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Original Adobe Photoshop Work

The Paper Mario fan base is a small one with a big heart made up of players who will defend the games until their dying breath. It’s not hard to see the appeal behind the games — they are some of the most accessible RPGs (and action-adventure platformers) that managed to make turn-based combat fun so that battles didn’t feel arbitrary or disengaging like most traditional RPGs. …


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Reviews: Paper Mario | Paper Mario: TTYD | Super Paper Mario | Paper Mario: SS | Paper Mario: CS

Last Summer, I undertook the task of playing and reviewing every single Paper Mario game in preparation for this moment: to play Paper Mario: The Origami King for the Nintendo Switch and to see how it stacked up against the rest of its predecessors. A now 20-year-old franchise, the Paper Mario games are among some of my favorite RPGs known for their unabashed sense of adventure, humorous & witty writing accompanied by memorable characters, and one-of-a-kind gameplay scenarios along with its engaging turn-based battle system. …


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Stacking is a 2011 adventure puzzle game developed by Double Fine Productions. Designed by Tim Schafer (known for his work on the Monkey Island games and Grim Fandango) and Lee Petty, it is one of the most intriguing games I’ve stumbled across in a while where the player must utilize Russian matryoshka stacking dolls as a means to solve a various array of puzzles. It is an interesting idea for a game that is finely capitalized on but not one that is designed in such a way as to elicit any major excitement or glean any profound brilliance.

Stacking takes place in a fictional Victorian London setting. The player controls Charlie, the youngest and smallest doll of the Blackmore family, who sets off to rescue his four imprisoned siblings and chimney sweep father from an evil industrialist and child labor enforcer named the Baron. As Charlie, the player can stack inside dolls that are one size larger than him and so forth, gaining control of the doll’s movement and unique ability. It is not the size of the dolls themselves (most of the time), but rather the abilities in which the doll characters possess that are the player’s main tool in solving the puzzles. …


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It’s no secret Hi-Rez Studios never shy away from creating blatant clones. Smite (though I actually find it quite enjoyable) is admittedly nothing more than a mythologized League of Legends, I’ve often heard that Paladins is clearly a rip-off of Overwatch, and if I had to guess, their battle royale, Realm Royale, seems like an attempt to capitalize on Fortnite’s success (like many other battle royale games have and still are). Either Hi-Rez has the worst luck ever by always being just a step behind, or something fishy is going on because they can’t seem to think of original concepts.

Rogue Company might as well be their most obvious clone yet. The third-person shooter released earlier this year comes off as their most original title to date, yet at the same time their sneakiest title to date as it is a culmination of elements borrowed from a multitude of games rather than just an imitation of one. Imagine third-person Call of Duty with the art style and personality of Fortnite with a dash of Overwatch. That’s Rogue Company. …


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Legendary video game companies Nintendo and Square (known for RPGs like Chrono Trigger and Secret of Mana — are now Square Enix) collaborated in the mid 90s to create one of the most idiosyncratic RPGs of the SNES era, if not, all time. Today, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars still stands out as an anomaly aesthetically in the Mario universe with its crack-fueled character designs and unorthodox gameplay — undoubtedly as a result of Square’s role in attempting to appeal to a western audience.

I once rambled in my Paper Mario review that while I am not keen on games with heavy narrative emphasis, RPGs remain as one of my favorite video game genres (refer to the linked review for some musings on why). Although Super Mario RPG is most certainly the grind-y type RPG most wouldn’t be able to appreciate, I have a special tolerance for them. That, and the fact that Super Mario RPG is a childhood game dear to me, is why it remains as one of my personal favorites. …


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Reviews: Mario Kart Tour

As someone who grew up in the midst of one of the later evolutionary periods in video game history, it is always difficult to view old games in the lens of how they appeared upon their release without instinctively comparing them to the refinement of the modern gen. …


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Reviews: Assassin’s Creed | ACII

Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, the third game in the Assassin’s Creed franchise, is a conflicting game. Released in 2010 — only a year after Assassin’s Creed II — and acting as the second game in the Ezio Collection trilogy, I was hoping Brotherhood would be more than just a mere sequel that takes place in the same historical setting as its predecessor. In this case, my hopes were met with mixed feelings of joy and frustration as Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood — while not very different from its predecessor — manages to come off as slightly lazy.

How Brotherhood is introduced is neat. After the cliché opening recap (“My name is Desmond Miles…”), Brotherhood tosses the player right into an opening free run and combat mission that picks up right where Assassin’s Creed II left off. There are no tutorials; the game just tells you what controls to press as you go along and it serves as an explosive (albeit less accessible) introduction sequence for learning the game’s basic mechanics and controls. …


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Apologies for the poor cover art; it was the best thing I could find on Google.

Nicktoons Unite! is once again another boring game published by the defunct THQ with no attention-grabbing traits past its recognizable faces. I once ragged on THQ in my The Incredibles (Video Game) review (one of my most popular reviews) because during the years that they were functional, THQ often published nothing but vapid, desperate attempts at appealing to a generation of Nickelodeon fanboys. It’s no wonder they thrived for as long as they did because I was one of those stupid fanboys who countlessly replayed and bought their games anyway.

Nicktoons Unite! is a 4-player, 3D beat-em-up that is not much different in the sense that it was capable of attracting many cartoon-watching kids in my generation. And like many of these games, Nicktoons Unite! only lives today through inadvertent nostalgia. I played this many times as a kid for no sensibly justified reason (and sadly never with four people) and it is a shame that adult-me had to see this vat of monotony for what it really is. …


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The publisher of Epic Mickey, Disney Interactive Studios, went defunct in 2016 for good reason. Their video game output had never been that impressive and arguably never remarkable. I’ve only played a few (see Infinity and Cars Mater-Nation) but they usually had nothing to show for other than utilizing Disney’s staggering iconography as the main attraction for their batch of undercooked games. …


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Among Us — the hot new game everyone is playing right now — is actually not a “new” game at all. The game was released in the latter half of 2018 by developing team InnerSloth but criminally received little attention upon its conception. Not until recently did the Thing-esque game receive a surge of player activity thanks to popular Twitch streamers and YouTubers, resulting in the game’s mass discovery that otherwise would have gone regretfully overlooked.

InnerSloth’s Among Us is a game where the world’s worst detectives and most cunning liars are given their chance to shine. It is a game that seems to work based on concept alone. It reminds me of another brilliant, albeit much more complicated game by the name of Town of Salem. In both games, communication is essentially mandatory in completing your goal of cooperatively ruling out the culprits that blend in with the innocents. …

About

Caden Brooks

20-year-old who solely writes game reviews. Contact me if you’d like: stocky2001@verizon.net | IG: @epicrarted

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