Stardew Valley [Game Review]

Video Games | Stardew Valley | Game Review | Review | Nintendo Switch | Nintendo | Doublexjump.com

Title: Stardew Valley
Developer: ConcernedApe
Publisher: Chucklefish, ConcernedApe
Platform: Steam, Mobile, Xbox One, Playstation 4, Nintendo Switch
Category: Simulation, Role-playing

Release Date: Originally February 26, 2016

How we got the game: Bought it on Steam and Nintendo Switch

Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!

krismii
Stardew Valley is the game that I wish the Harvest Moon series was. With the main focus on just building the farm of your dreams and forging relationships with the people in the town, it takes away all of the gimmicks that the more recent Harvest Moon games have become known for. This particular review focuses more on the Nintendo Switch version of the game.

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Gameplay for Stardew Valley is pretty simple and intuitive. With the main objective being to spruce up your farmland so it, you know, actually grows stuff, you spend your time doing various tasks that will help you better not only your farm but also the community of Pelican Town.

As your character, you clear out your farmland using various tools, such as an axe and pickax to break up lumber and stone. The hoe and watering can come in handy for planting and growing crops, and there are specific tools like the shears and milker if you have any animals on your farm. When not on your farm, you can forage for items around the forest, town, and the mines, which is also a handy place to gather ore, gems, and other material to improve your farm. Fishing is a leisurely activity that can still net you some in-game money as well as some staple cooking ingredients.

Another core mechanic is developing your relationships with the people in Pelican Town. There are plenty of friends to make in town, either by talking to them daily, giving them gifts, and random events. There are even marriage candidates, regardless of gender, that you can woo and, if you’d like, have a child with down the line.

While the game is pretty open-ended, giving the player tons of choice in what they want to do, there is a Community Center. The Community Center stars off rather rundown, but that can be restored by completing tasks called bundles. Completing these bundles will grant you rewards, such as opening up new areas for your character to go or special tools and makers to make life on the farm a little easier. Or you can buy a Joja Membership and get it turned into a warehouse.

A unique aspect of this game is the combat system. It’s simplistic, considering the game is mainly a farming simulator, but when exploring the mines, there are monsters and enemies to vanquish. These monsters drop loot and material, and you can usually find stronger weapons while exploring or buy items from the Adventurer’s Guild.

With the latest updates of the game, you can also farm together with friends in online co-op mode. Build a cottage or three on your farm for your friends to live, and you can all build up the farm together. Your friends can also get married to the local bachelors and bachelorettes… and you, if you want.

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The graphics of this game are well done, going the pixel style route. The characters all look unique, easily distinguishable from each other, and they even have little animations — shocked faces, laughter, eating — that are fun to watch depending on their dialogue.

I absolutely adore the music in this game. Each tune is charming and pixel-perfect, and I find myself streaming the soundtrack on Spotify when not playing the game. The main winter theme is probably my favorite!
Story | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.comTired of the uninspiring city life as an office drone, the main character inherits their grandfather’s old farm in Pelican Town, a small town filled with all sorts of interesting characters just living their lives in the valley. The farm itself is dilapidated at first, but with hard work and perseverance, the main character focuses on restoring it to its former glory while carving out a life for themselves. The story is directed by the player.

While at the start of your third year on the farm, you get evaluated on your accomplishments, there is no true end point to Stardew Valley. Even if, at that time, you do not like your evaluation, you can trigger another evaluation to earn more points at any time with version 1.1 of the game.

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With five different farm plots to choose from, twelve eligable marriage candidates regardless of your character’s gender, a plethora of items to farm, forage, and ship, and literally any way you wish to grow your farm, you will not be bored with Stardew Valley. Not only is it tons of fun to play on your own, you can also play co-op with up to four people tending to the same farm.

Stardew Valley gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

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Mario Party Advance [Video Game Review]

Video Game Review: Mario Party Advance | Nintendo | Gameboy Advance | Video Games | Gaming | Review | DoublexJump.com

Title: Mario Party Advance
Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Gameboy Advance
Category:
Party
Release Date: 
January 13, 2005
How we got the game: 
I bought it

 

 

 

I love the Mario Party series. Of course, there are some games that are better than others. When I went through my bucket of handheld games the other day, I found this gem. I forgot I had it and wasn’t even sure if I had ever played it. So, I turned it on. And, well… it exists.

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I was looking forward to an “old fashioned” Mario Party game and this was not what it was. When I turned the game on, there were a ton of things unlocked so I had played it before. In fact, I had so many coins that I must have enjoyed the game at one point in my life. But today is not that day.

The main mode is called Shroom City. You can choose from Mario, Luigi, Peach, or Yoshi to play as. Depending on who you choose, you start at a different spot on the board. I don’t know why this is and the others don’t join you. There’s no multiplayer, there are no NPCs playing against or with you on the board. It’s all you and you have mushrooms as dice blocks.

Now, they give you four mushrooms to start off with. I kept rolling a 3 and got nowhere fast. When you run out of mushrooms, it’s game over. Do you see my dilemma?

Of course, you can get more mushrooms by winning mushrooms in mini-games (which is a space you have to land on) or by landing on mushrooms spaces. The object of the game is to keep moving along the board and fulfill “quests” from the NPCs scattered about. For example, Shy Guy is at the train station and needs help. So, you need to somehow make it to the train station.

You can move anywhere you please on the board, which was a fun feature. However, when you have limited moves through your lack of mushrooms, it makes the game ten times harder.

Completing quests gives you Gaddgets (you know, like Professor E. Gadd?) though I didn’t care too much for the Gaddgets. I wanted to compete against NPCs and play mini-games.

The mini-games weren’t all that bad. I played quite a few of them in the free-for-all mode and had a good time. Again, it would have been more fun if I were playing against friends or NPCs, but the games worked out just fine as personal challenges. In fact, that’s the goal for most of the games – beat your high score.

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It’s a game from 2005 and for the Gameboy Advance. The graphics certainly aren’t what they are now, but they were pretty good for their time and it was charming to look back on. The characters all had their own poses and such, however, there was no voice acting. So that was kind of weird not to hear.

The music was good. Like all Mario Party music, it’s catchy and upbeat.

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I don’t think I’ll be going back to this one… maybe ten years from now when I come across it again and forget I had it, I’ll turn it on and unknowingly relive this whole moment. Overall though, this is a Mario Party game to skip.

Mario Party Advance gets…
2 out of 5 lives.

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Dr. Mario World [Mobile Game Review]

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Thursday!

Dr. Mario World surprised us all when it came out a day early than it was supposed to! I’m glad it did too because it gave me a nice chunk of time to give it the attention it deserves.

Mobile Game Review: Dr Mario World | Nintendo | Video Games | Mobile Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

I have to admit, Dr. Mario World isn’t at all what I expected it to be. I played Dr. Mario for the first time just a few months ago and it resembled Tetris. Dr. Mario World is the opposite where the concept is still the same but you’re working your way up instead of having the capsules dropdown – not to mention you have full control over the capsules. There are also so many different power-ups that can be on the board plus different doctors and assistants to help you out. But we’ll get to all that in a minute.

The first things I noticed about the game was the graphics and music. The graphics are so vivid and crisp. My iPad is four-years-old and the game is so bright. It looks clean and fresh which is the way a brand new game should look. On the other hand, I’m amazed mobile graphics look this good. The music was another fun part. The hub world is catchy and the levels are a throwback to the original music. There are bonus levels where the music is different, but I think that’s my favorite music, in all honesty. Overall, the aesthetics of the game are super fun.

After a quick “story” of the virus taking over the Mushroom Kingdom, you play as Dr. Mario in various levels to rid of all the viruses. The levels are set up in a hub world similar to Candy Crush so that you just keep on moving when you bet a level or you can go back and replay levels. There are also different areas. For example, when you complete the first twenty levels, you head to a new area where levels 21 through 40 are. Plus, some bonuses on the way.

But, I’m getting off topic for now.

You start as Dr. Mario and, in the first few levels, Toad gives you a quick rundown on how to play. The viruses are scattered about the board and a purple liquid fills up allowing you to place the capsules on the board. The capsules are on the bottom of the screen. They show you two at a time, though you can’t swap them out (at least, I haven’t figured out how to if you can). It just shows you which capsule to expect next so you can strategize. You can tap the capsules to go either vertical or horizontal depending on how you need them to fit on the board. Connect three of the same color together – whether it’s two blue capsules and one blue virus or two red viruses and one red capsule – and the virus will disappear.

The cool thing about this is that, in addition to turning the capsules around, you can place them anywhere on the board. As long as you drag it with your finger, you have full control over the capsules. Even if a capsule pops and half is still left, you can grab the half and move it where ever you think it would be best. However, it is in the purple ooze so you can’t move a capsule downward if you’ve already brought it up. Also, if you try to move it on top of a virus, it’ll float up until it hits the ceiling or a block or something else blocking its way. So, you need to think about where you want them to go carefully. I’ve forgotten that a few times in my panic to complete the level.

Of course, I say I panic and I don’t know why because these levels aren’t timed – which is great! The level tells you how many viruses you need to get rid of and gives you a certain amount of capsules. This makes it so you can take your time but I sometimes forget that. Of course, there are bonus levels that are extra challenges. Those are timed and difficult for me to bet because I panic too much and am terrible at video games.

You don’t get into the levels without help though. You can play as Dr. Mario, Dr. Princess Peach, or Dr. Bowser. There are other doctors to be unlocked as well. Each doctor has their own special skill as well. For example, I love Dr. Bowser – he wears a lab coat and has a spikey stethoscope! (Take that, tie at E3!) He has the skill when his meter is filled, to get rid of two rows. He just sets it on fire and there you go.

The doctors can equip assistants as well to help you out. You can have one or two assistants with you throughout the levels and change them as you want.

So many different things can happen in the levels as well – there are different goals to reach. For example, you can either get rid of all the viruses or collect all the coins that are hidden within the blocks.

In addition, there are a lot of obstacles in the game. For example, sometimes the viruses will be frozen and you’ll have to get three in a row just to thaw them and then get three in a row to actually pop them. There are different colored shells so that when you activate them by getting three of the same color in a row (shell, virus, or capsule – as long as it’s touching the shell) then the shell will move back and forth and get rid of the row it sits on. There are bombs that will blow up everything around it when activated and more.

This game plays like most mobile games though. There are microtransactions. So, if you want a pass or try a level again without re-doing the whole thing, you need diamonds which costs real life money. Also, you have to wait. No, you don’t need to wait real time for your farm to grow, but you only have a certain amount of hearts. Five hearts, to be exact. It costs one heart to play a level and in order to get that heart back, you need to wait about 30 minutes. Sometimes, a heart will be given to you for completing a level which is nice. Or you can receive hearts from friends.

That’s another great feature of this game. You can have friends. Not only can you see where they are on the map and send one heart a day to them, but you can actually play with them. You can versus your friends in a duel of sorts which is a lot of fun. If you don’t have any friends currently online, you can versus other players who are currently on and looking for a challenge.

I’m sure there’s so much more to the game that I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m looking forward to playing more, for sure! Nintendo did a great job with this one.

Dr. Mario World gets a rating of…

PLAY IT | Download It | Delete It

Overall, Dr. Mario World is an aesthetically pleasing game with fun characters options and a twist on the original gameplay. It’s free to play, other than the optional microtransactions, so it’s definitely worth a try.

Have you played Dr. Mario World yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below! If you like this post, please share it around.

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Yahtzee [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Yahtzee | Gaming | Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
Yahtzee is a simple enough game of chance with the main components of the game being five dice. It’s a game that we used to play all the time eons ago while vacationing with family, but we haven’t played it in a long time until recently.

rachmii
I house-sat recently and we were going through the games they had. Admittedly, they didn’t have much and while we planned on playing something new, we saw they had Yahtzee and just had to play it again.

krismii
You have a scorecard that details what kind of rolls you should be aiming to get with your three shakes of the dice. The top part of the scorecard has you counting the numbers that you roll, such as twos and threes, while the bottom part is a little more complicated with three of a kind and full house. Of course, there is the Yahtzee part of the scorecard, where you can get fifty points for having all the dice land face up as the same number.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
With each roll, you can take out certain dice that you want to keep if you’re trying to aim for a certain score. For example, if you have three threes, you want to take them out so you can aim for a full house by getting two fours, for example, or even a Yahtzee by getting two more threes. Of course, when we played, my luck was not with me.

krismii
I ended up winning all three games, haha! Honestly, Rachel tends to have higher luck in games of chance than me, so I was surprised. It’s a game that you can probably play just about anywhere as long as you have the dice and a pen and paper to keep score.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I kept rolling high which is more than I can say when we play DnD, but I couldn’t get the numbers that I needed. Once you get a score for something, you can’t score it again – even if it happens to be better. There’s also some strategy to the game too though which makes it so much harder. There’s a “chance” score where you can just count up the total of the dice and put that down as your score. However, there’s always the possibility of you scoring higher later. If you need to get some scores for having certain numbers, which one do you go for? It’s all chance.

krismii
It is just all chance. The game ends when everyone has something filled in on all spots of their scorecard, even if you’ve taken zero points as certain scores. You cannot pass your turn — rather, we’ve never played it that way — as I’m sure otherwise the game would be a lot longer than it really is. It’s a good game to pass the time and it’s fun to see just how the dice will roll for everyone.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s definitely one of those “classic” games to play. It’s great to play with friends but it’s also not a bad game to play with yourself either. Yahtzee is just a win overall.

Pandemic gets a rating of…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

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Diddy Kong Racing [Video Game Review]

Video Game Review: Diddy Kong Racing DS | Nintendo | Video Games | Gaming | Racing Games | Review | RachelPoli.com

Title: Diddy Kong Racing DS
Developer: Rare, Ultimate Play the Game
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo DS
Category:
Racing, Adventure
Release Date: 
February 5, 2007
How we got the game: 
I got it as a gift long ago

 

 

 

Diddy Kong Racing will always have a special place in my heart. I remember playing this game originally on the Nintendo 64 when I was a kid, not that I was any good at it. I believe I got the Nintendo DS version for my birthday or Christmas the year it came out. Picking it up again, it was certainly a fun trip down memory lane.

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This is a racing game so, of course, you choose a character and you race through various courses. The roster isn’t huge with only eight playable characters plus four more to unlock making a total of 12 playable characters. Still, that’s not too bad considering the time the game was originally made. Also, instead of playing as Banjo or Conker, they were replaced with Tiny Kong and Dixie Kong.

In the regular adventure mode, you choose a character, a vehicle, and a track. Then you race. There are three different vehicles to choose from – kart, hovercraft, or plane. I was only good with the kart. The hovercraft was okay to control, but I was horrendous with the plane. These vehicles can be used in most of the tracks. Some tracks allow all three while other tracks allow certain vehicles. For example, you can’t use a kart or plane in Pirate Lagoon because it’s mostly water.

Speaking of tracks, there are six different areas, each one with four racing courses for a grand total of 24 tracks. Each course has balloons scattered about which give you an item. There aren’t too many items in this game and you get a certain item depending on which color balloon you pop. For example, a red balloon will give you a missile. You can upgrade your items by collecting Rareware coins that are scattered about the tracks. However, I mostly through my items blindly because I was too focused on trying to stay on the road.

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There is a story mode to this game, one that I didn’t complete. Taj the Genie is a blue elephant that rides around on a magic carpet. He aids you by giving you new vehicles and the like. Of course, to unlock them you need to beat him in a race and… well, that plane. As I said, I was horrendous with it.

Anyway, long story short, we need to race in order to stop Wizpig from taking over the island when Timber’s parents go away on vacation. Timber can’t fit Wizpig alone, so he calls on Diddy and the rest of the gang to help him out.

That’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s just a way to unlock more tracks and characters, which is a pretty clever way to do things. Although, I don’t think this particular game really needed a story.

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Graphics-wise, this game is definitely better than when it was originally released in 1997 for the Nintendo 64. Still, I don’t think the graphics are great. I’m not complaining though. It’s still charming.

The music is probably the best thing about this game. The beats are so energizing that even if I haven’t played the game in a while, I find myself humming the main menu tune.

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This game is fun to play if you’re feeling a bit nostalgic. I’m sure I’ll get back to it and play it again at some point in my life, though this isn’t a game I’d go to all the time. It’s fun to play once in a while though.

Diddy Kong Racing DS gets…
4 out of 5 lives.

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Pandemic [Board Game Review]

Board Game Review: Pandemic | Board Games | Gaming | Pandemic | Game Review | Pandemic Review | DoublexJump.com

krismii
This game has been on our radar for quite some time. We’ve heard nothing but good things about the board game and it was really different from other board games we’ve played. The biggest learning curve for us, I believe, was to remember that it was a cooperative game rather than a competition between all the players.

rachmii
Playing a cooperative game was a nice change of pace though. Especially since we normally play just the two of us, most competitive games are harder and would be more fun if there were more of us. Of course, the first time we played (and learned) Pandemic, we played with our cousin Kat.

krismii
Yes, Kat was a great addition to the board game, giving us another to bounce ideas off of and a third voice to help interpret the rules. The main objective of the game is to find cures for four deadly diseases before the population of the world succumbs to them. To do so, you need to find enough “data” on each disease — also known as collecting enough city cards of the same color — and bring your findings to a city with a research center. Once you do so, that particular disease will have a cure. With a limited number of turns determined by the player deck, it’s definitely a challenge!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
“Interpret the rules.” That’s code for Kris reading the rules and trying to explain it to us while Kat and I played with the game pieces. The rules are a lot of fun though. Once you start playing, the game is easy enough to understand, but it’s difficult. We played so many games – with just us or with three people – and I think we won twice.

krismii
Yes, we do not have a great win streak with this game so far. Speaking of the game pieces, there is a bit to set up. Aside from the character pawns — each of which represents a certain role with a special ability or two — there was also the disease tokens, the outbreak and infection rate tokens, and the two deck of cards. The player deck consisted of the many cities you could travel to and the infection deck indicated which city became more infected at the end of every turn.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
To set up the game, you need to spread the virus around a bit so you can, you know, have something to cure. This is done by taking nine cards from the infection deck and, depending on their color – red, blue, yellow, or black – you need to place the virus block on those places. One infection on three places, two infections on three other places, and three infections on the last three places. Now, if a place has three infections already and they get infected again, an outbreak occurs. A place can’t have more than three infections so all the connecting places will end up getting one infection. Get seven outbreaks and the game ends.

krismii
All of the characters start in Atlanta at a research center along with a handful of cards from the player deck, indicating cities that they can charter a flight to. Working together, players must visit cities to start eradicating diseases. When you visit a city, you can take away a virus block as one of your actions. Players can take up to four actions during their turn, including traveling to another city, building a research center, or sharing knowledge with another player that is in the same city as them. Sharing knowledge is crucial, as it enables players to share city cards of the city they are meeting in. Collecting enough city cards of the same color is key to curing the diseases once and for all. During some of our games, we tended to assign a “disease” to each player, saying one would do her best to collect enough blue cards and another to collect black cards as a goal to find cures.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Depending on which character you choose, you have special skills as well. For example, I personally loved being the Medic because instead of taking away one infection in a city per action, I could take them all away as one action. It helped out a lot, but… we still lost the game a lot. And, honestly, I think we even fudged the rules a couple of times accidentally too. We still kept losing though, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless!

Pandemic gets a rating of…
Skip It | Try It | Buy It

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Animal Crossing New Leaf [Video Game Review]

Video Game Review: Animal Crossing New Leaf | Nintendo | Nintendo 3DS | Animal Crossing | Game Review | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

Title: Animal Crossing New Leaf
Developer: Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development, Monolith Soft
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform:
Nintendo 3DS
Category:
Simulation
Release Date: 
November 8, 2012
How we got the game: 
I bought it when it came out many moons ago

 

 

 

If you know me, then you know Animal Crossing is one of my favorite games ever. I recently got into the mood to play Animal Crossing New Leaf again and realized the only Animal Crossing game I’ve reviewed on this site is Happy Home Designer. So, I visited my New Leaf town, which is apparently called, “Kalos.”

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Like the Animal Crossing games before it, New Leaf isn’t too different in gameplay. You have your human villager move into a town inhabited by various animals. The goal is pay off the debt on your house, upgrade said house multiple times and paying off that debt, all the while decorating your house, collecting various items to boost the town and make friends with your many villagers.

The shops can upgrade depending on how much money, or bells, you spend there. There’s a general store, garden shop, clothing and shoe store, the post office, and more. Some of these shops don’t open until you meet certain other requirements in the game, though none of it is hard.

You’re also mistaken as the new mayor of the town so you can do some extra stuff – like created public works projects or put certain ordinances into effect. There are four ordinances – beautiful town, night town, early town, and bell boom town. Beautiful means no weeds will appear and your villagers will water and plant more flowers on their own (even if you stop playing your game for a while). Night owl and early bird are as it sounds – villagers and shops will either wake up and go to bed earlier for the early bird town or they’ll stay up later and wake up later in the night owl town. Bell boom makes everything more expensive, which in turn allows you to make money faster.

I personally have the night owl town on so I can go to my private island at night and collect the various beetles and sharks. I make anywhere between 100,000-200,000 bells per trip.

The public works projects are fun as well. Granted, the villagers don’t do much to help it out – it’s basically more money for your to put into the town yourself. Still, it adds more depth to the town. You can add a fountain, benches, and best of all, bridges. Each town layout is large and there’s only one bridge connecting the two halves over the river that splits them up. I personally picked a town map with a bridge on the right-hand-most side. Now I also have a bridge in the middle and on the left to make it even.

While I wish the villagers did more and had more of a variety when it comes to personalities (even though there are a decent amount of personality traits), I find them amusing all the same. I love each and every one of my villagers and will not let any of them leave until I get their picture. Then they can move on so I can collect more villagers.

New Leaf also has “Welcome Amiibo” which I haven’t used. There’s a campground where you can visit certain NPCs in a trailer and buy some of their stuff. You can also put an Amiibo in and they can become a villager in your town. New Leaf allows nine villagers in your town, but you can have ten if it’s from an Amiibo.

I haven’t tried this yet because all my Amiibos are still sealed. Someday, when I open them, I will add Boo into my town or something.

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As always, the graphics in this game are great. On the 3DS (I play on the 2DS XL), they’re crisp and bright. The water rippling in the ocean and river are satisfying, the flowers sparkling when watered are great. Everything about this game is aesthetically pleasing to me and the various themes of furniture and such are too much though I’m determined to get it all.

The music is one of the best parts of this game, I think. There’s a new song every hour and it’s so relaxing and calm. I love playing this game whenever I’m stressed or having a rough week. It’s easy to get absorbed into this work and not feel better afterward.

Replay Value | Video Game Reviews | Video Games | Gaming | Blogging | DoublexJump.com

There’s always something to do in this game even after you “beat it” and pay off all your debt. There are so many things to collect – furniture, clothes, bugs, fish, fossils – and the villagers especially are the most fun (and difficult) to collect. I’ll be going back to this game forever and forever.

Animal Crossing New Leaf gets…
5 out of 5 lives.

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