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Hyrule Warriors review: Moblin warfare

Though The Legend of Zelda series includes some of the most beloved games of all time, Hyrulean protagonist Link has seen some less than stellar adventures in the hands of developers not named Nintendo. Capcom's Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages Game Boy games were excellent, but both relied on gameplay elements and graphics borrowed from Nintendo's own The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening. More notorious are the three CD-i games which transplanted Link into a wholly new gameplay style that's best described as a hybrid of the sidescrolling stages of the second Legend of Zelda game and an unending litany of poor design decisions. The less said about the games' baffling take on Nintendo character design, the better.

Despite this disappointing history, Nintendo has now granted Koei Tecmo – more specifically, its most notable developers, Omega Force and Team Ninja – the rights to craft their own Legend of Zelda entry, a melee-focused Wii U spin-off dubbed Hyrule Warriors. It would be difficult to match the depressing legacy left by the CD-i entries, but it seems an even more daunting task to match Nintendo's pedigree of sterling high-fantasy adventures. Fortunately for fans of both The Legend of Zelda and Koei Tecmo's flagship musou brawlers, Hyrule Warriors is successful on nearly every level.

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Thomas Was Alone rated in Germany for Xbox One, Wii U

Platformer from the block Thomas Was Alone looks to be headed to Xbox One and Wii U courtesy of Curve Studios, going by new ratings published by German software regulatory board USK. Developer Mike Bithell's yet to announce any new platforms for his minimalist puzzle-platformer, but after launching it on Steam in 2012 he's since brought it to PS3, Vita, iOS and Android. To date the game's shifted more than a million copies.

If the ratings prove accurate, we'd imagine a PS4 version would likely be on the way too. For one, Thomas Was Alone is already on other PlayStation platforms. Also Volume, Bithell's next game which provides a modern stealthy take on the Robin Hood fable, is already confirmed for PS4 as well as Vita, Windows PC and Mac, so it'd be odd to see Thomas Was Alone come to rival platforms and not PS4. In any case, we've reached out to Bithell to find out more.
[Image taken from USK site]

Disney Infinity's Toy Box 2.0 offered as standalone download

When Disney formally unveiled Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes in April, the publisher announced that the power discs and base from the first game would be compatible with the one slated to arrive next week. Instead of buying a starter pack for Disney Infinity 2.0 with a new base, returning players will have the option to download the new game's Toy Box mode separately starting on November 4.

The Toy Box mode has improved since the first game, offering options for procedurally generated content and themed templates.

Priced at $19.99, the standalone Disney Infinity Toy Box 2.0 game will be available for PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii U players. The developer opted for a November release date to time the digital launch with its physical 2.0 Edition Play Sets as well as the game's Disney Originals series. North American players that download Toy Box 2.0 will receive both the Stitch's Tropical Rescue and Brave Forest Siege game discs for free, with details on the limited-time offer on the way from Disney Interactive as November approaches. Disney Infinity 2.0 launches September 23 for Xbox One, PS4, Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii U.

Destiny claims biggest launch ever for new IP in UK history

Destiny sold more at launch in the UK than any other new intellectual property in gaming history, following Activision's claim it shipped $500 million worldwide last week. Bungie's shooter is the second game to break the new-IP record this year, the first being Watch Dogs in May. The most successful UK launch of any game ever still belongs to Grand Theft Auto 5, but Destiny now boasts the biggest launch of 2014.

Not that any of that's surprising, frankly, and we're still waiting on hard sales figures from Activision. It's maybe more revealing to dissect Destiny's UK sales-by-platform percentages, especially since they offer a 50-50 cross-generation split between PlayStation and Xbox. While PS4 leads the way with 46 percent, Xbox One and Xbox 360 come in second and third with 36 and 14 percent respectively, and PS3 makes up the remaining 4 percent.

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Day-one patch adding Challenge Mode to Hyrule Warriors

Hyrule Warriors who are looking for a test of skills that goes beyond the game's Adventure Mode will be glad to hear that, as reported by Nintendo World Report, developer Koei Tecmo will be releasing a day-one patch that adds Challenge Mode to the game when it releases in North America on September 26.

So just what is Challenge Mode? According to members of a Nintendo Treehouse stream made earlier this week, it's basically "Adventure Mode on steroids." So ... it's tougher and angrier, but also has some acne problems and premature balding? Whatever you say, Nintendo.

Obviously that's a joke, but the truth of the matter is we won't know what Challenge Mode has in store for us until later this month. Remember warriors, patience is a virtue.
[Image: Nintendo/Koei Tecmo]

Mega Man 7 acquires Wii U power, now available on eShop

Mega Man 7, a rare SNES game featuring Capcom's "Blue Bomber," is no longer quite so hard to find; it's waiting patiently in the eShop, so that you and every other Wii U owner can give it a spin.

"Released somewhat late in the SNES cycle, Mega Man 7 somewhat slipped through the cracks during its initial release," Capcom community manager Brett Elston wrote on the company's blog, where he announced the release.

There's more than a handful of Mega Man games available via Wii U now - Mega Man 1-7, Mega Man X and Mega Man: Battle Network to name a few. As for the number of evil robots defeated by the automaton hero, Mega Man 7 brings the number up to ... uh ... a lot.
[Image: Capcom]

Report: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U to be released November 21

A photo of a pre-order card for the Wii U version of Super Smash Bros., supposedly from retail store Fred Meyer, has allegedly pegged the date that Nintendo's brawler will arrive in North America as November 21. Twitter user BluesDriveBuster shared the photo last evening, accompanied by text reading, "Official Smash WiiU release."

It should be noted however, that this is not an official release date, at least not one formally announced by Nintendo; we've yet to hear such a date from the big N itself. Even the pre-order card states that the release date supposedly printed on the label is subject to change.

Still, considering that Nintendo hasn't yet backed off of its previously-announced "winter 2014" release window and that November 21 is a Friday - a day of the week which Nintendo is fond of releasing major games on - there's enough substance here to make this supposed leak at least somewhat believable. Not enough that you should take it at face value of course, but enough that it's worth acknowledging.
[Image: BluesDriveBuster]

Report: Super Smash Bros Wii U playable via 3DS connection

The Wii U doesn't typically support remote play with the 3DS like the PlayStation 4 does with its handheld cousin the PlayStation Vita, but Smash-ing times call for Smash-ing measures.

After spending some time with a preview build, GameSpot reports that the Nintendo 3DS version of Super Smash Bros. features a menu that claims the device will work as a controller when playing the Wii U version of the game. If the menu is accurate and remains in the final version of Smash, it also looks like you'll be able to transfer your characters' progress from the 3DS to Wii U.

Lest you think people are reading too much into things, the menu reportedly reads: "Connect to a Wii U - You can exchange custom fighters or use your Nintendo 3DS as a Wii U controller." Not a whole lot of room for misinterpretation there, but we'll find out for sure when Super Smash Bros. comes to 3DS on October 3 and Wii U on ... uh ... hey Nintendo, just when is the Wii U version coming out, anyway?
[Image: Nintendo]

August NPD: Madden 15, PS4 score top honors

Madden NFL 15 was the software leader in August, surprising a record-breaking no one. According to the NPD results, Madden's sophomore effort on the latest batch of consoles faired better on the PS4 versus all other platforms. The latest console release of Diablo 3 landed second on the new physical retail sales list, with Minecraft for Xbox 360 and PS3 rounding out the third spot.

Compared to the same reported period last year, however, software sales of new games for the month were on the decline due to fewer big ticket launches. In August 2013, a handful of anticipated titles arrived in stores and online, including Splinter Cell: Blacklist, Saints Row IV and Disney Infinity. Overall, new physical retail sales of hardware, software and accessories "increased by 8 percent in August 2014 over August 2013 and followed a similar pattern of prior months with explosive hardware growth driven by eighth generation consoles offsetting declines in software," NPD analyst Liam Callahan said.

"Deep declines in seventh generation software [X360, PS3, Wii] of 57 percent were not offset by growth in eighth generation software, leading to a net decrease of console software sales of $47 million," he added.

Hardware sales grew over the same reported period last year "by an over 200 percent increase in console hardware sales" thanks to the Xbox One, PS4 and Wii U. According to a statement from Sony, "PlayStation 4 was [number one] in hardware sales for the eighth consecutive month and remains the cumulative leader for next generation game consoles."

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New Nintendo eShop releases: Adventure Island, Teslagrad

Oh, the NES... simpler times. Blowing into cartridges, power gloves, cheat codes, Minus World, R.O.B. and The Wizard. It was a time when people could make Adventure Island, a game in which a rotund man clad only in tiny green shorts and a white cap went running, jumping and skateboarding around the forests and caves of the South Pacific. And, with the help of a fairy called Honey Girl, he saved a princess from a witch doctor. Time-travelers, take yourselves to the Wii U this week and go skate some clouds.

If you want something a bit fresher on Wii U, Teslagrad offers Metroid-like platforming with a dollop of electromagnetism, steampunk and Eastern European art. There's also the kung-fu rhythm of Kickbeat, and on 3DS you've got first-person, old-school dungeon crawler The Keep.

Apart from that, Nintendo's pre-Super Smash Bros. sale is also worth a look. Running through until the release of Smash on 3DS, the big N's discounting games starring the fighter's roster. Check out the Smash sale here and all the other discounts, and jump past the break for the full list of new releases.

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Fantasy Life, Captain Toad to feature in Nintendo's livestream

While more than half of Nintendo upcoming "gameplay" live-stream is just for the 3DS Super Smash Bros, the company's also giving some lower-profile games their time in the limelight.

The eight-hour broadcast starts at 10AM PT (1PM ET) tomorrow, with Smash 3DS going on the air at 1PM PT (4PM ET). The games starring in the first three hours include Bayonetta 2 and Hyrule Warriors, a duo Nintendo's already provided individual Directs for, but also three less high-profile games in Fantasy Life, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Ultimate NES Remix.

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Japanese streamers revealing Super Smash Bros. roster early

Japanese players who've got hold of Super Smash Bros. early are determined to reveal the last bunch of characters Nintendo's been holding back. Several yet-to-be confirmed characters have emerged on streams from Japan today, including a few we suspected from earlier leaks.

So far, Twitch users have revealed Duck Hunt Dog, Ganondorf, Wario, Dr Mario, Dark Pit, Ness, Falco and Mr Game & Watch in the 3DS fighter. Nintendo's yet to officially confirm those characters, but they now seem likely to show up in tomorrow's NicoNico broadcast ahead of the handheld game's launch in Japan on Saturday, September 13.

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Ubisoft confirms Watch Dogs Wii U for November 18

Update: Ubisoft confirmed a November 18 release date for Watch Dogs on Wii U. That's for North America, with Europe locked in for November 21. Ubisoft's press release notes users can bring up a "detailed and interactive" map of Chicago on the GamePad, and that off-TV play is also supported.

Original Story: Ubisoft Mexico may have let the Watch Dogs out a bit early, with a now-removed Facebook post pinning the game's Wii U release date for November 18. That's a Tuesday, the day of the week games are typically released in North America, and company CEO Yves Guillemot has already slated the Wii U version for November.

According to IGN's translation, the Facebook post noted that players can use the Wii U's GamePad as an interactive map of the game's Chicago setting, or simply as a controller.

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Forget photos, watch the Wii U's new Fatal Frame in action

Image Will Fatal Frame: The Black-Haired Shrine Maiden release outside of Japan? We hope so, if only to see scaredy-cats fall backwards as spirits come hurtling towards their GamePads. The Wii U entry hits Japan on September 27. To find out more about it, point your lens here. [Image: Nintendo]... Continue Reading

KickBeat Special Edition hitting PS4, Wii U next week

An upgraded Special Edition of beat-matching rhythm game KickBeat is coming to the PlayStation 4 and Wii U next week, developer Zen Studios announced today.

Putting players at the center of a kung-fu brawl, KickBeat's gameplay is driven by the beat of featured tracks like POD's "Boom," Papa Roach's "Last Resort," and Rob Zombie's "Scum of the Earth." The Special Edition release includes additional levels not featured in last year's initial release for the PS3 and PS Vita, along with a music-analyzing feature that generates levels based on user-chosen tracks.

KickBeat Special Edition is due to launch for the PlayStation 4 on September 16, while the Wii U version premieres on the 18th. An Xbox One port is also in the works.

[Image: Zen Studios]

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