Donkey Kong is back again, collecting bananas, balloons, and punching seals in the face in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze! In this brand new adventure, you’ll find the titular ape trying to return to his home island after it has been taken over and flash-frozen by a group of artic Viking animals known as the Snowmads. Wait a minute… this isn’t new at all! Yep, it’s yet another Wii U port being barrel-cannon blasted on to your Switch. At least it’s promising a new Funky Mode, right?
The Yakuza series is a vastly underrated collection of games that seems to have come into a new renaissance as of late. Always a niche title that we were lucky if SEGA even decided to localize (an in a case of a few of the games in the series, got localized with chunks removed for cost and “cultural” reasons). Lucky for us though, the last several entries in the franchise (Yakuza 5, Yakuza 0 (the set in the eighties prequel I reviewed here) and even the zombie spin-off Yakuza: Dead Souls) did get to make the trip to our shores, and thankfully the game we’re here to talk about today, Yakuza Kiwami, got the US localization treatment as well.
Yakuza Kiwami (Japanese for “extreme” I am told) is a remake of the original PS2 game in the series, simply titled, Yakuza—which kind of puts it in a weird place. It has to go up against the recently released Yakuza 0, all while being a remake of the oldest game in the franchise. That’s a lot to juggle, but luckily Yakuza Kiwami mostly succeeds.
Crossovers are fun, right? The Flintsones have met The Jetsons, The Simpsons have met Family Guy‘s Griffins, Steven Universe has met Uncle Grandpa, and hey, Amalgam Comics was a thing, wasn’t it? There’s no better way to get people psyched about something than that something being two respected and well-loved brands smashing into each other. It’s why we get toys called Angry Birds Star Wars Jenga. That’s three brands– triple brand score! To get more to the point, the two biggest names in the puzzle game world have to be Tetris, the immortal block stacker, and Puyo Puyo, the classic blob juggler (which you may also recognize as the 16-bit era classics Kirby’s Avalanche and Dr. Robotnik’s Mean Bean Machine). Why not bring those two all time greats together into an explosion of falling object puzzling? It’s seemingly a no-brainer, but does Puyo Puyo and Tetris go together like peanut butter and jelly, or is it more like a orange juice and toothpaste style situation?
A brand new Fire Emblem on your phone? With Fire Emblem Heroes it’s more likely than you’d think. Nintendo’s recent venture into the world of mobile gaming has been a rocky start at best. Miitomo, while a fun time waster, lacked any sort of depth (or really an actual game for that matter), and Super Mario Run, while being a perfectly tuned Super Mario game for mobile devices, irked people with its relatively steep price and meager amount of content. The Big N (do people still call it that? Probably not, but how about we entertain my personal fantasy that I’m writing for an early 2000s GamePro) is returning to the App Store of your choice, and this time with a franchise that has only recently gained a worldwide fan base (in thanks to the excellent Awakening and Fates on the 3DS), Fire Emblem. Does Nintendo’s landmark turn-based strategy game make the transition onto your iPhone (or Android-equipped device)? Come with me, young hero, and I will spin you a tale of anime swordsmen and single screen, turn-based adventure.
The Yakuza series is a long running franchise from SEGA with at least 6 other titles under its belt at this point, all with its own continuing lore– a non-stop, hard-hitting, martial arts soap opera all about Japan’s Yakuza criminal underworld. This time though, we’ve got a prequel– where we’re going all the way back to 1980s Japan during its huge economic boom– and learning the origins of series hero, Kazuma Kiryu as well as well the reoccurring character Goro Majima. Sounds like a lot, huh? Well, luckily for you, Yakuza 0 is the perfect place for a series newcomer to drop in. The question is, is it worth it? Follow me, dear reader, across the jump to find out.
In the world of pop idols who become outlandish stereotypes of themselves after being chewed up and reformed by the music industry machine, why not have one that starts out a cartoon? Hatsune Miku, the teal haired, twin tailed anime mascot of a singing synthesizer application by Crypton Future Media has really taken on a life of her own, headlining concerts worldwide. Miku also has not been a stranger to the video game world appearing in a ton of games in both the Project DIVA and Project Mirai series– both of which are rhythm games, but Mirai gives Miku and friends a look based on their Nendoroid figures and is typically for the 3DS. So in the vast sea of existing Hatsune Miku-based rhythm game experiences all over Sony platforms, what makes this Project DIVA game, Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA Future Tone, stand out?