After getting through pretty much all the Fire Emblem Awakening DLC not too long ago, I thought it was high time to finally get through the third route of Fire Emblem Fates on 3DS. I'd played through both Birthright and Conquest soon after the games first released, but even though I've been chipping away at it I hadn't quite finished Revelation. Aside from filling in some gaps of the story which weren't really all that interesting to be honest, Revelation isn't much different from the other two games. It's designed to be sort of midway between the two in terms of the difficulty level, and the main difference in terms of the mechanics is that a lot of stages have platforms and such that move on certain turns, which means you have to time your movements accordingly, or waste turns waiting for them to get back into the right position.

Otherwise this route is what I expected, which is Fates' polished game mechanics, but with a huge cast, as it combines the entire casts of both Birthright and Conquest. I always get a kick out of seeing crossovers and the like, and it was fun seeing characters interact who wouldn't be on the same side otherwise, and I focused almost exclusively on Hoshido / Nohr pairs that wouldn't be possible in either of the other two routes. I hadn't really used the eight royal siblings (four from each country) in either of the other two routes before, so that was fun especially since they're generally much stronger than the other characters, even though the only characters they can romance from the other route are the other two royals of the opposite gender. I was able to use a good number of characters I hadn't used in my previous two playthroughs, and it was fun getting to play with them and getting to find out about their kids (most of whom I'd already gotten to know from Fire Emblem Heroes). There is one character who is exclusive to Revelation, Fuga, and I used him a lot, so much so that he was only second to his wife Corrin in terms of being the MVP (number of wins in battle).

All in all a nice finale to the first two parts, although not really all that different from them. I'd forgotten that Fates had its own set of DLC on top of Revelation, so I suppose I should tackle that before starting my next playthrough of the entire trio of routes. Once again there wasn't much opportunity for the children characters to shine in my playthrough of Revelation, let alone get married themselves, so it'll be nice to have a chance to use them more when playing through the DLC. I kind of barreled through this route in order to get through the story, so next time I'll also stop to enjoy the maps more. Whenever that is! ;)

This is going to be a quick review. Although I enjoyed the smartphone release Dr. Mario World when it released last year, I've really gotten to like the game and I've been meaning to write an update on it since my rating of it has improved a lot. Playing that game has reminded me that I've been slowly working my way through all the Dr. Mario games, so I skipped past the SNES release and instead picked up my copy of Dr. Mario 64 in the hopes that it would be a little more interesting and gave it a quick play through.

Dr. Mario 64 serves as a reminder that until Dr. Mario World the series really didn't evolve much at all. The biggest updates to this iteration were the addition of a 4-player versus mode and a story mode that let you pick two between two routes, Dr. Mario's or Wario's. I remember from before that the story in this game is based on Wario Land 3, a game released on Game Boy Color about a year earlier. I'd really enjoyed Wario Land 3 when I played it way back when, and although it's a nice tie-in, the story mode is about as minimal as you'd expect and I'd forgotten nearly all of the enemies from Wario Land 3 anyway. It's nice to have Wario in a starring role, although sadly Luigi wouldn't get the call to join in until quite a bit later.

Despite not really offering much new, the game is still enjoyable. I'm still not really a fan of Dr. Mario's clunky combo system, but you don't actually have to focus on that at all to beat the story mode or when going head to head against the CPU in the regular versus mode. Unlimited continues in the story mode definitely takes the pressure off, and rotating capsules and matching colors as quickly as you can is still a good time. Overall the story mode and 4-player options make this one of the more memorable entries in the series, although at its core it's still not all that different from the NES original.

I'd been interested in checking out Overwatch for a while because it was so popular, and eventually I did buy it for my aging laptop. I dipped into it a bit, but a couple months later it was announced that it would be coming to Switch, so even though I hate double dipping, I made an exception and bought it again in the form of the Overwatch: Legendary Edition. I've avoided most team-based shooters for a good while now, but Splatoon and, I suppose, Fortnite to some extent have gotten me accustomed to a lot of the tropes. It's also interesting to see how Arms' character design and presentation have been influenced by Overwatch.

Anyway, I got into Overwatch around the same time that some people I knew were playing it a lot, so we ended up having a good time playing online together. As with a lot of these games, it's fun to just play casually and experiment with different characters. The game does a great job of providing distinct movesets and personalities for all the characters, and it's a lot of fun to try them out, but I didn't get to try out many of the attacker characters since I didn't want to wait in the queue for those spots. Instead I just focused on playing as tanks and healers, and found that I preferred healers so I could hold back and suport my teammates rather than have the pressure of trying to rack up kills myself. I ended up using Lucio the most, and Zarya was my most used tank, but when I was playing more casually I would also jump around between other characters, including D.Va and Baptiste. It's a little odd that in the regular 6v6 mode you're thrown into different modes (attack, defend, etc.) and don't get to pick, but I guess that forces you to get better at all of them. I also took part in and enjoyed some of the limited time events with their limited modes, such as the anniversary event.

All in all I definitely see the appeal of the game and enjoyed my time with it. I'm still not a huge fan of team-based shooters, but the colorful characters and the range of ways to play make the game fun even when you lose. I don't really feel much motivation to play it with a complete team of random strangers, so if I ever had another group of semi-regular friends to play with I would probably pick it up again. For now I'm happy to set this one aside (until the next seasonal event rolls around at least, haha), and I'm looking forward to the upcoming sequel which will presumably have a single-player campaign and a lot more lore integrated into the game itself rather than relegated to animated shorts, comics, and other media.

Donut County is an indie game that was on my radar, I think because it was regarded as a quirky title, along the lines of Untitled Goose Story, although Donut County preceded Untitled Goose Story by a year, and then someone I know recommended it to me highly so I gave it a go. Anyway, the two games share a similar aesthetic, and a similar sense of light-hearted naughtiness. In this game you take on the role of BK, a raccoon who supposedly works for a doughnut shop, but when people order doughnuts what he actually does is uses his app to place a hole that the player can move around to swallow up objects. Like a sort of inverted Katamari Damacy, as you swallow up objects the hole gets bigger and bigger.

It's a pretty simple premise, and the first few levels are pretty fun: wreaking havoc on an area by swallowing up everything in sight is oddly satisfying. Unfortunately, there's really not much else to the game. There's an overarching story where all the townspeople are trapped at the bottom of a hole and one by one they recount how BK ruined everything with his app, which sets up each level as you play through the experience they describe. But the story is pretty thin, and the game mechanics don't really develop at all. There are occasional times where you'll have to combine objects that you put into the hole (for example, putting water in the hole first in order to move another object), but the puzzle aspect of the game is extremely basic. There are also some frustrating moments that crop up here and there where it's not clear if your logic is off or if you're just not moving an object to exactly the right position.

The construction paper-like aesthetic and the gentle background music make the game fairly relaxing, and there's some nicely humorous flavor text that comes in the form of the "Trashopedia", which lists every item you've swallowed up and updates after every stage you complete. This is a very short game and although everything is a little better than average, this is definitely a case where the game is quite a bit less than the sum of its parts. A little more puzzles and gameply mechanics and a little more in the way of a compelling story would have gone a long way. It's surprising to me that the game got so much acclaim, apparently including Apple's app store "iPhone game of the year" for 2018, but this was a game I had to play one or two levels at a time because it was so mind numbingly repetitive. As a debut game this is a pretty impressive game, but not one that I can recommend to anyone except for young children or other novice gamers.

Apparently almost four years has elapsed between Super Mario Maker on Wii U and its sequel, Super Mario Maker 2 on Switch, and this blog post is also coming a bit more than four years since I reviewed the original Super Mario Maker. The original game was enjoyable and I played plenty of user-created levels, but it didn't quite wow me. I enjoyed playing through that game's 68 included levels, but a lot of them were extremely short and clearly intended to be more like samples for inspiring creators rather than fully satisfying levels by themselves. The 120 levels included in the sequel are much more enjoyable and do feel like legit Mario levels. The first game included some original or long-forgotten powerups and mechanics, but Mario Maker 2 really ups the ante, and the included levels are a real showcase of the level creation toolsets' new features. Highlights include the return of the Super Mario Land Superball Flower, being able to wear a Dry Bones' shell and gain some new abilities, and the addition of the Super Mario 3D World aesthetic and many of its mechanics and powerups, but in 2D. The game also added some robust and surprising DLC in three drops that added new multiplayer features, a surprising and entertaining crossover with the original The Legend of Zelda that lets the player take on the role of Link, with many of his trademark pieces of equipment, and most recently the carrying mechanic from the original Super Mario Bros. 2 game.

While I enjoyed but didn't love Super Mario Maker, Super Mario Maker 2 is a completely different story. The developers have improved on the original in every way, and the game is bursting at the seams with features. My only two complaints are that I still don't see why you can't easily get a list of course by people on your friend list, and the "story mode" is extremely barebones and doesn't really have much of a story at all. The setup is a little like Super Mario Run, where you gain coins by completing levels in order to restore Princess Peach's castle, and it seems like a missed opportunity that the story wasn't a little more creative and engaging. Also, the number of coins you'll have after beating all the levels also most likely will end up being less than the total number you need to unlock everything you can build, so you have to grind for coins by repeating levels near the end, which is also an annoyance.

It's gratifying that Nintendo didn't simply repackage their Wii U version of Super Mario Maker, as Super Mario Maker 2 is truly worthy of being a sequel. Although I'm still waiting for a proper new 2D Mario platforming game, this game is definitely the next best thing. I've enjoyed playing levels with friends co-op online, including the courses from the various official Nintendo accounts and various others I've come across. I don't necessarily feel the need to play courses indefinitely, but it's nice to know that there's a near-infinite number of high-quality levels that I can dip into whenever I do feel the urge.