Super Monkey Ball 2

It is through such means that Super Monkey Ball 2 is able to write the book on how it is possible to successfully transport a simple gameplay format from arcades to homes. The game does not forget its origins; in fact, it thrives so deeply in those roots that it dedicates one of its three main modes to a progression style that is strongly based on an arcade staple: having to clear a long chain of challenges with a limited number of lives. At the same time, however, it executes the necessary transformations to make its experience worthy of a console, constructing a solid solo adventure and one of the system’s best multiplayer offerings, which achieves variety by looking away from the franchise’s traditional spectrum of monkeys in balls rolling through crazy stages. And like that, with its core always firmly centered on gameplay that is so ridiculously simple it shuns the use of buttons, Super Monkey Ball 2 manages to be challenging, flexible, fun, addictive, and packed with fantastic content.

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Monster Boy And The Cursed Kingdom

Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom is, ultimately, a phenomenal revival that went through one crooked path in order to become reality, making its existence as much of a victory as its stunning quality. Materializing as a product that balances indie trends with respect for the tradition and spirit of the franchise to which it belongs, the game is a marvel that is difficult to qualify, as it uses the full extent of its long quest to explore a surprising myriad of mechanics and gameplay styles, succeeding in all of them with the same level of competence. As such, whether it is in action, in platforming, in shooting, in exploring, or in puzzle-solving, the game will please all sorts of audiences, conquering the hearts of those who were around to see the saga peak and then disappear, as well as drawing in a group of gamers who were never aware of the Wonder Boy property. Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom achieves that status because it is relentlessly inventive and impossibly charming. And surrounded by numerous contemporaries who have explored the same genre, it is able to qualify as one of the very best.

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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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Sonic Mania

Sonic Mania was born with the intention of being a celebration, a simple gift to the hedgehog and his fans on the 25th birthday of the release of the saga’s first game, but it ends up being much more than that. From its visuals, which pay homage to the 16-bit days by bringing slightly improved character models and glorious multi-layered backgrounds, and its music, which mixes old themes with new tracks that are by all means just as good as the classics, to its gameplay, it deserves to stand side-by-side – with no caveats whatsoever – with the games that made the franchise so popular. By handing talented Sonic aficionados control over the game, Sega gives the character’s fanbase exactly what they had been craving for since the late 90s: an utter classic, a title that makes – after quite a while – Sonic have one of the best games of the current generation.

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Sonic Colors

Sonic Colors brings a lot of the magic of the old Sonic games to the 3D environment with some twists along the way that make this adventure rather original and remarkable. There are a few issues here and there, but nothing really tarnishes the fact that this is a rare instance of a 3-D Sonic game turning out better than passable and actually being quite good. It has great visuals, fast exciting moments, slow segments that show a lot of care with the level design, a nice collection of songs to power up the fun, and solid gameplay. Sonic Colors will not change anybody’s concepts on great platformers, or set new bars for the genre, but at this point showing that modern-day Sega can still find ways to get in touch with reality and realize what makes a great Sonic game is much more important than any earth-shattering productions.

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Sonic And All-Stars Racing Transformed

Often, when a good game of the kart racing genre hits a Nintendo platform early on, it tends to be labeled as a title that exists for the purpose of temporarily satisfying any racing needs that players might have until Mario Kart comes around. Although it pales in comparison to the marvelous Mario Kart 8 – especially on the multiplayer front, Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed is still a very good buy due to its clever three-vehicle mechanics and its huge single-player value. It features tons of content, which aside from simply racing includes over 100 collectible stickers that serve as awards for the completion of achievements, a nice degree of vehicle customization, and a huge load of the undeniable charm of the most popular Sega franchises. Put some good level of challenge in there, which is sometimes unfortunately done cheaply, and you have a lasting, fun and rewarding title.

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Bayonetta 2

The elegant lady in black comes out to play with one thing clear in her mind: in order to surpass her prior adventure, she needs to be flashier and more ambitious than ever. And that is precisely what happens. Bayonetta 2 is bigger and better. It wisely assumes that anyone coming into this second adventure has already gone through the earth-shattering clashes of its predecessor, and then it proceeds to pick up right from where it left off.

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Bayonetta

Everything, its dialogues, the sexualization of its titular character, its flashy combat scheme, its progressively outrageous enemy design, and its overwhelming gore come up to form a creature that is simultaneously brutal and light-hearted. This is blatant violence without a drop of guilt; it is heavy darkness coated in pop accessibility; it is wicked elegance; it is doing everything that is ridiculous and polemic for the sake of entertainment; and it is the chance for players to perform the most eye-popping moves and maneuvers with the press of a few buttons or the delivery of some timely combos.

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Rhythm Thief And The Emperor’s Treasure

It is accessible due to its difficulty curve, but brutally challenging to those who want full completion, and – consequently – Sega crafts an experience that will certainly be able to please both those who love the genre and the ones that are a little bit reluctant to get into it. It is a charming and lovable world, and – when the adventure is done – it is hard not to wish for an improved sequel.

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