Tag Archives: Nintendo

Tomodachi Life (3DS)

Developer(s) – Nintendo SPD

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

PEGI – 3

Dabbling into the life simulation genre (something relatively rare for Nintendo), Tomodachi Life challengers gamers to create their own world and inhabit it with a populace, who must be kept happy and kept on track to do such things as stay full, stay fashionable, realize their ambitions and find true love. Even though this game was hyped up something fierce, and Nintendo even went so far as to upset an entire community by not including the option to pursue same-sex relationships in the game (something I won’t condone in the slightest), I wasn’t particularly impressed with it.

Graphics – 4/10

Whilst most games that feature the miis as central characters don’t necessarily have much in terms of concept going for them, it seems to me like Tomodachi Life borrows elements from the likes of Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort. And to me, the idea of a game having adopted elements from already generic-looking games doesn’t really bode well. The small pluses are that the game is well polished enough and the amounts of different foods and clothes offer a small level of variety in terms of visual presentation, but I don’t think anywhere near enough was added to keep it fresh.

Gameplay – 4/10

I think the same thing can be said for the game’s play too; a small amount of variety, but not enough to keep players wanting to play. I’d played this game all week, and found to become very repetitive very quickly. There is some value to playing it in that the characters can be made to say some funny things depending on their mood, and I did like the brief interspersions of turn-based RPG combat that can be experienced once the island’s fairground is unlocked, but other than that, I didn’t really find any deeper substance than that in terms of gameplay.

Controls – 10/10

As a simple, and at least relaxing life simulator experience, on a globally familiar handheld console, there was never going to be any kind of problem with the game’s control scheme, as this kind of games had been developed and published by other many times prior to the release of Tomodachi Life. I look at this game as basically being a glorified version of the Tamagotchi, and in all honesty, I found them harder to cope with back when they were the in things, than I do this.

Lifespan – 10/10

Since there is no fixed lifespan, there is no worry about players having to worry about making conventional progress, and thus is a game that can simply be picked up and played as and when. However, I think that without a great level of depth in gameplay, it’s somewhat safe for me to assume that there could be many players out there who would play the game for a couple of hours at a time for a few days, and then simply not touch it ever again, because in that time, they will most probably have experienced most of what the game has to offer.

Storyline – N/A (10/10)

Though there is no preset story, and only a basic premise behind Tomodachi Life, whereby different people’s lives can be led, that’s what makes the game unique in a sense. A lot of different stories concerning a massive variety of different characters can be told in a small amount of time, and there aren’t many games I think of off the top of my head, which incorporate such a system. The game also has a varied and sometimes wonderfully weird sense of humour to it as well, which I think adds a small level of artistic expression to the overall experience.

Originality – 3/10

The problem is that the system whereby the game’s story is encompassed is about the only original things this game has going for it in my opinion. There’s nothing overly unique about the gameplay, and though Nintendo may be relatively new to the life simulation genre, I would have though they would be capable of bringing something new to the table to break the mould of previous games in the same category. I was excited for the release of this game after watching various trailers for it, but I now believe I was misled into thinking that this game could have been more than what it turned out to be.

Niiutral

Niiutral

In summation, although certain aspects of Tomodachi Life save it from being a terrible title, I still feel that it’s a gaming experience unworthy of Nintendo. They have developed some of the greatest and most legendary video games to have been put out to retail, but I don’t feel that this stands out as one of the greater titles in their library by any means.

Score

41/60

6.5/10 (Above Average)

The Hobbit (Xbox, PC, PlayStation 2, GameCube & Game Boy Advance)

Developer(s) – Inevitable Entertainment, The Fizz Factor & Saffire

Publisher(s) – Sierra Entertainment

Designer – Chuck Lupher

Producer(s) – Jaime Grieves

PEGI – 7

Amidst the newfound popularity of the Tolkien mythos surround the Lord of the Rings film trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, and amidst an ongoing dispute regarding the rights to the Tolkien license, with multiple games based on the books and films being developed at the time, The Hobbit was released to mixed reviews from critics, who cited the gameplay as being uninspiring, and it’s failure to appeal to younger gamers. In the industry, licensed games have for the most part been generally frowned upon, and seen as simply being a modern form of shovelware, with the owners of their respective licenses simply releasing games to coincide with films for the moat part. However, there are a elect few license games, which go above and beyond what is expected of them, and end up offering some legitimately enjoyable gaming experiences. In my opinion, whilst The Hobbit may not be among the best, it’s certainly not among the worst, I find.

Graphics – 6.5/10

On aspect that the game falls short on somewhat, is the visuals. Whilst they may have looked fairly impressive at the time, they don’t hold up nearly as well on a technical level as many other games of it’s kind do, such as Final Fantasy X and Metal Gear Solid 2 to name but a few. Like the game based on the first volume of The Lord of the Rings trilogy developed by WPX Games & Surreal Software, it largely conforms to the same conceptual design as in the films, but there are a couple of standout elements that did fairly well to separate it from both the initial Peter Jackson film trilogy and the aforementioned game at the time of it’s release at least (before the Hobbit film trilogy came out years later as well as Lego The Hobbit), such as locations like Lake Town, Mirkwood and Erebor.

Gameplay – 7/10

For the most playing out like a traditional 3D platformer, the game also has a few little side quests thrown in for good measure during the first half of it; like the previously mentioned Lord of the Rings game. Most notably involving completing the tasks for the dwarves before the party departs for The Lonely Mountain. There is also a small stealth aspect, which fits in fairly well with the tableau of the story of Bilbo Baggins being hired as a thief, and which I moderately enjoyed. Stealth can be quite a tricky aspect to pull off in games, as it can eliminate fluency if it requires players to play through the same area a certain amount of times, but for the most part, it’s done fairly well in this title in my opinion.

Controls – 10/10

As far as 3D platforming in this game goes, I had no gripes with it whatsoever; which in all fairness was to be expected I think, as the genre had well and truly took prominence at this time following the release of games such as Super Mario 64 and Jak & Daxter. Combat and stealth are also both handled adequately well, and there are no unnecessary complications with the game’s control scheme present to add any kind of unwarranted level of frustration.

Lifespan – 6/10

The game can be made to last an average of 8 hours even taking in the completion of side quests throughout the course of the game, which whilst isn’t great by any means, is still fractionally longer than the game based on The Lord of the Rings license, which can be made to last around 6 to 7 hours. As the game conforms to a very linear progression, it wasn’t expected to have a great lifespan in any case, but I cant help but think that with a little bit more imagination on the developer’s part, it could have been made to last at least a little while longer; certainly the first part of the game set in the Shire.

Storyline – 8/10

Depicting the events of the classic children’s novel written by JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit follows the exploits of Bilbo Baggins of the Shire, who is persuaded by the wizard Gandalf and his band of 13 dwarves to accompany them on an adventure to retake the dwarven city of Erebor from the dragon Smaug. The story itself isn’t an issue at all, since It’s enjoyable in any form that it’s told; be that through a game, a film, or most notably of course, the classic book. The biggest problem I had with it, however, is the voice acting is quite lacklustre, even by video game standards at that time, and thus, it’s much more difficult to take seriously than in other forms of media the story has, or would be told in.

Originality – 6/10

The game does retain a slight element of uniqueness, as it incorporates the aforementioned stealth element, which at this point was only really seen in the Sly Cooper games. However, for the most part, it plays out like most other 3D platformers that were released before its time, and consequentially, I don’t think it can be considered either evolutionary or revolutionary. The stealth mechanics in the Sly Cooper games were much more sophisticated than in this title, and in terms of normal 3D platforming mechanics, it fails to stand out amidst many of the classics in the genre that had been released prior.

Happii

Happii

In summation, despite it’s lack of originality and less than satisfactory voice acting, The Hobbit is nevertheless a fairly enjoyable gaming experience, and shouldn’t be entirely overlooked. Whilst the visuals may not hold up to this day on a technical level, and whilst more could have been added to increase the game’s longevity, the developers did a good job for the most part, and it’s certainly worth at least one playthrough; for both fans of the Tolkien mythos and the 3D platforming genre.

Score

43.5/60

7/10 (Fair)

The Binding of Isaac (PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, New Nintendo 3DS & Xbox One)

Designer(s) – Edmund McMillan & Florian Himsl

PEGI – 16

Created by Edmund McMillan, the same mind behind the infamously difficult Super Meat Boy, The Binding of Isaac is a Roguelike that can be seen as a love letter to the original Legend of Zelda game, but with its own very unique twists. Regardless of how morbid this game can seem to many people, it’s also a particularly enjoyable one to play. But be warned: it isn’t for those who are easily offended.

Graphics – 7/10

The visuals, rendered in the same artistic style as Super Meat Boy, contain a lot of unique, yet taboo elements in things like the various power-ups that can be found in the game, and especially in it’s creature roster, with it being capped off by some of the most compellingly disturbing bosses I’ve ever seen in video games. The only gripe I have with it is that the settings can get a little repetitious at times, but the various DLC packages and re-releases fixed that problem to a certain extent.

Gameplay – 8/10

Playing out with mainly the dungeon crawling aspects of The Legend of Zelda series, it involves simply killing all enemies, and the boss at the end of each stage, then rinse and repeat. But each playthrough is different, as ever section of every stage is randomly generated, presenting players with new power-ups and a new challenge every time. It’s quite testing, but not to the point of being unforgiving, which after playing Super Meat Boy, was like a breath of fresh air to me.

Controls – 10/10

There are also no issues with the controls. There are obstacles present in certain areas of each stage, such as floor spikes and bombs that could detonate unexpectedly, but whether or not the player survives is entirely dependant on their own level of skill, which is how I think games like this should be. At times, players are required to think on their toes in order to accommodate for what abilities and perks they may or may not have; especially during boss fights.

Lifespan – 10/10

As each playthrough presents a new challenge and experience every time, the game quite literally has infinite replay value. I love to see this in any game, but it’s particularly noteworthy when an indie developer manages to accomplish this, since I hear many developers and critics citing that the budget may have been a factor in a game’s development cycle. But especially considering that this started out as a mere Flash game, and would have cost next to nothing to create, it says to me that the limitations stem from the developer’s imaginations.

Storyline – 8/10

The story is extremely reminiscent of the Bible story of the same name. It follows a young boy named Isaac, who once lived peacefully with his mother, until the voice of God called out to her to “cut her son off from the world’s evils”, and lock him in his room. God finally calls out to Isaac’s mother, demanding that she sacrifice her son to him as proof that she loves God above all. But before his mother can burst to kill him, Isaac jumps down a trap door in his bedroom to plunge into the dangerous depths below, and into a world of danger. The story is extremely controversial, containing a number of mature themes and taboos, including, suicide, child neglect, religious hypocrisy, infanticide; the list goes on. But above all, it’s very enjoyable for those willing to take heed to the lessons conveyed within it.

Originality – 7/10

Though there have been many Roguelike games to have come and gone, this is a game that stands out among most others. It goes where other games and developers are generally afraid to go. After Super Meat Boy, I resented the development of such a game. But The Binding of Isaac has made me respect Edmund McMillan a great deal more than I did as a developer; especially since this was also a very personal game for him, as many of the game’s events were in fact based on his own childhood experiences.

Happii

Happii

Overall, The Binding of Isaac, whilst being the most controversial game I’ve ever played, is also one of the more enjoyable. It has everlasting replay value, as well as a story and premise that has rightfully propelled Edmund McMillan into a very special place in gaming history.

Score

50/60

8/20 (Very Good)

The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Developer(s) – Radical Entertainment

Publisher(s) – THQ

Rating – N/A

Released first on the NES and Game Boy in 1992, and then remarkable re-release on the Super NES the following year, and then on the Mega Drive the year after that, Rocky and Bullwinkle was one of many mediocre licensed games released on the system, along with Nightmare on Elm Street and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? But out of these three games, the worst has to be Rock and Bullwinkle for a good number of reasons.

Graphics – 5/10

The first of which being the visuals. Though a number of more advanced graphics rendering techniques were incorporated during development, such as black outlines for characters and sprites, the overall conceptual design is nothing short of woeful. There have been many games to have come and gone that have made good use of cartoon-like visuals (most cel-shaded games spring to mind), but the scenery and style of this game make it seem that it was literally drawn by a four year old.

Gameplay – 2/10

A traditional 2D platformer, the game basically involves having to get from point A to point B, and not much of anything else. There is a small basis in combat, with being able to use grenade and some specialist attacks, and some basis in variety being able to switch from two characters at will, but that’s not to say that any of it is enjoyable. The game can simply be rushed without much difficulty, making combat largely unnecessary.

Controls – 4/10

Even after almost a decade since the release of the original Super Mario Bros, there were development companies that still couldn’t get the fundamentals of the genre right. Rocky and Bullwinkle is one of the most prominent examples of which. Not only are the stair climbing controls terrible inaccurate, but so is the hit detection, making combat unnecessarily hard and nigh on unbearable to cope with. There were other games in the genre that suffered from issues like this, but this game took it to a whole new level.

Lifespan – 0.5/10

For first time players, it will take about an hour to play through this game, but for veteran players (although there aren’t many of them, since not a lot of people in the right mind should actually play this game for any extended amount of time), the game can take inside seven minutes to finish. It is a painfully short amount of time for a video game to last, but with a game of such undeniably bad quality, there isn’t much call for it to last any longer than that.

Storyline – 2/10

As in the cartoon, the story involves Rocky and Bullwinkle resolving to find and defeat their arch nemesis, Fearless Leader. Personally, I was never a fan of the cartoon, and so making a video game from the source material was always going to be an inevitably bad idea. It’s a terrible license, which has somehow warranted the development of a terrible game, and by proxy, a terrible film (by some distance, the worst thing Robert De Niro has ever done with his career).

Originality – 0/10

There is no originality about this game, since everything that is incorporated within had already been done before, and theres absolutely nothing present in it to be able to differentiate it from other prominent games in the genre at the time. I fact, a lot of the many stables of the genre, such as bosses, are not present, which only makes matter worse.

Furiious

Furiious

In summation, Rocky and Bullwinkle is one of the worse video games I’ve ever played. Even if players may have played every single platform game, and still hunger for more of the same, I can’t recommend it at all.

Score

13.5/60

2/10 (Terrible)

Tetris 2 (Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System & Super Nintendo)

Developer(s) – Nintendo R&D1, TOSE & Nintendo

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

PEGI – 3

First published and brought to consoles in 1993 by Nintendo following the immense success of the 1989 classic designed by Dr. Alexei Pajitnov, Tetris 2 was met with an equal amount of acclaim by critics, with Electronic Gaming Monthly going on record to say that any fans of the first game will surely be satisfied with the sequel as well. Personally, I have a much more dim view of the second game than many others, which may seem like semantics when first thought about, since it’s easy to assume that the second would simply play out more or less identically to the first, but it doesn’t, and there are some key reasons why I think much less of this than the original game.

Graphics – 6/10

Whilst judging the game on it’s visuals, it highly depends on which port is being played. The Game Boy version consists of very little in terms of presentation, and has a much less catchy soundtrack than it’s predecessor. Though games like this are not primarily played for it’s graphics, the original game did have a few different pieces of scenery throughout reminiscent of the country that it came from, but there’s nothing like that in the second. The NES version of course has colour to it, since the Game Boy is a monochromatic system, but there is unfortunately the same lack of additional conceptual design.

Gameplay – 6/10

Nintendo decided to not only port the game to their consoles, but re-invent it as well; in my opinion, resulting in a very underwhelming final product. The objective of the second game is to eliminate blocks pre-emptively fixed on the game board by matching them up with blocks of the same colour or pattern using the falling tetrimino shapes. I found it simply to be dull and unsatisfying compared to the first game, which was designed by a man who understood the very concept of addiction, having studied it for a long time.

Controls – 6/10

Because the tetrimino shapes are structured much differently to those of the first game, yet with the game itself functioning on largely the same control scheme, to me, it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as in the first game. It simply highlights how overly hard the developers tried to fix something that wasn’t broken, and complicated something that did not need to be complicated at all.

Originality – 6/10

Although I can commend Nintendo to a certain extent for trying something new with an overwhelmingly popular gameplay formula, something which by default would have been extremely difficult to even begin to undertake, let alone top, it tuned out to be the wrong decision, and it made for a game that fell well short of the quality of it’s predecessor in my opinion. The idea was passable when it was implemented in Dr. Mario, since it was much more simplistic having the player use two colours at a time, but if Gunpei Yokoi was involved in any way, shape or form with the second Tetris game, it wouldn’t stand out as being among his best works the way I see it.

Niiutral

Niiutral

To summarize, Tetris 2 is just about playable, but nowhere near as fun or as addictive as what the concept had been before that, or what it would be following it. The formula would be vastly improved on with the release of Tetris Plus, but the direct sequel to the biggest one-hit wonder in gaming history certainly failed to live up to the set standards in my opinion.

Score

24/40

6/10 (Average)

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan (Game Boy)

Developer(s) – Konami

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Designer – Naoki Matsui

PEGI – 12

Based on the hit cartoon TV series of 1987, of which me and my brother were pretty big fans of, Fall of the Foot Clan focuses on another one of the Turtle’s efforts to Save their damsel in distress April O’Neil from Krang, Shredder and their lackeys and Foot Soldiers. And in my opinion, this game makes for quite possibly their most exciting adventure yet.

Graphics – 10/10

To me, Fall of the Foot Clan represents the very pinnacle of what the Game Boy was capable of producing in terms both conceptual and graphical design. There’s diversity in not only level design, but that of the enemies and bosses. There’s also a very stable balance of both sprite size and level size; an issue seen in other Game Boy games such as Metroid II: Return of Samus. Not to mention, Fall of the Foot Clan easily has one of the most stellar 8-bit soundtracks I have ever heard; if not, the most stellar. Besides all this, I’ve yet to encounter a single glitch in the game, playing it on and off for almost 20 years. To achieve all this on a monochromatic system in particular, was a fairly hard feat to achieve, but with this title, I think Konami hit the nail on the head in terms of visual presentation.

Gameplay – 9.5/10

I also believe Konami hit the nail on the head in terms of gameplay too. To play this game is to feel excited and exhilarated, as well as feeling challenged. Another thing I like about Fall of the Foot Clan is that it is a challenging game, but without being too hard, like many other 2D side scrollers around at the time. Although there aren’t many side quests, having only two bonus stages to undertake throughout the game, there is still a great deal of satisfaction to be had whilst playing this game for a game of its kind; as much as the likes of Super Mario Land or Duck Tales.

Controls – 10/10

I’m also happy to be able to say that there are no issues with the control scheme at all, which I believe has a lot to do with why it plays out better than most other challenging 2D side scrollers, such as Castlevania or Mega Man. A lot of the time with games like that, the controls tend to be pretty sketch, and it takes away a great portion of any legitimate challenge the way I see it. But in Fall of the Foot Clan, I think Konami got the balance between challenge and controls right.

Lifespan – 3/10

The game’s lifespan, to me, is where it drastically falls short of what it could have potentially been. It’s the same reason why I was partially disappointed with Super Mario Land when I played it for the first time. Though there is enough in the game to make players want to it play it on multiple occasions, I have always wished that the level structure could have a bit more attuned to resemble a Mario game, whereby there are multiple levels making up multiple worlds. I think adopting an idea like that would have brought much more to the table.

Storyline – 6.5/10

As I outlined before, Fall of the Foot Clan follows the four turtles, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello in another attempt to save April O’Neil from Krang and Shredder from captivity. I think it’s about as imaginative as most games were at that time in regards to story, and there’s nothing overwhelmingly special about it. Although some developers tried to put more emphasis on story at around that time, like what Nintendo tried with EarthBound, this was a time before video games were accepted in the mainstream as a viable art form. And consequently, all Fall of the Foot Clan’s story does is do a half-decent enough job of adding to the overall atmosphere of the game.

Originality – 7/10

Although the game plays out like most game of that era, indeed the 2D side scrolling genre was the dominant of the third, fourth and fifth generations of gaming, this game to me stands out as being one of the best for a few reasons; because of how exciting, challenging and intense it is, and since it also does a very good job of presenting a pre-existing license through the medium of video games. Especially in a time closer to the video game crash of 1983, that was inevitably going to be a much harder feat to accomplish, and since, there have been few games to do this.

Angrii

Angrii

Overall, I think anyone who owns a Game Boy should own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Fall of the Foot Clan. It’s a very entertaining title, and although it does have its flaws, it is certainly worth far more than merely one playthrough. This game came out back in 1990, and it still very much holds p to this very day, in my opinion.

Score

46/60

7.5/10 (Good)

Sword Master (Nintendo Entertainment System)

Developer(s) – Athena

Publisher(s) – Athena & Activision

Designer(s) – Hironobu Tamai & R. Nakashima

PEGI – 3

Released late into the shelf life of both the NES and the Famicom back in 1990, with the overseas released not happening until 1992, Sword Master was the sequel to Athena’s previous NES game Castle of Dragon, and is today considered an extremely weak effort on their part, and thus has fallen into considerable obscurity compared to may other NES games. And I must say, after having examined this title, and having come across a plethora of flaws, it’s very much deserved of it’s status.

Graphics – 2/10

Aside from bearing a striking resemblance to the original Castlevania, in terms of things like overworld map layout, colour scheme and character and enemy design, it also happens to be one of the most unpolished games I’ve ever played. A fair few NES games suffered from graphic glitches, but this game took it to new heights, with graphical errors appearing whenever a player attacks or is defeated. Just like in Castlevania, enemies are also engulfed in fames whenever they are defeated, which makes me question how much of this game can actually be attributed to its respective developers.

Gameplay – 4.5/10

The game is also extremely similar to the original Castlevania in many more ways than one; including the gameplay. The objective, as in many other video games at the time, is simply to get from point A to point B, fighting any or all enemies that stand in the way, and with the added challenge of a few boss fights thrown in for good measure. But the main reason why I believe this game should lose many marks is because it’s extremely bland even compared to the many different games that followed these tropes. Though this happened, games like Castlevania, Mega Man and Super Mario Bros had things going for them that no other game at the time did, such as heightened challenge, a heightened sense of non-linearity or greater gameplay variety. Unfortunately, this game has none of these things associated with it.

Controls – 10/10

The one positive thing I can point out about this game, however, is that unlike Castlevania, the controls don’t feel quite as stiff, and therefore, there is much less of a sense of unnecessary complication with the controls scheme. The movement speed may be more or less the same as the original Castlevania, but that doesn’t really too much to hinder what little gameplay there is.

Lifespan – 6/10

Though by today’s standards, 20 minutes will seem laughable to most gamers, it was about the average lifespan of a game for the time; indeed, even Super Mario Bros would take around that much time to complete given the right amount of experience. That being said, it’s hard to imagine that the developers wouldn’t have been able to add even a few more levels to make this game last a little bit longer. I guess they didn’t share Nintendo’s reservations about leaving empty space on a cartridge whilst developing their games.

Storyline – 3/10

The story is also practically non-existent, most likely confined to the game’s manual; a regular occurrence at this time, when emphasis on story in video games was a rarity. It involves a knight called Sword Master out to slay the evil duo of a demon and a wizard, which he apparently summoned. So not only is it very half-hearted, but it’s also very typical of the kind of story most video games would utilize; only in this game, there isn’t a princess seemingly being taken from one castle to the next.

Originality – 0/10

As well as this game being very boring, it’s also very unimaginative too. Although console gaming was still in a primitive form, and had yet to evolve into the highly standardized industry it is today, far better games than this had already been developed before on the NES or Famicom, and as I’ve thoroughly outlined, this title failed to deliver the same kind of classic gaming experience synonymous with other NES games.

Angrii

Angrii

To summarize, Sword Master is a classic example of developers creating a game haphazardly, and failing in almost every aspect imaginable. Activision have since gone on to publish much greater games than this, but things started out primitively upon heir breakaway from Atari, and this game is a prominent example of which.

Score

25.5/60

4/10 (Poor)

Super Smash Bros (Wii U)

Developer(s) – Sora Inc. & Namco Bandai Games

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director – Masahiro Sakurai

Producer – Shinya Saito & Masaya Kobayashi

PEGI -12

The latest Super Smash Bros game is a new variation of one of Nintendo’s most brilliant ideas for a series (one of which many gamers dreamed of before it was finally invented), with new characters, new game modes, new unlockables and new features in the form of compatibility with Nintendo’s Skylanders-esque Amiibo toy line. In my opinion, though it doesn’t match up to the quality of many other Nintendo games, and is not the best in it’s series, it’s certainly a worthy sequel, and one of the best video games on the Wii U so far.

Graphics – 8/10

Many people have argued the case that the newest game in the series either looks the same as Super Smash Bros Brawl, or even that Brawl actually looks better. Although I think there is some basis in the opinion that Brawl looks better, with more textural detail, there is also just as much diversity in stage design; if not, more so. So I happen to think that both games look as good as each other, since the visuals in both games have their own strengths, and they are played to extremely effectively.

Gameplay – 7/10

With most of my preferred features of the series kept intact, such as the trophy hoarding, variety in game modes and plethora of characters, I’ve found the latest game in the series to be particularly enjoyable, and definitely one of the standout titles of the 2014 holiday season following the disappointment I felt after playing Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric. That being said, I was very sorry to see the departure of the story mode, since I believe that alone made Brawl the best game in the series in my opinion. The story mode was handled exceptionally well for one within a fighting game, and I see no reason why the same could be repeated and kept fresh at the same time with the inclusion of so many new characters, such as Pac-Man, Mega Man and Palutena from Kid Icarus.

Controls – 10/10

With so many different kinds of peripheral compatible with the Wii U, including the GamePad, the Wii remotes, a third-party controller and even a compatible GameCube controller, there’s no reason why either fans of the series or newcomers shouldn’t find a style of play to suit them; especially fans of the series, since virtually every previous control scheme is available, bar the one from the original game. However, I would impose the same precaution as I did in my review of Hyrule Warriors if playing with the GamePad; regarding not to tense your hands around it too much, which can result in prolonged cramping in the hands and/or fingers.

Originality – 7/10

Though there isn’t much present to differentiate this game from other fighting games, especially since the basic premise of Super Smash Bros itself has been around since 1999, the series’ general formula has been kept relatively fresh with the inclusion of new characters, stages, game modes and incentive. There have certainly been many fighting games throughout the years that have come and gone trying to be the next Street Fighter II, and failing profusely; especially during the fourth generation of gaming. The difference with many of them compared to Super Smash Bros is that elements such as character design are much, much weaker.

Happii

Happii

Overall, Super Smash Bros for the Wii U, whilst not living up to overwhelming hype spanning over 3 years, is regardless an enjoyable game, and it comes highly recommended from me. I’ve been a fan of Super Smash Bros since the GameCube era, and this game does an excellent job of bringing one of my favourite Nintendo franchises into the generation of gaming.

Score

32/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Super Smash Bros Melee (GameCube)

Developer(s) – HAL Laboratory

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director – Masahiro Sakurai

Producer(s) – Masayoshi Tanimura, Hiroaki Suga, Shigeru Miyamoto & Kenji Miki

PEGI -12

Developed as a launch title for the Nintendo GameCube back in 2001, along with Luigi’s Mansion, Pikmin and Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, Super Smash Bros Melee made a multitude of significant improvements on the original game in every imaginable way, and it made for what was ultimately one of the greatest games on the system. Although the likes of Wind Waker and Metroid Prime were yet to have come along by that time, this game was more than just a suitable placeholder in anticipation of greater titles.

Graphics – 7.5/10

I don’t think that this game did as good a job showing off what the GameCube was capable of on a graphical as Luigi’s Mansion did with it’s very effective use of lighting and textural detail, Melee certainly makes up what would have potentially been lost points by including a level of variety in stage design comparable to any other great fighting game, featuring many different universes from Nintendo’s vast repertoire of game series’. In particular, they did a particularly decent job of presenting the Metroid universe, when by that time; they had considerably less source material go from than many other Nintendo franchises.

Gameplay8/10

The most significant improvements made on the original game were undoubtedly in the gameplay. There was increased variety, more unlockable characters, the advent of the unlockable trophies and additional game modes on top of that. It can be argued that Nintendo had to introduce variety on this kind of scale to continue to perpetuate the series in the long term, but the variety introduced in Melee was unlike anything I’d ever seen in a fighting game prior, and would have been a major factor in turning the series from a casual interest into a major system-seller for Nintendo.

Controls – 10/10

The control scheme employed in Melee was also a massive improvement on that of the original game, since more characters in turn, meant more move sets for each of the characters, and therefore made for more to do on a smaller controller than the preceding system; the Nintendo 64. Aside from that, however, despite the lack of the immensely popular combo system synonymous with the fighting genre, I find there to be no issues with the control scheme.

Originality – 8/10

At the time, the Super Smash Bros formula was fairly new anyway, but with significant improvements made after the first instalment, it felt like an entirely new game at this point, and in my opinion, surpasses the quality of many other great fighting games to have come before it as a result.

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In summation, Super Smash Bros Melee is one of the best games of the sixth generation of gaming, and a must-have for anyone with either a GameCube or a Wii. The series may have gotten even better after this once Brawl came out, but for me, this was the instalment that said to me that Masahiro Sakurai meant business with this series.

Score

33.5/40

8/10 (Very Good)

Super Mario Maker (Wii U)

Developer(s) – Nintendo EAD Group No 4

Publisher(s) – Nintendo

Director – Yosuke Oshino

Producer(s) – Tazashi Tezuka & Horiyuki Kimura

PEGI – 3

Partly inspired by the Super Nintendo classic Mario Paint, Super Mario Maker is a game in which players are given the facility to design their own Super Mario courses, and share them across the Internet with players from around the world. Personally, whilst I was mightily impressed with the practically infinite amount of replay value there is to be had with this title, I did have a few issues with it preventing me from being able to call it the ultimate Mario experience.

Graphics – 8/10

The templates available to players to create their own Super Mario levels consist of the conceptual and technological design of the original Super Mario Bros, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World and New Super Mario Bros U. By proxy, players will already know that they will eventually be in for a whirlwind of customisation options involving some of the most wonderfully outlandish conceptual design in video game history. If that weren’t enough, Nintendo have also added a few new elements into the mix that can be implemented, such as distorting scenery to add to a stage’s level of challenge, and a whole range of sound effects and scenery effects like fireworks, and funny noises activated whilst interacting with certain object in each stage. In some of the better level designs I’ve encountered so far, I’ve been impressed with how Nintendo have managed to keep the franchise relatively fresh and creative even after thirty years.

Gameplay – 7/10

As mentioned, what this entails is players designing, sharing and playing a multitude of different Super Mario courses based on four templates of four classic Mario games. Different elements can be unlocked through either playing other people’s courses, or through the nine-day unlocking cycle; but there is another way of getting round this for anyone who would prefer to have these features unlocked even sooner. All that the player must do is experiment with the creating mode for 5 minutes at a time, at which point they will receive a notification that new features will soon be available, After this, the player can then set the date forward by a day in the system settings, reload the game, and the new features will become available. This can be done multiple times until all the features are unlocked. However, one problem that I think will always apply to this game is that the levels present will always vary in quality from either masterful to exceedingly boring, since content is almost solely user-generated. I’ve already encountered this problem whilst playing, and I don’t think this at least is likely to ever change.

Controls – 10/10

There isn’t hardly anything to say about the game’s controls, since it consists of a control scheme, which has already been around for thirty years, and has been perfected all this time. Super Mario Bros set the standard of how a 2D side scrolling video game should be correctly developed, and by proxy, there was never going to be an issue with controls.

Originality – 6/10

Though the entire concept of user-generated content and modding is by no means anything new to the world of gaming, Nintendo have still managed to at least keep the Mario franchise relatively fresh by adding a gameplay concept new to it, whilst along the way, adding new elements never seen in Super Mario stages before. Ultimately, the majority of what uniqueness this game holds lies with the player’s ability to design as many rich and varied courses as possible, and from what I’ve seen so far the quality of that has ranged from captivatingly unique to courses that Nintendo themselves would despair at if they were to see them for themselves.

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Happii

Overall Super Mario Maker is a very decent game. It also has the potential to be even better still if Nintendo decide to provide players with even more course templates and elements as the next few months or years go on. In my opinion, it could potentially pave the way for Nintendo to make even more of these kinds of games, which could be extremely interesting if they decide to do so. It would be just another example of how this franchise could possibly continue to establish new trends in the world of gaming.

Score

31/40

7.5/10 (Good)