Pocket Players Podcast #86: Niche Games

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Some games have a little something for anyone, others are not for everyone, and a few are sure to appeal to no one. 

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

[Image: Jagex Games Studio]

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Handheld Deals of the Week

I want to thank those who wrote in feedback to this weekly feature. As per the your advice, I will no longer list games that have been on “sale” for more than 2 weeks. So that means we’ll have a shorter but more meaningful list of game deals from here on in.

This week, we have a couple of new Vita releases hitting the ground a few bucks under MSRP with little girl fighting frenzy Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! and the tactical 3D RPG NAtURAL DOCtRINE both coming in at $34.

There’s also a very limited supply of One Piece Unlimited World Red: Day 1 Edition for 3DS remaining on Amazon. Looks like they’re trying to unload their lingering stock $25 each.

PLAYSTATION VITA

Arcana Heart 3: LOVE MAX!!!!! - $34
Call of Duty: Black Ops – Decla
ssified
– $17
NAtURAL DOCtRINE - $34

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NINTENDO 3DS

One Piece Unlimited World Red: Day 1 Edition – $25

[Image: NIS America]

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Pocket Players Podcast #85: Accessories May Not Include

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Seems like a lot of games are either taking stuff out, or are just packing those features as DLC. Adell and KC try to figure out where it’s all gone. 

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

[Image: Square-Enix]

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Handheld Deals of the Week

I started to see some Christmas trees going up around town, so I hoped to see the deals start creeping in this week. However, it’s still slim pickings.

If you’ve have $100 worth of stuff you’ve been meaning to buy on the PlayStation Store, October might be a good month for that. Sony is giving its online store customers a $15 credit for spending a cool $100 there. Though I’d be more inclined to take advantage of a $7 credit on a $50 purchase, I guess free money is free money.

The most notable deal this week for 3DS is Mario Golf: World Tour finally dipping under it’s new MSRP, down to $25 on Amazon. And I just thought this would be a good time to remind our European fans about the Winter 2014 Bonus Game Promotion. If you bought a new 3DS (possibly along with Smash Bros. this week), you can register your system to get a free game, including Mario Golf: World TourPokemon Art Academy, The The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds and several other choices.

TOP 3DS DEALS

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – $25
Bravely Default – $33
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - $30
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D – $30
Mario Golf: World Tour – $25

Mario Party: Island Tour - $26
Pokémon Y- $31
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy- $30
Super Mario 3D Land – $25
Yoshi’s New Island - $33

TOP VITA DEALS

16GB Vita Memory Card- $31

Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention$28
Dragon’s Crown
- $20
Gravity Rush- $19
Persona 4 Golden- $20
Rayman Legends- $20
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God Limited Edition- $28
Tearaway- $29
Valhalla Knights 3 – $20
Xblaze Code:Embryo – $31

[Image: SCEA]

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Super Smash Bros: Just Off the Horizon

Nintendo released a free downloadable demo of Super Smash Bros for the 3DS to raise even more hype (if that’s possible) for the game’s release, which is tonight!

The demo is pretty restricted, but it gives a great view into the game. We have five characters to play with: Company mascots Mario, Link, and Pikachu, and newcomers Mega Man and the Villager. The only mode you’re allowed to play is a 2 minute timed Free-for-All against computer opponents or friends who have the demo.

Every time I played, I found myself complaining out loud whenever the announcer began the 5 second countdown. I kept wanting more and more. Why? Let me try and break all this down before I start rambling.

Visuals

screen-8The game itself looks a lot better than I ever thought it would. The graphics and animation are great – everything looks smooth and polished. Even fighting three opponents at once, the game kept its frame rate up flawlessly, even with the 3D on believe it or not. However, the demo doesn’t let you test that out over WiFi, and I haven’t been able to test it during multiplayer as I’m currently miles from home.

The action is also colorful and entertaining in a way you kind of have to experience. Little things, like the new effects when players get knocked out of the park, more vibrant and extravagant impacts, really make the game look more exciting, and makes every single contact more satisfying. Nintendo did say that the design of this game is a bit different from the Wii U version so that everything can be seen better on the 3DS screen. But whether or not it carries over, the style here is enjoyable.

Gameplay

screen-9The physics and technical aspects of the game seem to be pretty balanced as well – somewhere between the lightness of Melee and the heaviness of Brawl. I like it a lot.

The thing that really impressed me was the fighting styles of the new characters. The returning fighters haven’t changed much, but I didn’t download the demo to play as Mario. Playing as either Mega Man or the Villager, I found myself having to adjust to strategies I hadn’t used very often in previous games. The blue bomber in particular has a unique style that I still can’t get quite used to. I did love that he was so true to form, and any big Mega Man fan will agree with me here.

The controls, which I expected to torment me to no end, weren’t actually that bad. Of course, the circle pad is not something that was ever intended to be used while playing a game like Smash Brothers. It really makes me feel bad for people who bought any of the 3DS Street Fighter games. It’s not all that horrible once you play for a bit, but expect to misfire quite a few smash attacks.

At least for me, it’s way too hard to register a hard tap with that thing. Other than that, the controls actually worked. It felt natural – and that’s coming from a diehard GameCube controller purist.

Details

screen-10The last thing I want to mention about the game was the items, which are arguably my favorite part. There are so many new items, I had a hard time finding some I recognized, which wasn’t a bad thing.

Of course I saw the iconic hammer, but I saw things like the dreaded blue shell from Mario Kart, which immediately blows up the fighter in the lead. I also enjoyed seeing the beehive from Animal Crossing that releases a terrifying swarm of bees which choose a character and tortures them. But my personal favorite is the chicken from The Legend of Zelda series. Picking this up and throwing it into someone causes a swarm of chickens to appear and completely slaughter them. Of course, if you accidentally attack the chicken instead of picking it up, you’ll receive the same fate.

The demo was incredibly fun, and if this was any other game this would probably be enough to convince me to buy it. But knowing that the Wii U version, which will allow GameCube controllers, is looming in the distance, I feel like $40 is too much for the total of 3 months I’m going to play this thing (and that’s being generous, and assuming I spend no time playing Pokemon Omega Ruby or Fantasy Life). So as huge of a fan as I am, I just don’t see Smash having much of a future on the 3DS.

But maybe a few matches with my friends will turn that opinion around.

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Pocket Players Podcast #83: Smash Schmoes

Pocket Players Podcast #82: Big Money in Little Consoles

Handheld Deals of the Week

The Pokémon possé are next at bat in the Super Smashing Sale on the Nintendo eShop.

This week you’ll find price cuts on digital 3DS games featuring Pikachu and the rest of those cute little monsters, including Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, multiplayer puzzler Pokémon Battle Trozei, and everyone’s favorite Pokémon… Metroid? Okay, so they’re also celebrating Samus and Wii Fit trainer if you’re interested.

If you happen to have passed up Rhythm Heaven for plain ol’ DS, you should really take a second look at this amazingly off-the-wall rhythm game, that’s now just $11.

TOP 3DS DEALS

Animal Crossing: New Leaf – $25
Bravely Default – $33
Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds - $34

Mario Party: Island Tour- $27
Metal Gear Solid Snake Eater 3D- $22
Pokemon Art Academy (Pre-Order) – $30
Pokémon Y- $31
Professor Layton and the Azran Legacy- $31
Super Mario 3D Land – $25
Yoshi’s New Island - $33

TOP VITA DEALS

16GB Vita Memory Card- $31

Deception IV: Blood Ties- $29
Disgaea 3: Absence of Detention$28

Dragon’s Crown
- $20
Gravity Rush- $20
Persona 4 Golden- $20
Rayman Legends- $21
Sorcery Saga: Curse of the Great Curry God Limited Edition- $30
Tearaway- $31

[Image: Nintendo]

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Pocket Players Podcast #81: A Leak to the Past

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Huzzah! Adell and KC do a little role reversal as they experience many highs and lows talking about the future of the 3DS, iPhone 6, and electronic wristwear.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

[Image:Nintendo]

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