Once upon a time, Konami was one of the most dominant third-party video game publishers out there. The company had a long era of dominance, with franchises like Castlevania and Metal Gear Solid making it a household name. That would change a bit in the mid-2010s, as the publisher went through a major restructure that saw the company parting ways with one of its highest-profile studios, Kojima Productions. Despite that, Konami has remained plenty busy — especially as of late.
Last week, Digital Trends got to see that first-hand when we attended a Konami press event highlighting four of its upcoming games. That list included high-profile games like Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 and Super Bomberman R 2as well as smaller publishing projects like Super Crazy Rhythm Castle and CYGNI: All Guns Blazing. We went hands-on with each game in the varied line-up, giving us a better sense of how Konami’s video game efforts are evolving.
Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1
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On October 24, Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 will bring the stealth series to modern consoles, including Nintendo Switch. You probably already know whether or not you’re going to buy that, but I got to see the full scale of the package in a hands-on session. In addition to including HD remasters of classics like Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eaterwhich plays and looks about the same as you remember here, the package comes with some enticing extras that make it more enticing. Each game in the collection comes with a slew of extras, including a full script, digital books, never-before-seen animatics, and more.
The screenplays alone seem worthwhile even if you own the originals, as it’s rare that we ever get to see the actual writing process for video games. It’s a bit of extra depth that makes the package feel like more of a museum capturing the creative process behind the series rather than hastily slapping old games onto a disc. It appears that each game has been faithfully preserved here too; a note at the top of the collection acknowledges that the games contain some outdated content, but notes that they’ve been kept as is for the purposes of preservation. Hideo Kojima’s name is still heavily featured in the collection too, as the original credits appear to be in the game untouched (the project features an additional credits reel in its bonus menu that credits the Master Collection staff separately).
There’s one notable quirk to know about if you’re debating which platform to buy it on: It appears that the Nintendo Switch version separates each game in the package out into its own launcher on the home screen. That appears to be the only platform with that behavior. If you don’t want a cluttered home screen, you can also pick it up on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, and PC on October 24.
Super Bomberman R 2
The long-running Bomberman franchise continues this September with Super Bomberman R 2, a release that’ll bring some brand-new modes to the series. In addition to standard battle modes and a 64-player battle royale option, the latest release introduces a unique battle called Castle. Here, one team goes on defense, protecting three treasure chests. The other must hunt down keys, get past the defenders, and steal their loot. Basic Bomberman rules still apply, but each map is filled with little obstacles, as well as creatures called Ellons that help the defending team.
I played a few rounds with three other players and it’s certainly a hectic experience. There’s a lot happening on screen as multiple players bomb rocks at once, as well as work around deadly traps. It lacks the timeless elegance of a normal round of Bomberman, adding a bigger learning curve into the mix. However, it’s a clever twist of an old formula, finding a way to add team-based objectives into the traditional deathmatch formula. As a fun added touch, the package contains over 29 characters, including some hilariously off-tone Konami cameos from Pyramid Head, Solid Snake, and more.
Super Bomberman R 2 certainly isn’t changing up the Bomberman formula too much, but it seems like a fairly definitive version of the series for those who want several of its game modes in one spot. It launches on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo Switch on September 12.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle
2023 has been a surprisingly great year for the rhythm game genre, and that momentum doesn’t seem to be slowing down. During the event, I went hands-on with Super Crazy Rhythm Castlea charmingly goofy music game from developer Second Impact Games. Rather than simply tapping along to music, players set out on a full adventure that weaves musical interludes in between third-person exploration. And it does that with some chaotic comedy and genuinely solid tunes.
I’d play get to try out four-player co-op during my demo, as my team completed a wide range of musical challenges. Some were simple enough: tap L1, R1, and square at the right time during a song, Guitar Hero-style. Things quickly got out of control from there. During one segment, I’d have to let my teammates handle the music as I turned off some alarms around the room. Just when I thought I was done, a bunch of colorful blocks fell from the ceiling and blocked the music chart. I’d have to clean them up as fast as possible so my teammates could actually see the notes they were hitting. In a climactic battle against an evil eggplant, we’d split up into two separate teams: one playing the bass part and the other handling the treble. The boss would fight back by dropping thick roots over the music chart, forcing us to stop the music and fight it off with weed killer. Each song was an unpredictable challenge that almost reminds me of couch co-op greats like Overcooked.
Super Crazy Rhythm Castle doesn’t have a release date, but it’s set to launch on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
CYGNI: All Guns Blazing
If you’re a fan of classic shoot ’em ups, CYGNI: All Guns Blazing should be on your radar. The debut game from KeelWorks, a studio with roots in animation, the space shooter is at once a throwback to one of gaming’s most timeless genres and a forward-thinking evolution. It’s a fast-paced, top-down shoot ’em-up where players wipe out waves of aliens and massive bosses — all while piloting over detailed backdrops that show off the studio’s animation chops.
I tried my hands at a few different missions and found an intense space shooter that was wildly fast. It breaks apart from the classic genre in a few key ways, though. For one, it features a high-stakes risk-reward system where players need to power up their ship’s weapon by removing energy from their shield. swans also plays with depth, as players have both land and air weapons that they need to alternate between. In one boss battle against an enormous monster, I needed to shoot air missiles at its tentacles to take out its attack power while dropping ground shots to damage its head. Also notable is that enemies don’t just cover the screen in predictable paths. Rather, they have some intelligence and swarm the screen in unpredictable ways, making it almost feel like more of a strategy game.
While CYGNI: All Guns Blazing doesn’t have a firm release date, KeelWorks seems to be nearing the end of its development cycle as it works on some final balancing. When it does come out, you can expect it on PS4, PS5, PC, and Nintendo Switch.