My coworkers were little help. Lottie, who started every single day telling me to do my best, became my personal kitten poster. Hang in there! Another had set up an Amiibo phone, to call Amiibos, you see. What if you want to call anyone else? Too bad, he said. This is an Amiibo phone. I used the Amiibo phone once, using an included Amiibo card. The client, a pink otter named Pascal, told me to design him a house, and gave me no criteria. What little structure the game had somehow became even less so.
Mario Party: Island Tour never seems a natural fit on the 3DS. It feels more like the game has been hammered into shape to fit as well as it can on the platform. Yet, with no online support and inconsistent mini-game quality, those concessions just aren't enough to warrant the franchise's move to handheld.
All of this took a promising franchise introduction and just left a bad taste in my mouth. I genuinely enjoyed a lot of aspects of ReCore--the world, the nail-biting platforming challenges, the smart and fast-paced combat. But it comes with so many issues and reservations that it becomes hard to recommend. I liked ReCore enough to hope we'll see an improved sequel, but if we do, I'll recommend players skip to that one.
In its day, Mega Man went from a pioneering force in action game perfection to the poster child for redundant, cookie cutter sequels that failed to push the genre forward. Mighty No 9 does present a few concepts that feel like they could have been the next iterative step. Even if it had avoided its many pitfalls and baffling design choices, though, it's likely a few decades too late for such minor improvements.
Combat also comes into play occasionally. It's a secondary trait to the puzzle-solving play, accented by how long it takes to get a traditional weapon for your tiny submarine. Until then, you simply have to make-do with a grappling claw. Upgrades are available that add qualities like extra damage or special attributes to your shots, though it seems as if a few unmarked upgrades would be necessary to handle some of the more difficult combat scenarios.
Paper Mario: Color Splash is the kind of simple, lightly enjoyable experience that I might have willingly gotten lost in at one point in my life. It's mostly inoffensive, usually charming, and a visual treat. The battle system is a drag, but it's emblematic of a larger problem that is also reflected in the quests: it simply doesn't respect the player's time. With more aggressive story editing and less desire to reinvent the wheel, this may have been something truly special. Instead it's merely fine.
Maybe as a result of the sheer growing mass of Skylanders games, though, the level design here is particularly uninspired. Most maps are simple A-to-B affairs, with some simplistic puzzles dotting the landscape. It carries some legacy issues, like the frustratingly slow block-pushing puzzles, and the inability to easily read ahead when characters are slowly delivering their dialogue points. Plus the central hub, called M.A.P.S., is a bit more confusing than most of the past hub worlds, since it consists of several floating islands without obvious paths between them.