- Chrono Trigger
- Super Metroid
- Super Mario Galaxy
Super Mario 3D World isn't Super Mario Galaxy or New Super Mario Bros.; it's a little bit of both. Under a thick layer of polish and charm, you'll find yet another top-notch platforming adventure, chocked full of secrets and clever twists and about as challenging as anything Mario has thrown our way thus far. It isn't groundbreaking or approaching the level of perfection that the Galaxy games did, but if nothing else, it's a must-have title for Wii U owners, and probably enough to push you over the edge if you're waiting to buy a system and harbor an appreciation for Nintendo's platforming contributions.
Bravely Default: Where the Fairy Flies is a bit of a return to form, albeit hopefully the rule rather than the exception when it comes to Square-Enix’s future. It is surprisingly adept at fusing classic RPG ingredients with novel refinements, and plus, it wields a story which at first appears traditional but eventually grows horns and attacks you. Its shameless implementation of 90s-era mechanics and design does mean that participants will need to have a love for conventional JRPGs—and perhaps a bit of patience to endure the homogeneity of the first part of the game—but beyond that, Bravely Default is a great experience.
You might be tempted to overlook Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, but if you did, you'd be missing out on an excellent platforming title with tons of style and polish. While it's true that it doesn't explore a lot of new territory, iteration within a genre is only bad to the extent which creativity and permutation are not applied. In other words, if it's fun and feels fresh enough, it was worth the effort—and Tropical Freeze is every bit as enjoyable as its Wii predecessor.
The beta is over, and it was 15 million strong; now, we have the product of its revelations. With a thankfully redefined purpose and a much more enticing endgame, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls is probably the game you were hoping for years ago. It's not about competition, but cooperation. It's not about methodically stressing over your loot, it's about the thrill of the hunt. It's not about rushing to the top, it's about the sheer enjoyment of the journey itself. It embraces its core competencies and brashly ignores all other complicating factors—and, with few exceptions, it's a much better game for it.
Mario Golf: World Tour is hardly progressive and rarely creative on the level of its predecessors—and in some ways, it actually feels somewhat regressive. However, the core appeal of the series is still alive and well nonetheless, and with the added extensibility of online play and tournaments—as well as downloadable courses—it's hard to deny its appeal if you ever enjoyed what the series had to offer from the start.
Mario Kart 8 won't change your mind if you're against the series' basic conceptual design, of course, but for everyone on the fence who just wants a fun, skill-weighted, multiplayer-centric party racer, this is truly as good as it gets. The balance of luck and skill is very well done overall, and the selection of available features, items, and gameplay elements is the best the series has had to offer yet—not to mention the excellent track design. It's safe to say that this is the best Mario Kart since the SNES days, and that's a pretty heavy statement.
Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney is a combination of two wholly unique franchises which takes place fairly smoothly primarily thanks to the already-fantastical nature of the story. Of course it’s ridiculous, but the story is actually quite fun, and it’s compelling and unpredictable enough to captivate those with a bit of patience and willingness to accept it for what it is. Best of all, the gameplay from both series is represented well, set against the backdrop of a truly great presentation. Whether you choose to label it a cash-in or a shameless celebration, it’s collaborative love from Level-5 and Capcom that you probably won’t want to miss.
It's 2001 all over again. Some thirteen years after Melee's release, Nintendo has finally formulated an experience which compares appreciably to the masterpiece that we all love (and many of us still play). Whether for fun or for glory, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the follow-up Smash fans have been anticipating since.
Tipping Stars is just about what you'd expect from a modern Mario vs. Donkey Kong title: unique, fun in short bursts, and inexpensive—but nevertheless, nothing terribly exciting. Although it certainly is the product of Nintendo's B-game (in contrast to the blockbuster, irresistibly creative products it's known for churning out elsewhere), it's a nifty $20 distraction that does include a respectably versatile level designer and affiliated online sharing system.
Swords and Soldiers II is a unique take on real-time strategy gameplay that permutes the established formulas equally as much as it simplifies them. The result is an accessible—yet satisfyingly challenging—game which feels just as frenzied as the typical RTS title, but which can be enjoyed in bite-sized portions.