Review: Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games offers fun time, downtime in equal measure

After taking a bit of time off, the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games series is back in time for Tokyo, and for a Japanese game, representing itself well for the host country is clearly important. It’s not a good time to phone it in, so it makes sense that this release could draw your eye. How does it manage, given increased expectations? Let’s get into it.

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Review: Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD tries to reshape a Wii launch game’s legacy

By any given measure, Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD is a reclamation project of sorts. Banana Blitz wasn’t a particularly well-received entry at the time, and the intervening years have not seen a late fandom grow around it. So why is it, of all the Super Monkey Ball games, getting a remaster? One potential reason is that decision-makers at Sega thought it had an undiscovered appeal buried under its early motion controls and lack of development focus.

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Review: The unlikely Sega Ages Ichidant-R is a welcome surprise

In most instances, a retro re-release project is about capitalizing on nostalgia. It’s about letting players revisit old favorites on new platforms, and the comfort of the known being preserved for future play. And Sega’s no stranger to that, both with this Sega Ages series and its compilation efforts in general. At least for those of us in the West, though, Sega Ages Ichidant-R is different. It’s an unknown artifact delivered to an audience to let them learn more, and it’s exactly the sort of effort that fans of Japanese games should applaud.

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Review: The student has become the teacher in The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III

Nihon Falcom’s The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III is both a continuation and a new chapter. It’s not a fresh start for Rean Schwarzer and company, but it’s a clear inflection point, with a shifting status quo and a new cast of characters. At its core, though, it’s still very much the games that came before it. And for longtime fans of the franchise, a new coat of paint over the same structures is probably just fine.

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Sega Dreamcast imports guide: The best Japan-only games to play

For a less-successful-than-hoped system now reaching two decades of existence, the Dreamcast holds an impressive library of games that just haven’t seen proper follow-ups, and that holds true with the unlocalized segment of its library. The end of the road for Sega’s hardware development was full of both special novelties and Japan-only genre specialties, and the system’s arcade-like approach means a lot of it’s totally playable for Western audiences. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss!

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