Exactly what you'd expect from a mobile version of Tetris: a little jank, but there's very little to fuck up. Controls are finicky. Pieces change the direction they're rotating for seemingly no reason, which is hell at high levels. Nice presentation, though.
It told me today was National Hug a Dog Day, which no other app has done for me yet.
This review contains spoilers
In the subway station in Nimbasa City, there's one train line not reserved for the Battle Subway. If you take this line, you'll find yourself in a small town in northwestern Unova called Anville Town. This town is optional. Many players probably went several playthroughs without ever finding it. It consists of a couple buildings, a railroad turntable, and a bridge.
On weekends, the bridge is packed with people. You can trade various items with these people, and it's nice, but it's not really anything super important. The turntable in the center of town has a different train car on it every day, and an NPC will tell you details about whichever car is on the turntable.
One of the cars that can show up on the turntable is the one that takes you to Anville Town in the first place. If you talk to the NPC about this car, he'll say, "Isn't it just so cute? This one is a little slow and heavy. When it runs, the whole train sways. The train car is the same model as a Single Train. Because it is an old train car, I hear the maintenance is hard, but it's the one I always ride, because I loved it as a kid!"
The music that plays in this town is unique—as is every other town theme in Unova. There are no repeat tracks between towns. The Anville Town theme is serene, perfect for late-night background noise to calm the nerves. The song itself is called "A Lullaby for Trains."
A lady in town can be seen playing the flute. And if you walk close to her, a flute gets added to the arrangement.
In my opinion, Pokémon Black & White are the peak of what the series is capable of. They certainly have flaws—and at first, those flaws were all I could see. Some of the Pokémon designs are outright ugly, and many of them borrow concepts from previous generation Pokémon (particularly from Kanto). The palette of the region is largely muddy and muted. The early routes are littered with bad Pokémon, and I often find myself getting a second team member very late, even after the second gym.
If someone told me Generation V was their least favorite, I'd understand. It's how I felt for a long time, and I remember it getting a lot of flak when it was new. But I'm glad that its reputation has turned around in recent years, and that more people are starting to see its merits.
Mechanically, the starter trio of Unova is my favorite of any generation. Emboar plays very differently from the other Fire/Fighting starters, being more of a glass cannon than a sweeper. It always makes me sad when people see the type and don't give it a chance, because it's actually very fun to play!
Serperior, on the other hand, is my favorite Pokémon of all time. Its unorthodox combination of high speed and high defenses makes for a very unique single-player tank, with the ability to whip out first-turn status moves like they're nothing.
Samurott has a bit less mechanical identity than the other starters, but is still a nice alternative whose movepool has a fun range of secondary effects.
Unovan Pokémon tend to have quite unique playstyles. There are a lot of duds in the dex—Unfezant, Maractus (it's cute though), Mandibuzz, Heatmor, Liepard, to name a few. But there are many more that I could use on several playthroughs and never get bored.
For example, Krookodile is a very well-loved Pokémon with good stats and a wide movepool. It also has two abilities that are both equally good in very different ways; Intimidate helps it tank hits, and Moxie turns it into a fearsome sweeper if it can get going. You could play Krookodile across two different playthroughs and get two very different experiences.
I've probably played this game 8 or 9 times, and I'm still finding new things to appreciate about Pokémon I previously thought were worthless.
I always hated Vanilluxe like everyone else—until I realized that it had great mixed attacking stats, just enough speed and bulk to make use of those stats, and that the two types of moves it learns happen to be super-effective on the entire latter half of the game's gyms. Now I love it, I appreciate its silly design, and I name it Jerry on every playthrough that I use it (updating to Ben+Jerry when it evolves).
Just this last playthrough, I realized that I had been completely neglecting a few Pokémon that may actually be really fun to use in a single-player context. So many times while building teams for this game, I thought, "this Pokémon would be so much better if it had a good buffing move." Then I realized that X items are basically buffing moves that always go first, always raise the relevant stat by two stages, and—unlike some other games in the series—are repeatably and cheaply purchasable early on, in Nacrene City.
Even though I'm still working through the postgame at the moment, I'm already imagining a new playthrough where I make use of new Pokémon with this trick. You could use Klinklang with X Specials to make use of its slightly bigger special movepool, or use X items on Audino to make its absolutely massive movepool more usable. I don't know for certain if this strategy will work out, but that's the fun of a new playthrough!
The world of Unova is a place I can visit again and again. Each town has its own identity, a place that feels lived in & vibrant. Nacrene City is built from disused warehouses, and it has a local museum and a vibrant art scene. The residents of Lacunosa Town stay inside at night, fearing a monster. Nimbasa City is a hub for the entertainment industry, with a musical theater, sports stadiums, a theme park (which houses the gym), and a large train station to bring the tourists in.
The game's art style does a very good job at portraying the character & charm of these locations. The use of 3D models to represent scenery is much more pronounced here than it was in the Generation IV games, and the visual effect works well. In my opinion, the games strike the perfect balance between 2D and 3D, a balance that was somewhat lost in the transition to full 3D. There are certainly things I love about all of the 3D games—but there's no denying that the 3DS games run like ass, and the Switch games tend to have rather poor texture work.
Here, the game runs smooth as butter, the battle system is lightning fast, and the fully animated sprites help make each Pokémon feel alive. The animated sprites can be a little off-putting at first—all the aliasing around the edges kinda reminds me of early seasons of Ed Edd n Eddy, with their squiggly-line style of animation—but I've grown to really love it otherwise. I still kinda wish the series improved upon this concept, at least for a couple more generations. It would've been especially cool to see this style brought to a region with a less moody tone & muddy palette, like Alola.
Sun & Moon are my next favorite games in the series, and they really share quite a lot with Black & White—a bigger emphasis on story, a new approach for the gameplay, and a surprisingly good cast of characters for a Pokémon game. In fact, on that last point, I'd actually say Sun & Moon have Black & White beat. While N is probably my favorite human character in the series and Bianca is one of my favorite rivals, I'm not the biggest fan of Cheren, and there's not really any other characters in the story with a shred of depth.
On the note of N: I think he is single-handedly what makes the story of Black & White work for me. Honestly, the plot of Black & White gets praised a lot, and while I think it's good, I don't think it's quite as good as people make it out to be.
The whole Team Plasma plotline is basically the same rigmaroll of "villain has reasonable goals, proceeds to kick babies and destroy crops to prove they're bad" that you see in so many games these days. Team Plasma spread the idea that Pokémon are abused by people, and no one in the good corner even attempts to make a counterargument to that. It's mostly just "prove that Pokémon like their trainers by beating Team Plasma in a battle, or something." No big deal, it's a Pokémon game; there's just not as much here as people would make you think.
However, N's character arc is my favorite part of the game.
This game explores abuse in a surprisingly tactful way. N has been manipulated by Ghetsis from childhood. Ghetsis exposed N only to abused Pokémon, in the hopes that someday he would become a charismatic leader who would convince people to release their Pokémon. He plays N for his own personal benefit, and does not give a rat's ass about N's thoughts and desires. When N begins to falter on Ghetsis, Ghetsis calls him "a warped, defective boy who knows nothing but Pokémon," apparently without a shred of self-awareness. Seeing N reject Ghetsis's worldview, broaden his own horizons, and start to see the good in the world is cathartic every playthrough.
It's certainly not complex. It's not a deep dive into the dynamics of abuse, and it's not all that thought-provoking. Really, it's mostly confined to the final scene, as that's when the game finally admits that Ghetsis is the bad guy. But for a big series to pull a character like N off without forcing forgiveness on them is cathartic. I think, more than anything, it's what makes the story of Black & White work.
In the modern day, I'd suggest playing White Version over Black; the version-exclusive content is much better, and I think the story is slightly more symbolically interesting. Also, the White version of Opelucid City is much more cozy.
That's about all I have to say on this game. It's a great Pokémon game, highly replayable, and has a surprising amount of mechanical depth. The story, while simple, is mostly well-executed. It's about the most perfectly-crafted a Pokémon game can be.
The minigames are excellent, and I actually really like the way this game looks. It's oddly the best-looking Mario Party game on GameCube.
I'm a bigger fan of the boards than most people—I don't mind the metal walkways, and otherwise they're still full of character! Shy Guy's Jungle Jam is my favorite. There's no denying that some of them are a little too luck-based, though. Koopa's Seaside Soiree in particular has no excuse for being designed the way it is.
I think this game's biggest sin is the item system. The items suuuuck, and your inventory gets filled with Mini or Mega Mushrooms before too long. They're super boring as power-ups and they don't stop loading you with them. Coming in between the stellar item systems of Mario Party 3 and the later GameCube games, the lackluster items in this one really stand out.
Overall, a good experience that could be so much better. I would be down to see some of these boards remixed in future Superstars-style games. (Please don't overload the series with remakes, though. Far too many series become choked out by feeling obligated to have a remake sub-series the moment they make a single remake.)
Some questionable updates later in its life soured me on it a bit—why bring back Damage Up, except only for some weapons?—but I greatly enjoyed what I played of this otherwise. The weapon variety is incredible, and the world is just so quirky and endearing! It's my top-played Switch game for a reason. Looking forward to Splatoon 3 to refresh my love for this series.
Gorgeous pixel artwork, a plethora of fun abilities, and some really neat gameplay concepts. I like the format of having lots of little gamelets to choose from. I wouldn't mind seeing more games in that vein, even in other series.
The Great Cave Offensive was really fun. Milky Way Wishes was stellar (heh) and featured some of the more unique aspects for a Kirby title. I want there to be another Kirby game where powerups are permanent, because I feel like there's a lot of level design potential in them that isn't fully explored due to the nature of the gameplay.
Also, this game was weird, and I liked that. There was a whale smoking a pipe. Meta Knight's crewmates were cute. I found a Mr. Saturn at one point. I couldn't stop kissing Waddle Dee.
Unbelievably gorgeous, with massive mechanical improvements that add depth to the tactical gameplay. The game is a little hampered by the gated progression; my favorite part is when you have that free time just before the end to collect the remaining fruit, but that segment of the game is far too short.
Otherwise, I love this game to bits. The Go Here command and Winged Pikmin are top-tier additions. There's an impressive number of control schemes, and I've played with and loved all of them throughout at least one playthrough each. The boss fights are incredibly dynamic, and the final area is a cleverly designed test of tactical thinking.
Final note: there are some major control differences between the original and Pikmin 3 Deluxe. If you own both a Wii U and a Switch, I'd suggest looking into those differences before deciding which version to buy.
This review contains spoilers
I came into this expecting something like Ocarina of Time—generically good, in the sense that it does the things you expect, just really well. And well, for the most part, yeah it is like that. But there's a little dash of weirdness in there that I like.
You turn into a bunny. No reason in particular why a bunny specifically. You just do. There's a massive pyramid in the middle of Hyrule. For 95% of the game, it's just kinda there. Your house is a bomb shop in the Dark World, for some reason. It doesn't try to draw a parallel between you and the bomb shop owner or anything, he's just some other guy. And everything to do with the mirror is fascinating. They let you warp back to the Light World just about anywhere, and that's crazy, and I wish they used that mechanic more fully. Also, the Triforce talks.
I played A Link Between Worlds before this, and I'm glad I did. The plot of that game works a lot better if you can't see it coming from a mile away. Also, enemies don't get stuck overlapping your sprite and take you from full health to death nearly as often, which is a plus in my books. I think both games are equally good, although ALBW leans slightly more towards "generic good" in a way that's not for everyone.
Link to the Past's dungeons are nowhere near as interesting as in a 3D Zelda game, but they're probably my favorite dungeons of the top-down games. They still lack the puzzle-box quality that makes me actually enjoy playing a Zelda dungeon, though.
The overworld, on the other hand, is very rich and alive. I found it was surprisingly easy to navigate, despite how limiting the game is on where you can fast travel to & where you can start when you load up the game. I like the open-ended progression (even if you need to deliberately ignore the game to achieve it sometimes).
For all the things I dislike about top-down Zelda gameplay, I feel like finding collectibles in them is much more fun than the 3D series. Searching every inch of the map for the last few Heart Pieces without a guide genuinely made me feel like a kid again, and it was probably my favorite sequence in the game.
I like this game. It lives up to its legacy.
How did the duck find you in the Dark World though? That was weird.
This was my first Picross game. Everything is in Japanese, so the first few minutes were confusing, but I figured it out. I started this to pass the time & take my mind off things and I've been playing for like 60 hours since.
I got through the Mario levels really quickly, and it was a fun enough experience on its own. But I've been playing through the Wario levels for months now, and as tedious as they can be sometimes, I think they're more my speed. I like being able to take my time on a level. The challenge of deducing where the right squares are without feedback is addictive. It can be frustrating if they don't give you an obvious starting point, but once you get in the groove, you can typically find your own through a little trial-and-error.
Almost none of the pictures have anything to do with Mario, but it's still fun seeing what they make at the end. My favorite feeling is having no clue what the puzzle is depicting until the very second you finish it. I'm definitely picking up other Picross games when I'm done with the Wario levels.
The only time a game asked "Do you want to play that all again with slight modifications?" and I said "Yeah, sure, why not." The back half of the game is surprisingly fun, with some good mixups on the original concepts, although the difficulty can get tedious.
The front half of the game is extremely good; it's short, but I like it at this length. It's like the espresso of Mario games. The levels are snappy and satisfying to zoom through; World 7 is my favorite.
There was a time where I thought I preferred this to 3D World. But after replaying both games back-to-back, I think I was just more open to this type of gameplay when 3D Land came out compared to 3D World. Now that Nintendo is putting out other things, it's easy to overlook the kinda generic stylings and just appreciate both games.
Final note: I love these little guys. They only appeared in 3D Land and no one ever talks about them. Look how round!
There's very little I can criticize with the way they handled this. The minigames are almost all enjoyable. The visuals are gorgeous. And the boards aren't just 1-to-1 replicas of the originals—they've been tweaked to make board gameplay more interesting.
For example, on Woody Woods, one of the bank spaces has been moved to just before Boo. This creates situations where you just barely can't afford stealing a Star because you had to pay the bank—or you could land on the bank space and suddenly be able to afford stealing a Star on the next turn. They also overhauled Peach's Birthday Cake; the Bowser section is now a dangerous shortcut back to the Star, rather than an unlucky detour. And while not much is changed on the board from a gameplay perspective, I love the visual changes they made to Horror Land.
Some might take issue with the coin balance; items are very cheap in this game, and it's not uncommon to have a big cache of coins. But honestly, that's not much different from the classic Mario Party series. It was a problem in Super Mario Party because the Stars were only 10 coins, and you hardly ever felt wanting for money. But there are still moments in Superstars where I can't afford Stars or important items, and that's good. The return of duels and real battle games helps, because the coin distribution can swing much more wildly than before. (Although I do wish you could duel for Stars like in the classic series!)
I have some minor problems with the game. Bringing back the control stick spinning games unmodified was baffling and stupid; they really should have just changed the control schemes if they wanted to include those games so much. While the item system is better than Super Mario Party, I still miss some of the more interesting items and board-building elements from the GameCube games. And Lucky Spaces are far too abundant, so they don't feel very impactful when you get them. The devs seem to like them more than I do, judging by how often I've seen AI characters use a Custom Dice Block to land on them instead of getting a Star.
Overall though, I like this game. It's a remake with intent & soul, it's gorgeous, and it lets me inflict pain on my friends online. That's nice.
Crystal is great if you want to spend a few days wandering around a dollhouse world, staring at cute pastel spritework. There's not a whole lot to the story, but the mythology & atmosphere of Johto is neat.
If you want to play this over the remakes, you have to sacrifice some parts of the gameplay. Movesets are very shallow, and the physical/special split did a lot of good that you'll miss. However, some Pokémon actually have more depth to their movepools without the split—for example, in generation 2, Alakazam can use the elemental punches for type coverage. So you can take advantage of the earlier systems to play with some Pokémon you might not otherwise use!
Probably the biggest thing lost when playing this over HGSS is speed—not just movement speed, but battle speed, too. The limited movepools can force you to work with terrible moves for a lot of the game, so there will be quite a few back-and-forth tacklefests. With the level curve, you'll also be using unevolved Pokémon for an unusually long time (though the remakes didn't fix that). Taking these issues into account, along with the general sluggishness of being a Game Boy Color game, I would recommend playing this on an emulator with a fast forward option if you're fine with that.
HeartGold & SoulSilver did Johto a lot more justice than this did. Those games are beautiful, they expand on the mythology of the region in incredible ways, they add a lot of content, and they also let you take your Steelix for a walk. But the good news is that you don't have to choose between the two! You can always go back to the other game when you're ready for more Johto. So go ahead and pick this up if you want something cute to play—there's a lot of fun to be had.