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NekoJonez’s October 2018 Update

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Dear lord, is it already October? This year has been flying by and it was extremely nuts. So, I think it’s time to update you guys and girls on what’s going on in my life and what you can expect for the future of my blog. This is quite a lot to talk about so, here we go. Also, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below. 

Personal life stuff

In a previous update, I talked about a few things. Let’s first start with my final project. That’s currently in full swing. Researching and writing this out takes up a lot of my time. For those who don’t know, I’m a college student and I’m doing Computer Science. I have finished all my subjects and now I have my final project to write. I’m taking the networking classes. My final project is upgrading and monitoring a school network. It’s quite a challenge and I’m learning quite a lot.

Because of that, I don’t always have the time to play new games to write about on my blog. In addition to that, I sometimes feel burned out on writing and then writing something for my blog is just a bit too much. So, if I skip a week, I’ll always announce it on my Twitter.

Besides my final project, my theater group started in the new season. Currently I’m working on some things for our open stage next week. It will be quite a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see it when it all comes together. But that has been eating my free time as well.

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On top of that, my family and I are raising two adorable little fluff balls. Since Sparta died in July of 2018, I really missed having a cat around to hold me company. In August of this year, we adopted these two little kittens. They are brother and sister. The left gray one has been named by my sister and this lady is called Dobby. The right brown one has been named by me. I named this man Troy. His name has been chosen as a reference to Sparta. Our bonds are slowly but surely forming. Currently, they have grown enough to learn to explore outside. That’s fun. It really melts my heart when Troy starting to meow when he doesn’t see me for a few minutes when we are outside. They rarely sit still, so I won’t be flooding my Twitter with pictures of them, but I’ll try.

So, it’s quite clear by now that I’m quite busy. I’m still working full time as well. In my last update I also talked about my bad mental health. Currently, the situation hasn’t improved a lot. But, huge changes are happening. Because of privacy reasons, I won’t be talking about them in public.

Before I start talking about the blog related things, I want to talk about the games I’m playing. Currently, I’m playing a lot of games I have reviewed in the past. Games like The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild, Europa Universalis IV, A Hat in Time amongst a slew of others. I mostly want to wrap up those games so I can cross a few games of my backlog list. But, I’m still playing some other games want to review or talk about.

Blog stuff

So, something strange is going on with my blog. For some reason, my views are all over the place. While I have days that my blog is doing very good, I have also days that I barely get any visitors over.

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That said, if anyone can explain me why my views are so low, that would be welcome. Any feedback on my work is welcome. Also, if you ever have a suggestion for a review or a topic you want me to talk about, feel free to contact me on my Twitter or contact page.

A project I have currently running on my blog is the Tomb Raider project. Currently, we are extremely close in finishing it. I have to finish two articles, which I might do next week. I’m aiming to release it somewhere this year. I’ll update you guys on the release date on my Twitter.

In almost every update I talk about wanted to update my blog with new categories and updating older articles (Mostly removing typo’s, fixing broken links and images). For now, I won’t be doing that. I’ll mostly be focusing on the current running projects. The whole restructuring and updating of my blog will be for 2019.

What else can you expect from me in 2018? Besides the Tomb Raider project I don’t have any crazy plans. I have a few games I still want to talk about on my blog before the year ends. There are a few Switch, PC, PSP and PS2 games I still want to review.

I do have some plans for 2019. I have a few ideas for collaborations and other projects. But, I’ll only be able to work on them when the new year starts. Simply, because I don’t have the time for them now.

And that’s everything I wanted to talk about for now. This article has been a summary of my tweets in the past few months, so, if you want to know these things hot from the press; you should follow me on Twitter.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

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Gamer’s Thoughts: Super Mario Odyssey isn’t a perfect game.

Super_Mario_OdysseyOfficial website

I wanted to write a review about this game for quite a while. I have finished this game over a month ago and I haven’t written a first impression or a review about this game. I want to fix that today. But, instead of writing a review I wanted to do something special. While the game got praise from other bloggers left and right, I want to point out some of the flaws and issues I have with the game. Disclaimer, I don’t think this is a bad game but I want to explain my reasoning for why I wouldn’t give this game a 100/100. So, let’s get critical and look at this game again. As per usual, feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below with your thoughts on the game and/or the game. 

Mini-review

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So, what do I actually think about this game? While it’s a very unique and enjoyable game, I found the game quite repetitive.

The music and sound design were amazing but I sometimes had trouble with the controls and more advanced moves.

The visuals are amazing and I loved running around in all the different kingdoms but I found the story lacking and I expected a lot more from the hype and praise it got.

If I would have to give my score for this game it would be an 80/100. Since in my eyes, the game could have done so much more and it left me disappointed in some areas of the game.

This game has a lot to love. Like I said, the visuals, the music, the concept… they are all amazing. The attention to detail is amazing. Cappy is one of the most helpful companions I have seen in a while. Yet, I felt like I enjoyed this game less then the other 3D platformers I played like A Hat In Time. So yeah, personally I felt that there was something lacking. Something that kept me from fully enjoying the game and that thought exercise resulted in this article.

Breath of the Wild did it better

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The story has one big issue and that’s the open world and the overkill of moons you can collect. Now, not too long before the release of this game, Nintendo released The Legend Of Zelda – Breath of the Wild. In this game, you were also able to run around freely and gather the things you need to finish the game.

Now, there is a big difference in how the story is handled in the Zelda games and in the Mario games. The big difference is in how the ending is handled. And if you don’t want either of these games spoiled, just start reading when the text is black again. If you don’t mind the spoilers, just highlight the next part in order for you to read it.

So, in each kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey, there is a story quest you can complete to easily get enough moons to advance to the next kingdom. But, this is an open world game so you can skip this story quest by collecting other moons. Fair enough. You can do the same thing in the Zelda game. You don’t have to defeat the divine beasts in order for you to go to the final boss. 

Now, here is the difference between the two games. If you don’t defeat the Divine Beasts in Breath of the Wild, you will have a harder time before you go and do the battle with Ganon. Since you will need to defeat them before you can fight with Ganon. The more Divine Beasts you beat, the easier you make it for yourself during the final battle. Since they bring down Ganon’s health to half if you have beaten all 4 Divine Beasts. This is not only good story writing, it’s also an amazing reward for the player. You helped free the souls from their prisons and they came back one last time to help the hero in his quest to defeat evil. 

In Super Mario Odyssey, this doesn’t matter at all. I haven’t finished the story quest in three kingdoms and it doesn’t have any difference on the ending scenes or on the final battle at all. So, why should I bother saving or helping people in a certain kingdom? When I entered a kingdom, I felt like I was dropped in a zone and if I found enough goodies I was allowed to go to the next zone. 

Another thing Breath of the Wild did better then Super Mario Odyssey are the Korok Seeds vs Moons. Now, you get both items as rewards for solving puzzles or doing small challenges in the world.  At some moments I felt like Super Mario Odyssey was the whole Korok Seed quest with a Mario skin. Now, I felt rewarded when I found a Korok Seed. Even when I had beaten the game. It gave me another chance to upgrade my bag so I was able to carry more equipment in the game and experiment more.

Now, besides needing them to continue in the main story, there are no additional rewards for collecting moons. Besides unlocking one more world/level, and maybe two small completion bonus things at the end of the game, I didn’t feel any incentive to collect these moons. I felt like I was on a fetch quest for them just because it’s a video game.

The final thing that Breath of the Wild did better is the towers and map mechanics. Yes, the towers. I loved climbing towers in Breath of the Wild and looking over the whole zone trying to find interesting areas to visit. I felt a lack of that in Super Mario Odyssey. Also, the mechanic where you could pin beams of light on the map as markers for you to visit later… man, that would have been great in Super Mario Odyssey as well.

And it would fit the visual theming of the game extremely well. The map of each kingdom is a travel brochure of the kingdom. And let’s be honest, how many times you wrote on the map of a travel brochure to mark certain areas you still want to visit.

And a final and possibly a minor thing is that Breath of the Wild felt more interconnected. The best way to explain here is, ask yourself this. You can walk over from region to region in Breath of the Wild easily. You need to fly over from kingdom to kingdom in Super Mario Odyssey. And while it’s on a planet, you are able to fall into a void if you reach the edge of a kingdom.

A Hat In Time did it better

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Now, I’m certain that people will disagree with me on this but I felt that the controls of A Hat In Time felt better than Super Mario Odyssey.

It’s no secret that I’m not the best in platforming games. So, the running up walls move in A Hat In Time was a godsend to me.

But, the issue is that nowadays, I miss various jumps because I try to rely on that mechanic. It gets better when I kept playing Super Mario Odyssey but I missed that mechanic. Not only that, I got so much used to the dive move in A Hat In Time. I was able to pull off more advanced moves than I ever could in a platforming game. With the 2nd dive/jump, you were able to stop at any time you want. So, if you noticed that you overshoot the jump, you can save yourself easily.

So, at that moment I started comparing the moves I was able to pull off in A Hat In Time to Super Mario Odyssey. And I felt like I was more in control in A Hat In Time. For example, I can’t pull off the Cappy Jump at all in Super Mario Odyssey but I’m able to defeat the hardest jumping challenges in A Hat In Time. I don’t know what’s going on exactly, but I think it has to do with the two things I said above.

Or it might have to do with me being more used to the XBOX360 controller I play A Hat In Time with compared to the first game I had beaten on Nintendo Switch. Maybe when I’m more used to the Switch controller, I might be able to do these more difficult moves.

Other things

Now, remember, I still enjoyed myself with Super Mario Odyssey and it’s still a great game. But, I have seen other games do certain aspects better. Besides that, are there other things I don’t like about Super Mario Odyssey?

The motion controls were also a big issue for me. I played a lot of this game on the go. On the train from and to work. And I think that I’m unable to get a few moons easily without those motion control moves. But, that’s mentioned in almost every review I have seen. And as pointed out by some, why weren’t they able to remap those moves to certain buttons that went barely used in the game like ZL/ZR?

Besides that, I think I have said my main issues with the game. I could go on and extremely nitpick, but that would make this article boring to read. Like I felt each world should have its own Rabbit mini-boss and not repeat them over several worlds with barely any differences…

In the end and I have mentioned this multiple times, I think that this game is wonderful, one of the best games Nintendo has put out in 2017. While it isn’t their best game from 2017, it’s in the top 5. While I feel that this game deserves a lot of praise, it could have done things a lot better and I hope I was able to point that out in this article.

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in the next article but until then, take care and have a great rest of your day.

Publishing: GoVentureWold ~ A Browser Game for Economics

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Jonez speaking here:

If you want to read more and give this game a chance, I would advise you to check out their website: https://goventureworld.com

This game is an MMORPG, where you take on the role of a manager of a new company. Your goal is to grow and become as wealthy as you can. But be aware, this game is grounded in reality! You will have to get economical skills to exceed at this game.

While this game is still in development, the developers are very open to user feedback and bug reports. There are various ways to contact them with idea’s, questions and bug reports.

If this infographic or this text interests you in any way, go and check out the website. Since this game is FREE. (At the moment of writing)

Here is something I really like: there are systems built in, that avoid people going bankrupt when you go idle on the game. Your assets will be frozen so you don’t loose nor win money.

If you want to give this game a try, but don’t know a lot about economics, don’t worry. There are courses and tutorials to help you improve your knowledge. In addition to that, this game is created by a team of people who have created various simulation apps for schools with an economic program. So, they are experienced in their craft.

More information about the company developing it can be found here: http://mediaspark.com/about.html

Check this game out, since it has a lot of potentials! Thank you for reading this article and I hope to be able to welcome you to another one. Until then, have a great rest of your day and take care.

First Impression: Coffe Noir (PC) ~ Detective Business Educational Game

caffeenoirOfficial website

It’s quite clear from the fact that I’m writing a gaming blog that I love games. I also work in a school secretary. Now, I came across this recently translated game that combines both worlds called Coffee Noir. Yes, this is an edutainment game. This game is developed by Doji Educational Innovations, a Poland-based company that specializes in educational and training tools. This game is browser based, so no installs needed. So, I have played this game for a few hours and I’ll describe in this article my thoughts about the game. This is my first impression of this game, which means I haven’t finished the game. As usual for my articles, feel free to write a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Solving that crime

caffeenoir1First, before I forget to mention, the version I played was the version that is meant for casual gamers. That’s also the version I linked at the start of this article. If you want to know more about the educational side of this game, feel free to visit this website.

In this game, you play as a private detective solving crimes. Your name is Arthur Oliver. You try to solve a disappearance case and you go undercover as a boss of a coffee producer to try and get in contact with the suspects who could have kidnapped your client.

In this game, you will learn a lot about various topics like business management, economics, negotiation and many other skills. The developers created a video with more information about the story and the game, which you can see here.

The original language of the game is Polish and it’s recently translated into English. Due to the high amounts of text, I can forgive some parts of the game not being translated. While I was playing this game, I screenshotted the areas where I still found some Polish and mailed them to the developers. They replied a day later and they said they are going to work on it.

Another issue that I ran into is that in multiple areas the textboxes overflow. What I mean by that is that the text continues outside the UI. It’s a shame since this game looks great visually. I also notified the developers of this issue and they said that they will work on that as well.

The presentation of this game is well done. It didn’t take long for me to find my way in the UI. When I wanted to adjust some sales settings, I had to click on “sales” and I was there. The only thing I couldn’t find easily is an overview page of all my income and expenses. That would be a great tool in this business simulation.

Visually, this game looks great. Most of this game looks like it’s drawn by hand. I like the art style that is used in the game. I sometimes forgot that this game is an educational game and I was enjoying myself and if you can achieve that, you know you are doing a good job.

Something I wasn’t too fond off is the music. Don’t understand me wrong, it’s good music, but there isn’t too much music in the game. And when I heard the same music track for the 6th time, I got bored with it. So, I muted the music and played my own music in the background. The sound effects in this game weren’t muted, and thankfully so, since they add so much atmosphere to the game.

Still in development

caffeenoir2If you visit their IndieGoGo campaign, a campaign they ran in 2016, they said that there is still much in the pipeline for this game. A year after the IndieGoGo campaign we got the English version of this game. Now that it is released, we will get one major new feature in late 2017 and that is voice acting.

That’s something that the version I played lacked. The game sometimes felt boring due to me clicking in some many menus and reading so much text. If there were more voice acting and more animation on screen, this game would be more interesting to casual players. But, we should wait and see before we give our final judgment.

Something I applaud in this game is the fact that the educational parts aren’t forced upon the player. If you want to try your own strategy to finish this game, you are free to try. The game doesn’t stop you with annoying math puzzles you must solve before you can continue. This is how edutainment should be, since this way you teach players about something and they have fun. An example is that when you want to train your employees, you must finish the short test to gain a bonus with that employee. Don’t worry, you get the chance to read through the theory before you take the test. I was also happy that I could access it in negotiations since I could look up terms and theory of things I didn’t know.

Another big plus in this game is the handbook and wiki. In the handbook, you can find many pages with usual information about psychology and other usual topics that can aid you in solving the case. While I studied economics in high school, I don’t know a lot about psychology. And this way I don’t have to look up all the information.

Also, the wiki is quite handy to have nearby. When I forgot how to do something or how something worked in the UI or what something meant, my answer wasn’t too far away in the wiki.

This game also has a tutorial. The tutorial itself is quite long and holds your hand throughout the whole process, it’s highly recommended that you go through with the tutorial since it teaches you the game mechanics. The first time I played this game, didn’t end well. I tested my skills without following the tutorial.

Opinion of a teacher

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As I said in the introduction of this article, I work in a school. But I also have some experience in teaching classes. This game would be great to use in an economics class. I wonder if the educational version of this game is different since you could use this game in two very different classes and it would be a shame that teachers didn’t use this game. I can imagine that teachers don’t use this game because, for example, an economics teacher doesn’t want that students have to bother with psychology in the economic classes.

This game isn’t for everybody. If you don’t enjoy mystery games or tycoon games, I would skip this game. If the videos from the developers interest you, give this game a try. This game is rather interesting.

There is a lot of replay value in this game. Since you can tackle the business side of things in some many ways, each playthrough is different from the last. So, no playthrough will be the same. Unless you do it on purpose of course.

Before I wrap up this article, I want to thank Doji Interactive for giving me a free copy of this game to test out. Thank you for putting this game under my attention. I have been playing this game here and there and I have been enjoying myself. When I wrote this article, a lifetime account costs 9,99 USD which is extremely cheap for the content you get in my opinion. Before there is confusion, this isn’t a paid article.

Conclusion

This game has a lot of potentials. When I have more time, I certainly will finish this game. This will most likely happen in my summer break. Most things I missed in this game like voice acting are things on the to-do list of the developer.

So, this game will only keep improving in the future and I can’t wait to see where it goes. If you are interested in mystery games and tycoon games, I would highly recommend checking the official website of this game since it’s a great game in my opinion and I can’t wait how this game is going to evolve.

Before I say goodbye, I should add something. The developers told me that in the coming months, there will be some updates and patches to the game. Another reason to get excited about the future of this game!

Thank you for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this article. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then take care and have a great rest of your day!

First Impression: Paper Mario – Color Splash (Wii U) ~ A Quick Paintjob Should Fix It.

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Official website

So, last week, I bought this game. I tried to avoid as many spoilers as I could. After I play most of Paper Mario Sticker Star, I was rather curious what the next game in the Paper Mario series had in store for me. When I came home, I set up my Wii U and popped the game in. And then I started playing and I started to take notes. And with these notes, I’m now writing this first impression. But what do I think about it? Is this game any good? Should people buy it? Is it a better game than the mediocre-received Sticker Star on 3DS? Well, I’m going to tell you my opinion about it, so I hope you are ready. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Paint the world

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 Finally, a story that doesn’t start with Princess Peach being kidnapped in any way sort or form. This game starts with Peach and Toad going to Mario’s house during a storm. She brings a Toad that’s drained of its color. On the blank paper Toad, there a postage stamp that leads the gang to Prims Island. Here you discover that somebody is stealing the color from the world. After you meet a living paint bucket named Huey, your adventure starts to find the missing and stolen paint stars while also restoring the world’s color.

So far, the story in this game is rather enjoyable and light-hearted. I love the humor in this game and the writing is top-notch. While I could see that some people who have liked that some characters had a bit more development, I don’t mind it that much.

Something that really helps the story is the world design. For some reason, I’m drawn into this world. The setup of the story that you need to color certain areas of the world is just very interesting to me. But more on that later in this article.

Cardboard and effort

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I’m quite sure I’m not the only review who is going to say this, but this game is eye-candy. Sometimes I put my gamepad down and look at the game. This game is beautifully crafted from cardboard and cardboard boxes. It looks like an art project that came to life.

Also, the game knows how paper works. It flies away in the wind and you can roll it up amongst various other things. Also, the animation in this game is very well done as well. Take this screenshot for example. You see Mario running from the road that’s getting up. This scene is pretty early in the game but it’s one of the most memorable scenes in the game so far.

So far, I have played 5-6 areas. All of them had a certain theming. Also, all of them were as beautifully crafted as all the other ones. It really shows that the developers really put a lot of effort into the visual presentation of this game.

In any case, I think it’s time to talk about the music in this game. The soundtrack of this game is lovely. It even has some remixes of old-school Mario games. Now, pulling on the nostalgia strings; that’s something I really like! Like the vibrant presentation, the soundtrack is really upbeat. If you like Nintendo / Mario soundtracks, this one is worth a listen.

Now, the sound design is pretty good as well. It’s another element that helps bring the game to life. This game has almost no voice acting. Apart from some samples for the Toads. So, yeah, thanks to the sound design the character’s emotions shine through. To give one example.

Oh, now that we are talking about the presentation of this game, I would like to talk about the UI. The UI is decent. I would have made a few changes. One of them is that the options menu is more accessible. It’s a bit too buried to my liking.

And the final thing I want to say about the game’s presentation is that the digital manual of this game really takes me back to old school paper manuals. If you have this game, seriously, give it a look. It’s worth your time.

Battlecards and such

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 Ah, I’m forgetting to talk about the controls. So, they are pretty good. I had some minor issues with them, but nothing worth talking about in an article. For example, one or two times, my attack didn’t really land even while I pressed the attack button right on time. Also, the fact that you have to color the cards and after that swipe them to use them is just pretty annoying. But I got used to it.

So, I have avoided talking about it for long enough. How does this game play? Well, you have two styles in this game. The exploration and the battle segments.

Let’s start with the battle segments first. I have already talked about the control issues I have, so I won’t repeat that now. So, the battle system is really similar to Sticker Star. The only difference is that you have battle cards instead of stickers. Also, these battle cards aren’t that easy to find in the world.

A big flaw, in my opinion, is that it’s rather annoying to find the card you want to attack the enemy. Since they are all displayed in a horizontal fashion. The stickers were easier presented in Sticker Star!

In this game, there is something that makes the battles more interesting. In the world, you find blank cards. If you have enough paint, you can paint the cards to do more damage. But that reminds me of another issue I have with the battle system. And that’s that you can’t really choose on which enemy to aim your attack. If that feature is in the game, I’m looking over it.

Before I ramble too much about it, the battle system is flawed yet enjoyable. It’s interesting but I can understand why it puts people off. It can be annoying to back to the world map in the middle of a level so you can go to the shop to buy some new cards and etc. It could use a bit more polish, but the concept itself is interesting to me. It’s almost like PP in Pokémon.

In any case, I still want to talk about the exploration part of this game. So far, I’m enjoying myself. It’s a blast to run around in the beautiful world presented to me in this game. There are various side activities you can do to earn various rewards. Also, in most levels, you can try and pick up the stars in any order you like. Also, looking for the spots to color back in is fun. It’s also the basis for most puzzles in this game.

But I think I’ll go more in-depth about the exploration gameplay in the review. (If I ever write it) Otherwise, take it from me, the charm of the world fits the exploration gameplay perfectly. And with an interesting story, you can’t go wrong!

In conclusion, so far, the only big flaw is that the battle system has some annoying flaws. Flaws that could have been fixed by more battle card shops and a better way to sort and display your cards. If you can look past that, I honestly think that this game is worthy of a purchase. Otherwise, wait for a sale.

In any case, I think I said everything I wanted to say about this game. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing this. I hope to welcome you in another article on my blog, but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!