Rest In Peace, Miiverse

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Nintendo’s Wii U console had a lot of problems. The controller was never used to its full potential in any games, the UI was rather bloated and slow, and the software library was sorely lacking. But Miiverse wasn’t one of those problems. In fact, Miiverse was its best feature, a platform that allowed communities to blossom around the Wii U’s various games. Seeing that community of Miis run around in the console’s home screen always gave you something to look forward to when booting up the console, and it was clearly an experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.

Last night, Nintendo pulled the plug on the service. I was really sad when Nintendo indicated that it wouldn’t be returning on the Switch, but it wasn’t surprising. Online communities can be a fleeting thing, more so when they are linked to a failing video game console. I’m still holding on to hope that Nintendo may do something similar in the future with their upcoming Switch online service, but it’s doubtful.

For now, let’s remember that Miiverse was more than just the platform, it was the people. Like the best Nintendo games, Miiverse was filled with really weird people, and that’s what made it so fun. Those people, the core of Nintendo fans, aren’t going anywhere. Splatoon 2‘s array of weird political and furry posts prove that a bizarre Miiverse-like experience is still possible, and can be even more irreverent than it ever was in the old days of the Wii U.

RIP Miiverse – 2012-2017

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Review – Arms

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Arms is a game that has taken me for a roller coaster ride this year. I was a little skeptical upon its initial reveal, but as subsequent information about the game came out, I got a little more excited. However, that excitement was quickly deflated after getting to play the game over the summer, and it got quickly demoted from a must-buy to a rental for me.

Now that I got to spend some time with the final product, I can’t say I regret my decision. Arms has its fair share of problems, which causes the game to float somewhere between really fun and very frustrating. Through all of this, though, Arms still manages to be a breath of fresh air coming from Nintendo. At its best, it’s a superbly designed online experience that requires complex, on the spot thinking. It takes some risks, some of which don’t pay off, but it has many good ideas that I hope are not abandoned here.

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Review – Super Mario Odyssey

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Partway through Super Mario Odyssey, in the New Donk City level, there is a moment that pretty elegantly sums up the entire soul of this game. Mario helps Pauline to put together a festival for the citizens of the city. It all culminates with a jubilant scene that serves as one of this game’s highlights. That’s what Oddysey is–it’s a celebration of Mario‘s long 30-year history. The whole thing from front to back radiates joy, tugging endlessly at your nostalgia while simultaneously being like no other Mario game before it.

This is your spoiler warning: This review will speak about the game’s structure. I will be mentioning things such as the amount and size of the levels, what you do in them, and the amount of moons in the game. However, there are tons of surprises in this game that I don’t want to ruin for anyone who hasn’t played it yet, so I will avoid stuff that I think should be a surprise. 

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Review – The Walking Dead: A New Frontier

A New Frontier is the third entry into Telltale’s episodic adventure series. Based on Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, this series has consistently been a treat, providing deep character-driven storylines that adapt to your in-game choices. The first season was particularly strong thanks to its fantastic characters and situations, while the second season is not far behind.

I typically hold off on playing Telltale games until all of the episodes have been released, since I dislike the wait for a new episode. The final episode of A New Frontier came out back in May, and I finally got the chance to play through the whole thing now. Like its predecessors, A New Frontier is heavily story driven, and enjoyment of it hinges purely on if you like the story and its characters.

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The Biggest Loser of 2017: My Wallet

Back in the Wii U days, a game like Super Mario Odyssey would have been the single big holiday release for Nintendo. Instead, we are extremely lucky that it’s coming out this early. In the span of a single month, we are getting a slew of third-party releases that will culminate with the release of Xenoblade Chronicles 2 in December. I personally am planning on getting DoomRime and Rocket League, in addition to the two titles I mentioned above. Somewhere in there, I have to also find the time to catch up on Arms and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle.

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Flash Reviews – October 2017 (Human Resource Machine, Minecraft, GoNNER)

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I play a lot of video games, especially on the Nintendo Switch. I like dissecting their components and putting them under a magnifying glass for a review. However, I just don’t have the time to fully review every game I play, and as a result, I get behind on posting my opinions on various games that I’ve played this year. So in order to play “catch-up,” I had the idea to write shorter 1 or 2 paragraph reviews for these. I still have other games I have yet to review, so I think I will make these kind of posts any time it makes sense to.

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Review – Cuphead

I played the PC version of Cuphead. The game is also available on XBox One. 

It’s been a long road for Cuphead, an ambitious indie title that is the first project coming from developers Studio MDHR. Announced all the way back in 2014, it’s clear that a lot of work went into perfecting this game’s presentation, to the point where it may very well be one of the most beautiful 2D games ever conceived. The hand-drawn style perfectly evokes the most surreal elements of cartoons from the 1930s, and it doesn’t ever compromise on perfectly delivering this style.

Even more surprising than the visuals, however, is that the game that lies under the hood is not your typical indie platformer. The game unfolds much more like a boss rush, one that can be as exhausting as it is exhilarating. This is pretty niche stuff. Not all may truly enjoy the uncompromising difficulty of this game, but I found it to be pleasant, and this gameplay really makes this title stand out when compared to other indie platformers.

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