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Animal Crossing: New Horizons – Can You Move Your Tent?

Rather than including all of its key features right out of the gate, Animal Crossing: New Horizons grants players access to places and abilities over time following the completion of new tasks that become available day by day.

That said, new players are nonetheless required to make a few big decisions within the first hour or so of gameplay. Among these is where to place your villager’s tent. Since the entirety of the island isn’t yet accessible, there’s only limited real estate on which to place your home relative to the entirety of your new island. While not available at the start of the game, the option to move your home does in fact become possible over the course of developing the island.

Unlocking Infrastructure Changes

You can move your home by talking to Tom Nook in the Resident Services office and selecting a dialogue option “Let’s talk infrastructure.” In order for this option to become available in the first place, the Resident Services office must be upgraded from a tent to a full-size building.

To get to that point, you must first pay off your first home loan, open the Nook’s Cranny shop, build your island’s first bridge and welcome three new villagers into their new homes. Then Resident Services will automatically undergo a renovation, after which Tom Nook is willing to talk to you about moving buildings around the island.

How to Move Your Home

After letting Tom Nook know about your interest in island infrastructure, select “About my home…” and then ask to relocate it. Nook will ask for 30,000 Bells in order to do so. While not an insignificant sum, the ability to move other buildings like the museum or other villagers’ homes also becomes available at this time, and moving those will run 50,000 Bells.

Selecting your home’s new location works just like choosing a spot for a new building. Tom Nook will provide you with a kit that can be placed onto eligible terrain (meaning not too close to the edge of a cliff or body of water). Once that’s in place, your home will be relocated the next day.

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Niantic: The History Of Pokémon GO’s Developer

Developer Niantic is on top of the world right now with Pokémon GO, the mobile game that is constantly among the most profitable titles nearly four years after launching. Today the developer is one of the biggest players in the mobile gaming industry, but prior to releasing Pokémon GO was also deep into creating augmented reality (AR) titles.

First AR Games

Niantic’s first product was Field Trip and dates back to 2012, which was a mobile app that allowed users to find interesting and unique things hidden in the world to the naked eye. However, the game that would put Niantic on the map was Ingress, launched by invitation only in 2012 and publicly over the next two years for all Android and iOS users.

2015 marked the year in which Niantic announced its partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company to make an AR game based on the most popular series in history. Veteran players of Ingress, and its eventual successor Ingress Prime would have jumped into Pokémon GO and instantly recognized several features.

For starters, Pokémon GO seemed to have been using the same API and all points of interest as Ingress. Looking at both game screens side by side would reveal that a portal in one came was a PokéStop in another. As time went on Pokémon GO made new partnerships with organizations like Starbucks, adding new places for players to go find their favorite Pokémon, while also spending some money on coffee.

The monetization structure also shifted slightly, but it must be said that Pokémon GO remains on of the most free-to-play friendly games on the mobile platform.

What Lies Ahead? Wizards And Settlers Of Catan!

2019 saw the release of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, and so far, the response has been lukewarm at best. While there is nothing wrong with the game and feels thematically appropriate for the franchise, there is a lack of content for long-term player engagement. Yes, players essentially do the same activity as in Pokémon GO by casting spells to add to their collection, but that’s not what the Harry Potter series was ever about.

Looking ahead, Niantic wants to continue working on games that bring people together through their mobile devices. In November of 2019, the developer announced a massively multiplayer location-based game called CATAN World Explorers, which will have players building the Catan universe.

More details have not yet been made available, but presumably the AR game will have players moving around the map to connect their towns, collect resources, and trade with other players, all of which are present in the popular board game on which the game is based.

In the future, Niantic is sure to continue pushing the limits of what AR games can provide their users. It will be interesting to see what else they release, because we may have something special coming in the future, or on the other hand, the developer may not ever repeat the magic that was those first few months of playing Pokémon GO, where people gathered by the hundreds to experience something entirely new and unseen.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons – 10 New Fish You Should Catch In April

Another month, another batch of fish to catch in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Hopefully you’ve been able to land the elusive Stringfish and Sturgeon, as they — along with several others — are leaving the island waters. However, they’ll be replaced with plenty of new fish, even if they aren’t quite as exciting.

March was an incredible month for fishing in New Horizons, with cool creatures of all sizes lurking in the waters. This month sees the addition of ten new fish — some of which are worth a lot of Bells. Both freshwater and saltwater species are represented in April, so no matter your preference you have a lot a catch. Here’s the complete list of new fish coming to Animal Crossing: New Horizons in April. The following list is for islands in the Northern Hemisphere (Southern Hemisphere locales will be slightly different).

Found in the Ocean all day. The popular fish can be caught by fishing for tiny shadows, but only nets 650 Bells each. Just don’t call it Nemo.

5 Surgeonfish

Found in the Ocean all day. Look for small shadows if you hope to find one and sell them for 1,000 Bells each.

4 Butterfly Fish

Found in the Ocean all day. This small-shadowed fish is also worth 1,000 Bells.

3 Seahorse

Found in the Ocean all day. This adorable creature can be reeled in by casting out towards a tiny shadow and is valued at 1,100 Bells.

2 Guppy

Found in Rivers during the morning. The boring fish is indicated by a tiny shadow yet sells for 1,300 Bells. As plain is it may be, it’s actually a good catch if you’re hoping to earn some Bells.

1 Snapping Turtle

Found in Rivers at night, these valuable reptiles have an extra large shadow. If you manage to reel one in, you’re looking at 5,000 Bells. It’s not quite a fish, but it’s still an awesome addition for the month of April.

The most exciting fish isn’t really a fish at all — it’s a reptile! Anglers who cast out their line in rivers have a chance of reeling in a Snapping Turtle worth 5,000 Bells. The Guppy is the next most valuable fish, coming in at 1300 Bells. These new fish — and other aquatic creatures — are active at various times of day, so regardless of when you play there will be something fun to snag on the other end of your line.

If you missed some of the fish that left at the beginning of this month, don’t worry! They’ll come back around at some point. Or, you could always adjust the date on your Nintendo Switch and perform a bit of time traveling. Either way, March’s fish will swim across your path at some point in the future.

Until then, there are plenty of cool new fish to hook.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons is testing people’s relationships

The future of Beth’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons island is uncertain. “My sister and I are not managing,” she told me over Twitter DM.

Everything breaks down without some rules. Animal Crossing: New Horizons can be a deeply intimate game for its players, who often have years of history and expectations for the space. Sharing an island is like sharing a home, bringing folks together in close quarters.

In Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players are on a deserted island that they’re to fill out with animals and shops and decorations, but if they’re playing with another player, that means sharing it all — except the in-game home. Players will each get one of those for themselves. Keeping the peace on the island means respecting boundaries, even ones that are unspoken.

Say, for instance, you’re sharing an island with your partner and they’ve grabbed the Nintendo Switch before you can. They’ve visited Timmy and Tommy at Nook’s Cranny, and bought up all the good stuff — the one-time purchases — at the shop. Next thing you know, someone’s been voted off the island. For Beth and her sister Natalie, the trouble started with a misunderstanding: that they’d both have their own separate islands.

Related

Animal Crossing’s social media explosion leaves some fans frustrated, jealous

“Crying and angry, she threatened to delete my island,” Beth said. And she did. Beth’s island got voted off the Nintendo Switch. They’re not alone: There are a bunch of people on Twitter who’ve posted about similar situations — family feuds over who’s starting the island.

One player said another deleted their character because they put their tent too close to another. A few parents told me their kids were torturing each other in game by placing their tents as close as possible to their siblings — the in-game equivalent of I’m not touching her!

The challenge in Animal Crossing: New Horizons is that there’s no other option for households with a single Nintendo Switch system and multiple Animal Crossing players; if you don’t want to share an island, you’ve got to buy a second console.

The one-island-per-Switch rule has caused some controversy with players. The first person to join the island controls everything, and the second (and others) follows along — meaning their progress is gated behind that of the main player. If the primary player never donates the first five creatures to Tom Nook, Blathers will never show up and the ax won’t be unlocked for other players. And what fun is Animal Crossing without an ax?

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Couples and families that want to get around these restrictions have to buy a second device — and many of the players I spoke to have. But some have chosen to stick with a single island for a bunch of reasons; some can’t justify the cost of another Nintendo Switch and another copy of Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Plenty of others, too, simply want to share an island, an extension of their real lives with their partners. There are limitations, of course — but the game lets players choose how they play.

Antonio Di Benedetto told Polygon that he and his girlfriend, Pam Ren, are sharing an island, and they’ll share their island duties as they do in the house they own together. “We’ll work together and coordinate, with her awesome design sense and taste taking the lead and dictating the creative direction of our layouts [and] furniture selections […] while I follow her advice and offer my support through my input, shared love for minimal, modern aesthetics, and supplement with what strengths I have,” Di Benedetto said.

People like playing games together — even single-player games that don’t encourage multiplayer, games researcher Dr. Mia Consalvo told Polygon. She’s researched the act of “tandem play,” in which her team observed people playing together.

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Antonio Di Benedetto

“Different game elements drive different reactions and play responses, but they all would try to accommodate their partner in various ways to make the experience more enjoyable for each other,” she said. “Sometimes they also ended up playing in a game that they normally would not — doing an ‘evil’ playthrough, reading less text, taking less time making an avatar — because they valued the joint experience more than the details of what they were doing. If they were couples, they would also bring in their histories and play styles.”

Ren is decorating her own house — even if players are sharing an island, they get two separate houses — as if it’s both of theirs, Di Benedetto said. “[It’s] just like how we collaborate on our own real house design decisions,” he said. She’s consulting with Di Benedetto on her own house, making her bedroom their bedroom.

There are cat beds “symbolically” placed for their real-life cats. The only real problem — a minor one, Di Benedetto said — is that the co-op is limited. To play together means always sharing the same screen, with one player controlling most of the experience.

Related

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is a much-needed escape from everything

“Lots of online games have allowed us to share our spaces with friends and partners,” Consalvo said, “both to hand out together and to show off for one another. [Animal Crossing: New Horizons] is another example of that kind of game. Because the variations are so broad in terms of what one can collect and create this makes sharing [and] showing off particularly interesting.”

It’s because of the limitations that people are willing to purchase separate Nintendo Switches to have their own spaces. Animal Crossing fan Spenser Powell told me he went out and got his partner, a non-gamer, a Switch Lite when she expressed interest in it.

“I didn’t want anyone touching my island,” Powell said. “I feel like Animal Crossing is a place for someone to escape everything, almost like a safe space. And while I certainly love having visitors, I wouldn’t want a permanent one who will play when I’m not on the island.”

Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Polygon

Powell said his partner is now hooked on the game. The other day, she told him she wished she could get paid for her real job in Nook Miles, he said. With two Switches, they don’t have to worry about physically sharing the same system.

The thing that makes Animal Crossing versatile for even these players, though, is that they can play separately and together; having separate islands might even bring couples together in new ways. Spending time apart makes the time together different, in-game: There’s a certain kind of joy in showing off this intimate, personal space to another person.

The fear of having to trust another person, even a partner, with the intimate space of an island is very real for some players, though. Especially if the other player is playing differently than you. “I split the island in half with a river,” New Horizons player Amber Corum told me about sharing with her boyfriend Lukas. “My boyfriend is chaotic and I can’t have that on my half of our island.

“We both have very different approaches to Animal Crossing,” she said. “I have more of a traditional style and he likes to push the limits.”

They shared a town in Animal Crossing: City Folk, and he had an entire floor of a house “as a holodeck.” The rest of the house was filled with gyroids. (Gyroids are limited in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, but were weird furniture items in other games. Weirdly enough, they are also characters in the game — in New Horizons, I’ve met Lloid, who guards my bridge-in-progress while he collects donations.)

“His favorite items are pitfalls, and he loves to block his villagers that are his ‘enemies’ with booby traps and trees,” Corum said. “All to say, he thrives in seeing how chaotic and quirky his town could be.” Oh, and he’s deemed the town’s song “All Star” by Smash Mouth.

Sing to the tune of Smash Mouth’s “All-Star”
Image: Nintendo EPD/Nintendo via Amber Corum

On his side of the island, Lukas has begun decorating already: He’s built room full of gnomes, including a custom-made gnome wallpaper. It’s … jarring. Corum said she’s considering a “neutral zone” where they can share access to shops and the like.

This separation is important. “Real feelings can get hurt through virtual avatars or actions and when couples don’t agree on the seriousness — or not — of virtual actions, there is a lot of room for misunderstanding, hurtfulness, and arguments,” Dr. Sarah Evans, assistant professor of digital humanities and new media at Molloy College, told Polygon. “I think people commonly assume there is a huge gap between ‘real life’ and gameplay or stuff we do in games but there really isn’t.”

Dozens of Animal Crossing: New Horizons players reached out to me with their own stories about sharing an island or playing with friends, family, or partners. Most were excited about having a space to share — whether they were playing separately or apart. But the thing that was common across any of these stories was boundaries: Each of these groups of players had them, some strict and others very laid back. But boundaries they were, still.

After all, no one wants to be the one voted off the island. With a system in place, things have settled down on Beth and Natalie’s new island, Ö… hungie.

“I have noticed that a lot of crafting recipes are either much harder or impossible to get,” Beth said. “We’ve worked out a system where I log onto her account to craft those things and log back into mine, but it is still pretty inefficient. Ah, well.”

She continued: “Peace has come to Ö… hungie. At last.”

Switch Lite

Nintendo Switch consoles are often sold out, but you can still pick up the handheld-only Switch Lite, which is perfect for portable gaming.

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Bleeding Edge Review – Exchanging Weak Punches

Bleeding Edge is a unique 4v4 competitive experience that shows a little flash in its third-person approach, but doesn’t deliver much of a punch in combat or enough variation in its match types and maps. Developer Ninja Theory draws clear inspiration from Blizzard’s Overwatch, delivering similar hero-focused play, with each teammate playing a critical role as a tank, support, or damage dealer. While some of the Overwatch nods are a little too obvious, like a hip, headphone-wearing healer who just happens to be from Rio De Janeiro, or a tank who can take off in a sprint to slam an opponent into a wall, Ninja Theory brings its own brand of creativity to the heroes. However, that style only goes so far, and the fun they generate flatlines after just a few hours.

Launching out of a safe zone on hoverboards towards the enemy is a fun way to kick off a match, and the introductory clash that takes place gives a good read of the strategies being deployed by both sides. Your team’s healer could be targeted by a ninja named Daemon who can turn invisible to sneak onto your backline. His stealth threat will need to be countered or he’ll create chaos for your healer all match long. If you are overly aggressive in your push, you may even be lured into a zone filled with turrets by the gun-wielding Gizmo, or the witch Maeve could subdue your tank in a magical cage for an easy team assault.

The character abilities are well thought out, are nicely balanced in terms of cooldowns, and their strategies can be figured out quickly and used effectively. Ninja Theory did a nice job with the introductory 11 fighters; each approach combat in different ways, and they look amazing. One character has a snake for an arm, another rides around on a gas-filled balloon. Ninja Theory also makes sure that their unique looks are reflected in play and put to good use.

Given the third-person viewpoint, melee strikes and combos are a big part of the experience, but so are medium-range attacks – you can’t snipe in these battles, you need to be relatively close to deal any damage. Since players are twitchy in movement, a handy lock-on system keeps you glued to your target, meaning if you are close, you’re going to hit them unless they time an evasive move or parry you – both of these abilities are handled well and feel great when executed properly. The melee attacks, as powerful as they look, don’t deliver that satisfying weight of contact, and all opponents have plenty of health, so you need to hack at or shoot at them a bunch. What usually happens, if you don’t have the help of other teammates, is your opponent runs away, and you chase them, and they run more, and you chase more, picking at them slowly or disengaging entirely. The slowness of the base movements and the massive amounts of open space to maneuver steal away the intensity of the one-on-one battles. Most of the kills I achieved weren’t satisfying and were either oddly played out wars of attrition or getting a lucky last shot on a running foe.

At launch, Bleeding Edge offers two match types: Power Collection, the better of the two, sees teams collecting canisters that appear on the map and turning them in to zones for points, and Objective Control, where players capture and hold zones to score points. Power Collection has a nice risk/reward mechanic in that if you grab a canister, the opponent can kill you and take it. If you are sitting on nine canisters, you become a target and your teammates will hopefully try to protect you. While the maps deliver different hazards like moving trains, missile strikes, and electrical fences, there are only five at launch and the feeling of being in the same place again sinks in quickly.

Longevity also isn’t found in the unlockable content for each fighter. Most of the skins are just color swaps, and the decals on the hoverboards can’t really be seen while playing. Additionally, the mods you earn for leveling up, while giving small bumps to abilities, are a lackluster reward overall. The best unlockables are taunts, which are humorous, yet you’ll likely use them most in the pre-match lobby.

Bleeding Edge has plenty of potential and I had fun with it in my first couple of hours, yet lost interest in it quickly, as the battles alone weren’t enough of an allure to keep going. Like most living competitive games, there’s a chance Ninja Theory could greatly enhance the experience over time. For the time being, however, it’s entertaining for a bit and then it fades fast.




Ninja Theory's hero-based fighter has a lot going for it, but the thrills don't last long.

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Grapple Shooter Swarm Coming to Oculus Quest and PC VR Headsets Summer 2020

Grapple mechanics aren’t often used in virtual reality (VR) as they can be tricky to pull off comfortably, the most well known being Psytec Games’ Windlands series. Today, indie developer Greensky Games has announced its take on this dynamic locomotion mechanic, Swarm, combining with first-person shooter (FPS) gameplay.

Instantly striking thanks to cel-shaded graphics which have that Borderlands 2 VR feel to themSwarm is built around frantic arcade action. Set in arenas filled with platforms to swing from, the gameplay showcased in the video below looks like players will be challenged to take on a succession of boss fights, dealing with one primary enemy as well as smaller drones and other minions.

Players will be able to nip around arenas using grappling hooks from either hand whilst being able to dual wield two pistols. Other weapons do pop up including rocket launchers for crowd control and a gun which fires electricity.

On the subject of all that swinging around in VR, Peter Le Bek, founder of Greensky Games said in a statement: “You know, after we finished prototyping the grappling mechanic, before there were enemies, we were having so much fun just swinging around, but we were really worried that the movement would be too intense for most people. So when we tested with everyone in our office – most of whom had never tried VR before – we were really surprised that no one complained about motion sickness.

“And Swarm’s now been tested by hundreds of VR veterans and newbies alike, we haven’t had one complaint about nausea. Just to be safe we added comfort settings, but Swarm can be played without the fear of motion sickness.”

“From the start we were focused on building something where you can jump in for a 10-20 minute session and make progress,” Le Bek continues. “We also wanted to build a game with an incredible motion mechanic. We’d been enjoying grappling in Windlands and we felt like grappling in VR could feel even better.

“We spent 4 months iterating on grappling, and had a breakthrough when we gave the rope some elasticity and tension simulation – suddenly it felt like we had more control and power, more like Spider-Man. From there we considered building a 3D platformer, or a racing game, but we settled on the arena shooter because swinging through explosions and plunging down on enemies while shooting them was just ridiculously fun!”

Swarm is currently slated for a Summer 2020 release supporting Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift and SteamVR compatible headsets and it’ll feature cross-buy support on the Oculus Store. As further updates for Swarm are revealed VRFocus will keep you updated.

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Bleeding Edge Review – Exchanging Weak Punches

Bleeding Edge is a unique 4v4 competitive experience that shows a little flash in its third-person approach, but doesn’t deliver much of a punch in combat or enough variation in its match types and maps. Developer Ninja Theory draws clear inspiration from Blizzard’s Overwatch, delivering similar hero-focused play, with each teammate playing a critical role as a tank, support, or damage dealer. While some of the Overwatch nods are a little too obvious, like a hip, headphone-wearing healer who just happens to be from Rio De Janeiro, or a tank who can take off in a sprint to slam an opponent into a wall, Ninja Theory brings its own brand of creativity to the heroes. However, that style only goes so far, and the fun they generate flatlines after just a few hours.

Launching out of a safe zone on hoverboards towards the enemy is a fun way to kick off a match, and the introductory clash that takes place gives a good read of the strategies being deployed by both sides. Your team’s healer could be targeted by a ninja named Daemon who can turn invisible to sneak onto your backline. His stealth threat will need to be countered or he’ll create chaos for your healer all match long. If you are overly aggressive in your push, you may even be lured into a zone filled with turrets by the gun-wielding Gizmo, or the witch Maeve could subdue your tank in a magical cage for an easy team assault.

The character abilities are well thought out, are nicely balanced in terms of cooldowns, and their strategies can be figured out quickly and used effectively. Ninja Theory did a nice job with the introductory 11 fighters; each approach combat in different ways, and they look amazing. One character has a snake for an arm, another rides around on a gas-filled balloon. Ninja Theory also makes sure that their unique looks are reflected in play and put to good use.

Given the third-person viewpoint, melee strikes and combos are a big part of the experience, but so are medium-range attacks – you can’t snipe in these battles, you need to be relatively close to deal any damage. Since players are twitchy in movement, a handy lock-on system keeps you glued to your target, meaning if you are close, you’re going to hit them unless they time an evasive move or parry you – both of these abilities are handled well and feel great when executed properly. The melee attacks, as powerful as they look, don’t deliver that satisfying weight of contact, and all opponents have plenty of health, so you need to hack at or shoot at them a bunch. What usually happens, if you don’t have the help of other teammates, is your opponent runs away, and you chase them, and they run more, and you chase more, picking at them slowly or disengaging entirely. The slowness of the base movements and the massive amounts of open space to maneuver steal away the intensity of the one-on-one battles. Most of the kills I achieved weren’t satisfying and were either oddly played out wars of attrition or getting a lucky last shot on a running foe.

At launch, Bleeding Edge offers two match types: Power Collection, the better of the two, sees teams collecting canisters that appear on the map and turning them in to zones for points, and Objective Control, where players capture and hold zones to score points. Power Collection has a nice risk/reward mechanic in that if you grab a canister, the opponent can kill you and take it. If you are sitting on nine canisters, you become a target and your teammates will hopefully try to protect you. While the maps deliver different hazards like moving trains, missile strikes, and electrical fences, there are only five at launch and the feeling of being in the same place again sinks in quickly.

Longevity also isn’t found in the unlockable content for each fighter. Most of the skins are just color swaps, and the decals on the hoverboards can’t really be seen while playing. Additionally, the mods you earn for leveling up, while giving small bumps to abilities, are a lackluster reward overall. The best unlockables are taunts, which are humorous, yet you’ll likely use them most in the pre-match lobby.

Bleeding Edge has plenty of potential and I had fun with it in my first couple of hours, yet lost interest in it quickly, as the battles alone weren’t enough of an allure to keep going. Like most living competitive games, there’s a chance Ninja Theory could greatly enhance the experience over time. For the time being, however, it’s entertaining for a bit and then it fades fast.




Ninja Theory's hero-based fighter has a lot going for it, but the thrills don't last long.

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Review: Good Goliath

Some of the best videogames aren’t the ones which are overly convoluted, requiring dozens of hours before you can get anywhere, and it’s often the ones with the simplest mechanics which can be the most addictive. Virtual reality (VR) titles like Beat Saber or Tetris Effect have proven this time and time again, and now there could be another in Knocktwice Games’ first VR title Good Goliath.

Good Goliath has two core attributes which are always useful in a VR experience, energetic mechanics and highly interactive gameplay. With plenty of upper body motion combined with easy to pick up gameplay for that arcade action feel don’t let those cartoon graphics fool you, this is a bit of a workout.

The basic premise revolves around you being a giant, a good one in fact, hence the title. After what must have been a considerably long sleep you’ve awoken to find some rather angry little folks willing to wage war with your massive frame, throwing everything at you in a bid to take your hulking great ass down.

Naturally, that’s not going to happen because even if you’re a good soul you still need to protect yourself.  And so begins what is essentially a wave-shooter just without the guns, instead, throwing back the very items being lobbed at you in a sort of tit for tat.

There’s no need to worry about movement as Good Goliath keeps you almost rooted to the same spot, with each level housed in a singular arena. Which makes for a comfortable experience whether you’re seated or standing. What you need to be able to do is catch stuff, hurl it back and dodge any incoming projectiles you don’t want to or can’t catch – such as fireballs.

As you don’t have any weaponry or defensive capabilities apart from two giant hands, killing the waves of attackers requires using their weapons against them. Pitchforks, barrels, wheels, cannonballs and even the littles folds themselves will come flying towards you at an ever increasingly rapid rate. So you have to think fast and react faster in Good Goliath, grabbing what you can and trying to hit as many enemies as possible. The throwing mechanics are well balanced enough so that even those with really poor throwing skills can hit something.

But this is the videogame in a nutshell. Catch and throw. The first few levels are entertaining enough as you get to grips with the mechanics but halfway through that repetitive feeling all wave-based titles get starts sinking in. There is a little variety here and there, the pirate levels allowing you to catch a cannon and then loading it with a shark offer humorous side notes alongside the baker who floats through levels holding a cake to replenish health.

What’s impressive about Good Goliath is the level of detail and polish Knocktwice Games has employed. Grab a villager or pirate and you’ll see them squirm in your hands, with nasty looking teeth and a face only a mother could love. The arenas themselves are also littered with secrets and stuff to break when you spot a moment in the carnage to use some ammo on the scenery. There’s always plenty going on so the completion of each level always feels like an achievement.

The best set pieces in Good Goliath are certainly the boss battles. Bosses are supposed to be big and these are huge, towering over your giant self. Going against foes like the Giant King or the Kraken-like sea monster actually offer a bit of a breather as you generally only need to worry about this one foe rather than loads of little ones.

When it comes down to it, Good Goliath is all about highscores and that’s what’s going to keep players coming back. Killing several enemies gains you a multiplier and making it through a stage quickly or having taken no damage gains bonus points. Plus you don’t like the normal hands there are others to unlock, swapping those digits for tentacles or some bony fingers.

There’s no doubt that Good Goliath is fun in short sharp intervals, drawing you in with its colourful designs and pick up ‘n’ play mechanics. Nine levels might not sound many but you should get a good few hours of gameplay as they are subdivided with checkpoints because of their length. This is rinse and repeat gaming so the gameplay isn’t exactly deep but it’s still mostly enjoyable, great for those looking to steer clear of RPG style titles.

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    Panzer Dragoon: Remake Review: The Best Hour Of Dragon Riding Around

    I’ve always known of Sega’s cult classic rail shooter series Panzer Dragoon, but have never had the opportunity to play them myself. With the recent news that the next Panzer Dragoon game is coming to VR this year, it was the perfect time for Panzer Dragoon: Remake to surprise release on the Nintendo Switch eShop. Coming into the series fresh, it’s clear why the series is so beloved. Fans of the series will appreciate this faithful remake of the original Panzer Dragoon with updated visuals, unfortunately, the less enthusiastic will be turned off by the abysmal price-to-game-length ratio and lack of modern features.

    Dodging enemies is typically much easier than targeting them, and the game incentives the player to kill everything by rewarding a number of continues at the end of each chapter based on the percentage of enemies killed. The goal isn’t to survive each chapter and kill the boss, but rather to clear every enemy that appears. Like Pokemon Snap, it can take multiple attempts to learn the patterns of all the enemies and which type of attack (rapid-fire or charged shot) kills them. It’s a lot of fun to learn the levels and master them.

    Panzer Dragoon has some decent world-building for such a short game, and I’d love to see where the sequels take it. The post-apocalyptic world mixes fantasy and industrial aesthetics for some really memorable levels. Each chapter represents a completely different biome and I enjoyed each one more than the last.

    Keeping It Classic

    The remake offers two control schemes: Classic and Modern. With Classic, moving and aiming are tied to the same control stick. This makes dodging attacks exceptionally difficult when trying to line up shots. The Modern setup, while much harder to get the hang of, allows moving and aiming separately. It’s the ideal way to play the game and a welcomed improvement.

    That’s where the modernization begins and ends, unfortunately. The targeting reticle is a relic of early 3D video game design: four concentric boxes outline the trajectory of your fire. It’s distracting, difficult to aim, and I would have really appreciated an option for an updated targeting reticle.

    There is no tutorial whatsoever. Not that the controls are complicated, but I didn’t even realize the shot could be charged until the second chapter. A few words on screen in the first chapter would have solved this problem, and I would have liked to be given the choice to switch to the modern control scheme without having to dig into the menus to discover it even existed.

    On normal difficulty, only one continue is available if you die, with additional continues earned based on your percentage of enemies cleared in each level. Game over means starting back at chapter one. This holdover from the arcade era may be true to the original Panzer Dragoon, but really has no place in games today. The game would have been more accessible with a way to turn off continues. That said, the easy difficulty setting is a perfectly manageable way to experience the game without risking that dreaded game over.

    The graphics are certainly updated, but I hesitate to call the visuals modern. The skyboxes look great and the variety of environments in each of the 7 chapters are varied and interesting, but to me, Panzer Dragoon: Remake looks like a PS3 game at best.

    Value Concerns

    The game length vs. value is a whole can of worms I’d rather not open, but in this case, it’s pretty unavoidable. Panzer Dragoon: Remake takes about an hour to play all the way through. There are three difficult settings, and the hard setting is HARD, so I would imagine most players would need a few retries to get through it, but the entirety of the content can be experienced in one hour.

    The game is also $25. I’m not making a judgement on the value of the game, but I can say for certain that that price tag is sure to turn off players who do not have nostalgia for the series. Making a game for the fans isn’t inherently wrong, but with the first new addition to the series in almost 20 years coming soon, it would certainly be nice to attract some new fans, too.

    Having never experienced the series before, I had a lot of fun in my short time with the game (I played through all three difficulties to the end in about four hours). I’m looking forward to the eventual release of Panzer Dragoon II: remake, though I hope the next remake adds some of the quality of life features this remake was missing.

    A Switch review copy of Panzer Dragoon: Remake was provided to TheGamer for this review. Panzer Dragoon: Remake is available now on Nintendo Switch

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    Tokyo 2020 Olympics Postponed – So What’s Gonna Happen to Mario and Sonic?

    This past week, news broke that the 2020 Summer Olympics, set to be held in Tokyo, Japan, later this year, would be postponed to sometime in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the first Olympic event in history to ever be postponed, people have raised numerous questions and concerns about what this means for the future. However, there’s one pressing issue that, in the days since the announcement, no one has officially addressed: What’s gonna happen to Mario and Sonic?

    Everyone’s favorite Italian plumber and supersonic hedgehog joined forces when their game, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, was released for the Nintendo Switch in November 2019. With their friends and teammates – like Daisy, Bowser, Tails, and Amy – in tow, the two teams embarked on what they thought would be a summer of competitive fun.

    But now, in light of recent events, Mario & Sonic now takes place in a splintered timeline. Just like how the 2020 Summer Olympics are the first event to be postponed, Mario & Sonic is now the first title in the franchise to take place in an alternate universe. Crazy stuff.

    So what happens to the game now? Well, there are a couple of possibilities. Sega could patch the game to keep it relevant, updating it slightly to add some new features when the rescheduled Summer Olympics take place. It wouldn’t be that hard, especially considering current plans for the rescheduled 2020 Summer Olypimics include keeping all the events the same. The International Olympic Committee has already announced plans to keep “Tokyo 2020” as the event’s official name, even if the actual event won’t take place until 2021.

    Sega could also make an entirely new game from scratch to re-release closer to the rescheduled Olympics; though, it’s unlikely anyone who bought the original game would be willing to drop another $40-$60 on a game that’s near-identical to a title they already own. Plus, with the novel coronavirus pandemic affecting so many developers in the video games industry, remaking a game that’s only been out for less than a year seems low on the list of priorities.

    It’s more likely that Sega will leave the original game alone, and let it serve as a reminder of an event that didn’t happen when it was originally intended to – an inconsistency in cultural history that will confuse future historians and textbook authors. Maybe it’ll surge up in price, or become a collector’s item video game hoarders frame and marvel at.

    Or, maybe Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be the only thing to keep us sane and hold us over until the rescheduled Olympics, whenever they take place, finally occur.

    But really… out of all the crazy things to happen in 2020, who would’ve predicted that the only people to go to the Summer Olympics when they were supposed to, would be popular video game characters from Nintendo and Sega?

    Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is currently available for the Nintendo Switch.

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