it’s taken me a little while to get it figured out, but i’ve posted my first review of the new year at my new location, Intergalactic Video Game Academy. the site is in its infancy, but will be shaping up in the coming months. hope to see you there! (btw, it’s too much effort to migrate all my old posts, so i’ll be keeping this blog here for the time being. feel free to browse the archives!)
it’s a new year, so it’s that time again: time to take a look back at all the games i played in 2014. 2014 was different from 2013 in several ways. i ended up playing many more games on a console than a handheld, and i also ended up playing more older games than last year. in 2013 i played the most games on 3DS, 3DS downloads, and the original game boy, but this past year i ended up playing the most games on NES, wiiware, and wii u. perhaps part of the reason i ended up playing more NES games (and thus more console games) is that they were ideal for when i was looking for a short game to play, in order to keep up my usual one-post-a-week pace. not sure that i ended up cutting back on game time overall, though, what with pouring insane amounts of time into certain games, in particular pokemon Y (i also need to give a shout-out to the streetpass mii plaza games, which i’ve played regularly throughout the year–i finally got all the hats in find mii, and made it to the end of the mansion game. whoo! although the last four flowers in the flower game continue to elude me…).
speaking of which, as with the last couple of years, i ended up with only a handful of the games i played making it into my “greatest games of all time” list. what was noteworthy this year, though, is that two of the games i inducted were ones i had played (and blogged about) before: the solid and now classic gameplay of wii sports became more apparent to me the second time around (and i found the boxing modes to be much more enjoyable than i’d originally thought), and its significance continues to be felt today; and the way that the barrier to EV training became lowered in pokemon X and Y to such an extent that even i could get interested (and hooked) makes it apparent to me that this was one of the most significant “evolutions” in the series’ long history (as a side note i also caught my first shinies this year: 4 of them actually! w00t!).
this past year i played about as many sequels as in 2013 (about half of the games i finished), and didn’t spend much effort forcing myself to play games that were outside of my comfort zone (i.e. nintendo series and nintendo classics). reading back through last year’s year in review post, i did finally sit down and finish (on an original NES!) what is probably the hardest zelda game, zelda II: the adventure of link, and thus could finally post my ranking of the legend of zelda series. i also did get caught up with the mario series and finished both new super mario bros. U and new super luigi U, and also finished shin megami tensei: devil summoner: soul hackers, my first shin megami tensei game. (i also posted an overview of the shin megami tensei series, which was the result of my own effort to make sense of its entire sprawling and somewhat confusing history.)
other noteworthy “achievements” included finally getting over the hump of warioware D.I.Y., which meant i could then wrap up and post my ranking of the warioware series. and although i did play a ton of sequels, i did finally play through a game on my thoroughly neglected PS3, the unfinished swan, which was highly enjoyable. i also dusted off an old TV in order to play the original duck hunt with an original NES zapper. the game has recently been re-released on wii u’s virtual console, but it was wholly satisfying to play it in all its original light-gun glory.
here’s the summary of what my 2014 looked like gaming-wise (games listed in approximate descending order) with links to each game’s corresponding blog review:
– duck hunt (NES)
– captain toad (wii u)
– wii fit plus (wii)
– the unfinished swan (PS3 DL)
– super smash bros. for nintendo 3DS (3DS)
– sin and punishment: star successor (wii)
– new super luigi u (wii u ware)
– warioware D.I.Y. (DS)
– rusty’s real deal baseball (3DSware)
– paper mario (N64)
– flipnote studio (DSiware) (8 i guess)
– art style: rotozoa (wiiware)
– art style: base 10 (DSiware)
– mighty flip champs (DSiware)
– steamworld dig (3DSware)
– tokyo crash mobs (3DSware)
– new super mario bros. U (wii u)
– donkey kong jr. (NES)
– wario’s woods (NES)
– dr. luigi (wii u ware)
– the legend of zelda: four swords anniversary edition (DSiware)
– street fighter alpha (arcade)
– shin megami tensei: devil summoner: soul hackers (3DS)
– zelda II: the adventure of link (NES)
– pipe dream (GB)
– mario kart 8 (wii u)
– wrecking crew (NES)
– maboshi’s arcade (wiiware)
– smash TV (arc)
– attack of the friday monsters! a tokyo tale (3DSware)
– warioware: D.I.Y. showcase (wiiware)
– mario paint (SNES)
– donkey kong 3 (NES)
– michael jackson: the experience (wii)
– resident evil: director’s cut (PS)
– bit.trip runner (wiiware)
– game & wario (wii u)
– nintendo land (wii u)
– donkey kong jr. math (NES)
– super pac-man (arcade)
– 2048 (PC flash)
– fluidity (wiiware)
– system shock 2 (PC)
– cookie clicker (PC flash)
– my pokemon ranch (wiiware)
– sudoku gridmaster (DS)
in terms of looking forward to this year, i didn’t finish playing games in series i’ve completely neglected, such as the phoenix wright and professor layton series, but i’ve made some definite progress and will have more to report on that soon. i’m hoping to be a little better about staying up to date with current releases, and to be better about finishing games that i’m halfway through (and not continually adding to the mountain of games i have to play). my most anticipated game of 2015 is still SMT x FE, although i’m concerned about its future since it hasn’t been mentioned at all since its initial reveal almost two years ago, and i’m still holding out hope we’ll get a new metroid this year.
that about wraps it up. as always, thanks as always to anyone who’s stumbled across my little patch of cyberspace and found it even mildly diverting, and welcome to another full year of rockin’ video games at video games rock!
for my last game of the year, i decided to wrap up my experience with rusty’s real deal baseball for 3DS, one of the few games released this past year that i actually played through, and one of nintendo’s first forays into free-to-play gaming. the game has a unique hook: although the 10 individual minigames supposedly have a base price of $4, the game features in-game haggling whereby you can reduce the price of the set from $40 down to a much more reasonable $16. the frame story involves a middle-aged dog trying to revitalize his business as well as repair his family life, and although it serves as a cute device the “story” such as it was didn’t really increase my compulsion to buy more minigames.
the minigames themselves have a very warioware type of aesthetic (apparently totilo at kotaku thought so too), which i enjoyed, and each one (approximately $2 each) distills some aspect of baseball (hitting, catching, even umpiring) and presents a set of 50 basic and 50 advanced mini-challenges plus two endless modes. i played through the majority of three of the minigames (bat & switch, quick catch, and feel the glove), and there’s a good amount of variety within each set, there’s a uniformly high level of polish, and the controls in general feel pretty good (although some take getting used to). because of the arcade nature of the challenges, there’s a distinct feeling of pointlessness of achieving them since given enough time you’ll get it eventually (a classic case of “i could be learning to be a pro basketball player in the time it would take to complete this challenge”). with games like wii sports of wii fit i’m more willing to waste time on pointless challenges since i’m also at least burning a few calories, but in this case without a compelling story or goal my need to be a completionist just wasn’t enough for me to want to finish all the advanced challenges (some of which will have your blood boiling and rage quitting in anger, and apparently i’m not the only one who felt that way). i found the challenges were also not really suited for short “pick up and play” type bursts, due to the amount of concentration required.
i didn’t feel the need to pay for the rest of the minigames (especially since some of the ones i was more interested in were the ones that didn’t unlock more of the story), so i’ve set this one aside for now. if i were more interested in baseball i could imagine this would’ve been an easier sell to me, and although i didn’t end up seeing the game through to the “end” i enjoyed the time i did spend with it overall. nintendo would’ve gotten more dollars out of me if they had just released this as a single package, but i love that they tried a different and completely unique approach to micro-transacations, and i can definitely see myself picking up a couple more at some point in the future.
haggle your way to victory with these rusty’s real deal baseball links:
– this post at gamefaqs has the exact combination of discounts to use to get the lowest possible prices for the four non-story minigames, although i haven’t verified it
– miiverse page
– official site with videos of each minigame
– complimentary fan review at kotaku
– review at nintendolife.com
– list of unlockables at gamefaqs including info on streetpass bonuses
– a look at some localization changes at tinycartridge.com
– entry at wikipedia
for my latest “get off the couch” game i decided to revisit the original wii sports, a game that, due to the success of wii, has ended up being one of the best-selling video games of all time and in the 8 years since its release has become something of a classic. when i’d sat down with the game about five years ago (!) (figuratively speaking, since then as now i’d actually spent most of my time playing the game standing up) i’d spent most of my time playing the three tennis training games and hadn’t actually spent much time with the other four sports. this time around the first tennis training game was still my default activity (although, sadly, i never did quite make it to the platinum ranking), and it’s kind of surprising how just compelling and addictive that one minigame is. the pace of it is somewhat frustrating in that the serves alternate between groups of them being close to vs. far from the net, and returning balls close to the net can require some luck. but the thwack of each hit you return with your virtual tennis racket is extremely satisfying, and it’s easy to get into a zen-like state of returning serve after serve after serve. i was happy to find that tennis was enjoyable as i remembered (and my forehand definitely improved as well, haha).
although i would’ve been perfectly happy playing just that one tennis training game, i did spend about half my time playing around with the other four sports, mostly via their training modes. i didn’t spend much time with baseball since swinging the bat felt rather too similar to tennis, and try as i might i still haven’t developed the right knack to do well in bowling, although i did feel i was slowly (veeeeery slowly) improving. golf was pretty fun, although it seemed much more about trial and error than developing any skills and it was rather slow paced, so in the end i spent most of my non-tennis wii sports time playing boxing.
my initial experience with boxing left me frustrated and thinking that the game was completely broken, but eventually i figured out how the game wants you to hold the controllers (i.e. up to your chest, and tilting down to punch instead of punching straight forward). i also had to unlearn what wii fit taught me about directing my mii character, as instead of leaning your weight from side to side this game requires you to tilt the controllers to the right or to the left to dodge. once i figured all that out everything worked pretty well and was quite enjoyable, and i actually earned two gold medals (whoo!)–and burned a few calories in the process. :)
in my previous post about the game i reflected on how magical wii sports seemed when it first came out, and although the novelty may have worn off, it’s somewhat surprising how much fun the game still is today. this game is practically synonymous with the wii console itself since they were released together, and back in 2006 it represented something new and fresh and inclusive: that graphics don’t matter, and that even simplistic, “family friendly” gameplay can be tremendous fun. once again nintendo made creating fun experiences look completely effortless, and wii sports‘ and wii’s impact is still felt today, and will continue to be felt far into the future. the impact of the game and the solid, timeless gameplay led me to bump this up from my original rating and add it to my “greatest games of all time” list. although i’ll be playing its wii u remake before i get back to this one, i’m sure when i come back to it years from now the original will be as enjoyable as it is today.
become king of the ring with these wii sports links:
– the entry at strategywiki.org is still a good source of the list of training mode medal requirements
– review at nintendolife.com
– somewhat surprisingly the official site for the game is still up
– entry at wikipedia
i don’t often buy games on their day of release, but i wanted to support captain toad: treasure tracker for wii u, one of the few instances of new IP from nintendo that also for the first time features toad (or at least, a toad) in the title role. toad has had a long history: he was playable in super mario bros. 2 soon after his debut and reclaimed some spotlight as player 3 and 4 options in the new super mario bros. series. he reached a peak in last year’s super mario 3D world as both a playable character with his original unique attributes, and also as captain toad, a series of side levels that featured completely unique gameplay.
it seemed pretty obvious to everyone that the captain toad levels could and should be expanded into a full-fledged game, but it was surprising that nintendo chose to release treasure tracker as a full title instead of a shorter downloadable title. however, after playing through the game the retail release does seem fully justified. the game takes the original concept of the 3D world levels and expands them beautifully. the main premise is that captain toad can’t jump because his backpack is too heavy, and so he has to maneuver through levels by investigating the diorama-like levels by rotating the camera and stepping on switches, etc., as well as by having the player use the gamepad to rotate parts of the environment, tap movable tiles and blocks, etc. the game’s design cribs heavily from 3D world (almost every unique stage you can recall from 3d world seems to have an analogue here). but captain toad’s limitation (the fact he can’t jump) is the impetus for a full game’s worth of creative levels.
the game’s pace is gentle and fairly relaxing: new levels unlock in batches and you’re not required to beat them all to beat the game, so you can pick which ones you want to tackle. also, levels are untimed, letting you explore at your leisure. three gems are scattered around the stage, and once you collect them an additional objective (e.g. “complete the level without taking damage”) is presented. for the most part the objectives are nicely varied and worthwhile, and the compact stages are great for exploring since they’re small enough to investigate fully without it becoming tedious. judging how to maneuver can get a bit tricky since the stages are so dense (and having true 3D as the 3DS does would have helped), but the gameplay is rock solid and the presentation is up to nintendo’s high standards (although again, perhaps cribbing a bit too much from 3D world).
getting to see toad, a long-time favorite, shine in the spotlight is a big plus, and having toadette, another long-time favorite, join him is an even bigger plus. (there may be hope yet for a game featuring daisy and/or waluigi! haha.) the two are cuter and more adorable than ever, and although the story is paper-thin (as is typical with nintendo with games like this), it’s nice to see the return of turnip-throwing as a core mechanic, plus some new enemies and locales. although the game demonstrates the versatility of the gamepad again, yet again i found myself forgetting to look back up at the TV and ended up spending a fair chunk of time just playing on the gamepad itself (and once again off-TV play proves to be a very handy feature). and although it seems some people weren’t satisfied with the length, i thought it was perfectly fine: finding every gem and completing every objective is worthwhile, and some additional challenges and bonus levels unlock as you proceed through the game.
overall i enjoyed this game way more than i thought i would. although i had enjoyed the levels in 3D world well enough, i hadn’t imagined that such a full, fresh, and varied game experience could be built on the same mechanics. the game was so memorable and enjoyable that i was sorely tempted to put it on my list of favorite games of all time, but about 3/4 of the way through the levels i felt the game’s premise had played itself out, and i didn’t find many of the bonus stages to be very compelling. in any case, i’m definitely looking forward to a sequel, assuming the developers can come up with a unique new twist to the winning formula of this game. as it is, the game is a worthy tribute to a character who has been a key member of the mushroom kingdom since the original super mario bros. game.
adventure time with these captain toad: treasure tracker links:
– entry at mariowiki.com, which includes a list of the bonus levels
– review at nintendolife.com
– official site, which includes an official “toad brigade adventure kit” you can print out
– miiverse community
about a month ago i finished the last three warioware games in the series, so it’s time to look back at the entire series and post my ranking. at nine entries the franchise is clearly at a lower tier compared to nintendo’s core series, like the mario, zelda, and metroid series, and looking over the list although the series started out extremely strong (its debut in the spring of 2003 was a jolt of originality and the manic “microgame” formula still holds up today), it’s sort of scraped along for the past few years. several of the more-recent titles could be considered to be offshoots as opposed to evolutions, and you could argue that there hasn’t been a true core warioware title since wii’s smooth moves (released 8 years ago), but in any case i’m still holding out hope that the series will rediscover itself before too much time goes by. in the meantime, it’s nice to be able to celebrate all that it has accomplished.
when i ranked the zelda series earlier this year i included excerpts from nintendo power, but this time around for lack of any better alternative i’ll just include metacritic’s ranking and excerpts from reviews close to the metacritic score (although it turns out that my ranking is pretty similar to metacritic’s). hope that’s not too confusing. oh, and before i get started, i should give a shout out to the best unofficial warioware title (not created by nintendo), which was feel the magic XY & XX by sonic team. i should also give a mention to two actual spin-offs of the game, both based on extras from the first title and released as DSiware: paper airplane chase, which included new time trial and vs. modes, and birds & beans, which has the same two modes as the GBA version but changes the size of the board to 30 squares (vs. 20 squares for the GBA version and 12 for the game & wario version). anyway, without further ado:
|the warioware series|
|as ranked by geozeldadude and metacritic|
|#||geozeldadude‘s list||ranking according to metacritic|
|1||warioware: smooth moves (wii): smooth moves was my first warioware experience, and i was definitely spoiled by it. at the time i was impressed by the series’ hallmarks, namely the lightning-speed pacing and the laugh-out-loud humor (not to mention fun reworkings of nintendo classics), but i also appreciated how well-structured the game was, in terms of taking all the myriad possible ways of using the wii remote and clearly organizing them into categories via “poses”. although some of the pointer-based movements take some trial and error, once you figure them out it’s pretty much non-stop fun. it’s a great intro to the series, and in my opinion has never been bettered since the versatile wii remote allows the game to offer even more variety than the original title, and even twisted. some of the later games felt more like tech demos than actual games, but this one felt like it not just showed off the new (and revolutionary) possibilities of wii, but really reveled in and explored them. a game that i’ve come to appreciate more since i first played it, and one i’m looking forward to revisiting.||warioware, inc.: mega microgame$! (GBA) (critic score: 89, user score: 8.8)
Nintendojo (90): It may be over quick, but it’s got the sort of staying power and pick-up-and-play appeal that’ll keep you coming back whenever you get tired of the latest games. It’s the perfect title for anyone who craves addictive, fast-paced action or just something different from the status quo.
IGN (90): There’s no way you’ll see everything on the first time through. This game is amazingly fun, incredibly funny, and a really intense gaming experience in the later levels.
Eurogamer (90): If variety is the spice of life, then Wario Ware is the digital equivalent of Phall curry, burning the inside of your face with its charm and originality.
|2||warioware: twisted! (GBA): yet another case of a close second, and another case where if i had played this before smooth moves i could easily see myself giving it the edge. the microgames have a level of variety, wackiness, and over-the-top presentation only rivalled by smooth moves, all the more impressive since the hardware (accomplished by the cartridge’s included gyroscope) is more limited than the wii remote. the game, like others in the series, also includes tons of unlockable “souvenirs”, including music tracks, virtual kaleidoscopes, musical instruments, gadgets, and minigames, which definitely adds to the fun and replay value despite the fact most are completely random, throwaway, and useless. but, like the microgames themselves, almost all of them will leave you smiling and the ones included in this entry to the series were particularly strong. twisted was one of those cases where a sequel really took the original’s ideas and improved them in almost every way. a definite classic.||warioware: twisted! (GBA) (critic score: 88, user score: 8.9): the critic score is only one point lower than the original game, and the user score is actually one point higher than the original game. here’s what the critics said:
Electronic Gaming Monthly (90): The technology works perfectly – spinning your GBA around feels utterly alien yet supremely fun. [Apr 2005, p.135]
GameSpot (88): The spin sensor feels less like a gimmick and more like a tightly integrated feature that makes the entire game feel inventive and unique.
Nintendojo (87): A must own title for your Game Boy Advance. It’s the perfect traveling game even though the story mode is over quickly.
|3||warioware, inc.: mega microgame$! (GBA): the game that started it all. although i feel like the formula achieved more with twisted and smooth moves, the original is still completely enjoyable and fun. in some ways it’s even more of an achievement since it relies on simple button presses instead of a “gimmick”. a definite classic, and definitely the obvious choice for the top 3.||warioware: smooth moves (wii) (critic score: 83, user score: 7.3):
NintendoWorldReport (85): Variety is king in WarioWare, and while the game does not contain an absurd amount of pointless unlockables, or a true high-score mode for individual games, it is still a ton of fun.
PALGN (80): An excellent addition to the Wario Ware series and the ideal game to show what the Wii can do. Its lifespan may be a little on the short side but there’s definitely enough enjoyment here for your money.
|4||warioware: D.I.Y. (DS): i don’t really look to video games to be my creative outlets, but i was still impressed by all the tools D.I.Y. provides for making your own microgames, as well as 4-panel comics and songs, and not just that but provides ways to ease players into those modes without intimidating them. the game also included enough microgames, albeit simplified, to make it feel worthwhile even if you completely ignore the design modes.||warioware: D.I.Y. (DS) (critic score: 82, user score: 8.7):
1UP (83): Creativity often thrives under the most severe limitations, and those who relish the opportunity to entertain others (or even just themselves) in videogame form will love WarioWare D.I.Y. It provides a detailed yet streamlined mechanism for creativity, meaning the challenge is in coming up with creative ideas rather than wrestling with the interface.
|5||warioware D.I.Y. showcase (wiiware): past the top 4, the ranking of the remaining games in the series really depends on your preference. D.I.Y. showcase provides a way for you to take your warioware D.I.Y. creations from your DS and view them on your TV via your wii, and overall works quite well. games look pretty good in the transition from DS to TV, and the wiiware title also includes about half as many microgames as the DS game, all of which can also be transferred back to your DS for modifying into new creations. there’s not a whole lot to do and the $8 price tag does feel a bit on the high side, but for fans of the DS title this is be a nice complement, although not essential.||warioware: touched! (DS) (critic score: 81, user score: 8.2):
Edge Magazine (80): It may be formulaic, but that formula is still one of invention, surprise and excellence. [Jan 2005, p.87; JPN Import]
Play Magazine (80): My only criticisms are that the NES-themed games aren’t as creative as before, and the game is a bit easy. [Apr 2005, p.70]
PALGN (80): But my biggest problem with the game is really just the slight lack of craziness that I’ve come to expect from Wario Ware. I rarely laugh out loud at a game, but the original Wario Ware provided me with much humour with its general wackiness.
|6||warioware, inc.: mega party game$! (GCN): the game is definitely more of an expansion to the original than a new game, and recycles all the content while adding new modes, mostly multi-player. there are a couple of new unlockable single-player modes, namely a “master” (i.e. marathon) mode in which you play through all 204 of the microgames (omitting the 9 boss battles) and see how many you can get, and two random minimalistic music videos. the most worthwhile single-player addition is a time attack mode where you try to complete 20, 40, or 60 microgames in the least amount of time (for every one you win the speed goes up and for every one you lose the speed goes down). not being into multi-player much in general the other modes were sort of wasted on me, but i appreciated them despite not getting much of a chance to play around with them.||warioware, inc.: mega party game$! (GCN) (critic score: 76, user score: 8.3):
GameBiz (77): Unless you’ve never played the first Wario Ware or are going to take full advantage of the multiplayer aspects, there isn’t really too much new for you here.
IGN (75): The fact that the vast majority of minigames in this GameCube title heralds from the GBA is a huge disappointment. But even if you haven’t played the GBA game, know that the single-player setup that worked so beautifully on the Game Boy Advance doesn’t translate well to the GameCube.
|7||warioware: touched! (DS): the game was designed to show off the DS’s capabilities, but otherwise didn’t feel as original as entries in the series. the game would have felt more novel when it was released around the time of the DS’s launch, but its core experience doesn’t hold up nearly as well as twisted or smooth moves. a prime example of a “by the numbers” sequel that, thankfully, the series’ developers haven’t had to resort to before or since.||warioware D.I.Y. showcase (wiiware) (critic score: 73, user score: 8.4):
Vandal Online (75): Its real potential resides in its connectivity with the Nintendo DS version. That is the real showcase.
Eurogamer (70): Still, if you fancy a means of enjoying the unhinged insanity of user-created microgames on the big screen, Showcase is a worthy purchase.
|8||warioware: snapped! (DSiware): as an entry in the warioware series the game would be fairly disappointing due to its limitations, chief of which is its short length (about 20 microgames, 5 of which require coordination with a second person) and the lack of any extras: you can easily breeze through the game in less than half an hour. the camera recognition, while enjoyable and novel, was a little iffy with two players, although solo it worked fine for me. despite the always enjoyable wacky warioware exterior, the game as a whole does have a tech demo feel, as many critics have noted. but a large part of the real enjoyment of the game is showing it off to other people, not just for the trademark warioware goofiness, but for the recap at the end of each stage that replays recorded footage of the player. in my case the combination of that enjoyment along with the appeal of warioware makes this an unregretted purchase, despite its limited gameplay and use, but for an introduction to the warioware series in general there are clearly better choices.||game & wario (wii u) (critic score: 61, user score: 6.1):
games(TM) (60): Well below the standards we’ve come to expect from Nintendo’s inventive, silly franchise. [Issue#137, p.123]
ZTGD (60): Game & Wario is disappointing mainly because the heart of the series feels stripped out, and in its place is a collection of mostly uninspired minigames. I really wanted to see Nintendo take advantage of the Gamepad in unique ways, not just have me tilt to steer.
Eurogamer Italy (60) Even though some games are funny, Game & Wario loses most of the appeal of its predecessors proposing just a bunch of “not-so-special” games.
|9||game & wario (wii u): feels like a real step back. almost completely eschewing the series’ formula to date (i.e. an onslaught of microgames to conquer), this game focuses on mini-games, pretty much none of which are that much fun. it’s pretty sad that i found i didn’t even want to play through all the levels, few as there were, and that unlocking each mini-game just resulted in another stab of disappointment instead of excitement. another case where i’m waiting for the next entry in the series and hoping that it gets the series back on track.||warioware: snapped! (DSiware) (critic score: 53, user score: 4.9):
Cheat Code Central (50): It’s a WarioWare game and it works with a camera, so it may pique your interest at first. However, it’s very short, it won’t let you save your goofy pictures or videos, and it’s tough to make it work!
Eurogamer (50) It’s fun for as long as it lasts.
even though i’ve been playing mostly first-party nintendo games lately, i’ve been on a roll getting caught up with series that i had previously completed but had new entries, so i thought i’d finish off new super luigi u, released as DLC for the wii u game new super mario bros. u as well as a standalone retail release.
i’d been somewhat disappointed in NSMBU overall when i finished playing through it early this year, and although it’s a completely solid game i, along with many others, found it to be far too close to the other games in the “new” super mario bros. series, particularly NSMB2 and NSMB wii. since NSLU was DLC, i was able to enjoy it as an expansion to NSMBU, so the fact that all the assets, the world map, and the boss fights, were identical to the main game didn’t really bother me. the level design is pretty solid (although some elements, such as yoshi, are as underused as in the main game), and the game changes things up a bit in significant ways. the obvious one, of course, is the fact that luigi is the main character and features the return of his trademark higher flutter jump (and slippier footing on the ground). the game also limits the levels to 100 seconds, which as a result makes them slightly more compact. the game is more challenging than the original, which is a plus for me, and to offset that the designers made nabbit a playable character who is invincible to enemies (but not pits, lava, etc.).
despite all the similarities, the game still manages to slip in some surprises. collecting all the star coins and finding all the secret exits is in general still very much worthwhile (although finding the exits in particular can be painfully arbitrary and somewhat a waste of time), but one nice surprise was the luigis hidden in every level. i hadn’t realized there was one in every level, but it’s a nice touch to the game, as it was released to celebrate the year of luigi. it would’ve been nice if there were some system to track that you’d found them all, but many of them are located near secrets anyway. there are also some other cute surprises, like special snowmen in the ice world. the miiverse integration is the same as NSMBU so it’s still a nice way to include a social element, although it’s kind of disappointing you can’t up vote esp. good comments or mark some as inappropriate.
overall this is an enjoyable game as DLC and as an expansion of NSMBU, even though it doesn’t really push the series forward at all. still, it’s nice to see luigi get a significant share of the spotlight.
check out these shiny li’l bro new super luigi u links:
– entry at mariowiki.com
– review at nintendolife.com
– info on a handful of easter eggs, etc. at gamefaqs
– video from nintendo’s staff showing off their super skillz