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Chain Chomp photo
Chain Chomp

This Chain Chomp cat bed is amazing


I'll take one...wait $1100?
May 06
// Chris Carter
Like that Chain Chomp bed in the header? Too bad, because Catastrophic Creations only made one of them, and it sold for $1,100. Originally conceptualized as a litter box, it ended up becoming a cat bed that has storage space ...
Toad photo
Toad

How come Toad is my favorite Mario character?


Because...
May 04
// Steven Hansen
Silver Mario amiibo photo
Silver Mario amiibo

Silver Mario amiibo appears in GameStop's system


Nintendo is still bafflingly silent
May 04
// Chris Carter
Wave 4 of the amiibo craze is rapidly approaching on May 29, and despite the fact that we have all of the exclusives sorted, one mystery remains -- the Silver Mario amiibo. It was found alongside of the Gold Mario that launch...
Puzzle & Dragons 3DS photo
Puzzle & Dragons 3DS

If the demo is anything to go by, Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition is great


Expect thoughts on the final version at launch
Apr 30
// Chris Carter
Free-to-play games often have a bad reputation, especially on the mobile platform. Puzzle & Dragons is one such game to rise to the occasion, offering up a good amount of gameplay for free, and has completely dominat...
Yoshi's Wooly World photo
Yoshi's Wooly World

New Yoshi variations unlockable in Yoshi's Woolly World


Shy Guy, Circus, and Flower Yoshi!
Apr 29
// Jed Whitaker
Looks like Yoshi's Woolly World is going to have a plethora of unlockables, including Yoshi variations! Confirmed variations are Circus Yoshi, Flower Yoshi, and Shy Guy Yoshi. These are unlocked by finding five Wonder Wools t...
Advance Wars! photo
Advance Wars!

PSA: Download your Club Nintendo elite rewards before Friday


Advance Wars!
Apr 29
// Steven Hansen
Club Nintendo is shutting down. The ability to accumulate coins ended alongside March's turn to April. April is the last month that Gold (300 coins) and Platinum (600 coins) members can download elite status gifts, which mean...

Captain of my own destiny: Micro-goals and player liberty

Apr 19 // Anna Anthropy
Every level of Captain Toad is a dense little 3D dollhouse. (In fact, you start to wonder why it wasn't released on the 3DS, where I wouldn't have had to constantly flick my attention between the TV and the thing I was holding.) The player's job is to steer Captain Toad -- or later Captain Toadette instead, once she's submitted herself to being rescued by the character who isn't femme-presenting -- through these little dollhouses. It's refreshing to see Nintendo finally catch up with more progressive developers, who allow playable women characters in their games, but only after male characters (or micropayments) have "unlocked" them. I'm not actually sure the game ever awards Toadette the rank of full Captain. Captain Toad or (Ensign? Admiral?) Toadette move through each dollhouse, avoiding (or occasionally vegetabling) threats, discovering new ways to get around the place, and ultimately attaining the shining Star at the end. That's the point of each little dollhouse, its ultimate goal. But there are "micro-goals" too: three special coins hidden in each little house. They're sealed, like plucky detectives in Nancy Drew novels, behind breakable walls, or tucked into secret nooks or out-of-the-way paths. Their purpose is to encourage (and reward) more thoroughly exploring each dollhouse, turning it over and over on your touch screen to peek into every part of it you can see. That's a legitimate way of playing the game -- call it a "deep" rather than "wide" play style -- and is legitimately rewarding to a certain type of player. That's not usually how I play these games, though. Playing Captain Toad, I was more interested in just seeing as much as possible - the wide rather than deep style of play. I wanted to see all the dollhouses. I wanted to see lots of neat, new things in succession, and not to be stuck on any one for too long. (Certainly the fact that I wouldn't be able to play the game once I'd left my friend's house made me reluctant to linger.) But this style of play is legit too. A design that incorporates both simple unlock-the-next-level goals and extra, optional micro-goals is, theoretically, one that accommodates both styles of play. If I want to see new things, I prioritize the overarching goal that will get me to the next level. If I want to feel like I'm really plumbing the depths of each individual level, I prioritize the micro-goals. But more realistically, my play style -- and probably most players' -- incorporates elements of both: going for a challenge coin when I see how to do so, but not replaying the same level over and over until I've gotten all three. Where the design fails in this case is when it turns out these optional micro-goals aren't optional after all, and that you can only see so much of the game without prioritizing them. My friend was way more challenge-coin-oriented, but even so, the available levels eventually petered out. "Did you unlock any more?" he asked me. I had seen a level or two later than he had. After a point, Captain Toad explicitly enforces the "deep, not wide" style of play where it teases that it will accommodate both kinds of play. And it's not the only Mario (or "Mario universe?" "Mario galaxy?") game to be structured this way: this is the way they're designing them these days. I also bailed on Super Mario 3D Land before seeing the end because it wanted me to replay past levels and harvest more hidden coins. Maybe the hope was that after playing "wide" for long enough, I'd develop enough of an investment in the game to play "deep" when I was forced to. Nope. I stopped playing. Oh, I stuck on for a few more levels, a few more tollbooths. But then I got tired of these forced intermissions between the stuff I wanted to be doing -- seeing new stuff -- to do stuff I was bored of: retreading old territory. I was up to the challenge of the new stages. I was capable, ready, and excited to do more. But the game was unwilling to let me, and I got bored, and I gave up. Surely that's not the outcome the developers were hoping for: player gets bored, gives up? I think it's a failure when additional goals are used to narrow, rather than broaden, the player's experience. One of the games I've been spending a lot of time with lately, Alto's Adventure, a snowboarding game for the iPad, has a few different levels of overlapping goals: get as far as possible in a single run (survive), get as many points as possible on a single run (perform tricks), complete the current "missions" the game has given you (perform specific tasks). Some of the missions are long-term: perform 10 backflips using a character who has a difficult time gaining air. Some of them are really specific: smash a rock during a chase scene. While I'm playing for the overarching goal of travelling as far as possible, these extra goals give me opportunities to explore wider aspects of the game systems. I might have never attempted a triple-backflip if the game hadn't suggested I try it, in addition to my already-established goal of getting farther, seeing more. And not all games need extra layers of goals: Monument Valley doesn't need "missions" to distract from its sparse vignettes. But when extra challenges are deployed, it should be in the service of expanding the player's experience of the game, rather than forcing it. Maybe if you're a garden fungus, the only way up the ladder to the rank of Captain is doing whatever authority tells you without question. Maybe Toadette is the real brains here.
Captain Toad photo
Where playground meets obstacle course
A friend of mine got a good deal on a Wii U recently. That meant that I finally got a chance to play Captain Toad. It's really humbling to know that people at Nintendo have also played Monument Valley. I played through a bunc...

Smash Bros. movie photo
Smash Bros. movie

Sony wants to make Smash Bros. and other Nintendo IPs into movies


'PlayStation All-Stars who?' - says Sony
Apr 17
// Jed Whitaker
Leaked e-mails have revealed that Sony Pictures wants to make movies based on various videogame series including many Nintendo properties such as Mario, Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda, Pokémon, and odd...
Super Mario 64 photo
Super Mario 64

Stretching Mario's face will never get old


We're all guilty
Apr 10
// Jordan Devore
Now that it's downloadable for Wii U, Super Mario 64 has entered my life again. It wasn't my favorite Nintendo 64 title -- heck, it wasn't even my favorite 3D platformer on the console -- but it was a formative game and, com...
Mario Maker  photo
Mario Maker

Create cruel levels in Mario Maker this September


Nintendo has suprises in store for Mario's 30th anniversary
Apr 01
// Jordan Devore
Mario's 30th anniversary is approaching and, thank goodness, so is Mario Maker. Nintendo announced a September release date during its Direct presentation today. Ever since I saw the kind of cruel, downright mean-spirited lev...
Super Mario 64 HD photo
Super Mario 64 HD

A fan's HD recreation of Mario 64 was great until Nintendo took it down


Bob-omb Battlefield's never looked better
Mar 31
// Brett Makedonski
Unity developer Erik Roystan Ross took one of the most iconic and beloved levels in videogames and gave it a makeover. Ross recreated Bob-omb Battlefield, the first stage in 1996's Super Mario 64, in HD from scratch. Ev...

Calm down: Nintendo still has a lot in store for Wii U

Mar 30 // Jed Whitaker
Splatoon - May 2015 The paint-splattering Splatoon comes out in under two months and is Nintendo's first attempt at a third-person action shooter. Information has quickly been trickling out as release nears with Nintendo posting a huge dump of screenshots revealing new characters, modes, weapons, and stages. Chris Carter recently previewed the game, saying "I see a lot of classic Mario platforming design in Spaltoon's campaign" and seemed to have fun with the multiplayer.  Xenoblade Chronicles X - TBA 2015 The original Xenoblade Chronicles was a great game, and Xenoblade Chronicles X is shaping up to be even better. Character customization, multiplayer, beautiful graphics, and JRPG goodness make this one to watch for this year. No precise release date has been announced thus far. Yoshi's Woolly World - First half of 2015 Yoshi's Woolly World hasn't had much press since E3 of last year where it won over Steven. Taking Yoshi's Island-style gameplay and making it have a nice yarn aesthetic seems like a winning formula to having the best Yoshi game since Yoshi's Story on the N64. With the lack of information and the peculiar absence from Nintendo's game release calendar, I won't be surprised if this one slips to later in the year to fill in the gap Zelda left. Star Fox - TBA 2015 Star Fox for Wii U was originally teased with a blurred screen behind Shigeru Miyamoto, and only the above screenshot has ever been shown to the public. We do know that you play with a dual-screen perspective, and you pilot Arwings, tanks, and a new helicopter vehicle, but other than that it hasn't really been mentioned since E3 of 2014. That means less has been shown than the now-delayed Zelda.  Project Giant Robot and Project Guard - TBA 2015 Miyamoto has his hands full, as he has been working on not only Star Fox but also Project Giant Robot and Project Guard, two games shown last year at E3. Giant Robot has players building skyscraper-sized robots on their Wii U GamePad and then battling them to the death, while Guard is a mix between tower defense and watching security cameras. Neither game has been shown or mentioned since E3 last year, nor has a release date been announced.  Mario Maker - TBA 2015 While the name is pretty self-explanatory, Mario Maker looks to have a lot of depth, offering the ability to make levels in the style of Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U. Not just easy levels either, but levels described as masochistic. No firm release date has been announced. So there you have it, seven games that potentially could be coming to the Wii U this year, pending any "please understand" cancellations that Nintendo has become infamous for. A nice mix of genres that should have something for everyone. Nintendo won E3 2014 in my opinion, so hopefully it can bring surprises to woo me again this year. The Wii U isn't dead, long live the Wii U.
The Wii U isn't dead yet photo
Unless it delays everything, please understand!
After the recent announcement that Zelda for Wii U wouldn't be releasing in 2015, people all around the Internet have been losing their collective minds screaming that the Wii U is dead when really, it is anything but. So join me as I refresh your memory and get you back on the Nintendo hype train for 2015.

Next Friday photo
Next Friday

Super Mario series Mario amiibo releasing stand-alone April 3


Next Friday
Mar 26
// Steven Hansen
The second Mario amiibo (after the original Smash Bros. line) is no longer available only through its Mario Party 10 bundle. Nintendo of America confirmed that you can buy the doll on its own on April 3. Nintendo of Canada confirmed the date as well.
Golden Mario amiibo hunt photo
Golden Mario amiibo hunt

The Great Golden Mario amiibo Hunt & amiibo painting pandemonium!


Hard-hitting guerilla journalism
Mar 20
// Jed Whitaker
Last night I ventured out to see if I could aquire golden Mario amiibo from Walmart as well as the Mario Party 10 bundle with the normal Mario amiibo live on our Twitch channel. It was a thrill ride that most of yo...
Golden Mario Amiibo photo
Golden Mario Amiibo

You missed me on a treasure hunt to find the elusive golden Mario amiibo!


The map has an X on Walmart
Mar 19
// Jed Whitaker
Update: You've missed the stream but fear not, you can watch the replays here! In what could be the best or worst decision I've made, I'll live streaming my hunt for a golden Mario amiibo tonight. Using my technical wiza...
Mario Paint photo
Mario Paint

Miyamoto originally pitched Mario for Splatoon


Maybe that scared the team into coming up with something more creative
Mar 18
// Steven Hansen
Splatoon's squishy squids that characterize the game came long after the graffiti-tagging gameplay concept. "We had found that the ink-battle play mechanic was fun, and the team was working very hard to brush up on that aspe...

Review: Mario Party 10

Mar 16 // Chris Carter
Mario Party 10 (Wii U)Developer: Nd CubePublisher: NintendoReleased: March 20, 2015MSRP: $49.99 (standard game) / $59.99 (with Mario amiibo) If you've played a party game before, you'll have the general gist of Mario Party 10. This time there's a lot of uncertainty as to what control schemes are supported, so I'll break it down -- Wiimotes. Yep, just Wiimotes. You don't need Motion+, you don't need any Classic Controllers (including the new Pro), and you don't need anything other than Wiimotes and the occasional GamePad depending on the mode. What you'll immediately notice about 10 is the stark improvement in the visual department. The sharper and more vibrant engine makes the game feel more alive -- it's a huge upgrade from 9, which was dated upon arrival. Everything from Yoshi's bold green hues to Donkey Kong's amazing hair is crafted with care, and you'll notice the difference everywhere from the map screen to the minigames themselves. Sadly, developer Nd Cube (who took over for the now defunct Hudson), is still stuck on the vehicular based concept from the last game. Every single time you play the core "Mario Party" gametype, on every map, every round, you'll progress in a shared vehicle that goes from point A to point B, with everyone facing the same exact challenges and the same boss fight at the end. The idea was divisive in Mario Party 9, and I expect the same thing here. Personally, I'm a little more used to the mechanic, but it still severely limits the longevity of the game as a whole. If everyone is sharing the same rolls and movement, rounds are extremely dull as there is very little choice on any given player turn. For instance, in the past it was key to see where others were going, and either split up or chase them down individually. Even in the latter situation you'd get to experience all the trials and tribulations of the board with them -- but in the vehicle, they may pass over all the "cool stuff" leaving you with tiresome rolls and nothing to show for it. The other limitation is that every game on every board is estimated at roughly 30 minutes. There's no modification of turns like in the pre-vehicle games, so even if you wanted to have an hours-long session or a short 10-turn round, you couldn't -- you're at the mercy of the car. Right now there are a scant five levels on offer -- Mushroom Park, Haunted Trail, Whimsical Waters, Airship Central, and Chaos Castle. I haven't found a secret stage yet despite playing all of them. Having said all that, the minigame quality in general is markedly better than that in 8 or 9. At this point Nd Cube seems to be more at ease with the Wiimote technology, offering up a variety of different activities that aren't just waggle-fests. It's not truly innovative since only a small handful of Bowser games use the GamePad, but I'm happy with the variety on display with Mario Party 10. There are lots of traditional sideways NES style games, single-button games that actually rely on timing, and there's a good balance of easy to pick up bashes that require input rather than luck. One of the other core modes that does shake things up in a big way is Bowser Party. This one is five players, with four using Wiimotes in the traditional manner, and Bowser on the coveted GamePad. The concept is to have "Team Mario" run away from Bowser while the Koopa King chases them down, rolling multiple dice after the entire team has had their turn. If he catches them, he gets an opportunity to decrease their health (by way of "hearts") before they get to the end of the board and win the game. While the idea is fun, I ultimately had mixed results. Some games are skewed heavily towards Bowser, and some are skewed towards the team. While the majority of them are balanced, I had a string of bad luck as Bowser once with terrible rolls that didn't let me catch up for four turns in a row, and when I did, my two subsequent games were luck-based or favored Team Mario. As a result, I never even interacted with them for half the game through no fault of my own. I know there's always going to be an element of "Mario Party luck," but that's a little over-the-top. In another game things went exactly the opposite, as Bowser was able to catch up almost every turn. There's even an in-game challenge for catching and killing the entire team on the first go. The ending is also anti-climatic as heck, since the final confrontation isn't a boss fight, but a "find the star" micro-game that lets Bowser hide it with one of three enemies, and players take turns finding it. As you can probably tell, Bowser Party also uses the vehicle. To add insult to injury, you can only use three maps in this mode as opposed to all five. It's odd, as the boards are only tuned in a minor fashion to accommodate extra Bowser-only features; they aren't fundamentally redone in any significant fashion. There's absolutely no reason why all of the maps couldn't be used in Bowser mode, or why there couldn't be an exclusive map for it. It's enjoyable particularly because it allows a fifth player to get in on the action, but there's a lot of room for improvement if there's a Mario Party 11. Now onto the last mode, and for some, the most anticipated: amiibo Party. This one features a smaller board with a more traditional style of "trade 20 coins for one star, the person with the most stars wins." Except here, the idea is to facilitate huddled up party play, where everyone is gathered around the GamePad -- it's also stuck at a hard 10 turns to get people in and out faster. As a nice touch you can use the Bowser amiibo to unlock a mini Bowser mode within the system, and every player gets "tokens" that function like old school power-ups in earlier Mario Party games that are much more interesting than the other modes. I'm torn on amiibo Party as a whole though. While it's nice to have a classic mode in tow, the maps are small. Like, very small, to the point where a dice bonus can nearly get you around the entire board in one turn. You can change the theme and modify a few of the on-board minigames by using an amiibo (for instance, Rosalina changes it to a galactic theme), but the boards themselves remain tiny. With maps that were even a little bit bigger, this could have been a major game-changer and the bonafide side-core mode for people who don't like the vehicle. There's also the interesting little gimmick of having to put down the amiibo to roll, and place it back on the GamePad to "acquire" an item. It's a little thing and one I actually don't mind doing, but I'm sure a lot of people will find it annoying to have to group up on top of the GamePad. The main idea of keeping your customized amiibo from game to game or house to house is neat. Thankfully the extra minigames (accessed by a separate main menu) elevate everything by quite a bit. In addition to getting daily rewards for supported amiibo, you can also earn extra currency by tapping any amiibo to the GamePad on a daily basis, once per day. The bonus games are pretty killer, including Badminton Bash (1-4 players), Jewel Drop (1-2), solo Bowser Jr. challenges, the typical minigame-only tournament setup, and single-player Bowser minigame face-offs. The former two are easily my favorite, as Badminton is basically a mini-Mario Tennis. There are no real options and there's only one court, but it's fun nonetheless. Jewel Drop deserves a special shoutout, as it's a modified match-four version of Puzzle Fighter, Puyo Pop, or whatever other genre staple you want to compare it to. It only supports two players but the level of depth involved is insane, and I ended up playing for hours on end once without realizing how much time had passed. There is a "Toad Shop" that lets you buy the staple two extra characters and CPU difficulty, on top of extra cosmetic items like new cars, music, and art. If you're the type of person that doesn't care about fluff though you'll exhaust Toad's inventory in just one day of play, especially if you're keen to use the amiibo as bonus points. Mario Party 10 has an admirable bundle of minigames and sidegames, but the lack of interesting boards and half-measure amiibo Party mode hurt the overall package. There is simply not enough meat on the core game modes, seemingly in favor of adding in a hodgepodge of concepts that are isolated from one another. It's time to give up the vehicle concept, Nd Cube, as it inherently limits the sprawling nature of the maps we once played for years on end. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. All of the current Mario Party 10 amiibo were also provided.]
Mario Party 10 review photo
Not the Narnia of Partias
I haven't enjoyed the past few console editions of Mario Party. I felt like 8 was rushed to the Wii as an excuse to show off the technology, and it ended up being a generic waggle-fest that was a stark drop in quality co...

Mario Party 10 amiibo photo
One of these isn't even out in March
Our Mario Party 10 review is coming next Monday, but for now, I can talk about select elements of it. After weeks of speculation on the supported amiibo for the newest franchise entry, I've narrowed it down by way o...

Mario Party amiibo photo
Mario Party amiibo

Here are some comparison shots for the Smash Bros. and Mario Party amiibo lines


They're taller but less detailed
Mar 09
// Chris Carter
I currently have access to all of the Mario Party 10 amiibo, which are arriving later this month, separately from the existing Super Smash Bros. line. To be clear, the new figures themselves are actually identical i...

Experience Points .07: Paper Mario

Mar 08 // Ben Davis
A Boo-slapping good time In Paper Mario, Mario gains the loyalty of several monster partners who join him on his adventure. They're all pretty cool, especially Goombario the Goomba, Watt the Li'l Sparky, and Lakilester the Lakitu. I always like Bow the best, though. Lady Bow is a snooty green Boo with red bow ties. She looks calm and friendly, but she can be quite terrifying when she needs to be. She joins Mario's party in order to save her fellow Boos from a monster that's taken a liking to munching on ghosts. Mario actually gets to witness the horrific act firsthand, as a poor Boo is unceremoniously gobbled up by Tubba Blubba. I wonder what a ghost tastes like, and how you would even go about eating one... Bow aids Mario by allowing him to turn invisible to avoid enemy detection, and also to dodge attacks during battle. The main reason I like her so much, though, is because of her normal attack. She disappears and then pops up right in front of an enemy and slaps the ever-living crap out of them, causing them to spin around like crazy. Her most powerful attack is even a variation of this, where she uses a fan instead of her hand to smack foes around. It's very satisfying and never ceases to be amusing. Just make sure you don't get on Bow's bad side! General Guy and the army of cuteness Shy Guys have always been my favorite Mario villains. Ever since I played Super Mario Bros. 2 as a child, I've been enamored with the hooded little guys. So obviously, when I discovered Shy Guy's Toy Box in Paper Mario, I got super excited. An entire level devoted to Shy Guys? Amazing! I can't even begin to describe how happy Shy Guy's Toy Box made me. There's dancing Shy Guys, camouflaged Shy Guys, Shy Guys on stilts, Shy Guys on fire... they're all so cute and ridiculous! Plus, there's Gourmet Guy, who is severely overweight but surprisingly agile. He's great. The best part, though? The boss fight against General Guy and his army of minions. Wading through the sea of Shy Guys in the dark and watching them squeal and scurry away when Watt lights up the room never gets old. And General Guy in his adorable little military uniform and toy tank is just too much to handle. I really enjoy the battle theme, too. It's got that military undertone while still being silly and upbeat. Honestly, there was no way this wasn't going to be my favorite boss fight. It's just too bad Mario never got a Shy Guy partner... Princess Peach's special ingredient Mario isn't the only playable character in Paper Mario. Princess Peach gets some time in the spotlight during interludes where she sneaks out of the room that Bowser is holding her hostage in to try and gather information to aid Mario on his journey. Peach's stealth sections were actually pretty fun, and included one of my favorite scenes in the game. At one point, Peach enters a room to find Gourmet Guy, the overweight Shy Guy that Mario met earlier. He agrees to keep Peach's escape a secret on one condition: she has to cook something really yummy for him. And so, Peach decides to try baking a strawberry cake. Hilarity ensues. In the kitchen, Peach has access to a variety of delicious cake ingredients, including the essentials, like eggs, butter, flour, and sugar, but also other things a normal kitchen would have, like salt, water, and cleanser. Twink gives step-by-step instructions to make the perfect cake, which are easy to follow. But that wouldn't be very fun, now would it? I honestly spent a little too much time at this point in the game experimenting and making the nastiest cakes possible. Of course, we're using the word "cake" very loosely here. Would a saltwater and butter concoction topped with raw egg and strawberries really be considered a cake? It sure turns out looking like a cake somehow. And baking cleanser into the cake is fun and potentially poisonous and all, but why not go the extra mile and just make a cake out of nothing but cleanser? Cleanser mixed with cleanser, then baked and topped with more cleanser? Delicious! And magically cake-shaped! I wish Gourmet Guy had more than one reaction to poorly baked cakes, but unfortunately his only response is to accuse Peach of learning to cook in truck driving school. You'd think eating a caked made entirely out of cleaning products would elicit a much more extreme reaction, bodily or otherwise. Tayce T.'s tasty treats Peach had her fun baking a cake, but Mario can do some cooking of his own also. Well... sort of. Really, he just brings ingredients to a Toad named Tayce T. (har har), who does all the cooking for him. Perhaps Mario is incompetent in the kitchen. I found the Tayce T. sidequest to be unexpectedly fun. Whenever I found a new ingredient, I would always hold on to it just to see what she'd cook up. Once Mario gets the cookbook from Gourmet Guy and gives it to her, she'll be able to cook with two ingredients, opening up way more possibilities. I enjoyed experimenting with stuff and trying to figure out the different recipes, all 50 of them. What can she make with this lime and this pasta? Can she use this weird leaf I found, or this sheep? How many dishes can she possibly make out of mushrooms? I felt compelled to try everything! She can make some really useful items, like Deluxe Feasts which recover 40 HP and FP, and Jelly Pops which recover a whopping 64 FP. Cooking can be very rewarding! Although if an incorrect combination of ingredients is used, Mario will have wasted some perfectly good items and be left with a Mistake, granting only a single HP and FP. Oops... Who would have thought a simple ingredient-mixing sidequest would be so enjoyable? Penguin murder, she wrote Remember that time Mario was accused of murder? And not just murder, but penguin murder! The crime happens in Shiver City, a quiet town inhabited by friendly, adorable penguins, the last place you would expect a murderer to strike. Mario is invited into the home of the penguin mayor, whose wife leads him into the living room to meet with her husband. Mario enters the room to find... a dead penguin body?! He finds a note with the word "Herringway" scrawled upon it lying near the body, when the mayor's wife pops in to find her husband dead on the floor. Obviously, she thinks Mario did it, and who wouldn't? He's a stranger after all, alone in the room with the mayor. Mario is innocent, of course, and to prove it, he goes out in search of the real killer. The most suspicious individual is a local penguin novelist named Herringway, who has locked himself into a hidden room in his house to work on his latest mystery novel. Once Mario accesses the room and confronts Herringway, they all make their way over to the mayor's house to sort things out. Herringway claims he didn't do it, since he and the mayor are friends. The mayor's wife still thinks Mario did it (she's pretty rude about it, too!). As they're discussing the matter, the mayor's body suddenly begins to twitch, and all of a sudden he springs back to life. A zombie penguin?! Nope... turns out he just fell and hit his head while trying to grab a gift for his friend, Herringway (did nobody think to check his pulse?). Mystery solved! It's weird to think about murder in a game like Paper Mario, and in a town populated by cute penguins no less. Although, Mario does stomp Goombas and Koopas on a regular basis; he's no stranger to killing things. Maybe the penguin murder scenario wasn't so far-fetched... Smoke and mirrors Outside of Shiver City lies the Crystal Palace, a place full of mind tricks. The palace appears to be built with wall-to-wall mirrors, and it's quite beautiful. But something is a little off about the mirrors; certain things don't have reflections like they ought to. These mirrors become the main puzzle element of Crystal Palace. What looks like a reflected room might actually turn out to be an entirely separate room, an exact duplicate of the one Mario is standing in. Mirrors without reflections turn out to be entrances to walk through. Sometimes even the actual reflections themselves can't be trusted.  As it turns out, there actually aren't any real mirrors in the palace at all. Mario's reflections are really enemies called Duplighosts, who are so good at imitating things that they can predict their every movement. Once they are exposed and defeated, the palace's "mirrors" are revealed to be nothing but glass walls. The Duplighosts' tricks don't end there, though. They continue to impersonate Mario and his allies, appearing in hordes to try and confuse Mario into hurting his own friends when he can't figure out which is the real Bombette. The Duplighosts start to lose their edge, though, revealing themselves through weird speech quirks and eventually failing to copy appearances at all. It's actually really funny seeing them try so hard to trick Mario and failing utterly. The Crystal Palace is designed so well that it's almost astounding. The visual trickery is really neat to watch. What I thought were mirror puzzles turned out to be puzzles of symmetry, where doing certain things in one part of the palace would cause the opposite side of the palace to change as well. It was all balanced so perfectly, and I was incredibly impressed with the level designers when I finally figured out what was going on. What a terrific chapter! Past Experience Points .01: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.02: Shadow of the Colossus.03: EarthBound.04: Catherine.05: Demon's Souls.06: No More Heroes
Paper Mario highlights photo
Hey Mario! We got a letter from Princess Peach!
Experience Points is a series in which I highlight some of the most memorable things about a particular game. These can include anything from a specific scene or moment, a character, a weapon or item, a level or location, a p...

Mario x SotC photo
Mario x SotC

Mario meets Shadow of the Colossus again


And a bonus GameCube family piece
Mar 06
// Jordan Devore
Hooray! Illustrator Jason Lupas has come out with more Mario and Shadow of the Colossus mashups following the pieces we covered last month. I'd love to see a game follow this concept. There's a finished version of the prior Donkey Kong sketch, an underwater scene (shown above), and a cool four-legged reimagining of the Chain Chomp. Good stuff, Jason. Jason Lupas [Tumblr]

Review: Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars

Mar 04 // Darren Nakamura
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (3DS [reviewed], Wii U)Developer: NintendoPublisher: NintendoReleased: March 5, 2015MSRP: $19.99 Once again, various minis are scattered across stages, and they must touch all of the coins and get to the exit. The "why" of it is unimportant, it's the "how" that is the focus. Minis cannot be controlled directly. A mini will start walking forward once tapped with the stylus or if another mini walks into it. Most of the player's job is to manipulate the environment in order to allow the bots a safe path to the exit. To that end, there is a handful of tools at the player's disposal. There are girders that can act as platforms, ramps, and walls. There are springs that allow the minis to clear gaps or reach new heights. There are conveyor belts, lifts, and pipes that will move the little toys around the map. A tenet of Game Design 101 is to gradually introduce new elements to the player, never overwhelming but eventually creating something complex. Tipping Stars adheres to this idea strictly. Each world features a new environmental piece: the first level introduces it, the next few levels mix it with everything else, and the last few levels require the player to demonstrate mastery in order to move on. [embed]288509:57600:0[/embed] There are a few common threads that tie the worlds together. Each has eight levels. The seventh level always features a Mario mini holding a key and a locked exit. Not only does the player have to complete all of the usual objectives, but he has to have the robots lined up in the correct order, or else the keyless one at the front will just bump stupidly into the lock while the one with the key cannot access it. The eighth level acts almost as a boss encounter, where one mini becomes possessed and must be bopped with a hammer before the stage can be completed. It adds motion to the otherwise stationary puzzling of choosing which pieces go where. Despite the fact that Tipping Stars follows all of the rules of good game design, it lacks anything special to make it noteworthy. The puzzle design is straightforward to a fault. Solutions never require lateral thinking and as a result I never felt any sense of accomplishment upon completing one. Instead of making me feel smart it just made me feel mechanical, like one of the minis marching aimlessly ahead. Oh, I finished that puzzle. Onto the next one. That isn't to suggest that Tipping Stars is too easy. Some of the later levels (and especially the bonus levels) can be quite difficult. However, the difficulty is often in timing and execution rather than in strategy and foresight. For some puzzles, it's possible to see the solution but still muck it up by not poking the minis at exactly the right moments. The level editor from Mini-Land Mayhem! makes a comeback, with the expected incremental upgrades that come with the new hardware. Levels can be shared on Miiverse, and more player-created levels can be saved than before. Basic levels can be created right away, but a lot of cosmetic alterations and the higher level equipment must be purchased with stars.  Stars are the in-game currency, and are generally earned by completing puzzles. Higher scores earn more stars, but each level only grants up to three stars. The key to the economy is that it's not possible to gain enough stars to buy everything by playing the built-in levels alone. To make up the difference for some of the higher-priced items, stars can also be generated by playing user-generated levels, having one's own levels played, or by "tipping" another creator for particularly well-made content. The most commendable addition to Tipping Stars is the inclusion of cross-buy and cross-play. A purchase on either 3DS or Wii U will net a download code for the other, and saved levels can be transferred between the two. It's nice to see Nintendo testing out the idea, even if it's on a mundane title. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars is not bad. It is essentially Mini-Land Mayhem! with visual and technical upgrades. It never instills any sense of wonder or accomplishment, and it often feels more like work than play. It's a very paint-by-numbers affair; for a puzzle game it doesn't actually require much thinking, only doing. It is a game that exists, and that's about as much as there is to say about it. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Mario vs. DK review photo
¯\_(ツ)_/¯
A little more than four years ago, Nintendo released Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem! on the original DS. It continued the series' focus on the miniature Mario robots, to the chagrin of fans of the platforming in the ...

Tomm Hulett's unified Mario Timeline Theory

Mar 04 // Jonathan Holmes
If you're not in a position to look at this truly luxurious and expansive image at the moment, here are a few words from Tomm about the timeline: "This chronology begins with the Magikoopa Kamek attacking a stork carrying the Mario Brothers, causing the events of Yoshi's Island. It splits immediately, with one timeline depicting the events that follow Yoshi's rescue of Baby Luigi, and the other charting his failure. "Similar branches follow each Yoshi title to create three separate realities based on Mario's parents: Blue Collar Hero, Action Hero, and Storied Hero -- the latter of which creates two new sub-realities surrounding the babies in Partners in Time being left in the adult world: the Babies Era, where Wario and Waluigi replace the heroes, and the Adult Era, where the babies grow up to live lives of their own. Additionally, the timeline branches after Donkey Kong and any game that involves dreaming. Finally, the Action and Storied Hero timelines merge via the resolution of Mario Galaxy, leading directly to Super Mario 3D World." Brilliant stuff, Tomm. I wonder what Miyamoto and company would think of it?
Mario Timeline photo
The mighty multi-Marioverse explained
Game director Tomm Hulett has been working in the industry since he was a kid, starting with a job testing NES games. Since then he's worked on everything from Persona, Contra, Silent Hill, and Adventure T...

eBay photo
eBay

eBay endorses $200 scalped gold Mario amiibo pre-order


Haha, what
Mar 02
// Chris Carter
[Update: Seconds after posting, someone bought it. What are the cool kids saying these days? "Shaking my head"?] After starting my morning off with a cup of iced tea, I noticed a nonchalant tweet by eBay in regards to the gol...
Gold mario amiibo photo
Gold mario amiibo

Gold Mario amiibo confirmed as Walmart exclusive, launches next month


March 20 for $12.99
Feb 26
// Chris Carter
Oh hey it's that Gold Mario amiibo! Nintendo has confirmed to Destructoid that it will indeed be a Walmart exclusive, and will be sold on March 20 at $12.99. It will be available at 3,000 stores, so it's likely going to be ea...
Super Mario movie photo
Super Mario movie

Why the Super Mario movie is an underappreciated masterpiece


There used to be dinosaurs in Brooklyn
Feb 20
// Anthony Burch
[Ed. note: El Great Burcho published this on February 2007. It's one of our Golden favorites.] No, I'm not being ironic, or corny, or funny. Neither am I drunk, stoned, nor under the influence of outside forces requiring me t...
Pazudora: Super Mario Ed. photo
Pazudora: Super Mario Ed.

Puzzle & Dragons: Mario Bros. Edition is damn sexy


GungHo gives us another peek at its upcoming role-playing puzzle game
Feb 20
// Kyle MacGregor
Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition, the exciting new collaboration between Nintendo and GungHo Online, is coming west this May and I really couldn't be more excited. As a longtime "Pazudora" addict, it's somethi...
Amiibo photo
Amiibo

This gold Mario amiibo looks to be a Wallyworld exclusive


Where is your God now?
Feb 17
// Robert Summa
What do you do if you're a die-hard amiibo fiend and you hate Walmart? Well, what if you hate Walmart so much you boycott it? Time to throw away those morals and standards because it looks like your favorite box store might be getting an exclusive amiibo -- a golden Mario. Thanks to this picture snapped by a fan, the signage says it all: Only at Walmart. Your move, hippies.
More amiibo photo
More amiibo

Nintendo predicted the amiibo shortage 11 years ago


It's the long con
Feb 16
// Brett Makedonski
A lot of folks were surprised at last fall's amiibo launch, and how scarce some of the figures were. They shouldn't have been; Nintendo gave them a heads-up almost 11 years ago. The intro for the Game Boy Advance's Mario vs. Donkey Kong shows even the famed ape unable to get his hands on these elusive collectibles. Damn you, Mario Toy Company! This has been your intention all along!
Captain Toad photo
Captain Toad

What the hell?! Captain Toad has a spin attack!


RIP Tips & Tricks
Feb 16
// Jordan Devore
Have you ever pushed through an annoying sequence without realizing that you were in fact "playing it wrong" and failing to grasp a concept or mechanic? I am guilty of this, but I'm struggling to think of an example newer tha...

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