Game review of “Super Mario World”

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Review by: jakobsherman

Super Mario World was a game released in 1991 by Nintendo. This is a game that would go down in history as one of the best games to ever hit shelves in stores, and for good reason too. Many people praise this game for it’s complex yet simple gameplay. This game mostly revolves around jumping around and collecting power-ups (Mario’s version of items). The game does an excellent job of teaching you these mechanics without shoving them in your face with a tutorial like many other games. Most 2-D Marios are good at this. They show you how to dodge Goombas by letting them kill you, or rather, making you fly off the screen.

This game, however, has some flaws when it comes to that. For example, it teaches you nothing about the different Yoshi powers. Speaking of Yoshi, this is the first game to feature Yoshi, the iconic green dinosaur who’s famous for eating things, and then turning them into eggs. Yoshi sort of acts as a power-up in this game. You find him and other power ups by hitting a question mark block with your fist, although many believe it’s your head. One of these power-ups is the feather, which gives you a cape which lets you fly and glide by jumping once in a sprint. This however allows players to skip near levels entirely.

The difficulty of this game, in my opinion, is unbalanced and sometimes unfair. This is mainly due to the huge difficulty spike around the third world. Worlds are basically just a group of singular levels. At the end of each world you enter a tower and fight one of the eight Koopalings, each being one of Bower’s children. These levels range from haunted houses to underwater sequences to grassy plains, to caves with what seems like endless amounts tunnels. Nearly half these levels, have secret exits that lead to switches that help you in other levels, and even unlock more levels themselves. There are a total of 29 secret exits in this game, and there’s even the star world with five more levels and the special world with levels like Tubular which take hours to complete due to their difficulty. At the end of the last world, you finally face Bowser in his castle in a fight to save Peach from his grasps.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a retro game to play without a deep story or just a fun time, whether it be a quick play through or an one-hundred percent one with lots of content, I recommend Mario World. I give this game an 8.7/10.

The Pearl Thief (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

Julia Beaufort-Stuart is the granddaughter of Sandy Murray, Earl of Strathfearn, and the descendant of a queen. They are a very wealthy and respected family, but when Sandy dies and leaves behind a lot of debt, the Stuarts have to sell the house and all his artifacts.

The family is staying at the house as the new owners get it ready to become a school to sort out any last minute problems. Julia gets there three days before her family is expecting her, so they don’t realize anything is wrong when she gets attacked. Waking up in the hospital, she doesn’t remember anything that happened, but when she gets home she realizes that her accident may not have been an accident. An employee of her family, Dr. Housman, went missing the same day Julia was in the hospital, and she has a theory they were attacked by the same person.

Euan McEwen found Julia unconscious and brought her to the hospital, and she thinks he and his sister, Ellen, might be able to explain what happened to her. The McEwens are Travelers, which means they are nomadic and are treated terribly. She notices how hard their life is so she tries to help, but it is getting more difficult because the cops blame Euan for the attacks.

Julia and the McEwens go on adventures and discover more secrets to help solve the mystery. When a body shows up the cops are just as lost as they were before because the body is so mangled they can’t actually tell the identity. It is assumed that the body is Housman because the cops didn’t find anything to prove otherwise. Now everyone is a suspect but the real criminal is someone no one expects.

I liked The Pearl Thief  by Elizabeth Wein because it was thrilling with a new surprise on every page. I recommend this book because it is a wonderful mystery.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

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Review by: fmarie0112

I have only read a handful of Sarah Dessen books, but every time I pick one up I am never disappointed. All of the books I have read by this author have been extraordinary and The Truth About Forever is no exception. The story follows the summer of a young girl named Macy. Macy has her whole summer planned out – working at the library, studying, and spending time with her mother, sharing silent grief at the traumatic loss of her father. One thing she didn’t plan on was landing a job at Wish Catering, with the chaotic crew that feels more like family. Or digging up feelings of the past with the renovation of the families old beach side cottage, left untouched since the death of her father. Or Wes, an artistically talented boy with a past. But Macy soon discovers that the things you expect the least are sometimes the things you need the most.

This book addresses many issues, such as death of a parent, parental stress, peer pressure, and self-expectations. They way that Sarah Dessen skillfully expresses how these obstacles make the character feel and how she ultimately overcomes them creates an interesting plot and character development that makes you want to keep reading to see what happens next. The Truth About Forever would receive a 5/5 rating from me, as would many more of Sarah Dessen’s books. Her stories leave you on the edge of your seat, unable to put the book down until you’ve finished. I would highly recommend you give this book a shot, as well as anything else written by Sarah Dessen.

Empress of a Thousand Skies (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an of Kalu is the only surviving heir of the Ta’an dynasty. The rest of her family was killed when the current Crown Regent, Seotra, exploded their ship. Rhiannon, or Rhee, only has days left until her sixteenth birthday and coronation when her own teacher attempts to assassinate her. She is saved by a Fontisian boy only a few years older than herself and they go on the run. Even though they get away the news still states she was killed because Seotra wants to keep his power and declare war. Rhee decides that she needs to end Seotra and his reign, so they travel to Tinoppa where he will be attending her “funeral.” She comes extremely close to killing him but she finds out a shocking truth that sets her on a different adventure.

Alyosha Myraz, UniForce soldier and star of The Revolutionary Boys has the misfortune of being with the wrong person at the wrong time. His co-star on the show is actually a spy for the United Planets, an organization that tries to keep peace between the planets. His mission was to get information on the UniForce, which he strayed from until he got a message that there might be an attempt on the princess’s life. Alyosha finds out he can’t  go back to an UniForce base anyway because a video was put out of him saying that he was going to kill the princess. Only he and his co-star know he never actually said this- someone messed with audio from the show to frame him. Alyosha is now the most wanted person in the universe and while on the run he meets someone he thought to be dead.

I liked Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza because it was fun with cliffhangers every chapter. I recommend this book because it is not like anything I have read before and it was very interesting.

Freya (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

Freya, the Norse goddess of love and war, beauty and death, has been living as Sarah Vanadi in a mental hospital. For years she has been growing weaker from the decreasing number of worshipers for her. Freya isn’t getting many worshipers at the hospital but she has nowhere else to go.

All this changes when a government employee comes to see her because he knows her true identity. He’s trying to recruit her to join his organization, Finemdi, that collects gods so they can get more worshipers. Freya is suspicious of him so she declines, but he won’t take no for an answer. He tries to take her by force, but she manages to get away with her meager strength. She and her new mortal friend Nathan create new lives for themselves in Orlando, Florida so that they won’t be easily found. Unfortunately, they meet Dionysus and he hands them over to Finemdi.

Freya will not stand for what they are doing to the gods they capture but has to play along anyway. She knows that she needs to open the eyes of the other gods so they can revolt against the government and be free. All of this comes at a price, but Freya is prepared to fight.

I liked this book because it included a wide variety of gods from different civilizations and I learned a lot of new myths. I recommend Freya by Matthew Laurence because it was interesting and I couldn’t put it down.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

In The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill the people of the Protectorate sacrifice a baby to the witch in the woods each year to keep her from attacking them. The council of elders of the town made up this witch to scare the people so they maintain power. What they don’t know is that there actually is a witch, but she saves the children from getting eaten and gives them to good families in a better town.

This year, it is a little baby girl with a crescent moon birthmark that gets left in the woods to die. The witch picks her up and realizes she is different than the others and special. On the journey to the baby’s new home the witch finds herself circling back and not going toward the right place because she is mesmerized by the little girl. What the witch usually does when she runs out of milk for the children is reach up and feeds them starlight, which makes the children healthier. Instead of starlight she accidentally feeds her moonlight, which gives her magical powers. The witch then knows that she can’t give up the baby so she raises her as her granddaughter. This child, though, causes a lot of trouble and can’t control her magic so the witch goes to drastic measures that almost destroy their lives.

I liked this book very much because it was nothing like I had ever read before. There was a new surprise in each chapter and I couldn’t put it down. I recommend this book if you like fantasy and suspense.

The Wonder of Us (Book Review)

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Review by: apiazza4

The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson is a dual-perspective novel about two friends traveling around Europe. Abby and Riya have been best friends since preschool, but when Riya moves to Berlin for a year they stop talking. To mend their friendship, Riya decides to invite Abby to do a tour around Europe for two weeks. Abby is really into history and the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, so Riya thinks her itinerary will be perfect. Instead of going to the actual wonders, Riya connects other sights to them. The two girls are “chaperoned” by her cousin, whom she finds very annoying.

Abby feels like she barely knows Riya anymore because she acts and dresses differently. Also, she doesn’t seem very anxious to get back to Yuba Ridge, California. During their time apart they have been keeping secrets from each other and this trip will finally bring them out. This secret keeping makes them get into fights on their first stop in Florence.

The next cities they go to are Zurich, Berlin, and Edinburgh. Abby finds out Riya’s life changing secret, can’t handle it, and decides to go back home. Will everything work out or will they stop being friends forever?

I really liked this book because it felt very real since it could happen in real life. The ending even made me sad. I recommend this book because it was interesting and a real page-turner.