This week saw the release of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, and despite an understandable amount of skepticism about merging two very different franchises, the game's pretty great! Jeff Marchiafava reviewed it for us, scoring it an 8.5 and saying "I was as skeptical as anyone when I heard the words 'Mario' and 'XCOM' uttered in the same sentence, but Kingdom Battle didn’t just prove me wrong – it ended up being my favorite Mario game in recent years. Nintendo and Ubisoft took a big risk working together outside their comfort zones, and that risk paid off. "
As many of GI's editors have been blasting rabbids and collecting coins across the Mushroom Kingdom, we've also been thinking about some of the most oddball crossovers in video games that have happened over the years. Here are the 15 zaniest ones we found.
Mortal Kombat Takes On The Justice LeagueA few years before Injustice: God Among Heroes and a the reboot of Mortal Kombat arrived, Midway pitted the two franchises against one another in Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe. While the idea of having Raiden and Superman square off against one another might sound strange, the game proved to be a great peanut-butter-and-chocolate kind of combination thanks to the absurd hijinks that underlie both franchises.
Secret of Mana is one of my favorite games of all time, so naturally when a remake was announced for PS4, Vita, and PC, was super excited. Until I saw the graphics, right? What's the deal with these "modern" graphics anyway? Oh well, I can always go play the real thing on the SNES classic that I'm sure will be easy to get at a good retail price, right? Oof. Anyway, I digress - At PAX West 2017, I went hands-on with the remake on PS4.
I got to start at the actual beginning of the game, so I had a rather brisk journey through the forest slaying rabites, snagging candy and some gold, and then coming back home to fight the somewhat iconic first boss of the game, the Mantis Ant. It's not a very challenging encounter and I put the critter down with a few well-timed blows with my super cool sword.
And with that, the demo was over, a quick 15 minute jaunt. The takeaways - I'm not a fan of the graphic style in the remake, at all, but some of that may have to do with nostalgia on my end. The music is awesome, and hits the same amazing tracks that made the original title magical. The combat is the same classic adventure stuff I know and love from the original game. I'm most interested in how the multiplayer will be handled, if Square decides to make some changes to the rather antiquated pause and scroll through wheels for magic, but we shall see.
Digital Extremes and Human Head Studios had a new free-to-play title at PAX West 2017 - Survived By. The concept is pretty simple. Little pixelated characters run wild and eventually die, with permadeath bearing down on you, but it's not really over when you finally fall, as you are survived by your kin. This goes on and on through ancestral lines and is tied to some really cool meta-progression. Up to 100 players can be in each game, and team up to take on challenges like you would in traditional fantasy MMORPGS. You can play as several different classes like Druids, Alchemists, Geomancers and more as you level up and craft new and exciting loot options.
While there may be a deluge of pixelated indie fare out there, the art really works here with insane ballistic bullet-hell action on every screen. The action is extremely fast-paced and intense, and adding these sort of MMORPG aspects to the roguelike bullet-hell forms a tasty mix of elements that was quite enjoyable on the show floor.
Check out the video to get an idea of what Survived By is all about. I'm really glad I didn't miss this one at PAX, because it could end up being something special!
The Shovel Knight saga has expanded so much since the base game's initial launch in 2014. Multiple free updates, as well as additional paid campaigns starring new characters have been added to what has now come to be known as the Treasure Trove, an all-inclusive package that bundles all of the campaigns and updates together. Developer Yacht Club Games is gearing up to put a bow on the Treasure Trove with King of Cards, the final campaign to be included in the saga.
King of Cards shifts the focus to King Knight in a prequel story tell how he traveled the world to defeat the other kings and become the one true ruler. The game contains around 30 new levels that feature a mix of new locales and familiar backdrops. Much like Plague Knight and Specter Knight before him, King Knight has a distinct moveset. King Knight's most basic move is a shoulder bash that deals damage, but also allows him to propel upwards if he rams into a wall. When that happens, he spins rapidly and can deal damage from above or even bounce off of normally hazardous objects.
During the big reveal event for the Nintendo Switch, Goichi Suda (aka Suda51) was brought out onto the stage to tease a new project for the system. Though the project starred Travis Touchdown, protagonist of No More Heroes, the franchise's name was never mentioned, which led to some confusion. During Nintendo's recent Nindies Showcase video, Suda51 returned to deliver the first real details surrounding the game, and the game was finally ordained as a true No More Heroes entry.
Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes is the first game that Suda51 has directed in a decade, and his enthusiasm shines through when you speak with the energetic director about the project. Though he is unable to discuss too many details, the founder of Grasshopper Manufacture and director of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes sat down to chat about the project and give some hints about what might be waiting for players when the game launches in 2018.
What was the reason behind having the game introduced without the No More Heroes name?
Through the years, the Penny Arcade Expo (or PAX) has become synonymous with fantastic games from some of the most talented independent developers in the industry. Seattle's PAX West is no different. Each year, from Nintendo's Nindies event, to Microsoft's ID@Xbox open house, to the Indie Megabooth on the showfloor, PAX West gives players an amazing opportunity to see the next big indie hits before everyone else. The Game Informer crew is on the ground at PAX West 2017 checking out as many indie titles as we can over the course of the show. These are the best indie titles we encountered while at the show. Check back over the course of the weekend, as we'll be updating this list with new entries each day.
Games are listed alphabetically.
Battle Chef BrigadeDeveloper: Trinket Studios
Platform: PS4, Switch, PC
Frostkeep Studios' upcoming fantasy-survival pseudo-MMORPG PC title Rend gives players the chance to side up with a faction and then take on two opposing factions in games that take around a month to complete. At PAX West 2017, I had a chance to check out how Rend stands out from the rest of the survival pack.
While faction wars are hardly an original concept, Rend throws a wrench in things by having inevitable doom hanging over the heads of all three factions - a demonic force that continually grows stronger and stronger lays siege to all of the faction bases, pitting players against powerful AI forces in addition to the rival factions. The last team surviving wins the game, which could take days, weeks, or even months depending on what happens.
At PAX West 2017, I strapped on a VR headset to immerse myself in Square Enix's upcoming fishing experience, Monster of the Deep. As I was connecting the headset and putting on the headphones, I asked myself what life decisions had taken me to this point, where I was about to join Prompto on a magical fishing voyage on a sunny day. I wondered if I could be doing something more important, like making a sandwich or doing laundry. However, soon I couldn't fight it any longer, and I was on the dock with my fishing pole in hand.
It's rare for me to walk away from a game and not have a real sense of whether or not I enjoyed it, but Monster of the Deep is bizarre as hell and the sheer novelty of the game is intriguing. On the surface, it's just a weird fishing sim where you look like an idiot swerving around and reeling fish in like crazy, hoping not to bump into anyone or anything around you in the real world. Then you take your crossbow and blast the demon fish out of the water to limber it up so you can catch it, because why not. To be terrible here, after a few casts - I was hooked. I caught myself enjoying this weird thing, and just went with it. I caught a couple of lunkers!
In 1989, before the release of Super Mario Bros. 3, another Mario platformer released on the Game Boy, and it was one of the weirdest entries in the series.
At the time, with only Super Mario Bros. and Super Mario Bros. 2 in place as a point of reference, it didn't seem so weird. Exploring pyramids, fighting rampaging Easter Island head statues, and playing a few periodic side-scrolling shooter levels didn't seem so weird for a Mario game. Revisiting it today, however, shows off some real odd choices on Nintendo's part, but it's still a lot of fun. For part two, we play a very strange imported game, specially ordered to feature on Replay, and we see the return of a familiar face.
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