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@yeckler
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@ianr
Might be a web developer in the future, but I'm always a gamer at heart
Palworld
This game hooks you in. More than I would've thought. There's a lot to dig into with this game for it being in early access, but I'll keep this review kinda brief.

It's a weird mixture of a survival game like Valheim and Pokemon with the "pal" capturing mechanic. The automation aspect of the pals is really cool if you get the right set up, and it has a decent balance of needing to care for your pals that help run your base. It takes a couple hours and a lot of trial and error unless you read some wikis that are out there, but the payout is a lot of raw materials, food, and pal spheres.

The game also encourages you to explore, even though your first "boss fight" with the Rayne Syndicate isn't too far from where you'll probably set up your first base. Lots of pals and dungeons to find the further and further you get from spawn, and the fast travel helps you get to areas you've discovered quickly.

Only giving it 3 stars for now for two reasons:
1. Some of the pals look a little too close to Pokemon for my liking. You can tell the concept of pals was heavily inspired by Pokemon, and they're not even trying to hide it. Also one of the many reasons this game is nicknamed "Pokemon with guns".
2. There's not many options for character customization (yet, which hopefully more will be added in future updates). The game already tells you they are planning on letting you edit your character eventually, so hopefully that comes with more options!
3. The menus feel a little clunky and unintuitive. Hopefully future updates will improve on them so they feel less overwhelming.

Will I keep playing this game? For sure, it's solid as it is, and I want to see how the "story" continues even though it's not that well described. I'm just hoping that future updates make Palworld stand out a bit more than just "Pokemon with guns," even though that moniker will probably stick around as long as the game does. There's a lot of great mechanics in this game other than just the pal capturing system, it's just that capturing pals is really what gets the game rolling the second you start it.
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Retro Bowl
I think the one thing this game taught me is that I really don’t have that great of understanding of football in terms of play calls or team management.

Don’t get me wrong, this game is fun. I just don’t know how to play it well. The passes and kicks are a little tricky to get used to, I’m sure those who know them well can really nail field goals and long passes.
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Super Mario RPG (2023)
Haven't gone all the way through the post game yet, but I wanted to write a review after getting all 7 star pieces to get XP at the end of the season :)

This game is a lot of fun as someone who hasn't played a whole lot of turn-based RPGs outside of Pokemon. I never played the original on the SNES, but from what I've heard, the remaster keeps all of the great qualities of the SNES game and adds onto it.

The game isn't particularly hard on normal, but I found the final boss to be a little difficult since I was a tad underleveled going into it. Going back and grinding a few more levels out though made it much more doable, especially since I had died to it a few times and developed a strategy. The one aspect about this game I didn't really like is the camera angle. The 45 deg. angle the camera has to Mario made some of the few platforming parts of this game a bit tedious for me since I kept missing what are probably meant to be easy jumps.

Other than that though, great game! Will update my review when I get through the post-game content!
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Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
This game is the building blocks for where the Pokemon franchise needs to go in its next mainline game. The game has a great story and great mechanics that add to the usual Pokemon formula, but it feels like the game is lacking in a lot of important areas like graphics and performance.

The open world aspect of this game works really well. It was definitely a breath of fresh air not being bound to a set order of challenges, but the game does a great job of recommending where to go in terms of level progression so you're not wandering into the strongest gym with a highly underleveled team. The different "storylines" of Path of Legends, Victory Road, and Starfall Street also do a great job at measuring your progress while driving their own narratives as well. The respective stories had their own fair balance of corniness and plot twists for Pokemon even though many could see right through Clive's disguise.

The biggest reason why this game gets 3 stars is that the game doesn't really perform up to par with other games on the Switch. The graphics are probably the best the Pokemon franchise had seen up to its release, but there's a lot of better looking (and way better performing) open world games on the Switch that don't suffer as many stutters and visual glitches that Scarlet and Violet did at launch. While many of them were addressed within a few months of release, it didn't really warrant a replay from me. While the DLC looks promising, I didn't buy it so I can't really comment on the DLC's additions to the game.
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Rocket Racing
I had some pretty low expectations when I heard Rocket Racing was going to be a "minigame" in Fortnite if I'm being completely honest. But after putting a decent amount of time into it, my bitter feelings are quickly starting to go away. A lot of my expectations were based on the fact that I've played over 1,000 hours in Rocket League, though, so hopefully a lot of my hopes can come true in the future.

Firstly, I'm a little sad that this game doesn't utilize Rocket League's driving physics, but I'm getting more and more comfortable with the more traditional racing-game physics the more and more I play. There are some weird inconsistencies with collisions that are a little annoying when most collisions are super forgiving. I think the most frustrating aspect for me specifically is driving nose-first into a wall completely resetting your car.

I will say the one benefit as a Rocket League player is the cross-game ownership between Rocket Racing and Rocket League. Ranking up in Racing so far has granted different car cosmetics which become available in Rocket League. While the current amount of items in Racing is only a very small fraction of what's in Rocket League, I think it's clear that Psyonix will slowly add more and more items with each season and chapter.

This game has a lot of potential being directly in Fortnite for user-created custom maps because of UEFN, and it would be interesting to see custom maps make it into the rotation of maps for ranked queues. Along with the increase of customization as they bring more and more items into Rocket Racing, this game really is a nice addition as a Rocket League racing game. This game has potential to be a 5 star rating for me in the future, but it's not quite there yet.
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Lethal Company
I'm not gonna lie, I have no idea what I'm doing in this game yet, but I had a lot of fun goofing around with some other friends who had no idea what they were doing.

We understood the main objective of collecting stuff around the map but the monsters really threw a wrench in our plans. Having a good sense of direction here would really help as well.
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Super Mario 3D All-Stars
Great series of games, really wish SMG2 was part of it though.

Plays pretty well on the Switch, but it's not the same as playing it on each games' original console. The graphics upgrades while still staying faithful to the game's original look was a nice touch that I appreciated as the games got upgraded to modern hardware.
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Mario Kart 8
The most jam-packed Mario Kart game to date, and the DLC just makes it even more fun! This game has a lot of replay-ability with the number of courses, characters, and kart combinations there are in this game, and, while it is overshadowed by the racing modes, the battle mode is a lot of fun too! By far the most polished game in the series too!

Hey look another video review!
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Super Mario Bros. Wonder
Editing my review since I 100%d today

None of my thoughts about this game have changed since day 1. Absolutely wonderful game that is brought to life with all of the expressiveness in the animations in every single character and enemy. The Wonder Flower gimmick is really fun and really makes you think when the level gets completely flipped on its head and presents you with something new. Didn't want to talk about any levels in particular to keep it spoiler-free!
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Pokémon Black and White
My first mainline Pokemon game, so I have a lot of memories with this one.

Might need a revisit for a better review, but I had a lot of fun with these games. Although the story was a little scattered and the Pokemon designs were a little goofy, I liked the challenge that Team Plasma brought with them. The music in this game is great as well. Like some others have said, this game also introduced some series-changing mechanics. The new battle formats like rotation battles were fun every once and a while, but pretty happy that rotation battles in particular didn't stick around.
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Risk of Rain 2
One of the only rogue like games I've played, but this game is just fantastic! Lots of unlockable content and settings to keep the game refreshing, but also challenging! The Survivors of the Void DLC also added some great new items, enemies (including an amazing new boss), stages, and two new characters to play as! Only real flaw is that the game doesn't explain too well what each item does, but there's a fan wiki out there that covers all things Risk of Rain that you could ever imagine!

Definitely a great pickup to play with friends
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Surf
Only reason why I figured out this game exists is because of the C3 quest at the start of Season 6. Still trying to figure out what all the power ups do.

Chrome's dinosaur game is better.
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Sqwordle
Gotta give it 5 stars given that I was the one that suggested it to be added!

Really fun Wordle clone for Pokemon fans. You can collect the iconic 8 badges from completing specific challenges like catching a certain number of Pokemon all the way up to completing the Pokedex (which I have yet to do after almost a year of playing I think). The game does a really good job at leading you through your guesses with the "mysterious Pokemon" attacking after each incorrect guess and filtering out Pokemon that don't meet the typing/evolution # requirements. Of course you can turn these settings off if you want to make the game more difficult, but I like it as it is.
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Mario Kart 64
I grew up playing Mario Kart 64, so I have a lot of fond memories of this game. Even though the controls still frustrate me to this day, this game had a lot of iconic tracks that really left a huge impact on Mario Kart as a franchise. Definitely in my top 3 Mario Kart games that I've played.
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Pokémon Sleep
Gonna be completely honest, I have no idea how this game works... But I'm having fun with it. TPC somehow turned Pokemon into more of a Tamagotchi, but it's a gamified sleep tracker. Been playing it since day... or would it be night... 1, and I feel like I've already hit a plateau in terms of progress, both in terms of Pokedex completion and Snorlax strength. I'm glad to see that there will be content updates in the future, because I think this app will need some fresh content every few months to keep people playing.
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Super Mario Maker
I definitely remember the excitement I had when this game was first announced. It was my dream to be a game designer when I was younger, and this game was a tool that, in a way, let me fulfill my dreams. I loved the amount of easter eggs throughout the UI from things shaking to the flyswatter game.

Only thing content-wise that this game was lacking was all the stuff they eventually put in the sequel on the Switch, or else this would've been a 5 star review. Would rate it a 4.5/5 ⭐ if I could!
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Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
The title says it all: this is the Ultimate Super Smash Bros. game! While the game was lacking some features in the beginning (like a stage builder...), this game has been great since day 1. Only real gripe I have with this game is the clip editor isn't very intuitive, but I rarely use it.

The Fighter Pass DLC packs are definitely worth it too. Why not add gaming icons like Banjo & Kazooie, Minecraft's Steve, and Sora to the already crazy roster of video game legends?
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Super Smash Bros. Brawl
This game is a lot of fun if you don't get too deep into the competitive scene of it. The fighters are a little unbalanced and the controls can feel janky at times, but the other modes and makers outside of the well-known "Smash" mode are stellar. The plot of Subspace Emissary can feel scattered with how quickly it jumps between storylines and characters, but the boss fights are very unique and always keep you on your toes. Lots of playable characters that all play differently from each other. Have some fun learning multiple characters if you play Zelda/Shiek, Samus, or Pokemon Trainer :)
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Rocket League Sideswipe
I was super into this game when it first came out (who wouldn't want to play Rocket League on their smartphones?!), but I started to play it less and less as I kind of just realized it became another way for me to pass the time. The game looks, works, and feels similar enough to the normal Rocket League to make it be on par with the branding even though you're playing on a 2D plane instead of 3D. It definitely brings out similar emotions when playing too! I think playing with a friend would make playing this game a lot more fun.

Only thing this game has that I wish was in regular Rocket League is the color selection. You can have black and white primaries on BOTH TEAMS!
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Super Mario Odyssey
I feel like this is really what Nintendo wanted 3D Mario to be at its core. Lots of variety across all the kingdoms, and all come with their own unique platforming challenges, captures, and boss fights. Was definitely refreshing to not have koopalings as the mini-bosses, instead the maniacal wedding planner rabbits. I wanted to get into speedrunning this game purely because the mechanics are *that* smooth, and this game is just *that* good.

Definitely worth a replay after being out for so long!
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Super Mario 64
This game is what got me into video games and as big of a Mario fan as I am today. I could never escape the bright colors and whimsical music as a "yah"-d "wah"-d and "yahoo"-d across every single level. Only reason I give 4 stars is because the controls are super janky. But it's one of the first 3D games ever, so I guess I can cut it some slack.

Was also the first game I played through on Mario 3D Allstars and 100%d it on the Switch!
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Dinosaur Game (Chrome Dino)
The amount of times I would accidentally find myself playing this in middle school on a Chromebook is crazy. Found this game really frustrating the further you get on, and by the time I would actually get into the swing of getting high scores the internet would come back...
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Minecraft
I think I have the most hours playing this game, purely because I could never stop making stuff. Although the survival mode has gotten very repetitive and grindy at times for me, I enjoy the creative aspects of the game like building in creative mode and playing multiplayer servers that have minigames. I wish I could match the levels of creativity of some servers' games and builds.
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Mario Kart Wii
This was a must-have game back when the Wii was popular. It's left such a strong impact on my generation that many of us that are casual fans to this day call it the "original" Mario Kart.

I know a lot of people complain about balancing issues, which I agree with for the most part, but you really couldn't lose if you were Funky Kong on the Flame Runner. I definitely liked the amount of effort it took in both Grand Prix mode and Time Trials to unlock all the characters and vehicles, and I wish that level of requirements would have made its way to the newer games.
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Rocket League
I don't play this game nearly enough to get as good as I want to at it. Really difficult to get high ranked, but really easy to find yourself playing this game a lot once you get into it.

Car soccer is a cool concept, and I love the variety the extra modes and Limited Time Modes provide. I wish the game would let people be creative with other aspects of the game other than their car. Building a custom training pack is limited in a way and the only way to play user-created maps are either through Steam workshop or by modding the game.
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Pokémon GO
Been playing since day 1, always fun to see what Pokemon I can catch no matter when I decide to play the game. Only real complaint is the slight reversal of changes that Niantic implemented due to COVID restrictions and just the fact that buying coins is kind of expensive. I don't really go out of my way too much to take down gyms, and when I do, I don't get the max coins from it since they get beaten pretty quick. It's always fun to play on Miami University's campus though, especially since my dorm this year is on top of two gyms I can challenge consistently!
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