Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga Review

The big End of the Year Review!

In 1996, Nintendo and Square Enix came out with the first Mario RPG on the SNES. Later in 2001, Paper Mario came out. While we waited for the next Paper Mario on GCN, which would not arrive until 2004, Nintendo treated us to a portable Mario Adventure. What we didn't know is that it would be one of the greatest games of all time.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga starts off with a very humorous catch: an evil witch Cackletta has stolen Peach's voice for her own nefarious reasons, so Mario and Luigi journey to the Beanbean Kingdom. The RPG action works like Paper Mario and even Super Mario RPG, but you control Mario with A and Luigi with B. The game focuses heavilly on timed button presses: jump at the right moment when an enemy throws something at you and you can avoid damage completely, or if you press the Jump button right before attacking, you can deal more damage on the enemy. There are also fancy Bros Attacks that are multi-button combos. There are only 8 Bro Attacks, but they're so fun to do that you most likely won't notice.

Nearly every element of SS is perfect. The plot is gut-bustingly hilarious with many quotable lines, the pacing is perfect for any style of gamer, the areas are well-designed, and the enemies are some of the most creative in the genre, from a Christmas Tree Hermit Crab to a gladiator made of soda. Every character is well thought-out and has very convincing personalities. SS is also a homage to the Mario series in general, with many cameos and gameplay parts sure to set the nostalgia glands on haywire.

The Graphics are goregeous, with every thing in the game full of emotion, plus it adds to the humor. The music is also up with other GBA greats; Alphadream really nailed the musical feel of Super Mario RPG and then some.

Pulling any critisizm on this game would be nagging, but you could say the game is a bit on the short side. SS is very replayable, however, with multiple ways to approach it.

Gameplay: An RPG that manages to emulate many other gameplay styles, while still being true to the source material. Brilliant stuff. 10
Graphics: Well-animated and very humorous to look at. 10
Audio: Excellent. A great listen. 10
Overall: Never before have I played a game that excels at nearly everything it does. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga is so good, that I would go to such lengths as saying it is the culmination of RPGing in general. If you do not own this game, you are truly missing out on something special.

10 out of 10

Monday, December 20, 2010

Favorite Games for each System

Just thought I'd like to post the list of my favorite games per system. Here they are:

NES: Mega Man 4

SNES: Super Metroid

N64: Super Mario 64

GCN: Kirby Air Ride

Wii: Super Mario Galaxy 2

GB/C: Pokemon Red

GBA: Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

DS: Pokemon SoulSilver (Even though Warioware DIY comes pretty close to 1st)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Kirby's Epic Yarn Review

Nintendo loves to keep us waiting. The last console Kirby game was 2003's rather excellent Kirby Air Ride, but since then the little guy's been demoted to the handhelds. But Nintendo, partnered with Good-Feel, set to change that on the Wii; and Kirby's Epic Yarn is unlike any other game in the series.

The story of Kirby's Epic Yarn (KEY for short) starts when Kirby eats a magical Metamato. Apparently, an evil sorcerer named Yin-Yarn didn't like that, and sucks him into Patch-Land, a world made completely out of textiles. (These cutscenes are told by a PBS Kids-esque narrator that is charming at first, but gets kinda obnoxious; thankfully, you can skip the scenes.) Kirby's form changes into Yarn, and soon finds the air goes right through him in this world. Kirby still has a few tricks up his sleeve, though; he can stretch out a whip-like strand of yarn that has multiple uses, like rolling up enemies into yarnball projectiles, swinging across pits Indiana Jones-style, pulling zippers to open up parts of levels, and much more.

The next biggest change is Kirby's morphing powers. At any time, he can turn into a car by double-tapping a direction, he can turn into a parachute by holding 2, and turn into a weight by holding down in air. These instant-morphs are basically the Wheel, Parasol, and Stone abilities of old, abiet at any time. But at certain times in the levels, Kirby can touch a morphing orb and turn into a large variety of objects. One levels morphs Kirby into a tank, and the missiles are guided by moving the Wii Remote. Another level transforms Kirby into a Mole Tank, allowing him to drill deep in the surface. The best transformation, in my opinon, is the Firetruck, where Kirby can aim the hose via tilting the Remote. There's enough morphs to keep your attention for a long time, and often brings me fond memories of the vehicle transformations in Yoshi's Island- a game KAR shares a lot of influence to. Note that this game can be played with two people, which is a blast.

KAR features a lot of replayability: every level has multiple achievements and lots of alternate paths. One aspect about this game that is unlike any other Kirby game, though, is the inability to die; Kirby just looses beads if he's hit, and gets saved if he falls down holes. Getting to the end of the level without loosing any beads is pretty hard in its own right, though, and the later levels have especially tricky locations of treasure chests.

The graphical style of KAR is absolutely amazing. Everything in Patch Land is made out of things you could find at a crafts store. One level substitutes quicksand for yellow waving cloth, the next has a variety of sweets yarnified, and another has beautiful snow made out of cotton. Everything looks beautiful in this game. The music especially is wonderful. From orchestated remixes on classic Kirby tunes to beautiful piano solos, the music fits the mood of each world perfectly.

The stiching in the final framework has a couple of flaws, though. Along with the aformentioned inability to die, the game is far too short. Another big issue I have is that it really does not feel like a Kirby game: there's no inhalation, copying, or any other recognizable Kirby elements. But what the game is, it suceeds.

Gameplay: UnKirby but still very fun. A bit on the easy side, though. 9.0
Graphics: Unlike anything else out there. So much innovation in only 2 dimensions. 9.5
Audio: Enjoyable. 9.25
Overall: Kirby's Epic Yarn, while not all that epic, is a fine addition to the series, and a game all fans of platformers should pick up.
8.5 out of 10