Here we are, the last Friday of the month and the year! I hope everyone’s 2019 was as happy and productive as it could have been for you!
Probably one of my favorite games from the past decade, Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth was a spin-off of the popular Ace Attorney video games. Investigations arrived on the Nintendo DS internationally in 2010 and took place in between the third and forth Ace Attorney games, Trials and Tribulations and Apollo Justice, respectively.
One of the main hooks, so to speak, of this game was due to the fact that you took direct control of Miles Edgeworth in the game, being able to make him walk from destination to destination and interact with the environment rather than just pointing and clicking like the other games in the series. Investigations focuses more on the deductive reasoning aspect of the games, solving mysteries and crimes at the scenes rather than in the courtroom.
The game had generally favorable reviews and sold well enough in Japan to warrant a sequel. However, since the sales weren’t great internationally, the sequel was never released outside of Japan. A group of dedicated fans and gamers, however, have created an English translation patch, should anyone outside of Japan wish to try the game.
Considering he’s one of my favorite characters in the Ace Attorney world, being able to play a game dedicated to Miles Edgeworth was a treat. It was a little silly — sometimes it seemed liked Edgeworth was the only competent character in the game’s world — and repetitive with trial and error responses, but I enjoyed the stories and both new and familiar characters from the other Ace Attorney games.
Have you played Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Title: Lost In Blue Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: August 25, 2005
How we got the game: We bought it
This is a game Kris has had for a long time. I had given the game a go a long time ago when Kris didn’t seem to be too into it. I never finished it and was curious to pick it back up again.
Lost In Blue doesn’t have much of a learning curve to it. It’s a Nintendo DS game so, of course, the touch screen is used a good amount. However, you can use the analog stick to move your character around and there’s a task for every button. A allows your character to climb up and down things as well as search for items in the ground. X opens the menu and allows you check the items in your backpack or rest. Y is used when you find Skye and you can hold her hand to guide her to certain places. B allows you to run which is always a fabulous mechanic.
The touch screen is used when digging in the ground. The stylus is used to move the dirt around. It’s also used when you have a spear to fish. Once you see a fish swim by on the bottom screen, you can tap it with your stylus to send the spear down. The only problem with this is that the touch screen is pretty picky. A lot of times I thought I had the fish and it claimed I didn’t. Other times I caught a fish when I clearly didn’t even touch it.
The mic is also used. When making a fire, you need to alternate the L and R buttons to make the spark and then blow into the mic. I played this on my 2DS XL and it took me a minute to actually remember where the mic was.
That’s it for basic controls. The rest of the game play is simple and fairly repetitive. You explore the island as Keith, gathering food, finding new places to explore, and finding items to make new tools to use in order to survive longer. At the end of the day, you can go back to the cave and go to sleep, which will allow you to save your game and then start the process all over again.
Both Keith and Skye have three meters – stamina, hunger, and thirst. These will go down throughout the day. You have to make sure they both have enough to drink and eat. Keeping the thirst up is easy since you can drink from the river. However, making food, especially in the beginning, is hard since you don’t have a lot of resources. However, there are certain foods you can eat raw such as coconuts and carrots found on the island.
The stamina is really hard, especially for Keith. Since he’s the one exploring it goes down fast. He’s really slow at walking so I make him run all the time, which, I’m pretty sure, makes his stamina go down faster. However, when he climbs rocks, jumps, or pushes logs, it goes down even further. Each day is timed so there’s only so much he can do – only so far he can get – before you have to turn around and make it back to the cave. This gets harder the further you explore because you can spend the first half of the day just making it back to where you left off on the previous day.
Once you beat Keith’s story, you can start a new game and have the opportunity to play as Skye.
Being a Nintendo DS game, the graphics aren’t the best. However, they work well enough for the time the game came out. There aren’t any noticeable glitches or the like, so it definitely works. During the dialogue, there were pictures of the character speaking to one another which was a nice touch. It was a shift from the regular game play and animations.
The music was mellow. Seeing as you’re stuck on an island, the music isn’t too epic or anything. It flowed nicely along with the game play. The sound effects, on the other hand, were okay. The sound to gather items – digging in the sand or dirt, spearing fish – were just okay. However, sound effects to show danger – such as your hunger meter getting too low – were spot on and really grabbed my attention while playing.
In this game you play as Keith, a boy who is washed ashore from a storm that made his cruise ship go off course. He’s all alone aside from Skye, a girl about his age who got washed ashore from the same storm on the same ship. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. They don’t know if there were any survivors and they don’t know if anyone will come looking for them.
Together, they must survive on the island and find a way off back to civilization. Keith explores daily and gathers food while Skye, whose glass broke and she can’t see, remains in the cave (most of the time) and does the cooking for whatever Keith brings back.
This wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t great either. I can find myself trying to play this game again, but the beginning is pretty slow. It’s hard to get started because you have nothing. Keith tires easily and is hungry and thirsty so keeping the stamina is hard. There’s a lot to explore and items to find and make, but overall it’s pretty repetitive and can get kind of boring. I love these simulation kind of games but this one is just okay for me.
Lost In Blue gets… 3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Title: Pokemon Ranger Developer: HAL Laboratory, Creatures Inc. Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokemon Company
Platform: Nintendo DS
Category: Action, Role-Playing
Release Date: March 23, 2006
How I got the game: I bought it
Pokemon Ranger is a spin-off Pokemon game, the first in a trilogy of “Pokemon Ranger” games. It’s a Nintendo DS game I got long ago when it first came out. I had completed then, getting stuck on some after story gameplay, and never picked it up again. I thought it was about time I tried it again.
In Pokemon, you’ve got your gym leaders, ace trainers, breeders, collectors, and more. In this game, we’re playing as a different type of person in the Pokemon world – a ranger. A Ranger is like a typical park ranger. They take care of their city and the areas around it and protect the Pokemon and people.
You’re a newbie ranger starting with your newly acquired partner Pokemon, Plusle. Plusle chose you, not the other way around. At first, you’re started off with small missions to get your feet wet. Then Professor Hastings, the union leader and creator of the Capture Styler and Super Styler, gets his Super Styler stolen by the Go-Rock Squad… while you’re escorting him. Yes, it’s kind of your fault.
Now you’re assigned a series of tasks and missions that get you closer to finding the Go-Rock Squad and making sure they don’t wreck havoc.
Pokemon Ranger came out about two years after the Nintendo DS was released. Most of the games were stylus-based with the new touchscreen and this game was no different.
In this game, you play as the protagonist – a girl or a boy – and complete missions to further the plot of the story. You walk around using either the D-pad, joystick, or you can use your stylus on the screen and lead your character around. I personally liked the former.
To interact with people and objects, such as the podium to save the game, you pressed the A-button. To encounter wild Pokemon all you had to do was run into them… or let them run into you.
Battling while Pokemon is different than the typical mainstream Pokemon game. Using your stylus, you have to draw rings around the Pokemon in order to capture them. Some Pokemon take more rings than others. The Pokemon run around a lot and even attack breaking the ring – but if an attack lands on the ring your stylus is hurt. You have a certain amount of energy in your stylus, it grows the more you gain experience points by capturing Pokemon, but if it runs out of energy, it’s game over.
This wasn’t a bad mechanic at all, I enjoyed it. Of course, it has its flaws. The wild Pokemon are free to roam where ever. They’re not restricted to the bottom screen, which means they run off screen a lot. Then you need to wait for them to come back. Also, if they’re standing beside the edge of the screen and your stylus bumps into the edge, it counts as though you lifted your stylus off the screen and the capture has to begin all over again. I missed so many times because of that and it got pretty annoying.
Some Pokemon have field moves in which you can use them to help in your missions. For example, fire Pokemon can burn down logs to clear a path, electric Pokemon can recharge your stylus for you. Not all Pokemon have field moves, but they all have a special ability to help when capturing Pokemon. For example, water Pokemon can allow your stylus to create a bubble and contain the wild Pokemon while you try to catch it. Psychic Pokemon enter the battle field and levitate the wild Pokemon suspending it for a brief moment of time while you quickly draw rings around it.
Some missions had a set of puzzles you needed to solve whether you needed a Pokemon’s help or not. While the puzzles weren’t bad, they weren’t hard either. It is a Pokemon game, so I wasn’t expecting extreme stuff, but I played through the entire game in less than 10 hours.
The graphics are nicely done for a Nintendo DS game. It’s pixelated for sure, but your character isn’t a chibi like in the earlier Pokemon games. Plusle follows you around as does any other Pokemon you capture which is cute to see.
I enjoyed the setting of the game too. There were four main cities, each based on a season – summer, spring, winter, and fall – and while it doesn’t sound like much, the scenery was well done.
The music is just as well too. When I turned the game on I was instantly brought back into the gameplay as though I had never taken a hiatus from it. The sound effects are satisfying, especially when you catch a Pokemon.
I can see myself playing this game again or even going back to it to do the post-game stuff. There are two other games in the Ranger series that I’d like to give a try. It’s not my favorite Pokemon game, but I thought it was an interesting concept and it was good enough.
POKEMON RANGER gets… 3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
This month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a small franchise that worked with the Nintendo DS’s microphone in an interesting way.
Nintendogs was first released in April 2005 on the Nintendo DS in three different versions: Dachshund & Friends, Lab & Friends, and Chihuahua & Friends. The series were re-released twice later, ending with a bundle called Dalmatian & Friends.
The game was a pet simulator starring, what else, puppies. Each version had a set amount of breeds for the player to adopt, name, and take care of via grooming, walks, feedings, and teaching them tricks. The dogs could get dressed up and compete in tournaments as well. The main gimmick of the game was using the microphone to speak to them.
With the Nintendo DS’s microphone, the player was able to verbally teach the puppies their name and tricks. There are “hand” motions via the stylus that you were able to make to help with the tricks as well, but the microphone was the main attraction. It worked fairly well, especially combined with the Nintendo DS’s graphics. The puppies were adorable!
Have you ever played Nintendogs? Did you enjoy the game?
Title: Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness Developer: Marvelous Interactive Publisher: Natsume
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: August 2008
How I got the game: I got it as a gift years ago.
I’m usually a sucker for the Harvest Moon franchise — they’re my go-to relaxing games. The older games tend to have a basic story and simple goals, and I feel that the newer games are trying a bit too much in having overarching story lines and encompassing goals. Island of Happiness is one of those games that was in between, still simple enough to be relaxing but with a few gimmicks that, in my opinion, were not needed.
Island of Happiness is similar to other games in the Harvest Moon franchise in that it’s premise is you, as the main character, starting a ranch from scratch. One of your main objectives is to raise crops and animals as best as you can while also befriending the villagers in the town. Wooing potential spouses and raising a family are also staple aspects of the Harvest Moon games, and Island of Happiness is no exception.
Harvest Moon games tend to give you free range when it comes to customizing your ranch, allowing you to grow whatever crops you want (in season, of course) and raise whatever combination of animals you wish. Want all chickens? Go for it. Want to have your field covered with tomato plants? You can do that. There’s no one telling you what to raise. Selling the crops and animal byproducts is the best way to earn money for your ranch, and some products are more profitable than others, so most take that into account. Products are also used in cooking dishes and gifts to friends and romantic interests as well.
With that said, Island of Happiness was on the Nintendo DS and, as such, Nintendo thought it would be best to utilize the touch screen as much as possible. It was more of an annoyance rather than feeling innovative. You move your character with the stylus on the touch screen while the D-Pad buttons was used to equip tools. This was rectified in the immediate sequel, Sunshine Islands.
Island of Happiness also had a more complicated method of growing your crops. In early Harvest Moon games, the best way to grow crops was to plant them in-season and water them once a day. Weather plays a part in helping crops grow and, unless there is a storm or blizzard, most days granted enough sunlight to help your ranch. Island of Happiness had some hidden mechanic where each type of crop needed a number of water and sun “points” in order to grow as quickly and strongly as possible. Later in the game, it is possible to build a Greenhouse to help control the weather. However, considering all of the possible crops that are in the game, trying to figure out and remember all the needed points was an unnecessary mechanic.
The graphics of Island of Happiness took a little getting used to. When I first saw the 3D models, I wasn’t too sure of them. However, the graphics grew on me, with the areas of the island being vivid and fun to explore, and the villagers all being distinct (with the exception of the minor NPCs).
Music in the Harvest Moon series was always enjoyable to me, even if the tunes do tend to make me sleepy. They’re relaxing and calming as they play in the background while you farm or explore, being perfect in matching the mood of the genre and game play.
Island of Happiness opens up with your character on a boat heading toward a new land. However, the boat gets caught in a bad storm, resulting in your character and a couple of others being shipwrecked on an island. Worry not, though — your fellow island refugees are a small family that has connections and experience with farming and shipping products.
Your character and the family, consisting of a brother and sister, their mother, and their grandfather, decide to stay on the island and work to make it habitable. You agree to be the rancher while the family runs a shipping business, helping to incite trade between your island and the mainland. Your goal is to really build up and clean the island to tempt other people to move in so the island can continue to flourish.
The more people that move in, the more relationships you can develop. Building up friendships can lead to new events and festivals, new areas to explore and, if you wish, romance that can lead to having a family.
Island of Happiness, despite some of the gameplay mechanics, is one of my favorite Harvest Moon installments. Developing the island and luring new characters to move in is enough of a challenge so farming doesn’t become so routine. There’s always something to aim for, which is why this is one game that gets plenty of use.
Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Happy Thursday, happy last day of Pokemon Month, and happy last day of August!
Wow, now that we got that out of the way…
Pokemon Pearl originally came out for the Nintendo DS on September 28, 2006. I can’t remember if I got the game for Christmas or if I bought it myself when it came out.
Whenever I got it, this was the very first Pokemon game I ever beat. I had played all the other Pokemon games before, but I never made it the Champion. This was because a new game would come out before I got the chance or I, for some reason, just wouldn’t make it that far.
Within a week or so, I had completed Pearl, defeating the Champion and all. Since then I’ve spent the most amount of time on that game than I have on any of my other Pokemon games.
I love all the games that came after Pearl, especially X/Y and Sun/Moon. And I know a lot of people didn’t care too much for Diamond/Pearl, but Pearl will always have a special place in my heart.
Which game was the first you completed? Let me know in the comments below!
When it comes to the Pokemon core games, they’re pretty much a given when it comes to my gaming wish list. It doesn’t matter what kind of region or how many new Pokemon there are, I will get the new generation and however many versions there are of it.
I was just as excited for Black and White as I was for the previous generations, but… Well, once I started playing it, the fifth generation was not my favorite of the games.
I started playing the Pokemon core games with the first generation, Pokemon Yellow to be exact, and I continued to get the games since then. I haven’t grown tired of the core Pokemon games just yet, and I hope not to. They’re always full of adventure and new places to explore, along with new Pokemon to discover.
With the fifth generation, Black and White, however, I was letdown. I’m not entirely sure why. I remember being amazed at the graphics, at the new areas where we’d see your character surrounded by the giant bridges and cities. However, I believe I wasn’t thrilled with all of the urban settings. I missed more of the forests and caves that came with the earlier generations, and I wasn’t thrilled with the change-up in gaining experience points against wild Pokemon. Supposedly it’s fixed in the Black 2 and White 2 versions, but those annoyed me as well, considering I was hoping there would be an improved third-tier game for the Unova region.
I believe the biggest turnoff for me was the story, though. Team Plasma is probably my least favorite antagonist team. Their motivations make no sense to me — “We’re going to liberate Pokemon while stealing yours and battling you with our own!” — and I just really wasn’t invested in the story. I’m sure the main villain has deeper motivations, but I don’t care.
The main characters weren’t bad. I would have been content with having regular rivals in the form of Cheren and Bianca. They both had great character development through the game, and I wish it was showcased more with a more competent antagonist team.
I recently restarted my White version, determined to at least go through the story properly instead of stopping halfway through. I’m not doing too badly with it, but I am rolling my eyes quite a bit whenever Team Plasma shows up on the screen.
Were there any core Pokemon games that you weren’t thrilled with? Any that you stopped in the middle of playing?
Title: Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky Company: Nintendo
Console: Nintendo DS
Release Date: September 13, 2007
How we got the game: I bought it
I had played the original Mystery Dungeon games for the Gameboy Advance, so when they came out with more, I had to get them.Explorers of Sky is played very similarly to all the other Mystery Dungeon games. You start off by taking a brief personality quiz and, based on your results, you turn into a certain Pokemon. Then you get to choose who you want your partner to be.
This time around, I was an Eevee and chose Vulpix to be my partner.
Together, you become an exploration team and go on various adventures in the mystery dungeons. Sometimes you’re simply just exploring, other times you’re chasing after criminals or finding a lost item or lost Pokemon for a client.
In the dungeons, you come across enemy Pokemon and battle them. Sometimes they’ll want to join your team or they’ll just faint. Either way, you’ll gain experience points and level up. You’ll learn new moves, evolve, and overall become stronger.
My only complaint was the final boss. No matter how many levels you’ve gained, when you get to that point in the game, you can’t go back. I had such a hard time fighting the boss because I kept dying, so I lost most of my items (meaning I lost my oran berries and reviver seeds) and I wasn’t at a high enough level. It was tedious and frustrating.
As a Nintendo DS game, the graphics are really well done. They’re not as good as they are now, of course, but for 2007 (ten years ago!) the graphics are enjoyable.
The music is wonderful. I always tend to get the songs stuck in my head and I hum along as I go through the dungeons. A few of them even remind me of music from Paper Mario, which makes me love the music all the more. The story begins with you waking up on the beach and your partner looking down at you. After you become quick friends, and you help get your partner’s relic fragment back from a gang of Pokemon, the two of you form an exploration team. Everything you do is done for the exploration team.
Time Gears are hidden throughout the world and they’re being stolen one by one. With each Time Gear missing, time stops in that area and, with all of them gone, time will freeze forever. So, you actually have to race against time in an attempt to stop a certain Pokemon from stealing the Time Gears.
I won’t say too much due to spoilers, but you find out who’s really on your side and who’s not. You also discover interesting things about yourself along the way.
Overall, it’s a great story. It’s corny, but it’s Pokemon, and it’s enjoyable all the same.
I would definitely play this game again. Each time you enter a dungeon, it’s different. So, even though the story is the same, there’s always a chance to play a “new” game.
Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky gets… 4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
I haven’t done one of these posts in a while and I’ve been hopping around on different games, but this is one that I love and haven’t played in a long time.
The Pokemon spin-off series, Mystery Dungeon, has always been a favorite series of mine. I love playing as a Pokemon with a special partner and exploring the unknown. The games are easy enough to play and I enjoy lurking through the various dungeons, each one being different every time you enter.
I’ve started playing Explorers of Sky not too long ago. This game is the fifth in the Mystery Dungeon series, which was released in North America in April 2009 for the Nintendo DS.
My favorite part of the games is that you don’t choose your own character. You take a quick personality quiz and you end up being a certain Pokemon based on the results. My results were oddly accurate to who I am in real life. I ended up getting Eevee.
I had never played as Eevee before, so I was excited. I love Eevee, but I don’t typically go for the normal types.
When it was time to choose my partner, there were a lot more choices than the earlier games. There were three pages of Pokemon to choose from. There were all of the starters, plus a few extra Pokemon.
I chose Vulpix. I love my fire types and I never choose Vulpix. I thought Eevee and Vulpix would make a good match with one another.
When it was time to name our team, I noticed Vulpix was a girl, so I went with the only logical name: Foxy Ladies.
Yeah, I know.
Anyway, I forgot how long these games could be. I’ve been playing for a while, but I don’t think I’m even halfway through the game yet.
I’m having fun though and it’s a great trip down memory lane.
Have you played the Mystery Dungeon games? What do you think of them? Also, what are you currently playing? Let me know in the comments below!