Tag Archives: swing

Review: Mario Golf: Super Rush – A Solid Swing, But Par For The Course

Camelot is a studio that has, for many years, dutifully churned out mascot sports games for Nintendo. Players often go back to the retro days when pinpointing the company’s best efforts, though if you go by most recent form — Mario Tennis Aces — the studio is still doing good work. After serving up court-based action it’s now back to the golf course, though Mario Golf: Super Rush feels more like a spiritual successor to Aces than an actual sequel to Mario Golf: World Tour. That’s fine, but Super Rush leaves us with some mixed feelings.

When writing about any game in this series the first task is to assess the story mode, in this case ‘Golf Adventure’. This mode is the ideal starting point and also continues the recent mini-resurgence of Nintendo’s Miis, as you take your little avatar — in this writer’s case an unnaturally chilled out, healthier version of the real person — on a quest to become a pro golfer; there are three save slots, too. There’s actually a story of sorts here, albeit one that goes from being mundane to utterly goofy at the drop of a hat about two thirds of the way through. There’s a very sudden flipping of the script, which is more throwaway than clever. That said, we think young gamers in particular will enjoy the silliness, and we went with it and had fun.

Your Mii starts off in accommodation that’s run by Birdo, meeting up with a few ‘rival’ rookies all keen to be the next big thing. Though you’re typically limited to going from A to B to complete training tasks and challenges there’s a pleasant surprise in how charming the world is, and that this is a game that brings us back to ‘that Switch life’ of buttery smooth 60fps performance in a first-party game. This is achieved courtesy of relatively simplistic visuals, undoubtedly, but ‘chunky’ and ‘colourful’ is perfectly suitable for a Nintendo sports game. You get free movement to explore multiple hub areas / towns and each has its own distinct style. Just remember to visit the shop in each area — the game weirdly doesn’t give any prompts to do this and it’ll help with progress.

So begins a lot of golf, of varying styles, and you very rapidly start to level up. The upgrade system is solid, and occasionally upgrading one stat by two points will lower another by one, so there’s a light amount of balancing at play. Most skilled players will ultimately be able to build a rather impressive all-rounder, but it’s all well implemented; the fact there are ‘speed’ and ‘stamina’ gauges near the top is also a good clue of this mode’s priorities.

It’s simple but effective enough, and as you progress there are some specialised clothes and equipment to pick up that come into play on certain courses. The foundation blocks of adventure and character customisation are there and, though nothing special, it’s absolutely fine and suitable for players of pretty much any level.

The adventure becomes the ideal way to learn about different modes and strategies, with each area and its distinct courses throwing up new ideas or environments to overcome. We will say that the second area introduces ‘cross country’ golf that is downright bad; the idea is that you tackle holes in any order you want, but have to navigate steep changes in elevation and hazards. We can see what the intent was here, but it is not enjoyable, and presumably the development team had an inkling it was a weak point as you never see this style of golf again. So, grit your teeth, clear it, and pretend it didn’t happen.

The rest of the challenges are definitely better, though you won’t be playing much chilled out golf. Some of the progression gets repetitive as you ultimately end up playing timed or speed golf over and over again; this is where the ‘rush’ part of the game and the advertising kicks in.

The gimmick is that you run to the ball after each shot and you are constantly keeping an eye on a countdown. It’s not just about speed, though, as your end score in speed golf, for example, is your completion time plus 30 seconds per shot, so finding the balance between speed and accuracy is important. It’s enjoyable, though we did occasionally want to play a normal round in the story with those cinematic views of shots, as opposed to dashing around constantly.

For chunks of the experience the Adventure feels low on ideas, as you’re told to play 3 holes first, then another set, then a ‘qualifying’ round to upgrade your badge; it’s understandable as it teaches you courses and conditions, but lacks creativity. Then, as mentioned above, there’s a plot twist and you get to learn one of two slightly quirkier techniques and even have a few boss encounters. They’re pretty basic but it is silly fun, and by the time we wrapped up the story the overall impression was positive. This is very B-tier in terms of polish and quality — a topic we’ll revisit in a second — but it is endearing and is a great way to learn the mechanics. There are moments and aspects of the experience that raise a smile, which is mission accomplished.

Depending on ability level, we think the Adventure will take players anywhere from 6-10 hours. You then move onto general play, which is where you can experiment with the varied roster — for example to see what their Super moves do — or jump into multiplayer. After finishing the story we were at the point where our Mii was a stronger option than the actual characters, though you can earn ‘experience’ points to get them up to Star level and improve their clubs. The game falls a little flat here, however. The Solo Challenge area is where you go about levelling characters up, but this merely consists of stroke play or speed golf rounds of courses, and nothing else. There are no intriguing or clever challenges here to make things interesting, which makes levelling up feel like a true grind. The lack of smart challenges — a good feature of its 3DS predecessor — is a disappointment.

There are, however, good options if you want to jump into some customised solo rounds or local multiplayer. Six courses unlock as you play the Adventure or, alternatively, if you want to skip the story the next course will unlock after completing a full round of its predecessor. Standard and Speed golf are featured, and whether setting up a solo or multiplayer session you get good customisation options in terms of how many holes to play, where to start on the course, conditions and more.

Battle Golf is a quickfire new mode that also makes an appearance. This takes place across two arenas, and your goal is to complete three holes before anyone else. You can go for any pin you want, but once a player has completed that hole it disappears from the map, which makes it a rather amusing scramble. When you throw in each character’s star move shots and their impacts — for example knocking your ball away or even transforming it into something like an egg — there’s a nice element of chaotic wackiness to the battles. With only two courses and such short matches, however, it’s not going to hold attention for long.

Nevertheless, playing any of the modes in multiplayer works well, with Camelot covering most bases in terms of control options and deciding how long a round will last. Though the game defaults to (and is easiest to play with) standard button controls, there are also motion controls using the Joy-Con. They’re well implemented and quite intuitive, and the little controller is very accurate in detecting your swing and its power. It’s still far easier to do more complex stuff like applying spin and fade/draw with the buttons but as an alternative that gets you off the couch, the motion controls are accurate and enjoyable to use.

We also got to test the online multiplayer to a limited degree, albeit we had to join a pre-determined lobby and the servers were naturally not under any real strain in the pre-release review period. It was lag free, but that’s not particularly important in multiplayer golf, beyond messing each other up with super shots and limited environmental effects. The setup options are pretty much identical to local multiplayer, and lobbies can also be set for friends only and with or without passwords; you can even add up to two CPU players to fill out spots. If you want to play with family or friends remotely it’s a very competent option, though there’s no in-game communication — not even text messages — so you’ll have to do that through other means. If you still actually use the Nintendo Switch Online app, though, it’ll support voice chat for this title.

Lots of positives then, but there are some disappointing aspects around this title. Wrapping up our thoughts on the online feature-set, it lacks any incentive to compete — if you’re not just playing with friends, there’s not much point to jumping in. There’s no ranking system of any kind and it lacks the basic but enjoyable tournaments of Mario Tennis Aces, which itself was a step back from the excellent online Tournaments in World Tour on 3DS. Super Rush’s portable golfing predecessor setup regular events in which you’d register a score and get a placing (gold, silver, bronze) depending on scores from players around the globe. An equivalent here would have been very welcome.

There’s also an inescapable feeling that, despite a premium price-point, this is a mid/B-tier first-party release from Nintendo. There is a good level of content but it lacks spark, and of the six courses we think only two or three are particularly interesting. In the context of Mario Golf and on capable hardware there’s a lot of variety and environmental manipulation that could have been implemented, but the designs end up being rather safe and uninspired, even in the later unlocks that attempt a little wackiness.

This limited level of creativity is shown in the aforementioned disappointing Solo Challenges, and especially in the Adventure there’s a feeling of corners and budgets cut. There’s poorly used and repetitive voice sampling — the constant ‘Hey Hey’ of the coach irritated this player and others that happened to be in the room — along with basic storytelling. Limited animations of characters and a lack of visual flair for story segments all feel like they come from a discounted first-party effort. The music, also, is rather weak; the core theme is reasonable albeit nothing special, but some clips for between holes (as an example) sound more like royalty-free tracks than something you’d expect to hear in a Mario game.

None of this ruins the experience, not by a long way, and despite these complaints there is still a good amount of content, decent golf mechanics and just enough wackiness to justify having the Mushroom Kingdom cast on board. Those aforementioned irritations do strip away the sense that this is a premium first-party game, though. As enthusiasts, we may have come to expect this in recent Camelot titles, but for those expecting the same quality as other first-party efforts with a $ 60 price tag, they may feel underwhelmed by Super Rush.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Nintendo Life | Reviews

After pandemic pause, Avengers swing, soar into Disneyland

The Avengers Campus seeks to be an immersive experience that allows guests to become super-heroic across a series of rides, shows and eateries.

ANAHEIM, California — Now that it’s getting safer to assemble, the Avengers are at last descending on Disneyland.

A Spider-Man ride that lets visitors blast bots with virtual webs from their bare hands and a show of strength from the royal guard of Wakanda are among the highlights of the new Avengers Campus at Disney’s California Adventure Park, whose debut was paused for about a year by the coronavirus pandemic before it opens to the public Friday.

The Avengers Campus seeks to be an immersive experience that allows guests to become super-heroic across a series of rides, shows and eateries from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“We’re excited to finally open up the gates and let everybody in,” Scot Drake, a portfolio creative executive with Walt Disney Imagineering, said at the park Wednesday. “We had 70-plus years of stories and amazing characters to pull from, 23 epic films, and for us it was, ‘What is the best way to get our guests right in the middle of those stories, right in the middle of the action?’”

Central to that aim is “WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure,” which combines classic ride structure with an array of cameras that capture guests’ body motion and allows them to play Peter Parker.

After pandemic pause, Avengers swing, soar into Disneyland

They’re asked to help onscreen Spidey Tom Holland fight an outbreak of small, smart and powerful Spider-bots, creations that he and a team of inventive teens developed but lost control of in an old building donated by Tony Stark.

The experience resembles the videogame competition of Disneyland’s Buzz Lightyear ride, but the action and the tech behind it are in a different galaxy. With no equipment necessary (though enhancement gadgets for the wrist can be bought next door), riders can blast swarms of the little spider-bots (which can also be purchased next door), and a couple of not-so-little ones.

“What was really important to us was to try and make the interface disappear so the guests just had the superpowers themselves,” said Brent Strong, executive creative director of Walt Disney Imagineering. “So in order to do that we did a whole bunch of invention to try and make the technology as un-obvious as possible.”

Journalists got to take the ride for a few spins Wednesday. With each pass the experience changes, as guests start to master their web-slinging and figure out they can do more than just blast away with their powers.

“You can start to grab on to shipping containers, open doors, grow things and shrink things,” Strong said. “We’ve hidden a million Easter eggs and fun little surprises in there.”

Elsewhere, majestic music blasts to announce the marching arrival of the Dora Milaje — the royal guard that protects T’Challa in “Black Panther.” With their leader Okoye, the shaven-headed women of Wakanda twirl their spears and explain their principles to give wannabe warriors in the audience a lesson in the fighting arts.

The show includes something rare for a day at Disneyland: a moment of silence for the dead. While Okoye tells the crowd she seeks to honor fallen kings and ancestors, the ritual, in a time of many such moments, feels like an acknowledgment of the many deaths during the pandemic that kept the park dark for more than a year. (It also feels like an acknowledgement of “Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman, whose death last year stunned the world.)

Disney’s two Anaheim parks reopened with restrictions on April 30 and will reopen at something nearing normal on June 15.

The new section was also built to incorporate “Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: Breakout!” a drop-tower ride with funky tunes in place since 2017.

The storytelling on the Avengers campus even extends to the food, including an outlet of the Shawarma joint that Iron Man suggests his allies hit up after the Battle of New York depicted in 2012′s “The Avengers.” It was open for sampling Wednesday and as Tony Stark promised, it is, indeed, good.

Another Avengers Campus is planned for Disneyland Paris. The California version will have major additions. Other heroes, including Thor and Iron Man, will make appearances, and Doctor Strange will work his wizardry in his Ancient Sanctum several times a day.

Some of those heroes, in Marvel’s movies, are dead, and for those who follow the events of the Marvel Cinematic Universe with near-religious precision, it can be tough to tell what time period the campus is set in.

The creators say don’t overthink it.

We’ve summoned heroes from across all of space and time,” Strong said. “Time is a lot more squishy than any of us think. Trying to put a specific date to it can be challenging. But to us, Avengers Campus is here and now.”

Author:
This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

EOS and YFI lead altcoins higher as Bitcoin and Ether bounce from swing lows

The markets were mixed on May 11 as Bitcoin (BTC) recovered from Monday’s drop to $ 53,000 by bouncing to $ 56,862 but the digital asset is still finding resistance at the $ 57,000 level.

Ether (ETH) also worked its way back above $ 4,100 but according to Cointelegraph analyst Marcel Pechman, the bullish sentiment for Ether seen in recent weeks has begun to fade as traders question whether new all-time highs will be sustainable in the short term.

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that Bitcoin bulls defended a late-night sell-off on May 10 that briefly dropped the price of BTC below $ 54,000 before dip buyers gobbled up sell orders and lifted the price back above $ 56,000.

EOS and YFI lead altcoins higher as Bitcoin and Ether bounce from swing lows
BTC/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

blue-chipWhile the blue chip cryptocurrencies have been stuck in a sideways market, canine-themed meme coins including Shiba Inu (SHIB) and Dogelon Mars (ELON) have followed Dogecoin’s (DOGE) lead and seen their prices explode for triple-digit gains.

Ethereum bulls take a brief breather

Bitcoin’s range-bound trading between $ 50,000 and $ 60,000 in recent weeks can partially be attributed to the rising price of Ether, which has caught the attention of institutional investors looking for exposure to more than just BTC. The growing demand for Ether can clearly be seen in the price action of the ETH/BTC pair.

EOS and YFI lead altcoins higher as Bitcoin and Ether bounce from swing lows
ETH/BTC 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

According to David Lifchitz, managing partner and chief investment officer at ExoAlpha, Ether’s recent all-time high was in part due to a “continued rotation away from Bitcoin” which helped push the price of Ether “as high as $ 4,214 before suddenly puking down to $ 3,658 (-13% in an hour).”

The downturn in the crypto market coincided with a selloff in the U.S. equity markets that hit the tech-heavy NASDAQ index especially hard. Lifchitz noted that Bitcoin and the other cryptocurrencies were eventually able to “bounce back half of the loss from the high.”

While the sell-off “could be explained by some correlation trades leading to a quick profit-taking in cryptos”, Lifchitz also pointed to the possibility of a more organized selloff where some traders took advantage of frothy market conditions.

Lifchitz said:

“It could also have been an organized selloff as Ethereum was at its ATH after a torrid ride (i.e. ETH was vulnerable to a quick drop) in order to spook the weak hands and shake them off, triggering a cascading selling effect, before buying back ETH on the cheap as shown by the even higher volume to buy right after the selloff.”

Lifchitz highlighted that just:

“Twenty-four hours later, Bitcoin is back in the middle of its twilight zone ($ 50,000 to $ 60,000) and Ether is slowly grinding higher above $ 4K. So all in all, it was just an ordinary day in crypto land.”

Further insight into the market moves over the past week was offered by Ben Lilly, co-founder and analyst at Jarvis Labs, who highlighted an increase in on-chain profit taking over the last week that had “lots of capital turning over throughout altcoins.”

Lilly said:

“As capital made its way from coin to coin, profits were being realized as Bitcoin traded sideways. What we saw on May 10 was the end of this phase.”

Altcoins lead the market higher

The overall altcoin market shook off the bearish moves seen in the larger-cap cryptocurrencies. EOS led the day with a 50% jump which took the price to $ 13.92  after Block.one announced that it had secured $ 10 billion in funding to launch an EOS-based cryptocurrency exchange named Bullish Global.

EOS and YFI lead altcoins higher as Bitcoin and Ether bounce from swing lows
Daily cryptocurrency market performance. Source: Coin360

Yearn.finance (YFI) managed to break out of the trading range it had been stuck in to put on a 58% rally to a new record high above $ 80,000, while the price of Revain (REV) exploded 130% to reach a multi-year high at $ 0.049.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap now stands at $ 2.474 trillion and Bitcoin’s dominance rate is 42.8%.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.