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Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid?

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Whatcha been playing this week, Destructoid?

‘Member when TV borrowed the Kill Bill theme for EVERYTHING?

Boy, I really ear-wormed people with that Street Fighter x Juri x Kill Bill article. It seems that many of you spent the whole day wandering around whistling “Twisted Nerve.” My apologies… even though I’ve probably just triggered the same tune again. Kill Bill was a saga scored with a lot of indelible tunes, with some of them being kinda annoying in that regard.

It may surprise you, but I’m not really a huge fan of Tarantino’s tribute to “DO YOU KNOW I WATCH OLD MOVIES?” The films enabled a sub-atomic level of homage and self-indulgence that has bothered most (but not all) of the auteur’s work since. I am happy, however, that so many great stars – Hannah, Chiba, Carradine, Parks, Haig, and Kuriyama – got a payday, and it also looked a helluva lot of fun to shoot. Maybe I owe the Kill Bill duology a long-overdue revisit, but there are only so many hours and movies one can fit into this short life.

Speaking of time, I’ve struggled to find some for myself this week. So it’s mostly been bursts of CoD: Zombies and the odd rumble on Killer Instinct for old time’s sake, before crashing out in front of “easy” flicks like Raw Force, Hard Target, and Sister Street Fighter. I do have a couple of games lined up for this weekend that I’m excited to get stuck into, so hopefully I’ll get bitten by that bug once again.

But I’m willing to wager that all y’all are already elbow-deep in gaming goodness. The joyous thing about gaming is that there’s always a genre to suit your mood. So whether you’ve spent your week throwing lead and fists in harm’s way, or just letting the hours slide by with a calming city-builder, jump into the comments below and share your experience with us, pals.

Have a safe and pleasant weekend, from all of us at Destructoid.

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Published at Sat, 10 Apr 2021 04:00:00 +0000

Destructoid community stream night is live on Twitch

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Destructoid community stream night is live on Twitch

Tonight’s game is Magic: The Gathering Arena

Hi everyone! I’m Anabela, your weekly super duper variety streamer extraordinaire! Tonight I’m streaming Magic: The Gathering Arena on Destructoid’s Twitch channel starting at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.

I started playing MTG: Arena back in late December so I’m extremely new, but it only took two weeks then to reach Mythic. This is the first time I’ve ever really played Magic; I played a round of Commander once with my brother a super long time ago but didn’t remember anything about how to play.

Shortly after hitting Mythic, Kaldheim came out, and things kinda cooled down for me. I was more interested in other games the meta was super volatile and not fun for me but a few months later I’m having fun again. I mostly play Standard Ranked, but lately, I’ve been enjoying Cube Draft.

My main colors so far are Dimir, mono white, and Boros, but I’m interested in a lot of things that I plan to play in the future like more green and Izzet.

*****

A bit about me: As I was growing up, my older brother shaped my interests in games and fantasy culture. We were obsessed with dragons, fantasy books, world and creature building, you name it. Most of our time was spent hanging out and chattily imagining things. We dipped into Pokémon when I was six with trading cards, figurines, and books, but even our very first video games on our Dad’s computer were split right down to the controls; he would do movements and I’d do action buttons. Over time we tried dozens of games, however RuneScape, D&D, and Pokémon always stuck with me the most.

It’s been almost two years since I first started streaming. I tend to stream all sorts of games now, but my favorite genres came to be RPGs, puzzles, adventure, and strategy — bonus if it’s fantasy-themed or an MMO that I can play with my friends and an instant favorite if the atmosphere is just right! Alongside trying new games together, my heart is in our bubbly banter while we all talk it up in chat. I’m so happy to have met people who have the same passion as I do for all these games and cool hobbies.

But how did I get here? A while back, Destructoid hosted its “So You Think You Can Stream?” contest. It was my first time entering any type of serious contest, but I still wanted to shoot my shot and really get out there. Although I didn’t win, I was elated to hear that my audition stood out and there was an opportunity for me to come on board to stream alongside Dreezy on the Dtoid channel.

Come catch me live at Destructoid’s Twitch channel every Friday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern! Let’s chat it up about anything and everything while playing cool games! I hope to meet you there. 🙂

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Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 20:00:00 +0000

Review: Spacebase Startopia

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Review: Spacebase Startopia

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Spacebase Startopia is a bit of a weird thing. On the surface, it is definitely some sort of remake/reimagining/remaster of 2001’s Startopia. It’s even right there in the name. Looking over the marketing however, you’ll find a suspicious lack of mention for the original or a word about what it considers itself.

Make no mistake, though, this is Startopia. Sure, it’s got a new paint job and things got rejiggered. The aliens are new, there’s no sexy love-alien brothel, and things have been renamed, but the list of similarities dwarf the differences. Simply looking at the game can tell you that, yep, this is Startopia.

It is definitely Startopia.

Spacebase Startopia (PC)
Developer: Realmforge Studios
Publisher: Kalypso Media
Released: March 26th, 2021
MSRP: $49.99

A lot of old managerial games are seemingly getting the update treatment. Two Point Hospital is a modernized Theme Hospital, Evil Genius 2 is an updated Evil Genius, and you can take your pick of RollerCoaster Tycoon renewals. Startopia might not be as odd of a choice as you’d expect. It was created by Mucky Foot, essentially a spin-off of Bullfrog; patron saint of weird management games.

I originally came across the title as a demo and was transfixed. I made it a goal to find a copy, and eventually pulled one out of a bargain bin. I then picked it up again when it was re-released digitally by Square Enix. It turns out, I wasn’t in love with it anymore. It’s still an endearing and memorable title for many reasons, but it doesn’t quite nail the landing.

If you’re unfamiliar, Startopia was a space station management game that takes heavy inspiration from the cynical humor of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You were given the difficult task of keeping aliens from different backgrounds and different social levels happy on the same floating space donut. You had to juggle their needs while also dealing with other space issues like garbage and plagues.

Spacebase Startopia is entirely that. Most of the buildings are present with slight alterations, and the space donut is comprised of three levels: the sub level, the fun deck, and the bio deck. You place accommodations to try and meet the needs of the aliens that visit and sponge all the energy (money) out of their pockets. The game is separated into a series of missions, each with a different focus and main objective. There’s also a sandbox mode and co-op and competitive multiplayer options.

The sub deck is the workhorse of your donut. You put your security, recycling, and security stuff down there. The fun deck is exactly as it sounds. Arcade, discos, gambling dens, fancy hotels; anything that can be bathed in neon goes there. As for the bio deck, it’s not only the place where aliens go to get back to nature, it also produces supplies for you to manufacture in the factory.

Along the way, you have to hire various aliens to keep these places running alongside your SCU… er, FUZZY drones. Keeping track of your staff is an absolute pain because they have needs too, so they’ll screw off to take care of them whenever they get pissy. I went by the rule that if I saw an accommodation go unstaffed, I’d just hire more of that alien. It’s really not the best way of doing things, but the staff menu can’t be sorted by species.

One of my major points of frustration with Spacebase Startopia is its unwillingness to really go into any depth explaining things. Take the bio deck, for instance. You hire aliens to tend to it, grow plants, and harvest them, but it tells you nothing about running it properly. There are tooltips that tell you what terrain grows what items, but the game doesn’t take the moment to explain how production works there. Even if you find the little hints that tell you what grows what, I never discovered the optimal number of aliens to tend to the plants. They all just dance around, seemingly doing nothing useful, so I’d hire a bunch and then just hire more if I got frustrated about waiting for supplies.

The worst case of this was when it came to researching. You can trade prestige for the first tier of research easily, but upgrades need to be developed in a lab. How do you research upgrades? Good question. When that mission rolled around, I was able to upgrade FUZZY bots to the top, but everything else just looked at me funny. You need to drop a packed box of that item onto the lab to get it developed. I had to look this fact up outside of the game.

This problem might be because they harness you to a monumentally unhelpful AI that just tells you what to do next, then sits back and roasts you while you do it. The character is a cross between VAL from the original Startopia and GLaDOS from Portal; a sassy AI that works as your handler. Some players seem to have a lot of grievances about this version of VAL. I didn’t mind them, personally, but if they rub you the wrong way, you can turn them off entirely.

The other problem that Spacebase Startopia has is that it isn’t much of an improvement over Startopia. It’s just Startopia again, but with less personality. One place that it does improve is with combat. The original was very hands-off with combat and it was less than compelling, bordering on annoying. Here you can direct your drones and build mechs, but be careful when setting up your buildings, because mechs can’t pathfind through tight areas and they’ll just wind up stuck somewhere. Again, the game doesn’t tell you beforehand that mechs require roads, so to maximize space, you might just sardine can that donut and not be able to move your mechs around.

The game also has the sort of managerial make-up where you start over on each level. All your research and progression is moot each time you hit a loading screen. That’s nothing too unusual, as it follows RollerCoaster Tycoon and Two Point Hospital‘s progression, but here it’s just too slow. It becomes repetitive because every donut is the same. By the later levels, you’ll probably just be going down the checklist of what you need to have set up.

The main draw could therefore be the sandbox or multiplayer modes, but they simply didn’t hold my interest. It’s hard for me to just build something for the sake of it anymore, I need that progression. The multiplayer also just seems to add a layer of combat to the main gameplay, and while it’s improved over Startopia, the combat still isn’t that compelling.

If you take the game as a platform for bigger things, it may make a bit more sense. On this release, they have reached comparison to Startopia, but with some updates, DLC, or expansions, it could be an improved experience. I can’t critique based off of hopes and dreams, though. As it stands, I have no reason to recommend this over the original title, as old as it may be at this point.

That’s not to say Spacebase Startopia is a bad game, it’s just something of a disappointment. At best, it feels like a remake that makes a few missteps. It’s a forgery at worst. If you really want more Startopia but can’t stand to look at its dated graphics, there’s definitely something for you here. Otherwise, you’re better off docking with a different donut.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

Spacebase Startopia reviewed by Zoey Handley

7

GOOD

Solid and definitely has an audience. There could be some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
How we score:  The Destructoid reviews guide

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 18:00:00 +0000

I wasn’t ready for this off-the-rails video game trailer, and you won’t be either

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I wasn’t ready for this off-the-rails video game trailer, and you won’t be either

I can’t look away from Together BnB’s creepy chaotic energy

It started with a tweet, and then another tweet, and now here I am, telling you to watch an off-the-rails trailer for a trashy Steam Early Access game called Together BnB that has “mostly negative” reviews.

The game’s plot — surprisingly, there’s a plot! — revolves around the newly-established manager of a bed and breakfast, James, and his brother, who owns the joint, but has vanished. In the meantime, James “has to assist the beautiful tenants of the BnB, satisfy them, and help them achieve their goals.”

With that setup in mind, please enjoy this batshit trailer in which James drives up a mountain road, unloads his gun on a wolf (?), fires at his kitchen (??), and then shoots some late-night hoops (???).

“This trailer looks like it’s showing me the daily routine of a psychopath and I cannot tell if it’s intentional or not,” wrote one spot-on YouTube commenter.

“Kojima’s new project looks like an absolute banger,” joked another.

This is one of the strangest trailers I’ve seen in forever. Happy Friday!

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Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 19:15:00 +0000

New Dragon Quest 3 speedrun strategy involves swapping around other cartridges

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New Dragon Quest 3 speedrun strategy involves swapping around other cartridges

No more hot plates, hopefully

Speedrunners have a knack for finding new ways to mess with games in the search of faster clear times, and the latest Dragon Quest 3 strategy is no exception. Runner Hitshee has now cleared Dragon Quest 3 in under seven minutes by swapping the cartridge around with a few other games while playing.

In a video, Hitshee broke down their strategy, which involves pulling the cartridge for Dragon Quest 3 and inserting several other games: Dr. Mario, Final Fantasy, and Kirby’s Adventure. They recorded their full playthrough of the speedrun, but the video in the tweet below highlights the cartridge-swapping action.

Nintendo Enthusiast broke down Hitshee’s explanation of the technique. By swapping in new cartridges and inputting specific commands, it will result in some rewrites that result in maxed-out party members, item codes being rewritten, and the game getting a little buggy. Once the right swaps and inputs have happened, the player can simply Zoom to the castle in Tantegel and, with a few finishing moves, be greeted with the ending of Dragon Quest 3.

Dragon Quest 3 runners are no stranger to odd techniques. It wasn’t that long ago that some in this “anything goes” category were putting their consoles on a hot plate after discovering they could bug saves when their cartridges reached a specific temperature.

Not only does this seem a little bit safer, it also has some real results. In the video above, Hitshee sets a time of 6:47.10, and they’ve posted times below six minutes as well. The ingenuity of speedrunners to not just find fast methods for beating a game on its own terms, but to discover any way they can shave minutes off a run—even resorting to hot plates and hot swaps—will always amaze me.

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Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 14:30:00 +0000

Unlock codes for the TimeSplitters 2 port inside Homefront: The Revolution have been discovered

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Unlock codes for the TimeSplitters 2 port inside Homefront: The Revolution have been discovered

The game within the game

Homefront: The Revolution might have been sitting dormant in some people’s game libraries, but there’s a new reason to break it back out. Following a tease that TimeSplitters 2 was hidden away in the game, players have since discovered how to access it.

A recent bout of developers sharing their Easter eggs, to coincide with Easter, prompted a former Dambuster developer to divulge his proudest moment: a “fully playable, native 4K” port of TimeSplitters 2 hidden inside an arcade machine in Homefront: The Revolution.

TimeSplitters 2 holds a special place in the hearts of split-screen console shooter fans, so a modern playable version would be a big deal. The existence of TimeSplitters 2 inside Homefront: The Revolution has actually been known for years, but only to the extent of a few levels, not the full game. Phillips said the game was “fully playable” through an unlock code, but he no longer had the notebook where he jotted it down. According to Phillips, he even tried leaking it through a friend in a Discord, and that friend was banned for it.

Luckily, it seems like the code hasn’t been lost to time after all.

The codes were discovered by users and shared in Discord (via Lance McDonald). There’s a full list, for both PlayStation and Xbox inputs, to unlock the Story, Arcade, and Challenge modes, as well as additional codes that users speculate are for Extras.

It turns out that in the previous thread, a mostly unknown user had posted one of the codes and it went mostly unnoticed, until another community member decided to test it out. Looks like you can finally play TimeSplitters 2 on a “modern” console; and while the data and files have been known for some time, being able to freely access the game as-intended is pretty neat.

Reports right now are indicating that you’ll need to play through enough of Homefront: The Revolution to get to the arcade cabinet and use the codes, though. While that’s a bit of a rough ask, TimeSplitters 2 might just be worth it.

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 15:00:00 +0000

2K says that Borderlands 3 isn’t coming to Switch, PEGI rating was an error

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2K says that Borderlands 3 isn’t coming to Switch, PEGI rating was an error

They already scrubbed it, but does it actually exist?

Borderlands 3 coming to Switch? Not so, says 2K!

The rumor starting swirling earlier this week when Borderlands 3: Director’s Cut was rated by PEGI for every current platform (PC, PS4/PS5, Xbox One/Series X) and Switch. Wait! Maybe the community found a scoop! Evidently not: at least, allegedly.

While E3 2021 would be the perfect place for Gearbox and 2K to triumphantly announce that Borderlands 3 is coming to Switch later in 2021 (prediction!), for now, they’re sticking to the story that it was PEGI error. Gamespot writer Gabe Gurwin confirmed the news, noting that a 2K rep stated that a Switch edition is not in the cards. In fact, the offending Switch listing is actually removed as of the time of publication, and 2K says that it was an error from PEGI, not a deliberate submission.

Borderlands 3 would probably work on Switch. I mean, it might come at some point, as 2K and Gearbox have shown a lot of interest in the platform these past few years. 2K goes where the money is, and after sniffing out a potential Wii U disaster, they’re basically going all-in with tons of re-release ports.

Also, how great is it that the PEGI icon for “in-game purchases” is a cartoon hand eagerly holding out a credit card?

Borderlands 3: Director’s Cut [PEGI via Gabe Gurwin]

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 10:30:00 +0000

Alex Kidd in Miracle World remake launches June 24 and it’s looking radical

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Alex Kidd in Miracle World remake launches June 24 and it’s looking radical

‘Oh wow, I love Alex The Kid”

You might have forgotten that, among the hustle and bustle of last year’s Endless 3 festivities, Jankenteam announced a cute remake of Sega Master System classic Alex Kidd in Miracle World. Well, the indie devloper has been beavering away at the retro revisit, and has announced that Alex Kidd will be returning to PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch on June 29.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX is a ground-up remake of the original 1986 platformer which – having been pre-loaded into every Sega Master System unit soon after the title’s launch – quickly became a household name among Sega fans. Miracle World sees the young adventurer and “martial-arts expert”, (he has one literally giant punch and that’s your lot), on a quest through to rescue to royal family of Radaxian from the evil usurper, Janken the Great.

Alex runs, jumps, swims, rides, and glides his way through a selection of simplistic but engaging stages, looting cash and bashing baddies while locating several important items and vehicles which will aid him in battle, including power bracelets, go-karts, and even a gyrocopter. Alex will also have to defeat Janken’s feared henchmen in nail-biting games of Janken – or Rock, Paper, Scissors – if he is to free Radaxian and its people from tyranny.

Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX will feature the original title, fully re-imagined, and will feature new stages and enemies, as well as overhauled mechanics, improved boss fights, and tighter controls. The classic, utterly indelible score has been remixed, and a new Boss Rush mode has also been developed alongside the remastered campaign. For nostalgia fans, “Classic Mode” will toggle the original 1986 edition at the mere touch of a button.

It looks like Jankenteam’s remake is shaping up really nicely. And that trailer has got me on board. This sort of makes up for how unbelievably old and decrepit I’m feeling right now.

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 11:00:00 +0000

NEO: The World Ends with You launches July 27 on PS4 and Switch, is also headed to PC

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NEO: The World Ends with You launches July 27 on PS4 and Switch, is also headed to PC

The Reapers’ Game returns

Square Enix has dropped a double helping of exciting news regarding NEO: The World Ends with You. Not only has the publisher announced via its press hub that the uber-cool JRPG sequel is launching July 27 on PS4 and Nintendo Switch, but Squeeeenix also revealed the existence of a PC port, which is scheduled to launch later this summer via Epic Games Store.

NEO: The World Ends with You is the long-awaited sequel to its dimension-jumping predecessor, which launched on Nintendo DS way back in 2007. The new title will see a new gang of over-stylized youths trapped in an alternate Shibuya – The UG – where the youngsters are thrust together before being forced to take on another round of the notorious “Reapers’ Game”.

Led by the affable Rindo, our new gang of heroes include the studious Nagi, the happy-go-lucky Fret, veteran game-player Shiba, and the mysterious and somewhat familiar Minamimoto. But there’s no time for introductions, as this party of strangers must learn to work together if they are to battle the psychic, demonic force known as “The Noise”, defeat the Reapers’ Game, and return to some semblance of reality.

It’s been a very long wait for TWEWY fans, but NEO is already shaping up to be a worthy sequel. The inimitable slick style of designers Tetsuya Noumra, Gen Kobayashi, and Miki Yamashita is already in full effect, while series composer Takeharu Ishimoto will be returning to the fold, (despite having left Square Enix) to score this new trip into The UG. Summer feels a long, long way away.

NEO: The World Ends with You launches July 27 [Gematsu]

Published at Fri, 09 Apr 2021 03:30:00 +0000

Hot Wheels Unleashed is worth watching for arcade racing fans

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Hot Wheels Unleashed is worth watching for arcade racing fans

The first gameplay makes a good impression

Whether or not you have strong ties to the Hot Wheels brand in 2021, I’d say that based on the first gameplay trailer for Hot Wheels Unleashed, Milestone’s upcoming arcade racer could easily still click.

The cars look suitably cool, the winding plastic tracks look fun to drift across, and that surprising leap-of-faith shortcut at 1:27 helped establish depth beyond the pick-up-and-play exterior.

Depending on how varied the stages and hazards are (I like the web-shooting spider obstacle that can stick players to the course, but I’m less into the warehouse vibe in general), Hot Wheels Unleashed could end up being one of the fondly-remembered video game tie-ins. Did you ever play Hot Wheels Turbo Racing on PS1 or N64? I never rented it, but refreshing myself now, I’m starting to wish I had.

In terms of cars, the currently-known roster includes Night Shifter, Dragon Blaster, Sharkruiser, Rodger Dodger, Twin Mill, Bone Shaker, and Rip Rod, but there will be more than 60 cars at launch on September 30, to say nothing of alternate skins. That whole side of the game could get out of hand with DLC. There’s also going to be a livery editor, a track editor, and – heck yeah – two-player split-screen.

We’ll keep an eye out and see how the game progresses from here. This was just a surface-level look today – a chance to figure out if Hot Wheels Turbo Racing is worth following at all. I think it will be.

Published at Thu, 08 Apr 2021 17:00:00 +0000