I’ve always followed the Wario Land series of video games with a great passion. Whether they end up being good or less than good, every new release was met with great excitement from me. Sadly, Nintendo stopped making them some time back, and similarly, I don’t tend to revisit most Wario Land games after a first playthrough. And even if I do, it’s much less often than some other games.
I’ve been playing through all the Game Boy games available on Nintendo Switch Online, and recently made it to Wario Land 3. Strangely, it’s the only one of the trilogy that is currently on the service. But that’s fine. One Wario Land is still better than no Wario Lands, right?
Final Fantasy XVI (PS5) – While I don’t think it’ll make the list of my favourite FFs, I did thoroughly enjoy this one. The combat is exciting, the story is great, and it’s easily got the best Cid in the franchise. Also, Torgal! Can’t forget Torgal!
Paper Mario (N64) – I sometimes wonder if the reason that I hate the modern Paper Marios less than most people is because I’ve never really revisited the original. Now I have! And, well… I think I get why people want a “true” sequel. It’s got an excellent foundation, but I did get annoyed by a lot of little things throughout the journey. Like how slow Mario is, and the limited inventory, and the booooring Peach segments.
Dr. Mario 64 (N64) – It’s weird that I’ve never played this before, right? Anyway, it’s Dr. Mario. Played the classic mode a bunch, and story mode twice.
A couple of weeks ago I was introduced to a new horde survival game called HoloCure: Save the Fans!, and it’s been something of an obsession for me since. It’s exactly the same game as Vampire Survivors, but with a bunch of additional features and improvements. Oh, and also it’s all about VTubers. I’m not so crazy about that part.
Akane the Kunoichi (PC) – I remember playing the demo of this waaaaay back on Xbox 360. It’s a very 2011 indie platformer. Which is to say that it’s very simplistic in both visuals and gameplay. Not bad, but nothing special.
Peglin (PC) – Peglin a while, Peglin forever!!
The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (Switch) – What an incredible ride. In my opinion, there’s absolutely no competition for Game of the Year 2023.
I wrote about some things that I like about Final Fantasy XVI a few days ago. Here’s another thing:
While travelling around Valisthea, Clive will have a number of party members cycle in and out as the story dictates. For just about the entire duration of the game, though, Clive is joined by his loyal companion and fine hound, Torgal.
As a dog, Torgal doesn’t contribute a whole lot to the story, but he’s a big help in combat and Clive will even talk to him when no human party members are around. No matter what Clive says or asks, Torgal’s response is simply:
I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XVI a lot lately. I haven’t been completely absorbed in it like I was thatother big fantasy game from a few months ago, but I’ve been putting aside roughly an hour a day to plug away at it. It’s a very good game! The combat is pretty fun, the story is wild, and the soundtrack is incredible. It is also shockingly linear, which I understand is a divisive trait, but I’ve been fairly happy with FFXVI keeping me (mostly) focused on the task at hand. Remember, Final Fantasy XIII is my second-favourite in the series, so linear isn’t a problem for me.
However! Clive’s adventure isn’t so set on rails that you’re only ever barreling toward the next objective. There are side quests to distract you! And, yeah, of course there are. Can you imagine the uproar from the internet nerds if an RPG was made in the modern day and did not include side quests? “Refunded!” I can hear them chanting. Side quests are great and all, but what really got me going was when the hunt board was introduced… I don’t know, a third of the way through the game? And yes, I know that hunts are effectively just side quests without the NPC chatter. But they’re more fun! And rewarding!
Peglin (PC) – Well, it’s a roguelike. And therefore highly replayable. Especially since it’s got a mode that adds a new handicap every time you beat it.
Inhabit (Switch) – A cute puzzle game about taking care of yourself. It took less than two hours to beat, so it was really just a li’l appetizer of a game, but it was fun. Also, I recorded my playthrough for YouTube.
Gargoyle’s Quest (GB) – An action-RPG spin-off of the Ghosts ‘n Goblins series, and much more enjoyable in my opinion. While it’s got blind jumps and cheap deaths for sure, I did have fun revisiting this one for the first time in well over a decade.
Normally, when there’s a Nintendo Direct, I like to write down all my knee-jerk reactions while watching it. You know, give my honest first impressions of all the trailers shown. But I find that lately those reactions have either been “That looks great, I’m going to buy it,” “That looks great but I don’t have time to play it,” or “I have no interest in this.”
So today I’m going to do it differently. While there were plenty of cool-looking games in today’s Direct presentation, only two really made my pants get tighter. So I’ll just post the trailers for those and maybe some words, too.
A remake of Super Mario RPG is on the way! This year! In November!
Now, I’ve played this game at least a dozen times through over the years, so I’m really hoping that it’s going to have a little more than a touched-up paint job. There appear to be fully-animated cutscenes and a redone soundtrack, which are very nice to have. But otherwise, it looks like it’s going to be incredibly faithful to the original. At least, at a glance. I haven’t done a frame-by-frame analysis yet.
So what would I like to see changed? Well, maybe… better mini-games? Yeah, that would be really good. It would be nice if the puzzles were remixed, maybe some new spells would be nice. Definitely some additional text clarifying what some of the existing spells actually do. I don’t think there needs to be any new towns or dungeons or whatnot, but it would be great if some of the maps saw a little bit of change. Just to keep things fresh, you know?
Actually, a great example would be the sunken ship dungeon. When replaying the original game, I can just walk straight to the end, bypassing all the puzzles and monsters, and input the password (PEARLS) to the boss room. I would like for at least the password to be changed so that I’d have to engage with the dungeon as intended on my first playthrough of the remake. Ideally, the password is randomized every time, or the individual puzzles are changed so that learning the password is exciting again. Nothing that would materially change the dungeon itself, just some tweaks to make it feel fresh even for people who have already played the game into the ground.
Super Mario Bros Wonder, the first new Super Mario game since 2017, and the first new 2D Mario game since… 2012? Unless you count Super Mario Run, which I kinda don’t. I’m not really a big fan of the title, but man does the gameplay ever look solid!
Also, I have so many questions. Why does Mario turn into an elephant? Do the other characters turn into elephants, or do they all get their own animal? Are there more, unrevealed playable characters? What’s the deal with all those chatty flower-things? Why is there a goomba wearing a Toad hat? Is this game just one massive drug trip?
Fortunately, I won’t have to wait long to find out, as SMBW is due out in October of this very same year. How nice! While I was expecting something more along the lines of Odyssey 2, this is also very good. You will hear no complaints from me.
Peglin (PC) – Imagine Peggle, but as a roguelike. Not something I’d normally give a second thought, but it’s so much more fun than it has any right to be. It’s a bit short, but still in Early Access, so there’s potentially a lot of room to grow.
Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed (Switch) – Now THIS is the heaping helping of fanservice that I was hoping the base game would be. Simply being able to go on another adventure with Shulk (and Rex too, I guess) made my heart so happy. Plus they added a similar system as the last few Ys games had that tracks all the collectibles and treasures you’ve found, which really should be in every RPG.
Lost Alone Ultimate (PC) – I watched let’s plays of all three chapters of Lost Alone when they were originally released last year, and really enjoyed them, so I was very excited to play this remade collection. Easily one (three?) of my favourite Steam horror games in recent years.