Let’s Chat: 3D Mario Games are Coming to Switch, but Where is Galaxy 2?!

Nintendo suddenly released a Direct today for the 35th Anniversary of Mario, and, well… there’s exciting announcements and confusing decisions, as is often the case with Nintendo news! Ashley Harrison and I discussed it in the immediate aftermath, so read on for our thoughts. I do mean immediate; as you’ll see, we’re literally finding out updates and getting our orders in as this goes, keeping us on our toes!


William Robinson: Okay, so Ash, I was minding my own business and then Nintendo decided to just out of the blue drop the Super Mario Bros. 35th Anniversary Direct. Where were you when it happened, haha?

Ashley Harrison: Hopefully, like everyone, I was sat on the sofa at home playing Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout, completely oblivious to the bombshell Nintendo were about to drop. Thankfully I usually always have Twitter open, so as soon as I saw the Tweet from the verified Nintendo UK account, I quit out of the round instantly and started watching the Direct.

WR: I thought there would be Mario news at some point, but not this sudden or soon! Took me by surprise, so much so that I wasn’t even sure of my expectations going in.

AH: It seems like such a huge announcement to shadow-drop with zero buildup, but thinking about it logically then I guess it makes sense. Thanks to VGC leaking the info months ago about these games coming to Switch as part of a 35th Anniversary Collection, we probably should’ve guessed it’d drop today on the actual 35th Anniversary itself.

WR: It makes sense when you put it that way! Other than a collection, were there any other hopes you had beforehand? You know me, I was hoping for Captain Toad representation, and we got that!

AH: My one big hope was something that was sadly conspicuous in its absence – Super Mario Galaxy 2. Whilst obviously there was no mention of Galaxy 2 being included as part of the leaks, I was really hoping to see it there in some form because in my opinion, it’s the pinnacle of the Mario series as a whole, so I’d love to play through it again in HD.

WR: That’s a point we’re going to get to, be sure of that! As the announcement of the collection was at the end, though, let’s slow down and go through those initial announcements. The first reveal was of Game & Watch: Super Mario Bros., which plays Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels, and a Mario version of the Game & Watch Ball game! This is a neat product, even if I reckon I won’t personally be getting it. Out on November 13th, it could be a great Christmas idea.

It’s a Game… AND a Watch?!

AH: It’s definitely something I’m going to keep my eye on and see if I can work it into my monthly budget. I’ve never owned a Game & Watch before to be straight up honest with you, so this definitely looks a great one to start with. As you say, there’s 3 games included as well as the fact it also doubles as a clock like all Game & Watch devices do, so really now it just comes down to the price point. It’s a gorgeous looking console too, the colour scheme goes so well together.

WR: I can tell the clock feature is the one swaying you to the purchase there! I have a Zelda Game & Watch, but as I say I may pass on this – depends on the price too, though. I agree the aesthetic is awesome, as a timepiece it is one I can see becoming very rare in the future. Next up was an announcement I am SO happy about; Super Mario 3D World is going to be on Switch on 21st February 2021! Which means more Captain Toad content on Switch! A great day.

AH: Can never have enough clocks that function as something else if you ask me, haha! Imagine someone asking you for the time whilst you’re stood at the bus stop, and rather than pulling out your phone like they’d expect, you pull out that bad boy. Honestly, you’re going to hate me for this, but I’m really not a fan of 3D World. The mesh between the 3D style, but 2D linearity and having a timer to complete the level really put me off both 3D Land and 3D World, so it’s a miss for me. Seeing Captain Toad is cool though!

Yet another Wii U game is going to find a new audience

WR: That’s fine, you’re allowed to be wrong. It isn’t Galaxy level for me, but it’s close, and the Captain Toad levels are fantastic, forming the basis for the solo spin-off Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. Also the jazz soundtrack is immense! It’s nice to have it on Switch, as it felt missing from the group of games that have been crossing over from the Wii U. The added bonus of DLC is intriguing too; there wasn’t much indication about it, but with a name such as Bowser’s Fury, I’m excited! Maybe a DLC of Captain Toad facing off against Bowser? Maybe?

AH: It’s crazy to me just how obsolete of a system now Nintendo have made the Wii U, basically every single one of its top games has been ported to the Switch, and honestly I don’t blame them in the slightest. Think there’s only Xenoblade Chronicles X that needs to make the generational jump and that’s it, Wii U is a completely dead system. I’m interested in what the DLC side-story will be too, even if I’m not actually interested in the game. It seems something of a common trend now across Nintendo remasters that they have new side-stories, haha!

WR: Xenoblade Chronicles X is so great, I really hope it goes to Switch; my favourite Xenoblade game yet. Oh, also, I am hearing that there is online multiplayer for 3D World, a nice bonus!

AH: 3D World has online multiplayer though? That’s actually dope that. Given how integral multiplayer is into the game, it’d be crazy not to in my opinion; genuinely surprised it wasn’t an option in the Wii U version.

We don’t yet have much info about the new expansion

WR: Next up was, well, perhaps inevitable; it’s happened, we have a Battle Royale game for Mario now in the form of Super Mario Bros. 35, which reminds me of Tetris 99 in the layout and idea. In this, you are playing Super Mario Bros. on your screen, with the other 34 players pictured around you, and the relative success of each player can impact the others. It’s out on October 1st, in a digital-only format and only for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers – and strangely is disappearing on March 31st 2021?

AH: It’s such a dumb decision that I really can’t understand. It’s such a cool concept for a game, it makes zero sense for it to be available only for like half a year. Can you honestly work your head around it?

WR: No, not really. Unless they at some time announce that it is extended? There are quite a few odd decisions in this Direct, though! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Mario has a Battle Royale… is any series safe?

Are you able to out-platform the rest?

AH: Honestly I’d much rather play this Battle Royale than most of the others already out there. At least Super Mario Bros. 35 doesn’t just look like a carbon copy of every other Battle Royale available already (shoutout to Fall Guys, that game is cool as hell too) and is based purely on skill more than anything else. If they’re going to extend it though, why announce a set end date? Maybe after Super Mario Bros. 35 is done with the first Mario game come March, it’ll move onto Super Mario Bros. 2?

WR: We were actually going to talk about Fall Guys before this Direct happened (that’s on the way, though)! Yeah, I am confident it is going to be well-made, even if I doubt I’ll play much of it. The following announcement was probably my least favourite of the Direct – Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, 16th October. It’s essentially Augmented Reality (AR) Mario Kart, where you buy the physical toy karts to drive around through your Switch. So, the camera on the toy picks up the environment and makes that the background, with the arches you place around the room forming the track. This got me excited about making our own tracks, but that’s an idea I’d prefer in the traditional Mario Kart framework… I imagine this is going to be clumsy in terms of driving.

-at this point in the conversation, pre-orders for Super Mario 3D All-Stars went live on the Nintendo Official UK Store and we proceed to frantically get our orders in in time-

There is so much possibility for creativity with AR Mario Kart

AH: AR Mario Kart was your least favourite reveal of the Direct? Damn. Honestly it was my favourite behind only the 35th Anniversary collection. It looks genuinely incredible and whilst it’s obviously marketed towards those who have a larger room to be able to play it in properly, I’m 100% sold on the idea of being able to make my own custom tracks and the like from my house! Wonder if I can make my Axolotl tank a tunnel you have to drive through somehow?

WR: Don’t get me wrong, the concept is awesome, and replicating F1 tracks would be great fun, but the actual gameplay in AR just seems it wouldn’t feel as great as other Mario Kart games. Give me Mario Kart Maker please. Also: Ash, the Game & Watch just went up and is £44.99, thoughts on the price? You going for it?

AH: At £44.99, honestly I think I’ll pass, as cool as the device itself is. It’s a steep investment to be able to play 2 games I already own multiple times over, as do I assume most Nintendo fans.

WR: Similar for me; I don’t particularly collect Game & Watch devices, and I need to stop buying stuff… though there is just so much cool stuff in the world to buy! Ah, such a dilemma. Last on Mario Kart: have you planned a house track yet?

The toys themselves, with one of the arches in the background

AH: Yeah, I need to stop buying stuff too haha, supposed to be moving out by Christmas and I’ve just ordered that, Tony Hawk comes out tomorrow, then there’s Cyberpunk 2077 and Watch Dogs Legion, and Xbox Series X in November. Jeez. As for a house track, I’m not gonna lie, I started brainstorming one as soon as it was revealed. It’s going to be a bit hard though, because the toys definitely look like something my Greyhound would chase around and try to attack for the hell of it…

WR: The next section went through upcoming Mario-themed events from now to the date of March 2021. There’s a new event on September 9th for Mario Kart Tour on mobile, and lots of tempting Mario merchandise (speaking of buying… ) from plushes to T-shirts. Also, a nostalgic course is being added to Super Mario Maker 2, and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is getting a Super Mario series online tourney. Oh wait, not done yet (breathes): January 2021 has a Splatfest for inky third-person shooter Splatoon 2 with teams for Super Mushroom and Super Star (Team Mushroom!), AND there are Mario Splatfest T-shirts and keychains. Animal Crossing is going to get Super Mario furniture. Then they went through other products out there; Super Mario Monopoly, Super Mario LEGO, the Super Mario LEGO NES, Super Mario Kinder Joy. BLIMEY. I did it! Which of those stand out for you?

AH: Honestly, it’s the Animal Crossing crossover, and Monopoly for me realistically in terms of what I’d be able to afford. I’d kill for that LEGO NES, but it’s so damn expensive sadly. Honestly, the rest of the stuff I really couldn’t care about.

There are some really sophisticated designs

WR: I just thought I should at least mention it all in passing. There are some merch items I am possibly going to get – the pink T-shirt design is great! Not enough Captain Toad merchandise though. Then, before the final reveal, they informed us that Super Mario All-Stars is releasing on SNES Online today, which is a nice touch, though perhaps overshadowed by the next announcement…

AH: I never got to play the Wii re-release of Super Mario All-Stars when that got released, so I’m actually looking forward to playing it once I’m finished with this article. Honestly any excuse to play Super Mario Bros. 3 is a great one to me, and with the All-Stars version having graphical upgrades and the like over the already-available NES version, that’s as much of an excuse as I need. I do feel sorry for the placement of this within the Direct though, like you said, it was completely over-shadowed by the next collection announcement…

WR: Let’s get to it then: the not-well-kept secret of Super Mario 3D All-Stars, a combination pack of the following 3D Mario games: Super Mario 64, Super Mario Sunshine, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Mario Galaxy 2 – oh, wait, no, the last one is inexplicably not there. Um, what? Even so, these three games being available together in HD on 18th September is such an awesome announcement, especially given how Nintendo may have been able to make more money selling them separately (as with 3D World). This seems really pro-consumer – except from Galaxy 2 not being there.

A line-up of classic games!

AH: I really can’t understand the absence of Mario Galaxy 2, but either way, I’ve gotten my preorder in ready for it to release in a couple of weeks. Very much looking forward to playing through Sunshine and Galaxy again, although I’m interested to see how both actually play. Whilst Super Mario 64 is more of a traditional platformer, Sunshine relied very much upon the GameCube’s analog triggers to operate the FLUDD, and Mario Galaxy obviously has a decent amount of usage of motion controls. The Joy-Con do have gyroscopes built-in, but they’re not anywhere near as responsive as the Wii Remote was, so I’m hoping it’s possible to play the game in handheld mode, which is my preferred method of playing on my Switch. The lack of analog triggers is a huge omission from a gameplay perspective for Sunshine though, so I hope the game isn’t too affected on Switch as a result and Nintendo have found a way to work around this.

WR: I am hearing that co-op play on Galaxy requires Joy-Cons, so if you have a Switch Lite then that may be tricky. It’s a valid point about the triggers; I wonder if there is any compensation for that… I am slightly concerned about whether I have to play Galaxy on the TV for the controls to feel at their best, as flicking the Joy-Con detached in handheld may be awkward. These are concerns, but to focus on the positives, they’re amazing games being brought to HD; I am especially excited to replay Galaxy and Galaxy 2 – oh, no. Yes, I am being salty, but no, I shall not stop. Galaxy 2 exists! It exists… right?

AH: People play local co-op nowadays? That’s news to me, haha. If it requires motion controls though and you only have a Switch Lite anyway… Y I K E S. Galaxy 2 does still exist though, yeah, and it’s still the best Mario game yet. Give us Mario Galaxy 2 on Switch ASAP Nintendo, you cowards!

Just the one, though

WR: Why do you imagine it isn’t there? Could it be future DLC? I am baffled.

AH: My only hope is that it isn’t ready to be released and Nintendo didn’t want to miss the 35th Anniversary by delaying the game, so instead it’ll be released next year, either as DLC or a solo physical release. I’ll buy it either way.

WR: Maybe COVID-19 delayed it somehow? Also, with the resolution for Sunshine and Galaxy being 1080p docked instead of 720p handheld, I guess that is going to push us towards playing docked. Ideally it’d work with the Pro Controller.

AH: I really need to get around to investing in a Pro Controller honestly, I really wish Nintendo would bundle them with the console itself. But yeah, I’m definitely thinking it’s a COVID-19 related delay, we’ve seen a lot already this year and I think we’re still gonna see more yet. I hate to be the guy who complains about resolution but I’ll mostly always take the best looking way to play a game. I mean, I bought a 4K monitor solely to play The Last of Us Part II, haha. I just really, really hope all 3 games run at 60FPS more than anything.

The HD sheen is noticeable; Galaxy in particular seems visually polished

WR: The idea of Galaxy in 1080p HD in 60FPS, official from Nintendo, is so exciting! Of the 3, Sunshine is the one I did not finish on GameCube; I enjoyed it, but for some reason never finished the story. Time to amend that! Is Galaxy your most anticipated of the three?

AH: Galaxy is the one I’m most looking forward to playing through once again, yeah, but I don’t know if I’d call it my most anticipated one. That’d go to Sunshine because it’s the only one of the three I haven’t played before, although I have seen a ton of speed runs of the game, so I’m looking forward to being able to play through it for myself for the first time.

WR: It seems we are in a similar position then. I may not actually play much of 64, it is the other two I am most intrigued to go back to. By the way, the listings for the two separate Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit packs (Mario and Luigi) have appeared… they are £99.99 each. Ouch.

AH: A hundred quid each? Nintendo have to be joking right? I wouldn’t for a second even consider paying that much for them. Basically need to spend £200 to be able to use them, then the £200/£280 cost of a Switch. That actually takes the piss.

Super Mario Sunshine is back!

WR: I repeat: Ouch. Yeah, especially as a gift for younger gamers, that’s a high price barrier. So is the house track idea, well, off track now?

AH: Well, well, WELL off the track now, yeah. Stuff that, way too expensive. Or, to get a Mario joke in there, it’s so far off the track Lakitu just appeared.

WR: Aha! Nice. As a whole, this Direct was great, but I have gotta say that for me, the lack of Galaxy 2 really stings. If Galaxy 2 was included, then this’d be superb, but it just leaves a gap for me. As a presentation of Mario content, though, there’s lots there for us fans.

AH: It’s a Nintendo Direct where I actually want to play every game that was revealed; that’s crazy to me.

WR: I’d like to play them all, and another game not in the Direct…

There are a variety of level types in Super Mario Sunshine to enjoy

AH: Hmm, what’s that other game? The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD? Hey, Nintendo, give us that next year, you cowards.

WR: Oh Ash, that’s a whole other debate, haha! Maybe then people can realise they are wrong when they criticise Skyward Sword. At this point, do you reckon we are going to get a non-specific Nintendo Direct this year? Going by recent evidence, it seems as though they are splitting up the announcements.

AH: Next Let’s Chat: Why Skyward Sword is the best Zelda game. Honestly, given everything that’s happened this year, I’d be surprised if we got a general Nintendo Direct in 2020 at all. I honestly think that’s not going to happen until next year, and you know what? I’m okay with that. If only because it gives me an excuse to skip Directs if I know there’s gonna be nothing that interests me.

WR: Woah, not going that far. It’s not Twilight Princess. I reckon maybe one late on, perhaps December, but I can also see the wait being until 2021. We are probably going to get those Mini ones, which are nice updates; with Super Mario 3D All-Stars, though, Nintendo has a safe seller for 2020. To reiterate: this is out on September 18th! 14 days away! As if it is so close!

We’re nearly there… you’ll soon be able to play Super Mario 64 on your Switch!

AH: Honestly that’s the most surprising thing of all of the Direct to me – just how close it is to release. Is this the closest Nintendo have ever announced a major series game before its release? I’d be willing to bet that it is. Might have to take a couple of weeks off work and use up some holiday hours that I’ve been accumulating.

WR: That there sounds as though it could be an awesome plan! Get that Gusty Garden Galaxy going (woah alliteration). I had to remind myself how close it was, usually when I order Nintendo games there are months (or years) to go.

AH: MATE. Gusty Garden Galaxy’s OST. My God. It’s so good. I’m so glad there’s a music player included for all 3 games in 3D All-Stars, I’m gonna be using that feature so much.

WR: Right? I have used the one in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate so much too. The Galaxy games have such amazing music. We’ve been asking for so long, and we’re getting these games! With this and the recent release of Paper Mario: The Origami King back in July, it’s a great year for Mario. I reckon an Odyssey sequel ain’t far off either…

Super Mario 3D All-Stars is packaged with a handy music player

AH: If it isn’t that far off, please change nothing Nintendo, Odyssey was incredible. But please, for the love of all that’s holy, give us more Kingdoms with less Moons in each this time around.

WR: Were there any announcements – other than you-know-which – particularly missing for you from the Direct, or are you satisfied?

AH: I’ve got one that I know you’ll agree with because we’ve spoken about it before. Mario Strikers HD when Nintendo? I’m begging you.

WR: Oh, that’s such a great pick, why that series has been gone for so long… one day, right? Also, can I just say how much Nintendo has power over us with the use of one word: limited. The frantic pre-ordering because of how the stock is restricted for the physical edition of Super Mario 3D All-Stars is ridiculous, and yes I am aware we fell for it too.

AH: I was always going to be a day one buyer of the game, so was always going to pre-order anyway. But for Nintendo to make it purposely limited, even the digital version? It’s absolutely disgusting from Nintendo, and there’s no reason for it. If it were a small, unproven test game that was a limited retail release and left up digitally forever then I’d understand it. However, Mario games are pretty much always in the UK charts in a decent position, no matter how long it’s been since they released. I mean, look at Mario Kart DS/Wii, those were always number 1 on their respective console sales tables, and also held decent positions in the general sales chart. I’d imagine the same happens elsewhere, but I’m not gonna say for certain as I’ve never seen enough data from other regions to back that up. I’m seeing a good amount of people saying the same on social media, but imagine if like Activision or someone pulled this, and not Nintendo. There’d be WAY more uproar than there currently is. Nintendo absolutely need to be called out on this practice.

WR: It’s probably going to end up near Mario Kart 8 Deluxe and Super Mario Odyssey on the best-selling games list. I get the criticism, and Nintendo has done this strategy before. It creates demand, but isn’t the most consumer-friendly way to go about it and actually causes stress from trying to make sure you successfully get your order through. Fear of Missing Out right? The digital restriction is an extra step they’ve taken here that really isn’t necessary or justified.

AH: Six months is a really short time for it to be available, too. I understand why games with licensed soundtracks, etc. get pulled from stores after a while, but even those are up for a decent amount of time before being pulled!

WR: Still, we’re gonna buy and play this game, but bear in mind how we do recognise the issues around the methods of distribution Nintendo is using. As for Mario Kart, I guess we’re gonna have to go to Japan and try those ones you can drive on the road?

Do you know where to find Galaxy 2?

AH: Honestly, dream holiday that. I’ve not been go-karting since I was like 10 on holiday in Scarborough, so to do it in actual real life Mario Karts on the road in Japan? Sign me up for that, no questions asked.

WR: That seems a positive, hopeful note to end on. Unless you have any other particular thoughts, we’ll wrap it up there. I was not expecting this drop of news today!

AH: Other than repeating that I want Mario Strikers HD, I’ve nothing more to say. I think we’ve covered everything now.

WR: Then my last note shall be: this was a day of more Captain Toad. Rejoice! See ya, Ash!

AH: In a bit!


There you have it: our reaction to the Direct. You can let us know your thoughts below; do you have any concerns about the way Nintendo is handling these releases? Are you excited to play these updated games? Also, for more from Ashley and I you can go through our other Let’s Chat articles here, including a review of Super Mario Odyssey! Until next time!

Paper Mario: The Origami King Review

Developed by: Intelligent Systems
Published by: Nintendo
Platform: Switch
Release Date: Out Now


There aren’t that many games that make me laugh out loud, but this one? I was frequently chuckling to myself whilst playing Paper Mario: The Origami King, to the point where it glossed over some of the major issues with this game – not to the point where they weren’t noticeable, but enough to make my 25-ish hours with the main story go by in an enjoyable way. In a year where Nintendo is being understandably more reserved about their first-party plans, it’s important to note that we are getting quality releases from them such as this and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Yes, I know a lot of you are anticipating a Nintendo Direct… but there is a smorgasbord of amazing games on Switch to play whilst you wait (woo, I got to use the word “smorgasbord”)!


Creased Up

It isn’t often that the star of a Mario game is the story, but that’s exactly the case here – though not necessarily in the actual main set-up. During the Origami Festival, King Olly steals away Princess Peach and the Castle with her, leaving Mario with the task of unwrapping the streamers blocking the way and also amending the trail of destruction left behind. Said in that way, it sounds rather straightforward and not unlike other Mario plots, but the assortment of wittily written characters you meet make the difference. The standout for me is Olivia, the sister of King Olly, who you encounter early on and accompanies you for your journey. Her design is wonderfully expressive, putting across a range of emotions with subtle movements of her eyes, arms, and head, and her dialogue effectively portrays a determined but also adorably innocent perspective.

Near the start of the game, with Olivia and Bowser (yes, that is Bowser)

Starting out around Toad Town, the adventure takes you to a nice variety of locales, including a theme park themed around Japan and the secret-laden Scorching Sandpaper Desert. Each area introduces its own group of quirky characters; one highlight being said desert and Professor Toad, an expert on the mystery of Khap’taan Teeowed (alas, no appearance of the main man himself, THE Captain Toad). The rough structure each area takes is reminiscent of some Zelda games; enter a new area, complete some overworld activities, then get to the dungeon and boss of that area to remove the streamer, before moving to the next area. Variations on that structure, plus that aforementioned humour, keep it from becoming too formulaic.

For example, roughly halfway into the game you discover a wide-open ocean space that reminded me of The Wind Waker; you get a map of the ocean, with islands to plot as you find them, and through your travels you unveil the way forward. This sort of exploration was where I had a lot of my most joyous experiences; wandering around, meeting new characters, and discovering secrets at my own pace. The characters that accompany you in each area add a unique flavour as well, and take the game to very emotional places. As well as joining you in battles (more on those in a sec), they have their own arcs that develop as you play – Bobby the Bob-omb is a particular example, really shocking me at the deep places the game went.

There is a really creative feel to the environment design

On your path to clearing each of the five streamers, there are holes in the world to patch up and Toads to save. For the former, you collect confetti through various means – defeating enemies, hitting various parts of the world with your hammer – and, frankly, it’s quite a straightforward mechanic that is a bare minimum of player engagement. Saving the Toads, which have been crumpled, hidden, and mistreated by King Olly, is a much more rewarding part of the game. The way they are hidden is much more varied, posing more of a challenge to the player. Plus, each one has their own reaction to being saved, often with hilarious one-liners that add a creative spark to each time this happens. I have so many screenshots on my Switch of the dialogue in this game, from meta jokes to brilliant wordplay to dancing Toads. Yep, really!


Going in Circles

It isn’t all humour, though, and this is where the most divisive part of Paper Mario: The Origami King arrives: the combat. For most enemy encounters, you are put into a turn-based system on a circular arena of concentric circles. You are in the centre, with the opposition in various segments surrounding you. In an allotted amount of ring moves, you have the options to either push them vertically inwards/outward, or rotate the entirety of one concentric ring. If you manage to organise them so that they are in either a straight line (for a jump) or a 2×2 block next to you (for a hammer blow), then not only can you strike more enemies with your attacks, but you get a damage bonus. Additionally there are items you can use (such as a Fire Flower), but they’re used within that framework. It means that every battle has these prelude sections where you plan your moves out, almost as if you are in a strategy game.

The comments from Toads watching on are amusing, even if they are repeated a lot

See, it’s a neat idea that makes you consider your attacks in a different way, but it also takes a lot of impetus and immediacy out of battles. Especially against enemy types that pop up frequently, it can get quite repetitive, to the point where I was, at times, less invested in solving the solution for the optimum line-up. More than once, I would settle for more of a mismatched layout just so I could get onto the move selection and get the battle going. That is a clear sign that I was not always enjoying the combat that much. Especially when you’re trying to relax with the game and have some laughs, you aren’t always in the mood to slow your progress with repeated, very similar, battle set-ups.

Improvements are in the more unique confrontations, in particular the boss battles, as you are given unique obstacles and board layouts to consider. In a way, I found some of these easier, as my mind was being engaged more compared to the more samey intermediary ones. Additionally, these fights are much more visually absorbing, with the one-off enemy designs and the ability to regularly use Vellumental attacks from Olivia that harness the elements. The whole battle system is very mixed for me – it’s certainly flawed, but also I must say it’s a neat concept that has clearly had a lot of thought go into it. Perhaps the amount of work that went into making the very distinctive layout work has also led to it becoming unwieldy and disconnected from other aspects of the game.


Get On Board

This isn’t the only type of combat in Paper Mario: The Origami King, with some real-time encounters thrown in too. Often, these take the form of real-time fights against paper-maché enemies – Goombas, Koopa Troopas, and more – which add a different, larger scale of proceedings. In terms of structure, they’re all quite similar; use the hammer to knock off a sticker to make them vulnerable, then proceed to hit them more until they disintegrate fully into confetti. Despite this, they remain refreshing breaks from the occasional monotony of the turn-based sequences. As you get stronger, you can also take out some enemies that would previously have been fought on the circular field, but not many. I actually would have appreciated a better balance of these fights, as the real-time ones are quite uncommon in comparison.

We’re gonna need a bigger hammer

With how this game tends to have new ideas and quirks throughout to play into the humourous feel, it is also hit-and-miss whether every departure of gameplay works. There are a lot of ideas going around in the overworld portions of this game, and whilst some were very entertaining, naturally I wasn’t as much of a fan of all of them. Later on in the game, as I was becoming more and more knowledgeable about the core gameplay mechanics, this became more of an issue for me, perhaps because I was becoming so accustomed to those main systems the game had taught me. Therefore, any sudden new ideas were especially jarring. A Shy Guy-related one later on in the final stages is an example; it’s an amusing set-up, but the brainteasers can be really tough (at least for me). If memory puzzles are challenging for you, then there are potential stumbling blocks later on that the game doesn’t do a great job at teaching you about.

More than once, my rhythm with the game was put on hold as a result of this; it’s as though this game isn’t entirely sure what it would like to be. On one side, it is a really joyful, funny, not especially lengthy RPG with clever writing and an energetic momentum to the story. On the other, it is a tough strategy/puzzle game that asks you to be more patient and calculated, being prepared to halt your progress and even retry certain parts in order to clear them. Neither is necessarily a bad approach to game design, but they don’t go together here very well. This game would have been a more focused experience if it committed more to one of the two styles.


A Fine Craft

Essential to mention, though, is the music. Oh wow, the music in this game. It’s amazing! It’s consistently impressive throughout, and really noticeable in the battle sequences when it kicks in with the intro screen. It mixes classic themes with modern arrangements really effectively, reminding me of the underrated Super Mario 3D World and the jazzy, contemporary tones of that game, and the numerous times I have been thrilled by the battle theme of a Pokémon game. There’s a wonderful variety too, with an example being the soft, mellow tones of Autumn Mountain early on. I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by the audio in this game, but that is what has happened.

Benches heal you, and also initiate more clever dialogue

So how about the art direction? It’s… fine. It’s Paper Mario, with the fresh introduction of the Origami characters and the different style they bring, but mainly it’s not that innovative. There’s a pleasant contrast of environments, and they’re colourful and bright, but it’s not breathtaking. Animations are charismatic, especially the way different emotions are shown with only a few different animations of the paper-made characters (as aforementioned, this is really apparent with Olivia), and this contributes to the expressive humour. It all works well, but it isn’t going to be in the top ten Switch games for visuals.

I didn’t find any performance issues, I am glad to say, as they have popped up in several Switch games over the years. However, I will say that the – optional, bear in mind – motion controls are quite dodgy, especially when playing handheld. They feel a bit unnecessary and gimmicky; this is mainly when using the 1,000 Fold Arms to reach somewhere, or when shaking the controller to hit an object or enemy. It isn’t always clear which direction you should be moving the controller, and it can end up being another barrier to the continuation of the narrative. Motion controls can be fun when purposefully incorporated into a game, but this sort of use is really under-baked. Again, though, this is optional, and can be turned off.


Final Thoughts

If Paper Mario: Origami King had dedicated itself to being either a super-strategic game or a less-involved RPG, it may have actually been more successful. As it is, it’s a slightly awkward amalgamation of the two, with many, many bright moments, but also strange decisions that hurt the experience. The overall meta, self-aware, and intelligent vibe of the story is my favourite part of the game, and as I said at the top, meant that even in those rougher moments I was motivated to not put the game down, and instead power through, because I knew more fun was waiting for me. It’s not a top-tier Switch game, but as a first-party Nintendo release to play in this current wilderness of announcements, it’s an enjoyable way to spend your time.

8/10

Rating: 8 out of 10.

Nintendo Treehouse Live 10/07 Reaction

The way Nintendo is releasing information at the moment is intriguing; with, so far, no E3-time Nintendo Direct, we have instead been getting news gradually. It feels as though Nintendo is tiding us over until they are ready to show us their plans for a lot of the rest of the year. Today, this is in the form of a Nintendo Treehouse Live video where we got to see more of Paper Mario: The Origami King, and also a new announcement from WayForward. So, I thought I would write a few thoughts about what was shown and how it was presented!

Yes, I may have initially wondered if the WayForward game would be Metroid. One day, okay? Let me dream.


Paper Mario: The Origami King

The main focus of the Treehouse was Paper Mario: The Origami King! With the release of the game only 7 days away, and a relatively empty Switch release schedule for the rest of the year, that makes me wonder if there is going to be more announcements – maybe a full Direct? – very soon. Either way, Paper Mario is clearly the imminent focus. With the whole COVID-19 situation, this Treehouse was presented with 3 people talking about the game remotely through video chat: Riona, who led the presenting; Ethan, who played the game; and Sam, who also offered insight into the game. The way the Treehouse was arranged resulted in a few cases of people talking over each other or seeming unsure of who was speaking next, but this is totally reasonable to me considering the constraints right now. The people themselves spoke really well and seemed positive about the game!

One of the aspects setting this entry in the series apart is the Origami, which is visually different; the 3D character models stand out next to the paper style we have become used to, giving this game a new visual twist. The game opens with a conversation between Princess Peach – an Origami character – and Mario, where despite the familiar setting of Mushroom Castle, the tone is perhaps not what we are used to when these two converse. This is even more jarring when you are sent through a trapdoor! After meeting new Origami character Olivia, who helps you in the game, you run into Bowser in a fun new way where he is trapped in a folded-up form! He follows Mario back up the Castle until you meet the main antagonist, King Olly (the brother of Olivia), who steals away Mushroom Castle as Olivia and Mario are sent tumbling away, and are separated from Bowser – I wonder when he is next seen in the story?

After this initial story set-up, Treehouse then went on to show the area of the game initially after this. We see the new battle system, based around arranging circular rings around you to get enemies into the best position to attack them. This is an area I am not convinced about yet, as it seems as though it could get tiresome after a while if not used cleverly and with enough variety. The Paper Mario charm is evidently still there, from quirky side characters such as the Toads in the stands around the battle making comments to the way Mario has a flourish at the end of attacks. A sequence where you haggle with Monty Mole is hilarious!

Finally, we are shown a portion of a boss battle from later in the game – against a set of coloured pencils that operates as essentially a missile launcher and gatling gun! The enemy design is so creative, yet again I am concerned about the use of the circular rings for combat. You have to set up your route to get to the optimum place to attack, and visually, and especially juxtaposed against the spacious exploration areas, it seems very convoluted in terms of the options it presents to you. There are many icons thrown at you; however, this may be because of how the Treehouse jumped to this later point in the game, before we have played through the game and become used to the systems. I am really curious about how the gameplay will feel to play, especially the combat.


Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia

Okay, it isn’t Metroid. Even if it is not a series I am knowledgable about, Bakugan is a series that I am confident many people are excited to see on the way to Switch in the form of Bakugan: Champions of Vestroia. We were shown some gameplay of this new game, and as with Paper Mario: The Origami King, we got commentary to go with it – Sam was also in this section, joined by: Tyler of Nintendo; Steve Robert of Spin Master; and Tenny Goko of WayForward. We got to see the overworld, which had a similar aesthetic style to Pokémon Sword and Shield but with less polish, and then additionally the combat. There is a very Sword and Shield vibe to the way you enter battles with a sense of scale, too (Dynamax/Gigantamax!) – the Bakugan are much larger than your character when in battle. The idea of your character supporting your Bakugan by picking up Energy Cores around the area is a fun extra layer to the battling. However, overall, the game seemed to lack finesse, and I am not sure how much that shall be improved for the November 3rd 2020 release date. Hopefully it is a great game!

I expect a lot of people are disappointed by that being the new game reveal; however, we knew it would be a third-party game, and being a game revealed after the Paper Mario portion of a Treehouse video meant this was one to keep your expectations under control for. I am saddened to see such a ratio of Likes and Dislikes on the videos for this game on the Nintendo channel – currently they have around 3 or 4 Dislikes for every Like, and this is a very negative stance on games most or all of these people have not played. Maybe it is not a game you are excited for, but this is a series name with history, and we should give it a chance.


So, there are my thoughts on the Treehouse; have you seen it? In which case, do you agree/disagree with my opinions? You can let me know in the comments!

Let’s Chat: A Long-Overdue Super Mario Odyssey Review

– This article was originally published on 30th April 2018; it is being updated and archived here as part of the newly-named Let’s Chat series –


It only took about 6 months, but I did it, everyone – after weeks of fellow Let’s Chat voice Ashley Harrison telling me to, I have finished the main story of Nintendo Switch title Super Mario Odyssey. So, now, it’s time for our first joint-review of the game, which will cover our thoughts on the game, how it compares to previous 3D Mario games, the DLC, and each of us giving the game a score. I hope you enjoy!


SPOILERS AHEAD FOR SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY

William Robinson: You thought the day would never come. But after roughly half a year, I finally got around to finishing Super Mario Odyssey (the story, at least)! I think I should take up speedrunning… Jokes aside, this Let’s Chat is going to be our first joint review, as we discuss and likely disagree on the game. To start with, then – where are you now in the game, and what were your thoughts as that awesome soundtrack played to the end credits?

Ashley Harrison: I’ve finished the game completely, with 999 Moons and every single costume unlocked, bar the new ones that they’ve added recently. Gonna go on to get those at some point, as well as trying to finally get this damn jump rope challenge Moon. When I’d gotten to the point you are now, my thoughts were that I had justified spending the £350 I spent on my Switch bundle, but felt that I wanted more because whilst there were a ton of moons to collect, I was shocked at just how few levels there were.

WR: Woah, you’ve managed to 100% it? I didn’t know that, that’s impressive. Yeah – the game is split up into Kingdoms, which are all large-ish open areas reminiscent of Super Mario 64 levels, with Moons hidden everywhere for different tasks. If you’re just blasting through the main story, though, each Kingdom is pretty brief. It took me around 10-15 hours to get to the final encounter with Bowser. Looking at the statistics afterwards, though, it’s almost unbelievable how many Moons are supposedly in each Kingdom!

AH: Yeah, it’s ridiculous how many Moons there are in each Kingdom. I just wish there were fewer Moons per Kingdom, and more Kingdoms to make up for the “loss” of Moons.

WR: I’m actually the opposite. I felt the Kingdoms felt too bite-size, and could’ve felt bigger and taken longer to get through. It all felt a little fast-paced for me. However, I was undeniably enjoying the game as I played. There is a certain magic to the design and feel of Odyssey that only 3D Mario games seem to have. The capture mechanic, where throwing companion Cappy at enemies lets Mario basically possess them, only helped that; I was surprised at just how many different forms Mario could take.

AH: It’s without a doubt my favourite Mario game of all time, and the capture mechanic is a major part of that. It’s something I wasn’t too sure on when it was first announced, but once I’d played Odyssey, I fell in love with it. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a T-Rex in a Mario game?

WR: Which were your favourite uses of the capture mechanic?

AH: I loved the T-Rex, obviously, and I thought the frog was pretty cool too. You?

WR: Come on, can it be anything but the Snow Kingdom and the Shiverians there? They’re a) incredibly adorable and b) so fun to roll around as. If the next Mario Kart doesn’t have a Shiverian track, something is amiss. Speaking of, the same question for Kingdoms; which were best designed or most surprising for you?

AH: Snow Kingdom is GOAT Kingdom, followed by the Seaside Kingdom for me. Most surprising isn’t even really a Kingdom, but more the final level of the game, just for how ridiculously hard it actually is.

3D Mario games always manage to make such incredibly challenging levels that, somehow, still don’t feel cheap

William Robinson

WR: You don’t mean the final story sequence, but the traditional Champion’s Road ending or however this game names it?

AH: Yeah, it’s called “Darker Side” in this game and it’s ridiculous.

WR: I still rate my 100% file of Super Mario Galaxy 2 as one of my finest gaming achievements, and I’m looking forward to getting to the final level of Odyssey too. 3D Mario games always manage to make such incredibly challenging final levels that, somehow, still don’t feel cheap. Back to the game, though; how did you rate the general platforming design? Did you feel that some of the focus there was lost to the amount of play as different forms of Mario?

AH: I genuinely feel that whilst they’re not as good as the Galaxy games, the levels in Odyssey are some of the best Nintendo has ever produced for a Mario game. Everything is tightly designed so there’s always something to do or find, and the capture mechanic only adds to that, rather than feeling like anything was lost because of it.

WR: I was very rarely challenged by the platforming; it had more of a puzzle feel, figuring out which powers were needed when. That’s certainly a great side of the game that encourages intuition, but I did miss some of the platforming focus that I would have liked alongside it.

AH: See, I didn’t find myself missing the pure platforming elements at all. I loved the puzzle focus to it, and I’d be more than happy to see it make a return in future games.

WR: Did you feel that they were trying to recapture that Super Mario 64/Sunshine feel, rather than the pure platforming of Galaxy and Super Mario 3D World? If so, is that the kind of 3D Mario you prefer?

AH: Oh, without a doubt, they were trying to make it more like 64/Sunshine than Galaxy or 3D World. I wouldn’t say I exactly prefer it that way, as I’d rank both Galaxy games above either 64 or Sunshine, but I preferred it for this game.

WR: For me, Odyssey sits around the level of 3D World (which is possibly the most underrated game ever, in my books). Both Galaxy games are clearly superior to me, due to their sheer creativity and platforming prowess; Odyssey, despite the varied gameplay brought through the capture mechanic, still feels very grounded, you know? The joy of movement I have come to expect from a 3D Mario is there, but not that same freedom the Galaxy pair give. Still, being -slightly not as good as Galaxy– still puts Odyssey ahead of most games.

AH: Fun fact: 3D World is the only main series Mario game I’ve not completed, because I just didn’t like it one bit. So to even compare Odyssey to 3D World is blasphemous in my opinion.

You never really got to see every Kingdom properly unless you looked for Moons afterwards, so I would’ve preferred if more Moons were needed to progress so that I was forced to explore each Kingdom.

Ashley Harrison

WR: Right, before we start fighting, let’s put the spotlight back on Odyssey. In terms of the main structure and story, did you like the pacing and challenge? The Moons required to progress didn’t really require much extra grinding; I found I tended to naturally have enough a lot of the time.

AH: I think there was only one time during the whole game where I didn’t have enough Moons to progress right away, and even then I was only 2 Moons off, so I definitely feel it could’ve done with a change in pacing. You never really got to see every Kingdom properly unless you looked for Moons afterwards, so I would’ve preferred if more Moons were needed to progress so that I was forced to explore each Kingdom.

WR: I agree with that. Seeing the amount of Moons I have left to collect is almost unbelievable – I don’t know how they all fit in those Kingdoms! It’s exciting, though, that I can now slow down and enjoy exploring what Odyssey has to offer without feeling pressure to get to Bowser and see the credits. It’s similar to the modern Tomb Raider games, where you can go back to areas after the story and experience them as a relatively relaxed open world game. Considering you have all the Moons, I’m guessing you feel a similar way.

AH: Yeah, I do. It’s cool to go back after you’ve beaten the Darker Side level and restored peace to the Mario Universe, and seeing all the different animals and people you meet along the way interacting with one another in every Kingdom. It made mopping up the Moons I’d missed an absolute joy.

WR: It’s funny you say that; this game gave me a real feeling of a Marvel-like Mario Universe, in how you see different locations with different characters, such as Pauline in New Donk City. Also with how, as mentioned earlier, Odyssey references older 3D Mario games – particularly the ending with Bowser, which gave me a vibe of Bowser just wanting to be friends with Mario and Peach (but going too far with, you know, trying to force Peach to marry him, which gets into some pretty dark ideas actually).

AH: Bowser kidnapping and forcing Peach to marry him is essentially the storyline to every Mario game though, so does he really just want to be friends?

WR: I mean, sure, but right at the end he just wanted to come along. Mario didn’t need to jump on him and leave him on the Moon, after Bowser and him have just connected over Peach-rejection. Either way, the appearance of Captain Toad helps this game a lot. He’s just minding his own business, with hordes of Coins, being the real hero of the Mario Universe.

AH: Captain Toad is the MVP of the game, though how he manages to get to some of the places he does in the levels I will never know.

WR: I’m glad I’m making you see the majesty of Captain Toad. Also, yeah… he can’t jump, yet somehow he got to the cave at the end of that Wiggler section in the Lost Kingdom. How? The stickers, outfits and Photo Mode also gave Odyssey a more modern feel, with the extras we have now come to expect from big name game releases. One particular joy? No real-money purchases in sight.

AH: Photo mode is legit one of my favourite things about the game. Can we make sure every game from now on has one? Please?

WR: I’d also like to get your thoughts on the presentation of the game in general – 3D Mario titles are often so magical from a visual and musical perspective. I really enjoy how each game has a distinct vibe now; Galaxy was very orchestral, then 3D World had an awesome jazz feel, and now Odyssey has a rock undertone.

AH: I think the whole presentation is great. The game itself looks incredible, and the soundtrack is way better than it has any right to be. I genuinely would go as far as saying Mario Odyssey is the best game on the Switch right now.

WR: I’m in the Zelda: Breath of the Wild camp on that front, but I’m not going to get too into that, as I think there is a split of people who think either Zelda or Mario is the best Switch game (and best game of 2017). It’s down to personal taste, I think, as both are incredible. I played the whole of Odyssey in handheld and the visuals were pretty great – on the small screen some rough edges were occasionally evident, but overall it was slick if not revolutionary; it doesn’t stand out as a massive step from 3D World on Wii U.

I think there is a split of people who think either Zelda: Breath of the Wild or Super Mario Odyssey is the best Switch game of 2017

William Robinson

AH: I also played it in handheld mode, and I agree that whilst there were some rough edges in a couple of places, overall it was spectacular. It’s made me wish Nintendo would be willing to adopt technology like Sony and Microsoft do – imagine Odyssey in 4K!

WR: Did you try any other control or display options? On the 4K topic, I’m in no huge rush. The artistic direction of Nintendo is enough in these games, but I do have to admit, a Switch 4K Edition in a few years would be amazing.

AH: Not with Odyssey, no. With the way the game is designed, it felt like the kind of game made to be played in handheld mode rather than on a TV.

WR: Yeah, for sure – with Moons everywhere, you can literally just play a few minutes at a time and still have a sense of progression. So, how many hours did it take you to get where you are? Have you played the Luigi’s Balloon World DLC?

AH: Um, I think in total I’ve put in about 40 hours? That was just for the main story, and getting all the collectibles. I haven’t tried out the Balloon World DLC yet, though. As much as I love Luigi, sadly this concept doesn’t do anything for me.

WR: That DLC seems kinda light on substance, but I haven’t given it a proper shot yet?. Kingdom DLC in the future would be great, and make a lot of sense. It would allow the developers to get really creative; imagine Kingdoms based on other Mario games like SunshineGalaxy or even Kart, or maybe even other Nintendo properties! A Hyrule Castle Kingdom would potentially be incredible.

AH: I would absolutely love that. As I said earlier, my only real criticism of the game is that there aren’t enough Kingdoms, and at this point, I’d even pay for an expansion pass! Which completely goes against my point in our previous Let’s Chat about microtransactions and DLC and stuff, but Odyssey is genuinely just that good that I’d happily pay for more.

WR: Nintendo have so much goodwill in not exploiting players that I think they’re an exception. You think we see DLC announcements at E3?

AH: Hopefully! But at the same time I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t, to be honest with you.

WR: How so?

For me, Mario Odyssey is the quintessential Switch game.

Ashley Harrison

AH: I just think Nintendo will see Odyssey as a finished product now, and leave it to move onto the next Mario game.

WR: I can see that, but I can see them also realising how much money that massive Odyssey install base could produce. Remember that Super Mario Odyssey has sold over 10 million now! Either way, it’s a superb game on its own, like you say. Before we close out, I’d like a final thoughts from both of us and a score out of 999 Moons. Just to be awkward.

AH: For me, Mario Odyssey is the quintessential Switch game. It ties together the Mario charm everyone knows, with brand new ideas such as the capture mechanic. Whilst it might not be as good a pure platformer as the Galaxy games, it’s without a doubt a contender for the best Mario game of all time and more than worth picking up as a Switch owner. I give it 998/999 Moons; it needs more playable Luigi.

WR: My turn, then. Despite having played it a tinyyyyy bit later than everyone else did, I can see why Super Mario Odyssey was received in such a positive way. As a fan of the 3D Mario games, they are unmatched in that sense of pure platforming feel and creativity, with new ideas around every turn that could literally have entire games based around them. The return to a more hub-world feel has advantages and disadvantages – the rewarding exploration of 64 and Sunshine is back, but at the same time the game does sacrifice some of the tightly crafted focus that Galaxy and 3D Land/World had. As well as this, there is a very fast pace to the main throughline of Odyssey, and whilst there is plenty of opportunity to go back and revel in that exploration later, I can’t shake that that I felt hurried in that 10-15 hour story. I’m going to be playing this game for a while yet, and y’know, it has Captain Toad, so it has to be a good game, right? My score is 900/999 Moons.

AH: Missing out on nearly 100 Moons? What does it need to do for you to earn those?

WR: Hey, that’s -just- over 90%. That rushed pace and the smaller spotlight on levels that feel more exactly crafted for the purpose of platforming are just less to my tastes than previous 3D Mario games. It’s still a great score, just not the 998/999 you gave. Bear in mind, I wouldn’t give Breath of the Wild too much more (I guess that would be out of Korok Seeds?).

AH: Fair enough, that’s a reasonable explanation.

WR: Y’know, I’m glad that settled pretty peacefully. We welcome differing opinions here, unless you don’t like Spyro or Captain Toad.

AH: Indeed. I’ve actually been watching a Spyro: Year of the Dragon speedrun whilst we’ve been doing this; bring on September for the remaster!

WR: Can’t wait! We may have to do one of these joint-reviews for that as well. Until next week!

AH: Until then!


Finally, then, we got to review Super Mario Odyssey. The joint-review is a fun format, and perhaps one we will use again in the future for certain releases.

For more Let’s Chat, you can see other articles here!

5 Ideas for Awesome Nintendo Theme Park Attractions

We’ve known for a while that Nintendo is partnering with Universal Parks and Resorts. The video below dropped near the end of 2016, including Shigeru Miyamoto saying: “We are working very hard to create attractions that can be equally enjoyable to anybody regardless of age.” Have we truly comprehended how cool this could end up being?

I don’t think we have. It can’t be too long until we see the magical results, so maybe we could start imaging the amazing structures we that might pop up at Universal Theme Parks. With a wide catalogue of beloved franchises to choose from, there’s certainly a few ideas that come to mind. Let’s look at just five, for now:


Mario Kart Bumper Cars

This is almost too easy, this one. The idea of bumper cars on their own is fun, but they do always seem to look a bit… bland. Perhaps a lack of visual creativity is going on there? What better way to brighten it up than with the Mushroom Kingdom? Not only would iconic kart designs, like the B-Dasher, be a blast to drive around in, but you could add other aspects in – maybe a couple of the items, for example. No, not the Blue Shell or anything like that – it may be hard to replicate that – but, say, the Item Box to obstruct other karts or slippery patches where a Banana icon is. If you want to aim high, you could actually make a full-on go-kart course. Either way, Mario Kart is a must-have, especially with the popularity of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch.


Boo Mansion

In my eyes, this is another must-have for any Nintendo theme park. The haunted mansion idea is getting a little bit stale now, so let’s get Mario to liven it up! Wait, no – this is Luigi’s time to shine. With a Luigi Death Stare at the door for everyone who enters, this could be the most unnerving haunted mansion you’ve ever faced. You could include ghosts that look away when you see them (get some light trickery going on here, drawing attention and then hiding the Boos), and even some Luigi wails in the background. Not only could this be a really fun take on the haunted mansion, but it could be one that you can take your children to, even if they aren’t usually too fond of this sort of thing.

Luigi's Mansion

To top it off, you could use the idea of fake doors and multiple exits from the Mario games to deceive the crowd. You could have a special winning exit for those who find it, as well as doors that lead to dead ends. As long as it doesn’t start getting to the cruelty level of some user-created Super Mario Maker levels. We don’t want people leaving with tears in their eyes.


Wave Race Water Ride

Let’s start getting away from the usual Mario-themed rides. This partnership with Universal Theme Parks opens the way for some classic franchises to sail again; Wave Race has been dried up (so many pun opportunities…) since the GameCube, but a Nintendo theme park is a prime opportunity to bring it back. Water rides are must-haves! An on-rails, undulating course which slaloms through posts could be utterly thrilling. Get some rollercoaster-style build-up to big drops and sharp turns, and a success may be on your hands. Also, it might help push along another sequel (how about that, Nintendo?), but let’s go one step at a time.


F-Zero/Star Fox Rollercoaster

Speaking of rollercoasters… Nintendo, you have two sci-fi, high-speed series that would fit the rollercoaster format fabulously. Come on, now, I’m giving you the big-money ideas here.

Star Fox

Both series speak for themselves, really. Star Fox is literally an on-rails game, which has you clinging on to your controller as you fly, flip, and do a barrel roll through the environments. That last point being particularly important – we need a barrel roll-ing rollercoaster. Meanwhile, F-Zero is about undiluted speed. This could be one of your top-end Nintendo attractions, with a rapid, yet smooth and fluid, ride that will give you a huge adrenaline rush. Just like Wave Race, this might be a way to get the word out about another series that could do with another entry.


Metroid Laser Tag

Look, we’ve got to do something for Samus. At a theme park, the atmospheric part of Metroid might have to take a back seat, but the series does have a lot of action credit too. Not everyone may have liked Metroid Prime: Federation Force (okay, that’s an understatement), but the multi-character style might fit a theme park really well.

You see, laser tag needs something to spice it up now, and Metroid could be the answer. Some arm cannon-style guns, Metroids as the targets, and just a little of that atmosphere I mentioned earlier in the dark corridors, and you’ve got yourself an inventive take. Maybe put a cake in the middle for Samus to find, too. She’s not gotten much attention recently – at least that is being fixed, with Samus Returns on 3DS in 2017 and the upcoming Metroid Prime 4!


The Alternate Answer: Nintendo Land

Nintendo Land.png

There’s another way to approach all of this. Wii U launched with Nintendo Land, which is literally a game about a Nintendo theme park! Nintendo Land was full of attractions focused on different series. If you want to save time, just lift as much of that as possible into the theme park design, even if it MIGHT be impossible. Also, no, Ice Climber still isn’t included this time. Sorry.


There’s plenty more that could be done with Nintendo’s IP in a theme park setting. They are such iconic characters, with such varied and colourful worlds. That was just 5(ish) ideas for what could be done; if you have any ideas, you can let me know in the comments – I’d really like to read them!