Metroid

Given it has a remake that gets rid of nearly all its frustrating issues and that makes its adventure, which is in essence quite good, accessible and fun to modern gamers, revisiting the original Metroid is only really justified by the curiosity to catch a glimpse of the franchise’s start in its pure state. Those who choose to do so, will be able to witness how an NES game was able to succeed in creating an astoundingly immersive atmosphere inside a technically limited scope, and they are bound to find the game’s mixture of action and non-linear exploration to be engaging to a certain point. Nevertheless, they are also likely to come across a myriad of issues in presentation and design that severely harm the overall experience. Metroid is a strong game, and it is certainly one of the system’s most alluring efforts, whether one takes into consideration the franchise it spawned or not; however, time has not been too kind to it, as it has amplified the problems that existed on the day of its release and brought new shortcomings to light.

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Resident Evil

The immaculate and horrific atmosphere of Resident Evil is clearly the product of a game whose every single piece was designed to serve its ability to create tension. Sometimes, that subordination works for the best, as it is the case of its frightening scenarios, its calculated soundtrack, its obscure and fragmented storytelling approach, its controlled yet open-ended exploration, its ominous puzzles, and its dedication towards putting players in situations where life is only maintained through grueling survival. Sadly, that focus also causes a couple of considerable slips, which come to the surface in its constantly shifting and fixed camera angles as well as in the extreme implementation of its inventory system. As big as these problems may be, though, Resident Evil is just too successful in mixing genuine horror with engaging gameplay to be contained by any of that. Once it starts, its infectious suspense breaks through whatever physical barriers stand on its way, quickly surrounding gamers and immersing them inside a thriller that tests one’s capacity to both be resilient and not look away.

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Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins

In spite of both the big and small steps it takes in the direction of getting away from comparisons to the giants that Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World are, the game simply cannot escape them. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins is fun, and it occasionally exhibits signs of great originality and excellence, as it does in its stunning scenario variety and in its absence of linearity. Still, the fact that it does not really shine where it matters the most – that is, in its level design – and that its focus lies on gameplay that is way too similar to that of its console counterparts holds it back considerably. It is, by all means, a major improvement over the content presented in its prequel; and it appeared as a sign that the Super Mario line of handheld games was advancing quickly. Nonetheless, a major burst of creativity was still missing in order for the saga to truly find its footing in the portable world.

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Super Mario Land

Based around a format that, throughout history, has time and time again proven itself to be quite efficient, it is hard to call Super Mario Land a bad game. And its mesmerizing commercial success at the time of its release certainly shows Nintendo did quite well in bringing the world’s most popular platforming series to a handheld system for the first time ever. Nonetheless, although its status as the game that opened up the floodgates for that sort of transition is preserved, the value of its gameplay has been heavily eroded as time has passed. In spite of how it is certainly thematically weird, its oddity is not enough to make it remarkable; and despite featuring a couple of noteworthy detours, they have neither the prominence nor the frequency to turn Super Mario Land into a must-play. For those reasons, the plumber’s first portable entry stands solely as a curiosity for the character’s most avid fans; because anyone else is bound to be rather unimpressed by it.

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SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech

SteamWorld Quest: Hand of Gilgamech ends up being pleasantly enjoyable as a whole, displaying a good deal of competence in the building of all parts that constitute it. It is true that, when all of these elements come together, what is formed is an experience that – inside the RPG genre – does not quite produce ripples as strong as those generated by Dig and Heist in their respective niches, which makes the game’s overall impact feel somewhat subdued in relation to those caused by its peers. Nonetheless, even if it does not put a fight against the major actors of the role-playing field, SteamWorld Quest qualifies as another successful venture by Image & Form, because its plot flows nicely and stars likable heroes; its technical features exhibit a quality in production that feels like a new frontier for the SteamWorld property; and its card-based battling mechanics are original and flexible. Due to that, regardless of how it does not possess the makings of one of those special indie effort that challenge products made by much larger companies, SteamWorld Quest is likely to satisfy those that are already converted to the franchise and lure in a batch of new fans.

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Cuphead

Cuphead is absolutely magnificent. It is old-school not only in visual and musical presentation, but also in gameplay; however, it uses its blatant and ancient influences not as a way to coast towards success, but as a source of inspiration to build character. In the old gritty cartoons from which it borrows its animation, its calculated artistic imperfections, and its vicious tone, it finds cues that are sufficient to allow it to exist inside a realm that is absolutely its own. Meanwhile, in the action run and gun games that were so dearly beloved by its creators, the title locates basic premises in pacing, challenge, and controls that it employs in the assembling of a sidescroller whose focus lies on struggling to take down mighty multi-phased bosses that are as inventive as they are capable of filling up the screen with an obscene amount of hazards. And in the combination of those two veins, Cuphead builds an experience that, more importantly than being unique, manages to be fun in spite of its unbridled brutality; inspiring, through the sheer joy that is playing it, gamers to come back for more even after they have been shot down for the hundredth time.

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Yoshi’s Crafted World

Yoshi’s Crafted World, then, poses a bit of a dilemma to players, because while its generally low level of difficulty makes simply getting to the end of the quest a task that does not reveal the full extent of its wonderful design, aiming for full completion unearths some frustrations of its own. The bottom line, though, is that regardless of how one chooses to approach the quest, there is a lot of fun to be had, whether the player in question is a child who is taking their first steps into the gaming world or a veteran with a fondness for the platforming genre. And that quality stems from how Yoshi’s Crafted World is constantly changing not just the gameplay quirks around which its stages are built, but also the nature of its stunningly detailed environments. These two elements, which never repeat themselves through the course of forty levels, form an adventure that is entertaining and inventive all the way through, mixing situations that fall perfectly among the character’s traditional exploits with unexpected gameplay detours and mechanics that creatively take advantage of the depth of the title’s tridimensional scenarios. It is thanks to such prowess that Yoshi’s Crafted World rises above its obvious flaws to qualify as an experience that cannot be missed and a product worthy of the Nintendo stamp.

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Transistor

Transistor does hold some flaws. It has a short length; it possesses a linearity that may be perceived as exaggerated; and its constant alternation between walking and battling can feel too predictable. Its impeccable and overflowing style, however, overpowers it all, and allows the game to deliver an experience that although certainly not as refreshing or great as that of its precursor, Bastion, is still immensely enjoyable. Its battles are dynamic and offer an uncanny amount of possibilities via simple building blocks; its plot is compelling due to its initial vagueness and the boldness found in its presentation; its highly artistic inclinations generate visuals and music of incredible quality; and its omnipresent narration, inherited straight from its predecessor, lends it a lot of identity. Due to that, even if it shares notable similarities to Bastion, Transistor is clearly not simply resting on past laurels; it is, quite stylishly, repackaging a gameplay and narrative format that achieved huge success while adding a few clever flourishes of its own. And it does so quite well.

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Bastion

Ultimately, the features that make Bastion remarkable are intimately connected to its presentation, be it in the unique manner it chooses to broadcast its plot or in its visual and musical splendor. And those are, in the end, the traits that are bound to deeply mark those who play it. Still, below that shiny surface, lies a quest supported by very strong mechanics. In injecting the options and customization usually available in role-playing quests into a combat system and progression style commonly found in hack and slash titles, Bastion strikes an engaging balance between action and strategy. And although its core does carry a high degree of simplicity, it succeeds in dodging the traps of repetition thanks to how it is always building levels around different scenarios that slightly affect gameplay. For those reasons, even if its graphics and narration will be the strongest memories players will have regarding the game, these two elements are likely to work as hooks that will bring to the surface delightful recollections of adventure and combats.

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The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Boosted by so many achievements in so many different areas, it is no surprise – then – that The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess ranks among the best games Nintendo has ever produced. Although one may rightfully say the longer segments where players take control of Wolf Link are, albeit good, not as compelling as those starring the human hero himself, they end up working as appealing personal touches on a title that, everywhere else, delivers exactly what fans had been expecting of the franchise since the release of the GameCube. It is an effort that blatantly drinks from the classic Ocarina of Time while, thanks to new hardware, greatly amplifying all aspects that made that episode so remarkable, offering a world, a cast of characters, a story, a combat system, and a pile of content whose depth was – up to that point – completely unparalleled. And under all those layers, it boasts a beating heart that anchors its massive scope on true and moving emotions.

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