Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Splatoon 2: Octo Expansion

It was pretty late for me last night when the Splatoon 2 Octoexpansion released. It was a good chunk of content that took a while to download and install, so I didn’t get a lot of time to play with it before I had to head to bed.

So far, the expansion is much like what I expected it to be… just a bit more lighthearted. The trailers made it out to be dark and gritty, but of course, par for the course of Nintendo, they managed to lighten up a story that has some pretty dark undertones.

There’s still a lot of questions that dive into lore such as… What’s really going on with the Octolings that make them the enemy of Inklings? Obviously, experimentation and mind control of some sort is hinted at. But then, there’s also this underground network in place for the ones who “wake up” and head for the Promised Land.

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Playing a young and mind-muddled Octoling girl or boy, a promised land sounds like the best option you’ve got. So when the train pulls up, it only makes sense to hop on. No one told you there would be tests and 4 thangs (not misspelled) to gather before your dreams could come true.

Tests, of course, are short challenge stages with a specific set of weapons and a goal to achieve.

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I was short on time, so I only cleared the first stage. It wasn’t terribly difficult, which is good considering I’m super rusty at the game at this point.

You get three lives per stage and each stage costs a certain amount of an in-game currency to challenge. Winning nets you more currency to use on future stages. I’m not sure what happens if you run out of currency, though.

Anyhow, these can’t be too neck-breaking difficult, because someone is already an Octoling down in the city as of this morning. Probably someone who had all day/night to play. :p

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Playable Octolings are the reward for finishing all solo content

The overall response in game to the expansion seems positive. There’s certainly a feeling of support for the Octolings who are waking up and coming to the other side.

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I’m looking forward to putting some more time into these missions. If nothing else, they can hopefully help me dust off what little skills I had and maybe get me back into the game where I left off. I really like the idea of playing an Octoling girl, especially that pony tail hairstyle! 🙂

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Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Pokemon

Pokemon Quest – Quick Review

I hesitate to call this a “review” because it’s more of a “this is what this game is about” sort of thing. Overall, I find it enjoyable, though not incredibly deep, and will probably keep playing it casually. If nothing else, it’s been giving me a reason to pick up my Switch and enjoy it in hand-held mode, which isn’t something I’ve done much in the past.

What is it?

Pokemon Quest is a cute mobile game that was released on the Switch earlier this week, and will be coming to mobile devices soon. It’s called a “free to start” game, which means you don’t have to pay anything to play it as is, but you can expect there to be mobile aspects, like timers that limit what you do.

So far, the timers don’t bother me much. I’ve gotten used to these sorts of things with mobile games, I suppose. I rarely spend money on mobile games, and Pokemon Quest is not going to be any different. I haven’t seen any real pressing need to open my wallet as this is just a casual thing I pick up a couple times a day.

How does it play?

So yeah. There are Pokemon, though they have a distinct rounded cube shape. I thought this might be a turn-off at first, but I got used to it quickly. Turns out to be pretty cute.

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You set up base on an island, where your main goal is to find the loot. Not kidding. Even the game tells you it’s all about the loot. I haven’t really found loot yet. I have found Pokemon, though.

You enlist the help of these Pokemon, which you mostly attract by cooking dishes of items you gather while your Pokemon explores areas (similar to Breath of the Wild).

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Game play is pretty simple and straightforward. You build a team of Pokemon. You send them to areas on the map. These areas are marked with a number that indicates the difficulty. If team also has a number that indicates the strength of the team. Usually (not always, but usually) my team doesn’t have much of a problem beating down a place that’s lower than their strength number.

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The part that seems to turn the most folks off is the battle system. Basically, your Pokemon move towards the enemies on their own. You can tap some buttons to make them use their skills, to make them scatter, and to fall back. But that’s really about it.

To be honest, I just leave my team on Auto-Attack almost 100% of the time and do something else while they’re battling. Usually, they’re just fine. This doesn’t bother me at all… I’m used to having mobile games that auto-battle for me after spending so much time playing FF Record Keeper.

It might sound bad, but I prefer letting the game play the fights for me. I enjoy the team building, training, decorating, cooking and setting up stones on my Pokemon more than the battle elements.

Oh yeah. Stones.

As you clear areas and beat bosses, you get stones that enhance your Pokemon’s strength and health. There are also stones with special attributes, such as letting you use skills faster, and the like. Also, some areas on the map indicate that certain types of Pokemon (Water, Fire, Bug, etc) are stronger there… So there’s a little bit of strategy in building a team, picking Pokemon right for the area, and developing those Pokemon.

For example, I got an Onix early on that’s a beast of a tank. I mean, a walking wall. I’ve only seen him defeated twice ever. Without him, I’m sure I couldn’t have gotten as far as I have at this point.

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Wrapping it up…

So, anyhow. I haven’t been playing many mobile games lately… I took a bunch of them off my phone not long ago, actually. So this game scratches that very casual collecting and gathering itch and has a pleasant Pokemon twist.

Just know that if you start it on the Switch, you won’t be able to transfer it to your mobile device later. A bit of a bummer, but I think I’ll keep mine on the Switch. The game is tiny and not hurting anything. That way, I don’t have something distracting me at work, and I continue to have a reason to pull out my Switch.

Have you tried it? What do you think of the new little side-game offering from Pokemon? 

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: It’s Fun to Die on the Death Road to Canada

One of the gifts I got for my birthday this year (they were all super awesome) was a Nintendo eShop card from my sister. I have a huge list of things I really want to play on my Switch, and a backlog forming, but I’ll never turn down an eShop card!

Death Road to Canada wasn’t really a game on my radar until it released. It just so happened I was looking at reviews of different games while trying to decide what to pick up with my gift card. That’s when I saw that this was a rogue-lite zombie game, similar to Oregon Trail, with a lot of zany RNG story and events.

Oh and it has local two player co-op, which I haven’t tried yet. And it was (is still?) on sale, too!

That checked a lot of boxes for me, so I picked it up. This post contains a lot of pictures since that’s the only way to really express the nature of Death Road to Canada. All the stories you’re about to see are true and really happened.

Continue reading “Nintendo Switch: It’s Fun to Die on the Death Road to Canada”

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Thoughts: Nintendo Switch Online Announcement, No Virtual Console

I’ve been waiting to hear information on the Nintendo Switch Online service, like many gamers, since last year. This was originally supposed to launch sometime last fall, but now is set to go this September.

Until that point, we’ll be able to enjoy online multiplayer in games like Splatoon 2, Mario Kart and ARMS without having to pay for a service. We were told from the beginning this would eventually change, but the price point would be affordable.

Now keep in mind that I don’t own any of the new Playstations or a single XBox, so I’ve not been a console gamer where paying for online services costed me extra.

The Cost

The cost is per account, not per system, but there’s a pretty affordable yearly family option.

  • One month: $3.99
  • Three months: $7.99
  • Twelve months: $19.99
  • Twelve Month Family Membership: $34.99 (Up to 8 people)

I personally don’t have a problem with the cost of the service, and will be handing over my $20 without hesitation.

What You Get

Paying for the service provides:

  • Online play
  • Access to free NES games  (only NES? – don’t know yet)
  • Nintendo Switch App
  • Save Data Cloud Backup

I want to take a look at each of these.

Online play. We knew it was coming, the day when we’d need to pay to be able to play games online. I never had any illusions about this, but the fact of the matter is that releasing this service renders games like Splatoon 2 unplayable without it.

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It was nice of them to let us play for free during this period of time, but I still feel this should have been in place before these online-required games released. I dunno. Maybe I’m a little sad that I’ll probably never play online Mario Kart with my sister again because she’s not going to pony up the cost to play online. This was never a problem with older Nintendo systems.

I can only imagine how it’s going to hinder things like Pokemon games, which traditionally are greatly enhanced through online features.

I know I sound wishy-washy because on one hand, I don’t think the cost is outrageous. On the other hand, I still question having the cost at all.

Access to free NES games. This is a nice little perk… however… it leads to something that I was afraid was going to happen.

Nintendo has announced there will be no Virtual Console for Switch.

This is a big bummer for me. I mean, Virtual Console was pretty much the selling point that got me to pick up a Wii U back in the day.

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Instead of a Virtual Console, they are giving us a Netflix-like service for NES games. Looking at the list, these are all Nintendo-developed games, too.

The games are supposed to have online and even multiplayer features, though I have no idea how they’d add that to a game like Legend of Zelda. I guess that only applies to games where online play makes sense.

It looks like they want 3rd party developers just to put their retro games in the eShop. Some have already, but I still feel the lack of a label like Virtual Console won’t encourage devs to do this quite as much as they would have with the label. I’d love to have some oldskool Final Fantasy and JRPGs on the system, but will companies bring them over to the Switch without the Virtual Console label?

I kinda don’t know how to feel about renting the games instead of owning them. I guess I own most of these in their original format, and do have an NES Mini if I really want them.

I’m choosing to look at this as an extra perk, but still miss the idea of the Virtual Console.

Nintendo Switch App. I have it on my phone somewhere. It’s pretty lackluster at the moment. Theey talk about enhancing gameplay with voice chat, but I’d just as well use Discord, honestly.

Not to mention none of my close friends/family are going to be buying into the service, and I don’t willingly voice chat with strangers, so I doubt I’ll ever have a use for it. I’m sure someone will.

Save Data Cloud Backup. Ah. This is the huge one. The one that everyone has been asking for.

I guess I can understand that save data in the cloud probably costs something for storage. But I still feel like putting a feature like this behind a paywall is a little crummy. I really do think this is a feature that should have been built in and available to everyone from the start… especially since I hear the horror stories of people sending in their Switches to get fixed, only to have their device wiped and returned to them with all content lost.

Or, at least give people the ability to back saves up on a separate drive somewhere if the cloud can’t be free. This is just basic needed functionality… I’ve been able to do this for yeras on other systems without problems.

Not only that, but it’s been hinted that not every game will support cloud saves. So, we’ll see.

TL;DR Final Thoughts

Wow, this all came off sounding a lot more negative than I meant it to be. Please don’t misunderstand… I absolutely adore my Switch. Overall, I like Nintendo bunches. But I still think that there are some things that should have been done differently.

Let me recap: 

  • I’m willing to pay the cost for the service. I feel the price is affordable.
  • If you offer a service for free, even with good will, but then stamp a price on it, some people are going to see that as taking service away. Especially when it deals with games you play pretty much 100% online. If you’re planning on doing that, do it from the start.
  • I’m going to miss the Virtual Console. I do appreciate the offer of renting free old games added in to the service, but I’d rather just buy my games outright. I feel a little squirmy about the direction that’s going.
  • The app is meh to me and remains meh.
  • Being able to back up save data is something everyone should have. If it’s not in the form of cloud saves, at least allow backing up to another drive.

Do you have any thoughts on the Switch Online service?

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch Excitement

Yesterday was the Nintendo Direct — which is not something I watch. But I tend to follow the news that it spawns after one ends.

Of course, Smash Bros. for Switch was the huge news for fans, and I’m glad they have something to be excited about. My love for Smash ended with the Game Cube version, however.

I hardly played the Smash on the Wii, though I own it. I picked up Smash for Wii U and it was super frustrating for me — I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and my reflexes just aren’t there, or what. But everything seemed far more complex than I remember — including the moves, the stages (that zoom out and make things incredibly tiny), the hazards on the stages (which often were more annoying than fun), and just all the items. I had no idea what does what anymore.

So, I’ve accepted that Smash is not my thing anymore, though I put tons of hours into enjoying Melee back in the day.

What Am I Excited For?

That doesn’t meant that there weren’t some announcements that got me excited, however!

Okami HD

I saw this, then quietly went to my Steam wish list and removed it from there. I’ve been doing this more and more — titles that are coming out on the Switch get removed from my Steam list. It’s making my Steam wish list a lot more manageable!

I did play the original Okami on Wii many years back, but never beat it. It only makes sense to get the new version on the Switch, where the motion controls will be king. Glad to see this one making a port!

Octopath Traveler

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I guess they dropped the “Project” and kept the rest of the name. That’s fine.

I played the demo and enjoyed it a good deal. We now have a July 13 release date. 

This is going to conflict wildly with my interest in Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, which has a release date of July 21. July is going to have too much JRPG, it seems.

GameMaker Studio 2

I’m not interested in picking up Undertale a second time (need still to finish it on PC), but I am interested in the fact GameMaker Studio 2 is releasing on the Switch. I own it for the PC, and have dabbled with it a bit there, so I’m curious what it’ll be like for the Switch… Does that mean the coding platform itself will be ON the Switch, or that you can just develop FOR the Switch? And will the Switch will support playing and distributing homemade games from the community?

So many questions!

Somewhat Interested

I’m kinda interested in the Octo expansion for Splatoon. I haven’t played the game a whole lot ately… mostly because I haven’t had much time to play my Switch, and I have way too many other games that I’d pick up first. I might eventually come back around to Splatoon, but a lot of it depends on my free time and other games that want my attention.

I never played Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker in its original form. It must have had something fun about it, though, as it’s referenced often and getting a port. I’m curious, but I have a feeling this will go on my Amazon wish list for Christmas. 🙂

Hyrule Warriors: Definitive Edition… maybe? I’m glad I never picked it up for the Wii U, though I had it on my want list for years. Another I’ll put on my Amazon wish list.

Are you hyped for any upcoming Switch games?

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Happy Birthday Nintendo Switch!

One year ago today, I was rushing up to my local Best Buy to pick up my pre-order for my brand new Nintendo Switch. I was super stoked about the system’s release, and had many, many high hopes for it. A year later, I have to say that the Switch exceeded the hopes and wishes I had a year ago.

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My Switch, One Year Later

I have never bought a console at launch before, so I winced with concern at the issues that seemed to be cropping up from the first batch release. I knew that was a risk you took when you bought early.

Despite all that, I haven’t had any left joycon problems, bent Switch issues, or screen scratches. I keep it mostly in the dock, have a screen protector and a dock sock. I don’t play it in handheld mode all that much.

In fact, the Switch survived a really nasty storm last year that took out many of my electronics (including my TV). The dock and RC adapter needed to be replaced due to surge damage (even though it was on a surge protector), but that got squared away quickly. I knock on wood that I’ve not had any problem with the system after that incident.

My Switch friends list seems to keep growing from this…

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To this:

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So many friends that I can’t even list them all! These include folks IRL, people in my FFXIV FC, and a number of fellow game bloggers.

So what’s my game list look like a year later? I’m ashamed to admit that I have a backlog forming on my Switch. In my defense, this is mostly because a lot of the games I own here have so much content to make it through (Zelda, Xenoblade), or they’re never ending (Minecraft). I actually have one more game on the way (got a good deal on Skyrim… not like I  need another huge RPG… but…), so that will bring my total to 19 games in the first year (Octopath is a demo).

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I think I’m doing pretty good on restraining myself on digital purchases seeing that I have a wishlist building up.

Any indie that I’ve wanted (Night in the Woods, Owlboy, ect.) that I’ve learned is coming for the Switch, I’ve taken off my Steam wishlist. I’d just prefer to have them in this format, all in one place. I think given the dour outlook of my Steam backlog, games are more likely to be played if they’re on my Switch.

My biggest and only regret with the Switch so far? That I haven’t made more time to play it. 😦

Seeing that it’s the Switch’s birthday today, I suppose I hear some Dragon Quest Builders calling me. 😉

Did you pick up a Switch in the first year? What’s your game list look like? Better or worse than mine?