Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World (GBA):
Following on from the curbing of the loose 'no replay' rule mentioned in the Sonic CD post, I've also been known to completely abolish it in favour of a quick, easy and familiar ride. Super Mario World is a game I've exhausted over the years, like many I'd imagine.
There's very little to add to the collective conversation that SMW has been subject of for many years. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the GBA port, despite the compromises placed upon it during the transition from SNES to portable screen, such as the resolution of the handheld not doing the vibrancy of the original any favours, and the downgraded sound. Granted, these factors are rarely dealbreakers for me in a game, but when we're talking about something as gargantuan in terms of influence as SMW, it's easy to raise the ire of the prototypical, nostaliga-drunk fanboy like me.
But no, and the added pick-up-and-playability of being on the GBA was a joyous revelation. It was a welcome companion on tedious commutes. Mind, I found it curious as to how easy it felt compared to SNES original, considering Mario can now take an extra hit once powered-up fully, instead of reverting to Mini-Mario straightaway like its SNES originator. Even with that, it adds to the game's sense of immediate fun, never demanding too much, and seemingly rejigged for short bursts that favours portable-gaming. You can dust off the whole thing in around 3-4 hours, depending on how swift you take to the Special World.
Super Monkey Ball 2 (GCN):
I've been pretty much avoiding anything too much resembling a timesink recently, preferring to spend my gaming hours with a selection of pick-up-'n-play titles, instead of the usual range of 20+ hour investments I've come to consider the norm. I figured this'd be a good fit, as it's got a reputation as a fun, addictive 3D puzzler.
Yeah, that worked out....
The multiplayer is chocked full of party-game goodness, that'll appeal to any level of gamer. This single-player, however, once you hit around World 4, is an addictive, sometimes frustrating, beauty of a thing. Aside from a few instances of your success being based on luck, and the occasional episode of trial-and-error gaming, I've not played anything that's elicits a scream 'ah, one more go' quite as much as this in some time. Some of the mazes and concoctions it asks you to navigate can be diabolical in their design, and you'll get the odd moment of feeling like a putz for not figuring something out immediately, but I left this after the end-game with a sense of hard-fought accomplishment, that rarely failed to provide the fun factor.
There's ningling issues with the camera here and there, and the fact you're controlling the board and not the object can lead to rage-inducing moments such as when you can't quite stand still to line up a momentum-building dash, but it's not a game-breaker by any stretch, and can be dealt with swiftly by how you approach a task, instead of trying to compensate mid-flow.
It didn't take me too long, but I ran the clock up further than anticipated, especially given the nature of the game's art. I expected something along the lines of 4+-hourish, ended up around 10+-ish. Of course, a lot of that can be condensed on a second playing, but a surprising investment for a very good spherical-primate galavant.
Frog Fractions (Browser):
There's little to say about this game without giving the whole thing away, but I'll leave it here, hosted by creator, with the recommendation that you stick with it for the hour, or less, it demands of you, and that you try going for a swim as soon as the option becomes available.