Ukiyo-E Heroes – Documentary Premiere

Let’s talk about something very different this week. Tomorrow, on the 2nd of May, a documentary called Ukiyo-E Heroes goes in premiere at the Hot Docs movie festival in Toronto (buy tickets). Wow, wait NekoJonez, why are we talking about this on a gaming blog? Well, the reason for that is simple. The documentary is about somebody who crafts traditional Japanese woodcuts with a lot of Mario/Pokémon and various other pop-culture references.

What’s the documentary about?

A journey of discovery into how a Canadian craftsman and an American designer with a father and son generation gap who collaborate to revive the ancient Japanese woodcut (Ukiyo-e) using pop-culture icons: Super Mario and Pokémon. 

Here is the team that made the documentary.

A Rivertime Entertainment Production

Director: Toru Tokikawa
Writers: Min Hye Kim, Toru Tokikawa
Producers: Toru Tokikawa, Yu-Fai Suen
Composer: Alan Braxe
Music Supervisor: Alexandre Escolier
Sound Mixer: Danielle Adams
Advisor: Ben Elliott

Follow this documentary

You can find a trailer on their Facebook page and you can follow them on Twitter and even more information can be found on their website. Well, the website of the production company that made the documentary called Rivertime Inc.

This is worth it!

I have watched every teaser and trailer they have put out on their Facebook page, and believe me, this documentary is going on my “to watch” list. I’m very interested in Japanese culture myself. My life long dream is actually going on a trip to Japan.

Since childhood, I have been fan of various Japanese game studios like Sony, Square, Capcom and various others. My favorite is Nintendo.

But, I’m getting off track here. From what I have seen, the documentary is filmed very good. There is a lot of imagery to see how everything came to be. Also, the documentary is filmed at various locations. I love when documentaries do this. That way we get a better view into the subject that the documentary is presenting. If you want to judge for yourself, go and take a look at the social media and the website I linked earlier.

Currently, the studio is working to get this documentary distributed in Europe. So, if you are a distributor in Europe and you are interested in this movie, feel free to get into contact with Rivertime Inc, since if you help to get this documentary into Europe and/or Belgium, I’ll be a customer!

So, if you are in Toronto this week, go to the Hot Docs festival and give this documentary a watch. They are also in the running for an audience award! And they deserve it, in my opinion.

That’s everything I wanted to say about this documentary, I want to thank Rivertime Entertainment for mail me about this. Otherwise I would have slipped under my radar and it would be a shame, since I’m quite interested in seeing the documentary myself.

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, take care and have a great rest of your day.

First Impressions: RollerCoaster Tycoon (PC) ~ Build Those Parks

RCT 1 (1)Link to Wikipedia entry

So, lately I have been playing Rollercoaster Tycoon on my old Windows 98 machine. This was one of the games I played as a kid over and over again. I couldn’t get enough of it. I remember that I didn’t have the patched version and I didn’t have the expansion packs. So, I didn’t get all the content and I got one nasty bug. I was unable to load save files. And to make matters worse, my sister and I were only allowed a limited time on the computer. We always asked our parents to not shut down our computer so the scenario was able to finish. Meanwhile we were hoping that nothing happened so we wouldn’t lose the scenario. Because everything can happen. While I was playing the game the other day, I was so close in winning a scenario… When just before the deadline, one of the most reliable and oldest rollercoasters crashes and I lose the scenario. Anyways, enough stalling. It’s time to take a look at this game. But for this article, I will take a look at the whole package. So, the two added expansion packs and patches are installed. “Loopy Landscapes” and “Added Attractions Pack”. As per usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on this game and/or the content of this article.

Build, build and build some more

RCT 1 (3)So, in this game, there isn’t a story to speak off. Well, some missions provide some minor backstory to the park you are going to play. But it doesn’t go very in depth about it. This game is about building parks. You have to build the attractions, roads, stalls, manage staff and prices and etc.

In the original game, there were 20 missions. But, if you install the expansion packs, you more than double the amount of missions. Surprisingly, both expansion packs add a lot of content. Here in Europe, the first expansion pack is called: “Added Attractions Pack”. In the USA, you will know this game as: “Corkscrew Follies”. Which is a way better name in my opinion, since it doesn’t mislead the player. Since the “Added Attractions Pack” adds more then attractions alone.

In any case, each mission is more difficult than the last. I have currently finished 4 missions and I liked them. The first park is a nice small park to get used to the mechanics and the last park was a tiny beach side park I had to build. So far, each mission brings something unique to the table. I wonder how far they took this, since I fear that this might end up in similar ideas with different skins.

This game was originally released in 2000. Sixteen years later, this game still looks wonderful. It aged pretty well. The attractions looks colorful and bright. The only thing I would have changed is that some guests had a more female look.

When you aren’t happy with the colors of the attractions, you can choose from a pretty wide color pallet. Want to paint the supports white? Well, you can. And the best part is, it changes in real time. And you can change the color of almost everything. When you get the color drop down, you can make it the color at your heart’s content.

The animation in this game is top-notch. It makes the game come truly alive. The walking animation of the guests are really adorable in my opinion. The visual presentation and the animation of the rides and guests of your park give a certain charm to the game.

Learn on your own

RCT 1 (1)While the missions have a set goal to reach like for example, have a rating of X and X amount of guests in your park before the end of month X. And then it’s up to you. This makes the replay value of this game extremely high. I’m quite sure, that no two parks are exactly the same. Every playthrough is different.

Here and there, there is some down time. When you are bored in the game. Mind you, that happened quite rarely with me. You can click the balloons the guests let fly to pop them or click the ducks to make them quack. Lovely attention to detail.

 

The most important thing you will need to play this game is a mouse. Everything is done in the UI. I really like how simple everything is set-up. The UI is so well designed, that I can pick up this game every time and I don’t have to look where everything was. There are a few keyboard shortcuts, but honestly, I rarely use them.

Play how you want

 

RCT 1 (2)

The game is can be unforgiving. When you fail your mission and you haven’t saved often, be ready to restart the whole mission. Some missions can take several hours to complete. A golden tip from me, save every few months. It will be easier when you need to roll back when you made a stupid mistake.

Something I really like is that even when your mission is finished, you are allowed to continue to play in the park.

I could talk for hours and hours about the gameplay of this game. Let’s just say that this game is pretty in-depth and has a lot of variety to offer. When you are bored with managing your staff, you can go build some attractions. Bored of managing the finances of your park, you can go and landscape your park. And so on and so forth.

But this game has a few problems in my opinion. The music is pretty nice to listen too, but I remember that when I played this game in the past without the expansion packs, I couldn’t let the rides play music. So, I ended up listing to my own music instead. The expansion packs added the feature to let any attraction pack a nice selection of music. Yet, some minor bugs stop me from enjoying it. When you let two rides play the same music, they play out of sync. And I had some music cut out on me when I just moved the attraction one pixel off screen.

Also, sometimes the game doesn’t save my settings or change them without asking me. Out of curiosity, I started up the tutorial and it changed the screen resolution. And I have to set the option: “Use real name of guests” each and every mission.

Oh, and there is not an easy way to go to the options from the main menu. You have to be in a mission before you are able to change any settings.

Something bugs me about the message to raise my entrance fee. When my entrance fee is already 30€, and some guests come only with 60€… Well, he spends more than half of his budget. Then, when I read the thoughts of my guests, I get complaints that rides and such are too expensive.

I also wished that there was a sign to stop my staff from entering an area. You have only a sign to stop from doing that.

Something I truly disliked was that, even when I put a security guard in the area; I still got broken benches.

In conclusion, I think that this is a very nice game is truly worth playing. I enjoy myself a lot while playing this game. It’s very well put together and challenging. There were a few things that could have been polished up a bit more. But the game we got is a real classic. This game is on Steam for 6€. It’s truly a steal for that price!

So, that’s everything I wanted to say about RollerCoaster Tycoon for now. When I ever finish all the missions or come close to it, I will write a review of the game.

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

First Impression: Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (3DS) ~ So Close…

250px-Super_Mystery_Dungeon_EN_boxartOfficial site

I’m a big fan of the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series. I dare to say it’s one of my favorite Pokémon spin-offs ever made. A few weeks ago, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon released here in Europe and I have played it, but not yet finished it. Is this is good or a bad sign? Well, it’s time to take a look at this game. Since this game gets a very mixed reception. Is it a mediocre game or is it more then that? And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article. 

Short game?

pokemon-super-mystery-dungeon-screenshot-05When I reviewed the previous 3DS entry, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity, I first wrote a rather lengthy rant about it. It had added a lot of features while cutting a few amazing ones. But thankfully, most of those are back in this game.

Something I applaud Nintendo and ChunSoft for in this game is that the personality quiz is back, but it’s optional. This is the perfect way of making both worlds happy. I loved the personality quiz and love to roleplay in the game. Yet, I do understand that some people don’t like it and want to play as their favorite Pokémon. So, now they can do that more easily.

The story of this game is rather interesting. The main plot is that Pokémon are turning into stone. But there is a big problem with the story. While that is going on, the story you play is the story of the main character. The story is something I’m happy and disappointed with at the same time. The writing is solid and the characters are memorable, but at the other hand, I feel that some story arcs don’t receive enough attention.

The biggest issue I have is that I get the impression that this game is pretty short. Notice the word “impression” here. Like in previous titles, this game shows the already defeated bosses on your file before you load it. I have still to defeat two bosses and I have put 14 hours into it.

The game has 20 chapters, I’m now at chapter 14. But, I haven’t done every quest and mission that there is in this game. So, the main story is rather short but the actual game is pretty lengthy. I have seen 70 out of the 720 Pokémon in the game. This means that the story doesn’t have too much filler story. Which is a shame in my eyes, but I see it appeal to some people. Just keep that in mind.

Less cuts

pokemon-super-mystery-dungeon-ss-2-enThis game is a hybrid between the DS and 3DS titles. The hunger system is back, but with a twist. When your belly is full and you eat perfect apples, you gain more health in that dungeon. Also, when you heal using a berry, your belly fills a little bit. Also, you can take multiple quests at once again. This was one of my biggest issues with the previous game.

But this game brings also some really nice features to the table. You can change your name mid game! Yes, when you named your ally, your ex-girlfriend’s name for example… You can change that.

Also, this game has a more expansive feel. In the middle of the game, you get access to Lapras. This Pokemon can take you to other islands. Each island is themed. Not only the dungeons, but the town accompanying it as well.

This game has the features the previous game should have had. I haven’t talked about every feature in this game, since that’s something you should discover yourself. I haven’t talked about the new party customization features or the special powerups you can have.

Anyways, the visuals in this game are pretty amazing. The world and the characters are quite colorful and the game gives off a happy and fun mood. But be warned, this game has a few moments that can pull at your emotional hart-strings. One of those moments happened on a pretty crowed public train. Yeah…

The worlds pop out and this game has pretty well done 3D effects. The animation is also pretty well done. I rarely encountered frame drops. This game runs pretty smooth alright.

Yet, so close…

maxresdefault

The biggest flaw in this game are the controls. Don’t get me wrong, this game controls pretty amazingly but they made some pretty awkward decisions for this game.

Some buttons have multiple functions. When you aren’t used to the controls, be prepared to make a couple of wrong moves.

One thing I’m quite on the fence about is the pushing mechanic. While this helps you move allies over a wonder tile when their stats have dropped, you can do that with leader switching feature. I don’t see a lot of use for the pushing mechanic. Also, it drains your belly quickly.

This game has a an amazing soundtrack. Some boss themes are slowly becoming my favorites. The soundeffects are quite good as well. Only minor issue is that when you use a team attack, it overpowers the music.

At the other hand, the menu design is quite well done. When you use your attacks, you can easily see which ones are going to be effective and which ones not.

The last thing I want to talk about is the AI in this game. The AI of your allies has some nice improvements. When there is an item in the room you are in, your ally is going to get it for you. Also, when you are low on HP, your ally can use it’s turn to heal you. These tweaks are the best additions to this game.

So, this game is a big improvement over the previous 3DS entry. While the main story is rather short and some controls could use some polish… This game is a must have for every Pokémon fan!

In any case, I think I’m going to wrap up this article here. while I haven’t said everything about this game I want to say… I have to leave something for the review. Otherwise, the review will sound like a copy paste of this article with some added parts.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I enjoyed writing it. I’m quite curious about your opinion of this game. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section down below. Have a great rest of your day and until the next time! Game on~!

Review #039: Club House Games (DS) review ~ Fun For Days.

Clubhouse_Games_coverWikipedia entry

This game has another name in my country. Literally translated it’s “42 Classic Games”. Usually, these kind of games are mostly regarded as bad, since only inexperienced developers create these multipacks to make a quick buck. But when you look at the box-art, you see that the developer is Nintendo. This is interesting, Nintendo made this game. I actually love this game, but is it really good or is it a game that I’m able to overlook the negatives of? Let’s take a look at this game in this review! As usual, feel free to write a comment on the game and or the content of the article. 

Modes

i_clubhouseAs you might have already gathered, this game doesn’t have any story. So, I can’t start with that. So, let’s talk about the actual games inside the pack first.

The main menu gives you an option between single player, multiplayer and settings. Here I have a minor complaint. When you unlocked the 2nd music tune, you can only change it there. It’s a bit bad menu design, but oh well. It’s a nitpick.

If you pick single player, you get three options. Free play, stamp and mission mode. Let’s talk about stamp mode first. In this mode, you get 5 levels to clear with each 8 sub-levels. In this mode you need to play different games and when you loose, you get one stamp. If you draw, you get two stamps and if you win, you get three stamps. When you get three stamps on a certain game, you may advance to the next game.

When you finished this mode, you get something visual in the chat to play around with. But not only that, you will unlock some locked games. There aren’t many games locked, which is actually rather nice and disappointing. It takes away the challenge but it makes it so that most of the games can be played whenever you want.

 More modes

Clubhouse-Games-CWIn mission mode you have different missions. If I remember correctly, 25 missions. When you clear a mission, you get a new icon you can choose for your profile. The fact that you can do these out of order, are actually really amazing.

Some missions are rather hard, so I recommend that you first practice the game in free play, since otherwise you might get a hard time in the mission mode.

In free play mode, you can play any game you want from the pack. The games are actually all board and card games. You can also look at the records. While that view is limited, it’s a neat touch.

Most of the games in the pack are perfect for single player and multiplayer. A few games are only suited for single player and a few games are more fun in multiplayer then in single player.

Some games have some minor nitpicks where they could improve. To avoid that this article becomes to long, I’ll list 2 things I would have changed in the games.

  • In the bowling game, I would have added an option that some players could have had the side railing. Since my younger relatives get frustrated when the ball rolls in the gutter.
  • In most solitaire games when you double click/double tap the card goes actually to a location that it can go. For example, double tapping on a red three makes it go fly to the nearest black 4.

Is it good?

clubhouse-games-20061003100055275So, each game plays really well. It’s obvious that this game is build for the Nintendo DS. Apart from the darting game, I have no complaints about the controls.

The darting game’s controls feel so loose. It feels that your arrow goes where it wants to go, and not where you aimed it to go. It feels floaty and loose.

Visually, this game looks amazing. It’s just perfect enough to draw you in for hours and hours. Talking about that, the game actually rewards you for completing a certain game a couple of times. You get another visual design for a game. That’s just amazing.

What is a huge bonus in this game is how you have a very clear explanation of the rules for each and every game. You can quickly access it by clicking on the rules tab and read about it. There is even a table of content in each rules section so you can quickly jump to the part you want more information about.

 This game has an excellent multiplayer mode. But how good that is, I’ll leave up to you guys for a surprise. The only complaint I have about it is that it lacks stats and things like that. As in, how many times your friends won or lost a certain game. But the positive thing is that you don’t have to have a copy to play this game in multiplayer. It takes a bit longer to load a game but hey, that’s forgivable.

While there isn’t a lot music in this game, the music that is actually in the game is rather catchy. While it doesn’t stick for too long in your head, it’s doesn’t become annoying after a while of playing. When I start to concentrate and getting into a game, I actually totally forget about the music.

I used to play this game a lot with my sister in the past. Nowadays I often play it with my niece. She enjoys it quite a lot. I can’t actually count anymore how much hours I lost with this game, single player and or multiplayer. It’s strangely addictive. Anyways, I think I’ll leave some things up to you guys to explore and find out. It’s time for the conclusion.

Conclusion

The bad:

– The music options are a bit hidden.

– The controls of the darts game aren’t all that good.

– The stats.

The good:

+ Amazing package of games.

+ Great multiplayer. Only 1 copy needed to play with friends.

+ You can unlock things by playing the games that don’t hinder your experience of the overall game.

+ …

Final thoughts:

This game was a tricky one to review in the length I usually write my review in. While I tried to take a look at most things, I ended up explaining most of the game.

If you didn’t notice it yet, I wasn’t able to come up with any major flaws in this game. It’s almost perfect. I actually take this game as a sort of benchmark when I play games like this. Not that many games can come close to this game. It’s so polished the minor flaws that Nintendo and Agenda made aren’t all that bad.

That’s why this game deserves it’s score. It might not be perfect, but it’s very close to be perfect.

Score: 100/100

First Impression: Broken Sword 5 – The Serpents Curse (PC – Steam) ~ Fan Funded!

gaming_brokensword5

Official website

Gorge and Nico are back baby! In the full 2(.5)D glory. When I saw this game being created by a kickstarter I was hyped. And the big surprise is that the studio’s budget was as big as the money donated by the fans. Sadly, I wasn’t in time to donate. But I think some promotion like this will pay my debt back. If you wonder what I’m talking about, let me explain you. I’m a big fan of this series. It’s the best point and click adventure game build in Europe. This game actually made me enjoy this genre of gaming and it stuck with me ever since. For my Christmas present I actually asked to get the collectors edition of this series. And recently, this game popped up on Steam. I’m personally fond of Steam versions instead of GOG.com games. No offence GOG, but I prefer Steam just a bit more. Also, this game is only 20 bucks! And in addition to that, the big finale, which is going to be released at the start of next year, is going to be free if you bought the first episode. Anyways, enough introduction! Let me know in the comments what you think of this game and / or my article. 

Story, not perfect.

Broken-Sword-5-22In terms of story, this game is neat. A story in this series starts with a big problem and then through-out your adventure you start to learn what has been going on. And some conspiracy is always the outcome.

The writing is again brilliant, yet it’s a bit weaker this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I think some moments are extremely funny and some thrilling. Yet, it doesn’t have the right power to be as good as the previous stories. Lots of critics complain about it. But it’s something different that destroys the story for me.

It’s the presentation of the story that’s flawed. I’ll talk about the graphics later. Just to be clear, I’m talking how the story is being told to us. One thing that bothers me is that the dialogue isn’t fluid. The next line waits until the animation is done. This makes for sometimes short and awkward pauses in a conversation and that breaks the immersion a bit.

Talking about the animation, it’s pretty well. They are pretty realistic and well made. Each character has it’s own set of animation like his or her own personality. With the brilliant voice acting, the animation is top notch. If you ignore one thing though. The lips. I don’t know how, yet sometimes when a character speaks their lips don’t seem to move. As if they were thinking. And that’s the second issue with the story for me. I start to notice that and the charm of the story goes lost.

New and better!

366993Apart from the issues with the story’s presentation I have one other complaint with this game. And that’s the movement. For one, there isn’t a run button. And secondly, you can’t really walk freely around without having to click on things. That’s what I dislike the most about this game.

Yet, the game is more newcomer friendly. With a great tutorial, that’s optional (take notes devs!), you get introduced to the game’s mechanics really easily.

Also, the fact that hints now unlock way easier is a big plus! Also the presentation of the hints is just amazing. It’s the question people ask when they are stuck. Like “I can’t get the door to open. What should I do?” And while I love to find out everything by myself, I sometimes can’t resist clicking the hint button to enjoy the writing.

Now about the graphics. They are mind blowing. If you look at screenshots and such, the characters might not really fit in. I give you that. But keep in mind that apart from that, everything is hand drawn. And I get a realistic feel. Like real characters sat in front of a green screen. And I do think that this style fits the series extremely well.

The puzzles itself are again amazing.  Some make you truly think and I honestly missed that. Also, the style of achievements like in Alan Wake to take your progress is just a neat idea. That way you have a nice list how far you are in the game. Yet, I do find it extremely silly that every achievement displays “100%”. Almost like they are somewhere visible. Yet, I do think, while it’s neat and all that, this makes for spoilers. As the achievements give some spoilers if you would display them on the steam page.

Just exploring.

Broken Sword 5 (5) (1)

The music of Broken Sword was never really my favorite to listen to. And please, don’t get me wrong. I don’t turn it of or anything, it builds the atmosphere really well. Yet, I enjoy more melodic pieces of music instead of the music of Broken Sword. So, what I am say is that this game has as a critic’s standpoint, great music. Yet, it’s out of my interest zone.

What could have used some polishing work is the sounds. I feel like the music is there to “cover up” the lack of sound effects. There were many moments where my mind added sound effects. Like in dialogue or walking sounds. That would have been amazing.

The story has been cut into two. I’m really curious to the rest of the story. Since this time it’s more then just a murder. It’s also a theft. And you are a prime suspect. Also, you can see that the characters moved with time. Some characters return and they are as great as ever.

I have only finished 19% according the achievement list, so I have a whole lot left to play. And in my full review when I full beat this game, I’ll also talk about the options and more in depth of every aspect of this game. So, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this article. And now I’m going to enjoy myself a bit of Broken Sword 5! I have been waiting on it.

Review #020: Evoland (PC – Steam) ~ I’m Sorry Smashy.

header

Official website

Alright, after such a long time of teasing this game… I’m going to review it. I’m sorry Smashy for two reasons. One, that I didn’t finish the series. Yeah, that Smashy in the series’ll be disappointed. And two, sorry NekoSmash, brother that we didn’t the planned co-op review. I wanted to get this review out of the way. Maybe we write something better together. I have something in mind. Anyways, Evoland. What an evolution. Puns. Okay, I’ll stop. Let me know in the comments what you think of this game and / or this review. But without further ado, here is the review.

Evolution in RPG’s.

avoland6The first thing that falls victim to my criticism is the story of a game. If there is even one. Most RPG’s have a generic story like: “Save the princess” or “Kill evil dude X”. Yet, the way how it’s written is always different. And in this game it’s a lot different.

The game is based around the evolution of RPG’s. And some dialogue is based around that. The story gets from extremely simple to a deep story. And I like it. It’s extremely interesting. While it’s nothing unique in terms of new stories, it mixes a lot of great and memorable scenes from big legendary RPG’s.

The game raises a lot of funny moments when you play it. I had moments I’ll never forget. References to famous game creators and various references to RPG’s. From Zelda to Final Fantasy. A bit of Golden Sun even. And Dragon Quest. I adore the style of this game. And what blew me away is that there is a Diablo part!

Yet, with the story comes already one issue with the game. It’s on the short side. This game could have been longer. A lot longer. Sometimes it jumps a bit too quickly from one generation to the next. As a retro game addict, I know when there is something skipped or gone over too fast. I wish they payed a bit more attention to certain parts.

Frustratingly easy, I mean difficult… Ehrm, no easy.

ss_d2ec69bb9dc32e976df7a77a3ea522b2a35ac157.1920x1080Is Evoland easy? Well no, at some places it’s really harsh. And that has to do with the controls. Maybe it’s just me not being used at PC RPG’s but the controls feel strange to me. It feels like I’m playing a game on an emulator. It doesn’t feel natural. I’m used to play my RPG’s on my PS2 or DS.

But even with the free movement update, the movement feels a bit stiff. And this has mainly to do with moving extremely slow. Well, not extremely slow. But the speed of yourself is sometimes a bit too slow. And this is an issue because some enemies are so fast they can drain your life easily.

Another issue with the game is the save points. I absolutely hate it in RPG’s. I can see them used in platformers, action games or adventure games but not in RPG’s. Why? Because grinding that’s why. And the battles are sometimes brutal. The enemies hurt a tad bit too much. One or two bad moves and you can die. Okay, you can level up. But you can barely see the stats. What’s the point then of placing stats while leveling up?

Where I pull the hair of my head is one of the biggest irritations I have with this game. Potions. Yeah, because of several reasons. One, you can heal your enemies… Two, you can only use it in battle. And three, you can’t use it at the parts when there are hearts. Speaking about hearts…

They are a bit flawed as well. Enemies can hit you for one heart. And when you pick up a heart, it fills up just 1/4th of a heart. Well, wait what? This doesn’t seem right.

Sadly enough, that’s not all…

Let’s take a look at this… messy diamond?

02-620xIt almost seems that I try to rip apart this game. I’m actually not trying to do that. The gameplay is extremely excellent. It takes you on a nice trip. Yet, it’s clear that this game isn’t for everybody.

Some secrets are not that well hidden for veteran gamers. Yet, some options are locked until nearly the end of the game. And that’s something that could have saved this game a lot.

The upgrades and treasures are given to you with chests. There is a reason to replay the game since you have collect-able stars. And the card game is lovely. And like I said earlier, the witty writing benefits the game a lot.

If you have played various older generation RPG’s, you’ll find this game even more fun. I loved the references. But truth to be told, I have something for references. It always puts a smile to my face.

One of the best things in this game is the music. Man, they may claim that they top the charts since the release of the game. But I wouldn’t be surprised they do. The music is lovely. I would even call it perfect for this game. The sound design is also great. I have nothing to point out that is bad about it.

The animation is pretty. It fits the generation and it doesn’t try to break the immersion with newer generation. I think games loses their charm when you try to make some new generation effects in an 8 / 16 bit style game. A problem that the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures suffers from. It’s almost like the developers couldn’t decide which generation to put it in. Or which theme to take.

Lastly, the graphics. I can’t really judge them since they change an awful lot in the game. But in short, they are spot on for this game. I loved them from the start to the end.

Oh, one last thing. You know what would be amazing? If you finished the game, that you could play the original flash browser game as a bonus. But now with save points or something. Just an idea though.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Great story.

+ Challenging.

+ Has good replay value.

+ Unique gameplay concept.

+ Amazing music!

+ Amazing graphics.

The bad:

– Some gameplay flaws ruin the game.

– Mediocre controls.

– Way too short.

Conclusion:

So honestly, this game isn’t half bad. Some reviewers hold this game high in the ranking. Others go rip it apart. My opinion? Well, it’s an amazing game. I loved the experience a lot. But I can understand why people dislike this game.

It has some issues with it’s gameplay. Like I forgot to mention that you can’t change the options in game. Or like I heard in another review with my research, this game hasn’t an identity of it’s own.

So, in short: this is a great game IF you can look or agree with it’s flaws. Otherwise, it’s the best that you play the original flash game. If I remember correctly, it’s on their website.

Score: 60 / 100

Review #009: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes (3DS) review ~ A lot of cheese!

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Wikipedia entry of this game.

Before I got myself the latest Professor Layton, I played this game on my 3DS. It’s one of the first games I finished on my 3DS. All over the internet people find this a mediocre game. In this review I will tell you if I agree or don’t agree. Let’s try to look at this game separate from Professor Layton. In  my previous review of Corpse Party on the PSP, I compared the game way to much with Virtue’s Last Reward and thankfully a forum member pointed it out. Thanks for the feedback BloodCatNS. Anywho, this game is created by Ubisoft, the guys behind the load of pet games on the DS and the very successful Assassins Creed. Did they create a great game here or are the reviews pulling at the right end calling it mediocre? Let’s solve this bad-boy and crack the codes. Time to review this game on the 3DS. Oh, the game has it’s own site, but I didn’t link it since it’s inside a collection site of all 3DS games Ubisoft made. But the Wikipedia article contains all your information needs. 

Loads of cheese

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Let me tell you, this game suffers from a lot of cheese. Wait, you aren’t following me? Well, the story is extremely cheesy. It’s a story you don’t need to take serious at all. The story was one I could predict nearing the end.

The voice acting added towards the story being cheesy. I’m glad to see that this story doesn’t take itself seriously and frankly, it helps in this game. The story feels a fresh change of pace instead of having a weak flat story that you barely remember in the end.

The consequence is that the story is somewhat memorable. It has been a few months since I played this game, and I still remember parts of the story. And that are signs of a good crafted story.

I’m not going to lie or praise a bad story too much, but it isn’t too bad that it takes you out of the experience. The point I’m getting across here is that it does it job but doesn’t go beyond that to try and impress you. But what’s unique is that at the start of the game, you have to take a profile picture of yourself and when your character looks in the mirror, you actually get a live feed from the 3DS camera, which is an amazing idea. This pulls you in the game even more since you feel involved.

Creative, yet done before. 

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This game gives me the impression to be a very creative one, yet I sometimes felt that some puzzles have been done before. This is mainly because of the unique use of the puzzles. There are sliding puzzles and many classics but there are also new puzzles I haven’t seen a lot in games like these.

Many puzzles are quite challenging. Like the puzzle in the screenshot, I even needed to take out a notepad to make notes. And if a game manages to make you do that, it’s a good game in terms of puzzles. I heard in other review that the puzzles feel fresh, and I agree. In the story, you play in a game show to look for a killer. And thanks to this, you can choose which puzzles you solve. This helps with the replay value of the game and when you don’t feel like solving a sliding puzzle, well, you can take other puzzles.

You also get fan mail and hate mail too. This is an extremely neat addition in the game. It feels a bit like the downloadable puzzles from Professor Layton but you don’t need to do the effort to actually download them.

The amount of puzzles is great too. As far as I know, there are about 150 puzzles you can solve. And this will take a great deal of your time.

The 3D doesn’t add a whole lot to the game but I think that isn’t such a big deal in these puzzle games.

Far from perfect.

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Where does this game fall felt on it’s face? Well, that’s an easy question. The game repeats the story way to much. I rolled my eyes at the amount of times the game got stopped where you got an overview of what happened. I have seen games that do this way better. Another Code: R for example has a small quiz at the end of each chapter and Professor Layton displays a summery before loading your save file.

Also, the graphics is where I think they made a wrong turn. While the backgrounds and the puzzles look great, the characters actually don’t look all that neat. They feel like early green screen and quickly pasted on the backgrounds. They feel somewhat out of place. And I don’t like it.

Another part of the game that doesn’t do a great job is the music. Normally I remember the music of each game I play but from this game I can’t remember any melodies. Vaguely I might remember parts but the music is a missed opportunity.

Also, there is an issue with the length of this game. It might have 150 puzzles, this game can be easily beaten in a few days. The game is short, way to short for this style of game.

And what’s a big shame is, yes there are typo’s in the game! And not one or two, there are a few. Almost like they forgot to proofread this game. An example is this screenshot you can easily find some grammar issues. “TOUCH tiles tohighlight a path to cross the grid.” Yup, that’s this game for you.

I’m out of things to say about the game, time for my conclusion.

Conclusion

The good:

+ Unique puzzles.

+ Challenging.

+ Details like fan mail is a nice touch.

+ Your face in the game, man I have never felt more involved.

+ Great freedom in choosing your puzzles.

The bad:

– It’s over way to quickly.

– Graphically, the animation and characters feel dated.

– The music is generic.

– Typo’s in a visual novel?!

– Way to many times you get reminded of what happened.

Conclusion:

Is this a good game? Yes, it is. Is this a great game? No, it isn’t. The game has a certain charm that hasn’t been created in a long time. Yet, it’s too flawed to stand out. It also doesn’t do anything new. It’s just a puzzle game. I can barely bring up arguments to tell you why this game is better then the others.

Comparing this to Professor Layton isn’t doing it any good either. Then this game feels like shovelware. Yet, this game has enough value to not be a bargain sale.

This game comes recommended as a snack, to play between two game releases you are waiting for. But don’t expect an amazing game. It has too many missed opportunities for that.

Score: 68 / 100

Rant #001: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon – Gates To Infinity (3DS): Cuts and Adds.

PMGTILink to the game’s site.

This isn’t a review, but a rant about something in this game. I played the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series a lot. I played all of them. I was so excited that I even got a 3DS in the hope that there would be a new entry in the series on the 3DS. And finally we got one. But, now there is a major issue here. I’ll probably address this again in my review but I want to get this out of my system now. On my forum there was a lot of discussion too, so I’ll add those complaints into this rant.

The adds.

The dungeons are way better now. You have parts outside and where you need to solve puzzles. It gives a unique twist to the game.

Now you can also farm berries. Yes, it takes some time though but it’s a neat addition. The Pokémon Paradise you are building is an amazing fun concept. It really gives the feeling of progression.

But wait a minute, this is becoming more like a review instead of a rant. Whoops, my bad. Let’s go ranting.

The cuts

First of all, a big let down is that you can only do 1 mission at a time. Yes, no multiple missions for you. You need to give the request to the Pokémon to open the request gate and after you are finished, the day ends. I can agree this makes the game a bit more realistic but it really gets annoying  because of one thing. The game taunts you with a list of 5 pages long missions. Each page has about 4 missions. And when you finish a mission, the list doesn’t shrink. Oh no, one mission gets added. Oh the joy of “infinity.” pokemon-mystery-dungeon-gates-to-infinity-screenshot-04

I often find myself trying to save by sleeping. But guess what, you can save now everywhere except in the dungeons. But they removed the ability to save while sleeping. For people who got used to the original formula, don’t change up the way how you save please. I forgot to save twice thanks to this. But this is a minor annoyance.

Nintendo, why did you got rid of the hunger system? It made the game more challenging and now without the hunger system, you can get through dungeons as if it was a breeze. Agreed, the hunger didn’t really bothered you in dungeons that much but it gave something to think about when you forgot to buy food.

DLC? Seriously now? 1,5€ for an extra dungeon. No thanks, I pass. This is a game where DLC is not really welcome. In my opinion DLC should be for PC’s & consoles. Not handhelds. Let’s face it, how much credit cards do you have? Not much. But what annoys the crap out of me is the fact that the DLC is present as soon as you buy the game. DLC should come later as a sort of expansion. If this came later like when the game is nearly off store shelves, then I wouldn’t react this way.

This isn’t really a cut but a big annoyance. Which kinds of drugs have the Pokémon taken? They run extremely fast, nearly uncontrollable. And their dialogue boxes are so slow. And here is the best part. You can’t edit the speed of the dialogue boxes AND the running speed is already annoying on the normal speed. May the Lord help those who take fast speed.

Finish

I’m going to leave it here for this rant. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed. I’ll write a review about this game when I find the time and when I’m finished with this game. But for now, I’ll get playing.

I feel odd when playing this game. so many nice new things, yet those cuts really bother my game experience. Maybe I’m judging this game too early. It will be very interesting. See you guys at the next post!