Mario Maker is an excellent concept that, in my opinion, suffers from a few issues in execution on both platforms. For the Wii U, the way course elements unlocked felt like a drag, having to play the waiting game before you could play the game you actually wanted to. The way they’ve addressed this in the 3DS version is technically faster but feels like a complete slog just to unlock everything. Some features have been taken out when they could easily have been left in, and there are a lot of missed opportunities with what they did introduce. If you’re the kind of person that only owns a 3DS, and never plans to buy a Nintendo console (weirdo), then Mario Maker 3DS is still worth picking up just to experience the game. Otherwise, I’d recommend waiting for the inevitable Switch release, when Nintendo will no doubt take a second swing at making some improvements.
There’s a reason that most 40K fans groan at the prospect of the series taking the form of a video game, and it’s because of titles like Space Hulk: Deathwing. Whether technically bad, poorly designed, terribly written, or just flat out no fun to play, there’s almost always something wrong with them, and everything is wrong with SH:D. Despite having Gav Thorpe on hand, the narrative only manages to be interesting in concept, but never in execution. The design is torn between being a traditional Space Hulk game, and wanting to be the 40K Vermintide clone many were hoping for. It’s boring to play, with combat being as uninspired as possible, and the role of the relics being severely under-developed. In many ways, it can’t even get the canon of 40K right, either abandoning it or sticking to it for the sake of design and gameplay in all the wrong places. By Holy Terra, it’s basically heresy! If Space Hulk: Deathwing were a planet, it’d be high time for Exterminatus Extremis because even with the polish that this game is absolutely lacking, it would still be unsalvageable.
I started Torment: Tides of Numenera blind to the existing fiction and games on which it was based, with a vague understanding that it would be somewhat “unusual.” This would turn out to be an understatement in the extreme, easily being one of the strangest experiences I’ve had in gaming. There are some minor design issues, though they aren’t game breaking and could be seen as non-issues depending on how familiar you are with the tabletop version of Numenera. What matters most, however, is the narrative, which starts out confusing for newcomers and slowly morphs into a mystery that wholly engulfed my attention. I daresay another playthrough would bear a different experience entirely, something I’d happily sink another forty-plus hours into.
As a series, Bomberman has its bad entries but is otherwise considered to be among the ranks of gaming classics. Super Bomberman R spits on that as one of the undeniably worst entries in the series, taking into account the time at which it was released and what came before it. As a “celebration” of 33 years of the franchise, it does sweet bugger all to actually encapsulate what has made the series good. Whether it be uninspired design, the most standard mechanics of the series with no innovation, and a lame attempt at including a story, Bomberman R is not short in ways to disappoint long-time fans. I find it incredibly difficult to believe that anything remotely resembling pride was involved in its development. If this has been a budget, eShop title on release then it might have been forgiveable. However, this was released as a full priced launch title for the Nintendo Switch, and for that I would expect much better than this.
At the end of the day, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is a fantastic port of the original MK8 on the Wii U. Far from just being a simple re-release, Nintendo threw in all the DLC from the first incarnation, then proceeded to add in extra content and a whole pile of improvements on mechanics. That alone makes it worth the full retail price of the game, and shows that Nintendo does care about the thoughts and feedback of its players. My only criticisms are points of personal preference, they’re not deal breakers in any way, and are really just a reflection of my desire for further refinement of what’s already there. If anything, they just make me realise how much I’d love a “Mario Kart Ultimate,” pooling the very best from across the series’ history. Whether you missed MK8 on the Wii U, or have long since been done playing with it, Deluxe has something to offer for all players and is absolutely worth picking up.
The utterly bizarre nature of Danganronpa is what made me want to play them, and, after a certain point, grim determination is all that kept me going. At their core, there’s a lot of really cool concepts in these games that make for an excellent story overall. To get to those, however, means trudging through some uninspired writing, misguided attempts at genre blending, and just some of the worst anime tropes one could include in their narrative. This all improves for Danganronpa 2, which is a much stronger title than the first, but these problems are still present in some form. This might just be me, however; if visual novels are your thing, I’m sure there’s a lot to love about the games, and there’s no denying the series’ cult following. Danganronpa 1.2 Reload is still a good collection and does an excellent job of presenting both games and their extra content. If you’re interested in seeing them for yourself, or you want to get all nostalgic over the series, it’s a collection worth picking up.
Bulletstorm on its own is a fantastic game that knows exactly what it is – a juvenile romp through the blood-soaked tulips while calling said tulips a pack of cum guzzling c****. Considering this came from the last generation of shooters, carrying many of the design tropes and problems with it, it’s still a lot of fun to play even today. Uncomplicated and uncompromising, its only concern is making sure that the player has a good time with some laughs along the way. It’s just a shame that, under Gearbox’s direction, People Can Fly managed to leave a tarnished mark on what was otherwise a cherished memory for me. Introducing new technical problems and slapping some pointless online content in there does not justify pushing it out the door at full price. If you’ve got no other way of getting hold of a copy, this is still worth playing for the experience of Bulletstorm. Otherwise, just borrow it from a friend or find a cheap old-gen copy online if you can.
I was initially drawn to The Sexy Brutale after seeing a short clip of the first mission being played through. The music, the humour, and the look of the game were very alluring, enough to make me want to give it a crack. While there were a couple of design and gameplay decisions that bugged me and a few expectations that weren’t quite fulfilled, the game is still a lot of fun for the short time that it lasts. The biggest takeaway was its soundtrack and the way they made it an integral part of the gameplay and plot. The combination of the music and sound direction really made the events of the game pop, maintaining my interest and story consistency at the same time. I’ll be keeping an eye out for future works from Cavalier and Tequila Works if this is the sort of thing one can expect from them.
I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting from Ultra Street Fighter II: The Final Challengers. Like many others, I think the biggest draw was that it’s another SFII remix game, which have traditionally been well received in the past and a joy to play, even if you’re not a fighting game fan. There were so many missed opportunities to introduce new modes or improve versions of old modes, and anything that was included honestly felt like it was thrown in as filler. As far as SFII sub-series re-releases go I can unequivocally say that this is the worst; for both time and money, there are better SFII remix titles out there that you could be playing. It’s plain to see that Capcom, knowing that the SFII allure would sell units, pushed out a half-assed release as a full priced game. If this is their idea of quality these days, they need to let this sub-series rest.
If you’re the kind of person that complains about games being hard, or unfair in their mechanics, then Darkest Dungeon probably isn’t for you. It’s in that same vein that, if you played the original game and thought that it was too difficult, The Crimson Court expansion probably isn’t for you either. In combination with the base game, it can make progression exceedingly hard, if not outright impossible for some. As end-game content, the process of completing it can become a grind, which takes away from the tension Darkest Dungeon carries so well with its initial design. The expansion isn’t all bad, with the additional content and mechanics themselves being interesting and unique additions to the game. Red Hook is actively updating the expansion content based on player feedback, and have been since its release. Hopefully, in the future, it will be much more balanced and live up to its potential. Right now, however, it’s just kind of a slog through Darkest Dungeon’s oppressive love taps.