Super Mario Galaxy 2 blasts off in 5 weeks!

6 05 2010

Super Mario Galaxy was a massive hit. We’re talking Quinine in Equatorial countries popular – it was that huge. And now they’re releasing a sequel – makes sense, right? That said, Nintendo have been slightly funny about their bread-and-butter Mario platform titles in recent years, having not released a direct sequel since Super Mario 64 back in 1996 (or depending on how you look at it, Super Mario World in 1991, which was followed by Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island, a sequel by name but entirely different in style and gameplay) and it is with baited moustaches that we await this year’s proper sequel, Super Mario Galaxy 2.

The 3D Super Mario platform efforts have all been wonderful in their own right, with 64, Sunshine and the original Galaxy all being massive commercial and critical successes, so Miyamoto and friends really have their work cut out. As it happens only releasing one title per generation of console seems like an excellent way to punctuate the series, allowing the gameplay to largely remain tinker-free (with the addition of some neat touches and added extras to bulk things up) but each new iteration to seem fresh and beautiful on a more powerful and capable nth-generation console. Sunshine was a great game in its own right, but if we’re being honest who wasn’t happy that they basically took the mechanics of 64, spruced up the textures and gave us a new world to have a crack at? Moreover, not only do they have their first same-console direct contest within the series for 14 years to contend with, it’s also following the hugely successful New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the game that reminded us all how wonderful the old days were in a way that was entirely genuine, without a hint of irony, fad or rose-tinted glasses. How do we think they’ll do?

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I’ve Seen The Future, and It’s 2D

16 09 2009

Power is king in this day and age. Our processors must be faster, our graphics cards must have more memory, and our consoles are about to become self aware. The quest for higher frame rates, more polygons on screen, and the most spectacular explosions is all-consuming in the gaming world. Why is it, then, that I get such a warm fuzzy feeling inside from 2D games?

It’s probably because I remember them the first time around, and at the risk of sounding really old, I long for that simpler time (I’m not that old, honest – I just started gaming early). I don’t always want my games to be massively multiplayer, to require peripherals costing more than the console itself, or to be so crushingly realistic that instead of just giving you a limp and slowing you down, a gunshot wound to the thigh causes you to bleed out in under three minutes, then have to wait an hour for the next round to start. Sure, if anyone asks, I’ll tell them that Fallout 3 was the best title released in the past couple of years, but if I’m honest I’ve probably gleaned far more enjoyment from New Super Mario Bros. and Yoshi’s Island on DS than I ever could from Fallout’s wasteland, in spite it being more than light years ahead in terms of, well, everything.

It brings joy to my heart and puts a spring in my step then, that on top of the fantastic looking A Boy and His Blob, we’re soon to be graced with the 2D games that we have all been waiting for – a new Mario, and a new Sonic, and I’m not sure which I’m most excited about! The Mario title (New Super Mario Bros. Wii, shown off at E3 last month) looks fantastic in that it’s essentially a ramped up version of the DS title (which was in itself a ramped up version of the old NES games). It looks slick, it looks pretty, it looks fun to play, and includes four-player-on-one-console action! Super Mario Galaxy 2 is due to be released at roughly the same time, and it’s going to cause some real internal conflict as to which I play more, as I already love both the ‘New’ and ‘Galaxy’ games immensely.

The Sonic title is a little more mysterious, however, with SEGA having only released a teaser promo video that doesn’t include any gameplay, or really, any concrete information at all. What it does allude to, though, is the important stuff: it’s Sonic, it’s 2D, it’s fast, and they’ve scrapped all their dreadful attempts at 3D and pseudo-3D in favour of an old school style. It’s also cleverly titled ‘Project Needlemouse’ (the SEGA codename for the original Sonic title in the days of pre-history) and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. I have a sneaking suspicion that because they’re simplifying things and getting back to their roots this will just work in the way old Sonic titles used to (and new ones don’t). Deep down, I feel they’re going to absolutely nail this one.

Review – Mario Kart Wii

21 04 2008

Some games are very, very serious indeed. There’s plenty to be said for true-to-life physics, painstaking motion capture, and AI so frighteningly realistic it’s hard not to believe that the game’s developers haven’t been going around stealing peoples’ souls and storing them on little silver discs, but deep down, we’re all glad that for every Tiger Woods there’s an Everybody’s Golf, for every Final Fantasy there’s a Kingdom Hearts, and for every Gran Turismo, there’s a Mario Kart. Read the rest of this entry »