Adventure Time: Explore the Dungeon Because I DON'T KNOW! is not a complete failure, but it's also not the game that Adventure Time fans deserve or should expect from a developer like WayForward. While the story takes some fun turns, the gameplay is too dull and one-note to keep players interested in the long term. While multiplayer will extend the experience and provide for some laughs — characters do say some funny lines, even if they get repetitive — this title is recommended primarily for the most devoted Adventure Time fans.
Dr. Luigi is a fun, if overly familiar puzzle game that will satisfy anyone who knows what they're getting when they download it from the eShop. While we would have liked a little more variety and some more twists for Luigi's puzzle début on Wii U, Dr. Luigi is a good way to end the Year of the Tall Green Brother. It's a simple, clear experience with strong gameplay that reminds us why we love the Mario Bros. in the first place.
With a lengthy campaign, lots of customisation and plenty of variety, CastleStorm is a strong eShop title. There is a bit of a learning curve for the controls, and the presentation doesn't go as far as it could, but the satisfaction of taking down opposing castles make this frantic experience worthwhile. If you like strategy, tower defence, or even physics-based puzzlers and action games, CastleStorm is highly recommended.
The frustrating lack of off-TV play aside, 1001 Spikes is a spirited, fun title that exemplifies the creative indie spirit that is permeating the eShop. With tons of unlockables, several distinct game modes and a charming presentation, 1001 Spikes is highly recommended. Just be sure to do some yoga and go to your zen place — you don't want to rage-quit your GamePad at the television after that 800th death.
Yacht Club Games has a hit on its hands with Shovel Knight. With brilliant game design, charming presentation and a ton of content, this is a wonderful first title from the fledgling developer. It will only get better with post-release content, and if Shovel Knight becomes the hit it deserves to be, gamers will hopefully be seeing much more of Yacht Club Games — and its plucky mascot — in the coming months and years.
Mobot Studios clearly put a lot of effort into this title, adding a new overworld and several new levels. The use of a physical controller as opposed to an iOS touch-screen makes Paper Monsters Recut the definitive edition of the game; though Paper Monsters Recut does unfortunately falter a bit technically, this lovingly crafted platformer is a fine addition to the eShop.
Big Red Button spoke enthusiastically about the development process throughout the promotion of Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric, which makes us think that the disappointing final product is a victim of being rushed out the door to accommodate the cartoon's release. As a result, Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric is recommended only for those starved for a new adventure platformer and patient enough to sit through the poor technical performance.
Shantae and the Pirate's Curse is a triumph for WayForward and a treat for gamers. Very minor issues aside, this is one of the strongest titles on Nintendo's eShop and should be looked at as an example of how polished and robust a downloadable game can be. We're glad to see Shantae expand her horizons with the multiplatform Half-Genie Hero, but it's going to be hard to top this excellent Nintendo-exclusive adventure.
Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. is a fun, quirky new release from Nintendo. While there are a few flaws in the game design, we think that there's enough good here to justify a purchase from any Nintendo fan looking for something different. We'd love to see more of this compelling and riotous new world from Intelligent Systems; it's a great way to learn about classic literature...sort of.