Quick reviews: Super Mario Party, PTCGO and The World Ends With You

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If you’re bereft of games to play this weekend we’ve recently looked at three titles to fill your time and empty your pockets.

They’re all Nintendo themed and available to pick up right now. In the case of PTCGO you can even do so for free and get playing immediately.

Super Mario Party

Man, this game is fun.

Not since Super Mario Odyssey last year have we had this much unadulterated joy in a game. And, true to the game’s name, it’s the perfect title to put on when family or friends are around.

While we would temper that previous statement by saying that those family and friends need to be able to deal with some BS RNG ruining their time, that isn’t as much of a problem here as you can play a co-operative “River Survival” mode. This combines the classic Mario Party mode with something more laid back and less competitive.

While we would usually complain about the Joy-Cons and their tiny sizes here (each player uses one Joy-Con each) the fact that your turns using them are so short completely mitigates that problem. Even the minigames that use motion controls exclusively use them well and they’re never long enough to become irritating.

Super Mario Party is the killer minigame title that should have launched with the Switch instead of the glorified demo that was 1-2-Switch. You can’t go wrong here.

All of this isn’t to say the game is perfect, however. We have no idea why all the content isn’t unlocked from the start, and the fact that you need two copies of the game for the two-screen mode is a real letdown.

Even worse is the online play. There are minigame Mariothons that you can partake in, but there’s no way to play the base party mode online. We can’t believe this wasn’t included given the fact that the Switch Online service released recently and people have been asking for this functionality for years.

Pokémon TCG Online

The Pokémon Trading Card Game Online (PTCGO) is the odd one out here as it’s not on the Nintendo Switch and it isn’t new.

That being said this is an evergreen game and the recent open beta of Magic: The Gathering Arena has the world talking about online versions of trading card games.

After having not touched the game for more than four years it was disappointing to come back and see how little has changed. The art style was dated even when the game initially launched in 2011, the tutorial is still not great, and you still need to pump money in (in the form of buying code cards in the real world) if you ever want to play the meta decks.

That being said this still does its job of simulating the real game very well. The new ladder that rewards constant play is really nice (if not a bit of a grind) and it feels like it’s become more rewarding for diehards.

Speaking of: you can now get your PTCGO fix on the go with the iOS and Android app available on more devices. We’ve been playing it on the Samsung Note 9, and experience that really isn’t optimal. This is due to the fact that there’s no smart scaling for mobile apps to make the playing field optimised for the smaller screens, and there’s still random slowdowns and crashes.

This way of playing the game is still great if you just want to get a casual game in and to grab the log in rewards at work, but it can use a lot of work. If they did more optimisation it could also be available on other devices, as the list of supported phones and tablets is quite small.

A Switch version would also be greatly appreciated.

The World Ends With You: Final Remix

If you’ve been looking for a game you can play on the Switch using the touchscreen alone, Final Remix is for you, for better or for worse.

As The World Ends With You was originally a Nintendo DS title, the majority of the gameplay is focused on touch controls. On the Switch this ranges from being decent to bad, as the Switch without the Joy-Cons has the metal rails poking into your hands.

That being said, there is an alternative option to play the game and it’s abysmal. Dock the Switch or set it up in tabletop mode and you can use a single Joy-Con as a pointer to interact with the screen that way. To do this the Switch relies solely on the motion sensors inside of the Joy-Con, and they’re just not good enough for the task here.

We can state how bad this is. Most of the time the cursor will float to the side of the screen and become unusable, something the developers try and work around by dedicating a button on the Joy-Con to recentering the cursor. This is a band aid on a gaping wound, however, and we suggest sticking to handheld mode with touch controls.

Control problems aside, the visual and audio here is superb. This art style has held up great over the years even if some of the design choices have not (we’re looking at you, tribal line art).

The music is simply amazing. It has this amazing ability to transport you right back to the mid / late 2000s and make you nostalgic for that time period. If you’re someone you usually plays the Switch with the sound off in a public space, we highly recommend breaking out the earphones and listening along here. Don’t be surprised if you’re listening to the OST even when you’re not playing.

Final Remix comes across as a very mixed experience that’s still compelling enough to buy, but some minor tweaks would have elevated it greatly.

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of htxt.africa.