7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario’s Super Picross Review


It’s time to look at a puzzle game Nintendo released a very long time ago. Thanks to Nintendo releasing a bunch of these old games for free if you have the Nintendo Switch Online package, I’ve now gotten to try it out. It’s definitely fun. I’ve always enjoyed Picross and find it to be a whole lot like Sudoku. The idea behind it is the same at least and I wonder if it’s actually meant to be the same game. Either way you better make sure you know your numbers.

There isn’t really a plot of course so right away you can just jump into the levels. After you complete one world you unlock all of the Wario ones to play as well. There seem to be 8 in total. The Mario worlds are played with standard Picross rules. Every time you make a mistake you lose a good amount of time so you have to be careful in what you select. In the Wario game you aren’t told if you made a mistake so if you do manage to trip up then you could be in trouble. It can be very hard to tell where you went wrong, much less getting back on track. It’s better to take as long as you need here and just not make a mistake in the first place.

So how do the rules work? Basically you need to arrange the tiles so that the numbers in each of the rows and columns make sense. For example the first boards have 5 rows and 5 columns. If any of them have a 5 that means you can check off every box in that line. If a row has 0, then cross out everything there. Gradually you will have created a shape. Once you have filled in every square the level is complete and you will see the artwork. As the levels go on the stages get larger and larger which means you have a lot more variables to consider here. I jumped to the final world after a bit and there you have 15 boxes in each row and column. That results in a ton of boxes overall so you really have to tackle this point by point.

That’s what makes the game pretty fun though. There always is a way to solve the puzzles. You may have to look at the stage up and down a few times to really get it, but you will understand the way out eventually. You just gotta keep cracking down on it until you get to the bottom of this journey. Search for rows with the maximum or minimum amounts first. If none of them exist then look for large numbers and you can try to decipher the final areas based on the corresponding numbers. It works a lot like being a detective here. That’s probably glorifying it all quite a bit but it’s enjoyable which is really what I’m getting at. The levels are pretty quick and direct. You should have a good amount of fun here.

The graphics hold up pretty well. The whole game is in Japanese so you may not be able to read the text but it’s still cool to actually se Mario talking like this. It’s not like it has never happened before but it’s rare enough where it is still very notable. The style used here just holds up very well. The soundtrack is less impressive but I guess for a game like this they were never going to churn out a big soundtrack. That would have been impressive though and I think it’s never a bad idea to throw more themes in there. The bigger the soundtrack the better right?

In terms of replay value I wouldn’t say that there’s much here. The game itself is fairly short. I’d say you can clear around 2 worlds in a hour. So maybe 4 hours would have you completing the whole game and I dare say that you will likely beat it sooner than that. So this is definitely one of those games that you play the whole way through but don’t go back to. That’s just how some games are set up though so nothing wrong with that. I’d say the journey is worth it.

Overall, You don’t really see a lot of games like this anymore. It’s a shame because franchises should dive in and take some chances like this. Who wouldn’t want to play a Mario chess game or something like that right? As long as the game has a good amount of content and maybe even a fun story then you’re in business. If you’ve got the Switch Online then you should definitely check this out. It’s not so major that I would say you need to get the membership just for this game though. If you don’t have it, then I suppose you should hold off.

Overall 7/10

7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review


It’s finally time to look at the final entry in the Luigi’s Mansion series. The series has always been pretty nostalgic because the first Luigi’s Mansion is the first Gamecube game I remember playing. It was pretty intense to chase after those ghosts and had a ton of replay value. To date I’d say that it is the best game in the series. It’s just hard to top it as I don’t really see Nintendo ever getting quite so dark again. Parts of that game were legitimitally intimidating like heading to the higher floors of the mansion while knowing that you were getting one step closer to Kign Boo. Still, I do put Mansion 3 above the second installment and it’s a pretty hype way to end the series. I’d definitely be up for a 4th game someday though.

So the plot of the game is that Mario and friends are invited over to a hotel. Luigi sadly has nobody to sit next too, but fortunately his loyal ghost dog is along for the ride. Things get pretty dicey when everyone vanishes during the night. Luigi finds out that King Boo and the hotel owner are behind this. He’s going to need to summon up his courage and free his friends from the paintings once more. It sounds simple enough, but when dealing with the King of the Boos and an army of ghosts you know Luigi is actually going to be in for quite a challenge.

The gameplay is pretty similar to the first two games. You use the Poltergeist to suck in ghosts after flashing them with the flashlight. You can also slam them around to weaken their health. That part’s a new feature as the originals didn’t have a big focus on combat like that. In this game prepare for a ton of slamming as it’s the most efficient way to deal with villains so why wouldn’t you use it right? You also have Gooigi here to help. You can summon him to go through objects that Luigi wouldn’t be able to. He can’t touch water though so keep that in mind for the various puzzles. There are a number of those so you do have to be sure to stay sharp. Let your guard down and the puzzle may end up defeating you.

It’s a classic style that works quite well. Part of why it’s weaker than the first game is ironically the combat mechanic though. The slamming can be a bit repetitive and lacks the same tension as in the original game where you have to hold on tight. Having to press A to shine the ghosts rather than moving the flashlight also isn’t quite as streamlined. Ironically the first game’s gameplay is simply a lot smoother. I also miss some of the extra aspects of the gameplay like having elemental attacks and stuff like that. It gave the game a little extra to it.

This isn’t the time to talk about the first game so much though so lets get back on track. The story here is pretty fun but my one main complaint is Luigi. It’s similar to the Scooby Doo set up where after a while you wonder why Shaggy and Scooby are still scared. Luigi has already beaten up King Boo twice. At this point you’d think he wouldn’t even care much when the guy shows up. Just knock him out a third time. Unfortunately Luigi doesn’t end up getting brave even at the end of the game which was unfortunate. I was waiting for a moment where Luigi finally mans up and does what needs to be done. Unfortunately even to the end it’s more of a reluctant thing which is a bit iffy.

It was nice to actually see more of Mario and Peach though. Mario’s role is small but we do see his confidence right away. The guy may have actually been a little overconfident this time, but I suppose you can’t win them all. I actually thought maybe he would get possessed or something in the end which would have made for a fun boss fight. Teaming up with him would have also worked out really well if you ask me. We’ve never really seen that before so it is completely uncharted territory. The final boss still manages to be pretty intense though. We get to see some more of King Boo’s attacks and the backgrounds are pretty hype.

The game definitely has excellent graphics. It’s Nintendo so I certainly expected nothing less. The character models are on point and I like the stage designs. The enemies are also pretty neat. They’re not quite as memorable as some of the first game bosses like the baby but the game holds its own. It’s definitely always easy to see what’s happening. I don’t really recall much of the soundtrack to be honest. It’s not a game where there really is much of one. I suppose it would probably go against the overall atmosphere of the game but I’d definitely be on board with some solid rock themes or something.

This game should last you around 10 hours which is pretty good. I’d say that it’s probably even a bit longer than the first two games because I remember those being pretty short. There is also a solid amount of replay value here as you can go back to try and grab all of the collectibles. That definitely won’t be an easy feat because there are a lot of them. You can’t forget the Boos after all. I was a little surprised that the game didn’t actually make you grab any of them. It’s good for the post game though and I always support it when games make such things optional. They should never force you into something that you’re not in the mood to do. You just want to get on with the story after all.

Overall, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is a pretty solid game. It’s definitely a fun experience and I’d recommend checking it out. The length is just right and it does reference the older games which is pretty neat. Some of the puzzles could be a little dicey at times and whenever the cat would appear it would be a bit annoying to backtrack. Still, the core gameplay is very solid and streamlined. It’s also fun to see Luigi as the lead again even if he is more terrified than usual. We need a Mario’s Mansion game for this reason. Imagine sucking up ghosts but you have Mario confidently laughing the whole time or something like that. That would definitely be pretty neat!

Overall 7/10

Editorial

5 Ways Nintendo can fix the Switch Online Service


Nintendo has historically been known as the greatest video game company out there. Certainly they have a lot of great titles. The consistency and unchanging nature of their games is part of why they’re an easy pick for starting someone off on their first console. You know what to expect and the games are pretty high quality. That being said, they have their share of weaknesses though. A big one if their online services. For years Nintendo has lagged behind the other companies. At least they had the excuse that their online product as free though. Now you do have to pay for it so that makes the issue all that much worse. Let’s look at 5 things they can do to fix their online.

1. Make it Free

This is the most unlikely option of course but it is one that would solve a lot of the issues. The online would be terrible compared to the competitors but since you wouldn’t be paying for it you probably wouldn’t mind a whole lot. When things are free you tend to cut them some slack because you aren’t losing anything. Nintendo also doesn’t really need to charge for much. They opted not to go for dedicated servers anyway and their NES/SNES Online catalogue is basically just a bunch of emulators that anyone can download for free online. As such we know that the space for these is tiny and it doesn’t take a whole lot of power to have them online. Still let’s look at more realistic options.

2. Use dedicated servers

This is an easy one. If you boot up a Sony or Microsoft game right now and head online you can expect to have close to 0 lag in your matches. That’s because the connection isn’t peer to peer so even if one of your opponents has a terrible online system it won’t affect your match. Compare that to Nintendo where if one player has a bad connection it will mess it up for everyone. That’s pretty inexcusable. Lag completely ruins an online experience when it’s at its worse. Input Lag can be crazy to deal with and normal lag is just as bad when it comes to trying to nail a solid combo. Nintendo’s really got to shape up in this area because it is very noticeable at this point.

3. Time to add GameCube Online

This is a big one, the GameCube needs to be online. There are too many crazy amazing games for them to not be here. I’m guessing Nintendo wants to make us pay 60 bucks for an HD Remaster but that’s not the play here. Putting these games online would be hype and it’s not like Nintendo would have time to port all of them either way. Give us a few big ones like Mario Sunshine and Melee. If those are going to get remasters then give us Pokémon Colosseum and F Zero GX. Either way GameCube games are a huge jump from the level of quality and replay value of the current titles. The NES and SNES games are fun to be sure but they are also very short. Adding in GameCube will really be the ticket to get people buying the online pass. I dare say you could even skip N64 and go back to it later. GameCube is what the people want and trust me, it would definitely go a long ways to getting Nintendo’s online into the big leagues.

4. Time to get Leaderboards

This is a big one that all of the other consoles have. We need some kind of online rankings here. Whether it is through trophies, achievements, or something else it would be immensely helpful. It would also be an extra incentive to get online if that was the only way to see your position. It’s always fun to try and get everything so this would also greatly help the replay value of all the Switch games. It’s never too late to start and this would be a good addition. It’s also worth adding into individual games like Super Smash Bros should have had this at launch along with a few other online features. This editorial is more about general Nintendo Online though so I’m just giving it a small nod here. In general the Switch needs some kind of ranking system.

5. Miscellaneous free stuff

Finally, we just need more freebies. Xbox and PlayStation give you random AAA games for free at times, backgrounds, and other perks. When’s the last time you got anything for free from Nintendo? At best they give you times freebies like ARMS and Mario Tennis which you get to play for a little while and then it’s gone forever. That barely counts as a freebie because you can’t keep it. No sir, I want a freebie that I can actually keep for the long haul. Even small things like new layouts, Switch backgrounds, emblems, etc would go a long way. You need to give people something, by not giving any freebies it definitely makes us feel bad. It’s like Nintendo just isn’t looking out for us. It wouldn’t take very long at all. Nintendo’s track record with reward programs is pretty bad though, I still remember how bad Club Nintendo’s rewards were for a long time.

In short, Nintendo needs to shape up on their online offerings. It is totally within their ability to do so if they really apply themselves. Until they fix these things they will continue to get mocked by everyone all the time. Even recently Super Smash couldn’t make the cut for EVO in large part because the servers are so bad. Make no mistake, that’s absolutely the big reason why it was cut. It’s a shame because it would have been good for everyone to have seen the state it is in on the big screen. That would have been the best chance to get Nintendo to change something ASAP. That boat has sailed though.

4 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

NES Open Tournament Golf Review


It’s time to look at a classic NES golf game. Golf is one of those games that is hard to make all that fun even in modern titles. The only one where I could say I really felt pumped up was the Mario Golf game for Gamecube and even then it got stomped by the other Mario sports. Needless to say I wasn’t a huge fan of this one either. I do see that some decent effort was put in here but it still wouldn’t be able to keep me in there once I’m done with a tournament.

When you boot the game up you’re given a screen with Mario and Peach getting ready to be crushed by Luigi and Daisy. I assume it’s Daisy at least but admittedly she looks quite different here. After that you see the various game modes. To this title’s credit, there are actually a few different modes when a lot of these games would just have one back in the day. You can jump into a tournament, free play, or a single player run through of all the holes. Naturally I went for that one, I wasn’t about to have to watch the computers throw me around when I was just starting right?

The controls are not too crazy once you get the hang of it. You move the stick in the direction you want to hit the ball too. Once you do that then you tap the a button twice when you’ve got it in the right part of the moving bar. From there you just try to angle your hits and select the appropriate power so that you get the ball to the flag in as few hits as possible. This is one of the few games where you actually want to have the lowest score possible. The higher score you have the worse you played the game. You definitely don’t want to see a +9 as that is about as bad as you can be.

The graphics here are pretty fun. Not surprisingly since Nintendo was really the ones behind this game it looks a lot better than most of the other NES titles. When they throw Mario in it seems like Nintendo really tries to give the game an extra shine to it. The soundtrack is also very peaceful. You feel like you’re ready for action and to have a good time. That’s the ultimate goal of the games right?

There’s a reasonable amount of replay value here since there are a lot of different stages. You will probably need to also replay the stages quite a bit to really get good and to hit your rhythm. It’s not something that will happen overnight after all. I averaged around a +6 for each hole so I got a ways to go. Ideally you want to be around a -1 or -2 for them to really secure the win. The toughest part about golf for me has always been all the different variables. You have to account for the wind and you have a ton of different clubs to hit the ball with and they all have their own range. What this means is basically no matter what you’re going to have to do a lot of memorizing to know what you want to do. Mario Golf handled this well with giving you a preview of how the shot would go while this one plays it a little more on the level. You just need to know the yards left to go and plan accordingly.

This is definitely a tough game so you can expect a good challenge. Of course with the rewind feature you have backup to an extent but either way this is not a game that you can expect to beat very easily. It’ll take some time and you’ll have to see if the game is fun enough to spend that time. At the very least I am glad that Daisy got into the picture a lot earlier than I would have expected. I’m not sure if you can play as her, but I certainly hope so.

Overall, NES Open Tournament is definitely a game you don’t want to miss if you reeeeeeally like Golf. Otherwise I’d say you should just bypass this one. There are a ton of other quality NES games to enjoy on the service so there’s no need to stick with one for very long if it doesn’t hit it out of the park for you. I don’t think there’s a whole lot more they could have done with the concept here so I’ll give them props for the attempt. That being said, Golf just needs something to give the games a little more pop in their steps.

Overall 4/10

6 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Mario Golf Advance Tour Review


It’s time to take a look at a Mario game that I’ve had on the backburner for many years. Golf is already not one of my favorite sport games to play so even with the Mario factor I wasn’t sure this would be a hype one. I would play a few rounds here and there but the game just didn’t click. Well, now that I’ve played through the whole game I can say that it is better than the average Golf game. I think Nintendo did a reasonable job of making this as accessible as possible. That being said, it still wasn’t quite ready for the big leagues.

There isn’t much of a story beyond the intro. You’re playing as a kid who is trying to get into the game of golf. It’s tough though because you are in a world where everyone is really good for some reason. You’ll have to improve your skills before you can even challenge the top tournaments. There are 4-5 tournaments in the game and every time you clear one you unlock another. Once you’ve beaten all of the human tournaments you will finally be given the opportunity to take on Mario and friends. It’s the ultimate goal and a one in a life time opportunity. You can’t let this chance pass you by.

I’ve got to give the game credit for the amount of content in this game. There is really a lot to do at all times. Aside from the tournaments there are a bunch of mini games in each area. You can work on landing your shots next to the pole in one hit or exploring different tracks. Additionally you can upgrade your racket although I’m not sure how you get the guy to build you more after the first one. The game seems like it’s going for an RPG angle so talking to everyone is a good idea. There’s just a lot going on and this will also help you get more of a story out of the game. If that’s not your thing then no worries, you can just enter the tournaments and ignore everything else. Each tournament has a singles mode and a doubles option. I just did all of the Singles but I wonder how Doubles works in this context.

Each tournament has 18 holes. Your score is tallied over the course of these shots and the goal is to have the lowest amount of points at the end. The quicker you get the ball into the hole, the lower your score will be. When you finish a tournament you gain EXP which you can use to improve your stats. I always improved my maximum shooting distance. The others are things like control and spin. Just be careful because as you increase your skills it can be harder to control yourself. This is rarely an issue in anything beyond racing games but it is something you will want to keep in mind for this game. Especially since learning the controls isn’t the easiest thing in the world.

The graphics are pretty nice and I dare say that they are one of the game’s highlights. Everything is bright and colorful which is always good. The presentation is really nice and if you lose a match you definitely can’t blame the graphics. Then the soundtrack may not be the most memorable but it works pretty well if you ask me. It’s all just got a very calm/peaceful feel to it.

In terms of replay value the game also has a lot to offer. The main tournaments probably won’t take you much longer than an hour, but then you’ve still got the minigames and doubles tournaments to play through. You’ve also got the post game tournament which is sure to be pretty difficult. Finally you can max out your character’s level. I’m sure this will still be around 10 hours or less, but it’s a pretty good deal. I don’t think you can really ask for much more in the end. It took Golf about as far as you could on the GBA.

If I have any complaints with this game it is that the Mario characters should appear more. I’d say that the Mario Tennis for GBA game did a better job with this. They felt like end boss characters and had a presence. That isn’t really the case here largely due to the fact that the story really doesn’t get to happen. If we had gotten Bowser to show up or another villain I think that would have done a lot to make the game a little more memorable.

Overall, Mario Golf Advance Tour is impressive. The gameplay is pretty smooth and the loading times are virtually nonexistent. That being said, it is still Golf so there is a hard limit on how far it can go. In the end it’s just not my thing. It’s fun enough in short doses but I can’t see myself going back to this one. If you like Golf then this is a must buy. If you’re not really into Golf then the only reason to get this title would be to see Mario and the others, but you don’t see them much at all so I don’t think that would be the best option. With Mario Golf you should know what you’re getting yourself into. It delivers on everything it is trying to be.

Overall 6/10

Battles, Mario Battles, Terry Bogard Battles

Terry Bogard vs Mario



Suggested by Sonic Mario is a character who has been around for a very long time so lets not get that confused. The guy can ball! Mario has been shown to be proficient in every sport as well as kart racing. He’s also fought in many games and has power ups ranging from Power Stars to other such enhancements. That being said, I don’t think he is ready for Terry. Mario’s reaction times have been shown to be downright terrible in the main Mario games and his physical stats aren’t amazing. I believe Terry would be able to keep Mario missing until Terry delivers a punishing counter. Terry Bogard wins.