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? 

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Posted in Gaming

March 2018 Gaming Goals in Review

I set out some pretty ambitious goals for March, and was surprised that I actually achieved quite a few of them this time around. I did get a little distracted by Starbound and Second Life towards the end of this month, so not everything was complete. Still, did pretty well overall!

FFXIV Goals

  • Level Black Mage (to 70?) ✓
  • Level Ninja to 50
  • Level Warrior to 40 ✓
  • Level Dark Knight to 40 ✓
  • Level Weaver to 70 ✓

I did, indeed, level Black Mage to 70 this month, and then started on leveling my Summoner/Scholar next… mostly because I’m trying to consolidate gear at level 70. I also got Weaver to 70, and have started on upgrading all of the gear to script stuff so that I can look at improving all of my other crafters’ gear.

The only goal I didn’t meet was getting Ninja to 50… though I did move that up to 42. So, I’m not too far away!

Nintendo Switch Goals

  • Make progress in Mario Odyssey ✓
  • Play Dragon Quest Builders ✓

I’ve only made a little bit more progress into Dragon Quest Builders… still in Chapter 1. But that’s okay.

The big thing was that I finally beat the story mode for Mario Odyssey this month! I want to say this is the first Switch game I’ve actually beat!

PC Goals

  • Play more of Sims Jungle Adventure ✓
  • Try one new Steam game each week ✓✓✓✓

I did play a bit more of the new Sims Jungle Adventure, and wrote about it as well. There’s still a lot I haven’t seen in this Game Pack yet. Will try to make some time to play some more.

Not only did I play a new Steam game every week this month, but I also hit my Steam Challenge goal for the year, to play at least 50% of all the games I own!

A pretty good month overall. Let’s end March with a nice filtered picture of a fountain I took during my Mario play through, but never got to use anywhere else.

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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? 

Posted in Gaming

SNES Classic SCORE!

I had other things on my mind to blog about today, but that all went out the window. I got a SNES Classic this morning! 

Honestly, I wasn’t going to even try to get one of these after what happened with the NES Classic. I wanted one, don’t get me wrong. I just didn’t think there was a chance.

Well, after reading the mega thread on Reddit and seeing how many success stories there were — the fact that there was often more stock than people after them (I think people were like me and were discouraged from trying due to the NES Classic)….

Well, I did a quick search at Brickseek (SKU: 741659089), and saw that the Target down the road from work was supposed to still have 11 in stock. Note, this was an hour and a half AFTER the store opened. So I made a rush before scrum — the worst that could happen was that Brickseek was wrong.

But it was right! Not only did they have some for sale, but the guy at the counter was opening a whole new box of them even after I bought one! He did say there were a number of folks waiting in line before the store opened, but honestly, that wasn’t needed.

Anyhow, if you have a desire for a SNES Classic, I’ll encourage you to hit up your local store THIS MORNING because you’ll probably have decent chance in scoring one. But go for it now, because the closer it gets to the holidays, the tougher it may be.

Good luck!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Nintendo Switch: Kingdom: New Lands

Almost two years ago, I picked up the game Kingdom on Steam. I put almost 10 hours into the game, immersed for a solid weekend, which is quite a bit for me.

When Kingdom: New Lands was released a little less than a year later, those who bought the original Kingdom got New Lands as a free update. I was back to playing the game for a bit, but never got off the first island in the end. The game had changed in significant ways, and I appreciated getting the updated version for free.

Last week, Kingdom: New Lands was released on Switch (digital only). I went back and forth on whether to double dip and buy the game again. But I remembered how much I enjoyed Kingdom on Steam, and the team earned good-will with the free update, so I knew that I’d give into the temptation…

That’s what happened this past weekend.

I spent most my day Saturday lost in the retro graphics and simple-to-learn but difficult-to-beat game. First, I was impressed how well Kingdom transferred to using Switch controls.

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Kingdom is not mechanically complex, which was always a huge draw to me. You can grasp how to play the game very quickly, and be on your way.

However, it’s a game that’s deceptively simple and doesn’t hold your hand. It’s about managing your resources, understanding proper timing with the day/night cycle and planning ahead.

There’s a lot to discover in the game play, and nothing actually explains what anything does. Take for example, the merchant.

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This is an NPC that drops a load of gold each morning for you to collect. However, you have to pay him one gold per day for him to return the next. If you forget to do this, he simply will hang around and be useless.

Also, he has a hut in the forest, which is usually not very far from your kingdom’s borders. If you accidentally clear out the land near his hut, he disappears for the rest of the game. So, you have to weigh the cost of destroying his hut for the progress of  your borders — do you have a solid enough of an income to do without him? How early into the game should you build (I read most people say to keep him around for 7-8 days)?

On my play through of the first island, I simply never demolished his hut at all. This did put some strain on my defenses as time went on, but seeing that winter comes quickly on the first island, I made a beeline to crafting my ship and getting off that island.

When winter comes in this game, spring never returns. Your farmers (often a large source of income) stop producing, and things get really hard to maintain. So the idea is to find and build the ship (which is somewhere on the map) so that you and some of your men can sail on to the next island.

This is easier said than done, though. The ship takes a lot of gold to build and launch. And then, once it’s built, it can take days for your men to transport it to the dock. This weekend was the first time I cleared the first island.

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But then, the challenge of the second island was much harder. Not only did you have monster portals on both sides to contend with, but you have to destroy one of the portals in order to unlock the docks for your ship.

This was the first time I’d built up an army to take on a portal. We did successfully knock it down!

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But, then I discovered that I’d destroyed the portal on the wrong side. Oops. There was only another larger portal behind this one… not the docks I’d hoped for.

That was game over for me. I didn’t have the defenses or cash to build up an army on the other side to take out the second portal. And winter was coming… I knew it was time to call it when I started getting Greed beasts like this on my blood moon nights.

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My army did eventually defeat it (it spits out smaller monsters)… but it had destroyed so many of my walls, took out all my farmers, killed my builders… I just couldn’t recover from it.

I guess it’s time to give it another shot! Live (or die) and learn. 🙂

Next year, Kingdom is releasing yet another version called Two Crowns. This will be a significant change to the game, and allow for local co-op play for two people. That should be lots of fun!

Posted in Gaming, Nintendo Switch

Splatoon 2: First Splatfest Experience

Last week, I picked up Splatoon 2 with some hesitation. I’m not a shooter player, and I started out being really, really bad at playing this game. I’ve kept at it, though, and have gotten better (still need a lot of practice though). I find it a fun game to pick up when I’m looking for something quick and energetic to play.

Last weekend was the first time I experienced a Splatfest. For those not familiar with Splatoon, this is a week where players choose one of two sides, usually something silly, then battle it out on a weekend day. For example, the theme of this Splatfest was Ketchup vs. Mayo.

Players had the week to choose a side and hype the event. Then, on Saturday, from midnight to midnight, teams battled for their chosen side. The winner was (supposedly) a combination of the most popular side and how many wins each side had.

I logged in on Saturday, ready to go but not sure what to expect. The whole Square was transformed into a big block party! There was a laser light show, fireworks, and live music provided by Off the Hook.

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There were inklings of both teams happily partying down to the lights and the music, and billboards of user-drawn content on the walls, on flags and on signs inklings were holding.

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Gotta say, it was riveting to experience that alone, and I spent a good bit of time just sitting in that environment, exploring. I was stoked to find a few different pieces of art from one of my favorite gaming webcomics, SaveState.

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Too bad I couldn’t send a friend invite — he would have probably just been like “who’s this?” if I did. Just voted him up Fresh cuz that’s all I could do. 😀

Also saw a lot of other funny art, of course.

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When it came to the actual battles, you went to the Lobby as usual, and Turf Wars had turned into the new Splatfest option. These were two rotating maps, but done up at night (you usually only see these during daytime). Plus one extra map made just for the Splatfest.

The majority of the time, my fights looked like this:

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This was because Ketchup was so overwhelmingly popular that most of the fights I had were Ketchup vs Ketchup. The sad thing was, none of these fights actually mattered in terms of the overall score, because a win and a loss against the same team canceled itself out.

But the battles still went towards upping your rank and title. As you fought, your rank increased (faster if you win the battles and have a higher power rank). The title you earned at the end of the day dictated your reward after Splatfest was done.

Somehow, I pushed through long enough to get the max rank, Ketchup Queen.

The next day, I logged in to see the outcome of the Splatfest.

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Wow. Amazing that Ketchup was so popular – I knew it would be, but maybe not 73%. I chose Ketchup mostly because I can’t stand Mayo, so I voted with what I’d eat, and for no other reason.

Weirdly, though, Mayo still won the day, even though the winning stats were really, really close. Some people are starting to question these outcomes, but you know, there wasn’t that big of a difference between winning and losing. Winning got you something like 3 more snails.

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I was happy to get the Snails I did. I used one to open up a third slot on my shoes, since I like them so much. I’ll save the rest for whatever.

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Aww… don’t worry, Dave. Marina is still pretty fresh.

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