"Super Mario Run" is a side-scrolling auto-running video game developed and published by Nintendo for iOS and Android devices.<br>Nintendo/TNS

‘Super Mario Run’ a fun and faithful platformer

For more than 30 years, Mario has faithfully collected coins, saved princesses and fixed sinks. Oh, and his empire brought gaming from the arcades into our living rooms and did as much as any other franchise to ensure it stayed there.

Players have waited nearly a decade for ‘The Last Guardian, but can it live up to the hype?

It’s been a rough year for some video-game lovers. There have been some notable titles this year that didn’t live up to their sky-high expectations. Several high-profile games including “Tom Clancy’s The Division,” “Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst” and “Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare” made headlines for failing to meet player ideals.

'Watch_Dogs 2' creates a hacktivist heaven

The developers of “Watch_Dogs 2” depict hackers as digital Robin Hoods taking from the rich to help the poor.

‘COD: Infinite Warfare’ features robust multiplayer modes and compelling single-player experience

Campaigns in the “Call of Duty” series can often be distilled down to a series of set pieces, cliched villains, telegraphed twists, and ridiculous monologues punctuated with excessive explosions. In “Infinite Warfare,” you still get some of all that, but if you’re not careful you might also find yourself shedding a solitary tear for the brave soldiers and their sacrifices in the brutal war against the Settlement Defense Front. While the characters are cut right from archetypal cloth, real empathetic weight seeps through the story from beginning to end.

‘Dishonored 2’ delivers 2 heroes for a double dose of action

Intrigue and betrayal again stalk the rat-infested streets of Dunwall. And once again, a shadowy avenger must find a way to reclaim honor and the imperial throne.

‘Mafia 3’ tackles racism and war, topics most mass entertainment steers clear of

“Mafia 3” is an imperfect game that’s more interesting than any number of conventionally polished creations. It’s the rare AAA title that seems to have funneled more resources into its characters than its gameplay.

Man and machine are comrades in combat in ‘Titanfall 2’

One of the least appreciated games of 2014 was “Titanfall,” a sci-fi shooter that mixed fast-paced infantry action with giant combat robots.

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  • Beyond the trenches: ‘Battlefield 1’ offers panoramic view of a world at war

    World War I evokes thoughts of a grinding stalemate where weary solders huddle in trenches that stretch across a cratered landscape. Those who stick their heads over the top are more likely to catch a bullet than a glimpse of the muddy desolation beyond. It certainly doesn’t seem like fertile ground for a “Battlefield” game.

  • Players enjoy nearly unlimited freedom and locale in ‘Forza Horizon 3,’ the series’ best game yet

    Microsoft took a risk with its “Forza Horizon” series back in 2012, which brought the series’ iconic driving mechanics to an open-world setting. The series originated in Colorado, then went international when the Horizon festival found itself in Southern France and Northern Italy.

  • Unrivaled gameplay, presentation and game modes make ‘NBA 2K17’ a must-play for all sports fans

    Elite NBA players enjoy the 24/7 spotlight of national television, lucrative endorsement deals, and even occasional crossovers into Hollywood. But underneath this veneer of the charmed life are thousands of hours spent in gyms perfecting shooting strokes, honing dribbling moves, and sculpting physiques to withstand the rigors of an 82-game season. For better and worse, “NBA 2K17’s” popular MyCareer mode looks past the glitz and the glamour to focus on the practical side of being a professional athlete.

  • ‘Headlander’ an interesting combination of boisterously odd and chill

    Every so often, a game comes along that reminds me of how boisterously odd the medium can be.Double Fine Productions' zany artistry of its visual department. The team’s latest creation, “Headlander,” makes perfect sense for the publishing arm of the Adult Swim brand. It trades on the ironic nostalgia for the entertainment of an earlier era.

  • 'Deus Ex: Mankind Divided' wins some, loses some

    “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” is futuristic science fiction, but the message it delivers stems from today’s societal problems. Police shoot unarmed innocents, extremist groups unleash acts of terror, and communities are torn apart by segregation. The story explores these issues thoroughly and makes a clear statement about the threat posed by totalitarianism, but the delivery is often heavy-handed and overstated. In establishing its vision of an oppressed world, the player is treated like a hard drive for extensive downloads of backstory and lore — so much so that I had to make notes just to keep track of all of the shadow organizations, acronyms, and shady government officials. The game made me think about my world, which is clearly the intent, but I never felt a strong connection to the game or the role protagonist Adam Jensen plays within it. Eidos Montreal attempts to disguise hot-button issues as speculative fiction, but sacrifices an interesting story to hammer home its messaging.

  • Record-setting Tokyo Game Show focuses on virtual-reality titles

    Virtual reality remains front and center at Tokyo Game Show 2016.

  • Virtual reality, AI expected to grab Tokyo Game Show spotlight

    This weekend’s Tokyo Game Show is expected to be the largest in the popular video-gaming convention’s 20-year history.

  • 'Madden 17' not perfect, but there's plenty to like

    The perfect game doesn’t exist in the NFL or in any given rendition of Madden. Even so, “Madden 17” has a lot to enjoy. As they do every year, developers EA Tiburon concentrate on a set of new features, fixes, and points of emphasis to varying degrees of success. Not all the bases are covered, but this is still a team win that Madden gamers can appreciate on some level.

  • Four indie games worth checking out

    A decade ago, summer was a dead zone for video games. Publishers ignored the season while preparing to launch of their big-budget fall releases.

  • ‘Song of the Deep’ anchored down

    “Song of the Deep” can’t seem to get out of its own way. While the small-scale project from Insomniac — and debut of GameStop’s new publishing wing, GameTrust — has glimmers of greatness, it constantly feels just slightly off in ways that could have been easily adjusted for a more pleasant experience. There’s a sweet heart buried inside this game, but its unpolished moments obscure it.

  • 'Crush Your Enemies' -- as fun as real time strategy games get

    Vile Monarch’s “Crush Your Enemies” is a real-time strategy game that does away with everything you think you know about RTS titles. Long game times that leave you in desperation when you realize you made a big mistake early on? Nope. Confusing in-game mechanics that take hours to master? Not at all. “Crush Your Enemies” takes everything you love about real time strategy and synthesizes it so you absorb it in much smaller doses, but still have a rewarding experience.

  • ‘No Man’s Sky': Action-adventure game shoots for the moon, but lands in a crater

    The first few hours of Hello Games’ “No Man’s Sky” are among this year’s best video gaming moments. The rest of the game is among the year’s biggest disappointments. This dichotomy is in the very DNA of what is ultimately an ambitious, but flawed, experiment.

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    ‘Abzu’ game creator goes underwater for his latest adventure

    “Abzu” draws liberally from the motifs of Matt Nava’s “Flower” and “Journey.” Similar to “Flower,” it is a hymn to ecology, to bringing things into a more vibrant state of being. And like “Journey,” it gives the sense of a spiritual pilgrimage amongst consecrated spaces. In fact, the word “abzu” traces its origin back to the ancient people of Sumer — the earliest known urban dwellers — who believed that the abzu were the primal waters between earth and the underworld.

  • ‘I Am Setsuna’ an enjoyable throwback to classic JRPGs

    Traditional Japanese role-playing games have been less prevalent in recent years. The Tokyo RPG Factory, a subsidiary of Square Enix, hoped to correct that imbalance when it began work on “I Am Setsuna” in 2014. This charming little adventure was designed from the ground up to be a purposeful throwback to classic JRPGs.

  • ‘Fallout Shelter’ the best free-to-play game in the entire wasteland

    Bethesda recently ported “Fallout Shelter” to the PC as part of the launch of its Steam-like game-delivery client. Enough has changed in the game since its launch that we felt it worth taking another look at what “Fallout Shelter” has to offer on the PC.

  • Not-so-horrible bosses: ‘Furi’s’ beautiful art and interesting ideas are somewhat undermined by lack of story

    “Furi” has all the trappings of a Japanese-inspired mythical tale. At its center is a powerful, mysterious hero accompanied by a strange character offering sage wisdom as the hero combats several powerful enemies, sort of like the trials of Hercules. Set against a beautifully designed ethereal world popping with color and vibrancy, it’s evocative and dreamlike, with a distant purpose swirling among its many parts.

  • The non-gamer’s guide to playing Pokemon Go

    Pokemon Go is a full-blown phenomenon, with millions of downloads and excitement only growing. If you’re completely mystified by how this game actually works, here are some basics to get you out there and catching Pokemon in no time.

  • 'Zero Time Dilemma': A mind-bending adventure through a maze of death

    The “Zero Escape” series has earned a reputation for inflicting mental anguish on players, combining the torturous mind games of “Saw” with “Choose Your Own Adventure” books to create an experience that puts players through the wringer. They are strange games that tackle complex theories about the paranormal and time travel, and refuse to break them down for easy understanding, but the challenge and peculiarities have attracted a cult following. “Zero Time Dilemma,” the third entry, retains those two key pillars while also serving as a more inviting and standalone title thanks to its focus on characters and its impressive non-linear structure.

  • ‘Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ has just enough comedy to get you by

    At this point, most sane humans have had enough of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” but big corporations like Lego and Warner Bros. think you want more BB-8, Rey and the whole intergalactic gang. Much more. So with no less than 13 promotional trailers targeting kids and families on YouTube, the onslaught of “Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens” has begun.

  • Few moments of joy can be found in an otherwise frustrating 'Mighty No. 9'

    When Keiji Inafune, one of creators of the legendary gaming franchise “Mega Man,” turned to Kickstarter to fund its next title, fans responded in droves. Gamers donated more than $4 million to see “Mighty No. 9” brought to life. What $4 million apparently can’t buy, much to the dismay of the game’s backers, is a guarantee the resulting product will be any good.

  • Geralt’s last adventure is one of his best in ‘Witcher 3: Wild Hunt -- Blood and Wine’

    “The Witcher” series is one of my all-time favorite video game trilogies, and it was with great sadness that I went into “Blood and Wine.” I wasn’t sad because I thought the expansion would be terrible, quite the opposite in fact; I was sad because this means we’ve come to the end of Geralt’s storyline.

  • Miniature war gaming is big with history buffs

    There are no video screens, no virtual bloodshed. Instead, tiny soldiers made of metal or plastic take their strategic posts on elaborate tabletop terrains fashioned by hand with faux foliage, model tanks, submarines and outposts.

  • Cracked but not broken: ‘Mirror’s Edge Catalyst’ entertains despite dull setting, bland characters

    It’s been eight years since Faith Connors glided along the rooftops as a runner carrying sensitive information in “Mirror’s Edge.” In that time, Faith appears to have refined her moves and learned some new tricks, but not quite enough to make a true winner out of “Mirror’s Edge Catalyst.”

  • 'Overwatch' a highly-rated, addictive team-based shooter

    Blizzard Entertainment doesn’t make many games, but whenever it releases one, everybody takes notice. The California studio is behind some of the industry’s most legendary and enduring entries.

  • 'Battleborn' mashup of styles doesn't quite come together

    Under the shadow of terms like mashup lies the understanding that spirited things can happen when once-separated elements are knotted together. When the union is a happy one, new genres can spring forth. (Funk is a good example.) But when a matchup is less than ideal, the results can be akin to a dry elevator pitch. Alas, “Battleborn,” the new game from Gearbox Software, slots into this category.

  • ‘Doom’ a triumphant return to the classic first-person shooter

    The recently released “Doom” soft reboot is not only a return to form for one of the pioneers of the first-person shooter genre, but a return to a way of designing a game that has long been missing from AAA gaming.

  • 'Uncharted' concludes streak of excellence in fine form with 'A Thief's End'

    As Naughty Dog planned to end its smash hit series with “Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End,” the studio’s creative minds were faced with a seemingly impossible task. How, after four games, could they wrap up the story of Nathan Drake and his treasure-hunting exploits without disappointing millions of fans?

  • 'Space Invaders,’ 'Grand Theft Auto III’ now hall of fame games

    A video game that allowed players to zap marching aliens with dot lasers and another that gave them flamethrowers and put them in the driver’s seat in a violent 3-D world are among six games inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame.

  • 'Dark Souls III' gets the genre right

    In the seven years since “Demon’s Souls” arose from nowhere and redefined a genre, numerous clones, offshoots and copycats have come to market. The recently released “Dark Souls III” is a primer on how those developers got it so wrong, and how FromSoftware continues to get it oh so right.

  • ‘Quantum Break’: An interesting sci-fi game let down by its live-action series tie-in

    Binge culture is a thing, as are blockbuster video games that wrangle countless hours of people’s time. Given this configuration, it’s clear why an enterprising group of people would angle to bring the two formats closer together, which is what Remedy Entertainment has done with “Quantum Break.” The end product is a carefully plotted sci-fi game and an underwhelming live-action series.

  • ‘MLB The Show’ keeps players coming back year after year

    “MLB The Show” was a game series before some current baseball stars could walk, premiering in 1997 as “MLB 98,” yet more people bought the game last year than ever before.

  • ‘Hitman’ Episode 1 a great foundation for the action-adventure stealth series

    Instead of releasing its latest “Hitman” as a self-contained box game, Danish developer IO Interactive has taken a different tack. It has made “Hitman” an episodic project.

  • ‘Stardew Valley’ brings together the best indie genre has to offer

    There is something almost undefinable about “Stardew Valley.” This labor of love by lone-wolf developer ConcernedApe, much like “Harvest Moon” before it, is simple to explain. It’s a farming simulator that borrows from other genres to pad the crop growing and pig farming. But that description can’t really capture the essence of the experience.

  • ‘Zelda: Twilight Princess’ even better in high-def remaster

    Video games are excellent at occupying our time, but it’s rare for them to keep us company. They are designed to feed obsession, swallowing hundreds of hours in minute-long increments in an effort to reach some unreachable point of mastery. It’s rare for a game to feel like a comfort one can dip into for a few moments of companionship.

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    ‘Firewatch’ explores adult themes against backdrop of the Wyoming wilderness

    Games have grown beyond their infancy, moved past their childhood and are now, finally, taking steps to grow into adulthood. “Firewatch” is the most recent addition to video gaming’s slow expanse into adult storytelling. In this first-person adventure title by indie supergroup Campo Santo, themes such as isolation, relationships — both permanent and transient — and the nature of responsibility are broached.

  • ‘Far Cry Primal’ is a rock-solid trip to the Stone Age

    In “Far Cry Primal,” you’ll face extinction in a world where you’re just as likely to be the hunted as they are the hunter.

  • Beautiful ‘Witness’ leaves something to be desired

    What does a puzzle game look like when the safety nets are removed? Famed indie developer Jonathan Blow created “The Witness” in what seems to be a direct response to that question.

  • High-definition remaster of ‘Resident Evil Zero’ a bloody good time

    Capcom’s “Resident Evil” might be one of the most convoluted game franchises ever. The series, famous for its esoteric puzzles, atmospheric world and utterly nonsensical storyline, has generated more remakes, releases and spinoffs than any other franchise I can recall. Take, for instance, “Resident Evil Zero.”

  • Unique storyteller dungeon crawler NOOZh launches on Kickstarter

    There are quite a few game ideas floating around on crowdfunding sites, most of which simple do not deserve attention. Kickstarter and similar sites are choked with half-baked ideas, scams and pie-in-the-sky projects that have less likelihood of coming to fruition than “Half-Life 3.” But there are exceptions. Take, for instance, “NOOzh,” by Argentinian developers Wannabe.

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