QuickReview: Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker is not the perfect make-your-own-game that I wanted it to be. It comes as close an anything that I’ve played, a lot of that is due to the familiarity with the mechanics presented here. You know how Mario games work, it makes creating levels that fit within the pastiche of a Mario game exceedingly easy. The tool set to make that level is incredibly intuitive combining that familiarity with the amazingly simple, yet deep, UI design.


There’s so much to play with that it can be overwhelming to figure out what to base a level on. In fact, my most accomplished levels probably took an hour or more to perfect (and they’re still not completely there…) while also taking an incredible amount of focus. When I finished this level to the right, I was physically exhausted. The focus it takes to keep adding non-repeating elements is surprising, but I find finished levels leave me with such a sense of accomplishment.

The frustrating part of Super Mario Maker is the lack of a friend level hopper. You’re only way to play your friends games will be to trade a level code, which allows you to add them as a followed creator, and then visit each friend’s profile to play their levels and the levels that they have starred. Outside of following creators there’s a 100-Mario Challenge that mixes up random levels that err on the side of frustrating more than creative.


Once people get over making impossibly difficult gimmick levels some really creative uses of Mario mechanics show through. Some people actually make realistic Mario levels. Ones that might have appeared in a Mario game at some point in the past. When I run into those inventive levels the true beauty of Super Mario Maker shines through. And I can’t get enough of that.

I'm thinking about playing it right now, in fact I'm probably playing it as we speak...

TRP 9/30/15: The Taken Time

Neil and Kaz sit down to assess the free-ish games for October and some of their Vita concerns. Afterwards they dig into Neil’s time with Destiny: the Taken King, is the experience worth the year of investment? Then Kaz takes a critical eye to indie darling Undertale and relieves some Lovers in a Dangerous Space Time stress.

QuickReview: Forza Motorsport 6

I eventually came around on Forza Motorsport 5 after it came out. It took a little time for some tracks to release, it took a couple car packs to fill out the roster. But once everything was in order it was a pretty decent racer. Then Forza Horizon 2 came out and I never saw myself going back to 5.


I’m kind of feeling that way with Forza Motorsport 6, kind of. The feel and soundtrack of the Horizon series is hard to replicate in a more serious simulation-type game. But there’s a lot of positives with 6, they start to add up into a really compelling game in a way that I haven’t felt with the mainline Motorsport games since 3. The track list is expansive, the car list is damn-near perfect and the menu and interfaces have been refined significantly.

There’s still stuff to nitpick, though, easily. The finer points of replicating Motorsport is still missing, meaningful pit stops, longer races (would it be that hard to let me select a lap multiplier so every race can be 2-3 times more laps?) fuel management, etc. A full day-night transition would be nice but doesn’t seem to be feasible in the current engine for the game, but it would go a long time to making the endurance races more realistic.


The stuff they did add hits all the right notes. The rain racing isn’t as visually spectacular as compared to the other racers out there (the rain in the 30fps racer Driveclub comes to mind) but in game play it is superb. Modifying your race line  to avoid standing water while navigating traffic is a challenging but rewarding experience. If they made a more compelling single player experience I could see myself playing this game for an entire year easily. The online rivals and league modes will keep me playing but some variety in the single player challenges (something other than podium every race would be nice for goals) would be welcome.

All in all, unless you have Project CARS and a nice wheel and rig setup, there isn’t a better all-purpose simulation racer out there right now.I'm thinking about playing it right now, in fact I'm probably playing it as we speak...

TRP 9/15/15: Make Your Own Horror

Tom, Kaz and Neil gather to discuss Mario’s anniversary and the PlayStation VR (Morpheus) naming. Wax poetic about the spiritual sequel to Mario Paint in Super Mario Maker. Discuss the finer points of piloting drunk B.U.D.s to the appropriate facilities. And pick apart, with some spoilers, what they liked and didn’t like about Until Dawn.

QuickReview: Until Dawn

Until Dawn is not a great game, it’s far from a perfect game, in fact, it has many flaws.


Anywho, I really liked Until Dawn.

We played through the 8 hours of Until Dawn‘s campaign in one sitting. We know it took 8 hours because every minute of our play through was streamed onto Twitch (and is now forever preserved on YouTube). This was the absolute best way to power through the game, having multiple players and lots of commentary was ideal (the commentary was not recorded, this will be remedied by the time Soma comes out).

You have to know exactly what you’re getting into with Until Dawn, this is a love letter to teen slasher flicks. All of the tropes are there, all of the cookie-cutter characters are present. It’s all entirely predictable, but that familiarity leads to being able to appreciate the things that Supermassive execute well. The many blemishes on the experience meld into the background.

If the experience was two hours shorter and the fat of the second half of the story was trimmed down a bit this game would be an easy 5 star experience. As such, it falls just short.

Pretty dang good, not the best but I'm excited to finish the game, which says a lot for someone at my stage in life...

TRP 9/1/15: Wallet Horror

Kaz and Neil sit down to talk OS updates, Halo 5 hype, the impending doom for their respective wallets and talk Until Dawn and Lara Croft GO.

TRP 8/25/15: Spoiled Swindles

The Pack discusses the latest free offerings for September, Tony engages in a Swindle, attends the Grand Tournament and Kaz and Neil spoil the crap out of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and Life is Strange.

TRP 8/18/15: Existential Dread Simulator 2015

Kaz and Neil join forces for more VR speculation, and a deep dive on story driven games from Life is Strange to Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.

TRP 8/5/15: The Morphing of Ethan Carter

Tony, Neil and Kaz combine morphing powers to pretend to run a video game podcast, while secretly being an Animorphs podcast. The group pretends to talk about Gamescom announcements, Game of Thrones: A Telltale Game and The Vanishing of Ethan Carter.

But we all know what they’re really thinking about: Animorphs. But if we pretend to be a video game podcast too long we might be stuck as one forever!?

TRP 7/28/15: A Journey Worth Taking

Neil and Kaz sit down to wax poetic about Journey, from the perspective of a first time player and someone seeing it all again. This devolves into a discussion of how games age over time, talking about the glut of free games and coming to grips with that glut.

1 2 3 70