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There are a couple of great truck games on the iPad you might enjoy for your kids that I wanted to share. As far as construction truck and Schoolbus games for kids go, these are …

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Read-a-long with Nintendo Power #262 – Holiday 2010

Submitted by on November 28, 2010 – 12:13 pm4 Comments

It’s the annual thirteenth issue of Nintendo Power, poised for delivery just ahead of holiday shopping mayhem. This issue has plenty to say about the new Kingdom Hearts DS game, plus some pages on Super Mario All-Stars. Sit back and read-a-long!

Issue #262, Holiday 2010
featuring Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded (DS), Super Mario All-Stars (Wii), Okamiden (DS)

How can a DS port of a friggin’ cell phone game end up sounding better than a game made for the DS?

That seems to be the case with Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded, coming in January for the DS. Last year’s Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days was a boring mess. Re:Coded has several key areas that sound like definite improvements on 358/2 Days. I just can’t get past the fact that it’s a DS port of a friggin’ cell phone game. I’m also more than a little tired of Kingdom Hearts sidestories that feature alternate versions of the core cast, rehash the same environments from the brilliant 2002 original, and end up having little to no effect on the franchise storyline.

Here’s an important sentence for those of you still burned by Days’ non-intuitive combat setup: “There’s no limit on how many times you can use magic and attack skills.” Holy hell, it’s like the sky opened up and a rain of pure sense has fallen!

The premise of Re:Coded is that Jiminy Cricket’s journal from the original game has been converted into a virtual space, complete with a virtual Sora to explore it. Which sounds a lot like Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, where you controlled a sleeping dreamscape Sora. The virtual realm is filled with glitches in the system that must be uncovered and tackled. The glitches appear as square blocks that add puzzle-solving platforming elements to Re:Coded.

Although I’m not chuffed by yet another visit to same Disney worlds we’ve already combed over in at least three previous games, at least Re:Coded sidesteps the dreary Organization XIII gang.

And by the way, Kingdom Hearts 3D is coming for the 3DS, which will be positioned as the latest chapter in the saga… although Tetsuya Nomura is quick to assert that 3D is NOT Kingdom Hearts III. Fans on the alert for yet another drudge sidestory should hold on to Nomura’s vague promise that 3D may include “a major overhaul in terms of the selection of Disney worlds.”

Get Okamiden on your DS list. Now.

You knew that Okamiden stars a cute puppy version of Okami‘s Amaterasu… but did you know that the DS sequel also features cute-fied versions of the original’s spiritual spectral animal Celestial Brush Gods? Adorable! The little guy most often seen in early production artwork on Chibiterasu’s back is Kuni, the son of Susano and Kushi from the original game (although other wolf-riders will be available).

Capcom producer Motohide Eshiro says the use of young characters is part of the game’s overall theme: “the bonds that children form with each other.”

Eshiro also promises a demo of Okamiden. Although DS demos are nothing new, I would wager that most DS/Wii owners are completely unaware that they exist, since they’re sort of ghetto-ized on the Wii’s Nintendo Channel.

Okamiden is already out in Japan and is headed toward a March 2011 release in the US.

Talk about Mushroom Kingdom revisionist history!

The article on Super Mario All-Stars, coming next month for Wii, manages to list all the key differences between Super Mario Bros and Super Mario Bros 2 without once mentioning that the game was a sprite shift of Nintendo’s own Doki Doki Panic.

Fans interested in the conversion that has resulting in the excommunication of an entire family of Nintendo-created characters should check out this exhaustively excellent guide to the two games

When All-Stars hits retail, don’t expect to find Super Mario World included. This new Wii release is a port of the original 1993 All-Stars that lacked the SNES’s World. In North America, World was included on a special edition of the cart that came bundled with the SNES in 1994. That version was never released in Japan, which may further explain why this 25th Anniversary Wii edition does not include it.

This is how Sonic Team responds to gentle suggestions that their game sucked.

NP grew a pair and lobbed this question at Sonic Team producer Takashi Iizuka: “We enjoyed [Sonic the Hedgehog 4: Episode 1], but the physics felt a bit off compared to the Genesis games. Is that something you’ll look to tweak in future episodes?” Iizuka responds…

In this title, we have not done a straight port of the gameplay [from the Genesis games], but rather updated it with actions which could not be done in the previous titles, like ceiling-running. These changes probably made for a different feel to the longtime Sonic fans. We’re happy for feedback like this, and we’ll make sure we can improve the quality even further in upcoming titles.

To translate the marketing-speak, “Piss off, we’re dead convinced that the Genesis games were rubbish and modern gamers want something new, although we figure we can mash in enough old-ass graphics to make the retro-fetishists cream their pants. Thanks for sounding off though, you ingrate.”

Has Sega said anything about future Sonic 4 episodes? Generally speaking, guys, when you pre-announce an episodic series, you have your act together enough to roughly promise a release schedule. Half-Life excepted.

Download Staff Picks: Ivy the Kiwi? Mini (DSiWare), Shantae: Risky’s Revenge (DSiWare)

Top scoring Wii review: DJ Hero 2, 9.0 (all scores out of 10)
Top scoring DS review: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors 9.0
Lowest rated Wii review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, 4.0
Lowest rated DS review: Naruto Shippuden: Naruto vs Sasuke, 5.0

You may not immediately see what just happened there, but two third-party games just topped an impressive slate of first-party releases: Donkey Kong Country Returns (Wii, with a four page 8.5 review!), Mario vs Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem (DS, 7.5) and Golden Sun: Dark Dawn (DS, 8.0). Then add in GoldenEye 007 (Wii, 8.5) and Rune Factory 3 (DS, 8.5). And I guarantee you that NO ONE has ever heard of that 9.0 DS game.

Also, turns out Pac-Man Party sucks at 4.5. Of course it does, Mappy isn’t included.

Seriously? – We’re up to three DecaSports games? I hope there’s a TrigintaSports combo edition coming.

I think we can agree to disagree. – A reader letter suggests that Sonic’s shoes are the source of his speed, as evidenced by the Game Gear release Sonic Labyrinth. NP says this is nonsense. In Labyrinth, Robotnik swapped Sonic’s normal shoes for slow shoes.

Well, he was in Mario Kart Wii. – The monthly reader poll names Funky Kong as the ape most voters would have liked to see in Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Predictably, I would totally buy this. – One of Level-5′s first 3DS games for Japan is Cabajoppi, a conversion of a mobile game. The RPG involves cabaret girls meeting up with famous anime characters like Lupin the 3rd. Lupin the 3rd! Squeal!

What is up with that?Conduit 2 will not support the Wii Speak microphone. But it will support a new third-party headset. The hell?

Next month in Nintendo Power… 2010 is over and so is Nintendo’s list of major releases (when are we getting Mario Sports Mix?) #263 promises a look at Monster Tale for DS.

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  • Aaron Romero, Jr.

    Is this one out yet? I haven't gotten mine in the mail yet.

  • Aaron Romero, Jr.

    Is this one out yet? I haven't gotten mine in the mail yet.

  • Jordan Thomas

    actually I've heard of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. but that's still impressive that it topped the charts in Nintendo Power.

  • RedEnchilada

    it's funny how you bitch about sonic 4's physics dear writer man