Being a Nintendo fan for the better part of my 31 years, I’ve known frustration. I’ve been through the gauntlet on NES games, tasted the satisfaction of SNES, felt the burn of multiplayer party games on the N64, GameCube and Wii, and gone it alone on all the handhelds – GameBoy, GameBoy Advance, DS and DSi to name a few. But the 3DS brings a new mix of all those things – frustration, satisfaction, multiplayer fun and portable distraction. So is the story of Mario Kart 7 – a game that has flaws, sure, but is a whole lot of fun – and championed-in a very important 3DS update.
That update included the ability to join friends’ games via the friends list – a vital function of the friends list initially left out. As well, players met through Mario Kart now show up in your Mii Plaza. But these things aren’t as important as the gameplay in Mario Kart 7. After all, it doesn’t matter if you can join a friend’s game if you’re not interested in doing so. It’s good news then, that Mario Kart 7 is loads of fun, despite some quirks and problems, and it’s a really fun game to play with your kids for all of the obvious reasons.The gameplay in Mario Kart 7 is, at its most basic, the same thing you always expect from a Mario Kart franchise game: you race, you shoot stuff at each other, you win, you lose. And if we just took MK7 straight based on that, I’d still be on-board for a near-perfect score. Just fair warning.
Some time ago, we reviewed Kirby’s Epic Yarn, which was decidedly not-epic for dads to play. With a no-death system and non-traditional Kirby play, it left father-fans of the franchise wanting a real Kirby experience to share with their kids.
That’s why I’m happy to announce that Kirby’s Return to Dream Land is nothing like Epic Yarn – and that’s a good thing for you dads. As well, kids (let’s say kindergarten to tweens) will get more of a kick out of the risk-vs-reward gameplay moreso than the all-rewards gameplay of Epic Yarn. There’s not too much risk, but I’m pleased to report that you CAN die in Kirby’s Return to Dream Land, but a little saddened to report that you might not ever taste that bitter death because the game’s so easy. More on that later.
Surprisingly enough, I can’t remember the last time I played a proper Kirby console game, aside from Epic Yarn – which was not a “proper” Kirby game at all. In the meantime, I’d played all sorts of handheld iterations of the franchise and enjoyed them all. Humorously enough (and I’m talkin’ gamer humor, not real, actual humor), Kirby’s Return to Dream Land was supposed to be released for the GameCube in 2005, but then got pushed back to the Wii. It was then put on hold in favor of Epic Yarn (good call, guys), yadda yadda yadda, and here we are.
Do you remember the first time you heard those down-home old-timey Russian folk songs while dropping blocks into stacks, trying to clear the screen line-by-line? Yeah, me neither. But I remember how simple Tetris was – back in my day – and how much fun it was with such a simple formula. Somewhere between the game’s first playable version in 1984 and now, Tetris got more and more complicated when variations of the game landed on different systems. Somewhere around the original Xbox generation, I got sick of wondering what changes I’d have to endure with the series. I just wanted old Tetris back.
Well, my hiatus has been broken by Tetris Axis for the 3DS (by Hudson Soft, published by Nintendo) – and while it’s not a perfect game, it’s a great experience that can be amped-up or dumbed-down to your liking. And this isn’t just a game for you to play alone – there’s plenty of party modes that you can play with your kids that’ll keep you guys busy for a long while.
The Review (Giveaway at the bottom)
When my wife and I first let our son play Wii Music, he loved the fact that he could swing the controller and make his avatar play the piano. The controller, however, was towering out of his hands – and when I’d try to point to a button for him to press, he had to put down the nunchuk attachment and press the button with the other hand. Though he was just fine with the idea, I knew eventually, when he wasn’t just swinging his arms and making noise, he’d need either bigger hands or a smaller remote. My problem was then having to decide between expensive hand-transplant surgery for my son, or having to crack open a Wii remote and mod it to be shorter.
Or, I could just Google “mini wii remote”.
Sunflex had the answer: their snakebyte MiniMote, which is 25% smaller than Nintendo’s original remote. Sunflex’s remote can, according to their website, “be used by people with small hands and assures them the same control, comfort and game play as those with larger hands.” What a great idea – and thank god, I didn’t have to keep saving my pennies for my kid’s hand-transplant surgery.
Now that the current-generation Nintendo DS is sailing out the door and the 3DS is just a couple of days away from kicking us in the eyes with 3D handheld gaming, we thought we’d go back through some of the best DS games for fathers and kids – that you’ll probably end up playing even when your kids aren’t around. Also, your pocketbook (do people even have those anymore) will be pleased to know that the 3DS does in fact play DS cartridges – so if you do get your hands on a 3DS this weekend, you don’t need to feel pressured to buy a launch title if there’s not something that immediately grabs your fancy.
Pro Tip: Something will grab your kid’s fancy, so stick around for a couple of upcoming Nintendo 3DS game previews after our look at some excellent last-gen DS games you can enjoy with (or without) your kid.
There’s something pleasant and organic about doodling with the H2-Whoa! by B. toys. It could be because the H2-Whoa! has no moving pieces, or maybe because it doesn’t make any obnoxious noises. Maybe it’s because you don’t need anything “extra” to operate it.
The H2-Whoa! is an awesome alternative to the typical magnetic doodle-boards, and I’d wager to bet lasts twice as long.
Ten years ago, I was just coming out of college. I was single, writing reviews for WYWS Magazine (street cred for those that remember it), and sleeping from 7am until 3pm after long nights of video gaming. I had, at that time, two arcade sticks for my game systems. Any punk that challenged me in Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (for the Dreamcast!) was going to get their ass handed to them in a cold rain of shinkuu-hadokens.
Today, I’ve got the arcade sticks packed away, in favor of my kid’s toys. My game systems are inside of a locked television stand. WYWS went out of business years ago and the editor-in-chief lost my number. I have a day job. A wife. A kid. I no longer go to sleep at 7am; I get up for work at 6:45am.
Oh, and Marvel Vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds hit the streets this week.
No way my wife would let me couch-it for a week, use up my vacation hours from work, and slam buttons on a joystick all night, just to figure out if MvC3 is appropriate for kids to play. But a guy can dream.
If you’ve tooled around this site a little, you’ll most likely already know that we’re totally hard for anything Back To The Future. Today the official trailer for Back To The Future: The Game hit the webs and it is heavy. We’ve been pretty stoked on this and it’s great to see something officially out there. Check it out after the jump.