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Messages - David

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16
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: CAPTAIN TOAD: TREASURE TRACKER
« on: July 30, 2020, 09:58:23 AM »
Die, die, die, don't jump in ...

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker

Super Mario Galaxy introduced the Toad Brigade and its captain.  Captain Toad returned in Super Mario 3D World, where he was the playable character in a series of bonus game challenges, notable for his complete inability to jump.  Instead, the player had to move Captain Toad through a variety of obstacles and challenges, searching for hidden stars.

In late 2014, a year after the release of Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad had his own game released on the Wii U -- Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker.  The game use the same basic mechanics as the minigame, requiring players to send Captain Toad walking through compact stages on a quest for Stars.  Captain Toad was accompanied by Captain Toadette, who was just as unable to hop, skip, or jump.  The game's antagonist was Wingo, a large bird with a penchant for stealing stars.

While there were some short use powerups and items in the game (pickaxes that work rather like the hammers in Donkey Kong, and turnips that could be plucked & tossed like those in Super Mario Bros. 2), most of the game's challenges required walking through levels, solving puzzles to find hidden stars and gems.  Many of the levels were like 3D puzzle boxes, requiring the player to turn the camera and Captain Toad walks in and out of passageways.

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker was released in late 2014 as a budget title, retailing at $39.99 instead of the more typical $59.99 price.  It's a fun little game, and was later ported to the more successful 3DS and Switch platforms.  The latter two ports removed some Super Mario 3D World themed stages, replacing them with stages themed after areas from Super Mario Odyssey. Try it out!


17
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO KART 7
« on: July 29, 2020, 11:37:04 AM »
Mario & company drive karts in 3D, while trying not to snake in ...

Mario Kart 7

The first "true" 3D Mario Kart game, Mario Kart 7 introduced several new gameplay elements to the Mario Kart series.  Karts now come with gliders, allowing players to coast through the sky after large jumps; they can also drive underwater!  In addition, karts are now customized -- players unlock components (wheels, bodies, gliders), and can mix and match the components to adjust the performance of their kart.  Coins return to the series -- collecting them in a race boosts your top speed!  New items include the Super Leaf (spin and knock out your opponents with a Tanooki tail), Fire Flower (hurl fireballs at your opponents), and the Lucky Seven -- the Lucky Seven gives the racer seven items to use, spinning around the kart in a ring.

Another change is the introduction of longer courses: three of the tracks don't loop -- instead, the racers must complete multiple segments of one, long course.  Rainbow Road is one such course; the other two longer courses are derived from Wii Sports Resort's map -- Maka Wuhu and Wuhu Loop.

Trick boosting returns from <a href="https://themushroomkingdom.net/games/mkwii>Mario Kart Wii, but "snaking" (as popularized in <a href="https://themushroomkingdom.net/games/mkds>Mario Kart DS[/url] is gone.

Overall, Mario Kart 7 is a very solid entry in the series, offering traditional racing with Mario power-ups, a full battle mode, and online gameplay.  Developed by EAD, the game received a worldwide 2005 release on the 3DS.



18
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: SUPER MARIO MAKER
« on: July 28, 2020, 01:23:02 PM »
The Mario madness never ends in ...

Super Mario Maker

Make your own "Super Mario" levels, and play through levels designed by others, in Super Mario Maker.  Using a Mario Paint-inspired interface, drag and drop blocks, bricks, Goombas, and more to create the ultimate Super Mario Bros. challenge -- or try playing with power-ups and graphics from Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, or even New Super Mario Bros. U!  Once levels are published, they can be individually downloaded, or players can challenge them in the 100 Mario mode -- try to clear as many levels possible with just 100 lives!

While players can always play through the stages as Mario, the game features special support for amiibo figures.  While creating a course, amiibo figures can be scanned to put special Mystery Mushrooms into stages (although only while using the classic Super Mario Bros. theme).  Mystery Mushrooms transform Mario into different characters -- changing sound effects, background music, and the graphics, but retaining Mario's standard running and jumping powers.  Still, it's fun to play as Peach, Luigi, Bowser, Goombas, a ? Block, the spring/trampoline object, Toad, Bowser Jr., Silver or Gold Mario, the Super Mario Maker builder outfitted Mario, Yoshi, a Shy Guy, Wario, Rosalina, Sidestepper, Shellcreeper, Mario from Mario Bros., Dr. Mario, Mario in a kart from Super Mario Kart, Waluigi, Yarn Yoshis (green, pink, light blue, or "Mega"), Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Ashley, Fighter Fly, Cat Mario, Cat Peach, Frog Mario, the "Mario Trio" from Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam, Mario in Sky Pop from Super Mario Land, Captain Toad, Birdo, Daisy, E. Gadd, Statue Mario (from Super Mario Bros. 3), Toadette, Nabbit, Baby Mario, the Undodog, or many, many, many others (including Mega Man, Pac-Man, and Link.)  Mystery mushrooms can be unlocked through normal gameplay, and some Mystery Mushrooms can't be unlocked by amiibo figures at all -- you'll have to get them by beating the different difficulties of the 100 Mario challenge.

Super Mario Maker was one of the Wii U's best titles, and was later ported to the 3DS as Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS.  The 3DS ported lost the Mystery Mushrooms and online level sharing, but gained a special 100 level challenge consisting of stages made by Nintendo staff.



19
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: NEW SUPER LUIGI U
« on: July 27, 2020, 01:46:16 PM »
It's Luigi's turn to shine in ...

New Super Luigi U

2013 was the "Year of Luigi" -- and Luigi gets the starring role in his very own "Super Luigi" title!  Originally released as paid DLC for New Super Mario Bros. U, New Super Luigi U consists of all new levels placed in NSMBU world map.  Mario doesn't appear -- just Luigi, two Toads, and Nabbit.  Run, jump & stomp your way through the game to save Princess Peach.

Aside from starring Luigi, there are a few other differences to be found in New Super Luigi U.  All the levels are shorter and must be completed within 100 seconds.  Luigi jumps higher and "slides" a bit on landing, as do the other characters.  Every level features a "hidden Luigi" graphic. The weirdest change, however, is in how the character of Nabbit plays -- he runs through enemies without taking damage, and doesn't use power-up items, instead stuffing them into his napsack for bonus points.

While originally released as DLC, the game later received a stand-alone physical release, as well as being sold as part of the physical bundle New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U.  In 2019, it was released on the Switch as part of New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe.



20
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO SPORTS SUPERSTARS
« on: July 24, 2020, 12:53:20 PM »
Mario & company play soccer, baseball, tennis, golf, and... horse racing, in the 3DS title...

Mario Sports Superstars

Like the earlier Square Enix developed Wii game Mario Sports Mix, this is an assortment of sports titles developed by a third party.  This time around, it's Bandai Namco and Camelot developing, and we have horse racing, a first for the Mario series.  The horse racing component involves not just racing, but a whole horse stable and care component, allowing you to decorate your horse with accessories and develop a bond.

Camelot developed the Golf and Tennis portions, which makes sense given their history with the Mario Tennis and Golf series.  Bandai Namco is responsible for Horse Racing, Soccer, and Baseball (having previously developed Mario Superstar Baseball and Mario Super Sluggers).

The game features support for its own series of 90 different amiibo character cards. Scanning a character's cards provides new gear or stat boosts, and the cards can also be used in the special bonus mode "Road to Superstar."  In this mode, players arrange cards onto a pinball/Arkanoid/Breakout/Alleyway-style playfield and smash bricks and items; beating the mode confers more bonuses.  If buying 90 different amiibo cards through randomly sorted packs isn't enough for you, the game also features more than 300 digital cards you can collect -- luckily, the digital cards can be purchased with in-game coins, as opposed to cash.

The amiibo cards haven't been used in any other title.


 


21
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: DR. MARIO: MIRACLE CURE
« on: July 23, 2020, 11:55:51 AM »
It's the Dr. Mario Bros. in ...

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure

Drs. Mario & Luigi come to the 3DS!  Play using the original Dr. Mario rules, or try Dr. Luigi mode which plays pretty much identically to the new mode in Dr. LuigiVirus Buster returns as well, and there is an online mode.  What's new to the game is Miracle Cure Laboratory, a puzzle mode.  In Miracle Cure Laboratory, you have to eliminate a set number of viruses with specific guidelines and puzzle challenges -- while interesting, there are only about 50 unique puzzles.

Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure is a good overall compilation, but nothing amazingly new to the series.  It was developed by Arika, and released worldwide in 2015.




22
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: MARIO AND DONKEY KONG: MINIS ON THE MOVE
« on: July 22, 2020, 03:51:33 PM »
Robot Marios must navigate death traps in ...

Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move

The Mini Marios are back, and Mario needs to guide them through a series of challenging puzzle maps.  While part of the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series developed by Nintendo Software Technologies, the game plays nothing like its predecessors.  Instead of being an action platformer, or a Lemmings-esque puzzler, this game challenges you to complete a pathway through a map by placing tiles.  Much like the old game Pipemania, you must complete a pathway before time runs out, swapping out movement pieces across the board.  If you take too long, you lose.  Unlock additional Mini characters & bonus minigames as you play!




23
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: GAME & WARIO
« on: July 21, 2020, 10:53:32 AM »
Wario & crew on the Wii U in...

Game & Wario

Unlike the other Wario Ware titles, Game & Watch consists of a smaller number of more fleshed out minigames.  Using touch screen, motion, and standard controls, work your way through the twelve minigames to earn coins, which can be spent on a variety of prizes.  The focus here is really on having a weirdly wide variety of games featuring different playstyles.  Shoot down enemies in Arrow, snap photos of suspects in Shutter, race down the hill in Ski, assemble picture puzzles in Patchwork, bounce across the platforms in Kung Fu, create images in Design, fly Ashley through weird skyscapes in Ashley, drive & shoot UFOs in Taxi, and play a rhythm-based motion controlled pirate-themed thing starring Wario in Pirates.  There is a lot of variety (and weirdness) here.

Multiplayer games include Sketch (a bit like Pictionary), Fruit (one player hides while the others try to locate them on the television screen), Disco (a rhythm-based game involving tapping the Wii U Gamepad), and Islands (fling Fronks at targets).

If you want standard Wario Ware gameplay, there is an additional game -- Gamer.  In Gamer, you are 9-Volt, a child who is supposed to be sleeping.  You are in bed, playing WarioWare -- and you have to avoid being caught by your mother.  As you play through a series of traditional WarioWare microgames, be ready to instantly "fall sleep" and hide your system just before Mom pops in and catches you!

Game & Wario is a fun, weird collection that can only really be played on the Wii U due to a number of games featuring dual screen support.






24
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: PAPER MARIO: THE ORIGAMI KING
« on: July 17, 2020, 01:56:05 PM »
So a new Mario game came out today...

Paper Mario: The Origami King

Once again, a fairly flat Mario must save the kingdom/world/universe against a non-two-dimensional menace.  This time, a evil origami madman is compressing and folding all the residents of the Mushroom Kingdom, and Mario must save the day!  Team up with a GOOD origami gal and fight the three dimensional forces of evil and chaos.

If you were a fan of the traditional Paper Mario games (the original and Thousand Year Door), I will say that this new entry feels more like a traditional Paper Mario RPG game.  The battles do feature a heavy puzzle element, but (for the most part) you can brute force your way through the battles as if you were playing a traditional game.  The music and oddball humor is intact, though.  I will say that I've yet to get bored while playing -- which is good, as I got tired of both Color Splash & Sticker Star half-way through each...

If you don't mind the game being a bit different, you'll probably enjoy yourself.  In fact, this is arguably the best Paper Mario we've had in years.

Back to more obscure stuff next week!






25
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: DR. LUIGI
« on: July 16, 2020, 05:23:26 PM »
Who needs experience in a doctor, when you have ...

Dr. Luigi

For the "year of Luigi," the younger Mario brother gets to star in his own Dr. Mario spinoff!  Battle the viruses (with different designs and colors than those in Dr. Mario) by dropping L-shaped Megavitamin packets.  These L packs feature four pill segments instead of the normal two, but the shape can make the game a bit more difficult.  If you'd prefer, classic Dr. Mario gameplay is available in Retro Remedy, and there is also an online mode!  Virus Buster returns from Brain Age 2, allowing you to drag & drop pill segments using the Wii U's touchscreen.

Developed by Arika, Dr. Luigi was released in the US at the end of 2013, and in the rest of the world the following year.




26
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: GAME & WATCH GALLERY 4
« on: July 15, 2020, 10:39:13 AM »
It's time to punch Waluigi in the face in...

GAME & WATCH GALLERY 4



Once again, the Mario characters star in recreations of classic Game & Watch titles.  Play faithful simulations of the original games, or try them with color, music, and Mario!  This collection features the largest number of Game & Watch games yet.  Boxing, Chef, Donkey Kong 3, Donkey Kong Jr., Donkey Kong, Fire Attack, Fire, Mario Bros., Mario's Cement Factory, Octopus, and Rainshower are the starting games.  Do well enough and you'll several additional classic titles: Manhole, Tropical Fish, Mario's Bombs Away, Parachute, Bomb Sweeper, Climber, Safebuster, Lifeboat, and The Legend of Zelda.

Some of these titles were present in the earlier Game & Watch Gallery games, but the Game Boy Advance versions are much more detailed, colorful, and feature even more Mario cameos.  The collection here also help demonstrate the wide variety of jobs Mario has had: bomb sweeper, factory worker, ape tormentor...

It's worth noting that the classic version of Donkey Kong 3 stars Stanly, whereas the modern version features Mario.

Developed by Tose and Nintendo, Game & Watch Gallery was released in 2002.  This was the last Gallery collection released.

27
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: GAME & WATCH GALLERY 3
« on: July 14, 2020, 11:06:53 AM »
The 2D adventures continue in...

GAME & WATCH GALLERY 3



Once again, a selection of Game & Watch titles return.  Play through recreations of the classic Game & Watch Egg, Greenhouse, Turtle Bridge, Mario Bros., and Donkey Kong Jr. - in original mode, or with updated Mario graphics and sound.  If you do well enough, you'll also unlock classic versions of the games Flagman, Judge, Lion, Spitball Sparky, Donkey Kong II, and Fire (reversed)!

There are several Mario titles in this selection.  In Mario Bros., Mario and Luigi must work together to load up a delivery truck by transferring items between delivery belts.  Donkey Kong Jr. recreates the first stage of the arcade game -- help Junior climb up to rescue DK from Mario!  The unlockable Donkey Kong II is actually a recreation of the last stage of Donkey Kong Jr. -- Junior climbs chains to unlock DK's cage.

Developed by Tose and Nintendo, Game & Watch Gallery was released in 1999.

28
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: GAME & WATCH GALLERY 2
« on: July 13, 2020, 05:11:12 PM »
Mario and company reenact LCD madness in...

GAME & WATCH GALLERY 2



Play through simulations of the classic Game & Watch titles Parachute, Helmet, Chef, Vermin, and Donkey Kong -- earn enough points and you'll unlock an additional game, Ball!  Each games can be played in original mode, or in "Modern Mode" with Mario characters, music, and color!  This is one of the earliest Game Boy Color titles, and features fairly colorful levels while remaining fully compatible with the original Game Boy.

Donkey Kong is an interesting conversion: while the original two screen Game & Watch game is faithfully recreated in Classic Mode, the Modern version adds a few extra levels and characters.  Donkey Kong (wearing his red tie and looking rather similar to the version present in the Game Boy Donkey Kong) kidnaps Princess Peach in Modern mode, and is assisted by Koopa Troopas and Koopa Paratroopas.

Developed by Tose and Nintendo, Game & Watch Gallery was released in 1997 in Japan and 1998 across the rest of the world.  The game featured Super Game Boy frames and tinting.

29
Game Blog / $114,000 for Sealed Super Mario Bros. at Heritage Auction
« on: July 10, 2020, 04:00:14 PM »
Heritage Auctions appears to have sold a sealed copy of the the US version of Super Mario Bros..  What appears to have made this copy so valuable is the little plastic hangtab on the box -- only a small number of copies were sold in the hangtab version.  It's interesting to note that these weren't the first version of Super Mario Bros. to hit the USA -- the ones for the initial launches weren't plastic wrapped.

Heritage Auctions issued a press release last year when its owner purchased a sticker-sealed copy of a launch Super Mario Bros. for $100,150. (Read here).

30
Game Blog / Summer of Mario: SUPER MARIO 3D LAND
« on: July 10, 2020, 03:36:27 PM »
Mario floats like a 3D Tanooki & avoids the stings of bees in ...

Super Mario 3D Land



For the first time, traditional Super Mario gameplay is merged with fully 3D worlds and levels.  Help Mario save the princess while stomping Goombas, kicking Koopa Troopas, hurling fireballs, and floating like a tanooki!  While the Super Mario Galaxy games brought back the Fire Flower as a time limited power-up, Super Mario 3D Land uses power-ups in the classic way -- and introduces new ones, like the Boomerang Suit.  The Super Leaf acts a bit differently in this game --  normal Super Leaf gives Mario a tanooki suit that can float (but not fly), while a stone Super Leaf gives Mario a tanooki suit that can transform into a statue.  It's worth noting that the game isn't only 3D in the gameplay -- it displays in a full 3 dimensions thanks to the 3DS, which makes it a bit easier to stomp on Goombas.

Luigi returns as a playable character, and even gets a different looking Super Leaf outfit -- grabbing one outfits him a fox suit, as opposed to Mario's tanooki suit.

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