First Impressions/Now Playing: Bravely Default

Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Release Date: N. American demo is out now; full game set to release February 7, 2014.

The first thing you need to know about this game is that Bravely Default is only a good game if you like JRPGs.

The second thing you need to know is that it’s the perfect JRPG.
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Now Playing: PokoPang!

Platform: mobile (iPhone)

“Is PokoPang as popular in the States as it is here?” Asked my friend who lives in Singapore. I’ve never heard of it, but PokoPang is a mobile puzzle game you can download through LINE chat.

Curious, I downloaded it, and now I can’t stop playing. I’m terrible at it, but there’s something about all the flashiness, cuteness, and colors that I find indescribably addicting. You get five lives (clovers) to play in the game, which recharges over time…or your friends can send you another clover. Leveling up will completely fill your clovers too – a small thing that makes PokoPang easier to play than Candy Crush. Like Candy Crush, you do get prompted to buy power ups with real money, but there are free ways to get those too (playing 15 times yields a free, random power up).  You don’t need that much patience to play this game for free, even if you have no friends (I only have 1 friend playing this game).  The clovers come pretty easily.

All you do is drag your finger to connect 3 or more same-colored dots; if you don’t take too much time between successful connections, you rack up a combo that multiplies your points. You’ll also get bombs (to clear a whole bunch of dots) and rainbows (clear one kind of color at random) that are pretty key to getting a good score…aside from how fast you swipe your finger. Continue reading

[Game Review] Plants VS Zombies 2: It’s About Time

It’s rare for me to get addicted to mobile games, and I had a lot of negative preconceptions about the sequel to Plants VS Zombies.  I loved the first game, like millions of other people in the world, and early articles about the new game were less than stellar.  Kotaku published an article about how “Chinese Gamers Say Plants Versus Zombies 2 is Ripping Them Off”.  The backstory behind this is quite simple: Chinese are notorious for pirating games, and one of the better (for the publisher/devs) ways to circumvent that is to use a “Free to Play” model.  That means it’s free to download the game, it’s free to play, but you will be encouraged to spend real money to buy things in the game.  So in that sense, pirating would only serve as free advertising (although it wouldn’t really be pirating anymore because the game itself is free!)  The more players they have the more potential customers they have.

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Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon [ Review ]

Released on March 24, 2013, this was the first game in what Nintendo Direct called “The Year of Luigi”.  It’s the sequel to the original Luigi’s Mansion, which was a launch title on the GameCube….and if you haven’t played that, you missed out :P  It was awesome, inventive, and refreshing!  I mean, Luigi as the main character?  No red-hat Mario in sight??  That was unheard of!  Thankfully, this sequel brought that all back again, some 10 years later….

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Fire Emblem: Awakening – First Impressions [ Review ]

Got it on Launch Day!!! I feel special!

Got it on Launch Day!!! I feel special!

Prelude to the Review: Quest to Acquire the Game on Launch

Subtitle: Another Reason to Hate GameStop

If you are up on your gaming news and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this game, then you already know about the shipping error that occurred with FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING’s release.  But I didn’t…and got up 2 hours earlier than usual to grab a copy before work on February 4th.  I planned out my route to hit GAMESTOP stores on the way to work.  The first two were closed when they should’ve been open…guess someone was late.  The third one had a single employee in there.  I went in, scanned the wall briefly, and noted there was no FIRE EMBLEM on the 3DS wall.  Whatever, maybe they put new releases in a different stack – GAMESTOP hides the real copies of games behind the counter, anyway.  The sales girl at the cash register was well put together, with her hair done, makeup on, and a glittery halter top under her brown cardigan.  I asked her about FIRE EMBLEM, and she said they didn’t have any because of a shipping error – which was the manufacturer’s fault, and NO stores had this game.  Not even Amazon or Best Buy, just…no one.  GAMESTOP would have it tomorrow.

And that’s all fine…bad news, but it’s alright…..if it had stopped there.

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It was only recently that I became aware they were making a new Fire Emblem game – it’s definitely been a while! And I’m amazed so far. It’s coming out February 4, 2013 (SOON!!!) and I’m really excited. I’ve never-ever bought a handheld game since GameBoy Advance was the latest system. Nothing like my favorite Tactical game to take my money! Since they made me go home today for being sick, I woke from my much needed nap and downloaded the demo for AWAKENING. They only let you play the prologue and Chapter One (or some of Chapter One?), meaning just about ah….I think it was 2 or 3 battles total. Probably 2.  Sorry, my brain is fuzzy with the flu.  But it was enough time to introduce what I’m guessing are their core characters. I won’t rehash it all here since you could easily see all that in the trailer and the numerous youtube videos about it.

But I DO want to GUSH about how amazing the cel shaded 3d characters look!!!! They have finally perfected it, they look flawless! The last time I played Fire Emblem was with their first Fire Emblem on GameCube, with Ike as the main guy….titled PATH OF RADIANCE.  It was good and I definitely put in dozens of hours in to that game. But it was also their first foray in to 3D, and one could definitely feel that many areas were lacking. The models were looking better than I expected – I think Japanese companies excel at creating 3D characters that look like 2D/anime-style…..but it was only nice when they were still. The animation was absolutely awful….it was slow, clunky, unnatural. You even had to wait like 2 or 3 seconds of watching the characters just stand there during battle, after you had issued the orders to attack, because it was….loading! They seem to have known about this issue so the game devs included the option to switch of Battle Animations, which I of course did. Each battle would take me 40-60minutes to complete, especially since I kept restarting whenever someone died. So those couple of seconds, which sound like a short amount of time in words, can actually add up a lot. It feels like eternity when you’re playing. Another thing that sucked about the older game – no controller reset button so you have to walk to the TV to restart.

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