This is a definitive 3D Mario experience, successfully finding a middle-ground between the iconic Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy. You may not swing Bowser by his tail or run upside down, but it's bursting with creativity nonetheless, while delivering on the craft and skill that defines the Tokyo EAD studio. It's unmissable.
Whether creating, exploring or just playing, Super Mario Maker provides an exceptional experience. If you've ever enjoyed a 2D Mario game and have a creative, playful spirit, then you should have already decided to buy this. It has plenty of tough competition, but this is the definitive Wii U game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a landmark release for its franchise and Nintendo. It's the first time that Nintendo has truly taken on the open-world genre in a current-generation sense; in arriving late to the party, though, it embraces some strengths from top-of-the-class games while also forging its own identity. This game is a revolution for the franchise, but the Legend of Zelda essence is still there - its soul remains.The end result, then, is a captivating experience. This will be in the running as the best game in the IP's history, and it will likely be discussed as a leading contender in the broader open-world genre. Nintendo has bravely taken one of its biggest franchises in a new direction, and it's delivered a triumph.
When it comes to passing final judgement on a re-release like this it's tricky - do we scale back praise because it's content we've mostly seen before, or simply judge a release on its own merits? We've opted for the latter here, and so we have a definitive version of a fantastic Wii U game that adds its own extras to spruce up the experience.Mario Kart 8 Deluxe delivers a huge amount of racing goodness right out of the box, and it's a polished version of a Wii U entry that was a proper Battle Mode away from being top of class. Now that issue has been addressed, what we have is arguably the best Mario Kart release we've seen. Some will argue about where this entry stands in the pantheon of the franchise, but for our money it's competing for top spot.It's the definitive Mario Kart 8 experience, content-rich and a delightful feast of comedic, cartoonish karting action. It's a game that continually raises a smile and, occasionally, induces that trademark Mario Kart rage as shells strike and positions are lost. It's addictive and unifying, unfiltered fun that draws in anyone daring enough to take up the wheel. If you're a Switch owner, it's an easy choice.
Super Mario Odyssey represents a shift in direction for Mario. For about a decade we had exceptional but tightly structured 3D series entries, but this new arrival's building blocks go back to Super Mario 64. It's a very modern take on ‘sandbox Mario', however - Cappy and his abilities are key additions that freshen up the formula, and we have a sizeable and diverse set of lands to explore.Odyssey will, inevitably, now enter the discussions about the ‘best' Mario games. In the second half and post-credits - in particular - it takes on a life of its own, showcasing incredible design and development flair. It's also a wonderful showcase for the Switch, and could introduce a whole new audience to the wonders of Mario in three dimensions. For the veterans among us, meanwhile, it's yet another special release to remind us of why Mario is still gaming's number one.
In addition to being a fun gameplay experience, it's also an example of how artistic vision and clever, light-hearted writing can enhance an experience, an example of what can be achieved when development studios devote themselves fully to delivering a high quality product.If you're an action platformer fan with quick thumbs, this is a must-buy.
Yoshi's Woolly World has been a long time coming, but it's been absolutely worth the wait. It's accomplished platforming within Yoshi's quirky and unique template, and has enough soft cuteness to charm young gamers and melt the hearts of the most jaded of veteran gamers.
Retro Studios has demonstrated once again that it can take a treasured Nintendo franchise and keep it relevant, with modern thrills and retro nods expertly combined. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze utilises the Wii U's graphical capabilities beautifully, with levels both stunning in design and looks, and impressive set-pieces that never skip a frame and can test any gamer's skills.