Game of the Year 2018 Day 1 of 3

posted in: Editorials & Features | 0

There’s just not enough time in the day to play all the video games that I want. As a result, some games get bumped out of the 365 day window for these game of the year awards. Here’s some of the best from last year that I played and some of the most desirable titles that I just didn’t get around to in 2018. 

The Game I Wish I Bought & Played in 2018

Winner: Tetris Effect

I enjoy Tetris. I also enjoy Rez and own a VR headset. But I don’t enjoy paying $50+ for a Tetris game so that’s why I don’t own Tetris Effect yet. It looks marvelous and I’ve heard enough praise touting it as an amazing VR experience. I can’t wait to try it for myself! 

Runner ups: Dragon Quest XI, Red Dead Redemption 2 

Best Game of 2017 

Winner: Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was such a weird collaboration but it works! I really enjoyed my time with this wacky game and grew to find the Rabbids endearing. It resembled XCOM: Enemy Unknown but it was pushed far into the puzzle side of things. I was encouraged to play with efficiency in mind and I enjoyed that added challenge. It also featured an excellent soundtrack by Grant Kirkhope! 

Runner-up: Life is Strange: Before the Storm, Horizon: Zero Dawn 

Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle Review

posted in: Reviews | 0

Mario and Rabbids together at last. In an XCOM styled game as well. What a pleasant and bizarre surprise announcement that was. I was immediately curious and seeing it was well received, I had every intention to pick it up. But since it was an Ubisoft game, I chose to bide my time and await a sale.

There were only four kingdoms in the Ubisoft strategy title but I was ready for the credits heading into the fire kingdom. I thoroughly enjoy the battles for their inventive situations, gimmicks, and boss battles. But everything else in-between said battles became a chore. 

It was initially charming to roam around these worlds checking out the random hijinx the other Rabbids were up to. I even enjoyed the simple puzzles and light exploration at first. All these innocuous activities wore out their welcome through repetition and lack of diversity. They could have made it worthwhile by including worthwhile treasures but instead I picked up a lot of artwork that will go untouched.

I felt Mario + Rabbids had a very solid gameplay foundation. The simplified take on turn-based strategy worked very well and it didn’t result in me uttering curses because a high percentage shot missed. Having 0%, 50%, and 100% be the only three shot percentages made for a quicker paced game. The combination play between the different characters was unique and sparked the desire for strategic thinking. I wasn’t particularly keen on the restrictions of a Rabbid party member at first but after spending some time with them, their silly personalities won me over. 

Without taking into account turn restrictions, Mario + Rabbids is an extremely easy game. However, adding turn limits into the equation gave this game a puzzle element. It became a game of ability examinations, build combos, and efficient movement. Unfortunately for me, I decided to go for the high marks and restarted the battle any time I took a misstep. I tried to run through every battle as efficiently as possible which resulted with me restarting battles over and over again. I focused on the high marks to a fault and willingly interrupted the flow of the game repeatedly.

To my pleasant surprise, the Rabbids were fun. Peach Rabbid and the rest of the Rabbid variants brought quirky fun to the classic Nintendo characters that we wouldn’t have ever seen from Nintendo proper. I was also pleasantly surprised by the the aesthetics. That Snowdrop Engine produced some very impressive visuals for the Nintendo Switch. I would have liked to see it run at 60FPS for the “running around” moments but seeing how simplistic those parts were, it wasn’t a deal breaker.

I was far more impressed with the musical score brought in by the the great Grant Kirkhope. It’s very him and it didn’t take me long to realize that he was bringing his iconic touch to this game. I distinctly recall thinking: “This music is far too good for your typical Ubisoft title. It reminds me of Donkey Kong Country.”

Whoever came up with the idea of Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was a genius. But whoever managed to successfully pitch this idea to Nintendo was the true hero of Ubisoft because I cannot believe Nintendo green lit this unorthodox pairing. I guess all the Red Steels and ZombiUs of the last decade or so finally paid off. Some issues aside, I felt Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle was a success and I look forward to the next iteration of this unlikely collaboration. 

Verdict:
I liked it

Ratings Guide