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7 ‘Splatoon 2’ Crossovers That Need to Happen

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Splatoon

Splatoon has a somewhat rich history of crossovers with other brands. Be it through fashion via Nintendo’s partnership with Uniqlo or through Splatfests like the iconic Spongebob vs. Patrick face-off, the team has been fairly calculated with which brands it partners with. Now just a few days ago, Nintendo announced the first-ever tournament-style Splatfest as a crossover with the upcoming Nickelodeon cartoon Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That got us thinking: What other awesome crossovers would we love to see in Splatfest form? Without further ado, here is a small sampling of our dream Splatoon 2 collaborations.

One-Punch Man: Saitama vs. Genos

To say that One-Punch Man is a hit would be a major understatement. The 2015 superhero anime made waves when it originally aired, but its move to Netflix last year exposed even more millions of viewers to Yusuke Murata’s masterpiece. Now that the show has a second season firmly in the pipeline, a feature in Splatoon 2 seems like the perfect way to appeal to their shared audiences.

There’s a lot of potential for an upset in a Saitama vs. Genos Splatfest. On the one hand, Saitama seems like a clear favorite as the main character of the series and may very well sweep the popular vote. On the other hand, Genos’ character design is much more appealing to the typical shonen audience who might have never seen the show. With enough luck, this might actually give Genos a chance to beat Saitama for once.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2: Pyra vs. Mythra

2017 was a banner year for Monolith Soft. Not only did they keep their promise of getting Xenoblade Chronicles 2 out before the end of the year, but the game has already become the best-selling in the series. While this may be partially due to the Switch’s success in general and the fact that it’s an excellent JRPG, it’s also likely due to the popularity of Xenoblade 2’s leading ladies, Pyra and Mythra.

Hardcore fans have been arguing over who the “best girl” is between the two ever since the game dropped back in December. Advocates of Pyra tout her sweet and innocent nature, whereas fans of Mythra love her no-nonsense attitude and the fact that she’s the true form of the Aegis. Now that the game’s hype has started to die down a bit after the holidays, cross-promoting it via a Splatfest would be a great way for Nintendo to reignite interest.

Super Mario Bros.: Mario vs. Luigi

If there’s one Splatfest crossover that I would bet money on happening, it’s this one. It’s honestly shocking that we haven’t had a Mario vs. Luigi Splatfest yet, especially given the immense success of Super Mario Odyssey. Though the two brothers are far from enemies, the narrative of Luigi living in his older brother’s shadow has been ingrained in gaming culture for decades. Why not pit the two against each other in Splatoon to see who’s really the best once and for all?

DC vs. Marvel

If there’s one thing that the average consumer isn’t tired of, it’s superhero movies. Marvel has managed to transform its comic book IPs into box office smashes time and again with a level of quality that’s almost scary. D.C. hasn’t had nearly as much success comparatively, but the hits it has had have been massive (see: The Dark Knight Trilogy and Wonder Woman). The huge roster on both sides make the crossover ideal for a tournament-style Splatfest, but which characters should make the cut?

After careful deliberation, it seems wise to have two of the most iconic superheroes and two recent favorites go head-to-head. Though Superman might be the classic D.C. icon, Batman is likely more relevant to the younger demographic playing Splatoon 2. Spiderman’s recent films, inclusion in The Avengers and the upcoming game also make him a great candidate. As for the current favorites, it’s hard to go with any representatives other than Wonder Woman and Black Panther as popular superheroes in recent memory. In fact, the sheer popularity of all of these franchises is guaranteed to make for one of the most hyped Splatfests this side of Callie vs. Marie.

Adventure Time: Finn vs. Jake

The impact that Adventure Time had in the cartoon world is still palpable more than eight years later. Finn and Jake gradually became both household names and the beloved friends of kids and adults alike as the show chronicled their misadventures in the Land of Ooo. Though Rick and Morty might have been a more current cartoon choice, there’s no doubt that the majority of Splatoon 2 players are at least familiar with the show. With Adventure Time airing its 10th and final season this year, holding a Splatfest in its honor only seems right.

IHOP vs. Waffle House

Food-related Splatfests are always some of the best. Be it Burgers vs. Pizza, Pro-pineapple vs. Anti-pineapple or the infamous McDonald’s-sponsored Fries vs. McNuggets Splatfest, people can get pretty passionate when it comes to food. Since we’re already seen a number of savory themes, it only seems right to focus on something a little sweeter this time around: pancakes vs. waffles.

One could argue (and rightfully so) that IHOP would be at a major advantage as the obviously more well-known brand. Waffle House is a large chain but is generally limited to the southern United States. As its name implies, IHOP has locations all around the world and the mindshare to match. Despite all of that, though, this is a battle that would ultimately come down to food more so than branding, which gives me hope that this would be a contentious match.

Avatar: The Last Airbender 

There are few shows across any medium that are as beloved as the original Avatar: The Last Airbender. Many of us grew up enraptured by the war-torn-yet-vibrant world of Avatar and the thrilling adventures of Aang and his crew. Just as important as the themes of friendship and loyalty were the stunning elemental clashes between benders of different nations. Every kid growing up with the show wanted to be able to bend an element, and I’m willing to bet that the appeal of that idea is still very much alive.

Even though younger gamers might be more familiar with sequel series The Legend of Korra, the basis for the tournament-style Splatfest would remain the same. The first two rounds would have matchups between opposing elements: Fire vs. Water and Earth vs. Air. The winners of each would move forward to duke it out for the coveted title of the best element. Not only would this be easy to coordinate since every element already has a corresponding color in the show (and thus a predetermined shirt/ink color), but it also sets the tournament up for the extremely hype possibility of a Fire vs. Air final showdown. This one needs to happen.

Brent fell head over heels for writing at the ripe age of seven and hasn't looked back since. His first love is the JRPG, but he can enjoy anything with a good hook and a pop of color. When he isn't writing about the latest indie release or binging gaming coverage on YouTube, you can find Brent watching and critiquing all manner of anime. Send him recommendations or join him in being way too excited about Animal Crossing: New Horizons @CreamBasics on Twitter.

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Game Reviews

‘Coffee Talk’ Review: The Best Brew in Town

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

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It’s 9:00pm. The rain just started coming down softly a few minutes ago, and the street outside is reflecting the lights above it. Neon signs shine brightly in the distance, although it’s hard to make out the words. You unlock the doors to the coffee shop and wipe down the counters in order to get them clean for the customers. The rain makes a soft sound as it hits the glass and passerby speed up their walking pace to avoid it. The bells chime as a tall, green orc walks in and sits down at your table in silence. You wonder what their story is…

I wanted to set the tone for this review because of how important atmosphere and audio/visual design is in the world of Coffee Talk. While it’s easy to boil the game down as a visual novel-type experience, it’s honestly so much more than that. A unique cast of characters, incredible user interface, and a mysterious protagonist combine to form the most enjoyable experience I’ve had this year on Switch.

Coffee Talk
Some of the subject matter can be pretty serious in nature…

Coffee Talk is beautiful because of how simple it is. The entire game takes place within a single coffee shop. As the barista, you’re tasked with making drinks for the patrons of the shop as well as making conversations with them. The twist is that earth is populated with creatures like orcs, werewolves, and succubi. The relationship between the various races is handled very well throughout the story, and some interesting parallels are made to the real world.

Making drinks is as simple as putting together a combination of three ingredients and hitting the ‘Serve’ button. If a unique drink is made, it will be added to a recipe list that can be referenced on the barista’s cell phone. This is where the awesome user interface comes in, as the phone has a series of apps that can be accessed at any moment in the game. One app houses your recipe list, another acts as a facebook for the characters in the game, one allows you to switch between songs, and the other houses a series of short stories that one of the characters in the game writes as it progresses. It’s one of the coolest parts of the whole experience and helps it stand out from other games in the genre.

Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen.

Coffee Talk cycles between talking with customers and making drinks for them. In the beginning, they will ask for basic beverages that can be brewed on the fly. Later on however, they may ask for a specific type of drink that has a unique title. These drinks often have certain descriptive features that hint at other possibilities in terms of unique dialogue. If the wrong drink is made, you’ll have five chances to trash it and make a new one. If the wrong drink is made, don’t expect the customer to be pleased about it.

The gameplay really is not the focus here though; it’s the characters and their stories that take center stage. An elf with relationship issues, a writer that can’t seem to pin down her next story, and an alien whose sole goal is to mate with an earthling are just a few of the examples of the characters you’ll meet during the story. There are tons of memorable moments throughout Coffee Talk, with every character bringing something unique to the table. The barista develops an interesting relationship with many of these characters as well.

Coffee Talk
Appearances can often be deceiving in this game.

Even though serving the wrong drinks can change some of the dialogue, don’t expect any sort of options or branching paths in terms of the story. It’s not that kind of experience; the story should simply be enjoyed for what it is. I found myself glued to the screen at the end of each of the in-game days, waiting to see what would happen in the morning. The first playthrough also doesn’t answer all of the game’s questions, as the second one is filled with all kinds of surprises that I won’t spoil here.


Coffee Talk is as quaint as your local coffee shop. It’s relatively short, wonderfully sweet, and absolutely committed to the art form of telling a story through a video game screen. It’s an easy recommendation for anyone who loves video games, not just visual novel fans. There are characters in the game that I’ll certainly be thinking about for a long time, especially when the setting brings out the best in them. Don’t pass this one up.

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Games

The Magic of Nintendo: How Mario and Zelda Connect us to Our Inner Child

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Magic of Nintendo

Nintendo is special. Many excellent developers depend upon story or progression systems to entice engagement, but not Nintendo. Nintendo games captivate because of their immediate charm. There is no need for a payoff. The games, themselves, are enough: they elicit feelings, hard to find in adulthood. Through intrepid discovery, playful presentation, and unfiltered whimsy, the best of Nintendo connects gamers to their childlike selves.

The heart of any great Nintendo game is discovery and no encounter encapsulates this better than Breath of the Wild’s Eventide Island. First, finding the island requires genuine gumption. Found far from Hyrule’s shore, the island is only clearly visible from other islands, and even then, it’s only a speck in the distance. Reaching the island requires players to brave the open ocean and head towards something … that could be nothing. Then, upon arriving on the beach, a spirit takes all the player’s gear, including clothes and food. Link, literally, is left in his underwear. From there, players must make clever use of Link’s base skills in order to steal enemy weapons and make traps. The scenario creates a marvelous sense of self-sufficiency brought on by one’s own desire to discover. The player comes to the island purely of their own choosing, tackles the sea, and then overcomes obstacles without the aid of their strongest tools. The game turns players into plucky children who are discovering they can take care of themselves.

The intrepidity of Breath of the Wild and other Nintendo greats mirrors the feelings Shigeru Miyamoto, the father of many Nintendo franchises, experienced as a child. “I can still recall the kind of sensation I had when I was in a small river, and I was searching with my hands beneath a rock, and something hit my finger, and I noticed it was a fish,” Miyamoto told the New Yorker. “That’s something that I just can’t express in words. It’s such an unusual situation.” In sequences like Eventide Island, players don’t just understand what Miyamoto describes, they feel it: Apprehension gives way to exhilaration as the unknown becomes a place of play.

 Nintendo’s intrepid gameplay is often amplified by playful presentation with Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island being the quintessential example. The game’s visuals, defined by pastel colors and simple hand-drawings, appear crayoned by a child while the celestial chimes that punctuate the jubilant soundtrack evoke shooting stars. The overall effect cannot be understated. It takes the surreal and turns it real, allowing players to interact, tangibly, with imagination.

Super Mario Odyssey Wooden Kingdom

Even if one removes the presentation and gameplay from Nintendo’s masterpieces, an unabashed creativity remains that bucks norm and convention. The arbiter is fun; reason and logic have no say. For instance, Super Mario Odyssey’s Wooded Kingdom, takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting akin to Nier Automata. Players explore the metal remnants of a civilization that has become a lush home to robotic beings. However, unlike Nier, the dark undertones of the past have no bearing on the game or those who inhabit its universe. The post-apocalyptic setting is just a fun backdrop. It’s as though a bunch of children got together, began playing with toys, and one of the kids brought along his sibling’s adult action figures. There is no attention paid to the context, only unfiltered imagination.

When they’re at their best the creators at Nintendo invite gamers to come and play, like a parent arranging a play date. Pulled along by joyful gameplay that expands in unforeseen ways, players desire to play for the sake of play. It’s a halcyon state of being: No messy thoughts or contradiction, just joy.

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Games

‘Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind’: An Utterly Shameless Cash Grab

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some other trash.

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Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

In the 15 year long history of DLC, we have seen some really shameless displays. The notorious horse armor incident of 2006 and a notable day one DLC for the ending game of a trilogy notwithstanding, few companies have had the utter audacity to offer so little content for such a high price point. Enter Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind.

Coming in at a $40 price point (!!!) Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind offers an 80% recycled campaign, a boss rush mode, and some social media nonsense for people who really hate themselves. That’s really it, that’s what you get. Honestly, Square-Enix should be utterly embarrassed by this DLC.

It’s been one year: 365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes, or 31556952 seconds, since the release of Kingdom Hearts III. Let that sink in as you begin the meat of Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind. Think of it as the extended version of a movie you really like… you know, the kind where they add 4 minutes to the 120 minute runtime.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind, really is that cynical. I’m not kidding when I tell you that the game literally starts with an exact cut scene from the base game, and a cut scene that happens to be available from the theater mode of the main game that you’ve already bought if you’re playing this DLC. Yes, the introduction to this new content is… content you’ve already seen.

In fact, that’s kind of the sticking point here: most of what you get for your hard-earned cash is footage you’ve already seen, and battles you’ve already fought, and story you’ve already experienced, just with slight alterations for context. Remember back in the 2000s, when we were super obsessed with prequels? This is like that, except even more egregious.

Generally I’m not so unforgiving as to call a company out for a forthright cash grab, but that’s absolutely what Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is. There’s just no other way to put it. You might find someone in the marketing department for Square-Enix who would disagree, but being a company that has faced just these sort of allegations for their last two major releases, Square-Enix either doesn’t read the news, or doesn’t care what people think of their products.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Square-Enix was roundly accused of shipping unfinished products in the case of both Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III — their two most high profile releases of the last decade. I personally gave mostly positive reviews of both games for this very website but if you want ammo to suggest that this company is deliberately trading on the nostalgia and passion of its fan base in order to make financial headway, there are few examples you could draw from that are as obvious as this DLC.

Look, maybe you’re a really big Kingdom Hearts fan. Maybe you just really wanted to know what the context was for that cliffhanger ending in Kingdom Hearts III. Maybe you just don’t do much research before you buy something. Or maybe… you just really trust this company for some reason.

Hey, I’m not judging… hell, I bought this DLC for $40 same as anyone else. I oughta be honest that I’m not reviewing Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind as some holier than thou critic, talking down to you from my position of privilege. No, I’m an angry consumer in this particular case. I’m a person who spent enough to replace a flat tire on my car, or buy my family dinner, on a game that is clearly playing off of my love for a franchise, and using it to bilk me out of money in a method that is so clear, and so concise, that those involved in the entire endeavor should be totally embarrassed for their part in the creation, marketing, pricing, and distribution of this expansion.

Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind

Yes, fans had their complaints about Kingdom Hearts III. “Where are the hardcore boss battles? Where are the Final Fantasy characters? Where are the secret areas? Where are the hidden plot developments?” Still, to address these particular complaints by hammering a few minutes or seconds here and there into already existing content is truly like spitting in the faces of the people who have built the house you’re living in.

I haven’t sat in the board rooms at Square-Enix and I haven’t been in email chains about the planning of projects at their company but what I can say is that there is something rotten in Denmark if this is what passes for a satisfying piece of content for the wildly devoted fans of a hugely popular franchise in 2020. Kingdom Hearts III: Re:Mind is literally, truthfully, and succinctly, the worst piece of DLC I’ve ever purchased.

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