The Game Corner: February 2021. Featuring Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.

Since I recently finished Sega’s Yakuza spin-off, Judgment, I immediately found myself going in to finish the next game I was closest to beating: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD for Wii U. While I was around 20 hours in some weeks ago, I can happily say that I’ve finished the game!

In the midst, I’ve also been playing my fair share of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury. Nintendo’s latest hit for the Switch brought forth quite possibly the best Mario game in existence as well as an expansion to the title. Though Super Mario 3D World, originally released for Wii U, was good enough to release standalone, the Bowser’s Fury expansion definitely sweetened the deal.

As always, I’m still playing Smash, Fire Emblem Heroes, and even finally picked back up my copy of Final Fantasy XV after three months of neglect. With that said, what are you playing this month?

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

Finishing The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD gave me clarity on an old favorite. Though I beat the original Wii release in 2006, I revisited the game on GameCube several years later. While I found the latter marginally better due to the controls, both releases of Twilight Princess featured a few glaring issues. Perhaps the biggest was that enemies barely damaged Link which trivialized combat throughout the game.

The HD remaster not only condenses these fetch quests immensely but gives you the option to bolster the enemy difficulty. Using the Ganondorf amiibo will double enemy damage. Playing on Hero Mode will not only boost enemy damage but also keep Hearts from spawning in the field. You could even quadruple the enemy damage by stacking the two if you like.

In one fell swoop, Nintendo not only managed to restore a classic in HD but fixed the most glaring problems the original title suffered from. Plus they even added the Cave of Shadows which is a new enemy gauntlet that you can tackle in Wolf form. You can view a list of changes here.

You earn this statue for clearing the Cave of Shadows.

This remaster makes Twilight Princess HD the definitive version of the game and one that will hopefully come to Nintendo Switch later this year.

Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury

I might have said this before, but Super Mario 3D World is my favorite Mario platformer. Not counting the RPGs like Super Mario RPG and Paper Mario, it’s my favorite Mario game thanks to its incredible level of polished design. I honestly believe it’s on the same tier as Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel, all of which were designed by the same team.

You can play around with filters.

Nintendo not only ported 3D World to the Switch but even added a few quality-of-life improvements. Perhaps the most stunning is that you now move at 1.5x speed which streamlines the levels even more than before. Plus you can now play online with friends!

But let’s talk for a moment about the expansion, Bowser’s Fury. This new mode marries Super Mario Odyssey’s open-world gameplay with Super Mario 3D World’s controls and powerups. This new quest introduces an awesome, powerful version of the titular villain known as Fury Bowser.

With 100 Shines to collect, Bowser’s Fury offers between 5-10 hours of gameplay in this fun little campaign on Lapcat Island. It also includes offline co-op allowing a friend to play as Bowser Jr. to aide you. Whether you enjoy the Super Mario Sunshine references, the new music, or Odyssey’s gameplay, you’ll have plenty of reasons to try this lovable new expansion mode!

Final Fantasy XV

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I’ve owned this game. I bought it in 2017 and have still only just cleared the first few chapters. Even worse is when I shelved it in November 2020 and only just started playing it again. Thankfully, re-learning combat wasn’t the rude awakening I was afraid it might be.

Sadly, the Naga was nowhere near as attractive as I was hoping for.

Right now, I’m about to storm an Imperial base to get the Regalia back. I finished the Ramuh trials and I’m looking forward to finishing this chapter as well. I’m honestly hoping to finish Final Fantasy XV before XVI comes out.

Super Mario Galaxy

Welcome to my guilty pleasure. I have already cleared 120 Stars on all three games of Super Mario 3D All-Stars. So why am I playing Luigi mode in Super Mario Galaxy? Either because I hate myself or because I love the game that much.

As I mentioned earlier, Super Mario Galaxy is one of my favorite games of all time. At the time of its 2007 release, one could argue that it was the greatest game Nintendo has ever released. Its Metacritic score speaks volumes about not just its quality but how well it has lasted throughout 14 years. 3D All-Stars remastered the title in glorious HD and it still looks and plays like a charm.

Wii version.

However, while I already enjoyed my run-through as Mario, Luigi mode is literally just the same game over again except you jump higher and skid on surfaces; a tribute to Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels. In the end, you get 120 Stars and unlock the opening level once more to collect one more star each: once as Mario, once as Luigi, for a total of 242 stars. No Grandmaster Galaxy or any such reward exists for doing so, either.

I literally did this years ago. Not once, but twice.

Fire Emblem Heroes

I subscribed to Feh Pass. I’ve continuously apologized to myself for the past week for doing this. After a year of resisting, I finally caved. With the amount of time I spend on this game, despite being F2P, I figured I might as well treat myself to some of the quality improvements. I already love continuously auto-battling through Tempest Trials+ without having to check my phone every minute as well.

Brave Ike made me do it.

Onto other modes, though, as usual, I know nothing of what I’m doing. I still teeter on Aether Raids Tier 19-20 and Arena Rank 17-19. I seldom play a number of modes, like Hall of Forms and Pawns of Loki. I figure since I’m finally subscribing to Feh Pass for $10 a month, I may as well try to get a little better at the game, right?

My current main team for general purpose and Abyssal maps.

Xenoblade Chronicles 2

My on-and-off relationship with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 began since getting it in 2017 when it first came out. Unfortunately, I’ve just left this one largely on the backburner. It’s not a bad game and I even beat and enjoyed the first Xenoblade on the Wii. But when it comes to prioritizing my backlog, this one has scarcely been on my radar.

If you think I can’t juggle Xenoblade and Final Fantasy XV, you’re sorely underestimating me.

Thankfully, I decided to pick it up and play it for real. After a quick romp of re-learning some of the mechanics, I think I got a handle on everything for the most part. Blades, Cores, and all that complicated mess you don’t get in your standard JRPG really add to the learning curve. After 20+ hours I finally finished Chapter 3 and you know what that means!

I literally could not have picked a better time to get her.

I’ll be starting Chapter 4 soon. I enjoy watching the plot pick up from here. Hopefully, I can get Zeke soon and add him to my party. He’s my favorite character so far.

Zeke is represented by Cloud as a Spirit in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

I’m still kicking around online. In addition to tormenting myself on Elite Smash, I’m also playing in Best 3 out of 5 sets against noteworthy players. For starters, I managed to beat a notable DK player from North Carolina and one of my longtime rivals, KDK, in a set 3-2 using Terry. I also battled Deluxemenu and won 3-2 against his Bowser, but I’ve also lost to his Min-Min in two sets. Mr. E won 5-3 in a First to 5 and I fought a close set with NickRiddle which he took 3-2.

On the bright side, I’m feeling pretty good about this win. I lost to his Sephiroth hard with Roy but Terry gave me three wins. Can’t be mad about that.

I’ve been doing well with The Legendary Hungry Wolf online lately.

While I still don’t intend to enter online tournaments yet, I’ll still keep it in the back of my mind just in case. Right now, I enjoy playing with my friends and other high-level players in competitive sets. As long as I get to do that, I’m happy.

Oh, and before I forget, here are some clips I can finally share with you!

Punch, Punch!

Here’s MY Falcon Punch!

I’ll follow you to your grave.

Finally, here’s an Ike mini-montage I made last year with Aether spike finishes. It’s the one thing keeping Ike viable in this meta!

That’s all for this week’s Game Corner! What are you playing lately? Share in the replies below!

As always, don’t forget to follow our social media links below. Stay tuned for next time’s Game Corner as I’ll surely, hopefully, have made some more progress and maybe a new game or two added in there.

Until next time!

Super Mario 3D All-Stars Review: Don’t Miss This One.

ACT Super Mario 3D All-Stars

Nintendo released Super Mario 3D All-Stars, for Nintendo Switch, on September 18th, 2020. This compilation title features three Mario titles: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, and Super Mario Galaxy. Notably, the title and the concept both echo the SNES compilation title, Super Mario All-Stars, which featured the NES Super Mario Bros. titles.

Super Mario 3D All-Stars managed to upscale three Mario titles into HD. While they might not qualify as full remasters, these upscaled ports offer the same classic gameplay that you’ll likely remember from the 90s and 2000s. With that being said, if you have not played these titles, then I strongly suggest getting it.

Bear in mind I only recommend playing two of these games. Super Mario 64 is a defining classic that marked the standard for 3D gaming. Super Mario Galaxy is a top-tier quality adventure that excels in every single point. However, Super Mario Sunshine is, at best, middling, and I would strongly advise reading a review before deciding to jump in and try it. However, just for 64 and Galaxy alone, you’re definitely in for some of the best experiences ever.

Story

Given that these are Mario titles, it goes without saying that all three involve Princess Peach getting kidnapped by Bowser. As such, Mario adventures out to rescue the princess once more. Each one has its own take on the story, however.

Super Mario 64 features Bowser abducting Peach in her own castle and taking away the Power Stars. Super Mario Sunshine involves Mario and Peach going on vacation before a shadowy fiend frames Mario for spreading toxic graffiti and later abducting Peach. Finally, Super Mario Galaxy has Bowser kidnapping Peach and taking her to his own empire at the center of the universe!

ACT Mama Peach
He won’t let you take Mama Peach away!

Each game has its charm and introduced new characters and left a lasting legacy on the Mario series. Super Mario Sunshine introduced Bowser’s son, Bowser Jr., as well as the Pianta and Noki races. Super Mario Galaxy introduced Princess Rosalina and the Lumas. Both Bowser Jr. and Rosalina have since debuted in the Super Smash Bros. series along with the stages from their respective games!

Audiovisual

Super Mario 3D All-Stars features a visual upgrade to each released title. But more than that, it speaks echoes for Super Mario Galaxy’s 1080p upgrade. While I have seen the title played on the Dolphin emulator years ago, I cannot stress enough that Nintendo should have developed the Wii as an HD console. Super Mario Galaxy was an absolutely beautiful work of art, from its animations to its backgrounds, and still managed to impress even despite its home console’s limitations at the time.

I enjoyed the various sound effects of each game and I feel Mario games always have the most memorable jingles. All games feature memorable and catchy soundtracks that perfectly fit the theme of their respective worlds.

While we’re on the subject of sound, let’s not talk about Sunshine’s voice acting.

With that being said, all three Mario titles feature compositions by veteran Nintendo composer, Koji Kondo as well as Shinobu Nagata in Super Mario Sunshine. However, Kondo composed along with Mahito Yokota and the Mario Galaxy Orchestra in the Super Mario Galaxy soundtrack. Featuring a full orchestral soundtrack, Galaxy pushed the limits of both Nintendo and the Mario series to deliver an epic, unforgettable soundtrack.

Gameplay

All three titles feature glorious 3D platforming action. However, there’s something to say about all of them. For better or for worse, each one has something notable to offer.

Super Mario 64 was the first to feature full-on 3D platforming action. Granted, this means some of the movement and camera control is a bit stiff. I’m not fond of Tick Tock Clock at all. And I found several Stars to be annoying, like 100 Coins in Rainbow Ride or the work elevator in Hazy Maze Cave.

Fun Fact: Tick Tock Clock was completely redone in the Super Mario 64 DS remake.

Super Mario Sunshine was the black sheep, however, While the controls felt smoother, Nintendo added the new FLUDD mechanic to wash away slime and give Mario new abilities. Unfortunately, the title fell flat on its face thanks to a terrible camera, poor physics on slopes, and numerous tedious stage designs. All of these culminated into Super Mario Sunshine becoming a less-than-stellar title that ended up much more frustrating than enjoyable.

These stages are no bueno.

Finally, Super Mario Galaxy offered a complete 180 from Sunshine. In doing so, Nintendo created a fantastic and polished adventure. Smooth controls, great controls, and new concepts featured Mario defying gravity in numerous stages. Galaxy’s creative stage designs went above-and-beyond anything Nintendo had accomplished since and created an enjoyable masterpiece that’s smooth and easy to control. Plus it offered a solid challenge for players of all skill levels.

Galaxy offered challenges such as Daredevil Comets which made you clear the stage without getting hit.

Overview

First off, Super Mario 64 remains a defining classic 25 years after its release. It’s still an upper-level Mario title that brings forth some creative exploration elements. It’s funny to note how some elements, like riding Koopa Shells underwater, were only briefly touched on but never fully developed until Super Mario Galaxy. Even in spite of a few hazardous camera angles or the wall-jumping for Blue Coins to get 100 Coins in Rainbow Ride, Super Mario 64’s problems were few and far in between. I’d give it a 9/10 overall.

Super Mario Sunshine, unfortunately, created more despair than joy. The happy memories I had playing this at age 14-15 were clouded by the pretty visuals, easy controls, great music, and charming character design. Unfortunately, the Secret Stages aren’t just challenging but incredibly faulty as well. Whether you’re falling through platforms or the camera angle screws you over, they weren’t implemented with polish thanks to the title being rushed.

On the bright side, the open-world concept did give rise to an indeed stellar Mario title: Super Mario Odyssey. Unlike Odyssey, however, I have to give Super Mario Sunshine a 5/10. I wouldn’t play this title unless you were cautioned about what you were getting into first.

ACT Super Mario Sunshine Chuckster
No.

Finally, Super Mario Galaxy is a title I cannot say enough good things about. It’s such a beautiful little masterpiece that I remember how much fun I had with it in 2007 when it first came out. Whether you’re playing handheld or on TV, it controls surprisingly well. Even the motion controls for catching Star Bits aren’t a problem. While it might not be as easy as the Wii remote at first, on the bright side, you don’t have to worry about anything obscuring the sensor anymore either. Moreover, it’s just an inherently fun game.

I think my only real gripe with Galaxy is how they add Luigi after you beat the game with 120 Stars. You’re basically playing the exact same game again. Your only reward, once you collect all the stars, is honestly minimal and not really worth it. Unless you’re really eager to replay the game, I would say one run is enough to satisfy completion.

Can’t say I really care.

As much as I loved Galaxy, I honestly believe Galaxy 2 managed to surpass it in several ways. If I could, I would replace Sunshine and add Galaxy 2 to this collection instead. I give Galaxy a 10/10 for being one of the most enjoyable experiences that I forgot how much I loved 14 years later.

Final Thoughts

Keep in mind that Super Mario 3D All-Stars will only be available for retail and digital purchase until March 31st. However, don’t fret! You will almost certainly find used copies in GameStop as well as on eBay and other websites. After all, it’s not much different than what Nintendo used to do with promotional releases like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda Collection’s Edition for GameCube. While these promo titles should be available for as long as any other, it’s a shame Nintendo will discontinue them like some Disney Vault property instead.

These are great games well worth their place on the Switch and I would be remiss if I said to skip them just because you played them before. I would only say this if you already have the consoles to play these titles on and the handheld adaptability does not interest you. Otherwise, I recommend picking up Super Mario 3D All-Stars if you seek a quality title like Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy.

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