Publisher: Marvelous AQL Europe | Zen United
At face value, Senran Kagura Burst is essentially a 3D boob delivery system.
Legend has it that game director Kenichiro Takaki only needed thirty seconds to decide what gamers secretly wanted to see on the 3DS' stereoscopic top screen. Jiggling breasts. Thus Senran Kagura was born, a franchise designed to relay cleavage from the art designers' mucky minds to our eyeballs as efficiently as possible. The story revolves around a team of ninjas-in-training who conveniently also happen to be schoolgirls, sporting implausibly ample bosoms, with a penchant for flashing their underwear and eating enormous California Rolls in the most unnecessarily provocative ways possible. More cheeky, tame and cringeworthy than degrading, Takaki might as well have called it Carry On Shinobi. I genuinely expected Kenneth Williams to make a cameo ("ooh, Matron-san!").
As you'd expect, Senran Kagura Burst has attracted a fair amount of flack from pundits convinced that it actively harms the videogame industry, while import fans flock to the defence. It's easy to appreciate both sides of the debate, and I'll personally weigh in later on, but first we need to discuss something rather more important.
See, all the heaving lady lumps disguise a surprisingly capable handheld brawler built on a bouncy, outstanding combat system. Though perhaps I could have phrased that better.Click here to read more...
I've personally never had trouble with Play-Asia, but have heard a few horror stories. Note that you'll get a US import, which doesn't matter since the PS3 isn't region-locked. Thanks to dredg @ HUKD!
One for the anime fans, but an absolute blast nonetheless. Thanks to iamthebatman01 @ HUKD!
Devil May Cry IV | Green Man Gaming | £1.00 (save plenty)
Voucher Code: GMG20-IWGQX-41IS1
Deal lasts until 17:00 GMT. You'll get a Steam code. Thanks to ALW4RD1 @ HUKD!
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Developing a Dynasty Warriors anime tie-in is a little like baking using one of those ready made kits. The simple yet empowering Dynasty Warriors ingredients come pre-mixed, so all Omega Force needs to do is sprinkle on some flavour from a beloved cult anime franchise, pour into a colourful cel-shaded mold and throw into the oven. It's foolproof, meaning that the end result should be delicious every time. Unfortunately, as we've often discovered, it's just as likely to be downright inedible... if not execrable poison.
Fist Of The North Star: Ken's Rage 2 was so atrocious that I actively encouraged potential consumers to watch an imported box set while pounding their knuckles to rags with a ball-peen hammer instead. To use my earlier analogy, it resembled a half-baked Arctic roll stuffed with human sewage rather than vanilla ice cream. There was no excuse for such a shoddy waste of a classic license.
Luckily, One Piece: Pirate Warriors 2 finally washes that sour taste from our mouths. It's an enormous tasty gateaux, perhaps a little stodgy in parts, but covered with colourful icing and packed with varied chunky chips that makes each bite taste sweeter than the last. Before I get sidetracked and run down to my local bakery, let's make one thing clear: Omega Force have more than redeemed themselves with a tie-in that One Piece deserves.
Plus, you get to take the field as an afro-sporting skeleton rock star and kill legions of Marines with mid-air guitar solos. Which is nice.Click here to read more...
Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
Publisher: Deep Silver
Killer Is Dead hits our retinas like a neon Picasso wrapped around the business end of a sledgehammer. No-one can accuse Goichi "Suda51" Suda of being anything less than a recklessly imaginative artist, and here he's painted what is quite possibly the most gorgeous ultraviolent brawler on the market. Exquisite cel-shaded visuals gel perfectly with insane themes and bizarre distractions, not limited to chasing a tiger-riding crime boss on a motorcycle and seducing nubile débutantes in 'Gigolo Missions.' While jazz music plays in the background. On the moon.
Sometimes, however, mediocre games can sneak past undercooked mechanics and half-baked ideas behind sensational visuals. I could certainly name one or two. It's all too easy for games to trick us into believing that retinal stimulation is the same as genuine innovation, so we were delighted to discover that we were given nearly a whole month to see past the stunning good looks.
Killer Is Dead is not one of those games. Suda51's latest effort harks back to the likes of Killer7 and No More Heroes, delivering both sensational style and undeniable substance.
Click here to read more...
Platform: Wii U
Developer: Platinum Games
Platinum Games are adored for their uninhibited approach to videogame development, but The Wonderful 101 goes above and beyond anything we've yet seen from the veteran Japanese studio. This is Platinum at their most creative and downright reckless, a violently colourful jumble of unconstrained gameplay concepts and bizarre ideas crammed onto Nintendo's ailing console. It's a hectic brawler, but instead of a single character, you'll simultaneously control an army of heroes in an amorphous mass, often by doodling shapes on the GamePad screen with a fingertip. Regular attacks go hand-in-hand with ridiculous morphing insanity as your entire team becomes a fist, hang-glider or even delicious pudding to suit the situation. Hideki Kamiya's latest project takes inspiration from Viewtiful Joe, Pikmin, Okami, Bayonetta, Power Rangers and Cannon Fodder, yet feels absolutely nothing like any of them.
In fact, there's never been anything remotely like The Wonderful 101, and as with any mad experiment there are plenty of kinks in the formula. Platinum threw so many gameplay elements and concepts at the Wii U that not all of them could possibly stick, while there will never be a camera capable of keeping this lunacy in-shot. At its worst, The Wonderful 101 is nothing less than total chaos.
Once you're skilled and savvy enough to bring a little order to this chaos, however, you'll discover one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences of the year.
Click here to read more...
Killer Is Dead releases next Friday in Europe, so rather than vainly trying to describe it, I'll let these screenshots do the talking. Goichi Suda's latest brawler is sensationally stylish, and frankly makes most other games look like wallpaper paste.
We'll have an exhaustive review for you on Tuesday (the American release date), but before you start to worry, review copies were dispatched the best part of a month ago. Deep Silver have nothing to hide, rather they want to make sure that coverage doesn't get swallowed up by Gamescom 2013.Click here to read more...
Platform: Wii U (eShop, £13.49)
On paper, Pokemon Rumble U is not the smartest of bargains. Your paltry £13.49 unlocks what is perhaps the most simplistic brawler ever created: a selection of tiny arenas populated by tinker toy battlers with - at most - two usable abilities apiece. The Pokemon Rumble franchise has never been known for its depth or storytelling, but the Wii U's debut title is pared-back and flimsy even when compared to Pokemon Rumble Blast, removing the last vestiges of its adventure gameplay and exploration.
It's tempting to ignore Pokemon Rumble U out of hand, then, but I'm delighted to report that there are a couple of things going for it. First of all, it's the flagship title for the Wii U's NFC capabilities, allowing players to transport a range of toy tie-ins directly into the experience by simply placing them on the GamePad. Though Skylanders and Disney Infinity aren't exactly quaking in their boxes, there's clearly plenty of mileage in the Wii U's potential for supporting trans-media experiences without extra peripherals.
The second point, however, is much more important. When all's said and done, Pokemon Rumble U is... fun. Seriously, stupidly fun.Click here to read more...
Vanillaware-developed brawler Dragon's Crown is coming to Europe in two months' time, NIS America confirms today. The gorgeous PS3 and Vita exclusive met with massive critical success when it released earlier last month, despite obnoxious fans crushing the few critics who dared to speak out against its somewhat controversial art design and portrayal of female characters. Gameplay is utterly exquisite by all accounts.
Well, we'll find out on October 11th. An exclusive art book will serve as a pre-order bonus from participating retailers.
This week's XBLA Summer Of Arcade release is a far cry from the soulful heartfelt Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons, in that it's all about hard-hitting, hard-rocking, hard-fighting brawler action. Since Charlie Murder is the latest title from James Silva, who brought us the utterly superb Dishwasher series, it's going to be raw and raucous.Click here to read more...
Anime brawler Senran Kagura: Burst is headed to European shores early next year, Marvelous AQL confirms, available both as an eShop download and boxed retail release. This attractive 3DS battler met with critical and sales success in Japan, though its premise of secret schoolgirl ninjas appears to be an excuse for rampant ecchi-ness. If not full-blown strip fights as combatants lose clothing. So, there's that. [via Rice Digital]
Following a lengthy Nintendo Direct presentation hosted by the legendary Hideki Kamiya (the designer behind Okami and Viewtiful Joe), Platinum Games have announced that The Wonderful 101 will receive a playable demo at 17:00 Central European Time. Which is roughly, erm, pretty much now.
To whet your appetite, we've also got a truly enormous new trailer for your perusal, which shows off pretty much everything there is to know about the innovative brawler (if not slightly too much in the storyline department). The Wonderful 101 is out on August 23rd here in the UK exclusively on Wii U, and frankly, it can't come soon enough.
Platform: PC (£9.99)
Developer: Reptile Games
Armored Core, Mega-Man and Super Smash Bros. are all lovely things, so it stands to reason that a mash-up should be utterly brilliant. At least, Reptile Games hopes so, since they've attempted to marry the best bits of each franchise into a single inexpensive package. Megabyte Punch raised a few interested eyebrows when it featured in a handful of pay what you want deals during its alpha phase, but now that the project has fully released against August's big hitters, it's time to find out whether this gorgeous indie proposition deserves your time and attention. Not to mention your money.
At its core, Megabyte Punch is built around the Super Smash Bros. formula. From a side-scrolling perspective, you'll wail on an army of robotic foes with an array of powerful attacks, accruing percentage-based damage that makes it easier to smash them into walls or out of level bounds. It's close enough to be called a 'clone,' but unlike the embarrassment of lazy knock-offs out there, Reptile Games have used these familiar mechanics as a foundation for a game with its own unique identity.
Packing a strong singleplayer campaign in expansive levels, insane levels of character customisation and all the cel-shaded robot carnage you can safely handle, Megabyte Punch plays by its own rules, and gives us a seriously satisfying brawling fix whether played solo or crammed onto a couch with a crowd of hooting reprobates.Click here to read more...
It's Build A Bundle time again! Groupees have gone for a doujin (collaborative Japanese indie) theme, including an excellent SHMUP, bizarre strategy game, some visual novels and fairly mediocre brawler in Croixleur. Just add the games you want to your basket and pay the tiny asking price, with savings that increase as you pick more.
Definitely a niche proposition, but I daresay there are a few takers out there. We've got reviews for Ether Vapor Remaster, War Of The Human Tanks and Croixleur on-site, because we're so kawaii, or something. UPDATE: Credit and thanks to DanielleB @ HUKD, who beat us to it!
Be aware that this has featured in a Groupees bundle before! Also be aware that it's a surprisingly brilliant brawler packing superbly responsive mechanics. Full review through the link.
Megabyte Punch, the customisable indie brawler that was briefly available on IndieGameStand in alpha, has been tied down to a firm August 6th release date. This colourful and hectic proposition promises old-school action with massive character customisation, alongside the ability to generate levels out of .PNG files. Trailer and details below.Click here to read more...