Super Mario Maker 2 Review [Pixelkin]

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Super Mario Maker was a clever delight when it launched in 2015 on Wii U. The simple premise – a full editor suite for making and playing Mario levels across multiple eras – was an instant hit, recreating the dreams of many a dreamy kid scratching out level designs in a school notebook.

The Switch sequel keeps the same solid editing and classic Mario gameplay, while adding several high quality pieces, a vastly expanded story mode, and online and local multiplayer.

Read the full review at Pixelkin

My Top Ten Games of 2018: #4

My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Dead Cells
#9 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
#8 Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
#7 Frostpunk
#6 Jurassic World Evolution
#5 Into the Breach

#4 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

smash bros.

Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd
Publisher: Nintendo
Platforms: Switch

The Super Smash Bros. series has been among my favorite games of every Nintendo console generation since the Nintendo 64. I’m not even a big fighting game fan, but Smash Bros. deftly weaves an intuitive, easy to pick-up arena brawler where everyone’s simply trying to knock each other off the stage amid a total chaos of Nintendo fan service. It’s a winning formula that’s served the series well for over two decades.

It may be too early to tell if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best of the series, but it’s certainly one of the best games of the year. With over 70 fighters, 100 stages and hundreds and hundreds of music tracks it’s well-deserving of its ‘Ultimate’ designation.

Steadily unlocking fighters from the original roster of eight grants a constant drip feed of progression and excitement, whether it’s with standard local Smash, battling through each character-specific Classic mode gauntlet, or trying fun new modes like Smashdown and Tag Team.

The new Spirit Battles and World of Light adventure mode provide dozens of hours of single player entertainment as I level up and equip lots of fun easter eggs from countless video game series in order to battle fun and challenging new twists, like electrified floors, or hordes of Warios who only use their motorcyle attacks, or a gigantic giga Bowser boss fight. The World of Light map is huge and fun to explore, and unlocking new fighters and spirits is yet another rewarding progression system that keeps me hooked.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate falters when it comes to its barebones online options, but it’s a testament to how damn good the game is that it only fell to #4 on my Game of the Year list. Hopefully Nintendo can improve and expand its online gameplay modes, as I plan on playing this game for a long time.

My Top Ten Games of 2017: #9

My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Fire Emblem Heroes

#9 Metroid: Samus Returns

metroid

Old school Metroid fans like me have been clamoring for a 2D Metroid game for years – the last proper entry was 2002’s Metroid Fusion on the Game Boy Advance. Metroid: Samus Returns isn’t technically an all-new 2D adventure but a remake of the second game, 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus. And it’s pretty damn good. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2017: #9”

My Top Ten Games of 2017: #10

My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!

#10 Fire Emblem Heroes

Last year saw my first ever mobile game inclusion in my annual Top Ten Games of the Year list with Pokémon GO. Yet another Nintendo-adjacent property squeaks into my list this year with Fire Emblem Heroes.

Unlike Pokémon GO, Fire Emblem Heroes is a reasonable facsimile of its venerable tactical strategy-RPG series. By smartly condensing battle maps into the exact size of a phone screen (or tablet), the series was translated reasonably well onto the mobile platform. Continue reading “My Top Ten Games of 2017: #10”

Ranking All 21 Games of the SNES Classic Edition [Pixelkin]

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In lieu of a traditional review I’m going to do something a bit different with the SNES Classic Edition. I’m going to rank all 21 games included in the retro 90s emulator.

The SNES Classic Edition is a great little product that nails the original design of the console and controllers. It’s not without flaws: the short cord range (about 5 ft) can be a big annoyance, and in order to change games and use the rewind and save-state features, you have to physically push a button on the console. But those features also add a lot of modern convenience to classic games, greatly improving accessibility.

As the front-runner for greatest console of all time, the Super Nintendo had some pretty good games. The SNES Classic Edition does a near-perfect job of drawing from a wide variety of genres and gameplay styles to represent some (though not all) of the best games of the era.

Read the full list at Pixelkin

We’re Witnessing the Death of the Toys-to-Life Genre [Pixelkin]

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Last year Disney abruptly announced they were ending Disney Infinity after three years. Earlier this year Activision gave the foreboding announcement that they would not release a new Skylanders game this year– for the first time in six years. This week Warner Bros. confirmed that they’re ceasing development on LEGO Dimensions (though online support will remain).

At this point there are more discontinued (or on hiatus) toys-to-life games than ongoing. In the span of a year we went from most major game publishers wanting a piece of the surging toys-to-life pie, to suddenly being left with a grim outlook for the future of the genre.

Read the full article on Pixelkin

Metroid: Samus Returns Review [Pixelkin]

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The Metroid series is held in high esteem. It helped jump start an entirely new genre born out of platforming and exploration. Super Metroid (1994) is considered one of the best games ever made, yet Nintendo has been painfully quiet on any Metroid news or games over the last decade – until now.

Metroid: Samus Returns isn’t quite the new 2D Metroid game we were hoping for; it’s a remake of the second game in the series, 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus for the Game Boy. A lot of impressive went work into updating the old monochrome visuals into stunning 3D models and animated backgrounds, while the core gameplay of exploring a labyrinthine world full of secrets and power-ups remains just as compelling all these years later.

Read the full review at Pixelkin