Super Mario Maker 2 Review

Super Mario Maker proved to be a revelation. Providing players with intuitive tools to create their own levels in the Mushroom Kingdom, they broke the boundaries of Nintendo’s own level design ethos while pushing the limits – and oftentimes breaking the limits – of what was possible within the game’s toolset. Long after the Wii U died, the Super Mario Maker community seemingly held onto Nintendo’s ill-fated console longer than anyone else.

As mind-expanding as that first game proved to be, it wasn’t without fault. Limitations within the tools made it impossible to recreate every facet of the 2D Super Mario experience, such as sloped hills among others. Finding good levels proved to be a chore due to the game’s poor filtering options. For players who simply wanted more Nintendo-created levels, they were gated behind a clunky 10 Mario Challenge mode that essentially made it impossible to experience them all without having to play repeats. Super Mario Maker 2 aims to not only address the issues of the first, but expand the scope of what players can create within the Mushroom Kingdom.

Continue reading

Mega Man 11, 20XX, and Their Similar Approaches to Difficulty

Over the past few days, I’ve been obsessed with 20XX. Clearly inspired by the Mega Man series of games, 20XX puts its own twist on the run-and-gun gameplay by housing the game in a Roguelike framework. While I gave heavy praise for the ways it stands out, it’s similarities with the most recent Mega Man game run even deeper than I thought.

Continue reading

20XX Review

20XX by Batterystaple Games isn’t afraid to show where its inspiration came from. From the design of its main characters, to the feel of the game’s controls, right down to aping one of the most iconic intro screens in gaming, this is an unapologetic riff on the Mega Man franchise, particularly the X series of games. However, some fundamental changes to the core formula flip the standard bot-battling formula on its head.

Continue reading

Yoshi’s Crafted World Review

After creating the masterpiece that is Yoshi’s Island, Nintendo decided to take the Yoshi platforming games in a different direction. Starting with Yoshi’s Story and continuing with Yoshi’s Wooly World, the difficulty of these titles were seemingly toned down to reach a younger or more casual audience. While I don’t think there’s anything fundamentally wrong with that approach, Nintendo’s execution of the concept has left a lot of room for improvement.

Yoshi’s Story is a snooze for level designs that are completely devoid of anything interesting to do. Yoshi’s Wooly World makes some improvements thanks to its charming art style and a solid back half, but the first half of that game also equates accessibility with pedestrian level design. Did Nintendo finally bridge the gap between fun and accessibility with Yoshi’s Crafted World?

Continue reading

Gris Review

Gris was a game that was not on my radar. Due to my past negative experiences with games cut from a similar cloth such as Journey, I wasn’t planning on picking up Gris. However, the game received some strong buzz close to home. Kris and Rachel from Double Jump loved it, with Rachel going so far as naming it her game of the year. As a nod to my friends while also taking the opportunity to expand my horizons, I found myself falling into the world of Gris.

Continue reading

Celeste Review

There is a magic to Celeste that you won’t see at first glance. Having seen it in Nintendo’s Direct Mini, I brushed it off as just another Super Meat Boy clone. Hasn’t the world been subject to enough challenging 2D platformers with retro graphics? After playing this game, the answer is a resounding, “No.”

Continue reading

Mighty Gunvolt: Burst Review

Mighty Gunvolt: Burst is the amalgamation of two indie franchises that were heavily influenced by the Blue Bomber. Despite being conceived by Mega Man creator Keiji Inafune and backed by a multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign, Mighty No. 9 will go down in history as one of the largest flops in gaming history. As for the Gunvolt half, Azure Striker: Gunvolt has been a more successful IP in terms of critical reception, though I’d never heard of the franchise until this mash-up.

Wouldn’t blame you for feeling skeptical about any game featuring the now-toxic Mighty No. 9 brand, even if it looks like the 8-bit platformer backers of the original Kickstarter wanted in the first place. While I can’t speak for the quality of that game, I can say that Mighty Gunvolt: Burst is actually a pretty decent game.

Continue reading

Hands-On With Super Mario Odyssey


Not long after getting my socks blown off by the stellar Super Mario Odyssey trailer, I was lucky enough to head across town and play the game at one of the preview events in my area. Was it as awesome IRL as it appeared to be in the trailer?

Continue reading