Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is by no means a perfect effort, as issues of different sizes and intensities can be found in many of its numerous modes. Even with that in mind, though, there is simply no stopping the game from feeling like the gigantic culmination its title indicates it intends to be. Installments of the saga have always been stunningly ambitious, and without ever faltering they have invariably succeeded in living up to the lofty expectations both its developers and the entire gaming world hold whenever a new entry in the series is planned. Ultimate is, naturally, not different, as it follows the norm perfectly. However, the fact it does exactly what is expected of it does not diminish the magnitude of the achievement that is putting out such an extremely polished, balanced, and enjoyable game that involves so many distinct and popular pieces. It is a Herculean task that can only possibly be topped through endless hours of labor and love, and it plays so delightfully it more than honors the accumulated greatness of the franchises it borrows from.

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Partners In Life

The heavy focus on Ralph and Vanellope may cause new characters to become mere accessories to the central plot, and the movie’s dedication to the creation of gags that gravitate around signature elements of the Internet may lead its story to be blatantly inferior to that of the original film. Still, Ralph Breaks the Internet is an enormously enjoyable work that cements the link between its protagonists as one of the greatest partnerships Disney has ever put on a screen, a fact that makes the movie’s emotional highs be remarkably touching. And with that, once more, the studio proves it is perfectly capable of balancing its adherence to contemporary trends with its classic dosage of laughter, tears, and magic.

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Guacamelee

Featuring brilliant platforming, thrilling combats, and the option for up to four players to join forces, Guacamelee is a very refreshing take on the Metroidvania niche. As it turns down the complexity of its map, letting it peacefully rest on a level of simplicity far below the one seen in other giants of the genre, it allows its unique traits to take over the show. Due that, although it does have a good amount of secrets and plenty of backtracking to those who are willing to tackle it, the game ends up coming off as a fast-paced platformer that is punctuated by beat ’em up portions and takes place in a fully connected sidescrolling world. And the impressive synergy between the wrestling motifs of its battles and the Mexican-inspired tones of its art, dialogues, characters, music, and cultural references adds a layer of charm to the final product that makes it nearly irresistible; so much, in fact, that its colors, theme, and overall frantic rhythm may even convert – or at least temporarily please – gamers who are not big fans of the genre.

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South Park: The Stick Of Truth

Through a lot of good ideas, sharp writing, and a few minor shortcomings, The Stick of Truth succeeds, then, in translating to the gaming universe the greatness and politically incorrect ways of the South Park franchise. It is a game that never loses sight of the elements that make the property on which it is inspired shine, and charmingly – not even for a second – does it forget that, ultimately, these are imaginative kids using what is at their disposal to role-play as the standard high-fantasy characters they have grown to admire. It is, therefore, an adventure that mixes equal doses of the innocent and the disturbing to form a hilariously absurd plot and set the basis for gameplay that is simple and enjoyable. The Stick of Truth is a very well-written and certainly offensive South Park movie in playable form, and under the guise of an accessible and entertaining RPG it marks the first time ever the confronting television show gained a gaming installment whose quality matches that of the original material.

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F-Zero GX

All in all, even if the lowest difficulty setup of the cups of F-Zero GX is relatively accessible, the game is certainly not for everyone, because everything about it builds up to a hardcore racing experience unlike any other. Its races are not brutal just because players’ rivals are quite skilled, but also due to how an aspect of survival permeates the whole competition: the tracks themselves, the other pilots, and even a racing system that is built on a thin line between risk and reward are all out for murder. And if one is to come out on top of this mixture of blood, savagery, and entertainment, they will have to master absolutely insane courses that must be efficiently navigated at blinding speeds while twenty-nine other pilots with no regard whatsoever for anything other than sweet victory also take their lives and machines to the limit. For those who choose not to handle such a thrilling test, the gaming market has plenty of alternatives in the form of friendly easy-to-play racing titles. For those who like their fun to come sprinkled with hard-to-chew but rewarding-to-swallow morsels of challenge, F-Zero GX is nearly unparalleled on almost every front.

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Kirby And The Amazing Mirror

Independently of those shortcomings, which are likely the result of how the game marks the franchise’s first full-fledged foray into a fully explorable and intricately connected map, Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is a standout entry in the series. Not just because it boldly throws the character inside a large world with no guidance whatsoever, but also thanks to how it preserves the loose and light fun the pink hero is known for while presenting it in a rather distinctive format. And even if it is arguable the maze-like inspirations of its areas act against the all-encompassing accessibility the property is known for, the game succeeds in making its progression approachable for all ages. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror is, then, a well-executed and brilliant detour, as it finds balance between the characteristics expected from a Kirby game and new features that create its identity. As such, the result could not have been much different, as the adventure is one of the saga’s most notable peaks.

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Star Fox 64

Overall, Star Fox 64 is nothing short of spectacular. It is the full realization of the concept of bringing arcade space shooters to a home console, and it reaches that status not just by perfectly translating the genre’s excitement and high-scoring thrill to television screens, but by finding ways to naturally expand the otherwise brief experience into a meaningful length. Be it by flying an Arwing, piloting a Landmaster, or diving in the Blue-Marine, players are bound to have an excellent time when blasting through Andross’ large army, and they will do so accompanied by likable characters, plenty of voice-acted dialogues, and stages that always succeed in surprising, testing gamers’ capacity to react quickly and shoot fast, and inviting them back for one more try. It is a source of joy that keeps on delivering for quite some time, and it is no wonder the absurd quality of the action it presents has been so hard to replicate.

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Star Fox

The conclusion is that, like many Super Nintendo classics, there is fun to be had in the original Star Fox. However, differently from other remarkable titles of the era, the first quest of Fox, Falco, Peppy, and Slippy has had a big portion of its glory eroded by the passing of time. Although it inaugurated a gameplay style that has served the franchise relatively well for a big amount of years and translated with grace the excitement of sidescrolling space shooters to the 3-D perspective, the fact it was one of gaming’s first huge endeavors into the world of polygonal graphics has caused its visuals and some of its gameplay components to lose luster. Going through its stages remains a thrill, shooting up as many enemies as humanly possible is still an appealing challenge, and trying hard to beat one’s best score in each of the game’s three routes is certainly alluring. Sadly, the reaching of those awards has to go through being able to look past very aged visuals and a few frustrating gameplay quirks that stem from technological limitations and clumsy implementation.

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A Boy And His Blob

Although it certainly has issues, it is impossible not to recommend A Boy and His Blob to absolutely everyone. More importantly than being artistically adorable, it is a game that carries a ton of heart, for the lovely innocent friendship that lies at its core is the fuel not only for much of its visual splendor but also for its clever gameplay mechanics. And these, in particular, are so flexible and unique they safely carry the game through more than eighty levels of varying degrees of difficulty. A Boy and His Blob does not just rescue a long-forgotten and irregular property born during the NES days from total obscurity; it fleshes out its central concept, dresses it up in charming hand-drawn animation, and puts it in the hands of a generation of younger gamers that may – in a few years – remember this child and this likable alien as one of the very first contacts they had with the medium. As for more experienced gamers, even if the adventure may at points be too easy, A Boy and His Blob is a chance to play a well-designed sidescrolling puzzle platformer. One that, overshadowed by other bigger releases of the genre that happened during its renaissance in the arms of the Nintendo Wii, is sometimes forgotten.

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Star Wars Rogue Squadron III: Rebel Strike

It is impossible to walk away from Rebel Strike without the feeling the game could have been far more than what it actually is. In a fair attempt to expand on what was offered by its astounding predecessor, it ends up stumbling in its clumsy inclusion of on-foot segments that not only fail to satisfy but that also move the focus away from the area in which the game fires on all cylinders: its aerial battles. While inside a spaceship, it is by all means as good as Rogue Leader; when it descends to the ground, it is terribly lackluster. Therefore, if one is able to ignore the issues of its land segments, which are sadly frequent, the overall experience will certainly be positive, especially because – in total, and thanks to an impressive multiplayer mode – it carries far more content than Rogue Leader did. Nonetheless, the fact remains that had all resources that went into producing the juggernaut that is Rebel Strike been used to fuel its flying prowesses, the result would have been truly stunning.

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