Pokemon GO Field Testing Starts, Details Leaked!

Over in Japan, field testing for Pokemon GO has begun. And while Niantic’s attitude towards releasing information about this game online is a rather negative one (they’re banning users who share information and pictures of the game online), pretty much everything you can imagine has been leaked anyway.

Above: An early Let’s Play for Pokemon GO

So what’s Pokemon GO like? Well, it seems to be a mixed bag. For one thing, as confirmed earlier, you don’t fight wild Pokemon in this one. You encounter them yes, but you just throw Poke Balls at them to catch them rather than wearing down their health as in past games.

That said, it does seem like a battle system of sorts will be featured here. As of the field test beta, 137 attack names have been found in the game’s code. These include a lot of direct attacking moves such as Hyper Beam and Flamethrower, but nothing that causes status effects. Additionally, there are also ‘fast’ versions of these moves, Mega Evolutions don’t seem to be present and in gym battles, Pokemon seem to be only able to use two moves each. In other words, it’s got a battle system, but it seems to be a rather simplified version.

Some other details are:

A day/night cycle is present in the game, implying time based evolutions and encounters.

Legendary and Mythical (read, one of a kind and event only) Pokemon are in the game, and are categorised as such.

Pokemon Natures are present, but are different to those in the core games. The only ones currently known about are Stoic, Assassin, Guardian, Raider, Protector, Sentry, and Champion, and their effects are unknown.

Only first gen Pokemon exist in the beta version.

A ‘Starburst’ function has been found in the code. No idea what it does.

Similarly, Virtual Reality functionality is likely present, with references to Google Cardboard being found in the source code.

Items present in the beta are Poké Ball, Great Ball, Ultra Ball, Master Ball, Potion, Super Potion, Hyper Potion, Max Potion, Max Revive, X Attack, X Defense, X Miracle, Razz Berry, Bluk Berry, Nanab Berry, Wepear Berry, Pinap Berry, and Special Camera. Based on the name, it seems likely that X Miracle is going to be something akin to an ‘increase all stats temporarily’ item, given how the other X items work.

All 18 Pokemon titles are present. This likely implies support for later generations is coming in the future, since no Dark type Pokemon (and few Dark type attacks) are found in generation 1.

A CV (Capture Value) is associated with each Pokemon. Higher the value, the harder it is to catch.

Gyms give you points and prestige, though it’s currently unknown what these are used for.

Evolutionary stones are gained by collecting enough Evolution Shards, which are gotten from wild Pokemon you battle.

evolution shard

Above: Artwork of an Evolution Shard

Trainers can reach level 50, which lets them store 500 Pokemon and 1000 items. Again, this supports the theory that other generations will be featured in later updates (or even just the finished version) of the game.

Items are categorised into seven types, Poke Ball, Potion, Revive, Maps, Battle Objects, Camera and Food. It’s unknown what the last two are for, but my guess is that Camera might be something akin to Pokemon Snap and Food might be something akin to the Bait you find in the Safari Zones. But that’s just a theory based on the existing evidence.

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Mini Mario & Friends; Amiibo Challenge Revealed

It’s the Amiibo based game that everyone was hoping for!  The alternative to Skylanders and Disney Infinity that’ll really put Nintendo’s line of figurines on the map!

Mario and DK Amiibo title

Oh, never mind.  It’s a new Mario vs Donkey Kong title loosely inspired by the various Mario games and spinoffs already out there.  Here’s a trailer showing the game in action:

In addition to that, the official website was also launched, complete with more artwork, screenshots and pieces of information about the game. So what can we tell so far?

Mini MarioMini LuigiMini PeachMini ToadMini YoshiMini Donkey KongMini BowserMini Bowser JrMini Diddy KongMini Rosalina

Above: The various Mini characters in the game.  Mini Mario can wall jump, Mini Luigi can jump higher, Mini Peach can float, Mini Toad can shrink, Mini DK can climb steep hills, Mini DK can cling on platforms then climb back, Mini Bowser can do a stomp to destroy bricks, Mini Bowser Jr can walk on spikes, Mini Yoshi can eat enemies and Mini Rosalina can… also jump really high.

Rosalina jump Yoshi eat enemies Jr spikes Bowser smash Diddy Climb DK hill Toad mini Peach float Mario wall kick Luigi high jump

Above: The numerous character abilities in action.

gameversions

Above: It’s apparently compatible with both the Wii U and 3DS.

Well for starters, we can see that someone out there doesn’t seem to like poor Wario very much. Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Diddy Kong and Rosalina are all present and have levels based on the games they appear in, but poor old Wario is nowhere to be seen.  Pretty disappointing on that front then, given that all these other levels are inspired by games like Donkey Kong Country, Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon and Super Mario Galaxy, and Wario’s appearance would have likely opened up the way to a Wario Land themed well to join them.

luigi mansion

Above: Luigi’s areas are based on Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon (BG seems to show Gloomy Manor)

DK Jungle

Above: Donkey Kong’s areas are based on Donkey Kong Country (especially Returns and Tropical Freeze)

Yoshi Woolly World

Above: Yoshi’s areas are based on Yoshi’s Woolly World

Mario Galaxy Area

Above: Rosalina’s levels are clearly based on Super Mario Galaxy.  Nice Comet Observatory!

We can also see that unlike the last few games in this series, Donkey Kong isn’t being portrayed as a violent moron like his grandad in the arcade games.  Instead, he’s blasting around jungle levels via barrel cannons and working alongside his pal Diddy Kong, in a way that’s a lot closer to the big ape’s portrayal in the Donkey Kong Country games (especially Donkey Kong Country Returns).  That’s good news for anyone out there worried that Nintendo saw Donkey and Cranky as basically interchangable, and it’s at least keeping the folk at DK Vine somewhat happy as well.

monkeyenemy

Above: Though this enemy looks worrying…

dkjunglelevel

Above: Barrel Cannons!

And the game also apparently comes free on the eShop, with the first codes being given out to anyone who buys a compatible Amiibo.  So it’s pretty cheap.

So it’s certainly a more interesting game than the last couple in its franchise. That said however, we do question whether it’s a good choice for an Amiibo focused game. After all, it’s a niche puzzle game with a toy aesthetic, hardly the kind of mainstream title the Wii U needs to sell millions of units.  Maybe a game where the characters were ‘real’ would have worked much better, like a big 3D action adventure title where Mario and co are running around different worlds based on Nintendo games and trying to stop some mysterious villain who’s interested in conquering the universe.  Kind of like Skylanders or LEGO Dimensions, except more consistent in terms of quality.

moreghostlevelmariolevel peachcastlelevel bowsercastlelevel yoshilevel toadlevel rosalinaspace

Above: The levels do look surprisingly interesting though.

game map

Above: The game’s world map, clearly split into sections based on different characters.  The logos might be a bit much…

But either way, it’s still a better use of the Amiibos than most Nintendo titles, and it looks to be an interesting game to mess around with given how little it’ll cost.  What do you think about Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge?  Going to download it or buy it once it’s available?

Source:

Mini Mario & Friends Official Site (Japanese)

Mario & Luigi Paper Jam; More Screens and Pictures (Famitsu)

For the longest possible time, it’s seemed like information on Mario & Luigi Paper Jam wasn’t really forthcoming.  Oh sure, you had the odd area video and a couple of pieces of artwork were released somewhat near to E3, but nothing more was ever really shown.

Well, fortunately, it seems like this has just changed.  Indeed, the newest issue of the Japanese gaming magazine Famitsu has posted new pictures of Mario & Luigi Paper Jam, including some character artwork and screenshots of various aspects of the gameplay.  So here it is.  Here’s the latest media for Mario & Luigi Paper Jam, in magazine scan form:

Mario & Luigi scan 4 Mario & Luigi scan 3 Mario & Luigi scan 2 Mario & Luigi scan 1

So what can we see here?  Well, first up… some bad news.  Seems like the game doesn’t really contain much content from Paper Mario titles other than Sticker Star, and the only Mario & Luigi characters we can see (other than Starlow) still seem to be the usual bland cast of Mario regulars.

On the bright side… well, the gameplay doesn’t exactly look half bad.  The puzzles and overworld moves seem to be inspired by Dream Team, and still involve the bros working together to overcome obstacles.  The characters all talk and have personalities, including the Lakitus (aka its not all generic Toads any more). And the overworld, despite some worrying New Super Mario Bros esque theme design, seems to look and feel a bit more interesting than the ones in Partners in Time and Bowser’s Inside Story.  It’s at least not a big square with stuff in it at least.

The rocket based Bros Attack looks cool too!

But that’s the latest from Mario & Luigi Paper Jam.  Is it looking any more promising?  Well, kind of.  But it’s still a bit too close to Sticker Star for our liking.

E3 2014; Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker

Remember those special Captain Toad levels from Super Mario 3D World?  The ones in which you had to get the Toad Captain from Mario Galaxy to the end of a square course without hitting enemies, while collecting three Green Stars? The ones in which you couldn’t jump because Nintendo wanted it to be all about ‘puzzle solving’?

Captain Toad’s Treasure Tracker is basically that as a full game.  If you liked those levels and wanted to see what a full game based around them would be like, head inside and keep reading!

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