The fact that it's almost impossible to cover every aspect of Tomodachi Life in a single review is perhaps testament to the vast scope of the game. There is so much going on here and so many months of potential enjoyment on offer that this would easily become your most-played 3DS title. But again, that thorny issue remains — is this really a game in the strictest sense? It's closer to being an expanded version of Bandai's famous '90s craze the Tamagotchi, with your main duty being the happiness of your Mii population, rather than any skill-based challenges. In fact, there's precious little skill involved at all — given enough time, you'll be able to see everything this has to offer regardless of how "good" you are at it. Of course, that doesn't make the process any less entertaining or rewarding, but it's worth keeping in mind if you prefer your games to be a little more demanding.Despite concerns regarding its suitability for core gamers, Tomodachi Life is a title which has truly universal appeal; the barrier to entry which exists in many pieces of software — Animal Crossing: New Leaf included — is all but removed here, making this feel more like a casual mobile title. Some will see that as a negative, but under Nintendo's watchful eye, this cookie-cutter concept is expanded and improved almost beyond measure. Tomodachi Life is perhaps best described as the glorious culmination of the Mii concept that was heralded by the release of the Wii back in 2006, and at long last gives your virtual avatar a life of its own — as well as many humorous and entertaining escapades to enjoy.
For those that come in expecting a classic Legend of Zelda adventure this could potentially be an underwhelming experience; yet as a fun action game with plenty of content is delivers well. Once the problem of perception — courtesy of the iconic characters at play — is resolved, this is an entertaining addition for action fans.
Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy+ is a tricky release to score, because it's certainly not a bad game - it's just a rather lazy upgrade on a title which came out four years ago. Newcomers who are fans of this type of game are should give it a look, however.
The Mario Party series has always been something of an acquired taste, despite the incredibly popularity of its lead character and the obvious potential for entertaining social play, and Mario Party 10 isn't likely to change that anytime soon. There are glimmers of true brilliance thanks to the superb Bowser Party mode, but even this is too limited to have a lasting impact - the same can be said for the incredibly disappointing amiibo mode.
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars might not be the smash-hit the Wii U needs to lift its sluggish sales figures and lacks the graphical flourishes we've seen in other Nintendo first-party software, but for pre-existing fans of the series and puzzle-lovers alike it's sure to provide more than its fair share of entertainment. Besting all of the single-player stages is no mean feat, but its the level creation tool - along with the online community which accompanies it - that are certain to make this a release which continues to attract attention months if not years from now.
These conversions are absolutely spot-on in every regard, and the supplemental features – such as the Museum section and inventive Challenge mode – augment the experience neatly without sullying the purity of the original releases. Fans will appreciate the fact that all six NES titles are now in the same package, while newcomers can finally see what all the fuss is about.
Just like its prequel, Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer is bursting with content to uncover. The sheer volume of items to unlock is staggering, allowing you to cook up all manner of homely homesteads and fabulous facilities. The same world that captivated millions of players in New Leaf returns, with familiar faces that do a lot to augment the appeal of the core interior design mechanics. However, the lack of any real challenge is a fatal flaw, and while it's possible to create a stunning variety of different rooms and buildings, the gameplay does become repetitive quite quickly. Fans of New Leaf - and the series in general - may well be prepared to forgive such sins, but for everyone else this is a likeable but largely forgettable title that will entice young, undemanding players but will be too dull and samey for everyone else - despite the unmistakable charm which permeates the entire package.
Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water certainly delivers when it comes to scaring the player witless, and its use of the Wii U GamePad is commendable. If only other developers had been so bold with their ideas, Nintendo's console might not be in the dismal commercial predicament it currently finds itself in.
It's easy to dismiss Final Fantasy Explorers as little more than a shameless copy of Monster Hunter, and while it's true that the game is short on original ideas and lacks the devilish complexity of Capcom's million-selling series, it would be grossly unfair to ignore the game entirely. While the Job system isn't as deep and involving as Monster Hunter's weapon-based classes and the short quests quickly descend into repetition, the online side of the game is solid and the allure of forging new items ensures that the desire to find the best loot is always at the front of your mind.Then there's the setting and the generous helpings of fan-service; while the Final Fantasy brand has arguably been abused by its owner with some distinctly lackluster outings in recent years, it still offers an incredibly appealing universe to inhabit, and hardcore fans left cold by Monster Hunter's locales might find this familiar fantasy realm a little more appealing - especially when it's possible to invoke the spirits of Cloud, Tidus, Yuna and Tifa, as well as many other famous Final Fantasy characters. Ultimately though, Final Fantasy Explorers feels like an entry point for the genre rather than a true rival to Capcom's crown - it's accessible and enjoyable, but the shallow nature of the gameplay might leave seasoned players feeling a little cold after extended play.