Super Smash Bros Ultimate Review


It’s time to look at a game that could go down in history as the greatest of them all. That may sound like hyperbole, but at the moment the Super Smash Bros Wii U title currently holds that spot so it’s not unreasonable to imagine a world where this one surpasses it. I’ve been hyped for this game for many months now. A new Super Smash Bros title always brings with it a certain level of expectations like that and even more so for this one since it was touted as being the ultimate Smash title. It’s effectively an upgraded port of the Wii U game while bringing in all of the previous characters and most of the stages. I’ve already put in close to 50 hours here and that number’s only going to keep on rising.

First off lets talk about the gameplay even though by now it is fairly iconic. The goal of the game is to get the opponent’s damage% up. The higher it is the farther they will be launched when you attack them. Once you’ve knocked the opponent off the stage entirely they lose a life. Once you’ve taken all of their lives away the match is over and you will have claimed victory. While the goal is simple, it’s still a fairly complicated game. I imagine that if this is your first Smash title that you’ll have a pretty steep learning curve at first. Nevertheless you’ll definitely get the hang of it.

Multiplayer is definitely where you’ll spend the most time in this game. The battles are legendary here and with over 70 playable characters and 100+ stages you can keep the matches feeling fresh the whole time. Online definitely helps the replay value even further if you have no friends. Fortunately even just fighting the computers can present a really nice challenge. There are certainly some online issues you will want to be aware of though. Currently the match settings allow you a preference but you can still be sent into types that you did not ask for. If that happens watch out because it will still affect your GSP which is effectively your online rank. I wouldn’t get too attached to it though because that may make you afraid to keep on playing when you see your score go down. It’ll definitely go up and down as you go through more matches, but the important thing is watching your skills improve which won’t happen if you are too nervous the whole time. What you should be most excited about is the fact that this will ensure you fight tougher and tougher opponents as you get better.

Meanwhile there are a ton of other modes to play. While we sadly don’t see the return of a story mode like what Brawl had, we do get a new adventure mode which is similar to Melee’s in the sense that there is a basic story but not too many cutscenes. You are placed in a large overhead map where you have to get to the end. You do this by freeing all of the fighters who have been possessed by the cosmic being. Each fight you go through has some kind of gimmick or element that makes it unique. These can be quite challenging for a new player so I recommend taking a look at the spirits. They will help you overcome these battles but they can be a little overwhelming at times so take it slow.

There’s also the Spirit Board mode which lets you get new spirits by completing more event battles. It’s basically the same as Adventure Mode but without the story behind it. There are over 1200 spirits in the game so this should definitely help you get a lot of play time in. The actual story is around 10-11 hours if you rush it and to 100% the story you’ll probably need more like 20 hours. There are also a few other single player modes like All Star and 100 Man Brawl. You fight hordes of enemies in this mode and see how quickly you are able to finish them off. The single player options are a little more limited than in past options, but compared to the average game it is still a ton of content. As mentioned, most of your time will probably be spent in multiplayer mode anyway.

As expected the graphics are absolutely top notch here. Everything looks really clear and pristine. It’s all so colorful and amazing. A lot of things are always happening on screen at once but you’ll never feel lost. Super Smash always shows up as the best looking Nintendo game on each console and the Switch looks like it won’t be an exception. You’ll be hard pressed to find any game that looks better than this one. The soundtrack is also extremely impressive as there are over 800 songs to be found. I think its safe to say that this game easily has the best ost of all time. There are just so many songs to choose from. You’ll start out with most of them and then you get to unlock the last few hundred. I will add that I think the developers did a good job of letting you start out with all the stages and most of the music while leaving all the characters to be unlocked. The challenger approaching screen has always been one of the most enjoyable parts of the game after all.

Between all the spirits and gameplay this title has unlimited replay value. At the time of writing this review I currently have 4 challenges left to complete. I expect to have those done by the end of the week. I’ll certainly still keep on playing this title daily but I guess it may be time to tag in another title. It won’t have much time before the Christmas batch gets in though which is why I’m still pretty undecided on how to go about that. Ah well, I’ll have time.

I guess the question you may be asking now is..why hasn’t this game passed the Wii U one yet? We can ignore all of the modes and just get to the gameplay because that’s the deciding factor when it comes to Smash. This game series is in a league of its own to the point where all modes are thrown to the wayside in favor of the gameplay. Whoever has the best gameplay wins, it’s that simple. Smash 4 prioritized combos over everything else. Once you learned each character’s combos you would try to get in place to land them. It made you have to learn how to study everything and get into position. In comparison, Smash Ultimate is all about the neutral game. Attacking is now prioritized over defense, but most hits don’t combo into other moves so you simply have to keep out thinking your opponent until you land enough hits for the win.

This results in both players throwing out quite a lot of attacks as most of them are safe now. As someone who likes playing aggressively this is definitely a lot of fun. It’s really tough to fight against though as it can sometimes feel like there are no openings (Especially when fighting a quick ranged character like Roy) but there will always be one somewhere. It’ll take some getting used to. I do think eventually this game will likely surpass the Wii U one, but I don’t think it’ll happen for a little while. I put in over 2200 hours into Super Smash Bros Wii U so it makes sense that I can’t drop it so quickly. I also just prefer doing a lot of fancy combos to the one hit moves but again, I think that’ll change.

I really have no meaningful negatives about the game at all. As mentioned, the online is definitely lacking at present. You’re thrown into matches that you didn’t want and there is no way to team up with a friend locally against other friends online. Hopefully they will be able to resolve that as well as adding in other features like stage morphing and Squad Strike. The latter is something I had been particularly looking forward to in the game so it was a shame to see that it is offline only. In the meantime I’ve had fun growing my GSP with the characters. I got most of them to over a million with my only elite fighters currently being Bayonetta, Marth, Lucina, and Pac-Man. Naturally they are also my 4 mains at the moment since I figure I’ll let the game help me decide that. Usually I end up maining a bunch of characters so this will help me whittle that list down a bit.

Meanwhile I should also talk a bit about some of the new items and assists. For the items, my favorite new weapon is probably the Death Scythe. I believe if you hit someone with it when they are over 100% they will instantly lose a stock which is cool. Likewise, I like the Rage Blaster for its similar function although in this case it gets stronger as you grow weaker. The banana gun is also a fun weapon that may not be super powerful or anything, but it’s just a great concept. I think unlike the characters and stages we did lose a lot of items over the years, but I guess it makes sense not to make the list too huge or you’ll never see some items.

For the Assists, we finally have Knuckles! Along with the fact that most assist trophies can now be destroyed they feel more like pseudo fighters than ever. Some are incredibly flashy as well like the Moon from Majora’s Mask. I can see how fans get a little upset when their fighters shows up as an assist, but never lose hope. All they need is a patch at some point and the character can be playable at any moment. For the Pokemon we also have Solgaleo who is one of the strongest creatures in the game. It’s very hard to dodge his fire charges while avoiding the other players. In general I think the game has heavily buffed these assists so now most of them are lethal. That’s a good thing as it is a lot more rewarding to grab them. Don’t worry, you’ve still got the trolls like Goldeen.

Finally, lets talk about the newcomers. First off we have echos which is the official term used by the game for the clone characters. This was a great way to bolster the character size with requested characters who are similar to their main counterparts. Two very good ones are Dark Samus and Ken. These echos have some slight differences from their main counterparts while being similar enough where you can easily use both versions. My only regret is that we didn’t get more echos. I think this could be a landmine of cash for the company if they reconsider their stance. Imagine having over 50 echos in the game? I’d certainly break out the cash for them.

Then we have the full blown newcomers. One has gotten a lot of hype and naturally that is Ridley. After Project M was able to get him into the game Sakurai had no more excuses so he relented and allowed him to join the party. His moveset is a blast. He may be pretty heavy so getting stuck in repeated attacks will happen, but his massive power is a good counter to that. The game seemed to like adding heavyweights as we also have King K Rool. He’s an iconic DK villain who also looks pretty good. His moveset is pretty fun and you won’t want to underestimate him in the ring.

Repping the newer Splatoon is Inkling. She’s a speed character who is looking incredibly good, but also very complex. I think once players master her various ink gimmicks she will be even more of a force to be reckoned with. With Bayonetta being severely nerfed it will be tough for any character to stop this squid kid’s reign of terror. As a surprising addition we also have Simon and Richter from Castlevania. They are as annoying to fight as you can imagine with their projectile spam being even tougher to get around than Link’s. They’re fun to play as though. Isabelle feels like an echo but is actually treated as a full character. She’s a nice alternative to Villager and her fishing rod is a fun attack to use. It’s pretty hard to avoid when you’re on the ledge.

Finally we have Incineroar. He’s a pretty tough boxing Pokemon who has a lot of power and a pretty cool revenge mechanic. With it he can deal massive damage with a single blow. All in all, I’m pretty happy with our new characters so far. It’s hard to be upset when we already have so many options to choose from. The characters all have their fans for sure. While I would have liked some other characters to make the cut as well like Isaac and Waluigi, maybe DLC is their chance. The first 2 DLC characters we know of are Piranha Plant and Joker. They will definitely be great additions as well with the latter especially being very exciting. I can’t wait to play as him, I’m thinking that his moveset is going to be amazing. With that said though, while the new characters are super cool for now I’m still going for the wins with my classic Marth.

Overall, Super Smash Bros Ultimate is indeed the ultimate experience for Super Smash fans in terms of content. It’s got just about everything here. While we had to say goodbye to some fan favorite modes like Target Attack and Home Run Contest, I wouldn’t be surprised if those are added in at a later date. With how patches come into play nowadays you wouldn’t want to rule such things out. We also have more characters and stages coming through DLC as well so this game is going to stay active for a very long time. If you’re afraid of getting into the series because of the high learning curve, I’d say not to worry about it. We all have to start somewhere and you’ll definitely be having a blast before long.

Overall 9/10

Advertisements

NES Remix Pack Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 12h 44m

Remix 1

Stars 429/591
B Points 37949
Stamps 78/100

Remix 2

Stars 359/477
B Points 39181
Stamps 83/100

Game Stats

Remix 1:

“Remix 1” 58/75 Stars
Stage 1 2/3
Stage 2 2/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 1/3
Stage 8 2/3
Stage 9 2/3
Stage 10 3/3
Stage 11 2/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 3/3
Stage 14 2/3
Stage 15 2/3
Stage 16 1/3
Stage 17 2/3
Stage 18 3/3
Stage 19 3/3
Stage 20 3/3
Stage 21 3/3
Stage 22 2/3
Stage 23 3/3
Stage 24 2/3
Stage 25 1/3

Remix 2 49/75 Stars
Stage 1 1/2
Stage 2 2/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 1/3
Stage 8 2/3
Stage 9 2/3
Stage 10 3/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 2/3
Stage 13 1/3
Stage 14 2/3
Stage 15 3/3
Stage 16 –
Stage 17 1/3
Stage 18 3/3
Stage 19 1/3
Stage 20 3/3
Stage 21 2/3
Stage 22 1/3
Stage 23 3/3
Stage 24 2/3
Stage 25 1/3

Bonus 18/75
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 –
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 –
Stage 5 –
Stage 6 –
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 –
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 –
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 –
Stage 14-
Stage 15-
Stage 16-
Stage 17-
Stage 18-
Stage 19-
Stage 20-
Stage 21-
Stage 22-
Stage 23-
Stage 24-
Stage 25 –

Donkey Kong 20/21
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3

Donkey Kong Jr 17/21
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 1/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3

Mario Bros 22/30
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 1/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 1/3
Stage 8 1/3
Stage 9 1/3
Stage 10 3/3

Pinball 18/18
Perfect

Golf 7/21
Stage 1 1/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 –
Stage 5 –
Stage 6 –
Stage 7 –

Clu Clu Land 20/24
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 1/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 1/3

Excitebike 22/30
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 1/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 –
Stage 10 3/3

Balloon Fight 37/39
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 2/3
Stage 10 3/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 2/3

Ice Climbers 27/30
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 2/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 1/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 3/3

Wrecking Crew 27/33
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 1/3
Stage 10 2/3
Stage 11 2/3

Super Mario Bros 52/69
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 1/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 1/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 2/3
Stage 11 1/3
Stage 12 1/3
Stage 13 3/3
Stage 14 3/3
Stage 15 2/3
Stage 16 3/3
Stage 17 2/3
Stage 18 3/3
Stage 19 1/3
Stage 20 1/3
Stage 21 2/3
Stage 22 3/3
Stage 23 3/3

Legend of Zelda 35/51
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 2/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 1/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 2/3
Stage 10 2/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 2/3
Stage 13 2/3
Stage 14 3/3
Stage 15 –
Stage 16 –
Stage 17 –

Remix 2 Best Championship Score 0199980

Remix 2 Game Stats

Remix 1 49/60
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 2/3
Stage 3 2/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 2/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 2/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 1/3
Stage 11 2/3
Stage 12 2/3
Stage 13 3/3
Stage 14 3/3
Stage 15 3/3
Stage 16 3/3
Stage 17 3/3
Stage 18 –
Stage 19 3/3
Stage 20 3/3

Remix 2 46/60
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 2/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 –
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 2/3
Stage 10 1/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 2/3
Stage 14 3/3
Stage 15 3/3
Stage 16 2/3
Stage 17 –
Stage 18 3/3
Stage 19 3/3
Stage 20 1/3

Bonus 29/60
Stage 1 2/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 –
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 3/3
Stage 11 2/3
Stage 12 –
Stage 13 3/3
Stage 14 –
Stage 15 –
Stage 16 –
Stage 17 –
Stage 18 –
Stage 19 –
Stage 20 –

Mario Bros Lost Levels 10/21
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 1/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 1/3
Stage 5 1/3
Stage 6 2/3
Stage 7 1/3

Metroid 32/36
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 2/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 2/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 2/3

Kid Icarus 18/24
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 2/3
Stage 5 1/3
Stage 6 2/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 3/3

Adventure of Link 26/30
Stage 1 2/3
Stage 2 2/3
Stage 3 2/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 3/3
Stage 8 2/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 3/3

Punchout 18/21

Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 2/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 2/3
Stage 7 2/3

Mario Bros 3 42/48
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 2/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 1/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 3/3
Stage 14 3/3
Stage 15 1/3
Stage 16 3/3

Dr Mario 13/18
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 –
Stage 4 2/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 3/3

Super Mario Bros 2 32/36
Stage 1 2/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 3/3
Stage 5 3/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 3/3
Stage 11 1/3
Stage 12 3/3

Kirby’s Adventure 31/39
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 1/3
Stage 4 1/3
Stage 5 1/3
Stage 6 3/3
Stage 7 2/3
Stage 8 3/3
Stage 9 3/3
Stage 10 2/3
Stage 11 3/3
Stage 12 3/3
Stage 13 3/3

Wario’s Woods 13/24
Stage 1 3/3
Stage 2 3/3
Stage 3 3/3
Stage 4 2/3
Stage 5 2/3
Stage 6 –
Stage 7 –
Stage 8 –

NES Remix Pack Review


It’s time to look at an interesting video game collection known as the NES Remix Pack. It brings both NES Remix 1 and 2 which is a pretty good deal since both of those titles had quite a lot of content in it. The price isn’t bad for the collection as I got it for 20-30 as well and it’s roughly triple the length of Sonic Forces. It’s definitely fun to see them mashup the games in Remix mode or even the mini challenges from the classic games. It’ll really test your knowledge of the older Nintendo titles.

The main mode is pretty self explanatory in these games. You’ll start off with a few options like Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, and Mario 2 for example. Each of these games will have 7-20 levels depending on which game it is. You try to beat each level where your result will range from 1-3 stars. The more stars you get, the more games you unlock. The main mode in each game is known as Remix and there are around 45-50 of these levels in each Remix. (1 and 2) Once you complete those you will have completed the game but you can keep on playing to clear the bonus world and any leftover game levels that you haven’t beaten yet. Obtain enough points and you will also get all of the stickers in each game which will really prove that you have come far. The simplicity of the game’s menu is certainly something to take note of as it makes navigating through the games rather enjoyable. More games should strive for a similar menu.

An average challenge will range from 7 seconds to around 1 minute. You may find an occasional challenge that is around 2 minutes or so, but I can’t stress enough just how rare these are. The average challenge is around 20 seconds I’d say. For example, “Grab 8 coins in a Mario level” may be a challenge. Some challenges have multiple phases and if you get a game over during it you can continue but the price is that you will only get 1 star for your efforts. The game is rather lenient on stars so you can unlock the final level even if you lose during a bunch of the stages but naturally your goal will be to grab as many of them as possible.

Of course with so many games not all of them will be a hit. From the first game the weak links were Golf and Donkey Kong Jr. I just never liked Golf in any video game format as it always seems to really be luck based. I know there is skill involved here and I just need to learn the mechanics, but it’s just no fun. Donkey Kong Jr. is just a little slow for me and I can see why it never became much of a hit. On the other side of the equation I thought that Excitebike was even more fun than I expected it to be and Clu Clu Land was really unique. I definitely enjoyed that one quite a bit. The only challenge in the first game that was quite grating was the Donkey Kong level where you played as Link. I must have died 100 times there before I finally found an opening. There must be a trick that I don’t know about for that one.

In the second game, Wario’s Woods was the game that I couldn’t get behind. The controls were a little convoluted for my liking and the levels did tend to drag on quite a bit. It was like playing a really twisted version of Dr. Mario and I don’t really know what Nintendo was thinking on this one. All I can say is that I’m not surprised how the game isn’t very well known. I don’t see how it would catch on. The other game would be NES Golf, but I don’t believe I actually got enough stars to unlock that one. I’ll probably have it unlocked by the time I have my Stats page up, but I certainly won’t play it much.

Meanwhile it was cool to have Metroid included this time around and Link II was also pretty interesting. It’s a shame that it didn’t do well since a 2D Link series would have been fun to compete with the others. It was rather rough around the edges of course, but they could have ironed that out with sequels. It’s like how the original Mario games were a little slippery, but they’re a lot easier to handle in the modern day.

It’s important to clarify that the good games outnumbered the annoying ones quite easily. Also from the games that I didn’t care for, only the Golf games were truly bad. Donkey Kong Jr and Wario’s Woods may not have been my style, but it’s not like I actively disliked playing them. There is enough content here for everyone as even if you don’t like a game you can have fun with the rest.

As I mentioned, the length of the game is pretty good. The first Remix took around 6-7 hours and the sequel was only a little shorter than that. Couple those two together and you have a reasonably long title. Then there is quite a lot of replay value here as getting 3 stars on every level will take a lot of practice and you will likely get all of the stickers on the way to accomplishing this feat. I do think it would have been cool if there was some kind of two player mode though. I think that’s the only thing that this game is lacking. Competing in these challenges would be an absolute blast and would certainly increase the replay value of the title. Still, as a single player experience it is not lacking. There is also the Super Luigi Bros where you see how far you can get in the Super Mario game while backwards and the Championship Mode where you are given 3 random tasks and have to see how well you complete them. They won’t keep you for very long, but each bit helps.

Naturally the graphics are kept true to the original game counterparts so this isn’t exactly Madden. The main menu looks fairly crisp though which will remind you that this is a modern title. The games all look pretty good as well. The soundtrack is quite solid as well since the individual game themes have always held up well against the test of time. Then the remix levels add a little extra pop by distorting the stages and zooming in on the map. I loved the gimmicks they would add here to make the games a little more unique. One Mario level for example had a bright blue background which is a cool “What If” scenario. I think that would make a good idea for a future Mario level even if it’s just for a level or two.

Overall, NES Remix Pack is a great homage/tribute to longtime Nintendo fans. It’s a great way to experience their older titles in a convenient minigame format. It’s the perfect kind of game for on the go or to play here and there. The challenges are fun and exciting without being tedious. This is where the short duration comes in handy as even if you die a bunch of times it is not as if you have lost a bunch of time. It never feels like a waste either since most of the challenges revolve around skill instead of RnG so you know that with enough practice you’ll get it. It’s also not too difficult so it’s fine for kids as well as they may have some trouble but will be able to crack the level eventually. There was certainly a lot of heart and effort put into this game to really make it a finished product.

Overall 8/10

Donkey Kong Barrel Blast Review


It’s time to look at Nintendo’s biggest mistake when it comes to the racing genre. A DK racer practically writes itself and just has a ton of potential. It’s a shame that the game squandered this so readily. Motion controls are what hold this game back and while it was an attempt by Nintendo it completely backfired. Sometimes just because an idea makes sense in concept doesn’t mean that it should be implemented. This is most certainly one of those times.

There is no story mode of course but we do have a few different tournaments at the ready. There are 4 main tournaments and 2 bonus ones. The bonus tournaments allow you to pick your own stages to have a tournament with friends and another one allows you to randomize the stages. Both are handy when playing with friends but you don’t get a trophy for clearing them so there is no single player incentive. The main tournaments start out at 3 races and eventually go to 5. There are multiple difficulty levels but you are forced to start with Rookie so I just stayed at that level. Even then the game is surprisingly difficult. You have to stay at top speed and use a lot of boosts if you want to come out on top here. Of course, the Mario Party luck factor is around here so sometimes you’ll just get blasted by other racers behind you which is out of your control. Not much can be done about that.

Each racer is using a pair of drums instead of a car. It is for this reason that instead of accelerating like normal you must beat the drums to keep going fast. You have to make the motion of hitting the drums constantly to stay at peak levels and just hit one drum to turn. Hit both at the same time to jump and hold down on the Nunchuk to activate your boost. Your boost is the most important skill that you have here. It can change a whole race and just know that you can extend your boost by hitting enemies or normal barrels. If you time the boost right you can keep it going for a very long time. Just focus on the combo and don’t use your boost unless you see something to bump into.

There are a lot of games that can be called painful while you are playing them, but there aren’t many which you can say that in a literal sense. Your wrists will be absolutely exhausted after playing this game and I am convinced that it wouldn’t be healthy if you played this game long term. You can even expect some neck and back pain if you were straining a lot and too rigid while playing. Naturally the trick is to simply not play too hard but that’s easy to say until one of the computers passes you. Then it’s back to hitting the drums as quickly as you can.

When it comes to the graphics then this game finally gets to shine. The character models are definitely on point and are appropriately high quality. The levels all look great and there is a lot of variety to be found here. Whether it be Jungles, Volcanoes, or even Space DK has you covered. The final level in the game is the hype space one and it is as cool as you may expect. I was pleasantly surprised at how much effort Nintendo put into some parts of this game, but maybe I shouldn’t be. In theory this was supposed to be their next big racer. The stage themes are pretty solid as well even if they aren’t all that memorable. I suppose you can’t have every game be quite as legendary as Mario right?

Aside from the tournaments which won’t keep you busy for very long, the game has other modes at its disposal as well. One of those is the challenge mode where you attack various missions and see if you can accomplish them. The missions are actually reasonably difficult as you can easily lose a stage if you’re not entirely sure how to approach it. Take one wrong shortcut and it’s time to retry. Between the various unlockables and the main tournaments, I think you’ll find that the game has a reasonable amount of content to back the pricing.

All of this is only if you can get past the gameplay though. None of the other stuff will ultimately matter if you wrists simply can’t take the pressure. The items are fun though and if you use them right they will help you take a break. Build up some good boosts and just use it when you know that you’ll be able to keep it going for a while. During this time you don’t need to beat the drums. You have other items like armor and missiles but you have to keep shaking the controllers during this. Interestingly enough, the descriptions in the game say that you can stop shaking once you’re at max speed, but they must have meant that you could stop shaking for a moment because after that the car will immediately start slowing down again. So much for that I suppose.

Overall, Barrel Blast really could have been a good game. It had a lot of the right pieces in place like the animation, soundtrack, and array of content to keep you busy. The one area where it went wrong was with the controls and you’d think that this wouldn’t be a big deal. It’s just so drastic that it ends up bringing the whole game down with it and that’s the unfortunate part. You actually feel like the game isn’t healthy to play. If you want some exercise for your wrist and don’t think that it will end up having a detrimental effect instead, then I suppose you may want to give this game a chance. However, if you’re playing this game in the first place because you want to relax while cruising through the levels then this isn’t the right game to add to your collection. There is nothing relaxing about constantly beating the drums.

Overall 5/10

Mario vs Donkey Kong 2 March of the Minis Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 39m

Level Stats: Star Rank
World 1 All Cards Obtained. 22/25 Marios saved
1-1 Silver
1-2 –
1-3 Gold
1-4 Silver
1-5 –
1-6 Silver
1-7 Silver
1-8 –
1-9 Silver
1-B Silver
World 2 All Cards Obtained. 19/25 Marios Saved
2-1 Bronze
2-2 –
2-3 Bronze
2-4 Silver
2-5 Bronze
2-6 Silver
2-7 –
2-8 –
2-9 –
2-B –
World 3 All Cards Obtained. 25/30 Marios saved
3-1 Bronze
3-2 Silver
3-3 Silver
3-4 –
3-5 –
3-6 –
3-7 Bronze
3-8 Silver
3-9 –
3-B Bronze
World 4 All Cards Obtained. 27/30 Marios saved
4-1 Silver
4-2 Silver
4-3 Silver
4-4 –
4-5 Bronze
4-6 –
4-7 Bronze
4-8 Silver
4-9 –
4-B Silver
World 5 8/9 Cards Obtained. 25/30 Marios saved
5-1 Bronze
5-2 Silver
5-3 Bronze
5-4 Bronze
5-5 Silver
5-6 –
5-7 –
5-8 –
5-9 Silver
5-B Bronze
World 6 5/9 Cards Obtained 30/35 Marios saved
6-1 –
6-2 –
6-3 Bronze
6-4 –
6-5 –
6-6 Bronze
6-7 Silver
6-8 Silver
6-9 –
6-B Bronze
World 7 6/9 Cards Obtained. 23/35 Marios saved
7-1 Bronze
7-2 –
7-3 Silver
7-4 Bronze
7-5 –
7-6 –
7-7 –
7-8 –
7-9 –
7-B –
World 8 3/9 Cards Obtained. 24/40 Marios saved
8-1 –
8-2 –
8-3 Bronze
8-4 –
8-5 –
8-6 –
8-7 Bronze
8-8 –
8-9 –
8-B –

Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis Review


It’s been a little while since I played the original Mario vs Donkey Kong so it was finally time to check out the sequel. Unlike the first game which used a mix of Mario and Mini levels, this one double down on the Minis. They’re definitely fun to play around with so while you will probably miss the standard levels, the Minis can hold their own game. It’s a fun sequel that gives you what you expect from this series.

The plot is that Mario dolls are selling really well while nobody wants the Donkey Kong ones. Pauline even grabs the Mario one while DK watches to rub it in. In return DK kidnaps Pauline and Mario was so busy antagonizing him that he didn’t have enough time to save her. Instead Mario sends in the Minis, but can they really hope to stop the legendary Donkey Kong? This guy packs a punch so they will have to use their sheer numbers and skill to put a stop to him.

This time around the gameplay uses the stylus the whole time as this is what allows you to control the Minis and to set off stage hazards. You must guide the 2-4 Mini Marios to the door which signals the end of the level. You win as long as one Mario survives, but naturally you get bonus points if you can get multiple Marios to the end. There will also be vines which you have to lure other enemies to destroy, springs to jump on, and many enemies that you can ride. The levels will usually allow you to get used to the hazards before they throw you in. The game never gets all that difficult though so you should have no problem getting through.

There are 8 worlds with each world having 9 normal levels in addition to a Mini level if you found all of the cards and a boss level as well. Then there are 2 final levels if you have gotten enough collectibles. Interestingly enough all of the boss fights except for the final one are the same fight, but with some added twists. You’re always trying to launch the Marios high up in order to either hit DK or cause something to fall on him. It may have been a stylistic choice to have the bosses be the same or a budget one, but it’s a pretty fun boss concept either way. Bouncing the Marios off the walls while trying to avoid the critters is just as tricky as it sounds.

The graphics look nice and colorful as you’d expect from Mario. The levels are all fairly compact and so the game doesn’t really need to go all out. Most of the objects and enemies are fairly similar so it likely wasn’t too hard to get all of the character models polished. As a result I would definitely expect everything to look good and it does so there’s definitely no issue. Nintendo always tends to deliver here. The soundtrack is fairly bland for a Mario game though. There aren’t really any memorable themes to be found here. You’ll likely be too focused on controlling the Marios to really notice this though.

After beating the game you do have some replay value when it comes to unlocking all of the bonus levels. You’ll want to get gold ranks on all of the stages and collect all of the cards for bonus Mini levels. Grabbing the cards is a fairly easy task, but good luck going for the golds. The game really expects you to earn them as nabbing the gold basically means that you have to play the stages perfectly. I actually think that this is the reason why beating the game was surprisingly very easy. Nintendo decided to make it so that you could breeze through the story and see the ending, but getting the gold medals would be the challenge. A lot of the levels start you off with at least one Mario right by the goal so you would be guaranteed to win, but if you wanted the rest of the Marios to survive then you would have to actually play the level and use teamwork to get through. Moving one Mario is easy enough, but coordinating all of them will likely take some practice.

I do have to quickly say that Mario looks rather iffy in this game. I still say that he was really antagonizing DK in the opening cutscene as he grins while Pauline holds his doll. That’s fine since of course he’d be thrilled, but he’s grinning directly at DK as the ape’s doll is completely ignored. He seems fine at the end and Pauline probably goes a little overboard when trying to make DK feel better, but I just can’t forget the opening. Something tells me that Mario is still holding a grudge with DK over some of the things that happened to them back in the day. I wish I didn’t have to put Mario on blast like this, but I can’t come to any other conclusion.

Overall, Mario vs Donkey Kong 2 March of the Minis is a fun sequel to the original. The original game will still take the win due to not having to rely on touch screen controls and having some normal Mario levels as well, but this one does a good job of operating well with the stylus. You will rarely if ever die because the game couldn’t read your swipe and you’ll probably end up grabbing a lot of cards along the way to beating the game normally. By then you may find yourself wanting to grab the final cards just so you will have truly completed the game. If you’re a Mario fan or just like brain teasers then this is the game for you. It’ll force you to always be thinking 3 steps ahead.

Overall 7/10

Mario vs Donkey Kong Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stars:12/48

World Stats
World 1 8/8
World 2 2/8
World 3 1/8
World 4 0/8
World 5 1/8
World 6 0/8

Level High Scores (Only applicable to Stared levels)

1-1 32200
1-2 31900
1-3 29100
1-4 32000
1-5 30100
1-6 28700
1-M 16000
1-B 27800
2-M 18000
2-B 27300
3-M 17600
5-5 34900

Mario vs Donkey Kong Review


After many years, I have finally been able to play the legendary Mario vs DK game. I actually always thought that it was in the same style as the original Donkey Kong and was surprised to see whole levels and puzzles in this one. The final boss is the only level that is just like the old game. It was cool to see such variety though and it’s a pretty fun game. There is also quite a bit of bonus content to be found here as well. I have one issue with how you obtain stars in this game, but beyond that it’s a solid experience.

The plot is that DK has decided to steal all of the toys for himself. Mario doesn’t take too kindly to this and calls DK a big monkey as an insult several times. Seeing as how this doesn’t work, Mario decides to beat DK down until the monkey finally gives in. Will DK let go of his toys or will Mario have to hit him with a clean uppercut? Only time will tell. Meanwhile, the Mario toys are fairly advanced and seem to have some rudimentary A.I. going for them.

There are 6 main worlds to the game and each one has 8 levels. This makes for a decently long campaign. It should take you a few hours to complete the game in total and add a few depending on how difficult the puzzles can get. There is an extensive amount of replay value to be found as well since beating the game unlocks 6 Plus worlds. After this you unlock the X levels. Once you complete those, then you can face the true final boss and unlock the ultimately true ending. I believe you need to get all of the Stars to make it this far so that should really take a while. The game has an unbelievable amount of bonus content in it so you’ll b getting your moneys worth.

Now, I originally thought that to get a star for a level you just had to complete it while holding onto the three bags in the level. It turns out that you actually have to beat the level’s high score to do it which is a little annoying. It’s hard to know how to do such a thing so repetition is your best bet. Just keep playing until you can really ace the level. It’s a little harder than I’d like and I still think grabbing the bags will be enough. It does help raise the difficulty once again though.

The graphics are pretty solid for the GBA. It’s certainly a AAA title as the competitors wouldn’t really be able to match this. It’s that golden era in Nintendo where all of the character models are right. There was only one boss level where I couldn’t even see the ladder so I died a few times. It was more of an optical illusion than an issue with the graphics though. As you’d expect from a Mario game, the soundtrack is quite solid. I particularly like the Fire Mountain themes, but the game has a good variety to it. Most of the level themes are quite good and it certainly amplifies the quality of the game. You’re able to play the level over and over again because you have good beats to listen too. It helps that the loading times here are great so you never have to wait for long.

Even the story felt like it had more effort to it than you’d expect. Mario talks quite a bit here, certainly more than I expected. He may be a bit meaner than usual as he calls DK a big monkey at times, but this is the plumber who calls you stinky in Mario Party. It’s easy to forget that Mario wasn’t always the very chipper guy that he is today. Even the Mini Marios rub the loss in DK’s face as they laugh at him quite a bit. You end up almost feeling bad for the monkey by the end. He certainly didn’t ask for this. Of course, DK is a robber so he ultimately did bring this upon himself. You gotta just live with the consequences. I only got the first ending, but at least it gives DK a fighting chance as he grabs more toys and runs. Mario’s going to need to hire more security even if it hurts the whole budget cuts angle.

The gameplay is sort of like a 2D Mario adventure, but you’re stuck in a limited space. There are two acts to each level. The first act has you hit a bunch of switches and get past obstacles to bring a key over to the door. In the second act you just need to get to the Mini Mario. The gameplay is actually quite spread out and diverse. You have an array of many different jumps to use. I personally liked spamming the dash dance jump as it would give you a lot of height and you could cheese many levels with this. I’m sure that the developers really thought the level designs through but with this many different options it makes sense that you would be able to cheese parts of it. They just can’t expect to cover for every contingency.

There are also the Mini Mario levels. There is one of them in every world and they’re a nice change of pace. The little guys get lost rather easily so you have to make sure not to go too fast or you’ll leave them behind. I enjoyed the levels in this format that I played and while the main ones were certainly more fun, it’s always satisfying to lead the little guys to the goal. The Mini Marios have heart.

It’s relatively simple gameplay which is likely what makes it so fun. It’s only half brain teaser while the other half of the puzzle is having the ability to physically get through the obstacles. It’s a great blend and a lot of fun to play. The game does a good job of bringing in many different enemies and obstacles so that the levels don’t feel the same. It would have been nice to have seen classic characters like Luigi and Peach, but I suppose even Mario has to work alone sometimes. It’s probably nostalgic for him to be the lone hero like in the original Donkey Kong game.

Overall, I’d definitely recommend this title. It’s easy to see why it became so popular. The game’s just a lot of fun and it even has some cutscenes. It’s pretty impressive since the game is so old. The graphics and soundtrack are both on point as well as the level designs. There is a lot of replay value here and my only complaint is that getting the stars in the levels to unlock the final bonus ones is maybe a little too tedious. I’d like to have a clear metric so I know exactly what I have to do in order to clear the level. That seems a little more fair if you ask me. Maybe they’ll implement that in the sequel. I’ll certainly buy that one although it could be a little while until I do. In the mean time, buy this one and let me know what you thought of it.

Overall 8/10