Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Review


Mario Kart 8 is a game I’ve been meaning to get for many, many years but it just didn’t work out. Well, that paid off in a way because then it came out for the Switch so I got to get the updated version there. The Deluxe version brings Link and everything unlocked from the jump. Throw in the smooth online and it really does feel like a Deluxe edition here. You are bound to have a lot of fun while playing through this one.

Now on one hand with everything unlocked from the jump you may feel less incentive to go and actually play through all of the cups but it also means that you can really relax and do everything at your own pace. You can play the tournaments, jump into online battles, play vs mode, etc. There is absolutely a lot of content here so you certainly won’t run out or get bored either. The amount of stages here must be a record. I’m not sure if that is a fact but at least it feels like this must be the case.

I’ve played a whole lot of stages and I’m not sure if I’ve played them all yet. Then there’s also the character roster which is just as impressive. I set a challenge for myself to play as every character before doing that review and so I took them all for a spin. It’s really cool to play as a guest star like Link here. I can definitely understand why people are getting hyped for a Nintendo Kart. You can’t go wrong with guest stars and it just enhances the amount of fun you can have. Characters are mainly cosmetic as well so you might as well throw them in.

It goes without saying that the gameplay is quite excellent here. The controls are really smooth and you shouldn’t have a problem driving around. I notice that the game does try to make it a little easier on you here as it’s hard to drive off the road. The game will usually auto correct for you to make sure that you stay on the road. That’s definitely a very useful feature to be sure. I don’t think it is quite as good as say Double Dash where you really have to be careful to master your vehicle at all times but it does make sense in terms of making the game more inclusive for everyone to have a good time with. Double Dash is still my all time favorite game after all but it’s safe to say that Mario Kart 8 is the next best.

The soundtrack is excellent with a huge variety of songs to choose from. Every stage has its own distinct theme and nothing is reused here. You’ll hear a lot of nostalgic music throughout the game and of course modern twists as well. It’s definitely a game that’s very soothing to play with how peaceful some of the songs can be and even the fast paced tunes just feel good. This is a game where you can see how Nintendo put a ton of effort into every aspect. Naturally the graphics are included with that. The game looks quite excellent at all times. The gameplay is sharp and the stage designs really pop out at you as well.

For the online modes you can play in tournaments, single races, battle modes, etc. I tried all of the options and it’s nice to be playing against other opponents in real time. I played a ton of matches and didn’t experience lag in any of them. Imagine if Super Smash had that level of attention to it? Now that would really be something. It’s also fun how you have a little point total next to your name as you play through the stages. It’s not really a ranking since you don’t know where you stack up but it does give you something to aim for as you win more and more races.

As for the battle modes, you’ve got quite a few here. The most fun one is probably the cops and robbers game as you have to dry and get out of the area before you are whacked by the other team. You can free other members who have been captured though. The game seems to favor the team making the arrests here but you do need to have strategy and doing that online can be tricky. There’s also a capture the flag game which is fun. You have to try and hold onto it for a while in order to win. This can be tough if you’re not the first to grab it though. It’s not that hard to buy 20 seconds in the initial skirmish.

There’s also the bomb and balloon modes although unfortunately the balloon one is no longer about survival. I suspect the developers were worried about players dragging the matches out too long so they turned this into a pure score battle but I always liked the idea of a survival mode since it really makes you have to drive carefully to try and stay on top there. With a score system it’s a bit more chaotic. I don’t think you will be spending quite as much time here as in the races anyway though so it’s really just more ways to play the game and you can’t go wrong there.

Overall, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is definitely a great game. There is a whole lot of replay value here which you probably guessed from everything above. This is really a complete game in every aspect. I can’t think of a single weakness that it has and so Mario Kart 8 will really end up leaving a strong legacy behind it. You will be hard pressed to find a better racing game available and of course playing online with others is a lot of fun. The items ensure that you will have a fresh experience in each race. No two races will be identical after all and the item frequency is really quite high. The stages are the right length as they aren’t too short or too long. There really must have been hundreds of hours of research pumped into this and it paid off. The bar for the 9th game is really set quite high at this point.

Overall 9/10

The Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask 3D Review


As I entered the final dungeon, I started writing this review back in April 2015. Little did I know that I would be stuck in that same dungeon for the next 6 years. It’s pretty fun to see how I may have sounded 6 years ago and why waste the writing right? So I’ve kept my old review in italics and will throw in some additions at the very end of this review for some modern thoughts
Majora’s Mask is one of the few Legend of Zelda games that is a direct sequel. It takes place after Ocarina of Time. Despite this it seems to be forgotten or pushed to the wayside more than the other big titles. Part of the reason is that it is a sequel so it could not be thought of as the next core Zelda game. That being said, it does have a strong fan following and it is talked about to this day.

Link’s adventure begins suddenly as he is confronted by a mysterious kid. He calls himself Skull Kid and his powers are incredible. He takes Epona away and transforms Link into a scrub. Link will have to stop strong guardians in different parts of the world if he is to stop the moon from crashing. He only has 3 days to do this, but let’s not forget that he is the hero of time! Time has never been a problem for Link before and it won’t be one now.

Graphically, the game holds up pretty well. You are bound to feel nostalgic if you played Ocarina of Time. Of course, the area is not quite as happy as it used to be so things are also different. I am also sure that you are familiar with the many fan theories for this game. There are loads and loads of them to be found and the developers likely had this in mind when they were making the game. It is certainly a lot darker than the average Legend of Zelda game.

The sad fact for the resistance is that Link is simply too late this time. Most of the heroes are already dead and Link simply pretends to be them so that he can inherit their powers and keep up morale. It is certainly scary just how many casualties there were in this game and the whole atmosphere can seem depressing at times. It is as if all hope is lost.

The soundtrack is a little limited, but it is still good. The danger theme holds up well and that’s the main one that I continue to remember. It is catchy and returns again and again as you play the game.

Unfortunately, I do think that this game is a big step down from the average Zelda game. It certainly loses to all of the big titles. There are two main reasons for this. The first of which is the new 3 day system. As it is, the 3DS version added more save features to make this a little less tedious, but the system still hurts the game. It is a unique gimmick as Pikmin is the only other game that I can think of which uses it. That being said, it simply acts to delay you. If you are in a dungeon when the 3 days are up…then too bad. You can slow down time to make it more manageable, but it is still an issue which the adventure could do without.

What acts as the ultimate 1-2 punch here is the large amount of puzzles. Legend of Zelda has always had this element to separate it from the traditional hack and slash games. In the past, it has worked really well like with Wind Waker and Skyward Sword. (Which was still a very fun game) Unfortunately, Majora’s Mask is unable to find a good mix of puzzle and action. It is skewed heavily in favor of puzzles. Towards the end of the game, we finally get more action but for the first 70-80% of the game the action is minimal.

Puzzles can be fun if handled right. You always felt a sense of accomplishment when you solved one in Wind Waker. Of course, there was no timer there. Even without a timer, Majora’s Mask’s quests are not nearly as fun as they could have been. One big reason is the actual gameplay.

The gameplay is your average 3D title. You can’t jump, but you have a lot of gadgets and you traverse through the unknown. It works very well for the action segments. The puzzles are the dicey part. Some temples like the water one require you to walk a great distance between areas multiple times. Link isn’t very fast so it makes the experience that much worse when you have to head back to a place where you have already been. It is not as if Link is abnormally slow, but for some reason, if just feels like it can take forever to get to where you want to go at times.

Many of the puzzles simply start as well and you just have to wander around until you find out what to do. It is difficult, but in more of an artificial way. I love a nice challenge, but not because I am unsure of what to do. Look at Capcom vs SNK’s God Rugal/Regal boss or the Subspace Emissary on intense in Super Smash. Those can be very difficult, but you do know what to do from the start. It will test your gaming ability, but in a fun way.

After all, you are playing to have a good time and that is one area where Majora’s Mask is lacking. It simply isn’t fun at times, which certainly hurts the score. It takes away the replay value factor and makes this title dangerously close to not being a good game. All right, that’s enough for negatives, let’s close out with what the game did right.

While the gameplay doesn’t suit the puzzles, it is still a lot of fun for the combat. Striking with a sword or using one of your gadgets ensures that you are in for a very flexible boss battle. The boss fights are also fun. They can be direct like in traditional 3D fighters, but often times they are unique in a good way. The ocean boss fight with the large fish was certainly fun. A lot of the boss designs are certainly good. It is also fun to see the ReDeads/Undead appear once more to strike fear into the hearts of many. They are still one of the most intense minions out there and facing them is always a lot of fun.

Link is naturally about as heroic as you would expect. He tackles the enemies with complete confidence in his abilities and never loses sight of his goals. Naturally, this game came out a long time ago so it can’t make him look quite as epic as a modern title would, but Link tries his best and that’s the important part. He is knocked down many times, but he always makes sure to get back up.

I am definitely not a fan of Skull Kid though. He is lacking in willpower from the start and he just isn’t my kind of villain. His design certainly isn’t bad though. Majora is the real threat and makes for a really epic villain. Even before playing the game you’ll have seen this guy’s crazy super form designs since it’s so iconic. The developers really gave it their all to ensure that Majora would spook the audience as the fight began. Certainly an epic way to end the game.

Finally, Majora’s Mask is very interesting. It is like looking at a twisted alternate reality if Link had not saved the world from Ganondorf. Which, it is still surprising that Ganon completely missed out on this title. That is certainly rare for a LoZ game.

Overall, Majora’s Mask 3D will continue to be known as the deepest Zelda game. It has the mechanics of Ocarina of Time, but ends up losing out due to the extreme number of puzzles as well as the two gimmicks. Those being the masks and the 3 Day system. More action and play time as Link would have done much to improve this title. Either way, the graphics and soundtrack hold up well. The iconic “You’ve met with a terrible fate haven’t you?” line holds up very well to this day. It makes the merchant appear to be sympathetic, sarcastic, or gleeful depending on how you read it. I wouldn’t trust him though since it seems like he destroyed Mario…heh heh. If you are looking for a nice challenge for your puzzle skills or are a big Legend of Zelda fan, I recommend checking this one out. It is also a good bet if you just want to analyze the game and create some theories of your own about it. If not, Skyward Sword is probably a better bet.

My views on the game haven’t really changed much since I originally played the title. I would still say this is certainly the weakest of the 3DS titles. It really boils down to the 3 day system more than anything else. It adds a layer of pressure to the puzzles to be sure, but in a way where you dread them rather than enjoy them. After playing through the stone temple dozens and dozens of times, you start wanting some qualify of life updates like not having to solve the room’s puzzle every time you have to go back and forth. Being able to equip more items at once so you don’t have to keep on substituting them out would be ideal as well.

I didn’t get to play as Fierce Deity Link so that was too bad. I guess maybe that’s more of a bonus thing if you get all of the masks or something like that. At least you definitely can’t say that the game is short though. It took me over 50 hours to conquer and even then there is a lot of extra content to try and grab like the masks and collectibles. Finding everything in this world is definitely not for the faint of heart and not something that can be sped through. You’ll really want to master these temples.

Overall, if you really enjoy puzzles and like the idea of the day system resetting your temple progress every 3 days then it’s probably about time you picked this one up. Otherwise I would say to just buy Ocarina of Time or Skyward Sword instead if you want more of a definitive Link experience. Both of those 2 are what I would call the definitive title in the franchise because they capture everything you would expect to see in a Link title. If we ever get a Majora’s Mask sequel, I’m confident it would work out a lot better since the 3 day system should be gone…at least in theory.

Overall 5/10

Ironman vs Link




Suggested by Nerd With Too Much Lord of the Rings Knowlage The Hero of Hyrule has returned once more. Ironman’s one of the stronger Marvel heroes thanks in part to getting a solid anime treatment which boosted his speed. Link had similar boosts thanks to Hyrule Warriors and the Twilight Princess manga. Ultimately Link has more skill in close quarters combat but Ironman can strike from afar which may be able to overpower the mirror shield. Ultimately Link should be able to force Ironman to land and secure the victory with his Light arrows. Link wins.

The Mandalorian vs Link




Suggested by Nerd With Too Much Lord of the Rings Knowlage The Mandalorian is skilled and definitely has a lot of armaments at his disposal. That being said, he just isn’t fast enough to keep up with Link. Link will be able to parry all of his blows and just keep it moving. A single hit from the fire arrow or his Master Sword should end this round pretty quickly. This is why he is the Hero of Time, The Mandalorian just won’t have the skillset needed to counter. Link wins.

Witch-king of Angmar vs Link




Suggested by Nerd With Too Much Lord of the Rings Knowlage The Witch-King is a powerful foe and one of Sauron’s most powerful associates. His blade can break just about any other but he’ll gave a hard time negating the Master Sword which was created to banish evil. That may be a stalemate at which point Link will completely dominate him in close quarters combat thanks to his speed. If his sword does shatter, then he will have to rely on his other weapons like Light Arrows. Link wins.

Link vs Japanman




Suggested by Destroyer Japanman is not an opponent to take lightly. He is also well versed in bladed combat and will be able to try and give Link a run for his money. The main problem Japanman has is that he simply isn’t fast enough to deal with Link. Link has fought stronger opponents in his day and Japanman didn’t have a big role in the manga or anime that could have boosted his stats. As it stands, Link would simply be able to overwhelm this guy. Link wins.

Link vs Bishop




Suggested by Destroyer Bishop can fire off energy blasts and absorb kinetic energy. It’s not a good idea to hit him with blasts but he can’t do a whole lot against direct attacks like the swing of a sword. Link’s Master Sword will prove too much for this guy to handle and a good swing could end this. Bishop just won’t be able to stand up to that level of power. Link wins.

Green Lantern (Stewart) vs Link




Suggested by Destroyer John Stewart is one of the more powerful Green Lanterns out there. He has enough willpower to create just about anything and also has army experience that backs up his hand to hand combat skills. That said, he’s not going to be defeating Link here. Link is the chosen hero of Hyrule and has amassed a whole lot of wins and skills over the years. He’s just on a different level at this point. Link wins.

Link vs Doomsday




Suggested by Destroyer Link is a talented swordsman, but can he beat the ultimate adapting monster? Doomsday will prove to be a difficult opponent for Link but adapting to the Master Sword will be difficult. Link also has a lot of combat speed and different weapons up his arsenal. He should be able to overwhelm Doomsday in pure combat and his light arrow will do the trick. It’s a close fight but one that Link won’t lose. Link wins.

The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes Review


Tri Force Heroes is definitely an interesting Legend of Zelda title. It’s far different from most of the ones that come out. I would say it’s closest to Four Swords in terms of gameplay. You’ve got the classic overhead view back but this time you’re controlling 3 Links. It is held back to an extent though in how much this is built for multiple people to play it as opposed to a 1 player experience. It also ramps up the difficulty levels quite a bit to the point where this is one of the few games that took me longer to complete than the average time from the Howlongtobeat site.

The story this time revolves around a princess who is so beautiful that she ends up being cursed by another person who is jealous. She is now forced to wear a skintight suit at all times so she can no longer put on the fancy dresses she once had. A kid is instructed to destroy the monsters in 8 key worlds and break the curse on the Princess. He dons the name of Link as well as the classic gear and gets ready to accomplish this. Can Link really save the day or is he ultimately doomed to be crushed here?

Interestingly both Zelda and Ganondorf don’t appear in this game. I’m surprised they didn’t just make Zelda the princess but that’s probably for the best because I can’t really picture her just taking the curse sitting down like this. It was a good move not to make her the damsel but it would have been fun to maybe see Zelda appear as a supporting character. I was also waiting for the big twist that Ganondorf was the big villain all along but that one didn’t actually end up panning out. The actual villain who doesn’t even have a true name beyond “The Lady” is decent at best. She is a little on the petty side since the whole reason she did this is because she’s jealous of the princess. It’s not exactly the best motive.

Her role is also small but that’s the way the story is in general. You can go through the game without seeing much of the story at all. See, there are 8 worlds to complete and each world has 4 levels. Each level has 4 sections in it. You can clear all of these in one shot or break them up as much as you want. if you turn the game off after any world or leave the room then you’ll get a quick cutscene of encouragement from the King or some information from the wardrobe owner. However, if you just beat the game right up front then you won’t get these cutscenes and instead will get a lot of them back to back at the end. That’s what happened to me and it’s an odd tactic.

I feel like the plot was thrown together more as a formality but the game didn’t actually care about it all that much. As for the gameplay, it’s fairly basic. You have to get to the end of each area by solving a puzzle or defeating an enemy. You can move and swing your sword as well as using a power up specific to the level. You will need to use multiple Links to clear these levels as well like throwing Links onto higher levels or holding them up so they can slice away at enemies who are too tall to be hit normally. That’s the way to clear a lot of the puzzles since the multi links is a big part of the game’s theme.

Here’s the thing though, if you’re playing multiplayer then everyone controls a Link. In one player mode the other two are Totems so they can’t move or do anything. You have to constantly switch between them to solve the puzzles on your own which takes a lot of extra time. Additionally for bosses where you have to distract them with one Link and attack with another, it can be tough to switch that quickly. So the game is absolutely meant for multiplayer. If the other Links would move on their own as A.I. or something I think that would be a lot better. That could potentially work. Like this it can get a bit rough although the challenge was fun.

The game flies by pretty quickly. It took me a little over 8 hours to conquer it so around 1 hour a world. Part of that is just because the levels can be tricky though as they are usually pretty short otherwise. It’s worth mentioning that the game allows you to skip levels as well by using the fairy. Each level has 4 areas as I mentioned and you get 3 skips for each level. So what you can do is clear area 1 and then skip the rest of the level. If you do this then you only have to clear 32 areas in the game or effectively just 8 levels. It’s definitely an effective way to speedblitz the game but at that point are you really getting the full experience? It seems like it wouldn’t be all that worth it but at the same time if you have a level that’s particularly annoying at least you have it as an option I guess.

The graphics are pretty decent. It’s going for a pretty retro look here but everything does appear to be in HD with a lot of detail. The art style is charming and definitely gets you into the flow of the game. The soundtrack is a little more forgettable but I wouldn’t say it’s bad. It may not have the iconic theme you would expect to walk away with but it does have that classic LoZ charm to be sure. The boss theme would probably be the most memorable one if I had to choose one theme to walk away with.

As for replay value, there is definitely more to do here. For starters you can go back to the levels you completed and clear the Challenger Mode. Each level essentially has another version to play so that could last you another 8 hours. You can also try to obtain all of the clothes from the shop. I didn’t explore the hub world much at all but there is also an items shop which I could see being pretty handy. All in all I wouldn’t call it a ton of replay value but the content is absolutely there. The going price nowadays is also very low so that helps make this a bargain as well.

Overall, Tri Force Heroes is a good game. It can be a bit repetitive due to the puzzle style it has. You will be doing the same actions over and over a lot of the time which can get a bit dull so you don’t want to play this in super large batches. The fact that the game is really built around being a multiplayer experience also makes things feel a little clunky at times. Still, at the end of the day I would recommend this game if you like LoZ. It’s not quite up to the standard of the main games but as a spinoff it does accomplish its duty of being a game you can rally behind and to see the classic characters one last time.

Overall 6/10