final assault

PAX South 2019 Preview: Wage Tabletop VR Warfare in Final Assault

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While once prolific in the 90s, real time strategy games have ebbed in recent years. Controlling multiple units while managing resources, maintaining map awareness, and researching new weapons of war is a daunting task when armed with a mouse and keyboard, and nigh impossible anywhere else.

Yet I was blown away by how well Phaser Lock Interactive’s VR real time strategy game, Final Assault, captured all the fun of a real time strategy game while streamlining all the messy bits, creating an immersive virtual tabletop wargame.

At PAX South 2019 I was able to get some hands-on time (and heads-in for VR) with the 1v1 PvP mode for Final Assault, on the Hill-512 map.

I was immediately pleased with the aesthetic and size of the battlefield. Final Assault smartly keeps the World War 2 battlefield small and intimate so you don’t have to spend any time jogging around your living room or slowly pulling yourself across the contested war zone.

The cardboard and plastic art style is very reminiscent of the classic Army Men toy soldiers, or popular miniature wargames like Memoir ’44, giving the entire game an enjoyable tabletop vibe. Several times during the demo I was so distracted by the detail of the units, animations, and buildings that I fell behind in troop deployment.

“We used train sets as references. It’s amazing how detailed those train sets can get,” says Michael Daubert, CEO, Phaser Lock Interactive. “We wanted to make it a compelling and beautiful environment. It helps as well with performance and being able to build big environments and run at 90 frames per second.”

“One of the things I like about our maps is that if you look off into the distance, it doesn’t look like you’re in a fake world. I feel like I could go look and see what’s on the other side of those hills,” says Todd Bailey, Creative Director.

final assault

 

There are no resources to mange nor fog of war to worry about. A single currency level gradually ticks up, creating quick decisions on which units to buy, or to wait and unlock more advance units. Supply boxes will periodically air drop onto the map, granting a quick boost of money to whoever gets there first.

“Originally we created an entire RTS game, and it was crazy. There was way too many buttons, but when we took that out, you were waiting too long for stuff to build up. When you’re in VR you want to get into the action as quick as possible,” says Daubert. “What we did is focus more on the combat itself. We took away base building and tech trees. I wanted to focus on the faster gameplay of what an RTS can be. We’ve created a happy medium between RTS and MOBA that gets the player in as quickly as possible without the mental fatigue of trying to manage everything.”

A console-based strategy game is going to live and die by its control scheme. Final Assault’s drop-and-drag system worked perfectly to quickly get units out on the battlefield and into the fight.

The clipboard UI looks and feels great. I hold my tech tree catalog in one hand and simply grab the unit I want, like a biplane or tank, and plop it onto the map. Final Assault uses the lane-based combat of MOBAs to provide an easy way of handling multiple units. If a unit is dropped into one of the main lanes on a map, they’ll automatically follow it, engaging enemy forces along the way.

Infantry will constantly spawn and push the lane, creating a constant tug-of-war. It’s up to me to purchase and deploy the right units, and set them up in strategic places. Bombers can soften up tanks, while anti-air guns will help prevent an aerial ambush, and artillery can bombard fortifications from afar.

final assault

The demo ended as I deployed my Axis forces’ ultimate weapon – a V-2 rocket. I watched in gleeful satisfaction as it physically launched from my base and soared toward my opponent’s to the warning sounds of klaxons.

I came away really impressed with how quickly I was able to grasp the controls and flow of the lane-based warfare, despite having very little VR  experience. Final Assault already looks and plays great, and is shaping up to be a worthy competitive experience for any VR general.

Final Assault is coming to Steam Early Access on February 12, with a full launch later this April on Oculus and Vive. It will launch later this Summer on PlayStation VR and support cross-platform play. The final game will feature a single player campaign as well as online multiplayer PvP with 14 maps at launch, and more factions to arrive as post-launch DLC. It’s rated E10+.

pax south

The 20 Most Exciting Indie Games from PAX South 2019

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The fifth annual PAX South convention took place this month in San Antonio, Texas. The convention is smaller than other PAX shows, with an emphasis on indie games and tabletop games. A few big publishers were in attendance showing upcoming games, such as Capcom with Resident Evil 2 and Sony with Days Gone. But often these shows are a great opportunity to see smaller games and meet passionate developers.

Here is our alphabetical list of the 20 most exciting indie games we saw at PAX South 2019.

A Fold Apart

Developer: Lightning Rod Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: Spring 2019 (PC and Switch, other consoles to follow)

A Fold Apart looks at first glance like a platformer, but there’s no jumping. Instead you’ll need to fold the pages of the world to bring the partners together, who are struggling with a long distance relationship. It’s based on a true story from lead designer Mark Laframboise. You play as both characters, choosing each of their genders. Something that seems sweet from one character may be viewed differently by the other as you see both sides of the complex relationship.

Bee Simulator

Developer: VARSAV Game Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: Spring 2019

In a shocking twist, Bee Simulator is all about playing as a bee. Set within Central Park in New York City, the life of a bee is fraught with both beauty and peril as you collect honey from flowers, defend your turf from wasps and spiders, and be wary of the most dangerous animal of all – humans. Varsav Game Studios are all too aware of the endangerment that bees face in our world and have produced the game with a socially conscious heart. But more importantly, it’s fun to fly around as a bee and pop balloons.

Bombfest

Developer: Sudden Event Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: Jan. 31

Mario Party-style multiplayer mini-games were definitely in vogue at PAX South 2019, but Bombfest stood out thanks to its adorable wooden block art style and easy pick up and play format. Up to four players choose an adorably dressed wooden block figure and compete in small household arenas like toy boxes and play mats. Players try to knock each other out of the ring, not unlike Super Smash Bros., through a variety of bouncing, freezing, and good ol’ fashioned exploding bombs. The family-friendly style and simple controls make Bombfest particularly well suited to the Switch.

Dark Devotion

Developer: Hibernian Workshop
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch
Release: Early 2019

Dead Cells meets Dark Souls probably sounds like gibberish to a number of gamers, but for the rest of you, it’s an intriguing mixture. Dark Devotion is a side-scrolling RPG with the challenging but rewarding rhythmic combat of a Souls game with a Dead Cells 2D pixel style. The dungeon designs bear the dark inspiration of eldritch and Gothic horror. I died several times during the short demo at PAX, and still I wanted to come back for more.

Dicey Dungeons

Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Platforms: PC
Release: Spring 2019

In Dicey Dungeons a typical adventuring party has been transformed into anthropomorphic dice. The six-sided heroes navigate a series of roguelike dungeon crawls acquiring new loot cards, leveling up, and rolling dice during combat to activate abilities and attack enemies. All of the character classes play very differently from each other. The Witch gets spells instead of the usual loot and uses dice to cast them, while the Robot has a neat push your luck element when it comes to rolling dice each round. The turn-based combat could easily stand alone as an intriguing solo board game, and I particularly enjoyed the whimsical characters and art style.

Disjunction

Developer: Ape Tribe Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2019

Disjunction is a cyberpunk stealth action game wrapped in a top-down pixelated art style. It’s Deux Ex indie style, and it’s damn good. You take on the roll of three characters, each with their own stories and playstyles as you dive into the classic cyberpunk themes of corporate espionage. Enemies have clear vision cones that must be avoided – although you can certainly treat every level like a guns-blazing bloodbath if you wanted, which has repercussions for the story. I opted to use my various gadgets, including smoke grenades and a paralyzing dart, to quietly take out foes and hide the bodies. It’s been three long years since Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and Disjunction is looking to fill that void quite nicely.

Evolution: The Video Game

Developer: North Star Digital
Platforms: PC, iOS, Android
Release: Feb. 12

Evolution: The Video Game has the quirky honor of being on our most anticipated PAX South list for the third year in a row. The digital adaption of the award-winning board game has been in development for a long time, but it’s looking better than ever, with gorgeous art and animations, cross-platform play, online multiplayer, and a full single player campaign that unlocks new AI for skirmishes. I’ve been playing the beta throughout the last year and have been consistently impressed with the updates and additions with each new patch, and very much looking forward to one of the best digital board game adaptations around.

Fantasy Strike

Developer: Sirlin Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch
Release: 2019 (Currently available via Steam Early Access)

If you’ve been disappointed by the recent trend of fighting games, either from complexity, input lag, or style, Fantasy Strike hopes to bring you back into the fold. It’s billed as an accessible 2D fighting game with intuitive one-button controls and easy to grasp mechanics, developed by a master fighting game craftsman, David Sirlin. Fantasy Strike looks and plays nice but a fighting game lives and dies by its community. Time will tell if it can pull fans away from Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

Final Assault

Developer: Phaser Lock Interactive
Platforms: PS VR, Oculus, Vive
Release: 2019

I had yet to play a VR game I truly enjoyed until Final Assault. Slotting a traditional management-heavy real time strategy game would have spelled disaster, but Phaser Lock Interactive smartly took cues from the MOBA genre to create a much more streamlined and fun experience. Final Assault plays more like a real time miniatures wargame as you and your opponent survey the tabletop-size battlefield, dropping troops, unlocking advanced forces, and watching the destruction unfold all around you.

Ion Maiden

Developer: 3D Realms
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: 2019

3D Realms is back and they brought an impressive Duke Nukem 3D clone to PAX South. Ion Maiden is a classic first person shooter done entirely within the original Build engine, which featured a pseudo-3D world with pixelated graphics and 2D models. It’s a massive nostalgia trip for anyone who lived through 90’s PC shooters, but it’s also a solidly enjoyable fast-paced action game with labyrinthine level designs full of secrets and plenty of fun weapons and enemies.

JackQuest: The Tale of the Sword

Developer: NX Games
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: January 24

The 2D action-platformer is probably the most common genre for indie games to explore. But that shouldn’t discredit the good ones, like JackQuest: The Tale of the Sword. JackQuest features a boy and a really big sword as they adventure through a cavernous dungeon. Like Shovel Knight, JackQuest nails the pixelated aesthetic and old school level design while featuring tight controls and satisfying movement and combat.

Last Epoch

Developer: Eleventh Hour Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2020 (Steam Early Access in 2019)

The traditional Diablo-style action-RPG has ebbed and flowed over the last several years, mostly relying on indie games like Grim Dawn to provide that classic loot-obsessed gameplay. Last Epoch takes the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra of design, adhering closely to past and recent juggernauts such as Diablo, Path of Exile, and Titan Quest. Last Epoch will feature multiple classes with specialties and augmented skills, an endless supply of loot drops, multiple end game systems, and a Chrono Trigger-inspired story featuring time-travel.

MageQuit

Developer: Bowlcut Studios
Platforms: PC, Switch, Xbox One
Release: 2019

MageQuit is one of the best kind of games to show at conventions: a 10-player multiplayer brawl that ends in shouts of joy and cries of defeat. Every round players draft spells for their wizards, with each round gaining a new spell to add to their repertoire. Spells are elemental-based, such as fireballs, rock walls, and air-dashes, and the too-small arenas are designed to get wizards blasting each other quickly and hilariously. MageQuit is available now via Steam Early Access, and best played with a large group of friends.

Mowin’ and Throwin’

Developer: House Pixel Games
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: 2019 (available now via Steam Early Access)

Silly name aside, Mowin’ & Throwin’ is a delightfully fun competitive mowing game. Players take on the role of mischievous lawn gnomes in 1v1 or 2v2 with the goal of mowing their side of the lawn before their opponent. Power-ups fall from the sky while gnomes can chuck rocks and plant more grass onto each other’s yards. The level designs take a page from Overcooked with numerous challenges and hazards, such as rotating platforms, fences, and water.

Project Witchstone

Developer: Spearhead
Platforms: PC
Release: 2020

The developers behind Stories: The Path of Destinies and Omensight have their sights on a very ambitious new game, tentatively called Project Witchstone. Witchstone aims to be a massive tactical RPG that grants player freedom and meaningful choices in a fantasy world. Witchstone is still very early in development, but Spearhead is planning on a completely open development process, beginning with a Kickstarter campaign later this year.

Projection: First Light

Developer: Shadowplay Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: 2019

Projection: First Light is a 2D puzzle-platformer starring a shadow puppet named Greta. Greta’s primary ability is to manipulate the shadows around her using a controllable ball of light with the right stick. The shadows create new platforms for Greta to traverse past obstacles. I found it incredibly challenging to think along an entirely different dimension with the way shadows were cast from the light’s positioning, but intrigued to try more.

Rezplz

Developer: Long Neck Games
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
Release: 2019

Rezplz is another 2D puzzle-platformer with an intriguing twist – your primary ability is to resurrect your partner. The young sibling wizards start only with the ability to ‘rez’ each other, making death a means to overcome the many enemies and hazards that lie in wait. To get over a bed of spikes, for example one of them can jump in and die, while the other can use their body as a platform, then resurrect them on the other side. The death animations are hilariously macabre, and the Lost Vikings-style level designs have a lot of potential for both single player and co-op.

Splitgate: Arena Warfare

Developer: 1047 Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2019

While many competitive multiplayer games chase the Battle Royale bandwagon, Splitgate: Arena Warfare is firmly fixed on the past. That could be a winning strategy when you combine two of gaming’s most beloved franchises: Halo and Portal. The old school arena shooter looks and plays great with Halo-style guns and pacing. The obvious twist is the ability to create matching portals to zip around the battlefield, creating an entirely new dimension that further rewards map awareness and quick positioning.

Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones

Developer: Cultic Games
Platforms: PC
Release: 2019 (A demo is available on Steam)

Most Cthulhu stories revolve around the prevention of eldritch armageddon, but Stygian: Reign of the Old Ones places you firmly in the post-apocalypse when the old gods have already wrecked havoc. The old school cRPG checks all the right boxes with stat-based character creation, an open world full of consequences and choices, and turn-based tactical combat.

ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove

Developer: HumaNature Studios
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Switch, Xbox One
Release: March 1

Seeing a new ToeJam & Earl game releasing in 2019 is eye-rolling, but I was pleasantly surprised with ToeJam & Earl: Back in the Groove. Taking its cues from the 1991 original, Back in the Groove features randomly generated levels as our stranded alien friends try to find the missing pieces to their spaceship. The isometric levels are literally stacked on top of one another as up to four players can explore on their own pace using dynamic split-screen, avoiding enemies, finding powerups, and listening to funky tunes and remixes.

 

tangled

Pixelkin’s Most Anticipated Games of 2019

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A large number of games on our 2018 list of most anticipated games were delayed into 2019 – which is all the more reason to get excited for the new year! Next year will kick off with the very long awaited sequel, Kingdom Hearts 3, easily one of the single most anticipated games of the year. From there things get a bit less friendly-family, though still exciting, with the likes of Anthem, Mortal Kombat 11, and the Division 2.

The Switch is still going strong but as always Nintendo keeps its games close to its chest. For the purposes of this list, only games with 2019 release dates will be included.

Here are our most anticipated games of 2019!

For Younger Kids:

 

Kingdom Hearts III

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: January 29, 2019

The Kingdom Hearts series has become a bit of a convoluted mess of a story since its original inception back in the PS3 era. But it’s also a beloved series that uniquely combines JRPG storytelling and world building with official Disney characters and settings. A lot of Disney and Pixar films have released since Kingdom Hearts II in 2005 and we’re excited to see the worlds of Toy Story, Monster Inc, Frozen, and Tangled come to life.

Yoshi’s Crafted World

Platforms: Switch
Date: Spring 2019

Yoshi’s Woolly World was an incredibly delightful 2D platformer on the Wii U. Yoshi’s Crafted World looks like the perfect sequel, this time featuring a world of cardboard and paper. Levels feature a unique 2-in-1 design as you can flip them to traverse the backside to uncover more paths and secrets.

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Platforms: Switch
Date: January 11, 2019

Nintendo knows not nearly enough gamers bought a Wii U and experienced many of the excellent games on that system. Many big Switch games are ports of Wii U games, and four-player side-scrolling New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe was is an obvious addition to that roster. The Switch version will feature two new playable heroes – Nabbit and Toadette and combines all the levels from New Super Mario Bros. U and New Super Luigi U.

DreamWorks Dragons Dawn of New Riders

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
Date: February, 2019

Although it’s releasing near the same time as the highly anticipated third film in the How to Train Your Dragon series, the game stars all new characters: newbie dragon rider Scribbler and his unique dragon hybrid Patch. The gameplay looks a lot like Skylanders, and we mean that as a big compliment.

Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled

Platforms: PS4, XBO, Switch
Date: June 21, 2019

Mario and company aren’t the only kart racers around. If you don’t have a Switch (or even if you do) and pine for some alternative family-friendly multiplayer racing, Crash Bandicoot’s Crash Team Racing is being remastered with new tracks, karts, and online multiplayer. Better yet, the formerly PS-exclusive series is coming also to Xbox One and Switch.

 

For Older Kids and Teens:

 

Anthem

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: February 22, 2019

Sure it may be “BioWare Does Destiny with Mech Suits” but none of that sounds unappealing. Anthem pits players as Freelancers who customize their own Javelin mech suits to combat the many exotic and powerful threats around the alien planet. The shared world features up to four players joining missions together. BioWare’s trademark romanceable companions won’t be a feature, but judging from the trailers the world will be full of interesting characters and events.

Civilization VI: Gathering Storm

Platforms: PC
Date: February 14, 2019

Global warming and climate change are hot button topics, and Civ is diving in head first with its second expasnsion. Gathering Storm will add natural disasters like hurricanes, floods, and active volcanoes. A new climate system will increase these disasters as Civs grow bigger and burn climate-destroying resources like coal and oil. Gathering Storm will also add eight new Civs and two new scenarios.

Shenmue III

Platforms: PC, PS4
Date: August 27, 2019

One of the biggest cult classics in gaming, the original Shenmue series on the Dreamcast failed commercially with its huge budget and production, but nostalgic fans helped crowdfund this third game. Shenmue 3 became the highest-funded video game in Kickstater (over $6 million), and we’re all desperate to see if that translates into a long-awaited winning formula for this unique adventure series.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Platforms: PC, XBO
Date: 2019

Ori and the Blind Forest was a stunningly gorgeous 2D action-platformer that combined tight controls, intriguingly intertwined level designs, and a gripping tale of loss, fear, and protection. The sequel wouldn’t need to change much to make it one of our most anticipated indie games of the year.

Psychonauts 2

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: 2019

Like Shenmue 3, Psychonauts 2 is another infamous cult classic that is being revived thanks to a large crowd funding campaign.  Game designer luminary Tim Schafer is known of many quality games over the years, but none as much as Pyschonauts, a 3D action game with Double Fine’s trademark humor and goofy characters about government agents who enter the minds of others. The surreal level designs and honest themes of mental illness should translate well into a modern sequel.

 

For Mature Teens and Parents:

 

Metro: Exodus

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: February 15, 2019

Post-apocalyptic Russia has never looked so good. Metro Exodus looks far bigger and more ambitious than the previous Metro games, while still incorporating an intriguing blend of survival horror, stealth, and first-person action.

Devil May Cry 5

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: March 8, 2019

Capcom made waves this year with Monster Hunter: World, and are looking to continue that success with the fifth installment in the over-the-top action series Devil May Cry. Devil May Cry 5 unites previous protagonists Dante and Nero along with a new third character. Expect lots of hacking, slashing, and musical mayhem.

The Division 2

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO
Date: March 15, 2019

The Division was a rough yet compelling multiplayer third person shooter set in a post-apocalyptic New York devastated by a pandemic. Over the months and years Ubisoft and Massive have supported the game with excellent updates, patches, and DLC. The sequel moves from New York City to the nation’s capital in Washington D.C. Look for a beta to start up before launch.

Mortal Kombat 11

Platforms: PC, PS4, XBO, Switch
Date: April 23, 2019

One of the biggest names in games, let alone fighting games, was just recently announced at The Game Awards. The trailer was horrendously bloody and violent, which is exactly what we’d expect from a new Mortal Kombat. NetherRealm Studios is one of the best fighting game developers in the world and Mortal Kombat is definitely the favorite child.

Days Gone

Platforms: PlayStation 4
Date: April 26, 2019

Days Gone has been in development for several years as we’ve seen E3 stage demos since 2016. It stars rebellious biker Deacon in a zombie apocalypse that’s far less urban than most zombie fiction. A smart Deacon can use the dynamic weather, day/night cycle and wildlife to avoid and distract hordes of zombies – or lead them right into other people.

It’s shaping up to be a great year, and there’s so much more we don’t know about. Look for some exciting Nintendo news in the months to come. Happy New Year!

pokemon let's go

Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year

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This year had some truly remarkable games. Games like God of War, Red Dead Redemption 2, Celeste, and Dragon Quest 11 reflected a rich diversity of gameplay experiences. For Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year, we focused on the best games that were particularly well-suited for families.

Nintendo once again houses some of the best family-friendly gaming we can find. One game lovingly remade a childhood classic from two decades ago, updating it for modern audiences while adding in several noteworthy new features to introduce a whole new audience to one of the best family-friendly franchises in gaming.

Pokémon: Let’s Go, Eevee! and Let’s Go, Pikachu! is Pixelkin’s 2018 Game of the Year.

The brilliance of the original Pokémon Red and Blue, released in the US in 1998, is on full display. The Kanto region is recreated in the more modern 3D style of Pokémon X/Y and Sun and Moon. The light-hearted hero’s journey is fast and easy to jump into, beginning with choosing a new starter Pokémon. The partner Pokémon is a powerful combatant and a cute tagalong friend who, like Pikachu in the series, rides with me rather than in a Pokéball.

Pikachu (or Eevee) can also learn Secret Techniques, which replace the previous Hidden Machines. These moves help explore previously unreachable places, like Sea Skim to traverse water. No longer do I have to worry about including a water Pokémon or a flying Pokémon to get around the latter half of the game.

Pokémon Let’s Go is full of these little improvements and changes that modernize the two-decade old Pokémon gameplay. Other very welcome improvements include the ability to finally swap Pokémon in and out of my active party without having to go through the endless boxes of the Pokémon Center, actually seeing Pokémon out in the world so I can pick and choose my wild encounters, and renaming my Pokémon anytime I wish. I also loved taking out an additional Pokémon to walk around with me, or in the case of larger Pokémon like Rapidash, riding on them! Few moments are as charmingly nostalgic as charging across grassy fields while riding on Arcanine.

pokemon let's go

Catching wild Pokémon is the biggest change in gameplay, but it’s one I found satisfying and rewarding – not to mention kid-friendly. It works almost exactly like mobile AR game Pokémon GO. The Joy-Con motion controls work so well that I often used the kickstand when playing in handheld mode. Flicking the ball at a squirming Pokémon offers just enough interest to never get stale, while ‘battles’ never last more than 30 seconds.

For the first time in the series I actually want to run through dozens of wild Pokémon encounters, increasing my Catch Combo in the hopes for better stats and rare shiny Pokémon. And with Pokémon spawning directly on the world map, catching them has never been more fun or engaging. It makes the world come to life like never before and I hope all Pokémon games in the future utilize it.

The Pokémon series has always been kid-focused series (now enjoyed by countless 30-somethings) but what truly makes Pokémon: Let’s Go an excellent family game is the new co-op mode. Co-op is seamlessly integrated, allowing another local player to simply shake the other Joy-Con half and drop right in. The players have to stay within the same screen and the partner can’t interact with anything, but they do get to participate in combat and in catching wild Pokémon.

let's go

Few gameplay moments have been as rich as playing alongside my young daughter as we synchronized our Pokéball throwing and tag-teamed against the villainous Team Rocket. The intuitive co-op is definitely a feature I want to see in all future Pokémon games for the Nintendo Switch.

As a longtime fan of the series, Pokémon: Let’s Go lacks some of the more deep and complex gameplay features that Pokémon has cultivated in the last two decades, such as breeding and abilities. But it is an excellent modern remake of the original games, and the Pokémon GO-style catching is surprisingly engaging. The many modern improvements make journeying through Kanto more enjoyable than ever. With the new co-op mode, it’s easily the most kid-friendly game of the entire series, and a wonderful way to introduce the magic of Pokémon to a younger generation.

super smash bros. ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Character Unlock Guide

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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is a massive crossover fighting game, featuring an enormous roster of over 70 fighters. However, when you first start the game you’re limited to the eight fighters who appeared on the original Super Smash Bros. on the Nintendo 64.

You’ll unlock more fighters just through playing, but it’s not as random as you think. There are multiple ways to unlock characters, and by adventuring through the World of Light single player mode or completing Classic Mode with certain fighters, you can be a bit more proactive and hunt for certain characters.

Read our guide below for the different methods to unlocking characters in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

The Smash Unlock Order

Every 10 minutes spent playing the game will result in a challenger approaching, in order of the list below. You can spend 10 minutes playing random Smash matches or spending time in the World of Light Adventure Mode or Spirit Battles.

NOTE: You can circumvent the 10 minute timer by closing the game completely and restarting it. At that point the timer no longer matters – as soon as you finish a match, win or lose, a new challenger will approach. The quickest method is to set a Stock battle to 1 and walk off the edge. This is the single fastest way to unlock every character, if a bit cheesy.

You’ll have to beat the challenger to unlock them, and some of them can be quite difficult. In the case of multiple players in a Smash match, the player who won the match will face off against the challenger.

If you’ve already unlocked a character by other means, it will simply skip that character and go to the next one.

  1. Ness
  2. Zelda
  3. Bowser
  4. Pit
  5. Inkling
  6. Villager
  7. Marth
  8. Young Link
  9. Wii Fit Trainer
  10. Ice Climbers
  11. Captain Falcon
  12. Peach
  13. Ryu
  14. Ike
  15. Jigglypuff
  16. King K. Rool
  17. Sonic
  18. Simon
  19. Zero Suit Samus
  20. Little Mac
  21. Isabelle
  22. Shulk
  23. Lucina
  24. Wario
  25. Ridley
  26. Pokémon Trainer
  27. Lucario
  28. Daisy
  29. Roy
  30. King Dedede
  31. R.O.B.
  32. Falco
  33. Luigi
  34. Pichu
  35. Richter
  36. Lucas
  37. Diddy Kong
  38. Meta Knight
  39. Snake
  40. Ganondorf
  41. Corrin
  42. Mega Man
  43. Bayonetta
  44. Toon Link
  45. Rosalina & Luma
  46. Incineroar
  47. Sheik
  48. Olimar
  49. Pac-man
  50. Dark Samus
  51. Wolf
  52. Mr. Game & Watch
  53. Robin
  54. Dark Pit
  55. Cloud
  56. Duck Hunt
  57. Ken
  58. Greninja
  59. Chrom
  60. Mewtwo
  61. Bowser Jr.
  62. Dr. Mario
  63. Palutena

super smash bros. ultimate

Rematch

Note that if you ever fail to beat a new challenger, you can challenge them again by going to Games & More on the main screen, then clicking on the gate icon in the lower right corner (it may take a few challengers before it appears). This also has the advantage of allowing you to choose your fighter, instead of using the last one you used when they appear.

If you fail to beat them again, you’ll have to wait 10 minutes to be able to face them again (or restart the game and play a match). Multiple failed challenges will queue up at the challenger gate in order.

Mii Fighters

The Mii Fighters are actually unlocked from the start, you just have to create one in the Games & More section. There are three different kinds of Mii Fighters you can make: Brawler, Swordfighter, and Gunner. For the purposes of the official roster (74 fighters at launch, including Echo Fighters), all three count as three separate fighters. You can also customize their movesets and their outfits.

Classic Mode

Classic Mode was the original single player campaign mode. In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, one fighter goes through six unique battles, plus an end boss fight. Each Classic Mode is unique and different, and completing a run will always result in a new challenger approaching.

Which challenger appears can be found with this handy chart. For example, beating Classic Mode with Mario will make Sonic appear. If you previously unlocked Sonic, you’ll get Bayonetta instead.

Classic Mode can be found in the Games & More section.

super smash bros. ultimate

Using this chart you can find the most efficient way to unlocking your favorite characters.

Adventure Mode

The World of Light is the massive single player adventure in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. You’ll start with even less characters here – only Kirby survived Galeem’s initial onslaught. Within the giant map filled with Spirit Battles you can find other fighters waiting to be challenged and unlocked. Unlocking them in Adventure mode will unlock them in your regular roster as well.

It can be very spoilery to see who and where you unlock various characters, but IGN has a map up if you want all the information.

It’s advisable to back out of Adventure Mode every 10 minutes or so, that way you can take full advantage of the Smash Unlock Order above.

No matter which method you choose, or any combination therein, you’ll constantly unlock fighters as you play. Try them all to find your old standbys and discover new favorites.