May 09, 2013 | 2:23 p.m.
Nintendo this week again turned to its ever trusty Italian plumber for its latest puzzle game, “Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move.” A download-only title, “Minis on the Move” is a deceptively undemanding game that makes use of the company’s environment-shifting “minis” brand. For those who missed previous installments, the minis are diminutive, wind-up figurines that represent well-known Nintendo characters. They walk forward, they don’t stop and it’s up to the player to control and tinker with the paths in front of them. That about covers the basics, but not the details. What follows are five reasons to give Nintendo’s latest a shot. There’s more variety than expected. “Minis on the Move” consists of a primary puzzle game and a host of mini-games that players can unlock as they advance through the game. The main concept is extremely simple. Players […]
April 17, 2013 | 4:20 p.m.
A new “Legend of Zelda” series video game is on the way for the Nintendo 3DS hand-held console. The game, set in the world of “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past,” was among more than a dozen new releases Nintendo announced Wednesday for the 3DS and Wii U consoles. Among the upcoming games are a new “Yoshi’s Island” installment, a new “Professor Layton” game and “EarthBound,” a fan favorite role-playing game that debuted on the Super NES in 1995. The new Zelda game, slated for launch this holiday season, aims to utilize the console’s 3-D abilities, allowing Link to “become a drawing and move along walls,” according to Nintendo’s news release. Players can download a video of the game from the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo 3DS. Check out some gameplay around the 36-minute mark in the Nintendo […]
March 26, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
Not every hero gets to go home to a princess. But Luigi, the Pluto to Mario’s Mickey, has long had more modest ambitions. The younger half of Nintendo’s core brotherly duo, Luigi rarely gets top billing. It’s not, after all, the “Super Mario & Luigi Brothers” that many of today’s gamers were raised upon. So unlike his famous brother, who has a fetching royal companion and an army of toad-like creatures at his side, Luigi’s castle is a middle-class home with a wooden picket fence, wide-open drapes, no noticeable security system and a TV that looks plucked from the early-’80s, when the Mario Bros. made their Nintendo debut. At least that’s where he’s seen lounging at the outset of “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon,” the 3DS sequel to a 2001 GameCube title. When we meet Luigi he’s asleep, a beverage at […]
Feb. 14, 2013 | 1:35 p.m.
Nintendo declared 2013 to be the “Year of Luigi” on Thursday, putting Mario’s perpetual sidekick in the spotlight with several new game announcements. Addressing Nintendo fans by way of one of the company’s “Nintendo Direct” addresses, President Satoru Iwata donned a Luigi hat of his own, applauding the nearly 30-year-old character’s patience sitting in Mario’s shadow. “Luigi has appeared in many games since then, but most of them in a supporting role. And even though he has appeared in so many games, he is still timid after all of these years,” Iwata said, keying off more details about the upcoming 3DS game “Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon.” Set for release March 24, “Dark Moon” is the sequel to the original “Luigi’s Mansion,” which debuted alongside the GameCube in 2001. Nintendo mastermind Shigeru Miyamoto, in his first Nintendo Direct appearance, touted the […]
Feb. 14, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.
Ten hours into “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” and still no wedding. This was a cause of great panic. “Fire Emblem: Awakening,” released earlier this month for Nintendo’s handheld 3DS, is a fantasy war game, but it’s also concerned with matters of the heart. Sure, there are great axes, fantastic lightning spells and there’s even more than one gorgeous flying Pegasus. And when it comes to fights, there’s evil sorcerers, slimy monsters and all sorts of beasts that look borrowed from Mordor. But beyond the “Dungeons & Dragons” stuff, this is really about the strategic game of love. Amid the troop assignments and battle positioning, there’s even more awkward encounters between characters. One of them, for instance, may happen to stumble upon another mid-bath. This, ultimately, is a game of personality management. Was my no-nonsense, purple-haired Kes, a female magician-sword-fighter, too weird or […]
Jan. 23, 2013 | 1:06 p.m.
Nintendo’s Wii U launched in November with a new entry in the “Super Mario Bros.” series, but missing in action were some of the game makers’ top-flight brands, namely “Mario Kart” and its “Legend of Zelda” franchise. Nintendo is quiet no more on its plans for each series, and in announcing today Wii U editions for each, the company pledged that it would completely “rethink the conventions of ‘Zelda.’” What, exactly, does that mean for the series, which recently completed a 25th anniversary celebration? Nintendo offered a few hints, as producer Eiji Aonuma promised a game that would include some form of multiplayer option as well as more of an open-world design. “I’m referring,” Aonuma said in the latest installment of Nintendo Direct, “to things such as the player is supposed to complete the dungeons in a certain order. That you […]
Dec. 08, 2012 | 10:00 a.m.
Attendees and home viewers of the 10th edition of Spike TV’s Video Game Awards were treated to trailer after trailer for games that showcased new ways to shoot things, new places to shoot things and the post-traumatic effects of having shot lots of things. Yet despite the emphasis on blockbuster games that have yet to be released, this year’s Video Game Awards were ultimately a celebration of the little games that could. “The Walking Dead,” a serial title inspired by the Robert Kirkman comics, was named game of the year, upsetting a host of action/suspense titles such as “Assassin’s Creed 3,” “Mass Effect 3″ and “Dishonored.” Its publisher, the Bay Area’s independent Telltale Games, was declared studio of the year. Meanwhile, L.A.’s own Thatgamecompany received three trophies for its meditative, abstract game of exploration “Journey,” including best independent game and best PS3 game. […]
Nov. 21, 2012 | 6:00 a.m.
Shhh … listen. Nintendo’s new home console the Wii U has been out for about two days now, and if everyone gets really quiet you can probably hear someone somewhere fighting over whose turn it is to control the GamePad. The GamePad, of course, is Nintendo’s new controller, and it’s modeled after a touchscreen tablet. Sometimes, the images on the GamePad are the same as those on the television screen, but more often they’re not. At launch, Nintendo has promised more than 30 games that take advantage of this dual screen technology — some of these are available in stores, and some are for purchase in Nintendo’s online eShop. So what to play? Now that the launch-day lines are gone, peruse the below while your GamePad battery recharges. REVIEW: Wii U and its GamePad set a course for gaming’s future “Scribblenauts […]
Nov. 20, 2012 | 3:59 p.m.
“Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two” brings the animated Disney musical to video games. But does it go far enough in its merger of interactivity and song-and-dance? Developer Warren Spector would say no. Though the game opens with a rousing musical number sung by the game’s villain, with composer Jim Dooley (“Pushing Daisies,” “The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning”) and lyricist Mike Himelstein channeling Disney films of yore such as “Pinocchio” and “Mary Poppins,” the 12 or so songs of “Epic Mickey 2″ appear only during the game’s cinematic sequences. A player, in fact, can go hours without hearing one of “Epic Mickey’s” silly symphonies. It’s Spector’s hope that songs will eventually take on a much larger role in games than they do in “Epic Mickey 2,” which is now available for all major consoles. “What I told Disney is we’d […]
Nov. 17, 2012 | 5:00 a.m.
Nintendo’s Wii felt like a gaming revolution. Unlike its increasingly complex button-riddled competitors, the Wii’s controller was a magic wand. Simply stand and point, it seemed to be saying, and leave behind the burden of pressing a combination of Xs, Ys, squares and triangles. Since its 2006 release, it’s estimated to have put a spell on nearly 100 million users worldwide. In contrast, Nintendo’s high-definition Wii U console (sure to be in short supply this holiday season) feels less otherworldly and more bound to existing technology. The powerful system puts forth a valiant and ambitious solution to a video game quandary: How does a gaming console — that box tethered to a television by one of those unsightly, old-timey cords — survive in an era dominated by the intimate touch screens of smartphones and tablets? Simple: Join them. The Wii […]