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SuperPhillip Central

SuperPhillip Central is the place for new reviews, editorials, lists, interviews, and ramblings about the game industry - most of which is exclusive to this site. Updated mostly every weekday to keep a continuous stream of content for your viewing and rea

Updated: 2018-04-23T04:22:28.130-05:00


Mario Party: The Top 100 (3DS) Review


Man, doesn't it feel like April! It's just felt like a really long month for March. It's almost like these reviews for March are late or something! Regardless, while I nervously sweat in this corner, check out this review of Mario Party: The Top 100 for the Nintendo 3DS.A party where everyone goes home at 9:30Mario Party has been around since 1999, where it initially debuted on the Nintendo 64. Since then, repeated sequels released that saw the party getting even crazier with new rules and strategies to consider. For instance, Mario Party 2 added items and duel games while Mario Party 9 added a car mechanic that put all four players in one vehicle, riding together across a linear board. The latter two numbered Mario Party games innovated on the franchise, though to many, it was for the worse. Still, that hasn't stopped developer of the series ND Cube from continuing to try its hand at mixing up the franchise.Despite all of the changes to the formula that ND Cube and Nintendo have made to Mario Party as a series, one thing that hasn't been altered and one thing that remains a common element is that of the mini-games. Enter Mario Party: The Top 100 for the Nintendo 3DS. Now, taking ten mini-games from each mainline numbered Mario Party and putting them into one game sounds like the formula for easy success, right? Unfortunately, Mario Party: The Top 100 contains some issues that greatly detract from the overall experience, making for a party that ends too soon.Right away if you like, you can leap right into the mini-games, selecting one of dozens that are initially already available. In order to have the full array of mini-games at your access, you'll need to partake in the single player campaign mode. This mode consists of moving across a New Super Mario Bros.-style map where instead of each spot on the map being a level to play, it's instead a mini-game. The mini-games start off with ones that are simple to grasp and win, and against AI opponents that pose little-to-no challenge whatsoever.Minigame Island is Mario Party: The Top 100's short-lived single player mode.As you progress through the four "worlds" of the single player mode, the AI gets more taxing, throwing at you "Hard" and "Very Hard" difficulty opponents as well as pitting you in 1 vs. 3 mini-games where you have to fend for yourself. It's never anything too daunting, as all you have to do is get better than last place in a mini-game to move on. If you fail a mini-game, however, you lose a life. Lose all of your lives, and it's game over. It's not as much of a pressure-filled situation as you might think at first because you're able to earn coins from completed mini-games and from specific coin roulette boxes that appear regularly on the map. While the goal is to just pass a mini-game without being in dead last, completionists will want to aim for first in every mini-game, as you're rewarded Mini-Stars for victories. Earn all of the Mini-Stars in the single player mode, and you earn an unlockable. Sadly, it's nothing as cool as a new character (there are no secret characters in Top 100), but it's an unlockable nevertheless.One of the mainstays of Mario Party games outside of the obvious and already mentioned mini-games is that of the boards. It's always a blast to roll a die, plot a path through a board, and hope luck is on your side. With Mario Party: The Top 100, one of the important halves of the Mario Party experience is almost completely missing. What is here instead is in another mode of The Top 100, one for four players. It's a Mario Party: Star Rush-style board where all players roll a different die and move across the board simultaneously while moving around a grid-based board. This board commonly gets balloons of varying types floating down onto it, such as mini-game balloons and Power Star balloons. The goal of the mode is to earn coins by winning mini-games, landing on specific spaces, among other means, and purchasing stars from the popped Power Star balloons. The player at the end of the set number of turns is the winner. While at the beginning [...]

Toki Tori 2+ (NSW) Review


How many reviews can SuperPhillip Central pack into the final week of March? Let's find out! Our first review of the week is a recent release on the Nintendo eShop for the Nintendo Switch, Two Tribes's Toki Tori 2+. Should you chirp happily about the game or derp sadly for Two Tribes?Bird is the word.Toki Tori 2+ feels like a 2D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer with levels that command you to go in one specific direction with very little in the way of choice in how you want to do things. In your first hours with Toki Tori 2+, you might figure that the game has one path in mind of where you're supposed to go. I mean, how am I supposed to get past THIS obstacle!? I don't have the right ability However, as you progress through the game, you quickly realize that these thoughts of limitation are, in fact, in no way, shape or form truthful. The roadblocks you encounter in Toki Tori 2+ are merely those of illusion.You see, something that Toki Tori 2+ veterans know going into the game that beginners do not is that you can pretty much go anywhere you want in Toki Tori 2+ right from the get-go. There's no obstruction or obstacle you can't get past or figure out away through or around. Unlike a Metroidvania game, you don't get access to new abilities to reach new areas of Toki Tori 2+. Instead, you already have access to all of the abilities within the game; it's just that you don't know how to use them immediately as a beginner. Starting off, our heroic, chirpy friend can only whistle, stomp, and move. That's pretty much all you get throughout the entire duration of the game ability-wise. It's up to you to figure out how to use these in isolation or in combination with other creatures, obstacles, and pieces of environment in order to progress in Toki Tori's adventure. Toki Tori 2+ is one amazing puzzle-platforming adventure.Toki Tori 2+ is an ingenious display of having a tutorial that shows and doesn't tell players straight out on how to proceed. Hints in the environment and context clues provide what's necessary to learn how to interact with the game world and move forward. One of the earliest examples of this is being impeded by a big, stone block, which is the home of a hermit crab. Seeing as Toki Tori can't jump in the game, some other solution is needed. That's when the two aforementioned actions come in: whistling and stomping. Standing next to the hermit crab and whistling doesn't seem to do anything, so the logical next step would be to stomp. In doing so, the crab and its block move to the right, no longer impeding your way ahead. One can even experiment with the hermit crab and its stone block further by whistling while standing on the other side. The hermit crab will move towards Toki Tori. This shows the player that when they whistle and move, the hermit crab will move towards them, and when they stomp and move, the hermit crab will move away from them.Stomping while on this side of this hermit crab will cause it to move away from Toki Tori, building a staircase for him to climb across and proceed through this level.This type of experimenting is key to learning how to progress in Toki Tori 2+ because, again, the game doesn't blatantly let loose what you need to do in text or spoken form. It's all on you to teach yourself on how to get through levels while solving the game's puzzles. Toki Tori 2+ lets you learn how to use your abilities in simple scenarios before eventually pitting you against puzzles that really have some involved steps to complete. Once you learn how certain abilities interact with the game world, you can go back to previous areas and reach all-new spots that you couldn't figure out to enter before. That said, if you're already familiar with how Toki Tori's basic move set interacts with the game world, you can essentially reach these areas and go anywhere you want. There is no one correct way to play Toki Tori 2+. There is no one correct path through the game. It's an interconnected game world where your knowledge on how Toki Tori's behavior influences the world [...]

Mario Tennis Aces (NSW) Tennis Refined Trailer


What has suddenly become one of my most anticipated games of the year, Mario Tennis Aces, now has a new trailer courtesy of last Thursday's Nintendo Direct. Scope out this extended trailer showcasing the new gameplay elements like Zone Shots and Super Shots, to see why Mario Tennis Aces has launched high on my list of most wanted games in 2018!

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Super Toy Cars (NSW) Review


I never like having to review a game negatively. For some people it's a lot of fun, but I personally don't find joy in shredding apart the work of someone else. I try to be selective with what games I cover, and Eclipse Games' Super Toy Cars seemed like a fun, simple racing game. I was unfortunately mistaken, as you'll see by my review.Tabletop FlopI have vivid and joyful memories of hanging out in my childhood home, building and constructing massive kits built out of Micro Machines and Hot Wheels toys. (But never combined, as the Micro Machines are too small to be mixed with the Hot Wheels. Look it up -- it's a punishable offense!) So, you can bet that my interest was piqued when I came across Eclipse Games' Super Toy Cars, a game that recently released on the Nintendo Switch. Unfortunately, I won't quite have vivid and joyful memories of playing this game. Far from it.Super Toy Cars doesn't have the most original name out there, nor does it have the most original racing modes to it either. The main single player mode pits you against challenge after challenge, trying to earn the maximum amount of points in each event if you so desire. Of course, there's no real motivation to do so, so I simply went through the motions and placed in a race so I could move on to the next event.These challenges/events don't boast the highest level of creativity, but they're certainly serviceable. There are multi-lap races with weapons, time trials, elimination-style contests, checkpoint-to-checkpoint trials, and the lone imaginative type of race on display, one where the rules are similar to elimination but instead of having a clear track to race on, it's one littered with explosive mines. Even still, this mode can underwhelm when the hills and ramps of the tracks hide mines from your vision until it's too late. To be fair, that doesn't happen often, but it's just another issue I have with Super Toy Cars in general that amounts to a mountain of problems rather than a molehill.As you complete events, you earn money that can be used to purchase and upgrade vehicles. Completing events in first place awards you with new skins for vehicles, which is something fun if you can stand the obnoxious physics and controls to do this. (I couldn't.) There are a wide variety of vehicles to purchase and collect, offering something for everyone, but at the same time, as you progress in the game, you have to keep selecting better vehicles. You can't just stick with your favorite model and just upgrade it continuously. There's a limit to how many times you can upgrade a given vehicle, and the AI just gets faster and faster. You'll simply get left in the dust in races and won't be able to compete without buying new vehicles, even if you don't care for their models or builds.Then comes the truly despicable part of Super Toy Cars: the actual racing itself. Nothing is more exciting than speeding off a ramp and hitting the ground, suddenly losing every last bit of momentum you had in the process. Actually, I'm lying. Nothing is more exciting than speeding off a ramp and hitting the ground, having a random chance of suddenly losing every last bit of momentum you had in the process. There's also the thrill of having opponents push your car -- no matter what its weight is -- and being spun out of control, losing valuable time and race positions in the process. Or how about the astonishing awesomeness of going at full speed, drifting, and having that drift that is supposed to maintain your speed around corners instead slow you down much more. Not really worth drifting just to gain power for a boost, now is it?Nearly every facet of Super Toy Cars just comes off as irredeemable. From races where cars push you around, into walls on a frequent basis, while you can't do the same to them -- no matter your own vehicle's weight, to visuals that do less than impress, Super Toy Cars is a frustrating mess to play. The handling of each vehicle doesn't help either, offering at best a slippery feel t[...]

Pokken Tournament DX (NSW) Review


We're not resting on our laurels here at SuperPhillip Central. No, immediately into March we're leaping into our first review! Pokken Tournament originally released on the Wii U near the end of that system's life cycle in 2016. Now, Pokken gets a second time to shine with the Nintendo Switch's Pokken Tournament DX.Fight for your right to Poké -- Again!The fighting game genre is one I am definitely not adept in. Quite the opposite, actually. Despite my love of the genre and the zany cast of characters, explosive action and awesome combos that these games deliver, I just can't wrap my head around them (or I guess, "my fingers around the controller to hit all the required buttons", in this case). 2016's Pokken Tournament on Wii U was one of those fighting games that I could actually hold my own in, which definitely didn't hurt my thoughts on it. Nearly two years later, and I have returned to the game with this Nintendo Switch port of the game, Pokken Tournament DX. With more Pokemon to get skilled with and more modes to master, is Pokken Tournament's Switch port worth checking out again?Pokken Tournament DX is an atypical fighting game in that it sometimes takes place in a 3D arena while on other occasions occurring on a 2D plane. These two different planes are known as phases. Battles begin with opposing Pokemon facing off in a wide open arena, able to circle around one another and avoid attacks. When one Pokemon deals enough damage through a specific type of attack, what occurs is a Phase Shift, changing the battle dynamically from a 3D one to a more traditional side-scrolling 2D encounter. Phase Shifts regularly occur in battle, and they tend to result in lots of HP being depleted by the opponent on the receiving end of it.With a fiery and fast punch to the face from Blaziken, Lucario goes stumbling backward in pain.The game's 20+ Pokemon (with this deluxe version introducing several new Pokemon into the mix like the arcade version's exclusives, Scizor, Empoleon, Croagunk, and Darkrai, as well as the Switch exclusive Decidueye) each feature their own repertoire of moves, ones great for smashing through defenses, ones that are perfect for setting up Phase Shifts, and much more. Learning a given Pokemon's move set is imperative to earn that coveted "W" in the win column, and if you find a Pokemon that you like, you should think about sticking with it to improve your comfort level with that Pokemon. Or you can play like me and switch between Pokemon at your leisure, which is just as fine as an option thanks to the helpful tutorial mode, which not just doles out the basics of Pokken Tournament DX's rules and controls, but it also supplies you with a set of moves and combos for each Pokemon you use in a safe practice setting.The arrow-aiming Decidueye is an exclusive Battle Pokemon in this version of Pokken Tournament.Pokemon like the mascot of the series, Pikachu, and his much more mobile and technical fighting counterpart, Pikachu Libre lead the charge (literally, with their electric attacks) with speed-based attacks, while other Pokemon like Charizard, Machamp, and Garchomp use their power to seal the deal and hopefully the win. Each Pokemon plays uniquely enough (even potential clones like the aforementioned duo of Pikachu and the characters of Mewtwo and final boss of the game Shadow Mewtwo), allowing for a wide spectacle of moves to learn, involved combos to pull off, and timing to get down.Battles are exciting endeavors that really get my pulse pounding and palms sweaty. Timing your attacks so you don't leave yourself open for a counter by your opponent is always key in a fighting game, but Pokken Tournament DX furthers the strategy involved by incorporating a rock-paper-scissors aspect to attacking. There are three types of attacks and each one is bested by and strong against another. For instance, a grab can be stopped dead in its tracks by a normal attack, whereas a normal attack will get bodied by a counte[...]

Review Round-Up - January / February 2018


The elegant cast of Fire Emblem Warriors leads the charge for the initial two months of 2018 on SuperPhillip Central.I had some downtime to start 2018, so we're combining the months of January and February for this first Review Round-Up of the year. While I was slow in reviewing games, I really got into a rhythm near the end!Starting out in January, I took a look at Sonic Forces, where I made my own avatar and joined the forces of good to take down Dr. Eggman. The game wasn't perfect obviously, but it didn't leave a bad taste in mouth like it did so many critics and fans either. I gave the game a C+. Following that was my return trip to Hell with the Nintendo Switch port of DOOM. The game's only gotten better with a recent patch, but at the time I reviewed DOOM, I awarded the game a stellar B grade.Coming out from the depths of Hell, I entered into a swath of games all receiving average or near-average grades: the Super Mario 64-inspired Poi: Explorer Edition (C+), the charming adventure game World to the West (C+), the clever isometric puzzle-adventure world of Vesta (C), and the multiplayer hijinks of Kirby Battle Royale (C+).Last but not least, Fire Emblem Warriors took the crown for featured game of these past two months, earning itself an impressive B grade. I didn't like it more than Hyrule Warriors, but there really aren't any Warriors games I enjoy more than that Zelda take on the formula anyhow!Before we adjourn here, check out The SPC Review Archive to stay up to date on all the reviews posted on this site -- past, present, and future!C = averageSonic Forces (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC) - C+DOOM (NSW) - BPoi: Explorer Edition (NSW) - C+World to the West (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - C+Vesta (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) - CKirby Battle Royale (3DS) - C+Fire Emblem Warriors (NSW) - BWhile not as elegant, Sonic Forces has a cast that is certainly memorable for many. The game is surely worthy of a mention for these past two months.[...]

800th Review! Fire Emblem Warriors (NSW) Review


It's a monumental day for SuperPhillip Central! We've amassed 800 reviews as of this new review on the site! Not a day too early or too late either! A day after my birthday and a day before a new month rolls around. Nice! Here are my thoughts of the Nintendo Switch version of Fire Emblem Warriors! Here's to the next 100 reviews!These warriors are ready to come out and pla~a~ay!Hyrule Warriors was a Dynasty Warriors game that incorporated a myriad of satisfying elements from The Legend of Zelda franchise to create a Zelda Musou that was a pleasure to play. It having a tremendous amount of fan service for those who love the series didn't hurt things either. When the game released and after the hype winded down, Nintendo fans quickly brainstormed what would be another franchise from the big N that would be perfect for the Musou treatment. A clear winner in that debate was Fire Emblem, which recently has become quite popular over the past five years.Apparently, Koei Tecmo and Nintendo both agreed with the fans here, joining together to make Fire Emblem Warriors, the resulting project, a reality. While Fire Emblem doesn't have as much of a draw with the mainstream as Zelda, can one who knows little about Intelligent Systems' series of strategy RPGs still find enjoyment out of Fire Emblem Warriors with its fast-paced action focus?Like any Dynasty Warriors style game, Fire Emblem's take on the Musou genre pits an all-star cast of characters, this time all related to the games of the Fire Emblem franchise, and throws them into pulse-pounding, action-packed quarrels across a great many battlefield. With just a sword, axe, bow and arrow, or lance to your name, the joy of games like this is being able to feel like a one-man unstoppable army, unleashing your might on a plethora of foes, mowing them down by the hundreds with fantastical attacks and combos.Make a path through the opposition like a knife through butter.Most maps require you to secure enemy bases and defeat particular opponents on the battlefield to progress in missions. This is all the while defending your own bases and characters yourself. Fire Emblem Warriors makes this process easier by allowing you to command your forces before and during battles. You select a character on your side and set a point of interest on the map screen for them to travel to, such as an enemy location, a base, or a specific grid on the map. You can have up to eight characters on your side at one time, with a maximum of four of them being playable, able to switch between on the fly with the up direction on the Left Joy Con. Having these options opens up new battle strategies, and makes it on harder fights that you're not as easily overwhelmed by the enemy as you attempt to make sense of all of the carnage on the battlefield. Dictating where your units move and what opponents they do battle with can be the difference between a swift victory or a horrible defeat.Many lives were lost to Rowan's blade on that fateful day of battle.Of course, some Fire Emblem trappings go into this Musou take on the franchise, so you can't just send your units willy nilly to battle. Like its patriarchal series, Fire Emblem Warriors uses a weapon triad, which takes a paper-rock-scissors like approach with weaponry. Obviously, instead of using rocks to crush scissors to smithereens -- swords, axes, and lances are the three weapon types used in the game. If you use a weapon strong against a certain opponent, they'll go down with ease, while using a weapon that they can easily defend will make that enemy take a lengthy period of time to whittle their health meter down. Likewise, the weapon triad works against you as well, making it so you can get bodies by certain weapon types if you're not careful, especially if you're under-leveled. Additionally, it's important to consider magic tome users, archers, and Pegasus Knights as well, as archers can immediately[...]

Kirby Battle Royale (3DS) Review


It's a special day for me, and no, it's not just because I'm reviewing a new Kirby game on SuperPhillip Central. Today is my birthday, and I've been celebrating with both friends and family all week long. Thankfully, I'm back to posting some on SuperPhillip Central, so let's dive in with Kirby's latest, Kirby Battle Royale!Big-time fun, but expect a small grab bag of contentKirby has always had a strong presence on Nintendo's handheld systems. It's been as true a statement ever since the little puffball premiered on the original Game Boy with Kirby's Dream Land. From there, both mainline adventures, experimental spin-offs, and more have made their way to Nintendo's lineup of handheld devices, from the Game Boy and Game Boy Color to the Nintendo DS and now Nintendo 3DS.Kirby's been especially busy with games on the 3DS. He has built quite a lineup for Nintendo's stereoscopic wonder, offering two big, traditional adventures in the form of Kirby Triple Deluxe and Kirby Planet Robobot, as well as several spin-offs in downloadable form like Team Kirby Clash Deluxe and Kirby's Blowout Blast. Now, Kirby is making his curtain call with one (as far as we know) final Nintendo 3DS entry, and it's in a type of game that the pink puffball doesn't spend a lot of time in: a multiplayer one. Kirby Battle Royale focuses most importantly on the local and online multiplayer front as opposed to the single player content the series is known for. Is this a solid step for Kirby, or is this battle royale a bust?King Dedede with a cloning device? That can't be good.While Kirby Battle Royale's primary focus is on multiplayer, that isn't to say that there isn't anything for those who want to play by themselves with some single-player content to invest in. The main story mode, Dedede's Cake Royale, puts you as Kirby and occasional AI teammate Bandanna Waddle Dee through a series of events, showcasing all ten battle events within Kirby Battle Royale. Starting off in the Beginner Cup, you face easy opponents, and the objective here is to earn enough points through scoring first place on each event to fill a progression meter. Once that is full, you get the right of taking on the qualifier round. Win that round, and you move on to the next cup. Beat all the cups and you win Dedede's Cake Royale.As each cup goes on, new events are introduced, opponent AI grows stronger, and conditions per match change to make it harder on you (such as limiting what ability you can use, for instance) -- though Dedede's Cake Royale never becomes too taxing to beat in its 3-5 hour campaign. The biggest worry here is some repetition and a bit of a grind in playing the same events over and over again with some small changes.Kirby practices to one day star in his own Legend of Zelda entry.Completing Dedede's Cake Royale unlocks three new playable characters in addition to the all of the Kirby abilities that players can choose from. As matches are played, you gain currency to spend on a myriad of rewards in the collection shop, such as new abilities to play as, headgear to wear both online and off (each character or ability has four to choose from), special boost orbs that help out mid-round, and music to listen to in the options menu.Currency is earned not just from the previously mentioned means of finishing and winning matches, but also through satisfying given medal conditions, of which there are 60 total, serving way more than just mere achievements. These range from event-specific tasks like KO-ing all enemies simultaneously in a Battle Royale fight, to never getting caught by a ghost in Coin Clash. A notable currency award is rewarded for each medal collected, making for some easy means to purchase new goodies in the collection menu.The abilities in Kirby Battle Royale are plentiful with 16 in all. The amount of attacks with each isn't as wide as a more modern Kirby game like Retu[...]

Vesta (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) Review


With mere days left in the month of February, let's get to some final posts for the month! The first is a review for a cross-platform digital release seen on Nintendo Switch (the platform I'm reviewing the game on), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Steam. It's Vesta, developed by Final Boss Games and published by EastAsiaSoft. Let's take a look, shall we?Child labor laws be damned.While other platforms with digital storefronts have reached a point of saturation, one where average video games often get overlooked by the higher quality of everything else (making them all the more difficult to sift through from the rest), the Nintendo Switch is still (barely) less than a year old. Although it hasn't slowed down with its steady array of weekly eShop releases, it's much easier to gleam what games are coming out each week since the amount of total games on that marketplace is much smaller.However, this is soon becoming an issue with the Nintendo Switch as well, and with it, so does the issue that games like Final Boss Games's Vesta will face on the Nintendo eShop like it has on other digital storefronts -- too much competition and little attention. That said, although Vesta isn't as big of a name as your Rocket Leagues or Stardew Valleys, is Final Boss Games's effort worth your attention regardless?Careful, as one hit from an enemy and it's lights out!Vesta is an isometric puzzle-adventure game that has you controlling one of two characters through a series of gradually-more-perplexing, puzzle-filled floors, sprinkled with the occasional boss encounter to overcome. You control the main character, a precocious young girl named Vesta and her helpful robotic droid companion. Each has their own use and abilities in the game, and many times you'll need to have them partner up as well as split apart to solve the puzzles, roadblocks, and challenges put forth in their mutual paths.The main goal of each floor in Vesta is to acquire power sources to charge nearby environmental objects such as doors, platforms, and escalators -- to name a few. The order of turning these objects on is important, as not to get stuck on the current level, thus having to restart the entire floor. (An annoying problem to be faced with in later floors when these levels take quite some time to solve only to have to begin them all over again from a mental misfire.) By the end of each floor, you need to have three power sources available to you to open up the elevator to the next level. This means carefully planning which power sources you take from different terminals in a way that you can still make it back to the exit of the floor with the required amount of power necessary to progress.This is not the droid Vesta's looking for.Both the girl and her robotic buddy have their own uses. For instance, the robot droid can pick up the girl and toss her across small chasms as well as fire missiles at enemies, temporarily stunning them. As the enemies are stunned, the little girl can quickly run in and acquire their power sources, not only defeating them but also accumulating yet another piece of power to be used on a terminal in the level. Meanwhile, the girl is much more mobile and smaller than her robotic counterpart, giving her the ability to enter small, narrow compartments of levels that the robot cannot fit through.Aiming with Vesta's robotic buddy is less than amazing.These unique abilities of both characters allow the level designers and creators to continually force players to split the girl and robot up for various interesting gameplay possibilities. Levels can get rather complicated and involved regarding what a given player needs to do to solve them, such as which door to open first, which power source to place in what terminal, and the order of events deemed necessary not only just to reach the goal but to reach the goal with the necessary amou[...]

A Much Needed Change for Me


For almost nine years now I've been trying to post regularly each weekday here at SuperPhillip Central. Obviously, if you look at the past few months, I have failed in aiming to reach that goal. I constantly get stressed out about reaching target numbers of posts, target numbers of reviews, reviewing certain games before the end of the month, reviewing review copies in time, and so forth.

That's just the thing. In 2008, SuperPhillip Central was founded as a blog that I could enjoy writing about games. It's no longer that anymore. It's become work to me. Playing games has become work. It's not out of fun -- it's now out of some misplace sense of urgency and necessity to have content out for my readers.

When something that I started for fun becomes turning into work, it gets quite frustrating. I love playing video games, but I don't wish to do it while jeopardizing my fun for the hobby and my enjoyment of writing about them. I shouldn't feel like I have to always routinely update this site out of a duty to myself.

Now, before you get worried, I'm not through with SuperPhillip Central, but I am going into a more subdued schedule. No more will I have to focus on getting an article up on a certain day or having a review done by a specific date and so forth. Things that have become tedious to do like the weekly "SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs" will no longer be a part of my regular routine.

I've worked myself rugged these past few years especially, and really, I get a lot of nice feedback and views from fine folks around the globe. It's a pleasure to share my writing to others, and to know that some people actually care what this random stranger from Missouri has to say about particular games and topics within our shared hobby. It just has gotten to a point where after the 400th article I share to N4G getting people commenting on the article headline without reading the actually article body before sharing their usually uninformed opinion (which reading the article body would have helped them come up with an informed one) or having people just ignore it completely makes wanting to write so often less enticing. Plus, there is that more important aforementioned point of feeling that writing about games has felt more like a duty than a fun hobby.

So, SuperPhillip Central will still be around to celebrate its tenth anniversary this June, but the amount of posts probably won't be as plentiful as it was back when I was really feeling things. Stay tuned, however, because I will always have new reviews, insights, fun articles, and more to share, just on a more sporadic basis. Thank you for reading and continuing to support SuperPhillip Central!

World to the West (NSW, PS4, XB1, PC) Review


With the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards in the books, it's time to move on to this final day of January, where I have two reviews in store. The first is from Rain Games, makers of Teslagrad. The team's game is World to the West, recently released on the Nintendo Switch, which just so happens to be the platform I reviewed the game on.Not the best in the West, but genuinely enjoyable all the same.Two popular genres from indie studios seem to be the 2D platformer and the Zelda-style action game. Developer Rain Games already created the former with Teslagrad, which released several years ago. Now, the developer is focusing on the latter genre experience with World to the West, which combines the typical gameplay of a 2D Zelda and merges it with a chapter-based structure. As one might imagine with a game of this type, there are plenty of enemies to defeat, puzzles to solve, and areas of the world to explore.Square key for a square door. This beginning puzzle is certainly no brain buster.What makes World to the West unique is that you aren't just exploring the world with one character. Instead, you accomplish this with a cast of four interchangeable characters, each with their own distinct move set and abilities. The teslamancer (explained in Rain Games' first effort, Teslagrad, as a term for people who can summon the power of lightning), Lumina, can fire bolts of electricity from her fingers and teleport small distances. Teri has the ability to control the minds of enemies, using their abilities to progress, as well as having a whip to pull herself across specific gaps. Meanwhile, Knaus is a precocious and pleasant, young lad who can climb into small holes, dig underground, and later in the game, even ice skate across bodies of water. Finally, Lord Clonington has massive strength, able to climb up short walls and break down iron-gated doors in no sweat.With a sling of her whip, Teri makes a quick, and dare I say "fashionable," escape.With the chapter-based system, you start out in World to the West only being able to control one or two characters at a time. By the midway point of the game, all four heroes meet up, allowing full control of each character. However, there are positives and negatives about this. For a negative, switching between characters can be a headache, as characters can only be switched in and out at save totems, rather than changed at the player's leisure. This makes sense as World to the West's map is crafted in a way that puts each character's abilities to good use. While Knaus can skid across lakes to progress to one area, Lord Clonington can bash down a door blocking his way to that same area. This is to say that although players might find themselves needing to get to the same destination with all four characters at times, it's made less strenuous by having them reach that destination through different means, and potentially totally different pathways.When situations call for some brawn, Lord Clonington is at your service.That said, if you're Lumina and you want to Teri to transport to the same save totem as you, that means Teri needs to have visited that same save totem already by herself. Just because one character has reached a save totem doesn't mean everyone has access to teleport to it. Thus, moving character to character from one save totem to another throughout World to the West's map can cause some bouts of ennui and reputation. (And to be frank, just a genuine pain in butt sometimes.)I understand the need for the game's world to be built this way, too. Certain secrets within the world, the two most prominent being extra health and batteries, are meant for specific characters to nab them using their own special and unique abilities. If one could simply switch at any time between characters, the balance would be ju[...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Ten Games of 2017


Kept you waiting, huh? In total honesty, I totally did keep you guys waiting, as the plan was to have this list posted this past Friday, but a little game called Monster Hunter World interrupted those not-so-firm-after-all plans of mine. One lost weekend later, and it's finally time for the last, ultimate category here at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards: The Top Ten Games of 2017, as honored by me.These games aren't necessarily the best of the best, as I can't possibly play every game released from 2017. (Well, not without going completely insane.) Thus, this selection of ten games of 2017 is based on the ones I played, which was around 200 games this year. Regardless, I'd love to know your thoughts on my picks, and I'd love to know which games are your favorites from 2017 in general. This is a celebration of the past year of gaming, so let's keep it positive and productive!Now, without further ado, it's time to list off SuperPhillip Central's Top Ten Games of 2017!10) Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)Samus did, in fact, return with a new take on an old Game Boy classic with the Nintendo 3DS's Metroid: Samus Returns. With new means to destroy enemies, impressive counterattacks, radial aiming, and new Aeon abilities, Samus was in peak form to take on the Metroid menaces plaguing planet SR388. Fresh story beats and bosses added into the mix meant expanded lore to the series, and with the game's ending, things have been set up for a brand-new chapter in the much celebrated franchise. Metroid fans were going crazy waiting for the return of Samus Aran and the Metroid series, and Metroid: Samus Returns turned out to bring the series back in a bold, brave new way.9) SteamWorld Dig 2 (NSW, PS4, Vita, PC)This digital delight came out of nowhere for me and dazzled me with its more focused concept. Gone from the original SteamWorld were the procedurally generated levels that did mean a different experience every time, but they also meant less getting to know shortcuts, accessing secret portions of levels, and taking on carefully crafted sections of the game, hand-tailored by the designers. Instead, SteamWorld Dig 2 boasted intrinsic design to its levels, gameplay, upgrades, secrets, and story. This 10 hour game was such a joy and blast to play through, and it's the type of 2D platformer that will definitely be returning to in the near future now that my initial play-through is complete. SteamWorld Dig 2's platforming -- with its combination of running, jumping, wall sliding, grappling onto faraway objects like walls and ceilings, and even jet-pack riding -- possessed such tight controls that performing actions was easy to do at any time. SteamWorld Dig 2 is a full step up from the original Dig that it's astonishing how far the series has improved with a couple of entries.8) Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle (NSW)Combining the historic and highly acclaimed Super Mario series of Nintendo and the lesser appealing Rabbids franchise from Ubisoft seemed laughable. Actually, to many it literally was with troll posts, potshots, and hot takes against the game idea. However, laughter turned into pure hype once the game was finally, officially unveiled. This XCOM-like game took on a genre that wasn't usually seen on Nintendo platforms, mixed in a surprising amount of strategy, lots of character customization, and plenty of humor to deliver one of the most out-of-left-field success stories in some time within the gaming industry. The sharp turn that the gaming community took on Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle, from hearing rumors and guffawing at them, to cheering the creative director, who sat proud and in tears at his team's hard work at E3 2017, made for a heartwarming story to an already fantastic game.7) Monster Hunter Stories [...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Biggest Surprises


This is always a fun category to do for the SuperPhillip Central Best Of yearly awards. So many hyped games can end up being disappointing, but what about those that folks didn't give much attention to that turned out awesome? Let's continue being positive here at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards with the nominees for the Biggest Surprises of the year. These are games that astonished me with their quality, almost coming out of nowhere to excite and fascinate. Some were more interesting than I originally gave them credit for, but after playing these games, my attitude shifting drastically. As always with the awards on SuperPhillip Central, I unfortunately can't play every game released in a given year, so don't be too hard on the award show for missing any of your picks. I might have simply not played them. Now, onto the Top Five Biggest Surprises of 2017!5) Knack II (PS4)We begin with a sequel to a successful launch game for the PlayStation 4. The original Knack may have sold well, but its critical reception from both fans and reviewers alike wasn't as notable as the game's sales. That notwithstanding, Knack II released and had the opposite outcome: the game was much improved and of a really good quality while the sales were less than spectacular, perhaps because the original Knack burned so many players by how repetitive it was. Adding more platforming, more worthwhile and varied combat, and lots more exploration allowing players to constantly go off the beaten path, Knack II was a delight to play and really did surprise those who tried out it (including yours truly) who didn't see it being a noteworthy game in the PS4's robust roster of software.4) Ever Oasis (3DS)This next game, Ever Oasis, was the winner of this year's Most Overlooked / Underrated Game here at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards. Developed in tandem by the mind behind the Secret of Mana as well Grezzo, the team who worked on both Legend of Zelda 3DS remakes, Ever Oasis was an action-RPG set in an expansive desert filled with a dark blight that has sucked every last bit of flora and water from oases around the land. Only one oasis was left, and that was of course yours. Through completing missions, conquering dungeons, solving puzzles, and battling enemies, your oasis would grow more and more prosperous, expanding and receiving newcomers to set up helpful shops. Materials from downed enemies could be used to upgrade the shops in order to make more money to craft new goods. Throughout my 30 hour playtime with the game, Ever Oasis brought me a feverish desire to keep playing, even when my 3DS's battery was running low. That's the mark of a compelling game. One that like an oasis in the desert was truly refreshing.3) ARMS (NSW)Like Splatoon for the Wii U, Nintendo introduced a heavy hitter as a new IP for its Switch console. This time around it was none other than the atypical fighting game ARMS. Players fought within arenas of varying sizes with different stage gimmicks inside to spice things up. Rather than attack with all extremities, ARMS, as you might expect from the name, was centered on its characters' upper limbs to unleash attacks of all directions, whether straight, curved, sliced, or what have you. While the goal in ARMS was similar to traditional fighting games, the gameplay was exponentially different when it came to strategy. Do you make the first advance with a punch? Which arm do you use? Do you dodge to left or evade to the right? Do you jump over a punch or send one of your own, careening around it to take your opponent out? Fights demanded the player to come up with these answers within milliseconds or else they'd be at the end of a vicious combo, or worse, be on the receiving end of a health [...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Digital Downloads


There are just too many excellent digital games from last year to put on a top five list for my favorites at the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards. That's a good problem to have in general, but when you have to just pick five out of dozens of memorable titles, you're definitely going to leave way too many out that deserve some recognition. But, name five, I must! These are SuperPhillip Central's choices for the Top Five Digital Downloads.5) Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! (NSW)A launch title for the Nintendo Switch, Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! is a mostly cooperative effort between up to four players. The goal is to use your character's body to cross over other players' bodies and snip a section of them off to perform an assortment of tasks. Whether it's teaming up to pack yourselves into a shape that doesn't flow over the dotted line, cutting a chunk off your partner to turn them into a hook to grab onto a high up lever, or turn each other into baskets to carefully bring a ball from one side of the screen to the other to clear the level, Snipperclips has a lot of chaotic multiplayer fun on offer. There are also single player challenges as well, but the overall game is best played in a group or party setting. From embarrassment for messing up a level at the last moment to yelling at a bud for doing the same, Snipperclips: Cut it out, together! was a tremendous start to the Nintendo Switch's online marketplace of games.4) Blaster Master Zero (NSW, 3DS)Taking the NES cult classic Blaster Master and reshaping and remodeling it for new, modern audiences, developer Inti Creates (Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, Azure Striker Gunvolt) put forward a terrific and unique 2D platformer. Well, that's actually just part of the game. Your character gets in and out of its robotic tank and enters in to compounds where overhead action without the aid of his tank. Angry enemies, ruthless bosses, and climactic encounters punctuate the most high octane moments of Blaster Master Zero, while the pace slows down for exploration -- finding secret weapons and upgrades in a somewhat Metroid-style way. Both the 2D action-platforming and the over-the-head running and gunning make Blaster Master Zero on the whole a terrific indie charmer.3) Mighty Gunvolt Burst (NSW, 3DS)Inti Creates didn't just have one of my favorite digital delights from 2017 -- they had two! Despite the Mighty No. 9 franchise being a bit toxic after a turbulent (to say the least) Kickstarter campaign and subsequent handing out rewards (then there's the quality of the actual game), Inti Creates brought a much needed boost to Mighty No. 9's Beck. This time, he was starring with Gunvolt of the Azure Striker Gunvolt series in a followup to Mighty Gunvolt (a game that was available on the Nintendo 3DS and Steam). This sequel was Mighty Gunvolt Burst for the Nintendo Switch and 3DS. Similar to a Mega Man game and having the same cast of bosses as Mighty No. 9, the dev team went further, designing well crafted levels that encouraged multiple playthroughs to uncover secrets and get higher scores. An upgrade system meant you could customize Beck or Gunvolt by equipping found chips to do a number of enhancements. From air dashes, to adding elemental capabilities to weapons, to making bullets fire in different arcs and directions, the amount of customization was incredible. While we wait for Mega Man 11 later this year, why not check out Mighty Gunvolt Burst if you haven't already?2) SteamWorld Dig 2 (PS4, NSW, Vita, PC)We saw this game already earlier in the evening, and it's for good reason. SteamWorld Dig 2 is just a wonderful game made by an exceptionally talented team in Image & Form. Further expanding on the now-basi[...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Platformers


What is this -- the 1990's?! This award category for the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards sees us running and jumping with some familiar platforming all-stars of yesteryear. There's Mario, Sonic the Hedgehog, Crash Bandicoot, and even a successor to the Banjo-Kazooie name! These five best platformers of 2017 run the gamut of familiar friends and newcomers alike. The former is especially amazing considering how long some of these franchises have been around, and they still hold a high quality with their latest releases. These are your Top Five Platformers of 2017!5) Yooka-Laylee (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)Growing up in the Nintendo 64 era, the collect-a-thon style of 3D platformers that began with Super Mario 64 and continued with Rare's pre-Microsoft days was always a favorite of mine. One of my favorite 3D platformers not only from the Nintendo 64 but of all time is Banjo-Kazooie, Rare's first effort with a 3D platformer. To say they nailed the landing and made a unique platformer that didn't just carbon copy Mario 64 would be an understatement. Members of the Banjo team have since moved on from Rare since that developer's buyout by Microsoft, and their freshman effort was none other than Yooka-Laylee. Camera and certain challenge issues made for a somewhat frustrating experience occasionally, but I managed to enjoy the game regardless. And those problems have been patched and fixed, so Yooka-Laylee is even better. Unlike Banjo-Kazooie, however, which wasn't a direct clone of Super Mario 64, Yooka-Laylee very much steers a bit too close to its Banjo series inspiration. Maybe that's why I appreciated it so much this past year.4) Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy (PS4)We already had three decent-to-extraordinary 3D platformers with Crash Bandicoot's debut back on the original PlayStation, but we've been waiting for the character to return to the spotlight. After many teases and rumors, Crash was back on a PlayStation platformer with the PlayStation 4 hit, Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy. Taking the gameplay and graphics of the original trilogy (Crash Bandicoot, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, and Crash Bandicoot 3: Warped) and modernizing it to appeal to as wide and diverse a group of gamers possible, Activision and Vicarious Visions cut zero corners in bringing the classic games back to the spotlight in a extremely flattering way. Sure, those bridge levels in the original Crash Bandicoot can get rammed by a goat, but the overall package remade and remastered is one of the more content-rich platforming experiences on this list.3) SteamWorld Dig 2 (NSW, PS4, Vita, PC)The original SteamWorld Dig was a well-off success for developer Image & Form, but it wasn't an amazing platformer. Players did similar tasks: digging up the ground, mining for gems, finding treasure, defeating enemies, and so forth. However, there's one key difference between the original game and its superior sequel. The levels are no longer procedurally generated, meaning that the need for smart level design was required. The designers managed to make the levels filled with secrets and hidden challenge rooms insanely clever. The methods of mobility improved, too, allowing for precise platforming via jumps, wall climbs, grapple hooks, and even a jet pack. It made a good game in the original SteamWorld a vastly better one with SteamWorld Dig 2, and it makes me absolutely happy that Image & Form saw great success from the game, being the developer's highest selling effort yet.2) Sonic Mania (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)After many years of 3D Sonic games of varying quality (mostly mediocre, to be honest), lovers of the Genesis Sonic games of yore got their wish after all of this [...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Remakes & Remasters


Let's kick off the penultimate day of awards in the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards with a wholly new category! Yes, this category has never before been seen on the SuperPhillip Central "Best of" Awards in the ten-year history of this annual event. It's a look at the Top Five Remakes & Remasters of 2017. You can include ports in here, too! These updated games on this list had enough additions to be worthwhile, were remastered to utter beauty, ported to the impossible, or a combination of other factors. From racing to ripping and tearing, these best video games remakes and remasters (and ports) were the best of the best for 2017!5) WipEout Omega Collection (PS4)This past summer saw the return of the WipEout series, a weaponized rival to franchises like F-Zero and X-Treme G. It seemed with the shuttering of Sony's Liverpool studio, the creators of the WipEout series, that PlayStation's futuristic racing franchise would not be seen again for quite a while. Though it's not a brand-new entry in the WipEout series, it's the next best thing, a collection of three of the most modern games on the series: WipEout HD, WipEout Fury, and WipEout 2048. Able to played in glorious 4K via PS4 Pro or similarly impressive on just a vanilla PS4, WipEout Omega Collection is a stunning racer that makes the WipEout series look better than ever before. With 26 total tracks, 46 ships, and nine unique modes, this WipEout collection is a futuristic racing fans' dream come true.4) DOOM (NSW)If in 2016 someone said to you, "You know this super amazing looking game on PS4, Xbox One, and PC? Well, it's going to come to a Nintendo platform in the future," would you have believed them? Furthermore, would you even believe Bethesda would support a Nintendo system after all of this time? DOOM on the Nintendo Switch did, in fact, happen, and somehow the port made by Panic Button brought DOOM's 2016 entry to the Switch in a big and impressive way. While obviously certain graphical aspects had to be toned down from a game made for a high-end console and PC to fit onto less powerful hardware, Panic Button did a highly serviceable and way impressive job (less so in undocked mode, but still amazing that it somehow runs well even in that mode). Containing the whole single-player campaign, the full multiplayer with its 6.66 update including all of the 16 maps and reconfigured rewards, and stellar online, DOOM on Switch seemed like an impossibility, but Bethesda and Panic Button proved to people that things aren't always what they seem.3) Metroid: Samus Returns (3DS)While there has already been a remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus created by a fan, there has yet to be an official one by Nintendo. That was until last fall where Metroid: Samus Returns for the Nintendo 3DS released and Samus went on an updated mission with some story and gameplay-related twists and turns. For one, Samus could now aim more precisely and by varying degrees instead of strictly left, right, down, and some diagonals. A new counterattack meant enemies who got too close for comfort for Samus could be stunned or destroyed in an instant. The environments boasted lots of variety, especially in the second half of the game, and story-wise, the inclusion of new bosses and story beats added more lore to the Metroid series in general. Both Nintendo and MercurySteam crafted a long awaited and satisfying return of the Metroid series, and it makes me quite hopeful for the future of the franchise, something I couldn't quite say after Metroid Prime: Federation Force, despite enjoying that game for what it was.2) Crash Bandicoot: N. Sane Trilogy (PS4)Samus may have had a long awaite[...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Most Overlooked/Underrated Games


Routinely on SuperPhillip Central I write about the games that didn't quite get as much attention as I personally thought they should have, whether through sales or through word of mouth. Obviously your Call of Duty games, Star Wars Battlefronts, and Assassin's Creeds get a lot of attention, but so many other games fall through the cracks. These five games of 2017 are the ones that I played that I believe deserved more mentions from folks in the industry and game players in general.5) Fire Emblem Warriors (NSW, N3DS)Musou games don't really review well, but the Fire Emblem franchise generally does. Since Awakening on the Nintendo 3DS, the Fire Emblem franchise has also seen higher sales than it originally did. Thank goodness for waifus, I guess. Thus, the combination of the Musou genre and the Fire Emblem franchise seemed like a match made in heaven. However, many decisions on both the developer side and the publisher side did Fire Emblem Warriors more harm than good. For one, the selection of characters for the roster was picked from a limited selection from Fire Emblem's illustrious history. Secondly, Nintendo unfortunately decided to release Warriors but a week before Super Mario Odyssey. Guess which game won out in sales. It's a shame, as while Fire Emblem Warriors does have its issues, it's still a highly competent and rewarding Musou game. Instructing units before and during battle to specific locations to strategically take care of objectives, being concerned with the paper, rock, scissors-like weapon triad, and more made for a Fire Emblem game worthy of the franchise name.4) Monster Hunter Stories (3DS)The Nintendo 3DS's 2017 was a good one, despite the system starting to fade out of the spotlight thanks to the release of the hotly anticipated Nintendo Switch. Many 3DS games were cast to the wayside in interest compared to how they would have been welcomed when the system was in its golden years. This past fall's Monster Hunter Stories was one of these games, and not just because of the 3DS fading out, but also due to a much more important entry in the series, Monster Hunter World, getting all of the attention. That said, Monster Hunter Stories itself carried all of the greatness and features of the Monster Hunter series and reestablished them in turn-based RPG form. You still explored vast lands searching for monsters to do battle with, earning their hides and pelts from defeating them, but this time you could have them on your team through entering monster nests and stealing and hatching eggs. This Pokemon-styled collection aspect meant that not only was the forging of new weapons and armor a fun grind, but so was adding as many monster species to your arsenal as well.3) Knack II (PS4)The first entries of some games have then soured players on trying out future titles due to the first entry being less than fantastic to play. That was the case with the Knack, a game that saw much success in sales due to arriving as a launch title for the PlayStation 4, even being bundled with the system in Japan. However, the game itself was pretty repetitive and was more of a technological showcase for the system than a fun game. Thankfully, Knack and the dev team were given a second chance with a sequel, and while many turned up their noses at it or hyped the game up ironically through meme usage, Knack II ended up being a really good game overall. A nice mix of combat, platforming, and exploration made for a sequel that improved on the original Knack in every conceivable way. Here's hoping that somehow Sony bankrolls a third chapter in the Knack series so we can get a full trilogy, and maybe some [...]

SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Most Pleasing Visuals


"Beauty is within the eye of the beholder", as the old idiom goes. In this case, I'm taking the role of the beholder with the second category in the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards, the Most Pleasing Visuals, as seen in top five countdown form. With more advanced consoles and more developers getting even more familiar with the hardware, devs can pump out some seriously impressive looking games. For this list, I've tried to bring a nice balance of realism and cartoon-like here. With that said, let's get on to this top five list!5) Super Mario Odyssey (NSW)We begin this top five countdown of the Most Pleasing Visuals with something bright, bouncy, and cheerful. It's Super Mario Odyssey, and it's one of Nintendo's most spectacular-looking games yet. The amount of details in the large environments, things like Mario having a shiny, wet sheen to him after he gets out of water that dissipates when he eventually dries off, the complex textures, the magnificent amount of work put into Mario -- making him his most detailed yet -- it's all so pleasant to look at. With the edition of a Photo Mode, Nintendo gave players the chance to truly marvel at the landscapes and characters within Super Mario Odyssey's delightfully charming and complex worlds.4) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (NSW, Wii U)Here's a game on the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards that won't just be confined to the Most Pleasing Visuals category, that's for sure. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild features an enormous, ever-changing world that boasts an extraordinary draw distance to see vast patches of the land, mountains, rivers, and other geometry from faraway vistas. The soft art style is easy on the eyes, and brings with it an almost watercolor feel to it. It was always a joy to me to take screenshots of Link surveying the land, taking out Bokoblins and Moblins in battle, and later just admiring the scenery, whether during sunrise, sunset, a clear or cloudy day, a thunderstorm, or whatever else the weather might have brought. The fact that both the Switch and Wii U versions, despite being apart in graphical and technological possibilities, could run well and look so great is something that truly impresses.3) Cuphead (XB1, PC)How could there be a mention of Most Pleasing Visuals without a mention of the Xbox One's Cuphead? This tough-as-nails action-platformer is just insane in its presentation. Everything legitimately looks as if it were plucked out from old 1940s cartoons of that era. The animations are clean, crisp, and exude charm and personality; the filter over the game presents a lovely grainy quality just like those aforementioned early cartoons; and all of this runs as a smooth as silk frame-rate. Just looking at the game in YouTube form is amazing, but when you get to see it in front of your face on a huge TV screen while playing it on the Xbox One, it's simply astonishing. There is a reason the small team behind Cuphead took so long getting this game out, but it's without question that with a game of as high of a quality as Cuphead is and how gorgeous it is, the waiting was very much worth it.2) Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4)Let's head towards realism now, with our last two games on this list. However, don't believe the myth that a game has to have a realistic look to win a Most Pleasing Visuals award. That's just how it's coming out this year. Regardless, developer Naughty Dog is no slouch nor a new kid on the block when it comes to crafting gorgeous worlds, environments, and detailed characters. No game better exemplifies the studio's history than Uncharted: The [...]

God of War (PS4) Story Trailer


Not only has PlayStation revealed a brand-new story trailer for God of War, but so, too, has it finally revealed a release date, April 20, 2018! Make your pot and weed jokes now and get them over with, so we can start building up hype for the God of War's newest entry!

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SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards - Top Five Best Original Soundtracks


Here it is, later than the site usually does its yearly "Best of" awards, but here all the same -- it's the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards! On its ninth year now, the "Best of" awards spotlight the greatest and brightest in gaming through a wide selection of categories in top five and top ten form.Our first category and list to kick the ceremony festivities off is the Top Five Best Original Soundtracks of 2017. Music is highly subjective in what's the best and what isn't, but I think we can all prefer the soundtrack selections on this list over a rendition of the Super Mario Bros. theme as played by fingernails scratching on a chalkboard or through hippo farts. Actually, the second one is a little promising... With that bit of class for a classy awards show, let's get to the top five soundtracks that I particularly enjoyed this past year. Changing the tradition a little, I've posted my five samples for each game soundtrack in embedded YouTube playlist form this time around.5) Gravity Rush 2 (PS4)Let's start the SuperPhillip Central Best of 2017 Awards with some style, Gravity Rush 2! The game, featuring a gravity-shifting protagonist named Kat, is a sequel to the PlayStation Vita original. That original game would get ported to the PS4, but now you're lucky to find it used for a sane cost. Regardless, one of the greater aspects of Gravity Rush 2 is its tremendous soundtrack, combining an orchestra with jazzy rhythm and melodies to create a sophisticated, memorable sound. If a soundtrack such as Gravity Rush 2 with its amazing score is but number five on this list, we're in for some great game music coming up! allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">4) Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4, Vita)And that's exactly what we're getting with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana. The Ys series routinely houses some of the finest music to come out of the land of the rising sun, despite being a niche series worldwide. A Nintendo Switch version is releasing this summer in North America while the PS4 and Vita versions await a patch to fix the wonky localization. All that aside, the tradition of high quality Ys soundtracks continues with Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, coming with a deluge of harmonious, exquisite, and powerful tracks and themes for listeners in and out of the game to enjoy. It's always a pleasure to hear a new Ys soundtrack, and indeed that tradition also continued with Lacrimosa of Dana. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">3) Sonic Mania (PS4, XB1, NSW, PC)Tee Lopes is the composer behind the soundtrack of a game that delighted both modern and classic fans of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic Mania sports both brand-new compositions that fit right in quite comfortably with all of the improved remixes from past classic Sonic games. You get some completely fresh themes heard in new zones like Studiopolis and Mirage Saloon that mesh nicely to the familiar remixed themes like Green Hill, Chemical Plant, Hydrocity, Lava Reef, and Metallic Madness. Sonic Mania is the only digital-only game on this list of best original soundtracks, and that's because the quality is of insane proportions. A love letter to Sonic the Hedgehog game fans is also a love letter to those who enjoyed the music of the series when they were young. allow="autoplay; encrypte[...]

Dragon Ball FighterZ (PS4, XB1, PC) Launch Trailer


The greatly and hotly anticipated Dragon Ball FighterZ for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC is finally due out this Friday, and in celebration of the game's launch, Namco Bandai Entertainment presents this stunning trailer for the game's official arrival in stores. The critics are unanimous -- Dragon Ball FighterZ is an extraordinary Dragon Ball fighting game, and one of the series' best! Will you be picking up this action-packed fighter this Friday?

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SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "The Calm Before the SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2017 Awards Storm" Edition


Tonight will kick off SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2017 Awards, celebrating all things stellar in gaming this past year. With top five lists for the best games, best visuals, best soundtracks, and so forth, the Best of 2017 Awards will be quite the festivities when they begin tonight and last all week! In the meantime, before we get to that, we turn to SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs to kick off your work week in style!This week sees this edition of the Favorite VGMs starting things out at the end of the line with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Then, we give our upper body limbs a workout with the Nintendo Switch's ARMS. Following that is a duo of recent releases, Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana and Miitopia. Finally, things get viewtiful with Capcom and Clover Studios' Viewtiful Joe.Enjoy these VGMs and more, and by "more", I mean the VGM Database, where all past featured VGM on this weekly segment are listed! Now, let's get on to the music!v1546. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (PS4) - End of the LineSpeaking of SuperPhillip Central's Best of 2017 Awards, we might see some of the games on this edition make an appearance! I won't playfully hop around this with any coyness -- you can certainly bet Uncharted: The Lost Legacy will see an appearance or two during the award festivities. Could it be tonight during the Best Soundtrack category? With an exciting score such as the example here heard in the final mission of Lost Legacy, there could be a chance! allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1547. ARMS (NSW) - Spring Stadium (Spring Man's Stage)Here's another game from 2017 that has a similar chance as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. ARMS is a creative fighting game, atypical for the genre. Instead of being on a 2D plane, battles in ARMS are not only fought in a 3D arena, but the camera is behind the back of each fighter. It all comes down to picking the right moments to send out one or both of your arms to attack your opponent, quick evasion skills and dodges, and aiming your shots to curve into foes in tricky patterns. The soundtrack is exceptional for the game as well, offering a diverse range of styles, all incorporating in some way the ARMS main theme. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1548. Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana (PS4, Vita) - Sunshine CoastlineI held off on buying this next game due to the hoopla surrounding its less than stellar localization. It was so bad that the publisher in Japan ordered a redo in patch form, which has yet to come out but will soon. That said, maybe it's a good thing I held off, as a new Nintendo Switch port of Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana is set to hit the hybrid system this summer in North America. The only thing I've been missing is hearing the awesome soundtrack as heard in the game, but even by its lonesome without context, Ys music is always fantastic, and this is the case with Ys VIII. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1549. Miitopia (3DS) - Boss BattleLet's go wholly portable with this fall Nintendo 3DS release, incorporating all of your Mii collection (or by borrowing total strangers' Miis) in a one-of-a-kind role-playing game! It's Miitopia, and it's a game where you can put your family and frie[...]

Poi: Explorer Edition (NSW) Review


Did you know SuperPhillip Central is quickly approaching its 800th review? Check out the current total with the SPC Review Archive! Meanwhile, it's time to add to the review count of both quantity and quality with a 3D platformer that had the misfortune of releasing close to Super Mario Odyssey. It's Poi: Explorer Edition for the Nintendo Switch.The joy of PoiThe 3D platformer has seen a resurgence in gaming over the past couple years. One system is seems right at home for is the Nintendo Switch, due to the history of the genre being extremely popular on Nintendo platforms, most specifically the Nintendo 64. PolyKid's Poi released on other platforms like Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One a year ago, and now it arrives on the Nintendo Switch. Known as Poi: Explorer Edition on the Switch, the game saw some misfortune with its release date, coming out but a week before a much more anticipated 3D platformer, a little game known as Super Mario Odyssey. Now that the excitement has died down a little for Mario's latest 3D platforming adventure, is Poi: Explorer Edition a worthwhile dessert for those who have finished Super Mario Odyssey as their main course?While Super Mario Odyssey changed up the Super Mario 64-style formula of its early 3D Mario predecessors, Poi takes clear inspiration from Mario 64. This can be seen everywhere, from when the game kicks you out of a level after collecting one of its 101 Explorer Medals (Poi's Power Star equivalent), to how you can nab 100 coins in a level, trading it for an Explorer Medal.The story of Poi has you playing as one of two young kids who set out on a journey with an old explorer to reveal the grand treasure of the world of Poi, the mysterious Milky Way Globe, as well as retrieve the old man's Explorer Medals which were lost in a torrential storm. You can switch between playing as the boy and girl character from the sky, Poi's hub, connecting every point of interest in the game. Poi's four main worlds are accessed by directing and pointing the light from the old explorer's airship to the world of your choosing through the means of pushing a compass in the direct center of the ship. Worlds open one by one after an unspecified number of Explorer Medals are collected.The first of many Explorer Medals has now been collected.Outside the four main worlds are islands that pop up around the sky, which you can get to by leaping off the airship where the game will automatically pull out a paraglider for safe travel in the hub, giving you the ability to reach the miscellaneous points of interest located within. These possess mini-games, linear obstacle courses that demand a sizable amount of platforming prowess to complete, NPC locations where characters will trade collectibles such as found Golden Gears, fossils, and discoveries in the four main worlds for Explorer Medals.The very first challenge level consists of moving blocks. Be careful not to fall; It's a long way back up!The worlds themselves adhere quite closely to trope conventions. There is a grassy canyon, a lava mountain, a desert town, and a crystal cavern to explore for medals. What they lack in originality, they more than make up for in smart design. Levels, obstacles, and points of interests are well thought out, having positions of challenges and enemies placed cleverly with levels never being too large and thus annoying to traverse from point A to point B. Depending on the Explorer Medal objective chosen, worlds have some differe[...]

DOOM (NSW) Review


I can think of no better game to review now when we have a fear of nuclear annihilation thanks to two overgrown children in power. It's none other than DOOM for Nintendo Switch!It took less than year, but already the Nintendo Switch is DOOMed.In 2016, Bethesda and Id Software came out with one of my favorite games from that year, the revitalization of a series through a game simply titled DOOM. It brought the series back to what it made it so successful back in the early '90s. With a new coat of paint, astonishingly creative design, gore-filled, action-packed goodness, and a rocking Mick Gordon soundtrack, DOOM 2016 amazed and bewildered with its insane quality.One of the things that was so prominent about DOOM's 2016 release was just how visually impressive it was. It's the type of game that Nintendo Switch owners could only dream of having. With much befuddlement, Bethesda and Nintendo announced last year that DOOM would indeed be coming to the Switch. How?! What massive compromises would have to be made?! Would someone pinch me, because I think I'm dreaming?! But, screens came out, then videos came out, then impressions came out, and apparently, DOOM on Switch wasn't just a reality, but it was supposedly running well. After playing through DOOM's 2016 release on PlayStation 4 and now in 2017 and 2018 on Nintendo Switch, is DOOM on Switch a worthy port for Nintendo fans?There are no friendly faces to be found in Hell, so just shoot at anything that moves!DOOM forgoes the linear corridor shooter aspect of AAA gaming that has permeated all throughout FPS games over the course of this past decade and some change. Levels in DOOM are labyrinthine-like maps of sprawling chambers, rooms, hallways, and vistas, sprinkled with areas to explore, secrets to discover, enemies to wipe out, and blood to be shed. The amount of optional content in each level can get a bit staggering: from the well-hidden, secret alcoves containing little DOOM-Guy dolls, to dead UAC soldiers holding onto ID cards that can be used to upgrade the player, to playing battle scenarios in the Rune Trials to earn a much coveted Rune, to Argent Cells that can found and utilized to power up either the player's health, armor, or ammo capacity.Then, there are the three challenges in each level. In the earliest levels, these start out as simple tasks, such as killing two enemies at the same time, but they can get more complex and complicated as DOOM progresses, sometimes requiring the player to kill several Imp enemies each with a different Glory Kill.This place is going to be in serious need of a good interior decorator after we're done here.Speaking of the devil, or at least Glory Kills, these powerful, instant-death maneuvers allow you to wipe out a flashing enemy with a melee attack for a satisfying kill. After peppering an enemy with enough bullets and damage, the enemy will start flashing white. Get close enough to it, and it'll flash orange, meaning you're close enough to deliver a final blow with your melee button. Not only do Glory Kills feel great to perform, but fallen enemies that succumb to them drop much needed health. After all, DOOM is old school in how it handles health. No regenerating health in this game, ladies and gentlemen.My, what big... everything you have! The better to get blasted by rockets with!Now, let's get to the part of the review that most who have already played DOOM back in 2016 on other systems are interested in:[...]

SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs - "Late Night with David VGMan" Edition


Live from Central City, USA, it's Late Night with David VGMan! Tonight: Dave welcomes X and Zero from Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, Link starring in The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, dragon lady Lilac from Freedom Planet, the limbless wonder Rayman in Rayman 2: The Great Escape, and last but not least, one of the most recognizable characters in pop culture today, Spider-Man!Musical guest: Counting Crows. Also, Paul Shaffer and the World's Most Dangerous Band!And now... after you've perused SuperPhillip Central's Favorite VGMs' VGM Database for all past video game songs featured on this weekly recurring series, let's get on to the music!v1541, Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite (PS4, XB1, PC) - X vs. ZeroWhile a constricted budget and a limited roster took a lot of the pizzazz out of Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite, the fighting system stood strongly and more than held up its end of the game. I can't really say the same about the soundtrack, other than a couple notable remixes, such as this one from Mega Man X5. It's played in the source material in one of the final stages of the game where, as the title would suggest, X faces off against Zero. Within the game, it serves as a theme for both Mega Man X and Zero, the first of which finally got on a Marvel vs. Capcom roster after all this time! allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1542. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS) - Final BattleI won't spoil the actual final boss battle myself, but if you're at all familiar with the two main melodies heard during the theme that plays during the fight, one of them will give away who you're facing. It's a climactic final battle against the scourge of both Hyrule and Lorule, and only Link can raise his sword and vanquish evil once more. The reprise of Zelda's Theme in this song, played through once with angelic synth and then blasted out by bold, brass instruments, makes for an uplifting and motivating part of the piece. A wonderful addition to a glorious Nintendo 3DS soundtrack. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1543. Freedom Planet (Multi) - Dragon Valley 2Before there was Sonic Mania, a different game by a team of Sonic fans worked together to create a fan game. That turned into a wholly original project known as Freedom Planet. Though the levels occasionally overstay their welcome, everything from the fast and flowing gameplay, to the presentation nail the overall feel and aesthetic of the 2D Sonic games of Sega Genesis past. Freedom Planet is just a rewarding game in general, worthy of a purchase even if you don't have a nostalgic or grand affinity for the Sonic the Hedgehog games of yore. allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="350" src="" width="580">v1544. Rayman 2: The Great Escape (Multi) - The Iron MountainFrom one 2D platformer to a 3D platformer in a series that started off as a 2D platformer (I make things confusing, don't I?), it's Rayman 2: The Great Escape, the often ported game that some say rival the 3D platforming genre's best. I'm not of that opinion myself, but Rayman 2 has a lot going for it, with its humor, wacky characters, superb level designs, tight c[...]