Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3

Needless to say, absolutely none of those problems leave a considerable mark on the thick creative coat of Wario Land: Super Mario Land 3. Its release marks not just a moment of discovery, when Nintendo came across a gameplay format that would give birth to its most consistent handheld platforming saga; it is also the point when the Super Mario Land series gained a firm purpose. After all, while the two entries that preceded it felt like lesser products that were, for obvious reasons, having trouble to replicate what was being achieved on consoles; Wario Land drops those pretensions to the floor and proceeds to do its own thing. In a character that is the antithesis to Mario, the company uncovered a sidescrolling quest that was, simultaneously, similar to what the plumber was used to pulling off and also quite different in every way. As it turns out, that is exactly what the Game Boy needed: an adventure that could not be experienced anywhere else but on the small screen, and that only had to live up to the bar set by itself.

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Super Mario Maker 2

Super Mario Maker 2 is a game that embraces each and every kind of player who has an appreciation for the franchise it celebrates: those who love Nintendo’s magical touch for coming up with some great platforming; the ones that like to perform speed runs or have their game-playing skills tested to their utter limit by ridiculously tough stages; audiences who find amusement in watching the gimmicks of automatic and musical courses unfold; and folks who want to experience what fellow gamers who like to wear their Shigeru Miyamoto hats will come up with. And that goodness comes in piles that are virtually endless. Although immensely entertaining for both the camps who lean towards playing or creating, the game comes off as particularly spectacular to fans who like to do a bit of the two. In that context, Super Mario Maker 2 is capable of orchestrating an infinite loop of excellence, for one activity inevitably feeds into the other, as creation leads to curiosity about what others are up to and going through some platforming fatally gives way to new level-design ideas. As a consequence, even if a few punctual improvements could have been made, there is no denying that the game succeeds in not just paying homage to what is perhaps the greatest gaming franchise of all time, but also to the fans who have been witnesses to its unlikely run of sustained greatness.

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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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Super Mario Odyssey

Thanks to the impressive quantity of items to acquire in each kingdom (the dozens of moons and regional coins), Super Mario Odyssey often feels like a collectathon, but one that merges the exploration aspect that reigned over Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine with the linear goodness found in the most recent 3-D outings of the plumber. The meticulous design of its kingdoms, the cleverness of the capture mechanic and the doors of gameplay possibility that are blasted open due to it, and the fact secrets and new objectives are uncovered with every passing minute make Super Mario Odyssey an utter joy to play through, whether it is to those who will just clear its fifteen-hour adventure or to the daring gamers that will sink more than fifty hours into the experience to seek full completion. Super Mario Odyssey’s ridiculous abundance of ideas more than justifies the spectacular size of the quest Nintendo has put together.

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The Right Way

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when that tide began to shift and developers started looking at sidescrollers differently, but on the Nintendo camp that turnaround could easily be traced back to 2006’s New Super Mario Bros. The first original Mario sidescroller in a whopping fourteen years, the game – as its title plainly indicates – was marketed as a return to the stripped down platforming basics of the Super Mario Bros. trilogy.

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The Mustard Of Your Doom

Other than ambitions and eventual resources, the extent of villains’ evil plans knows no bounds. That is why, when transposed to the gaming realm, where nearly everything is possible, we are sometimes confronted with megalomaniac plans that include either world domination or its darker and more twisted counterpart, universal destruction. Although some of the villains to have appeared on Nintendo-exclusive games do hold such goals, the wacky nature of many of those major titles has allowed the creation of some quite extravagant and noteworthy individuals.

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Want To Break Free

More than a need or a wish, having another major Nintendo platformer focus on huge worlds and exploration would shake things a little bit and get the attention of both gamers and critics. Will any of the characters step up to the challenge? Will a brand new franchise be created to fill that empty space?

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