Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Super Mario Maker ***Rating 3.5/5***

So it has been a few weeks since Super Mario Maker was released for the Wii U and I feel like I have given it ample attention to give a well rounded review of the whole game. Nintendo has yet again produced a game that is good, but will only get better with time. To give a basic overview of the game for those of you that have not played yet the game consists of a level editor that lets you create your own side-scrolling Mario levels. As well as the level editor you can post your creations online and try out other people’s levels as well. There are also two game modes that consist of a series of randomly selected player created levels that are meant to be completed with either 10 lives or 100 lives depending on the game mode selected, and at any point you can choose to skip a level if it proves to be too difficult to complete.

The main reason to play the game though is the level editor which allows you to mix and match different items, materials and enemies from across the series in any possible combination. It proved to be enjoyable to power up the enemy monsters by giving them super mushrooms, wings, or placing them in crazy positions or on the backs of other enemies. The game lets you create levels using assetsĀ from Super Mario Bros 1, Super Mario Bros 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. In Super Mario Bros 1 mode you can even create a power-up mushroom that lets you transform into any of your Amiibo or a range of other unlockable characters. You can even share your creations online and get feedback in the form of comments and votes from other players. Nintendo also assured that the levels created would be winnable by making it a requirement that each creator has to complete a run through of their level before they are able to upload their content. If you come across a level that you particularly enjoyed, you can even choose to download and save it to play again at another time. Overall the style and amount of content available made my experience creating levels very enjoyable.

The downsides to this game though can be a little too much for most to accept. The biggest issue of this game comes from the fact that the player is not given all of the building materials from the start of the game but instead has to unlock more content by playing long enough to queue the “delivery” of new content and then wait a day for it to be “delivered”. It can take days to unlock the full content, but extra impatient players can go into the system settings and change the day settings to unlock the content much more quickly. Next downside can barely be blamed on Nintendo but the fact is the levels created by other players fall into two categories: easy to play or pure hell! The easy levels tend to focus more on the showmanship of the creator and less on creating a challenging course to play through, while the levels that are pure hell tend to focus on either 1 mechanic that needs to be executed in rapid succession or longwinded levels where absolutely every item is used at least once throughout the course of the level. The challenge is that you want to complete the level because you know that its creator was able to do it, but it just kills you over and over again. This can make even the most seasoned of Mario players out there seethe with anger and frustration. Also included are pre-made levels that randomly unlock over time but these levels made by Nintendo tend to be far too trivial, sticking to accepted Mario conventions with minor additions tossed into the mix. I get that this game focuses mostly on the ability of the player to become the creator, but it seems that lately Nintendo is focusing more on online functionality and group play rather than building single player experiences anymore. If only they had included a game mode that features a set of worlds created by Nintendo that felt like a natural progression of the side-scrolling series while adding the peculiarities of its level editor gameplay as well.

I personally enjoyed the game, but I could not sit for too long and play Super Mario Maker for hours on end, or even for any extended period of time. Typically I can run through an entire World of any given Mario game in a single sitting, but after playing through half of the 100 Mario game type I was far too frustrated to complete it in one sitting and found myself saving the game half way through to complete at a later date. My review is based on my personal experience with the game and should only be accepted as a suggestion that may aid you in your decision to buy this game. I rate this game 3.5/5 for the following reasons: It features a large amount of content for the player to create any type of Mario level they can imagine of, but other than that I don’t see the reason to justify the price tag of $69.99 in Canada. The majority of the content in this game is the level editor with very little actually being content produced by Nintendo for us to play. The player then has to rely on other creators out there to produce levels that are challenging but not too difficult and enjoyable but not too easy, which is a lot to ask with no real quality control other than the creator being able to complete the level prior to uploading it. The rating I give it though is only temporary and hopefully it will get better with time. My rating of 3.5/5 then is only a jumping off point or a baseline that represents the game at this moment in time. If the price drops on the game it would be a big plus and if more content is released as well then I might bump it up to a 4/5 in the future.

Review Time! with Dragondude2525: Splatoon ***Rating 3.5/5***

1432743390-9631-card

Hey everyone! Apologies first for being away for a few months, but here I am with another review. This time I will be talking about the new Wii U Nintendo game Splatoon. Simply put this game is a child friendly and fun to play third-person shooter with some light platforming elements. The character designs while simple are still very enjoyable to experience and the constantly changing set of environments to play in offers a lot for the eye to see. While I was playing I even noticed a poster on the wall of one stage that featured graffiti of Dr. Zoidberg from Futurama and it said “Why not Zoidberg?” which I found to be an amusing little detail. Overall the aesthetics of the game are a cross between American and Japanese as to be relatable to a larger market and as typical with all Nintendo Wii U titles, Splatoon just looks amazing! 1080p and 60 FPS makes for a great viewing experience. The main focus of the game is based on online play with friends or against complete strangers where the goal is to use your variety of ink weapons to claim the most amount of territory. There is also a 1v1 mode where you can play against another person in your own home, as well as another game mode that follows the single player experience and plays more like a cross between a puzzle-platformer and a third-person shooter. From playing online matches you accrue in game currency that you may use to purchase weapon upgrades as well as new gear. The Amiibo launched alongside the game itself even offer up more functionality than any other Amiibo released prior to this date. Instead of simply offering up a skin or outfit like in games like Mario Kart 8, in Splatoon, the special Splatoon Amiibo offer new outfits, weapons, and even new challenges, which definitely helps to substantiate buying them. While the positive aspects are great and make for a very enjoyable overall experience, where I find fault in the game is in the small details that seem to disrupt the game’s full potential.

In my opinion most of the faults that I have experienced have been minor and should be easily fixable, but one fault still looms over me. Firstly I wanted to mention the controller support issue, which allows you to use the Pro Controller or a Wii Remote along with the Classic Controller, but only for the second player. There should be support to opt out from using the GamePad as the mandatory Player 1 controller. Next up I noticed a significant amount of Network Errors. Now was my internet to blame? I don’t know, but if it continues to be an issue it will make playing online games impossible, so if anyone else has experienced this problem please let me know. I also noticed that the online matches pair people together randomly and it has no sense of putting people of a similar level together, which can create some really one-sided matches! But my number one complaint about this game is that it does not offer local multiplayer or local multiplayer online! By this I mean that you cannot queue up for a game with a couple of friends in your own home on your Wii U system, instead you can only play online with friends if hey each have their own Wii U and a copy of the game. And although you can play a local 1v1 battle mode, it just doesn’t feature the same challenge or fun of the online experience.

I know that some of these issues are considered non-issues to some and most likely some of these will be addressed in further updates as this game only just came out on the 29th of May, 2015, but I have to stand by my rating of 3.5/5 at this moment because a game like this, a third-person shooter with puzzle-platforming elements should really offer up a decent story mode as well as a wide variety of online or local multiplayer options. I know more game types for the online mode are coming in the near future, and I might re-review the game at that point but currently it is just a 3.5/5. Now I’m not saying don’t go out and buy it, but instead I just want everyone to know that it just isn’t quite where it needs to be but it is still a fairly enjoyable experience. I recommend this game for all age groups, at any skill level, and as a fun online multiplayer game, but as for local multiplayer we just have to wait and see if it’ll get better.

Video

Review- Tech- Wii U ZombiU Deluxe Set ***Rating 5/5***

Since my unboxing of the ZombiU Deluxe Set about a month and a half ago, I have put good use to my newly acquired Wii U. With most major pieces of hardware I feel that it is difficult for the types of reviews I do to be run through in a matter of days. I prefer to take my time and fully use the device before I put together a proper real world review, instead of what most people do when they rate products on their first impressions. So now that time has passed, lets get to it!

For all the contents of this specific set you can refer to my video, although you should know that I forgot one part of it and that is the Wii U pro wireless controller that also came with the set, but was located in a smaller box that was only accessible from the opposite end of the box, so i missed it when doing my unboxing.

With this set I had only two minor concerns, the first being that this bundle did not include a special variant design or decal on the console to signify that it was belonging to this set, and the second issue was that because ZombiU was added as a pack in game for this set, and because it was still the Deluxe Set, the Nintendo Land game featured on the box was only available as a free download and not as an actual physical copy.

Other than those two minor annoyances, the set was amazing! The two pack in games were amazing tech demos that greatly demonstrated the capabilities of the console and the new tablet controller. The GamePad controller was seamlessly integrated into the gameplay much like the VMU in the days of the Dreamcast, but at moments it felt far too advantageous, especially when playing in a group. The person controlling the GamePad could easily develop a short-lived God Complex and decide to screw over the other players, just because they had a preferential role in the game.

The theme though for this console is definitely smooth integration. This is best realized when using the GamePad as a universal remote. It not only took over the remote functions of the television itself, but also connected and controlled my set top cable box! along with being a remote, it was also a TV guide and a TV companion for most shows, allowing you to comment on specific moments and broadcast your thoughts of those moments to many other people using the Wii U.

Another thing I greatly enjoyed was a minor function within the Netflix application. It lets you stream movies to your TV, and with the press of a button it moves from the TV screen to the screen of your GamePad, allowing you to watch Netflix on a decent sized screen while another person watched something else on cable. There is obviously a short distance you can travel away from the console before the connection is severed but if you live in a large enough house or your house is open plan then you will have no problem even walking up to 20-30 feet away from the console and still enjoy Netflix!

If you want all the added extras that come with the ZombiU Deluxe Set, by all means get it. If you want to experience the basics, and still have a large Wii collection then just purchase the Basic Set, otherwise the combination of Console and GamePad will not disappoint.

Video

Review- Tech- Intec Charging Mat ****Rating 2.5/5****

As the title infers in this video I talk about the charging mat and rechargeable battery packs for video game controllers manufactured by the well known third party company Intec, that has produced supplementary devices for major home consoles for many years. I personally only purchased the Wii and Xbox 360 battery packs because the PS3 already has a built in power supply that can recharge through a mini USB to USB cable.

My gripe with wireless controllers has always been battery life, seeming that every time I tried to play on the Wii with family the batteries would always mysteriously die out in a matter of a few minutes, and i don’t really have batteries lying around as most of the rechargeable ones I have are currently in use. So I thought that backups such as these specific battery packs that are only for this one use were a good idea.

These though were over priced and that was what kept me from buying them in the past, until I found the Intec Charging Mat on clearance at The Source at Yonge and Eglinton here in Toronto. The Mat was on clearance for about 10$ and the battery packs were sold separately in two packs for about 6$, so in comparison it would have been like purchasing 4 AA batteries, which these days are getting expensive for reliable brands like Duracell and Energizer. The deal was great so I took them home.

Now, figuring out how they work was a lot more complicated than it should have been. Plugging the mat into the wall outlet was no problem, the blue LED indicator light turned on to show that the device was ready to start charging the battery packs, but when i placed the battery packs on the mat to charge that’s when my troubles started. I noticed that the battery packs also had indicator lights that cycled from Blue to Red, Blue indicating a full charge and Red indicating that it needs to be charged. When I placed the packs on the mat the indicator light flashed from blue, to red, then completely off. Were the batteries charging? How was I to know?

What they don’t tell you is that the light will come on momentarily on the first charge, cycle through from blue to red to off, then after it gathers up some charge it will then turn on the Red LED indicating that they are currently charging.

I have to say, it was a very complicated process at the beginning, considering that nowhere in the instructions did they say that you would have to wait until a charge was gathered for the indicator light to remain on while charging.

You might think though that this isn’t enough of a hassle to warrant such a low rating, but the reason why it is so low is because they do not even have a customer service phone line, instead they have a support email address that seems to be monitored by no one. In about 5 days since I initially sent them an email with my issue, they have yet to respond. That is a factor that will always break the deal for me on any device, poor customer service will always drag down the rating in my opinion.

Review- Tech- Nintendo Wii Mini *** Rating 2.5/5***

If you watch my YouTube channel you would have seen me unboxing my latest acquisition, the Nintendo Wii Mini. I only picked it up because I was able to find it new for 85$ and I thought it was cheap enough to consider picking up, but regular price for this console is 99$. The cheap price tag also matches the cheap feel of the console as well. It is made of a cheaper plastic that is textured and not smooth like the original Wii. It features a cheaper door hinged disc tray instead of the cool slot loading disc assembly of the original. The biggest hits to this console though are what was taken away from its functionality, backwards compatibility with the GameCube and internet connectivity. According to back stories of this console’s origin, I’ve been left viewing this console as being unwanted by its producer and sent to Canada just to be sold off since they had already been manufactured. At least in the end you are still able to use regular Wii remotes and play any non online Wii game on the console.

In the end, although the build quality is cheap, it does have a nice retro feel, with an appearance reminiscent of the old Famicom consoles. It also manages to not mess that much with playing Wii games so with there being only two major flaws and a few minor flaws I give the Wii Mini a rating of 2.5/5. The reason the score wasn’t lower is because of the cheap price tag and because it is such a strange Canadian exclusive console that it’ll warrant some collectors attention in the near future.