When Super Mario 3D World was first released I was immediately taken by how much fun I was having in the game. The follow up to Super Mario 3D Land was a great fit for Wii U and the level designs were incredibly fun to explore. What I wasn’t ready for was how much fun this little, almost throw away section of the game was. The levels featuring Captain Toad were an interesting, fun change of pace to the platforming in the game. Gone were the crazy jumps, wall runs and expansive levels. In was a “hero” who was afraid of everything. A character that couldn’t jump, but you didn’t know why. Small, bite-sized levels that you flipped around like a Rubik’s Cube exploring every nook and cranny to find the perfect path to collect all of the stars in the level.
Then Nintendo went and did the unthinkable. They created a full stand-alone title based on those handful of fun levels from a “proper” Mario game. Captain Toad was announced and immediately you saw mixtures of reactions. Some people were ecstatic and thrilled over the idea of a new game based on Captain Toad. Others weren’t sure it was going to be anything worth all of the hype. I’m now 2/3 of the way through the main campaign of the game and I’ve been loving every minute of the experience. Here are five things from Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker that I’ve thought were some of the best parts of the game.
I’m a sucker for the “toys come to life” genre that was essentially started when the first Skylanders game was released. Having kids in the house doesn’t make that any better because they’re also really into playing that game, or at least playing with the figures. I’ve played all four entries in that series and have a huge tub full of figures for it. We also have both of the Disney Infinity releases and a separate bucket full of those figures. It only made sense that Nintendo was eventually going to get into that market. With their huge lineup of characters it only seemed natural that they, more than any other developer or publisher could capitalize in a big way in that area of the games industry. You know we’re all dreading the day when the Pokemon Company gets the greenlight to release those figures, pokeballs and some way to make them interact directly with a game. Nintendo announced their entry into that market with amiibo and it seemed like everyone’s wallets all cried out in agony at once. Nintendo was finally doing it. They were going to be leveraging 30+ years of nostalgia in a way no one else could.
Up to this point I haven’t actually dropped a penny on a single amiibo figure. The temptation has certainly been there. There are definitely some of those figures I’d like to have, but as we’re getting closer to the launch of amiibo and the first game they’ll be compatible with I’m starting to be more and more glad that I held off. amiibo might not be as great as we’re hoping.
Nintendo owners have had a little bit of history with Koei Tecmo’s popular hack/slash series Dynasty Warriors, mainly through the spin-off series Samurai Warriors. The second spin-off series, Warriors Orochi hit Wii U with the release of Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper. Despite that the series is really getting attention from Wii U owners with the recent release of Hyrule Warriors, a game that mashes the Warriors series together with the Legend of Zelda.
The franchise is no stranger to mash-ups as it has partnered with other popular franchises in the past to help bridge the gap between fans of the Warrior series and other properties. Examples include Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, One Piece: Pirate Warriors and even the real world Trojan War in Warriors: Legends of Troy. That got me thinking what other franchises would make for good candidates for a mash-up and I thought of a few that might fit.
I’m a few hours into Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor and am absolutely loving it. I think it’s a great game in terms of what it wants to do and executing on the things it’s trying to do gameplay-wise. The Nemesis system is something that’s unique and really adds a level of depth to the game that we haven’t really seen. It has so many unique things to offer. The one thing I have to say about it, though in regards to its relation to the source material may (or may not) surprise you. It’s absolutely not a Lord of the Rings game.
“How can that be?” you say. Well I would think if Professor Tolkien were alive today to see this game in action he would be appalled. Fans of the Lord of the Rings, especially Peter Jackson’s movie hexalogy, are going to love it. It’s a perfect extension of that world and fits right into place with the tone, themes and look of that version of Middle Earth. In relation to Tolkien’s view of the world it’s everything he stood against.
With a lot of the internet’s focus lately on the role of females in games and their portrayal it’s great to see a game like Hyrule Warriors come along and do a really great job in portraying the female members of the cast. Every playable female character in the game, of which there are eight (seven if you don’t consider Fi a female), are fantastic in their own way. They’re strong, they’re unique and they’re a great cast of characters for any female player out there to be proud to use.
Mount Rushmore is a monument to some of the greatest men in American history. It immediately brings to mind those four men’s contributions to making this country the way it is. That form could be used in any industry to remember the most respected figures in said industry’s history. Last week we talked about the men behind the games who we think should be immortalized. This week we’re going to look at some of their creations. There are a number of characters that immediately come to your mind when you think of video games. Having said that, “If you were to create a video game version of Mount Rushmore what four characters would you nominate to be immortalized for all time on the monument?”