This week in the Nintendo eShop: Sonic takes us back to the future, Phantom Trigger delights with its pretty pixels, and the Galactic Federation retires from hunting Space Pirates to paint things with their butts.
Switch sales continue to trickle in this week with the ever Graceful Explosion Machine marked down by 30%! In case it flew under your radar, it’s a blisteringly intense shmup at heart where players skillfully pilot the titularly titled fighter ship through deep space as they shoot, dash and combo their way through jewel-hued alien worlds. It also just happens to be one of the most gorgeous shooters I’ve ever seen, boasting vibrant visuals bursting with color and bold lines that are hard not to gawk at. Don’t believe me? Check out our full review, written by the greatest shmup pilot to every sail the Milky Way, Logan Plant.
Troll and I (Maximum Games, $29.99 | available 8/15) – Despite good intentions, Troll and I is an arduous adventure-driven mess chock-full of great ideas executed poorly. Following your basic ‘80s “boy and his monster” movie premise, players take control of a young lad named Otto in a predictable journey to guide his furry new friend home much to the behest of relentless hunters because reasons. Passable narrative aside, poor gameplay proves the indie’s biggest crux, tossing together every gameplay trope in the book (including the kitchen sink) without any real rhyme or reason. At the end of the day, ugly character models, poor presentation standards and atrocious game design make this one Troll that should have stayed under its bridge, perhaps better suited for some YouTube streamer to struggle through as you both blissfully revel in what went wrong.
SWITCH DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Sonic Mania (Sega, $19.99 | available 8/15) – Prepare to enter an alternate timeline next week where neon windbreakers and mom jeans never went out of style and blast processing won the console war as Sonic Mania spin dashes onto the Nintendo Switch! Relive those youthful summer days cooped up in your parent’s basement speeding through Green Hill Zone in this ultimate celebration of the Sega Genesis’ finest Blue Blurred classics. Having experienced the game firsthand at E3 this year, I’m happy to report it features the same responsive controls, breakneck speeds and slick platforming of the originals that’s sure to satiate the crankiest of Sonic devotees still suffering from Sonic ‘06 induced PTSD. If like me you’ve been idly tapping your foot impatiently for Sonic’s retro return, be sure toss some fabled rings the heroic hedgehog’s way.
Flip Wars (Nintendo, $9.99) – Prepare to flip for multiplayer mayhem as the Bomberman inspired action game Flip Wars stomps onto the Switch! In this arena based brawler, mighty flip champs compete in hazardous arenas for chromatic superiority by butt-stomping their respectively colored tiles before time runs out — all while knocking out and outlasting rivals throughout three malicious modes. Common with the genre, mindful positioning and persistent power-up collection keep the action from growing stale and are usually key to emerging victorious. Despite some pacing issues getting in the way of the potential fun factor — like sluggish movement speeds only made more apparent thanks to the game’s wide open battlefields — it’s sure to prove a blast for anyone put off by Super Bomberman R’s steep price tag. Feel free to check out Ricky Berg’s impressions if you’re still on the fence.
Severed (DrinkBox Studios, $14.99) – Severed is a lovingly crafted cross between Metroidvania games and dungeon crawlers. Players assume control of Sasha, a one-armed warrior wielding a living sword, as she embarks on a journey through a nightmarish world in search of her family. Solving puzzles, discovering secrets and battling a host of grotesque monsters are all done using intuitive swipe-based touch controls: a deceptively simple mechanic full of incredible depth and creativity. Most mesmerizing is DrinkBox’s trademark use of clean visuals and blocky, vibrant colors which perfectly match the game’s ethereal setting. Ultimately, it’s a fantastic followup to 2013’s Guacamelee! that absolutely deserves your attention.
Phantom Trigger (tinyBuild Games, $14.99) – Inspired by ‘80s action games of yesteryear (and with the visual pazaz to prove it), Phantom Trigger looks to be a welcome highlight in this week’s already promising bundle of eShop goodies. Comparisons to indie darling Hyper Light Drifter inevitably run rampant, in large part thanks to its similarly stunning hi-bit graphics and neon color schemes. Though buried beneath the pretty pixels and drop dead gorgeous aesthetic is an intriguingly cryptic plot, combo-heavy combat system and perfect balance of challenge that’s sure to smack down even the most die hard of genre veterans. Couple that with multiple endings and a slew of roguelike elements and you’re left with a surreal interdimensional trip through time and space well worth phasing into.
Rocket Fist (Bitten Toast Games, $9.99) – Rocket Fist is the bizarre culmination of dodgeball and billiards in frantic arena-based combat chock-full of crazy robots and chaotic rocket fist battles. Think Bomberman, but instead of chucking bombs at each other, you’re hurling rocket propelled fists of mass destruction directly in each other’s faces. While it does include a full single-player adventure, fast-paced multiplayer mayhem seems to be where the real metal of the game lies — best experienced with up to four players locally. Couple that with a user-friendly level editor, random power-ups, two different game modes, and a buttload of unlockable costumes to customize your super fighting robots and you’re easily left with an explosively good time the whole family can enjoy.
Ironcast (Ripstone, $12.99) – Ironcast is a steampunk turn-based strategy game that beautifully welds together match-three puzzle and rogue-lite elements. Most of your time is spent swiping through the puzzle board setting off chains of different colored icons representative of attacks, energy, coolant, repair and more. Common amongst the best of the roguelike bunch, missions in mechanized warfare are randomly generated and death is permanent, assuring no two campaigns play out the same way. While the story and copious amounts of dialogue have a tendency to get in the way of the action, this is one surprisingly strategic rock ‘em sock ‘em puzzler fans of the genre won’t want to miss.
Arcade Archives – The King of Fighters 2000 (Hamster Corporation, $7.99) – Care to take a guess when this seventh entry in The King of Fighters series hit the streets? The true king of the iron fist tournament ushered in the millenium just in time for SNK to go bankrupt way back when. Refining just about everything from the previous installment, 2000 is perhaps best known for tweaking the striker system introduced in ‘99 to allow the summoning of backup characters at any time (including while in the air or knocked down) during gameplay. This small change significantly sped up gameplay while allowing for much longer and more damaging combos, creating entirely new ways to rain some pain on your opponents. Its graphics and audio may not prove groundbreaking by today’s standards, but what it lacks in pretty pixels is more than made up by a deep gameplay mechanics and tight, responsive controls.
Rayman Legends Definitive Edition Demo (Ubisoft, Free | available 8/14) – Raving Rabbids and their Mushroom Kingdom cohorts aren’t the only Ubisoft staples getting the Switch treatment in the coming weeks. Ahead of its September release, limbless heroes can dip their toes into the whimsical world of Rayman today thanks to a free demo for Legends’ definitive edition punching onto Switch. Dare I say it’s one of the absolute best platformers I’ve ever played, thanks to beautiful art direction, masterfully crafted level design and insanely fun co-op gameplay. The demo itself features four fantastical levels to explore, as well as galleries and other various tidbits worth winding a fist over, assuring fans new and old will want to take this mini vacay to the Glade of Dreams without hesitation.
3DS DOWNLOAD SOFTWARE
Elminage Original (Ninja Games Japan, $19.99) – Elminage Original is an atmospheric, dungeon crawling RPG originally released on PSP to less-than-stellar reviews. In typical genre fashion, players assemble a band of adventurers on a quest to recover lost trinkets with the power to protect the world from evil ladies up to no good. This mediocrity continues to bleed into its repetitively familiar gameplay and drab presentation. Its biggest pain point, however, is the atrocious localization efforts enacted during its debut back in 2012, complete with frequent grammatical errors and even entire segments of untranslated Japanese. Granted, it’s unclear whether the 3DS version suffers the same fate, though I personally wouldn’t be willing to stake $20 to find out. In the end, fans of Wizardry and Etrian Odyssey who’ve powered through every single dungeon crawler in existence may find something worth salvaging here — just know you’re taking quite the risk.
Monster Hunter Stories Demo (Capcom, Free) – Get a head start on your adventure in monster taming this week with a free demo for the long-awaited spinoff of Capcom’s flagship franchise! Intended as an entry point for gamers who feel overwhelmed by the series’ action oriented roots, Stories brings turn-based strategy to the patented formula for the first time, resulting in an RPG epic fellow Rathalos riders won’t want to miss. Best of all, and because the demo features the first few hours of the game, your progress in the demo can be carried over to the full adventure when it launches early next month! I know what you’re thinking: If only original Monster Hunter game demos functioned the same way, amirite?
WII U VIRTUAL CONSOLE
Final Soldier (Konami, $5.99) – The third game in the shmup series, Star Soldier, sets course for Wii U Virtual Consoles today. It was originally released exclusively in Japan for the PC Engine back in 1991, so outside nabbing it on the Wii VC this remains one of the few ways to experience it. Other than the ability to choose the exact kind of weapon, each colored power-up grants at the onset of every run — Final Soldier doesn’t mix up the tried-and-true formula in any meaningful way, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Tight controls, detailed backdrops and a toned-down difficulty when compared to its immediate predecessor make it an intergalactic romp in alien eradication worth taking.
Soldier Blade (Konami, $5.99) – It’s a double dose of Star Soldier goodness this week with the fourth and final game in the series released for the TurboGrafx-16 also blasting onto modern consoles. Like most Hudson Soft vertical scrolling shooters, players guide a ship through seven stages, each one having a mid and end-level boss while collecting all manner of potent power-ups along the way. It’s typically regarded as one of the better games in the series thanks to amazing backgrounds, minimal slowdown and slightly faster pace over its predecessors. Sure, it’s simply more of the same, but you won’t find me complaining when the action’s this good.
SPECIAL OFFERS AND DEALS
[Switch] Graceful Explosion Machine ($8.99 | 30% off) until 8/15
[3DS] Ambition of the Slimes ($3.00 | 40% off) until 8/17
[3DS] Azada ($1.99 | 66% off) until 8/17
[3DS] Power Disc Slam ($1.49 | 70% off) until 8/17
[3DS] Brave Dungeon ($3.99 | 20% off) until 8/17
[3DS] Cube Creator 3D ($5.49 | 31% off) until 8/30
[3DS] PixelMaker ($2.99 | 25% off) until 8/14
[3DS] Comic Workshop 2 ($6.99 | 30% off) until 8/24
[3DS] Unlucky Mage ($5.99 | 40% off) until 8/31
[3DS] AeternoBlade ($5.99 | 60% off) until 8/24
[3DS] Strike Force Foxx ($2.99 | 40% off) until 8/30
[Wii U] Swap Fire ($0.99 | 94% off) until 8/23
[Wii U] 3Souls ($1.95 | 50% off) until 8/17
[Wii U] Ohayou! Beginner’s Japanese ($3.99 | 20% off) until 8/11
[Wii U] Citadale – The Legends Trilogy ($4.95 | 45% off) until 9/7
[Wii U] Rorrim ($2.75 | 50% off) until 9/7
[Wii U] ZaciSa’s Last Stand ($0.74 | 50% off) until 8/17
[Wii U] Star Splash: Shattered Star ($2.09 | 40% off) until 8/20
[Wii U] PixelMaker ($2.99 | 25% off) until 8/14
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!