Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins
Play Time 3h 38m
Mega Rally 175 rallies
Survival Record 15 wins
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.
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.
Play Time 1h 59m
Sweat Bands 0/40
Everyone Else 0/8
Doubles for Everyone 0/8
Special Game Records
Super Mario Tennis
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.
Whenever someone yells “MARIO AND SONIC AT THE OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES” you can’t help but get very nostalgic. I rented this game a long time ago and had quite a lot of fun with it. While the games are more limited than in the first one, it has improved in every other area. This title feels like the high budget Olympics game that we had been waiting for and the soundtrack is certainly one of the all time greats. My main character that I use in this game is Shadow of course but there is a solid roster of other characters to use as well.
Unlike the last one, this Olympics actually has a story mode of sorts. Essentially you have to play in the Olympics to try and secure the gold trophy. To do this you will have to prove that you are a well rounded athlete who can excel in many different events. You play the Olympics one day at a time. At first there are 2 events per day and then 3 for the second half. You also get 2 break days to relax and go to the shop. It would be pretty sad to play the whole thing and then lose so the A.I isn’t too crazy. Not to mention that many of the events are training so you can’t actually lose. It’s a way to get free points and move up the ranks of you were beginning to lose. You still need to win most of them if you are going to succeed though. As I hinted at earlier though, most of the mini games are rather similar so you shouldn’t have a problem after you’ve gotten used to them.
The best mini game is probably the Snowboard one. It’s very simple and straight to the point. You have to drive down a slope as fast as you possibly can. No gimmicks or anything like that, it’s just a pure bout of skill. You just can’t top it. There is a similar mini game where you are on Skis, but you have to utilize the motion controls more. It’s really the same thing but slower and with more stuff going on to distract you. Nothing wrong with that, but it just can’t compare to the style of the board.
We’ve also got Ice Hockey which would usually be in first place but it’s really hard to move much at all without getting slammed by the other team. That part makes it tough to enjoy the game because you don’t actually get to be playing it much. Good concept though. The game that seems to be the main attraction in this game is the figure skating. You have to pull off moves with the utmost precision at just the right time of you want to get the maximum score. While defeating the computers can be pretty easy you will want to do your best if you’re fighting a human opponent. It’s not my favorite game since it’s very slow paced, but it’s not the worst either.
The worst mini game is the one where you have to slide the discs across the floor. Many party games have this and I can never get any since it has never been good. The very concept ensures that it won’t be good if you ask me since it is a very slow paced game by nature. I’m sure it has its fans, but I am not one of them.
There are also some mini games called dream events which have items included and can get quite chaotic. The Snowball fight game is probably the most memorable one and it’s definitely a lot of fun. Your teammates may actively sabotage you as they get blasted, but it’s a pretty balanced game in that respect. Who doesn’t like a good snowball fight right? Another monk game has a glider where you have to fly and catch rings as you make it to the end. Naturally you’ll want to aim for small rings for maximum rings, but your opponents may have the same idea which will make things tricky.
After a while you will probably grow bored of the snow theme, but at least you can basically say that the game tries out every possible idea. Some mini games may seem like slight rehashes of each other but at least do have things that make them unique. Other party titles just make all of the games the same and don’t even attempt to hide it.
The presentation of the game as a whole is quite impressive. From the main menus to the shops and the levels, this game looks quite great. They spared no expense on the visuals. All of the character models are on point and the level designs are great as well. We even have a Challenger Approaching icon that is sort of like Super Smash which is pretty neat. It shows up before each boss battle and feels quite thematic. Then there is the soundtrack. It’s quite impressive as it takes many of the best Mario and Sonic themes and then throws them into the games/bosses. Listening to the Sonic Adventure themes is always nostalgic and naturally the Mario ones are good as well. I haven’t played the next Olympic installments yet, but I think it’s fair to say that they are going to have a very tough time surpassing this one.
There’s a lot to do in this game so length is certainly not an issue. The main campaign isn’t very long but that’s only the tip of the iceberg as you try to earn enough money to buy everything. You can also go for new records in individual events as well as challenge friends in multiplayer. Multiplayer mode certainly adds a lot of replay value to the game. You really need this in any sport game and in particular, offline multiplayer is a must.
Overall, it’s impressive just how much the series stepped it up with this installment. The game is just a lot nicer to play, listen, and look at. Boss battles was a real good addition and I like having a ceremonial story mode even if it is relatively small. It’s certainly better than nothing. The game’s only weakness is its limited amount of games, but at least the one that we do get are really fun which is certainly the important thing. I’d definitely recommend getting this game. While it may not be as unheard of as it used to be, a crossover with Sonic and Mario is always worth noting.