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Big N Breakdown: Direct – April 2015 Pt 3… ish

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Blessings and salutations siblings! So, how about that part three eh? It’s totally not past it’s sell by date by now, and hey, at least a quarter of the things I had left to talk about aren’t out yet… heh heh heh… oh…

So what else is new, I’ve gone and screwed the pooch on yet another multiple post article, and now it’s far beyond saving. All the Amiibo I wanted to talk about are already sold out world wide. Hell, some of those were sold out before I even posted the first part of this series. A lot of the games i wanted to talk about are already out, and I needed to make up for the fact that i had only watched the American Nintendo Direct, and not the European one, which had a number of exclusive announcements that I totally missed.

Something that obviously made a bit of a dent in my schedule was last weeks attempt to make at least one post every day, while I certainly succeeded in that endeavour, it messed with my schedule. While I thought I was doing it with a good reason in mind, the data I was hoping to collect from the experiment was… well… nonexistent. I think I may have to wait until Badly Productions is a little more popular before attempting an experiment like that again.

This whole thing has then been compounded by the fact that for the past two weeks I’ve been running on a few hours sleep each night, if any at all. I’ve just had no drive to get anything done and as most people can attest to, forcing myself to write, ends up with some pretty poor results.

None the less, I have a plan that I’m hoping will make up for my epic fail. Before I go into that though, I do want to get a little something done to finish off this series.

Ladies and Gentlemen welcome back to Big N Breakdown: Direct – Part Three… ish.

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So first of all I want to run down a few games that are coming out in a pretty fast fashion, and talk about the Amiibo functionality.

knittedyoshiYoshi’s Woolly World – Yoshi Games have always been interesting even if they have been considered somewhat easy, and for a younger audience. When Woolly World was first announced, I thought it was certainly cute, and while I considered getting it, it was pretty low on my priorities. Since then my opinion of it has improved, and I see it less of a standard action platformer, and more a game of relaxing exploration, really a big departure from the usual platforming experience. So it’s caught my attention as the sort of game I may dozily play before bed, to chill and hopefully help me sleep. And by the Game, I need that!

As for the Amiibo that are being released along side this game, they appear to be specialised Yoshi’s for Woolly World, though we don’t know yet whether or not standard Yoshi Amiibo released with Smash Brothers or Mario Party 10 will work with as well. However the Amiibo for Woolly World, are not your typical Amiibo, unlike the hard plastic statuettes of the other Amiibo, Woolly World Amiibo are actually knitted, stuffed toys, in keeping with the aesthetic of the game, and the first example we have of a departure from the standard expected Amiibo style.

When you tap the plush Amiibo to the pad in Woolly World, you will generate a Yoshi partner to assist you in the game. Each of the Yoshi Amiibo; green, red and blue, will generate a Yoshi of that colour in the game. At the moment there is no information on how these Yoshi will differ to the standard Yoshi Amiibo, when used with other games, or if they will work the exact same way. Something i would like to see though is for selected Mario based games like Mario Kart, Smash Brothers and Mario Party, to have an update upon release of this game, and when you tap a Knitted Yoshi Amiibo to the pad on the character select screen, it activates a knitted skin version of the character you’ve selected. It would e a simple texture overlay, activate by contact with the Woolly World Amiibo. What you say Nintendo?

The yarn Yoshi Amiibo, will be released along side the game Yoshi’s Woolly World, in the third quarter 2015. Those who preorder the game will receive the bonus package, which like Mario Party did with Mario, will include a Green Yoshi plush. The pink and the light blue Yoshis will be sold separately.

achhd-gameAnimal Crossing: Happy Home Designer – I bought Animal Crossing New Leaf about two years ago now, and while I enjoyed it at first, I quickly got board of the monotonous grind. The entire game was essentially a chores simulator, and with no direction or end game, I just lost interest. I eventually traded it in, and while from time to time I’ve considered buying it again because there are some parts of the game I did enjoy and now miss, there have been game far higher on my priorities that have ensure that I won’t be buying it again. Enter Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer, one of the aspects of the game that I enjoyed was the decorating. I also enjoy doing that in real life as it happens. So when they announced that there was going to be a 3DS game based in the Animal Crossing New Leaf world, that would have you decorate the houses of the different characters, suddenly my interest was piqued. The game will have you be a decorator, and work out based on the personalities of the characters, the sort of house they like, and work towards making them happy. This is what I’ve been looking for, an interior decoration game, based in a fun world, with a clear end goal: make the customer happy. Suffice to say, I’m interested in seeing where this game goes, and I’m also interested in the Amiibo for it.

Another divergence from the standard plastic Amiibo, Happy Home Designer is going to be the first game that uses the Trading Card Amiibo.

There has been rumours for some months about Trading Card Amiibo. I believe it first arose in relation to Marth getting a re-release in card form, because of how rare he was, and that he would be needed in a future game (now revealed to be Codename S.T.E.A.M.), however that has yet to actually be confirmed. With this new type of Amiibo confirmed, it opes up a lot of possibilities, but first Happy Home Designer.

In Happy Home Designer, you use the Card Amiibo to activate that character on your game, from there you can decorate their home, and store their home back on to the card. This home can then be recalled and edited, or (possibly) shown off on other peoples copies of the game. If you haven’t noticed already, this means that the game it self is built to work a lot like Skylanders, in that each Amiibo is required to see them in game. However, unlike Skylanders which are between $15 and $20 each new, the card form of Amiibo are, presumably going to be a hell of a lot cheaper. Allowing you to buy for more content for the game for the same price, than if you were buying a figurine for each of the several hundred characters in Animal Crossing.

At the moment only three of these cards have been officially revealed, Isabelle, Goose and Peanut, with the expectation of a lot more to come, up to at least ninety-five (Peanut’s card number). Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer will be released along with the first set of cards in the third quarter of this year! At the same time, an NFC Reader/Writer accessory will be released for people who do not wish to upgrade to the New 3DS or New 3DS XL, though personally, I highly recommend you do!

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achhd-cardsThe confirmation of Trading Card type Amiibo has opened up the door for a lot of other large scale Amiibo releases. From the very beginning, one of the big questions surrounding Amiibo was whether or not they would eventually do an Amiibo set for Pokémon. With the Pokémon franchise at well over 700 ‘mons at this point, the idea of having that many Pokémon Amiibo in figure form boggled the mind. Sure it could be done, and could even be reduced in number by creating an Amiibo figurine for the family rather than individual Pokémon. This still meant a large number of Pokémon Amiibo, and that would be a lot of money. Of course, muggins here would probably still buy every single one of them because I am a sucker for high quality adorable collectibles, but that’s not the point. The Trading Card type Amiibo means that Pokémon is not going to be a big issue. But how might you use that?

Pokémon Stadium U anyone? How about THAT!?

Or what about a trading card game like YuGiOh, where the monsters from the cards actually fight on screen?

While the knitted soft toy Amiibo are adorable and different in their own way, they are also very much the same as the figurines, the trading cards and the capability of having a huge collection of them for relatively cheap, opens up the consoles to all kinds of trading card game goodness! I’m pretty psyched by the future possibilities of these cards!

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Super smash Brothers – I don’t really have anything to say about the game, I mean it’s been out for a while now, so I suspect that aside from what I went into last time with the DLC announcements, you already know what the game is about, so straight to Amiibo! With the latest Nintendo Direct, we get to see for the first time, the next instalments of Amiibo from the Smash Brothers range.

ssbamiibo-mayThe newest set of Amiibo features, Plutena, Dark Pit, Ganondorf, Greninja, Jigglypuff, Zero Suit Samus, Olimar, Bowser Jr. and Doctor Mario. While I’ve only seen the preview images, of these Amiibo, I’m liking what I see, and I can’t wait to get my hands on Ganondorf to add to my Zelda Amiibo collection, and Bowser Jr. who looks just down right adorable. It’s interesting; for a character I really didn’t give two hoots about just six months ago, since his appearance in Smash Brothers, Bowser Jr. has really grown on me. I’m interested in going back and playing Mario Sunshine, a game that I’ve never given the time of day, just because I know there’s some interesting character development for Bowser Jr. in it.

Sadly at the time of writing this the brand new Smash Brothers Amiibo have already sold out! I checked regularly throughout the day of the Nintendo Direct to make sure to score my preorders, but it wasn’t until 5AM the following morning that I discovered that the Amiibo were available for prepurchase, and only a few hours later, around 8AM some of the more popular characters, like Ganondorf, Palutena and Zero Suit Samus, had already sold out. By the time I was able to check again, around midday, all were sold out except for Doctor Mario, though he too is now sold out world wide.

The weird thing about this set though is the release dates. Previously, the Amiibo sets have been exactly that: a set. On the same day at least six Amiibo have been released every time, sometimes more. This time the Amiibo are being spaced out.

Firstly Greninja and Jigglypuff are being added to the May 29th set, which already consists of Robin, Lucina, Wario, Pacman, Ness and Charizard.

Then in July Dark Pit and Palutena will be released.

Finally Olimar, Ganondorf, Zero Suit Samus, Bowser Jr. and Doctor Mario will be released in September.

ssbamiibo-julyseptWith this almost haphazard release schedule, it makes me wonder if there are other Amiibo sets that we currently don’t know about, which will be revealed closer to the date. Especially the July date, which so far only has two Amiibo scheduled. The only thing we have confirmation of right now is the Splatoon Amiibo set, which I’ll go into more detail about in a moment.

With the reveal of Mewtwo and Lucas, Satoru Iwata, also revealed that DLC characters will also receive Amiibo. I may be going out on a limb here, but seeing as these characters are already DLC, I have to wonder if maybe the purchase of the Amiibo, might also come with a free download code for those characters. It would certainly be more of an incentive to get them ASAP.

Finally, we have had confirmation that Marth will definitely be receiving a re-release along side Code Name S.T.E.A.M., but it is not confirmed as to whether or not, this will be a re-release of the same Marth Amiibo, a new design, or in some other form, like the cards. While I think it’s great for people who missed their opportunity to get Marth early on, to have an unchanged re-release, I would like to see a redesign of the character. Nothing major, just something that sets this new one apart from the old one.

Splatoon01Splatoon – Oh boy, where do I start with this game? I think I should start by saying, it looks freaking awesome, with a caveat. Splatoon is a cute and family friendly first person shooter. Yes you read that correctly. You play as an Inkling, a humanoid squid creature, toting a super soaker full of ink. The aim of the game is simple, defeat your enemy by claiming the most amount of territory, by painting the map in your teams colour. Think of it like Team Fortress 2, but with paint guns. Unfortunately, it also has the online multiplayer only issue that Team Fortress 2 does.

The game has so far been revealed to have four modes. Single Player Campaign, where you fight against the Octarian Army. Online Multiplayer, Online Ranked Multiplayer and Local Dojo Multiplayer. Of all the multiplayer modes only one is local, and then only two player mini games. If I wanted to play online in a ranked battle, with Qeeko, we’d each have to have our own copy of Splatoon and our own WiiUs. I’m not asking for four player split screen cooperative mode for online play… no wait… THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT I’M ASKING FOR!

There is no good reason why we shouldn’t be able to have four people sitting in a room, split screen, competing as a team, against other online teams. I think nintendo really missed a trick with this game, and it’s really made me wonder whether or not I want the game. It seems like a lot of fun, but it’s local multiplayer option are incredibly limited, and I don’t think i really have the time to be able to commit to the sort of dedication online ranked battles might require. Laugh if you must, but I really do see this as Nintendo’s home grown Call of Duty,a nd I think the skill gap between casuals and pros will become very distant very quickly.

inklingamiibo01Splatoon is also getting it’s own set of Amiibo, and for the moment, it’s rather limited, but I’m thinking they will have an extended use later in life. With so many people clambering for inklings to be in Smash Brothers, I suspect that these Amiibo will find a use on Smash also. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m not entirely impressed with the poses of these two Amiibo, they are very generic, not particularly dynamic, and they don’t feel like they hold the same kind of energy that the game does. I guess I just would have liked to see something more exciting, but who knows it’s early days yet, there could be more Inklings on the way.

By tapping an Inkling in game, you will receive a set of special missions based on the particular Amiibo that you tap (so, possibly based on some kind of level up system related to the stored function which changes the missions given), and by completing those missions you will unlock special gear for your Inklings, including costumes and weapons. As of right now though, there’s is no known compatibility outside of Splatoon it’s self, aside form the tap functions of certain games like Hyrule Warriors, which will accept the tap function of any Amiibo.

I probably wouldn’t have spent so much time on these if Nintendo weren’t doing something new with these Amiibo too. For the first time since the release of Amiibo, Nintendo are selling them in a different way. You can buy the Girl and Boy Inklings separately, alternatively you can buy them in a three character pack, which also includes an exclusive green Squid Form Inkling. So that’s pretty cool, exclusive Amiibo in special sets. Definitely a good marketing move and a good way of being able to purchase Amiibo for cheap.

Splatoon and the Inkling Amiibo will be released on May 29th.

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There are a plethora of new games coming out in the near future, and a number of other great looking games set to come out in the coming twelve months. With this in mind I can only see the Amiibo range growing at an increasingly accelerated rate. Hopefully this will encourage people to only purchase the ones that they want for specific sets rather than buying up as many as possible. While, I’m happy that there is a such a big hype for a Nintendo product, as a collector it can be hard to get your hands on the products. Is this selfish? Incredibly. However, at the same time I don’t want people to waste their money without good reason. If people are intending on getting them all then good on you and I wish you all the blessings of the Game, but if you don’t then it’s a shame to think that you are buying up all the rare ones because you feel that you HAVE to. None of them should be rare in my opinion, sure there will be some which people will want more than others, but I think with a larger, more diverse selection of characters,the majority of non-collectors will start to focus on a particular franchise, making it easier for everyone to find their favourite characters in the future.

So speaking of future, how about other games and Amiibo?

I think that Legend of Zelda Wii U, Starfox Universe, and the next Metroid game will have Amiibo sets. What games would you like to see come out and what Amiibo would you like to see from those games?

While this may not be the article that I intended, I did manage to pull this one out of my butt pretty quickly, to bring a fitting conclusion to this series. In the future of this project, I think I’m going to have to focus more on my own personal highlights and be more direct about each individual segment, to be able to get a lot of information as well as my own personal thoughts out in a much more concise way. Hopefully, then, I’ll be able to get everything I want to talk about out in one post or at most, two. Two posts is actually a lot easier than three, because I can get two out in one week, once a weekend happens, with work, games night and clean up, my thoughts become unraveled to some extent, and it’s harder to get back to what I was doing.

Still these thoughts for the future doesn’t make up for the things that I wanted to write here, but haven’t been able to. So keep an eye out in the future for new Pixelvision updates, as I talk more about the games that I’ve mentioned in these three updates, AFTER I’ve purchased and played them!

That’s all for this miniseries, I’ve been Andy Frogman, and this has been Big N Breakdown: Direct only on The Book of Frog!

Peace and High Scores to you all!