A Ridiculously Late eShop Update

Hello dear readers. You’ve probably spent the last month desperately awaiting (aka barely noticing the absence of) a new Nintendo Nerd blog. Well, the good news is that I’m finally back. With a big wave of new releases for the thriving 3DS and dying Wii, there hasn’t been much in the way of new announcements from the big N. I’m certain that’s all being saved for an E3 onslaught. However, in the prolonged silence about Nintendo’s future they have been cranking out some strong content to keep their fans happy. The big physical media releases have all gotten reviews that you can sniff out elsewhere on this site, but it’s also worth mentioning that Nintendo has released some fan-friggin-tastic downloadable content for the 3DS as well.

Nintendo been keeping up with their virtual console releases with stellar Gameboy classics like Lock N’ Chase, a couple Nintendo gems like Punch-Out (which is a perfect portable addiction), and even a couple of Game Gear titles that had seemed lost to the ages. As a nostalgic gamer, those releases have been blissful news. But even more exciting is the original content that third party developers have let slip onto the system via downloadable content. Around Christmas the first wave of essential eShop originals like Pushmo and Mighty Switch Force debuted and since then the wave strong releases has continued. The time felt right to cover a few games to be released over the last couple of months that need to be brought to the attention of you fine readers. Two are must owns and one should be avoided despite the fact that it looks like a whole lotta fun. If you’re anxious to get a new game humming on your 3DS, but don’t feel like plunking down the cash for Kid Icarus Uprising, then read on for some suggestions.

Mutant Mudds

Alright, this sucker has been out for a while now and it’s possibly the best game to hit the eShop so far. Mutant Mudds is a retro throwback from developer Renegade Kid that is guaranteed to make any child of the 8-bit era giggle with glee. It’s a sidescroller with the visible pixels and midi tunes we all love from those early gaming days, developed with love to play like it’s a forgotten classic. You’ll play as max, a blond kid with glasses and a comically large gun that looks a heck of a lot like Super Nintendo’s Super Scope. Mutant Mudd (whatever that means) monsters have taken over his planet and for reasons best know to himself, Max decides to take down the invasion. He’s armed only with his gun and a water pack on his back that allows him to hover for a few seconds at a time.

It’s a classic side-scrolling shooter that like all classic 8-bit games is easy to learn at first, but features levels that gradually escalate to an absolutely insane level of difficulty. There are 40 stages requiring pinpoint platforming accuracy to complete, guaranteeing many happy wasted hours. And despite the fact the visual design is lovingly retro, the game is filled with wonderful 3D effects. Each level has several planes of depth that you’ll leap back and forward between (kind of like Donkey Kong Country Returns). At times you’ll be poking out of the screen in the foreground or sent deep into the distance. It’s a simple effect, but one that uses the 3D display well and combined with the perfect retro gameplay it will fill you with 3DS gaming joy. Sure, it would be nice if there were some extra weapons and add-ons, but for a cheap downloadable title, it doesn’t get much better than this. If you’re a gamer who still plays Mega Man 2 with feelings of awe, Mutant Mudds is for you. The title would have fit in perfectly during the NES era and released now with fancypants 3D effects, it’s an absolute joy and a must own. Do not skip Mutant Mudds. Your 3DS’ hard drive space is going to waste without it.

Dillon’s Rolling Western

This classic Western formula with cute animal protagonists feels a bit like Nintendo’s answer to Rango and should please fans of that wacko CGI flick. You play as Dillon (shocking, I know) an armadillo vigilante who rolls around the West ridding villages of evil rock creatures called Grocks. The game basically breaks down into two modes of play. During the day you’ll roll around an open map searching for mines to buy n’ sell items or build up defense gates around villages. At night the Grocks come out and it’s battle time. Those little buggers will be terrorizing all of the villages in the ol’ West and your job is to roll around and keep the innocent villagers protected. Battling is done with the touch screen using varying attack commands (rolling, claw attacks, etc.) .It takes some getting used to, but is a blast one you do, especially when taking down groups of baddies and giant Grocks. You’ll be hired for three days to protect villages and collect a healthy paycheck for every Grock you kill and villager you save, which can then be used to buy upgrades or pick up items to protect the next village.

It’s all pretty simple stuff, but Dillon’s Rolling Western offers hours of fun and like any good 3DSWare, it uses the systems unique capabilities well. The 3D effect is well used (particularly during battle) and the touch screen controls are well incorporated without ever feeling gimmicky. There are problems, of course. There can be a little too much repetition between quests, the map is confusing, and some times the controls can feel little clunky. However, these issues are mainly quibbles and you just can’t expect the same level of polish in a downloadable game and you do from a cartridge game. Overall, if you enjoy Westerns, armadillos, or beating the crap out of rock monsters, this game has everything you need. Even if you aren’t craving those three niche gaming experiences, you’ll still have a blast. As you should know by now, beating up rock monsters is always an easy way to kill a few hours.

Zombie Slayer Diox

Finally, we get the most recently released dowloadable 3DS title. It’s mashup of elements that would have made gamers’ hearts flutter five years ago: a zombie killing game and a rhythm music game. Unfortunately, time has not been kind to either once popular gaming subgenres. These days, user fatigue has set in for both. Even if Zombie Slayer Diox was a masterpiece it would be a tough sell in today’s market, but it’s not. Basically you play a metal guitarist during a zombie apocalypse who has to take out wave after wave of zombie with only his trusty guitar and samurai sword as defense. Pretty simple stuff. The only problem is that the controls are awkward and it makes the game frustratingly difficult. Your character marches down a set path and when zombies get in your way, you kill them with a stylus swipe of the touch screen in a direction indicated over each zombie’s head. To complicate things ever zombie also has a specific color controlled by holding a specific direction on the control pad while swiping (red = right, yellow = up, etc ). The zombies come at such a furious pace and the stylus swiping is so cumbersome that it can be damn difficult to keep up. The zombie attacks are timed with the rhythm of the game’s music, which should help in theory, but nope. The music is just generic metal created for the game. If the songs were classics, it would be easier to get into the rhythms. Sadly, they aren’t. Eventually if you fail at the levels enough, the songs will become familiar, but you’ll probably have turned the game off in disgust by them.

Zombie Slayer Diox is not impossible to play by any means. Getting good at it just requires a level of commitment that I doubt most players will be willing to dedicate to the game. It’s kind of a shame, because however dated the idea, Zombie Slayer Diox is not without it’s charms. The gory cartoon graphics are quite fun and the zombies explode into 3D space in a way that’ll make horror fans happy. If they’d even managed to get the rights to a couple of metal tracks by Ozzy, Rob Zombie, or someone similar, the frustratingly awkward controls might even be worth suffering through. However, given that’s not an option and the game is so irritatingly difficult and ceaselessly repetitive, it can be a bore. And if there’s one thing a zombie game should never be, it’s boring. That’s a real shame because Zombie Slayer Diox looked like a blast in the trailers, but it just doesn’t work as well as it should in practice. I suppose if you’re a zombie completist or a rhythm game obsessive, it’s worth checking out to scratch your itch. However if you’re just in the market for a downloadable time waster, stay away. Stay far away. Spend your money on Mutant Mudds or Dillon’s Rolling Western instead. You won’t regret it.

Alright folks, that’s it for now. But stay tuned to this site for future downloadable reviews and Nintendo news updates. All you Nintendo nerds and nerdettes out there can expect things to pick up soon. That company always has big plans brewing and I’m sure we’ll all be let in on the secrets soon.