New desktop and mobile games: the Nintendo comeback continues

HE MIGHT not look it but Nintendo’s chubby mascot Mario is actually a superb athlete. The world’s best-known Italian plumber is displaying his sporting prowess in a new game for the Nintendo 3DS, ‘Mario Sports: Superstars’.

In the game Mario tries his hand at golf, football, tennis, horse racing and baseball and he’s accompanied by friends and opponents such as Yoshi, Princess Peach and Bowser.

As usual with Mario games, the bright and colourful levels are a lot of fun. Each one offers a few tournaments where players have to compete to get to the top. In multiplayer mode – played either online or locally – up to four players compete with or against each other, for example in tennis doubles.

‘Mario Sports’ also supports Nintendo’s ‘Amiibo’ figures, which improve the abilities of the athletes and can also be used in a mini-game. The cards come at a cost, however, in addition to the ‘Mario Sports’ pricetag of around 40 dollars.

As usual with Mario games, the bright and colourful levels of ‘Mario Sports: Superstars’ are a lot of fun. Each one offers a few tournaments where players have to compete to get to the top. - PHOTOS: DPA
As usual with Mario games, the bright and colourful levels of ‘Mario Sports: Superstars’ are a lot of fun. Each one offers a few tournaments where players have to compete to get to the top. – PHOTOS: DPA

FIRE EMBLEM HEROES

Nintendo, which is also active in the smartphone market with Pokemon Go and Super Mario, is now also bringing its famous tactical role-playing game to mobile devices with ‘Fire Emblem Heroes’.

On chessboard-like playing fields, players set groups of warriors against each other. The attack succeeds with the right strategy and the characters learn new tactics as they gain experience.

In Fire Emblem Heroes players set groups of warriors against each other on chessboard-like playing fields
In Fire Emblem Heroes players set groups of warriors against each other on chessboard-like playing fields

‘Fire Emblem Heroes’ is free to play, but as usual there’s a catch. In this case it’s the energy points needed for new missions. Without energy the player must wait five minutes or else invest in some in-game currency – which of course costs real money.

Fortunately, the game is not stingy with the currency and so a nice game flow can be maintained even without constant payments. The game is available on the iOS and Android app stores.

WHEN A LOST PHONE BECOMES A GAME

What do you do when someone else’s smartphone suddenly ends up in your hands? Find the owner of course but there’s also the temptation to read a few of their messages and look at some of their pictures. ‘A Normal Lost Phone’ turns this curiosity into a game.

In the game the player has the smartphone of an unknown person and has access to their messages, contacts and pictures. An exciting story unfolds as the player tries to figure out what happened to the owner.

The game is not very long, but it’s an exciting and realistic experience. It tells not only a well written story but also shows how much of our lives we trust to our smartphones. ‘A Normal Lost Phone’ costs around three euros and is available for iPhone and Android devices.

CLEAR THE OBSTACLES

Smartphone games where little men run and bounce over obstacles are pretty common, especially for those familiar with the Mario’s origins.

But ‘Stagehand: A Reverse Platformer’ is turning that familiar principle on its head. Players have no influence over the protagonist Frank as he runs stubbornly from left to right.

Instead they have to quickly clear obstacles out of his way with their fingertip to give Frank a level track. It’s a fresh approach that brings something new to the genre. The game is available in the iTunes App Store for two dollars.

Players have no influence over the protagonist Frank as he runs stubbornly from left to right in ‘Stagehand: A Reverse Platformer’
Players have no influence over the protagonist Frank as he runs stubbornly from left to right in ‘Stagehand: A Reverse Platformer’

A similar principle can be found in ‘Splitter Critters’. The player has to intervene so that some cuddly creatures can get back to their spaceship.

To achieve that the player can split levels and move the pieces around to make walls disappear, to evade enemies and to form bridges. This initially simple process quickly becomes a real challenge. The game is available for iOS and Android for about three dollars. (dpa)