Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Stardew Valley, Uncategorized

Stardew Valley on Switch – Fun, With Bugs

Stardew Valley for the Nintendo Switch was a highly anticipated release for a lot of folks in the Switch community. Even though I have a copy for the PC, I’m really loving my little Switch, and like the idea of a portable Stardew.

Stardew makes a great port to the Switch, and I’ve had a lot of fun re-learning the game after having put it down for a number of months. I’m trying out different relationships, a bit wiser about how to approach things, like collecting for the community center, and actually learning how to fish this time around.

But there are a few things that you should be aware of if you’re looking at picking up Stardew on the Switch, at least in comparison to the PC version.

Developed for PC

The PC version of Stardew came first, and is the much more flexible version of the game. Part of the appeal, and why it gained a lot of traction with the community, is that Stardew is very moddable.

For example, I modded my cat to be a Siamese, my horse to be grey, and my pigs to be cuter. I also found the fishing game impossible to play on the PC, so I modded fishing to be a lot easier. Obviously, this isn’t an option for the Switch version of Stardew…  so I’m actually having to learn how to fish.

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Some things, like fishing, do feel easier with the controller. But there are times, such as when moving through menus, and moments when you have to control a cursor with a Switch joystick, that you really feel the PC roots poking through. It’s not game breaking, but a little jarring. Looking at the bug list, seems like there might be a bug around this.

Finally, the longer loading and saving times. If you’ve played the PC version, then the longer save and load times on the Switch are much more apparent. Again, not game breaking, but paired with one of the bugs I’m going to talk about, it gets a bit frustrating.

Bugs to Contend With

I’ve played up until Fall of the first year, and ran into to major bugs pretty early on. One of them is just annoying, but the other is actually a game stopper. Note: the dev is aware of the bugs, has acknowledged them, and hopefully we’ll see a patch soon.

Crackling Sound Bug

From time to time, for no apparent reason, the game’s sound starts to crackle. It’s pretty bad. Sounds like this:

Now, I don’t know about you, but this puts a wrinkle my chill gaming session. Sound is a very important element in all games I play… and no one seems to know what causes it. It comes and goes at random.

The only way players have found to fix the sound bug is to completely exit and re-launch the game. This causes more frustration because:

  1. The long loading times I mentioned above… every time you launch the game, you have to wait for it to load through several screens and your save file
  2. You can’t just save the game at random — if you don’t want to lose that day’s progress, you have to listen to the crackling all Stardew day until you sleep and save that night

I’ve often had to restart the game two or three times in a play session to get rid of this issue. It keeps coming back.

Save Crash Bug

This leads to another, more  severe bug — the save crash bug. Sometimes, when you go to sleep on the Switch version, the game throws an error and closes on you. This means that you lost everything you did that whole day, and you have to go back and replay it.

Thankfully, it doesn’t seem to corrupt the save file. But if you had a lot accomplished in a day and the game crashes before saving, it can get frustrating real fast.

I’ve had this happen to me twice. From what I’m reading, this is a complex inventory issue.

Again, the team is aware of the issues, and working on a patch. So, hang in there if you’re struggling with Stardew bugs like I am. Help is on the way!

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Posted in FFXIV, Gaming, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

FFXIV: Shirogane Savage

Update: Here’s the outcome of this story!


Guys! I am so nerve-wracked right now!

So, along with patch 4.1, they are releasing the new housing area – Shirogane. Now, our not-so-little-as-before Free Company has long outgrown our quaint little cottage. They’ve got their eye on a mansion in the new area… and they’ve all donated generously to obtaining and furnishing it.

Check this out!

giil

That’s like the most gil I’ve ever seen… and it’s in my inventory waiting on me to successfully snag a plot to move.

I’ve got the day off from work tomorrow. I’ve got my alarm set. I’ve got my /busy macro. I’ve put my character in the proper log-in spot. I’ve made practice runs and jotted down all the plot numbers and warp points.

I just hope and pray that nothing goes wrong and I don’t accidentally move my private house rather than the FC house or something. Oh, I’m so nervous!

Good luck to everyone on their house hunt! 🙂

Posted in Gaming, MMORPGs, Secret World Legends, Uncategorized

SWL: New Templars in Town

I actually had quite a varied weekend of gameplay — everything from GW2‘s new expansion to 7D2D to Secret World Legends. I still have a lot to digest about GW2 Path of Fire, so I want to play that some more before I jump into my thoughts on it (so far, I’m having a fun time).

In FFXIV, I’ve been focusing on leveling Zemi and getting him through the MSQ. I’ve had a few Expert Roulettes on the side, but most my time has gone into alts. Not a lot of exciting things to talk about there, but we’ve got a new patch and a Live Letter on the horizon.

So, back to SWL.

I’m not sure how we got on the topic of Secret World with Amoon. Maybe it’s because around Halloween, we tend to get the itch to poke our heads back into Kingsmouth. But one thing led to another, and after mentioning SWL during our Saturday 7D2D zombie run, suddenly everyone was downloading the game on Sunday.

So yesterday, Syn and I coached the team through the tutorial bits and got them all to Kingsmouth. Though I encouraged them to pick their own faction, somehow we all still ended up Templars.

We haven’t gotten too far, and we’re way overpowered as a group of five. But it’s been fun — at least, I hope they’re also having fun. I’m not sure how long we’ll entice this group to stick around, but seeing that the game is F2P and a number of them are into creepy stories and modern horror, it might be enough to keep us playing a few times a week.

Since transfers of content were re-opened for a second time to those of us who already transferred stuff, I went back to TSW to see if I missed anything cosmetic-wise. I actually had — I’d forgotten to claim a couple sprint styles (a bike and hover board). I also saw that I had a bunch of credits on my account again, despite having spent most of them last time I logged in.

So I indulged in a bunch of grab bags and actually ended up with some pretty nice things — like this faction racehorse sprint and police dog pet.

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All the new stuff transferred over quite nicely, so I’m happy to have a second chance at that.

I’m still trying to figure out all the changes to this game. Interestingly, I’m considered a subscriber due to coming in with a lifetime Grandmaster account from TSW. So, I have plans to create our own little cabal eventually (which I’ve never done before).

Maybe with a full group of folks, we can also try some content, like lairs, that I’ve never attempted. Might be fun!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch, Uncategorized

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Add this to the list of “games I never expected to play,” right up there along with Splatoon. I’ll start by saying I’ve never played a Rabbids game. I’ve heard of them, but mostly because things like this limit break reference:

bwaaaa

Anyhow, when I first heard about Mario + Rabbids, my reaction was pretty similar to the rest of the Internet.

HUH?

But then, miraculously, as game play details emerged, the Net changed its mind. I guess that can happen sometimes! The word was that this mis-mash of IPs was actually charming, fun and made for a good game!

Back in my younger days (get off my lawn!), I was a huge fan of Super Mario Bros. However, over time, JRPGs like Final Fantasy carried me away from the Mario fandom. Super Mario 64 was really the last Mario game I played with any sort of gusto. But the fact that Mario +  Rabbids was made by a team who obviously loved the world of Mario and were given the blessings to make a game from that dedication… well, that won me over.

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Now, since Amazon has changed how Prime members get discounts for new games (only on pre-orders, and not two weeks after release — booooo!), I was sitting there undecided the day before release. I do rely on reviews to give me the low-down on games before I buy — especially expensive games like those on the Switch.

But with the Prime discount on top of some Trade-In credit I had sitting on my account, the game would cost me about $28. I was hearing a lot of good things, even before release, so I pulled the trigger and pre-ordered the last day.

I got the game last night. I’ve only had about an hour or so of time with it, but I’m not regretting the purchase.

It’s Like Playing a Cartoon

While I’m no graphics snob, I have to say the whole look and feel of Mario + Rabbids makes me feel like I’m playing a cartoon. It’s whimsical. It’s zany. It’s fun!

The animations and graphics are so smooth, both inside and outside of cutscenes. Somehow, the world of Mario meshes well with the world of Rabbids. And my concern that the Rabbids would be too over the top was unfounded. I actually find myself liking the Rabbid versions of the Mario characters.

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It’s nice to have a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. But at the same time, it’s full of details and references that long-time Mario fans will enjoy. For example, check out this overworld theme, which is a pleasant remix of an iconic Mario song.

 

About Battle

So, this is a tactics game, though a bit different from other tactics games I’ve played in the past. I’ve never played XCOM, which a lot of folks seem to reference when discussing the battle style. Yeah, seeing Mario characters using blasters and guns is a little odd, but I can deal with it.

I do enjoy tactics games, though I’m not always the best at them. I’ve heard that Mario + Rabbids can get challenging later on. But for teaching the ropes and getting through the beginning areas, it’s not been too bad. I like that the stages give you an option to use an Easy Mode if you need it (though I haven’t yet).

Each character has their own types of weapons and special skills. I know that you unlock more characters as you go along, but that Mario must always be in your party.

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I got free DLC bonus with my game (I guess as part of a pre-order reward) that gave me some special pixel-style weapons. These seemed far above better than the weapons I unlocked early on, and they were free, so I equipped them as soon as I saw them.

I like how battles are meshed seamlessly with the rest of the world you’re exploring. You have bits where you walk around the overworld, solving puzzles and gathering coins. Then you come across a battlefield (indicated by Rabbid flags), and must complete the objective in order to continue exploring.

While the story isn’t anything astounding, it’s what you’d expect from a Mario-type game. This is good. In fact, based on the reviews I’ve read, just about everything about Mario + Rabbids met my expectations (in a good way).

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I can certainly say that Mario +  Rabbids will hold me over until Super Mario Odyssey comes out later this year (got that on pre-order). In fact, I’m more excited than ever for Mario, Nintendo and the Switch in particular. I still love the console, am impressed by the releases, and feel a bit of that Nintendo fan-girlism that I had as a kid returning.

It’s a nice feeling. Let me hang on to it. :p

Posted in Gaming, Guild Wars 2, MMORPGs, Uncategorized

GW2: Trying to Give it Another Chance

After writing my previous post about PoF last week, I did a lot of thinking, reading and actually playing GW2. That’s right, for the first time in three years, I actually sat down and put some time into GW2. My overall feelings are mixed, but swaying more towards the positive side. This is gonna be long, so warning!

Continue reading “GW2: Trying to Give it Another Chance”

Posted in Gaming, Steam Gaming, Uncategorized

Steam Gaming: Pixel Shopkeeper

Between FFXIV and my Nintendo Switch, I haven’t really been doing a lot of Steam gaming. Thankfully, I haven’t been doing that much Steam buying, either. In fact, though I haven’t forgotten nor given up on my Steam Challenge to overcome my overwhelming backlog, I’ve decided not to call this post part of the challenge, because it’s not.

I very rarely make impulse purchases on Steam. In fact, I rarely go to the Steam site to browse when a big sale isn’t going on. I’m not sure why I did yesterday, but I noticed a little game called Pixel Shopkeeper was on the front page of the New and Trending section.

Now, I have a huge soft spot for shopkeeping games. I also put some time into Recettear,  but not enough to really explore it deeply. I liked what I saw of Recettear, but it was one of those games that felt slightly overwhelming in terms of systems when I was trying to learn it.

Pixel Shopkeeper is straightforward. It feels like a mesh of smaller mini-games, all easy to figure out. It’s an idea game to pick up for short bursts as both the adventure side and shop side only take a few minutes to complete. It would actually be a great tablet game (dare I whisper).

What’s It About?

You’re a graduate of Pixel University, but you’re carrying the burden of a school loan (too close to RL for comfort). So, you open a shop to pay it off.

There’s a small character creation bit, with a few customizations. This is not a major focus of the game, of course, but a nice little touch.

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The game is light-hearted and humorous, embracing common net language, memes and fantasy RPG tropes. It’s not ashamed to toss “Generic NPCs” and “Generic World Maps” at you. And all this is completely fine.

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The game gives you freedom to do whatever you like with the stipulation that at the end of the week, you have a certain amount due on your loan payoff. There are two parts of the game: the adventuring part, where you fight to secure loot drops, and the shopkeeping part, where you sell your loot drops.

Battle for Loot

If you have no loot, you can’t sell anything. So it’s important to train to increase your stats and abilities, and head to the fields and dungeons to gather stuff to put up for market.

The interesting part about this is that your character battles on their own. The only influence you have over their fight is whether you’ve trained them, geared them up, and if you keep them healed (by dragging herbs to them when herbs drop as loot).

As drops appear, it’s your job to fit as much loot into your bag as possible. This is done in a Tetris mini-game manner, which I found fun and sometimes challenging. Over the course of the game, you can earn or buy different types of bags with different shapes and features.

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If your character is defeated, you lose all the loot and the day that you spent trying to earn that loot. If you win, you get to keep everything you bagged on top of treasure from a random chest you choose at the end of the run.

Sell That Loot!

The other half of the game is what happens at your shop when you go back to sell the loot you earned. Your shop starts out small, allowing you to furnish it with tables and stands to place your loot for sale.

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As you sell more items, more furnishings become available, some with buffs to item prices and other perks. You also unlock other smaller support systems, such as the ability to polish your loot (makes it more desirable), advertise your shop, buy from other merchants, plant a garden, and even craft new and better loot to sell.

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As adventurers walk past your shop, you can click on them to increase the chance they’ll stop, browse, and hopefully buy. You can also click on birds and tumbleweeds to earn extra coins, and sometimes crafting materials. You need to make sure that you keep the displays in your shop clean (just click on them repeatedly), or you may lose a potential sale with the dirty state of your shop.

At the end of the day, you get a summary, and options of what to do next. If you still have plenty of loot to sell, you can set up shop for the next day. If you need to gather more loot, you can head out to tackle monsters.

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It’s a pretty simple game, as I said, which slowly introduces new features in small bites. I’ve only spent an hour with it so far, so I’m sure there are a number of other secrets to unlock.

The other thing I lik about Pixel Shopkeeper is the support that the developer is giving this game, despite having already released it. I saw him being very active and receptive to player feedback on the game’s Steam forum. In fact, he has already released two new difficulty levels (a chill mode and a sandbox mode) based on the fact that players found the normal mode a bit too challenging.

It looks like the game is going to get another large patch today, as well. So cheers to the developer for making his customers happy! In fact, I missed the launch sale of this game, and still paid full price for it (a rarity for me), because of all the positive feedback for both game and developer.

Shopkeeping games may not be everyone’s cup of tea. For those who enjoy this little niche of RPG slice-of-life, this is a game to keep your eye on.