Animal Crossing Horror Film, Valheim Update Coming

Today: Horror short inspired by Animal Crossing goes big on YouTube — Kaze and the Wild Masks is the best kind of retro throwback — Enjoy a night of classical music with Phoenix Wright in your browser

Square Enix Presents round-up

The Square Enix Presents event was broadcast yesterday, and included a bunch of announcements including the PlayStation 5 exclusive Forspoken and a new game in the Life is Strange series.

Square Enix Presents featured all-new title announcements

Life is Strange: True Colors ditches the episodic format in favour of a more traditional structure, while Marvel's Avengers is introducing Black Panther in the War for Wakanda update.

Announcement highlights

Which franchise did Ace Attorney cross over with in 2012?

a) Nintendogs
b) Zero Escape
c) Pokémon
d) Professor Layton

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

A local shop for local people

Some of the items in Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia can’t be found if you’re playing outside Japan, since eight items were exclusive to a local promotional event.

Shadows of Valentia launched on Nintendo 3DS

Seven Sword, Eleven Shield, Boiled Chicken, Spicy Chicken, Chicken Link, Mille Crepe, Moist Bread and Pure Honey were all part of a Japanese 7-Eleven promotional campaign, and there’s no way to get them elsewhere. Four decorative items from Fire Emblem Cipher are also exclusive to the Japanese release.

Join our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss today's fact.

Animal Crossing-inspired horror goes big

Julian Terry’s horror short Don’t Peek, which debuted at SXSW Online a few days ago, will be adapted into a feature film by writer and director Timur Bekmambetov.

Nintendo unlikely to be collaborating on this one

Don't Peek was inspired by Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and the story follows a woman who discovers a videogame character trying to escape into the real world, with spooky consequences for her immediate surroundings.

Relatable: “I just wanted to have the best @animalcrossing island, now I have to worry about staying alive. Game on, @julianjterry,” Bekmambetov tweeted. He worked on the Angelina Jolie thriller Wanted and acted as producer on the profoundly wacky first-person action movie Hardcore Henry.

Downloadable Horror: “The secret is out! We are turning DON’T PEEK into a feature!!! Thank you so much to everyone who helped make it go viral!” tweeted Don’t Peek’s creator.

Iron Gate promises more Valheim soon

Retro-styled viking survival game Valheim has only been out for six weeks and has already sold over six million copies.

A teaser of what’s to come for Valheim

The latest develop update talks about working from home, how the launch have defied their wildest expectations and how to deal with bugs and other problems when everyone's eyes are on you.

Roadmap: While the team has focused on dealing with network issues, balance tweaks and bugs like the infamous Deathsquito, but they are also working on the next big update, Hearth and Home.

Quoth the raven: “We have a lot of exciting things planned for this update, and we have of course listened to your feedback and suggestions, and can barely wait until we can show you more,” said Iron Gate. So far, a picture of a raven perched on a building is the only hint of what's in store.

Kaze and the Wild Masks Review

Reviewed by Gavin Herman

Developer: PixelHive

Platform Tested: Xbox Series X

A Cutesy Platformer that sneaks some surprising challenge

Do you like Rare's platformers? If so, you'll probably enjoy Kaze and the Wild Masks. It's a playful throwback starring a bunny who must save her home from a wicked curse. The story's genuinely not worth going into, so let's focus on the platforming.

First off, Kaze and the Wild Masks is gorgeous. The character animations, from Kaze herself to the sentient vegetables she fights, are brilliant and the environments are chunky, vibrant and memorable, taking cues from Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man X and other early-90s classics. It's simultaneously very familiar and quite wacky, and the light tone helps keep the tone light even when the game cranks up the challenge.

Bosses might be trial-and-error, but they are rewarding to take down.

It's easy to forget that those bouncy 90s mascot platformers were often brutally difficult, and Kaze and the Wild Masks revels in wrapping up your butt, putting a neat little bow on it and handing it to you. Precision is the name of the game, and although the early stages look like a breeze, it doesn't take long before they demand your full attention.

Fortunately, Kaze and the Wild Masks has a modern attitude to game design. There are no lives, and there are plenty of checkpoints, so the game never feels unfair and the challenge is a matter of mastery rather than perseverance. Sure, it might take more than a few tries to beat a particularly arduous jumping puzzle or defeat a particularly obnoxious boss, but it's always satisfying. Even if you don't really like difficult games, Kaze and the Wild Masks might just change your mind.

The challenge is compounded by the various collectables: Crystals, bonus gems and letters. Collecting K, A, Z and E in a level unlocks art, bonus gems can unlock new levels and you unlock a crystal when you collect all 100 in a level. You don't need to collect any of this to beat a level, but Kaze and the Wild Masks is the kind of game that awakens your inner completionist and the collectables add a lot of replayability.

If only all curses involved precision platforming

Some levels feature the titular Wild Masks, which act a bit like the animal buddies in Donkey Kong Country. The shark mask lets you swim in deeper waters, the eagle lets you fly, the tiger can hold onto walls and the lizard turns the game into an autoscroller. The masks add a lot of variation and makes levels a bit less predictable, but they're not always successful: You need to tap to flap your wings when using the eagle mask, and the flying sections don't feel quite as tight as the rest of the game.

Kaze and the Wild Masks might not win many points for originality, but it's a labour of love and if you're into old-school platformers, it's an essential experience. Whether you revel in a good challenge or just want to see why people miss those 90s platformers, Kaze and the Wild Masks is proof there’s plenty of fun to be had going back to the past.

PROS:

  • Tough but rewarding
  • Great pixel art
  • Tight controls

CONS:

  • Stiff animations
  • Brutal difficulty spikes
  • Flying sections are not great
8.5/10Excellent

Kaze and the Wild Masks is available now on PC and Xbox Series X. Publisher SOEDESCO kindly provided a Xbox Series X review code to DailyBits for free for the purpose of this review.

Which franchise did Ace Attorney cross over with in 2012?

ANSWER: Professor Layton!

What is a courtroom drama if not a big puzzle?

Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton are a match made in heaven, and Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney brings the dynamic duo to the town of Labyrinthia. They must defend a girl accused of being a witch; with Layton exploring and investigating the town while Phoenix takes care of the courtroom drama.

The series’ respective gameplay styles complement each other well, but the Labyrinthia setting can feel a little tame compared to the more overtly weird worlds Layton and Phoenix hail from. Either way, the game feels very ripe for a revival on Switch.

Help Us Improve DailyBits

We hope you've enjoyed today's issue of DailyBits! Please feel free to send any feedback or news tips over to team@dailybits.news. In order to make sure you keep receiving these emails, we'd also like to ask if you could please add us to your contact list, so that we don't land in your spam or promotion folders. Thank you!

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey.