Operation Backlog Completion 2018
Dec 152017
 

From the moment Super Mario Odyssey was announced, I wanted it. I wanted it the moment people caught a glimpse of what appeared to be a Mario 3D platformer in the Switch announcement.

For that matter, I waited through the entire Wii U’s life cycle for a Mario game more in the style of 64/Sunshine/Galaxy, so I’ve been hoping for this game for a long time.

And Super Mario Odyssey did everything I wanted it to do.

This is the sort of 3D platforming I loved in Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Sunshine (and Super Mario Galaxy to a lesser extent). I did miss the sort of hub world Sunshine had, but Odyssey made up for it by giving a lot of worlds almost their own mini-hub areas.

At first I felt like the lack of a hub world made it feel less unified, but once I thought about it, I realized that the worlds in Super Mario Odyssey actually feel more fleshed out and significant than the worlds from the previous games, at least to me. I like this style, and while I still would love a central hub, I want to see more Mario worlds like these in the future.

(And it’s hardly a story-driven game, but it had some entertaining NPCs and I especially enjoyed seeing visitors from one kingdom in another.)

I also loved searching all over each kingdom to collect all the purple coins and using my coins to buy new costumes and decorations for the Odyssey. And of course, it was fun to find Power Moon after Power Moon. There are so many Power Moons!

I wish there were a few more of the “story” Moons with a specific objective, but overall it worked well. A few people have compared Super Mario Odyssey to Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie in terms of exploration and getting Moons, and I like that comparison.

Click for Super Mario Odyssey post-game spoiler

Oh, and Super Mario Odyssey also has one of my favorite incarnations of Bowser’s Castle so far.

Really, there’s only one thing about Super Mario Odyssey that disappointed me…

Click for Super Mario Odyssey kingdom spoiler

Oddly enough, capturing things didn’t feel as central to the gameplay as I imagined from the early trailers. It was entertaining, but it felt like just one small tool in a game mainly about exploring, collecting, and completing challenges.

And a game like that is exactly what I wanted from the next 3D Mario game! All in all, Super Mario Odyssey was everything I wanted it to be. Have you played it yet? What did you think?

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Oct 272017
 

Super Mario Odyssey is here!

I’d hoped to finish Persona 5 before starting Super Mario Odyssey. That didn’t happen, so I set Persona 5 aside to see if Super Mario Odyssey is the 3D Mario game I’ve been dreaming of.

(Don’t worry, I still intend to play more Persona soon and finish it.)

First of all, I’m just delighted to have this style of Mario game back again. Super Mario 64 was one of my childhood games, Super Mario Sunshine was fantastic, I enjoyed Super Mario Galaxy despite it not having quite the same sort of world structure… and I waited all through the Wii U’s life for the next one. Super Mario 3D World, while fun, just wasn’t the same.

But here, I already feel that sense of exploration and fun. The basic controls are familiar, and using Cappy felt natural right away. I’m still getting used to some parts (and seeing which motion control actions can be done without motion controls), but it generally feels good.

It’s also beautiful! I spent a while in the first area (tutorial area) just looking around and enjoying its weird, oddly Nightmare-Before-Christmas-esque atmosphere.

And of course, the other worlds have a completely different aesthetic.

I haven’t played very much yet–after I got my first Power Moon I decided it was time to get work done, starting with this blog post–but I already love it and I’m excited to play more.

Are you playing Super Mario Odyssey? What do you think of it so far?

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Oct 202017
 

Routine isn’t the only game I was looking forward to that disappeared from view. What happened to Fiona Frightening?

Fiona Frightening and the Wicked Wardrobe was a 3D platformer in the style of Banjo-Kazooie, and it was planned for the Wii U.

The story followed a witch named Fiona who used “Monsdresses” from her monster allies to fight an evil Boogieman trying to rewrite the story to make himself the winner. It sounded like a cute and spooky game, perfect for this time of year.

In 2015, I thought they might have a demo ready in time for Halloween, and earlier this year I included it on my list of best upcoming 3D platformers.

Now, the chances of it still coming out for the Wii U are pretty slim, but is it coming out for anything else instead? (They mentioned their interest in the Switch.) What happened to this game?

Fortunately, it appears Fiona Frightening hasn’t been cancelled yet. While the official Fiona Frightening Facebook page has been quiet ever since July 2016, they responded this March to say they were waiting for the demo to be completed.

And… they must still be waiting.

It’s hard not to worry about Fiona Frightening and the Wicked Wardrobe, especially since they’ve gone for such long periods of time without anything to show. Still, at least it’s not officially cancelled yet.

What do you think? Will we eventually get to see (and play) Fiona Frightening?

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