Posted in 2018, gaming, Video Game Review

To the Moon Game Review

to_the_moon_coverThe Sigmund Corporation provides a wish fulfillment service using a technology that can create artificial memories. This can only legally be done with people on their death beds. Two Employees, Dr. Eva Rosalene and Dr. Neil Watts are sent to fulfill the lifelong dream of Johny Wyles. As they delve deeper into his memories to alter his memories to fulfill his dream of going to the moon they come to understand who he was as a person and how his relationship with his wife River Wyles affected who he was to become. Also as they do this job Eva and Neil may learn something about their own lives.

There is very little gameplay in this game since it is so storydriven. In the beginning you need to investigate your surroundings and collect information to use to progress. There are simple puzzles that you must solve which involve flipping tiles. Later on new features are introduced however the gameplay never gets more complicated then walking around finding stuff and solving puzzles. I had no problems with how the gameplay of this game worked. Because of this To the Moon is a very short and easy game which is completed on average within 4 hours.

To the Moon has a very strong plot and the reason for the simple gameplay mechanics is so that the player can continue the story and learn more about Johny Wyles faster. Everything in this game comes together successfully to make the story compelling. The music is varied and made me cry, smile, and almost have a heart attack at different points in the plot. It was beautiful and made me want to buy the official soundtrack. The sprite work and settings are well designed. The few times when the art was more than pixel art it was beautiful and I would hand these images on the wall if I happened to get a copy.

To the Moon is a game that I would give someone who couldn’t understand how video games can be art. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys melodrama and story driven games. Apparently there is an animated movie being adapted from this game which I think is pretty cool. I would see that movie. I was also happy to discover that there is a sequel which I’ll buy if its on sale during the Steam summer sale.

Final Rating – 50/50

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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.

21/50

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, 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, Video Game Review

Mario’s Picross (1995, 3dS) video game review

 

250px-usa_mp_frontNow I know that I said that I would avoid writing video game review posts on games without stories but to be honest I think Picross is a really fun puzzle game. In this game you get to solve picross puzzles which reveal shapes, some of which are Mario related. While you solve puzzles Mario is in the upper left hand corner. He occasionally reacts when you do something such as solve the puzzle or fail. He is dressed up as a stereotypical archaeologist which is what you would expect since Picross puzzles are puzzles where you uncover images.

The controls are okay, not as good as the controls of newer Picross games, but good nonetheless. As you solve more and more puzzles you will notice the game becoming more and more difficult. You may be forced to use a few hints which is okay because sometimes all hints do is reveal an entire row or column of coloured or uncoloured areas. They aren’t helpful unless you get them to land right on the edge of the board. I enjoyed playing this game though it is a time waster and not much else. It only took me a few hours in total to complete all the puzzles. This is the perfect game if you’re planning on going on a long rod trip and you’re not driving.

Final Rating – 38/50

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