Review: Pokémon Detective Pikachu

detective P01

One of these folks has not has his coffee yet. One has had too much.

pokemon_detective_pikachu_ver2_xlgWhile I’ll confess I’m more of a Monster Rancher person (ah, memories of popping in random or specific CD’s to generate monsters!), I did dabble in a tiny bit of Pokémon starting back in the ’90’s, playing bit of the Red version and a few other titles, eventually tapping out because it wasn’t for me. In he 2000’s. I did eventually play a few of the free games from the franchise though. Both Pokémon Rumble and Pokémon Shuffle were decent, simple time killers on the 3DS for a while. But I wouldn’t say I was devoted to catching them all and nope, I couldn’t tell some evolved types apart even if you handed me a cheat sheet.

That said, I do know Pikachu is a species of Pokémon, so only seeing ONE of them in Pokémon Detective Pikachu was having my well-aged eyebrow creak up a little. Granted, it’s very likely that some younger kids would be a bit confused seeing more than one, so there’s that to consider. That said, I’ve had random conversations with super diehard fans over the years where from kid to adult, they can go on about Pokémon for a while as if they’re real creatures and you can learn everything about them, even if you’re afraid to ask. Try getting stuck in an elevator with a few restless Pokémon fans for about an hour, and someone’s practically guaranteed to whip out their Pokédex notes (NOTE: this has happened three times over a few years, so I must be either lucky… or I need to take the stairs more).

Anyway, where was I? Oh, right. Detective Pikachu is quite a decent enough film, hitting all the right technical notes (the assorted Pokémon are all perfectly brought to life courtesy of some spectacular CG) and falling back on the usual formulaic three-act structure you’d expect from a movie like this. It’s also likely the best live action videogame to film translation to date, I’d say, Especially after sitting through a few cash-in films over the years that were lacking in a few areas. For anyone new to this sort of thing, it might be a bit overwhelming what with all the visual information presented onscreen (or: this is one very busy film). But for the most part, director Rob Letterman keeps things interesting and for a film partially based on a game of the same name, it’s pretty solid.

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There’s A Humble Nintendo Bundle? It’s About Time!

Humble Nindie Bundle logo 

Well, well, well. I was wondering when Nintendo of America would step up to the plate and take a swing at bundling some of its indie games up into a great deal. Rather than do it themselves directly, they’ve teamed up with the fine folks at Humble Bundle to offer a nice set of games for a budget price point. In the Humble Nindie Bundle you pay what you want (well, at least a buck) for three titles or pay ten bucks (or more) to unlock nine 3DS and Wii U games with more to come in a week or so. This deal only lasts for the next 12 days, so grab it if you own a Wii U and/or 3DS and need some cool indie titles to keep you occupied. The deal is for North America only, so European Wii U and 3DS owners are out of luck until Nintendo Europe gets whatever ducks it needs to in order.


 

Interestingly enough, I believe this is the first ever console bundle offered by Humble Bundle. If so, once again it’s Nintendo thinking outside the box and getting its fans some decent deals. I guess it’s your move, Sony and Microsoft.

Club Nintendo Bites The Dust (Soon). Replacement Parts Available (Later).

Club Nintendo RIPWhile I personally haven’t taken much advantage of Club Nintendo rewards other than to nab a few downloads, the end of a relatively brief era is approaching as Nintendo winds the program down in favor of a new (and to be announced) loyalty system. Six years may be dog years in terms of the internet, but as usual, Japan got the best goodies while North America’s rewards were more along the acceptable to “Hey, that’s REALLY awesome!” set of points for stuff “freebies”.

That said, I’ll take what the company says about killing off the club and replacing it with something newer and shinier at face value as well as claim my free copy of Flipnote Studio 3D in February 2015. It’s too bad that freebie isn’t Wii U compatible, though. I could see a lot of people who don’t use a 3DS or even a 3DS XL because of the screen size maybe wanting to try out the image creation software and play around with it on a bigger screen. Ah well. RIP, Club Nintendo!

Nintendo Direct 11/15/2014: A Familiar Mask, Lots of Steam + Many Other Surprises in Store…


 
More eye-popping news from Nintendo in this 33-plus minute Direct video. Seeing The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask return as a 3DS/2DS exclusive was a huge surprise for sure. Still, I’ll say I’m a tiny bit upset that it’s not gotten a proper HD reworking on the Wii U. The again, neither have any of the other N64 Zelda games, which is a shame. Anyway, MM looks spectacular on the 3DS and is an immediate must-buy game. That said, a new F-Zero would be spectacular and I’m still wondering when we’ll see some developer who can do it beg to make a new Earthbound game for the Wii U. It’ll most likely sell much better than the initially under-appreciated SNES game that now has a much more loyal fan base. Granted, that base may not be in the multiple millions, but it would absolutely appreciate a new (or old!) entry in that non-franchise… Continue reading

E3 2014: Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley – Not The Only Thing Natsume Showed This Year, But…

Alphadia Genesis Wii UYou wouldn’t know this by looking at their North American YouTube page. Now, I’m not singling Natsume out for anything mean here at all, folks. They’re a solid but much smaller publisher than some of the bigger and busier ones who show stuff at E3 and to me, that’s precisely why they NEED more updates on their main video page. Granted, they DO have a nice social presence on facebook with a page that’s updated fairly frequently. however, not everyone has or wants a facebook account and YouTube works quite well as far as letting potential customers see what’s coming (despite the pain in the butt that is Google+ hampering some basic functionality there).

Anyway, as I’ve been trumpeting, Alphadia Genesis is also coming (a port of an iOS and Android JRPG) and I posted about the rest of their lineup before the big show. Hey, I just want to see the little guys succeed, so if I can generate some thrills and hits for Natsume and their cool lineup of upcoming and already available games, I’m doing my job here.

E3 2014: Natsume’s Lineup Currently Has More Games Than Capcom’s. This Could Get Interesting…

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Let’s see now. Here’s Natsume’s E3 lineup:

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley (Nintendo 3DS)
A-Train: City Simulator (Nintendo 3DS)
Alphadia Genesis (Wii U)
Reel Fishing: Master’s Challenge (PlayStation Vita)
End of Serenity (Sony PSP)
Reel Fishing Pocket 2: Ocean (iOS)
Gabrielle’s Monstrous Duel (iOS)
Hometown Story: Pocket (iOS)
Ninja Strike (iOS)

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And here’s what Capcom is packing:

Dead Rising 3 (PC)
Monster Hunter Freedom Unite (iOS)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (Nintendo 3DS)
Ultra Street Fighter IV (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC)
Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (Nintendo 3DS)

Ready? FIGHT!

little orbit logo blkOr not really. For that matter, new-ish publisher Little Orbit also will have more games at E3 than Capcom does. Granted this isn’t really astonishing news, as both small and large publishers have been condensing or expanding their lineups over the past few years in order to maximize profits and it seems that we’re at that stage where small and large games make the cut at these companies. Granted, Ultra Street Fighter IV or Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate will easily sell more copies than Reel Fishing and End of Serenity combined. But for a guy like me who just wants to play good games no matter who publishes them, these leaner, meaner lineups are almost a godsend because I don’t need to wade through junk to get to the treasure.

Naturally, not all of these games I’ll get to will be great, but fun is a more important factor than anything else for me at the end of the day, as is enough QA (quality assurance) that’s occurred pre-release that keeps what I play playable from beginning to end without a patch in sight (or at least one that fixes anything that’s busted). Anyway, I’ll have a more complete list of E3 games from more publishers shortly.My inbox is filling up with official lists and I want to do them all in one post as opposed to dropping in multiples.

Back in a bit.

Surprise! Nintendo Gets The Jump On Super Smash Bros. Wii U Fans With A Game Cube Controller Adapter

GC_WiiU _AdapterWell, this is quite cool. Earlier today, Nintendo dropped a little video about the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Invitational Tournament they’re holding at (or near) E3 this year and at the end of that video, BOOM! you’ll see that there’s a Game Cube Adapter coming for the Wii U, price and release date TBA.

Of course, Nintendo went and posted a picture of this soon to be hot seller on its Twitter feed… and pretty much anyone who still has a Game Cube lying around in a closet somewhere (or hey, still under their TV!) probably fainted dead away, woke up to pinch themselves HARD and promptly fainted dead away again. I think it was that sexy music playing when the Adapter was shown, but that’s probably just me…

Yeah, I want one of those AND more Game Cube games coming to the Wii U on the eShop… which according to rumor, MAY just happen. I’d gather this rumor is true as making that adapter for ONE game is just insane and I know a LOT of people want to buy and play some of those classics from the GC era and have at it for old time’s sake. I’m in that crowd although I still have a Game Cube here and a big stack of games to play on it. That said, I’ll snap this thing up in a heartbeat…

Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom Coming In November from Wayforward & Little Orbit

Adventure_Time_LogoSMALL“What Time Is It?!”

AdventureTime_artworkWell, it’s NOT quite THAT time yet, kids. Anyway, Publisher Little Orbit’s partnership with Cartoon Network looks to pay off this November when the latest Adventure Time game is released for PC via Steam, Nintendo 3DS, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

So far, all we have is this somewhat intentionally generic (and intentionally HUGE! – Go on, click it and see for yourself. YAAAA!, Right?) artwork of heroes Finn and Jake to ogle (although, according to the Ice King and a few other characters from the show,  there’s some desperation in you if you consider either of these two ogle worthy). However, according to the press release:

The game will introduce a classic top-down action adventure experience and puzzle-solving element to the franchise, reminiscent of early high fantasy console games… In Adventure Time: The Secret of the Nameless Kingdom, players take on the personas of both Finn and Jake as they navigate through the eponymous kingdom – a mysterious unexplored region in the Land of Ooo. They will discover hidden secrets by exploring all corners of a new kingdom created exclusively for the game and encounter never-seen-before characters and creatures.

Sounds like a plan, man. Put this one in the pan, Stan! Yeah, there’s no Wii U version, but I guess you could say “what else is new?” when it comes to support drifting away from that console (which is too bad, but hey – you gotta sell where your game will sell these days!). More on this once we get some screens and trailers out of Wayforward and/or Little Orbit. I wanted to squeeze them like a sack of grapes, but they really don’t have much to show it seems. I guess e3 will be the big reveal…

Conception II Hands-On (PS Vita): Raisin’ Space Babies, Beatin’ Beasts With Rabies…

Conception II VitaAtlus’ upcoming JRPG,Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars, is sure to get the dirtier gamer minds over-activated into the puerile zone what with it’s show and tell “Classmating” sequences, too-jiggly females, an aged priest with some intentionally pervy dialog and plenty of direct and indirect references to sexytime antics mixed in with a cosmic religion theme. But hey, it IS an M-Rated game and some of the people who are going to be playing this probably shouldn’t be. But you know how that goes, right?

Here’s a game where you play as a young man called “God’s Gift”, and yes, that means not only in terms of the terrific monster bashing powers at his disposal, but in terms of his ability for Conception with the game’s nubile young females. Did I mention that this is basically a futuristic high school setting and this is more or less a dating sim with random dungeons packed with plenty of monsters to wail on? Yeah, par for the course for the genre, I know, I know. Yet, for all the lovely visuals and solid combat there’s a decidedly cute yet creepy vibe here that may make a few players cringe as they groove on the lovely visuals and catchy tunes.

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UPGRADE GET! Retro City Rampage DX Out Now For Nintendo 3DS

 
Assuming you don’t own a Nintendo 3DS XL yet, here’s the one game that demands that larger screen real estate. Retro City Rampage DX is out now in the US via the eShop (2/20 in Europe) and adds a few fun things you’ll see in that video above (or at the game’s official site) Although it looks fine on the standard model, the extra size does make a huge difference. I’ve played this game on PC, PS3 and Vita (and it’s also out on WiiWare and Xbox LIVE Arcade), but it looks as if I’ll be diving in once more at some point just to get a few more nostalgic chuckles going. But not for a while, though. I’m doing the headless chicken thing at Toy Fair soon and am in the midst of poking through my inbox and setting up meetings. I need a secretary/helper monkey/game organizing librarian or something.

Ah well – I’m off to a late start today thanks to the stupid storm this morning. Back in a bit with more once I get out of the house…