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Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars review: If you love a baby, set it free

A game doesn't need to be perfect in order for you to keep playing it, so long as there's some kind of tradeoff that provides something good in exchange for the bad. Maybe the voice acting is iffy, but you can deal because the combat is fast-paced and exhilarating. Perhaps the level design is pedestrian, but the story is enchanting enough for you to overlook it. In the case of unusual 3DS and Vita turn-based RPG Conception 2: Children of the Seven Stars, that exchange never quite happens. Although it contains some genuinely interesting ideas and even some charming weirdness, overall Conception 2 is disappointing and disjointed.

The situation is a familiar one: A select few are given the power to fight an invading evil. In this case, the Star God blesses certain teenagers with his energy so that they might slay the monsters spewing out of dark portals across the land. It's pretty standard gather-your-party-and-sally-forth-into-the-dungeon stuff, reminiscent of series like Pokemon and Shin Megami Tensei, except some of your party is made up of Star Children, which you create by "Classmating" with the other students at the school where you've been sent to hone your combat abilities. As "God's gift," a nickname you're given because the Star God has given you an astonishing amount of power, it's your obligation to Classmate as much as possible to improve humanity's odds for ridding the world of darkness. You're the world's most important pick up artist.

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Nintendo 2DS and Pokemon X bundle currently $100 at Target

Target is offering a Nintendo 2DS and Pokemon X hardware bundle at a steep discount this week, pricing the set at just $99.99 while supplies last.

The package includes a black-and-red Nintendo 2DS and a digital copy of 2013's Pokemon X. The bundle is regularly priced at $149.99, and the 2DS hardware itself normally retails for $129.99.

If you'd prefer to manage your Pokemon collection on a larger pair of screens, Target is also offering a $40 gift card with Nintendo 3DS XL purchases through April 19.

[Image: Nintendo]

Five Nintendo 3DS games receive permanent price cuts

Handson with the 3DS XL
Beginning April 22, Nintendo will permanently cut the price on five of its stand-out 3DS games. Super Mario 3D Land, New Super Mario Bros. 2, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, Mario Kart 7 and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D will all be $29.99, a 25 percent drop.

If you've missed out on any of these games and want some help making a choice on which to pick up, we've placed links to all their reviews after the break.

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Titanfall reclaims UK No. 1 after landing on Xbox 360

Titanfall became the second game to return to the top of the UK charts in 2014, after forcing FIFA 14, the first game, to eject and drop into third. Respawn's mech-crammed shooter saw a 220 percent boost in sales following its arrival on Xbox 360, and that was enough to see it keep Lego: The Hobbit just beneath the summit in second place.

It's a sign of a quieter April that retailer promotions helped South Park: The Stick of Truth rise up to fourth. That said, last week wasn't quiet enough to take Kinect: Sports Rivals into the top ten, and Rare's motion-controlled latest had to settle for 14th place. Football Manager 2014 placed 18th thanks to its spring transfer onto Vita, and the coaching sim is just ahead of The Elder Scrolls Online in 19th, which saw a sizable drop after debuting the week before in the No. 2 spot.

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New Nintendo eShop releases: More GBA games, Conception 2

Joystiq: Hey Reggie Fils-Aime, what do you think about this week's new eShop releases?
Reggie: Tomodachi Tomodachi Tomodachi Tomodachi Tomodachi Tomodachi Tom...

Couldn't have said it better, Reg, although you could've noted Kirby and the Amazing Mirror and WarioWare Inc on the Wii U, and Conception 2 and Lego: The Hobbit on 3DS.

If your body is ready for more info, head past the break for the full list of new releases. Also, look out for some eShop sales, including DuckTales: Remastered sproinging to half-price at $7.49 - that offer's good until April 17. Between April 12-27 you can get Escape from Zombie City at 50 percent off, which should equal to $2,. Finally, G-Style Co has a sale on its collection of games including Chain Blaster and Undead Bowling, and that's also running for a couple of weeks starting April 12.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Atlus elects to publish non-Kickstarted Citizens of Earth

Atlus announced plans to publish Citizens of Earth, a quirky RPG that follows the Vice President of the World on his quest to investigate the bizarre happenings in the town. Developed by Eden Industries, Citizens of Earth fell short of its $100,000 CAD ($91,600 USD) goal on Kickstarter in October 2013, raising just $36,875 CAD ($33,778 USD).

The modern RPG takes after popular SNES classic Earthbound, with its humorous approach to world-saving adventures and includes recruiting mechanics in line with the Pokemon and Suikoden series. The Vice President brings "regular characters into the spotlight as heroes" for them to do his dirty work in battle, continuing their day jobs when not engaged in combat. The game includes 40 citizens, though ambitious fans are encouraged to enter a contest by Friday, April 18 on Atlus' site to create the 41st one for the game.

Citizens of Earth is in development for PS4, Vita, 3DS, Wii U and PC and is expected to arrive on each platform's digital channels in North America and Europe in September 2014.
[Image: Atlus]

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3DS sim Tomodachi Life brings weird to the West in June

Even if you're not interested that Tomodachi Life is making the journey from Japan to North America and Europe on June 6, you'll want to watch its announcement video. If Nintendo Direct were to get its own sitcom, this would be its pilot. And it'd probably get greenlit.

The 3DS game is known as Tomodachi Collection: New Life in Japan, where it's been a hit with 1.82 million sales since its launch this time last year. It takes its cues from games like The Sims and Animal Crossing, but adds its own distinctive Nintendo flavor by letting you play with Miis in a diversity of activities, from the casual and simple to the totally bizarre. Also, if you've ever wanted to hear your Miis talk in a weird synthesized voice, Tomodachi Life goes one better by letting you hear them sing in a weird synthesized voice.

We'd say more, but really you should just watch the video. We're not going to top Nintendo execs dancing in a circle and hailing the Virtual Boy.
[Image: Nintendo]

3DS soccer RPGs Inazuma Eleven GO: Shadow, Light reach Europe in June

European 3DS owners hoping soccer was less of a sport and more of a histrionic anime drama will be pleased to hear that two entries in the Inazuma Eleven roleplaying game franchise have just received the greenlight for release later this year.

According to a tweet from the UK branch of Nintendo, Inazuma Eleven GO: Shadow and Inazuma Eleven GO: Light will reach the 3DS in Europe on June 13. Despite the naming scheme, Inazuma Eleven GO: Shadow and Light tell the same story with minor differences, much in the same way that Pokemon X is complementary to Pokemon Y. Both Inazuma Eleven GO games center on the trials and tribulations of a fictional soccer team populated by typical anime tropes, and both feature the immediately recognizable artwork of Dragonball creator Akira Toriyama.

While Japan received the two Inazuma Eleven GO games in 2011, there's no word on either game reaching North American retail shelves. This isn't terribly surprising in light of America's apathy toward soccer, but is disappointing given the recent 3DS eShop release of Inazuma Eleven.
[Image: Nintendo]

Read up on Azure Striker: Gunvolt at its new English website

To whet the appetites of prospective players, developer Inti Creates has launched an official, English-language website for upcoming 3DS action-platformer Azure Striker: Gunvolt.

If the site reminds you of any number of Mega Man games, that's to be expected. Azure Striker: Gunvolt is being developed by much of the same team responsible for Mega Man spiritual successor Mighty No. 9, and Mega Man character designer Keiji Inafune serves as the game's director. Likewise, both games center on heroic, idealistic young men battling foes with agile jumps and projectile weapons while wearing almost exclusively blue clothing. We'd mention the similarities between Mega Man's "Blue Bomber" nickname and the "Azure Striker" of the title, but you get the idea.

Unfortunately lacking from the newly-launched Azure Striker: Gunvolt website is a specific release date. Like our earlier report, the site is only willing to assign a nebulous "Summer 2014" window to the platformer's debut.
[Image: Inti Creates]

Pokemon brawl: Charizard, Greninja join Super Smash Bros. roster

Super Smash Bros. will include the Pokemon Charizard and Greninja when it launches on 3DS this summer and on Wii U in the winter. Nintendo saved the announcement as an after-Direct snack, showing off Charizard and Greninja in a video following Smash Bros. director Masahiro Sakurai's sign-off.

Super Smash Bros. includes the Masterball, a shiny new form of a Pokeball with rare Pokemon inside. Nintendo also revealed a list of non-playable Pokemon that can be summoned during battle in today's Nintendo Direct: Meowth, Electrode, Evee, Staryu, Metagross, Fennekin, Meloetta, Gogoat, Entei, Deoxys, Palkia, Kyurem, Victini, Keldeo, Xerneas.

Yeah, we read that like the Pokemon Rap, too.

Smash Run replaces Adventure Mode in Super Smash Bros. 3DS

In lieu of the classic Adventure Mode, the upcoming Nintendo 3DS Super Smash Bros. sequel will feature Smash Run, a new gameplay type announced during today's Nintendo Direct broadcast.

According to director Masahiro Sakurai, Smash Run pits four players against each other in a cross between a platforming marathon and standard Super Smash Bros. combat. The initial section of each game will see players racing through a labyrinthine dungeon stocked with power ups where they must use each character's individual skills to navigate obstacles and defeat AI-controlled enemies. Players will plumb these depths for five minutes, then they face off in combat, using the power ups they have collected.

Sakurai fails to mention how many stages will be available for Smash Run, though the map shown during the broadcast appeared quite large and complex. Smash Mode is exclusive to the Nintendo 3DS Super Smash Bros., though Sakurai made no mention of what might takes its place in the Wii U version of the game.

Edit: Originally this piece described the new mode as "Smash Mode" when it is actually called "Smash Run." We apologize for any confusion and have amended the error.

Super Smash Bros. online play split between 'for fun' and 'for glory' modes

Nintendo announced today that its upcoming Wii U and 3DS brawler Super Smash Bros. will feature online play split between casual and hardcore fanbases, with specific measures taken to minimize cheating and abusive play.

When joining Super Smash Bros' online mode, players will be asked to join either the "For Fun" or "For Glory" gameplay modes. "For Fun" matches players with random stages and items, and only wins are counted on a player's record. "For Glory" appeals to series fanatics and tournament players, disabling items and restricting play to the "Final Destination" stage. Both wins and losses are counted in this mode.

Nintendo also announced that many themed stages will now feature "Final Destination"-style variants that eliminate platforms and other gameplay-altering gimmicks, allowing greater stage variety during tournament play.

Nintendo plans to heavily moderate Super Smash Bros. online play, and will issue bans to players who repeatedly cheat, abuse glitches, or harass other players. Nintendo Network IDs will be displayed during online play, and while players aren't ranked in a traditional sense, player skill will be taken into account when searching for matches online.

Super Smash Bros. will launch this summer for the Nintendo 3DS, and in the winter for the Wii U.

[Image: Nintendo]

Super Smash Bros. brings the fight to 3DS this summer, Wii U in winter

In a tweet posted immediately prior to today's Super Smash Bros. Nintendo Direct broadcast, the company revealed release windows for the next two Super Smash Bros. games. The 3DS game will make its debut this summer, while the Wii U version will appear in "winter 2014," presumably in time for the holiday shopping season.

The two latest entries in the fan-favorite fighting series see the return of familiar faces such as Mario, Link and Samus, but also welcome newcomers like the Animal Crossing villager and Capcom's long-absent Blue Bomber, Mega Man.

Watch today's Smash Bros Nintendo Direct right here

Well, we now know today's Super Smash Bros-focused Nintendo Direct is going to reveal a release window for the Wii U and 3DS brawler. We guessed that the 2014 window was due a narrowing, and with E3 around the corner, maybe that's when we'll see a concrete date.

So, what other things will today's Direct reveal? For example, we'd be amazed if there wasn't at least one new combatant announced - if you were Nintendo, wouldn't you hold back a few top-draw reveals for a Direct? What else might we learn about Smash 4 today?

You'll be able to find out the answers to all those questions right here on Joystiq, and in this very post no less. Be sure to take your ringside seats by 3PM PT/6PM ET/11PM UK time, because that's when the broadcast goes out live. As ever, we've got Nintendo of America's stream up top, and ones for Europe and Japan posted below the break.

Don't worry if you miss the livestream, because we'll endeavor to have the replay up for you to watch as soon as possible, and all the news as and when it happens.
[Image: Nintendo]

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Marvel superheroes to join Disney Infinity

After years of superhero films from Marvel Studios igniting the box office, it was inevitable that Disney would add Marvel's characters to open-world license mashup Disney Infinity.

The game, which drops players into a sandbox-style environment populated with famous faces from throughout Disney's vast catalogue of lucrative characters, has long been a suspected destination for Marvel's heroes. In February, we reported on layoffs at Disney Infinity developer Disney Interactive, at which time the Wall Street Journal claimed that Marvel characters would join Disney Infinity in a "new version" of the game. Presumably that explains the "2.0" designation at the end of the above trailer, though so far we've found no further information on what might also be included in this new incarnation of Disney Infinity.

There's no word on when Marvel's heroes might join Disney Infinity, nor word on which heroes will make the cut. Given the title of the video, "Get Ready To Assemble," we think the Avengers will be a safe bet, but otherwise we're in the dark. When contacted, neither Disney nor Marvel had anything further to add.

The amazing no-neck Kingpin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Image The Kingpin is a big guy. Big shoulders, big suits, big cane, big power. Spider-Man, on the other side, is a scrawny dude in spandex. Doesn't seem like a fair fight – for Kingpin. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is due out on April 29.... Continue Reading

Pokemon X and Y capture 12 million sales

Buried within an announcement of another Pokemon movie, The Pokemon Company revealed today that Pokemon X and Y for 3DS have reached sales of 12 million units. According to the company, the latest installments in the gotta catch 'em all RPG series have helped the franchise reach sales of 245 million games sold to date.

But that's just the video game: The collectible card game has over 20 billion cards out in the wild, and there's also the animated series empire. Pokemon will celebrate 20 years of confining animals in tiny red and white spheres in just a couple of years.

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Elder Scrolls debuts second in UK, FIFA 14 reclaims the throne

It's not a No. 1, but Bethesda may be quietly satisfied with how The Elder Scrolls Online fared in the UK. The MMO's launch on Windows PC and Mac was enough to take it up to second place, and there are still PS4 and Xbox One versions to unravel in June.

As it is, we may have to get used to the name currently on top of the UK charts. FIFA 14 is now up to 11 weeks in total (non-consecutive) as the country's No. 1, and - as if it needed the help - the English soccer season is excitingly close this year, and there's a World Cup just two months away. In related news, let's go live to the scene at EA Sports HQ...
[Image: Bethesda]

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Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate contest asks fans to design weaponry

We've got the rest of 2014 to wait before Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate enlists Western audiences in its latest clash with oversized wildlife, but fans can begin crafting their dream-tier weaponry right now. Capcom Unity's Community Specialist Yuri Lindbergh has announced a competition where participants will submit design and name ideas for weaponry, the winners of which may be featured in MH4U. Capcom will select one victor from the Americas and one from the combined regions of Europe, New Zealand and Australia.

Only one entry is allowed per person though, so make sure you submit the prime choice from your daydreamed arsenal to contest (at) capcom (dot) com. You'll need to title your email as "MH4U WEAPON DESIGN," and the design must be based off one of the 14 weapon classes present in MH4U. Submitting concept descriptions of up to 100 words is allowed, but not required. Participants also need to be 18 or older.

Capcom is accepting submissions until noon EST on May 5, so there's no need to rush through creating your masterpiece. Winners will be awarded with a to-be-determined digital prize, though its monetary value will be $0. You can check out the rest of the contest's terms & conditions here before you start flexing your creative muscle.
[Image: Capcom]

GameSpy online matchmaking service goes dark on May 31

GameSpy Technologies is shuttering its online matchmaking service on May 31, ending online play for more than 1,000 games that use the company's middleware.

Launched as a Quake server search program in 1996, GameSpy soon branched out to host online play for hundreds of console and PC games. Many recent games with active online communities still employ GameSpy technology, including multiple titles published by Activision, Electronic Arts, Capcom, Sega, and Nintendo. Affected games will need to migrate online play to SteamWorks or other services prior to the shutdown in order to maintain multiplayer functionality.

The service shutdown comes in the wake of GameSpy ceasing editorial content in 2013. Mobile games publisher Glu Mobile purchased GameSpy Technologies in 2012, later shutting down online play for several popular games without notice when developers failed to pay hosting bills.

[Image: GameSpy]

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