Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ideas for Amiibo implementation in Yoshi’s Woolly World

When Nintendo at E3 announced its lineup up games supporting the company’s new Amiibo figurines, Yoshi’s Woolly World was one of the games on the list. This left me very curious about how they plan to implement this.

Our current conception of how figurines are integrated in to video games is based on the two games on the market today, Skylanders and Disney Infinity. Both have chosen to integrate their figurines as playable characters, but as Nintendo has shown with Smash Bros, this doesn’t have to be the case. In Nintendo’s upcoming all-stars fighting game the figurine will instead be connected to an NPC, who the player can then fight and level up. Of course neither of these solutions seems to fit Yoshi’s Woolly World. Seeing how the game clearly wasn’t conceived with the Amiibo figurines in mind, I’m thinking they will likely have a minor effect on gameplay. My guess is that the figurines will probably be limited to altering the background and maybe the music somehow. For example loading the Starfox figurine could have Fox McCloud come flying by, not in any way affecting the gameplay, more as a piece of Nintendo fan service. For the Mario figurine I thought it could similarly trigger Mario themed fireworks, seeing how there have been fireworks in pretty much every Mario games since Super Mario Bros. Or if Nintendo really wanted to mess with their fans, they could have the Mario figurine set off the hated Baby Mario sound effect from earlier Yoshi games. The figurines could also be limited to just altering the music, for example the Animal Crossing Villager could change the music to some nice Animal Crossing tunes. I could actually imagine the Animal Crossing music being a good fit for a Yoshi game.

Personally I would be satisfied with such a relaxed approached to Amiibo integration in games like Yoshi’s Woolly World and have Nintendo put more effort in the integrating Amiibos in games like Smash Bros. and Mario Kart, which seem a more obvious fit.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A gorgeous co-op experience

Child of Light is a truly beautiful 2D experience. I’m amazed by how good 2D graphics are getting. Muramasa and Wario Land looked amazing last gen and now when all the home consoles offer high definition graphics, these new 2D games are just blowing me away with their visuals. Rayman Legends looked fantastic but I would say Child of Light beats it, it’s absolutely stunning. Apart from the visuals the gameplay is fairly generic (altho with some twists), it’s mostly something to do while taking in the beautiful hand drawn graphics.

The game also has an excellent “girlfriend mode”. So if your significant other is attracted to the games visuals (who wouldn't be?) but maybe isn't the most skilled gamer, Child of Light might be a good fit. The second player controls a Navi-like blue ball of light called Igniculus, which can do things such as pull switches and slow down enemies in battle. The look of the game was enough to get my Ghibli loving girlfriend interested in some co-op play, the second player experience seemed to offer enough depth to keep her interested without being so complex that she got frustrated. The second player is mostly active  during the battles, where it is easy to contribute by keeping the Navi lookalike on an enemy and slowing him down. But if the second player really wants to maximize his or her impact on the battle it takes some real tactical thinking and timing.