Sidescrollers: Super Mario and Zelda still kick butt

Super Mario

One of the universal rules of gaming is, no matter how bleak things seem, never count out good ole Nintendo. Time and time again, despite the protestations of angry dudes on message boards, Mario and company bounce back with some perfectly designed game. Today we have two.

‘Super Mario 3-D World’
Wii U
Nintendo
5 globes

The Wii U is in a tough spot. A weak launch and a dearth of software has left Nintendo’s follow-up to the grandma-pleasing Wii between an octorok and a hard place. Fans have been waiting for the system’s “killer app” for more than a year now. Well, break out the non alcoholic bubbly, because here it is.

‘Super Mario 3-D World’ plays like a perfect amalgamation of every Mario game that has come before it, while still managing to dole out surprise after surprise. You navigate 3-D space, like Mario 64 and Galaxy, but you do so with buds. Four person multiplayer is the hook here and it’s a blast. The graphics, to these decrepit old eyes, look better than anything the just released Xbox One and PS4 have yet mustered up. In short, it’s the best new game of the holiday season.

‘The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds’
3DS
Nintendo
5 globes

The year is 1991. The airwaves (which still existed) played M.C. Hammer ad nauseum, your parents had a bunch of glassy eyed friends over to watch “Twin Peaks” and your Super Nintendo was used to play just one cartridge, “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.” Now, more than twenty years later, what many consider to be the best “Zelda” game has finally gotten a sequel. Also, it rules.

It features the same top-down ultra-fast gameplay as the original but with a unique twist, Link can make himself flat and travel along walls. This, essentially, makes the game both 2-D and 3-D at once, and is used to great effect in the game’s many brain twisting puzzles. This new Zelda is also almost totally non-linear, favoring a “go anywhere” approach more often seen in games like Skyrim.


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