Super Mario Kart Review

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At time for a new title courtesy of MyNintendoRewards! Super Mario Kart is one of those games that is so iconic you are almost afraid to play it. After all, the game was a living legend for a while but since then we have gotten many more Mario Kart games, all of which have improved on this one’s formula. Still, it’s a game that needed to be played and I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that you will still enjoy it. The game holds up mighty well and is a good game to add to your virtual collection.
There is no plot of course and there are really two main modes for single player. They are the Grand Prix and time Trial. For multiplayer you also have races and then even battle levels which is cool. There is a reasonable amount of content her all things considered and local multiplayer always ensures that the game will retain a considerable amount of replay value.

For the grand prixs there are 4. The cups have become iconic at this point as you always see the Mushroom, Flower, Star, and Special cups kick in. While most of the newer games limit the cups to 4 races each this one goes with 5. That’s likely because each individual stage is quite short here. For that reason all races are 5 laps each as opposed to 3. A lot of the levels will seem familiar to you if you’ve played the newer Mario Kart games since they usually pay homage to them by including the levels in the games. This one definitely thought of a considerable amount of creative levels. In particular I liked the Boo stages as well as the Bowser ones. Those are definitely very atmospheric while racing.
Naturally this wouldn’t be a Mario game without having a dynamic soundtrack as well right? The level themes are all quite solid and have held up pretty well over the years. No expense was spared here. Then the graphics are also pretty bright and nice for its time. They’ve also aged well and it’s never hard to see where you’re going. At most pipes may appear to be farther than they actually are but that’s why you can’t trust the rear view mirror.

I would have to say that this is probably the most difficult Mario Kart game that I’ve played as well. Mainly this is due to the controls which are naturally a little rougher than in the newer games. I couldn’t quite understand the drifting feature all too well as my car would go too fast. Ultimately when I had to turn I would either slam on the brakes or let go of the acceleration button. There are workarounds like that but of course you will lose speed so be careful. Since you need to win the first 3 cups to unlock the last one failure is not an option! Harness the access points that the Wii U gives you and you’ll be fine.

Aside from the Grand Prixs you will probably spend most of your time in multiplayer mode just enjoying a bunch of racing games. You’ll likely want to move on to the newer ones at some point, but it’s also nice to just experience the game in its original form. There is also Time Trial mode, but there isn’t a whole lot to do there. I suppose if you really enjoy the levels a lot then that is a good way to play them and also to hone your skills.

Naturally there isn’t a whole lot of other things to say about the game. It’s a really good way to spend 4-5 dollars though. You really can’t go wrong with that price and while the MyNintendo Rewards can certainly be a little larger, they have gotten better than where they were. Since obtaining points is rather easy thanks to their apps, you are basically guaranteed a 50% off deal on any game from the list that you want. When you see a good game on the site just be prepared to snag it!

Overall, Super Mario Kart isn’t just a game, it’s a racing game! It’s a title that really changed the genre as we know it and is still regarded as one of the all time greats. While I tend to really enjoy racing games like F-Zero which have no items so it’s just you and your boost, these can be a lot of fun as well. Double Dash will always be the best Mario Kart but this one certainly keeps up the quality that you would expect from such a storied franchise. If you haven’t downloaded it yet then I recommend doing so.

Overall 7/10

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Sukapon vs Luigi


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Suggested by Sonic Luigi is back and now he is really ready to rumble! His fireballs pack a punch and should certainly be able to damage Sukapon. Sukapon is strong, but Luigi will be able to keep his distance with the hammer and smash away from mid range. He just has a lot of attack options under his belt and they will all mean trouble for his opponent. Luigi wins.

Luigi vs Snake


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Suggested by Sonic Snake has a lot of weapons at his disposal. The guy is a pro at hand to hand combat and stealth tactics. In a match of skill he has got this hands down, but Luigi has a plethora of special abilities at his disposal which he can use to even the playing field. A few good bolts of electricity can really turn the tides in such a fight. Luigi wins.

Bewear vs Luigi


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Suggested by Sonic Bewear is a pretty neat Pokémon that looks like something out of Five Nights At Freddy’s. He is a powerful bear with a flurry of special attacks that will absolutely bring the pain against Luigi. Luigi has his fireballs and a whole lot of other items from the many games he has been in, but they haven’t helped to make him all that much of a threat. What use are the items when Luigi can’t master them? Bewear wins.

NES Remix Pack Review

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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

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games Review

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If there was ever such a thing as a low budget Mario and Sonic game then this is it. We no longer have the intense campaign mode from the first game and we don’t even get to keep the tournaments. With all of the characters and games already unlocked as well you just have to wonder what the developers were thinking. It’s not a bad game but it doesn’t do anything to help the Olympics legacy. It would have gone over better if this had been the first title in the series.

We do have a new mode though and that is essentially Mario Party mode. Here you run around a board trying to get items and bump into one of the characters who is running around. This will trigger a mini game. You want to win the mini games to get cards that you can put in your sticker album. Once you’ve obtained 16 stickers (or more depending on the length you choose) you will have won the game. Inside your sticker board you have two random items as well which may steal stickers from other players or just give you extras. They’re pretty handy so use them wisely. If you want to blast through the party then simply seek out the NPCs as soon as possible. I’m not sure if there is even a point to delaying it to be honest since grabbing the items didn’t actually seem to be doing anything. There’s probably something that I’m missing though.

I also have to point out that the mini games are starting to randomly get convoluted here. You should always be able to get a basic understanding of the game from the rules section before it starts. That wasn’t the case for the Dream Bike mini game. This one is a team game of 4 vs 4. You have to try and stay in a perfect line and shake your way to the goal. The problem is that you have to switch places during the race and the controls for being in the back were not clear. I struggled as best as I could but I just couldn’t form a line and I ended up losing the mini game and nearly the whole party map. I actually did lose the first time I played the mode, but I got them the second time.

Even the really solid games suffer from dicey instructions. Take the Nintendo/Sega trivia. The questions were solid and with prep time I could probably even get them right. However the game tells you to hold the Wii Remote horizontally when in fact you are supposed to hold it vertically. This cost me the very first question which I knew I would have gotten right. So the main point here is to read the rules carefully and be warned that you may not be able to win some of these games on the first try because you will have to figure out how it works.

One of the new games that is pretty solid is the throwing darts one. You essentially have to hit the bullseye as quickly as possible and try to get others. Essentially I don’t know if you go for all of the bullseyes but that would make sense. I hit 2 and won the mini game so just aim for the center and you will be all set.

We’ve also got some games that I believe are old like Table Tennis and Soccer. Table Tennis is the same old same old so I wouldn’t expect too much more out of that one. It’s a fun game as always but it didn’t take much effort to port it over. I forgot if soccer already existed or not but it doesn’t look good for this game either way since the soccer gameplay is probably the weakest I’ve ever seen in the genre. I know low budget Wii games with better soccer gameplay. Your passes always go too high so it is usually safest to take the bell through the whole field yourself before shooting. That’s just not good gameplay and teamwork is supposed to be the name of the game here. I just don’t know how you can possibly mess up a game like soccer this way.

100mm Swinming is another mini game that doesn’t even try to hide how recycled it is. It’s the exact same controls as always in what appears to be the same background. It’s a good mini game so I’m fine with it coming back of course, but we just should have had more games. Reusing minigames is like bringing back old fighters in a classic fighting game. It’s a great move and one that I stand by 100%. However, if the cast is unchanged then there is no point in upgrading as in the case of Godzilla Save The Earth to Godzilla Unleashed on the PS2.

What this Olympics should have done was have close to 40-50 events. They could easily have brought back events from the previous games in addition to a bunch of new ones. The only reason why I could see this being a bad thing is if they are trying to perfectly emulate the games that will be at each Olympics. If that is the case then I suppose they will need to find another solution (have the old mini games be unlockable) but either way we definitely needed more games than the rather limited amount that we got.

The graphics look nice as always at least. It’s about the same as the last game only without the cinematic cutscenes so maybe it is actually a downgrade. Those cutscenes strike me as being the hard part after all but maybe the gameplay is just as difficult. Either way the last game did manage to do both so I’d give it the edge. When it comes to the soundtrack there is no contest that the last one was better. It blended together a bunch of brilliant themes from both Mario and Sonic which made the games even more fun. While this game has a lot of those songs in the music player, don’t expect to hear them very often.

As far as the replay value goes I suppose that there is a lot to buy here. You can use your money to buy clothes which boost your stats and you can try to earn medals for all of the various mini games. That could take a little while and then you also have a lot of challenges to complete for the bragging rights. Complete all of the challenges and you will really be an Olympics champ. Considering that the game is pretty cheap I’d say that this is already enough value to justify the cost.

Overall, This is one of those games that may have been more acceptable if it had been the first in the series. However it is the third and after seeing what this series could really do with the second game it feels like a total downgrade. The game just lost all of its heart and it felt like the developers just cashed it in this time. There wasn’t much effort put behind this game as far as I could see and even though this is a decent game I would recommend going back to buy the Winter Olympics instead.

Overall 6/10

Mario Tennis Open Stats and Records

Stats Time!

Play Time 1h 59m
Rackets 2/48
Shirts 1/40
Sweat Bands 0/40
Shoes 0/40

Tournaments

Mario 8/8
Everyone Else 0/8
Doubles for Everyone 0/8

Special Game Records

Ring Shot
Bronze 218
Silver –
Gold –

Super Mario Tennis
Bronze 564
Silver –
Gold –
Platinum –

Galaxy Rally
Bronze 191
Silver 228
Gold –

Ink Showdown
Bronze 350
Silver –
Gold –

Mario Tennis Open Review

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It’s time to take a look at a Mario Tennis game that was pretty much overshadowed the instant it came out. That’s because it’s basically the same as playing the Gamecube game except with no cutscenes and less games. As a result, there is little reason to buy this game unless you desperately want to play it on the go. Nonetheless, it was only 10 dollars so I figured..why not? It was basically free thanks to a coupon and I’m glad I got it. The game doesn’t do anything unique, but it still has good tennis fundamentals.

There is no story mode of course and so the closest thing is the traditional Tournaments. There are 8 tournaments and each tournament has 3 rounds. Complete the first 4 to unlock the star version of the character you are playing. The battles never actually get too tough. One thing I noticed about the AI is that if you let them get to the ball then you are unlikely to win a rally against them. Fortunately they can’t seem to handle your serve on any level so you can easily score with your return. If you don’t then you will most likely have lost the point. That adds a little extra tension to the rounds I would say.

You can complete all of the tournaments in a little under 2 hours. To help with the replay value, you can do that with every character in order to get all of their Star Forms and some more items for the shop. Every time you win a match a random item is unlocked for purchase. The annoying thing is that the tournaments don’t get you any money though. To earn money you have to play the minigames. They are surprisingly difficult though so clearing all of them could take some time. This way at least you are earning money and accomplishing at the same time. That’s a plus right? Before talking about the minigames, I suppose I should mention that we also have Doubles tournaments. I was never the biggest fan of doubles and didn’t really go into that mode, but it’s sure to add more length to the game. As per always with sport games, the true replay value occurs if you have someone to play with. Otherwise you likely won’t end up sticking with the game for very long. I find it telling that the game is only 10 dollars when Nintendo games rarely go down in price until a very long time has passed.

There are 4 minigames. One has you relive some of the old 2D Mario levels as you try to keep a rally going while going through the level. It’s a fun concept, but a little too slow for my liking. The level goes by incredibly slowly so it’s more tedious than difficult. Ideally you want to have a good mix of both. It’s probably my least favorite minigame. Then we have Coin Mode. You have to shoot through the rings and gain as many coins as possible. This one is probably the most rigged as it will largely depend on your opponent. As a result I actually lost the Silver version of this game. It’s a decent concept, but I don’t care for the execution.

Time for the 2 best minigames. One is a Rally where you have to keep returning the ball without letting the computer touch it. This one’s actually pretty fun and it’ll definitely test your reaction times as the plants fire the ball at you. You won’t know which one is shooting until the very end. Finally, the best minigame is the rally one. You have to keep hitting a ball back and forth as parts of the stage vanish. This game is taken directly from the Gamecube one and so you can probably see why it is the best. It was just thought through very well and is the right blend of challenging and length. The time goes by slowly at first, but by the end you’ll barely notice. These minigames may not be much, but at least they give the game a little more content.

I haven’t talked much about the actual gameplay, but that’s mainly because there isn’t a lot to be said. It’s a very standard tennis game. You feel the power behind each hit and have different options on how to strike the ball. You fire off a high one, a low one, or a standard shot. You do seem to have special attacks, but I couldn’t figure out how to use them and didn’t even need them in the end so that’s why I didn’t try very hard. Perhaps I would have needed it against Ace level opponents at some point. The game has a dynamic camera view option, but I recommend turning it off. It’s distracting to suddenly have the game zoom in when you head to the net. I don’t know who thought it was a good idea, but it was probably the same person who doesn’t give the game the option to remember your choice. As such, you have to turn it off again after each match. It seemed really random though so at least you don’t have to worry about it happening after every match. Otherwise, I have no qualms with the actual gameplay, it’s what you would expect from a Tennis title.

The graphics look really good. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the effort went here although perhaps the character models were just grabbed from somewhere. As there aren’t any real cutscenes it probably wasn’t too hard to just focus on the models. Every character looks to be on point and the stages look sharp as well. The game delivers on this front. When it comes to the soundtrack, it’s fairly decent but forgettable as far as Mario games go. You likely won’t remember it all that well by the time you finish the game.

Overall, Mario Tennis Open is a good game. The Tennis gameplay is solid and that’s really what counts. There just isn’t any extra content to keep you busy. Your attention will only stay on this game for as long as you enjoy playing tennis. I suppose collecting all of the items could help if you’re really a serious collector, but there isn’t a whole lot of point to getting it all otherwise. If you see it in stores for a fair price then I recommend checking it out. I can’t imagine grabbing it at full price though. No matter how fun Tennis is, it just wouldn’t have been worth it.

Overall 7/10

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Review

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Whenever someone yells “MARIO AND SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES” you can’t help but get very nostalgic. I rented this game a long time ago and had quite a lot of fun with it. While the games are more limited than in the first one, it has improved in every other area. This title feels like the high budget Olympics game that we had been waiting for and the soundtrack is certainly one of the all time greats. My main character that I use in this game is Shadow of course but there is a solid roster of other characters to use as well.

Unlike the last one, this Olympics actually has a story mode of sorts. Essentially you have to play in the Olympics to try and secure the gold trophy. To do this you will have to prove that you are a well rounded athlete who can excel in many different events. You play the Olympics one day at a time. At first there are 2 events per day and then 3 for the second half. You also get 2 break days to relax and go to the shop. It would be pretty sad to play the whole thing and then lose so the A.I isn’t too crazy. Not to mention that many of the events are training so you can’t actually lose. It’s a way to get free points and move up the ranks of you were beginning to lose. You still need to win most of them if you are going to succeed though. As I hinted at earlier though, most of the mini games are rather similar so you shouldn’t have a problem after you’ve gotten used to them.

The best mini game is probably the Snowboard one. It’s very simple and straight to the point. You have to drive down a slope as fast as you possibly can. No gimmicks or anything like that, it’s just a pure bout of skill. You just can’t top it. There is a similar mini game where you are on Skis, but you have to utilize the motion controls more. It’s really the same thing but slower and with more stuff going on to distract you. Nothing wrong with that, but it just can’t compare to the style of the board.

We’ve also got Ice Hockey which would usually be in first place but it’s really hard to move much at all without getting slammed by the other team. That part makes it tough to enjoy the game because you don’t actually get to be playing it much. Good concept though. The game that seems to be the main attraction in this game is the figure skating. You have to pull off moves with the utmost precision at just the right time of you want to get the maximum score. While defeating the computers can be pretty easy you will want to do your best if you’re fighting a human opponent. It’s not my favorite game since it’s very slow paced, but it’s not the worst either.

The worst mini game is the one where you have to slide the discs across the floor. Many party games have this and I can never get any since it has never been good. The very concept ensures that it won’t be good if you ask me since it is a very slow paced game by nature. I’m sure it has its fans, but I am not one of them.

There are also some mini games called dream events which have items included and can get quite chaotic. The Snowball fight game is probably the most memorable one and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Your teammates may actively sabotage you as they get blasted, but it’s a pretty balanced game in that respect. Who doesn’t like a good snowball fight right? Another monk game has a glider where you have to fly and catch rings as you make it to the end. Naturally you’ll want to aim for small rings for maximum rings, but your opponents may have the same idea which will make things tricky.

After a while you will probably grow bored of the snow theme, but at least you can basically say that the game tries out every possible idea. Some mini games may seem like slight rehashes of each other but at least do have things that make them unique. Other party titles just make all of the games the same and don’t even attempt to hide it.

The presentation of the game as a whole is quite impressive. From the main menus to the shops and the levels, this game looks quite great. They spared no expense on the visuals. All of the character models are on point and the level designs are great as well. We even have a Challenger Approaching icon that is sort of like Super Smash which is pretty neat. It shows up before each boss battle and feels quite thematic. Then there is the soundtrack. It’s quite impressive as it takes many of the best Mario and Sonic themes and then throws them into the games/bosses. Listening to the Sonic Adventure themes is always nostalgic and naturally the Mario ones are good as well. I haven’t played the next Olympic installments yet, but I think it’s fair to say that they are going to have a very tough time surpassing this one.

There’s a lot to do in this game so length is certainly not an issue. The main campaign isn’t very long but that’s only the tip of the iceberg as you try to earn enough money to buy everything. You can also go for new records in individual events as well as challenge friends in multiplayer. Multiplayer mode certainly adds a lot of replay value to the game. You really need this in any sport game and in particular, offline multiplayer is a must.

Overall, it’s impressive just how much the series stepped it up with this installment. The game is just a lot nicer to play, listen, and look at. Boss battles was a real good addition and I like having a ceremonial story mode even if it is relatively small. It’s certainly better than nothing. The game’s only weakness is its limited amount of games, but at least the one that we do get are really fun which is certainly the important thing. I’d definitely recommend getting this game. While it may not be as unheard of as it used to be, a crossover with Sonic and Mario is always worth noting.

Overall 7/10