The 'Shroom:Issue 110/Critic Corner
I need more time alone. I'm sorry. This is really shameful on my part, but I can't bring myself to write that much these days... Please check out this thread on the Mario Boards concerning next month's special issue, which will be dedicated to Walkazo (talk)'s memory. We're staging an open invite for anyone to contribute to the issue, so please be sure to give that a look.
Otherwise, just move along and enjoy this month's Critic Corner. Thank you.
Section of the Month
PowerKamek purrs in delight in this review of Super Mario 3D World.
DragonFreak travels to the furthest reaches in this review of Terraria.
Yoshi876 gets his party going with a review of Koopa Kid.
Meta Knight's spidey sense is tingling in this boss review from Spider-Man (2000).
Funky endures and triumphs in these trials through the Greek suburbs.
Hi everyone! I don’t know about you, but I have been busy doing finals in school. I am in my last days of school, so I have been extra busy! Anyway, I am going to review a game on the Wii U that came out in 2013. It is: Super Mario 3D World!
OK, this is my second favorite Wii U game ever, so I play it a lot. First off, I want to say that this game is stunning! I think it is better than Super Mario 3D Land, it has more adventure and better graphics. My favorite item in this game is the Super Bell. It makes Mario into Cat Mario. I like Cat Mario because I think it’s cute to act like a cat in a game like this! This game also introduces a Cat Goomba, which is a cuter version of a Goomba! Ahem, moving on!
My favorite course is Mount Must Dash. It reminds me of Mario Circuit in Super Mario Kart. It is a unique course, instead of jumping and other stuff, you dash to the goal. Sometimes it’s hard avoiding the enemies on this course. The hardest thing about this course, for me, is that your going very fast, and sometimes I fall off! Ugh, bad memories.
The thing that I like about this game is that it’s different. Instead of saving Princess Peach, Mario saves eight Sprixie Princesses. Wow, something different finally! Ahem, anyway, this game is really great in my opinion! Everyone might have different opinion about this game, but my opinion is that it’s Awesome!
Time to rate!
Pros: Great Gameplay, Fun Multiplayer, and Imaginative and Fun Courses!
This game gets a 9.75/10. Has only one con, which is minor (but annoys me), and three pros! I loved it, and I’d reccomend getting it if you have a Wii U and don’t have it yet!
Thanks for reading! Enjoy May as it lasts!
DragonFreak's Review Quest
Terraria is a 2D Adventure Sandbox game with many RPG elements and a surprising deep level of complexity. Released on Steam just over five years ago, this game has been steadily gaining in popularity. I jumped on the train pretty late, starting to get into the game early this year. But is a sandbox game this old still hold up today? Well if my Steam information on it tells you anything...
If you heard of Terraria, one of the first things you may have heard is that it is a “2D-Minecraft”, which I am going to say right here that that is not a good comparison. Yes, they are both sandbox games in which you build structures, fight enemies, and craft many items, but their focus are completely different. Minecraft focuses more on building as its main form of gameplay. The blocks are better for building and structures look much better than with Terraria blocks. Terraria focuses on fighting and combat, which is evident on hundreds of weapons and armor, with several different “classes” that I will be mentioning later. For the rest of the review I am not bringing up Minecraft, because they are truly two completely different games.
Since it is a sandbox game, there is no “clear” or “right” direction to go. In fact, if you are playing this for the first time with no idea what to do, you could be lost instantly. As a result, you may immediately go to Google and type in “What do I do in Terraria?” There is no shame in this. I would consider Terraria a “guide game”. Meaning it is a game that is much more enjoyable using a guide, at least for you first (or second or third) play through. There is so many things that you have to know if you want to make any progress. For example, there is a boss that is summoned by hammering an orb. However, those orbs are surrounded by blocks that are too hard to be mined by any pickaxe you can naturally get at that time. But the next hardest pickaxe is unable to be crafted until you defeated that said boss. It confused me so much. How is it even possible to progress? Well Terraria does give out hints for what you are supposed to do. But you may not notice them on your first play through. You may never notice them. I never knew the hints existed until I was researching for what I should put in this review. Do yourself a favor, and when you start playing for the first time, use a wiki or friend to guide you (because the actual in-game guide does not help you at all).
Speaking of NPCs, Terraria features 25 different NPCs, most of them you can build houses for them to live in. These NPCs are amazing. Not only do they provide goods and services to make your adventure easier and better, but they are also extremely entertaining, with many of them having witty and really good deadpan humor. The quote I have at the top of this review is said by the nurse NPC, who heals your health for a small amount of money and whose personality is the exact opposite of what you would think a nurse should have. I find that very funny. Other NPCs I like for a variety reasons are the Goblin Tinkerer, Tax Collector, Witch Doctor, and Truffle. It would take a long time to explain why I love all these NPCs specifically (or hate in case of the Angler), but I am very glad they exist.
There are four main “classes” in Terraria. Calling them a class is not exactly correct since you can move freely between and combine these classes. The four classes are melee, range, magic, and summoning. Throughout the entire game, these four classes expand upon themselves, getting more powerful weapons, armor, and accessories. These four classes have a very large branch with so many options. I absolutely love the complexity of these classes.
The last great thing about Terraria are the bosses. Now I do not want to go in detail with these bosses, because it is better to encounter these bosses without prior knowledge. Especially Plantera. Plantera’s boss music is so good, too bad my screams were louder than the music. Anyways, Terraria has a wonderful collection of good designed, challenging, and often times terrifying bosses. One of them puts Terraria in a permanent “hard mode” where the game takes a flip and shows an entirely new side of it. Once again, I am not going to go much into detail on hard mode, but let me tell you, if you are not prepared, you are going to die a lot. You may die a lot even if you are prepared.
There is one thing I do not like about Terraria, and it is not that big of a deal, but I think it is worth mentioning. To me, the music of Terraria is not that good. Besides for the aforementioned Plantera theme a few other tracks, the music for Terraria is ok at the very best. Especially when you can easily clock in 100-200+ hours like me, the music can get really boring and repetitive. It does not help that you could spend hours in the same biome hearing the same music. My solution for this was modding in custom music. I recommend it if you feel the same.
As you can probably tell by now, I absolutely love Terraria. I had so much fun with it in the past few months, and I will continue to have hours upon hours of more fun in the future. If sandbox/action/adventure/exploring games are your thing, you will definitely love Terraria. If you have not explored this genre yet, Terraria may make you fall in love with them. There is so many other topics I could talk about Terraria, but it is so complex that it would take me a long time to fully talk about. So I am going to end it here, saying that I highly recommend giving this game a try.
And that I am super excited for Terraria 2.
Everyone loves a good party, even the quiet kid who sits in the corner (who by the way is probably incredibly good at dancing) enjoy them. So this time I look at a person who only appeared in the Mario Parties: Koopa Kid.
The Koopa Kids came into existence in that period between the Koopalings and the introduction of Bowser Jr., but unlike those character, these ones are entirely dispensable, with the only difference between them being hair colour. But don't worry confusion soon sets in with these characters as soon as you bring up their relation to Bowser. In typical Nintendo backtracking and then forwardtracking again, these move from Bowser's henchmen, to children and then back to henchmen again, my best guess here is that he adopted them, before disowning them again when Bowser Jr. arrived. And disowned they basically were, as their last appearance was three years after Bowser's son(? Seriously who knows who is actually Bowser's offspring these days) debuted. And this yet again shows how dispensable they are as one character manages to do what three Koopa Kids were required to do beforehand, and that's attempt to ruin the party for Mario and co.
As per the norm with Mario characters, both in the main series and the spin-offs, the Koopa Kids are just blank slates when it comes to characterisation, all there is is him being a general dick toward Mario and co, a role that Bowser already fulfils pretty well within the Mario Party series. The creation of these characters was actually completely unnecessary. And they only do the bog-standard stuff as well, it's not like the Koopa Kids have unique things tied to them, and even if he does they're just watered-down versions of what Bowser already does.
The Koopa Kids are just another example of a poorly thought out character that had the potential to be something, they could have had unique things, but only generic spaces and item shops is what they got. And I'm just left disappointed with another Mario character that I thought was alright until I turned a critical eye on it.
Meta Knight's Boss Battle Reviews
Captain America: Civil War. I would be lying if I said I wasn't hyped too, so I'm going to go back to take a look at a game I used to play back when I was a kid, Spider-Man (2000). This game was for the Playstation 1, Nintendo 64, Sega Dreamcast, and Windows computers. I love this game, because there's plenty of humorous moments with all your favorite characters such as Venom, Mysterio, and even characters like Daredevil and the Human Torch. How does the final boss hold up though? The very final level is titled Spidey VS. Monster Ock. Despite what that says, it's not really a fight at all. It's an escape sequence. That being said, this segment gives a bit of an adrenaline rush. When I was a kid, this thing was scary, and rightfully so. The player has to run through the corridors to avoid their demise, in hopes to make it to the surface of the subterranean chamber.
I love me a good thrill, but I feel like players may get frustrated with this run. This chase sequence is long, with no checkpoints. Additionally, there are certain points in time where the player will have to use their web to zip up to the ceiling for a brief moment to get to the next level. These are the places can be tricky, and the controls here can be a bit fidgety. The camera can also be unforgiving, specifically in places where you run toward or away from the screen. Some might also find Monster Ock's constant screams a bit annoying, especially because every time the player dies, they have to watch a small clip with the same quote from Monster Ock. Every single time. With enough practice though, you too can help Spider-Man save the day. For those of you completionists, there are two collectable comic books in this level, so be sure to keep a lookout for them. I know that when I was darting through the tunnels.
Greetings, readers! Welcome to this month's spoiler-free review of Helen & Troy's Epic Road Quest! It's a very interesting book, that's for sure!
I have an embarrassing confession to make: I judge books on their covers. I'm a very visual person, so if a book has a bright, flashy color, it's much easier to get me to read the summary than if it were some boring thing with a picture of a horse on it (nothing against horses). Anyways, thus when this book came out, it was on my library's "Summer Must Reads!!" list. And that was about it. The book was so popular that whenever I went to the library, they never had a copy. All I could do was look at the bright picture on the poster and check something else out.
Fast forward to this summer- I found the book on the shelves, looking well-read, and snagged it for myself to read. Due to exams and whatnot, I haven't been in a 'reading' mood lately, but once I opened this book, it was surprisingly hard to put down. It's the first book I've ever read by this author, but I can safely say that he's got a style I quite like.
The book opens with one of our titular protagonists working at her summer job at a burger joint when her manager asks her to work late. She agrees, and after her shift ends, she finds out that her manager actually intends to sacrifice her to a 'Lost God' made out of hamburger meat. With the help of our other protagonist, they manage to not get eaten by the god. Instead, the god assigns them a fetch quest to finish or perish. Thus, Helen and Troy begin their Epic Road Quest.
There are actually three main characters in this book: Helen, who is a Minotaur due to a curse placed forever ago on her family, has a bit of a hot temper and is slightly self-conscious about her Minotaur appearance. Troy is an Asian-American Adonis (no really, the guy is as close to perfect as you can get without being a complete asshole about it) who contributes their questing vehicle and has a magic sword. And finally, the bounty hunter. Well, sort of. Throughout the book, Helen and Troy are pursued by a group of motorcycle-riding middle-aged orcs (and honorary orc/human) that have been ordered by their own orc god to kill the two questers before they reach their endgoal. They're pretty comical to read, especially their names. Trust me there.
This book is a modern spin on Greek legends. You can really see it coming through- Helen is a Minotaur, they Quest for Gods, there are DRAGONS (no slaying, please), and a cyclops. But the modern setting manages to keep the legendary stuff and weave in the real and current day as well- Troy's car is called a Chimera, the fates run a knickknack shop in the middle of nowhere, and the orcs are a beer-loving motorcycle gang. All of this is wrapped up in Martinez's dripping-with-sarcasm, very descriptive style. Things need to be explained? He explains them painlessly without taking up six chapters to do so. Need a little tension? Just have the orcs bludgeon something as they get closer to Helen and Troy's path. And much foreshadowing and feeling of foreboding doom. Such fun.
Honestly, if you like Greek or Roman mythology, give this book a try. It won't disappoint. Martinez doesn't play around (this is his tenth book, after all), and it's a great read that's hard to put down without reading 6-8 chapters at a time. Even if you're not a fan of mythology, give it a read. You owe it to yourself to embark on this Epic Quest!
The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book is a live-action retelling of the Disney animated classic of the same name that was released way back in 1967. The film tells the story of Mowgli, a boy literally raised by wolves after he was found alone in the jungle, who is to travel to a human village to avoid the wrath of Shere Khan.
The principle audience of this film is obviously going to be children, and whilst it can definitely be marketed as a children's movie, one should be cautious when bringing children to see it. Several of the fight scenes can actually be quite intense and blood is shown; Shere Khan's general appearance can also be seen as quite frightening due to his many scars, and the scene involving Mowgli's escape from King Louie would probably have given a younger me nightmares had I watched it then. The classification says "mild threat", but I strongly dispute this and say the film has very moderate and occasionally sustained threat. To say that it's inappropriate for all children though would be wildly misleading, as I can easily see children over the age of seven not being phased at all by it.
Now, I'm not a massive movie buff, so talking about casting isn't always my strong point, but the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Kaa is perfect. I am aware that in the original film, and the retellings that Kaa is male, but Johansson's performance was the standout one for me. Her feminine and soft tones of voice really make the scene where she's effectively hypnotising Mowgli unmissable, my eyes were focused solely on the screen during that portion, and what makes the scene even better is the maternal instinct that she seems to be using is clearly present within her voice. In all honesty, I can't see Kaa being a male character anymore, as it works so much better as a female character. The same can't entirely be said about Nell Sethi, but as a child actor he is actually quite good, only some discrepancies with his tone of voice spoil it a bit.
The animation of the film is mostly flawless as well and the rest of the cinematography is beautiful. The jungle is most definitely one of the most beautiful things I have seen in recent live-action films, all the fruit in the trees looked sumptuous, the inner parts of the jungle had perfect shading and light, and the water looked pristine. And like I said, the majority of the animation was perfect; the fur on the animals looked natural rather than CGI, but there were some CGI hiccups, mainly with the baby animals, especially the baby elephant, as I'm not an animator I can't say what, but something looked incredibly off whenever a baby animal was on-screen, the same can be said for the shadows when Shere Khan throws a character off of a cliff, the shadow just seems wildly inaccurate.
I do have another criticism of the film as well, and this is mainly with the songs. In the original 1967 version, you'd expect a couple of whimsical songs throughout the animated film, but here in this gritty live-action film they feel shoehorned in, this is most notable with "I Wanna Be Like You", seeing as King Louie has no reason to start singing, especially seeing as his character is quite antagonistic and seems slightly inspired by the Mafia.
The Jungle Book is actually quite a good film, the flaws I pointed out are relatively minor considering how good everything else in the film is. I thought the live-action retelling of the classic Disney films would be godawful, but instead this has actually gotten me excited for the rest that are currently planned. I will; however, end this review with one more minor criticism, and it honestly has no bearing on the film's quality whatsoever, I just think it would've been better to release this film next year to coincide with the original film's 50th anniversary.