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Nintendo (Finally) Announced the Details of Their Online Service

Nintendo has finally announced some of the details for their upcoming premium online service called Nintendo Switch Online. We still don’t have a release date, but take a look below to see the details they DID announce.

Features

Online Play

“Battle it out or cooperate with players around the world in compatible games like Splatoon™ 2, ARMS™, Mario Kart™ 8 Deluxe, Mario Tennis™ Aces, and Sushi Striker™: The Way of Sushido.”

Online play has never been a strong suit for Nintendo. They have focused on other things while the world has evolved online. I’m sure they would have ignored online entirely with the Switch if they could have. But, we just don’t live in a world where that is possible.

The new online service will allow online multiplayer for games on the Nintendo Switch. This is required for anyone who wants to play games like Splatoon 2, Arms, or Mario Tennis Aces online.

Nintendo Entertainment System – Nintendo Switch Online

“Enjoy 20 NES games with added online play for the first time ever, and more games added regularly.”

I’ve been predicting a Netflix style subscription service would be coming from Nintendo for years, but had given up hope. They came through big time in the end. The Nintendo Switch Online Service will include unlimited access to a lit of 20 classic NES games.

Even better? These NES games are being enhanced to include online play. You’ll be able to play competitively or cooperatively depending on the game. You’ll even be able to spectate your friends and virtually pass the controller amongst yourselves while playing.

Save Data Cloud Backup

“Save your data online for easy access. Details about this feature will be available before the paid service launches in September.”

This might be the most important part of the new online service. In today’s world, your save data is locked on your Switch with no way of getting it off. This means that if your Switch is broken, lost, or stolen your save files go with it. This can be devastating for fans that have logged hundreds of hours in their favorite Switch games.

The new online system will come with the ability to upload your save files to the cloud to retrieve later or to transfer to a different Switch. This is going to solve a lot of problems for Nintendo as Switches get older and start to fail.

An argument can be made that this should have been available for free since the Nintendo Switch is a handheld console. But, at least it will be available for a relatively low price.

Nintendo Switch Online app

“Enhance your online experience for compatible games with the smartphone app.”

Nintendo is doubling down on their iOS and Android apps. These apps were widely panned by the community when they were released, but have been receiving updates since launch. Here’s hoping that the updates continue now that the apps are part of a paid service.

Pricing Plans

Individual Membership

Individual accounts are limited to one membership per Nintendo Account holder.

1 Month – $3.99 USD

3 Months – $7.99 USD

12 Months – $19.99 USD

Family Membership

A Nintendo Account holder with a family membership may invite up to seven people to join a “family group.” Each member of the family group will have access to Nintendo Switch Online.

12 Months $34.99


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming podcast image

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 121. This week we are talking video games.

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Jonathan Tomlinson

This week the EFG talks about the family friendly Nindies announced at GDC and answers some basic questions about Fortnite!


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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lumines-remastered

Nintendo posted a brief video today as part of the Game Developer’s Conference. It was a pretty big deal because they announced sixteen new independent games. They all looked awesome, but only a handful of them were appropriate for our audience. The following is a list of the family friendly games that they announced.

Fantasy Strike

Fantasy Strike is a fighting game, available on Steam, that simplifies traditional fighting game controls so players can focus on strategy.

It will be available on the Nintendo Switch this summer.

Just Shapes and Beats

Just Shapes & Beats is launching first on Switch this Summer. I think a lot of us will be enjoying the rhythm, platformer, bullet-hell shooter when it comes out.

Pool Panic

Adult Swim games is publishing this super quirky action game as a Switch exclusive this Summer.

Bomb Chicken

Just watch the trailer… its a puzzle platformer where you control a chicken that lays bombs like eggs. Its launching first on Switch this summer.

 

Lumines Remastered

Limines! This is a puzzle game that I never would have imagined would come to the Switch in a million years. The original games in the series were all associated with PlayStation. This is a welcome treat that will look wonderful on the Switch tablet.

Light Fall

Light Fall is a challenging platformer where you control a hero who has the power to build his own platforms and walls to run on and bounce off of. Its launching first on the Switch this Spring.

The Messenger

This might have been the most exciting announcements to come out of the Nindie showcase for me. The Messenger is an action platformer that is strongly reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden. The action looks fast, and I even got some Shovel Knight vibes from it. The Messenger is launching on Switch this summer.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming podcast image

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 121. This week we are talking video games.

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Jenna Duetzmann

Evan and Jake!

This week team EFG goes All IN on the Nintendo Direct from March 8th, 2018!


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Nintendo Logo

Nintendo posted a new Nintendo Direct video today. It was approximately a half hour long and featured games for both the Switch and 3DS. All of the games they discussed are currently planned for a 2018 release (with one exception). Take a look below for all of the big announcements!

The Nintendo Direct Video

The Nintendo 3DS

Wario Ware Gold

I have been wanting a Wario Ware game on the Switch for a while. Unfortunately, I’m not getting one. But, we are getting one for the 3DS. Wario Ware Gold is going to include over 300 mini games which makes it the biggest game in the franchise.

Dillon’s Dead Heat Breakers 

I have no idea what this game is about. It appears to be a sci-fi combat racer with some other combat elements. I like the aesthetic. It feels like a cross between Star Fox and Mad Max. We’ll have to wait and see.

Bowser’s Inside Story

Bowser’s Inside Story is a part of the Mario and Luigi series. It involves a giant Bowser and the Mario brothers adventures inside his body. Its like a cheeky role playing game version of Inner Space. It was a big hit when it released in 2009. I think it is a great time for it to be re-released with a fresh coat of paint. In fact, it will include Bowser Jr.s Story. This will be a separate adventure that will explain what happened in the Koopa Kingdom during the events of the main game.

Detective Pikachu!

Detective Pikachu is nothing new. Its been available in Japan for a while. There is even a movie coming out starring Ryan Reynolds (No. I’m not joking.) The big announcement here is that is is available for digital pre-purchase starting today. The game will be released on March 23rd.

Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi’s Mansion is a well-loved game from the GameCube era. It was one of the first games to feature Luigi as more than just a sidekick. The 3DS already has a sequel to the ghost-dustbusting adventure in Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, but this is a full on re-make of the original.

The Nintendo Switch

Kirby Star Allies

Kirby Star Allies launches on March 16th, looks gorgeous, and features up to four-player multiplayer action. It was featured in the direct so they could announce Dream Friends; characters and villains from other Kirby games that can accompany you on your quest.

Okami HD

Okami HD is one of the most beautiful games ever made. It was remastered last year and released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, but the Switch was conspicuously left off. It looks like Capcom is fixing that error now. I can’t wait to get my hands on this game this summer.

Sushi Striker: Way of the Sushido!

Sushi Striker looks like a pretty wacky game all things considered. It may be anime as all get out, but it has a certain wholesome fun that I think will fit in well on the Switch.

Mario Tennis Aces

Mario has had a lot of success in sports games in the past. The Mario Tennis line has long been one of my favorites. The Wii U version was disappointing, but Mario Tennis Aces looks like the real deal. I’m concerned that some of the mechanics that Nintendo has piled on might make the game less accessible to new players, but they are including a simple mode that will limit some of the shenanigans.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

YES! Captain Toad was one of my favorite games on the Wii U and I am very glad to see it given a new life on the Switch. It is perfect for the handheld. They even announced a 3DS version as well!

Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy

Crash used to the the Sony Mascot. He was their answer to Mario. Now? He has found his way onto a Nintendo console. Its weird how the world works.

Splatoon 2

Splatoon 2 has been a smash hit on the Switch ever since it launched. It only makes sense that Nintendo would cash in on that success in the form of paid DLC. The Octo Expansion will feature a new single player campaign and players will be able to play as Octolings in multiplayer once they complete it!

Super Smash Bros.

Super Smash Bros. is coming to the Nintendo Switch. This is a very big deal and will likely dominate the conversation between now and E3 where I am certain that they will give more details. The interesting details we can catch from this video are the following:

  1. Inkling boy and Inkling girl
  2. Link is in his Breath of the Wild costume
  3. The title card doesn’t list Bandai Namco as the developer

We won’t know much more until Nintendo decides to tell us. But, I will be eagerly awaiting more news.


What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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Engaged Family Gaming podcast image

 

Hello and Welcome to Engage!: A Family Gaming Podcast! This is episode 121. This week we are talking video games.

 

Host:

Stephen Duetzmann @EFGaming

Co-Host:

Jenna Duetzmann

Around the Horn

Cuphead

PSVR

Alto’s Odyssey – iOS and Android

 

Topic

The Top 15ish 3DS Games

Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

Super Mario 3D Land / New Super Mario Bros 2

Animal Crossing New Leaf

Pokemon Games

Super Smash Bros

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Shovel Knight Treasure Trove

Mario Kart 7

Bravely Default

Pushmo

Steam World Dig/ Steam World Heist

Kirby Planet Robobot

Luigi’s Mansion

Professor Layton

Fantasy Life

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

 

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

 

 

Follow us on Facebook!

Like us on Twitter!

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Check out this episode!

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Blossom-Tales-The-Sleeping-King

This Guest Review was written by our goods friend Rob Kalajian! He runs the board game website Pawn’s Perspective! You should definitely check it out!

What would happen if you took an older 16-bit Action RPG, oh, let’s say Zelda: A Link to the Past, crossed it with The Princess Bride, and released it on a modern day system? Blossom Tales: The Sleeping King. That’s what. When I bring up a Link to the Past, it’s not just for comparison sake. Blossom Tales plays like a love song to the classic SNES title. It’s a retro gaming lover’s dream, even if it’s a short one.

If you’re familiar with Zelda: A Link to the Past, or top-down action-RPGs in general, then you know what to expect from Blossom Tales. Players take control of Lily, Knight of the Rose, trying to save her king and kingdom from a dark wizard. You’ve got a sword, shield, and special items to help get Lily through all sorts of puzzles and other sticky situations. One major difference here is that unlike most similar titles that may limit your supply of arrows, bombs, etc…, Blossom Tales doesn’t. Instead, you’ve got a Special Meter that depletes as these items are used. One that recharges rapidly. It gives the game a bit more of a fast-paced feel than those that have come before it.

I mentioned The Princess Bride before. That reference mostly comes from the fact that Blossom Tales is a story being told to two children by their grandfather. As he tells the story the children often interrupt him, arguing with his storytelling technique and offering the player choices on how to change the story in tiny ways. It’s a really cool mechanic, but one that’s a tad underutilized.

Some Concerns

That brings us to the first gripe with the game. The whole idea of the grandfather telling his grandchildren a story that they influence is excellent. The choices given, however, really have a very little effect on the story as a whole. I would have loved to see the choices made have a bit more control over what happens in the game, possibly opening different dungeons or providing the player with some sort of different item or power that they couldn’t have gotten otherwise.

The next issue with the game is its length. You’re only getting a handful of dungeons – four to be exact. The entire game rounds out to about 15 hours of gameplay. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the younger gamers in a household, but for those of us who grew up on similar titles, it’s a bit short and straightforward. There are no real story twists that change the world or shake up the main objective.

Putting those two minor complaints aside, Blossom Tales is smooth, polished, and a blast to play. It’s family friendly, and while the game is based on combat there’s nothing explicit here. The game safely falls in its E10+ rating and can be enjoyed by younger players as long as they have the ability to read. While the game certainly feels like it’s aimed at fans of old Zelda games, it certainly has an appeal to new players with it’s colorful, retro styles and approachable gameplay.

Conclusion

Blossom Tales is available on both Steam and the Nintendo Switch at a price of $14.99. There’s really no excuse to pass up on this one. My preference would be the Switch version since it makes it easy to take the game on the go, but both the Switch version and Steam version are identical.

 

Developer: Castle Pixel
Rating: E10+ (Fantasy Violence)
Platform: Switch, PC
MSRP: $14.99
Reviewed On: Switch
FCC Disclosure: A Switch code was provided gratis for this review.

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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nintendo-switch-logo

Nintendo surprised just about everyone tonight by taking to Twitter and making three significant announcements. It’s not unusual for Nintendo to take different routes than other companies to make announcements.  But, this is the first time I’ve seen three tweets in almost rapid fire succession making announcements that would have been worthy of a press release.

Nintendo Switch Online

Nintendo finally confirmed the name of their upcoming online service aptly named Nintendo Switch Online. They also announced that the service will be releasing in September 2018. This is different from what they originally projected, but they have been giving the service away at no cost up until this point so no one can really complain.

According to an article on The Verge the Nintendo Switch Online service will cost either $3.99 per month or $19.99 per year. This is significantly lower in cost when you compare it to other online services like PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold. The service will obviously include online play, but it will also include access to a suite of older Nintendo games. These older games will be updated to include things like online multiplayer and leader boards. Nintendo has confirmed that they will be providing more updates on that feature later on in the year likely as we get closer to the release of the service.

Mario Kart Tour

Nintendo also sent out a tweet confirming that a game called Mario Kart Tour will be releasing in the fiscal year ending in March 2019 for mobile devices.

So far Nintendo’s mobile games have been a mixed bag some of them have been great while others have been less so. Super Mario Kart is one  Nintendo’s strongest franchises. This has especially been true in recent years so I’m excited to see what they bring to the mobile scene.

We don’t know any details but the fact that it will be here within the fiscal year that ends on March 2019 means that will have it in about a year. That in and of itself is pretty exciting.

Super Mario Brothers Movie

Lastly, Nintendo sent a tweet indicating that they are teaming with Illumination and partnering on a movie starring Mario. The movie will be co-produced by Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri.

We don’t know any other details but we can assume that since Illumination is involved this will be an animated feature. Illumination is best known for the despicable me series and most recently the minions.

I think it is reasonable to have concerns considering the questionable quality of the recent Minions movies. But, The Secret Life of Pets and the original Despicable Me were great movies. Here’s hoping that the Super Mario movie is more like the latter and less like the former.


 

What do you think? Sound off in the comments and let us know your thoughts!

Make sure to keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for all of the latest news and reviews you need to Get Your Family Game On!

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An Educator’s Perspective: Nintendo Labo

One of the largest and latest crazes for kids is STEM, which is the incorporation and integration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (all high demand subjects).  STEM also furthers the develop of innovation, critical thinking, and problem solving. Nintendo appears to be dipping its toe into the STEM realm with their newly announced Nintendo Labo kits.  They have two kits available for pre-order right now; the Variety Kit which includes: fishing pole, toy house, motorbike handlebars, two RC cars, and a 13 key piano.  The second kit is the Robot Kit which allows you to build a backpack harness that controls a robot.  The variety of these kits allow for a diverse range of exploration, discovery, and connecting to technology.

Make Play Discover Verses STEM

The Labo kits announced from Nintendo are the latest foray into STEM with an intriguing technology component. These kits are not advertised as STEM on the Nintendo website, which is a wise move on their part.  These Labo kits are not STEM in the ideal educational model. They don’t meet the definition because they don’t provide an opportunity for the child to design and problem solve. Ideally in a STEM activity, materials are provided and the child has to determine how to build the item.  With that said, the Labo tagline is “ Make, Play, Discover.” This cuts right to the core intention of STEM. First, the kits allow the children to construct items which turn their joy-cons into “toy-cons”. Then they can learn about the engineering and technology involved.

Educational Assets

Nintendo Switch Labo Variety Kit

They may not be STEM kits in their purest form. But they have great potential. They let kids see how these cardboard objects are interacting with the different technological components in the Switch.  This is a great fit for children who enjoy building.  Labo provides kids with the opportunity to explore the mechanics of how each toy-con works.  Then using the software, they delve deeper into how each item utilizes the Switch technology. Nintendo states that there also is the ability to create beyond what is in the kit, and that creation is at the heart of STEM.

Durability

With the Nintendo Labo, building is a one shot experience.  Additionally, sharing among siblings may provide difficulty, especially for the robot.   I have reservations about the durability of the cardboard, however, being cardboard a resourceful parent to child potentially could remake the creation.

Conclusion

The  kits incorporate another level of play into the Switch that is far beyond solely interacting with the software.  We may be seeing the next stage of technology integrating into kits for children. There have been kits to build robots for years.  To incorporate the interactive technology that the Switch provides takes these STEM kits to a whole other level.  While the complexity of the software of the Switch is undenied, I wonder if this will be the beginning of more interactive DIY kits.  Ones that incorporate the technology we already own, such as our phones.

Overall, I am cautiously optimistic that Labo will be a great STEM experience for children to compete and enjoy with their families.  We will have to wait until April 20th when it launches and then can see for ourselves once it is in the hands of our kids.  

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Hello Kitty Kruisers

 Hello Kitty and her Sanrio friends are coming to the Nintendo Switch! Hello Kitty Kruisers was previously released on the Wii U, but is being brought to Nintendo‘s newest console in Spring 2018.

The adorable arcade racer features three different racing modes including traditional cart racing, boat racing, and even small planes! I hesitate to say that the developers are attempting to clone the Nintendo 64 classic Diddy Kong Racing, but the similarities are obvious. I don’t think any of that matters though as the younger set will be so excited to race around as Hello Kitty that it doesn’t really matter WHAT they are doing. (True story: I showed this trailer to my five year old daughter and she practically immolated in front of me. Needless to say… I have to buy this game.)

The races will include single player modes and up to 4-player multiplayer action. The trailer (posted below) makes the racing seem a little on the slow side compared to games like Super Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but I think that might actually be to its advantage considering its target audience. Younger gamers often lack the reaction time and coordination to keep their fast moving karts on the track.

The Hello Kitty Kruisers Trailer

Rising Star Games have been in the publishing business since 2005. They’ve published dozens of games, several of which being Hello Kitty themed so they are no stranger to the franchise. “We’re continually honored to enjoy a close partnership with Sanrio in order to bring Hello Kitty video game titles both to fans and to new audiences,” said Martin Defries, President of Rising Star Games. “Hello Kitty inspires happiness, friendship and sharing across the world and we’re humbled and excited to be an ongoing part of spreading smiles around the globe.”

A word of caution to parents interested in this one: Physical copies of this game will likely be difficult to get. The Wii U version of the game was highly sought after by collectors so it is possible that some of that will bleed over to the Switch version. Never fear though! It will be released digitally as well so your youngsters still be able to enjoy it.

Happy racing everyone! Sound off in the comments if you’ll be picking this one up!

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