A lovingly crafted refresh of Mario's RPG legacy
Super Mario RPG is one of the first video games I have memories of. Releasing in 1996, it represented a bold new idea for the Mario franchise through the collaboration of Square-Enix (formerly Squaresoft) and Nintendo, with its colorful and aesthetically pleasing art direction, fascinating new world for Mario to explore, and bevy of original characters. It would go on to be regarded as one of the best Mario games on SNES, while also spawning multiple successor titles that would branch into their own sub-series of Mario games each with their own spin on its vision. Naturally, with such a successful legacy, it only makes sense that a remake would roll around eventually given the game’s reputation—even if this remake took about three decades! After such a long time for a game to be deeply embroidered in the minds of its fans, can a remake live up to the legacy of its source material?
Stache, panache, and flash: Wonder has it all.
It’s hard to remember the last time I played a 2D Mario game that felt really fresh. It’s been over 10 years since New Super Mario Bros. U, and while the Mario Maker games have existed in that interim period to give players a way to craft their own 2D Mario experience, Super Mario Bros. Wonder stands as Nintendo’s attempt to revitalize 2D Mario and deliver a new entry in the franchise worthy of its name, a pretty difficult task after all of the New games have run their course. Does Wonder live up to its title and the legacy of the Mario franchise?
A hot and cold entry to Sonic's 2D legacy.
Ah, 2D Sonic. Such a long and storied series of games spanning from the 90s all the way until now. Yes, that’s right! We’ve finally been graced with a brand new 2D Sonic game following Sonic Mania’s release in 2017. Classic Sonic’s been through a lot in that period, softly reintroduced to the general public through the release of Sonic Origins, Sonic Superstars aims to bring this iteration of Sonic into the modern era with style. Sporting an entirely original set of levels and the promise of high-speed, intense platforming action, does Sonic Superstars deliver?
Adds a lot of fun, but nothing groundbreaking
Roughly one year ago, Sonic Origins was released on Nintendo Switch and other digital platforms. In my review, I stated that the collection was pretty comprehensive as far as Sonic’s commonly recognized “best” outings are concerned, noting that it was nice to have all of the widescreen ports of these games in one place. This was in spite of some cohesion issues, such as the features themselves and even the basic “feel” of each game in the collection.
Here we are one year later at the launch of its DLC expansion pack, aptly titled “Sonic Origins Plus.” With this, SEGA and Headcannon have made an effort to not only improve the value of the package itself alongside a physical release copy, but add brand new content that makes it all the more enticing. Without further ado, let’s take a look at what makes this version of the game so much better than the original release.
Blue blurring the lines between past and future
Sonic’s 3D outings have a complicated and interesting journey that’s impossible to chart. That said, ever since the first Sonic Adventure, one thing’s remained constant. At their heart, 3D Sonic games have been linear, course-based affairs like their 2D brethren. Whether it’s the Dreamcast classics or the games that fall under the “Boost” umbrella (as coined by fans), this has been the golden rule.
Celebrating the legacy of Super Mario Bros. 1
Super Mario Bros. is an iconic game that needs no introduction. Nintendo’s smash hit platformer, released in September 1985 on the Famicom and later that same year for the NES, essentially defined the basic skeleton of the platformer genre on home consoles. To this very day, Super Mario Bros. stands the test of time as a noteworthy video game release, being a part of the official Video Game Hall of Fame.
All of the Classic Sonic titles in one place....with caveats
There’s no 2D platformer franchise I can think of more intimate with re-releases than Sonic the Hedgehog. This isn’t a knock or an insult, either! When it comes to availability, there’s a good chance no matter what console or handheld you’re playing on, you have access to a 2D Sonic game of some kind; generally either the full selection of or a partial selection of the 16-bit games that lifted up the Sonic franchise to the status it has today.
A glimpse at Nintendo's innovative Super Famicom add-on
April 23rd marks a very special day in Nintendo history; the day when the Satellaview launched in Japan! What is the Satellaview, exactly? It’s a weird little piece of Nintendo’s history, of course! Not only was it a fairly advanced, technically-interesting combo of hardware and software, it also housed a bunch of really unique games that have sadly been lost to time. It stands as one of Nintendo’s many experimental, weird console add-ons alongside things like the eReader, and oddities from other companies, such as SEGA’s own SEGA Channel.
Celebrating Mar10 day with some hidden games
Happy Mar10 day, everyone! Acknowledged officially by Nintendo since December 2016, March 10th serves as a day to reminisce about our favorite plumber-turned-doctor-turned kart racer turned…just about everything under the sun, really! Mario truly is the delightful little Renaissance Man of video games, so it’s appropriate we eke out a day to really celebrate his storied legacy across numerous titles. Whether they be the charming and exciting cosmic journeys he takes in the Super Mario Galaxy games, or even the humble, yet imaginative trip he embarks on in Super Mario Bros. 3, there’s many a great moment to be shared. After all, Mario’s been around for nearly 41 years!
But…let’s wind that back a little bit to my “everything under the sun” comment. I could write about those games I just mentioned (Super Mario Bros. 3 in particular!), but I want to shine the spotlight on a different set of Mario games. Mario games that have fallen out of cultural canon, be it due to a Japanese-only release (this is very frequently the case with titles in the 80s and 90s), or a required console accessory. These games are incredibly fascinating; their existence a testament to how different the Mario brand was back then, and proof that every long-lasting franchise has some really interesting history to dig up if you look hard enough. Without further ado, let’s look at some of Mario’s most strange and overlooked titles!
A quick look at Square-Enix's upcoming RPG
If you’re looking for a brand new Strategy RPG in the vein of Final Fantasy Tactics or the Disgaea franchise, Triangle Strategy might be just the Switch title to look into. Developed collaboratively by Ardlink and Square Enix, and spearheaded by producer Tomoya Asano of Bravely Default and Octopath Traveler fame, Triangle Strategy aspires to that same pantheon by offering satisfying, yet familiar gameplay elements for the genre, along with new ideas present in both gameplay and story progression.
Triangle Strategy is set on the continent of Norzelia, and focuses on three countries within: Glenbrook, Aesfrost, and Hyzante. Players follow Serenoa Wolffort of House Wolffort in Glenbrook, and his closest allies, consisting of his fiance Frederica Aesfrost, Prince Roland of Glenbrook, and his advisor Benedict Pascal. They are thrust into an intense geopolitical conflict between the three nations over the scarcity of natural resources, and unfortunately, the only way to survive the dispute is to fight their way out.