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4 matches since our March 2022 relaunch. For older content, check the GN Archive.

Celebrating 23 Years of Super Smash Bros.

Yes, it's been that long since its American release!

27 April 2022
by anthonyp 4

I still remember seeing the original Smash Bros. for the first time in Tips & Tricks magazine. For anyone too young to remember that monthly tome of guides and codes, it had an import corner detailing the latest hits in the Japanese market, and one such issue detailed “Nintendo All-Star! Great Fray Smash Brothers.” The feature promised the stuff of playground discourse: an all-out brawl between Nintendo’s finest. I might not have known what a “Samus Aran” was, but from Mario smacking Pikachu to Yoshi aiming a gun at Fox McCloud (Complete with the gut-busting caption “Yoshi with a gun? It hardly seems right.”), the crossover concept lit my imagination aflame and demanded my immediate attention.

Selling over five million copies, what was eventually localized as 1999’s Super Smash Bros. captivated the Nintendo public with its intuitive accessibility. Anyone can recognize the appeal behind Mario vs Link, but can everyone handle layered controls like those of Street Fighter and Tekken? Here, there are no mind-bending button combinations to unleash Mario’s Fireball: just a simple press of the B button, and you have yourself a scorched Kirby marshmallow.

Is Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Booster Course Wave 1 A First Place Finish or False Start?

Can the Booster Course glide past its rusty graphics?

30 March 2022
by anthonyp 6

To claim that Mario Kart 8 Deluxe’s Booster Course pack is “generous” would be an understatement – we’re talking about 48 remastered courses implemented over the next year-and-a-half. All this for a 2017 racing game (or, more accurately, one that originally released in 2014)! With many series veterans turned off by the microtransaction-heavy Mario Kart Tour and its awkward controls, their desire for a straight-up sequel meets the unfortunate impasse of financial reality; Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still selling big numbers five years after the fact, and Nintendo’s not about to undermine that Golden Mushroom-fueled momentum. In that event, why not display a gesture of goodwill by letting fans take a grand tour down Mario Kart history at a low price? (At no additional cost if you’re a Nintendo Switch Online subscriber!)

And yet, much as we’ve been enjoying our return to the world’s best kart-racer, not everything is well on Mario Circuit. As the hype following the initial trailer settled down, it quickly became apparent that the new tracks’ graphical fidelity weren’t up to par with the ultra-detailed aesthetics from the base game; in fact, some closer analyses all but proved Nintendo was brushing up ported Mario Kart Tour tracks, as opposed to rebuilding these courses from the ground-up. Combined with the absence of anti-gravity – Mario Kart 8’s signature visual and gameplay attraction – and it’s rendered rather obvious that the Booster Course is but a budget stop-gap for the next big Mario Kart.

Chocobo GP Review - It'll make you go Kweh!

...until you realize it's microsanction-city, that is.

10 March 2022
by anthonyp 10

It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that Chocobo GP bears little tonal resemblance to its Final Fantasy progenitors, what with the brooding sadsacks and multi-layered epics substituted by deformed, doe-eyed Behemoths and kiddie cartoon escapades. Yet, there’s something to be said about Chocobo GP’s own tonal dissonance. Within a span of three minutes, we’re treated to an opening cinematic accompanied by a rock guitar, a gritty, cutthroat version of the Chocobo theme arranged with all the brutality of a monster truck rally, and then a peppy sing-along for the main menu that’d be right at home on Nick Jr. (“Ah, how well we get along~ But oh, when the race is on~ No one can stop me on my way! Straight! To vict-tory!”)

Alas, I’m unfamiliar with the original Chocobo Racing, so I can’t claim if such discordance was present within the 1999 PlayStation racer. That said, I find myself oddly charmed by it all – it’s one cog in how earnestly Chocobo GP engages in its off-beat identity. The roster cameos, along with a plethora of references and in-jokes elevate the tongue-in-cheek story mode, which certainly doesn’t dismiss the game’s prestigious Final Fantasy origins. That’s all well and good, but it’s the predominantly self-contained cast and world that welcome us into a wholesome little kart racer that’s just fun to dive into, regardless if one is familiar with Square-Enix’s RPG franchise or not.

Kirby and the Forgotten Land Preview

Prep for your journey into the Forgotten Land!

25 February 2022
by anthonyp 2

2022 is shaping up to be quite the birthday for Nintendo’s cutest mascot; Kirby. Yes, the pink puffball is celebrating his 30th anniversary this April 27th – the Japanese release date for the original Kirby’s Dream Land– and The Big N’s wasting no time dumping a boatload of commemorative merch (My poor wallet!). While previous anniversaries were celebrated via the heartfelt Kirby’s Dream Collection anthology pack and the grand Kirby 25th Anniversary Orchestra Concert, this is the first Kirby anniversary event to launch with a big, mainline entry in Kirby and the Forgotten Land. What better way for series developer HAL Laboratory to celebrate the precious boy’s 30th year than with his big jump to fully-realized 3D?

Obviously, Kirby’s new Switch game won’t be an industry-defining revolution in the vein of Super Mario 64, but it’s not trying to be. Instead, Kirby and the Forgotten Land takes a page from Super Mario 3D World’s playbook by utilizing three-dimensional movement within straightforward obstacle courses. In this manner, Kirby’s gold standard for approachable gameplay is carefully juggled within this new, unfamiliar playground. This creates an inviting bridge for both beginners and veterans alike, allowing everyone to explore abandoned vistas in towering castles, colorful carnivals, and arid deserts surrounding a derelict, dilapidated shopping center.

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