Rule of Three

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Video games, like movies and novels, love to employ tropes — for the characters, the settings, the plot and story — because they have proven time and again that they work well. The Rule of Three is another such trope that, when done well, can keep us spellbound when playing a game.

Double Jump | Rule of Three | Three | Video Games | Tropes

There’s a common trope in storytelling called the Rule of Three. Generally, three similar events happen in the plot with a few changes to a variable or two. The first two events usually drive up the tension while the third event gives a twist on the outcome. It’s a tried and true trope, and video games have plenty of instances of threes in them.

This Rule of Three is as old as the common trio of warrior, mage, and rogue in most RPGs. They work in tandem personifying the classic stats of defense, attack, and speed. Or, if you wanted to go a step further, as physical attacks, special attacks, and perhaps skill or evasiveness. It’s common for side quests to have three parts, with the final task being the most important, or for final bosses to be fought in three phases. In racing games, three laps is the usual length for the course, and games with branching story lines tend to have good, bad, and neutral endings.

Many RPGs tend to have three members of a party out in a battle at once, such as Kingdom Hearts with Sora, Goofy, and Donald, or Super Mario RPG, where Mario and two other members can battle at once. The Legend of Zelda has the Triforce with Courage, Wisdom, and Power, each based upon one of their patron goddesses and personified by the three main characters of most of the games. Even the Harry Potter mobile game uses this trope with your character’s personality being shaped by how strong your courage, knowledge, and empathy are based on your choices in classes and interactions with other characters. Even duels in the game are performed by choosing sneaky, defensive, or aggressive spells, another rule of three.

The Pokemon core games have had trios up until the fifth generation when they ended the trend and gave us Black 2 and White 2. On that note, it is the last three Pokemon generations are the ones where we did not get a third title (Nintendo, I’m still waiting for my Gray, Z, and Eclipse games!). The generations that did have three titles tended to have more in-depth story elements in the third titles as well — while Yellow had Pikachu as the starter Pokemon, Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum each starred the third Legendary in a deeper plot. Pokemon GO has the three teams in Valor, Instinct, and Mystic.

Three seems to be the magic number when it comes to video game aspects.

Have you noticed the Rule of Three in your favorite video game? Do you think this trope works well?

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The Lion’s Song [Game Review]

Game Review: The Lion's Song | Nintendo | Nintendo Switch | DoublexJump.com

Title: The Lion’s Song
Developer: Mi’pu’mi Games
Publisher: Mi’pu’mi Games
Platform: 
Nintendo Switch
Category: 
Adventure
Release Date: 
July 10, 2018
How we got the game: 
We bought and downloaded it onto our Nintendo Switch

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I first heard about The Lion’s Song from a random article that detailed some good indie games that were coming to the Nintendo Switch. The premise and graphic style from the screenshots the article provided intrigued us enough to give it a try.

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It reminded me of a visual novel, even though that’s not the style of the game. However, each character is in the creative arts and shows their individual stories. That’s what enticed me to the game.

gameplay

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The Lion’s Song is a point-and-click visual novel-like game. Each episode stars a different person practicing an art form, like composing music or painting. While trying to navigate their problems, you point and click on their surroundings, trying to help guide them in the right direction.

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The premise of each story is to help their muse along so they can get their work done. However, you’re also solving their real-life problems in the process as they try to focus on their work and also reality.

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While doing this, choices pop up from time to time. The outcome of the situation will depend on how you answer these choices. At the end of each episode, the game tells you whether or not the majority of other players picked the same choice as you, as well as giving you the opportunity to return to the point of the story of the choice to choose the other options if you’re curious as to the other outcomes. Going back and seeing how the other choices work out does not affect the current playthrough, which I thought was a nice touch.

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There’s not much else for you to do as the player other than try to make the right choices for your character. As long as you can move the analog stick and press the A button, you’re good to go. The gameplay is simple and you just need to follow the storyline for each character.

graphics-music

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I was definitely interested in the art style of this game. It reminded me of a comic or a film noir, grainy with not too many colors. It wasn’t displeasing at all — I’m always up for trying games with unique art styles.

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At first glance, the art style can seem “boring” to some people, but it really adds a certain atmosphere to the game. The game can get intense at times and the art style really adds to that feeling.

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Along with the art style, the music and sound effects really work with the game in ramping the tension and setting the atmosphere. For example, the first episode starred a young woman named Wilma trying to create a violin composition. She’s writing it in a cabin nestled in the mountains with a thunderstorm brewing overhead. The rain, the wind, the thunder, the scritch-scritch of her pen as she writes the melody… It all works together beautifully to set the tone.

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Plus, as she has revelations with writing the composition, her violin will play in the background as though she’s hearing the music as she writes the notes. It’s cleverly done.
story

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In the first episode of The Lion’s Song, we play as Wilma, a young musical prodigy struggling to compose a final piece for a concert. She fights through anxiety, unrequited love, and nightmares while trying to find the inspiration and her voice in a secluded mountain cabin for her piece. Your choices help decide if she can finish her melody on time for the concert.

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In Episode 2, you play as Franz, an artist. You aid him as he tries to paint people as real beings showing their true personalities. This one is tougher than the first episode. It’s not as linear and a lot of the choices are tougher.

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Episode 3 starred a woman mathematic. Rachel and I both jokingly balked at doing a story about math, but it was probably one of our favorite episodes. Back in the time that the game is set — right on the cusp of World War 1 — it was unheard of for a woman to have a brain “logical” enough to grasp mathematics, let alone create and prove her own theories. Her story was about reaching out and finding help with her theories, but her gender prevented her from connecting with the like-minded male professors of math, causing her to cross-dress in order to join their circle. One of the main mechanics of this episode was flipping back and forth between her female and male personas in the pursuit of knowledge and smashing the sexist barriers found in that time.

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Episode 4, the final episode, was short and sweet. It took us about an hour to get through and it was a neat wrap-up to the previous three episodes. You’re stationed in a train car talking to three other men and you get to play as those three briefly as they swap stories, all connecting back to the other three episodes. I don’t want to say too much due to spoilers, but it was very well done.

replay-value

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Considering all the different choices you can click on throughout the episodes to show off different results and endings, The Lion’s Song has some decent replay value. Each episode has secrets about the characters, a story that you unravel with your choices, and it was always interesting to see how the episodes themselves connected with one another.

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Once you finish an episode, stats appear showing how many other people chose the same choices you did. You can go back and change your decisions to see what else could happen. It’s a great game with wonderful storytelling.

The Lion’s Song gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! 

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Friday Favorites: Sonic the Hedgehog Songs

Double Jump Kris Mii Hello, hello! Thank God it’s Friday!

Rachel and I are going away next week with the family, which is great, but we’ll also be stuck in the car for the better part of the day. Normally I don’t mind being in the car for that long since I have my music, many of which are from video game soundtracks. While the games sometimes can be lacking, Sonic the Hedgehog titles can come out with some pretty good tunes, especially with Crush 40 at the helm!

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Never Turn Back

The closing song of Shadow the Hedgehog, “Never Turn Back” combines rock with beautiful piano keystrokes for a song about moving forward.

Supporting Me

I love the dark tone of this song, especially the version from Sonic Adventure 2 Battle. Being used during the Biolizard boss fight, it amped up the tension and focus for the battle.

Open Your Heart

Sonic Adventure DX was one of my younger game self’s first foray into Sonic the Hedgehog games — the only experience we had with the original Sonic games was from an old arcade cabinet our dentist office used to have. This song, both in the opening and as the final boss’s theme, is cemented in my head with happy nostalgia.

What I’m Made Of

Sonic Heroes was not a great game, but I love the soundtrack! What I’m Made Of was an amazing final boss song, one that made me want to take on a thousand bad guys barehanded.

What are some of your favorite songs from the Sonic the Hedgehog series? Either lyrical or instrumental?

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The Witness [Game Review]

Game Review: The Witness | Video Games | Gaming | Video Game Review | Xbox One | Puzzle Games | DoublexJump.com

Title: The Witness
Developer: Thekla, Inc.
Publisher: Thekla, Inc.
Platform:
Xbox One (Playstation 4, PC, and Mac)
Category:
Puzzle & Trivia
Release Date:
January 26, 2016
How we got the game:
I downloaded it onto my Xbox One

 

 

 

The Witness is a game I had heard about through watching a streamer on Twitch. I was instantly drawn to the tranquility of the game and the beauty of the graphics. When I realized it was a puzzle game, I was all in and wanted to give it a try myself.

gameplay

The Witness is easy to play, but not easy to figure out. You play in first person mode moving around with the analog stick exploring an unfamiliar island. There are computer-like screens just about everywhere with puzzles on them.

Each puzzle is a line puzzle, for lack of a better way to describe them. You start at once end and make your way to the other. However, it’s not as simple as it sounds. Each puzzle has its own set of rules. For example, the tutorial puzzles are as easy as getting the line from one end of the other, but the next set of puzzles have black and white dots in the mix. To get the line from one end to the other on those puzzles, you need to take a roundabout way to group the black dots together and the white dots together, separating the colors.

That one is fairly easy to figure out the rules once you get the hang of it. There are no rules or no directions. This game has no dialogue or instruction of any kind. You need to figure out the puzzles, the “rules” of each puzzle on your own. You need to explore the island on your own and decide where to go next.

I’m pretty sure there is no linear path, but the puzzles do get more and more difficult as you progress.

graphics-music

Normally I’d say the puzzles are my favorite part of the game, but I think for this one it’s the graphics. The world The Witness has taken you is a beautiful one, even if it is unfamiliar and a bit scary to explore.

The colors are so bright and each biome (the forest, the desert, etc.) are spot on with their colors and the overall atmosphere. There are some interesting spots throughout the island which are meant to help you get your memories back. The island has a mysterious aura around it and it’s done well.

There’s not much music to this game. It’s soft and soothing that adds to the calmness of the island and aids you when you get frustrated with a puzzle here and there.
storyAt the beginning of the game, your character wakes up in a dark tunnel. You make your way out into the fresh air of the island with some tutorial puzzles. However, you have no idea who you are, where you are, or how you got there in the first place.

The story is a mystery and you need to explore the island and solve the puzzles to find clues about your past and the island itself.

replay-value

This definitely has some replayability since one could never remember the solutions to the puzzles. While they don’t change, some of the answers are so complex you can’t remember them and have to re-figure them out. There are well over 600 puzzles in this game, so you may even forget some of the rules to certain puzzles.

This is a one-player game, but I can see playing with a group, passing the controller along, trying to figure the puzzles out together or simply just taking turns to give your brain a rest.

The Witness gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below! 

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Octopath Traveler [First Impressions]

Playing Octopath Traveler | Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo Switch | DoublexJump.com

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Octopath Traveler is a game that we’ve all been waiting for a long time. Nintendo even gave us two demos for the game – the first we’ve played, the second we did not. Still, after the first demo and seeing various trailers, we were eager to get this game.

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It’s been a long while since we’ve sat down and played a good, long game with a heavy emphasis on the story. Octopath Traveler seemed to be just what the doctor ordered, and with Square Enix at the reins, we had a good feeling that Octopath would be worth the time and money.

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While we knew you got to pick a character to start, I thought we’d have to play the game 8 times to get the full story effect for all the characters. However, that’s not the case. As long as you have the character you’ve chosen in your party at all times, you can go through all 8 stories at once as you pick up each of the other characters on your journey, which is fantastic. We’re currently going through chapter 1 for all 8 characters.

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We’ve been having a great time going through each character’s story and learning about their background, but I’ve honestly been most impressed so far by the music and the sound effects. Even back when the first demo came out, the music was one of our favorite things about it. Not only is the soundtrack beautiful, but the little details for the sound effects had us gushing. We chose Therion the thief to start and there’s a point where you explore a manor. His footsteps click on the marble floor but hush as he travels over rugs, and his voice echoed when speaking in a grand room, as voices tend to do in fancy manor rooms. Those little details were amazing to us.

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To go along with the music and sound effects, the voice actors are on point. Listening to the quick cut scenes where the characters speak for themselves is always engaging to listen to. They all have distinct voices that seem to fit their personality perfectly. The voices vary in tones and emotion depending on what’s going on. You can tell the voice actors put their full effort into it.

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The game play and the characters’ stories (the ones we’ve started so far, anyway) are great as well, but it’s the game’s music and sound effects, along with the art style, that has fully captured our attention and helps to keep us excited to turn on the game again. As we go further along into the game, we’re sure the stories will keep us enraptured as well, but for the beginning, the music, acting, and art style are doing their jobs phenomenally.

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I’m eager to learn more about all their stories. I’m excited to play a lengthy game with an engaging story again. It’s been a while.

What do you think of Octopath Traveler? Which character did you choose to begin with? Let us know in the comments below!

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Will More Characters Be Announced For Super Smash Brothers Ultimate?

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

We’ve got a few months before the release of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate which means there’s a lot of time to speculate more about this anticipated game.

Will more characters come to Super Smash Brothers Ultimate? | Nintendo | Nintendo Switch | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

When the teaser for a new Smash Brothers game came along, everyone erupted into the hype. Blogs and websites everywhere were posting lists and polls of who they wanted to see in the latest Smash game.

So when the roster was announced at this year’s E3, I’ll admit I was surprised to see very little new characters.

Was I disappointed? No, not at all. Believe me, I’m stoked to play as Young Link again. He was my all-time favorite back in the day. Revisiting old characters is just as good as trying out new characters.

Like I said though, I was still surprised to see very little new characters added. The newest we got were the Echo characters.

However, Nintendo Life interviewed Bill Trinen and asked about more characters in Smash. His answer?

“We can answer that when we get closer to December.”

So… we have well over 60 characters for Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Will there be more announced down the road?

I was also surprised they announced everyone at once, especially when they usually keep up speculating until the release – or they leak characters slowly before the launch date.

Maybe Nintendo has more up their sleeve. Or maybe I’m reading too much into things.

What do you think about this? Do you hope more new characters are added to the roster? Let me know in the comments below!

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Of Art Books and Collections

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

Aside from collecting the actual games, Rachel and I enjoy collecting other aspects of our favorite games and franchises to celebrate them. Rachel, for instance, loves to collect Pokemon cards. For me, it’s all about the art books and posters of my favorite games.

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You know the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?” No one listens to that when taken literally. Everyone judges books by their covers, as they are the first aspect of a book that will potentially snag a reader’s attention. It’s the same with video games.

Aside from box art — which, considering the digital age of gaming nowadays, may not exist — the art style and graphics of a game are one of the first impressions a game makes to a potential player. Screenshots and trailers are shared before the game is officially out to entice gamers, and I for one Google games before buying them to see if I can gauge how well I may like it, art style included.

Graphics are one of my favorite aspects to gush over when it comes to games and I am forever amazed at the designers and animators. So when Nintendo announces books dedicated to the art of some of their most popular games, I’m ready to say, “Take my money!”

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Take the Legend of Zelda series alone. We have the history collection — Hyrule Historia, Art & Artifacts, and Encyclopedia — along with the Creating a Champion coming out in November. There’s also The Art of Fire Emblem: Awakening, which looks gorgeous. Honestly, with the popularity of Octopath Traveler and its art style, I bet an art book for that game won’t be far behind. They have posters for all the main characters, which I would love to collect.

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I would love to collect these books and posters dedicated to the art of some of my favorite games and franchises. For now, though, Nintendo, space and money is a bit of an issue.

Do you enjoy collecting the art books or posters for video games? What are some of your favorites?

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