Monthly Archives: March 2015

Gamer’s Thoughts: Pokémon Spin-Offs

Ipokemonspinoffs-header own and have played a lot of Pokémon spin offs. When I was browsing the Nintendo 3DS eShop earlier today, I thought it would be a fun idea if I wrote an article about them. Since I keep my articles around a 1000 – 1500 words, I might write more then one article. So, let’s get started talking about the Pokémon spin-offs. Also, I’m not talking about rom hacks. Since I wrote an article about those in the past. And as usual feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the games and or the content of this article. 

Pokemon Mystery Dungeon

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If you watched the first season of the Pokémon anime, you might remember that emotional scene where Ash decides to leave Pikachu behind with other Pikachu’s. That feeling of leaving a friend behind is the exact feeling each and every ending gave me in the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series.

While the games aren’t perfect if you compare them to other similar games, I think they are the best spin-off games in the Pokémon series. I wish that this series got a bit more love. If you want proof that I love this game series, you might want to read my quite in-depth review of the “Gates to Infinity” entry.

So, if anybody from ChunSoft or Nintendo is reading this article, please make more Pokémon Mystery Dungeon games. How you are currently making them, they are nearly perfect. Anyways, I think I better stop talking about this series since I wanted to write this article mostly to give some other spin-offs some time to shine on my blog.

Pokémon Pinball

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When I was young, my mom took me to a clothing store. As a young child, I would usually bring my gameboy along. Yet, in that store there was a pinball machine that kids could play FOR FREE. Yes, you read it right, no coins or anything, it was a free pinball machine.

When I got home, I started to look through my gameboy games and found this game back. I rarely played it but since I saw that free pinball machine I wanted to play it at home as well. In the Pokémon Pinball series, there are only two entries. Which is quite a shame. But they aren’t the only Nintendo-themed pinball games. There is also one of Mario, Kirby and even Metroid.

If you have the chance, I would pick this one up. If you play it on the Super Gameboy, a SNES addon, the blue board will actually appear red. I used to have a picture of that, but I think it was taken with a potato, so I will spare you the cruelty of it.

Pokémon Ranger

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I have talked about this series in the past. I have written an article about the first game in the series. I had a lot of fun with that game, and honestly I still have. It has been quite some time since Nintendo released a new entry of this series.

At first, you might think that this game is nothing more then simply drawing circles, but it’s more then that. It’s a puzzle game and it makes you look in a different angle to Pokémon. Now they are actual helpers to finish your quest instead of helpers in battle.

I mentioned most of my complaints in my first impression article, so I won’t give a long explanation here. It can be repetitive yet it’s so much fun to play. Also, when you look at the later games in the series, you see it clearly evolve into an amazing game. The latest game in the series is one of the best entries ever.

I advice people who where on the fence for this series to give it a try. Read some articles about it. I enjoyed myself with it. The difficulty can be a bit off, but hey, at least it’s something different from the main Pokémon formula.

Pokémon Trozei

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The biggest issue this game suffers from is that the story just seems so well, created just for the sake of having a story.

This game/series is actually a sequel to the gameboy color game: Pokémon Puzzle Challenge. It’s a Pokémon styled Puzzle Quest game. Pokémon Puzzle Quest was more Bejeweled kind of game.

While I’m totally not a fan of the latest free game that they released, I think the puzzle Pokemon games where all pretty amazing. When I’m bored, I sometimes start playing these games. And the time flies by. It’s one of those games that “one more round” really applies.

A big negative of this game is that you are expected to know which Pokémon has which type. If you have that knowledge, some bosses are way more easy to defeat.

A big positive in this game is that when fighting a boss-Pokémon, it will come inside your playing flied and remove some columns. You will have to adapt a new strategy and quickly, since those attacks can hurt quite a lot.

I wouldn’t recommend this game or this series to anyone. I would recommend it to hardcore Pokémon fans, casual gamers and puzzle game fans. Otherwise, this game is a safe one to pass. I’m not saying that these games are bad in any meaning of the word, but they aren’t for everyone.

PokePark Wii

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I almost forgot about this series. While I was about to write the closure to this article, I saw this game sitting on my shelve. These games are quite something.

This game is a more relaxing Pokémon game where you need to make friends with the Pokémon of an area before you can progress to the next one. The way you can befriend a Pokémon is by a race, hide-and-seek, quiz, quest or a battle.

During your adventure, you will get different Pokémon in your party that have different abilities in battle and in exploration. Also, the party games make for quite a nice time.

If you have a young child that loves Pokémon, I urge you to buy this game for them, I’m quite sure they will enjoy this one. I’m still playing the sequel of this game and it’s a lot of fun. When I am in the mood again to play on my Wii, I’ll most likely try to finish PokePark 2.

Closing the article.

Well, I have talked about most of the spin-offs I played. It’s quite clear that I haven’t played some big ones, but I’m planning to change that in the future. I hope you found some new Pokémon spin-offs that seem interesting to you or maybe you enjoyed reading my opinion about a Pokémon spin-off you played.

In any case, I might write a sequel to this article if I played some other Pokémon spin-offs that I find worthy to be talked about on my blog. I hope you enjoyed reading this article and I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog. Until then, take care!

First Impression: Europa Universalis IV (PC ~ Steam) – Thank you Mizari.

EuropaUniversalisIV_Packshot_editedLink to the official website

For the people who read my blog often, they might know that one of my best friends is Mizari. I often call him MiseryLC or anything among those lines. One of his favorite games is Europe Universalis IV. Recently I decided to give it a try with him myself. The gameplay and the genre looked interesting to me, so I bought it while it was on sale. After playing almost 40 hours in about a week or so, I think it’s safe to say that I’m having quite a lot of fun! So, shall we take a look at this game and what first impressions it left on me? The issue is, in order to write a review for a game, I have to beat it. While you can “beat” this game, you can restart it with and play it in another way. So, I think I’ll write a review after I played around 150+ hours of this game. So, that said, it’s time to start talking about this game, and as usual, feel free to leave a comment on the game and or the content of this article. 

Age of Empires?

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When it comes to games where you need to build your own empire(s), I prefer the gameplay of Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. So, when I first started to play this game, I was quite confused. I might have looked over the tutorial but I haven’t seen one. Thankfully, Mizari is showing me the ropes. It’s quite handy to have a friend to play this game with.

When you start to get the hang of the game, it gets quite interesting. There isn’t any story in the game as far as I have noticed, since it’s one that you can make yourself. In our multiplayer sessions I play as Russia and he plays as the Ottomans. I don’t think that the Russians and the Ottomans ever formed a friendship.

 Numbers game.

2015-03-08_00001At first, I thought that most of this game would be a number game where higher stats would mean a better country. Let me tell you that it isn’t the case. Your goal is not only to manage a country but also you need to manage the relationships with other countries and such. When you don’t improve it at frequent intervals, you could get into trouble.

In my early multiplayer sessions, I regularly got attacked by other countries. I wasn’t that careful in managing my military points so I got attacked. But when countries that were afraid of MiseryLC’s empire also started attacking me, all I had to do was improve the relationship with his country and the attacks stopped. This makes it more then just a numbers game. It gives a realistic vibe to the game where time is just indicated by numbers.

The big issue is, that when you are just a beginning player there is way too much to play with. I found the tutorial when I wrote this part of the article, and only seeing three lessons, made me facepalm. The depth of this game, you can’t really explain that in three sessions. Well, you could but you might risk that you overflow the new player with too much information at once.

If you want to start playing this game, I highly recommend that you first play the game with a sort of guide. Don’t play in IronMan mode, since you can’t “roll back” choices. Speaking about that, there is one thing that is disappointing to me. You can only unlock achievements in IronMan mode. I think it would be better otherwise. I might be looking over a logical reason for why it’s ‘Ironman only’… but I hope that isn’t the case.

Nitpicking

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This game updates a lot, which can be annoying sometimes. During my play sessions I had a few nitpicks. Recently, MiseryLC and I started a new game where we would play content from the quite recently released DLC “El Diablo”. It’s kind of neat that somebody who doesn’t own the DLC is able to play the game and it’s content then as well. But you play with a very unstable game then. My game crashed 3-4 times in 20-ish minutes.

I was able to fix it by buying the DLC myself and then play with him. While there is a lot of DLC for this game, various ones are simply cosmetic. Now that I think of it, a handful are just music packs.

Talking about that, the music for this game is outstanding. In my previous (music) article I actually talked about a track that I really liked. But often, I had moments where my country was in war and relaxing music was playing. This actually took me out of the experience. But a neat kind of hidden feature is that when you hover over the date, the title of the song actually is shown.

So, this game is amazingly polished and I already lost various hours to it. I plan to play it for even more and probably write a more in-depth review of game. But there is so much to cover, the length of my usual “first impression” articles don’t quite cut it.

Apart from some irritating bugs, that sometimes get patched a few hours after they have been found, and some odd things here and there… The game is quite fun. Also, the search option to look for provinces is such a god send. Without it, I would had more rebels in my country then there are M&M’s in a M&M bag.

Anyways, I think I have said most of the things I wanted to talk about this game. I hope you enjoyed my first look at this game and if you are interested in the game, I advise you to not buy it with the DLC included. Since those can add some new gameplay layers that might make the already quite overwhelming game even more overwhelming. But once you get used to how the game plays, the hours can fly by really quickly. Just giving you that warning.

My Favorite Game Music #12: Just more plain awesomeness.

photo-1024x768It’s time to write a new article about my favorite music in the magical land of video games. Did I ever mention that I’m not that good in introductions? The big issue is that it’s the first impression somebody gets from you and it mostly decides if people want to read your content or not. But somehow, you guys keep reading my content. 🙂 To all new people who started reading my stuff, welcome. Let me explain the rules I use in this series. One song per game series in each article! Otherwise I would flood these articles with Pokemon and Zelda songs. Also, only original songs, no remixes. If I want to talk about remixes, I mention it in the start of the article. Anyways, that are the rules, time to get blasting! Feel free to leave a comment about the music, games and or the content of this article. 

Shantae And The Pirate Curse (3DS) ~ Scuttle Town

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Blah, blah, blah. Oh wait, this isn’t my draft anymore. I teased this article with filler text. In any case, let’s talk about the track now. This track is the motivation why I wanted to write a new gaming music article. It’s that catchy.

As a young kid, I heard of Shantae. I played the start quite a few times but I always got distracted by other games. Now I bought the new game on the 3DS eShop and I’m not regretting it. It’s in a “Metriodvania”-ish style of game and those games I can get totally absorbed in. Seriously, start to listen to this track and try to tell me that you don’t get excited for an adventure. I dare you.

Mario and Luigi – Dream Team (3DS) ~ Breezy Mushrise Park

250px-Box_NA_-_Mario_&_Luigi_Dream_TeamI’m writing a first impression article on this game, so my opinion on it shall be for then. But something I will already spoil is that I think that the soundtrack is one of the best and catchy I heard in a Mario game for quite a while.

I even have another tune ready for when I write a new Game Music article in the future. Yeah.

The whole soundtrack of this game puts so much additional feeling in this game that I start to love it even more. When you are looking for a Mario game that has an amazing soundtrack, you have to check this one out!

Kirby’s Triple Deluxe (3DS) ~ Dedede’s Royal Payback

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 I can’t put my finger on it but I’m quite sure that this track is a remixed track of an older Kirby song. Before anyone starts to shout that I broke my own rules, don’t worry since this song actually plays in Kirby’s Triple Deluxe.

What a tune this is. It’s quite upbeat techno/dance music that every DJ should play at a gaming music party. It is a very dance-able tune and I just love to listen to it. The soundtrack of this game is one of many that I listen too but I’m always glad if this song starts.

It makes me happy and I remember the fun times I had with the game. Oh and Kirby, thank you for making me miss my stop on the train one time. I was too addicted to your gameplay.

Europa Universalis IV (Steam) ~ Ride Forth Victoriously

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Quite recently I started playing with MiseryLC, Europe Universalis. And I enjoy it quite a lot. While I’m not good at it, I love managing a country and growing. I’m truly bad at managing my army, and sorry MiseryLC… I’m truly doing my utter best.

But this game has an amazing soundtrack with this track being one of my utter favorites. Just listen to it and you will feel like an army general that is going to war in order to conquer a nation. If that’s not the case, I think we can agree that this track is very fitted for a war or some sort of epic moment.

I’m actually planning to write a longer article about this game, my first impression. Since this game has actually no real end, I think I’ll write a review of it after I played long enough so that I have seen most random events and most common scenario’s.

Anyways, enough talking about this track, it’s amazing and I look forward to playing more of this game!

Shovel Knight (Steam) ~ Strike the Earth! Plains of Passage.

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Such a shame that as retro / niche game blogger I never talked about Shovel Knight. It’s an amazing game that brings the old retro game goodness back to this age.

The main theme is actually one of my favorite songs in the game. While I haven’t gotten far into this game (I defeated only 3 bosses), I have a certain love for this game.

This game is mostly pulling me in with the great soundtrack. The energy and the similarities to chiptune and old school 16 music are just striking! The music of this game is even great to listen to without playing the game.

Final thoughts

Alright, I told you about 5 new pieces of music that were added to my favorites rather recently. I actually released that I have written 12 of these and that I talked about a lot of music already. This leads me to one logical conclusion! That one of my favorite music genres is game music.

They just set the mood to play the game, they draw you into the world and make it harder to put the game down. In this article I talked about the soundtracks that captured my heart in 2015. A year that is flying by for me. I can barely believe it’s March already. I’m having so much fun at work and with my blog it’s almost unheard of.

Anyways, I have some great articles in the works for you guys and I’m sure that I’ll be able to publish them soon. If you have ideas of suggestions of topics I should talk about, feel free to comment or write me a mail. In any case, it’s time to finish this article. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this one. Until the next one! Take care~