If Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the celebration of all things Nintendo, Super Mario Maker 2 is the ultimate celebration of all things Mario! The original Wii U game expanded on what was possible in a Mario course, but the follow-up elevates the experience with true sequel status. A comprehensive mission-driven campaign, boundless tools and tiles and additional themes serve up a tonne of potential for creators! Super Mario Maker 2 offers a canvas to create a truly authentic Super Mario Bros. experience - Press start, the flagpole awaits!
Super Mario Party is an eclectic celebration of twenty years of star collecting and coin hoarding; bringing together the best bits into one show-stopping, mini-game cake. Paul Hollywood would grab a Joy-Con and give it a thoroughly good handshake. The addition of "Super" to the title is thoroughly deserved - with streamlined, refined mechanics, classic game design, smart mini-games and brilliant extras to tuck into. Whilst the sense of competition and unpredictable antics is still very much in play, there's also a greater feeling of teamwork within mini-games that hasn't been seen since the original Mario Party. The series has found its encore, and it's ready to keep dancing deep into the night. Super Mario Party is the essential Nintendo Switch release, a true return to form for a franchise that was at risk of going stale.
Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 03: Vehicle Kit is the most challenging and intriguing to piece together so far, and the set that has the most longevity - their software/adventure pieces may not be the most in-depth RPG/open-world fest, but it's fun and puts the kit to good use. The wheel and joystick, in particular, are what's likely to carry momentum going forward - the Toy-Con that could easily be applied to future games and concepts.
Dillon and his adorable little hamster friend Russ roll back into the Tower Defence scene with fresh and futuristic tale of Western adventure. Dillon's Dead-Heat Breakers builds on the previous games, heightening the action with intense races and expands the universe with an intriguing cast of characters/recruits. There is a steep learning curve and a lot of investment needed into the main tower defence gameplay, but it is worth rolling into in order to save those adorable Scrog critters.
The Nintendo Labo Toy-Con 01: Variety Kit is just what it says on the tin - one that serves up a variety of unique and interactive toys to build. Through a brilliant interface and robust card shapes, the kit offers hours of DIY building fun - with an interactive pay-off. The mini-games are somewhat short, leaning more towards concept pieces, but with the Labo Garage included, it creates limitless possibilities to explore and invoke a little mischief, too!
Detective Pikachu is a fresh look at a franchise that's been constantly evolving - pun intended - for the best part of two decades. From fighting games to intense dungeon crawlers, numerous animated films to cameo cross-overs, Pokémon has proven itself to be a massively versatile series. This new story explores a different snippet of this expansive world, the first steps into what may well prove to be another direction for Nintendo and The Pokémon Company to venture down. The game is packed full of humour, challenging puzzles, and an amusing pair of lead characters. It isn't without its faults, but there's enough here for an ultimately rewarding tale and the potential to develop the formula further in the future.
Just Dance 2018 is the ninth instalment in the long-running dance-a-thon series, and it still grooves deep into the early hours of tomorrow morning, even with this excellent Wii U version. It may not be a revolutionary entry by any means, but it adds enough to be a fully-fleshed game for newcomers, while also tempting enough for any series veterans looking to dust off those dancing shoes.
Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is packed to the brim with content. It goes beyond a simple port by incorporating intuitive gameplay tweaks, from Poochy's helpers to customisable yarn patterns. It's a charming, well designed platformer that draws plenty of influence from Yoshi's golden years, but expands on them with cleverly executed mechanics. There are times where there may be a tendency to lean, just a bit, towards more gimmicky concepts, but these are maintained in such a way that it fits within the adventure in a natural way. Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World is the definitive release, and a solid return to form for a dinosaur who was on the brink of becoming extinct on handhelds - again. A must-have for any 3DS owner who enjoys and appreciates the classic side-scroller.
Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS does tick the boxes when it comes to core solo play, serving up an assortment of Nintendo's own crafted creations and also a handful of compatible user-made courses. The tool maintains the Wii U's edition's flexibility and has a good majority of tiles to play with. However, where the game truly is lacking is in the online component - no course sharing and searching is a big oversight and does dampen the selling appeal of the 3DS edition, something that Nintendo should resolve.
Just Dance 2017 is the most comprehensive entry in the series to date, and paired with the Unlimited selection service, it will become a centrepiece for any party. The songs and routines are varied, and the additional modes complement the experience well. There may not be enough to warrant a new purchase for those of you who own Just Dance 2016, but for newcomers Just Dance 2017 is the complete collection.
Mario Party: Star Rush is a fresh take on the series, with new mechanics that keep things quick and unpredictable. The level designs are perhaps a little bland compared to the older titles, but the mini-games, boss battles and additional challenges bring together an enjoyable little package that can quite easily be played solo, with solid multiplayer and an eShop download option for those with a single copy of the game.
Star Fox Guard is a smart use of the GamePad controller, by using the touch-screen as a radar to add another layer of what's happening on the TV screen. A simple concept that has an arcade, frantic feel whilst slotting into the Star Fox universe with a handful of cheesy (though unfortunately voiceless) dialogue. The game perhaps could have done with more tower defence elements to extend the idea further, but as a standalone package it's a compelling little gem that does well in framing the GamePad's benefits and is worth a try.
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games ticks the boxes when it comes to sticking true to the formula and delivering an experience that is competitive, fun and easily accessible for newcomers. The new additions like Golf, the playable characters and the Pocket Marathon features are good, as well as the twists to traditional Olympic events. For those of you who already own a Mario & Sonic game on 3DS, this particular instalment might be a difficult purchase to justify on the new content alone, but for newcomers, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is the most definitive handheld version yet.
Pokkén Tournament ran the risk of seeming like a bog standard fighter with Pokémon skins, but Bandai Namco and The Pokémon Company have served up a unique Pokémon setup that delivers a fun, flexible, and easy-to-learn experience for fighting fans. With so much history behind the franchise, there was a lot riding on getting it right, and this sits firmly within the legacy as a must-have Pokémon entry to add to anyone's collection. Despite there being clear conventions from fighters in its roots, Pokkén Tournament feels more like an exciting new take on Pokémon battles rather than an attempt at a standard Pokémon battle-fest.
All in all, Hyrule Warrriors Legends is the definitive version of the game, wrapping up some of the issues and storyline features from the original with additional content, refined controls and even more playable characters. It's an action-packed, worthy tribute to Nintendo's iconic adventure series that brings something new to the storyline and characters we've grown familiar with. If you've yet to play Hyrule Warriors, then the 3DS release is certainly the more comprehensive version - it feels as if it's more suited as a handheld, pick-up-and-play game. Those of you who have the Wii U version and intend on replaying the game, Legends is worth a look-in, but, otherwise, the additional content may not be enough to justify buying an expanded port.
Nintendo have taken a risk with a new and original concept, particularly within a difficult market to crack. Effortlessly charming, compelling and a solid start to what may well become one of the company's regular franchises. There are niggles with the game's control and lack of offline content, but there is certainly plenty of potential for Splatoon going forward, particularly through download content. Whether a shooting fan or not, Splatoon offers a refreshing, intriguing multiplayer experience that deserves a go or two, or three, or four…
Mario Party 10 expands on the ideas ND Cube had tinkered with in the last pair of games, refining the vehicle mechanic and crafting enjoyable, primarily skill-based mini-games to compete in. The inclusion of a more traditional-type mode using amiibo figures is a welcome one, and perhaps something that will be fleshed out further in the future. Lack of online aside, the game is a worthy addition to the Wii U line-up and a game-night roster. Just be sure to stock up on those amiibo!
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is an exceptional product of Nintendo's devotion to getting things right - an enjoyable, addictive format for the veteran player, and one with plenty of bite for the newcomer. It's a bright, bustling multiplayer fest that deserves a place in any Wii U library. The fight is on; it's time to settle it in Smash!