Mario Tennis Courts Revealed

Not all of them obviously, but Nintendo has just recently released some new screenshots of Mario Tennis Open showing many of the game’s courts from different angles.  Have a look:

First up, the inevitable Bowser’s Castle themed court.  Looks pretty dangerous all things considered, with Bowser’s Castle itself in the background and the setting being a hellish landscape filled with volcanos and lava.

Next up we’ve got the desert court.  This one reminds me an awful lot of Dry Dry Ruins and Thwomp Desert from Mario Kart Wii thanks to the graphics style and the pyamid and ruins in the distance.  Compare:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_JfPVN0P2U

To the screenshots.  Looks pretty similar, right?  Oh well, guess Nintendo want to make all their recent Mario games look the same now.

DK Jungle is another court, and as you can see it seems to be heavily based on Donkey Kong Country Returns.  The tree house is the same, the graphics style is similar, there are what look like tikis in the background and it just seems like the kind of design Retro might have came up with.  Also, what’s with the tree canopy above?  It looks kind of bizarre with the blue tint and the white light shining through.

There also seems to be a Mushroom Gorge like tennis court, as shown above.  Odd choice I suppose, but it’s nice Camelot or whoever is referencing Mario Kart as well as the mainstream Mario franchise.

Next up is Princess Peach’s Castle.  This court seems to take a lot of influence from the non Fawful altered version of the castle from Mario and Luigi Bowser’s Inside Story with a similar colour scheme/style of decoration/room layout.  Compare to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k–9_Z4-pW0

There’s a definite resemblance to the room just before the meeting/conference one shown in the intro.  As much as it won’t return, I’d love it if the tune played much later in the same area was in Mario Tennis too, that sounded fantastic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7EVeYzcHDk

But the most amazing looking court in the game has to be the snow one.  That level is looking fantastic.  The Mario 64 like penguins and all the random decorations are neat enough, but wow at that aurora in the sky.  I so love it when video games use that effect in their ice/christmas themed levels.

Oh, and here’s betting Nintendo calls it ‘Sherbet Land’, because that seems to be the go to name for ice levels these days.

This one seems to be a beach like court.

Finally, we have the standard court for people who just want a nice simple tennis match without worrying too much about the environment around the.  Looks pretty neat, although I swear I’ve seen that same crowd of generic Mario enemies in every single sports spinoff since Mario Kart Wii…

All in all though, Mario Tennis Open is looking to be a fantastic game with some really interesting courts to play on.  Here’s hoping the game ends up being as good as it looks and revives the Mario spinoff genre again.

Shy Guy Bazaar shortcut potentially found in Mario Kart 7?

Not that this is apparently too common or easy to trigger, it apparently happened to the finder at random when he was playing the Grand Prix mode.  But as you can tell, the game’s testers missed a trick here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESFS7uCv7lU

Going straight through a wall and being placed about three seconds ahead of where you fell off?  That’s pretty terrible programming on someone’s part.

It seems to save time too, considering that the AI opponent was literally right next to him when he fell and he had a second or two lead when Lakitu put him back on the track.  Worrying really, if this ends up being something that can be deliberately exploited online, then it looks like a Bowser Castle 1 level bug* that could easily be used to change the tide of a close race.

* Referring to a trick which saves about two or three seconds and is useful in lower ccs and in time trials.

There are also worrying rumours of shortcuts like the one in DK Jungle (minor and mainly useless) existing in Toad Circuit and Bowser’s Castle, which would imply that to some extent this game’s testers didn’t do a very good job at finding and telling programmers to fix bugs.

So yes, one shortcut near enough found in Shy Guy Bazaar, and others implied to exist.  Pity there’s no worldwide rankings/time trial leaderboard for this game, it’d be really useful to download the top ranked ghost data and figure out what unusual exploits have been found but not well documented as of yet. Still, looks like this game will be totally broken pretty shortly, with bugs and glitches being found on about half the tracks in it.

Mario Tennis Open has a platforming mode?

Apparently so, where in a way similar to how Smash Bros had Adventure Mode and the Subspace Emissary, it seems Mario Tennis Open will have a 2D platformer style mode where you run and jump through familiar game levels and attack Koopas and Goombas (among other enemies) with tennis rackets and moves.

It doesn’t seem to be just one or two levels like in Mario and Sonic at the [insert title here olympics] either, given that the press release this is taken from actually outright says ‘levels‘ in  a way more than just implying  amany of them.  Also interesting is how it mentions ‘familiar levels’,  which suggest the intention is to remake Mario 64/Sunshine/Galaxy/SMB 1-3/NSMB levels and add in tennis related things. Could be interesting to see, and makes me think of this from a Mario and Sonic game:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMXhH61TWUQ&feature=relmfu

Beating up bosses with tennis rackets and balls could be interesting to see, don’t you think?  Imagine smashing bob-ombs straight into Big Bob-omb with a racket.  Or fighting the last boss from Paper Mario (any game) with your fancy tennis playing abilities.

That’s not all though, there are also unlockable costumes you can get for your Miis to make them look like Mario characters.  The artwork for this is hilarious:

Those costumes look incredibly disturbing if you ask me.   The Bowser one is bad enough (although the impact is lessened by the fact it’s been a Mario Party item for as long as I can remember), but the Yoshi one… dear God that looks just wrong.

Still, guess it’s not that bad of an idea, and hey, the Bullet Bill costume could be fun to see.

Other nice features the game has are online multiplayer (both singles and doubles matches with co-op as an option) as well as both touch screen based and button based controls for people who want to play in the same way as in the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube versions of the game.

It comes out on May 20th.

Source:

http://nintendoeverything.com/85902/nintendo-serves-up-some-love-for-mario-tennis-open/

Which itself comes from Nintendo’s official press release.

Sonic the Hedgehog’s Being Rebooted?

That’s not sounding too good at the moment given that the last few games in the series (Sonic Unleashed, Sonic the Hedgehog 4, Sonic Colors and Sonic Generations) have actually been pretty damn good and have avoided the the problems that had plagued the series in the past.  But not one to care for the old adage ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it’, Sega have apparently decided to reboot the series.  Again.

In case that wasn’t worrying enough, the details only make it so much worse sounding:

  •  Speed, platforming, and surreal environments would remain in tact
  • Sonic and Dr. Eggman would maintain their basic roles

Well I guess some good will come of this, they’re not (supposedly) losing the focus on speed or getting rid of the main characters.

Both characters could see a makeover

This however is worrying. Because as we all know, ‘reboot’ games tend to have poor character designs and lack the charm of the games that came before them.  I have this feeling Sega will absolutely slaughter the basic design appeal of both Sonic and Eggman.

All other elements are under review

Including both good and bad ones presumably.  Which is why I’ve often looked at reboots as problematic, since they seem to be based around throwing the baby out with the bath water rather than just fixing what went wrong before.

Surreal environments wouldn’t leave, but a new universe could be created

There’s a good chance any existing fans won’t like the idea of a new ‘universe’ being created.

New gameplay methods/gimmicks

Even worse news if true, since every poorly done Sonic game had an annoying gimmick being to blame.  Whether it be playing as multiple characters in the earlier games, the sword in Sonic and the Black Knight or the werehog in Unleashed, they were all generally decent games let down quite a bit by a badly shoved in gimmick nobody really wanted.  Okay, there’s a chance the gimmicks in this one might not be so bad (Sonic Colors had wisps, right?), but I don’t particularly trust Sega in regards to this.

Individual levels masked as missions in each level

Would be similar to Burnout Paradise, which is open-world and lacks a concrete, linear level structure

This is getting awfully close to the early 3D platformer days of exploration and collecathons.  Not that anything is particularly wrong with that when it’s done well, it’s just that by definition Sonic the Hedgehog isn’t really a series that’d benefit from this type of gameplay.  It’d work okay for Mario, but not Sonic.

New engine

Next-gen engine capability similar to Unreal Engine 4, Frostbite 2

These don’t particularly bother me in the slightest, since nearly every major new game has a new engine.  Heck, Nintendo always used a new engine for most of their games, and presumably so do Sega.

SEGA not too concerned with photo-realism

This is a good thing considering the 2006 game.

Collection model could be included

However this makes me wonder what the real motivation is here. Is it really to improve the series, or just to cash in? Wait a minute…

  • SEGA may target the young demographic who are interested in physical collectibles
  • This could end up being something similar to purchasing a Knuckles statue to gain the echidna as a playable character; unlock extra levels similarly
  • Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure is SEGA’s inspiration for this

Oh yes, Sega saw the amount of money Activision is raking in from Skylanders and so desperately wants a piece of that market they’ll completely overhaul their main franchise to get it.  The idea itself isn’t so bad, but it just smacks of a company trying to cash in on a rival franchise by turning their own ones into clones of it.  Just like oh so many lame reboots and revivals that turned classic games in Call of Duty/Gears of War clones in desperate attempts to sell to the young adult/teen market.

Other possible revenue models: physical toys and collectibles to have an interactive component with a new cartoon series, or to offer classic characters in-game straight up as DLC

A new cartoon series?  That’s interesting I guess.  However the DLC for classic characters is going to infuriate people if true, and it should be obvious why.  What happened to the old days when secret characters and extra content was actually offered as a reward for doing well in game rather than as expensive add ons sold to whoever would fork over a bit of cash?  The greed of the video games industry now is ridiculous.

SEGA wants to attract a new generation of fans

Or in other words, they want the people who bought Spyro to become Sonic the Hedgehog fans.

Still, let’s not pass judgement on it too soon, we don’t have any solid proof of this and no one’s actually played the game to say it’s going to be bad (and Skylanders was supposedly a pretty decent game in itself).  It just seems like a real possibility Sega could be making a big mistake here.

Source:

http://www.tssznews.com/2012/04/04/source-possible-sonic-reboot-for-2014-explored/

Epic Mickey the Power of Illusion Screenshots show more classic Disney worlds

If you’re not excited for this awesome looking 2D platformer that harkens back to the days of Duck Tales and Capcom’s Mickey Mouse games on SNES/Genesis, then you don’t appreciate good platformers.  But just in are some amazing new screenshots that Disney have released of the game which show even more Disney themed worlds and classic characters.  They’re high quality too, given that they don’t come from a magazine scan.  So scroll down for the pictures!

The beast from Beauty and the Beast.  Possibly a boss battle, for whatever reason.  Also, here’s me spying deadly spikes to the left, indicating this level is going to be much tougher than it looks.

Peter Pan appears.  Don’t know why he’s just floating in mid air, looks kind of strange.  Also, what’s with the cannons on the touch screen, some kind of feature/mini game that’s required for the level?

More of the pirate ship level.  Looks pretty nice, although the lack of variation in the enemies found here is getting a little disappointing.

More interesting looking platforming on the pirate ship, and Peter Pan moves to the bottom screen.  Does anyone have any idea what the ranks on that screen are about though?  What exactly has been done perfect here?

Back to the castle, with that twisty turny corridor again.  Have to say the graphics here remind me an awful lot of another Mickey Mouse game back in the day, except the castle then belonged to Pete.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJCrfONf68U&feature=relmfu

The foreground even seems to share much the same design and colour scheme.

Hey, is that Scrooge McDuck? That’s a pretty neat Duck Tales reference.  Which kind of reminds me, didn’t Warren Spector want to make a Duck Tales game after Epic Mickey?

More of the castle, and what looks like Pete’s face to the left.  It also looks a lot like a Pete styled Thwomp if you ask me.

Battling Captain Hook on the pirate ship’s deck.

Is this an Alice in Wonderland style level?  Because that looks like the Cheshire Cat sitting to the left and the style looks very much like that movie.  Still, consider me impressed in terms of how many different Disney movies this game seems to be trying to reference, it’s certainly a nostalgia trip.

Atlantis?  Looks like it’s based off ‘The Little Mermaid’.

More of a castle level.  This game looks fantastic for a 2D platformer.

And some of the pirate ship.  How come it seems the worlds in this game are quite literally right next door to each other?

Going from the castle to the pirate ship in what seems like the most abrupt level transition ever.

A castle hall.  Unfortunately I have no idea what movie this is based on, anyone got a clue?

Another screenshot of the castle area.  Love the level of detail in the graphics here, and how the levels never seem to get old/boring looking.

From what I’ve seen in the screenshots above, this game looks like a great 2D platformer and incredible looking throwback to the 2D platformers of the SNES generation.  Definitely seems like a game to consider buying.