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Handheld Games Articles

NVIDIA Shield Review
NVIDIA is coming into a “touchy” market with the Shield and its beefy controller. How does it fare?

Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S (CE) Review
In the realm of racing games there are few challengers to the top seat of racing wheels; the Fanatec 911 Turbo S is the latest, packing 900 degree turning a 6+1 shifter and a full pedal set.

Handheld Games News

Azure Striker Gunvolt to launch with free download for Mighty Gunvolt

1 comments Leo Chan - 1:30pm (PST) Like Share

Get some 8-bit as part your balanced 16-bit breakfast

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Azure Striker Gunvolt hits the Japanese eShop today with a special surprise: a complimentary download code for the newly announced Mighty Gunvolt, an action platforming title scheduled for a winter 2014 launch that promises to blend Capcom's classic NES Mega Man titles with Konami's Kid Dracula. Even better, the official English Gunvolt Twitter account confirms that the upcoming North American Gunvolt release will also come with free Mighty Gunvolt downloads.

Mighty Gunvolt features Gunvolt, Beck from Mighty No. 9 and... Ekoro from GalGun as they tackle five levels of retro action, right down to the 8-bit NES style graphics. Two Mega Man inspired heroes in a Mega Man inspired title that comes free with another Mega Man (X) inspired title; Inti Creates knows what sort of retro love letters you're looking for, but keep in mind the free Mighty Gunvolt offer won't last forever.

Make sure to grab Azure Striker Gunvolt before November 19th if you want two games for the price of $14.99 USD, as the promotion only lasts three months following the release of the title on eShop this August 29th.


Mega Slowbro gets his own trailer, check out the wobbling critter in action

17 comments Max Navarro - 6:26pm (PST) Like Share

I'm nicknaming mine Slowburrito

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Following the recent leak of two new Mega Pokémon, Mega Audino was officially revealed through a trailer released by Nintendo. Unfortunately though, Mega Slowbro was nowhere to be found -- probably crawling along somewhere behind the cameraman. Either way, here he is now with his own trailer to make a splash against the Hoenn starters.

Should players prefer to keep Slowbro instead evolving it into Slowking, players can give Slowbro its Mega Stone and see where that goes. Mega Slowbro retains his water/psychic typing, and regardless of its abilities before mega-evolving will gain the Shell Armor ability, which stops enemies from landing critical hits. Of course, all of this is in exchange for allowing Shellder to eat the poor thing. When Shellder consumes Slowbro, sparking the mega evolution, the defense and special defense stats greatly improve. Step out of the way Slowking, there's a new best Pokémon in town.

Game Freak describes the new evolution as follows.

Slowbro is a Water- and Psychic-type Pokémon and one of two evolved forms of Slowpoke, the other being Slowking. When Slowbro Mega Evolves into Mega Slowbro, its energy gathers in the Shellder clamped onto its tail. As a result, the hardness of its shell is boosted, making its armor incredibly strong. In battle, Mega Slowbro balances on its tail, wearing Shellder as an impenetrable armor over its body.

Mega Slowbro has the Shell Armor Ability, meaning opponents can never land a critical hit, making Mega Slowbro a defensive threat in battle. Its Defense and Sp. Attack also increase, making it a great teammate for long battles requiring high endurance.

For the trainers jumping out of their seats to get the oddly adorable and slightly memetic Mega Slowbro, a bit of a wait is in the way. Mega Slowbro will not be available until the release of Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, coming to North American Nintendo 3DS systems on November 21, 2014. Even with all of these new forms being announced, the real question is -- what's the next Mega Pokémon?


Youkai Watch coming to the west 'next year' according to Level-5 president Akihiro Hino

9 comments Rory Young - 1:18am (PST) Like (2) Share (1)

Where do Pokemon go when they die? Into the Youkai Watch

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Youkai Watch, Level-5's quirky ghost capturing game, may be coming westward in 2015 according to a translated interview with Akihiro Hino via Level-5's CEO and believes that the west will get caught up in the same "whirlwind" of excitement that Japan is currently experiencing. The franchise is in line to become Japan's next Pokemon-level phenomena, finding success in games, manga, toys, television shows and even a movie. 

Similar to Pokemon in all the right ways, Youkai Watch is about a young boy who cleanses and collects monsters and spirits with his special watch. He, and no one else, can see these spirits. The boy will have to use his new-found powers to battle angry spirits and help keep his town and friends safe.

The most difficult part of bringing Youkai Watch, often referred to as Ghost Watch, to the west would of course be manufacturing the toys that go hand in hand with the game. Imagine a bulky watch-shaped toy in which small collectible discs representing different ghosts can be kept. It wasn't the game that launched Youkai Watch into the spotlight, it was these toys in tandem with the cartoon.

Have no worries, prospective youkai collectors, because Akihiro Hino also confirmed that an agreement has already been made with a western toy manufacturer. This means that the west won't be seeing a limp, Capcom-esque digital-only release of Youkai Watch. Rather, expect a full blown culture invasion of game, toy, and one would imagine cartoon as well.

Level-5 is well known for their Professor Layton games and movies, their Inazuma Eleven soccer games, and an assortment of other titles that gamers hold dear to their hearts. It's Youkai Watch and none of those other properties that threaten to make Level-5 the next major competitor in Japan's gaming industry. Expect more information, hopefully including an official announcement rather than a loose translation, in the months to come.

Categories: Handheld Games

Pokemon Company planning project announcement, stream schedule for August 26

38 comments Max Navarro - 3:21pm (PST) Like Share

Pokémon Pinball OR/AS hype

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The Pokémon Company is set to unveil a new project soon. Through a special stream on NicoNico, fans will be receiving news regarding an upcoming installment to the Pokémon series -- be it a new manga, game, or anime -- at 9PM EDT on next Tuesday, August 26th.

So what exactly could this new reveal be? Though the stream announcement really gives no information about the reveal other than that it will be a new addition to the Pokémon series, there are a few small little details to be highlighted. The Pokémon Company promises "a shocking announcement", which implies something major -- which makes us hope for a game. Other than that, everyone seems to be in the dark. Fan speculation has brought a few things to light, including curious trademarks made in the past by Game Freak and Nintendo.

This time last year, a strange image surfaced from the Pokémon Game Show that showed a Lucario and Blaziken locked in battle, running on what seemed to be a Nintendo Wii U. At the time, Game Freak confirmed that it was just a concept, but trademarks for Pokkén Fighters and Pokkén Tournament also snuck in in August 2013. From there, rumors began to blaze over the internet about what exactly the conceptual image might have been, and we might get our first official footage of the title on Tuesday. Of course, it's also been quite a while since we've gotten a new Pokémon Pinball title, so this could perhaps even be a remake of Pokémon Pinball Ruby/Sapphire to partner with the upcoming 3DS titles.

Considering Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire have not hit the market yet, it's probably a safe bet to assume that this will not be a main series title, but anything goes in the gaming world. Nevertheless, all that can be done until the stream begins is wait with baited breath. Details are scarce, so all guesses are just hopes and dreams for now. In the meantime, Pokémon fans can sit back and discuss more recent news, such as the inclusion of Mega Slowbro and Audino in Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. After all, who doesn't want a daily dose of Pokémon knowledge?


Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley introduces Skills for animals, trailer shows return to basics

11 comments Max Navarro - 9:36pm (PST) Like (1) Share


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Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley for the Nintendo 3DS has recently received some new information through one of Natsume's developer diaries. The Harvest Moon series is known for bringing its characters closer to nature with the quirky and cute animals, plus a major focus on land cultivation. The Lost Valley's direction is to bring the formula back to the basics.

A major point in the series, animals, have gotten a neat renovation. Each animal, from the puffy sheep to the admittedly spunky-looking chickens, now has a personality. Referred to as their "skills," animal traits can be mixed and matched within various barns to personalize the way farmers lay out their farms. These traits make a large difference in the way the animals interact with each other and with the farmer, so it's best to keep the creatures happy by paying close attention to every individual traits.

Animals in The Lost Valley can favorite seasons and choose whether or not they prefer to be clean. Elegant animals love to be clean, and absolutely despise any mess. Maybe it's best to keep animals with this trait together in one barn, but what happens if they like different seasons? Traits can be bred on to offspring, then leveled up to optimize the perfect animals for a farm.

Of course, skills don't just happen. Well, a few of them do, but most are taught by feeding the animals. If I had the option to learn from eating, life would be good, but alas, that's reserved for Harvest Moon animals. After making various feeds, farmers can  serve their pets and teach them any variety of traits that can be passed on. No word regarding a maximum or minimum number of skills has been given just yet.

The last batch of information from the developer diary comes in the form of a history of development. As Natsume began work on The Lost Valley, it was codenamed "Back to Basics," meaning just what it implies. The upcoming installment of Harvest Moon on the 3DS will feature four animal types -- cows, chickens, horses, and sheep.

Harvest Moon: The Lost Valley will be available for the Nintendo 3DS in the third quarter of 2014 for North America and European fans will have to wait until 2015. In the meantime, Natsume also provided a trailer to tide over the eager fanbase.


Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric gets a new trailer, Metal Sonic makes an appearance

6 comments Max Navarro - 9:04pm (PST) Like Share

Anyone else getting a Dr. Nefarious vibe?

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Sonic the Hedgehog has taken on a few odd enemies in the past, but none like Lyric. Details have been pretty scarce regarding the main antagonist of the Sonic Boom titles, but a trailer at Gamescom has an update. Curiously enough, another famous Sonic antagonist appears at the end. Could this be a new playable character reveal, or just a teaser of a secondary antagonist? Either way, Metal Sonic flies into action in the last seconds of the trailer, leaving behind some unanswered questions.

Who is Lyric and where did he come from? Lyric has been described as a "snake-like creature from an ancient race" by Sega, which leaves some questions. He looks like a snake with a kremling head, but that may just be me. Nevertheless, the half-robotic tyrant was discovered by Sonic and friends in some now-opened ruins during a leisurely attempt to thwart Dr. Robotnik's weekly plan. His goal? Change all organic beings to robots. That sounds oddly familiar.

Hopefully more details will be released soon that differentiate Lyric and Ratchet and Clank's Dr. Nefarious. However, the robo-snake may not be the only evil that Sonic and co. have to worry about this time around -- Metal Sonic, one of Eggman's favorite inventions, also makes an appearance near the end of the trailer. Following his most recent appearance in Sonic Generations, Metal Sonic proved to players all over the world once again that nothing good ever happens when he's around. I suspect that, being a robotic version of Sonic the Hedgehog, Metal Sonic might be just a nasty cog in Lyric's plan.

Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal will come to the Nintendo 3DS on November 11th, 2014, while Wii U owners will have to wait until November 18th, 2014 to pick up Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric


July NPD Number Crunch: The Last of Us makes comeback by topping charts

5 comments Leo Chan - 5:19pm (PST) Like Share

Also, PS4 is still the best selling hardware for the seventh month in a row

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Sony and Naughty Dog brought back The Last of Us in a big way last month with an HD remake on PS4, and it paid off as both The Last of Us: Remastered and the PS4 secured top spots on the NPD Group's monthly U.S. sales charts for software and hardware, respectively. The PS4 didn't appear to be in any danger of losing the crown it has now held for seven consecutive months; Sony already confirmed at gamescom earlier this week that worldwide sales for the platform have hit 10 million units since launch last November.

Hardware sales in general proved to be the main attraction as well as the key factor that allowed U.S. industry sales to grow 16 percent year-over-year to $514.3 million USD last month. NPD confirms that hardware sales alone in July grew 100 percent to $198.8 million, almost as good as the 106 percent growth reported for June. With both the PS4 and Xbox One at their nine-month mark, NPD also notes that their combined lifetime-to-date sales remain nearly 80 percent higher than the combined nine-month totals for the PS3 and Xbox 360.

It's a fine reminder that next-gen console platforms remain in demand. Sadly this is not reflected in the console software sales, as next-gen games are not yet selling enough to offset the inevitable decline in "last-gen" software. "Reduced sales for new launches" similarly played their part in causing monthly software sales to drop 15 percent year-over-year to $178.2 million.

According to the NPD Group, a major part of that can be attributed to the lack of an NCAA Football title for consoles this year. EA discontinued its college football video game series last September after reaching a settlement in a lawsuit filed by student-athletes over unpaid use of their likenesses. If you've been following NPD sales reports over the past few years, you may recall that NCAA Football titles from EA typically top the July sales charts.

July 2014 Top Ten Software Sales
  Game Publisher Platform Release
1. The Last of Us: Remastered Sony Computer Entertainment PS4 / PS3 07/2014
2. Minecraft Microsoft Game Studios / Sony Computer Entertainment Xbox 360 / PS3 05/2014
3. FIFA 14 Electronic Arts PS4 / PS3 / Xbox One / Xbox 360 / Vita 09/2013
4. Watch Dogs Ubisoft PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 05/2014
5. Mario Kart 8 Nintendo Wii U 05/2014
6. Call of Duty: Ghosts Activision PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / PC 11/2013
7. Grand Theft Auto V Take 2 Interactive PS3 / Xbox 360 09/2013
8. Sniper Elite III 505 Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 07/2014
9. NBA 2K14 2K Games PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / PC 10/2013
10. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment PS4 / Xbox One / PS3 / Xbox 360 / Wii U / Vita / 3DS / PC 10/2013

Azure Striker Gunvolt strikes US eShop this August 29th for $14.99

9 comments Leo Chan - 1:35pm (PST) Like Share

Europe will also bear witness to Gunvolt's bare midriff in the near future

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The long road to the release of Azure Striker Gunvolt just got a whole lot shorter, as developer Inti Creates and producer Keiji Inafune today confirm that the spiritual successor to Mega Man will be hitting Nintendo's 3DS eShop this August 29th. That's a little over a week after the Japanese launch on Aug. 20th.

Gunvolt's eShop pricing has also been settled at $14.99 USD, which seems competitive enough for a digital download on 3DS. Inti Creates meanwhile promises that French, German, Italian and Spanish versions of Gunvolt are in the works, but no timeframe for these European releases has been decided at time of writing. It's enough to know it will be happening, given 3DS software remains in hostile region-locked territory.

Categories: Handheld Games

Watch Mega Audino evolve in today's Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire official trailer

18 comments Rory Young - 4:43am (PST) Like Share

When does Mega Slobro get his own trailer?

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It was first leaked on Tuesday that Audino would be recieving the Mega Evolution treatment next in Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire. The announcement came as a result of an official Korean Nintendo site accidentally posting the evolution. The implication was that an official announcement had to be just days away. That's now been confirmed, as Nintendo and Game Freak have released an official trailer showing Audino's Mega Evolution.

The trailer comes as a part of Nintendo's Gamescom presentation, where Junichi Masuda was giving a presentation at the convention. Masuda was a programmer on the original Pokemon games in the mid-90s, and a Nintendo composer all the way back into the late 80s. While the content of his presentation, likely a Q&A for the convention audience wasn't revealed, his surprise trailer has been pushed online to the official Nintendo Youtube channel.

Two fingers to the Key Stone in the Mega Ring bracelet on her wrist and Audino evolves into the adorable Mega Audino, a Normal/Fairy-type Pokemon described as a Healer:

"Mega Audino emits a soothing pulse from its body that reduces hostility in others. This powerful pulse calms any who come in range. Additionally, any creature that happens to come in contact with its second feelers will fall into a deep sleep.

When it Mega Evolves, this Pokémon gains the Fairy type. It has the Healer Ability regardless of what its Ability was prior to Mega Evolving. Its Defense and Sp. Defense are both improved, making it a good supporter in Double Battles and the like."

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Pokemon Alpha Sapphire will be released on Nintendo 3DS starting November 21. When does Mega Slobro get his own trailer?

Categories: Handheld Games

Super Smash Bros. recruits Meta Knight, the Halberd flies once more

20 comments Rory Young - 7:04pm (PST) Like (1) Share

Kirby's armored alter ego returns

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Another Super Smash Bros. veteran has returned to the roster. Kirby's alter ego, his shadow, his black knight, Meta Knight has been confirmed for Super Smash Bros. Wii U and Super Smash Bros. 3DS. Considering Super Smash Bros. 3DS is just a month away from release in Japan, Nintendo must be running out of fighters left to reveal. Kirby, however, can rest easy knowing that he, King Dedede and now Meta Knight will each be returning.

The anti-hero was essentially confirmed yesterday, when Sakurai's picture of the day showed a Mii Fighter in Meta Knight's armor. Considering the fighters mimic the playstyles of other fighters, to an extent at least, it made sense that Meta Knight was just awaiting his official reveal. It will be interesting to see exactly what the Mii Fighter's Meta Knight armor means in terms of gameplay. Maybe it's just a skin for the sword fighter and doesn't carry with it any other gameplay ramifications?

With potentially few roster spots, the question become who is left? There are a number of extremely important champs from Smash history that will cause riots if left off of the list. Ice Climbers? Falco? Dr. Mario? For all that is holy's sake, Ness and Jiggly puff still haven't been confirmed! Nintendo has some explaining to do in these weeks to come. Well, at least we all know Wario will probably wrangle one of the last spots for himself.

Super Smash Bros. 3DS will launch October 3 in North America and Europe, with Super Smash Bros. Wii U to follow that up with a holiday release. That is, if it isn't delayed as Nintendo so loves to do.

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