I really wanted to like Rayman Legends -- but all the pretty art and good intentions in the world don't make a great game without a touch of restraint. Legends doesn't lack for neat ideas, but it needs more polish to be truly entertaining. And I certainly wouldn't complain if someone dropped the hard disk containing Murfy's stage data onto a bulk eraser.
A Link Between Worlds takes some much-needed strides to shake things up. But it does so within a pair of worlds most fans know maybe a little too well, and you know what they say about familiarity. This is a good first step in Nintendo's journey to revitalize Zelda, but the next leg of the trip needs to be considerably bolder.
About all Knack is good for is inspiring new and creative curses. I certainly spent more time improvising strings of epithets at its substandard gameplay than I did improvising strings of combo attacks. The only thing I actually enjoyed about Knack were the cutscenes. It's the best cartoon that's ever been presented with real-time graphics... broken up by some of the worst action gaming I've seen in years. Let me know when someone's uploaded an edit of Knack's cutscenes to YouTube, because I'd love to revisit the story without all the swearing in between.
A spot-on exploration of what Nintendo really does best: Create varied and surprising twists on concepts and ingredients you thought you knew inside-out. The fact that 3D World remains lively and interesting despite calling back to so many well-loved classics serves as a succinct reminder as to why Mario remains successful after so many years and so many games: At its heart, the series is ultimately just about having simple, unpretentious fun.
Simple, addictive, and incredibly replayable, NES Remix is one of the smartest games Nintendo has made in ages. No one in gaming (save perhaps Sega) owns as rich a back catalog as Nintendo, and this is a great way to rework all those musty black-box NES games into a form that feel palatable to a contemporary audience. It even manages to make Urban Champion kind of fun; truly, a Christmas miracle.
It's still a far cry from the top-tier classic puzzlers, but Dr. Luigi manages to be fun enough... even if there is that nebulous whiff of tragedy about the whole affair. On the other hand, it doesn't leave the nasty taste in your mouth that you get from exploitatively designed free-to-play puzzlers like Candy Crush Saga, so that's something.
Thief will almost certainly frustrate fans of the older trilogy, but it suffers shortcomings on a more objective level as well. Though solidly made, it never challenges the well-worn conventions of stealth action. In short, it lacks a certain spark of inspiration. It's good, yet it falls short of "future classic" status.