52 Games a Year 2021 Edition/ Game Record 2021:
  • 4: Super Mario 3D World + Bowsers Fury (Switch) 10/10

    Great package, SM3DW predictably hasn't aged a day.  Really professional game by people who know what they're doing even if they're not fully showing off.  It makes me happy to play, to listen to, to look at.  Everything looks like it is made out of dessert.  There is the odd level I didn't like and I generally didn't care for the time limits (except for when levels are based around them) but there's not much I don't like.  Awesome Switch fare that's as suited to handheld as big screen gaming.

    I liked Bowsers Fury on the whole but as the other write ups have covered it doesn't quite come together.  I think the lurking giant Bowser thing a great concept that could work but it mostly just frustrated.  Always seemed to pop up when I was in the middle of something and I wanted him to bugger off.  I'm convinced it could me expanded into a top game though, with a bigger world, more animals to ride, more giant bosses to fight, a better balance of when they show up (maybe an item to make them not appear, or they're guaranteed to not appear at certain parts.  I don't know).  More of a curiosity than something I'll probably play again, though.
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • monkey wrote:
    I didn't realise anyone had played it. Where's your review?

    A couple of pages back (Olija). I'm useless at updating the OP.

    Bowser's Fury question, as we're exerts in here now. What does the item do that's all the way to the right? They were quite scarce but when I used one it just seemed to turn me into a cat.
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    5. Super Mario 3D World

    I just cleared the final level with everything and am at the point now where it is time to go back and get flagpoles for all other characters, which like a chump, I will do as it is a while until Monster Hunter / Bravely Default.
    But.. I dunno, I didn't feel the same about this, and the return visit from WiiU has not been kind to it for me. I'm possibly coloured having come off the back of three open world games in the 3D All Stars Collection, but this felt like... Mario 3 to me (I really dislike that game for the too-short and kinda dull levels).

    The first time I played it, myself and Fisher ran through it together and I guess that was part of the fun. There is definitely something lost with the removal of the WiiU gimmicks, too. It is still wildly inventive, better than 85% of other games out there, but I guess I didn't get the same buzz, even with a gap of 6 odd years, that I did when I went back to Galaxy, or hell, even Sunshine.
  • I thought I'd be done today but the last boss is gated behind 170 stars, which is a bit annoying for laid back co-op play (we got there on what I thought was a pretty reasonable 146).

    It used to be my favourite 3D Mario but the crown belongs to Odyssey now.
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    Moot_Geeza wrote:
    I thought I'd be done today but the last boss is gated behind 170 stars, which is a bit annoying for laid back co-op play (we got there on what I thought was a pretty reasonable 146).

    It used to be my favourite 3D Mario but the crown belongs to Odyssey now I think.

    MY MAN
  • We had a quick mess about on Odyssey last week. It's a spectacularly polished game and I don't know how they managed it on a Switch. I think I prefer gentle invention to full-on challenge in Mario, so I'm happy with the respective difficulty on both games. Love both but Odyssey really is astonishingly good, so one retains its [10] and one gets its wings slightly clipped to a [9].
  • I haven't played any mario since 64, aside from a brief splurt on sunshine and a quickly binned Galaxy (terrible game), but I can categorically state that 64 is the best and any notion otherwise is pure lunacy.
  • nick_md wrote:
    Galaxy (terrible game)

    Um...
    iosGameCentre:T3hDaddy;
    XBL: MistaTeaTime
  • Alright it's a good game, I just found it dull. Oh look mario walks around a sphere with no challenging levels at all. It was nice to look at but didn't keep me interested at all.
  • It'd make a good loading screen activity whilst waiting for a real Mario game to boot.
  • Well that’s where you’re wrong. The true challenge lay in avoiding RSI from repetitive wiimote waggling.
    iosGameCentre:T3hDaddy;
    XBL: MistaTeaTime
  • I want to tell him to go get his shine box but it won't make sense unless he picks a different incorrect favourite.
  • Moot_Geeza wrote:
    I want to tell him to go get his shine box but it won't make sense unless he picks a different incorrect favourite.

    Trying to figure this out. 

    You picked an overrated Mario as your favourite, so it made you think of Nick’s favourite and overrated movie?
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • Galaxy brains lose their hair over 64 but the real stars are still mooning about.
  • I've always got time for a go home and get your fucking shine box insult even if it doesn't quite fit.
  • Two previous GOATS for me - I've slapped a knee-jerk [10] on both in the past, and both have graced my top ten in the Cinty 100 thread at one time or another.  How did they fare on reappraisal?  Let's see!

    19. Super Mario 3D World - Switch (6hrs)

    I sold my Wii U when Tilly was 3, then she got hugely into Mario Odyssey aged 4, so it's been an agonisingly long wait to finally play this one in two player.  After a second playthrough it's no longer my favourite 3D Mario - Odyssey too stronk - but it's still glorious.  I'm a huge fan of the short courses and 'three hidden things per stage' thing is one of the best additions to the Mario franchise for years (introduced for the Wii NSMB, mayber?).  It's an easy game on the whole, which made it perfect for playing with a 6yr old.  The only stage she couldn't get through was the penultimate one.  I've never subscribed to the 'too easy' school of thought though; the post credits stages are there for anyone looking for more resistance.  I've not tackled those yet, but I remember the final one being insanely difficult.

    I mostly have positive thoughts on the game, but I will weigh in with a criticism of the Switch port: the speed bump isn't welcome.  It's fairly minor, and my memory could be playing tricks on me, but it feels around 20% nippier.  It makes for a more haphazard experience, in multiplayer especially, and an option to revert to the OG settings wouldn't have gone amiss.  The characters always controlled slightly differently to other 3D Mario games, and the injection of pace exacerbated the feeling of slippyfeet on solid ground for me.  The best way I can describe it is that the tweaked performance makes the characters feel like they've got ice underfoot when they haven't and the Scooby Doo running-on-the-spot-before-accelerating thing is more pronounced.  I didn't think much of the clock or lives system in sp but they were a Godsend in co-op because they helped me dodge activities like 'pretend I was a homeless cat and you found me on the street but you were a kid so you have to get hit and be little' when there were platforms to be jumped.  Aside from the excellent 100 second stages the constant ticking clock and collectible stopwatches go in the minus column overall though.       

    Still, you can't keep a near perfect game down, even by adding/not removing minor imperfections.  It's a speed runner's delight once you unlock the clock and the whole thing shines like a fucking mirror, excuse my language.  [9]                

    top-3d-mario-levels7.gif

    20. Ori in the Blind Forest - Switch (6hrs)

    I think I allowed others to influence my opinion on this, as I rescinded the perfect score without revisiting the last time 10s were discussed.  The auto-aim fire gets the most flack, but that allows it to breathe as a platformer - the beating heart of the experience - which probably has plenty to do with the fact that I prefer this to its own sequel.  Tempy and a handful of others never warmed to the floaty controls, but to me it's a flowing masterpiece that controls almost as perfectly as Meat Boy/Celeste/The End is Nigh.  Transpose the single screen precision to a Metroidvania, add those visuals, that music and the expanding kitbag of pitch-perfect abilities coupled with expertly crafted mini assault courses and you've got what is, was and forever will be one of the best games I've ever played.  The chase sequences are majestic and those frozen falling blocks never bothered me anyway.  It's a fairly linear Metroidvania with big glowing 'GO HERE' signposts on the map, but outside of Hollow Knight I prefer that approach anyway.  As mentioned elsewhere the Switch port is astonishing too.  

    It's going back up lads/lasses, I reckon it's magnificent.  [10]          

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  • 21. Alien Storm (Megadrive)

    Played through this last week.  It's as middling as I remember it really.  Doesn't trouble the upper or lower tiers of retro scrolling beat 'em ups, which in its own way is impressive for such an early 16-bit release, but it's all a bit clunky.  The music isn't anywhere near as toe-tappy as I remember either, and was quite forgettable barring a couple of early standout tunes.  The shooting gallery level breakers are okay, there are certainly worse bonus stages out there, but nobody really wants to play an below par Operation Wolf clone with a dpad, do they?  I expect things would've improved with a second player, but it reeks of 'weekend rental' for 1990, which equates to 53% in adjusted for deflation modern money.

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  • lol is that alien trying to punch on with a 4 year old?
    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • They have to tread carefully because his manhole magic only works when he's looking at them.
  • Alien Storm is basically the same bones as Golden Axe but somehow it is (and always was) a bit rubbish.
  • Rock N Roll Racing (SNES/Switch) - 7/10

    This is off the Blizzard Arcade Collection.  There are 3 versions included, those being the SNES and Mega Drive versions (with added save anytime + rewind features) and an all new Definitive version with  proper CD quality audio tracks (you can swap back to the chip tunes) and proper widescreen.  Why didn't I play the Definitive version?  Because I couldn't work out how to save the game.  I'm not joking.  I think you have to write down a password, which sounds so ludicrous in 2021 that I must have been missing something.  Anyway the SNES version does the trick.

    It's maybe not the stone cold classic I remember but it still top fun, at least for a while.  Still really dig its brash style.  There's no room for subtlety in a game about aliens racing in monster trucks to 70's rock and that's fine.  The vehicles mostly look great and even though you can only do so much to differentiate the tracks, each planet at least has it's own distinct atmosphere.

    I did get a bit sick of it towards the end - it's mostly down each racing season dragging on a few too many races.  You're torn between doing each track a couple of times and not earning enough cash to upgrade your car.  Those upgrades were super cool back in the day but it's a little off now - like you don't even have to upgrade at all for the first couple of planets.  And by the end, when your last vehicle has like 7 homing missiles, bombs and nitro boosts each lap, it races get a bit too busy.  My main thought while playing (after the initial nostalgia love in) was how nice it would be to see RnRR2.  Or RnRR3 if this one counts

    When you got movies like Tom Cruise in them, you can't lose
  • Heh, that looks like the sort of game people only ever played on a deep dive of an OPM demo disc.
  • 22. Wide Ocean Big Jacket - Switch (1hr-ish)


    Beautiful naturalistic narrative experience depicting a one night camping excursion.  These indie dialogue driven things can either go spectacularly wrong (see Wheels of Aurelia), halfway right (Three Fourths Home) or - as it turns out - end up being so unfalteringly agreeable that they leave the player with an afterglow generally associated with a wholesome slice-of-life film.  I must admit my faith in the genre was wavering, but occasional successes were enough to keep me on the hook (the dirt cheap Lydia is worth a look on Switch) and my sticking power was rewarded handsomely here.  

    It's not really a game you could spoil by reading someone gushing about it, but based on my experience it's possibly extra delightful to go in cold.  If you think you might enjoy a perfectly wonky looking coming of age curio where not much happens I'd full-on implore you take a punt.  Authentic and worthy. [8]

    one for @yourfavouriteuncle, mayber. 

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  • Moot is gonna Moot.
    I am a FREE. I am not MAN. A NUMBER.
  • I'm going camping on Friday, I might play it again.
  • 23. Ninja Saviors - Switch (75mins)

    Meticulously updated 16-bit brawler with big coin-op energy.  It's a flat plane scroller - think Vigilante rather than Golden Axe - with chunky brawling and chunkier sprites.  There's plenty of heft to the combat and just enough nuance to elevate it above the button mash zone.  You love to see it. The original pricepoint (£18) always struck me as a bit of a shame.  I must be part of the target audience for these redo's, and I've been eager to play it since launch, but if I'm unwilling to stump up the asking price there's a fair case for these things releasing at £10ish instead, surely.  The same team updated Wild Arms afaik, and that was a headpopping £26.99 at launch, which must have sold like the opposite of hot cakes.  Crazy.  Anyway, this finally hit a sale and I grabbed it for £8.49.  You'll know what to expect from the gif below, and if that floats your boat as much as it does mine you're in for a treat.  Normal mode is too easy and two of the initial three characters felt like damp squibs to me, so I can only justify a [7] really, but it was great fun with Kamaitachi.  Will gleefully play again in co-op when the world permits it and I'll also check out the SNES game at some point because if it's anywhere near as good it's a bona fide 16-bit hidden gem. 

    ZnlyVh1.gif
  • 6. Bowser's Fury (Switch) - 6hrs 40mins 

    A few have already gone into depth in their reviews of this here, so I'll just give it a quick once over.

    Decent idea for a Mario game, and a very good addition to have alongside the full price re-release of 3D World. Seeing as most re-releases come out barebones or including past DLC, it's nice to get something a bit more substantial.

    My biggest gripe is there's far too to much repetition in the Cat Shines, It's such a small game with so few areas that the formula of race, catch, collect etc get a bit much. The multiplayer also seems a bit tacked on, it's much more Galaxy-esque in that respect than the full blown MP of 3D World or the NSMB games.

    It only took just under 7hrs to get all 100 Shines, and only 3-4 gave me any trouble, which even by Mario standards it quite a low amount.

    What's here is good though, very good in fact. I hate to bring prices into reviews but had this been £40 standalone then it would be a bit of a piss take, as a freebie and an experiment for a more fully blown effort going forward, its great.

    Oh, and it's better than Super Mario Sunshine.

    8/10

    My list
    オレノナハ エラー ダ
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    I'm starting to get nostalgic for FLUDD and that movement control but also understand that's my own insanity, so won't comment on the Sunshine comment, but let's not consider it a "freebie". Nintendo want £50 again for 3D World so should be held to ransom for why that is.
    I did enjoy it although as you mentioned, found the activities very samey despite the differences in worlds, but it's not a freebie, it's yo, here is why it might be good to buy this game again, for all 12 of us who got it on WiiU .
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    I think part of that post is in my disappointment in going back to 3D World. It didn't feel as fun as I remember, and I have fired up 3D Land recently which just feels like unfettered creativity.

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