I just beat __

Dr. Eggman

I am the enemy, I will succeed
Super Mario Odyssey (Nintendo Switch)


Total Power Moons Collected: 788

Spoiler Warning
I know this is a Mario Game, but I feel Super Mario Odyssey is a game best experienced when going in blind. If you plan on playing this game then I recommend saving this post until after you've finished the game. If you don't care about spoiler too much, then I've put a spoiler on the end-game section of the review, and part of the post-game. I'm not normally one to care about spoilers, so having a spoiler warning on a Mario game of all things should show how important I think it is to go into this game blind.

With that out of the way, let's talk about Super Mario Odyssey.

Introduction
This is my third playthrough of the game since it came, and my second full playthrough, the first being the one I did when the game first came out. The second playthrough I did was pretty close to when I had "finished" the first one, and it was a minimal moons playthrough, I only collected the bare minimum to complete the game. I put "finished" in quotes as I'm actually missing two moons on the my original save file, the infamous Jump Rope and Beach Volleyball moons. For this playthrough, I decided to get as many Moons as possible, without pushing myself to scour the world for every last moon (see: Moons that require the use of Hint Art).

The Story
The game starts of with a cutscene of Mario and Bowser fighting, as expected for a cutscene at the beginning of the game, Mario loses and falls of Bowser's Airship. However, towards the end of this cutscene, the game shows Mario's cap hitting a propeller at the back of the Airship, and being torn to pieces. This sends a message to player, the developers intentions. This isn't a standard Mario game, the developers are willing to take risks if it benefits the game, even if it means changing something as iconic as the red cap that's been there there since the beginning. This attitude extends even to the credits, where the developers are listed in alphabetical order, not by role like almost every other game.


Artwork from the original Donkey Kong arcade game. This was Mario's first appearance, all the way back in the 1981. On the right Mario is visible, with his iconic Overalls, Moustache, and important in this context, his Cap.

Mario then lands in an area that's almost entirely black and white, the ground is black, there's fog everywhere, and in the background there's some strange distorted buildings. A unique location by Mario standards. Mario then has to chase a ghost over a few hills, and onto a bridge. This ghost is Cappy, and he's going to accompany you for the entire game from this point forward, he's also the main gimmick of the game as well which I'll get onto in a second. Cappy explains to Mario that Bowser kidnapped his sister, Tiara, to be used as headdress for Peach during Bowser's wedding. Mario and Cappy then team up, ready to save both of the damsels in distress. Cappy takes the piece of Mario's Cap he found, and transforms into Mario's Cap, meaning Mario now has his hat back, and he's able to use Cappy's abilities.

The Moveset
Mario's moveset is almost everything he's had in previous 3D games. Mario can Jump, Crouch, Ground Pound, Somersault, Backflip, Long Jump, Triple Jump and Wall Jump. You should already know each of these moves and how they work. This time, Mario has a few extra tricks that he can perform:
-Returning from Sunshine and 3D World, is the Spin Jump. It's based of it's appearance in the latter of the two games, meaning the player must spin the joystick around, putting Mario in a spinning state, and from there Mario can jump to perform a spin jump. It doesn't gain that much height compared to his other jumps, and the spinning state takes a while to start, so I never found a practical use for it.
-Returning from 3D World is the Ground Pound Jump, this move is one of my favourites, it allows Mario to perform a higher jump no matter his speed and how much room is around him, as the Ground Pound completely cancels all momentum you currently have. It's a versatile way to perform higher jumps, and I found myself using almost every time I needed to get a little higher then a normal jump.
-Returning from 64 and Sunshine is the Dive, this move has been completely changed since it's previous appearances. It's now performed by performing a Ground Pound, and then pressing Y/X during the wind-up animation. The Dive was previously a momentum based move, meaning Mario could go further if he was going faster, as the Ground Pound cancels all momentum you currently have, the Dive is no longer based on Mario's momentum, instead it gives a consistent distance each and every time it is used. As this is performed out of a Ground Pound, it can also work as pseudo Ground Pound cancel, though it is a rather situational one. I found myself using this move a lot as well, especially when combined with Cappy.
-A new addition to Mario's moveset is the Roll. When performed, Mario gains momentum when going downhill, allowing him to go faster then his normal running speed. By taping Y/X, Mario gains a boost of speed during this Roll, allowing to him to retain his momentum on flat surfaces, and when going uphill. This move is one of the few ways Mario can reach his top speed, as his speed is capped below this when running normally. When running at full speed, Mario actually stretches his arms out either side of him. The roll move is a useful move, and I often used to get from Point A to Point B quickly.

Finally there's Cappy. Cappy acts almost like a boomerang, where Mario can throw him forward, and then he'll return to Mario. There other ways to throw Cappy as well, performing Ground Pound before a throw allows Cappy to go downwards of ledges, and by Spinning before throwing Cappy will spin around Mario in a spiral pattern. I never used the former, and used the latter only a few times, but it's nice to have a few extra ways to throw Cappy, even if they're extremely situational. If you hold the throw button down, Cappy will continue will stay in place, you can use this to touch him when grounded. When Mario touches Cappy, he bounces off him, while it's not much on the ground, it becomes a powerful tool when used in mid-air. If you throw him in mid-air, you can perform a Dive to bounce off him, allowing you to extend how far you reach in mid-air, this can only be done once, as Mario will pass through Cappy on a second Dive, but it's powerful tool nonetheless. If you combine this with a Wall Jump, and a Ground Pound Jump, then you'll be able the get some serious height, meanwhile performing a Long Jump before hand allows you to cross large gaps. Another feature Cappy has in mid-air, is reducing the momentum you have, allowing him to work as pseudo-Double Jump. It's far more unique then a Double Jump, and opens up far more opportunities the a Double Jump ever could. When used correctly, Cappy really changes how you play the game, allowing you to do far more with Mario then you could before.

Cappy's name doesn't just refer to his cap-like appearance however, as it also refer to main gimmick of the game, capturing enemies and objects. No longer are you confined to the abilities of Mario, or some Flash Liquidising Ultra Dousing Device you found on the street, now your limited to which enemies the developers put in which level, and where they put them in that level. Some act as a method for solving puzzles, others work as a means of transportation. For example, you may need to use a Fire Bro. to light a pair of lanterns, or you could use a Para-Goomba to fly over a bottomless pit. The developers didn't limit themselves to pre-existing Mario enemies either, new enemies such as the tank Sherm, the bird Pokio, or the plant Uproot allow the player to use abilities that the currently existing Mario enemies couldn't provide. You know they did a good job with coming up with new enemies to be used a capture targets when the Goomba feels liked the most forced capture target, and even then they did a great job coming up with abilities for it. Some of the captures are one offs that are used to solve a single puzzle before being dropped completely, but the rest are either recurring captures that appear in multiple kingdoms, or the main capture of a given kingdom, some may even have multiple major captures. I'll talk about each capture a bit later.


Artwork of Mario, Cappy, and a few of the captures. At the top is the T-Rex capture, in the bottom left is the Sherm capture, in the bottom right is the Moe-Eye capture, and above the Moe-Eye is the Uproot capture.

Mario is so much fun to control in this game, he doesn't feel too floaty, yet he doesn't drop like a rock. It's easy to make precise adjustments with him, yet he can go fast when need be. He does exactly what I want him too, when I want him too, and whenever I make a mistake I feel like it's my fault, not the games. There are only two exceptions to this, but I'll discuss this when I get onto the Kingdoms they appear in.

Cap Kingdom (Bonneton)
Back to the game, the player is then presented with a rather small, open area. This place has poles, hills, slopes, platforms and boxes. Here the player is given free reign of Mario's abilities, allowing them experiment with what he and Cappy can do. In this area we see the broken remains of some hat shaped vehicles, smoke flowing out of them, alongside the residents of this Kingdom, Bonnetons, in distress. This will be the other major motivation for the player, not only do they need to save Peach and Tiara from Bowser, but they also need to fix the damage that he and his minions have caused to Kingdoms they've visited.

Once they've got a grip on the controls, the player can head up to a set of stairs to a lever, introducing another aspect of Cappy, how he can interact with the world around. In the section before he could be used break boxes, pull up poles and collect coins. Here, Cappy can be thrown at a lever to pull a bridge out of the fog. Run (or Roll) down the bridge, and you'll enter the first platforming section. Here you'll meet the first capture of the game: the Frog. The Frog is, well, a frog, it moves slower then Mario, floats on top of water, and can Jump really high. It's a fairly simple capture, but it gets the point across well, captures can be used to do things Mario can't. In this case, the Frog can be use the jump to higher, allowing the player to get to places Mario can't otherwise. It's an alright capture, and good choice for a first Capture. Definitely not my favourite Capture, but a harmless addition nonetheless.

After scaling the inside of the tower, the player reaches another door with a hat symbol on it. Outside is the top of the tower, walk past a few more broken down vehicles and Bonnetons, and climb to the top of the tower for the first boss fight of the game, with one of the Broodals. The Broodals are wedding planners, and are the ones setting up Bowser's wedding. They'll be travelling to every kingdom, stealing key items to be used at the Wedding, and making sure Mario gets beaten up along the way. Simply put, they carry out Bowser's plans, making him truly feel like a threat. They also help to give the sense that you're chasing Bowser across the world, as you'll have to fight them after the key item in that Kingdom goes missing.


Artwork of the Broodals. From left to right: Spewart, Topper, Rango and Harriet.

Upon the defeat of Topper, the Broodals leave the Kingdom, and an Electric Pole appears. Mario can capture this pole, and travel off into the distance, to the next Kingdom. The logo of the game appears, you're adventure is just getting started.

Cascade Kingdom (Fossil Falls)
The Electric Pole comes to an end, and Mario gets ejected from it, destroying it. After a brief cutscene to show the location of the first Power Moon, you gain control of Mario, and the music kicks.

The music that plays in Cascade KIngdom.

This was the point where I felt that Odyssey had started, the logo of the game appearing during while Mario rode off into the distance at the end of Cap Kingdom helped with that feeling, but I feel the music is integral to it. The music for this stage is an energetic piece, played by an orchestra, it really sets the tone for a first level. Compare this to music for the previous Kingdom, it's mysterious, and a bit quirky, not the tone you'd expect from a first level. Another thing that helps with this feeling is the Reveal Trailer for the game. Remember when this was the main theme for the game? To me, it still kind of is, even if 'Jump Up, Superstar!' took it's place. Nothing against 'Jump Up, Superstar!', it's a fantastic song and rightfully deserves it's place as the true Main Theme for the game, it's just that I hear Fossil Falls as the Main Theme of Super Mario Odyssey, it playing during the credits definitely helps.

From here I'll be looking at the highlights of the game, rather then whole thing. I've got to give people some room to actually play the game rather then me explaining the entire thing to them.

The Bosses
The boss of Cascade Kingdom is Madame Broode, you need to hit her Chain Chomp to knock the hat of it, then capture it. She'll chase you for a bit, then once she's tired from chasing, you can charge up and hit her. It's simple, but makes good use of both the Chain Chomp capture, and the capturing technique itself. This will become a standard for the boss of each Kingdom, for example in the Metro Kingdom you must fight the Mecha-Wiggler, which can only be hit using the shots of the Sherm capture. I like this boss, it's a nice break from the standard gameplay of Odyssey. The fight switches an on-rails shooter, to a standard boss fight where you need to move out of the way of the boss's attacks without a change in gameplay, only how you think about the boss and it's attacks. Not every Boss is a hit however, Mollosque-Lanceur stands out in particular as a bad fight, you need to chase using the him around the map using the Gushen capture, while avoiding the projectiles he fires off at you. It just feel like a waiting game chasing him around the stage, the projectiles he fires at you are rather easy to avoid, unlike the other bosses which are fun and challenging, Mollosque-Lanceur feels boring, easy and somehow frustrating from all of the time spent waiting.

Not every boss is fought in the form of a capture however, Bowser and the Ruined Dragon are fought entirely as the red plumber himself. The former is fought twice, once mid-way through the game, and as the Final Boss. The fight is fun, he'll throw his hat and shadowy copies of his hat at you, and you'll need to hit the real hat and pick it up to hit. Bowser will then perform a variety of counter-attacks at you, such jumping to cause flaming shockwaves, or throwing boulders at you. I enjoyed it, hitting the correct hat, avoiding his attacks, and then punching him with his own hat was very satisfying. In the second fight Bowser will counterattack with his tail once you hit him, and you need to hit him again after that. Combine that with more shadowy hats that have homing properties, boulders that can't be destroyed and a new fire breath attack before he throws his hats and you have a fun yet more challenging fight, and the fight earlier in the game helped you prepare for this moment.

The Crazy Cap
When you arrive at the next Kingdom. You have a nice road leading you into a town, here you can see how the residents are affected by the situation. Somethings gone wrong in the heat of the desert, because there is no heat, only cold, ice scatters the terrain, somethings gone horribly wrong.

A building on the left has the words 'Crazy Cap' above it. Saving the world can wait, it's time to go shopping, and play dress-up.

Across the world you'll find Crazy Cap stores, starting life in New Donk City, this business has travelled across the Mario-Verse to sell you Power Moons, Hats, Outfits, and Souvenirs to put on the Odyssey. Scattered across each world are the purple Regional Coins, a secondary collectable. Think of them like the Notes in Banjo-Kazooie, there's only 50/100 to collect in each world, and unlike coins they don't respawn after being collected. They're reminiscent of the Blue Coins in Sunshine, where you can trade them in for rewards, but don't get to scared, they come in groups and they're far easier to find. I found myself being able to collect them all of them in a given Kingdom without the use of a guide. In the shops Regional Coins can only be used in the Kingdom it was found in, and each Kingdom sells different items for the Regional Coins. Each Kingdom has the same stock for standard Coins however, so it's not much of a hassle if you want to buy a certain thing, just head to your local store to buy it with coins, or collect the Regional Coins in a given Kingdom and buy it at the local store there.

In terms of the costumes you can buy for Mario, there's a lot, and almost every single one is a reference to something else (yes, even the Boxer Shorts). The reference range from easily understood ones, such as the Artist Outfit from Mario Paint, or the Chef Outfit from Yoshi's Cookie, to more obscure ones such as the Explorer Outfit from Mario's Picross, or the Scientist Oufit from a Japanese Super Game Boy commercial. Each one looks cool, and it's fun to mix a match different pieces to come up with a cool combination. For a while on my main save I combined the Aviator Cap with the Skeleton Suit to make Mario look like a Pilot who died in a Plane Crash, at least that's my headcanon. In an update a bunch of new costumes for Mario to wear, such as the Glasses and Shirt from Sunshine, or the Space Suit from the Satellaview. They're all really cool, and I'm surprised by how much fun I managed to have from a simple customisation mechanic.


A screenshot of Mario wearing the Boxer Shorts outfit option. I made Mario spend a majority of the game dressed like this.

The souvenirs are also cool as well, you can buy Stickers that go on the Odyssey, or items to go on the inside. I always prioritised buying these, at adds a feeling of advancement. I've always liked little touches like this, where as you get further through a game an area slowly evolves, and these souvenirs provide a way of gaining that experience. By the end of the game the Odyssey will be neatly cluttered with stickers on the outside, and items ranging from a set of Utensils to an Inflatable Dorrie on the inside. It's simple, but I love it nonetheless.

Have you ever realised that in Collectathons you're just collecting an arbitrary amount of useless junk that allows you to open doors to more useless junk? I personally don't mind, as I enjoy collecting all of that useless junk, it's the reward of seeing that number tick up that I enjoy, but the Crazy Cap store takes the useless junk, and makes it not so useless by giving it a cool reward. It's simple, and you can complete an entire playthrough without having to enter a single store, but the game is all the better for this neat addition.

The Music and Sounds
The next kingdom the player visits is on a split path, I don't have much to say about Lake Kingdom, so I'll talk about Wooded Kingdom instead. The Odyssey lands in a forest area, with lot's trees. The trees here provide some shade, making it fairly dark compared to the other Kingdoms Mario's visited, but not too dark. After being quizzed by the Sphynx, the entrance to the main section of the level opens up and you walk through. As you exit tunnel, the Kingdom opens up before you and you get your first look at the combination of nature and machine. This build-up isn't the only thing that makes the entering the Wooded Kingdom for the first time such a memorable moment, you've read the title of this section and you already know what's coming, there's the music.

The music that plays in Wooded Kingdom.

The intro to the song is perfectly timed to when you enter the main section of the Kingdom, and the rest of the song as well is so good, the Guitar, the compression, it all works together to make one of my favourite songs in the entire Mario series. It isn't just this song, the entire soundtrack is good, and rivals games such as Hoops 3-on-3 and the M&S Rio 2016 in terms of my favourite soundtrack for a Mario game. This soundtrack works so well due to the sheer variety of the music, it really does make you feel like your travelling the world. It reminds me of my favourite soundtrack for a game, Sonic Unleashed, I love that soundtrack for the same reason I love this one. Just compare the music of the Snow Kingdom to that of the Seaside Kingdom, one is a jolly wintery tune, and the other is a calm, relaxing song, perfect for the Beach it can be heard in. The Big Band Jazz of 3D World, and Orchestra of Galaxy return as well, however they're used sparingly for effect, whether that be to make the Final Boss that bit more climatic, or to make you feel like you're visiting the Big City, it makes all the better. Beside the Wooded Kingdom music, one of my favourite pieces is the Luncheon Kingdom music. The bubbly feel helps to give the sense that your in the lava world, and the clanging of metal sounds like pots and pans are being used as instruments.

You can't talk about the music of the game without talking about 'Jump Up, Superstar!'. What is there to say that hasn't been said about this? There's nothing more to say beyond the fact that this is a fantastic song.

An underrated part of the music is the ambient tracks, I love the sound of water splashing up against the shore in 'Gloomy Bubblaine', and the calm and cool sounds in 'The Silver World of Shiveria' are oddly relaxing.

While I'm at it, I should probably bring up the sound design, of the game. It, just like everything else so far, is fantastic. The little tip-tap of Mario's feet on the floor, each ability has a unique sound to signify that you correctly performed it, it all adds up to enhance the experience.

The World
Visually speaking, this game is gorgeous. And not just graphically, the lighting and textures are good, but these worlds, they look amazing. Take the Wooded Kingdom for example, it combines the forest, a common level trope in the Mario series, with machinery, an area that's almost never explored in the Mario series, and combines them into to amazing level. Another stand out stage is Luncheon Kingdom, it combines the Lava World trope, and Food World, and ties it all up with a low-poly look. There's not a single world in Mario Odyssey that doesn't do something unique with it, whether that be taking a pre-existing level trope in the Mario series and turning into to something new, or doing something completely unexpected.

On the unexpected side of things, I've already discussed the Cap Kingdom, but Bowser's Kingdom is a stand out example as well. It goes for a Oriental Japanese feel, with banners, and Kanji scattered across the level. The capture of this level is the Pokio, and they wear Samurai Helmets that need to be knocked off before you can capture them. Another example would of course, be the Metro Kingdom. A city level has almost never appeared in a Mario game before, yet it feels like it fits in really well with everything else in the series, and it's crammed with reference to the original Donkey Kong arcade game as well. I've people claim that the New Donkers don't fit in, but I've personally never felt that way, I think they look perfectly fine right next to Mario and all the other species in this game.

Super Mario Odyssey does a brilliant job at taking the player across the world to so many new places. It's another great part of this amazing game.

The Pictures
Another addition to Super Mario Odyssey is the ability to take photos using a special, with this you can a picture with the angle you want, and can even apply filters to make even closer to how you want it to look. It's a neat addition and I took many photos with it. In fact I took so many photos with it I'm going to post some of them here. That's right, this post is just an elaborate excuse to post the pictures I took in Super Mario Odyssey!

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The Captures
Let's talk about one of the weaker aspects of the game, not that it's bad, I just feel that it has some issues. I'd like to tone the praise for a little bit here, and in the next two sections, but after that I'll be right back talking about how much I love this game, because I truly do love it. I just want you to keep that in mind during these section, that while I may be criticising the game, I still love it just as much as the previous sections of this post implies.

I want to take a look at some of the captures a little more in depth now, taking a look at each one individually rather then broadly. I'll start of on a positive note, Pokio, my favourite capture in the game. Pokio as previously stated, Pokio is a bird found in Bowser's Kingdom, but where it really shines is it's abilities, and how the level is focused around them. Across the level you'll find these walls that are coloured white, Pokio can extend it's beak to cling onto them, and fling itself across the walls. It's beak can also kill enemies, and hit bombs away. There's a variety of things Pokio can do, and the Kingdom makes good use of it.

Another one of my favourite captures is Sherm, which suddenly turn the game into a shooter. It's a bit slow, the projectiles it fires move slowly as well, but I still managed to get a lot of enjoyment from using it. I do feel it's a bit underutilised, but when it was utilised it made for some the most fun moments I had using a capture in the game.

One of my least favourite captures has to be Gushen, it's a cool idea, being able to spray water to fly around the stage, and you need to find water to refill. It ends up becoming a capture that I didn't enjoy controlling, due to how it worked, and the fact that the water ended up feeling like a minor nuisance rather then something you had to think about. It's also incredibly under utilised, only being required for a few of the moons in the stage. It feel like the opposite of Pokio, rather then building an entire stage around it's abilities, they just went "there's water in this stage, let's make a capture that uses water, that will work". Unfortunately this capture didn't work for me.

In general I think the captures, while good, have some major issues that stop me from seeing them as a plus. It's pretty telling that Metro Kingdom, the Kingdom that lack a main capture and can be navigated without the use of one, is my favourite kingdom in the game. Yet at the same time I think captures are great and they add so much to the game, just look at Pokio, or the Lava Bubble, those are examples of how you do captures right, and the game is all the better for it. I'm completely torn on whether or not I like this addition, I think they're good, but they still have a lot of issues that need to be worked out. If they were to ever make a sequel to this game, then my idea would be to reduce the number of capture targets, refining the ones you do have to make them the best they can be.

Seaside Kingdom (Bubblaine) and Underwater Gameplay
I've complained about this kingdom twice already, once with the boss, and another time with the capture, so I might as well admit it, I think Seaside Kingdom is okay. It's not bad, but it just doesn't reach the heights that many of the other Kingdoms soar to in terms of quality. Why is that, well I think it's due to two reasons related to a certain liquid.

The first one is the general level design, it's a non-linear level, which is great! Some of my favourite level are like that, such as Metro Kingdom, Mushroom Kingdom or Lost Kingdom, but where this Kingdom falls flat is unlike the previous three, which focus on vertical level design or wide-open area to mess about with Mario's abilities in, Seaside Kingdom instead focuses on the Underwater gameplay, and I think it's worse off for it. The underwater sections of the level are bland looking, and rather forgettable, there's not much to do, yet so many Power Moons in the level are hidden down there. I'm not a fan of this section of this level.

The other issue with the level focusing on underwater gameplay is, the underwater gameplay. Remember when I said there were only two exceptions to Mario being fun to control? This is one of them. Underwater gameplay is based on 3D World and 3D Land rather then Sunshine and 64, meaning it's slow and plays like it does in the 2D Games. I can't enjoy this, it's just impossible, it goes against everything I enjoy about this game: Mario is fast and fluid, you have complete control over him. When I'm underwater moving slowly Mario doesn't feel fast, nor fluid, he isn't fun to control anymore. The game tries to remedy this using the Cheep Cheep capture, and while it can work, it's heavily limited in what it can do, and I'd rather just play as Mario most of the time.

Seaside Kingdom isn't bad, it's just that fails to meet the standards that almost every other Kingdom sets. There's also one major Kingdom that I do believe to be worse then it as well, a Kingdom that for the most part, I would consider bad.

Moon Kingdom (Luna Ridge) and Dark Side (Rabbit Ridge)
Moon Kingdom is the Kingdom I would consider to be bad, and is the second exception to Mario being fun to control. When in Space, Mario is affected by the lower amount of gravity, meaning he jumps higher, and falls slower. During the gameplay section I stated "[Mario] doesn't feel too floaty, yet he doesn't drop like a rock", and unfortunately that doesn't apply in this Kingdom. Mario is way too floaty here, and I just don't enjoy it. I swear he moves slower as well, the Frog capture returns in this Kingdom, and there's a Power Moon where you have to take it halfway across the Kingdom, and it take a painfully long time. I know I said the Frog was slower then Mario, but back in the Cap Kingdom it was barely noticeable, here, when combined with Moon physics it's just not fun to play.

This only applies to the above ground area, as this issue is more then made up for with the Final Boss, the section after that, and the Underground Moon Caverns. The Underground Moon Caverns is a platforming challenge before the Final Boss and it is a good one, it takes what you've learnt about the captures throughout the game, and puts it to the test in one long stage, which is all topped off with a rematch against Madame Broode. It's great, but isn't good enough to redeem the Moon Kingdom by itself, it will need the final sequence of the story to do that, which I'll talk about in the next section.

This also affects another area however, Dark Side. In Dark Side, you'll have to face off against the Broodals one last time, and I did not enjoy it. This area keeps the moon physics from Moon Kingdom, meaning the fights are far less fun and far more difficult then they were previously. I didn't complete this on this playthrough, as I was not having fun with it.

Wow, I didn't expect to still praise this game as much as I did when I was being negative, I guess that just goes to show how much I like this game. Anyway, from here on, this post will just be the endless praise that the rest of this post has been, so I hope you're prepared for that.

The End-Game
Mario finally arrives at the Wedding Hall, just in time to stop Bowser's Wedding. He storms through the door in his Wedding Suit (or Wedding Dress, Boxer Shorts, Clown Outfit, etc.) and confronts Bowser. The two then fight in the Final Boss Battle against Bowser, which I previously explained, but this isn't even the best part. Upon his defeat, Bowser crashes into the a stalactite and Moon Rocks starting falling into the arena. Before Mario can reach Peach, a Moon Rock falls in between the two, stopping Mario from saving. They then fall from the Arena.

When Mario wakes up, the ground is falling around him. The player regains control of Mario, then only path is to Peach, who is next to an unconscious Bowser. Throughout the game, whenever you escape from a captured target, the would get dizzy and stars would spin around above their head. If there was anything you could throw your hat at, a small white arrow would appear above it when Mario faced towards it. Now, both of these signs appear above Bowser. With nothing left to do, the player will throw Cappy at Bowser in attempt to capture him.

And it works.

Just like the first time Mario captured a Frog, he'll soar through the memories of Bowser, passing through the sounds and sights from each and every time they have fought. 30 years of the most iconic rivalry in Video Games has come to this.

Mario opens his eyes, he's become Bowser. In one final platforming sequence, the player plays as Bowser escaping from the Moon, with Peach on his back. The orchestra applies the pressure to the situation. Bowser controls similarly to Mario, just bigger and stronger, you can even perform a Triple Jump. As you run through this section, boulders drop from the ceiling, the ground falls around you. There's a 2D section during this as well. Once through the player will have to hit a wall multiple times, and then, this sequence hits it's peak.

The music that plays during the final section of the escape sequence, it is titled 'Break Free (Lead the Way)'.

A Pop Rock song starts to play, song by the same person who song 'Jump Up, Superstar!'. The player will then have to destroy four rock pillars with Bowser, freeing one last Moon Rock. Destroy it, and an electric pole will reveal itself, Mario can then use to take himself, Bowser, and Peach back to the surface. Once the player has done this, the final cutscene will start to play.

The Bowser escape sequence is one of my favourite moments in the whole game, it's brief, but it's amazing. It really feels like the whole game was building to this, and maybe even the entire series. I loved every second of it.

The final cutsene rolls, Bowser crashes onto the ground, Mario uses his head to land safely, and Peach floats down to safety. Cappy and Tiara reunite at last. Mario walks over to Peach, but before either can do anything, Bowser knocks Mario out of the way proposes to Peach one last time, Mario returns and does the same. The camerawork during this section is good, it really puts you in the shoes of Peach, making you feel uncomfortable. Peach rejects both of them, and Bowser and Mario step back Bowser. Bowser sits down and Mario puts his hand Bowser's shell comforting him. This entire quest, it wasn't just to save Peach, or the world, it was also an attempt to marry her. Peach then leaves the two, Mario quickly chasing after the Odyssey.

I've heard some people don't like this ending, but I don't have an issue with it. It's a satisfying conclusion to a great game.

Post-Game Content
After this is all over Mario arrives in the Mushroom Kingdom. You can run around the surrounding area, or enter Peach's Catle. This place is full of Super Mario 64 references, there's paintings to enter, Peach's Castle plays a remix of the song from Super Mario 64, if you look up at the roof to enter the Wing Cap level you get a Power Moon, all of the Power Moons are stars and play the star jingle from Super Mario 64, Yoshi is on the roof of Peach's Caslte, you can even get a costume that turns you into Mario from Super Mario 64, and using that you can enter the courtyard from 64. It's a cool reward, even ignoring all the references to 64.

You can travel back to previous Kingdoms to collect new Power Moons. One of these new Power Moons in every Kingdom requires you to participate in Koopa Freerunning, where you need to race a group of Koopas to the goal to get a Power Moon, testing you knowledge of the Kingdom, and Mario's abilities. Another Moon in every Kingdom is Peach and Tiara, who are revisiting the Kingdoms on their own terms. In each Kingdom there was previously rock that you couldn't do anything with, now if you hit it will bring a ton of new moons to Kingdom it's in. You'll be able to tell if you've hit or not as Cappy will tell you that it's there when you enter a Kingdom where it hasn't been destroyed. These Moon Rocks are a good excuse to go back and revisit each Kingdom. It breaths new life into them, encouraging you to explore areas that you've already explored for new Power Moons that have appeared. This also adds new, harder, Power Moons to previously completed challenges, such as Koopa Freerunning, which now has a Golden Koopa who goes faster then the others.

Then there's the final challenge of the game, Darker Side. Every Mario game since Galaxy 2 has had a final level that's far harder then anything else in the game, and this game is no different. Just like the Underground Moon Caverns, it puts your knowledge of the captures to the test, but now with even harder challenges, different captures, and some sections that test your skill as Mario without captures, and even a segment without Cappy. It's tough, but it's worth it. It all ends with a Thank You from the developers, and Cappy reminiscing on your adventure together, as you climb up a recreation of the New Donk City Hall.

With over 880 Power Moons not every single one is going to be a hit, take the Deep Woods of Wooded Kingdom for example, where you need to capture a Coin Coffer and stand around firing coins at a plant for a few minutes until a Power Moon appears, or the Jump-Rope and Volleyball challenge, which, as mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have yet to complete. Some of these are far easier then others as well, there's on in Cascade Kingdom where the Moon is just lying on top of a rock waiting to be collected. Others are rather obtuse, such as the Hint Art, or the Power Moons where you need to look at a flying object in sky. However, these misses feel like a minority, not a majority, and most Moons I enjoyed collecting.

Postface
That was one long post. I don't think I'll ever be able to post ever again, in any thread, as I probably won't ever be able to top this in terms of length. For context this file was 12KB (the size of my previous review) when I had reached the section about the Cap Kingdom, and is currently 40KB, more then three times the size of my previous longest post, my Awards presentation last year (14KB). I'm proud of this, and I don't think I would've been happy if I took the easy option out. I had a lot to say about this game, and I'm glad I managed to get it all out in go. So, like Mario would thank one for playing his game, I'd like thank you for reading this post. It took me more then two days to write, and I'm glad that you were willing to put up with such a long post just to find out what I thought about Mario game.
 

Christmas Miracle

Happy festive season!
Super Mario 3D Land

so some of you may remember me asking for help on my profile and thanks. as it turns out i was just missing two golden flagpoles which i hadn't spotted. i did them and unlocked 8-crown.

the true final level was actually alright, definitely the hardest in the game but not too unbearable i actually died on the thank you part one time cause i didnt notice the moving platform so thought you had to actually platform across the letters and fell off. but eventually i beat it with both bros and with that super mario 3d land is the fourth video game i've completed to 100%, the first three being spm, smg1, and smg2 respectively (though in hindsight i don't quite remember which of the galaxies i beat first, it was around the same time.)

i stand by my nonpersonal score of 7/10 for this game, the special worlds are definitely a great expansion although most of them were just remixes of existing levels. i still enjoyed them myself though. but most of the things i said back then haven't changed.
 

Shroobuigi

the poisonous chestnut
Poll Committee
Super Mario World - defeated Bowser

Besides The Lost Levels, this was the only classic 2D Mario game I haven't beaten yet, until now. I really enjoyed it, and to be honest, it's probably my favorite 2D classic Super Mario game, although Super Mario Bros. 3 is a close second place. The graphics and music were amazing, and the way the game presented itself felt drastically different from SMB3. One of my initial concerns was that the game would be too similar to SMB3, but due to the more interconnected world map and extra secrets, it felt like a different experience.
 

NocturnalDragoon

Dry Bowser
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Sony PlayStation)



Getting the wizard cards from the minecart mini-game in Gringotts bank nearly drove me up the wall, but at least now I can say that I finally 100% completed this game, the reward wasn't really worth the effort (you just get a slightly different ending where Ron gives Harry his own wizard card) but oh well.
 

Smasher

Smasher
Forum Moderator
Chat Operator
Core 'Shroom Staff
Awards Committee
Dust: An Elysian Tail

27 out of 30 Steam achievements

good game, would have finished sooner if I procrastinated less on the last chapter
 

Shroobuigi

the poisonous chestnut
Poll Committee
Super Mario Maker 2 - Story Mode

Really enjoyed playing through this. The levels were really creative, and some tied in with the story quite well. Speaking of which, the story was probably better than any other 2D Mario game, at least in my opinion.
 

NocturnalDragoon

Dry Bowser
Super Mario Maker 2 (Nintendo Switch)

Finished the story mode as well, castle 100% restored and
Meowser
defeated. Will continue playing to finish the other jobs that I haven't gotten to yet just because the level design here is really strong, this is Nintendo at their absolute A-game here and I love it.

Also still a better ending than Odyssey's.
 
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winstein

Justice is not limited, it is a universal quality
Poll Committee

Picross S3

If you don't know what Picross is all about, it's short for "Picture Crossword" and the general name for this type of puzzle is basically called nonogram in other parts. It can be best described as a logic puzzle: using numbers as the basis for solving the puzzle similar to how Sudoku and other Nikoli puzzles are. Essentially numbers are listed on each row and each column which marks which parts of the grid need to be filled. The Picross games on Nintendo systems have been going strong, and the "S" series is coming from the "E" series from the 3DS.

As the name suggests, this is the third game of the "S" series, released on the Switch's third year (meaning last year). This game builds upon the concepts found in the past two games, as the first has the basic regular Picross and Mega Picross (some rows/columns have numbers that occupy two rows/columns), and the second game introduced Clip Picross (variable grid sizes that form parts of the picture). The first three Picross S games were offered at a discount because Jupiter's rolling out S4, which similar to the "E" series, will have a bonus for players who got at least one of the three games, and it's also the one that introduces super large puzzles (think 30x30 or 40x30).

This game introduces Color Picross, which is the usage of multiple colours to fill the grid. It's not a new idea, since a good number of similar games used colour as a way to differentiate themselves, but for the biggest nonogram series, it's new. Not content with just making it about colour, it has a neat thing that Picross games didn't do for a long time: have animated pieces after completing. This is the best part about Color Picross, and unlike say, Mario's Super Picross, the animation can be viewed all at once per page:

Both Picross and Mega Picross have the ability to play any puzzle the player wants, and I would go in reverse order: play the larger puzzles first and work my way to the first, so basically the 5x5 puzzles are last. Solving enough puzzles in both unlocks new puzzles in Clip Picross, and because of that, I can't do the same thing in Clip Picross. Speaking of Clip Picross, I like that the portraits follow a theme.


It took about 30 hours to solve the whole thing, but it's nice to have some Picross again.

Thank you for reading.
 

YoshiFlutterJump

Power Star
Awards Committee
Super Kirby Clash

1E5B02BA-71DB-40A6-A383-49870A070D6B.jpeg


Level: 90
Role: Sword Hero
Weapon: Starlight Sword SDX
Armor: Starlight Helm SDX
Heroic Rank: 714
Ordeal Quests Beaten: 17/17
Total Play Time: 51:21

At long last, I've done it. All 108 quests in the game beaten at last. The True Final Battle EX sure lived up to its name. I didn't get any help from online or adventurers, so it was just my team. There were just two seconds left on the clock. It was intense, I tell you, and I would have failed were I just one level lower. Oh and btw, I didn't use any Gem Apples to revive or extend the timer.

So before I start talking about this game, it's worth mentioning its lesser-known 3DS predecessor, Team Kirby Clash Deluxe. The game is a free-to-start RPG-style take on various Kirby series bosses, with the game itself being based on a sub-game from Kirby: Planet Robobot, simply known as Team Kirby Clash. I played this game on my 3DS a lot back in the day, though I never quite managed to beat it due to, you know, 65-centimeter fitness balls. Hopefully you'll be seeing a separate post here for that game in the coming months, once I'm able to grab a new 3DS. But I thought it was worth mentioning here, because I'll be referencing this game a lot in this post and wanted to give some necessary background.

So, Super Kirby Clash is the direct successor to Team Kirby Clash Deluxe for Switch, and like that game, it is free-to-start with optional microtransactions. Yes, I know that last word is a huge turn-off for many, but hear me out. Many companies use the freemium model as an addictive way to suck whopping amounts of money from unsuspecting players. Nintendo themselves has been guilty of this in recent years, thanks to Fire Emblem Heroes, Dr. Mario World, and Mario Kart Tour. But this is HAL Laboratory we're talking about, a developer I highly respect, and they do something that immediately negates any complaints about the F2P model. The freemium currency this time around is Gem Apples, primarily earned by harvesting them every 12 hours and used to buy new gear and refill the energy meter (vigor). But in both Kirby Clash games, there is a hard limit to how much you can buy. After paying a fairly reasonable price ($27 for TKCDX, $40 for SKC), you are restricted from buying any more Gem Apples, and in turn, the Gem Apple Tree vastly increases its harvest yield and you have a near-infinite supply, thereby circumventing pretty much all of the game's freemium elements. Unfortunately, this is tied to your save file (meaning if you delete your save, your Gem Apples go away and the Tree Level resets), so resetting your file isn't exactly a viable option here. But still, it's a lot better than what numerous other F2P games insist on doing. You pay only what you want to, and nothing more.

The gameplay itself revolves around four roles, based on four of Kirby's copy abilities. Sword Hero is speedy and agile, Hammer Lord is slow but exceedingly powerful, Beam Mage excels in ranged attacks that can stop time, and Doctor Healmore is a support role that can create healing areas for his teammates. From what I've seen, Beam Mage tends to be the preferred role, but as you saw at the beginning of this post, I'm a Sword Hero all the way. While the game lets you switch roles at any time, it's generally considered good strategy to just stick with one because, unless you're paying full price, it's impossible to keep your entire team updated with the most powerful gear.

Battles take place in the form of various quests posted on a corkboard. These are real-time boss battles and play similarly to a traditional Kirby game. The objective of quests is to beat the boss before time runs out, and the faster the boss is beaten, the more EXP is gained from the encounter. There are two distinct categories of quests: Story Quests and Party Quests. Party Quests are unlocked as the story progresses and support local and online multiplayer. Additionally, each quest contains a number of side objectives known as Heroic Missions; each one grants Gem Apples or Rare Fragments upon its completion, and completing many of these is necessary to reach higher levels. At certain points in the story, you'll encounter an Ordeal Quest. These serve as the major boss quests in the game; there are 13 in the main story, and 4 more in postgame Party Quests. There are a total of 108 quests in Story and Party modes combined.

The game is an absolute blast to play with friends in short bursts, but it can get tedious if played in long stretches of time, especially if playing alone. There's a lot of grinding in the game (I accumulated a total of ten million EXP over the course of the game), and if you're rushing to beat this game, you're going to hate it. Take your time, play in short bursts, and I assure you that you'll have fun with this game. Additionally, there's a lot of waiting in the game if you don't pay; thanks to My Nintendo you can use Gold Points to increase Gem Apple harvests, and I did use a good number of them even though I didn't spend any money on it directly. It's probably worth paying at least some money on the game, though I'll leave that at your discretion.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend downloading this game on your Switch, especially if you missed out on Team Kirby Clash Deluxe on 3DS. It's entirely free-to-start and costs you nothing, and if ever you do decide to pay, you can rest assured that the addictive slippery slope doesn't apply here due to the spending limits I mentioned earlier. You'll definitely want to pay full price if you're one to play for long stretches of time, but that's the beauty of this game: it's entirely up to you how much you pay. So even if you don't like the game, know that it will cost you nothing but your time, so I at least recommend trying the first few quests.

Pros
-Unique RPG-style gameplay
-Four roles with different strengths and weaknesses
-Good freemium model - you choose what you pay

Cons
-Deleting your save file isn't a viable option
-Can get tedious if played for long stretches
-You pretty much have to stick with one role, unless you pay full price
 

YoshiFlutterJump

Power Star
Awards Committee
Paper Mario 64

Already reviewed this game once in this thread and I don't feel like doing it again, but still worth posting that I have now completed the first stage of my Paper Mario marathon. Just wanted to say that, while often overshadowed by its (superior) successor, the original Paper Mario is a solid game and holds up very well. Still has my favorite story in the series, and Bowser's portrayal is managed a lot better here than in most later installments.

Oh yeah and Goombario is still the most OP partner in the game.
 

Shroobuigi

the poisonous chestnut
Poll Committee
Super Mario Odyssey

Amazing game, and I'm glad that I finally got to play it, after all of the amazing things I've heard about it. I beat Bowser
and the Broodals in Dark Side
and I currently have about 330 moons.
 

YoshiFlutterJump

Power Star
Awards Committee
Super Mario World

Yes, the third game I've beaten in 4 days. It'll probably be the last for a little while, though.

Super Mario World, also known as Super Mario Bros. 4, is of course the fourth console installment in the main series, released in 1990 as a launch title for the Super NES. It follows in the footsteps of Super Mario Bros. 3, but goes even bigger, hides even more secrets, and really shows off just how big a step up the Super NES was from the original NES. Top that with checkpoints, secret exits, and the trademark Cape Feather and Yoshi, and you've got a high point of classic 2D platforming.

To start off, I'll talk about the levels. Mario 3 blew my socks off with a whopping 90 levels, compared to Mario 1 and 2(j) having 32 and 52 respectively. How many does World have? 73. But YFJ, you said the game is bigger! Anyone who knows basic math knows 73 is smaller than 90! Well, I say to that, while Mario 3 had an impressive quantity of levels, they were often rather short even compared to its predecessors to compensate for the lack of checkpoints. World brings back checkpoints, and as such the levels are much meatier than Mario 3. Additionally, World hides a lot of secrets, with a total of 24 secret exits on top of the standard 73 levels, for a total of 97 exits (shows as 96 in-game since the game doesn't save after Bowser, much like the misconception of Mario 64 only having 120 stars). On this playthrough I found 88 exits (not counting Bowser), with all 24 secret exits but none of the eight Special Zone levels (which are basically Lost Levels Redux which I'm not in the mood for right now). So yeah, this game has loads of content that will keep you occupied for a while.

Next up, the power-ups. Alongside the classic Super Mushroom, Fire Flower, and Super Star, this game introduces the Cape Feather, Power Balloon, and...that's it. None of the power ups introduced in Mario 3 return--the Super Leaf, Tanooki Suit, Frog Suit, Hammer Suit, and P-Wing are all gone--and that is a little disappointing and the biggest thing Mario 3 has over this game. But Yoshi I feel more than makes up for it, as he has all kinds of abilities of his own. While he lacks his trademark Flutter Jump (that came five years later), Yoshis can still gobble enemies and stand on spikes. Additionally, when eating Koopa shells, Yoshi gains a unique ability depending on the color of the shell. Green shells he spits out like normal, red shells allow him to spit three fireballs, yellow shells allow him to destroy all ground enemies whenever he lands from a jump, and blue shells allow Yoshi to fly for a short time. Differently-colored Yoshis can also be found in the Star World, and these Yoshis can gain the power of their respective colored shell...when eating any shell. Yes, even the blue Yoshi, and in fact, there's actually an additional power-up called Yoshi's Wings that turns any Yoshi into a blue one. And the best part? You can bring any Yoshi with you between levels, which the NSMB games never brought back for some reason.

Mario feels really nice to control compared to Mario 1-3 as well, and the Spin Jump is introduced here, which allows Mario to break blocks below him when powered up. The two power-ups I mentioned earlier are neat too; Cape Mario is a natural evolution of Raccoon Mario that is even easier to control, and can fly over entire levels if used right...but let's be honest, why are you even playing if you're just going to fly to Bowser? And then there's the Power Balloon...which also grants flight powers, but it works very differently than the Cape Feather. Balloon Mario flies...like a balloon, although it's only temporary. I've heard this is used as the central gimmick of a Special Zone level...shudder...but hey, Balloon Mario looks hilarious and that's enough to make this a good power-up.

And...I guess that completes my classic 2D Mario endeavor, at least for now. Yeah, I still need to beat Mario USA, the Land duology, and Yoshi's Island (that's probably the next one of these)...but for now, I think I'll just focus on my Paper Mario marathon. Maybe I'll continue Yoshi's Island on the side if I feel like it.

Pros
-73 levels plus 24 secret exits means a lot of content to explore
-Yoshi is a great gameplay addition, adding a lot of variety
-Cape Feather is fun and satisfying to use
-Physics just feel great in general

Cons
-Less power-up variety than in Super Mario Bros. 3
-Infrequent saving; no quicksave option (restore points mitigate this)
 

Koops

Epic
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

So... ok. People idolize this game. I'm aware of that. I think I understand why, but at the same time... I don't?

Anyway, Idk what makes Moldo hate this game but I can also kinda see where he's coming from too, as I've had my instance of frustration as well. Let's get to the review.

Story

Let's review the least important part before anything else.

It's completely useless and is essentially just there to fill the quota, since it's a zelda game and we need a story for that. Otherwise it's just "Bad man wants to take over world, go stop him, good guy". I will say lifting the Master Sword for the first time is a pretty powerful moment, especially after you step out of the temple of time. And I did like the Lon Lon Ranch arc, and all the people in it too (Epona was also a godsend, which helps my liking to this place).

Other than that the story is inconsequential and it doesn't hurt nor does it benefit the game as a whole.

Presentation

I'm cutting the game some slack because it was on the N64 which was probably pretty hard to work with as is, but you can see that this game was pretty ambitious in the graphics department. Making a whole interconnected world that evolves as you tinker with it, and also having TWO versions of that same world, that is something you don't simply do on this comparatively weak a system, and they pulled it off. It's graphics look decent for its time and not barf bad or anything. Sadly, it is lacking on its OST front. Few good themes but not anything to form a stellar soundtrack or anything, and many areas just have ambient noises as a theme (which works sometimes). Nonetheless, there have been some themes that caught me off guard because of how good they are (i.e: Spirit Temple) and some locations despite the graphic limitations look downright gorgeous (Water Temple).

OoT's presentation is acceptable, and expected for a game of its time. It's good.

Gameplay

Aaaaaaaand here comes the big one!

The controls are fine. I know this isn't the only game to do this and correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure this is the first game zelda game to give you the option to assign items to given buttons. It's also the first with a targeting command, and that mechanic is amazing. Allows you to keep your eye on the enemy while moving around without problem, and making sure you hit the target. It's a basic QoL change, but a darn good one, and I am glad they kept it for later games. I don't like how you have to stand still to put your sword away but that's about the one nitpick I have regarding controls.

World navigation... it's not that great. Running around through a mostly empty field is in no way fun. Thankfully as you progress, the game gives you ways to fast-travel, and... Epona! Now this is when you navigate the Hyrule fields, but any area that isn't that is more interesting to go through obviously. Not much else to say here. In terms of abilities, the items given to you and the abilities that you obtain are great. I love using the Hammer to squish things. The Hookshot is such a useful tool for not just getting around, but just for shooting the top of a climbable surface to save time. The various Gauntlet upgrades open up many possibilities on the field, and the lens of truth is so much more useful than it seems at first. Beside Hyrule fields, it's a fun world to explore.

The Dungeons... Perhaps the main draw to any Zelda game that isn't BotW. The dungeons in this game... are pretty top-notch. Yes. Even the Water Temple (The only problem with it is the constant need to switch items and having to cycle through the menus but it's great otherwise), although I think my least favorite has to be Jabu-Jabu's isnides. Nonetheless all of them offer some decent challenge and give you some side objectives without making those abundant to the point where you have to completely abandon the main path. Some of them were really fun and inventive, namely the Fire Temple and the Spirit Temple, my personal two favorites.

One final nitpick I have is that you really need to go out of your way to get items and such. I found myself always getting Rupees despite my cap at the time being 200, just because I did not get enough Golden Spiders to give to the guy in the skulltula house. This was especially painful when getting those Golden rupees.

Final Verdict

Zelda: Ocarina of Time is overrated as all fuck. But by no means does that make it a bad game at all, in fact I think I enjoyed this game more than BotW, what with the better dungeon quality and constant things to do relatively. It's a great game that had many ambitions for its time and succeeds in a lot of them, but it also fails in some areas. I guess the real reason people love this game is because of its impact on the series, more than anything else? But even then, this is a quality experience and I can't think of anything other than having to go back through time constantly and the empty Hyrule Fields that really form a detriment to the rest of the game. I really liked it.

Next Zelda game will probably be either Wind Waker or Majora's Mask but before then I wanna finish TTYD so I can focus on it. Wait a sec I have a save of Link to the past! I should probably work on it.
 

Dr. Eggman

I am the enemy, I will succeed
Sonic Forces

I made the avatar wear a paper mask for the entire game, in an attempt to stay relevant.

The game itself feels very rushed. It ends when the game is just starting to be challenging, I also didn't feel much of a desire to replay levels, and try to get better at them. I feel this is due to two reasons, firstly the aforementioned difficulty, but also how short the levels were. I'd often find myself thinking "that's it?" towards the end of the level. Contrast this with Generations, where the levels were both long and challenging, this created levels such as Rooftop Run or Crisis City which were a constant challenge, but once you mastered the mechanics, it was a lot of fun to blast through them. This wasn't all good, I felt Planet Wisp was too long (6 Minutes is still an S Rank), but the for the most part the levels were the right length and fun to play as well. Forces isn't like this, when I got to the final Sonic level (Mortar Canyon) I didn't feel challenged, and it was over in less then 2 minutes, that's not good when this is the second to last non-boss level, but it was a nice break after the Classic Sonic stage before it.

Speaking of which, Classic Sonic is bad. He controls bad, his levels are bad, he's forced into the game for no discernible reason, he's just not good at all. In Generations, I wasn't too big on Classic Sonic. He was okay. I just didn't enjoy how he controlled that much, it wasn't bad, just it wasn't what I was expecting. Once I got used to it it did the job fine, and I never felt that it was the root of any issues in Classic Sonic's levels, nonetheless if I'm going back to Generations, it's for the Modern levels, not the Classic levels. In Forces I did not enjoying playing as Classic Sonic. He drops like a rock, and isn't good for precise platforming, which isn't good because the designers of this game forgot how to design Classic Sonic stages (the final Classic Sonic stage has an autoscrolling section!).

In general controlling characters isn't fun, Modern Sonic's acceleration is off the charts, and it feels far more like it transitioning between multiple states, not fun to use when the game requires you to perform platforming (once, towards the end of the game). At least you have the boost, which hasn't been touched since Generations in how it controls, however now the Boost can't be gained by tricking or collecting Rings, rather only breaking capsules with White Wisps in, or defeating enemies. This makes boosting feel more like something that happens when the game wants you to perform it. While the Boost stops you from having to worry about using the horrible controls when you have it, this only applies to Modern Sonic, the Avatar is really where the controls start becoming a problem, as they can't boost.

If there's one thing I can complement this game for it's the music. Rather then going for the more varied style of previous modern games, it takes a more Electronic approach, with the music being influenced by genres such as Techno and EDM. I've heard people call the music grating, in reference to the Sawtooth Synth used in many of the songs, and while I do agree in the case of the Classic Sonic stages, I just can't agree for the rest of the music. I enjoy many of the genres the music is inspired by, and the same applies to songs themselves. This is specially true the Avatar stages, which all have Vocal Music, these songs really help to turn the soundtrack from a great soundtrack, to ranking among some of the best soundtracks in the series. My personal favourites would have to Moonlight Battlefield and Fading World, which are two of the aforementioned Vocal Songs from the Avatar Stages.

Overall, this game just feels like a weaker Generations. Everything controls worse, the level design is worse, and the references to older games (Wisps, Classic Sonic) just feel forced. Would not recommend playing this game, just get the far superior Generations instead.
 

NocturnalDragoon

Dry Bowser
Mega Man Zero via Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection (Nintendo Switch)

Played with the save-assist mode on just because I remember the first game being kinda beans in certain spots and I didn't want to have to repeat an entire stage just in case I flubbed it up nearing the end, though funnily enough the save-assist actually kinda briefly screwed me over in the factory level during that one segment where you need to get across a bottomless pit using these robots carrying lumber as platforms. Since one of the save-assist capsules is placed directly above a blindspot where I couldn't see where the lumber robots were without repeatedly wall jumping off the side of a small ledge to briefly lower the camera just to get a glimpse and just hope for the best when I jump back down.

The bosses here in typical Mega Man series fashion are pretty cool, some of my favorites include Anubis Necromancess, Pantheon Core, Asura Basura, Herculious Anchus, and Leviathan.

Onwards to Zero 2.
 

Christmas Miracle

Happy festive season!
Paper Mario (N64)

Story: Well, pretty good. the intro is a pretty good start to the adventure and tells you how awesome and important the star spirits are, and the star rod background blah de blah and the introduction to the story you get after you start your save file is pretty good too. This story does well to make Bowser have a good personality whilst still making him feel menacing and powerful. The adventure does give you some interesting plot points on the way like how ruff and puff drained sun out of a cloud kingdom and you go around restoring its beauty and so on. But overall, the general plot of the game is not outstanding as it is really just a beefed up version of the cliche save Peach from Bowser. So I think the player's unlikely to totally adore the story but still is going to find it pretty solid. I'd give the story an 8/10.

Gameplay: I personally think knowing what intelligent systems were going for they pulled this off really well. The battle system actually feels pretty well balanced and involves strategy as well as skill to win, and has a lot of customisation, and there's a BP cap that stops you just abusing that stat infinitely. The overworld gameplay is good, you can use partners' abilities and Mario himself gets abilities too that you can use. But it's again nothing phenomenal, as I said in my TTYD review the overworld gameplay works perfectly fine but I wouldn't say anything about it goes above and beyond. And the battle system I would also say has some problems, as I have mentioned, maybe this is just me but I think the action commands kinda felt off. And the level design here is actually consistently great. Overall I think the average player will like this a lot but I can understand some players (including myself) having significant gripes or not entirely adoring the gameplay. Gameplay gets an 8/10.

The Presentation probably has to be this one's weakest asset. I think the worlds are generally good but they don't go above and beyond and they do stick to a kind of vanilla formula: grassland, desert, jungle, volcano, ice, and Bowser's castle. But there are still some original ones like Shy Guy's Toybox and that's good. The game's minor characters do come a long way in helping the game feel charming particularly in the end of the game. I think the dialogue in this game is very good but I would probably not call it as strong as in the other MaRPGs I have played so far. The graphics are very much dated but that doesn't mean the game looks ugly: it still actually does ok to represent what it is. And the music I'd say is generally decent, as always it is difficult to judge this nonpersonally, but I would say I found the OST overall to be alright but I can't think of many that REALLY stand out to me. My favourites are probably the credits theme and Over Shiver Mountain, but even those two probably wouldn't be that high on my top 100 list. Overall I'd say its presentation is good but not great. The presentation gets a 7/10.

Conclusion: neither personally nor non-personally would I say the game compares to SPM or TTYD (which I both played before this) but in its own right Paper Mario 64 is still a very good game, designed really well back then and it does have a few aging issues but overall it holds up very well and I can definitely say is worth your time. Verdict: 8/10.
personally? damn what an experience. i was expecting it to be good and it didn't dissappoint, it always felt awesome, as i say i don't like it as much as ttyd but i still had a ton of fun with this game, and while i didn't enjoy the story as much i still had at least some fun with the gameplay and it had so many things that reminded me of what i loved about TTYD and SPM. and it overalls feel very charming, the ending was so heartwarming, and is absolutely one of my favourite games of all time.
 

YoshiFlutterJump

Power Star
Awards Committee
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

So I originally intended to beat the Pit of 100 Trials before playing Chapter 8, but forget that, I already wasted countless hours on that wretched pit anyway. So now, the second leg of my Paper Mario journey is complete.

To be honest, I really forgot how amazing this game was. While it still doesn't compare to any of the Mario & Luigi games, this game really does deserve all the praise it gets. Pretty much everything the first Paper Mario did is done even better here. The revamped battle system feels great, introducing partner HP, Stylish commands, and the wild cards the audience frequently throws in. The main plot is rather dark for Mario with many twists and turns, but unlike that of its successor, Super Paper Mario, Mario is very clearly the main protagonist and not just a vessel for the story. There's even more variety in the chapters than in the first game, with one chapter being entirely made up of battles and another about solving a mystery on a train. And the partners feel more unique and fleshed out than in the first game. This game really did nearly everything right.

It isn't flawless--no game is--and there are a few nagging issues in the game that do add up. But I feel the positives far outweigh that. The worst I can say about this game is that it feels a little overly familiar near the beginning, but by the third chapter such thoughts are long gone. It's a shame that this game is so hard to find nowadays, but if you enjoyed the first Paper Mario then maybe you should look for some other way to play this game, like I did. This is definitely a high point for the series, though it still has yet to receive a true sequel...we'll see how close The Origami King gets to that, I guess. Tomorrow I'll probably be starting on the third installment, Super Paper Mario, and...how do I put this...my memories of it aren't too positive. But I guess we'll see just how bad it was, and how it led to one of the most reviled Mario games of all time. For now...I'm hungry. Maybe dinner's ready.
 

Koops

Epic
Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

Hoooooo boy... Finally! Finally beat this game! Ok. So let's just get this review over with.

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Once again, I find myself relying to the same format I always use, so story will be going first.

Story:

The story still isn't that big an improvement over the first game. And instead the game elected this time to make the bad guys a bunch of bumbling idiots led by a big-brained moron. No villain other than that really stands out either. Apart from Crump. Crump is alright and is better fit to be the leader of X-Nauts since he's much more like them and not someone who tries to be hopelessly threatening like Grodus.

So it goes that Peach is needed to feed a demon's soul to revive it, and Grodus wants to exploit that to his benefit to rule the world. People who claims this plot is original has not played much outside of Mario, and no, don't throw the "it's deep for Mario" kinda stuff because you don't judge an aspect of a game simply because it's from a given series, but rather how well this aspect integrates into that game. And the fact is, this story is nothing new at all. Even worse, is that this game directly borrows scenarios from its predecessor but in another setting to create illusions of originality and it never gets called out for this. It's not a bad story by any means (Not amazing either tho), but it's nothing to gawk at. The individual plot arcs are alright I guess but do know that if story was the only criteria that I used to rate this game it would not high at all.

The NPCs and other characters are something of a step-up tho. For one, the glitzpit fighters, the excess express passengers, are really entertaining to react to due to the fact that throughout the course of the chapter they have evolving dialogue and that actually allows them to develop more than your partners. The partners themselves have better character than those in the first game (except Goombella, fuck Goombella) since they speak more, but still never simultaneously, nor do they ever say anything interesting during their time in the party. And this time it upsets me even more. Koops has CLEARLY developed when you look at the epilogue but... when did that happen? Where the fuck did he grow up like that? We didn't see that development, and that infuriates me. He's only really ever relevant in Chapter 1, and after that that's it. He remains the same guy he was at the end of chapter 1 for the rest of the game. I mean I still do like him the best out of all of them but... these characters were really done dirty. And this isn't like FE where you have about 30+ characters to establish, this is a standard RPG party of only 7 people. Vivian is literally the "deepest" character of the bunch, and I've already ranted about the flaws of her writing a while ago anyway. I find myself repeating myself... THEY NEED TO INTERACT AND ACTUALLY BUILD SEMBLANCES OF RELATIONSHIPS INSTEAD OF BEING JUST TOOLS.

So... story, not great. Eh? Well thank the stars that this is not the aspect that my opinion on this game depends on... not that this helps its case that much.

Gameplay:

The level design in this game is... uninspiring, to say the least. The game focuses too much on the scenery and the backgrounds to care about what's happening right ahead of Mario gang. Most of the "rooms" in this game are just rectangles with enemies sprinkled over them, and your occasional gimmick. Why the hell did they even put this one room in the final chapter where there's LITERALLY NOTHING?! And when some of it stops being bland, it becomes bad, like in Twilight Trail, which is by far my absolute most hated location of all gaming, and not even spm Chapter 6 is this bad because at least the chapter is kinda cut short there (thankfully). The abilities you get are somewhat better in that you have more of them and some utilize the environment better, however limited the level design is, but... why, just why did they remove the spin dash? Say what you want about it but no matter how "clunky and archaic" it was, it was still your most convenient method of travel when going from place to place and I am genuinely upset and puzzled as to why who or what were they thinking when they removed it from the game that upped the backtracking? This game has the baby Yoshi who is just not as convenient. He joins in Chapter 3 so you don't have him by default, and you actually have to have him deployed instead of a better combat partner until the quick change badge removes this worry, and you can't jump with him, so you have to unmount jump then mount again, while the spin dash is just done with the press of a button, and the speedy spin badge makes it ten thousand times faster! I don't get the complains about it at all. Speaking of abilities I don't like using the Super Hammer or the Ultra Jump.

Anyway, let's stop dunking on level design and overworld exploration, because other than that, the battle system's actually pretty good. It retains what made the original so great and expands on it. You get new moves with upgrades this time and also new badges. Other than that... well there's nothing to it, really, the battle's system is really good because not much has really changed. Of course the action commands do feel smoother this time and guarding is better. That and the BP cap is higher now, which is literally this game's best improvement. BUT. There's also some bad stuff now too.

The crystal stars require action commands. And it wouldn't be such a problem if those action commands weren't so annoying to pull off. Especially Sweet Feast. It's my favorite crystal star move because it can easily just heal you back up fully but it's so annoying to hit an off-screen Poison mushroom while doing it and losing 3 seconds of potential boosts. Not only that, but other things have changed too. Although the audience is nice and it fills up your SP faster... it also is annoying with the constant throwing of objects. Like, I'm trying to focus on my enemy here but NO let's add some hostile spectators too right? More gimmicks = More fun right NO WRONG! And don't get me started on the Bingo Roulette that can fuck you over with three poison mushrooms or the random stage hazards. Ugh!

Ok, so overall... This game IS better than both Spm AND the original... objectively, but... I cannot bring myself to like it. There's too many little things that accumulate and bother me to no end, and I have not even mentioned the backtracking at all (well I did mention Twilight Trail but even without backtracking it's still annoying to me)! Spm is kinda bad, but at least I like it more because it's both interesting to talk about and fun to dunk on. This game just upsets me. Meanwhile Paper Mario 1 is a really amazing game and now that I played ttyd that opinion has been reinforced. Also SPM does do some things right and I appreciate it for those (Like the Pixls). TTYD felt like... a chore a lot of times. Except Chapter 3. Chapter 3 is the best chapter in this game.

What, you think I went too negative on this game? You think I should add some positivity? Oh I'm sure it gets enough positivity from literally everyone else as is, I don't have to not be harsh on it when people love it already (more than it deserves imo). So yeah. So far this is my least favorite game in the series. Ironic that the guy known as Koops is the one who despises ttyd.
 
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