Mario Strikers Battle League isn't a bad game, but a game that lacks any sort of drive or ambition to stand out from the pack of other Mario Sport titles. The roster is minuscule, the arenas do nothing, the controls are needlessly complicated and it was difficult to stay focused on the ball and your players.
Mercurysteam have taken what they learnt from Samus Returns and really upped the ante with the gameplay, Samus controls like butter, running jumping and sliding all other the place feels like a dream. A few years ago we called Samus Returns on 3DS the best 2D Metroid ever made and as good as that game is, Dread improves upon it in almost every sense of the word, hopefully, this is the start of a whole new era for Samus and the Metroid franchise even after a lengthy development.
The main issue with No More Heroes 3 is that while the bosses can be wild and flashy, everything between them can get incredibly samey and monotonous, there’s only so many times you can be grinding the same mini games and going only vague scavenger hunts before you feel bogged down with it all. What’s worse is that even though they are featured at the beginning, neither Shinobu or Bad Girl are playable during the game.
Ghostrunner has a lot going for it, it's an awesome concept that really could have benefited from some more fine-tuning. While there were times I was getting visually frustrated in segments, I couldn’t put the game down for long. It reminds me a lot of Katana Zero, basically the same slow-mo ninja concept but as a retro 2D game and I absolutely adored that title.
There isn’t much challenge or strategy with I Am Dead and honestly, there really doesn’t need to be. It’s more about the sights and the people we meet along the way, it goes to show that even after we’ve passed on we are never truly gone, our stories, our legacies will be remembered by the people around us, sometimes even for centuries. The design of the world is incredibly basic, with a simplistic vector style that doesn’t even have any shadows, but honestly, I don’t hold that against the game.
While there are certainly some complex sections, especially with Bonus Stages it is a real stretch to consider this game “hard”. We’ve gotten used to so many games hand holding us that we have become blind to any real challenge. Anything even considered hard is automatically paired with Souls or Cuphead. But anybody who is going to strive for full completion, you are certainly getting your money worth with each level having a “Twisted” version with its own set of gems to collect.
Mario 35 was an attempt to replicate the success of Tetris 99 but as legendary and timeless as the original Mario is, it isn’t exactly simple enough for this battle royale-style multiplayer. Tetris 99 is something you can pick up and play for a few minutes or even a few hours and not get bored, you can only play Level 1-1 so many times before you’re just wading in a pile of Goombas, and I’m not going through that…..not after last time.
I honestly want to like Serious Sam 4, it has been almost a decade since the last title came out and there are definitely some good points, the characters and story are so bad it’s actually hilarious, especially Kenny who is basically Woody Allen crossed with a wet sock and the weapons do have the right amount of oomph, the way a double shotgun clears an area or mowing down the big guys with dual-wielding chain guns is an absolute dream. But you wake up from that dream quick smart with just how badly the game works, even after a hotfix was released while writing this review did I find the game still not running properly.
To celebrate Mario’s 35th Anniversary Nintendo has released a brand new All Stars Compilation, and unlike their 25th Anniversary it isn’t just slapping the SNES game onto a disc. The brand new 3D All Stars contains three of the biggest 3D Mario titles in Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine and the original Super Mario Galaxy.
With some more time in the oven. Ary and the Secret of Seasons could be a stellar Zelda Clone. The dungeons offer some decent challenge with the seasonal powers and later on you get access to a seasonal slingshot which helps with strategies. But that doesn’t change how the game feels soulless, characters frozen like it’s winter everywhere, the sounds characters make during conversations, even things like the choice of font, the objectives hanging on screen all the time, even just Ary’s reactions to new tasks feel empty. There is definitely some potential here, just some polish could make this game really shine.
The Last Campfire is a simple yet heartfelt story that really anyone can pick up and play, my biggest gripe with it all is that it is far too short and would have really liked to have spent more time in the world with the game barely clocking in at 8 hours.
Soon enough levels get extremely complicated with reflective surfaces that break after one use so be prepared for trial and error, A LOT of trial and error and restarting levels as the game throws new mechanic after new mechanic into the fray like killer crows and rotating platforms.
The game plays similarly to the original God of Wars with fixed moving cameras over a 3D world, although the camera feels incredibly far away making Raji almost a speck on the map. Combat is a standard affair with normal/heavy attacks and the dodge button, but Raji can also pull out some Prince of Persia moves with her wall jumps and swinging around poles to attack the beasts that show up.
While the game is a beat em up at heart, that hasn’t stopped the game going completely off the wall and throwing everything from platforming puzzles to a full-blown twin-stick Bullet Hell Shooter into the game, this is accompanied by self-aware dialogue that ends up being 50:50 between hilarious and cringe worthy. The entire game feels like a jumbled schizophrenic mess where they felt the beat-em-up sections on their own weren’t enough to carry a new Battletoads game and chuck a whole bunch of random affairs into the second half of the game, some work like the aforementioned Bullet Hell levels and others just frustrated and confused me like the elemental Jeff slide.
You will find yourself coming back to the game over and over again, just to spend time with everybody and explore the islands. The lack of any kind of rush or failure allows for a serious relaxed approach that I can definitely appreciate at the moment. There are also some truly entertaining moments like catching lightning in a bottle during a storm, musical mini-games to help your plants grow or saving a giant serpent by driving a pickaxe into their skull.
While there are certainly some difficulty curves, the creators behind Skully were far from dropping the ball…..or skull in this case. I actually got fairly invested in the story, especially the third act twist even though I did see it coming from a mile away.
In the 90’s the term “DOOM Clone” was given to First Person Shooters following the runaway success of iD’s Demon Slaying Magnum Opus. It wasn’t always used negatively though as this era saw many great titles including Heretic, Blood and of course Duke Nukem 3D. Hellbound however is a DOOM Clone in the sense they actually tried to clone the game but something was contaminated in the test tube.
The truth is, Fall Guys feels like that quick little game you boot up between other bigger games, its the little snack break in-between titles or the one you play with something else in the background. Much like Tetris 99, it’s best to play Fall Guys in small bursts throughout the day rather than a marathon session.
Accompanying the game is an absolutely stellar soundtrack that captures the atmosphere of a giant research facility perfectly, reminiscing of similar tensions in movies such as Alien. The cries and whimpering of terrified scientists cowering in a corner before making a satisfying leap from the shadows and throwing them around like an absolute ragdoll.