New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe Review


It’s time to look at the next big Mario Adventure. This one technically came out a while ago but it ended up being worth waiting for since the Switch title game with both games in one rather than having to buy both Mario and Luigi versions. The New Super Mario Bros series has definitely had a good run and I expect it’ll return with a new game at some point. The gameplay is just too solid to pass up. Of course with the existence of Mario Maker it will have to do something to stay at the top.

The plot is fairly basic as Peach is kidnapped once more by Bowser. Unfortunately, Mario and Luigi were unable to prevent him from doing this and are now forced to play catch up. In order to face off against Bowser the plumbers will first need to take down the 7 Koopa Kids and Bowser Jr. Only then will they be able to challenge the King of the Koopas. It’s definitely a nostalgic plot or at least that’s probably what Nintendo is hoping your reaction will be. At the same time you can’t help but think that Nintendo could have done something a little more original right? This plot really has been done over and over again.

As always the graphics are definitely excellent. The NSMB series does a good job of making all the characters and levels exciting and colorful without making it too simplified. It does feel like the natural progression of the Mario series and it will be hard to get any better with this art style. Nintendo is at the absolute front here with this game leading the charge. It’s hard to find a better looking Switch game.

As for the soundtrack that is naturally pretty hype as well. You’ve got a lot of classic Mario tunes here and a bunch of remixes. Throw them all together with the multitude of levels in the game and you’ll find yourself listening to good music constantly. In a lot of video games you’d be forgiven for forgetting the tunes because they sound so similar, but that’s definitely not going to be a problem with this one. Each world’s array of tunes really help capture the atmosphere that the game is going for.

As expected the level designs are also on point. They are created well so you can fast blast through the levels with a lot of cool acrobatics or you can explore and find all of the collectibles. There are a lot of them to find after all, but they are put in places that makes sense. If you are looking carefully then you’ll find the ones that you’re looking for. Meanwhile the gameplay is just as solid. The movements are all very fluid and you won’t have a problem making tight maneuvers. It really is a world of difference playing the NSMB games compared to the really old ones where even the simplest of jumps was very difficult.

There’s definitely a lot of content in this game as well. Between the many levels and collectibles you’ve got enough content to last you around 10 hours. Then you’ve got Luigi mode which almost doubles the amount of content that you have access to. The way they handle it is pretty cool as they don’t just reuse the levels. They’re all altered to fit in the space of half the timer so you can’t take a break to check out the scenery. You’ll want to run your way to the end to beat the timer. Getting used to the physics also means that you’ll need some time to adjust. The game never gets all that difficult and you’ll beat all of the levels after attempting them a few times, but it does add a little spice to the usual formula.

The best item in the game is definitely the flying variation where you get an extra jump. You can use that to get really far in just about every level. Watch as the villains turn away in fear when you just jump over em! This even works against Bowser’s first form as you can just jump over him and hit the Axe. Otherwise you can just run in when he jumps so either way you should be all set for action. Watch out for the final boss as well, you’ll want to bring your A game for that one.

While Mario Maker seems to have probably ended this series I’m glad that it still got another hurrah. There will always be room for more Mario games and what style can possible be better than New Super Mario Bros? Mario does tend to take many styles over the years so I am actually looking forward to what’s next. The recent Yoshi and Kirby artstyles do have me a little worried as well, but I have to trust in Nintendo and their passion to improve.

Overall, New Super Mario Bros Deluxe is definitely a game that I’d recommend checking out. There’s a lot of fun to be had with it and the levels are pretty intense. It’s a very complete Mario game and you really can’t go wrong there. The only way you won’t like this game is if you simply don’t like the classic Mario games or platformers in general. Of course in that case you have to wonder why you would buy this game in the first place. Maybe you just wanted to see what the hype was all about? Regardless, I think you’ll be embracing the hype by the end as Nintendo did not phone this one in.

Overall 8/10

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Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins

Freddy Krueger vs Peach




Suggested by Destroyer Freddy Krueger is a reasonable fighter, but that’s about all he has going for him. Typically he is fighting opponents who can’t really fight back anyway. Meanwhile Peach has some good hand to hand attacks. She can use her crown as a blunt object to deal even more damage and also has her Shadow Queen abilities to fall back on. Peach is too fast for Freddy and while putting him to sleep may be impossible, she can beat him in a fair fight without needing that move. Peach wins.

Bowser vs Peach



Suggested by Sonic Bowser always kidnaps Peach, but is he really a match for her? This is where things get interesting. In her Shadow Queen form Peach was able to manipulate the shadows quite well (I guess that goes without saying though) and her regenerative abilities were impressive as well. Bowser is strong, but he’s not the best at engaging in mid range combat. I think Peach would be able to counter his blows. Bowser has a lot of power but it simply won’t be enough in this case. Peach lets herself get kidnapped to give Mario something to do, but when she is serious Bowser had better watch out. Peach wins.

Peach vs Villager



Suggested by Sonic Villager is a pretty nice kid who knows how to use all of the gadgets at his disposal. Underestimating him would be a mistake. That being said Peach has her Shadow Queen form. In this mode she can easily block all of Villager’s attacks. He has no means of damaging her and I don’t think it would take many of her moves to bring I’m down for the count either. The gap in their abilities is simply too wide. Perhaps he will do better when he is a little older. Peach wins.

Paper Mario Color Splash Review


It’s time to look at a big Mario game from back in the day. This was the finale for the Paper Mario franchise and Nintendo wanted to end it with a bang. Crossovers and the like would still happen but we weren’t going to get another Paper Mario game for a long time. Supposedly the ending was so sad that you would be crying in the end. Well, I knew that this wouldn’t be the case, but I was hopeful that this meant we would be getting a super crazy awesome story. Unfortunately that was not the case and the game started off better than it ended.

The story begins with Mario and Peach deciding to take a vacation since their last outing in Mario Sunshine did not go so well. Unfortunately Bowser shows up and kidnaps Peach. He also steals all of the paint from the world. Mario meets up with a Paint Can named Huey who explains that the only way to bring the color back into the world is to grab the 6 legendary Paint Stars. Once they do that they can worry about saving Peach. Mario isn’t thrilled about putting off his quest to save Peach, but he quickly gets on board just in time!

As you can see this game probably has the weakest plot among the Paper Mario games. The 3DS game gives it some competition but considering that this game basically ripped the plot from it, I’ll have to give the original the edge. The thing is, Paper Mario’s usually been solid because it could have ambitious plots and threw in things that you would never see in the main series. It’s just a shame that this has been taken away from it and now it’s just like the main games, but with the gameplay not being as good.

Yes, this game decided to follow Sticker Star’s example. The only difference is that instead of using stickers you have stamps in this game. For all intents and purposes they are quite similar but the main difference is that obtaining the stamps is a lot easier here which is good. We even have the “Things” back from the 3DS game which are large objects that you use to interact with the levels. You better grab them all since the game forces you to put them to use right away.

What wrecks the boss fights in this game is that they each have a moment where it is impossible to hurt them. The only way to clear each boss fight is to have a very specific thing in your hand to overcome the villain. If you don’t have it then you are doomed to lose and the game will never tell you that you need it until you are near the end of the fight. That can be a little annoying since by then you’ve already spent quite a lot of time on it. The levels suffer from this as well since the same thing happens a lot. You spend a great deal of time in the game just travelling back and forth among the old levels when you just want to proceed. Some also force you to redo obstacles whenever you go back which throws you into a bunch of extra fights.

The core gameplay isn’t bad, it’s just that these puzzle aspects really hold it back. Running around the levels is fun enough as it’s just like a traditional 3D Mario game. The turn based combat also works as well as ever. The paint is what’s unnecessary along with the stamps. I just want to be able to fight like the good ole days of the Thousand Year Door. There are too many limitations in the newer Paper Mario game and the puzzles punish you for moving too quickly and not finding every possible Thing in each level.

Now, what I will give the game a lot of praise for is its stellar soundtrack. This is easily the best soundtrack I’ve heard in a Mario game and it can hold its own against any title. The boss themes are a lot of fun and so are the various remixes like the one Bowser gets as well as a certain Kaiju one. The music is always very fast paced and works well for what is happening on screen. It’s just very lively and is really what you want to see in such a game. The graphics are also fairly good. They’re not great since the game is made to look like paper so everything is slightly worse than it could be, but it’s intentional. The character models as well as the stages are still quite clear.

Huey is the game’s original character, but he’s definitely no good. He’s essentially given the personality of a very little kid and is Nintendo’s way of trying to play to the audience. He always exaggerates every emotion and seems to be feeling what you are supposed to feel during the game. When something bad happens he gets super upset or he’ll start crying when it’s something sad. He’s just unrealistically emotional and is just annoying the whole time. He can’t even be straight with everyone at the end of the game. Huey is super dramatic and not in a good way.

How about that super sad ending Nintendo talked about? I wouldn’t say that it was very sad at all. Again, it’s ripped off from the 3DS game, but not even handled as well. Sticker Star’s ending was more emotional but also a lot better and still kept in the sad element while not being overly tragic. This one was just less emotional and also came across as rather forced. It also makes Peach look pretty bad because she doesn’t care at all and Mario’s the only one who shows any emotion the whole time. The ending should have just been the gang inviting Bowser over for tea and biscuits.

At least the dialogue can still be pretty fun like in the other Paper Mario titles. There are a lot of parodies or homages to old Mario titles throughout. The characters all have more personality than normal and the writing can be clever. As I mentioned some of the writing is just a little too obvious with Huey but everyone else seems pretty reasonable in comparison.

After completing the game there is still a bunch of stuff to do. There is one more star you can obtain and there are also the 8 Roshambo temples. Since those temples are purely luck by the end you’ll need a lot of tries to complete them. You can also build up your paint meter in the meantime as well. Actually, I guess the replay value isn’t amazing when you think about it, but it’s a start and since the main story is so long you don’t need much of a post game.

Overall, Paper Mario is really just held back by its gimmick. If you take away the Things and the paint then this would be a very solid title. As it stands, those aspects make it very hard to enjoy the game. Every time you have to go back to an old level to find something it completely destroys any momentum you may have had. The game is over 20 hours long which is usually great, but instead the game seriously starts to drag on in the second half. You’re just ready for the gang to claim the win already. I’d recommend checking out the Thousand Year Door before this one. That game will be more fulfilling in the end.

Overall 5/10

Super Mario Kart Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10

Spica vs Peach




Suggested by Destroyer Spica is a good Detective or at least she has little friends who help her solve the case. At the end of the day, she gets results and that’s what counts. Unfortunately for her, Spica’s hand to hand skills are very limited and won’t help her a great deal in a fight. Peach is the more impressive fighter and will quickly take the advantage. Peach wins.

Mario Tennis Open Stats and Records

Stats Time!

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

Tournaments

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

Special Game Records

Ring Shot
Bronze 218
Silver –
Gold –

Super Mario Tennis
Bronze 564
Silver –
Gold –
Platinum –

Galaxy Rally
Bronze 191
Silver 228
Gold –

Ink Showdown
Bronze 350
Silver –
Gold –

Mario Tennis Open Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Overall 7/10