Review: Splatoon - Staying Fresh [Update]

Original Review: June 28, 2015

1-up mushrooms mean nothing in modern Super Mario games. If you run out of lives, a negligible 'Game Over' flashes on screen. A meaningless lives counter, like many other Nintendo ideas, shows their stubbornness to change and adapt. It's why their hardware still uses Friend Codes and lacks digital license ownership.

When Splatoon, Nintendo's online third person-shooter, lacks basic party systems, region filters and voice chat, I can't I'm surprised. But just like a pointless lives counter, I grudgingly deal with the unintelligible multiplayer design. Splatoon drips with imagination when you customize Inklings and spread ink everywhere, making the unnecessary restrictions an even greater blunder.

Review: Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon - Housing secrets

I always wanted a sequel to Luigi's Mansion, I just can't remember why.

In December of 2001 when my father bought me a GameCube a few months before my ninth birthday, any game even close to Mario would fulfill all of my Christmas and birthday wishes. If I try to remember what I loved about Luigi's Mansion, only images of the final, ruthless boss fight and fake doors swinging open and slamming Luigi against the wall come to mind. For many new people, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon will begin their experience with Luigi's ghost busting trips. For the veterans, Dark Moon will bring forth only facades of decade old memories.

The simple puzzles and forgiving difficulty of Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon won't sustain long durations of play, but the cleverly hidden secrets and an abundance of cheerful moments makes the exploration of each mansion a worthwhile experience for all.

Review: Fire Emblem Awakening - A lethal pairing

Do you know which game Marth and Ike belong to? I didn`t, yet I never questioned their existence in Super Smash Brothers. I accepted the fact that they came from a Nintendo franchise without ever stopping to think of which one exactly.

Fire Emblem Awakening made me realize that both Marth and Ike belonged to the Fire Emblem franchise - a franchise with a relatively small audience. Fire Emblem targeted people looking for a challenging grid based strategy game who also didn't fear the consequence of their character's permanent death.

With the inclusion of a Casual mode - which disables permanent death and enables manual saves any at time during battle - Fire Emblem Awakening's accessibility welcomes audiences beyond the punishment seeking community. With new modes introduced, Fire Emblem Awakening can produce a variety of difficulty settings for each player's specific desires, removing the barrier between a frustrating strategy game and an addictive one.

Review: New Super Mario Bros. U - New console, same Mario

Placing a "New" label before the title "Super Mario Bros. U" is a lie. Four games ago, when the New Super Mario Bros. franchise first appeared on the DS, the return to Mario's 2D side scrolling roots felt like a new experience, although a familiar one. 

With a brand new console to allow Nintendo's first venture into the HD era, expecting a different Mario experience, even at launch, does not seem like an unreasonable expectation. Despite new hardware and expanded limitations, New Super Mario Bros. U recycles the old ideas belonging to the 3 previous "New" Mario titles and creates one uninteresting, but familiar, Mario game.

Review: 3DS XL - Size matters

Handheld gaming has always been a problem for me as I could never successfully find a comfortable position to play in. To use such small devices naturally means that you will either have to hold it up to your face, or require you to hunch over to get a decent view of the screen. Whenever I played my Nintendo DS, I often shifted positions from sitting in a chair, lying on my back, side or stomach. The PSP, although I don't own one, provided a larger viewing area for playing, but I was not interested in games that replicated a console experience. Nintendo's evolution of their glasses free 3D handheld, the 3DS XL, is a device that is perfect for supplementing larger experiences on consoles or PC, all the while proving to be comfortable to play. As long as there is a legitimate reason for why you want to own the 3DS XL, the growing software library and excellent hardware design will counteract any shortcomings or gimmicks that are quickly apparent.

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