Something I’ve touched on surprisingly only a small bit are Nintendo’s NFC amiibo figures. To put into perspective how I feel about amiibo, let’s just say I have had friends shop around for me to get the more expensive ones back when amiibo were the hottest toys this side of Furby and Tickle Me Elmo. Out of all the toys-to-life options out there, I feel like Nintendo’s offerings are the coolest, if only because I (like many others) grew up with a lot of these characters. Also, while I love me some Skylanders, I think amiibo have a wider function in games, making them more of an investment than essentially an extra life or character in Skylanders and Disney Infinity. That being said, and in typical Nintendo fashion, there are more than a handful of series’ deserving of the amiibo treatment that haven’t seen the light of day. Though most of these will never happen, we can dream, and I can wish for some of these games to come out sooner rather than later! Read the rest of this entry »
Tag Archives: Pokemon
Release Date: March 18th, 2016
Purchased at: Amazon (Online – $50)
The only pickup this week is the mashup we never thought would happen: Pokken Tournament. I was able to spend a bit of time with it (and Laura’s playing it as I’m writing this article), but so far I’m impressed. I think something I never thought I’d say in my entire life is that the launch of the Pokemon fighting game has been markedly better than the launch of Capcom’s Street Fighter V. I mean, damn, that’s saying something! The unique fighting style in Pokken is fun, at least as of now, and I’m enjoying what the game has to offer in the variety of each character. Hopefully I’ll be able to get some streams up soon! Did anyone else pick up this Wii U exclusive this week?
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.
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.
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.
The latest game in the renowned Pokemon franchise, a free-to-play action game called Pokemon Rumble World, has been out for around two weeks now and I’ve spent a good deal of time finding, battling, and collecting Pokemon toys. At its best the game offers up fun, addictive gameplay not unlike a child’s version of Diablo: at its worst the game feels boring and limited. But I have hope the game can be better, the game can be what Pokemon Conquest was to strategy RPGs: an introduction title for a new generation of fans to the awesome world of action RPGs. There’s hope for this series Nintendo. Hope and an aspiration to make it something special, something truly worthy of the Pokemon moniker. Read the rest of this entry »
The House of the Dead 2 & 3 Return
When I was growing up, there was an original House of the Dead arcade machine at my local bowling alley. I would play it just about every week either before or after my league, sometimes both! Since then, I’ve been a big fan of the House of the Dead series of shooters. Considering House of the Dead was only ported to the Sega Saturn and it’s ridiculously expensive these days, I mainly played House of the Dead 2 on Dreamcast at a much more reasonable price. I’ve been eying this sweet compilation for some time now, only to recently pick it up as part of a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal. The third game is really just a bonus for me: I really only wanted to play the second game again.
Recently GameStop has gone downhill for me in terms of deals. They literally haven’t had a Buy 2 Get 1 Free deal on used games all year, which is literally the ONLY REASON you need to shop occasionally at GameStop. A couple of my friends graced me with a gift card for the store on my birthday, so one day when I bought a couple of games I was given a small coupon on my receipt: Buy 2 Get 1 Free on used games under $20. Better than nothing, I thought. When I went to this particular GameStop (one I consider to be a better store in the area), I could only find the above mentioned Wii game and nothing else. I happened to look in the display case for DS games, which is usually completely full of totally incomplete, cartridge only games, and was very surprised to find complete versions of Pokemon Ranger and it’s sequel. AND they were under $20! Score!
Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia
The Pokemon Ranger series of spinoffs has gone largely unnoticed by me. I know there are a few games in the series (these two here and one more sequel), and that they use the DS stylus and touch screen to capture and use Pokemon, but that’s the extent of my knowledge. After looking up the games online, I found out that you play as a Pokemon Ranger, who is wildly different than the standard Pokemon Trainer. Rangers protect Pokemon and befriend them to help get past obstacles in the wild to help and aid other Pokemon. No capturing and raising here, just mutual respect and help. I’m intrigued by this premise, and might have to dip into these games soon.
There’s a local place that sells used video games that I’ve mentioned before on the blog. The store owner picked up shop and moved to a bigger (better?) location, but still within reasonable driving distance to our place. I ventured there this week to see how his new digs were doing. To find the directions however, I had to look up his Facebook page. When I was there I noticed a link to another, much further away, used game shop that will be closing down later this month. I had a day off and I was in a video game buying mood, so I decided to check out both places. Though the drive was long and the selection wasn’t as wondrous as I hoped, there were plenty of great finds! Read the rest of this entry »