It’s always difficult to figure out which games to buy and when. Sticking to a budget with this hobby isn’t easy, even with gift cards!
We all know gaming is an expensive hobby. Generally, when we receive gift cards, they’re already spent due to our list of games that we want. I was fortunate enough to receive a gift card for my birthday for the Nintendo eShop, but it’s a bit difficult to figure out how best to spend it.
I’ve never played Bravely Default, but seeing the art style and hearing the music has intrigued me enough to want to give it a try. Considering that there is a second Bravely Default coming out for the Nintendo Switch, it’s probably time for me to hurry up and buy the first one. Despite it being out since 2012, it’s still a Nintendo game and, as such, there hasn’t been a drop in price for it though.
We found this game while scrolling through the eShop and it looks delightfully ridiculous. The characters are mainly birds, the plot revolving around France in the 1800s, multiple endings, and there promises to be tons of puns. It seems to be like Phoenix Wright but as bird characters and I’m totally here for it.
Rune Factory 4 Special Edition
In a few weeks, Rune Factory 4 will be making its way to the Nintendo S witch. Fantasy meets Harvest Moon, I enjoyed the game when I played it on my 3DS and I’m looking forward to revisiting it on the Switch. Farming, dungeons, colorful characters who don’t say the same two lines of dialogue every day, and a dragon character have me excited for this remake.
What do you think of these games? Have you played them?Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Title: Kind Words Developer: Popcannibal Publisher: Popcannibal
Category: Indie, chill word game
Release Date: September 13, 2019
How we got the game: Bought and downloaded it on Steam
Pssst…. There may be story or gameplay spoilers in this review! You’ve been warned!
Kind Words has been on my radar since I heard about it a few months ago, and it came right back up to the front of my to-play list thanks to the Game Awards having it as a nominee for the Games for Impact award. I was finally able to download it, and I am not disappointed in it.
Note that this review doesn’t use our typical template. Mechanically speaking, there’s not much to this game. You have a little avatar that relaxes in a small bedroom while scribbling away letters to other people. The goal is, simply, to be kind, to send words of encouragement, to give advice in response to other people’s letters, or to just let them know, “I am here and I hear you.”
The menu on the side allows you to see requests that you can answer, send a request yourself to receive advice, send a paper airplane that floats through everyone’s room, and see your inbox, among options for the credits and settings. The setting is minimal, clean, and calming with the soft lights and the chill mix of music that you can adjust to your liking by clicking on the radio above the bed.
The game itself opens up and you meet the Mail Deer. This adorable creature claims that they are the one who sends your letters along, letting you know the gist of the game as well as warning you that you are communicating with real people and to be careful about giving away too much personal information. Mail Deer also speaks about how important they take cyber bullying or dangerous messages, and urges players to report any requests that fall under those categories. Security and safety are this game’s utmost priorities, and it shows in the community and how swiftly those reports are handled.
One of the main criticisms of this game — and there are very few of those — is players asking for more room on the letters and paper airplanes to write their requests or advice. Sometimes the main point of a request gets lost when not all the context is there due to the lack of room, and the advice that follows doesn’t quite work.
While it can be somewhat of an issue to not have the full story, I do like the fact that the letters must be shorter. It helps with the anonymity of the game and helps to illustrate that one may not receive all the advice they hope to from a stranger online. Indeed, strangers helping out one another with advice and words of encouragement is wonderful, but there is only so much that a stranger can do. To help with that, Kind Words does have a link to mental health resources that is prominent at the bottom of the screen whenever a letter or airplane is written. If one truly needs help, that link is there for when simple advice cannot.
Another criticism that I’ve heard about the game is that there is no method of keeping in touch or continuing to send and receive letters from the same strangers. Some have found that certain people give fantastic advice, others are wondering how well their advice was received or how someone who had written a particular letter is doing. While it would be nice to be able to keep in touch with someone else, especially since — despite the dangers — online relationships can be wonderful, I believe the one-time reply does its job well. People inherently want to help others, but it can be dangerous to be so involved with others’ problems, dangerous for both parties’ self-esteem and their mental health. To harp on a stranger’s issue, as well-meaning as one may be, can be destructive for both parties.
As the Mail Deer, sometimes the best you can do is to send along a kind word, and you have to hope that will be enough. Know that you did your best for a stranger in the form of an anonymous letter and that they will be able to take strength from your kindness.
I believe every person has a little bit of, “I want to save the world,” in them, but it can be overwhelming when it appears that you, as only one person, can’t make as much of an impact as you think. To be able to help just one person enables one to realize that perhaps they cannot impact the whole world but, for that one person they helped, they were able to impact that one individual world, hopefully for the better.
Kind Words enables us to do just that.
Kind Words gets…
5 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
It’s always nice when a Nintendo Direct coincidentally falls during my lunch break. We were able to watch most of the 20-ish minute direct live, getting hints of the upcoming Indie titles that will grace the Nintendo Switch next year.
This direct was unexpected but one I looked forward to. I enjoy indie games and was eager to see what’s upcoming for the new year. In total, Indie World announced 16 games coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020. While there were a few I’m interested in trying, there were four games that I’m truly looking forward to trying – Sports Story, Bake’n Switch, Supermash, and Murder by Numbers.
Most of the games looked pretty, while there were a couple that puzzled us. I believe I’m more interested in some of the games that had unique art styles and stories to tell, such as Gleamlight, Liberated, and Dreamscaper. Murder by Numbers, though, also seems great — we’re suckers for visual novels, and the music was created by Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney’s composer Masakazu Sugimori — and Supermash is definitely interesting as well. I wouldn’t mind trying Survivalists, if only because it features local and online multiplayer. If it was a single-player experience, I probably would pass.
I’d be willing to give most of those games a try. Survivalists looked cool as well. I thought it was going to be a Minecraft mimic at first, but it seems to have more to it than just crafting and gaining experience points. And who wouldn’t want to have monkeys on their side?
The monkeys made me laugh, admittedly. As stated, though, I’m more interested in joining up with friends to try to survive, similarly to how I’d like to try Stardew Valley in co-op mode. Another game that made me laugh was SkateBIRD. I’m not interested in the premise of it, but it seemed cute! I’m a bit surprised you haven’t mentioned Sail Forth, Rachel. I thought sailing around the high seas for treasure would be right up your alley.
SkateBIRD looks cute. I’m not sure if that’s one I’ll get, but I’d love to see what it’s all about. Sail Forth is a game I’d get. It looked pretty and I do like my treasure. Plus, it’s a simulation game. However, when they showed off the game, I didn’t get what it was “about.” Maybe I wasn’t paying too much attention to it, but the game just didn’t stick out in my mind like the other four games I listed did. Boyfriend Dungeon sticks out in my mind. While the gameplay looks cool, I’m iffy with the premise. It’s definitely a unique kind of game.
Boyfriend Dungeon just made question marks dance around my head, but that could just be me. I don’t mind dungeon crawlers or dating sims, but with the way it was combined together was a bit odd to me. Still, kudos to the developers for taking that leap. The art style is interesting, and while I’m most likely not going to get the game, I’ll keep an eye out on the reviews out of curiosity.
The art style looks great, I agree. I do enjoy dungeon crawlers but the mechanics of the whole boyfriend thing seem odd to mean. I’m sure it’ll be one of those hidden gem games though. It looked solid and if we ever come across it, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. Overall, all the games coming to the Nintendo Switch in 2020 looked smooth and solid. I think 2020 is going to be a great year for gaming.
Did you watch the Indie World direct? What do you think of some of the games coming next year? If you liked this post, please share it around!
Despite having it on Steam, I’ve bought Stardew Valley on the Nintendo Switch, just to give the game another try on a portable console. I’ve been loving it lately, so much so that I’m using it as an incentive to get this post done in a somewhat timely manner. Being in the middle of my first winter, I’ve started paying more attention to the villagers now that I’ve gotten the hang of farming. Here are my favorite NPCs.
Aside from Demetrius being a science guy, I enjoy the little backstory with their family. Looking at the bookshelf in Demetrius’s and Robin’s bedroom reveals books regarding becoming a step-parent, and it’s not often that one sees video games or other media with blended families. I enjoyed his excitement over science things and, honestly, if Demetrius had been a marriage candidate, I’d probably go after him.
The resident old lady of the town is awesome. She first introduces herself to us and tells us to call her Granny, which I would totally be cool with. I’ve always had a soft spot for the elderly characters in these kind of video games, finding that some of them have the most interesting backstories.
I just met Sandy recently but I already love her. I wish it was more feasible to be able to visit her more often, but I tend to get involved so much with my farm and Pelican Town that I kind of forget about the desert area of the game. Still, Sandy is a fun character and I really enjoy her design.
Who are some of your favorite Stardew Valley NPCs? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
We’ve been quite busy this past month, and it’s been a little tough to actually get the time to sit down and relax with a few games. While I prefer console gaming, it is nice to be able to take a breather with a game right on my phone. Generally, I focus on the mobile version of Game Dev Tycoon, but I heard of another game we’ve enjoyed in the past that made its way to iOS and Android.
Nearly a year ago, Rachel and I started streaming on Twitch (I will shamelessly shout that our channel’s link is at the bottom of every blog post), and we’ve been having a great time with it when life allows us to keep some sort of a schedule with it. Considering how long its been, the Minit stream is not up on our Twitch channel any longer, unfortunately.
One of the very first games we’ve streamed was this little game called Minit. While we had downloaded it on Steam, it was also released for the major consoles within the year. While the game was cute with the unique challenge of making strides in the plot in 60-second intervals, Minit did slip my memory with all of the other games we’ve been playing since then.
However, Minit recently popped up again because I heard that it is now available for iOS and Android for only about $5 — considering it’s available for the major consoles for almost $10, it’s a great price. Giving you the challenge to break a curse in a short time frame, it’s perfect to just play for a few minutes if you need a mental break from life. I may actually give it a go again if Harry Potter: Wizards Unite doesn’t work out as well as I’m hoping.
Have you played Minit? What mobile games do you enjoy playing? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
A couple of new games have recently been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame — Mortal Kombat, Super Mario Kart, Colossal Cave Adventure, and Microsoft Windows Solitaire. While there are criteria as to which games are inducted, I thought it would be fun to make a small list of my own for Hall of Fame games.
Stardew Valley has rocketed in popularity since its original release in [date]. The calming atmosphere of the game has likened it to the Harvest Moon franchise while also giving players new mechanics and aspects to the farming sim genre. It added an RPG-like element with cave exploration and monster slaying, as well as allowing players to marry either gender, including fellow players in the co-op updates. Considering the small team that created the game that has since gone on to be published on other consoles, the feats it has done deserves a spot in the Hall of Fame.
Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars
This is definitely more of a personal preference than figuring out anything groundbreaking about the game’s mechanics or style. However, it did throw Mario into yet another genre of video games, showcasing his versatility as a video game character. It also was the ancestor, if you will, of the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series, games that are popular in their own right. The Final Fantasy and other Nintendo character Easter eggs in the game were fun, and the unique characters that were introduced are popular enough to be shown in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate’s World of Light mode.
We’re not a pair of gamers that plays shooting games too often, if at all. However, we have tried out PUBG and have seen plenty of streams of the gameplay, finding it stressful when we play and amusing thanks to the content creators that we’ve watched. It was one of the first major battle royale games that hit the market and, while Fortnite’s popularity and gimmicks may propel it to the Hall of Fame before PUBG, I believe PUBG deserves its share of recognition.
What are some games you’d like to see in the Hall of Fame? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
Title: Gris Developer: Nomada Studio Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date: December 13, 2018
How we got the game: Downloaded on Nintendo Switch
Gris was a game that was on my radar since I first some some screenshots of the game way back in August. With the help of some Nintendo eShop gift cards that I had gotten for Christmas, I finally bought and downloaded Gris, and it did not disappoint. Be warned, there will be some spoilers of this game in the review!
The gameplay is fairly simple in Gris. It’s a light platform-adventure game where the character is exploring a world while trying to return color to it. As the character, you explore the world around you, collecting beads of light that in turn will help you reach farther places. The controls are as smooth as the art as you direct your character to run and jump while searching the world.
Throughout the levels, your character will also gain a few power-ups, new abilities that will be used to explore more, and most of which will manifest with the help of the character’s dress. The first is a solid, block-like phase, where your character’s dress solidifies into a block that is used to smash through crumbling structures or to help you stand your ground against unrelenting winds. The second ability grants you a double jump, the character’s dress unfolding likes wings to give an extra boost to reach far ledges. The third ability has the dress envelop the girl to give her a silhouette resembling a stingray, with wing-like fins to glide through underwater caverns.
The fourth ability is found at the pinnacle of the game. The character regains the power to sing, her echoing voice bringing back plants and animals to go with the color that is now blooming in the world.
The art style of this game is what captured my attention in the first place. I found the screenshots to be amazing, but I was not expecting how breathtaking the graphics would be when we first turned on the game. The art resembled watercolors with how smoothly it flowed. When you completed a level and successfully brought a color back to the world, it was amazing seeing the color bloom and transform around you.
The music was spot-on and just as gorgeous as the art style, and isn’t a stranger to being played on our Spotify accounts now. Considering the game has no dialogue or narration, the art and music are what’s telling the narrative, and it is wonderful. The mood brought on by the music was always right no matter where you are in the game.
The underlying theme of Gris is grief.
The game starts out with your character — a young woman named Gris — who awakens in the hand of a crumbling statue depicting another woman. Gris attempts to sing out, but her voice is gone, and the statue splinters into pieces. Gris then traverses the land, finding beads of light — of hope — to restore color back into the world and to help bring back the statue.
Each level, if you will, represents a stage of grief. The black and white, dusty gray world at the beginning could be shock or denial at what has happened. Red is the first color you restore to the world, laying the ground for plains and desert where Gris fights against angry winds as you push onward. When green is found, Gris explores a lush forest where she finds and helps a creature as she traverses the land, as if striking up a bargain in order to keep moving. Blue leads Gris to water-filled caverns and rain soaking the world, making the character feel a bit waterlogged and, possibly, depressed. Yellow is the last color that is found near the climax of the game and brings about the level that even the game calls Acceptance.
Throughout the silent story, Gris will see and encounter bits and pieces of the statue of the other woman, finding her gray, crumbling, and in various stages of weeping, laying down and, finally, standing up again. The major enemy of the game is within Gris herself, as a giant, shadow bird and eel appear and attempt to prevent her from moving forward, threatening to consume her. The grief tries to swallow Gris once more near the end but both she and the statue find their voices. Together, they sing in harmony for the last time as they banish the grief away. Once the grief dissolves, Gris bids the statue one final farewell as she walks up the stairs of light to the sky.
When we first turned on the game, we had heard the story was one of grief. As we played, we guessed that the statue of the woman was the one whom Gris was grieving for, as if the woman was the one who had died. However, at the end when Gris took those steps up towards what may have been Heaven, we believe that it was Gris who had died. Gris was trying to find her voice to help soothe the statue woman who was grieving for her, making the ending that much more bittersweet.
Gris itself is only about three and a half hours long, and I have heard there are a couple of completionist elements to it after the main game is through. It’s a short enough game that can be played in just a couple of sittings, and the story, music, and graphics are gorgeous enough to warrant you in picking up the game again.
5 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! If you like this post, please share it around!
While we have nothing personal against any of the games that won their respective Game Awards — it’s a wonderful feat — there were definitely games that we’ve played this year that we felt were a little overlooked. If we were nominating games for categories in the Game Awards, we’d add a little more variety.
By variety, we mean Nintendo and more Indie games. Because, let’s face it, that’s pretty much all we play. We love the “family” games and tend to have more fun with those. We enjoy puzzles games, mystery, and certainly love Pokemon, though we adore games that have rich stories and engaging characters. With that, we’ve had quite a few favorites this year.
For instance, if we were nominating a few different games for the Art Direction category, we probably would have added Minit, A Case of Distrust, and The Lion’s Song (which came out for the Nintendo Switch this year, even if it was originally published in 2016). Each of them takes art in a completely different direction. Minit was more pixel-y, with back and white images, while A Case of Distrust was very minimal to ensure the player was focused on the mystery of the story. The Lion’s Song had almost soft and light animation with a sienna-color palette, a style that we definitely enjoyed.
I would also keep in Octopath Traveler for that category as well. Speaking of, if I were to nominate a couple of games for the best soundtrack, I’d nominate Octopath Traveler, Deltarune, and The Lion’s Song. Deltarune has some great, upbeat music while music was a huge part of the gameplay for The Lion’s Song. Octopath Traveler had fabulous music for battles and various areas in the world that always gets stuck in my head.
Deltarune would be fantastic contender for the narrative category as well, in my opinion. I definitely enjoyed the lore of that game and can’t wait for the full version! It could fit in with the role-playing category, depending on how you play the game, too. Other games that could have been recognized in the role-playing category could have been the Let’s Go Pokemon titles and The Sword of Ditto, a rogue-like game that can be played co-op where you get one life.
Well, if there was a multiplayer category, The Sword of Ditto would be on that list. Overcooked 2 would, for sure, be nominated. That game is perfect for multiplayer and I’m sure that’s kind of the point.
There was a multiplayer category, but I believe it catered more to online multiplayer rather than local, which seemed to be the family category. Burnstar, which was first available on the Switch this year, was great, and we can’t forget about Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, which seemed to have missed the cut due to timing. A category I would have really liked to see more variety in would have been the Content Creators. This year, it seemed to be all about Fortnite streamers. I would have loved to see Twitch and YouTube channels like Black Girl Gamers or Normal Boots be nominated, to name a few smaller channels.
For sure. We definitely have our own opinion and may be a little biased with indie and Nintendo games. Though this is what we like and what we would love to see. However, there are no bad games. Each and every game deserves an award.
Do you have any games you would have loved to see in the Game Awards? Let us know in the comments below!
On a fairly recent post, I mentioned how a comic app was coming to the Nintendo Switch. Then I heard about a mini comic series based on a game that we played and enjoyed almost a year ago…
Way back in November 2017 Rachel and I did a review for a visual novel/dating simulation game produced by the Game Grumps, a popular YouTube channel, called Dream Daddy. It was a fun game, one with fantastic characters, writing, and graphics, as well as celebrating gender and sexuality diversity.
Recently I heard that the Dream Daddy game is going to have comics based off of them. There will be five issues, with one available now and the rest being released within the next couple of months. Each issue will feature one to two of the dads that your character can romance in the game, and they’ll be available on quite a few digital platforms — Steam, Google Play, iTunes, Comixology — as well as a print version through Oni Press online shop, the folks who are publishing the series.
Considering Rachel and I enjoyed the game, I figured if we have a little extra money on our Steam account we’ll get an issue or two. Depending on the writing and the artwork, maybe we’ll splurge on all of the issues to see how the comics expand on the game lore.
Did you play Dream Daddy? What kind of comics based off of video games, or vice versa, have you read?
Title: Undertale Developer and Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform: PC, Playstation 4, future release for Nintendo Switch
Release Date: Sept 2015 (PC), August 2017 (PS4), 2018 (Switch)
How I got the game: I bought it on Steam.
When this game first came out a couple of years ago, I really wasn’t sure what to think of it. It’s popularity surged, but it wasn’t until we saw a Let’s Play of the game last year that I was actually interested in playing it. I finally got the game on Steam a little while ago and then, lo and behold, the game got announced for the Nintendo Switch this year!
Undertale is a role-playing game where you play as a child who has fallen Underground, a dark place filled with Monsters. It’s in a top-down perspective, and you move about the overworld, navigating the land while interacting with other characters and, usually, solving puzzles. Depending on how one solves the objectives of the game determines the kind of ending one will receive.
When encounter enemies, the battle mode will trigger. The battle mode involves controlling your character’s soul, which is represented by a red heart. In each battle, as the heart, you must avoid attacks from the enemy that attack you similar in a bullet hell shooter. Various elements to the battles are introduced further in the game, such as different obstacles to dodge and conditions for controlling the heart.
Players have different options in battle. You can either choose to attack, act (such as talking to, mimicking, or even flirting with an opponent), use an item, or mercy, which allows players to either flee from the battle or spare the opponent if the time is right to do so. Depending on the players actions will sway the battle and, ultimately, the ending of the game. It is possible to beat the game without harming any enemies.
Undertale also employs metafictional elements. When a player replays the game, dialogue and certain sections of the game will be altered depending on the previous play through. How the player interacts with the game’s characters — by slaying, sparing, or befriending them — determines how the end of the play through will go. A player can achieve a True Pacifist run, Neutral runs, or a Genocide run, and subsequent play throughs will be effected by the ending of the previous play through.
Undertale’s graphics are pixel-y and charming, reminding me of older video games from the NES and SNES days. Despite that, every character — whether they were major, minor, or just background — was distinct in its looks, dialogue, and even sound. When characters spoke, their words typed out to distinct sounds, giving the characters voices without voice actors.
The game, being set in a place called the Underground, was filled with dim colors, dark blues, grays, and some red-hot areas. Some spots were a little spooky, or tried to be, but the music was always coupled well with the areas, such as a relaxing waterfall setting or the snowy town at night. I was very impressed with the quality of music and sound effects, especially since the composer was also the developer and publisher.
Undertale’s story opens up with a child falling into Mount Ebott, which brings them to the massive Underground that is populated with Monsters. The first character that the player encounters is Flowey, a sentient flower that explains the basic mechanics of the games before attempting to kill the player. The player is then saved by Toriel, a kind, goat-like, maternal monster who teaches the player how to navigate through puzzles and how to end battles without killing.
Once the player leaves Toriel’s home, you explore the vast Underground while meeting many other new characters, such as Sans and Papyrus the skeleton brothers, Undyne the Head of the Royal Guard, and Alphys the royal scientist. The player’s main objective is to get home. Along the way, you learn about how the Monsters came to be Underground.
Long ago, there was a war between humans and Monsters. Humans, with their stronger souls, pushed the Monsters Underground, sealing them with a barrier. Despite their magic, Monsters are not strong enough to break the barrier. However, if the Monsters collect enough human souls, they will grow powerful enough to break the barrier. As the child, you learn that that is what Asgore, the King of the Monsters, intends to do.
And you are the last needed human soul.
As you explore the Underground and meet other characters, your interactions with them will determine the outcome of the adventure. Many Monsters will want your soul for their king, and it is up to the player to either befriend or kill them. When it comes to escaping the Underground, it is up to you on whether or not you want to help the Monsters… or just yourself.
With the charming graphics, awesome music, and quirky characters, Undertale is a game that I would boot up multiple times just to visit the characters over and over. Along with the fact that there are different endings with metafictional elements, Undertale has some great replay value.
…Although, because I enjoy the characters so much, I’m not sure if I really want to do a Genocide route! I prefer the happier endings, haha!
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!