New Super Mario Bros. Review pt. 1

I just started playing New Super Mario Bros and I’ve got to the second world so far. I’ve mostly played 2 player so far and we had fun but at the same time, the game can be very frustrating when you mess up something you know you can make, and then have to restart the level because of it. I suppose that’s nothing new for a Mario game, I had the same annoyances with the DS game recently too.

I do like the game and multiplayer is definitely more fun. When I went back to the game a little while ago today by myself, I ended up giving up without completing a level because I made a couple of mistakes at critical times. I guess you just need to be in the right frame of mind and I wasn’t today.

It’s very weird for a game that’s so traditionally punishing to be marketed by Nintendo as a casual family game.

As if it isn’t difficult enough single player, multi-player really ups the ante the more players you add in. This is partly because of the camera which in a similar way to LBP, zooms out and makes things tricky. Not only that but you can’t occupy the same exact space as each other. This means that on tight areas of the course, you have to spread out to avoid pushing each other into the lava or bottomless pit by accident.

For this reason, it’s definitely advisable to stick with 2 players if you can, but obviously you’ll have chaotic fun with more also, it’s all about personal preference.

Check back soon for part 2 of the review, but just to clarify for the time being, you should own this if you have a Wii. Just be prepared to take the frustrations with the fun.


F1 2009 Review

F1 2009 may have bad graphics, it may have limited modes and no online play. But what it does provide is fun, and in the end, that’s what matters.

As a huge F1 fan who is also a big gamer and Wii owner, clearly this game was made for me. While I would have bought the PS3 version instead had that been an option, this version didn’t disappoint me.

The game has a fairly limited list of modes but it covers everything most people would want. There’s a standard season mode where you play as any driver in the game. While the list of drivers does include everyone who started the 2009 season, by this point, a large amount of the teams and drivers are out of date. Several drivers who are in the game were replaced in the middle of the season, and now that the season is over, almost all the drivers are switching teams, not to mention two teams leaving and about 5 joining for next year.

In other words if you were expecting the game to feature the teams and drivers as they were towards the end of 2009 then you will be disappointed. It would be unfair though to expect next years roster in this years game however.

Like I mentioned before, the graphics aren’t much to write home about, even compared to the PS3 launch title F1 Championship Edition, which still looks fantastic by comparison to this, and still a very high quality visual game by any standards.

My judgement on this games visuals isn’t going to be definitive. While the graphics are poor by PS3 / 360 and PC standards, it’s hard to tell whether or not it’s actually pushing the Wii’s graphical limits. If it is then I have no issues with it, if it isn’t then I’m not. But from a personal standpoint, I found the graphics to be serviceable. They didn’t blow me away at all, but the gameplay did that.

Speaking of the gameplay, it is incredible. I can’t remember many other occasions I’ve had such a lot of fun playing a driving game. I absolutely love the way this game feels to play. Before I go on, I have to clarify that I love playing using the classic controller. I played a bit with motion controls but only to see how it was. As I predicted, it just felt inaccurate and after a while gets uncomfortable and frustrating. I wouldn’t recommend playing that way. If you have your heart set on that type of play style, I suggest you pick up Excite Truck instead.

Playing with the classic controller is so satisfying. The analogue sticks are the most accurate I’ve seen on any controller so far. The PS3 is close and the 360 one is poor in my opinion. The reason why this matters is because it allows you to make small turns in a smoother way than having to move the stick multiple times for one corner.

The reason why this game is so fun to play is a mixture of control and sense of speed. The handling mechanics work close to perfection and really make you feel like you’re driving an F1 car while also not making it so hard to drive that you’ll end up going off the track often as with other games when you first start playing them.

The modes in the game aren’t exactly amazingly well done in terms of the content off the track. The career is a very simple 3 years of building up your reputation and establishing yourself as a driver. What it is really there for though is to give you a reason to drive the tracks, not that you need a reason, because they are the stars of the show, and they are all a lot of fun to race on.

Possibly the coolest mode and the one which has made me excited about split screen multiplayer for the first time in a long time is the co-op / competitive career mode, where you can team up or compete with someone next to you on the couch.

This mode is surprisingly great fun as you attempt to help each other out and fight for the constructor’s championship, while also being their rival for the driver’s title at the same time. The only real negative of it is that, as with all split-screen games you sometimes can’t see what you’re doing very well because of the smaller viewing size, but that’s a minor issue.

The lack of online may be a bit disappointing but in a game like this, it’s the feeling of driving that will keep me back. Online play isn’t really necessary but I do hope it gets into the PS3 game next year though.

Overall, I do recommend the game. It certainly does help if you’re an F1 fan or at least a driving game fan, but I think that a lot of people could potentially really enjoy the F1 experience. If you own a Wii, it might be worth your time and money.


iplayer Wii Channel Thoughts

I played with the BBC iplayer channel for wii and it’s good. About as good as the virgin set-top box on demand and certainly better than the ps3 version. That version though is essentially a rush job link to the browser rather than a standalone app. You can really tell the difference and it’s nice to see the BBC put in the effort for this channel.

It’s also nice to see nintendo open up the wii menu to 3rd parties and it will be interesting to see where they go with this with regards to partnering with other content providers.

Regardless, this is a good first step and something that quite a few people will find useful.


The Wii Storage Issue

Theres always been a lot of talk about how the wii doesn’t have enough storage space available. While I do agree that there is a problem, I would also say that the president of Nintendo, who said recently that they are addressing the problem which effects a small percentage of Wii owners in the near future. IGN guys said that this is a joke and that everyone is running out of space, but that’s probably because they are all heavy virtual console downloaders and therefore have clouded judgement, when in fact most people have probably downloaded either one or two virtual console titles, and a few free channels. I am that way, I downloaded the mii contest channel, everybody votes and two VC games, columns and 1080 snowboarding. I am probably someone who has downloaded more than a large percentage of wii owners because for one thing, a lot of them have probably never been connected to the internet, and even those who have may not have even downloaded any channels or games.

Now that WiiWare is coming out though, and for those people who are the hardcore retro gamers who downloaded loads of games, Nintendo really need to open up the SD slot to allow running of channels and games straight off them instead of having to copy and delete channels in order to play them.

I’m also wondering what will happen when people have more than 48 channels on their wii in the future, which can happen. Will the Wii menu continue to expand or will there be a limit to how many channels are possible?

So in conclusion, the probably isn’t as bad as some people think, but it is for a small percentage of owners, and in the near future it will be for many more players too. We’ll probably hear about what Nintendo’s plans are at E3 and a firmware update will probably follow shortly after that opening up the SD slot. I can’t see them bringing out a hard drive or anything like that, but maybe they will allow usb drives and SD cards to give people a choice. It will be either of those things, and definitely won’t be telling people to buy another wii if they want more storage. I really hope not at least.