What Skater XL does well is make you obsess over an 8-set of stairs, or return again and again to a simple curb. You will keep going back to line up the perfect angle, the exact spot to crouch into an ollie, tre flip and land a crooked grind. That’s great, that’s street skating in its essence, and it’s an achievement to capture that. But outside of that microcosm, as soon as you pan out, it steps on its own shoelaces and stumbles into a bush.
That simplicity is overridden by originality and vigor, then – but I also know all too well that some fans of the older Paper Mario games will once again walk away a little disappointed. This is still undoubtedly no Thousand Year Door. Perhaps the next outing can bring back a little of that RPG depth – but regardless of that, this is still the best Paper Mario game in years.
This remaster is a winner. It’s a stellar package, and hopefully a template for what is to come. The minor shortcomings are all due to the age of this title – but this is an old game. You have to take it for what it is – a glorious little piece of history. In presenting that, this is a practically flawless release – but the old-fashioned, less friendly design in places will mean this one isn’t quite for everyone.
By offering such a wide variety of experiences to please both handheld and docked players alike, 51 Worldwide Classics ends up a worthy follow-up to the DS Clubhouse Games in spite of its flaws. It quietly becomes another must-own Nintendo Switch title. It’s not a big-budget, mind-expanding adventure – but it’s a fun, generally solidly-constructed collection of eminently playable classics. It’s video game comfort food, and has been a delight to meander through in the present day’s isolation.
It’s true that some of the original game design frustrations remain untouched and performance is solid but sadly not perfect. These things barely matter, though; Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition is easily a must-own for any RPG fan with a Switch.