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.

Now Playing: League of Legends

While playing StarCraft 2, I often saw the rumblings between its e-Sports community and the much larger community of League of Legends. I first played League of Legends a few years ago and quit after about twenty minutes. At the time, I remember receiving no helpful instruction or indication of the main goals. And just like many other free-to-play games that leave a bad first impression, I quickly gave up.

I typically don't stay attached to free-to-play games for very long, and with no obligation through monetary ties, League of Legends didn't fare any better. For the past month however, I spent a lot of time with League of Legends. When you know people who willingly help you and will stay patient (for the most part) while you learn how to play, the learning curve doesn't seem so steep.

Review: Borderlands 2 - A Vault not worth hunting

I believed if I collected enough junk shields and single shell shotguns that I eventually wouldn't be so bored with Borderlands 2. Only about an hour in, scepticism to whether I would even finish, let alone begin a second playthrough, already began to develop. All the positive and glowing feedback said up until and after the release, made me question whether or not I failed to see the brilliance. But I know of that brilliance - I dumped over 50 hours into the first Borderlands and all of its DLC. After 25 levels as a Siren, the unsettling familiarity and the unsatisfying reward for the patience the progression requires ruined any desire to ever play more Borderlands

My visits to New Mombasa

For some, on a DVD rack somewhere, rests a movie they will re-watch. On a shelf somewhere, rests a book they will reread. On a disc or cartridge somewhere, rests a game they will re-play. For a piece of media to captivate someone much to warrant multiple revisits, must do something that never becomes stale.

Until last year, I never owned that kind of game, and I would suspect that its occurrence remains a rare occasion. Every year or so, usually during the colder seasons, I re-play Halo 3: ODST.

Halo 3: ODST never struck me as a game I would occasionally revisit, especially since I never owned a copy of the game until recently. But something about that soundtrack just sounds perfect to my ears. For a while I thought the soundtrack represented the only reason for my revisits, yet listening to it alone does not satisfy.

Review: Fez - Plus minus

How could you not be immediately impressed with a game developed by 2 people? The time spent, money invested and sacrifices made in order to complete a video game, prove the difficulty in developing a successful one.

I often wonder about the indie development process and the reasoning for the implementation of certain mechanics, or the inclusion of a specific level. But once I stop thinking about the process, the size of the development team no longer matters - I am equally critical for each game. After playing through Fez twice already, the end game, the secrets accessible through the New Game + option, will only leave those who willingly invest their patience and time ultimately satisfied.

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