There’s no story to discover, no complex rules to learn; just instant, appealing fun. It’s fun you’ll have already experienced if you’re a Mario fan, but with enough novelty and unexpected twists to prevent it from feeling over-familiar. And for those new to Mario – kids just ageing into video games, friends or family members tempted into a multiplayer session – this is a wonderful introduction to the fizzy creativity and attention to detail that has made Mario a family staple for nearly 30 years.
I don’t think I’ve seen half of what Forbidden West has to offer. It bored me sometimes with endless dialogue and exposition, but is equally generous with things to do and places to explore and creatures to unwisely provoke. Unlike many open-world games it is continually offering you something new, and a couple of the tools you acquire later in the game really open the whole place up. It’s got the spirit of a Metroid or Tomb Raider-style puzzle adventure on the scale of an Assassin’s Creed. And once again: by god, it is beautiful. I’ll happily endure 10 minutes of being lectured about terraforming, in exchange for marvelling at these sunken caves, forbidding plains and mechanical T-rexes.
It looks and sounds basic, but the amount of effort, knowledge and understanding of the topic (and of game design and history more generally) that has gone into this mini museum is abundantly evident, from both the exhibits and the text that accompanies them. Like listening to someone talk about the PhD research they’re doing on a niche topic, it might sound boring at the outset, but by the end of an hour, you’ll come away with something you definitely didn’t know before.
These remasters feel less stable than the glitchy originals, with a lack of attention to detail that undermines the games' character