Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a simple game, but as is the case with Mario's best titles, there's an elegance to that simplicity. Nintendo has done a stellar job adding features to make it more palatable to a modern audience, but it only comes together because of how well the classic levels hold up. Mario and Donkey Kong have been rivals for over 40 years, and this game admirably carries that legacy forward.
Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney Trilogy succeeds with everything it sets out to do, bringing three great games to modern consoles in their most approachable forms to date. I was fully immersed in its classic courtroom battles in the 80 or so hours it took me to get through all three titles. Even though not every trial is a winner, the majority are, and with a new suite of quality-of-life improvements, it's never been easier or more enjoyable to experience Apollo Justice's journey.
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 is a successful second attempt at the groundwork laid by its predecessor. Fair Play delivers a solid platform fighter that simultaneously improves the franchise's core mechanics and introduces side content to flesh out the overall package. It's nothing mind-blowing, and it's certainly not the next Super Smash Bros., but it's engaging, exciting, and worth your time.
Super Bomberman R 2’s best parts are the ones carried over from older games in the series. Messing around with friends in local and online matches is still fun, and if that's all you're interested in, it's a fine enough experience. Unfortunately, that’s a small portion of the game, making it hard to recommend.
Akka Arrh is an interesting experiment. Despite its shortcomings, Atari fans can still find some fun in this blaster from the past – the game just comes with a big asterisk. As much as I’m excited to see a lost piece of gaming history revitalized and brought to modern consoles, overwhelming visuals and confusing, abstract game mechanics bring the experience down.
It’s this buildup of minor annoyances that makes it hard to recommend Dragon Quest Treasures. The experience is driven by charm and nostalgia, but if you don’t have an existing appreciation for the series, there isn’t much here that I could recommend over most other open-world role-playing games. It’s an experience that would greatly vary depending on the player; in other words, one player’s Dragon Quest trash is another player’s Dragon Quest Treasure.
Despite some issues with the audio and the slowness of the third act, Pentiment is a wonderfully unique storytelling experience overflowing with respect for the historical era it strives to recreate. Much like the game’s themes of stories persisting over time, I’ll be thinking about Andreas Maler and the town of Tassing for years to come.