Title: Super Mario 3D Land

Platform: 3DS


Publisher: Nintendo

Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo

Rating: ★★★★★

Review by: Matt Peters

A Nintendo launch without a Mario game just doesn’t feel right. That may be the reason why the Nintendo 3DS stalled out of the gate. That empty space has now been filled, as Nintendo gives us Super Mario 3D Land. With a few new tricks up his sleeve and his signature hat, Mario’s ready to save the Princess again. Fortunately, this adventure was worth the wait. (more…)


#6 Saints Row: The Third (360, PS3, PC)

Publisher: THQ—Developer: Volition

The Saints Row series has long been the cartoonish alternative for gamers to the now serious and realistic Grand Theft Auto games. Every mistake GTA IV made, Saints Row: The Third fixes. Everything is over-the-top, from the missions to the weapons and the story. The level of polish elevates it from the previous games in the series. But the best part of Saint’s Row: The Third is jumping into co-op and sharing the chaos with a friend. (more…)


Best Video Games of 2011 – Honorable Mentions


Pads & Panels will soon be counting down its Top 10 Video Games of 2011, but before we get to that point, we’d like to pay mind to 10 other games that stood out as top contenders for the year. They were all part of our discussion and all deserve some recognition for their achievements in gaming, even if they didn’t quite make the cut of the illustrious Top 10. All 10 of these titles were games that earned our attention and respect in one way or another in 2011, the list of them effectively serving as our 11-20 choices, presented here in no particular order. (more…)


Title: LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game

Platform: 360 (PS3, Wii, PC, Mac, 3DS, DS, PSP)

ESRB Rating: E10+

Publisher: Disney Interactive

Developer: Traveller’s Tales

Rating: ★★★★☆

Review by: Bill Jones

The latest franchise to be stamped with the LEGO makeover is Pirates of the Caribbean, following the release of the fourth film in the series. Fans of previous LEGO titles (like Harry Potter, Star Wars and Indiana Jones) already know what to expect here, and the Pirates franchise proves a great fit for the zany LEGO characters and stories. Players can, as usual, go solo or play with join-in/drop-out co-op, working through 20 stages divided evenly between the four movies, with cutscenes done only the way LEGO can. Port Royal serves as sort of an expanding hub in this one, where players can accomplish more by earning characters of differing abilities, the most noteworthy of which is the addition of underwater elements. All in all, it’s a great addition to both franchises, and fans of the series will get a kick out of the game, even though the later films undeniably sucked. (more…)


Title: Madden 12

Platform: 360 (PS3, Wii, PS3, 3DS, PSP)

ESRB Rating: E

Publisher: EA Sports

Developer: EA Tiburon

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

In the college vs. pro football discussion, there have always been purists who side with college football because of its focus on young athleticism over the money-hungry pro superstars and the showiness of the NFL. Of course, the NFL has star power, big-time television coverage and endorsements, and a better playoff structure in its corner. But in the world of video game football, it seems Madden’s collegiate counterpart may have finally won the debate.

Over the last two years, I have absolutely fallen in love with the NCAA Football series, from its style of pure football gameplay to its incredibly deep franchise mode and fantastic recruitment process, playing to the strengths of the four-year college rotation, rather than its weaknesses. And NCAA Football 12 gets closer than ever to making the player feel like he is in the coach’s seat. Madden 12, on the other hand, does everything in its power to remind me of why I’m growing tired of professional football. (more…)


The Electronic Entertainment Expo meant a few things for a few different reasons for me, but mostly it was NINTENDO. To paraphrase Ralphie from A Christmas Story, it was total “electric sex.” And sure, much could be said about Nintendo still having trouble, if you can call it that, developing new intellectual properties. However, I wouldn’t call it that. I’d say it’s them smartly sticking to what works, and why not?

After a number of E3s having passed with Nintendo not really announcing much aside from the more “productive” gaming peripherals and casual games, I was happy as a pig in shit to see not only a new Zelda, but a killer new Metroid trailer, Donkey Kong Country Returns – a big “wow” moment for me – Kirby’s Epic Yarn, a new Mario Kart, and that’s just the few that really stuck out to me. (more…)