Super Nintendo Classic Mini
(€90) HHHHH Age 12+
Nintendo should know better. After drastically under-estimating the demand for its nostalgic revival of its NES console last year, the Japanese have repeated the cardinal error again with the SNES Classic Mini. The shelves are bare of stock in even Nintendo’s own store, mirroring the drought in other retailers.
It’s not as if it’s a sneaky marketing strategy. It’s not as if the clamour couldn’t have been anticipated. The SNES is one of Nintendo’s great contributions to gaming and the Classic Mini perfectly recreates its 1990s brilliance in a scale-model version loaded with 21 titles, many of which are bona-fide masterpieces.
The SNES Mini smooths over a handful of flaws that marred the NES Mini (chiefly, the criminally short length of the controller cables and some visual/audio glitches). It replicates the elegant case design in miniaturised form and includes two controllers, HDMI output and a USB cable (supply your own plug).
In software terms, it acknowledges the difficulty level of many of the bundled games by enabling a time-rewind function — the ability to skip backward by a minute to a point before losing a life, for instance.
But it’s the collection of SNES smash-hits that justifies hunting down the console. Many of the games still hold up incredibly well today and the remainder of the list isn’t too shabby either. The likes of Secret of Mana, Zelda: Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country and Super Mario World remain spellbinding in their originality and in some ways have never been bettered.
FIFA 18 (XO/PS4/PC/Sw/PS3/X360) HHHHH Age: 7+ Press a button, wait half a second, watch player on-screen eventually respond. FIFA 18 has tinkered with many aspects of its football this year but tackling lag was high on the list.
Now the response time to your inputs has been shaved thanks to improved animations and smarter coding. It’s not perfect and is undoubtedly subjective versus the merits of Pro Evo Soccer 2018. But it’s the key to why you might buy FIFA 18 if you already own the 2017 edition.
Certainly, in other areas, FIFA retains and enhances its crown as the most beautiful, most complete version of football. A second helping of ‘The Journey’, FIFA’s celeb-laden story, is pleasantly diverting (although it’s not in the Switch version) while the ‘Ultimate Team’ card-collecting mode is as deep as your pockets allow it to be.
Overall, the differences seem minimal, nonetheless, and it’s that zippier pace on the pitch that determines whether you pick this up instead of PES 2018 or stick with FIFA 17.