I’ve Been Doing More Buying Than Playing

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Thursday!

There are too many games and not enough time. That’s pretty much what I’m going to rant about in this post.

More Buying Than Playing | Video Games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

I remember when the Nintendo Switch came out over a year ago. Kris and I got the console late because they were all sold out. Honestly, we were bummed, but other than Breath of the Wild, we didn’t mind because there weren’t too many games out at the time.

Now there’s a ton.

In addition to the review copies we get as well as re-discovering our Steam accounts and new games coming out for the Switch and then also going through our old games to play because “we have no games,” there’s just so many games to get through and not enough hours in the day.

Ideally, I would love for my life to just be me, my pets, the couch, and all my gaming consoles. I would love to have the chance to sit and play a game in its entirety in one day.

I’m tried coming up with a “schedule” for myself and nothing’s worked since something always comes up. So, in the meantime, I just have to play when I can. Usually it’s at the end of the day so I can kick back and relax.

I’m looking forward to a lot of games coming up and also some new releases as well as oldies that I’ve just discovered.

Kris and I downloaded Minit on our Steam account, I’m playing The Witness for the first time on the Xbox, The Lion’s Song on the Switch, Octopath Traveler for the Switch is coming tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to getting Overcooked 2 both for the Switch when it comes out.

I’m sure there are plenty more I’m missing, but those are the ones that are on my brain for the moment.

What games have you gotten lately? Any you’re looking forward to? Let me know in the comments below!

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Friday Favorites: Simulation Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Friday!

One of the last few game reviews Rachel and I did was for Game Dev Tycoon, and it reminded me of how much fun I have with games in the simulation genre. This Friday celebrates some of my favorite simulation games and franchises.

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Harvest Moon

The Harvest Moon franchise was probably my first foray into the simulation genre. Valuing hard work and fostering healthy relationships with the community are key aspects in the game, and I enjoyed the virtual farm life with the animals. I definitely prefer some of the older games to the newer games, but the Switch’s Light of Hope seems to cater to some of the more nostalgic story and controls from the older titles.

Stardew Valley

Another farming simulation game, Stardew Valley is similar to Harvest Moon but with a few fantasy twists, such as defeating monsters in the mines, along with the ability to date whoever you want regardless of gender. The co-op mode is another plus to this game! Rachel and I are looking forward to giving it a go!

Game Dev Tycoon

Game Dev Tycoon is so much fun! The strategy needed to develop good games against the clock with the story events constantly evolving makes the game addicting. It’s a game I’ll keep going back to, and I’m on the hunt for more business-like tycoon games, if anyone has any suggestions!

The Sims

The Sims franchise is horribly addicting. Every time I turn the game on, it’s hard to want to do anything else in my free time. Recently, I’ve been testing the newer Sims 4 Seasons expansion pack, and I’ve been having a good time. With the expansions and free reign to act out whatever kind of stories you want, the Sims probably won’t be getting deleted from my computer anytime soon.

What are your favorite simulation games?

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Game Dev Tycoon [Game Review]

Game Review: Game Dev Tycoon | PC Games | Video Games | Gaming | Steam | DoublexJump.com

Title: Game Dev Tycoon
Developer: Greenheart Games
Publisher: Greenheart Games, Headup Games
Platform:
PC, Mac, Android, IOS
Category:
Economic Simulation
Release Date:
December 10, 2012
How we got the game:
We bought it on Steam

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Game Dev Tycoon is a fun, addicting simulation in which you try to become the best game developer you can be within 35 game years. We first heard of the game from one of our favorite YouTubers, ProJared, and we became obsessed.

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We both have a love of simulation, casual games, though it’s not often we come across a really good one like this one.

gameplay

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Game Dev Tycoon is played by clicking and selecting options from menus. For example, clicking on the screen will bring up options to create a new game, find contract work, find a publishing deal, or look at your game history. It’s very simple in terms of controls and the premise, but every action you make will affect your company, either for better or for worse.

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Every action affects your company, yeah, but a lot is luck. You might think you’re making a great decision and it completely backfires. You start off by yourself in your garage making small games here and there. Once you get enough money, you get your own office. Now you can hire two employees and create games faster.

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Eventually, you can get an even bigger office and hire a full team of six employees aside from yourself. Your employees affect your games as well, depending on their strengths in the design or technology department, as well as their speed and efficiency at research. You can train them to raise their stats, but it will cost money and research points, not to mention their monthly salaries and the rent for your office. With more employees, you can create even bigger games, which may bring in more fans and sales. Researching new topics and assets to your custom game engines — such as dialogue trees, soundtracks, open worlds, mini-games, just to name a small few — will also help drive up those game sales. As long as, you know, the critics like the games.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
You have to manage your time well too because the time in-game moves pretty quickly. You need to sort out who’s going to research what, train their skills and when. Don’t forget to train yourself as well… something I often forgot. I usually did all this in between games too because it’s much better to have everyone working on the game at once. You can assign what aspects of the game you want your employees to work on. Everyone has a meter that fills up a percentage of how much they’re working. Ideally, you want your employees and yourself to be under 100% so they don’t overwork themselves. They do have a tired meter as well. If that goes down their work will slow or stop altogether. You can simply click on them and send them on vacation for a bit.

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There are events happening all the time that can affect your work as well, such as big name video game companies coming out with new consoles, events that have to do with your fans, or market analysis news that tell you what kind of genre or target audience is popular at the moment. There is also “G3,” the game’s equivalent of E3, every year that you can attend. Depending on the size of the booth you can afford, you may get more fans and hype for the next game you’re making. The more hype for a game, the more sales you may generate. Beware, too much hype for a game that ends up being less than stellar may result in you losing fans.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
After 35 years in-game, the game “ends.” You get a list of your stats such as your best selling game, least sold game, most used topic and genre, and more. All of that adds up and you get a score. The points don’t really matter but it’s fun to check out anyway. After that you can either keep playing the game without any “story elements” or you can start a new game and try to beat your score.

graphics-music

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Game Dev Tycoon, being a casual simulator, doesn’t have a huge world or multiple levels to explore. Instead, you have the background of your office, your avatar and employees glued to their computer screens, and statistics and news bubbles around the edges of the game window. The graphics are very clean while being sure that you’re mentally focused on your budding game development company.

Rachel Mii Double Jump
It’s simple and it works. You’re so focused on pointing, clicking, and checking the stats in the top right corner that you barely notice anything else going on – which isn’t much. The colors are bright and fun and the backgrounds for each office are cool to look closely at as your employees get their work done.

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To go along with the chill graphics, the music is relaxing as well. It’s minimal, allowing you to zone into the work you have to do to develop the best games possible. There aren’t too many sound effects, either, but the best one is these little “bubbles” of productivity from your employees. While working on a game, the game earns bubbles of design and technology, depending on the speed and the workers’ strength in those areas, and it is extremely satisfying to see all the little bubbles go flying!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The music is smooth and relaxing, definitely. Even clicking on options for what to do next is a satisfying sound. The bubbles though were definitely my favorite! Their popping sounds were satisfying to listen to and yeah, to watch them fly across the screen was mesmerizing.
story

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Game Dev Tycoon starts off with your avatar sitting in a little garage-turned-office with a handful of money and big dreams to become a famous — or at least profitable — game developer. With only the ability to make small games with a few randomized topic options, you have to do your best to balance out design and technology to make the best games as possible so you can move up in the video game world.

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The point is to move up in the gaming world and become the best video game company ever. That’s all there is to it. The points and money only add up to give you stats and points at the end for a high score. While you can keep playing the game after it “ends” in 35 in-game years, there’s still a way to lose. Sometimes the market doesn’t go your way and you can go bankrupt. So be careful your business doesn’t go up in flames!

replay-value

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With the random events and beginning topics, Game Dev Tycoon has some great replay ability. The luck of the draw definitely keeps the game interesting, and with its addictive gameplay, you’re always trying to improve your games and overall high score. Year 35 is a good time for the game to “end,” for at that point we found ourselves to be so successful with fans and profits, that the quality of our games didn’t matter as much when it came to sales. At that point, I was ready to jump right into a new game and just keep going!

Rachel Mii Double Jump
The game topics such as virtual pet, mystery games, and more are random when you first start. So there’s never a playthrough that’ll be the same. This is definitely something I’ll play again soon.

Game Dev Tycoon gets…
5 out of 5 lives.

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

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[Review] Batman: The Telltale Series

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Title: Batman: The Telltale Series
Developer: Telltale Games
Publisher: Telltale Games
Platform:
PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Category:
Graphic Adventure
Release Date:
Original episode was released August 2016
How we got the game:
Bought it on Steam

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Batman was one of my first loves when I was introduced to the Geek Life. With the comic books and the animated series, Batman turned into one of my favorite superheroes. Seeing the release of the Telltale Series, I was always interested in the point-and-click graphic adventure. After having it downloaded on Steam for… longer than I intended, I finally got around to sitting down and playing it.

gameplay

I’ve never played a Telltale Series game before and, considering all of the titles they have out, I was interested in seeing how they pulled it off. Part action, part graphic adventure, Batman: The Telltale Series was definitely fun with its gameplay.

The game is split evenly between Batman and Bruce Wayne, with the player taking their roles during the game. While the game looks similar to a visual novel, the player’s input in the many critical choices affects the branches of the game’s narrative.

Part of the gameplay involves the player making quick decisions, whether it is during an action sequence or when speaking with NPCs of the world. Case in point were the multiple choice responses peppered in throughout the narrative. When responding to key points in the story to the NPCs, you are given only a few seconds, measured by a bar beneath the response choices. If you failed to respond, it was taken as mere silence, which is also a valid response to these situations. The first few questions I had to answer, I nearly panicked that I couldn’t try to carefully think through and pick the best response. Instead, I had to answer quickly and let the chips fall where they may!

The action sequences generally involve the player reacting quickly to hitting a certain key or button, a mouse-click, or even a combination of keystrokes to perform actions. Successfully performing these actions during a fight scene will fill up a Batman symbol found in the bottom-left corner of the screen — once the symbol is filled, Batman can perform a final move to completely take down the opponent he is facing to move onto the next scene.

During investigative scenes, you check evidence and the surrounding area, using a technique called linking to “link” pieces of evidence together to help piece the story of what went down in the area. I was actually really impressed with this part of the gameplay, finding it intriguing as we moved around as Batman to investigate. Seeing his gadgets do their thing was fun, too!

It’s not combat-heavy and relies more on quick reflexes and thinking, allowing you to manipulate the story and enjoying the narrative you help to weave.

graphics-music

The graphics aren’t bad at all. The semi-realistic graphics of the people and the settings are pretty good, even if sometimes the faces of the characters can look a little… derpy. I really enjoyed the images of the Gotham, the settings of Wayne Manor, City Hall, and the other scenes. I thought they were well done.

The music was fun as well, the tunes fitting into the story well. Fight and investigative scenes were accurately punched up with the music, keeping you focused and getting you amped up when necessary.
storyThe game begins with Batman investigating a break-in at Gotham City Hall. Aside from mercenaries, he meets Catwoman stealing a drive, which Batman takes before she can escape. He returns to Wayne Manor as Bruce, hosting a campaign party for D.A. Harvey Dent running for mayor against the current, corrupt mayor of Gotham. Among other party guests, the infamous mobster Falcone makes an appearance, who offers Bruce a spot in his crime family in exchange for “help” in getting Harvey elected.

This prologue effectively introduces the major players to episode one.

The story does well going back and forth between the Bruce Wayne and Batman personas, giving equal play time for both “characters.” While Batman is focused on decrypting the drive that Catwoman had attempted to steal, Bruce Wayne is stuck playing politics for Harvey Dent and Falcone. During the investigation, Falcone appears to be the link between the two faces of the titular character.

With this link, accusations against Bruce’s parents come to light, accusations that painted the Waynes not as benevolent benefactors to the city but as one of the biggest crime families of Gotham. While Batman confronts Falcone for his part in stealing and delivering a chemical weapon, Falcone delivers evidence of the Waynes being involved with Falcone and his crime organizations. Episode one ends with Bruce demanding answers from Alfred, his closest confidant and the Wayne family butler and friend.

The story continues with episode two, with Bruce digging up the secrets of his family’s past. The Telltale Series does well playing in Batman’s universe, but the story itself does not tie in with any other existing Batman lore. I’m definitely intrigued by the beginning of this game and am looking forward to continuing the story of this game with the next episodes!

replay-value

Batman: The Telltale Series had great replay value, especially if you want to exhaust all the different important choices you can pick throughout the game. Not only are the episodes themselves different due to the choices, choices in previous episodes can affect the outcome of future episodes.

That, and it’s Batman. What’s not to like?

Batman: The Telltale Series gets…
5-lives
5 out of 5 lives.

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

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Undertale [Game Review]

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Title: Undertale
Developer and Publisher: Toby Fox
Platform:
PC, Playstation 4, future release for Nintendo Switch
Category:
Role-playing
Release Date:
Sept 2015 (PC), August 2017 (PS4), 2018 (Switch)
How I got the game:
I bought it on Steam.

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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!

gameplay

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.

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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.

storyUndertale’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.

replay-value

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!

Undertale gets…
4-lives
4 out of 5 lives.

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

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Top Tuesday: Indie Games I’m Looking Forward To

Rachel Mii | DoubleJump.comHappy Tuesday!

I’ve been playing through a lot of older games lately, but I’ve been keeping up with the news and Twitter and have noticed a few indie games that are coming out that really piqued my interest!

Indie Games I'm looking forward to | Video games | Gaming | DoublexJump.com

1. Switch or Die Trying by Threye

This is a platformer game that looks extremely hard. The main point is that you’re going to die a lot, but you should get back up and keep trying. You play as “I” and have lost all your friends, the other 25 letters of the alphabet. Your mission begins to find them all through 75 levels. It’s available on Steam and recently just came out for Xbox One.

2. The Cold Case of Noella Bejerot by RockTheClock

This is a visual novel mystery detective game. You play as a rookie “detective” who is afraid of the sight of blood. You solve crimes trying not to faint adding a little more stakes to each investigation. Kris and I played the Demo, which is available now on Itch.io and the full version of the game will be released on April 21, 2018. I’m looking forward to it.

3. Glitched by EnHouseStudios

A choice-based RPG, Glitched is a game where the main character is aware of you, the player. They’re aware of the video game and you two work together to help figure out how his world has glitched. It seems like a fun, twisty, mystery! The demo is available on Itch.io now and the full version will be released this fall.

Have you heard of any of these games? Do they sound interesting to you? Let me know in the comments below and if you liked this post, please share it around!

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Multiple Paths in Games

Double Jump Kris MiiHappy Monday, everyone!

I’ve been playing a game that’s new to me and I know that the game has multiple endings depending on the choices you make as a character. While I want a good ending, it makes me think of all the other games I’ve played with multiple routes.

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What are your favorite games that have multiple routes? More than one ending or path to reach the final part of the story?

More and more video games nowadays caters more to bringing the player fully into the story, allowing the player to have different reactions to critical points in the game to effect the final outcome. There are games that have the same general ending but different ways to reach it, while a few games have brilliant code that allows the game to “remember” what you have done on previous playthroughs.

I was always a sucker for “choose your own adventure” kind of stories. I’ve been writing for over a decade and play around with tons of fanfiction ideas to satisfy my “what if” questions when it comes to certain books, movies, and — of course — video games. Being able to fully integrate myself into the role of the hero (or anti-hero or antagonist, whatever position the route takes me) and have my choices mean something to the story is amazing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of games that I love that have a linear playthrough, and I continue to replay them when I can — Super Mario RPG, Ocarina of Time, the Ace Attorney series — but games that give you more free reign always have a certain charm.

I never have to have the same Pokemon team whenever I play a mainline game. Breath of the Wild gives you an entire world to explore, with Calamity Ganon always waiting at the end for whenever you’re ready to take him on. Dream Daddy and Asagao Academy have multiple routes, each with their own multiple endings.

On that note, games with multiple routes tend to have the Good Ending, Neutral Ending, and the Bad Ending. I like completing all the endings, but damn do I feel awful going after the Bad Endings, haha! Yeah, the game is full of pixel characters, but if the writing is amazing enough to give them feelings, then why would I want to make them sad?

Especially if they, you know, “remember” how you treated them on a previous playthrough…

What are your favorite games with multiple routes? Do you tend to go for the Good, Neutral, or Bad Endings first?

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