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Mario Party 9 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mario Party has deviated from the traditional competitive multiplayer board-game, and instead takes a more cooperative, team-based approach to the series. The change is drastic, but not entirely awful. Fans of the series may, however, find that the series' deviation is a little too dramatic of a change for a franchise they have grown to love over the years.

The Pros: 

+Change to the game’s basic structure does provide a bit of a shake-up for a series that’s getting into the 12+ territory.

+The mini games are still as fun as ever, and offer the same chuckle-worthy puns as always.

The Cons: 

-The deviation from the series is pretty dramatic, and long-time fans might be a little upset by the change.

-Everything feels a little over-simplified and watered-down.

-There don’t seem to be as many items to unlock in the game, which may reduce the replay value for some. Rating : 

Ever since the original title launched back in 1998 I’ve considered myself a competition player. I take my Mario Parties pretty damn seriously, and have always thoroughly enjoyed winning a game in Mario Party almost more than anything else, because of the wide-variety of challenges that their mini-games provide, along with the whole board-game mentality and having to deal with the luck of the dice and random changes of fortune from Bowser and his cronies. I even love the puns that the team keeps coming up for the mini-games, which I’m surprised to see are endless.

Rhythm Heaven Fever [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Rhythm Heaven Fever is a fun, cutesy and genuine challenging collection of rhythm minigames that incorporate the need to listen to audio cues rather than depend on visuals (as it will make a point of by obscuring your vision at certain points). It stands apart from other like titles by its certain degree of oddness associated with the rating system and funny animal-incorporated scenarios that add a flair of comedy to a genre that has otherwise been sucked dry.

The Pros: 

+ Sharp visuals and cartoony characters are a charming addition to a game that might otherwise be very flat.
+ Mini games gradually increase in difficulty, which does a good job of keeping you on your toes.
+ Certain aspects may or may not be intentionally comedic, but made it fun to fail sometimes to see what message you get.

The Cons: 

- Multiplayer felt a bit tacked on, as you seemed to repeat levels just to take turns doing the exact same thing as in single-player.

- It's not even close to a game with enduring, hours-long gameplay, but rather a quickie to pick up to play a few levels at a time before moving on.
- The button mechanics are sometimes a little clunky. Rating : 

Rhythm Heaven, as a series, is what I feel to be true to the idea of a real rhythm based game, and the new title does not deviate from this at all; Rhythm Heaven Fever is a quirky, entertaining collective of rhythmic mini-games that depend more on audio cues than visual, which sets it apart as simultaneously one of the most fun and challenging musical titles available. The cutesy animal characters give it a certain air of a children's game, but the escalating difficulties should make it accessible to anybody who enjoys investing in the genre.

Fortune Street [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Fortune Street is kind of like an advanced Monopoly. The core concept is the same: build and advance property to get more money than the other players, but with the addition of stocks, mini-games, punch-cards and sneaky insider-trading. 

The Pros: 

+More challenging than your standard gameplay.

+NPC characters provide dialog between rounds to make them feel like real players.

+Playing the stock market can be super rewarding, when you get the hang of it.

The Cons: 

-Might be a little much for the average player, or childern that generally play Mario titles.

-Rounds can feel a little tedious as games go on quite long, and are very focused on the board game without diversions. Rating : 

“Don’t call it Mario Monopoly.” Is what we were told when we first saw the game… but that didn’t stop our Managing Editor, Corey Rollins, when he wrote his brief hands-on impression of the game late last year, and while the comparison is a fair one (you are Mario, it is a board-game focused around buying and advancing property for the purposes of having the most money in the game) it doesn’t paint a complete picture of exactly what Fortune Street has to offer.

Mario Kart 7 [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Mario Kart 7 is a lot more Mario Kart Wii and a whole lot less Mario Kart DS then I was hoping. The game has been watered down again to ensure that there is almost no challenge what-so-ever in winning ever single race in the game. The worst (best?) example of which is the fact that the game now plays 'clean-up,' removing banana peels left on the track after a single lap, removing the the age-old 'problem' of hitting your own traps. 

The Pros: 

+The addition of kart building means having a truly unique kart

The Cons: 

-The game is incredibly dumbed-down

-There is virtually no challenge to Mario Kart

-Tons of shoehorned features like 'The Lucky 7' and 'motion controlled first-person mode' Rating : 


Nintendo has been on a roll with their Holiday line-up. Mario 3D Land was an awesome iteration of the series on the Nintendo 3DS that brought together all the best parts of the series into one game. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the first true successor to the lofty throne of Ocarina of Time, and one of the best of the series long and tenured history. That’s why when Mario Kart 7 came across my desk I, as a major competitive fan of the series, got incredibly excited. It’s unfortunate however, that the game is as lazy as its title.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Skyward Sword is the best sum of all of the Zelda parts to-date: It takes advantage of the hardware in unique and interesting ways without feeling tacked on, it features a host of gadgets new and old that all feel awesome to wield, it's story is a grand epic that manages to tie-in with the franchise more directly than most, and the mount (bird) in the game is the best way to get around since Epona. The game features numerous nods and allusions to previous outings in the franchise, and by the end of the game you've had a full-on Zelda experience that brings forwards memories of all your favorites from the franchises long history, while providing an altogether new experience. 

The Pros: 

+The Wiimote Plus controller is taken full advantage of, allowing unparalleled percision with the controller. 

+The game is one of the biggest ever, taking a minimum of 30 hours just to clear the main-story.

+Traversing the world with the game's primary transportation system, a giant bird, feels like it rewards a bit of skill beyond "pointing in the direction you want to go."

+The library of 'gadgets' that Link has this time out is potentially the greatest to date. 

+The story connects directly with over-all Zelda series, specifically Ocarina of Time, and it a rarity for the franchise that gives all kinds of nerd-happiness. 

+The game adheres to the Zelda formula, but provides the best presentation of each to date. 

The Cons: 

-The ability to swing a sword in ANY direction still isn't quite there, and instead the game relies on an eight-way axis for the swinging mechanic of the sword's slashes. Rating : 

While playing through the most recent incarnation of the Zelda franchise, Skyward Sword, I've stumbled upon somewhat of a personal revolution. Zelda, to me, is to video gaming what James Bond is to movies. To be clear, I'm a big fan of the James Bond franchise, and it has several key features that keep me coming back every time there's a new one launched: One-liners, cars, women and gadgets. Zelda works within a similar 'formula' that repeats ad-nauseam, but somehow never gets stale. Where Zelda is concerned though: it's a mount, rather than a vehicle.

Super Mario 3D Land [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The overall feel of Super Mario 3D Land is that of a "best of title." It combines the best elements of games from the franchise's history including Super Mario 64, Super Mario Bros. 3, The New Super Mario Bros. and others, and then focuses them all in a completely new adventure to take advantage of Nintendo's new hardware in the 3DS.

The Pros: 

+Classic Mario platforming action refined and polished to near perfection.

+The addition of the Tanooki suit, and Tanooki tails to characters throughout the game, give the game a ridiculous amount of adorable.

+The 3D features of the 3DS are utilized intelligently and don't feel shoe-horned in.

+Quite possibly the best example of a reason to own a 3DS this holiday season.

The Cons: 

-There should have been some multiplayer options, co-operative or competitive. 

-There are segements in the game that require the use of 3D, so those that want to play the game but don't like 3D are out of luck. Rating : 

With each new piece of Hardware offered by Nintendo, there are a few titles that you can be guaranteed will be making an appearance. Chief among those would be Mario. It's been a while since we watched the launch of the Nintendo 3DS come and go, but we finally have our 'staple series' making its debut on the system.

Kirby's Return to Dreamland [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

The new Kirby game manages to avoid the same-y feeling of platformer sequels by adding cool new gameplay features and accessible multiplayer. If you've played previous Kirby games you know what to expect, but it's a very fun play through nonetheless.

The Pros: 

+Excellent classic Kirby gameplay

+New copy abilities for this version, including Super Abilities

+Fun mini-games

+Four-player co-op easy to jump in and out of

The Cons: 

-Relatively short

-Multiplayer characters very uneven Rating : 

Kirby is back in a new adventure in classic Dreamland style. This new true-to-form game sees our pink ball of hero running through Dreamland to help a crashed alien to collect parts to repair his spaceship. In order to blast through the levels Kirby collects copy abilities ranging from the new Whip and Leaf, to the old and missed Ninja and Wing.

Tetris Axis [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Quite easily the worst port of the classic puzzle epic ever made. The 3D features of the game make no sense for a 2D puzzle game, and can hinder the over-all experience. The ARG features seem like they are nothing more than a technical demonstration of the 3DS hardware, and are pretty much unplayable. 

The Pros: 

+It's Tetris

The Cons: 

-The ARG implimentation is annoying at best and destructive at worst.

-3D doesn't really add anything.

-The game ignores the analog stick Rating : 

In the grand debate on which is the greatest video game of all time, I've always put forward Tetris. It is gaming in its purist form, and better than that it's become modular. Tetris has adapted and evolved over the years to reinvent itself for each new generation, taking advantage of the hardware provided and supplying the same addictive qualities that it had since the start. It is puzzle-gaming at its finest and most pure... That's why Tetris Axis is potentially the most disappointing game that I've played this year.

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is kind of the definition of "short and sweet." While there isn't much in terms of gameplay or story, there's enough to keep you entertained for short-term gaming sessions of a few minutes or an hour. Improving on your score, trying new characters and buffs will give you the option of replay... but if you're someone that doesn't dig on beating their own scores over and over, you'll lose interest rather quick.

The Pros: 

+Quick challenges for fun short-term gaming.

+Controls translate well to the 3DS new button/stick layout.

+Plenty of unlocks to bring interest into replay

+Addictive short-form gaming that leads to self-competion in the long-run.

The Cons: 

-3D is easily lost (more so than other titles on the 3DS).

-The game is SUPER short. 

-No option to delete save file so sharing/reselling the game isn't likely. Rating : 

Whenever a new platform is released, from Nintendo in particular, the first response from the majority of publishers is always to post out smaller, bite-sized, mini-game-esque test games to get an idea of how their tech can integrate with the new platform. Most ‘hard-core’ gamers will immediately dismiss these titles, and wait on something for a little more substance.

Pokemon Black/White [Review]

Overall Feeling: 

Pokémon Black and White are superb additions to the Pokémon franchise that bring upgrades to every major game play system, enhanced graphics and 150 brand-new Pokemon to catch and train. Unfortunately, it still has the exact same basic premise as every other Pokemon game leaving you with the feeling that you've done all this before.

The Pros: 

+150 new Pokemon to the series, bringing the grand total up to 649.

+All 649 have had their graphics redone and actually animated for once.

+The two new battle types create entirely different party dynamics new to the series thanks to the greater emphasis on party position and order.

+Plus, the story of Team Plasma trying to stop the "constant abuse" that Pokemon are put through by battling is more mature and interesting than any previous Pokemon game.

The Cons: 

-It's still the same ole Pokemon. Collect your starter Pokemon, explore the world and defeat the eight gym leaders to become the very best! There is nothing new to be found in the basic, underlying premise. Rating : 

Pokémon is an odd game to review. If you were to look at it in a vacuum, you'd find a surprisingly large world to explore that is full of colourful characters, interesting creatures and a near endless supply of things to do. All of this tied around a battle system that is painfully easy to grasp but has an incredible amount of depth to it once you really start to dig in.

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