Unite Warriors Devastator Review

Long admired as the Autobots’ most deadly foe, the fans have been begging Hasbro to produce a “proper” toy of this leviathan for decades. The original 1985 version just doesn’t cut the mustard in the modern age, not least because of how tiny it is. Even back in the eighties, kids were disappointed; the Decepticon titan was dwarfed by most Transformer toys of the era, even its direct contemporaries.

So ever since Transformers returned to the mainstream in 2001/2002, ceaseless rumours abounded that a ‘remake’ of the toy was in the works. The case was certainly not helped when Dreamwave released a now iconic bit of artwork – it showed Devastator surging out of the water underneath the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge. Rendered in the complex, anime style that Dreamwave became famous for, it turned out to be naught but a tease, and the hopes of a mechanical Goliath appearing on toy shelves went unfulfilled.

Look out! It's one of those fish that swims up your crank!

Devastator, watch out! It’s one of those little fish that swims up your crank!

We’ve had combining Transformers since then, but they’ve never quite been up to scratch with the original concept. Hasbro were reluctant to commit to the idea of five or six unique toys needed to combine into a single robot, and deemed it unmarketable. Therefore we were provided with combiner teams that unconvincingly consisted of two sets of robotic identical twins. It’s cheaper that way, you see – Hasbro save 40% on costs because they only have to design three toys for a final set of five. Oh, and let’s not forget that the combined robots didn’t have hands or feet.

So majestic!

So majestic!

Utterly flabbergasting.

However, Combiner Wars / Unite Warriors Devastator is material proof that if you wish on a star, cross your fingers and eat all your vegetables, dreams sometimes do come true. Hasbro has pulled out all the stops and released a colossus of a robot – Devastator how he was always meant to be. We have a full team of six Constructicons, each able to convert into a construction vehicle, but most importantly able to merge into one giant mechanical menace!

How's the weather up there?

How’s the weather up there?

In combined mode, Devastator stands about eighteen inches tall. He’s not the largest Transformer ever made, but he comes close. Each individual Constructicon is as large as your average “voyager class” Transformer toy, which in muggle terms means about seven inches. They’re not lightweights, either, and look suitably bulky and menacing – as you’d expect for a Decepticon goon squad. Their design is based more closely on the animation models, rather than the original toys, and in fact they look like they crawled straight out of your VHS copy of Transformers: The Movie like that girl from The Ring.

"Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!"

“Hulk Smash! Oops, wrong movie!”

Devastator is one solid toy – each component clicks and locks into place so securely that you’ll never have to worry about him falling apart. The original went to pieces easier than Adam watching Homeward Bound. The joints, especially in the legs, are stiff and ratchet into place. He even has ankles that tilt outwards for those extra-cool poses!

Draw!

Draw!

There are two versions of Devastator available – one for the west released by Hasbro, and one for the Japanese market (featured here) by Takara. There’s aesthetically little difference between to two; Hasbro’s has black hands and slightly different paint details. However, there’s quite a big difference in terms of construction, which is where things start to get weird.

In short: someone at the Hasbro fun factory forgot how to make elbows. We still can’t believe we really have to say this this because it sounds so stupid. But it’s such a strange and ubiquitous flaw in the group that we just have to point it out. Poor Scrapper has no elbows at all. Long Haul’s tiny forearms swing uselessly outwards on a fixed hinge. Hook and Mixmaster have it worst of all. Just look at this mess:

Remember when you were younger and you’d break your toys? Maybe you’d ask your dad to take a look at them, and he’d bodge together a rudimentary fix? Our toybox is full of hobbled, mutant robots who got the “dad treatment”. And you know what? It looks for all the world like someone at Hasbro was taking notes…

The Magnificent Six

The Magnificent Six

The aforementioned Japanese release does fix the elbow issues for all involved. However, Scavenger’s newly articulated arms require incredible force to bend – probably because he takes the enormous weight of the combined form on his forearms when in leg mode. Still, we’re not going to look a gift horse in the elbow. Mouth.

Takara also went the extra mile and included some new pieces. The individual Constructicons get a handgun each – a vital tool for a group of warriors, we can all agree – and Devastator gets a new head with a really nifty “visor” gimmick. You see, depending on what episode of the cartoon you were watching, Devastator either had two individual eyes or rocked the ‘sunglasses’ look that so many Transformers did so well. This toy allows you to flip flop back and forth depending on your mood (just like the animators! Arf!) by having a tiny visor that folds away to stow inside the head.

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

*Put on your 3D glasses now*

There are only a couple very minor flaws that are common to both versions of Devastator:

Most noticeably, Long Haul’s general proportions are well out of whack when compared to his team mates. This is because where the original Devastator had a removable plastic codpiece to hold his legs on, this envious job is now assigned solely to Long Haul. Well, it’s either that or he’s spent the intervening decades on the Wayne Rooney diet because he could crush planets between those thunder thighs. He’s very sensitive about it, so don’t say anything.

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“Me so hungee.”

Devastator’s arms are subject to some minor mechanical oversights – for example, his forearms are hollow gauntlets that loosely peg on to a flap below the elbow. It doesn’t look bad at all, but they fall off rather easily. Also, his arms ratchet outwards at the shoulder, but not forwards. So he can do star jumps just fine, but can’t hold his gun out straight without the arm sagging slightly. Very odd indeed.

"We're gonna need bigger guns..."

“We’re gonna need bigger guns…”

Overall, the toy is a wonderful slab of plastic and a fine addition to any Transformers collection… But at anywhere between £150 – £170, it doesn’t come cheap. We again plumped for the Japanese box set, but we’re not sure the modest improvements made to the set really justify the massive gulf in price. If you can find the domestic version grab it.

DEVVY RATING

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X-Rated

Retro Gaming Spotlight

Ranger X

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Ranger X – Generic title, great game.

Many people probably picked it up based on the cover illustration alone, not knowing just how varied the gameplay was. It’s certainly not your typical shoot ’em up.

The presentation is superb – you’re never in any doubt of what’s happening or where to go, as the beginning of each level is preceded by a wireframe 3D video (!!) explaining your objective. There are little cinematic cutscenes here and there, too.

The controls may take a little getting used to, but once you have the knack they’re intuitive and precise. Ranger X himself can float around with the aid of his jet-pack, or walk forwards and backwards along the ground. Pressing either A or C will make him spin 180 degrees to face the left or right. It sounds odd at first, but the game is halfway between shooter and platformer, the traditional controls of either would have been frustrating to use.

I love to ride my BI cycle

I – love – to – ride – my – BI – cy – cle….!

You are followed by a little motorbike called “Ex-Up Indra”, and it scoots loyally around your heels like a robotic puppy. It goes where you go, and shoots when you shoot. If you so choose, you can take manual control or have its movements dictated by a second player for some co-op action. You can also combine with it, Transformer-fashion, to burn rubber through the levels or navigate small tunnels. Later in the game, it’s replaced by Ex-Up Eos, a sort of gunship. Not half as cool, as you can’t control this one.

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Ranger X flies over the apple orchards of New Tokyo

Ranger X has a large array of weapons at his disposal, although most have to be found in later levels. From the off, you’re equipped with a standard laser rifle. It’s ammo is unlimited, and the rate of fire high. Naturally, it doesn’t do much damage to most enemies, meaning that you have to bob and weave your way through the hordes, strategically deploying your stronger weapons.

These are:

Flamethrower: Does what it says on the tin. Strong, but rubbish.
Seeker Mine: These explode on the ground and leave a trail of hot blue fire. Good for heralding your approach and taking out ground-based enemies. Can also be thrust down the gullet of anything in your way, blowing them up from the inside.
Seeker Charge: Most players will default to this weapon. It sends out rapid-fire twin lightning bolts. Tapping the button will launch them dead ahead, holding it down will cause the lightning beams to rotate 360 degrees until they lock onto a target. Useful for covering your back.
Seeker Falcon: A robotic falcon that perches on your shoulder. One of the most powerful weapons in the game. Fly, my pretty! Fly!!
Plasma Blast: A weapon that fires crescents of burning plasma. Rather reminiscent of Alex Kidd’s power bracelet, but without the cool sound effect.
Photon Storm: This is the mandatory BFG. A one-shot wonder that destroys all in its path. Feels good. Your mum will come in just to check you haven’t blown up the TV.

Kineval mode!

Kinevel mode!

The weapons are powered by sunlight (very environmentally-friendly) and using them will deplete the charge. As long as you’re above ground the weaker weapons can be used liberally, but the more powerful ones will, of course, use more power. When empty, you must retreat to a sunny spot to recharge. If you’re underground or inside a building you will have to improvise.

Weapon power can also be sacrificed to refill your life meter by standing in one of the ‘recharge chambers’ hidden throughout the levels. Inexplicably, Ranger X can also shoot apples off trees and eat them for a little life boost.

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Never mind the burning city, the real battle’s HERE.

The maneuverability Ranger X’s jet-pack offers is incredible, but you must take care not to over-heat the engine. Use it too much and it will cut out, causing you to (harmlessly) plummet to the ground. It adds a flair of strategy to an already complex shoot ’em up. A later level will see you scaling a gigantic skyscraper, leaping from window ledge to window ledge, with the ground perilously far below. Misjudging your flight will often mean starting the whole ascent again.

The levels run the gamut from traditional scorched desert, to technological fortresses, to lush forests. Each one is guarded by an intimidating boss character such as the giant crawler robot from level one, or the squid monster on level three. Some will require cunning and patience to defeat, others just a good old ass-kicking.

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That’s not his arm, by the way.

You’ll burn through the whole game pretty quickly, but unlike contemporaries Thunder Force or R-Type it remains a varied and interesting experience that never repeats itself and constantly throws new things at you. You won’t regret adding this one to your Mega Drive collection.

Transformers: Devastation UK Review

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The Transformers have been with us for thirty years now, and in that time they’ve graced every form of media you can imagine. We’ve had cartoons, comics, movies, music and books. But so rarely have there been Transformers video games, you could count them on the fingers of one hand. If you only counted the good ones, you’d end up making a very rude gesture indeed.

Transformers games of the past have included the dire Commodore 64 game; the infamous Famicom Mystery of Convoy; and the PS2 bore-fest from (*snigger*) Winkysoft. So where does Devastation stand?

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First of all, the graphics are lovely, even if you’re playing on your old Xbox 360. The game moves along at a silky-smooth framerate that never slows even when things get busy on screen. Coming from the studio that brought us Viewtiful Joe and Okami, it’s no surprise that everything has a painted, cel-shaded look that manages to emulate the old 80s cartoon yet provide a crisp, metallic sheen to the characters.

It looks like the old Transformers cartoon come to vivid life, and it’s brilliant. The Transformers themselves are reminiscent of the old cartoon designs but are more intricately detailed. The animation is top-notch and the characters leap around like gymnasts, tumbling and somersaulting around the levels. At any time you can transform into vehicle mode, and it’s intensely satisfying – you’ll no doubt spend a little while just transforming back and forth.

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If you had asked a kid back in the eighties to describe the perfect Transformer computer game (and, well, a computer to play it on) he would not in his wildest dreams have thought up anything half as good as this. That said, we do wonder if the kids of today will be put off by the cartoonish stylings. Not for nothing have the modern Transformer movies made four billion dollars – it may be too much to ask for people to make the leap back to the old cartoony style.

The game is primarily an “action combat game”, or hack ‘n’ slasher as they’re more commonly known. It seems a strange and risky choice for a Transformers title, given the relatively small audience for the genre. Indeed, we were a bit apprehensive about it, but you couldn’t have surgically removed the smile from Adam’s face as he tore around the first level as Sideswipe in Lamborghini mode and sped towards a Decepticon, before transforming back to robot mode at 100mph and uppercutting him square beneath the jaw. Kabosh!

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The freedom of movement is fantastic. The superb animation combined with slick motion and camera controls means that you’ll spend a few minutes running around each new environment just for the fun of it. There’s nothing quite like leaping around the city as Optimus Prime – the real Optimus Prime, not Michael Bay’s movie monster – then with a press of a button transforming to truck mode to drive through underground tunnels while your headlights illuminate the path ahead.

The playable characters – Prime, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, Wheejack and Grimlock – can either use their traditional weaponry that they’re famous for (Optimus’ axe, Sideswipe’s shoulder cannon, etc) or swap them out for a huge variety of blasters, flamethrowers, swords and hammers to take on the legions of Decepticon goons and – far more frequently than you might expect – big hitters like Megatron, Soundwave or the mighty Devastator!

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You can upgrade your character and weapons, but frankly it makes our heads spin. There are way too many statistics and XP points and whatnot – it’s very daunting. However, the game is first and foremost a hack ‘n’ slasher so these things are to be expected. Many players will enjoy improving their weapons or leveling-up their characters, no doubt.
Upgrades and power-ups can be found scattered around the environments or can be created in Wheeljack’s lab in a fun little mini-game found on the character-select screen.

There are little cameos and appearances from Transformers characters and lore long forgotten. Some are pretty obvious, like the little Kremzeek that hides in the dark alleyways, and others more subtle, like the image of Prowl’s stern face staring back at you from a computer monitor.

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There are quite a few unlockables to be found, including artwork from the game and the wider Transformers universe, as well as weapons and downloadable skins for your characters. Bumblebee and Sideswipe become Goldbug and Red Alert at the touch of a button. It won’t add much replayability to the game, but it’s nice for fans of the latter two characters and bodes well for future DLC content.

The graphics and presentation are wonderful, but the music is quite generic, despite Vince DiCola’s input. Most of the time you won’t even notice it, but when you do it has that inoffensive ‘rawk’ feel that puts us in mind of Sonic Adventure. The voices are spot-on, though, with several of the original cast returning to reprise their roles. The most obvious – apart from Peter Cullen and Frank Welker – being the unmistakable Michael Bell. The characters will narrate your gameplay and mutter amusing non-sequiturs to themselves, and also talk to each other via a little pop-up in the bottom of the screen, much like your team mates in Star Fox.

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We doubt that many casual players will want to see the game through to the end. It’s really only for die-hard hack ‘n’ slashers. It’s a shame, as the joy of movement, great graphics and slick combat could have made for an unbeatable action-platformer.

As it is, the environments are a little too small for players uninterested in the combat to make a game of exploring, and we worry that the relatively niche genre will put off most players. It also seems strange that you can only play as the Autobots, despite the enemy Decepticons being so well designed that it seems like a cruel tease to have them unplayable.

It’s a more entertaining game than the grisly and grim War for Cybertron, but the light that burns twice as bright burns half as long. A bargain at £25 (if you settle for last gen), it’s great while it lasts – if you love games like Bayonetta, Devil May Cry or Oneechanbara, then add a point to the score. If you also love Transformers, add another point – you’ll be in heaven.

It’s funny, enjoyable, well-presented and a love-letter to G1 fans old and new. But it never quite breaks the chains of the genre.

Rating Strip TFD

True Colours

In this wacky world of ours, hate is always more popular than love. People like to point out flaws and complain about things, to cynically pick apart someone else’s achievement and say why it’s a load of crap. That’s human nature.

As a fan of video games, I still like to read (what’s left of) the gaming press, and I’ve found that when releases dry up, they all tend to fall back on “Top Ten Worst” lists. One game that comes up time and time again is Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), although most people call it “Sonic Oh Six”.

Punch that screen!

He’s so eager, he’s trying to punch his way out of the box. Bless ‘im.

The game gets a bad rap on the internet, too, so for a long time I avoided it and went along with the popular consensus. Eventually, though, I decided that talk is cheap and the only way I’d discover the truth of the matter was to play the game myself. And you know what? It just isn’t that bad. In fact, it quickly became one of my favourite games on the console.

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Tails runs from Cream the Rabbit’s house, and therefore the law. For shame!

For one thing, the game is really quite relaxing. It has a tranquil, easy atmosphere and the music will warp you straight to the Chill Out Zone. I have the soundtrack on my MP3 player, it’s that good. Of course things heat up towards the end and they bust out the heavy metal guitar, but this time the lyrics to the game’s theme song actually make sense – there’s none of the mangled English that was to be found in Sonic Adventure.

Wave_Ocean

“No, Willy! They’ll take you back to Sea World!”

Much like Sonic Adventure, however, the game has “hub” areas that you can explore at your leisure. I really like walking around the pseudo-Italian city of Soleanna just talking to all the different people and listening to their quaint ramblings and non-sequiturs.

Soleanna

These cloud formations are known as “stratocumulus Segalus”

The place isn’t bad to look at, either. It’s blue-sky gaming of the kind only Sega can make. Compared to the bleached-white palettes of Assassin’s Creed (also set in a version of Venice), Sonic ’06 is a visual masterpiece. I’m dead serious. Look at them side-by side – which would you rather play?

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You paid £400 to see games rendered in sepia. Feels good.

In fact, I found that all the complaints leveled at the game are dwarfed when compared to modern releases.

The notorious glitches, for example. I didn’t have a problem with them at all. Some parts lacked a little polish, sure, but the occasional spastic jerk or pop-up is small potatoes when held alongside modern Xbox One and PC games such as Sim City or Batman Arkham Knight that – no word of a lie – don’t work at all.

The infamous loading times, too. They’re unbearable, make no mistake. But the other day I played a game on my mate’s Xbox One and assumed that it had crashed. But no, it literally takes six or seven minutes to load the title screen. And then another five minutes to load the first level. That’s if you’ve got all the latest updates, of course.

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Run! It’s the bestiality patrol! These guys don’t mess around!

The game also gained notoriety for its introduction of Silver the Hedgehog. In truth, he isn’t so bad. I’ve always loved Sega’s characters, be they Tails the Fox, Bean the Dynamite or Vector the Crocodile. Frankly I was disappointed not because of Silver’s introduction, but because he was labelled as a “hedgehog”. Like we didn’t have enough of those already. He also looks nothing like a hedgehog, but then neither does Sonic.

Oooh, one of those glowy things!

Hi Ho Silver, awaayyy! *dies*

Silver has gnarly psychic powers and can use telekinesis to throw objects around levels. It’s rather chaotic, but quite fun once you get used to the controls, which I never really did. My cousin Sam – who has spent his entire life playing games, yet for some unfathomable reason isn’t very good at them – went a bit Rain Man on these levels, however, and took to them like a duck to water (or Adam to a pony’s backside – Luke).

To sum it up – don’t let the haters tell you what you can and can’t enjoy. Some things in life are great, some are truly shit, but most things are completely subjective and you’ll get out from it what you put in.

For those looking for more misunderstood Sonic gaming, I can wholeheartedly recommend Sonic Colours for the Nintendo Wii. It’s more traditional platforming fare, and plays very much like Super Mario Galaxy. But with a Sonic.

That is all.

“Fox Bean”

Once Upon a Mouse…

TMW Presents: Retro Gaming Spotlight

Castle of Illusion

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Everything starts out just peachy for our old friend Mickey Mouse. He’s in a meadow, frolicking playfully with his girlfriend Minerva, having a game of “spin around really fast so Minnie might fall over and I get to see her knickers” when suddenly Mizrabel the witch appears from out of the blue and whisks Minnie away to her castle.

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Her castle… of illusion!

Why she took Minnie is never really explained. We imagine that it was a spontaneous decision that Mizrabel figured she had to see through to the end. It’s a bit like that time Adam smuggled a pony home from Crealy farm. In the heat of the moment it seemed like a good idea, but once he actually had it in his bedroom (and dyed its mane purple) he couldn’t think of anything to do. Well, that’s what the police report said, and we’re sticking to it.

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Anyway, Mickey walks some fifty miles to the castle and is greeted by Obi Wan Kenobi. The old wizard gives Mickey brief instruction to collect seven magical gems that will summon Captain Planet so he can beat Miserabel up. Or something like that, who knows. This game isn’t very clear about who’s doing what or why.

Mickey doesn’t really need any help to rescue Minnie anyway, as the little guy can lift boulders clear over his head and throw them ten yards. Kabosh! No-one knows why he’s so strong, but legend has it that – years ago – Mickey was bitten by a radioactive mouse, thus giving him the PROPORTIONAL STRENGTH OF A MOUSE.

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It’s quite amazing. In the Mega Drive version, Mickey carries around a bag of apples (or maybe billiard balls) to pelt his enemies with. Master System Mickey just rips up parts of the scenery and puts the smack down on the baddies.

You wouldn’t really want to hurt any of the enemies, though. They’re adorable! You meet caterpillars and smiley sweeties, honey bees and sugar cubes. Why make the enemies so saccharine and benevolent, we wonder? You don’t see that in Streets of Rage. It just wouldn’t be the same if Galsia and Y. Signal came at you with chocolates and a bunch of flowers.

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A lover of all animals (*splutter*), fictional or no, Adam steadfastly refused to hurt any of the little critters in the game, and often made guests swear by the same oath. You should see him play through the whole of Time Crisis without fatally wounding anyone. It’s astonishing. Adam makes Ghandi look like General Zod.

Reaching the end of any of the game’s five levels, you’re tasked with defeating a boss. These characters are pretty hardcore and require careful planning and strategy to defeat. If you’re clever, you can trap the giant Chocolate Bar Man (exactly what it sounds like) in a pattern and ruthlessly beat him with a rock.

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Once the boss is gone, you’re awarded one of the seven rainbow-coloured gems that you need to defeat Mizrabel. When you grab it, the game plays a delightful little tune that tickles the ears and makes the battle worthwhile.

The levels themselves are all fantastic. If you have the Mega Drive version, throw it in the bin right now – you won’t be going back to it. On paper the environments sound the same: You have the woods, toy land, chocolate factory, library and the clock world. But they look and play completely differently to their sixteen-bit cousins.

The graphics are bold and charming, the level design clever and challenging without being frustrating, and the music is wonderfully bouncy. You can tackle the levels in any order you wish; a feature left out of the Mega Drive version for some reason.

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The final challenge comes when you reach the castle’s inner sanctum (I never touched her sanctum!! Read the report!! – Adam). It’s a spooky and fiendish place, and will require all your platforming skill to negotiate safely. Before the final battle with Mizrabel, you must defeat a wicked-looking dragon that spits balls of blue fire.

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Mizrabel herself is easily trounced with Mickey’s mighty mouse strength (by which we mean he smashes her face in with an oil lamp), and she repents her sins wholeheartedly and allows Minnie to go free. Like almost every Master System game ever, the ending is a sweet one that leaves you with a smile on your face. And of course, the game thanks you for playing after the credits roll.

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“See her knickers”

 

Mario Maker Review (UK)

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“I stole this outfit from Ronald McDonald’s corpse!”

You probably already know what Mario Maker is about. If you don’t, the name says it all. But maybe you’re wondering if it’s as intuitive and user friendly as we’ve come to expect from Nintendo. Good news for you: it is. We were creating a brand new Super Mario level within seconds of firing the console up. That’s not a figure of speech either. Seconds!

After the title screen the game dumps you in a NES-style Mario level and sets you loose to play. Run with the D-pad, dash with B – so far so familiar. The graphics have a smooth, HD look and Mario has a kind of drop-shadow effect we don’t remember seeing before but other than that it’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect.

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All the world’s a stage, Mario…

So anyway, your gaming instincts kick in and you hop the gaps, punch the blocks and make a final leap for the flagpole. Except you realise mid-air that you’re probably not going to make it. Some idiot designer made the gap too big and you’re about to plummet to an early death in the mysterious abyss at the bottom of the screen.

The game pauses and switches to editor mode. By way of tutorial, you’re tasked with filling that death-gap, then switching back to gameplay mode and clearing the level. And that’s about all the guidance you get, a complete godsend after Wario Ware DIY and its seemingly endless tutorial mode. Adam, with his hummingbird-like attention span, still breaks out in a nervous sweat just thinking about that one.

Game creation is a stylus-only affair. You’re free to doss about, drawing blocks, adding coins and enemies, and stretching or rotating level furniture like pipes and the like. If you make a mistake you can use the eraser tool to rub it out. We cracked up when we went to “erase” Mario and he started shitting himself.

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“Don’t-a kill me, wahoo!”

The Ninty magic is back in full force. Everything is done in that tongue-in-cheek silly way that Wario Ware players will find familiar. Old NES sound effects and remixed Mario music accompany every tweak and edit, proving that Nintendo are masters of audio design as well as visuals.

You can create levels in the style of the original SMB, Mario 3, Mario World and New SMB, and switch between them at any time. Gimmicks or items that were previously game-specific will cross over (with one or two exceptions), sometimes taking on new forms in order to fit in visually. It’s amazing how switching between styles can breathe new life into your levels.

The game will occasionally throw some curve balls, and enemies or items will behave in unexpected, hitherto unseen ways. For instance, you can put Goombas underwater or suspend Chain Chomps from moving platforms. If you so choose, you can add decidedly odd HD effects that clash with the pixel artwork.

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You pressed paws! Arf!

The game, outside of the editor, is pretty barebones. Features like uploading and playing pre-loaded levels are accessed from a small drop-down menu in the corner. What this means for you is that there’s no loading and jumping from screen to screen. It’s all business, all the time. Even the title screen is completely interactive and lets you immediately start making new levels.

Our one complaint is that the game gradually drip-feeds new items and level styles depending on how much you’re using it – and no, you can’t leave it running overnight to unlock everything (we tried). You might be absolutely sick of the sight of it before you unlock the clown car or the Princess Peach costume. The popular consensus is that it takes 9 days to unlock everything, and as far as we know that’s the official word from Ninty.

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Adam had to be restrained by seven men once he learned that ‘the pony bums’ weren’t an available item

But…! Stay your hands, baying hoards, before you storm the Kyoto headquarters and demand Miyamoto’s head on a pike: There’s apparently been a patch released in time for the UK launch. No one is quite sure what exactly the criteria are now, but one thing’s certain, the game breaks its own ‘one update a day’ rule. Fantastic!

To sum up, the game is presented with all the finesse you’d expect from a first-party Nintendo title. It makes any game you’ve ever played on your PS4 look like a Sega Saturn tech demo, and it’s so polished it’ll make Mr. Sheen mess his pants with envy.

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You can remake Alex Kidd in Miracle World!

The interface is so intuitive that you can do anything your heart desires without so much as thinking about what button to press or where to click, and the game will constantly charm you with its creative flair and neat little touches. You can effortlessly switch between the different game styles depending on what kind of nostalgia hit you’re looking for, and you’ll probably surprise yourself when you unleash the game designer hidden inside.

TMW Rating: – 4/5

The game loses one point for not having a “Mario 2” mode. Nintendo’s staff evidently don’t consider it a ‘true’ Mario title, along with the rest of Japan, and its unique mechanics (such as not jumping on enemies) wouldn’t fit with the rest of the game. But to the western world, that game was the real deal and we loved it more than the first. Still, there’s a lifetime’s worth of play in here.

“Gradually drip”