When you hear the phrase “online team-based shooter,” Nintendo is usually the last company you think is involved. The company best-known for colorful, cartoon-like platformers and family-friendly franchise party games has dabbled in competitive online play with recent Mario Kart and Super Smash Bros. titles, but those modes were additional options to their respective games and never the main attractions. But at E3 last year, Nintendo unveiled Splatoon to the world, representing both a new IP and a new approach toward online play from the house that Mario built. READ MORE
The Kirby series has a long history of experimentation. From Epic Yarn to Mass Attack, the pink puffball has been seen as Nintendo’s test subject for a multitude of crazy new ideas despite the series’ otherwise well-regarded formula. 2005 saw the release of Kirby Canvas Curse, considered by many to be the first great original Nintendo DS game and a fantastic new experimental take on a well-worn formula. It only took Nintendo ten years, but here we are with Kirby and the Rainbow Curse, a spiritual successor to Canvas Curse utilizing a new, unique art style. While it doesn’t stand up to the 2005 classic, Rainbow Curse still has plenty going for it.
Citizens of Earth feels like a tribute to the SNES classic (and tragically underplayed) Earthbound. I am a huge fan of that game for its irreverence, setting and gameplay, and Citizens of Earth takes liberally from its best elements. It’s genuinely funny and strategically deeper than it first appears, while leveraging its characters and setting well. Its attempts to reclaim the magic of its source material are largely successful, but most of all, it’s just a lot of fun to play. READ MORE
Last year’s Super Mario 3D World was stellar as a whole, but a series of levels designed as a change of pace proved to be more than many expected. It’s great, then, that these stages get a second chance to shine in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, this time as the star. Don’t worry: any worries you have about the formula not working for a whole title can be quieted, as the Captain’s adventure finds way to keep things fresh. READ MORE
The premise of the original Super Smash Bros. on the N64 centered around the idea that Nintendo figures were drawn from a toy box, brought to life by Master Hand to duke it out on various battlefields. While the franchise hasn’t really been known for its lore, the concept itself has clearly defined the path the series has taken. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, brought to life by Masahiro Sakurai and a team at Bandai Namco, feels even more like a collection of cool toys in a box than previous installments, eschewing any attempts at narrative and cohesion in favor of a menu full of disparate-but-entertaining options. READ MORE