It’s always difficult to figure out which games to buy and when. Sticking to a budget with this hobby isn’t easy, even with gift cards!
We all know gaming is an expensive hobby. Generally, when we receive gift cards, they’re already spent due to our list of games that we want. I was fortunate enough to receive a gift card for my birthday for the Nintendo eShop, but it’s a bit difficult to figure out how best to spend it.
I’ve never played Bravely Default, but seeing the art style and hearing the music has intrigued me enough to want to give it a try. Considering that there is a second Bravely Default coming out for the Nintendo Switch, it’s probably time for me to hurry up and buy the first one. Despite it being out since 2012, it’s still a Nintendo game and, as such, there hasn’t been a drop in price for it though.
We found this game while scrolling through the eShop and it looks delightfully ridiculous. The characters are mainly birds, the plot revolving around France in the 1800s, multiple endings, and there promises to be tons of puns. It seems to be like Phoenix Wright but as bird characters and I’m totally here for it.
Rune Factory 4 Special Edition
In a few weeks, Rune Factory 4 will be making its way to the Nintendo S witch. Fantasy meets Harvest Moon, I enjoyed the game when I played it on my 3DS and I’m looking forward to revisiting it on the Switch. Farming, dungeons, colorful characters who don’t say the same two lines of dialogue every day, and a dragon character have me excited for this remake.
What do you think of these games? Have you played them?Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Title: Kind Words Developer: Popcannibal Publisher: Popcannibal
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
It’s always nice when a Nintendo Direct coincidentally falls during my lunch break. We were able to watch most of the 20-ish minute direct live, getting hints of the upcoming Indie titles that will grace the Nintendo Switch next year.
This direct was unexpected but one I looked forward to. I enjoy indie games and was eager to see what’s upcoming for the new year. In total, Indie World announced 16 games coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020. While there were a few I’m interested in trying, there were four games that I’m truly looking forward to trying – Sports Story, Bake’n Switch, Supermash, and Murder by Numbers.
Most of the games looked pretty, while there were a couple that puzzled us. I believe I’m more interested in some of the games that had unique art styles and stories to tell, such as Gleamlight, Liberated, and Dreamscaper. Murder by Numbers, though, also seems great — we’re suckers for visual novels, and the music was created by Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney’s composer Masakazu Sugimori — and Supermash is definitely interesting as well. I wouldn’t mind trying Survivalists, if only because it features local and online multiplayer. If it was a single-player experience, I probably would pass.
I’d be willing to give most of those games a try. Survivalists looked cool as well. I thought it was going to be a Minecraft mimic at first, but it seems to have more to it than just crafting and gaining experience points. And who wouldn’t want to have monkeys on their side?
The monkeys made me laugh, admittedly. As stated, though, I’m more interested in joining up with friends to try to survive, similarly to how I’d like to try Stardew Valley in co-op mode. Another game that made me laugh was SkateBIRD. I’m not interested in the premise of it, but it seemed cute! I’m a bit surprised you haven’t mentioned Sail Forth, Rachel. I thought sailing around the high seas for treasure would be right up your alley.
SkateBIRD looks cute. I’m not sure if that’s one I’ll get, but I’d love to see what it’s all about. Sail Forth is a game I’d get. It looked pretty and I do like my treasure. Plus, it’s a simulation game. However, when they showed off the game, I didn’t get what it was “about.” Maybe I wasn’t paying too much attention to it, but the game just didn’t stick out in my mind like the other four games I listed did. Boyfriend Dungeon sticks out in my mind. While the gameplay looks cool, I’m iffy with the premise. It’s definitely a unique kind of game.
Boyfriend Dungeon just made question marks dance around my head, but that could just be me. I don’t mind dungeon crawlers or dating sims, but with the way it was combined together was a bit odd to me. Still, kudos to the developers for taking that leap. The art style is interesting, and while I’m most likely not going to get the game, I’ll keep an eye out on the reviews out of curiosity.
The art style looks great, I agree. I do enjoy dungeon crawlers but the mechanics of the whole boyfriend thing seem odd to mean. I’m sure it’ll be one of those hidden gem games though. It looked solid and if we ever come across it, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. Overall, all the games coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020 looked smooth and solid. I think 2020 is going to be a great year for gaming.
Did you watch the Indie World direct? What do you think of some of the games coming next year? If you liked this post, please share it around!
Title: Stardew Valley Developer: ConcernedApe Publisher: Chucklefish, ConcernedApe
Platform: Steam, Mobile, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
Category: Simulation, Role-playing
Release Date: Originally February 26, 2016
How we got the game: Bought it on Steam and Nintendo Switch
Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!
Stardew Valley is the game that I wish the Harvest Moon series was. With the main focus on just building the farm of your dreams and forging relationships with the people in the town, it takes away all of the gimmicks that the more recent Harvest Moon games have become known for. This particular review focuses more on the Nintendo Switch version of the game.
Gameplay for Stardew Valley is pretty simple and intuitive. With the main objective being to spruce up your farmland so it, you know, actually grows stuff, you spend your time doing various tasks that will help you better not only your farm but also the community of Pelican Town.
As your character, you clear out your farmland using various tools, such as an axe and pickax to break up lumber and stone. The hoe and watering can come in handy for planting and growing crops, and there are specific tools like the shears and milker if you have any animals on your farm. When not on your farm, you can forage for items around the forest, town, and the mines, which is also a handy place to gather ore, gems, and other material to improve your farm. Fishing is a leisurely activity that can still net you some in-game money as well as some staple cooking ingredients.
Another core mechanic is developing your relationships with the people in Pelican Town. There are plenty of friends to make in town, either by talking to them daily, giving them gifts, and random events. There are even marriage candidates, regardless of gender, that you can woo and, if you’d like, have a child with down the line.
While the game is pretty open-ended, giving the player tons of choice in what they want to do, there is a Community Center. The Community Center stars off rather rundown, but that can be restored by completing tasks called bundles. Completing these bundles will grant you rewards, such as opening up new areas for your character to go or special tools and makers to make life on the farm a little easier. Or you can buy a Joja Membership and get it turned into a warehouse.
A unique aspect of this game is the combat system. It’s simplistic, considering the game is mainly a farming simulator, but when exploring the mines, there are monsters and enemies to vanquish. These monsters drop loot and material, and you can usually find stronger weapons while exploring or buy items from the Adventurer’s Guild.
With the latest updates of the game, you can also farm together with friends in online co-op mode. Build a cottage or three on your farm for your friends to live, and you can all build up the farm together. Your friends can also get married to the local bachelors and bachelorettes… and you, if you want.
The graphics of this game are well done, going the pixel style route. The characters all look unique, easily distinguishable from each other, and they even have little animations — shocked faces, laughter, eating — that are fun to watch depending on their dialogue.
I absolutely adore the music in this game. Each tune is charming and pixel-perfect, and I find myself streaming the soundtrack on Spotify when not playing the game. The main winter theme is probably my favorite!
Tired of the uninspiring city life as an office drone, the main character inherits their grandfather’s old farm in Pelican Town, a small town filled with all sorts of interesting characters just living their lives in the valley. The farm itself is dilapidated at first, but with hard work and perseverance, the main character focuses on restoring it to its former glory while carving out a life for themselves. The story is directed by the player.
While at the start of your third year on the farm, you get evaluated on your accomplishments, there is no true end point to Stardew Valley. Even if, at that time, you do not like your evaluation, you can trigger another evaluation to earn more points at any time with version 1.1 of the game.
With five different farm plots to choose from, twelve eligable marriage candidates regardless of your character’s gender, a plethora of items to farm, forage, and ship, and literally any way you wish to grow your farm, you will not be bored with Stardew Valley. Not only is it tons of fun to play on your own, you can also play co-op with up to four people tending to the same farm.
Stardew Valley gets…
5 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Despite having it on Steam, I’ve bought Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Switch, just to give the game another try on a portable console. I’ve been loving it lately, so much so that I’m using it as an incentive to get this post done in a somewhat timely manner. Being in the middle of my first winter, I’ve started paying more attention to the villagers now that I’ve gotten the hang of farming. Here are my favorite NPCs.
Aside from Demetrius being a science guy, I enjoy the little backstory with their family. Looking at the bookshelf in Demetrius’s and Robin’s bedroom reveals books regarding becoming a step-parent, and it’s not often that one sees video games or other media with blended families. I enjoyed his excitement over science things and, honestly, if Demetrius had been a marriage candidate, I’d probably go after him.
The resident old lady of the town is awesome. She first introduces herself to us and tells us to call her Granny, which I would totally be cool with. I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly characters in these kind of video games, finding that some of them have the most interesting backstories.
I just met Sandy recently but I already love her. I wish it was more feasible to be able to visit her more often, but I tend to get involved so much with my farm and Pelican Town that I kind of forget about the desert area of the game. Still, Sandy is a fun character and I really enjoy her design.
Who are some of your favorite Stardew Valley NPCs? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
We’ve been quite busy this past month, and it’s been a little tough to actually get the time to sit down and relax with a few games. While I prefer console gaming, it is nice to be able to take a breather with a game right on my phone. Generally, I focus on the mobile version of Game Dev Tycoon, but I heard of another game we’ve enjoyed in the past that made its way to iOS and Android.
Nearly a year ago, Rachel and I started streaming on Twitch (I will shamelessly shout that our channel’s link is at the bottom of every blog post), and we’ve been having a great time with it when life allows us to keep some sort of a schedule with it. Considering how long its been, the Minit stream is not up on our Twitch channel any longer, unfortunately.
One of the very first games we’ve streamed was this little game called Minit. While we had downloaded it on Steam, it was also released for the major consoles within the year. While the game was cute with the unique challenge of making strides in the plot in 60-second intervals, Minit did slip my memory with all of the other games we’ve been playing since then.
However, Minit recently popped up again because I heard that it is now available for iOS and Android for only about $5 — considering it’s available for the major consoles for almost $10, it’s a great price. Giving you the challenge to break a curse in a short time frame, it’s perfect to just play for a few minutes if you need a mental break from life. I may actually give it a go again if Harry Potter: Wizards Unite doesn’t work out as well as I’m hoping.
Have you played Minit? What mobile games do you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
We hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and happy Father’s day to all of you out there! While Father’s Day generally includes celebration and relaxation for dads and father figures, it’s also important to take some time to relax yourself.
June has been rather interesting with life. Nothing bad has happened, thankfully, we’ve just been very busy. Busy enough that our regular routine of writing up posts and scheduling them has been interrupted throughout the month, and this comes after last month of us just being tired — physically, mentally, and emotionally — for various reasons.
We haven’t really played any video games lately, not new ones, at any rate. While we would like to pick up something new — Cadence of Hyrule, Little Friends, for a couple of examples — we’ve been finding ourselves vegging out with Animal Crossing: New Leaf while old Twitch and YouTube streams play in the background instead. Game Dev Tycoon is both on our Steam account and on my phone, so I’ve come home from my day job just to plop on the sofa and drain my phone battery with the game. This past week, I’ve been booting up Arcade Spirits more often than not in the evening instead of, say, working on blog posts (hence why this post is being posted a touch late rather than having been scheduled and published already). We’ve been focusing on some comfort games lately than crashing into new things.
Everyone needs a creative break sometimes. Stretching your creative limits can be exhausting and you can fall into a self-depreciating hole for not creating enough or taking too long of a break. Rachel and I have tried to find other creative endeavors to make that faucet flow again — me with a new sketchbook and canvases, Rachel with bracelet weaves and magnets — and we were excited at the idea of starting something new.
Yet, at this time, my pack of canvases is still shrink-wrapped.
But that’s okay. I’ll have a weekend off soon and maybe that’s when I’ll start throwing paint around again. It’s difficult always being creative all the time, and it’s okay to step back and take a break. It’s okay if that break is only a couple of days, maybe a week, or even a month. There is no time limit on caring for yourself.
What do you do to give yourself a creative break? Any comfort games? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
A couple of new games have recently been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame — Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Colossal Cave Adventure, and Microsoft Windows Solitaire. While there are criteria as to which games are inducted, I thought it would be fun to make a small list of my own for Hall of Fame games.
Stardew Valley has rocketed in popularity since its original release in [date]. The calming atmosphere of the game has likened it to the Harvest Moon franchise while also giving players new mechanics and aspects to the farming sim genre. It added an RPG-like element with cave exploration and monster slaying, as well as allowing players to marry either gender, including fellow players in the co-op updates. Considering the small team that created the game that has since gone on to be published on other consoles, the feats it has done deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
This is definitely more of a personal preference than figuring out anything groundbreaking about the game’s mechanics or style. However, it did throw Mario into yet another genre of video games, showcasing his versatility as a video game character. It also was the ancestor, if you will, of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, games that are popular in their own right. The Final Fantasy and other Nintendo character Easter eggs in the game were fun, and the unique characters that were introduced are popular enough to be shown in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light mode.
We’re not a pair of gamers that plays shooting games too often, if at all. However, we have tried out PUBG and have seen plenty of streams of the gameplay, finding it stressful when we play and amusing thanks to the content creators that we’ve watched. It was one of the first major battle royale games that hit the market and, while Fortnite’s popularity and gimmicks may propel it to the Hall of Fame before PUBG, I believe PUBG deserves its share of recognition.
What are some games you’d like to see in the Hall of Fame? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Title: Arcade Spirits Developer: Fiction Factory Games Publisher: PQube
Platform: Windows, MacOS, Linux
Category: Visual novel/Dating Sim
Release Date: February 12, 2019
How we got the game: Bought it on Steam
I had never heard of Arcade Spirits before Rachel and I discovered a Let’s Play of it on the ProJared Plays YouTube channel. We haven’t finished his entire play through of it just yet due to me getting interested enough in the game to play it myself. And, honestly, I freaking love it. A visual novel set in an arcade with a fun story and fantastic characters had me sold almost immediately!
Being a visual novel, Arcade Spirits does not have difficult gameplay. Rather, the most action you do is choosing your choice in a small list of answers at certain points in the levels. Yet, there are plenty of options and dialogue choices for you to make, even if sometimes the menus of choices aren’t that long. Indeed, there were some menus that only gave you two choices aside from a basic option.
Each choice that you made would help develop your avatar’s personality, whether it be Quirky, Steady, Kindly, Gutsy, or Basically. The choices indicate which answer goes with which personality trait, but there is an option in the short tutorial that allows you to hide the indicators so you have less of a chance to “gamify” your personality. Every multiple choice set would have a Basically answer, while the other few options would point toward one type of personality or another. When speaking with other characters, some would prefer certain types of responses over others, but there are no bad choices. You cannot get kicked toward a Game Over screen for the “wrong” choice (except for a couple of instances where you have to really try for a Game Over).
Not only are there no bad choices, but the game is clever enough to remember your choices in later levels. In Level 1, you may help a little girl at the arcade who will then remember you in Level 7 and want to help you in return. Certain choices from the beginning of the game — such as why you decided to get a job at an arcade — pop up as motivation for other choices in the game, as well as interactions with other characters. Visual novels, especially dating sims, have branched paths with the choices you make, but Arcade Spirits is the first game in my memory to actively have earlier choices be referenced to and the reason as to why choices later on happen.
My other favorite aspect of this game? In the beginning, you can actually choose if you want flirting and romance, a slow-burn romance, or just friendship. Considering I’m asexual, this is huge to me. I like slower romance, but the fact that there is a route where I can just befriend every character so we’re all working to save the arcade is fantastic!
The graphics of this game is just so much fun! The characters are really well-done, as are the backdrops of each scene. Most of the backgrounds have small, animated touches that both draw you into the scene while not being too distracting from the character(s) are are interacting with. I was also impressed with the customizable avatar. There aren’t any choices with clothing and only three hair styles — short, medium, or long — but skin, hair, eye, and clothing colors are whatever you’d like them to be. Your avatar is featured in several scenes no matter what crazy color combo you choose. Most importantly, you can choose the pronouns you go by, which was also something really nice to see.
Being a video game about… well, arcade and video games, the sound effects were on point. The music was subtle but went really well with the game overall, each scene having its own ambiance sounds. I really enjoyed the partial voice-acting and quips from all of the characters. A couple of my favorites were two dudes who owned the book and doughnut shop next to the arcade. The voice actors were phenomenal going back and forth with each other!
The gist of the story is that your character has lost another job and feels that… it’s rather normal. The avatar’s backstory involves their family always having to settle with what they had, and the avatar seemed to be resigned to that fate. They do not have a real dream to follow, prompting their roommate to suggest a special app that helps their user stay organized and in control of their life. This app then searches for the avatar’s “dream job” which lands them at an arcade called the Funplex.
The Funplex has interesting and dynamic characters to meet and befriend, and woo if you so choose to, ranging from your fellow coworkers to some of the arcade’s regulars. As the avatar, you try to figure out your dream, the reason as to why you decided to join Funplex’s team, and in doing so, you do your best to protect the Funplex from collapsing or being sold to a bigger arcade tycoon.
And that’s just the first half of the game. I fear I’ll spoil the finale if I continue. The story itself is heavily focused around dreams and finding out who you are and what you want out of life. The writing is both impressive and thought-provoking, with humor and some serious topics thrown in to keep everything in balance.
Considering all of the routes — romance, friendship, all the characters — and plethora of dialogue choices you can make, this game has amazing replayability. At the time of this review, I’ve done one romance option and am currently exploring the friendship route, but there are a couple of other characters I’d like to get to know and romance down the line. Right now, I’m just eager to get back to the game!
Arcade Spirits gets…
5 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! If you like this post, please share it around!
Today is the day! Come and join us at our Twitch channel for a 6-hour long stream to celebrate our personal two-year anniversary with our Nintendo Switch!
We’ll be going live at 9am EST, so be sure to give us a follow on Twitch to know when we go live.
We’re going to be playing games such as Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, and Yoshi’s Crafted World, to name a few. We’ll also have an hour or so dedicated to a slew of the indie games we have on our Switch, like Tetris 99, Miles & Kilo, and Robbotto.
So, please, come and join us if you can. Even if you can only pop in for a quick hello, we’d love to see and chat with you!