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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Our Sappy Thank You Post

thankyou

krismii
During my lunch break from my day job recently, Rachel asked, “Where do you think we’d be without the Switch?” In all honesty, we’d probably be playing lots of other older games and still be really sad about not playing Breath of the Wild on the new console. However, the question did get us thinking about all of the contacts and friends we’ve made due to both this blog, video games, and the Switch itself.

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We’ve played through so many games on the Switch in the past couple of months. Old games and new games, Nintendo games and indie games. It’s definitely broadened our horizons as we’ve played games we’ve never thought we’d even look at. And we’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them and can’t wait to get our hands on more.

krismii
Many of those games we wouldn’t have given much of a chance or a second look if not for Jack and Mike at Miketendo. They’ve been fantastic friends and contacts since this blog started, and it has been a pleasure working with them this whole time.

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When we first decided to start Double Jump (almost two years ago now!) we never really imagined that we would have made such wonderful connections. It’s not even just Mike and Jack, but it’s the whole team at Miketendo (sorry, I’m not naming anyone, there are too many and I know I’ll end up leaving someone out). We knew most of them before the Switch of course, but it’s just funny how games on the Switch seemed to really bring us together. Looking back on our game reviews, we’ve played and reviewed over 10 games in the past two months. That doesn’t seem like much, but our original goal was one a month for the year.

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This blog was started due to our love of video games, even though video games themselves tended to take a backseat due to day jobs. When the Switch came out and we started being in regular contact with the rest of the Miketendo team, we’ve been playing and enjoying video games more often again. It’s been a treat to actually try out a new game, to discuss the story of it, to wonder how everyone else may enjoy the game. As sisters, Rachel and I have always had much in common, but it’s special that these games and this blog keep us close.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
We’ve had a lot of help from our fellow gaming bloggers along the way, but we also couldn’t keep the blog going without our readers. We’ve had a lot of fun the past year, we’ve learned a lot, and we love connecting with our followers and even readers who just pass by but still take the time to check out the blog. We’re planning a lot of cool things for the blog and can’t wait to share it with all of you. Happy (early) Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thank you, everyone!

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Our Favorite Ace Attorney Is Coming Back!

Happy Tuesday!

2017 has been a great year for gaming, especially fans of Nintendo and the Switch. And I just found out that it’s only going to get better.

 

According to Kotaku UK, Pheonix Wright will be making a comeback in 2018!

Capcom has confirmed that there will be three new Ace Attorney games coming out next year. Two may come between April 2018 and October 2018. Those two games will be compilations of previous Ace Attorney games. The first one being the first three games and the other being games four through six.

Of course, the first Ace Attorney trilogy is on the Nintendo 3DS, but these games will now be coming to the Nintendo Switch.

When Kris and I first discovered this series, we bought Trials and Tribulations (the third and final game of the first main trilogy… not realizing it was a trilogy). It was through the Wii Ware and we bought and played through all three games.

Then they kept coming out on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo 3DS between Miles Edgeworth and Apollo Justice. We kept buying and playing them.

I don’t know if we’ll get these games for the Switch, but it will be nice to play them on the big screen again. I’m eager to see how the Switch will make the games appear.

The best part of this news, however, is that the third game will be brand new. It’s going to be another Phoenix Wright game with Phoenix as the main playable protagonist and five brand new cases to start off with. It’s going to be the beginning of a new mainline Ace Attorney game… which, I assume (hope) that means there will be more new games to come after this one. Maybe this will be another trilogy? I hope so.

I was worried after playing through Spirit of Justice only because they brought a lot of old characters back and wrapped up a few loose ends. While they didn’t tie every knot, it really did seem as though it may be the last game. I’m glad that won’t be the case.

I love my Pokemon, Mario, and Zelda, but I am super excited that Phoenix will be making his way to the Nintendo Switch! I can’t wait to play as him again. I can only imagine what new adventures (and troubles) he’ll get into this time.

Are you excited about this new game? Let me know in the comments below!

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L.A. Noire

Double Jump Kris MiiIt’s amazing that the Nintendo Switch came out just this year and already there’s over 500 games in the works right now that can be played on the console either through physical cartridges or digital downloads via the Nintendo eShop.

A game that’s gotten quite a few people excited is the anticipated detective game L.A. Noire.

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L.A. Noire for the Switch will be out in North America tomorrow, the 14th. It’s an action and adventure game that places the player in the role of a hardened detective that solves murders. It’s rated M for Mature, a rating that Nintendo generally doesn’t deal with considering family-friendly the company is.

While any new game for the Switch is exciting, I’m unsure about this one. Rachel and I have the XBox 360 version of the game and… we didn’t get too far. We honestly bought it because, at the time, we were itching for a new detective-like series after having gotten hooked on the Ace Attorney franchise. L.A. Noire was definitely grittier than Ace Attorney, and we missed the epic music and characters from the latter series. Considering we didn’t use the XBox 360 too often, we also probably weren’t used to the controls either.

However, that was a couple of years ago. Perhaps this time around, if we have a little extra money to splurge, we’ll try picking up L.A. Noire again for our shiny Switch.

What about you? Is L.A. Noire something you’re interested in? Did you ever play an earlier version of the game?

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Super Mario Odyssey [Game Review]

Super Mario Odyssey Game Review

Title: Super Mario Odyssey
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo Switch
Category: 
Action, Platformer
Release Date: 
October 27, 2017
How we got the game: 
We preordered a physical copy

krismii
Super Mario Odyssey has been hailed as one of the best 3D Mario games to date, with all of its homage to Super Mario 64 and the rest of the 3D family. It’s certainly one of the more fun games that we’ve played all year!

rachmii
When this game was first announced, I’ll admit that I wasn’t too excited for it. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be with the hat. But it’s a Mario game and I had a lot of faith in it. It didn’t let me down.

gameplay

krismii
Super Mario Odyssey utilizes many of the Switch’s Joy-Con motion control aspects. With the Joy-Con, you move Mario and the camera with the control sticks and Cappy, Mario’s new companion, with flicks and twists of the Joy-Con. While you can also play the game with the pro controller and the Joy-Con grip, we found it easier to use the detached Joy-Con and their motion controls.

rachmii
It took me a while to get used to the motion controls as I preferred the pro controller. I did end up using each Joy-Con separately for the motion controls and got used to it though. While you can get through the game without the motion controls, there’s a lot more you can do with them.

 krismii
Aside from the motion controls being used to throw Cappy in various ways, Mario moves very similarly to his Super Mario 64 counterpart. Many jumps were included, such as the long jump, the triple jump, and the wall jump, as well as a somersaulting move that was wicked fun to execute! Using all of these moves enabled you to help Mario collect the levels’ various Power Moons and, holy crap, were there a lot of Power Moons to collect!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Mario was super easy to control! I mean, I still fell off cliffs a lot, but he was pretty smooth either way. Yes, there were a lot of Power Moons. In a way, we felt as though there were too many. There’s a great amount that are deeply hidden within the levels, but there are so many that are just sitting out in the open for you to collect and it makes you go through the story mode so much faster. I feel like they wanted us to explore rather than complete the story. It’s almost as though they wanted us to rush.

krismii
Yes, I wasn’t too pleased with the amount of Power Moons — it seemed as if the amount was excessive. I would have been more invested in the game if there were less Power Moons but a greater challenge in finding them. With over 800 Power Moons available in the game, I feel as if we were stopping every five minutes for the, “You Found a Power Moon!” jingle, and I felt that it got old fast. I wanted to go through the story and have more meaning to the Power Moons that we found.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
While I agree, I do understand why there were so many. I am looking forward to getting back to the game to collect them all. I just wish the main story didn’t go so fast. Once we had enough Power Moons to keep going, we just got so eager to move on. Before we knew it, the credits were rolling.

graphics-music

krismii
The graphics are absolutely gorgeous — you can see all the details of Mario’s mustache! Granted, we expected nothing less after seeing the Switch’s capabilities with games like Breath of the Wild, but it was definitely a treat to see how much effort was put into the graphics and presentation of the game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Each level is ginormous! I feel like they definitely took a page out of the Breath of the Wild’s book. While this game, just like any other Mario game, is about saving Peach in the end, they really just want you to explore each and every aspect of the level. It seems to be never ending.

krismii
There were definitely plenty of places to explore, and the graphics just emphasized your want to search every nook and cranny. The music was right on par with each level as well, and the sound effects for whenever Mario defeats an enemy or shimmies up a tree or is capturing a T-Rex were wonderfully done. The title song, “Jump Up, Super Star,” performed by Mayor Pauline in New Donk City was probably my favorite part!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I’ve been listening to the Odyssey soundtrack on a loop while I work because I can’t get the songs out of my head. And Jump Up, Super Star is definitely a new favorite! I can’t get that song out of my head! story

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The main story is more or less the same as any other typical main Mario game. Bowser has taken Peach and it’s up to Mario to save her. However, Bowser threw in a twist by deciding to skip everything and just go straight to the wedding.

krismii
Bowser looked super dapper in his white tuxedo, and all the effort he was putting into the wedding almost made us root for him. But, I digress. After a confrontation aboard Bowser’s flying ship, Mario gets knocked out and falls down to the surface of the Cap Kingdom where he meets Cappy, a ghost-like hat that is able to transform and help Mario take over other creatures’ minds and bodies.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
And that’s about it. Mario goes from level to level finding Power Moons to get his Odyssey ship up and running again so that he can make it to Peach’s wedding just to shout, “Objection!”

replay-value

krismii
Considering how many Power Moons are in the game and how much content is left to explore after the main storyline, Odyssey does have high replay value. It can be a little addictive to search for every Power Moon on every level and unlock all of the game’s secrets that you definitely wouldn’t mind picking up the game again.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Power Moons are everywhere, but a great deal of them are hidden. Plus, I know there are a couple more levels to unlock plus all the costumes to collect. I’ll definitely be playing again.

Super Mario Odyssey 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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Friday Favorites: Mario Party Mini Games

Double Jump Kris MiiMario Party is one of those series that really tests friendships, like Monopoly. Most of the earlier installments of the series were much better, in my opinion, with mini games and the boards that you travel around for stars. With Mario Party Top 100 out today, I thought I’d share some of my favorite Mario Party Mini Games. It’ll be interesting to see which ones make it into Top 100!

frifavesmariopartyminigames

Mushroom Mix-Up/Hexagon Heat

Mushroom Mix-Up from the first Mario Party (and its Mario Party 2 counterpart, Hexagon Heat) was a classic. Following the colors of Toad’s flag, players had to scramble to be on top of the correct mushroom before all of the other colors fell into the water or lava or whatever danger was below the mushrooms. While you could ground-pound on your opponents, the easiest way to prevent them from reaching the last mushroom standing was to just position yourself right at the edge of the correct color — if time was on your side, then your opponents wouldn’t have any room to jump over you to safety.

Fowl Play

Fowl Play was a duel mini game in Mario Party 3. It was a silly game where you had to catch the chicken before your opponent. It was a quick little bugger that left footprints for you to try to follow if you lost sight of it. The chicken also resembled a Cucco from the Legend of Zelda series, and I always thought that the mini game was a nod to the times when Link has to catch chickens in his games.

Team Treasure Trek

Two-versus-two mini games were always fun when Rachel and I were on the same team. In Mario Party 4, Team Treasure Trek was always a favorite. Starting off in a maze, one partner would need to find a key while the other finds the corresponding treasure chest before the two needed to meet up with each other. It was an exciting race against the clock kind of game where we always hoped that our opponents would get most lost than we did!

Dungeon Duos

Another two-versus-two mini game from Mario Party 4, Dungeon Duos was an awesome obstacle course where you needed to work together with a partner to escape the dungeon it took place in. Timing was key, both with speed and precision when it came to completing the game. Not falling into the chasms helped too.

Chomp Romp

Despite usually trying to eat you, I always liked the Chain Chomp characters in Mario games, especially when they’re portrayed as almost dog-like. In Chomp Romp, you appear to be leading your “pet” Chain Chomp through a park. Your whistle brings the Chomp charging in a straight line to you (very eager to greet you, I suppose) and you need to skillfully direct your buddy through the obstacles in the park to reach a safe place to play.

What are your favorite Mario Party mini games? Which ones are you hoping are in Mario Party Top 100?

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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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