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Sometimes a game just sneaks up on you and gives you everything that you wanted. Graceful Explosion Machines was that game for me this year. It came out right around the launch of the Nintendo Switch right in between two mammoth Nintendo franchises (The Legend of Zelda and Mario Kart). Just about any other game would have been forgotten amidst that kind of competition, but Graceful Explosion Machine was a neon pink sign that helped me find my way.

(Editor’s Note: The pink hat reference is perfect for ME, but definitely needs context. Back in the before times, when I was much younger, my family went to Disney World. My mother, in an effort to protect us, bought us these obnoxious, neon hats. This helped her easily pick us out of the crowd and find us as we pushed through the crowds.)

Graceful Explosion Machines is a classic space “shmup” (Shoot ’em Up) that is currently exclusive to the Nintendo Switch. It is also a spectacular video game.

Anyone who has ever played any sort of arcade game will recognize the gameplay loop immediately. Players pilot a ship around various colorful levels. The goal is to eliminate all of the enemies in each level as quickly as possible and without getting hit.

Eliminating those enemies requires careful use of the four different weapons at your disposal. Each of those weapons is assigned to one of the four face buttons. You have a standard blaster (that will overheat if you shoot too fast), a long range sniper blast that delivers continuous damage, a sword that swings around your ship, and a set of heat seeking missiles. The latter three of those weapons all share an energy bar. You cant just use those powers wildly.

This careful use of all of your different weapons while flying through the various levels pushes you into an almost meditative state as you play. It’s easy to get lost in the game during those brief moments. The longer you are able to play in that meditative state (without failing a mission) the more joyful that state it. This makes Graceful Explosion Machine one of those games where it actually feels better to play as you grow in skill. That is so rare in today’s market that some kids have probably never experienced it at all.

Fix that problem and buy this game for them. Trust me. It will be worth it.

Is it a kid’s game?

Graceful Explosion Machine is an arcade style game that is all simple shapes and bright colors. There is almost nothing to be concerned about with this game.

There is no narrative that expressed mature themes. The game does involve a spaceship blasting other enemy spacecraft, but all them are such simple designs that the inherent violence is very abstracted. This is a modern equivalent to Space Invaders.

Can a kid play it?

There is no doubt that GEM is a challenging game. But, it is still a very inviting experience. Failing at a level is painless and restarting is very fast.

The game does make use of all of the different face buttons on the controller and the should buttons as well so kids who aren’t used to that will have some difficulty.

Conclusion

This is currently the best game available for the Nintendo Switch not called Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Play this game.

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Welcome to the EFG Kids’ Corner! This is a series of articles written by gamer kids all over the country! If you are a gamer kid (or know one) send me your best stuff in an email at editor@engagedfamilygaming.com! You just might see it here!

Without further adieu… here we go!


Hi It’s time for part two of my Yu-Gi-Oh assignment. I was asked to talk about how I got into the game and maybe even a little about how the game is played. So here we go.

I originally got into the game because I watched the show.  When I found out about the card game I went for it almost right away. I saved up and bought the Elemental Hero themed Starter Deck.

Pretty soon after that I went to a sleepaway, week-long, summer camp at Camp Mystic Lake at (no surprise) Lake Mystic. I don’t know why but I brought my deck with me. We had a free hour after lunch to roam wherever we wanted, go to the archery range, swim in the lake, take a jog in the forest paths, or whatever. On the first day I went right outside the dining hall near gaga ball and carpet ball and played with the one friend I had that played Yu-Gi-Oh, too. But, after one game we went off to play some other games. So he left for gaga and I went over to play some carpet ball.

But, on the way there I was stopped by a kid from the Ottawa cabin, which is the only other boys tween cabin. He asked me what I was playing so I told him and he wanted to know how to play.  I taught him and we got about halfway through a game before free period ended. We agreed to meet there the next day. The same day, right after free period we had a time of rest to do something quiet in our cabin, so I thought I would try to teach some of my cabin mates how to play. So I did, and each free period and time of rest I taught one more person how to play. Eventually I had about ten people I’d taught to play the game.

What I’m trying to say with this is that it’s not to hard to get people to play the game with. Just get some decks and teach your friends!

Well thanks for reading and I hope you’ll check in next time for me to wrap up this Yu-Gi-Oh trilogy by talking about my experiences at my first tournament.

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GenCon 2016 has come and gone and it is, essentially, the E3 of board games. Every year dozens of board games are debuted there to be demoed (or purchased) by thousands of gamers hungry to be on the cutting edge of the hobby.

We, unfortunately, weren’t able to make the trip ourselves, but thanks to BoardGameGeek.com and a lot of press releases we have a pretty good idea of what games made a big splash there. Take a look below for a list of the games that we have our eyes on.


Seafall

  • Plaid Hat Games
  • Ages 14+
  • 3-5 Players
  • 90-120 minutes

Legacy games shouldn’t be anything new to board game fans as there have been several. The most recent legacy game, Pandemic: Legacy Season One, took the world by storm last year. Seafall, however, is different because it is the first game that has been built from the ground up as a Legacy game.

In Seafall, players take on the role of explorers during the age of sail that have discovered a new land. The map on the gameboard is empty and it is up to the players to explore the land and see what is going on.

What I love most about this game is that I have to speak about it in general terms because I honestly don’t know what happens. I know there is a story much like there was in previous Legacy games. I just don’t know what it is, and the fact that it is a completely new title means I have no context to try and figure it out on my on.

I guess I’ll just have to play it!

Scythe

  • Stonemeier Games
  • Ages 14+
  • 1-5 Players
  • 90-115 minutes

There are very few games that have been hyped up as much as Scythe has been over the past year. This is a game that was backed heavily on Kickstarter thanks to its gorgeous art and the fascinating premise. The game takes place in a diesel-punk alternate history version of post World War I. Some of the art featured in the game includes quant pastoral villages with adorable farmhouses being towered over by multistory diesel-belching mechs.

At first, when I saw the campaign I had assumed that it was a miniatures wargame featuring towering mechs and bear riders. But, as I learned more about the game I found out that it is really more about resource management and territory control. You actually can only earn so many points through battle. The rest of the points you earn are through other means.

One feature that I think really sets the game apart is the idea of popularity. Different achievements and resources are worth a different amount of points dependant upon your popularity level with the people. This means that taking explicitly evil actions that might turn the people against you can have a significant cost in the long run (that doesn’t mean they won’t be worth it though).

Star Trek Panic

  • USAopoly
  • Ages13+
  • 1-6 Players
  • 90-120 minutes

We have talked about Castle Panic before and you might be tempted to just write this one off as a simple reskinning of the original. Do yourself a favor and wipe those thoughts away right now.

Star Trek Panic adds a lot to the formula like

We’ve talked about Castle Panic before. Star Trek Panic is similar in form, but it does more than replace the sword and sorcery theme with a shiny sci-fi one. Instead, this game adds things like missions, character cards, and new mechanics.

The best part about the game though? The cardboard USS Enterprise that sits in the center of the game board while you play.

Star Trek: Ascendancy

  • Gale Force Nine
  • Ages 14+
  • 3 Players
  • 90-180 minutes

This is a big year for Star Trek. We had a new movie (Star Trek: Beyond),  an upcoming series (Star Trek: Discovery), and several licensed board games. While Star Trek Panic is a lighter strategy game based around an existing idea, Star Trek: Ascension brings the Trek universe into the heavy strategy genre.

The gameboard is all but blank when this game starts. That is because the galaxy will be discovered slowly as the three players (each one controlling either the Federation, The Klingon Empire, or the Romulan Empire respectively) travel around the board discovering new stars, planets, and eventually each other. At that point the players will need to trade, form alliances, and explore in order to earn the win.

 

Vast: The Crystal Caverns

  • Leader Games
  • Ages 10+
  • 1-5 Players
  • 75 minutes

Asymmetrical gameplay is a challenge, but is is very cool when it comes together well in a board game. Vast: The Crystal Caverns certainly shoots to accomplish that.

Vast is a dungeon crawler game that has each player assigned to a different role from the valiant knight and the slumbering dragon to the cave itself. Each role has completely different game mechanics and win conditions. For example: The Knight wins by killing the dragon. The Dragon wins by waking up and escaping. The cave wins by collapsing in itself and crushing everyone else inside.

Kreo

  • Cool Mini or Not
  • Ages 10+
  • 3-6 Players

This is a cooperative game where players take on the role of greek titans who are working to create a sustainable world. There are element cards which help you build nature cards, Nature cards are used to build the planet.

The game looks as simple as it is fast. The entire deck of cards is dealt out to the players. Gameplay involves multiple rounds wherein players while simultaneously play cards trying to complete different phases of creation. The key is that players cannot communicate directly about what they are going to play. This limitation can be circumvented by using a limited resource, but it is a pretty significant part of the challenge.

Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails

  • Days of Wonder
  • Ages 10+
  • 2-5 players
  • 60-120 minutes

Ticket to Ride: Rails and Sails mixes up the traditional TTR formula in two main ways. The first is that it includes a double sided map that includes a world map and a map focused on the Great Lakes region of the United States. The second is that players can also claim routes across land using trains and sea using boats. They even mix things up by including train cards and boat cards that players have to collect to claim their respective routes. This adds a lot of new decisions for players to make.

We haven’t played a bad version of Ticket to Ride yet, so we’re sure this will be a great one to add to the collection.

Beyond Baker Street

  • Z-Man
  • Ages 13+
  • 2-4 players
  • 20 minutes

This is a Sherlock Holmes themed cooperative deduction game. Players are racing to solve a crime before the legendary Sherlock Holmes can. The gameplay itself is very similar to Hanabi. Players each hold a set of five clues, but they can’t see what they have. They can only see their what their teammates are holding. Each turn players can Assist another detective, Investigate a crime scene, Confirm evidence, Eliminate dead leads, or Pursue new leads. The players win if they can gather enough evidence before Holmes does.

I’ll admit that I have had some bad experiences with Hanabi, but I am definitely willing to give this one a shot.

Captain Sonar

  • Asmodee
  • Ages 12+
  • 2-8 Players
  • 30-60 minutes

Ok. So we all played Battleship when we were kids right? Captain Sonar is a game that pits two teams of players against each other as they each run Submarines that are trying to destroy one another. Each player has a separate role and the battles take place in real time.

This sounds to us like it has the makings of a great game to pull out at game nights and we can’t wait to give it a shot.

Killer Snails: Assassins of the Sea

This is a competitive deck building game that is themed around the idea of farming deadly cone snails. They are deadly creatures, but they can be farmed to harness some of their pieces to help make medicines and other useful products.

Killer Snails was designed in collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History, the National Science Foundation, and the Media Center IFP. There is even a teacher’s guide to using this game to help learn.

Fight for Olympus

  • Lookout Games/Mayfair Games
  • Ages 12+
  • 2 Players
  • 30 Minutes

Fight for Olympus is a two player competitive card game with strategic elements. The game is based on Greek Mythology so we know our oldest son is hungry for this one.

Players control six spaces on a virtual game board. Three of them are reserved for military action and the other three are for resources and “Power Discs.” Creatures played in the front row deal damage to creatures directly across from them. If there are no creatures to attack then the damage is dealt to the other player directly.

The art on the different cards looks great and the combat mechanics look interesting enough to rocket this game very high on our list.


Did you see anything at GenCon 2016 that caught your eye? Sound off in the comments!

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Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a Japanese RPG that blends themes and characters from Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem. This is a combination that shouldn’t work, but they manage to pull it off nicely in this deep and strategic RPG.

It is entirely possible that Mirage Sessions will go down as one of the most criminally underrated games on the Wii U. It is beautiful, it’s art style is interesting, the combat is challenging, and the characters are entertaining. There will be some folks who don’t appreciate the Japanese cultural influences in the game, and that makes sense to a degree. But, unless you have a significant aversion to J-POP music, then these things should not frighten you away.

TMS-Combat-Itsuki-Session

The story itself is straightforward. Humans all possess a magical energy called “Performa.” Some people, mostly singers, actors, artists, etc, have more Performa than others. This energy can be used for good or evil, so obviously, there is an evil demonic force that wants to capture all of it and use it for nefarious purposes.

Players control a team of Mirage Masters. These are people who have formed a bond with a “mirage.”  These are essentially the spirits of characters from the Fire Emblem universe. They grant thei Mirage Masters unique abilities and defenses to help battle against the demon armies.

The story is interesting enough, and contains some interesting twists so I won’t discuss it here, but the game really shines while in combat. Players control a team of three characters as they participate in turn based battles. You are encouraged to take your time and plan as all sorts of information is available while you fight. You can see the exact turn order in a bar across the top of the screen, and each monster has a window associated with them that identifies their weaknesses and defenses. This information is critical for two reasons.

  1. Enemies pull no punches. They go at you full bore and take advantage of any weaknesses you might have.
  2. Some of the skills you earn as your characters are called “sessions” which are special moves that trigger when you hit an enemies weakness. For example, one of the first sessions you learn is a move that triggers when you land a lightning attack against an enemy that is weak to it. These equate to free attacks that can deal devastating damage and keep enemies from counter attacking on later rounds. This isn’t a system you can ignore either. It is core to the experience and mastering the system is the only way to proceed in the game.

Sessions isn’t without is flaws though. Several of the dungeons in the game are so large that they need multiple trips back and forth to town to complete. This really stifled my desire to explore as I was often retracing some of my steps.

tokyo mirage sessions screenshot

Is it a kids’ game?

Well. No. Not really. At the end of the day this game is heavily inspired by anime. As a result some of the outfits and animations are a bit sexualized. That isn’t to say that the entire game is all about those themes, but they are certainly difficult to avoid.

Some of the monster designs are pretty creepy, so that is definitely something to consider as well.

ESRB: T for Teen
Fantasy Violence, Language, Suggestive Themes, Use of Alcohol
Other: Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB (Wii U)
This is a role-playing game in which players assume the role of a high-school student who solves a mystery while helping his friend become a pop idol. As players explore dungeon-like environments, they engage in turn-based battles with fantastical enemies known as Mirages. Characters take turns selecting moves from a menu in order to use arrows, spears, swords, and magic attacks to defeat enemies. Battles are highlighted by yells, impact sounds, and light effects. Some female characters are depicted wearing low-cut clothing that reveals large amounts of cleavage; a handful of cutscenes contain brief close-ups of characters’ cleavage. Characters occasionally engage in suggestive dialogue (e.g., “I need no praise from some disappointing 3D girl with a 2D chest!”). In a handful of scenes, a character is depicted drunk and hungover (e.g., dry-heaving sounds, slurred speech); players are to tasked with finding a hangover remedy for her. The word “sh*t” appears in the dialogue.

Can kids play it?

Tokyo Mirage Sessions is a deep RPG that involves a lot of strategy. You can take your time during battles. But, no amount of patience can make up for being bad at dealing with complex decision making.

Conclusion

I think that the Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is being criminally underrated for its value as an RPG. Any adults waiting for Final Fantasy XV should check it out. With that said, if you are looking for an RPG to share with your kids, then you may want to look elsewhere.

 

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Nintendo has announced a new game in the Mario and Luigi role playing game series. The game is called Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam and appears to combine elements of both the original series and the Paper Mario games.

This was, quietly, one of the most exciting announcements of the show. It is a subtle combination of two game series that have been very successful for Nintendo over the years. Even better? Both of these games tend to be hilarious on their own and the humor potential of including two matching sets of Nintendo characters into the same game is undeniable.

We don’t know a LOT aside from the release window of Spring 2016, but we can assume from the trailer that it will be a role playing game that will include some action elements. For example, in combat you will need to jump on classic Mario enemies like Koopa Troopas and Goombas. You need to perform button presses at the right time in order to do bonus damage.

We’ll learn more about this game as it comes closer to release thanks to the inevitable Nintendo Directs that will be released over the rest of the year.

Keep your eyes on Engaged Family Gaming for more news as we approach the release date.

Click here to see all of our E3 2015 coverage!

 

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International Star Wars Day is coming up on May the fourth (Do you get it? Yeah.. you got it.) and with it come all kinds of great sales on Star Wars merchandise on online retailers. Video games are no exception. Below is a list of sales that have started on Steam, Good Old Games, PlayStation Network (PSN), and Xbox Live.

The sale prices are listed next to each game title with their sale prices in parenthesis.

Steam Sales

The sale ends May 7.

Steam has finally managed to add the X-Wing space combat games to their library. Each game in the series has been discounted by 10%.

  • X-Wing Special Edition $8.99 (9.99)
  • TIE Fighter Special Edition $8.99 (9.99)
  • X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter $8.99 (9.99)
  • X-Wing Alliance $8.99 (9.99)

Additionally, the Star Wars X-Wing Bundle includes all four games listed above for $26.99 (29.99).

Steam has a bundle called the Star Wars Collection which includes every Star Wars game on the service except the four games in the X-Wing bundle listed above. The bundle is on sale for a mere $23.00 (its original price is $99.99). There are fourteen games in the bundle and they include some absolute classics. If you or anyone in your family is a Star Wars fan, then this is a most buy at this price.

These are the games in the bundle. It is worth nothing that they are all on sale individually as well. Their individual prices are listed for reference.

  • Knights of the Old Republic $2.99 (9.99)
  • Battlefront II $2.99 (9.99)
  • Republic Commando $2.99 (9.99)
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast $2.99 (9.99)
  • Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II $1.79 (5.99)
  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy $2.99 (9.99)
  • Jedi Knight: Mysteries of the Sith $.89 (2.99)
  • Starfighter $1.79 (5.99)
  • The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes $5.99 ($19.99)
  • The Force Unleashed: Ultimate Sith Edition $5.99 (19.99)
  • Dark Forces $1.79 (5.99)
  • Empire at War: Gold Pack $5.99 (19.99)
  • The Force Unleashed II $5.99 (19.99)
  • Knights of the Republic II $2.99 (9.99)

PlayStation Network

The sale ends May 5.

Sony is celebrating Star Wars Day by discounting several bundles of games that include PS1 Classics, newly released PS2 Classics, PSP games.

Star Wars Throwback Pack (PS3) $30.35 (45.99)

  • Bounty Hunter $7.49 (9.99)
  • Dark Forces $1.50 (5.99)
  • Episode III: Revenge of the Sith $7.49 (9.99)
  • Starfighter $7.49 (9.99)
  • Racer Revenge $7.49 (9.99)

Star Wars Mega Bundle (PSP, Vita) $39.99

  • Battlefront II $3.50 (9.99)
  • Battlefront: Renegade Squadron $3.50 (9.99)
  • Battlefront Elite Squadron PSP $7.00 (19.00)
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars PSP $7.00 (19.00)
  • The Clone Wars: Republic Heroes $3.50 (9.99)
  • The Force Unleashed PSP $3.50 (9.99)

The following games are on sale individually for those people who aren’t interested in a bundle of games.

  • The Force Unleashed II (PS3) $7.00 (19.00)
  • The Force Unleashed II Endor Bonus Missions (PS3 Add-on) $.50 (.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force (PS3, Vita) $3.50 (9.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within (PS3, Vita, PS4) $3.50 (9.99)
  • Zen Pinball 2: Star Wars Pinball (PS3, Vita, PS4) $2.30 (9.99)
  • Zen Pinball 2: Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within (PS3, Vita, PS4) $3.50 (9.99)
  • Angry Birds Star Wars (PS4) $15.00 (49.00)
  • Angry Birds Star Wars (PS3, Vita) $10.00 (39.00)

Xbox Live

The sale ends May 4.

Star Wars Sales on Xbox Live have all been tied into the Games With Gold promotion. It is honestly a good idea to check in there regularly because there are always good deals. The Star Wars deals, however, are as follows:

Xbox One

  • Angry Birds Star Wars $9.99 (49.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball Pack $2.49 (9.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force $4.99 (9.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within $9.99 (9.99)

Xbox 360

  • Star Wars Pinball $2.29 (9.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Balance of the Force $4.99 (9.99)
  • Star Wars Pinball: Heroes Within $4.99 (9.99)

The following games are listed as on sale for the Xbox 360, but no information was provided about their pre-sale prices.

  • The Force Unleashed II $6.99
  • LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga $6.99
  • LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars $6.99
  • The Force Unleashed $6.99
  • The Force Unleashed Hoth (Add-on) $2.29
  • The Force Unleashed Tatooine (Add-on) $2.29
  • The Force Unleashed Jedi Temple Mission Pack (Add-on) $2.29

Good Old Games (GOG.com)

The sale ends May 7.

Good Old Games is debuting a lot of new Star Wars games on their service as part of the Star Wars Day festivities.

  • Star Wars: Rebel Assault I and II – (bundled) 9.99
  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy $7.99 (9.99)
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast $7.99 (9.99)
  • X-Wing Special Edition $8.99 (9.99)
  • TIE Fighter Special Edition $8.99 (9.99)

All of the other Star Wars games available on GOG are discounted as part of the celebration. They are also each included in one of two special bundles.

The Blaster Bundle includes seven games, all of which have a major focus on tactics and space combat.

The Saber Bundle includes eight games which focus more on using lightsabers, force powers, and other infantry abilities.

Blaster Bundle $38.93 (61.93)

  • X-Wing Special Edition $6.99 (9.99)
  • TIE Fighter Special Edition $6.99 (9.99)
  • X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter $6.99 (9.99)
  • X-Wing Alliance $6.99 (9.99)
  • Rebellion $2.99 (5.99)
  • Galactic Battlegrounds Saga $2.99 (5.99)
  • Rogue Squadron 3D $4.99 (9.99)

Saber Bundle $22.44 (97.90)

  • Dark Forces $1.37 (5.99)
  • Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II $1.37 (5.99)
  • Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy 2.29 (9.99)
  • Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast 2.29 (9.99)
  • Knights of the Old Republic $2.29 (9.99)
  • Empire at War: Gold Pack $4.59 (19.99)
  • Battlefront II $2.29 (9.99)
  • Republic Commando $1.37 (5.99)

 

Check back here for more sales as they are announced!

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Overall Review

The Avatar series has been a mainstay on Nickelodeon for years now. Unfortunately, it has not translated very well to other forms of media. The movie was atrocious, and the video games have been slightly better, but more so because the movie was just that bad.

It was with all of that in mind that I came into my experience with the Legend of Korra with very low expectations. I knew that the story and characters lent themselves very well to the action game game. I also knew that the developer, Platinum games, were experts at crafting stylish action games. But, I knew above all else that licensed games are fighting an uphill battle from the minute they begin development.

They had a good chance to defy my expectations, and they did in some small ways, but I canʼt say that Legend of Korra was a “good” game.

Platinum games is known for their contributions to the stylish action genre and that is the one lonely area where Legend of Korra shines. I have long dreamt of knowing even a little bit of what it is like to be a fully realized avatar. Platinum has managed to get me as close to that as I will ever feel. Combat is relatively simple on its face. You use one of two face buttons on the controller to initiate quick and strong attacks. The bumpers on the controller are used to rotate between the four different elements of bending (air, water, earth, and fire). Rotating between them creates some insane combos that mix the four elements in visually astonishing ways. The different elements each serve different purposes (water is used to attack enemies at range, earth is good against armored opponents, etc). The mechanics of the combat are sound. Korra was not the most agile of characters I have played as in these genres, but all of her moves were deliberate and strong. It suited Korra very well.

The problem with all of that is that I was robbed of the ability to experience all four of the elements together in concert until the very end of the game. Platinum accomplished this through the narrative by having the antagonist rob Korra of her bending powers at the very beginning of the game. I spent so long plodding through the game trying to earn it all back that I likely would have given up if I were not playing it for review.

The blessing in all of this is that Legend of Korra is a very short game. It is a bite sized experience that could be beaten within a few days of play. This helps keep its repetitive nature less of a flaw. It feels more like a walk up a steep hill than a trudge through a miles-long swamp.

Family Gaming Assessment

All of the conflict resolution in The Legend of Korra is completed through combat. She unleashes powerful kicks and punches against her enemies in fierce combinations. She also uses her bending to use each of the four elements against her opponents.

In the end, the action in the game is no more intense than that of the Nickelodeon cartoon. If you would let your child watch the show, then there should be no real concern here.

Playability Assessment

The Legend of Korra is not a simple game. Controlling Korra and all of her bending powers requires a the use of multiple different face buttons on the controller as well as the bumpers on the shoulders. This will make the game challenging for younger children with small hands all on its own.

The complex control scheme is only made worse by arbitrary spikes in difficulty at different parts of the story. There are times where even experienced players will need to retry encounters because enemies are just doing far more damage than they feel like they should be.

Overall

I want to recommend this title because I am such a huge fan of the show, but it is hard to recommend this game to anyone who is not really hungry for Avatar content.

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Publisher: Nintendo

ESRB: E

Overall Review

Yoshi was originally released as a sidekick to Mario in Super Mario World for the SNES. Since then he has become a pillar of the Nintendo world. His first run as the main character in a game was in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. This game was released later on in the life of the Super Nintendo and is regarded by some as one of the best platform games ever made.

Yoshi’s New Island is no slouch either. We thoroughly enjoyed every minute that we played it. The best part of the experience was that all of us (including my six year old) were able to play the game without some of the usual struggles that come with platformers.

That isnʼt to say that that mastering Yoshi’s New Island was easy (far from it), but even the youngest among us could progress through levels without frustration. The real challenges came in the form of boss fights that require precise use of Yoshi’s egg tossing ability. Triggering the ability causes a red x to wave up and down in the direction that Yoshi is facing. It is important to be careful with your timing to make sure you egg tflies in the correct direction.

All mechanics aside, Yoshi’s New Island is a gorgeous game. It is done entirely with a crayon-drawn aesthetic that is more adorable than can be expressed in simple screenshots.

Yoshi's New Island Screenshot

Talk about cute!

Family Gaming Assessment

Yoshi’s New Island has the standard level of Super Mario “violence.” There really isnʼt any. There is nothing to be concerned about here. When you combine that with the crayon-drawn art style this game is aesthetically targeted towards younger kids.

Playability Assessment

There are two main components to discuss here regarding the controls.

First, it follows the standard 2D platform tropes with regards to controls. You use the directional pad to move left left to right and the B button to jump across pits and up to high platforms.

Second, Yoshi is able to shoot eggs at enemies, overcome obstacles, and discover secrets. This is where the challenge comes because as Yoshi winds up to throw you have to choose the direction that the egg will fly. If the player does not have a good sense of angles and trajectories this mechanic can be difficult. This is especially relevant in the boss fights at the end of every world. The player will need to make sure that they have a good handle on how to toss eggs around (Parents: Youʼll want to spend some time practicing the egg tossing if you have younger children. They will struggle with some of the bosses even if they can breeze through the platforming.)

This is not a terribly difficult game to complete, but many of its secrets will be difficult for new players to accomplish. This is, however, a great game for new players to cut their teeth with.

Conclusion

Yoshi’s New Island is a must own game for parents with younger or inexperienced gamers. It is not without its challenges, but this is an excellent introduction to the platforming genre.

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Pushmo and Crashmo have been huge successes on the Nintendo eShop on 3DS. So much so that a release on the Wii U was inevitable. Pushmo World will launch on June 19th exclusively on the Nintendo eShop on Wii U at a price of $9.99.

Pushmo World is a game designed to be enjoyed by people of all ages. Mallo and Papa Blox are adorable characters that are designed to appeal to kids. The puzzle-based game play will be attaractive to long time gamers looking to for new challenges.

Players are given the task of solving three-dimensional puzzles by pushing blocks around on a 3d plane and climbing to the top. The challenge increases over time by introducing larger puzzles with more moving pieces. But, fear not! If players get overwhelmed by a puzzle they can skip ahead to the next one.

Pushmo World will also feature “almost endless replay value by letting players create their own puzzles!” Once a player completes (and solves) their puzzle they can then share it using a built-in QR code generator or through the World Pushmo Fair.

Pushmo World looks like a great puzzle game for the whole family and a whole lot of game for $10! Keep your eyes here at Engaged Family Gaming for more news and a review as we get closer to the release!

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