Game Quicky: Mini Metro (Android) ~ Transported Over There

header.jpgOfficial website

Mini Metro is a game I own twice. Once on Android and once on Steam. Truth to be told, I’m mostly playing the Android version. I play this game quite meta… Since I play this game mostly on the train to work. Yup, playing a public transport sim on public transport. But is it worth your time to play it yourself? Let’s take a look at this game in this game quicky. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the article and/or the game in the comment section down below.

Positives

minimetro1.png

The game is so simple and easy to understand, there is no tutorial really needed. You need to draw lines between the stations so the right shaped dot can go to the right shaped station (the white and bigger figures in the screenshot).

The UI (user interface) is amazing! I love how the menu system is set-up as a sort of poster you find in the subway system.

The visuals of this game are kept really simple and clean. This way I can focus more on the gameplay. Also, I love there is a day mode and a night mode. There is only a visual difference between the two modes. It’s like the “dark theme” in various Android apps. Speaking of the visual design, you are able to “move” lines so you can make your network more visually pleasing.

The screenshot feature is lovely. This way you can make your own screenshots to share. Since the game is randomized each and every time, this is a fun way to share your most amazing moments in the game.

The game is really addictive to play. When I’m waiting for the doctor or the train, I play this game on my tablet. While this game could be played on phones, I think it’s more fun to play on a bigger screened phone or a tablet. This game is really challenging as well. I have almost finished all the maps, but I’m stuck at the last three maps.

At first, you think that 16 levels aren’t that much. But you can play each level in 3 modes. And not only that, you can keep playing these levels after you have beaten the goal to advance to the next level. Also, each gameplay mode offers a new style of playing. You have a normal mode and a hard mode. In the hard mode, you can’t erase tracks. And the 3rd and quite recently added mode is an endless mode.

This game gets bug fixes and new options very regularly. Oh, and before I forget this game got recently a new gameplay mode. The endless gameplay mode!

Negatives

Mini-Metro-4.jpgI have to go real nitpicky to find negatives for this game. So, here are the negatives of this game.

In some maps, I don’t like the color combination of the lines that much. Some colors don’t fit each other in my opinion. But, while playing, I don’t mind that much.

In the Android version, I miss a feature that’s present in the PC-version. And that’s a way to remove a line completely from the map to redraw it. That would be extremely handy.

When you have more than one line arriving in a station, it’s sometimes difficult to select the right line. In some cases, I had to try three or more times before I was able to pick the right line.

Sometimes, it’s confusing to understand why an empty train doesn’t pick up any passengers and rides to the end first. I have seen this happening more than once but it doesn’t happen all the time.

This game is way too cheap. Seriously, I see this as a negative. This game is worth more money than the developer is asking for it! I would gladly pay double to play this game on Android.

The only real negative in this game is the soundtrack. Maybe it’s just me, but the soundtrack in the Android version is nothing to write home about. I even think that there aren’t more than 3 tracks present in this game. And if I remember correctly, there is more music in the PC-version. Yet, the music present is pretty good and is nice to listen to. I think that more variation would help the game a lot.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a great time waster for a real cheap price, look no further than Mini Metro! It’s one of the best games I have ever played on Android.I can’t recommend this game enough.

The game is almost perfect in my eyes. The fact that I had to nitpick to find negatives for this game tells a lot. If you like puzzle games, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game and give it a try. Casual game fan? Play this game too! Seriously, it’s a fun game.

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

Score: 90/100

Preview: The Last Tree (PC) ~ Save The Trees

Official website

So, today we are going to take a look at a preview of “The last tree”. A game that is created by Ungrodo. It’s a game with a message. The message might be pretty clear when you read the title. It’s about the deforesting of our planet. Which is in my opinion a real big shame. Because I sometimes go to the forest and sit there. I put my headphones on and listen to some calming music to get some rest. These moments are so relaxing to me, I wouldn’t want to miss it! I go there when I feel I have no inspiration or motivation to continue. But hey, we are getting side-tracked. Let’s take a look at “The Last Tree”. And as usual, I encourage you to give it a try for yourself. Also, as usual, feel free to give your opinion about the game and/or the content of the article in the comment section down below. 

Full disclosure: this article is written to raise awareness for this game. This isn’t a sponsored article at all. 

Warning: I played a more completed version then the demo version provided on the site. This game is still under development and is subject to change. Things might be different in the final release. 

Demo and stuff

the-last-tree

Update after publishing this article: I totally forgot to mention that the developer is planning to release this game on various platforms like Android and iOS. So, keep an eye out for those!

The developer of this game gets a thumbs up from me. I ran into some issues with the first build I got from him. I emailed him back telling him about it and after a few days, he emailed me back with a new and improved build. Seriously, I love when developers do that. Really listen to the feedback of the people who play their game.

The game is being developed in the Unreal 4 Engine. In this simple 2D game, time moves when you move. A trailer for this game can be found on YouTube. The story in this game is charmingly simple. It has to be since it’s a platformer.

The year is 2092, and the tree called Ungrodo is the last tree on earth, and everybody’s chasing him. He has very special skill – TIME SLOWS DOWN WHEN HE MOVES.

The story is being told by little floating notes. The game doesn’t force you to read the notes. But in most of the notes, the text is so short, you don’t have to stop in your tracks to read everything. I would recommend the developer to shorten some notes, since they stop players dead in their tracks if they want to read everything. I can image this would cause some players to not bother with the notes and skip them. The writing for this game is decent and it would be a shame if players skipped this aspect of the game. Also, I think it would benefit the atmosphere if you added some animations in the background to aid the story telling.

The screen is on fire!

the last tree2.png

Visually, this game looks pretty nice. But there are some things I would like to see improved in the final build of the game.

First of all, the game uses amazing fire effects, but they look disconnected for the visual presentation of the rest of the game. I think it would be nicer if you give the fire a more drawn look like the rest of your game.

Secondly, and this is only a minor thing, remove the lines in the menus. The reason why is: when you have a “R” in there, the line makes it look like an “A”.

Thirdly, there is a great checkpoint system in place in the game. But I would recommend a bit more visual animation when passing through the checkpoints. Sometimes, I hardly noticed I passed a checkpoint.

And finally, while the mechanic of time slowing down is great and becomes very interesting in the game, I would try and avoid the wobble effect you get when you stop moving with the character.

The controls of this game are pretty well done. The game doesn’t provide a tutorial on the controls and it doesn’t need to that, since the controls are so intuitive that they explain themselves. The only thing I would recommend is an option menu to let people to rebind their keys. Since I don’t think everybody wants to use the arrow keys to move in their games.

This game autosaves with each checkpoint. And that’s a great plus in my book. Since I’m somebody who would forget to save and shutdown the game. So, thanks for that. But speaking about saving, I have two issues with this.

One, why is there a restart game option in the pause menu? I would rather have an option to return to the main menu and restart from there.

And two, why isn’t there a prompt saying “are you sure you want to restart your game, since your save data is going to be lost” when you select, restart the game?

Run to the … left?

the last tree3.png

So, the gameplay of this game is really simple. Go from right to… left? Yes, a reverse 2D-platform. Neat.

You will have to jump over enemies and obstacles. You can’t fight the enemies since, well, you play as a walking tree.

I love when you died and you return quickly enough, you still see parts of the animation from when you died. This is an amazing touch.

Also, I love that the danger isn’t gone when you jump over an enemy. Since they turn around when you jump over them. Adding to the immersion of the game. Since the character in this story is hunted upon.

Speaking about enemies, I think it would be a bit more fair if you don’t combine too much enemies with the blade traps. Since it’s pretty difficult to make a jump over an enemy and a blade. A good fix for this would be a sort of life-system. Where you are able to take a few hits before you die. And staying in the theme of the story, the main character could lose parts of his(/hers?) body when hit. Like the enemy or the blade was successful in cutting off a piece of him(/her?)

The soundtrack of this game really suits the atmosphere the visuals are building. I think it would improve the game if the sound effects would be changed to fit the character a bit more. Like jumping up is a branch that is being picked up out of leaves or something along those lines.

In any case, I said everything I wanted to say about this game, so it’s time to wrap this article up.

Conclusion

I think that this game has a lot of great ideas as a base, but needs a lot of polishing up. The menu system needs to be more expanded upon. The game idea is excellent. It’s a platformer that can stand out if they polished up a bit more.

The basic game is already there. It just needs some more work to expand the game and improve it.

If you enjoy unique platformers, I would highly recommend to take a look at this one and take a look for yourselves.

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

First Impression: Zero Escape Dilemma (3DS) ~ Let’s play a game, shall we?

zero time dilemma boxZero Escape Wikia entry

If you didn’t expect this game to get an article this week, you might have missed all my clues on Twitter. I was extremely hyped for this game and it’s finally here! This game has got a rocky development and it was almost canceled. For the people who don’t know this series, let me quickly introduce this game. This game is the 3rd installment in the excellent Zero Escape series on (3)DS and PSVita. It’s a horror visual novel game with escape the room puzzles. These games should be played in order to fully enjoy them. 999: 9 Hours, 9 Persons and 9 Doors was the first one. The second one was Virtue’s Last Reward. Both excellent games. This game is on the 3DS eShop, PSVita and also released on the PC. In any case, enough rambling in this introduction. It’s time to talk about this game and what I think about it. Was it worth the hype & wait or does it stink? Let’s find out. Keep in mind, I’m playing the 3DS version and I don’t own the other versions. Oh, and don’t worry, I selected the screenshots and wrote this article to be as spoiler free as possible. And as usual, feel free to leave a comment with your opinion on the game and/or the content of this article.

Different game style

The story this time around isn’t about a nonary game like in the previous entries. While it isn’t 100% needed to play the previouzero time dilemmas games, but it’s highly recommend. Since a lot of references and explanations will be very confusing otherwise.

Something that I found really surprising is that this game isn’t linear, at all. You can play sequences out of order. You would think that this would make a confusing story, but thankfully… They thought about that. There is a story mechanic that helps playing this story driven game out of order.

I have played this game for a bit now and I’m nowhere near finished. The current plot points and twists I already saw were mind-blowing. The writing in this game is truly amazing. It pulls me into its world with ease. One time, I was so focused on the story, I almost missed my stop. I had to dash to get outside the train.

I’m really curious how the story will wrap up, since Virtue’s Last Reward ended with a huge cliffhanger. I’m looking forward to that.

The final thing I want to say about the story is that I’m really thankful that some terms and mechanics of the previous games are quickly explained. It helps me when I had forgotten something from the previous games.

In the previous entry, Virtue’s Last Reward there was a nasty saving bug. It was, as far as I know, only present in the 3DS version. It happened in one room and in certain situations. If you saved then, your save would get corrupted and you had to start all over.

Thankfully, Aksys learned its lesson and implemented three save slots in this game. But so far, I haven’t encountered any problems with saving. Also, three save slots make sense since you can play this game out of order.

The music in this game is very good. While it uses a couple of tracks from the previous game, the new tracks are pretty nice to listen too. The music feels similar but is unique too. It fits the scary and tense atmosphere the story is trying to set.

The sound design is pretty well done, I have no complaints there. So far, so good. The only complaint I have is that, on the default settings, the music overpowers the voice acting from time to time. But it’s easily fixed with putting the volume of the music a bit down.

Not so much reading anymore?

zero time dilemma 2In the two previous entries, you could read everything. From time to time, it was more a novel then a game. But not in this game, almost everything is voice acted. The parts that aren’t voice acted are the dialogues inside the puzzle rooms.

I’m not 100% happy with that. Honestly, I’m 90% happy with it, but sometimes I miss the atmospheric writing that detailed how the main character felt or gave more details about the situation.

I have to praise this game for its voice acting. I’m playing this game with the English voice acts and they sound awesome! Sometimes, the emotions of the characters really shine through. I really felt that the voice actors really put a lot of effort into this game and gave it more than their best.

Something I think is the weakest point in this game is some visual issues. In some cutscenes, I felt that the characters were too static. I honestly think, that if Uchikoshi (writer / developer of the series) had more staff and money, it would look a whole lot better.

Also, some textures could have been polished up a bit more. For example, there is an emblem on one of the characters his shirt, and you can barely make it out what it is. Or in another scene, somebody looks at a carpet on the floor. When the camera looks down, I almost felt that they used the fill tool in a paint program. Or in some cutscenes, the hair or eyebrows of some characters are clipping with something. Which is a shame.

All in all, the finer details could have been polished a bit more. While the animations are pretty good, there is barely any animation where two people do something together.

Don’t get me wrong here, visually this game looks stunning on the 3DS. While some people found it a bummer that they dropped 3D support, I don’t mind. Apart from lacking some polish; the escape rooms, characters, cutscenes and environments look crisp and detailed. I also truly love the style they used in this game.

Life is simple unfair, don’t you think?

So, this game is still a puzzle game. The escape rooms are really challenging this zero time dilemma 3time around. In the previous games, I almost never got stuck in a room or on a puzzle. But this time around, some of  the rooms are real brain teasers in my opinion.

This game can be very difficult if you don’t see the solution to the puzzle. I do have to agree with the other reviewers, this game really lacks a hint system. Like the “Easy mode” in Virtue’s Last Reward, where some of your companion characters almost literally explained what you needed to do.

The controls of this game are very good. Apart from some minor issues I had in some rooms with the touch screen, I found that the controls were, like I said earlier, very good. A small piece of advice from me, I feel that the buttons work a bit better when you need to move the camera from point a to point b. When you need to press something finer, use the stylus. That’s the best way to play this game in my eyes.

From what I have seen, this game is a very long game. This is a very good thing, since this game has it’s hooks into to me.

If you have read my blog before, you know that I also like to talk about the UI/menu systems. Since I feel that they are important. The menu system in this game is almost perfect. Something that bugs me is that you can use the d-pad to navigate the general flow chart, but if you switch to the 2nd flow chart (where they display pictures of the event), you suddenly can’t do that anymore.

There was also one time that I had to input a few passwords that were said earlier. I forgot to wrote them down and suddenly I was unable to open the logs. So, I had to restart that segment.

In first impression of this game is pretty good. The game we got is amazing. Yet, the fact that this game was made by a small group shows its signs. I honestly think this game would have looked a lot better when they had a bigger team and a bigger budget. Maybe this game gets some polish with a patch or two. But honestly, I don’t think the game NEEDS it. Since it has a certain charm that I think would get lost.

@Uchikoshi, if you or somebody on your staff reads this… I have a message for you guys and girls. Thank you for creating this game. I bought it on day one and I’m really pleased with it. While there are somethings that could have been improved, the end result is an amazing game. I wish you girls and guys the best. Here is to a 4th game in the series or an equally awesome new project. I really love the series you made! If you don’t make a sequel, I’m hoping that you make a new game and/or series. I’m so looking forward to it.

I wish I could say more, but then I would go into spoiler territory. Also, I haven’t finished the game so my final opinion might change. I’m planning to write a full review when I have beaten this game. So yeah, I think I’ll wrap up this article here. I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you for reading and I hope to welcome you in another article. But until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!~

 

First Impression: Boom Blox (Wii) ~ Demolishing with Strategy.

BoomBlox_EAwii_TfrontWikipedia entry

If you haven’t noticed by my nickname (NekoJonez), I’m a huge fan of Indiana Jones. When I found out that the director of that movie series had his hand in a puzzle game, I was interested. I started searching for it, but everywhere I found it… It was a bit too expensive to my taste. And when I found it cheap second hand, the disc was too damaged to play the game. Yet, everything changed when my sister called me a few days ago. She found a copy on a yard sale for 10€ (~ 11.5 USD) She called me up and I said she could buy it for me. When she came home, I popped it in my Wii and started playing it. So, what did I think of it? That’s the reason why I wrote this article. And as usual, feel free to write a comment with your thoughts on this game and/or the content of this article. 

More than just destroying

351309-boom-blox-wii-screenshot-try-to-knock-down-all-these-gem-bloxThis game has a story mode. When I started playing this game and came across the story mode, I was surprised. The story isn’t over the top or just dumb, it’s silly and it works perfectly for a causal game of this kind.

I won’t talk about the story that much since I haven’t played it enough to give a proper comment on it.

What I love the most is that the gameplay is extremely simple, yet very addictive. Other reviewers describe it as “try to get a structure to fall over”. Which is only half of it. Some levels in this game are more a puzzle where you need to pull blocks out carefully so that some blocks don’t fall to the ground.

Some blocks give you negative points and they are extremely nicely placed in certain puzzles. This game can be extremely difficult and will be challenging. Thankfully, this game teaches you the ropes before it gets too difficult.

You have so many different modes in this game, it pleases me. From you tossing a block around with a sticky hand or throwing balls… It’s all great fun. Each mode has its own challenges. But the game can get “nasty” on you. In one level I had to defend a castle and they surrounded spawn points with bomb blocks which were close to the castle I had to defend in the first place.

Presentation

351314-boom-blox-wii-screenshot-red-bomb-blox-explode-when-hit

If the designers of this game reads this article, you guys and/or girls deserve a pat on the back. This game is eye candy and it’s extremely charming. The actual attention to detail is well done.

Also, I love it when you miss a throw and the blow continues flying in the background… well, the audience will jump away from the ball. Or when you manage to hit an audience member, they will do the same animation as a single block being hit.

The animation of this game, well, that’s a hard one. There isn’t that much animation in the game when you compare it to different games. The falling and flying of the blocks is really well done, it would be a shame if it wasn’t.

I have only one complaint with the presentation. It might also be with the controls. The button to advance the menus has a function in game. It caused some accidental throws.

Also, during my playthroughs, I missed an option to bring up how many throws would give you gold, silver or bronze.

So, now that we moved on to controls; well they are pretty good. Apart from not registered throws, I didn’t have any game breaking issues with it.

Multiplayer

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Some modes I haven’t tried out yet. There is a multiplayer mode in this game, which makes the game that more interesting. Without looking it up or anything like that, I guess it’s either random mini-games or you trying to compete in puzzles to get the highest score.

The other modes I haven’t tried out yet are some puzzle modes. Since I was mostly interested in the sticky hand one and the one where you had portal blocks that disappeared when you hit them.

Like the coluorful and happy visuals, the soundtrack and sound effects are happy and enjoyable. They put you in a really amusing mood and really help to set a nice and light-hearted atmosphere.

I didn’t want to say this, but I think I have to mention it. Did you guys know that this game was made by EA? I don’t play a lot of EA games since most of the games they produce aren’t in my genres I play often. Yet, I beg you EA, bring this series back one day. It’s underrated and it should be more in the spotlight.

Before I forget to talk about it, the physics engine is the star of this game. Since I learned how to write some basic code, I am always amazed by how games like this work under the hood. How gravity is programmed into the game. The gravity in this game is really well implemented. I wish I could see this game with Wii Motion Plus, but alas. This game was released before that.

So, that was everything I wanted to talk about in this first impression. While it’s a bit shorter then usual, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to welcome you in another article, but until then, take care~ Jonez.

Gamer’s Thoughts: The Visual Novel

Photo-2014-08-21-17-31-45Lately, I see various games appearing on Steam. Visual novels. That interests me quite a lot. But the let down is huge when I find out that it are kinetic novels. What is a visual novel actually and why is it such an underrated game genre? I want to talk about my favorite game genre in this article and hopefully make some of you guys interested in the visual novel genre. As usual, feel free to write a comment about the visual novel games and or the content of this article.

What makes a game a visual novel?

999-.9.Hours.9.Persons.9.Doors.full.934360So, when is a game a visual novel? It’s quite logical that a visual novel is more of a novel then a game. When the novel isn’t interactive, you have a kinetic novel. A kinetic novel is a novel that a movie you can read.

A visual novel has interaction. Sometimes “repetitive actions” and sometimes not. Virtue’s Last Reward for example always has the same gameplay. Solve the puzzle to find the solution to open the safe. Corpse Party on the other hand isn’t repetitive. You have to try and find the other survivors.

A visual novel could be easily confused with a very heavy story driven RPG. Those two genres are two similar, yet different genres. Since visual novels play more on the imagination of the player instead of the skills. If you have ever played an Ace Attorney game, you might have noticed that there isn’t much animation outside the characters. It’s the writing that pulls people in.

Underrated

screen_pacifist

What do I like so much about visual novels? I can’t really explain. I think the reason is that I feel more as the main character of a story. I feel that my fate is already planned out and that I have to look for the right path.

Now visual novels nearly have always one solution. Even when a game has different endings, you will most likely come across the final true ending.

Games nowadays are getting “lazy”. The graphics try to paint the most beautiful picture and the sound and music tries to blow you off your chair. But visual novels, that isn’t the goal. You don’t get fancy graphics, you mostly get static images and text boxes.

Somehow, visual novels have the power to make you come invested in a story more then other games have. I rarely felt touched by an amazing game when there wasn’t a deep story. When I’m playing a visual novel, it’s very hard for other games to distract me out of that trance. Visual novels are that good in my opinion.

 Visual novels try to pull the gamers in with clever writing. They don’t try to make it a massive big show, they create an interesting plot line. Think about it this way, how many times did you start to loose interest in the side quests or the side goals and started to go for the main goals in a game?

Maybe it’s just my interest. My favorite game genre is adventures and my favorite subgenre is visual novel. Since I’m interested in interesting stories and such. I can’t honestly really answer why, but I think that visual novels deserve more credit then they get. It has it’s issues of course, like for some people there is too much text, but hey, name me one genre that doesn’t have issues.

Anyways, to close off this article, let’s take a short look at 2 great visual novels I played in my life.

Examples

The Walking Dead

The-Walking-Dead-Game-Dev-Wants-Suggestions-for-Potential-Second-Season-2

Even when I’m not a fan of the series, you got to give it to this game. TellTale Games makes excellent modern visual novels. While the typical text boxes aren’t there, the main focus is the story and how your choices influences the outcome.

It’s a great and modern example of an excellent visual novel. Too bad it doesn’t interest me as much as other visual novels do. If you want to know why I’m not such a fan, you might want to read my first impression. But my buddy Zach (aka Dark_Legend) is a big fan of it, so you might want to read his articles about it.

Ghost Trick

Ghost_Trick_EU

In this game you play as a death cop and you have to solve your own murder. The catch is that you can rewind time to save somebodies life. With this power you try to figure out who wanted you dead.

This game is tricky to place. It’s a visual novel alright but the gameplay… is it a puzzle game? Action game? Adventure game? I don’t really know.

I wish CapCom announced a sequel of this game since it’s a good game. Not only the story but the gameplay was rather interesting. I liked the idea very much and I wish the game was a bit longer.

Closing thoughts

Most visual novels are rather lengthy. I haven’t seen a visual novel you would be able to finish in a week. Actually, I have seen one as the exception on the rule. Time Hollow.

The most irritating thing is getting stuck in these games. Since you don’t have to grind or anything of that nature, getting stuck can get even the most veteran visual novel player to put down the game.

It’s quite clear that I’m not done talking about visual novels. I have some other things I want to mention but that will be for another article. I want to compare the visual novel genre with other genres. Or it might be an idea for a podcast.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for reading and hopefully I can welcome you at another article. Take care.

My top 25 DS games of all time. (Part 2/3)

25 – 20

Welcome to part 2!

#19: Might & Magic: Clash Of Heroes

MMClashOfHeroesBoxshot

Look! There is a dragon on the box-art. Best game ever made! 10/10. Next game.

My love for dragons has nothing to do with this game. It was only a lame joke to start my explanation for my pick for the 19th spot.

I do love playing puzzle games sometimes. But when there is a battle element involved, I enjoy it even more. It has also been released on Steam, so you can enjoy it on the PC as well.

I have to admit that I haven’t beaten the game. But I’m really trying to find time to play this game. Sadly enough, this is a game I can only play in short bursts. That’s mostly due to the nature of the gameplay. But I’m sure that some people might be able to keep playing this game for hours on end.

What I have seen from the game shows that this game is a very good game. Further proof is that on some lists of forgotten gems on the DS, this game appears. So, I don’t have to further proof myself… I think.

 #18: Orcs And Elves

Orcs_&_Elves_Cover

Sometimes, I love myself a good dungeon crawler and adventure game. This game nails most of the things I was looking for in these kinds of games. The game feels old, which made me love it even more. Yet, I was surprised how this game is a port of a mobile game. And this port is actually pretty well made. iDSoftware and EA worked on it after all. (And there aren’t any microtransactions from EA, thankfully.)

In this game, you play an elf that is fighting the orcs to stop corrupting the land. You fight through various dungeons and explore them. Best of all, it’s in 3D. So, that makes the atmosphere even better. What I love most of all, is that this game is turn based. If you make a move, your enemies make a move as well. This makes the game very tactical.

I haven’t beaten this game since the final boss is pretty brutal. At least, to me. Maybe, when I restart playing this game and thought out the evolution of my character a bit better, I might be able to defeat that boss. We shall see. And maybe then I’ll write a review about it! So yeah, we shall see.

#17: Ghost Trick

Ghost_Trick_EURecently, I have beaten a game called M.U.R.D.E.R.E.D. – Soul Suspect. My buddy, Seraph made a great video review for it. I highly recommend you guys watching it some time.

But this game is how it should have been. This visual novel and adventure game puts you in the role of a ghost. You have to avoid the death of a character by going a few minutes back in time. Then you have to poltergeist items to change the course of history.

The game became really memorable to me because one of the characters is a black cat, one that reminds me a lot of my own cat, Sparta. If only, my real life cat could talk to me.

When I started writing about this game, I actually wanted to replay this game. Since the memories are getting vague. Which is a good thing, because I remember enjoying this game a whole lot. Maybe, one day, I might write an article about it.

#16: Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures

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It would be a shame if I hadn’t put an Indiana Jones game on this list, right? Well, here it is! Lego Indiana Jones. I know that there is a sequel and an other game of my favorite hero on the DS, but I don’t think they deserve a spot on this list (yet). Because, I haven’t played them enough.

This game is simply one of the best LEGO games I have ever played. In 2014, there is an overdose of LEGO games with all a similar formula.

This game is pretty fun to play. It follows the plot of the movies pretty close. It helps introducing the movies to a younger audience, since it doesn’t contain the graphical scenes which made the movies not meant for their eyes. The humor of this game makes it even better. I actually laughed with some jokes they made with the characters I love.

I hope that the sequel can bring me the same joy. I finally got myself a copy, so fingers crossed!

#15: Wario games (Best: Wario: Master Of Disguise)

Wario Master Of Disguise DS cover

I know what some readers are already thinking. Isn’t this cheating? Putting these games on spot 15, while I put all the Mario games on spot 23? No, it’s not cheating. The reason behind it, is that these games are pretty different from the Mario series in my opinion.

The honorable mention for this spot is WarioWare D.I.Y., which helped DS gamers to make their own mini-games. That was simply an amazing experience.

But if this spot has to go to one game, it has to be Wario: Master Of Disguise. Because I think that this game has a brilliant idea behind it.

You play in the role of Wario. He just stole a magic wand that gives him the ability to transform in different suits that give him special powers. Maybe, I should take a closer look in a review or something?

 #14: Super Scribblenauts

252px-Superscribblenautsboxsmall

In the past, the Scribblenauts series was criminally overlooked. Because the game was on the DS, it looked like a kids game. While in reality, it’s one of the best games to be creative in.

I could have put the original too in this spot, but there is a reason why I don’t. Super Scribblenauts is just a better game then it’s original. It surpasses the original by so much.

While the user interface isn’t the best I have seen on the system, it’s highly addictive to play. Oh, you might be wondering what this game is about? Let me tell you, it’s about writing things to helps people. The people in Maxwell’s (main character) area aren’t very smart. So, you have to write words on your magic notepad.

The words you write however, come to life. In this version they added adjectives! So you can write “big blue truck” and you will get just that. You can basically write anything, as long it’s PG-13 and it isn’t trademarked. The game is a lot of fun, and if you are interested, there are a few titles of this series on Steam. So you have no excuse to give this series a try!

#13: Club Clubhouse_Games_coverHouse Games / 42 Game Classics

This game blew me off my socks. I think that this is one of the best games in it’s genre. This is how you should make a game about card and board games. I barely have anything negative to say about it.

The multiplayer is quite fun and I mostly remember this game because I played it a lot with my sister while we were young. The hours we spend on this game secretly playing this game while we are supposed to sleep. I really enjoyed those times.

I recently got this game back, since I lost my first copy. And I play it from time to time. In the present, I play this game while I’m on the train towards work. But I’m afraid that I’ll miss my station one day because I’m too addicted to this game. So, fingers crossed that it never happens.

Actually, I should write a review or something about this game. Maybe next month, since in September I will write about games I wanted to write about for a long time.

#12: Another Code: Trace Memory 

Another_Code_Two_Memories_cover_artAlso known as “Trace Memory” in Europe, this visual novel game is quite an overlooked gem. The story of this game touches me on personal levels. There are some things that happen in the game that make it quite memorable to me. I won’t give the details about them, since they are personal.

A while ago, I actually took a look to the sequel of this game on the Nintendo Wii. If you are interested, you can follow this link to it: Another Code – R. In this game, Ashley is on a quest to look for her father. While she is on that quest, she will unravel a mystery about her dead mother. It’s a quite thrilling story, actually.

Ashley has a sort of PDA-ish device that looked like a DS. Her father developed it. It might be an easter egg or not, it’s quite an amusing touch.

Sadly enough, the developers of this game went bankrupt. Cing made also the smash hit named Hotel Dusk. Before you ask yourself which spot that it’s going to have on the list, let me save you this disappointment. I couldn’t really get into the art style.

#11: Time Hollow

Time_Hollow

I wrote a review on this game not too long ago! I praised it enough, so you guys might have seen this entry coming.

So, the reason why this is one of my favorite games, it’s simply because the story, theme song and gameplay kept my playing until the very end.

While the game’s length is criminally short, the actual content is highly enjoyable. The soundtrack is one of the ones I have heard in a visual novel game.

That themesong, that’s the most important factor in this game. The memories that are connected to it, that’s what I gave this game such a high spot on my list. Some memories about it might be personal, but they sometimes come all back when I listen to the song. At once.

I still remember playing this game, with my back to a radiator. It was quite cold. It was in the middle of the winter and it had snowed a whole bunch. A part of the wheels of my mothers car where even stuck in the snow. But I couldn’t be bothered, I was too drawn into this gem of a game.

#10: Retro Game Challenge

Retro_Game_Challenge_Coverart

xSeed, I’m sorry to hear that the sale of this game didn’t went all that good. For that reason, you couldn’t release the sequel in the west.

I urge everybody to start playing this game. If you love challenges and retro games, it’s right up your alley. If you liked games like NES Remix on Wii U, this game is something for you.

The humor, references and actually pretty accurate evolution of the video game industry… It makes for a gem of a game. I really wish it was more successful then this.

This game appears on various overlooked / underrated and top DS games, and it has every right to do so. This game has multiple games into one. And they aren’t simply mini-games, no! They are in itself full games.

They were even able to get a story into the game. Before, I sound like I’m trying to sell this game to you, I actually am. I’m not being payed by xSeed, but I think you should give them your money for this game! Or check it out at least!

End of part 2.

9 – 1

First Impression: TimeShift (PC – Steam) ~ Rewind

TimeShift_coverartWikipedia link

If I only was just a bit more to the left, I could have survived. That’s what I sometimes think while playing a first person shooter. And then Time Shift shows up in the Steam Store. I remember that I had a poster of it in my room. When I saw it, I was thinking about how the game could play. Shaping levels inside my head and drawing them. Anyways, I played the game and I’m still playing it here and there. Let me say, it’s a special experience. The people who know me, know that I barely play any shooters. But this is worthy of an exception. But is it a perfect game? Well, I’ll explain my first impressions in this article. Feel free to leave a comment on the content of the article and or the game. Thanks in advance. 

Scoring badly?

When I was researching additional facts for this game, I came across several reviews. Now, since I haven’t finished the game, I can’t review it. Yet, it surprises me that there are people giving this game mediocre points and high points. I didn’t read them but I think I know from where they are coming from.

galeria_galeria_duze_182426125I usually start my article with talking about the story. Now, this story asks a lot of the player. It’s quite possible that later in the game, the story gets explained in more detail but at the start… The story is just all over the place.

After more careful examination of the story, I came to a conclusion. It’s generic until the point I played. The issue is that somebody altered the future and it’s your job to fix it. At least, that’s what I make from it. How do I know? I had to piece those things together myself.

This actually is a reason why I don’t play the game each time I have the chance. The game doesn’t pull me in like other games can. If it starts to make sense, I will talk about it in my review.

Is that a bad thing? Well, yes and no. It’s a problem because it doesn’t draw you in as much as other shooters do. But it isn’t a problem because the player is allowed to make up the story a bit by themselves.

Slow-motion

timeshift-screen-1Did you ever wanted to play with the bullet time of the matrix? Well, now is your chance. At the surface, TimeShift looks like your everyday futuristic shooter. What sets this game apart is that you can play with time.

As long as the blue bar has energy left, you can either pause, rewind or go in slow-mo mode. And the enemies behave as they would if such technology existed. You see the enemies die in slow-motion or they don’t move an inch when you shoot them when you paused.

Your powers are actually essential to survive. And here I have another complaint. The AI of the enemies is not bad but there are parts where you can jump down to get cover in a sewer pipe without the enemies following you.

Now, that’s cheap. This way you can recharge your powers and as soon as you need to “regen” you powers, you can go hide again. Maybe that’s different on the higher difficulty settings but hey, I’m no pro shooter gamer.

Now, I advise you to mess around with the settings so that they fit your play style. Not that there is anything wrong with the standard control layout, but I’m a gamer who uses the arrows instead of the letters to move. I’m weird like that.

The game looks extremely well made. While I was afraid that my laptop wouldn’t be able to handle the game, I was proven wrong after I updated my graphical drivers. The game looks amazing to run around in and to play. I love the design of the places. Each and every new area they throw at me feels polished and ready for a big fight.

More stuff

galeria_galeria_duze_182421828Now, the enemies can call for help. While I haven’t seen reinforcements arrive ever, I might haven’t played the game for long enough. That brings me to the sound design. That is a strong point in this game. When I’m playing with my headset, this game sounds amazing. I feel like I’m right in a real war zone.

With the great graphics and the good sound design, this game is really intense to play. I actually shouted a few curse words because I was drawn into the gameplay so much.

And I think that’s the strong point of this game. The gameplay. It’s really well made. While the story isn’t all that good, the gameplay is where it’s at.

Now, the music isn’t helping. It isn’t bad but it isn’t great either. I don’t remember many tracks of TimeShift. I’m crossing my fingers that this game gives me better music that I might keep listing to after beating the game.

This game has a “Field Of View” slider. And I’m so glad that they have that. Because I decreased my FOV, my laptop runs this game with a rather nice frame rate.

A big advantage of this game is that you can buy it for a rather low price on Steam. It’s only 15€. That’s quite a low price for a gem like this.

Now, this first impression might be tad bit shorter then the others, but I haven’t played it too much yet. I wish I had more time. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. If I ever finish this game, I’ll surely follow this article up with a review.

NekoJonez: First Impression: Suikoden Tierkreis (DS) ~ Great Childhood, Bad Adults.

suikoden_tierkreisWikipedia entry

Sometimes good stories are written in a book. By simply touching it, you can get involved with the magic that flows through the ink and the pages as simple as the characters get their power in this story. When I was younger and played this game for the first time, I felt the magic of RPG flowing through me. This gem made my love for RPG’s grow. Several years later, I started to replay this game, and man, do I regret giving it a high score on my blog. Now I really start to see the flaws of the game. The parts where this game is pretty much broken in some places. While this game still stays as one of my favorite titles on the DS, this game surely needs some improvement. It’s already determined. It can see all of the future, did you know that? Wow, that didn’t make a lot of sense. Anyhow, I’m nearing the ending of some other games to review and this game will be one where we take a look at it’s ink, and how the world came to live inside the realm of video games. Let’s go and take a look at how a game like this made a tumble in my opinion but still stands strong. But be warned, this is my “first” impression of this game. Feel free to leave me a comment of what you think of this game and/or of this first look.

Wait, this blog wasn’t here before.

220px-SuikodenteirkreisLet’s start with one of the most important things in a game. And if you have read other articles of mine, you know that the story is something I usually start with. And this story is amazing. The characters are deep, the plotlines are amazingly executed and the pacing is amazing. While this game is extremely long, you’ll explore each side character in depth and you’ll get to know all of them better by the end of the story.

Something that really helps to set the mood is the voice acting. While it’s cheesy and not that well done in some parts, it really helped me to feel a part of the story. While having to deal with my critic opinion. Some lines are underacted or are said in the totally wrong emotion. But you have to give it to them, they had to find a way around the names you can give to the main character and your base. They can’t have a robot voice said that. In addition to that, this lengthy and originally Japanese game is totally translated. Which went prefect expect…

… A few weird grammar and spelling mistakes. When you are running away from a battle, you get the message: “It feld successfully.” Wait, did the monster just ran? Or did they party ran? And some parts of the writing don’t feel like proper English at all. Which is a big shame since the writing of the characters is amazing. Some plot twists you can see coming but the fact that you can predict it while you get other things thrown at you is such a blast. Weird, no?

The story is about you getting magical powers and places appearing out of nowhere. Nobody believes your claim that these places came out of nowhere. And to make matters worse, a communism country is trying to take over the world. So you have to deal with them while you try to crack the mystery of the magical powers.

Such a shame

st2-thumbIt’s such a shame that this game actually made this many mistakes. It’s such a great game. An other flaw of this game is the fact that it’s missing a map. While being in dungeons, you don’t have a map. When you get lost, though luck. You’ll have to find your way out by yourself.

To make matters worse, sometimes you can easily skip information of NPC’s. And they won’t repeat it a second time. Thankfully, your current quest can be read again at your base.

The gameplay is repetitive. But not in a way that’s bothering actually. Surprisingly there is a lot to do. You can upgrade your gear and buy and sell items. And here is where something painfully comes above water. This RPG’s has barely no sidequests. And the sidequests that are present, you actually don’t do you yourself. You choose the characters who are going to have the fun.

In addition to that, I truly hate the glitch that skips cutscenes when you close your DS. Why? Just why? Couldn’t they program in a pause feature or activate the sleep mode after the cutscene was finished? Also, the amount of cutscenes are too few. I wish there more of them.

A minor nitpick I have is in the battle system. The automatic attacking system chooses only your basic attack and this is also a drawback.

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Awesome!

There are a few other bad things about this game I have written down for the day I’ll review this game. So, I don’t have a complete article ripping this game a new a-hole. So, let’s get to the positive.

The music of this game is a real great gem. I still enjoy listing to it. When I use to write stories I even used a few tracks as themes for my characters. It inspired me an awful lot. In addition the sound design is extremely well done.

Graphically, this game is how a RPG should be. Colorful, detailed and pretty. I have a complaint here but I’ll come back on that in my review. The characters look lively and the humans look realistic. While this is a fantasy story, this game feels like it can happen in real life.

This game also controls extremely well. You can choose between the touch screen and the standard d-pad. It’s such a blast. The “Y” button for the menu asks a bit getting used to but it’s not that hard. The icons in the menu’s explain themselves and using it is a breeze. While it could have been made a bit more user-friendly for healing, I don’t think that’s a big complaint.

But to end this first impression, I suggest you play this game for yourself and judge it yourself. This game has a lot to offer. When you can ignore it’s shortcomings you will be in for quite a ride which won’t be over in a few weeks. I admit that I needed a few months to beat this RPG in my first run. I think this game might get also a long review at the day I finally finish it. But for now, thanks for reading and I hope to see you in a later review.

First Impressions: Magical Starsign (DS) ~ An RPG that I like.

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Wikipedia entry.

Thou shall not say anything bad about Magical Starsign. No, ehrm. Maybe, you can’t say anything bad about this game. Nope, that doesn’t feel like me. Ehrm, well, let’s do it the easy way then! Hello there reader, I’m NekoJonez and I am not good at writing an intro for this game. Well, that was cheesy. Hold on, why am I writing these thoughts actually down? My readers don’t have anything to do with this. If only I had magic to erase this. That would make that delete key so obsolete. Ha! You didn’t see that one coming didn’t you? Well, enough playing around. I realize that I play too many games at once and rarely ever finish one. Why I do try to change that fact, I started to play this game a while ago and I got distracted by other things and I never finished this one. I regretted it and thought here and there to restart this RPG and finish it. So, that’s what I’m doing now. Taking games I started and finish them before I look for new titles. And when I restarted this game, man was it adjusting to this. The oldschool DS RPG’s. Sure this game has some flaws but there is no perfect game out there. So, after this messy introduction, let’s talk about my first impressions with this game. 

Underrated

magical_Starsign_1This game is an extremely underrated game. I can’t believe how few people know of this game. It’s an extremely well made game. Something I extremely like is that you can choose your play style at the start. Your character can be dark or light. And this will affect the gameplay an awful lot.

Also, the fact that I can rename all of the hero’s made this game have more value in my hart. Now all my characters have names of my fellow Arpegians and that makes the story more personal.

And speaking about the story. Man, is it written how I like my stories. You don’t get a whole boring backstory in how the magic got discovered and how the different planets work. No, it’s straight to the point. The tutorial though is badly written into the story but it works.

Also, this game isn’t your standard RPG. It brings in one element that makes the battles totally different. In this world, planets need to be in a certain area of the sun. When that happens, people with that kind of magic get a power boots. This makes battles so much different. You need to check your planets to know when it’s better to stay in a safe area or when you better use magic.

Also, the repeat button is one of the features I applaud the creators of this game for. It’s so useful. It makes battles more easy. Like you slowly getting back your MP, it makes the battles more interesting. Also, you see the enemy you are going to fight at the top screen. Nicely done.

Flawed

magical-starsign-1While I do feel like praising this game an awful lot, this game has several things that made me not liking this game as much as another RPG. One thing is the running. Since this RPG is released early in the DS lifespan, it shows of the touchscreen. And there they made a fatal flaw, nearly ALL buttons are for moving your characters. Your A,B,X and Y buttons are basically a 2nd D-Pad. And you nearly always run while using the touchscreen.

Graphically, this game is pretty. I like the design of the area’s and all the locations. The names of the planets and people make the game feel that more alive. But, in some area’s you don’t have a map of the area but you see the whole planet. This is a drawback in my opinion.

The sound effects are great expect one thing. The enemy sounds are either absent or too similar to all other enemies. I don’t like the sound design in this game very much. Like the cut scenes. They feel dated, even for the Nintendo DS. They are really out of place and they look a bit PS1-ish. They seem created with one timeline like there can’t be a rocket flying over the screen while having water coming out of the land.

Also something that brings the battles down is that you can’t look to what an item does in game. This is such a big pain in the but since you need to either remember or guess the right item to use in the fights. Thankfully, the fights aren’t annoying like every 10 steps. You actually get some decent time to explore the area.

Magical-Starsign_3Easy?

Is this game easy? Well, in a way it is. This game feels like it’s made for young teens. But, that doesn’t mean an experienced game can breeze through this. That isn’t the case at all. You really have to be on your guard since a few wrong moves and it could mean game over.

You can save nearly everywhere. And the fact that you have several slots to save in is for me another sign of a game aimed at families or the younger crowd. But I’m so glad that there are several save slots since now I can do the light and dark playthrough side by side. Or play one if I’m stuck in the other one.

But getting stuck in this game isn’t that easy to do. After some time, one of the characters will give you a hint that will help you a lot for progressing.

What I also like in this game is that this game doesn’t hold your hand in every step of the way. The only thing the tutorial does is learning the way of how the fighting system works. And for the rest, it’s your way to explore the mechanics of the game. But every useful thing said in the tutorial is in your diary.

To finish this article, I want to talk about the music. Which isn’t the best nor the worst point of this game. It isn’t memorable but it isn’t forgettable. It’s that kind of music that will be stuck in your head while playing the game and for a few days but after that, you will most likely forget it.

Oh and before I forget, for the people who have played this game. Feel free to leave your thoughts on the game and/or on this article in a comment.

So, that was my first impression article of this game. But wait, I’m also playing Elebits on my DS. Do you want to read what I think about that? Well, go to ButtonSmashers and read my article there. A link is here: Elebits – The adventures of Kai and Zero (DS) ~ Collect all the WATTS!