8 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

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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7 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Bros Review


Believe it or not, I actually had not played all the way through this game before. I almost feel like I need to turn in my Nintendo fan card at this point since the game is so iconic. In my defense, I’ve played bits and pieces of the game on a variety of different systems and equipment so maybe I should cut myself some slack. It’s definitely a fun game that holds up well. Naturally it’s nowhere near the level of the modern Mario games for many reasons, but it’s definitely a title that you can go back to at any time.

You’re thrown right into the thick of the action when you start the game. The basic plot is that Princess Peach has been kidnapped and you have to destroy Bowser 8 times in order to free her. There isn’t much of a story beyond that though as the game didn’t really have cutscenes except for brief text at the end of each world. You must now journey through all of the levels to get to the end. Each of the 8 worlds has 4 levels and they’re all a few minutes long so you can get through the game very quickly. There are also some shortcuts which allow you to skip whole worlds.

I’ve seen some speed runs where a guy beats it in a matter of minutes so the shortcuts in this game are certainly quite legit. I found one by chance during my playthrough which I did use. It’s definitely cool and a nice little Easter Egg for fans who play through the game. The gameplay is pretty straightforward as you run through the level and try to make it to the flag at the end. (Or you touch the axe at the end if it’s a boss level) The controls may feel a bit slippery if you haven’t played it in a while. Mario tends to keep his momentum during the jumps so you can very quickly find yourself flying away.

The graphics are fairly basic, but look nice. The game has a solid aesthetic. There is a good variety in the levels and there was clearly a good amount of effort put into the game. The soundtrack is also pretty nice. There isn’t a whole lot of replay value here though as once you beat the game I don’t see why you’d go through it a second time. At the very least, you probably wouldn’t do that right away. So this game will probably provide you with about an hour or two of entertainment. Of course, you can play this game for free almost anywhere so that’s not bad.

Naturally there isn’t much more to be said about the game since there isn’t a lot of content. I will say that I’m glad for the NES access points as they do come in handy for the retro games like this. My gameplay style is all about running in first and jumping later so I tend to get hit by the enemies quite a lot. Usually I die in cheesy ways, but in my defense I just can’t wait for the enemies to move. I got to go go go!

Overall, Super Mario Bros is definitely good. It reminds you of how much quality Nintendo always puts into their products. It’s easy to see why Mario did so well. I’m sure the game probably amazed everyone back in the day. If you’re a big Nintendo fan then I’d certainly urge you to play this at least once. You’ve really got to experience Super Mario Bros to see why it’s such a big deal for everyone. It’s a good moment for gaming history in general.

Overall 7/10

6 Star TV Shows, Reviews, TV Show Reviews, TV Shows

Amada Anime Series: Super Mario Bros Review


It’s time to look at the Mario OVA which is so obscure that I wouldn’t blame you for not hearing of it before. There are 3 episodes in this OVA which each tell a story that shows why Mario is a true hero. They decide to mess with his origin a bit and each story is a stand alone, but it’s interesting to see Mario be used in a bunch of classic fables like this. It may not be the greatest Mario adventure, but they aren’t bad.

The first story starts with Peach and her Hammerbro parents. They are not able to protect her from the mighty Bowser. That’s where Mario comes in as he is born from a shooting star and grows up very quickly. He heads off to save her, but he will have to deal with many powerful threats like the King of the Koopas. Mario isn’t scared though and quickly gets ready to take them all down. This is a more vicious Mario than we are used to as he even wields a gun. It’s cool to see Mario fight like this. He actually uses some hand to hand skills which is something that never happens anymore. We seriously need the upcoming big budget Mario film to have some real fights. This is the Mario we deserve. The whole special is very surreal though, like how are Peach’s parents Koopas? I figured they would at least be Toads or something. Bowser doesn’t look very good as can be expected though. It’s a short little story and one that is fun enough.

The second story is about Mario but this time he is only 1 inch tall. Mario doesn’t care about this and wants to go check out the big city anyway. He knows that this will help him quickly become one of the all time greats. He meets Peach along the way and has a great time. Unfortunately, Mario’s plans are cut short when Bowser appears and decides to take Peach away. Mario can’t have this so he grabs his sword and then begins a fight for the ages. Mario may be small, but he has some serious moves and Bowser makes the mistake of swallowing Mario without chewing. I never quite get why the big villains do this since of course Mario will stab him from the inside. Bowser didn’t really think this plant through, but I suppose I can give him some kudos for the attempt. It’s a fun special as well although I prefer the first story. Mini Mario just doesn’t make for as endearing a character as his normal form.

Finally, the OVA decides to end with a bang on the last episode. This one is a Snow White homage as Bowser dresses up as an old lady and tricks Peach into biting the poison apple. Mario arrives too late to save her, but breaks into the castle in a rescue attempt. Surprisingly he wasn’t doing too well this time, but granted Mario was outnumbered. Fortunately Luigi comes in to save the day and the duo finally get to team up. It was nice to see Luigi actually show up for a bit since I thought the OVA had forgotten about him. This was the last special but probably also the best one so it was a good way to close things out. The action was on point.

So, it’s hard not to like this special as how can you not enjoy a Mario anime? Granted, the anime is fairly low budget. There is a lot of reused animation throughout the specials and they went for stills whenever possible. There’s not much of a soundtrack here either so on a technical level the OVA is pretty bad. That’s why you always want to have a good story to help counter balance these elements. If this wasn’t a Mario product then it probably wouldn’t rate quite as highly as it does. Still, it is great to see Mario on the big screen so I guess he deserves some props for that.

Even if you combine all 3 episodes the OVA isn’t all that long. You can fast blast through this with ease. The pacing for each special is pretty good as a result. It’s all pretty easily available online if you decide to check it out. Mario makes for a good hero and Peach is pretty consistent. Bowser isn’t a great villain though and you probably won’t be able to take him seriously for any of the specials. I think Bowser Jr/Baby Bowser may have been a better pick here or perhaps a made up villain. Bowser just seriously needs a better goal than constantly trying to marry Peach. It’s a futile mission and one that was doomed to failure from the start.

Overall, The Amada series may not have put Mario on the map, but they gave it a good shot. The special is reasonably fun, but there isn’t too much replay value to be found here. Watching it once is good enough to enjoy the surreal elements of the OVA. After that you’ll probably want to stick to the main Prince Haru movie. That’s where most of the Mario elements stayed after all. Of course, if you want to see Mario with a gun, then you have no choice but to run to this series. Either way, if you’re a Mario fan then I recommend checking this special out. If not, then I probably wouldn’t recommend it quite as highly as you could find better alternatives, but it’s a good adventure story for any viewer.

Overall 6/10

5 Star Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels (VC) Review


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