Articles by Jordan Minor

Death Squared

Death Squared Breaks Your Brain With Boxes

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. Death Squared (not to be confused with Hideo Kojima’s upcoming baby oil visual essay Death Stranding) is a Steam/console game from a few months ago that’s getting some love again because it’s also now on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a story we’ve seen play out a few times now and it’s easy to see why. Indie games need more attention, and the Switch needs more Games That Aren’t Zelda, so everybody wins. Fortunately, many of these games are pretty great and totally deserve the second look on the new platform, and that includes Death Squared. [embedded content] Death Squared is a $15 puzzle game that reminds me of a few other puzzle games of similar scope. So maybe it’s best to explain it using those READ FULL…

Games

Everything You Need to Know About the Nintendo Switch

The full online functionality for Nintendo Switch doesn’t arrive until 2018. However, to go along with the release of its excellent team shooter Splatoon 2, Nintendo has released a preliminary version of the smartphone app needed for certain online features. There’s still time to fix things, but now that we’ve used the app, the best thing we can say about it is that it is unnecessary. Let’s start with what works. Within the larger Switch online app are sub-apps dedicated to different games. Splatoon 2 is the only supported game so far but it’s a cool experience for fans of the series. The fresh undersea aesthetic is ripped out of the game and you can easily view information like your own stats, the map schedule, and even how much ink you need to splat a real pyramid. Unfortunately, the app is also needed for voice chat, which is where things falls apart. First you need to set up an online lounge in the game itself. This sends a notification to your phone where you then create a room. You can see which friends already have the app and invite them to your lobby. You’ll all then be able to talk…

Games

Miitopia Reminds Us That Miis Are Great

Alongside the nifty, if aging New Nintendo 2DS XL (which is still no replacement for the Nintendo Switch when it comes to the future Nintendo handheld gaming) Nintendo also recently sent us a copy of its upcoming casual comedy role-playing game Miitopia. I already shared my sum of the impressions of that game during my New 2DS hands-on, but to recap a dark force has stolen the world’s faces, and it’s up to you and your homemade caricatures of your friends to get them back while socializing along the way. You can easily see the roots of Miitopia in the Mii-based StreetPass RPG included in every 3DS. But observing the hilarious ways in which your Miis’ personalities bounce off each other also recalls the 3DS life sim Tomodachi Life and its surreal adorable gibberish. Where else can you see your aunt fall in love with Shaq or watch crude recreations of political leaders talk about their love of goblin ham? In the opening bits we’ve played Miitopia’s mechanics aren’t particularly deep or special, but we still want to keep playing. It’s the Miis that make it so charming, and it’s a great reminder of how great Miis are. [embedded content] READ FULL…

Games

Gonner is Tim Burton’s Super Meat Boy

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. Oh boy, here I go covering a roguelike again! But you know what? This odyssey into the indie games on Nintendo Switch That Aren’t Zelda but are roguelikes hasn’t been nearly as painful as I would’ve have expected given my apathy for the genre. In fact, I just don’t tolerate Gonner, I really like it. This is mostly because its roguelike elements are relatively sidelined and elegantly woven into a genre I actually enjoy: a tight 2D platformer. [embedded content] Gonner is a tough game with procedurally generated environments. So you’ll be looking at similar things pretty frequently. Fortunately, the game’s art style, while lacking in variety, is striking from the start and stays that way throughout repeated playthroughs. You play as a cute little READ FULL…

dock

With the SFANS Adapter, Who Needs a Nintendo Switch Dock?

As you all know by now, the main hook of the in-demand Nintendo Switch is the hybrid device’s ability to function as both a handheld and TV-based video game machine. But while it’s easy enough to bring the Switch over to play portably at your friend’s rooftop party or whatever, if you want to play on the television, you’ll need to bring over a dock as well, which makes the experience much less portable in practice. Before, the only dock you could buy was the official, $90 model from Nintendo. But now 3rd parties have cracked the USB-C-to-HDMI code for transmitting the Switch screen to the big screen. At E3 we saw a bunch of third party docks that replicate Nintendo’s version for less money. But the most promising alternative Switch dock rethinks the form factor entirely. I hate to parrot marketing copy, but the SFANS adapter really does make your Nintendo Switch more portable than ever. [embedded content] Unlike the bulky hollow brick of the traditional Switch dock (I exaggerate but go along with it) the SFANS adapter is a svelte little dongle. It has all the ports you need for an HDMI signal, USB-C power, and READ FULL…

Hands-On: Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 Is A Time-Travelling Toybox

The Lego games are the biggest, and arguably best, known quantities in kids gaming. The core mechanics of light platforming, assembling blocks to solve puzzles, and hopping between tons of characters are about as sturdy and familiar as a Lego brick. And like a Lego brick, the developers at TT Games (like their movie counterparts) use those foundations to build new types of games in new types of world. That was apparent during my preview of this holiday’s Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, a wonderful time-travelling toybox. [embedded content] Despite the “2” in the name, this is actually the third Lego game starring Marvel Comics characters. The first Lego Marvel Super Heroes told an original tale featuring characters from across all of the publisher’s franchises. However, the follow-up Lego Marvel’s Avengers focused primarily on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, recreating scenes from those movies and even including snippets of the actual dialogue. Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2 definitely takes some inspiration from the films. The section I played starred some very James Gunn-esque Guardians of the Galaxy fighting alongside “Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone. But the game once again features an original story that continues the events of the…

S#!T On Your Friends is Self-Explanatory

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year! Previously on Game of the Year, we talked about the Flash gaming website/internet art collective Newgrounds. We lamented the loss of the crass but creative youthful energy that crackled throughout the site in the early 2000s. So we’re always excited to recognize that style surface in new games. I don’t know if S#!T On Your Friends was directly inspired by Newgrounds, but a game about *extreme Triumph the Insult Comic Dog voice* poop-based local multiplayer combat would have been right at home on the site, making it a Game of the Year. [embedded content] Don’t let the title and its CBS-style half-assed censorship fool you. In S#!T On Your Friends, you shit on…

Oceanhorn Isn’t Zelda But It Might As Well Be

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. We call this column Nintendo Switch Game’s That Aren’t Zelda, but Oceanhorn: Monster of the Uncharted Seas really stretches that definition to the breaking point. This epic yet approachable action-adventure should satisfy fans of Nintendo’s beloved franchise, but that’s because it takes most of its ideas from Link and company. Still, there are worse things to imitate, and Oceanhorn is a pretty good cover. [embedded content] Set in a fantasy archipelago in a world beset by sea monsters, players control a nameless, voiceless boy who has lost both parents to the dangers of the ocean. Now that you’re old enough, it’s time to leave your old hermit caretaker behind and sail off for righteous adventure while listening to tracks by Nobuo Uematsu, composer of other long-running Japanese…

Games

Splatoon 2’s Songs Are Absolute Bangers

Nintendo recently aired a presentation detailing Splatoon 2, its upcoming Switch multiplayer shooter where cephalopod children blast each other with their own ink. As a sequel to a Wii U game, announcements were more small improvements than huge gameplay shakeups. The new umbrella weapon seems neat, players can monitor their progress with a separate smartphone app, and the Salmon Run co-op continues to look like a great addition (even if that and other content is bafflingly tied to a schedule if you’re not playing offline). But my biggest takeaway after this Direct is what while I’m excited to play Splatoon 2, I’m even more excited to listen to it. [embedded content] The first Splatoon had a great selection of tunes, irresistible fusions of rock and pop synth and dance beats filtered through the inscrutable urban kid squid culture and language, from its title track to its final boss. [embedded content] [embedded content] Its most beloved characters, the Squid Sisters, were pop idols who delivered breaking news and released their own singles. [embedded content] [embedded content] Their drama even forms the basis on Splatoon 2’s story mode, which debuted with a READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!

Games

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild’s First DLC Pack is a Great Excuse to Revisit a Fantastic Game

For as phenomenal as I thought The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was, I wasn’t particularly excited for the first of its two planned DLC packs. It felt like Nintendo was trying to squeeze extra money out of a game they spent more on than they thought they would, released on a dead, poorly received old console and an unproven new one. And DLC released so soon after launch always come across as intentionally cutting content. Other publishers do that, but Nintendo should be better, especially when it comes to Zelda. And even if you could get over that, obviously the second expansion was the one to wait for. It’s slated to include an entirely new dungeon and story mode. If players were given the option to buy the packs separately, and not in one $20 bundle, clearly they would have ignored the smattering of bonus content that released just a few days ago. But after playing this first DLC pack, I realized my mistake was forgetting just how unbelievably great The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild still is as a game. Even if this new material doesn’t add that much more to the experience in…

card games

Ante Up With the Best Mobile Card Games

Few consumer technologies are more cutting-edge than mobile phones and tablets. However, one of the best types of games you can play on them are card games, one of the most old-fashioned genres still kicking. With mobile cards games, you get all the strategy and bluffing of cards games with none of the messy shuffling and physical cards to potentially lose. Mobile card games can also introduce elements physical card games cannot since they have to actually exist. Ideas from video games and other tabletop games have been folded into mobile card games in fun and fascinating ways. And if classic Solitaire on PC has taught us anything, card games just make for great digital time-killers, and on mobile, you can play them whenever you have time in need of killing. These are the best mobile card games! (And no, Triple Triad from Final Fantasy VIII isn’t here because the mobile version is ruined by added free-to-play mechanics) [embedded content] Pokemon TCG Online While Nintendo at large dabbles with mobile games like Super Mario Run and Miitomo, The Pokemon Company is free to do whatever it wants with Pikachu and friends. So it’s no surprise you can now READ FULL…

I Dream of Shantae: Half-Genie Hero

If you have a Nintendo Switch, chances are you also have The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. The new Zelda is a massive, phenomenal game that you can and should play for dozens of hours. But eventually, you’re going to want to play something new on your Nintendo console/handheld hybrid. Switch Games That Aren’t Zelda is a new column highlighting cool, smaller Switch games to check out once you’ve saved Hyrule. Shantae is a such a weird little cult series. The original game hit the Game Boy Color all the way back in 2002 after the Game Boy Advance was already a thing. And for nearly a decade that was it. But after enough fan clamoring (and licensed games paying the bills) WayForward’s signature platforming series came back in a big way. All of a sudden we had multiple new Shantae games to play on DS, 3DS, mobile, PC, and home consoles. They even began to sort of blend together. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero stands out not just because it’s the most recent entry. It’s also the first entry design specifically for consoles and not handhelds with pixelated screens. I backed the Kickstarter and played a bit of the…

50 cent

50 Cent: Blood on the Sand is Beyond Parody

For too long the definition of “Game of the Year” has been unfairly narrow. How boring is it to see every website shower the same stale AAA games with praise at the end of each holiday season? So at Geek.com we’re doing what we can to put a stop to this in Game of the Year, a new column celebrating worthy alternative picks for the year’s greatest game regardless of genre, platform, year of release, or even quality. Here, any game can be Game of the Year! It’s been said that gaming’s reaction to the War on Terror has left a lot to be desired. Compared to relatively nuanced takes on the complex geopolitical tragedy we saw in film, games were content to players shoot up a bunch of foreigners. Granted, that shooting was incredibly fun, but the implications were… not great. Or rather, those implications weren’t great when presented as a serious way to interpret the struggle. But when viewed as dumb parody, intentional or not, gaming’s lust for modern military might become a lot easier to swallow. And one of the best, dumbest, most logical extremes end points of this flavor of video game is 2009’s 50 Cent:…

Hands-On, Literally, With the SNES Classic Edition

1. Aside from some boring cables, here’s what comes in the box for the Super NES Classic. 2. A SNES you can hold in the palm of your hand. What a world! 3. Classic box art for a classic console. 4. Remember when they used to put games on the boxes for game consoles? The Super NES Classic wants you to know what you can play on it. 5. The recreated Super NES controller, in all its purple-and-gray glory. It feels pretty good. 6. The controller cord is longer than the infamously short NES Classic cord. 7. Plug in both included controllers for retro multiplayer delight. 8. It may not look it, but I love the Super NES Classic. READ FULL STORY AT GEEK!