Mario Strikers: Battle League

Mario Strikers: Battle League achieves an undesirable special feat: it is simultaneously easy to love and to dislike. The stylish nature of its presentation, the lovable brutality of its gameplay, the impressive prowess of its technical aspects, the accessibility of its basics, and the unparalleled depth of its mechanics are all high points in the history of the Mushroom Kingdom’s foray into sports. However, the bare-bones state of its content upon release, a series of questionable design choices, and a few frustrating aspects of its formula make the package come off as a wasted opportunity. Because, sure, in spite of a few bumps on the road, many will understandably be able get a lot of value from what Next Level Games constructed here. But it is safe to say an equally great number of players will either not join the club altogether or regret they did so due to an abundance of problems.

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Luigi’s Mansion 3

As it stands, Luigi’s Mansion 3 is bound to go down as turning point, for it feels like the precise moment when a franchise that was once seen as a secondary property showed it had the absolute right to exist alongside the biggest brands of the company responsible for its creation. In all regards, it leaves absolutely nothing to be desired when compared to its most popular and critically acclaimed peers. It has music and, especially, visuals that confirm it was a project in which a lot of money was invested; it has a scope that, locked within the confines of a hotel, is able to evoke values of grandeur that are usually reserved to adventures that are much more expansive; and it fills up its considerable size with quality gameplay that continuously surprises through the entirety of its length. It is, by all means, a gaming epic; one that, true to the nature of its protagonist, is built with unexpected tools like a vacuum cleaner, a doppelganger made of jelly, and tons of charmingly funny horror.

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Punch-Out

In the end, Nintendo’s brave decision to bring a game that was born in an arcade to the arena of modern gaming without altering an inch of its core structure pays off in a big way. Punch-Out’s inborn simplicity has not made its gameplay age one tiny bit. In a world where games are becoming more complex and bloated by the hour, its straightforward ways actually highlight the brilliant charm of its design and augment the addictive nature of its setup. Through punches, dodges and a whole lot of hard work, Little Mac proves he can stand side-by-side with all of the industry’s giants. They may be bigger than him, but – as Punch-Out shows – taking down adversaries of a much larger stature is what that humble boxer does for a living.

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