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Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Battle System in Yokai Watch is Fun, Random, Weird

Yokai Watch Art 1

While on vacation I’ve been spending some downtime playing Yokai Watch, the new RPG for the Nintendo 3DS from Level-5. While it’s been a huge hit in Japan, this is only the first release in the US. So far, I can see why: the game has a lot of charm. Not unlike the Pokemon series, you run around collecting monsters that you then use in battle to defeat and befriend other monsters. While the name of the game in Pokemon is tracking them all down and becoming the best, in Yokai Watch the focus seems to be on story rather than the Yokai themselves. The visuals and humor are fantastic and pleasing to see and hear, but the real kicker that’s been keeping me coming back into the world is the battle system.

Unlike most RPGs, you don’t directly control your Yokai in battle. Instead of barking orders at them and watching the outcome, each Yokai acts on its own. This is kind of relieving because most battles are 3 on 3 affairs, meaning you’d have a lot of micromanaging your moves to defeat enemies. I’m a traditional turn based RPG fan, but even I find it dull when you have to dish out commands to your team just to defeat the simple, easy to kill enemies. In this sense Yokai Watch is kind of great. But for those who love to hand pick every strategy like you might in a Persona game might not like the lack of freedom.

Lack of freedom isn’t entire true, because even though the game is hands off with the combat, you can still greatly affect the battle. The titular Yokai Watch let’s you store 6 Yokai on your team at once, but you only use three in battle. Instead of having the other three sit out for the fight, they can be rotated in by spinning the watch and bringing them into battle instead. You’ll be doing a lot of rotating because each Yokai is kind of weak on it’s own. It’s fun spinning your watch, bringing in new Yokai, and watching them pummel your foes.

Jibanyan 1

On top of rotating your team, you can also activate each Yokai’s “Soultimate” attack if they have a full spirit meter. Doing so moves you into a small minigame like tapping floating targets or tracing an outline in order to successfully activate the ability. These special powers can make or break a battle, and each Yokai’s is different. Jibanyan, for example, uses “Paws of Fury” which unleashes a flurry of swipes at each enemy on screen, doing a lot of damage all at once. After the Soultimate is expended it has to be recharged, meaning you need to be wise in your execution.

Because you’ll be doing so much on the bottom screen swapping Yokai, activating abilities, giving health items, and maybe even trying to recover a fallen ally, it’s good the action happens all on its own on the upper screen. At first I was taken aback by this lack of interaction, but the more and more I played the more the combat opened up and gave me options to get involved. Now I’m trying to find the best combination of Yokai teams, since having Yokai with matching “Tribes” next to one another gives them more power and having a variety of Tribes on your team can help defeat the more challenging enemies. I’m only a few hours in at this point, so there could be more to come down the road, but so far I’m really enjoying the frantic, fast paced, and totally random combat!

Yokai Watch Art 2

Outside of the combat the story has been bare bones. You play as a young boy or girl who just so happens to stumble upon a strange tree that houses a friendly ghost Yokai. After the chance encounter you discover Yokai are all around us, some causing mischief and mayhem, others simply trying to make the best of their situation. One thing leads to another and you’ve got to stop the Yokai world from disruption the existence of the Human world! Like I said, it’s standard stuff so far, but I’m hoping the story will pick up later. There’s potential here to make it something more than a Pokemon ripoff about cute little monsters that you can collect. Give me danger, give me characters I care about, and most of all give me the type of storytelling I know Level-5 is capable of (They did make the Professor Layton series, afterall!).

I brought a handful of new games with me on this trip, thinking I’d try out a few and stick with the one I like, but having started with Yokai Watch I don’t know if I’ll be getting to Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon or Tri Force Heroes anytime soon. If Yokai Watch keeps doing super cute things like having my character take of his shoes when going inside his home, or putting on a rain coat while the weather’s bad outside, or even getting bonuses for waiting for and using the crosswalk then I’ll be more than happy to put those games on the sidelines!

Laters,
Jsick

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Posted by on 12/31/2015 in Nintendo 3DS

 

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Top Ten Game Pickups of 2015

Top Ten Pickups 2015

Another year is coming to an end, and with it a great assortment of new games added to the collection. This year was a lot more memorable than the previous years, mainly because I was actually able to play a lot of the new games that came out! Just check out my Top Ten Games of 2015 and see what I mean! 2015 Was also the year I really got to enjoy my PS4! I’m looking forward to what the next year has in store for Sony’s home console. And who could forget the Wii U! Haters gonna hate, but I still love that system, and this year saw several great titles added to Nintendo’s black box. The 3DS is still going strong, and the next game I’m most excited for in 2016 happens to be for the 3DS (Fire Emblem: Fates!!). I never mentioned it before (or at least I can’t recall if I have), but this year also happened to be the year I surpassed 2,000 games in the collection! Yay for game collecting but boo for my aching wallet! Just like last year, instead of doing a complete rundown of all the games of 2015, here are the top ten best games I found last year!

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Pokemon Picross Adds a New Twist, But Isn’t the Picross Game I Was Looking For

Pokemon Picross Banner

Whenever someone asks me what my favorite games are, I have a really hard time answering since I really do enjoy a lot. Instead, I come back with my favorite types of games to play, which include (in no particular order) fighting games, RPGs, and puzzle games. I think that last one is the most endearing of them all: puzzle games have been around for ages, but more recently they’ve been relegated to social media and/or smartphone titles that probably aren’t worth your time. But every now and then a good puzzle game is all I need to pass the time enjoyable. Take the Professor Layton or Picross franchises for example: both are epitomes of what I want in a portable puzzle game, and both are easily some of the best games I’ve ever played. So you could imagine my excitement when a Pokemon-themed Picross game came out a few weeks ago on 3DS.

On the surface Pokemon Picross seems to have everything a Picross game should: familiar puzzle gameplay, the same old strategy as before, and that sense of accomplishment when you’ve completed a tough level. But now with Pokemon to adorn every puzzle! Don’t even mind the “Free to start” mentality and the microtransactions to continue playing the game: just drop $30 at the beginning and the game is you’re, entirely unlocked without any other financial roadblocks. So what’s not to like

Well, for starters (get it?) this actually makes some big changes to the Picross formula. Usually in a Pircross puzzle there are definite ways to uncover which tiles to chip away and which to leave alone. Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle: you might have several pieces that are shaped the same, but only one piece will slot into another and make the picture look correct. In Pokemon Picross however, there are several times where you literally get to a point where you can’t logically choose the next step. You’ll just be poking around to see what might work without any definite strategy behind it.

Pokemon Picross Greninja

And that’s where actual Pokemon come in! After clearing a stage and revealing the Pokemon, you catch it! From then on, you can select that Pokemon before a new puzzle to use it’s special ability to aid you in solving the next challenge. Each Pokemon type has a unique ability. These include abilities that reveal columns or rows of tiles correctly at the start of the match, highlight rows that you can use accurately figure out which tiles to eliminate, and even some abilities that automatically correct a tile if you incorrectly use it. Honestly, these changes are pretty damn awesome, and I really like using them! It feel cool having Snorlax take out some tiles in the beginning of the match, or having Oddish tell me when I’ve done something wrong. Future Picross games should try to incorporate these mechanics in some way, because they add a lot of fun to the puzzles, and give players with less skill a better chance of winning!

Despite all this the game just ins’t doing it for me like I want it too. I’ve been happily travelling through zones collecting Pokemon, but I get dragged down when there’s a puzzle, even with the special Pokemon abilities, that just can’t be beaten because you don’t have enough information available to win. It sucks! I understand the game wants me to go forward, collect bigger, more powerful allies, then come back to tackle these harder challenges, but it’s a drag! I praised this series in the past for it’s thoughtful puzzle design and how it made you feel like a genius when your brain finally figures it out! Now that’s all up in the air and determined by which friends you bring into battle with you. I wish there were a way to still use these powers but give the player a fighting chance even if you don’t have the most powerful Pokemon at your disposal.

Pokemon Picross Pikachu

I’ll still be playing Pokemon Picross for the time being, mainly because I don’t have anything else right now in y 3DS. Also, it still has the great pick up and play mentality of previous Picross games, which makes it super easy to play one puzzle or one hundred before getting old. I think my expectations were set high on this one, so the only thing I could do was be let down, which is exactly what happened. That being said, Pokemon Picross is still a fun game, it just isn’t as fun as the past entries I’ve played in the series.

Laters,
Jsick

 
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Posted by on 12/22/2015 in Nintendo 3DS

 

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Top Ten Games of 2015

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The year that was 2015 is coming to an end, and as we tend to do as a community, let’s take a look back at the games that made the year memorable. There were some awesome indie releases, some great first party titles, and even some out of nowhere hits for just about every console out there. Instead of counting down the highest rated games across the board, here at SlickGaming I’m only looking at the games I actually played in 2015. Sorry Xbox One fans, you won’t see anything on this list. That being said, there were actually a great many awesome games released this year, and it was pretty challenging to narrow it down to just ten! Let’s get this grand spectacle started! Read the rest of this entry »

 
 

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A Quick Update

Hello there, loyal SlickGaming followers! If you’ve been wondering what’s been going on with the blog and why there’s been nothing posted for a few weeks, it’s because WE’RE MOVING!! More accurately, we’ve already moved! Laura and I jumped from a tiny 2 bedroom apartment to a full fledged house! We’re both really excited for a new place and were hard at work making it our home. 

Unfortunately that means not a lot of downtime for writing. However, when I have gotten a few extra moments I’ve been spending it on Fallout 4I’m happy with the game so far: it’s been a long time since a game has had me wanting to just explore the world quite like this one! Have you all been enjoying the Commonwealth Wasteland too?

Outside of Fallout, I played a new board gane with some friends over Thanksgiving Break called Dead of Winter. It’s a zombie survival game, but the focus is on survival more than killing zombies. Think the later seasons of The Walking Dead and you’ll have a good image of what I mean. Either way, it was fun and I look forward to playing it with my friends again over their Christmas Holiday. 

I also dabbled in the Wii U’s Animall Crossing: amiibo Festival. While the game isn’t anything like a Mario Party game like I wanted it to be, it is a fun, simple tilted for Animal Crossing lovers. Also, I took the plunge and bought all the amiibos for Laura and myself. Even if the game isn’t extraordinary, the little Tom Nook and company sure are!

I’m hoping to get back into the full swing of things here soon. Likely a few Game of the Year candidates, then the annual yearly roundup. Until then, have a great day!

Laters.

Jsick

 
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Posted by on 12/03/2015 in Randomness

 

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