Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

Pokemon Picross (2015, 3ds) video game review

250px-pokc3a9mon_picross_logoThis game is essentially picross only with Pokemon. Each puzzle is an image of a Pokemon and as you complete them you collect them. You can put Pokemon into your party in order to use their abilities to complete the puzzle. This is basically the hint system of this game. It is free to download and play on the 3ds e-shop, however you may want to buy some extra Picrites (the ingame currency) in order to beat the game quicker. This part requires actual money.

Personally I found this game to be inferior to all the other picross games I’ve played since playing this one. I like how you can use Pokemon abilities to make solving a puzzle easier but I don’t like how you have to wait to get more Picrites if you don’t want to spend any actual money on the game in order to continue to the next level. When I play a picross game I want to sit and solve puzzles until I get bored. I don’t want to be forced to stop playing so that I can wait a few days to gain enough Picrites from the “daily training mode” (only about 3 per day, some levels require at least 70 Picrites to continue to the next level).

Because of this system I do not recommend that you play this game. It can be fun and enjoyable, however this game would have been better off as a game that costs a few dollars so that I can actually beat it without waiting ridiculous amounts of time to beat it. Besides I found that it was really easy to just Google the puzzles and solve them that way. This helped me preserve my Picrites whenever I restarted a level, however it made the game less fun.


Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (2012) video game review

Just as Hajime Hinata starts his first day at Hope’s Peak Academy he has a dizzy spell and wakes up just outside a classroom which he then enters. However once he enters he finds himself in a room with 15 other students all with no way to get out. That is when Usami, a pink magical girl stuffed rabbit pops out from behind the teachers desk and announces that they are on a school trip. The walls fall outwards revealing that the students are all on an island. Usami claims that the goal of this trip is to collect hope fragments but after the sudden appearance of the black and white evil teddy bear Monokuma she is redesigned into his younger sister Monomi. That is when he announces the rules of the killing game and life on the island goes downhill from there.

danganronpa2Before I say anything else, I just wanted you to know that this is a visual novel which means that there are long periods of time where you are doing nothing else but reading dialogue and for some scenes listening to voice acted dialogue. There are gameplay elements that I think are mainly well implemented, but if you are the type of person who likes more action packed games Danganronpa 2 is not for you.

As I said above the gameplay is great, however I did have a couple issues with it. I had a lot of difficulty for a couple of rounds of one of the minigames, Logic Dive. This is because when jumping to the left for some reason I found myself missing platforms even when I was sure that I had made it. This could possibly be because I’m bad at games, but it still made me dread this one minigame. Also the difficulty curve is weird. For instance for the third trial I found many of the minigames to be difficult in a good way, however during the next trial there was a minigame that I found easier than the ones in trial 2. Like Hajime literally played Taboo with the answer of this round of Hangman’s Gambit just before the minigame started. Like if the answer was stapler he would have just said “oh if only there was some way to attach two pieces of paper together without tape”. Anyways since I play games for the story more than for the gameplay I’ll let it slide.

The artstyle of this game is unique yet still has an anime feel to it. I liked how blood was almost always depicted as being pink which gave the game a surrealist appearance. There are some pretty gruesome murders in this game because of the killing game and the pink blood makes it so that they are even more unbelievable which is what I think Hajime thinks about this whole situation he’s in. It’s surreal. In fact a lot of this game is surreal. A lot of the settings are nothing like how they normally would be, though I personally think the surrealism was toned down quite a bit in this game after Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. However the character designs as a whole became even more eccentric and strange, especially in the way they behave since the first game which I like because it means that I can have an easier time remembering which character is who since there are 16 characters.

The plot of this game is surreal and amazing and honestly one of my favourite things about Danganronpa 2. Though there is one chapter I didn’t like all that much for reason (chapter 4) a lot of effort went into foreshadowing the grand reveal at the end of the game. The ending is my favourite part because of the stakes of the killing game. I won’t spoil it for you since you need to experience it for yourself to see why I love it. Of course I didn’t like the end-end because I wanted more of the game. When I finished this game I wanted to learn more about the characters and I wanted to see what happened to them afterwards. I wanted this so bad that I watched the Danganronpa 3 anime which I will review in the future and is nowhere near as good as the games.

I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys out there games as well as to anyone who likes mystery. Just a quick word of warning, two actually, there is a fair bit of fanservice in this game so if that’s not your cup of tea then don’t play this. Also if you have a weak constitution and/or are disgusted easily don’t play this game because there is a killing game at the center of the plot and there are some gruesome deaths because of that. Now to find a game where characters die where my favourite characters don’t all end up dying.

Final Rating – 46.5/50

Posted in 2018, Fiction, gaming, Pokemon

My Top Five Pokemon Memories

Since Pokemon day was this past Tuesday I was inspired to write a post about the series. I could have easily done a post on my top five Pokemon, but if I did that I would have ended up with a pretty boring post. For the record my favourite Pokemon is Greninja. Not because it’s good in battle, has protean as a hidden ability, or it was cool in the anime. No, I like Greninja because it’s a frog-ninja, a mixture of two things I really like.

Anyways there was a tweet sent out by the official Pokemon twitter account asking fans what their favourite memories were from the series. That tweet is what inspired me to write this post.

Now before I actually start the list (it’s strange how this is my first actual list post) there are a couple things I want to set straight. I didn’t really get into Pokemon until generation 4 with Pearl, though I did play quite a bit of Pokemon Snap growing up and I watched someone play Pokemon Yellow. Also these memories are all my personal memories, though I shouldn’t have to say that because that is literally in the title of the post. Also there may be minor spoilers for some Pokemon games. Now onto the list.

5. Defeating the Elite Four (Pokemon Black)

Isn’t N so cute? This picture is from the Pokemon website

Pokemon Black and White are the black sheep (lol) of the series. The developers decided that the best thing they could possibly do was to create a region with a completely new pokedex and the focus was set heavily on the story. I personally loved this aspect of the game, though I do understand why some people might not like this detail. Now the region champions had had a big part in the plots of Pokemon games before, but this was the first time where the entire elite four was a major part of the plot.

After getting the stone that held Reshiram, going through Victory road, and then defeating the elite four I was greeted by something unexpected. N was talking about how he was going to challenge Champion Alder to a battle so that he could get people to release their Pokemon, but I did not expect an entire castle to suddenly appear behind the Elite Four which I then had to explore in order to defeat Ghetsis. It was insane and I loved how sudden yet believable it was. Too bad I never played Black 2 because then I would have gotten a continuation of this plot.

4. Beating the Elite Four (Pokemon Platinum)

From Pokemon Platinum

The elite four in Platinum isn’t anything special and was like the elite four of all the games before it, but despite that this is one of my favourite memories. I knew that I had somewhere to be shortly after I started the champions battle, but I attempted the battle anyways. I left it plugged into the wall with the ds on so that I could save my spot in the middle of the battle since I didn’t save beforehand. I then went to make chocolates at the local library. The chocolates were good by the way.

The entire time I was making chocolates I was hoping that nothing bad would happen to my game by leaving my ds in sleep mode for so long. As soon as we were done with everything there we returned home and I finished the battle. I won and it was great.

3. Seviper’s Venoshock Face (Pokemon Y)

Not the face, but I couldn’t find a picture of the face so this should do. From Pokemon X and Y

Pokemon Y was an interesting game to me for one reason and one reason only, I had a defective copy. This meant that whenever I played there was a good chance that my save file would corrupt whenever I turned off the game. This meant that I got to play the game all the way to Lumiose city several times (it wasn’t because of the game breaking glitch either, I tested that theory multiple times). The next Christmas my sister got me a new copy for Christmas since I had lost the receipt because I was young and foolish so I couldn’t get a new copy from Nintendo, which means that I did eventually get to play the game.

Anyways during one of the attempts at playing this game my sister decided to challenge me to a battle. We were in an airport waiting for our flight. She got some Pokemon that were about the same level as what I had at the time and we battled. I had an Seviper that knew venoshock and I used that move specifically and we both started laughing at it after my sister showed me her screen when venoshock was used by Seviper. This is because when Seviper uses venoshock in X and Y it freezes and spits venom or something. Its face when it does this is priceless because it’s so derpy. Because of this experience I remember that face every single time I see that move.

2. Beating Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Darkness

135296-pokemon-mystery-dungeon-explorers-of-darkness-nintendo-ds-front-coverMany years ago I played Explorers of Darkness and I was reintroduced to the same type of world as the world in Red and Blue Rescue Team. My character was a Meowth and my partner was a Chimchar, and our team was known as Team Scratch. I played that game every chance I could. I enjoyed many aspects of the game. There were characters who were more than just characters based entirely off of pokedex entries. There was a fun minigame where you had to look at a Pokemon’s footprint and say who they are. The story kept on one upping itself and was way better than the story of Red and Blue Rescue Team. There are so many things I loved about this game.

I was so happy when I finally beat it, and also a little bit sad because despite the fact that I could still play it wouldn’t be as fun. This was truly an amazing game and I wished they made a better Mystery Dungeon game in the years that followed its release.

1. Playing Pokemon Snap

snap_en_boxartThis is a classic game. You play as a Pokemon photographer who is travelling all around an island looking for Pokemon to take pictures of. Professor Oak grades your pictures and if they are good enough you can go to the next area. This is a game that should have a remake or sequel but doesn’t. I’ve never heard anyone say they hated the game and as far as I can tell its a popular game. It would also be possible to make an amazing Pokemon Snap-like game with today’s technology so I don’t know why a sequel hasn’t been made already, but anyways I digress.

When I was little my family came into possession of a Nintendo 64 with some games. One of those games was Pokemon Snap and I swear that was the game I played the most because as a little 6 year old I didn’t understand Ocarina of Time (the save file was almost completed and I didn’t think to start a new game) or any of the other games we had. I played on a save file where everything was already unlocked so I could go anywhere without taking good pictures.

It was really fun discovering the secrets of the game after they had been discovered by the last player. It was also fun trying out the final level and getting a picture of Mew even though I wasn’t that good at the game at the time. The game also inspired me to try drawing Pokemon, though to be honest I chose one of the easiest Pokemon to draw with Vileplume. Pokemon Snap was a great game and gave many people great memories.

So here’s my list. If you could name one memory you have of Pokemon what would it be? Post them in the comments below if you want. Come back here later today for a video game review of a game someone else in the aniblogger’s community reviewed not that long ago. This was my first time playing that type of game so I hope the review turns out great.

Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

Portal 2 (2011) game review

Portal_2_coverAfter the events of the first game, Chell the protagonist is awakened after a long sleep in stasis. In fact she has been asleep for several years. Wheatley the small ball robot is the one who awakens her and he brings her on an adventure to get her out of the now overgrown and destroyed Aperture Laboratories facility. But in order to escape Chell must make use of the portal guns once more and solve puzzles with increasing difficulty. Also in order to escape she may be forced to come face to face with an old nemesis once more.

This is a fantastic game and you should play it if you haven’t already. The puzzles are mostly creative and well thought out. There are a couple of exceptions to this but those are due to plot reasons. The plot of this game is simple but through world building and small easter eggs scattered all over the place you can learn a lot about Aperture Laboratories and the world its located in. There is a lot of humour in this game despite it taking place in a rundown facility,. This humour only adds to the charm of Portal 2.

Two of my favourite parts about this game are the introduction of new plot mechanics and the level design of the game. New mechanics are introduced every chapter so you don’t get bored of using the same few mechanics over and over for the entire game. The last chapter combines all these mechanics and reintroduces a couple from the first game which is a great idea for a final area (if its not broke don’t fix it after all). The level design changes each chapter to reflect what is going on in the plot at that moment. You get to go through the rundown facility, the repaired facility, and more. I also like how the loading screens and title screen show the current chapter’s level design you are in rather than just always showing only that of the first level. This is a nice touch.

Again I recommend this game to anyone who enjoys playing video games, especially those who enjoy puzzle games. This is a game that you shouldn’t get bored with. However there were a couple of times that I ended up looking at a guide because I got stuck on a few puzzles after completing most of it and I knew that if I had not looked at a guide I would have never continued. This was mostly due to a few levels being confusingly laid out and I play games for the plot rather than the gameplay and I just wanted to continue the plot.

Final Rating – 47/50

Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp (2017) game review

animal_crossing-_pocket_camp_logoAnimal Crossing: Pocket Camp is the newest mobile game created by Nintendo. You are running a campsite. You get to choose what goes where, modify your own camper, and invite any animals you befriend while walking around the campground. You can gather resources by fishing, catching insects, and shaking trees which you can then give to animals to raise their happiness. You can gather supplies for making things by doing things for the animals. There is also a friend mechanic. There are microtransactions but you don’t need them to make the game fun.

This is a good mobile game with few bugs that I know of and because of the frequency the game is updated you will never run out of animals to befriend at least as long as they still have animals to add. They recently added a gardening feature where you can plant flowers and crossbreed them to get new flowers and a clothing crafting feature. There are sure to be new features added in the future. There are also festivals which now are happening quite frequently. You have access to exclusive flowers or crafting materials which you can then use to make festival exclusive items.

I enjoy playing this game every once in a while, however I haven’t played for a while. This may be because while it is a fun game at times, you end up doing the same things over and over again in order to get resources to befriend animals. I didn’t grow up with Animal Crossing so I don’t have the same connection to the series as a long time fan would, so it is possible that you won’t get bored playing this game.

Final Rating – 42/50

Posted in 2018, analysis, Fiction, gaming, Writing

Fiction That Holds Your Hand – A Fictional Analysis

Have you ever played a video game that felt the need to remind you how to perform basic actions frequently until you finally reach its conclusion or gave you hints as to how to complete a puzzle or pass a certain area? Most likely you have and if you hadn’t this is known as hand holding. It is usually done so that the player can focus more on the story and having rather than actually getting good at the game. However the problem is that a big part of video games is that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finally progress further in the game. If the game is holding your hand than this feeling of accomplishment is a lot less and when you finally complete the game you may not have that same connection to it that you would have when completing a game with a brief tutorial at the beginning.

Not only that but you will have a higher chance of getting bored because if the game is holding your hand it can make the game way too easy, or it may make you annoyed because its as though the game assumes that you have already forgotten how to play the game. This is a common sign of both bad game design and bad writing. The game designer should be able to make the game assessable to new players without holding their hands. All they really have to do is put a tutorial level at the beginning of the game or add a level like in Portal 2 where the player can easily learn how new mechanics work without it being outright explained to them. They could also make a tutorial available from the main menu just in case the player wants to return to the game after not touching it for months so that they can return to the same playthrough.

While hand holding in video games is annoying, its not the only fictional medium that this problem is found in. I’m talking about novels, specifically novels with interesting world building that feels the need to outright explain every difference between the world of the story and real life. A good example of this happening comes from a book that I read just last year titled Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch. In this novel the protagonist heads to another kingdom with the Winter resistance in order to get support so that they can regain their own kingdom. As the resistance enters this kingdom they are met with a few soldiers who decide to lead them to the capital. One of the soldiers expresses his surprise by saying a phrase that is unique to that kingdom and the protagonist for some reason felt the need to explain what he had just said even though all it was was the soldier swearing in surprise. I know that this is a very small aspect of an okay novel, but it just bugged me so much. Also if I just got a few aspects wrong in my description thats because its been a while since I read the novel.

Outright explaining things can come in two types. There is the type where the narrator explains something to themself as they look at something, hear something, or perform an action. Imagine if you were to explain to yourself how to use a keyboard every time you used one. Its not very realistic is it? The second type is the type where another character explains something that the protagonist should already know so that the audience can learn more about the world. The character obviously doesn’t know that the audience exists because if they did that would be breaking the fourth wall, so the only explanation is that the character thinks the protagonist is so stupid they cannot even understand the everyday going ons of their own world.

Hand holding is something that can make it look like the writer or game designer feels as though the audience is not smart enough to understand things on their own. It is also a sign of lazy writing because its far easier to write a scene where a character explains something to another character than it is to show certain aspects of this world through descriptions and dialogue. Basically the entire point of the post is to tell you that if you want to write a story its best to assume that the audience can figure some things for themselves. You don’t need to explain everything

Something that I want to briefly talk about that is unrelated to this post is what I’m going to be doing next Thursday. First of all there will be a video game review posted for sure. I was thinking of moving those to Sunday so that people will actually see it since my last video game review last week only got two views whereas the fictional analysis got way more than that, but I decided to try again. So look forward to that. Also if CrunchyRoll releases the nominations for their Anime Awards by then I plan on writing a post about all my votes. See you tomorrow.

Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon (3ds, 2015) video game review

250px-super_mystery_dungeon_en_boxart     Have you ever wanted to take direct control of a pokemon and go on adventures all while battling other pokemon? Then this is the game for you. Technically this is the seventh Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game that has been released outside of Japan, but it is the third game with a story completely independent from the other games (apparently there’s a fourth game I forgot about that I need to play). You take control of a human with amnesia who has somehow been turned into a pokemon. After being rescued from a bunch of Beheeyem by a lone Nuzleaf you are brought to Serene Village. Here you go to school and make new friends, including one friend who will be important in your journey ahead as strange things are starting to happen in this small village.

I enjoyed playing Explorers of Darkness back when it came out and it was even one of the first games I beat completely (I’m not very good at video games). Because of that I had high hopes for this game, in particular its story. The main thing I enjoyed about the plot was how the tone gradually changed until the plot had reached its climax. I was feeling chills as I was going to fight the final boss. There are a few unexpected twists and turns in the story. There’s one twist that I actually found pretty cool within the first few chapters of the game and the exclamation for why this happened was not what I expected.

One of the main complaints I had for the plot of this game was how slowly paced it is. Sure this does mean that you get the chance to train between major events (since once something happens you can’t do anything else until you deal with the problem at hand), but I think earlier games in this series did a much better job at that while also having a lot more things happen in the game. Not a whole lot actually happens. There isn’t even much to the after game (in explorers of darkness there were several chapters in the after game, in Super Mystery Dungeon there is only one chapter after the epilogue then you work on completing the rest of the game).

I know I said earlier that I found a lot of the characters very interesting. To be fair, I wasn’t really lying. However these characters weren’t memorable in the way that Absol was in the Rescue Team games or Wigglytuff was in Explorers of Darkness. What I will most likely be remembering is the plot because that is what really impressed me about this game.

Now onto the actual gameplay and animation. First things first, as soon as you start up a new game file you will be asked a few questions. Your answers to these questions will give you a suggestion as to what pokemon you will be playing as as well as what your partner will be. The pokemon you can play as include all starters before Sun and Moon were released and some series favourites such as pikachu and riolu. I like how you can just ignore these suggestions and choose whatever you want to be. I got chikorita and decided that I would rather play as a froekie because greninja is my favourite pokemon. I decided that my partner would be a treecko. These are all interesting playable pokemon, however I noticed that they left meowth out in this game. Meowth was my character in Explorers of Darkness so I was sad to see his exclusion.

Some of the animations in this game are weird. I understand that it is hard to render all the pokemon that will appear in the game so some will be done better than others, but whenever I saw my froekie walk around I was wierded out by the weightless way it hopped. The characters also move slowly unless you run, but you can only run in a straight line so it doesn’t help when you don’t have a long straightaway.

Now the final thing I will talk about is the cutscenes. They are done well for the most part, however there is one thing that annoyed me about them. I couldn’t skip any of the cutscenes which was a pain because I died during the final battle and had to sit through a long cutscene that happens just before you get into the final bosses final phase. It was a good cutscene but I didn’t need to watch it more than once. I just wanted to beat the game.

So all in all, this is a good game though its not as good as the earlier Pokemon Mystery Dungeon titles, at least not as good as the two I’ve actually played. The gameplay is well balanced, it is never too hard or too easy, and it was fun to play. I would recommend this game to anyone who enjoys the Pokemon franchise as well as to anyone who wants to play an interesting RPG.

Final Rating – 42/50