Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask; Trailer + Information

The first bit of which seems to be that the game is definitely being released in all regions including the US and Europe, as evident by the new trailer and the translated title.  Here’s the new trailer for the game that was shown at Nintendo Direct:

There’s also a bit more information on the game’s story.  Apparently, there’s this mysterious villain character called the Gentleman of Miracles in a city called Montdol who prophesises that the destruction of said city will be caused the power of the mask he wears. And it’s up to Layton and co to solve the mystery of who this character is and what the whole deal is with the titular mask.

Given the storylines in past Professor Layton titles, it seems reasonable enough to assume that there’s no supernatural influence or magical power behind the mask or anyone associated with it at all and that some logical reason will be deduced for why this guy is apparently terrorising the city, but that’s something that’s got to be found out by playing the game I guess.

It also features flashbacks to Layton’s college years for whatever reason.

No word on when the game will be released, but it’s probably accurate to assume it’ll be out sometime in 2013, the 2012 release schedule is already packed to the bursting as is and already has the rather more important issue of the Wii U’s launch.

Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem Delayed until 2013

Unfortunate I know, but it’s probably for the best considering the fantastic line up of 3DS games coming out this year (New Super Mario Bros 2, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon, Paper Mario Sticker Star, etc) and the whole Wii U thing with the console being launched later this year, it’s possible Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem would make it too many great games crammed into a short amount of time.

So Nintendo have decided the games are going to be released next year instead, presumably once all the Mario and Wii U hype has died down a bit.  Their original quote was:

We also owe you some news on two upcoming games – Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem for the Nintendo 3DS. In order to provide the best end result and give fans the quality they expect from Nintendo we can confirm today that these two titles will now be launching in the first half of 2013. We are sorry that you will have to wait a little longer but we hope you understand our desire to ultimately deliver a game that fans will love

Are you disappointed these games have been delayed until 2013 for whatever reason (presumably either for a better launch date or to make the localisations better), or do you think Nintendo was right to hold off from releasing them this year?

More New Super Mario Bros 2 Footage!

I haven’t seen this video online much at the moment, but it shows two player co-op lasting through quite a few different levels.  Unfortunately the music in the original video just cut out after the castle scene for whatever reason, so I had to splice in some ridiculously out of place music from the Wii version to stop the footage from that point onwards being in complete silence.

It does show some new things however.  Like how it seems trees have been added to the grass land levels to stop them looking so much like how they did in New Super Mario Bros on DS.  Also, it turns out castle levels look much like in New Super Mario Bros Wii complete with the same music and Thwomp graphics.

Still, it looks decent enough, and this footage does at least show the game isn’t entirely a lazy rehash of New Super Mario Bros 1.  What do you think of what’s been shown in the video posted above?

Nintendo Announces 3DS XL!

No, it doesn’t have most of the improvements people wanted in a 3DS hardware revision, why do you ask?

None the less, Nintendo announced it at Nintendo Direct earlier today.  It’s obviously a bigger version of the 3DS, but also a fairly different look too, one which some people online have considered a change for the worse.  Here’s a comparison between the standard 3DS and the XL version, as well as a bunch of other electronic devices:

As you can see, it’s about as big as the DSi XL was, although bigger than the 3DS and Vita and a fair amount smaller than either an iPad or a Wii U Game Pad.

It has a slightly longer battery life (3.5 to 6 hours for playing 3DS games rather 3 to 5 hours on the original) and the screens are about 90% larger than those of a standard 3DS.  Doesn’t seem like much of a difference really (certainly not enough to buy the system if you already own a normal 3DS), but it’s a bit better anyway.

There’s one change however that few people will agree on… in Europe and Japan, they’re now selling the AC Adapator seperately.  You know, the thing that lets you charge the device from the mains rather than the cradle like thing?  Gone, unless you’re in the US.  Here’s the box art for it, for the people who are likely to feel right ripped off:

^This has the word ‘sucker’ written all over it.

And the design is a matter of taste at best.  Still, here’s some photos of the different models of 3DS XL, as well as the box art in both the US and Europe and various other pictures related to it:

Here’s the box art (top one is the different box arts provided in the US, bottom one is the console box art for Europe).

So that’s the 3DS XL then.  Is it worth buying instead of a 3DS or to replace it?  Not sure, I’d personally advise that if you don’t have a 3DS already and want a larger screen to go for it, but to hold out if you already own the console since it doesn’t provide too much of value.  It’s not like a 3DS Lite or 3DSi to say the least…

June 22nd Nintendo Direct; Lots of New Super Mario Bros 2 Info and Footage!

Yes, three whole trailers/videos were released showing levels and content from New Super Mario Bros 2 complete, with a whole lot more interesting information about the game.  Here’s the general trailer first of all:

First of all, it seems Mushroom levels are definitely confirmed, as are gold rings.  The Mushrooms also seem to be swinging side to side in time with the music, just like in the DS New Super Mario Bros game.  The most interesting element though is actually the gold ring, which turns all nearby enemies in gold when Mario passes through it.  This explains the snow level scene provided with the first initial screenshots of the game where all the enemies were gold coloured.

The Gold Block ‘power up’ is also detailed, and works like the wearable ? block from Super Mario 3D Land.  Nothing more needs to be said here.

Also, it looks like the art style of this game will also be taking inspiration from Super Mario World too.  Look at that nifty looking mountain background found in the slide level, which looks just like it came straight from Super Mario World!

The same level also has a nifty looking effect with the transparent bricks and the various holes in the ground, making it look almost like the kind of level found in Super Mario World game mods and hacks more than anything.

There’s also some footage showing the main menu of the game, shown before the Coin Rush mode:

As you can see, the options for solo and co-op play are present and accounted for, along with the new Coin Rush mode.  Looks a little like the kind of menu used in the Super Mario Advance series.

It’s explained that the courses in this mode are random too.

It also seems like the traditional NSMB cave tileset and level archtype will be present here too:

Also returning is the beach world, presumably as either world 3 or 4.  It seems like it’ll have those moving barrels found in the original New Super Mario Bros, although there’s no sign of the water skeeter like creatures that drop bombs yet.

Banzai Bills are also confirmed, although I’m a little worried about how common the nearby ‘snake blocks’ seem to be in this game, they seem like they’re littered about normal levels even more than in the last few Mario games, and I damn hated that in those.

I think the below screen might show a level with a new tileset and background too, which is kind of appreciated given how samey and generic much of New Super Mario Bros 2 looks.  Reminds me a bit of some of the graphics used in Wario Master of Disguise and Shake It, although I’m not sure why.

There’s also a pretty cool like Dry Bones coaster platform you can ride in lava levels, which reminds me an awful lot of both the Bonecoasters in New Super Mario Bros Wii and the raft riding in Super Mario 3D Land’s final level.

Next up, we have some videos showing the coin rush mode, starring two Japanese actors I don’t know the names or give a toss about.

The first level seems boring enough, although the trap found here (see below screenshot) looks quite interesting.  You see, this block has coins in it, but doesn’t become a used block once it runs out… the guy makes Mario ground pounding it too much, and BANG!  Falls to another area!  You can see some pretty nice tricks coming from this addition to the game.

Don’t pound the block for too long Mario!

We also get the first footage of the desert world, which looks fairly typical.  All your standard Mario desert themed elements are there like quicksands, pyramid, a drab beige colour scheme that makes me think video game companies assume Egypt and the pyramids always looked the way they do now…

One guess what the gimmicks are in this level.

The music seems to identical to in a past Mario game.  Give me a moment…

That’s it I think.

Something I do find quite interesting in this part of the video is how much of the game world seems to be ‘sheltered’. As in, has a ceiling and a back wall despite not being in the middle of a castle or underground level, as if the designers at Nintendo have only just figured out the effect where you can see the level background through holes in a back wall.

This special effect was amazing back in the NES days…

Next video!

Next up is the tower level.  You may recognise it from a video someone recorded back at E3, since the levels these guys are playing through are some of the same stages.  It’s got more moving block snakes for whatever reason (these damn things are becoming as much of a theme in New Super Mario Bros 2 as the gold is), as well as some very interesting enemies…

Such as this pretty damn creepy zombie/skeleton looking Goomba.  Well, they sure are going with the undead themes in these castles and fortresses now.

What the hell is that thing?

There’s also a zombie like Piranha Plant.  Undead plants?  How the hell is that supposed to work?

I guess this is what happens if you lose in Plants vs Zombies…

In another supposedly funny bit of the video, Mario runs out of time.  But hey, they timed it just right that it looks like the unfortunate plumber was killed by the falling sign.

Reznor is apparently the boss in this fortress, except these are the idiots versions which don’t seem to breathe fire and come in pairs rather than fours.  Well, it is the first tower, but it’s still kind of pathetic.  Also, I think I’ve just figured out what their ‘attack’ is, they pound the ground and the bridge shakes slightly.  No idea what happens if you’re standing there.

Wow, most dangerous attack ever!

Still, that’s all the New Super Mario Bros 2 footage analysed, next up will be the 3DS XL, possibly the most pointless console revision in video game history.