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Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder length, Switch 2 launch line-up, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage for £1

Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder length, Switch 2 launch line-up, and Assassin’s Creed Mirage for £1
Super Mario Bros. Wonder – have you played it yet? (Picture: Nintendo)

The Monday letters page celebrates the traffic jams of Spider-Man 2, as one reader wishes Nintendo’s Advance Wars was on PC.

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Halfway through I have been playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder all weekend and I pretty much agree with all of GC’s review , including the fact that it takes less than 10 hours to get to the credits. That still leaves seemingly dozens of stages to beat but me and my girlfriend wanted to see the ‘end’ first and thoroughly enjoyed getting there.

The amount of imagination and thought that has gone into the game is incredible and, as was said, the fact that a sequel to a 38-year-old game is more innovative than most of the brand new games coming out today is damning indictment of other companies and a tribute to Nintendo never phoning it in.

I don’t know how long it’s going to be till we 100% it, another 10 hours or so I’d guess, but it absolutely feels like value to money to me. But then it costs £50, not £70, so you haven’t got the constant sense that the game has to justify its higher asking price.

I think that’s the main problem for Spider-Man 2, even though I will try to get it when it’s a little cheaper and I absolutely don’t want it filled with bloat. I don’t know what the answer is for those sort of high-end cinematic games, that sell themselves on their graphics, but I’d rather play Mario anyway. Andrex

4p an hour I’m sat watching the credits roll on Assassin’s Creed Mirage after roughly 28 hours of playtime and have to say that I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than I probably should have. It is definitely better as a shorter more focused experience, and it finds the middle ground between the older games and the more extensive role-playing entries quite nicely, although as you said in your review Basim does become an unstoppable killing machine fairly early on!

After trading in a couple of games those 28 hours cost me £1, so absolutely no complaints about value for money from me either. Now to get sunk into Spider-Man 2 while I’ve managed to avoid pretty much any spoilers at this point! Rickandrolla (PSN ID)

Size matters My favourite Nintendo game is the one I always come back to: Advance Wars. I used to strain my eyes as a 12-year-old on my un-backlit Game Boy Advance, that I downloaded an emulator and ROM to play it more comfortably on my Windows XP PC (technically sorta legal as I owned it, I thought then)

The music tracks were and are still super catchy, and I feel the story/balancing is still the best in the series. I remember I wished so much it would be ported to PC to enable much larger maps, along with online play. I still wish for this. Anon

GC: Larger maps are unlikely to make it more fun. Wargroove tried that and it just dragged everything out; the sequel realised its mistake.

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Follow the leader Been playing a fair bit of Super Mario Bros. Wonder over the weekend with my wife – first Mario game I’ve ever bought on day one!

Great game so far, opens up at a nice pace, always giving you a choice on what to do next without being overwhelming. And it looks great and feels great to control. Having only a few Wonder Seeds in a level (so far – later levels may have more) makes each feel earned and worthwhile, and are better rewards than the Moons in Super Mario Odyssey (800+ was a bit ridiculous there).

It’s also really accessible and allows people of different skills to play together. Having the Yoshis being unable to die from enemies was a great idea, as does allowing the other characters to ride and jump off them.

One thing it would be nice to do however is ‘lock’ who the leader is, and therefore who the screen follows. On one of the tougher levels, it kept switching if we both died and had to restart, and as there was no chance of her making it though, we both had to fall of the screen to get it to switch back to me.

A minor flaw though – overall it’s loads of fun. Looking forward to seeing what’s next! Julian

All it comes down to Started playing Spider-Man 2 at midnight on the 20th and must be honest, when I saw that opening scene – I think GC and everyone that started playing will know what I’m on about – I knew the graphics were going to be to the max on this game.

Is 30 hours to 100% it worth it? Yes it is, I think. Yes, you can get games like Starfield that last 100+ hours and after a bit you need a break from being a bit bored. Spider-Man 2 I’ve hardly put down the controller.

I’ve not played Starfield but I’ve seen it being streamed and to me it’s going from planet to planet doing a bit of shooting and collecting stuff, just like No Man’s Sky. I’m not knocking it, if that’s what you like go for it and I hope you enjoy it but for me Spider-Man2 is worth the money. It might not be as long as the rest but boy do those graphics look sweet. David

GC: That’s a pointlessly reductive description of a game you’ve never played. Unless you accept Spider-Man 2 is just swinging from building to building, doing a bit of punching.

Launch theory As exciting as all these Switch 2 rumours are I’m still having trouble imagining what the main launch game might be. Zelda has done them well in the past but it’s obviously too early like that. There were some rumours of a 3D Mario but would they really do that so soon after the 2D Super Mario Bros. Wonder?

Metroid Prime 4 seems like it would be ready in time but is that really the game to grab Nintendo’s mainstream audience? So what beyond that? None of their other regular franchises really seem to fit the bill. Animal Crossing fits the bill in terms of popularity but not in terms of showing off a new system.

So I think it might end up being a brand new franchise, which is extra exciting, probably alongside something more familiar – maybe Metroid Prime 4 after all. There’s no point rushing Nintendo but I think it’s reasonable to hope for a reveal in the first half of next year and I cannot wait. Gaston

Aiming for the stars Amazing that a 136% rise in Xbox sales around Starfield couldn’t overtake PlayStation for even a single month. How few must they have been selling before that?!

I wonder if it coincided with a 136% rise in buyer’s remorse once they booted up the game? If what was surely the most-hyped game of the year couldn’t put a dent in PlayStation’s success then Xbox is in serious trouble. John

GC: Xbox sales in Europe as a whole actually fell for the month.

More: Trending I have no sympathy for people that can't afford games if they're buying digitally Now Spider-Man 2 is out the PS5 has no new exclusives scheduled and that's crazy Nintendo Switch is the best console ever and it’s not even close - Reader’s Feature

Overcrowded realism I was really happy to see the generally positive reviews for Spider-Man 2: the original and half-sequel are still some of the best games out there, besting even the Batman: Arkham series in many ways.

Seeing some of the gameplay videos brought to the fore one of the more boring things I’ve noticed with open-world video games: that is, the traffic density. Everyone who has ever set foot on a bike, pavement, car or bus can tell you that modern cities are a nightmare to move around in, driven in no small part by the rapid increase in car ownership (roughly three cars to every four adults in the modern UK – 41 million cars and around 55 million adults aged 18+).

And it seems to me that this poses a particular conundrum on open world game design based in cities. Grand Theft Auto would be a very different game if there was a risk of sitting in a two hour traffic jam during a police chase! Even Cyberpunk 2077, a dystopia by any metric, is a relative joy to drive in.

Of course, one of the main reasons for this (and a convenient get-out), is that simulating a high density of cars (or people) is computationally difficult, and so if you look at examples like Cyberpunk 2077, it’s noticeable that the far-distance veil demonstrates high density traffic which disappears to a few cars as the draw horizon is expanded.

The reason Spider-Man 2 is relevant to this is that it’s clear that game engines and optimisation have gotten to the point where they are fully capable of realising a modern, jammed city. Admittedly, Spider-Man could be expected to the first to do this, as the nature of movement means there is little to no interaction with the traffic.

But it begs the question: How do games move on from here? Are we going to see engines used to more realistically replicate cities, or are will we continue to sacrifice realism for convenience? Even better, will we start to see a realistic depiction of high density transport by bike, usually conspicuously absent but hinted at by a static bike asset propped against a wall?

To me, peak realism will be when we witness a driver yell at a pedestrian for being in their way when they’re driving on the pavement to park outside a shop. Until then, are we really simulating people at all?

For me, it won’t be a problem till I finally get past the second run of Armored Core, Baldur’s Gate, and Mario! Kris

GC: You interact with traffic a reasonable amount in Spider-Man 2, with a number of missions and side quests involving chasing a vehicle. There’s also more than one bit where you ride a bike.

Inbox also-rans Has Terry not considered that a lot of people have the digital PlayStation 5 and they can’t buy a hard copy so they are therefore trapped buying the more expensive digital copies. Can the man have no sympathy for those people?! Really? Is Terry Gold so cold?! Anon

So Super Mario Bros Wonder. That’s a bit good isn’t it? freeway 77

This week’s Hot Topic The subject for this weekend’s Inbox was suggested by reader Hammeriron, who asks what is the scariest moment or enemy from a non-horror video game?

There’s plenty of survival horror games that are specifically designed to scare you but what’s the most frightening moment from a game that’s not primarily a horror title? Was the moment or enemy meant to to be scary and if not, why did you find it frightening?

What’s your earliest memory of finding something scary in a video game and was that intended by the developer?

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The small print New Inbox updates appear every weekday morning, with special Hot Topic Inboxes at the weekend. Readers’ letters are used on merit and may be edited for length and content.

You can also submit your own 500 to 600-word Reader’s Feature at any time via email or our Submit Stuff page , which if used will be shown in the next available weekend slot.

You can also leave your comments below and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter .

MORE : Weekend Hot Topic: What is the best Nintendo game?

MORE : Games Inbox: The best Nintendo Switch game, Super Mario Bros. Wonder weekend, and Spider-Man 2

MORE : Games Inbox: Super Mario Bros. Wonder vs. Zelda, Sonic Superstars bosses, and Spider-Man 2 visuals

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To submit Inbox letters and Reader’s Features more easily, without the need to send an email, just use our Submit Stuff page here .

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