Video Game Reviews

Super Mario 3D World
Nintendo EAD
Reviewed on: Wii U (Exclusive)
Street: 11.22.13
Mario has been a staple for every Nintendo console for over 25 years—suffice it to say, Nintendo knows how to make a good Mario game. 3D World isn’t just a good game, it’s a great game. I started thinking about 3D World as a really delicious cake—each level is a delectable bite that leads you to eat the whole cake in the shortest time possible. Not only is the level design interesting and fun, it’s fantastic to look at. Each level is rife with opportunities to explore, so you can easily devour this game on your own—but just like the previous Mario incarnates, it’s more fun with a group of friends. Every character has unique abilities—Peach finally avoids getting kidnapped, and her ability is floating for short periods. These, combined with the new power-ups, keep the game feeling new and prevent it from feeling repetitive. I also have to say that I love the cat suit. It’s more fun than it looks—and since I’m a cat person, I find it ridiculously adorable. Super Mario 3D World is such a good time, —it’s exactly what the Wii U needs to move some units. –Ashley Lippert

XCOM: Enemy Within
Firaxis/2K Games
Reviewed on: PC
Also on: Xbox 360, PS3, OS X
Street: 11.09.13
While Enemy Within is an expansion to 2012’s sleeper hit XCOM: Enemy Unknown rather than a full-blown sequel, it doesn’t keep the player from feeling like they’re in a whole new world that just happens to be under attack by pissed-off aliens. Of the many new aspects that Enemy Within brings to the table, there are two innovations that really stood out. First, in addition to managing time and money, the player is now tasked with collecting a substance called Meld that can be used to greatly enhance XCOM’s soldiers. Once Meld has been successfully harvested via combat missions, the player then has to decide whether they want to turn their troops into cybernetic powerhouses or genetically-altered shock troops. Enemy Within also introduces a terrorist faction known as EXALT, which is bent on messing with XCOM’s shit. Fighting a war on two fronts makes the significance of each decision all the more agonizing. Though some players will scoff at the familiarities among the maps and overall gameplay, I’m a firm believer in the axiom that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it—just stick it inside an overpowered mech-suit and tell it to blow something up. –Alex Springer

Wii Fit U
Nintendo/Nintendo
Reviewed on: Wii U (Exclusive)
Street: 11.01.13
Wii Fit U’s main goal is get you off your ass. You may shed some pounds, but it will never replace a gym membership. It only really focuses on your balance and keeping active. I love the new features for Wii Fit U, especially the personal trainer. It takes all the guesswork out of which exercises you need to perform to burn off those delicious calories. The personal trainer even lets you choose how you want to burn off the calories—vigorously or slowly—so you can burn them at your own pace. They also upgraded the routine feature, so you can work on specific areas quickly and easily. The only thing that makes me sad is they didn’t add anything to the strength or yoga activities and only added a few new balance games. The new games are a good time—there are just not enough of them. They tried adding a slew of dancing activities to compensate, but it doesn’t help much since they are not that great. Graphics don’t really get an upgrade but it still looks just fine—it’s the new features that make Wii Fit U a worthy upgrade from the Wii Fit. –Ashley Lippert

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