Everybody’s favourite plumber has tried an awful lot of sports over the years – kart racing easily being the most popular – and although he’s heading back to the fairway for Mario Golf: Super Rush, we say why stop there?
We’ve had main games encompassing the likes of tennis, baseball and even football (well, they call it soccer). Then there’s Mario Sports Mix and the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series that give players access to a wide range of sports and events. But still, there are plenty more sports which Mario and co. could yet turn their hands to.
What would you go for? Maybe something obscure that hasn’t been done justice before? Perhaps something totally off-the-wall (like squash)?! Let us know in the comments.
You know it's not a proper Mario sports game when they can't be bothered to wear the appropriate attire.
Pro Wrestling | Sam
Mario sports titles are all about taking a sport and dialling it up to eleven by injecting an over-the-top, arcadey presentation. Professional wrestling in its base form fits that description already, so the Mario cast could get really crazy on this occasion.
Although not a “real” sport in many peoples’ eyes, the game could settle beef in hilarious fashion. Mario and Luigi battle Wario and Waluigi in a volatile tag team match, observed by a baying crowd of Mushroom People. Picture the titular plumber’s nipples returning to screens as he and his brother head to the ring in colourful speedos, then Wario emerges in a leotard flanked by Waluigi rocking a mankini.
Characters could pull power-ups out from under the ring, in place of weapons, emerging in new costumes to inflict extra damage on opponents for a limited time. Settings from throughout the entire franchise could appear as nostalgic arenas, each with crowds befitting the location. Bonkers finishing maneuvers, slow motion replays and all manner of overly indulgent pomp would add to the experience instead of annoying.
Nintendo would also have the perfect means to justify this more “violent” take on the Mario property - it’s just simulated violence. The roster of rasslers collaborate to put on a show without hurting one another, though, disclaimer, kiddies shouldn’t try it at home. Problem solved!
We didn't fancy googling 'Waluigi + mankini' so this will have to do.
Skateboarding | Liam
There’s a skateboarding event in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, but it looks rather simple and I think a full-fledged Mario skateboarding game could be a lot more exciting, especially if it took some inspiration from the Mario Kart series.
For example, while a Mario skateboarding game would of course have a free roam mode with levels based on some of the Mario games’ most iconic locations (Peach’s Castle, Donut Plains, New Donk City, etc.) it could also have its very own race mode, complete with skateboard-based obstacles, such as ramps and stair sets.
Imagine weaving through traffic in the classic Mario Kart 64 track Toad’s Turnpike, but instead of simply dodging the trucks and cars in a race to the finish line, you could grind along them, chaining tricks together as you hop from one vehicle to the next to boost your score and ranking. The verticality and competitiveness of Mario Kart’s Balloon Battle mode would also lend itself well to a skateboard game.
To keep things interesting, it wouldn’t have to be an entirely 3D affair, either – you could easily have 2D levels inspired by classic Super Mario Bros. titles, complete with a grindable flagpole at the end of each level.
All the character assets already exist, they just need their own proper game.
What sport would you like to see Mario take on next?
As the Legendary Edition of the Mass Effect trilogy has been released, daring us to venture into the stars once more (keep your eyes peeled for our review soon), we decided it was time to talk about the crew of the Normandy SR1.
Throughout the three games, your protagonist Shepard is accompanied by a cast of colourful characters, and series fans will all have their favourite that they will protect through thick and thin, despite, in some cases, multiple opportunities for them to fall on the field of battle.
Do you have a favourite? Let us know in the comments. Perhaps you favour one of the supporting characters you don’t get a chance to tag along with you, like the mysterious Illusive Man, who looks oddly like Martin Sheen or that reporter Al-Jilani, who turns out to be more vindictive than an early 2000s Piers Morgan.
Feelings are good, but Wrex's best feature is his tank-like strength: send him into a room of enemies and watch the carnage unfold.
James | Mordin
The obvious choice would be Garrus, given he gets some of the series most memorable lines and (minor spoiler) has an outstanding turn as Archangel in ME2, but in fact the companion I enjoyed chit chatting with the most was eccentric scientist Mordin.
As the only character with a musical number to his name, Mordin Solus was introduced in the second game, but his work on the genophage, an artificial fertility modification programme, links him back to one of your most lasting decisions in the first game - the fate of the Krogans.
The Salarian’s approach to his work is that the ends always justify the means, he is far from callous for a scientist, and has an arc of his own and, ultimately, one of the most meaningful climaxes for any of the supporting characters.
In combat he’s not to be sniffed at either, with significant tech powers and able to hold his own fairly consistently – though no doubt his true value is in the lab.
While his relationships with the other characters can portray him as single-minded as far as his work is concerned, there’s no doubting his capabilities and the value and variety he adds to the team introduces some variety to what can otherwise otherwise be a very human-centric squad.
Mordin's omni-tool doubled as a harmonica.
Liam | Ashley
Of all the many crew members that accompanied my Shepherd in the campaign against the Reapers, it’s Ashley that stands out the most, even though she was missing for large parts of the sequels. Alongside Garrus, she was ever-present as I made my way through the first game (watch out for spoilers below).
Her absence from ME2 hit hard when I realised she wasn’t going to be part of the crew, which is why I’m ranking her above everyone’s favourite turian. As well as being a solid side kick, she also plays a major role in the battle of Virmire, a mission that lives long in the memory.
I did once leave her to die on a recent replay, but it wasn’t quite the same having Kaidan knocking about the ship instead. It might be easy to dismiss her as just another soldier type, but her backstory and motivations are actually quite interesting, particularly when it comes to her family history.
ME2 and 3 might be considered better titles in terms of gameplay, but the original’s atmosphere, missions and story made it the superior experience for me, and Ashely and the original crew were a big part of what made that game so enjoyable.
Also the companion to have around if you like poetry.
Who was your favourite companion? Let us know below.
With Returnal experiencing a few teething problems due to its lack of save functionality and more, we’ve been thinking about other games that have benefitted from a few patches to make them fighting fit after launch.
Do you have a favourite that began life as a fumble? Maybe something you were burned by early and never bothered to revisit? Let us know in the comments.
Plenty of new ways to earn loot, and then lose it all to these guys.
Liam | Star Wars Battlefront 2
I thoroughly enjoyed the 2015 Star Wars Battlefront reboot. Despite the lack of content, I thought it was a great looking/sounding game that had really solid arcade-style combat and some decent multiplayer modes.
I was super hyped for the sequel, Battlefront 2, so it was incredibly disappointing to see it being slated by press and users alike upon release in 2017 due to its dodgy loot box implementation. It was enough to turn me off completely – I didn’t buy the game and never even completed my 10-hour EA Access trial.
It wasn’t until the game hit the EA Access Vault that I eventually got the chance to give it a proper try and found that a year and a bit of work had put the game in a much better place than it had been at launch. There were exciting new game modes, plenty of cosmetic items to unlock (seemingly outside of loot boxes), plus a robust and healthy playerbase.
I almost regret not taking a chance on Battlefront 2 earlier, as the gameplay is excellent, and it’s now one of my go-to multiplayer titles. While people were quite rightly angered by the game’s shambolic launch, it’s in a much better place now and has plenty to offer, for both Star Wars and multiplayer fans.
Make sure you give the Starfighter Assault mode a try if you're heading back to BF2, it's tucked away behind the 'More' tab.
Sam | Returnal
Returnal is sitting on the naughty shelf right now. It’s misbehaved terribly, though the developers at Housemarque are already putting things right.
The game is ambitious, which is great, don’t get me wrong, though treading new ground can also cause problems. Returnal is all about its cyclical gameplay loop - playing and learning, then dying and improving. Many flat out take issue with the concept, but its the implementation that occasionally stinks.
There’s no saving during runs and runs can last hours. Currently, suspending the game by putting the PS5 into Rest Mode is the only workaround. Ignoring the environmental and financial impact of all that needless power consumption, the feature is plain unreliable. When I came back to a run suspended in the final area, I found that everything was lost due to the game automatically closing to install an update…
Needless to say, I haven’t played Returnal since. However, it is stellar when it works and Housemarque have been quick to acknowledge and address all of the shortcomings. They’re even considering the implementation of a save feature based on community feedback.
Returnal will overcome its launch woes in time, at which point it’ll be a must-play for PS5 owners. That’s also when I’ll be back to break Selene from her cycle and finish what we started.
Plenty of players will return(al) once the teething issues are sorted.
What game do you think deserves a second chance? Let us know below.