Party on, party off.
Nintendo has made an absolutely fascinating game series where you play a board game, some mini-games, and become mortal enemies with all of your friends. It’s called Mario Party and the level with which you can fuck over players is akin to that of Munchkin or Monopoly. Unlike the latter, Super Mario Party doesn’t take 6 hours to finish. This series has had 10 entries in its main console series, and several spinoffs on other devices. But where do you go from there? Call it Mario Party 11? No. You call it SUPER. Why? Because the Switch is the greatest console ever made and it deserves the upgraded name. I’m like 70% serious here.
This looks exactly like Mario Party is supposed to look like. The quality isn’t in the graphical fidelity, but how fun they can make it. And that includes animations. Seeing all of your favorite Mario characters getting, angry, sad, frustrated, and determined are a delight. It is amazing how it mocks real life. When a play gets a star, their avatar makes boasting gesture while the other three get frustrated. Each board on the main game has its very own individual look that stands out. Even the first board, which is mostly just a bunch of grey blocks. But once you get to the board that has four islands, the graphic variety really shines.
And now, here’s the verbatim from the game’s intro cinematic:
TEXT: One day, trouble was brewing between Mario and his good friends. Each claimed to be the Super Star, the worthiest hero in all the land. Mario suggested having a party to decide, a time-honored tradition. Everyone agreed – a proper party would surely reveal the true Super Stardom.
TOAD: What do you say, Toadette?
TOADETTE: I say this time we’re going to find out what being a Super Star REALLY means!
TOAD: You can trust us to be fair and impartial judges! Give us time to set up and we can get st-
???: Aren’t you forgetting something?
BOWSER: Maybe NONE of you are the Super Star! Maybe it’s one of us instead. I brought an extra judge, too! I want you keeping an eye on things too! You know, so it’s all fair and impartial.
KAMEK: If you say so! But be careful what you wish for, Keeheehee!
TOAD: Well, at least Kamek will make setting up easy! This should only take a minute!
TOADETTE: Is everybody else as excited as I am? I DOUBT IT!
KAMEK: Wait until you see what my genius has wrought!
-gates open, everyone claps-
TOAD: Let’s party!
I laughed. I cried. I wet myself a bit. This is the most moving, emotional, satisfying plot I have ever experienced in my life. Nothing will ever top this. This is what peak performance looks li- PFFFT okay it’s dumb. But it’s Mario dumb. And it’s Mario Party. Do you even NEED an excuse to play? NO. It’s here for the aforementioned fighting among friends.
It’s fine, whatever. It’s missing some of the essential noises that made other Mario Parties so jubilant. The win music just isn’t as engaging as it should be. Everything feels like it’s been toned down a bit. It’s just okay, it does what its sets out to do, but you can’t help but feel something is missing here. Just think about all the little jingles you’d hear from Mario Party 1-3. You remember them note for note, right? The same can’t be said here. The music is on cruise control. It’s there and it’s functional, but it could be better.
Mario party has had many iterations in varieties and how the the rules worked. At one point they thought it was a good idea to have all 4 players riding in a car together. But SMP fixes that by going back to basics. This is the version of the game you loved and admired as a kid and as a college freshman. That feel you got when you found an old N64 and controllers for everyone? You played it until the late hours of the morning with the people in your dorm? That feeling is back. You face off as your favorite character in 4 boards (which isn’t enough but is a good start). Every character has a new gimmick in the form of custom dice. Every turn, you can roll your standard D6 or you can roll a special die made for each individual character. For instance, Shy Guy’s custom dice options are 0, 4, 4, 4, 4, and 4. Fun! Bowser has a 10 space side on his dice but you could also move zero spaces and lose 3 coins. It’s a new and interesting twist to the game mechanics.
The game also adds the ally ability where you can call in other characters to assist you. Once you do that, you have the option to roll their custom dice as well as your own. Not only that but every ally you have will roll a D2 to add either 1 or 2 spaces to your roll. So if you have, say, three allies on the board with you, you could roll your dice. And your allies? All 3 of them roll their own D2 so you could get anywhere from 3-6 additional spaces. Either way, this is still the maddening, frustrating, fun game you know and love, with all new minigames and variations on your favorites to boot. If you miss the good ol’ days of Mario Party, this is absolutely the best time to jump back in.
It’s hard not to have fun when it comes to this game. Maybe if you played by yourself, you would have a bad time. It’s understandable that most games should be able to stand on their own merits for some single player action. But, if you’re really playing a PARTY game by yourself, what are you doing? You don’t even need friends to play it, just find some acquaintances to play. Or random people on the street. Or with your family (even if you Mom has absolutely no idea how controllers work and needs to be constantly instructed on what buttons to press. Damn it mom, the okay button is on the right, and the L+R buttons are on top! Why is this so hard, Mom?). No matter what you do, you are bound to have a blast. Even if some of the minigames are blatantly unfair.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: boo, bowser, daisy, donkey kong, goomba, hammer bro, koopa troopa, luigi, mario, mario party, monty mole, nintendo, nintendo switch, peach, rosalina, super mario, super mario odyssey, super mario party, switch, waluigi, wario, wii, wiiU
Big price tag for a small but fun game.
Mario Tennis Aces is a fantasy tennis game developed and published by Nintendo. It’s also pretty much the only tennis video game that anyone ever needs to buy. In it, you do many things ranging from playing tennis matches to other things. That, of course, is made all the better by being able to play this game as Mario and all his friends with a unique spin on the whole tennis experience. That’s not all though, you also do things like hitting targets or enemies in the campaign. You also fight some pretty big bosses. The real question has to be, is it worth the full $60 price tag? Let’s show you the goods:
They’re beautifully done, colorful and diverse for the maps. The characters have a lot of life in their models, outfit designs and moves. The bosses look as believable as real action games. It’s comparable to something between Mario 3D World and Mario Odyssey. As for visual effects, I really liked the bullet time feature. The characters are all uniformly designed with precision. The ship level stood out to me because the color of the ocean made a good contrast with the ship itself.
The story itself kinda sucks, but it isn’t terrible. An ancient people loved Tennis, had a magical powerful racket sealed. Wario and Waluigi find it and offer it to the Mario bros. Mario doesn’t want it but Luigi falls for it and is controlled by it. You have to collect some infinity sto- I mean power stones so that Luigi’s racket doesn’t get more powerful. I like that it does lead to a quest around an island to meet fun characters and an epic conclusion of you vs. possessed characters, but I don’t like the whole ancient power stuff. The difficulty is good, it was never too hard. You will never lose more than 2 times, and it starts easy and simple to get you used to the gameplay. What annoyed me was that there are a few really tricky stages, and I don’t mind losing a bunch of times, but I hate the forced loading times and forced unskippable character chats every time you lose. You can skip the campaign though, Tournament and Free play are available from the start.
The music is really good but there a so few songs, it can get very repetitive. The game already has a very short campaign and the OST feels shorter yet. Basically, everything was of excellent quality, the sound effects, menus, the character voices, the announcer, and the music itself. Maybe one thing that sounds not so great is the “clop” sound when you walk/run. That thing sounds like a 90s video game and not in a good way, but it doesn’t bother me. The music feels like there are 3 or 4 songs you end up hearing the most. This game costs $60. The OST doesn’t reward you for that. What you hear is really fitting of the game though, and get the mood to play a sports game, but 90% of it is forgettable. I doubt anyone’s gonna even be talking about the OST at all.
I never played Tennis in real life to tell you if it’s fake, but I think sports games that are true to life aren’t that interesting. For example, as a kid, I watched people play NBA Jam, and the ball would transform and be on fire! That kinda stuff is exciting and makes it more videogame-like. In Mario Tennis’ campaign mode, you immediately do things like playing Tennis against Donkey Kong but with Pirahna plants that will take the ball in their mouth and spit it back at you if you throw it their way. Really a fun and challenging twist! You also fight big bosses by returning their attacks back at them with the racket, kinda like Zelda OoT’s final boss. But the Tennis matches do have Tennis rules like the ball must bounce within the field lines, and you have to let the ball bounce once before the first return. Details like these make it feel real, but details like breaking an opponent’s racket made it really satisfying especially if he was difficult to beat by “normal” means.
Really enjoyable and addicting! Usually, when I start a game, I stop and wait for the mood to come. This game put me in the mood right away with its demo, bought it at launch, and played nonstop to the end. Part of this is because it’s Tennis, and I’m new to it, so it was a fresh new experience for me. I wasn’t tired at the end either, I was lamenting that it had ended. I want Nintendo to convince me to play more sports games this way but they better have more music, be longer, and have legit stories. Again we’re paying $60, the same as a fully fledged game like Mario Odyssey or an epic RPG. For example, a game like Mario Kart has no story at ALL. But it is really long with lots of race tracks, which are huge and full of details and have the most wonderful and memorable music. Mario Tennis has only a few maps, AND they’re just a 1 screen tennis field basically. So I guess the fun is up to you to have either by yourself or with friends. There’s nothing wrong with a short game if priced right.
But yeah this is like the first time I’d ever consider price into a rating. No other game, even Wind Waker or FF13, which are $60 games that I rated terribly, even those justify the price, it’s obvious that the effort and scope were big like those. But in Mario Tennis Aces I feel like, this is for rich people who pay lots for simpler things. That said, if you are a big fan of tennis and want to play online with 4 friends, it could be the best. That’s the fullest experience it will deliver.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: aces, luigi, mario, mario golf, mario sports, mario tennis, nintendo, nintendo switch, switch, tennis, waluigi, wario
Nintendo delivers the goods in more ways than one, and several iconic characters are seeing the limelight.
Senior News Editor and part-time rapper Vega couldn’t be here last week and I was too busy pretending I was getting better at Monster Hunter World to notice (though seriously, thank you to those who contributed). This edition of Lucky Gamer Recap will get you whaaaaa… two weeks of news? Does that mean you’re gonna get 14 hot topics this edition? No, of course not; 14 isn’t lucky, 7 is. But I promise you I’ll work twice as hard, okay?
1) Nintendo Directly Delivers Definitive Deadlines
So in case you missed it, one of those big grant Nintendo Direct thingamagigs happened. A lot of announcements were made. One of which involved WarioWare Gold, which would have been a stellar thing if it wasn’t just another 3DS compilation game. What’s up with Nintendo putting big compilation games like this and Mario Party Top 100 on the 3DS? Everyone has a switch now, c’mon Nintendo. Detective Pikachu’s on 3DS too? At least we got another No More Heroes and… oh, it’s some minigame compilation too? Ah well, at least it’s on the Switch. We also got that sweet Dark Souls port coming and with a dope ass amiibo to come with it! Continuing the course of WiiU games nobody played that are coming to Switch, Captain Toad: Treasure Track is finding it’s way to the Switch, but with additional levels and content. For some reason, Crash Bandicoot also made it to the Switch, originally a Sony exclusive. Man, if you’ve got a remake in the works, Nintendo is totally down with tossing it on to their roster. I for one who didn’t play the remake series would love to play it on the small screen.
Here’s a second paragraph on the direct, just because there’s so much to discuss! Splatoon 2, a game that’s constantly evolving with a steady feed of free content is about to get a 3.0 update that has a lot of stuff. More than 100 new pieces of gear are coming, tons more levels (so many levels), and they introduced Rank X for people who rank higher than S+. There will also be a badass new and highly challenging single-player campaign called the “Octo Expansion.” Oh, and I guess the squid kids will be in the next Super Smash Bros game for Switch, which got a tease of at the very end of the direct.
2) Dynamic Duo Deuteragonist’s Dong Dangling Discussion
In the last of crazy “why is this news?” phenomena that the internet likes to indulge in, we have Luigi. Apparently, we also got a good look at his dick. You see, I left out the part of the Nintendo Direct where they introduced Mario Tennis for a very good reason. This is that reason. Yep, you can catch a very good glimpse of the plumber’s phallus in one of the promotional shots. In fact, people were so obsessed over his schlong, they took to measuring it and the results are staggering. Apparently it’s 3.7” while flaccid. That’s… a pretty hefty package. No wonder Daisy doesn’t get kidnapped as often, Luigi is keeping her mighty satisfied. Yep, I went there. I subscribe to the whole “Peach and Bowser are shagging” fan theory, and in my eyes this almost adds more credence to the tale.
3) SEGA’S Sonic Satisfaction Starts Soforth
Just when we thought with Sonic Forces that SEGA couldn’t learn a damn lesson about how to get the Sonic Formula working, something incredible has happened. They realized just how huge of a success Sonic Mania was and decided that now was the time to make a physical release for it. Prior to this, the only “physical release” of the game was a collector’s edition that came with a ton of physical swag but a digital code for the game. Now, they have big plans for the erinaceomorph (look it up). The real-life copies of the game will be available for PS4, Xbox One, and Switch, with a sleek looking reversible slipcover with a retro aesthetic and a 32-page art book. Dubbed Sonic Mania Plus it will have such features as something called “Encore Mode” which they haven’t elaborated on, and two more characters will join the roster: Mighty the Armadillo and Ray the Flying Squirrel. I had to look it up and they are indeed real Sonic characters from the Genesis age. It will retail for $29.99 and come out this summer but those who already own the digital copy with have the extras made available at a later date. Also, there will be a new cartoon miniseries, and news of a film is abuzz.
4) Battlefront 2 Mitigate Microtransations to Make up for Maniacal Multiplayer
EA’s Battlefront 2 may go down as one of the biggest follies of overreaching when it comes to negative treatment to it’s consumers. After immense pressure, EA shut down a loot crate system it had originally planned to implement. It was scrapped at the last second because the crates had gear upgrades that created a seemingly pay to win atmosphere. Well, the crates are gone, but just plain ol’ microtransactions are back. Indeed, you can still get crates, but they only contain cosmetics, emotes, and other items that don’t impact gameplay. These crates can be bought with in-game currency or premium currency. Indeed, although this is a step in the right direction, improvements could still be had. We still strongly advise simply waiting for Battlefront 3 or playing the first one, as we were not too kind to it with our review and this change doesn’t really give it any points.
5) Famous Fighter Finds Friends and Foes in Fighting Franchise
Bandai Namco has always been spot on with adding interesting characters to their Soul Caliber series of fighting games. Some more famous ones were Link, Yoda, Darth Vader, Ezio Auditore da Firenze, Kratos. Now they’re about to get medieval on you, and are including Geralt of Rivia from the highly acclaimed “Witcher” games by CD Projekt Red. In case you don’t know who he is, here’s a primer: He roams the lands fighting more monsters than you fight in monster hunter, is bound by a code in taking coin for all his contracts, carrier of two swords (one for humans, one for monsters), knows 5 spells, and is a real ladies’ man (chicks dig scars). Honestly, not sure how he’ll fit in with Soul Calibur VI or what he wants to do with the eponymous sword, other than adding it to his vast collection of swords. Not a bad goal really, he’s just the ultimate collector. Now, the question on everyone’s mind: how many of the female cast will he end up sleeping with? Guess we’ll find out when the game comes out.
6) Ridiculous Rumours Recovered Remotely
It wouldn’t be a lucky gamer recap without some serious rumors. Word has it that a Splinter Cell for 2018 was briefly listed in Canada’s Amazon store, but has since been taken down. But the world could do with a new Splinter Cell game, possibly one with a new character as protagonist Sam Fisher has really been through the ringer, having stopped 3 major terror attacks, gone deep undercover, killed his own boss, thought his daughter was dead, and forgot to do the laundry that one time. The last Splinter Cell game was Blacklist from 2013. Five years off is a pretty decent vacation. Just shoot me if they decide to make it open world.
7) Tomb Raider just hit theaters and it’s not terrible.
The most recent Tomb Raider film stars Alicia Vikander as the famous Lara Croft, this time taking on the form of the rebooted character from 2013. The film has had mixed reviews, mainly that it goes over the top too frequently, but in this age of superhero films, this isn’t really a bad thing. For big fans of the new game, the adaption has been reported to be extremely faithful to many of the game’s events, sometimes even copying some of the many many injuries she sustains. This game is determined to look as authentic as possible, and if you want to see a film that is highly representative of a video game, you could do far worse than this adaptation. You can check out Chris Stuckmann’s review here if you’re interested.
Making all those alliterations was very mentally taxing and I’m never doing that again, ok?
Posted in Articles Tagged with: amiibo, bandai, battlefront 2, battlefront ii, Captain Toad, crash bandicoot, dark souls, ea, electronic arts, lara croft, luigi, microtransactions, Movies, nintendo, nintendo direct, no more heroes, sega, sonic, sonic mania, Soul Caliber, splatoon 2, Splinter Cell, the witcher, tomb raider, WarioWare Gold, why
Mari-owo what’s this?
It faced some tenuous rumors and rampant speculation, but Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is a thing that is real. It combined all your favorites from the Mushroom Kingdom with the eponymous Rabbids of… Rabbid fame. Developed by Ubisoft Paris & Ubisoft Montreal and published by Ubisoft this… okay hold on second. This is a MARIO game. A Mario game developed by Ubisoft. Let that sink in. Nintendo didn’t even publish it, Ubisoft did. This Mario game was published by Ubisoft for the Nintendo Switch. Life is certainly stranger than fiction, is it not? Anyway, this game is an isometric tactical RPG with puzzle elements. It is the unlikeliest of combos, with the greatest former plumber in all the land and the videogaming equivalent of The Minions, this game has a lot of nerve crashing its way onto the Nintendo landscape. So, is it any good?
To start, the graphics aren’t necessarily stunning from a technical perspective, but that hardly matters. Aesthetically speaking, it’s one of the best looking Mario games to date. Biome to biome, block for block, square to square, this game uses an incredible palette of every color in the book and then some. As expected of a Mario game, it’s got incredible design for each and every stage, but it takes it a step above most “standard” Mario games by making what is essentially a blocky, cubic, almost voxel-like world and making it come to life with passion. The rabbids look in top form and all the environments surrounding just ooze with artistic merit and magnanimous glee. That’s a five-dollar word you can add to your collection.
K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple, Stupid. But seriously, the game’s plot is a great excuse to have a blast. The rabbids have invaded and destroyed the mushroom kingdom because some teenage girl made a visor that can combine two objects into one. It’s pretty easy from that detail alone to see where the plot is going. Big man Bowser himself is absent in this adventure (he’s on vacation) and Bowser Jr is trying to make a name for himself. He kidnaps the visor-empowered to do his bidding and continues to wreck stuff over the course of several worlds. It’s all you need to be driven forward; the plot writes itself. Mario is a guy ready to stop the bad guys and restore the Mushroom Kingdom to its former glory. His new friend Beep-O the talking roving Roomba delivers the exposition for each level, and it’s more than necessary to tell you what you need to be doing. Plus, the gameplay is so fun, you’ll hardly need the plot to drive you forward as you jump to fight after fight.
During the battles that unfold, the bloops, bleeps, bangs, bongs, and booms are all in top form. The sound design in this game is satisfying, as all fired shots make the noise they should make. Along with that, the accompanying cacophonies of status effects like honey, ink, push, spring, vamp, and others sound exactly as they should. As for the soundtrack, I didn’t find it all that interesting. The music is primarily comprised of a chamber wind orchestra playing jubilant variations of classic Mario theme songs along with several new compositions. I personally don’t like the style of this ensemble-based music. But, as a former student of the fine arts in music, I can still appreciate the effort put into the songs and can acknowledge that despite not being quite my cup of tea, it serves the game well and is objectively some pretty good stuff.
It was described by many as Mario meets XCOM, and this is a considerably astute observation. I have not actually played any tactical games in the vein of this style, so Kingdom Battle was a relatively fresh experience. What could have been a cheap knockoff turns into a surprisingly deep and intricate battle system. It serves both as a great refresher for tactical game fans as well as a great introductory offer for people new to this particular style of game. Not only is it well designed, but it is also astoundingly deep for a Mario sort of game. You play as a squad of 3, with a total 8 characters to bring into your team. Every one of these characters have their own unique skills and play-styles that you will utilize to complete your quests. Fighting enemy rabbids is an absolute blast, especially if you hate the rabbids. It makes the overworld puzzles boring by comparison, but none are dense enough to fully stop the pace of the action that ensues.
The game is fun but is marred by a handful of annoyances. For one, the movement of characters outside of the battles is sluggish and can sometimes lead to a very bad time. This shows up specifically when you enter blue dungeons to collect coins, and the imprecise isometric design doesn’t do it any favors. You may find yourself failing many times to complete these challenges because Beep-O is usually not in quite the right spot to do contextual actions. This could be fixed with a patch and overall, the sections where you can stop to try and collect some coinage are ultimately an optional choice and therefore don’t hurt the fun factor too hard. The main battles are fun and keep you coming back for more, and that’s all you need to continue this well-designed experience with twists and turns every time you feel like you’ve gotten the game down pat. That said, once you do figure out the optimal strategy for certain enemies, some fights can seem “samey”, but this is outweighed by the number of times you are introduced to new mechanics that change the tide of battle. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself on the edge of your seat, despite playing handheld or on your TV.
Mario+Rabbids: Battle Kingdom is a game that, on paper, sounds like absolute bullsh*t. But when you see the game in action, you quickly realize that it’s possibly one of the greatest collaboration ideas available in the gaming market. This unthinkable combo of hijinks sounds like a potential disaster but is actually the perfect storm. Any game that makes the rabbids loveable is quite a feat on its own. Whether or not you’re a fan of Mario, Rabbids, or tactical RPGs, this game is a stunning and simply awesome game to behold, and it has no business being as good as it is. But it’s here and it’s magnificent, and if you are currently a lucky owner of a Nintendo Switch, you have virtually no reason not to play it.
Posted in Reviews Tagged with: battle, kindom battle, kingdom, luigi, mario, mushroom kingdom, nintendo, nintendo switch, rabbid mario, rabbid peach, rabbid yoshi, rabbidluigi, rabbids, rayman, review, rpg, switch, ubisoft, ubisoft montreal, ubisoft paris, xcom
Defending the Pixel Pack Pre-Order Bonus
Lord have mercy on me. I am about to do the unthinkable. Something disgusting, virulent, repugnant, and other five dollar words that mean gross. I’m going to praise some pre-order DLC.
WAIT WAIT WAIT STOP. Okay, I know, “pre-order culture” is a problem and it’s dumb that in many cases companies abuse this system to chop off content that should have been included. But this time it’s different. You know why? Because it’s Nintendo. And Nintendo does what SEGA don’t (okay that doesn’t work at all when you reverse it). But anyway, Mario+Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is out, and it’s good! Review forthcoming but definitely a great experience. You wouldn’t expect it considering that the Rabbids are basically just the video game version of Minions. Yet somehow, this game makes it work.
But it also has some DLC that you get for pre-ordering it anywhere. This is called the PIXEL PACK. It contains 8 guns, one for every playable character in the game. Here’s the thing, these downloadable guns are actually pretty decent. I recall numerous times where games have had pre-order DLC that either gives you a modified gun, a new gun, or a gun skin. In these cases they are usually just a slightly better version of your starting weapon, but sooner than later you’ll chuck it when you need to upgrade.
The pixel pack guns are different. They have character to them for starters. The guns are all blocky and voxel-like so they have a retro look. They have very cool visual effects similar to that Adam Sandler film that no one should mention by name. They also all make 8-bit sound effects when you fire them and hit enemies, which is fun, because the rest of the guns don’t do that. But the most important thing is that the guns are actually quite a significant upgrade to your starting gear. You’ll find that you actually have a pretty decent time with the first world because the guns are pretty damn good. And fun! It eases you into the game better by giving you a fair advantage for the beginning. By the time you finish World 1, you might be ready to move on. That boost you get, though? I was actually grateful. It still didn’t need to be DLC, but it could have been worse, they could have tried to charge you for the guns and thankfully Nintendo isn’t like that. Well, not yet anyway. Depends on how you feel about the Zelda: BotW season pass really.
I haven’t seen a DLC this useful since the Courier’s Stash from Fallout: New Vegas, with your trusty Vault 13 canteen! So there, I defended a pre-order content that’s useful. Please forward all death threats to firstname.lastname@example.org. And thanks for reading!
Posted in Articles Tagged with: adam sandler, beepo, bowser jr, fallout, fallout new vegas, kingdom battle, luigi, mario, mario rabbids, mario+rabbids, minons, pixels, princess peach, rabbidluigi, rabbids, rayman, sorry, super mario, toad