When PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale was announced it immediately drew comparisons to another popular game series, and it’s not hard to see why. All-Stars practically begs to be measured against Nintendo’s Smash Bros. franchise.
Normally I would try to avoid a point-for-point comparison of two titles, but All-Stars pulls so much from the Smash Bros. games—without even a hint of subtlety—that I think it’s only fair to compare the two, mercilessly. You can expect to find many such comparisons ahead.
Nintendo’s plush sumo returns to push and pull more blocks for your digital bucks, this time attempting to retrieve wayward birds instead of children. After an awkward attempt to greet a visiting girl frightens her birds away, players will need to help Mallo solve the puzzles of Papa Blox’s Crashmo course in order to rescue each and fix the situation.
Papa seems to have been busy since last year, with the most immediate change being the addition of gravity – meaning that pushing one block will cause the others above it to fall, and offering Intelligent Systems a fresh chance to cram the game’s stages full of puzzles that seem rather impossible, until I chill out and realize the solution is rather simple.
That’s usually the way it goes, except for the times it doesn’t. Those are the terrible times. The dark times. The times when I throw myself on the mercy of Papa Blox for advice and he tells me to try moving some blocks, and I want to cry just a little.
Then I remember I can just skip around it and try again later.
Mere words cannot adequately describe what it’s like to play Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead. No game has ever taken me on such an emotional roller coaster; no game has ever made me shed as many tears; and no game has ever made me feel like such of a piece of shit for doing what I thought was right.
This is the epitome of interactive storytelling; the level of artistry we have spent decades searching for, and the most human game I have ever played.
Based on the comic series created by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore, The Walking Dead is the story of life after the zombie apocalypse. While that may sound like a played out cliché, the series has always set itself apart by focusing on the human side of the story, rather than the traditional joyous killing sprees and high body counts. Unfortunately, in the case of the TV adaptation by Frank Darabont for AMC, they’ve decided to exploit this drama and bastardize the story into a run-of-the-mill soap opera.
Telltale has shown their intelligence and resolve by avoiding falling into the melodrama trap and creating a work of fiction that is genuinely moving, without being positively cartoony.
Not unlike an exotic space parasite, Nintendo Land wants to keep me alive so that it can feed on me. It needs some piece of me to populate its virtual space, and I need to keep playing it to see what happens next.
It all starts off rather innocently as one checks into the Plaza and meets Monita, the robotic guide that lays down the rules for each of the park’s attractions, shortly thereafter cutting players loose to explore the twelve different games Nintendo offers as a gateway to understanding the relationship between your television and the Wii U gamepad. Playing these games then rewards players with coins, which can be spent on another game in the attempt to win objects that are displayed throughout your park.
And then Nintendoland does something new for Nintendo, offering players the chance to throw open the doors of their park to an online community, sorta. The act causes crowds of foreign Miis to wander around that space. Regardless of where other players are, copies of their avatars are walking through countless parks, their greeting messages displayed overhead to show everything from Zelda sketches to one Mii’s clever message “Has anyone seen my kids?”
Suddenly I’m moving through the park to read each blurb in some strange social console experiment, and despite every legitimate word against Nintendo’s long standing resistance to online gaming, the signature charm of the company’s designs have come from behind to offer something that grasps the online space in ways few of us could have anticipated.
There’s a monument at Edwin’s farm, a simple stone statue meant to commemorate the short life of Duchess, the firey panda. My intent was to create a fire panda that could conceivably shoot fire and fly, but a misinterpretation of words saw Duchess come to life while also on fire, at which point she proceeded to burn her little hearts away and die. I suppose such mistakes are bound to happen when granting God-like powers to people like me.
Despite 5th Cell’s attempt to directly furnish players with as much quirky narrative potential as possible, the enduring charm remains the accidental stories waiting to be discovered as players push against the walls of the test chamber here.
I’d like to suggest that how far your imagination can test those limits against the necessary restraints that bind the game onto a disc will determine the long term value being offered, but that’s not entirely true. Scribblenauts Unlimited is more about testing how long players will persist in trying to do anything they are allowed to imagine, before surrendering to the demands of a game that necessitates more narrow actions than the seemingly open world of unbridled creation suggests.
Nintendo’s successor to the Wii has landed, aiming to maintain the dominance of the Wii while raising the processing power that cost the Wii plenty of third party titles – not that the system severely lacked unique third party offerings all its own, there were just very few of us who ever seemed to buy them.
As with anytime new hardware arrives, I’ll claim to have no proper idea of how one judges and measures a device that does more to lay the foundation for future developments versus turning the gaming industry on its ear overnight – of course I’ll fumble through an attempt all the same. I’m not so concerned about being on the right side of history with my opinions, but rather with getting you as much information as possible.
With that said, I hope you’ll read on for a closer look at the hardware and my initial attempts to field the most pressing questions for anyone considering taking the leap this year – and your questions are the most important ones, so please hit me up in the comments and I’ll work to answer any and all questions you have.
From the Acorn Plains to the Rocky-Candy Mines, the road to Princess Peach’s castle is littered with tiny details, signs of attention that haven’t graced the Mushroom Kingdom since the last time a 2D Super Mario Bros. game launched alongside a new Nintendo console – for those keeping score at home, I’m of course referring to Super Mario World, which released with the Super Nintendo back in 1990.
Nintendo still assigns numbers to the myriad of stages within each zone, but also includes subtitles for each, lending some insight into the hurdles Mario and company face, but more importantly, adding a bit more personality to the endeavor – from Porcupuffer Falls to Which-Way Labyrinth, with a stopover at Walking Piranha Plants!
The name game here is one very small example of an enthusiasm that has somehow been renewed despite Mario’s burden of supporting two consoles simultaneously. When you add up the layers of attention spread throughout this curious new world, it’s easy to suggest that the plump plumber is embarking on his most energetic 2D adventure since the 1990 classic that lends overdue inspiration here.
And yet, the greatest accomplishment may be that the game also showcases Nintendo’s new hardware with less gimmick and more of an invitation to play with company, while not inhibiting the option to play solo.