Foreman Spike vs Mario

This is a tribute to the Super Mario Bros movie. I think everyone in theatres was probably shocked when Foreman Spike walked up slowly and knocked Mario down for the count. In a rematch with his composite abilities available though my money would be on Mario every step of the way. There is a reason why Mario is known as the best after all and it all comes down to the fact that he is an expert fighter. He’s not just going to roll over and admit defeat in this fight. No! One good fireball punch and Spike is out of there. Mario wins.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Review

It’s finally time to review the Mario movie. Right when the trailers came out I had a feeling that this one would be a winner because it just looked like a lot of fun. Now granted, I am one of the few supporters of the 90s film from the start and I don’t intend to reverse course now but even I have to say that it was surpassed by this one. The new Mario movie really does justice to the franchise and has a ton of great easter egg and character moments for all to enjoy. It’s definitely one of the top gaming movies out there really just after the first two Mortal Kombat films and the second Sonic movie. If we start to get technical like with the animated Tekken and Final Fantasy VII films then things get a little dicey so lets not count those for now.

The movie starts off with Mario and Luigi finally getting their commercial to appear over the news. They’re excited since now they can expand their plumbing business. Unfortunately their family members aren’t very supportive and it’s really been tough. When they end up messing up on their first job, all seems lost but they won’t give up! When trying to stop a big disaster in the city they end up getting transported to the Mushroom Kingdom and Luigi is kidnapped by Bowser’s forces. Mario will now have to team up with Princess Peach in order to save his bro, but will he be able to do this? Bowser is known far and wide as being immensely powerful.

Of course in the games you always beat Bowser but in the 2D ones that is only because of his fatal weakness to fire and in 3D you typically use bombs to beat him or throw in a black hole. This time Mario has to try going mano and mano and it’s tough since he can’t even beat the local work bully back home. Still, where there’s a will there’s a way and Mario puts in a lot of work to improve his skills and get ready for the challenges that are to come. He makes for a solid main character who never gives up and always stays true to himself. It was always great seeing him defend Luigi from the bullies both in the past and then in the present at the café.

If I have one little complaint about Mario it’s that he is a bit too weak physically at the beginning though. He should absolutely be able to handle Spike and just about any normal human he comes across. I mean Mario is a human too I suppose and I guess it’s actually a legit plot point that he’s smaller than most but you figure he makes up for that with agility and power. Later on in the mushroom kingdom he is pulling off some good jumps and acrobatics so I assume that any human is capable of this unless there is a twist that Mario is not human. I wouldn’t even mind that twist to be honest since it could be interesting but having him lose to a random guy was a bit much. I’m guessing they were going with a parallel to the first Sonic movie where he lost to a random punk but it just didn’t work out.

Back to the positives, the animation here is definitely top notch. It really looks just like the games. The colors are vibrant the whole time and everything has a fast paced energy to it. Things are always happening and that’s part of what makes the movie so exciting. You aren’t given a lot of time to rest or anything like that, it’s just all full speed ahead! As a result the movie seems to really end in a snap but the benefit of this is that there is no wasted time. Something is always happening here and all of the story beats work.

One of the most significant changes here is Peach who has turned from being a damsel in distress to a real fighter. It’s about time that they updated her character to be honest and this is easily the best version of her yet. I love the confidence and she does a whole lot of damage to Bowser’s kingdom. I dare say the film could have even gone just a little bit further here and had her get into a one on one battle with Bowser. The way she wielded her axe/trident type weapon I think she could have done a good job. Would have gone something like Yamato vs Kaido where Mario then steps in to finish the fight. Still, I was more than satisfied with what we got here.

Now the movie seems to be setting up a bit of a romance with Mario and Peach here which I’m not really buying into. They barely know each other at all here and DK teasing them about it doesn’t make much sense because they were having a completely normal conversation. Much like the games I expect this romance to not go anywhere and they stay in the permanent friend zone but we’ll see how it goes. Right now I’d much rather we keep the friendship dynamic with a lot of good banter to go along with it. Now that Mario has saved the world I see him having a lot more confidence and really keeping up with the banter on his side. So that’ll just make the dynamic even better than it was here.

Toad was also way better than I expected. For starters he wasn’t annoying and he wasn’t all talk either. This was a Toad who could actually defend himself and fight back. Needless to say I was not expecting that since it’s super rare for a Toad to do anything except get bullied and crushed all the time. This Toad knew what he was doing and ended up helping out when it counted. I look forward to seeing more of him in the sequel. Luigi doesn’t do a lot here and he’s mostly scared the whole time so I wouldn’t say he was great. I look forward to him getting some more development and really helping out in the future. Now that will be a real credit to his character and then he can team up with Mario on an even playing field.

The worst character by far was the Luma though. The gimmick of always being depressed about everything and thinking they were all going to die stopped being funny after about 1 second. Eh, definitely a swing and a miss from the film in terms of having a gimmick character. I much preferred the work bully because at least that guy had confidence and wouldn’t just give up like that. Meanwhile DK was also a really solid character here. They did a good job of showing off his strength but maybe too much in a way because nobody’s going to buy into Mario taking him on. DK was landing combo after combo on him so a comeback would just be impossible. The difference in their abilities was just too much and I would have had Mario take a hard loss but DK decide to help anyway.

The fight was fun though as we get a lot of back and forth there with some good Super Smash moves. As a slight missed opportunity I think we should have had a proper DK vs Bowser fight though. It could have been like Hulk vs Thanos in showing just how strong Bowser is. He’s always a decent amount ahead of DK after all and this would establish him as even more of a threat. The climax still works due to the circumstances there so that would be good.

Now, I do have to say Bowser wasn’t quite as solid as he could have been though. They focus a bit too much on how he’s in love with Peach and it comes at the expense of him being a true threat. His song wasn’t very good either so that was unfortunate. I know it’s getting a lot of buzz but it wasn’t really my thing. I like Bowser as the antagonist who looks out for his troops and is generally a wholesome guy. His not even knowing the name of some of his minions felt a bit out of character there. This is probably one of Bowser’s weakest incarnations as a result and I hope he improves in the sequel since I would like to see him be a threat again. Surely this isn’t the end of the road for him so lets get him back into the swing of things right away!

While I didn’t really care for the Bowser song, I did enjoy the soundtrack a lot overall. When the hero song started to play I knew that things were getting real. That song is always excellent and really gets you feeling the hype. It worked out well during Mario’s trial attempts and I dare say it would have worked really well in the climax as well. Then you also have the actual Mario game tunes which are solid as always. The movie definitely paid attention to the details here.

At the end of the day the most important thing here is that the movie is a lot of fun. That’s absolutely what you are hoping for with a title like this because if the movie was even slightly boring then something went dreadfully wrong. This is not the kind of movie that should ever be boring. That just wouldn’t make any sense. It’s also always nice to see all of the little cameos like King Bob Omb and King Boo running around. Definitely big villains from the classic days and acknowledging their existence was a great move. One of the best things you can say about the movie is that it really had no glaring weaknesses. It’s just a lot of fun all around.

Overall, The Super Mario Bros movie is a great title. There is a whole lot to love here and it has a ton of replay value. The adventure is great and the movie has an excellent cast of characters. We’ve already set up a whole lot of world building. I’m hoping the sequel adapts Super Mario Sunshine since I think that’s a very organic adventure to deal with next. Of course there are a lot of options so we’ll have to see how it goes. The final after credits scene is a lot weaker than expected though so don’t expect anything too hype there. It was definitely a questionable decision ending with that scene but hey I’m still glad it did have an after credits scene overall. Hopefully they don’t wait too long before releasing that film because I don’t want to wait.

Overall 8/10

Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope Review

It’s time to talk about Super Mario. He has had many adventures over the years but if you think about it the games have seemed to be drying up a bit lately. You just don’t see them coming out with the same amount of titles that they used to. It’s a real shame to be honest but it means that you have to really appreciate the ones that you do get. I finally got this game and it’s definitely a great title. I would say it easily beats the first one. I would still rather the rabbids be cut out entirely so it’s just the Mario characters though.

The story starts with Mario and friends needing to fight once more when a villain known as Cursa appears. This foe is so powerful, so evil that it threatens to destroy the entire universe. Mario and friends will have to team up with their Rabbid counterparts to fight this threat off but will those rabbids only serve to speed up the heroes’ defeat? That may have been the case but this time there is another member of the group named Edge. This isn’t a rabbid version of anybody and yet she is extremely powerful so her whole persona is a mystery. She clearly is keeping some secrets but perhaps Mario and friends are too so they all need to keep each other at arm’s length.

Like the first game this is a tactical title which is always fun since there aren’t a ton of those. You get to really enjoy playing as all of the characters too since they all have different abilities and strengths. Ultimately my main lineup was Mario, Rabbid Peach, and Edge. For the first half of the game I used normal Peach but eventually the healing skills were just more efficient for me than the barriers. You can use the terrain to your advantage and if you really master each ability then you will be coasting through this one in no time. If not, then the game can actually be rather difficult. It’s not for the faint of hart and there is no true way to grind out levels here because you don’t get exp for beating normal minions. I’d have preferred if you could just level up like crazy but I understand if the game just wanted to make this one a little more difficult. It’s certainly the right way to approach that goal since it forces you to really use your head.

The game has element typing too so you want to pick the right one to use at an enemy or you will suffer its wrath. The gameplay was definitely developed really well. You can feel the attention to detail there. This can even compete with Disgaea in just how many mechanics you have to think about and how streamlined they all are. You will definitely be having fun playing the game at all times as a result. There’s a whole lot to enjoy here and the game is a pretty decent length. I’d say it’ll take you around 13-15 hours to complete the story. After that you also have replay value to go and beat the rest of the sub quests. I’m not sure exactly what this gets you so that’ll determine if it’s really worth it or not but at least beating the story will still take some time.

Edge was a great addition to the cast because she’s a lot more serious than the other Rabbids. They all talk in this game but the others’ dialogue is usually quite dreadful so you want to ignore it the whole time. Edge at least has real things to say and is important to the plot. Put her in an even more serious setting and she would absolutely thrive while the other characters would really falter. Edge is built different and of course her gameplay is also fantastic. I recommend getting her the 4 dashes immediately. If you pair that with the increased movement and each dash getting stronger then it is a very lethal attack combination. It helped me a whole lot in the final levels.

Then Cursa makes for a pretty solid villain as well. Great design and good powers all around. I would have liked some real dialogue from Cursa though, that would have helped make the villain a lot more high tier. Still a strong villain though and an improvement over all of the forgettable villains from the first game. This one had on screen presence which is important. Also some good backstory and in general the game’s story was way better than the first one. The first did have a story too but far less dialogue and lower stakes so this one improved in every way.

In general that was a solid point for this game which is that it did improve upon the first one in virtually every area. That is a lot harder to do than you would expect after all. It’s always tempting to add some kind of annoying gimmick or something but Nintendo restrained themselves. All of the mechanics actually make sense within the framework of the game which is super important. Additionally, the graphics are excellent here. This looks like a AAA Nintendo game and I suppose it should since that really is the game in a nutshell. This is meant to tide us over for the next big Mario game after all.

In closing I would just say to focus your upgrades on each character’s special moves. They all share general upgrades as well like longer glide distance and more health but each time it just seems to be more worth your while to go for the character specific abilities. 4 dashes for Edge worked wonders and I got Mario’s reaction ability to strike twice every turn. These are the kinds of abilities that will pay dividends almost immediately. You absolutely want to have these abilities on hand. Then if you have a healer you can methodically take the enemies down and keep it moving. In most cases you want to go fast since new enemies will keep on spawning.

Overall, This was a great game. It had solid gameplay, the graphics were great, soundtrack was on point, etc. The game was very solid all around which is critical to being a great game and since the price won’t be getting much lower I would suggest buying the game now. You may as well after all and dive into the hype now. We’ll see if they make a third one at some point although I think they should keep the gameplay style but have them crossover with something else instead. Imagine Mario teaming up with Sonic or Mega Man instead? Now that would be a blast and a half for sure.

Overall 8/10

Mario Party Star Rush Review

All right do you know what time it is?? It’s Mario Party time!! Yessss…well at least Mario Party used to be a super hype series like that. It really started to fall off slowly but surely as the games went on. Mario Party 4 is where the series peaked but I would say that Parties 5-7 were all still really great. It was in 8 where the cracks started to show and then beyond that into the Wii U era is when things really got fishy. I cut the portable games a little more slack in the sense that they usually don’t have any iffy gimmicks they’re just more limited by what the console can do. Star Rush not having any kind of a story mode is a little shameful though. Cmon you couldn’t give me anything? This one also introduces a gimmick that I’m not a big fan of. The game is saved by having a good amount of modes to play and ultimately it’s a good title.

So in the game the main party mode is something called Toad Scramble. Everyone plays as Toad and the idea here is to defeat 3 bosses in order to end the game. Each boss is holding onto the power star. Now here’s the kicker. No matter who bumps into the boss first, all 4 players are pulled in to enjoy the boss fight. The only disadvantage is that if you are rather far then it will take you a few seconds to join the fight as you see your character flying over. The character to do the most damage earns the star and getting the final hit gets you a lot of point. There are 3 different lengths to the mode so you can do 3 boss fights, 5, or one with an unknown number.

I’m not a big fan of the game trying to force all of this teamwork on you though. Can’t I just get the star myself? You also have to land on the exact space where the star is or you won’t get it. So unlike most of the games where you can keep on going, this means you will sometimes have to keep walking in a circle until you can grab the star. You are able to move backwards for once though which is interesting. You don’t have to just go forward like in the other Party titles. These two gimmicks just feel a little pointless though and don’t add to the experience.

There are no turns in this game so you also don’t get consistent minigames to play. Only happens when people bump into each other on the same square. There’s also a mechanic where you see Mario and friends scattered across the field and can recruit them. They all have different dice blocks and help you out during the fights. This one is an interesting idea at least although I don’t know if it was worth only having Toad as the playable character. Once you have the allies you can switch so they are the ones running on the field so I guess in a way it’s like an alternate way to play as someone else but that just seems a bit convoluted.

I wasn’t a big fan of that mode but there was another mode which was a lot of fun. This was the coin battles. Basically this is a one on one duel with another opponent and you are both put on a track and field course. A minigame will start and they all involve collecting a lot of coins. Each coin collected is one step closer to the goal and the first to 300 coins wins. As you get further into the mode the challenges get tougher and the amount of coins you need becomes larger but I really liked this mode. It was super fast paced and so something was always happening. It was a unique mode while also not feeling like it was just a gimmick that was thrown in at the last second. Oh yeah I definitely enjoyed that quite a lot.

There’s also a rhythm mode which I can’t say that I was expecting. You have to press the buttons in sync when the characters are playing classic Mario songs. It’s a fun test of your reaction times and is just a peaceful mode in general. It’s difficult to lose but it’s also really hard to ace them with an S rank because getting a single great instead of an excellent can be your downfall. Still, that was fun and so I give the game credit for having different modes like this. There is actually a reasonable amount of content for someone even without friends.

For example, there is a level up system here. You can exp for just about every mode like winning a Toad Scramble or a coin battle. Each level up tends to unlock either a new mode or a new character. I wasn’t at the highest level yet so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were even more modes that I hadn’t unlocked yet. It’s a nice feeling knowing that the adventure can still go on further. You can get this game for rather cheap now so it’s something you should really try to have on your radar. You definitely don’t want to miss out on it after all.

The graphics are really solid. It’s not surprising since this is Mario after all but it’s still worth noting. The 3DS does well with all of the characters looking crisp and of course the soundtrack is on point as well. This doesn’t feel low budget which is good. At the end of the day it’s hard to see people picking up this game instead of the home console ones but for the people who do play it, you want the game to be as good as possible.

Overall, Mario Party Star Rush is definitely different but it’s still a fun game. While the party mode may leave some things to be desired, the coin mode has you covered. It’s a lot of fun trying to grab a whole ton of coins and just getting through as quickly as possible. The minigames themselves are also really solid. I didn’t notice any that were really recycled and there were a lot of good ideas here. It does make me think about buying one of the ones that I’m missing one of these days. At this point there are a handful so I should probably start on that. Either way I would actually recommend buying this one. You’ll have a good time with it and won’t be disappointed.

Overall 7/10

Cobra Commander vs Mario

Suggested by Destroyer Don’t underestimate Cobra Commander. Without him the Cobra organization would not be nearly as powerful as it is today. That being said, I would still give Mario the decisive edge in combat here. After all, lets just look at the stats. Mario has dozens and dozens of power ups and super forms from over the years. At this point it’s hard to see Cobra Commander being able to do much of anything against him. Mario can easily dodge Cobra’s attacks with his athletics and has enough power to put him down once he makes contact. Mario wins.

Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix Review

This is one of the only Mario games I had never managed to get my hands on before now. It’s certainly well known but usually hard to obtain. Well, I can say that it was worth the wait. The story itself is a lot shorter than I would have hoped but you can tell that there was a good budget behind this game. The effects and graphics are just way too solid to overlook and of course the soundtrack is a blast. If you want to play a solid rhythm game then you can’t go wrong with this one.

The story starts with Toad asking Mario for help because someone has stolen the legendary music orbs. Waluigi, Wario, Blooper, and more villains have united to take these away. Now the whole world is being forced to dance because of how the music magic has gotten free. Can Mario out dance everyone who gets in his way or is this possibly game over for the entire Mushroom Kingdom? Luigi and Peach are not here to back him up this time so Mario is really on his own this time.

There are 4 worlds here which each have 4 levels and then the final world that has 2 levels. Each world ends with a big boss at the end which is always fun and of course you have music tracks from across the Mario franchise. Some of the songs are hard to recognize from their original versions but they’re definitely catchy and work well with the fast paced levels. I played the game without a dance mat so then it’s all about timing as you push your control stick in the right direction at the right time. It’s all about having perfect timing and that sounds good to me as timing is what I’m all about. It works out rather well although the game is also quite easy. I picked the most challenging difficulty level and even then the villains could never get more than a D rank. That’s just how it goes I suppose so you’ll still want to give it your all just to prove to yourself that you can achieve the best.

Without the dance mat the toughest part is when you have to click both directions at once. Of course on the mat you can have one foot in two place at once but that’s not possible with a control stick. You have to quickly hit both sides as quickly as possible but you never get the perfect scores that way. As a result maybe it’s for the best that the A.I. wasn’t too good or that could have started to get a bit tricky. Playing this game reminds me of how the Kingdom Hearts melody game could end up being fun.

Where Nintendo went the extra mile here is by adding all kinds of visual elements and extra minions to the levels. They incorporate Goombas, Boo, Bullet Bills, Koopa, and all sorts of enemies into the mix. They affect how you have to use your control stick and it makes for a fun variety in the levels. Then you have the boss levels where you see both of the characters dancing the whole time. Mario is certainly confident in his skills and its well earned considering how well he does here.

I’ll also give the game props for having a real story mode. It certainly would have been tempting to have just side stepped that entirely but that’s not what happens here. The game takes itself seriously and there are cutscenes as we face off against everyone. Even Bowser steps in at one point which is always hype. The whole story is rather crazy from the jump with how the music magic works but you can just roll with it the whole time.

The graphics are also very nostalgic with how this reminds me of the Mario Party 4 game. The character models have aged well and so have the stage designs. This feels like one of the better depictions of the Mushroom Kingdom. You really get a feel for how daily life would be like in this place. On every technical level the game went above and beyond. The only thing that would hold this title back is the super short length and even with that you’ll have had fun during the journey.

Plus there is a multiplayer mode so that’ll help with the replay value. You could end up playing through the game for quite a long time as long as you have someone to play it with. That’ll really test your skills although I hope that there is a way to speed the levels up further than you could in story mode or it’s possible that both you and your opponent will be absolutely dominating the matches the whole time. I’m sure there is some kind of tiebreaker and you guys won’t get perfect scores all the time so that helps out a bit but speeding things along would certainly help to make it all a bit more exciting.

Overall, Dance Dance Revolution has always been a fun genre for games. I don’t participate in them too much myself nowadays but it was a good way to burn some calories and get a good workout. Throwing in the Mario characters was brilliant and I almost feel like they should bring that back in the present. I think it could absolutely sell super well if it was marketed right. I’m not sure if the Switch has any compatible dance mat at the moment but if not that’s something that could be changed really quickly. Playing through this game is like digging up a lost piece of your childhood. If you like the Mario games and grew up with the Gamecube era then this is a title that you’ll want to get. It’s a title that has aged too well to pass up. There’s not much to it but the game’s a lot of fun and you’re always reminded that Nintendo made that their top priority when making games and it definitely shows here.

Overall 7/10

Super Mario: Goddess of the Demon Empire Review

The title is a bit misleading I’d say. Daisy never comes close to being the goddess here but the title sounds epic I suppose. This oneshot is a quick adaption of the Mario movie and it’s pretty fun. It’s odd to see Luigi as the brave one of the group but perhaps it makes sense since Daisy is the main heroine here instead of Princess Peach. All in all, it probably won’t change your mind on the film if you’re not a big fan but it’s a decent story here. You’ll finish it very quickly without a doubt and while it may not feel a whole lot like the game versions, it’s a decent AU.

The story starts with Daisy calling Mario and Luigi over to fix her pipes. Unfortunately a pair of hooligans take the chance to kidnap her. They jump into a pipe and take her to meet King Koopa. See, Daisy is the daughter of the lady who stole a fragment of the meteor which split the human and dinosaur realms apart. If Koopa can grab a hold of that and put it inside an artifact, he can re-merge the two planets back together. He is confident that his army and weapons would then be enough to take over the world with ease. Mario and Luigi are humanity’s last hope now. Can they really defeat Koopa though?

While the story is short, there’s a lot going on here. The details are usually left out so you have to try and figure things out on your own. For example, why did the planets split into two dimensions when the meteor struck? You’d have thought that everything would have simply blown up so that didn’t make a lot of sense but it was interesting. Then with the key, it is apparently too potent for the villains to hold for a while as it burns two of them but why can all of the heroes hold onto it? We can try to say that it’s about good intentions or something but that’s pure speculation. I don’t know how Bowser had this contraption set up to re merge the worlds either.

Then with how easy it was for Bowser’s minions to go to the human world, why does he needs to merge the worlds anyway? I get that he wants to rule the world but it seems like he already rules the other world so in that case couldn’t he just rule both worlds? It would probably be easy to rule the humans with the advanced tech that he has at his disposal or it seems like that would be the case at least. So the manga will definitely give you a lot of questions but I suppose this isn’t all very important.

At the end of the day, the characters are fun and the writing is good enough so it makes for a decent oneshot. I think Bowser has the worst design though. Not only do they just keep calling him Koopa the whole time but he just looks like a guy with warts. There’s no real attempt to make this guy look like Bowser and it’s just sad. The design does not age well at all. At least Mario and Luigi have the general builds at the ready even if their caps are gone. As mentioned before, Luigi is the brave one this time. He was eager to jump into the pipe to save Daisy and didn’t hesitate during each part in the chase. Mario was the one who was unsure and needed to be dragged along.

Mario does get his battle with Bowser where he looks brave enough though. Using explosive mushrooms to take the guy down was clever and an interesting interpretation of the fire flower. Seeing Bowser get blown to bits is also surprisingly intense. Granted, Bowser is made of sludge here so that helps but even so, you see Mario just blasting away limbs which is intense. Apparently Bowser has high speed regeneration here which is interesting though. Then of course you have his gun which can send people back to their past selves which seems like an incredibly handy tool. It’s a 1 hit KO if you hit someone because you just keep the ray on and it keeps going until the person is no longer alive.

The art is okay even if I don’t like the designs. It can be a little hard to follow once in a while because of how the manga seems to skip ahead though. It doesn’t want to waste any time and as a oneshot I can definitely understand why that’s the case. At only around 30 pages you’ll be able to read through the story very quickly. The ending leaves room for a sequel although I can’t imagine any scenario where we ever get back to this continuity. There are just too many solid games to adapt and other styles to go with.

Overall, This story is okay. It’s certainly poor as an adaption of the Mario games but if you take it as a stand alone story then it works better. There isn’t anything that the manga does particularly well enough for it to be noteworthy though and that’s what keeps me from calling this one pretty good. It’s not bad but I just don’t see you ever going back to re read it. It’s an adventure that you read once for the novelty and then it’s gone. At best I can say that I do think it was going for a TMNT vibe in a lot of ways. It just doesn’t manage to capture that same level of charm and Bowser is a really weak antagonist here. I usually like the guy but not so much in this adventure. If you really want to relive the Mario movie experience then you should jump in and check this one out. It does have a little more action than the movie version which is always a nice plus.

Overall 6/10