COLUMN: Aaron's Backstage Pass: Nintendo's Holiday Game Review

Updated: 11/26/2012 12:19 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

Christmas is going to be here before we know it and it is always a challenge to find the right game for the gamer in your family. I know that my parents and relatives always had a hard time finding games that I wanted or would like.

This year was and will be a huge year for Nintendo. They have released some really fun and amazing games that you just have to have. 

In my column today, I would like to give you some great video game ideas from Nintendo that will make just about any gamer happy.

Nintendo has released a lot of games for the 3DS in the last few months and even a new 3DS XL.

The 3DS XL is a must have if you don’t have one already. The screen is 90 times larger than the regular 3DS and it has all of the same features that the regular 3DS has. It can also play DS games in it as well, which is nice. 

I have one and I play it more than I thought I would. I find myself picking it up all the time.  The loading time is very fast and it takes just seconds for the 3DS XL to turn on. I highly recommend getting one. I love mine.

I have played a lot of games for the 3DS and here are a few that I think would make great gifts or stocking stuffers.

New Super Mario Bros. 2

Bowser has kidnapped Princess Peach again and it is up to Mario to rescue her. You have new power ups and you have a new goal besides saving the princess. You have to collect as many coins as you can. Everything can and will give you coins one way or another. Some of the new power ups give you the ability to turn blocks and enemies into coins.

This is a great game, because you can play online against or with your friends. The graphics are amazing and the controls are really easy to learn. The game is very kid friendly and you can just pick it up and play it. Plus it’s a Mario game, what else can you say.

Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
If the person in your family likes puzzles and brain teasers than this is the game for them.

There are hundreds of puzzles in this game and they are very challenging and will make you think. You play as the archeologist Professor Layton and one day he gets a strange letter from one of his friends. He goes to visit her and a strange masked person appears and turns everyone into stone. It is your job to solve the puzzle of who the mystery person is.

I really liked this game a lot because the puzzles were very creative and made me think a lot. 

Every day a new puzzle can be downloaded onto the 3DS for you to solve. I thought this was a very good idea, because I look forward to the daily puzzle. The controls are very easy to learn but the game is made for people 10 years and up. 

Art Academy: Lessons For Everyone

Every family has someone that likes to draw or even someone that wants to learn how to draw and paint.  Nintendo’s “Art Academy” is an amazing game and would be perfect for them.

An instructor named Vincent explains and teaches you how to draw and paint in over thirty different and very detailed step by step tutorials. I really thought they were great, because I went through a bunch of the different lessons in my review copy and I was able to draw a cherry that was pretty close to what Vincent drew. 

I can barely draw stick figures, but the step by step instructions were very helpful. As you start to get better at drawing you can go through more advance lessons in the game. I have not reached that point yet, but I know one day I will.

When you are done with a drawing or painting you can share it with your friends by sending it to them through the 3DS’s “Spotpass.”

“Art Academy: Lessons For Everyone” can be played by everyone. I would also recommend this game to anybody that really wants to learn how to draw, because it really works. The tutorials are so detailed and they explain all of the techniques very well. 

If I can learn how to draw, anybody can. This game is also great for people that already know how to paint and draw, because you enhance your artistic ability through the advance lessons.

Pokémon Black and White Version 2

Kids and adults still love Pokémon and Nintendo just released two sequels to “Pokémon Black and White” for the DS and can be played on the 3DS.

According to Nintendo’s website, this is the first time in a Pokémon game that a story continues right where the last one left off.

In “Pokémon Black and White Version 2” you can now explore new areas of the Unova region and can capture new Pokémon.

Some of the other new things that are featured in the game are the Pokedex 3D Pro and Pokémon Dream Radar. These can be downloaded in the eshop. The Pokedex 3D Pro will let players look up information on over 640 different Pokémon which is really neat, because you can learn about every Pokémon that has appeared in all of the games.

The Pokémon Dream Radar lets players use the different abilities of the 3DS to capture Pokémon. You can use the built in camera or the augmented reality to find and capture new and unique Pokémon.

I really thought that both of these games were great. They were fun to play and easy to learn. The games are rated “E” so anybody can play them. To be honest these were the first Pokémon games I have every played and really liked them a lot.

It was fun trying to find all of the different Pokémon and playing in the Pokémon tournaments with the Pokémon that I capture and trained.

People who are a fan of the Pokémon series will love both of these games and these would be great stocking stuffers.

Paper Mario: Sticker Star

I have and will always be a fan of Mario. I really enjoy all of the “Paper Mario” games and “Paper Mario Sticker Star” is by far my favorite one.

Bower has once again caused problems for Mario by intruding on a “Sticker Fest” and he causes a sticker comet to explode and now it’s up to Mario to find all of the pieces of the comet and put it back together.

This game is great for gamers of all ages.. It’s funny and it’s very challenging. Stickers are a main feature in this game. You find and buy different stickers and you use these for when you go into battle. There are many different stickers and they all do different things. As you beat enemies you gain experience and you can get more powerful stickers.

You can also use the stickers to open up paths along your way. There are so many different areas to explore and there are also many hidden things to find in “Paper Mario: Sticker Star.”
I know that just about everyone would be ecstatic to find “Paper Mario: Sticker Star under their tree.

Nintendo Wii U

The hottest thing this year for Christmas in my opinion is going to be Nintendo’s Wii U. This is a brand new video game system that has better graphics and a whole new line of games. 

One nice thing is that you can still play all of your Wii games on it and use your Wii controllers and Wii Fit with it.

There are going to be two different systems you can buy. There is a $299.99 basic set which is an 8 GB system or a $349.99 deluxe set which is a 32 GB system. Both sets come with game pad, sensor bar, HDMI cable, and UA adapter. The deluxe set comes with a free game, game pad stand, game pad cradle, and Wii U stand.

There are going to be a bunch of games that are going to be available at launch that look amazing. Nintendo Land, New Super Mario Bros. U, Sing Party and Ninja Gaiden II: Razor’s Edge are just a few.

The Wii U looks amazing and I know that I am going to get one right away. This is a must have for any Nintendo fan.

There are so many great games out there, but these are just a few games that really stood out to me when I played them for review. They are all games that anybody can play and I think they would make great gifts.

For more information on Nintendo and their products go to www.nintendo.com

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.