find myself flying through it like an acrobat, albeit a shovel-toting acrobat in heavy armor MOVING ON. 

It’s worth noting that I played the 3DS version, of course and found that the perfect venue. When I got frustrated, I could just snap the 3DS closed and open it again a few minutes later, able to jump right back in.
If you have even a passing interest in 2D platformers or action games, I can’t recommend Shovel Knight enough. It would be easy to mistake it for something that trades on nostalgia, especially with the pixel-perfect NES look and the instant-classic soundtrack, but it isn’t.
It’s a game that demonstrates mastery of the design concepts that made us love the games we’re nostalgic about. Plus lots of puns, shovel-based and otherwise.
Note: Eric experienced a couple of crashes/glitches when playing the 3DS version; I never had a problem. With free DLC on the way, I would expect whatever this is to be patched out as well.
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Shovel Knight: all diggity, no doubt ⊟

I usually prioritize work over games, unless I have a hard deadline for a review. Even then, most of the time. Whenever I get some free time, I’ll play a game for a bit, then turn it off, write a post, and go clean. I usually feel guilty and put the game down before long.

But that didn’t happen with Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight, I couldn’t put down. There is at least one original Tiny Cartridge feature that languishes unfinished in our drafts folder because I couldn’t not be playing Shovel Knight during the time I allotted myself for writing features. This never happens! That’s not a brag, either; I usually cannot relax, it’s a problem.

Shovel Knight is a game made by people who understand all my favorite games better than I do. It wears its influences on its sleeve gauntlet?, referencing everything from Super Mario Bros. 3 to Mega Man to Castlevania to Zelda 2 to Ducktales – but not just to elicit nostalgia. It takes elements from them because they are fun, mashing all the best of the NES’s classics into a surprisingly cohesive whole, with just the right amount of modern technique.

Read more

Pre-order the Wii U GameCube controller adapter ⊟
Amazon now has a pre-order link available for both the Wii U GameCube controller adapter ($20) and the Smash Bros.-edition black GameCube controller ($30).
If you want a new GameCube controller right now, or just want some variety for your upcoming Smash meetups, you can also order the white GameCube controller Nintendo made back in the Wii generation (that’s right, this is the third console generation in which Nintendo has produced GameCube controllers). It’s got a 10-foot/3-meter cord, a full meter longer than the stock GC controller.
Not sure how long the cord on the new Smash controller is…
PREORDER Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS, upcoming releases

Pre-order the Wii U GameCube controller adapter ⊟

Amazon now has a pre-order link available for both the Wii U GameCube controller adapter ($20) and the Smash Bros.-edition black GameCube controller ($30).

If you want a new GameCube controller right now, or just want some variety for your upcoming Smash meetups, you can also order the white GameCube controller Nintendo made back in the Wii generation (that’s right, this is the third console generation in which Nintendo has produced GameCube controllers). It’s got a 10-foot/3-meter cord, a full meter longer than the stock GC controller.

Not sure how long the cord on the new Smash controller is…

PREORDER Super Smash Bros for Wii U/3DS, upcoming releases
  • Source amazon.com
1001 Spikes: Of Death and Love ⊟
[Guest writer/TinyCaster Francesco Dagostino shares why he loves a game that hates its players so much, judging by the lengths it goes to kill them.]
This might sound like a very bizarre statement, but 1001 Spikes has some of the best sliding ice block puzzles I’ve ever had the honor of attempting to solve. They don’t appear until the second half of the game, but when they do you just get this sudden feeling that the people who made it (these people being 8bit Fanatics with the help of Nicalis) have a grasp on the puzzle-platformer genre that is waaaaaaaaay above average.
Every action that the main character Aban Hawkins can perform, from shooting knives to pushing boulders (or, in this case, ice blocks) has a lot of depth, and variables to take into account. Basically, to solve these stages, you don’t have to just push or break ice blocks, but also run behind them, jump ahead of them, use them to reach higher ground or run back and forth on top of them to avoid some of the game’s titular, deadly, and omnipresent spikes.
Of course, it’s not just the ice block puzzles that drove me to sit in this chair and start writing an article about this fantastic game instead of playing it some more: pretty much every single level is built to amaze and surprise the player. The focus being on the word “surprise” here. “Surprise” meaning “kill.”
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At first glance 1001 Spikes is just another retro-style platformer (a very pretty one!), but try jumping around, shooting, falling and dying, and you will realize this is actually a very modern game! The controls are ultra-responsive, and the action flows just beautifully. The collision detection in particular is pixel-perfect, which helps a lot with an action title like this, in which a single pixel can make the difference between life and death. Nicalis and 8bit Fanatics know exactly what players want from video games like this, and it shows clearly in 1001 Spikes' execution.
The main mode of the game, simply called “1001 Spikes”, offers a collection of elegantly designed death traps. Spikes, darts, pits, explosions, scorpions, lava balls, deadly penguins — there’s a huge amount of things that can kill you, and they are all well-hidden in seemingly safe corridors and on apparently stable bridges. You won’t know they’re even there until it’s too late.

If I gave you the impression that Aban’s adventure is a hard one… well, it means I’m doing my job right. One quick Google search will show you how many people use the title of this game together with Dark Souls’. And that’s saying something — about both its difficulty and its quality.
Playing 1001 Spikes really feels like exploring some incredibly dangerous ruin, especially when you’re doing so with friends, (1001 Spikes supports 4 players locally, but only on the home console and PC versions!) when you can feel the tension in the air. If someone makes a mistake and dies, the shock immediately hits other players, snapping them out of their concentration and leading to another premature Game Over.It’s hard not to laugh all together when something like that happens.
Despite the difficulty, 1001 Spikes is not annoying or frustrating at all. In fact it’s so well balanced and paced, it’s greedily consuming of your attention. Assimilating and conquering the masterful design of every locale is, in my opinion, the real purpose of this game — the right way to play it, if you will. Every time you die, the screen turns black, and in chunky white type tells you that “YOU ARE DEAD!”, but it’s so easy to read it as “ONE MORE DANCE?”
Completing the levels will, of course, give your self esteem a huge boost, but what makes 1001 Spikes something you absolutely MUST play is the feeling you get by dying right next to the exit of a stage, of seeing yourself robbed of another victory just one second away from the goal by a perversely placed trap. The best part? You were expecting something like this to happen, but you were too scared to acknowledge it. And then you feel motivated to try again, to go back to that specific point that took your life to claim it back and move on. Or, more realistically, die again just one step further.
Sometimes you’ll die because the levels are tough and the people who made this game sadistic, evil creatures, but most of the time, you’ll die because you’re hasty, because you don’t have patience, or because you’re not fully focused. When you make those kind of human mistakes, it’s easy to just press a button and continue, sacrificing one of the 1001 lives you start with. … I wonder what happens if you lose them all!
1001 Spikes is a pudgy lil’ game. It offers a crazy amount of content for the price it asks. Over 100 levels, four different and equally amazing and addictive modes (including a Smash Bros.-style battle arena) and over a dozen unlockable characters! Most of these are cameos from other titles, such as Curly Brace from Cave Story, Nyx from NyxQuest, Commander Video from the Bit.Trip series or Jonathan Blow from… the real world?!?

Anyway, all these gals and boys come with different abilities and their own music theme, obviously inspired by the game they come from! Neat, huh? There’s a lot of of respect for great games of the past and present in this project, and a lot of effort to create an experience that feels new, fresh, innovative, despite all the nods from the past.
I don’t joke when I say 1001 Spikes is a game that deserves to be treated as a masterpiece alongside gems like Spelunky or Cave Story. It will awaken you, it will make you love video games like you forgot you could.
A few lines above I said that the people who made this game are sadistic and evil, but you know what 1001 Spikes has a lot of? Spikes! … Just kidding. I meant to say heart. A game like this can only come to be when people really love what they’re doing and want to share their ideas with the rest of the world, so that as many people as possible can see their love, and love what they did with it.
It’s easy to forget, with console wars, AAA stuff and cinematic experiences in the way, but that’s pretty much the best thing you can hope to get.
1001 Spikes is out on pretty much every existing system. PS Vita, PS4 (they’re cross buy!), Steam, Wii U, and 3DS. On some systems, you can also get it at a discounted price (10.01$, ahah) if you have previously bought other Nicalis titles! The home console versions are the best ones in my opinion. I’m playing it on WiiU — mostly because I love posting silly screenshots and doodles and I can share the experience with my husbando and friends!
[You can follow Francesco Dagostino on Twitter at @franpaccio. The GIFs featured in this article were pulled from videos uploaded by Playstate and EliteAssass1n.]
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1001 Spikes: Of Death and Love ⊟

[Guest writer/TinyCaster Francesco Dagostino shares why he loves a game that hates its players so much, judging by the lengths it goes to kill them.]

This might sound like a very bizarre statement, but 1001 Spikes has some of the best sliding ice block puzzles I’ve ever had the honor of attempting to solve. They don’t appear until the second half of the game, but when they do you just get this sudden feeling that the people who made it (these people being 8bit Fanatics with the help of Nicalis) have a grasp on the puzzle-platformer genre that is waaaaaaaaay above average.

Every action that the main character Aban Hawkins can perform, from shooting knives to pushing boulders (or, in this case, ice blocks) has a lot of depth, and variables to take into account. Basically, to solve these stages, you don’t have to just push or break ice blocks, but also run behind them, jump ahead of them, use them to reach higher ground or run back and forth on top of them to avoid some of the game’s titular, deadly, and omnipresent spikes.

Of course, it’s not just the ice block puzzles that drove me to sit in this chair and start writing an article about this fantastic game instead of playing it some more: pretty much every single level is built to amaze and surprise the player. The focus being on the word “surprise” here. “Surprise” meaning “kill.”

Read more