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.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is as sprawling, diverse, complex and entrancing as we hoped. It utilises the Wii U's capabilities not only to produce a beautiful world, but shows how something as simple as a map on the GamePad screen can be invaluable. What's most impressive is the dynamism and impression of freedom in play - level caps and grinding are naturally part of the equation, yet they're managed within a structure where even small missions or Affinity quests greatly enhance the narrative and sense of place. To truly experience the story of this human colony and the vast planet Mira requires exploration and patience, and Monolith Soft has found an impressive balance in bringing its vast range of gameplay systems and mechanics together.Occasional bottlenecks are infrequent and easily overcome in the broader experience, and overall Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers a hugely impressive RPG adventure. It's an enormous accomplishment for Monolith Soft and an irresistible part of the Wii U library.
SteamWorld Heist is an entirely different proposition to its predecessor, and that's no bad thing. Its quirky blend of a 2D perspective, allied with turn-based strategy and skill-based attacks, is a surprisingly addictive combination. There's impressive depth to the overall mechanics, and it's all topped off with a level of presentation that's both charming and accomplished. Whether seeking challenging strategy or an entertaining story, this title delivers both in its own unique way and has certainly stolen plenty of our time; we haven't even got all the hats yet.
SteamWorld Heist on Wii U is exactly what we expected - a high quality Wii U iteration of a game that was already fantastic on 3DS. The wider field of view and sharper graphics are certainly appealing, and this remains a game that can easily keep players engaged for hour after hour. Image & Form struck gold with its blend of turn-based strategy and skill-based combat, and it's stolen our affections all over again now that it's arrived on Nintendo's home console.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is an excellent addition to the Wii U library. We do acknowledge that it's a series entry that has its critics, with them often citing a lack of revolution from the Ocarina of Time template, in particular. Those that feel that way have little incentive to revisit it on Wii U, but this writer certainly feels that it stands on its own as an accomplished game - opinions, when it comes to a series as immersive and demanding as The Legend of Zelda, are everything.Beyond that, what we have here is an attractive remaster with some nice additions, encompassing improved controls, visuals and enjoyable extras for fans. It's a deep, involving 30+ hour adventure, which draws the player in with plenty of honesty and soul; we're certainly glad this one has come to light.
If you're a Monster Hunter fan the answer is simple, buy this game - it's a significant undertaking but utterly enthralling once you're drawn in. There's a greater sense of story to make the single-player exploits a little more interesting than is typical, and online is slick and performs well; lack of voice chat is a blow, nevertheless. New weapons, locations and monsters make this a treat for fans, if still intimidating to those considering a first dip; yet if you're up for the investment in time, this is another special experience from Capcom. A true portable blockbuster.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3D is a high-quality port of one of the Wii's most demanding yet brilliant experiences. A sizeable and stunningly diverse world, full of wildlife and fantastical cultures, is admirably recreated for the small screens of the New Nintendo 3DS. Its natural home may be on the TV, but this release gives more gamers an opportunity to set off on a lengthy and dramatic adventure. A brilliant portable version of a true classic, fans of RPGs willing to commit themselves to the task of saving Bionis shouldn't hesitate to pick this up - it is, quite simply, the biggest world we've experienced on such small screens.
Gunman Clive 2 successfully avoids the pitfalls that can befall sequels; it offers fresh ideas along with familiar excellence, and provides a notable improvement over its predecessor. Its stylish action platforming - along with dabbles in other approaches - combines with distinguished audio-visual presentation to deliver another gem for the 3DS eShop. We recommend it as a must buy for fans of action platformers, especially those that enjoy retro nods and winks with their modern day experiences - this one's a straight shooter.