Breath of the Wild Love

krismii
In between a few other games, we’ve been really focusing on finishing the story of Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the Nintendo Switch. At this point, we’ve freed all the Divine Beasts and Champions, and are kind of just wandering around and exploring while trying to find more shrines and complete more side quests. We’re still in love with the game!

rachmii
I don’t understand how most people beat the story so quickly. There’s so much to do and we want to do it all before we officially beat the game! Well… we probably won’t get to everything, but it’s nice to try.

krismii
Definitely! We’re currently just running around with the Sheikah Sensor tracking treasure chests. Not only are those things all over the place, but it’s bringing us to nooks and crannies that we hadn’t visited yet. The exploration in this open world is amazing, and one of my favorite aspects about it is the nods to other Zelda games. The Temple of Time, the remains of Hyrule Castle Town, Arbiter’s Grounds in the desert, a child telling stories of people who used to live in the sky… It’s endless.

rachmii
It really amazes me how they created this map and everything it holds.We found another shrine just last night that looked like it was decent ways away, but it ended up being much farther than we anticipated. The overall world is just beautiful (despite half of it being destroyed).

krismii
The nature of the world is just gorgeous. Speaking of the world, I adore how every NPC has a name. We’ve seen NPCs get into trouble, fight monsters on their own, plead with you not to jump if you’re standing on the edge of a bridge, and seem to have their own agendas outside of being static characters for the hero to interact with. That kind of touch really enriches the story for me.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree. Each and every character has a purpose. Though I have to say, my favorite part of the game is the memories. I loved going on a scavenger hunt in such a big map to explore new areas all while piecing together the story.

krismii
The memories were a lot of fun! Piecing together the story of what happened 100 years ago while Link was sleeping, then connecting the memories to events in the present day was a fantastic way to keep us engaged in the story while gallivanting off to every corner of the map.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I developed lots of feelings for all the main characters; Zelda and all the Champions. The story is actually quite sad, but it’s engaging and they didn’t a fantastic job.

What were some of your favorite aspects about Breath of the Wild? Let us know in the comments below!

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Why I Love Digital Downloads

Happy Tuesday!

I’ve been playing a lot of Nintendo 3DS games lately and it got me thinking about just what I have on my 3DS.

Why I Love Digital Downloads

When the virtual console became a thing, I was impressed. I was excited. I wanted to play older games on my newer consoles. I mean, when we tried hooking up our Nintendo 64 a few months ago, the games were all messed up. Simply because they’re old, but I still miss playing them.

It wasn’t too long after that that downloading digital versions of games became a thing. I didn’t care too much for that.

Like books, I prefer the physical copies of video games. I like having the cover art and the small cartridge. I have a small bucket where I keep all my handheld games.

Then a few games, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Dual Destinies, for example, came out only as digital versions. I was disappointed because, as I said, I like having the cartridge.

It wasn’t until I started exploring more of the eShop and started downloading more digital games that I’ve begun to appreciate them more.

There are two reasons for this:

1. When I take my 3DS anyway, I have a plethora of games at my fingertips.

I always take my 3DS on vacation with me, along with a Ziploc bag of games. I still bring extra games, of course, but it’s nice to know that I have a good amount of games either way. I can take my pick if I’m playing in the car and the extra games are in my bag in the trunk.

2. This is the most important reason and what made me think of this post:

I was lying in bed the other night, wanted to play a different game, but I didn’t want to get up.

There you go, the secret’s out.

I have a ton of games to keep me occupied late at night when I’m too tired to move, but not tired enough to actually stop playing my games and go to sleep.

Sounds crazy, I know, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

What’s crazy is that you should all see my eShop wishlist…

Do you prefer digital or physical games? Let me know in the comments! 

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Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia Review

Double Jump Kris MiiHello everyone!

Being a sucker for the Fire Emblem franchise, I was very excited for the release of Shadows of Valentia, a remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden that was released only in Japan. As always, this is just my personal opinion. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

fire_emblem_echoes

Title: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia
Company: Nintendo
Release Date: May 19, 2017
Console: Nintendo 3DS
How I got the game: I bought it.

Warning — there may be story spoilers!

gameplayLike the majority of Fire Emblem games, Shadows of Valentia is a turn-based tactical RPG franchise with a myriad of characters that the player raises into an army. Shadows of Valentia is based off of the Japan-only released Fire Emblem Gaiden. Considering I had never played any form of Fire Emblem Gaiden — emulated, translated, not even YouTube videos — the plot of Shadows of Valentia was completely new to me.

Despite the perma-death aspect that Fire Emblem games are famous for, I played the game in the Casual mode, allowing characters to come back after falling in battle as opposed to being out of the game entirely like they would on the Classic mode. While there is a special item called Mila’s Turnwheel in the game that lets players turn back a turn in the game should a mistake be made, the Casual mode allows me to fully enjoy and get to know the characters while also doing my best to unlock as many Support conversations between them as possible.

Unlike previous games with Support conversations, where various characters could be paired up, gain spouses or best friends, depending on how strong their supports were, Shadows of Valentia has a limited number of Support conversations. Characters have good or bad endings that are mostly dependent on whether or not their predetermined spouse or best friend lives until the end of the game.

Shadows of Valentia has plenty of the same character classes as previous games, with fairly strict class tiers. Unlike the Fates trio, Shadows of Valentia had gender-locked classes again, with Pegasus Knights and Clerics being female only, while males were the only ones who could be Mercenaries, Soldiers, and Archers. Mages and Cavalier class trees were accessible by both genders.

Tactical battles are similar to previous Fire Emblem games, with each side taking turns to move and attack. Each character class had access to specific weapons and magic, with many weapons unlocking special skills the more the character grew and used the weapon. Shadows of Valentia also had a navigable world map as well as dungeons that one could explore through a third-person behind-the-back perspective and towns that were explored like a visual novel, talking with villagers and allies, and point-and-click interaction with the backgrounds. I enjoyed this unique exploration take, even if some of the dungeons took a little too long for me to get into the next battle.

 

graphics-music

As usual, I was pleased with the graphics of the game on the Nintendo 3DS. The few anime cut scenes were fun to watch, as was the opening video, and the character models were on par with the previous Fire emblem games. The battle maps and dungeons were mostly unique as well.

I definitely enjoyed the music too, the battle scores always leaving me eager to beat the map. This game also had full voice-acting, which was a pleasant surprise. I found myself really enjoying the voice acting, with each character’s tones being really well done. Exclamations, questions, pauses, everything said sounded full and natural.

story

Fire Emblem games revolve around wars and revolutions. Shadows of Valentia is no different, keeping the classic story formula that works so well for Fire Emblem games.

As a brief summary, the main plot involved warring gods, where each one ruled over one part of the continent of Valentia. The god Duma ruled Rigal to the north while the goddess Mila ruled Zofia to the south. Duma believed in strength while Mila believed in peace and pleasure, and the truce that the pair had was broken when Rigal’s Emperor Rudolf invaded Zofia to seal Mila in Falchion, a divine sword. It’s Mila’s disappearance that prompts Celica to start her journey to search for the goddess, while Rudolf’s invasion of Zofia compels Alm to leave his village to fight for the country he calls home. Eventually, Alm’s and Celica’s armies join up to take down the final boss to bring peace throughout the continent.

Shadows of Valentia has dual paths, letting the player switch back and forth between Alm’s and Celica’s routes with ease. Alm’s path consists of leading the Deliverance, a band of Zofia’s last remaining soldiers fighting to free their country from Rigal’s invasion. Even after Zofia is free and the larger plot looms before them all, Alm continues to lead his army into the heart of Rigal in order to break the land free of Duma’s influence. His path was my favorite regarding a variety of battles and scenes, along with plenty of interesting characters to recruit and speak to. However, his motivation for quite a few of his battles were saving a “damsel in distress” — literally all of the female recruitable characters except for Faye (who is even an optional recruit for Alm’s side) could be recruited after being rescued. Saving people is a fine motivation and all, but a little variety regarding who was saved or how the ladies were recruited would have been nice.

Celica’s route involves… mostly pirates, to be honest. Her path is about traveling to Mila’s temple and, upon finding Mila missing, searching for the goddess, pitting her against Duma’s most faithful follower Jedah. About half of her battles in the second act of the game took place on boats, which got monotonous for me quickly. The speed of the characters and their limited movement on boat maps were tedious unless I had the Pegasus sisters on my side. While her story and characters were more engaging to me than Alm’s was, there was in the second half of the story that bothered me about Celica’s character — she didn’t communicate as well as she could have with her closest allies. In order to move the plot forward, she needed to keep a secret, and it’s a common enough trope that just annoys the hell out of me. These people are putting their lives on the line for you, Celica, you owe it to them to tell them everything that’s going on!

All in all, the story was okay. The plot twists were simple enough to figure out long before the game revealed them, but it was still on par for a Fire Emblem game. I had fun creating strategies for the myriad of battle maps and raising my little army, which is what Fire Emblem games are all about.

replay-value

Like other Fire Emblem games, Shadows of Valentia has a decent replay value if one considers the different combinations one can use to create an army. However, in Shadows of Valentia, every recruited character is used in battle until the last dungeon where the player must pick nine additional members to go with Alm or Celica, depending on which side you are playing. Generally you pick and choose which members of your army joins you in a every battle in Fire Emblem games, giving them more replay value than Shadows of Valentia.

In addition to that, there are more varieties to character classes in previous Fire Emblem games than Shadows of Valentia had. In the beginning of Shadows of Valentia, players are able to choose a handful of classes for the few villager characters that join Alm’s side, allowing players to switch up what their beginning army will be like, but other than that, most classes are static and, depending on who you recruit, one side can get all swordsmen while the other is full of mages. Each presents their own challenges, of course, but I would look forward to replaying Shadows of Valentia more if I was given the chance to really choose my army with the classes and characters for each battle.

Of course, there’s plenty of DLC for the game as well, pricing at about $45 dollars for it all, which is more than the game is going for now on Amazon.

In my opinion, though, there are other Fire Emblem games that I will replay again before Shadows of Valentia.

Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

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

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Pokemon Medley by Tina Guo

There has been plenty of news about Pokemon fairly recently, such as Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon coming out this November, Pokken Tournament for September, and Pokemon GO’s first anniversary this summer. What better way to celebrate these lovely milestones than by blasting the music?

Tina Guo is a cellist that we recently discovered while on one of our many trips to our local Barnes and Noble bookstore. While browsing, our ears perked up upon hearing familiar game music coming from the overhead speakers, such as Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Bros. and, of course, Pokemon. Leaping down the escalator, we made our way to the music department on the first floor to ask what was playing. The employee told us all about Tina Guo and her newest album Game On.

While another video game fan had bought the last album that Barnes and Noble had that day, we did find Tina on YouTube and Spotify, and she’s been a delight to listen to. Here’s her Pokemon Medley from her Game On album, and we hope you enjoy it like we do!

Have you been musically inspired by a video game series? What did you think of the video? Let us know in the comments!

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Friday Favorites: SNES Classic Wish List

Double Jump Kris MiiWith the news of the SNES Classic coming out in a couple of months, people have been scrutinizing the list of games the console will be loaded with. While I have no complaints about the game list, there are a few that I wish made an appearance on the console.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time

This classic arcade beat-em-up game was a favorite of Rachel’s and mine back when we were kids. It was perfect as a co-op game and quick enough to play within a couple of hours. Hearing the old school Ninja Turtles’ voices were great too!

Disney’s The Lion King

Disney had a few licensed games with Nintendo, like Aladdin and the Jungle Book, and The Lion King was one of the best. With the fun music and scenes from the movie, it worked well with the original SNES console. The game was short and sweet, making it a great game to play during an afternoon.

Tiny Toons Adventures: Buster Busts Loose

This was definitely a guilty pleasure game, a game filled with the ridiculousness that came with the Looney Toons. Tiny Toons was a spin-off of the Looney Toons for a younger generation, filled with characters that were the “students” of the original Looney Toons. I honestly don’t remember much of the plot of Buster Busts Loose, but I remember the fun, colorful scenes and high-energy music!

Goof Troop

This particular game I never really wanted to play as a kid. In fact, it was one of Rachel’s favorite games and, while it was never my first choice to play, I do remember having fun with Rachel while playing it. She was Max and I was Goofy and she had a penchant for throwing barrels at my character instead of actually trying to solve the puzzles!

What video games would you have liked to see on the SNES Classic console?

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Mario Party Star Rush Game Review

Mario Party Star Rush Game Review

Title: Mario Party Star Rush
Company: Nintendo 
Console: 
Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: 
November 2016
How we got the game: 
I got it as a gift

gameplay

The Main Game

I’d like to say that this game plays like the other Mario Party games, but it doesn’t. You and your opponents all move during the same turn, but not in a car. You have free reign to move where ever you want. And when I say that, I really mean it. The boards aren’t linear at all so you can run in little circles if you so choose.

That’s the main mode of the game, called Toad Scramble. You don’t choose your own character, everyone is a different-colored Toad. Along the board, there are hidden block spots. Land on one of those and you’ll get an item. The items aren’t that great, so I always wish for a mushroom (which adds 3 to your roll), a gold mushroom (which adds 5 to your roll), or a double dice block. You can grab coins where they appear and coin balloons. When popped, a mini game happens. The overall idea is to make it to the boss space, which holds a star. You collectively battle a boss and whoever gets the most points gets the star. This happens three times, the third and final boss holding two stars.

Ally Characters

During the game, ally characters appear to help you out. These characters include Mario, Peach, Yoshi, Waluigi, most typical characters you can play in Mario Party. Each ally has its own unique dice block and a certain skill. For example, if you have Yoshi on your team and you stand next to an apple, he’ll eat it and coins will appear.

The allys appear randomly on the board and you have to race your opponents to get to them. You’re allowed to have four allys with you and trust me, it helps. They’re CPUs, but they’re on your team. So, during the boss battles, you have five characters adding to your points. Plus, they roll a dice block with you. Your dice block goes up to six and while they have unique blocks, if you’re not playing as them, they’ll roll a block that goes up to two. So, you can roll a six and if you have four partners and they each get a two, you’ll end up moving 14 spaces.

Coins

Coins are super important, like in all Mario Party games, but I find them more important in this game. At the end of each game, they tally your coins. You get a star for each ten coins you have. So, if you end the game with 56 coins, you get five extra stars.

Coins are hard to come by though. The game is pretty cheap when it comes to handing out coins. Sometimes they’re scattered along the board and you just have to get there before your opponents do. Even then, it’s only one coin. Balloons will sometimes appear. That holds a small handful of coins and brings on a mini game. If you get first in a mini game, you get 5 coins. Second place will award you 3 coins, third will get you 2 coins, and fourth place will give you only 1 coin. If you land on the boss space, you’ll be rewarded with five coins.

The Boards

There are five “worlds,” but the first one is called World 0, which is mainly for practice and learning the tools of the game. So, there’s really only four playable Worlds.

Each World has three levels of the same board. World 1 has a beach theme, World 2 has a Haunted Boo House theme, World 3 has a cake theme, and World 4 is a Bowser Castle theme. So, yeah… four worlds, four boards. The third level of each board isn’t that hard and the game still doesn’t take long to play.

So, in this department, the game kind of failed for me. I was hoping for more variety in boards and for them to be a little harder. Sure, they each had some good qualities to them, but it wasn’t anything major and it really didn’t make the game any more difficult.

Boss Battles

There are ten bosses total. They’re all pretty straight forward and simple. Bowser is one of the bosses, but he only appears when you’re playing the Bowser Castle board. So, if you’re playing any other board there are only nine bosses.

They hold the stars you need to get. The first two bosses each have one star and the final boss has two stars. Get the most points in these battles and you’ll get the star. It’s simple enough, but it’s pretty one-sided.

If you have a ton of ally characters, you’re almost guaranteed a win. If you reach the space first and your opponents are far away, they have to rapidly mash the “A” button to reach the space, so you get a head start on the battle. If you get the last hit on the boss, then you get an extra 3 points, which often makes or breaks who wins.

I like some battles more than others. For example, battling Mega Goomba and Mega Blooper are kind of random. You’re not directly battling the bosses. You’re stealing apples from Goomba and you’re playing music with Blooper. Whereas when you encounter Mega Boo you have to bring flashlights to him in order to hit him and for Mega Monty Mole, it’s a big whack-a-mole game. Those are fun.

Still, the bosses can get repetitive depending on how much you play and, like I said before, they can be one-sided and you know who will win the battle before it even starts.

Mini Games

This game only has 53 mini games total. The includes the boss battles, the Bowser games, and the coin games from the Coinathlon mode. I think the amount of mini games you can play for the main mode, Toad Scramble, is 26. It’s not much at all.

The games that are available aren’t that great, either. No mini games compare to Mario Party 2 or any of the older Mario Party games, but I felt as though they could have at least added more.

The Other Modes

I have to say that I had more fun with the other modes than the regular party mode. I didn’t enjoy Toad Scramble as much as I should have. There are six other modes: Coinathlon, Mario Shuffle, Balloon Bash, Rhythm Recital, Challenge Tower, and Boo’s Block Party. Some are pretty out of place for the Mario Party game (like Rhythm Recital, Challenge Tower, and Boo’s Block Party). However, I had more fun with those modes than the others.

My Overall Thoughts

Toad Scramble was one-sided and little boring at times. It was an interesting concept, but I think they could have done better with it. I unlocked the master difficulty setting for the CPUs, which is the hardest setting for them, and I still dominated them. It was too easy, especially with the ally characters and the final hit on the boss battles.

Sometimes you don’t get all the stars, but you get most of the bonus stars as well as have a lot of coins at the end. You still end up winning. I think I only lost one or two times and I played a lot of this game to get my points up. (The more points you have, you level up and unlock things such as new characters. There wasn’t even much to that though… I’m on level 11 about to get to level 12 and the unlockable is the staff credits.)

This game is worth playing, if only for the other modes.

graphics-music

The graphics in this game are great. They’re 3D, going along with the 3DS and modern times. The characters run smoothly and they each have their own facial expressions, though it’s not very varied. Still, it’s a Mario Party game, so they really only need to happy to win, sad to lose, or neutral.

I played multiplayer with Kris to try it out and that ran smoothly as well. I wanted to show her a lot since she doesn’t have the game, but through the download play on the 3DS we were limited to three modes: Toad Scramble, Balloon Bash, and Coinathlon. I only enjoy Coinathlon, but we had fun either way (I think she had fun). Still, it ran nicely through the Wi-Fi so I can’t complain about that.

The music was good, as always. I always enjoy Mario Party music. Especially through the Rhythm Recital mode and even Bloopers boss battle. I was always bopping my head to that music.

replay-value

Now that I’ve made it as far as I can go in this game, I’m not sure how much I’ll go back to play. I can’t see myself getting “in the mood” to play this game. If I want to play Mario Party, I’m going to play one of the older games. If I do ever go back to this game, it won’t be to play the main mode. I’ll be playing Boo’s Block Party or trying to beat the Challenge Tower.

Mario Party Star Rush gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives3 out of 5 lives.

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

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Nintendo Wii U Versus The Switch

Nintendo Wii U VS the Switch

krismii
The Nintendo Switch had a lot of pressure put on it, considering how poorly in sales the Wii U did. The Switch itself is going strong, partly due to all of the games — both first-party and third-party — that are scheduled to appear on the console, something that the Wii U did not have. Yet, a handful of the Switch’s best selling games are Wii U ports.

rachmii
I think the Switch is mainly what the Wii U didn’t–and couldn’t–do. For example, they put so much hype into the gamepad so you could play the game “on the go.” Yet, it only lasts about three feet. Now we have the Switch, where you can literally take it anywhere. And not only that but play it anywhere with friends or yourself as a handheld.

krismii
The Switch definitely has the portability that the Wii U failed with. With the ported Wii U games, Nintendo does seem to be hyping up the Switch to be the better Wii U. Along with the updated version of Mario Kart 8 on the Switch and Pokken Tournament coming to the console in a couple of months, the Switch has games promised throughout the rest of the year and beyond, a far cry from the scheduled list of games that the Wii U had gotten.

rachmii
When the Switch was announced, we wanted to play through a few of our Wii U games because we knew we would be focusing on the Switch. When we went through our games, we realized that we really didn’t have a lot of Wii U games. Yet, we use our Wii U all the time. However, at this point, we mostly use it for Netflix and YouTube.

krismii
Yes, YouTube seems to be the Wii U’s greatest workout, haha! Honestly, we’ve even used the original Wii’s Virtual Console more than the Wii U. We still have a few Wii U games that we haven’t tried just yet, due to us being focused on the Switch. Still, the Wii U had some great games, and I’m curious as to what else Nintendo may port over to the Switch. I’d be surprised if there were no plans to bring over the Super Smash Bros. franchise onto the new console.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, we still have quite a few Wii U games to play through. But the bottom line is, Kris, which console is your favorite?

krismii
I’m quite enjoying the Switch, but it could also be because it’s still new and shiny for us. I’m loving Breath of the Wild and the extra content of Mario Kart 8, and the Joy-Con are fun, easy to use controllers for the games. The major downside of the console, however, is the price. Not just for the main console itself, which wasn’t too bad, but for all the accessories. What about you?

Rachel Mii Double Jump
As of right now, I’d have to say the Switch. Mainly for the same reasons you just said. But, while the Wii U got a lot of backlash and I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of it, I absolutely love the Wii U. Not just because of Netflix and YouTube, but I found the overall console to be great and they had a lot of good games for it as well. It reminded me of the 3DS, which I love. Even with the Switch, I’m sure we’ll be playing our Wii U for a long time to come.

Which console do you think is better? Let us know in the comments below!

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