Switch Sales Hit 10 Million Worldwide

Nintendo is happy to say that the Switch console has hit 10 million units sold worldwide in nine months on sale.

This success is no new news for the system, which sold 4.7 million units worldwide at the end of July, and is easily expected to shortly outsell the Wii U’s total lifetime sales. Nintendo says it will significantly ramp up Switch production in its next fiscal year through March 2019.

[Source: @NintendoAmerica]

Beta Test Switch Sales Hit 10 Million Worldwide

Gorogoa Review – At Least It’s Short

I appreciate short games built to execute specific, modest concepts. The world of indie games is filled with these kinds of focused experiences, and Gorogoa can certainly be described in this way. However, I simply did not connect with its vision; the narrative is too ambiguous to be engaging, and the simple puzzle mechanics stirred up no emotional response within me.

Gorogoa’s puzzles are based on a series of hand-drawn images placed on a four-by-four grid. In these images, you see a young boy as he rounds up a collection of different colored fruits in a bowl. You can take the pictures apart, rearrange them, and even connect them to make larger images. You can connect two alike pictures to make the boy travel between them, for example, or place an image of a train track above another picture to make it act as a ladder.

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These hand-drawn images from artist Jason Roberts are beautiful, and stand out as the highlight. They remind me of my favorite children’s books, and do so without singling out a specific style or artist. Unfortunately, moving the images around never amounts to a satisfying puzzle solution. All of my careful puzzle arranging rarely led to eureka moments. Instead, when I got stuck, I would just zoom in and out of an image until I found an interactive element of the picture I had simply missed before. It made it feel like I was just clicking and rearranging things until the next cutscene occurred, instead of solving legitimate puzzles.

Part of why the puzzles are so unsatisfying is because the narrative is too ambiguous. I enjoy a story that lets me arrive at my own conclusions, but from Gorogoa’s beginning to end, I never quite understood what the boy was doing, who the other characters were, why it seemed to be moving through time, and how it was all connected. I was just moving images around until things stopped happening, and then I was suddenly watching the credits.

Gorogoa’s artist and designer, Jason Roberts, clearly had a vision with this game and I applaud him and everyone else at developer Buried Signal for making it a reality. But I struggle to recommend this experience, because whatever emotions Gorogoa was hoping to convey, I simply did not feel them.

Beta Test Gorogoa Review – At Least It’s Short

Wattam Is A Cute And Joyful Friendship Simulator

In an increasingly darker world, games like Wattam emit a powerful light to brighten your day.

At PlayStation Experience, we got a chance to play the newest build of Keita Takahashi’s quirky and unique project. Takahashi, who previously created the Katamari Damacy series on the PlayStation 2, introduced Wattam to the world at the very first PlayStation Experience in 2014. At the time, the game was being co-developed by Sony Santa Monica and published by Sony itself. After Sony dropped the game, Takahashi and Funomena studio took the project to Annapurna and redesigned the game in the process.

The new Wattam still focuses on Takahashi’s vision of toys making friends by solving puzzles. The game starts with the cubic mustachioed Mayor sitting at the edge of the universe and lamenting his isolation when the universe sees fit to give life to a tiny rock. The mayor makes friends with the rock by holding its hand. To add to the fun, the mayor lifts up his hat and reveals a harmless bomb that blasts everyone into the sky for a chorus of laughing fits.

After the little rock is happy, the bigger rock also comes to life and wants to play, followed by a flowers, followed by an acorn that plants itself in the ground to birth a tree, which creates fruits, which are then eaten and become poop. When enough of the characters are poop, the toilet world latches on to the Mayor’s cube and the Toilet friends join in.

The toilets scoop up enough of the poop running around and clean them to a golden shine that further friends come who have their own puzzle to solve to draw in new friends. This is the gameplay loop of Wattam, ultimately culminating in a puzzle that requires all the new friends to wrap up the level. 

It is pure joy in such a strange package, an entirely separate but natural follow up to Katamari Damacy. When Takahashi originally retired from video games, he said he was going to design playgrounds for children, which is exactly what Wattam feels like. The controls are slightly awkward and the interactions limited to what the game designs, but Wattam 

Wattam is scheduled for 2018 on PlayStation 4.

Beta Test Wattam Is A Cute And Joyful Friendship Simulator

Here's What You Need To Know About Grand Theft Auto Online's New Doomsday Update

Last week, Rockstar revealed that the new Doomsday update would be dropping for Grand Theft Auto Online and debuted a trailer that showcased GTA leaning into its more zany side, with flying cars and talk of apocalypse prevention. The update will be going live today and, in the meantime, Rockstar’s debuted a list of features for Doomsday. Here’s what you need to know.

The DLC Is Pretty Hefty
The DLC doesn’t include one heist but three, and they’re big, according to Rockstar: “Each of the three massive Heist acts that comprises the story of The Doomsday Heist involves negotiating multiple ruthless Freemode prep missions, tactical setup operations, and experimental weapons and vehicles – each ending with an over-the-top finale that brings a payoff big enough to comfortably share with your fellow crew members.”

One Of The New Vehicles Sounds Amazing
In the list of updates, Rockstar notes that one of bigger additions is a flying vehicle called The Avenger and is described as “
a vertical take-off, turreted, flying fortress/experimental weapons lab in the sky/death-spitting collateral damage producer that practically flies itself.”

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Doomsday Heists Include Elite Challenges
Rockstar calls them “brutal” and says there will be “serious financial payback” for any teams hardcore enough to complete them. Eight new achievements/trophies are included with this update. 

More Customization, Plus A New Radio Station
The developer wouldn’t go into specifics but ended its update with the news that the Doomsday heist would include a number of unlockables and customization, inviting players to ” discover dozens of new vehicles, new weapons, new clothing and personal customization options, as well as a surprise new radio station just in time for your fight to save the world.”

For more on Grand Theft Auto Online, be sure to read our recent in-depth interview with Rockstar on Grand Theft Auto V and the game’s future.

Beta Test Here’s What You Need To Know About Grand Theft Auto Online’s New Doomsday Update

Frank Ocean Teases New 'Blonded' Grand Theft Auto Radio Station

With the new Doomsday Heist expansion about to hit Grand Theft Auto Online, Rockstar has a few tricks left up its sleeve. Tonight R&B sensation Frank Ocean posted an image on his Tumblr indicating his popular “Blonded” Beats 1 radio show is getting a Los Santos edition. 

The first song being teased is Ocean’s hit “Crack Rock” from the 2012 debut album Channel Orange, but we assume Ocean will also curate some songs for the station as well.

Last month, Ocean revealed that his fifth studio album is complete. Maybe we’ll get an in-game tease?

Our Take
This new station is a nice surprise on the eve of what looks like a sizable new addition to GTA Online. 

Beta Test Frank Ocean Teases New ‘Blonded’ Grand Theft Auto Radio Station

A Hat In Time Review – Unpolished Platforming Bliss

A Hat in Time represents the best kind of Kickstarter project. Developer Gears for Breakfast doesn’t have any notable celebrity developers on its team and was instead able to reach its monetary goals based purely on the potential of the game and its appreciation for the genre it was trying to emulate. The result is a game that lacks polish, but A Hat in Time is full of surprises, and, more importantly, is a blast to play.

A Hat in Time begins with a mysterious girl in a tall hat flying through space in a ship fueled by magical hourglasses. She is sidetracked, however, when a bad guy from Mafia Town (a planet inhabited exclusively by Mafioso) invades her ship and her hourglasses are flung into space, making their way to the neighboring planets. What follows is a bizarre platforming adventure through a number of distinct worlds with an assortment of fun abilities.

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Arguably Hat in Time’s best and most notable element is its platforming gameplay. Moving the unnamed girl through the world is fast and accurate. I rarely, if ever, missed a jump I wasn’t aiming for, and moved at a pace that would impress even Mario. Navigating the environments is simply fun, and when you get into the rhythm of sprinting, double-jumping, lunging, and jumping again, you end up with a fantastic sense of control over your movement that makes even the smallest platform easily accessible.

Platforming is far from your only activity, however. While plenty of jumping challenges are available, A Hat in time does a good job of mixing things up with levels and sequences that defy your initial expectations. One level on a train that plays out like a stealth game (complete with overt Metal Gear Solid references) requires you to solve a murder mystery and dodge vision cones, and it ended up being one of my favorite sections of the game. Another level takes place on a scary planet full of dark woods, requiring you to sign multiple contracts with a pushy demon in order to take on side-quests. These kinds of unexpected moments happen throughout the game, making each new location worth seeking out.

Your character is also able to unlock a collection of abilities tied to different hats, like one that turns her into an ice statue to slam down on springy platforms and launch across levels. These upgrades are all useful, and can be accentuated by a series of unlockable patches that improve them. Switching between abilities is instantaneous, which adds to the impressive platforming flow when you have to use multiple abilities in quick succession.

A Hat in Time has a lot of character in all facets of its art design, but there is no escaping that the visuals are dated. The game looks like an HD remaster of an early 2000s platformer. While your character’s movements and actions look great, many of the other characters move with stilted animation, and their models clip into themselves in awkward ways. The result is a game that feels a little sloppy. It’s far from broken, but I did run into the occasional distracting bug, like when my character’s hood was offset about halfway up her face during the final cutscene.

A Hat in Time lacks polish, but it makes up for its shortcomings with excellent platforming and a universe I was happy to be part of. The whole experience is adorable, and in many ways it improves on the very platformers it uses as inspiration.

Beta Test A Hat In Time Review – Unpolished Platforming Bliss

Opinion – The Brilliant Blunder Of Destiny 2’s Laser Tag Weekend

Curse of Osiris, the first expansion to Destiny 2, released last week. I’ve been playing a lot in the lead-up to writing a review, which I’m waiting to finalize until after the patch that goes live this week, an addition that promises to add significant features that should be factored into a full evaluation. 

In the meantime, I’ve watched with great amusement the saga of the Prometheus Lens, the brand new exotic trace rifle that appeared alongside the expansion – a flame ray-firing beam of disaster. As early as launch day, a few players had been lucky enough to get the weapon to drop, and it didn’t take long for the competitive Crucible to see its power. Bungie quickly recognized the problem of the overpowered gun, and the developer acknowledged a bug that boosts Prometheus Lens’ destructive capability. This thing was a beast, boasting a time-to-kill unheard of in the current meta, and making virtually any other weapon (or even super) feel pale in comparison for pure winning potential. 

It meant that those who had gotten the loot drop were suddenly kings of the hill. Until Friday. That morning, the enigmatic vendor known as Xur arrived as he always does with exotic armor and weapons to peddle…including the Prometheus Lens. Quickly dubbed laser tag by the wider community of Destiny players, virtually every match was a light show of flashing red beams, sudden vaporizations, and frantic leaping flights from danger. Suddenly, the Crucible wasn’t just a little broken – it was a disaster. A beautiful, hilarious, wildly fun disaster, and exactly what Destiny 2 needs more of. 

Let’s back up. Am I saying that I want the Crucible to feature all-Prometheus Lens all the time? No. This gun should be scaled back, and supposedly, it will be with the forthcoming patch in less than 24 hours. Am I even saying that these super-fast time-to-kill rates are the recipe for a more enjoyable Crucible? Contrary to what some in the community have proclaimed, I don’t think so. While some competitive streamers have been frustrated by the current state of Destiny 2’s PvP, I know many less-skilled players (who are perhaps also less vocal in the community) who have felt engaged with the Crucible for the first time, and that is thanks, in part, to it being a more deliberate and team-oriented game. The speed and excitement of the current Crucible meta does need work, with more variety for both high-skill players and newcomers, but I’m not convinced that the answer is to suddenly make every game mode into a frenzied killfest. 

Instead, this weekend’s unexpected and unplanned bout of laser tag insanity is the kind of one-off craziness that Destiny 2 needs to embrace. Bungie deserves a lot of credit for recognizing the mistake of Prometheus Lens shortly after Curse of Osiris launched, and ensuring that everyone could get in on the action by having Xur sell the offending weapon. It may have been an accident, but Bungie responded with agility and good humor. As a player, once I got over the sudden change, I had a blast (literally) blowing away competitors with the Prometheus Lens, and enjoying the sudden shift in playstyle that came along with it. 

Standard Crucible weapons and supers were at a dramatic disadvantage over this most recent weekend

If the Prometheus Lens remained this way, it would be terrible. Destiny 2, like its predecessor, is a game that relies on a complex interplay of different weapon types, classes, and game types. Stripping all of that away would dramatically lessen the depth of the game systems, and in short order, the game would lose all its luster. But a few days of broken laser destruction? That’s something I can get behind. 

Whether you always agree with Bungie’s sandbox and balance decisions, I’ve spoken enough with the developers at that studio to know how carefully they consider every change they make to what is ultimately an incredibly complex interplay of game mechanics. By and large, that drive for balance is a good thing, but with respect to the hard work the team does, Bungie could afford to loosen the constraints from time to time, and implement the same brand of hysteria that overwhelmed the Crucible this weekend, but on purpose instead of by mistake.  

Imagine a weekend competitive event for the Crucible in which you had no gun ammo, but your melee ability was always primed to full. What if occasional PVE planetary flashpoints included overwhelming invasions of enemy attackers across an entire destination for those that opted into the experience (an idea that Bungie toyed with in pre-release events for Destiny’s previous expansions)? How about a frantic Marathon Man-like chase through the underbelly of the Leviathan raid, with Cabal War Beasts nipping at the party’s heels like a futuristic running of the bulls, killing off stragglers who don’t get out of the way? These aren’t good ideas in the sense of balanced, carefully curated content. But they represent the tone of play that many players would enjoy: A dynamic and ever-shifting playspace where the standard rules are made to be broken, balance be damned. 

In the age of games-as-service, Destiny 2 is just one of many games that needs to become more agile and reactive to its fans, and offer opportunities for creative play and surprises on a regular basis. I’ve been heartened that Destiny 2 has tried hard in its first months of release to consistently include weekly events like Faction Rallies and Iron Banner. Even though those events haven’t yet hit their full potential, it’s a good first step. But more dramatic change-ups will be required to keep the game feeling lively and adventurous. Like the Outbreak Prime quest in Rise of Iron, or the horrendously broken loot cave of Destiny’s launch, fans like being in on the secrets of a game’s past, and even its mistakes. 

I’m more cognizant than many that a big game like Destiny 2 is an unwieldy ship to steer in a new direction. It’s hard to implement sweeping mini-events or short-term modes, and make sure that the entire boat doesn’t go down in flames in the process. It’s easy for me to say: “Bungie should just do this!,” and ignore the work that is involved. Even so, I saw over this weekend how much fun could emerge from the introduction of one accidentally broken gun. I can only imagine that the same sort of thing, created with intent and forethought, could be even better. 

Beta Test Opinion – The Brilliant Blunder Of Destiny 2’s Laser Tag Weekend

My Hero Academia Artist Creates Original Last Jedi Poster

The artist and author behind the super hero comics-inspired manga and anime drew a special promotional poster for the latest Star Wars film, and it doesn’t disappoint.

In the same style as My Hero Academia, Kōhei Horikoshi’s poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi features the films biggest players like Rei, Finn, Luke, and Captain Phasma on the cover taking center stage. The poster was included with the latest issue of Shonen Jump. Horikoshi, who is a professed fan of Star Wars, included comments on his excitement for the new movie, in particular learning about the relationship between Rei and Luke.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes to theaters December 15. My Hero Academia, meanwhile, makes its debut in console video games with the recently announced My Hero Academia: One’s Justice for PlayStation 4 and  Nintendo Switch. More details on the game will be revealed during Shonen Jump’s Jump Festa event later this month, but you can check out some screens of the game that are currently available.

[Source: Anime News Network]

Beta Test My Hero Academia Artist Creates Original Last Jedi Poster

Sick Stunts On Zelda: Breath Of The Wild's New Motorcycle

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s Champions’ Ballad DLC adds a motorcycle to the game. If that’s not a reason to try and pull off the sickest stunts in all of Hyrule, then what are we even doing here?

To acquire the motorcyle, (A.K.A. the Master Cycle Zero) you must play through the new DLC in its entirety. It’s an impressive unlock for the game and it really changes exploration in radical ways. We decided to put the cycle to the test by pulling off sick wheelies, sick jumps, sick experiments, sick combat, and a whole lot more. We even get into some sick spoilers, so be wary if you haven’t defeated Ganondorf yet, or you want to keep the DLC a surpise.

You can watch the video below with Benjamin Reeves, Leo Vader, and me to see just how sick Breath of the Wild can get.

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Beta Test Sick Stunts On Zelda: Breath Of The Wild’s New Motorcycle

A New Character Joins Overkill's The Walking Dead

Overkill, the team behind the cooperative heist shoot ’em up Payday, announced back in 2014 that it would be working on a Walking Dead game. We haven’t heard much about it since then, but today we got a first glimpse at one of the characters we’ll be playing as in this four player co-op shooter courtesy of a new trailer. 

The trailer focuses on Aidan, a man living in Washington D.C. and dealing with his daily responsibilities about as well as most of do. The trailer then cuts to Aidan walking around a post-apocalyptic D.C. strewn with “dead” bodies and taking on a group of zombies with a club. He seems to enjoys this a lot more than his life before the zombie apocalypse.

Overkill’s The Walking Dead will feature a mix of first person shooter and survival gameplay, as players work together to fight zombies and humans. The trailer confirms the game’s D.C. setting and a fall 2018 release date.

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For more on Overkill’s The Walking Dead, check out our previous coverage.

Beta Test A New Character Joins Overkill’s The Walking Dead