Game & Watch Super Mario Bros – The Next Gen Review
After what feels like an eternity, the next generation of video games is upon us. The stars have aligned to provide not one, not two, but three new pieces of hardware for gamers everywhere to enjoy. With Microsoft and Sony having already made their moves earlier this week, Nintendo has stepped up to the plate with arguably the most impressive of the three new debutants. Featuring cutting edge hardware in an impossibly small form factor, it’s an impressive effort from the newest kid on the block.
The packaging immediately exudes a premium finishing befitting a next-generation experience. A sleek plastic sleeve gives way to a classic old-school design reminiscent of Atari packaging from the 80s. Inside the box, you’ll find the pièce de resistance – the Game & Watch itself. One moment looking at it and you just know that dozens of hours of R&D went into this revolutionary design. The straight edges perfectly fit the contours of the hands. It’s an inspired piece of engineering ingenuity.
Upon booting up at the machine, there’s a super quick set up process. No logging into accounts, no finding your networks, no need for a mobile app, and definitely no day one 247GB patch – just a couple of clicks to set the time and you’re off. The UI is incredibly intuitive and user-friendly, with just a few buttons to switch between playing a game, looking at the time, or exploring the pause menu.
Once you’re done marvelling at the system itself, it’s time to dive into the launch line up. Nintendo has generously packed in several games and entertainment apps for your enjoyment. The headline is of course Super Mario Bros, a decent platforming game from the early 90s. This title has already sold over 40 billion copies on other consoles, so having it here is the definition of a killer app. The game runs at a smooth frame rate and looks crisp running in HD on the 2.5-inch screen.
Not only do you get this classic game, but a brand-new sequel has been packed in called The Last Levels. Obviously drawing a lot of influence from Dark Souls¸ this tough-as-nails platformer is designed for the veteran gamers who enjoy a splash of masochism with their colourful adventures. Rounding out the line-up is a couple of simple ball games, but the visuals are a little primitive for what we’ve come to expect from new consoles in the year 2020.
Not to be left behind in the multimedia landscape of today’s entertainment industry, there are bonus media apps to be found here. A quick press of the Time button takes you to a clock, which can cycle through multiple aesthetically pleasing backgrounds. It’s a cool bonus feature surprisingly absent from its competitors.
A feature present here and on the competing Xbox One X is the Quick Resume function. The Game & Watch can seamlessly switch between suspended game states of any of available games and pick up right where you left off with zero load times. It’s frankly astounding that this functionality is available on the in-built SSD for less than $100. Sony should be embarrassed they haven’t managed the same achievement.
An impressive feat of the console is that it runs whisper quiet. Apart from a slight click when pressing the power button, the system is virtually silent. There is however a bug where pressing up on a menu option will result in a substantial increase in noise, hitting levels of at least a few decibels, though at least the sound it makes coincidentally forms a jaunty little tune you can groove to. It also runs extremely cool, with no noticeable heat output. After playing for a while it can attract a bit of heat on the plastic where your hands have been. Hopefully, it doesn’t impact the system too much, but only time will tell.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be a console review without the all-important comparison shots to give you an idea of the system’s size. So please refer to the handy reference shots below:
The Game & Watch next to a NES. I’m unsure if this is the original NES or the Mini Classic one.
The system next to a real-life chicken.
The Game & Watch next to a pop vinyl.
The Game and Watch next to another pop vinyl.
The Game and Watch next to another pop vinyl. The system kept changing size with these, it was strange.
The Game & Watch on a car.
The Game & Watch next to a cooked grain of 40 second microwave rice.
The Game & Watch next to Mr Game & Watch.
Overall, it’s an impressive package available at a bargain price, with arguably one of the greatest launch line-ups of any system to date. Amongst all the hype from Microsoft and Sony’s big boxes this week, don’t let the opportunity to nab this console pass you by.
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