Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defense Against the Dark Arts Review

With the threat of the Dark Arts looming, Dumbledore has authorized for students to being training in the Defense Against the Dark Arts. In the Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle – Defense Against the Dark Arts deck-building game, students from each of the four houses train against each other in one-on-one battles. Do you have what it takes to Wingardium Leviosa your way to victory?

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Reigns: Game of Thrones Impressions

Swipe left to assassinate?

Reigns: Game of Thrones takes the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin and places it into a video game with the mechanics of Tinder. Wait, what?

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The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening Review

I don’t think we’re in Hyrule anymore.

Washed ashore after his ship is struck by lightning, Link finds himself stranded on the mysterious Koholint Island. His only chance of returning home is to collect all eight instruments and wake up the Wind Fish. Does The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening do enough to defy the old adage, “There’s no place like home?”

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Downwell Review

How low can you go? It won’t be easy with all of the enemies and obstacles in your way, but the guns strapped to your feet sure do help. Downwell challenges you traverse through a series of randomly-generated tunnels with only the ability to walk, jump, and shoot directly below you.

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Paper Mario Review

After the success of Super Mario RPG, I thought that a proper sequel was inevitable. Instead, Nintendo decided to go at it alone, leaving Squaresoft, Mallow, and Geno behind. Heartbroken by the change in direction, it took me almost 20 years to give Paper Mario a fair shake.

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses Review

There’s two sides to every story. The Fire Emblem: Fates series of games attempted to tell both in its conflict between two armies. Getting the opportunity to bond with each and see the events from different perspectives was an interesting twist to the formula, but you had to buy the Birthright and Conquest campaigns separately. After you’ve finished both? Surprise! You actually have to buy and play the DLC to see what really happened! Both games and the DLC were great, but it certainly felt like a cash grab.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses could have scored a victory by simply taking that multi-sided campaign and stuffing it into one package. Instead, Nintendo and Intelligent Systems went above and beyond with this gargantuan game.

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Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled Impressions

Growing up as a stubborn Nintendo loyalist, I dismissed any kart racer not named Mario Kart. Why bother with the rest when you already know the best? That ignorance would come back to bite me.

During my 2nd go-around in college, a classmate of mine introduced me to Crash Team Racing. With her PlayStation at the ready, we argued over which kart racing series was better while leaving me in the dust. Though this argument continues to this day, that classmate is now my wife and I guess you could count that Crash Team Racing session as our first date.

Mario Kart may still rule the roost, but there’s a segment of gamers who share a deep love and nostalgia for Crash Team Racing. And rightfully so, as even I have to acknowledge that Crash’s kart racer was a solid game. Decades later, Crash Team Racing gets the remaster treatment in Crash Team Racing: Nitro-Fueled.

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Super Mario Maker 2 Review

Super Mario Maker proved to be a revelation. Providing players with intuitive tools to create their own levels in the Mushroom Kingdom, they broke the boundaries of Nintendo’s own level design ethos while pushing the limits – and oftentimes breaking the limits – of what was possible within the game’s toolset. Long after the Wii U died, the Super Mario Maker community seemingly held onto Nintendo’s ill-fated console longer than anyone else.

As mind-expanding as that first game proved to be, it wasn’t without fault. Limitations within the tools made it impossible to recreate every facet of the 2D Super Mario experience, such as sloped hills among others. Finding good levels proved to be a chore due to the game’s poor filtering options. For players who simply wanted more Nintendo-created levels, they were gated behind a clunky 10 Mario Challenge mode that essentially made it impossible to experience them all without having to play repeats. Super Mario Maker 2 aims to not only address the issues of the first, but expand the scope of what players can create within the Mushroom Kingdom.

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Dr. Mario World Review

The original Dr. Mario is game that I like, but don’t love. The theme of having Mario cure viruses by smacking them with pills is great. Mechanically, you can create some interesting combos with the two-part pills splitting in half. However, that game becomes a slog the moment you have to put a pill in a bad spot. From there, you spend much of the level in a negative mindset, stressing out over the mess you made and how difficult it is to clean it up. It makes me feel more like a first-year med student rather than a world-renown professional such as the game’s namesake.

Dr. Mario World takes quite a few liberties in adapting the classic puzzler to mobile devices. Purists may raise an eyebrow at how much the game has changed at first glance, and I don’t blame them for that. However, I don’t think its gameplay is this title’s biggest cause for concern.

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Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Review

Educational gaming’s most elusive thief is at it again! Carmen Sandiego and her gallery of rogues are stealing some of the world’s biggest landmarks, and it’s up to you gumshoes to throw them all in jail. Two-to-four players take part in this competitive deduction game where you’ll arrest members of her crew while aiming to be the one who wins the game by arresting Carmen herself. Can you track her down before she slips away again?

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