Professor Layton is a stand-up guy and he’s a character I instantly fell in love with. I enjoy puzzle games (even if I’m not that great at them) but the Professor Layton games are ten-times better because the puzzles and the characters really make it what it is.
Professor Hershel Layton, or just known as Professor Layton or simply Professor, is an archaeology professor known for his puzzle-solving skills. He’s a fine gentleman, keeps his cool at all costs, and is such a fun character to follow along and play as.
He first appeared in his own game, Professor Layton and the Curious Village for the Nintendo DS in 2007. Since then, he’s starred in his own series for a handful of games after that even having a cross-over game with the famous Phoenix Wright putting his court and investigative skills together with Layton’s investigative and puzzle-solving skills. It’s a great game, if you haven’t tried it.
In fact, that was the game that first introduced me to Professor Layton. Kris and I were curious about the Professor Layton games since we had such a love for Phoenix Wright. We were unsure if we’d enjoy it, so when the cross-over came out, we decided to start with that. We instantly fell in love with Professor Layton and his apprentice, Luke. Thus, we bought a few Professor Layton games and really enjoy them.
Professor Layton even stars in his own anime movie, Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva, which came to North America in 2011. Kris and I watched the DVD a while ago and we really enjoyed the movie, hoping more movies (or a TV show) will come in the future.
Layton is a well-rounded character. He has a fun personality, the games are great, and he works well with the beloved Phoenix Wright. There’s nothing not to love about this guy.
Do you like Professor Layton? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Since Kris and I went through all the video games we own recently, I realized that I still have two copies of Pokemon Black for the Nintendo DS. I laughed at seeing the second copy and I decided to write a blog post about it.
Of course, now I’m wondering if I’ve already shared this story. I’m sure I have at one point or another, but maybe it wasn’t through the blog.
I babysit a lot and the first family I ever babysat for had three kids. They were all avid gamers and their middle child was especially into gaming. As much as I love gaming, we often fought because he wasn’t allowed to be playing video games all the time. He had an hour a day and that was it because he was so addicted.
We had a lot of fun playing games together though – from Smash Brothers to Mario Kart and everything in between. Pokemon was another game we played together a lot. We’d trade Pokemon cards and I’d often bring my DS or 3DS so we could battle against each other or simple continue our journeys together.
Fast-forward seven or eight years later and I ducked out. They were a lovely family to work with but I needed to move on and so did they. Their oldest was going to be 17-years-old and their middle child was going into high school. Despite their disabilities, it was time for me to leave so they could have more independence.
It wasn’t until a year or two after I stopped babysitting for them, I realized I had two copies of Pokemon Black. I had assumed one was Kris’s so I gave one to her. But then she checked her bucket of DS games and had one in there. She turned on her game and sure enough, it was her profile. I turned on one of the games I had and it was my profile.
I turned on the third cartridge and guess who’s name was on the profile? Yep, the kid I used to babysit for.
I remember when he lost his game. He spent a while looking for it and I even spent a great deal helping him look for it. These kids lost everything too and their bedrooms were a mess, so I wasn’t surprised when he lost the small DS cartridge. We never found it.
Until I stumbled upon it in my own bucket of handheld games.
I have no idea how it made it home with me. I assume I saw the cartridge on the kitchen table or something and, thinking it was mine, I took it. Or maybe he had put it in my bag or DS thinking it was mine. Whoever thought it was mine though, never thought that maybe I had brought it home with me through those many weeks of us searching high and low for his game.
It’s been three or four years since I’ve stopped babysitting for them. I’ve forgotten about it here and there. I think, at this point, the game is mine. I don’t think I’ll get the chance to give it back to him and honestly, he’s probably long forgotten about it by now.
If I talk to him again in the near future, I’ll try to remember to tell him I have it. But I probably won’t remember I have it until I decide to play that game again or I go through my bucket again.
Are there any games you have multiple copies of? Have you ever borrowed a game – on purpose or by accident – and forgotten to give it back? Let me know in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.
Title: Lost In Blue Developer: Konami Publisher: Konami
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: August 25, 2005
How we got the game: We bought it
This is a game Kris has had for a long time. I had given the game a go a long time ago when Kris didn’t seem to be too into it. I never finished it and was curious to pick it back up again.
Lost In Blue doesn’t have much of a learning curve to it. It’s a Nintendo DS game so, of course, the touch screen is used a good amount. However, you can use the analog stick to move your character around and there’s a task for every button. A allows your character to climb up and down things as well as search for items in the ground. X opens the menu and allows you check the items in your backpack or rest. Y is used when you find Skye and you can hold her hand to guide her to certain places. B allows you to run which is always a fabulous mechanic.
The touch screen is used when digging in the ground. The stylus is used to move the dirt around. It’s also used when you have a spear to fish. Once you see a fish swim by on the bottom screen, you can tap it with your stylus to send the spear down. The only problem with this is that the touch screen is pretty picky. A lot of times I thought I had the fish and it claimed I didn’t. Other times I caught a fish when I clearly didn’t even touch it.
The mic is also used. When making a fire, you need to alternate the L and R buttons to make the spark and then blow into the mic. I played this on my 2DS XL and it took me a minute to actually remember where the mic was.
That’s it for basic controls. The rest of the game play is simple and fairly repetitive. You explore the island as Keith, gathering food, finding new places to explore, and finding items to make new tools to use in order to survive longer. At the end of the day, you can go back to the cave and go to sleep, which will allow you to save your game and then start the process all over again.
Both Keith and Skye have three meters – stamina, hunger, and thirst. These will go down throughout the day. You have to make sure they both have enough to drink and eat. Keeping the thirst up is easy since you can drink from the river. However, making food, especially in the beginning, is hard since you don’t have a lot of resources. However, there are certain foods you can eat raw such as coconuts and carrots found on the island.
The stamina is really hard, especially for Keith. Since he’s the one exploring it goes down fast. He’s really slow at walking so I make him run all the time, which, I’m pretty sure, makes his stamina go down faster. However, when he climbs rocks, jumps, or pushes logs, it goes down even further. Each day is timed so there’s only so much he can do – only so far he can get – before you have to turn around and make it back to the cave. This gets harder the further you explore because you can spend the first half of the day just making it back to where you left off on the previous day.
Once you beat Keith’s story, you can start a new game and have the opportunity to play as Skye.
Being a Nintendo DS game, the graphics aren’t the best. However, they work well enough for the time the game came out. There aren’t any noticeable glitches or the like, so it definitely works. During the dialogue, there were pictures of the character speaking to one another which was a nice touch. It was a shift from the regular game play and animations.
The music was mellow. Seeing as you’re stuck on an island, the music isn’t too epic or anything. It flowed nicely along with the game play. The sound effects, on the other hand, were okay. The sound to gather items – digging in the sand or dirt, spearing fish – were just okay. However, sound effects to show danger – such as your hunger meter getting too low – were spot on and really grabbed my attention while playing.
In this game you play as Keith, a boy who is washed ashore from a storm that made his cruise ship go off course. He’s all alone aside from Skye, a girl about his age who got washed ashore from the same storm on the same ship. There doesn’t seem to be anyone else around. They don’t know if there were any survivors and they don’t know if anyone will come looking for them.
Together, they must survive on the island and find a way off back to civilization. Keith explores daily and gathers food while Skye, whose glass broke and she can’t see, remains in the cave (most of the time) and does the cooking for whatever Keith brings back.
This wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t great either. I can find myself trying to play this game again, but the beginning is pretty slow. It’s hard to get started because you have nothing. Keith tires easily and is hungry and thirsty so keeping the stamina is hard. There’s a lot to explore and items to find and make, but overall it’s pretty repetitive and can get kind of boring. I love these simulation kind of games but this one is just okay for me.
Lost In Blue gets… 3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
It’s the end of the month which means it’s time for another TBT. This time I’m talking about Ace Attorney, a game I mention often. Though I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned the first time I played.
The Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney trilogy was originally released for the Nintendo DS, though Kris and I had no idea the games existed.
We were upstairs in our bedroom, long before we had an office/game room (our office is our older sister’s old bedroom that we transformed when she moved out). We wanted a new game to play and were scrolling through the games on the Wii shop channel. Yeah, the Wii U didn’t even exist yet.
In fact, we were sitting on our bedroom floor staring at our small box TV that had a built-in DVD and VCR player. I wish I could remember what year this was…
Anyway, we were scrolling and came across the Ace Attorney games. I love mystery and detective stuff and it seemed to intrigue Kris enough. We saw there were three games and downloaded Trials and Tribulations, not realizing the three were a trilogy and we just so happened to buy the final game.
I remember playing the first case together. Then the second and third. Then the finale with Dahlia… if you’ve played, you know who I’m talking about.
We played at night, in the dark, which was a mistake, but we enjoyed ourselves so much anyway.
The cases were so intriguing and well thought out. The characters were amazing. The dialogue was witty and the animations were fun to look at.
Once we finished that game and realized it was the third, we bought and downloaded the first two games immediately. We told our older sister about it, Lisa, and she was interested in it as well. Now, this was long after she stopped playing video games with us so Kris and I were excited we had found a game Lisa wanted to play with us.
We moved the Wii down to the basement where the TV was bigger and there was more room to play. After school and work (and while our dad was still at work because the basement is his man cave), the three of us would go downstairs and play the game for as long as we could.
We played through the whole trilogy together. It was awesome and so much fun.
Of course, Lisa never played the rest of the games with us, such as Miles Edgeworth, Apollo Justice, or any of the handheld games. It was hard enough for Kris and I to stare at the small screen together and play the games. Lisa wasn’t interested in staring at a tiny screen and told us if the games ever came onto the shop channel again, she’d play with us.
Of course, they never did.
Lisa was never one for anime either because the animation always annoyed her. Still, maybe she’d be interested in watching the show with us sometime soon.
Do you remember the first time you’ve played a game? Do you have certain fond memories of Ace Attorney or something else? Let me know in the comments below!
Title: Pokemon Ranger Developer: HAL Laboratory, Creatures Inc. Publisher: Nintendo, The Pokemon Company
Platform: Nintendo DS
Category: Action, Role-Playing
Release Date: March 23, 2006
How I got the game: I bought it
Pokemon Ranger is a spin-off Pokemon game, the first in a trilogy of “Pokemon Ranger” games. It’s a Nintendo DS game I got long ago when it first came out. I had completed then, getting stuck on some after story gameplay, and never picked it up again. I thought it was about time I tried it again.
In Pokemon, you’ve got your gym leaders, ace trainers, breeders, collectors, and more. In this game, we’re playing as a different type of person in the Pokemon world – a ranger. A Ranger is like a typical park ranger. They take care of their city and the areas around it and protect the Pokemon and people.
You’re a newbie ranger starting with your newly acquired partner Pokemon, Plusle. Plusle chose you, not the other way around. At first, you’re started off with small missions to get your feet wet. Then Professor Hastings, the union leader and creator of the Capture Styler and Super Styler, gets his Super Styler stolen by the Go-Rock Squad… while you’re escorting him. Yes, it’s kind of your fault.
Now you’re assigned a series of tasks and missions that get you closer to finding the Go-Rock Squad and making sure they don’t wreck havoc.
Pokemon Ranger came out about two years after the Nintendo DS was released. Most of the games were stylus-based with the new touchscreen and this game was no different.
In this game, you play as the protagonist – a girl or a boy – and complete missions to further the plot of the story. You walk around using either the D-pad, joystick, or you can use your stylus on the screen and lead your character around. I personally liked the former.
To interact with people and objects, such as the podium to save the game, you pressed the A-button. To encounter wild Pokemon all you had to do was run into them… or let them run into you.
Battling while Pokemon is different than the typical mainstream Pokemon game. Using your stylus, you have to draw rings around the Pokemon in order to capture them. Some Pokemon take more rings than others. The Pokemon run around a lot and even attack breaking the ring – but if an attack lands on the ring your stylus is hurt. You have a certain amount of energy in your stylus, it grows the more you gain experience points by capturing Pokemon, but if it runs out of energy, it’s game over.
This wasn’t a bad mechanic at all, I enjoyed it. Of course, it has its flaws. The wild Pokemon are free to roam where ever. They’re not restricted to the bottom screen, which means they run off screen a lot. Then you need to wait for them to come back. Also, if they’re standing beside the edge of the screen and your stylus bumps into the edge, it counts as though you lifted your stylus off the screen and the capture has to begin all over again. I missed so many times because of that and it got pretty annoying.
Some Pokemon have field moves in which you can use them to help in your missions. For example, fire Pokemon can burn down logs to clear a path, electric Pokemon can recharge your stylus for you. Not all Pokemon have field moves, but they all have a special ability to help when capturing Pokemon. For example, water Pokemon can allow your stylus to create a bubble and contain the wild Pokemon while you try to catch it. Psychic Pokemon enter the battle field and levitate the wild Pokemon suspending it for a brief moment of time while you quickly draw rings around it.
Some missions had a set of puzzles you needed to solve whether you needed a Pokemon’s help or not. While the puzzles weren’t bad, they weren’t hard either. It is a Pokemon game, so I wasn’t expecting extreme stuff, but I played through the entire game in less than 10 hours.
The graphics are nicely done for a Nintendo DS game. It’s pixelated for sure, but your character isn’t a chibi like in the earlier Pokemon games. Plusle follows you around as does any other Pokemon you capture which is cute to see.
I enjoyed the setting of the game too. There were four main cities, each based on a season – summer, spring, winter, and fall – and while it doesn’t sound like much, the scenery was well done.
The music is just as well too. When I turned the game on I was instantly brought back into the gameplay as though I had never taken a hiatus from it. The sound effects are satisfying, especially when you catch a Pokemon.
I can see myself playing this game again or even going back to it to do the post-game stuff. There are two other games in the Ranger series that I’d like to give a try. It’s not my favorite Pokemon game, but I thought it was an interesting concept and it was good enough.
POKEMON RANGER gets… 3 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
This month’s Flashback Friday is celebrating a small franchise that worked with the Nintendo DS’s microphone in an interesting way.
Nintendogs was first released in April 2005 on the Nintendo DS in three different versions: Dachshund & Friends, Lab & Friends, and Chihuahua & Friends. The series were re-released twice later, ending with a bundle called Dalmatian & Friends.
The game was a pet simulator starring, what else, puppies. Each version had a set amount of breeds for the player to adopt, name, and take care of via grooming, walks, feedings, and teaching them tricks. The dogs could get dressed up and compete in tournaments as well. The main gimmick of the game was using the microphone to speak to them.
With the Nintendo DS’s microphone, the player was able to verbally teach the puppies their name and tricks. There are “hand” motions via the stylus that you were able to make to help with the tricks as well, but the microphone was the main attraction. It worked fairly well, especially combined with the Nintendo DS’s graphics. The puppies were adorable!
Have you ever played Nintendogs? Did you enjoy the game?
Title: Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness Developer: Marvelous Interactive Publisher: Natsume
Platform: Nintendo DS
Release Date: August 2008
How I got the game: I got it as a gift years ago.
I’m usually a sucker for the Harvest Moon franchise — they’re my go-to relaxing games. The older games tend to have a basic story and simple goals, and I feel that the newer games are trying a bit too much in having overarching story lines and encompassing goals. Island of Happiness is one of those games that was in between, still simple enough to be relaxing but with a few gimmicks that, in my opinion, were not needed.
Island of Happiness is similar to other games in the Harvest Moon franchise in that it’s premise is you, as the main character, starting a ranch from scratch. One of your main objectives is to raise crops and animals as best as you can while also befriending the villagers in the town. Wooing potential spouses and raising a family are also staple aspects of the Harvest Moon games, and Island of Happiness is no exception.
Harvest Moon games tend to give you free range when it comes to customizing your ranch, allowing you to grow whatever crops you want (in season, of course) and raise whatever combination of animals you wish. Want all chickens? Go for it. Want to have your field covered with tomato plants? You can do that. There’s no one telling you what to raise. Selling the crops and animal byproducts is the best way to earn money for your ranch, and some products are more profitable than others, so most take that into account. Products are also used in cooking dishes and gifts to friends and romantic interests as well.
With that said, Island of Happiness was on the Nintendo DS and, as such, Nintendo thought it would be best to utilize the touch screen as much as possible. It was more of an annoyance rather than feeling innovative. You move your character with the stylus on the touch screen while the D-Pad buttons was used to equip tools. This was rectified in the immediate sequel, Sunshine Islands.
Island of Happiness also had a more complicated method of growing your crops. In early Harvest Moon games, the best way to grow crops was to plant them in-season and water them once a day. Weather plays a part in helping crops grow and, unless there is a storm or blizzard, most days granted enough sunlight to help your ranch. Island of Happiness had some hidden mechanic where each type of crop needed a number of water and sun “points” in order to grow as quickly and strongly as possible. Later in the game, it is possible to build a Greenhouse to help control the weather. However, considering all of the possible crops that are in the game, trying to figure out and remember all the needed points was an unnecessary mechanic.
The graphics of Island of Happiness took a little getting used to. When I first saw the 3D models, I wasn’t too sure of them. However, the graphics grew on me, with the areas of the island being vivid and fun to explore, and the villagers all being distinct (with the exception of the minor NPCs).
Music in the Harvest Moon series was always enjoyable to me, even if the tunes do tend to make me sleepy. They’re relaxing and calming as they play in the background while you farm or explore, being perfect in matching the mood of the genre and game play.
Island of Happiness opens up with your character on a boat heading toward a new land. However, the boat gets caught in a bad storm, resulting in your character and a couple of others being shipwrecked on an island. Worry not, though — your fellow island refugees are a small family that has connections and experience with farming and shipping products.
Your character and the family, consisting of a brother and sister, their mother, and their grandfather, decide to stay on the island and work to make it habitable. You agree to be the rancher while the family runs a shipping business, helping to incite trade between your island and the mainland. Your goal is to really build up and clean the island to tempt other people to move in so the island can continue to flourish.
The more people that move in, the more relationships you can develop. Building up friendships can lead to new events and festivals, new areas to explore and, if you wish, romance that can lead to having a family.
Island of Happiness, despite some of the gameplay mechanics, is one of my favorite Harvest Moon installments. Developing the island and luring new characters to move in is enough of a challenge so farming doesn’t become so routine. There’s always something to aim for, which is why this is one game that gets plenty of use.
Harvest Moon DS: Island of Happiness gets…
4 out of 5 lives.
Have you played this game? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!
Happy Thursday, happy last day of Pokemon Month, and happy last day of August!
Wow, now that we got that out of the way…
Pokemon Pearl originally came out for the Nintendo DS on September 28, 2006. I can’t remember if I got the game for Christmas or if I bought it myself when it came out.
Whenever I got it, this was the very first Pokemon game I ever beat. I had played all the other Pokemon games before, but I never made it the Champion. This was because a new game would come out before I got the chance or I, for some reason, just wouldn’t make it that far.
Within a week or so, I had completed Pearl, defeating the Champion and all. Since then I’ve spent the most amount of time on that game than I have on any of my other Pokemon games.
I love all the games that came after Pearl, especially X/Y and Sun/Moon. And I know a lot of people didn’t care too much for Diamond/Pearl, but Pearl will always have a special place in my heart.
Which game was the first you completed? Let me know in the comments below!