Super Mario 3D All-Stars is classic Nintendo…

…in more ways than one (I’ll get to that in a little bit).

So, my first post in a long while is a reaction of sorts. Yeah, I’m not exactly thrilled about it either but hey, at least it’s encouraged me to get posting again. That aside, Nintendo have decided to celebrate Mario’s thirty-fifth anniversary with some new products and I’m going to give my unrequested take on the main feature of this celebration. I’m sure nobody cares, but, then again, I don’t particularly care that nobody cares. Here we are and here it is…

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Paper Mario: Origami King

This post – about the upcoming new Paper Mario game – was inspired by a good read on The Wizard Dojo. Check out Scott’s thoughts (and blog in general) – it’s much better than what I cobble together here.

Anyway, there’s this new Paper Mario game coming out soon for the Switch, subtitled The Origami King. You may have heard of it. A lot of Nintendo/Switch fans lost their shit and got super-excited about it (good for them), while others have had a more lukewarm response to Mario’s latest paper-based spin-off. Where do I sit on this one? Somewhere in the middle. The trailer looked fun, but also disappointing. Maybe I’m just an crusty old entitled gamer? Perhaps.

But here’s the issue: The Origami King resembles Sticker Star and Colour Splash – not the first two Paper Mario games that fans desperately want to see a proper sequel to.

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The Nintendo Switch: A Wii-U Owner’s Perspective Pt3

So far I’ve talked about why the Switch isn’t appealing to me right now and also the upcoming releases that potentially have the power to change my mind. The concluding part of my Switch ramblings is going to focus on the dream games that would certainly encourage me to part with my money if they were to ever see the light of day. Once more, I’ve organised my picks into a Top Five of no particular arrangement so without any further unnecessary talking…let’s go!

F-Zero

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Yes, it’s the game that people have been demanding for years from Nintendo who seem wholly disinterested in bringing Captain Falcon and lightspeed futuristic racing back to a console near you. It didn’t happen on the Wii and it didn’t happen on the Wii-U either but there were a few teases last generation with the F-Zero-inspired Fast Racing Neo plus the F-Zero DLC for Mario Kart 8. A proper F-Zero sequel though? Nah; you’re dreaming, boy! F-Zero GX on the Gamecube was a stunning game: super fast, skill-demanding and beautiful to look at. The soundtrack deserves a huge mention too for being so flippin’ awesome (I have the soundtrack CD and listen to it regularly). True, it was a collab effort with Sega (and some Namco input) but even so, it’s a tragedy that GX remains the last main game in the series at this point in time (I’m not 100% on the release dates of the various GBA games…) and if Nintendo were ever to finally follow it up with a new installment that was at least on par with GX quality-wise, then I would buy a Switch to play it.

Disaster: Day of Crisis

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One of the Wii’s true hidden gems, Disaster was a really fun survival game that mixed natural disaster survival with Time Crisis-style shooting sections to great effect. The Wii became known (sadly) for the many bad games that had motion controls shoe-horned in for no good reason other than to be seen to have implemented something. Disaster was one of those games that used motion controls in many different ways but in such ways that actually made sense and made you feel like you were interacting with the game rather than just flailing your arms for the hell of it. There was a cool first-person driving section for example, running away from walls of water or performing CPR. For a game that was stuck in development hell for a long time before finally surfacing, it was impressive that Day of Crisis managed to be so entertaining and that’s why I’d love a sequel. Yes, this is one instance where I would miss motion controls but give us another disaster scenario with some new characters and the same varied gameplay and I’d buy it for a dollar.

A proper Pokemon game

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By ‘proper’ I mean a full-on handheld style adventure in 3D on the big screen. This may actually be a possibility if Nintendo do indeed wind their dedicated handheld focus down and pour everything into the Switch given how it is both a home and portable machine. In the past though, we have been cheated (I like to think so anyway) on numerous occasions. The two Pokemon Stadium games on N64 were essentially glorified 3D battles, Pokemon Colisseum on the Gamecube was a heavily simplified take on the traditional formula and its direct sequel – XD: Gale of Darkness – insulted by being more of the same with recycled locations and assets from Colisseum. The rest have been filler games such as Pokemon Channel or the shallow Pokemon Battle Revolution. Imagine if they made a full-on 3D, free-roaming world in a similar vein to Zelda: Breath of the Wild but with a bit more focus on story and (obviously) a more densely populated world? Imagine actually flying on one of your bird Pokemon and searching for new locations or travelling the seas and seeking out new islands just like in Zelda: The Wind Waker? The possibilities are actually huge and even though I’ve kind of fallen out with the franchise after Diamond/Pearl, I’d jump straight back in if my dream style of game hit the Switch.

A proper Paper Mario game

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Once upon a time, Nintendo had an extremely endearing Mario spin-off RPG series on its hands. Packed full of charm, humour and challenge, these were seriously good RPG experiences with a beautiful art style to boot and so much creativity. I am of course only referring to the N64 and Gamecube installments of Paper Mario. I do personally like Super Paper Mario on the Wii but it was certainly different to what had come before. The real problems with the series began with Sticker Star on the 3DS and continued with Colour Splash on the Wii-U. It is said that Shigeru Miyamoto made the decision to bin off any original or Paper Mario-exclusive characters and this is why the newer games are populated with Toads, Koopas and…er…not much else. Bad gameplay design also reared its ugly head with certain areas of the games impassable unless you had a specific sticker or card which you may have to return to the hub world for and thus incur lots of painful, backtracking which needn’t have been necessary. Colour Splash did give out hints in advance in fairness but often by the way of cryptic clues which tended to frustrate rather than assist. The RPG style of the previous games was also severely watered-down and to cap it off, battles could often become impossible if you didn’t have the right stickers/cards. I did personally still enjoy these games to an extent (Colour Splash moreso) because the graphical style and creativity has never gone away but if Nintendo could give us a PROPER Paper Mario just like the old days then it would honestly be a system seller in my eyes.

Wave Race

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The recent Mario games prove that Nintendo knows how to make beautiful water that you’d just love to leap right into. Couple this with the fact that racing games have never really died in popularity and I can see a Switch sequel to Wave Race being a very fun game. It’s another franchise that Nintendo has left to die in the wilderness with only a brief jet ski racing segment in Wii Sports Resort giving Wave Race fans any hope that something may happen. The major obstacle to a Wave Race resurgence would obviously be its general lack of popularity or recognition amongst the traditional famous Nintendo franchises but since this is a fantasy list, I don’t care. Make it happen and I will open my wallet.

So that concludes my series of Switch-related posts. Perhaps I came across as quite negative about Nintendo’s current console in Part 1 but the truth is, there are games on the horizon that could tempt me as well as the above dream sequels which would DEFINITELY tempt me. Thing is though, even leaving aside the fact that I feel burned for being a Wii-U owner, I also have a PS4 and various older machines so for me to invest money and time into another console…well, I need to be persuaded a little harder than others maybe. Thanks for reading and I will hopefully be back with some more regular posts very soon…

The Nintendo Switch: A Wii-U Owner’s Perspective Pt.2

So last time (it’s been a while), I posted about why I haven’t been sold on the Nintendo Switch thus far despite being a Nintendo loyalist (in a non-rabid fanboy way) since the Gamecube. The release schedule of ports, upgraded Wii-U games and a general sense of feeling “forgotten” by Nintendo were my main reasons BUT I concluded by saying that I’d go away, have a look at the upcoming release schedule and report back with some games that might make me change my mind. Due to a bout of sickness (some form of super-cold of doom which is going around here in the UK right now) I haven’t been up to making that follow-up post but I’m back now with a Top Five list of upcoming Wii-U games that might tempt me to buy a Switch…

1. No More Heroes 3

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If you’ve read my discussion piece on Suda51 then you’ll know that I’m a bit of a fan of No More Heroes and Suda51 in general. The first two games were a bit ropey as far as the technical side of things went but were immense fun thanks to the sheer style being served up with many side orders of out-there wackiness. I’m no longer 100% confident in saying that a Suda51 game will be definite hit (thanks to a few recent efforts being a bit disappointing) and wouldn’t even say that the likes of NMH3 are antidotes to the mainstream that we desperately need anymore BUT I would still like to play this based on how much I enjoyed the two Wii predecessors. The teaser trailer looks promising too so fingers crossed.

2. Mario Tennis Aces

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Mario’s tennis outings have always been some of more enjoyable spin-offs starring Nintendo’s main man but recent installments have dropped the ball (hur, hur) somewhat. I didn’t play the 3DS version and the Wii-U’s Ultra Smash was widely regarded as a huge disappointment due to being a flimsy release with little content. Before that, the Wii received only a port of the Gamecube’s Power Tennis which in itself wasn’t a gold medal-winning game due to the divisive inclusion of super moves and the constant, unskippable cinematic animations that came as part of the deal. It’s actually the GBA version of Power Tennis that was considered to be last great Mario Tennis game and it isn’t hard see why. Gameplay was tight and addictive on the small screen and the accompanying story mode gave players something to sink their teeth into. It was a great game and it’s one that I still have on my shelf. Thankfully, Mario Tennis Aces is looking like it will make up for the run of disappointing sequels thanks to the inclusion of a story mode. I expect that the gameplay will be great as well and to be fair, that side of things hasn’t been the issue over recent years.

3. Fire Emblem Warriors

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Okay, I’m kind-of cheating here because this game is already out BUT it made it onto this list because…I hadn’t realised that it had already hit the store shelves months ago! How did that sneak out? Talk about not keeping up with release schedules…sheesh. Anyway, I like Fire Emblem and I like the Warriors games from Koei so this should really be exactly my kind of game. The only sticking point for me is that they went down the fanservice route and filled the roster with Awakening and Fates characters. Understandable seeing as how they have to shift copies of the game but I was hoping for some more variety and not just the usual suspects that we’ve come to expect recently such as Lucina, Robin and Camilla’s over-worked bra. There are no characters from Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn for example. Looks like decent fun but I would have to buy it cheap which is never going to happen with the words “Fire” and “Emblem” together on the front cover…

Before I move on though, I will also make an honourable mention for the brand-new (traditional) Fire Emblem game that is slated for a 2018 release. There is no information or images as of yet however so nothing to go on. I will remain cautious due to how I currently feel about the series and the direction that Nintendo/Intelligent Systems have taken in recent years but even so, it’s got to be worth keeping an eye on.

4. Shin Megami Tensei 5

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Before the increasingly-popular Persona series of RPG’s stole the limelight, Atlus also pumped out a fair few similarly dark (if not darker) RPG’s under the Shin Megami Tensei umbrella. In fact, many may forget that Persona 1-3 were released with the ‘SMT‘ prefix before the games finally found western fame and it was dropped. The “Megaten” games were great RPGs that offered something different and more niche versus the typical mainstream alternatives such as Final Fantasy and I’ve always been a big fan. Not much is known as of yet about Shin Megami Tensei V for the Switch but it’s being touted as an exclusive RPG for the system and it’s exactly the kind of thing that would make somebody like me sit up, look away from my Playstation and take notice. Of course, there’s every chance that Atlus might decide they need more return on their investment and also release SMT V for the PS4 but we aren’t privy to the details of their deal with Nintendo (if there is some sort of exclusitivity clause in action at all). For now, it makes my list.

5. Yoshi

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I was a huge fan of Yoshi’s Woolly World for the Wii-U. The game looked beautiful with its unique thread-based visuals and was actually an extremely tough challenge to achieve 100% on; far more so than the naysayers slating it as a “kiddy” game would have you believe. It was the creativity oozing from what was on-screen that made me fall in love (as with Kirby’s Epic Yarn on the Wii) with Woolly World and Yoshi for the Switch looks set to run with that. The footage so far shows off a heap of interesting twists on the tried-and-tested 2D platformer and I’m impressed that Nintendo can keep finding ways to make their quirky platformers feeling unique. I’m definitely looking forward to this one, whatever the proper title for the game will be.

So that’s my top five (or top four if you discount my sly bit of cheating!). The third and final part of this series of Nintendo Switch-themed posts will focus on the games that I’d LIKE to see produced for the Switch…the kind of things that would definitely make me rush out and splurge on a console of my own. With this being Nintendo, there are loads of franchises that could tempt a veteran gamer like me…