Friday Favorites: Super Mario Party Features

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Last Friday, Super Mario Party was released for the Switch, much to everyone’s excitement. Rachel and I streamed it last Friday night on our Twitch channel, having a great time exploring the game and being thrilled that it seemed to go back to its roots with a few of the better updated features from the more recent Mario Party games.

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Character Roster

Character rosters are usually a hit or miss for me. Fire Emblem Warriors, despite my love of the franchise’s characters, has too many sword users and Mario Kart 8 has too many clones — Pink Gold Peach, all the baby characters, the Koopalings — for example. Super Mario Party has a great character roster with a fantastic balance between the hero and villain characters. While I’m still on the fence with Bowser being on the roster, since I’m used to him being more an antagonist (as much as you can be an antagonist in a Mario Party game), I can’t deny it’s amusing seeing him marching around the board!

Special Character Die

Mario Party games are usually all about luck when it comes to going around the game boards with a bit of skill for the mini-games. With each character having their own special die, it brings a bit of strategy to going around the boards. The standard die allows you to move one to six spaces. Some characters have die that help you gain or lose some coins while giving you a chance to move more spaces than the standard die. There’s a risk with every die, but plenty of chances to get ahead if your plan pans out.

Allies

The allies is a feature that was first showed in Star Rush, which… wasn’t the best Mario Party game. I did enjoy the way the allies were featured in Super Mario Party, allowing you to use their specific character die as well as giving you an extra move or two. Some mini games also include your allies to give you a helping hand. It’s also just really amusing to watch a parade of Mario characters going around the board as your allies follow you!

Mini Games in between Turns

Having the mini games after every turn on the boards is back and it’s amazing! That feature is what defines the Mario Party series for me and I’m excited to see it back. That, and the mini games that we’ve played so far have all been pretty fun. I haven’t had a complaint about any of them yet!

What do you like best about Super Mario Party?

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Friday Favorites: Autumn Levels

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Being the beginning of October and living in New England means that it’s around the time the tree leaves begin to change color. Red, orange, and yellow leaves make it so pretty outside… and video game graphics nowadays are almost just as good.

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Fall in Pokemon Black and White/Black 2 and White 2

I’ll admit, Unova is not a Pokemon generation that I have played through. Honestly, it’s probably my least favorite region in the core Pokemon games. However, I did like the season mechanic and I always thought that fall looked and sounded really nice in those games. That, and it was always fun to wander through the leaf piles!

Maple Treeway from Mario Kart Wii

Mario Kart is a fantastic series, even if racing is not my usual genre of choice. Maple Treeway, where you race around through fall foliage and giant tree limbs, is one of my favorite tracks, both visually and as a challenge.

Akkala Region in Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the most gorgeous games I’ve ever played. It’s very difficult to pinpoint my favorite area of the open world. However, the Akkala region does have some very autumn vibes. The trees have the red and orange colors and leaves decorate the ground, giving the area a striking look as you paraglide above it or ride through on your horse of choice.

What are your favorite autumn levels in video games?

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Friday Favorites: Super Mario 64 Worlds

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Last week, I talked about my least favorite worlds from Super Mario 64. While the game is not my favorite from the Nintendo 64 era, there is no denying how much it defined the face of video games!

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Cool, Cool Mountain

I enjoy snowy worlds. I think they’re generally really pretty to stare at and get lost in, and they tend to have some awesome music. Cool, Cool Mountain had a decent area to explore as well as a fun sliding race with the penguin. It was always amusing to have Mario leap off part of the level to land stuck face-down into the snow on a lower part!

Tick Tock Clock

Aside from having a fun title, Tick Tock Clock was a good challenge. The different stars were interesting to get and having the level’s speed correspond with what “time” was on the clock when you entered the world was a nice mechanic. The look and graphics of the level was a lot of fun, too.

Rainbow Ride

I really enjoy sky worlds and flying around — one of my favorite parts of Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was soaring around on the Loftwing birds — and Rainbow Ride was no exception. Sure, the flying carpets were a little slow and could be annoying, but they were challenging and did great in showcasing the level.

What are your favorite courses from Super Mario 64?

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Friday (Least) Favorites: Super Mario 64 Worlds

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Super Mario 64 is one of those classic favorites among Nintendo fans. While it’s not one of my favorite games, I do have a good time playing it with Rachel. However, there are definitely some courses in the game that I would not miss.

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Hazy Maze Cave

Does anyone like this world? I feel as if this is the least liked level in Super Mario 64 from what I’ve heard on the Internet. The graphics and music don’t tend to grab me as some of the other worlds do, and every section seems mish-mashed together rather than feeling like an entire world on its own like the other courses.

Dire, Dire Docks

Generally, I’m not a fan of water levels at all. I can appreciate them — like the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time’s Water Temple, despite how much of a pain it can be — but having to deal with air meters and swim controls were never my favorite part of video games. At least the water levels have some of the best music in Super Mario 64.

Wet-Dry World

The mechanic of the water level being dependent on where you enter the painting is probably the only interesting thing I find about this level. Other than that, I just find it… blah. Even the area with the house-like structures fails to impress me. Other levels definitely have better secrets and challenges than Wet-Dry World.

What are your least favorite courses from Super Mario 64?

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Friday Favorites: Schools in Video Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Where we’re from, school just started for the kids yesterday. I don’t miss going to school at all, mostly because schools in video games seem to be a lot better than schools in real life!

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Themis Legal Academy in Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies

We’re absolute suckers for the Ace Attorney series and Dual Destinies was no exception. In Turnabout Academy, Phoenix Wright and his assistants are invited to Themis Legal Academy to give a lecture on law, only for teacher to turn up dead. A law school that has Phoenix Wright as a guest speaker sounds awesome to me! I could do without the murders, of course but, hey, that’s what the kids are learning about, right?

Knight Academy in Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Who doesn’t want to be a knight? Especially one in a place where you get your own special animal companion in the form of a giant bird? With Link as your classmate? I totally wouldn’t mind going to Skyward Sword’s Knight Academy, especially when you get to fly around the skies. My only wish for that game was that the sky had more areas to explore.

Asagao Academy

Asagao Academy is the setting for a visual novel/dating sim with the popular YouTube groups Normal Boots and Hidden Block. We greatly enjoyed the writing, graphics, and music of the game, and the school setting seemed to be a lot of fun. Not only was there a tournament hosted in the city for video games, most of the hints of schoolwork were also game related.

Honorable Mentions

Most of the Pokemon core games had some sort of school in one of the first cities or areas, giving a refresher on basic aspects of the game, such as status inflictions and held items. Hogwarts from the Harry Potter series is also a great school, but I have had a difficult time finding a game that truly captures that magic.

What are your favorite schools from video games?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Regions

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

Recently, we found out that Twitch will be marathoning all of the Pokemon seasons and movies. Considering I used to watch the show when I was in elementary school twenty or so years ago, I’ve only seen a handful of the seasons before losing time and interest. I may use this 10-month marathon as an excuse to revisit the anime.

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Kalos

Kalos was a breath of fresh air after Unova, which is probably my least favorite region. Kalos went back to Pokemon’s nature roots, filling the region with forests and smaller towns with plenty of secrets to find and explore. While the story wasn’t anything special, in my opinion, I did find the little friendship circle that your character has with the other beginning trainers to be adorable.

Kanto

Kanto will always have a special place in my heart because it was where my love of Pokemon began. The layout and adventure around the region was a treat, with something new around every corner when I first played Pokemon Yellow. I’m ridiculously excited for the Let’s Go titles, looking forward to seeing how well they updated the Kanto region.

Hoenn

Hoenn probably has some of my favorite Pokemon to date, and the layout of the region isn’t bad at all. While I’m not thrilled with most water levels in games, the Dive mechanic was interesting, as was using it to head toward the last gym in the game. The mountain and story was also a favorite of mine, especially in Emerald.

Johto

Johto was fantastic in that it was a successful sequel, if you will, to the Kanto region. Both the games and the anime were awesome with their new Pokemon and adventures. Instead of being saturated with new mechanics, the Johto games simply had a new region to explore, a new story with the legendary Pokemon, and a couple of new types to help balance the roster. The Johto anime theme songs were also some of the best.

What are your favorite Pokemon Regions?

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Friday Favorites: Octopath Characters

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday everyone!

We’re still going strong with Octopath Traveler, and we hope those of you who haven’t finished are enjoying it too! After playing further into the characters’ stories, there are a few that are clear winners to me. Although I enjoy all the characters, these four are right at the top of the list.

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H’aanit

Hunter and ranger characters are generally some of my favorites. Bows are a favorite weapon of mine in most games, despite how awful my aim can be — seriously, you should have seen me trying to shoot enemies in Breath of the Wild, Rachel had a great time making fun of me — as they usually can be so versatile. H’aanit has one of the better stories in my opinion as well. She’s off in search of her missing master with a trusty animal sidekick. The only aspect of H’aanit I’m not completely on board about is her dialect. The Shakespearean way she and her people speak isn’t bad, but I’m positive some words were just made up or slapped with prefixes and suffixes that don’t really work to make her way of speaking more “otherworldly.”

Primrose

My heart broke during this lady’s chapter one. Not for the revenge angle, since tons of fantasy characters’ motivations seem to stem from the murder of their loved ones (especially fathers, for some reason), but for where she found herself while searching for her father’s murderers. I loved to hate the boss of her chapter one, and her motivation for moving forward really captured me. Her story so far is one of my favorites. Her voice actress also does a phenomenal job, in my opinion.

Alfyn

As soon as Rachel and I heard Alfyn speak, we cooed over how adorable he sounded. While a couple of other characters have similar, “we’re off to see the world,” story lines, Alfyn was the first character we collected to have that particular plot. His movepool is more of a smorgasbord of other characters’ — a bit of healing like Ophelia here, some ice moves like Cyrus there, shares the hatchet with H’aanit — but he also has the fun Concoct skill, where he puts together herbs to create either healing or damaging items. I love his poison skill too!

Therion

If you’ve been reading this blog long enough, you’ll know that I’ve always had a soft spot for thief and rogue characters. Stealth and speed are attributes to most of my favorite playable characters — Sheik in Smash Bros., Fire Emblem characters in the thief class — and it’s a bonus whenever they use daggers as weapons. Therion was the first character we picked when starting Octopath, and his dialogue, mannerisms, and voice acting is spot on. His story isn’t too bad either, one where he’s in it for himself, but trapped in a deal that’s taking him on a journey dangerous enough to need allies. We’ve gotten a few “party banter” dialogues between Therion and a few of the other characters, and we’ve been enjoying his personality and interactions with them. We’re just hoping for so much more!

Who are your favorite Octopath characters?

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