Hi I’m Chet Harrison and this is my pawn shop. Okay just kidding this a review page. Anyway, I like karting games but our pal Dale Desimone (Zeke) is an expert on these things and can tell us what we’re really dealing with here. Team Sonic Racing is a multi-platform kart racing game smart enough to release before Crash Team Racing pops up and takes over. Is this any good? YES*
*mainly for couch multi and it being multi-platform. It’s better than Mario Kart anyway. ^_-
The 2020 Olympics will be taking place in Tokyo next year. Besides already holding the licenses, Sega is taking this opportunity to try to make waves. First headlines were made with eh announcement of “Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – The Official Video Game”. Coming to Playstation 4 and Nintendo Switch worldwide. Sega has gone on the record calling this new title “A fun-filled sports action game where you create your avatar and compete in olympic events. That’s right, you too can go for the gold from the comfort of your living room!
Next, they announced the release of a brand new Mario & Sonic at the Olympics. It’s been a long 4 years since the last time we’ve seen these athletes on the field. Mario & Sonic at the Olympics 2020 looks much like past iterations but this time will have mini-games for your Joy-Cons. The only real question here is; will this game feature the movie versions of our two cover stars?
For those of us who have become avid mobile gamers Sega’s got something for you too, because mobile gamers count. Mario & Sonic will be attending the Tokyo Olympics on iOS and Android as well. Assuming the game will borrow some Joy-Con features and optimize for touchscreens, this will most likely be super casual. I’m predicting for sure at least one Temple Run style track and field game. Actually, bets are open.
Not excited about the Olympics!? Fine.
Fear not friends who could careless about professional sports or sports simulations. Or emotionless monsters who can’t find the humor in the “world’s fastest hedgehog” racing against the “most hard-headed plumber of all time”. There is some retro based good news. Sega is bringing a new challenger to the mini console revolution.
The Sega Genesis Mini will be available on September 19th, 2019. Retailing at the great price of $79.99 the mini console will feature 40 classic games including Sonic (of course), Castelvania, and Ecco the Dolphin. For the record, Ecco the Dolphin is the second most exciting part of this for me. What’s the first? Well I’m glad you asked. So far, 10 of the 40 games have been announced and one of those game is, Comix Zone. Need I say more?
The console itself is reportedly about 55% smaller than the original and comes with two usb powered replica three button controllers. Also packed into the box is a USB to Micro-B cable for power and an HDMI cable for graphic fidelity. Because as we all know, it’s not a retro remake unless it’s in HD.
What are some of the found memories you hope to relive with the Sega Genesis Mini? And for those excited for the olympics, what’s your favorite thing to have Mario beat Sonic at? And for everyone else, sorry you stuck around for that Vanquish sequel reveal. Believe me, you are not alone.
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.
I have yet to think of a complaint about this game.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker is a delightful puzzle adventure game based on the adventures of d-list Super Mario mainstay, Toad. This is possibly the first time he’s had his own spotlight. It was published and developed by Nintendo and originally released for the WiiU in 2014 and has since gotten a brand new outing on the Switch. Portability of the game is a huge enhancement, as the touch screen options are more intuitive than ever. The bite-sized levels are also great for pick up and play whenever you feel like playing it. I’ve not finished the game but there’s little more that can be done to change my mind, and you all may find it agreeable.
The game is divided into a series of tiny, neatly designed levels that encourage you to explore every nook and cranny. The graphical style is exactly in form with the current visual design of 3D Mario titles and the performance quality on the switch is solid and unflinching. Not once did I encounter a stutter or a slowdown, the game runs flawlessly and the loading times are practically nonexistent. All the individual levels are also very appealing, as no two levels look alike (and there’s roughly 70 of them) and they are always inviting and warm looking. The memorable designs and the quality of the skyboxes are a great addition as well.
You find a star. Then a bird steals a star and kidnaps Toadette. Then, you as Captain Toad must chase the bird down while collecting diamonds for unexplained reasons. Once you defeat the bird, the game drops a great fakeout on you, rolling the credits over what may have been quite the cakewalk, only for you to find out that a much harder second episode awaits you. It mixes things up a notch the second time through. You find a star. Then a bird steals the star and kidnaps Captain Toad. Then, you as Toadette must chase the bird down while collecting diamonds for unexplained reasons. You don’t have to fight the bird the second time; instead, the game branches off for the third episode and you jump back and forth between Captain Toad and Toadette. What more could you ask for?
You would think the absolutely obnoxious train flute theme song would get on your nerves, and yet it does not. It merely adds to the charm of the game. There’s not a lot to pick apart here. It’s a good soundtrack and very fitting of that “Mario” mood. There’s not much in the way of talking other than the occasional mumblings of Captain Toad and Toadette. The sound FX in this game are anywhere from new sounds to old ones from other Nintendo games.
Mario games like these get straight to the point, have you playing quickly, and keep you engaged with constant rewards for progress. Every level has 3 things to achieve; finding 3 diamonds, completing a bonus challenge, then playing a hide and seek challenge where you have to hunt down an 8-bit Toad sticker hidden in the map and tap it on the touchscreen. There were many instances where I didn’t move on to the next level because the challenge of either finding stuff I missed or doing the goals made the game that much more fun. Super Mario Odyssey showed off that Nintendo can put loads and loads of features into relatively small environments, and that is on display here too. No nook or cranny goes unwasted in these very small but very well made maps.
This game was just spectacular in its delivery. Load times are unfathomably short and there are no bugs. It’s hard to hate on this game, it’s just so simple and easy to pick. It has that Nintendo charm that went missing earlier this year with the new Kirby game. This game is a perfect Switch title, the instant access to play just a quick level gives you plenty of opportunities to stop whatever it is you’re doing just to play a level or two.
In fact, I did that just now. I stopped to play it a bit and left feeling happy. Now, this game may not be for everyone, from an objective standpoint, the game is perfect. Now, they could have done more and added a ton of new levels instead of just 4, but who knows, maybe it’s hard to make the levels because they are so well-crafted. Still, if my only complaint is that there needs to be more, that’s really not a flaw. $40 is a decent asking price, but it may be too much if you’re looking for a big drawn out adventure. Now that this is out of the way, the question remains, are when are we gonna get the Switch version of Super Mario Maker.
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.
Controllers, Clouds, Counterstrike, and Cole Train
Good news and bad news. Comparisons of titanic forces. And all the power money could buy if money could buy power. That’s what this week looks like for the gamers who can use a little good feeling. Last week brought us interesting rumors around power moves and saddening, yet exciting delay announcements. Here are the reason you should feel like a Lucky Gamer:
1. Microsoft buys more clouds and enters the rumor mill.
Microsoft is undeniably the most financially capable of the big three video game console makers. Sony’s a company shifted their focus to Playstation a few years back to help keep the entire company afloat. Nintendo, on the other hand, really only makes video games so they are stable but not as much cash flow available. That’s why the rumor that Microsoft is considering buying EA, Valve, & PUBG corp. is incredibly believable. And with none of those three having responded to comment after nearly a week (at the time of this writing) boy oh boy what might we be in for. On the factual side of business, it’s business as usual. The super company just acquired PlayFab, a backend cloud based service provider. The goal is to have PlayFab work as an extension tool to build on Azure, the current cloud. Look at you go Microsoft, look at you go.
2. Waiting for Redemption better be worth it.
Who am I kidding, of course it will be worth it. It’s Red Dead Redemption, and even though i’m not the biggest fan, I have to admit I am among those looking forward to this adventure. With that said, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed to October 26th. Watch out Ubisoft, Rockstar is coming hard. Not much was said about what cause the delay but it doesn’t really matter. The fact is they gave us a solid release date, that could change, and that makes me way more comfortable with the delay then anything else they could have said. You know, other than “We tested it and felt like our horse mechanics just weren’t as fun as Dynasty Warriors, so back to the drawing board.” Also they released new screenshots of gorgeous sunsets. And horses.
3. Unlike Sonic, Mario is doing pretty well.
This battle of icons has been raging for as long as the video game industry has been booming. It’s like Jay-Z v Nas. Yankees v Red Sox. Trump v Everything that makes sense for a president to do. So of course Mario got word of all the things Sonic has been up to and decided to 10 up him. Sonic got a TV series, Mario partnered with Illumination Entertainment to make a movie. A whole feature length film. That’s how you go big but there’s more. Mario Kart tour was announced for mobile which is set to release sometime before March 2019. Boom headshot! Well not exactly. See in the midst of all these upcoming plans Nintendo also took the time to humbly brag that the Nintendo Switch has outsold the Wii U lifetime sales in less than 10 months. With the best selling game being, you probably guessed it, Super Mario Odyssey. Damn Mario straight killing the game. It’s also the fastest selling console in the history of consoles though, so no big deal.
4. Enter new Dualshock 4 Controllers.
This is the most exciting news for me! As a playstation controller connoisseur, there is no way I was going to miss an opportunity to make a big deal over the new PS4 dual shock 4 remote colors. Midnight Blue (which actually happens to legitimately be my favorite color) and Steel Black. They look absolutely gorgeous. Both controls will be available in March for the standard price of $64.99. And this announcement comes hot on the heels of a sneaker partnership announcement too! Damn it Sony, I am a starving artist. You need to show some damn consideration for the little guys cause now I gotta come short with the rent so I can get one of each control and the Playstation sneakers. Oh well, totally worth it.
5. Yea I used this pun last week but, let’s Switch the topic.
If you’re the type of gamer who has been patiently waiting to be charged more money for a service you’ve kind of already been using, then boy is this the box for you. Nintendo announced that the Switch’s online service will be launching in September of this year. No other information was really given so it’s safe to say the previous statements apply. It will most likely run you $19.99 and give access to a Classic Games Selection and eShop discounts, much like the competition. Also, although announced by Microsoft, the Nintendo Switch is getting some rather unique content. The Switch version of Minecraft saw the addition of the Xbox characters pack. This means you’ll be able to play as Master Chief, Cole Train, Banjo, and many more on a Nintendo console. Does this mean we are getting closer to a future where Gamestop employees no longer have to say “Mario is not on Xbox”? The update also includes the Moana character pack featuring characters from the Disney movie.
6. Diablo creator announces new game while Counter Strike creator gets in trouble.
The good news. David Brevik, the creator of gaming classic Diablo, has announced he’s finished a new game which is already in closed beta. The new game, title “It Lurks Below”, mixes elements from Minecraft, Terraria, and Brevik’s original work Diablo. If all goes according to plan, “It Lurks Below” should launch later this year on Steam. This is also Brevik’s first major project since 2013 and he mad it on his own as a one man team. The bad news. Jesse Cliffe, co-creator of Counter-Strike, has been suspended by Valve following his arrest on charges of sexual exploitation of a child. It is important to reserve judgment as details are still emerging around these allegations. We can only hope, as gamers, that this gets resolved in an honest matter and none of it is true.
7. Gaming goes South by SouthWest
SXSW Gaming is headed to Austin, TX March 15th through March 17th. It’s been a little while since gaming has taken part in the SXSW festivities but it’s exciting to see it making it’s return. The video game industry is booming and it really shows with events like this popping up all over the world all year around. This year the SXSW Gaming will feature eSports, indies, VR, AAA, and Mobile, which pretty much is all of gaming. Including gaming in this world of music, film, and art is just another example of the built up appreciation of video games. Hardcode gamers rejoice, a new day is coming.
Got anything that made you feel Lucky that I didn’t mention? Drop it in the comments below.
Mario is back, and he’s got a funky cap! Super Mario Odyssey is the billionth(*approximate) Mario game developed and published by Nintendo. In it, Mario finds himself once again trying to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, this time framed as a globetrotting adventure as you chase his airship with your very own hot air balloon and mobile home, the ‘Odyssey.’ It’s Mario for sure, but just how much ‘Mario’ did the game accomplish in this newer age of games?
The visuals are something to behold. Nintendo proves once again that raw power isn’t everything, with area after area oozing with color and jubilant design choices. Every time you enter a new Kingdom, it’s a whole new adventure of exploring just for the sake of seeing everything. It is true that the Metro Kingdom AKA New Donk City is the least graphically impressive area in the game, but you can pretty much blame that on being the only level that is trying to create a real-life appearance. As soon as you leave that kingdom you’re in for a visual treat, as level after level continue to deliver on unique palettes and radically different NPC designs. Somehow all these different areas keep everything together and exude that quintessential “MARIO” feel without ever missing a beat. Even the aforementioned Metro has an event that more than makes up for the “at odds” design, with a crazy blast of throwbacks and nods that all look spectacular.
Oh for f*ck’s sake, Mario! …okay but really. Peach gets kidnapped again and this time Bowser is trying to marry her, so he travels across the world to steal things he needs for the wedding. It’s stand operating procedure for Mario. But this time he meets Cappy, a talking transforming hat that just so happens to also have issues with Bowser. See, Bowser kidnapped his sister, who is Peach’s marriage tiara. But even with the additional context, that’s not what drives you forward in this game. It’s the power moons. This game is constantly rewarding you as a player by doing various odds and ends, all to collect more of these moons to power your airship. You can find a bunch from fighting bosses and following the mainline “quest” for each kingdom, but so many more can be found for just doing various things. The game keeps you playing because you will want to collect all those power moons, and although you only need around 150 to get to the “final level”, there’s still more than 400+ to collect, some only unlocking after you beat the game. Also, never has an ending been so satisfying in a Mario game. I laughed so hard I cried at some of the antics you get up to during the game’s ending moments.
Gotta love a game that builds up to having a musical number. “Jump Up, Super Star!” is an amazing little Jazz that features about 2/3s into the game, and in some of the game’s trailers and promo content. It’s a good song on its own and the lyrics are written on the interior of the box art, which was a nice touch for the physical copy. It’s even better when you reach the level where you have to work to get a festival going and when the song does finally hit, you play one of the most entertaining and fun levels you’ll ever encounter. The song gets stuck and my head, and it’s not even the best one. While only a couple songs are a bit on the dry side, most are bombastic and motivational. Not to mention they are usually a perfect match for the level you’re on. The game’s final level, once again, has a moment with an unexpected vocal track, but if I shared any more it would move into spoiler territory. Besides that, the audio all sounds like Mario is supposed to sound. The only sound effect I noticed was that the “death” jingle didn’t feel as authentic as the rest of the game did.
Mario has all his acrobatic skills and has never controlled better than he has here in Odyssey. A lot less focus is put on jumping on the heads of enemies though, and you don’t throw punches as you did in Mario 64 and others. Instead of offensive capabilities, most of the gameplay revolves around throwing your hat/companion Cappy at creatures so you can take control of them to solve the many mini puzzles and challenges you face throughout the game. Each map was designed perfectly and uses every inch of space to its maximum potential. You’ll revisit worlds repeatedly, and every time you do you’ll find more hidden coins, power moons, and challenges. It is guaranteed that way after the game ends, you’ll find more to do, as the game actively encourages it. As stated earlier, acquiring the moons is the games central mechanic, and it is constantly rewarding you with them for exploring and finding new challenges. You won’t be done with the game once you’ve defeated Bowser, you’ll be done when you’ve decided you have had enough. That might not be for a long while though.
I’ve sort of illustrated what makes this game so much fun in all the other categories. Nothing in the game feels too hard or poorly implemented. The lives system has been supplanted with losing coins when you die. Collecting coins and specialty coins serves an actual purpose in the game too. Each level has regular coins, and then its own individual currency, which you can spend in their stores to buy an extra heart, a moon, 10 moons (really), or any one of many many MANY COSTUMES. That part is even better. All the costumes are mostly cosmetic, save for one special quirk per level, and collecting the costumes is fun all on its own. After beating the game, I spent most of my time as Mario decked out in a pinstripe suit with its accompanying fedora from New Donk City. But if that’s not your style, you can always dress Mario up as, and not limited to: a chef, a caveman, a pirate, a snorkeler, an aviator, an Eskimo, a ‘murica, and of course, his all white wedding getup. So many outfits, so little time. The more power moons you find, the more outfits you can buy with your regular coins. Believe me, it keeps you going.
Super Mario Odyssey is the final sign that Nintendo has truly returned to the forefront of mainstream gaming. The Nintendo Switch is an amazing console that’s actually getting support from third party developers and fantastic games from the creative minds at Nintendo HQ. Just think, Mario had TWO amazing games just this year and Ubisoft made one of them. It’s unreal! But this game is the quintessential 3D Mario experience, the best one to come out since Super Mario Galaxy, and it’s been a long time since that game graced us. A must-have for Switch owners, don’t miss it!
Capture your hearts’ content while being discontent with EA.
Folks, it’s been a long week. I’m tired. Here’s some sh*t that happened this week in case you missed it.
1) Destiny 2 Leviathan raid gets BTFO’d
Merely an hour after it went live, the first ever raid for this MMO-lite game was beaten in an hour. Which would be impressive except for one thing, it was faked. That’s right, the raid was quickly beaten because instead of being good sportsmen and just playing the damn game, everyone had to go and ruin things by using an exploit. The sad part is the exploit isn’t even that hard to pull off. Several videos went up instruction players how to get all the great loot without the hard effort.
2) Pokemon Go does the monster mash.
Everyone’s favorite alternate reality mobile game collectathon is going strong. It’s the getting to the end of October and everyone has Halloween fever. What’s the best part about this holiday? THE CANDY OF COURSE. Every pokemon you catch will earn you a whopping SIX candies. On top of that, there are a handful of other ways to rake in some extra sweets. If that’s not enough for you, the game will be ramping up the scare factor the only way it can. The spooooooky pokemon you know and love will be a lot more common as the 31st draws closer and closer. You’ll have increased chances to catch a Zubat, Golbat, Gastly, Haunter, Gengar, Drowzee, or Hypno. Why not take your pokemon with you while Trick or Treating?
3) Capture footage now even easier on the Switch.
Having a dedicated screenshot button on the Switch was a brilliant idea. Even more brilliant is the new update for the crossover console. Update 4.0 bring an impressive new feature. Pressing and holding the capture button will now automatically lock in and record the last 30 seconds of your gameplay. For many games though, not all of them. They’ve also made it easier to transfer your user data from Switch to Switch which would be nice. Considering Nintendo’s track record for releasing slightly updated versions of their handhelds, I can’t wait to get my hands on a theoretical new switch that will have a longer battery life.
4) Capture footage now even easier on the Xbox One.
The Switch wasn’t the only console with a major update. The Fall 2017 Hardware update for the Xbox one has added a lot of new features. An even further improved Home button was one of the features, while a more streamlined desktop accompanied the changes. You can now add games to your homescreen, instead of just pin, and get a more informative preview of the latest news and community activity about whichever game you choose. But most importantly, if you plug in an external USB 3.0 compatible device, you can now capture gameplay footage up to 60 minutes long.
5) EA adds pay to win elements to Star Wars Battlefront II.
I mean, it’s hard not to have heard this news, it’s everywhere. People played the demo and are pretty concerned that the current “loot crate” craze has poisoned the well and that Battlefront II is the most recent victim. EA has backpedaled on this a little bit, saying that they will make core elements to the game be progression-based, but that has yet to be seen. We are all just hoping that the single player campaign isn’t just some tacked on garbage. We can only hope that after the ruckus this game has caused, everything will turn for the better in the end.
6) EA shuts down Visceral Games.
EA is apparently not happy with f*cking up things yet, so here they are again. Visceral Games, creators most well known for the Dead Space series, was working on a standalone Star Wars game. After some focus testing, EA decided that the project was no longer worthwhile and terminated the company. Nice going, EA. You’re well on your way to re-earning that “worst company” award. I mean, other worse companies deserve it usually, but you manage to really stick your mistakes in everyone’s faces, don’t you, EA?
7) Good news for Mario XCOM fans.
Did you think Mario+Rabbids Kingdom battle was an easy game? If you did, you might have been playing in easy mode. This challenging game is getting even tougher with some newly announced DLC. Dubbed the “Ultra Challenge Pack”, it contains 8 new super hard scenarios to fight your way through. Owners of the season pass already have access and can download it whenever they want. Tread carefully, this DLC isn’t playing around.
There’s been more than a dozen games featuring those wascally wabbids and none of them are particularly that great. Just a lot of dopey nonsense aimed at kids. So, what makes this game so special? Well, for starters, Mario. He makes everything better. Secondly, this game as a game is F*CKING SPECTACULAR.
This video was recorded before our review but you can now read it here. And for details on the pixel pack defense, go here.
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.