Mr. Shifty is an okay brawler that uses a stylish warping ability as a cool way to get the drop on unsuspecting foes. While it's fun to smack down security goons with quick melee skills, the horrible framerate of the final act will test your patience. If you do endure and manage to drop the final boss, Mr. Shifty doesn't present enough reasons to replay it.
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is an amazing game for all the same reasons I mentioned in our original review. It's still a gorgeous kart racer and every bit as addictive as it was in 2014. This is the best entry in the series so far, and it has all the content you'll need. Returning players have seen a lot of this game before, but the overhauled Battle mode and its five additional ways to play are a great reason to pick it up. Nintendo didn't do enough to make the online experience better, but the rest of this game holds up well.
Graceful Explosion Machine builds an intense, addictive shoot-em-up around a satisfying weapon-juggling system and smart enemies. The Switch’s HD Rumble adds a unique feeling to every explosion in this colorful shooter, and earning a good spot on the leaderboard is an intense challenge thanks to dense swarms of enemies. But even when a pesky foe slapped down my scoring run, I always had the urge to jump back into these crowded corridors and try again.
Slithering up simple structures in Snake Pass is one of the most mechanically satisfying video game ideas I’ve ever experience, and it effectively creates a sensation that feels the way maneuvering like a snake might. The camera and checkpoint systems aren’t great, but the concept still managed to hook me for the five hours it took wrap up the campaign. And in the end, I wanted to go back and replay stages to round up all the collectibles I missed.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ adds more of what we loved about the original and keeps the formula fresh. It's a tough game, but one that balances challenge with a refreshing feeling of the unexpected. The unpredictable items and varied enemies make it one of the most wacky and replayable games I've ever experienced.
Mario Party Star Rush’s modes range from OK to uninteresting, and even the fun mini-game challenges can’t make up for the boring overall package. The sheer repetition of events is a major problem that saps the excitement out of this party. After a few trips through Mario Party Star Rush’s modes, you’ll have seen nearly everything it has to offer.
The core idea behind Super Mario Maker is the ability to create, play, and share your creation, but the 3DS drops the ball on the last part of that credo. It’s worth noting that designing stages is as easy at it is convenient on the portable 3DS, but not having a larger platform to showcase unique creations will left me wondering what the point is. It’s still an excellent way to play a bottomless pit of classic-style 2D Mario, though, and that makes it worth keeping in your pocket.
Rigs: Mechanized Combat League brings fast, intense multiplayer action to the PlayStation VR, but with a few notable caveats. While there was enough variety in the mechs to keep me playing through a full season of matches, the sub-par visuals distract, and big matchmaking issues made online wait times unbearable. It’s fun to play with friends, but try to take it for a spin before committing, if only to make sure your stomach can actually handle it.
Abzu takes the graceful feel of movement and subtle push toward discovery that I've enjoyed in similar exploration games like Journey and Flower and builds a refreshing-yet-simple underwater adventure around it. The colorful settings, beautiful soundtrack, and basic controls made it a great experience that constantly piqued my interest, even if it never challenged me to master it other than deciphering its cryptic environmental clues. Instead, Abzu relishes in giving you freedom to simply enjoy exploring the fascinating deep blue sea.
Monster Hunter Generations hits the core tenets of what makes this series great. Great gear drives the lust for the hunt even on the small scale, but the big, spectacular fights ultimately matter the most. Generations’ tweaked combat adds just the right tools to make slaying epic boss monsters a fun activity that’s just as fun online or off. Playable companions help shake up the gathering game without taking away resources, and its fun to play as a wackier character. Generations only falters during slower moments spent on fetch quests and in wrangling through menus before the hunt.
Star Fox Zero's fun stages and impressive boss fight give me lot of reasons to jump back in and play them over and over, and especially enjoyed them in co-op until I got a hang of juggling two screens myself. I've played 15 hours and I still haven't found everything. Learning to use the unintuitive controls is a difficult barrier to entry, though it comes with a payoff if you can stick with it.
Star Fox Guard is a fun action-tower defense game about managing different perspectives to put out fires as you use your resources to grow an awesome arsenal of robot-busting turrets. Its graphics are plain considering Nintendo’s artistic pedigree, but it’s still an elegant little game that can get a whole room of friends working together.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD holds plenty of memorable moments that've stood the test of time, and Nintendo's high-definition update does a lot to modernize its look and feel. This cleaner, fresher presentation is still noticeably and disappointingly flat in some ways, but just past that are some of the best puzzles and dungeons to be found anywhere in the series.
Fire Emblem Fates: Conquest is a rewarding and deep turn-based tactical game with a grand story and characters I liked enough that losing them in combat really stings. The intense difficulty is squarely aimed at veteran Fire Emblem players, and its satisfying campaign is full of variety and challenge. And even though a win or loss can down to sheer luck, I walked away either satisfied or eager to give it another shot.
Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster has the look and feel of a modern game, but its real problems started in 2002 and were never solved. It's a forgettable entry in an outstanding series that just doesn't measure up because of its story problems, overwhelming inventory management, and horrible predictability. Reanimating this limp corpse of a survival game in high definition only brings back the disappointment I felt when I played it the first time.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a massive RPG with enough surface area, sub quests, and customization to keep you busy for many hours. The presentation can feel stiff and awkward at times, but the satisfying loop of combat and customization makes exploring the vast world of Mira a fun and rewarding experience.
Nintendo's take on the third-person shooter is refreshingly original, with lots of impressive tools, skillful mobility, and creative maps to play with. Matches are consistently fun and tense, and the mechanics feel simple and fair enough that almost anyone can contribute positively. Not having voice chat is a bummer, but the great modes and maps feel polished and kept me claiming turf for hours.
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes is more than just a fun co-op diversion from the large-scale solo adventures this series is known for. The challenging, intricate puzzles are great chaotic fun in local multiplayer or for a one-time run through in single-player. Limited communication tools make it difficult to play with adventurers online, but everywhere else it's a success.