D3 Publisher may not be as well known as those other 3rd-party video game publishers out there, but their increasing catalog is garnering them more attention these days.
This Japanese gaming mainstay is known for its bug blasting franchise and its many games based on children’s cartoons. They’ve also pushed out a steady flow of games based on Japanese anime properties.
This publishing company is preparing its upcoming selection of games for the States. I got to play them all, so let’s take some time and delve into their soon-to-be-released titles – Earth Defense Force 2025, Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!, Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land and Ben 10 Omniverse 2.
Earth Defense Force 2025
The campy nature of mega monster films from Japan is something I still enjoy, Watching Godzilla stomp his way through poorly constructed buildings while horribly dubbed actors litter the screen is a pastime of mine. Playing Earth Defense Force 2025 elicits the feelings of joy I get from grindhouse-style monster flicks. Earth is overrun by aliens who bring a few horrible creatures along with them – massive ants, oversized spiders, enormous bees etc.
So who’s job is it to blast these creatures back into the black holes of space? THE EARTH DEFENSE FORCE, THAT’S WHO!
The EDF squad is compiled of four separate soldiers – the Ranger, Wing Diver, Air Raider and Fencer. The Ranger’s your typical foot solider who can hop into vehicles and mechas, the Wing Diver’s a female soldier with jet packs and high-tech weapons, the Air Raider’s a support soldier who can heal others and the Fencer is a heavy grunt who’s packed with tough armor and powerful guns. I’m more prone to causing extreme carnage, so I selected the Fencer. Before hopping into a mission, you’re tasked with selecting two weapons. The stats screen gives off a Dynasty Warriors vibe that some gamers will instantly be familiar with.
As soon as I stepped into the city, I saw why its denizens were hauling ass towards me – there were gigantic ants crawling around and hanging off buildings. My slow moving Fencer was equipped with a Gatling gun and a super hand cannon, so I took advantage of them immediately. My bullets ripped through ants and led to plenty of carnage. There’s no penalty for blasting a few buildings, so I was free to tear up the city. Health powerup’s were littered everywhere, but my Fencer was impenetrable as I shot down those huge bugs. I spotted a few tanks here and there, which can be utilized by the Ranger class. The two-player co-op option should lead to more varied attack patterns during gameplay. My solo run with the Fencer was still a joy, though.
Shooting down ginormous ants, jet boosting my way to even more of them and racking up a huge kill ratio were the name of the game for this third-person shooter. American gamers will be able to join in on the fun come February 4, 2014 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!
Adventure Time has taken off in terms of its popularity amongst kids and adults alike. Finn the Human and and Jake the Dog’s animated adventures are super trippy, yet totally enjoyable. Both of these amusing adventurers will be making their console gaming debut with this top down, action-RPG with the SUPER long title - Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON’T KNOW!
I can describe this game with one simple term – Diablo 3 for kids. Let it be known beforehand that that’s not a bad thing at all. Recognizable characters from the series are beautifully animated in this simple dungeon crawler. Along with Finn and Jake, several other familiar faces come along for the ride – Marceline the Vampire Queen, Ice King, Cinnamon Bun, Flame Princess, Lumpy Space Princess, Jake Jr. etc. Each of these selectable characters can be chosen from the hub world screen. Everyone can be seen milling around before 4 separate players choose their on-screen avatar.
Hopping into the dungeons means the meat of the game comes into play. Four characters run all over the screen while they mash on random enemies, pick up loot and search for the ladder to the next section. My Ice King was accompanied by Jake, Marceline and Cinnamon Bun for a fun run through the damp (yet still bright) dungeons. The animated visuals of this game retain the cartoon’s effects quite well, so fans won’t have to worry about what they’re staring at while they play. Each character has their own primary attack, which can be supplemented by a secondary weapon for more attack options. I laid most of my enemies to waste with a Kitten Gun, which hilariously emits the sound of thrown felines when you use it.
The special attacks for each character are usable once you fill up the orange meter under their life bar. My Ice King brought on a epic snowstorm, while Marceline’s face tearing stage performance hit the screen for her special move. These attacks pay off well for the many dungeon scenarios players will certainly run into. For every 10 levels you’ll face a boss and for every 20 levels the stage theme will change. Going back to the surface of the Candy Kingdom will allow players to level up and upgrade any items they’ve picked up along the way. The familiar aspects of top-down dungeon crawlers make up the amusing backbone of this licensed title.
You’ll have the pleasure of whacking enemies and flinging over easy eggs at enemies on November 12, 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii U, 3DS and PC platforms.
Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land
The 3DS is getting some Cartoon Network gaming love, too. Fans of Regular Show and old-school platformers will be glad to know that both of these aspects combine perfectly. Regular Show: Mordecai and Rigby in 8-Bit Land is overflowing with nostalgia. The overworld map mimics the look of the familiar overworld map from Super Mario World. Even when your character expires and loses a life, the life count screen looks just like the one from Super Mario Bros. (I wonder what source material this game was based on…).
Mordecai and Rigby are transported to a video game universe simply because they got caught slacking (again). You’re mission? Help them escape their 16-Bit prison! Helping them escape means you’ll have the pleasure of playing levels that focus on one or three different play-styles.
Mordecai and Rigby are the two playable characters you’ll take on a hopping ‘n bopping adventure. Stages range from the white picket fence neighborhood fans are familiar with to some underground caverns full of 8-Bit snails. Enemies expire when you jump on them, which leads to a couple of dollar bills surfacing. Golden VHS tapes are scattered around, as well as mullet powerup’s that give you some added firepower. The 3DS’ bottom screen showcases how much cash you’ve attained, while the top screen is where all the platforming action takes place.
There’s a good variety of gameplay here. The platforming consists of jumping, running, hopping on bats and snails and picking up some cash/golden VHS tapes. Take caution on these platforming stages, though – one hit and you’re down for the count. Checkpoints are available, so that should dull the pain of dying so much. This isn’t some simple platformer you can keep your little cousin busy with; adult gamers/fans will have some challenging gameplay to look forward to. As for the other two gameplay mechanics, some stages operate as a top-down shooter and a side-scrolling shooter. Some levels combine all three play styles, which increases the fun factor and challenge even more. The 2D visuals and chiptune soundtrack are enjoyable enough to keep you from getting too displeased (the game’s difficulty is offset by some truly catchy tunes).
Regular Show’s 3DS adventure will be available October 29, 2013.
Ben 10 Omniverse 2
Now it’s Ben Tennyson’s turn! His latest video game romp pits him against his newest foes – the Incurseans. Hopping onto their warship is just one part of the plan. Utilizing the Ben 10 powers at your disposal and ridding the world of these new villains happens to be the other part. Ben’s Omnitrix is on hand to deliver the alien forms we’ve all seen on the boob tube – Four Arms, Gravattack and the rest of the Ben 10 crew.
This licensed action/adventure game employs the usual gameplay seen in other titles of its kind – basic button mashing melee encounters. Collecting energy for upgrades and currency purposes. And most importantly, listening to quick quips form the character you’re controlling (the voice actors from the show bring their talents over to this release). What’s different about this game though is the use of a gameplay genre we’re used to seeing on mobile devices – infinite running. Well, take out the infinite part and you’ll have an idea of what this game’s version of it plays like.
Ben’s alien forms can race across three different paths, which are all lined with obstacles and collectibles. Knowing which alien forms you need to transform into for each lane is designated by the colors above them. You’ll know when to transform into your speedy form, powerful brute form or your projectile throwing form in just a few seconds of play. These infinite runner-esque portions of each stage switch up the status quo from time to time. Once you’ve made yourself familiar with all the lanes and the hazards/collectibles that come with them, you’ll find yourself locating hidden paths and even more goodies to add to your collection.
Mopping the floor with Ben 10′s alien adversaries feels the same, but the added running segments should add a new sense of action to the proceedings. Ben 10: Omniverse 2 will hit the PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and Wii U on November 5, 2013.