Why I Paid 5.99 in Super Smash Bros

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I consider myself to be a freemium player most of the time. Whether I’m playing Pokemon Go, Super Smash, or Mario Kart, I just don’t buy DLC. It doesn’t feel right that big companies are selling us 60 dollar beta titles instead of wholesome games. That being said, the first time I really compromised on this was with Super Smash Bros. There are multiple 5.99 characters that came out like Ryu, but I mainly just got him to stay cool. It’s when Cloud and Bayonetta showed up that I realized they were necessary for me to keep on playing. I’m not a casual Smash player after all, I’m a pro. I need to stay at the top of my game so when a better character shows up I have to ditch my main instantly. Here are 5 reasons why I paid the 5.99 and why you should as well.

1. Free Wins
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My original main was Sheik. I’d work long and hard to perfect really advanced 10+ hit combos where I’d finally tack on 50% or so and feel good about it. With Cloud, I can rack up that % with a mindless up air string. I can get it even easier with Bayonetta as I just hold Side B then do Up B and keep repeating until my opponent is dead. There is no skill necessary as you just need to learn one easy combo and you’re set. You’ll instantly see your results go up and you’ll become a legitimate tournament threat. That sounds pretty good doesn’t it? You’ll probably feel bad at first as this all just seems too easy, but you’ll eventually be able to justify your decision. Just look at the picture above. If you’re playing Cloud, your opponent will never go over 100%.

2. The Value
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What else would you spend 5.99 on? You can probably get half of a Subway’s sandwich and a drink with that or a 2 slices and soda deal from Little Italy but those things will be gone in minutes. Your DLC in Smash will stay forever. These characters will become memories that you can keep with you through the years as you look back on what a great investment it was. It’s not just any DLC…it’s the right DLC! Domino’s Pizza is amazing, but not even that can beat out a new character.

3. Forget the character loyalty
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I mained Fox in the first three Smash games. I was determined to main him here as well but he just didn’t click for some reason. That’s why I moved to Cap and then to Sheik. Finally I found Cloud/Bayonetta and I knew that it was time for a change. Why wouldn’t I play these characters when they are just better than the others. I know it’s tough to let go of the character loyalty at first, but once you do you’ll be glad that you did. It’s particularly sad for popular characters like Pac-Man who have a lot of fans but aren’t exactly destined for greatness in this game. By all means, keep him in the pocket, but play Cloud for all of his bad matchups…and then play him for the good ones as well. Not saying tiers are real…but we are paying to win.

4. You can be one of the cool kids
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Everyone plays Cloud now. He’s won almost every big doubles tournament in Super Smash after all. It’s basically necessary to play this guy because of how overwhelmingly overpowered he is. If you don’t pay the 5.99 you won’t be able to wear your snapback with pride. You will get dirty looks from the rest of the players if you choose the free version of Cloud, aka Shulk. You just have to pay the money if you want to stay with the popular crowd and I don’t know about you, but staying in that crowd is necessary for the memes. You don’t want to fall behind the curve.

5. I’ve prepared myself for the future
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Finally, I’m now ready for the future. DLC isn’t going away, in fact it gets stronger and stronger every year. Before you know it, most of the characters in a game are going to be DLC. Just look at Street Fighter V or SF X Tekken. SF V is almost going to literally be half free and half dlc characters if it keeps going at this rate. You’ll be missing half of the game if you don’t do something. By paying the 5.99 now, you’ll be able to justify the 59.99 once you’re buying a 60 dollar beta and have to repurchase it. You’ll be paying hundreds of dollars in nickels and dimes by the end so you may as well get used to it.

In short, Pay to Win is a very successful way to run a business. You want to have the money on deck and these are the reasons why I paid the 5.99. Ever since I did, things have looked up. I use the extra time that I get from not needing to practice combos to smack talk on Reddit and Gamefaqs. I use all of my extra wins and glory to reaffirm that this was the right call. It all just works out and so now you too should pay the 5.99 and show the corporations that you support this business with your dollars. If not, I accept any challenges to show why my Cloud takes on your free characters.
6NO0WJO

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Why Sonic Forces is going to be better than Mario Odyssey

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Right now the vast majority of gamers seem to think Mario Odyssey will not only defeat Sonic Forces, but that it could be the best game of the year. I’m a pretty big fan of the Super Mario series as well and think Odyssey looks great, but I think we’re counting out Sonic Forces a little too soon. In fact, I think it’s going to beat Mario Odyssey rather easily and by the time you finish reading this article, you’ll think so as well. I’m going to tackle every aspect of both games and show you point by point why Sonic wins. For some background for those who are unaware, both games are coming out later this year and supposedly it may be within a week of each other. Odyssey is getting a lot of hype because it’s quite possibly the most ambitious Mario game since 64. It’s going to have a bunch of new features and Mario will finally be in a cool city setting. Sonic Forces is getting a lot of hype because we are finally in the pre Sonic Colors days with the epic plots and old characters returning. With the background out of the way, lets dive into this breakdown.

STORY
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This one’s pretty obvious. Sonic Forces destroys Odyssey here as we have a new villain called Infinite who has assembled all of the greatest Sonic villains from the previous games. Chaos, Metal Sonic, Shadow, etc. They’re back to rain some terror on the heroes. Sonic’s going to have to team up with Silver, Classic Sonic, and many more to hope to combat him. I’ve seen the trailer over 20 times by now and it just never gets old. This has the potential to be one of the greatest Sonic stories of all time and it feels like the big climax of the Adventure series. Odyssey is busy with the classic Peach getting kidnapped scenario. I honestly don’t see much else happening in the game. Maybe DK will show up or something but my hopes are honestly very low. I dare Nintendo to raise the bar and prove me wrong. Imagine a Mario game where a new villain brings in Bowser, King Boo, Geno, Shadow Mario, and other big Mario opponents. That would be pretty awesome.

SOUNDTRACK
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This one is probably going to be the most controversial. Granted, Mario games always have killer soundtracks and I’m sure this one will be really solid as well. When the main theme for the game came out, it really took over the internet. Then Sonic Forces brought out the Infinite theme and completely blasted any trace of Odyssey off the map. The difference in sound level is just uncanny. This is just the tip of the iceberg as well and considering all of the intense levels in Sonic Forces, the overall soundtrack is going to be miles apart. Odyssey’s themes are soothing, Forces themes are epic.

GRAPHICS
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This one is also pretty close. Mario Odyssey is clearly going to look good. The level environments are really solid and the trailer looks sharp. It’s the Mario game that we’ve been waiting for and they spared no expense. What hurts the game a little is that it can’t make use of its graphics because there are no cool villains or powerful energy effects to show off. Forces already has some really cool levels and designs. The animation really gets to shine here and it also helps that its on the PS4. This is another area where Forces wins and sure, graphics don’t matter too much when you’re already at this level but every bit certainly helps.

LENGTH
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All right, here’s an area where Mario actually wins. While the actual campaign lengths will likely be similar, Mario has always exceled in its replay value. It’s almost undeniable that Odyssey will give you more bang for your buck. Collecting everything and unlocking all of the bonuses in Odyssey will take time. You’ll also probably just have fun exploring the vast hub world and I can see this being a game that you play for weeks and weeks. That’s not to say that Sonic Forces is short. Grabbing all of the trophies will likely be difficult and time consuming as well. That being said, unless there is a local multiplayer that is on par with Sonic Adventure 2 Battle, I don’t see it beating Odyssey. It’ll have to hold a loss here.

GAMEPLAY
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Okay, the Mario picture isn’t from the actual game, but if it was real then this whole paragraph would probably be wrong. After all riding a motorcycle would be amazing.
We’ve come to the biggest and most important part of the game now. The gameplay. So, Odyssey’s gameplay is tried and true. It’s going to be incredibly smooth with so many playtesters that I expect there will be very few glitches if any. The jumping on the hat gimmick does look like it’ll slow the game down somewhat, but I have a feeling that it’ll be more fun than it looks. Sonic Forces meanwhile is back to the super fast Sonic gameplay that I’ve missed with the slower classic levels to give you a change of pace. There are also the custom levels which will work like Sonic Boom. While the latter may not help the game, the modern Sonic levels are sure to be some of the most fun ones yet. I’m afraid that there really isn’t much Mario can do to combat it. I love moving at a quick speed and it’s like how I prefer rushdown tactics in Super Smash. Just keep the action coming and I’ll let my reaction times handle the rest. I’ve said this a few times, but the point still stands. Mario will be peaceful and calming which is awesome in its own right, but Sonic Forces will be exhilarating and action packed throughout. The gameplay will really get your adrenaline pumping.

GIMMICKS
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Both games have some gimmicks. Mario’s will be the constant transforming and throwing the hat around. For Forces, it’s the Deviant art character you’ll be creating as you swing around. In this case, I think Odyssey probably has the edge. From what I’ve seen of the original character, his levels look all right, but I just don’t think they add anything to the game. The transformations in Odyssey actually look really fun though. While everyone is looking forward to turning into a dinosaur, I personally can’t wait for the Bullet Bill. Being able to fly and being almost indestructible? Count me in! I’m sure they’ll do something to balance the game or else you could cheese a bunch of levels, but the game will likely do it in a balanced/organic way where you can still have a blast. Just please give me a flying transformation in the hub world, flying through New Donk City will be a blast!

VERDICT Sonic Forces wins. I never like ties so you can certainly bet that I wasn’t going to be half hearted here to close out the editorial. As the title clearly states, I think Sonic Forces is going to be the better game than Odyssey. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s going to be all that close. At the same time, I do think both games will be a lot of fun. Honestly I may even give both games a 9/10. The main difference is that I’m going to be super invested in Sonic Forces. A good plot really does go a long way and since Forces should also have the edge in gameplay, that’s just Game Set and Match. I’ll be picking up Sonic Forces Day 1 while I can’t guarantee the same for Odyssey. After all, I still don’t even own a Switch. Sonic Forces is the game that I’ve been looking forward to for years. Adventure 2 Battle is still the best with Sonic 2006 being second, but I could definitely see this game being 3rd. Even if it loses to Shadow and only gets 4th, that will still be really impressive. I’m hoping it sells well so we can get more games like this one. It’s definitely Game of the Year material. The fact that Mario Odyssey could beat it in some areas is impressive though and the game should take solace in that fact. It just can’t help overcome one big thing. At the end of the day…Sonic is just cooler than Mario.
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Mario vs Donkey Kong Stats and Records

Stats time!

Stars:12/48

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

Level High Scores (Only applicable to Stared levels)

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

Mario vs Donkey Kong Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 8/10

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon Review

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Luigi’s Mansion was one of the first video games that I ever played. It came along with the Gamecube and while I did play on the Super Nintendo/N64/Game Boy, this was one of the first games that I really remember playing with my full gamer skills intact. It was a tough game and had a lot of replay value as I went through it many times. This sequel can’t fully match the original’s true greatness in part because of the nostalgia and also the fact that the Gamecube really made the most of the game. The original had more features and took greater advantage of the concept. That being said, this is still a great sequel and everyone’s favorite Mario villain finally gets to take center stage once again after a rather disappointing appearance in Super Mario Sunshine. (The one time Mario really took it to the guy)

The game starts off with Mr. Luigi “I do it” Luigi resting at his summer cottage. Unfortunately, E Gadd kidnaps him and tells Luigi that he has to liberate the city since all of the ghosts have turned evil after King Boo blasted it into multiple pieces. Luigi barely got away with his life the last time so he isn’t thrilled about getting a rematch, but he doesn’t really have any way of getting out of this. Luigi grabs his flashlight and prepares himself, but King Boo isn’t playing around this time. He has already kidnapped Mario and a bunch of the toads…Luigi may be next!

One thing you’ll notice straight away in the game is that the format is a little different. It’s not the free roam environment that you may be used to from the first game. Instead it is divided into linear levels among the various worlds. Each level will tell you to do something and then you’re beamed home afterwards. It’s different, but I’ll take it since we’ve been getting a lot of big free roam games lately like Breath of the Wild and Mario Odyssey lately so it’s good to keep things varied. The game is still reasonably long as some levels can take upwards of 40 minutes. Others are finished in under 10 though so it varies quite intensely. You should expect the game to last you at least around 10-13 hours.

The game’s difficulty is pretty low so you shouldn’t have much trouble against the actual ghosts. The power ups that you get during the game make this even easier. I only lost twice if I recall correctly. Once was to the Giant suit of armor and I also lost to the boss where you had to slide a few times. Beyond that, it didn’t feel like a cakewalk or anything, but you won’t feel too threatened. You are given a lot of health and it’s always easy to find more hearts.

There is some replay value here as you can go back to all of the old levels and grab all of the Boos/Gems. It may not be a whole lot, but it’s something to do and it won’t take an insane amount of time to do it. Hopefully you get something cool like an extra ending or picture. I think the first game let you upgrade your mansions based on how much money you had so that was a nice incentive. I thought there would be more power ups so I could list that under the replay value, but we maxed out before the final chapter even started. Between the solid length of the story and getting all of the collectibles, there is certainly a lot of content here.

The graphics are pretty good. Some elements are pretty stunning like the energy blasts, King Boo’s design, and one of the final cinematics as Luigi’s destination is forcibly changed. The game really put in a lot of effort towards the final levels with all of the cool designs. The soundtrack is mostly forgettable to be honest, but I did enjoy the final boss theme for King Boo. That one sounded really good and worked quite well to build up the tension. One good theme can always go a long way.

I do have to call the game out for being a little lazy with the sound effects and cutscenes though. We get the same recycled scene of Luigi being transported, landing, using his vacuum, and picking up the DS throughout the game. Adding insult to injury is the fact that we also get the same sound effects in the same order. Luigi grunts 4-5 times every time he lands which starts out as rather painful gasps to tired ones. After a while you sort of hope that Luigi will just get his game on and save the world. He also randomly utters one of the phrases that they recorded once in a while like “I do it” even if they aren’t totally relevant at the moment. I think Nintendo did phone it in to an extent in this department and could have certainly recorded more lines. That or they could use text like with what they did for King Boo. It just felt like someone was always talking throughout the game, but not in a fun Spider-Man kind of way, but in a forced “Lets play another grunt” way.

I was a little surprised that we didn’t get back some classic features like shooting fire or ice in this one, but we got a black light flashlight so that was neat. It lets you see invisible things and is immensely useful once you obtain it. The controls are simple so you’ll get used to them right away. You have your flashlight and your Vacuum Cleaner. Those are really the main 2 weapons that you’ll be using during the game.

Naturally we can’t end the game without talking about King Boo. He’s easily one of the strongest Mario villains even if he isn’t talked about quite as often as you’d expect. He defeated Mario even when the hero was aided by the Power Star and in this game he has done it again. He seems to have some reasonable reality warping abilities or at the very least advanced telekinetic abilities. His power lasers are great as well and he’s just a pretty intimidating villain. I actually feel kind of bad for him since his arch nemesis isn’t quite as intense. It was nice to see King Boo and I’m glad that the first game was mentioned so as to keep the continuity straight. It does kind of hint further that the Sunshine King Boo was different since he went straight from the first game’s painting to here, but I still think the Sunshine appearance needs to be looked into a little further.

The game really doesn’t have many negatives to talk about. The actual gameplay is simple, but well constructed. You won’t be running into random glitches here or poor level designs. One thing about the various mansions is it allows the game to give each one a different design which is nice. My one complaint is probably that Luigi’s a little too scared the whole time even if that is the point. I always imagine a game where Luigi is actually really hardcore and eagerly fights the villains, but maybe you could make the case that it wouldn’t be the same character. I still think it’s worth the risk and maybe it’s about time they announce a Luigi’s Mansion 3. Honestly, I’ve love to see a big budget one with a long campaign. (Think equivalent length to a big Mario platformer) It could have an array of side characters, maybe even a level or two where you play as Mario and physically try to fight King Boo. Of course, King Boo would need to be in it or the fans would riot.

Overall, I put off getting this game for many years as it kept sinking below other games that would come out. Well, I finally got to nab it and it was certainly a really fun game. I’d definitely recommend buying it, especially since it goes for only about 15-20 dollars now. That’s a really great deal and it’s why the Nintendo Selects tag is always a welcome addition to any game. Be prepared though as the game may be more intense than you’d expect and you’ll have to make some tough calls.

Overall 8/10

Nintendo Land Stats and Records

Stats Time

Play Time 6h 55m

Times I’ve played Each Game
Metroid 24
Legend of Zelda 13
Pikmin 9
F Zero 8

Achievements

Legend of Zelda- Gold Star
Pikmin –
Metroid- Gold Star
Mario Chase –
Luigi’s Ghost Mansion –
Animal Crossing –
Yoshi’s Fruit Cart – Silver Bow
Donkey Kong – Gold Star
Takamaru – Silver Bow
F- Zero – Silver Bow
Balloon Trip – Silver Bow

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (VC) Review

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It’s time for a really retro Mario game! I typically don’t use the virtual console all that much since I’m a physical game collector, but when a title has no alternative then it’s time to take the plunge. I got this one on the Wii U Eshop and it works pretty well. One advantage that this digital copy has is the ability to save at any point in the game. I can’t really imagine completing this game otherwise since I died over and over again many times. That’s because of the controls though so more on that in a bit.

It’s a classic retro Mario game from start to finish. There are 8 worlds with 4 levels each. There’s also a 9th world if you really want to test your mettle, but you get to see the ending after World 8. Each level is fairly short so you could easily complete the game in a few hours if you don’t die all that much. Of course, not dying is far easier said than done in this game. I’m not sure if it’s just this version or not, but as I mentioned earlier, the controls are terrible. I’m talking Ninjabread Man levels of bad which is actually crazy. You just don’t expect something like this from Nintendo and it makes you wonder if the Emulator guys were able to make the controls smoother..not that I’d try it tho!

The VC is a nice re-release of the original Lost Levels as the graphics are as old as you can get. It feels nice and retro to look at the sprites. The soundtrack isn’t quite as inspiring as usual, but it’s not bad either. It’s pretty good for its time on the technical merits. The level designs are also on point and I like the game’s attempt to make a snow level by making the background white. I can definitely roll with that and it’s something that I’d do in one of my sprite videos as well. Whatever works right? I really need to make another sprite video….one of these days.

There really isn’t any replay value to be found here aside from playing the levels. Usually that would be enough, but Mario Maker basically invalidates this game. You can just replay the levels over there, but with superior controls and graphics. It’s fun enough and still worth the money since the game is pretty cheap, but you probably won’t be coming back to this one. I’m also not sure what happens if you get a Game Over. I didn’t risk it so I kept saving before I would lose, but if you go back to the beginning then that would be pretty tragic. I was under the impression that this was the case, but I don’t remember actually reading about it so it could just be an incorrect assumption on my part.

I heard that you’re better off playing Luigi in this game and I can see why. Jumping a little higher would definitely be useful a lot of the time although the controls getting even more slippery doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun time. To elaborate on the iffy controls, it’s like the game added a gravity mechanic. You have to time your jump at just the right point so that you can cover a good amount of distance. Too short and Mario will barely turn and if you’re too far then he’ll float too far and you’ll die. It’s just really hard to take everything into account and a simple jump can take up to 10 tries or maybe even more. It gets a little tedious after a while. Luckily, the actual gameplay style is something that I’m still a fan of so it’s not as bad as it could have been. Without the instant saves on the VC version, it’s safe to say that this game actually would have gotten a negative score.

That’s due in part to the fact that the game doesn’t play fair. There are a lot of Mario Maker tricks included here like invisible blocks right before a jump and poison mushrooms that will destroy you if you make contact. Blind jumps are also around and it really does feel like Mario Maker users borrowed from this game. I never expected to actually see this stuff in a real Mario game. It can be a little funny here since I just restart, but imagine starting the level all over again because of it? There are also never ending mazes that don’t end unless you complete a level in exactly the right way. A little ping sound will let you know if you’re doing it right, but the VC version seems to have cut that out.

As such, it would be just about impossible to have beaten the level without knowing the trick. There are so many paths and trying them all would drive you crazy. I don’t see why a maze should be added to the game either. It just feels cheesy and almost like cheating. The level is literally changing depending on where you go and that just doesn’t feel right. There are only two levels like this, but the fact that they pop up out of nowhere makes it just that much trickier.

Overall, I forgot the exact origins of this game, but I think America skipped it for a while. I can safely say that we made the right move in that case. This is easily the worst Mario 2-D sidescroller out there. The levels aren’t really fair and the controls are just painfully bad. I died well over 100 times during the course of the game but I feel like I would have only died maybe 10% of those times if the controls were smoother. If you’re a huge Mario fan then it’s probably worth buying this one. You should see the one time that Nintendo messed up the classic formula. Still, I can’t call it a bad game. It has a reasonable amount of levels and playing the game is still fun. Once I started, I couldn’t stop until I had completely taken it down. It still has that addictive feel to it, but with only a fraction of the usual Mario fun. Soon I’ll be playing Metroid on the Virtual Console as well so we’ll see how that one fairs. The controls are certainly better which is already a nice improvement.

Overall 5/10

Mario Party Advance Review

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I’ve wanted to play a portable Mario Party game for a long time. I don’t know when exactly I first started to think about this, but it was probably back during the days where I played Mario Party 4 regularly. Advance is a good enough spinoff and the minigames are enjoyable although the story mode holds it down a bit. It wasn’t really constructed well so I’d advise you to focus on Minigame Mode. I do think Mario Party DS and 3DS will likely end up being better.

The plot of the series is that Big Bad Bowser has stolen all of the gadgets in the world and now Mario must steal them back. The townsfolk have taken them all, but they are willing to give them back if you solve their quests. Sometimes the quests involve going back and forth to find something or 1 on 1 challenges. Regardless, you must complete all 50 quests in order to save everything, but Bowser won’t make this easy on you. He plays for keeps!

Naturally, the plot isn’t really the key thing here. The game board is rather large as you would expect from Mario Party and you roll the dice to see how far you can move on the board. Each turn costs a mushroom and once you are out of them, it is game over and you’re sent home. Your progress is saved though as the only thing that resets is your current quest. You can earn 3 more mushrooms every 3 turns if you win a minigame and there are also spots on the board that have the same effect. Watch out for Bowser Jr though as running into him can have you lose a mushroom or be warped somewhere else. Unfortunately, there is no way to dodge him as it is luck based.

This is where the story mode flops a little. Towards the end of the game Bowser Jr starts to appear everywhere. It’s just not very fair as you can be super close to ending the quest, but suddenly find yourself back at the start. It’s not cool to have to retread the ground that you’ve already covered. The last mission that I did before the final Bowser battle was also a little cheesy and I head to check with Gamefaqs to see what the game wanted from me. The characters kept stating that King Bob Omb was hiding in the Condo, but it only had 3 floors. Apparently you had to hit an invisible option and then you can enter the basement. That’s a bit of a low blow if you ask me.

The majority of the missions were fine though. The trek could just be a bit tedious so I am actually glad that there were only 50 missions. Any more would have been a little excessive. The minigame selection was designed well though as you would typically get a new minigame every time you played. Collecting them all was actually pretty easy for a change so that was a pleasant surprise. Most of the minigames are pretty easy to understand, but some of them will likely take you 2 shots to fully understand.

They’re not made to be overly difficult or anything like that so you should breeze through them. My DS has a weak L button so the Chain Chomp game in particular took a little longer than I would have liked to complete, but the actual game was fair. I didn’t care much for the luck ones, but since when do I ever like those? Mario Party does succeed with its minigame selection and while people have mentioned that the games have gotten worse over the years, I have always liked them. The old games certainly had the best selection, but so long as the newer ones still have that classic fun factor, I’m satisfied. Mario Party’s made to be the kind of game that you can just boot up and play. This one fits the bill although I don’t see why I’d ever choose it over one of the big titles like Party 4.

I enjoyed the retro sprites here. The victory celebration after every minigame was a little annoying after a while though. Once you’ve seen it 50 times, you don’t want to see it anymore. Other running gags were more fun though. I liked Bowser’s little laughing sprite that he’d play whenever you’d go to his lair. It made the whole cutscene a little more enjoyable. His line “*sniff* I really liked that gadget too!” was also pretty endearing. You couldn’t help but feel bad for Bowser as he comes across as a kid who just wants some friends, but doesn’t know how to express himself. In the end, he turned out to be a pretty honorable guy and at least he admitted that he had fun. It was a nice ending for the whole cast. I liked the soundtrack as well. The main Bowser theme was a lot of fun and the rest of the tunes also aged well. There’s just not much to dislike here. It’s a standard Nintendo soundtrack, which means that it is well above average.

There isn’t really any replay value to speak of once you complete the game, but as I mentioned before, the 50 quests should be more than sufficient. It’s certainly a long enough game for the low price that you will have gotten it for. It’s just a fun game overall and a good way to spend a few afternoons. I do hope that the story mode is redone for the sequels though. It should just be a little more fluid and less time consuming to get from mission to mission. I don’t even think that a mission mode is completely necessary as a normal Party Mode would be cool although I guess it’d be hard for the GBA to process. Perhaps by the 3DS game as that one certainly has the specs for it.

Overall, Mario Party Advance is another good party game to add to the collection. I’ve played a lot of party games over the years so trust me when I say that the games here are a lot more varied and entertaining than most. If you haven’t played the game yet, then you should check it out. It’s aged pretty well and just take care not to let yourself get burned out on the story. Play it in batches and you should be just fine. As for the Mushroom Condo, just make sure to look at the invisible option and you’ll also be okay. The Christmas batch of games is roughly at an end now. The only two games left are Buu’s Fury and Kirby’s Mirror, but it could be a little while before I finish those two as I’m working on the New Year’s batch and other games may pop up on the side. Regardless, they will be completed though and that means that the GBA era lives on!

Overall 7/10