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Yoshi’s NEW Island

Yoshi’s latest game is out, and it seems to be getting a lot of mixed reviews. I don’t think Yoshi’s New Island is nearly as bad as some people think it is, but maybe I’m in the minority. To me it plays almost exactly like the previous games with only a few bumps along the way.

yoshis-new-island-floating-marioThe Old

The game is very much similar to the original SNES title. The levels and bosses may be a bit different but the story seems to be essentially the same. You play as Yoshi carrying around baby Mario on his back. When you get hit Mario starts to float away in a bubble and scream like banshee until you either get him back or the timer runs out and he gets swooped away by baddies. Yoshi can swallow most enemies and turn them into eggs which he can then throw at baddies or other triggers within the level. Yoshi retains all of his other classic moves such as his ground pound and flutter jump. In each level there is something like 20 red coins hidden around as well as five flowers. Plus completing a level with a full 30 stars, or whatever the timer points are called, contributes to the overall percentage of completing a level. 100%-ing all levels in a specific world unlocks a bonus level. So yeah, pretty much exactly like the original game.

The New

yoshis-new-islandThe visual style seems to be pretty divisive. The original game used a kind of crayon-drawn aesthetic but the new one is some kind of chunky clay pastel thing. It’s hard to explain, really. The game does seem to look pretty bad in screenshots but when you are actually playing (and in 3D) it does look a lot better.

You get some new egg types this time around. In some levels you will get to use a rather gigantic egg which you need to use to break down pipes either directly or by banking them off walls. There’s also a larger, but not quite as large, heavy egg which you can roll out ahead of you like a large boulder or to weigh you down in water.

Yoshi transformations are back and I think some of them are new. There’s stuff like a helicopter, submarine, jackhammer, and I think there is a hot air balloon as well. You wont encounter these in every level but when you do you must use the gyro controls to steer the transformed Yoshi around.

Final Thoughts

I do really enjoy the game despite the flaws it may have. The music isn’t great, which is a real bummer, and the transformation sections are pretty “meh.” The levels themselves aren’t overly challenging but the difficulty is definitely a lot higher if you are trying to 100% the level. Making it through with 30 star points and also finding all of the coins and flowers can be pretty tricky, especially on most of the bonus levels. Yoshi’s NEW Island is basically Yoshi’s Island, but not quite as good. Still fun, but probably not destined to be a classic like the SNES game. However, if you liked Yoshi’s Island DS then you will probably enjoy this.

3DS Stuff: What I’m playing and anticipated games

yoshi-3ds-xl

I like the 3DS a lot. It’s  my favorite gaming device at the moment and probably has been for a while. Just recently I got a new special edition Yoshi 3DS XL and I love everything about it. Yoshi has always been one of my favorite characters in the Mario Universe, along with Bowser, so I was pretty excited to see the system announced around the time Yoshi’s NEW Island came out.

Plus, green is my favorite color so that’s a great bonus. That may sound curious since my Graev character has always worn a purple shirt but here is a fun fact: When the characters where originally conceived they were just made up, not based off us, and I had the dark hair, green shirt guy in mind. When I showed them to Keen he pointed to said character and said something like “Oh cool, that must be me!” and I was stuck with the the dumpy blond guy with the purple shirt. I’m not even sure I’ve mentioned that to Keen.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

Stuff I’m Playing

Right now I’m actually working through Yoshi’s NEW Island and I will be doing a full write up on that soonish. Other than that I’m bouncing around in:

INAZUMA ELEVEN – A long time ago I heard about a game series that was like an RPG that played out in a soccer (football) game. I believe the games eventually made their way to Europe but they were never released in North America until recently. It was actually right after one of Nintendo’s more recent DIRECT broadcasts that they put the first game up on the eShop. I decided to give it a try since I heard a lot of good things about the game. The premise of the game is that you are a member of a soccer club at a school and you are trying to get your club up and running and your team put together.

The actual matches are played out in somewhat of a real-time strategy format. You have to use the touch screen to draw paths for your players to take and tap to have them pass or kick. It plays a lot like Blitzball from FFX, actually. When you come into contact with other players the game pauses you are given a choice of what to do to try and maintain, steal, or score a goal. Depending on your stats and who you are up against you will get different odds of success. Your players also get special abilities like powerful goal shots or ways to block shots if they are the goalie. If it sounds like I know nothing about soccer then you would be right, but I still find the game very enjoyable.

POKEMON BATTLE TROZEI – This one actually just hit the eShop today and I haven’t had a lot of time to check it out. Still, I love almost all things Pokemon and puzzle games. [Read more...]

Weapon Shop de Omasse

Weapon Shop de Omasse

This was a curious little title that showed up recently during a Nintendo direct. The concept is immediately interesting: You help run a weapons shop that rents out swords, axes, etc. to various heroes and characters within an RPG. Things get even crazier once you actually start playing the game which is some kind of weird combination of rhythm game and store management with elements of a sitcom and twitter. Yeah, that’s not a typo.

Weapon Shop de Omasse GameYou can forge several different weapon types for your shop and each has different stats that are also increased on how well you do during the forging process. When making a weapon you tap on the hot ore in time with the music to beat it into the right shape.  You can’t just tap anywhere however and will need to actually follow the shape of what you are trying to make.

Once you have your weapon you can rent it out to a hero. Some of them seem to be scripted to show up while others are just random NPCs. They will usually have a specific weapon preference and affinity and it’s let up to you to decide what will be best to give them for their specific quest or to even recommend a different quest. You will want to match the right weapon with each person because if they fail their quest you will lose your weapon. Sorry, just store policy. If they do complete their quest they will come back with your weapon and pay you. Then you can polish up the weapon and increase its overall stats for the next time you rent it out.

One of the more fascinating parts of the game is the Grindcast. It’s something attached to every weapon and acts like a sort of Twitter feed that constantly updates you on what NPCs are doing with your weapons and how their quest is doing. So while you are busy making weapons, polishing them, or managing other aspects of the store you will get to read constant updates from people. These can have some pretty hilarious moments and the characters are zany enough that it never seems to get boring.

It’s only something like $7.99 on the 3DS eShop and it’s totally worth checking out. I’ve never played anything like it.

The Second Half of Bravely Default: How to Almost Ruin a Great Game

*NOTE* If you at all care about spoilers then you might not want to read this. I’m going to try and be as vague as possible but read at your own risk.

Bravely Default ReviewI just completed Bravely Default a few minutes ago and I’m left feeling mixed emotions. Not because I’m sad that it’s over or because I found the ending good or bad, but because I can’t quite decide how I felt about the experience as a whole. Earlier I made a post about game length, and at that point I was near the end of the game’s fourth chapter and around 40 hours in. To be completely honest I think the game should have ended maybe a little after that.

The problem with the second half of Bravely Default is that for some unknown, but assuredly unbelievably stupid, reason they decided to make the final 4 chapters a quicky version of the first four. I don’t mean as a whole, either. Chapters 5, 6, 7, and 8 have you very quickly replaying the events of the first four chapters FOUR additional times just at a quicker pace. All of the side missions are just to defeat the bosses you already defeated but the main goal is to awaken every crystal again. All of this happens with very little dialogue change as well. I won’t bother going into the details of why this is happening in the narrative but that wouldn’t be an excuse for it anyway. A game that has you replay content over and over until it makes you ill can’t be justified even if it fits within the story. I mean, even the characters start to remark about the ridiculousness of this.

I feel conflicted because I still really enjoyed the game. The combat and jobs and all other aspects of the game are top notch. I just cannot understand why they felt the need to pad the game out with extreme levels of repetitiveness. Bravely Default seems to have received many great reviews but I have to wonder how many of them only take into account the first half of the game and not the whole experience. I won’t say that Bravely Default is a bad game because it really isn’t. However I think the second half of the game keeps it from being truly exceptional.

Unexpected side effect: I think I finally understand why Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day started to lose his mind.

Birthdays, Backlogs, and Board Games–Oh my!

Keen's BirthdayFirstly I should very much like to wish Keen a happy birthday. You are one step closer to kicking it, etc. I think I do the mortality joke every year but I’m just not feeling it this time. But yeah, Happy birthday and all that! Hurray!

Now onto more important matters…

Backlog

My gaming backlog is really starting to creep up on me. Even more since I’ve neglected many games in favor of playing board games. Right now, just off the top of my head and not including current stuff like Toukiden and Bravely Default, I have:

The Wonderful 101 – I played the demo of this game and I really liked it. Apparently enough so to buy it not to play it. Just recently, i.e. last night, I started playing it and I was reminded why I liked it in the first place. I seriously need to put more time into this one.

Sonic Lost World – I think I’m something like 75% done with this but I really need to finish it up. I’m not exactly sure why I stopped but seeing that I have the attention span of a goldfish I suppose it’s not that surprising.

YS: Memories of Celceta – This one I actually got for Christmas. At least I think that’s when. I did start playing it recently and I’m really enjoying it but it’s probably going on long pause until I finish more current RPGS like Bravely Default.

I don’t even want to look at my Steam list. I’m more than sure it’s full of impulse buys (sales, etc) and the mere sight of it would be enough to cause a panic attack.

Board Games

cavernaWe didn’t get any real chance to play this week but I’m hoping that can be remedied this weekend. Perhaps we can complete the first scenario in Robinson Crusoe and maybe even squeeze in some Pathfinder: ACG. I guess it really depends on what Keen wants to do since it is his birthday and all. He should at least get one day where his vote counts.

We’ve started looking towards future games, too. The Witcher game is on my radar and we already went ahead and pre-ordered Caverna. Technically that last one already came out but it’s near impossible to find. Fortunately they seem to be reprinting it soon. We also decided to back a couple of Kickstarters that looked very promising. One of them is Tiny Epic Kingdoms, which is a micro 4x game and looks absolutely fascinating. The other is a tactical superhero game called Heroes Wanted which I think looks absolutely fantastic. The humor and style plus the superhero theme is right up my alley. It reminds me of games like Freedom Force and The Superhero League of Hoboken. I’m really looking forward to it.

In Other News…

Keen decided to bite the bullet and get a new PC. That’s pretty nice for me since it means I get his old one and now I don’t have to try and run stuff like Battlefield 4 with HALF of the REQUIRED RAM. Seriously, I don’t know how but it does work. I suppose I will also get to play EQ Landmark now that I’ve been set free of my 32 bit system shackles.
I was able to instruct Keen on how to build a circular pillar. I’ve never even played the game but it only took me a couple of minutes to figure it out. He looked at me like I was some kind of mystic space wizard. I’m not saying that’s untrue, but you just don’t go around telling people that kind of thing.