Super Mario Maker Review

Super Mario Maker Building Tools

Spoilers: Super Mario Maker is so much fun! Super Mario Maker takes all of the things (well, almost all) we know and love from Mario over the last 30 years and packages it all up into what is by far the biggest and potentially never-ending Mario game ever made.

Super Mario Maker allows players to create their very own Mario levels using graphic styles, doodads, enemies, bosses, and gameplay mechanics from all of the 2D side-scrolling Mario games. In addition to making and playing your own levels, players can go to the Course World and download levels made by other players all over the world.

Course Maker Mode

The creation tools are phenomenal. I can’t imagine them working much better than this in terms of functionality. The experience is so seamless and smooth that you can literally place something, click play, and test it out on the spot. There aren’t load times or transitions — it’s instantaneous. The developers wanted this experience to be smooth, and they nailed it.

Here’s where the gamepad shines and no other consoles can compete. Being able to use the stylus to drag/drop and manipulate two screens is a must.

My biggest criticism of the make mode has nothing to do with what’s in the game. Everything in the game is fantastic. I’m more bummed about what wasn’t included, and hope that we’ll see it patched in soon. Here are a few things I’ve noticed that are missing:

  • Scenery: Desert, Beach, Forest, Snow
  • Tanooki Suit Mario
  • Ice Flower
  • Colored Yoshi
  • Wind

The list is actually extensive and growing, which leads me to believe we’re either going to see DLC, or if Nintendo treats this like they did Splatoon we may see this added for free. Fingers crossed. [Read more…]

Disney Infinity 3.0 Overview and Review

Disney Infinity 3.0

I almost don’t even know where to begin with my coverage of Disney Infinity 3.0 because the game itself is so massive in scope that tackling the entire thing at once feels way too daunting for both me to type up and for you to even want to read in one sitting. I decided the best thing to do would be to cover various aspects of the game in different entries, document some of what I write about in casual Let’s Play videos, and go from there.

Today’s post is going to be a little bit of a broad overview. I’m going to attach Episode 1 of my Let’s Play series for you to see some of these things I’m talking about. This will act as my review for the game itself overall. I will review each of the items sold separately for you to be able to make an educated decision on whether or not they are worth the purchase.

What is Disney Infinity 3.0?

Disney Infinity 3.0 is the third game in what what has grown from a simple Skylanders rip off into a juggernaut of a game. As I mentioned before, the scope of DI is huge. There’s a toy box where you can build everything from Disney to Star Wars to Marvel themed worlds, create your own games and script them with in-game tools — yes, you can even make isometric MOBAs in this thing — and decorate a house. There’s even the ability to download other players’ toy boxes.

You can also play through story-driven Play Sets which act as action/adventure games. So far there are three Play Sets released — two for Star Wars and one for Inside Out — which I will review independently. There’s Twilight of the Republic ($34.99) which takes place in the clone wars era, and Rise Against the Empire ($34.99) which spans New Hope through RotJ. I haven’t picked up Inside Out yet, but I’ll probably grab it soon. Oh, if you buy it be sure to get it in the Inside Out Bundle exclusive to Amazon for $65.

Disney Infinity 3.0 Play Sets

Looking for something a little more like Diablo? A dungeon crawler of sorts? Yep, there’s a game for that called Toy Box Takeover ($20). There’s even upcoming Toy Box expansion called Toy Box Speedway which is a Mario Kart-esque racer. I have no idea when that comes out. I will also review these independently since they are each sold separately. [Read more…]

So Many Games. So Little Time.

I hope you all had a great [Labor Day] Weekend whether you spent it gaming up a storm or spending time with family. I managed to do a little bit of both. My wife and I did the family BBQ thing on Saturday, then went to Disneyland yesterday and managed to get into the park an hour early during their “Magic Hour” that is supposed to be reserved for Disneyland Hotel guests. A sweet elderly cast member let us in saying, “They usually don’t let us do this, but come on in.” We went on 5 rides before the gates opened and the apocalypse was upon us.

In terms of games, I haven’t been in this good of a spot in years. I have this anxious happiness about me now that was previously filled with this “ugh” feeling. The days of having nothing to do are like a distant memory. I now have a massive onset of games that I am trying to wade my way through.

SoraKingdom Hearts -> I’m playing through for my very first time. I probably won’t get to any formal writeup on this, unless enough people express interest, so this is where I’ll deposit some thoughts. KH is hard. Not necessarily in the fighting mechanics or beating bosses — though those can be a challenge — but in the ‘figuring things out’ kind of way. Just finding our where the game wants me to go next requires exploring guessing.

My wife and I are playing through this together, and as huge Disney fans its doesn’t get much better than this for gaming. The story is complex, nonsensical at parts, but slowly coming together. If you like Disney, Square, and a good RPG/adventure game of sorts then give the series a try. Warning: It starts slow.

Some other games I’m playing:

  • Diablo 3 – Currently able to solo T9 GRifts in Season 4 with absolute ease. T10 is doable, but a challenge. I have all of the items I need for my build, and now I’m just trying to get lucky and find better versions of them.
  • Disney Infinity 3.0 – Lots of write-ups coming your way for this one, and a few videos too. I’m even doing some Let’s Plays.
  • Rare Replay – So many games…. so little time.
  • World of Warcraft – I’m level 98 and leveling faster than I would like. I’m still in the 3rd zone and will be 100 long, long before I come even close to being done with quests. Mobs I’m currently fighting at 4-5 levels below me. Having a great time with the story.
  • Mario Maker – Not yet playing but will be in 3 days. Make almost any Mario level, play levels other people make? Oh yeah.

Reviews Coming Soon

  • Disney Infinity 3.0
  • Mario Maker

This might be the first time I have ever had games going on this many consoles and the PC at the same time. #FirstWorldProblems

Lots to come on my experiences. I just have to find time to take a breath and come up for air every once in a while.

Yooka-Laylee: Spiritual Successor to Banjo-Kazooie

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSSSS!

Spiritual Successor to Banjo-Kazooie? Awesome, but back to the roots of what made N64 platformers amazing? Heck yeah!

Just a quick look at the video above, and before I even knew who was on the project I was thinking to myself that this visually looks like Banjo-Kazooie meets Viva Pinata with a bit of Donkey Kong. Sure enough, it’s a lot of the same people!

God bless people who look around and say to themselves, “Hey, this idea worked. This worked really well. People loved this. We’re good at making that kind of game. There’s a need for this n the market.  Let’s try to recreate the kind of game people loved.” See what happens when you just focus on making something people love, identifying a need in a market, and moving toward fulfilling that need? You don’t have to worry about chasing money. It will come to you — in under 40 minutes!

Yooka-Laylee was funded in Kickstarter in ~40 minutes. Playtonic Games only wanted £175,000 and at the time of writing this post they are 450% funded with £790,000 and rising. If Google is correct, that’s roughly $1.2 Million.

While I’m not backing because I can’t tie up money I don’t have right now in a Kickstarter, I am going to buy Yooka-Laylee for the Wii U when it launches.

I have never played a Mega Man game

Until now!

It’s always been my secret shame, and something that I’ve always been embarrassed to admit, but the truth is I have never played a Mega Man game until quite recently. Honestly I blame it on the fact that I owned a Master System rather than an NES and never had a Playstation 1. I should also probably not admit that I haven’t played any of the early Castlevania games but we only have enough time for so much shame.

So how did my first Mega Man experience come about? Why, after all of this, time did I finally play a Mega Man game? Well all through August there is a new Mega Man game being added to the virtual console service on Wii U. So which game was the first one I played?! Mega Man Battle Network! Whaaaat?! An offshoot game? Does that even count? These questions and more must be rushing through your mind but it is in fact the truth. It looked fun so I tried it out and immediately loved it. I have a vague recollection of the cartoon on Saturday mornings, but other than that I went in blind. Basically the game centers around a kid named LAN and his Net Navi named MegaMan.exe. You can jack into various electronics and send Mega Man onto the net and so on. The combat is actually pretty cool too. You move around on a grid in real-time firing your buster at viruses and the like. When your meter fills you can utilize various chips to perform special shots and attacks or other supportive functions. It’s pretty freakin’ sweet.

Some time later I did feel like I owed it to the series to try out the original games. I got my hands on the old Mega Man Anniversay collection and gave it a go. I mean, how hard could it be if kids in the 80’s could beat them? Obviously that’s a completely stupid sentiment since 80’s hard doesn’t just refer to rock music. I never knew how brutal these games could be and my self-respect and self-worth was seriously compromised. After many, many attempts and a lot of swearing I was finally able to beat the first Mega Man game. I wanted to feel excited but knew that there were 9 other games in the original series just left me feeling overwhelmed. I did try out Mega Man 2 but there is only so much ass-kicking I can take. I opted instead to try out the Mega Man X series and I’m actually enjoying the first game a lot. It is very hard but the pretty colors and added features make going back difficult.

So there it is: my first few Mega Man experiences and only a few decades too late. I’m actually a little hooked on the series now and my Amazon cart is stuffed with a few titles. I guess it’s proof that it is never to late to try something new and enjoy it. On the other hand I now feel incredibly depressed that the Mega Man series seems to be pretty dead. At least we will get to see him in the new Smash Bros. game.