Ghosts and Ghouls

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

The title of this post is probably reminiscent of October or Halloween times, isn’t it? Instead, I had this thought rather recently so it’s going up now, haha!

Ghosts | Video Games | Gaming | Supernatural | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

Rachel and I recently played Lady Layton on the Nintendo Switch. We’ve enjoyed previous Professor Layton games with the characters, stories, and most of the puzzles, so we figured Lady Layton wouldn’t be too bad, either. If you’re interested in our full thoughts on the game, our review can be found here.

The only reason why I’m mentioning Lady Layton in this post is due to a particular case in the game, one that had to do with a supposedly haunted house and mischievous spirits. If you’ll excuse the slight spoilers, due to the nature of the game and the cartoony graphics, we knew that ghosts were not the actual culprits in the case.

However, despite the nature of the game and the cartoony graphics, I was still weirded out at all the ghost-like happenings in the game. In particular, there was a part of the game where a doll’s head appeared in a cracked mirror, and I found myself just absolutely creeped out.

Rachel, of course, had no such problems, especially after being a little loopy due to the late time we were playing:

rachmii “I’m pinning this on that character. Her parents died and now she’s too fascinated with spirits and playing with dead bodies.”

krismii “…Please stop.”

Of course, I didn’t have nightmares or anything of the like because of the case. Still, I found it odd that I was a bit disturbed by the idea of ghosts and ghouls in a cartoon video game.

Horror games were never my thing (nor Rachel’s, despite some of her more morbid fascinations that I presume come from writing primarily murder mystery novels). I grew up with Nintendo and the Mario, Pokemon, and Legend of Zelda families of games. There wasn’t anything too scary in those games, and the idea of playing games like Resident Evil had never crossed my mind. I had never thought of myself as someone who would get creeped out by certain supernatural elements in video games, just as someone whose taste didn’t align with games that have said supernatural elements.

And yet…

Ghost house levels in Super Mario games were always one of my least favorite. Ghost-type Pokemon aren’t ones that I normally train, and I find many of the Ghost-type Pokedex entries to be downright disturbing. Redeads are the bane of my existence in Legend of Zelda games — seriously, as a kid, I would never go past the Young Link part of Ocarina of Time because I didn’t want to pass all the redeads in the dilapidated Castle Town. This probably is also 

The creative mode in Minecraft is awesome. Being in the regular mode and seeing an Enderman appear behind you? No thanks.

What does this all mean to me as a gamer? I really don’t know. It was an interesting thought that I had after that particular case in Lady Layton. I never realized before now that there were certain games and levels in particular that I like to avoid (or rush through, such as in the case of Legend of Zelda redeads).

And, while Rachel may avoid rated M games more for the gore factor, I’m coming to realize that I probably avoid them more for the creepy factors.

Are there any particularities in games that you tend to avoid? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Nintendo Music Mix for Winter — Vapidbobcat

Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo | Music | Music Mix | YouTube | Doublexjump.com

We’re at the end of January already, and we’re hoping it’s more calming this month than the holiday rush from last month! To go along with the chill vibe and weather outside, this month’s music is a collection of some winter-like tunes from various Nintendo games.

This mix was compiled by the youtuber Vapidbobcat, a channel that creates all sorts of themed mixes and videos with video game music. The below mix is one of their newest, inspired by all the love that they had received from an earlier fall and autumn-themed mix they had created.

We hope you enjoy this video of relaxing Nintendo music!

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High Hopes (A Shield Nuzlocke): Chapter 2

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

This Friday, we are continuing my Pokemon Shield Nuzlocke, “High Hopes.” If you missed the first chapter or want to be reminded of the rules, feel free to go back to that post. Otherwise, hope you enjoy this piece!

Pokemon | Nintendo | Video Games | Pokemon Nuzlocke | Pokemon Shield | Doublexjump.com

Chapter 2:

Current Team: Bond the Sobble
Body Count: 0

My first experience with the overgrown grass in Route 1 was tripping over a Blipbug.

I decided to blame Hop. He had taken off down the route towards Wedgehurst, saying how we needed to meet the professor, and I was just trying to catch up. I was lucky I didn’t land on and squash the poor thing. Instead, it ran right into Bond, who was startled enough to Pound it with a tongue-lashing. Considering it was dazed, I tossed a pokeball and caught it.

“Well, what do you know,” I murmured to Bond as I picked up the Blipbug’s pokeball. “We got ourselves a new teammate.”

Said new teammate was dubbed Piccolo and — after reaching Wedgehurst, meeting the professor’s assistant and granddaughter Sonia, and receiving a Pokedex from her — was then almost eaten on Route 2 by a Rookidee.

At my shout, Bond leaped to Piccolo’s defense, soaking the offending Rookidee with a Water Gun. The Flying-type gave off a shrill scream before flapping up into the air, avoiding Bond, and diving at Piccolo again. On reflex, I chucked a pokeball at the bird, both the ball and the Pokemon colliding together.

As the pokeball stilled, signalling another capture, Bond, Piccolo, and I all took a collective deep breath.

“I’m not sure if I’m cut out for this,” I muttered, returning my Pokemon and picking up my new Rookidee’s pokeball. I backtracked to Wedgehurst, figuring that Hop and Leon could wait a bit longer for me. I wanted to get appropriate food for my Rookidee so he didn’t try to eat Piccolo again.

Heading back to Route 2, there were a few other beginning trainers that gave my team some experience, and it wasn’t until it was nearly sunset that Professor Magnolia’s house appeared on the horizon. Hop was there in front of the property, gazing towards the lake, but he gave me a grin when he spotted me finally showing up.

“‘Bout time,” he said. “I thought you got lost, but I figured if Leon could figure out how to here, then you’d be just fine.”

“It’s a straight way from Wedgehurst to here,” Leon said dryly, catching Hop’s words as the pair of us caught up to the champion by the professor’s door. Leon ruffled his brother’s hair, adding, “I’m not that bad.”

“He kinda is,” Hop whispered to me as we followed Leon into the house, and I stifled my chuckles as we were introduced to Professor Magnolia.

She was a nice old lady, talking about the wishing pieces and dynaxing Pokemon, and spoke up for Hop and me when Leon seemed hesitant about endorsing us. To be fair, I was as hesitant as Leon, but before I could blink, it was decided that Hop and I would battle to see if we were worthy of the champion’s endorsement. As Hop and I got into position on the makeshift battle arena outside of Professor Magnolia’s house, I wondered if Hop would hate me if I told him that I really wouldn’t mind if Leon didn’t endorse us for the Galar Gym Challenge.

I mean, sure, it would probably be a good time. Growing stronger with my Pokemon wouldn’t be a waste and it would be a good excuse to go off and explore the region more thoroughly. Yet, unlike Hop, I didn’t feel that pull to become the next greatest trainer in the region.

I’ll play the role of rival in The Legend of Hop and support him as well as I could, but if Leon could only endorse one of us after our battle, I wouldn’t be heartbroken if it was Hop.

“C’mon, Kris!” Hop was stretching from the opposite side of the makeshift battle pitch, his grin infectious. “Come at me with everything you got!”

“Alright, alright,” I said, making a show of brushing off imaginary lint from my shirt and giving my friend a crooked smile at his excitement. Glancing over at Leon, I saw Professor Magnolia join him on the sidelines, the older woman interested in seeing how well Hop and I battled. 

Leon said, “Listen up, you two,” and gave us a pep talk about always learning from every battle. I mulled over the few battles I’ve had with other trainers on the route when heading towards Professor Magnolia’s house, trying to figure out if there was anything I learned aside from paranoia whenever my Pokemon took a little too hard of a hit. Leon snagged my attention again as he added, “So show me something good in this battle!”

“You got it!” Hop wasted no more time as he tossed out his first Pokemon. Predictably, his Wooloo bleated as it emerged and shook itself.

I knew his Wooloo. It was gentle and sometimes showed a little more common sense than its trainer. Taking a deep breath, I called out my own Pokemon.

Piccolo blinked her big eyes as she stared at the Wooloo before her. My Blipbug didn’t seem too surprised, probably from having seen plenty of wild Wooloo on Route 1. What Piccolo was surprised about, apparently, was me commanding, “Struggle Bug.”

Whether she was surprised I was reminding her of the only move she knew or just to attack in general, I wasn’t sure. Being tiny meant that Piccolo hadn’t spent too much time helping Bond and Ryder the Rookidee battle the few other trainers on Route 2.

Unfortunately, her pause meant that Wooloo, who had no such problems with listening to Hop and attacking, barrelled into Piccolo with a Tackle.

Oh, shit.

Piccolo flipped backwards with a somersault as Wooloo rolled right on over her and back to position in front of Hop. She gave a delighted bleat as I debated on whether to return Piccolo already. My Blipbug, however, shook off the Tackle and charged as fast as her species could — which, really, wasn’t wasn’t that fast — at her opponent. Wooloo stared at Piccolo as she went closer.

Hop didn’t waste time in commanding a second Tackle, and I preemptively winced. Wooloo, again, ran over Piccolo, but Piccolo hung on to Wooloo this time around.

Wooloo tried shaking itself to dislodge Piccolo, but Piccolo nearly buried herself in Wooloo’s thick wool, biting as she used Struggle Bug on her opponent. In a desperate move to get Piccolo off, Wooloo rolled right into the stone wall surrounding Professor Magnolia’s property, knocking itself out.

“Great try, Wooloo,” Hop said, returning his Pokemon. Piccolo stumbled back towards me as I congratulated her. Immediately, I returned her when Hop tossed out a Rookidee.

“Ryder!” My own Rookidee exploded from his pokeball, eager to battle again, and dove at Hop’s Rookidee with a Peck attack.

The two birds traded Peck attacks a couple of times until Ryder broke off and honed his claws against the professor’s stone wall. Hop’s Rookidee chased it, getting another hit in, but Ryder’s sharper claws snagged it so Ryder could get one more good Peck in.

“Ryder, enough!” I called my Pokemon back as Hop called his to return. Together, Hop and I sent out our starters to face off once again.

Scorbunny set the battlefield on fire with an Ember and Bond nearly panicked. He leaped onto one of the nearby trees, using Water Gun to put out the few flames that Scorbunny kept kicking up.

“Aim for the rabbit!” I said, ducking from one such wayward Water Gun.

Bond got the hint and directed his next attack at Scorbunny. Scorbunny’s ears flopped with the water and it shivered before Hop commanded it to Tackle my Sobble. Scorbunny dashed up the tree, its feet connecting with Bond enough to make both of them tumble back to the ground. Bond got up first, using his tongue to Pound the Scorbunny even further into the field before his Water Gun met Scorbunny’s next Ember attack.

Another Tackle to Bond, another Pound to Scorbunny, an Ember, and one last Water Gun revealed Bond — and me — as the victor.

“Heh…” Hop returned his Scorbunny, giving me a lopsided smile. “I’d expect nothing less from my rival.”

“It was a good battle,” I said, hoping that I could avoid every other wild Pokemon and trainer on Route 2 to get back to the Pokemon Center.

“Well.” Leon came up to the pair of us, pausing only to stomp on one last little ember on the battlefield to snuff it out. “After seeing a battle like that, I’ve little choice but to give you both an endorsement as Champion.”

“YES! Thanks, Lee!” Hop cheered, and I thanked Leon as well, before Hop turned to me. “Alright, Kris! You and me are going to train up against one another to aim for that Champion’s title!”

I paused, but Hop’s enthusiasm was contagious. I couldn’t let him down.

I returned his grin. “Absolutely.”

Who knows? Maybe becoming Champion wouldn’t be such a bad goal after all.

Have you ever failed a Nuzlocke challenge? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy [Video Game Review]

Lady Layton | Professor Layton | Video Games | Gaming | Nintendo Switch | Doublexjump.com

Title: Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy
Publisher: Level-5
Developer: Level-5
Platform: 
iOS, Android, Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo Switch
Category:
Puzzle, Adventure
Release Date: 
July 20, 2017 (iOS, Android), October 6, 2017 (Nintendo 3DS), November 8, 2019 (Nintendo Switch)
How we got the game:
Received it for Christmas 2019 on the Nintendo Switch

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Layton’s Mystery Journey — or Lady Layton, as we’ve been calling it — has been a game that’s been on our radar since it was announced for the 3DS. We’ve enjoyed the few Professor Layton games we’ve played, and we were looking forward to seeing what Lady Layton was all about.

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Lady Layton, of course, is not Professor Layton himself. However, we enjoy the puzzles and characters so we were interested in seeing how Lady Layton presented herself after playing so much Professor Layton.

Gameplay | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

krismii
Lady Layton has similar gameplay mechanics as the Professor Layton series. Navigating through different scenes, you point and click on the environment to interact with objects and people, finding clues to the current mystery as well as short puzzles that bolster the gameplay. While you don’t directly control the main character’s movements, you are able to go between scenes via the handy map.

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All you need is the ability to point-and-click with your Joy-Con and have enough brain power to solve some puzzles. Lady Layton is part visual novel where the characters interact. We took turns reading dialogue from certain characters though some parts were voice-acted with a short anime cut scene here and there.

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That’s pretty much all there is to the gameplay mechanics. Some puzzles include literally rotating pieces to solve them, others include more mathematics, and still some are more logic puzzles. Aside from the puzzles and main storylines, there are also a plethora of minigames that tie in to the few cases — puzzles that have to do with shopping or food or Sherl the canine sidekick — as well as a wardrobe change function for Katrielle. We didn’t really explore these options too much, to be honest, as we weren’t too interested in them.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I play the Layton games mostly for the puzzles. In this particular game, however, the puzzles were too easy. Normally there are puzzles we get stuck on and need to use our hint coins a lot or rope our parents in to help us. The majority of the puzzles in this game we breezed right there. There were only a handful of puzzles we got stuck on.

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We did feel a bit more bored by the majority of the puzzles than we have in other Professor Layton games, yes. This game felt like there was a lot more fluff rather than substance when it came to the actual gameplay.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, it was pretty light-hearted for the most part. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I enjoyed the banter between the characters. Overall, though, the main gameplay could have issued a little more of a challenge for me.

Graphics & Music | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

krismii
The graphics of the game are cute, the same style that has been used for previous Professor Layton games to keep them connected. While some of the more exaggerated designs for characters I could do without, the art style is engaging and keeps me interested in continuing the story.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I enjoy the art style. I think it’s charming overall. There are certainly some interesting looking people but it’s fun nonetheless.

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The music for this game is cozy. Relaxing and soft, the tunes do well being paired with the characters — the main cast being comprised of a gentlewoman and her eager, polite assistant — and the locations of the game. I enjoyed the music, but it was low-key for a game about solving crimes.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree that it was low-key for a crime-solving game. Then again, none of the “crimes” were dire so it seemed as though the music fit. Lady Layton is a fairly light-hearted game. The music was catchy regardless though.
Story | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

krismii
The title of this game is Katrielle and The Millionaires’ Conspiracy, which gives one the impression that there is a larger, overarching story amid the multiple cases that this game provides. Within the dozen cases that the game provides, the “millionaires” are introduced but there is no larger case that you are always trying to discover. Each case is individual before it brings all the characters together during the last case of the game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I don’t mind having multiple cases throughout the game. Having 12 cases to solve seems fun. However, other than the characters, none of the cases had anything to do with… anything, really. The cases introduced the characters but never hinted at a bigger conspiracy until the final case. Even then, the solution seemed out of the blue.

krismii
The solution both seemed like it came out of the blue, but it wasn’t particularly surprising either. We had guessed who the true culprit was before the answer came about and, even now, there are parts of the last case that don’t make sense to me for the culprit to be who they were. The story could have been a lot stronger when it came to the characters. The characters themselves were interesting enough, but there wasn’t enough of a plot to really show their strengths.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Not to mention that Sherl, a talking dog, approached Kat the beginning of the game wondering who he was and how he got turned into a dog. Supposedly, he was human at one time and has no memory. That mystery was never answered. After the credits, it hinted at a sequel, but I would have liked more mention of that. Once he initially asked for her help figuring out who he is, his “case” was never mentioned again throughout the entire game.

Replay Value | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

krismii
The cases themselves are fairly linear, with the one outcome each. Likewise, the puzzles usually only have a couple of ways to reach the answers as well, if they have more than one way to the outcome in the first place. The only replayability this game may have is if the player missed some puzzles and wanted to go and find them again. There are some minigames to play as well but nothing that we found particularly striking.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’m not sure if this is a game I’d pick up again. The puzzles were fun but pretty easy compared to the Professor Layton games. The mini-games weren’t great and overall, each case didn’t allow you to solve it alongside Kat. It made some parts boring. The game was okay overall and the characters were certainly enjoyable.

Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

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

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Kind Words [Video Game Review]

Kind Words | Video Games | Gaming | Indie Game | PC | Doublexjump.com

Title: Kind Words
Developer: Popcannibal
Publisher: Popcannibal
Platform:
PC
Category:
Indie, chill word game
Release Date:
September 13, 2019
How we got the game: 
Bought and downloaded it on Steam

Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!

krismii
Kind Words has been on my radar since I heard about it a few months ago, and it came right back up to the front of my to-play list thanks to the Game Awards having it as a nominee for the Games for Impact award. I was finally able to download it, and I am not disappointed in it.

Note that this review doesn’t use our typical template. Mechanically speaking, there’s not much to this game. You have a little avatar that relaxes in a small bedroom while scribbling away letters to other people. The goal is, simply, to be kind, to send words of encouragement, to give advice in response to other people’s letters, or to just let them know, “I am here and I hear you.”

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The menu on the side allows you to see requests that you can answer, send a request yourself to receive advice, send a paper airplane that floats through everyone’s room, and see your inbox, among options for the credits and settings. The setting is minimal, clean, and calming with the soft lights and the chill mix of music that you can adjust to your liking by clicking on the radio above the bed.

The game itself opens up and you meet the Mail Deer. This adorable creature claims that they are the one who sends your letters along, letting you know the gist of the game as well as warning you that you are communicating with real people and to be careful about giving away too much personal information. Mail Deer also speaks about how important they take cyber bullying or dangerous messages, and urges players to report any requests that fall under those categories. Security and safety are this game’s utmost priorities, and it shows in the community and how swiftly those reports are handled.

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One of the main criticisms of this game — and there are very few of those — is players asking for more room on the letters and paper airplanes to write their requests or advice. Sometimes the main point of a request gets lost when not all the context is there due to the lack of room, and the advice that follows doesn’t quite work.

While it can be somewhat of an issue to not have the full story, I do like the fact that the letters must be shorter. It helps with the anonymity of the game and helps to illustrate that one may not receive all the advice they hope to from a stranger online. Indeed, strangers helping out one another with advice and words of encouragement is wonderful, but there is only so much that a stranger can do. To help with that, Kind Words does have a link to mental health resources that is prominent at the bottom of the screen whenever a letter or airplane is written. If one truly needs help, that link is there for when simple advice cannot.

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Another criticism that I’ve heard about the game is that there is no method of keeping in touch or continuing to send and receive letters from the same strangers. Some have found that certain people give fantastic advice, others are wondering how well their advice was received or how someone who had written a particular letter is doing. While it would be nice to be able to keep in touch with someone else, especially since — despite the dangers — online relationships can be wonderful, I believe the one-time reply does its job well. People inherently want to help others, but it can be dangerous to be so involved with others’ problems, dangerous for both parties’ self-esteem and their mental health. To harp on a stranger’s issue, as well-meaning as one may be, can be destructive for both parties.

As the Mail Deer, sometimes the best you can do is to send along a kind word, and you have to hope that will be enough. Know that you did your best for a stranger in the form of an anonymous letter and that they will be able to take strength from your kindness.

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I believe every person has a little bit of, “I want to save the world,” in them, but it can be overwhelming when it appears that you, as only one person, can’t make as much of an impact as you think. To be able to help just one person enables one to realize that perhaps they cannot impact the whole world but, for that one person they helped, they were able to impact that one individual world, hopefully for the better.

Kind Words enables us to do just that.

Kind Words gets…
5-lives
5 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: Games of the Decade

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

I’m looking back on some of my favorite games that I’ve played these past ten years and I can’t believe how many gems I’ve found. It was difficult to narrow these lists down!

Friday | Video Games | Gaming | Game of the Decade | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

Considering it’s 2020, the first year of the new decade, and we were challenged to figure out what our overall Game of the Decade was when Rachel and I joined Jett from In Third Person on his Twitch show Boss Rush this past Wednesday.

This homework was hard.

Nevertheless, I was able to create a list of my top games from the years 2010 to 2019. These are listed by the year rather than a ranking system, and this is all my personal opinion.

2010: Pokemon Heartgold/Soulsilver

Heartgold and Soulsilver were a couple of fantastic remakes for the original second generation of Pokemon. Considering the Crystal version was one of my favorite installments of the franchise, I was pleased with the way the remakes were handled. Updated graphics, music, and the fact that Pokemon could follow you around were all wonderful aspects of these games! (Honorable mention – Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth)

2011: Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

While the motion controls can be hit or miss, Skyward Sword was such a fun adventure with some of the brightest graphics I’ve ever seen at that point for a Legend of Zelda game. The world itself was a bit linear, but I enjoyed the areas that we did explore. My favorite part of the game, though, had to be the characters themselves. Zelda and Link, Fi, Ghirahim, Impa, and even Groose all had awesome designs and character development throughout the game.

2012: Harvest Moon: A New Beginning

Harvest Moon was a series that I always enjoyed, but more so the older installments than the newest ones. A New Beginning was a happy medium for me. Allowing me to build up and create both the farm and the town was a fun project and it was always satisfying to meet the requirements needed for certain buildings. I enjoyed the graphics as well, and the online features worked great when there was enough people playing the game.

2013: Fire Emblem: Awakening

If you know me at all from this blog, you’ll know that the Fire Emblem series is a love of mine, particularly Awakening. It reignited my passion for the franchise, with the characters and story line, even if some of them were a bit more cliche than unique. I loved customizing the avatar, especially since they had more of a personality, and pairing up the characters is always a guilty pleasure of mine. (Honorable mention – Pokemon X/Y)

2014: Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

The Ace Attorney series is near and dear to me, and I was always curious about the Professor Layton games, hearing that they involved crimes to solve as well but with little puzzles dotting the story here and there. When this crossover game came out, we seized the chance to be introduced to Professor Layton and were not disappointed. The mesh of two casts worked well and the story was well done! (Honorable mentions – Tomodachi Life, Sims 4)

2015: Undertale

This game took the world by storm with its unique characters, metafictional elements of storytelling, and near perfect scores by critics. It was unlike anything I’ve ever played before, an RPG where you didn’t have to harm anyone. The success story of the creator Toby Fox is amazing and inspiring to anyone who knows his name. That, and the music is some of the best!

2016: Stardew Valley

This game, as I’m sure I’ve said before, is everything that I wish the newer Harvest Moon games are. The premise is simply to raise a successful farm, try to improve the community, and become friends with the townsfolk. Without any gender locks when it came to relationships as well, it’s a big step for LGBT+ representation as well. It’s an easy game to get into, put down, and then pick right back up again. Considering how well it’s been kept up to date with content and features, it’s no surprise that this game is on many people’s top games of the decade lists. (Honorable mentions – Keep Talking & Nobody Explodes, Death Road to Canada)

2017: Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

This game was my choice for my personal Game of the Decade. It was a tough choice, I’ll admit, but the Legend of Zelda franchise has always been near and dear to my heart. This series helped introduce me to video games, after all. Breath of the Wild was such a fresh and gorgeous take on the franchise. The graphics were beautiful, the exploration and world was fantastic, and I adored all the nods to previous entries in the franchise, with familiar areas, snippets of dialogue, and the memories. I’m so excited for Breath of the Wild 2! (Honorable mention – Miitopia)

2018: Octopath Traveler

I was in love with this game from the moment I saw the first trailer. The art style — reminiscent of a pixel-like pop-up book — was beautiful to me, and the music has turned into one of my favorite soundtracks. The battle system was fun and the character classes in this RPG were great to explore and grow. While I enjoyed the characters, I do wish they were given just a little more depth and interaction with one another. Still, Octopath Traveler was a great game to dive into and lose yourself in the world. (Honorable mentions – Deltarune, Gris)

2019: Fire Emblem: Three Houses

This was probably one of the most difficult years of gaming for me to narrow down my played list and choose just one game. However, after mulling it all over for a while, I finally decided on Fire Emblem: Three Houses. Considering I was lukewarm about Echoes and Fates, and I was a little perplexed about the school setting of Three Houses, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I love this game. My main critique for this game is that there was no “golden ending;” I want to protect all of the students! And I totally never trusted the church. This game was one of my runner-ups for Game of the Decade. (Honorable mentions – Arcade Spirits, Pokemon Sword and Shield)

What were your top games of the decade? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Book Review: IRL

Books | Book Review | In Real Life | Graphic Novel | Video Games | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

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In Real Life, or IRL, is a graphic novel by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang that showcases a high schooler’s life as she joins a popular MMORPG. Anda, the main character, has a love of gaming, both online and offline as the comic shows with her classes in computer and gaming programming as well an afterschool D&D campaign. When a well-known gamer visits her class to talk about Coarsegold, an MMORPG, and the importance of female gamers being comfortable playing as females in their games, Anda joins the guild.

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Upon entering the game, Anda meets another female online who convinces her that there are players who cheat the system by gold farming. It’s her job to get rid of them and she gets paid real money for doing so. Anda joins her in this quest believing she’s doing the right thing for the game and also making a little extra money along the way.

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This isn’t well received by Anda’s mother, who was apprehensive about Anda joining an online game in the first place. Like most parents, her mother was concerned about Anda talking to strangers, particularly men. She was appeased by Anda joining an all-female guild, but when Anda starts getting paid to get rid of gold farmers, it’s her mother’s bank account that is connected to the game. Her mother, believing that Anda is talking to strangers and accepting money, cuts Anda off from her video games right when Anda begins to realize that the gold farmers are real people rather than bots.

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Before Anda gets cut off, she actually has a conversation with one of the gold farmers, a young kid from China trying to make extra money as he works in awful conditions. Anda realizes there are people out there who don’t have it as easy as she does and she’s determined to help him out. There’s a lot of morals that go into this graphic novel and it’s not just about playing video games online and making a hobby out of it.

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Reaching out and trying to help others, bullying, and the morals of meeting people both on- and offline are all lessons that are touched upon in this graphic novel. I actually thought it was interesting how the mother was in this story, with her being concerned about online predators that we really don’t see much nowadays. Rachel and I grew up with the internet, having special classes occasionally in school regarding internet safety since it was still fairly new. Now, kids are much more tech-savvy than their parents when it comes to online and people’s lives are plastered on the internet more so than ever.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s true. Most kids are on their own when it comes to the Internet. They learn from their friends or they figure it out for themselves. However, from a babysitter’s perspective, there are still plenty of parents out there who worry though mostly because they don’t understand. Their kids don’t understand either (even though they think they do) which makes them worry more. So, reading the conversations between Anda and her mother were pretty real to me.

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Which is great, it’s good that the graphic novel echoes the conversations that parents you know have had. I feel as if parents’ involvement with the way their kids interact with the internet has fallen to the wayside in recent years. When it comes to the images of the graphic novel, I enjoyed the art style and how fluid it was. Being set mainly in an MMORPG, there were plenty of action shots and pages, and the characters’ expressions were always clearly captured, in my opinion.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
This graphic novel, overall, is well done. The illustrations are fun, the characters are easy to get into it, and the story is a good one.

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That Time I Did Not Pick Legend of Zelda

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Something that I’m trying to do for the new year is to be a little more active on social media, such as Twitter. It includes trying to respond to more people, throw my opinion out there more, and just see what comes up.

Nintendo | Video Games | Nintendo 3DS | Legend of Zelda | Zelda | Doublexjump.com

Fairly recently, a Twitter account we follow — @GifZelda — posted an image of a plethora of Nintendo 3DS games and posed the following: “You can only choose three. What do you choose?”

I took a few minutes, looked at the list of games, and retweeted my top choices for fun:
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Fire Emblem: Awakening was a no-brainer, as that is probably one of my favorite Fire Emblem games to date. Pokemon Y had to be included to represent my love of the franchise and, out of the three games presented, I enjoyed the Kalos region the most. Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney had a fun story with both old and new characters that I’ve grown to love. The three games encompassed most of my video game tastes, and it wasn’t too difficult to choose them.

Then I realized that the first line of games were all Legend of Zelda titles and I had a mini existential crisis.

The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that literally helped introduce me to video games and as since grown into one of my favorites. Our mom may not know too much about video games nowadays, but she knows the Legend of Zelda title and what the Triforce looks like, able to link the series with my love of gaming (pun originally not intended, but awesome enough to stay there). By not choosing one of the titles, I felt as if I was betraying the Legend of Zelda.

Granted, just because I preferred other game franchises for the Nintendo 3DS to the Legend of Zelda did not diminish my love for the series. The majority of the Legend of Zelda choices were remakes of previously released titles, for one thing. For another, this choice merely solidifies how I prefer to play certain series. The Legend of Zelda franchise was always a series that I preferred to play on a television console rather than handheld, just as I prefer Fire Emblem as a handheld series instead of console.

It’s a bit funny how I categorize the franchises I play, especially with the Nintendo Switch’s ability to, well, switch between handheld and docked modes. Being able to take Breath of the Wild on the go is wonderful, but the gorgeous world is better appreciated on a bigger screen. Likewise, seeing Fire Emblem: Three Houses on the television is great, but I enjoy seeing the smaller details on handheld mode. Indeed, Three Houses was one of the first game data that I transferred from the original Switch onto my Switch Lite so I could always enjoy it.

Then there are franchises that can go either way. It’s been awesome to see Pokemon on bigger screens, especially the latest installments with the new world details, but I still enjoy the handheld versions. C’mon, they’re called pocket monsters, after all. Professor Layton and Ace Attorney are also games that I like on handheld, the mysteries and smaller screens giving a cozy sense to the games, but since Rachel and I enjoy playing them together, having the game on the television is much better for our eyes and postures.

In the end, there’s usually no right way to play your favorite franchises, even when some lend themselves to one screen over the other.

Are there any series that you prefer on a handheld screen? Or a television screen? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Nintendo Switch Online Wish List

Nintendo Switch | Online | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

krismii
I’ll admit that we do not use the Nintendo Switch online services as often as we probably should considering we’re paying for it. I forget that it exists, to be honest. The idea of the catalog is wonderful, especially since we have good friends that we can’t play local co-op with, but there haven’t been too many games that we’re interested in playing just yet.

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The idea of the Nintendo Switch Online is a good idea in theory. However, a lot of the games we already own and can still play on our past consoles. Not to mention Nintendo released the SNES and NES Classic consoles so… it’s all sort of redundant.

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I would like to see more SNES and NES games that are not on the Classic consoles offered with revamped online multiplayer if such a mode is applicable. Online Turtles in Time, anyone? I’m also hoping that some Nintendo 64 games will make their way onto the online service. I really think there should have been an online multiplayer mode for games like Super Mario Party. Imagine playing the original Mario Party games online!

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The NES and SNES were great consoles, but I really think the Nintendo 64 was the peak of it all. I’m surprised there hasn’t been a Nintendo 64 Classic or even games from that console added to the Switch online. It would be awesome to play through the old Mario Party games, especially since some of those games were never added to the virtual console on the Wii or Wii U.

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I hope they’re thinking of adding Nintendo 64 games onto the Online service in the long run, as I believe Nintendo is adamant that there is not going to be an N64 Classic anytime soon. And, of course, the online service isn’t all bad. We would never be able to play Pokemon Sword and Shield or Smash Ultimate with each other and friends if not for the online service. Still, I wish there was more incentive than that to pay for using the Internet while gaming.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Well, the games that were added are games that we never played as kids. We don’t have much interest in trying some of them too. We should broaden our horizons, but we don’t. On the flip side, the games that we did play as kids, such as Turtles in Time, aren’t there.

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We should explore the options a bit more, admittedly. I wonder how the Switch Online service is for those who do remember playing the currently available games? Perhaps because we don’t have as much nostalgia for the games is why we don’t care for the Online service, with the exception of the occasional Pokemon battle or Smash match with online friends.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
That’s true. We were pretty young in the era of the NES and SNES. This is all the more reason as to why I would love to have some Nintendo 64 games on there. I’d be playing those all the time. Still, we definitely need to explore the games that are already on there a bit more.

Do you use the Nintendo Switch Online services often? What would you like to see on there? Let us know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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January 2020 Pokemon Direct Reaction

Pokemon | Nintendo | Pokemon Direct | 2020 | Video Games | Gaming | Doublexjump.com

krismii
This past Thursday, we got a Pokemon Direct from Nintendo and holy crap. Let’s just say that we were pleased by this direct, despite the complaints that we’ve seen bopping around the Internet. The first two minutes of the direct showcased the remake of the Red and Blue Rescue Team Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games and, while the mystery dungeon games weren’t my cup of tea, I think Rachel enjoyed seeing the tease.

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Like many others, I’ve been waiting for a new Mystery Dungeon game for quite some time. The latest Pokemon Mystery Dungeon game came out in 2015. It’s been some time and while this isn’t a brand new Mystery Dungeon game, I’m pleased the two original titles of the series (originally for the Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS) are getting a chance in the spotlight once again. It seems as though they smooshed the two games together into one and not only remastered it but updating it with new elements such as mega evolution. I’m excited!

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I’m glad you, and so many others, are excited for Mystery Dungeon! Personally, I was much more excited for the rest of the direct. I’ve always enjoyed the third-tier Pokemon games that gave more lore and story elements to the regions, and have been disappointed by the “sequels” that didn’t give much new content. They were too similar in story to the original pair of games for the region to warrant the full price of a new game. I think having DLC for Sword and Shield is a great happy medium. To give us more content past the champion route without having to play the story again, along with some more Pokemon included, is perfect.

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I have to admit I was wrong about what they were going to do next with Sword and Shield. So many people speculated DLC and I said a hard “no.” Pokemon has never had DLC before. I didn’t think they’d start now. While I’m not pleased with the idea that they might go down the “DLC rabbit hole” I’m excited for the expansion pass for the games. I can’t wait to have more story, more max raid battles, more places to explore, and new Pokemon to meet!

krismii
Generally, I’m not a fan of DLC either, but I feel like Nintendo does DLC well. They release full games and DLC is an expansion on what we already have. Just take a look at Breath of the Wild, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Fire Emblem: Three Houses for a few examples. The DLC is usually not the price for a full game, either. While I prefer free DLC, as I’m sure everyone does, I don’t mind paying a bit to support the developers for giving us a fuller experience in games. In Sword and Shield, I enjoyed having something to do after becoming champion, and I’m excited to see what comes next with the Isle of Armor and the Crown Tundra!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
While this is true, Nintendo also usually comes out with “deluxe” versions later on that end up having the full game plus all the DLC included. We were lucky not to buy any DLC for Mario Kart 8 so when we got Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, there were some new things for us. Overall though, I am looking forward to the expansion pass. It’s $30, which is cheaper than I expected it to be. I’m certainly not complaining about that. I only wonder if we’ll have to buy it twice? Sword and Shield don’t have cloud save data. I’m playing through Sword twice on the same profile, but one is on our home Switch and the other is on my Switch Lite. If we buy the DLC on our home Switch, will it appear on my Sword file on my Switch Lite? We have a physical copy of the game, but without the cloud save data it doesn’t matter if I play the game on the same profile on different consoles. I hope I’ll be able to use the DLC on both consoles so I can have it for all of my save files of the games, especially since I one-hundred-percented Shield on my Switch Lite.

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I’m hoping we can download the expansion pass per Nintendo account and profile. That way, even if you switch between your Sword games on the home Switch and your Lite, your profile will still recognize that you have the expansion pass. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see, though. That’s a concern, unlike some of the harsher reactions we’ve seen on the Internet regarding the expansion pass. It’s a shame people were complaining about “Game Freak turning into EA” when it comes to paid DLC, but that doesn’t even make sense. In previous Pokemon generations, you would have to buy another whole game, one that only enhanced the original story, for full price. I suppose the expansion pass for both Sword and Shield is still the price of a full game put together, but I feel like it’s better than having each version’s expansion pass be a whole $60 or so. Hearing folks complain about the old Pokemon just arriving now is a bit silly as well. True, it would have been nice to see as many Pokemon as possible already in the Galar region, but I would like to believe that Game Freak is adding more Pokemon due to the backlash of no National Dex. Besides, it’ll make the new areas seem fresher with new species to the Galar region.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I think it’s ridiculous how people are overreacting to this. Honestly, everyone is going to buy it and enjoy it anyway. I think part of the reason Game Freak chose to do this was due to the backlash, yes. But I also believe it was done as a business move because they had already announced Pokemon Home. It’s easy to suck people into the “catch ’em all” mentality. So, adding more Pokemon – new and old – are going to make people buy this regardless of the new areas. For some people, anyway. I’m looking forward to it overall and I do hope I’ll be able to truly catch them all in a single game, though I know that’s a bit unrealistic. So, for now, I’m super excited and my only “complaint” about all this (which isn’t really a complaint at all) is the fact that my Pokemon Sword and Shield guide and Pokedex are already outdated and I just got them. So, I hope they come out with an updated guide and an updated Galar pokedex for my collection at home.

krismii
I’m curious as to how Pokemon Home is going to work between Let’s Go and Sword and Shield. It’s supposed to be similar to Pokemon Bank, but the only compatible games at the moment for it are those on the Switch and, even then, only a percentage of the Let’s Go Pokemon will be able to transfer to Pokemon Sword and Shield. I’m cautiously optimistic that more Pokemon games will be coming to the Switch, like a couple of remastered Sinnoh versions or a duo of Let’s Go titles for Johto.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
(Yes, like Psyduck.) I hope they remaster some of the older games and slowly bring more and more Pokemon from those games to Home to Sword and Shield… I’d also be happy with an updated version of Pokemon Ranch. But I guess that’s another topic of conversation for another day.

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