By Jared Cornelius
Welcome back to Sweet Release! Bleeding Cool’s look at the new games hitting store shelves and digital platforms. Hey, September is turning out pretty good so far. With last week’s release of Metal Gear Solid V the gauntlets been thrown down and we’re looking at a strong showing all month across all systems. Case in point, the often barren Wii U features our lead game this week and it’s kind of the culmination of every original NES owner’s wildest fantasy. Not only that, but Sony has one of its best PlayStation Vita games showing up for a wider release on PlayStation 4 and Microsoft is getting a legitimate modern classic on Xbox One. So strap in and let’s take a look at what Nintendo’s had thirty somethings wishing for since they were children.
As a kid who grew up on the original NES, there are a ton of great titles I could point to that changed the face of gaming. The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Punch Out, all of these titles were important, but perhaps no title was more important than Nintendo’s signature Super Mario Bros. The 2D platformer didn’t just help revitalize the ailing games industry, it turned a whole generation onto the idea that games could be more complex, challenging, and look great while doing it. Who would’ve believed that the adventures of a plumber from Brooklyn would translate into a massive empire that spans six generations of home consoles, six generations of handhelds, and cross almost every genre of game type.
This week Nintendo celebrates their favorite plumber by putting the series creative whimsy in player’s hands with Super Mario Maker. The do it yourself Mario game lets players build their own levels and challenges from the ground up with 4 different palates to choose from and a ton of recognizable items, settings, and enemies from the Mario cannon. Swap themes between the original title, Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. to satisfy fans from across generations! Build your own Rube Goldberg-esk self-playing level, make a Mario themed side scrolling shooter, the options are kind of limitless. Mario Maker uses the Wii U’s often maligned gamepad as the central building hub with players dragging, dropping, and tapping on levels and items to change them, rearrange them, or remove them. With over 100 levels already included and what I’m sure will amount to an almost limitless supply of content, Super Mario Maker is the game Wii U owners have been crying out for since the console was released. Super Mario Maker releases Friday exclusively for the Wii U.
It seems every week I’m talking about how the PlayStation Vita is a dying system, but Sony’s underappreciated handheld does have some bright shining moments, like Media Molecule’s Tearaway. The third person platformer got a ton of praise for using all the Vita’s features and functionality while not making them feel obtuse or tacked on, but sadly didn’t find a huge audience due to the handheld constraints. That’s why this week’s release of Tearaway: Unfolded is such a big deal. A high definition upgrade of the original, Unfolded offers the standard HD upgrades including running at 60 frames per second and 1080p resolution. The biggest change though are from the Vita’s camera and touch features which were remapped to the PlayStation 4 camera and the Duelshock 4’s touchpad. A lot of Tearaway’s charm came from the series interactivity which featured the actual real life player as the world’s sun via the camera, and used Media Molecule’s unique penchant for paper craft and cardboard for the art style. Tearaway: Unfolded released Tuesday on PlayStation 4, with Vita copies currently available too.
I’m a big fan of beat’em-ups and one of the best is returning to Microsoft consoles this week with The Behemoth’s Castle Crashers: Remastered. The four player brawler has you choose one of four knights and sets you into conflict against a dark wizard who’s kidnapped the king’s daughters. Cliched story aside Castle Crashers sets itself apart with it’s beautiful cartoon art style, witty humor, clever enemy design and masterfully crafted soundtrack. While the game might seem simple on the surface, Castle Crashers has a number of deeper elements including an RPG leveling system, a ton of fun unlockable weapons and characters, and a series of companion/pets that help you in battle.The Behemoth have done their due diligence to make sure this isn’t just a slapdash release as they’ve added a new mini game called “Back off Barbarians”, bumped the game up to 60 frames per second, and added a number of online and offline performance tweaks to make sure the game runs smooth as silk. This was one of Microsoft’s first big downloadable titles way back in 2008 and remains not only as one of the best examples of how to do downloadable games right, but how to showcase them as a big deal. The best news is that if you’re an Xbox Live Gold subscriber and own the original it’ll be free until the 20th of September, after which they’ll still have it available at a discount of five dollars. Castle Crashers: Remastered releases Tuesday on Xbox One, with the original available on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Steam.
Finally this week why not mix space shooting challenge with co-op and try Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime from developer Asteroid Base. The 2D shooter uses 2 characters in a spherical upgradeable ship with players having to manage between weapons, movement, shields, and repairs for a mix of management and controlled chaos. While you can play single player with an AI partner the experience looks like it’s at its best with a real life human partner. Lovers also utilizes procedurally generated environments so each game is a unique experience. Lovers in a Dangerous Spacetime released Tuesday on PC and Xbox One.
That’s all for this week folks, make sure to check out my other regular column, Typing on The Dead, where I review and critique the newest issue of The Walking Dead. Also stop by finer comic shops everywhere and pick up the latest issue of Bleeding Cool Magazine this Wednesday. I interview Joshua Williamson about innovation in the comics industry and wind up talking about pro-wrestling.
Jared Cornelius is some guy from the Jersey coast who still loves wrestling. Tell him your favorite wrestler @John_Laryngitis on Twitter.