Bonus Round: Hello Rainbowbrick Road

Happy Friday, everyone! Welcome to Bonus Round, a look at some of the week’s biggest gaming stories. The last couple of weeks have been something of a calm before the storm. All the big bombshells and announcements are probably being saved for The Game Awards next Thursday, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to talk about this week. Let’s get into it!

New Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer

Nintendo unveiled a new trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie this week. I think that this movie continues to look better than it has any right to be. I’m not expecting a masterpiece, of course, but all it has to do is be a solid family comedy and it’ll automatically become the greatest video game adaptation of all time. The voice cast all seem to be doing a good job; even Chris Pratt seems basically fine as Mario.

It seems like the new Mario movie is pulling from multiple incarnations of Mario; we get a fun look at the famous Rainbow Road in a Mario Kart sequence, and there’s even a tease of a Super Mario Galaxy connection too. Will we see Mario play tennis, or don a white doctor’s coat? Only time will tell. The Super Mario Bros. Movie will be released in the UK on 31 March 2023.

Nintendo responds to Pokémon criticism

There’s a lot to love about the new Pokémon Scarlet and Violet games. The open world structure is fresh and new, and the games boast a great story and cast of characters. Still, not all is rosy in Paldea. The games have been plagued with technical issues; frame rates are inconsistent, the games frequently crash, and the graphics have been mocked.

Nintendo normally isn’t one to respond directly to criticism, but it did so this week. In a tweet about the games’ first big patch, the company also stated that ‘take the feedback from players seriously, and will continue to work on improvements to the games.’

I’ve played a few hours of Pokémon Violet, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. That being said, the game hasn’t come close to hitting a stable 30fps, and I’m not sure how much of that can be fixed with future patches. The Switch is nearly six years old, and its hardware wasn’t exactly bleeding edge when it launched. Scarlet and Violet are proof that we’re in dire need of a beefed up Switch 2, even if it’s not quite as powerful as a PS5 or Xbox Series X.

But with the original Switch still selling like hotcakes and games like Pokémon setting sales records, there doesn’t seem to be much incentive for Nintendo to take the plunge just yet. In the meantime, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet are great for what they are. It’s just a shame that these ambitious games have been held back by aging hardware.

Neon White coming to PS4 and PS5

Neon White, developed by Angel Matrix and published by Annapurna Interactive, is one of the biggest indie hits of the year. A first person shooter designed around speedrunning levels, Neon White made a huge splash when it was released on PC and Nintendo Switch in June. Now, PlayStation gamers are going to be able to get in on the fun too.

In a post on the PlayStation Blog, game director Ben Esposito outlined some of the features players can expect when Neon White releases on PS4 and PS5 on Tuesday 13 December. The PlayStation version will carry across gyroscopic aiming from the Switch, allowing you to tilt your controller to fine tune your shots. PS5 gamers will also experience unique adaptive trigger and haptic feedback effects for each of the game’s unique weapons. And if your TV supports it, Neon White will run at 120hz; in a game this fast-paced, that will be a huge benefit.

I wrote earlier this week about my love of Neon White, and I’ve been feeling bereft ever since I finished it. I’m extremely tempted to immediately replay it on PS5. One of my only real gripes with the game is that the loading times on Switch were juuust long enough to be irritating. Presumably, that problem will be eliminated by the PS5’s super fast SSD. Either way, if you’ve not had a chance to play Neon White yet, I highly recommend you get stuck in when the game releases on PlayStation.