I'm an Engineer and built the video game community Cheerful Ghost and text based mini-MMO Tale of the White Wyvern.
"Take on a rapid-fire onslaught of challenges and mash-ups from 16 of Nintendo’s finest 8-bit games! Test your skills on a gauntlet of quick, tricky challenges and remix stages that combine parts of different games. The best mix of titles from the NES Remix and NES Remix 2 games is on Nintendo 3DS. Now you’re playing with PORTABLE power!
Link vs. Donkey Kong! Kirby vs. Boo! It’s mash-up mania in this celebration of all things NES! Race through to earn stars on increasingly tough tasks, like beating Ridley from Metroid or making Princess Peach save herself! Compete in Championship Mode’s blitz of challenges from the Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, and Dr. Mario games, then compare scores with others in your region via online leaderboards."
As demand for the 3DS has gone down considerably I've been picking up 3DS games on the cheap such as a recent sale at a local store that had Ultimate NES Remix, Animal Crossing New Leaf and Pokemon Ultra Sun ultra-cheap. Since I don't have enough time to crack an Animal Crossing or Pokemon game right now I popped in Ultimate NES Remix knowing that it was a mash up of classic NES games and wouldn't require a massive time investment. Immediately Ultimate NES remix starts you out with a few classic games such as Super Mario Brothers, Donkey Kong and Dr. Mario to ease your way into the remixed challenges starting with the easy "accelerate on your bike" in Excitebike to more challenging scenarios like completing a race without crashing. Each challenge can net you up to three stars and many are timed making them quite fun. I'm an avid retro gamer and so far, none of the challenges have stumped me beyond a handful requiring a few attempts. I'm also going for a completionist run making sure for each challenge I net 3 stars. I've heard from a friend something fun happens if you complete the game this way so it's what I'm going for.
Ultimate NES Remix is one of those incredible games that begs for a Switch port and considering Nintendo hasn't Remixed the Super Nintendo era it seems like rich territory for a sequel. I'm certain i'm never going to get tired replaying classic games and when Nintendo puts an entirely fresh spin on them i'm totally in.
"New Super Mario Bros. 2 takes everything that worked about the previous games and continues to do that while focusing on coin collection. You have a running tally of coins you can collect that unlock things in-game making progression tied to coins and continually completing stages."
Ever since picking it up back in 2018 I've played when I got the itch as it's a perfect game for that kind of attention. If you are a player that likes to play everything a game has to offer New Super Mario Bros. 2 has a lot to do with re-playing stages to collect all the large coins, unlocking the Star World as well as the hidden Mushroom and Flower Worlds. When I started out I was quite attentive to finding all the large coins but as time passed I started spending most of my focus on completing stages. Leaving behind the large coins doesn't matter too much if you just want to defeat Bowser but you can only unlock the Star World if you collect 90 large coins and I'm a few short.
How Does New Super Mario Bros. 2 Rank In The Series?
Out of all the New Super Mario Bros. games I've played 2 feels the most accessable and fun. The attention to coin collection and the inclusion of the leaf from Super Mario Bros. 3 makes this entry fly above the rest. New Super Mario Bros. 2 never feels too difficult and this might turn off some hardcore platformer fans. That said the hidden stages might offer more of a challenge and the included coin rush mode literally allows players the ability to partake in challenging scenarios with others.
New Super Mario Bros. 2 is a great game and the saddest part about it is that it's a 3DS title and the system might soon be sunset by Nintendo. Many new fans to the Mario series might miss out because getting a 3DS isn't in the cards for them. As Nintendo ports the best of Wii U titles to the Switch I hope these best of breed Wii and 3DS games can get packaged for a newer audience too.
The 3DS Will Never Die - My First Impressions of New Super Mario Bros. 2
If you are playing with a friend on a console you might want to both open your inventories at the same time so they are working on providing a user experience where you can do that. Also, they are allowing controllers to be used on PC and be completely re-mappable, something Diablo III does not allow.
That a ton more is available direct on the blizzard Diablo IV blog link below.
"Delve with Shovel Knight into the depths of the Pocket Dungeon in an action-packed puzzle adventure mashup like none other! Join your mysterious guide Puzzle Knight as you shovel through scads of foes, procure new equipment, and battle bosses both familiar and new. Explore a tale with endless twists and turns, quest as your favorite heroes, and even challenge a friend for fast-paced head-to-head competition in Shovel Knight Pocket Dungeon!"
No release date or platforms are announced yet but I hope the pocket part means smartphones as Shovel Knight on a phone needs to happen.
"Four generations of gaming: Our commitment to compatibility means existing Xbox One games, including backward-compatible Xbox 360 and original Xbox games, look and play better than ever before. Your favorite games, including titles in Xbox Game Pass, benefit from steadier framerates, faster load times and improved resolution and visual fidelity – all with no developer work required. Your Xbox One gaming accessories also come forward with you."
I also appreciate that Microsoft is keeping compatibility with Xbox One hardware as well because typically console makers love to lock you in for a whole set of new peripherals. I've been considering the choice between Sony and Microsoft for some time in terms of a new console and unless Sony comes back to the compatibility fold I might stick with Microsoft for the foreseeable future.
For the entire info dump on the new stuff coming to the Xbox Series X head over to xbox.com below:
This last weekend I put Shovel Knight Showdown through the paces playing it with a friend. It's a fun addition to Shovel Knight Treasure Trove and is a worthy brawler game. I didn't quite get the feel for each of the Knights but I appreciate that they all fight very differently. If you have friends over and Treasure Trove is on tap, you should give it a go.
Wargroove is Hard by Default
Generally speaking modern triple A games or indie titles, unless they are a rogue-like, have a normal degree of difficulty by default. If you want more of a challenge in a typical shooter you can raise it and lower it if things are too hard. Typically I keep the difficulty at the default setting for most games because, again, the default difficulty is fine for my play style. Right away I found the default difficulty of Wargroove to be quite challenging. So challenging that during the first "real battle" (third battle or so) I was shutdown six times in a row. I imagine for some turn based strategy gurus the difficulty of Wargroove is just fine, but for a more casual player it was a bit too hard. The good news is that it's easy to tune the difficulty down at anytime but I do wonder how many players keep it at the default difficulty and how far they advance in the main campaign?
Wargroove Is Loaded To the Hilt With Things to Do
Since Wargroove's initial launch in 2019 Chucklefish started with a ton of things for players to do but recently just launched the Double Trouble free campaign DLC. Since you might not know what features Wargroove has i'll paste them for your ease here:
* Choose from one of 12+ Commanders from 4 warring factions – the Cherrystone Kingdom, Heavensong Empire, Felheim Legion, and Floran Tribes.
* Strategically use your Commander’s unique “groove” ability to sway the battle in your favor.
* Battle your way through the Campaign Mode to discover the story and motivations behind each faction.
* Challenge your friends to local and online multiplayer skirmish modes with complete rule customization, as well as local and online competitive and co-op play.
* Design and share online your own complex series of battlefields, with branching story paths using easy to master in-game map and campaign editors.
* Learn more about each character you encounter through a trial of boisterous bouts in Arcade mode, fighting 5 different opponents in quick succession.
* Outwit the enemy in Puzzle mode, using your strategic skills to complete tricky challenges in just ONE turn.
* Discover the history and lore of the world of Wargroove and its inhabitants in the Codex, as well as handy strategy tips and rules for use in battle.
* Seek out hidden in-game content and unlockables – old school style!
The Double Trouble DLC comes with the all new:
* All new 15 hour co-op campaign.
* 3 new commanders.
* New thieves and Rifemen units.
The Best Part of Wargroove Might Be The Built-in Editor & User Made Campaign Maps
One huge upside to Wargroove is that Chucklefish included an incredibly rich campaign editor and tools to upload and share your creations. This "Mario Maker" toolset seems like it's rich enough to create campaigns as intricate as the ones they shipped with. From a really early look I found several high quality maps created by the community that seem to be quite good. So if you tear through the base campaign, the new Double Trouble campaign then the user downloadable maps and the ability to make your own should keep you in a turn based strategy coma for quite some time.
Wargroove is Perfect on the Switch
Wargroove is out on the PC on Steam, the PS4, XBox One and the Switch and I think it's perfect on the Switch. Wargroove is flawless in handheld mode on the Switch and since it's in 2D is very light on your Switch battery making even longer play sessions possible. When you dock the Switch you get even more screen available, and Wargroove provides that through a really cool framing technique in full 1080p mode that isn't available in 720p mode and doesn't sacrifice gameplay because of.
If you are a collector of physical games Wargroove has a pretty fun release that comes with a downloadable soundtrack and some other goodies making it much more than just the game in a box. At the end of the day if you like turn based strategy and are looking for something to fill that itch you must try Wargroove. I also want to thank Chucklefish for getting me a review copy on Switch!
"As well as sitting down for *three hours* to play the upcoming Doom Eternal, Digital Foundry's John Linneman also had the opportunity to discuss the new id Tech 7 engine upgrades with Doom Eternal executive producer and id software studio director, Marty Stratton. From engine upgrades to ray tracing to Switch to next-gen consoles, there's a ton of new info in this one."
Let's Start With The Controversy... Because There's Always Controversy
The strongest part of WarCraft III: Reforged is the thing it's getting some negative reaction from in that originally Blizzard said that they'd change up aspects of the single player campaign considerably and it seems like they let that go in favor of giving you the original game with a new visuals. As you can see from the video above the way they showed the scene at Blizzcon this year is not how the game shipped. It seems Blizzard took the fan critique they heard from players that preferred the original WarCraft III camera and reverted back to that forgoing the more modern cinematic style they showed at Blizzcon. This has caused quite a negative fan reaction but I frankly can see both sides and I'm with Blizzard on reverting the camera style to the original.
Put simply, HD remakes are better served with fewer changes to the original source material and deciding to prefer the original camera angles is best form of respect to the original material. I know the original WarCraft III is still available to install and that version will always exist but focusing HD remakes on making fewer changes to the base game is the better choice because HD remakes are generally more more accessible because they are newer and in the case of WarCraft III: Reforged seamlessly connect to modern Battle.net and are available in the launcher making them more accessible. There's also a charm to the hokey camera angles of WarCraft III that firmly date it back in the 2000 era of PC gaming that should be experienced by a modern audience in 2020.
I Don't Care About Camera Angles, Is This Game Any Good?
If you like hero focused real time strategy games then uh yeah, WarCraft III is good, it's actually really good. But you know, I'm also incredibly biased because every couple years I come back to play the campaign. In fact when I heard Reforged was on it's way I stopped playing WarCraft III and decided to play the Reforged campaign from the start again ... for the first time.
And like I said before, this is WarCraft III with a 4K coat of paint and it's superb. The gameplay is crisp and that 2000's PC era awkward polygons of the original game are rounded out to create quite a visual treat. Blizzard did such a great job respecting the original game it's actually pretty hard to notice many changes. That said the biggest change to the game are the visuals, something they took the most inspiration from being World of Warcraft. Because, see kids, before World of Warcraft hit the streets WarCraft III was the king of Azeroth. As World of Warcraft became the biggest MMO of all time it also developed a more of a unique visual identity that was originally rooted in WarCraft III. That said, as visuals evolve and 3D tech to match it certain characters look different in World of Warcraft than in WarCraft III. One big change I noticed right away is that Thrall in WarCraft III: Reforged looks quite different than in vanilla WarCraft III. It's not a big deal but as the original is burned forever in my brain I noticed. And a lot of other models have changed too to fit World of Warcraft better and this is a change I don't mind. It's less keeping WarCraft III: Reforged for strict purists but it's not abandoning the World of Warcraft players either.
I heartily welcome WarCraft III: Reforged because it's Blizzard giving one of my most beloved games a very purist treatment. But I do understand that some people wanted what they saw at Blizzcon and I can't say I blame them for that. With that I also agree with Blizzard for keeping to the original game because at the end of the day, the game was already great it just needed a 4K coat of paint.