Pocky & Rocky With Becky On Virtual Console: Bust Up Cute Baddies, Not Your Wallet

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Given that complete used copies of the low production run Game Boy Advance title Pocky & Rocky With Becky can fetch over $200 and new/sealed ones over $300, Natsume finally getting the game out on the Wii U Virtual Console is a great thing for those who missed out on the game and don’t have hundreds to drop on a copy these days.

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For a fraction off those ridiculous auction prices (and yes, the Japanese versions of that cart run a lot more) you can get all the deceptive cuteness the game delivers along with harder than you may have thought gameplay. Well, the game isn’t really that difficult. It’s just that one hit from any enemy will knock Pocky, Rocky or Becky out of action and if you lose all your lives, you’re restarting from the beginning of one of the seven stages. Anyway, that’s your heads up for this one. Natsume has been on a nice roll of getting a few GBA titles onto the eShop such as this one, Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town and the great, under appreciated RPG, Car Battler Joe (which also comes highly recommended).

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Other Natsume GBA games headed to the eShop are Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town along with the two Medabots games, Medabots Rokushu and Metabots Metabee. All three should be popping up in the eShop in North America later this year. Alrighty then, let me let you get yours. Off and away with you now – you’ve got some cool (and now cheaper) games to buy and play.

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Review: Skylanders SWAP Force

Skylanders SWAP Force PS3Platform: PlayStation 3 (Also on Xbox 360, Wii U, Wii, 3DS)

Developer: Vicarious Visions/Beenox

Publisher: Activision

# of Players: 1

ESRB Rating: E10+

Official Site
Score: A- (90%)

With this year’s installment of the series, Skylanders SWAP Force, veteran developer Vicarious Visions (with an assist from Beenox) takes over from Toys for Bob and bumps up the console versions to to HD quality visuals (save for the Wii version) while adding a few new play mechanics. More importantly, there are a new set of Skylanders with swappable top and bottom halves and plenty of locked off areas in the game that will send parents zipping into stores to buy new figures on a regular basis. That the gameplay is so basic yet compelling and all those enticing gated-away goodies the perfect opportunity to market new toys to kids and parents is exactly the formula any game company would kill to have in play. Skylanders has worked from the beginning in successfully roping nearly anyone who picks it up into its charms and while SWAP Force is the best looking and playing game to date, Activision also needs to kick things up a notch in the future, as you can practically hear the call of a more open world game experience with even more to do bellowing from those sweeping panoramic backgrounds… Continue reading

Short Takes: What You Should Be Playing This Week (Randomly, of Course)

Skylanders SWAP Force Wii USkylanders SWAP Force: HD quality visuals, jumping and all new customizable figures all for the first time on the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U make this latest entry in Activision’s supremely successful yearly cash cow a huge must. Wii and 3DS owners don’t get HD graphics (obviously), but the core game is the same deal. In SWAP Force, the gameplay is even more addictive than ever (and yes, some of you adults will be sneaking in time when the kids are asleep or at school), the story longer and more interesting (in part thanks to the enthusiastic voice acting all around) and overall, this makes for both a great entry into the series as well as the latest installment that will have your wallet making faces at you whenever you yank out that cash or card to buy more figures. $74.99, pretty much anywhere that sells video games.

VK3_coverValhalla Knights 3: This new PlayStation Vita exclusive from Xseed Games looks to bring Japanese developer K2’s niche grind-heavy RPG series to the masses with the best looking (and possibly, playing) installment to date. The Vita seems to be the prefect platform for this combat-heavy game that now includes an optional segment that features a bit of NSFW visits to a sort of love hotel where players can er, “score” additional playable characters and gear if they partake in a series of racy mini-games. Given that the other entries in the series have been given Teen ratings, that M VK3 is sporting must mean you’ll want to keep this away from the kiddies. That’s no problem here, as any kid that comes near my Vita is pulling back a stump… with a lollipop stuck in it (hey, I’m NICE mean old guy)… $39.99 (retail and digital).

F1_2013_tinyF1 2013: Longtime fans of the actual motorsport have been a bit disgruntled these past few seasons thanks to the juggernaut crushing all under his speedy wheels that is three-time champ Sebastian Vettel. However, Codemasters is giving them a chance to beat the man at his own game, provided you’re sitting at home on your couch or in front of a high-end gaming PC setup. This year’s installment is even more gorgeous than ever, has some solid improvements (you can now save between events!) and that adjustable difficulty means even total newbies can actually make it around the track with some effort. While it’s definitely NOT for the NASCAR crowd of those expecting power-up and arcade-style gameplay, it does a decent enough job at breaking down the F1 experience that the Codies really don’t need to do more next year. Well, except add MORE Classic cars and courses, as the small amount this year is VERY welcome, but made me want to see what they could do with a few dozen more rides from the 70’s to 90’s (or perhaps earlier). $59.99,

The Wolf Among Us 3The Wolf Among Us: I’ve not read any of the Vertigo comics this first installment is based on, so it’s pretty obvious that my excitement about this game is lower than those who have. On the other hand, given that it’s coming from Telltale Games and is modeled on the success of the company’s hugely successful multi-platform hit The Walking Dead, this one’s a no-brainer as far as the usual “should I play this?” stuff some of you go through. Given that this chapter is a slower-paced mystery with gameplay that’s heavily Quick Time Event focused and what looks to be a growing cast of really interesting fairytale characters updated and placed in an alternate New York City setting, it’s certainly right up my adventure alley and Telltale is actually offering up a really cool deal for that $24.99 (PC or Mac) price tag. Once all the chapters are complete, PS3 and Xbox 360 owners will hopefully get a retail version as well (like The Walking Dead did), but we’ll have to see if Wii U and Vita owners get as lucky…

E3 2013: Skylanders Swap Force Trailer: Easy Money, Guaranteed For Activision


 
There’s really not much to say about Skylanders Swap Force other than it’s going to be a big winner this holiday season. New developer, new engine, updated HD visuals for current-gen consoles, new gameplay, characters and more all indicate that this will be the best game in the series to date. Add in the fact that yes, all those older figures will work with this game and it’s pretty much a given that no matter which platform you pick, the kids will be happy with what they’re getting. Of course, if you’re a kid at heart hooked into the Skylanders thing, you’re thrilled even more because your own allowance is much bigger and you can stock your shelves with every figure you can get your paws on and then some. Er, you do look a bit pale, though – the game isn’t out until October 13, 2013, you know… plenty of time to get outside and work on that tan. That sunshine DOES have a few benefits, you know…