|86 89%||WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames! (2003) - Sep 13, 2019
"Simple but wackily presented rapid-fire minigame collections like this had been popular in Japanese arcades for a long time, but Nintendo really did a fine job adding the variety and polish needed to make this a genre that would work as a handheld game people would actually want to come back to, with plenty of variety, charming presentation, and variable difficulty (though I wonder how many people stuck around for the hardest versions of everything). Also, the Fly Swatter game from Mario Paint."
|90 93%||Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow (2003) - Sep 11, 2019
"A GBA entry finally rediscovers the right balance. What that means in terms of this series is throwing new powers and abilities at you left and right, some more useful than others, to keep you interested, some from grinding (the new "soul absorption" mechanic), and some from Metroid-style exploration (the rarest weapons and armor). Also, a fun bonus character lets you eschew all that action-RPG nonsense and make a beeline for the bosses with a more agile take on the classic Belmont arsenal."
|64 50%||Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (2002) - Sep 11, 2019
"If the prior entry dragged things out by making you take it slow, carefully hopping through tedious passages and grinding away for cards and XP, this tries the opposite technique of dragging things out with sheer walking distance as you breeze ever onward through one long, trivial hallway after another. At least they're much prettier hallways than last time, and there's a nice variety of overpowered magic attacks to play around with while you're at it."
|58 40%||Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (2001) - Sep 11, 2019
"Not really the spectacle that Symphony of the Night was, and clearly designed around the assumption the typical player will spend an absurd amount of time grinding for levels or be hopelessly outclassed by enemy stats and hampered by a lack of the magical abilities gained by collecting the annoyingly rare cards dropped by enemies.Clever subweapon use can help quite a bit, though only so much.It might have been better if shorter, and not so stretched out by grind and deliberately slow platforming"
|90 93%||Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) - Sep 10, 2019
"The beginning of Igarashi's long-running re-imagining of the Castlevania formula that stood among the titles proving that 2D platformers abounding in style and substance were far from dead with the arrival of 3D. The direction was never quite as fully "Castlevania goes Metroid" as some might have it, as the action RPG grind for experience, money, and rarer drops to aid combat are very much present, whereas Metroid ignores them in favor of a tighter focus on the "lock and key" nature of abilities"
|89 92%||The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker (2002) - Aug 29, 2019
"Everything about the art style, presentation, and overall atmosphere is fantastic without reservation. The fundamentals aren't that different from the N64 games, so dungeons are nicely designed, some of the later necessary activities can get overdrawn and uninspired, and combat is fairly easy, though anything involving aiming a ranged weapon feels like more hassle than it should be. I like many of the little optional puzzles for their own sake, though they seemed short on in-game rewards."
|70 66%||Rally-X (1980) - Aug 15, 2019
"Namco's next big maze chase game a few months after Pac-Man. A fun and straightforward take on the genre, with a bit of influence from 70s games like Head-On and such. The big, sprawling levels and randomized flag locations make things less predictable than Pac-Man, but the radar screen keeps things manageable. Didn't gain its lovable and much-remixed theme song until the next year's sequel, New Rally-X, though there is a simpler background tune for the first game."
|40 16%||Pole Position (1982) - Aug 15, 2019
"Not a very exciting racing game to play today, but I can appreciate why the presentation made it a hit at the time. It's fast, it's colorful, and it helped popularize the behind the car camera angle that became the driving game standard. Also, there's a muffled voice sample and a bunch of licensed billboard ads."
|78 76%||Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb (2003) - Aug 14, 2019
"Tomb Raiderish platforming and level design united with the impressively animated and quick-flowing brawler gameplay of the developer's prior outing (a Buffy license), make for that rare surprise: a good action game starring Indy. Not without some characteristic flaws of the time: some big dodgy underwater sections, a poor turret section here, a half-baked stealth section there. Still, it really gets the right sweep and atmosphere, and the core gameplay's very good."
|84 86%||Xenosaga Episode I: Der Wille zur Macht (2002) - Aug 10, 2019
"Takes the cinematic aspect of this generation's JRPGs to extremes, but does so engagingly (provided you're in the mood for a television episode or two after every major boss). Interesting character work makes up for a plot that spends 45 hours setting up threats and metaphysical concerns for later. As far as gameplay, you're given a vast set of ways to handle the combat, but enemies are so limited in approach you'll just find a strategy or two that works and spam it a few hundred times over."