This week in the Nintendo eShop: Tetris and Puyo Puyo’s kismet collision, Specter Knight’s multiplatform debut and Rayman’s nostalgic one-two punch down memory lane.
Once again it’s not an ideal week for sales on Nintendo platforms. Switch discounts continue to be a no-show, with the only truly notable price drops being on Wii U. Both physics-based puzzle platformers Trine Enchanted Edition and Trine 2: Director’s Cut are half off for the next month. As an added bonus, fans who purchased either game will get an additional 20% knocked off the price of the other.
Puyo Puyo Tetris (SEGA, $39.99 Physical/$29.99 Digital | available 4/25) – Relinquishing the need to choose between the two, the sticky goobers of Puyo Puyo collide with the blocky, geometric shapes of Tetris in this loving mashup of the puzzle genre’s finest. Outside a robust single player adventure story, there’s a hefty variety of online and offline multiplayer modes to really push your block busting skills to the test: from classic Puyo Puyo and Tetris to unique combinations that swap back and forth between the two. While you wait for our full review, check out Ricky Berg’s glowing impressions of this uniquely charming hybrid puzzler, who so far encourages anyone with both a Switch and a couple buddies in tow to give it a try.
SWITCH DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Arcade Archives – Fatal Fury: King of Fighters (Hamster Corporation, $7.99) – Originally released back in 1991, this nifty head-to-head fighting game served as both the inaugural title in the renowned Fatal Fury series while simultaneously kickstarting The King of Fighters games. Outside typical conventions of the genre, a two-lane gameplay mechanic allows players to hop between the background and foreground on a whim for more strategic battles. A second player can also tag in to take on CPU opponents together. Unfortunately the action is poorly paced and special moves are somewhat challenging to execute, making it a difficult recommendation with Street Fighter II’s Switch debut right around the corner – even despite the huge discrepancy in price.
3DS DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Yacht Club Games, $9.99 | available 4/25) – The second expansion for the original Shovel Knight, Specter of Torment acts as a prequel to the blue burrower’s adventure, donning players behind the hood of Specter Knight as he roams the land in service of The Enchantress. Most notably, Specter features many mechanical changes to gameplay, like the ability to perform leaping aerial strikes and jump off walls Batman NES style. Much like with Plague Knight, these slight tweaks and changes make every level feel fresh again, almost like you’re playing an entirely new game. If you’re still perched melancholically on a gargoyle about it, be sure to check out our full review on the spirited specter’s eternal plight, written by yours truly.
Side note: While the game is being offered as a standalone release for the first time in shovel history, all previous owners of the azure adventurer’s original quest will receive Specter Knight’s sorrowful story free of charge! Otherwise, newbies to tales of gallantry and shovel justice can pick up the entire Shovel Knight saga in Treasure Trove for $24.99 – which includes all previously released and future downloadable content.
URBAN TRIAL FREESTYLE 2 (Tate Multimedia, $6.99) – UTF2 is a 2D side-scrolling BMX game sporting a straightforward concept and simple controls. You’ll spend most your time pulling off insane stunts on top of skyscrapers, speeding down busy highways and racing through quiet suburbs while competing with others in online leaderboards. From what I’ve read, this sequel grossly outperforms its predecessor, featuring double the content and the much requested addition of online level sharing. Outside some questionable bike physics, fans of RedLynx’s excellent Trials series may want to take this heavily inspired gem for a spin.
Ping Pong Trick Shot 2 (Starsign, $1.99) – Move over Breath of the Wild: the long awaited sequel to last year’s digital rendition of ball-in-a-cup has finally arrived! Much like its predecessor, players test their ball throwing skills across a variety of technically challenging stages using only the Circle Pad or stylus. In fact, with the exception of 35 new stages, it’s exactly like the original – right down to the poor presentation and lackluster bonus modes. Feel free to give it a shot if the mind numbing tediousness of digital beer pong sounds like your kind of party.
NEW 3DS DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Breakout Defense (nuGAME, $7.00) – Another week, another brick breaker. A port of the same game released back in December on Wii U, Breakout Defense returns with one of the least inspiring versions in the genre yet. I said it back then and I’ll say it again now: Defense remains perfectly content in its own mediocrity and is not worth the price of admission. Judging by the description, the game’s only saving grace – competitive multiplayer – is completely scrapped here on handhelds, making this doubly offensive as the vastly inferior version of the two. If you’re looking for a good puzzler this week, save your money for Puyo Puyo Tetris.
DON’T CRASH GO (RCMADIAX, $1.49) – I’m not really sure why the word “GO” is nowhere to be found in the game’s title screen or logo, but that lack of attentiveness is to be expected when dealing with the latest offering by RCMADIAX. Regardless of shoddy quality assurance practices, this pseudo sequel of the Wii U original wasn’t very fun back then and certainly isn’t any better now. Yet another endless runner in a sea flooded by mediocrity, you move a blocky car left and right to avoid crashing into tiny blue blocks for as long as you can. When compared to the sleek and elegant visuals of last week’s release, DON’T CRASH GO’s graphics come off as rushed, lazy affairs: subpar even by mobile standards. The quality of your games matter, RCMADIAX. Please stop wasting our time with these barely fleshed out, unfinished products.
Pic-a-Pix Color (Lightwood Games, Free) – Last week’s grid-based logic puzzler is getting the demo treatment this week. Anyone familiar with Nintendo’s Picross series will feel right at home forming whimsical pixel portraits using deductive reasoning and basic arithmetic.
WII U DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Shovel Knight: Specter of Torment (Yacht Club Games, $9.99 | available 4/21) – The second expansion for the original Shovel Knight, Specter of Torment acts as a prequel to the blue burrower’s adventure, donning players behind the hood of Specter Knight as he roams the land in service of The Enchantress. Most notably, Specter features many mechanical changes to gameplay, like the ability to perform leaping aerial strikes and jump off walls Batman NES style. Much like with Plague Knight, these slight tweaks and changes make every level feel fresh again, almost like you’re playing an entirely new game. If you’re still on the fence, be sure to check out my full review on the spirited specter’s eternal plight.
Side note: While Specter of Torment is being offered as a standalone release for the first time in shovel history, all previous owners of the azure adventurer’s original quest will receive Specter Knight’s sorrowful story free of charge! Otherwise, newbies to tales of gallantry and shovel justice can pick up the entire Shovel Knight saga in Treasure Trove for $24.99 – which includes all previously released and future downloadable content.
Booty Diver (Xavier Orion Games, $7.99) – Overtly suggestible title aside, this 2D vertical-scrolling platformer is surprisingly charming thanks to its crisp visuals and straightforward concept. Players take a deep dive into the perilous depths of the ocean as they seek sunken treasure and battle aquatic creatures, all while managing their precious air supply. This added gimmick results in a time limit for each of its 25 stages, creating a sense of urgency that keeps players moving and on their toes. My only fear is the entire experience may be fairly short lived at that relatively high price point, so hopefully Booty’s three difficulty modes can provide some much needed replayability for anyone deciding to take the plunge.
WinKings (Lemondo Games, $9.99) – WinKings (a clever play on Vikings) is a fast and frantic arena shooter with terrific visuals and a rockin’ Nordic soundtrack. Donning the horned helmets of vicious Vikings, up to four players duke it out in close-quarters combat until only one is victoriously left standing. Unsurprisingly the single player features of the game are relatively lacking, with gameplay much more suited for a casual romp among friends. Other than that small quip, I’m personally a huge fan of the over-exaggerated art style and absurdity only a Viking-themed outer-space 2D arena fighter could offer.
MOP: Operation Cleanup (EnsenaSoft, $5.00) – Help clean up a dark, contaminated world filled with evil toasters, paraplegic teddy bears and mutated sock monsters as Wall-E on steroids in this fast-paced and beautifully designed 2D runner. While perhaps not quite on par with with the masterful Bit.Trip series, seeing MOP in action gave me brief flashes of my many hours spent absorbed in Commander Video’s symphonic sprints. I just wish some of the backgrounds didn’t come off so drab. Nevertheless, it should prove perfect for fans of the genre in need of scratching that runner itch.
Zombeer (PadaOne Games, $4.99) – If Zombeer sounds like the type of alcoholic beverage that kills brain cells faster than the speed of light, you wouldn’t be too far off. Influenced by low budget Horror movies, players awaken one morning in a Mexican bar with a soul crushing hangover only to discover a strange plague has infected everyone, including you and your girlfriend, that only the powers of a cool pint of beer can stave off. Whether you let the zombification process take over or consistently treat it via alcohol abuse is a key gameplay component of this zany first person shooter. While the humor leans a bit too heavily on the juvenile side for my liking, it’s difficult to deny the sheer awesomeness of having a music video performed by a band dressed in full zombie drag. Keep it weird, Beach City!
ORBIT (RCMADIAX, $1.49) – Remember that comment I made a few paragraphs ago about favoring quality over quantity? Enter ORBIT: another barely fleshed out game idea that visually looks like a hastily drawn napkin sketch. Conceptually speaking it’s a neat idea: tap and hold the touch screen for a set amount of time to erect a force field that keeps enemy ships from attacking your planet. I guess we are supposed to use our imaginations though, as said planet is just a blue dot, the force field’s a crudely drawn circle and enemy ships materialize as tiny red blots. I’m all for simplicity, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.
WII U DEMO
Pic-a-Pix Color (Lightwood Games, Free) – Don’t have a 3DS? A demo for the colorfully grid-based logic puzzles of Pic-a-Pix is taking shape on Wii U today as well! Again, anyone familiar with Nintendo’s Picross series will feel right at home forming whimsical pixel portraits using deductive reasoning and basic arithmetic.
Blasting Agent: Ultimate Edition (Ratalaika Games, Free) – Originally released back in 2009 as a flash game, this classic run ‘n’ gun inspired platformer has been retouched, tweaked and cleaned up to provide the definitive experience for all your retro needs, and now there’s a free demo! Give it a shot if you’re hungry for more pixelated platforming goodness and think getting a little Metroid in your Contra is the stuff of dreams.
WII U VIRTUAL CONSOLE
Rayman Advance (Ubisoft, $7.99) – Originally released alongside the Game Boy Advance’s US launch back in 2001, Rayman Advance is a fairly faithful port of the iconic mascot’s very first platforming adventure. Players assume the role of the famed limbless hero as he restores balance to the world by freeing captured Electoons from the evil clutches of Mister Dark. While the soundtrack comes off a bit tinny and the pixel-perfect conversion from console to handheld isn’t an ideal resolution given the GBA’s small screen estate, the excellent level design and beautifully detailed sprite work more than makes up for these blemishes. If you’ve never experienced the series’ true origins before, or are looking for a more accessible challenge than was found in the brutally difficult Playstation original, take a stroll through Rayman’s whimsical world this instant.
Rayman 3 (Ubisoft, $7.99) – Just a couple years after Advance’s release, Ubisoft vastly outdid themselves with Rayman 3’s portable rendition of the phantom limbed hero’s more publicized home console adventure. Taking place in a brilliantly colorful side-scrolling world, Rayman 3 takes everything great about the original and expands upon it, successfully capturing the essence of Hoodlum Havoc in a 2D environment. Animations are fluid, the color palette is lush and levels make varied use of both familiar and enhanced abilities. Really, the only downside is the lack of Gamelink Cable support, effectively locking out a handful of level challenges. Definitely give this overshadowed cult classic a shot if you haven’t already.
SPECIAL OFFERS AND DEALS
[3DS] AeternoBlade ($4.94 | 67% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Fairune ($1.99 | 33% off) until 5/11
[3DS] Lifespeed ($3.00 | 49% off) until 5/16
[3DS] Quest of Dungeons ($5.84 | 35% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Thorium Wars: Attack of the Skyfighter ($3.99 | 20% off) until 5/11
[3DS] Ninja Battle Heroes ($1.49 | 50% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Escape From Zombie City ($1.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Pixel Paint ($2.99 | 25% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Azada ($1.00 | 83% off) until 5/25
[3DS] ASH ($1.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Smash Cat Heroes ($1.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Power Disc Slam ($1.99 | 60% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Runny Egg ($0.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[3DS] Smash Cat Heroes ($1.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[Wii U] Trine Enchanted Edition ($7.49 | 50% off) until 5/18
[Wii U] Trine 2: Director’s Cut ($9.99 | 50% off) until 5/18
[Wii U] Shadow Puppeteer ($10.49 | 30% off) until 4/25
[Wii U] Art of Balance ($6.70 | 25% off) until 5/4
[Wii U] Citadale ($2.50 | 50% off) until 5/11
[Wii U] Mr. Pumpkin Adventure ($1.99 | 50% off) until 4/27
[Wii U] Rorrim ($2.49 | 50% off) until 5/11
[Wii U] Wicked Monsters BLAST! HD+ ($1.59 | 20% off) until 4/27
[Wii U] Quest of Dungeons ($5.84 | 35% off) until 4/27
[Wii U] Back to Bed ($4.99 | 50% off) until 5/17
[Wii U] Gravity+ ($3.49 | 50% off) until 5/11
Check Nintendo’s website for the full list of deals available.
What games will you be downloading this week? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
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