Of Kingdom Hearts

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday!

We’re actually in Disneyworld right now! Being around Mickey Mouse and his friends reminded me of the popular video game franchise Kingdom Hearts, an ambitious crossover of Disney characters published by Square Enix.

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I’ve only ever touched upon the Kingdom Hearts games when I was much younger. Having never owned the games myself, I was only able to play a bit of the first one whenever we visited our aunt and uncle a couple of towns over from where we lived (coincidentally, this is the same uncle that introduced me to video games and superheroes). If I had the chance, I would start up the game, usually create a new file and enjoy the main theme song, and give the game another try.

The farthest I’ve gotten was, perhaps, to Tarzan’s world, but I vaguely remember Aladdin’s world as well. I honestly cannot remember if Aladdin’s world was from watching my uncle or a friend play, or if there was a time that I had been able to borrow the game to play myself.

I always liked the idea of Kingdom Hearts, finding the narrative to be unique with exploring the Disney worlds to be a fun thought, even with the story line being a tad dark. And, while I don’t completely understand the line of sequels (why is there a game called “2.8 Final Chapter Prologue”? Why is there a Kingdom Hearts II when Chain of Memories is the direct sequel to the first game?), it is a franchise I would like to try.

What do you think of Kingdom Hearts? Have you ever played the games?

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Friday (Least) Favorites: Super Smash Bros. Items

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

Last week, I shared a list of some of my favorite items from the Super Smash Bros. video game franchise. This week, I thought I would share a few items that are not my favorites. If these items below do not make an appearance for Smash Bros. on the Switch, I will not be heartbroken!

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Lip’s Stick

This item was always annoying to me, especially on the receiving end. I mean, that’s the point, but I still hated getting hit with this item and having a damage-causing flower pop up on my character’s head. It definitely wasn’t the most powerful battering item, either.

Banana Peel

Just like when I see them on the Mario Kart tracks, seeing a banana peel join the fight makes me groan. I almost always chuck it off the stage, if I’m able to, as I’m more wont to tripping on the peel myself during the melee.

Mr. Saturn

While I’m guessing his appearance is a nod to Earthbound fans, I don’t understand Mr. Saturn’s existence in the Smash Bros. games. Why is he there? He only makes an odd sound if he’s thrown at someone. Otherwise, he just kind of wanders around.

Screw Attack

This is a hit or miss for me. Generally, the characters I use in the Smash games are characters who have decent jumps and up-slashes. The Screw Attack kind of nullifies the jumps of the characters, and I tend to forget if I’m wearing the badge or not, generally ruining whatever combo I may have been planning.

What are your least favorite Super Smash Bros. items?

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Dungeons & Dragons

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

Dungeons & Dragons was always something that was at the back of my mind, but it wasn’t something that was popular — that I knew of — around where I lived. Most of my friends weren’t exactly into video games like Rachel and I were, so I didn’t have as much hope for D&D.

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Dungeons & Dragons has existed since 1974, which sounds wild considering how little I had heard of it growing up. Of course, the few times I had heard of it was due to how “nerdy” the game was, even compared to video games.

For years, Dungeons & Dragons wasn’t really a thought in my mind until I realized that it was fairly popular with a couple of YouTubers that Rachel and I watch. Rachel and I spend what little downtime we have trying to catch up with “Dice, Camera, Action!” while now trying to stay up-to-date with “Trapped in the Birdcage.” The players in both those groups are fantastic, as are the Dungeon Masters with their storytelling abilities and antics.

For my birthday, Rachel got me the D&D Starter Set and, while it’s brilliant, I’m not sure where to start. It’s fun to go through and imagine different scenarios with characters I’ve thought of but haven’t fully fleshed out with character sheets because I don’t fully understand the character sheets, and… yeah. The dice are a really pretty blue!

Rachel and I are hoping to, sometime soon, have enough time to each make a character or two and just have a practice session, if you will, between the two of us. We both love creating stories and D&D seems to be another fun, creative way to do so.

Then, of course, there are all sorts of D&D video games to check out…

What do you think Dungeons & Dragons? Have you ever played? Any advice for new players?

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Friday Favorites: Smash Bros. Items

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone!

With Super Smash Bros. for the Switch arriving this year, this week’s list is a look at some of my favorite items from the franchise. Sure, it’s a great challenge to take out the items from matches, but the chaos some of these items create can be fantastic!

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Bunny Hood

I always had a penchant for the speedier characters, and with the Bunny Hood, I was able to go even faster. The high jumps this item gave the characters was also so much fun!

Motion Sensor Bomb

Bombs are always great to mix a little chaos into the matches, with the motion sensor bomb being one of my favorites. In a battle with 4 or more people, it was great when you were able to sneak one of these bombs without anyone else noticing and watching as they go flying off the screen due to the unexpected explosion.

Warp Star

The Warp Star from Kirby’s games was a great item to deal that finishing blow on an opponent, as long as you were able to control it well enough. It’s quick and pretty and just fun to use in a fast-paced battle.

Pokeball

C’mon, who doesn’t love the pokeball item in the games? Aside from the random Pokemon being an addicting gamble, some of the Pokemon can be particularly devastating to your opponents. And they’re adorable!

What are your favorite Super Smash Bros. items?

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Crossover Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday to everyone, and happy Easter to those who celebrated it! Here’s hoping we all don’t get sick from chocolate!

I wonder how an egg-delivering rabbit became the symbol of the holiday. Wouldn’t a chicken make more sense?

aiw_master-1-960x540A couple of weeks ago there was a meme going around on Twitter regarding the newest Avengers movie coming out, with the movie claiming to be the “most ambitious crossover event” in history. The Internet had a field day tweeting out pictures of what they believed to be even bigger crossover events than Marvel’s upcoming movie.

That episode of Full House with Steve Urkel from Family Matters. Space Jam with Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. Bill Nye the Science Guy appearing on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Video games were, of course, also mentioned.

Mario and Sonic at the Olympics? Check. Kingdom Hearts? Duh. X-Men versus Street Fighter, or Marvel versus Capcom? C’mon, Marvel, you got characters in those. And do we even need to say Super Smash Bros.?

One of my favorite crossover games, if you will, is Professor Layton vs Phoenix Wright: tumblr_nbn6flz7yj1qzp9weo2_r1_1280Ace Attorney. It was Rachel’s and my first taste of the Professor Layton games, and including that kind of game play with Ace Attorney was perfect. Having the familiar characters work alongside ones from a franchise we’ve never played was a great introduction to the Layton games.

I’ve also enjoyed the Dynasty Warriors crossovers, Hyrule Warriors and Fire Emblem Warriors. They’re both such fun hack-and-slash games! Pokken Tournament, blending Pokemon with Bandai Namco’s Tekken series, is a great example as well. The fighting genre seems to lend itself well to crossovers among video games, but it’s always fun to see cameos and playable characters from other franchises visiting games outside their norm, isn’t it?

What do you think of crossover games? Do you have any favorites? Any that you believe didn’t work as well as they could have?

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Flashback Friday: Aerobiz

Double Jump Kris MiiAnd it’s the end of March, already… A quarter of the year is over, everyone!

This month’s Flashback Friday is about a simulation game that I honestly have never heard of until earlier this month, but it seemed interesting to me! How many of you have heard of this game?

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Aerobiz is a business simulator, specifically for running your own international airline. It was a game for the SNES and Genesis game consoles that was released way back in 1992 for Japan and 1993 for North America.

The game features two time frames to play the game through, 1963 to 1995 and 1983 to 2015. During these time frames, as the CEO of your airline, you pick a city for your headquarters, negotiate for slots in airports in other cities, buy airplanes for your flights, set the prices for the flights, and determine the budget for the flights and airline services, to name a few tasks.

After each player takes their turn, the game shows any world events that will effect the airlines. For example, a city hosting the Olympic games will boost traffic for the airlines. It will then show the quarterly or annual, depending on the timing, results, showcasing which player has gotten the most profits so far. The game is won if a player links all of 22 major cities of the world while carrying a certain number of passengers, depending on the difficulty level, while still making a profit. If a whopping 128 turns pass in the game without anyone meeting these conditions, the game is considered a loss.

I have never played this game, but I always enjoyed simulators, like Harvest Moon and… well, the Sims. Business scenarios where I can crush my competition sounds right up my alley! I heard about this game from ProJared, one of the YouTube guests at EGLX — this was his answer when someone asked during the Normal Boots Q & A panel what their guilty pleasure game was. Lo and behold, he then uploaded a couple of videos to his game play channel showcasing this game, and Rachel and I were pretty entertained!

Perhaps I’ll be able to find this game on an emulator some day.

Have you ever played Aerobiz? Did you enjoy the game?

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Undertale [Game Review]

header

Title: Undertale
Developer and Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform:
PC, Playstation 4, future release for Nintendo Switch
Category:
Role-playing
Release Date:
Sept 2015 (PC), August 2017 (PS4), 2018 (Switch)
How I got the game:
I bought it on Steam.

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When this game first came out a couple of years ago, I really wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s popularity surged, but it wasn’t until we saw a Let’s Play of the game last year that I was actually interested in playing it. I finally got the game on Steam a little while ago and then, lo and behold, the game got announced for the Nintendo Switch this year!

gameplay

Undertale is a role-playing game where you play as a child who has fallen Underground, a dark place filled with Monsters. It’s in a top-down perspective, and you move about the overworld, navigating the land while interacting with other characters and, usually, solving puzzles. Depending on how one solves the objectives of the game determines the kind of ending one will receive.

When encounter enemies, the battle mode will trigger. The battle mode involves controlling your character’s soul, which is represented by a red heart. In each battle, as the heart, you must avoid attacks from the enemy that attack you similar in a bullet hell shooter. Various elements to the battles are introduced further in the game, such as different obstacles to dodge and conditions for controlling the heart.

Players have different options in battle. You can either choose to attack, act (such as talking to, mimicking, or even flirting with an opponent), use an item, or mercy, which allows players to either flee from the battle or spare the opponent if the time is right to do so. Depending on the players actions will sway the battle and, ultimately, the ending of the game. It is possible to beat the game without harming any enemies.

Undertale also employs metafictional elements. When a player replays the game, dialogue and certain sections of the game will be altered depending on the previous play through. How the player interacts with the game’s characters — by slaying, sparing, or befriending them — determines how the end of the play through will go. A player can achieve a True Pacifist run, Neutral runs, or a Genocide run, and subsequent play throughs will be effected by the ending of the previous play through.

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Undertale’s graphics are pixel-y and charming, reminding me of older video games from the NES and SNES days. Despite that, every character — whether they were major, minor, or just background — was distinct in its looks, dialogue, and even sound. When characters spoke, their words typed out to distinct sounds, giving the characters voices without voice actors.

The game, being set in a place called the Underground, was filled with dim colors, dark blues, grays, and some red-hot areas. Some spots were a little spooky, or tried to be, but the music was always coupled well with the areas, such as a relaxing waterfall setting or the snowy town at night. I was very impressed with the quality of music and sound effects, especially since the composer was also the developer and publisher.

storyUndertale’s story opens up with a child falling into Mount Ebott, which brings them to the massive Underground that is populated with Monsters. The first character that the player encounters is Flowey, a sentient flower that explains the basic mechanics of the games before attempting to kill the player. The player is then saved by Toriel, a kind, goat-like, maternal monster who teaches the player how to navigate through puzzles and how to end battles without killing.

Once the player leaves Toriel’s home, you explore the vast Underground while meeting many other new characters, such as Sans and Papyrus the skeleton brothers, Undyne the Head of the Royal Guard, and Alphys the royal scientist. The player’s main objective is to get home. Along the way, you learn about how the Monsters came to be Underground.

Long ago, there was a war between humans and Monsters. Humans, with their stronger souls, pushed the Monsters Underground, sealing them with a barrier. Despite their magic, Monsters are not strong enough to break the barrier. However, if the Monsters collect enough human souls, they will grow powerful enough to break the barrier. As the child, you learn that that is what Asgore, the King of the Monsters, intends to do.

And you are the last needed human soul.

As you explore the Underground and meet other characters, your interactions with them will determine the outcome of the adventure. Many Monsters will want your soul for their king, and it is up to the player to either befriend or kill them. When it comes to escaping the Underground, it is up to you on whether or not you want to help the Monsters… or just yourself.

replay-value

With the charming graphics, awesome music, and quirky characters, Undertale is a game that I would boot up multiple times just to visit the characters over and over. Along with the fact that there are different endings with metafictional elements, Undertale has some great replay value.

…Although, because I enjoy the characters so much, I’m not sure if I really want to do a Genocide route! I prefer the happier endings, haha!

Undertale gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

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

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