Posted in Nintendo Switch

Dabbling with Monster Hunter Rise

When I mention playing Monster Hunter, sometimes I get surprised comments like – “Oh! I didn’t expect you to play Monster Hunter!” or “I didn’t know you played!”

I really can’t blame them because for all due purposes, Monster Hunter really shouldn’t be my kind of game. I can’t explain why I like games of this type, either, considering some fights can get really brutal and action type games aren’t usually my go-to.

My first and only Monster Hunter game before this was Monster Hunter Tri on the Nintendo Wii. Woo boy. I remember it being really tough.

But I also remember my first win against the Great Jaggi… and how I didn’t do so well in the beginning. I recall fighting and fighting and fighting until finally I got it down. Something about overcoming that first large hunt broke the difficulty curve for me, and while I never got all the way through the game, I hunted quite a bit!

I’ve heard a lot about Monster Hunter World, and have been curious about trying it. But seeing my time is often taken by FFXIV in the MMO realm (and because I’m not sure my friends would be into MHW), I’ve never played it.

Fast forward to Monster Hunter Rise for Nintendo Switch. I’ve heard lots of great things about it – even that it’s more accessible to new (or rusty) players! It’s on the Switch, which is a huge plus for me. So when I got an Amazon gift card for my birthday, I knew exactly what I was going to buy.

I’ve had the game for almost a month now, and I’m making my way very casually through it. While it is far, far, far easier than Tri from what I’ve experienced (I was shocked at how gently it eased me into the game considering how bad I am at it), I still feel quite a bit of triumph with each big hunt accomplishment. I’m sure things will get more difficult, but the difficulty curve has been surprisingly nice to me.

I’m not sure why I decided to roll an Amon character for this (hunting monsters is not his thing), but everything fell right in place for him, including a musical instrument weapon (hunting horn)!

I’m not very good with the wirebug system yet, and I still have a lot to learn about the controls of the game. But there’s just so much to do that I often don’t know how much I’m overlooking. There’s leveling buddies, crafting and upgrading armor and weapons, gathering materials, light crafting, unlocking more hunts, trading requested goods, quests for the folks in the town…

Yeah. I only unlocked three star quests last night, and suddenly my weapon crafting tree just expanded many-fold. I went out on an expedition run of a new area and ended up going head-to-head with a big hunt – the Kulu-Ya-Ku – due to running across it by accident. I’ll have to fight it again, I know, for the actual quest associated with it, but it was a fun hunt that gave me a good sense of where I’m standing in terms of gear and progression.

I love how the game doesn’t take itself too seriously despite the fights being tough. The translation is light-hearted, the music in the town always makes me smile, and I’m starting to like the folks who live there and interact with my hunter.

Not to mention the on-purposely cheesy movie-Japanese intro cutscene for each area and big hunt you undertake.

The one thing I haven’t done is play multiplayer – I never did it in Tri, either. I doubt that I’ll take the chance to do it in Rise since I heard the game can be beat pretty much solo, even the quests that are meant to be done in a group.

I’m just not skilled enough as a hunter that I wouldn’t embarrass myself trying to play with other people. I’m seriously surprised I’ve gotten to three start quests, to be honest.

Right now, I have enough to explore on my own. There’s still plenty of quests, stories and gear to work towards, even if I’m doing it quite casually. I’m just trying to move forward a little bit at a time, and sometimes going back to hunts I beat simply to practice what I’m learning.

I’m open to any tips about the game — and even though I have more than enough on my plate with Rise, I’m starting to side-eye Monster Hunter World as well. Maybe next time it’s on a Steam sale. We’ll see.

Posted in Gaming

January 2021 Gaming Goals in Review

It’s a little hard to believe that January is done for this year. But at the same time, it felt like a long month, too.

Anyhow, in terms of reaching goals that I set out to do, I’m pretty pleased with everything I managed to do. Especially getting that one big goal out of the way!

FFXIV Goals

  • Finish leveling Paladin to 80 via Beast Tribes & Quests (and do job quest)
  • Finish leveling Gunbreaker via Trusts (and do job quest) 
  • Finish leveling all Trust characters 
  • Earn Amaro Mount! 
  • Clean up quests in the First 
  • Work on crafting relics 
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tai
  • Finish up to patch 5.4 on Tad 

I finished leveling the last two jobs on my main to 80 in FFXIV, so now I’ve earned my Amaro mount and I can take a break from daily beast tribe quests. It’s been a long road getting there, but I got there. Just in time for the next expansion announcement, right? Or so we hope!

During that process, I managed to clean up the quests across several zones. However, I hit level 80 before finishing two of the zones… so… I kinda took a break there. I still want to finish cleaning that up, though. I might make some of that a goal for next month.

I did start working on my crafting relics and finished one. Yeah. Just one. However, I learned that the gear I have allows me to macro and burn through a lot of this crafting faster than I expected. So if I buckle down to get it done, it shouldn’t be too bad…

…Just in time for the next phase of crafting relics to pop up next week. I’m so behind. 😦

I did finish working through all of 5.4 on Tad, but didn’t get around to pushing through on Tai. He’s a couple patches behind, which means I’m putting off running Elidibus yet again. That’s the one fight that’s making me procrastinate – I can do it, but I just don’t enjoy it. The rest I can do with Trusts, thankfully. Will try again next month.

MISC Goals

  • Play at least 1 new Switch game 
  • Play at least 1 new Steam game a week 
  • Play at least 1 Xbox Game Pass game 

Not only did I finish a major goal for FFXIV, but I did a good job of reaching my other gaming goals.

On the Switch, I actually finished Coffee Talk – the first game I’ve finished in a while. I restarted Link’s Awakening, and I’m now further into that game than I was my first play through. I think next month’s goal will be to continue to make progress on it.

I did “play” several new Steam games this month, too. Most of these are on what I call my “clear” list. These are games that I have an idea I probably won’t play for very long or get too involved in. So I download and launch them and try to play a bit, mostly just to get them off my “unplayed” backlog statistic.

This was actually successful because now I’ve moved from 54% played games to 55% played games! That’s a happy thing! I will keep trying to do this next month.

I also played games on my XBox Game Pass this month – three, in fact. One of which I finished – woot, that’s two finished games in one month! Two of the games were titles that were leaving soon, and I wrote about one of them. The other I’ll blog about next week.

I’m not fully sure what next month is going to look like for me. I have some goals I want to reach in FFXIV, but now that most of the leveling goals are done, I’m not pushing for anything in particular.

I also picked up BDO again, and have been enjoying that. I do not want to set any goals for that game, but I do want to try to level as much as I can while I still have the returner bonus. We’ll see where I go with all of this next month!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Resolutions, Done with my Coffee Talk

I’m pleased to announce that I finished a game this week! (Gasp!) Actually, I finished TWO games, but I’ll talk about the other one later.

It’s been a while since I’ve played a game from start to finish, even one of the shorter indie games. So I felt pretty good to be making my resolutions to play more Switch Games a reality this early in the year.

I wrote about how I was playing Coffee Talk and how the story being broken into 20-30 minute pieces really did well to fit into my nights. I was able to consistently pick the game up just about every day until I finally completed the main story.

Of course, the game let me know that I missed some content along the way (this was stuff you wouldn’t have been able to figure out unless you looked it up online). While I’m curious and really enjoyed my time with Coffee Talk, I have way too many other games to tackle to circle back to it at this point.

By the end of the game, I was a little sorry that the story was over. I had fun getting to know the folks at the coffee shop and seeing how they developed and connected with each other. There were no huge shocking plot twists in the end – it remained all fantasy slice-of-life.

Though I’m still curious as to who/what my character was – it was hinted at but never explained. Maybe that’s the content I missed. Who knows!

Onward!

So, while I still had momentum on my Switch, I decided to pick another game from my backlog to tackle. I looked over titles that I’d started but never finished and chose to return to the remake of Link’s Awakening.

I wrote about my experiences with the game back in 2019 – yes, it’s been that long! I know that I had a lot of fun playing it but… for whatever reason, I just set it down and didn’t get any further than I was at the point when I wrote a post about it.

Seeing that I was only three dungeons in, I had a choice to make. Either I could push on with the save I had (though I only dimly remembered what had happened up to that point) or I could start over since I wasn’t too terribly far into the game.

I decided to start over and picked a clean save spot. In playing it over the weekend, I’m almost back to the point where I was when I left off before. I remembered a few things that helped me get through a bit faster this time around, but for the most part, it was like playing the game anew for me.

I’m going to try to pace myself, like I did with Coffee Talk, and work towards finishing this game. I have a handful of games that are in a similar unfinished state (some which I just won’t spend the time to start over from scratch again), but I’m feeling good about making progress in my Switch backlog.

And it’s fun, too, of course!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Coffee Talk

In trying to make good on my goal to play more of my Switch backlog, I began playing the game that I picked up over the holidays with the Switch gift card I got from family. I’ve had my eye on Coffee Talk for a bit, and seeing it on sale, decided to pick it up.

Coffee Talk might fall into the visual novel category… maybe… except unlike most visual novels I’ve played, this one doesn’t have you making choices and trying to romance a character in the story (so far). In fact, about the only thing you as a player do is make the best coffee or tea for your customers as you can.

Oh, and you serve as sort of the central heart of the community and cast of characters in the game. Which is really what the game is about.

The combination of low-fi music, pixel art style and slice-of-life storytelling in a modern fantasy Seattle connects with me. Each night when you open your store there are new folks to interact with, new coffees to learn to brew and new or expanding stories to hear.

Much of the game is observation and listening. Really. That’s it. The characters (including your own) interact on their own – there’s even a button that allows for conversation to move automatically without you needing to press a button all the time.

Every now and then you have to fix something for someone to drink, but it’s nothing like some of those cook-serve-delicious timer games. This is laid back, and you even have a in-game phone app that updates as you learn new drinks or when you need to reference drinks you’ve already made.

The app also includes news stories for the world these characters live in, which is a very interesting world! You have modern-day humans and elves and cat girls and and orcs and vampires and werewolves all rubbing elbows at your counter each night. You never know what personal trouble someone is dealing with and who at the counter might provide advice for their situation.

The characters are well-defined and feel like individuals with their own backstories. They also have social media pages on your in-game app where you can go back and look at the details of their profiles. These update as you discover new things about the people who frequent your shop. I’m definitely finding myself fond of them.

Each night serves as a new story arc, and these can last from 15 to 30 minutes each. I find it pretty easy to sit down and play through a night or two each day as it doesn’t require a whole lot of time to do. It’s also quite chill and relaxed, so I’m finding it a nice game to pick up each evening for a story or two.

If any of this sounds interesting to you, I’d say give the game a shot. I’ve really enjoyed it!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

My Nintendo Switch Review Made Me a Little Sad

Nintendo sent out a year in review for Switch-playing folks a few days back. When I got mine, I was surprised and a bit sad about some of the statistics I saw there.

First, it determined what kind of player I was — turns out, I played Animal Crossing the most of all the games this year. This made sense.

It also turns out that I tallied up this many hours…

Wow, did I really ONLY play 23 hours on my Switch in 2019. That makes me sad, for one. But Animal Crossing certainly got me putting more time in on my Switch this year.

What made me sad was the tally of games that I played this year:

FIVE?

Only FIVE games? I could have sworn… no… well… maybe that WAS all that I played this year! How tragic, especially when I had goals set to spend more time with my Switch!!

What were the five games I played?

Bargain Hunter and Graveyard Keeper were both games that I got for my birthday, so I made an attempt to play a few games I got as gifts this year. But the rest of it was simply dismal.

I have got to do so much better than this in 2021. I have a LOT of fantastic games I want to play on this console. It’s just lack of time and focus that keeps me from doing so.

What a wake up call. 😦

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Transferring Screenshots to PC via USB

It’s not very often that I get excited about a system update for Nintendo Switch. Not that I don’t appreciate all the hard work that goes into updating my hardware, mind you, but rarely is there something that effects me as much as this one simple update.

As a blogger, transferring screenshots to my PC is a major deal. Up until now, the process for doing that on the Switch was a bit cumbersome (but thankfully easier than Wii U or 3DS).

I had to:

  • Undock the Switch (I play it docked about 99% of the time)
  • Turn it completely off
  • Pull the SD card of out it
  • Put the SD card into fiddly card reader that I usually had to fight with to figure out the proper direction of insertion every time
  • Put that in a USB slot on my PC
  • Hope the USB reader didn’t give me a fit – if not, find it in My Computer and open it to see screenshots
  • Transfer the entire folder of screens for the last couple months because I had no idea what I already have on my PC vs what I’ve taken since the last time I did this process

Now, it’s as simple as undocking, connecting to USB and tapping a few settings in the Switch menu. Here’s how.

1- You have to have the right type of USB cable.

Just a heads up, not just any USB cable will do. Basically, you’ll need a USB-C cable. The official patch notes says:

A USB charging cable [model HAC-010] or a USB-IF certified USB cable that supports data transfer is required to connect to a computer.

Patch notes

I had to go rooting around to find one that would work. In the end, I discovered the USB cable that came with my SNES Switch controller did the trick.

Once you have the cable, just connect it to the USB-C port on the bottom of the Switch, and the USB portion to a slot on your PC.

2 – Initiating Transfer

Once you’ve made the cable connection, then it’s time to start the transfer. From the Home screen of your Switch you:

  1. Tap Settings, then tap Data Management.
  2. Tap Manage Screenshots and Videos, then Copy to a Computer via USB Connection.

And just like that, you’ll get a prompt on your PC to manage a new storage device. Once you open the folder, you’ll see something like this:

That’s right, the Switch so nicely breaks down your content by title for you, making it much easier to transfer just the screens for just the game you want!

Previously, when transferring from the SD card, the system simply organized files by date, so there was no knowing which game you were downloading screenshots for. I just ended up dumping months worth of screenshots on my PC rather than messing around with it. But then I’d have to fish through those folders to find the screenshots I really wanted.

This is so much nicer!

Just copy the shots you want from the game folders and you’re ready to share, blog or whatever you want to do with your screenshots.

Thanks for the great QoL update, Nintendo!

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.

2018053020441800-E4B364C957D95017CA1171810D655865

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).

2018053020501900-E4B364C957D95017CA1171810D655865

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.

2018053020515200-E4B364C957D95017CA1171810D655865

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.

2018053123100500-E4B364C957D95017CA1171810D655865

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

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

octopath

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?