Retro Re-release Roundup, week of July 16, 2020

Finish the fight against cripplingly low FOV.

There's truly something for everyone in this week's updano, not Super Mario RPG, I am begging you just let this go. There's a brand-new Paper Mario game out today, I'm sure that'll scratch everything that needs itching without disappointing or bewildering anybody.



  • Platform: Ninthendo Switch, PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $7.99 / €6.99 / £6.29
  • Publisher: Hamsther / Sunsoft

What's this? Sunsoft's first arcade hit, distributhed inthernationally by Atari in 1982 and subsequently porthed to Atari 8-bit, 2600 and 5200; it's Donkey Kong plus punching and minus interesting stage design, pretty much.

Why should I care? You want to bear witness to the one game character with worse ankles than Spelunker.

Useless fact: Kangaroo (first name Joey, apparently) was introduced in the second season of the '80s arcade mascot cartoon Saturday Supercade as one of the replacements for Donkey Kong Jr., Frogger and Pitfall Harry. The show was not renewed for a third season.


Pucchin Puzzle

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (Japan)
  • Price: ¥500
  • Publisher: G-MODE

What's this? A Picross-style nonogram puzzle game, released on Japanese feature phones by G-MODE in 2010; solve over 450 puzzles by popping specific bubbles on sheets of bubble wrap according to the numerical hints provided, and share your scores online if you're so inclined.

Why should I care? Of all the G-Mode Archives games released so far, Pucchin Puzzle looks to be one that was genuinely very popular, and while the slightly action-esque wrinkles might take a little time to parse, it'll mostly be second nature to Picross junkies.

Public Service Announcement: G-Mode's currently taking requests for games you'd like to see added to the G-Mode Archives series, so follow these instructions and perhaps they'll give you a chance to finally try that Japanese flip phone game you thought looked neat fifteen years ago.


NSO May '20 update: Donkey Kong Country (SNES), Natsume Championship Wrestling (SNES) & The Immortal (NES)

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch (worldwide)
  • Price: included with the Nintendo Switch Online subscription service
  • Publisher: Natsume, Nintendo, Piko Interactive

What're these? Rareware's mega-popular Silicon Graphics-rendered sidescroller, a license-free rebranding of an All-Japan Pro Wrestling game and one of the many conversions of Electronic Arts' console-focused, dark-fantasy isometric dungeon crawler. (On the Japanese app: the original Super Famicom Shin Megami Tensei, as well as GUN-DEC, the Famicom version of Vice: Project Doom.)

Why should I care? You're one of those people begging for DKC and/or Super Mario RPG under every Nintendo Switch Online post on the internet. Congratulations, your workload just got cut in half.

Useless fact: GUN-DEC is currently the only NSO game listed with an image of the in-game title screen rather than its original box art. Can you figure out why that might be?


Halo 3 (Master Chief Collection)

  • Platform: PC via Steam, Windows Store (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99 or equivalent 
  • Publisher: Microsoft

What's this? The 2007 juggernaut that sold a jillion Xbox 360s, now available on PC with all the PC-centric features you'd hope for: unlocked resolution and framerate, FOV settings, mouse and keyboard controls, all the stuff you'd have thought Microsoft would have made available a decade ago.

Why should I care? Um, finish the fight? I pretty much skipped this one.

Master Chief Collection bug report: As of this moment, this port's allegedly great in single-player, and only in single-player, with multiplayer collision bugs abound. (They did use this patch to fix the audio issues in Reach, by the by.)

Professor Layton and the Unwound Future HD

  • Platform: iOS, Android (worldwide)
  • Price: $15.99 or equivalent ($13.99 until July 27)
  • Publisher: Level-5

What's this? The third and most beloved entry in the original Professor Layton trilogy for Nintendo DS, originally released by Level-5 in Japan in 2008 and by Nintendo internationally two years later; this new version is a single-purchase app with high-resolution artwork, a reworked portrait-optimized display and the full integration of content that was previously locked behind the now-defunct Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection.

Why should I care? Professor Layton's somewhat notorious for Scooby Doo-esque plot twists and, if memory serves correct, this game remains the high watermark of ridiculousness (and, just to put things into context, it starts with time travel).

Helpful tip: If you're on iOS, owning one of the Layton HD ports lets you grab the other two in a discounted bundle; the bundle is also discounted right now, so you can grab the entire set for $24 for the next week or so.

Samurai Aces III: Sengoku Cannon

  • Platform: PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $9.99 or equivalent (10% off until July 30)
  • Publisher: City Connection / Zerodiv

What's this? A horizontal successor of sorts to Psikyo's Japanese fantasy shooters Sengoku Ace and Sengoku Blade, developed by Psikyo brand inheritor X-Nauts, released on the PlayStation Portable in 2005 and half-heartedly ported to Switch a year or two ago; this version adds button remapping, online leaderboards and a practice mode, should you ever want to revisit any part of this game.

Why should I care? Sengoku Cannon is an unworthy followup to its namesakes and a blemish on the Psikyo brand but, viewed purely on its merits as a shooting game, it might be perfectly satisfactory, if not particularly pleasing to the eye. (I say "might" not only because I can't be objective but because I've heard the Switch version somehow runs even worse than the PSP original, and I cannot state with any certainty that it'll be better on PC.)

Useless fact: The international Switch version of this game is restricted to the Psikyo Shooting Aces compilation but it did get a standalone eShop release in Japan, which the president of port house Zerodiv promoted with the assertion that yes, it sucks and nobody asked for it but they ultimately shouldn't just act like it never happened, which is... a thing one could say, I suppose.

Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town

  • Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC via Steam (worldwide)
  • Price: $49.99 or equivalent
  • Publisher: XSEED / Marvelous

What's this? A remake of the 2003 Game Boy Advance entry in the beloved farming adventure series formerly and quasi-currently known as Harvest Moon; in addition to fully 3D worlds and HD character portraits, this remake integrates all the contents from both the original and "girl" version, More Friends of Mineral Town, and adds a few extras including an easy difficulty setting and the implementation of same-sex marriage.

Why should I care? Friends of Mineral Town was the third iteration on the game that began as Harvest Moon 64 and for many it's still considered the entry that best refined the formula, before the series started forcing new gimmicks and otherwise spinning its wheels, so whether you're someone who came into this genre with Stardew Valley or you're a casual fan whose appetite for this type of game only goes so far, this seems like the safest single recommendation one could make.

Wait, Story of Seasons? Whaaa? I don't think I've had reason to go over this on the roundup before, huh? Well, the short answer is that series owner Marvelous took back the international publishing rights for the series but were forced to change the name of new releases to Story of Seasons due to the name Harvest Moon being owned by former long-time international publisher Natsume, so any new game with the Story of Seasons title is a real Harvest Moon game, and any new game bearing the name Harvest Moon is actually a fake Harvest Moon game. Capisce?


Garou: Mark of the Wolves (PS4) by Limited Run Games and Pix 'n Love Publishing

  • Platform: PlayStation 4 (worldwide)
  • Price: $29.99 or equivalent (standard / $59.99 or equivalent (collectors) / TBA (Grant Edition)
  • Availability: from 10AM Eastern, July 17

The Fatal Fury swansong Garou: Mark of the Wolves is getting yet another deluxe reissue — two, in fact: the typical Limited Run spread for North America, as well as European variants from French publisher Pix 'n Love which include among them an "Ultimate Grant Edition" that comes with a canvas painting of Grant and signatures of authenticity from Garou art director and character designer Eisuke Ogura... and I'm not saying that's not neat, but, Grant? Really? Grant? (The version of Garou being reissued is the Code Mystics-helmed version that somewhat recently received a massive overhaul to its netcode: in other words, the best option possible.)


Joust (C64) preserved by Games That Weren't

Long-rumored and believed lost, the official unreleased Joust conversion for Commodore 64 has been preserved and archived for the world to enjoy, and while one would be forgiven for not trying it out, I implore you to at least read the story behind its rediscovery.