Super Mario Maker is a true celebration of gaming's most popular icon. It's Nintendo's love letter to the fans, not just giving them the tools to create and share Mario courses, but wrapping it up in a wonderfully presented package and teaching them everything they could possibly want to know. The beauty is that some fans will inevitably be able to go beyond that and pull off some tricks that Nintendo haven't even thought of yet.
It's hard to say whether this episode of Telltale's Game of Thrones series is a genuine standout piece of work amongst their other stuff, or is simply elevated due to some of the other episodes in this series being far less exciting. Nevertheless, it's still a thrilling experience, and looks to be working towards a superb finale for the series.
It's obvious now that Game of Thrones simply won't be as successful as Telltale's other series. It's been a worthy experiment, and there have been some enjoyable scenes in there, but it just misses the mark, featuring too many characters and not enough real substance. However, Sons of Winter is certainly a more enjoyable episode than the previous two, with some decent character development. It often gets to the point much quicker with a lot less filler in between, while also taking characters to new places and surprising you along the way as we head towards the series' conclusion.
In almost all respects, Splatoon is a satisfying game. It's an online game which is incredibly fun to play, and one which runs really smoothly despite tracking a lot of endlessly changing information. It's backed up by a really enjoyable single player portion, and from here you can see how people can pour countless hours into this game. It's all about covering the environment in coloured ink, and yet it's also so much more than that. It shows, if anything, that even a departure from their main cast can't stop the streak Nintendo are on right now when it comes to high-quality games.
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse doesn't feel quite as refined as Nintendo's other output in terms of gameplay, but that graphical style is what we'll keep coming back to. It's simply a beautiful looking game, which offers several hours in the main mode and even more in the challenge mode. As a budget release, there's enough content here to justify it, though perhaps not quite enough difficulty for platforming aficionados.
If you're looking for a new local multiplayer game for you and your friends, then Paperbound might just be the right one, with its fresh take on the genre and brilliantly inspired aesthetic. If you're not the type for local gaming, then while the AI works well enough, the lack of single player content may get old fast, though the PS4's SharePlay feature could be a welcome solution.
Telltale's take on Game of Thrones feels quite low-key compared to some of the goings on in the main series, but this episode begins to move away from that being a problem and starts using it to its advantage, as it shows you different sides of familiar situations. There's still a lot of filler to get through, though, and it's very dialogue heavy with little to offer in terms of unique gameplay. Hopefully, now that we're getting past the halfway point, the next episode will be much more enjoyable.
The first episode of Tales from the Borderlands was excellent, and while the second episode continues to be enjoyable, it's not quite as good as the debut. Still, there's some really good comedic moments in here, and the plot starts to feel like it's going somewhere, with that split narrative once again being put to good use. If you're a fan of Borderlands, you should be invested in this series, yet even if you aren't, the characters and quirky world will do enough to draw you in.
It's always good when you can see exactly where a game has improved over its predecessor, and even better when every part of the game has improved in some way. OlliOlli 2 fits into the latter camp, bringing some brilliant new mechanics to the table and creating a much faster-paced, better flowing, and downright addictive game with some slick presentation and awesome new environments.
The Order: 1886 features a wonderfully crafted and realistic alternate history setting with the greatest visuals and production values so far on the PS4. While the first half or so of the story really works, it's let down by the final few hours, which abandon things shouting out to be explored in favour of introducing forced plot points which do the world and the main cast a disservice. Despite that, the gunplay is a lot of fun and it's not a bad story overall, just one which could've been far better.
Ultimately, Game of Thrones will be measured as a complete series, and not every episode can be as good as the last. However, this episode is about as close to being filler as it gets for Telltale – sure, a couple of the plot threads are enjoyable, and one of the new characters is quite interesting – but these moments are few compared to the abundance of boring references and pointless tasks to be done. We could've got this one out of the way in well under an hour without all of the padding, and had a better time doing it.
Majora's Mask might be the best Zelda game, but then again, you could say that about almost all of the mainline instalments in the series. This remake changes that title – for the better, from a technical view – but that's likely to mess with fans' nostalgic tendencies and will confuse returning players at points. But, for anyone playing Majora's Mask for the first time, this is an extremely refined reworking of a game which would likely feel archaic and broken if released again in its original state.
When Tales from the Borderlands was announced, I honestly wasn't sure what to anticipate, but with one (quite long, but well-paced) episode, Telltale have sold me on another one of their ideas. It's shares a lot of DNA with both Borderlands and the usual Telltale adventure games, and yet it's nothing like them at all. It's one of their best offerings, and a refreshing new direction for both a game series that had begun to go stale and a gameplay formula which had started to feel repetitive.
The premiere episode in Telltale's Game of Thrones series does a lot of things right. Certainly, it manages to capture the political overtones as well as the high fantasy setting of the series it is based on, and it does them justice, bringing in new characters and plots not adapted from the book series. That's an achievement in itself, and while it doesn't stray too much from Telltale's formula, it adapts an excellent property to something which we've seen hit the mark time and time again.
The story isn't always fantastic, but when it hits the mark (read: when Pagan Min shows up), it can be absolutely wonderful. In this game, there's tons to do, and you'll really enjoy doing all of it, particularly if you're riding an elephant as you go.
If anything, Super Smash Bros. For 3DS is a precursor to the main event – the Wii U version – which is arriving later this year. It's a handheld game at heart, so it can be excused where it falls short in certain modes, and it brings a wealth of new functionality to the series, including character customisations in an already expansive roster.
Whether you're new to inFamous or not, First Light is definitely worth looking into. The only reason you won't enjoy this is if you didn't get on with Second Son at all, and although there are some improvements, there's not enough difference here to convince those who dislike inFamous. The plot may fall flat at points and there might be a sense of repetition, but a return trip to Seattle isn't something you should turn down. And if you have never visited before, then what are you waiting for?
It's very faithful to the movie and manages to embellish enough so as to not be a simple retelling, yet doesn't quite cover enough ground to be anything other than a companion to the films. It's probably the best Hobbit game you're going to get – just don't expect a massive deviation from the LEGO formula.
While the narrative might not have the same impact as previous games, it's somewhat more of a down-to-earth tale of an ordinary man with extraordinary powers, and that's an exciting new direction for the series to take.
It remains one of the best 3DS titles, and now takes its place among PlayStation's best too. It might not be an extremely lengthy affair, but when it comes to art direction, well paced gameplay, and a brilliant sense of exploration, SteamWorld remains king.