Modern-day adventure games don’t get more old-school than Thimbleweed Park. This point-and-click game was helmed by Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick, two of the biggest minds behind classic LucasArts games like Maniac Mansion and the Monkey Island series. The game brings players back into a world filled with ridiculous characters, hilarious dialogue trees, absurd logic puzzles, and lots of pixels. And for adventure game fans like me, this is a glorious revival of the genre.
Check out the Video Version for a closer look at the gameplay and spoiler-free clips!
SteamWorld Dig 2 builds upon developer Image & Form’s growing SteamWorld universe and is the first direct sequel in the series. Although the game shares the first title’s core gameplay of digging down and exploring caves, a few tweaks change the game’s flow, ultimately for the better. Taking place after the first SteamWorld Dig, the game follows Dorothy, a robot shopkeeper who has taken it upon herself to discover the source behind mysterious earthquakes plaguing the steampunk, robotic city, all while searching for the missing protagonist of the first game, Rusty. During her adventure, she meets Fen, a sprite with electric properties and an attitude, and together they delve into the treacherous underground.
Here’s the Video Version for your viewing pleasure… if you can DIG IT!
Puzzle games are a natural fit for the Nintendo Switch, thanks to the system’s portability. Surprisingly, very few of them have seen release in the console’s first few months. We have Puyo Puyo Tetris and the Picross-like Piczle Lines DX, but the match-3 pickings have been slim. Enter Boost Beast, a mobile port developed by Arzest of Yoshi’s New Island and Hey! Pikmin notoriety.
Splatoon is truly the little engine that could. One of Nintendo’s newer franchises, debuting in 2015 on the Wii U, this third-person ink shooter took the world by storm. Though I wasn’t keen on the original game at first glance, it’s easy to see why it became a hit, especially in Japan: hip and colorful characters, regular free updates, and a focus on splatting turf instead of merely shooting others. Only two years later, Splatoon 2 brings the squid kids back to shore. As with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, it plays very closely to the original but brands itself as a sequel. There are a few enjoyable new bells and whistles, but some baffling decisions keep this sequel from being more than a modest upgrade.
It’s official: Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews is one year old!
I want to extend my sincerest thanks to you all for your readership and support throughout this year. I’ve been incredibly blessed with a wonderful community of kind, intelligent, and fun gamers, both online and offline. I wouldn’t have made it this long without you all. You’ve all been amazing, and I will be sure to give you proper recognition by the end of this post. But before I do, I wanted to share a brief timeline in review for the blog as well as a special announcement tease.
Era of the Blog’s Creation
I first started this blog during a tough time in my life when I just needed to get away. It was a time when I realized I needed big changes in my life, and I wanted to do something more. I wished to follow my dreams. My incredibly supportive wife walked with me every step of the way in my crazy endeavors. I decided to write video game reviews with hope in my pocket and a passion to discuss my favorite pastime.
I already knew which three games to review first, the above 3DS games. Funny enough, I neither loved nor hated playing them. Rather, I had strong opinions about how average they were. As it turns out, though the games are just decent, I love where they brought me. Discussing them at length helped me develop my initial style and tone.
Era of Opportunity
I was happy to finally do something related to video games. Just having them available for others to see made me ecstatic, even if very few people noticed those early reviews. At least one notable person saw it though. None other than the wonderful Mike_Scorpio of Miketendo64 noticed and eventually gave me a big opportunity for collaboration. I am still very thankful for this partnership, and most importantly, that he cared to share my writing. Thank you very much, Miketendo!
Even though I love writing these reviews, I wanted to try something new. When Nintendo began making big announcements for upcoming games like Pokémon Sun & Moon and Breath of the Wild, I wanted to write about those, too. This led to some of my most exciting posts, previews, and analyses for these upcoming games. Both games have since released, but it was fun to speculate. Plus I guessed some things correctly, right? Maybe?
One of the most memorable moments of my life was meeting my childhood hero, the voice of Mario, Charles Martinet, whom I also wrote about. He’s such a fun guy, and it was a pleasure to see him.
Era of Experience
I soon found myself with even more prospects to write about games with DarkStation. I am very grateful to the site for giving me this amazing opportunity to review games beyond my usual scope. Although I haven’t posted many of them here yet (one day I will!), I wanted to share some of my favorite non-Nintendo reviews with you.
There are many times when I post and feel like I’ve made a mistake. Truth be told, there were times when I felt like this wasn’t worth it. These are hard devils to avoid, and although I struggle, I’m grateful for those that support me. I do my best with these reviews, but in the end, I know that they don’t define me. And there are those who encourage me unconditionally.
As I’ve said before, I owe so much of this blog to the fantastic community. It means a lot that you splendid people are willing to read and discuss video games with me. Even more, you’ve continued to encourage me, nominating me for awards. The internet can be a rough place, so I’m incredibly lucky to have met some of the kindest people on the web. I’m always flattered by the amazing things you say, and it is my hope that we can keep talking about this great hobby. And I hope I can share my own kind words with you all!
I have since been trying to improve myself and my writing style. With each review, I have felt sufficiently challenged, either attempting something new or changing up the style ever so subtly. I could literally go into the most boring commentary about each individual review, but I’ll just summarize by saying that I am constantly learning. I’m thankful that for every hardship I have come across while doing this, I’ve emerged learning important lessons about life and about writing.
My wife and I took a break a couple of months ago to take a dream trip to Japan. We got to engage in lots of fun shopping, eating, and sightseeing. As huge fans of video games and anime, it was one of the best vacations we had ever taken. We love sharing our adventures here. They’re video game-related, right? I’m still in the process of getting future photo posts up, and I apologize to anyone who’s been waiting for them. I have more planned, so don’t worry!
And finally, we’ve come to one of my favorite periods, a new Nintendo console launch! Having such a big system to write about has been a new source of invigoration, and I get giddy thinking about what surprises are in store for the Switch. Though I’m sure the system will have hardships, some of which I have noted in my articles, writing about it fills me with joy. The Switch has been an excellent system for me so far, and I’m happy to be able to write about it, whether hardware, games, or fun stories. This has culminated in one of my new favorite reviews that I’ve written: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
From my first review of Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam to my latest review of the most epic Zelda experience to arrive on Nintendo’s newest console, I’ve had quite a year. It’s a very special journey, and one that I am glad to share with you. It hasn’t been the easiest, but it’s definitely been one of the greatest!
To cap off my first year’s timeline, I wanted to tease a special announcement. Very soon, I will be unveiling my newest project, on which I have been hard at work for a few months now. My goal is to finish within the next week or two. I know I’ve been teasing it for a while, but it’s finally coming and I’m happy to share it. Though I won’t say much about it until then, I hope you all will enjoy it! Look forward to it!
I want to extend a special thanks to the following people who have been amazing friends and supports for this site! You all mean a lot to me!
Thank you to:
My wonderful wife, to whom I owe this all. She already knows this, but I want you all to know that this wouldn’t be possible without her support, love, encouragement, and editing. She is an amazing woman whom I am very blessed to have in my life. Thank you CrystalDragon, my Mrs. Panda!
My friends outside WordPress, whom have not only supported me, but even helped me with various projects. Big thanks to gorgoalmighty, christianrob90, Cherry, ShadJV, Auradis, IsaMaLisa, for supporting my site directly with your readership and comments! Your encouragement and friendship never goes unnoticed, and I hope that I can show it outside of the site. Thank you for reading this!
Mike and Jack of Miketendo64 for allowing me to collaborate and share my writing to a new audience. Thank you for believing in me and for being great partners!
The awesome people at DarkStation for noticing me and giving me opportunities that I shall never regret. Truly grateful!
The Well-Red Mage for being one of my first followers, for nominating me for several awards, and for being a great gaming friend to discuss the hobby with. Also for the Arcane Trophy for being a regular commenter!
The Shameful Narcissist for consistently kind words and great gaming discussion, for nominating me as an Entertaining Blogger, and for a 1st Prize Ribbon for guessing characters correctly in her wonderful Final Fantasy Tarot series!
And to all you amazing followers and anyone else reading this! I know I missed some people, so apologies if I did. Please know that it means a lot already to me that you’re here!
Thank you again to everyone! If you’re a first time visitor, please follow me on Twitter @MrPanda2002 and on Facebook at Mr. Panda’s Video Game Reviews. Please feel free to support me by following me on those pages if you haven’t already!
My next post will be about my special project! Please look forward to it! Thanks again for reading!