Pokemon Ultra Sun And Ultra Moon [Game Review]

Title: Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon
Developer: GAME FREAK, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
RPG, Adventure
Release Date: 
November 17, 2017
How we got the game: 
We preordered physical copies

krismii
Of course we’re going to buy and play the newest core Pokemon game! Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon came out almost literally a year after their predecessors Sun and Moon, and… were extremely similar to their predecessors, in my opinion. They were still a lot of fun to play!

rachmii
Story-wise, super similar! However, I felt as though they added a good amount of side quests as well as other things here and there to make the game enjoyable. In my opinion, more enjoyable than Sun and Moon.

gameplay

krismii
Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon play much like every other core Pokemon game. Your main objective is to travel the land, catch and raise a team of Pokemon, and aim to become the strongest trainer in the region, all the while having the world’s fate rest on your 11-year-old shoulders.

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It’s easy enough since the game, in a way, holds your hand throughout. Your Rotom Dex is also the map on the bottom screen of the 3DS. There’s an arrow that shows where you are and where you’re going along with a red flag for where you’re supposed to go. Not to mention in Pokemon battles, if you’ve battled a Pokemon before, everytime you battle it again, your Pokemon’s moves will tell you if it’s effective or not. Though, none of this is different from Sun and Moon.

 krismii
Thus, the gameplay itself is fairly linear, with clear goals in mind and your opponents always being around a similar level as your Pokemon team. While there is plenty to explore, you always know where you’re supposed to go. A strategy is usually involved when it comes to battling — with type weaknesses and strengths, using items effectively, etc. — but it becomes a bit of a moot point when your Pokemon’s moves tell you if they’re super effective or not against Pokemon you’ve already fought. It helps to speed battles up and is great for newer fans, but some challenge is taken away.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, they definitely catered it to younger players or first-time players. It is a cool feature, but I’d still like to learn it myself. A new gameplay mechanic was added and that was going through the Ultra Wormhole. It uses tilt controls on your 3DS to gain speed and head towards or away wormholes. You should always see how far you can get, but there are things in there that’ll slow you down. It’s one of those things that takes getting used to.

krismii
Using motion controls was a bit odd in a Pokemon game, but I didn’t mind it the few times I did it. I think I would have enjoyed the Ultra Wormhole aspect more had they been given more of a purpose. They seem to be just extra “pockets” of areas to catch rarer Pokemon. I would have liked to have more land to explore, such as the Ultra Megalopolis city. It was interesting to see and a great battle took place there, but that seemed to be it — granted, I’ve played enough to beat the main storyline, so perhaps there’s some post-Champion aspect of Ultra Megalopolis that I haven’t seen yet.

graphics-music

krismii
It’s utterly amazing how far the graphics and music for the Pokemon series has come since the original Blue and Red versions! Animated cut-scenes and battle stances, both for Pokemon and people, are fluid and crisp, and the scenery in the games are so pretty!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
While this is also in Sun and Moon, I love how they added actual backgrounds to the Poke Refresh as well as the battle sequences depending on where you are. They updated some of the music for certain battles where were upbeat and a lot of fun to hum to; especially the Rainbow Rocket music. It was very nostalgic.

krismii
I noticed the Poke Refresh backgrounds as well, and was impressed — I wonder how much data and programming it took to be able to create so many individual backgrounds like that? Some of my favorite music was the Champion and Elite Four battle tunes, having come much farther than the original games.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Yes, they did such a great job. It really makes me wonder what they’ll come up with next. Though, I will admit, they should have let your Pokemon follow you. I’d rather that than the backgrounds changes. But I’ll take what I can get.

krismii
I do miss that from HeartGold and SoulSilver! I don’t know how it would work with the different graphics style of Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, but it would have been a nice aspect, especially since Hau always seemed to have his starter Pokemon out with him, haha!
story

Rachel Mii Double Jump
As far as story goes, it’s not much different from Sun and Moon. You help Lillie and Gladion stop their mother, Lusamine, from opening the Ultra Wormhole. Of course, you fail, but then you end up getting to go into the Wormhole itself.

krismii
It took much longer for the Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon stories to appear different enough from the original Sun and Moon than I thought it would, and I was a little disappointed at that. I thought it would be a brand new adventure rather than a rehashed version of the original story, and I honestly wasn’t sure if the money was worth it. The wormholes have more of a purpose in these versions and there are a few more post-Champion events for you to do, but they seemed as if they could have been DLC for Sun and Moon rather than an entirely new game.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It definitely seems like just an “updated” version of Sun and Moon, but I found it different enough. I enjoyed collecting the Totem stickers (even though I didn’t really care for the Totem Pokemon, but I like collecting things). I expected Team Rainbow Rocket to be part of the story instead of an afterthought. I enjoyed their time, but I wish they had a bigger part.

replay-value

krismii
It’s Pokemon. Of course we’re going to keep playing these games. With how many creatures you can raise, each with customizable move sets, as well as being able to set your own challenges as you progress throughout the game, the Pokemon games generally have a high replay value.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I will not stop playing until I raise every single Pokemon to level 100. Then there are shiny Pokemon, of course.

Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon 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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First Impressions: Ultra Moon

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday! How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope you all had a great weekend filled with family, friends, and fantastic food!

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful… then Rachel and I spent the rest of the weekend playing Pokemon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon!

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Rachel and I tend to try to “reward” ourselves with new video games around Thanksgiving for completing NaNoWriMo. After Thanksgiving dinner is over, our family rents a house in the mountains for the weekend where Rachel and I spend the time playing our games (with the occasional break for going out to eat and maybe shop with our parents).

Last year, we had Pokemon Sun and Moon. This year, it’s Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

It was fun getting back to Alola, especially since I haven’t really played Sun and Moon since this time last year. However… I expected a much different opening.

Honestly, when I first turned on Ultra Moon and saw nearly the same opening story, I paused and wondered if I had accidentally put last year’s game into my 2DS. The only difference seemed to be the appearance of the Ultra Retcon Squad, or whatever the robotic characters are called. I expected the Ultra pair of games to have more of a different story, like how Black 2 and White 2 took place after the original Black and White games. Instead, the story so far seems to be remarkably similar and it was disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong, Ultra Moon is still fun, and it’s been nice seeing the plethora of Pokemon that inhabit the islands, but I’m looking forward to when the story really starts to pan out. Otherwise, it feels as if I just paid for the same games as last year, almost as if the Ultra pair are expensive DLC. If the Ultra pair are supposed to be an improved version of Sun and Moon, I almost wish that Nintendo would have waited the extra year and just released the Ultra pair rather than the original games.

I’m about halfway through the trials at this point. Let’s see if it gets more exciting from here!

How are you liking Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon so far?

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Mario Party The Top 100 [Game Review]

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Title: Mario Party The Top 100
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Platform: 
Nintendo 3DS
Category: 
Party, Multiplayer
Release Date: 
November 10, 2017
How we got the game: 
We each preordered a physical copy

krismii
Mario Party is one of those game franchises that makes or breaks friendships. It was one of the games that were a stable in our childhoods as we grew with the generations of Nintendo consoles. We have lots of fun memories with the earlier installments of the games, but the newer ones were disappointing to us. We were hoping for the Top 100 to bring back a little fun to the franchise.

rachmii
I didn’t want to get my hopes up too much for this game, but I was excited nonetheless. They were bringing back old school mini-games, what could go wrong? Well, they did some wrong… but it was still nice to replay some of the old mini-games again.

gameplay

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Mario Party The Top 100 celebrates the top one hundred mini-games from the main franchise. With several modes, the Top 100 allows players to compete and play mini-games either alone or by linking up wirelessly with friends. Each mini-game has been updated with their graphics and controls to bring it up to speed with today’s modern handheld technology, and they all use simple controls to play, usually only a couple of buttons and the control stick to move.

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There are five main modes of the game, one being only for the single player while you can play the other four modes with friends. 100 Minigames, Minigame Island, Minigame Match, Championship Battles, and Decathlon. Minigame Island was probably my favorite mode, but even that wasn’t too great, to be honest.

 krismii
100 Minigames is a free-for-all mode, where you can play whatever mini-games you’ve unlocked whenever you want. Minigame Island was the single-player mode, where you would go through a series of little “islands” connected via warp pipes and defeat minigames as levels. As a single player, you would choose your character at the beginning and the character you would like as your partner during two-versus-two games. Your opponents in the game are randomized, as are their difficulty level. Each minigame win earns you ten coins, which earns you a life after you collect 100, as well as star points similar to those in Mario Party 9 and 10. If you lose a minigame, you lose a life.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
Well, if you come in fourth you lose a life. If you come in third, you get one mini star. Second gets you two mini stars, and first place gets you three mini stars. You want to collect all the mini stars you can (300 total) so that you can unlock something at the end. I liked this mode because it was completely random and it was all minigames, but it definitely would have been more fun playing with other people rather than alone.

krismii
I wonder, if you play through the Minigame Island again, if the mini-game levels would be random? I agree that the island would have been more fun if that was a mode you could link up with friends to play. The modes were you could link up with friends weren’t too bad, however, what fans seemed to really want were boards like the original series had. Instead, Top 100 reuses the Star Rush board with some tiny updates, a small board where everyone moves at once one to six spaces, and you play a mini-game only if someone catches a mini-game balloon. It’s… not the most fun experience.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s boring, to put it bluntly. The board is small and not exciting at all. Not to mention that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Star Rush. It probably won’t be a mode I’ll play again. Another mode is Championship Battles and that wasn’t as great as it sounded. You play 3 to 5 minigames and see who can win the most. It sounds fun in theory, but they only allow 3 or 5 minigames. What about 10? What about 20 or 50? That would certainly raise the stakes and have a longer playtime with friends. It was easy for the games to become one-sided, especially when playing with CPU characters.

krismii
Decathalon was similar enough to Championship Battles, but players would compete for earning the most points depending on their ranking in the mini-game as well as time or your score, if they applied. The higher ranking you are in the mini-game, the more points you earn. After so many mini-games, the player with the highest amount of points wins. It seemed pretty skewed, to be honest. The mini-games were random and, once you become in first place in a couple, you seemed golden on the road to win the Decathalon. With players that are fairly even in their mini-game skills, it’s not much of a challenge.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The Decathalon wasn’t too bad. But yeah, I don’t think I’ll be playing that again anytime soon. The game also had minigame packs as well. Each pack was its own category of minigames from the various Mario Party games. (Gamecube Pack, Nintendo 64 Pack, Action Pack, Sports Pack, etc.) This is a cool idea in theory. When playing Minigame Match (similar to Star Rush), you choose a pack. Then you and the other players vote from your respective pack on which game to play. This is a cool idea, but you can only choose from the five games in your pack. I would have liked to be able to vote on a set of 30 or something, that 30 would be random each time you played. I would have liked to see more variety.

graphics-music

krismii
The graphics and music weren’t bad. They weren’t spectacular, but they weren’t bad. Graphics-wise, the game’s images are clear and crisp on our 2DS handhelds.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s certainly interesting to play minigames from Mario Party 1, 2, and 3 with updated graphics. I enjoyed seeing the characters and games in a new light, especially with their updated voices and such.

krismii
While the music wasn’t bad, as they seem to be reminiscent of the Mario Party series, it has changed. Many of the minigames have “updated” music, which are different tracks rather than merely updated versions of the original songs. We did notice that, in Minigame Island, the victory song matches the song that was played in the Mario Party game that the minigame came from. It was a cute, nostalgic-inducing touch.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I didn’t mind the music at all. I found it upbeat and lifting like any other Mario Party game. Also, there were the nostalgic tunes thrown in there. While updated, like Kris said, they were still nice to hear.

replay-value

krismii
The Top 100, while not what we wanted it to be, was decent for nostalgic purposes. It may be a game that I pick up once in a while if I have a little time to kill. Once you unlock all the minigames, it can be fun just to go around and replay your favorites.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
I agree with Kris. However, Mario Party is the kind of game you want to play with your friends and I felt as though this game was better in single player mode than with friends only because there was more to do. Still, I’m glad I could revisit old games again.

Mario Party The Top 100 gets…
Video game review: 3 Lives
3 out of 5 lives.

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

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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 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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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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3DS/2DS Designs

Double Jump Kris MiiDue to the Nintendo Switch being out with such fantastic games, we’ve neglected our 3DS and 2DS family of consoles lately. Looking up some news about the handheld consoles, it’s a little surprising to see all of the new editions and covers for them.

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Nintendo Everything just recently revealed that Target is taking pre-orders for a new Legend of Zelda 2DS Edition. A cheery green-and-yellow combination definitely reminds me of the colors of Link’s homeland, even if I prefer darker shades to represent Link.

Seeing the new edition takes me back to all of the other editions of the 3DS and 2DS consoles. There were several Pokemon-themed 3DS covers, along with other Legend of Zelda decals and, of course, the Super Mario Bros. There was also the beautiful Galaxy-themed 3DS that I was, honestly, once upon a time considering getting.

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Of course, there wasn’t a reason as to why I would need to buy a special edition 3DS other than the cool designs. They’re extra ways to show off your love of the fandom and Nintendo’s products but, practically and financially, they weren’t needed.

Perhaps one day if I have money to burn, I’ll splurge on an extra console. For right now, though, I’m content with the basic designs that I have for my 3DS and 2DS systems. After all, they both play games well, and that’s the most important part of the systems, right?

Has there been a certain 3DS design that made you want to get an extra console? Can you think of a future design that you would like to see?

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