Friday Favorites: Pokemon Gym Puzzles

Double Jump Kris MiiHow was everyone’s week?

I’ve been playing more Pokemon lately, finding the series to be rather relaxing after a week of work. I prefer the regions with gym challenges rather than Alola, both for the challenging battles and the puzzles that some gyms had in order to reach the leader. This week is all about my favorite Pokemon Gym puzzles!

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Mahogany Gym (Johto)

Mahogany Gym is the Ice-type gym in the second generation of the Pokemon games. It has one of those classic ice-sliding puzzles where one misstep can mess you up. While the original Gold/Silver/Crystal trio had just one room of this puzzle, the HeartGold and SoulSilver remakes had three.

Vermilion Gym (Kanto)

Lt. Surge’s Electric-type gym was a fun puzzle in which there are two switches hidden in trash cans that the player needs to press in order to open up the electric doors that the gym leader is behind. While the switches are always adjacent, if you guess the second one incorrectly, the switches reset.

Fuchsia Gym (Kanto)

This Poison-type gym used invisible walls that you had to walk around in order to reach the gym leader. As a kid playing the original first generation games, I was a little frustrated with this gym until I realized that you could very faintly make out where the walls are. Nevertheless, it was a good challenge.

Mistralton Gym (Unova)

In Black and White, this gym uses freaking cannons to blast the player around the room. Your character is supposed to be, what, a young teen? I feel as if this gym would get sued for human injuries. In Black 2 and White 2, there are giant fans that blow the player around, and I’m not sure they’re much better. While not particularly challenging, this is probably one of the gym designs that I found the most amusing while playing!

What are your favorite Pokemon Gym puzzles? Or did you prefer the gyms that were straightforward and led you immediately to the gym leader?

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Friday Favorites: Mario Party Boards

Double Jump Kris MiiYay for Friday!

Despite having the Switch and Xbox One, Rachel and I have been turning our Wii back on to play Mario Party 2 on they system’s Virtual Console. After the disappointing Top 100 3DS game, going back to one of the best Mario Party games was natural. Playing Mario Party 2 and its boards reminded me of some of the best boards from the series as a whole.

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Space Land (Mario Party 2)

Space Land is one of my top choices in Mario Party 2. The space aesthetics are fun, and the Bowser junction in the middle of the board can really mess up the standings. Once the countdown in the middle reaches zero, Bowser launches his Coin Beam to steal every coin from whoever may be caught in the crossfire.

Yoshi’s Tropical Island (Mario Party)

Yoshi was always a favorite character from the Mario franchise, and we always enjoyed his board from the original Mario Party game. Going back and forth between two islands for the star, there was always the chance that someone could land on a Happening space and make Bowser and the star switch places.

Goomba’s Greedy Gala (Mario Party 4)

This casino-based board is all about chances and gambling (of course). Yes, it easily got frustrating if you were never able to go the way you wanted based on the roulette wheel in the middle of the board. It was fun, though, to let chance that much control over who could reach the star space.

King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway (Mario Party 8)

Mario Party 8 is not my favorite Mario Party game due to the motion controls — I was never thrilled with them. This board was always fun, though. The night scenery and the fact that the board changed every time you played or were looking for the next star was a cool concept.

What are your favorite Mario Party boards? Which Mario Party game do you enjoy the most?

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Flashback Friday: Pokemon Crystal

Double Jump Kris MiiThe first month of the year is almost over! How are you all doing with your resolutions? Keeping up with them, or were they more of a week-long thing?

I’m hoping to keep up more with gaming news, perhaps venturing out further with more online games to try to reach out to more players and friends. Still, there’s something to be said about the older games, such as Pokemon Crystal.

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Hey, Pokemon Crystal was released on the 3DS Virtual Console today!

While I started playing Pokemon from the first generation games, it was the second generation where I really started to comprehend the story, the game mechanics, and the characters. I started understanding the types strengths and weaknesses and actually strategizing the battles rather than just tossing my over-leveled Pikachu at everyone, which had been my go-to plan in Pokemon Yellow.

Pokemon Crystal originally came out in North American in July 2001, and it received good reviews, even if the reviews were lower than what Gold and Silver had received. The most criticism Crystal had gained was how it was too similar to Gold and Silver, with critics claiming there weren’t any notably new aspects to the game to make it a “must buy.”

Crystal did, however, update plenty of aesthetic changes, such as updated graphics, animating Pokemon sprites at the beginning of battles, and the ability to play as a girl. The story line surrounding Suicune was more involved as well, along with other changes to the wild Pokemon that are available for the protagonist to catch.

I’m very excited to be going back to Johto with the Crystal version. It’s the Pokemon game that I have the most fond memories of, and it’ll be interesting to dive back into the old-school Pokemon games!

Have you ever played Pokemon Crystal? Are you downloading the Virtual Console version?

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Friday Favorites: Future Xbox One Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday, everyone! Thank goodness for another weekend!

Now that Rachel and I have an Xbox One, we’ve been looking into Xbox One games and trying to figure out how to spend our video game budget money. Here is a list of Xbox One games that I’m looking forward to one day playing!

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Monster Hunter: World

Monster Hunter is a franchise that I’ve been interested in trying for a couple of years now. To see a game that will feature global play between people in such a popular franchise sounds fantastic!

What Remains of Edith Finch

Rachel and I hadn’t heard of this game until the Game Awards last month. Hearing how praised it has been for its story and presentation, it definitely caught our attention.

Okami HD

We have the original Okami for the Nintendo Wii, and the graphics were amazing. To see the game in HD would be phenomenal, and probably would entice me to actually finish the game.

Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor

It’s Middle-Earth. We’re suckers for Lord of the Rings lore, and we would love to dive into a game based on that franchise. The Nemesis System, which allows the NPCs to learn and react accordingly to the protagonist’s deaths, sounds quite interesting…

What are your favorite Xbox One games? What future Xbox One games are you looking forward to?

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Friday Favorites: Best Pokeballs

Double Jump Kris MiiI can’t believe it’s already December… Everyone else ready for the holidays?

Rachel and I are still exploring Alola in Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, with Rachel being a little farther than me. While we’re both a bit more interested in the story and seeing where it goes, we do our best to try to catch any wild Pokemon we don’t have in our Pokedexes. Today is all about the best pokeballs, in my opinion, for the job!

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Dusk Ball

For the Alola generation of Pokemon games, I started off with Moon versions of the pairs. In Moon and Ultra Moon, the game is 12-hours ahead of the Sun versions (and the 3DS clock), making it nighttime when you play the game during the day. Dusk balls make it easier to catch Pokemon at night, or in dark places like caves, making them incredibly useful for me, especially this time around. Even when they were introduced in Generation IV, I used them often enough since I generally played the games later in the evenings after work.

Nest Ball

As someone who goes tends to go through the story parts of the game first then backtracks through routes to catch any wild Pokemon that may have been missed, I’m finding myself using Nest balls more often. With how quickly our parties of Pokemon grow with Exp. Share and plenty of battles, it’s easy for my Pokemon party to be too overpowered to merely weaken the wild Pokemon. Nest balls help when it comes to catching the lower-leveled Pokemon.

Friend Ball

Back in Generation II, when Happiness was first introduced, I loved being able to get Friend Balls from Kurt in Azalea Town. Even just the thought of a Pokemon being more friendly towards me when I first caught them was enough motivation for my younger self to use these pokeballs — I wanted my team to like me! They were always fantastic in helping to give Happiness a boost to the caught Pokemon.

Quick Balls

Whoever thought up of these pokeballs was a genius. Rachel and I tend to stock up on Quick Balls whenever we pass by a shop that sells them. Considering they work best when thrown at the beginning of a battle, it’s usually simple to just catch the wild Pokemon and move on, no weakening required. It’s not foolproof, no, but they work well for the most part.

What are your favorite pokeballs to catch Pokemon with? Any certain types of Pokemon that you love adding to your Pokedex?

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Flashback Friday – Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean

Double Jump Kris MiiI hope everyone who celebrates it had a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you don’t celebrate it… Well, I hope you had a fantastic meal and good times with family nonetheless! Today’s Flashback Friday is for a GameCube game that I really don’t hear many people talk about, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean.

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Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean was released in 2003 for the Nintendo GameCube, and is a role-playing puzzle game. It starred a world made up of islands in the sky thanks to an evil, malicious god sucking the oceans dry before he was sealed away. In time, the people of the world grew wings, and it is a one-winged, cranky young man named Kalas that becomes the protagonist of the story. The game also features a Guardian Spirit character who is, essentially, the player — there are times when Kalas speaks to the Guardian Spirit to make decisions and, if the Spirit has a good relationship with Kalas, the Spirit can help strengthen Kalas’s attacks. The game itself received mostly positive reviews, and had a bit of a cult following when it first came out.

The battle system consists of using cards called magnus. The cards house a variety of attacks catered to the characters, as well as having uses outside of battle to heal the party or interact with NPCs to complete quests. The deck of cards in battle is shuffled, creating random hands that the player must use for each character in order to win the fights. It was quite the challenge to create a strategy with a random set of cards!

The story itself is a giant adventure. Kalas has one natural wing and one mechanical wing, making him a rather selfish protagonist who feels sorry for himself. With a couple of companions, he accidentally releases one of the End Magnus, the set of special cards that had sealed away the evil god. The End Magnus is stolen by a hostile kingdom that wishes to use the god’s power as their own, and Kalas and company are thrown into a journey to save the world.

We bought this game purely for the aesthetics. While we never completed the game’s story, it was always one that I enjoyed because of the gorgeous graphics. The battle system was a little odd to get used to, but the music and imagery kept me enraptured while I played. In 2006, a prequel simply titled Baten Kaitos Origins was released, and I believe we made even less progress in that game. Perhaps its time to dust off the old GameCube and give these games another whirl…

Have you ever played Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean?

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Friday Favorites: Pokemon Movies

Double Jump Kris MiiPokemon: I Choose You is a movie special that came out in for limited theater times in the US to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Pokemon anime. It’s a loose retelling of the Kanto saga with plenty of references to the newest generation of Pokemon from the Alola region.

While we have not gotten a chance to see it, it is amazing to think that I Choose You is the twentieth Pokemon movie! We’ve always had fun watching the Pokemon films, even they do tend to make us cry by the end of them, haha!

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Pokemon Ranger and the Temple of the Sea

Elements from the Pokemon Ranger games were shown on the big screen in this movie, something that I always found interesting. Aside from that, this movie had plenty of adventure and suspense (even though we all knew everything would turn out okay in the end because it’s Pokemon). I enjoyed the setting and scenery, with the main setting of the movie just reminded me of The Water Temple from the Legend of Zelda series, and it was the last Pokemon movie to use traditional cel animation for the animate the movie. It helped that the legendary Pokemon that starred in this movie was the adorable Manaphy!

Pokemon 4Ever

My favorite aspect of the Pokemon 4Ever movie is that it has some really fun time-travel elements to it! I always found the plot to be interesting, especially with the fun little twist at the end, and the animation was well done. The Lake of Life and the forest scenery were really beautiful. Celebi and Suicune were always a couple of my favorite legendary Pokemon as well.

Pokemon 3: The Movie

My fondest memory of this movie is the theme song, in all honesty. The Johto region’s theme music was always one of my favorites! This movie had a bit of a creepy side to it, with the Unown dimension and little Molly’s wishes for her family to return. This movie had some pretty epic battles to it as well, which is what the series is known for.

What are your favorite Pokemon movies? Have you seen Pokemon: I Choose You?

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