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Green Pipe Dreams: A Wishlist of Unlikely Nintendo Crossover Titles



Nintendo Crossover

Nintendo’s history is full of unexpected crossover titles. Just on the Switch alone, Nintendo’s youngest console, are the unprecedented crossovers of Fire Emblem and Omega Force’s Warriors franchise in the form of Fire Emblem Warriors, the fusion of Pokemon and Tekken in Pokken Tournament DX, and the impossibly successful combination of Ubisoft’s Rabbids with Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom in Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. With Nintendo, fans have learned to expect the unexpected, but what are some truly surprising crossovers that I think would make exceptional games? Here is my Nintendo crossover wishlist.

Kingdom Hearts and the Nintendo-verse- “Kingdom Hearts: Mushroom Kingdom” or “Mushroom Kingdom Hearts”

I’m not the first to suggest this, and I won’t be the last. Square Enix and Nintendo have a long history together, including one truly brilliant fusion of Square’s first rate RPG gameplay and Super Mario Bros. action, charming character, and familiar narrative in the way of Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Star. Most recently fans were treated to the unforeseen inclusion of FFVII‘s Cloud Strife in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and 3DS, allowing the owners of the Master Sword and the Buster Sword to clash for the first time outside of the popularity polls. While I’d be more than happy with another Super Mario RPG, the worlds I’d truly love to see (final) mix it up are those Kingdom Hearts and the entirety of the Nintendo-verse.  With KH‘s Dark Seeker Saga finally, maybe, actually wrapping up, what better detour for the franchise to take than one into the beloved realms of Nintendo’s franchises?

Now, I recognize that Kingdom Hearts is already a happy union between Final Fantasy and Disney and adding another element to that coalescence might make a mess, however, while the combination of Disney and Nintendo seems like a match made in family-friendly heaven, I think the best way to proceed would be to substitute Nintendo for Disney for a spinoff title. Structurally, Kingdom Hearts is optimized for crossovers as the narrative follows keyblade wielders hopping from world to world, franchise to franchise to protect them from an external danger.

In this scenario, those worlds, rather than being the wonderful worlds of Disney, would be Hyrule Kingdom, Mushroom Kingdom, Donkey Kong Country, Brinstar, Corneria, Inkopolis, and many, many more beloved Nintendo destinations. Seeing Sora, Riku, and Kairi Disney bound has always been a treat, but how fun would it be to see them Earthbound and fighting Heartless alongside the Super Smash cast of Link, Samus, Fox, DK, and, of course, everyone’s favorite plumber, Waluigi… or Mario… depending on who you ask. Square Enix has been vocal about Kingdom Hearts III being the conclusion of a saga but not the franchise, but what follows for Sora and friends, or maybe even a new cast of characters, no one knows. I’ll hold out hope for Mushroom Kingdom Hearts, but more than likely this will remain a green pipe dream.

Fatal Frame and Pokemon Snap– “Pokemon Spirit Snap” or “Project Pokemon Zero”

The most unlikely pairing on this list, despite the preexisting crossover title Pokemon Conquest shared between the two teams, this dream nightmare combination might sound like a stretch, but has so much potential it’s haunting. The odds of this title ever happening are ever so slightly improved by the fact that developer Koei Tecmo and Nintendo are on good working terms and even further improved considering Nintendo now co-owns Fatal Frame! Beyond being an eerily enticing concept, the creepy combination would undoubtedly be beneficial to all parties. Being paired with Pokemon could only improve the Fatal Frame franchise’s popularity, while a Fatal Frame scenario and gameplay being applied to Pokemon Snap would resolve the issue Pokemon director Junichi Masuda raised with the much clamored for Snap sequel.  In an interview with the now closed CVG regarding Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Masuda had this to say concerning a Snap port or sequel:

As a player, I definitely want to play a cool new version of Pokemon Snap, but, at the same time, I also think if it was just a remake with better graphics, I don’t think it would be as interesting as a lot of people are imagining. If someone was to end up developing it they’d have to come up with some cool ideas to really make it a good game for the current generation. It’s sort of like what I was saying about Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire. If it was just a direct port that would be kind of neat as well, but having new elements is definitely important.

Fatal Frame‘s signature gameplay and sinister scenarios merged with the concept of snapping pictures of Pokemon provides exactly the kind of gameplay hook and concept necessary to breathe new life into a now nearly twenty-year-old Pokemon Snap.

Acerola’s trial in “Pokemon Sun” and “Moon” had trainers reveal Ghost Pokemon with the Pokefinder camera feature!

But what would this long awaited spiritual (heh) successor to Pokemon Snap look like?  Borrowing a scenario similar to Fatal Frame, a town, perhaps the infamous Lavender Town, has been overrun by all varieties of Ghost Pokemon who are menacing the public and resisting capture, (phantom) forcing the living inhabitants of Lavender Town to abandon their homes and town.  One photographer, armed with the mysterious Camera Obscura, has what seems to be the only means of pacifying these restless spirit Pokemon and riddling out what mystery lies at the dark heart of Lavender Town’s haunting situation. While a survival horror-lite title might seem like a dark detour for the Pokemon brand, Game Freak’s games always include eerie elements, with some of the franchise’s ghoulish ghosties’ Pokedex descriptions being downright disturbing.

The fun designs of the Ghost-type Pokemon ensure the games imagery would never be unsuitable for a younger audience, while tonally the game could easily keep closer to Luigi’s Mansion rather than the Fatal Frame franchise itself. Narratively, the fright fest could easily resolve with a nightmarish Darkrai, menacing Marshadow, or envious Mimikyu causing all of the chaos without ever encroaching on Fatal Frame‘s typical masochistic human sacrifice notes. As far as finding an audience, well, that should be the least of producers fears! Wherever there are Pokemon, there are eager trainers, where there are trainers, there are those clamoring for Pokemon Snap. If Creepypasta is anything to go by, this dark dream of a crossover’s audience has been lurking in the shadows of the franchise for a long time.

Monster Hunter and Pokemon– “Pocket Monster Hunter”

Ironically, I sleep soundly waiting for the nightmare merging of Koei Tecmo’s Fatal Frame and Pokemon Snap. But, the lack of a Pokemon and Monster Hunter crossover… that keeps me up at night. One might be an action RPG and the other a more traditional JRPG, but fundamentally they are very similar concepts centered around defeating or capturing powerful, elemental monsters out in the wild. That might sound reductive, but I endlessly compare the wyverns and beasts of Monster Hunter World to the Pokemon I’m much more familiar with.

The frigid, elegant Legiana of MHW I’ve taken to calling Lugia. My thunder kinsect? He’s a Vikavolt, for sure! My Palico? Well, he’s named after Dragon Ball Super‘s Lord Beerus, but he could’ve easily been yellow and named Pikachu, or Meowth, that’s right! Jyuratodus is Quagsire, Tobi-Kadachi is a Pachirisu/Emolga mother Muk-er, Paoluma is Swoobat, Barroth is a Bastiodon, and need I go on? As if that wasn’t enough, both games have Dragonites for Arceus’ sake! There needs to be a Pocket Monster and Monster Hunter mashup! The similarities are already there and it’s too fun a concept, not to mention potentially monstrously lucrative, not to happen! Monster Hunter World might have been a monumental success, but imagine the new fans it could capture if it directly appealed to Poke-fans? And what could make the MH gameplay loop even more engaging? If it featured popular Pokemon, of course!

A wild Lugia and Swoobat appeared!

There’d have to be certain adjustments on both ends of the crossover. For one thing, you can’t kill and carve Pokemon. Equally pressing, the game would have to take place before Pokemon battles, balls, and badges. It wouldn’t be the first time a Pokemon spinoff was set in a much earlier era than the main series games, just see Pokemon Conquest. The game could easily revolve around a human settlement handling dangerous, neighboring Pokemon before the advent of Pokeballs and trainers, allowing for the crossover to mirror Monster Hunter‘s signature gameplay. In the place of child trainers would be experienced Pokemon hunters equipped with MH‘s signature arsenal of weapons. A fight with a Pokemon might not culminate in a choice between killing and capturing a target like in MH, but in main series Poke-titles, wild Pokemon encounters present players with a similar choice between knocking a Pokemon out or capturing it, and the same could be said here. Rather than carved, maybe a K.O.ed ‘mon could be sketched and studied before being let loose, where captured monsters would be studied more rigorously. All resulting armor and equipment could simply be inspired by wild Pokemon rather than supplied through wild Pokemon parts.

Alternatively, and admittedly more difficult to conceive, perhaps the player could control roughly human sized sized Pokemon wielding weapons they could generate through their elemental powers. For example, a low level water Katana user might play as Froakie, eventually replaced by a fierce Greninja with a wicked water Katana. After SSB, this isn’t without precedent. Weavile could wield ice Dual Blades, Magmortar a fiery Heavy Bowgun, Empoleon perhaps a watery Charge Blade, and Aegislash… well, he is a Sword and Shield.  This might be an unnecessarily complicated rework of the existing weapon and armor system, but could create the quintessential Pokemon battle experience. In either case, Pocket Monster Hunter is about as good a combo as a Slowpoke and Shellder, and given Monster Hunter‘s long history of exclusivity on Nintendo consoles, maybe this pipe dream isn’t so wild after all.

Here’s to hoping for a lot more uncanny combinations out of the Big N and friends.  What are your favorite Nintendo crossovers and, given the opportunity, what franchises would you choose to fuse? Let me know!  And take the worlds advice to keep dreaming!



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PAX Online: ‘Unpacking’ and ‘Infernax’

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game the calm and relaxing Unpacking and the not-so calm and relaxing Infernax.



Unpacking and Infernax

Our PAX Online coverage continues with a game that takes a hated activity and somehow makes it relaxing and another game that will leave you clenching your buttocks.


Unpacking game

Platforms: PC
Release: 2021

As someone who is coming fresh off of moving just a little over a month ago, you couldn’t have blamed me for being a little skeptical going into what was dubbed a “zen puzzle” game based on the final stretch of the process. Unpacking is just that, though. It’s a calming, almost therapeutic exercise that happened to serve as a wonderful way for me to unwind at the end of a day.

Unpacking is exactly what it says on the tin. There are no scores, no timers, no leaderboards, just you, and a few boxes with various items in them that need to be placed somewhere. The demo starts with a single bedroom in 1997. There’s nothing in the game that tells you where something should go, only your own taste and intuition; a locked diary would probably go in a desk-drawer while a soccer trophy would probably be displayed on a shelf.

As I slowly unearthed items one-by-one, I gradually got a feel for what the room’s new inhabitant was most likely like. The endless supply of stuffed animals implied someone of younger age while the numerous art supplies indicated someone inclined to right brain thinking. It’s rather engaging to learn about this person’s life purely by their belongings.

Every item taken out was like a delightful surprise and would sometimes even make me feel a little sentimental such as when I took out a small device that was clearly a Tamagotchi. More importantly, Unpacking nails that sinking feeling of when you feel like you’ve used all your available space but still have boxes left. Reaching the point of just throwing stuff wherever it fits is such an immediately relatable feeling that I was almost offended. And that was only for a single bedroom!

Unpacking game

The demo’s second stage was a little more involved with a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen in the year of 2004. The hilarious moments of finding a boot in your kitchenware box or a bra with your toiletries also felt like a call-out to my own hodge-podge packing methods. It’s something I can’t help but let out an exasperated chuckle at.

It was also neat to see how this person has grown since their earlier abode. Much fewer stuffed animals but more art supplies and a brand new computer imply this character is maybe entering the working adult world. I’ve never actually seen this character, but I can’t help but feel a connection to them already, and that was only after two moves. The full game will have eight total moves to follow them through and I am genuinely curious to see how our nameless and faceless protagonist grows throughout them.

Now if only unpacking in real life could be this soothing.



Platforms: PC
Release: TBA

Some players may recognize Berzerk Studio for their excellent 2018 bullet-hell, rhythm game Just Shapes & Beats. Coming hot of the heels of that hit they immediately pivoted in the new direction with Infernax, a delightfully edgy 8-bit adventure platformer that takes cues from old-school Castlevania titles.

Our hero returns to his land after a successful crusade only to find it overrun by horrible monstrosities in every which direction. With nothing but mace in hand, he sets out on a quest anew to rid the land of the undead filth. Immediately apparent upon starting is just how tightly the game controls; anyone fond of earlier NES titles will feel right at home with Infernax. I quickly got a handle on my exact attack reach down to the pixel and began mowing down the zombies in front of me. It emphasized how much joy a game is possible of eliciting from simply a jump and attack button.

Getting to that proficiency is important too because the game doesn’t waste any time in taking off the training wheels! Even the base enemies shaved off half my HP if I got careless and that difficulty ramped up at a rapid rate as new enemy types were introduced at a decent clip such as flying evil eyes and jumping rodents. Not only do these foes burst into tasty experience points and gold to be spent on upgrades, but also into extremely satisfying fountains of blood.

Infernax isn’t particularly shy about turning up the gore factor, but it’s still impressive by just how creative they get with it using simple pixel art. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you are killed. Every single enemy type has a unique kill animation when they deal the final blow to our hero. From the chump ass pillbugs to the big bad bosses, all of them mutilate you in a different way and it’s honestly morbidly mesmerizing to witness. It made me want to suicide against every enemy I came across just so I could see what creative way they took my life.


Depending on your playstyle you might not want to do this, though, as Infernax features two different ways to respawn when you die. Hardcore respawn sends you all the way back to your last save point, just like in those classic NES titles. Casual respawn lets you restart right where you left off with no loss in progress, but choosing to do so locks you out from Hardcore the rest of the game. It’s a sort of mark of shame that I was glad to wear during the demo after I came up against the final boss and promptly got my ass handed to me. It sounds a little cheeky on paper but is actually very consistent with the game’s overtly edgy tone.

Infernax feels like a game that was lost to time during the NES era and is just now being rediscovered. Those looking for for a game that harkens back to the simplicity of the olden days need not look any further.

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Indie Games Spotlight – Going Full Circle

We’re featuring five exciting indie games in our latest spotlight, including the internship roguelike Going Under and the cozy puzzles of Lonesome Village.



Journey of the Broken Circle

Indie Games Spotlight is Goomba Stomp’s biweekly column where we highlight some of the most exciting new and upcoming independent games. Summer may have come to a close, but that hasn’t stopped big announcements from rolling in. With events like PAX Online and the recent PlayStation 5 Showcase flooding the web with announcements, trailers, and gameplay footage, there’s been a constant deluge of news to keep up with. With so much coming on the horizon, we’re spotlighting five exciting indies that you’ll be able to play sooner rather than later. Whether you’re in the mood for a brutally addictive action game or a cozy adventure and social sim, there’s bound to be a game that speaks to you in this spotlight.

Moving Up Professionally in Going Under

Work is its own payment in Going Under. In this action game from developer Aggro Crab, you’re put in the shoes of an unpaid intern who must explore the endless ruins of failed tech startups while fighting off the monsters that spawn within them. It’s hard work to do without a single paycheck—but hey, at least you’re gaining valuable experience!

As a former unpaid intern myself, the writing in Going Under certainly resonates with me and it’s sure to strike a chord with anyone who’s ever felt underappreciated or overworked. Its vibrant and colorful 3D graphics, as well as its satirical story, only make it all the more enticing. It really should offer a great working experience when it hits all consoles and PC via Steam on September 24.

Animated GIF

Fill in the Gaps in Journey of the Broken Circle

Something’s missing in Journey of the Broken Circle. Like its name would suggest, this puzzle platformer follows a Pacman-like circle with a hole to fill. It wanders through a world that is whimsical and existential at once, searching for a companion to fill its gaps. As the circle rolls through ethereal environments, it encounters different shapes to use that allow for new gameplay mechanics.

Journey of the Broken Circle might be about an abstract shape, but in its quest to become whole, it strives to capture the human experience. It promises to be an intimate experience that clocks in at about five hours to complete. If you’re interested in getting this ball rolling, it’s already available now on Switch and Steam.

Prepare to Get GORSD

There’s a delicate balance between unsettling the player without being outright scary. GORSD treads the line here as a one-hit-kill shooter that stars humans encased in the skins of octopuses, dragons with human faces, and nightmarish environments. Something feels off about GORSD, but that’s exactly what makes it so interesting.

Brought to life with detailed pixel art, GORSD supports up to four players who can face off in chaotic matches in varied arenas. It also features a full-fledged single-player campaign with a vast overworld with dozens of unique stages. Its concept is inspired by its developers’ native Southeast Asian cultures, making for a unique gameplay and aesthetic experience. If you’re ready to dive in and see it for yourself, it’s available now on all consoles and PC via Steam.

Get Ready For a Foregone Conclusion

Saying Foregone is a 2D Dark Souls would be cliché, but accurate nonetheless. It’s a hardcore action game where you’ll fight against insurmountable odds to prevent monsters from overrunning the world. It has a brutally addictive gameplay loop—its difficulty may be excruciating, but because it offers a wide assortment of abilities to leverage, it’s immensely euphoric once you overcome the challenges before you.

This beautiful 3D/pixelated hybrid action game has been available on PC in early access since February, but at long last, it’s seeing its full console release in October. It’s been a promising title ever since its pre-release days, and now that it’s finally seeing its complete iteration, there’s never been a better time to dive in and give it a shot. It’s hitting all platforms on October 5, so there’s not long to wait!

Finding Good Company in a Lonesome Village

Mix Zelda with Animal Crossing and you might get something like Lonesome Village. This newly-revealed puzzle adventure game features Zelda-like adventure in a hand-drawn world populated by animal characters. Players control a wandering coyote who stumbles upon a strange village and decides to investigate its mysterious happenings by interacting with villagers, solving puzzles, and exploring its dungeons.

It’s more than a simple adventure game. In addition to puzzle-solving, you’ll interact with Lonesome Village’s eclectic cast of characters to forge relationships and unravel brooding mysteries. It’s showing plenty of potential with its cozy gameplay loop, and if you want to give it a shot, check out its official demo from its Kickstarter page! It’s already been fully funded in less than 24 hours, but if you want to help the developers out even further, consider contributing to their campaign.

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PAX Online: ‘Inkulinati’ and ‘Pumpkin Jack’

The PAX Online celebrations continue with the strategy game, Inkulinati, and spooky Halloween themed Pumpkin Jack.



Inkulinati and Pumpkin Jack

The PAX Online celebrations continue with a strategy game whose tales are writ in ink and a game sure to put you in an early Halloween mood.



Platforms: Switch and Steam
Release: 2021

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Competitive strategy games stress me out. Chess? Stresses me out. Checkers? Stresses me out. Star Craft? Stresses me out. Managing that stress as a form of stimulation is what makes the best strategy games shine, though, and Inkulinati is so far demonstrating all the facets of such a game.

The titular Inkulinati are masters of a craft that brings their inked creatures to life on parchment, including a caricature of themselves. The two Inkulinati do written battle with each other until only one is left standing. The battles are carried out in a charming medieval art style that looks like it was taken straight out of a manuscript you’d find carefully stored in a library. These aren’t the masterpieces of Da Vinci or Van Gogh, but the kinds of scribbles you’d find the layman making on the edges of pages either out of boredom or mischievousness. The playful art makes for a playful tone and jolly times.

The core thrust of the gameplay is that each Inkulinati utilizes ink points to conjure units, or “creatures”, onto the parchment in a turn-based manner and sends them into the fray. There were a fair amount of creatures available in the demo — ranging from a simple swordsdog with well-rounded stats to a donkey capable of stunning foes with its trusty butt trumpet. Many many more creature types are promised in the full game, but I found even with the limited selection of the demo the gameplay was still able to be showcased well.

Your primary Inkulinati also has some tricks up its depending on the type you’ve chosen to take into battle. Instant damage to or healing a unit were the two shown off in the demo, as well as being able to shove units. Shoving is particularly useful as you can push enemies into the hellfires that encroach the battlefield as the battle wages on, instantly defeating them.

Doing battle with an opponent it all well and good, but what’s the point if it’s not immortalized for generations to experience down the line? Inkulimati understands this need and will record every single action of the battlefield in written word. It’s infinitely charming, and the amount of variations in how to say what amounts to just “X unit attacked Y enemy” is astonishing. How can you not chuckle at, “Powerful Morpheus killed the enemy and may those who failed to witness this live in constant pain and regret”?

Pumpkin Jack

Pumpkin Jack

Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and Steam
Release: Q4 2020

Halloween may be a little over a month away but that didn’t stop the 3D action platformer Pumpkin Jack getting me in the spookyween mood. The human realm is suffering from the Devil’s curse and have elected the aid of a wizarding champion to save them from it. Not to be outdone, the Devil also chooses his own champion to stop the wizard, choosing the despicable spirit Jack. With the tasty reward of being able to pass on from hell, Jack dons his pumpkin head and a wooden & straw body on his quest to keep the world ruined. The premise sounds slightly grim but make no mistake that this is a goofy game through and through, a fact only emphasized by a brilliant opening narration dripping with sarcasm and morbid glee.

The demo took us through Pumpkin Jack‘s first stage, a dilapidated farmland full of ambient lanterns abandoned storehouses. The visuals are compliments by a wonderfully corny soundtrack full of all the tubas, xylophones, and ghost whistles one would expect a title that is eternally in the Halloween mood.

We got the basics of traversal, like dodge rolling and double jumps, before coming upon a terrified murder of crows. Turns out their favorite field has been occupied by a dastardly living scarecrow and they want Jack to take care of it. One crow joins Jack on his quest, taking the form of a projectile attack that he can sic on enemies. Jack also obtains a shovel he can use to whack on the animated skeletons with a simple three-hit combo. There’s nothing particularly standout about the combat, but it doesn’t necessarily need to be this early on. More weapons such as a rifle and scythe are promised in the full game and should go a way towards developing the combat along with more enemy variety.

Pumpkin Jack

Collectible crow skulls also dot the map and seem to be cleverly hidden as even when I felt like I was carefully searching the whole stage I had only found 12 out of 20 by the end. Their purpose is unknown in the demo, so here’s hopping they amount to something making me want to find those last eight in the full version.

After accidentally lighting a barn ablaze and escaping in a dramatic sequence we came across the scarecrow in question. Defeating it was a rather simple affair that was just a matter of shooting it out of the air with the crow then wailing on it with Jack’s shovel. We were awarded a new glaive-type weapon as a reward but unable to give it a whirl in the demo, unfortunately. All-in-all, Pumpkin Jack shows promise as a follow-up to action 3D platformers of yore like Jak & Daxter, so here’s hoping to a solid haunting when it releases later this year.

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