Friends of Nintendo Bundle

Fast impressions of seven games.

Last year Nintendo surprised us with their very own humble bundle but region locked the games to North America. As an affluent Australian I bought it anyway, directing the money to charity, just to support the concept. This year though, no doubt inspired by me, they ensured the bundle was open to Nintendo customers in Europe, South America and Oceania so I was excited to actually be able to play it. I’ve got some quick impressions of most of the games to share and there’s even a download code for one game to give away if you’re too stingy to buy the bundle.

Affordable Space Adventures

Affordable Space Adventures is essentially a 2D puzzle/platformer where you must navigate your spacecraft through the catacombs of a mysterious alien planet. The emphasis is learning to control the craft with the complicated and often disabled spaceship controls. The game makes full use of the Wii U controller and functions can be delegated to other players. My partner played this alongside me for 2 hours and she didn’t even give up in frustration despite the game’s difficulty, so that’s a good sign. That said, it’s been a year since I played it and haven’t really gone back, even though I understand I’m halfway through.

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The game has a wonderfully surreal/spooky atmosphere.

Affordable Space Adventures was the only game in the bundle that I already owned. So if you ask me politely on social media I’ll send one lucky reader* a download code.

Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

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As a scrub, I appreciate that the super and ultra combos can be initiated by touching the lower screen.

Positioned as the premium game, available only for people who pay over $13, Street Fighter IV is a worthy incentive. You probably already knew what Street Fighter is and how it works but I want to emphasise that this is a great port. It looks great, the frame rate is solid, the controls work, it uses 3DS features like StreetPass and Wifi to simulate random challengers. Importantly it features all the characters and game modes of the console version. This point is especially important in light of the recent, rushed release of the undernourished Street Fighter V. Why would anyone buy that game right now?

 

Citizens of Earth

Citizens of Earth gets compared to Earthbound, presumably because of the battle screen layout and contemporary setting. I’m admittedly not familiar enough with Earthbound to pull anymore comparisons though. This game has high production values and tonnes of personality with the huge cast of social and political caricatures having all their dialogue voice acted. The gameplay seems a little easy and shallow for an RPG, but I’m basing this off one hour of playtime, like a politician coming up with policy after glancing at the executive summary of a report.

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I named my Vice President Romney because… well just look at the guy. You can rename any recruitable character as you please.

Freedom Planet

This game is Sonic the Hedgehog with longer levels a punch button. That’s all you need to know. Personally, I don’t like Sonic.

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Retro City Rampage: DX

This is straight up a clone of Grand Theft Auto and absolutely littered with pop culture references. There is no time for subtly here, it’s just non stop forced jokes and ridiculousness. A Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spoof will follow a Metal Gear Solid reference in the middle of a Back to the Future inspired mission. Elsewhere it might seem crass but somehow Retro City Rampage pulls it off by embracing its predictable stupidity. Is this post-irony? I mean, the game has a minigame where you play an 8-bit version of Retro City Rampage, which itself is an homage to the 8-bit era. It’s very meta.JRXP-RetroCityRampage-Screen1a-ALL.png

The game plays smoothly, the controls work and it is stupidly fun.

Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse

Where Retro City Rampage is over the top with its humour, Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse is much more subtle and cheeky. It feels like a good Saturday morning cartoon, one with silliness for the kids and some double entendres for the supervising adults to enjoy. Shantae is an open ended platformer of the Metroidvania variety with the focus more on puzzles and keeping a mind on multiple quests than exploration.The difficulty is interesting because while the platforming and fighting enemies can be quite hard, you’re inundated with inventory items to restore your health with. This can be a sort of ‘choose your own difficulty’ because you can opt to not use items, but taking the time to heal can break the flow of gameplay somewhat. Overall though, I really enjoy the pacing of this game with cruisey, less intense sections mixed in among the faster action sequences. Add in the incredible charm of this game and it’s probably my favourite of the bundle. I’ve put the most time into it.WVW69jLKri8IxsZRz4.jpeg

It’s also nice that we live in a time where the console version looks and plays identically to the handheld version. I mean, I suppose the artwork is lower resolution on the 3DS but the game itself seems to play at main game’s native resolution. You could even argue it’s the superior version.

Rhythm Thief and the Emperor’s Treasure

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I guess I can’t speak for everyone.

Rhythm Thief is the shittest game in the bundle. Imagine a really crap dancing/rhythm game crossed with a really crap hidden object game wrapped in a nauseating ‘Gay Paree’ setting. You play as some guy whose name I’ve already forgotten who is a dancer but also a jewel thief with a so-obvious-that’s-the-joke disguise. He wanders from his apartment to various tourist spots in Paris having meaningless conversations with locals and vocalising endless exposition to what he’s doing. The only thing I like about the game is his dog named Fondue who is pretty cute and barks in protest of the main guy’s endless stream of bullshit. What I most noticed about this game though was that the production values are really high, like, really really high. Voice acting, quality artwork, music, videos. Surely the market for rhythm games can’t be that big to justify such a spend.

But wait, there’s more!

Darksiders II is also in the bundle but I haven’t had the chance to play that yet. Couldn’t be worse than Rhythm Thief. More games will be added were added to the bundle during the writing of this article so do check it out. I also enjoy customising where my money goes, making sure none ends up at Sega or Capcom.

*Code only works in Australia and New Zealand. Find me on Facebook or Twitter or Miiverse of whatevs to enter.

Update: For a day or so this article was completely blank. I think I deleted it in a delirious fit from the fever I’ve been running.

Author: Roland

Opinions expressed by this author do not represent this author. Please understand.

3 thoughts on “Friends of Nintendo Bundle”

  1. I’ve been watching it, waiting for the other games to be revealed. I was already interested in getting it and probably will in a few days.

    Here’s my review of Darksiders II since the original article is missing it: DON’T PLAY IT! It’s terrible. It really is. I’ve seen people talk about it being a more “mature” Zelda but unless “mature” is code for broken buggy mess with no real structure and a near complete lack of anything to do, let alone actual enemies to interact with, then we’ve definitely been playing completely different games. My roommate payed $20 for it a few years ago and he regrets it to this day.

    1. The screen tearing it absolutely ATROCIOUS! That’s all. I just don’t know how anyone can enjoy, let alone actually PLAY a game where quite often the top and bottom halves of the screen are showing completely different views… AND IT’S NOT PART OF THE GAME PLAY! That alone is simply beyond bad. Just terrible and completely ruinous to the experience all around.

    2. Huge open world completely devoid of almost anything. Lots of open space, nothing to do in it. If people were complaining about Twilight Princess having a barren over world, this game should send them into seizures. It’s big, it’s pretty, but it’s very, very empty.

    3. Lack of variety in everything. It’s a very big, very pretty, very brown and gray, very empty world. But when it isn’t empty, it’s still boring. I played through what I assume is the second dungeon? I couldn’t tell. There’s no real demarcations to let you know when you’ve entered a dungeon or not. Like I said, big empty world. Anyway, I only ran into maybe a half dozen different enemies by that point. And that’s counting the dungeon bosses? Again, really unsure of if I was ever even IN a dungeon to begin with or not. How is that possible? Each area seems to have, at best, maybe two different enemy types and the dungeons (?) were almost completely barren save what seemed like mini-boss and boss fights.

    I really do not understand the hype this game gets. Comparing it to any Zelda is like comparing an Italian fresco to a two year old playing in their Spaghetti O’s. It’s like someone played Ocarina of Time and thought: “I can make a bigger, more empty Hyrule Field! If people like this, they’ll LOVE my game!” While completely neglecting to realize that Hyrule Field was empty because of hardware limitations and not because it was supposed to be a game play feature!

    If this is what passes for an 8+ game on Metacritic, from professional (HA!) AND customer reviews then the games industry is most definitely in far worse shape then any of us realize.

    Final Verdict: BURN IT! BURN YOUR WII U TOO! LET CLEANSING FIRE WIPE AWAY ALL TRACES OF ITS TERRIBLE EXISTENCE! THEN BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! YOU BOUGHT THAT TRASH! YOU DESERVE TO LIVE IN THE GUTTER WITH THE REST OF THE GARBAGE!

    Ahem… I didn’t care for it.

    On an actual real review scale that works from 1 to 10, I’d give it a 4 at best. The underlying game worked, of what there was, but the screen tearing and complete lack of anything to do puts it squarely below average, average being 5.

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    1. Wind Waker HD, Twilight Princess HD, Skyward Sword, Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time are all better games then Darksiders 2.

      On the other hand, Darksiders 2 flopped so eh.

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  2. Pirate’s Curse, ASA and Freedom Planet are AMAZING (I’ve done writeups of all 3 of them here). I still have mixed feelings about these Humble Bundles though because they are worth more than $1, and people seem to play these games for 20 seconds and move on. Glad you’re getting into Pirate’s Curse though. I’ve heard mixed things about Rhythm Thief though your description was pretty funny. Some people really like it.

    As for Darksiders, I thought the first game was a bit of fun but haven’t played the second. It’s bland, but good action. DSII on the Wii U was rushed because the dev was closing down before it launched. I remember playing it at a demo event (EB Expo) and it was full of glitches, the guy nervously said they would be fixed before launch. Lol. It might be the only Wii U game with screen tearing? Unless Devil’s Third has it.

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