We did into the surprising combo of Super Mario Bros. Wonder and Alan Wake II, then check out SpellBook, Logitech’s Wave Keys and more.

Despite being around for over 40 years, it never feels like Nintendo’s beloved plumber has run out of tricks, and Super Mario Bros. Wonder is no different. It’s a platformer that returns to the series’ roots, certainly, but that never feels like an inhibitor.

Instead, it feels as though Nintendo has used those foundations as a challenge to craft something entirely different. The introduction of the Wonder Flower makes that all possible  – Mario Wonder’s new power-up that dramatically changes each and every level.

It’s truly absurd how many new ideas or concepts Super Mario Bros. Wonder tosses at you before immediately ditching it for something new, but it keeps each level fresh and exciting. One moment you’re an elephant, the next in the middle of a musical. It means you’re never quite sure what you’re going to get next, which keeps the child-like excitement bubbling to the service at all times.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is an utter delight solo, but throw some friends together and it’s even more laughably chaotic in its classic multiplayer fare (although it may disappoint some that it’s a strictly offline affair). Nintendo have smartly kept some characters as easier options to allow more families to play together, but that never detracts from the inherent joy the game offers.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is classic Nintendo game design in all its glory, meaning it is more than worthy of a spot in your Switch library.

Meanwhile, When Alan Wake first hit the scene in 2010, it was a divisive game that slowly developed a loyal cult following thanks to its Twin Peaks-inspired quirks.

Love Gaming?

Get the latest Gaming news, features, updates and giveaways straight to your inbox Learn more

In many ways, Alan Wake II feels nothing like its predecessor, but that’s not actually a bad thing. Instead, Remedy has created a mind-bending survival horror experience that is better than the original in almost every single way. It’s exceptional and one of 2023’s surprise highlights.

A large part of that is thanks to the game’s alluring story, but digging too much into that very element feels like a disservice to the game itself – each statement a potential spoiler or turnoff. Here’s what I can say instead, not only does Alan Wake 2 have one of the best video game openings of the last decade, it’s also one of the best games of the year.

By separating the game’s two protagonists, FBI agent Saga Anderson and the titular Alan Wake, it allows Remedy to craft two very different experiences. That means one moment you might be in a surreal otherworldly environment, yet in another trying to crack a serious cult murder case. Both have their own look and feel, and both are incredibly engaging.

Combat can feel like the weakest element due to bullet-spongy foes, but even still, Alan Wake II is a pure treat that deserves your time and attention.

Highly recommended.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder is out now for Nintendo Switch.

Alan Wake 2 is out now for PS5, Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Also out now…

WarioWare: Move It! (Switch)

The WarioWare games have always harnessed some of Nintendo’s most leftfield, zany charm and WarioWare: Move It is thankfully no different. But where this entry truly shines is with its use of motion control madness – a feature that the last game in the series, Get It Together brushed aside.  That means Move It’s bounty of microgames might see you running on the spot, while others will have you plucking virtual nose hairs, or punching chicken eggs out of a hole.

It’s often laughably ludicrous, but with a bunch of friends or loved ones, it’s also a total riot. Nintendo has harnessed the use of the Joy-Cons in such fun and creative ways that I was always keen to see what was up next. There’s naturally slightly less enjoyment when playing on your own, and the joy-cons themselves be occasionally inconsistent, but if you’re looking for something different to add in to the party game rotation, you can’t go wrong with WarioWare Move It.

Rollercoaster Tycoon Adventures Deluxe (Switch)

In the late ‘90s, management sims filled store shelves, allowing gamers to tinker with cities, zoos and, in the case of Rollercoaster Tycoon, theme parks.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the series, so this slightly updated re-release of an older mobile iteration of the series does well to recapture much of that original joy. You’ll fuss over which rides to purchase, focus on keeping guest vibes high and constantly clean after pesky litterers, which is all enjoyable – I just wish it ran a whole lot better.

Sure, the devs have done a pretty admirable job at transforming the game’s traditional PC mouse-heavy controls onto the Switch hardware (smartly using shoulder buttons to navigate around menus), but there’s no getting around general performance. Have your park reach a certain density, for example, and the whole game slows dramatically.

It’s a real shame, because Rollercoaster Tycoon Adventures Deluxe scratches that nostalgic itch, but in its current state, it’s hard not to recommend the older Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 port instead.

Wizard with a Gun (PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Switch, PS4, XBO, PC)

Packing a killer art style and tantalising hook, Wizard With a Gun has a lot going for it. With your world constantly ‘collapsing’ in five-minute incriminates, the game smartly embraces roguelike shooter tendencies, forcing you to juggle taking down enemies, build resources and slowly collect gears that will hopefully fix a time machine that’ll help stop the never-ending chaos.

It’s largely up to you where your focus and attention goes, and that makes for some incredibly tense moments after a number of hours. That blend of elements also helps keep things fresh and chugging along at a relatively good clip, especially as you experiment with various weapon/bullet combos for different runs.

Wizard with a Gun doesn’t dramatically reinvent the wheel like perhaps some expected, but what’s here is a strong action offering backed up by a rollicking soundtrack that’s the perfect accompaniment to much of the chaos you find yourself in.

Dave the Diver (Switch)

We already loved Dave the Diver when it first launched a few months ago, and this Switch iteration makes it even more digestible. In case you missed it, this charming adventure sees you exploring the oceans darkest depths to gather fish and supplies. Then each evening you’ll use said fish and supplies to help fuel a Sushi bar Dave owns with his mates.

It’s an incredibly addictive loop backed up by a solid story that will see you constantly diving back in. It’s also a loop that works perfectly on the switch, able to sink some time in to either role while on the go. If you have a Switch OLED on hand, the game pops even more with some wonderfully bright colours and impressive art style.

If you haven’t had a chance to get properly acquainted with Dave yet, now is the perfect opportunity.


If you’re looking for a slight change of pace from your video game norm, SpellBook might be right up your alley. It’s a board game developed by the mastermind of Sushi Go! that sets its sights on wizards, magic and a whole lot of colourful cards.

The basic gist of SpellBook is simple – perform various actions at three different times of day (morning, afternoon and evening) in a quest to either unlock seven spells or fully feed your trusty familiar. Achieve one of those goals and the game ends, with the player who has amassed the most points ultimately being victorious.

But while the basic setup is easily digestible, actually getting into the nitty-gritty of gameplay can feel initially overwhelming as you come to terms with managing each time period’s specific actions (like choosing to build your small round Materia runes from a shared board or a more mysterious bag) and the various strategies involved. For example, do you choose to quickly unlock or your spells to end the game, or work to upgrade your spells for a bigger point pool?

It can feel like there’s a lot to keep track of, but it does all feel natural after your first game, and each player can thankfully hold onto a card that helps keep you on track as to what actions are possible during which stage.

Once you do have things under control, there’s a lot to like about SpellBook. The cards themselves are particularly impressive, filled with colour and well-designed artwork that matches the magical aesthetic of the game well. Everything packs up pretty easily too, making it great to whip out for a family or friend board game night.

With rounds lasting around 45 minutes to an hour, SpellBook is great time that never outstays its welcome.

You can buy SpellBook for $67.29 from Amazon now.

Logitech Wave Keys

While I’ve happily trialled my fair share of gaming keyboards, it goes without saying that they’re not always the most ergonomic option for when your game setup is in work mode. Just because you’ve got some aesthetically pleasing RGB lighting doesn’t mean your hands will be any happier with you by the end of the day. Logitech’s Wave Keys hope to fix that.

While Logitech is well known for its gaming-centric G line, the Wave Keys instead pair things back to the fundamentals. There’s no mechanical switches or bright lights. Instead, the primary focus is on comfort, and it’s all backed up by an incredibly spongy and comfy wrist pad and the core wave design. It might look a little odd at first glance, but the wave is incredibly smart in its execution – giving your fingers just the amount of height or dip they need for minimal strain.

And by ditching the mechanical switches, it allows for a more seamless typing experience… once you get the hang of it. Yes, if you’ve never used a keyboard like this before there is a bit of a learning curve, so expect plenty of accidental typos in the first couple of uses, but it does eventually feel more natural. As a result, after a couple of days our efforts were relatively seamless, and our hands far less tired.

It’s worth noting that the Wave Keys favour AAA batteries over an internal rechargeable battery, but Logitech claims that they’ll last you a lengthy three years. Obviously I wasn’t exactly able to put that claim to the test, but I didn’t have any issues with power drop-outs during my testing.

Still, the biggest benefit for the Wave Keys is the unit’s price. At $149, it’s affordable enough that you could invest in one for your 9 to 5 grind, then stow it away to make way for a unit that better caters to gaming. If your hands could talk, they’d likely thank you.

The Logitech Wave Keys are available now from Amazon for $149.

For more on this topic, follow the Gaming Observer.

Get unlimited access to the coverage that shapes our culture.
to Rolling Stone magazine
to Rolling Stone magazine