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Topic: Games You Recently Beat?

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RR529

Focus on You (PSVR). I had actually went through this months ago, but didn't want to do a write-up until I played around in the post game mode, which I recently did.
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Gameplay:

  • A VR dating sim spread out across 8-10 chapters or so, taking you a few hours at most. In each chapter you'll be in a different location (such as a park, classroom, cafe, home, beach, etc.) where you'll be in a stationary position (though you can look around obviously, and at certain points you'll move to a different area in the room) and interact with objects & people in your immediate vicinity.
  • Most of the gameplay revolves around dialogue choices when talking to Yua (the girl whom you are trying to woo) or texting a friend on your in game phone, and taking photographs with your in game camera (more on this to come). Otherwise there are ocassional small minigames where you'll have to make a cup of coffee or a smoothie for Yua when you are at work in the cafe, and other things of that nature.
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  • As I mentioned before you take photographs, which is the main gameplay element. There's a shoot in almost every chapter, and in these segments you're sort of taken out of VR (when pulling out your camera) and look at things through a flat image floating in the void (I guess simulating looking at the screen of a digital camera). You can rotate the screen to portrait & landscape orientations & implement a "beauty mode" (which focuses on Yua, or whatever else it is you're photographing, and blurs the background), and you can ask her to do one of three different poses in each scenario (you'll have the option to move on after the first couple poses, but you can take as much time as you need).
  • While you can effect some things (such as choosing between 2 different outfits for Yua to wear during a chapter), I'm not really sure if it's possible to "lose" the game or get a bad ending. I know you get a trophy for doing things like making her favorite type of coffee or smoothie, but as there's no way to figure that out other than trial & error, I don't think it effects the end outcome (maybe the reward is just seeing her response in the moment).
  • Upon clearing the game you unlock a post game area where you can listen to the game's soundtrack, look at all the photos you've taken, and replay the game's chapters in a "free play" state, placing Yua in any outfit & hairstyle you like (you can unlock outfits not worn during the story, so maybe that's the reward for doing things like making her preferred coffee during the story?)
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    Come now, you can't go swimming in class.
  • It is possible to play with Move controllers (which I don't yet have, but should be getting), but you can play with the Dualshock as well.

Audio/Visual:

  • Graphically it looks stunning, seriously one of the best looking VR games I've played. Sure, that leads to some blurriness in some of the more detailed environments, but as the vast majority of things you interact with are up close & there's no quick movements, it's never a problem. Whatever the case, my inner weeb was excited about getting to sit in a Japanese style classroom
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    Anyone like "Rony" brand electronics (actually, it does a good job looking like Sony when not right up on you due to the resolution).
  • The soundtrack consists of soft melodic tunes & piano riffs that fit the romantic tone of the game.

Story:

  • You play as a student in an Arts high school into photography, and after noticing your skill while in a local park, fellow student Yua Han recruits you into one of her own projects. You see, she's an aspiring fashion designer & she needs someone to shoot her in some of her designs for an upcoming competition. Along the way you two will become more than partners on a project.
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  • I won't say it's award winning or anything, but the VR setup makes it many times more engaging than any traditional VN dating sims I've tried.

Conclusion:

  • It was something a bit different, but I'm glad I gave it a go, as I found it to be a unique experience and much more investing than a traditional dating sim.
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Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

Slowdive

Mega Man 11 on Superhero difficulty. That was like going through hell, especially in the later stages.

You can take me out of the '90s, but not the '90s out of me.

Heavyarms55

One vaguely positive aspect of being unemployed during a pandemic is more game time. So I have finished a few titles recently.

First was Xenoblade Chronicles Definitive Edition. The HD port of what was already my favorite game met and exceeded my expectations! The redone character models and animations were great, the updated music wonderful and of course, the main point, the story and game play just as awesome as I remember. But now it's on Switch, so I can play it on a portable and not get a migraine head looking at a tiny screen with tiny UI like the 3DS port. I'm taking a break before playing the extra story though.

And then I finished Mario 64 on the 3D All Stars collection. Wonderful game! I loved it as a kid and it's interesting to me what I remember being hard and what I found hard as an adult don't quite match up. For example I remember finding the platforming hard and boss fights easy as a kid but it's more the reverse now. The race boss fights especially, like the Penguin on the slide and the second Koopa race. Overall the game looks amazing and I don't understand everyone's complaints about the port. I'd love to see more N64 titles get the treatment!

Nintendo Switch FC: 4867-2891-2493
Switch username: Em
Discord: Heavyarms55 / SW 4867-2891-2493#1475
Pokemon Go FC: 3838 2595 7596
PSN: Heavyarms55zx

App

@Heavyarms55 I think people have complained about Mario 64 because it didn't get any design change whatsoever. The camera is still poor and the controls are as faulty as ever. It could've seriously done with a makeover. Nonetheless, it's still a great game.

App

Switch Friend Code: SW-2940-3286-4610 | My Nintendo: Pikmin4 | Twitter:

Heavyarms55

@App People need to understand the difference between a remaster and a remake. This was the former. A remastering is a polishing and an update of an existing game. A remake is where they rebuild it totally. Another example: FF7 is getting remade but Xenoblade got remastered.

Nintendo Switch FC: 4867-2891-2493
Switch username: Em
Discord: Heavyarms55 / SW 4867-2891-2493#1475
Pokemon Go FC: 3838 2595 7596
PSN: Heavyarms55zx

Tasuki

I finished Mafia II. I played the Xbox 360 version on my Xbox One. After finishing Mafia Definitive Edition it only made sense to move on to two, it's been a few years since I finished this game but it was good as I remember it. To me this is the best game of the series. I really enjoyed Vito's story and several characters are great over all. Granted play mechanics felt dated on this version especially the hit detection but overall it still holds up well.

Definitely recommend this game.

RetiredPush Square Moderator and all around retro gamer.

My Backlog

Nintendo Network ID: Tasuki311

kkslider5552000

So I beat Bug Fables a little while ago. If you miss the old Paper Mario games, you absolutely should buy this game. Zero doubt, it is a very clear love letter to the first 2 games (or at least certainly the original one on N64), and it does that very well. I also love some of the slightly more traditional RPG elements it added, including some character developing sidequests for your party members that feels almost like out of the late game of like Chrono Trigger or the mid 90s Final Fantasies. Really cool ideas from other JRPGs put into the combat as well.

But I do feel like it is still missing something to really live up to those old games. I don't think it can match the high level of writing or charm or aesthetics that those games have (and apparently still have). Especially writing, I got almost no reaction from the comedy in the game (though at least I didn't get a negative reaction from it I guess). It's a reminder that the Paper Mario series is so great at that stuff, which makes its flaws in its newer titles all the more tragic. But regardless, Bug Fables was still a really good time, easy recommendation.

Random weird thing about it. I understand JRPGs and games inspired by them tend to get better as they go on. But I swear, it feels like most of the worst music was in the early parts of this game, all the good songs are later practically. Maybe unfair to compare them to Paper Mario, which has some of my favorite video game soundtracks literally ever, but it was odd watching the music suddenly become consistently good 3 chapters in.

Edited on by kkslider5552000

Non-binary, demiguy, making LPs, still alive

Bioshock Infinite Let's Play!:
LeT's PlAy BIOSHOCK < Link to LP

Ralizah

[Part One of Two]

Super Mario 64 (via the Super Mario 3D All-Stars Collection)
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Completion Status: 100%; all 120 stars collected, and I even found the brief post-game Easter Egg


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Super Mario 64 is a game I have a bit of a rough history with. I've, of course, heard people talk rapturously about it for ages, but didn't really have the opportunity to play it until it released on the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console. What I encountered was a game that controlled poorly and looked like a nightmare thanks to the mix of incredibly low-poly character models and a vibrant color scheme that brought out every aspect of the game's deficient visuals. I quit after playing for a few hours and gave my opinion online, but... it kept nagging at me. This game is SO highly praised. So beloved. And I just could not get into it. I've tried continuously, over various platforms to get into this game over the years, and, every time, I ducked out after a point. I let the game get the better of me.

Well, with the 3D All-Stars collection and the game's official re-release as an HD remaster on Switch, I decided I was going to finally complete this game. I had to prove to myself both that I wasn't wrong about this game and also that it couldn't conquer me in the end. It's sort of like Stephen King's It, when the protagonists all reconvene years later to visit the town of Derry to confront the demons of their younger years. In this case, N64-era Mario — all eight polygons of him — was my Pennywise.

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So, after a fascinatingly weird start screen where players can use a hand to interact with a shockingly high-poly model of Mario's face, Super Mario 64 starts out with Mario reading a letter Princess Peach has sent him, inviting him over for... cake. It's a children's game, so we'll accept that at face value. Anyway, Mario arrives to find the princess gone. We discover, via the toads in the castle, that the princess has been locked away by Bowser using stars, or something, and it's up to Mario to collect the stars and save the day.

So, to be clear, this is all expressed in, like, five lines of dialogue. There's pretty much no narrative context to what happens in this game, and virtually nothing in the way of an overarching goal beyond collecting power stars.

Power stars are accessed via a number of magical portraits situated throughout the castle, and Mario will need to complete various activities in order to gain the stars within each portrait. When the player collects a certain number of stars, they can confront Bowser across three boss stages - one early game, one mid game, and one at the end - and subsequently unlock other parts of the castle to access more portraits. The game's structure is extremely open-ended and allows for the player to collect stars in any order they wish.

I figure I'll discuss the game in the context of a handful of its worlds.

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World 1 - Bob-Omb Battlefield

Although you do get to run around the front of Peach's castle when you start up the game, Super Mario 64 doesn't feel like it really begins until you jump into your first portrait. This is when the music kicks up and you're presented with a wide open field filled with bob-ombs and goombas. Running around this very rudimentary environment (there's a minimum of platforming beyond some basic jumps and sliding to be had in this world), the game does seem to communicate an infectious joy at the prospect of movement through three-dimensional space. This becomes apparent early on with the game's fixation on flying through the air via both the wing cap and via loading oneself into a cannon. One really does get the impression that one has stepped back in time and is seeing something that must have seemed truly groundbreaking and revolutionary at the time.

The first thing everyone will do in Super Mario 64 is run to the top of this world and have the King Bob-omb challenge them to a fight. And... boss fights in Super Mario 64 are incredibly lame. They mostly involve running around behind an enemy and then throwing them. In the case of King Bob-omb, there's no challenge whatsoever as he slowly and pathetically waddles around trying to face you other than the challenge of getting the game's controls to work like they should.

The player will likely encounter their first red coin challenge here, where they're tasked with collected six red coins throughout the level, usually in hard-to-reach or dangerous locations. In Bob-omb Battlefield, there's this one particular red coin on a slope that is just the damndest to try to collect whenever I play this game. Somehow, I always slide AROUND it. I eventually took advantage of this game's broken physics system (more on that later) and jumped uphill in a sliding position to collect the damned thing.

The player will also likely get their first taste of being fired out of a cannon here, and, boy, is it another massive irritation. When you enter a cannon (after unlocking it via talking to a red bob-omb NPC in the area, which is something you have to do in pretty much all of the worlds), you can aim where you want Mario to fly to, but, crucially, Mario never actually goes where you're aiming the cannon. He, instead, goes under this mark by several feet, so you have to try and mentally correct for this and then aim way ABOVE the target you're trying to hit with the cannon. This would be annoying in the best of instances, but two additional factors serve to drive me up a wall on this matter. First, you're often trying to hit a thin or small target when you're firing yourself out of a cannon, like a tree or a particular location on an otherwise inaccessible ledge, and this bizarre method of targeting makes it incredibly hard to hit your target. What truly infuriates me, though, is how, if you miss your mark with a cannon shot, it's usually going to send you FLYING OUT OF THE LEVEL. So not only does that mean you exit the level, have to jump back into the portrait, and then trudge all the way back to where the cannon is, but you also lose a life in the process. For missing a target you're not allowed to actually aim at anyway!

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World 2 - Whomp's Fortress

This is the first would that involves much actual platforming. Unlike the rather cohesive previous world, Whomp's Fortress looks and feels like a lot of platforms, razor thin bridges, and moving parts slapped together haphazardly in order to harass and kill the player. If you don't end up getting on with the game, THIS is likely the first place you'll notice your irritation begin to flair up.

Mario's platforming toolset in this game is complex and acrobatic compared to his movement options in the 2D games of yore, and even, frankly, compared to certain more recent 3D entries. These motions are mostly well-thought-out, although Nintendo also included a punch/kick command, which has... always struck me as odd. Mario isn't a melee fighter outside of Smash Bros., and trying to punch goombas, koopas, etc. in this game just feels wrong when it's so much easier to jump on enemies. It's sort of like the opposite of A Hat in Time: that game had a very limited moveset, but it required you to combine movements in multiple ways to master its platforming challenges. Mario 64 gives you access to a ton of movements, several of which feel like they barely belong in the game at all. Again, this is another way in which Mario 64 betrays its age: it's clear that some of these movements were included in the game just because 3D was new, and they wanted to allow the player to try out a lot of different actions with their fancy new 3D Mario model.

Unfortunately, the rather decent 3D moveset is hampered by how terrible it feels to actually do anything in this game. Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy 1 and 2, Super Mario Odyssey... hell, even Super Mario 3D Land and Super Mario 3D World, all have an immaculate sense of presence to them in terms of how the games control. Movement is intuitive and satisfying. When you mess up in those games, generally, you feel that it's because YOU made a mistake in terms of how well you were controlling the character. Not so in Super Mario 64. Never have I played a game where just the sheer act of moving from one spot to another felt so... fraught, so anxiety-inducing. Mario feels like he's covered in a slick gel that makes him feel slippery at all times, and, as a result, I never felt like I was fully in control of him, no matter what surface he was on. Simply put, there's no sense of traction when it comes to Mario's movements in the game, and the game treats any level of unevenness in the geometry around you as an incline, which means that running too close to a slanted wall, or, god forbid, stepping on a low elevation of grass will send you flying across the level like someone out-of-control in an ice rink. There's also a heavy reliance on momentum when performing jumps, which become downright aggravating when combined with the game's tendency to push the player onto thin platforms and surfaces surrounded by bottomless pits, which are ALL over the place in this world.

Making this issue infinitely worse is the game's frankly obscene camera. The first major issue crops up immediately, when you realize the camera can only be rotated around Mario in a variety of preset angles, which often makes it impossible to focus on what you need to look at in this game. I understand that it's Lakitu controlling the third person camera in this game, but you'd think a turtle in a clowd could allow for slightly smoother movements of the camera.

But sure, fine, the camera can't be freely rotated. Not a problem if the camera is situated in such a way that it gives the ability to see where you're going. Something like Super Mario Galaxy, for example, gives the player almost no control over the in-game camera at all. But the difference between this game and that one is that the camera in SMG was pretty much always perfectly positioned to give the player a satisfying experience while platforming. I don't ever recall feeling frustrated about the lack of camera control in that game. But the camera in SM64 is almost never well-positioned. Lakitu, frankly, sucks at his job, and it happens more often than I can count that the camera gets 'stuck' on scenery, or isn't positioned in such a way that I can easily gauge where I'm supposed to be jumping, and sometimes can't even be adjusted to allow me to see clearly around obstacles.

In the context of this world, imagine trying to cross an incredibly thin, moving bridge when the camera is fixated on on one of the bricks in the wall behind you. You fall off, of course, both because of this, but also because the way Mario moves was, in the N64 original, intimately tied to slight fluctuations of the tall, stiff analog stick on that console's controller. Nintendo hasn't found a way to adequately emulate the feel of the N64 controller in subsequent consoles, so it can be difficult to make precise movements with Mario. He ALWAYS feels like his movement is out of control.

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World 3 - Jolly Roger Bay

This is the first 'water world' in the game, and it's... alright? Weirdly enough, considering how rough around the edges everything else is, I thought Nintendo's first attempt at 3D swimming was perfectly competent. He actually controls much more nicely in H2O than he does on land. It's also sort of thematically interesting insofar as you interact with a sunken (and, in later missions, mysteriously fixed) treasure ship and come face-to-face with a terrifying, kaiju-sized eel underwater.

Mario has a sort of breath meter in this game, although not really: as he stays underwater, his HP slowly drops over time, and then refills once he surfaces for air. There's no dedicated breath meter in this game. The interesting thing about this is that, in other levels that have some water in them, you can actually game the system by diving into water and then resurfacing to fully heal Mario if he takes damage from other sources.

There's another water-themed world in this game, but it sucks (the game ACTUALLY makes you swim through rings at one point like you're playing Superman 64 or something) and feels like a worse version of this. Mario 64 has a mid-to-late-game issue with filler content.

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World 4 - Cool, Cool Mountain

This is the first 'snow/ice'-themed world in the game, and it also houses some of my least favorite missions. I hated having to hunt around everywhere to find a baby penguin to bring back to his mother. There's nothing to it other than the irritation of finding the correct baby penguin (the more obviously situated one belongs to another penguin mother, apparently), and then the irritation of dealing with the awful controls and level design as you bring the thing down.

The truly awful aspect of this level, though, is this long, twisting slide you have to go down (first just by yourself, and then, in a crueler twist, racing against a penguin). There's a similar slide in the castle that you'll likely discover earlier in the game, but it has rails on the side and isn't quite as long (although there is a supremely annoying speedrunning star associated with that slide). There are no rails on this slide, though, and LOTS of twisting, which means LOTS of opportunities for Mario to go flying off and plummet to his death if you dare to gain even a bit of speed (which you need for the turns and constantly when you're racing the penguin). Words fail to even convey how annoying this slide is. The music that accompanies the slide feels like it's designed to be rage-inducing as well, especially considering how many dozens of times I had to listen to it over and over, all in a state of near-panic the entire time. This is pure anxiety in musical form, so I suppose, in some sense, it's a good fit.

It's hard not to feel like Nintendo is trolling you when most of its worst, most sadistic worlds and challenges are accompanied by this demented carnival music that makes every missed jump or slightly mistimed turn on a slide, which inevitably sends the player plummeting to their doom, feel that much worse. That also reminds me: there is a massive lack of musical variety in this game, so you'll here the same tunes repeated quite a bit. It's as horrible as it sounds.

So, yeah, I hate penguins now. Thanks Nintendo.

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ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Ralizah

[Part Two of Two]

World 5 - Big Boo's Haunt

It has often been held by fans of the 3D Mario games that Super Mario 64 has the best hub world in the series, and while I'm not inclined to be kind to this game, I do have to admit that Peach's Castle, despite its initially shallow presentation, IS rather impressively dense overall. Through the course of the game, you'll unlock the upper portions of the castle, the courtyard, and the dungeons, which all feature portraits to jump into. There are environmental puzzles to solve if you even want to find some of the worlds, rabbits to catch, secret exits that lead to alternate stars, etc. One of the most interesting choices was making the method of entering Big Boo's Haunt different from how you enter every other world in the game. In this case, you will notice a Boo drifting out through the castle courtyard doors at some point. You'll walk out to be greeted by a number of ghosts drifting around. It takes a while to figure out, but the largest Boo, if you attack it, drops a birdcage that becomes the portal by which Mario is able to access the 'ghost house' world of this game, Big Boo's Haunt.

Thankfully, Big Boo's Haunt stands as one of the least irritating worlds in the game. The frustrating misdirection of Super Mario World's ghost houses is replaced with something more conventional and atmospheric. Instead of platforming, the player will primarily be exploring a haunted mansion, filled with setpieces like a small library where a poltergeist flings books at Mario and a famous jumpscare in the form of a haunted piano that tries to eat Mario.

I do also want to briefly mention that, despite the accusation of laziness on Nintendo's part when it comes to how this package was assembled, that they did take some care to improve the presentation a bit. While this really would have fared better with a full on remake ala Super Mario 64 3D, a variety of texture work has been updated throughout, and the effort is most noticeable, IMO, in this world. The UI is sharp. Linework on the coins you find, portraits/designs on the walls stand out. The effect isn't overwhelming, but it does help to avoid the razor sharp HD polygons of the characters clashing with lower-res environments ala lazy efforts such as Final Fantasy VII's HD remaster on PS4. The game is still incredibly primitive looking, but it's, at least, a clean, sharp sort of primitive.

It's worth mentioning that the game only runs at 720p in both handheld and docked modes, though. I have no idea why, but I felt like it was probably worth mentioning. This isn't great for a remaster, but it's still obviously a big upgrade over the original resolution the game ran at on the N64.

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World 6 - Hazy Maze Cave

Hazy Maze Cave is, per the name, dark and labyrinth-like in spots. It's a mostly unremarkable world, but I do want to use it to kickstart a discussion about the 100 coin challenges in this game.

The interesting thing about doing a completionist run of Super Mario 64 is that it becomes evident how oriented the structure of Mario 64 is around building the player's sense of mastery over their environment. This is primarily due to the 100 coin challenges. Each level has six listed star challenges (five that involves completing various tasks and then, always, a red coin challenge), and then a seventh unlisted 100 coin challenge. Each star throughout a level will introduce you to, usually, a small aspect of that level's design. In this way, the game's locations are offered up piecemeal to the player. 100 coin challenges, though, require the player to master completing various areas of the level one after another, because collecting that many coins usually means engaging in multiple activities that each reward the player with a star. And considering most enemies in a level typically need to be killed to reach the required coin threshold as well, it makes a lot of sense to think of 100 coin runs as master runs of a level. Your master run will task you will completing the entire level in such a way that you can quickly and expertly dispatch most enemies and complete most tasks because you've spent so much time previously engaging with the level design in order to collect the other stars individually.

Some worlds are overflowing with coins, and this is a piece of cake. But in other worlds, there are so few coins that literally one wrong move or missed enemy will cause the player to be unable to finish the challenge. I found this to be particularly true of Hazy Maze Cave, where I felt like I was constantly looking for new ways to bleed coins out of the sparse, poorly-lit environment. I suppose these levels with tighter coin restrictions force a greater level of mastery from the player, but, like so many of this game's other challenges, it feels like padding to cover up how uneventful the world itself truly is.

This is also one of the worlds that features one of Super Mario 64's two signature transformations: the metal cap. The metal cap turns Mario into... metal, which makes him stomp around and slowly sink in the water. It's as lame as it sounds, although, in the Hazy Maze Cave, it allows Mario to traverse environments filled with a toxic vapor without taking damage.

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World 8 - Shifting Sand Land

One of the more interesting worlds in this game, despite the kind of generic desert theme it goes for. A large portion of the world is filled with quicksand, and the level itself is structured around a large pyramid in the center. This is the first world that really requires some level of mastery of the wing cap, the game's other primary transformation, which is... well, it allows Mario to fly, sort of. What is actually does is send Mario careening through the air uncertainly, and every flight with the hat is a terrifying ordeal where Mario feels like he's out of control and seconds away from crashing into something. This is primarily due to the deeply weird method of maintaining altitude and speed with the wing cap, which requires Mario to fly toward the ground and then violently pull back up, which sends him see-sawing through the air in a nauseating fashion. Flight should and could have been liberating in this game, but instead, like so many other aspect of Mario 64, it's just frustrating.

There are a number of interesting setpieces and gimmicks in this level. For one thing, a giant bird flies around the outside of the pyramid and will grab at Mario if it gets too close. For another, the pyramid itself can actually be entered, and is a large structure filled with platforming challenges, and even the only halfway decent boss encounter in the game! There are also large pillars that Mario will have to stand on top of to finish one of the world's missions: I initially flew to them because I was still thinking of it as a game with a semblance of consistency to its physics or environmental interactions, but, as it turns out, Mario can run vertically up these pillars without a care in the world, even as the slightest bit of unevenness in a bit of grass will see him flying across the level and, usually, to his doom.

A weird, one-off inclusion in this game that never seemed to return for future entries was Mario being able to lose his hat. In specific levels, environmental interactions can lead to Mario losing his hat. In most levels, this isn't a big deal, as, if the hat is blown off his head, it can easily be recovered. In Shifting Sand Land, however, the large bird that terrorizes the entire level can swoop down and snag Mario's cap with its claws. Interestingly, even if Mario dies, his hat will still be missing: Mario has to navigate his way deep into the level and make a point of snatching the hat back from the bird. The loss of his hat makes him take way more damage from enemy attacks, so, as you can imagine, it was a wonderful move on Nintendo's part to force the player to trudge through a level filled with uneven terrain and infuriating instadeath traps to recover it.

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That's the bulk of what I wanted to discuss. I mean, I could discuss the horrible, cruel lategame levels, like the one where you're inside a giant grandfather clock, and every missed jump sends you back to the bottom of the clock, and the way the platforms move differently depending on what in-game time it was when you jumped into the clockface (sometimes the platforms will move sporadically and with no clear pattern, which, as you can guess, is a real joy); or the one where you're standing on a magic carpet in the air the entire time and have to precisely jump over obstacles to avoid falling into the bottomless void which takes up roughly 95% of the world around you; or the hidden wing cap level where, every time you fail to get all the coins in the allotted time frame, you go back to the very beginning area of the game, and have to spend several minutes climbing the castle to get back to the stupid level; I could discuss all of that in detail, and innumerate the ways in which this game irritated the hell out of me, but I think I'm largely done complaining about it now. There's an odd sort of pride and peace that comes with fully completing a game like this, though. Hell, I'm even at the point now where, like older fans, I've largely adjusted to its eccentricities and can now clear the majority of its challenges with a minimum of trouble. I even, having moved on to Super Mario Sunshine, kind of miss its acrobatic long jumping.

There are also two interesting worlds I didn't mention, but which are unique enough to merit mention. In Tiny-Huge Island, you're either tiny or huge compared to everything around you, and the perspective change dramatically changes how you approach the level. It's really quite neat, because you can enter the world in either form via two separate portraits, one normal one for the tiny perspective, and one portrait that's HUGE in comparison to the player. The game uses some weird perspective trickery to pull this off, because the portrait looks like it grows in size as you approach it. It's very neat. There's also Wet-Dry World, in which you have to interact with objects to change the water level of the world, which impacts what stars and challenges you have access to. It recalls Ocarina of Time's famously annoying Water Temple, except, here, it's actually executed fairly well.

With that said, I'm... done. I'm done. It's over. I can't really imagine myself ever revisiting this game again. It's a relic of an earlier time that I'll happily leave in the past from now on. I may or may not check out the revamped NDS version eventually, but otherwise, that's it.

Burn in hell God rest your weary soul, Super Mario 64, because it's time to go on to much better games.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Late

@Ralizah That was an interesting read. I've never seen anyone be so negative towards Mario 64. I also first experienced it during the Wii era but unlike you, I actually really like it and have been saying it's my favorite 3D Mario game.

I've played through it multiple times and went for 100% once before but I'm collecting every star again on Switch. I've been taking it quite slow since I have multiple other games I'm playing. I have ~105 stars so far. I'm almost done. Then it's time to play Sunshine which I've played before but never beaten.

Last time I played SM64 was on an actual N64 and I had fun completing it. This time things have been way more annoying but 80% of the time the culprit is my control stick. (The other 20% being camera and slopes.) Left stick is drifting once again and it has caused me many deaths. The worst thing is when you're on a moving platform and you try to stay still but then Mario starts moving on its own and runs to his doom. I've been meaning to buy a new can of compressed air but I always forget. Drifting hasn't been a problem in other games I've been playing recently since they don't need the stick.

I'll have to write a bit more about my experiences once I'm done. I have bunch of other games I've finished since I last wrote here too. Writing always ends up taking longer than I first intend so I've been putting it off but at the same time I keep finishing more and more games and I'd still like to share my thoughts. I'll have to make some time this weekend.

Late

Switch Friend Code: SW-8287-7444-2602 | Nintendo Network ID: LateXD

TheFrenchiestFry

Final Fantasy X HD Remaster (Switch)

My personal favorite numbered FF entry, and the Switch version eviscerates the Vita version as not just the best handheld version of the game, but also now my preferred way to play the game outright. I still really like the Sphere Grid system and the way it factors into deciding what Class skills you'd want to align yourself towards and perfect, the game still looks extremely good for a very early PS2 title and the music is some of the best that's ever graced the series period. Even my friends who haven't played the game can still hum the Zanarkand overture that plays in the opening FMV sequence.

10/10 game
or I guess X/X

TheFrenchiestFry

Switch Friend Code: SW-4512-3820-2140 | My Nintendo: French Fry

ToadBrigade

@Ralizah “A weird, one-off inclusion for this game that never seemed to return for future entries was Mario being able to lose his hat.” I actually found out a couple days ago that Mario can lose his hat in Sunshine too. There may be other places, but for me it happened in Pinna Park. Outside the park in an episode (don’t remember which), near the sunflowers, there are green, winged “Strollin’ Stus” (I had to look up that name, they’re the goomba counterparts in Sunshine). One of them swooped down on Mario and stole his hat, and actually wore it. That caused Mario to essentially take poison damage, losing a little from his life meter at a time, until I defeated the Stu. Also, the bird stealing Cappy in Odyssey’s Lost Kingdom is a pretty clear callback to the same thing happening in Shifting Sand Land. So this actually can happen in a lot of Mario games 😃

Hollow Knight for Smash!

Ralizah

@Late Yeah, it's still a highly regarded game. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it sometime.

I can't imagine playing this with a drifting joycon. FWIW, I fixed my joycon drift with cotton swabs and a bottle of isopropyl alcohol after compressed air failed to address the issue.

@ToadBrigade Interesting! I nearly 100%ed Sunshine on the Cube a few years back and never had that happen to me. I had no idea it was possible to randomly lose your hat to an enemy in any of the other 3D Mario games.

ACTIVELY PLAYING
Switch Lite: Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch

Shadowthrone

Just finished Sonic 3+K for what must be the millionth time. I love this game, it's just so good, the pinnacle of 2D Sonic and just a blast to play. Only this time I used the Sonic 3 Angel Island Revisited version.
A.I.R. is built on the Steam version of the game and enhances it (this is important, as it actually requires the Steam ROM, so the physics, control and everything is 100% accurate to the original, since it is the original). It enhances the resolution, the animation, the fps to a constant 60 (special stages look amazing at 60fps) and also lets you tweak the game. You can play the full Sonic 3+K game with Sonic 3 music, for instance, or even sub music like using the Sonic 2 invincibility tune . Or have it put Flying Battery Zone back where it was originally supposed to be in the world order (between Carnival Night and Ice Cap - breaking thru the Battery door was supposed to transition to the Battery door becoming the snowboard at the start of Ice Cap). There's a whole slew of options it adds, plus achievements and challenges.
Basically, A.I.R. takes an already magnificent retro game and brings it into the modern age perfectly. Highly recommended for any fan of the game that wants a fresh, modern update on it. Honestly, likely way better than any enhanced version Sega themselves would do, with the options to put cut content back in and such.

Otherwise, the game itself....I could gush about it endlessly, I'm sure. I loved it when it was new and I had to lock those cartridges together and still love it today. Tight controls, great art style and graphics, superb level design. Honestly, for me, this is the Sonic game that got it all right. They fixed every issue I had with the previous two games with this one.
And I love the 16-bit era ability to tell a story without words. There's a whole rivalry, sense of urgency, a prophecy and ending all told without one word, narratively or spoken between characters. Reminds me of the Super Metroid ending all done beautifully without a word, either.

Shadowthrone

Narrator1

Got 120 Stars in the Super Mario 3D All-Stars port of Super Mario Galaxy, which was something I was never able to do earlier in life with an original Wii. Being able to press a button to spin and having the Switch's much more finely-tuned motion controls guide me through tougher challenges made all of the difference.

Now to do the whole thing over as Luigi and truly beat the game.

Narrator1

daisygurl

Finally beat the Darker side in SMO yesterday. 20% of those power moons were bought . I also did it on Assist Mode

Love anything about Nintendo, and Mario. Want cruddy SMM2 levels? Just find daisyfan18.

My Nintendo: MonkeyMoo

kkslider5552000

Beat Kirby and the Rainbow Curse. PLAYING WII U IN 2020, WHY NOT

It was really good, but its Kirby so of course it was. Maybe not quite as great as Canvas Curse which for various reasons made more sense to replay a lot, but its still a nice follow up. Appreciate all the extra remixes too, just because they could.

Non-binary, demiguy, making LPs, still alive

Bioshock Infinite Let's Play!:
LeT's PlAy BIOSHOCK < Link to LP

RR529

Super Mario Sunshine (Super Mario 3D All-Stars - Switch)
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The GameCube was the first Nintendo home console that I missed out on as a kid (I had one briefly at a later time, but we mainly went with a PS2 that gen), and so SMS was a game I had missed out on until now, so I'm glad I finally got a crack at it. For full disclosure I finished the game with 80 (out of 120) Shines.

Gameplay:

  • It has the same basic structure of Super Mario 64, with an expansive hub world to play around in (this time the bustling Delfino Plaza), and by jumping through graffiti portals, going down red pipes, or being shot out of a cannon(!) you access the various large, exploratory worlds you must traverse in order to collect Shine Sprites (the game's answer to 64's Power Stars).
  • While 64 had 15 Worlds with 7 Power Stars each (6 Missions and a 100 Coin Star), Sunshine has 7 Worlds with 11 Shines each (8 Missions, a 100 Coin Shine, and 2 "Secret" Shines), with it's smaller World selection being in part due to a rushed development cycle (for example, the final level, Corona Volcano, while a linear platforming challenge in the final game, was intended to be a full fat World at one point, and there are one or two confirmed or rumored World cuts as well).
  • Unlike in 64 where you're able to collect a World's Stars in any order you want (with a few exceptions) and any 70 Stars (out of 120) will unlock the final level, in Sunshine you must complete a World's 8 Missions in order (with the first 7 in each World being mandatory to unlock the final level), although the next World will open up after completing the current World's first Mission, so you don't have to complete any of the Worlds in one go (just be aware that you'll eventually have to go back to complete them in order to access endgame). I think having a certain number of Shines is a secondary requirement to unlocking the final level, but it's certainly a lower number than 64's 70, and most of those will be made up of the required Shines, so any extra Shines are largely pointless unless you're going for 100% (not that they can't be fun in their own right).
  • the required Missions (plus the 8th one in each World) themselves are quite varied & range from boss fights (which are more plentiful & more in-depth compared to 64), completing a certain task within a World (such as cleaning up most of a dirty beach in 3 minutes, platforming to a hard to reach area, navigating a maze, etc.), Red Coin missions ( you have to collect 8 red coins, and these are tied more closely to a specific challenge than in 64 where they were more often than not scavenger hunts, and I prefer Sunshine's take on them), Shadow Mario missions (always the 7th mission in a World, these are easy missions where you have to chase Shadow Mario around and spray him with water until he falls. As far as I know there's no way to lose him & fail, if there was I certainly would have encountered it during one of the 500 times I fell off the scaffolding in Ricco Harbor & had to make my way back up to him), and of course the infamous "Secret Levels", which take you to a void & require you to complete a linear platforming challenge without the aid of FLUDD (these can be a stiff challenge, but I actually liked them).
    Untitled
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    The top screen is an example of one of the "Secret Levels" I had to traverse, while the bottom is a unique boss fight where you have to use the propulsion of FLUDD to clean a deep sea eel's teeth while avoiding being sucked in by the creature.
  • Outside of the main Missions, there are also a few hidden levels you can access from Delfino Plaza (similar to 64's hidden slide or Cap unlock levels inside of Peach's Castle), these tend to be linear challenges that offer up a Shine for completion (and two of these, the Pachinko & Lily Pad levels, are considered the hardest in the game. I only did the former), Blue Coin Shines (there are 30 Blue Coins to collect in each World, plus some in Delfino Plaza & Corona Volcano, and you can trade in every 10 for a Shine), the 2 Secret Shines in each World (these can be genuine secrets, but oftentimes just revolve around replaying the "Secret Levels" in a timed Red Coin variant, though you'll have FLUDD with you now) & some Shines you get for doing mundane things around Delfino Plaza (such as cleaning bell towers, uncovering a painting on a beach, etc.), including a 100 Coin Shine for the hub area. These are largely optional, and most seem like padding (especially the Blue Coins) since otherwise there'd be no way to reach 120 Shines with the smaller World count.
  • Platforming itself is much tighter than in 64, and while a few moves (such as the long jump) have been cut, your repitoire has generally been expanded thanks to the introduction of FLUDD, a water filled backpack device that you can use to squirt enemies or goop (which you'll often be tasked with cleaning up), with the R button locking you into place allowing you to direct the stream with the left stick (by pressing in the right stick you'll get a close up over the shoulder camera view that makes aiming easier), with R2 allows you to shoot while running (while this is less accurate, it certainly has it's uses). By pressing "X" it'll switch to "Hover" mode, in which you can instead use it to hover over large gaps or correct a misjump before you land. Via Red & Silver boxes you can swap out the "Hover" nozzle for the "Rocket" or "Boost" nozzle (Blue boxes will switch you back to "Hover"), with the "Rocket" nozzle allowing you to reach high up areas via a compressed water burst, & the "Boost" nozzle shooting you forward at Sonic speed and allowing you to run on water. These latter two abilities are usually used in specific instances & are best thought of as power ups (which the game is otherwise lacking). Using any of FLUDD's abilities will drain your supply of water, but it's usually easy to refill when low, as there are a lot of bodies of water in the environments.
  • It's also the first 3D Mario title to feature a rideable Yoshi (and the only one in this collection), and while it's fun at first, you're abilities actually seem to be a bit limited when riding him, so you'll likely only saddle up when an objective needs him (for example, there is certain goop that can only be melted by the juice Yoshi holds in his stomach, which by the way if Yoshi runs out he'll disappear & you'll have to hatch a new one if he runs out. It automatically drains, and drains further if you use any, so be sure to keep an eye on the guage & eat a fruit if he's running low). He'll also automatically disappear if he comes into contact with water...
  • It's also considered to be the glitchiest of the 3D Mario titles, and though I had a couple issues, it's not something I found to be a particular problem, other than annoyingly the final boss, where you have to destroy parts of the arena with a butt stomp and platform up the cracked area back to the main arena before it falls off (you can glitch through the cracked floor upon impact, dying before even getting a chance to climb back up).
    Untitled
    The only other issue I encountered is the humorous one above, where Mario got stuck between this flipping grate & a wall, causing a shower of "star sparks" (usually 4-5 show up when you run into a wall at high speed) while he was stuck.

Audio/Visual:

  • Like most 6th gen titles I think it cleaned up really well in HD, with water & heat effects that look good to this day, and the cartoony look certainly helps as well.
  • Interestingly for a Mario game, the entirety of the game takes place within a single overall locale, the tropical Isle Delfino (the different Worlds are really just the different regions of the island), and they go through great lengths to make sure every little platform is organically built into the environment (with the exception of the "Secret Levels") & you can usually see one or two (or more) of the other Worlds from the one you're currently in, giving the game world a sense of cohesiveness that you just don't see elsewhere in the franchise.
  • While this could give rise to the fear that the Worlds themselves could be samey, that couldn't be further from the truth. While an aquatic theme carries across everything, over your journey you'll explore an industrial fishing harbor, an amusement park, a haunted hotel that looks ripped straight from a 60's Elvis movie, huge seaside ruins, & more. Untitled
    Untitled
    Untitled
    Untitled
    Noki Bay pictured just above is absolutely huge! You start out on one of those little platforms in the water below, and can climb up the shell towers as well as a series of ruins built along the entirety of the cliff wall that surrounds the bay. Many of the worlds have high up vertical platforming that's quite impressive.
  • It has a nice tropical infused soundtrack that fits the theme, plus some classic remixes in the "Secret Levels".

Story:

  • Mario, Peach, & Toadsworth (a character both introduced & dropped in the 00's) are looking forward to a nice vacation on tropical Isle Delfino, but when they get there they find out that the place has been trashed, the Shine Sprites (the island's power source) have scattared, and thinking Mario is the culprit(!) the local Pianta population jails him & tasks him with cleaning up the place, all the while our hero tries to clear his name.
  • Final Fantasy this is not, but it is one of the deeper Mario "narratives" (eclipsed probably only by Galaxy), and while things end up in a pretty predictable manner, the journey there is a bit unique. Plus, it's the only game where Bowser has spoken dialogue!
    Untitled
    Sonic isn't the only platform mascot in the 6th gen to get a Shadow...

Conclusion:

  • Definitely a step up from 64, IMO. Despite a few rough edges with the ocassional glitch, Sunshine feels & looks relatively modern, with generally tight platforming around some quite impressively expansive Worlds, inside the most cohesive game world in Mario cannon. Outside of the varied main missions it feels a bit padded out, but that's not necessarily a bad thing when it has such a strong core. Some may balk at the fact that it largely lacks the freeform progression of it's predecessor (outside of some unintended glitches you can take advantage of), but it's not something that particularly bothered me, especially when the rest of the game is just so much better.
    Untitled

Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

ToadBrigade

@RR529 I miss Toadsworth. He was the best. Interesting read though, being able to hear from someone playing the best Mario game for the first time.

Edited on by ToadBrigade

Hollow Knight for Smash!

RR529

@ToadBrigade, I'm not sure if I'd call it the best (I have a particularly high opinion of Galaxy, which seems to be holding up now that I'm replaying it, and Super Mario World will always hold a special place in my heart), but it's certainly better than 64, 3D Land, and most of the 2D games.

Currently Playing:
Switch - Blade Strangers
PS4 - Kingdom Hearts III, Tetris Effect (VR)

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