LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens Launches on 6/28/16

A long time ago, on a generation of gaming platforms far, far away, Traveller’s Tales developed a new type of LEGO video game which took the six Star Wars movies and reimagined them in a more satirical format. The games appealed to fans of Star Wars young and old, and were met with great success, spawning an ongoing line of similarly-styled LEGO video games for years to come.

Another LEGO Star Wars game would come in 2011, based on The Clone Wars. Following that, however, it was as if millions of fans’ voices suddenly cried out for more and were suddenly silenced.

Until now.

LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens launches on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 for just about every current platform under the sun: Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Steam for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and even the PlayStation Vita will soon feel the power of the Force.

As the title implies, the game is based on the recent seventh episode in the popular film series, the first to come under the stewardship of the franchise’s new masters at Disney. More than just the film’s events will be covered, as untold tales building up to what you saw on the big screen will play out as well. What’s more, key members of the film’s cast such as John Boyega (Finn), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Daisy Ridley (Rey), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), and more have lent their talents to the game, providing new and original dialogue to enjoy.

Oh, and you can also play as BB-8:

A demo is available to download now as well.

To help build anticipation for the launch, publisher Warner Bros. Interactive invited members of the press out to the Rogers Centre in Toronto, where demos of the closely-guarded game could be played on regular televisions as well as the enormous Rogers Centre video board — a feature which Toronto Blue Jays pitcher and Star Wars fan R.A. Dickey took advantage of as he played alongside Emile Burbidge, the newest Chief Play Officer for Toys “R” Us Canada.

Their appearance at the event made sense; Burbidge for the obvious reasons, while Dickey helped represent the marketing push that Warner Bros. Interactive would be making at the stadium with signage around the field, including behind the home plate. The company stated that this was going to be one of their biggest releases of the year, and are quite intent on making sure people are fully aware of it.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, along with TT Games, The LEGO Group, and Marvel Entertainment, have all announced that the latest in their series of LEGO-based video games — LEGO Marvel’s Avengers — is now available for the Wii U, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and Windows PC. There may also be a version running on Iron Man’s latest armor, but that remains unconfirmed.

Encompassing the storylines of Marvel’s namesake movie release The Avengers and its sequel, Avengers: Age of Ultron, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers also features content from other Marvel Cinematic Universe releases such as Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, each one now presented with a more humorous take befitting a younger audience and the LEGO brand, as seen in the video above. Throughout the adventures, you’ll take control of over 200 characters (many of which will need to be unlocked, mind), more than 100 of which are new to the LEGO video game world. Plus, the core Avenger team line-up of Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man will have a variety of special team moves that they can pull off in tandem.

Rated “E10+” for everyone age 10 and older, you can get it now for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 for a $69.99 suggested retail price, while the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii U versions go for $59.99, with the Nintendo 3DS and PlayStation Vita versions priced at $34.99. For whatever reason, Windows PC wasn’t included in the pricing list.

The home console versions also have a “Season Pass” that includes content packs including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and The Masters of Evil. You can get these and the main game for the same price on Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and PlayStation 4, or on any of the home console/PC versions for $9.99. Another downloadable content pack is available free for a limited time to PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 owners, featuring content based on Ant Man (this Spring) and the upcoming Captain America: Civil War (available now).

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


shakedownhawaiimagBrian Provinciano, of the Vancouver-based developer Vblank Entertainment, recently took to the PlayStation.Blog to announce the forthcoming sequel to the studio’s first game, Retro City Rampage.

Titled Shakedown Hawaii, the new game takes place about 30 years after the events of the original. The Player has come out of early retirement to rebuild his corporate empire that has long been neglected. Not only is he equipped with an arsenal of supercharged weapons that are perfect for putting a destructible environment through its paces, but his aesthetic is beefed up as well — we’re talking 16-bit style as rendered by Henk Nieborg, baby.

There isn’t much more to tell at this point in time, except that it’s coming to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, with “Nintendo” and Steam releases also planned. Regarding the lack of specifics there, Provinciano said on Facebook:

I haven’t gone into detail of specific platforms yet, other than to say that the current platforms in the trajectory are all ones that the engine is already ported to, is already compliant with platform requirements for (which can take a month per platform to implement) and have already been through console certification. These facts mean that it should be smooth sailing to release a new game on these platforms within a realistic time table. Choosing to release on a new platform with zero paperwork done, zero porting done and zero requirements implemented would be much less predictable. I can’t possibly be any more transparent than that. Don’t read into it any further than that, or assume any sort of fanboy war is at play.

The game will be playable in some form at the PlayStation Experience in San Francisco from December 6th to December 7th. For now, check out the trailer and screenshots, and if you’re not familiar with the predecessor, then check out my review of Retro City Rampage DX on Nintendo 3DS.

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at)


Did you know? It’s the PlayStation Vita’s birthday!

To celebrate, Sony is running a birthday sale from today until March 2nd with freebies and items on sale. Among the free goods are:

  • Toro and Friends PS Vita Theme (regularly $1.99) – Gaming is most fun when played with friends! This adorable theme brings Toro and his buddies to class up your PS Vita screens. This theme will be available for free 2/26 through 3/2.
  • Fat Princess: Piece of Cake 8 Gold Coin Pack (regularly $0.99) – Rescue the princess in a free-to-play strategic match-3 game! Download the game and one 8 Gold Coin Pack for free and enjoy a slice of Fat Princess: Piece of Cake on us.
  • Destiny of Spirits – Receive Himiko, a Spirit from Japanese myth and folklore, only available using Hunt feature when you’re in Japan! (Start Destiny of Spirits and complete tutorial by midnight between February 24th 2015 and February 25th 2015 to be qualified for the gift. The Spirit will be delivered to your in-game mailbox after the regular maintenance on February 26th, 2015. After starting the game, go to Communicate – Mailbox to receive it.)

As for the stuff on sale, we have the following handy chart:


One thing to note is that I don’t have a PlayStation Vita, so I can’t confirm offhand whether or not these sale prices (undoubtedly in American dollars) translate to the same amount in Canadian. However, the PlayStation Canada Twitter account did tweet about the sale, so it seems safe enough to assume there will at least be some sort of comparable discount on these products.

Speaking of Twitter, the PlayStation Blog post featuring the details of the sale also say to follow @HeyPlayStation for chances to win PlayStation Vita games and a PlayStation Vita Borderlands 2 bundle at the end of the week. I tried checking the rules link the Twitter account provides, but I couldn’t find any actual rules regarding this, so I don’t know whether Canadians are eligible or not.

Toronto-based Drinkbox Studios, creator of the hit Guacamelee (which I honestly wish I’d given more coverage to), has announced their next title.

Launching exclusively on the PlayStation Vita in Spring 2015, Severed is an RPG-light adventure “filled with ghastly enemies, including three-headed constellations, six-armed swordmasters, and beasts made of crows” who stand in the way of our one-armed female protagonist. Wielding a living sword, she is trying to knit together pieces of her story from both the past and the future.

As the heroine, players will embark on a journey through a surreal, nonlinear world by using a touch-based combat mechanic to defeat enemies in this first-person adventure. During their journey, warriors will unlock new abilities, discover secrets of the mysterious world, and grow in power as they master both offensive and defensive techniques.

In addition to the protagonist having her arm severed, the name also comes into play by way of forcing enemies “into vulnerable states, then sever their body parts to upgrade equipment and abilities.” You’ll also gain abilities from gathering Totems, magical armor created from the remains of defeated bosses, and choose your own path through branching routes, avoiding hazards and solving puzzles while dealing with enemies through touchscreen combat mechanics.

While Severed is launching exclusively on PlayStation Vita, much as Gaucamelee launched exclusively on PlayStation, the latter did eventually make its way to other platforms. As for Severed? “No comment” is all they say in their FAQ for the game.

Oh, and that Guacamelee 2 is happening at some point as well.

Some months back, I reviewed Retro City Rampage DX, a “top to bottom reworking” of the original Retro City Rampage that was released on the Nintendo 3DS. As noted there, I’m not normally into the open world crime genre, but this one actually managed to hook me in a way that games such as Grand Theft Auto have not.

Now the time has come for that love to be shared across virtually any non-mobile platform you can think of. The DX version is now available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita with a triple cross-buy feature, while Steam users can enjoy a double cross-buy for PC and Macintosh. Meanwhile, the WiiWare version (which can be played in the Wii Mode of the Wii U console) has also been updated, and the Xbox 360 will receive its update later this month.

Fun fact: According to Vancouver developer Vblank Entertainment, there was also a limited edition retail version made for the PlayStation 4, but it sold out in one day.

To see what’s new in this version of the game, check out the following trailer:

Following are more platform-specific details:

PlayStation Users

The PS4, PS3 and PS Vita versions of ‘DX’ all sold together as one, 3X Cross Buy! With the 20% OFF PlayStation Plus launch week discount, you’ll get all three for $7.99 ($9.99 without Plus). That’s only around $3 for each platform, and much less than the original RCR’s $14.99 launch price! Owners of the original Retro City Rampage for PS3 and PS Vita can transfer their save games
to the new ‘DX’ version via Cross-Save. The new ‘DX’ version is a separate purchase, but keep in mind that with ‘DX’, you’re getting the PS4 version, a brand new Trophy set and new leaderboards. Owners of the original ‘RCR’ who transfer their save game to ‘DX’ will also earn a shiny elite star next to their score to show off on the leaderboards.

LAST CALL! The original ‘Retro City Rampage’ will be delisted from the PS Store and replaced with ‘Retro City Rampage: DX’ in order to avoid customer confusion. While ‘DX’ includes a mode to play the original ‘RCR’, if for some reason you would prefer the pure original, grab it before it’s too late. If you already own the original ‘RCR’, you not be affected by this. You will still be able to re-download it indefinitely, at any time. The delisting will only prevent new purchases.


‘Retro City Rampage: DX’ will be a free update for owners of the original ‘RCR’ on PC/Steam/Humble Store. The PC and upcoming Mac versions are Cross Buy. The Mac version will be available for free to all who purchase or have purchased the PC version, and vice versa. Steam updates are automatic by default, but DRM-Free customers will need to login to their download page to grab it when it’s available.

Xbox 360 Users

‘Retro City Rampage: DX’ will be a free update for owners of the original version on Xbox 360, with all the HD bells and whistles! The only things missing are the remastered screen borders, due to Title Update size restrictions. It still contains the new borders though!

Note: This also marks the debut on Xbox 360 in Australia and New Zealand!

WiiWare Users

‘Retro City Rampage: DX’ will be a free update for owners of the original version on WiiWare. I greatly thank those loyal few of you who’ve showed your support by purchasing RCR on your Wii and Wii U consoles in ‘Wii mode’. This update makes the WiiWare version on par with the other systems, only missing HD video filters and zoom modes. It supports the Wii Remote, Classic Controller and Game Cube Controller, with an optional ‘shake’ gesture exclusive to the Wii Remote.

Note: This also marks the debut on WiiWare in Australia and New Zealand!

Nintendo 3DS Users

‘Retro City Rampage: DX’ is already available for Nintendo 3DS, but don’t worry! You’re not forgotten! Remember that an update will be coming alongside the *new* 3DS which adds support for the new buttons! I have no idea when that will be since the North American/European release date for the system hasn’t been announced, but it’s coming!

Fan-Expo-SaleAfter a week and a half away, I’m back! And no worries about further absences for the time being– I think all my vacation days are used up for the next while, so expect your regular Mario’s Hat programming and reviews to begin coming through once again.

Kicking things off, I’ve received a hot tip from Roto13 that Sony has announced on its PlayStation.Blog that they are celebrating games made in Canada with their FanExpo sale, which begins Tuesday, August 20th. Everyone has a chance to get up to 50 percent off, but PlayStation Plus members will have the opportunity to save up to 75 percent on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita titles shown below.


playstation4Whoops, forgot to post this one after I finished it late (early?) yesterday morning. Following my thoughts on Microsoft’s 2013 E3 press conference, you can now see what I think of Sony’s. Put simply: They knocked it out of the park, and look like they’re ready to leave the Xbox One in the dust.

Stay tuned, as I have news from Nintendo coming up, as well as my own impressions of their E3 Nintendo Direct.

I meant to get this one up yesterday, but in any case: If you’re interested in supporting the efforts of independent game developers from Canada, then you might be interested to know that the Toronto-based DrinkBox Studios has just released their newest title, Guacamelee! However, if you don’t own a PlayStation 3 or a PlayStation Vita, then your interest may wane a bit, as the game is exclusive to those two platforms.

This Metroidvania-styled game is available as a Cross-Buy for both platforms at a price of $14.99, and features same-screen multiplayer, a melee combat style (as the name suggests), and even a dimension-hopping mechanic. As you can see in the trailer above, it’s been receiving rave reviews.

To learn more about Guacamelee!, be sure to visit the official website.

One of the worst-kept secrets around here is how excited I am about Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed; just one look at the tag shows that it has some of the most extensive coverage of any single game on the site (as well as a few articles over at PoisonMushroom.Org). And when I found out that Steve Lycett, Producer at Transformed developer Sumo Digital, was doing interviews with different websites (such as this one at TSSZ News), I leaped at the chance to do one of my own. And, to my delight, he accepted!

Before we get started, however, a little background: While I’ve played the original Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing a lot (it’s one of my all-time favorite games), at the time this interview was written, I had not played Transformed at all yet. I’m still waiting on my review copy from SEGA (shipping to Canada can take a while, I’ve learned) as I make this post, but between sending these questions off and now, I have had a chance to sit down with the Xbox 360 demo and watch people talk about it on the Wii U’s Miiverse.

Though I am working on several reviews together, once this game comes in, I’ll definitely make it a priority and give you my full thoughts on it. But for now, please enjoy this post-release interview with the game’s Producer, Steve Lycett.


Oh my, so much to talk about today. For starters, $59.99 will get you one PlayStation 3 game in Far Cry 3, or a bunch of games in Mass Effect Trilogy or the Rockstar Games Collection Edition 1. Other PS3 releases include the original Mass Effect for $14.99, Shaun White Snowboarding for $19.99, or Under Defeat HD: Deluxe Edition for $29.99.

PlayStation Network-only titles include Guardians of Middle Earth and Guilty Gear XX Accent Core Plus for $14.99 each, and there is also Rotastic for $9.99 and the oddly-priced Page Chronica for $10.99. Chulip joins the PlayStation 2 Classics library for $9.99, while PSOne Classics have added Art Camion Sugorokuden, Finger Flashing, Lup Salad, Makeruna Makendo 2, Vehicle Cavalier, and Zanac X Zanac for $5.99 each.

If you have a little money to spend on PlayStation Vita, you can get UNCHARTED: Fight for Fortune Card Game for $4.99. Or if you have a lot, DJMax Technika Tune is available for $44.99. Plus, Midnight Club 3: Dub Edition has been added to the Vita Storefront, but no other details are given.

Finally, we have bundles… EA Sports bundles, to be precise. FIFA Soccer 13 Bonus Edition, Madden NFL 13 Bonus Edition, and NCAA Football 13 Bonus Edition are each available for $49.99, while Tiger Woods PGA Tour 13 Bonus Edition commands a premium at $59.99. Each comes with its own bonuses, so check the details below for more information on these, and all the other PlayStation Store releases this week.


Just a quick note: After this week, I’m putting the updates to the PlayStation Store and Xbox Live Marketplace on hiatus. The holiday season is picking up a bit, and I find that doing them tends to interrupt the flow of my work. Read on for details and, if you’re interested, how you can help.


Can any PlayStation Store update which features Ratchet & Clank truly be a bad one? I think not, which means that this week’s is a winner with the inclusion of the $19.99 Ratchet & Clank: Full Frontal Assault as the headliner for this week’s full PlayStation 3 games. It’s joined by Ace Combat: Assault Horizon, which is also $19.99, and Men in Black: Alien Crisis, which runs for $39.99.

SEGA dominates the PlayStation Network this week as we get three new releases from the AM2 collection: Fighting Vipers, Sonic the Fighters, and Virtua Fighter 2. With new online options and features, these will cost you $4.99 each.

On the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation Portable, you can have the best Summer day ever right at the end of November with Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension. Save the Tri-State Area from the alternate-universe version of Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz while on the go for $19.99.

Finally, there are two new bundles available for purchase on the PlayStation 3. With the Ace Combat Assault Horizon DLC Bundle, you’ll get the game and the following downloadable content, all for $29.99: Online Map Pack, ASF-X Shinden II, F-15S/MTD, Su-37 Terminator, and Ka-50 Hokum. There is also the Dead or Alive 5 bundle, which gives you the game and the Gym Class, Uniforms, and Special Set 2 costume packs from their third round of downloadable content. 12 in all, plus the game, for $59.99.

Of course, there is much, much more to be had. Read on for all the details.


Full PS3 games are all the rage to kick off this week’s PlayStation Store update. Available for $59.99 each are PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, Family Guy: Back to the Multiverse, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. F1 Race Stars is now available for $39.99, while Tom Clancy’s EndWar is $19.99 and DOOM Classic Collection is $14.99.

On the PlayStation Network, you’ll find two new releases. Clan of Champions is $39.99, while Sine Mora is only $9.99. PlayStation Vita also gets Sine Mora for $9.99, as well as PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale for $35.99. There is also Persona 4: Golden for $39.99, Jet Set Radio for $9.99, and Elminage Original for $14.99. Then there are the PS Minis, including the Break Quest Bundle for $4.49 and Jet Pack Joyride for $3.99, and the PlayStation Portable gets a surprise addition in Elminage Original for $14.99.

In addition to all this, there are several more bundles available and “ultimate deals,” which are 60 percent off the regular price (plus another 20 percent for PlayStation Plus subscribers). Read on for all the details.


This week’s PlayStation Store has finally been rolled out. Topping the list is the pre-order for PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royal, which will cost you $59.99.

In PlayStation 3 Full Games, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 is now available for $49.99, and you can get SingStar Digital for free. On the PlayStation Network, there’s a shooting gallery game in Wicked Monster Blast! HD for $9.99, and a strategy title in Planets Under Attack for $14.99. On PlayStation Vita, there’s Call of Duty: Black Ops Declassified for $49.99, and the painting App Colors! for $6.99.

There is also a new App in Crackle, which is used to view television shows and movies, but that’s for the U.S. only.

For everything else available this week, read on.