Disney Classic Games: Aladdin and The Lion King
Publisher: Disney Interactive (2019)
This unexpected title contains the Genesis versions of both Aladdin and The Lion King - two critically acclaimed 16-bit platformers of the mid-90's. The SNES version of The Lion King is also included and it looks very similar to the Genesis when both are presented in high definition. Both games looked gorgeous on our old CRT TVs but in HD they appear surprisingly pixelated with muffled sound effects. I guess I was expecting some kind of visual enhancement. Screen filters are available but they make the visuals look worse
. Both Aladdin and Lion King feature quality platforming with artistic stages that mirror scenes in the films. The controls feel very precise and it's cool how you get to wield a sword in Aladdin. The Lion King is more cinematic but some of its puzzle-style stages border on tedious. The excellent soundtracks reprise all the memorable songs from the films. One welcome new addition is the ability to save at any time. Back in the day you always had to start from the beginning unless you had some kind of cheat code. Multiple versions of each game are included, like the Japanese version, demo version, and "final cut" editions. The differences are very subtle. You also have the option to "watch" each game which is kind of like sitting through a YouTube play-through. These run 45 and 50 minutes each which tells you how long (short?) these games are. Rounding out the package are an extensive set of featurettes detailing the making of every aspect of the games, with plenty of behind-the-scenes interviews. I'm not sure I'd recommend this to the casual player, but if you enjoyed these gems back in the day Disney Classic Games lets you relive the magic. © Copyright 2020 The Video Game Critic.
Dragon's Lair Trilogy
Publisher: Digital Leisure (2019)
Publisher: Xseed Games (2018)
Publisher: Sidebar Games (2017)
Publisher: Team Cherry (2018)
Horizon Chase Turbo
Publisher: Aquiris (2018)
Rating: Everyone 10+
I Am Setsuna (Japan)
Publisher: Square Enix (2017)
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Publisher: Nintendo (2017)
Rating: Everyone 10+ (fantasy violence, mild suggestive themes, use of alcohol)
Publisher: Ubisoft (2018)
Luigi's Mansion 3
Publisher: Nintendo (2019)
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle
Publisher: Ubisoft (2017)
Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Publisher: Nintendo (2017)
Okay, so it's a blatant rehash. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is still the best kart racer you've ever played. The original Mario Kart 8
(Wii U, 2014) was spectacular, save for a weak battle mode. With Deluxe that oversight has been addressed to the full extent of the law. Instead of taking shots at players while doing laps, you battle in layered arenas with all sorts of interleaving, crisscrossing paths. It's chaotic, exhilarating, and with eight players per match there are always plenty of targets. Fun locations include Luigi's Mansion, a Japanese temple, a lunar colony, and a stage inspired by Splatoon
(Wii U, 2015). All of the DLC released for the original game is baked in, and since I never purchased any, I was thrilled with the wide selection of characters and tracks. One drawback to having so much unlocked is there's little incentive to master each circuit, although you'll still win coins for upgrades. The eye candy is mesmerizing as you race through a pristine airport, careen down jungle water slides, and zoom through an underwater kingdom. My personal favorite track is the rainy metropolis with its colorful neon lights (a la Blade Runner). Once I started playing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe it was hard to stop. The gameplay is well balanced, although I wish there were more ways to defend yourself from shells. The controls feel great and the revving vibration is remarkable. Unless you are absolutely sick of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U (not likely), this Deluxe version is a good investment. © Copyright 2017 The Video Game Critic.
Mario Tennis Aces
Publisher: Nintendo (2018)
I was almost certain Mario Tennis Aces was going to be Nintendo's latest runaway hit, but it turned out to be a gimmick-laden mess
. The default adventure mode forces you to traverse a map with more mini-games and boss battles than actual tennis matches. In addition to standard shots (topspin, lob, backspin) there's a laundry list of special moves: star shots, charge shots, leap shots, power shots, slow-motion shots, trick shots, target shots, zone shots, and more! You can even initiate bullet time
for Pete's sake! I couldn't grasp the controls and can't imagine trying to explain them to a friend. What's wrong with regular tennis? The exotic court locations (jungle, temple, haunted house) look nice but even those are gimmicky. The pirate ship court has a mast that deflects the ball and the haunted house court has floating mirrors that intercept your hits. Stuff like that may add variety but it's not particularly fun. I hated adventure mode and found no joy in tournament mode either. Aces is less about playing tennis and more trying to figure out what crazy shot you can pull out of your ass. And do we really need to view an automatic replay after every point?
When you're not skipping replays you're mashing buttons to page through the pointless dialog. Why does a tennis game need so much dialog? Most Nintendo sports titles lean toward the arcade end of the spectrum, but Mario Tennis Aces went completely off the deep end. © Copyright 2018 The Video Game Critic.
Monster Boy and the Cursed Kingdom
Publisher: FDG Entertainment (2018)
Mutant Football League
Publisher: Digital Dreams (2018)
Rating: Mature 17+ (blood and gore, drug reference, mature humor, strong language, violence)
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