Mario Party The Top 100 [Game Review]

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Title: Mario Party The Top 100
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
Party, Multiplayer
Release Date: 
November 10, 2017
How we got the game: 
We each preordered a physical copy

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Mario Party is one of those game franchises that makes or breaks friendships. It was one of the games that were a stable in our childhoods as we grew with the generations of Nintendo consoles. We have lots of fun memories with the earlier installments of the games, but the newer ones were disappointing to us. We were hoping for the Top 100 to bring back a little fun to the franchise.

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I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much for this game, but I was excited nonetheless. They were bringing back old school mini-games, what could go wrong? Well, they did some wrong… but it was still nice to replay some of the old mini-games again.

gameplay

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Mario Party The Top 100 celebrates the top one hundred mini-games from the main franchise. With several modes, the Top 100 allows players to compete and play mini-games either alone or by linking up wirelessly with friends. Each mini-game has been updated with their graphics and controls to bring it up to speed with today’s modern handheld technology, and they all use simple controls to play, usually only a couple of buttons and the control stick to move.

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There are five main modes of the game, one being only for the single player while you can play the other four modes with friends. 100 Minigames, Minigame Island, Minigame Match, Championship Battles, and Decathlon. Minigame Island was probably my favorite mode, but even that wasn’t too great, to be honest.

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100 Minigames is a free-for-all mode, where you can play whatever mini-games you’ve unlocked whenever you want. Minigame Island was the single-player mode, where you would go through a series of little “islands” connected via warp pipes and defeat minigames as levels. As a single player, you would choose your character at the beginning and the character you would like as your partner during two-versus-two games. Your opponents in the game are randomized, as are their difficulty level. Each minigame win earns you ten coins, which earns you a life after you collect 100, as well as star points similar to those in Mario Party 9 and 10. If you lose a minigame, you lose a life.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Well, if you come in fourth you lose a life. If you come in third, you get one mini star. Second gets you two mini stars, and first place gets you three mini stars. You want to collect all the mini stars you can (300 total) so that you can unlock something at the end. I liked this mode because it was completely random and it was all minigames, but it definitely would have been more fun playing with other people rather than alone.

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I wonder, if you play through the Minigame Island again, if the mini-game levels would be random? I agree that the island would have been more fun if that was a mode you could link up with friends to play. The modes were you could link up with friends weren’t too bad, however, what fans seemed to really want were boards like the original series had. Instead, Top 100 reuses the Star Rush board with some tiny updates, a small board where everyone moves at once one to six spaces, and you play a mini-game only if someone catches a mini-game balloon. It’s… not the most fun experience.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s boring, to put it bluntly. The board is small and not exciting at all. Not to mention that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Star Rush. It probably won’t be a mode I’ll play again. Another mode is Championship Battles and that wasn’t as great as it sounded. You play 3 to 5 minigames and see who can win the most. It sounds fun in theory, but they only allow 3 or 5 minigames. What about 10? What about 20 or 50? That would certainly raise the stakes and have a longer playtime with friends. It was easy for the games to become one-sided, especially when playing with CPU characters.

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Decathalon was similar enough to Championship Battles, but players would compete for earning the most points depending on their ranking in the mini-game as well as time or your score, if they applied. The higher ranking you are in the mini-game, the more points you earn. After so many mini-games, the player with the highest amount of points wins. It seemed pretty skewed, to be honest. The mini-games were random and, once you become in first place in a couple, you seemed golden on the road to win the Decathalon. With players that are fairly even in their mini-game skills, it’s not much of a challenge.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The Decathalon wasn’t too bad. But yeah, I don’t think I’ll be playing that again anytime soon. The game also had minigame packs as well. Each pack was its own category of minigames from the various Mario Party games. (Gamecube Pack, Nintendo 64 Pack, Action Pack, Sports Pack, etc.) This is a cool idea in theory. When playing Minigame Match (similar to Star Rush), you choose a pack. Then you and the other players vote from your respective pack on which game to play. This is a cool idea, but you can only choose from the five games in your pack. I would have liked to be able to vote on a set of 30 or something, that 30 would be random each time you played. I would have liked to see more variety.

graphics-music

krismii
The graphics and music weren’t bad. They weren’t spectacular, but they weren’t bad. Graphics-wise, the game’s images are clear and crisp on our 2DS handhelds.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s certainly interesting to play minigames from Mario Party 1, 2, and 3 with updated graphics. I enjoyed seeing the characters and games in a new light, especially with their updated voices and such.

krismii
While the music wasn’t bad, as they seem to be reminiscent of the Mario Party series, it has changed. Many of the minigames have “updated” music, which are different tracks rather than merely updated versions of the original songs. We did notice that, in Minigame Island, the victory song matches the song that was played in the Mario Party game that the minigame came from. It was a cute, nostalgic-inducing touch.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I didn’t mind the music at all. I found it upbeat and lifting like any other Mario Party game. Also, there were the nostalgic tunes thrown in there. While updated, like Kris said, they were still nice to hear.

replay-value

krismii
The Top 100, while not what we wanted it to be, was decent for nostalgic purposes. It may be a game that I pick up once in a while if I have a little time to kill. Once you unlock all the minigames, it can be fun just to go around and replay your favorites.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree with Kris. However, Mario Party is the kind of game you want to play with your friends and I felt as though this game was better in single player mode than with friends only because there was more to do. Still, I’m glad I could revisit old games again.

Mario Party The Top 100 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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James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes [Game Review]

Title: James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes
Publisher:
Ubisoft
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
Puzzles, Strategy
Release Date: 
August 30, 2011
How I got the game: 
I bought it

I remember when I first got my Nintendo 3DS way back in 2011. I got two of the same games for Christmas that year and my mom took me to Toys R Us to pick out a new game. There weren’t very many games out at the time, that I was interested, and James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes caught my eye. I love mysteries and I enjoy puzzles, so I thought I’d give it a try.

gameplay

Gameplay is simple as it’s mostly stylus-based. It showcased a lot of things that the 3DS could do. Even though we’ve had a touch screen before with the Nintendo DS, you don’t use any buttons in this game. You have to use your stylus to continue any dialogue and use the touch screen to solve all the puzzles that are thrown at you. I sometimes tried pushing the “A” button out of habit and the game would just do nothing.

You are the star of this game the camera being in first-person, though you don’t actually move anywhere on your own. All you have to do is read through the dialogue (or listen, it’s all voice acted) and solve the puzzles that come your way.

For the game show portion of the game, where you’re on the hit TV show Puzzle Masters, you get to choose which puzzles you want to solve out of 12 options. You have to get a certain amount of points to beat your opponent and move onto the next round.

This isn’t as hard as it seems though. Depending on the difficulty of the puzzles, you earn more points. You have three hints per puzzles and gain 5 points for each unused hint. So, I ended up gaining an extra 15 points on most of the puzzles.

What I didn’t like about the game though was that you were able to back out of the puzzle if it was too hard. That’s not a bad thing, but there were no consequences to it. You didn’t lose any points or a turn or anything like that. It was just like it never happened. The game made sure that no matter what, you always won – even when you lost.

In the final round, my opponent had 520 points when the highest he could have gotten – based on the points each puzzle was worth plus the extra hint points – was 405 points. The math didn’t add up at all. For that final round, I needed at least 480 points. See the problem? And guess what, I still won.

The game obviously wanted you to win no matter what, so they should have made it so that your opponent played after you. Then they could have calculated their score based on what you got.

The other half of the gameplay was in the actual story. Outside of the game show, you help catch a serial killer who is leaving puzzles as a calling card. So, in this game, when you’re not listening to the brief cutscenes, you’re solving a puzzle either for the game show or the police.

graphics-music

The graphics were not great in the slightest… it just wasn’t the kind of art style that I’m a fan of. The characters were real people, but they were cartoon-ized (is that a word?) and their movements were played on a loop of what seemed like just 5 seconds. Their mouths didn’t match up with anything that they said and they moved too fast anyway. It just didn’t look good and it became annoying pretty quickly.

The music, on the other hand, was great. I didn’t remember much of the game since the last time I played it was about five or 6 years ago. I forgot how creepy the game could get and the music was a big part of that.

However, I will say that you’re so engrossed in the puzzles that the music isn’t really prominent. It’s when you’re investigating and you’re about to find something. You can tell because the music will get louder and creepier. That was very well done.
storyYou play as yourself auditioning to go on a game show, The Puzzle Masters. You don’t know anything about yourself other than what you look like (yes, this game uses the 3DS camera and yes, you have to take a picture of yourself). You start to learn more about yourself as the story plays through and you start to wonder who really is innocent and who isn’t.

Of course, you just want to win that grand prize, an all-expenses paid 1-year trip around the world. But an old friend of yours, an ex-boyfriend, gets in contact with you. He’s now an FBI agent and needs your help to solve a string of murders. This serial killer is killing past champions of the Puzzle Masters show and leaving puzzles behind as clues to his next victim.

All in all the story is pretty well done. However, there’s a lack of character development throughout the story. When you find out who the real killer is, the motive is pretty dumb.

But back to your ex-boyfriend, he at one point mentions your relationship and apologizes for it, but that’s it. I felt no connection to this guy. I really couldn’t have cared less about helping him out. Not to mention that he probably should have had a partner helping to back him up instead of his ex-girlfriend.

The ending gets a little twisty, which was clever, and it even leaves off on a cliffhanger. It made me wonder if there was a second game out there that I missed, but I couldn’t find one anywhere.

replay-value

There’s a ton of puzzles in this game. The ones you don’t play during the game show, you can go back to them later through the main menu. Based on your popularity with the show, you get fans who will send you fan mail. That’s how you get hints for the puzzles you solve with your FBI agent friend and it’ll allow you to play puzzles you’ve skipped.

I did not go back to do these. The puzzles were fun and certainly the best part of the game, but a few were redundant and just harder versions of ones you already played. So I didn’t care to go back and check them out.

This is a quick game, it took me 6 hours and 50 minutes to complete. So, if you’re looking for something quick and semi-challenging, go for this game, especially if you enjoy puzzles. If you’re looking for a great murder mystery with in-depth characters, go somewhere else.

James Noir’s Hollywood Crimes gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives3 out of 5 lives.

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

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I Miss My Nintendo 3DS

Happy Thursday!

When we first got our Nintendo Switch, I’ll be honest – we didn’t play it that much. But the past couple of months, there have been so many games coming out for it! Some I’ve looked forward to and some I’ve never heard of but want to give a try.

Through all this, I’ve neglected my Nintendo 3DS. And I have to say, I kind of miss it.

Nintendo 3DS & 2DS XL

While I love playing gaming on the big screen TV, I do think I prefer handhelds over home consoles. I like being able to bring my games with me and have easy access to games whenever I want.

Now the Switch can do both. Though I haven’t used the Switch in handheld mode much I’ve still been playing the Switch a lot more. More and more games come out for it each and every day and I’m trying to get through all the games and breathe at the same time.

Yet I realized I haven’t really touched my 3DS since Miitopia. While there are so many Switch games that I need to catch up on and play, there are a few 3DS games coming out as well.

Sure, Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will be out soon, so I’m sure that will take up a few days.

I also preordered Mario Party Top 100, so that should be here tomorrow. But then there’s also Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga + Bowser’s Minions. I haven’t played any of the games in the Mario & Luigi series, though it’s always been on my list. Other games just always took a higher priority.

Another one is Layton’s Mystery Journey: Katrielle and the Millionaires’ Conspiracy. I thought about getting this one on mobile, but when they announced a 3DS version, I decided I’d rather have it for that. Then I forgot about it.

I had mentioned trying out Monster Hunter Stories and Ever Oasis before, too.

There are just so many games and not enough time. I’m looking forward to getting Mario Party Top 100 though.

Are they any games that got pushed to the back burner for you? Are you eagerly awaiting Mario Party Top 100? Let us know in the comments below!

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3DS/2DS Designs

Double Jump Kris MiiDue to the Nintendo Switch being out with such fantastic games, we’ve neglected our 3DS and 2DS family of consoles lately. Looking up some news about the handheld consoles, it’s a little surprising to see all of the new editions and covers for them.

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Nintendo Everything just recently revealed that Target is taking pre-orders for a new Legend of Zelda 2DS Edition. A cheery green-and-yellow combination definitely reminds me of the colors of Link’s homeland, even if I prefer darker shades to represent Link.

Seeing the new edition takes me back to all of the other editions of the 3DS and 2DS consoles. There were several Pokemon-themed 3DS covers, along with other Legend of Zelda decals and, of course, the Super Mario Bros. There was also the beautiful Galaxy-themed 3DS that I was, honestly, once upon a time considering getting.

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Of course, there wasn’t a reason as to why I would need to buy a special edition 3DS other than the cool designs. They’re extra ways to show off your love of the fandom and Nintendo’s products but, practically and financially, they weren’t needed.

Perhaps one day if I have money to burn, I’ll splurge on an extra console. For right now, though, I’m content with the basic designs that I have for my 3DS and 2DS systems. After all, they both play games well, and that’s the most important part of the systems, right?

Has there been a certain 3DS design that made you want to get an extra console? Can you think of a future design that you would like to see?

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Team Rocket Is Back! [Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon]

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If for some strange reason you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a new trailer for Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, the latest Pokemon games that will be released on the seventeenth. The major aspect of the games that is showcased is the reveal of Team Rainbow Rocket. It’s fantastic seeing Giovanni again, and the idea of all of the past villain teams arriving to challenge you is also amazing. However, seeing all the past faces makes us wonder one thing — is this the end of the Pokemon game series?

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Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon was something I was looking forward to only because they’re Pokemon games. But the more they reveal for it, the more excited I get. I’m happy to see Team Rocket come back (despite the odd name) and I’m excited all the villains are there as well! It does make me worried that this will be the “end” (I don’t think so… but it’s still in the back of my mind), but I’m sure the game is going to be great with this new development!

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I get excited the more they reveal as well, but I also wish I had discovered all the villains on my own while playing the game. My mind would have been blown to see Giovanni or Cyrus again if I had stumbled into the plot! It does make me wonder how Team Skull, since they were more entertaining than a threat (even to the games’ NPCs!) will fit into the villain group, if at all.

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I’m sure Giovanni will go to Team Skull and be like, “No, no. You’re doing this all wrong. Step aside.” I’m sure it’ll be great and just think of all the experience points we’ll get fighting all the various bosses and goons!

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Fingers crossed that the plot will be awesome! I’m a little worried that all the villain teams will make things a bit messy… unless they do so in a humorous way. Are they all on the same side? Are they all after their own goals? Is that what all the legendary Pokemon from the wormhole will be there for, to help your ten-year-old self-protect the world from all of the villain teams? It should be a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to some epic fights.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I believe they’re all on one side as “Rainbow Rocket” with Giovanni as the dictator leader. Having every single legendary available will be cool as well. I’m looking forward to completing my Pokedex from every single game! However, that’s another reason why I’m worried about the end of the series… but we won’t think about that for right now. While the legendaries are cool, I don’t understand the Battle Agency. I’m sure it’ll be fun and you’ll get rare items, but… I don’t know why I have to rent my Pokemon?

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It sounds like it’s bringing back aspects of the Battle Frontier from the older games, like in Emerald and onward, which had a section that allowed you to “rent” random Pokemon. I know Sun and Moon have the Battle Tree, but I haven’t fully explored that yet. Perhaps you’re “renting” Pokemon that other players from around the world have put up for the Battle Agency, although the trailer only showcased legendaries, and it mentioned battling alongside other trainers… It’d be interesting to borrow another random player’s Pokemon.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
If you’re renting other players’ Pokemon, that would be pretty cool. If it’s just random Pokemon, I don’t know how I feel about that. I’d rather just use my own Pokemon. You know, we have a bond. Either way, I’m looking forward to the new games. We preordered them so… 13 more days!

 

What do you think of the new trailer? Any predictions or speculations about the game? Let us know in the comments below!

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The Legend of Kusakari [Game Review]

Game Review, The Legend of Kusakari

Title: The Legend of Kusakari
Developer: Librage
Publisher: 
Nnooo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
Action, Adventure
Release Date: 
August 25, 2016
How I got the game: 
I bought it

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When I first heard about this game, I didn’t really know what to think. I thought it was an interesting “spin-off” of Zelda as the running joke with Link is that he’s always cutting grass with his sword. After I had watched the trailer I thought it would be something fun and simple to try though I wasn’t in much of a rush. Now, over a year later, I finally go the game. And it’s actually better and harder than I originally thought it would be.

gameplay

This game is simple. You play as Kusakari and cut all the grass on the field. There are minimal buttons – B to cut a single blade of grass, A to use a spin attack which could cut up to four blades of grass at once, and L/R to dash.

The game is fairly short being 50 levels long, but each level is unique and gets progressively harder as you go along. So, it’s not a long game to beat (I beat the game in 3 hours total), but you won’t beat all the levels in one try. There were some levels that I had to try a few times before beating it and being able to move on.

Within the levels, the grass can be spread out far and wide throughout the area. You can dash to get to the grass, but it’s hard to control sometimes and can make you slip up. There are also various enemies throughout the area as well. Sometimes heroes are battling the enemies and other times the enemies are just wandering around. They don’t go after you, but if you walk into them you’ll be sure to get hurt.

Speaking of getting hurt, these levels are timed. No, the timer doesn’t tick down, it actually just counts how long it takes you to beat the level and then you get ranked on how fast you can complete it. But when I say you’re timed, I mean you health ticks down progressively throughout the level. You only have three hearts and you lose half a heart periodically. I assume this is because Kusakari gets tired and is using up energy. Still, it adds pressure to cut that grass as quickly as you can.

There are five different kinds of grass, by the way. The simple kind that takes one hit to cut down, a slightly bigger bush that takes two hits to cut down, and another bigger and darker bush that takes three hits to cut down. There are also two kinds of blue grass. One replenishes a heart and the other is bigger and sparkles and it replenishes all of your health. The blue grass, however, can’t always be found in the levels or they’re scarce in the levels.

In some levels, the blue grass is pretty common depending on the terrain. Some levels have sand or swamp or purple poison. That slows you down in which case tires you out which makes it that much easier to lose health.

Remember when I said you got ranked on each level depending on how fast you beat it? Well, if you get a certain amount of S ranks, you’ll unlock bonus levels. I didn’t unlock any bonus levels. I tried to. I went back to the first level where I had a rank A and beat it in 12 seconds. When I went back to it, I beat it in 6 seconds. It was still a rank A. I didn’t find it worth it enough to go back to all the different levels and try to get a rank S on all of them. Because to me, 6 seconds is worthy of an S rank, despite it being the first level.

graphics-music

The graphics were cute in this game. The various enemies were interesting, such as blue slimes, evil trees, and the occasional dragon or enemy soldier. Overall, the graphics aren’t anything fancy, but I think they work well for the game.

I especially enjoyed the level designs. As I said earlier, the levels varied from being in a forest to having sand, purple poison, or swamp around them. Towards the end, the levels were designed in a castle where the main hero was battling the big boss.

The music wasn’t bad either. I found the victory music and the music before beginning a level to be a bit much. It was fine enough to be enjoyable, but it did get old. The music during the levels was good. Some of the music was subtle while some were adventurous. Overall, it was enjoyable.

story

You play as Kusakari, a grass cutter. The world is being run by monsters and enemies. Soldiers and the “hero” of the story are working hard battling the bad guys, making it to the castle, and defeating the big boss. You, on the other hand, decide to help in a way no one else thought possible.

You’re going to clear all the grass so the soldiers will be able to play on an even battlefield and not trip over the long blades of grass.

It’s definitely an interesting story and I think it’s cool how the hero of the story isn’t the “hero,” it’s not the person who defeats the big bad guy. It’s certainly silly too, but it’s fun nonetheless.

replay-value

This was a fun, challenging game. I don’t know if I’ll ever pick it up again. Maybe someday I’ll feel good enough to go back and try to get those S-ranks on a few levels and it’s certainly a game that you can pick up at any time and do a couple levels here and there. Still, I don’t know if I’ll personally pick it back up again.

The Legend of Kusakari gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

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

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Are You Excited For Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon?

Happy Thursday!

It’s no secret that Pokemon is one of my favorite game franchises of all time. So, with Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon around the corner, I’m getting pretty excited.

 

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon

When Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon were announced, I wasn’t impressed. I mean, I was excited about another Pokemon game, but I didn’t get it.

Whatever happened to Pokemon Z for Pokemon X and Y? What about Stars for Sun and Moon?

I liked having the third game. I wanted Gray or Rainbow for Black and White and ended up with Black 2 and White 2. So, I assumed X and Y would have Z or X-Squared and Y-Squared. But we got nothing.

Now they’ve gone back to giving us two more “sequel” games just one year later since the first ones came out.

I’d complain, but it’s Pokemon. I know I’m going to get both games. I know I’m going to enjoy both games. And, as I said earlier, now I know it’s about a month away from being released, I’m beginning to get super excited all over again.

In Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, we’re able to finally go through the Wormhole and explore Ultra Space. I didn’t realize this was a thing I wanted until I saw the latest trailer for it.

New Ultra Beasts are introduced and so are new areas in an alternate dimension. It seems as though we have to play a certain “mini-game” to get there as well, which is a pretty cool touch. Who doesn’t want to ride Lunala or Solgaleo and control them? Even if it is for that one moment.

The areas inside the Ultra Space look pretty as well. Why we’re disturbed the poor Ultra Beasts in their home territory, I have no idea. However, there does seem to be a new plotline with new rivals, The Ultra Recon Squad.

Maybe they’re not “bad guys,” but they sure look like it.

And then, of course, there are new Pokemon. You can’t go wrong with new Pokemon.

I’m sure there are other updates to the game. I’ve heard there’s a new Trial and people are spreading rumors about Pokemon possibly being able to follow you, but… we’ll see.

Are you excited for this updated/sequel Sun and Moon? Let me know in the comments below!

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