Shacknews - Steve Watts

Mario is once again teaming up with Ronald McDonald, as the fast-food chain McDonald's has announced it is rolling out Happy Meals themed around the iconic Mushroom Kingdom characters. 

From today through May 22, Happy Meals will include one of eight toys. It's ostensibly to promote Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, but the toys aren't especially Mario-Kart-y. They include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, Yoshi, an Invincible Mario that lights up in different colors, a Koopa Shell, and a 1UP Mushroom. Luigi may be the standout, as he looks ready to bellyflop out of a pipe.

Classic Luigi, right?

On top of the toys, Nintendo is offering a sweepstakes to win a Nintendo Switch and a copy of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. It's offering 100 of the prizes in all, and players can enter the sweepstakes by scanning a Happy Meal using the McDonald's mobile app. The chance to win one of 100 systems out of the millions of Happy Meals sold is probably relatively low, but could actually be higher than finding one in the wild.

MK8 Deluxe is a pretty solid prize, as the revised version of the Wii U game is a standout for the system.

If you're interested in winning a Switch with slightly better odds and no burgers or nuggets required, keep an eye on Shacknews later this week.

Shacknews - Shack Staff

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Nintendo Switch brings back one of the most beloved modes in Mario Kart, and one that was undercooked in the original race. Instead of a Battle Mode that simply adds hit-points to race tracks, DX brings back proper battle arenas with specialized rule sets. This guide will explain general tips for coming out on top in Battle Mode, as well as the ins and outs of its various modes.

It's Not a Race

First and foremost, keep in mind that speed is mostly secondary in Battle Mode. There are no laps or finish lines, and speed is worth as much as the maneuverability that it affords you. That means for the most part you're shooting for a mid-range of speed, not putt-putting along but not cranking at top speed where dodging hazards can be more difficult. If you're going too fast, you risk running into a wall, which leaves you vulnerable to attack. Round curves smoothly and weave from side to side instead.

Learn the Layouts

Just like in a traditional Mario Kart race, your best tool is your knowledge of the courses. Battle Mode Arenas have a lot of nooks and crisscrossing areas that connect to each other, so take some time in single-player matches to learn your way around before challenging other players in online or local multiplayer. If you know which parts of the arena connect, you'll be able to take shortcuts to outmaneuver your opponents, dodge attacks, and set up traps.

Know Your Items

Many of the items that you're familiar with from the traditional Race modes take on an entirely new context in Battle. Threats are omnidirectional, so everything you use has to be considered in that context. Red shells can go veering off in strange directions, while Green Shell and Banana triplets make you lethal when approaching a head-on collision or side-swipe. Mushrooms are one of the least useful items, but it has its purposes for ramming enemies or getting away from a trouble spot quickly.

Use Reverse

Reverse (mapped to the B button) is almost useless in Race modes, but in Battle you'll probably have to use it quite a bit. You'll want to take sharp curves with a drift as often as possible, but once in a while you're definitely going to hit a wall, and accelerating yourself into it is the slowest way to get on the right track. Be ready to hit reverse, spin around quickly, and get back into the action quickly.

Battle Modes

Balloon Battle and Coin Runners

In these classic mode, you and your opponents will be aiming to damage each other while protecting your own stock of balloons or coins. Balloons get popped and coins get dropped with every successful attack.

For the first time, rather than being eliminated outright, losing all your initial stock of five balloons will let you respawn with three, and your point total will be cut in half. Be aggressive and rack up the points so that if you do get them halved you still have a chance to win. Coin Runners is a little more forgiving since coins are all over the battlefield and you can always steal from your opponent.

  • Bananas peels are extremely useful in Balloon Battle, both as a defensive option against shells and as a hazard you can litter around the battlefield to rack up points without even staying nearby
  • It's tricky, but you can steal balloons from other players using the Mushroom by boosting, or the new Feather item by jumping over them
  • In Coin Runners, be on the lookout for fat stacks of coins hovering over your opponents heads

Bob-omb Blast

This mode is chaotic and dangerous, as every character racks up a stock of bombs for every Question Block they touch, and two for double blocks. 

  • Pick up as many boxes as you can and litter the battlefield with them! You can hold a pretty large stock so make it as dangerous as possible for your opponents
  • When heading straight for an opponent drop a bomb behind you to leave them heading straight towards it

Shine Thief

In this mode, there is just one Shine to collect, and the goal is to hold it for a set amount of time. You drop the Shine whenever you're hit with a successful attack.

  • It can be difficult to pick up the Shine right after an attack if you're the one who connected, so leave the dirty work up to your other opponents. All of them will be targeting the Shine Thief, so stick close enough to grab it but let them loose it from the thief's grip
  • Once you have the Shine, you have a huge target on your back and it's everyone's job to hunt you. Get away from the crowd as fast as you can and weave as much as possible
  • Try to avoid clumping together. Shine Thief is especially chaotic when a lot of players are all in one area exchanging the Shine back and forth.

Renegade Roundup

The newest mode in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has all the players split into teams, Renegades and Cops. Cops have Piranha Plants attached to their karts to grab Renegades and put them in prison. If all the Renegades are imprisoned, they lose. If they manage to stay out for the set time, they win. Renegades can free their comrades by hitting a Key button in the cages.

  • Learn where the prisons are. Each course has its own placements and breaking prisoners out helps your team win and also gains you points
  • You can hit the Cops with items to slow them down or stun them, which could gain you valuable time if you need to escape
  • On the Cop side, the Piranha Plant is powerful but has limited range. You need to be going roughly the same speed and approach from an angle cone near the front to grab them
  • On the Renegade side, you can use their limited field to your advantage. Mushrooms can actually be very helpful in this mode since you can speed right past a Cop before it can grab you
Shacknews - John Keefer

It's been 25 years since the campy "violent" full motion video game Night Trap graced computer screens. A browser game and a failed Kickstarter did little to revive interest in the game, but it appears that publisher Limited Run Games was interested enough in a remaster by developer Screaming Villains to bring Night Trap 25th Anniversary Edition to PS4 sometime later this spring.

The game is basically an interactive movie, and while it won't win any awards for art direction or acting, it appears to stay true to the original schlock of a house full of teenage girls being attacked by vampires. The player is a security guard monitoring the house via closed circuit cameras. The box art will be a "repainting" of the original Sega boxes, available in three varieties.

The original game caused some consternation among the thought police back in 1993 because of its mature and "violent" theme. It was eventually withdrawn from the market, was part of hearings in front of the US Senate, and was one of the games that caused the formation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board. When it was finally rated, it received an M. However, changing cultural norms and the campy nature have revised the rating to T for the 25th anniversary version.

Limited Run did not give a price or release date for the game, although it could shoot for the true 25th anniversary on October 15.

Shacknews - Greg Burke

Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a virtual reality action-adventure video game developed by Red Storm Entertainment and published by Ubisoft for PlayStation 4 and PC. I had a chance to try out this new VR game a few weeks ago. Please take a look at this interview I shot with one of the game's developers.

For more videos, including gameplay and interviews, visit the Shacknews and GamerHub.tv YouTube channels.

Shacknews - Raqib Huq

Games of Glory, a free-to-play hybrid MOBA/top-down shooter by Lightbulb Crew, is finally available to the public through an open beta for players on PC and PS4. It's current release date is unknown, but it will remain in open beta until then. The game will always continue to be free-to-play when it does launch.

In Games of Glory, players will take center-stage in the arena as one of 15 powerful warriors, each with three unique abilities to take into battle. The five distinct classes - tank, support, carry, assassin and scout - provide players with the ability to choose the character that best fits their preferred play style.

Character customization is really neat and can get pretty deep. Players can mix and match pieces of skins to create a look that suits you to use in multiplayer games. Players can also upload their own unique logos for themselves or their "club" members.

Another great feature is cross-play compatibility, allowing players on both platforms to play together. As we move forward as gamers, it is wonderful to see developers breaking the barrier between hardware and allowing us to do what we do best, build fellowships through gaming. There are two different game modes players can partake in: a 4v4 teamfight to destroy your opponent's core on the Arkashan map or a 3v3 battle to protect your "star" player on the Svandia map.

Join the arena of Games of Glory now on Steam or the PlayStation Store!

Shacknews - John Keefer

Heroes of the Storm 2.0 is now live, and with it comes the reveal that Blizzard will add yet another Overwatch character to the HotS roster with D.Va. While no date was revealed, she will likely fly into the Nexus fights sometime in the near future.

The 2.0 launch, which is altering the game's free-to-play format, is definitely the largest update the game has seen since it launched two years ago. It switches to an in-game currency of gems, while adding tons of cosmetic items, like sprays and emojis. Loot chests have been added, with players receiving one every time they level up, with Blizzard also removing the cap on level and account progression, and scaling back the XP needed severely.

Genji joins the roster today, along with the new Hanamura map, based on the popular Overwatch setting. The Nexus Challenge has also returned, where over the next month players can get bonuses in both Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm when they play HotS with a friend:

  • Week 1: 5 games with a friend gets you both the Oni Genji skin in Overwatch and the Orochi Hovercycle Mount in Heroes, plus sprays, banners and a portrait.
  • Week 2: 5 Quick Match games with a friend gets you both the Police D.Va skin in Overwatch and the Police D.Va Hoverbike mount in Heroes.
  • Week 3: 5 Quick Match games with a friend gets you both D.Va sprays and portraits in each game, plus the Overwatch coin mount in Heroes.
  • Week 4: 5 Quick Match games with a friend gets you 10 loot boxes in each game (20).

As part of the launch, players that log into Heroes of the Storm will get 100 free gems, which is enough to get a new hero class bundle of 20 characters.

We usually try to post patch notes when an update goes live, but the 2.0 update is so massive it would be like running a 38,000-word Doom novella by David Craddock. So just read the launch notes on the official site for the extra details. 

Shacknews - John Keefer

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild started as a 2D prototype in the style of the original Zelda on NES. While Nintendo never did anything with that starter set of code, a fan has done his own work to bring a 2D Breath of the Wild to PC.

Creator Winterdrake has made a free demo, entitled Breath of the NES, and uploaded it to itch.io for players to try. "The demo lets you play around in a mini overworld, testing out the gameplay, and discovering tons of fun items," he said in the demo description. "Breath of the NES offers a new adventure in the classic Zelda style, but with smooth animations and a more interactive world!"

The game works with a keyboard or gamepad, and looks to be a pretty cool recreation of the original Zelda's look and feel. It's hard to tie the demo to Breath of the Wild, though, as you don't get to see any of the locations or characters. Hopefully newer versions will have them, as Winterdrake already has done several updates to the demo.

Again, you may want to try this while you can. Nintendo is notorious for protecting its IPs, so despite Winterdrake's attempts at homage, this may fall victim to a cease & desist order.

Check out the videos below. The top one is the demo, the bottom is what Nintendo created and showed off at GDC in March.

Shacknews - John Keefer

Remember the free Not a Hero DLC that we were expecting for Resident Evil 7? It was supposed to come sometime this spring, but now it has been delayed to some unspecified time because it isn't "good enough" at this point compared to the original game.

That's the word from game director Koshi Nakanishi and producer Masachika Kawata in a new developer video that gives fans an update on the status of the add-on. "In light of the incredible reception of Resident Evil 7, we concluded that this DLC was not good enough to meet those high expectations," Nakanishi said. Resident Evil 7 was incredibly well-received when it launched in January, shipping more than 2.5 million copies only a few days after launch. NPD reported it was the top selling game in January

"Our aim is for this content to match the high quality of the main game, so we need more development time in order to achieve that goal," Kawata said.

The video has some more info on the DLC, which marks the return of Chris Redfield to the series. It is in Japanese, but click the CC button for English subtitles. 

You have to appreciate the candor of developers and publishers when we get it. Square Enix offered a similar comment when Final Fantasy XV was delayed. Too often we get nebulous responses about why games won't hit their ship dates, so it is nice to see a bit of honesty, even if we don't exactly know why the Not a Hero DLC is inadequate. 

Shacknews - John Keefer

X-COM: UFO Defense was a fantastic turn-based strategy game developed by Microprose back in the mid-1990s. Now, one of the developers from that game has announced a new Fig crowdfunding project for Phoenix Point, a "spirtual successor" to the game. Just don't get it confused with the excellent reboots from Firaxis Games.

“We are creating Phoenix Point by taking influences from the famed X-COM franchise," said Julian Gollop, CEO of Snapshot Games and the principle designer on the original Microprose title. "We are updating our favorite gameplay features from X-COM titles such as UFO: Enemy Unknown and X-COM Apocalypse that I designed, and mixing them with some of the amazing ideas Firaxis Games executed brilliantly in their franchise reboots, to create an entirely new game whose essence lies in the XCOM genre.”

The dev team is seeking $500,000, with $300,000 of that being available through Fig's unique investment system that gives individuals a chance to receive returns on whatever they invest based on game sales. Phoenix Point has been in development for a year already, with Snapshot already having a story and art created, as well as a combat system and AI. The game is being targeted for a Q4 2018 release.

So how are aliens involved this time around? You will play a member of the Phoenix Project, a group of operatives that activate when the world is in trouble. In this case, the trouble is an alien virus that attacks human DNA an nearly wiped out all life on Earth. Those that weren't killed were either mutated in alien abominations or settled into smaller colonies, some controlled by powerful factions. As with all the X-COM (and XCOM) games, you will be tasked with wiping out the alien threat while also dealing with these human factions that have their own motives and plans as well.

Snapshot's previous game was Chaos Reborn, a successfully Kickstarted title based on the classic Chaos: The Battle of the Wizards game from 1985.

Phoenix Point is being targeted for a Q4 2018 release on PC, Mac and Linux.

Shacknews - Steve Watts

Capcom announced a slew of new details about Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite today, including a release date, more additions to the roster, and special editions. Plus, the primary antagonist has been announced, a combination of two iconic villains from each franchise.

The heroes will clash on September 19, says Capcom, across PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. New additions to the roster include Hulk, Thor, Hawkeye, Rocket Raccoon, Chun-Li, Strider Hiryu, and Chris Redfield. They'll all be teaming up to fight Ultron Sigma, a combination of the villains from the Marvel (primarily Avengers) and Mega Man X universes.

A story trailer shows the two fusing with the power of Infinity Stones, and the result is a version of Ultron all gussied up with Sigma's signature purple flair. This is the kind of endearingly bonkers story beat only possible with a fusion of comic books and video games.

The Standard edition at $59.99 includes Warrior Thor and Evil Ryu skins for pre-orders. A "Deluxe Edition" pre-order for $89.99 gives you those two along with Gladiator Hulk and Command Mission X skins. The Deluxe also includes the Character Pass for six additional characters coming post-launch, whether you pre-order or not. The first of the planned characters is Sigma, presumably de-Ultroned.

Finally, a Collector's Edition includes everything from the Deluxe Edition, along with four interlinking character dioramas, and LED Infinity Stone replicas. So, an extra $110 for some neat collectibles, essentially.

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