You can say a lot of things about Konami, but despite the beating they’ve taken in the public (both fair and unfair) in this millennium, the company is still home to many cherished IPs that players around the world have many fond memories of. So when we caught wind of an event showcasing the company’s upcoming releases we had to find a way in.
Thankfully a warm reception was received for a cold email and we could call off the proposed infiltration mission (Snake would’ve been proud…I hope). The showcase featured four titles, 2 featuring familiar IP and the remainder are titles from unfamiliar studios but were polished nonetheless. Regardless of the title played, it instilled in me the company still cares about quality and fun!
Super Bomberman R2
Bomberman and I have been through the trenches together (I even own the one we DON’T talk about…I’m looking at you Bomberman Zero). While not a native Konami IP (it was created by Hudson Soft and joined the Konami family after an acquisition), I remember fondly the countless hours spent blowing up college friends on the 16 bit iterations or the joy in my face and the frantic rush I would be in when a costume cube appeared on the field in Bomberman Live on the Xbox 360. Super Bomberman R had the distinction of being the first title to be released after Hudson Soft’s dissolution and the title saw releases on all the current platforms at the time and even a free to play iteration on Google’s Stadia platform. Super Bomberman R2 which is due for a September release looks to build on the foundation of it’s predecessor and spread it’s fun chaos to a new generation of players.
Super Bomberman R2 introduces the Ellons, creatures which can aid the Bomber Siblings against the forces of the Dark Moon. That’s all fine and dandy, but to me Bomberman was never about the single player experience (the Ellons will play a role in multiplayer), but what I was interested in was the multiplayer. The game also introduces a new multiplayer mode called “Castle”. It’s a 16 player mode where up to 3 players can defend a castle and prevent the remaining attackers from plundering treasure. A majority of the time demoing was spent playing this mode and I had opportunities to be both attacking and defending. I would lean towards defending simply because there’s less coordination amongst other players and I can prioritize protecting a singular chest while running the clock down.
R2 will include all the content from R which means you can run on the field with bombers who will look familiar to fans of video games. Alucard from Castlevania, Pyramid Head from SIlent Hill, Solid Snake from MGS are some of the cameos bombers you can use in multiplayer. R2 will have its own share of guest bombers and the one announced at the event is the Bean from Mediatonic’s Fall Guys. It makes sense since Bomberman has made an appearance in their game it was finally time to reciprocate!
Super Bomberman R2 will be released on Switch, PlayStation and Xbox platforms on September 12th.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle
If you can rub your belly and pat your head at the same time, you might excel at Second Impact Games’ first original title, Super Crazy Rhythm Castle. Go solo or team up with up to 3 friends as you ascend a castle and depose its despotic king. Switching between rhythm gameplay and frantic action, it’s as if Overcooked had a child with GuitarFreaks (I could’ve said hero…but this is an article about Konami, so Freaks it is!)
The demo took us through the early portion of the game in our quest to dethrone the maniacal King Ferdinand. Dumped into lower levels of the dungeon, we’re forced to go room to room, earning stars to proceed. Every room has a note highway, depending on your skill, it can be a three track highway or a four track highway. Once the music starts, situate yourself and start playing notes. During the course of gameplay you will be forced to clear the highway to retain visibility of the highway or perform a task which increases your score. These tasks include collecting gold bubbles or feeding a mysterious entity broccoli so you can complete a dark ritual to enhance the strength of some weed killer. It will be interesting to see how many rooms this castle will contain and what zany antics we’ll be up to.
While I enjoyed the musical portion of the game, I really do hope the final product will allow for some sort of button configuration adjustment as playing a rhythm game with L1, Triangle and R1 just isn’t the most ergonomic setup. Also if you’re playing with multiple players…what’s the endgame going to be? If there’s four of you in the party and one crown…who will become the next king? I guess we’ll find out when Super Crazy Rhythm Castle comes out on PC, Switch, PlayStation and the Xbox platforms. Until then, keep the beat going!
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1
This one kept us waiting for sure. Given how there was a falling out between Hideo Kojima and Konami, fans of Metal Gear would lament that this franchise would languish and never see the light of day again. Thankfully Konami proved us wrong and are making an effort in re-releasing on a new set of platforms.
Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 collects the original Metal Gear games (NES and the MSX games which didn’t not originally see a US version in its original release) and the first 3 entries in the Metal Gear Solid Series. Each game features a bevy of extras which include a very thorough digital book (150+ pages for the MGS3 one alone) which provides additional background on the entry dubbed “Master Book”, the full script for most of the titles.
The version available at the showcase was the Switch version and like the Final Fantasy Pixel Remaster titles each Metal Gear Solid title was treated as its own piece of software and the Metal Gear titles shared a singular icon. This happened because the Metal Gear Solid titles can be purchased as standalone titles, but why someone would only want a specific title is beyond me. The initial download only includes the base titles so additional features such as additional languages and some variant versions of the games will need to be downloaded separately.
Given there’s five titles to tackle in this compilation, I can’t really say I can give in depth thoughts on the collection but here are some takeaways. Metal Gear Solid is the roughest looking one of the bunch, whereas Metal Gear Solid 2 and 3 is the best looking for the bunch. If you’re a returning player who is opting to purchase the Switch version (not sure why you would do that…but you do you, I guess?)prepare for some serious control shock as the face button differences will have you fumbling for a bit, for example X on the Switch is the analog of the Triangle on the Sony platform…it certainly doesn’t help that Sony’s button layout has an X button as well. However that shock was over I was tranquilizing soldiers on the tanker and CQCing small woodland creatures for food like it was 2002 and 2004 respectively.
The name Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 implies that a Vol. 2 should exist and I certainly hope the second volume will finally free MGS4 from its PlayStation 3 prison. Flipping through the Master Book of each title, it’s a shame these only exist in a digital form as they appear to be laid out and ready to go to the printers at the moment’s notice. One can only hope any titles included in vol. 2 will get the same attention to detail and care games from vol. 1 received.
Players news and old can put on their headbands and infiltrate a bevy of battlefields when Metal Gear Solid Master Collection Vol. 1 arrives to PC, Switch, Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation platform on October 24th 2023.
Cygni: All Guns Blazing
Konami’s got quite the shooting pedigree with its Gradius series, so it must’ve been quite the feather in the cap of Scottish developer KeelWeeks Ltd when the company reached out and offered a publishing deal for their first title Cygni: All Guns Blazing.
Cygni is a twin stick shoot, however don’t expect to be firing in all directions. You really have about 140 degrees of where you can send your bullets flying. What distinguishes Cygni is its mix of Air to Air and Ground to Air combat, you’ll have to decide which combat type to prioritize. Thankfully your fighter, the Orca is well shielded and won’t go down in one shot. However if you’re feeling bold, you can redirect power from your shields to your weapons systems because sometimes the best defense is a good offense.
I also want to say that the cinematics in the title are really well done and transition to the action seamlessly. I was genuinely interested in learning more about your pilot Ava and what her motivations lead her to become a pilot defending Cygni. Let’s hope you manage to keep the ship upgraded and plow through the enemy forces so she can manage to live a better life.
Cygni: All Guns Blazing is set for a 2023 release and will lift off on PC, PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X|S.
It was great to see what was thought to be a dormant publisher/developer come back out to the forefront utilizing their existing IPs while nurturing new ones created by external teams. Seeing things like the various Castlevania, Contra, Ninja Turtle compilations, their continued support of YuGiOh in software and the physical card game shows as well as all the titles shown at the showcase reveals that the company is still in the games industry and I hope they will continue to appear on release lists for years to come! Now give us a release of Snatcher/Policenauts so I don’t have to pay exorbitant prices to experience them!