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

A Sweet 16 For New Super Mario Bros.

It was New alright.

15 May 2022
by benmagnet 9
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Turing 16 is a big deal for some people. It’s when teenagers can get their driver’s licenses, earn more freedoms from their parents, or throw the biggest party they can get away with. While Mario isn’t a stranger to big celebrations, one series has been quietly hanging out on the sidelines. The series in question is New Super Mario Bros and while the sequels aren’t really regarded with the highest of praise, it’s the first game of this franchise that is still regarded as the pinnacle.


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It seems when Nintendo isn’t giving fans what they’ve been dying for, indie developers step it up. Undertale did it for the Earthbound fans, Hollow Knight did it for the Metroidvania fans, and now *Astrodogs * is attempting to help out the *Star Fox * fans. While this game gives a valiant effort, there are still a few problems that more casual fans might not be so keen on.


Celebrating the GBA SP on its 19th anniversary

Lighting The Way 19 Years Later

23 March 2022
by benmagnet 8
Image credit: Yeahyuhk
Image credit: Yeahyuhk

It might be hard to believe, but Nintendo’s first upgrade to the GBA is nearly 20 years old. March 23rd marks the 19th anniversary of the GBA SP’s release in North America; a platform that launched just 2 years after the GBA itself. Since its release, the GBA SP has become the go-to handheld for those who want to revisit the Game Boy Advance library, and thanks to backwards compatibility, it’s perfect for Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, too.

In honor of the GBA SP’s 19th anniversary, let’s take a look back at this amazing upgrade to an already amazing handheld.


Gem Wizards Tactics: A Review

Shining Gem or Dull Rock?

03 March 2022
by benmagnet 0
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Tactical games have seen a big boom as of late. This year we’re getting Triangle Strategy, Metal Slug Tactics, Advance Wars 1+2 Reboot Camp, and a remake of Front Mission, all for the Switch. However, if you aren’t in the mood for a story-heavy tactical RPG, then Keith Burgun’s Gem Wizards Tactics could be for you. It has some great pixel art and crazy-looking characters, but there are some glaring issues with the game, especially in the Switch version.

Let’s start with some of the good. Aside from nice-looking pixel art and a more pastel color palette for the genre, Gem Wizards Tactics (GWT) twists the tactical aspect by having an out of bounds. All battles take place on a randomly generated field with different terrain. If you manage to knock an enemy unit off the map, then they’re done for. GWT also moves away from the Fire Emblem approach to losing units. Here, if a unit dies in battle, you get them back in the next fight. There are several different factions and each one is unique. Each faction design has a ton of character, and each unit offers a specific set of skills. There’s a faction full of sentient potatoes (yes, you read that right), business-suited demons, punk rock-loving skeletons with a flair for activism, and a cyber punk group of hackers. There’s even a faction with knights and mages found in a traditional fantasy setting, but the world of GWT is anything but traditional.

The game modes of GWT consist of a Tutorial, Campaign, Mission, and Derby’s Story. If you were looking for any sort of storyline to this game, then Derby’s Story is where you’re going to find it. Unfortunately, the story is super short, and the writing isn’t the best. There are some decent jokes in there that gave me a small chuckle, but other than that, it fell flat. Outside of the opening cinematic and Derby’s Story, there really is no storyline.

The campaign mode is a single player match where you control 1 faction and complete missions to control the Omni-Gem (the main Gem in the game). You have to complete 8 missions or so to access the Omni-Gem mission, and once you beat it with one faction, you can try again with a different faction. While playing these missions, you can save other units and they’ll join your fight. There are also treasure chests to collect on the maps that offer both gold and items. However, if you fail a mission in the middle of a campaign, you’ll have to start the campaign all over again, and you lose everything. While the missions are short, this can get annoying, especially when you’re close to the end of a campaign.


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