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The ABC’s of Favorite Video Games! The Letter “C”

It’s time for the next letter! This one wasn’t too difficult as it contains one of my top RPGs.

That’s right, my top pick for this letter is Chrono Trigger! It was my first game involving time travel and I absolutely loved the concept. It was a blast to play. Lucca, Frog, and Robo were my favorite characters, Ayla was my least favorite. The music is great too. I first played the DS version, as the vast majority of my console gaming life came much later due to not being able to afford stuff in childhood. I was so happy to get it since I’d heard so many great things, and it was worth all the hype.

Honorable Mentions:

Captain Toad Treasure Tracker. Adorable, fun puzzles, what’s not to love? The upcoming Switch and (surprising) 3DS versions were just announced, but I played on Wii U. Buy it if you didn’t, great game!

Chocobo’s Dungeon. Okay, so this was a Final Fantasy spinoff game on Wii but I thought it was adorable and enjoyed my time with it though I haven’t finished. It’s a good pick up and play rogue-like RPG, which is always nice to have in a game collection.

What are your favorite C games?

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The ABC’s of favorite video games! The Letter “B”

I want to try to post these more often (or it’ll take ages to get to Z), I’ve just been quite busy! Anyway, I have more games for this letter than the first, so had a bit of going back and forth over what is my top pick. But as much as I enjoy Breath of the Wild, I went with the game that created a love for match-3 games.

The Bejeweled series was amazing at the time. My boyfriend (now husband) gave me a copy of Bejeweled 2 years ago, and then we went on to play Bejeweled 3. I loved Zen mode just to relax with the soundtrack, and loved the puzzle mode in both. It’s a game I really need to install again as I still haven’t since getting this computer. It was just so addictive.

I want to talk about Breath of the Wild too, because I just enjoy climbing mountains, riding horses, and paragliding as I discover the world. I also love to bomb the enemies, even if it’s a slow way to combat. I’ve barely made progress, because when I play, I just busy myself with exploring. I will probably never “beat” it, as my joy comes from just seeing the weather elements and searching areas. Though I can’t stand when rain stops me from climbing.

Honorable mentions:
1. Bastion was a beautiful game, and I loved the story. It was well done and sometimes I still think about it, like a good book.

2. Bayonetta, because I love her. She’s pretty epic and it’s just plain fun to play.

3. Bravely Default was great, until you hit the halfway point where it gets repetitive. Up until that point though, I would have sung praises. It’s still a great game though, and I did buy the sequel to try. Unfortunately I’ve taken quite a long break because of that repetition so I still need to finish the game.

Nintendo Direct January Wrap-Up

Today was an unexpected Nintendo Direct! I crawled out of bed in time to watch it live (was at 6 AM for me). I wasn’t going to watch it live, but just happened to wake up at 5:30 and knew I wasn’t gonna fall back to sleep anyway so it worked out.

Anyway, lots of exciting stuff was mentioned, showed, and given release dates along with a new announcement of the next game in the Fire Emblem series for 3DS. A reminder to myself that I should finish Fire Emblem: Awakening, at least before this one comes out. Of course, I’m in the middle of so many games right now it’s kind of ridiculous, and I’m constantly starting more.

The biggest news was the release date for the New 3DS XL for NA, and confirmation that the regular New 3DS is not coming to NA (so no fun face plates for us). I’m not too bothered since I wanted the New 3DS XL as my upgrade. I know this is upsetting for some though (as well as the name, wish they’d changed it for NA, but it’s not going to stop me from getting one). I look forward to the better 3D; it’s a feature I think I’d use all the time if the new system has really improved it. Also look forward to the processing power for speedier loading and just the size. I have the regular size 3DS, so I can’t wait for the bigger screens. It retails at $199.99, starting with Red and Black colors. There are also two bundles (Majora’s Mask and Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, both are beautiful). I really want this, but since I can’t afford a bundle right now, and I want more color options (I have a black DS Lite and my current 3DS is red, so I really want a different color), I suppose I’ll be waiting. Hubby wants one too so there’s that as well.

I am excited that Majora’s Mask comes out the same day, February 13th. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick it up, as I’ve never gotten to play it. Though technically I have the Gamecube port, it’s just not accessible right now. And really, I like old games remade with better graphics, I can’t help it. I still want to get Ocarina of Time 3D and Wind Waker HD for that reason.

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse comes out on my birthday, which is February 20th. I love that Claymation look and I’m excited based on that, besides being a longtime fan of Kirby.

Mario Party 10 was announced for March, along with a Super Mario wave of Amiibo. It does allow you to use the Smash figures, but you’ll lose your Smash data if you do. So I guess I’ll have some repeat characters, when I can actually afford amiibo (I chose expensive but fun hobbies…).

NA is getting the Puzzle and Dragons Mario Edition in a double pack (comes with Puzzle and Dragons Z), which reminds me of Puzzle Quest, a game I loved. So I will most likely pick this up at some point.

Pokemon Shuffle is a free to play downloadable 3DS game coming next month, so I’ll probably do that. Haven’t tried the other FTP game (Steel Diver: Sub Wars) because it didn’t interest me. But I could try this one.

Splatoon was announced for May and you can customize your character! I swear, I’ll be spending time enjoying trying on the different outfit options. That makes me seem so girly but hey, clothes are cool in games (in reality, I don’t like shopping for clothes).

Another huge thing is Wii games on the eShop. I already have the Wii games I wanted, but this is still a good thing, especially for fans of Metroid. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is available now on eShop, with the other games announced being Punch Out (Jan. 22) and The Metroid Prime Trilogy (Jan 29). If a Wii game supports classic controller, you can use the Wii U Gamepad instead; also you can play Wii games from the Wii U menu now, which is great.

Xenoblade Chronicles X has a new trailer, still no date besides this year. I’m thinking Fall release, but this will be a day one buy for us.

Mario Vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars has cross-buy, so if you get the Wii U version, you’ll get a code to download the 3DS version and vice versa. It looks like a fun little game, and I haven’t tried any in this series but I really like the idea of cross-buy.

There was a section highlighting some upcoming eShop games. The Xenoblade port for the New 3DS was given a release window for April. Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate has a release date of February 13th, as you might have guessed by the bundle.

My favorite eShop game announcement was Ironfall, as it was a game I heard about from its beginning. It’s very impressive for being made in Assembly language. It looks like a very fun shooter too.

If you want to see what else was talked about or see some gameplay, check out the Nintendo Direct video below!

Nintendo Amiibos: Praise, Analysis and A Criticism

Nintendo’s take on the NFC figure as seen in Skylanders and Disney Infinity has been hyped due to the fact that they can be used across multiple games. These “toy to life” figures are really quite nice, with detailed features to make any Nintendo fan happy to have on display, while keeping kids happy as well. I do like the attention given to character outfits, such as Peach and Zelda’s dresses. The box presentation is fun, and the instructions are clear and simple.

I received two Amiibos this holiday, one for me and one for my husband. We have Peach and Samus. I haven’t yet taken it out of the box, but I do plan to. At 12.95 apiece, one might say they’re expensive. Though despite functionality, I’d proudly display them as figures on a shelf when not in use. With that in mind, the price seems reasonable.

What doesn’t seem reasonable is how hard it has been for people to get their hands on these characters. Nintendo did not have enough supply to meet demand; not the first time the company ran out of supply, as we have seen this exact thing before (i.e. original Wii consoles). However, my criticism comes from several issues. First are the rumors having gone around about certain Amiibo figures being “limited” and possibly “discontinued” (you can read more about that in this article). While figures like Wii Fit Trainer may not have much function outside of Smash Bros, they should still be available.

If this is how Nintendo responds, then they are pandering to scalpers instead of the common fan or parents. I for one really want a Marth figure, as I love him as a character. I was hoping to get one when I had a bit of extra money; of course this figure is nowhere to be found now. One could blame the Christmas rush for this, but that’s not the whole truth. The amount of opportunistic E-Bayers who managed to swoop in and buy many figures is ridiculous. It begs the question: Who is Nintendo targeting with the Amiibos? Are they targeting collectors? Or are they trying to target families, children and the common fan?

At this point in time, it certainly feels like the former. Another major criticism goes along with that; retailer exclusivity. If you want the Rosalina & Luma figure then you have to buy it from Target, if you want Lucario then you must buy from Toys R Us, if you want Shulk then you must pre-order from the evil emp- *ahem* Gamestop. There are also Best Buy exclusives. As a consumer, I HATE this with a passion. Store exclusivity does not in any way target kids or their parents. No, Nintendo should not always pander to family and youth for everything, but we cannot forget that NFC figures are first and foremost TOYS.

An argument to this could be that the common parent and kid will just want the iconic characters being Mario, Luigi, Peach, DK, Yoshi, Link, perhaps Kirby, and Pikachu, and that those characters will always be available. Except that they aren’t even now. I could not find Link, I couldn’t even find Mario or Luigi. This could be due to Christmas. However, the fact is that some kids might want Lucario. Some kids might want Rosalina if they played Super Mario Galaxy. Some might want Meta Knight (Best Buy exclusive). The fact that Nintendo isn’t even allowing these to be purchased directly online from them is even more limiting. Also, not all Nintendo fans are rich enough to pre-order every figure they want; should they be hurt by this?

I don’t have a solution. I can only express my discontentment over how the Amiibo situation is being handled by Nintendo. I’ll always be a fan, but I don’t always agree with their business practices. I’m not one of those fans who go “Nintendo is perfect and can do no wrong” while ignoring or denying any of the problems. All companies have problems, no company is perfect. However this decision is less consumer-friendly than I’d like to see from a company I respect. While I don’t play Disney Infinity, I would prefer their business model for selling figures, as there is no problem with finding the Disney characters you want of those that have been released.

How do you feel about Amiibos? Do you find the situation problematic, or do you not care? What do you think of the NFC figure trend as a whole?

Mutant Mudds Deluxe: A Tribute to Classic Platformers

I received Mutant Mudds Deluxe from the #Games Matter event several weeks ago, courtesy of @IndieGamerChick and @RenegadeKidLLC. It’s actually a game I was interested in, but wasn’t sure about. So I was really happy to receive it and experience it!

Mutant Mudds Deluxe bleeds nostalgia; from the moment you boot up the game, it feels like an early 90’s platformer. It’s somewhere between 8 and 16 bits in terms of graphics, giving it that retro look. The music reminds one of 90’s video game soundtracks as well.

When you start a game, you find your character, Max, playing a DS at his grandmother’s house and are interrupted when an asteroid falls and there’s an invasion of Mudds outside. Then you arrive at a screen full of doors, or levels. Of course, only a few are open, with the other doors opening as you play through.

The gameplay is at once familiar if you grew up with games such as Super Mario World (though there’s no jumping on enemies here) and other 8-bit platformers. Max is armed with a gun and a jetpack, which can be upgraded as you collect diamonds. The levels grow in difficulty quickly, becoming brutal. It may take several attempts to clear a level; lucky for me though, the Wii U version of this game has checkpoints. You also have an unlimited amount of lives, which definitely helps. I admit to being poor at platformers, yet I find it satisfying when I finally get through a level. I hate disappearing platforms, but I can appreciate the increased difficulty they bring. This game is very challenging; and the bonus levels hidden within each stage are brutal, as are the ghost levels. I’m not even halfway through. Admittedly, my husband probably enjoys the game more than me.

Mutant Mudds Deluxe is perfect for hardcore platformer fans and I do see the appeal. So if you love a challenge, I would recommend this.

Poker Dice Solitaire Future – A Simple Single Player Yahtzee Game

Poker Dice Solitaire Future is another casual game from RCMadiax, which I received a while ago through #GamesMatter, courtesy of both RCMadiax and IndieGamerChick. I love this little game because it’s like a Solitaire version of Yahtzee, my favorite dice game. The categories are pretty much the same, except that the final category is labeled “5 of a kind.”

This game is addictive if you like dice and poker at all. It’s a game of luck, certainly, but it keeps you rolling to see what you’ll get. The object of course is to get the highest score. It doesn’t save your scores though, so if you want to make it a competition between friends, you’d have to write down your score as each person takes a turn playing. If you don’t have any options, you can choose a category to take a red chip, which will give you no points and let you roll again. Each category has 4 chips and the game doesn’t end until each was clicked on 4 times.

I did encounter a few issues. Sometimes the sprites flicker during play, which is mildly annoying but no big deal. I did encounter a bug though. If you max out on 3 of a kind, 4 of a kind, have 2 5 of a kinds, and taken 2 reds for 5 of a kind, that’s where this problem can occur. After achieving those conditions, a 5 of a kind was rolled. There was no possible category available, but the game was stuck highlighting 5 of a kind and would not accept a click in another category to take as a red. Clicking on it did nothing, so the only thing to do was manually end the game and start over. Another bug is that if you click on the roll button while the dice are still rolling, you lose a roll (you get three at a time).

At the time I received the game, no one had yet gotten a perfect score. Then I did! It was awesome; I went a little crazy on Miiverse lol. Here’s the screenshot from that win, which I took with my camera.

All in all, I enjoyed it more than Shut The Box. It is currently available for 69 cents, so I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of pick up and play game.

Shut The Box Review

Shut The Box is an indie title from RCMadiax, which I received through #GamesMatter. It’s a short and casual game based on the traditional pub game of the same name. The traditional game will have a single row of tiles 1 through 9 though some go to 12; this digital version has three rows of 1-9. The goal of this version is to get all the tiles off the screen by rolling dice and removing tiles that add up to their sum.

Shut The Box has that addictive quality that will keep you trying to make it. Once you’ve gotten all the tiles except for the last 1-6 on the screen, you drop to one dice roll; all other times you get two dice. This makes it a luck-based game. The interface is colorful and simple. It really is basic, with not much else to it. It does what it’s meant to do; the game just doesn’t add much flair. For the budget price of 99 cents, I’d recommend it if you have a spare buck (actually, it’s currently on sale for 69 cents).

I haven’t yet succeeded in a perfect game, though I have made it down to a single tile. I’ll keep trying, and I’ll enjoy it along the way. The rounds are really quick, and I’ve had fun playing it in between other games. Of course, I’m not sure it’ll be one I keep coming back to over time; but I can say that about my regular playing cards as well. Similar to Solitaire, it’s a good game to pass the time.

Another RCMadiax title I got the pleasure to play was Poker Dice Solitaire Future, which I liked even more. That review will be coming shortly!

Internal Invasion: An “Anti” Virus Game – Review

So I got this 2014 indie game for free to check out on the Wii U. I got about halfway through the levels and look forward to the rest. It is published by Bear Box Media and this is their debut game.

Internal Invasion is a physics and gravity based game similar to ones like Angry Birds or Cut the Rope, while still remaining original. You play a micro-sized robot named Ro-bert, traveling inside a body via mini cannons to defeat a virus. Your objective is to collect as many pills as you can while getting through the goal at the end of the level. The scoring is based on a par system, so it’s easy to tell how you rank after completing a level. There are three pills to collect and you get one pill for being under par (the number in the left hand corner) and one pill for reaching goal within the time limit. As you go on, there are more obstacles in your way, making it more difficult to get a perfect score. The game also has “boss levels” where you have to quickly escape to the goal.

I noticed a slight frame rate drop whenever a level is loaded, but it really didn’t bother the gameplay. The graphics are simple with 2d sprites and 3d cel-shaded objects that work well together. The music is laidback and ambient, and enjoyable to listen to.

Altogether, it’s a nice game to play a few levels of before firing up another Wii U game, or to relax between games. I do enjoy it in short bursts, and it also has that “just one more level” feel to it. All in all, it’s a decent puzzle game that’s deceptively hard if you want to gain 5 pills on every level.

I’d recommend it to fans of physics-based games, puzzle games and casual games. Right now this game is only Wii U as far as I know, but it will be making its way on Google Play, Apple App Store, and Tizen.

Special thanks to #GamesMatter and @IndieGameChick on Twitter for providing me a download code!

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