All posts by Matt

A Brazilian gamer with a great love for playing Nintendo games, and a hobby of writing about his gaming experiences and thoughts. Even though that is what I mainly do for fun, I also love listening to music (especially rock) and watching movies (especially animations), so also expect a few posts on those matters.

Rhythm Heaven Fever Review


Still, Rhythm Heaven Fever is an absolute blast to play, look at and listen to: it is a feast for the senses. Games who embrace a simple approach to gameplay often rely on being addictive as a mean to achieve success, and an extremely addictive title is precisely the final result that comes out of this cauldron of insanity, wackiness, lack of common sense, music, colors and rhythm. Sure, there a few frustrating moments here and there; sure, some of the issues the game presents are addressed by any course of Game Design 101 out there; but what matters in the end is the bottom line, and the bottom line is Rhythm Heaven Fever is, like its predecessors, a unique gem among music games. It is original in its concept, outrageous in its presentation, silly in its heart and amusing in its feel. Rhythm Heaven Fever is, by all means, a game that is worth playing.

Nintendobound

Original in its concept, outrageous in its presentation, silly in its heart and amusing its feel

rhythm_heaven_fever2In a world where, most of the times, more is usually seen as better, gamers who appreciate the two sides of the gaming world (its capacity to produce gems that are impressively big and complex, but to also come up with titles that are delightfully simple)  end up falling victim to an extreme need to play something that is stripped down, straightforward and fun; a game that does not demand huge amounts of physical or mental exercise, and that amuses without trying too hard. This huge void, caused by the industry’s intense rush to increasingly produce games with more flash, is where simplicity is acknowledged as a redeeming quality, and that space is occasionally filled up by companies with very creative minds that have no fear of swimming against the undertow.

Rhythm Heaven first…

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Super Mario Odyssey Review


Thanks to the impressive quantity of items to acquire in each kingdom (the dozens of moons and regional coins), Super Mario Odyssey often feels like a collectathon, but one that merges the exploration aspect that reigned over Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine with the linear goodness found in the most recent 3-D outings of the plumber. The meticulous design of its kingdoms, the cleverness of the capture mechanic and the doors of gameplay possibility that are blasted open due to it, and the fact secrets and new objectives are uncovered with every passing minute make Super Mario Odyssey an utter joy to play through, whether it is to those who will just clear its fifteen-hour adventure or to the daring gamers that will sink more than fifty hours into the experience to seek full completion. Super Mario Odyssey’s ridiculous abundance of ideas more than justify the spectacular size of the quest Nintendo has put together. Mario’s fifteen-year absence from open-ended platforming has clearly done wonders for Nintendo’s creative juices in that particular subgenre; Super Mario Odyssey feels like the simultaneous coming to life of all smart ideas that accumulated during that period.

Nintendobound

Super Mario Odyssey greatly refreshes the property not by moving forward, but by looking fifteen years into the past, rescuing a gameplay style many thought to be dead, and making it bigger and better than ever

odyssey9Fifteen years. To those who either have lived long lives or have the tendency to look at the world through large time scales, it may seem like a brief period. To the Mario franchise, though, fifteen years, as of 2017, amount to almost half of its lengthy and often glorious history – a journey that has frequently merged with and impacted the timeline of gaming itself. And yet, that was exactly how much time it took Nintendo to take the plumber back to the root of his tridimensional adventures: one that focuses on free-roaming exploration rather than on the clearing of obstacle courses in which advancing means following the only available and predetermined path…

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Ever Oasis Review


The conclusion is that a lot could have been done to make Ever Oasis a more solid experience. The two gameplay elements that make it up could have been integrated more firmly by more thoughtful design; and, individually, those parts could have turned out far more engaging if simple steps had been taken to avoid minor and recurring annoyances. Still, through stumbles and falls, it is a good game: taking care of the oasis is fun, and watching it grow is a joy; furthermore, going out into the world is motivating not only because there are nice puzzles and locations to be found, but also because the development and upkeep of the oasis depends on it. Therefore, the experience, which holds a twenty-hour adventure that can be greatly extended by those who want to take their oases to their full possible glory, will be able to please – to different and somehow uncertain degrees – anyone who wants a dose of role-playing thrown into their Animal Crossing, or vice-versa.

Nintendobound

Through light stumbles and heavy falls, Ever Oasis will be able to please – to different and somehow uncertain degrees – anyone who wants a dose of role-playing thrown into their Animal Crossing, or vice-versa

ever_oasisIn a world that is overrun by Chaos, a dark force of unknown origins that drains joy out of people and turns animals into aggressive monsters, various oases spread around a desertic landscape serve as peaceful refuges. Inside their gates, people are free to live, trade, and work together to create a healthy friendly environment; outside them, many dangers lurk. Eventually, however, Chaos grows stronger, and – one by one – the safe havens begin to succumb upon being attacked by its servants. When the very last oasis suddenly falls from its prosperity to total annihilation following a nightly attack, its chief – by using the last ounce of his strength – sends his younger sibling…

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia


Despite some annoyances and eventual dullness, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia succeeds in keeping the ball rolling after the giants that were Awakening and Fates. Like those, it embraces both casual gamers and a more hardcore Fire Emblem audience by providing an easier mode, where downed units come back; and a harder traditional setup, where death is permanent. Hopefully, through the newly introduced Echoes series, Nintendo will further explore the relatively vast backlog of Fire Emblem games that have yet to make it to the outside of Japan, and also give them a deeper overhaul than the one that was executed on Fire Emblem Gaiden.

Nintendobound

Although it fails to address some of the shortcomings of the source material, Shadows of Valentia is a good remake that tells a story with a touching core and punctuates it with engaging battles

fe_echoes1Prior to the release of Fire Emblem Awakening in the early days of 2013, Nintendo’s saga of medieval strategic warfare had constantly failed to gain any sort of traction in the western gaming market, and it was not for lack of trying. Before Awakening, a full decade of attempts and failures to make the franchise relevant outside Japan elapsed, a period during which four Fire Emblem installments reached the shelves of American stores only to be either ignored or not given enough attention by the public. Regardless of why exactly Awakening succeeded in breaking through – a huge bag of factors that certainly includes the popularity of the 3DS, a strong marketing push, and the spotlight that was…

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Monster Hunter Stories Review


Monster Hunter Stories is a nice detour for a property that has spent its long life treading the same excellent ground with varying and usually high degrees of success. With its looks and monster-collecting ways, it is bound to attract a younger audience right into the grasp of its claws; some of the holes of its battle system, though, will leave plenty of room for frustration to sneak into the experience. If gamers are able to overcome that problem, however, what they will find is an enchanting world filled with content, featuring an adventure that can easily last for over thirty hours, hordes of sidequests, and the opportunity to take one’s scientifically assembled team of monsters online to face off against other riders. Monster Hunter Stories is not a total winner, but its quality could pave the way for improvements that may end up turning it into quite a gem, even if the core of its gameplay is derivative of both the line of games from which it originates and the unstoppable Pokemon franchise.

Nintendobound

By mixing and matching elements of Monster Hunter and Pokemon, Monster Hunter Stories offers a charming, albeit flawed, look into a universe that is often portrayed as rough and gritty

monster_hunter_stories1If the evolution of this planet’s species had taken a slightly more awesome and brutal path than it did and the activity of monster hunting actually existed, it is safe to assume Capcom’s Monster Hunter franchise would be a pretty accurate virtual representation of it. There is nothing easy or streamlined about the depicted journey of going from a defenseless hunter to a master at bringing down fearsome creatures that are aggressive enough to give easily impressed children terrible nightmares: combats last for nearly one hour, not being properly equipped leads to merciless death, the remote nature of the hunting grounds forces hunters to pack items to help them deal with the hardships of the environment and maintain their energy…

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Metroid: Samus Returns Review


Through updates, changes, and additions, Metroid: Samus Returns qualifies as an excellent remake of a classic adventure that had remained for way too long stuck in the black-and-white limitations of the Game Boy. In size and challenge, it sets new standards for the 2-D games of the saga; and all extra collectibles (which can extend the adventure to fifteen hours), additional difficulty modes, and speed-running and sequence-breaking opportunities make it an infinitely replayable adventure. No game could have possibly made up for the thirteen years that went by without a new Metroid sidescroller, but Samus Returns is as close as Nintendo could have gotten to total redemption. It is a remake the franchise as well as its fans needed, and the company has delivered.

Nintendobound

No game could have possibly made up for the thirteen years that went by without a new Metroid sidescroller, but Samus Returns is as close as Nintendo could have gotten to total redemption

samus_returns7Nintendo’s fondness for looking back on the company’s treasured past and reviving many of its classics by bringing them to the latest consoles has had both negative and positive outcomes. On one hand, there have been titles whose releases preceded their remakes by such a short period of time that little to no value was gained with the use of new technology, as it was the case with the remastered versions of the Zelda franchise’s The Wind Waker and Twilight Princess. On the other hand, there have been efforts whose releases lied so far back in the history books of gaming that a revival of their gameplay worked towards not only putting it in the hands of…

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Sonic Mania Review


Sonic Mania was born with the intention of being a celebration, a simple gift to the hedgehog and his fans on the 25th birthday of the release of the saga’s first game, but it ends up being much more than that. From its visuals, which pay homage to the 16-bit days by bringing slightly improved character models and glorious multi-layered backgrounds, and its music, which mixes old themes with new tracks that are by all means just as good as the classics, to its gameplay, it deserves to stand side-by-side – with no caveats whatsoever – with the games that made the franchise so popular. By handing talented Sonic aficionados control over the game, Sega gives the character’s fanbase exactly what they had been craving for since the late 90s: an utter classic, a title that makes – after quite a while – Sonic have one of the best games of the current generation.

Nintendobound

Sonic Mania was born with the intention of being a celebration, a simple gift to the hedgehog and his fans on the 25th birthday of the release of the saga’s first game, but it ends up being much more than that

sonic_mania6Fans always know what they want. Sadly, from a creative standpoint, their wishes tend to fall inside a very limited spectrum; after all, as much as they hate to admit it, the object of their desire is never a new idea or an outrageous concept, but a retread onto ground that has already been plowed. Fans crave for the good old days to make a glorious comeback, for a product that recreates the magic of the gemstone that captured their hearts; that is why, regardless of the medium, the greatest moments in the history of entertainment came not when fans got what they wanted, but when they were surprised…

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Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Review


Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is excellent. Despite how his genre-spanning nature has led him to cover numerous areas of the gaming palette, Nintendo’s plumber had never tackled the turn-based strategy style, which makes it quite smart on Ubisoft’s part to take the partnership between Mario and the Rabbids in that direction. After all, it is easier to generate positive reactions when direct comparisons to the stellar Mario platformers and RPGs are avoided. However, Mario + Rabbids is not great because there is an absence of a bar against which it can be measured: those bars exist. Not only is it among the best Mario spin-offs, but it is also a pretty strong effort inside its genre. And although it is true that Mario could have explored gun-based tactical gameplay without the Rabbids, the wild creatures do a good job showing they are great additions rather than unnecessary extra elements.

Nintendobound

A product of Nintendo’s recent tendency to be less protective of its franchises, it is a sign that – when handled by other parties and with the proper oversight – those properties can be taken to remarkable places

mario_rabbids7For the most part, courageous ideas live on a dangerous tightrope. When they leave the imaginary realm and are pushed towards reality by one daring mind, the tightrope snaps and they fall: the place where they land inevitably determines the way they are perceived by pretty much everyone else. If the idea succeeds, it is considered to be brilliant; if the idea fails, it is condemned as plain crazy. There is no middle ground; there are only extremes, and it is this lack of a safe balanced landing zone that causes most thoughts to never materialize. They are afraid to be because being entails judgment, and sometimes that is simply too…

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Sonic Colors Review


Sonic Colors brings a lot of the magic of the old Sonic games to the 3D environment with some twists along the way that make this adventure rather original and remarkable. There are a few punctual issues, but nothing really tarnishes the fact this is a rare instance of a 3-D Sonic game turning out better than passable and actually being quite good. It has great visuals, fast exciting moments, slow segments that show a lot of care with the level design, a nice collection of songs to power up the fun, and solid gameplay. Sonic Colors will not change anybody’s concepts on great platformers, or set new bars for the genre, but showing that modern-day Sega can still find ways to get in touch with reality and realize what makes a great Sonic game (and make that untouchable quality materialize in a 3-D setting) is much more important than any earth-shattering productions.

Nintendobound

Although it does not reach the earth-shattering quality levels of the best platformers of its generation, it shows there is hope for 3-D Sonic games, which may be far more significant

sonic_colors1Watching Sonic struggle through the 3-D gaming era is a lot like watching an aging professional sports player go through the twilight of their career: the world watches the athlete’s performance start to fall apart to a point where everybody thinks there is no turning back, but a few believers still see some potential in there that could signal towards a sudden outburst of brilliancy in the near future. Differently from a sports player who has no protection against the unstoppable insatiable hunger of this overpowering force called time, though, Sonic can – whenever Sega feels like it – push a magical restart button and attempt to jump towards original platforming challenges with the same energy and impact of a brand…

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Hey! Pikmin Review


Because of all of that, Hey Pikmin comes off as a big missed opportunity, with the only point in which it achieves thorough success being in its writing, as it is an utter delight to read Captain Olimar’s honest and funny contemplations about what in the world the human objects he comes across must have been used for, which does wonders towards building his character and the universe he inhabits. Other than that, Hey Pikmin is mundane, falling short of delivering the creativity and inventiveness the public expects out of such an important property that carries the Nintendo brand of charm and cleverness. Therefore, instead of being filed along franchise detours that took characters out of their comfort zone only to reach spectacular and worthy results, Pikmin’s journey out of the confines of the real-time strategy realm its exploratory nature thrived on ends up being rather unimpressive. Captain Olimar and the adorable Pikmin that guide him through numerous devastating dangers deserved far more, and – hopefully – they will get another shot at the genre in the future; crash-landings have never stopped them from coming out on top, after all.

Nintendobound

Instead of being filed along franchise detours that took characters out of their comfort zone only to reach spectacular and worthy results, Pikmin’s journey out of its original realm ends up being rather unimpressive

heypikmin2Taking iconic characters out of the comfort zone into which they were born is not a new strategy for Nintendo. Mario has experienced great success in that regard, be it through the acclaimed role-playing sagas in which he has starred or via the mad kart-racing he and his peers have conducted; similarly, his alter ego, Wario, reached comparable glory when abandoning his treasure-chasing platforming quests and opting to make money in a less physically demanding way when he opened his own gaming company. In fact, nowhere is the widespread power of that approach more blatant than in the Super Smash Bros. franchise, in which virtually all members of the company’s stellar cast were removed from the…

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Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective Review


Ghost Trick is one of the best games on the Nintendo DS, and that is saying a lot for system that had a life cycle of six years during which it built one of the strongest lineups the gaming world has ever seen. The game presents an extremely original concept that is as engaging as it is fresh, and the solid writing behind that element makes the concept materialize in a remarkable way. There is not much to the game when it comes to replay value, but the regular adventure lasts for some good twelve hours and it is hard to forget all the remarkable moments the game provides players with. Among many of the original concepts that found their home on the Nintendo DS, Ghost Trick is one of the greatest and most refreshing.

Nintendobound

Among the many original concepts that found their home on the Nintendo DS, Ghost Trick is one of the most refreshing

ghost_trick4In its waning months, most systems suffer from a nearly total lack of good releases, a drought caused by a safe attitude from game developers who witness as their target audience becomes so deeply interested in the system that is to come that they completely forget about the devices they have in hand. Naturally, it was to be expected that Nintendo DS – with its glorious third-party support and a hardware that inspires creativity  –would be one of the few systems to defy that logic and keep a relatively steady flow of good releases pouring into the market.

Out of all those games that came surfing on the last wave of releases for the dual-screen handheld, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is absolutely the best. And unsatisfied with making this…

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Splatoon 2 Review


Even if it is easy to see why Splatoon 2 hit stores when it did, as it has the right ingredients to give the Switch the initial push new systems certainly need, the two-year gap separating it from its prequel puts the game in a rather tight position. While most Nintendo franchises, including those that are built for multiplayer action, have at least four years between installments (a comfortable enough span that allows for plenty of new ideas to be born, mature, and fall from the tree ripe to be eaten) Splatoon 2 had to make do with a much shorter interval. And therein lies the game’s biggest obstacle.

Nintendobound

While it does not have quite enough to define its own traits, and even though it inherits all of the negative quirks of its predecessor, Splatoon 2 is irresistable

splatoon2Regardless of the internal expectations Nintendo held in relation to Splatoon, one thing is almost certain: not even its most optimistic employees could have accurately predicted how big the new property would turn out to be. Splatoon was, by all means, a rarity: in a world of sequels and established sagas, it was able to – with a single release – blast its way to the upper echelons of videogame franchises, cementing its position as one of the strongest assets attached to Nintendo’s seemingly interminable belt of characters and series. Its positive critical reception as well as its strong sales across the globe, despite the fact it found its home inside a platform that was struggling commercially, meant that a sequel…

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Forgiving the Unforgivable


Although Nintendo has made a fair share of mistakes over the years, sticking with the company has paid off in big ways for most of its fans. Here’s a look at those stumbles, and why it has been worthy to keep following Nintendo during all of their ups and downs.

Nintendobound

brokenheartRelationships are an awfully complicated matter. By managing to affect our emotions in ways we sometimes did not even know were possible, they make us feel like heaven even when the slightest details click together, but – at the same time – a tiny mishap may cause a hurricane of emotions that, when not properly handled, can create a big deal of hurting. It is roller-coaster ride full of ups and downs beyond compare, and while some of those adventures last for a lifetime, others end before one is able to notice. One of the main differences between everlasting rides and short ones comes down to people’s ability to – when reaching the bottom of the steepest slopes – gather up all broken pieces and start climbing up together towards another peak. Doing so takes time and, most importantly, forgiveness, which can be brought by the sweet remembrance that those great moments that built…

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Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas Review


However, as a title that clearly intends to be a The Legend of Zelda clone, it suffers the same fate as Star Fox Adventures: namely, it fails to compare in all aspects, especially in the cleverness of design and in the storytelling, only living up to that grand standard in its spectacular soundtrack. When standing beside The Wind Waker, Phantom Hourglass, and A Link Between Worlds – to mention a few – Oceanhorn’s puzzles feel simplistic, as they involve way too much block-pushing, switch pressing, and target-shooting, offering almost no moments that will inspire true awe; likewise, its bosses come off as too straightforward, as the process of beating them features no smart tricks and twists, and its plot as not engaging enough.

Nintendobound

Had it opted to carve out a feature it could call its own, Oceanhorn could have easily excelled; as it chooses, however, to be a pretty blatant clone, it merely entertains while it lasts

oceanhorn4Originally born back in 2013 as a game for mobile platforms, Oceanhorn: Monster of Uncharted Seas was pretty clear in its intentions. Coming one decade after the release of the masterful Nintendo classic The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, and an equally fair number of years following the launch of that title’s seafaring sequel, Phantom Hourglass, Oceanhorn wished to sail on the winds of nostalgia straight into the hearts of gamers who missed cruising mysterious seas, uncovering the secrets of various islands, and navigating through the fog in order to get to the core of some unspeakable evil that threatens to destroy the peaceful life inhabiting a delightfully colorful world.

Greatly aided by the fact there…

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ARMS Review


ARMS, therefore, is a game that succeeds both in its single-player and in its multiplayer fronts. There is challenge, variety, complexity, and fun to be had whether one plays it on their own or alongside friends. Even though it operates inside a scope that is far more limited than that of the likes of Super Smash Bros. and Splatoon, it is able to come through in the delivery of a lasting experience that will welcome and draw newcomers that would never think of touching fighting games, and keep avid gamers entertained for long periods of time, whether it be by giving them vast combinations of fighters and weapons to try and master, hooking them with the competitive online scene, or offering an impressive single-player challenge.

Nintendobound

It does not achieve universal appeal by a mindless dumbing down of the fighting genre, but via its reconstruction with small bricks, amounting to a structure that is far more than its individual parts let on

arms1Turning originally inscrutable gaming genres into items that are appealing for a general audience. It may sound like an overly minimalistic way of putting it, but that is precisely the recipe Nintendo has been using for many of their historical successes. The Paper Mario saga, and Super Mario RPG before it, did it for role-playing games; Super Mario Kart transformed racing from a landscape filled with scenarios and vehicles that tried to be realistic into a madhouse that took place in unbelievable settings amidst flying shells and tricky bananas; Advance Wars employed a simple interface, cartoonish visuals, and a good deal of didactics to make the depth of strategic gameplay navigable; Mario Golf and…

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