But more than it is terrifying, the trailer feels frustrating. There’s a whole lot of missed potential from what I can see as a casual fan of the series, and I spent a fair amount of time ranting about it on Twitter:
Also the fact that that’s even a coherent sentence I can convey to people makes my temple throb.
Much like Sonic’s obscene baby teeth and gross, gangly baby legs, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of a Super Smash Bros. Cinematic Universe.
Or, the SSBCU, as any sane individual would call it.
My friends’ discord group became flooded with suggestions on what could conceivably be included to flesh out the universe. By the end of the day, I fell in love with the idea of putting this list together!
But I wasn’t able to come up with everything on my own.
So let’s consider this post a work in progress, and a call to arms.
I have a collection of what movies should count in the SSBCU, some that I think could be surrogate “analog” entries in retrospect, and other media that could be related.
The terror that started it all. This movie is probably going to be an utter disaster… But that means it’s also probably a blast to watch. Like a car crash after your blue cadillac haphazardly rolls around at the speed of sound. Sonic is Mario’s eternal rival, so he deserves a bad movie too.
This movie looks brilliant. Full stop. And I can conceivably throw in every Pokémon representative, so it’s a catch-all. I’ll even include Pokémon trainer, because despite the Red analog not being a character in Detective Pikachu, the Kanto starters are all there.
What’s that? You really like the Capcom train? Well, lucky for you there’s a Monster Hunter movie staring Milla Jovovich in our future. There’s technically no fighter from this series, but Rathalos was added in Ultimate. So maybe there’s room for a cameo?
Alright, I’ll stop messing around. Here’s a not hypothetical entry on the list. I considered not including Cloud because this is a purely animated movie… But if Pikachu and Sonic can be “live action” fighters, why not Angst McGiantSword?
Plus his alternate costumes in Smash are literally based on this movie. So.
Depending on your preference for horror or action sci-fi.
I don’t know if we’re ever going to get a Metroid movie. Samus would be a great candidate for the SSBCU’s Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel-esque leading female character, but in the meantime Sigourney Weaver seems like a damn fine addition.
King Kong is the obvious choice to get Donkey Kong into the SSBCU. A somewhat sentient ape who kidnaps ladies and climbs up buildings? That may as well be the original arcade game’s script. Even if there isn’t much in the way for Diddy or K. Rool.
Though for my money, I’d also recommend using Rampage. Not only is it based on a video game and has a crocodile, but the fact that The Rock stars means we can turn the film into a retroactive Thor: Ragnarok-esque team up staring Falcon and DK.
This section is the lightning round for ideas my friends and I tossed around that are either jokes or so weird that I honestly couldn’t count them
Game of Thrones as Fire Emblem representation? Don’t know enough about GoT to accurately parse that out, but I’m willing to mention it for SEO purposes.
The Legend of Zelda T.V. series was floated around, but I’m not sure I take that as seriously as Castlevania to be extended material. Zelda deserves a flagship movie.
My friend Mitchell suggested playing 127 Hours on two separate televisions, with one version color corrected to give James Franco a blue shirt. It’s the only way I can conceivably include Ice Climbers, so I’ll mention it here.
It just so happens that my neck of the woods hasn’t seen heavy rain like we got this week in some time.
On Thursday I may have missed the thunder and lightning back home in Redondo, but my car got a hell of a wash out in Fullerton after I got it back from the mechanic.
That was only slightly more of an ordeal than I expected, and as soon as I got my car back I had to give away my keys for assisted parking. Ironic… But possibly a topic for another day.
The thing that drove me the most crazy about having to use assisted parking was that I was in early that day. Gave a pitch for our upcoming SPJ meetings around 11:00 a.m. in the basement of the College Park building, but I still couldn’t catch a break on finding a parking spot.
The sky was relatively calm when I went underground, but not ten minutes later I emerged to a torrential downpour. Especially fun considering I had to cross campus for my 1:00 p.m. class.
I’m somewhat ambivalent to the rain.
If you’re not doing anything, the rain makes for wonderful sit at home, drink hot chocolate and play video games / do homework weather. No denying that, given its what I did today.
But when you’re stuck out in the stuff, forced to navigate sopping wet hallways, packed in like sardines during campus rush hour while surrounded by fences due to construction…
There is one thing I do tend to adore about rainy days, even if it is innocuous.
I’m talking, of course, about standing under my umbrella.
… Ella, ella.
Hope you enjoy having that song stuck in your head now.
While I know it sounds ridiculous to tote “umbrella holding” as one of my favorite pluses to rainy weather, It’ll sound even more ridiculous when I elaborate that arguably the best thing about an umbrella is carrying it when it’s not raining.
Whenever the rain ceases, that’s when the umbrella becomes a perfect surrogate for imagination.
In my case, that means I’ll be swinging the damn thing around like a sword 99 percent of the time. So long as there aren’t people around to hit.
… Or judge me for being a crazy weirdo.
I’ve always been a fidgeter, handling things like my phone or video games idly. So a sword-like umbrella fulfills that inherent craving in a way I rarely get to play around.
However an umbrella still serves an imaginative purpose even when it is being used as a shield from inclement weather. I always enjoy spinning my umbrella as I stand out in the downpour, reminiscent of Super Princess Peach for the Nintendo DS.
A bit of an unconventional way to start a post that’s just going to be talking Nintendo news for a little while, but I figured I would put it out there since it’s probably going to effect the way I’m doing this.
See I could go into all about how today was a bit of a wash when I drove out to Fullerton only for my one class to get cut short, making me spend more time in the car than at school… But none of that really matters right now. All that really matters is the fact that I felt like I had to puke all the way home, and am now spending my time running back-and-forth to the bathroom.
Yet I promised I would talk about the Nintendo Direct today. So I’m still going to do it.
I’m just going to structure it a little bit differently, because… Well… It’s a 40-minute long video. I’m going to watch it, and as I do talk about my thoughts on some of the big things that are announced.
To be honest I’m a bit surprised they had so much to talk about considering the last Direct was… What, last month maybe? But those good old boys in Nintendo are really cranking it out for the Switch it seems.
So without further adieu, let’s get into some highlights.
Luigi’s Mansion 3
Right off the bat Nintendo started with a bit of a surprise entry. It seems almost serendipitous that Luigi blew up on Twitter during the last Direct for dying in the Castlevania Smash trailer only to show up now with a brand new game in the — apparently long-standing — series of Luigi’s Mansion games.
There isn’t too much to say about the game itself considering we only got a 30-second trailer with a working title, but for all intents and purposes it seems like this new entry will be much closer to Dark Moon than the original GameCube version.
I did enjoy that game, but not quite as much as the original. It sort of swapped out the hyper-creepy atmosphere for a more video game-y approach of hunting monsters en-masse and solving puzzles.
So I might buy this one or I might not. Depends on what we get shown later on.
But I’m glad to see our green hat friend is alive and well!
In the near future, we’re getting Kirby’s Epic Yarn, Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and Luigi’s Mansion remade on the 3DS.
From what I’m aware we’ve heard various and sundry bits about the three in the past, but having them all together with little trailers was nice.
Epic Yarn is a game I never played, and despite enjoying the Game Grump’s let’s play of it, I don’t necessarily have a huge desire to play it for myself. But adding new game modes is a nice touch.
I was hyped as hell when Superstar Saga was given a remake, but Bowser’s Inside Story never clicked quite as well with me. It’s a fun game, but I’ve found I haven’t been able to play through it subsequent times. Honestly, I’m not sure a graphical rehash (which frankly doesn’t look super different than the original game imo) or a return to the… Army command side-story (which I’ve expressed distain for as the worst part of SS in the past) are going to sell me on it again.
As I just mentioned, I like the OG Luigi’s Mansion better than the sequel, so I’m looking forward to seeing that one come back on the 3DS — with co-op and amiibo support to boot. Seriously, who can complain with download play features? Whether it’ll be worth the money with everything else coming out soon is a discussion I’ll have with myself later.
Couldn’t really bring myself to care about Yo-Kai Watch. Like it looks pretty and everything, but I haven’t gotten into that particular series just yet.
So that’s about all for the 3DS here. A bunch of good games that I’m just not particularly interested in right now.
Mega Man 11
I skipped over Splatoon 2 Ver. 4 because, in spite of the weird anime intro they did and the fact that I’m glad the game is still getting content, I’m just not that into it right now.
Which is a pattern so far I know, but shush.
Instead I’ll talk about the triumphant return of Mega Man. While the character model for Mega Man himself does remind me a bit too much of a certain… Failed successor to the throne… I can’t say the game doesn’t look gorgeous. Because it does.
While I’ve watched just about all of the original games get played through online, I’ve never personally played a Mega Man game. I think this might be a good opportunity to, because the game looks super fun.
I’ve seen Arin play that demo. It looks super fun. That’s all I’m saying.
If it’s a $60 I don’t know if I’ll bite, but the game seems like it might just be enough of a callback experience game that it could be cheaper.
In that case I’ll definitely get my hands on it.
New Super Mario Bros. U & Katamari Damacy
I was going to skip over NSMBU getting ported onto the Switch because that seems like such a minor thing.
But then they announced that you can play as Toadette.
When you get a mushroom as Toadette.
She turns into Princess Peach.
I’m really not sure what kind of drugs these guys were on when that decision was made, but god bless you all. Because that’s just about the damn weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
Arguably more important on the rerelease train was Katamary Damacy, which is being remastered for the Switch.
That’s another game I’ve had a passing interest in for some time, but might not get it due to the glut of games coming in the near future. So it’s cool, but a bit out of my realm at the moment.
Pokémon Let’s Go
It’s no secret that I’m hyped as hell for this game. However, I’ve been a little behind in terms of talking about all the little updates that get put online around here.
The trailer that was put into this Direct kind go succinctly summed it all up though, so that was cool!
First and foremost, the new Erika design looks cute. Just saying.
More importantly are the ‘Secret Techniques,’ or HM supplements in layman speak.
See Game Freak must have learned a lot from Sun and Moon about how much we all hate needing to have HM slaves in-game. So they’ve relegated all of those pesky environmental moves into techniques that Pikachu or Eevee can use independently.
They cut the trees.
They get a surfboard so you can swim.
They… Attach balloons to your bike so you can fly?
Alright some of them are a little weirder than others, but I appreciate the vague references to surfing and flying Pikachu.
Either way I’m still very much looking forward to consuming all of this game. All of it.
I have no particular interest in Diablo 3 being ported to the Switch.
I just wanted to say I was shook when the narrator guy essentially told everyone they could go to hell. In a Nintendo promotional video.
Also I’m super excited for Super Mario Party because it looks great, but there wasn’t really enough to justify a full separate segment on it. So just know… I’m down to party, Nintendo.
A non-Pokémon Game Freak-developed RPG?
On my Nintendo Switch?
Obviously Town appears to be relatively early into development due to it’s working title and unclear release date… But considering Pokémon is my favorite game series ever, I’m willing to give this a shot right off the bat.
The idea of an RPG all taking place in one village is interesting, and I’m curious to see how they’ll go about it.
So congrats Town, you just hit my radar.
Yoshi’s Crafted World
I didn’t play Yoshi’s Epic Yarn on the Wii U, but by god am I enticed by how cute this Yoshi game looks.
It’s just incredibly adorable with the painterly arts & crafts style, and features co-op. Perfect for me and Aly to play together.
Plus it has this flip-the-world mechanic that lets you explore all over the place which feels very reminiscent of Super Paper Mario and I am all about it.
Civ is, again, a series I’ve always had a fleeting curiosity for… But never got around to playing.
However, the fact that it’s coming to Switch with a four player local co-op mode that seems to use that interconnected Switches idea is actually bananas and if all my friends get this, I probably will too.
You can never have enough Gandhi nuking the world, after all.
The World Ends With You
There wasn’t exactly a lot to the TWEWY segment of this Direct, I just wanted to put it up here as a reminder that I really want to play this game when it comes out in October.
In fact, just throw Warframe into this category too. It’s my friend Juan’s favorite game so I’m probably willing to try it as well now that I “have no excuse not to” as he says.
But we’ll see about that one.
All the Final Fantasies
I’m not a huge Final Fantasy fan myself. Sure I appreciate the games and everything they’ve done for the industry, but I haven’t exactly played a lot of them.
However, I might be willing to get into Crystal Chronicles – again, if all my friends do. I appreciate that Nintendo is putting so much stake into letting on a bunch of games that can be played with friends, because that’s a huge selling point for me personally.
Also, this portion introduced me to the fact that a Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon exists.
Which is essentially Pokémon Mystery Dungeon.
But all of the main characters are Chocobo. Really not sure how to feel about that honestly.
Oh yeah, and FF7 is getting put on the Switch. Which is kind of hilarious to me considering how long the remake has been in production.
At this point, I’m pretty convinced there just is no FF7 remake and it was all a scam to get Cloud into Smash Bros.
Super Smash Brothers Ultimate
Can’t have a Nintendo Direct without talking about this sucker.
The main part of this announcement was just the special Switch and Joy Con designs that are Smash-specific, like how the Let’s Go Pokémon games are getting some repainted toys to play with.
That’s cool and all. But I’m not the kind of person that buys multiple copies of a console when I don’t need it.
But then, after the Direct supposedly ends.
We get the next big reveal:
Isabelle in Smash.
It’s actually, genuinely hard to watch the little reveal trailer for her and not smile. She’s such a pure, wholesome character and I love her.
It’s great to see her get some more representation for the Animal Crossing series in Smash. I look forward to trying her out!
Oh, but that’s not all Nintendo had up their sleeves here, folks.
Animal Crossing 2019
Great. Now everyone can finally stop complaining about this on every Nintendo-related video ever.
That’s something I can say too, because I was of the crowd complaining about how long it took Hoenn remakes to get confirmed.
Anyway, there’s a brilliant little set-up right in the lingering few seconds of the video where Tom Nook remarks that he needs to make everything tidy for everyone’s return.
Then. Cut to white.
Animal Crossing 2019 flashes onto the screen. Then the Nintendo Switch logo.
No voice lines, no nothing. Just that.
Good on you Nintendo, you did a great job with this teaser.
That’s a game I’ll be looking out for, especially if Isabelle is coming back as a recurring character like Tom Nook himself.
Well, that’s about all I have to say about the big Direct today.
Like I mentioned at the beginning, there were a huge amount of announcements considering how recently we got our last bout of news, and it proves the Switch is still going strong.
Hell, I didn’t even mention their little discussion on the Nintendo Switch Online system, which happened in a cute Mario-centric animation.
A merry Christmas to all of you out there that are taking a break from your families on this most Yule of evenings and have decided, for one reason or another, to spend some time reading this silly, clichéd offering of mine.
That’s right, as the title above suggests, I’ve decided to throw my hat in the ring with a top 10 list of my favorite games that I played this year. It’s been done to death by anyone with an interest in anything… But what can I say. I’ve always enjoyed the idea and wanted to try it myself.
As I don’t celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah ended a couple days ago, I’m just going to be hanging around all day today more or less. I figured doing a list like this could also double as my ‘here are some good gifts for the holiday season’ suggestions. A little late? Perhaps. But I like to think it’s just well-timed enough.
As a couple of forewarnings before we get into things. Just remember that this is my own personal list of favorites. In other words, it’s an opinionated list, so if you don’t agree with me… Well, that’s your opinion. I respect that you have your opinions so long as you respect that I have mine.
On top of that, while it has been an objectively great year for games in general, it has unfortunately not been a wonderful year of gaming for me. Because of the work constraints I’ve had as a college newspaper editor, a full-time student and an intern, there hasn’t been nearly as much time to play games as I would have liked.
So, if anything, these 10 games I’m listing off are arguably the only 10 games I’ve spent any considerable time actually playing this year.
If you don’t see a game you really liked this year, that’s probably why. As a matter of fact, unless you’re a Nintendo junkie like me, you probably won’t see a lot of games you’re familiar with on this list. A Switch and 3DS are my main gaming systems right now, so there aren’t a lot (if any) PS4 or Xbox games in my playing field.
With all that out of the way, let’s jump into the reason we’re all really here than, shall we? After all, what would a games list be without the games?
￼Editor’s Note: For anyone reading this on my blog proper, I’m going to stick the content under a read more tag. I pretty much let it all out with this one, so it’s long and I don’t want to completely bog everything else down.
Even so, I hope everyone enjoys the show! #UnintendedRhyme
Of course, I’d been planning on trying out a team in the Alola Friendly competition, but I missed the registration window.
Luckily, the 2017 International Challenge for February has a prize worthy enough to encourage me to remember to register on time this time. For participating, players get access to the Mega Stones for Mawile and Beedrill, which up until now have been unavailable in Generation 7.
Mega Mawile happens to be my favorite Mega Evolved Pokémon, so I jumped on the opportunity to get those stones right away:
See? Totally signed up this time.
Given that the 2017 International Challenge for February is a doubles battle competition, I decided to breed a whole new team just for the occasion. I do have a wonderful combination sitting in my box with Wishiwashi and a Speed Swap using Ribombee, but I didn’t have a lot else to work alongside them.
Therefore I built a squad around a doubles combination I wanted to try, and I’m actually pretty proud of how it turned out. Again, it might not be smart to give my strategy away ahead of time… But I also just love to gush about these things. So here goes anyway!
My Elective is actually the first Pokémon I have competitively built that I didn’t personally name. I was a little stuck on just what to call him and let my friend Juan name him instead. Thus, Big Chungus was born.
It’s grown on me, admittedly.
This Pokémon was the reason I initially wanted to build this specific doubles team in the first place. I had the idea of running a Motor Drive Pokémon holding a Cell Battery so I could get both an attack and a speed boost at the same time. Combined with a Discharge user, I figured he could become a real beast in the field.
But of course I never decided to look up this strategy online ahead of time. If I did, I would’ve found out that Motor Drive absorbs the Electric-type attacks before they can do things like activate items. So that strategy kind of flew out the window.
While this development was disappointing, it didn’t lessen my zeal to build a powerful Big Chungus to sweep away the competition. He still gets a speed boost from Discharge and now has the chance to hold a berry so he can heal some health when knocked down a few pegs. By using a consumable item like this, I still have the opportunity to play with Thief and steal the items of opponents once it’s gone – the plan I had going for Cell Battery use as well.
Thunder Punch serves as Electivire’s primary STAB attack while Ice Punch gives him an opportunity to take down pesky Ground-types that gets sent out (a particularly useful strategy against Pokémon like Garchomp). Finally, Cross Chop gives him more of a super effective damage spread against Normal-types, Ice-types, Rock-types and Steel-types.
The crux of Big Chungus’ skills only really become fully apparent when combined with his partner, so I should probably introduce him too. Thus, without further adieu:
This protruding proboscis Pokémon, aptly deemed Schnoz, is my team’s Discharge dealing defensive wall and the proud partner of Big Chungus whenever I get the chance to use them. While this is mainly because of discharge, other factors help contribute to that as well.
Firstly, Schnoz has Magnet Pull as his ability. As a result, no Steel-types can switch out when he’s on the field. This doesn’t mean a lot for Probopass himself, but it does mean that Electivire can spam some Cross Chops while they’re out together. Other team members benefit from this magnetic pull as well, like a certain other monkey I’ve trained, but he really is meant to work with Big Chungus.
Wide Guard is another example as to why they’re meant to work together. Even though the Air Balloon Schnoz holds allows him to dodge Ground-type attacks until hit, Wide Guard lets him block Earthquakes for both himself and his partner.
Let me tell you, it’s incredibly satisfying to block an Earthquake from a Garchomp that’s killed by Ice Punch that same turn.
Flash Cannon and Stealth Rocks finish off Schnoz’s moveset, giving him a pretty powerful STAB attack and another utility option to damage opponents as they switch into battle.
Like some of the other Pokémon I’m using on this team I’ve built, I never expected I would ever use a Probopass in my life. In fact, I was pretty opposed to his overall design not too long ago. Now that I know what he can do, particularly in conjunction with my big, strong electrical ape, I’ve come to like the mustachioed magnetic rock.
Or at least, I like seeing the two of them in battle together. If it wasn’t weird to say it out loud, I might even say that the two are the flagship couple on my squad.
But it is pretty weird to say, so let’s move on shall we?
This semester I’m taking a course on primate behavior at Cal State Fullerton. It’s easily my favorite class that I’m taking right now and I could probably argue that it’s one of the most fun courses I’ve taken in college in general. Something about the subject matter and the professor just really click together for me.
One thing I’ve learned through the class so far is that the Capuchin monkey has to be my favorite primate ever. Not only are they cute, but their tool usage is pretty incredible to watch, and I still haven’t gotten tired of it.
Seriously, check it out:
That’s some really cool stuff.
Anyway, the reason I’ve gone on this little tangent about primates is because it happens to coincide perfectly with this particular team member, a Passimian simply dubbed Capuchin.
Not only is there an intrinsic pun just in using a monkey name with ‘cap’ in it for a monkey wearing a shell like a hat, my Passimian likes to use stone tools as well. His Hard Stone both improves his Rock Slide attack that hits both sides of the field and makes Fling a powerful 100 base power Dark-type move.
The Receiver ability works real well in a doubles battle setting as well, allowing Capuchin to steal his partner’s ability when they faint. He could wind up able to absorb all Water or Electric-type attacks, he could gain an immunity to priority attacks, he could trap a Steel-type opponent against a Pokémon that’s super effective against them and more.
Really it’s just about a win-win no matter what he gets since a jolly speed-oriented heavy attacker is the monster in question. I really do love having this team member around, and I’m looking forward to seeing him take some lives during the competition.
Tharja the Mandibuzz is essentially my main defensive wall. While Schnoz fits that role pretty well too, Mandibuzz intrinsically has an immunity to Ground-type moves that balances the two weaknesses I have.
My strategy for using her is pretty simple honestly. Knock Off and Brave Bird are strong STAB attacks with the prior also allowing me to nullify most of my opponent’s items. Toxic is there so I can make use of the hefty bulk behind this bird in situations where those two attacks just won’t cut it.
Now Roost is where things get interesting. With her hidden ability, Tharja gains two speed boosts at the cost of one defense stat debuff whenever she gets hit by a physical attack. This boost compensates for her middle-tier base speed stat and helps her outspeed most opponents.
Once she’s that much faster, Z-Move Roost recovers her health AND replenishes her stat debuffs, making it so she has all the speed with none of the fallen defense. It feels fantastic to pull it off on an opponent, especially if a Brave Bird or two can sweep up the rest of their side. Plus, Z-Move Brave Bird can really pack a punch when I need to use it instead.
Before Tharja came along I never really imagined I’d ever use a Mandibuzz, but now I really dig what she can do.
Oh, and I figure I should add that she’s named after the Plegian mage from Fire Emblem Awakening because she has that darkness-and-death vibe going on. Also because Fire Emblem Heroes has gotten me way back in the mood for any and all things Fire Emblem.
Anyway, moving on. Tsareena actually wasn’t meant to be on this team I’ve built. Originally I intended to run a Hyper Voice Sylveon thanks to the accessibility of the move via Poké Bank, but with this competition being limited to the Alola Pokédex I wasn’t sure whether I would be allowed to use a Pokémon with the pentagon icon indicating origins in Generation 6.
So, in came Tsareena as a replacement. Not only is she strong against Ground-types (which I apparently felt was something I needed to correct against), she has quite a few weaknesses to make use of a Weakness Policy alongside her immunity to priority attacks and her diverse move pool.
Plus Trop Kick is just great. I had quite a few experiences while practicing where I would lower the attack stat of a Pokémon using a super effective move and get a sweet stat boost as a result. Pretty solid strategy also courtesy of my friend Juan.
Tsareena’s moves round out with Acupressure, which is more of a gimmick I was looking to try out in the moment. Rapid Spin may have been smarter, but I like the idea of being able to strengthen my other Pokémon during a calm moment. Hopefully the random nature of Acupressure doesn’t wind up screwing me over.
Like Tharja and Peach before her, my Lapras (named after the infamous Loch Ness monster) has a rather simple role on this team. She’s the strong special attack wall to balance out the more physically oriented group around her. With 237 HP and a 161 special defense stat (boosted to about 240 or so thanks to her Assault Vest), it’s pretty hard to take her down.
She even lived against a Thunder in the rain from a Tapu Koko during one of the practice battles I did. It’s nuts.
Past her amazing walling status, Nessie also has a pretty wide typing coverage. Hydro Pump is STAB and hits Fire, Ground and Rock-types. Freeze Dry is also STAB and hits Flying, Grass, Dragon, Ground and specifically Water-types. Dragon Pulse hits Dragon-types and isn’t resisted by much. Finally, Psychic hits Fighting and Poison-types.
I’d considered running Perish Song as a way to take down Pokémon that are trapped by either Magnet Pull or a Mean Look from Schnoz, but I preferred having the walling capabilities that only an Assault Vest can bring.
I also decided to run Nessie with Water Absorb rather than Shell Armor so that I can switch her in whenever I’m expecting a Water-type attack to come my way, even if I’m stuck with taking potential critical hits as a result.
Though she has no particular gimmick, Nessie really rounds out my team well. Her strength and attacks are solid all around and make her a good Pokémon to bring out for a wide variety of situations.
I’ve always loved Lapras, and I’m glad to finally get the chance to help her shine.
Tonight is the last night to register for the 2017 International Challenge for February, and battles will go underway throughout the weekend. I’ll be keeping a log of how I do and there will probably be an update on that coming by Monday or so… Assuming the world doesn’t fall apart in the newsroom again like it did this last week.
While I’m really looking forward to putting this team to work, I’m also always looking for more ideas to build in the future. If you have any comments about my team and how it shapes up or if you have any teams in mind you want to see built, I’d love to hear any and all of it!
Good ideas are never a bad thing to stockpile, I’d say.
Even more than a month later, I’m still deeply enthralled in the world of Pokémon Sun and Moon. In fact, I’ve just seriously begun doing some competitive breeding, so I’ll probably be posting about some teams I’m building as I get them together.
However, something else has been released recently that I felt was worth taking the time to look at.
If my post title and featured image aren’t enough to have given it away, welcome to my mini review/first impressions post for Super Mario Run (To be abbreviated SMR from here on out).
Now, to preface this just a little bit, I’ve only played through the currently available free-to-play content portion of SMR. That means I’ve done World 1-1 to World 1-3, and I’ve done enough online play to have my castle reach level 4.
However, while I’ve only played through the stuff available before hitting the paywall as of writing this, I will say that the game is well worth the (admittedly rather steep for a mobile game) $10 required to access the six Worlds. I say that for three reasons:
1) Game Feel
First, the game exudes that high level of polish most Nintendo games are known for despite being on a new platform.
After a brief control tutorial, the game drops you off at Toad Town and Peach’s Castle, both in their apparently natural state: Demolished by everyone’s favorite resident Big Bad Boss, Bowser. From this screen you can look at your collectibles, mess with your friend’s list, notifications, receive gifts, connect to a Nintendo account so you can make you player icon a Mii and access other similar mobile game mechanics. However, the three most important parts of the game come at the bottom of the screen with the Tour, Rally and Build sections.
Selecting Tour allows you to access what is essentially the main story levels in SMR, revealing just what the game is. Nintendo’s first mobile game is a 2D endless runner game similar to titles like Bit Trip Runner and the Sonic Storybook Series (Though the Sonic games are in 3D and are generally less than enjoyable… In my opinion, at least).
The game uses the New Super Mario Bros. graphical engine that’s gotten more than enough love since it brought Mario side scrolling games back in 2006, and it uses those graphics rather well if you ask me. Though the ability to translate a 2D side scroller into an endless runner may seem obvious, the execution of such an idea seems like it would be very easy to get wrong.
However, I would argue SMR gets the endless runner formula right by pretty flawlessly combining a classic, beloved look with new mechanics meant to emphasize a style-based form of gameplay and a substantially intriguing amount of challenge even in early levels.
Granted, any semblance of a story is next to nonexistent past the generic “Save Princess Peach from Bowser” series mainstay… But for a mobile title like this, the lack of a story is fine, and the fact that it even has that could probably be considered a plus. Luckily, the other portions of the game make up for this.
The second main part of the game comes from the Toad Rally mode, which is SMR’s multiplayer aspect. Part of the destruction of Toad Town and Peach’s capture involved all the Toads living in the now destroyed city running away. In order to rebuild the castle and the town, Mario needs to gather Toads, and to do this you have to participate in rally runs against other SMR players.
Using Rally tickets that you gather through various means (such as completing challenges in the single player game or through micro transactions), you can choose an opponent to Run against. Toad Rally has you racing against the opponent you’ve chosen across a set, repeating map to collect as many coins and gather as much Toad support as possible. Collecting coins is an obvious task to complete: Just run, jump, defeat foes and wall-kick to get as many as possible.
To gather Toad support, however, requires you to utilize SMR’s main new feature and arguably its main selling point: The style system. While you can perform all of Mario’s usual jumping techniques, the nature of a free runner changes how the side scroller operates. Instead of having to jump to cross all barriers and to defeat every Goomba and Koopa, Mario does an acrobatic flip over each of the small creatures and tiny gaps/barriers he comes across. The act of his instant mobility over these obstacles is automatic, but nets you no benefits. However, if you tap the screen in a timely manner, you do more fancy tricks and flips that defeat enemies and earn you style points.
Not only do these actions often get you more coins, they build up your Toad support and your style meter, which can eventually activate coin rushes.
These rushes do essentially what they sound like they would do. More coins will spawn for the duration of the meter’s charge, enemies will net you more coins and you’ll build up more hype from the little mushroom men that are cheering you on. These coin rushes perform a similar function to the classic Star power-up you can find hidden sometimes in-game, though the Star also attracts coins within a large vicinity in front of you, ensuring you get them all.
Seriously, if you played and enjoyed New Super Mario Bros. 2 for it’s coin-centric gimmicks, you’ll probably love how satisfying coin collection is in SMR.
You can keep the meter charged even while it’s depleting by performing more tricks during the rush, though Mario speeds up during that period so it can be harder to keep up a chain like you normally could. There’s a huge collection of tricks that Mario can perform to make this task easier, and there are even some tricks exclusive to other playable characters like Luigi, Yoshi and Princess Toadstool herself.
Although you pick opponents for your Toad Rally matches based on real players, you actually play against a ghost of their performance on the same level that you Run on. Therefore, although you don’t have to literally be connected to anyone in order to get in on the multiplayer fun of SMR, you still compete against the performances of other fans of the game. You still have to beat their coin collection scores as they do the same things you do, every coin rush and death included.
Deaths, I might add, are a very interesting thing to observe in SMR. The game synthesizes elements from different Mario titles together, showing a progression in style throughout the last few years of Nintendo’s history with the franchise that has really blossomed into something neat. When a player dies, you get an indication on your play area for where they died similar to the red X indicators in Super Mario Maker. A dead player will then be lifted back into the playing field with a bubble, one of the chief elements common to every New Super Mario Bros. game with multiplayer capabilities. Deaths will take coins away and bubble travel will bring you backwards through a stage, causing you to fall behind in a Toad Rally.
In single player Runs, deaths will cause the same things to happen, however the bubble can be used strategically. If you miss one of the special coins on a stage (something I’ll get into in a moment), you can activate one of your limited bubbles at any time to go backwards and give yourself another chance to catch what you missed – unless it happened to be time-based, of course.
Once a Toad Rally is over, your coins are tallied up alongside your opponent’s coins to see who has collected the most. The amount of Toad support you got throughout the round adds extra coins to your score. Whoever Toadette decides to elect the winner gets more Toads to join them in Toad Town, which in essence acts like the experience points in SMR. However, be warned, if you lose a match against another player not only have you wasted a Rally ticket, you also lose Toads to your opponent.
It’s a tough break in the SMR world, for sure.
Like I said, Toads are your experience points in SMR. The more you collect, the more you level up. The more you level up, the closer you get to repairing Peach’s castle and returning Toad Town to its former glory.
That brings me to the third major part of the game: Toad Town customization. Though not an endless running game mode, the build menu allows you to spend all the thousands of coins you’ll be collecting throughout your endless runs. Most of the things you can buy are aesthetic. Toad houses, flowers, garden pieces and so on. However, you can also buy useful set pieces like bonus mini game houses, which you can access every eight hours or so to have a chance at getting more Rally Tickets and coins.
The more Toads you collect through Toad Rally, the more decorations will be available to you. There are five colored Toads available to collect: Red, Blue, Green, Purple and Yellow. Collecting each color will allow you to unlock different things, however I believe Red is the only color available when you haven’t purchased the full game.
At least, that’s the only color I’ve been able to find.
Eventually, collecting each color will allow you to access Rainbow Bridges, which I can only assume will unlock new areas to decorate… But again, I haven’t been able to get more than the Red Toads.
Though seemingly a bit shallow as far as a reward for all the work collecting coins and Toads goes, the building portion of the game does add a nice element of personalization to the game, and the tiny hub world is honestly a really relaxing place to let your phone sit when you’re doing other things. Toads will also wander around the area and do things like roll around on the grass, so it’s hard not to find the little fungi adorable.
The second reason SMR is worth the buy: Although it’s clearly built to be in more bite-sized bits, SMR seems to have enough content to warrant the price tag without fitting the bill of a far more expensive console title.
Like I said, only 3 levels are available pre-purchase: World 1-1, 1-2 and 1-3. The levels mimic exactly what everyone has come to expect from a classic Mario game, one aboveground level, one underground level and one sky-high mushroom level.
The first three levels in Super Mario Run
The levels aren’t exactly very long. Or at least, the nature of their existence – in which you’re constantly moving – makes it feel like the levels are a lot shorter than they might otherwise be if you had total control over Mario.
However, each level has enough replay value to ensure you won’t blow through the three level trial quicker than you can say “King Koopa.” Beyond the obvious multiplayer aspect of high scores that you can compare with your friends, each level has a certain collectible that will keep you coming back over… And over… And over again.
Colored Coins for the first three levels in Super Mario Run
Every level in SMR has five collectible Pink Coins when you first play through it. Chances are you won’t collect all five on your first time through, since many of them are hidden, sometimes hard to reach based on timing or touch strength or down a fork in the road that you can only access both ends of if you utilize your bubbles well. So, on average, I would say that collecting each Pink Coin in each level would require at least two Runs, as they’re mostly in obvious places.
But once you collect all five Pink Coins, you then unlock a new version of the same map with five Purple Coins. Purple Coins are, naturally, harder to find than the pink ones are. More often than not the layout of certain obstacles and coin collections in the level will be far trickier during a Purple Coin run, forcing you to have to do things like check coin boxes to collect every coin (which is admittedly a much harder task than normal in this gameplay style).
Once you collect all five Purple Coins, you then unlock an even harder Black Coin Run of the level, which takes difficulty to a whole other level compared to the earlier versions. In Black Coin Runs, coins will be hidden better and obstacle layouts will typically require precision playing and planning ahead to collect all five.
For example, in the screenshot above, to collect the Black Coin you need to not only stay on the yellow mushroom to ensure you’ll fall in the right area, you also need to make sure you time your jumps on enemies correctly so you don’t fall to your doom instead of soaring to victory (Oh, and I have to say, Paratroopas are my least favorite enemy as far as precision jumping goes. Most of the time you need to land in exactly the right place and tap with just the right amount of strength to make sure you don’t lose a mushroom power-up or fall to your doom. It’s annoying to say the least).
Also, did I mention there’s a Paratroopa earlier in the level that if you happened to hit will send a shell forward ahead of you that just so happens to knock out the first flying Paratroopa on this screen, thus ending your chances of getting this particular coin? Yeah, it’s a pain. Hence pre-planning and multiple runs through each level. With extra space below the playing field left blank, Nintendo also set up a way to make sure your finger doesn’t get in the way of the gameplay or obscure anything in front of Mario. It’s a small but very greatly appreciated detail.
I could complain all day about how annoying the Black Coin Run on World 1-3 is, but to be honest it isn’t so much annoying in an unfair sense as it is in a truly difficult sense. When you fail, it’s because you didn’t perform an action perfectly. Every element is laid out exactly how it needs to be laid out, and the complexity is enough to make the level interesting to play and frustrating enough to want to conquer. And that’s only for World 1-3! I can’t imagine the creative level designs that show up in World 6, those have got to be ridiculous.
Oh, and by the way, there is a reward for collecting all five colored coins in a given level for all of your Completionists out there (Yeah, I can’t consciously steal the word without sourcing it out… I already used Big Bad Bosses in my post, after all).
That’s right, you can get six Rally Tickets per level if you play your cards right, enjoy a challenge and find precision gameplay fun. Luckily, I fit all three of those criteria and found the challenge fun, even if it did get fairly frustrating.
To top all of this fun, challenging and rewarding gameplay off… SMR has some kick-ass earworms music. Every track is the classic Mario song you would expect to hear that’s been amped up with techno vibes, really emphasizing the constant action of the gameplay. The menu and hub world music has also been remixed. Combine all of that with the tried and true Mario sound effects and you’ve got an audio experience that will keep you humming along hours after you finished your last Run.
3) Nintendo. Mobile Games. Winning.
The third reason SMR is worth the buy… Should be obvious. Come on now, this is our first mobile game released by Nintendo (if you don’t count Pokémon GO). That’s definitely the kind of thing worth supporting if for no other reason than to ensure Nintendo continues to create worthy mobile gaming content.
Like I’ve reiterated throughout this not-so-little review, I’ve only completed the basic free-to-play content in SMR. I spent maybe an hour and a half (two hours if I’m being generous) learning how the game works, collecting all 45 available colored coins and participating in a few Toad Rallies. While this may not seem like a lot of time in the grand scheme of things, the fact that all that time was spent on three main story levels and four multiplayer level-ups is honestly pretty impressive considering the game is obviously meant to get harder and longer the further you get in past the ‘tutorial’ levels.
Nintendo’s impressive levels of game design and polish shine through with this title just as much as it would in any main series console Mario game. The amount of care is clear in every little detail – after all, look at how much I pulled out of just two hours or so of play. As a company, Nintendo has become an expert at taking their assets and improving upon them over and over again through every installment of their franchises. Super Mario Run is no different. Despite seemingly being a rehash of various old elements covering a slightly new skeleton, the game really feels like its own unique entity.
For the challenge, for the music, for the tried and true gameplay with a unique style of mechanics, for the fun multiplayer aspects and ultimately to encourage more great content in the future, I would highly recommend not only downloading the game, but shelling out $10 to get everything currently available.