Review: Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Gate Of Doom (Switch eShop)

The 1990 fantasy action arcade game Gate of Doom (also known as Dark Seal) – by the now-defunct Data East – is the first of 20 titles Flying Tiger Entertainment plans to re-release on Nintendo’s latest system. With the assistance of “one of gaming’s worst mascots” promoting this retro line, the official rebranding for the Switch eShop version is the tongue-twisting Johnny Turbo’s Arcade: Gate of Doom.  

Over the years, Data East’s library of games has been made available on a number of different platforms. Gate of Doom – one of the company’s lesser-known titles – now gets its time in the spotlight once again. For anyone who may not be familiar with the source material, at a glance, this is an isometric fantasy brawler with minor role-playing elements inspired by the likes of Dungeons & Dragons, and is designed for up to two players. The story is nothing out of the ordinary, with four heroes tasked with saving the Kingdom of Etrulia as well as its princess from creatures of the underworld after the titular Gate of Doom breaks open.

These heroes include a knight, wizard, bard and ninja – with each one primed with an appropriate attack and magic spell. Besides the unique weapons, such as the flame pillar and morning star, each of the heroes has a special trait, like resistance to poison or hi-speed movement. Magic is not limited to any specific character, and the book above the magic meter grants your character the ability to use strong elemental powers. Item pick-ups can further enhance the power of a hero. Each character feels different enough, but this is unlikely to alter the experience you have – and as far as the role-playing elements go, all of this has absolute minimum impact on each play session.

Be it alone, or with a friend, your time will predominantly be spent button-mashing while you slay every enemy threat in sight. These foes range from giant blobs to skeletons, zombies, bats and even demonic creatures with wings. There’s an adequate amount of enemy variety over the handful of themed levels when you include all the bosses encountered. These hostile beasts include gigantic fire-breathing dragons and even levitating eyes that shoot deadly laser beams. The stages range from dense forests, frosty mountains with steep drops to active volcanic sites with multiple pathways. Each level is linear in progression, despite the impression of freedom offered by the isometric viewpoint.

With the controls limited to just a few inputs, there’s not really much room to strategise – even during the boss fights. Instead, it’s easier to eliminate whatever enemy moves into your line of sight in the most efficient way possible, or else avoid it altogether. During the big battles, there’ll be points during the fight when the enemy is the most vulnerable; it’s a matter of tapping away until their life meter is completely drained. About the only troublesome issue is dealing with the elemental effects that temporarily stun, poison and confuse your hero; you can even be transformed into a pig. Apart from this, the repetitive button-mashing wears thin very quickly.   

The average player is unlikely to progress past the first few areas without suffering defeat. This is where Johnny Turbo’s modern enhancements come into play. There are a number of quality-of-life improvements to ensure you at least have a shot at completing the game; these include the ability to have 99 credits and make use of save states. How these changes impact your enjoyment is all very much dependant on how you want to play the game. If you want to finish it, or have a light session with a friend, making use of these features is sensible. Otherwise, you can opt for a more original challenge and set a limit on the amount of credits you use or how many save states you permit yourself. These features definitely take away the severity, making Gate of Doom a lot more accessible. Veterans can simply overlook these adjustments for the “classic” experience. If you do take the easier route, expect to finish the game at least once within half an hour to an hour. Otherwise, you could easily be stuck for days attempting to complete the near-impossible task on only a handful of credits.

The quality of the sound and visuals is sufficient. Neither of these aspects particularly shines, though the sound is somewhat better with voice acting included, and much like the game itself simply gets the job done in the most mediocre fashion possible. A number of screen filters – including scan line, RGB, composite, s-video and VHS – can be applied and the aspect ratio can be changed to make the game look like its classic counter-part, which is a nice inclusion. As for the performance, the game runs at a steady rate in both the handheld and docked mode.

Conclusion

Overlooking the association with the questionable Johnny Turbo brand, Gate of Doom isn’t all that bad, even if it’s a long way from being a solid-gold classic. It certainly isn’t on par with competitors from this particular era, but it at least manages to provide the essentials that make brawlers like this fun for one or two people for a short period. The modern enhancements – much like the game itself – do a satisfactory job at fulfilling the basic requirements. The main issue is that the premise of these types of games is too simple and repetitive by modern standards, something which is likely to put off newcomers. If you have fond memories of playing this in the arcade then you’ll love this Switch port, but everyone else should take their time before making a purchase. 

Feature: Brushing Up On Fox N Forests With Developer Bonus Level

Inspired heavily by the golden age of 2D platformers, German developer Bonus Level is bringing Fox N Forest, its gorgeous, season-changing action game to Nintendo Switch after a successful Kickstarter campaign way back in August 2016. It’s already made a name for itself on Steam, so with a Switch launch window pencilled in for Spring 2018, we caught up with game director Rupert Ochsner on throwing back to the 16-bit era, building gameplay around seasons and much more. Enjoy!

Nintendo Life: Could you introduce yourself?

Rupert Ochsner: Hi everyone, my name is Rupert Ochsner and I am the Game Director of FOX n FORESTS here at Bonus Level Entertainment.

Congratulations on bringing Fox N Forests to Switch!

Thank you! The whole team is super excited about the upcoming Switch release, made possible due to our partnership with EuroVideo / Wild River. However, without our loyal and supportive backers we would have never made it this far.

This is your first game – could you tell us a little about the team’s background?

This is a fun story. My first job in the industry was doing animation and level design at Independent Arts Software, one of Germany’s most experienced developers that has been around for over 25 years. Already back then we were joking about making our 16-bit dream game one day. I then joined Deep Silver and someday felt that the time has come to finally make this dream come true! Therefore, I founded Bonus Level Entertainment together with Independent Arts Software’s CEO Holger Kuchling and got the whole gang back together. FOX n FORESTS is a co-development between these two companies.

Was it always the team’s intention to make a retro inspired game/platformer?

Yes, definitely! For example, the day me and my brother imported the Super Famicom from Japan in the early ’90s developing such games became my number one goal. Basically, every team member has similar stories or feelings towards this golden age of gaming, resulting in a desire to take all the elements we loved and combining them with modern game design in order to create something nostalgic and fresh with entertaining 16-bit references.

It looks like you’re going the extra mile to replicate an authentic 16-bit art style. How important is the retro aesthetic to the game?

This is a very important aspect to us as we want that older gamers will remember the good old times when they were playing games all day and younger gamers will get a chance to have a modern, 16-bit style experience to see where it is all coming from.

So, why foxes?

Bipedal animal characters have a long history in gaming, such as Sonic, Yoshi, Fox McCloud, Jazz Jackrabbit, Conker and so on. We were actually close to making a wolf the main character of the game, but then went for a fox as many positive and fun characteristics came to our mind such as clever, crafty, cheeky and cunning. Expect Rick the Fox to rather be some cool anti-hero.

What’s the games story?

Something went terribly wrong in the forests of the once almighty Season Tree. An evil force is trying to implement some mysterious 5th time of a year and even worse, the seasons themselves got stuck! Thus, he sends out his adjutant, the smart-ass bird Patty the Partridge to search for help. 

Soon Patty meets Rick the Fox and asks for his assistance. Being a Fox, he is actually more interested in having grilled partridge for lunch and in the treasure, Patty is promising him in reward for his help. However, Rick is now caught in the middle of an epic adventure and it remains to be seen what the morale of this fable will be…

You had already stated that you planned to bring the game to the (then unannounced) NX, how do you feel about it now that it’s become Nintendo Switch and been so successful?

From a personal point of view and being a huge Nintendo fan myself, I am very happy that I am now able to play all these amazing games at home and on the go. From an industry point of view, every successful game system is a welcome enrichment for the market with new, exciting opportunities for developers.

Are you making any adjustments or adding anything to utilize the specific features of the console? 

We are integrating HD Rumble and support all common play modes.

What’s the balance of action and puzzle elements? 

At its core FOX n FORESTS is an action platformer. On top of that it features RPG and puzzle elements to deepen the experience. The balance between these two aspects is probably two thirds action platforming and one third RPG and puzzle elements. 

There are some RPG elements, too? 

Yes! Every defeated enemy drops bronze, silver or gold coins and you can spend your hard earned money in Forest Plaza, our HUB area. We have an upgrade booth for extending your hearts or mana bar, an armory for sharpening your bayonet or learning new moves and a magic shop for buying different types of magic attack potions, but you will need to find an empty bottle first. 

Bottles can be re-used and are well hidden within treasure chests. Next to gold we have other resources as well. And not to forget the magic seeds! Fife are hidden in every level and it will not be an easy task to find every single one of them. But no worries, to progress it will be enough to collect approximately three magic seeds per level.

How does the gameplay change between seasons? 

In order to maintain a quick and fluid gameplay we decided during pre-production that players can switch between two pre-defined seasons per level. This A/B switch mechanic allows for many creative ideas. In our first level Revolving River you can switch between spring and winter: the river will freeze and Rick can now cross it. And of course, you can lure enemies onto the ice as well, switch back and make them drown that way. On the other hand, giant vines will lose their leaves in winter and cannot be used as platforms any more. 

In another level, Windy Windmills, you will need to ascend a tall tower with useful but dangerous mechanics such as moving elevators, conveyor belts or spiky cogs. Switch from fall to summer and the wind will stop, resulting in a windmill standing still. In Foggy Fable, on the other hand, you can make fog disappear and in the shoot ‘em up level Tricky Treetops – where naughty Rick will fly on poor Patty’s back – a season switch results in rain coming up, distinguishing the fire that is eventually blocking the path. But watch out, once peaceful clouds will now transform into electrifying thunder enemies.

Is the season changing mechanic a moment to moment situation or does it affect the overall story/ gameplay? 

As described above it is an entertaining, quick moment to moment experience that varies per level.

The game seems very organic in nature, did the idea for the game change much from its inception?

I had a clear vision from the beginning on and thanks to the talented, hardworking team this could not only be reached but exceeded. I am very proud of them and what we have achieved.

What has your relationship with Nintendo been like?

Nintendo is supportive and fast in their response, it has been a great experience so far.

On your Kickstarter page, it states that you have collaborated with artists and contributors from all over the world. How were the logistics of dealing with the development process?

Thanks to working with professional freelancers this process was rather comfortable and efficient.

What are the aesthetic and mechanical influences of the game?

Aesthetic influences are especially the beautiful games from Japanese Super Nintendo developers/publishers such as Capcom, Enix, Square or Konami. The season switch idea is originally inspired by, believe it or not, the amazing shoot ’em up Ikaruga.

What Nintendo games did you play growing up? 

If you mean games on the Super Nintendo then obviously Super Ghouls ‘N Ghosts. But I also love ActRaiser 2, Magical Quest, Mega Man X, Demon’s Crest, Contra 3, Axelay, R-Type 3, Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. My favorite games from Nintendo are Super Mario World 4, Super Metroid and The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past. Be prepared to find some references to these and other 16-bit games in FOX n FORESTS!

We would like to thank Rupert for his time. FOX n FORESTS will release on Nintendo Switch and other platforms in Spring 2018.

Video: Nintendo Labo Is Much More Than Cardboard, You Guys

We were lucky enough to go hands-on with Labo ahead of its official announcement some time ago and after that initial swell of hype has faded, we’ve almost put it to the back of our minds. 

However, Nintendo doesn’t want you to forget about this cardboard marvel and has released a whole host of new videos to push the concept – which gives Nintendo Life video sage Alex the ideal excuse to waffle on about it for a bit.

Have a watch and let us know where you stand on Labo. You don’t need to put a box on your head, either.

Review: Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf (Switch eShop)

Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is a seasoned veteran with an intriguing back story and an unorthodox style. It’s already a bit of a legend in smartphone gaming circles, but can it live up to the hype here on Nintendo’s Switch console in the cold light of 2018?

The game has its roots in a highly regarded series of physical adventure game books of the same name. When this digital version initially launched on iOS and Android back in 2013, however, it won a wider fan base by adding meaty turn-based combat and other RPG tropes to a gripping choose-your-own-adventure narrative. It might seem like a strangely anachronistic addition to the Switch eShop, but really, there’s nothing else quite like Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf on the platform. What’s more, it remains a uniquely compelling story-driven adventure to this day.

You play the part of a typical fantasy adventurer, the titular Lone Wolf. Part feudal lord, part warrior monk, Lone Wolf is the last of his kind and the protector of a small portion of the fantasy world Magnamund. You could think of him as a combination of Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings and Geralt from The Witcher. The game’s story sees you setting out across a land ravaged by Giaks (essentially orcs) and Drakkarim (evil humans) in a bid to protect and avenge your people. It plays out in classic game book style, which means plenty of descriptive text written in the second person, with the occasional junction point where you get to make a decision and steer the narrative.

This might be as simple as deciding whether to take a stealthy approach to an encounter or to run in weapons drawn. It might also be a tricky moral conundrum, like whether to release a starving prisoner who stands accused of murder. Whatever you choose, the consequences will be woven into the fabric of your own personalised story. The late Dever was a highly regarded fantasy author, and the writing in Lone Wolf is suitably sharp. There’s nothing particularly surprising or clever about this typical fantasy tale, but Dever really manages to paint a picture with language. You can almost smell the mud and feel the biting cold from his descriptions alone.

The prose is subtly enhanced by some wonderful hand-drawn artwork, which is only partially animated so as to sell that feeling that you’re delving into a book. There aren’t many games that manage to make reading text a genuinely enjoyable part of the experience rather than an expositional necessity, but Lone Wolf certainly does. Of course, the game’s narrative is only half the story here. At frequent points throughout your travels you’ll engage in battle with gangs of assorted enemies. Rather than simply giving you a set of digital dice to roll, these play out like fully fleshed-out RPG scraps, complete with a full 3D engine.

These are surprisingly urgent, tactile affairs, as you strive to work in as many distinct attacks and defensive measures as your limited time, stamina, and magical energy allow. Many of your actions also require you to engage in some light quick time event prompts, whether that’s pounding a button for a few seconds or rotating the left Joy-Con stick. These bits aren’t particularly smart, and they do somewhat betray the age of the underlying game (everyone was doing QTEs in 2013), but they do serve to connect you to the experience like few digital game books have managed before or since.

So far so positive, but Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf hasn’t made the long journey to Switch completely unscathed. In particular, the game doesn’t feel like it’s been fully optimised for the the new platform. Given that this was originally designed with touchscreens in mind, it’s a shame that there’s no such option to use the Switch’s own direct input system; instead, we get a rather unwieldy set of physical controls. These work fine in the battle sections, as you might expect, but they’re found a little wanting when it comes to navigating through the game’s inventory menus.

Turning the page to the next portion of story can be done using the L and R buttons, which is a welcome provision, but navigating the inventory screens involves far to much fiddly scrolling using the overworked left Joy-Con stick. Why weren’t the ZL and ZR buttons brought into play to quickly flick between these screens? These menus also seem to take a split second too long to move through their various animated sections. Indeed, loading times are long in general. Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf perhaps isn’t the ideal version of this fine game, but it remains just that: a fine game. Its mix of engrossing choose-your-own-adventure storytelling and satisfying RPG combat proves to be a timelessly winning combination.

Conclusion

A unique combination of interactive fiction and involving RPG mechanics, Joe Dever’s Lone Wolf is quite unlike anything else on the Switch eShop. Some occasionally fiddly controls betray the game’s provenance, but those after a fresh adventure with a rich fantasy story will find a lot to like here.

Rumour: Sumo Digital’s New Kart Racer Focuses Solely On Sonic And Friends

Despite Sega’s Aaron Webber pouring a bucket of cold water over reports that Sumo Digital is working on a new Sonic & All-Stars racer, the rumours persist. We’re now hearing that Sumo is indeed beavering away on a Sonic-themed speed-fest, but this time around it won’t be pulling in characters from the wider Sega universe and will instead focus on Sonic and his pals – just like Sonic R and Sonic Drift, racing titles of old.

The evidence is a member on The Sonic Stadium forum who previously predicted that Sonic Forces would have a character editor – whether or not that’s convincing enough for you is all down to personal preference.

If this is true, and Sumo is indeed creating a Sonic racer which ignores Sega’s other games, it could be seen as something of a step down from the brilliance of Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed, which really celebrated the company’s proud heritage by featuring properties such as Shinobi, Golden Axe, Alex Kidd, Afterburner, Skies of Arcadia and many others. However, as long as the game is of a high enough quality, the world of Sonic should be more than enough to ensure it reaches a wide audience – and let’s face it, Sumo’s work in this genre is excellent.

Let us know if you buy this particular rumour – and if you think Sumo really is working on something – by posting a comment below.

Guide: Bayonetta 2 Combo List – All Of The Attack Combos By Weapon

Bayonetta 2 is all about its combos. If you really want to master the combat system, you’re going to have to learn a few of these, and fast.

There are a few different combo types as well: ground, air, and unique combos that you can only pull off with a particular weapon. It’s worth noting that you can perform all of the default ground and air combos with any weapon type in the game though – so prioritise learning them first.

We want to help you learn all of the combos in the game, so we’ve created a list of them below. You can use this as a resource while playing so pop it in your bookmarks and refer back to it. Enjoy!

Ground Combos

Punch Kick Punch
Punch Delay Punch
Punch Delay Kick
Punch Punch Kick Punch
Punch Punch Kick Kick Kick
Punch Punch Kick Kick Delay Punch
Punch Punch Kick Kick Delay Kick
Punch Punch Kick Delay Kick
Punch Punch Delay Punch
Punch Punch Delay Kick
Punch Punch Punch Kick Kick Kick
Punch Punch Punch Kick Punch
Punch Punch Punch Kick Kick Delay Punch
Punch Punch Punch Delay Punch
Punch Punch Punch Delay Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch
Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Delay Punch
Kick Kick Kick
Kick Kick Delay Punch
Kick Delay Punch

Air Combos

Punch Punch Kick Punch
Punch Punch Punch Kick Punch
Punch Punch Punch Kick Kick Kick
Punch Punch Punch Delay Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch
Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch Kick

Onyx Roses Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Hold Kick

Shuraba Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Punch Punch Delay Punch Punch Punch
Punch Punch Delay Punch Punch Delay Punch
Hold Targeting Button
Hold Targeting Button Punch / Kick

Kulshedra Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Punch Punch Delay Punch
Hold Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch
Stiletto Punch
Lock On Punch

Durga Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Hold Kick
Punch Punch Delay Punch
Punch Punch Punch
Kick Kick Kick
Punch Punch Punch Punch Punch
Kick Kick Kick Kick Kick

Lt. Col. Kilgore Weapon Combos

Punch Punch Punch
Kick Kick Kick
Punch Punch Delay Punch
Kick Kick Delay Kick
Stiletto Punch
Stiletto Kick

Odette Weapon Combos

Hold Kick
Kick Kick Kick Kick
Punch Kick Kick Kick Kick Kick

Sai Fung Weapon Combos

Hold Punch

Bazillions Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Hold Kick

Pillow Talk Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Punch Punch Delay Punch Punch Punch
Punch Punch Delay Punch Punch Delay Punch
Hold Targeting Button
Hold Targeting Button Punch / Kick

Rodin Weapon Combos

Hold Punch
Hold Kick

Splatoon 2’s Sloshing Machine Gets A Neo Makeover This Weekend

It’s the end of another week, so that can only mean one thing! Another weapon variant for Splatoon 2! This time around, it’s the turn of the bulky and mortar-like Sloshing Machine, which will now be available as the Sloshing Machine Neo, complete with a snazzy new look.

This version of the meaty weapon will also come complete with Point Sensors and Splat Bomb Launcher, making it a real game-changer in a round of Turf War. We’ll likely be on this weekend giving this rejigged slosher a go, so let us know in the comments below if you’re planning on painting the town a variety of vibrant colours… 

Hideki Kamiya Is Already Thinking About Bayonetta 4

We’ve had a double dose of Bayonetta this week thanks to the release of the first and second games on the Nintendo Switch, and the forthcoming third entry must rank as one of the console’s most eagerly anticipated titles.

You’d think with the third game in active development PlatinumGames’ Hideki Kamiya would have enough on his plate already, but he has revealed on Twitter that he’s already mulling over concepts for the fourth Bayonetta outing.

We probably shouldn’t be too amazed as this revelation; we imagine that Kamiya’s head is packed with ideas for future sequels. However, it’s interesting to consider exactly what he could have planned for the character in a fourth game – especially as we don’t really know what shape Bayonetta 3 is going to take yet.

Feel free to let us know your hopes for Bayonetta 4 by posting a comment below.

Pokémon GO’s Latest Event Is On Right Now, And There’s A Brand New Shiny Pokémon

Pokémon GO continues be the mobile hit that keeps on giving, so it’s no surprise as one event draws to a close another one is about to take its place. This time it’s the turn of the Year of the Dog, with extra stardust being dealt out for any doggy Pokémon caught in the next couple of days.

The event kicked off yesterday and will run all the way until tomorrow (17th Feb) so make sure you start grabbing as many canine monsters as you can. Poochyena, Growlithe, Snubbull, Eevee and Electrike are the ones to look out for, so if you’re looking for a little extra bonus for your captures, these are the ones you want to nab. There’s also an ultra-rare Poochyena (and Mightyena) shiny variant on the loose!

Are you still playing Pokémon GO? Have you already nabbed some dog ‘Mon? Spill the beans below…

Code Your Own Games On Switch With The Return Of Petit Computer

Back in 2015, we at Nintendo Life were loving the power to code and run our own games on Nintendo 3DS, and now that basic programming suite is back as Petit Computer (or SmileBASIC as it’s known in the East) heads to Nintendo Switch. Developer SmileBoom has confirmed the former DSI/3DS eShop hit is bound for Nintendo’s latest handheld hardware.

The new version will support characters and assets for building RPGs, shoot-em-ups, platformers and many other genres, and the studio is even looking into the possibility of including support for USB keyboards – a feature that would make writing lines of code considerably easier. It’s also slated for worldwide release, but no news on exactly when that might be just yet.

Another gem from Nintendo’s past returns! Let us know what you make of it, and whether you’ll be coding up a storm when it arrives…

[via japanesenintendo.com]